a Disney/Hogwarts Crossover Fic
- HAPPY THOUGHTS
Wendy ignored the stinging in her eyes and forced herself to take calm, measured breaths. After reassuring her family she could handle something as simple as getting on a train by herself, she didn't want to have a nervous breakdown here in the station. You're being quite ridiculous, she scolded herself. You've been going to boarding schools since you were Michael's age, and this is no different.
Except, it was different. This new school was something quite outside her previous experience, and merely getting there was proving difficult. Impossible, even, one might say. In fact, if it hadn't been for the amount of paperwork and other necessary miscellany the transfer had required, she'd think she had been the target of an elaborate ruse.
Clearly, she was misreading all the signs. That was it; faulty communication on the part of British Rail. She swallowed down the hard lump in her throat and looked around at the signs. If Platform Nine was here, and Platform Ten was here, then--
Wendy blinked and turned, stopping just before colliding with someone. "Goodness, I'm sorry," Wendy said. "I should have been paying attention."
"That's quite all right," the girl said. "No harm done." A black ribbon held back her blonde hair, and she looked to be about the same age as Wendy. Like Wendy, she wore a blue dress, but with a white cardigan and black-and-white-striped stockings.
The girl was by herself and seemed to be carrying an equal amount of luggage as Wendy. "I don't suppose you know where I might find--"
"Platform Nine-and-Three-Quarters?" the girl finished for her. "I was looking for it, myself." She held out a hand. "I'm Alice," she said.
Wendy shook the offered hand. "Wendy. Nice to meet you." She looked around. "I'm beginning to think we shan't find our platform simply by looking."
Alice looked around, her large blue eyes seeming to lose focus. "I'm not so sure," she said, voice going soft and dreamy. She gestured to the wall between the ninth and tenth platforms. "There's something... It's larger than it really is, and...open, on the inside."
Wendy's eyebrows raised, briefly, though she quickly pulled them into place again. She didn't know what was happening to Alice, but she knew she shouldn't behave as if anything the blonde girl was doing was strange. It wasn't polite. "I'm afraid I don't quite understand," Wendy said.
Alice blinked, and her expression returned to normal. "Hm? Oh. Perhaps we should ask someone."
"Yes," Wendy said, "perhaps."
Wendy looked around and spotted a pair of older boys, each toting trolleys laden with luggage. They were chatting amiably with each other, walking in the general direction of Wendy and Alice. They both smiled pleasantly at the girls as they passed, and kept walking. Wendy drew a breath to warn them that they were about to crash into the barrier between platforms--when they simply vanished.
Wendy gaped. "What-- Did you--"
"I saw it," Alice said, rather calmly, given that they had just witnessed two boys disappear. "It actually makes perfect sense, now."
Wendy turned to Alice. "How so?"
"Where does one find nine and three quarters?" Alice asked her. "Between nine and ten," she said, before Wendy could answer.
Wendy considered that. "So...we simply walk towards the wall, and don't stop?"
Alice gave a little shrug. "It certainly seems that way," she said.
Wendy walked over to the wall and ran a hand over it. It certainly felt solid. When she pushed against it, nothing gave. She even slapped it, to no avail. "I don't suppose you heard them speak any magic words, or anything?"
Alice shook her head, then gasped, jerking Wendy off to the side. Wendy spluttered, looking around for an incoming hazard. Seeing nothing, Wendy turned to look at Alice, whose eyes were wide with confused panic. Wendy did her best to keep her expression and tone neutral, and asked, "What was the purpose of that?"
Alice frowned, pain adding to the mix of emotions on the blonde girl's face. "I--I'm sorry--I didn't--"
Wendy wasn't sure how to respond. She opened her mouth to speak, when she heard someone shout, "Look out below!" Wendy turned and saw a luggage trolley barreling in their direction. It was laden with cases and trunks, and riding on top was a young boy, crowing with pure glee. Wendy only caught a glimpse of auburn hair and a wide grin before the trolley and its passenger vanished into the wall.
Wendy stared for a moment, then began rearranging herself, after the wind of the boy's passage mussed her carefully curled hair. She glanced at Alice, who was looking much more relaxed and calm--relieved, even--as she tidied the bow holding back her blonde tresses. "Yes, well," Wendy said, "clearly, there's less finesse involved than one would expect."
Alice nodded and the pair of them gathered their luggage trolleys. Almost in unison, the two girls took a breath and began striding purposefully towards the wall. Think of Christmas, Wendy told herself as she drew closer to the wall. Think of snow. Think of sleigh bells. Here we--
Wendy gaped at spectacle before her. A gleaming, scarlet steam engine waited at the platform, as people bustled around in purposeful chaos. Porters handled trunks and cases and cages holding a menagerie of creatures. Many of the people were wearing perfectly ordinary clothing, while others were dressed more like they'd escaped from some kind of artist's commune. She even saw a few who would have looked more at home at some sort of historical reenactment.
"Oh, indeed," Alice agreed.
"I suppose there's nothing to do but carry on," Wendy said.
"Oh, there are many things one could do," Alice said. "But the huge majority of them are neither sensible nor helpful."
Wendy glanced over at her. "Quite."
The two of them went forwards with purpose, spines straight and faces intent. Wendy couldn't speak for Alice, but she certainly wasn't going to let anyone know how utterly terrified she was. When they drew nearer the train, a pair of porters approached and relieved them of their trolleys. Alice and Wendy each took bags from their respective trolleys, containing things they'd want or need with them on the train journey.
The girls took a deep breath and boarded the Hogwarts Express.
Normally, Wendy would have said that no one was more surprised than she when the letter arrived. After all, it isn't every day one receives a letter announcing one's acceptance into a school for witchcraft and wizardry, even if it isn't delivered by an owl. But upon reading the mysterious missive, connections began to be made in Wendy's mind. She'd always felt a little bit different from other children, like there was something else there, just outside her reach. Incidents she'd dismissed as pure coincidence suddenly had a new context, and it felt right. All of those strange occurrences were suddenly explained with a single word: magic.
So, in a way, she wasn't surprised at all. Her parents, however...
Her mother was hesitant, if one were to be charitable. After all, to the majority of humanity, magic was the stuff of fiction and superstition. It simply didn't exist. A school claiming to teach it was deluded, at best. But, after a visit from one of the school's staff, who performed acts of magic far too blatant to be sleight of hand or stage illusion, Wendy's mother was forced to accept this new truth. Yet, even in the face of the sheep--formerly one of the sitting room end tables--Wendy's father could not accept said truth.
His denial went so far and so deep he convinced himself his eldest child and only daughter was off at a completely mundane boarding school, which taught nothing more arcane than oil painting and Latin. When Wendy and her mother were led to a place called Diagon Alley by the Hogwarts teacher who'd visited earlier, in order to purchase the many strange things required for her coming school year, Wendy's father remained at home, believing the ladies of the house were out on an ordinary shopping trip, and wondered why the sitting room smelled faintly of farmyard.
That brief excursion into Diagon Alley had not been unlike being dropped onto an alien planet for an afternoon, but it had, in a way, been a boon in acclimating to the world of magic. Strange and chaotic as it might be, the Hogwarts Express was nothing compared to the sheer otherness of Diagon Alley. At least Wendy had been on busy trains before, and knew how to navigate the all-too-narrow corridors and find an empty compartment for herself and Alice. Naturally, most of the students on board the Express were older and returning for another year. Wendy and Alice passed reuniting friends and cliques drawing towards each other by some internal magnetism. There was something decidedly odd about the girl, but Wendy was glad to accept Alice as a sort of friend-by-default.
Wendy pulled Alice into the first empty compartment she could find, but frowned upon seeing the baggage left in the seats essentially claiming them. Wendy frowned and turned to leave, almost bumping into a third girl, entering behind them.
"Gosh, I'm sorry," the girl said in a sweet, flute-like voice. "Did I startle you?"
Wendy was about to say "no", but indeed, found herself struck by the girl's appearance. She was a little older, a little taller, a little more developed, and, yes, startlingly pretty. She had chin-length, raven-black hair, large, amber-brown eyes, and full, blood-red lips. Setting off all those colors was skin as flawless and white as a porcelain doll. She wouldn't have looked out of place in a vampire movie, but she managed to project a genuine warmth and gentleness which was almost palpable.
"No, no," Wendy said, "I'm sorry. We didn't see you had claimed the compartment already. We'll get out of your way."
"Don't be silly," the older girl said, smiling wide. "There's plenty of room, and all the other compartments will have at least a few people inside."
"Well," Wendy said, exchanging a glance with Alice, who seemed amenable. "If you're sure?"
"Make yourselves at home," the girl said, and set about rearranging the bags set on the seats. "There's only a couple of other girls sharing the compartment, so we won't be crowded." She looked up and her expression brightened further. "Oh, there they are. We have company!" she sang as the new arrivals walked in.
The new arrivals both blinked at finding Wendy and Alice in their compartment, but smiled at them. The taller of the two had her ginger-blonde hair bound up in a bun, and the other wore her tumble of coppery curls loose around her shoulders, decorated with flower barrettes. Both girls carried armloads of packaged treats.
The younger girl with the curly hair beamed at Wendy and Alice. "Oh, hi! You two must be first-years," she said. She moved to extend a hand, but then remembered she was carrying thing, and quickly stumbled, trying not to drop anything. The dark-haired girl jumped over and helped her out, dumping some of her burden on the seats.
The older girl with the bun rolled her eyes and set down her own armload. She turn and extended a hand to Alice. "Ella," she said. "Ella Glasheim."
"Alice Carroll," Alice replied, shaking the offered hand.
Ella turned to Wendy, and the two shook hands. "Wendy Darling," Wendy said. She couldn't help but notice how rough and calloused the girl's hand was, and how strong her grip.
The girl with the curls kicked her shoes off and curled bare feet under her as she perched on the seat. "I'm Giselle," she said. "Giselle Dubois."
A shell-pink blush appeared on the pale girl's cheeks as she said, a bit sheepishly, "My name is Snow White."
Once again, Wendy found herself reining in her eyebrows, hiding her disbelief that someone's name and appearance could match like that. "Delighted," she said.
When groups of strangers come together in close quarters for the first time, a bit of uncomfortable silence is natural. However, in the cozy little train compartment, it didn't last long. Snow let out sigh, like a contented bluebird and chirped, "This is nice, isn't it?"
"Actually, I'm more than a little nervous," Alice said, though her tone was more curious than anything else.
"I confess a little trepidation, myself," Wendy replied.
Giselle opened up a bottle of some kind of fizzy drink with a label Wendy didn't recognize. "Perfectly understandable," she said.
Ella smirked. "Oh, please," she said. "You hugged everyone you met as soon as you stepped on the platform. You actually burst into song."
Wendy and Alice Both looked to Giselle, who lifted her chin in dignity. "It was a momentous occasion," she said.
Snow burst into musical giggles, followed by Ella, and then Giselle. With Giselle laughing at herself, Wendy and Alice felt comfortable to join in. Snow examined the treats the other girls had brought with them and looked up at the two new girls. "There's a snack trolley which comes by after we get out of the city," she said, "but we thought it would be a good idea to hunt it down before we left so we could get first pick."
"You won't see an ounce of chocolate once it passes the Agnarsdottr sisters," Ella said. "You can feel free to share."
"That's very kind of you," Wendy said, and meant it. Her family was not of restricted means, but after buying school supplies, there was very little left of the money she'd had exchanged for wizard currency. "But I insist on contributing when the trolley makes it rounds."
Alice nodded. "Me, too," she said.
Snow nodded and smiled. "Well, we're happy to share," she said, "but if that makes you feel more comfortable, that's fine. I like anything apple-flavored."
Soon, the train was in motion, and much of Wendy's nervousness had been replaced with elation. It was actually happening. There was no turning back now. The five girls started chatting amiably. Giselle doodled in a little sketchbook as they talked, while Ella seemed to busy herself with some knitting. Wendy wanted desperately to grill the three returning students on every aspect of the school, but didn't want to be pushy. Alice had no such compunction. With wide-eyed curiosity, she drank in every story the older girls told, asking questions every time they paused for breath.
Snow, Ella and Giselle all belonged to Hufflepuff House, though Snow and Ella were a couple of years ahead. This, naturally, elicited a flurry of questions from Alice about the nature of the Houses. To hear them explain it, the Houses were sort of like internal communities within the school. The Houses weren't just dormitories, but competed with each other in things like sports and academic achievement. They wouldn't elaborate, exactly, on how the students were placed in each House, claiming it was worth the surprise.
There was also a general discussion on what to expect from classes, about the teachers, and the school in general. Wendy was about to ask what exactly they meant by "ghosts" when there was a knock on the door, and a pair of heads poked in.
"Ladies!" one of them said. "Good to see you made it through the summer!"
Wendy recognized them as the two boys she and Alice had seen first vanishing through the platform wall at the train station. At first, she thought they were twins. Both were tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed, and rather good-looking. Both were also dressed in button-down shirts, black slacks, grey vests, and blue ties striped with brown. But closer inspection showed that one was a bit taller and a bit leaner, while the other was built more squarely and solidly. Fraternal twins, then? Brothers, at least, surely.
"Hi, Henry! Hi, Florian!" Giselle called to the boys.
"Glad you decided to come back, Miss Sunshine," the taller boy said. "We're looking forward to this season's performances."
Ella eyed him. "Henry, be nice," she said.
Henry put a hand to his chest. "I'm always nice," he said, in mock-indignation. "Ask anyone."
Ella rolled her eyes. "Wendy, Alice, meet Henry Charmant and Florian Reizvoll," she said, and the two boys bowed their heads towards the new girls.
"Charmed," they said in unison.
Ella shook a finger at the pair. "Wendy and Alice are incoming first-years," she said. "Don't scare them."
Henry puffed his chest, feigning insult. "As if we would!" He held out an elbow to Florian. "Come, Florian, my good man. We shall away from these libelous females."
"Indeed, good sir," Florian said, hooking his elbow around Henry's. "We shall not suffer such assaults against our dignity." The two turned and left the compartment, but not before Florian looked over his shoulder and called, "Hi, Snow!" which got a giggle from the pale girl.
Ella sighed and rolled her eyes. "You'd never guess they were Ravenclaws," she said, closing the compartment door.
"Are they related?" Alice asked. "If it weren't for the names, I would have assumed they were brothers."
"They get that a lot," Giselle replied. "They probably are related, way up the line. The wizarding families tend to marry each other."
The five chatted some more, pausing when the snacks trolley made an appearance. Giselle and Snow explained what some of the strange treats were, and Wendy and Alice each bought a few things to add to their communal meal. True to their word, Alice and Wendy made sure to buy some apple cider and apple cookies for Snow. By this point they were all quite hungry, and they tore into their feast. Ella, being very sensible, had made sure they all had actual food, like sandwiches and packaged vegetables, and not just sugary snacks.
One of the candies the older girls had encouraged them to buy was a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans. "And they mean every flavor," Giselle said.
"They're not something I'd recommend on a regular basis," Snow said. "But they're fun on occasion."
Wendy looked at the box and drew out a pink candy. "I do like strawberry," she said, and began chewing. Suddenly, she halted, and forced it down. "Not strawberry," she said, grimacing. "Salmon. I see what you mean."
Alice reached for a purple candy, hesitated, and selected a murky brown one instead. She chewed thoughtfully. "Tea." This began a round of trying out jelly beans and seeing who got which flavor. Wendy noticed Alice managed to luck into select the most inoffensive flavors, like toast, custard and cucumber. The other four girls, however, had to dive into the peppermint humbugs to cleanse their palettes.
"You know, we really ought to get changed into our uniforms," Snow said, glancing out the window. Wendy presumed she could tell by the surroundings how long they had until they arrived at the school. Snow and Alice decided to brave the line to the ladies' room, while the others would take turns changing in the compartment, guarded by the two not changing.
Wendy soon had her blue dress and jacket swapped for the white shirt, black skirt and grey vest all the girls wore at Hogwarts. Not having been assigned to a House, she didn't have a House tie, yet. She stepped out and allowed Giselle the next turn to change clothes. She and Ella stood outside the door, and Wendy tried not to imitate the serious, forbidding stance Ella took. Soon, it was Ella's turn to change clothes, Giselle having traded her purple sweater and leggings for her uniform and Hufflepuff tie.
As Ella changed clothes, a brawny older boy approached. He was handsome, in a classical sort of way, with a square jaw, dark hair pulled back into a ponytail, and a shirt which seemed almost purposefully too small for his powerful build. His red and gold tie hung jauntily loose around his strong neck. "Well, what do we have here?" he said, nearing the two girls. "I recognize the songbird, but who's this little thing?" He leaned against the doorframe, giving a smile he probably thought was meant to be charming.
Wendy drew herself up. Little thing, indeed. "Wendy Darling," she replied, tone frosty. The boy's face and form were pleasant enough, but she did not care for the person operating them.
"Darling? A pet name already?" the boy said. "And we just met."
"Gaston," Giselle sighed, "I'm sure you have better places to be."
"Where I am is the better place," he said, flashing a very white grin. He looked over the pair of them and door. "You two look like you're on sentry duty." He leaned in and peered at the door. "What's going on in here?"
He reached for the door handle and managed to place a hand on it, only to have Giselle smack his knuckles with her small, hardcover sketchbook. He snatched his hand away, firing a glare at Giselle. The little redhead glared right back up him. "If you don't mind, Gaston," she said, "privacy is meant to be respected."
Gaston arched an eyebrow. "Privacy? Someone changing in there?" His handsome face twisted into a sneer. "Or have the Charming Twins stopped by for a...visit?"
The meaning behind his question was evident, even to young Wendy, who drew in an offended breath. She could practically feel the angry reply coiling on her tongue like a cobra ready to strike. Giselle, however, either had no idea what Gaston was implying, or she was far better than Wendy at controlling her reaction.
"They are charming, aren't they?" Giselle said. "I all but remarked as such to young Wendy here when they stopped by, earlier, presumably making their rounds of the train, saying 'hello' to all their returning classmates, even those not in their House, which not a lot of people do, I've noticed, as they'd rather just sort of catch up as they encounter them throughout their day-to-day comings and goings, but those two really have a way of going out of their way to pay attention to people, even if its just for a moment, even new students like Wendy and Alice, who, of course, you haven't met, yourself, as she and Snow are currently joining the many, many other girls choosing to change into their school uniforms in the ladies' room, which strikes me as a dangerous adventure given how much traffic a ladies' room sees on an ordinary day, let alone when people are putting it to purposes other than those intended, which is why Ella, Wendy and myself chose to change clothes here in our compartment, hence the drawn blinds and the pair of us on sentry duty, as you so quaintly phrased it, if quaint is, indeed the right word, which reminds me--did you have a pleasant summer?"
Wendy gaped at Giselle. The girl had managed what Wendy ventured was a rather profound run-on sentence in a single breath, and showed no signs of being winded. Gaston gaped, as well. The arrogance had been drained from his posture by the onslaught of weaponized jibber-jabber the tiny redhead had unleashed. It was rather comical.
Gaston blinked. "Uh, yes," he said at last. "It was, um, quite nice." Giselle nodded and opened her mouth to speak. Gaston straightened and quickly said, "If you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to be," and he hurriedly shouldered past the pair of girls.
When he was gone, Giselle turned and gave Wendy an innocent smile. Wendy narrowed her eyes at Giselle and grinned. "That was remarkably clever," Wendy said.
Giselle tilted her head to one side. "Whatever do you mean?"
The compartment door opened and Ella regarded the two of them. "Was that you I heard, jabbering like a monkey?" she asked Giselle.
Giselle shrugged. "Just shooting the breeze," she said.
Ella raised an eyebrow. "Right."
Wendy opened her eyes. She saw Snow’s smiling face looking down at her as the older girl gently shook her shoulder. “There you are,” she said. “We’re almost there. I didn’t think you’d want to walk in sleepy-headed.”
Wendy straightened and blinked, stretching. “Uh, yes, thank you,” she said. “That was quite considerate.” Snow giggled and shrugged, and Wendy couldn’t help but smile back. She looked out the window and saw that the sun was sinking below the horizon. The scenery was wild and rugged, a far cry from London. In fact, if it weren’t for the railway itself, Wendy would have guessed humans had never set foot in this part of the country. “Are you sure we’re close?” she asked. “I don’t see anything up ahead.”
Alice joined her at the window. “Really? There’s something up there,” she said. “I’ve no idea what, though.”
Wendy frowned and squinted, but she couldn’t see anything up ahead except wilderness. “If you say so,” she said.
“There’s a spell over the school,” Ella said. “It hides it from muggles and muggle technology. Even most wizards can’t see it until they’re within the boundaries of the spell.”
And Alice picked it up, Wendy thought to herself.
“Unfortunately, we won’t be going with you into the school,” Ella continued, which caused Alice and Wendy to give her looks of confusion.
“When we reach the station, they’ll separate the first-years and have the rest of the students go on ahead,” Giselle said.
“It’s a whole dramatic reveal thing,” Ella said. “They want to make an impression on the new students.”
“But that’s all we’re going to tell you,” Snow said, eyes twinkling. “We don’t want to ruin the surprise.”
True to the older girls’ word, Wendy, Alice and all the other first-years were herded off of the train once it pulled into the little station, while the older students headed off in another direction. There was man waiting for the first-years on the platform. He was an older man, slim, and very genial-looking, with his mop of white hair, bushy moustache, and old-fashioned clothes.
“All new students gather over here,” he called out over the din in a heavy Italian accent. “Don’t worry about your luggage; it will be seen to.”
He led them off of the train platform and down a little trail to a rather large lake. There were rows of little boats moored to wooden piers. By now, the sun had set, and the Italian gentleman was holding a lantern high above his head to light their way. He directed the students to get into the boats. Wendy realized, as she stepped carefully down into the vessel, that the boats were equipped with neither oars nor motor. In fact, they weren’t even tied to the docks, yet none of the boats were drifting away from their positions, no matter how clumsily they were being boarded. Wendy and Alice were joined by a nervous-looking blonde boy, and a dark-haired girl who practically vibrated with excitement.
The old gentleman made sure all the students were safely aboard the boats before getting into one himself. He hung the lantern on a tall post on the boat’s prow, and Wendy could just make out him drawing out a wand from an inner pocket of his waistcoat. He tapped the boat with his wand and it began to smoothly sail forward over the lake. One by one, the other boats began to follow, until they were all moving forward in formation.
Wendy frowned, wondering exactly where they were going. True, the light was poor, but she felt she should see something silhouetted against the starry sky on the far shore of the lake. Then, Alice gasped and grabbed her arm. Before Wendy could ask what the problem was, she found herself gasping. There was a sort of glimmering in the air, like the stars were dancing in the sky. She heard a faint noise, not unlike a brief musical phrase, and a streak of light arced through the air, from one end of the far shore to the other, like a shooting star trying to get back into the sky. As the arc of light reached its peak, a huge castle faded into existence, its myriad windows shining with warm light.
“I’m glad Snow kept this a secret,” Alice breathed, eyes wide with wonder. “This is a lovely surprise.”
Wendy could only nod in agreement. The blonde boy gaped at the spectacle, while the dark-haired girl in their boat hooted with glee. “That’s so cool!”
When the last of the students stepped off of the boats onto the school’s torch-lit dock, the old man picked up his lantern and walked away, a sly smile on his face. The students stood in awkward silence, wondering what they were supposed to do. The flickering torches in their sconces cast an orange glow which did little to dispel the gloom which pressed in on the group, gathered in the little alcove. The tension was nearly palpable, when there was a resonant clank, and a pair of heavy wooden doors opened. All eyes turned to the opening doors.
Warm light spilled out of the doors as a woman strode through them. She was a small, elderly black woman dressed all in white robes, with a white headscarf, heavy gold jewelry, and black glasses. She walked with the aid of a cane, and had a large snake draped over her bony shoulders. “All right, y’all,” she said, creaky voice carrying out over the crowd of students. “Hush up. And welcome to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”