Daria Ravenclaw: The Legend of Sporting Joe

Rough Landing

Daria Ravenclaw: The Legend Of Sporting Joe
Chapter Two: Rough Landing

DISCLAIMER: Daria is the creation of Glen Eichler and is the property of MTV Viacom. The world of Harry Potter is the creation of JK Rowling and is the property of JK Rowling, Warner Brothers, and Wizarding World. I own neither franchise and neither expect nor deserve any financial compensation for this work of fiction.

I am writing this story for my entertainment and for ego gratification. If you are enjoying it, please write and post a review.

Daria Ravenclaw: The Legend of Sporting Joe*Daria Ravenclaw: The Legend of Sporting Joe*Daria Ravenclaw: The Legend of Sporting Joe

Daria's homecoming was rougher than she expected. First, there was the problem of getting out of Britain. Their flight was canceled, leaving them stranded on the wrong side of the Atlantic for an extra day. Not that they didn't adapt. Daria and Jake used their extra day to make a day trip to Oxford from Paddington Station. They first stopped at the railway museum at Didcot, located next to the local railway station, where both of them spent a couple of pleasant hours gawking at the railway locomotives and equipment on display there. From there, they took a train to Oxford, then took a local bus to the University.

For Daria, seeing Oxford was a delight. School was out by the time she and Jake had gotten there: most of the students and many professors had gone and left campus. But there were guided tours of some of the Colleges that constituted Oxford and Daria and Jake were able to tag along and listened to the guides explain the history and intricacies of the old school. The tour guides enthused on Oxford's history and its students' and professors' achievements, later on her Dad served up counterpoints when he described his student days at Middleton. Daria decided that she liked Oxford: Hogwarts might have been older and more magical, but she found Oxford's yellow sandstone buildings, its setting, and its atmosphere very appealing. Someday, if I'm lucky, maybe I can go to school here, she told herself. It was an unlikely dream but she liked the thought anyway.

Hogwarts and Diagon Alley were light on souvenirs that she could give to her Highland friends and family, but Oxford wasn't. She and her Dad threw themselves into souvenir shopping and bought souvenir ties, sweaters, and tee shirts. Those she could give away with impunity.

The following day, Daria and her Dad missed their connecting flight from New York when Daria was pulled aside by MACUSA's customs service and had her luggage searched. Daria had some nervous moments as she looked for her wand permit: she hadn't had to deal with it since she left Texas the previous August. She had a few more when the customs agent went through her things and her book collection, but they were more interested in dark objects than book titles. One of the customs agents, an older woman named Eunice, told her that she should remember that she was a minor and was not allowed to perform unauthorized magic outside of school. Despite her irritation at the stricture, Daria was able to give her best straight face, nod, and say "Yes, Ma'am."

She sighed with relief when the customs agent said that she was done and that she could seal her luggage. The MACUSA did not have the same sorts of prohibitions against underage magic that Wizarding Britain did: she could practice charms, spells, and potion-making in special classes under adult supervision. She made a note to herself to investigate her options when she got back to Highland.

They arrived late at D—FW Airport and it was dark when they found her Dad's SUV. Dad called Mom to tell her that they were back in the US, but there was no way that they'd arrive in Highland until well after midnight, so Dad played it safe and spent the night at a motel off Interstate 20 near Cisco.

They got some sleep, ate Continental at the motel's dining room, then left just after dawn. Dad arrived in Highland three hours later. He helped Daria unload her stuff from his truck, called Mom to tell her that he'd brought Daria home, then handed the phone to Daria.

If Mom was at work and couldn't be there, she was delighted that Daria had gotten home safe. "Welcome home, Sweetie!" she said. "I've missed you so much. It just hasn't been the same since you left! I'm sorry that I wasn't at the house to welcome you back!"

Daria sighed. Mom was letting her work get the better of her again, she thought.

"So where's Quinn and Ronnie?" she asked.

"They're at Day Camp," said her Mom. "I didn't sign you up but there's room at Camp Craig if you want it. They probably wouldn't let you in today but perhaps early next week?"

I really don't want to go to Camp Craig this year, thought Daria.

"So what do I do in the meantime?" said Daria.

"Kiddo," said her Dad. He looked pained. "We hadn't really planned for this. I think I can take you to work today and we'll think of something else for tomorrow."

Daria decided that it wasn't an optimal solution but the alternatives could be worse. "I can do that," she said.

Jake nodded. "OK, Helen, Daria can spend the rest of the day at work with me, then I'll pick up Quinn and Ronnie at day camp," said Jake.

"That'll do," said Helen. "We'll think of something else for tomorrow. Nice to talk to you, Sweetie. Welcome home." She then hung up.

Back in the swing of things, thought Daria. "OK, Dad, let me get some books and a note tablet, then I'll be ready to roll."

-(((O-O)))-

She spent the rest of the day at Dad's office, pausing for lunch in the break room. There was an older girl sitting at one of the other table: dark-haired and dark-complexioned. She was doing about the same thing Daria was doing: reading and studying. Daria couldn't see what book she was reading. She looked up and nodded at Daria. She went back to her reading, but didn't say anything until the break room was empty.

"Hi," she said. "You look familiar."

"I think you do but I don't remember where I've seen you," Daria replied. "I haven't been in town since last August."

"Los Girasoles," said the older girl. "The back room, during one of the get-togethers. You're one of the new kids, aren't you?"

"That depends," said Daria. She wanted to stay on MACUSA's DMLE's good side, and breaking the Statutes of Secrecy was not a good way to do it. "You went—"

"To Campeche," said the older girl.

So the girl went to the Instituto, thought Daria. "I went to Scotland," she said.

"I heard there was one kid who went over there," said the girl. "I didn't know that it was you."

"Actually there were two if you could the English boy who went back to Britain the year before last," said Daria. "He got his invite over there."

"No kidding," said the girl. "I didn't know your Dad worked here."

"Yeah, he's a manager," said Daria.

"My Dad works here, too," said the girl.

"I never thought I'd meet the big boss' daughter," said Daria.

"Hah!" the girl replied. She extended her hand. "Magdalena Vasquez."

"Daria Morgendorffer," Daria replied, and extended hers.

"Speaking of get-togethers, when's the next one?"

"Next Saturday," said Magdalena.

"I'll try to be there," said Daria.

-(((O-O)))—

Her Dad drove her home late that afternoon, stopping at Camp Craig to pick up Quinn and Veronica.

Veronica was overjoyed to see Daria "Daria!" she cried, and ran to give her a big hug.

"Hey, June Bug!" Daria replied, hugging her youngest sister. "Good to see you! Damn, I missed you." The two girls gave each other big hugs, then backed off.

Hey, Quinn," said Daria, opening her arms for a hug. Hugging wasn't something she and Quinn usually didn't do with each other, but she hadn't seen her sister since last August.

"Daria," said Quinn, frowning at her. "So you're back."

"Yeah, Dad and I finally got back this morning," said Daria. "You and Ronnie had gone to day camp for the day and I spent the rest of today at Dad's office."

Quinn was mad at her. Daria suspected that there were a lot of reasons, some of which she knew, others she could only guess at.

"Why didn't you call?" said Quinn. "We only heard from you at Christmas, Easter, and when you got to London, and that was only a telephone message."

"I wrote you guys letters," said Daria. "I wrote you guys a lot of letters."

"But you never phoned," said Quinn.

"Because the school doesn't have a phone and I could only get at one during the breaks," said Daria.

"Bull," said Quinn. "Britain has phones just like America."

"My school doesn't," Daria replied.

Someone blew their car horn.

"Girls!" said Jake, finally intervening. "We're blocking traffic. Let's get in the car." The girls got into the car, buckling up. Daria sat down in the front passenger seat, Quinn and Ronnie in the back. The car started, with Quinn glaring at her sister all the way home.

They might have ridden home in silence, but Jake tried to do what he could to defuse the tension. "So Ronnie, how was your day?" he asked.

"It was great!" said Veronica. "I played kickball, rode a horse, and paddled a canoe. I got to hang out with Jill and Laurie and we…" Daria smiled ruefully from the front seat. She hadn't enjoyed her stint at Camp Craig but it was clear that Veronica was enjoying herself.

-(((O-O)))—

When they got home, Quinn went to her room and closed the door, leaving Ronnie out in the living room. Jake headed for the kitchen to prepare dinner.

Daria looked towards the kitchen, then at Veronica and said "We gotta talk."

"OK," said Ronnie.

"Has he gotten any better?" she said.

"He's been sad a lot since you left," said Ronnie. "He misses you."

"Has he gotten any better at cooking?" asked Daria.

"He has," Ronnie. "We can actually eat dinner most of the time. Dad only messes up once in a while and then we either have frozen lasagna or go get take out."

"That's great," said Daria.

"Did you see any magical creatures?" said Ronnie.

"I have," said Daria. "I can tell you about them but you can't talk about them with everybody. You can only tell Mom and Dad and people we say are safe."

Ronnie frowned.

Daria saw her sister's expression, grinned, then said "I think that stinks too."

"Did you see any unicorns?" said Ronnie.

"Not yet," Daria replied. "There are supposed to be some near the school but I haven't seen any yet. I have seen some centaurs and one of the Professors showed me a Niffler once. Those were fun."

"What is a Niffler like?" said Ronnie.

"Well, they're kind of like a, a porcupine, except that they don't have any quills, they're shorter, squnchier, and they have a bill like a duck or a platypus," said Daria. "They like coins, jewelry, and shiny things."

"What do they do with them?" said Ronnie.

"They swallow them," said Daria.

Veronica giggled. "They swallow them? Really?"

"Really," Daria replied. "You really want to keep them away from jewelry stores and coin shops."

Ronnie laughed again. She sat next to her sister for a while, then stood up and said "I want to go change," and headed towards the bedroom she and Quinn were sharing.

Daria sighed. One of the things she'd learned even before she left for Hogwarts was that she found potion-making to be a soothing, calming activity—at least when you could subtract the stress of brewing in Professor Snape's classes. If she couldn't brew potions, she might be able to help Dad with dinner.

Author's notes:

There really is a railway museum at Didcot.

I may have taken a few liberties with Oxford University's school calendar, but in the early 1990's Oxford hosted hundreds of foreign nationals, most of secondary school age, for English language classes.

For those who don't know, the Instituto is a non-Harry Potter canon school for magic located in the Mexican state of Campeche. Most of its students are Spanish-speaking students from Mexico, the US, and various Central American countries.

I tripped up while I was writing this chapter. I'd first decided to write it as if it was something like a Daria fan story about how Daria would behave if she was in high school either in Highland or Lawndale. But just after finishing up Daria's adventures prior to jetting back to Highland, I remembered something important: Our Bespectacled Heroine is still only twelve years old, and this version of Quinn is ten (I shifted Quinn's canon birthdate) and Veronica is only six. Daria still has to face at least two more years of some sort of adult supervision before Helen and Jake are likely to let her become a latchkey kid.

For those who haven't read Daria Ravenclaw: The Highland Years or the first part of Daria Ravenclaw: The Year of the Owl, the Wizarding community at/near Highland, Texas is more close-knit than, say, Wizarding Britain. Much of Highland's community is centered around several large, sprawling Mexican-American families, although they socialize with witches and wizards from other ethnic groups. Several members of these families saw Daria's magic when she was very young, then let her into their community when she was ten years old. The Highland wizarding community's ties are relatively informal and they try to look after their own, their own being extended to most of the other wizards and witches living in the area. As an aside, had the Dursleys lived at/near Highland in this alternate-universe Harry Potter/Daria universe, their abuse of young Harry would have been noted and acted upon years earlier.