You shouldn't have to...
Buffy watched their faces fill with confusion. They weren’t used to her lifestyle. They weren’t used to the fact that her family did not stay dead. They kept coming back for more and more, and she was sure that evil just hated that about them. Oh, she wasn’t as dumb as everyone thought she was – she knew that evil was just attracted to her and her friends. It seemed to home in on anywhere she went; it really was her shadow. She glanced towards the elderly looking man that just radiated power. It was so pure; she couldn’t help smiling at him. She couldn’t understand why he just sat back and smirked knowingly.
“Alright, alright, ALRIGHT!! Look, as you can see my sister is alive and breathing. Yes, she did die as you seemed to have heard; but, she’s back. I know that you’re not used to people returning from the dead. But, she has, and she’s…I think she’s better here – you…we have no idea where she was, how she came to be so…so jaded – but, she is here. She’s not a ghost, or a vampire, or whatever else can raise itself from the dead – she’s human…well, atleast as human as me I suppose,” Buffy stated, successfully bringing the raucous to a quiet whisper. She could see the confusion on all of their faces – the fear of something that is unknown.
“Thankyou Buffy, I believe that is all that is needed to be said,” Dumbledore stood and nodded, smiling at the petite blonde. “Now I see that someone has already gone after her, and they should be back in awhile – so, what do you say? Let’s eat,” he smiled, raising his hands as the food appeared on the tables. He nodded towards his guests in appreciation. He was quite impressed with whoever was able to raise Dawn, they had to use a lot of power. He wasn’t even sure that there really was a spell for raising the dead. Even if there was, you never knew where you were pulling them from. They obviously thought that Dawn was in some hellish place; but, it was her eyes that held him back from making that observation. There was pain and resentment in them. I think I’ll have a little chat with her…he thought, smiling as Harry Potter and Dawn Summers walked back into the Great Hall hand in hand. His eyes widen slightly when he felt the power that was surrounding the two. He had never felt it before – it was so pure and powerful. He couldn’t help but smirk at the way Harry looked adoringly down at the girl. Dumbledore could tell that his prized student was smitten with the stranger, and, he could see that it was possibly more than just a crush.
“You’ll be okay?” Harry asked, looking into the girls deep blue eyes.
“I’ll be fine, I can take care of myself Harry,” she smiled, winking towards the boy. She knew that she should be weary of him and whoever he was friends with – she could just feel their stares. “Their all looking at me,” she muttered, her gaze suddenly alerted to her shoes.
“They’ve never seen someone who was supposed to be dead, alive again,” he answered, tilting her head up with his hand. “They’ll get over it, especially when they realise that you’re in a better place now,” he smiled, not noticing her dimmed expression.
“Yeah, a better place,” she repeated quietly, her eyes tinting with a bit of resentment. She knew that they had no idea where she was, who she saw – all they saw was their need, their hope. They needed to believe that they were right in what they did; just to take away the guilt. It never entered their mind that she was in a better place when she was dead – Buffy never thought that she was somewhere else. “I better go,” she said, tilting her head in the direction of her family.
“See you later?”
“Why not?” she shrugged, smiling as she backed away. She could tell that he sister was confused, that they didn’t understand – but maybe, this boy did. Maybe, he had an inkling of an idea of what she felt.
“I see you made friends,” Buffy smirked, nodding towards the dark-haired boy that had yet to take his eyes off of her sister.
“He understands,” she shrugged, taking her seat in between Angel and Spike.
“Just leave it Buffy,” she sighed, running her tired hands through her hair.
“Leave it luv, she doesn’t want to talk about it,” Spike growled, interrupting the sisters’ conversation. He could tell that Dawn didn’t want to talk about what had occurred between the two, and even though he didn’t like it – he would let her keep it silent…for now.
“Fine,” she pouted, crossing her arms tightly. She didn’t like that secret’s were kept among her group. Secrets led to dangerous circumstances.
“Was she cold Harry?” Ron asked as soon as his friend arrived at the table, all of Gryffindor were listening.
“Of course not Ron, she’s alive – how else do you think she’s walking around?” Hermione gasped, appalled at what her boyfriend had suggested.
“What’s she like?”
“Confused,” Harry whispered, his gaze turning towards Ron. “What do you think she’ll be? She’s been dead, and she thought she was over – she had finished. I don’t have the logistics of it, but, it sounds like she’s adjusting to living again. The good, the bad and the in-between of what life holds,” he continued, his gaze flicking back towards the girl who, he knew, will be in his dreams from now on.
“Her sister, Buffy, said she was jaded. It’s hard to believe that she was dead,” Ginny stated kindly, her eyes turning towards the solemn girl. She could see the effects of her life have had on her, but, there was something different about her. She seemed to be unhappy to be here…to be alive.
“She doesn’t want to be here,” Hermione put in, looking sadly towards her plate of food. She could see it in the girls’ eyes, they were dead.
“No, she doesn’t,” Harry nodded, looking towards his friend. He could see that Hermione already cared about Dawn; hopefully everyone else will accept her so fully.
“Come on sugar, you know you want it,” a voice snarled, shivers going down her spine.
“N…no I don’t,” she protested weakly, her body already moving towards the voice.
“You keep coming back sweetheart,” he reasoned, licking his dry lips slightly.
“I know…” she whispered, her eyes shooting open – tears already falling from her eyes. She couldn’t help the memories that awakened in her dreams; memories she would rather stay dead. It had only been to make her feel – feel something other than the deep despair that she was always feeling. Her eyes glistened as she scanned the room, making sure to sight all shadows; she couldn’t be too careful. “I’m losing my mind,” she sighed, running her hands through her slightly bird-nested hair. She couldn’t believe that her life had come to this – hiding behind fake smiles and even faker laughs. She needed to tell someone, she couldn’t hold this all in. It was bound to come out one way or another.
“I was wondering if I could have a word Ms. Summers?”
“Wha…Oh sure Dumbledilly,” she smiled, an overwhelming sense of peace coming over her.
“How are things?”
“As normal,” she muttered, coming to be in-step with the old man.
“I’ve recently heard of your resurrection Ms. Summers. That was a very dangerous thing that your friends did,” he reprimanded lightly, his eyes glancing towards her clouded eyes.
“Hope gives strength to many misguided attempts at following it. I’ve learnt that through the short life I’ve led, emotions can lead to dangerous outcomes,” she intoned, looking towards the old man slightly.
“Is that why you are so withdrawn? No emotion means no weakness?”
“Its got nothing to do with weakness Professor. It’s just that, with showing emotion, they will get a glimpse of what it truly means to die. I don’t want to put them through that,” she stated, sitting on empty bench; scooting over for him to sit too.
“You were not in hell were you Ms. Summers?”
“No,” she whispered, turning her face away from his curious gaze. She could feel his penetrating gaze trained on her face. “I was happy Professor. I mean, I wasn’t there but I was…I could still feel that it was me. I knew that my family were safe and they were moving on. How could I have been that wrong? How could they let me die in vain? I mean, the happiness and peace in where I was – you can’t forget that. Living here, just making it through one day – it’s tougher than anything we’ve ever faced. This world is violent and bright a…and harsh,” she whispered, her tears falling freely down her face.
“Oh my dear child,” he muttered, gathering the poor girl in his arms. He could sense that something was slightly off with the girl, but he had no idea that it was this bad. She had been in an eternal resting place, a place which would never be touched by living hands. She had been at peace in heaven. ‘What have they done…?’ he thought to himself, stroking the crying girls’ hair silently.
“It’s just so hard trying to keep apart from them Professor. They have no idea where I was…what I felt. I can see that they’re trying to help, but, they just can’t. It’s something that I need to deal with first, you know? Something that I need to come to terms with, before they have to,” she stated, inching out of the kind old mans’ arms slowly. Just the warmth and protection she felt coming from him was enough to make the tears slow.
“I can see that they all love you Ms. Summers, love can blind sometimes. They are obviously willing to risk everything to keep their family together. To be apart of a unit like that is amazing,” he said, trying to consol the tearing girl before him.
“I know Professor, it’s just…it’s just, why me? I mean, I was happy. I wasn’t being tortured or burning in eternal flames. I wasn’t in hell. I think…I think I was in heaven,” she cried, leaning into the old mans’ embrace once again.
“It’s going to heal,” he soothed, stroking the girls hair once again. He was not used to consoling hysterical teenagers, but, he could feel so much pain radiating from the girl – what else was he supposed to do?
“I’m sorry, your shirt thingy is all soaked,” she half sobbed half laughed, gently patting the mans’ chest.
“It’s alright dear, it will dry,” he smiled, gently taking her hands in his. “You must tell them Ms. Summers. It will not do well in this world to keep secrets,” he stated, gazing directly into her eyes.
“I…I will,” she whispered, smiling at the twinkle in his eyes. She could see the knowledge that age had brought to this man, and she couldn’t help but accept that. Standing silently, she turned back to the old man. “Professor?”
“Call me Dawn,” she smiled, walking briskly away.
“Hello, as you may have heard, my name is Buffy Summers and I am one of the current vampire slayers. The other one is Faith,” the blonde smiled, looking towards each person in the class. “I’m sure you already know what attributes come with being the slayer and I hope that I will not need to use them on any of you,” she smirked, glancing slightly towards the students with green emblems on their robes. Oh, she had heard the rumours of hostility between houses – students facing off against each other, and the most popular aggravators seemed to be Slytherin.
“Who knew she liked to torture the kids?”
“Oh, she learned a few tricks off of Angelus,” Spike answered his girlfriend, smirking as Buffy continued on with her speech – her posture very self-satisfied.
“Alright class, we have four guests here because they will be helping out in this class for the stay here. While here, we will be learning physical defence – considering that both Spike and Angel are vampires and both Faith and Buffy are vampire slayers,” Giles stated, motioning towards the four people standing at the centre of the room. “From here on, they will have complete control of the class; goodluck,” Giles smirked, nodding towards the students – quickly walking out the door.
“Reckon he meant that for us or for them?” Ron asked Harry, looking cautiously at the new teachers.
“Who knows,” Spike answered for the boy, grinning at the two.
“Right, first thing you should know is that there is no good offence without and good defence, and vice versa. Today you’ll be learning the art of defence,” Faith stated, pacing the rows of desks. “We need to get rid of these,” she muttered, furrowing her brows slightly.
“Hey you, would you be able to make new desks?” Buffy asked, pointing towards the bushy haired girl.
“Well, I…I suppose,” she muttered, her eyes alight with confusion. “What are you planning to do?”
“Faith,” she stated, looking at her sister slayer. “Shall we show them how we do it Sunnyhell style?”
“Oh, I think we should B,” she smirked, grabbing the edge of a desk. Motioning for the students at the table to move out of the way – she picked up the desk, and threw it towards the stone wall.
“Consisto,” a voice muttered, a green glow encompassing the flying desk. It suddenly stopped in the air and continued to float. “You realise you could have hurt someone F,” a voice stated, waltzing into the quiet room. Her heels echoed throughout the quiet room, and she could feel the stares of the entire room on her.
“Dawn, what are you doing here?”
“Thought I ought to protect the students from mortal harm,” she shrugged, glancing discreetly around the room.
“You know we weren’t going to hurt ‘em D,” Faith smirked, the laugh in her voice not really reaching her eyes. There was something dangerous about Dawn now, something she had no idea about.
“Fine, I’m gonna go find Wills and Xand,” she muttered, waving her hand in the air behind her.
“Um Bit!! The Desk!!” Spike shouted after her, noticing that the desk continued to float even after her presence was gone.
“You’re in a magic school Spike, figure it out…” her voice returned in his head, shocking his body slightly. He didn’t know she could do that; obviously there were more secrets to discover about Dawn.
“Right class, anyone know how to get that down?”
“Ow…ow…ow…ow…ow,” he muttered, walking in step with people he never thought he would.
“Pretty sore huh?” a voice asked behind them, turning the trio around quickly.
“Jesus their bloody demons,” he stated, flicking his gaze between Potter and her.
“Dawn Summers,” she smiled, nodding to the two boys that she didn’t know.
“Draco Malfoy,” he answered, turning his gaze to the red-head with him.
“Ron Weasley,” he said, gulping loudly into the air.
“How’s it going Harry?” she asked, turning her gaze onto the smiling boy.
“Sore,” he groaned, closing his eyes as he flexed his fingers slightly.
“Can I…can I talk to you?” she asked shyly, her blue eyes downcasted slightly.
“Um…ah, yeah sure,” he stuttered, watching as Ron and Draco slipped silently away.
“How did you get this?” she asked boldly, stepping closer and tracing the infamous scar. She never noticed how he sucked in a deep breath out of nervousness.
“Vol…Voldemort gave it to me. He…he killed my parents and then tried to kill me. But, something went wrong…I was blessed with my mothers’ death, and her love re-bounded the curse back onto Voldemort. The curse he used is called ‘the killing curse’ and it’s never been survived until me…” he whispered, closing his eyes as he let her trace the jagged edges of his scar.
“He’s this dark wizard who has just recently risen again. My god…Sirius died protecting me,” he choked; tear entering his eyes as he looked into her. He could see the pain and grief that her eyes held, and he couldn’t help the urge to take it away.
“When Sirius…when Sirius died, did you feel like…”
“Like you were moving in slow motion?” she asked, hanging her hand limply at her side.
“He was there and he was moving and breathing…and living. And then, he wasn’t living, or moving or…or breathing. It was if I blinked and he was gone,” he whispered, placing a hand on her wet cheek. He never noticed when she had started to cry, or when she had stopped touching him – but, he could feel the pain radiating from her…the sheer force of it was just about knocking him off of his feet.
“I feel like...like I’m moving in slow motion. Like I’m moving in slow motion and everything around me is moving so fa…fast that I can’t touch it – and I just wanna go back. Go back to when things were normal…when I wasn’t a person who had died, when I was just the baby sister of The Slayer…someone un-important, someone who couldn’t end the world at her will. I want to go back, but I can’t. I’m this person who’s so messed up that won’t even let her sister touch her. And I’m…I’m stuck. I’m stuck in this place while everything continue’s around me. And there’s all this pressure cause everyone’s hovering around me waiting for me to do something or say something or flip out or yell or cry some more and…and I’m happy to play my part. I’m happy to say the lines and do whatever it is that I’m supposed to be doing if it will make everyone feel more comfortable…but, I don’t know how to do this anymore. I don’t know how to be this person who’s not…who’s not real. I don’t…I don’t know who this person is…” she cried, falling into his arms. She couldn’t believe she said that…couldn’t believe that she had just spilled such a big thing to a complete stranger.
“Dawn…” Harry sighed, tightening his arms around her. He couldn’t believe that this girl held so much…pain and guilt in her body. He couldn’t believe that she had trusted him this far. “Dawn, you weren’t…” he trailed off, unable to complete the sentence. Her answer would make him understand her even more.
“N…no,” she whispered, burying her head even deeper into his crook of his neck.
“God…” he cried, clinging to her just as much as she was clinging to him. Now he could understand where it was all coming from – she had been in heaven. She had been in a safe place only to be torn out of their by her friends…by her family. “They don’t know…do they?”
“They think…everyone thinks I was in h…hell,” she muttered, trying to inch even closer to the boy. She was trying to lose herself, mould her body into his.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, burying his head in her hair. They stood, just clinging to each other – encased in their grief. He had to protect this girl, he had to make sure she was okay; it was if he was made for it. He was made for her…to help her. He needed her.
“Thankyou,” she smiled tearily, stepping back from the warm embrace. She didn’t remember when she had last let someone hold her, let someone in – but, she just couldn’t stop herself with this boy. He seemed to be her confident, even more so than Spike.
“Don’t worry,” he nodded, taking her hand in his – he couldn’t let her go just yet. “Listen Dawn, what was said here…”
“I know that I have to tell them, I just…I can’t at the moment. You’ve seen their faces; their happy. Their happy that I’m here and not-”
“Are you happy though?”
“I’ll…I’ll adjust,” she stated, inching closer to the angry boy. She couldn’t understand what drew her to him…but she couldn’t fight it.
“You shouldn’t have to,” he whispered, placing a tender hand on her check. His green eyes held hers’ and he lowered his head towards hers. Lightly brushing his lips against hers, he felt her shudder at the contact, falling into his body once again.
“You can’t tell them,” she murmured, her eyes still closed from the kiss. She had never felt such a thrill, such an energy.
“I don’t even know them,” he said quietly, not releasing her cheek from his grasp. He could still feel the moisture from her tears, and he just wanted her pain to fade away.
“I think…I think I like having you around Harry – you’ll know them soon enough,” she smiled secretively, opening her curious green eyes. She stared up into his eyes, relishing in the fact that he was like an open book to her – she could see everything in his green orbs. The guilt, the sadness, the fear and the passion…for her.
“Will you…will you sit with me at dinner?” he asked shyly, hope shining through his eyes.
“I think that can be arranged,” she smiled, stepping back and sliding their hands so they were linked. She knew that this was just the beginning of what was to come, and a secret that would eventually come out. But at the moment, all she could see was Harry Potters’ smile of joy. And the way he held her hand as if he was never going to let go…she needed that steady fact. She needed something to cling to and Harry seemed an all too willing candidate.
She took her seat next to Harry as nervous glances were shot her way throughout the ‘red’ table. She didn’t understand why the students were separated into the tables, but she could see the rivalry between the colours. Green vs. Red was the biggest she noted, and she could tell by Buffys’ class that so had her sister.
“Hi, I’m Ginny, Rons’ sister,” a polite red-headed girl smiled, waving shyly at her.
“Dawn,” she nodded, her gaze steadily on the plate before her. She wasn’t used to strangers, especially magical ones, so she clung to Harrys’ hand tighter.
“I’m Hermione Granger,” another girl inserted, reaching a hand across the table to shake – a stern look in her eye.
“Nice to meet you,” she smiled lightly, shaking the offered hand weakly. She turned panicked eyes to Harry in a silent plea, biting her lip in nervousness.
“How was your defence class Gin?” Harry asked, casting a wink towards Dawn. He could see the panic set in her eyes, the sheer terror at being surrounded by so many strangers – he tried to lessen that by placing an arm around her waist and pulling her closer; almost onto his lap.
“Oh it was great! Buffy and Faith are excellent teachers, except for when they chucked the desks at the walls and breaking them, but other than that…it was excellent,” she gushed, raising an eye-brow at the closeness of her friend and one of the Sunnydale ‘guests.’
“I had to conjure new ones, and then they just break them again…great,” Hermione muttered indignantly, crossing her arms in a huff.
“You only conjured new one’s because you wanted to gain some extra points,” Harry pointed out logically, shrinking back slightly at the glare Hermione sent his way. He couldn’t stop the smile when Dawn wrapped her arms around him protectively, snuggling deeper into his arms.
“Well, if you and Ron wouldn’t stop losing them, I wouldn’t have to!” she stated angrily, glaring at ‘the boy-who-lived’ – smirking when she saw him shrink in embarrassment.
“Hey, hey, hey! What’d I do?” Ron asked, turning his girl-friends attention onto him.
“You, Malfoy, and Harry are trouble-makers. You just seem to attract it,” she huffed, glaring at all three boys. She wasn’t surprised when Draco decided to join them from his table – his presence was accepted at the Gryffindor table.
“You, my dear Hermione Granger, are gradually mistaken. Trouble is attracted to Harry, we’re just usually there anyway,” Draco drawled, winking lazily at her.
“Plus ‘mione, it’s more dangerous for him on the quidditch pitch than on the ground,” Ron shrugged, enveloping his girl-friend in a bear hug.
“Quidditch?” Dawn asked curiously, drawing back her arms when she felt glares on her back. She already knew who it was, and she knew that they wouldn’t make a scene in the middle of dinner – that was the only reason she was staying there…she needed them to see that she and Harry were ‘friends.’
“Oh, now you’ve done it,” Hermione and Ginny muttered good naturedly at her, laughing as all three boys’ eyes lit up. They both got the feeling that Dawn would fit well within their little group – the perfect match for Harry. They both watched curiously as Dawn took an interest in what they were saying, her eyes lighting up in curiousity and excitement.
“On brooms though? Isn’t that kind of…stereo-typical?” Dawn asked, her forehead scrunching up in confusion.
“Wizards aren’t that big on the muggle world,” Hermione offered helpfully, noting the girls’ confusion. She could see the adoration clear in Harrys’ eyes, but Dawns’ were so hard to read – all she could see was ice.
“Oh…” she whispered, watching as Hermione’s attention was diverted back to her boyfriend. She watched on as the others were engrossed in their conversation, as if forgetting she was there. As if forgetting she-
“Hey, you okay?” a voice interrupted her thoughts, shocking her alittle.
“I’m fine,” she smiled shyly, her gaze locking with his.
“You know you can tell me…” he whispered, trying not to get the attention of his friends. He lightly stroked her cheek in amazement – he was amazed that he was even allowed to touch her.
“I know Harry,” she smiled, a real smile in all it’s glory. She could feel the stare of her sisters’ and brothers’ but she couldn’t bring herself to care. They weren’t what she needed right now…she needed to feel wanted and Harry supplied that. She also couldn’t deny the fact that she was attracted to him.
“Good,” he nodded, smiling brightly at her. He bent and placed a chaste kiss on her fore-head before diverting his attention back to his talkative friends – always flicking his gaze back to her, as if checking she was there.
“Look at her,” she whispered, leaning on her companion.
“She looks happy,” he smiled, placing a tender kiss on top of her head.
“She looks so…so normal,” she murmured, watching as her sister happily talked among the group of friends.
“She’s got abit of it back,” Spike inserted, alerting the couple that they were not alone.
“The twinkle,” he said, waving towards his eye. “She always used to have this sparkle in her eye, something that was just always there. When…when she got back, it wasn’t there – that boy looks as if he’s bringing it back,” he shrugged, pointing towards the couple as the boy placed a chaste kiss upon her forehead.
“Do you reckon she’ll talk about it?” Faith asked, leaning over Spike.
“I think…I think we’ve gotta give her time,” Willow answered, her eyes riveted on the couple. She could feel their power from where she was – it was so powerful.
“How long though? Doesn’t it get easier if you talk about it?” Xander asked, frustration clear in his voice. He couldn’t understand why Dawn had chosen a complete stranger to show herself to – someone who wasn’t one of them.
“Yes it is easier for a normal psychological problem Xander, but Dawns’ case is not normal,” Giles pointed out, raising his goblet towards the boy.
“Maybe I…maybe I could talk to her,” Willow offered quietly, glancing at Buffy.
“Maybe we should all talk to her,” Angel stated, hugging the blonde towards him.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Giles nodded, smiling at the couple. He wasn’t used to his slayer being happy, and it was nice to see it.