Comfort, Plans and Dislocations
A/N In writing this chapter I gained a rudimentary understanding of mending disloctations, which I may put as a skill on my CV. I'm not sure that I've made some stuff (mainly what Harry knows about Dawn and their relationship) very clear so review with any questions, suggestions (and, as always, concrit)
A not-so-vague Disclaimer: Joss Whedon and JK Rowling created Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter, not me, though I like to think that they would ask if they wanted to use any of this...
When Dawn got back to Hogwarts she headed straight to the secluded area by the lake, not wanting any human contact. She lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply trying to get her feelings into order. Her hands were shaking and cold; she pushed the ends of her sleeves over them and leaned back against the wall. Sitting like that she proceeded to smoke the entire pack of cigarettes, one after another, the butts littering the area around her feet. When she had finished the pack she looked up at the sky from her position sitting with her knees drawn up to her on the ground. She was about to go back to the castle when Harry approached her.
“I guessed that you would be here, Hermione was all for leaving you alone but I snuck out after dinner.” He said, sitting down next to her. He looked at the cigarette butts and smiled.
“Ran out of cigarettes.” Dawn said, pulling her hands up into the sleeves of her cardigan as Harry rooted around his pockets and came up with a crushed but almost full pack of Marlboro lights. She raised her eyebrows.
“That was quick.” He smiled and took two out of the pack and putting them between his lips to light them. He flicked the mechanism of a red bic lighter unsuccessfully for a moment and Dawn bought out her own lighter, smiling. She put the flame to the ends of the cigarettes and Harry moved towards her, so close that his eyes seemed to be all she could see of him. The cigarettes lit and she pulled away from him, trying to stop the now staccato rhythm of her heartbeat. He passed one of the cigarettes to her and they both sat for a moment in silence, looking across the lake, each trying to start a conversation. Dawn was just wording a cool-yet-open ended comment about his quick ‘descent into badness, y’know with all the smoking and sneaking out’, when Harry spoke.
“For a while it’s going to feel like you’re betraying them.” He said this in a matter-of-fact tone as his eyes searched her face. Dawn opened her mouth to speak but he carried on. “Because you’ve found a new sort of family. And the holidays aren’t so bad and you know that someone is really looking out for you, like a parent would.”
Dawn’s eyes widened, but she didn’t say anything. “Sirius told us about inviting you for Christmas, told us to look out for you.”
“When?” She asked, in an-almost whisper.
“A couple of hours he was in the fire in Dumbledore’s office. He was going to check in with me tonight, to make sure that my first week had been ok.”
“I was gonna go back to Sunnydale. My sister’s friends, they always make a day of it, because most of them don’t have families that they want to be with. It’s not the same as with Buffy and my mom, and they walk on eggshells around me, but its okay.”
“You don’t seem very sure of that…” Harry said.
“It’s…hard. Being home. And I know that they won’t say anything, and that they probably hate themselves for even thinking about it but I feel like they blame me. Not ‘me’ me, more like the existence of me.”
“I’m probably going to be at Sirius’ for Christmas, along with Ron’s family, if that helps, that you have people that you know there.”
“I guess it couldn’t be worse than eating tofurkey and listening to the Scoobies try not to mention my dad’s lack of communication. Okay, I’ll do Christmas at Sirius’. Christmas with my uncle.” She said the last word uncertainly, it was the first time she had even thought of him as an uncle, as a real family member. Before she had only seen him as one of her mum’s family. Not one of hers.
“So, what are you doing tonight?” Harry asked, relaxed and smiling.
“Hunting.” She said simply.
“Trying to find some monsters, save some damsels.” She put matter-of-factly.
“Can I come?”
“No.” She said, in an authoritative tone.
“I fought Voldemort more than once.” He argued.
“With a wand… I’m more in the swords, stakes and roundhouse kicks field of fighting.”
“But-” Dawn interrupted him.
“If you say ‘you’re just a girl’, I’ll scream… In a decidedly non-girly way.” She said, backtracking in the same way Buffy used to. “I need to change, anyway. So let’s go back to the castle.” Harry looked at her with a grudging respect but stood up. “Hermione might kill you for smoking again,” She smiled as they walked back to the castle.
Dawn had been right. Hermione had spent fifteen minutes giving Harry a lecture about lung cancer “something that even St Mungo’s best can’t heal” and “trying to look cool”. Dawn had tried to save him with a few well-placed quips but when Hermione ignored her she had gone back to the dorm with her hands in the air “My life-span doesn’t really allow for those kinds of consequences” she had laughed, sticking her tongue out at Harry and ignoring Hermione’s angry look.
It was two hours later and she was grappling with a marax demon, her hoodie ripped down the shoulder on one side, revealing the pulsating purplish-red gash beneath. She swung at it again with her knife but it caught her arm and twisted it far enough for her to feel the wet pop of her arm coming away from her shoulder. His arm was closed around her and, despite the fact that, weapon less she was tearing down at his flesh with her teeth, his grip was strong. She tried to close her eyes and her breathing constricted as he bought his talon-like hand to her throat, making to rip it apart. But he stopped, loosening his grip on Dawn so that she was able to propel herself out of his grip and see what had stopped him. Harry was standing a few metres away from them, a handful of rocks in his hand.
“Knife,” She shouted to him, nodding at the fallen weapon. She distracted the demon as he retrieved it and threw it to her, his aim was perfect, it landed in her outstretched hand and she caught the demon from behind, holding it still in the same way he had held her and, using the knife, she split open his neck. His black blood covered her hands almost instantly but she continued, slicing apart tendons and bones until his head was completely removed from his body. With that, the body turned into a black oozing puddle, sinking into the ground and leaving no mark. She watched it disappear; making sure that the demon couldn’t be reanimated and turned to Harry.
“You could’ve been killed.” She said, gripping the knife until it cut into her hand.
“You would’ve been killed.” He shot back, surprised that she wasn’t thanking him for saving her life.
“I’m a Slayer, I had to fight it. You just put yourself in danger.”
“Yeah, it’s kind of what I’m known for. Y’know, doing the Triwizard tournament, standing up to Voldemort, playing Quidditch.” He laughed. Dawn couldn’t think of how more to convince him that helping her was not a good idea. When she stopped to think she noticed the searing pain in her shoulder.
“My shoulder’s dislocated.” She said, walking to him. His eyes widened.
“My shoulder is dislocated,” she said again, through gritted teeth. “You need to re-locate it.”
“I’ll take you to the hospital wing…” He started, putting an arm around her. Even through the pain she flinched and pushed his arm away.
“Just take the arm and rotate it a little, making it go to different angles at the elbow and then put it to a 90 degree angle at my side, pointing to the side. Then push it back into the joint.” He started to argue but seeing the look in her eye he did as he was told. Throughout the procedure she squeezed her eyes closed and clenched her fists. When it was done she let out a sigh of relief and opened her eyes, after experimentally wriggling her arm she held it to her chest and, with her other hand groped in her pocket for her cigarettes. Seeing what she was doing Harry groped in his own pockets and, exactly the same as he had done earlier lit two cigarettes, this time using his wand to produce a flame. He passed one to her and frowned as she took a drag.
“It’s good for the shock; I really don’t want to pass out before we reach the castle.” They walked back to the castle, Dawn with her injured arm held to her body and a cigarette dangling from her lips and Harry standing close to her, wanting to put his arm around her and lying to himself that it was only because she was injured.