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The Lesser of Two Evils

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Summary: AU With moments to spare, the monks decided to send the Key in human form to someone who would protect it: Harry Potter. Now, Harry must protect his younger sister from both new and old foes alike while trying to be a big brother. Detailed summary inside

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Dawn-CenteredfuturesnlwriterFR151063,6684267,84128 Dec 107 Dec 13No

What Can I Say

Detailed Summary: With moments to spare, the Order of Dagon decides to send the key in human form to someone who would protect it with his very life: Harry Potter. Now, he faces new and old foes alike, who all want the power that his sister holds, in addition to the insurmountable task of being an older brother.



This story is my first attempt at a crossover, and honestly I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, especially since Dawn isn’t the most popular character in Buffy fandom. But when I saw the beginning of Chapter 37 of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, I knew it was meant to be. I promise, this will be a story you can enjoy, even if you’re not a big Dawn fan. It won’t be a whiny brat inserted the Harry Potter story (especially since it would be pretty hard to be spoiled when you're raised by the Dursleys).

Disclaimer: I own neither the Harry Potter nor Buffy the Vampire Slayer franchises. I assure you that, if I did, I would not be groveling for reviews of my fanfiction. This chapter does contain text directly lifted from Chapter 37 of OotP and elements from the episode “The Real Me” of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Chapter 1: What Can I Say



Everything seemed to have repaired itself during the headmaster’s absence. The delicate instruments stood again upon the spindle-legged tables, puffing and whirring serenely. The portraits of the headmasters and headmistresses were snoozing in their frames, heads lolling back in armchairs or against the edge of their pictures. Harry looked through the window. There was a cool line of pale green along the horizon: Dawn was approaching.

Jerking out of his own thoughts, Harry sighed as he stared out the window. That quiet moment had been interrupted hours ago by the weight of the world crashing down on his back. With the truth of his past and future fresh in his mind, Harry had promised the headmaster that he would go straight to bed. Dumbledore had nodded slightly, the tears still wet on his face, a tacit approval for Harry to get his invisibility cloak and head down to the hospital wing.

He had been there all morning, watching over his friends as they recovered from their various wounds. They were all still asleep, with the exception of Luna, who had been well enough to go back to her dormitory. Though their wounds had mostly been healed, he guessed that it would be some time before Hermione and Ron would be back to normal judging by the severity of their injuries.

Harry threw his fist down on the table, angry that he had been so self absorbed. There were a million things he could have done differently to avoid this fate, but deep down, in a part of his brain that Harry didn’t even want to admit existed, he knew that they were lucky. Hermione could have been killed by Dolohov, Ron by the brains, Neville by Bellatrix… But no, he had determined that they were not lucky.

And yet, it seemed so peaceful back in Dumbledore’s office. His first thoughts had been about the time of day. Harry sat down in a stool next to Ron’s bed, and decided to lay his head down. His last thoughts were on the rays of light that shimmered against the back of his head: Dawn had arrived.

..::..

Harry was stirred from his sleep an hour later by an owl dropping the Sunday Prophet on top of his head. Quietly, he paid the owl and placed the paper next to Hermione’s bed, and decided to get some breakfast at the Great Hall before slipping in again to visit. It had been dangerous to sleep that long, knowing that Madame Pomfrey would have his head for disturbing her patients.

Clutching the invisibility cloak close to his skin, Harry sneaked out the doors of the wing before putting it away. Once again, Harry was struck by the stillness of it all. He knew that the majority of students wouldn’t be up for some time, but he still expected his name to be on everyone’s lips, even at the current hour.

As he sat down at the Gryffindor table, he realized just how lonely he was. Some of the older members of the house had come down, but they seemed to be lost in a post-NEWT fog. No one his age was down either; presumably they were all asleep in either the hospital wing or the dormitories. There was only one person in the castle who would sit with him at this breakfast, and he was terrified to see her suddenly storming towards him.

She plopped the Sunday Prophet on the table with a loud thud. Its headline glared back at him: “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Returns.”

“When were you going to tell me about your adventure last night?” she asked, though it wasn’t really a question. She shouted it loud enough that nearly the entire commons could hear. For the first time in centuries, there was no noise in the Great Hall. All eyes were on them.

Harry grabbed the sleeves of her robes and pulled her down to sit next to him. “Keep your voice down!” he hissed. Slowly, people began to go back to their meals, though all ears remained tuned into their conversation.

“Me keep my voice down? How can you say that?” she said, getting progressively louder with every word. Her blues eyes were piercingly sharp. “Why didn’t you take me with you?”

“Because you weren’t there,” Harry replied, taking a swig of orange juice.

“Liar!” Realizing how loud she had shouted, the girl brushed the long black hair out of her face and turned away from her gaping peers.

“It’s the truth: Ginny, Luna, and Neville wouldn’t have gone either if they hadn’t found us on our way to the Ministry.”

There was some silence between the two, until the young girl finally broke it. “That’s not all, is it?” Her tone was noticeably more harsh and biting.

“No, it’s not.” He paused hoping that answer would be sufficient. Her blue eyes implored him to continue. “You’re too young. A third year with hardly any duelling experience wouldn’t be much help against a squad of Death Eaters.”

“But I have…”

“No, you don’t! Besides, it was way too dangerous.”

“But not for Ginny and Luna? We’re the same age!”

“They’re a year older than you are.”

“That doesn’t matter! Didn’t I go to the same D.A. meetings? You don’t need to protect me!”

“Yes I do! Hell, we’re lucky only one person died.” Damn, she caused him to slip up.

“What? The Prophet hadn’t mentioned any bodies being found,” she said as she picked up the paper, reading through the article again.

Harry pulled the paper out of her hands. “It’s a long story. I’m sorry Dawn, but Sirius died last night.”

His sister recoiled at the knowledge, before she started sobbing uncontrollably. She buried her face in Harry’s robes, not caring about the scene she was making. “I’m so sorry,” was all Harry could say, for anything more would have caused him to similarly breakdown.

After some time and approximately a million sobs, Dawn grabbed the cloak and stood up from the table.

“Where do you think you’re going with that?” Harry hissed.

“To visit my friends. The ones that you don’t treat like an incompetent child.” She walked out of the Great Hall calmly before turning the corner and disappearing, just as suddenly as she appeared.

Harry sighed, letting his thoughts turn to the stubborn girl. When he lied, she was upset, yet when he told the truth she was even more upset. There was no way to please her.

“Family troubles?” a young girl next to him asked. Harry looked up to see Cassie Newton, one of his sister’s friends from her year. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but then again you weren’t trying to be discreet.” Her voice trailed off for a moment, and just as soon as Harry gave up on the conversation continuing, she spoke again. “It’s just that Dawn was really upset. She was crying in the dormitory before breakfast.”

“Family troubles indeed,” Harry stated grimly. “First my godfather, the closest thing to a relative I had left, dies and now my sister is pissed off, which is really nothing new.” The blond was fidgeting in her seat. “I’m sorry. Long day.”

“So I’ve heard,” she responded while nodding towards the headline of the paper. “You’re entitled to be angry.”

“I’m not angry. Just…frustrated.” Yes, frustrated. That word seemed to fit the situation well. He had done the right thing, won the battle, and got the world to admit that he was right, but he still lost. Frustrating indeed.

“When I’m frustrated, I countdown from 260.”

Harry raised an eyebrow at her. “That’s a fairly high number.”

The blond shrugged. “It just propped into my head. Besides, a higher number gives you more time to simmer down.”

“I suppose. I just wish I could tell her everything, but somehow I just don’t feel like I can.”

“You’re protecting her. It’s noble; something you’ve always done, but you won’t be at it alone for very long.”

Putting down his glass of orange juice, Harry stared at Cassie. “What do you mean by that?”

“Some things I just know,” she muttered, not caring whether Harry heard her. She stood up from the table, quickly grabbing a muffin and gathering her things. “I’m sorry to leave in the middle of our conversation, but I’ve got to go. Good luck with your sister.” She turned and stormed out of the Great Hall before Harry could even thank her for the advice.

..::..

“Nobody knows who I am. Not the real me. It’s not like anyone considers me a celebrity. Hardly anyone knew I existed until I was nine. And most that do just consider me an afterthought to his legacy.”

Dawn looked up from her diary briefly to see Ginny’s sleeping form. After stealing the Invisibility Cloak from Harry, she had run up to her room briefly to get dressed and grab some things before she doubled-back to the hospital wing. She decided to move the stool over to Ginny’s bedside to be there for her when she awoke. In the meantime, she needed to vent to someone, and she decided that the diary would just have to do.

“No one understands. No one has the Boy Who Lived as an older brother. Everybody is curious about his opinions, the kind of magic he can do, how he can save the world. Just cause he lived. I live every day, but no one gives me any perks. Dumbledore just winks and lets him run around the country throwing stunners at Death Eaters. 'Your brother’s saving the world.' I could so save the world if somebody let me, took me along on his missions. But I'd think of a cool name and wear a mask to protect my loved ones, which Harry doesn't even do. Maybe if he did…”

Dawn’s tears blotted the page, causing the ink to run a little. She tried to maintain her composure and avoid crying for the second time that day. The pain was really fresh, and she wondered if it would ever go away. Maybe she would think about Sirius as often as she thought about the parents who never even got to hold her. Just another perk of being Harry’s sister…

To avoid tearing up, Dawn turned back to a random page of the book to read the entries she had written from the middle of the term. That was a happier time, when everyone accepted Harry and Dumbledore’s insanity instead of impending war.

“Ginny’s my best friend. She’s only a few months older than me, but she made the cut, as her mum says, so she got to go to Hogwarts a whole year before I could. I used to hate her for it, at least during that long year. But, I didn’t stay mad at her for long. I tend to cry a lot, and she hates tears, so she usually comforts me when I need it. She loves my brother and I think he likes her too. But they’re both too stupid to figure it out on their own. She told me to stop keeping my diary after what happened to her during her first year, and she hates when I write anything too personal about her.”

As though her ears were burning, Ginny rolled over in her sleep, though she grit her teeth when her ankle hit the frame of the cot. She was probably given some pain-killing potion, though those potions usually wore off quickly.

Dawn looked around the room, searching for someone else to show any signs of life. Neville was currently trying to prop himself up, but he did it quietly enough to avoid waking up the others despite the pain on his face. He gave Dawn a huge smile and waved before putting his index finger to his mouth to signal her to stay quiet and avoid waking everyone up.

“Truthfully, I never thought I would be friends with Neville. He was always awkward around me, like when we danced at the Yule Ball, but then during the D.A. meetings, we got to be pretty close. We tend to partner up and I’d like to think I taught him everything he knows. I know it’s not true, but I like to think that. Harry can’t have all the credit for everything.”

Neville had gotten up and was tiptoeing towards Hermione’s bed to read her issue of the Prophet. Dawn didn’t want to spoil the surprise headline, so she returned to reading her journal.

“Hermione’s pretty cool. She's the only one I know who likes school as much as I do. She can do spells and stuff that Harry would never be able to find on his own. Being the brains is so much cooler than being the brawn. If it wasn’t for Hermione, I bet Harry would never have been so successful against…him.”

Him. Lord Voldemort. He had ruined her life, yet she didn’t fear him. She only hated him. Plain and simple. But she could never write his name down exactly. Perhaps it was because of the horror stories Ginny, Harry, and Lupin had told her. Perhaps it was because she didn’t want to whine about her situation, since she could be dead. But, really it was because she was grateful that he didn’t even seem to acknowledge her existence. Being just Harry’s little sister did have some perks.

Among them being love, friends, and quality time with the Weasleys. A few years ago, she probably would have considered time with one person in particular to be a huge bonus.

“Ron. I used to have the biggest crush on him, even though Ginny tried to beat it out of me. (She is really good at that Bat-Bogey Hex.) I used to go on and on about how cute he is. And funny. And brave. He how he treats everyone like an equal; he knows that skill is what matters most, unlike other people I know. But then he told me that I’m the kid sister he wished he had. Ginny hexed him too for that backhanded compliment. Even if he didn’t say that, he still doesn’t look at me the way he looks at other girls.”

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Ron move to sit up. He smiled at her, and opened his mouth. Dawn waited for any comment: a simple hello, a “How are you,” maybe even a “Where am I?”

But then he grabbed a bucket next to his bed and puked. He wiped his mouth of with a towel before falling back to sleep as quickly as he had woken up.

“They can have him,” Dawn wrote in the margin. Some other girl can deal with his disgustingness.

The door opened and Luna quietly walked in. She had some small cuts on her face, but nothing that would have kept her in the hospital wing. She stared at Dawn for a while before speaking.

“You don’t belong here,” she said silently. The words echoed through the room, bouncing off the walls of Dawn’s brain. Those were her least favourite four words, having been repeated by Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia, Dudley, Snape, Dumbledore, and even Harry himself.

Dawn wanted to tell her off, but she was more confused than angered. Luna never spoke ill of anyone. “What?” was all that came out of Dawn’s mouth.

Luna looked at her, in the way that always felt to Dawn like she was looking though her, into her very essence and soul. “You don’t have an appointment, and it’s not visiting hours. You don’t belong here.” She decided to shrug it off though, and sat down next to Neville. They quietly recounted their tale from the night before, but Dawn wasn’t that interested. Harry would tell her “everything” soon enough, and Ginny would fill in the numerous holes in his story.

She looked down at her diary: “Luna’s several months older than Ginny and me, so I’m not mad that she’s a year above me. She’s just strange. But the most insightful person I know.”

Dawn looked up at her conscious friends and smiled. Luna smiled back but said, “You would do well to avoid eating in the Forbidden Forrest.” Neville and Dawn exchanged quizzical glances.

Looking down in her diary, Dawn decided to underline the next phrase, “If only I could understand what she meant.”

Suddenly, there was a sharp scream of pain that permeated through the entire castle. Dawn looked up and sighed as she noticed Hermione up and clutching at her side. Madame Pomfrey ran in and forced her to drink four potions in quick succession, and Hermione was able to control her pain. She sat up, but was still clearly in discomfort. Madame Pomfrey noticed Dawn sitting there, but decided not to say anything. She likely realized that it was just going to be one of those days.

Returning to her original entry, Dawn decided to finish writing: “I’m lucky. They probably could have gotten in way more trouble if he took me I guess. I would have only been a liability. Everyone’s going to be okay, so stuff mostly worked out. But I’ll miss Sirius. He may not have been my godfather, but I think he loved me just the same. The only thing I know for sure is that Harry’s hardly changed at all. Like he ever would. He still thinks he’s the hero and I'm little miss nobody, just his dumb little sister that can’t work even the simplest of spells. Boy, is he in for a surprise.”



I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. It’s a short introduction, but I’m so excited to hear what you think, so please review!
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