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This Year's Girl

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This story is No. 2 in the series "Ripple Effects". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: The family reunion is over, and September 1st has rolled back around. And exactly how different will Hogwarts be with Harry's teenage Aunt and her two friends in tow? Sequel to the Fifth Marauder, second in the Ripple Effects series.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Dawn-Centered > Theme: Real Family
Harry Potter > Buffy-Centered > Theme: Real Family
Harry Potter > Connor-Centered
princessoffireskiesFR15517,591156,99410 Apr 112 Oct 12No

UnNewsWorthy News

DISCLAIMER: Hi. I'm not JK Rowling. As such, I don't own Harry Potter and friends. Hi, I'm not Joss Whedon. As such, I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer and friends. I do however own Nix, and a few more O.C.s who will pop up sooner or later (I'm fed up of them all bouncing 'round in my head waiting to be written in to a story.)

THIS DISCLAIMER STANDS FOR THE ENTIRE STORY. Trust me, if I somehow end up owning one or the other, you will know about it. In the form of a long, squeal-y author's note. But that's just not going to happen, is it?

~ FireSkies

LOST POTTER SIBLING HEADS FOR HOGWARTS!

By Henrietta Appleby, senior reporter for the Daily Prophet.

The long hoped-for return of the missing Potter sisters takes a new step this morning, as young Dawn Potter, aunt to our own Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, steps onto the Hogwarts Express for the first time. Miss Potter, seventeen, will be joining the current seventh years to sit her NEWTs at the famous wizarding school and spending her first year in full time magical education.

Since returning to us, Miss Potter and two of her close friends, Connor Aurelius, and Nicholas Selva, both eighteen, have sat their OWLs and sixth year examinations deep in the Ministry of Magic, each sitting all available subjects. According to our source in the Department of Magical Education and Children, all three passed with flying colours, and received top grades across the board. Other, more public, turning points in the Potter sisters' triumphant re-entry to Wizarding society included their adoption of their nephew, Harry Potter, their joint claim of the family Wizengamot seat, and numerous clear demonstrations that despite fourteen long years of absence, the Potters are still a force to be reckoned with in our world.

In the press conference following the announcement, the current Head of House Potter, Elizabeth, sister to the late James Potter, laid down her plans to reinstate the power of the family name, and in the view of this humble reporter, she has most certainly been successful. Along with her sister's exemplary results, she has already held meetings with the businesses owned by the family, reinstated several funds set up by her great-grandfather for the Ministry of Magic, and created a generous new fund direct for St Mungo's. Obviously, Miss Elizabeth Potter learned the nuances of family management at her father's feet along with her twin brother, as the typically altruistic and well-mannered family creed is in evidence in her dealings. Not to mention the rapid turn in public opinion of Harry Potter, and the family's unhesitating support for Hogwarts Headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, has seen public feeling look more favourably upon the wizard who taught so many of us.

And as for young Miss Potter's companions on her journey to Hogwarts? Neither of them was known to the Wizarding community or the Ministry before their applications for special examinations arrived, and on the surface they appear to be friends from the sisters' time in hiding. However, your faithful Daily Prophet reporter has done her research, and can give exclusive details on the boys' backgrounds.

It would seem that Mr. Aurelius's surname is more telling than we first thought, as he is in fact the only living member of the powerful Vampiric sect, the Order of Aurelius. How this miraculous turn of events occurred, I cannot say, however it is definite that he was born in Los Angeles, California, as the only son of the current Head of the local branch of the notorious law firm, Wolfram & Hart: the vampire Angel, formerly Angelus, part of the Scourge of Europe. Judging by his affiliation with the Potter family, one can only assume that the young scion of the Aurelian line is not following in his elders' murderous footsteps and instead taking a more respectable path. The vampire line he is born of is famed as the most powerful in the vampiric world, and is supposedly composed of turned Wizards, a tale that may explain Mr. Aurelius's magical ability. Whatever the truth, it is the fervent hope of this reporter that Mr. Aurelius follows the right path, as the world would hate to see the Potters betrayed once more.

Nicholas Selva, also, has an unusual history. Supposedly, the young man is one of the Shadow-walkers, a race of whom little is known about, and at least half of the information is hearsay. Apparently, this secretive race has legendary power, although their leanings are completely unknown, including the natural ability to move between the shadows, a skill not unlike Apparation. My research indicates that Mr. Selva's upbringing was unsettled, as he first appears in New York, then Ireland, and then in Southern California. Perhaps this is our clearest hint to the so-far unrevealed location of Elizabeth and Dawn Potter these long years? Both of Dawn Potter's friends have links to Southern California – could Harry Potter's aunts have been living in America all these years?

Whatever the whole truth, I wish Miss Potter, her nephew and friends the best of luck in this coming school year – we are all watching with baited breath!

Dawn crumpled the newspaper in her hand, tossing it onto the table of the carriage, her own face waving up at her from the cover. Harry raised his eyebrows at her from across the way, and she replied to the unasked question:

"It's honestly pathetic that my going to Hogwarts is front page news. There's a crazed megalomaniac on the loose, in case they haven't noticed."

The occupants laughed at the flippant remark, before Hermione scooped up the creased paper, smoothed it out and read the article, her forehead crinkling into a frown as her eyes flicked across the page.

"They're talking about your history, though," she commented, somewhat worriedly, looking at Nix and Connor. The four Council residents, along with the four Weasleys and Hermione were all in the carriage, Ginny having rescued the paper from Grimmauld Place that morning.

"In how much detail?" Nix asked, concern colouring his aristocratic features.

"They know Connor's descended from the Order of Aurelius, and that you're one of the Shade – though not your exact heritage," Hermione answered, scanning the paper once more.

"Nothing too serious, then," Connor nodded, leaning back in his seat, "they would have found all that out easily, and it's fairly hard to hide. So long as that's all they know, we needn't worry."

"Anyway, hate to leave you, but we have work to do," Nix added, looking around. The three supernatural teens gathered their belongings and left the compartment, heading for the reserved one at the back of the train. As they stepped through, they heard the twins offering a similar excuse, and spotted two younger teens making a beeline for the emptying compartment. As they walked down the corridor of the train, they were aware of curious faces peering out of compartments at them, and Nix made use of their enhanced hearing by muttering under his breath: "Do you think we should wave?" gaining muffled laughter from his two companions.

Then again, given the article in the Prophet, he could hardly be surprised by their new schoolmates reactions. It was easy to discern who they were – with Dawn in the lead, and the two boys following, one at either shoulder. One thing he'd be interested to know was how many had guessed himself and Connor the right way round, as the paper hadn't managed to get a picture of them all together. Luckily, they were making good use of the patented 'mission walk' all the Scoobies had developed, meaning no one quite dared call out to them as they passed swiftly down the line of carriages. Eventually, the same group reached the end carriage, and Dawn opened the door with the neat little RESERVED sign. They each unceremoniously dropped their trunks by the door, flopping gracefully onto the cushioned seats.

"So, boarding school," Connor said, wrinkling his nose.

"Isn't just school enough of a new experience to you?" Nix asked, feigning innocence. Before the half-vampire could reply, Dawn interrupted, saying calmly:

"Now, boys, don't fight. United front, and all that?"

Both scowled, looking away from each other, and she continued, softly:

"Guys, I know I joke about you not being physically incapable of getting on, but the truth is you can, you just like sniping at each other. So either learn to switch it to teasing, or just stop. I need you both ready, not at each others' throats."

The two boys relaxed, offering silent apologies to the other, and forming a truce of sorts.

"I knew I shouldn't have adopted 'Aurelius' as my surname," Connor muttered, remembering the article, "It's too much of a hint – hell, it's not a hint, it's a massive, flashing sign."

"Yeah, but did you really want people calling you 'Mr. Angel'?" Dawn countered, resting her feet on the opposite seat.

"Suppose not," he conceded, leaning against the window.

"Anyway, the Sorting," Nix changed the subject, "We're after the first years, yeah? Make an entrance and all that?"

"That's what our letters said. We have to be in robes, though. How boring, and conventional," Connor replied, despite his own relative disinterest in what he wore.

"Well, technically, there are a couple of loopholes we can make use of…" Dawn contradicted, smirking slightly.

Hogwarts' Great Hall, Five Hours Later.

"Well, that concludes the Sorting of our new first years'," Professor Dumbledore proclaimed, smiling in a grandfatherly manner at his students, "But, unlike every other year since the school's inception, not the Sorting! As the Daily Prophet may have informed you, we at Hogwarts are pleased to welcome two new seventh years, and welcome back to the Wizarding world one who should have been with us all her life. If you would…"

Harry's head spun to the doors as they creaked open, and three very familiar figures walked in, seemingly unconcerned that every eye in Hogwarts was fixed upon them. He rolled his eyes, noting the typical disregard for the spirit of the rule his young aunt displayed, seeing the unfastened robes over just-edited school uniform. The trio stopped where the first years had stood minutes ago, and then Dawn gave a smile Harry recognized all too well.

"Hello," she said mildly, but easily loud enough to be heard by the staring Hall. Apparently news of his relatives return had not quite prepared the school for a personal sighting, Harry mused, biting back a laugh.

Professor McGonagall quenched any nervous laughter, clearing her throat emphatically, and saying:

"Connor Aurelius."

The Destroyer walked forward, ignoring the whispers that broke out, and dropping onto the seat with the unnatural grace they all seemed to possess – whether due to their special abilities or just ridiculous amounts of training, Harry had no idea. Once the Hat touched his head, silence reigned in the Great Hall, the Hat taking longer to decide than it had for any first year. Eventually, the rip in the brim opened and shouted:

"SLYTHERIN!"

Shocked silence met the pronouncement, the seated boy staring wide-eyed at his friends. Harry and his group exchanged stunned looks – none of them had guessed he would be a Slytherin. But then again, does it matter? A little voice whispered inside Harry's head. He's still the same Connor, right? You knew he was sneaky, and you know he's not evil. What does his House change?

Unbeknownst to the students, both Unsorted teens were stretching out tendrils of power, wordlessly offering comfort, support and promises that nothing was different to their friend. From the teacher's dais, Dumbledore watched the invisible-to-most display of unstoppable friendship with a content smile. Though the Sorting of the Aurelian boy was surprising, perhaps these three would finally begin to bridge the gap between Severus's Snakes and the rest of the school?

Connor rose, his training allowing him to school his features instantly into the blank mask of a hunter. He walked calmly past his friends, both of whom brushed their hands against his in reassurance, and took the place that opened between two of the elder Slytherins, the green and silver table applauding politely as they always did for a new recruit.

"Dawn Potter."

Harry watched as his aunt separated from Nix, almost dancing to the stool, her walk was so light, and folding onto it. Another extended pause followed, before one word was bellowed out by the Hat:

"GRYFFINDOR!"

Now that was expected, Harry thought. No one could deny his two aunts were brave – they'd saved the world. Dawn's Sorting was answered by tumultuous applause from the Gryffindor table, and she was pulled down to sit between the Weasley twins, who had quickly renewed their childhood friendship with her.

"Nicholas Selva."

Another round of whispers filled the room; the Prophet had obviously sold well today. The princeling's easy grace was in full force as he moved forward, and took his place on the stool. Yet another pause, before the Hat made its decision:

"GRYFFINDOR!"

The Shade teen tossed a glance in Connor's direction, who lifted his chin in acceptance. Clearly, they had not wished to have one of them separate. Lee Jordan beckoned him to the seat across from Dawn, as the table erupted all over again.

"After that excitement, I feel it is time to inform you that the Forbidden Forest is, unsurprisingly, forbidden," Dumbledore's twinkling gaze landed momentarily on the three new seventh years, each of whom stifled smirks, knowing full well that the rule did not apply, "and that over the summer, our caretaker, Mr. Filch, has added a further twenty-nine items to the list of banned possessions – the full, extensive, list being available to anyone visiting his office, and – "

It seemed new seventh years would not be the only break from tradition. One of the unfamiliar – wait, no, Harry knew that woman – faces at the staff table had emitted a pathetic little cough, and Dumbledore broke off, turning to peer over his spectacles.

"Ah, of course, our new staff members! We are pleased to welcome back Professor Grubbly-Plank, who will be teaching Care of Magical Creatures for the time being, and also Professor Umbridge, our new Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor – "

"Thank you, Headmaster, for those kind words of welcome," Professor Umbridge interrupted, smiling sickeningly down from her position. Dawn and Nix shared an incredulous look, much like everyone else in the Hall (though the staff hid it better). Both teens fell silent, Dawn instantly mentally communicating with both him and Connor. Fred, seeing the somewhat familiar stillness, nudged Dawn in the side once they stopped, and she muttered to the twins:

"She was at Harry's trial, Senior Under-secretary to the Minister, or something. Oversaw our exams to, and looked as though we'd killed her cat when she saw our results. And now she's here – we don't like it."

The twins nodded, for once looking serious. The three of them, and Lee, descended into whispers, the twins giving a running commentary of staff and students for Dawn, Nix listening to the speech so they could dissect it later, as he was the only one capable of listening to such political minded drivel.

Over on the Slytherin table, Connor was being introduced to his new classmates, all of whom seemed ever-so-slightly wary of him. He repressed a grin, knowing that these pureblooded teenagers would be likely to know the old stories of the Scourge of Europe, and he wouldn't be surprised if some of them half-expected him to flip at any minute and start killing whoever was nearest. Idiots. Then again, some of these kids would almost definitely be descended from the families who had lost a child to become a member of the Aurelian line – one thing the Prophet had right was the part where the Order of Aurelius was the only sect composed of purely Wizarding Masters, not that any of them had managed to keep their wands intact over the centuries. He'd have to drag them all to Ollivanders, Connor mused, after all, any advantage is a bonus.

Then again, if they feared him because of his heritage, why not just shun him? His mind immediately found the answer in one of their sessions with Buffy, Sirius and Remus – purebloods, and especially Slytherins, like power. And there could be no doubt that Connor's unique parentage would give him power.

Umbridge's prattle ended, and Nix shook his head minutely, laughing softly to himself. Dawn raised one eyebrow in question, and he leaned forward as the rest of their little group did the same.

"Roughly translated, the Ministry's interfering at Hogwarts. There's a lot more detail than she wanted to give away in there, though, so we're hardly in the dark."

Dawn nodded, having expected as much after seeing the toad-like woman at the staff table. Nix's assessment confirmed the theory, and from the sound of it, they'd have a fairly good idea of how the Ministry were planning to play their game. I suppose there's always a plus side to being able to read the subtext, Dawn admitted in her head. After all, if you know the other team's playbook…

The food appeared of the massive tables, and they tucked in. One of the beauties of a meal like this, and sitting with boys, would be that no one would recognize the sheer amount of food she was eating, Dawn mused. Something about the non-human aspect of her seemed to work exactly like the Slayers – the raised metabolism, and the amount of energy needed for her control and power level meant she needed to eat way more than the average girl. Provided that she ate without shoveling the food down her throat, like she could see Ron was doing further down the table, no one would think her appetite unusual, or excessive.

After a good hour's eating, the students began to leave the Great Hall, following the columns of first years being shepherded out by their House's Prefects. Dawn sent Connor one final glance, shooting a bolt of magic to him, full of her regret at being split, and her promise of unchanged friendship. The blatantly prejudiced stories they'd heard from Sirius and Buffy, occasionally tempered, but barely, by Remus must be making it hard for the Destroyer to adjust to his placement. They'd painted a picture of all Slytherins being inherently evil – and Dawn would be ripping into them for that if Connor suffered. For all people joked about her ring of protectors, Connor and Nix being firmly part of it, with a few others, Dawn was very much Mother Wolf. No one got away with hurting her 'family', as Angel had found out most recently. Inside the bound came her 'protectors', the Scoobies, the Order of Aurelius, Harry, Sirius and Remus, almost all of whom would say it was their responsibility to look after her, not the other way around. By extension, Harry's friends came under the umbrella, and the Order members. Whether any of them would be adopted as 'hers' would have to wait and see, though she'd almost bet that the Weasley family would have little trouble.

Reaching the common room, Lee gave the password to the Fat Lady, who did not respond. Instead, the painted woman stared down at the new students, before saying almost to herself:

"Oh my, I never thought I'd see the day… little Dawn Potter, all grown up and here at Hogwarts! Welcome home, dear girl."

Dawn smiled up at the portrait, childhood memories of her siblings visiting and attempting (and in James's case, usually succeeding) to talk the Fat Lady to let them into the common room to see friends after the Marauders had left. It seemed the day had finished almost as it had begun – with a commentary on her going to Hogwarts.
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