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The Second Prophecy

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Summary: The existence of the Key has changed the destiny of the Wizarding World's 'Chosen One'. A second prophecy and meeting of the two throws both teenagers into one of the hardest tasks they have ever faced.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Dawn-Centered > Pairing: Harry PotterIllusionsofBlissFR1524134,42369831,41220 Aug 1114 Apr 13No

When the Baby Saves the Day

Disclaimer: None of these characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Harry Potter belong to me; I’m just using them to hopefully write an entertaining story.

Author’s Note: This chapter turned out to be a little epic, especially to write... just when I was trying to cut down the word count per chapter too, lol. It was a hard one to write too, there was so much involved and I knew what I wanted to happen but I had to keep tweaking it until it felt right and seemed realistic. Let me know what you all think, there may be things I probably should have tweaked even more. Or maybe you’ll all love it and it is perfect the way it is! *crosses fingers*

Hope the ending to this chapter isn’t as torturous as the previous! And finally, a really big thanks to those who reviewed the last chapter!


*****


Chapter Sixteen – When the Baby Saves the Day


Although Harry had been forced to re-think his attack on Nott, he still stood there refusing to lower his wand, absolutely drowning in hate for the Slytherin who stood before him.

“Seriously, Potter,” Nott spoke again condescendingly. “I would lower your wand, if you don’t want anything to happen to your filthy, muggle girlfriend there.”

He felt Dawn’s hand on his arm and turned to see that she too had a wand pointed at her and she met his gaze with wide, anxious eyes. Just that one look made him think twice and eventually lower his wand, although still holding it in his hand with a vice-grip. However, his wand was quickly forced from his hand and he then turned to see who had come to Nott’s rescue, and there stood Vincent Crabbe and Gregory Goyle, who then moved over to stand in front of him and Dawn.

“Damn, I wish I was a witch right now,” he heard Dawn say quietly beside him, she had a good point – it was almost three against one at this stage because even if Dawn had other methods of defending herself, she was surely limited by her pregnancy, not to mention she didn’t want to risk getting caught in the firing line.

Nott directed his wand at Dawn for a moment, before redirecting it towards Harry. “Crucio! ” he cried out, Harry immediately felt blinded by an intense pain that seemed to last forever, he thought he vaguely heard Dawn scream out his name.

“Don’t say another word! Or Potter will suffer some more,“ he threatened, and Harry suddenly realised he was on the cold, stone floor when everything started to become clear again. As Dawn helped him back to his feet, Nott then looked towards Harry. “And don’t think about doing anything heroic, Potter, you’re out-numbered. The Dark Lord will be extremely pleased when I deliver you both to him.”

“That’s not going to happen, Nott, ” Harry spat out, when he looked back over at Dawn; he could see that her eyes were burning holes into Nott’s skull, whilst the cogs were turning over in her head, like she was planning something.

He tried to give her a look as if to convey “Please don’t do anything stupid, leave it to me”, she saw him but he wasn’t sure if she got the message.

“Just face it, Potter, you can’t weasel your way out of this one – you wouldn’t want to risk anything happening to that bastard spawn of yours. Now move!”

Seconds later, Crabbe and Goyle had pushed their wands into his and Dawn’s backs, forcing them to start walking forward, Nott taking charge at the front. As they started down the corridor, Harry thought about Nott’s actions and words so far, knowing that he may not be afraid to directing his threats towards Harry, but he somehow doubted that Nott would actually stoop as low as to fatally harm a pregnant woman. Keeping this in mind, he tried to strategise how they were going to get out of this one, any scenario he played out in his head made him terrified that something was inadvertently going to happen to Dawn or the baby. However, he also knew that if he didn’t stand up against Nott, he would deliver them directly to Voldemort and then they were probably as good as dead anyway.

They turned a corner and Harry heard Dawn make a little squeak to get his attention, fortunately it was quite enough that none of the three Slytherins heard her, she suddenly had a hopeful expression and crooked her head to motion to the corridor ahead. The guest rooms, of course! He realised that they were heading towards them. If they could safely cause enough commotion, maybe this would get the attention of someone who could come to their aid; he just hoped that Buffy was a light sleeper.

He was still hypothesising ideas of how he would get them both out of the current situation, when unexpectedly, he suddenly found himself holding his wand. What the...? he thought in confusion; only seconds ago, Nott had Harry’s wand securely in his non-wand hand and wasn’t looking to part with it anytime soon, and now when he needed it, here it was!

Although, he soon realised this wasn’t exactly a good thing, when immediately Nott span around and looked at him with wide, surprised eyes.

“How...” he managed, before Harry seized the moment and simultaneously kicked his leg back towards Goyle, hitting him square in the knee, and also threw a spell in Nott’s direction.

Stupefy! ” Harry yelled, but Nott was too quick to recover from his shock and blocked the spell.

In the meantime, while Harry and Nott threw a couple of generally unsuccessful hexes and jinxes at each other, Dawn had been quick to respond by throwing her elbow back into Crabbe’s face, producing a loud crack when presumably Crabbe’s nose broke. Crabbe immediately clutched over from the pain. Just when Harry was finally getting the upper-hand in his duel with Nott, by forcing him to stumble back when he managed to hit him with an impediment jinx, the sound of Dawn made him turn around.

“Get off me, you big oaf!” she called out loudly, and he turned around to see that Goyle had quickly recovered from Harry’s earlier blow and had approached Dawn. She had successfully knocked Goyle’s wand out of his grasp, however he currently had his arm enveloped around Dawn, who was thrashing around in an attempt to shake his larger form off her.

Harry switched his gaze back to Nott, determined to immediately take care of him and go to Dawn’s aid, but he was too slow and was hit by a stream of red light that sent crashing on the ground and onto his back. All he could do is watch as his wand was sent tumbling across the floor, and well out of his grasp. Feeling as through the wind hand been well and truly knocked out of him, he suddenly felt two hands rest on his torso and looked up to see Dawn crouched down at his side.

“What happened to-“ he managed in between deep breaths and looked over to see Buffy had ambushed Goyle’s attack on Dawn and was now taking on both him and Crabbe, who still had blood pouring from his broken nose. Buffy may have easily had them in a physical confrontation; however the two Slytherins were certainly slowing her down by throwing spells at her, which she had to manoeuvre around.

“Buffy’s got this one – are you okay?” she asked quickly with concern, in which he nodded.

Unfortunately, this momentary distraction had given Nott an opportunity approach the pair, his usual smirk had disappeared and he now looked deadly serious, if not a little fearful. “I didn’t really want it to come to this but... but h-he’ll kill me or my father if I fail him,” he began, aiming his wand at the pair.

“Don’t be daft, Nott. Do you really think that you’re getting out of here either way?” Harry said in an attempt to throw him off, Nott’s extended arm began to shake. Meanwhile, Harry peeled himself off the floor and onto his knees; making sure his body shielded Dawn’s. He glanced back over at his wand, which was at least ten feet away, and wondered if he could get it in time, but he knew couldn’t leave Dawn now.

“Dawn!” Harry heard Buffy call out from somewhere behind, followed by the sounds of two loud thuds he assumed were Crabbe and Goyle hitting the deck. This triggered a desperate expression on Nott’s face, knowing that the slayer was coming for him next, so he gave a quick swish of his wand hand and hurriedly shouted “Avada Kedavra!

“Nooo!” Harry heard someone shout, only to realise that it was his own voice.

The next few seconds seemed to go on forever and it felt as if everything was going in slow-motion. He managed to look over and make eye contact with Dawn, who looked back at him with horror-struck eyes, as the jet of bright, green light formed out of Nott’s wand and hurtled towards them like an express freight train. At the very same time, an unexpected, white glow came from underneath Dawn’s hoodie and all Harry could do is watch as the light expanded outward, forming a large, glowing bubble-like barrier around the pair, only milliseconds before the killing curse came into contact with them. The ‘bubble’ rippled with the impact of the curse, and Harry watched on in amazement, as it seemed to absorb the energy of the spell for a few seconds before it exploded outwards like a large shockwave. It almost seemed to avoid Buffy; instead it was as if the shockwave specifically headed in Nott’s direction and sent him flying towards the solid, stone wall behind him with a sickening crunch, he fell down against it like a toy doll.

“What the freakin’ hell was that?!” Buffy exclaimed from behind him, as he turned to properly face Dawn now that he didn’t need to shield her.

Harry managed a shrug in his stunned state, as he put one hand on each side of Dawn and helped her to her feet. She too looked completely perplexed, and he instantly noticed that the colour had drained from her face.

“I-“ was all Dawn managed before her eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed into Harry’s arms.


*****


“She didn’t have to kick us out, the grumpy old bitch!” Buffy exclaimed as both her and Harry exited the Hospital Wing and lingered out in the corridor outside the entrance.

Harry began pacing with a mixture of concern and the stress of the unknown. “Well, if it’ll help her find out what’s wrong with Dawn... I-“

“Damnit, Harry! What the hell is going on? It’s the middle of the fucking night!” Buffy started to rant at Harry’s mention of Dawn; she stormed up to him and grabbed him by the collar. “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU TWO DOING RUNNING AROUND THE CASTLE AT FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING ANYWAY?!” she gave a cry of frustration and took a deep breath and lowered her voice, after all it was still really early morning. “Just because you’ve gotten off scott free with the me beating the crap outta you and all, doesn’t mean that-“

Harry pushed Buffy away, well as far away as he could with her stubbornness and slayer strength combined. “She came to me; she came up to the Gryffindor Tower to talk. We...” he ran his hands over his face. “We both had the same dream.”

Buffy’s eyes widened and she pointed a finger at him like a parent or teacher scolding a child. “Seriously, you’d better start talking mister! What dream?! I just knew you and Dawn were keeping more secrets! I mean, what the hell happened back there?!”

Harry wasn’t quite sure where to start or just how much he should reveal without Dawn’s mutual approval. Thankfully, some of the pressure was taken off him when Lupin, trailed by Ron and Hermione, came marching up to the squabbling pair.

“Harry!” Hermione was first to call out as they approached. “What-“

“What happened after you went rushing out of the Common Room? When you didn’t come back...” A concerned Ron interrupted.

Lupin cleared his throat. “Yes, Harry. Minerva is dealing with the aftermath upstairs, but it is extremely important that you share all the details of the encounter.”

He somehow felt considerably more relaxed and prepared to reveal what had transpired now that there was a group standing before him, rather than when he was just presented with an irate Buffy. He tried his best to satisfy all the questions they were bombarding him with, although while constantly glancing nervously at the Hospital Wing’s doors in hope that Madam Pomfrey would appear with positive news. Meanwhile, he also told them about the dream that he and Dawn had shared (“Why didn’t you say anything before?” Hermione said with frustration), as well as the fact that the baby had been exhibiting interesting signs and abilities, although he deliberately didn’t mention what had happened with the horcruxes due to Lupin and Buffy’s presence.

“So the baby that did that weird force-field thingy?” Buffy queried in disbelief.

Harry shrugged and gave a frustrated sigh, “I guess so,” he said walking over to the double doors, and attempting to impatiently peep through. “You saw what I saw; it was Dawn’s stomach that glowed right before the killing curse hit us.”

Everyone else present, excluding Buffy, gave gasps of surprise at Harry’s mention of the killing curse. Lupin’s eyes widened and he took some urgent steps towards Harry.

“The killing curse, Harry?” he said flabbergasted, Harry could see his mind working overtime. “That... that is almost impossible. A magical child, from within the womb, was able to successful defend off the killing curse?”

Harry gave a quick nod, losing his patience with all the questions, when all he wanted to do is be able to see Dawn again and know that she was alright. But Lupin was obviously alarmed with good reason; surely defending off the killing curse could lead to fatal effects on the baby or Dawn... or both. He was absolutely terrified.

“Dawn... is she alright?” Lupin asked, despite Harry’s growing stress and impatience.

Harry was thankful that Buffy took the opportunity to answer this question. “Who knows? The old hag in there kicked us out,” she said begrudgingly. “Dawn passed out right after and we couldn’t wake her up, so we took her right here,” she explained, then began to pace like Harry had been only moments ago, extremely anxious about her sister’s fate.

“What about the other three? What will happen with them?” Hermione suddenly asked.

With his thoughts only for Dawn and the baby, Harry didn’t even want to hear about Nott, Crabbe and Goyle. “Who the bloody hell cares?! They tried to hand us over to Voldemort and then could have killed Dawn!”

Hermione shrank back a little bit at his sharp tone. “Well, they shouldn’t be able to get away with this, that’s all I meant.”

Lupin nodded in agreement. “And they won’t. The Headmistress told me that they have been all sent to St. Mungos to treat their injuries, although Theodore Nott is in an extremely bad way-“

“What? That son-of-a-bitch is still alive?!” Buffy was furious, her pacing coming to a loud halt. “I thought with the being hit by that curse and thrown into the wall and all would’ve done it... If I wasn’t freaking out about Dawn right now, I would go there and finish the little scumbag off...”

“I can’t begin to know what happened when the spell re-bounded, but it obviously didn’t have its original effect by the time it got to Nott, which is presumably why it didn’t kill him,” Lupin explained, he then gave both Harry and Buffy a sympathetic look. “But you can rest assured, once he is well enough, he will most likely be sent straight to Azkaban.”

“Huh? Azka-what?”

“It’s a wizarding prison,” Hermione jumped in with the explanation, as Harry had become accustomed to over the years he’d known her. “An utterly horrible place, worse than muggle prisons, or so I’m told.”

Harry looked over to see that Buffy seemed to be comforted by this piece of information, and he just knew that he really didn’t want to get on the wrong side of her anytime soon; she seemed to show little mercy to those who’d wronged her or the people she cared about. Then again, he could understand where her over-protectiveness came from; he too would do almost anything to protect those he cared about - but had he failed to even do that now?

Without warning, the doors to the Hospital Wing began to open with a loud clunk, causing Harry to jump back to avoid being hit by them. Everyone standing in the corridor looked to the doors expectantly, worry etched on their faces when Madam Pomfrey appeared. She had her poker face on, giving no indication on how her patient was, and this caused Harry’s heart to speed up in the nervous anticipation.

She looked around in surprise to see so many people in the corridor. “Miss Summers, Mr. Potter, would you both like to come into my office to speak privately?”

The nervous knot in Harry’s stomach continued to expand upon hearing these words. Madam Pomfrey would only ask that if it was something bad, what if..., his thoughts trailed off, not wanting to let his thoughts go down that path. He found his eyes connecting with Buffy’s and he could tell she was feeling the same way.

“Please just... How’s Dawnie?” Buffy practically begged, this was the most vulnerable that Harry had seen the slayer to date.

Madam Pomfrey nodded sympathetically. “Well, for the most part, it seems to be fine,” For the most part? Harry thought worriedly. “... However, I haven’t been successful in my attempts to wake her.”

“W-what, she’s, like, in a coma or something?” Buffy asked, her voice wavering.

“I don’t know if I would call it that,” the healer replied carefully. “From what I can gather, it’s almost as if all her body functions have slowed down in order for her body to recover or regenerate from whatever happened to her.”

Lupin had jumped in explain to Madam Pomfrey about the baby’s increasing magical abilities, whilst Buffy kept firing away questions at them, and Ron and Hermione were silently witnessing the whole thing. Meanwhile, there were a million thoughts running through Harry’s head, he was trying to make sense of what Madam Pomfrey had said - would Dawn even wake up again? Would he be able to share with her his confusing, but rapidly growing, feelings for her? He tuned back into the conversation just in time to hear Madam Pomfrey voice a theory that Dawn and the baby’s talents were connected.

“- since the baby relies on Dawn for nutrients to help its development, one could assume that the baby also relies on Dawn’s energy to be able to perform any magic from within the womb... this could explain why I haven’t been able to wake Dawn,” Harry heard Madam Pomfrey finish.

“But- but what about the baby?” he stuttered, feeling like his head was going explode.

“Yes,” Hermione piped up. “Even if the baby did rely on Dawn to be able to perform its magic, what if Dawn can’t recover from this? Surely the baby wouldn’t be able to survive without her.”

Harry’s head began to spin, he didn’t know if he could take anymore worst-case scenarios. He felt a hand on his shoulder and he turned to see Ron standing there giving him an understanding look, and he felt slightly comforted that his best friend was there, even if everyone else was too wrapped up in everything to notice Harry’s turmoil.

“That could be the case,” Pomfrey replied honestly. “Although, in all my years as a healer, I’ve never seen anything like this, so I have no idea what could happen next... all I can recommend is that Dawn is watched over carefully, given some time to recover and then she will hopefully wake when her body is ready.”

“Can we see her?” was the only thing that Harry had to say.

Madam Pomfrey gave him a compassionate look before nodding. “Yes, of course. However, I’d only recommend that it be yourself, and Miss Summers here, that go inside for the time being.”

No one seemed to have any objections to this, so Madam Pomfrey went back in to attend to Dawn, while Harry turned to look at his two best friends.

“We’ll come back later. You’ll probably still be here, right?” Ron asked, to which Harry found himself giving an absent-minded nod. “We can bring back some breakfast too, if you want?”

At the mention of food, he only just realised how hungry he really was; ever since Dawn had come back into his life, his eating habits had been all over the place. “Thanks, Ron,” he replied gratefully.

Lupin quietly cleared his throat to subtly break the moment and catch the attention of everyone, although his speech was directed more at Harry and Buffy. “Now that you’ve shed some more light on the situation, Harry, I must go back to the headmistress and contact the Order. Things are rapidly becoming more dangerous, especially now when know Voldemort is aware of both the baby and the prophecy. It is imperative that we decide on our next course of action as soon as possible,” he paused and Harry could see the growing stress on his features. “I will obviously come back to discuss our options with both of you later.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Buffy responded, while Harry simply nodded. “I wanna hang here with Dawn for a bit... can you give Giles and the gang a run down on the deal with Dawn when you see them?”

Although Buffy was directing the question to Lupin, Hermione answered first. “Actually, Ron and I can do that, if you’d like?” she said, obviously trying to be as helpful as they could in the awkward situation.

Harry saw something flash across the blonde’s face as she turned towards the two teenagers; her mouth crept up into a small smile. “Thanks guys,” she said.

With nothing further to be said, and both Harry and Buffy keen to enter the Hospital Wing to see Dawn, the other three started down the corridor while he and Buffy finally pushed through the double doors.


*****


Harry had lost track of how long he’d been sitting in the Hospital Wing, in a highly uncomfortable chair beside Dawn’s bed, where there was still no indication of Dawn waking. Buffy had stayed for quite a while, so the two of them were quite happy to make some small-talk instead of sitting there in complete silence. Harry obliged when Buffy asked him a little more about his childhood and how life at Hogwarts had been, in return she told him some equally adventurous tales of her time in high school back in California. Even though Harry had thought he’d been through so much in his time, he was shocked to find out just how much Buffy had experienced as a slayer, Lupin had mentioned that she’d died for a few minutes but he was shocked to find out that she had really died on a separate occasion and being brought back by Willow and the others.

He was quite eager to ask her about being brought back from the dead, especially when he was under the impression it couldn’t be done, his thoughts drifting to his parents. However, as if on cue, Madam Pomfrey came along to inform Buffy that some of her friends were outside in the corridor, inquiring about Dawn’s wellbeing, so Buffy stood up and sighed.

“Argh... I’d better go and fill the mob in on everything,” she said reluctantly, motioning towards the door.

Harry nodded and watched her go, Madam Pomfrey had lingered with something in her hand and she walked over and placed it on the table next to him. “You might want to see this, Potter,” was all she said before scurrying away again.

He looked down to see a folded up Daily Prophet in front of him; he reached over and took it in his hands, turning to the front page. He let out a loud groan, as he looked at the headline and scanned the article:

Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived and Now Father-to-Be

By Rita Skeeter

Harry Potter, the Chosen One and Boy-Who-Lived, is going to become a father at just seventeen years-of-age and yet to complete his schooling. Yesterday morning, The Daily Prophet was flooded with dozens of owls with the shocking news, which has come fresh from Hogwarts.

However, The Prophet readers will be further surprised to hear that the mother-to-be of Potter’s love-child is seventeen year-old Miss Dawn Summers, an American muggle (although should be noted, is the younger sister of the slayer), and it is thought to be that she is at least four or five months along. It remains to be seen as sheer coincidence or not that Miss Summers has been a guest at Hogwarts, for the past few months with several others including her slayer sister, Miss Buffy Summers.

Meanwhile, Potter and his two friends, Mr. Ronald Weasley and Miss Hermione Granger, had been MIA from Hogwarts, although it was expected that they would be completing their final year. This then raises several questions – when did Potter meet Miss Summers? Had they been in a previously unknown relationship, or was it simply the result of a one-night stand? And where have Potter and his friends been all of this time?

Highly-esteemed reporter Rita Skeeter believes that there is much more to this story than meets the eye. It is well known to the readers that only a mere few months ago, Potter was known to be in a relationship with fellow Hogwarts student Miss Ginevra Weasley. Which begs the question – did Potter fall into bed with another while he was still involved with another? Ms. Skeeter was fortune to obtain an exclusive that Miss Weasley, a sixth-year at Hogwarts, was seen on an angry rampage when the news broke of Potter’s love-child, in fact breaking the news to the entire school herself. Could it be that the mystery surrounding Potter’s whereabouts and the mystery behind this new discovery are one in the same? Ms. Skeeter believes that Potter has been in hiding until now to avoid accepting responsibility for the whole situation and that years of being under the Wizarding World’s spotlight has finally gone to Potter’s head, believing that he can get away with whatever he wants-

Harry couldn’t read any further, he was already fuming at all the false speculation which had resulted from the spreading news of Dawn’s pregnancy. If there wasn’t a target on my head right now, I would see to it Rita Skeeter never writes again, a seething voice in his head said. But then again, anyone who still believes Rita Skeeter by now is a completely deluded anyway.

He angrily threw the paper back down on the table, crossing his arms and falling against the back of the chair. He knew he should be immune to what the press wrote about him by now, but he couldn’t help but feel like his whole world was crumbling into pieces, and it had been ever since Sirius died. Maybe everything bad that has happened is because of you? A voice suggested. It seemed to be that anything or anyone that was connected to him got hurt in some way. And now what would become of Dawn and their baby? He promised he would be there for her, but what if he was bringing more pain and harm to her by being there?

“Harry,” a hushed voice broke him from his musings.

He first glanced at Dawn hopefully, only to see her still unconscious on the bed in front of him, so he looked around and spotted Ginny standing beside the divider screen, which he’d had his back to. She was nervously fidgeting with the edge of the sleeve of the jumper she was wearing.

“Ginny? What are you doing here?” he asked quietly, noticing that she visibly relaxed when she heard his gentle tone, as if she was expecting him to start screaming at her.

“I heard what happened from Ron and Hermione, and I had to talk to you,” she replied, rocking back and forth on her feet, while Harry stood up to face her.

He tilted his head towards Madam Pomfrey’s office. “How’d you get through Pomfrey?”

She threw him an awkward smile. “After years of following you three around, I did learn a thing or two, you know. I also saw Buffy and the rest outside, they were all too caught up in everything to even notice me slipping by...” she took a sudden step towards him. “Harry, I’m so sorry!” she began to apologise, looking over at the Dawn. “This would never have happened if I hadn’t have-“

Harry cut her off with a solid shake of his head. “No, don’t worry about it, Gin. What’s done is done, it would’ve happened anyway, it was only a matter of who and when.”

He looked over to see tears in her eyes; she met his gaze and turned away with an audible sniff. “I-I... D-Dawn and I were becoming good friends and I should’ve thought twice before screaming at her in front of the whole school, and revealing her secret to everyone... I, out of all people, should have known about the danger I was putting Dawn in – that’s why you broke up with me, after all.”

Unsure of what to say, Harry stuffed his hands in his pockets and stared at random spot on the floor and they both fell into silence for a moment.

“How is she?” Ginny asked, walking beside the bed.

Harry glanced over at Dawn’s sleeping figure, he only then noticed that she had much more colour in her face than when she’d collapsed, which was a promising sign, although she was yet to stir.

“Well, we don’t know much about what happened, or why exactly she hasn’t woken up, there have only been theories from Madam Pomfrey or Lupin,” he explained. “I just wish she would wake up soon...”

In his peripheral vision, he could see Ginny’s gaze shifting between him and Dawn, he wondered what she was thinking but she remained silence. Being around Ginny again further confirmed his yesterday’s epiphany that while he really cared for her, growing up with each other was bound to do that, he didn’t have any additional feelings for the redhead. Instead, all his thoughts and glances kept drifting back to the unconscious brunette in front of him.

“Do you think Dawn will be as easily forgiving as you are, Harry?” Ginny broke the silence.

Harry found himself shrugging. “I can’t speak for her, but if you really are her friend, then of course she will. Anyway, when she wakes, there are a lot of other things to worry about.”

“What are you doing in here?” Buffy’s sudden voice caused the two to jump around in surprise, although Harry couldn’t help but notice how much faster Ginny’s reflexes were.

“I-“ Ginny began before Harry cut her off.

“It’s alright, Buffy. She was worried about Dawn.”

“And I came to apologise, for what it’s worth... I made a terrible mistake, and I’m going to make it up to you, to everyone,” Ginny added, looking apprehensively towards the blonde slayer.

Although Buffy’s face relaxed somewhat, Harry could tell from her body language that it would take quite some time before she could forget about what Ginny had done. He suddenly cursed himself for his wavering thoughts earlier, knowing that if he decided to leave to protect Dawn, the woman standing in front of him certainly wouldn’t forget it.

“Anyway, you two can cut the chit-chat,” Buffy spoke up, impatiently, looking to meet Harry’s eyes. “I saw Lupin out there and he wants to talk to both of us.”

He nodded, feeling torn about leaving the Hospital Wing because he didn’t want to leave in case Dawn woke up, however he knew there was so much to be discussed, and there wasn’t really any time to spare. He was about to follow Buffy but he sensed that Ginny still hadn’t said everything she’d come to say to him.

“I’ll be there in a minute,” he ended up saying over his shoulder, as he gave Ginny a look to tell her ‘if you’ve got anything else to say, you better say it now’.

Buffy seemed hesitant, taking a few moments before she finally manoeuvred around the white screen and exited the Hospital Wing. Ginny took a few steps towards the door, resuming the earlier fidgeting of her sleeve and refusing to meet his eyes.

“Harry,” she said with a pause, as if giving herself a chance to back out of whatever it is she wanted to say. “If there wasn’t this prophecy and everything that has happened lately... would we have gotten back together after this war was through?”

Oh Merlin, he thought, knowing that he had to tread lightly in this situation. “I really don’t know, Gin,” he replied honestly. “We all know that things can change in the blink of an eye, so who knows what would have happened, or what else could’ve happened instead, if this prophecy didn’t... I don’t know.”

She nodded solemnly, taking a couple more steps to leave, however she suddenly stopped at the white divider screen, clutching onto it with her left hand, as she spun around to look at him.

“I can’t walk out of here without asking you,” she spoke quietly. “I know you were never the best at expressing how you felt when we were together, but did you feel the same way about me?”

Harry had wished so hard that Ginny wouldn’t ask him this question. Yes, the previous school year when they were going out he did think that Ginny was the one for him, and so if he was going to answer this question truthfully, he could say yes. But then again, a lot had changed since then, and now something else had come along, even if it was something he didn’t completely understand, he knew that he had closed the book on his relationship with Ginny. The trouble was, he could see it from the sadness in her eyes that she was yet to close the book on her time with him. If he was going to save her from further pain and to allow her to quickly move on, he had to help her put to rest any tiny fraction of hope for them that she might have, even if that meant saying something that could cause her pain.

So, he sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “I-I don’t think I did.”

Ginny didn’t reply directly to this, he could tell she was extremely upset but she managed to meet his eyes before she left. “Well... don’t ever let Dawn go by without letting her know how you feel.”


*****


“- has only left her to eat and shower... I think he’s taken the whole ‘standing by Dawn’ thing way too literal.”

“Shhh, I think it’s kinda cute. Let’s leave him there.”


Dawn heard two familiar female voices and then fading footsteps, as she slowly came to. Although it took a few minutes before she was conscious enough to be able to slowly creep her eyes open. When she finally did, her eyeballs almost felt like they were burning from bright light streaming into them, so she took a moment for her eyes adjust, peeking them open little by little. When she could finally make out her surroundings, the unfamiliarity caused her to push herself upright and gasp loudly in a panic. Where the hell am I? Her next thought was of the baby and she reached down to touch her stomach, relieved to see that is was exactly the same as the last time she’d seen it.

The sudden movement caused her head to feel like it was being brutally attacked by a sledgehammer, so she flopped against the headboard of the bed she’d woken up in. As she looked around, she still felt completely disorientated and frightened, not recognising the small room she was in at all. It was only then that she noticed a single chair in the far corner, where Harry was currently sleeping with his head propped up against one of his arms, his messy, jet-black hair sticking up at all angles.

“H-Harry?” she tried to say loudly, but her voice came out much weaker than she intended.

Nevertheless, this was enough to wake the sleeping teenager, and he immediately sat bolt upright at the sound of her voice, looking around in a momentary daze. Seconds later, his eyesight travelled towards the bed and he spotted her sitting up in the bed.

“Dawn!” he exclaimed and she could hear the excitement and relief in his voice, as he immediately jumped out of his chair and approached the bedside. “How are you feeling? Is everything alright?”

Disregarding the massive headache and the extreme lethargy she felt, she found herself nodding. “Wh-what... where are we?”

He moved to a nearby table and came back to present her with a glass of water, which she eagerly accepted. “We had to move to a safer location and you were still out of it... This is Shell Cottage,” he explained, although she felt like it didn’t explain much at all.

She easily downed the glass of water. “But I don’t remember, Nott was gonna kill us or something and then... what the hell happened to me?”

Harry leant against the edge of the bed, his legs stretched out in front of him. “It’s a long story; I don’t want to overload you with it all now. The most important thing is that you’re awake again.”

“Like, how long have I been out?” she asked, setting the glass down on the bedside table and rubbing her eyes.

Dawn watched as Harry checked his watch, obviously since he had been asleep he had no idea of what time it was. “Well, it is almost three in the afternoon now,” he paused to do some calculations in his head. “So you’ve been asleep almost 36 hours... it’s New Year’s Eve.”
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