When They Can't Sleep
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:
Wow, it’s been a month! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday period! I had a great time overseas, but unfortunately didn’t get as much time to write as I’d hoped, especially because I didn’t want to write in public, I’m very self-conscious about friends or family reading my work so I don’t share it with them, lol.
So, here’s another really long chapter, so at least it makes up for the long break in between updates, although I obviously can’t make a habit of this if I want to frequently update. Oh, and I just have to say – I’m really regretting making each chapter start with “When....”, it’s turned out to be a real pain in the butt to think of chapter titles! Oh well...
Lastly, you may notice that I tried to make a reference to something that fits the time this is supposed to be in the Buffyverse, and obviously you’ve noticed that by now that I’ve changed the HP timeline to fit with theirs.
*****Chapter Nineteen – When They Can’t Sleep
Dawn stared up at the dark shadows on the ceiling, she just couldn’t seem to find sleep and she knew exactly why. For one, Harry wasn’t there, he was staying down in that tent that he, Ron and Hermione had set up for the three of them to sleep in. Secondly, after finally deciding to throw caution into the wind, and give whatever it was that was between her and Harry a go by kissing him, she found that she was still coming down off that cloud, even hours later. Not to mention, it felt like the baby was practically doing somersaults or something to that extend because it had been moving so much since midnight.
She just couldn’t describe it, perhaps it had something to with the baby or maybe it was something else, but she knew there was something special there between her and Harry, which if anything was strengthened by their earlier kiss. It was like there was a bond between them that she had never felt with anyone else before.
She couldn’t lie there for any longer, so she pushed herself out of bed and wrapped herself up in a fluffy, white dressing gown that had somehow ended up in her possession since her arrival at Shell Cottage. It was at this point that she was thankful that she didn’t have to tip-toe around as much, Buffy had decided to bunk with Willow and give her some space to get a good night’s sleep. Well, not that that was happening anyway. Nevertheless, she was still mindful of not making too much noise as she left her room and crept quietly down the stairs, which squeaked slightly under her feet.
She had just reached the bottom of the stairs, when the front door, which was opposite the staircase, opened to reveal a very bright light. The light almost blinded Dawn’s eyes, she winced and she tried to shield her eyes with her right arm. Suddenly, a person was lowering their wand, the source of the light, and she could easily make out the shadowed features of Harry’s face.
“We have to stop meeting like this,” he said with amusement, she could also tell that he was tired because there was a slightly hoarse sound to his voice.
“What are you doing up?” she replied quietly, noticing that he was still in his clothes from earlier, she raised an eyebrow. “And still fully dressed...”
He glanced down at his attire and then back up. “Oh, I haven’t actually been to bed yet... been thinking about things out there,” he looked directly into her eyes, which sent a shiver down Dawn’s spine. “You haven’t been to sleep either, have you?”
She gave a look of surprise. “How’d you know?”
He shrugged. “Well, who could sleep after all the excitement from earlier?”
“What excitement?” She couldn’t resist teasing him, and was so relieved that everything was smoothed out between them, she felt absolutely horrible the day before when they were fighting. “Perhaps you’ll have to refresh my memory, Mr. Potter,” she said before she could even stop herself, finishing with a small giggle.
She watched as a lop-sided smirk appeared on his face and he walked across the hallway towards where she was standing, which was ironically almost the exact same spot they’d shared their kiss a couple of hours earlier. He cautiously reached up and pushed back one of the stray pieces of bed-hair that was obscuring her face, leaving tingles on the spot where his fingers had slightly brushed against her cheek. True to recent form, Dawn cursed under her breath when the moment was quickly spoiled by the sound of urgent footsteps above them, followed by the sound of someone being sick. Both teenagers’ heads snapped up to stare at the ceiling above them.
“Sounds like your sister overdid it with the Firewhiskey,” Harry said, his eyes still directed upwards.
Dawn tilted her head back down to look back at him. “Yeah, but I don’t see her like that much - what exactly is in that stuff?”
“I don’t know,” he replied with a shrug, looking at Dawn. “But she is so petite, I’m sure it would affect her much quicker. Should we...?” he trailed off questioningly, glancing up the staircase.
Although she knew she was going to sound a little unsympathetic, after spending a couple of months with morning sickness she thought that Buffy could handle a self-inflicted, alcohol-induced bout of vomiting. “It’s all good - she’s a slayer, she’ll bounce back,” she said with a shake of her head, she noticed Harry throw her a surprised look. “Seriously, it’s better to say outta her way when she’s sick anyway; she gets all bad-moody.”
Harry shrugged, apparently satisfied by this, obviously not wanting to encounter a grumpy slayer, especially when there was bound to still be some tension between him and Buffy because it had still been less than a week since Buffy had found out about the baby. Meanwhile, the sound of the toilet flushing upstairs and water rushing into the basin kicked Dawn into action. She wanted to talk to Harry in private, without anymore interruptions, so she immediately grabbed his hand, startling him in the process, and then quickly proceeded up the stairs.
Knowing Buffy’s keen slayer senses, she tried to be as quiet but as swift as possible, but thought that because her room was just at the top of the stairs, they’d be able to make it before her sister emerged from the bathroom, which was just down the hall. However, they’d only just reached her door and she was in the process of opening it when she heard the bathroom door squeaking. She knew that she had nothing to hide from her sister, but knew that Buffy had a knack for being unpredictable and wasn’t exactly sure what she would do if she caught her and Harry together in the middle of the night. Although, she was already pregnant - it wasn’t as if Buffy had anything to get angry about. Nevertheless, Dawn wanted to avoid any unnecessary discomfort, and in one speedy motion, pushed Harry through the door and shut him in the room.Harry’s probably gonna think I’m a complete nut job,
she briefly thought in the rush of everything.
“Dawn?” Buffy said in a somewhat weaker voice than normal. “I thought I heard something out here, what’s going on?”
Harry attempted to quickly recover himself, in the space of about thirty seconds he had been unexpectedly taken by the hand by Dawn and dragged up the stairs, and then he was further surprised when she had pushed him into the room and had the door promptly shut on him. Although he was definitely caught off guard at first, he hurriedly moved to stand beside the door in order to hear the muffled conversation being carried out on the other side. “...getting a glass of water and heard you – you okay?”
He heard Dawn say from just the other side of the door. “It’s all Bill’s fault with that whiskey stuff he was giving me and Will... ugh, my head hurts,”
Buffy’s voice could be heard.
Harry continued to vaguely hear the conversation between the two sisters carry on, whilst beginning to contemplate the occurrences of the past two minutes. It was only then that he had a chance to wonder why Dawn had one: dragged him upstairs, and two: made such an effort to hide him from her sister. His train of thought was swiftly interrupted by Dawn’s sudden entrance into the room - he noticed she looked kind of sheepish. In the meantime, he certainly hadn’t had a chance to come to any conclusions yet, and this must have shown on his face because Dawn took one look at him and hurried to explain herself.
“Sorry, Harry,” she immediately apologised, turning slightly pink. “For starters, I kinda wanna keep anything between us... between us. For now, anyway. Yeah and I kinda got a bit panicky there when I heard Buffy - sorry I shoved you.”
Harry found himself shrugging, he could understand where she was coming from, and it would be easier to see how things went with Dawn without everyone else sticking their noses in his and Dawn’s business.
“You did catch me a little off guard,” he began with a slightly amused smile. “But don’t worry, I completely agree.”
“Great,” Harry heard her say in a relieved voice; however it sounded like she was saying it more to herself than anything else.
There was a momentarily silence. She had answered one of his questions, though she was still yet to explain why she had dragged him up to her room. He chose not to speculate, thinking that he would probably come to the wrong conclusion. Thankfully, it didn’t take long before she jumped in to explain herself.
“Hey,” she said suddenly, there was a cautious edge to her tone. “Willyoustayherewithme?” she blurted out quickly, reminding Harry of his own awkwardness or nervousness at times.
Her words had all blurred together, so although Harry thought he had understood her, he promptly told himself that he had heard her wrong. “Sorry?”
Dawn turned even redder than moments earlier when she had just entered the room. She suddenly launched herself into a big speech. “Ugh, I know this is kinda awkward considering everything. But it’s just I’ve had sooo much trouble sleeping lately, besides the whole unconscious thing. I’m gonna officially go insane if I don’t get a good night’s sleep,” she blabbered, while Harry listened half-amused, half-confused. He didn’t understand what this had to do with him and what he had thought he’d heard her say. “Anyway, just to add to the whole weirdness factor at the moment, I kinda noticed that I seem to sleep better with you around.” She shrugged and looked at him apprehensively.
Meanwhile, Harry was slightly taken aback - so he had heard her correctly. Now that he thought about it, he hadn’t been the most successful with sleep either... except when Dawn was around. This is getting quite strange,
he thought, as his mind also revisited all the other strange occurrences since the prophecy had come along. He couldn’t help but wonder what was going to happen next, feeling like there was always going to be another strange twist waiting around the corner for them.
“You know what? It’s too weird,” Dawn said breaking him from his musings, it was only then that he realised that he was yet to reply. “Forget about-“
Harry shook his head. “S’okay... I can stay,” he hurriedly cut in, quite partial to the idea of getting some sleep himself. “I actually know what you mean, and we both can’t keep up with this insomnia.”
Dawn let out a sigh of relief, while he made a split-second decision to move over to the chair in the corner of the room. It was comfortable enough that he could fall asleep, besides he had already managed to when Dawn was still unconscious the night before. He wasn’t quite sure exactly what Dawn had had in mind for the sleeping arrangements, but he figured it was less intrusive, or likely to cause any awkward misunderstandings, if he slept over in the corner.
“Uh,” Dawn began, looking over at him with an expression that made him think she wanted to say something. “Here... take one of my blankets,” she eventually offered, picking one up off the end of the bed and passing it to him.
“Thanks,” he replied, immediately throwing it over himself.
Dawn moved back over to her bed and settled herself in, muttering ‘good night’ to him as she turned off the lights and the room fell into darkness. Harry quietly replied the sentiment and attempted to close his eyes, shifting himself to find a more comfortable position. Minutes later, he found himself having to shift his body position again. He heard a loud sigh from across the room, followed by the sound of the lights turning on again.
“This is stupid,” Dawn said softly, he opened his eyes to see her sitting upright and looking straight at him with an unhappy expression.
“No, it’s fine,” Harry found himself insisting, even if he was slightly cursing his decision on the inside.
She gave a snort of laughter. “It looks totally uncomfortable! I asked you to stay here, so now I’m not gonna force you to sleep in that chair,” he opened his mouth to respond but she cut him off. “No, seriously - I think it’s totally all good if we share a bed, especially considering everything.” She unconsciously placed a hand on her stomach. “Come on, please.”
Well, he certainly wasn’t going to argue, trying to sleep in that chair and be all chivalrous wasn’t exactly his most brilliant idea to date. Anyway, he felt a slight flutter of nervous excitement at the idea of being close to Dawn. He slowly pushed the blanket off himself and made his way over to the bed, pushing off his shoes in the process. When he finally stood beside the bed, he decided once again that he didn’t want to break any boundaries or alarm Dawn at all, so he settled for lying on top of the covers rather than underneath. Dawn let out a breathy laugh with a small shake of her head, she was obviously entertained by him but he didn’t ask her about it.
Now the two teens were lying on their sides facing each other, their knees both slightly curled up in almost a mirror image of one another. It was certainly much more comfortable for Harry than it had been in the chair and he instantly felt relaxed. Their eyes locked and they both lay there in silence for a few moments, before Dawn shifted slightly, bringing her left hand up under her cheek, and looking like she had something on her mind.
“So, Harry. I was thinking about earlier,” she trailed off in a hushed voice, the pause made Harry fear the worst. “And I was kinda hoping we could take things slow, you know? I don’t wanna screw things up by going too fast – look what happened the last time we did that.”
Harry found himself nodding in agreement, he certainly didn’t wanna mess things up with her either, especially after Dawn had taken some persuading to give some sort of a relationship a chance in spite of her fears. Basically, he decided he was going to do everything to make sure that everything worked out, so it wasn’t a hard decision to agree with Dawn’s request.
“Yes, of course,” he finally replied, earning a large smile from Dawn.
Dawn reached over and switched the light back off, now they could only see the dark silhouettes of each other while their eyes adjusted to the sudden darkness. A silence fell back over them for a while and Harry found himself getting quite drowsy, although the calmness also gave Harry the opportunity to remember a question that had been burning in the back of his mind for quite some time.
“Dawn?” he found himself calling out in the darkness, in which she replied with a sleepy ‘hmm?’. “I’ve been meaning to ask you, especially since you mentioned it again today. Uh, why does the prophecy refer to you as ‘the Key’?”
Even though he still couldn’t make out much in the darkness of the room, he could still tell that she had stiffened at his question. In lightning speed, the light next to Dawn’s bed had been switched back on and he was hit with dread when he observed the expression on her face. This isn’t going to be good,
he thought, knowing that was the expression of someone who had bad news to share. But what could it possibly be that would have her so worried and hesitant in sharing it with him?
Dawn brought her hand up to her forehead. “Damn, you have to know, I wanted to tell you back at Hogwarts,” she paused and let out a frustrated sigh. “But I thought I was dropping enough of a bomb on you without going into that.”
Harry’s heart began to speed up in anxiety, while he tried to run all the possible scenarios through his head of what she had been keeping from him. “What is it?”
“I know you’re gonna hate me.” She took a deep breath and seemed to think it over for a moment before she finally continued. “But... I promise I‘ll tell you everything tomorrow - it’s not exactly a five-minute conversation and it might change things. I can’t deal with that right now.”
He found himself letting out a frustrated sigh. How exactly could he lie there next to Dawn and try to get some sleep when he knew that there was something huge that she was yet to tell him of? And the fact that she said it could change things between them... Although, the more he thought about it, the more he came to the conclusion that surely it couldn’t be any more life-changing than finding out about the prophecy and the baby.
“I guess it’ll have to be tomorrow then,” he reluctantly replied, residing himself to the fact that Dawn could only tell him when she wanted to, and so he would have to wait.
“Thanks,” Dawn said sincerely, moving her hand and placing it over his.
She then unexpectedly moved that hand and gently placed it on his cheek, running her thumb across his jaw-line in tiny, soft strokes. Somehow, this action instantly settled Harry and he felt better about having to wait to find out what Dawn had to tell him. If it was something that was going to change the relationship between them for the worse, than at least he could lay there in her company for the night, before things did change. He moved his hand up to take her hand in his and they soon fell asleep with their hands clasped in between the two of them.
Morning came too soon, although Dawn awoke to the immediate relief that she had been able to get some descent sleep. As she came to her senses, she suddenly remembered why she’d had such a refreshing and successful sleep, feeling Harry’s presence beside her. In fact, although they had originally been facing each other before they’d fallen asleep, she must have turned over sometime during the early morning because she was now lying with her back softly pressed up against Harry’s chest. It wasn’t exactly the first time that she’d woken up next to Harry, there was obviously the time they had woken up together the night she’d gotten pregnant, and then there was that time in the Room of Requirement back at Hogwarts. There was a difference this time, she didn’t feel the need to jump away in embarrassment; now that they had both adjusted to their situation, and had even decided to see where their relationship would go, she really enjoyed his close proximity. She also got butterflies when she noticed his arm was draped across her growing stomach. This was the way things were meant to be.
She also got the impression that the baby was also pleased to have its father near; she could feel it moving in her abdomen so much that she almost pictured it doing complete somersaults of joy inside her.
However, the contentment quickly slipped away, when her thoughts drifted back to their conversation from hours earlier. ‘Why does the prophecy refer to you as ‘the Key’?’,
Harry’s words replayed in her head. What would happen between them now, when she told him the truth? She expected the worse, knowing that no one would take the news well that she technically wasn’t human, having being created by a group of monks. She almost wished that Harry had never asked her, so that she could continue on keeping him in the dark about her bizarre past... but no, she’d already told way too many lies.
All of a sudden, Dawn heard changing in Harry’s steady breathing and knew that he was finally stirring from his slumber. Although she couldn’t see his face, she got a distinct feeling that he’d opened his eyes. However, he didn’t make a movement; she assumed that because Harry couldn’t see her face either, that he thought that she was still asleep. Rather than disturb the rather comfortable position they had found themselves in, Dawn decided to lay there for a while, making him think that she really was asleep, and made the most of the moment. Who knows, he may not wanna have anything to do with you when he finds out about ‘the Key’ thing
, a voice appeared in her head.
She actually found it quite amusing that he hadn’t made a move since he’d awoken either, maybe he was trying not to disturb her by moving away. Eventually, however, she decided to make him aware of her consciousness.
“Morning,” she mumbled quietly, however this still startled him and she felt his body jolt in surprise. “Sorry,” she quickly apologised, reluctantly pulling herself away from him and turning over to face him.
When she finally turned to look at him, he was in the process of reaching for his glasses on the bedside table. She reached out to stop him.
“Don’t,” she simply said and he threw her a look of confusion. “I can see your eyes better. I like them,” she explained, and then she shied away, slightly embarrassed by her admission.
Harry gave her a small smile. “How long have you been awake?” he asked her.
She threw him a mischievous smile and snuggled into her pillow. “A little while,” she mumbled into the fluffiness of the pillow. She then moved to prop her head up with her arm and looked at him seriously. “By the way – thanks again for staying, it really worked!”
He moved to do the same, while giving her a small shrug. She almost laughed out loud at his attempt to play it cool when she could easily tell that that wasn’t the case. Boys,
an amused voice thought.
“I’m glad you could get some sleep,” he replied, genuinely.
The two teens had been too wrapped up in their conversation and carefully observing each other, that they were startled by an abrupt knock on the bedroom door. They both sat bolt upright and stared at the door, there was another knock.
“Seriously?” Dawn said to no one in particular, while Harry fumbled for his glasses. “I’m kinda starting to feel like Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston with the paparazzi scooping us out all the time. Are we ever gonna be left alone?!”
“Now you know how I feel,” Harry replied in a low voice, hurriedly slipping on his shoes.
Dawn sighed, also pushing herself out of bed and throwing on a dressing down. “I think keeping things between the two of us is gonna be a lot harder than we thought.” She looked over and he was standing there beside her, they both heard a muffled ‘Dawn?’ and another knock. “Quick, you better do that apparate thingy, I’ll see you later.”
“One more thing,” Harry said, pulling his wand out and casting that same spell that she had seen Lupin use so that people outside the room couldn’t hear them.
At first Dawn was confused by Harry’s actions, however she thought back to the few times she’d seen or heard a wizard apparate, including the night she’d met Harry, and suddenly remembered that there was usually a loud, cracking noise when they did so. He’d cleverly made sure whoever was outside the door wouldn’t hear him leave.
“I’ll see you at breakfast,” Harry said just before he was about to apparate.
“Wait!” Dawn cried out before he could, she then stepped forward and pulled him into a brief kiss. She hurriedly pulled away with a large smile.
Harry let out a small laugh. “You can’t
do that to a bloke right before he’s about to apparate,” he said in an amused voice.
She found herself laughing as well, and then he was gone. Obviously not wanting to leave the protection of the wards, she assumed that he had reappeared back near the tent, where he was supposed to be sleeping anyway. She briefly wondered whether Ron or Hermione would have woken up and noticed his absence, but that was obviously something she’d have to find out later on.
Whoever it was who was knocking on her door, had either lost their impatience waiting for her to answer, or had assumed that she was still fast asleep, because the door suddenly creaked its way open. She was not at all surprised at the sight of Buffy appearing in the room.
Buffy frowned when she saw that Dawn was just standing on the other side of the door. “Why didn’t you answer? I thought I heard talking...”
“Oh, I must’ve been sleep talking is all,” Dawn replied smoothly, mentally praising herself for her quick thinking, although she was still unsure of whether she was convincing enough.
Apparently she wasn’t - the slayer threw her an incredulous look. “Hmm, you sounded very masculine... Come on, spill - Harry was here, wasn’t he?”
Dawn shook her head stupidly. “Nope, you sure that Firewhiskey stuff isn’t still affecting you?”
“No!” Buffy shot back defensively, and then walked over to pluck up a jacket that had been thrown over the chair in the corner. “Hey, I know I was a bit drunk last night, but isn’t this the jacket he was wearing last night? Dawn!
Dawn frowned; neither she nor Harry had even noticed that he’d left his jacket behind. Meanwhile, Buffy didn’t actually look as annoyed as Dawn thought she would be, it almost sounded like there was a hint of amusement in her tone that was threatening to escape out. Although, Dawn could see that Buffy was definitely trying her best to play the angry-older-sister role.
“Hey, we were just talking for a while! Besides, even if we weren’t - I’m already pregnant, it can’t get any worse,” she defended herself. She thought that she did have a good point there.
Buffy finally released hold of the jacket and threw it on the bed. “Well, that’s kinda beside the point, Dawn...” she trailed off, she suddenly looked upset, however Dawn noticed it was more sadness than anger. “I just hope that you get to do everything you wanted to do before the baby. Dawn, don’t let it change things...” She looked her directly in the eye. “Especially with Harry, I mean, just ‘coz you’re having a baby together, doesn’t mean you both have to feel pressured into anything-“
“Chill for a sec, sis,” Dawn interjected. “You don’t have to worry about that.”
Dawn did wonder if the prophecy didn’t exist at all, whether or not her and Harry would’ve felt the same connection had they’d just met by chance instead. You’ve gotta stop with all the ‘what-ifs’
, she told herself. She knew that her caring for Harry wasn’t just because of the baby, and that’s what she’d meant when she said ‘you don’t have to worry about that’; although she got the distinct impression that Buffy had taken it another way.
“Good,” Buffy said with relief, further supporting Dawn’s thought that the blonde thought she’d meant that there wasn’t anything between her and Harry. Considering they’d decided to keep it a secret for the time being, she didn’t see any point in correcting Buffy.
“So, how’s the hangover?” Dawn randomly inquired, happily changing the subject.
She observed her older sister and noticed that she didn’t really look sick from her New Year’s Eve celebrations; she attributed it with something to do with Buffy’s fast slayer metabolism. “Apart from early this morning, it’s all good,” Buffy replied with a smile, then Dawn watched as her eyes widened as she remembered something. “Oh, almost forgot! That cranky-pants Hogwarts nurse is here to check on you, she’s downstairs.”
Dawn frowned in confusion; she must have missed something because she didn’t know why her sister seemed to have a slight grudge against Madam Pomfrey, she’d been extremely pleasant to her when she’d been at Hogwarts. She ended up shrugging it off.
“Oh yeah, that’s right,” She responded, only just remembering that Buffy had told her yesterday that Pomfrey would be back to see if there weren’t any lasting issues after she’d collapsed and been unconscious for over a day. “Breakfast first? I think the baby’s telling me I’m not eating enough.” On cue, her stomach gave a loud rumble; she was starting to find her appetite was really beginning to increase.
“Breakfast first,” Buffy replied with a nod.
Harry appeared in the back garden, where he thought no one would notice his sudden appearance, and then walked back around to where they had pitched up the tent. He checked his watch, it was late morning nearing on midday, he really hoped because it was New Year’s Day and everyone had had a reasonably late night that everyone had had a sleep in. He wondered whether or not Ron and Hermione had noticed his early-morning escapades.
He cautiously entered the tent to see that, while Ron was asleep and snoring his head off, Hermione was sitting in the main section of the tent reading. Of course,
Harry thought to himself. She was always the first one to rise in the mornings; he was beginning to wonder if she ever slept.
“Morning, Harry,” she greeted cheerfully, without even looking up from her book.
“Uh, hello Hermione,” he replied awkwardly, feeling like a guilty schoolkid who’d been caught wandering the corridors by Filch.
She must have finished the page she was reading because she finally looked up and met his gaze; there was a knowing look in her eyes. “I was wondering when you would be back,” she said with a small smile on her face.
After all these years, Harry knew that it was extremely hard to keep secrets from the brilliant witch. However, occasionally, he still liked to see if he could get one past her, unbeknownst. In fact, he was extremely proud that he had been successfully able to hide the incident back in London for over five months. Surely, there was some sort of medal or award for being able to deceive his exceptionally smart friend for so long!
“Decided to get a hot chocolate before, you were still asleep so you probably didn’t notice,” he lied.
Hermione gave a snort of laughter. “It must have been an extremely cold hot chocolate at the rate you must have consumed it...” she trailed off and glanced at her watch. “Especially since it took you about eight hours to drink it,” she said with another light-hearted laugh. “I heard you leave early this morning,” she added, seeing the look her threw her.
He sighed and took a seat opposite her, the real question now was - should he continue to stupidly lie to her or tell the truth? He and Dawn did pretty much promise to keep things hush-hush, and he certainly didn’t want to upset her. Then again, the ship had pretty much sailed on his attempt to lie to Hermione, so he decided to go with something in between the two.
“So,” she trailed off, peering at him with raised eyebrows.
He sighed again. “Dawn was also up this morning; we just talked things over a bit more and fell asleep,” he explained, which was the truth but not revealing anything else.
Hermione nodded and placed her book on the table beside her. “Something else happened though, didn’t it?” She looked like a sniffer-dog on the trail of a stash of drugs.
“Bloody hell, Hermione,” he replied, throwing her an annoyed look. “Have I ever told you that you’re way too observant for your own good? Well... it’s alright when it saves my life.”
“Just not when you’re trying to keep something from me,” Hermione finished for him, she shook her head. “Although, you really are a terrible liar, Harry,” she teased.
He found himself laughing and gave her a playful shove in the arm. “What gave me away this time? It’s good to learn these things. I obviously have to get better at lying to you.”
“Actually, this one wasn’t as obvious if you weren’t paying close attention, you’d be happy to know,” Hermione informed him, he was actually glad to hear it. “I knew there was obviously something between you and Dawn when we first got back to Hogwarts, and even after we all found out about the prophecy and the baby. I don’t think either of you are aware that you are doing it, but you subconsciously throw each other looks when you think there is no one else looking,” she explained in a matter-of-fact tone. “And then there was yesterday, we all thought we heard a row upstairs and then I noticed you were both avoiding each other, not to mention – you were extremely quiet and dejected at dinner, except when the baby kicked and you and Dawn had that ‘moment’.”
“What moment? We didn’t have a moment,” Harry futilely argued.
Hermione smiled at him in amusement, whilst they were both momentarily interrupted by Ron’s sleep-talking something that sounded like ‘come back, chocolate pudding!’ before he fell back into the rhythm of his snoring. “Well, if that wasn’t a ‘moment’, then you certainly must have had one later on, at midnight, when you both suddenly disappeared from the room and then Dawn came back in minutes later, grinning like the Cheshire Cat.”
Even though both he and Hermione had grown up in muggle households, he would quite often find her making muggle references that he just didn’t understand because the Dursley’s had deprived him of so much as a young child, and so he had no idea what the ‘Cheshire Cat’ was. Although, he knew enough to know what she was getting at.
“I don’t kiss and tell, Hermione,” he replied, even that wasn’t the truth.
“What about back in fifth-year with Cho?” She laughed. “And I’m pretty sure I’ve heard you talk about Ginny before too.”
“Well, it’s my New Year’s resolution,” he informed her, holding strong. “My lips are sealed.”
Her eyes twinkled with amusement. “You do realise that by saying that you ‘don’t kiss and tell’ that you’ve answered my question anyway!” He crossed his arms in a huff, while Hermione turned serious for a moment. “You really care about her, and not just because of the prophecy, don’t you, Harry?”
He reached up and scratched the back of his neck. “Well, yeah,” he eventually offered, feeling like he was fighting a losing battle. Then, before he could stop himself, he found himself saying, “She’s incredible.” He turned red at the unexpected admission, while Hermione looked at him smugly.
“So, what are you both going to do?”
“Well, we both agreed to take it slow,” he revealed.
Hermione nodded in agreement. “That’s probably a good idea, especially if there is soon going to be a baby involved, you wouldn’t want there to be any bad feelings between you and Dawn.”
Harry nodded, appreciating and respecting his friend’s advice. He was especially appeased by having a woman’s perspective on the situation, not to mention, there probably wasn’t another person he trusted more than he did Hermione. Thankfully, she must have sensed his reluctance to reveal anything else, because she swiftly changed the conversation and they talked for a little while about the whole horcrux situation, hypothesising where the next one could be and wondering what Voldemort was doing to find him and Dawn.
Soon, a slightly-tired-looking Bill poked his head in through the tent door, and informed them that there was a late breakfast being served inside the Cottage. While they tried to wake a stubborn Ron up, Harry made Hermione promise to keep what he’d said to herself. Meanwhile, Ron told them both to go ahead to breakfast, and so they headed inside without him.
After breakfast, or brunch was probably a more accurate description, Madam Pomfrey approached Dawn, keen to see if everything was alright with her and the baby. When she had initially come downstairs, the healer had seemed pleased to see how well she appeared to be, and had asked her general questions about her current well-being. Now she wanted to check and make sure there weren’t any underlying ramifications from the incident with Nott back at Hogwarts.
They decided to go back upstairs into the privacy of Dawn’s bedroom to conduct the check-up. Buffy had seemed quite insistent on being there for the examination, apparently slightly apprehensive about her sister’s health. Dawn was quite thankful when Madam Pomfrey had stepped in to state that it was completely unnecessary, to which Buffy wasn’t very happy about, but amazingly said nothing further on the matter. The healer had already raced upstairs to get herself organised, while Dawn lingered at the foot of staircase and leaning around to peer back into the kitchen. She managed to make eye contact with Harry, and so she motioned him over.
She smiled at him as he joined her at the bottom of the stairs, the first time they’d managed to be alone since before breakfast. She and Buffy had already been tucking into a large plate of bacon and eggs, when Harry and Hermione had entered the kitchen. Dawn had immediately exchanged smiles with Harry, while Hermione had briefly looked between the two knowingly before she took a seat at the table. Dawn had wondered what the brunette witch knew, and if Harry had said anything to her, but she told herself to ask Harry about it another time.
Meanwhile, Harry was looking at her in confusion. She pointed up the stairs, which was over her shoulder. “Pomfrey’s gonna check everything’s okay, you wanna come with?” she asked him casually.
He threw her a look of surprise and shuffled his feet. “I thought I heard Madam Pomfrey say that she didn’t want anyone else up there.”
“I don’t think that applies to the father of the baby,” she said with a shake of her head. “So, if you wanna join us-“
“Sure,” she was surprised when he replied without hesitation.
She found herself grinning. She hadn’t wanted Buffy there, things always tended to be a little melodramatic around the slayer, but she knew she wanted Harry there. He was the complete opposite to her sister, a calming presence. She reached over and took his hand in hers and they continued up the staircase, hand in hand, only releasing the hold when they got to the bedroom.
“Potter,” Madam Pomfrey greeted with a nod when she saw them enter the room, she had brought a large, leather bag with her, and was in the process of producing multiple vials of potions from it.
Harry nodded back, while Dawn looked at the witch uncertainly and pointed at the boy beside her. “Uh, it’s okay if-“
“Of course,” Madam Pomfrey said quickly, and then added, “In fact, it is probably a good thing you’re here, Mr. Potter. We should be able to find out the gender of the baby... that is of course if you both have no objections.” She looked between the two teens.
Dawn was caught a little off guard, even though she was well into her second trimester, it hadn’t really crossed her mind that she would be able to find out the baby’s gender. She glanced over at Harry and found that she wasn’t the only one taken by surprise, who looked as nervous as she felt. As she thought about it, she realised that she didn’t even know whether she wanted to know or not, much less what Harry’s opinion was.
“Uh, I-I...” she stuttered, making eye contact with Harry.
Madam Pomfrey simply smiled and said, “Not to worry, I left something downstairs anyway, that will give you the opportunity to discuss this.”
In a matter of seconds, the healer had left the room, Dawn immediately turned to Harry. “I don’t know what the best thing is... I never really thought about it,” she said honestly, waiting for his opinion.
Harry didn’t respond at first, it was only when she was silently staring at him that he must have realised that she wanted his input. He seemed surprised by this. “Oh... I thought it would just be your decision,” he admitted.
Her brow wrinkled into a frown. “What? No way! This definitely should be your decision too!”
“I don’t mind either way,” he replied, scratching the back of his head.
She could help but throw him a glare that said ‘well, you’re a fat lot of good’, and before she knew it, Madam Pomfrey had already re-entered the room. The Hogwart’s nurse looked at them expectantly and Dawn made a split-second decision, deciding to trust her gut instinct.
“Okay, let’s do it,” she said, although wondering as to how the Wizarding World determined the gender. “How do you do it, though? I’m guessing that you guys don’t have an ultrasound machine...” Madam Pomfrey looked at her in confusion. “Muggle thing, forget about it,” she explained.
Madam Pomfrey ushered her over to sit on the bed. Harry hesitated for a moment, before following and seating himself down beside her. She pulled out her wand and proceeded to run some quick tests on Dawn while she explained the gender-determining process to them both. Dawn was actually quite relieved that overall, wizarding medical procedures and tests were significantly less invasive compared with muggle medicine. She’d definitely struck the jackpot there by getting pregnant to a wizard.
When everything else seemed to check out, Madam Pomfrey made her ingest a potion that surprising tasted like blueberries, which she ensured them both was perfectly safe, and then told her to wait a few minutes. The time seemed to go particularly slow for Dawn; she noticed that she was getting more and more nervous the closer she got to finding out the sex of the baby. It was starting to become all so real now, especially at the thought that she wouldn’t just be saying ‘it’ or ‘the baby’ and would soon be saying ‘he’ or ‘she’. She was scared out of her mind. For the moment, Harry had been awfully quiet, probably freaking out just as much as she was.
All of a sudden, Madam Pomfrey was saying it was time and Dawn’s breath caught nervously in her throat. Unexpectedly, she felt Harry’s hand find her own in an obvious attempt to comfort her. She was trying so hard to be nonchalant about it all, but was obviously not doing a very good job.
The ageing witch paused to throw her a reassuring smile, as she carefully lifted up Dawn’s shirt to reveal her slightly swollen stomach.
” A white light shot out of Madam Pomfrey’s wand and swirled over Dawn’s abdomen before a sudden glow formed on Dawn’s stomach, which had been explained as the potion she had ingested moments earlier. The three of them watched patiently as the glow slowly changed colour from white...