When the Baby Strikes Again
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:
Another long chapter, I guess I owe you all this one after my absence! I do have a legitimate excuse though, I have been having many neck and back problems lately and considering I spend a lot of time at a computer for work, it was just too much to be sitting at one at home all the time, so I’ve done this chapter little by little. It’s slowly getting better!
Also, I was in a bit of a hurry to post this one, because I’m away for a few days (again, I know! It’s a hard life, lol) and leave in exactly half an hour, so I didn’t have enough time to completely proof-read the whole thing. I gave it a good scan though, but any errors I will fix when I get back.
*****Chapter Twenty-One – When the Baby Strikes Again
There were mixed-feelings for Ginny after she’d had her talk with Harry in the Hospital Wing. She did feel a slight weight off her shoulders, being able to apologise for her awful mistake in the Great Hall. On the other hand, she felt the painful sting of rejection. I don’t think I did.
The words replayed through her head – what Harry had told her when she’d asked him if he ever felt the same about her as what she did for him. She was just being stupid thinking that there was any hope left for them, he and Dawn, were having a baby together for Merlin’s sake! And somewhere in the back of her mind, she hoped that her and Dawn could eventually be friends again. But so suddenly both of them were gone, and without so much as a goodbye. But they’d had no choice; they were off to somewhere safe... because of her, her and her moment of stupidity.
In amongst all the chaos, she’d found out that she was not only a witch, but a slayer too. Therefore, she took all her sorrow and her anger and threw herself into her training with fellow-slayer Faith, her somewhat-sidekick, Xander, and the watcher, Rupert Giles. Even though Faith could be quite direct and slightly aggressive, Ginny was relieved that the brunette was the slayer to guide her through her training; she didn’t think Buffy would have taken so well to training her, thinking back to the blonde’s reaction to her back in the Hospital Wing when she was talking to Harry.
It had only been just less than a week since the Golden Trio, Dawn and the others had left Hogwarts, but she’d already had several training sessions to learn how to harness her slayer abilities. She knew she needed it considering what she’d been accidentally doing around the school for the past few months, including breaking a toilet cubicle door and the shelf in Slughorn’s storage cupboard. With a few sessions under her belt, she still felt a little out of control of her own body - it wasn’t as if she was ever a clumsy, awkward person, but now her reflexes were so sharp that it kept catching her by surprise, in turn causing a few accidents. Xander, who she hadn’t properly talked to before a few days ago but appeared to be nice, had been caught in the wrong place, at the wrong time and now sported a black eye on his good eye, which sort of matched his eye patch on the other side. She was absolutely mortified when it’d happened and couldn’t apologise enough. At the time, Giles had rushed in to Xander’s aid, while Faith looked quite amused by the whole situation.
They had just finished Ginny’s fourth training session, the Hogwarts classes had started back up after the Christmas/New Year break, so they had decided to conduct them in the evenings, sometime after dinnertime. She’d found by the end of the current session, on a particularly cold January night, that she felt like she could crawl up into her bed and sleep for several days, her body was still adjusting to the extra workload on top of her normal school work.
“I must say, you’re doing well, Ginny,” Giles encouraged with smile, Ginny found him to be a quiet, but friendly man, and she was thankful that he didn’t appear to have any hard feelings towards her from the Great Hall incident.
“Thanks,” she replied, wiping her sweat away with the towel he’d just handed her. “Although, do you think I’d be able to incorporate both the slayer abilities and the magic?”
“In time, yes.” He took off his glasses and put them in his pocket. “I believe it will put you at quite an advantage from both the slayer and the witchcraft perspectives. However, since you’re magical abilities are far more advanced than your slayer abilities, it’d be best to really focus on the slayer training before we decide to combine them. I’ll probably also require someone else’s expertise when that time comes.”
Xander approached them and patted Ginny on the shoulder. “Good job, Gin!” he exclaimed and then paused uncertainly. “I can call you Gin, right?”
She nodded with a small smile. “Of course, loads of people call me that.”
Suddenly Faith called out from across the room, which McGonagall had kindly allocated them to use as a training room, where she was packing up the training equipment for the night. “Hey, Panda-boy! Give me a hand!”
Ginny couldn’t properly stifle a giggle at the expression on Xander’s face, while appreciating Faith’s humour – he really did look like a panda with both the black-eye and the eye patch. He then threw Faith a look of mock-offense and proceeded to assist the slayer. Ginny then took this as an opportunity to ask Giles something that had almost constantly been on her mind all week, but hadn’t really felt comfortable with asking until now.
“I was actually wondering... have you heard from anyone in the Order, do you know how everyone else is going? Uh, is Dawn alright?”
Giles nodded, sending a wave of relief rushing through her. “As a matter of fact, Remus was here on New Year’s Day to take Madam Pomfrey to check on Dawn-“
“She woke up? She’s okay?” Ginny inquired with concern, especially since she felt so responsible for what had happened.
“Yes, I spoke to Poppy when she got back; everything appears fine with Dawn and the baby.” Even though she knew that he was telling her the truth, Ginny couldn’t help but notice a slight hesitation in the Watcher’s voice and immediately knew that there was something more to it all, however she didn’t say anything about it. “Remus also said that everyone had settled well in their safe location, your brother Ron included.”
“He didn’t say where that was, did he?” she found herself asking, although knowing full-well that Lupin knew what he was doing and probably wouldn’t have told anyone for security measures.
“No, he’s kept very tight-lipped on that,” Giles responded with a shake of his head. “Which means that they are safe.”
She nodded and dropped her gaze down to the floor, while Giles continued to chatter on about her training and what she could work on for the next session. She felt a sudden hand on her shoulder and turned to see Xander standing behind her again.
“Geez, G-man,” he complained in a teasing tone. “First you torture her with all those roundhouses, and now with the super-boring watcher talk.” This made Ginny laugh a little internally, however she didn’t want to put another foot wrong by affronting someone.
She watched Giles roll his eyes at the younger man, accustomed to his antics. “Xander, please don’t even start on that horrible nickname around Ginny, I don’t want it catching on any further than it already has.”
Now Ginny couldn’t help but smile. “I don’t think that will be a problem,” she replied, not being able to picture herself being that forward with someone she barely knew. If it were Fred and George here, that’d be a whole different story,
she briefly thought.
The next thing she knew, she was being pulled out of the room and heard Xander’s voice call out, “Anyway, see ya later, G-man.”
She decided then and there that she would definitely have to introduce him to her brothers sometime, this was assuming that they hadn’t had a chance to meet at the gathering between the Order and Buffy’s group after the whole Great Hall incident.
“Once you’ve had a bit more of the whole Giles-Watcher-experience, you’ll be thanking me for that,” he pointed out in amusement once they stood out in the corridor. He then motioned for her to begin down the corridor with him. “I’ll walk you up; give us a chance to get to know each other better.”
As they headed through the darkened corridors towards the Gryffindor Tower, Ginny was actually starting to feel much more comfortable. She attributed this to the man walking beside her, who emanated such a friendly, laid-back persona. She could also appreciate a good sense of humour when she came across one, having Fred and George as brothers. The only thing she was apprehensive about was that she found it difficult to tell in between the jokes whether or not Xander held any blame towards her for her role in putting Dawn in danger. She knew that both he and Dawn were pretty close from the stories that Dawn had told her. While Buffy’s aversion towards her was quite obvious, she wasn’t sure if he was much better at concealing his feelings or thoughts.
“So...” Xander trailed off in an attempt for a conversation starter. “Seven brothers, hey? Whoa, that must be pretty crazy!”
She quickly nodded. “But it seems normal to me, having grown up with it and it being all I’ve ever known.” She glanced over at him and he was looking at her, genuinely interested, so she continued on. “The main thing that can get on my nerves sometimes though, is that they can be a little too overprotective sometimes, but they’ve gotten much better as I’ve gotten older... Well, except for Ron, that is, but he’s just a bit of a git, really.”
Xander appeared to be trying to recall which brother she was talking about; she didn’t blame him if he got confused. “He’s the one that’s friends with Harry, right?” he asked, and she felt a slight sting at the mention of her ex-boyfriend, but managed to nod. “Now you’ve got all that slayer-strength and all, you’d think that’d get him off your case.”
She wished. “You would think that, but that’s just Ron, unfortunately,” she replied as they ascended a staircase.
“So what’s the deal with him and that other friend of Harry’s – the brunette?” This caught Ginny by surprise; she threw him a look to get him to elaborate. “I know enough to know when there’s something more going on between friends,” he continued with a casual shrug, his hands stuffed into his pockets.
Now Ginny was able to laugh out loud. “The whole world can see it, but my brother is too daft to see it himself.”
Xander simply shrugged. “What can I say? Buffy and Faith have their slayer powers, Giles the power of brains and Willow with the magic... my super-power is observation.”
Ginny gave a small smile and continued to lead the way; she had about a five-and-a-half year advantage with getting to know the ins and outs of the castle, although sometimes even she still had her occasional moments where she would get lost.
“So, what about you, Gin? I’m sure one of the guys here has caught your eye... it’s a big school.”
Ginny was caught completely off-guard by his forwardness and noticed that there was no hint of embarrassment or hesitation in the man’s tone; he was just casually asking this as if it were any other question, such as “what’s your favourite food” or “how are you today”. However, this wasn’t just any other question to Ginny. Surely he knew now about her broken heart, especially when she’d practically screamed it for the whole of Hogwarts to hear.
“Well,” she began, firstly pushing Harry out of her mind and trying to ponder the question properly. When she did this, she came to the sudden realisation that she’d been too focused on her past relationship, that she’d probably been closing herself off to that sort of thing. She told herself that she had to move on and open herself up to the possibility; otherwise she could go on for a long time being sad and alone. “Not at the moment, actually,” she replied finally.
When she saw Xander’s returning smile, she was starting to believe that, yes, he did know about the whole Harry saga, and that he’d asked that question on purpose. Well, it certainly had gotten her thinking about how close-minded she’d been to the possibility of a new relationship. That’s another super-power,
she noted to herself. Whilst Xander didn’t have what the rest of his group had, she could see that he was there for them for support, the glue binding the group together.
“How about you?” she tore herself from her thoughts to politely return the gesture.
She noticed a sudden sadness wash over him. “There was someone,” he began; Ginny noticed this was the softest and most serious she had seen/heard him since they’d been properly introduced. “Uh, she died,” he stated bluntly, he then cleared his throat and threw her a smile. “But it’s all good.”
She felt her breath catch in her throat; she couldn’t feel more horrible for stirring up his anguish. “Oh no, that’s... I’m so sorry. I- I shouldn’t have asked,” she managed just as they arrived at the Fat Lady.
He waved a dismissing hand at her. “It’s okay; you didn’t know any of that.”
What made her feel worse was that she started to recall Dawn mentioning something about all that when she’d told her about what had happened when Sunnydale collapsed and how all the potential slayers, like herself, had been activated. She had mentioned them losing a couple of people that day. Ginny felt as if she was never going to win any friends over when it came to Dawn, Buffy and her group, she was always getting it completely wrong. Her discomfit and horror must have been clearly written on her face, because Xander suddenly spoke up again.
“Hey, I can tell you’re stressing around the Gang about the whole Dawn thing-“
“Of course,” she cut in. “You’ve all been forced to work with me after all of that, I’m sure you all dislike me for that.”
To her surprise, he shook his head firmly. “It was just a mistake; okay a pretty big mistake, but we all do it. None of us care... except for Buffy, but she’s like that with holding grudges and everything. Just ignore it and she’ll get over it.”
Dawn had spoken fondly of her little family, including Xander, to her, and now she was beginning to see why. Ginny felt calmed by the whole conversation with Xander, with a renewed sense of motivation to throw herself into her training, and perhaps back into life. However, she couldn’t stifle a yawn that had been threatening to escape since the end of the training session. Xander immediately took note of this.
“I’m not gonna pull a Giles on you too, you should go get some sleep,” he said, nodding towards the Portrait Hole.
She quietly thanked him, wished him ‘goodnight’, and didn’t hesitate in entering the Common Room, wondering if many of her housemates would still be up, taking into account that they had classes in the morning and that it was nearing midnight. She wasn’t surprised to see an almost-empty room. There were a couple of fifth-years in one corner who were looking extremely stressed, most likely in a last-minute attempt to finish an essay, and then there was Neville sitting in an armchair by the fire, reading a book called ‘Plants and Their Healing Properties’
. He lowered his book and looked up as she made her way across the room and flopped into the chair next to him.
“Wow, that was another late session,” Neville said, glancing down at his watch.
He was one of only a few within the school to be aware of her slayer status, the Headmistress obviously knew, and Ginny had decided to share the news with those she considered close friends, which also included Luna Lovegood, knowing she could trust them. Before her training had begun, she’d sat down with Giles, Faith and Xander, as well as her parents and a few of the Order members, to discuss the situation and it was almost unanimous that it was best that her being a slayer was kept quiet; it could be an extremely useful secret weapon in the fight against Voldemort. Her father had also pointed out that they didn’t want the ministry getting wind of this, especially knowing that there were spies within.
“How come you are still up then?” she inquired with a frown.
“Oh.” He closed his book and shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “Uh, this book was just too fascinating and I, uh, just got too caught up in it and lost track of time... So, how do you think you’re going to be able to keep up with training and your school studies at the same time?” He seemed somewhat concerned.
She found herself shrugging. It did seem like a big feat, especially considering how tired she felt at the present moment and she was barely a week into her slayer training.
“I don’t know,” she replied honestly. “And it’s hard to say that one can take precedence over the other, well because they’re both pretty important.” She sighed.
“I’m sure it’ll get easier,” he responded quietly.
She couldn’t suppress the rather loud yawn that had abruptly sprung up on her, covering her mouth as she did so. She knew she couldn’t delay bed any longer and looked over at Neville with a smile.
“Night, Neville,” she simply said, immediately retreating to the comfort of her bed, although not noticing the lingering stare he gave her as she left the Common Room.
For the past week, Harry had woken up the same every morning, he’d opened his eyes and was greeted by the sight of the brunette beside him, and he always had to convince himself that he wasn’t still sleeping. Dawn was currently lying on her back, her head slightly turned in his direction and he could clearly see that she was still in a deep slumber. The first night or two sleeping in each other’s company had been simply out of the need for a decent sleep due to whatever connection or baby-related thing made them do so, but now he couldn’t imagine sleeping alone again.
They already had a system each night, trying the best to be discreet when they retired to bed each night – Dawn would of course just go up to her room, while Harry would usually find the right opportunity to sneak up there. Some of the nights they had stayed awake talking for a long while, others they would be asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow, and sometimes they would have a pretty decent snogging session, which always left him feeling like he was soaring way above the clouds. Since the incident in the tent, they had actually adhered to their idea of ‘taking it slow’. When Harry thought back to Hermione’s slightly embarrassing interruption, he came to the realisation that if the witch hadn’t have done so, then perhaps they wouldn’t have stopped. However, he knew that this was a completely different situation to London, there wasn’t a prophecy controlling their actions now, but somehow he still lost his head around Dawn. He didn’t know if it was the same for her, they hadn’t really discussed it.
Meanwhile, Hermione hadn’t mentioned the whole incident afterwards but while she didn’t say anything in words, even when he left each night or returned in the morning, the looks she gave him said enough. He could tell that she was slightly apprehensive about the whole situation. Ron, on the other hand, remained pretty oblivious to it all. He wasn’t exactly the most observant individual, especially when it was nearing bedtime or time to wake in the morning. By the time Harry had waited until he thought the household was asleep, Ron was usually fast asleep by that point, and in case anyone were to look at Harry’s bed, he would cast a fake lump under the covers to make it look occupied. He didn’t particularly care if Ron found out about his escapades, he was his best mate after all, he certainly didn’t want to give Buffy a reason to cause a scene or hurt him.
He was brought out of his thoughts by the stirring of Dawn beside him, he shifted slightly and turned gaze at her. Her eyes were still closed and she appeared to be asleep, but she was faintly twitching, her head moving fractionally from side-to-side, while her face was slightly scrunched up. She was dreaming.
He watched her for a while, feeling somewhat creepy just quietly studying her while she slept. Eventually, she exhaled loudly, startling Harry in the process, and her eyes fluttered open. Her first action was to stretch her arms up above her and yawn. She suddenly glanced over, as if only just remembering him then, and noticed that he was awake and watching her with interest.
The next thing he knew, he had been hit in the face with a pillow. “That’s kinda creepy, Harry,” he heard her amused voice.
He pushed the pillow off him and looked over at her with slightly pink cheeks. “Looked like you were having a bad dream,” he explained.
She shrugged. “No so much with the bad, but definitely a lot of weird.” He threw her an intrigued look. “I was in some really dark place, there was something shiny ahead but I was frozen like a statue and couldn’t go check it out.” She went to roll onto her side, one hand clutching her slightly swollen abdomen, the other hand immediately reached for her lower back. “Ugh, I totally miss sleeping on my stomach!”
“Is everything alright?” he was quick to ask.
Dawn dismissed his concern with a nod. “Peachy... just another joy of pregnancy – it’s like someone tried to throw as many forms of torture into one package. First with the vomiting, then the weight gain, the awkward sleeping and then they top it all off with the labour!” She paused deep in thought, visibly paling. “Oh shit,” she exclaimed, catching him off-guard. “Tell me you magical-folk can just zap it out, right?”
He crinkled his brow in confusion, taking a moment to realise what she meant. “Uh, I don’t think so,” he replied uncertainly, once again not exactly knowing that much about babies, but he was pretty sure that they delivered babies basically the same in the Wizarding World.
Dawn fell back onto her back and pulled the covers up over her face in horror. “Kill me now!” Harry heard her muffled voice; a second later she resurfaced, staring sullenly up at the roof.
“You haven’t thought of any of that before now?” he inquired, still studying her with interest.
She turned and frowned at him. “Hey, I’m sure you haven’t either!” she replied defensively.
“Well, no.” She was right; he had spent so much time just adjusting to the whole idea of them, the prophecy and her pregnancy that he hadn’t really spent much time thinking further ahead. Just the mention of the birth had him even more terrified than he was of Voldemort.
Suddenly Dawn had given him a playful shove. “See! It’s the kinda thing that you just don’t wanna imagine...” She let out a deep breath. “It’s bullshit, going through all of this to finish off old Moldy-face. I mean, it looked like you guys were doing a pretty good job without having to put me through what’s supposed to be one of the most painful experiences!” She crossed her arms in a childish huff. “The universe owes me – big time!”
This stirred up multiple emotions in Harry, he could completely understand where she was coming from, but he couldn’t help but feel a sting at her words. For one thing, if it wasn’t for the prophecy, they probably wouldn’t have even met and experienced the strong connection that was now between them. For him, he already knew that he wouldn’t change a thing if it meant losing all of that. Perhaps she didn’t feel the same way. Then again, there were many more repercussions for her with the whole situation.
His abrupt silence didn’t go unnoticed by the brunette beside him. She turned and threw him an intent look. “What’d I say?”
“Well,” he began, rolling onto his side to face her. “I was just thinking how I’m inclined to believe that the universe has compensated us already.”
“Huh? I don’t speak Giles-talk.” She frowned.
He couldn’t stop the annoyance from melting away at her charming mannerisms, so instead of replying with words, he decided to let an action speak for itself and see if she still felt the same way from there. He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss, and when he pulled back, he was relieved to see the frown had disappeared from her face.
“Says you who doesn’t have to push a watermelon-sized thing outta you!” she shot back jestingly, quickly reaching over and pulling him in again before he had a chance to show his horror.
“Morning everyone!” Dawn greeted as everyone all gathered in the kitchen for breakfast, minus Bill, who was off early for work that morning. She threw a brief, but what she hoped was subtle, smile at Harry, who had begun to tuck into his breakfast.
“Geez, you’re all with the good mood this morning, Dawnie,” Willow observed from across the table.
She played it cool and simply shrugged dismissingly at this, right then Buffy approached the table and put a glass of juice down in front of her, as if to encourage her to get some sustenance into her body. Always with the mothering,
Dawn briefly thought as Buffy then took her own seat at the table. The slayer’s mood was quite the opposite of her sister’s.
“I bet it’s ‘coz she has that bed all to herself across the hall,” Buffy chimed in, almost sulking.
Dawn heard Harry cough awkwardly, redirecting her eyes to see him staring intently at his toast, not daring to look up, while Hermione had a ghost of a knowing smile beside him and Ron next to her seemed to have no clue so Dawn assumed that neither of his friends had said anything to him.
“I am very sorry zat we don’t ‘ave more room ‘ere, Buffy,” Fleur was fast to apologise, as she poured herself a coffee.
Buffy quickly waved this away. “No, don’t sweat it,” she said. “It’s not a big deal having to share; it’s just Willow gets all squirmy and violent in her sleep. You woulda thought that’d be my thing, but nope, Will has a nasty kick on her.”
“Sorry,” Willow added sheepishly.
Ron suddenly looked up from his food. “You could always get one of us to stun her before you go to sleep.”
Hermione feigned horror and reached over to slap him on the arm, Dawn was pretty sure that everyone knew he wasn’t serious, including Hermione, and couldn’t help but notice the flirtatious edge to this interaction. She managed to catch Harry’s eye and threw him a look with raised eyebrows. He returned the look with one that said “I’ll tell you later”. In the meantime, there were amused chuckles from around the table, although Dawn couldn’t help but notice that Buffy seemed to actually consider the redhead’s offer for a moment. She then turned to her sister.
“Anyway, since you’ve had that room to yourself for over a week, I think I’ll share with you for a while,” Buffy said before she took a bite of her toast.
Harry momentarily choked on his pumpkin juice, while Dawn tried to stop a look of horror from appearing, however without success.
“W-what?” she stuttered. “You... you can’t!”
There were many confused expressions, nearly everyone seeming lost on what was happening, except for Harry and Hermione. Buffy was among the baffled, glancing around the table, taking in the scene around her.
“You alright, Harry?” she asked, to which he nodded and gave a slightly strained “fine”. The blonde slayer then turned back to Dawn. “Why can’t I share rooms with you?”
Dawn didn’t know where to begin, for starters that would mean an end to her and Harry’s clandestine sleeping arrangements, which in turn would also probably mean an end to sleep itself. That wasn’t an option, as far as she was concerned. She needed to make sure she looked after herself and got sufficient sleep, if not it could lead to complications with the baby. The baby... she suddenly realised that could be her excuse.
“Uh, I am kinda pregnant, Buffy... like I wanna share a bed,” she managed stupidly. Smooth one, Dawn
, a sarcastic voice chastised her.
Buffy threw her an incredulous look. “Hello? What do you think couples do when they’re having a baby? Kick the guy out to the couch and say ‘see ya in nine months!’? Yeah, right,” she retorted with a snort.Dammit... that was a great excuse – not!
She thought, as she glanced around the room in a panic, as if hoping that something or someone would come to her rescue with a brilliant idea.
As if on cue, Hermione cleared her throat. “Actually, there is another alternative – there’s a free cot in our tent,” she said to Buffy.
Dawn was mentally praising the witch for her intervention, although it only took a moment for her to notice one little problem with that scenario.
“Ouch! Blimey, who kicked me?!” Ron cried out, looking around to find the culprit.
Harry had turned slightly pink and she knew immediately that he was responsible, and assumed that he was aiming for Hermione instead. That meant that he’d noticed the problem too – if Buffy was sleeping in the tent, it wouldn’t take long before she noticed Harry’s evening escapades. Trying to keep their new-found relationship, or whatever it was, a secret was not working so well, and she was starting to contemplate giving up.
Buffy, Willow and Ron all seemed rather confused, although for some reason, Fleur continued on with her breakfast unfazed by it all; Dawn thought that perhaps she wasn’t really paying attention to the conversation.
Harry suddenly joined the conversation, catching her by surprise, although she couldn’t help but think, About time!
“If Dawn isn’t keen on sharing, then maybe she could take the spare cot.” He shrugged casually, and Dawn wanted to kiss him then and there, for the entire cottage to see.
That feeling didn’t last very long.
“No way! She’s not sleeping outside! It’s much safer in here,” Buffy protested and Dawn knew that she wasn’t going to let her very far out of her sight that easily.
She couldn’t help but notice Harry rolling his eyes at this. She knew how he felt, Buffy’s complete over-protectiveness was reaching a whole new level, and frankly, it was starting to get on her nerves. She wasn’t five-years-old, she could look after herself! And if that failed, there was also Harry and even the baby.
“Actually,” Fleur spoke up, apparently she was still listening. “Ze wards around the ‘ouse, including ze tent, are very safe. It wouldn’t matter if she was inside or out.”
Dawn knew that this wouldn’t be enough to make her sister budge; she was too stubborn for that. She was forming plans of how she’d be able to sneak down to Harry when Willow spoke up.
“I’ll sleep in the tent, and then you can have that bedroom to yourself, Buffy. You’ll still just be across the hall from Dawn, and ‘sides, it’ll be easier for me to teach Harry some of my magic.”
Everyone seemed happy with this arrangement; Dawn knew that it was the best result for the time being. She was starting to reside herself to the fact that her and Harry would just have to lay everything in the open soon anyway. Somehow, even after her promise not to, she’d found herself keeping another secret from her sister, and she was struck with guilt. But on the other hand, she thought that this was a different from the whole pregnancy saga, she felt like she had a right to keep her and Harry’s relationship private if they chose to. However, considering Buffy’s advice to her last week, it didn’t sound like the slayer would be completely on board with her and Harry, that she would probably think that they were feeling obligated into something because of the baby. She didn’t know if she could put everything into words to be able to explain it all to her sister either.
She sighed, threw Harry another quick look, before she continued on with her breakfast. When they had all finished, Buffy quickly approached Harry to see if he was interested in another training session with her and Willow. After their first session a few days ago, Harry had been stiff and sore for days, however he still seemed keen on the idea and promptly followed them out into the tent, which turned out to be the ideal training area once they had cleared some space. Ron followed them as well; quite keen to participate or help out where he could too. Hermione had watched with interest the first time, and Buffy had promised to take her aside and teach her some basic moves once Harry got some more training under his belt.
Once the group had exited the cottage, Hermione had begun on the dishes from breakfast, insisting that Fleur have a break from all the housework and that she should go and relax instead. She’d thanked the younger witch and promptly gone upstairs. Meanwhile, Dawn had gone to use the bathroom, and when she returned she made a move to help Hermione with the dishes, starting to dry the clean dishes.
“Oh,” Hermione said when she noticed Dawn’s presence. “I thought you’d gone outside as well.”
Dawn shook her head. “It’s really annoying having to sit on the side-lines when I used to be able to join in with that kinda stuff.”
“You won’t be restricted for too much longer, only a few more months or so,” the older girl pointed out.
She somehow didn’t feel comfort in these words, she couldn’t shake the feeling that her life was never going to be ‘normal’ again and that she’d scarcely be able to do the things that she did before the prophecy and her pregnancy.
“I don’t know,” she replied with a sigh. “It doesn’t really feel that way – I’ll be stuck with the baby, I guess.” The words seemed foreign out of her mouth - even though she had said them, she still had a difficult time imagining herself with a baby.
“That’s what Harry is for,” Hermione said in amusement, probably the most light-hearted she’d seen the girl since she’d met her, who usually appeared to be more serious. She liked being able to see this side of Hermione, but Dawn still couldn’t help but think about how much easier she’d connected with Ginny. “I can’t wait to see that,” Hermione continued, letting out a laugh.
Dawn couldn’t help but laugh along with her, between the two of them; they wouldn’t have any idea on what they were doing. Which brought up a new dilemma for her to stew over – who was going to teach them any of that? Buffy and Willow certainly had no idea either.
“Anyway,” Hermione started again, breaking her from her thoughts. “You’ll have plenty of people around you, including your sister, Willow, or even myself.”
“Thanks, Hermione,” she replied sincerely, deciding that they would all have to learn it all together; they would get through it somehow.
Dawn began to move around the kitchen, putting away all the clean dishes that she’d dried, while Hermione continued on the last few plates.
“Things seem to be going well between you and Harry,” she heard Hermione casually interject. “And you both seemed quite intent on stopping Buffy from sharing a room with you.” She cleared her throat. “One thing Harry did tell me was that you were trying not to rush into anything, and I don’t mean to seem prying or anything, but Harry’s one of my best friends and I worry about him because things don’t seem to be going that way.”
Dawn wasn’t taken completely by surprise at this; Harry had told her that, while Hermione knew that he was no spending his nights in the tent and was with her instead, he hadn’t told his friend much at all. Hermione didn’t know of the strange connection that her and Harry now shared, and why they had been so horrified of the idea of Buffy putting a stop to their being able to spend each night together. However, Harry had also warned her that Hermione was one of the most observant people he knew, and that he probably didn’t need to say much and that she would figure most of it out for herself. Also, taking into account what the brunette witch had witnessed in the tent almost a week ago when her and Harry had lost their heads for a moment, Dawn was could understand why she might be concerned.
“Oh, no, we have been,” Dawn was quick to reply, and she couldn’t stop the slight heat from rushing to her cheeks. “It’s all kinda hard to explain... it’s another weird ‘baby thing’ – Harry’s been sneaking upstairs ‘coz there’s some crazy thing where we can’t sleep apart.” She shrugged and Hermione halted her cleaning to turn around to look at her with a puzzled expression.
“Really?” she asked slowly to which Dawn nodded and could see her brain working overtime before she spoke up again. “That’s... Well I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by any of this after what happened with Nott or with the horcrux.” She appeared as if she was stuck by a new thought. “Dawn, I remember that you said something when I helped you alter your clothes last week. I thought it was Buffy coming up the stairs and you said ‘don’t worry, it’s not Buffy’ and I couldn’t work out how you knew at the time... Did you know it was Harry because of the baby?”
Dawn quickly thought back and remembered that she’d felt that same calming, soothing feeling wash over her as the footsteps had arrived outside the bedroom door, so she knew it was Harry.
“Yeah, I don’t know but there’s a different feeling when he’s around,” she replied, placing a hand on her belly. “Wish the prophecy could’ve warned us about all this extra stuff too.”
A second later, their attention was soon drawn towards the sound of the front opening, followed by the sound of several voices. Dawn looked around to see Harry and Ron re-entering the kitchen, and frowned at their unexpected appearance, they’d probably only been outside ten minutes.
“Thought you guys were out with Buffy,” Dawn frowned, then noticing Lupin’s appearance behind the two younger wizards. “Oh hey, Remus. What’s going on?”
She didn’t seem too concerned with the werewolf’s visit, as she looked at him she noticed that he appeared quite happy, so she knew that he wasn’t bringing them any bad news. There was actually even a smile that couldn’t be torn from his face.
“Morning, Dawn, Hermione,” he greeted. “I thought I would come and tell you the great news... Dora has had the baby!” he quickly revealed, obviously bursting with pride.
This immediately stirred up excitement in both her and Hermione, who were quick to get in their congratulations. The two boys must have already been told, because they didn’t react with the same delighted surprise, although they both stood there smiling. Meanwhile, Buffy and Willow had entered the cottage, and Fleur had come racing down the stairs at the sound of excited voices.
“Wow, that’s amazing!” Dawn exclaimed, catching Lupin off-guard with a hug.
When she pulled back, Fleur spoke up. “Ooh, Tonks ‘as ‘ad ze baby?” Lupin nodded. “When? And is it a boy or a girl?”
“Late last night, so I didn’t want to disturb any of you at an inappropriate hour,” he explained. “And it’s a boy – Teddy Remus Lupin, named after his grandfather... and father, obviously.”
“I’m sure zat he would ‘ave liked zat,” Fleur replied with a hand on his shoulder, and Dawn assumed that they were referring to Tonks’ father; Lupin had told that he’d been killed by Death Eaters not too long back. “I think zat this deserves a special celebration, would you be able to stay for lunch?” she inquired, to which Lupin thanked her and nodded.
Somehow, although Dawn was excited by the news, there was also a nervousness bubbling in her stomach. Maybe it was because she knew that in a few months her and Harry would be in the same position, and she didn’t know if she was ready for that. While everyone was standing around in the kitchen talking animatedly, Lupin suddenly took the opportunity to pull Harry and Dawn aside into the sitting room.
“While I came here to share the news with everyone, I also came here for something else,” he began in a slightly more serious voice that had her worried.
“What? Is there something wrong?” Harry asked nervously, obviously as concerned as she was.
“Oh no, not at all,” Lupin explained hurriedly with the shake of his head. “I was talking with Dora this morning and we both wanted to ask if you would both like to be Teddy’s godparents.”
Dawn was shocked by this, she may have expected Harry to be asked considering how long he’d known Lupin and how his father had been friends with him at school, but she wasn’t expecting Lupin to ask her, who he’d literally only known less than six months. Then again, what they’d been through, with him keeping her secret and going to such lengths to find Harry again, they had gotten to know each other extremely well and had grown quite close. She was exceptionally touched by the gesture and found her eyes watering with the emotion, although she would like to blame it all on the hormones.
“Of course!” Harry had instantly replied, while he and Lupin briefly hugged.
The two wizards then turned to face her, waiting for her reply.
She nodded enthusiastically. “You bet!”
Lupin beamed at her, obviously extremely pleased that they’d both accepted. In the meantime, a million thoughts were rushing through her head. Am I even gonna be able to meet him anytime soon?
she wondered sadly. Due to the current situation, it was too dangerous for her to even leave Shell Cottage, and there was no way Lupin could bring the newborn to meet her, she thought that was as equally dangerous.
Buffy had then appeared in the room and begun discussing something with the werewolf, leaving Dawn and Harry standing on one side of the room together. He reached over and gave her hand a subtle squeeze, then dropping his hand back so that Buffy didn’t notice.
“For something so joyful, you look kind of sad,” he pointed out with a frown and she could feel his eyes boring into her.
She sighed. “It’s exciting and all...” she trailed off.
“Then what’s wrong?” he asked.
“It seems like there’s always something that has to remind me that things aren’t ever gonna be that simple for us,” she explained, glancing over to see Harry throw her an understanding look. “I-“
Just as she was continuing on, she was cut off as the sight of Harry standing in front of her disappeared and everything went black. Although, she hadn’t fainted again, she was still conscious and suddenly she felt as if she was being squished by a garbage compactor, or something of the sort. Her heart began racing a mile and minute, not liking this strange, unpleasant sensation. A moment later, she released a large breath as she could suddenly make surroundings out around her again, and relief quickly washed through her. However, this didn’t last long when she scanned her surroundings and realised that she wasn’t at Shell Cottage anymore.