When Dawn Has a Dream
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:
Hello everybody! (well, those who are still hanging in there) Thanks for bearing with me while I went through a tough period of finding time to write, and finding inspiration to write, for that matter. Well this certainly was a difficult chapter to get through, and even though I always knew where this story was going, I’ve got a better idea on how to tackle the remaining chapters now.
I really appreciate the readers who have been there from the start and couldn’t have gotten this far without you, so enjoy this next chapter!
EDIT (7th of March, 2013) - Just made a quick change because of an error that was pointed out to me about the whole Sweet incident.
*****Chapter Twenty-Three – When Dawn Has a Dream
Dawn sighed as she turned off the water, before drying her hands and moving to open the bathroom door. As she did so, she caught a side-glance of herself in the bathroom mirror, which caused her to stop and take the time to really look at herself, something she felt like she hadn’t had a chance to do in recent times. The past few weeks had been particularly demanding on her, as she looked at her face, it did somewhat show – there were dark circles under both eyes, subtle but most certainly noticeable when she really looked. She immediately thought to hearing people talk about the ‘pregnancy glow’, she certainly didn’t see it – she thought she looked tired and horrible. However, she also noticed other changes to her face; it seemed to have gotten fuller, especially around the cheeks. She quickly realised that this was the result of the pregnancy, and she was slightly horrified by the thought of gaining pounds. Not to mention, as the glanced at her body she noticed her chest was larger than its usual proportions.How come I’m only noticing this now?
she thought to herself as she crossed her arms across her chest in a mixture of embarrassment and dismay.
“Everything okay, Dawnie?” Buffy’s voice startled her from the open doorway, causing her to swing around and drop her arms at her sides. Dawn quickly nodded, while the slayer studied her closely. “You sure? You kinda looked all broody about something…”
Dawn sighed, glancing at the mirror briefly before turning back to face her sister. “Well, yeah, I’m seventeen – I was still growing into my old body and now there’s this.” She motioned to herself, then dropping her hands at her sides in a thump of frustration.
“Tell me about it, I’m still trying to get used to seeing my little sister pregnant and all,” Buffy paused, looking pensive. Dawn could almost anticipate what she was going to say next. “And also getting all close and secretive with a certain dark-haired, father-of-her-baby… Come on, Dawn, time to spill the beans!”
She knew it was coming, but she still felt slightly uncomfortable with the topic of conversation, so Dawn shrugged and stepped around her sister and into the hallway. Buffy’s footsteps were right on her tail, following her to the top of the stairs.
“Come on, Dawnie,” Buffy called out to her, she thought she could almost hear a desperation in her tone. “I’m not gonna go all postal on you. I… we used to be closer, I thought we did.” Dawn stopped in her tracks and guiltily turned to face the blonde. “But it feels like you’re slipping away. And now I can see why – what’s going on with Harry?”
Dawn took a deep breath, feeling like the conversation was going to take enough out of her without having to linger at the top of the stairs for it, and so she moved to sit on the top step, leaving enough room for Buffy to join her. As she did so, she tried to decide what she was going to say, she was still having trouble gauging how her sister was feeling about the idea of her and Harry. Well, she wasn’t screaming at her, so she knew that was a good start.
“I, uh… I dunno, I can’t explain it,” she managed as she stared down at her feet, she really couldn’t find the right words. How could she explain the entirely unique situation that they’d found themselves in, and most importantly, the extraordinary and overwhelming connection between her and Harry?
“So you lied to me again, Dawn!” Buffy complained, finally sitting down next to her. Dawn glanced up to see her staring at her with a deep frown. “I asked you if there was anything going on and you said ‘no’.”
Dawn adamantly shook her head. “No, I didn’t! You were going on about us not feeling pressured into anything with the baby and whatnot, and I said ‘no’ ‘coz we haven’t been – pressured, that is.”
“Well that’s totally grasping at straws!” Buffy shot back with raised eyebrows. “So what’s the real deal then?”
She shrugged awkwardly, she still believed that what she had with Harry was special, not necessarily something she wanted to share with anyone else, but she also knew that her sister deserved some answers after so many months of lies and secrecy. She owed her that much.
“I d-… there’s a connection. Ugh, I don’t know how to explain it!” she said, running her hands through her hair in frustration. “Harry’s… Well, come on Buff, surely you’d understand with what you had with Angel – that was pretty intense stuff.” She looked to see that Buffy was still waiting for more explanation, so she continued on. “I mean, there’s some stuff that’s probably connected with the baby and this prophecy thing, but I can actually sense when he’s nearby… well, the baby can.”
“What?” Buffy asked with surprise.
“And did you know that since Harry came back, I was having trouble sleeping without him nearby?” Dawn quickly added.
Buffy continued to look stunned. “How’d you know you couldn’t sleep because of Harry? Unless…” she trailed off as she came to the conclusion. “Dawn! What have you-“ she cut herself off, looking like she was struck with another thought. “That’s why you were so into keeping that bedroom to yourself! You and Harry were doing who-the-hell-knows-what in there.”
“Hey!” Dawn chimed in; she wanted to quickly stop her from getting the wrong idea. “He’s actually felt the same things too, so we’ve just been actually sleeping… for the most part.” She felt her cheeks warm up in embarrassment.
“So you haven’t...?” the blonde trailed off.
“No!” she responded immediately, just knowing that her cheeks had flushed completely red by that point. “It’s not like that; I’m not like that… ‘sides it’s deeper than just that.”
“Hey, it’s all good.” Buffy held her hands up defensively. “I had check, even if it’s kinda pointless giving you ‘the talk’,” she paused and took a deep breath. “I hate to admit it, but Harry’s a nice guy… and if there was ever a guy for you that had the least chance of me wanting to whop his ass, I guess it’s Harry.”
Dawn found herself blinking a few times in disbelief. She was almost beginning to believe that there was an imposter sitting in her sister’s place, never had she known Buffy to react so calmly to something so important, especially when it came to her.
“Wait, so you’re not angry? And is that you’re way of saying you approve?” she asked hurriedly, as if the previous words were going to be taken back at any moment.
The blonde sighed, her face softened. “You’re growing up, Dawn. Obviously,” she added, glancing down at Dawn’s growing stomach. “I might not be throwing any parties about it anytime soon, but I guess I can’t fight it. We’ve gotta focus the fighting on the dark-evil-wizard-dude anyway… Oh, and I wanna say right now – just ‘coz I’ve said I’m good with it, don’t be going round overloading on the PDAs around me – you’re still my little sis, that’s too much gross for me to handle right now.”
She found herself nodding enthusiastically. Anyway, getting to know Harry better, he didn’t exactly strike her as much of a PDA sort of person. She was just ecstatic at the idea of not having to be sneaking around in such a small cottage filled with so many people, which was quite funny considering that it was her proposal in the first place. She found herself thanking Harry for his earlier suggestion of being open with everyone, perhaps he was starting to know her better than she knew herself. And even though she knew that she was practically an adult now and didn’t really her Buffy’s approval, it was still something that she liked to have. She didn’t have her mother anymore, and somehow all those feelings of needing to make her proud had transferred onto her sister.
Dawn threw her arms around her sister, although she had to twist somewhat awkwardly to do so due to their seated position on the staircase. Buffy quickly reciprocated the embrace; Dawn felt her resting her cheek on the side of her head. In that moment, the younger Summers sister felt lighter and happier than she had in months, possibly even a year.
“I’m sorry I’ve shut you out, Buffy,” she mumbled into Buffy’s thick blonde hair. “I’m always scared I’ll disappoint you or something, especially after mom died ‘coz you’re-“
“Hey!” Buffy interrupted, finally pulling away from the embrace to look Dawn in the eye. “You never disappoint me. Actually, I’m proud of the way you’re dealing with this whole prophecy thing and-“
The sound of shuffling feet at the bottom of the stairs reached their ears, immediately drawing the attention of the two sisters. Dawn quickly spotted Hermione, who was looking at them apologetically.
“Oh, I’m sorry Buffy, Dawn!” she began hurriedly, looking like she’d just realised that she had interrupted an important conversation. “Fleur was wondering if either of you would be interested in some dessert… she made crème brûlée.”
Despite her earlier self-conscious thoughts about her changing body, the temptation of the offer seemed too good for Dawn to pass up and she found herself nodding. “Yum, I’m in!”
In the meantime, Harry had spent the previous quarter of an hour fending off question after question from Ron, who was trying his best to get more information out of his best friend. He wasn’t very obliging towards the redhead; he found that he just didn’t want to divulge the details of his and Dawn’s unusual relationship at that particular point in time. He almost felt like the special connection could be lost if anyone else was let in on it, even if he knew that sounded a little stupid. Meanwhile, he could see his tight-lipped approach was stirring something in Ron, perhaps jealousy or resentment, and this struck Harry with a pang of guilt. Things were certainly changing, particularly the relationships he had with those around him - some were growing stronger, others apart.
Harry looked solemnly at the table in front of him, just as Ron had returned to his seat with a slight huff. He was really beginning to come to the sad realisation that his childhood was officially over. Then again, he wondered why he was only coming to that realisation now, when it had clearly ended the day he met Dawn.Dawn.
The sudden thought of her made him realise that she still hadn’t returned from her trip to the bathroom. He looked up at the door in nervous anticipation because he immediately knew that she must have been having a long discussion with her sister, and most likely about him. Hermione, who was assisting Fleur with dessert, must have noticed his anxious glance because she caught eye contact with him and gave the tiniest nod before she left the kitchen.
When all three women returned moments later in a relaxed banter, he found himself releasing a breath he didn’t even notice that he was holding. His eyes naturally followed Dawn as she moved back towards her seat, as she sat down she turned and threw him a smile, knowing that he was wondering what had happened with Buffy. She silently nodded; he assumed that meant she would tell him later. She then eagerly turned her attention towards the plate of dessert that was being presented before her, so he did the same.
“Just like my grand-mère used to make,” Fleur announced as she took a seat next to her husband.
Harry watched as Bill leaned over to place a gentle kiss on his wife’s temple, suddenly an interaction between two people such as the one before him seemed to catch his attention more so than ever before, although he couldn’t quite place why.
“Mmm, it’s delicious,” Willow commented between mouthfuls. “I think Ron’s enjoying it too,” she jested as she looked at the redhead.
Everyone joined together in laughter as Ron shovelled (Harry thought this was the most apt description) his brûlée into his mouth. Hermione nudged him with her elbow, causing him to finally tear his attention away from his plate.
“Fhat?” he mumbled with a full mouth when he realised everyone was watching him.
Hermione shook her head in disapproval, whilst everyone else in the room continued to be amused. These days, they all took laughter out of the little things. Sometimes it was all they had to work with, especially with the ongoing threat of being discovered by Voldemort or his Death Eaters. Meanwhile it was at that point, while the attention was well and truly directed away from him and Dawn, that Harry unexpectedly felt Dawn’s hand envelope his underneath the table. His head snapped around to peer at the brunette beside him, who didn’t even meet his gaze and instead gave his hand an acknowledging squeeze.
He felt liked they’d become so accustomed to keeping secrets, sneaking around that this obscured gesture was almost continuing down that path. They’d agreed to each other to put an end to that, and he thought to himself - why shouldn’t they be able to be like Bill and Fleur? The situation, their ages and everything else didn’t mean that they didn’t deserve something normal, that they had to hide away. So, Harry slowly moved their joined hands and placed them upon the table. He felt Dawn try to move her hand out of surprise, so he tightened his grip a little to keep their hands securely joined. She then threw him a curious look, however she must have found some form of understanding in his casual expression because her face finally relaxed and she nodded softly, almost as if she’d heard his previous thoughts as well.
Then he finally dared a glance at Buffy, who he hadn’t really looked at since she’d re-entered the kitchen. The slayer ever-so-lightly pursed her lips together for a few seconds. Suddenly Harry was thinking that maybe he’d read the whole situation completely wrong. He thought that Dawn and Buffy’s discussion had gone well, but maybe she was more upset about him and Dawn than they’d both let on. He watched as she then gave a silent sigh, as she exhaled he almost missed the tiny nod she gave him. Does that mean…
he wondered. Is that her approval?
Now that he was getting to know the slayer better, Harry anticipated that Buffy would still want to talk to him later, so he decided to push the thoughts aside until that time came. Meanwhile, both he and Dawn found eating difficult with only one available hand, so he reluctantly letting go of Dawn’s hand. It almost felt like a small void was left in the wake of this action but he tried his best to ignore it and carry on with his dessert.
After dinner, most of them had relocated to the sitting room across the entry hall, excluding Bill, who unlike everyone else, had had to put in a full day’s work and was exhausted, retiring for the evening. Hermione had also left, going to the tent to read. As time passed and the yawns became contagious, spreading around the group until Fleur had no choice but to bid everyone ‘goodnight’ and join her husband. Buffy wasn’t far behind, although Harry did note the glance she threw both himself and Dawn as she left. Now only Ron, Willow, Dawn and himself remained. Willow and Dawn were animatedly sharing a story about a demon that had caused Sunnydale to turn into a living musical. Both he and Ron couldn’t hide their amusement at the imagery the story conjured, Harry had a hard time imagining someone like Buffy or Rupert Giles singing and dancing their way around. On the other hand, when he'd heard that Dawn had been kidnapped by Sweet and he had wanted her to become his bride, he somehow wasn't surprised to hear that Dawn had been caught up right in the centre of the whole craziness. He was starting to learn that Dawn had a way of attracting trouble, but then again so did he. It was only further proof in his mind that they were meant to be together, despite the prophecy.
As the pair continued with their storytelling, Harry found himself smirking with mirth and shaking his head as he looked over at Dawn.
“Oh, shut up you,” she defended herself playfully, giving his arm a small shove.
Ron looked between the pair with raised eyebrows, before his thoughts fell back to the story and a look of confusion passed over his features. “What I don’t understand is how come the wizarding community doesn’t encounter many demons, well, rather any, for that matter,” he directed at Willow in particular.
“I dunno,” Willow responded with a casual shrug, whilst looking thoughtful. “I guess the Hellmouth was like a demon magnetic point, attracted all the nasty guys to us.”
“That’s been gone now for almost a year,” Harry weighed in. “And we still haven’t seen very many in Britain.”
“But Willow worked her magic and now there’s hundreds of slayers keeping them in check, right?” Dawn replied uncertainly, looking to the redheaded woman for confirmation.
Willow nodded. “Yeah, even if the demon population had spread after the collapse of the Hellmouth, the slayers we’ve been locating and helping have really helped kick some demon ass. That, and there’s another Hellmouth in Cleveland – there’s heaps of girls stationed there, too.” Suddenly, the older woman couldn’t prevent a large yawn from escaping her mouth. She stood up and stretched her arms above her head for a moment. “Well, I’m beat – it’s been a pretty eventful day,” she added, smiling warmly at Dawn.
“It is pretty late,” Dawn pointed out, glancing up at the clock above the fireplace.
Nodding in agreement, they all shuffled their way out of the sitting room.
“You didn’t even finish telling us about what happened with Sweet!” Ron complained lightly, making his way to the front door.
“There’s plenty more time for that… plenty,” Dawn trailed off; Harry noticed a faraway expression fall over her features. She inhaled deeply and then quickly came out of it. “Anyway, ‘night guys.”
She quickly moved towards the stairs and began ascending them as Willow and Ron both returned the sentiment. Willow and Ron then both made a move towards the door, while Harry was still yet to make a move. Ron obviously had noticed this because he paused and turned back towards him, wondering why he was still lingering at the foot of the stairs.
“Harry, are you coming, mate?” Ron asked with a frown.
Now that both he and Dawn had decided to not keep any secrets from the others, and the fact that he was sick and tired of the elaborate sneaking around at night, Harry made a split-second decision.
“Actually, no,” he replied simply with a quick shake of the head.
Without any hesitation, Harry spun on his feet and followed Dawn’s echoing footsteps up the staircase. Dawn had turned around when she’d heard him on her heels, throwing him a beaming smile before looking past him towards the door.
“You’re catching flies, Ron,” she said, her voice thick with amusement.
Harry glanced back just in time to see Willow ushering her fellow redhead out the front door. By the time he’d reached the top landing, he was wondering to himself why they’d spent so much time and energy being so secretive – openness and honesty with Dawn felt so right.
“Thank you so much, Harry,” Dawn said as she threw her arms around his neck. “If Ron’s stupid goldfish impression is all we ever had to worry about, then I wouldn’t have bothered with all the sneaking around. I’m sorry.”
Harry’s features fell into a deep frown. “Don’t apologise, Dawn. If there’s anyone who understands the desire to keep other people out of your personal business, it’s me,” he was quick to jump in, reminding Dawn of all scrutiny and hassle he’d gone through in the Wizarding World over the years. His face then softened. “I’m assuming your cheerful attitude is a positive sign of how your talk went with Buffy – she isn’t planning any impromptu weddings or funerals, is she?”
The mention of either event somehow struck a nerve for Dawn. Firstly, with the possibility of their impending doom hanging over her for months on end and the loss of many close ones the past few years, she couldn’t bear to think about the occurrence of any funerals in the near future. If anyone protecting her were to die, she knew it would be something she’d never be able to relieve herself of the guilt from. And then there was the other thing – if things didn’t work out in their favour, like they hadn’t for Harry’s parents many years ago, she knew there was a chance that she wouldn’t live to get married someday.
“Nope,” she answered finally, shaking her head. “She freakin’ surprised me there – she’s actually pretty cool with us! If it weren’t for the baby, it’d be a whole different story…”
Harry’s eyebrows shot up in disbelief. “That’s brilliant, Dawn.”
“No, you’re brilliant. It was your idea,” she pointed out, slightly tightening the hold her linked-arms had over his shoulders.
“Well, I suppose you owe me one then.” His face was so calm and collected that she almost missed the tiniest mischievous edge to his voice, which now that she’d gotten to know Harry better, caught Dawn off-guard with a flutter in her stomach.
She quickly composed herself and threw him a less-subtle smile. “We can’t have that – consider this payback, Potter.”
Dawn used her arms to pull Harry against her and bring her lips to his. And instantly, like submerging into ice-cold water that took your breath away, the strong connection was there. So much so that after a few zealous moments of embraces, Dawn had found that she’d gotten slightly carried away and backed herself up against the wall beside the door, taking Harry with her. She was instantly reminded of the last time they’d found themselves in a similar position and immediately froze, Harry must have come to this realisation too because he pulled away fractionally to look at her, although she was having trouble reading what was going through his head at that particular time.
She let out an exhale breath in a mixture of amusement and uncertainty. “Hmm, the last time we were here, things got a little outta hand.”
“We’re ourselves this time, though,” he pointed out softly.
Although he had a point, everything had changed since then.
“Doesn’t mean I won’t get carried away again,” she couldn’t stop herself from saying, feeling her cheeks heat up at the admission.
“I know what you mean,” Harry replied quietly, surprising her. He threw her a smile when he noticed her slightly widened eyes.
They soon returned to their kissing, this time the kisses were much slower and softer, both well aware of their promise to take their relationship at a steady pace. Although Dawn was quite in the moment, it didn’t prevent her from noticing a sudden uncomfortable jab from within her abdomen. Since they were in such close proximity, Harry had obviously felt it too because he came to a halt just as quickly as she did, pulling away enough to glance down at her protruding stomach.
“W-what…Was that-?” he began to ask.
“Yep,” she simply replied, cutting him off with a nod.
It was the first time the baby had kicked when it was just the two of them, and both were awake. Dawn could tell from the look of Harry’s face that he was intrigued by it but still felt a little awkward, like he didn’t want to unintentionally cross any boundaries between them and upset what they had, even if they had been growing much closer.
“Go on, it’s fifty per cent yours,” she encouraged. “Which, I guess, technically means that my stomach is half yours, too.” Harry looked as though he was unsure whether she was serious or not. “I’ll say the right side, but if you touch anything left of the belly button…”
He finally gave a small, breathless laugh, finally releasing his arms from around her waist and pulling away, as he did so she felt another kick. He quickly knelt down so that he was at eye line with her stomach. “May I?” he asked.
She couldn’t hide her amusement at his proper ‘British-ness’. “Hey, if there’s anyone who shouldn’t have to ask…” she replied impatiently, feeling an unexpected need to share this moment with him. “Go on, already!”
Harry gently and nervously placed his hand on her abdomen, just below her belly button, however she quickly took his hand and moved it a couple of inches to the right.
“No, it’s right here,” she explained.
As if on cue, the baby kicked almost immediately, catching both of them by surprise. It certainly was the strongest one she’d felt yet. At first it’d felt like a little bubble in her stomach, but now it was quite distinctly the baby’s movement, like a muscle spasm or someone was poking her stomach from the inside. Harry momentarily pulled his hand away, startled, before he softly placed it back. He was extremely silent for a few moments, staring at his hand in astonishment, then eventually looked up at Dawn.
“If I can feel that so clearly, then I can’t imagine what it feels like for you,” he said.
“It feels weird, that’s the strongest it’s-“ she began, pensively glancing down at her stomach. Her attention was suddenly drawn towards Harry’s hand. “Harry! Look!” she cried out frantically.
She stared in amazement at a distinctly green glow beneath Harry’s hand.
“What i-is-“ he stuttered, dumbstruck. As he pulled his hand away in alarm, the glowing light started to lessen.
“Wait!” she called out to stop him, she wanted to try something before it went away completely. “Put it back for a sec.”
He moved his hand back to its original position. Dawn couldn’t help but watch with a combination of fascination and disbelief as the glow emanating from her abdomen burned bright once more. Harry, who was just as surprised, started to move his hand back and forth to test the glow, which in response dimmed and then grew brighter time and time again, like when a child played with a dimmer switch. She knew she shouldn’t have been so stunned, the baby clearly already knew when its father was nearby, but then again it had never displayed a physical sign until now.
“It knows,” was all she could say.
“Can you feel anything different?” Harry asked curiously.
She shook her head. “Not beyond the usual.”
An unexpected knock at the door beside them had Dawn jumping a mile, Harry stood back up in alarm, although probably more so at her surprise. She quickly apologised to him and then turned towards the door.
“Who is it?” she asked loud enough for whoever was on the other side, though not loud enough to wake the whole house.
“It’s Buffy,” Dawn heard her sister’s muffled voice. She threw a look over at Harry, who had tensed up, looking like he was ready to make a disappearing act purely out of the habit of the past month or so. “Are you gonna let me in?” Buffy pressed when they didn’t reply immediately.
She reached over and briefly grasped Harry’s forearm, silently pleading him to stay, before she moved over and opened the door. When Buffy entered, her eyes immediately fell onto the teenage wizard, who was now standing somewhat awkwardly in the centre of the room, hands stuffed in his pockets. Though of course, after the earlier conversation Dawn had had with Buffy, the slayer wasn’t really caught off guard by Harry’s presence. This already had Dawn praising the idea to be open with her sister.
“Hey Harry,” Buffy greeted; meanwhile Dawn caught the shocked look on his face at the casual tone. “What’s going on? I mean, besides the obvious.” Staring at Harry, she motioned to the corner of her mouth. He turned red as he hurriedly wiped Dawn’s lip gloss off the side of his mouth.
Dawn quickly jumped in to save both of them from further embarrassment, even if she did feel her cheeks starting to glow with embarrassment. “Hey! You’ll never believe what happened with Junior! See if it does it again, Harry,” she said, motioning him over to her. “It was kicking just before and then…” she trailed off. She felt like now she was being honest with her sister that she should include anything interesting that the baby was doing too.
“I’m hoping not more of that apparating stuff,” Buffy replied worriedly with a deep frown. “It really takes it outta you, Dawn.”
She shook her head. “No, more like a cool, little party trick.”
“It could be something more,” Harry spoke up for the first time since Buffy had shown up. “With this prophecy and everything else that has been happening.”
He reached over the gently placed his hand on the same location as it had been moments earlier; however Dawn soon felt immediate disappointment and confusion when nothing happened.
“That’s weird, it was doing it not even five minutes ago!” she exclaimed, in the meantime Buffy was looking generally confused about the whole situation. “My stomach glowed when Harry put his hand there,” she quickly explained as he withdrew his hand.
Meanwhile, Buffy had a somewhat sceptical expression, which really hit a nerve with Dawn. She was a slayer and had seen so many unbelievable and supernatural things over her life, so why did she always have trouble believing anything her younger sister said? It had always been like that when she was younger, but Dawn was seventeen now and, not to mention, would become a mother in a few months, so why did she still have to undermine her?
“She’s right,” Harry’s voice brought her back from her thoughts; he must have noticed her internal frustration because suddenly he was backing her up. “We both saw it.”
Buffy’s eyes widened slightly and her eyebrows crept up her forehead. She was about to open her mouth to speak, however Dawn jumped in before she could.
“Okay, so not a cool party trick,” she backpedalled, holding her hands up defensively. “Junior obviously has stage fright.”
“You need to let us know if any weird stuff like that happens,” Buffy said pointedly, directing her gaze between both her and Harry. “I mean, what with that apparating thing earlier and the whole protective bubble back at Hogwarts, if there’s been a lot of other stuff going on, you should let me or Lupin know.”
Dawn couldn’t help but roll her eyes. “Whatdya think we’re doing right now?”
“Hey, I’m only looking out for you guys!” the blonde snapped back. “I mean, how many things have you guys kept from me already?”
Dawn felt her anger bubbling; she wondered how many times Buffy was going to throw her past actions back in her face. Although, she just couldn’t find the energy in herself to fight back, so she took a deep breath and glanced over at Harry, who seemed slightly uncomfortable with the disagreement brewing between her and Buffy. He’d taken several steps towards the window and had stuffed his hands into his pockets in evident awkwardness.
“Sorry,” Buffy said suddenly in an almost whisper, catching Dawn by surprise. She was enjoying seeing more of this side of Buffy. “Just be careful, I don’t like what the baby’s magic tricks do to you, you look beat! Anyway, didn’t come here to get stuck into you guys, just came to see how things are going between you guys. Judging by the whole situation with the lip gloss, things are good.”
Although Dawn felt somewhat embarrassed from her sister’s taunt, the expression on Harry’s face indicated that he was more so. She couldn’t stop a laugh from escaping her lips, even if she was aware that this would cause the wizard’s humiliation to grow. Buffy joined in with her amusement, although she noticed that Harry was less than pleased at the two Summers women’s entertainment at his discomfort.
“Anyway, ‘night guys.” The blonde suddenly headed back towards the door, simultaneously throwing Harry a look. “Look after her,” she said softly. “She’s the only artificially-created sister I’ve got.”
*****Three Weeks Later
Harry woke to Dawn squirming in the bed beside him, he hazily cracked an eye open to see her lying with her back facing him.
“Everything alright, Dawn?” he mumbled sleepily.
There was no response; the only sound was the whistling of the seaside wind past the bedroom window. She was obviously still fast asleep, although he noticed that she continued to appear unsettled in her sleep. This had become a regular thing, although Madam Pomfrey had warned them of this when she’d returned for Dawn’s seventh month check-up, Harry knew there was something more to it. The past few weeks Dawn had been having many strange, recurring dreams. He wondered if this was another prophecy-related thing.
Meanwhile, things had settled into a comfortable routine at Shell Cottage. It had now reached a point where no one batted an eyelid when he followed Dawn upstairs each night, not to mention the freedom he now felt in being able to publicly display acts of affection, even if it was usually nothing more than running his fingers through hers or Dawn briefly reaching up and cradling his cheek in the palm of her hand. They certainly were growing closer and closer with each passing week. Even though they were both trying to be cautious by pacing the development of their relationship, the strengthening connection between them was sometimes making it hard to keep their heads in check when they were alone. However, when things got a bit out of hand, Dawn was fast to bring it to a halt reminding them of their ‘mutual agreement’ but Harry had a sneaking suspicion that there was more involved than she let on. He never pressed the issue, however, no matter how much his mind may have been telling him to sometimes.
There was also one other problem with the settled few weeks they’d had, their hunt for the remaining horcruxes had all but grinded to a halt. Harry knew that Hermione and Ron could see it too but they hadn’t said anything, perhaps because of the whole situation with Dawn, who was progressing into the latter stages of her pregnancy. He’d made a promise to stand by her, one that he desperately wanted to keep, but how was he going to track down the remaining horcruxes if he was stuck at Shell Cottage? The thought of silently going off with Ron and Hermione and continuing what they had set out to do had crossed his mind many times, however, one glance at the brunette beside him was all it took to put a stop to those thoughts. If something ever happened to Dawn, or the baby, and he wasn’t there… he would never be able to forgive himself.
Dawn’s continuation of writhing in her sleep drew him from his sleepy musings, although he couldn’t see her face because she was sleeping on her left side like Madam Pomfrey had recommended, he could tell that she was becoming increasingly unsettled.
“Dawn,” he called out softly, scared of startling her.
When she didn’t stir, he reached out to gently place a hand on her right shoulder. Everything blacked out in front of him and he was suddenly presented with flashes of different scenes before him. A dark room with a glittering object in the distance. A blast of fire, anguished screams filling his ears. A strange ringing noise, whilst leading towards a large, wooden door. The door melting away to reveal a cave-like opening. Two golden objects side-by-side, one in the shape of a cup, the other an inscription that was difficult to read.
As suddenly as the visions had appeared, Harry found himself once again in the bedroom, staring down at Dawn’s sleeping form.
“Blimey,” Harry couldn’t stop himself from exclaiming. What the bloody hell was that?
he wondered. He’d touched Dawn’s shoulder and then it was almost as if… as if he had seen into her dreams. She’d only briefly mentioned them in the past; however they had never made any sense before.
Dawn unexpectedly let out an exhale breath, awkwardly rolling onto her back in the process. Harry watched as her eyes fluttered open, taking a moment to focus onto his confused and pensive features.
“You’re doing that creepy, staring thingy again,” were the first words to leave her lips, her voice thick with fatigue. She studied him further. “What? What’s wrong? You kinda look like you’ve seen a ghost…” she groaned. “Okay, so Hogwarts has totally ruined that expression!”
“You were dreaming again,” he replied. She nodded slowly as she pushed herself up to a seated position and waited for him to elaborate. “There was a large wooden door… and fire,” he began.
He watched her face light up in surprise, followed closely by a deep frown. “How the hell did you-“ she paused and glanced down at her abdomen. “Junior strikes again?”
He shrugged casually; he hadn’t really had time to think about why or how it had all happened, but these days the baby tended to be the answer to anything strange going on between them. “Could be. You were fidgeting in your sleep, it looked like a particularly vivid dream this time, so I touched your arm to see if you were alright… and then I saw…” he trailed off. Well he didn’t really know what he saw. Although, when the images flashed through his head once more, there certainly was something familiar about it but not completely known to him at the same time.
“Well, it’s definitely gotta be trying to tell me something, why would I keep getting the same weirdo dreams?” Dawn jumped in. “Some bits were clearer this time, though – that shiny thing looked like a trophy or something.”
Dawn’s words triggered Harry’s memory - yes, that particular image was one that stuck out to him. He suddenly recalled that there was something else beside it.
“There was an object beside it, too. It had an inscription that I couldn’t quite make out,” he said thoughtfully.
Dawn’s eyes narrowed in concentration. “L…” she shook her head in frustration. “L – that’s all I remember. But that trophy had an animal on it, a beaver or something. Pretty tacky, if you ask me.”A trophy with an animal… a beaver,
he thought to himself. Who would engrave an animal on a cup?
He was suddenly struck with another thought. “Dawn, it wasn’t a badger, was it?”
“Hmm, it could’ve been,” she replied slowly. “Does that make a difference?”
He nodded quickly. “Yes, the badger is the animal mascot of the Hufflepuff house – I think we saw Helga Hufflepuff’s cup!” His voice grew louder as his excitement grew, feeling like they were finally getting somewhere.
At first, Dawn didn’t seem to comprehend his sudden excitement, throwing him a confused look. However, moments later he could see the understanding slowly appear on her face.
“Another one of those horcrux-thingamabobs?” she asked.
“I think so,” he replied with a nod.