When Things Get Confusing
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 again! A great big thanks to those who have been reading/reviewing the story so far. Chapter Four will be coming quite soon after this and then after that the updates will probably slow down a little bit, I just wanted to get these first few ones out so that people could get a better idea of where the story is going. Obviously there’s no way I could keep up with posting a chapter every day or so.
Please do bear with me, things will start coming together and I really hope you enjoy it. Thanks!
*****Chapter Three – When Things Get Confusing
Dawn was drifting in and out of sleep, lying in her bed in a shirt that wasn't hers with her head resting on something firm but warm. Her eyes fluttered open again, as the full reality of the situation hit her and she pushed up off the bed in a panic. What’s wrong with me? I can't believe that just happened - I'm not that kind of girl! She was quick to chastise herself, but the more she thought about it, the more she realised that this was something beyond her control.
There was no doubt that she instantly found Harry attractive, but almost felt there was another force at work that made things progress much faster, and well, further than she'd ever been with a guy before.
Little did she know as Harry was coming back to consciousness, due to her sudden departure from the bed, very similar thoughts and questions were racing through his mind. Guilt struck him like a tidal wave as he realised the reality of what he’d done, firstly, it had only been a few short months since he’d broken it off with Ginny after Dumbledore’s death. He knew that if he’d been thinking clearly he would have never done what he’d just done because he knew he definitely wasn’t over Ginny yet. Secondly, from the afternoon they’d spent together, he knew he really liked Dawn but then somehow things quickly got out of hand and it was as if there was something beyond his control that caused things to escalate to something he wouldn’t normally have done. He was almost afraid that he’d taken advantage of Dawn.
Both teenagers were frozen still, for what could have been minutes, in silence and uncertainty of how to proceed from there.
“I, uh...” Dawn began trying to find words but failing, as Harry had reached for his glasses and they made eye contact uneasily.
Feeling her cheeks begin to burn, and seeing Harry's react similar, she broke the stare and glanced around the room. Her eyes fell on the clock beside her bed, only to be abruptly struck with panic when she saw that the clock read 9:13pm. Holy shit! What if Buffy’s back already?!
The paper-thin walls meant that they could easily hear next door, and as if on cue, they could make out the sounds of faint talking and what sounded like movement in Buffy and Willow’s room. Dawn stiffened with wide, fearful eyes.
“It’s my sister!” Dawn whispered with horror, making eye contact with Harry once more. I’m so fucking dead!
A voice yelled clearly in her head.
Harry's eyes widened in alarm, as they gave each other a meaningful look. "I.. uh," he also failed to find words, before they both snapped out of their momentary shock and Dawn threw him a look as if to say ‘Get a move on!’, which sprung them both into action.
Dawn ran over to her suitcase and pulled out her pyjamas, despite the rush she modestly turned away as she hurriedly pulled his shirt over her head, flinging it over her shoulder and across the room for Harry to pick up. She then pulled her pyjamas on in lightning speed, extremely thankful that at least if Buffy or Willow barged in now she would be half-decently dressed, she wasn’t sure if the same could be said for Harry and was too embarrassed and horrified to check.
Then clear movement could be heard next door, making her realise that someone was on the move. "Quick!" she squealed.
She turned back around to find Harry fully dressed. “How did you do that so fast?” It was a valid question, considering she was still having such a hard to locating all of her clothes around the room.
He shrugged with an awkward, but boyish smile, causing a flutter in Dawn’s stomach. Suddenly she could distinctly hear Buffy and Willow's voices outside the door, so she looked around the room in a panic for a hiding spot for Harry, knowing that he definitely couldn't get out of the room now. She was about to turn around and whisper "Hide!" to Harry, but before she could she heard a cracking noise and when she turned around it was as if he'd disappeared into thin air.
She didn't have time to ponder as the door began to open, so instead she jumped on her bed and fumbled hurriedly to get under the covers and then feigned sleep. She peeped an eye open to see Buffy and Willow entering the room just enough so that they were standing only a step in from the doorway, they were looking her way from across the room, so she snapped her eye shut again.
"Did you just hear something?" she heard Buffy ask Willow.
"Hmm, not sure, this old hotel makes some creepy noises... Is she asleep already?" she heard Willow's voice whisper from across the room, and then she heard footsteps and felt someone sit at the end of her bed.
“Think so,” Buffy whispered. “She probably got bored waiting around for us – we were gone for ages, hope she wasn’t too disappointed that we caught up with Giles early.”
She felt Buffy slightly adjust the covers up onto her and then could make out the footsteps as she walked back towards the door. Before they left she had another moment of alarm as she heard Willow speak up again.
"Geez, Dawn must take after you, Buffy, with the being messy and everything. Look at all her clothes scattered across the room already, there's even a bra hanging on the lamp over there."
Harry paused outside the door to his room, which was actually just down and around the corridor from Dawn's room. His head felt like it was about to explode as he replayed the events of the day. He thought about how he felt instantly draw to Dawn when he first met her earlier that day, but kept coming back to what had happened in the corridor, that was where things got confusing. Of course the thought of kissing her had crossed his mind, but then it felt like there was something that had just pushed him to go and do it, and when their lips had connected for the first time there was an electricity between them, which had obviously gone to his brain because he found that he couldn't find the strength to stop what he'd started.Should I try and see her again? Maybe talk to her?
He pondered, although deep down he knew this wasn't completely possible; he, Ron and Hermione were all due to leave in the morning, when would he get the chance? Owling her was completely out of the question too, because one - he'd have to get his hands on an owl, and two - if he did manage this, he could just see the look on her face if an owl turned up at her hotel room with a letter from him.
His thoughts continued to race as he fumbled for the room key and tried to make his entrance into the room as inconspicuous as possible, however there was no such luck when he was greeted by a worried-looking Ron and a distressed, furious Hermione.
“HARRY!” Hermione yelled, exasperated. “Where the hell have you been? You were supposed to stay here, there are so many Death Eaters out there and not to mention there’s a target on your head!”
Ron rested a calming hand on Hermione’s shoulder. “Yeah, mate, when we got back an hour or so ago and you weren’t here, we were really worried something had happened to you.”
Harry took a moment to form a response to aid his defence, there was definitely no way he was going to tell them the truth, at least not anytime soon. “I was starving and went to get food – before you say anything, don’t worry I used my invisibility cloak... sorry, I didn’t realise I took so long,” he finished glancing over at the clock on the bedside table across the room.
“It took you over an hour to get food?” Hermione threw her hands up in frustration. “And surely putting up with an empty stomach is better than getting yourself killed!”
Harry shrugged. "I would’ve just gone downstairs but they weren't serving so I very carefully ventured elsewhere, I made sure no one saw me..." He hated lying to his two best friends, and it was obviously difficult to fool Hermione, so he tried his best to sound convincing.
Hermione studied him suspiciously for a moment, the remnants of extreme stress still etched on her face and in her body language; whilst Ron, who had looked concerned moments earlier, just shrugged and gave him a look as if to say 'no harm done, be more careful next time though', he was always good that way.
"You weren't wearing the cloak when you came in," Hermione suddenly pointed out, not missing a trick.
Harry produced it from where it was tucked into a pocket that was on the inside of his jacket. "That's because I didn't think it was necessary in the corridor just outside."
Hermione shook her head in annoyance. "Well I think it's better to be on the over-cautious side, Harry. You can't pull off a stunt like that again - none of us can! We need to always know where each other are, who knows what will happen otherwise!"
“You’re right, Hermione. It was extremely foolish of me and I’m sorry, I promise I won’t do it again,” And with that promise he knew the chances of ever seeing Dawn again were extremely slim.
As they all took turns getting ready for bed in the bathroom, Hermione was suddenly quite silent, and she was generally avoiding any further interaction with Harry and he could just tell that she was still fuming and cursing him inside her head. He knew he really deserved it, so he decided to let her calm down and then he could find a way to make it up to her later. The more he thought about, the more he realised what he'd put his two friends through, had the roles been reversed he would have reacted the same.
The startling thought that he’d hurt so many people in the space of a day soon made him drop his head in shame and become equally as quiet as Hermione as they all settled into their beds, and he lay there with his guilt for a long time before he managed to drift off to sleep.
Dawn woke up early the next morning, eager to shower and tidy up before Buffy or Willow came in. She knew that Buffy and Willow were experienced enough to maybe recognise the signs of what she’d done the previous night, if she didn't get herself into a decent shape before they saw her.
As the water washed over her, in some disturbing, pathetic way she almost felt a pang of sadness that she was washing away the smell of Harry's cologne and the connection they'd had, however daunting it was. Once she'd gotten out of the shower and was getting dressed, she paused to pick up the pillow that he'd used and brought it to her face. Now that she thought she might never see him again, especially because she didn't even know his last name, she took comfort in the smell and trying to lock it into her memory. Never in her wildest dreams would she ever have thought that her first time would be in a hotel in London, and a one-night stand to top it all off. What was becoming of her?
"Dawn, what are you doing?" Buffy's voice broke her reverie; she hadn't even heard her sister come in and now she'd found her standing there staring off into space, her nose buried deep into a pillow.
Nice one, Dawn, she scolded herself, immediately dropping the pillow.
Buffy rolled her eyes. "Come on, Dawn. Finished getting dressed, today we're catching up with Giles. I hope you don't mind, but after we left you yesterday we caught up with him earlier. I was a bit worried you might get pissed that you missed out."
Of course Dawn wanted to see Giles, but the surrealism of the previous night kept her distracted from what usually would have annoyed her. "That's okay, Buffy. I'll get to see him today anyway."
Buffy shrugged and shook her head in confusion, expecting a stronger reaction from her younger sister. She returned back to the other room to find Willow was sitting cross-legged on her bed, channel surfing on the hotel room's TV.
“What’s so funny, Buff?”
Buffy exhaled. "I dunno. Dawn seems weird this morning. Can't quite put my finger on it."
"She's a bit spacey, found her in there all spaced out and smelling a pillow,” she sighed. “Hope she didn't mind us bailing on her last night."
Willow laughed and shook her head. "Oh Buffy, after what we've all been through, none of us are exactly 'normal'... you're probably reading too much into things."
“Reading too much into what?” Dawn appeared in the door now fully-dressed in a denim skirt and tank top, her eyes shining with curiousity.
Willow smiled and silently turned back to the TV with a guilty look, while Buffy went over and wrapped her arms tight around her sister. "Doesn't matter. Sorry about yesterday, we got caught up with Giles for a lot longer than we thought. Did you manage to entertain yourself while we were gone?"
Dawn coughed, choking on nothing in particular. "Sorry, choked on my own saliva," she quickly answered. "Uh, yeah, didn't get up to much, went for a walk, did some shopping, got a great list of places to see by an everyday Londoner."
Willow swung her attention back away from the TV. “Ooh Dawnie, was he cute?”
"What?" Dawn was caught slightly off guard, unexpectedly hit by the feeling that everything she was hiding was written on her forehead for everyone to see, and was worried that they knew everything.
Both the older women’s faces burst with amusement. “You can tell by the nervous, goofy look on your face, Dawn,” Buffy informed her.
Dawn rolled her eyes. “Yes, okay, he was. Happy?”
“A bit defensive, are we Dawnie?” Buffy teased. “Did anything happen with him?”
Dawn, still concerned that she felt like an open book, tried to keep her face from giving too much away, annoyed at already how much they'd been able to see. Anyway, she really wasn't in the mood to be grilled about the previous day, still trying to sort out her own head.
"Nope... he helped me up when I had a clumsy moment outside the room, we grabbed some coffee and tea and then I said 'thanks' and we went our separate ways. Then I came back here and watched a movie and went to sleep. Exciting stuff."
Buffy put up her hands defensively. “Okay okay, just asking... if you’re still all grouchy from the jet-lag, then maybe you should sit today out as well.”
Dawn quickly shook her. “No way, you’re not leaving me behind. I want to see Giles, just because you guys already caught up with him...”
Feeling slightly peeved at her sister, Dawn stormed out to get her handbag and a cardigan. Meanwhile, Buffy and Willow shared a confused look before silently collecting their own jackets and handbags.
Hermione impatiently shook both Harry and Ron awake the following morning, so that they could go through their checklist, make sure they now had everything they needed to last them for at least a couple of months, and then check-out of the hotel and set off in their search for the horcruxes.
As they got ready, they talked about where they would head first, deciding that it was best to stay away from the main cities and set camp somewhere in the countryside west of London, whilst they figured out where Voldemort may have hidden a horcrux, and then they would make a move from there. Hermione, who had already been up for over an hour before she woke up the boys, had been surveying the map and suggested they camp just outside one of the small villages in that area, in case they needed more supplies once they got there.
“Okay, are we ready to head off then?” Hermione asked as she put the last of the supplies into her little, beaded bag.
Hermione had also suggested that she be the one to go down to the hotel reception to check-out because she was less likely to be recognised by Death Eaters than Ron, while Harry and Ron would follow behind her with the invisibility cloak. From there they would go around into the secluded alleyway beside the hotel and apparate to their next location.
Harry, still very much thinking of last night, was struck by an impulsive idea. "Yeah, I just need to use the loo before we leave."
Hermione told him to be quick, and then when she and Ron weren't looking he quickly snatched up the hotel's complimentary pen off the table next to him. Once he was inside the bathroom he reached into his pocket and produced a small, torn piece of parchment that had been floating around in there for weeks and hurriedly scribbled down the first words that popped into his head. Folding the parchment and shoving both that and the pen into his pocket, he then flushed the toilet to authenticate his excuse to use the bathroom, and then finally untied one of his shoelaces before rejoining the other two in the main room.
Knowing what they had to do, Harry and Ron exchanged very few words as they threw the cloak over themselves, whilst Hermione gathered up the room keys and had the payment for the hotel ready in her hand. They followed her out into the corridor and down around towards the stairs, staying a few paces behind. They soon approached the room that Harry distinctly recognised, memories and images instantly flooding back to him, which he quickly shook off. He waited until the right moment when he and Ron were directly next to the door before he came to an abrupt stop.
"What's up, mate?" Ron whispered, wondering as to why they had come to an unexpected halt.
"My shoe lace is untied, just give me a minute," Harry whispered back, as he crouched down, carefully making sure his back was obscuring Ron's view of him to the door, which was literally right in front of him. He just kept hoping that Ron wasn't paying too much attention.
As he finished tying up the shoe, he quickly reached in his pocket and pulled out the folded parchment, swiftly sliding it under the gap of the door, thankful that he didn't have to reach very far to do so as to not draw too much attention to himself. As he stood up, he was relieved to see that Ron's expression hadn't changed, apparently appearing to have not noticed what Harry had just done. So they continued on, moving hastily to catch up to Hermione. Harry turned his head and giving the door one last miserable glance before it got out of sight.