When Dawn Gets Paranoid
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:
Well, I’d like to say that I am quite happy with this chapter, especially with the Dawn/Lupin interaction. It’s quite funny how from when I got the idea of Lupin being the one to know about the prophecy how this has just been something that has almost written itself, and I think I fits well. Let me know what you think either way.
In my excitement of posting this story, I may have been a negligent in revealing the background to this story. For those of you who were wondering, this obviously includes some of the things from Deathly Hallows, but obviously the Ministry hasn’t fallen (yet, at least), therefore Hogwarts is still under control and safe. But it is still extremely unsafe from increasing Death Eater attacks out and away from Hogwarts.
*****Chapter Seven – When Dawn Gets Paranoid
Feeling decidedly better after her conversation with Ginny, Dawn found Lupin easily, who was reading up on something in the Staff Room with not a single other person in sight due to the afternoon classes. Although he had occasional Order business to take care of, the werewolf tried to spend most of his time divided between being at the castle to watch over and support Dawn, or out in the British countryside trying to get word of Harry, Ron and Hermione's whereabouts. Last Dawn had heard, much to her disappointment, he’d still had no luck in his search. It had been almost four days since he'd last been at Hogwarts, so she was extremely hopeful that there had been developments since his last visit.
"Ah, Dawn – I was just about to come and find you. How are you feeling?" he greeted warmly, as he peered up at her over his reading glasses.
"Ugh, well I can't handle any more vomiting, that’s for sure,” she began, and he gave her a sympathetic look. “So, any luck?" she asked optimistically, this was usually one of the first questions she would ask when they would see each other.
Lupin shook his head solemnly. Dawn's eyes were immediately drawn towards the dark circles under his eyes, which appeared to be getting more and more prominent each time she saw him - that and a growing mixed look of both stress and tiredness had her deeply concerned. He looked like a man that had the weight of the world on his shoulders, and she couldn’t help but feel responsible for this.
"On a more positive note," he answered, breaking her from her thoughts. "I believe that the fact that I'm having such difficulty in locating them means that they are doing a good job being in hiding... I'm sure they are somewhere safe and secure, away from where any Death Eaters can find them."
She offered nothing but a frustrated groan in response, as she slumped down into the chair across from the older man, the chair created an echoing, slightly ear-piercing squeak that was particularly loud in the quiet environment of the Staff Room. Leaning on the table, Dawn propped her head up with her hands under her chin and stared thoughtfully over at Lupin. "I'm totally grateful for everything you're doing, but you seriously don't need to burn yourself out with all of this," she said, deciding that she needed to say something to ease her guilt.
Lupin looked puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"Hmm, how do I put this," Dawn began diplomatically; she paused carefully but then opted for just being direct in the end. "... You look like crap. Like you haven’t slept at all lately... and I know it's nowhere near a full moon at the moment, so that's obviously not an excuse!" She sighed. “I’m sorry if it’s ‘coz of me and the prophecy and whatnot.”
Lupin sighed with defeat; however he was very surprised and touched by the girl's concern. "I appreciate your concern, Dawn, but my insomnia is an unrelated topic. You needn't worry or blame yourself for any of this."
Still flopped against the table, Dawn studied him for a moment. "Hey, you're married, right?" She stated more than questioned, also indicated towards the clearly visible ring on Lupin's left hand. "Is it something to do with your wife?"
He dropped the quill he was writing with, took off his reading glasses and proceeded to pinch the bridge of his nose, he was usually an extremely private man, but there was something about the teenager and her genuine, although prying, nature that made it extremely difficult to not say anything further on the matter.
"Hey, you're helping me with all my messed-up problems, not that I’m saying your problems are messed up,” she quickly added the last part, cursing herself for putting her foot in her mouth. “Anyway, maybe I can do it right back at ya," Dawn encouraged, as her propped up elbow suddenly slid on the table and collided with an ink well, sending it smashing onto the stone floor. "Oops... sorry."
Lupin couldn't help but smile at the teenage girl’s antics, no matter how much strain he was under. "I'll be sure to introduce you to my wife Dora sometime, I have a feeling you two would get along famously." It was true, both women had much in common, including not taking ‘no’ for an answer and a knack for getting him to talk about things he didn't want to talk about.
Dawn picked up Lupin's abandoned quill and studied it with tremendous interest. "Your wife's in the Order too?" Lupin nodded. "Where is she at the moment? I'm guessing she's not happy that you've barely been around ‘coz you've spent most of your time either here or out looking for Harry."
“You’re right, she isn’t happy,” Lupin agreed. “Especially when she’s about to enter her third trimester.”
"She's having a baby? Congrats!" Dawn smiled warmly, however a frown soon formed when she saw Lupin's lack of enthusiasm. "...And you're not exactly happy about it, I’m guessing."
She watched as Lupin stood up awkwardly and proceeded to busy himself with the books on the nearby shelves. "Don't misunderstand me; I love my wife very much... however, this was completely unplanned, not to mention it's extremely complicated."
Dawn cursed herself as the quill she was playing with unexpectedly spat ink all over the t-shirt she was wearing. She promptly dropped the quill, examining the dark blue stain seeping into the cotton fabric. She was having a particularly clutzy day.
"Hey," she called out, gesturing to her still-flat stomach. "If there's anyone who's gonna understand all of that, it's definitely gonna be me. Complicated has become my new middle name."
His eyebrows shot up in surprise and he gave a small nod of agreement. "Hmm, I never thought of that, you're probably right." He paused, his eyes never leaving the spine of particularly old book on the shelf in front of him while he let out a large sigh. "I'm worried about the baby, and about my wife... The Wizarding World isn't very accepting of werewolves, as soon as everyone found out about me when I was teaching here; the parents didn't want someone like me teaching their children..."
“But will you being a werewolf affect the baby at all?”
Lupin shrugged as he turned back around to face Dawn. “Perhaps, perhaps not. Even if it is a perfectly healthy baby, my family is always going to be prejudiced against because of who I am... I don’t want them to suffer.”
"Just ‘coz you had an unplanned run-in with a werewolf, doesn't mean you don't deserve a chance to be happy. I mean, your wife obviously loves you for who you are; otherwise she wouldn't have married you. She knew what she was getting into when she chose you, didn't she?" Lupin nodded hesitantly. "I reckon those people who've never had to fight for anything they believe in, don't know how to appreciate what it means to live."
There was a pregnant silence; the only sound that could be heard was the faint ticking of the clock that was hanging up above the Staff Room entrance. Dawn swore she saw the faintest sign of a smile on the older man's face, and in that moment she really understood the saying 'a penny for your thoughts', wondering what was going through his head. He eventually turned his attention away from the bookcase to face her again.
“I will find Harry,” Lupin said simply, breaking the silence, and Dawn knew that he meant every word.
The particularly loud sound of Dawn's stomach grumbling broke the moment and triggered her to jump up out of her seat. She stretched her arms high up above her and let out a huge yawn. "Better not starve the prophecy baby... Hey! You never know, maybe my baby and your kid will be best friends," she half-joked, walking towards the door. She did consider this a possibility, anything was possible - she didn’t know what was going to happen in the future.
Lupin chuckled at this. "Oh, one more thing, Dawn," he called out, stopping her in her tracks. "Madam Pomfrey is the school healer, or nurse as you would call it... we obviously need to make sure things are progressing well by ensuring regular check-ups. If you’re worried about her knowing of your pregnancy, she would keep her healer-patient confidentiality, of course, but we can make sure she is told only what she needs to know."
"That's totally fine with me, I was wondering about that stuff the other day actually," Dawn replied.
"Great, I will speak to Poppy and have some arrangements made," Lupin said finally, before Dawn thanked him and ran off to steal some food from the kitchens like her dormmates had taught her, just a few days ago.
Before Dawn knew it, they’d been at Hogwarts for just over a month, although without much success on both fronts. Lupin's endeavours to find Harry had continued to draw blanks and her sister and the gang hadn’t any success either in locating the slayer they knew was somewhere in the castle. Willow and Giles had explained their difficulty as caused by all the magical energy within the castle, and had finally admitted that Willow's locating spells probably wouldn't be the way to finding the slayer. The sheer number of potential students at Hogwarts was also proving to be an issue as well.
Meanwhile, Dawn would spend time with her sister when there was nothing better to do, however, in the evenings and weekends, she would find herself hanging out with people more her age. She’d found herself quite comfortable in amongst the Gryffindors, getting along well with her dormmates, Lavender and Parvati, as well as the other students around her age, Seamus, Dean, Neville and in particular, Ginny. Ever since she'd met Ginny in the bathroom, the two girls had been quick to hit it off and found themselves hanging out together when it suited the school timetable. However, they had generally steered clear of discussing what they had talked about in the bathroom that day, especially not talking about Ginny's heartbreak. Dawn decided that she would talk about it again when she was ready.
“Oh shit!” Dawn cursed one Saturday morning when she woke up and pushed back the covers.
"Is something wrong, Dawn?" Lavender called out from the other side of the dormitory, where she was currently using a spell to curl her blonde hair to perfection.
In a flash, Dawn had nervously pulled back up the covers, extremely thankful that the curtains around her bed were still drawn closed so that neither of the other girls could see her. Meanwhile, she was having a small panic attack, trying her best to not vocalise it or the other two would probably hear it and get concerned.
"N-nothing...” she stammered, trying to pull herself together. “Uh, just feel a bit of a migraine coming on," she managed to lie.
She heard a couple of footsteps approaching from over to her right and then Parvati's voice call out, "Do you need me to show you where the Hospital Wing is? Madam Pomfrey could fix that all up with a potion."
"No-no, it's not that bad – I’m kinda a hypochondriac sometimes. But might skip breakfast..." she blurted out in a panic and then paused momentarily, holding her breath until she heard the footsteps walk away again. "But, uh, on your way down, could you tell Ginny? We were gonna catch up this morning."
"Sure, we're just going down to the Great Hall now. We'll let her know if we see her."
Dawn sighed with relief as she heard the two girls leave the dorm, gossiping away about something insignificant. When she was sure that they were gone, she pushed down the covers once more and stared down at her stomach in a mix of wonder and horror. Is this some alien baby? I’m sure I didn’t have a bump last night when I went to bed!
She thought to herself.
She had just passed her twelfth week, and was fast approaching her second trimester, so she knew that this day was coming soon, although it didn’t make her any more prepared for the sight. As she nervously gazed down at her stomach, she could definitely notice a firm, but small, bump just below her belly button. Madam Pomfrey had been warning her that this was due to happen over the coming weeks, also saying that it sometimes occurred as if it happened overnight. Furthermore, her morning sickness had really subsided over the past fortnight, which she was also told as a sign that she would start putting on weight as her abdomen began to grow. She was more than happy to say goodbye to the morning sickness, although she wasn’t prepared for something like this.
Still not having told anyone else about her pregnancy, and there being no sign of Lupin finding Harry yet, Dawn was concerned that she wouldn't be able to keep it all a secret for much longer, particularly now that she was starting to show. She hadn’t really given it much thought either, she just kept telling herself that that was something in the future that she didn’t have to worry about yet. But now the time was here, and she knew that wearing baggy clothes or wizarding robes was only going to save her hide for a short amount of time until she really started to get big. Another thing she could guarantee was that Buffy would be one of the first to notice any changes in the way she dressed, so her stress levels were beginning to rise by the minute.
All of a sudden, she was brought out of her state of alarm by a faint knock on the door, followed by the sound of it squeaking open. She was just praying that it wasn’t Lavender or Parvati coming back up because they’d forgotten something.
“Dawn? It’s just me,” Ginny’s soft voice called and Dawn let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding.
"I ran into Lavender and Parvati in the Common Room," Ginny continued as she listened to her voice get closer, having not had the courage to draw open the curtains around her bed yet. "When they told me you had a migraine, and said something about you wanting them to tell me, I figured that was a code for 'something else is up', so I thought I'd check on you..."
Dawn sat up onto her knees, with her legs tucked underneath her. "You bet something's up! I'm officially screwed, Buffy will kill me!" she cried melodramatically as she thrust open the curtains, revealing her predicament to the witch.
Ginny's eyes immediately flickered to Dawn’s now visible baby bump, studying it for a minute. The fact that her attention had been drawn so quickly to the area had Dawn panicking. "Well, it's not that bad, hardly noticeable," Ginny finally said.
"Ha! It's like it just appeared overnight, I think someone's definitely gonna notice!" she exclaimed, pulling her pyjama top down in an attempt to cover her stomach, but she knew this was in vain because the change was definitely noticeable if you were looking for it. "See! And I can’t keep blaming this on too much pie!"
Without a word, the redhead walked over to the wardrobe and began rummaging through it, swiftly returning back to the four-poster bed with a pile of clothes in her arms. Dawn looked down incredulously at the clothes, to see that Ginny had selected a pair of jeans with knee-high boots, a long-sleeved shirt and a baggy, but stylish, thick knitted cardigan to put over it. It was definitely going to work for the time being, but Dawn was still at a loss of what to do over the coming months. Then again, she really hoped that she still wouldn’t have to be hiding her pregnancy at that point.
"There, that should do the trick, for now," Ginny began. "With less than a month before Christmas now, it's definitely cold enough that you can layer up on all your clothes and no one will even give it a second glance."
Dawn nodded but looked a little less than convinced. "I can’t keep this up forever. What if I wanted to wear a nice dress for, like, Christmas Eve dinner... or New Year’s?"
Ginny chewed at her thumbnail in deep thought, Dawn could see that she was trying to be the calm, logical one. "Well, we've got a few weeks, I'm sure I can think of something by then. If only Hermione were here, she'd have just the answer - she always does."Hermione, that name sounds familiar...
Dawn pondered as she began to get dressed. “Who’s Hermione?”
"Hermione's a good friend of mine. She’s the year above me, but she hasn't come back to Hogwarts this year, if she had you would’ve been sharing this dormitory with her. Hermione’s one of the smartest witches you'll ever meet, she always has a solution for everything.” Ginny moved over to peer out the window. “Oh, I almost forgot to mention, she's best friends with my older brother Ron and Harry Potter."
"Oh," was all Dawn managed as she slipped her boots on, she swore she felt the tiniest of flutters in her stomach, even at just the mention of Harry's name. She also now realised why the name sounded familiar, having heard Harry talk fondly about his best friends, Ron and Hermione, back in London.
"How do I look?" Dawn asked as she finished zipping up boots, standing up and presenting herself for scrutiny.
Ginny turned back to survey her work and threw Dawn a smiled. "Like I've saved you from your sister for one more day," Ginny quipped with a laugh.
The following day Ginny was researching through a rather large pile of books, sitting in an extremely deserted library; nobody else was crazy enough to even entertain the thought of getting up so early on a Sunday morning to do homework. That is, nobody except for Luna Lovegood.
"A peculiar time to be studying," Luna began in her usual dreamy tone from behind Ginny; she had a way of moving so silently that you never heard her coming. "I've never seen you in here so early on a weekend before."
Startled, Ginny let out a small yelp of surprise and nervously slammed shut the book in front of her. "Oh, hi there Luna... I was just doing some extra-curricular reading, Hermione would be proud... what are you doing here so early too?"
"I quite often come into the library at this time each week," she explained as her fingers lightly traced over the spines of the books stacked up on Ginny's desk, Ginny couldn’t help but notice that the petite Ravenclaw had a random, long, blue feather tucked behind one ear that looked completely out of place but was extremely typical of Luna. "Any other time and all the people here would scare away the Scriples, they don't like crowds, you see."
Ginny had no idea what she was talking about and stared at her blankly. "What are Scriples?"
Luna had picked up one of the books from the pile and proceeded to flick through the pages. "Scriples are very tiny creatures, perfectly harmless... People often don't even notice them, and they are usually always found in libraries, but they only come out when it's quiet."
Ginny really did like Luna and considered her a friend, but sometimes she had no clue what the girl was talking about. This was one of those particular occasions, Luna’s reply told her absolutely nothing but she made an effort to show she understood with a slightly fake smile and a nod. She didn’t want to hurt the blonde’s feelings but she knew that she probably wasn’t putting in much of an effort to act interested - it was an extremely hard thing to do early on a Sunday morning.
Luna didn’t seem to notice anything, she had turned her full attention over to the book she had been scanning through and was now holding the blue feather and using it to trace over various pages with the soft end of it. "You seem to be quite interested in illusion and concealment charms, is there something in particular you're trying to conceal?"
“Oh, you know, just brushing up on the usual charms – acne concealing charms...” Ginny lied, feeling pleased with her on-the-spot thinking.
Luna nodded absent-mindedly, and began randomly telling Ginny about another somewhat wacky article that had appeared in the last edition of The Quibbler as she continued to flick through the pile of books on the desk. Ginny continued to feign interest whilst resuming her search through the book in front of her.
After she’d finished her ramblings, Luna abruptly slid her chair back and stood back up. "Well, the Scriples are probably wondering where I am,” she said, causing Ginny to look up at her in puzzlement. “They're quite used to my weekly visits..." she trailed off.
And like a whirlwind, she was already off skipping down the aisle and deeper down into the library. Ginny shrugged, turned her attention back down at her book and was about to resume her research, when blue fuzz caught her eye. It was peeping out from one the books that was scattered across the desk and that Luna had been looking through only a moment ago.
"Luna, you forgot your feather!" Her voice echoed down the aisle, she opened the book to release the feather and return it, but Luna was already gone.
Suddenly, the page the feather had been closed on caught her attention; staring up at her was exactly what she had been looking for. The next thing to cross her mind was if Luna done this on purpose. She glanced up again to see if there was any sign of the Ravenclaw. That girl scares me sometimes, how'd she know?
she thought to herself with disbelief.
Hastily, she wrote down the spell she needed and courteously returned all the books to their shelves, thinking that was bound to earn some brownie-points with Madam Pince. She quickly scrambled out of the library, eager to tell Dawn the good news, she hadn’t expected to find a solution so soon and knew the older girl would be ecstatic. As she ran through the corridors, she began thinking about the spell and came to the conclusion that it would have to be safely tested before trying it on Dawn; she certainly didn't want to be responsible for any mishaps with the baby.
She reached the Gryffindor Tower, hurriedly telling the Fat Lady the password before rushing up to the Girls' Dormitories, knowing all too well that Dawn would still be in bed at quarter-to-nine on a Sunday morning. Had it have been something slightly less important, Ginny would have waited until after breakfast to share the news, especially because Dawn wasn't the best morning person and this was intensified by all the extra fatigue caused through the pregnancy.
"Dawn! Dawn, wake up," she called out excitedly as she entered the seventh-year dorm. "I figured out a solution to the problem we had." Ginny knew better than to just blurt it straight out in case the other girls were still there, fortunately when she looked around she noticed that they’d already made their way down to breakfast.
"Ugh. Buffy, I don't wanna go to school today..." Dawn croaked drowsily as Ginny drew back the curtains with far too much enthusiasm, accidentally ripping one straight down the middle.
"Bullocks," she said as she dropped what was left of the curtain. "Come on, Dawn – I just found a fantastic concealment spell in the library."
At this snippet of news, Dawn peeped an eye open in interest - she'd spent the previous day walking around the castle in a state of paranoia, despite Ginny's wardrobe efforts to hide her ever-so-slight stomach. She'd even gone to the trouble of spending most of the day hiding out in a deserted corner of the Staff Room, also ensuring she was at the meals well before anyone else so that she could be seated before anyone else had arrived. When it came to bedtime, she had waited until her roommates were well and truly asleep before she changed into her nightgown and retired for the night.
"Did you just say you've found a way for me to not act like a super-paranoid nutcase again today?" Dawn asked, looking enormously hopeful.
"I most certainly have!" Ginny declared proudly, producing the hand-written parchment from the library. "We’ll have to test it out first, of course."
Dawn almost squealed in excitement and hugged the younger girl briefly and mumbled a quick expression of gratitude. "What did you have in mind?"
“Well,” Ginny began with a dramatic pause. “That’s the best thing about magic; the possibilities are nearly endless... I was thinking we could test it on me first.”
"But you’re not the preggo one, there's nothing there to conceal," Dawn replied in confused.
“Well that was sort of the point; at least it’ll be safer to try on me.” Ginny pulled out her wand from her jeans pocket. "And I was thinking on the way up here, that all we have to do is just make it look like I'm pregnant and then try out the spell."
Ginny stepped out into the centre of the room, pointing her wand towards her stomach. “Accresco!
Within seconds Ginny's stomach had inflated, reminding her of air being pumped into a balloon, suddenly she had the appearance that she was at least seven or eight months pregnant. It was a slightly strange experience to witness, and she didn’t expect to be in that state for real for quite a few years to come. She felt a short moment of sympathy for Dawn before looking up at her friend.
"Whoa," was all Dawn could manage, staring down at Ginny’s fake stomach for a moment before finally snapping out of her daze. "Wait a sec... are you trying to say that is what I'm gonna look like? Oh my god! I'm totally going to look like the size of a Hippygriff, or whatever that thing Hagrid showed me the other day was!"
"Hey!" Ginny tried to take offence, however couldn't help but giggle at the situation, she felt a little ridiculous. "Anyway, let's give this a go."
“Fire away,” Dawn replied.
” Ginny said with a swish aimed down at her inflated belly, and with shimmer it was as if she was back to normal again.
"That’s awesome, Ginny!" Dawn praised as she gave the redhead an excited hug, instantly she pulled away, and glanced worriedly down at Ginny's concealed fake-stomach. "Uh... I can still feel it though."
Ginny nodded. "That's because it's just a concealment spell, it's changing the appearance to anyone looking, but unfortunately anyone who gets close to you will be able to feel it. But at this stage, if someone does feel something, they'll probably think they're imagining it... it might become a bit more of concern when you get bigger though."
Dawn sighed loudly. "And the paranoid nutcase is back!"