When the Trio Returns To Hogwarts
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:
Here goes the next chapter, it’s taken me a little while to get this one done, wanted to make sure I was completely happy with it and as I said in the previous chapter, I’m now up to where I’d written so it’s taking a bit longer now.
*****Chapter Nine – When the Trio Returns To Hogwarts
Harry woke up to the sight of the bunk above him, in which Ron was still sleeping and snoring loudly, just like he had for the past five or so months. Although they had accomplished something in that time, finding and destroying the Slytherin’s Locket horcrux, Harry sometimes felt like the walls of the Hermione’s transfigured tent had become his own personal prison. Ever since that night, he’d felt so confused and lost, and sometimes depressed, not knowing what to make of it and it also had him questioning what to make of his and Ginny’s relationship now. What was he going to do when they returned back to society and saw her again? Something certainly didn’t feel right, something had changed.
Hermione and Ron had surely noticed this too. They generally didn’t say anything about it, but he often saw them throwing each other looks, not knowing what had caused this change in his demeanour or what they could do about it.
There were also the dreams, generally always the same baffling dreams, which always struck him as extremely odd because the only thing he usually dreamed about was Voldemort due to his connection with the dark wizard. Curiously, these dreams didn’t feature Voldemort at all.Harry woke up in his bed in the Gryffindor Tower, when he gazed around the room strangely not a single other bed was occupied. There was no sign of Dean, Neville, Seamus or Ron anywhere in the dorm. As he got up, continued down through the Common Room and into the outside corridor, he would find that this was the case everywhere else as well.
He continued down the hallway in his T-shirt and flannelette pyjama pants, his bare feet on the cold stone floor. The corridor seemed like it stretched on forever; no matter how far he walked, he could never seem to reach the end. There was a sudden distorted noise in the distance ahead, causing him to tread more cautiously into the unknown. As he walked down the never-ending corridor, the noise became louder and clearer... it almost sounded like a baby crying.
Why would there be a baby at Hogwarts? A strangely logical voice would always tell him, even though things usually weren’t very logical in dreams.
As he got closer and closer, he was startled to see an unexpected silhouette a short distance ahead, standing there as if guarding the corridor ahead. He craned his neck to try and see if he could recognise the figure ahead. Finally, as he approached near he was able to make out the features of a young woman, whom he’d never seen before, who was blonde and quite petite.
Sensing no danger, he continued right up to woman to ask her where everyone was, when he was sent flying through the air with a swift kick from the woman and he crashed into the corridor wall nearby. He wondered how such a small woman could be so unpredictably and incredibly strong, as he pushed himself up, holding his arms up to show he came in peace.
“Why did you kick me? I haven’t done anything to you.” He told her as he walked back over, flinching in anticipation for another blow, which never came.
However, she stood there, still prepared to fight with her fists curled up into balls. “Yes you have, you have made a mess and haven’t faced the consequences. If you can’t, then I can’t let you get away... I need to protect her.” Harry noticed that she spoke with an American accent.
“How can I face the consequences if I don’t know what I’ve supposed to have done?” Harry reasoned, however the blonde looked impatient.
The noise in the corridor ahead suddenly began to morph into two separate cries of real pain, the blonde’s face paled with dread and she grabbed a fistful of Harry’s T-shirt and pulled him in inches from her.
“Go! She needs you – together you are much stronger!” she yelled at him, then thrusting him into the corridor ahead. “Hurry!”
Harry began to run, the cries piercing deep into his ears. He started to run faster and faster before he lost his footing and was sent crashing face-first onto the stone floor.
That would always be the part where he would jump up awake and in a sweat, always wondering what was at the end of the corridor, or who needed his help. Ron or Hermione might sometimes be startled awake by his sudden movement and ask him if he was okay or if it was Voldemort-related, so because the dream had nothing to do with Voldemort, he would usually tell them it was nothing.
“Harry,” Hermione called from across the tent when she noticed he was awake; she was finishing up preparing breakfast for the three of them, which they usually took turns in.
Harry fumbled for his glasses, as he found a nearby jacket and swung it on over his pyjamas, the tent would sometimes struggle to stay warm in the winter chill. Hermione was usually the first person to rise in the mornings, and for that matter, Ron was usually the last; always having to be persuaded to get up by Hermione constantly shaking him awake. He sat down at the small little kitchen/dining area that Hermione had managed to conjure up in the tent.
“I know you always say it’s nothing,” Hermione began as she placed a plate of baked beans on toast and a glass of long-life orange juice in front of him. “But you had another bad dream again last night, I heard you tossing and turning at about 3am... Harry, is something wrong?”
Harry shrugged as he took a sip of the juice. “It really is nothing to worry about... it doesn’t have anything to do with Voldemort.”
Hermione frowned as she took a seat opposite him. “I know you always say it’s nothing but it can’t be nothing if you’re having these dreams at least twice a week.”
“You’ve been keeping track?” Harry asked, annoyed.
“It’s not that hard to notice, to be honest. Something is wrong... maybe the dreams are trying to tell you something because they’re so frequent?”
Harry sighed with defeat. “Well if they are, then they’re going the wrong way about it. Nothing in it makes any sense anyway; especially the mysterious blonde woman that I’ve never seen before, who wants to beat me up, saying I have to face the consequences of something I’m supposed to have done.”
“Hmm, I don’t know,” Hermione said honestly, propping her head up with her right arm resting on the small table and padding her fingers along her chin whilst deep in thought. “Maybe something will come along and it will all make sense, or maybe it really is nothing. But, please Harry if there is anything there that you need to talk about, please let me know. You can always talk with Ron or I, rather than bottling everything up.”
Later that day, as the evening approached, Harry wandered out of the tent to ponder his persistent dreams some more, only to find Ron sitting on the ground within the wards they’d created for protection.
“Hey, mate,” Ron greeted, as he noticed Harry’s presence, his breath clearly visible in the cold evening, winter air.
Harry moved to sit next to his best friend, on a blanket Ron had laid down rather than sitting in the damp snow, with his knees propped up with his arms gently encircling them. They just stared off into the distance, where twilight was well upon and the shadows had begun to come out. Anyone who saw them at this point may have thought it an odd choice to be sitting there out amongst the snow, but when they were stuck in the tent for days at a time; they tended to get a bit of cabin fever.
“Five months, Harry,” Ron began, to which Harry gave him a puzzled look. “I know I’m not the only one to think this – it’s been five months and in that time we’ve only managed to track down and destroy one horcrux! We can’t go on like this, surely we could be going about this the wrong way... or maybe we need more help.”
Harry sighed, he was beginning to agree with him, especially since he had this nagging feeling that he was supposed to be somewhere else; an implication he usually got from those repetitious dreams as well.
“I know, Ron. I know,” he replied. He knew his eyesight wasn’t the greatest but as he looked on into the distance, he swore he could see movement in the forest ahead. “Look, can you see that ahead?”
Ron’s head snapped around, he squinted into the darkness in front of them. “Yes, there’s definitely something there,” he said, whispering purely out of instinct, although knowing full well that the silencing spells they put up around the tent would prevent them from being heard.
Ron jumped up to stand and immediately went in and poked his head into the tent to call Hermione, who was out through the front canvas flaps in a matter of seconds, her wand at the ready. Harry had also stood up, there the three of them all stood in a line, watching the shadow intently.
Moments later, the figure was only a couple of steps away from the edge of the wards surrounding the tent, however it was just that little bit too dark to recognise who it was. The shadow crouched down finding something interesting on the ground and then produced a wand from their pocket. This made Harry, Ron and Hermione extremely worried at this point, presuming the worst – that a Death Eater was about to find them because they were generally the only wizards out looking for them, as far as they knew.
The shadow turned and then cast a spell to the right of their campsite that none of the trio recognised, but they figured it was something that may have been trying to detect the presence of magical energy or their wards. As the momentary light from the spell reflected up onto the features of the mysterious person, Harry was able to instantly recognise the face. He went to step across the wards to reveal himself, but almost as a reflex, Hermione and Ron held him back.
“It’s alright,” he said, shaking out of the grasp of his two friends and stepping across the invisible border. “Lupin!”
The older man jumped back, startled and clutching his chest. “Harry, it has never been so good to see you!” Lupin gave Harry a warm pat on the back. “I was beginning to think I’d never find you – where are Ron and Hermione?”
“Right here,” Hermione answered, her and Ron peeking through a hole in the wards she’d created to let Lupin through.
Lupin quickly ushered Harry through the barrier so Hermione could close the hole immediately and seal up the wards again.
“How did you find us?” Harry asked, as they all walked into the tent.
“It was extremely difficult, which I must commend you all on, I have spent months trying to get word of your whereabouts, trying to find any magical traces of where you might be. I finally got word of magical activity in this area from Kingsley and when I noticed it was quite a deserted location, with no known magical occupants, I thought it might be you three.”
“But we’ve been so careful...” Hermione trailed off, looking at the other two.
Ron looked slightly sheepish, raising his hand slightly to confess that he was the one at fault. “That might have been me... The other day I had to walk away from the campsite to find more firewood or see if there was anything to eat around here. I accidentally cut a deep gash in my hand on a large thorn, and was too far away from the tent, so I had to heal it straight away.”
“Ron,” Hermione chastised. “You shouldn’t have wandered so far away without Harry or me in the first place.”
“Hey,” Ron answered. “So what if I was sick of eating canned food every meal?”
“Guys...” Harry interjected; he turned to Lupin, who stood there quietly. “What’s so important that you’ve spent months tracking us down?”
He cleared his throat awkwardly. “An important matter has presented itself, although this isn’t the time or place to go into the details right now. I know Dumbledore entrusted you with a very important mission, there is something that may change this.”
“I don’t understand, Professor,” Hermione piped up. “Is this something to do with Voldemort?”
“Uh, technically yes - but there is a lot more to it. I must stress how important it is that I don’t leave without the three of you, especially you Harry.”
“Where are we going?” Ron asked.
“Hogwarts,” both Harry and Lupin said at the exact same time, the older man’s head snapped around in surprise to look at The Boy Who Lived.
Without waiting for Lupin say anything, Harry explained himself. “It’s just a cryptic dream I’ve been having, only just realised now that it was telling me I needed to return to Hogwarts.”
Lupin continued to look surprised. “Perhaps you can tell me about this dream when we get there?”
Harry nodded, looking over to see Hermione motioning at him for a private word. Harry, Ron and Hermione excused themselves from Lupin, going over to the far corner of the tent to have a whispered discussion.
“This is strange, Harry,” Hermione pointed out. “First the strange dreams and now Lupin shows up and looks like there’s a lot he isn’t telling us... I just wonder why he’s being so cryptic.”
“Well, we didn’t really check to see if it was him, did we?” Ron added.
“Oh my stars! You’re right, Ron,” Hermione said with dread, mentally kicking herself.
“No need to sound surprised that I thought of something before you did, ‘Mione,” Ron replied with a cheeky smile, as Harry wandered away from the huddle and approached Lupin.
He kept a tight grip on his wand that was still hidden in his jacket pocket. “In Third Year, after our first Defence Against the Dark Arts class with the Boggart, what did you say to me?”
“I told you that I wasn’t going to make you face the Boggart because I thought it would take the form of Voldemort.” Lupin answered quickly.
Harry visibly relaxed and pulled his hand out of his pocket, satisfied with the answer, while both Ron and Hermione let out breaths of relief.
Lupin nodded in approval. “In these dark times it is vital that you verify the identity of even people you think you know. Although, I suggest perhaps sooner next time, if I was a Death Eater I could have already called Voldemort to this location.”
The trio all acknowledged with a quick nod, before Harry spoke up. “So, when do we leave?”
“Right now, if possible,” Lupin replied.
The four of them apparated as close to the Hogwarts’ grounds as possible, Lupin had sent ahead a message with his Patronus, warning Professor McGonagall of their impending arrival; she must have got the message alright because Hagrid greeted them at the gates.
“Harry!” the giant called out with excitement, giving Harry a friendly hug. “Ron, Hermione! It’s so good teh see yer three.”
The three conveyed back how happy they were to see both Hagrid and the castle again, as they began the walk up to the castle. Whilst on the journey up, Lupin turned to Harry but also spoke loud enough so that the other two could hear.
“Now, before we reach the castle, I must warn you,” Lupin said. “We have a group of visitors at Hogwarts, who have been here for a few months now.”
“Visitors? What kind of visitors, Professor?” Hermione was first to ask.
Before Lupin answered, he reminded them that he hadn’t been their Professor for a number of years now to which Harry replied “Old habits die hard.”
“Now I don’t know if any of the three of you have heard about this, but there is the Slayer... well two slayers, plus a few extras, staying in the castle.”
“Slayer,” Ron replied, deep in thought. “No, I don’t think I’ve heard of him.”
“Her, actually,” Hermione interjected before Lupin could respond. “A year or so ago I read a book on the Slayer, she’s basically a young woman who’s chosen to fight evil, particularly vampires, and she possesses extreme speed and strength... But how come there are two? I read that there’s only one and the next one is called only once the first one dies.”
Lupin nodded. “That’s right, and that’s exactly what happened, except she only died for a few minutes.”
“So it still counted as ‘dying’ and that’s why the second one was called?” Harry jumped in.
Harry’s suggestion was met with another nod from Lupin, as they were just about ascended upon the castle. “However, a lot has changed since then; one of the Slayer’s friends is a witch – although a slightly different form of magic from ours. Miss Rosenberg’s magic dates back almost as far back as ours, however it is a strictly wandless magic.”
This was met by an enthusiastic “fascinating!” from Hermione, to which Lupin promised he would tell her more about it later and even introduce her to Willow.
“So why exactly are the Slayers here?” Ron questioned before they entered through the large double doors into the Entrance Hall.
“Due to a powerful spell Miss Rosenberg was able to cast, any women who had the potential of being called as the next slayer have all been activated without the current slayers having to die, as it usually would have been. They believe a slayer may be here at Hogwarts.”
“So there could be someone who’s a witch and a slayer,” Hermione said in amazement, as they entered through the doors. “That surely is a force to be reckoned with.”
Lupin chose this moment to quietly pull Harry to the back of the group, realising that he didn’t have as much time to cover everything as he thought, and thought Harry deserved to know a little more before the circus began. As it was, because it was so close to dinnertime there was a bit of foot traffic through the Entrance Hall, so Dean Thomas and Seamus Finnegan had already noticed the arrival of Hermione and Ron. They all greeted each other excitedly; meanwhile Harry and Lupin’s presence hanging back at the entrance had gone relatively unnoticed at this point.
“Harry,” Lupin said urgently in a low voice, Harry lent in closer to listen. “I’m sorry I haven’t had an appropriate chance to completely fill you in, but there is another reason I have been trying to find you... due a few forces at work, there has been another prophecy told involving you.”
“Another prophecy!” Harry whispered in a harsh voice. “When is all this going to end? Isn’t one prophecy screwing up my life enough?”
“I know, Harry. And it will take some time to explain, therefore it’s best you read it for yourself,” he thrust a folded up piece of parchment in Harry’s hand. “For the safety of the others involved, make sure you only tell those you can really trust and-“
“Harry!” Dean called out, finally having noticed his presence that was previously partially obscured by Hagrid’s large frame, who was deep in conversation with Hermione.
Harry didn’t have time to really think about what was on the piece of parchment, however his mind was briefly intrigued by what Lupin meant by ‘for the safety of the others involved’. He shoved the prophecy in his pocket before going over to greet his fellow Gryffindors, however the audience was growing incredibly fast, especially when one Hufflepuff yelled out “Look Harry Potter is back!”.
After talking for a few moments with all the people they hadn’t seen in quite some time, movement from over on the stairs suddenly drew Harry’s attention. He first noticed Ginny standing on the stairs; however his eyes were quickly drawn to the familiar face standing next to her.
“D-Dawn?” he said in disbelief when their eyes connected, as if this was the last place he ever expected to see her, and that was generally true.
“Hi Harry,” she replied loud enough to carry over all the noise, Harry’s face had become ever-so-slightly flushed as they both took steps towards each other, people parting for them to do so.
Harry was still trying to figure out why Dawn, the girl he thought was a muggle, was here at Hogwarts. “You’re... you’re not a witch, are you?”
Dawn shook her head. “Nope, but my sister’s a Slayer,” she paused nervously for a moment. “So I’m no stranger to the weird and wacky.”
“I, uh,” he began but stopped; there was so much he wanted to say, but he suddenly felt quite aware of all the prying, curious eyes on him.
“Harry, how do you two know each other?” Hermione stepped forward and asked.
Both teenagers simultaneously cleared their throats awkwardly, Harry’s eyes wandered over to look at the staircase just in time to see a ponytail of red hair fleeing the scene. It only reminded that he would probably have to go find her later on; there was a lot to discuss with Ginny. He thought he had told himself that even though they were broken up and he didn’t really have to explain himself, he was going to be honest with Ginny with what happened after Bill and Fleur’s wedding. But now with Dawn standing in front of him, he wasn’t so sure, especially since Dawn and Ginny had come down the stairs together and obviously knew each other.
Whilst he was having the mini debate in his head, he heard Dawn answer Hermione. “Uh, we met in London one day. Didn’t know Harry was a wizard at the time, though, or even what Hogwarts was, this is all still very new to me.”
“Well, I’m Hermione,” Hermione introduced and then pointed to the redhead standing next to her. “And this is Ron.”
Dawn briefly smiled, but Harry noticed that Dawn was fidgeting and tapping her foot, looking like she was nervously anticipating something, and he watched her anxiously look around at the large amount of people gathered in the hall.
She went to say something a couple of times but failed, before finally leaning in for a hug and whispering in his ear, her breath sending slight, involuntary tingles down his body. “We really need to talk, alone.”
A few things struck Harry all in that moment as Dawn pulled away; firstly, he felt something unusual, almost rounded, press against his body in the brief embrace, which confused him because everything looked normal when he looked at Dawn. No, it couldn’t be,
he thought to himself, quickly dismissing the fleeting idea he had. Secondly, as soon as they made physical contact, the dreams that he’d been having so frequently came back to mind and right then something told him that this was where he needed to be.
Feeling like he was stuck in a catatonic state for a moment, it was only when Ron put a hand on his shoulder then did he snap out of it. “Hey Harry, after months of eating tinned food or whatever we could salvage, I think we all deserve a meal in the Great Hall, don’t you think?”
“Harry, are you alright?” Hermione asked with narrow eyes when he was slow to answer.
He nodded absent-mindedly, looking around amongst the people who had began to move along to the Great Hall and noticing Dawn had wandered over to Lupin, who was still standing over by the front entrance. He watched as Dawn pulled Lupin into a warm hug, obviously unexpected by Lupin judging by the look on his face, although he soon returned it, however briefly. She then wandered back past them and up the staircase again, glancing over her shoulder at Harry, hinting him to follow.
“Well, are you coming, mate?” Ron asked, now from over the other side of the Entrance Hall.
“As much as I’d like to, um, there’s just a few things I have to take care of first,” he replied.
He noticed Ron’s surprised, if not slightly perplexed, expression as Hermione pulled him away, also hearing “how can he turn down all this food after the last five months?!” from Ron, as they walked through to the Great Hall.
Just before he ascended the stairs in pursuit of Dawn, Lupin walked past him with a quick pat on the back. “Good luck.”
At hearing this, Harry’s breathing and heart speed up, already somewhat dreading the conversation he was about to have. He kept telling himself that he was just imagining things before during the hug, and that Dawn could easily just want to talk to him about what happened back at the hotel that night. He took a deep breath and headed for the staircase.
*****A few minutes earlier
Faith and Giles, who had been in the Staff Room putting Faith through a training session to keep her fitness up, were making their way to the Great Hall for dinner, when they were surprised to find a rather decent gathering of people in the Entrance Hall, just as they walked out past the two gargoyles outside the door.
"What's going on?" Faith turned to ask Giles as they stopped, standing to the back of the crowd. The slayer tried to crane her neck around to see past the people in front of her.
Giles shrugged, also struggling to peer over the various heads, even with his slight height advantage over the brunette. "I'm not entirely sure."
“Look Harry Potter is back!” they heard a random voice call out.
This was all the motivation Faith needed and she managed to manoeuvre them so that they could see through the crowd, to see Lupin standing a few metres behind a group of teenagers, who were drawing the all the attention. The boy with the dark, scruffy hair and glasses was drawing the most attention, in particular.
"Is that the Harry Potter dude from the prophecy?" Faith asked quietly.
“It appears so,” Giles answered, as he watched with interest when Dawn suddenly appeared from the staircase and greeted Harry.
Giles said nothing when this occurred; although they couldn’t hear much he had a pretty good idea on what was generally being said at this stage, that Harry would be quite surprised to see Dawn. Faith also watched the exchange with extreme interest, surprised that the two teens seemed to know each other, and then she noticed the blushes form when the brunette with Harry had appeared to ask them a both question. Then it was as if a light bulb came on in Faith’s head.
"They've totally already done the dirty deed!" Faith exclaimed, perhaps a little too loudly when the people in front of them turned around, wondering what on earth she was talking about. "Hey, mind your own business, buck teeth!"
The inquisitive students quickly re-directed their attention away from the intimidating slayer, as Faith turned to see Giles' reaction, only to see him try to keep a neutral face. "She's already knocked up, isn't she? Come on - you'd be a shit poker player, G-man."
“Oh dear, I see spending time with Xander in South America has rubbed off you,” Giles pointed out. “And don’t call me G-man.”
Faith quickly waved it off, knowing full well that wasn't going to happen. "Don't change the subject. I can see it in your face, Giles – I'm right and you know it!"
Giles sighed; looking around nervously to make sure no one else was listening to them. "Shh, yes, you're right. This is clearly not the place to discuss it, but yes, it's all true."
"Whoa, who woulda thought... innocent little D," Faith said in disbelief with a shake of her head. "Just wait ‘til B finds out..."