*~* Something Wicked *~*
Every single professor in the whole of Hogwarts was acting odd at dinner.
And the students had definitely noticed. Harry was watching Willow. She seemed particularly on edge. Snape was glaring harder than ever, and McGonagall's lips were pursed so tightly, she almost didn't have a mouth. Spike was twitching and playing with a set of flatware he didn't need. Giles kept cleaning his glasses.
Tara and Mad-Eye Moody were suspiciously absent.
Harry caught Dawn's eye at the Slytherin table. He mouthed the word 'tower'. She nodded. She understood. Then he grinned when he noticed Gutterflower was still fussing over Draco. She'd messed with him then jumped over to Dawn's shoulder to play with the girl's hair. Then the ferret jumped over to the nape of Lily's neck.
The redhead shrieked and grabbed the ferret. She handed her to Dawn. Harry snickered. Ron was chuckling.
"What?" Ginny asked.
"It seems you have competition for Malfoy's affections, Ginny." Ron said chuckling.
Hermione glared at Ron. "Dawn has a pet ferret, Ginny. The little creature's quite taken with Draco apparently, much to Ron's everlasting and annoyingly vocal amusement."
Ginny looked over her shoulder and winked at Draco. He smirked at her. Ginny got up and made her way over there.
"Ginny, where are you going?"
She looked at Ron. "Where do you think?"
"Let her alone." Hermione snapped.
Ron glared at his girlfriend.
"Could be worse." Harry said a bit flippantly. "She could fancy Goyle. Or Pansy."
Meanwhile Ginny had reached the Slytherin table. She was getting harsh glares from everyone but Draco, Dawn, and Lily.
"How are the Slytherin Three?"
Dawn scooted over and patted the space between herself and Draco. Ginny sat down, much to the grumbling of the rest of the Slytherin table.
Lily looked down at them. "Oh PISS off."
"Lily, please don't cause any trouble today." Draco said without looking away from Ginny's face which was about an inch from his.
Lily rolled her eyes.
"Did you hear?" Pansy said loudly. "Seamus Finnigan likes Lily."
Lily rolled her eyes again.
"How pathetic. No Slytherin will have her. A Gryffindor is all she can get."
Lily was grinding her teeth.
Millicent Bulstrode spoke up then. "I heard Justin Finch-Fletchley liked her too."
"A stinking Hufflepuff."
"Actually I heard he smelled really good." Millicent said.
"Doesn't matter." Pansy snapped. "What kind of a girl can't attract her own house?"
Draco and Ginny were looking at one another. Draco's eyes kept darting to Lily. He was about one step away from letting Pansy have the verbal lashing of her life. Dawn's hands were on the redheaded Slytherin's under the table.
"Who'd have her?"
Everyone turned. Montague, a seventh year and the new Slytherin captain was leaned back with his arms folded across his chest. Lily looked at him in shock. Draco was glaring, as if to say 'not with MY sister you don't'.
"What do you think?" Dawn whispered.
Lily leaned close to her. "I think Mr. Montague, though very attractive in an alarming I-ride-a-broom-a-heck-of-a-lot sort of way, is making a whole mess of trouble for himself."
Dawn giggled and grabbed Lily's hand. The two of them took off across the hall towards the Gryffindor table, but not before Lily flashed a smile at Montague. Dawn squeezed herself in between Ron and Harry. Ron looked offended. Lily dropped into the seat vacated by Ginny, next to Hermione. She leaned around Neville Longbottom to peer at Seamus.
"Evening, Finnigan." She purred.
Seamus spit pumpkin juice all over Dean. Seamus had gone bright red. Neville was whacking him on the back as he choked a bit. Ron snickered behind his hand.
Harry leaned towards Dawn's ear. "Up for some mischief?"
"Looking for our tower?" She whispered back.
"We could get caught."
"Just meet me outside the Slytherin common room at midnight."
"Just be there."
Dawn had no more stepped out of the Slytherin common room when a hand clamped over her mouth, and she was pulled backwards and under something. She struggled a bit.
"It's Harry. We're under an invisibility cloak. Keep quiet."
He took his hand off of her mouth. Harry steered her up out of the dungeons and across the courtyard. Dawn shivered. All she had on were jeans and a long sleeved t shirt.
"Here." Harry said pulling off the green jumper he had on with a golden 'H' knitted on the front.
Dawn slid the sweater over her head. It smelled deliciously of Harry. She got warmer just thinking about it.
Harry crouched down. Dawn crouched with him. He took out an old roll of parchment and his wand.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." He tapped the wand to the parchment.
Dawn gasped as a map of Hogwarts seemed to draw itself on the page. "Cool."
"It was my dad's. So was the cloak."
They were crouched on the grass under the cover of invisibility, staring at one another as the half moon illuminated the courtyard. Harry leaned forward and tucked an errant strand of hair behind her ear. She was smiling through her shivers. It was a very cold night. Yet she was not complaining. Here was a girl who liked to be out solving a mystery as much as he did.
Harry leaned closer and was about to kiss her when his eyes caught something on the Marauder's Map.
"What in the hell?"
"What?" Dawn looked down. She must have seen the same thing Harry had. She looked up at him with wide eyes. "Harry."
They both looked down again. There was a dot labeled Sirius Black pacing next to a dot labeled Tara Maclay in the hospital wing.
"Oh my God." Dawn whispered.
"That's a tower, right?"
"Yeah. It's not in use though. Hasn't been for..." Harry's voice died off as he noticed the dot moving in it. He looked up at Dawn slowly.
"Let's go." She said almost breathlessly.
"Definitely." Harry tapped the wand on the map. "Mischief managed."
Dawn giggled as it went blank again. "That thing is so cool."
Harry grabbed her hand as they sprung up and took off running.
Willow had been staring out across the night ever since they had retired after supper. Snape sighed loudly. She spun about and glared at him.
"It can not be that serious."
"It IS that serious, Severus!"
"Do not raise your voice with me."
"I'm sorry. I just can't..."
"Because brooding and panicking about it will solve so many things."
"I am not brooding." Willow said sulkily.
"No?" He said with a raise of an eyebrow.
"I hate it when you get all high and mighty."
"And I dislike it when you become all worrisome about things that you can not control. You can not control everything, Rosenberg. Surely you've learned that life's lesson by now."
Willow scowled at him. "I'm just worried about Wesley."
"Professor Wyndham-Pryce is a grown man."
"Who made a mistake. Yes, it was a VERY bad mistake. He used poor judgment. He should have confided in Angel or someone. He should have told them about the prophecy. He should not have tried to tackle something that big all his own." She paused. "It's a thing with people like us. When we get good at something, we tend to want to be the ones who do it. There aren't very many people who I know in my life or have known who haven't gotten in over their heads at one time or another."
"He did sort of betray his friends. He took the man's child."
"He was wrong. Wesley did a wrong thing. But to leave him like that? I know Angel gets very passionate about the people he cares for. I've seen it. Firsthand."
"All I know, Little Red, is if some one was taking a child of mine away from me, I would not be so forgiving. Not right away."
"I get that. I do. But he was manipulated. I refuse to believe Wesley made the decision lightly. I know I wouldn't have."
"But would you have taken the child?"
"I don't know."
"What about the other?"
"That I really don't know about. It makes no logic to me, yet it does. I suppose I'll have to do the making peace thing here. I'm just really not looking forward to it."
"And this flux of magical energy in you?"
"I won't lie. Something wicked this way comes. And not the good sexy naughty kind of wicked. I can feel it in my bones." She gave a shiver.
Snape moved to comfort her when Anakin ran between his feet tripping him up. What Severus ended up doing was tackling Willow onto the lounge chair near the window.
"Bit anxious for some snuggley wuggley tonight, Mr. Cranky Pants?"
"Damn that infernal cat!"
"Awww. Don't be such a meanie. You ended up in a good place, growly bear man. We're all cozy here. It's a prime smoochies position."
"You know, it's rather annoying when you give the acts such childish names."
"Does that mean you don't wanna snuggle?"
"Did I say that?"
"Oooh. Maybe later we can interlock our parts."
"You are so bloody annoying."
"Guess that's why your wand's digging into my hip."
"My wand's over on the table. I don't..." He made a pinched face at her as she started laughing. "I am not amused."
"Just aroused, huh?"
He scowled darkly at her. Willow giggled some more.
Sirius was pacing by the bed Tara was in. He'd been pacing by it for most of the evening. Poppy Pomfrey had finally retired for the night, so he had let the polyjuice potion wear off. Tara was eyeing him with no small amount of apprehension.
"Don't tell me you're fine." He snapped. "There's something you aren't telling."
"I'm not crazy."
"Fine. You aren't crazy."
"I'm just hearing voices."
"Voices. Like echoes of the past... from... when... from the time when I was lost."
"Something's messing with your head?" He sat on the edge of he bed.
She nodded 'yes'.
"That rhyme you said, what did it mean?"
"I don't know." Her voice broke.
Sirius pulled her into his arms. "There now. It's all gonna be all right."
"You don't know that."
"Then allow an old man his false hope."
Tara pulled away. "You're not an old man." She ran a hand along his cheek. "I am."
He started laughing and swaying into her. Tara was giggling as well. They were leaning against each other trying to laugh quietly. He looked down. She turned her face up.
And quite by accident their lips met.
Everything went into fast forward for a minute or two.
Before Tara could form a coherent thought again, she had somehow ended up on her back with him all over her. Her shirt was already hanging open. His lips were trailing across her bare collar. That scent of sandalwood and lemon she always associated with him was filling her nostrils. There was a hand snaking its way under her skirt.
And images started hitting her brain like waves crashing on the shore during a violent storm. Tara cried out in pain.
Sirius jerked up off of her. "Tara?"
Tears were now falling out of her eyes.
"I'm sorry. I..."
"What's wrong?" He said rubbing her temples lightly.
"Harry's about to know."
"Know what?" Then his eyes went wide with realization.
Harry was pulling Dawn up the stairs in the tower. They were both trembling with excitement by the time they got to the lone door at the end of the tiny hallway at the top of the tower.
They moved slowly. Harry tried the handle and was surprised to find the door unlocked. They pushed it open and stepped in just past the door frame.
The room was nice. Comfortable. There was a fire blazing in the fireplace. Several torches lined the walls, and candles were perched in various places casting a golden glow all over. It made the room look soft. Surreal almost.
Then they saw her. She was looking out the window with her back to them. Long dark hair fell unbound almost to her waist. She was wearing a pair of pajamas and socks. Pale blue flannel with little white clouds on them topped off with the little white socks on her feet. It looked so innocent. She could have been a little girl.
The woman turned slowly and looked at them. Her arms were folded across her chest. She showed no sign of being shocked at them being in her room.
One corner of Harry's mouth went up. She was just as he had suspected her to be. "Faith, right?"
She flinched a bit. "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm Harry Potter." He said grinning. "And I think you know Dawn Summers."
Faith blinked at her. "Damn D, when'd you go and get all gorgeous?"
"You two know you ain't supposed to be up here, right?"
They both shrugged.
"Fine by me. I'm five by five if you are. Though I think D, here, might be a bit of the five by seven or eight. You're freaky tall now. I remember you all short and kid-like. So... what can I do you for?"
"Two dollars and fifteen cents." Dawn said offhandedly.
Harry stared at her in shock while Faith proceeded to cackle loudly.
"Sorry. Too much hanging around Spike."
Faith blinked. "Spike? You hang around Spike? B lets you?"
"You've missed some things." Dawn said.
"I'm getting that."
Harry stepped a bit closer. "Why are you here?"
"Here's the deal. You fill me in. Because correct me if I'm wrong but Wes said this was a wizard school, you know for magic types like Willow."
"Then what are you doing here, D?"
"I'm a witch."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Your deal?"
"Right. I tell you how I came to be here. You tell me how you did."
"That's fair." Harry said as he flopped into one of the chairs near the fire.
"And why are you being so nice to me?" Faith asked Dawn. "After what I-"
"I heard you had changed. And if I can forgive Buffy for freaking out and trying to kill me, I can forgive whatever you did."
Faith got an odd look on her face. "Thank you."
"My girl has a big heart."
Dawn looked at Harry. "Your girl?"
He blushed. "Aren't you?"
"I don't remember you asking."
Faith chuckled. "Don't be to hard on him, D. He's a cute one."
"Then consider this me asking you to go out with me."
Dawn was fighting off a serious smile. "Well, all right. If I have to."
Harry was blushing rather darkly.
"Where can I find one of those?" Faith asked.
"There are plenty here."
Faith grinned. In her memory, a memory she knew had been built by those monks, she had always gotten along with Dawn. Until she made her bad choices. After that, Dawn had been pretty wicked scary in her denouncement of Faith. Wesley had told her that they weren't real memories, but they felt real to Faith. Then something struck her.
"B tried to kill you?"
"It's all part of the story." Dawn said as she sat on the arm of the chair Harry was in.
Faith sat in the chair opposite them. "Let's have it then."
Harry grinned. She was very different from Buffy but... not. He felt the same sort of connection with her. She was kindred to him. There were things that she'd know and understand about him that others simply would not. He wrapped an arm around Dawn's waist as she started telling Faith the tale.