Sour Sixteen.Disclaimer: Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayers are the properties of their respective owners.
Harry James Potter - Boy-Who-Lived, Wizard-In-Training, Prophesied-Saviour-Of-The-Wizarding-Kind and Highly-Hyphenated-Teenager - never held great expectations for his birthdays. His early childhood spent under the cold unloving supervision (you really couldn’t call that care) of the Dursley had taught him some hard lessons about existence. Life wasn’t fair; Rewards didn’t necessarily came associated with deeds; Great expectations only led to greater disappointments. This made his expectations for a good birthday extremely modest. He only hoped for a simple, average, relaxing, run-of-the-mill day accompanied by heartfelt wishes from his friends.
On his sixteenth birthday, he awoke with the certainty that this wouldn’t be just a disappointing birthday; it would be an awful one. Harry wasn’t one to put much faith in divination but he wasn’t one to truly discard the mystical art either. It had showed up at the center of some of the worst events in the near-catastrophe he called his life. This is why he had taken notice, reluctantly, of the numerous bad portents of the last few days. Even more worrisome, his instincts, those same instincts that had guided him successfully so many times before, were screaming ominously in accord with those portents. Something was coming, something life-altering, something bad.
Seating in his bed that early morning, still a little groggy from sleep, he decided to abate his nervousness with deep meaningful breaths. His occlumency lessons could only be qualified as an unmitigated disaster yet he had managed to learn a few ways to appease his emotions. Any self-control helped. Showing tension or anger in the presence of either Snape or his uncle Vernon was akin to agitating a cape in front of an enraged bull. Good for a splendid spectacle and an adrenaline rush but also tremendously stupid and dangerous. With those bad feeling haunting him, Harry expected his energies to be put to better use later than sailing through the storm of Vernon’s wrath.
As he relaxed, his best friend left her usual perch for her favourite one, his arm. She greeted him by nibbling the lobe of his right ear. The white owl was in a fine form that morning, hooting with extra-musicality and standing lordly on him. The pile of packaged and envelopes carefully disposed on the small desk attested Hedwig’s rights to be proud.
“Hello to you too, you beautiful you...” Harry said to her, scratching the soft feathers of her breast. “Thank you for the mail.” he added.
Predominant amongst the gifts was a small brown mouse, neck neatly broken. He expressed his gratitude for the thoughtfulness of his animal companion, giving her the dead rodent to eat, before plunging into the remaining presents. There were two packages of hand-made sweets from Ginny and her mother. Hagrid had sent him a wooden grim. Its likeness to his recent loss exacted a sad smile. Harry also received three books on pedagogy from Hermione, a magical first aid kit from Neville, a butterbeer cap necklace from Luna and an assortment of tricks from the twins. There were cards and letters from various school relations, including a short missive from Dumbledore.
The big surprise came from Ron. Books are common gifts amongst wizards so it wasn’t shocking to receive one from his best mate. What was shocking was that the book in question was neither a fiction nor a dissertation on the virtues of quidditch. It appeared to be a treatise on magic. Nondescript brown with the words “The Wonders of your Wand” engraved on the cover in black featureless letters, it looked dry and bland. If it had not been gifted to him, Harry wouldn’t have felt the slightest desire to peruse within its pages.
He expected such books from Hermione. Maybe it was a natural talent, her own peculiar branch of divination; maybe it was a side-effect of the sheer quantity of tomes she handled. Hermione often came up with plain-looking volumes that amazed by the quality of their content. It seemed like Ron might have stumbled upon such a jewel of knowledge and decided that Harry could benefit from it.
Delaying showing his face to the Dursley in an attempt to shirk chores on his celebratory day, Harry chose to breakfast with a few of Ginny’s delicious cupcakes and start reading his austere yet intriguing gift. Adding a little suspense, he first took care of Dumbledore’s letter. It was a short, to-the-point notification that his departure from Privet Drive was scheduled for mid-August. The other messages were put to the side in a display of teenage procrastination. He would read and answer those later, the same indefinite later he usually reserved for his homework. Instead, he forewent his idea of suspense and turned his attention straight to Ron’s offering.
It took him two whole puzzling chapters to have his epiphany, almost choking in the process. He had completely misunderstood the nature of the book. As stated, it was a tome about wands, just not the kind of wands that did magic or, at least, not magical magic. It was about the more... reproductive... kind of magic.
Harry presumed that Ron had chosen it based on the title and made an error, the kind of errors that led to humorous tales and shared brotherly laughs. A quick check on the first page allowed him to discover the sloppy written dedication and prove his presumption erroneous.
“For my mate.” the dedication read “May we lose our pesky virginities in the coming semester.”
For the second time in that single morning, Harry required the scraps of knowledge gathered from his occlumency training to enforce a more serene state of mind. It was well-intended. It was ill-informed. It came from Ron the Teaspoon. Those three short sentences became his mantra as he tried to contain his rage. The implied assumptions about his choices, his background and his character he deemed offensive to the highest degree. They were wrong on so many levels, suspicions spawned inside Harry about the nature of the friendship he perceived from Ron.
“It’s just Ron being Ron.” declared a small Hermione-sounding voice in the back of his mind. “You never told him.” it added. The reasonable words coming from Hermione, even a fictitious subconsciously-powered one, managed to restore a measure of calm in him. His virginity was a touchy subject for Harry. Only two persons, Hermione and Sirius, were aware that he had lost it the summer before his third year.
Telling Hermione had been a necessity. She had detected the changes brought upon him by the events of that summer and nothing he could say would stop her inquisitive nature. There was a well-known proverb whispered in the hallways of Hogwarts within their age group: It is safer to stand between an enraged famished lioness and her meal than to deny an answer to Hermione. Not wanting to testify on the truthfulness of that proverb, he had trusted her with a detailed - explicit elements notwithstanding - account of the events and their consequences. Talking to her had also provided him with an outlet when he needed it.
Telling Sirius had been entirely his choice. He had felt the need for a more adult point-of-view of those events. Remus was too proper, Dumbledore too old, Arthur too soft, Molly too smothering. His godfather had appeared as the better option and the man had proven himself worthy of those confidences, taking their secrets to the grave. As a bonus, it had allowed him to dodge Sirius’ clumsy attempts at initiating the dreaded Talk.
Harry reluctance at discussing his virginity, or rather his lack of it, was threefold. First, he respected his partner way too much to simply babble everywhere about her, especially in the crass way most of the other teenage boys seemed to favour. In all its clumsiness, as she had been barely more experimented than him even with their age difference, their night together had been amongst the best of his existence, a moment he intended to cherish to his dying breath. Second, he feared for her safety. She was a strong person, stronger than him, nevertheless she was also a muggle and vulnerable to his enemies’ magic. Third, their tryst already bore grave consequences. He didn’t want to add to them the media circus produced by his fame should the whole story become public knowledge.
This necessity for secrecy came at a cost. They had never met again. They could barely stay in contact with the occasional letter here and there, a few photographs when possible and the rare phone call during the summer vacations. A flame still smoldered between them but neither expected to live long enough to rekindle it.
Lavender would have gushed on their tale, considering how much it fit those vapid romantic tales she shared with Parvati. Two runaways had met one day, years ago, chased by family. She had been older, wiser. He had understood her like no other. An incredible week of friendship and budding love had culminated in a marvelous night of intimacy. Fated, they separated to return to their individual destinies, not yet aware of the permanent link that existed between them.
Harry shook his head, discarding the memories of the faraway petite beauty that had stolen his heart. His anger was gone too, dissolved in the sea of his memories. His taste for reading completely spoiled, he opted to exit his isolation and see what special ‘gift’ the Dursley had reserved for his sixteenth birthday.
The Dursley had surpassed themselves that year with the nastiest chore to date, even nastier than Snape’s and Filch’s notorious detentions or Dudley’s underwear drawer. Harry had been volunteered to help Vernon’s colleague empty and clean up an old septic tank in need of inspection. Hard, dirty work, it had eaten most of his day. From the mocking glint in his uncle’s eye as he informed his nephew of the task, it had been no accident, not that Harry had expected otherwise.
To make a bad matter worse, his magic had been unstable. He had felt multiple minor drains all over the day. Sparks had flown from the extremities of his digits. His eyes had been almost luminous in their greenness. Little omens that pointed to a clear message: the worst of that bad day was yet to come.
Harry was coming out of the bathroom in nothing but his boxers, freshly cleaned and philosophizing on the future of his sense of smell, when he felt the buildup of another drain on his magic. A big one too. His skin tingled. His hairs moved in an invisible breeze. His breath exited his mouth as a golden mist. He hurried to his room to lie on his bed as the power continued to accumulate. He suddenly recognized what was happening, but it only served to puzzle him more. A powerful dormant ritual had just been enacted. The problem was that he couldn’t recall ever doing such a ritual, especially one with that much access to his magical core.
Another wave of power passed through him, tainted by a familiar sensation. Hers. And he remembered…
Their last moment in private together, with Dumbledore waiting for him in the adjacent room. The small ceremony, done in jest. A forbidden blessing, a mark of love from foregone times believed powerless, done to express their coming separation. At the time, neither was aware of the true consequences of their shared time. Consequences… that could have acted upon the blessing, anchored it, made it true. But if it was that blessing, that ritual that had just activated… than it meant… it meant…
Harry had shed tears only once in years. Tears of joy, during his third school years, spelt on what he considered the best news of his life, He had suffered at Cedric and Sirius demises, had grieved for the two men, but had done so without a single drop out of his eyes. That evening, on his sixteenth birthday, the moment he understood that not only that specific ritual existed but it had activated… On that sour day, at that sad hour, he wept. Water gushed from his eyes as the emotional pain reached a scope he never imagined possible. Only the strength of his willpower, the same willpower that had kept him alive against the basilisk, stopped him from becoming completely crippled by the debilitating grief.
Because if the ritual was happening, than he had to prepare.
His first act, precautionary, was to send Hedwig for the help he might need soon. His second act was to make a cosy nest on the ground from his bedding in front of which he sat, waiting, the gifted first aid kit within his reach. Power still built up. As the magic reached a peak, a matrix of golden symbols appeared in front of him, levitating above the bedding. The energy discharged in a blast of yellow light.
A sobbing brown-haired toddler, only clothed in Barbie underwear, appeared out of thin air in place of the symbols, falling on the blanked nest. She was bleeding lightly from two shallow cuts on her tummy near her navel. Harry rapidly yet delicately dressed the wound, saying nonsensical words in a soothing tone. He lifted the child in a hug, cheek against cheek, unaware of their tears mixing.
He was sixteen, he was holding his daughter Dawn for the first time and his love, Buffy, was dead. This is another recycled fiction issued from my numerous attempts at a long family-themed BtvS-HP crossover. After reading the fantastic author NotJana, I pondered some ideas in my head until I came upon the following timeline synchronization.
BtVS - HP - Dawn
Summer between seasons 2 and 3 - Start of book 3 - Conception
Summer between seasons 3 and 4 - Start of book 4 - 3 months old.
Summer between seasons 4 and 5 - Start of book 5 - 15 months old.
End of seasons five - Start of book 6 - 27 months old.