Dance Upon My Fingertips
Title: Dance Upon My Fingertips
Disclaimer: Whedon owns BTVS, Rowlings owns HP.
A/N: This story does follow the COS very closely for the first few bits. There is another story with Willow which will come as time goes on, but for now, I'm following the movie very closely.
Harry and his friends are all made 14 for this fic to make them Dawn's age. That means they started first years as 13, which I know goes against the books, but this is AU and it's meant to serve the purposes of this fic.
Tara and Willow have broken up, and Tara doesn't get mentioned very much in this fic.
Willow Rosenburg sighed, pulling the top down over her suitcase.
Listlessly, the redhead tugged at the zippers, shutting her luggage and adding it to the pile by the door. They would be taken down later, when the time had come for them to leave.
She couldn't believe they were leaving. She still wasn't at the point where she could handle all the things that had happened to this point. Buffy was gone, dead, and the Slayer wasn't coming back this time. No nifty prophecy with a loophole here, nope. Just the ultimate sacrifice of an older sister, of a Protector. Nothing more to be done here.
And that was the really sad part of the whole mess. Nothing to be done about it. Nothing to fix all of this, nothing to fill in the giant holes in all of them. Nothing at all. No magical cure, no logical comfort, no peace to be had. Just the death of Buffy, and it's aftermath.
She couldn't keep dwelling on this. She didn't have the time to be thinking on that right now. Giles was going to call soon, let them know about the travel arrangements. He said they were unique, but Willow wasn't quite sure what he meant by that. How unique could a plane get? After all, wasn't like there were too many other ways of getting across the Atlantic.
Willow sighed again, climbing to her feet and opening her bedroom door. She reached down, grasping the handle of two of her suitcases and heaving them out into the hallway. She turned around, repeating the task until all of the luggage was in the corridor. She turned back to look into the room she had lived in for the last two months. It used to be Joyce's room, then it was her room. Now, it was probably going to be Xander and Anya's room. The newly wedded couple were moving in the following day, after the other two were well on their way.
Speaking of the two, Willow stepped over her luggage and ending up in front of Dawn's room. The redhead took a deep sigh before raising her hand to knock. There wasn't an answer at first, causing Willow to frown and raise her hand again.
"I'm coming," was the muffled reply from the other side. Willow lowered her hand, gaze softening as she stared at the closed door in front of her.
"You need any help Dawnie?" she ventured. "Xander's waiting to get all the luggage downstairs."
"I'm coming," Dawn repeated from inside. "Call him up already. My stuff's all packed."
Dawn sounded a bit stiff, not that Willow blamed her. But what could they do? Hank hadn't come for his youngest daughter and the only way to avoid the foster care system was to put Dawn in Giles and Willow's joint custody. Of course, Giles didn't have to move back to England, prompting the girls to follow him in conjuction with the court order. But even Willow could see the wisdom in the Watcher's decision. Their life here in Sunnydale was over. Time to start anew.
"Xander!" Willow called down the stairs, stepping away from Dawn's closed door.
"Here I come!" came the forced cheerful reply. Xander came bounding up the steps, a strained grin on his face. He didn't like the way things were going any more than the others, but again, he had to accept it. Buffy was gone, their obligation to the Hellmouth was gone. The new Slayer had arrived over the summer, with her own Watcher. The time of the Scooby Gang had ended.
"I'll just start getting these down," Xander mumbled, grabbing some of Willow's luggage and carrying them down the steps. Willow sighed, grabbing some of her own and following him. Anya waited for them at the bottom, cordless phone in her hand. She pointed the machine towards Willow, a sad smile on her face.
"It's Giles," the blonde offered. Willow nodded, taking the phone from her friend.
"Hello Willow, are you two all packed?"
"Yes Giles," the redhead assured him, watching as Xander went back up for more of the luggage. She heard Dawn's door open and knew the blonde was adding her stuff to the pile.
"We're just bringing all the stuff down," Willow continued.
"Good. Your transport should be there soon. Now Willow, there is something you must know about this transport. It's unlike anything you have ever seen before."
"I've seen planes before Giles," Willow grinned wryly. "I've even been on a couple."
"Well, you're not coming by plane exactly."
Willow frowned, stepping aside so Xander could place more bags by the door.
"Then how are we getting over that nasty little ocean G-Man?"
Screams from upstairs cut off any reply from Giles. Willow jerked her head upwards, finding the source of the screams.
"Dawn!" she cried out in horror, clasping the phone to her shoulder as she sprinted up the steps. She heard Xander and Anya right behind her as well as Giles on the phone. But Willow didn't stop for any of them. She followed the screams to Dawn's room.
The blonde was standing in front of her window, screaming in earnest. Willow's jaw hit the floor when she saw what the source of Dawn's screams were.
"Please hush miss," the pleading came through the window. "You'll wake up the neighbourhood."
Willow tried to work her jaw into making some sort of noise, but words failed her. She was jarred out of her thoughts as she was rammed into from behind. She heard some creative cussing come from Anya and Xander, stopping when they got a good look at the window. Dawn still screamed, stomping her foot with every shriek.
Willow raced over to the blonde, clamping her hand over her mouth. Dawn struggled against the redhead, eyes wide as she gestured to her window. Willow could hear Giles on the phone, demanding to know what was going on.
Outside the window, things were much calmer now that Dawn had stopped screaming. Willow gently took her hand away from Dawn's mouth, steering the younger girl to Xander and Anya. Dawn made some squeaks, prompting Willow to press a finger against her lips. She hushed the girl, handing the phone to Anya as she moved to the window. She heard Anya answer Giles, telling him of the shocking sight outside the window. Willow didn't pay much attention to that conversation, stepping right up to the window and leaning out a bit.
"Hello, sorry for the surprise. We thought that Mr. Giles had time to tell you."
"No problem," Willow replied shakily. "But could you do me a favour?"
"Can you please park your flying car down in the driveway? I don't want to alarm the neighbours."
"They have a flying car. Giles wants us to travel in a flying car. Buffy would never let me in a flying car."
"Which is just the equivalent of Buffy driving a car," Anya offered with a giggle, going up to her tiptoes to glance at the landing car in the driveway. Xander tossed his wife a minor glare, standing rather defensively in front of the door.
"You're not going up in that thing," the man told his friends. "I don't care what G-man says. You're not going off in a flying car."
"Xander, don't be a prick," Willow muttered, elbowing her way to the door. She bent over to grab her bags, tossing her best friend a glare over her shoulder.
Xander sighed, running a hand through his hair was he helped the redhead with the bags.
"I just want it to be noted that I did not support this in any shape or form," he grumbled, hefting two bags out the door.
"It has been noted," Willow returned with a bit of a scoff. "Let's just get this show on the road already."
"Sorry about the shock," came the breathless voice with a nice British accent. "Mum told us that Mr. Giles told you about our arrival."
"Oh, we were told," Willow assured the red-haired teenager in front of her. "But the G-Man neglected to mention the whole flying car thing."
"Oh," the boy looked a bit shocked. "Well, that is unexpected. I thought for sure that would be the first thing Mr. Giles would mention."
"Well, it just supports my whole theory of Giles being a crafty little bastard," Anya quipped from behind Dawn. Xander tossed his wife a warning glare, one she returned with a pout.
"Not like you don't agreed," she muttered despondently, stalking to flop down the stairwell. The boy seemed mighty flustered, scratching his head and looking uncomfortable. Willow decided to take pity on the boy.
"Could you help us with our bags?" she asked sweetly. He nodded, reaching for some of the bags and turning back to the car. Willow watched him go, appraising him silently. He looked about sixteen, no more than eighteen she was willing to go. Fair skinned, red hair, and green eyes, not unlike her own appearance. In fact . . .
"He could be your long lost British brother," Dawn whispered in her ear. Willow gave a giggle, smiling at the girl behind her.
"That's exactly what I was thinking," she replied with a laugh.
"I don't like the looks of him," Xander muttered. "He's too young to be driving a flying car."
"And what's the legal age for that?" Willow countered.
"About thirty," Xander replied with a sniff. "And that's only after I've seen the pilot license. This is far too dangerous. You're not going with them. Oh well, try for another day."
Willow snaked out a hand, stilling his movement of bags back into the house.
"We're going Xander," she murmured softly but firmly. "I know you don't like it, but there's nothing to be done. Giles said we have to-"
"I can't seem to remember when we started listening to G-Man so much," Xander grumbled angrily. Willow sighed, giving Anya and Dawn a look. Both blondes jumped up, helping transfer the bags into the back of the flying car. They joined the boy and his two companions. They had to be related, all of them. Same hair, complexion, and eyes.
"Jesus," Xander growled. "How many more could there be?"
"Xander, enough," Willow sighed. "I know that you're not okay with us going, but we have to. There's nothing left for us to do here-"
"I'm still here!" Xander interjected. "And Anya. We're still here."
"And Giles is in England," Willow pressed gently. "And if we don't want to lose Dawn to Child Services, we have to go where G-Man is. Xander, this school is going to be good for Dawnie. She can't ever be a normal girl, she has too many powers. And the magic that is her, well, we can't ignore. She can never just sit back and pretend like she doesn't know all this stuff. It's the best thing we can do for her."
"You're just saying that because you want to go and be the new assistance head witch or whatever," Xander whined. Willow gave a brief laugh.
"I'm assistant librarian," she reminded him. "Not that big of a deal. Not too much of the witchy for me. Now, are you just going to pout and be sour all day, or are you actually going to wish us off? Please Xander, I don't want to leave on bad terms."
Xander sighed, body seemingly losing tension as he glared up at the night sky.
"I don't want you to leave on bad terms either," he relented. "But I still think this is overly extreme."
"You seem to have a lot of opinions on this," she told him amusedly. "Well, you and Dawn are two of my favourite topics," he grinned at her. "Have an invested interest in the two of you."
"Just come and say goodbye," she instructed with a grin, tugging him towards the car. "And act sociable to the others. Remember, they're not evil."
Xander made a face while she dragged him down the porch steps.
"Can you prove that?"
"So, gas must be murder on this thing," Willow started conversationally. The youngest, Ron, favoured her with a smile.
"It doesn't run on gas," he told her. "So, not really a problem."
"Oh," Willow looked properly chastised. "I should have known that, with it being a magic car and all."
"It's okay," offered one of the twins, Fred? "It must have been a hell of a shock seeing us the first time."
"You think you git?" his brother George, snorted. "Miss Summers started screaming. I told you we should have just parked and than knocked. But no, you wanted to do things quickly."
"Well, we do have the whole issue with Mr. Potter," Fred tossed back. "We don't have a lot of time."
"Who's Mr. Potter?" Dawn asked. "And what happened to him?" Ron sighed, leaning back in his seat and turning to face the two girls.
"Harry's my friend," he revealed. "He's a great wizard, or he will be. His parents died when he was younger, when You-Know-Who killed them."
"I don't know who," Willow cut in. "Who?"
Ron paled, biting his lip as he looked imploringly at his older brothers.
"Just tell her," Fred prompted. "They're bound to find out sooner or later."
"You-Know-Who was a really bad wizard," Ron finally answered. "He killed a lot of wizard families and tried to turn a lot over to his side. He was going to take over the world or something. Anyway, he went after Harry's parents because they wouldn't join them. And then he tried to kill Harry, but something weird happened. You-Know-Who failed and then disappeared. That's why Harry's such a big deal in the wizarding world, he's the Boy Who Lived."
"Sounds tough," Dawn sympathized. Ron nodded.
"It gets worse," Ron informed her. "He has to live with his Muggle Uncle and Aunt-"
"Muggle?" Willow interrupted again.
"Human," Ron explained. "And they're horrible to him. They don't want him going to Hogwarts. They even barred up his windows this time, trying to stop him from going this year."
"That's so mean!" Dawn protested.
"We agree," George called out from the front. "And that's why we're heading to his house before home. We're going to bust him out."
"Admirable," Willow offered with a smile. "But aren't your parents going to be mad if they find out?"
"They'll be mad we took the car to such a crowded neighbourhood," Fred agreed. "But not about Harry. Our Mum adores Harry."
"So does Ginny," Ron snickered from the back.
"Ginny?" Dawn asked.
"Our sister," George answered.
"How many are there?" Willow asked with a smile.
"Well, first there's Bill, then Charlie, then Percy, then the twins, then me and finally Ginny," Ron replied, ticking siblings off on each finger.
"How does your mother handle it?" Willow giggled, shaking her head as she thought it over.
"With an iron fist," Fred replied with a laugh. "Don't worry about our Mum. Be more worried about us when she finds out what we've done."
"Willow," Dawn tugged on the redhead's sleeve. "We're here."
"Already?" Willow asked, turning to watch the England landscape stretch out below her.
"And there's Harry's house," Ron pointed out his window. Dawn and Willow scooted closer to his side, watching as Fred lowered the car down next to a house. They pulled up beside a barred window, seeing the shocked boy on the other side. He looked about Dawn and Ron's age, black hair and wide eyes with glasses.
"Come on Harry!" Ron shouted out the window. "Get your trunk ready!"
The boy nodded, speeding away to gather up his things. Dawn watched in interest as Ron latched a crane onto the bars. Willow pushed both kids back into their seats as Fred jerked the car away from the house. The bar came flying off the side of the house, falling rather noisily to the ground below. Harry looked scared, shooting a glance at his door. They heard some noise, sounds of shouts from inside the house.
"Hurry!" George urged. Harry need little encouragement. He threw his trunk into the car, falling into it right afterwards. The door burst open after that, a large man bursting into the room. He raced after Harry, latching onto his foot. Ron grabbed onto Harry, shouting at his brother to pull away. Willow and Dawn grabbed a hand each, pulling on their end of the boy. There commenced a brief tug of war, ending with another leap from Harry. His leap threw him onto Dawn's lap, the blonde giving a shocked squeal.
The Boy Who Lived blushed, sliding off her lap and squishing in between Ron and Dawn. He looked flushed, offering a smile to everyone in the car.
"Hello. I'm Harry Potter. Who might you be?"
After another hour of travelling, and one jerky landing, the car had reached its destination. Willow pushed open her door, looking up at the tall house in awe. It looked so homey, so nice, so . . . magical.
"This is your house?" Dawn could be heard asking.
"Yep," Ron replied, a bit of sheepishness to his tone. Willow frowned at that, not liking the way Ron was blushing and hiding his head. It was like he was ashamed for some reason. She couldn't figure out why. His home was lovely.
"I like it," Dawn murmured to the boy. "It's so big and colourful."
Her words seemed to make him happy, actually puffing him up a bit. Willow bit back a giggle, turning awed green eyes to the scenery around her. It wasn't so much that it looked different, it was that it felt different.
"Come on then," Fred interrupted her reverie. "Into the house. Dad, Mr. Giles, Bill, and Charlie will be back from the Ministry soon enough. And best to sneak in before Mum has a chance to notice how long we've been gone."
Willow followed the chattering teenagers into the house silently. Her eyes were still on the landscape and the surrounding area. For the first time since Giles's decision, Willow felt a bit of lightheartedness. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.
The group quieted as they entered the home, the Weasley boys hushing everyone else once they were inside. The conversation was continued in whispers, mainly with Dawn interrogating the boys on the status of Hogwarts. Harry was quite animated about one thing, Quite-an-Itch or something similar. Dawn was making funny faces, laughing quietly as the boys filled her in on the Itch thing.
Willow paid them no attention. Her eyes wandered around the house, taking in the magical things carrying on quite obviously. The dishes were washing themselves, the knitting was knitting itself. There was some strange clock in the living room, with each face of the family members on a hand. Three hands went up, Willow recognizing the three boys who had picked her up. She frowned a bit at the device, trying to figure out exactly what it was. But then:
"Fred! George! Ron!"
The boys quickly fell into a straight line, Harry falling in next to them out of sheer habit. Dawn snickered at the pale faces of the Weasleys, pulling Harry out of line.
"Not your punishment," she teased him as she dragged him over to Willow. "Let their Mom have a go at them, and then we'll interfere."
"But it's my fault-"
"Where have you boys been?" the demand was accompanied by the arrival of the Weasley Mother. Willow grinned at the sight of the woman. She was fairly tall, fairly plump, and exerted that whole Mom feel. Her hair was as red as her boys, eyes as green, thought they were flickering a bit as she looked at her children.
"I have been worried sick!" she continued, not taking much notice of the guests. "You should have been home hours ago!"
"We had to stop and get Harry," Ron protested. "The Muggles had bars on his window."
"You'll be getting at taste of that yourself if you ever pull something like this again Ronald Weasley," Molly Weasley was quick to interject. "If you boys ever pull anything like that again, there will be severe consequences."
All three boys gulped audibly, exchanging stricken looks. Molly Weasley merely glared at them sternly, turning around to finally acknowledge her guests. Her smile melted into a sweet smile as she took in the three new arrivals.
"Harry, how wonderful to see you again," Molly enthused, pinching the boy's cheek ever so slightly. Those now twinkling green eyes moved onto the girls, a wider smile splitting her face.
"And you two must be Willow and Dawn," Molly surmised. "Such lovely names, such lovely girls!"
Willow gave a delighted little laugh while Dawn giggled and blush as the woman preened over them.
"Yes, very bit as beautiful as Mr. Giles described," Molly continued, bustling the two girls towards the kitchen table. "You girls sit and eat, I bet you're starving after that trip. Mr. Giles will return shortly, he's just finishing some stuff up at the Ministry. We'll be on our way to Diagon Alley soon."
"Diagon Alley?" Dawn repeated, frowning at the turned back. Molly paid no attention to her, already pulling breakfast foods out for eating.
"It's the alley of shops where we get our supplies," Harry answered, settling on Dawn's other side. Willow bit back a grin at the way the boy gravitated near Dawnie. It was kind of cute. The Weasley boys joined them, an older one named Percy, came down the stairs and joined his brothers.
"Oh," Dawn nodded. "Well, I don't think we have that much money on us-"
"Mr. Giles will be taking you to Gringotts first," Fred informed her. "You know, to pick up some revenue."
"And Gringotts is?"
"The bank, run by goblins," George answered quickly, hand snaking out for an apple as his mother placed food on the table. Molly just slapped at his hands.
"Guests first," she admonished him. The boy looked wounded for a second. Willow laughed, throwing an apple his way as Molly turned back to her stove.
"So Dawn," Molly began. "Are you starting off in first year with Ginny or second year with Ron and Harry."
"Second year," the blonde answered. "Giles had this strange man in robes come down during the summer to give me some sort of aptitude test. I've been getting some lessons from Willow and Giles over the past year and they said that I was good enough for second year."
"Willow taught you?" Ron repeated. "But I thought that Willow was just a M-"
"It's okay," Willow interrupted. "I know that I don't appear that powerful. But yes, I am a witch. I have been for about four years now."
"Only four?" Fred frowned. "But, how can you teach at the school with only four years of experience? You haven't even finished the program."
"I was never in a program," Willow shrugged. "I taught myself, and Giles helped of course."
"You taught yourself?" Harry repeated. "How can you do that?"
"I read a lot of Giles's magic books," Willow explained. "And Giles said I must have had magic in the blood or something, because I caught on real fast. First few years the spell weren't always so perfect, but the fact that I was doing them was amazing, or so the G-Man says."
"It is rather shocking to hear of a self taught witch," Molly murmured. "The most powerful witches and wizards of our time came from Hogwarts."
"I'm not that powerful," Willow hastily replied. Molly arched a brow at that.
"Mr. Giles told us of how you fared against this Glory demon," Molly informed her. "I say you are indeed very powerful."
"Mum!" came the distracting cry from upstairs. There was a thunder of footsteps and another redhead appeared in the kitchen.
"Where's my jumper?" she asked in a bit of a panic.
"It's upstairs," Molly frowned, hustling the girl back up the stairs. "Look in your dresser."
"That's Ginny," Ron offered to Willow and Dawn. "She's the baby of the family."
"I'm not a baby!" came the protest from upstairs. Willow gave a little giggle at that. Molly just rolled her eyes, continuing to patter around the kitchen.
"Oh look," she exclaimed suddenly, gazing out the window. "They're here."
Willow and Dawn both perked up at that, craning their necks to see who had come. The door burst open and four people wandered in. Dawn's face lit up at the sight of the first arrival.
"Giles!" she gave a little squeal, jumping up from the table and racing for the man. Giles gave a little grunt as the girl threw herself into his arms, followed by another as Willow added herself to the mix.
"Hello girls," he greeted them warmly, moving away from the door so his companions could enter. "How was the trip?"
"It was fine," Willow told him, pulling back to poke him in the shoulder. "However, a little forward notice of the flying car would have been nice."
Deep laughter from the doorway divereted her attention from Giles. Willow peeked around the Watcher, eyes widening when she took in the handsome men standing behind them. Both had a shock of red hair and the same twinkling green eyes she had almost become accustomed to.
The older Weasley boys were here.
And they were both so hot!
Dawn looked curiously between Giles and Willow, noting with a grin that Willow was rather busy discreetly shooting looks at the older Weasleys than listening to her. The redhead had practically swooned when they came in the house, and Dawn couldn't help but agree. They were both seriously hot. And nice bodies from what she could tell through the robes they were wearing. Very nice indeed, maybe Willow would like to play with one.
Because she sure wasn't about to answer Dawn's question. The blonde pouted, turning her head to look up at her sister's former Watcher. Giles had heard her, shooting her a reassuring smile.
"It's a magical method of travel," he informed. "Instaneous really."
"Okay," Dawn nodded, nudging Willow so she would pay attention to the conversation as well. "How does it work?"
"Quite simple dear," Molly answered. "You just step into the fireplace and reach for some floo powder. Then you clearly state where you want to go, throw the powder down, and you're there."
"Doesn't sound too difficult," Willow mused, craning her neck to look at the bowl of powder Molly had in her hands.
"Well, I'll go first just in case," Giles stated firmly, advancing into the fireplace. Both girls watched him with wide eyes. Giles took some powder into his hand, smiling his thanks at Molly. Then Molly pushed everyone back. Willow blushed a bit when she felt herself press against a firm chest. One of the older boys no doubt, and he had his hand on her arm, pulling her a safe distance from Giles. The Watcher gave the inhabitants of the house one last smile before announcing his destination in a ringing voice.
"Gringotts!" he bellowed, throwing the powder down at his feet. There was a slight whoosh and smoke. Both girls watched in horror as Giles went up in green flames, disappearing right before their eyes.
"Right then," Molly declared, pulling Dawn forward. "Your turn darling."
Dawn's eyes went wider than before, a few gurgling noises coming from her throat. She turned to Willow, shaking her head slightly as Molly pushed her towards the fireplace.
"I'll be right after you," Willow offered in consolation.
"Well, no you won't because I'm not going," Dawn protested, dragging her heels as Molly continued to pull her.
"Don't worry dear," Molly assured her. "Everything will be fine. Just remember to state your destination carefully."
"Don't worry, I'm scared too," Harry whispered in her ear. "Never done this before."
Dawn gave him a slightly strained look before stepping into the fireplace. She took the powder hesitantly, eyes seeking out Willow. The redhead gave her a thumbs up sign and a reassuring smile. Dawn sighed, squeezing her eyes shut as she spoke.
And with a toss of her hand, Dawn was gone.
Landing was interesting. One minute you're in the fireplace, the next you're on the floor in a painful heap.
Willow let out a grunt as she hit stone cold floor. The redhead gave a slight moan before opening her eyes.
"At least you landed on the floor," were the words to greet her. Dawn was standing over Willow, offering the fallen redhead a hand up. Willow allowed herself to be pulled up, flailing a bit when she was on her feet.
"I landed on a goblin," Dawn revealed, shooting a glance towards a slightly irritated goblin in the corner. Willow stared at the small creature with glasses. It huffed at her attention, scrambling his way to the front of the room.
Dawn shrugged at his demeanor. She helped Willow dust herself off, clucking her tongue all the while. Willow took the time to look around, astounded with the dark room she was in.
"Girls," Giles called them from the desk. Willow started and then made for the front, dragging Dawn along with her. Giles offered them a smile when they joined him, handing something to the creature there. Willow just gave him a bit of a grimace before turning to the front desk. The goblin at the desk was examining some sort of key Giles had given him. Willow frowned, wondering exactly where they were going to get their money from.
"It's the Council's fund," he answered her unspoken question. "Kind of a insurance plan for lost Slayers' families."
"Oh," Dawn looked around her curiously. "Where's the vault?"
"Underground," came the answer from the front. The goblin looked at Giles. "Everything is in order. If you would just follow me."
Both girls were confused as they followed Giles and the goblin. Through doors and hallways until they entered a dark corridor. Willow's foot hit something, the redhead looking downwards to see the railway track at her feet.
"Um Giles?" she called out tentatively. Giles waved this off, signalling for the girls to hurry up. He stood by a trolley, looking at it grimly.
"In we go," he ordered seriously. Dawn and Willow exchanged confused looks before jumping into the trolley. Giles climbed in after them. There was a slight creak and then the trolley began to move.
About an hour and one hell of a ride later, the three emerged from Gringotts loaded with the appropriate amount of cash. Dawn was the first to stumble out into the street, looking at the building she departed in a bit of shock. Willow and Giles followed, the latter rather pale in the face.
"Let's do it again!" the blonde shrieked in delight. Willow grinned, sobering when she saw the glare on Giles's face.
"Behave Dawn," the redhead muttered with restrained laughter. "We have to get supplies and stuff."
"Quite right," Giles nodded. "We have to get the wands first."
"Wands?" Dawn repeated in surprise. "I need a wand?"
"You both need a wand," Giles tossed over his shoulder, heading down the street. Willow took the moment to look around her, smiling at the sight of so many people in robes and cloaks.
"But Giles," she called out suddenly. "Why do I need a wand? I don't know how to use one."
"Professor McGonagall has volunteered to teach you while you're there," Giles explained. "But first things first, you have to find one."
Giles stopped abruptly outside a shop. Dawn looked up at the sign: Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC, it read.
"In you go," Giles ushered them. "We have many supplies to get today."
Willow and Dawn allowed themselves to be pulled into the shop. Almost immediately a small man with silvery eyes appeared at the counter.
"May I help you?" he asked them amicably.
"Two wands," Giles answered. "One for each of them."
"Well, the young ones starting up at Hogwarts is she?" the man asked, motioning Dawn closer. "But what about the other?"
"A former wandless witch," Giles answered before Willow could open her mouth. "She'll be working at Hogwarts this semester."
"Oh," the man looked surprised, shaking it off as he produced a measuring tape from inside his robes. He quickly scuttled around to Dawn, tape unrolling and measuring. The blonde was shocked to see the tape continue to measure of its own accord as the man returned to behind the counter.
"Okay, on to the next," he shouted suddenly. The tape stopped, moving onto Willow. The redhead tolerated the strange tape floating around her. When the man called out for it to stop once more, it fell to the floor with a clatter.
"Okay, okay, here we go," the man mumbled to himself. He shoved a wand into Dawn's hand. "Try this. Six inches, beechwood with unicorn hair. Give it a whirl. Use your wand hand."
Dawn hefted the piece of wood in her right hand, giving Willow a confused look before waving the wand. Nothing happened.
"Hm," the man mused, pulling more wands from his shelves. "Try this, willow wood with dragon heartstring, seven inches."
Again Dawn took the wand, waving it around. This time something happened. A ball of white light erupted from the wand, hitting the walls with a loud crash twice before disappearing.
"Sorry!" Dawn apologized. "I didn't mean to-"
"It's all right dear," he waved off. "Happens all the time. Here, Nine inches, birch with phoenix feather."
Dawn accepted the wand with a shaky hand, waving it and nothing happened. They went through wand after wand, finally stopping at a holly one with dragon heartstring that was seven inches. Dawn grasped the wand, feeling a strange warm feeling starting immediately in her hand.
"There we go!" the man exclaimed in joy. "And now for the other-"
"This one," Willow stated, pulling a wand from the pile of used ones by Dawn. The wand set out a glow immediately, signifying that it was indeed the one.
"Well, how about that," the man mused. "You just knew."
"I just knew," Willow agreed, not quite sure how she knew.
"Well, it's appropriate," the man enthused, recovering from his shock quickly. "Willow with phoenix feather, nine inches."
"Thanks," Willow murmured, eyes not leaving her new wand. Her fingers traveled over the bark of it, marveling at its smoothness. Giles coughed, stepping forward to pay the man. Dawn was playing with hers, making dramatic sweeps in the air with it.
"I like it," the blonde giggled. "It feels right."
"The wand chooses you," Giles informed her, ushering the girls out of the shop. "It's made for its master."
"Cool, but then how come Willow chose hers?" Dawn asked suddenly.
"I didn't chose it," Willow protested. "I just knew when you held it up that it was for me."
"Most people don't have that skill," Giles mused. "This might warrant some research."
Dawn rolled her eyes.
"You say that about flat tires."
From the wand shop the trio went to go get the girls' robes. The nice portly woman inside the robes shop was a delight, talking excitedly to them as she measured them up for robes. Next, they got Dawn her cauldron and telescope, picking up one of the latter for Willow as well. Giles had tried to persuade her to take a cauldron as well, but the redhead refused.
"I'd do something irresponsible with it," she informed her mentor. "Like throw random ingredients in it and pull off a comedic reproduction of the three witches scene in MacBeth. You know, double double and all that other stuff."
Giles had shaken his head and taken the girls to get their telescopes. Dawn skipped in front of them the entire way down Diagon Alley, playing with her new school supplies as she went. The teenager seemed most impressed with her wand, waving erratically in the air until Giles threatened to take it away.
The afternoon was winding down when the trio ended up in front of the Flourish and Blotts bookshop. There was a crowd inside the shop, mostly females. Willow frowned, looking at the signs in front of the shop curiously. Who was this Lockhart person?
Willow looked up, smiling when she saw Ron waving them over. The two girls made their way to him, Giles making his way over to where Ron's dad stood.
"Hey Ron," Willow greeted him. "What's with the crowd?"
The boy rolled his eyes, sending an annoyed look over his shoulder. Willow followed his gaze, seeing Harry behind a table being hugged by some blonde guy. The Boy Who Lived looked decisively uncomfortable as the blonde man prattled on about how great he was. Willow snorted to herself, moving to stand beside Molly Weasley as the man continued to talk.
"Lockhart," came the reply from Ron finally. "Some hotshot wizard with his autobiography. My Mum fancies him."
Dawn and Willow both sniggered as Molly swatted at her youngest boy. Harry finally emerged from the clutches of the great Lockhart, stumbling his way over to his friends, arms laden with books.
"Give those to me Harry dear," Molly instructed, grabbing the pile from his arms. "I'll get them signed for you."
Willow arched a brow at the way Molly, and all the other females, were acting in the presence of this man. Finding him none too entertaining, she decided to follow the kids out of the throng.
"Not mesmerized by the great Lockhart?" came the teasing question in her ear. Willow spun around, going a tint of red when she saw Charlie Weasley behind her.
"Never heard of him," she confided in the man. "And I'm not too impressed with what I see. He's a bit-"
"Pompous?" Charlie filled in for her. Willow laughed, nodding her head as Charlie helped guide her out of the crowd of female admirers.
"It's kind of funny," she mused. "With all this attention, you would think he's Elvis or something?"
"Who's Elvis?" Charlie asked innocently. Willow turned shocked eyes onto her companion.
"You don't know who Elvis is?" she asked incredulously. The man blushed under her gaze, eyes on the floor.
"Well, I don't know," the redhead mused, instantly sorry for embarrassing him. "I guess he is a more Muggle phenomena."
"What did he do?"
"He was the King of Rock and Roll," Willow explained. Charlie frowned.
"I've never heard of Rock and Roll," he shrugged. "Where is it?"
"It's not a place," Willow laughed. "It's a type of music."
"Muggle music?" Charlie asked, his face screwing up with distaste.
"Yep," Willow giggled. "You guys are really separated from the Muggle world aren't you?"
"My job focuses on keeping Muggles away from dragons," Charlie revealed, sidestepping an overzealous fan of Lockhart who was pushing her way to the front. "I spend much more time with the dragons than I do with the Muggles."
"Oh well, it's all right," Willow waved off. "Though I suppose all my quips of a pop culture reference would be lost on you."
"Definitely," Charlie laughed. "But I'm sure you're in the same boat if I go on about Quidditch."
"What is that by the way?" Willow pounced. "I heard Harry talking about it, but I wasn't really paying attention. Is it like some sort of cult or something?"
"Well, I suppose it depends on how you look at it," Charlie laughed. "But Quidditch is a sport . . ."
Willow frowned as the man trailed off, following his hardened gaze to the front of the shop. An impressive man stood there, cloaked in black. His hair was this astonishing white colour, reaching down to about his shoulder blades. He radiated a sort of power and fierceness that made her blood run cold.
And he was standing right in front of Dawn.
Dawn had decided that Lockhart wasn't that impressive and should really learn something about shutting up. He just went on and on, shoving books this way and that, and smiling broadly for the females when he couldn't think of anything intelligent to say. Well, none of much he said was intelligent, so not much of a loss.
Harry had gladly dropped his newly acquired books into the waiting hands of Molly Weasley. He joined Ron and Dawn behind her, sending them a harried look.
"Let's go get some books that might actually be useful," he suggested. Dawn nodded, hand going to rest on Harry's back as the three of them made their way out of the crowd.
"Well, there you are," came voice just outside the crowd. "I'd seen Harry, but was wondering what had happened to Ron."
"Hermione!" Ron declared in joy, pulling a slender brunette in for a hug. "How was your summer?"
"Good," the brunette, Hermione, enthused. "I got all my reading done."
Harry rolled his eyes.
"All she ever does is studies," he whispered to Dawn. The girl giggled, thinking of Willow immediately. This Hermione sounded like a younger version of the intelligent redhead.
"What was that now Harry?" Hermione turned her gaze on the two of them, eyes flickering with curiosity as she beheld Dawn. "Hello."
"Hi, I'm Dawn," Dawn offered, stepping forward to shake her hand.
"I'm Hermione," the brunette returned with a warm smile. "Are you the American everyone said was coming to Hogwarts?"
"Hermione!" Harry chastised his friend.
"What?" the brunette looked a bit perplexed. "Isn't she?"
"Yeah I am," Dawn answered quickly. "I didn't know that everyone knew I was coming."
"Well, secrets aren't well kept at Hogwarts," Hermione grinned. "Especially not if the Twins know about it."
"They bloody told everyone didn't they?" Ron shook his head, turning to frown at his older brothers. The twins were oblivious to his stare, hunched over some display at the back. Dawn felt a grin split her face. They couldn't be up to much good.
"Well, what do we have here?"
The voice, lined with such venom and distaste, turned Dawn's head immediately. A handsome young man, about her age, stood before them. He had slicked back blond hair and cool blue eyes. There was something almost sinister about him, rivaling with the childishness she saw in his sneer.
"The Muggle Witch and her followers," the boy continued to sneer. "Potter, Weasley, I see your little group has gathered once more. And with a new addition."
Dawn frowned when the boy turned his sneer on her. She had half a mind to knock the boy on his ass just for his sneer. It made her very angry for some reason.
"Go away Draco," Harry jumped in quickly, stepping in front of Dawn protectively. The boy, Draco, sneered some more.
"Oh, got yourself a girlfriend now?" he taunted Harry.
"Why?" Dawn interjected. "Jealous you can't get one of your own?"
"His father would probably have to buy him one," Hermione jumped in as well, smirking at the anger that flashed across Draco's face.
"He's really not that appealing is he?" Ginny had joined in on the fun. The three girls looked appraisingly at the boy, Dawn giggling as he squirmed.
"Nope, not anything much to offer," she finally concluded. "Not with that much of an inflated head."
"It does take away from everything else doesn't it?" Hermione continued. Ron and Harry were chuckling as Draco slowly went an angry red.
"What would you know?" he snarled at Hermione. "Nothing more than a pathetic Muggle born."
"And you were dropped from the heavens?" Dawn sneered. "What makes you so special?"
"I believe that would be my blood," a new voice interrupted. Dawn started, looking up at the tall man who had interrupted their teasing of Draco. He had the same colouring of Draco, even had the same sneer. Draco puffed up at the arrival of the man, smirking at his enemies smugly.
"Who are you?" Dawn asked boldly, squeaking in protest when Ron pulled her back from the man. The man just sneered once more, looking down his nose at the group.
"I'm Lucius Malfoy. Draco's father."
Harry's eyes had widened in shock, as had Hermione's. Dawn just shrugged, not seeing much importance in that statement.
"What's the big deal?" she hissed at Ron. Ron didn't reply, only squeezed her arm tighter. Lucius turned his sneer on Ron, taking in the boy's appearance with distaste.
"Another Weasley," he scoffed, eyes going to Ginny at her brother's side as well. "I recognize the unkempt hair, empty eyes, and ragged apparel. By Merlin, how many more could those two have?"
Dawn was getting angrier by the second. This guy was such a jerk. She was filled with relief when she saw Ron's father join them.
"Lucius," he started off tightly. "What can I do for you?"
Lucius just sneered wider, snaking out a hand to grab the books Ginny was carrying.
"Secondhand," he scoffed, eyes raking over the books. He tossed them back in Ginny's cauldron with contempt on his face. "Really Weasley."
"Leave my family alone," was the reply.
"I second that," another male voice added to the mix. Bill and Charlie stood next to their father, glaring at the two Malfoys in front. Dawn's heart lightened when she saw Willow move up next to Charlie, glaring at the tall man as well. Lucius just smirked, ordered his son to follow him and was gone in a whoosh of cloak. The group was silent after his departure, the male Weasleys glaring at the front door with much hate in their eyes.
Dawn snorted, breaking the silence as she turned to Harry with a question.
"What is up his ass?"
Willow looked up, flashing Charlie a tense smile before she went back to her luggage.
"That would be an understatement," she answered, frowning as she shifted through her wardrobe. "I mean, I know I'm capable of being an assistant librarian. After all, I practically ran the one at high school with Giles. The library is no problem."
"So what is?" Charlie asked, standing next to her and helping her fold clothes for packing.
Willow flushed at his closeness, deciding not to let spill the crush she had. That was a big reason for the tension the witch felt, but only one of many.
"Well, maybe it's the people," Willow shrugged, trying her best not to sneak glances at the man next to her. "I know that they're mostly friendly, with the exception of this Snape person I hear so much of."
Charlie sniggered at the mention of the Potions Master.
"I bet you get the most of that from Ron and Harry," he surmised, helping her zip up a suitcase. "Those two really don't like Snape."
"From what I hear, Snape doesn't like them all that much either," Willow giggled. "But that's beside the point. I mean, they're all like professional witches and wizards. I'm this girl from some hick town in Southern California who's been dabbling like a child for a few years. All the other teachers are like all accomplished magic people, and me? I'm just a witch who's lucky if her spells ever go right."
"From what I hear, they go right an awful lot," Charlie winked at her. "Mr. Giles has been ranting about your skills since he came back to England. But then, he might have not told the whole truth."
"How do you figure?"
"Well, he also went on about how pretty you were," Charlie winked at her. "But he didn't nearly do you justice."
Willow went as red as her hair, eyes dropping to the floor as she rushed to fill her bags.
"And besides, I think you'll do fine," Charlie continued. "You're serious enough for McGonagall, charming enough for Dumbledore, and efficient enough for Snape to leave you alone."
"Well, that's encouraging," Willow giggled. "Everyone will like me and there's a good chance Snape will tolerate me. This guy doesn't sound like all that pleasant."
"If you're Slytherin, then he can be very pleasant," Charlie shrugged. "But as for the others, well, it's not that Snape hates any one above the other. He dislikes students on an equal level."
"Not made for the teaching profession," Willow mused, stopping to think about it. "That kind of reminds me of Snyder. I hope Snape isn't as much of a troll."
"You had a troll as a teacher?" Charlie looked shocked. "But how-I thought you were raised in the Muggle-"
"Not literally!" the redhead laughed, slapping him lightly on the chest with a large grin on her face. "Snyder was just unpleasant, like this Snape guy. Only we know he had it in for our group. He made it some sort of public announcement on more than one occasion. If there was something amiss, he came running towards us with detention and threats of suspension."
"That sounds a bit like Snape," Charlie consented. "But Snape is a professional. And a wonderful Potions Master. Though he'd probably rather be the DADA teacher, but Dumbledore won't let him."
"Why not?" Willow asked absently, closing the last of her luggage.
"Your guess is as good as mine," Charlie shrugged. "Maybe because Snape is too far into the dark arts for him. That the last of them?"
Willow blinked, looking around her room.
"Yep," she affirmed with a nervous laugh. "All done. No more delays or distractions left."
"You'll do great," Charlie assured her. Willow grimaced, looking at him out of the corner of her eye.
"You seem to have a lot of confidence for someone who just met me," she grumbled. Charlie laughed.
"Well, maybe I'm an excellent judge of character."
"Maybe?" Willow arched an eyebrow at him. "You know, if you were trying to reassure me, you should have said you were definitely a good judge of character."
"Too late to take it back?" Charlie asked good-naturedly.
"Yes," Willow sniffed. "But I'll let it slide. But just this once."
"Why, thank you my lady."
Willow giggled as Charlie bowed low, raising his head to toss her a wink.
"So, where are you off to now?" she asked, settling down on the corner of the bed loaned to her by the Weasleys.
"Back to Romania," Charlie shrugged. "Plenty of dragons to study there."
"Dragons," Willow murmured with a faraway look to her eyes. "I'd love to see a dragon. They must be magnificent to look at."
"Well," Charlie gave her a small smile. "Maybe I could take you to see one sometime. Drop in at Hogwarts and whisk you off one day. If you would like."
Willow smiled back at him, another blush tainting her cheeks.
"I'd like that."
"I still say I should have gotten two."
Harry chuckled at the look on Dawn's face. The youngest Summers girl was pouting some awful as she looked at Hedwig in her cage.
"Two might be a bit excessive," he teased her. "I don't think any witch needs two familiars."
"Well, two times the luck would be good for me," Dawn returned, briefly sticking her tongue out at the boy. He just laughed again, easing a finger through the bars of Hedwig's cage to stroke some of the owl's feathers. Dawn watched a bit jealously, turning her frown towards where Giles stood with the Weasley parents.
"He should have let me get two," the girl muttered again. "How did he expect me to choose between a cute kitty and a cute birdie?"
Ron gave a laugh as he came to rest his trolley next to Dawn's.
"At least you got a new one," he chided her. "I've still got old Scabbers."
"I think he's cute," Dawn volunteered, snaking a finger out to tickle the rat's chin. "If not overly sleepy."
"You've said that about every familiar you've encountered," Harry laughed. "I think you just have a soft spot for furry animals."
"So what?" Dawn countered. "It's not a bad thing."
"It is when it makes you want like a million familiars," Ron needled.
"Not a million," Dawn whimpered. "Like only two or three."
"One is enough," Willow chirped, coming up behind the three teenagers. "And besides, it's time to go. Get all your stuff together."
And with that, the redhead was off, talking to the other adults in front of platform nine. Dawn watched her go with a bit of a sour expression.
"She's always bursting my bubble," the little girl mumbled. Harry and Ron just laughed again, quieting as all the Weasleys gathered in front of the barrier.
"Let's go," Molly ordered. "Enough dwaddling. Willow, you and Mr. Giles first."
Willow flashed Dawn one more smile before running through the barrier with Giles in tow. Percy was next, walking rather matter-of- factly through the barrier. Fred and Percy next, with Mr. Weasley right behind them. Molly went with Ginny, motioning for the others to follow behind her.
Dawn looked expectantly at the boys next to her. Harry took a deep breath, starting off in a light jog as he made for the barrier. Ron followed, and soon both were running headfirst for platform nine and three quarters.
Only to meet a solid wall in its place. Dawn, who had been following skittered to a stop before colliding with the boys. She looked at them, sprawled on the floor with their things all around them, and couldn't help the giggle that left her lips. She waved away the guard.
"Boys," she stated with a roll of her eyes. Both boys glared at up her, scrambling to their feet. Harry looked up at the clock.
"The train's left," he moaned.
"What do we do now?" Dawn asked in worry, watching Ron poke the closed barrier with his finger.
"If we can't get in, Mum and Dad can't get out," he exclaimed.
"Again, what do we do?" Dawn squeaked, a fear coming over her now. "I can't be left behind. I'm supposed to get sorted with the first years!"
"The car!" Ron shouted, pulling on his friends' arms. "We can use the car."
Harry nodded, gathering his thing together quickly. Dawn looked a bit hesitant, biting her lip as she looked at Ron.
"Do you know how to drive?"
Ron shrugged, tugging on her trolley as they made for the exit.
"We're about to find out."