DISCLAIMER: Still don’t own it. Still very hard to admit that, y’know.
A/N: What can I say- I was inspired. Don’t be expecting many more quick updates like this though, much as I’d love to devote my every waking moment to this stuff!!
REVIEWERS: Thank you to all my reviewers, here’s the honour roll;
Tals, Gancomer, Eleclya111, Kiara-Zzyopen, Rachel, EllandrahSylver, Kat, voided, Sonofgloin, RoseWill, Melli, Zombiegurl98
Dawn yawned and stretched, feeling some tightness across her stomach as she did so. She looked down and realised two things straight away. One- she wasn’t wearing her own pyjamas and two- her stomach was heavily bandaged. It took her a moment, but suddenly she remembered everything. She’d jumped through the portal and landed in some place called Hogwarts. If all the accents she’d heard so far were any indication, she’d landed on the other side of the world while she was at it. Oh, Buffy was going to kill her. Assuming she ever found her, of course.
She started looking curiously about the room, taking everything in. The boy in the bed next to her, the werewolf, was still sleeping. He looked so sick that Dawn felt awful for him. Oz had always been even more subdued than usual in the days immediately following his transformations, but Dawn had had no idea that werewolf transformations could have such severe effects.
She looked away, eyes still wandering around the hospital wing in the pale sunlight streaming in. It seemed that there were only two patients in for treatment at the moment. There were soft sounds of movement in the adjoining office, which explained the whereabouts of Madam Pomfrey, but apart from that, the hospital wing was devoid of life. Dawn flopped back against the headboard and sighed, already bored.
“I know, it’s dull as anything in here,” a tired voice chuckled.
Dawn looked over and found the pale face of her wing-mate looking back at her. “You spend a lot of time here, I take it?” Dawn responded wryly. No wonder, with the condition he was in.
The chuckle immediately left his voice. “More than I care to,” he admitted, a little bitterly, but in the next breath he was perfectly pleasant again.
“I’m Remus Lupin.”
Dawn smiled shyly, not wanting to admit she already knew more about him than he would guess. “Dawn Summers.”
Neither of them could think of anything appropriate to say after that. Though curious, Remus’ common sense told him not to question what he’d heard his friends say on the subject of Dawn’s unexpected arrival. He didn’t think it would be very nice of him to make the girl uncomfortable, she’d already had enough trauma for one morning.
Dawn was equally as nervous about saying the wrong thing. She knew Oz had been less than proud of his wolfish side, and she certainly didn’t want to offend Remus about something so personal. A few times the awkward teens caught each other’s eye and smiled uncomfortably, before they managed to strike up a small conversation.
“So this place is an actual magic school?”
Remus’ amber eyes sparkled, despite his illness. She’d given him an easy topic, considering one could talk about Hogwarts for weeks on end and still not say everything there was to be said about the place. “Yes, one of the best in the world. You could spend a lifetime here and still be amazed by so many things about Hogwarts. Most of it is a mystery even to those born in the magical community.”
Dawn’s eyes widened. “Magical community? You’re kidding? I mean, I’ve heard of covens and stuff, but I never dreamed there were actual communities full of witches and wizards and all that mojo.”
“It is a different world almost, as separate from that of the muggles as you can imagine. But there are no real covens here; that’s Wiccan magic, a brand accessible to certain muggles, if they have a gift for it. The magic studied here is purer, it comes from within the being and is channelled through a wand,” Remus explained. He had tried to put it in as simple terms as possible, and hoped she understood.
“Oh,” said Dawn, enlightened. They smiled at each other again, before settling back into a silence, this one slightly more comfortable than the last.
Not long after, Madam Pomfrey came bustling in, wheeling a trolley containing their lunch and a couple of potions. Remus drank his quickly and obediently, but Dawn eyed hers suspiciously for several moments before taking it as quickly as possible. It was the same pain relief potion that she had taken earlier, but now that she was more alert, and in considerably less pain, it looked and smelled much nastier than it had that morning.
With a wave of her wand, Madam Pomfrey had set up two bed tables over her patients, laid with steaming bowls of soup and goblets of an orange coloured juice that did not look to Dawn quite like orange juice. She lifted the goblet carefully to her face, trying to smell the liquid within. Remus grinned at her behaviour, having already taken a long gulp from his own goblet.
“Pumpkin juice,” he told her. “It’s really nice.”
Dawn wrinkled her nose slightly. Pumpkin juice? She took a tiny, tentative sip and was pleasantly surprised by the taste. Remus smiled to himself at the way her whole face brightened, before his view was obstructed by the goblet being lifted to her lips once more. She then turned her attention to her soup, chicken and corn, which turned out to be as tasty as the juice, even if she was craving something a little more substantial.
The doors banged open. Dawn jumped, startled, and her spoon clinked loudly against the edge of her bowl. She blushed at her own clumsiness as a few drops of soup splattered across her table and hastily wiped them away with her hand. Remus, however, appeared to have been expecting the interruption all along.
“All right, guys?” he called to his three friends as they seemed to explode into the room.
“All right, Moony,” they returned. “Hey, Dawn.”
“Hi,” she mumbled, overcome with shyness. She gave her full attention to her lunch, and was surprised when the foot of her mattress sagged under a sudden added weight. Sirius, plopped down on the end of her bed, was grinning broadly at her. Dawn smiled back, trying desperately not to blush. Sirius had the most charming grin she’d ever seen. She averted her gaze quickly and noticed that James had made himself just as comfortable on Remus’ bed as Sirius had made himself on hers, and Peter had taken a chair in the middle.
“Er- Padfoot mate, what’re you doing all the way over there?” James called, only just realising his friend’s choice of seating arrangement.
“Checking up on our little Dawnie here, of course,” he replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. Dawn’s eyes clouded over. Our little Dawnie. She’d always been ‘our little Dawnie’ to the Scooby gang, but in her heart she didn’t know if she’d even have that again. With some effort, she blinked back the tears prickling in the corner of her eyes and took another spoonful of soup.
“Don’t worry,” James called over to her. “We picked you guys up some real food so you don’t have to force that stuff down anymore.”
“I think it’s nice,” Dawn said quietly as James finished rummaging around in his bag. With a quick glance about to ensure he wasn’t about to be caught by Madam Pomfrey, he slipped Dawn a delicious-looking bun.
“Fresh from the Hogwarts kitchens, with complements of the staff,” he said proudly, and Dawn was blessed with the second nicest smile she’d ever seen.
“Thank you,” she said sincerely, flattered they would do something so thoughtful for her, especially considering they didn’t even know her.
“Anytime, luv,” James drawled, wandering back to his seat on Remus’ bed while the werewolf started in on his second bun.
The boys all chattered about inconsequential things while Dawn listened without contributing herself. She didn’t think she’d have a whole lot to say that could interest them at this stage, anyway. She did notice, however, that every time he thought she wasn’t looking, Sirius would steal a sip of her pumpkin juice.
“You can finish it if you want,” she told him after the third time.
James and Remus snickered. Peter stared at them, trying to figure out what was so funny. Sirius met Dawn’s gaze with a sheepish grin.
“Thanks, Dawn.” He drained the rest of her pumpkin juice in one gulp.
Tap tap. Tap tap.
Dawn jumped, looking about for the source of the sound. She blinked, taken aback by what she saw when she managed to locate it.
“Peter, let it in,” James said lazily.
Peter scurried over to the window and pushed it open, admitting a barn owl with a piece of paper tied around its leg. It flew directly over to Dawn’s bed, settling beside her empty soup bowl. Dawn just stared at it, nonplussed. The owl hooted impatiently, trying to nibble at one of Dawn’s fingers to hurry her up. She snatched her hand away.
“What’s wrong with this owl?” she asked aloud, a little frightened by its strange behaviour. Besides, weren’t owls kind of. . . nocturnal?
“She wants you to take that piece of parchment off her foot,” Remus finally explained, the first to realise that Dawn didn’t understand about the Owl Post. “It must be a letter for you.”
Timidly, Dawn reached out and tried to tug the parchment free. In the end, Sirius held the owl steady for her and the letter came loose in her hands. She watched, curious, as Sirius let the owl go and it headed straight back out the open window.
Noticing her astonishment, Sirius shrugged. It was nothing special to him- just a regular delivery. “Owl Post. Hey, open your letter, who’s it from?”
“How many people d’you think it could be from, Padfoot?” Remus asked, slightly incredulous. For someone so talented and smart. Sirius could say some incredibly stupid things sometimes. Dawn had opened her letter and read the short note quickly.
I trust this finds you in improving health. If Madam Pomfrey deems you well enough, she will release you from her care this evening and provide you with clothing. If and when this happens, please have one of your new friends escort you to my office. Early in the year though it is, they all well know the password already. I look forward to speaking with you some more,
Sincerely, Albus Dumbledore
“Well? What does it say?” James prompted.
“It says that if I get out of here tonight-“
“Which you will. Same time as Moony, I bet,” Sirius interrupted.
“Well, then I’m, ah, s’posed to ask one of you to take me up to Professor Dumbledore’s office. He wants to talk to me.”
Less than five seconds later, Sirius and James were squabbling like three year-olds over who would get to walk Dawn to the Headmaster’s office. Soon the rising noise level attracted the attention of Madam Pomfrey, and the three visitors were chased from the hospital wing just in time for their afternoon classes.
“Bye Dawn. Pick you up at seven,” James winked.
“No, I will!” Sirius retorted.
Peter just waved and followed his still-bickering friends down the hallway. When peace reigned once more, Dawn slumped back against her pillows, drained.
“Are they always so. . .”
“Energetic?” Remus supplied.
“Scary,” Dawn clarified.
“Actually- yeah,” Remus chuckled. That was James and Sirius all over. Hogwarts’ most frightening double-act.
Dawn dozed off and on all afternoon, occasionally chatting to Remus in her more alert moments. Finally, evening fell and after dinner Dawn’s bandages could be checked. Apparently satisfied with her progress, Madam Pomfrey handed Dawn what she assumed was the Hogwarts girls’ uniform, sans robes, and released her from the hospital wing. She and Remus walked out together, only to collide with the three boys pushing through the doorway.
Glaring at his friends, Remus got to his feet and rubbed his now-bruised backside, but Dawn stayed on the floor, gasping in pain. Her sudden fall had aggravated her wounds so badly that, her eyes stinging with tears as she looked down, she was surprised not to see blood staining through her bandages and white blouse. The boys all winced sympathetically. Remus gave his friends a pointed look. They did nothing. Remus cleared his throat, flicking his gaze towards the girl still crumpled on the cold stone floor. Finally taking the hint, James gently lifted Dawn to her feet and brushed her off.
“Dawn, we’re really, really sorry about that,” he said with his most contrite doe-eyed look.
“Yeah, we didn’t mean to tackle you,” Sirius contributed.
Dawn gave them a small, watery smile. “I’ll live,” she muttered, her face still screwed up against the pain. They stood around looking at each other stupidly for a few moments before Dawn tentatively spoke up.
“Um, which way to Professor Dumbledore’s office?” she asked nobody in particular.
Almost as soon as the words were out of her mouth, Dawn regretted them. Again, James and Sirius were arguing loudly over who would get to escort Dawn to Dumbledore’s office. They were getting so animated that Dawn was afraid they would each latch onto one of her arms and play tug-of-war with her. She shot a quick, pleading glance to Remus and Peter, and Remus responded by raising his eyebrows and indicating down the hallway.
Slipping unnoticed around the still-bickering friends, Dawn let Remus and Peter guide her in the right direction. The sounds of,
“I’ll take her!”
“No, I will!”
“No, me!” faded into the background.
They had reached the stone Gargoyle guarding the entrance to the Headmaster’s office, and Peter had given the password in his unusually squeaky voice before James and Sirius caught up to them, puffing from the exertion.
“I don’t believe it, Padfoot,” James huffed. “Not only has she ditched us already, but she’s gone and ditched us for our best mates!”
“We’ll see about that.”
Before the others knew what was happening, James and Sirius, this time careful of Dawn’s wounds, had bundled her onto the moving staircase up to Dumbledore’s office.
“Hey!” Remus and Peter barely had time to squeeze past the Gargoyles before they slid closed, blocking the entryway. They reached their destination and the four boys, having been sent here on a weekly basis at least since their first year, strolled casually in, leaving Dawn, still sandwiched between Sirius and James, with little choice but to go with them. Remus went over and began petting a bird with such beautiful scarlet and gold plumage that it made Dawn gasp in pleasure.
“’Lo, Fawkes,” James called to the bird, who returned the greeting with a single, quavering note that immediately made Dawn feel safe and warm. She stared at the bird, transfixed. She was pretty sure she’d seen a picture of one like him in one of Giles’ many books, but she had no idea it would be so beautiful in real life.
“Is he a phoenix?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper. Startled by her random knowledge, none of the boys could respond. A raspy voice from the landing above saved them the trouble.
“Oh yes dear, Fawkes is a phoenix. He has been my friend for many years and he never ceases to fascinate me. I trust you are feeling well, Miss Summers?”
“Yeah, I’m ok Professor,” Dawn smiled, resisting the temptation to clutch at her recently aggravated wounds.
“I am glad to hear it. Please, sit down,” Dumbledore offered, coming down from the landing to settle himself behind his desk.
Dawn perched a little stiffly in one of the armchairs while Sirius flopped into the other unceremoniously. James and Peter threw themselves onto one of the comfortable couches, and Remus chose to stand and continue petting Fawkes. Dumbledore stared at Dawn intently, and Dawn found herself unable to break the stare, however much she wanted to.
“I have given much thought to your situation, Miss Summers, and if you are willing, I believe I can help you.”
“Ok. Good. How?” Dawn asked nervously. The answer she received was stranger than any she could have imagined as Dumbledore offered her his wand.
“I wonder, if you would be so kind as to give this a wave for me?”
Uncertainly, Dawn accepted the outstretched wand and waved it. She jumped when tiny gold sparks flew out the tip, dropping the wand to the floor with a clatter. “Sorry,” she said quickly, reaching down to grab it. Seeing her wince with the movement, Sirius jumped out of his seat and retrieved the wand himself.
Dumbledore looked quite pleased with the reaction Dawn had elicited from his wand. “Excellent, Miss Summers. Now, I must ask you, are you willing to work hard at your studies?” Dawn nodded. She hadn’t exactly been attending a whole lot since her mother died, but she always had liked school. And she had a feeling this particular school would be way more interesting than Sunnydale Junior High, Hellmouth or no.
Dumbledore smiled. “Well then, it would be my pleasure to offer you, Dawn Summers, a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, given the aptitude you displayed for magic a moment ago. Do you accept?”
Dawn hesitated. Did this mean she would never see home again? It was as if the Headmaster had read her mind.
“Of course, we would be only all-too understanding if the opportunity for you to return to your home should arise, and you felt compelled to take it,” he assured her.
Dawn smiled, reaching her decision. What did she have to lose? “Ok then. Thanks.”
She heard two whoops of joy and turned in time to see Sirius and James attempting something of a victory dance while Peter clapped along and Remus laughed. Dawn couldn’t help but let out a small giggle, and she was sure she’d even heard Dumbledore chuckle. “It would seem,” he told his new student, blue eyes twinkling more than ever, “that you shan’t have a problem making friends here.”
“Unless she’s put in Slytherin,” James joked as the victory dance ended.
“Slither-where?” Dawn frowned.
“Slytherin,” Remus supplied. “We have four houses here, which is kinda like a family for its students. Slytherin is where all the cunning and ruthless students go.”
“Oh. So what other houses are there?”
“Ravenclaw, the smart house, Hufflepuff, the friendly house, and Gryffindor,-”
“The best house!” Sirius interjected, pumping a fist in the air.
“The brave house,” Remus finished. “As you may have guessed, we’re in Gryffindor. I’m one of the fifth year Prefects for Gryffindor, actually”
“Cool. So how do I get into Gryffindor then?” Dawn immediately asked. Frightening as they could be, there was a definite sweet side to all of these boys, and she hoped they truly would be her friends.
“You must be sorted first, my dear. The Sorting Hat will be placed upon your head and it will determine which house you shall be placed in.” While he had been speaking, Dumbledore had gone over to a shelf and taken a ratty old hat with a wide rip in the brim down. He crossed over to Dawn and placed it on her head.
Feeling incredibly foolish, she asked, “You’re not just doing this to take funny pictures of me, are you?” A split second later, she started at the voice inside her head.
“Hmm, a complete enigma I see, and quite the challenge,” the Sorting Hat mused. “Too pure for Slytherin, and sweet as you are, too shy for Hufflepuff. You’ve the brains for Ravenclaw, but not the time to catch up to their fifth year standards. And yes it is all here. A power within, courage and bravery that need only to awaken. Such qualities are always best nurtured in GRYFFINDOR!”
Dawn did not realise the Hat had spoken the last word aloud until two sets of boyish arms were thrown about her and loud cheers filled the office. Dawn pulled away from James and Sirius only to find Remus and Peter grinning at her.
“Congratulations,” Dumbledore smiled, giving Dawn the uncanny impression he knew where she’d be placed all along. She returned his grin readily. When the boys had calmed down, Dumbledore spoke again. This time, however, his voice was laced with a touch of concern.
“Well, now we must turn our attention to the matter of your school supplies. Of course, they shall have to be purchased in Diagon Ally, and tomorrow so you may have them in time for Monday’s classes.”
“Um, sir?” Dawn broke in tentatively. “I don’t have any money.”
“That will be no problem, Miss Summers. I believe yours is a special case that warrants the use of the school account. However, I have spoken to all the teaching staff, and it seems that none are available to escort you to Diagon Ally this weekend. So. . .” almost reluctantly, the Headmaster looked to his four most mischievous students. “I wonder if I could entrust the four of you with the ask of aiding Miss Summers in purchasing her school supplies? Of course, it would be an unsupervised overnight trip, and I expect only the best behaviour from Hogwarts students out in the community.”
Devilish grins were plastered to Sirius and James’ faces, but before they could say anything which was likely to change Dumbledore’s mind, Remus piped up. “Of course we’ll be on our best behaviour, sir.”
At that moment, someone knocked on the office door. “Come in,” Dumbledore called, and a girl with dark red hair and startling green eyes stepped into the room.
“All right, Evans?” James greeted her, and Dawn couldn’t help but note the shift in his entire demeanour. He was all of a sudden sitting up straighter, and he had taken a much more mature tone of voice. Dawn shot a look to Sirius, eyebrows raised, only to find him smirking back over his friend’s obviously affected nature.
“Potter,” Evans returned coldly, barely glancing at him as she approached the desk. “You sent for me, Professor Dumbledore?” Dawn frowned. She hadn’t seen him send for anyone. How had he known he’d need to send for this girl earlier, though? Not for the first time, Dawn was struck with the notion that there was more to Albus Dumbledore than meets the eye.
“Yes, Miss Evans. I would like you to meet Dawn Summers. Miss Summers is a new student, she has transferred from a muggle school in America. Dawn, this is Lily Evans, she is the other fifth year Gryffindor Prefect.”
“Hi,” Dawn smiled shyly.
“It’s nice to meet you, Dawn,” Lily offered a hand, which Dawn shook, still smiling shyly.
“Have a seat, Miss Evans,” Dumbledore literally drew a chair out of thin air for his prized female student. Lily sank into it, waiting patiently for the Headmaster to speak again.
“Dawn has been sorted into Gryffindor, and I was hoping I could count on your help in settling her into the girls’ dormitories. She will also need extensive tutoring to catch up to the fifth year standards, if you think you’ll have time, what with your other duties. . .”
Lily smiled accommodatingly. “It won’t be a problem, sir. If Dawn wants help, I’d be more than happy to make the time.”
“I could help, too,” James offered quickly.
Instantly, Lily’s gaze hardened. “I should have made myself clear. I’ll be happy to tutor Dawn one on one,” she amended. James’ face fell.
“Nice try, Prongs,” Sirius commented, trying to keep the laugh out of his voice. Peter looked genuinely baffled that someone would dare be so cold to the great James Potter, Sirius’ blue eyes were dancing with mirth, and Dawn noticed that even Remus had once again become very intent on petting Fawkes, his face carefully hidden from view.
Dumbledore chose this moment to conclude the little meeting. “Well. If you four boys would be so kind as to bring Miss Summers back here after breakfast in the morning, I will have finalised your travel arrangements. Miss Evans will show you to your dormitory now, Miss Summers. Good night to you all.”
“Thank you, Professor,” Dawn said as she stood, truly grateful for everything he’d done for her already. She followed the others through the school until the came to a portrait of a fat lady in a pink dress.
“The password is Lion’s Den,” Lily informed Dawn. As she said the words, the portrait swung open on hinges, exposing a hole through which they all clambered. Dawn’s jaw dropped a little at the sight of the cosy Common Room, full of comfortable armchairs and couches, long tables and a warm, crackling fire.
“Our dorms are up this way,” Lily gestured to the right hand staircase.
“We’ll meet you down here before breakfast,” Sirius told Dawn as the boys all headed towards the left staircase.
“Ok. What time’s breakfast?”
“About seven thirty,” Remus supplied, eliciting groans from the other three boys. Who knew there was a seven thirty in the morning on Saturdays? They all said goodnight and went their separate ways. As she put her foot on the first step, Lily was detained by a voice calling out across the empty Common Room to her.
“Hey, Evans? Will you go out with me?”
“No, Potter,” Lily called back, not even looking around. “Come on,” she told Dawn, making her way up to the dorms.
Dawn turned and gave one last wave to the boys before scrambling after Lily.
end chapter 1