Brave New World
Title: The Key To Marauding
Rating: 18 (mild language, violence and sexual references in later chapters)
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns everything to do with the Harry Potter world (which she doesn't deserve since she goes around randomly killing off the sexiest character!) and Joss Whedon owns all things Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I am neither of those people.
Notes: 1) Not too difficult to understand, really. Dawn jumped, not Buffy. She landed in Hogwarts in the time of the Marauders (and yes this is OotP compatible).
2) This is a different sort of characterisation for Dawn than I usually write- she is NOT the mini-Buffy, she is rather weak and uncertain (particularly at first). Fear not, she will evolve, but I am aware not all people will enjoy seeing Dawn this way. So if you don't like it, that's fine, I understand, but don't bother to flame me because I bite back.
3) I won't be updating regularly, I have far too much to do. I'm not one of those authors that gets peeved with people who demand updates, in fact I find the enthusiasm flattering, but be warned it won't have me updating faster. I will do as much as I can as fast as I can, but no promises, ok?
4) I hope you enjoy, show me how great you all are at hitting that little review button, please!
“Shh,” James Potter whispered, nodding towards the castle entrance. He and his two companions, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew, froze as a middle-aged, stern-looking, but motherly woman came striding down the front steps of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The woman, Madam Pomfrey of the school’s hospital wing, disappeared across the luscious grounds, out of the sight of the three fifteen year old boys she’d passed without a second glance.
And with good reason, too; she couldn’t see them. James’ grin was smug as he lovingly fingered the material encompassing him and his friends. It was an Invisibility Cloak, an heirloom handed down from his father. James always said, much to the amusement of his three best friends, the two boys with him and Remus Lupin, whom Madam Pomfrey had gone to collect, that one day he would have a son, and he couldn’t wait to teach his son to use the Cloak for pulling as many pranks as humanly possible.
“Right. Coast is clear, mate,” Sirius muttered, his pale blue eyes scanning the grounds for signs of life in the soft light of the dawn.
They went to continue sneaking back up to their dormitory, but before they had taken two steps, great flashes of dry lightning streaked across the sky. It was an unearthly blue, almost white, and formed spider-like patters, the intensity crackling in the air.
In one flash of blinging white light from directly above, the three boys were thrown flat on their faces, the precious Invisibility Cloak blown off to land in a pile beside them. Sirius and James were the first to stir, they heard a dull thud from somewhere nearby.
“What the hell was that?” Sirius wondered.
“Dunno, Padfoot. You ok, Wormtail?” James asked Peter, still face down on the ground. Peter’s head gave a slight twitch that James took for a nod and he, like Sirius, pushed himself to his feet. Sirius was staring at something crumpled on the ground a little ways from them.
Wands drawn, they crept up to whatever it was cautiously, preparing for the possibility that it was something hostile. The two friends realised what they were looking at as they stood side by side over the form, staring down at it in bewilderment.
“Sweet Merlin,” Sirius practically yelped.
“What is it?” Peter asked, finally scrambling to hit feet, the Invisibility Cloak gathered in his arms.
“It’s a girl,” James answered. “Looks like she’s been banged up pretty bad, too.”
Sirius nodded, looking down at the girl, who would be about their age. She was unconscious, her clothing was bloodied and torn, and there were deep red welts in her wrists, as if she had been bound there.
“Wonder how she got here,” Peter wondered aloud.
“We can worry about that later. Right now we need to get her up to the hospital wing.” Sirius, the strongest of the three, scooped the girl up in his arms and set off for the castle. In the early morning light, James and Peter caught gleams of long hair that streamed down from the girl’s head as they followed Sirius indoors.
By the time they reached the hallway of the hospital wing, Sirius’ arms were beginning to tire from the weight fo the unconscious form in them. But as he reached the doors, kicking them open before James could open them for him, the girl began to stir. A frightened whimper escaped her lips and all of a sudden she began to struggle against him.
“Hey! – stop it-” Sirius sputtered, trying to deposit the thrashing girl on the nearest bed as gently as possible.
The second Sirius loosened his grip, the girl scrambled away. She tumbled to the floor and scooted as far away as possible from the three boys, stopping only when her back hit the wall. Frowning, they all noticed that she’d left a trail of blood.
“Er- I think I’d better go get Madam Pomfrey, tell her to get a move on,” James said, backing out of the room. The others heard his steps echoing down the hallway as he ran.
The girl seemed to be on the verge of hysteria. No sound had escaped her lips since her initial whimper, but she was shaking like a leaf, she had pressed her body as far back into the wall as she could. Her knees were hugged to her chest, her crystal blue eyes, as wide as saucers, were peering fearfully out at them from beneath a curtain of long hair. The two remaining boys in the infirmary shared a look. Peter’s was bewildered, Sirius’ was concerned. Slowly, hands out in fromt of him in a gesture of peace, he approached the girl.
“Hey,” he said, much gentler than last time. “It’s ok. We’re not gonna hurt you or anything. I’m Sirius.”
The girl frowned at him and it took Sirius several moments to realise she’s misunderstood him. He fought the urge to laugh. The amount of times he’d pounced on the opportunity to make some ‘serious’puns about his name, now it seemed like he was doing it without even trying.
“No! I mean, I’m Sirius Black, that’s my name. Not serious. . . though I was being serious when I said we wouldn’t hurt you, and, ah. . . I’m not doing too good here. Maybe I should start again?” He gave her his most charming lopsided grin.
Though she was still curled up protectively, and the guarded expression had not left her eyes, the girl’s shaking was not nearly as violent as it had been a minute ago. Disappointed with his failure to make her return his grin, Sirius pouted. That very smile he’d used to make scores of girls his willing slaves hadn’t worked on this one girl. She was still afraid. He noticed Peter creeping closer to them and decided to vent against his chubby friend.
“Wormtail, what are you doing?” Sirius demanded, rounding on him. “Your ugly face is scaring the poor girl so bad none of my moves are working!”
Sirius turned back to the girl and arched an eyebrow at her. The tiniest, barest hint of a smile was gracing her features, and both he and Peter were struck with the notion that she was quite pretty, despite her condition.
“That’s more like it,” Sirius joked. “What’s your name, luv?”
After a moment’s hesitation, she gave her name in a whisper. “Dawn. Dawn Summers.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Dawn,” Sirius said softly, offering her a hand to help her up.
Peter watched in interest as the two blue-eyed fifteen year-olds locked gazes for the longest time. Then, very slowly, uncertainly, Dawn reached up and put her hand in his. Though he was not overly rough in pulling her to her feet, Dawn winced. As the numbness of her shock was subsiding, pain was rapidly engulfing her senses.
The second Sirius noted the multitude of bloody gashes in Dawn’s dress, long cuts visible beneath the torn fabric, he hissed. How the hell could something like this have happened? Who would’ve done it? Who could have? He lefted Dawn back into his arms and laid her back against the bed.
“Madam Pomfrey will be back soon. James went to get her,” the chubby boy with the watery eyes squeaked nervously.
“That’s Peter by the way,” Sirius said, settling himself into a seat by Dawn’s bed. “And Madam Pomfrey will be able to take care of those cuts for you. How’d you get them, anyway?” he couldn’t restrain himself from asking.
Dawn flinched at the question, but was spared the trouble of forming a response as at that moment the doors banged open and Madam Pomfrey came sailing in.
“Out of the way, Black!” she demanded, giving him a push out of his chair. Sirius joined Peter standing a few metres away from the bed as Madam Pomfrey began to tut, checking over Dawn’s wounds.
“These will need to be cleaned before I can heal them,” the matron explained. She handed Dawn some pyjamas and drew some screens around her so she could change in privacy.
Wincing against the now-stinging cuts, Dawn took several long moments getting out of the ruined dress and into the pyjamas, then climbing back onto the bed. When she was done the curtains were whisked away and Madam Pomfrey could get to work. But before she could begin, the doors opened yet again, revealing two boys framed in the entrance. One, with untidy dark hair, hazel eyes and glasses, Dawn recognised as the boy who’d gone looking for Madam Pomfrey. James, Peter had called him. The other boy was shorter, with dirty blond hair and amber eyes. He was leaning heavily on James, it was obvious he was weak and sick. And a werewolf.
James helped the other boy, the werewolf, onto the bed beside Dawn’s and before he could open his mouth to enquire after the girl, Madam Pomfrey spoke.
“Potter, fetch the Headmaster,” she ordered. She needn’t have bothered.
“You won’t have to look too far, I daresay, Mr Potter,” a raspy voice informed him from the doorway. They all turned to see an old man with a long, flowing silver beard and blue eyes that twinkled behind half-moon spectacles smiling at them.
“Found him,” James informed Madam Pomfrey with a smirk.
“Professor Dumbledore,” Peter squeaked, suddenly aware that they could be in trouble, and their secret was dangerously close to being exposed.
“Ah, I see we’ve a young guest with us,” Dumbledore smiled at Dawn, who was being unceremonisouly shoved back against the pillows by Madam Pomfrey.
Dawn tried to muster a smile for the kindly old man, but Madam Pomfrey had suddenly smeared a thick, orange paste over the first of her many cuts, and her smile came out as a grimace against the sting of the medicine. The boys all flinched, having been subjected to the orange paste torture at some point or other during their lives at Hogwarts.
“Boys, I think you’d best be off- have yourselves an early breakfast,” Dumbledore suggested pointedly.
Peter’s eyes lit up at the prospect of an early breakfast, but before he could take a step towards the door, Sirius and James’ protests reached his ears. “But sir,” they whined together, “we wanna make sure she’s ok.”
Dumbledore gave them a shrewed look. “Very well. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to how you came across the girl?”
“Dawn,” Sirius supplied, shooting a quick glance in her direction. “Her name’s Dawn Summers.”
Dumbledore turned himself to smile again at Dawn, who was squirming in discomfort under the orange goop all over her. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Summers. I am Professor Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where you now find yourself.”
Eyes twinkling at her understated and somewhat shy greeting, the Headmaster reverted his attention back to his pupils and motioned for them to tell their story. With multiple interruptions from each other, Sirius and James finally managed to convey to Dumbledore that they’d come across Dawn near the steps of the castle, apparently appearing out of nowhere in a flash of light.
“Oh yes. And I wonder, what were the three of you doing out by the castle steps so early in the morning?”
“Oh- er-“ James began, suddenly lost for words.
“Early morning walk,” Sirius blurted. “It takes work to keep myself looking this buff, y’know.”
Someone snorted. Several someones did, actually, but the most noteable snort had come from the strange young girl, now blushing a deep pink and studiously avoiding everyone’s gaze. Her head snapped up, however, when Madam Pomfrey trained her wand on one of Dawn’s cuts.
“What’re you doing?” she yelped, scrambling back against the headboard.
Madam Pomfrey, quite cross at her patient’s uncooperative behaviour, spoke as if explaining something very simple to a petulant child. “I’m going to heal your wounds, dear. It won’t hurt a bit, I promise. Just one tap of my wand and you’ll be as good as new, won’t even have any scars on that nice skin of yours.”
“No,” Dawn blurted, surprising even herself. “I don’t want them to disappear.” It seemed she felt that something much more profound would disappear with all traces of her injuries. Perhaps her past, her identity. And Dawn did not want to disappear.
Five occupants of the hospital wing were bewildered, but one simply nodded in agreement. “Madam Pomfrey,” Dumbledore intervened. “If you would be so kind as to dress Miss Summers’ wounds the muggle way, and perhaps a potion for the pain?”
Muttering under her breath about being told how to do her job, the matron quickly wiped the excess orange paste from Dawn’s wounds and dressed them in crisp white bandages. When at last Dawn was settled back comfortably against the pillows, a pain relieving potion poured forcefully down her throat, Dumbledore turned to James, Sirius and Peter.
“Now Miss Summers has been tended to, are you satisfied with her well-being?” They all nodded quickly. “Then I suggest you get yourlseves to breakfast. And I must ask that you do not make the arrival of your young friend here public knowledge just yet.”
“Yes Professor,” they all mumbled, heading for the exit. “Bye Dawn, seeya Moony,” they called, and Sirius tossed Dawn a quick wink as the doors swung shut on him.
Dawn looked back at Dumbledore, who had made himself comfortable in Sirius’ bedside chair. Madam Pomfrey was now tending to Remus and neither was paying them any attention. From the look on his face, Dawn already knew he was going to ask her to tell him everything. So she would. She knew she’d have to confide in someone, and it might as well be the one man who radiated more trustworthy vibes than anyone she’d ever met before.
“I would like you to tell me about the portal,” he asked politely.
Dawn looked down. “It was my fault. I opened it- my blood.” She took a deep breath. “That’s what my blood does, it’s what I was made for. I’m the Key. There was this Hell-Goddess, Glorificus, trying to take the Key from its keepers, the Order of Dagon, but before she could they hid it, all secreted away in a flesh wrapper. Altered everyone’s perceptions and memories, so nobody would notice, and created a person out of the Key’s magics. They sent it to the strongest warrior, they Slayer, but they had to be certain she’d protect it with her life, so they sent it to her in the form of a sister.”
Dumbledore studied Dawn a long time before speaking. “The Slayer?”
“Vampire Slayer,” Dawn clarified, a little taken aback. She was sure that someone as knowledgeable as Dumbledore would know the Slayer lore back to front. “One girl in all the world chosen to stand alone against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness? Something like that, I can’t remember the exact wording. Giles always does that part.”
Again, Dumbledore stared at Dawn for the longest time before standing and speaking again. “Ah. Well Miss Summers, at the moment I would advise you to rest. We can speak some more when you are feeling well again, and when I have had a moment to consider your situation.”
“Thanks, Professor,” Dawn said gratefully. She didn’t know if it was the stress of telling a virtual stranger her big secret or just her condition, but Dawn was exhausted. In the bed beside her, Remus was already sound asleep. As Dumbledore left the hospital wing, Dawn’s eyes fluttered closed.
A/N: Well, what do we think? ~Anoron