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Crimson and Clover

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Summary: Hermione does a spell that gets her and four other Hogwarts witches into serious trouble all to save Sirius. Part of the Hermione Ficathon

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > GeneralJmariaFR1816,387031,53919 May 0419 May 04Yes
Title: Crimson and Clover


Author: Jmaria (Jill)


Rating: R


Disclaimer: So not mine. Joss and J. K., these are their brainchildren. Me, I own the plot and ceramic Avon dove that used to have face cream in it back before I was born.


Spoilers: S7, book 5, and elements of A:ts s5


Pairings: Hermione/?, Buffy/Sirius


Summary: A Spell gone wrong leads two bitter rivals into a portal, and leads them to all the right answers.


A/N: This is dedicated to Vivian, and is part of the Hermione ficathon. The title is from Jimmy Eat World’s A Praise Chorus. Um, my first fic focusing on Hermione. I hope you like it!



Crimson and Clover





 


It was dark in the third floor girls lavatory. It would be, considering she was out after hours, preparing a spell she was at least ten years too young to know of, much less to perform. But here she was, risking it all. Imagine, her - a prefect nonetheless- sneaking out to perform a spell. Ron would have laughed at that.


Hermione flipped through the pages of the book she’d somehow managed to pinch from the Restricted Section of the library. She’d spoken to the other four witches involved in this. Tomorrow, right after the last afternoon class for the day, they would try it.



They would try to find Sirius Black, and if possible, bring him back to the family that needed him.



~*~



Hermione glanced up at the two girls, unsure if they knew just exactly what they had signed up for. She turned to Hannah, noticing how unusually determined the light-hearted, good-natured Hufflepuff seemed.



“Hannah, there is a great potential for -”


“Hermione, I know. You’ve explained it nearly a dozen times. I got it the first time. We could all be booted if we’re caught doing the spell. I know. Lovegood knows, and as soon as Weasley gets here, I’m sure she’ll know as well.” Hannah grinned, rolling her eyes.


“It’s just that -”


“You don’t want to put everyone in jeopardy. I know. But - you’re only doing this for Harry’s sake. And - well, I feel awful about how we treated him last year, you know? When we were all calling him crazy?” Hannah said nervously. Hermione smiled at her.


“Yes.”


“This spell has a very low ratio of actually succeeding, you do know that?” Luna said quietly, peering over her copy of the quibbler. The older girls stared at her. Leave it to Luna to be so dramatically off about everything. “And you haven’t all of the requirements. You know that, right?”


“Yes, but Ginny -”


“Still doesn’t fulfill the requirements. It’s an old spell that was designed by the four greatest witches of all time. To simply try to - well, it’s a long shot.” Luna sighed heavily.


“Yes?” Hermione asked. She was ready to have a mental pissing contest with the Ravenclaw girl. They’d had so many before. Mostly over Luna’s outlandish beliefs. Her plan was no more outlandish than half of the things Luna had believed last term.


“You know long shots and I, Hermione.” She folded up her copy of the Quibbler and grinned. “I’m all for them.”


“Who designed the spell, Luna? I’ve never heard of it before Hermione asked me if I’d help.” Hannah asked.


“The Frysen sisters.” Luna leaned forward on the windowsill she was perched on.


“Oh.” Hannah said, sheepishly, she continued. “Who were they again?”


“The Frysen sisters were quadruplets. Witch sisters born fifteen minutes of each other. They were the rarity of the Wizarding world back in their time. Mostly because even twins being born and surviving were a rarity.” Luna said.


“They were in the second class ever to graduate from Hogwarts.” Hermione explained.


“Yes, but that wasn’t the only rarity,” Luna continued, tucking a wayward strand of dirty blonde hair behind her ear. “They were pureblooded witches. Auriana, Bridgette, Cecilia, and Daniella Frysen were also identical in nearly every aspect. But when they came here to Hogwarts, they weren’t. Auriana was placed in Slytherin; Salazar himself prided himself that he was her mentor. It’s in his memoirs and everything. Bridgette was placed in Gryffindor. She would later marry Godric. It was more acceptable in those times, you know. Cecilia was placed in Ravenclaw. She’s credited for being one of the most educated women of her time, and ranks just below Rowena Ravenclaw. And Daniella was placed in Hufflepuff. She later went on to co-found a magical orphanage that has since been destroyed.”


“But if they were so very different, and in different houses, then how could they have designed the spell?” Hannah asked.


“You forget that they were sisters. And back then, there wasn’t yet the great animosity between the houses as there is now.” Luna said simply. “It was after their time spent here that the founders split. Slytherin following it’s own drummer, Hufflepuff being too wrapped up in what people think of them, Gryffindor with their odd yet nearly fair sense of right and wrong, and Ravenclaw being too strung up on knowledge.”


“Glad you roped your own house in on that little tirade, Lovegood. Otherwise, I’d have been awfully miffed at you and have to do something wholly un-Hufflepuff-ian of myself and sock you one.” Hannah giggled, tossing a blond braid over her shoulder. “Do continue, sounds very interesting.”


“Yes. Well, they lost their mother in some unnatural event. She was guarding something, and the mystical energy killed her. They weren’t sure if she was really dead or if her soul had just been displaced. So they wrote the spell to very specifically to themselves. It’s not called the Golden Truth spell just for kicks you know.” Luna said, rather pointedly in Hermione’s direction. “Even if you have Ginny, the group’s incomplete. You haven’t a blonde Slytherin, nor do you have a blonde Gryffindor.”


“Why do you think Ginny’s not here? She went to ask Lavender Brown to join us, and jumped eagerly at the chance to steal a bit of Pansy Parkinson’s hair for the spell.” Hermione said, turning back to the book in her arms.


“Gin’s going to steal a bit of Parkinson’s hair?”


“Couldn’t it backfire like that spell you tried in our second year? Where you transfigured yourself into Cat woman?” Hannah giggled. Hermione grinned ruefully at that Muggle reference. Only Hannah and she got it, Luna was too busy staring at the very red-faced girls that had burst into the bathroom, quickly turning the lock behind them.


“Pansy’s . . . ready . . . .to kill me, ‘Mione.”


“What did you do?”


“Well, she was picking on Neville in the corridor, and he was being too much of a man and letting her rip into him, and well - Lavender?”


“Ginny punched her. Hard.” Lavender grinned broadly. Everyone knew she had a strong dislike for the Slytherin girl. Hell, every one of them had a strong dislike for her.


“Neville nearly peed himself he was laughing so hard. Coz then, Lavender jumped on her back and ripped her hair out.” Ginny beamed.


“Well, she’d started kicking at Neville! What was I supposed to do?” Lavender blushed brightly.


“Could have stupefied her, Brown.” Hannah smirked.


“What fun would there be in that, I ask you?” She pouted.


“Quickly, it’s the peak time to do the spell. Ginny, you hold on to Pansy’s hair, and sit here.” She pointed to the north side of the boiling cauldron. “Luna, you sit on her left, Lavender, you face her, and Hannah sit on her right. You’ve all read the incantation?” Hermione asked.


“Yes.” Came the muffled reply.


“Good, you each say your bit. Ginny, then Lavender, then Luna, and Hannah, you’re last.”


“Gotcha.”


“All right, let’s do this then.”



She sighed as she opened the book. Ginny had tied the handful of blonde hair around her wrist. She mouthed ‘For Harry’ to the older girl and quickly gave her a supportive gesture.



“By the Gods that answer to no given name


Praise by the keepers of the sacred flame


Of truth we seek the fate


Of the one lost to us of late


We beseech thee to answer our call”



She nodded to Ginny who tossed one of the unused hairs into the cauldron that boiled in the center of their circle. Ginny spoke the words that she’d been given.



“Snake skin, my skin, hear my plea


Tell me his fate, for I know not what it be.


If hell it be, then I command set him free


If heaven it be, then I shall mourn for thee.”



Lavender quickly pulled out three strands of her hair. She tossed them into the mix and spoke.



“Lion fur, my fur, heed my call


Give me the strength to bear his fall.


Spirit I beckon you to tell


If you be in heaven or hell.”



Luna threw her hair into the mix, her voice strong as she said her part.



“Eagle feather, my feather, abide my will


Return him to me, for if he is ill


I would have it not be


I’d rather him be back with me.”



Hannah nervously threw in the hair she’d systematically cut off the night before and shakily said the most forceful bit of the incantation.



“Badger pelt, my pelt, let it be.


Return what you’ve cruelly taken from me.


‘Twasn’t the time nor the place


For you Gods to remove his gentle face.”



Hermione smiled at them as she reached for the bit of Sirius’ cloak. She’d cut a bit of it off when Harry’d angrily thrown it into the fire this summer. It’d been ruined even before he’d tried to burn it.



We humbly ask this of ye gods


Whom he served as guard
.”



But before she could toss it in, the door burst open, revealing a very pissed off Pansy Parkinson. Her eyes glazed over in pure hatred as she spotted them.



“You filthy little bitches are doing a hex?”


“Parkinson!” Hannah cried, shocked at her language.


“Shut it mud blood. What are you five playing at?”


“Pansy, you’ve ruined everything!” Ginny cried, rising to her feet.


“Nothing, just leave, Pansy.” Lavender said coolly.


“That’s a very rude thing to say Pansy.” Luna pointed out.


“You can shut it as well, Looney Lovegood.” Pansy sneered



Hermione, more than a little upset at the botched spell, rose to her feet and slapped Pansy hard across her cheek.



“Watch your tongue, Parkinson.”



She hadn’t realized that she’d cut Pansy with her nails until she saw the blood forming along the red dash of her pale cheek. Pansy retaliated by clawing into Hermione’s neck, knocking her back onto the stone floor. Hannah, Lavender, and Luna all sprang back, nearly tripping into themselves. Hannah’s foot connected with the cauldron, tipping purplish mixture out onto the floor.



“By the Gods! I wish I had the power to be rid of you lot of loons! Send you away, if only my will could be done.” Pansy sneered. Hermione pushed herself up off the floor, dropping the cloth.


“And I wish you could see the other side of life. The part where people get hurt, where being rich or pureblooded just doesn’t cut it. Where you have to scrape to get through it. To find out what being a real survivor is. Merlin, help me!” She cried.



The purple liquid quickly soaked the cloth, and as she spoke, a magenta mist rose from the floor, enveloping the five girls. When it cleared, only Ginny remained in the bathroom.


Their will was done.



~*~



Sirius Black had been dead for nearly five months. Roughly 183 days. It wouldn’t have been so bad, if it hadn’t been just him, all by himself, in a void of nothingness. So when he found himself, trapped under the unconscious forms of two teenaged girls in a park, he was a bit unsettled.



“Well, well, well. What have we got here? Cletus, didja ever think we’d get dinner and a show?”


“Not a kinky one like this.” Came the slow reply.


“What. . .” Sirius tried to say, his voice rusty with disuse. Guess being dead did that to you. He tried again to speak, but his voice had completely abandoned him by now. But by then he’d seen their faces.


Horrific great fleshy masks of pronounced bumps. To be quite honest, they were far more frightening than ever seeing Moony when he went through the change. And even through his death muddled mind, it didn’t take long for Sirius to figure out that they could be, in fact much more dangerous than Remus. Especially with two young girls and a man who was freshly back from the dead. It was hard. If not impossible. But something in him urged him to protect these girls. He just didn’t know what.


Sirius tried to push himself up off the ground, but the two teens were still atop him. The creatures made their way stealthily towards them. He tried to slither out from under them, and was nearly there, when a voice rang out through the night air.



“Oh, great now vamps are picking on families, I ask you, could they be any more pathetic?”


“Well, yeah, B. They could be stealin’ candy from babies.”


“Slayer.” Cletus hissed.


“Nasty vamps.” The blonde woman said cheerfully.


“And hey, more than one here.” The brunette chirped.


“Right. Let’s just get on with the fighting, hmm?” The blonde said, rolling her eyes.



Sirius watched as the two young women quickly attacked the - vampires? He couldn’t grasp all of this, his head reeling from other things besides his death and then waking up back here? Wherever here was. The vampires were quickly dispatched when the two women finally realized they had victims to attend to.



“Shit, B. They’re out cold.” The dark haired woman said, pulling the blonde teen off of him.


“Two girls and a guy - potentials and their watcher?” The blonde hazarded a guess.


“Guy looks barely able to stand, B. And isn’t the G-man all up on the Watchers? The First is scrunched, ya know? Shouldn’t they be safe?”


“Doesn’t mean they are. C’mon. We should get them back to the house.”


“And here I thought the days of having slayers crowded in the house was squashed.”


“Yeah, join the club.” The blonde muttered, taking him by an arm. Sirius didn’t catch the rest of her sentiments, seeing as his eyes rolled back into his head. “Great, more dead weight.”



~*~



The blonde slayer huffed as she pushed the door of her bedroom open. It had been three months since Sunnydale had been destroyed, and now she, her sister and a handful of slayers were now staked out in the home her watcher had acquired for them. Buffy Summers sighed heavily as she stared at the dark haired man on her bed. Turning her head, she caught a glimpse of the two girls in her sister Dawn’s room.


After a long and angry phone call to Giles in England nearly two hours ago, they had come to the conclusion that they weren’t activated slayers. But they weren’t waking up either, and they looked drained. Well, the girls looked drained. The man looked as if he hadn’t seen daylight in quite a while. And that nearly freaked her out. But he had a reflection, so that was a bonus. He wasn’t a vamp, and neither were the girls.



“Harry?” A deep voice croaked, rasping on the words knocking Buffy out of her train of thought. She turned to face the now sitting man.



Bright blue eyes that seemed so out of place on the dark haired man, seemed so bewildered and lost. He frantically searched the foreign room, looking for the one person he seemed to care about it the entire world. Suddenly, his gaze focused and narrowed on her.



“Are you an angel?” He murmured. “Was I deserving enough to get into heaven?”



He gazed up at the sunlight that streamed across his face. She quickly closed the blinds. She gave a small smile.



“No, that’s just the sun. Tends to give that illusion, though. We should really consider redoing this room. Can‘t have people thinking Heaven‘s in my bedroom.”



Buffy felt her blood run cold as the realization hit her, as his words sunk in. These were questions so similar to when - No. That urn had been destroyed. If it hadn’t been - well, Willow would have tried to bring Tara back. But it had been. And if someone - and it all clicked in place for Buffy.



“You were dead, and those girls in there brought you back. You’re alive.” She said softly.



A look of confusion washed over his face. The words seemed lodged in his throat. He’d been hoping to see James and Lily here. . . and now he wasn’t in heaven. He was alive.



“Where’s . . . Harry?” He choked out.


“Who?”



~*~



Ginny had been crying for the last hour, trying desperately to explain what had happened. Her gut instincts had told her to run to Harry, Ron, and Dumbledore in that exact order. She sobbed into Harry’s robes, tears streaking her face. Ron had gone pale, his fists clenched at his sides. Dumbledore had scolded her for even participating in such a spell.



“But why would Hermione perform such a spell, Ginny?” Harry asked gently.


“For you.” She whispered.



A harsh sound ripped through the quiet room. Ron’s face was pulled into a cruel smile. Ginny stared at her brother, unsure of what was going through his mind.



“Ron, this isn’t funny.” Harry said softly, he was staring at his best friend as if he’d grown three heads.


“I think it’s bloody hilarious.” He said harshly. “She finally chose, then.”


“Ron!” Ginny cried out.


“What are you talking about?”


“I guess it’s pretty obvious how she feels about you, Harry. Risking life and limb to ease your pain.” Ron’s fist slammed into the table, shocking Harry and frightening Ginny.



Blood raced down his knuckles as Ginny raced to his side. She quickly conjured up some bandages and wrapped his hand. Harry chuckled softly, pulling the gazes of the two Weasleys back to him.



“What’s so funny?” Ron spat.


“You.”


“What?”


“You think Hermione loves me. Me? The one that’s pretty much old hat to her? The one she tells nearly everything to because she doesn’t see me as a boy, but like a brother. It’s you she cares about. This spell - I don’t know why she tried to do it. . .but she wanted to help me. Isn’t that what you said, Gin?”


“She wanted to know if Sirius was alright. She couldn’t stand seeing him in so much uncertainty.” Her eyes brimmed with tears. “But I guess we screwed it up. Or Pansy did. I was so mad, I jumped away from them. Hermione and Pansy started fighting - and then poof, the whole lot of them were gone. I don’t know how to explain it. It was - “


“What spell were you trying to do, Miss Weasley?” Dumbledore asked softly.


“The Golden Truth Spell. The one to see into the afterlife, and see if your loved one is in Heaven or Hell.”


“Ah, it is more than that, Miss Weasley.” Dumbledore turned to Madam Pince, the school’s librarian. “Isn’t it?”


“Yes, Headmaster. The Golden Truth Spell is also a resurrection spell. It restores a soul into a body - if the person was killed by mystical energy.” The dark haired witch looked up from the text she was studying.



“The Golden Truth Spell, Professor?” Harry asked.


“Yes. The crafted spell of the Frysen sisters. Very tricky - “


“Pardon me, Headmaster.” Madam Pince looked up again.


“Yes?”


“The spell was reworded? Inserting he for she?”


“Yes.” Ginny nodded slowly.


“And you kept the Guardian bit in, invoking nameless Gods?” Ginny nodded again.


“Madam?” Dumbledore asked.


“Just as I thought. They will have been taken to the relic Gwyndolyn Frysen guarded. Miss Weasley has already said that the girls reworded it, but kept the Guardian bit in. Find the Relic, and you shall find the girls.” She gave a rare smile to Ginny.


“What was the Relic, Madam?” Harry asked.


“Nearly a thousand years ago, Gwyndolyn Frysen guarded the Key. After her death, the relic was believed lost. I believe a brotherhood of muggle monks were last known to have it.”


“If that should fail - we shall just have to search for them by other means.”



~*~


“See, that right there, is what we need.”


“A jungle, Dawn?” The red-haired slayer asked, “Or the pets?”


“No, the hot buff guy running around in nothing but boots and a handy-dandy loincloth.” The brunette grinned at Vi.


“Yeah, just what we need.” Vi giggled.



Dawn Summers knew they were supposed to be quiet, but the two girls had been out cold for nearly a day. Besides, Faith and Buffy thought they were having a top secret pow-wow about the mystery man in her sister’s room. All she knew was that Buffy had come streaking out of there a half hour ago, and then had ordered Vi and Dawn to watch the girls and the man. But then, she’d yanked Faith into her room, slamming the door.


So, now Dawn and Vi were leaning back in two beanbag chairs watching reruns of The Beastmaster and drooling over the very hot Dar.



“I think it’d be kinda cool to talk to animals.” Vi said wistfully staring at the cute little ferrets on the screen.


“This coming from the girl who can take out Vampire Armies?”


“I’m not saying I don’t totally dig the powers, but still, you could have furry fun with powers like those. And a bonus - they don’t lead to mass destruction, chaos and apocalypses.” Vi pointed out.


“But then the love of your life would have been murdered trying to save you, and you would have to go on a quest to find your family.”


“True.”



That was when one brown eye fluttered open. She groaned on the bed, her hair in a tangled mess over her face. She could hear two girls chatting about something, but she could barely comprehend most of it. A lot of it had to do with a man in a loincloth. She slowly pushed herself up off the mattress, her eyes going wide as she realized something was very, very wrong.



“What is going on?” She cried, startling the two girls.


“Uh-oh. Go get Buffy.”


“But she said - “ The red haired one started to say.


“I think this trumps anything. Tell her she’s British.”


“Gotcha.” The red-head jumped to her feet, racing out the door.


“Hi.” The brunette grinned at her. “I’m Dawn. My sister Buffy found you three last night. You were unconscious and in a cemetery. Do you know your name?”


“Do I look like a child? Of course I know my name!” She cried. Dawn stared at her for a few minutes. “What?”


“Well, are you gonna tell me it?” She asked.


“Oh, I’m Hermione Granger. You said there were three of us? Myself and two blonde girls?”


“Um, no.”


“A blonde and a red-head, then?” She asked nervously.


“No. Well, the blonde is right.”


“Then - “


“Me, ‘Mione.” A gruff voice said from the doorway.



She fastened her gaze to the doorway, tears brimming in her eyes. This - this was what she’d worked so hard to find. Sirius. Alive. Well. Whole. For her best friend. For Harry. This would chase the haunted look from his eyes.


But then she really looked at him. He was pale, broken looking. Pain and bitter memories swam in his blue eyes. She fought back the sob that had lodged itself in her throat.



“Sirius - I didn’t - Oh, Harry will be -” She stepped forward, but stopped herself short.


“Harry - where is he?”


“Hogwarts - he’s back there.”


“Did - did -”


“Voldemort tried to kill him. After -”


“Bellatrix?”


“She escaped. The Aurors are searching for her - “


“They won’t find Bella. Not if she doesn’t want to be found.” He said softly.


“Harry - He’ll be so happy to see you -” She said sadly.


“Why?”



Sirius could have whispered it, and it still would have sounded accusing. Hermione whimpered softly. But she couldn’t meet his gaze.



“Harry needed to know - if you were in -” She cleared her throat. “Please, don’t say you-”


“I wasn’t in Heaven.” He said softly. “But I wasn’t in Hell.”



The room was silent for a moment. Tears welled in her eyes as she watched the look on his face. It was a look of betrayal, and hurt, and a million other emotions she couldn’t name.



“Sorry to intrude on this touching reunion, but you were gonna explain this to us, right?” A raven haired woman asked, her hands on her hips. A blonde stood at her side, her eyes narrowed.



Hermione realized belatedly that she’d admitted to doing magic in front of American muggles . . . that had been in a cemetery at night. But before she could speak, a shrill scream sounded from behind her.



“Muggles! And A MURDERER! I’ll kill you, Mudblood!”



Hermione whirled around, only to meet the angry, red face of Pansy Parkinson. She had pulled herself back against the white metal headboard of the bed, her black school robes bunched at her knees, her blonde hair a tangled bird’s nest on top of her head. One short finger pointed shakily at them.



“Of course it just had to be Pansy, didn’t it?” She muttered under her breath.



~*~





Pansy Parkinson refused to believe that this was happening. She was trapped in an American Muggle’s home with the very annoying Granger, and a murder. Granger had made that little remark, and Pansy had seen red. She charged the uppity Gryffin-dork only to be held back by a red-haired muggle girl. And now the stupid Mud blood was telling them absolutely everything that was supposed to be secret. When the little wretch finally released her, the blonde one commanded that someone needed to start explaining.



~*~





Dawn watched the small group. They were all uncomfortable being around each other. And Dawn knew that the guy kept staring at her and Buffy. They’d explained that they were witches, and Buffy, Faith, Vi, Maggie, Cyn, and Lauren all explained that they were slayers. Eliza explained that she and Dawn were the slayers watchers. Or at least, they were Vi, Maggie, Cyn and Lauren’s watchers. But the Sirius guy, as Hermione said that was his name, seemed to look through her.


They’d managed to get them to eat, which was a miracle, seeing as the Pansy girl wanted to rip their heads off if they got too close. Hermione, on the other hand, seemed fascinated about the whole slayer thing, and it distracted her from the obvious guilt she was feeling.


Buffy had called it a night, Faith and the younger slayers leaving to patrol the mean streets of Cleveland. Hermione asked if she could call her parents, hoping they could then get in contact with the school.



“Sure, we make regular calls to the U.K.” Dawn grinned.


“Thank you.”



~*~



“Hello, Mum?”


“Hermione? How - “


“There was a little mishap at the school.”


“Where are you?”


“I’m in the States. Ohio. Cleveland.”


“However did you get there?”


“It’s a long story. Could you please tell Professor Dumbledore that we are safe, and to Owl us here? This is the address.”


“Of course, darling. Your father is just going to owl them.”


“Tell them that Sirius and Pansy are with me.”


“Sirius and Pansy. Yes. Be careful, Hermione.”



~*~



Pansy had gone to bed ages ago, and Sirius was staring out the window. He hadn’t spoken to her since she told them her parents were owling Dumbledore. Pansy had yelled at her, saying that she’d wasted her time on finding a man who’d rather be dead. And that Harry and Ron would hate her for it. She felt like crying. And she wasn’t one to easily give up to tears.



“Hey.”



Hermione turned to face Dawn. The tall girl gave her a small smile. She sat beside her on the sofa.



“So, you’re a witch?”


“Yes.”


“And you did a resurrection spell?”


“Not intentionally. We cast a truth spell.”


“Major backfire.”


“Yes.”


“So, you and that Pansy girl did the spell all by yourself?”


“No, there were four other girls. Hannah, Luna, Lavender, and Ginny were supposed to be the four corners, but Pansy interrupted and we were sent here.” She held her head low. “For all I know, they could be trapped or lost or hurt somewhere. Our wands were on the floor of the lavatory.”


“I tried a resurrection spell once. But - it didn’t work. My mom died a few years ago. Brain tumor.” Dawn said softly. “I wanted her back so badly, that I didn’t think about the consequences. That she could come back wrong.”


“Is that why your sister is so cold to me?”


“No. Buffy knows what it’s like to be ripped out of heaven. That’s why she’s a major bitch to you.”


“She was -”


“Dead. For a hundred forty-seven days. Our Wicca friends Willow, Tara, and our other friends, Xander and Anya brought her back. Still, it wasn’t the best idea.” Tears welled up in her eyes. “Tara and Anya are dead now. Willow’s off in South America, and Xander’s in Africa.”


“Were they -”


“Tara was shot. And Anya - she died in battle, trying to help save the world.”


“I’ve only known two people who’ve ever died. Sirius, and a boy I went to school with was murdered two years ago.” Hermione said softly, facing the other girl.


“We’ve lost a lot of people. There was this teacher who dated Giles, and Buffy had to kill her boyfriend Angel to save the world, and my mom, and Buffy, and Tara, and Anya, and Cassie, and Amanda, and Molly, and Spike.” Dawn’s voice cracked on the last name. It’d been so hard to even say their names, but Spike and Anya’s deaths were still so painful to bear. “Spike was like my older brother, you see. I loved him.”


“Harry - wouldn’t talk for days after Sirius died. He wouldn’t speak to us. He blamed everyone. I was just trying to get answers to his questions. I couldn’t bear to see him in so much pain.”


“Do you love him?”


“Harry?”


“Yeah.”


“Of course, he’s one of my best friends.”


“No, I mean do you love him?”


“Oh.” She blushed. “Not like that. He‘s like a brother to me.”


“But there’s someone, you love him.”


“Yes.”


“What’s his name?”


“Ron.” She said softly.”



~*~



Ron bolted upright on the couch. He hadn’t left the common room since Hermione’s parents had owled the school. The other three girls had been found ages ago, brought home from a Los Angeles Law firm. Hannah had been sobbing over some boy she’d had to leave behind. But as Ron sat, staring into the fire, he could have sworn he’d heard ‘Mione say his name. He leaned back, wishing they’d hear from them soon. Wishing she’d get back soon.



~*~





Sirius stared out the window, his eyes locked on the stars. He heard her approach him, but it didn’t connect, not really.



“Does it get any harder?”


“No, but it gets easier.” She said softly, sitting beside him. “Is he worth living for?”


“Harry - Harry is my best friend’s son. My Godson. It was worth dying to protect him.” He staring into her eyes.



Buffy turned away, locking her gaze on her sister. Her voice was low as she spoke, her eyes staring deep into his.



“So was Dawn.” She smiled softly. Sirius stared at the young girl, talking with Hermione.


“There’s more to her than you told us, isn’t there?”


“What? No.” She said quickly.


“She’s special. Powerful.”


“More like a wimp.”


“Buffy - you died to save her. She’s got to be special.”



Buffy started to move away, not liking the way this conversation was headed. She rose, but Sirius hand clamped on her wrist. Not tightly, but tight enough.



“I see into her - the energy. And I have this feeling that I’m supposed to be protecting her.”


“Well, sorry, but that’s my job.”


“It’s mine, now.” He said softly.


“What about Harry?” She asked. He was still for a moment.


“He needs me, but he needs her. . .She holds a key - she’ll need more than one of us to guard her.”


“Us?” Buffy raised an eyebrow.


“Do you know any other people who’ve been brought back that I can speak to?”


“Well, no -”


“Then it’s settled.”


“What’s settled?” Buffy demanded.



But Buffy didn’t get her answer. Because there were suddenly three people in her living room.



~*~





Harry didn’t like portkeys. It was settled. But when he landed in the middle of a living room, laying eyes on Sirius after three months of him being dead, Harry was ready to praise whoever thought up the damn portkey.



“Sirius?”


“Harry?”



The hug was like a compulsion, he needed to make sure Sirius was really there. He fiercely clung onto him, his heart bursting with joy as he was hugged back.



~*~



Hermione sat, her mouth open in disbelief. This just couldn’t be. Dawn was equally shocked. Pansy - well, she laughed at Hermione’s mess up. Until Vi threatened to break her hand if she didn’t stop cackling. Pansy shocked everyone by shutting up. The petite slayer had some pull on what the blonde witch did and said, which shocked all of them. Hermione spoke the question that hovered in her mind.



“Sirius is drawn to Dawn? But why?” She asked Dumbledore.



Dawn gave a sheepish grin as she told them her secret.



~*~





An hour later, after Buffy and Dawn had spoken, and Faith had put her two cents in, and Dumbledore explained what was wrong with Sirius, eight people portkeyed out of Cleveland.


Dumbledore figured out that the spell had changed Sirius, making him the Guardian of the Key. Which was why he was drawn to Dawn. Because she was the Key made flesh. Pansy, Hermione, Dawn, Buffy, Sirius, Harry, Remus Lupin, and Dumbledore all returned to Hogwarts.



~*~





Hermione stepped nervously into the lavatory to retrieve her wand. She found herself facing Lavender, Luna, and a crying Hannah. Guilt rose up in her stomach, churning foully.



“I’m so very sorry. I -”


“What are you apologizing for, Hermione?” Lavender asked.


“Well - you were all -”


“Sent on the most amazing trip of our lives?” Luna smiled.


“But Hannah -”


“Is missing her new boyfriend, Connor. Lavender and I had the most amazing time.”


“A woman took us shopping.”


“And I got to kiss a handsome vampire.” Luna smiled broadly.


“Spike was not that handsome, Luna.” Lavender rolled her eyes. She gave a mischievous grin. “Angel was more handsome. . . and well, Wes blew them both out of the water.” She gave a little sigh.


“Yes, but now I can cross off kissing a vampire on my list of things to do in life.” Luna smiled dreamily.


“Spike was his name? Where have I heard that - ” She smiled remembering her little talk with Dawn. “You should speak to the American girl we brought back with us. She’d like to hear that, I’m sure.”


“Did the spell work, Hermione?” Hannah asked between hiccups.


“Yes. Sirius is alive.”



~*~





It was late when Hermione slipped back into the common room. She’d been lectured up and down about how foolish she had acted. She seriously blamed Harry and Ron for being such a bad influence on her.


Ron.


She hadn’t seen him yet. Ginny and Neville had been waiting for them when they arrived back. But Ron hadn’t been anywhere near them. She lowered her head as she walked through the portrait hole.



“”Mione?” She nearly jumped a foot in the air when she heard Ron’s voice.


“Ron! You scared me half to death.” She cried. “What are you doing up?” She asked, making her way over to him. She gasped when she saw the white bandage round his hand. “Ron, what did you do to yourself?”


“Dropped Hogwart’s: A History on it.” He joked, as she pulled his hand into hers, to get a better look. He went completely still.


“That must have hurt.” She said softly.


“It did - later. I - I didn’t really notice it at the time.” He pulled his hand out of hers, turning away from her.


“Did - did I say something wrong, Ron?” Her brows furrowed in confusion.


“No.”


“If it’s about that spell - I’ve already been lectured a million times, Ron.” She sighed.


“Where’d you come up with such a harebrained scheme, anyway?” He asked, contempt laced in his words.


“From you.” Came the soft reply.



Ron froze, not sure whether he should be insulted or honored. ‘Mione was the smartest girl in school. He’d never found himself being the one making the plans, or having great ideas. That was always her role.



“What?”


“You said that we should do something to help Harry be at peace with Sirius’ death. You said you wished there was a way to know if he’d been sent to hell - or -” She took a deep breath, tears springing up in her eyes. “So I researched it. . . “


“You didn’t do this for Harry, because you love him?”


“Of course I love him! He’s one of my best friends . . . he’s like a brother to me, and I would do anything to rid him of the pain he was going through, Ron. So would Ginny, and Luna, and Lavender, and even Hannah.” Tears streaming down her cheeks.


“Then you don’t love him?” Ron asked softly.


“Not like that, no.” She gave a small hiccup. “Damn you, Ron Weasley, you’ve managed to make me cry again.” She gave a small chuckle. “You always knew how to do that.”


“Hermione. . . “



And Ron did what he’d been waiting four years to do. He kissed her, softly, and gently. But she kissed back. And for her, that was all she needed. Out of bad things, good things came to be.



~*~



Dawn peeked her head around the corner. So that was Hermione’s Ron. But then they were fighting and then kissing. She scrunched up her nose and turned to the boy next to her.



“Are they always like that?”


“Like what?” Harry asked, his eyes fixed on where Sirius and Buffy chatted quietly.


“Fighting then making out in rapid succession.”


“Making out - “ Harry turned his gaze to where Ron and Hermione were snogging like mad fiends. He grinned. “No, but at least one of them actually did something. Six years in the making. I was beginning to wonder if they’d ever have a go at it.”


“Great, they aren’t the only ones.” Dawn groaned, turning to face the sickeningly close Sirius and Buffy. She turned again only to catch the boy Neville and one of the blonde girls, Lavender snogging as well.



“You know, in a castle this gigantic, you’d think they could find a room!” Dawn groaned before making her way to her room, leaving Harry behind chuckling at her.



~End~


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