: I do not own the rights to Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the Harry Potter series. They belong respectively to Joss Whedon & Mutant Enemy and JK Rowling.Summary
: Natasha Summers and Susanna Weasley meet at a summer camp in their sixteenth summer and uncover a secret kept from them these many years. Note
: I have no knowledge whatsoever of the Romani culture or lifestyle. Whatever is written henceforth is completely fictional.
I'd also like to thank everyone who reviewed the previous version, especially Cutiepie
who was an immense help and led me by the hand during that first attempt. I'm dedicating this to you, lovely.
A big thank you to Doodlebug, Emmy, Kiara, scoobywannabe, JoeHundredaire and Bellaswan for the reviews and constructive criticism.
* * *
Dawn couldn't remember a time when she'd felt so betrayed. She had refused to talk to Buffy before she'd gotten on the plane and she still stood by her decision, three hours later, trapped next to a drooling baby. If she hadn't known Buffy for her entire made-up life, she would've thought that this was some sick joke and still half-expected everyone to jump out and say 'Gotcha!' But that wasn't going to happen. Buffy had sent her away. Said that the Hellmouth was too dangerous, even if her Keyness was dormant, even if she didn't want to go. Said that she had to go somewhere else to get a grip on herself. Said that it was safer someplace where she wasn't the Slayer's kid sister. Hello, so not a kid anymore. She was almost seventeen and everything.
Dawn sunk lower into her seat, ignoring the disgruntled look of the older woman on the other side of her. She expected a disgruntled teen? Well, Dawn would give it to her... when she was done sulking over Buffy's betrayal. How could she do this? How could she expect Dawn to ever feel safe again without Buffy and the Scoobies to look after her? How would Dawn ever be safe without them? Tuesday was only two days away. Who was going to save her when she got in trouble? There wasn't even a question as to whether there would be trouble. She was Dawn and Tuesdays always came around sooner or later.
The ironic part was Buffy had given Dawn choices, only Sunnydale wasn't one of them. She couldn't even be in America. Nope, her choices were the coven in England or Ms Calendar's old Romani tribe. Just to be difficult, Dawn had picked the latter. Not only that but there was a part of her that knew that she'd experience life with the Romani, instead of being cooped up in some house in the land of tea and tweed. A part of her called to travel and she answered that part to the best of her ability.
The teenager just hoped that this Tuesday didn't come with too much mayhem. Yeah right.
* * *
Dawn spent the next two and a half years of her life travelling with a migratory family from Jenny/Janna's old clan, the Kalderash. She was taken in by a girl, Corina, and her family. The first few months were hard before Dawn grew used to their customs and came to terms with the fact that she'd never truly be accepted into Janna's old clan, no matter how good friends she became with Corina. There was an old tradition and religious belief and Dawn accepted that she wasn't a part of it.
Once she opened herself to her surroundings, what she found was both a shock and a delight to Dawn's senses. When they visited them, Dawn convinced Corina's aunts to teach her their magic, the same kind that had cursed Angelus and she learnt much under their tutelage. Her uncles and cousins continued to teach her self-defense, building on the expansive repertoire she'd compiled with Buffy. She met an amazing variety of people, from brilliant and kind to the more unsavory types.
Dawn refused to keep in contact with Sunnydale for the first six months, except for Spike, of course, who threatened to come and get her himself before she convinced him it was all right. It wasn't until Xander contacted her, warning her that if they didn't hear back, they'd assume she'd been killed and sacrificed to the hocus gypsy gods and they'd come and kick some butt that she really made an effort. Really, who could resist a message like that? However, no matter how much she missed her, Dawn couldn't let Buffy back into her life. Her sister had shown a disturbing aptitude for throwing everything on its head and pulling Dawn's life down around her ears. She still loved hearing news of Sunnydale and found that the more time she spent with Corina Kalderash, the less it felt like Buffy had ripped out her heart and replaced it with an alarm clock.
Romani magic was not the only she encountered on what she considered her exile from Sunnydale. As Dawn's eighteenth birthday came and went, she started branching out on her own, away from Corina and her family, but always keeping in touch, feeling close to the people who had helped to guide her during the last two years. After Xander, Willow, Buffy, Giles and, surprisingly, Faith, who happened to be shacking up with Xander, came and helped celebrate her birthday, Dawn started travelling solo, not that she told the Scoobies this otherwise she would have been dragged back to Sunnyhell, which ironically was now where she didn't want to be.
Dawn found she didn't tire of this. She learnt as much, even more, alone as when she'd travelled with the Romani. Thanks to the experience with them, she was never swindled or taken advantage of. She was forever indebted to them, even more so for introducing her to the Romanian Institute of Dragon Taming, an institution installed by the British Ministry of Magic. She'd been stunned speechless to hear of it and had demanded Corina take her as soon as they met up again. Dawn had hiked for three days to intercept Corina before her family passed it and she had barely made it on time.
Dawn, Corina and a couple of their friends made a night of getting into the Institute through connections and finding fun for themselves. They were careful to stay as far away from the dragons as physically possible while still on the property and it was not in vain. They were invited to the nearby village, which had a more suitable nightlife, if you could call it that. For the nights following, Dawn and her friends kept the dragon tamers company. Even when Corina and her family moved on, Dawn felt compelled to stay. It wasn't until a few weeks later that she realised why: she'd fallen in love. This love was nothing compared to what she previously thought had been love. It was so much more than her infatuation with Xander or Spike or even that stupid vampire on Halloween.
She'd fallen head over heels in love with an English wizard and dragon tamer called Charlie Weasley. In love enough that a year later when he proposed, she said yes. In love enough that soon after, she fell pregnant. In love enough that she gave up her wandering ways and moved back to England with him.
* * *
Dawn's love didn't stop her from calling Giles from the London airport in tears a year later, asking him to be ready to come pick her up when her flight got in. She hung up before he could ask too many questions and hushed the baby she was carrying with her. This pain was nothing compared to when Buffy had sent her away. It was a thousand times worse. She felt her heart had been barbecued by a Common Welsh Green and she was left with a burnt, withered husk. An unhappy gurgle from the baby basket made Dawn change her mind. Her heart would never be empty with her little Natasha Joyce Summers. She felt both relieved and nauseous when the final boarding call for her flight was announced over the speakers.
Without thinking, she bounced her baby on her hip as she moved toward the gate. "Da! Da!"
"Shhh, I know, love, I know. It'll be all right. We'll be fine without him."
"Na! Na!" Dawn's tears increased as she tried in vain to calm her daughter.
She made the flight back to the LAX in automatic, her beautiful baby girl mercifully silent on the flight home. She met Giles at the gate and ran to the man who was practically her father, falling into his arms.
"Dawn, what happened?"
"Charlie a-and I, we, I... it didn't work Giles." Dawn's already tear-streaked face crumpled and he carefully pulled her into his arms, amazed at and wary of the baby in her arms.
"Dawn... where's Susanna?"
Dawn shook her head, sucking in a deep breath to get the sentence out without blubbering all over his jacket. "Charlie has her. I'm lucky to have Natasha. The Ministry wanted Charlie to have both of them 'cos he's a pureblood wizard and he was staying in England. I thought I could do it, Giles. What went wrong?"
"Nothing. This is not your fault, do you understand? These things happen. Do not worry for either of your girls. They're in good hands. Now, come on. Connor's waiting for us in the car."
"Na! Na!" Dawn couldn't help but wholeheartedly agree with her baby. She missed Tash's twin just as much as Tash did.