The danger of a shortlife ending
Dawn awoke slowly to incessant chatter, it was just loud enough that she couldn't get back to sleep. She had told Buffy over and over that she needed her beauty sleep and was about to tell her again, and in quite unsisterly phrases when she heard an unfamiliar male voice say her name.
"She lost her sister, that's what Summers and Professor Williams were talking about," Dawn heard the speaker continue.
It all started to come back to Dawn, she wasn't lying in her comfy bed in Sunnydale, her sister was dead and it was most likely that she herself was currently occupying one of the beds in the Hogwarts hospital wing. Dawn opened her eyes and discovered that she had been right about where she was and that the people talking about her were the Gryffindor trio, Potter and his friends. They hadn't seen that she was awake and continued to talk about her.
"Well, I asked the Headmaster about her and he wouldn't tell me much; just that she's from Sunnydale, California, which if you ever paid attention in DADA you'd know is the location of the biggest active Hellmouth. He also said that both her mother and sister died recently. He told me that I should keep my mind open to her, that she could be a powerful ally to have," Hermione said, speaking as if she were telling the two boys about something they needed to know for a homework assignment instead of talking about a living, breathing person.
"A powerful ally? You have got to be kidding me she's a Slytherin!" the carrot-topped Weasley exclaimed.
Dawn watched as Hermione glared at Ron.
"You know what Ron? Sometimes you can be so immature!" Hermione sounded exasperated by her friend. "You know the Hat has been on about inter-House unity these past few years. Maybe she's not as Slytherin as we think," she said trying to think up a logical reason that the Headmaster would have told her that.
There was a long pause until Hermione broke the silence and changed the subject, "Did you two finish your Potions homework yet?"
"Oh ow! My head! It really hurts - can't think - must - be - dying..." Harry said, faking falling into unconsciousness again.
"Oh Harry! You make me so frustrated sometimes!" Hermione huffed then hit Harry lightly on the arm before storming out of the hospital wing.
When the two Gryffindors heard the hospital wing doors slam shut they erupted into laughter, and Dawn, not wanting to draw attention to herself suppressed a snort of her own laughter.
"What can I do for you girls?" Dawn heard Madam Pomfrey inquire.
"We are here to see Dawn Summers," one of the girls spoke and Dawn recognized the voice as belonging to Blair Zabini.
"She's right over there, next to Mister Potter. I don't think that she's awake yet, but she should be soon enough," Madam Pomfrey told them, then, "Keep it down and don't stay too long, she'll need her rest so that she will be well enough to rejoin the main school tomorrow."
"Yes Madam, we just wanted to see for ourselves that Potter didn't do any lasting damage," Pansy said and then muttered "and to check that she got him as well as he got her."
"Now girls, we'll be having none of that. Get on with you and start your visit," Pomfrey said, shooing the girls in Dawn's direction.
"Well Weasley," Blair said. "It looks like Potter's just proved himself to be below you; bested by a girl, a Slytherin girl. You should rejoice and then find another puppy to follow around."
"Shut the hell up Zabini!" Ron growled, pulling his wand out of his pocket.
"Oh, what're you going to do Weasley, hex a girl? Put it away," Pansy said, sneering.
The girls turned as one from the Gryffindor boys and went to Dawn's bedside.
"I was wondering whether I'd get any visitors," Dawn said, a slight smile warming her face.
"Well, it looks like you're in one piece. Do you feel in one piece?" Blair asked giving Dawn the once over.
"Actually my head does hurt a little and my body feels kind of achy all over, but all round I think I'm fine," Dawn told the girls and got two smiles, a nonchalant wave and an ignore. "So, what did I miss in my other classes today?"
"Not much, a boring lecture in History of Magic, I have some detailed notes for that class which you can borrow, and Transfiguration was just turning a pencil into a chair, which is very easy and only complete dunderheads like Longbottom can't seem to grasp it," Claire told her.
"Long bottom?" Dawn asked.
"He's this incredibly stupid Gryffindor. He's practically a squib! In Potions don't sit next to him or you're at serious risk of getting splattered by a seriously bastardized version of whatever he's meant to be brewing when his cauldron explodes. And it nearly always explodes," Blair told her with a giggle.
"Okay, I'll be sure to file that in the 'must remember' files," Dawn said and when the other girls looked at her funny she brushed it off as a muggle/wizard thing.
"Summers, you showed yourself a good match for Potter today; I guess you're okay for being an American muggle-born," Pansy told her, and from her tone it was clear that it was supposed to be a compliment, though Dawn could clearly hear the disdain and disgust placed into her voice when she said 'muggle-born'.
"I'll take that as a compliment, Parkinson," Dawn said hiding a smile.
"Take it however you will, Summers, I couldn't care less," Pansy said then sat down in one of the chairs next to the bed.
There was a brief lull in their conversation that Dawn decided to break, "What's the deal with that Malfoy guy? Everywhere I turn he seems to be." And remembering how annoyed he made her she added, "He could definitely do with a manner adjustment."
"Yes, it does often seem that he could do with some work on his manners, but really, he's not such a bad person," Pansy said and before any one of the other girls could say anything else they heard a 'humph' from the next bed over and they all glared at the two eavesdropping boys.
"Curiosity of one of Draco's flaws... when he doesn't know someone or something he'll do anything to find out what makes 'em tick. It doesn't often help him make a good first impression- or second - or third! But give him half a chance and he's not too bad," Pansy continued smiling.
Blair snorted, "Yeah, it doesn't help his first few impressions that he's a right brat half the time, attention loving the rest, and constantly walks around under the impression that he's God's gift to the human populace."
Dawn laughed, "Okay, I think I have it, on the outside he's a conceited know-it-all brat but on the inside he's really an all round good guy."
"That about sums it up," Blair said and all of the girls laughed.
"You know Dawn, you aren't the only one of us Slytherins to have officially dueled with Harry Potter. In our second year Draco did, he conjured a snake that Potter then set on one of the Hufflepuff boys; I forget which one of them though. It really was quite amusing," Pansy told her.
The two Gryffindors looked up from their growing pile of exploding snap cards, Harry frowned as Ron glared at Pansy, "I did not tell that snake to attack!"
Pansy rolled her eyes, "Keep saying that Potter." She and the other girls turned back to Dawn again
Dawn looked confused, "Exactly how was he telling the snake to attack?"
"Potty is a parseltongue," Millicent said.
"I'm sorry, a parcel-what now?"
"Parseltongue. It means that I can talk to snakes. Okay, now we're all aware of Harry Potter's dark and sordid abilities," Harry snapped getting irritated.
"Okay, okay, let's leave moody-boy Potter alone... for now," Dawn said with a laugh and Harry scowled then rolled his eyes and refocused his attention on his game with Ron.
"You know, you look fine to me, why do you have to stay all night here in the hospital wing?" Claire asked.
"Probably it's to make sure that I don't have a concussion," Dawn said gingerly touching the big bump on the back of her head.
"Oh, okay, well I guess that's logical," Claire said.
"Heh, well at least you had a great excuse for not going to classes today," Blair said and Dawn laughed.
"Yeah, in Sunnydale I used to have to find excuses to skip so I could go and hang out at the mall; this is a much better reason," Dawn said and the girls just looked at her. "What?"
"What's a mall," Millicent asked.
"And what's Sunnydale exactly, I mean, you mentioned it earlier but..." Pansy asked shrugging slightly.
“Sunnydale is a city in the State of California, America and a mall is like the whole of Diagon Alley, but muggle, condensed in to one huge building with several floors and such," Dawn explained.
"And they are purely muggle?" Pansy said. "Humph.
"Well, I don't know that all of them are all-muggle, and you never can be too sure with Sunnydale," Dawn said and was relieved that Madam Pomfrey's approach meant that she'd not be asked any potentially painful to think about questions about Sunnydale and her brief life there.
"All right everyone who is not a patient, out! Visitation is over, but don't worry because if they continue to be as well as they are right at this moment they'll be out of here by breakfast," Madam Pomfrey said and there was a collective groan from all the teens who were being evicted.
The girls each said a goodbye to Dawn and together they swept out of the hospital wing, not one of them sparing the Gryffindors a glance.
"'Bye Harry, I'll see you tomorrow at breakfast," Ron said, lifting himself off of the bed.
Harry smiled as Ron began to leave, "'Bye Ron, don't give Hermione too much trouble!" And with that his friend waved and left the hospital wing.
The two remaining teens looked at Madam Pomfrey who held two goblets of potion in her hands with some trepidation.
"Now, now, these may taste a little repulsive, but they will give you some much needed sleep and help you to get rid of those bumps on your heads," she said and handed the potions to her patients.
"I would suggest, Summers, holding your nose as you drink it so that you can't taste it so much," Harry said, grimacing as he held the goblet to his lips and took his own advice.
Dawn didn't listen, instead she knocked the potion back all in one swift gulp and regretted it almost instantly as her stomach and taste buds held a hasty conference on whether they actually wanted the foul concoction within her stomach or not.
Dawn sat for a moment in silence then finally her stomach settled, accepting the potion. "Oh my god that was gross to the max! I thought I was going to hurl," Dawn said, shuddering lightly, and as Harry looked at her funny she narrowed her eyes, "What!"
"Nothing. You just talk very oddly, that' s all," Harry said and Dawn glared at him.
"Like you talk any better," Dawn said as she started to feel groggy and snuggled further down into her bed.
"Okay you two, that's enough chatter. It's time for bed," Madam Pomfrey pronounced and wandered along the ward to check that one of her other patients, a small first year, had taken their own dose of sedative.
"'Night, Summers," Dawn heard from behind her.
"Good night yourself, Potter, don't let the bed bugs bite," Dawn said falling into a potion-induced slumber.
"William, would you like any tea?" Headmaster Dumbledore offered to his guest pouring a cup of the fragrant liquid for himself.
"No sir, I don't really have much use for the stuff being a vampire and all," Spike said.
"You're quite right," the Headmaster said with a chuckle.
"I could use a drop of brandy though," Spike said, rubbing his head, he'd had a very long day.
"I think I will too," Dumbledore said, setting his cup of tea aside and serving brandy for the both of them.
Spike took a slow drink, "Yes, definitely needed that. So, sir, sorry to sound rude- well, not really that sorry, but why did you want to see me?"
"Well William, it's about Dawn. I hear from Madam Pomfrey that both she and Harry are doing just fine," Dumbledore said. "But what we really need to discuss is the danger Dawn faces from Voldemort now that her presence within this school is known. He will try to get her, to use her power for his own undoubtedly nefarious purposes."
"What do you mean, her power, doesn't he have enough of his own?" Spike asked.
"Being the Key means that Dawn has a lot of untapped power just waiting to be unleashed. If Voldemort were ever to get his hands on Dawn and tap into that well of power she holds inside of her then he would be unstoppable and whatever chance we may have had prior to that will be lost," Dumbledore explained. "I fear that if Voldemort were to learn the exact truth of her existence then Dawn may be in even graver danger than Harry."
Spike was shocked, here, half-way around the world and yet again Dawn was in danger of wanting to use what she was for great evil to rule over the world and end it's current existence. He wondered vaguely if the poor child would ever get a break.
"She seems to have her sister's knack of attracting evil," Spike said speaking softly and cradling his now empty brandy glass.
"Yes, I have heard quite a bit about the 'adventures of Buffy the vampire slayer' as Dawn calls them," Dumbledore said looking the troubled vampire over.
"She was quite an amazing girl and Dawn is just as amazing, if not more so. It's hard to just sit back and watch all this stuff happen to her and not be in on the action," Spike said. "Albus, we have to keep her safe."
"We, of course, will do all we can to keep Dawn safe, but in the end it will come to how well she is able to protect herself. I think it highly advisable that she get acquainted with young Mr. Potter, they will be a great help to each other. He can help her reach the power she will need for protection and perhaps even to help Harry," Dumbledore said.
"What!" Spike roared. "Dawn is in no way, shape or form fighting Voldemort, do you hear me?" Spike said getting up from his chair, inadvertently knocking it over.
"There is no way that you can keep that path from her if it is her destiny, which I feel most sure that it is," Dumbledore told him.
Spike growled softly, "I will be having none of that, I will tie her up if it will keep her from risking her life in a fight that needn't be hers!"
"Miss Summers is very headstrong; I don't think that will stop her from doing what she thinks is her duty. I don't think that you can force her to run from another fight she thinks is hers to fight," Dumbledore said trying to reason with Spike, staying calm even though the vampire had allowed his anger to show his true face.
"All right, then we just don't tell her," his words slightly slurred now that he had what Dawn and the other Scoobies might call his 'game face' on.
"We have to tell her, if we don't we could be putting her in more danger by leaving her unprepared. Especially since she is in Slytherin and many of the Slytherins have parents who are Death Eaters or sympathize with their cause," Dumbledore said and Spike sighed and sank down into his righted chair as his features rearranged themselves into a more human-like appearance.
"Fine. If she must be told, then we will tell her together," Spike said with a pained look crossing his face.
"I really must say you are the most intriguing vampire that I have ever met. You don't have a soul and yet you still care deeply for these people as if you did. It's quite fascinating really," Dumbledore said a small smile on his lips.
Spike smirked despite his annoyance at the Headmaster, "Yes, I pride myself on being different. What's the fun of being the same as every other vampire?" He paused, "But you, old man, I would never even think to bite, chip or no."
"Well, why not? I happen to taste quite good," Dumbledore said, slightly offended that even in theory this vampire wouldn't bite him.
"I don't eat junk food," Spike said, standing and walking out of the office.
"Humph, well, if I were a vampire, I'd bite me," Dumbledore said to himself after the vampire left.
The next morning Dawn and Harry were both released from Madam Pomfrey's care and they walked to the Great Hall together, well, to be perfectly accurate Dawn maintained a gap of about four paces in front of Harry the whole way there.
Once at the Great Hall Dawn was accosted by Draco Malfoy.
"I see you finally managed to drag yourselves from the infirmary," Malfoy sneered.
"Oh yes, Malfoy, because I so went there willingly, unconscious as I was," Dawn shot back stalking past Draco to join her new friends.
"So you're the new Slytherin Princess, huh?" A boy with dark, almost black, hair and bright blue eyes asked Dawn as she sat down.
"Um, I don't think so, last time I checked I wasn't royalty," Dawn said.
"Right," he said with a broadening grin.
"That's what the rumors are calling you now that you've shown yourself a foe worthy of Harry Potter," Blair explained to her. "Oh yeah," Blair continued almost as an afterthought, "This is my twin brother, Blaise. Blaise, Dawn. Dawn, Blaise."
"Well it's a delight to meet such a pretty lady, Dawn," Blaise Zabini said taking Dawn's extended hand and rather than shaking it as she had offered it for, he turned it palm down and pressed a kiss to the back.
"Right," Dawn said skeptically, wiping the back of her hand on her school robe a look of disgust on her face.
"Well Zabini, looks like your charm doesn't exactly work as well as you thought it did," Draco said trying very hard not to laugh at his friend.
Dawn shot a glare towards Draco who shrugged, grinning at Blaise.
"Don't you ever know when to keep your mouth shut?" Dawn asked him acidly and Draco stopped smiling.
"Zabini," he said slowly, "why is it that all the Slytherin girls are bitches?"
Four very insulted "Heys," were heard and Pansy reached up and hit him on the back of his head mussing his hair in the process.
"Ow!" Draco exclaimed and Blaise started laughing at Draco who glared at him.
"Sorry, my friend, but you walked straight into that one," Blaise said laughing.
The chatter in the Great Hall stopped as the morning owls swooped down, delivering news from home, packages and papers. Dawn scanned the skies and saw Dusk among the owls, seconds later and Dusk was dropping a letter into Dawn's lap before settling down momentarily, but long enough for Dawn to pet her and give her a bit of toast to nibble on.
Dawn set her plate aside and opened her letter and was immediately delighted to see that it was from Xander.
Hey Dawnie, how are you? Willow and I miss you so much! We hope that you're doing okay.
I am so sorry that we couldn't save Buffy this time, we tried, we really did, but Dawn, whoever you blame for this, do not blame yourself for her death.
My dreams have finally come true and Captain Peroxide has left Sunnydale, so now we don't have to deal with him any more, it's a bright spot for us Scoobies.
Anya has left. She says that she can't handle the chaos of Sunnydale and has moved to New York. And she says that Sunnydale is chaotic. It broke my heart, but I think that is beginning to mend.
Willow and Tara have also split, Tara didn't like how much magic Willow is using and Willow is set in her ways and won't stop. Tara is going to stay with Anya for a while in New York. Anya calls them the 'Heartbroken sisters' but since it's me and Willow they left I don't see how that could apply to them.
Now that it's just me and Willow and Giles we have decided to come and visit you in a few days. Giles said no at first, but Willow and I can be very persuasive when we want to be.
Well I can't wait to see you and have a great day at school,
Love you always,
Dawn finished reading the letter with a smile on her face, then looked to Spike and then back to the letter.
"What has you in such a good mood now?" Blair asked, her voice full of curiosity.
"Oh, nothing much, I just got a really good letter from my friends," Dawn told them as she folded the letter and put it in her robe pocket to read again later.
Dawn had a distracted smile on her face the whole day through, which she received some rather odd looks for, but she didn't care, she felt like smiling.
After classes as Dawn was heading down the steps to the dungeons to get to the Slytherin common room Professor Snape stopped her.
"Miss Summers, come with me please, the Headmaster wishes to speak with you," the professor said then he turned and walked away, clearly expecting Dawn to follow, which she did.
They walked to the gargoyle statue and Snape gave the password, "Peanut Butter Cups," and ushered her up to Dumbledore's office.
"Oh it's good of you to get here so promptly. Dawn, please do take a seat," the Headmaster said and Dawn did just that, then she looked around the room and saw Professor's McGonagall, Snape and Williams, she smiled at Spike and then she noticed that also sitting in the room was none other than Harry Potter.
"Why are we here?" Dawn asked, getting straight to the point.
Dumbledore sighed softly, "You have, of course, heard of Lord Voldemort, Dawn?"
"Um, yeah, sure. He's the dark wizard who wants to take over and rule the wizarding world. He has a problem with people who aren't pureblood," Dawn confirmed.
"That's right, and as you know seventeen years ago Voldemort was vanquished by a child and the love his mother felt for him. Not too long after you joined us here at Hogwarts he became corporial once more and returned. I'm fairly certain that by now he will know of your existence and that he will, even now, be plotting to use you to make himself more powerful," Dumbledore said.
"What? How?" Dawn exclaimed.
"That we do not know," the Headmaster told her sadly.
"This cannot be happening, not again, not after everything," Dawn said more to herself than to any of the other people in the office as her eyes began to prickle with tears.
"I know that this will be hard to take in, Dawn, but you will be all right. Harry here is in the same predicament as you and we have decided that it would be best for you two to learn to co-operate, to be able to trust each other, become friends. Both Harry and myself will be helping you tap into the power that lays dormant within you at the moment. Professor Williams will be teaching Harry how to defend himself the muggle way, and perhaps you can renew your training with them," Dumbledore said.
"Oh the Powers That Be just love shitting on me, don't they?" Dawn said and everyone bar Spike looked surprised to hear the language Dawn had used.
"Miss Summers! I know this is quite a shock for you but that doesn't excuse such crude language!" Professor McGonagall scolded.
"Sorry Professor," Dawn mumbled, blushing. "I just don't get it, why me? First a Hell-goddess, now a Dark Lord, what next? A Teletubbie?"
Harry and Spike both chuckled but the other professors looked confused.
"I have no idea what a Teletubbie is, but it sounds awfully horrid," McGonagall said.
"It's nothing major," Harry said. "It's a creature from a muggle show for young children."
"So what does all this have to do with Potter, how come he's involved?" Dawn asked.
"Harry is the boy who defeated Voldemort all those years ago. I thought that you knew that, Miss Summers," Dumbledore said.
"No, no one told me the kids name, just that some child defeated Voldemort. Only thing I've heard about Potter is that I'm not meant to walk directly with him," Dawn shot a look at Professor Snape who was looking smug.
"Yes, well that isn't necessary. Harry isn't someone to be avoided," Dumbledore said, smiling at the clearly uncomfortable young Gryffindor. "Trouble just has a knack of finding him."
Sudden panic struck Dawn, "You're not going to shut me away again, are you?"
"No Dawn, that is not necessary anymore, Voldemort isn't as powerful as a Hell goddess so you should be quite safe here," Dumbledore explained and Dawn felt relief wash over her.
"Dawn, in two days time we will start your lessons. You will meet me and Harry here after dinner," Dumbledore said. "You are all dismissed."
Everyone turned and filtered out of the Headmaster's office. Spike, Dawn and Professor Snape headed for the dungeons, the professors leaving their charge at the entrance to the Slytherin common room.
Dawn walked straight through the room, not looking at anyone, even when Pansy and Millicent tried to catch her attention. She went straight to her dormitory and straight to bed.
She lay awake a top her bed and thought of everything she had just learnt and how it would impact on her life. She was extremely pissed off that once more she was in danger of her short life coming to a premature ending. She just never got a break, just like Buffy.
Dawn eventually fell asleep thinking about her dead sister.
A/N: I know you all are wondering who she will be with at first i was really undecided but now i have decided and i hope you will all like trying to guess who shes to be with thats was i think is best about this story its got some very interesting twist coming so please bear with me
and thanks a bunch to my beta Mel aka: Soul without her pushing me to compleat this non of this would be possable