Of Towels and Wet RatsRating:
PG-13 for slight adult themesDisclaimer:
Dawn Summers is the property of Joss Whedon. Sirius Black belongs to me… er, JK Rowling, I mean.Pairing:
Dawn Summers/Sirius BlackSummary:
Just a little conversation about dealing. Sirius comforts Dawn after her ordeal. A/N:
Set in Chapter 15 of The Key To Marauding, the 2nd of 3 scenes cut from Forsaken due to length and flow issues.
Sirius whirled one final time, stalking right up to the door. He hesitated, then knocked a couple of times. “Kitten?”
If he pressed his ear right up to the door, he could just make out a faint sniffling sound.
“Are you alright in there?”
Sirius heard a snorting sound, like Dawn had a runny nose but couldn’t find a tissue. Girls never seemed to accept the fact that tissues and toilet paper were made out of exactly the same stuff. He knocked again.
“I’m coming in,” he warned, unable to bear the wait any longer.
Dawn looked up at Sirius’ warning. She curled herself up tighter, folding her body even more protectively around her.
Sirius opened the door just enough to slot through the gap, closing it firmly behind him. He looked around the semi-steamy bathroom.
She sniffed, and Sirius followed the sounds until he managed to locate his girlfriend. She was still wet, wrapped in a towel and huddled in the far corner of the bathroom. She’d somehow managed to wedge that skinny little body of hers in between the sink and the wall, her knees hugged to her chest.
Sirius dropped down on all fours, feeling the water seep through the knees of his pants to his skin, and crawled over to her.
“Talk to me,” he pleaded.
“Didn’t help,” she muttered. “The shower. Still feel dirty.”
Sirius paused. How was he supposed to make this better? Dawn looked up at him, almost apologetically before she glanced over at the toilet bowl.
“I threw up.”
He followed her line of vision and his eyebrows hit his hairline. She sure had. That was impressive, even better than the effort he and James had put in last summer, when they’d first sampled firewhisky. Somewhere amongst the headaches and upset stomachs the next morning, and the severe grounding from Mr Potter, they’d come to realise they shouldn’t have drunk a whole bottle of it straight up on the first attempt. Several seconds later, he realised he was still staring dumbly at the mess, and Dawn was shrinking deeper still into the wall in embarrassment. He sent her a reassuring look.
“That’s ok, it doesn’t matter. Look- I got it covered,” he waved his wand and the mess vanished. He still couldn’t resist the rakish grin he shot at Dawn. “Still, that was a fair effort for a girl you know.”
She blushed. “Great. Thanks. Very comforting.”
“What I’m here for.”
She attempted a smile at that, and pried herself just a little out of the corner. A strand of wet hair had been plastered to her cheek, Sirius reached over and peeled it free, pushing it behind her shoulder.
“It’s gonna be alright Dawn, I promise,” he swore, his eyes alive with conviction. “He will never, ever be able to hurt you again. Hey, didn’t I promise you I’d come rescue you if you were ever chained to a rock as monster-bait?”
“No,” Dawn swiped at her nose with the back of her hand. “You just changed the subject when I questioned your half-naked stipulation.”
He snickered. Then he started wishing she hadn’t mentioned naked, because he’d suddenly realised she was exactly that under her towel. And now he couldn’t stop thinking about just how little that towel was, and how vulnerably pretty she was, dripping with water and curled up modestly. Sirius inwardly berated himself, the last thing Dawn needed right now was to be left in the care of a horny boy shamelessly ogling her. He looked away, breathing in the last of the soothingly steamy air. Only when he’d reigned in his runaway hormones would he allow himself to look back at Dawn.
“Are you feeling any better yet?” Stupid question, he told himself silently.
Dawn shrugged. “My face hurts…”
He touched her chin, tilting her head to inspect the red mark. It looked aggravated, as if it had been rubbed furiously at, regardless of the pain. He drew in a sharp hiss of a breath.
“You shouldn’t touch it, Kitten. Just try to leave it be, let it breathe,” he lectured softly.
Dawn cringed and looked away. “I had to… it’s what made me feel so sick the first time. He- he licked
me,” she whispered, her voice laced with shame and disgust.
From the way she tried to remould herself into the wall, Sirius could tell he shouldn’t have bellowed it out like that. But he was fuming, ranting like a madman in his head. Lucius Malfoy was a dead man, it was as simple as that. Sirius was going to rip his tongue out, hex his balls off, and strangle the worthless piece of filth with his bare hands.
“I’m so sorry,” Dawn stared guiltily up at him, looking like a contrite child.
Sirius blinked. While he’d been mentally plotting Malfoy’s demise, Dawn had been sitting there in her towel, dripping and ashamed, blaming herself for what had happened. Well done, Padfoot, he told himself. Come barging in here to make her feel better, and manage to make her feel worse.
He reached out and ran a feather-light finger over her cheek as if to wipe the stain Malfoy’s tongue had left on her mind clean. Dawn covered his hand with her own.
“You have nothing to be sorry for,” he told her. “None of this is your fault. If anything I should be sorry for not taking care of you.”
Dawn just sighed and crawled free of her little corner at last. It was always someone else’s responsibility to take care of her, always someone looking over her shoulder. Well, that hadn’t worked with Glory and it didn’t look like a foolproof plan in this world, either. Maybe it was time Dawn looked into taking care of herself. Just a little bit.
“Don’t you go blaming yourself either, Sirius Black,” she ordered. He smiled. All of a sudden remembering how seriously underdressed she was, Dawn hitched her towel up and tightened it to make sure it was firmly in place. Sirius kissed her forehead.
“Now are you feeling better? Should I go and let you finish up here?” he stood. Dawn smiled at the two large wet patches that had spread over the knees of his pants and took the hands he offered to help her up.
“Can I ask you something?” she asked, looking a little uncertain.
“Anything,” he confirmed.
Dawn turned a pathetic gaze up to Sirius’ face. “Be honest- do I look like a wet rat?”
The sudden bark of laughter echoed around the cavernous bathroom, ricocheting off the walls. “No baby, you look beautiful.”
She arched and eyebrow in disbelief. He arched one right back.
“Dawn, you’re all wet and wearing nothing but a towel,” he pointed out. “Aphrodite herself can’t compete with that.”