Fortune’s Fools - Chapter Two
Notes: All right, I’ll admit I have a soft spot for Kendra :) The poor girl really didn’t get a break, did she? Most people seem to forget that, like Faith, Kendra has been a Slayer for a while before she hit Sunnydale, so she had to be doing something before then, no?
After making their way through the corridors of the school, the halls unusually sparse in populace, Harry and the so-called Vampire Slayer headed along the hall that lead past the entrance to Gryffindor Tower.
It was oddly disconcerting for Harry to have the girl with him.
For one thing, he couldn’t tell if she was still behind him as he walked, her foot falls silent, her breathing even more so. She wouldn’t even walk level with him, lingering a pace or two behind him, as if in respect, which really was very strange.
Turning into a side passage, which wasn’t too far from the Main Hall, Harry stopped in front of a painting of a little girl playing with a bunch of flowers. It peered at him, then at the girl behind him, nodded and opened.
"And this, uh, is your room," Harry offered lamely.
The tawny-skinned, girl beside him lifted her head, looking into the room. "T’ank you," she said carefully, her eyes darting briefly to him, her face colouring before she averted her gaze again.
Harry cleared his throat, shifting from one foot to the other. "Is… is it okay?"
Brandy-brown eyes lifted again, just slightly.
Damnit! Why was she making things so difficult?
Entering the large room to show her around all the extra features that Dumbledore had no doubt kitted it out with, he heard a muted sound escape her and looked at her quizzically. "What?"
Her head ducked again. "Not’ing."
"No," he said, turning to face her. "You made a noise. Are you… is there something I can…" A hand ran through his unruly hair and he exhaled, partly frustrated, partly confused. "Have I done something to upset you or something? Do you just want me to leave you to get on with things? Would you prefer that? I mean, Dumbledore said I had to look after you, but if you don’t want me to…"
The girl’s eyes lifted to him in shock. "You? Done somet’ing?" She shook her head vehemently, surprise marked on her face. "I-I am sorry. I-I jus’ haven’t talked ta many boys before and I-I don’ know what ta say."
Harry blinked at her, wondering if it would be a bad thing to bite off his own tongue for being so blunt and harsh. "Er… sorry," he said lamely. Well, what else could he say, really? "I didn’t know."
Kendra tentatively lifted her head, gazing at him for a little longer than usual, which wasn’t really much from what he could tell. "You don’ have ta go," she said with care, licking her lips nervously. "I-I t’ink I might need someone ta help me find my way around here."
Oh, very eloquent, Harry old son.
A pretty blush spread across her cheeks, as if startled by her own daring at speaking to him. "Dat is, if ye don’t have somet’in’ else ye would rather be doin’ than spendin’ time wit’ a Vampire Slayer."
"N-no… no, nothing to do…"
And this is the wonder of the wizarding world is it, Harry? Reduced to a stammering wreck when a pretty girl blushes in your general direction? Oh, there really is no hope for you. None whatsoever.
Twisting her hands together shyly, Kendra stepped into the room beside him and he could see the awe on her face as she saw the room in its full glory, her dark eyes going round in wonder.
"I think Dumbledore, that is I think the Professor had it specially decorated for you."
Staring about her, the girl turned, taking in everything, from the training area and store of elaborate muggle weaponry on one side of the room, to the sleeping quarters at the other end.
"Dis is beautiful," she said, clearly shocked. Crossing the floor, she stooped to pick up one of the swords that hung in a rack. "He didden need ta go ta so much effort. Ah-Ah would have been happy wit’ just a bed… dis… it’s too much…"
Harry trailed off into silence, his eyes going round in astonishment, as he watched the girl perform a series of slashes and parries with the sword, the sheer speed of her every move almost supernatural.
Moving lightly on her toes, she spun, pivoted, arched, bringing the narrow strip of metal in graceful arcs over and before her body, grace flowing in her every move with an ease that spoke of years of experience.
Whirling to a halt, the blade upraised before her face, she flashed a hesitant smile at Harry, which faded at once, apparently at his expression. "Ah… what is it? Did Ah do somet’ing wrong? Was dis not for me ta touch?"
Blinking, Harry stared at her. "Wow…"
Scarlet suffused her features. "Ah-Ah jus’ did what I was trained to."
"But you… you look too young to be able to fight like that," Harry blurted out, staring at her and the strangely natural way she loosely held the sword. "You… you just picked it up and you were… how did you learn to fight like that?"
Kendra’s head was down once more and she shuffled her feet, clearly embarrassed by his reaction. "Ah was raised dat way by me Watcher," she stammered. "Ah didden know any odder way."
"And your parents didn’t mind?" Harry could not believe any parents would be determined enough to have their child thrown into such a situation. Surely they would have tried to protect their daughter!
The girl shrugged, replacing the sword on the rack. "Ah didden know them," she said, without any sadness. "Dis was mah destiny and dey believed it was more important dan anyt’ing else. Dey gave me to me Watcher when I was old enough."
"WHAT!?" Kendra flinched back at the vehement tone in his voice and Harry felt a flush creeping up his face. "I’m sorry," he said hastily. "I-I just don’t understand. How could they just… give you away like that? To fight and die?"
Kendra seemed unable to meet his eyes. "It-it is di way of me people," she said, her tone one of caution, as if she expected to get in trouble for speaking out of turn. "It is very rare for a Slayer ta be born in our country and it-it is a great honour…" she trailed off into silence, toying awkwardly with her bracelets.
"But they gave you away…" Harry said, as if unable to understand it. His own mother had died rather than save her own life, yet this girl… her parents had simply handed her over to someone else?
"Dey believed it would be for my own good," she said a little heatedly, raising her brown eyes to his, a flash of fire in the dark depths. "If Ah had not been taken, den Ah would not know how ta fight like Ah do now and Ah would have been killed a long time ago."
"If you had never learned to fight, what makes you think you would have turned into a Slayer anyway?" Harry countered, shaking his head. "If your parents had kept you, couldn’t you have… wouldn’t they have been able to teach you?"
She studied him for several minutes in silence, the intensity of her gaze making the young wizard shift uncomfortably. "Di calling of di Slayer is not one dat you can fight," she finally said, lowering her eyes. "It is in yer blood. If ye are born to be a Slayer, dere is not’ing you can do about it."
"You have to be a Slayer?"
"Yes," Kendra answered simply, studying hr hands distractedly. "An’ if Ah can help people, even if dey don’t know about it, den Ah will have done somet’ing wort’while wit’ mah life."
Harry felt an odd stirring in his chest again, a strange emotion, as he stared at the girl. Yes, he was staring. He could admit it. There was something in the way she behaved that he wished he could grasp, something about her acceptance of her fate.
She would eventually die, because it was what she was born to do.
He would eventually kill – or be killed by – Voldemort, which was what he had apparently been born to do.
For the first time, he had someone who was in a situation similar to his own, someone who knew what it was like to face death, day in and day out, someone who had learned to accept what fate had handed them.
Glancing towards the door, he chewed on his lip for a minute, then looked back at Kendra, who had raised her eyes timidly to his face again. "Would you like to go and get something to eat?" he blurted out, feeling rather stupid that he could not come up with something more eloquent.
To his relief and delight, Kendra’s lips curved in a shy smile. "I would like dat," she said, ducking her head again. "I would like dat very much."