series: Five by One
disclaimer: These characters belong to Joss Whedon and JK Rowling.
summary: A certain slayer's little sis decides to take on the 'third wheel' of the Gryff trio when two of its members decide to become a couple.
AN: For Jon (Camperx), for Giles. Times two. I was going to attempt a Harry/Hermione, but I just couldn't. Sorry. Glad there were other choices.
*~*~*~*Leave your things behind
'Cause it's all going off without you
You're writing your tragedy
You bubble wrap
When you've no idea what you're like...
-from "Let Go" by Frou Frou
Harry Potter was feeling real sorry for himself just now.
He'd walked in on Ron and Hermione not too long ago... kissing. In the back of his mind, he'd known that it would one day come to this. He was officially the third wheel. Today was proof of that. They now actually scheduled time for the three of them. Ron and Hermione had Ron and Hermione time. Then they had Ron and Hermione with Harry time. It was irritating. It was lonely... because even when he was with them he was separate. Solitary. He was just Harry. He'd said that to Hagrid once. That he was 'just Harry'. Harry had never known how true that statement was. How true it would be. He felt like he would never be a 'Harry and...'. That he would forever be 'just Harry'.
Currently he was sitting in one of the back gardens of the Watcher's Council... just watching them. This happened often when the Order of the Phoenix visited the Council, and the groups met often in their campaign to defeat Voldemort. They met at the council a lot. It was roomier. Less filled with cursed artifacts. But every time they were here, Ron and Hermione would sneak off. Harry would watch. Were the only parts of his life he'd be able to live the horrific destiny-soaked ones?
"Hi, Harry. What'cha doin'?"
He looked up slowly. Buffy's sister Dawn stood there. She was a very pretty gnat. Lovely to look at, but annoying when she started buzzing about. She moved to block his view of Ron and Hermione. For a minute Harry suspected it was on purpose. But that couldn't be, right? Surely a girl of her age couldn't have so much guile. Then again, she was an American.
Dawn waited patiently for him to answer. His kicked puppy routine was getting old. He should be glad his friends were happy together. Instead he sat around staring at them from the shadows like a weird depressed stalker guy. It was sort of creepy. It was a thing Angel had done in regards to her sister that had always bothered Dawn. She knew the signs. Well, Dawn had decided she'd had enough. There were single girls aplenty in these parts, being a building chock full of slayer types, so she was gonna find Harry Potter a girl. Shouldn't be too difficult. After all, he was sort of famous in the wizard world and cute too.
He was all tall and lean. He had that scruffy black hair. Big green eyes behind glasses. It made him look sensitive. Plus that scar on his forehead gave him a hint of danger. He wasn't going to be a difficult sell. In fact, several of the girls had already been annoyingly giggly about his handsomeness. The words 'very tight and fit ass' had been uttered in reference to his butt more than once.
"I was just thinking."
Well, look who finally answered a question. Dawn did her best impression of Willow's resolve face before returning fire. "Thinking about how pitiful and lonely your life has turned out? Thinking about how you'll never have anyone because you're always having to avert an apocalypse? Thinking about how as a sort-of hero you've earned the right to feel a little sorry for yourself and damn anyone who tries to cheer you up?"
Harry scowled. Sure, she was dead-on, but did she have to be so tactless as to say it aloud? Dawn sighed and sat next to him.
"You know the hardest thing to do in this world is to live in it? You spend an awful lot of energy watching others live their lives, Harry. You could live your own, you know."
"What would you know about it?" He snapped.
"Plenty." She retorted. "I used to be just like you. Always angry about what I couldn't be doing. Always angry about being left behind. I spent a great deal of time being frustrated about what could not be, instead of enjoying what was."
"You?" Harry said in shock. He didn't believe it. Not her. Her opinion was asked often, and there were few here better at research. Half the slayers training here asked Dawn's opinion before any of the other watchers. He refused to think that she had ever been left out of anything.
"I wasn't always as I am now. I used to get myself in trouble a lot."
"Kidnapping. Kidnapping by vampires. Kidnapping by weird puppet dudes. Chained to the wall. Almost a demon bride. Almost bloodlet to open other dimensions. Making out with vampires. So many things. Mostly on Tuesdays."
"Today is Tuesday."
"If I get into trouble, would you rescue me?"
"What kind of a reluctant hero would I be if I didn't?"
Harry looked up. Ron and Hermione were nowhere to be seen. That little trickster! She'd distracted him, so he'd lost sight of them. When he looked back at her, Dawn had a very suspicious look in her eyes. She'd planned this. He knew it! So she DID have guile.
"Unless you are my sister, you only get one life here, Harry."
"What do you mean?"
"I think you know what I mean, Harry Potter." Dawn leaned towards him and hissed a bit nastily. "Stop playing the tragic hero. It doesn't suit you as well as you think it does."
With that, she rose and attempted to stalk off. Harry was temporarily distracted by the sway of her hind end in those hip hugger jeans she wore for all of ten seconds before he was up and after the little brat. Harry grabbed her arm to stop her.
"And what should I do about it, little miss know-it-all, hmm?"
"Take the advice my sister gave me before she died the second time."
"Oh? And what was that?"
"Be brave. Live."
"Here." She said. "I'll help you."
She pushed herself up on her toes and kissed him gently. Harry jerked back and looked at her in surprise.
"Not interested in girls?"
He glared at her. "What? No! I mean... of course I am. Interested in girls, that is."
"I barely know you... and... and you're dangerous. In more ways than one. I..."
She was just staring at him... as if waiting for him to work it all out in his head.
Dawn pushed some hair off of his forehead delicately. "Take your time. It's scary to start really living. I know. Like Morgan Freeman said in that prison movie... get busy living or get busy dying. Damn straight. Which one will it be, Harry? You don't exactly have to decide today, but leaning in one direction or the other would do."
Harry took a deep breath then swooped down to recapture her lips. Sure, he didn't know her all that well. But he could. It could be a journey. Though with Dawn, with all she'd said and specifically not said, he suspected adventure would be the more appropriate word here.
Maybe he could be 'Harry and Dawn' for a while.
"Harry, there you are. We..." Hermione's voice cut off with a gasp of surprise.
Dawn's arms were about Harry's neck. His hands were settled on the girl's hips. They were very much still kissing.
Harry pulled back slightly. "Bit busy living here at the moment, Hermione. Could you give us a few minutes? We're having a bit of Dawn and Harry time here. Thanks. See you in a bit."
He heard Ron chuckling as they moved away. Harry might have laughed himself, but he was back to being a bit busy living still.
"So what happens now?" Harry asked when they parted for air.
Dawn shrugged. "It's your life."
Harry smiled at her. She had a mischievous look in her eyes.
"You knew exactly what you were about, didn't you?" He accused playfully.
"I took a chance."
"Then so will I."
He hauled her up for another breath-stealer. Dawn and Harry. Harry and Dawn. Just the two of them. Just.