Midnight in the Garden of the Good and not so Good.
Dawn got the letter she had been waiting on, smiling and squealing in happiness as she opened it. Xander had been forced to go help someone in Iran who was digging up artifacts. Apparently the muggles had been digging up very dangerous artifacts and he was the *only* one Gringotts trusted to look after them. So he had went to bamboozle the muggles into giving him the artifacts. Draco and Ron's heads both popped up at her unexpected noise, Harry wasn't down yet. "It came!" she said, waving it in the air. "Wes invited us to LA for the last part of the holidays!"
"Us?" Draco asked as he walked over to look at the note on that trashy muggle paper they used. "Why was I invited?"
Dawn hit him on the arm. Since Xander wasn't around to protect him she got to keep Draco in line, Ron had said so. "Because he knew you'd be lonely in the house all by yourself. This way you can come party and have fun with me and Midnight."
"Not me?" Ron asked as he joined them, snatching the note to read for himself.
"Yeah, but I kinda figured Angel'd have you guys helping him over the holidays."
"No!" Dumbledore said firmly, yet very loudly. "Harry may not go to LA with you." He stood up. "We'll need him here over the holidays for some extra training. He's been falling behind in...." He looked around the table in desperation, silently asking for one of his professors to stand up for him.
"In my class," McGonagall put in. She gave him a look telling him he was going to owe her a very large favor.
"Ohhh," Dawn pouted. "But Angel will watch out for us and there will be all kinds of adults. Fred's kinda geeky but she's really nice and human. Gunn's kinda tough and he's a fighter so maybe he can teach us stuff. Plus, you know, the vampires aren't going to eat us. And Wes'll be there," she offered as a last-ditch effort. "Please? He was invited. Wes said he really wanted to talk to him. And...and...and Spike's a wizard too," she offered, looking *really* hopeful this time. "Besides, Nick Boyle's just up the coast, and Emilia is over there. Please?"
"Are we having a meeting?" Harry asked around his yawn as he walked in.
One of Dawn's roommates looked at him, giving him a grin. "No, we're discussing as a group what you're doing for the holidays."
Dawn took the letter and handed it to him. "Wes invited all of us."
Harry read the note, then shrugged. "Sure. I'm sure Angel has something we can do while you're shopping." Ron shuddered.
"Uh-huh, and we can go clubbing and dancing, and even go visit Lorne and sing. Maybe he'd be able to figure out what I need to take as electives next year," Dawn agreed. "Please, Harry?"
"Sure, I'll go with you, Dawn." He noticed the look Dumbledore was giving him. "What?" he asked. "I was planning on latching onto Ron's family again this year if they'd let me."
"That's right, we've got to tell Mum that we'll be safe," Ron agreed, looking at Ginny. "Did we have plans?" She shook her head. "You're sure?"
"Mum said they're going to be visiting some of the relatives," Ginny said with a shrug. "I guess I'll be here with Hermione."
Dawn gave her a look. "You just give me a floo and give me ten minutes with Spike and Wes," she promised. "I'm sure we can bring you and Luna too." She nodded and whistled, taking her dog Midnight with her. She didn't see one of the girls at her table tossing Midnight a big patty of sausage on the way out the door, but he appreciated it.
"LA," McGonagall said, shaking her head. "That's very far away, Albus."
"They'll be fine," Snape said dryly. "They'll have two souled vampires as their escorts. Not even *HE* would be stupid enough to attack them." He sneered at Potter and Weasley. "Besides, it means I won't have to run into those two this year. I'll have a peaceful holiday for once."
"I'm sure we'll be able to keep Harry here," the Headmaster noted as he got comfortable again. "LA is a very dangerous city. I don't want him running around in it."
"He'll be fine," Flitwick pointed out gently. "If anything, he has proven that he can handle emergencies very well." Everyone looked at him. "I'm sure his family wouldn't object too much."
"I'm sure Xander would think it's a charming idea," Madam Sprout agreed. "He probably already knew they were going to offer to take them in since he's so protective and his friends surely realize that."
Dumbledore frowned at them. "That is not a safe city."
"The boy can take care of himself," McGonagall said firmly. "I'll call Molly personally and make sure she agrees." She stood up and went to call the Weasley Matriarch. She made *all* the rules for the family and associated members. She found Dawn trying to get into her office and coughed. "Come along, we'll call from here."
"Thanks. I thought you said I could use it, I wasn't trying to break in."
"I know, if you had been you would have broken the lock," she agreed dryly. Dawn grinned at her, they understood each other most of the time so very well.
Wesley looked up as Angel yelled, walking over to where the insomniac vampire was pointing at the floating head on the burner of the stove. "Oh, hello, Dawn. How are you this afternoon?"
"Just fine, Wes. We're all coming, is that okay? I mean, the whole crew doesn't have anything to do over the holidays. That would mean Ron's little sister, Hermione, and Luna would need to come too. But Draco, Harry, Ron, and I are all coming. And so is Midnight."
"That's fine, Dawn," he agreed with a smile. "Give me a moment to check with Cordelia to make sure we have enough rooms that are habitable."
"Some of us could share," she offered.
He raised an eyebrow and shook his head. "I think not, young lady. Not for another two years at least." He went to talk to Cordelia. "Dawn's coming for the holidays." Cordy smiled at that. "The problem is that her friends seem to have grown by three people. Her boyfriend's younger sister, the female member of the original trio, and a friend of their's. She wants to know if she can bring them as well."
"Pfft. Like we don't have enough rooms at the hotel," Cordy snorted.
Angel walked out of the room. "Why is her head floating?"
"That's right, you've never seen a floo," Wesley said, giving him a pat on the arm and a bright smile. "That's their form of communication. Spike! Dawn's head's here!" he called. The vampire came running down the stairs and Wesley pointed. "She's asking about bringing her friends."
"Hell, the more the merrier," Spike pointed out as he went to talk to her.
"Don't I get a say? We're going to be overrun with *kids*," Angel pointed out.
"Dawn and her friends are the same age Buffy was when we started fighting," Cordelia pointed out. She finished her flower arranging and looked at him. "Of course they can come. The extra friends will give Dawn someone to talk to in case something happens and we have to keep her cooped up the whole time they're here. If not, then it'll give her someone to shop with. I haven't met a boyfriend yet that wanted to go underwear and bra shopping." She noticed Wesley turning pink. "Sorry. Is there a wizarding community here?" He nodded quickly, adjusting his glasses. "Then we'll get them hooked in and it can only help them in their fights."
"Fights?" Angel asked warily.
"Yes, Mr. Potter would be one of those coming," Wesley admitted. Angel looked stunned, Spike had ranted about him. "He doesn't have a family in addition to the fact that he and Dawn are best friends," he said as he went back to talk to Dawn. "Cordelia said that would be fine, Dawn, and that we do have enough rooms set up for everyone. Just in case, make sure to bring your wands and all that."
"Cool! Midnight says hi, he's presently trying to get up McGonagall's robes with his nose. I think he thinks she's got sausage under there or something." She winked at Spike. "You behave and we'll see you in a few weeks. Right after Christmas so you don't have to put out extra efforts for us." She signed off and looked at her teacher, who was shaking her head. "It's not sausages?" she asked with an impish smile.
"No, he likes my perfume. Go back to breakfast or take him out for a walk, Dawn."
"Sure." She picked up the end of the trailing leash and her dog obediently followed her outside. She found Ron waiting on her. "It's all set. You, me, Harry, Draco, Ginny, Hermione, and Luna go right after the holidays here."
"Thanks." He gave her a kiss on the cheek and took the leash from her. "Wanna go see Hagrid with me today?" he asked. She had potions and he always took the dog with him when she had potions. Snape was allergic apparently. He had nearly blown up his own potion with a sneeze and had put the whole class into a week's detention when they had laughed. What Snape expected from Hufflepuffs he wasn't sure, but he would have expected a lot of giggles. "Have fun today." He gave her another short kiss and strolled off. Midnight liked barking at some of the creatures and Hagrid liked Midnight so it was fine if the dog joined their class. Midnight kept trying to save Draco from the most fierce creatures, which kept him out of Hagrid's hair for once, so it was good on many levels.
Draco gave Dawn an appraising look as he met her outside her house before the winter ball. "You need to do something about your hair," he decided. She swatted at his helping hands. "Stop it!"
"It took a long time to get this."
"It's already falling down," he pointed out.
She swatted at him again. "It's supposed to look wispy. That way I look like I got a good tumble. It's supposed to be sexy."
"On you it looks like you need a brush," he told her, finally pulling his wand and performing a full body bind on her so she couldn't fuss. He leaned her against the wall and fixed her hair for her, then released her and let her go check on it. He rolled his eyes. Girls!
She came back a few minutes later and one of the girls had refixed it for her, but it was suitable. "There, how's that?" she asked.
"Much nicer," he agreed. It really did make her neck look long and pale, just the right sort to nibble on. He shook those thoughts out of his head and took her arm, escorting her down to meet up with Ron in front of the Great Hall. There he found Harry chatting happily with his date. He and Henrietta had met a few days earlier and they found out that they had a common love for the little gold snitch. Not that she played, but they had a common love for it. He laughed when Ron saw her, and Ron's mouth fell open. He had to shake his head when the whimpering started.
"What?" Dawn asked. "Not cute?"
"No," he stumbled. He shook his head. "Beautiful," he insisted to ease her hurt look. He took her hand and pulled her closer, giving her a real kiss. "You look stunning in that color." It was an off-white barely shaded pink. Just enough to make it look like it was glowing on her. His own robe was the same blue one but she liked him in it. This was the first time he had seen hers and she looked....there weren't words in his head to describe it. That and the rose gold necklace she wore were simply marvelous. He walked her inside, knowing all the girls were looking their way and sighing in disgust because she looked better than them. He led her onto the dance floor and gently pressed her against his body, letting them sway to the soft instrumental music in the background. "Xander would be stunned stupid if he could see you now."
"He would," Dawn agreed smugly. "I did good."
"You did great," he corrected. "I wish he could be here." He glanced over at where Draco was watching them. "I feel like I'm being chaperoned."
"We are," she pointed out, spinning him around. "We should give him a dance too since Xander's stuck in the desert."
"I'll let you do that," he said wryly. He smiled at McGonagall as she walked past. "See what she found?"
"I do, and it's quite darling, but please add room for air to move between your bodies," she ordered gently, giving him a smile. They were very cute together. She saw how Draco was pouting and walked over to him. "Mr. Dumass, since you are a married man and I am a widow, it would be most appropriate for me to accept you taking me out for a spin or two," she pointed out. He smiled and led her out to dance with her, looking very thankful for the reprieve. "I understand, my boy, I spent many dances without my own mate at my side while he worked on something. It does get better."
Draco nodded at that wisdom. "It'd have to. I don't know why one of the others couldn't go."
"Because your young man has a good feel for the unholy and it's said that there were a great number of unholy relics at that site." He looked a bit startled, but seemed to accept that reasoning. "There are probably not many cursebreakers who would want to deal with such. They're said to be a superstitious lot." He did smile at that. The music ended and she backed up. "Thank you for that lovely spin, Mr. Dumass. Remember, I am here if you get stuck again." She wandered off, going to talk to her fellow teachers. Snape was giving her a smug look. "It is totally appropriate for me to dance with a married student," she pointed out. "Besides, it's not often that I have a good partner. It hasn't been since the last time we had to dance together that I had someone who didn't step on my toes." Madam Sprout giggled and hid her face against the headmaster's side. She gave him a smug look, which he didn't dare say anything about. She looked over her students again. "Who is that gorgeous young woman with Mr. Potter?" she asked her cohorts.
"That is Miss Henrietta Willimete," Professor Flitwick told her. "The stepdaughter to our Ambassador to the Middle East. Apparently her mother and James were friends and Juliette offered her for Harry's use tonight."
Madam Sprout patted him on the head. "That sounded faintly naughty, Finius."
He smiled. "I know. They do seem to be getting along though. He hasn't said something dumb yet and she seems to like him quite a lot."
"She should, he is a charming young man," Dumbledore pointed out. "Go have fun. Standing in this corner is not good for the students to see." The teachers went out to break up more snogging and a few cases of shagging in corners. "Poor Harry," he sighed. "They're trying to run his life for him." He went to smile at the beleaguered young man.
Ginny casually strolled over at the end of the next dance, patting Harry on the arm. "He thinks you're being pushed into dating her," she whispered in his ear before passing on.
Harry groaned and shook his head. "Dumbledore!" he whined.
"What's wrong?" Henrietta asked, pushing a blonde curl back over her shoulder.
"He thinks that your mother's forcing you onto me." He took her in his arms again as soon as the music started. "After this dance, would you like some punch?"
"I wouldn't mind in the least," she agreed, smiling at him. "My mother thinks it'd be a wonderful match but she understands that I like girls."
"Good." Harry beamed. "I think we have the same taste in women anyway. Either that or I have the same tastes as your girlfriend does. You're both such cards and I adore you both already."
She laughed and gave him a light pinch to the lower back. "Behave, Harry." He grinned at her. "What are you doing over the holidays?"
"I'm going with Dawn to LA to visit some of her family's friends. We're going to see a souled vampire, his neutered childe, and a few wizards of the wandless variety."
"Interesting." She laughed. "You're serious?" He nodded. "A *soulded* vampire? There's only one of those. What is he doing in LA? My teacher swore up and down he's still in Romania because of his curse."
"Not really. He was in Sunnydale and was Dawn's sister's first love."
"Ah." She nodded. "We heard of Buffy in class." She glanced at Dawn. "She seems very carefree for someone who grew up there."
Harry leaned closer. "Her first night as a student some Slytherins broke in and she kicked their bums," he shared. She looked pleased at that. "Besides, Angel happens to be one of her favorite uncles now that he's resouled. Spike, the vampire with the behavior modification chip, is her top friend and absolute favorite uncle according to her. Plus we'll be seeing a seer, one or two wizards without wands, and some of their friends. Possibly even a demon karaoke bar if we're lucky."
"Apparently the owner is a friend of Angel's and he's a seer too. It's a place with an anti-violence charm on it so we should be safe enough there." He spun her around then let her go as the music ended, clapping politely. Then he herded her toward the punch and snacks table. "Let's sit the next one out," he suggested smoothly. "My feet ache."
"Sure." She grabbed some fruit pieces and some punch, letting him lead her back to the table their friends had claimed as their own. "Good evening, Mr. Malfoy."
He smiled at her. "Good evening, my dear, and I thought I had asked you to call me by my married name?"
"The nightmares from calling him Malfoy would be horrible tonight," Ron agreed, grinning at Dawn when she elbowed him. "Sorry."
Henrietta sat down, smiling at Dawn. "I adore that robe. Where did you get it?"
"I don't know, you'd have to ask Draco. He helped me find it," she told her.
Draco smiled at her. "The fabric was in the family's vaults," he told her. "Since my mother seems to be missing I decided she probably didn't want it anymore and had it made for her locally. The seamstress in town was very generous with her skills and time." He patted Dawn's hand. "She simply made the plain fabric stunning."
"It definitely is that," Henrietta agreed. She looked around as Ginny wandered back to their side with a blonde girl. She was an odd looking little thing. Her jewelry looked to be recycled. Her dress looked to belong to the redhead next to her if the color was any indication. Also, the girl had her hair done up with her wand. She noticed the girl looking at her and that she didn't blink. How odd, especially with the big silvery eyes she had. "And you are?" she asked, holding out her hand to break that long look the girl was doing, and to be polite of course.
"Luna Lovegood," the girl said quietly, shaking her hand
"Luna is a Ravenclaw and Ginny introduced us," Dawn said, grinning at Luna. "Now we're really close." All the boys at the table rolled their eyes.
"Your father runs the Quibbler, doesn't he?" Henrietta asked. Luna nodded. "I've gotten a copy or two to use in articles. Usually as a source to refute I admit, but it's always well written, even if I can't agree with what's published."
"I'll pass on your comments," Luna said with a smile.
"Luna, did you find that necklace in town?" Ginny asked. "I think it's a great show piece."
Luna touched it, blushing a bit. "No. My dad found it for me in London." She smiled at Ginny, then at Dawn again. "If *someone* hadn't prodded me until I came, I'd be reading right now."
Ron stood up. "Luna, care to go for a spin about since Dawn said I was making her giddy and dizzy?"
"I could use a good bout of dizziness," Luna agreed, taking his hand and following him. He was only being nice but it was very sweet of him.
"Those two get into some *spectacular* verbal arguments," Dawn shared, grinning at Henrietta. "I think she would have made a play for Ron if I hadn't come along." Ginny nodded quickly, then squealed and stood up, hurrying to the doors. Dawn looked back. "Oh, hey, Hermione finally showed up. And that is not the dress she was going to wear. Be right back." She stood up and walked over there. "What happened?"
"Someone intentionally splashed ink on me on my way down," Hermione said grimly. "Their new fifty points off didn't seem to bother them a lot." She looked at Dawn. "That looks better on you than it did on the hanger," she said in awe. "How do you do that!"
Dawn grinned. "Good genes." She led the girls back to their table, letting Hermione take Ron's chair. "Henrietta, this is Hermione Granger. Henrietta's mother was a friend of Harry's father," she told Hermione.
"I met her mother at the reunion," Hermione said, shaking her hand delicately. "It's nice to meet you as well. Has Harry said lots of bad things yet?"
Henrietta laughed and shook her head. "He's been a perfect gentleman all evening so far and hasn't tripped over his tongue once." Harry was blushing bright red so she kissed him on the cheek. "It is the prerogative of a friend to pick on one."
"Yeah, but I don't get to pick on Hermione that way," Harry told her, glaring at Hermione. "What happened? You were right behind us."
"One of the sixth year Slytherins splashed me with ink on purpose. He got Pavarti somewhat too. She's still changing." She waved a hand. "He didn't seem to mind the fifty points taken off."
"Can I kick that one too?" Dawn asked sweetly.
"No, Dawn," Draco said, giving her a smile. "I believe that's for me to do, little sister."
"I didn't know you were related," Henrietta put in.
"We're not," Dawn told her. "When my sister died, Draco instantly declared me to be his little sister, even more firmly Xander did. He's taken good care of me," she said, patting him on the hand. "Can I have a dance? We'll look splendid together in our robes."
"Of course. Excuse us," Draco said as he stood up and walked Dawn out to the floor, taking her gently into his arms. "I don't need the help, Dawn."
"You do so, otherwise you'll sit there and pout all night and Xander would beat me if your face froze that way."
He laughed. "Fine. Just don't do it out of pity."
"Who said anything about pity? We look damn hot together, big brother. People are looking at you and wondering what you did to deserve me."
He smiled at her, then kissed her on the forehead. "I got very lucky and got sold to someone who showed me what I wanted to be."
"Did Xander actually have to buy you?"
"No, but he did pay me a handsome dowry and it is in my safe. Not even Mother can touch it."
"Wow." She stepped back as the music ended, but looked at him. "Wanna go again? Ron's about to ask Ginny or Hermione."
"If you'd like. I can assure you I don't step on feet."
"Good." She grinned at him as the next piece started, taking him back. Someone tapped her on the shoulder and she looked back to see Neville. "Next dance, Neville?" He nodded and went to dance with Ginny since Ron had stolen Hermione.
"He will step on your feet," he warned gently.
"Xander had him learning how to dance and I partnered with him a few times. He's gotten really good," she countered. "He's a very sweet young man."
"As nice as Ron?"
"Well." She blushed. "I really like Ron. That's part of the reason I'm bringing him back, so that the remaining scoobies can meet him formally. I know he and Spike have met, and he and Willow too, but I really want Tara's and Cordy's opinion on him." She saw Ron look her way and blushed, knowing he had heard her. "That way they can tell me what a good thing I've got." He smiled and shook his head, going back to his best female friend. "It's sappy, I know," she told Draco, moving them a bit farther away, "but I need the validation of my friends. Even though Buffy said she thought he was nice and gentle, I still want my first family to look him over."
"It's a bit old fashioned but perfectly understandable," Draco assured her. "He should expect to meet your remaining family and to get their approval. Or to have to fight to keep you after they disapprove."
"I doubt they will. Cordy's calmed down over the years. Angel shouldn't have a problem with him if Spike hasn't run his mouth about trying to get Ron and those two having a few verbal spats. I'm really wanting Tara's and Cordy's opinions. They've both got a way of seeing through people and Tara was a killer match maker before Glory scrambled her brains."
"I remember meeting her that once. I'm sorry she was injured," Draco said sincerely. The timid witch had been like a wall of light and he doubted even his father could have found anything wrong with her outside of her being a white-lighter. She was the sort of person he used to fantasize his mother had been like before she had been married. The music stopped and he moved back, bowing to her. "If you'd like, you can steal my magnificence again in a bit." He gave her hand to Neville then walked back to the table. Before he got there, Ginny Weasley pounced him for a dance, demanding quite loudly that he should since he was now such a friend of her family's through Dawn and Ron. He's wait until the holidays to abuse her of the notion that he was some sort of in-law now.
Christmas afternoon found everyone gathered on the front lawn. They each had a small bag with them, Dawn's had her puppy sticking out of it. They had gotten a portkey from the reluctant Headmaster and were waiting on the last person to shuffle closer. "Come on, Luna. I promise Spike won't bite you."
"Maybe you can write an article on him," Ron suggested dryly.
"Maybe," she agreed. "I've never met vampires before. Are you sure they're harmless?"
"They should be," Dawn told her. "If Angel's lost his soul, we'll know within minutes. He'll be wearing leather pants again. Now, come on. I'm not leaving you here, I want to go shopping with you. You always find the interesting stuff."
"Fine." She stepped into the circle. Everyone grabbed their bags, Dawn taking the handles and the leash in her hand, and put the other onto the old tire. The hook went through their bellybuttons and they were off. As soon as they landed, they noticed something was going on. It was all the people with weapons around them. "Dawn?" Luna asked. "Is this normal greeting behavior?"
"No, this is an attack," Dawn said. She handed Ginny her bag. "Take Luna and Midnight, go behind the counter," she ordered, pushing her that way. Then she and the rest faced outwards, starting on the people with the weapons. Angel looked really surprised when the one who was about to attack him fell to Ron's body binding but he shrugged and waved, going on with his battle.
When everyone was done, Cordelia looked at them. "Great timing, Dawn," she said, giving her a wave with her unbloody hand. "Let me get cleaned up and I'll give you a hug."
"Will we get in trouble for magicing them?" Luna asked from behind the desk. She and Ginny had taken out anyone who had come through the door.
"Nah, Wolfram and Hart won't say a damn thing or they'll die permanently," Angel said with a smile. "Nice work, kids." He hugged Dawn as hard as he could. "It's good to see you."
"You too, but I need air," Dawn squeaked. He smiled as he let her go. "Guys, this is Angel. Angel, this is Ron, Harry, Draco, Ginny, Luna, and Hermione is being unbound by Ron as soon as he notices." Ron went to do that.
"I've heard about some of them from Spike and Willow," he said dryly, leading them into the kitchen. "Sorry about that. The law firm for hell decided that their Christmas wish list wasn't complete without an attempt to kill us this year."
"I know people like that," Harry pointed out as he followed. He waved at Spike. "Look, Ron, it's the misbegotten and mistaken mass of flesh."
Ron walked in with a woozy Hermione, then grinned and waved at Spike. "Hi, dead thing who can't get a clue."
Cordy and Angel both burst out laughing. "Oh, you are so cute," Cordelia said, giving him a pinch on the cheek.
"Hey, hands off my man," Dawn said firmly, putting her hands on her hips. Everyone in the room stared at her. "Yes, my man," Dawn told them. "Mine, mine, all mine sort of my man."
Draco coughed to break up the staring. "Xander did approve, thought they were cute."
"He would," Cordy said with a snort. "Ron, expect to be grilled later."
"As long as the fire isn't too hot, my dear," he replied cockily. "Xander said you only roasted him once and he almost liked it."
Angel snickered, walking out to laugh in peace. He'd probably like that boy.
Dawn beamed as Wesley came in, walking over to give him a hug. "You looked wicked sexy with the axe, Wes. Good work. Now if only we could fix you up with someone." She pinched him, making him blush. "Hey, Luna, this is a wandless wizard. Wes, her daddy runs the bigger Star-esque paper in the wizarding world, the Quibbler."
"I read a few issues while I was with Xander," he admitted, shaking her hand. "Delighted."
"Do you know many demons?" she asked. "My father said I could write a few articles since Dawn's friends were so odd." She smiled at him. He had dreamy eyes and he was so big! She did like tall men. Ron was a tall guy but Dawn had him in her pocket, if she ever got around to asking him to sit in it. This one though didn't seem to be attached to anyone's hand.
Cordy coughed. "Wes, why don't we get the nice people settled and then fix some dinner?"
"Of course," he agreed, taking the students up the stairs. "So sorry about that earlier. Evil has such bad timing."
Dawn's squeal nearly deafened him as she pushed past him to hug Tara, who was standing in a doorway. "Tara! You're okay again! I'm so happy!"
"You've grown," Tara said, patting Dawn on the back. She smiled at the rest of them. "Hi, guys."
"Hi, Tara," Ron and Harry said together, grinning at her.
"I'm glad you're better," Harry said, giving her a hug himself. "Xander said I couldn't come kick Glory's ass myself or else I would have been here sooner. I wanted to bring you over but he wouldn't let me do that either."
"That's okay, Harry, I was needed here. It's all okay again." She gave him a kiss on the forehead. "Now, go find your rooms and we'll have dinner." They hurried on, Ron giving her a light punch on the arm as he passed. She smiled at them. They were so cute, and Dawn was hanging all over Ron. Interesting. She walked downstairs to talk to Cordelia. "Did Ron and Dawn get together?"
Cordy grinned and nodded. "Definitely. She pronounced him her man." They shared a giggle. She liked the quiet girl much more than she did Fred. It was like she and Tara could have been sisters in a past life or something. Who knows, with Sunnydale anything was possible. "Ooh, you missed it. The blonde with the big eyes? She gave Wes that look of adoration and made him blush!"
Tara giggled. "That would be cute to see. Ethan gives him that same look."
"Do tell!" Cordy demanded.
"Can't a bloke get free of girl chatter?" Spike asked roughly, but he did give Tara a short pat on the back. He appreciated her and he had missed her while her mind had been gone. Apparently he had a thing for blondes these days. He looked over as Angel, Gunn, and Fred walked in. "Omelettes or something more solid?" he asked.
"They're growing kids," Fred put in, moving to the stove. She started working with a tub of meat from the fridge. "We'll have tacos."
Gunn looked at the brunette. "Why do you get to pick?"
"Because I'm younger," she said smartly, grinning at him. "Besides, they've probably never eaten them and I know Dawn likes them from her few days here last time."
"Make some veggies as well," Angel told them. Everyone in the room looked at him. "They're growing kids."
"You sounded suspiciously paternal," Cordy pointed out, but she did get some of the frozen mixed vegetable bags out of the fridge and put them into a microwave safe dish to warm up. That was the extent of her cooking.
The kids trooped back down, Dawn back in fashionable clothing, and helped by putting out dishes and things. Draco leaned in to steal something from Cordy's hand, earning a swat. He kissed her on the cheek and stole it anyway, nibbling his carrot stick as he went to get sucked in. He didn't set the table or anything but he did give advice on placement. At least until Spike and Cordelia dragged him off for a little talk.
"Give, ponce, what's going on with your master!" Spike demanded.
"One, he's my consort," Draco said dryly. "Secondly, I only respond to niceness. Xander taught me I didn't have to respond to bitter individuals who missed their chance for my mate's arse and I also didn't have to respond to torture anymore."
Cordelia bit back a laugh. "Fine, then give now, please," she ordered.
He smiled at her. "You really are just like he told us. Last time I saw you, you only whined at the other two."
"I can do torture and I'd have fun with it," Spike pointed out.
Draco gave him a dry look. "Fine. He's on an assignment somewhere in Iran or Syria. There was a muggle dig that dug up some unholy relics and Gringotts decided he was the only person who could deal with it. I haven't even gotten my Yule present yet," he said with a delicate sniff. Cordy gave him a hug. "Thank you." He looked at the rest of the group, then back at them again. "He should be fine. He was sent with the proper papers and he said it shouldn't take him too terribly long, not more than another month or so."
"And he didn't send you a present yet?" Cordelia asked. "Isn't that just like Xander, always forgetting the important dates."
"I heard that," Dawn called. "Take it back before I try to kick your ass."
Spike snickered and rushed over to jump her for a long tickle but she put him onto the floor with a smug look. "Where'd you learn that?"
"Professor Methos," she said happily. "He's an ass of the highest caliber, hides a lot of things, is a bitter and delusional old man, but he can kick ass in many styles."
Angel gave her a smile as he came out to haul Spike off the floor. "You don't make a good rug," he told him, earning a glare. "So, Dawn, how is school going?" he asked. The students all groaned. "What?"
"We expected someone to run out of conversation tomorrow, not today," Harry told him. He grinned at him to show he was joking. "She is bloody amazing. She learned most of her first year already and has managed to keep up with the second years. Fortunately, she has her tests after the break."
Dawn stuck her tongue out. "Don't remind me." She looked at Hermione, then at Ginny and Luna. "Help, please?"
"Sure," Ginny agreed. She carried out a large pan. "I've got to give mum the recipe for this. It's easy enough to feed all seven of us at once with this one. Almost no prep and it's something you set on the table like this."
"This was traditionally poor people's food," Fred told her. "It was meant to feed a lot of people on very little money." She sat beside Ginny. "You've got seven people in your family?"
Ginny grinned at her. "No, we've got seven kids in the family. I'm the only girl and youngest."
Gunn looked at her. "Damn, and I thought I'd seen some large families around here."
Ron snorted. "Mum's one of a kind, even among us." Ginny nodded. "Come sit, Ferret boy."
"Ron," Dawn warned, glaring at him. "Do not pick on Draco. I will become a boyfriend abuser if you don't quit picking on my big brother."
"Fine," he said, holding up a hand. He knew what a creature she could be about him and Draco's fighting so he left it there. "Come eat, Dumass."
"Fine," Draco agreed, taking Dawn's other side, which put him next to Luna. "Lovegood," he said in greeting.
"Hi." She continued to make moon eyes at Wesley, who was starting to look uncomfortable.
"You know," Draco said casually, "your father would probably pay you for an interview with Spike or Angel as well."
"That's true, he would," Ginny agreed, picking up on his intent. "I bet your dad would *love* to have an interview with one of the two vampires."
"Probably," Luna agreed, looking at her friend, who was sitting between Fred and Cordy. Angel was at one end of the table and Spike at the other with Wesley on Angel's side, and her on his other side. Spike had Hermione on one side and Harry on the other next to Fred. Gunn was between Hermione and Ron. "Would that be okay with you? Henrietta said that there are rumors that Angel's still lurking about in Romania," she said, looking at him. "I'm sure the truth would be a lot nicer than living in the woods like some savage."
"It would," he agreed lightly. "We'll see. You might be too busy to do much interviewing." He hoped. "What were you guys planning for tonight?"
"Can we go see Lorne?" Dawn asked.
"I'll call and see," Gunn told her. "Tonight's usually a pretty busy night for him with all the people depressed from the holidays."
"If not, you could always tell us more about your studies," Wesley suggested, smiling down at her.
"Sure. I'm doing really sucky in potions, still. Even with Draco helping me now and then I do sucky in potions." Tara came out of the kitchen with a few last dishes and sat between Fred and Harry. "Ooh, corn," she said, snatching one of them. "I haven't had corn in ages. We get a lot of beets and potatoes at the school."
"And greens, let's not forget the formerly leafy things," Harry added with a grin for her. She nodded, still digging in. "Dawn's been a whiz-bang at charms. She learned most of the first year's worth in a few days."
"So Wesley said," Spike put in. "How?"
Dawn looked at him, then glanced around the table.
"They know," Tara told her.
"Oh. Okay. It's a lot like the stuff I was doing with Willow and apparently anything having to do with magical flows is good for me. I can see it happening really easy in my head and it goes well."
"That's why she's also doing excellently in transfiguration," Hermione offered. "Professor McGonagall is very impressed and gives her points all the time."
"Don't you get regular grades?" Fred asked.
"Oh, no, points are rewards," Ginny told her. "Your house earns points for everything good you do and Ron and Harry lose us a lot of points by being themselves. At the end of the year the winning house is toasted at the leaving feast."
"Oh." She nodded. "So it's positive reinforcement and a cooperation building exercise."
"Within your house," Harry told her. "You aren't really expected to learn cooperation with the other houses, though some has been going on in the upper years."
"That's because your minds get more flexible as you get older," Cordelia told him. "Trust me, once you're out on your own, your mind becomes really open to that thing called survival at all costs."
"Been there, done that," Harry and Ron told her. She frowned at them.
"Sorry," Ron admitted, glancing at his plate. "But we, Hermione, Harry, and I, seem to major in that."
Ginny snorted. "Is that what you're calling it now?"
"Yes," he said firmly.
"It's more like you three are in the top five of the Dark Lord's personal vendetta list," Luna put in. Ron glared at her. "Sorry."
"Dark Lord?" Angel asked, looking at Wesley. "You never said the kids were in that much danger."
"We're not usually," Harry offered, giving him a hesitant smile. "Only me really. Ron and Hermione got sucked in to help me."
"And Dawn?" Spike asked, squeezing his glass hard enough that it squeaked.
"I'm being very good, Spike. I only jump in when I can't control myself. For right now, I'm focusing on protecting my housemates from the Slytherins." She gave him a sweet smile. "They seem to be a bit pissed at me."
"Are you making enemies?" Tara asked.
"Only of the slimy bastards," Dawn said proudly. "My first night as a student and what happens? Some of them break into our house to beat up on my housemates."
"So Dawn oh-so-very-carefully kicks their arses," Draco finished, smiling at Tara. "Hence her taking extra defense lessons with the three of us."
"At least she's being trained."
"What are the qualifications of the person teaching you defense?" Cordelia asked. She shrieked and grabbed her head as a vision split through it. Ginny unconsciously grabbed her to steady her and help her onto the floor and got a flash too. "What was that?"
"That was our Defense teacher," Ginny told her. "If the dark haired guy with the sneer and the sword was what you saw." Cordelia blinked at her. "I got a sudden flash. That was Professor Methos."
"Methos?" Angel asked. The students all nodded. "Then he's just fine," Angel said. Spike gave him a look. "Do you remember Bucharest?" Spike shrugged and nodded. "Remember the fight we broke up?" Spike nodded as he sipped from his glass. "That was Professor Methos."
"I remember. He taught in my year," Spike said dryly. "The same as he taught in Xander's."
"Only his first year," Draco corrected. "Though Dumbledore did teach him transfiguration."
"Hmm." Angel looked over at Cordy as she sat in her chair again. "Are you all right?"
"I'm pretty sure that was a head's-up from TPB. I'm fine."
"Good," Gunn put in. "So, you study potions?"
"Poorly," Dawn agreed. "But the teacher doesn't expect anyone in my house to know anything anyway. According to him, we're comic relief and walking disasters."
"You're not that bad," Ron assured her. "Neville was worse than you before Philip took his training in hand."
"Then there's hope for me yet," she quipped. Cordelia laughed. "You'd be proud of me, Cordy, I made girls hate me because I have good shoes." Cordelia let out an inelegant snort and chuckle. "Plus, most of the guys in the castle like me because I listen to them and let them tell me bad jokes."
"And they don't hit on her," Ginny put in. "They know better. Draco would pulverize them."
"Yes, I will," Draco agreed. He looked at Lovegood. "Would you mind passing the shells?" She passed them, not looking at him because she was back to staring at Wesley. He leaned closer. "If you make him run from Dawn, I'll blind you," he whispered. She shuddered and nodded, looking down at her plate. "Thank you." He took one for himself and passed them to Dawn, who was giving him a look. "What?" he asked innocently.
"Ah, Malfoys, they never change," Spike said with a laugh.
"I prefer my married name, thank you," Draco said firmly, glaring at him.
"Whoa, married at your age?" Gunn asked.
"Xander took me in retaliation for my father trying to destroy the Weasleys and Potter," Draco said matter-of-factly.
"An eye for an eye and the last in the line for the last in the line," Harry offered. "It's an older custom that's almost never done these days."
"But Draco's rather...special," Hermione added. "Xander's managed to get him trained, calmed him down, and kept him from being a blight on the entire school."
"Didn't know you cared, Granger," he quipped. "I'll tell my consort you said that when he returns."
"He'll pounce me," she said, looking horrified.
"Yes, he will," Draco said smugly.
"Harris?" Angel asked.
"Dumass," Spike corrected. "Consort are you?" he asked.
Draco looked down at him and nodded. "Yes, I am. You'll find I have better control now."
"Until he starts to miss his pookie and then all hell breaks loose," Dawn said with a grin and a hug for him to show she was teasing. "I kinda liked the frustration blast the last time," she said at his hurt look. Ron and Harry both coughed and the other students blushed. "It made potions much more interesting."
Draco had the grace to blush. "I'm sorry about that."
"Ehh. No big," Dawn told him, giving him a pat on the arm. "Luna, eat, I don't want to have to nag you later."
"Fine," she agreed, digging in. She had been staring at Wesley again.
"He's old enough to be your dad," Ginny told her. Wesley blushed a bright red and quickly hid behind his water glass as he drank.
Luna smiled. "No he's not. My father's older than him. He can't be over thirty."
"Close," Cordelia admitted. "Trust me, you wouldn't want Wesley. He can't use a wand, he doesn't use magic, and he's a crap cook."
"He can so use magic," Harry told her. "I saw him helping Dawn learn something when Xander brought her back. We met her with him."
"Really?" Angel asked, giving Wesley a pleasant look. "How long have you been able to do that?"
"Standard Watcher training," he pointed out. "I've done some minor things for you before, Angel."
"Yes, I remember," Angel told him. "I never thought you were that good at it."
"Um, are you feeling the sudden urge to put on leather?" Dawn asked. Angel gave her a frown. "Just asking, you had that smirky look that I've only seen on Draco and when you stalked me way back when."
"No, dear, I didn't lose my soul," Angel said patiently. "Tonight has been full of surprises though." He looked at Wesley again. "Hasn't it?"
"Hey, can we see Ethan?" Dawn asked, breaking the staring contest. "I haven't seen Darth Rosenburg or heard from her since I left."
"She's presently locked in a bedroom in his house," Wesley told her. Tara shuddered. "And she's still not the most nice of witches."
"Let her try and act against me," Dawn said coolly. "I just wanted to talk to her."
"I'm sure we can arrange a visit with Ethan," Wesley said with a smile.
Dawn looked at Tara. "Would that bother you?"
"No, sweetie, I understand," Tara assured her. "You're the only family some of us have left and we miss you too." Dawn jumped up and jogged around the table to hug her. "We've missed you, Dawnie." She saw Ron's opening mouth and his head shake. "I'm sorry."
"It's okay." She sniffled. "It's not as bad."
"Good. Healing is important, as is moving on after all traumas," Tara reminded her, brushing some of her hair out of her face. "Go back to your seat and eat. You need to gain some weight, you look like you've lost a whole size already. You'll be a ghost by the time you graduate."
"We have those too," Ginny told her, grinning at Dawn. "My mum said she needed to gain twenty pounds anyway."
"I told your mother I had it all in muscle," Dawn reminded her as she went back to her seat, with a stop when Spike grabbed her for a quick hug. As soon as she sat down, she took a bite of her taco. "See, eating."
"Good," Cordelia agreed. "What sort of workout routine are you doing now?"
"Oh, I ordered a pilates book and most of the girls in my house and I do it every Saturday," Dawn told her. "That and my defense lessons keep me pretty good." She took more corn, taking a large bite. "That and you can pick and choose what you want to eat." She paused, thinking about it. "Cordy, some of my roommates wanted some more fashion books. Can we find me some when you take us shopping?"
"Sure," she agreed. "I'm always happy to spread good taste to the younger generation." She smiled at Dawn. "We'll even go window shopping in Beverly Hills."
"Xander gave me his credit card," Draco told Dawn. "He said you may not spend more than three thousand dollars before he gets back." Then he smiled. "Though it does have an unlimited top amount."
"Cool!" Dawn said, giving him another hug.
"Hey, what about me? I'll have to help you shop, don't I deserve one too?" Ron asked.
Dawn gave him a longer hug and a kiss. "Of course you do, but I won't make you go shopping with me. You can bug someone here into teaching you something or go play with Harry since I doubt he's going either."
"Good point," Ron agreed, grinning at Harry. "You up for that?"
"I'd like to see the park and the ocean," Harry told him. "I've never seen either."
"You've never been to a park?" Fred asked. He shook his head. "Shoot and I thought my last few years were bad. Don't they have them in England?" she asked.
"They have quite a few in London," Spike said, frowning at the boy.
Harry looked at him. "That would have required me being able to go out and see them," he said plainly.
"Were you protected for your own health?" Gunn asked. "Spike said you were some sort of national hero."
"More like a target," Harry said dryly, smiling at him. "And no, I just had shitty relatives."
"Ah." Gunn nodded. "I know something about those." He looked at Fred. "Maybe you two should talk."
"Why? I had good parents, just a bad time when I was captured and taken away," Fred reminded him. "I thought you liked talking to my mom on the phone."
"I do," Gunn agreed quickly. "But I thought it might have some parallels."
"Probably," she agreed. She looked at Harry. "I accidentally went through a portal and got kept as a slave."
"I just got stuck in a closet under the stairs," he told her. "I was treated like one here."
She nodded. "I do understand. Don't worry, it gets better."
"Yeah, Xander saved me from them permanently after Ron's family did it as much as they could. Now I'm a target."
"Me too," Fred agreed with a smile. "What a coincidence. We'll go see the ocean tomorrow. How about that?" He nodded and smiled. "Cool. Eat. You're all too little."
"I'm going to have another growth spurt, hopefully," Harry told her, starting to eat.
Spike quit blinking finally and looked at Harry. "Since when?" he asked. "Dumble set you with your aunt from what I heard."
"My aunt, my uncle, and my whale of a cousin who's a big bully and who's their snookums," Harry agreed. "I wasn't exactly a planned surprise or a wanted one."
"Oh." Spike grimaced. "The papers seem to think that you were."
"The papers often lie about Harry," Ginny said faithfully. "They make up all sorts of stuff about him and tell everyone all sorts of things. At one point in time they had him being insane and dumped by Hermione."
"Neither of which was true," Hermione said, glaring at Draco again.
Spike saw her glare and grinned at the boy. "Yours?" He nodded. "Good work! When do you think you'll get your card from the Evil Bastard's society?"
"It should be any day now," Ron assured him. "He's probably got enough points racked up for the super prize by now."
"If you weren't such an easy target it wouldn't be nearly as pleasurable," Draco told him.
Dawn pinched them both on the arm. "Stop it, now."
"Yes, Dawn," they sighed, shaking their heads. She just didn't understand.
Ginny broke down in giggles. "Can you put a collar and leash on him so I can take a picture for mum?"
"Speaking of collars, where's your dog?" Wesley asked.
"Sleeping in my chair," Cordelia told him. "I put out some water and puppy chow."
"His name's Midnight," Dawn told everyone. "And he is castlebroken."
"As long as he's broken so he doesn't pee on anything of mine," Gunn told her, making her smile. "So, how are things really over there?"
"Cold. Did you know snow was *really* cold and it melts inside your shoes if it gets in there? It's nasty."
"That's why you wear boots," Cordelia pointed out.
"I do now. That first day was on a Sunday and I was wearing my high tops. I had wet socks for hours before I could change."
"I remember snow," Fred sighed fondly. "It was always kinda fun to play in."
"I thought you were from Texas," Spike noted.
"I was, but my family used to go play in the snow every winter. Usually for the holidays." She looked at Dawn. "You should try skiing or ice skating. You'd do good at that."
"Really?" Dawn looked at her, then at Angel. "Isn't there an indoor rink somewhere in LA?"
"Yes," he sighed. "I'll see if they're open," he told her.
"Thank you, Angel." She blew a kiss. "I won't make you go with me. I heard about the last time you went." He gave her a tight smile and nodded. "You can go shopping with us if you like though."
"No, I think I'll pass that delight. Let Wesley go, that way you can go during the daytime and I won't have to worry about you being protected." Gunn, Fred, and Cordelia all looked at him. "Cordy, I expect you'll be paying more attention to the clothes. Gunn, I doubt you'd be seen dead in Victoria's Secret."
"I've never been on a girl outing, can I go?" Fred asked Cordelia.
"Sure, but only if you let me replace that plaid shirt."
"Okay." She smiled and nodded. "That's fine by me."
Somewhere, a doorbell rang. "I'll get it," Spike announced, getting up to do that. He noticed the courier and grimaced, opening the gate. "What, pillock? We're havin' dinner."
"A delivery for Mr. T. Bloody?" he asked, holding out a clipboard.
"At least it's nothing that'll eat me," Spike muttered as he signed the form. He took the envelope and closed the gate behind the messenger, going back inside. He sat down and opened it.
"Spike?" Angel said patiently.
"It's for me," Spike said, finally getting the seal open. He looked at the letter, then frowned. "When did I enter a contest?"
"At the mall the last time we went," Cordelia told him. "It was sitting there and it said you could win a trip to Milwaukee. I wasn't sure why you did it but I was guessing it had something to do with the beer plants."
"Well, I won second place, a mall gift certificate," he said, tossing it to her. "Nothing I want in that place."
"Not even the music store?" Fred asked.
Tara grinned at him. "Or the leather shop?"
"It's not the sort I frequent," he said with a grin for her. Tara giggled and shook her head.
"Wow, a five thousand dollar gift certificate," Fred said, reading over Cordelia's shoulder. "That could buy a lot of bandages and ben-gay."
"Or a few pairs of really good shoes," Dawn pointed out. She frowned, seeing something on the envelope. "Hand it over," she demanded. Cordelia frowned at her so she snatched it, looking at the envelope. "There's magic around this. Dark gray, nasty feeling, blood magic." Angel stood up and snatched it, taking it into the office to put it somewhere safe for now."
"Dawn can see energy patterns," Hermione said to break the silence.
Luna giggled. "She can see more than that if she wants to. She said so."
"Luna!" Dawn said, giving her a look. "Not in front of them!"
"Oh, really?" Draco asked, looking interested.
"Um, yeah. " Dawn nodded. "Did you know that someone could create spy portals in the school?" Ron squeaked, eyes wide, nostrils flared. "Sorry, Ron. Though, if you wouldn't mind telling Dean not to stand in front of that painting again my roommates would bow at your feet." Harry groaned and put his head down on the table, shaking it. "Sorry, Harry, but you are very drool-worthy too according to my sisters in hugging."
"Don't you mean peeping?" Tara asked with a naughty grin.
"Well, yeah, actually I did," Dawn agreed with a grin of her own. "I should find a way to get you and Neville to meet. You'd like him. He's got that stuttering shyness that you used to have and he's so quiet. But he's a really nice guy. You almost want to adopt him and make him your little brother."
"I will not be related to Longbottom," Draco said firmly. Dawn pinched him again and he pinched her back. "I will accept you all but shagging Weasley there, I will accept you drooling over Potter, even though I don't know why one would, I will *not* be related, even hypothetically, to Longbottom!"
Dawn looked at him. "Why not? You and he share similar likes in partners." She gave him a fakely sweet smile. "And who said it was up to you anyway, Draco?"
Ron put a hand over her mouth. "Don't irritate the git, he'll bite," he said gently. "Now ki...shake hands and make up."
Dawn held out her hand. "Okay with you, bottom boy?"
"Fine with me, Pansy wannabe." They shook hands and broke out laughing.
"Pansy? That chit with the mouth skills?" Spike asked.
Dawn nodded, grinning at him. "Draco broke her nose for me because she was spreading rumors about me sleeping with all of Gryffindor."
"Did she die?" Spike asked.
"No," Draco said smugly, "but I did have a word with Madam Pomfrey about what she had done and why I had did it. The nurse gave her a bandage with a lot of tape, which crossed over her nose and formed beautiful arrows pointing at the extra-large bandage and black eyes." He gave Dawn a bright smile. "Remember, I will always want to hurt people for you, Dawn."
"I'm not sure if I should be sick or say 'aww'," Fred said, looking at Cordelia.
"That's like Angel saying the same thing to you, only with less deadness," Dawn told her.
"Awww," Fred said, smiling at Draco. "Welcome to the family, Draco."
He kept the derogatory remark to himself and smiled back at her. "Don't do that," he told her. "I'd hate to have to hurt you."
The girls all giggled.
Dawn bounced into Cordelia's room. "So?" she asked since she saw Tara was there too.
"So, what?" Tara asked, waving the door closed with a small use of magic.
"So, what do you think about Ron?" She flopped down onto the bed. "That's why I brought him this time, so I could get your opinions on him."
"I like him, he's an adorable kid," Cordelia said. "In a few years he's going to be quite the hottie."
"Plus, he's protective and he likes you," Tara offered. "How much older is he?"
"Two years and a bit."
"Hmm. A good difference," Tara said, looking at Cordelia.
"Okay, give with the bad."
"Ron seems a bit...tough for your usual thing," Cordelia told her, sitting beside her.
"Well, Ron has had to help Harry in the past. He's like, number three on Voldie's hit list."
"That would be why," Tara agreed. "Does he treat you gently?"
"He does. Everyone says he's got a great temper and I've seen him and Ginny having *astounding* shouting matches, but he'd never do more than shout. And he calms down pretty quickly. Plus, he's Xander's apprentice and he'll be a future cursebreaker. That means that my research skills would be a big help to him so we could work together, even though he's got some silly idea that I'm going to stay in the tent and research."
The older girls laughed. "I think you're smitten, Dawn, and I think he's a wonderful match for you," Tara told her. "He's got a temper like yours, you have similar taste in friends, outside of Draco. You're a lot alike in many ways."
Cordelia nodded. "As long as he knows he'd better never do more than shout and it had better not become verbal abuse, I'll sign off on him right now."
"If you want, you could take the time and talk to him," Dawn offered.
"Are you unsure?"
"No," she said, frowning at Tara. "I'm not unsure in the least." She played with the bedspread. "It's just that you two are like my last older sisters or aunts or something and I want you to like him wholeheartedly." She looked up. "As much as I do."
"Then I don't need to see anything else about him," Cordelia told her, giving her a hug. "He makes you glow and he makes you laugh."
Tara nodded. "He even glared at me earlier for calling you Dawnie."
"Whenever anyone at the castle does it, it reminds me of Buffy," Dawn said, looking down again. "I'm in the house of huggers though so I'm getting better about crying most of the time."
"That's what we'd expect," Cordelia assured her. "Sunnydale breeds tough women who can handle anything. Even when you only spend a year or two there," she said with a smile for Tara.
"I'm so glad you're better," Dawn said, getting up to hug Tara again. "I was so worried."
"It's all right, Dawn. I didn't know any different while I was like that. Wesley got me fixed right up with some knowledge from Willow." She put the girl back onto the bed. "Do you really want to see Willow? She's feeling like we're punishing her for being good."
"Yeah. I want the closure stuff," Dawn told her. "I don't think I could trust her but I don't know. Besides, I want to see Ethan. He's been sending me nice letters with advice on magic too, all of it about being careful and making conscious decisions instead of like what Willow did."
"Then I'll gladly call Ethan and arrange for him to meet us while we're shopping," Cordy promised. "Maybe Luna will start staring at him instead of Wes." She rolled her eyes as the other two laughed. "He's really embarrassed by her. He's never had someone have a crush on him before."
"Luna needs a very special sort of lover," Dawn told her. "One who wants to understand her. She's not the average witch you know."
"I had noticed that, yes," Cordelia said with a smile. "Do you think Wesley could do that?"
"I think Wesley would do wonderfully with a young and hot lover who thought he was a God. Luna's a bit odd at times but she's a great girl and I adore her as a friend. Plus, she had a big crush on Ron at one point in time too, but she's mostly over that and needs someone to focus on."
"Hmm. Then maybe we'll encourage her and Wes," Tara said with a wink and a point at the door.
"Let her hunt," Dawn said with a wicked grin. "Every woman should get the chance to hunt down her man and tie him up."
"Did you now?" Tara asked slyly.
Dawn smirked. "Not yet, but I'm definitely looking forward to it." The older girls laughed and hugged her.
Out in the hallway, Ginny snuck back down to Luna's room and told her what Dawn had said about her and about her suggestion.
Luna got the most happy look on her face. "What sort of knots would you use for that endeavor?" she asked her best friend.
Ginny shrugged. "Soft ones that can be undone when you're through with them?"
Someone knocked on the door. Spike entered at Luna's 'eep'. He smirked at the girls. "One would use two particular knots," he told them. "I've got rope if you want to learn how to do them."
Luna's eyes lit up. "Sure. You're really neat for a vampire. You haven't even tried to eat me yet. My mom used to think that I'd make a good vampire but I'm sure I'm too odd for that."
Spike shrugged. "My Dark Princess was a broken seer who talked to her dolls and said the stars talked to her."
Luna giggled. "That is so cool. Is she around? I've never met a vampire's wife."
"Yes, what was Mrs. Spike's name?" Draco said from the doorway. "Dru, wasn't it?" Spike gave him a look. "She was at Xander's auction. Said she'd be seeing him soon and to watch out for the mean men in green." He looked at the girls. "One would use the charm that sent ropes out to bind someone," he told them. "No knots needed." He smirked as he walked back to his room.
"Well, that's not fun!" Spike called after him. "Where's the fun in using your wand when the tying's half the fun?"
Draco's laugh carried back to them as did his door closing.
Spike looked at the girls. "I can still teach them to you if you want."
"Sure," Luna agreed, hopping up. She looked down at her pajamas and rabbit slippers. "Should I change?"
"Nah, it's fine, you're clothed," he promised, leading them down to the living room to grab some rope and show them the proper way to tie up someone. Angel just happened to be napping on the couch, conveniently knocked out by Spike earlier.
Ethan walked into the boutique, following the girlish sounds of delight, but he had to say something about the outfit he found Dawn holding up. "Isn't that a bit much, all that pink?" he asked her. She squealed and hugged him. "Hello to you too, muffin. How have your studies been?"
"Much better," Dawn told him, grinning at him. "You don't like pink?"
"It's not in my repertoire of fashion," he pointed out. "Pink is not exactly in Janus' color scheme."
"With as much as people overuse it, it should be," Cordelia said patiently. Dawn swatted at her. "Not you, you look decent enough in it." She smiled at the girl, but frowned at Ethan. "I thought we were meeting for lunch."
"We were, but I managed to lose Rosenburg and she made the house a bit uncomfortable for me to be in at the moment." He leaned against a mirrored post and considered the other outfits Dawn had hanging on Draco's arm. "It's good to know that you like women's clothing. Does Xander know that?"
Draco gave him a smirk. "While he's threatened me with panties in the past I doubt he'd enjoy it as much as you seem to." He looked at Dawn again. "Why don't you start trying on again and weed this lot down?" She nodded and picked two last outfits, going back into the changing room. He rolled his eyes. "I thought we were going shoe shopping."
"You are, after we take Dawn clothes shopping. She has to know what she's buying shoes for, Draco."
"Good point," he admitted, slumping and rolling his head around. "Suddenly, the ocean doesn't sound so bad."
"We were going to eat out by it anyway," Cordy promised, giving him a pat. "Don't you go through this?"
"We don't have as many clothiers in our community," he told her. "There are maybe six or seven reputable shops, almost all in the same area. It's much easier that way."
"I bet," she said in awe. "Only seven?"
"Seven. Most of them cater to a wide base of people. There are only two exclusive ones and my parents refused me entrance until I quit growing and Xander said the same thing. I find what I need but it's not a long day."
"How many shops have you hit already?" Ethan asked.
"This makes...eleven?" Cordy asked, looking at Draco, who nodded. "Eleven," she told him. "After lunch, we're doing shoes and accessories with the other girls. They wanted to go to the beach too."
"Weasley, of course, will be burnt to a crisp by then," Draco pointed out as he turned to look at Dawn's outfit. He shook his head and she went back into the changing rooms. "Don't forget, we're getting her fashion books."
"Definitely," Cordelia agreed. "They've got a good selection here of the most popular mags. Plus, we can probably find some of the runway books later this afternoon."
"I'm sure the squealing and hyper girls will appreciate this." He sighed and put his head against the cool surface. "We've got to do this when we get home too."
"There's a wizard's shopping area here," Dawn said as she came out. She turned.
"The skirt is plaid," Cordelia noted.
"She's in England, girl, it's a popular fabric," Ethan pointed out. "That is delightful, but a bit old for you, dear."
Cordelia waded into the dressing room with her, paring down the clothes to what she liked, letting Dawn have two things back since she whined. She came out and they checked out, heading to do lunch now. After lunch, Draco and Dawn found the wizarding shopping center, dragging all the students, Ethan and Cordelia with them. The fact that one of them was a part demon wasn't lost on anyone in the area; Dawn just told them that she was their guardian for the day and shopping helper since she had fashion sense.
By the time they went to Ethan's to do something about his fly problem, most of the students were pretty worn out. They left the bags in Cordelia's trunk and went inside once the flies had been cast out. Then Wesley joined them, smiling at Ethan and Luna both. They had a nice tea there with the British people and Luna hung back when everyone else was going to leave.
She turned to face Ethan. "He's mine," she said firmly. "I learned how to tie knots so I could capture him like the stallion he is." She crossed her arms and looked adorably cute and angry.
He snorted. "Girl, he's a bit old for you. Now for me, on the other hand, he's perfect."
She swatted at him and he slapped her back. This devolved into a slapping fight, which Luna won being the real girl, and willing to play dirty by kicking him in the nuts. Just like Dawn had shown her how to defend herself. Ethan went down in a heap and she looked triumphant. "My pony. Get your own or become a second string mule." She strolled out, straightening her clothes as she walked. She ran into Wesley, who was looking for her, and took his arm to walk him back to the rented van. "So, can I do an interview with you tonight, Wesley?" she asked, looking adorably cute if she did say so herself. Ethan had said so earlier so she was fairly sure of it. "It'd be a nice look at the other side of magic and my father assured me he'd print it within two months."
He smiled at her. "Shouldn't you be talking to Ethan? He's a chaos person."
She grinned. "I'll get him eventually. I think a nice boy would inspire less panic and outrage first. After all, they might worry that Ethan would try and take over some day."
"He wouldn't want the responsibility," he promised, handing her up into the van. "There you are. I'll see you back at the hotel."
"Please?" Luna asked.
"Fine, after dinner, Luna." She beamed and nodded as he shut the door. Wesley groaned as he walked past Cordelia, getting in to take her car home so she could drive the kids. He had never been stalked before and it was rather disquieting. He needed to have a talk with Angel about finding something important for him to do.
After dinner, Luna trapped Wesley in a room to talk to him while everyone else went to play outside. It was a nice night, the stars were shining, and everything was going fairly well. The kids played for nearly an hour before getting tired and going in to find a tv, following Dawn to see what one was for the most part. Luna still hadn't appeared by the time they were ready to call it a night. Not even pay-per-view porn could make them stay up any longer so they trudged to their rooms. Ginny stopped in to check on Luna but found her room empty. She trudged back down the stairs, finding Spike giving the other side of the living room an amused look. "Have you seen Luna? She's missing," she asked quietly.
He looked down at her. "She's still talkin' the nancy boy to death." Ginny blushed. "Sorry, forgot you had delicate ears. "
"I bloody well do not, you sodding wanker," she retorted, making him laugh. "I've got six big brothers and Ron swears worse than the other five combined. I'm more worried that Luna's doing more than talking."
Spike laughed and shooed her back up the stairs. "We'll make sure she's gentle with him, pet. Go to bed." Ginny nodded, heading up to her room. Spike looked at the closed office door again, then went to find Angel. He found him and Fred outside, staring up at the sky. "Should I save Watcher boy?"
"From what?" Fred asked absently.
"The blonde chit's practicing her knots."
Angel looked at him. "Huh?" Fred was laughing. "What?" he asked.
"Last night I found Spike teaching Ginny and Luna how to tie knots."
"Is that why I woke up in ropes?" he asked his childe. Spike beamed and nodded. "Go upstairs, Spike. Now." He turned his childe around and swatted him on the ass. "Lock yourself to my bed and don't you dare move."
"Really, Angel, no sex talk in front of me, I get embarrassed," Fred complained as she went to save Wesley. Spike had wanted Angel diverted but she was more focused. She knocked on the door and stuck her head in, finding Wesley unconscious and tied up. "Luna," she said, grinning at her. "Did you have to knock him out so hard?"
"He said I'm too young so I showed him I wasn't," she said with a smile. "Can I keep him? My father said I could have a pony someday."
"Pony?" Fred asked, not sure she wanted to know.
"My mom always called him her stallion and when I asked her she said that daddy started out as a pony but now he was a full fledged bronco for her whenever she asked. So I figure if I find someone good I'll break him as a pony and teach him to be more." She pointed at the ropes around Wesley's head, which upon inspection did look a lot like a bridle.
Fred blinked a few times. "Wait until just before you go to finish his training," she told the girl, steering her out of the room and up to her bedroom. "I'm sure Cordelia can give you a lot of tips on how to train a pony of your own. After all, she once trained Xander, Draco's mate, from what she's said."
"I'll ask her tomorrow." Luna gave her a hug. "Thank you for supporting my ambitions."
"Anytime, Luna. You're a very nice girl." She went to her room to laugh herself silly, leaving Wesley to get himself out of the ropes. He had gotten himself into this mess and he could get himself out of it.
When Gunn came in a few hours later, he checked around the downstairs, turning the lights off since it looked like Angel had stayed upstairs tonight. He found Wesley and shoved him until he woke up. "Do you need saved?"
Wesley groaned, spitting out the bit of rope in his mouth. "Only from pubescent girls," he complained. "She called me her pony."
"And then she tied you up?" Gunn, being a true friend, helped his friend out of the ropes and let him go free. "Run, little horsey, run," he cracked. Wesley glared at him but went to have a drink and make a few calls. Gunn went upstairs, running into a woozy Spike in the hallway. "I just released Wesley from some ropes. Did you help that?"
Spike grinned. "Knew the girl had it in her. Can't wait to see her next one." He walked downstairs to get himself some blood, interrupting Wesley's call to Ethan. "Like he's gonna help," he snorted. "He wants the same bloody thing she does." Wesley's eyes went wide and he dropped the phone. Spike smirked. "Did you enjoy it?"
"Bloody hell no!" Wesley said hotly. "Do not encourage that sort of behavior, Spike." He hung up the phone and went to pout in his room. Would no one protect him from that one little girl?
The next morning, Ethan invited Luna and Dawn over, with Wesley escorting them since everyone else seemed to be busy. That little plant demon was a very handy friend to have owe him a few favors. He wanted to work on Dawn's abilities with her and Wesley since Xander had asked him to look over her training as well. He and Wesley had nearly come to blows over that earlier in the month but they had come to an arrangement. Wesley would never leave him alone with Dawn and would not allow him to teach her chaos magic, but admitted Ethan did know more than he himself did. Luna came along because Dawn insisted that she'd only go wake up Angel and Spike otherwise. As soon as they walked in, Ethan handed Wesley a vial. "Anti-lust potion," he explained with a grin and a wink. Not that it was, but Wesley wouldn't know that until it hit him full force. Or until Ethan hit him full force in the bedroom. Or possibly on the couch, he hadn't decided yet. He pulled Dawn back to his working room, letting Luna help them set things out. "There," he said at last. "That's a good meditative and examining perch. Sit down, young lady." Luna sat down and he looked at her. "Do you have an interest in this form of magic?"
"I wondered if it was something I could do too. I am a Ravenclaw and this is knowledge that I do not have," she said primly.
"Then let me work with Dawn and we'll see," he promised. She was very straightforward. And for some reason, his magic seemed to be reaching out for her. Perhaps he had found the student his Lord had promised him. He sat Dawn down and closed the circle around her. "There we are. Start with the basics please and let's see how far you've gotten, Ms. Summers." He and Wesley sat down safely out of range and Luna sat on the floor between them, protecting her man apparently. "Create a ball of light if you would," he instructed.
Dawn concentrated and called up her magic, calling a ball of pale blue light. "How's that?" she asked.
"Did you do that with your wand or without?" Luna called.
"I was holding it but I didn't cast with it," Dawn told her, shifting to face them. The light went out. "I found out earlier that I like the rituals of the wandless, which usually include a symbolic wand." Luna nodded eagerly. "That's what I'd like to learn."
"And so you shall," Ethan assured her. "After I've taught you the basics, you'll have Miss Maclay teach you nature magic of her form." Dawn looked happy about that. "The simple fact is, that is not a defensive or an offensive form though and you must learn that as well because it is a necessity of your life."
"Yes, Ethan," Dawn sighed, closing her eyes and recreating the ball of light.
"Now float it around the circles and weave it among the candlesticks," Wesley told her. Dawn opened her eyes and the ball of light wobbled but it stayed solid. She carefully moved it around her, then around the circle nearest her. Slowly the light bobbed and wove among the candlesticks and the figures. She made sure she didn't touch any of the other figures on the floor since she didn't know they were for or if it would hurt her if her magic touched it. "Excellent," Wesley praised. He felt a pat to his leg and looked down. "Yes, Luna?"
"Why didn't she go outside of that area?"
"Because the other workings are Ethan's and it's impolite to touch them with her magic. It could ruin months of work or even have something trapped in there that could grab her magic and try to rip it out of her or use her once it had control." She nodded. "That was an insightful question however." He looked at Dawn, noticing she was sweating. "Let it go," he said gently. The ball of light went out and Dawn slumped. "Take five minutes and we'll do this again until you have no problems controlling it."
"Yes, Wesley," Dawn said, smiling weakly at him. "Can I have a granola bar or something?"
"Nothing may pass your protection circle," Ethan reminded her, putting a hand down to stop Luna from moving. "That is your line of protection for a reason, girl."
"I know that, Ethan, but I had to eat after Ron was done and he nearly ate all the food at breakfast," Dawn pouted.
"Her homie's got a void in his belly," Luna agreed. "He's known for it."
"Where did you pick up that word?" Ethan asked, frowning at her.
She grinned up at him. "At the beach. A nice gentleman was calling out to his friends with it and I asked him the meaning. He laughed and said it was nice that a sistah from the other side of the lake was gettin' fresh with the lingo and he taught me some quick words."
Dawn shook her head. "Luna, don't, just don't. He was a poser and we leave their sort alone."
"You mean it's not appropriate?"
"No, it is an appropriate usage, but use the Queen's English until you get back to school. Then you can show off all your knew knowledge to people who have never heard it before, thereby instructing them." Her whole face brightened with her smile. Wesley had good ideas.
"Sure thing, Mr. Wesley." She gave him a warm grin and looked at Dawn again. "Dawn, what's wrong?"
"Something major's going on," Dawn told her. "It's like ripples on the lake when the giant squid's playing tag with the mermaids." Ethan raised an eyebrow. "It is."
"The magical currents in the room?" he asked. Dawn nodded. "Then break your inner circle and come here immediately. We'll go have a snack outside." He shooed them out. He knew what was active in the room and how bad it would be if they broke. Once they were outside, he looked Dawn over. "Not to bad for an early effort. It took me nearly six months to master that one after I started it. You're at the intermediate level presently I think."
"Thanks." Dawn was still looking toward the house. "What is going on?"
"It could be Willow," Wesley pointed out.
"How did you lose Willow, Ethan?" Dawn asked.
"She managed to horde enough power to break the wards and scooted out," he said dryly. "She's been planning it since we allowed her to wake up."
"Would she have went home?" Luna asked.
"Sunnydale's in a partial wreck," Dawn told her. "There's not really a home to go to." She looked at Wesley. "Haven't you heard anything about her?"
"Spike and I both made contact with the demon community there and there's no sign of her. There had been a blip in San Francisco, but nothing locally and she was gone when someone went to find her."
"Would she be thinking rationally?" Luna asked.
Dawn hit her on the arm. "Willow hasn't been rational in a few months. She tried to hurt Xander and they've known each other nearly forever."
"Though that is an excellent thought," Ethan pointed out. "A thinking Rosenburg would find someone to further help her. The way she was, I'm afraid she'll try something but at her present power levels she can't do much without stealing the energy."
"Yes, but Xander and the boys cleaned out Sunnydale of most of the artifacts," Wesley reminded him.
"There are other ways to steal power," Ethan said dryly. "Even if she had killed to protect others, she has never killed a human. That makes her a blood innocent. She has never sacrificed an animal, again an innocent. An innocent is the most powerful thing there ever was because she can offer to an amazing source of power without making anyone else pissed. An unreasoning Rosenburg wouldn't care how dark the power was, nor is she thinking about her future magical use and how it would be constrained. That is why you always need to make conscious decisions about your abilities, Dawn. We do not want you to end up like Rosenburg."
"Can I say me too?" Dawn put in. The men nodded. "Good. So, what will she try?"
Wesley went pale. "A thought has occurred to me." Ethan gave him a look, motioning him to go on. "What was it that Willow was saying the last time I checked on her?"
"That if Summers senior were still here, none of this would have happened. That Buffy...." His own eyes went wide. "Oh, no." He sat down. "She wouldn't."
"If, as you surmise, she is not being rational, then that would be an excellent option for her," Luna put in. She looked at Dawn. "You know more about this than me. Could this witch raise your big sister?"
Dawn slumped and Wesley had to catch her. "She could. I nearly raised mom," Dawn told her. "Willow took everything from me but I got it from her first." She stood up on her own, looking at Ethan. "We've got to warn someone."
"Who? There's no one in town," Ethan reminded her.
"Tara's friends, the coven at the college?"
"The college closed," Wesley told her. "Everyone was shunted to the other branches of the University." He scratched the back of his head while he thought. "There are almost no magic users in town that I know of. The ones that are use very little."
"Spike?" Dawn asked. "Angel? Cordy? Hello, we've got to stop her. Buffy's dead. This makes the second time she died. It's not fair to her."
"It's not fair to her or you," Luna said, stepping forward to hug her. "We'll protect you, no matter what she does," she said gently.
"Come," Ethan said, standing up. "We're going back to the hotel. It's not safe to stay here. Rosenburg spent enough time here to use the magic around it. Her single few days at your school was enough to bring us both back there when I took over her mind and magic and forced her to transport us both for her intervention." He hurried them out to the car, only stopping long enough to pop his safe and get his most valuable things out, and a few clothes in case this ran long.
Dawn ran into Spike and Angel's room, pouncing Spike and jumping up and down around him until he made a grab for her. "We think Willow's going to try and raise Buffy. I felt something rippling through the magical currents," she said when she got one pissed blue eye glaring at her.
Spike sat up and tipped her down, making her sit. "What?"
"Willow escaped yesterday. Ethan said she hoarded power. The last time they knew where she was, she was in Frisco. A greyhound would still go to Sunnydale, right?" Spike nodded slowly. "We think that Willow wants to raise Buffy because she thinks it'll fix things. We can't find Willow but I did feel the magical currents starting to ripple up, like waves on the lake when the giant squid is playing tag."
Spike closed his eyes briefly, then nodded. "I can call around up there. I've got a few who owe me still." He got out of bed and grabbed his jeans, pulling them on and not being careful that she didn't see anything.
"Eww, vampire butt," she said in disgust. She started to shake Angel to but he grabbed her arm.
"I heard. Out."
"Going," she agreed quickly, running from the room. They still had to tell Tara. She would be devastated by this. She heard the ranting in the kitchen and thought that Cordy might have already told her but she couldn't be sure so she peeked inside. "Hi, Tara," she said gently.
"What's going on?" she asked.
"Willow escaped Ethan yesterday, we didn't tell you because he said he was hunting her magically," Cordelia said, turning to look at her. Tara nodded, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "Dawn felt the magic moving at Ethan's house. Ethan thinks she's witless enough to try and raise Buffy because she had some notion that Buffy would fix all this."
Tara stood up and kissed Dawn on the head. "As much as it might make you happy...."
"It wouldn't be Buffy," Dawn told her. "She's been dead for months, Tara. I'm starting to move on. It's not right and it's not ethical."
Tara gave her a hug. "I'm glad you won't be following Ethan's path full time, Dawnie." She went up to her room, Cordelia following her to hold her while she cried. She understood.
Dawn went to marshal her troops and explain what was going on to them. Draco nearly put his fist through a wall. Hermione and Ginny showed Luna the library, going with Dawn. Harry, Ron, and Draco all sat around and made possible plans. They had known Buffy and they had to shield Tara and Dawn. Whatever was coming back wouldn't be Buffy.
Ethan felt it start but then he felt the needle in his arm. "Sleep," Spike murmured in his ear. Ethan drifted off before he could even protest. Spike looked at Wesley, who had walked in. "She'll target him."
"She probably will," Wesley agreed. "We'll need the magical help though. I won't put Dawn or her friends through this." He crossed his arms over his chest. "What do you know that we don't?"
"Willow started the rites earlier today. She used a deer." Wesley shuddered. "That's all I know."
"That's enough," Draco said as he walked in. Wesley opened his mouth. "Unlike Dawn's other friends, I am not nice, nor am I an innocent. Ethan and I have a lot more in common than you'd like to think." Wesley nodded at that. "Now, what can we do to help?" He suddenly grabbed his head and winced, just like Wesley was.
"I thought those were myths," Ron said as he walked in. He looked at Draco, then nudged him to lay on his side. "There, stay there. Xander will skin me if you get hurt." He looked at the front door, waiting with Spike. Angel slowly came down the stairs. "Willow just used a lot of magic," he shared. "Draco is sensitive to that sort of thing." The door opened and Fred walked in, so Spike waved her out of the way.
"Darth Rosenburg," Ron snorted. He sneezed.
"Okay then." She went to grab a weapon, checking everyone as she went. She closed the door to the office and locked it with the keys she grabbed off the desk. She saw Ron touching his arm and looked at him. "What are you doing? Is that some sort of magical device?"
"More of a communication method," Ron admitted with a grin. "I was told to tell the older members if something bad or big was going to happen so they'd be warned. I just talked with Nick Boyle."
"The Legacy?" Wesley asked weakly. Ron nodded. "How on earth do you know him?"
"He's a wizard too. He's a Bane," Ron told him. Wesley suddenly looked like he got it. So Ron shrugged. "We were ordered to share things if it got weird or odd. I consider this both."
The door slammed inward and Willow strode in. "Where's Dawn?"
"Locked in the office," Ron told her. "Why?"
"Because her sister wants her."
"Then her sister can come here," Angel said firmly. "Dawn's not leaving our sight until we make sure you didn't pull back something that looks like Buffy."
"Ask me yourself," a pale blonde said from the doorway. "Dawnie?"
"Buffy?" Dawn shouted. The door opened with a well-placed kick. She walked out, standing next to Wesley. "Hi."
"Hi yourself. What is going on? Sunnydale was in ruins. I'm dressed in an ugly dress. You're holding a wand?" she asked finally.
Willow looked at Buffy. "I told you things had changed and that you needed to handle them."
"Actually, I was doing okay and healing until you brought her back," Dawn said firmly. "Buffy, come sit. We'll explain everything." She saw the look around. "Fred, put it down," she said without looking. Fred put down the weapon and shrugged. "See? You know Angel, you know Spike. You know Ron. You know Ethan. Come sit." Midnight barked and sat, lifting up a paw. "Oh, that was so good," she cooed, patting her puppy gently. "You're a good boy, Midnight."
"When did we get a dog?"
Dawn looked at her again, picking up her dog. "This was Xander's present to me for my fifteenth, Buffy. Buffy, this is Midnight. Xander, Wes, and Spike conspired to get him for me while I'm I school."
"Sit, Buffy, it's been months."
"Yeah, maybe I will," Buffy agreed, sitting down on the couch that Ethan wasn't on. "What happened to him?" She shook her head. "I remember him helping.... something."
Dawn sat down next to her, making Spike frown. "Calm down. Buffy would never hurt me and I do have my wand."
"You don't need a wand," Willow said firmly. She started toward Dawn.
"Impedimentia!" Dawn said, freezing her. "Don't move, Willow. I will kill you for this." She stood up, leaving her dog there. "Do you know what you've done?" she hissed. "You have broken natural laws. You have caused the rest of us pain. You have condemned yourself to eternal torment because of your arrogance!" she yelled. "You've not only hurt me, but you've hurt Xander again when he hears about it!"
"Whoa, talk to me, not scream at her," Buffy complained. She reached over, but the dog growled at her. "I don't blame you, it's an ugly dress," she agreed. Midnight quit growling and tipped his head off to the side, then barked but wouldn't let her come near him. "What's wrong with your dog?"
"He lives around magic, Buffy, he can sense that something's off about you." Dawn returned to her seat. "Ron, would you please incarcerate her in a more strong fashion?"
"Sure thing, Dawn, anything for you," Ron promised. He and Draco, who was still holding his head, carried Rosenburg off and locked her in a room, with a few more hexes on her so she couldn't move.
Dawn looked at her big sister. "Do you remember learning about Xander? Meeting Ron, Harry, and Draco?" Buffy smiled and nodded. "I go to school with Ron, Harry, and Draco."
"Wow. I didn't know...." She looked at Ethan, then at the vampires and Wesley. "And you're here why?"
"It's the holidays, I'm on vacation," Dawn said miserably. Her sister hugged her. "I missed you, Buffy, but not like this. I didn't want Willow to do this." She noticed Tara and nudged Buffy, pointing at Tara. "See, she agrees with me. Willow broke the fundamental laws."
"She did, but it's not up to us to punish her," Tara said calmly. "Where did they put her?"
"In Luna's room I think," Dawn said with a pitiful look. Midnight crawled into her lap and laid down, demanding his fair share of the attention. She looked down, petting him. "Thanks, baby boy. You're a wonderful friend." She looked up and saw the hurt look in Buffy's eyes. "It's been nearly four months, Buffy. I've actually quit crying." She started to again but Spike rushed over and gave her a hug. "Thanks. Can you, um, send Ron? Not that I don't love your hugs, Spike, but I think you're another person who wants to hit Willow."
"Sure," he agreed, nodding at Buffy. "Nice to have you back and all. Wish she hadn't done it though." He walked upstairs to get Ron.
Dawn gave another shaky laugh. "So many things have happened since you died." She wiped her face off. "Xander adopted me as his little sister."
"The real Xander?"
Dawn nodded. "The real one. Draco declared me *his* little sister and he protects me at the school whenever I need it." Buffy grimaced. "It's kinda nice. He's even sided with me against his own friends." She glanced at her dog again, he was napping. She looked up again, seeing the understanding look. "It's been four months, Buffy."
"I understand, Dawn, I really do." She gently touched her knee. "Why are you so warm?"
"Because you're still ice cold," Dawn told her.
"Oh. Sorry." She pulled her hand back.
"Not a big," Dawn said quickly, wiping her cheeks off again. Warm arms went around her, giving her the hug she really needed. "Ron and I are dating," she blurted. "I'm really popular. I'm learning both forms of magic. I'm really good at a lot of things. I like this new life because I only have to fight sometimes. Even though there's a war I only have to fight part of the time."
Xander kissed Dawn on the back of the head. "That's the way I wanted it for you," he promised. She looked up at him. "You mean Ron smells as much as I do?"
"No," she said, laughing and patting him on the arm. "Draco, Xander's back, the real one."
Ron and Draco both came running, grabbing him for a hug. "Easy, guys, I'm still breakable." He looked over Draco's shoulder at Buffy. "She didn't have to do this, Buffy."
"Who's teaching her Willow magic?" Buffy asked.
"Wesley and Ethan are doing the beginnings," Dawn told her. "That way I don't go overboard, I don't have problems, and I know enough offensive and defensive magic that I can get by. Then Tara takes over once they're done with me."
Buffy relaxed. "Not Giles?"
"Buffy, we couldn't repair his mind," Angel told her. "Glory sucked him before she walked up onto the tower."
"The Watchers came for him," Wesley told her. "They have a very good care unit for Watchers who are severely injured in the line of duty. He's there and I checked on him while I was helping Xander with something. He knows no pain and nothing is off for him."
Buffy started to tear up. "Then why?"
"Because Willow's gone fully over and she decided that having you back would be the cure to me," Dawn told her. "Willow's decided that I'm somehow bad for being trained. For wanting to be trained. Xander did give me the option of going to a normal high school and just doing the basic training, or just doing the training I'm doing with Wes and Ethan."
Buffy wiped off her face. "Then why did she say that I had to fix things?"
"Because Willow acted against me one night, Buffy," Xander said honestly. "She tried to bind me to be her little slave. Not the not-Xander. Me." Buffy looked stricken. "Dawn took her power and was brought to me too. Wesley arranged everything once we heard. As a matter of fact, Wes met Gunn and Cordy at the airport and brought her to where I was helping another friend at the time. They brought her directly to me."
"That's what I would have wanted," Buffy agreed. She wiped her face off. "I'm still cold."
"And you probably will be for a long time," Wesley assured her, sitting down and relaxing. "We do not know Willow's direct reasons. We do know that she's went a bit unstable in the last few months."
"I personally think she visited Rack a few too many times," Dawn put in. "I had one owl from her since I left. I get ones from Ethan, Wes, and Spike all the time."
"She said Ethan had chained her up."
"She was a prisoner in his home until she got some sense again," Tara admitted. Spike came down the stairs and she forced a hug onto him for her own comfort. "Thank you."
"You're welcome, Glinda." Spike looked at Buffy, then at Angel. "She's not fully back. Willow's not that strong."
"Did you hurt her?" Buffy asked. Spike nodded. She took a big breath. "Are you still chipped?" Spike nodded again and Buffy broke down then, crying pitifully. Angel came over and gathered her up, sitting there with her on his lap. "Dawn, I don't know what's going on, but I'm so sorry," she sobbed.
Dawn reached over to pat her on the shoulder. "Shit happens in our life, Buffy, you told me that yourself. Now you're a victim of the pile getting a bit too deep to do anything but swim in." She took a long look at Buffy, looking at the power flows. "Guys, she's got a gaping hole in her energies, right there," she said, moving a finger around the area. Around the chest area.
"You mean I'm not really living?" Buffy asked hopefully.
"You're kinda living," Spike told her. "Partially."
Wesley nodded. "There are two options, Buffy. One of them says that you can redie. You can die again and go back to where you were. Willow did not have your consent." Buffy nodded, looking at him. "Or you could consent to be turned. That is another option if you wanted it."
"But...." Angel said.
"I will if you won't," Spike told him. "If that's what she wants."
"I hate vampires," Buffy reminded him. "I kill vampires."
"Yeah, but you wouldn't be the first slayer to be a vampire," Fred pointed out, rocking back and forth on her feet. "Would she?"
Wesley smiled at her. "Not by any means, Fred. There have been a number of them. Most of the time, the Council makes a special effort to find them and stake them." He stood up. "If you want, I can call them and tell them what Willow did. Get you some dispensation or something."
"Will it put Dawn in trouble?"
"Buffy, the Watchers don't stand a chance against me and Draco and Ron and Harry and Hermione and Ginny," Xander pointed out gently.
"And Luna," Dawn reminded him. Midnight was shifted and he growled. "Sorry, fussy. I was gonna let you nap on Ethan since he's taking a long one."
"Go ahead," Xander told her. He watched as Dawn put her dog safely with Ethan. "You'd be very proud of her. Not only is she the most popular girl in school. She's caught up with a missed year because they put her back by a year instead of two. She wins accolades and praise for her works. She's made a lot of new friends very quickly. She's in the house filled with nice people."
"Some of who have a jealous streak," Ron admitted.
"True. They're all huggers," Draco added.
Buffy laughed. "Then I guess I'm not really needed?"
"Well, I could use my big sister, but I won't keep you if you want to go. Just don't make me watch."
"I'd never do that to you, Dawnie." She gave her a kiss on the forehead, then winced. "Is that magic?"
Ron looked up. "I think Nick's here."
"I heard you call Nick," Xander said, giving him a pinch. "Why not me?"
"I didn't know what you'd be doing. If you were around muggles or what." He shrugged. "I thought it'd be safer since Nick was closer."
"I was on my way back actually," Xander told him. He stole one last kiss from Draco and gave Dawn another hug. "Speaking of, I'm nearly done with this assignment. I didn't have a chance to buy presents but I'll be bearing them when I come home in about a month. Wait for me." He gave Draco an extra kiss then left again.
"Wow, he's fast," Buffy said, making Draco laugh. "I'm sorry about this. I didn't want her to do this." Wesley came out of the office and he didn't look happy. "Not good news?"
"They suggested you be turned and not hunted so they could question you," he told her. "I doubt such questioning would be pleasant."
Nick Boyle walked in. "Hey, Ron. You yelled?" He looked at the person on the couch. "I know you."
"Buffy Summers," she said, shaking his hand. "Newly returned by Willow."
"We've been calling her Darth Rosenburg since her magic was taken," Ron told her.
"It fits," Dawn agreed.
"Yeah, I guess it does," Buffy agreed as she stood up. "I'm sorry to call you away from everything."
"Ah, hell, it was only paperwork," he said with a grin. "So? What's going on."
"Willow pulled me out of heaven," Buffy told him. Everyone stared at her. "I was right there, taking a long nap in the sun."
"I'm sorry," Nick said honestly. "Did you want to go back? Do you feel that you now have extra tasks that have to be done?"
Buffy shrugged. "I don't know."
"Then let us turn you, Buffy, and everything will be fine. If you don't, then you'll walk outside," Spike said with a grin.
"I wouldn't care, but I'd have to have the Headmaster's permission to have you come anywhere near the school," Dawn offered.
"I doubt he'd do that," Harry said as he came out. "Gas stoves, not the greatest floo." He looked at Buffy. "Dumbledore said he understands. He really does. He cannot allow you anywhere near Hogsmeade in either form and he can't allow you in Diagon either. And especially not in the school. He said that in either way, things are going to be attracted to you." Buffy nodded. Harry gave her a small smile. "And he also said you'd probably understand all that."
"I do," Buffy assured him. "I really do. When do you guys get out of school?"
"May," Ron said helpfully. "Then we go back in late August."
Buffy looked at Dawn. "Do you want to keep going?" She nodded. "Are you sure?"
"Buffy, I'm learning tons of things that I never knew before. Did you know that unicorns were real?" Buffy smiled and shook her head. "They are. Hagrid showed me on."
"Was it soft?" Wesley asked.
"I didn't get to pet it," Dawn told him. Buffy glared at Ron. "It's not his fault and we both know that, Buffy."
"I remember," she said bitterly. "I'm sorry about that too. What about Dad?"
"Not a hair or sound from him. Xander and Draco are all the big brother I need. Xander spoils me like the princess I am and he makes me do homework before giving out an allowance and Draco takes me shoe shopping and helps me pick out clothes."
Buffy laughed. "That's fine then, Dawn. I'll allow you to finish out the year and then we'll decide on you going back."
"I'm going back, Buffy, I'm not leaving Hogwarts. Not even for you. I'm needed there. I protected my whole house against Draco's house. I do really good things. I get to fly on brooms."
Buffy nodded. "Then I'll see you this summer and we'll do sister things once I'm back to vamp normal. Then I'll help you do some shopping and send you back to Xander."
"That's okay with me," Dawn told her.
"We'll figure that out with Xander once he's fully back," Ron promised. "Maybe she can come visit for a few days or something." He grinned at Buffy. "I can't say it's not great to have you back, but I didn't want this either."
Buffy grabbed him by the ear, making him howl. "I think we need to have a talk about my baby sister and your boy parts, Ron." She smiled at him. "It's only proper."
"If you say so," he said with a wince. "Get turned first, then you can set down rules."
"Buffy, my man," Dawn said, stomping her foot. "Let go of my boyfriend. I can kiss and snuggle Ron all I want to, it doesn't mean we're having sex yet."
"Fine," Buffy sighed, letting Ron go. "As long as he doesn't pressure you."
"Then I'd kick his ass," Dawn pointed out. "I did learn that from you."
"True." She nodded, grinning at her. She noticed the other faces in the office. "Hi. Yes, I'm back for the third time."
Hermione walked out but Luna got to her first. "Can I interview you for my father's paper? This will be a cover story like the wizarding world won't expect."
"Sure, kid. Blink once in a while," Buffy told her. "And have you ever thought about conditioner? Did Cordy not nag you about your hair already?" She let Luna and Spike lead her off.
Dawn sat down on top of Ethan, petting her dog gently. "At least it wasn't as bad as it could be," she said. Everyone nodded but Ethan, who was still in his enforced nap.
Wesley woke up with ropes around him again and the sound of arguing next to him. "Dear God, stop it," he complained. "Get me free."
"I was going to but lust boy there argued with me," Luna told him, lifting her wand. Ethan took it from her and she screeched, kicking him in the shin. "You horrible man boob! That's all you are is a sick piece of twisted man part flesh and a manboob! Give it back!" She jumped up and down, trying to reach the wand he was holding over his head. "Now, you unsightly buggerer. He's mine! I even learned how to tie knots to have him!"
"Enough!" Angel called from the doorway. "Ethan, give the girl back her wand or I'm ripping yours off." Ethan handed it back with a very pale blanche stealing over his face. "Lovegood, you may not tie up Wesley, I need him able to work."
"I'll let him go," she pouted. "He's mine."
"No, he's not. He's his. That means he can pick either of you or neither of you."
"Or both of us," Ethan pointed out. "I wouldn't mind sharing for a bit, get a taste of your skills as it were."
"You're a sick piece of human, Rayne. Leave my coworker alone before I strand you with Rosenburg."
"I've been considering what to do about her," Ethan announced. "I can bind her permanently from magic. I can even make it so she can't touch the stuff again. It will take some time and a ritual."
"Will Dawn get to help?" Luna asked. "She loves rituals."
"Unfortunately the only one I've found calls for virginal blood and Dawn has admitted that she can't participate," Ethan said smoothly. Luna looked stunned. "Apparently there were some bad people in her past that harmed her a bit, just enough to taint her I'm afraid." He looked at Wesley, whose eyes went wide. "And it looks like he won't give up the requisite amount either. That means I can use him or Dawn as the second caster, but I'll still need a virgin to take less than a pint of blood off of." He looked Luna over, making her squeak. "It would keep further incidences from happening and you could use it in your articles."
Luna shivered and looked at Wesley. "What do you think?"
"I'm still tied up," Wesley pointed out. "I'm not the person to ask. Ask Dawn."
"Dawn would do anything to make this happen," Ethan pointed out. "That leaves you, one of the boys, or your friend Ginny close at hand."
Luna snorted. "They're not all virgins."
"To some aspects they are," Ethan pointed out. "And at least one of them is fully."
Luna shook her head. "Not by the gossip going around the school they're not. Ginny is, but the boys are hopeless." She looked at Wesley again, then shrugged. "Will it be fun?"
Angel groaned and left them alone. He didn't want to know, he just wanted this little vacation to end. He had enough to think about and he was still flummoxed by the dinner they had the first night. Xander was a wizard? Wes was a full-fledged wizard? Dawn was a powerful witch? Xander was a wizard? He went back to his room, where Buffy and Spike were recuperating. He closed the door. "Xander's a wizard?" he asked.
"Xander's a very powerful wizard," Buffy told him, purring against her brother's chest. "Can I say, being a vampire is not what I expected."
"Sure, luv, go right ahead," Spike encouraged. She squealed and pounced him to pummel him into submission. "Hey now, no slayer strength in bed!" Spike complained.
"Buffy, make him shut up. I don't want him to knock me out again."
"Cool," Buffy said with a wicked grin. She leered at Spike. "All mine." His 'eep' was heard in the hallway as Ginny walked past.
Ginny knocked on Wesley's door. "Luna?"
"Just a sec," she called. "We're negotiating for a rite to help the wicked witch."
"Okay. I'm going to bed, don't worry about waking me." She shrugged and went back to bed. Luna had sense, she wouldn't be sucked in by Ethan Rayne. At least not *that* way.
Xander appeared back in the hotel before the kids were going to leave, loud trumpets pronouncing his presence, ghostly dancing girls and flower petal throwers proceeding him. "I am here!" he announced happily, spinning his cape off and tossing it to Spike. "I am wonderful!" He grinned happily. "Bask in my magnificence."
"Shut up! I'm trying to sleep!" Buffy complained.
"Then you miss my big entrance and I should tie you down and put honey on you, but tie Spike up six inches too far away to lick it off," he called back.
Ron looked at Harry, then at Hermione. "Have you seen a cloak toss like that since Lockhart?"
"No, no I haven't," Hermione pointed out. Xander beamed at her. "He's even smiling like him."
"Well, we knew Xander was gay," Harry pointed out. "Proves my theory about Lockhart."
Angel came down the stairs, watching the wraiths as they danced around Xander. He blinked a few times and with a wave of Draco's wand a trumpet went off next to Angel's ear, making him jump. "Declaring yourself emperor?"
"I am magnificent," Xander said proudly, striking a pose. He banished the figments and posed in another pose, smiling again to show off his white teeth. Harry and Ron both cracked up, leaning against each other.
"Be careful," Ron gasped in Draco's direction. "Hermione used to like Lockhart. She might st...steal him!" he said, starting to cackle now.
"Why not? I am more than worthy of worship," Xander assured him. "Not only have I survived nearly two months in the desert with military people and unholy relics from aliens, I am wonderful, special, magnificent, and all the rage across the world." He smirked at Angel again. "Would you like to see my clippings? They'll tell you how magnificent I am." Harry howled with laughter. "Not only that, but I can bring up references of my many books and fans. After all, I am beloved around the world."
Angel blinked a few times. "You're wearing gold lamme, Xander. You're wearing gold lamme, lace, and waving a hankie. Were you infected by something?"
Spike came down the stairs. He paused when he looked at Xander. "Lockhart today?" he asked. Xander beamed. "Good on you, mate. We need blood if you're gonna shag the badness inta Buffy sometime soon."
Xander swished his wand in his most showy manner. "How dare you not bow before my great and shininess. I should duel with you."
"You can't fight," Angel pointed out.
Xander pulled his foil. "En Garde!" he yelled, advancing. The kids quickly got out of the way while Angel rushed for a sword. For all the good it did him. Xander had him against a wall and purely defending himself against the feints within moments. He was disarmed with a showy, yet very casual move. Xander stepped back and bowed to him. "Do you believe in my exceptional radiance now?"
"You're touched in the head," Spike said in appreciation. "I'll have to tell Buffy about this." Xander grinned at him and Angel vamped out, making a short rush, only to be stopped by a spraying flower that squirted holy water at him. Spike laughed, heading up the stairs before Angel could catch him doing it.
Xander stepped back and grabbed his cloak, swirling it back around his shoulders again. "And now, for something spectacular!" He waved his wand and his outfit disappeared, leaving him in a speedo. "To the beach, my young brethren. For I shall teach you the arts of being admired by one and all." He waved at the door. "Shall we?"
"We've got to go back soon," Draco said, looking and sounding bored as he checked his wand tip. He looked his consort up and down. "If you don't put on real clothes, I'll never let you fuck me again."
"Draco, sweetness, why would you say such naughty things?" Xander purred, moving to corner him against the stairs. "When I could go on my back and have you ride me like there's no tomorrow? Or at least no early classes tomorrow." He gave his consort a breath-stealing kiss and still turned to beat back Angel when he came close by conjuring a foam bat. "Foul creature, taking me away from my kissing veela consort. How dare you! I should circumcise you for that. Men such as yourself should all be marked as being desperate."
"You're cut too," Draco pointed out helpfully.
"Yes, but far and wide I am known as that slut who fucked anything for nearly thirty years," Xander said proudly. "I have done them all and they have enjoyed it!" He finished up by driving Angel up the stairs whimpering in fear. "Now, where was I?" He dropped the bat as he went back to his consort's side.
"Trying to convince me to bottom tonight?" Draco asked.
Xander gave him a steamy look. "Only if you really want to." Draco shivered. "We could do it otherwise."
"Upstairs, now," Draco ordered, swatting him on the barely clad rear. Xander scooted, running away from him, but heading up the stairs. "Hmm, Xander hunting, the sport of nobles." He hurried up after him.
"We portkey out in two hours," Harry called after them, still trying to stop laughing.
"Start without us, Potter, interrupting my shagging will get you hexed every day for the next month!" Draco called back. He suddenly screamed, but it was in pleasure. "Xander!"
Dawn came out of the kitchen with Luna and Wesley. "Xander, are you being a butthole again?" she called.
"He decided to make Angel afraid," Harry said with a grin.
"Remind me to tell you about Lockhart," Ron agreed with a grin of his own. He stole a small bite of her sandwich and a kiss.
"Keep it up, Weasley, and you're marrying my sister as soon as she's legal," Buffy warned from the top of the stairs. "What did Xander do to Angel?"
"He came in like the gayest of the gay wizards to make fun of him," Harry told her. His eyes widened as Buffy jumped up and grabbed a light fixture as Xander and Draco ran underneath her. "Guys," he complained.
Xander waved his wand. "Fine, be that way, Harry. Spoil all my fun until later." He looked up the stairs as he changed his clothes back. "Oh, Dead Boy. Come down and play, your mommy said you could and I'll be nice."
"You're not Harris," Angel yelled coming to the top of the stairs. "He never fenced in his life. He never wore clothes like that."
"He's a Dumass, dumbass, they're all like that. That was his idea of a sense of humor," Spike said as he joined the other vampires.
Cordy came out of the kitchen. "Dear Lord, Xander, you shimmer and send off heat waves. Change like a decent human being," she complained, walking past him. "And you clean up any body fluids that you leave lying around."
"Yes, my lovely, of course I will. Draco, our horse awaits, love. Grab your bags. The rest of you as well." He bowed to Luna, who giggled as she leaned against Wesley's arm. "You as well, smart and precious one. For our horse awaits and we shall anon to the forest and the castle, where Draco and I will make beautiful music together to drive his housemates insane...er." He smirked at Angel as the kids ran up to grab their bags. "What? You expected me to not be this way?" he asked smugly. "Just playing up to your ideals." He winked as his mate came down the stairs and he gave him a crushing kiss. "Hmm. Definitely music to drive people insane with want and need. You'll have to protect me when they come in looking for theirs."
"The other Slytherins can kiss my ass, you're mine and you're staying mine," Draco said firmly.
"Okay," he agreed easily. The other kids came down the stairs. "Come, we will anon to Castle Vania where we shall pursue a worthy goal of finding Vulcans pretending to be innocent Ravenclaws and tribbles pretending to be Hufflepuffs. Plus, perhaps we can find a Borg or two among the Slytherins. Who knows. Maybe I'll even find someone to give my cursed plate armor to," he said happily. "Come, my sweets, to the horse." He waved. "We shall bring them back come May the ninth in the hour of the sun in the house of the spring. May you and yours have an easy time for I have busted not only the biggest asshole ever to pass the California Bar Exam, but I have also closed down their deceitful practice and taken their minions on a trip that they will not soon forget. No, they shall not perish for evil is not so easily conquered, but verily, the war has begun and all is fun and well. Good night and good pleasure, my dears." He walked out, trailing the kids, and climbed onto the back of the stone horse statue, activating the portkey back and leaving it prominently in the center of the walkway up to the school. It moved to follow them into the door, and made it up a few of the stairs, but not through the door itself. Xander let the others go to their rooms, only giving Dawn a kiss on the head. Then he followed Draco into Slytherin to make the beautiful music of the night.
Screams of 'Merlin!', 'Stop that!', and 'I'm trying to sleep, you wanker!' followed their path and their music, creating a beautiful counterpoint.
Professor Flitwick was duly summoned to take care of the statue, letting it inside and down to Slytherins' doorway, letting it sit there in wait for it's charmer. At least it wasn't a lock spell this time. He paused at that thought, hearing a click. He groaned and tested the nearest door. Locked. Totally locked. "Alohamora!" he said, hitting the lock, but it didn't work. "Oh, really?" he said, glaring at the Slytherin door. He would get Dumass, even though he did appreciate the challenge.