Dawn didn’t get to see Harry again before it was time to go back to Hogwarts. Ron, Ginny and Hermione had made a couple more trips to Diagon Alley and Dawn had seen them there, but Harry wasn’t being let out of the house again. He and Dawn had exchanged a couple of letters, using Dawn’s owl. Dawn had settled on naming her Anyanka, because of her habit of making a rather shrill call, at inappropriate times. Dawn wasn’t sure how Xander would react to the name when he found out, so she called her Yanka for short.
On Monday, September first, Dawn and Buffy returned to King’s Cross Station. They made their way to the barrier between platforms nine and ten. Dawn was pulling her trunk behind her, and carrying Yanka in her cage.
Buffy looked around, surprised by just how many teenaged kids seemed to be heading in the same direction they were, hauling trunks like Dawn’s, and many with cages containing cats or owls. None of the other people in the station seemed to think that there was anything strange about it. Buffy was used to people ignoring the unusual, but she thought that so many owls would at least cause a few eyebrows to be raised. It wasn’t the sort of ‘impossible’ thing that people seemed to completely tune out. It was merely improbable.
Once they crossed through the barrier Buffy realized that Harry had been right to call this place a madhouse on back-to-school day. Platform nine and three quarters was full of kids, and their trunks and their animals, as well as friends and family who were there to see them off. People were running to and fro and kids were shouting to friends they hadn’t seen for months. It was total bedlam.
Dawn looked around for anyone she recognized. She wasn’t surprised that she didn’t see anyone she knew. Harry had warned her that he and the Weasleys had a habit of arriving at the last minute, and had told her to snag a compartment for them on the train if she got there ahead of him.
There was still plenty of time, so Dawn and Buffy walked down the length of the platform, making sure that there was no one there that they knew. About half way down Dawn noticed that they had attracted the attention of a small group of kids, all of them about sixteen years old. One of them, a boy with blond hair, pale skin, grey eyes and expensive looking clothes broke away from the others and came toward her. A couple of very large boys followed him, like vassals following their lord.
He smiled at Dawn in a way that she thought he must think was charming. “Hello, I don’t recall having seen you before, and I’m sure I would remember meeting such a beautiful girl.” He had an accent that reminded her of Wesley’s when he first arrived in Sunnydale.
‘God, does he think that line will actually work?’ Dawn asked herself, but she smiled back and decided to be polite. “No, this is my first year at Hogwarts.”
“Oh, you’re an American! I didn’t think there were many American wizards. Very few of us went off to the colonies,” he said in a very condescending tone.
Dawn was having trouble staying polite. “Yeah, well I’m new to the whole wizard thing. Never even heard about it until a couple of months ago. I’m Dawn Summers.”
The boy sneered at her. “Another mudblood. Bad enough that they let British mudbloods in, now they’re importing them from the colonies.”
“Let me guess,” said Dawn. “You must be Malfoy the amazing bouncing ferret.”
What little colour there was in Malfoy’s face left it. Dawn saw his eyes fill with rage. The two goons standing behind him started to move forward, and Dawn felt Buffy move behind her, a subtle shifting of her weight that Dawn knew meant that Buffy was ready to take those two out if they started anything.
Luckily for the goons, Malfoy held up his hands, restraining them from moving closer. “Careful, mudblood, The Dark Lord is rising, and he will purge the filth from our ranks. You will regret this day. I might have been able to protect you, if you’d treated me properly.”
“Yeah, well Moldywart can kiss my ass!” said Dawn, and with that she turned and walked away from him.
Buffy watched for a moment to make sure that Malfoy and his goons weren’t going to try anything while Dawn’s back was turned, and then followed her sister. “Hey, way to make friends and influence people, Dawn!”
“Don’t need friends like them,” said Dawn.
“Can’t disagree with you there.”
They moved back toward the entrance to the platform, keeping their eyes open. They found Hermione’s parents waiting near the arch, so they joined them while they waited for the others.
No one had shown up yet at a quarter to eleven. Kids were starting to board the train. Dawn decided that if she was going to save a compartment for them, she better go do it now. She gave Buffy a hug. “Okay, bye! I gotta go.”
Buffy hugged back. “Bye Dawnie! Don’t forget to write!”
“Hey, that’s what I got Yanka for isn’t it? And you’re still going to be visiting.”
“Yeah, I’ll see you in a month or so. Bye!”
Dawn moved off down the platform, looking for a coach with an empty compartment in it. She found it about half way down the train and she lifted her trunk up into it.
There was room under the compartment seat for her trunk, and Dawn put Yanka’s cage on a shelf over the seats. She lowered the window and leaned out of the train. She could see Buffy and the Grangers, still near the arch, and waved to them. Buffy saw her and waved back.
Dawn pulled back into the compartment and sat down in one of the seats. This train compartment was a little different from the one she had ridden in last time. It was a little like the difference between flying first class and coach. The seats were smaller, and pressed closer together. They were still more comfortable than any airline seat she’d been in though.
A dark haired boy poked his head into the compartment. “Are these seats taken?” He had a round face and a bit of a crooked nose, that looked like it had been broken at some point.
“I’m saving them for some friends,” said Dawn, “but one’s still available, if you don’t mind sitting with a mudblood.”
The boy smiled. “Not a bit.” He came in and sat down across from her. “Your family are Muggles, eh? You really shouldn’t say ‘mudblood’ though. It’s not a very polite word.”
“I think I figured that out from the way Malfoy said it,” said Dawn.
“You know Malfoy?”
“Only well enough to know that I don’t want to get to know him better,” said Dawn. “I’m Dawn Summers.”
“Oh, hi!” said Dawn. “Harry’s told me about you! Glad to meet you!”
“You know Harry?”
“Yeah,” said Dawn. “He’s one of the friends I’m saving a seat for, along with Ron, Hermione and Ginny.”
“You’re new, aren’t you?” asked Neville. “Where are you from?”
“California,” said Dawn.
“That’s in America, right?” asked Neville. “I’ve never met an American before.”
Dawn told Neville about life in California while they waited for the others to show up. She caught sight of Buffy, the Grangers, five Weasleys, Moody and Tonks outside the coach just before Harry and Ginny found them. The clock on the platform wall ticked over from 10:59 to 11:00, and the train whistle blew.
Dawn and the others all crowded by the window, and waved goodbye to the people on the platform while the train pulled out of the station. Dawn noticed that Neville was waving to an old woman in a green dress, with a stuffed vulture on her hat. She stayed by the window until she couldn’t see Buffy anymore.
Dawn sat back down beside Harry. “So, where’s Ron and Hermione?”
“They’re off being prefects,” said Ginny.
“Senior students who ride herd on the rest of us,” said Harry. “Mostly they make sure that the first years know where to go, and that senior students don’t take advantage of them. Hermione spent half of last year keeping Fred and George from using first years as product testing guinea pigs.”
Ron and Hermione showed up about an hour later, just before the snack cart came through. Mrs. Weasley had made sandwiches for everyone, even Dawn, who had brought her own, so they got themselves bottles of butterbeer to drink, and cauldron cakes and chocolate frogs for dessert.
They were just finishing up when a pretty, dark haired girl stuck her head into their compartment. “There you are, Harry!”
“Oh, hi Cho,” said Harry. “What’s up?”
Dawn took a very careful look at this girl. So she had been the object of Harry’s affections for three years.
“A bunch of us were wondering if you were starting up the DA again this year,” said Cho.
“Why?” asked Harry. “We’ve got a real DADA professor this time.”
“We still learned more in the DA than we would have, even with a decent teacher. There are clubs for people interested in most of the other subjects, why not DADA too? Only now we won’t have to hide it.” She gave Hermione a sour look. “And no need for sneaky jinxes.”
“I’ll think about it,” said Harry. “Not sure if I’ll have time. I’ve been made the Gryffindor Quidditch Captain.”
“Oh yeah? Well congratulations! And good luck, you’re going to need it. We’re going to kick your arses this year, even with you back as Seeker. You don’t have any Chasers.”
Harry smiled at Ginny. “I think we’ve got at least one.”
“But you need three.”
“I think we can find them,” said Harry, “and you guys didn’t have much luck scoring against Ron last game either.”
“I got to get back,” said Cho. She gave Ginny a smile. “Michael’s waiting for me.” She disappeared.
“Michael?” asked Dawn.
“My old boyfriend,” said Ginny. “He ran to Cho after I dumped him.”
“Oh.” Dawn filed that bit of information away. It seemed almost as convoluted as some of the relationships from Buffy’s high school days. Ginny used to have a crush on Harry, Harry’d had a crush on Cho, and had dated her, and now Ginny’s ex was dating Harry’s ex. She was thinking she might have to draw a diagram.
Ron and Hermione had to leave from time to time to do a patrol up and down the train: making sure that the kids were mostly behaving themselves. Other kids dropped by to visit, and Dawn got introduced to more of the people who would be her classmates: Luna Lovegood, who had been the sixth member of the group who had gone with Harry to try to save Sirius from Voldemort in the spring; Parvati Patil and Lavender Brown had been Hermione’s roommates for the last five years; Seamus Finnigan and Dean Thomas had been Ron and Harry’s, along with Neville. Ginny was happy to see Dean again. They had been writing each other all summer, but this was the first they’d seen of each other since the end of last term.
Dawn made a trip to the toilet about an hour before they were due to arrive at Hogsmeade. She was on her way back to their compartment when she heard an annoyingly familiar voice behind her.
Dawn had slammed the compartment door shut on the wrist of the hand holding the wand. The wand clattered to the floor and she scooped it up before she opened the door again. Draco Malfoy was on his knees, holding his wrist, and swearing.
Dawn pointed his wand at him. “Point this at me again, and I will shove it where the sun don’t shine. Understand me?” She looked at the two big bully boys who were in the compartment with Malfoy. They were starting to look like they realized that something had just happened, and maybe they should react to it. “That goes for you two gorillas too.” She pocketed the wand, closed the door, and returned to her compartment.
Harry saw the wand sticking out of Dawn’s pocket when she sat back down. “What’s that?”
Dawn pulled it out. “It’s a wand.”
Harry’s eyes narrowed. He knew that wand. “That’s Malfoy’s wand.”
“Yeah, it is.”
“What are you doing with Malfoy’s wand?”
“He was about to hurt himself, so I gave him a lesson in Practical Defence, and took it away from him.”
“Yeah, well, I think if he’d finished what he was starting, I would have had to hurt him badly, so I didn’t let him finish.”
“What was he starting?”
“It sounded like ‘tarantallow!’ But I think the ‘ow’ at the end was because I slammed the door on his wrist.”
Harry smiled. “‘Tarantallegra.’ It’s a favourite of his. Forces you to start dancing uncontrollably.”
“You don’t catch fire at the end do you?” asked Dawn.
“Er…no…you just dance.” Harry and the others gave Dawn a very puzzled look.
“Oh, there was this…” Dawn glanced toward Neville. “…guy who came to Sunnydale a couple of years ago. Made people dance until they burst into flames.”
“Ouch,” said Harry.
Ron and Hermione arrived, out of breath. “What did you do to Malfoy?” asked Hermione. “He says you attacked him and stole his wand!”
“No, I stopped him from attacking me, and confiscated his wand,” said Dawn. “I suppose I’ll have to give it back to him, eventually, if he asks politely.”
“If you wait for him to ask politely, it will be a long wait,” said Neville.
“I’m in no rush,” said Dawn.
“You may not get the chance to wait,” said Ron. “He gathered up the rest of the Slytherin prefects, and they’re searching the train for you, to take it back. They wanted to get the rest of us searching for you too, but everyone knows Malfoy’s a git and probably deserved whatever you did to him.”
“I suppose I’ll have to turn it over, when they get here,” said Dawn.
Harry grinned. “Not if they don’t see you here.”
“Harry what are you…” Hermione saw Harry pulling out his trunk. “Oh no!”
“What?” asked Dawn.
“You wanted to see my invisibility cloak, didn’t you?” Harry pulled a silvery cloak from his trunk. “Never got the chance to show it to you before.”
Dawn sat silently between Ginny and Hermione. Neville, Ron and Harry sat opposite them. Ron was reclining back with his long legs stretched out across the compartment. He was using her seat as a footrest. His feet were actually resting between her legs…not that she could see her legs.
An older student wearing school robes, with a silver badge with a ‘P’ on it, stuck his head into the compartment. “We’re looking for the American mudblood. Red jumper, long dark hair.”
Everyone in the compartment bristled. “Well, I don’t see her here,” said Ron. “Do you? And if I hear you call anyone a mudblood again, your blood is going to be in the mud.”
The guy in the robes glared at Ron for a moment, and then looked at the faces of the other people in the compartment and saw that Ron would have lots of help. He moved off down the aisle to check the next compartment.
Neville was keeping an eye on the coach aisle. “Okay, he’s gone,” he reported a minute later.
Dawn pushed Ron’s feet down onto the floor. “You’re getting a little close for someone who’s ‘just a friend.’” Ron smirked, and Dawn saw that Harry and Hermione both shot an annoyed look at him.
Dawn started to pull off the invisibility cloak, but Hermione told her to keep it on. The other Slytherin prefects would be searching too. They would no doubt get looked in on more than once.
“I can’t keep this on forever,” said Dawn. “Sooner or later I’m going to have to let someone see me.”
“I think we just need to get you into the Great Hall,” said Harry. “I think we’ll have made them all look sufficiently foolish by then.”
Hermione had been right. Slytherin prefects looked in on them several more times before they reached Hogsmeade. In the meantime they discussed the plan for getting Dawn off the train and into the school. Even with the invisibility cloak it wouldn’t be easy to move Dawn across the crowded platform without someone bumping into her.
They decided to go for a different sort of invisibility to get Dawn off the train. Draco was the only Slytherin prefect who had actually seen her. The rest were going by his description of her. Once she put on her school robes they wouldn’t be able to see her clothes. Her other most distinguishing feature was her long dark hair. Ginny and Hermione helped to quickly braid it, and wrapped the braid up on the back of her head.
“Um…we need something to hold it,” said Ginny.
Dawn smiled, and pulled Malfoy’s wand out of her pocket. “Here, use this.”
Ron and Neville had gone to get some more members of the DA to help them. Everything was ready when the train pulled into Hogsmeade station.
|Chapter 21: Shopping||Contents||Chapter 23: Apology Requested|