|The Secret Of The Dragon
Author: Lee Velviet PM
Draco is bitten by a vampire in his first year - he's been struggling with blood lust ever since, and searching for a cure. What happens when a certain young redhead inadvertently grabs his attention? D/G *New Chap. 9 A Day's Passing*Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Draco M. & Ginny W. - Chapters: 9 - Words: 27,610 - Reviews: 243 - Favs: 84 - Follows: 36 - Updated: 12-09-02 - Published: 03-20-02 - id: 669785
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I own nothing!
9. A Day's Passing
"Is not today enough? Why do I peer
Into the darkness of the day to come?
Is not tomorrow even as yesterday?
And will the day that follows change thy doom?" ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley, From: Sufficient Unto The Day
"He was smiling slightly at her, a cruel smile that even in it's cruelty was beautiful." ~The DarkAngel, Meredith Ann Pierce
Her nightmares were red.
Everything was red, the sky, the moon, the grass beneath her feet – and everything was bleeding…
Hunger gnawed at her, clawing at her insides, and the metallic, coppery scent of blood was carried along on the night breeze to her, teasing her, making her teeth ache and her breath sob in her throat as she hunted her prey – through the dark red forest she ran, her frustration growing until it consumed her, made her even more maddened than she already was.
She was so thirsty – all she could think of was the desperate need to drink.
Something stirred ahead of her in the crimson darkness, but she was quick to move. A swiping slash of her hand, and smooth white skin, as white and fair as she remembered the moon once being, opened too easily beneath her burning gaze – rich, dark red blood welled up.
She bent her head swiftly – and saw his eyes looking up at her, too cold, too still…
White-blonde hair stained scarlet swept across a noble brow, and she retracted, staring down at the boy in her lap in nameless horror.
Killed. She'd killed –
He'd been sleeping dreamlessly, shut away in his dorm with the bed curtains drawn tight, when he heard the soul-shattering shriek pierce the late morning air.
Draco's eyes snapped open in the darkness, and he lay still for a moment before sitting straight up, instantly awake.
He felt his heart give a protesting, sluggish thud, and then swallowed hard before throwing aside the bed curtains and finding himself near blinded by the sunlight streaming through the uncovered window. Cursing fiendishly, he narrowed his eyes, hurriedly tugged on his clothes and grabbed up his robes before racing out of the dorm into the dungeons.
Draco could hear Ginny's anguished scream thundering, echoing still in his overly sensitive ears, and though his first instinct when he'd woken had been to get to her to protect her, (and god help whoever had dared lay a hand on her) now he merely wanted to get to her before she let out another of those awful, brain rattling screeches.
He made it up to the hospital wing in record time, and couldn't help the snarl of impatience on his face as he entered through the doors, still dragging on his black school robes.
She was sitting up in her bed, sobbing uncontrollably, that cow Pomfrey and her mother trying desperately to console her.
"What are you whining about now?" He growled as he approached, knowing his flowing black robes and his fierce pale eyes and skin probably made him look as a winged creature come to lay waste and devour.
The two older women stared, startled by his sudden appearance, and then made as if to scold him and send him on his way – but with one annoyed, intolerant glance they were easily silenced.
Ginny, her face in her hands, didn't even bother to look up.
"Will you cease that bloody pointless bawling? It's making my ears throb," he bit out at her fiercely, his slender fangs snapping together, and then turned a black, squinting frown on the too bright room. "Hell, its no wonder you're crying – what are they trying to do, permanently blind you?" He went around pulling drapes and then turned back to her.
The tiny red-head only shuddered, shaking herself as if she were trying to clear her head.
Draco crossed his arms, and regarded her in disgust. "I'll truly pity the world if you ever do become immortal – everyone will be haunted for eternity by a bloody worthless, howling vampire." He smirked thoughtfully, raising a thumb to brush his chin. "Maybe that's what I should call you – Weeping Weasley. You can always take up residence with Moaning Myrtle in her bathroom – spend your time scaring the first years."
The girl's breathing became less tortured, and finally she flung her head back and looked at him, her white face wet with tears, her honey-brown irises tinted with an unnatural red-gold.
"Thank you for reminding me that you're not worth crying over," she told him softly in an unsteady voice.
"Oh? Was that what all that noise was about? Did I give you nightmares? Well. That's hardly flattering." His pale eyes watched her intently, and he absently slipped the tip of his thumb through his lips, and gnawed on it with one sharp white fang.
"I dreamt…I killed you," Ginny whispered in a distant, shaky tone, her eyes widening in memory.
"Is that all?" Draco sighed disinterestedly, dropping his arms. "Half the people in this school dream of killing me, Weasley, I'm sure." He arched his brows arrogantly. "It doesn't mean any of them – or you – ever could."
She stared up at him as if he were completely insane, and then took a quivering breath, closing her red-rimmed eyes tiredly, as if she were struggling against sleep.
"I've seen more fortitude in flesh-eating slugs, honestly. You know, you're going to have to get used to feeling weak during the day," he said, impassively observing the dark shadows on the fragile skin beneath her eyes. "If you don't want people becoming suspicious, that is. I don't think even Professor Snape could pull off another school-wide forgetfulness draught."
Ginny opened her eyes again, and made a slow attempt to slide from the bed – her knees buckled, and Draco caught her before she could fall, even though he had been standing a good ten feet away. "W-what did you do to them?"
He looked over at her mother and Pomfrey still standing near, faces blank and silent, and smirked. "They're fine. Just under a bit of a compulsion. They won't remember I was here. It's too bad, really, that they'll be able to wag their tongues again in a few minutes." He wriggled his fingers at her mockingly. "The quiet is an improvement if you ask me."
"Oh, god…I can't believe this is happening to me," she whispered tearfully, her small hands clinging to the front of his robes.
"Leave off, brat. Stop that whining – do you think I sit around all day and feel sorry for myself?"
Ginny sniffed, cutting her eerie colored eyes at him. "I don't know," she finally said thoughtfully. "Probably. Only you show it in different ways. Like antagonizing poor Harry and Ron…and Neville."
Draco snorted. "My treatment of Potter, your thick sibling, and that fat ass Longbottom, has nothing to do with feelings of self-pity. Potter's a pest, your brother's a useless tag-a-long, and Longbottom – well, he's the weak sort predators are just attracted to, whether they be killers, or school bullies. They're all three going to meet the same sticky end one day, mark my words."
"Sounds like your 'daddy' talking," Ginny told him, her lips drawing back from her fangs in utter contempt.
Draco only shrugged, his expression cool and unconcerned. "There are worse people to be compared to – like that tattered, do-gooder father of yours, for instance."
He caught her clawed hands just as they were reaching toward his exposed throat.
"Tsk-tsk, little weasel. You're going to have to learn some bloody self-control," he detached himself from her and the straightened his robes in exasperation. "Your eyes are going to give you away if you can't get a hold of yourself, Weasley. That's why you have to be extremely cautious around the teachers. They're more experienced than the brainless clods they like to call their students. They get one look at your eyes in that state and they'll know exactly what's happened to you."
She bowed her head, and then suddenly became fascinated with the sharp length of her fingernails, the too-smooth white skin on the backs of her hands.
"Everything's changed," she breathed, reaching up to run her hands through her glossy curls. "Everything!"
"You never lose that talent of yours for stating the obvious, do you?" He made the mistake of looking at her too closely, and felt his bloodlust rear it's ugly head again. Draco pressed his lips together, stamping down the urge, and then snapped his fingers rudely beneath her nose. "All right - pay attention, weasel. I have some things I may as well pass along to you while I'm here." Ginny looked up at him blankly, her eyes clouded. He sighed with disapproval, and took her chin into his fingers, lowering his voice to that even, kind, almost gentle tone that his prey couldn't help but answer to, of a hunting night.
"Look into my eyes, Gin." He pointed. "Here. Yes, good. Are you listening?"
She gave a tiny nod, her attention completely focused on him. Draco shook his head, disgust rising. Merlin, she was so bloody weak. He didn't know why he was even bothering. She wouldn't make it through the first week – they'd both be completely undead before Halloween, even…though he'd have the perfect excuse for not having that three foot assignment Snape was expecting.
"Fine then," he snapped, angry with himself for allowing his thoughts to stray, "first thing – the next few days you'll need to feed, and often. Otherwise it'll be impossible for you to even try to control yourself. The sun won't harm you, no matter what your instinct tries to tell you, but it'll make you feel the need to claw out your bloody eyes at times, especially when you're at flying lessons. You won't feel the need to eat solid food, but I'd advise you to, since it'll help keep your bloodlust to a minimum."
"The best advice I can give you right now is to stay detached. From everything. That means you straighten your head out, look your mother and Pomfrey right in the eye, and tell them you're fine. The most important thing is to get out of the hospital wing, away from scrutiny. Keep your mouth shut and your head low – got it?"
"Wonderful – now get the hell away from me," he said through gritted teeth, as he caught sight of her pulse beating in the delicate blue vein at her throat. Draco hastily set her away from him with a less than gentle shove, and turned, making a show of brushing his hands on his robes scornfully. His fangs began to throb, and he fell back on that old, reliable way of distracting himself. Insulting others.
"I don't care what that mudblood Granger says – I'm not baby-sitting you. Come to me if you must when you need to feed, otherwise, stay out of my way."
"I don't need anything more from you, Malfoy! You've done just enough already!" Ginny announced shakily.
He paused and then turned back on her with a slow, mocking bow. "Oh, it was my pleasure, believe me." His eyes flickered over her despite himself before he spun around again. "One more word of advice, Weasley, and I won't even charge you for it – if you know what's good for you, you'll stay out of Hogsmeade, and avoid the forbidden forest at all costs. There are even worse things than me hunting about out there at night."
"Somehow I find that hard to believe!"
"Pray you never have to find out," Draco muttered darkly as he pushed through the doors.
Though she unintentionally fell back into her deep slumber for an alarming amount of time after he left, Ginny finally did as Draco had told her, though it irked her to no end, and found herself quickly discharged from the hospital wing with an almost unflattering haste. Her mum and the rest of her family seemed to disappear as if they couldn't quite remember why they were there, and she found herself alone, standing outside the entrance to Gryffindor tower, all this just before dusk.
She gave the password, and entered the common room, which was quite deserted. Standing about, not quite sure what to do with herself, she decided to go up to her dorm and have a bath. Maybe it would prove to be somewhat soothing.
Malfoy had been right after all, about the sunlight. On the way up to the tower, she'd come across a landing with a narrow slit of a window pouring in light from outside. With everything in her she'd wanted to hide, and she must have stood there for a good ten minutes before holding her trembling hand out to the bright warmth, and feeling nothing but a slight prickle of awareness along her skin.
Just the knowledge that it was daylight was making her skin fairly crawl, however. All she wanted to do was find a cool, dark place to lie down and sleep – but she couldn't give in to the urge. She had to go about doing things as usual as possible, to retain some sense of normality, since, unfortunately, her 'problem' wasn't likely to just go away.
After her bath, Ginny stood wrapped in a towel before the bank of mirrors on the wall in the bathroom. She eyed the foggy surface with some misgivings, hesitant to look on her face and see the changes present. Finally she wiped the mirror dry, and stared into her own face with awe.
The freckles were gone. Completely gone, as if they'd never been!
The skin on her face was pale, smooth and unblemished – and not a shred of pink remained in her cheeks. The only color present at the moment was the deep, soft red of her lips, and the odd, silvery, iridescent sheen that seemed to have been cast lightly over the velvety golden-brown of her eyes.
She spent long minutes studying it, turning her head this way and that, as she discovered how it faded and brightened as it caught the light, glinting almost like a newly minted coin.
Her hair, well, it didn't have a hint of fuzziness about it now, and the color had deepened somewhat, become glossier and silky.
Ginny gaped at herself in disbelief, and swallowed hard. If it weren't for the fact that she'd become a blood-sucking fiend she'd probably have been jumping for joy!
She couldn't quite bring herself to look upon her teeth just yet, but at the moment, thankfully, aside from being a bit pointier, they seemed to be of a normal length.
Down in the common room, she heard voices, and she pulled her attention from the sight in the mirror to go and dress.
"What the devil do you mean by coming down here, girl?"
Inwardly cringing, Ginny dared a glance upward at her glaring potions professor. "I-I didn't know what to do. I-I thought maybe I could help Hermione…"
"You'll do nothing of the sort. I'm very sure, Miss Weasley, that what you know about vampires could probably fill a thimble. So you should know now that working in close quarters with others is going to become a rather difficult task for you. You shouldn't attempt it with only yourself and one other present, I'm certain you'll understand. You can lay the blame for that on your sibling and Potter's shoulders – they were supposed to be here over an hour ago.
Two half-vampires roaming the grounds is quite enough, and though it is sufficiently perceivable that leaving you alone with Miss Granger at this point may not prove to be a complete disaster, it quite honestly wouldn't be a terribly wise plan. I suggest you remove yourself to a place devoid of temptation and let us get on with the 'joyous' task of researching a cure."
The door to the potions classroom slammed, and Ginny stood staring at it in lonely disbelief before it was suddenly yanked open again, and the tall, shadowy figure of Snape stood there again, thrusting a large glass vial of clear liquid at her. She accepted it dumbly.
"One teaspoon, and one teaspoon only, daily," he told her impatiently. "Dilute it into your pumpkin juice. Any more than that and you'll end up poisoning yourself. Now go on before someone sees you – it'll look more than a bit conspicuous if you're seen in the dungeons on a Saturday."
The door thudded shut again, leaving Ginny alone in the silent corridor, feeling more angry, hopeless, lost and scared, than she'd ever felt in her entire life. It figured that Severus Snape would still make her knees knock together, even after she'd practically turned into a frigging vampire…she was almost frustrated enough to go right through that bloody door he was so fond of slamming and bite him!
She probably would have if, on second thought, she hadn't reckoned his blood was probably black and tasted oily…
Ginny sighed, and turned away. If things were this bad on a weekend, she could only imagine what it'd be like during the week with regular lessons going on.
"Developed a fondness for Snape, have you now?"
The low, soft voice entwined itself around her senses, making her feel as if she surrounded by suffocating lengths of heavy, dark velvet on all sides.
"Leave me alone, Malfoy," she answered back tiredly. She couldn't see him, but she knew right where he was. "I was trying to help."
The tall blonde stepped out of the shadows of an alcove nearby, looking too perfect, too calm and cool to be made of flesh and blood.
"He gave you the potion?"
"Yes…what's it for?" Ginny wrapped a hand around the smooth bottle she'd slipped into her robe pocket. She'd thought it might be poison – she wouldn't put it past the greasy old git.
"It will help with the - symptoms – for a while. Maybe even a few years, if you're lucky."
"D-do you take it?"
It seemed he took a long time in answering. "I could – but there's little enough reason to bother, now," he said at last. "Its usefulness ran out for me a while ago."
"Oh." Reflexively she found herself reaching up to touch her neck, feeling for the wounds that seemed to have disappeared along with a goodly bit of her humanity. "Well, obviously – or I wouldn't be standing here dead right now."
"Undead – how many times do I have to correct you on this, Weasley? And you're not even truly that, yet. I swear you're nearly as thick as that brother of yours."
Ginny gasped as he moved forward and grabbed her hand, raising it to lie flat against her own chest.
"Feel that?" he asked coolly, pressing against the back of her hand with his. "Your heart is still beating – you can start worrying about being dead when you can't feel it anymore." He dropped his hand, but he remained close, standing above her with his fair head bent over hers in the dim light. "Of course, by then, you won't care – too busy ripping open some hapless fool's throat, I expect."
Feeling her stomach lurch, Ginny reached up to push him away. "Haven't you got anything better to do than torture me?"
"Oh, I haven't been torturing you, Gin," his voice dropped to a throaty purr as he arched his brows at her challengingly. "But I can certainly start, if you want me to."
"No!" She stepped back, knees trembling. "Sweet Merlin, you're evil!"
"I'm not evil," Draco replied, sounding unconcerned. "People just think I am because I'm not afraid to speak my mind."
"Or hex people behind their backs, or call Hermione dirty, hateful names, or snicker whenever someone gets hurt or nearly murdered – "
"Fine. Maybe just a 'little' evil, then." He tilted his head slightly and smirked at her.
"Oh, go away."
"I think you're forgetting just whose dungeon you're wandering about in, little Gryffindor."
"I-I don't think I want to go backup there, just yet…it feels better, down here." There was something she never thought she'd say. The dimly lit, narrow corridors of the dungeons had always given her the creeps.
"Right – now I have to put up with you intruding on my territory at all hours, because you think it's comfortable. You'll doubtless be moping around the halls, sniveling how wrong it is, having to skulk about, biting people, and feeling guilty into the bargain."
"While you, on the other hand, don't give it a second thought, I'm sure."
"Guilt is a disease. I don't see any reason to give in to it. But, believe it or not, I have, regrettably, fallen victim to it - on occasion."
"Oh – and was the world ending?" Ginny attempted to sound scornful, but it was a weak attempt. It had been hours since she'd last…er…eaten, and she was starting to feel her ever-present hunger strengthen. Even more so, since she was in the presence of Draco Malfoy, who seemed to have a devastating effect on her self-discipline. She pressed a hand to her forehead, suddenly feeling slightly ill.
"What's wrong, Gin? Feeling a bit…peckish?"
"Get away from me," she snapped, backing up – but he was already stepping near.
"You know what you want from me."
She shuddered, feeling her fangs make an appearance as she fought her aggravation with him helplessly. "No. Stop it, Malfoy, go away." Saliva flooded her mouth, and she reflexively swallowed, turning away, eyes flickering about in panic.
"For Merlin's sake, Ginny, you know you want it. I don't fancy having to coax you along every bloody time you need to feed – just take it and be done with it. I have better things to do than waste my time."
"I said, no!" She hissed, whirling back on him – that was a mistake.
Draco cursed. "Damn it, I don't know whether to kiss you or hit you until you bleed," he snarled beneath his breath.
His head was down, and he working on the cuff of his shirt, leaving one entire side of his smooth throat exposed and vulnerable to her heated gaze. "Try either and I'll rip your rocks off – providing you have any," she growled back, trying to tear her eyes away, oblivious to the fact that she was suddenly acting completely out of character. Her eyes homed in on the pulse beating strongly beneath his skin, just below his ear, and the baby soft white-blond hair that curled against it. She stared at it, both fascinated, and horrified.
Her mouth suddenly felt dry, as her eyes fastened on that bare skin – the sleek muscles beneath flowing down beneath his pristine white collar…she longed to taste that spot, just that one…
"Careful, I might just show you, Weasel." When he looked up at her again, his pale, wintry eyes widened the slightest bit at her expression, and she tried to tell him she'd warned him, but then it was too late, and she felt her fangs sink into the throbbing vein in his neck.
She'd bit him, that bloody little bitch!
Draco, knowing that her drinking blood from his jugular was far too intimate, far too risky, tried to push her away in that first, shocked instant after he felt the fiery pain, but she wouldn't be budged. In fact, even after he dug his hands into ther hair and tugged hard, she only growled against his skin and pushed him into the stone wall of the corridor.
A wave of dizziness passed over him, and he had to close his eyes against it. He was feeling the pain at his throat retreat, and that was a dangerous sign indeed…he heard his heart pounding in his ears, and after long minutes, it seemed to falter, weakened…
The pounding beat in his head warred with his sense of hearing. He heard the voice as if from far away, felt the girl holding him stiffen, felt her fangs retract, as if she'd finally realized what she'd been doing.
"Draco – oh my god!"
He took a deep breath, fighting to stay upright, lifting his heavy lids to see Potter and her brother rushing towards them…and then everything went black.
Potter's specs were crooked – and he had a length of white gauze wound around his wrist, which he was clutching tightly.
It was the first thing he saw when he came to, lying on a damned uncomfortable desk top in the Potions classroom.
He knew before anyone had said a single word, he'd had a taste of the boy-who-lived.
"What the hell were you thinking, Potter?" Draco instantly sat up, dragging an arm across his lips as if to wipe something foul away. He fought the urge to go and boil his tongue – Potter's blood had a Gryffindor-ish, noble flavor that he found didn't suit his palate at all.
"He didn't do it for you, Malfoy, he did it for Ginny." Hermione was saying from nearby.
"Beginning to sound repetitive, Granger." Draco looked around, swinging his legs over the edge of the desk. He pressed a hand to his aching neck. "Where is she?"
"She ran off – thought she'd killed you, I expect."
"And you just let her go?" He forced himself to stand, though he still felt weak. "I'm surrounded by idiots," he hissed.
"What's your problem? Ron and Snape have gone after her – she'll be fine – "
"Potter, you fool! They're probably in bloody ribbons by now – especially if they've left the castle grounds!"
"What are you talking about?" Granger looked up from her books, looking frazzled and worn. "She's only just fed – she won't be that dangerous – "
"For being Head Girl, you aren't very smart, Granger. Of course she's dangerous – but she's not the one I'm worried about doing the attacking." He made for the door, his head still swimming, making him feel nauseous.
"Where are you going, Malfoy? What's going on?"
"Clueless as usual," Draco spat. "I'm not surprised. Sorry, I don't have time to fill you in, Potter."
The early evening breeze was soothing against her heated cheeks.
Ginny finally paused in her flight of the castle, and looked up at the moon - it was nearly hypnotic in it's pale, serene beauty. The clouds swirled across the bright orb like black dust.
A snapping sound from behind her brought her attention back to the earth, and she tensed, recognizing with panic that she hadn't even realized she'd stupidly run straight into the forbidden forest.
As she turned instinctively to look for the noise, something moved in the corner of her eye, again from behind her, and she snapped back around, fear nearly taking her over as she recalled Malfoy's earlier words.
"There are worse things than me hunting about out there..."
"You should use better caution, ma petite belle – there are dangerous…creatures about."
Ginny took one look at the thing standing before her and screamed.
For once Draco had been telling the truth.
Before Draco could move very far he found himself staring down the business end of Harry's wand.
"Now is not the time to decide you've finally grown a pair and challenge me to a duel, Potter!" he said in pure frustration.
Green eyes met his steadily, and Harry's hand tightened with intent around his wand. "Explain now, or I'll kill you, Ginny or no." he said stonily.
"Aside from the fact that in reality, you'd probably attempt to gnaw off your own hand at the wrist rather than do anything that might even remotely hurt her, Potter, and your incredibly lame attempt at acting tough, I'll settle for giving you the short version of it, just to get you the hell out of my way.
There's another – the one who made me, living in the forest. He's already gotten wind of her, and he's feeling a trifle lonely," Draco smiled malevolently as had the satisfaction of seeing the other boy's face go white. "If she gets anywhere near the forest, you can be sure it's over – for both of us. Now move your ass before I get really aggravated and you're left with a hell of a lot more than two bloody tiny punctures in your wrist!"
"I'm coming with you." Harry announced determinedly, jaw clenched.
Draco turned away with a mean, disbelieving laugh. "Oh, now this should fun.
Maybe along the way, I should fill you in on a few things about vampires our dearly departed Professor Quirrell neglected to mention in our first year D.A.D.A. classes, Potter…"
"They don't turn into bats – crosses don't work. Garlic? You stand there with garlic around your neck, one of these buggers will bend you over and take a walk up your strada cioccolata while he's suckin' the blood outta' your neck. They don't sleep in coffins lined in taffeta. You wanna' kill one, you drive a stake right through it's fuckin' heart. Sunlight turns 'em into crispy critters. You got it?" ~ Jack Crow, John Carpenter's Vampires ~
( Next: Gee, you can't at all guess, can you. Yes, that was sarcasm. Apologies if it was lame. ::wince:: Anyway…hints for next chappy…
"Blood!" said Varney, and she saw his hideous, fang-like teeth. "Blood, the vampyre's motto. I have asked you to love me, and you will not -- the penalty be yours." ~ Varney The Vampyre, Preskett Prest, 1847
"Come to me now, or I'll kill anyone who ever meant anything to you, kill them off one by one. I'll kill them all, and then you will have to no place left to go…but to me."
Muwahaha. Hahahaha. Ha. Evil, evil. ^_~ My evil twin wrote this, so if it sucks, blame it on her…)