Author: Artemis Luna Diana
Rating: R (eventual NC-17)
Disclaimer: I own not a thing.
Summary: Thrust into the distant past and turned into a vampire against his will, Harry struggles to understand what he has become and tries to fill his one desire: to get home.
THIS STORY CONTAINS ELEMENTS OF SLASH!!!!
IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH THAT OR WITH THIS PARTICULAR PAIRING… LEAVE NOW!!!!
Thanks to: Kes and Shadow for the excellent betas.
Chapter Seven: Falling Blood
"He's waking up," Poppy said and hurried to Harry's bedside. "Come on, Mr. Potter, open your eyes."
Harry moaned. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. "Oh Goddess," he gasped. "Something's wrong!"
The anguish in his voice was unmistakable. Dumbledore quickly approached the bed. He grasped Harry's hand. "Can you tell us what happened?"
"Where is she?!" Harry cried. His whole body seized as his mind tried to find the bond that had been closed off. Unable to prevent it, he loosed a scream of agony. "Yui!"
"What's happening?" Dumbledore demanded.
"I don't know!" Poppy yelled. In her mind, though, she trembled. Never had she seen anything more terrifying than the Rector Lamia screaming in pain and loss. Her eyes landed on the magically contained snake that was her leader's familiar. "The snake!" she cried, and rushed to release it from the containment field Dumbledore had built.
The hospital wing echoed with silence as the screaming abruptly stopped.
"Yui…" Harry hissed softly, his throat unable to handle a louder tone. His voice was heavy with relief and suppressed tears. His hand reached out in her direction.
"Harry?" Yui whimpered. "It hurts…." She tried to get to him but couldn't seem to move without causing herself more pain.
"Yui…" he sobbed. Every movement caused more agony to his tortured mind and body.
"Poppy, what has happened to him?" Dumbledore demanded.
Poppy glared at the headmaster. "I don't know! I told you that it would be unwise to bind the snake when we didn't know how it would affect Mr. Potter." She carefully picked up the snake, wary of it biting her in its pain. She carried it over to Harry's bed and set it down on his chest. "Suffice to say that I can tell you they are magically connected somehow and separating them is only torture to both."
The tension eased from both Harry and Yui, and they fell into an exhausted slumber. Poppy rubbed her right temple as the ache of Harry's pain began to fade. She could only imagine what those who were in more frequent contact with Harry's mind had felt. 'High Priestess Rachael has probably passed out,' she realized. She sent a prayer to the Goddess that the priestess was not alone when she collapsed.
"What has Voldemort done?" Dumbledore breathed.
Poppy could barely keep from rolling her eyes. Never had the Headmaster irritated her more. "It is possible that he has nothing to do with this. We've had nearly every professor in here scanning for dark magic and haven't found a trace of it."
"Voldemort is cunning, Poppy. Don't forget."
"Yes, Albus, I know. I also know, however, that he is not responsible for everything that happens to this boy!" Poppy took a deep breath. It would be wise to get her temper under control or else Dumbledore might become suspicious of her. She was unprepared for the reality of the Rector Lamia's safety being in her care. She could not fail him now. "I apologize, Albus, for losing my temper. It appears Mr. Potter's condition has stressed me more than I realized." She gave the Headmaster a half-smile. "I still have more tests to run."
"It's alright, Poppy. I know you're doing everything you can."
"I demand to know what is going on!"
Harry woke to the sound of a shrill voice screaming in the next room. He slowly sat up, stroking Yui to calm her. He met Poppy's worried gaze.
'I'll be fine. Quickly, what happened?'
'Your spell knocked you both unconscious. Dumbledore, Snape, and I found you and brought you here. Your magic reserves were so low that Dumbledore was able to bind Yui.'
'That was the pain we felt.'
'Yes. I'm sorry, Sire. I couldn't think of a valid reason to prevent him from doing it.'
'It's fine, Poppy. Who is out there?'
'It's Dumbledore and that Umbridge woman.'
'Wonderful.' Harry said sarcastically. 'Well, you might as well tell them I'm awake.'
Harry readjusted his position in the bed for maximum comfort. Yui coiled herself around his arm. "How do you feel, love?"
Harry frowned unhappily. It had been awhile since he'd felt so upset. But then, no one had ever tried to harm Yui before. She was such a large part of him. It was almost beyond his grasp to understand how much her binding had affected him.
Dumbledore and Umbridge walked in behind Poppy.
Before Dumbledore could speak, Umbridge jumped in. "How dare you?! Entering the Forbidden Forest and casting magic on yourself in an attempt to get attention! How low will you descend, Mr. Potter?!"
"Madame! Restrain yourself!" Dumbledore grabbed his employee before she could attack her student.
"What is that?!" Umbridge cried, horrified. She had just noticed the four-foot snake wrapped around Harry.
"It's a snake," Harry replied dryly. "A Natrix natrix to be specific." At the uncomprehending look on Dumbledore's face, Harry elaborated. "She's a grass snake. Neither venomous nor aggressive. She eats frogs, toads, newts, and small fish. Her name is Yui."
"Is she safe?" Dumbledore asked.
"If you mean, was she sent by Voldemort, the answer is no."
"Voldemort again! You lying boy!"
"Madam, that is enough. Kindly remove yourself from this infirmary," Dumbledore ordered sternly.
"The Minister will hear of this!" she snarled as she stalked out.
'But he will be quite unable to do anything about it,' Harry smirked inwardly, turning his attention to the Headmaster.
Dumbledore gave Poppy a look and the medi-witch-vampire entered her office, leaving the two to talk in peace. Dumbledore approached the bed. "What happened, Harry? Why were you in the Forbidden Forest?"
"I thought I heard people talking," he replied honestly, remembering what had drawn his younger self to the forest. "But when I went in, there was no one there. I don't remember what happened after that."
Dumbledore frowned. "What about the snake?"
"I don't know. I… she's special. She… completes me. She's my other half," Harry said haltingly, not having to fake his attachment to his familiar. He gently caressed Yui, hissing soothingly to her. "I can feel her… inside of me."
Dumbledore seemed almost angry, his expression dark. The Headmaster was not happy with Harry's apparent infatuation. "Harry, these things you're feeling were probably caused by Voldemort. Those voices you heard were most likely Death Eaters. Harry, try to remember what happened. How did they bind this snake to you?"
"There was no one there," Harry replied distractedly, his attention focused on comforting Yui.
"You just said you heard voices."
"But there was no one there, only her."
Dumbledore watched them for a moment before leaving the room.
Harry glanced up, watching him leave. A smirk crossed his face, before he returned his attention to Yui. "I think he bought it."
"At least one thing is going right then. How was he able to come between us?"
"Poppy said our magic levels were extremely low. I get the feeling we were lucky we didn't burn out."
"So no more throwing people around in time?"
Harry smiled. "I don't fancy the idea of casting that spell again. It was a doozy." He stretched a bit. "My muscles are sore and stiff. I'm not sure if that's from the time-spell or the binding."
"I hurt," Yui said mournfully.
"My poor baby," Harry soothed, smiling.
"Don't tease me," Yui replied seriously. "I don't feel well."
Harry sobered at her statement. "Hush, love. Don't talk anymore. Get some sleep."
"I don't like the Headmaster," she said sleepily.
"At the moment, neither do I. Sleep, now."'Poppy?' he called mentally, letting the medi-vamp know it was fine to return.
Poppy came back into the infirmary. "Well, the best thing for you now, is some sleep, Mr. Potter."
Harry smiled slightly. 'Keep an eye out and don't hesitate to wake me if something happens.'
'Of course, Sire.' Poppy handed him a vial of Dreamless Sleep. "Drink this."
'Has Flitwick figured it out yet?' Harry drank the vial and handed it back to her.
'No, but he'll think of it soon. He's already begun looking at ancient animal binding spells. It shouldn't be too long.'
'Good work,' Harry's mental voice was thick with the potion-induced sleepiness.
'Sleep well, Sire.' Poppy adjusted Harry's position in the bed so he'd be more comfortable, then tucked in the two sleeping figures.
"What could Voldemort hope to gain by binding Harry to this snake?" Dumbledore asked. "Did you know about this, Severus?"
Before Snape could respond, Professors McGonagall and Flitwick entered the Headmaster's office. McGonagall was clutching a book tightly to her chest. "We think we might know what happened," the Charms Professor said, barely able to control his excitement.
"How did Harry behave towards the snake?" McGonagall asked.
"He seemed infatuated with it."
McGonagall looked pleased by Dumbledore's statement.
"Well?" Snape snapped impatiently.
"It might be a familiar bond!" Flitwick jumped excitedly. "If Mr. Potter can remember what happened to him, he might be able to unlock the secret of the ancient binding spells!"
"No one has been able to form a familiar bond in over a millennia, and you're telling me that Potter somehow just stumbled into one?"
Dumbledore's eyes began to twinkle with a mixture of relief and pleasure. "Is there any way to test this?"
"Yes! There are a couple of different spells as well as a potion. We can try whichever one you want." Flitwick was stilling bouncing in excitement.
"We should use them all," Dumbledore replied. "Just to make sure. Severus---"
The Potions Master cut him off. "Give me the recipe."
McGonagall handed over the book, and Snape stalked from the room.
Harry woke, but did not open his eyes as he felt a gentle brush on his mind.
'Nakishia, what is it?'
'Umbridge has submitted a proposal for Educational Decree Number Twenty-Five: students are no longer allowed to keep any animals at Hogwarts without the express approval of the High Inquisitor.'
'She is trying to separate me from Yui. Has it passed yet?'
'No. The Minister hasn't seen it.'
'Then we should begin enacting our plans before they have the opportunity to cause more problems.' Harry said firmly. 'I want Fudge out of there as soon as possible.'
Nakishia Kibaki, Undersecretary to the British Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge, gathered up the proposed educational decree and the Minister's other mail. As she walked to the Minister's office, she cast a complex portkey charm on one of them, through the use of her familiar magic. Those passing by her, suspected nothing.
"Ms. Kibaki," Fudge said, pleased to see her. "Any news from Ms. Umbridge?"
"Yes, sir. She has sent another proposal for an educational decree."
"Good! I'm sure she's taking things well in hand."
"Well?" Fudge said after a moment and held out his hand for the letters.
"Oh! Sorry, sir." Kibaki blushed. "One letter from Ms. Amelia Bones with a status report from the Department of Law Enforcement; two letters from the Daily Prophet requesting interviews, and one more from Mr. Xavier Nott, which I did not open." She handed over the letters.
"Well, let's see what he says," he replied, accepting the bundle. In that very instant, Fudge disappeared.
Kibaki screamed. She continued to scream as various witches and wizards burst into the office. They quickly gave up trying to calm her down and simply stunned her until someone could get a calming draught.
It wasn't too long after his contact with Kibaki ended that Harry felt another touch to his mind.
'Harry, Fudge has been captured.'
'Excellent, Rachael. You and Jason begin the questioning. Have Mikhail monitor him. I want as much information as possible from him. Keep me informed.'
'As you wish,' Rachael replied and ended the contact.
"You've got to be fucking kidding me? Not one Imperious Curse? He's just a total fucking moron?"
"Jason, watch your language."
When Fudge came to, he found himself strapped to a chair while three people stared at him. "Who are you?" he demanded
"He's alert. Mikhail, administer the Veritaserum," the woman said calmly.
"You can't do that! I'm the Minister of Magic! Unhand me this instant!"
"And hurry up; he's damn annoying," one of the men added.
The other man, Mikhail, who was somewhat older looking than Jason, approached the Minister with a dropper full of liquid. Fudge closed his mouth tightly.
"The fun way then," Mikhail mocked and pinched the Minister's nose.
When Fudge was finally forced to open his mouth to draw a breath, Mikhail dosed him with the truth serum and then rubbed his throat forcing him to swallow. After a minute, Mikhail began checking the Minister's vitals. Satisfied that Fudge was reacting within norms, he okayed the interrogation to begin.
"My name is Rachael. You're going to answer all my questions, aren't you?"
"Good. What is your name?"
"What is your position in the Ministry of Magic?"
"Minister of Magic."
"Headmaster, I believe we can begin with the first test," Flitwick said. "The spell requires a great deal of power and concentration. Since Minerva is more powerful, I have asked her to attempt the casting in my stead. She is as ready as I can make her, in the short amount of time that we've had."
"I understand. Let's proceed." Dumbledore replied.
"She's waiting for us in the hospital wing." Flitwick said as they left Dumbledore's office.
Harry lay awake, pondering when Dumbledore and his colleagues would return. It had been three hours since Harry's behavior had so distressed the Headmaster. Idly, he wondered when the Headmaster would receive knowledge of the Minster's kidnapping, and if that was the reason why Dumbledore had yet to appear. He glanced up as he heard the doors to the infirmary open.
A quick glance confirmed that Yui was still sleeping, and his teeth clenched momentarily as the cause of her pain entered the room. He quickly got himself under control and calmly greeted the headmaster. He gave a small smile to his two professors, and did not comment on the fact that McGonagall had been outside the infirmary for the past fifteen minutes.
"Harry, we want to do a spell on you and your snake," Dumbledore began.
"Her name's Yui." Harry interrupted, taking slight offence from the headmaster's refusal to call his familiar by her name.
"Right. Yui. May we perform the spell?"
"It won't hurt her will it?"
"No, there should be no pain involved for either you or Yui," Flitwick said reassuringly.
"Alright. If you promise you won't hurt her, then ok."
"I promise, Harry. I'm going to do my best so that neither one of you will be hurt." McGonagall said firmly.
Harry nodded. "Yui wake up."
Yui woke as Harry quickly apprised her of the situation. She watched McGonagall warily as the professor began the incantation to try and determine the nature of the bond between Harry and herself.
Both Harry and Yui felt the spell's incursion along their bond. Their instinctive reaction was to force the invader away from them. The pair struggled for a moment to restrain that impulse, allowing the probe to continue for as long as possible before forcefully expelling it from their bond.
Harry opened his eyes, unsure of when he had actually closed them, and focused on McGonagall. She looked incredibly weary and drained. She turned to Dumbledore and nodded.
"It's true?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes," she replied.
"What's true?" Harry asked.
Amelia Bones exited the Minister's office and nearly bumped into David "Flash" Siegel, one of the Ministry's top aurors, as well as her 2IC. She pulled him into Umbridge's office and closed the door. "What were you able to find out from Ms. Kibaki?"
"The Minister was definitely kidnapped through a portkey."
"That shouldn't be possible. The wards around the Ministry should have prevented it."
"This was a very powerful, very precise portkey," Flash replied. "Ms. Kibaki handled it for at least ten minutes before she gave it to the Minister."
"Do we have any idea which letter was the portkey?" Amelia asked.
"No, we won't be able to figure that out until we find the letters."
"I can't even get a trace of transportative magic from Fudge's office. We'll need to bring in some equipment if we are to have any hope of finding him." Amelia paused. "Has anyone leaked it to the press yet?"
"No. The press don't know the truth. They believe that the Minister had a heart-attack or some other sudden health problem."
Amelia crossed her arms and leaned back on the wall near the door. "Any ransom demands?"
"We can't keep this a secret for long."
"Have you participated in or are you aware of any cover-ups of Voldemort or Death Eater activity?" Jason asked.
"Have you participated in or are you aware of any cover-ups of suspected Voldemort or Death Eater activity?" Rachael asked.
"We've been at this for three hours now, ma'am. We've found all we're going to find."
"Which is precisely nothing," Amelia snapped.
The room was silent a moment.
"Perhaps, we should make an announcement," Flash suggested. "Perhaps, someone from the general populace has seen something. We've gotten leads on kidnappings from citizens before," he reminded her.
"But we've never had such a high-profile political kidnapping. The only thing worse I can think of would be if it was Harry Potter missing!" Amelia crossed her arms and stared down at the floor in thought. "Gather the press," she said finally, giving in to the inevitable.
"The Minister has been kidnapped. Portkeyed straight from his office," Arthur Weasley said.
"Any witnesses?" Dumbledore asked.
"Nakishia Kibaki, one of the undersecretaries. Apparently, she handed the portkey to the Minister and promptly had a nervous breakdown when he disappeared." Arthur's image wavered briefly in the fire.
"None officially, and none unofficially. The aurors are clueless."
"Could Voldemort have done this?" Dumbledore asked, more to himself than to Arthur. "I must speak with Severus. Thank you for informing me, Arthur."
"I think we've gotten all we can from him," Rachael said.
"I agree," Mikhail said.
"Yeah, me too," Jason agreed. "Who wants the honors?"
"Oh, for love of the Goddess," Rachael groused and pulled a dagger from her belt. Efficiently, she slit the Minister's throat. "We'll wait for the blood to drain before moving him," she said, ignoring Fudge's dying gasps.
"We'll if you all don't need me anymore, I'll be off to the apothecary. I've students waiting on me," Mikhail informed them.
"Go on," Jason gestured towards the doorway. "And send a magvamp (1) in. We'll need to clean up the blood."
"Sure," the medi-vampire replied as he left.
"Where is Harry dumping the body?" Jason asked.
"He said the portkey will drop the body in the fountain in the Ministry building's main hall."
"Nice," Jason replied, impressed. "Are the letters set up?"
"Yes. Nakishia did it. We just have to plant them."
"Excuse me, First Healer Mikhail sent me," a voice said from the doorway. "How can I assist?"
"Clean up the blood, but make sure you leave no traces of your magic," Jason ordered.
Once the blood was gone, Rachael planted the letters and then set the portkey on top of Fudge's head. With a soft pop, the body disappeared.
"Well, that was fun," Jason remarked, briskly rubbing his hands together. "When's the next interrogation?"
Amelia Bones stared at the letters spread across the table. She didn't look up as Flash walked in.
"There were traces of Veritaserum in the Minister's blood… what little was left of it. Other than that, there was no evidence of magic. Fudge died from the cut to his throat." Flash hesitated and then finished his report. "The second portkey has vanished. I would say it was probably on a timer, but I don't think so. It seems to convenient that no one was touching it at the time."
Amelia flashed a self-mocking smile. "Somehow that doesn't surprise me. An intelligent portkey. I'm sure that both of them were."
"What about the letters? Which one is the portkey?" Flash prompted when Amelia did not offer the information immediately.
"I don't know. There are two possibilities left and it's impossible to figure out which one it was. It was either Nott's letter or Umbridge's letter." She turned and smiled a lackluster smile at her 2IC. "And I'm fairly certain that neither one of them created the portkey."
"What do you mean?"
"Think about it. The second portkey disappeared. Whoever created it, didn't want us to have it. However, they didn't care if we had the first one. Why?"
"The second one could be traced back to them. It was fresh, the first was old."
"But why risk giving us the first one? We might be able to discover something with some further testing. No. They want us to have the first portkey. It's a set-up. They want suspicion cast on Umbridge and Nott."
"Think about it. Umbridge is causing problems for a lot of people at Hogwarts, especially Harry Potter. Nott has been accused of being a Death Eater at least twice. With all of Potter's recent claims that You-Know-Who has returned, this takes care of two problems. One: it gets Umbridge out of Hogwarts, and two: brings up serious evidence that You-Know-Who might have returned."
"So the killer is someone who is trying to help Potter?"
"It's a theory, Flash. It's just too convenient for me to think that this is some random lunatic with a grudge against the Minister. Also, the portkeys are much too sophisticated. I've never seen anything like them. Have you?"
"No." Flash paused. "You are beginning to make a disturbing kind of sense. Should we be concerned for Potter's safety?"
"I think so. I think we could be looking at some kind of stalker. One who has no objection to killing anyone that stands in Potter's way."
"What about Nott and Umbridge?"
"We've no choice but to suspend both of them from their duties and place them under house-arrest. We don't have enough evidence to be granted a Veritaserum interview. Besides, if I'm right about this, we should give the killer what he wants for now. If we don't, he might decide to take more drastic measures."
"I've one more question about your theory."
"Because Fudge tried to expel Harry from Hogwarts and is a high-profile individual. The public won't stand for allowing suspected murderers to continue to hold public office, especially Umbridge, since she's currently at Hogwarts. Nott might be able to get out of house arrest, but Umbridge won't be able to."
"Should we go pick them up now?"
"Yes. You collect Umbridge. I'll get Nott."
Dumbledore walked into Snape's laboratory and waited for the Potions Master to acknowledge him.
"Has he been found?" Snape asked.
"Yes. He was portkeyed into the Ministry, dead, his throat cut."
Snape paused. "Fudge is dead?" he repeated. At Dumbledore's nod, he muttered, "Thank the Goddess for small miracles. So who did it?"
"There are no leads." Dumbledore paused meaningfully. "Could it have been Voldemort?"
"It doesn't really seem like his style," Snape said flippantly. He grew serious at Dumbledore's un-amused expression. "If it was him, he's made no mention of his plans to me. I expect there will be a meeting soon to discuss the Minister's death. I can't tell you anything else."
Dumbledore nodded, disturbed. "Keep me informed." He turned to go, and then stopped. "How is Mr. Potter's potion coming along?"
"It will be done tomorrow afternoon." Snape studied the Headmaster under lowered lids. "And the spells?"
"Say Mr. Potter is the proud owner of a familiar bond," Dumbledore said with a slight smile.
Snape waited until Dumbledore left before cursing a blue streak in four languages, rounding it off with a yelled "Bloody Potter!"
Flash and six aurors entered Hogwarts' castle with slight trepidation. They were quite aware of the attitude of the individual they were coming to collect. Dolores Umbridge was not well liked even at the Ministry. Although Flash was not looking forward to the scene that was sure to happen, he was hoping that she would get so out of hand that he'd be "forced" to stun her into submission.
Half an hour later a very pleased Flash was walking alongside an unconscious floating Delores while Hogwarts' staff and students looked on with glee.
McGonagall turned to Dumbledore and asked, "Who will replace Umbridge as the Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor?"
"I'm not sure at this point, but I must find someone; otherwise we will be sent another replacement from the Ministry."
"Can anyone tell me the top three pain-inflicting curses currently known?"
"Kaiou sensei, the most painful is known as the Cruciatus Curse. The second is the Mpishius Curse, and the third is the Memorius Curse."
"Yes, Yamamoto-san is correct. The Cruciatus Curse was created by the Anglo-Saxon wizard, Erik McGonagall in 423 A.D. with the intention of using it against his blood enemies, the Blacks. It is designed to stimulate the pain centers in the brain, with the intensity of the pain increasing as the spell continues. On average, this spell causes insanity in the victim, if applied for longer than twenty minutes without pause. The brain overloads and shuts down after prolonged exposure, resulting in death."
The white haired half-veela paused in his lecture to wait for his students to finish up this section of notes. After a few moments he began again. "The Mpishius Curse was created by an extinct South African tribe in 672 A.D. It was used for ritual killings, such as the assassinations of enemy leaders, sacrifices ordered by the tribe's shaman, and as punishment for violations of high tribal law. The spell slowly dissolves the internal organs until death; this usually takes about twenty hours. There is no way to cancel this spell." Kaiou smiled sardonically at the class. "So if you decide to use this spell, make sure you actually want the person dead."
The class broke out into laughter.
"Moving on. The Memorius Curse was created by Sylvia Skeeter in 1012 at the time of the Dark Lord Aberon's reign, with the intention of using it during interrogations. The spell utilizes information stored in the memory centers of the brain to make the victim relive every physical and emotional pain he or she has experienced so far in his or her life. The spell is designed to prevent the victim from dieing while under its influence. Depending upon the age and life experience of the victim, the spell can range from as painful as the Cruciatus Curse to the lesser pain of a broken bone. Despite its limitations, it was commonly used at the beginning of Aberon's reign by the forces of 'light'. For the victims who reacted intensely to the Memorius Curse, there were many aftereffects. Most common was death the instant the spell ended. To those that survived the cessation of the spell: paralysis, insanity, magic loss, or blindness were common. It was the harshness and the permanence of the spell's aftereffects that lead the Scottish wizard Salazar Slytherin and the Rector Lamia Harry to develop an accurate truth potion, which they named Veritaserum."
A brisk knock on the closed classroom door prevented the professor from continuing his lecture. "Come in."
Ito Keiko stood in the open doorway. "The Council has sent me to inform you that you have been activated."
Kaiou nodded briskly. "Class, you have been aware that I would be leaving this year for an undetermined length of time. It seems that today is that day. Ito sensei will be taking over your class. I expect you to treat her with respect and learn from her, as she is just as knowledgeable in this field as I am."
"Thank you Kazuo-chan, you flatter me," Ito said cheerfully.
"Don't get used to it."
The class snickered.
"Class dismissed. Be here tomorrow for Ito sensei's class."
The two professors waited for the class to exit before speaking again. "Can you tell me where you are going?"
"I figured as much. Be careful."
"I will. Does the Council wish to see me before I leave?"
"No, it's not necessary." Ito paused. "All of Shingu will miss you."
Kaiou grinned. "If you say so, my friend."
Kaiou Kazuo stepped off the plane with a weary sigh. The flight from Tokyo was long and he had heard horror stories about Heathrow Airport. Fifty minutes later, he exited the airport and took a cab to a nightclub called Lamia's Haven. As it was eleven A.M., the club was not open for business. However, a greeting in the old tongue to the doorman gained him admittance.
Lamia's Haven was a club created solely for the use of the vampire spies in the Muggle world. The Muggles believed it to be a club with a select membership, not realizing that no common human had ever been allowed to pass through the doors. The wizards believed it to be a simple Muggle establishment, despite its magic sounding name.
Kaiou was quickly taken to the manager of the nightclub and handed a portkey. He was told the portkey would take him to the Forbidden Forest, right on the edge of Hogwarts' grounds. Kaiou thanked the manager and vanished with a soft pop.
The half-veela glanced around to get his bearings and then headed straight for the school. He stepped in and immediately encountered a ghost.
"I've never seen you here before," the ghost exclaimed. "I am Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington. How may I help you?"
Kaiou greeted the ghost warmly and said, "Could you take me to Headmaster Dumbledore's office?"
"Yes, right this way."
Kaiou declined frowning slightly.
"Well then Mister …"
"Kazuo Kaiou of Shingu," he replied, giving his name the English way, with his family name last.
Dumbledore blinked. "Pardon me?"
"I represent the Shingu Council, who have been monitoring your situation. It has been determined that without outside aid, your forces will fall. This is unacceptable. I am here to offer our assistance. Do you accept?"
"How do I know that you're really from Shingu?" Dumbledore gaped in shock, saying the first thing that came to mind.
Kaiou was unfazed by the Headmaster's question. "There is nothing that I can say or do that will cause you to believe me, if you close your mind to the possibility. It was decided when you faced Grindelwald that you could handle the situation without our assistance; Voldemort is another matter, however. There have been prophecies about his coming since before Jesus of Nazareth was born. We have always known that we would become involved in this war. We have been waiting for the signs that confirmed Voldemort is who we suspected him to be. There is no doubt in our minds that he is the one we have been preparing for. We would prefer to work with you. Is this possible?"
Dumbledore was silent for a moment. "Would you be willing to take Veritaserum?"
"With the stipulation that your questions will not violate my trust. You may not ask me anything regarding Shingu's secrets, the Council, or about the races that founded the city. Do you understand?"
"Of course. Allow me to summon my Potions Master."
"Severus Snape, correct? I look forward to meeting him. His work is very well respected in Shingu."
After Dumbledore sent a house elf to fetch Snape, the two wizards engaged in small talk while they waited. By the time Snape arrived, they were in the midst of a rousing good argument about England's and Japan's chances at the World Cup.
"Ah, Severus, did you bring the Veritaserum?" At Snape's nod, Dumbledore continued. "Excellent. Please give Mr. Kaiou a dose."
Without appearing the least bit surprised at the unorthodox request, Snape dosed Dumbledore's visitor. He checked the man's vitals and then nodded to Dumbledore to proceed.
"What is your name?" Dumbledore asked.
"Where were you born?"
Snape gaped at the Japanese man as he realized what that meant. He glanced at Dumbledore as the headmaster continued to carefully question his guest. Dumbledore didn't know what this really signaled, what the appearance of Shingu's ambassador really meant. The vampires were returning.
Harry lay curled around Yui on the hospital bed. It was late at night, and he was preparing himself for the coming dawn. He was being released from the hospital wing in the morning. Dumbledore had tested their bond in every way possible - save the potion that Snape was still working on – and felt it all right for him to return to school.
He had spent the last fifteen years studying his younger self, reading his earliest journals, and examining the memories in his pensieve. He was fully confident that he could pull off this transformation, and that any irregularities could be blamed on the "new" familiar bond. That wasn't what concerned him.
His worry stemmed from the fact that this was all new territory for him. He no longer had a firm guide. From now on, he was operating solely on his instincts and the small clues various Seers had provided. The future was no longer set in stone.
Things were moving quickly. He was now at Hogwarts. Fudge was permanently out of the way. Umbridge was under house-arrest. Kaiou had contacted Dumbledore. Harry paused in thought. He was curious – he wondered what Dumbledore would do with the half-veela.
His spies were everywhere, quietly and efficiently gathering information. Soon it would be time to introduce the Veela Queen, the elves, and finally the vampires. They would also be contacting the descendents of their old allies, like the Snapes.
If he knew Victoria, she would have beaten it into her children's heads: "The vampires are our allies. Do anything for them." She had claimed it was her motto.
Harry missed her. She had been such a wonderful friend, and he hated losing friends.
Harry felt a touch on his mind and welcomed it warmly.
'I thought you'd still be awake.'
'You know me too well, Rachael.'
'What's bothering you?'
'Understandable. You have been following a guideline for over 2000 years now – a vague one, but still a guideline. It's natural to feel that way.'
'I love how you now what I mean, even when I'm being cryptic.'
'It comes from acting as your confessor for so long. Stop changing the subject.'
'I'll be alright, Rachael.'
'I know you will.'
There was a companionable silence for a moment before Harry spoke again. 'How are you?'
'I could be better. I still have a headache from this morning's activities.'
'Fudge was that annoying?'
'Yes, but that didn't cause the initial headache. I collapsed when you woke up. You lashed out, and everyone in close contact with you felt it. I seemed to get the brunt of it because other than Yui-'
'You are the one I'm in the most contact with mentally. Is Lily all right?'
'She's fine. She didn't collapse, but she does have one hum-dinger of a headache.' Rachael paused. 'I'm sure she'd welcome your thoughts.'
'You realize that Lily is not the one holding back anymore. It's you and your guilt.'
'Rachael, stop. Not tonight.'
Harry felt her mental sigh clearly, and bit back a sigh of his own. 'Fine, Harry. Not tonight. When are they setting you loose on the school?'
Harry chuckled at her phrasing. 'Tomorrow.'
'Then you should try and get some sleep.'
'I will; don't worry so much.'
'Well, someone has to. You certainly don't.'
Harry laughed. 'Goodnight, Rachael.'
Snape frowned as he crushed the ginger roots for Potter's potion. It was, perhaps, redundant to continue to make it in light of the success of the other tests, but Snape was of the mind "better safe than sorry."
The appearance of Kaiou had thrown him. It was a confirmation of everything he had been told as a child. The confirmation he had desperately needed as a teenager. The confirmation he had done without as an adult.
The vampires were returning.
The Snape family had a long history with the vampires. Often chosen as representatives to the Magical Council, the family had been in frequent contact with the Rector Lamia and his people.
The Snapes were almost entirely wiped out after the war with the Dark Lord Aberon. The only surviving members had been children and because of that, Salazar Slytherin became their defender. When the weary wizard had gone into seclusion, Rector Lamia Harry had taken over. He had encouraged the surviving family to stand strong against the prejudices facing them. He had even allowed them to enter the Coven and visit Slytherin.
The two men had encouraged his ancestors in their potions work, and potions eventually became synonymous with the name Snape. A good portion of each generation typically followed the tradition, himself included.
Up until the vampires disappeared, Rector Lamia Harry was often a visitor at Snape Manor. The world didn't know why the vampires "died out," but the Snape family did. Rector Lamia Harry told his ancestor, Victoria Snape, why they were disappearing, and she had passed down the information. A dark lord was rising: Voldemort. The vampires were going into hiding in the hopes of gaining an advantage over him.
Victoria had told her decedents to prepare for the dark lord's coming. Everything the family did was with the intention of aiding the vampires in the destruction of Voldemort. It was their goal; it was their purpose.
Despite the costs of the war against the Dark Lord Aberon and the loss of over 30 family members in the 1733 assassinations, the Snape family still wielded an enormous amount of power. While most Snapes chose to become potions masters, the rest became involved in politics or espionage. Others were notable in their own right, such as Hector Snape – one of the few true Seers alive.
His Aunt Sarah was the former ambassador to the United States Ministry of Magic, before she married the US Minister. She wasn't really his aunt - their relationship was much more convoluted - but she was a Snape.
The family was a close-knit group. It was rare for a Snape to live somewhere besides the Manor. Severus had grown up surrounded by loving but demanding adults - his parents, his aunts and uncles, even his distant relations - as well as his cousins and sister.
Things changed when his mother and twin died. His father had been the Italian Ambassador and was often there on business. On one particular trip, Severus had chosen to stay at the manor with his cousin, Jacob, while the rest of his immediate family went with his father. He remembered that Aunt Cassandra - his actual aunt - had not been too thrilled with the idea of being the primary caretaker of Severus and Jacob, nine and thirteen years old respectively, for such an extended period of time.
On that trip, his mother and sister died during a terrorist attack in Rome. After that, the family kept Severus from his father. Without his mother's influence, his father had fallen into the dark arts. Marcus had always been fascinated by dark magic, but his mother had kept him clean of it. Eventually, he became a Death Eater, willingly, with every intention of helping Voldemort rise to power.
It was something no Snape could condone. Idly, he wondered if his father would have turned out that way if he had known about the Snape Legacy. When Marcus died during a Death Eater attack, no one had mourned his passing.
When Voldemort first began his rise to power, Aunt Sarah had been forced to take her children to America to avoid the risk of compromising her husband's position. That had left him and Jacob as the only children still at the Manor. Together, they decided to join Voldemort's ranks in order to be in a position to aid the vampires from the inside.
What fools they had been.
Jacob was killed at the tender age of 18 in a Ministry raid on the Manor, and his mother, Aunt Cassandra - totally innocent of Voldemort's taint - had fallen with him. The Ministry claimed it was an accident. There wasn't a Snape - alive or dead - that believed them.
He had spied, waiting and waiting for the vampires to come. They never did. Eventually, he went to Dumbledore and offered his services to him, thinking that his efforts should at least accomplish something. He never felt like he had succeeded.
When Voldemort fell to Harry Potter, he had been equal parts relieved and disillusioned. He was relieved that the dark lord had been defeated, but he could no longer believe in the vampires. The family legacy said that Voldemort was the one to watch out for. When he rose, the vampires would return. Hector had been conspicuous in his silence. That should have given him his first clue that not everything was as it should be.
Dumbledore vouched for him when others dropped his name in the Death Eater trials. He hadn't even needed to use his family's connections. The wizarding world saw him as the family's black sheep. Snapes were neutral in all things; they were diplomats and potions masters. The family knew otherwise. To them, he was the brave one who stepped into darkness with eyes wide open in hopes of saving the light.
They still believed. Believed the vampires would come. Even though Voldemort had already been defeated. He had tarnished his family's name for a bunch of ghosts. He wouldn't make that mistake again. That's what Severus had thought then. Now he wasn't so sure. Voldemort was back again. And a man had come from Shingu. A man that was half-veela. He needed to talk to Kaiou alone and figure out if this was all coincidence or not. And it was about time he confronted Hector about his complicity in his and Jacob's folly. He hadn't been a child for a long time; Hector couldn't use that as an excuse any more.
He'd have to decide if he should tell Dumbledore though. He could come off sounding even more "deranged" than normal. Well, there was no need to hurry. Besides, there was no need for Dumbledore to know everything that went on.
(1) – a vampire with magic. Pronounced: maj-vamp (take the "ic" off of magic and add "vamp" to the end).
I'm sorry guys for the long pause between updates. I seem to be having a really bad run of luck. The latest being that my computer crashed and I lost some of my data. I'm usually fairly good about backing up stuff, but it had been a couple of weeks since I had last done it when the computer crashed. I lost about half the chapter, and I think I've managed to forget something because the chapter is shorter than the original version was. Either that or I was just more concise this time around. I don't know.
Anyway. Story details.
As you can see, I changed Snape's family history from canon. I spent about six days constructing the Snape family history (then spent another six days reconstructing it when the computer crashed). I have the Snape family tree taped to my wall. It's HUGE! I probably won't even use half of the information on it in Blood. Anyway, next chapter you'll find out how many Snapes are alive right now and where they all are.
Severus will not be spying. I think it's kind of silly for him to do so with everything that happened in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone alone. Voldemort knew about Severus saving Harry because Quirrell knew it, and Voldemort was attached to the back of the man's head. The risk to Sev is too great for Severus himself or Dumbledore.
Fudge is dead; Umbridge is gone ::pauses to wait for cheering to die down:: This chapter really focused on Harry's manipulations rather than Harry himself or even one of the other larger characters. The next chapter will have Harry's first day of school, and we'll see the younger characters, and Harry's impressions of them.
Jason is back as you can see. I received some e-mails and reviews wondering if he was dead. He's not. He's grown a little more playful in the 2000 plus years since you all last saw him. He is still Harry's 2IC and his best friend. We'll be seeing more of him again, never fear Jason-fans.
Originally, I had intended to have about twelve chapters along with the prologue and an epilogue. Considering that this entire chapter spans the events of one day. I think I can safely say that I was quite wrong in that respect. I now have no idea how many chapters the fic will have. I know this will please some of you, those who have been bemoaning the idea of only twelve chapters. ::laughs::
As I have said before, I do post sneak peeks to chapters when there has been a long wait between updates, but I only post them at my group. The link can be found in my profile.
Unfortunately, it is going to be a slightly long wait for the next update. Because of summer classes and RL, I'm not going to have any real time to write until August. I will of course write during any free time I have, but I really don't know how much time I will be able to arrange to do so. I have five classes this summer starting the 2nd of June and two of them are math classes – and I'm rather crappy at math. I'm going to do my best, but don't be surprised if there aren't any updates until at least August.
As always, please feel free to ask me questions. If you're having trouble understanding something, then please let me know. Unfortunately, questions are more likely to be answered if you ask them at my group than if you ask me in an e-mail. I have the very bad habit of forgetting to respond back to e-mails. If you are one of those people who sent me an e-mail and didn't get a response back, I'm sooooo sorry. If you did get a response back… you lucky dogs!
Thanks to everyone who has reviewed or sent me an e-mail. All encouragement is appreciated.
-Artemis Luna Diana-