"Nessie, is that you?" I heard Harry call from upstairs.
"Yes, Sir." I called back.
"Will you come here please?"
I traced the sound of his voice down the stairs. He was standing in the entrance hall. "Did you get all the things you needed from your house?" he asked.
"Yes, I did."
"Well, I guess I should give you the grand tour." He said running his scarred hand through his hair.
"I'd be delighted."
The Potter's house had three full floors and a small attic type floor. The first floor, the ground floor, held the kitchen, dining room, and a small parlor type living area. The second floor held three small bedrooms and the living room, though the technical name would be a drawing room. The third floor held more bedrooms, a master bedroom, and Harry's small study. Harry and Ginny used the master bedroom that had a connected bathroom and Kreacher used one of the other bedrooms on that floor. The top floor only held two small rooms which he made a point to tell me that no one goes up there. The ground floor and the second floor held bathrooms. He stopped at one of the vacant bedrooms on the third floor. "This can be your room. I decided to give you your own because I figured you would want practice a little magic." He said pushing open the door.
It smelled musky and dusty, and there was cobwebs draped over everything. The bed was queen size and clothed in dark emerald bedding. Everything was decorated with dark colors and on one of the walls was a strange almost scary symbol on the wall. It was a skull with a snake weaving out of it mouth. "I apologize." He said shaking his head in disgust, "I forgot how bad it was in here. This was my godfather's house and his family was not the best of people. This was a woman named Bellatrix's room. She was one of Riddle's footstools."
"Don't worry about it. It's nothing a fresh coat of paint can't fix."
"You are right, but I can also use magic." He said pulling out his wand and chanting silently to himself and things started cleaning themselves. Soon the musty smell and cobwebs had disappeared. Once everything was shiny and clean he went over to the bed and whispered an incantation. The sheets, comforter, and pillows suddenly a crisp golden color. The canopy curtains where changed as well into a rich crimson color. He went to each piece of furniture and colored them to match. The wooden furniture became a dark stained oak. By the time everything but the walls, which was a dull gray color had been completely revamped.
He paused. "You don't need to hunt tonight, right?" he asked nervously.
I shook my head. He seemed relieved.
"What color?" he asked after a moment.
"The walls. What color would you like the walls?"
The walls were an elegant gray color, but it gave off a sad and depressed feeling. "How about a toasted marshmallow color?"
"Well, it's like a creamy brown. It's kind of like…" I couldn't explain it and listing the pigment combination would just confuse him, "You know what, let me show you."
Before he could speak I reached up and touched my palm to his cheek. He was shocked when I pushed the visualization of the color into his brain. "Do you see it?" I asked.
I removed my hand. "It is my gift. I was born with it."
"I have never known a witch or wizard that could do that except…" his fingers found the scar on his forehead subconsciously.
"It's a vampire gift." I said quickly, "Remember when my father said that he can read minds?"
"Can you read minds too?"
"I cannot. That is very specific to my father. Are there others who can do it? Yes, but not exactly the same way my father can."
"Do all vampires have these gifts?" he was nervous.
"So, is it a random thing?"
"Sort of, we have a theory."
"What is it?" he was interested. I didn't want to say too much.
"Well the idea is that vampires have one of their most present abilities brought over and amplified when they are reborn. For example my grandfather was very compassionate and kind when he became a vampire he was given self-control and compassion for all humans. He is why we live the vegetarian lifestyle. Although it is not a very supernatural one it is still unique to him. He has actually been a doctor and surgeon for the last two and half centuries."
"We believe that he must have been very in tune with people's thoughts beforehand and the transformation amplified it to the point where he can hear them as clearly as spoken."
"How did you get your abilities?"
"I was born with them. I am a mixture of both my father and mother's abilities."
"What can your mother do?"
"She is a shield. She is safe from any mental attack."
"Some vampires have the ability to mentally attack you. For example there is a set of twins that do the opposite of each other. One of them causes pain without touching you. She is used to torture. The other twin cuts off all your senses. You feel nothing. He is used to make you vulnerable. Their abilities, however, are only affective the mind." I was saying too much. I knew it, but it felt good to talk about it with someone.
"What was it like when she was human?" he asked.
"Her brain was her safe place. No one could reach it even if she wanted them to."
"And this amplified when she became a vampire?"
"Yes, she can now push it outward to shield other people's mind and push it away completely if she wants to."
"How are you a mix?"
"Well, like my father, I can enter the mind. I may not be able to read it, I but I can make you see what I want you to upon contact. I am an exact opposite of my mother. Whereas she keeps everyone out, no one can keep me out. I am the only one who can penetrate my mother's shield. It was very useful for communicating as a newborn."
He seemed to find this very interesting, but before he could ask anything else, I stopped him saying, "I really shouldn't tell you much else. Vampires are very secretive."
"Alright, can you show me the color you wanted again?" He asked politely dropping off the subject.
I showed him the color again and he waved his wand. The color immediately changed to the right color. "Mr. Potter?"
"Can you please keep what we were talking about a secret?"
"Sure." He said without another word about it.
Kreacher suddenly came up the stairs with my trunk and an owl cage floating behind him. The owl in the cage was the same one had noticed in the window of an owl shop earlier that day.
"Gift from Kreacher's masters, Ms. Nessie." Kreacher told me setting it down in front of me, "Kreacher was going to put it Ms. Nessie's room."
"Wow, Kreacher, he's beautiful." I exclaimed.
"I saw you looking at him in the owl shop." Harry said patting my shoulder.
"You have already done so much though, Mr. Potter. Let me pay for him please."
"My wife wouldn't allow me even if I wanted to take your money, Renesmee."
"But, she cost fifty galleons. I grabbed money at home. I can get it converted tomorrow?"
"Trust me, Nessie. It really was nothing."
"What's his name?" I asked giving in.
"You get to name him. He is yours."
"Wow, thank you." I hugged him full on then. He seemed shocked for only a moment, but politely hugged me back.
"Harry, are you here?" a female voice asked from downstairs.
"Yes." I followed him down to the drawing room. Mrs. Potter, James, Lily, and Albus we standing there dusting off their clothes.
Mrs. Potter immediately started the introductions. "Renesmee, this is James, Albus, and Lily. Children, this is Renesmee. She is staying with us tonight."
"Why?" Albus asked. He seemed angry.
"She has a ministry appointment in the morning and her parents are muggles, so it was easier to just have her stay here for tonight."
"Whatever." The boy named James said turning to the house elf, "Kreacher, how long till dinner?"
"Kreacher will start it now." Kreacher said bowing.
"Don't forget that we are having the Dursley's over for dinner tonight, so set up the table with five extra place setting please. Six, if you include Renesmee." Ginny said.
"What?" Harry said startled all of the children groaned.
"Don't tell me you have forgotten, Harry."
"I have just been so busy with all this," he gestured towards me, "that it must have slipped my mind."
"Well, we can't back out now. What about tomorrow? We promised to take them out to get Daisy's supplies tomorrow afternoon."
"I have work." He again gestured towards me. Mrs. Potter crossed her arms.
"But we promised." She said.
"You and the kids can do it. I just don't have the time." There was another chorus of groans from all of the children.
"My meeting is in the morning. I don't mind tagging along. I have to stop at the bank anyway." I said. I wasn't going to let him use me as an excuse.
"You don't have to. The Dursleys are not necessarily the friendliest people." Harry insisted.
"I really don't mind. I have been in front of the sort of people that you never would want to cross. I can handle myself."
Harry looked pretty glum that he wasn't able to skip the event because of me. "Alright, after your meeting at the ministry we will head over to the Dursleys."
"Glad that's settled." Mrs. Potter said.
James and Albus wandered off from the room presumably to their bedrooms. The girl, Lily, tugged my arm. "You are very pretty." She said.
"Thank you. I think you are very pretty as well."
She looked to be about nine or ten. The picture I had seen of her was a few years outdated. Her red hair was now a short bob, but she still had the same sense of wonder in her eyes.
"Can I play with your owl? Mum was carrying it earlier." she asked.
"Sure." I said, "Following her up to the second floor. I decided to take advantage of her presence.
"Who are the Dursleys?" I asked.
"My cousins. Uncle Dudley is my dad's cousin and his family raised him. They were very mean to my dad. The worst kind of muggles imaginable. His cousin turned out to be not as bad as his parents and now one of his children is a witch. He has three. Daisy is the middle child. Vernon is this oldest, and is one of the biggest jerks you will ever meet. He used to bully me till I accidently made him sprout a pig's tail. I was seven at the time I couldn't control it. I was afraid Uncle Dudley was going to yell at me, but he took one look at the little piggy tail and burst out laughing. I had never seen him laugh like that before. My dad fixed the tail, but Vernny doesn't mess with me anymore. He is terrified of his younger sister. She started showing signs of magic last year. She had caused her mother's favorite tea cup to throw itself against the floor from across the room. I remember when dad got that phone call. Uncle Dudley was freaking out. He almost peed himself when her Hogwarts letter arrived." She babbled.
"What about the youngest one?"
"Her name is Violet. She is only three and hasn't shown any signs of magic yet. Daisy was a late bloomer, so Violet might be also."
"Is Daisy nice?"
"She is ok. She isn't nearly as bad as the boys, but she can be very irritating. She's a bit of a know it all. I don't think she will cause you any trouble. This is your room?" she asked as we got to the doorway of my room.
"For the night. Your dad fixed it up."
"It is a lot less scary in here now."
"Yeah, it was pretty bad before."
"The other rooms weren't nearly as bad before because people from the order had stayed in them while they were in hiding, but no one wanted to use this room. It gave them the creeps. Do you know about Bellatrix?"
"She was an evil woman. She was called the dark lord's bride by some of the people I have talked to before. She was in Azkaban for a very long time for murdering a lot of people, but she managed to escape. She killed more people and tortured even more people, including my aunt and my dad. She tried to kill my mum during the war, but my grandmother took her down."
"Both your parents were in a war?"
"Yes, my whole family was actually."
I was shocked. "How old were they?"
"Mum and dad? Mum was sixteen, and dad was seventeen. The war took place at Hogwarts, so a lot of the people fighting were seventeen and younger. They underage children like mum weren't supposed to fight, but somehow they managed to sneak back in."
"You know, you can read all about it in Aunt Hermione's book, she left out some minor details, but everything historical is in her book."
It became apparent that Harry had seen a lot more than I thought he had. I had a new found respect for Harry and his friends then.
Lily continued to play with my unnamed owl, so I thought it safe to start reading up on my text books. I decided to start on the book Lily had been talking about.
It had a simple leather bound cover with the title pressed into it. "The Rise and Fall of Tom Riddle, by Hermione Granger."
The first page was a list of all the known witches and wizards who were killed in the first wizarding war. The second was a list of those killed in the second war. Both lists included their ages and estimated death dates. There were several as young as babies on the lists. The thought made me gag.
The third page was dedicated to house elves and other magical creatures that died.
The fourth page had a simple message written upon it:
"The living owe it to those who no longer can speak to tell their story for them. - Czeslaw Milosz"
The index was simple enough. As I read the first chapter, Lily eventually left the room. It started out talking about a miserable woman who descended from Salazar Slytherin, one of the founders of Hogwarts. It explained that a lot of pureblooded families would marry off their children to blood relatives as to keep their blood line considered pure. As a result, more children were born with disabilities of both the magical kind and the human kind. For example, some people were born magically stunted.
Merope Gaunt was one such child. The picture that accompanied the page showed a young woman. The poor girl would not be considered pretty by society's standards and she was filthy and looked sad.
She was treated like a maid by her abusive father and certifiably insane brother. It made me sad for her. She fell for a local muggle named Tom Riddle and decided to use a love potion to capture his fancy.
The book went into the brief history of love potions, explaining that love potions do not mimic actual love. It only causes intense infatuation. Merope got pregnant and thought that maybe Riddle would love her without a potion now that she was carrying his child. She was wrong.
I was enraptured in reading when a silver wispy house came trotting into the room through the closed door. Mrs. Potter's voice came from it. "The Dursleys will be here any moment. Please meet in the parlor downstairs." It said and then, as quickly as came, the horse dissolved into thin air.
I stared for a moment at the place it had been. I am typically not easily startled because of my heightened senses, but that was a doozy. My already accelerated heartrate was thrumming like a hummingbird's wings now. I gently closed the book and made the short trip down the stairs. James, Albus, and Lily were already downstairs with Mrs. Potter. Apparently my face still displayed the shock because Ginny said, "Oh, I am sorry. I forget that you aren't used to that kind of thing."
"It's alright." I assured her, "It only surprised me is all. What was it anyway? The horse, I mean."
James spoke up, "It's called a patronus. It's a spell typically used to defend against dementors. Since those aren't much of a problem right now. Mum and Dad mainly use it to send messages."
"Oh." I thought about it. I ended up with more questions than answers, but I figured I would probably find the answers in my studies.
Lily was sitting on one of the sofas. She patted the spot next her. "You can sit by me."
Albus was sitting on the other side of her looking bored and James was fiddling with a small package in one of the high backed Victorian chairs.
"Alright, children." Ginny said clapping her hands together, "let me remind you of the rules. Remember how muggles tend to react when you use magic, especially the Dursleys, so no magic unless asked to by me. Secondly, no pranks. James, I am looking at you."
She went over to him and grabbed the package from his hands, "That means no puking pastils and if I see any nose bleed nougat tonight, I will bat bogey hex you into next week."
James looked at her with mock hurt, "Me? Never, Mum." Albus rolled his eyes as James flashed an angelic smile.
Mrs. Potter continued as if he hadn't spoken, "Lastly, don't start any arguments. You remember what happened last time."
"James started it." Albus said under his breath.
James made a face, "What's that, little Slytherin? I am afraid that I don't speak parsalmouth." Lily giggled.
"Shut it, James." Mrs. Potter said.
The room was tensely silent. Suddenly there was voice from upstairs, "Do we really always have to use the fireplace? What is wrong with the car?"
"Dudley, I have told you before. The floo network is faster and completely safe for muggles. You are going to need to get used to magical things."
"I don't have to like it." the man grumbled.
The man was tall and plump with very little hair. His wife, a short unnaturally brunette woman with pale blue eyes, held a pudgy blond toddler in her arms. The two kids trailed in behind her. Vernon, or Vernny, looked much like his father and seemed to be fourteen or so. Daisy looked most like her mother, rather short and slightly round. She had the same blue eyes as her mother, but her hair was brown. She had it tied back in a neat blue ribbon.
Ginny rushed forward to them giving the adults awkward embraces and patting Violets head, "Dudley, we have an extra guest here tonight."
"Oh." He suddenly grew uncomfortable, scanning the room for the newcomer. He didn't seem to see me sitting on the couch, "Who?"
I stood and smiled brightly, "Good evening! My name is Renesmee Cullen. It is an honor to meet you." I said bowing my head slightly. I knew I was laying the pleasantries on a little too thick, but I wanted them like me if I was going to spend the afternoon with them tomorrow.
There was a little giggle that came from the direction James was sitting. I looked up. The whole family was practically frozen in time. All of the girls were only slightly star struck, but the boys faces were straight up comical. James, Albus, and Lily were all but roaring with laughter and Harry and Ginny were trying their best to hold it together. I haven't had a reaction this bad in a while.
After a moment or two, Mrs. Weasley started introducing them, "Renesmee, this is Dudley Dursley, Harry's cousin.
He seemed to finally snap out of it, "Oh, yes. I am. I am Dudley. This is my wife Veronica and this are our children: Vernon, Daisy, and Violet." He said pointing out each of them.
"But, you can call me Vernny." Vernon said rushing forward and taking my hand. He actually leaned down to kiss my knuckles, but Daisy moved forward and conked him on the back of the head.
"What the bloody hell was that for?" he whined rubbing the spot where she hit him.
"Language, Vernny!" His mother warned.
"You were being a doofus!" Daisy snapped at him, she turned to me, "I am sorry my brother is such a pest."
"It's alright." I assured her.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ren… Rene?" she said shaking my hand.
I pronounced my name again, but more slowly. "Renesmee."
"How do you spell that?"
"Renesmee?" she said slowly.
"That's a bit of a mouthful. How on earth did your parents come up with that?"
"My mom named me. It's a mixture of both my grandmothers' names, Renee and Esme. My middle name is a mixture of my grandfathers' names. Charlie and Carlisle ended up being Carlie."
"That's cute, but still a bit of a mouthful."
"Well, my friends and family call me Nessie."
"Like the Loch Ness monster?" Vernny asked.
I giggled, "Yes. Just like it."
Mrs. Dursley suddenly chimed in, "I love your accent. What part of America are you from?"
"You're American?" Vernny gasped.
"Of course, she's American, you daft idiot. Can you not hear it in her voice?"
"I wasn't really paying attention to that." He admitted.
"I am from Washington."
"D.C.?" Albus asked.
"No, the state."
Mr. Dursley sat down in one of the armchairs taking Violet from his wife's arms and bouncing her on his knee. "Is it true that Americans drink their tea cold?" he asked.
"Um, I believe that's mainly in the south, but there is a few places in Washington to get sweet iced tea."
Vernny spoke up again, "Is it true that all Americans own guns?"
"No. My family doesn't. That is except for my grandad and Billy."
"Well, I guess you could say he is like a father to me." Really you could say he is my future father in law, but I figured I better not share that information.
"Why do they have them?" he asked excitedly as if I would tell some wild story.
"Well, my grandfather is a police chief and Billy is an old, disabled Native American who lives alone. He likes to be able to protect himself."
He really impressed with that. The next five minutes was him pounding me with questions about Native Americans. After he exhausted that topic, Daisy asked, "Are you going to Hogwarts too?"
"Yes, I intend to."
"I am what they call a muggleborn. What are you?"
"Um, I am not quite sure. I guess you could call me a muggleborn, but I don't really think it matters anyway."
"Oh, I guess it doesn't. We all end up studying together either way."
"That's right." Ginny said patting her on the shoulder, "Anyway, everyone, Kreacher has just informed me that supper is ready."
We all stood and made our way into the dining room. The table now held many more chairs than it had earlier in the day. The food on the table looked absolutely delicious and it smelled that way too, even with my dulled senses. Roasted lamb and potato with an assortment of vegetables along the side. A large platter of lemon tarts was the table's center piece.
Mrs. Potter started seating everyone. I ended up getting sandwiched between Lily and Daisy, but I didn't really mind. My stomach growled at me. Hadn't eaten much today other than sweets. I really should have stopped and eaten lunch at some point, but then again it has been a very full and exhausting day.
Almost on cue we all started eating.
The food tasted as good as it smelled.