His hands tighten around the cup of tea headmaster had floated in front of him. His eyes were glued to the large painting that hung on the wall behind the headmaster. He was not ready to answer headmaster's questions yet. He shuddered when he thought about having to live as Harry Potter again.
"Ryder." It was spoken softly, he looked at headmaster with great difficulty. The eyes held sincerity and consideration. He placed the cup on the desk with trembling hands.
"I-uh no-my-I." He stuttered miserably. His hands going towards his head. He gripped his hair tightly in his hands.
"I am sorry." His voice was thick with emotions. The man sitting opposite to him looked at him, holding eye contact with him for a long minute.
"Relax, child. I won't force you to tell me anything, but just for the safety of all of us, I need to know who converted you without your consent."
He hiccoughed as the night played before his eyes.
Vernon Dursley knocked violently at the door of the small bedroom.
"Open the door, you little shit." He was slurring his words as if he were drunk. The boy in the room looked at the door with his heart racing. It was the middle of the week. Vernon did not get drunk during week days. Something dreadful must have happened if he is drunk on an office night. The door was banged once again and the slurred shouts called him vulgar names. He scanned the room in desperation, but there wasn't a place in the small threadbare room that could hide him from the ugly wrath of his drunk uncle. He stumbled backward as the lock of the door broke and the door flew open with a loud bang. The monstrous man thudded towards him foaming at the mouth in a fit of mad rage. He backed away until he was pressed against the wall of the room. His heart thundered in his chest as he took in the crimson face of his uncle.
"You freak! They know I have an abomination in my house." A blow landed on his nose cracking it. Thick red blood flowed out of his nose. He looked at the man pathetically. More blows landed. He closed his eyes and gritted his teeth against the pain.
"You good for nothing. I will cure your freaky self of this bloody disease you call magic." He looked at his uncle through blood stained eyes as he produced a syringe that was beginning to melt under the effect of whatever was in it. He glanced downward at himself. He was bleeding from several wounds, blood dripped from his head onto his face and into his eyes. His left arm was twisted at an impossible angle and he felt disconnected waves of agony. He gazed up towards his uncle once again. Defeat. He lowered his head towards floor in resignation. He was ready to welcome the nothingness of death which will come, but with excruciating pain no doubt. As the obese hulk of the man moved towards him he closed his eyes tightly. The syringe was slammed down in downright abhorrence. He felt it piercing his wrist and the force broke the delicate bones, but none of those wounds remained his worry anymore as the molten scalding lava sped through his veins. Every milli-second his blistering agony increased tenfold. He used to think that he had felt the worst of the pains with all the Voldemort and Death eater scenario, but clearly he was dead wrong. He had never imagined pain like this even existed. The hot lava lapped at his eyes, his heart, his brain, and every single cell of his body burred under the searing inferno. It was not long before he succumbed to darkness.
"I-it was with my c-consent. I was injured. I asked Sire Lucas to convert me when he found me fatally injured." He whispered. The white lie left an acrid taste in his mouth. His muscles convulsed with an effort to keep himself together. He felt exposed in front of headmaster, naked, vulnerable, and he couldn't bring himself to give his trust completely to this man in front of him. His insides hurt with the force of his breathing. He picked his head up to look at the ancient man. His bloodshot eyes pleaded and begged with the man to let it go. He sucked in a harsh breath.
"Please..." He implored desperately, his hands clenched around the fistful of his hair.
"Relax child." Headmaster murmured in a low, soothing voice as he could see the young vampire was on the verge of panic attack. He would have to give time to Ryder to face it, to heal, and to come to terms with some of his past then and only then would Ryder trust him. He knew something was amiss in the narrative of Ryder. If Lucas had taken a childe, he would had told his coven members. But after all the fiasco with Harry Potter, he could understand the reluctance that Lucas must have felt. Still something was awry. Severus and Lucas were closest to each other, it was indeed peculiar if Lucas hadn't shared this secret with Severus because Severus had never mentioned a Ryder Jamison, he was sure of it. And neither did Severus show any indication that he was familiar with this youngling.
"Don't worry child. I am here for you. I won't press you to tell me anything that you aren't comfortable with." He paused to gauge the expressions of the younger man. He was taking deep breaths, calming himself down. He looked at Ryder with a heavy heart as the boy calmed his breathing with practiced ease. His life had severely lacked any sort of affection Albus understood.
"Severus should be able to help you, let me j-" The shrill and terrified "No" froze him mid sentence as Ryder jumped out of the chair, which fell down backwards on the floor, and whirled around as though looking for an escape.
"No no NO you can't." He cried hysterically, tears of frustration streaming down his face, his eyes silvery. He trembled and turned around towards headmaster. His hands pulled at his hair in desperation. Choked, frightened, and embittered sobs slipped past his lips. He was unable to comprehend anything and to him the stunned silence of headmaster seemed the rigid decision of spilling his secret to Severus Snape. His legs quivered and gave out, unable to support him, and he slid down to the floor and his knees collided with the stony floor painfully as the tremors ran throughout his body. He hid his red face in his hands and continued to mutter defeated no's.
He flinched badly when a hand gripped his shoulder. He didn't care for comfort or anything at all. His heart was sinking second by second into the deep valleys of despair at the prospect of his Sire finding out about him. The long aged fingers rubbed gently back and forth.
"It's alright, my child we won't tell anyone you don't want to know. I promise."
The old, kind voice comforted him, and he raised his head, turning to look at the headmaster. Sucking in another shaky breath, he squeezed his eyes shut, again struggling in vain to stave the tears, to fend off the sobs lodged deep in his throat. The warm hand moved upward, and grasped his shoulder, squeezing it firmly. He nodded weakly, feeling too limp, too tired to do anything. He let himself be guided gently into the warm, frail arms, and collapsed back into the warm embrace. He loved the feeling of comfort, of reassurance, needed it desperately; wanted someone to simply be there for him, only for him. The frail arms slid tightly around him, holding him tightly against the warm chest.
As the elder man continued to comfort the youngling in his arms, he thought about another child, another soul who fell prey to the wrong decisions, wrong words, and misunderstood intentions. Albus vowed to himself that he won't interfere in this young man's life. He won't try to do any good by controlling him. He would only be there, to support, to comfort, and to wipe the tears. Ryder reminded him of Harry too much, his eyes watered as the innocent green eyes came into his mind.
"I promise things will be alright." He whispered softly to Ryder and the latter believed him.
He was sitting in his comfortable arm chair in front of the fire, staring at the flames, just as he had two nights ago, replaying the words again and again.
" His family is responsible for his death."
He was no close to figuring out what he had felt when those words had come out of the mouth of the defense professor. What he knew? Nothing at all. That man didn't have any right to judge him when he couldn't even bring himself to be at ease in their presence. He took a small sip from the goblet he held in his right hand as the other hand massaged his forehead. He growled as he replayed the scene once again in his head.
"You blasted child! You know nothing. " He gritted through his teeth. His mood was getting worse as his conscious grasped at the blurry edges of remorse, aggravation, protectiveness and detachment that were giving him a blinding headache. Why was he feeling this ridiculous mixture of emotions? Ryder Jamison was a freaking human for the love of Merlin. He was a vampire. Ryder loathed vampires and he felt guilt. Why? He ran a hand through his hair. He closed his eyes and flinched suddenly when pleading green eyes on a messy haired child startled him. He jerked as he opened his eyes.
"Please Sire." A broken croaked whisper made him shudder.
"I am sorry." He thought to himself. He shouldn't have done that to Potter. He should have placed his prejudiced feelings aside and kept his mouth shut. They would have devised something that would have helped all of them but he shouldn't have rejected Potter as his childe. Merlin knows where he was or even if he were alive. He took an agitated breath. His feelings were getting more complicated as sudden anger shot through his head. Why should he even care? Wasn't he humiliated enough by Potter. Sr? Why must he torture himself with the spawn of that bully. He did the right thing by rejecting the arrogant boy. His black eyes flared with silver as once again the words replayed in his mind. He hurled the goblet in his hand towards the fireplace with all his might. The goblet shattered and the flames flared brighter for a moment as the alcohol reacted with them before going back to their mellow state. He stared at the flames once again with deep burning silver eyes.
"Come in, Professor Jamison ." At the call of Lucius Malfoy, he entered the room.
The room was stupendous, accommodating a magnificent raised dueling platform in the middle. The platform was surrounded by four stout pillars which were lit by neon style but more elegant lights, bathing the room in mystic sea green. The back walls of the rooms contained spacious shelves and cupboards that definitely contained accessories related to dueling. The front walls were covered in intricate engravings and runes.
"These are weaved in to provide maximum protection for students." Draco Malfoy offered as he saw him looking at the runes intently.
He was filled with envy as he heard the dreaded voice. Why was he there? The little boy in him protested with jealousy.
"Don't son. He isn't worth it." He flinched at the statement. Lucius Malfoy had spoken in a tone low enough to not be detected by mere humans, but he had heard all right. His wounded eyes met those of his Sire's and he felt something in him recoil at the naked distrust and dislike he saw there directed at himself. He dropped his eyes.
The fluid magic tightened itself more close to his mind, erasing every bit of the emotions he felt, leaving his face blank and his eyes vacant.
"Have a seat, Mr. Jamison." The voice of his Sire was embarking on sarcasm and disrelish. He nodded his head and took the seat across from the black haired man. The two Malfoys took their seat on either sides of the said man.
Things had changed for him he noted. The indifference of Severus had turned to dislike. The playful attitude of senior Malfoy was replaced by aversion as well. He lowered his head. Even in the crowd, he was all alone.
"We should talk before we proceed to work together." The elder Malfoy said as a matter of fact.
"Boy we must talk."
He nodded. He knew where this was going.
"We all have been subjected to your prejudiced resentment, and we won't accept it anymore. Nothing is more important for us than family and respect."
"We won't accept your freakish self anymore. You are polluting our normal family."
"I'm sorry sir." He murmured. The three vampires looked bewildered at his meek acceptance and apology, but he was too busy to block out the voices that were invading his head to notice their surprise.
"We don't care whether you accept us or not. But we demand proper respect as we give it to you."
"We don't care whether you die or live, boy. But you would accept all our rules and demands if you want to live in this house. " The spit drops had sprayed on his face due to the force of shout.
"Yes sir." Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape shared a look. They weren't expecting this at all. They had expected denial, acceptance and then open hostility may be, but not this.
"Do you understand, Mr. Jamison?"
"Do you accept, boy?" Vernon had asked in a condescending tone after showing him a ridiculously large list of equally ridiculous rules. He was basically to be their personal slave and house elf.
" Yes sir." He answered the question his sire, no no sire, he had no sire. The question Professor Snape had asked of him, he mentally corrected himself.
"I think we should now limit our discussion to strictly our defense club and it's students." He nodded his acceptance silently. There wasn't anything left for him to say.
He wondered if it was really his fault, he had always thought that both his families had been unfair to him, but now even under different name, different face, he was still the cause of their shunning. May be it was him all along. May be he was seeing himself in little white light and he didn't want to see himself for the freakish nutcase he really was.
He looked at the moving lips of the elder Malfoy, but all he could hear was a loud, bashing voice that screamed at him from within himself.
"Who you are kidding, you pathetic shit! Your own, real, blood parents died because of you."
"Look what you have done. You made your Sire ashamed of you." Another shriek echoed in his mind and he tightened his muscles so he wouldn't move, wouldn't flinch and wouldn't be freaky all again.
"Are you even listening to us, Jamieson." His distressed mind couldn't decipher who had asked him.
"Ye-Yes sir." He licked his parched lips and accepted the parchment Junior Malfoy was holding to him. He placed it on the desk in front of him and stared at it blankly, the other three had resumed their discussion without him. It stung
He placed his trembling hands on top of his thighs and tried to keep up with what they were talking about. They were barely paying him any attention. They didn't seem to have any inclination of the storm that was playing havoc in his mind.
"Are you a simpleton, Jamison, or do you have an old habit of playing pathetic victim."
His hands tighten around his thighs, sharp nails digging small crescents in the pale flesh underneath the contrasting black pants.
"May I be excused please?" He knew his voice was trembling pitifully, but he didn't care. He just wanted to get out of there, somewhere, anywhere else would be fine. He just couldn't face them anymore.
Without waiting for their response he vacated his chair and walked out of the room.
He was feeling cold and disconnected. His mind had also gone deathly quite, he wondered if it were just brewing the more painful acidic accusations or if it had gone into shock.
"Well," he thought. "I don't care." He giggled as he almost flew down the stairs towards the floor where his rooms were located. His fingers itched to take the blade and balm the emotional agony with physical throb.
"What was that?" Draco Malfoy asked.
"Drama queen." His godfather and sire whom had also adopted him few years back and now was dad to him wrapped his criticism in one simple word and went back to his work.
The two blond guys made an eye contact, the younger one shrugged his shoulders while the elder one went back to work without the trivial show of shrugging his shoulders.
"Headmaster! You don't want to understand. It's just that simple." His tone was quite insolent and Severus knew that, but after yesterday's drama, he had vowed to himself that he would not tolerate more imbecile dramatics of that damned defense teacher.
"If you insist on him being part of our club, I humbly resign from the headship of the club. I am sure Lucius will be more willing to put up with that brat." He snarled, his voice carried all the hatred he felt for freaking Jamison and that brat of the boy who was once his childe.
"No need to resign Severus. I'll appoint Ryder to some other club." The headmaster with too long of a name said to him, but his Aggravation increased as he heard the first name of the boy from his own mentor. He grimaced and shut down that part of his thoughts.
"Very well then. I must go now." He stood up from his chair and moved towards the office door, but stopped short.
"Do you really hate Harry so much, Severus?" Albus asked him, his voice airy.
"Did he?" he thought. When the naive pale face with too trusting green eyes and endearing messy hair came into his mind, it was accompanied by the heavy and unhappy feelings that were far worse than any anger or hate and which he avoided like a plague.
" Yes." He gritted through his teeth. He didn't want to think about that damned brat. It hurt the more he thought about him. Regret he could understand and deal with, but those other feelings that had developed within him for that boy were terrifying. He may now have different feelings for the boy, but he would never ever acknowledge them even if the boy came back from the dead, he thought with scorn shutting down firmly the part of his brain that shouted at him the reality of his own fear of facing something so simple as feelings.
He shut down the door of the old fool's office more forcefully than required and walked down to his dungeons with his black robes bellowing behind him.
To be continued…..