Disclaimer: Any publicly recognizable characters are the property of either J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer.
Chapter 1: In Which Harry and Ron Learn Something New
Ron and Harry walked into the Gryffindor common room, laughing between themselves about the fat lady's portrait. Its inhabitant had become engrossed in a book and it took Harry and Ron a good ten times to find out that she had changed the password without telling anyone to "forks." Why anyone would make a password the name of a utensil was beyond them, but they blamed it on the fat lady's eccentricity and joked about whether it would be knives or spoons next. They stopped laughing abruptly, though, when they were met by several "shhs" by the girls occupying the common room. Harry and Ron quickly spotted Hermione in the corner. There were two books opened in front of her in which she seemed deeply absorbed.
"What are you studying so hard, Hermione? It must be difficult for the amount of concentration you're giving it."
"Shh! Be quiet, Ron. I'm reading."
"I'm aware. What are you reading?"
"A book, obviously. Now, could you please be quiet?" Ron and Harry exchanged glances, noticing that Ginny was as engrossed in a book as Hermione.
"What are you reading, Ginny? Ginny?"
"Well, I never!" Ron exclaimed.
Hermione let out a sigh. "Ginny and I are simply reading something that you two would find utterly uninteresting. It would be best for you both to just leave us alone for a bit."
"What is it about, Hermione?" Harry asked, genuinely curious but also a bit afraid.
"Vampires, Harry, vampires."
"What is uninteresting about that? We learned about vampires in…"
"No, Harry, not those kind of vampires – not the blood-sucking, need to be staked through the heart, nothing but evil vampires. Vampires with feelings. Vampires who want to be good." Hermione sighed, and Ginny smiled.
"What kind of rubbish is that?" Ron asked.
"Rubbish! You did NOT just call Edward Cullen rubbish!" Hermione was getting worked up, and Ron backed up a few steps as Hermione dramatically slammed her book and stood up. "I'll have you know Ron Weasley…"
"Wait, who is Edward Cullen?" Harry asked, instantly regretting it as Hermione whipped around to face him.
"Edward Cullen is a vampire. He lives with his family – Carlisle, Esme, Emmet, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice. They are unique vampires because they don't suck blood from humans …"
"They don't suck blood from humans? That would be the defining characteristic of a vampire, Hermione. You of all people should know that."
"Shut up, Ron! You have no idea what you are talking about!"
Ginny closed her own book and said gently, "Hermione, why don't you go back to the book? I'll try explaining it to them."
Hermione huffed but nodded. She glared at Harry and Ron before sitting back down and picking up her book. Finally, she sighed contentedly as she began reading again.
"Well, you see Harry, Ron, there's this town in Washington state called Forks."
"Forks? As in the utensil? As in the fat lady's new password?"
"Yes, Ron. Moving on… a human girl named Bella decides to move to Forks to live with her father after her mother gets remarried. She begins high school in her new town and comes across a group of inhumanly beautiful students: the Cullens."
"The vampires, right?"
"Yes. Now, initially, Bella's presence causes all sorts of trouble for the youngest Cullen." Ginny paused for a moment, deciding on whether or not to clarify. "Well, the youngest in human age, third oldest in vampire years." Harry and Ron just nodded, and Ginny took it for understanding. "His name is Edward. Anyway, Bella's blood is especially appealing to him, and although he survives on an animal blood, he can barely resist. So he runs off to Alaska to avoid her."
"He left the state? Why would he bloody do that?"
"Because he didn't want to kill her, Ron!"
"But that's what vampires do, Ginny. They suck blood from people! Then heroic wizards go and hunt them down! Well, not in the case of our good old friend Lockhart. He just erased the memories of the real wizards who did it and took the credit…"
"Ugh! I'd love to see you try to hunt down Edward."
"Oh, really? And why is that Ginny?"
"Let's see. He's intelligent….he's as hard as granite…he can read minds…his eyes are a dazzling topaz…"
"His eyes? His eyes? What does that have to do with anything, Ginny?"
"Wait, he can read minds?" Harry asked, rather wishing that Ginny would stop talking about Edward Cullen. He, though he was the Boy-Who-Lived, was starting to feel a bit insignificant in comparison, especially if this Edward person could read minds. Harry wished he would have worked a little harder on his Occulumency lessons. Wait, this is a fictional character being discussed, he thought to himself. He didn't need to worry about blocking his mind.
"Yes, he can read minds and his sister, Alice, has visions."
Ron let out a laugh. "See visions? Like Madame Trelawney? 'Oh, the burden of the Inner Eye…'" Harry began laughing, too.
"No, not like Madame Trelawney at all. She's always right…well, almost always…" Ginny seemed upset at the thought of this, and Harry and Ron just looked bewildered. "Well, you see, Bella, who at this point is as hopelessly in love with Edward as he is with her, ends up getting brutally attacked by a vindictive vampire who actually does suck blood – "
"Like real vampires do," Ron coughed. Ginny glared and continued.
" – and after Edward saves her, she tells him that she wants to be like him forever. But the idea of Bella being like him pains him because he believes that becoming a vampire causes you to lose your soul."
"Really?" Harry interjected. "That's an interesting concept actually. I mean, you have to believe that vampires must be lacking a moral center for them to willing take blood from people. But no soul? Maybe the ministry should reevaluate the effectiveness of a dementor's kiss. These vampires don't seem to be too bad off, if they're lacking a soul and all. But I guess the dementors are really irrelevant now since they ran off to join Voldemort," Harry finished as a shudder went through Ron and Ginny at the mention of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named-But-Just-Had-Been.
"Anyway," Ginny continued, clearly frustrated, "the second book begins with Bella's dreaded eighteenth birthday and an accident occurs.
Ron looked skeptic at the mention of a "dreaded" eighteenth birthday. Harry politely inquired about the accident.
"Bella is almost killed by Edward's brother," Ginny said.
"Why would his brother go and do that?" Ron blurted out.
"There was blood."
"But you said that they didn't drink human blood."
"Just because they don't drink human blood doesn't mean it's not incredibly tempting. Remember, that's why Edward left in the beginning of the first book – he didn't want to attack Bella because her blood was so appealing. Oh, I give up…"
"No, wait Ginny. I'm curious, really," Harry said. Ron looked at him in disgust. Harry wanting to date Ginny was one thing, allowing her to ramble on about a book just to look like he cared was quite another – especially when Ron had to hear it, too. Ginny, however, looked pleased and nodded her head.
"So, Edward decides he and his family should leave, take all the 'monsters' out of Bella's life. But, when he leaves, he tells Bella that he doesn't love her anymore so she'll move on, even though it isn't true."
"That's awful," Harry said. Ginny smiled sadly in agreement. Ron was trying to count the tiles on the ceiling.
"Even with Edward's departure though, Bella gets mixed up with werewolves and a vengeful vampire from the first book." Ron's ears perked up at the sound of werewolves.
"Werewolves? As in Lupin-kind or other?"
"Well, I guess more like Lupin than other, but they're the protectors of humans against the Cold Ones."
"Oh. See, they are the bad guys!" Ron said, feeling as if he was finally catching on.
"No! I mean, some are, but not the Cullens."
"No, of course not the Cullens."
Ginny sighed. She looked at Harry. "I really don't think I can keep going with Ron and his interruptions."
"Just ignore him, it really isn't that hard."
"WHAT? Harry! Whose side are you on here?"
"Since when were there sides?"
"There are always sides," Ginny said unhappily, "even when it seems like there shouldn't be. Poor Bella, her boyfriend and her best friend mortal enemies…"
"Ex-boyfriend, Ginny – you said so yourself," Ron said smugly.
"Well, if you would let me get to the end you would know that isn't the case, numbskull."
"Yes, you idiot. Numbskull," Ginny said rather loudly.
"Sorry," Ginny mumbled to the number of girls who were trying to read.
"To cut to the chase, all this stuff happens then Bella goes cliff-diving, but she almost dies and Alice has a vision and thinks she does, so she tells Rosalie and Rosalie calls Edward and he's beside himself and goes to Italy to get himself killed by the Volturi."
"I believe 'cutting it to the chase' wasn't helpful. Rosalie? Volturi?"
"Rosalie is Edward's beautiful yet self-absorbed sister who mistakenly believes that Edward's love for Bella is more of a fleeting infatuation rather than true love. She doesn't know that Edward would rather not exist at all than exist to the ends of time without Bella. The Volturi are kind of the vampires' ruling class. Powerful, blood-sucking – "
"What is it with villians' names starting with v's? V-o-l's actually in this case. Voldemort, Volturi," Harry mused. Ginny acted like he hadn't said anything.
"Edward seeks his own death from the Volturi so he can be with Bella, or in the very least be away from the agony of his breaking heart," Ginny looked as if her own heart was breaking as she said it. Harry put a comforting arm around her. Ron scoffed. Hermione's head shot up from her book and she glared at him.
She had finally had enough. Gazing pointedly at Harry and Ron, she asked, "Would you sacrifice yourself for the one you loved?"
"I consider my battle with Lord Voldemort a bit self-sacrificial, I must admit," Harry said, but he immediately wished he could retract his words. From the look on Hermione's face, that wasn't what she had meant at all.
"I believe that you perceive that as more of a responsibility than a labor of love. Bella had to come to that kind of realization, but it was the opposite. She thought Edward had gone to try to commit suicide because he had left her and then felt responsible for her death, not because he didn't want to exist in her a world where she no longer…"
Ron interrupted. "Wait, he left her?"
"Have you been paying any attention?" Ginny practically shrieked.
"Well still, anyone could tell you that that was a numbskull thing to do. You don't have to be bloody brilliant to know leaving someone never works out for the best."
"Ron! You are missing the point. He tore himself apart by leaving her to try to save her soul!"
"What? Was his leaving going to prevent a dementor attack or something?" Harry looked down at his feet. He got the feeling Ron really had stopped paying attention. He had already brought up the dementors in connection with losing one's soul.
"Oh! You are utterly exasperating, Ron."
"Me? Me exasperating, Hermione? While you and Ginny are the ones mooning over a fictional character?"
"He's a much better person than you are, Ron!"
"Person? Person? I thought we established that he was a vampire and that what was causing all the fuss."
"Actually, Ron, you might want to read this. This Volterra place sounds kind of interesting."
"Sorry, Ron." Ron looked over to see Ginny comfortably curled up against to Harry, the book opened before them.
"Ugh. I'm getting out of here. Maybe I'll go to bed."
"Did you know vampires can't sleep, Ron?" Hermione asked lightly.
"Fine, I'll just leave!"
Ron stormed out of the Gryffindor common room. Of all people, he saw Malfoy strutting down the corridor, he cloak billowing menacingly behind him. Suddenly he wished he could go back into the common room. But he decided better of it…really, Edward Cullen or Malfoy? Malfoy all of a sudden didn't seem so bad. He wasn't enchanting what seemed to be the whole female population of Hogwarts. So he proceeded down the hall, carefully scrutinizing Malfoy and keeping his hand securely on his wand.
Ron couldn't stifle his laughter as he passed Malfoy. Under his sinister cloak Malfoy had on a shirt with the words, "Rosalie Fan Club" in elegant script.
"You have a problem, Weasley?" Malfoy sneered, though he pulled the sides of his cloak closer to him.
"No, I don't have a problem at all."