General review response: Daisy was not introduced for a reason. You will find out why eventually. I'm just concentrating on these characters for the time being, the other ships and plotlines will start to come in once term starts. There's only so many scenes I can write that take place in the holiday without giving away some vital information.
Chapter 5: Love and Immortality
"Get out of my head, Tom!"
Voldemort merely looked at her. "Why should I? Your precious Dumbledore isn't here to protect you."
"Get lost," Minerva spat.
"Gladly. But first I feel we need to … catch up. I mean, it's been years, and you are an old schoolmate."
"This is my head, Tom. I can expel you from it without moving a muscle."
"Ah," Voldemort said, "but you haven't yet, have you? Which means you subconsciously want to talk."
"I said, get lost!"
"Make me," he said, like a stubborn child.
Minerva concentrated hard on Voldemort being expelled from her mind … but nothing happened. Voldemort smiled wider.
"You're not strong enough, Minerva. You're still weak from when your sister attacked you."
Minerva glared at him. "How did you know about that?"
He almost rolled his eyes. "Do the words 'I'm in your head' mean nothing to you?"
"I shall not," Voldemort teased. "Not till you give me what I came for."
"I want Harry Potter."
Minerva laughed out loud. "Some things never change. You are too predictable, Tom."
Voldemort's eyes flashed. "Stop calling me that!"
"Tom, Tom, Tom," Minerva chanted, a satisfying feeling in her mocking.
"You," Voldemort hissed, "will deliver him to me."
Minerva laughed again. "Over my dead body."
"That could be arranged. But there is a far better way, which would result in far less trouble for you and me."
"Supposing I told you," Voldemort said, now calmly stroking his wand, "that I was on the verge of finding a cure for mortality?"
"So that's what you call it."
"Under ordinary circumstances I would never divulge the cure to anyone." Voldemort's eyes were glittering. "But Harry Potter is a very special case. He trusts you. You could easily hand him over to me. And if you did, I might just be pleased enough to give you a cut."
Minerva rolled her eyes. "Two flaws in your plan, Tom. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm a vampire. I'm already immortal. And the second, bigger flaw, is that there is nothing you could offer me that would make me even consider handing Harry over to you."
Voldemort laughed. "Oh my dear Minerva, the cure is not for you."
"Don't call me that. And who's it meant to be for?"
"How could the Sorting Hat possibly have considered Ravenclaw for you? Your precious Dumbledore, of course."
"He would never take it, and neither would I. Give up, Tom. I am not giving you Harry and that is the end of it."
"He's not going to be around forever," Voldemort replied, ignoring the second half of Minerva's speech again.
"Dumbledore. Think, Minerva. He's … how old now … a hundred and fifty? And mortal through and through. But you, my dear -"
"Don't call me that."
"- are immortal, like you said. Imagine all the lonely years ahead of you once he's gone. How long have you known him, sixty years? Practically your whole life. He is your life."
"Shut up, Tom!" Hot, painful anger was coursing through Minerva, but she couldn't help but realise what he was saying was true … Which just fuelled her anger even more.
"You know I'm right, don't you? I can tell. Immortality is not a curse, Minerva. Love is the true curse. You see what it does to people? What it will do to you?"
"All those years … hundreds … thousands … all on your own …"
"Shut – up!"
"All on your own … grieving for your love … Forever …"
A massive wave of heat threw Voldemort backwards and out of sight. Minerva heard him scream. The heat subsided and she slid down onto her knees, her head in her hands, trying to push out the words that were echoing in her ears.
"You know I'm right …"
Harry sat bolt upright, and wished he hadn't as his bones twinged in protest. The pain was forgotten a moment later as he realised what had woken him. He bolted from the room and arrived in the spare room at the same moment as Dumbledore, to see Professor McGonagall screaming in her sleep, twisting in the bed.
"Minerva! Mina, wake up!" Dumbledore shook her, trying to wake her.
She jerked awake. "Get out of my head!" she gasped.
"I'm not in your head! Mina, Mina, it's all right. Look at me." Harry stood to one side out of the way as Dumbledore calmed her down. He recognised the look on her face – it was similar to the one he had on his face whenever he had a vision of Voldemort.
A hand slipped into his, making him jump, and he looked round. Daisy was standing next to him in her pyjamas, looking frightened. "Harry, what's wrong with her?" she whispered.
"I'm not entirely sure," he murmured, squeezing his cousin's hand gently. "But she's in good hands, she'll be okay."
Daisy nodded, white-faced. Professor McGonagall was much calmer now, and started to speak.
"Tom Riddle," she whispered to Dumbledore. Harry tensed. "He was in my head."
"Who -" Daisy began to whisper. Harry was ready with an answer.
"A very bad wizard."
"What did he want?" Dumbledore asked, apparently calmly but Harry could see the rage in his eyes.
"Figures," Harry muttered.
Dumbledore frowned. "I don't understand. Tom knows perfectly well you would never -" He broke off, and raised his wand. Daisy took a step backwards. Dumbledore cursed. "He's broken through the wards!"
"What?" Harry gasped. "How?"
"How can wait." Dumbledore pointed his wand at the clock on the bedside table. "Portus. Harry, take your cousin to the Hog's Head. Tell the barman I sent you, and I will be right behind you with Minerva. Go!"
Harry, gripping Daisy's hand firmly, grabbed the Portkey. A nauseating ride later, they tumbled onto an unfamiliar stone floor.
"Sorry," Harry said as Daisy shuddered. "Should have warned you about that. C'mon, let's get out the way for the Professors."
"Harry," Daisy said once she had clambered to her feet and taken a good look around at the stacks of crates and barrels, "where are we?"
Before Harry could answer, the door to the cold stone room opened and in came the barman of the Hog's Head. Through the doorway Harry could see the grubby interior of the pub.
"Thought I heard someone come in," said the grumpy barman, looking Harry up and down. "Is Albus with you?"
"He said he'd be right behind …" Harry bit his lip, looking around anxiously, and breathed a sigh of relief as Dumbledore appeared behind him, carrying Professor McGonagall in his arms.
"Ah, Aberforth. Just the man I wanted to see. Could you take Minerva upstairs, please, and these two with you?" He placed Professor McGonagall carefully in the barman's arms and proceeded to create another Portkey.
"Professor!" Harry burst out. "What are you doing?"
It was too late – he had already disappeared.
"Follow me, kids," said Dumbledore's brother. He led them through a second door and up a flight of stairs. "What happened to you then, Minerva?"
"Don't ask," Professor McGonagall replied in a faint voice.
Aberforth carried Professor McGonagall into a bedroom and laid her down on the four-poster. Harry and Daisy followed them into the room. They all jumped a moment later as a stack of packing-cases appeared from thin air, followed a few moments later by Dumbledore appearing in the doorway.
"I managed to send your family's things here before the Death Eaters arrived," Dumbledore addressed Harry and Daisy in a grave tone. "They had just set your house alight as I left."
Daisy sat down suddenly, and Harry couldn't blame her.
"Wh-what about Mum and Dad?" she stammered.
Dumbledore knelt down beside her and put a comforting arm around her shoulders. "I will have someone find them as soon as possible and take them somewhere safe. In the meantime, the four of us will be staying here. Aberforth," he directed to his brother, "could you get rooms ready for these two? And I think Miss Dursley here could do with something warm to drink."
"I could get a Butterbeer from downstairs," Harry suggested.
"That will do nicely, Harry. Bring one for all of us, and get them from the stock room – not the bar."
When Harry returned with the Butterbeers, Professor McGonagall was lying still with her eyes closed, Dumbledore murmuring unintelligible words to her. Harry didn't want to interrupt so he just set the bottles down on the bedside table.
"Here you go," he murmured to Daisy, taking the cap off her drink and offering it to her. "Try this."
"I-I'm not allowed m-magic stuff. Mum and Dad -"
"Will never know, I promise. Just have some, Daisy, it'll warm you up nicely."
Aberforth Dumbledore arrived shortly afterwards, just as Daisy was beginning to fall asleep, and showed her and Harry to separate rooms. After wishing his cousin goodnight, Harry collapsed in the creaky bed and fell asleep almost immediately.
When Harry awoke, it took him a moment to remember where he was. The memories slowly came to him as he gazed at the uneven ceiling, and he realised he was still in the room above the Hog's Head.
The aches all over his body, which had been forgotten last night with all the adrenaline, came back in full force as he sat up. "Ow."
Dumbledore smiled from the doorway. "Afternoon, Harry."
Harry rubbed his eyes wearily. "What's the time?"
"Nearly three PM."
"Is Professor McGonagall okay?" Harry asked.
"It will take a bit of time, but she will recover." Dumbledore entered and sat down on the end of his bed, pulling out what looked like a potion vial and handed it to him. "You will probably want this."
Harry grimaced as he looked at the dark red liquid. "Do I have to?"
"Would you rather starve?" Dumbledore raised a quizzical eyebrow.
Harry took that as a yes, braced himself and took a quick gulp, expecting the worst. Surprisingly, the blood was less like the metallic-like taste he had encountered from numerous face punches courtesy of Dudley, and more like some kind of fruit juice, but a lot less sweet. It was actually rather pleasant.
Dumbledore smiled at the look on his face. "You see? No need to worry. Your taste buds are adapted for it."
"This isn't human blood, is it?" Harry asked warily.
"Of course not. This is chicken, I believe. Minerva is rather partial to it. Sourced painlessly, as well."
"Yuk," came a voice from the doorway. "Is that blood?"
Harry grinned at his cousin. "Daisy, you all right?"
She nodded and drew closer, still staring at the half-empty vial. "Yeah. Mum and Dad and Dudley are too, Mr. Dumbledore said they're in some safe house now."
"Professor," Dumbledore gently corrected her. "And you are welcome to return to them whenever you want, Daisy; I am sure they will be glad to see you are safe as well."
She shook her head. "I'd rather stay here with Harry, if that's okay. Harry is staying here, right?"
Harry looked at Dumbledore, who slowly nodded. "Yes, for the time being."
"Okay." Daisy looked happier. "I'll see you later, then, Aberforth is showing me how Transfiguration works."
Harry gave a small laugh as Daisy positively skipped out of the room. "She seems a lot more comfortable round magic now she's stayed here overnight." He caught Dumbledore's eye, and was thrown by the concerned frown. "Professor?"
"Is your cousin all right?" Dumbledore asked. "She didn't seem exactly eager to see her parents again."
"Well, they were never really great parents," Harry began awkwardly. "I mean, Dudley got spoiled rotten, they hated me, and Daisy kind of got forgotten about. She's always been pretty shy and most of the time they just ignore her. We were quite close when we were little, she was like my baby sister, but when I went to Hogwarts she just stopped talking to me altogether. I think she felt like I'd abandoned her." Harry sighed. "Still, least she's talking to me now. That's got to be a good sign."
"How old is she?"
"Eleven last May, why?"
Dumbledore smiled mysteriously. "No reason."
Harry knocked on the bedroom door. He didn't have to wait long for a call of "Come in."
"Professor McGonagall?" he said, pushing the door open slowly. He grinned in relief when he saw she was awake and smiling at him.
"I see you're up and about," she said, her smile fading after a moment. "Albus told me what happened."
Harry shrugged. "No-one got hurt. It could have been a lot worse."
"I wasn't talking about the attack on your home. Harry, sit down."
There wasn't a chair in the room, so Harry assumed she meant on the bed. He went to sit on the end, but she moved over and gestured for him to sit next to her.
"I know what you said to Albus about not caring what I am." Her mouth twitched. "And I am flattered, but there are things about being a vampire you need to know now."
"I'm already informed about the silver," Harry said. "And apparently I'm going to grow wings?"
She chuckled. "I thought you would find that an upside."
"When does it happen?"
"Not straight away. The complete transformation would be too much stress on the body all at once. Probably in a few weeks' time, although it was only ten or eleven days for me."
Harry nodded. "Okay. What else do I need to know?"
"Well … there are quite a few things. The most important thing to remember, Harry, is that people dislike our kind."
"I gathered that."
"Most wizards are very ignorant when it comes to vampires. In truth, we're not much different from any other person save for a few biological differences, but because of what we have to live on, we're assumed evil."
Harry nodded. "I get it."
"I'm not sure you do. Harry." Professor McGonagall looked him firmly in the eyes. "Vampires have no legal rights – none at all. You especially have to be careful. If the Ministry was still targeting you and Albus, I would have half a mind to tell you to leave the country and change your identity. Killing a vampire is not considered a punishable crime, lots of wizards have made a career out of it, and if any of us break the smallest law, it's punishable by execution."
Harry gulped as it started to sink in. "Good thing this didn't happen before Voldemort turned up in the Ministry."
Professor McGonagall nodded. "A very good thing. And even now I would advise you to be extremely cautious. Keep this a secret, and your nose out of trouble. That includes keeping your temper in check."
"I'll do my best." Harry considered. "Anything else I should know?"
She began to reply, but was interrupted by a loud squeal from downstairs. Harry rushed out of the room and down the steps, with Dumbledore hot on his heels, to find Daisy standing in the middle of the kitchen with an envelope with a Hogwarts seal in her hands.