Title: Après Moi, Le Deluge
Author: Amethyst Jackson
Rating: M for future chapters
Summary: AU - An unfortunate incident leads to Harry becoming a vampire.
Disclaimer: I guess it all still belongs to JKR, huh? Yuck. Well, I'm using nothing from DH, because I didn't finish reading it, and some – but not all – of the vampire concepts are blatantly stolen from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight.
A/N: Right, so, I started this after I read Twilight because I was on such a vampire kick. As the disclaimer says, this completely ignores DH, and no, it's not another crossover – all HP, just waaaay cooler, because vampires rock. Sorry for the loooong time between updates. I'm working on it.
Chapter Six: Stupid in Love
"Why couldn't she leave the instructions for a homing charm to find her?" Ron complained, trudging alongside Harry through the backstreets of London.
They had tried using Hermione's supernatural-locator charm, but it just kept pointing to Harry. He realized quickly, though, that he could follow Hermione's scent. It was stronger than any other smell for him, as familiar as breathing. Harry itched to move faster, and he felt instinctually that he could, but Ron wouldn't be able to keep up. He seriously considered leaving Ron behind, but a voice suspiciously similar to Hermione's in his head told him he might not be able to help Hermione alone, if she had found the vampires she was looking for.
How could she be so stupid? This wasn't like Hermione at all. He was the one that went off half-cocked and executed really brainless plans that nearly got him killed. Hermione was supposed to be the voice of reason. That their roles had been radically reversed troubled Harry. Had he driven her to this?
"Obviously, she didn't want to be found," Harry growled, picking up his step a touch. Ron scrambled along beside him.
"Well, that's just barking mad. What is she looking for a vampire for, anyway? She's got one at home!" Ron groused through heavy breaths.
Harry sighed. "She wants a vampire to bite her, and she knows I won't do it."
Ron stopped in his tracks, but Harry wasn't about to quit moving, so he had to run to catch up again. "Wait, wait, wait. Are you telling me Hermione wants to be a vampire?"
"Yes," Harry hissed, furious with her and himself. Why couldn't she understand that he couldn't do that to her? That making the world safe for her was his only goal in life anymore? Why did she have to make it so difficult?
"All right, let me guess. She told you she wanted to be a vampire, because she's crazy in love with you, and you told her there was no way because you wouldn't damn her, and because you're a stubborn dolt, she decided to go out and find another vampire that wouldn't hesitate to sink its fangs into her?"
Harry grimaced. "Basically, yes."
"Well, shit, mate. You should have known she wouldn't take that lying down. That girl would do anything for you."
"I know," he said through gritted teeth. His nerves were getting more and more on edge, and he was finding the idea of biting Ron's head off more and more appealing. He wasn't sure if he meant it literally or figuratively…but he was leaning toward literally.
"Can you still smell her?" Ron asked worriedly.
"It's getting stronger," Harry said, sucking in more of the night air. The smell of parchment and cinnamon lingered, taunting him. What if they didn't make it in time? No wild vampire was going to leave her with a drop of blood remaining, and Hermione wouldn't be able to fight one off once she was bitten. Harry remembered all too well the paralyzing pain of the venom before he'd slipped into unconsciousness.
"I hope she's –" Ron began to say, but he was interrupted by a shrill scream.
"Hermione!" Harry took off running at full speed, much faster than Ron could possibly keep up with, but that didn't matter anymore. Harry's whole universe narrowed down to Hermione and the ground he had to cross to get to her.
The scent trail led him down a poorly lit street and a back alley. Harry followed it to a metal door off a brick building, and he burst through it with a slash of his wand, heedless of the danger.
What he saw made the cold blood freeze in his veins. There were two vampires, both male. One of them, short and brown-haired, had Hermione grasped around the middle, her back to his chest, as he drank from her neck. The other, a blond, had been feeding at her wrist, and he turned defensively at Harry's entrance. Hermione's eyes had rolled back in her head at the pain, and the angle of her legs showed that she was no longer supporting her own weight.
Harry let out an instinctive snarl and went for the nearest vampire, knowing intuitively that he was the weaker of the two and the easiest to tackle. Best to get rid of him and move on quickly to the other. He sunk into a crouch and then pounced, taking the blond vampire to the dirty floor. The vampire was quick to react, rolling them into the brick wall, which Harry's back hit with a jolt of pain. The vampire got one punch in before Harry recovered from his shock and pinned him to the ground. His hands went straight to the creature's throat, squeezing tightly. With his knees pinned to the vampire's shoulders to immobilize him, Harry twisted the vampire's head with a sharp jerk, and it came cleanly off. Harry had only a moment to stare in shock at what he'd accomplished before the corpse beneath him and the head in his hands turned to lifeless ash.
Harry heard a thump behind him, and turned to see the other vampire had dropped Hermione, leaving her sprawled out awkwardly on the ground. Her chest still rose and fell with shallow breath, but Harry could also smell the blood pooling from the wound in her neck, and he knew he didn't have much time. The other vampire was in a crouch before her, growling, prepared to defend his meal. What that vampire didn't understand was that his meal was Harry's mate, and one of them would not be walking away alive.
Harry lunged for the vampire, but this one was smarter, dodging and spinning away. Harry landed roughly, jarringly, but turned quickly, now occupying the defending position in front of Hermione. He'd be damned if the other vampire would ever get this close to Hermione again.
"Why don't you find your own dinner?" the vampire snarled, approaching warily, looking for Harry's weaknesses. Harry, too, was scouting the other vampire, watching the way he tended to leave his left side undefended.
"She's mine," Harry hissed. As the fog of pure instinct wore away slightly, Harry remembered the advantage he had over this creature – magic. His wand was in his hand before he could complete that thought, and in the next second, Harry took aim, shouting the spell Hermione had used to save him not so long ago. The vampire caught fire and wheeled back, trying to put out the flames. It was no use. The fire quickly engulfed him, and with a spine-chilling shriek, it was another pile of ashes on the floor.
Without pause, Harry turned to Hermione. The bleeding at her neck had slowed, but so had her pulse. He tore off his shirt, pressing it quickly to her neck with as much force as he could use without hurting her. The sound of footsteps carried from outside, but Harry smelled Ron's scent on the breeze through the doorway, keeping him from panicking.
"Bloody hell," Ron breathed from the doorway, but Harry didn't turn to look at him. His eyes were glued to Hermione's chalk-white face. He could only pray Hermione had enough blood left in her to complete the transformation because the other outcome was unendurable.
"We need to get her out of here," Harry said through a throat that didn't want to cooperate.
"Yeah, of course. What do you need me to do?" Ron asked, hovering uncertainly.
Harry struggled to think clearly. "I can carry her, but I'll need you to be on your guard. If we're attacked, I won't be able to fight and take care of her at the same time."
"I can handle it," Ron promised, gripping his wand tighter. "I've got your back."
"Thank you," Harry breathed, so very glad to have his best friend in this moment. His mind struggled in numbness, unable to process anything but Hermione – Hermione and her blood on his hand. Later, he would think about the rippling repercussions of this night. While Hermione lay changing in silence, he would think about words like vampirism and eternity. For now, that small, clear part of his mind demanded he make her safe, immediately.
Taking Hermione carefully into his arms, with one hand curled around her neck to keep pressure against the wound and the other hooked beneath her knees, Harry stood and let Ron lead the way out of the building, which was, for all Harry could tell in his limited perception, a warehouse.
True to his word, Ron was vigilant, scoping out both ends of the alley before leading the way back to the street. They were slow getting back to Grimmauld Place; Ron took each step cautiously, on the lookout for threats, and Harry feared too move too quickly with the precious burden in his arms. Fortunately, they were unnoticed and unharmed. Hermione had found the worst things out there for one night.
Safely ensconced in their hideaway once more, Harry carried Hermione to his bed. The shackles were still there, and as much as it pained Harry to have to restrain Hermione, he knew it was necessary. Harry remembered all too well the way the thirst had overwhelmed him the first time Hermione had come too close. Although he was fairly certain that Hermione wouldn't react the same way to Ron, he couldn't take the risk. Ron's safety took precedent over Hermione's comfort, and Harry knew she wouldn't be able to live with herself if she hurt their friend.
Ron had called in Lupin while Harry tended to Hermione. He arrived with Tonks, who taught Harry a healing charm for Hermione's neck. Once there was nothing more to be done, Harry congregated with the other three in the parlor.
"Harry," Ron greeted him from an armchair. Lupin stood by the fireplace, and Tonks had curled herself into a corner of the couch. "I was waiting for you to get here to explain what had happened tonight."
"How did this happen, Harry?" Lupin asked. His face was somber, and his voice was…disappointed, a reminder of how much Harry had truly failed Hermione. Lupin clearly felt Hermione did not deserve this fate, and he could only agree. If only he'd been paying more attention, perhaps he could have kept Hermione from acting out her insane plan.
"Hermione wanted to be a vampire," Harry said dully. "I told her I wouldn't do that to her, and she decided to go looking for someone who would."
"She'd been holed up in the library for days," Ron offered. "I knew she was up to something, but I didn't think she would ever…." He shook his head, clearly dumbfounded. "She rushed out earlier tonight saying she was going to visit her parents, maybe for a few days, and that just didn't sound right. I went to the library and found all her notes lying out. Thank goodness she was daft enough to leave them out, or else we might never –"
"Hermione planned this whole thing out to the letter. She wouldn't have just forgotten to hide her notes." Harry shook his head, frustrated that he hadn't seen it sooner. "She left her notes out because she wanted us to follow her. She knew she wouldn't be able to fight off vampires on her own, and she also knew that we wouldn't make it in time to keep her from being bitten. This was her plan all along."
Ron gaped at Harry while Lupin and Tonks exchanged a significant look. "But her notes said something about a timed charm that would kill the vampires…"
"A backup plan," Harry sighed. "In case you didn't go looking for clues before it was too late."
Ron frowned. "Why would she say she was going to visit her parents, then? If she wanted us to go looking…"
Harry closed his eyes. "Because if she'd said she was running an errand or something, you would have asked questions. You would have wanted to go with her."
"Oh," Ron breathed.
Lupin cleared his throat, ending the exchange. "You say she wanted this. There's no undoing it now. We can only hope she doesn't come to regret her decision. Moving forward, however, we're going to have to deal with the reality of having two young vampires in one house. Ron, I think it would be extremely unwise for you to stay here alone with them. I believe Tonks and I would be willing to join you here."
"Of course," Tonks agreed, nodding her currently brunette head.
"Wouldn't it be better to have fewer humans around?" Harry questioned. "Less temptation?"
"There is no ideal situation in this case, but I think you'll find once Hermione is awake that the two of you feed upon one another. Not in a literal sense," Lupin inserted quickly at the look on Ron's face, "although that is a possibility. I mean it in a metaphorical sense, however. Vampires become increasingly more primal in groups. It's dangerous for any humans to be around you both together, but it's even more crucial in this case that you have some supervision. Otherwise, you both might become lost to your vampire nature…and then there would be no bringing you back."
"Make yourselves at home then," Harry said tiredly, unable to process all the information in his mental state. "I'm…exhausted. If you don't mind, I think I'll…?"
"Go, be with her," Lupin said with an understanding nod. Harry tried to smile his thanks, but it probably came across as a grimace.
Harry dragged his body up the stairs to his room and sunk down in the chair by his bed, the one in which Hermione had passed many hours while he went through his transformation. She was so still and pale. Even though he knew, intellectually, that she would be fine, that she would walk and talk and maybe even smile again, it was disconcerting to see her so lifeless.
He leaned over, resting his arms and head on the mattress beside her body, and waited.
It hurt. Hermione hadn't realized how much it would hurt; Harry had never talked about his transformation. She assumed he'd been unconscious the entire time.
She drifted in and out of awareness, sometimes at peace, but other times awake and unable to move. She couldn't twitch her fingers or call out to anyone or even lift her eyelids. She tried not to be afraid. There was a hand holding hers all the time, and she knew she wasn't alone.
Still, the transformation was…intense. The sensation was suffocating, as if her entire body were tightening and hardening, freezing into solid form. She could feel her heart slowing and her blood cooling. Nothing could have prepared her for this.
She slipped into oblivion for the last time before her heart stopped beating, and when she woke, the slow throb of her pulse in her ears was gone. She mourned the loss momentarily before trying, once again, to move some part of her body. To her joy, when she tried to wiggle her fingers, it worked.
Her fingers danced, and then struck upon skin. It felt vaguely warm, like lukewarm water running from the tap. She struggled to push her eyes open, and when she did, bright green ones were shining at her in an otherwise dark room.
He was still for a moment, staring at her. Of course, she would look a little different. She wondered what her eyes were like now, if they were as catlike as his.
"Harry?" she croaked, wishing he would say something. She needed to be sure he was real, that she had actually made it through the transformation. For all she knew, she could be well and truly dead right now.
"Hermione," he finally said, and his voice was hard. "Do you want to tell me what the hell you were thinking?"
Hermione winced. He was furious, and she knew she was in trouble.
To Be Continued