AN: Happy that many of you enjoyed the chapter! And sorry for leaving it at a cliffhanger, but an author has got to do what an author's got to do.
Now to the issue of the pairing. I was never planning on making it a blatant, all of a sudden, wild romance. I was always thinking of keeping it subtle, flirtatious, but nothing quick and fast. This is still a Harry/Esme familial story, and that's where this story is going to focus.
After mulling it over, however, I do love Harry/Edward together, but Harry's flirtatious ways with everyone makes it much more enjoyable to write.
So we'll see where the story goes and flows, nothing set on the pairing either happening or not happening, and hope that you guys enjoy it anyway! I mean, I'm sure that anti-pairing are enjoying it
And hopefully the pro-pairing loves what's happening between them already as well.
Chapter 9: On Guard
"Uncle James? Aunt Lily?" The pair looked up at their adopted son.
James pushed his glasses up, as if fixing his vision would suddenly make Harry disappear. With a quick glance to his wife, he turned back to the boy in front of him. Pushing the various auror paperwork away from the couch, he motioned Harry over. "Harry, what are you doing up? You should be sleeping right now. If we're late tomorrow because you can't get up, we'll miss your train." As he stacked the papers on the coffee table in front of them, he felt the cushion beneath him sink in when Harry sat between them.
"I had a nightmare… about mom. I don't think I can get back to sleep."
Lily frowned and nudged her husband behind Harry's back. They shared a sad look with each other. Their Harold was now 16, and still suffering from the traumatic childhood he experienced. They watched him tug on the ends of his hair, his face hidden from their view.
"I don't understand. I can barely remember what happened when I'm awake, but at night… everything is so vivid. So real. And at school, not even the sleeping draughts Madam Pomfrey gives me helps."
The red-haired mother pulled him into a hug with a sad sigh. "I'm sorry, Harry. Your uncle and I were sure that if we just didn't talk about that past, you would be fine. It seems we were wrong. How long has this been happening, darling? Why haven't you told us?"
He shrugged, peeking up at her through his dark hair. "I didn't want to worry you. At first I thought they were just simple nightmares, but then I started seeing her… dreaming of her…"
"Would you like to tell us what happened?"
He shivered in her arms. "Just… just being taken away from her. That day, over and over again, but… but somehow worse. All of you yelling and screaming at me, saying it was my fault."
Lily let out an angry gasp as she smacked the back of Harry's head.
He grabbed his skull and turned to her in shock. "Ow!"
"Oh don't be a fool, Harold! How dare you think of something like that!"
"I said it was a dream, didn't I?!"
She closed her eyes and hugged him again. "Harry, if there's even a nagging doubt in your mind… You must understand that none of us blame you. We blame that monster of a father."
James patted his boy's back. "From now on, Harry, you tell us when you're having nightmares. How in Merlin's name you've hid it this long, I'll never know. What's made this one especially terrible that you finally decided to tell us?"
He shook his head and looked up at his godfather. "I don't know there was this… this song playing over and over… it was haunting."
Their frowns deepened. "A song?" He nodded and began to hum the melody, stopping when Lily let go of him, a look of horror on her face. He heard James mutter a few angry curses under his breath as he angrily scratched his head in frustration. "What? What is it?"
"That song, Harry. It's from-"
"The music box," Harry whispered. He was now sitting on the couch, staring at the broken thing that he dropped on the floor. "I was having nightmares in my teen years, about the day you were taken from me, and somehow, I was hearing the melody from the Austrian music box." He twirled his finger, pointing directly at it, and the crank began to turn. Esme was shivering in her husband's arms, far in the corner of the room, while the other Cullens were circled around the box. They stared at the object as if it was about to explode. When the crank finally stopped turning, Harry released it, and listened to the melody that haunted him and his mother for years.
A few teeth on the comb hitting the little bumps on the barrel of the music maker were missing. As if the tune wasn't eerie enough, the missing notes made it much more strained… more frightening.
"Who could've sent this?" Esme stuttered out as Carlisle hugged her tighter. A dark anger overtook his face as he looked away from the box. "Please Harry, stop it."
Harry clenched his eyes closed, and with a tightening of his fist, the music stopped, the entire music box suddenly crushed and turned into ashes. He got up with a desperate growl and began to pace. Unable to contain himself he jumped through the broken window and slammed into a tree outside, taking it down to the ground with him. They watched as tree after tree toppled to the ground, the enraged vampire pawing at the bark around him. Edward quickly followed him and wrestled him to the ground. Harry squirmed in his arms, trying to break free. "Let me go! Let me go, damn you!"
Edward pulled Harry's arms tight behind him, holding them with all of his might. "It's alright," he tried to assure him.
"This bloody well isn't alright, you stupid git!"
Loud roars echoed through the woods as Edward tried to calm him. "Harold, think of your mother!" he hissed.
It only did enough to slow his motions very minimally.
Alice hid her face in her husband's chest, guiltily trying to understand what was happening. "I don't get it," she said quietly. "I don't get it. Why didn't I see this? Why can't I see anything about this?"
Edward was still trying to calm Harry outside. Carlisle had finally gotten Esme to sit down with him. Rosalie and Emmett, as calmly as possible, walked out to help restrain the anguished vampire outside. Esme's hand curled into a fist as she softly beat her forehead.
"Why is this happening? It can't be him, it can't be…"
A loud thump echoed through the house.
Esme flinched at the noise. That was the fourteenth hole Harry had punched into the concrete floor in the basement. Carlisle patted her back softly, trying to comfort her. She only nodded in response. "He needs to take it out on something, darling."
"But our house," she tried to joke. Her husband let out a quiet laugh. The two were silenced as they heard footsteps coming up the stairs.
The door swung open and Harry stood there, looking at the ground. With an unneeded sigh, and without looking up at them, he walked towards the front door. "Going for a run," he told them quietly.
"Do you want one of us to go with you?" His mother asked with great concern.
He shook his head. "It's alright."
They heard a scoff from the living room, stopping Harry in his tracks. Emmett walked towards him. "I'm coming with you."
"I just said it was-"
"Don't argue with me, brother man. It's not alright, and you're not alright. So I'm coming with."
Harry shrugged and threw his hands up in defeat. "Fine, but keep up." With that, he dashed out of the house, already far into the woods.
"Wait, son," Carlisle said, stopping Emmett before he could follow.
"Just… keep him safe."
Emmett nodded. "You got it."
With that, the foyer was empty once again.
Emmett had quickly caught up with the other vampire. After a few miles of running shoulder to shoulder, they began to dip and dodge around each other. Occasionally, Harry would hop from tree to tree, rising higher and higher until he couldn't be seen. Each time, he'd suddenly drop back next to Emmett. A smirk began to appear on his face every time he was able to startle his companion.
"Seriously, bro, cut that crap out," Emmett laughed. "How are you even doing that, I can barely hear you coming."
"That's because you can't hear me," he responded, pushing forward to try and get ahead of him. "I'm apparating. Magic thing. Bang in and out of places and such."
"What?! Like teleportation?! You guys can do that?!"
He laughed and threw a genuine smile at the vampire. "Guess so!"
"That's awesome! I which I could-"
Before he could finish, a beam of light blinded their vision and blew both of them back, taking down a good number of trees behind them. Harry was the first to jump up, looking around wildly. "The bloody hell was that! Was that a spell?!" In response, another spell found him, hitting him square in the chest. He fell to his knees, almost squealing from the pain.
"Harry!" Emmett shouted in horror. He watched the boy fall face flat onto the ground, squirming erratically.
Harry's legs were kicking the ground beneath him, his hands balled into fists as his screams sounded loudly. "Em!" He gasped out, when the pain stopped momentarily.
A soft whisper paralyzed them. "Cruico."
"No!" He screamed, but it was too late. Once again, he was pawing at the ground, the pain unbearable.
"Harry! Harry what is it, what's happening?!" Emmett made his way to him, trying to hold him still.
"Emmett!" He gritted out. "It- it's a wizard!"
He growled, looking around for the person in question. "Where the hell are you?!" His attention was brought back to his brother as the boy gasped. The pain was over. "Are you okay?"
Harry nodded, his eyes clenched shut as he tried to recover.
"What the hell was-"
He pushed the much larger man out of the way of the spell. He growled angrily, and fell to all fours. Harry's back arched at the blinding pain he was going through, but he refused to fall back to the ground.
"God damnit!" Emmett shouted, scrambling back to his feet. He bent down and tried once again to hold Harry still. "Why did you do that?! You should've let me take it!"
Harry threw himself back into the man's arms, allowing Emmett to lock his arms around his chest. He pulled at his hair, his voice going raspy. "Merlin, make it stop, make it stop!"
Finally, his body slumped and became motionless.
"Harry? Harry!" He patted the boy's cheek, trying to get a response. Before another spell could be shot at them, he picked Harry up and began the run back to the house.
"What happened?! What the hell happened?! Let me go!"
Jasper had Edward in full nelson hold, trying to keep him still. Seeing the boy who had become his best friend in such a state nearly drove him mad. Despite Jasper trying to keep him calm, he was still in a fury. "Calm yourself, Edward," Jasper hissed. "Look at what you're doing to Esme!" Edward stilled momentarily, before forcing his way out of Jasper's grip. Esme quickly made her way over and the bronze-haired vampire wrapped her in a hug.
Emmett was sitting next to the unconscious vampire, shaking his head. "I don't understand… I couldn't smell anyone, couldn't see anyone. It's like no one was there!" Rosalie rubbed his neck softly.
"Don't blame yourself, Em," She whispered. "It wasn't your fault. You said this guy was a wizard? He was probably using a spell to mask himself…"
"Still," He mumbled guiltily. Rubbing his forehead roughly, he growled in irritation. "How could I let this happen."
"This isn't your fault, son," Carlisle reinforced.
"You bet your ass it was your fault," they heard the wizard croak out jokingly.
Esme gasped, falling to her knees beside her son and grasping his hand tightly. "Darling, you're awake!"
Alice dashed in, a cup full of blood in her hand. "From the butcher," she said.
He grimaced before taking a gulp. "Ugh, preservatives…"
"Are you alright, sweetheart?" His mother interrupted. "Why would a wizard be after you?"
They stopped and stared. "What?" Edward asked angrily.
"It was a vampire wizard. No normal wizard could pierce vampire skin that easily, make it hurt that much. Why'd you think it took grandpa and all of his men so long to 'save' me? He must've been turned. Powers must've been enhanced."
"You've got to be joking… he got his hands on vampire wizards…"
They didn't need to ask whom Edward meant when he said he.
Harry stretched his limbs, trying to stand. "I don't understand how he's still alive, the bastard."
"We can't be sure that it's really him," Alice added. "This could be his descendant, or just a freaky coincidence. Maybe someone from your human years knew about your past and is just using this against you. Did you make any enemies?"
He laughed. "I died right after graduation. I didn't have time to make enemies, besides the silly school boy fights I used to have.' He held a hand up to stop her before she began. "And no, none of those were serious enough to make someone want to kill me. It's him, Alice. It has to be."
"But how?" Esme cried out.
Carlisle stood up. It wasn't often that he showed his dominance over the coven, finding the assertion arrogant and unnecessary. They all knew he was the leader, but respected him more as the father figure of their family. So when he stood their, his posture strong and his face showing a kind of calm anger, they knew to listen to him. "We will remain calm," he began. "No one is to leave the house unless it is to hunt. In a few days, we'll go to the Denalis. I've already discussed it with them."
Rosalie raised her hand to capture his attention. "Are we moving there, Carlisle, or are we just steering clear for a while?"
"That will be decided later."
Harry looked at his mother's shaken form and he couldn't help but feel the need to cry. "I'm sorry I've brought trouble to the family," he said quietly.
Carlisle shook his head, becoming slightly softer. "Nonsense, Harry. You did not cause this. Besides, if he didn't find you two together, he would've found you two separately. It doesn't make any difference."
Edward cleared his throat. "So this is real? This is actually happening? We're acknowledging that this is actually Charles…"
They all looked at Esme for the answer. She slowly turned to each of them, nodding. "Let's… let's start packing then."
Tanya and Kate sat on Harry's bed, staring at the boy who was lying face down next to them. Tanya sighed as she slowly began to rub his spine. He twitched under her hand, feeling slightly ticklish from her touch. They smirked at each other as he turned his head to look at them with a glare. "I'm restless enough, Tanya!" He rolled over so that the mattress below him guarded his back.
She rolled her eyes and continued her ministrations by turning her attention to his hair. He flinched away but her growl caused him to stop his movements.
He couldn't help but intensify his sneer. "Honestly, you two, you don't need to worry about me."
Kate scoffed. "Do you think we don't know how wound up you've been? If your coven hadn't informed us, your aura would have been enough."
"My aura," he chuckled. "You sound like my wonky divinations professor from my Hogwarts days."
"It is merely the truth, darling," Tanya drawled lazily. "It's nearly intoxicating. If we didn't know any better, we'd think you were the one with the power to manipulate emotions, not Jasper."
Harry groaned and stretched himself across their laps so that his head was on Kate's knees and his legs on Tanya's thighs. "I'm so tired."
"Tired?!" Rosalie exclaimed as she walked into the room. She threw herself down on Harry's futon. "You're a vampire. We don't actually experience exhaustion."
"Nonetheless, I'm tired," he responded stubbornly. She chuckled when she caught sight of his pout. The room suddenly grew much more serious as Harry sat up with a grim look on his face. "I'm tired of waiting. If this bastard is actually… if this coward is out there, waiting to show himself, he better do it soon."
"We've only been in Alaska for two weeks, Harry," Rosalie stated quietly. "He may not have found us yet. He may not find us for a while."
"Don't underestimate him, Rose. He's found us. I can feel it. He's just trying to make us sweat."
It was quiet for another few weeks.
But not peaceful.
Everyone was on edge. Carlisle was constantly watching Esme, refusing to leave her side. Emmett, still annoyed with himself for being unable to protect his newest brother, made sure that if he wasn't with Harry, that he could at least hear him. Even Jasper was jittery, constantly surveying the surroundings of the Denali household.
"Edward," Harry muttered, breaking the silence. Although only one was called, every vampire turned to look. He rolled his eyes, crossing his arms. "I said Edward, did I not?"
Sheepishly, a few turned back to what they were doing.
"Come hunt with me, will you? If I stay locked up in this house one more day, I'll go mental."
Edward nodded, setting his book down on the coffee table. "Let's go," he said, trying to sound cheerful. "Let's hurry so that we don't get home after dark." He opened the door and they both walked out.
"We're vampires, Edward. Fast is our nature."
"Yes well greedily hungry is also in yours. You kept us hunting for nearly 3 hours last time."
"I'm a growing boy, Eddie."
"Stop calling me that."
They were just about to sprint off when a blood-curdling scream rang from the house.
Harry's face was overcome with horror. "Mom!" he called as he ran back.
Emmett and Rosalie were holding Esme, trying to keep her away from the man on the floor. "Carlisle!" she cried desperately. "Let me go!" Alice was holding Carlisle's hand as the vampire twitched in pain. He was whispering her name, trying to give her comfort and tell her he was okay. Alice spared a glance back at their coven mother and saw that she was obviously not buying it.
"You can't do anything for him, Esme," Jasper whispered sadly as he tried to calm the restless Carlisle.
"Why did you push me out of the way, you- you idiot?!" She wept.
"Mom!" They heard. Within a few seconds, Edward and Harry were at their side. Although the raven-haired vampire was relieved to see his mother wasn't the one in pain, anger overtook him when he saw Carlisle on the floor. With a growl, he ran back out and began searching through the trees for anything. Edward was quick to follow, helping him. From inside, they heard Carlisle release a loud gasp of air.
"Oh thank god," they heard him whisper.
But Harry suddenly looked worried. He knew that if Carlisle's pain had stopped, the attack would only be focused again, and that this time, it might actually hit its target.
As if someone read his mind, he heard his mother's cry, everyone calling her name and trying to comfort her.
He gripped his hair, madness blinding his vision. "WHAT DO YOU WANT?! WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM US?!"
Before he could even try to focus again, he saw Edward's body fall in front of him.
Running over, he saw that somehow, the vampire was unconscious.
Harry could've sworn he felt his undead heart thump in his chest. Fear covered him like a blanket for the first time in years. He didn't need to turn around to know who was behind him, but feeling as though he needed confirmation, he craned his neck.
Red eyes met his golden ones.
Charles smiled. "It's good to see you again, son."