Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Photographing Forests, by Pyxis Leon.
Rating: M for future content.
Disclaimer: I own the general plot line. Everything else belongs to the authors themselves who created the characters and story lines I have borrowed.
Please Note: This story is AU. I believe you are smart enough to figure out why. Any problems, please don't hesitate to ask. I have also revised this chapter and cleared up as many spelling errors, plot errors and typographical errors I could find.
Please see my profile for story warnings.
Under duress from the Ministry, my Mother and I fled to Washington State, America. They hadn't specified a place to move too, but we decided the further away from our enemies the better. And once in America, we were out of sight and out of mind.
No longer would we be subjected to financial anxieties or the occasional vigilante trying to right the apparent wrongs we had made in the past. Harry Potter helped us a lot, throwing his weight around to extricate us from gaol and punishment and for a long time I wasn't sure why. But arriving in America I began to understand; I was free from the confines of a Dark Lord's reign and now all manner of things seemed possible. I could move as freely as I wanted too- I could have sex, take drugs, make friends... I could be a normal kid, with normal kid values and not worry about the pressures from evil overlords. And I guess Harry saw that too; he saw that maybe I was a bully and a fiend, but I would have been that anyway, with or without Voldemort. But I would never have wreaked havoc over my peers like I did, I would never have Imperiused someone for personal gain, without Voldemort.
So Harry gave me and my Mother a second chance. We were free from imprisonment and off to discover a different world.
Travel wasn't really a luxury the Malfoy's afforded themselves, when so much time had been needed to keep financial security and hold allies together, so I didn't really know what to expect when I arrived in America. I think, from the basic knowledge I had of foreign countries, I wished for heat and sun, ice-cream and beaches. Instead, when we arrived outside our new house, I was met with forest. Sparkling drops of cold rain were filtered through the leaves overhead and soaked me to the core. When my mother turned around to ask me whether I liked our new house, her hands gesturing wildly to the really modern, really large cabin, I smiled and said that I did.
The truth was that I was dubious. I wasn't sure by what means my mother had gone to secure this cabin and who she had acquired it from. And it was creepy, for the first time in my life, to be in a place so devoid of magical signature. The taxi driver waved at my mother as he retreated down the long, bendy driveway and embarrassingly my mother blushed.
'Come, Draco.' She said, ushering me up to the door and into the house, where I stood grudgingly marvelling the sparse, open plan interior so far from what my previous abode had been like. Art, real unmoving art, hung on the walls and coloured the white walls up prettily; not a magical item in sight.
'I'm gonna go find my bedroom.' I said, turning and fleeing up the stairs, checking room by room to find the best one for myself. But my mother must have known that I would want the room with the balcony, that looked out to the bowl of the forest, with the en-suite bathroom and an envious built in closet because she had decorated it for me, in colours and fashions I didn't know I liked until now.
'I didn't choose it,' she said coming up behind me, correcting my earlier thoughts. 'There's this firm, that helps families to acclimatise to muggle ways of living.'
'Muggle?' I asked, enunciating the words slowly and precisely. I opened my eyes in wonderment, so tightly laced with fear of the unknown. But I kind of liked the implication that word held. Muggle; hard work, new world, fun times. If I went with it, which I knew I would, I could live out the last of my teenage years... as a teenager.
'Yes, sweetie, muggle. We don't have to live like muggles, but we are slightly closer to muggle society now.' I didn't like the placating tone; it filled me with ideas of being five years old.
But I grew up quickly and I smiled at my mum. 'It's good. It will show us exactly how much we are starting a new.'
I was under qualified to attend the school in Forks full-time, but my mother managed to wing it so I could attend a couple of hours a week and study English Literature and Mathematics. I gave the excuse, to all those asking, that I was taking those classes just as a way to improve my grade before I attended one of the Ivy League schools in the coming scholastic year. Unfortunately, for social interaction, people tended to avoid me either because they thought I was a genius - "You're that really, really smart kid that like, doesn't need to be here right?"-or because of my accent. And I didn't really have a lot to say to anyone either, because I didn't know what popular British muggle culture was, let alone American.
So I grew fascinated with the woods around my home in my spare time. Wandering, listening, enjoying the sense of freedom the leaky tent of green would give me. And my mother became more and more involved in Muggle culture; she liked the television and she liked to cook atrocious meals that I ate gladly just too please her. She often said it was a liberation, to get away from Pure Blood society, and I quite agreed with her. Not once in those first few months of my life did I miss the insipid money minded attitude of Pure Bloods, or the backstabbing oneliners, or the namedropping. I didn't miss having to be polite to people, just for personal gain, and I didn't miss my wand that was stashed in my bedside drawer.
As a result of A+'s I received on tests at school, Mum gave me a digital SLR camera, which I would use religiously out in the forest once I had a handle on how to use it. Taking it to school, I became aquainted with the School Paper team, who showed me a lot of interesting tricks and skills that I applied to my photo-editing on my laptop.
The sense of muggle living washed me clean of the Dark Arts. It wasn't very long after that, when I would regret having ever let myself become devoid of magic.
I spent the most part of the lead up to Christmas trying in vain to fill the isolation with photography and driving, as and when my instructor could fit it in. I was getting quite good at both it seemed, even though a depression was taking over. A throw back from the past washed over me and I became powerless to escape lost feelings of a packed Great Hall, and people who could talk to me about things that I knew.
I took to the forest more and more.
Sitting in my room at the desk with my laptop open in front of me, I scanned the pictures I had taken that day. Macro shots of snow on leaves, vertical shots of trees. And then something caught my eye; a picture I had taken of a deer, running wildly through the forest that I had managed to capture on a high shutter speed. Having already wondered whether the pictures themselves would turn out alright, I was briefly amazed that with clarity you could indeed make out the form and stance of the wild deer.
It's eyes where shockingly wide. It's mouth hung open like it had been outrunning a hunter for miles and miles. And there, in the background, tailing the beast was a flash of colour.
I clicked to the next frame. The blurred shape of a human running parallel to the deer, I was sure of it, had my heart beating a heavy rhythm into my chest. My blood felt sluggish as it pumped through my veins.
That night I kept away from my balcony.
But the next day, having convinced myself that I must have imagined the blurry shape to be human, I stole off into the forest to eat lunch solo. Mother was in one of her home maker moments, and fussing annoyingly over Christmas decorations and such. She had said she had invited some of our neighbours round in the evening for dinner, and I was keen to stay away from the Pure Blood paranoia that would come with her trying to kindle everything into perfection.
Suddenly, I wished I had brought my broom with me so I could fly around the trees. I could pretend they were quidditch hoops and spectator stands and every time Potter was about to get the snitch, I would vanquish him and steal it! I would circle him high and torment him at low heights and all the trees would praise me, as if they themselves where the audience in my flight.
I needed to get up, as high as I could. It was probably the isolation driving me sparky, but I knew for certain then and there that if I climbed, for the briefest of moments as that vertigo hit me I would feel just as I did every time I went into battle over the Golden snitch.
So I found a tree and started. My lunch, my bag, my camera lay at the base of the tree waiting for me to descend. I went higher, muscles pulling and working themselves as they hadn't been able to in the last couple of years. My stronger arm, my wand arm, helped me manage the branches and my lithe body had minimal resistance to the drag.
Looking down was not such a good idea though. I froze, about twenty feet in the air, and had to grip with my arms and my knees to the thick arm of tree I was balanced on. The panic had me loosing track of time, and eventually day turned to night.
Mother was going to be so unhappy.
And I was so humiliated; getting stuck up a tree like a baby. I cried for a while, but that was just enraging and unhelpful, and then I tried to shuffle round so I could get comfortable. It had been raining for some time already, and as I tried to find purchase with my hand, I slipped and threw myself totally off balance.
The breath whooshed out of me and I was flying.
'Alice saw a boy falling out of a tree and dying... I could hardly let that happen could I?' Said a smooth, deep voice with a fierce determination that had me rising from the depths of sleep. I was quite happy that someone had decided to put me to bed.
Even though I was supposed to be stuck up a tree...
Slamming my eyelids into the back of my head, and sitting up simultaneously, I was quite convinced I had died and gone to the afterlife. I was in a darkened room... a dead sort of life came pulsating towards me from across the room. 'It was quite funny to watch him up there for a couple of hours.' The presence said again, humouring himself no doubt.
'Who are you talking to?' I asked groggily. 'Where am I?'
'Hold on, Edward,' the presence said again as he lifted something down away from his ear. A light, so bright it pierced the darkness, followed his hand and briefly it illuminated his face. His face; a beautiful, ethereal face. It was just a glance before it was darkened again. 'I'll be taking you home in a minute, son.' The man left the room, from darkness and into darkness. I groaned and stayed still, quite frightened and confused.
The stranger led me to his car and drove me home. His wife sat up front and following us, quite absurdly at the time, were several of his children. The husband nor the wife tried to talk to me, for which I was grateful and dismayed. We drove down my driveway, my mother standing on the steps to the front door with magnitude and beauty.
She looked welcoming.
'Draco, what on earth where you thinking?' She said mockingly. 'Thank goodness the good Doctor here was around.' She hugged the husband and the wife with such enthusiastic embrace I was dumbfounded by their familiarity. The husband was smiling.
The house didn't smell like food. It smelt cheerful and Christmassy. I was suddenly sorrowful for my lost lunch... and then my camera. I had hoped she would be cooking for our guests.
I let my mother lead the way into the house. 'Go change darling,' She said to me and then added as an after thought, quite loud enough for all those in attendance to here, 'I'll spell up some food for you, if you like.'
I looked at her like she was mad, all the way up the open stairs, waiting for the maniacal explosion. It didn't feel safe, all of a sudden, to be alone with my mother and her new, slightly bizarre and way too beautiful new friends.
But I ate the food she sent up, and showered and changed into the most suitable casual clothes I could find and felt thoroughly muggle in my dumbfounded fumblings around my room. For the first time in a long time, I took my wand out of my bedside drawer and stuffed it up my sleeve.
I walked down the stairs to cheers and clapping. 'Show us another one, Cissy!' Cried the good Doctor. I peered through the balustrades, sat on the stairs like a child. But they all must have heard my ascent, because every single guest turned to look at me.
'Come down, Dear,' my mother said, as she stood in front of our guests with her wand held aloft. 'They won't bite!' She crowed, and everyone fell into heaps of laughter. I felt thick between the ears.
Reluctant in my movements, I walked down the stairs. My eyes trained solely on my mother. I screamed questions at her in my mind, none of which she could answer. 'I am sorry to be rude, Mother,' I said slowly and quietly, 'but I feel a little lost.'
The room became still, silent. 'Mother...?' I asked.
The Doctor moved into my line of vision. Holding out his hand, he said: 'Hello, Draco, I'm Carlisle Cullen.' I took his hand. 'And this is my wife, Esme.' He said, gesturing to a graceful, wonderful woman with vibrant brown hair.
I smiled sweetly at her. 'And I'm Alice!' Came a buoyant, tiny little woman, bounding up to me and grasping me into a hug. 'It's so nice to finally meet you.' She said, before I was taken to a new angle by a strong hand on my shoulder.
Words faltered me. For a second, I lost all coherent sense of being. I was neither izard or muggle. I wasn't Draco or Malfoy. I was metaphysical, a brush of breath from one lover to another. I was the first kiss, the first dance, the proposal and the burst of love all rolled up into one.
'I'm Jasper.' He said. I had seen him before in my English class, but never before this close up. Silver skin and tempting lips. The same gold eyes all his family possessed.
'And this is Emmett and Rosalie.' Carlisle said, motioning towards a hunk of a man and a beautiful woman. Same silver skin, same gold eyes.
With all the composure I had ever known to have, I smiled politely at the family and moved to stand by my mother. 'They're vampires!' She crooned next to me, 'Isn't that just fabulous!?'
I was sure my mother had lost the plot. I had never studied vampires at Hogwarts, so I wasn't sure whether she was telling the truth or had completely gone insane. But the Good Doctor just went on smiling serenely, and for someone with licence to practise any kind of medicine, or healing, I was very much in belief that despite the incredulity of it all, my mother was in fact telling the truth.
'But we're vegetarian vampires, so you don't need to worry!' Alice said happily, dancing her way through to me and grasping my hand.
'He wasn't worried at all,' Jasper said, and I used all my courage and determination not to look at him. 'Dumbstruck, but not worried.'
'Show off!' Alice said, sticking out her tongue. 'Come, Draco, show me your room.'
'She means your closet,' Emmett said from his place of the couch, 'She'll have your Winter term outfits picked out in seconds. I'd watch her if I were you.'
Alice led me up the stairs. I could hear Carlisle asking my mother, with such delight it was palpable, to shoot a beam of sunlight from her wand at him and the laughter that followed.
'So are you a wizard aswell?' Alice asked, swapping places with me at the top of the stairs.
It was a bizarre question. Not once in my entire life had someone asked me that. I was already quite come upon by the grounding feeling from Jasper, that Alice questioning my lineage was terribly unsettling. 'Yes.' I said in response.
'We've never met witches or wizards before...' She said. 'But your mom said that you have some Vampire in you, which is how she knew what we were.'
I stopped, my hand gripping the doorknob to my room, my palm starting ache from the aggression. 'She said what?'
'Your mom is a bit airy, isn't she?' Alice said in return. 'She forgets to tell you a lot of things.'
'Well you know what they say about blondes.'
Alice gave a tinkle of laughter. I opened the door to my room, and she gave a little gasp of delight. 'Wonderful! Simply wonderful... what fantastic decoration... I haven't seen a four poster bed with such detail in years... are those wrought iron roses on the headboard?'
'Are you all really family?' I asked a little while later, whilst I took to the balcony for a cigarette. Alice busied herself with my wardrobe.
'Oh no. Rosalie, Emmett and Edward where all turned by Carlisle and then "adopted". He turned Esme too. But Jasper and I have different beginnings. Emmett and Rosalie bonded after Emmett was turned.
'What about you? Do you have siblings?'
'No, no. Je suis unique. Have you bonded?'
Alice gave me a small smile. 'Nope! But I can see in my visions that I will, one day.'
'Who's Edward?' I asked.
'Edward's in the year below you at school. He's our brother, so to speak. He's with his girlfriend tonight.'
'Anyway, we should go downstairs. It's probably impolite to leave a human in a room full of vampires too long.' Alice said, her smile so wonderful it dazzled me.
In the sitting room, a group discussion was being held.
'Well I didn't even know witches and wizards were real, did you Emmett?' Rosalie was saying. I stood there, looking for a place to sit down like a plum.
'Here Draco,' Jasper said, offering up his seat, 'sit here.' And I could hardly refuse him, as he moved so purposely to better my needs. I plonked myself down with a muttered thanks and didn't once look in his eyes. He perched himself on the arm of the sofa next to me, so I was sat between him and Carlisle. In some social circles, this would be considered lethal. But my mother and I had thrown caution to the wind.
'Well we have quite a large population of Vampires in Britain,' my mother said in response to Rosalie, 'but they have to live under the regulations of the Ministry.'
'The Ministry?' Asked Carlisle with clear impression.
'Oh yes, they govern all of Britain's magical population.'
'Well I never.' Said Carlisle. 'The Volturi would have a fit if they knew.'
'They must know,' said Esme with confidence in her resonating voice, 'with all their fingers in so many pies...'
'The Volturi?' I asked.
'They are one of the oldest vampiric covens, and one of the largest, in the world. They kind of rule our world.' Jasper said, leaning in towards me so his breath swept up against my ear. I felt very embarrassed, and couldn't bring myself to look and see whether anyone had noticed the gentle exchange.
'Oh, well there's a big coven in Britain. They live up and around the mountains in Scotland; over five hundred of them.'
A silence covered the room. 'I can't take the shock, guys. Get over it.' Jasper said.
'Five hundred?' Emmett gasped.
'Oh yes.' My mother replied like it was common knowledge.
'And they live together?' Carlisle asked.
'Yep. Prey on muggles who climb the mountains or camp around the base. Or they go on holidays, I think, but they kind of keep to themselves up there and don't bother us magical folk, or the Ministry incinerates them.'
'Thank God Edward isn't here, Mrs. Malfoy, or he would be picking your brain.'
'Is he the mind reader?' My mother asked back. She sat with her hands in her lap, so socialite and wonderful, and she didn't look out of place in the family of vampires either. She was as beautiful and as brilliant.
'Mind reader?' I questioned to no one in particular. Alice took the opportunity to answer me with a gleeful emission of sound.
'Every vampire has a talent. Some are character traits, like Carlisle who has undefeated compassion and others have supernatural talents like Jasper who is an Empath.'
'And Alice is a Seer.' Jasper added.
'And Edward is a mind reader.' I said. I looked around the room and smiled. 'Well, I'm a wizard and my talent is potions.'
'Potions?' Carlisle asked, turning to me. He engaged me in conversation for quite a while, becoming more and more interested with every new potion I described to him.
'We better go to hunt, Carlisle.' Emmett said, gesturing to Alice and Jasper who were standing beside Rosalie and himself. 'Don't want to get caught up with those father and son teams on Christmas day.'
Goodbyes were exchanged pleasantly. I held back a blush as I said goodbye to Jasper, and trained my eyes not to look out after him. Carlisle looked over to my mother and Esme who were talking with maniacal expressions about interior design. 'Is there any potions that work on vampires?' He asked me, quiet and low with his voice now. 'I was going to ask before, but I didn't want to excite the others.'
'Oh, I'm not sure about that, Mr. Cullen. I can have a look for you, though.'
'I would be in your debt if you did.' He gave me a winning smile, but somehow I knew it wasn't to try and influence me in any way. 'Now tell me Draco, are you feeling alright after that terrible fall you had earlier?'
'I didn't die. I must be.'
This story just popped into my head after reading Marblez Of Lions and Lambs: Part One. I decided to give this pairing a go, as it just seems to sit well with me, and alas here we are. If I get enough response, I will expand on this story.