A/N: As idiotic as I find myself at the moment, I decided to start another story. It's been bouncing around in my head for a while. It's a Hermione/Jasper fic, and TOTALLY AU. Jasper never met Alice, never went vegetarian, and is travelling the world when he comes across Hermione. Other AU points are made in the text of the story. It's a bit different than what I usually write. We'll see how it goes. Leave me a review!
I'm not JKR or Stephanie. I don't own a thing. I've just taken liberties.
The bass was thumping throughout the club. Bodies crammed as close to each other as possible, each moving in sync with the music, a group mating-ritual of sorts. He sat, barely moving in the corner, black eyes scanning the crowd, smiling back as his devilishly good looks drew scantily clad women towards him. He had flown into the country a few hours earlier, and it was nothing more than another stop on his journey. He would leave a body behind here as he had left one in New York, and would leave another in a couple days time. They were nothing to him, he was a predator stalking his prey.
One hundred and forty years or so had indeed made him quite a predator. He had learned to use his gift to feel out people's emotions and choose his prey. There was a time, not so long ago, that he didn't care who he killed. Whatever gave him a meal. But after some time he felt bad of depriving children of their parents, husbands or wives of their lovers, parents of their children. Luckily around the time he started to become conscious of who he killed was the same time nightclubs became the fashion. Single, childless people galore, old enough that he didn't feel he was depriving someone of decent years with their child. He could never tell for sure, but he was in tuned to people's emotions enough that he could tell their intentions. A man who was planning to force himself upon a woman felt differently than a man who was hoping he would be 'getting lucky' that night. The world was much better off without the former.
So he found himself in the club that night, seeking out the right one for him to satisfy his thirst with. If he didn't find someone who suited his taste, he would settle for one of the women who were constantly eying him. So drawn by his physical beauty they were willing to go against that feeling that there was something off about him, they would be easily enticed to follow him, and even more easily killed. Not the ideal, but he needed to feed.
A woman walked past him without sparing him a second glance, but her scent wafted at him. One sniff, and it was almost impossible for him not to attack her right then and there. Her smell was divine, a perfect combination of sweetness and a rustic, woody smell. It hit him, much like the overpowering scent hits one when they walk past the perfume section of a department store. Though, unlike the department store, he could not resist what this girl promised. His eyes followed her, he could only see the back side of her, but whichever side of her he saw was unimportant. He didn't care about this girl's past, he had to have her. She was now his prey, and her hours on this earth suddenly became very short. Normally he could wait for hours for his target to get somewhere he could kill them without being disturbed, but it was difficult for him to wait now. Seconds were hours, she moved, so horrifically and deliciously slowly that his body screamed to lunge after her. The witnesses would be dealt with afterwards. Another trick of his, he could calm his victims to the point they were lost from reality, and would stand around like cattle waiting for him to slaughter them. Every single one, quickly and efficiently. Over two hundred people, and the police would never figure it out. Easily enough he could rig it to look as if a bomb had exploded, perhaps rig the gas line.
In his hesitation the girl had caught up with her companion. For the first time in, well, he wasn't sure how long, he actually looked at the one he would be killing. She was beautiful in a way, hair casually swept up in a brown knot at the nape of her neck. She had applied some makeup, but nothing flashy. She was not trying for anything tonight. But it was her eyes that intrigued him more than anything. Haunted, distant, speaking of experience well beyond her years. Yes, she was out that night in hopes of forgetting something in her past, but it was not helping. Nothing would ever help.
Her companion was nothing special. A raven-haired man with no interest in her. He was out to help alleviate some of the suffering she he been tortured with. He felt... guilt. Odd. As if he were part of the reason of her suffering. They danced together, at a safe distance, and he could tell she had been attempting to drown her sorrows. She danced stiffly, she didn't want to be there, she had been forced. It was almost sad to think that had she not been forced to go out, she would spend the night warm in her bed, wake up the next morning, and go about her business without ever knowing about the corpse he would have left in her stead.
It was growing late, and there was a good chance neither one wanted to stay out until the early hours of the morning. Leaving a club full of dead bodies was a waste. He would have to be patient. He wouldn't have to wait long.
She really hadn't wanted to go out that night, but Harry had talked her into it. She had been having difficulties getting over Ron's death, well, difficulties getting over all the deaths of the battle, but his in particularly. She loved him, and she had lost the one that she loved so much. And she lost her parents, who, she found out, hadn't survived a month after her attempts to save them. But the news of their death had just been the period at the end of the sentence. Not wholly unexpected, but the mark of the end nonetheless. She had gone into a rut as she watched Ron die, the news of all the deaths thereafter dulled into the rest. She still hadn't been to Australia to visit the graves that someone had arranged for her parents.
That night was the first night, after months of begging, and before that months of waiting for the right time to beg, that Harry had convinced her to leave the house she had grown up in, to go see the outside world. He had offered to buy her dinner, but she had no appetite, her only appetite in the past months had been just enough to sustain her. He next suggested a nightclub. Somewhere where the music was loud enough to lose her thoughts. But it was no use, while the music dulled the pain, it would never leave her.
She danced with Harry as she would dance with anyone else she wasn't interested in. She did it to placate him, to give him some peace of mind. He felt as though Ron's death was partially his fault, if he hadn't played dead then Ron might not have been so driven to run into the group of Death Eaters, madness in his eyes.
And so she put on a happy face and danced. She ignored the people around them, the hungry looks she was getting from men. She wouldn't find happiness in that club, but perhaps Harry would find a little. And the next day he would get up and go to his Auror training. She would continue poring over old books, doing research for a wizard she didn't like at a job she couldn't stand that helped her escape her own mind for a few hours a day.
"Something to drink?" Harry asked.
"I'll get it," she said, stumbling towards the bar. She had a few too many, but the drink seemed to help numb her, help her forget a portion of the sadness that had been closing in on her. She went to the bar, got another round, and headed back towards Harry, who was also being watched by several women. But Harry had Ginny. The two loved each other, despite their distance, and the girl's looks were for nothing.
She didn't see the dull, red-black eyes watching her, staring at her with an intensity that no mortal could ever dream of conjuring. Despite her training, despite everything she had learned in books, even though she felt she could see them, she didn't see the handsome young man who suddenly had eyes only for her. She didn't feel his cold gaze upon her, didn't know the reaction she was causing in him.
"This is it," she said, handing Harry his drink. "This is the last for me. We have to work in the morning."
"Then enjoy it!" he smiled, toasting her. They began dancing again, close to each other but minimizing the touching. There was nothing between her and Harry, and there never would be. She was a friend, but never anything more. A woman, but nothing more than a 'friend'. Damaged goods.
She drank as her movements became less in tuned with the music, as she felt the warming effect of the drink take hold of her, lifting her and dulling the pain even further.
"Do you need me to help you Apparate back to your flat?" Harry asked as they put their empty glasses on a nearby table and started towards the door.
"Don't want to Apparate," she smiled, stumbling slightly.
"Alright, I walk you back," he said, offering her his arm.
"Don't bother. It's only three blocks away, but it's in the wrong direction for you," she said, stopping at the entrance of the club.
"Are you sure? You can come back with me to Number Twelve and spend the night."
"No, I'm fine," she smiled, dropping her voice. "You've got a bus ride ahead of you, you should get going. I'm a big witch, I'm not so far gone I can't defend myself."
He looked at her skeptically, but shrugged. She was never one to put herself into stupid, dangerous situations, quite the opposite actually. It was only three blocks through a nice neighborhood, what trouble could she get into in that time?
"Have a good night, 'Mione," he smiled, giving her a hug.
"You, too, Harry," she muttered, hugging him quickly, then starting towards her house. Harry was already walking towards the bus stop in the other direction. Had he looked behind at her he would have seen the honey-blond haired man following her silently down the street.