~ Chapter Eight ~
The disturbance at Malfoy Manor attracted both the main war leaders like moth to flame. Voldemort and his Death Eaters were the first to arrive. Dumbledore and his Order of the Phoenix arrived seconds later. What they saw shocked them all so much they forgot who was standing close by. Never had they witnessed anything like it.
House-elves were dancing around a bonfire. It appeared ritualistic to their eyes and little did they realize how correct they were. The house-elves continued to dance unaware of their watchers gaze. Circles were made around the bonfire and each danced in a specific way. It was hypnotizing and surreal. Dumbledore for all his years had never seen anything quite like it. House-elves were usually so calm and docile that he'd never imagined they could do something such as this.
"What are you doing here?" a low voice hissed.
Albus knew immediately it was the Dark Lord. Both sides drew their wands eyeing the other with such fierceness that it appeared to be an old western movie standoff. If anyone walked by them now they would have looked ridiculous especially by muggle standards.
"I am here to check on the wellbeing of my students." Albus said.
Many of the Death Eaters cast doubtful looks. The Order of the Phoenix didn't apparrate to locations such as this to look for two missing students.
"May I enquire as to your presence here this day?" he continued, not bothering with the looks.
"I, have a perfectly valid reason for being here, unlike you. This Manor, as you well known, belongs to one of my Inner Circle. I am merely checking on his wellbeing."
The glares continued.
"Does anyone know who that is?" one of the Order members murmured.
Thankfully everyone turned their attention towards the burning heap the elves were dancing around. It was difficult to make out from this distance but it appeared to be human in form. Minerva was the one to piece everything together first.
"His name was Sanguini. That's the vampire that kidnapped Mr Potter and Mr Mafloy. He attended Slughorn's party."
Now at least the fire made sense. Only a fire could burn a vampire's body especially an elderly one at that and as far as they knew Sanguini was fairly well aged. Nothing else would even come close. Decapitating would work for a time but he could piece himself back together if desired, fire was the only way. If Sanguini was here however that had to have meant something led him here…
"Where are the boys?" Tonks immediately asked searching the grounds.
Many attempted to approach the manor from both sides but they found everyone was kept out. The wards surrounding the manor kept anyone from approaching including the Dark Lord much to everyone's surprise. The house-elves took little notice of their attempts though they did pause whilst the wards shook at their attempts. It was fair to say they wouldn't be much help.
"How do we discover if anyone is within the manor if we can't enter?" Kingsley asked.
A growl echoed around the grounds as a dull clunk hit the ground. The clunking continued as Moody moved to the front of the group. Everyone could have hit themselves. How did they not think of that? Moody's eye swivelled backwards and forwards as he searched every possible space for anyone within the manor.
The Dark Lord grew impatient. He had managed to come so close to locating them and they had slipped through his hands by mere minutes. If Sanguini had been nearby he had been searching for them. Harry and Draco had managed to escape their capture and return to Malfoy Manor. However regardless of their new status as newborns they wouldn't have been able to overthrow their new master. No, for that they would have needed the help of others that weren't tied to Sanguini.
"No is within the manor. I can only see house-elves." Moody said gruffly.
"Luccciusss." The Dark Lord hissed.
He would have been the only one capable of aiding them. Lucius had even been sent back to the manor to keep an eye out for them. However even as he glanced around he knew Lucius was long gone. He'd gone to protect Draco and Harry as well for some reason. Voldemort immediately knew that Lucius would have fled the country.
"Where isss your beloved little ssspy?" he questioned, eyes roving over the Order.
Many flustered at that. The Order hadn't believed the Dark Lord knew of Severus' change in sides. They had hoped that Severus would continue his part. Obviously that wasn't going to be an option any longer.
"He's not with us. I believed you had called him." Albus exclaimed.
The Dark Lord cursed silently. Lucius had left not only with Harry and Draco but with Severus as well. Without uttering a word to Dumbledore, the Dark Lord turned back to his Death Eaters. He needed them to be found and instantly!
"You will search for Lucius and Draco Malfoy as well as Harry Potter and Severus Snape," he ordered. "You will not harm them. You will bring them before me and I will deal with them."
He was so furious his hissed tones had been stamped out. How dare his own mate leave him! Lucius had bonded to him and had promised never to leave his side. He'd given him two children and then lost one and the other. Now it was possible that Lucius was not only with his son but also a container for his soul? It wasn't something he was handling well. When Lucius was found he would have to teach him a lesson or two about obedience as it seemed that his mate had forgotten that.
With that order he apparrated away, leaving his minions to do his bidding. Many followed his example and apparrated away knowing that their search wouldn't lead them here. Others lingered but thought better of remaining with the Order so close by.
The Order didn't truthfully know what to make of that sudden dispersal. It wasn't that it was so sudden but that it hadn't been done with a curse fired from the Dark Lord. Usually when angered he was rather curse happy. Obviously other things were on his mind to keep him occupied.
"Should we also search for them?" Kingsley questioned.
"No, once the Dark Lord locates them we can easily coercer Severus into returning Harry to us."
The others accepted this wisdom and returned to their day jobs satisfied to know they could rely on Albus to know what was right.
Planes, Altair decided, were rather uncomfortable. He had been informed that the journey between Scotland and Italy weren't that long compared to others that they could have taken. That however didn't settle him as he soon discovered that without anything to do plane journeys were very dull.
Severus and his father remained composed in the seats in front of them. Altair didn't have that luxury. He was trying to fight the urge to rip into one of the humans across the hall and listen to Draco's constant complaining for the same reason. It was certainly trying his very limited patience. The next trip they took, they were taking a private jet.
"Merlin, I'm starving… couldn't you just snack on one of those humans." Draco moaned.
Altair grit his teeth, his hunger now gnawing at his stomach.
"Be patient Altair…"
The whispered voice was Lucius. He could tell that his father was concerned about them. However this had been the best way to get out of the country. Other means would have pinpointed their location in an instant. This way, the adults had explained, the Dark Lord would find it more difficult to trace them. They could have normal life for a few years.
"I know that it's difficult but you can have some wine at the Villa." Lucius continued.
Everything should be easier once they reach the car that had been prepared for them. At least by then he wouldn't have to put up with the constant smell of humans surrounding him. The blood wine should help his appetite. He couldn't ever imagine becoming a vegetarian vampire. That once Draco and he had attempted to do so hadn't turned out very well. Then there was the thought of attacking a human for a meal. Honestly, he wasn't vain, but he couldn't imagine feeding and then walking around with blood stains on ones shirt. How the Volturri managed he would never know. Speaking of which…
"When will we be travelling to see the Volturri?" Altair questioned.
"Once we are settled here Altair. They will know that we have entered their lands just not where we are. That should give them time to grow accustomed to our presence for a time before we approach them."
Altair sighed. He wasn't entirely sure about meeting with the rulers of the muggle vampires. They didn't have to listen to their rules as they didn't live amongst mortals. No that thankfully wasn't something they needed to deal with. Living around wizards and in secrecy had perks of its own. Ignoring rules was one of them.
"Have you ever met them?" Draco asked, finally over the moaning.
Altair rolled his eyes and slunk further into his seat. Draco could spring back very suddenly from certain things. It was good to find something that once again separated them from the dreaded twin pattern. Draco quite enjoyed it and on occasion Altair did as well but only when they were playing around with other people. When with family he enjoyed being an individual.
"When I was younger the Dark Lord took me to them. I hadn't been turned at the time but he made it clear that I wasn't to be touched." Lucius spoke.
Altair and Draco glanced at each other, each sensing that the memory wasn't very pleasant for their father. It only made them question why their father would believe that this would be the safest location for them.
"If they had met the Dark Lord then wouldn't they sell us out the moment we stepped into their residence?" Draco enquired.
The twins had chosen to call their other father the Dark Lord like Lucius did. Lucius cared so he was titled with father. The Dark Lord was just the Dark Lord to them. Nothing would be able to change that in the future.
Lucius chose to stare out the window as he answered. Severus immediately noticed his discomfort.
"They warned me when I visited with the Dark Lord, he'd wandered off somewhere at the time, that he was ruthless. They said even their own beliefs pales into comparison to the Dark Lord. Aro, one of three leaders, had the power to look into every thought someone had ever had by simply initiating skin contact. It shocked me to learn but he warned that if I ever found myself fearful for my life because of the Dark Lord I could turn to them and they would offer me shelter."
He had been a fool for ignoring Aro's warning. He should have left after the Dark Lord punished him for losing Altair but something had kept him behind. He'd thought it had been loyalty at first but now he knew it had been the knowledge of Altair. With what he knew now, he no longer felt the need to remain by his 'masters' side. So for the sake of his family he was seeking out their help after many years.
Severus knew his friend had suffered for quite some time beneath the Dark Lord's gaze. It was difficult to keep the man happy even at times of ease. However for another vampire to warn Lucius of his mates fallings was huge. He hadn't realized that Lucius had ever faced something so horrible. It made him question if the punishments he had witnessed between them had been the easiest he had fallen prey to. Severus couldn't begin to imagine the pain that his friend had been held under during all this time.
"Don't worry Lucius. You've made the right decision now. You're protecting your family and your friends. They'll accept you and us into their group or we'll just remain at the Villa for as long as possible."
Lucius turned to Severus and allowed a small smile, careful not to show his teeth. Turning, he noticed both Altair and Draco nodding along as well. They were right, he decided. He was getting them away from the horror that he had faced every day since Altair had disappeared. That at least was something worthy in their eyes.
"Dad, don't worry." Altair commented. "As long as we are together I'm happy. Draco's happy that we're leaving Britain. There isn't anything to be worried over."
"We'll make it through somehow." Draco agreed.
Severus was smug in the knowledge that Lucius' on kids were choosing to support him over Lucius' own concerns. However it was for the best. Lucius wouldn't believe anyone other than the twins. Even if he were the one to utter the words, Lucius would always turn to his kin for an accurate answer. Nothing else would persuade him otherwise.
"Very well," was all Lucius said as they began their descent into the Roman airport. The next few weeks were going to be rather difficult, he predicted.
Settling into Prince Villa wasn't a difficult task. It wasn't a very lavish place. Of course, that was probably because no one from the Prince Family had used the Villa for decades. The Villa was just a piece of real-estate waiting to be used. In other words, it was perfect.
The kitchen led directly out onto a patio where they could see the ocean. A dining room was surprisingly attached to the kitchen by a secret door probably from an older age. The lounge was comfortable and was surrounded by empty bookshelves screaming with possibilities. There were only three bedrooms upstairs but that was fine. Altair and Draco immediately decided that they would be sharing and ran to select which they desired.
In the end, Lucius simply told them to take the master bedroom and ensuite which gave them more space while Severus and he would take the spare rooms that had a shared bathroom. Once that was chosen, they immediately headed for the cellar where the Blood Wine was stored in bottles centauries old. Altair found it odd that magical vampires had discovered a way to keep blood while humans still had only a matter of time before it was unusable. Yet he couldn't really bring himself to care. Blood was now his nourishment like humans needed water. It just seemed natural.
They carried a box out of the cellar, careful not to trip on their luggage which had been left at the door upon arrival. Having Blood Wine in the kitchen would be much easier than having to traipse all the way down to the cellar every time they needed nourishment. While Lucius and Severus were storing the Blood Wine in the numerous pantries and the fridge, Altair decided that he would wander around.
Everything was covered in sheets. It was so muggle that it struck him as odd that wizards would do such a thing. Wizards had spells for that or so he believed. Why did they need to cover the furniture in this way? Yet, he couldn't escape the joy and wonderment that revealing these pieces of furniture brought him. They were all delicately carved pieces that looked very ancient but well kept. It was a marvel that they still hadn't worn away after such a time.
Even the walls of the Villa were carved most likely by hand. It was so intricate it could have been carved by fairies with tiny chisels. All the work was just breathtaking. Altair had never seen anything quite like it nor would he regret it. Everything he had seen over the past two days of his turning had been incredible, things he was certain his past self never would have cared to notice if brought before them.
He walked out onto the patio to observe the view. The ocean was something he had never seen before. The closest he'd ever come to seeing this vast body of water was a lake and that wasn't the same. The lake didn't move like this. Ripples weren't the same as the crashing waves that turned the air salty if you were in the winds path. It was incredible and he was glad that they had decided Prince Villa was the one place they could go. He'd had so many first time experiences just from this location and nothing would make him give that up.
"Draco, Altair, come and have something to eat. You'll be starving by now and I don't want you to have to feel that burn for too much longer." Their father called.
Altair startled as he realized Draco had been following him around the entire time. He was beginning to get used to the attention his family was showering him with but occasionally they still managed to shock him. They were protective of him. It was only logical after believing that he'd been dead for all of these years. However it was still a little unsettling. His past self, the person his lost memories had altered, never relied on people. That much he was sure of. Regardless of all the people surrounding him, he didn't trust any of them. Sure they followed him but he had a feeling that it wasn't so much he they were following but someone a lot higher on the 'food chain' so to speak.
It hadn't been pleasant to realize but he'd managed to keep calm about it.
"Altair…" Draco called shaking him again from his thoughts.
Turning, he nodded to his brother. There really wasn't anything to worry about. After all, he'd merely been enjoying the scenery. His thoughts could be spoken at another time when they were more settled with their positions and locations.
Draco and Altair linked hands and walked from the patio into the kitchen. Lucius seeing them so close couldn't help the smile that graced his usually stoic features. They were absolutely perfect together. Their bond was something that didn't occur often within vampires. Mates were one thing but to have another bond just as strong was something else entirely. They could go through eternity without their mates because they had each other. And though it wasn't something he desired to think on it was something that kept Lucius calm.
In unison they greedily drank their blood before handing the bottles over to Severus. The bottles could be reused once they were cleaned. They merely needed to send back the bottles back to the company. That was the best about their diet. Everything they needed was made for them. No uncivilized hunting necessary though it was rather annoying that as newborns an entire bottle of wine was the only thing that sated them. Lucius and Severus merely needed a glass a day to keep on top of everything. It wasn't very fair.
As a group, they sat down at the table. Now they would need to further decide on what it was they would do next. Eventually someone would realize that Prince Villa was in use and connect it to them. However before they could begin speaking, Draco caught something within his gaze.
"What is that at the window?" Draco asked.
A white owl tapped at the window seemingly politely as the door was wide open. Lucius and Severus glanced at each other. Because of the turning, Draco and Altair couldn't remember anyone outside of their family. No memories were retained of their time with others. They knew this owl belonged to Altair. The fact that she had travelled all this way was quite a feat and show of her loyalty. However they were concerned that Altair wouldn't remember her at all. Regardless, they decided to let her in.
Altair took notice and his eyes glazed over. A white owl was uncommon where he'd lived. The people he'd lived with hadn't enjoyed having her around. The owl belonged to him though he couldn't quite remember who had gifted her or who hadn't liked her. The memories continued to sharpen of her as she flew around the table, content to give him time.
"Hedwig!" Altair exclaimed, snapping out of the trance.
She flew in one last circle before landing before him hooting softly. Yes, he remembered her. How could he have forgotten his first true friend? Hedwig had been with him since the beginning. She had been his support through everything including the horrors he somewhat recalled whilst living with muggles. Hedwig was his rock.
"How does she recognize me? No one else would be able to tell that it was me! I've changed too much in appearance." Altair sobbed, petting her gently.
He wanted to hug her but he rather doubted she would allow the discomfort. Hedwig was a proud owl and to ruffle her feathers even unintentionally wasn't something she would permit.
"Altair, she is your familiar. Hedwig more than likely could already tell when she bonded with you in first year that you weren't truly who you were meant to be. Now that you've discovered the truth, it changes nothing in the way she looks at you only the way you look at yourself." Severus explained.
It made sense. Hedwig was always accepting of everything he chose. Nothing would cause that to change not even an appearance shift. He should have realized that his wonderful owl would have known the difference. She was after all incredibly smart.
Lucius and Severus relaxed as Altair and Draco pampered the owl. They had been worried but now their concerns had vanished. Draco had never had a pet or familiar either so they had been anxious over how he would react to this change. However Hedwig appeared more than happy to be the familiar of two vampires' than one wizard. In fact she looked rather pleased with all the attention she was receiving from the pair. Hedwig, or so it seemed, had made herself a family avian. They smirked. At least now they wouldn't have any worries about how to keep in contact with wizards if need be. From what they heard Hedwig was one of a kind.
Many people had commented that the bird defied both logic and magic. It shouldn't have been possible but Hedwig could fly through any wards she desired. If wards were meant to keep owls out, she would fly through them as if nothing was there. Then there was the knowledge that she could locate anyone anywhere. That shouldn't have been possible either. Yet she always found Harry or rather Altair wherever he went. She was truly an amazing bird and they wouldn't dare leave her behind again.
"Now that it seems we are all together…" Lucius began catching everyone's attention. "We can sort everything out. This location isn't permanent. Since it can be traced back to one of us it wouldn't be very smart to remain here long. So while we are here and after we have sorted everything out we should enjoy the time we have."
Severus agreed and Altair and Draco both understood. Remaining here wasn't a viable option for any length of time.
"How long do we remain here for?" Draco questioned.
"I'm not sure how long it will take anyone to make the connection. Not many people knew in my youth that my mother was a Prince. Many just assumed that because of my last name I was a mudblood. They didn't truly care for anything else. However with the way the Dark Lord thoroughly checks everything I would give our time here about six months before we would need to move." Severus guessed but even then that was being generous.
If the Dark Lord truly wanted them all to return, he would spend no amount of time or money searching for them. Nothing would stand in the man's way. Nothing would remain standing after he had been through. Lucius also knew this and was the source of his frown.
"We'll have to make the most of it then."
Altair noticed the tension between the two adults but didn't say anything. They would take care of everything. There wouldn't be any real need to worry. Severus and their father wouldn't allow anything to happen to them. All he needed to do was trust that they would keep everything in mind.
"Well, how is this going to happen then?" Draco questioned, tired of being ignored.
Lucius truly didn't even know what to do now they were out of the country. He had grasped freedom but now that there were so many options to choose from he didn't know which to pick. His mind was a typhoon of ideas.
"The first thing would be to contact Aro, Marcus and Caius." Severus started.
He could tell that his friend was struggling so Severus decided to step in. If he could work everything out and keep them all safe he would do so without his friend's aid.
"Truthfully we should have informed them that we were going to be visiting before entering the country but that will have to be explained once again. I can only hope that they listen to us and believe in what we are speaking of otherwise we could be walking to our deaths." He continued.
Regardless of the depressing thoughts, it needed to be said. Altair and Draco needed to know that not everything would work out like they desired it to. It was a miracle that the Volturri hadn't already come calling on their doorstep even if they had only been in the country for an hour.
"Who are Aro, Marcus and Caius?" Altair questioned.
He'd never heard the three names mentioned anywhere before and he had only just recently learnt about vampires as well. Their entire culture had been taught to them though it was heavily biased. Nowhere did it mention names just general facts. Whether this was to hide their society from prying eyes Altair wasn't sure but it did make sense. If one gave another every single piece of information on them that person could easily destroy the other without even trying.
"Aro, Marcus and Caius are the three leaders of the Volturri. They are the oldest known vampires alive today. If there are any older no one knows where they sleep. Aro has the ability to read every thought a person has had by touching them. Marcus has the ability to sense the strength and nature of any relationship. Caius has the ability to predict someone's move and choices. Together they are a formidable force and with those three alone they could take down any army of their choosing." Severus explained.
Altair shrunk a little, leaning in closer to his brother. Having the three leaders against their small group would be terrible especially since they had such a large gartering of vampires now at their aid. Lucius and Severus were really the only two that could possibly do anything and even then they would spend their entire time protecting Altair and Draco. It would be fruitless to fight back in a situation like that all they could do is protect.
"How would we protect ourselves from something like that?" Draco enquired sensing this brother's thoughts.
Severus' voice became very firm whilst reassuring them.
"Lucius and I are more than capable of protecting ourselves using hand to hand combat though our abilities are relatively useless as such. No, the pair of you would have more luck. Draco you can manipulate your and other molecules. You could do so much in time with that ability. All you need to do is practice and learn. It will come to you slowly. Altair you caused the wind to turn into sharp razors that could cut through vampire skin. That isn't a small feat." Severus commented. "You forget that your abilities are new and so will take time to learn unlike muggle vampires. It is a pain and hard to come to terms with but it will be worth it in the end."
Altair and Draco accepted this, calmed by the fact that they might have a chance should things become violent. It was a no-brainer between the pair of them to realize their father and Severus would be relying as heavily on them as they relied on the adults.
"Is there anything that could possibly make you believe a violent reaction might be possible from them?" Draco continued, holding his brother close.
Lucius looked up and frowned deeply. This certainly wasn't something he wanted his sons to know but they would need to be prepared for anything the Volturri and their Guard would through their way.
"I heard recently that Caius's wife angered him so that he ripped her into pieces and set her alight. Aro is the only Volturri leader that still has a remaining wife. Marcus hasn't had anyone in a long time though the reasons for that are unclear." Lucius finally said.
Altair shivered at that. How was it possible for Caius to end his wife's life that easily? Though, Altair guessed that he could understand why that might be necessary. He had easily heard his father say wife and not mate. If Cauis had any inkling that his mate would soon be around, his wife would no longer become necessary for him. He would endeavour to rid himself of the woman as soon as possible. He didn't speak this aloud however.
"So we merely turn up at the Volturri once we call them to inform them we're here and then what?" Altair finally questioned.
"From there we'll need to wait and see what the leaders believe we should do. There really are only a few choices but it will effect everything that we do from here on out." Lucius answered.
Everyone went silent. It certainly wasn't the best news they had been hoping for when they finally left. After all they were seeking peace and quiet yet all they had to look forward to, was a meeting with a group likely to kill them at first glance. It wasn't exactly spirit-lifting news. However those were the cards they had been dealt so they had to play them.
"What else do you know of the Voturri?"
"Not much I'm afraid, Draco. The Guard is one thing that not many people speak about. Some believe that speaking of them will bring their wrath down upon you. It's utter rubbish but that's what happens when mortal superstition mixes with vampire law." Severus sighed.
It certainly wasn't the best explanation they had ever heard. Nothing was turning out right for them and it was rather disheartening. They had little to work with. All of their plans revolved around the Volturri and to rely so heavily on a group was unsettling. One should never carry all of their eggs in one basket after all. It left them with few options if that one fell through.
The silence stretched on. All of them were so deep in their depressing thoughts that the atmosphere felt heavy with them. It certainly wasn't the type of atmosphere a free person should have surrounding them.
"Enough of this!" Lucius exclaimed. "We are going to unpack our belongings and settle completely into our new home and then we are going sight-seeing and shopping."
The others merely smirked at Lucius and agreed. Whoever would have believed that Lucius was one for shopping around like a mortal woman?
I'm so proud of myself. Another chapter is done though this story is a bit of a wild one. I never know what I'm going to write until it's on the page. Thanks for all the review.