Warnings: Twilight and Harry Potter crossover, LOTS of angst, none of Harry's point of view for a while, third person, coarse language, includes clichés (what fanfic doesn't? I haven't read much HP/Twilight though and can't pinpoint what are the clichés in that fandom, but I've been assured that I have some original things at least...), vampires (no wai!), etc. A lot of information on the personalities of Twilight characters are from the Wikipedia character page and based on that several inferences were made. Harry Potter spoilers through book 6, alternate book 7, alternate deaths, Twilight spoilers through the first book (and if you haven't read it I don't get why you would read HP/Twilight fanfiction anyway). Character Death.
Disclaimers: Harry Potter belongs to Joanne Kathleen Rowling and associates, of whom I am not one. Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyer and associates of whom I am (thankfully) not one. The author has only read the first book in the latter series, once at that (Nov 2009), has not seen the films, and has no desire to further her knowledge of the fandom. Any canonical errors perceived may be pointed out in reviews, but the author may or may not actually care.
In an Instant
"He's cute, right? Oh please, Jessica, tell me he's cute!" Jessica Stanley smirked ever so slightly as she stood in the middle of a group of girls, the center of attention, as she really ought to be. The girl questioning her, Lauren, was her best friend, with the rest of the flock slightly behind, listening attentively.
"If by cute you mean utterly gorgeous," Jessica pretended to half-swoon, brushing one dark curl behind her ear. She had been cornered not long after leaving her car, and didn't mind in the least. There was a reason why she came to school early today. "His plane only arrived last night, but..." she paused for effect and smiled as all the other girls in the cluster leaned in. "I think he's as good looking as any of the Cullens or Hales."
This, naturally, spurred a lot of chatter, and Jessica soaked up the attention like a sponge.
"So does he have really bad jet-lag or something?" asked one girl. A freshman, or sophomore, Jessica didn't really know. "Since you didn't drive him, I mean..."
"Oh no, apparently he was preparing for a week, so he slept normally," Jessica explained. "He's concerned for his fitness; apparently his last school was really big and he had to walk really far to get to each class, so he wanted to walk to school." The girls were half scandalized at the idea of walking to school. Not even freshmen did that! And even if it wasn't raining today, it would start eventually, there was no doubt about that.
As if on cue to Jessica's flickering gaze, a figure could be seen approaching along the road, darkness calmly stalking against the light gray background of the overcast sky. The other girls followed her gaze and hushed up quickly, all waiting for their first view of the British exchange student who was as gorgeous as any of Dr Cullen's adopted children and strange enough to actually pick Forks as his destination of choice for the exchange program. No one could remember the last time an exchange student had actually ended up in Forks!
Slowly, the figure came into sharper focus, walking at a normal pace and seemingly oblivious to how anxious the students of Forks High were to the approach. The first things the girls could tell was that he was wearing mostly black, though not in a scandalous "goth" way. He wore a long sleeve green t-shirt and a regular black t-shirt over that, and black pants – presumably jeans – with shoes of some dark color or another. They couldn't really tell from the distance. Then they noted that his hair was black, and his skin pale. Eventually he came close enough for real detail, like how his clothes were just shy of hugging him, how he walked from his toes with perfect posture, like he had somewhere important to be, how his hair was sort of feathery and messy in an attractive way.
Jessica smirked as the girls around her really did half-swoon at the sight. The knowledge that she would be living with this boy… she was quite pleased. Maybe he would end up dating her and she could go to England with him, get out of this rainy hellhole.
His features were slightly sharp, attention-grabbing. He was definitely easy on the eyes
"Harry! Over here!" Jessica called out, raising one arm high in the air to catch his attention. He had already been looking at them, black eyes standing out starkly against his pale skin, and smiled as he answered the summons by changing his course ever so slightly. "Glad to see you made it to school on time; I was worried when you said no to being driven." She pouted in a manner she knew looked cute on her and reached up to brush back a curl that had slipped forward. "Was the walk okay?"
"It was fine," Harry replied, smiling slightly to the group of girls. He clearly broke the stereotype of Brits having bad teeth. They were perfectly straight and white. "This town is really quite lovely. Lots of trees." His eyes crinkled a bit with the smile, and Jessica knew Harry had just captured the hearts of the cluster of girls. Or at least he was setting himself up for a lot of girls hanging around him.
There were several girls who offered to show him around, take him by the office so he could take care of all the last minute things, all that good stuff, but he smiled and waved them off expertly. He wasn't interested. Jessica felt rather smug.
When the bell rang, Jessica made her way to the first class of the day, mentally comparing her chances with those of the other girls in the school and finding herself to be at the advantage. She was definitely the best candidate for Harry Potter's girlfriend, of that there was no doubt in her mind.
If only he weren't a senior, then she might have had some classes with him. He did have some classes with underclassmen of course, but none with her. She mentally sighed but contented herself with the knowledge that she could rope him into sitting with her at lunch where she could stake her claim before the rest of the school.
Emmett Cullen could tell immediately that something was off when he got to school. What precisely that would be, he didn't know, but he knew it was something. Alice had been rather quiet that morning and the day before, too, which set him on edge, and while he was normally quite amicable he couldn't help the feeling of foreboding.
He knew as soon as he stepped into his second period history class that this was where he would figure it out, but the bell rang and he had no idea. No, he had some. There was the scent of blood in the room, just a slightest undercurrent, like what wafted around a day or so after feeding, and the scent of a foreign vampire hidden under cologne. Further, there was someone at the front of the room speaking with the teacher, someone Emmett had never seen in Forks High. Feathery black hair, strong stature… Emmett sized the other "boy" up and determined that yes, this person was the unknown vampire in question.
He had every right to be on edge, with that confirmation.
Class started, and the teacher, Mr Benedetti, stated that they would have the new exchange student in their class for the year. The student in question then had to introduce himself to the class.
"Hello, my name is Harry Potter," his voice was smooth, too smooth, and held just the right British accent that Emmett knew the girls in class would be smitten on some level. Well, the shallower ones anyway. "I'm from Surrey, England and came on an exchange program, obviously. I'm a 'senior' as you yanks call it, and intend to go into law enforcement." His demeanor wasn't one of confidence like most vampires Emmett had met, like he was uncomfortable. Then again, his eyes were black, clearly showing a need to feed, and he was surrounded by humans. To be able to not snap he must be old.
And yet he was sucking on a lollipop (disgusting things – they tasted of chemicals and artificial sweet – that had to be coughed up later), making him seem somehow younger, more innocent, than most vampires could manage. He also seemed to be enjoying the "treat" despite how Emmett knew they would taste to any vampiric tongue.
Despite the obvious discomfort, his steps were smooth, more a glide, and his head didn't bounce up and down as he made his way to sit somewhere on the opposite side of the room from Emmett. Harry seemed intent on not letting his feigned humanity be seen as anything but genuine as he sucked happily on the sucker.
"He seems perfectly in control," Emmett later recounted to his siblings at lunch. His wife, Rosalie, was held tight to his side, an almost unconscious gesture of him wanting this new vampire to stay far away from her, to keep her safe. "Apparently he's staying with that Jessica girl, y'know, the chatty junior." He sent a glance at Edward with a subtle smirk. Edward had turned that girl down at least ten times since they came to Forks. "As far as I can tell he's got to be –" he stopped. "Here."
The assembled vampires turned imperceptibly in their seats to eye the threat to their safety. Rosalie, of course, found him lacking. She found everyone but her family to be lacking so it was no surprise. Edward frowned.
"He is not even thinking about blood," the physically youngest of the quintet intoned quietly, too quietly for the vampire across the room to hear unless he had especially sensitive hearing. "His thoughts are of… a dead man. His godfather. And how disgusting the cafeteria food smells."
"If I were that hungry I'd think of nothing but blood," Jasper was subtly rubbing his throat; Emmett guessed that he could feel the hunger rolling off of the distant vampire. "I doubt if he's had any in a couple of weeks."
They watched quietly as the new student followed Jessica Stanley to a table full of juniors on the other side of the room. They also happened to watch as he took his plastic fork and, without the slightest hesitation, ate the cafeteria food. Emmett grimaced. Human food tasted like mud, and it had to be thrown up later – the Cullen-Hale family had decided it was better to have an air of anorexia nervosa than being seen as bulimic, especially when throwing up was made no more pleasant as a vampire than as a human – and yet Harry Potter seemed to have no qualms in eating the stuff.
"He thinks the food is vile, and of a redheaded woman's cooking – her corpse – a feast set out on gold platters," still too quiet to be heard, Edward continued to relay the thoughts. "He is thinking of how bakeries smell like heaven," Edward's voice turned bitter, "he misses being able to enjoy human food." Jasper nodded his agreement from across the table where he sat with Alice.
The pixy-like woman stayed suspiciously silent and shifted strangely in her seat.
"Is something wrong, Alice?" Emmett asked finally. "You're very quiet."
"In every vision of him, he has black eyes," she stated finally. "I can't see him with any eyes other than black. Not red or even amber. He doesn't want to drink blood."
"Ridiculous, he can't just not drink blood!" Rosalie scoffed. Not at Alice's proclamation of not eating, Emmett knew, but at the apparent resolution of the British vampire. "He would go on a rampage! If he has the control to not kill anyone now, he must be old enough to know this!"
Alice only shrugged slightly, frowning, before she stood suddenly and with her natural grace emptied her untouched food tray into the trash nearest their table. When she returned, she spoke again, "His eyes are always black. I can't see too far ahead, but they are still going to be pitch black in a week."
No one was pleased by this knowledge.
When Carlisle Cullen returned home, he wasn't expecting more than his usual greeting from his children and a kiss from Esme, so he really should have expected something different. They were vampires after all, and he had heard the talk at the hospital from the other staff about how there was a new student starting at the high school today. Upon being confronted with his upset children, he knew that he should have expected this, even without any grounds to necessitate it as far as he could tell until he entered the house.
"What happened?" he asked quickly. None of them seemed to have been injured – they were wearing the same clothes as that morning, still pristine – and they weren't on the verge of blood lust. Esme looked as confused as he felt.
Then his children explained, the boys doing most of the talking as Emmett relayed what he had seen in class, Edward the thoughts he had heard, and Jasper the feelings he had picked up on during the time they were in range. Carlisle sat calmly on the couch in the living room with Esme at his side as the information was relayed to them, and he thought. A vampire, apparently an old one, who hadn't eaten in at least a week, likely more, and wouldn't eat for at least one more, living as a human just as they did, apparently long enough in his current "life" to be considered for a student exchange program.
"He's uncomfortable around humans – or, people in general, but I don't think it was because of blood lust," Jasper intimated. "He was hungry the entire time I was in range, but it was a sort of background thing, like he wasn't at all aware of the bloodlust. He felt like..." he stopped and moved a little in his seat, too small a motion for humans to note, but plain as day to his family. "He felt like the war veterans, the ones that have 'PTSD'." Jasper wasn't included in this; while the Civil war had traumatized him, he had pieced himself back together during his early years as a vampire to the point that his human life held little bearing upon him. "It might have been as recent as this year or as distant as centuries ago, but I don't know how long the disorder would last in a vampire compared to a human. For all I know it could be leftover trauma from the first crusade."
It was all a conundrum, especially when Rosalie mentioned how he actually ate human food to complete his illusion of humanity. The school macaroni and cheese of all things, which even the humans said tasted like plastic. Even Carlisle didn't do that – he always took lunch in his office, pretending Esme packed him food – and couldn't stand to after centuries of pretending to be human unless it was actually necessary.
"This is disconcerting," Carlisle allowed after his children quieted, "but there's nothing we can do unless he acts first. As Alice said, he won't be killing anyone at least until next Monday, unless he suddenly changes his mind, and the best we can do is keep an eye on him. If he outs us to the community, if he kills anyone… we need to prevent those eventualities, but not at the expense of our morals." He locked his gaze on each of his children, letting them know exactly how serious he was. Jasper could certainly feel how nervous he was, and Edward would hear his concerns ringing in his head, but he meant what he said.
In the face of this new potential danger, they would be strong, but kind. They would protect themselves, and they would try to protect Forks, by most any means necessary.
"I'll talk to him tomorrow," Emmett stated suddenly. "After class, I mean. If I can find out why he hasn't eaten or at least if he's like us and drinks from animals instead of humans, then we can plan better, right?" His strong jaw was clamped tight with his decision, obviously intent on going through with the idea even if Carlisle said it was a bad idea.
Everyone agreed, even Rosalie, and the family of seven settled in for a night of reading, piano playing, video games, and in certain cases, cuddling.
"Take that, Weatherman!" crowed a pleased Mike Newton as he jumped out of his car one fine late-summer morning. It was the middle of September, and while the news had predicted rain for all the next week (and the rest of the year, really, though they were never so cruel as to actually say it), it was quite clearly sunny. Wonderfully sunny, even if it was a little windy and chilly, and while Mike would have preferred a sunny weekend so he could drive out to La Push for the day, he would take what he could get. Already he was planning an excursion for the afternoon, a caravan of teenagers to head out to the beach and enjoy what was likely the last of the good weather until Spring. Late Spring.
Some of his fellow students laughed at his proclamation, heading from their own cars, moods improved by the light that seemed to so rarely shine over their wet little corner of the world, and Mike grinned widely. Today was going to be a good day, he just knew it.
He spotted a group of classmates with whom he was friendly – and he was fairly popular among his grade level with a smattering of friends in the class above and a larger one in the one below, so this wasn't difficult – and made his way over quickly. The mixed group of boys and girls were just outside one of the covered walkways between buildings, near the crosswalk that bisected the teachers' parking lot.
He quickly posited his idea of an afternoon beach trip to the group, and many were quick to agree, assuming that the sun wasn't devoured by clouds before school was out. Considering it was blue as far as the eye could see, Mike new it was highly likely that it would be raining by lunch time, but tentative plans were made regardless. They absolutely had to get to the beach one last time before fall set in.
"What's all the fuss?" Mike turned at the call and saw the new exchange student crossing the crosswalk at just that moment, one sculpted eyebrow lifted ever-so-slightly in curiosity. Mike had only just met him the day before, as had everyone else with the exception of his host family, and found that while Harry Potter seemed torn between depression and aloof, he had a good sense of humor – he laughed at most of Mike's jokes after all – and was kind, if self-deprecating. Harry seemed perfectly sociable, but Mike could see he wasn't like them. His smiles lacked something, and his laughs didn't sound...
Mike wasn't the most observant person in the world, but he could tell when someone was actually laughing and actually happy since he had made it his life's mission to make them that way.
"Oh, you haven't been in Forks long enough to know, but," Mike paused theatrically, "the sun is kind of a big deal this late in the year. I doubt if we have any between now and March, and if we do it'll be the kind of sunny day where it's so cold you'd rather it was snowing." He made a face. "We're planning a trip to the beach to celebrate... I mean, if it stays sunny long enough. You should come with us! First Beach is about as close to a local hotspot as we get, and you might get to meet some of the Quileutes since it's on the reservation."
Harry's head tilted slightly to the side, and he swapped which eyebrow was arched. Mike wished he could do that, but his eyebrows couldn't move independently; he'd spent days in front of a mirror trying to imitate Captain Kirk when he was a kid and his parents introduced him to their favorite television series, Star Trek. He might not have liked the show – the effects really sucked – but he still wished he could move his eyebrows like that.
"They're an Indian tribe living near here," another boy, Lauren Mallory's current boyfriend and a sophomore to boot, jumped in. He caught the momentarily confused look on the exchange student's face and corrected himself accordingly. "Native Americans I mean, not, like, Indian-Indians. It's part of the Forks experience to go the reservation at some point and meet them. Some of them like to come here too, though you're more likely to see them in Port Angeles. Chief Swan is pretty tight with the chief too, Billy Black."
There was a momentary pause as every seemed to wait for Harry to speak. "Black? I wonder..." He didn't continue though, and for some inexplicable reason, Mike went against his nature and didn't ask what the Brit was wondering about. No one did. Later, when it was brought up during lunch, several students agreed that they were curious, but something told them it wasn't something they ought to ask about, that asking would change things. It was somehow... ominous.
The warning bell rang and everyone darted off to class, some of the younger students swearing, while the older ones ran through a litany of excuses in case they didn't make the second bell.
Mike wouldn't realize until later, but he hadn't actually expected to see Harry Potter at school that day. Something in him expected him to be like the Cullens and skip out on such a wonderfully sunny day. He couldn't have explained the feeling if he tried, but something kept telling him that Harry Potter and the Cullens were connected.
He would shake this off before heading to the beach and summarily forget entirely.
It was always a great break to the younger Quileutes when teenagers from neighboring towns came to the reservation, especially since these crowds of teenagers always included quite a few girls who were naturally interested in the tall, muscular Quileute boys. Well, the older ones anyway. Jacob Black, however, had finished a small growth spurt and wasn't quite up to par with his friends; his dad said that by May he'd easily be over six feet – and Billy was always right – but for now had to settle for being a bit below the average height of a full grown American male. Tall for his age, perhaps, but not among the rest of his tribe.
Judging by his family history he'd be quite big one day, and he already had a fair bit of muscle, but for the moment he was overlooked by the girls from Forks as they lounged on the slightly cold, gritty "sand" that was more like a lot of tiny rocks in favor of the slightly-older guys who had the same idea as him that morning. Even Quil and Embry were getting more looks than him, which was mildly depressing. As soon as he'd seen the sun he thought he'd come to the beach and see some girls; it was really only common sense that everyone else had the same idea.
Not only had most any guy on the reservation between 14 and 20 showed up – a few girls too, but most of them were content to do... whatever it was girls did – but it felt like half the teenagers from Forks had, too. The boys had fun running into the frigid water that wasn't even warm when it was properly summer instead of that in between phase in mid-September that counted as full on Autumn a few hundred miles South, and the girls were content to sunbathe and flirt.
Unlike how it usually worked, however, there was one boy from Forks who was drawing away the attention of the girls from the Quileute boys. Jacob felt strange when he saw the guy, like there was this innate ball of hatred buried deep in his stomach, but he shoved it away. Why would he hate the guy? Sure, he looked kind of aloof, but Jake had the feeling that it was more like he was sad and wanted to be alone than because he didn't like people... but, then, going to First Beach in a caravan of teenagers was rather counter productive to being alone.
He was very pale, Jacob noticed, paler than anyone he had ever met, with dark lips (obviously natural since no self respecting guy would actually wear lipstick) and hints of tired bags under his eyes. His black hair stuck up kind of funny, like the wind had been blowing at it all day, but the girls seemed to be all over him.
Eventually, Jacob gave up his perusal of the scenery – and the girls who happened to be counted in that scenery – and walked off to one of the cliffs. His thoughts wandered to cliff diving; it was a vaguely popular activity in its own way, and he'd looked a bit up on it on the internet at school. It was Hawaiian, a test of bravery for some natives in Hawaii apparently. It also wasn't suggested for anyone who wasn't physically mature, since hitting water from so high up could easily kill, and anyone who couldn't dive right had a pretty high chance of breaking bones.
He remembered a story he'd heard about a suicide who jumped with his legs ramrod straight. He hit the water and broke his ankles, but was okay otherwise. Jacob's teacher had jokingly told the class that, if they ever did commit suicide, they shouldn't go about it like they were diving off a spring board or they would be sorely disappointed. At least, Jacob hoped the woman had been joking.
"You can't be very warm, standing up here with the wind blowing about," intoned a criminally smooth voice. Jacob wasn't surprised to turn around and see the pretty boy climbing up the hill behind him. Apparently he had shaken the girls off or something. "Although it's still only September, and sunny at that, it can't be 16 degrees out – centigrade I mean. Not that it's any better in Britain."
It was only with the last comment that Jacob realized the stranger spoke with a British accent. How strange; shouldn't he have noticed at the first word? It was pretty different from the Pacific Northwest accent after all. That sort of thing should have stuck out a mile!
"Not really, I never get cold," Jacob shrugged one shoulder. It was true enough. Most of the Quileutes had a base heat of about a hundred degrees, just one or two above the mean for most people. After taking basic biology the year previous, he was pretty sure it had something to do with how easily they put on muscle, since one of the bi-products of muscle contraction was heat. They had a lot more muscles to contract with each movement, after all, and after one particularly enlightening doctor visit with his father, he learned that some of them had slightly thicker blood veins than the norm, again potentially raising core temperature.
"Hm, I wouldn't mind something like that," the stranger's nod was slow and smooth, but obviously interested. "I have poor circulation; I'm a little hypothermic, so I'm only ever warm in summer. I'm Harry by the way, Harry Potter. From England."
"Your accent kind of gave that away," Jacob quipped, but it was flat. His instincts were yelling bad road at him, and even though he could smell nothing more than the beach itself, he had to fight back the urge to crinkle his nose, as if he could smell something foul. "Jacob Black. From the Res, naturally."
"I'm aware," Harry cocked his head to the side and smiled slightly, eyes crinkling. But it wasn't a happy crinkle, it was sort of... pained. As if just standing there and talking with Jacob was physically painful or tested him in some way. "Your friends pointed you out when you were walking up the slope. Actually, it's because of your name I thought to follow you up here. I hope you don't mind?" A moment of insecurity made him seem more human, less like the human statue he appeared.
The thought sent a chill down Jacob's back.
"I... no, I don't suppose I do," Jacob shook his head quickly, even as he stumbled over his words. "I mean, if you tell me why. Jacob's not a weird name or anything."
"Ah, no, I meant your surname; Black," Harry elaborated, seeming to realize Jacob had no idea what "surname" meant. "It was my godfather's name, Sirius Black. I..." he paused, a built in pause that Jacob knew wasn't genuine. "Well, I'm an exchange student this year. I actually picked this area because I was looking through some old family records and found I had a relative who moved out here and as far as I know is still alive. I wanted to... to reestablish the family connection with him. His surname is also Black."
"Well, no one on the Res is English, and my family is pretty small," Jacob frowned. There was something so off about this guy. "I haven't heard of many other people in the area named Black either, but maybe my dad would know."
Harry told him the name, and Jacob frowned a big deeper.
"I don't think they live near here, but I'll ask my dad anyway; he's friends with Chief Swan in Forks and might be able to help," the native replied after a moment of thought. There was only one person with that name within a hundred miles that he knew of, but the guy certainly wasn't a Black. Jacob reluctantly swapped cell phone numbers with Harry – the elder didn't have his phone on him, having left it in his host's car, but he claimed to have a good memory – and the conversation changed topic completely.
"What were you doing up here, before I interrupted you?" he asked quite suddenly. Jacob had to take a few seconds to figure out the question, and another few to recall.
"Thinking, about cliff diving." They were, by this point, standing on the edge of the cliff, or what felt like it. Jacob knew that if he got pushed, he would plummet to his death, but he trusted the stranger wouldn't kill him in full view of the beach. Why the idea of Harry Potter killing him at all crossed his mind was a mystery. "It's a sport where you... uh, dive from cliffs. Some of the older guys in the area, the twenties-crowd and older teens I mean, they like to do it."
"You just jump?" Harry leaned over the edge and peered down. He was unnaturally still as he did so.
When Jacob nodded, an action Harry couldn't have seen, the older boy backed up a few yards and was suddenly running. Jacob couldn't have stopped him if he wanted to. One instant he was still on the cliff, the next he was falling to the water, silent. There was a splash, then nothing but screams from the beach for almost a minute.
Jacob had run most of the way down to the beach by the time Harry had dragged himself out of the water, laughing harder than someone whose lungs ought to be full of salt water should be able to. There were congratulatory whoops from the boys and worried coos from the girls.
It didn't occur to Jacob, as he joined the group in a celebratory round of canned Pepsi, that Harry had been just as innately repulsed as he.
Then again, perhaps it was best he didn't know that Harry Potter had jumped off a cliff to get away from him.
To Eric Yorkie, Harry Potter quickly became a fascination. Of course, anyone new would attain that status, but Harry was suspicious. Eric was the top of his class, a member of the short list of 4.0 students who was sure to climbing higher due to the AP classes he was taking this year. He wasn't stupid. A little inobservant, perhaps, but not stupid. Never stupid.
He knew enough random facts to make most of his classmates think twice about challenging him on any subject. For example, he knew that in Britain compulsory education ended at "Year 11", or Sophomore age, and the next step was "college" which was essentially Junior and Senior year of high school, but with a specialized degree in mind. He knew that University was little needed in Britain to get an okay job, and that swapping from the British specialized classes that one would take in the Senior equivalent, year 13, into an American high school was not something that normally happened.
The systems were too incompatible.
And yet they had an exchange student who seemed fairly smart, if behind in various subjects because, supposedly, even his secondary school was very specialized, which toned down his regular education to the point where he was taking various classes with younger students and had a fifth period study hour like many of the AP students to stay caught up.
Such as Eric. Who happened to be seated directly next to Harry Potter in the library, trying to study for his AP Chemistry class and failing to because Potter was continuously humming something which could easily be confused with a funeral dirge.
Continuously as in he either didn't breathe at all or had mastered the circular breathing technique used by didgeridoo players because there were no pauses in the tune whatsoever. Worse still, he was off tune, by a variant of two to three notes sharp.
It was driving the young Academic up the wall.
"Could you please stop?" Eric groaned. He'd tried to drown it out by plugging his ears with his pinkies, but to take notes he had to keep one hand free – which didn't matter, since his was practically ambidextrous after getting his right arm broken in elementary school – and plugging his ears didn't stop the vibrations from hitting his eardrums anyway.
Harry, of course, complied immediately. "Sorry," was said rather flatly, and the exchange student returned to his study of "Discrete Mathematics" which was code for "easy math for anyone past algebra to get some credits in senior year".
"Thank you," Eric didn't look toward Harry for a while after that, absorbing himself in his Spanish homework. It wasn't AP, just Honors, but it was the highest level available to any junior. Sometimes, he'd wish he had started taking French in middle school instead of Spanish, since his mother spoke it, but then he remembered how much the language resembled a massive vowel movement (1) rather than human speech.
It was actually the elder teen's use of French vulgarities, the same variety Eric's mother used, that caught his attention. Apparently he'd made his pen, a fancy fountain pen with a classy quill-tip, explode and ruined his text book. Eric might have laughed, but instead he cringed. The school texts were fairly expensive, and a certain level of destruction by a student required that the book be replaced, something being doused in ink certainly qualified as. He doubted the Stanleys would be willing to pay for it, meaning Harry would have to contact his folks back in the UK, get the funds transferred, and so on and so forth, before he could receive a new book for the school.
Then again, judging by the pen and the fact that Eric had seen Harry had several in his bag, there was a good chance his family loaded.
There was a strange crumpling noise and Eric turned his gaze upward; Potter was giving the pieces of pen and the sodden text a dirty look as he unwrapped a sucker. The guy had a definite sweet tooth from what Eric observed. Not that he meant to observe stuff like that, but it was hard not to notice when most of what the guy picked at lunch was sweets, minus an entrée – usually something with a lot of calcium and protein, supposedly (one never knew with school food) – and a high-sugar soda. And there was never a stretch of longer than ten minutes where he would be without a sucker.
Eric was almost curious as to what the older boy would do if he ran out of suckers, or if the school started to follow the national trend of serving healthier food. Eric had a cousin in Oregon whose school served whole-wheat pizza, got rid of their soda machine, and forced students to get a balanced meal at lunch instead of letting them pick the most unhealthy items; they even forbid the lunch ladies from using salt in food preparation! God only knew how Forks High would react to such a change.
"D'you know if they keep the spare texts in here?" Harry asked around his candy, perfectly adept at speaking with his mouth full. "Since the bookkeeper is out 'til tomorrow I mean, and I have to turn this in first period..." he trailed off. He apparently already knew of the school's policy regarding destroyed textbooks. Eric had heard something yesterday about a history book that was... in exactly the same condition as this one, actually.
"You do this often?" Eric was skeptical. What were the chances? And wasn't Harry Potter some sort of demigod to the students? Alright, so it was only his fourth day at the school, but his reputation was already on par with the Cullens and Hales, aside from him actually talking to people.
Talking to Harry was... well, not quite like talking to anyone else. He had the same general vocabulary as anyone, of course, and he didn't sound all stuck up like the one time Eric ever heard Edward Cullen talk, but he had a different rhythm. Like someone who was paying careful attention to their words at all times and wanted to make sure he didn't offend anyone.
It was like talking to Rachel Jacobson in his Chemistry class last year, for all the month she attended Forks High. She was abused and in foster care.
But it was all just speculation, of course.
"I changed my pen brand; these ones aren't as sturdy and I haven't adjusted to using them just yet," Harry laughed quietly at himself. "They don't carry my usual sort in the states, so I ordered some to be delivered at Jessica's – they arrived Tuesday and I keep breaking them at the worst times." Harry didn't look like the strong sort, but Eric hadn't seen him in short sleeves all week. Always long sleeves of some variety, but considering it was Forks and cold, for all the sunlight that beat upon them the past three days, it wasn't exactly a surprise.
"Ah," Eric ignored the deluge of unnecessary information. "Usually teachers keep their spares in class cupboards."
"Oh," Harry looked disappointed. "Alright then." He shifted the stick from one side of his mouth to the other. "Thanks anyway."
He stood and disposed of the text book, taking his leave of the library. Eric was torn between being glad that Harry had left – less distraction from his own work – and annoyance at the fact that, when he did turn back to what he was meant to be doing in his study period, he found his thoughts too absorbed by how utterly strange Harry Potter was to focus.
He almost wished he hadn't told the other boy to stop humming that dirge.
Despite being generally oversensitive compared to his family, Edward Cullen rarely let it show. He was indecisive, making it hard for Alice to read him on occasion, and, in his opinion, weak. He was weak to temptation. As weak to it as Jasper, or perhaps more, but Jasper at least had the excuse of being influenced by the emotions of those around him and being comparatively new to the "vegetarian" lifestyle, dwarfing his inner strength.
Edward could hear thoughts, but he was not actually effected by them, could always tell the difference between his own and someone else's; his weakness was all his own.
For some reason, as he strode up to the Stanley household, shoulder to shoulder with Emmett, he felt very weak to temptation. Not by comparison to his oh-so-controlled brother, but the weakness suddenly hit him, threatening to eat him from the inside out. Maybe he should not have come, but either he or Jasper was needed, and Alice had stated that Jasper going was not a good idea. The new vampire, she said, was very hungry, likely too hungry for Jasper to handle. Edward got the impression that there were very few potential scenarios that did not involve Jasper killing someone, and accepted the duty without complaint. He regretted it, somewhat.
He reached out one arm to press delicately on the little white button next to the door, causing a chime to sound inside the cookie-cutter home. There was a short cry of "I'll get it!" from someone who could only be Jessica Stanley herself, the slap of bare feet on wood flooring, and the door opened.
Her face turned abruptly red, flushed with life giving blood. Edward did not need his gift to know her thoughts, that she was embarrassed to be seen at anything less than her "full splendor" by the Cullens of all people, and how surprising it was to see them there when the only interaction between her and any of Forks' vampires was her asking Edward out a few times – before the rest of Forks High's students started avoiding the family, realizing that they had no interest in socializing with the locals – never mind the fact that it was a Saturday morning, not yet ten. In addition, the Cullens had been camping all week, so this was the first time she had seen them since Monday, and it was strange that they would be back today of all days.
After all, the Cullens were rarely seen on weekends because they were usually "camping". Edward shook himself from her thoughts reflexively.
"Jessica Stanley, right? Think you could call down Harry Potter for us?" Edward twitched ever so slightly as Emmett spoke. They were not supposed to know that Potter was upstairs just then, brushing his teeth judging by the bristly friction and running water. But, then, humans never noticed anything, especially not when faced with Emmett-the-brick-wall and Edward-the-untouchable.
Jessica complied, twirling one cork-screw curl around her finger in a way that Edward supposed was meant to be attractive. She trotted to the white carpeted stairs, swaying her hips unnecessarily in her too-small pajamas. "Harry! You have some guests!" There was a shout from upstairs that would be indistinct to a human, but Edward heard it as "In a minute!" Jessica returned to the door with a smile. "He'll be right down. Would you like to come in?"
The vampires declined. From the sounds in the kitchen, the Stanleys were making a late breakfast, and by the smell it included a lot of pancakes and fruit salads. If they went inside they would be invited to stay for the meal, which they would have to accept politely. They would also need to eat the food, and Edward was not in the mood to throw up as soon as he got home. Emmett was like-minded.
When Harry came downstairs, his eyes were just as black as before, and his thoughts conveyed exasperation with the visit. He waved Jessica away, telling her that he had promised to give Emmett his notes for history and they must be there to pick them up. It was not a half bad excuse actually. Edward had been planning to say they wanted to welcome him to Forks, but that was so unlikely – they were the Cullens after all, they did not so much as acknowledge that the rest of the town existed, let alone that they were deserving of any note! – that Edward had known from the off that it would not work.
"Alright, talk," Harry sighed. I've been expecting this all week, and they decide to show up right before breakfast. Lovely. Edward listened past Harry's thoughts and heard Jessica trying to eavesdrop, and failing. Good.
"Our Dad wanted us to invite you to go hunting with us this weekend," Emmett stated as calmly as ever. He didn't know what to make of this vampire, Edward knew. Most of his thoughts revolved around how his eyes were so black that it was like looking into a blackhole and how even Carlisle didn't have enough self-control to last this long. "We're heading out tonight. There are plenty of grizzlies in the area."
"Bears are not to my taste," Potter scrunched up his nose, a very human gesture. Many things about him were human-like, actually. Maybe he did not need to make the effort anymore at that age. He breathed at a realistic rhythm, he blinked every seven seconds with some variation as a human would, and his facial expressions were very human rather than the statuesque ones the Forks coven had.
Well, at least I know they don't kill the people in town, Potter thought. I'd hate to have to off them. This offered Edward some relief. Potter didn't drink from humans then.
"There are mountain lions too, and deer. Plenty of options," Edward supplied.
"I thank you for your consideration, but I get by as I am, and I do not need to hunt at this time," Potter's tone held a finality to it, one Edward didn't acknowledge. "If that's all?"
"It is merely good manners to introduce yourself when you show up in another's territory," Edward stated flatly now that he knew Potter didn't want to play the game. Jessica may not be able to hear them, but on the off chance, he wanted to avoid the word vampire at all costs.
"Only if I intend to hunt on your territory, which I do not," Harry shook his head. He was utterly disgusted. I can't… I won't hunt. I won't. Some damned local vamps aren't going to shake me. Especially not before I find him. "If you'll excuse me, Mr Stanley is almost done making breakfast, and growing teenaged boys are expected to eat at breakfast time." He shut the door at a human pace, not even slamming it to give Edward a good reason to be annoyed.
Worse, he still didn't know why he felt so weak to temptation, or what was supposed to be tempting him. Edward didn't realize he was growling low in his throat until Emmett tapped him on the shoulder.
"We should go back," the sort of older vampire stated, gesturing to the Jeep they had parked out front. "I think we have some information for Dad now, right?" Edward nodded blandly, brow furrowed in ill-concealed aggravation. Yes, he had information.
The Jeep had more of Emmett's crushing power, but it lacked the speed and control of Edward's Volvo. He sat back to enjoy the ride as best he could, but he really did prefer his own car.
"He refused then?" Carlisle's voice was not the least bit surprised. They had only seen Harry Potter the once, but Alice had intimated that she had another vision with him in it, and his eyes were still as black as the night sky in an area without light pollution. "Did you at least learn anything about him? I think most would have at least accepted to meet me." It was not said out of arrogance. Travelling vampires tended to check off with the leader of a local coven, if there was one.
"He doesn't drink human blood," Edward noted, "at all. He was fairly relieved when he realized we were vegetarians. He thought he would kill us if we were feeding off of the people in town." Most raised their eyebrows at the last. While the Cullens were as close to humans as vampires could get, even they wouldn't kill another vampire for "eating" people. It was a vampire's nature, after all. "But he is refusing to eat until he finds someone. No idea who, though."
"That's not even the worst of it," Emmett agreed, wincing slightly as he thought of whatever it was. Edward was a little curious; what could Emmett catch that he could not? "You were probably too preoccupied with his thoughts, so you didn't hear… but there's something seriously unnatural about him. He's definitely a vampire, but I could hear blood flowing in his veins, and his organs were actually moving around."
There was collective silence; Edward could hear his family's thoughts stutter to a halt at that, at the same time as his own. Blood flowing… and functioning organs? The hell? That was physically impossible. Edward could smell that Potter was dead, could tell with a certainty that there was no way that Harry Potter was not a vampire, just as they.
"I think he was sneaking bacon as part of his act, or whatever he's doing, because he smelled like the stuff even after brushing his teeth," Emmett made a face, "and I could hear his body reacting to it. He wasn't quite digesting, but I could still hear things moving. It was like… like his organs were on auto-pilot, but without any of the... natural lubricant of digestion. It was actually pretty gross sounding." His thoughts expressed extreme surprise that Edward hadn't noticed this; the telepathic vampire belatedly realized he HAD, but thought that it was Jessica.
The discussion continued into the night when the family went for their hunt. This sort of information was so intriguing and impossible. What vampire could make their disguise so perfect? Surely not even the Volturi, and they had been around for millennia.
On Monday it would still be raining, and when the Cullen "children" arrived at school in Edward's Volvo, per usual, they would discover that Harry Potter had attended all the past week and had not glittered even when standing under direct sunlight. He had not given himself away; he was a vampire who ate and drank, though Edward knew he hated the tastes, and who could stand under the sun without fear.
The British vampire was soon the greatest of concerns to the Cullen-Hale coven, even above the Quileutes.
"You really need to stop thanking me for something so trivial, Harry!" Jessica laughed at him, turning ever so slightly in her seat. She was really lapping up the attention and the chance to be alone with her current target. He really was magnificent, clenched jaw or no, she observed, watching him a moment longer than was safe when driving at fifty miles per hour, and the past month had been lovely.
True, the attention she gained from him had dwindled somewhat, but his attention seemed more upon her than any of their schoolmates. To be fair, this could be because she was his host and he could feel duty-bound to pay her more mind than the others at school; they were living together after all, and there was something very intimate about that. Sure, Harry's room was two doors away – both the bathroom and her parents' room was between hers and the guest room he stayed in – but they shared the same space, breathed the same air, had to juggle chore schedules and bathing times.
She wondered if they would skip the awkward "boyfriend and girlfriend living together" stage and go straight for "fiancés living together."
Jessica hoped so.
"You're going to miss the turn," Harry pointed out, and Jessica fumbled to make it seem like she had been about to merge right and onto the exit. She smiled at him, even as angry honking came from the car she had cut off. "Anyway, you're doing me a favor, it's only proper I should thank you. I'll treat you to dinner before we head back to Forks."
This was why she was so happy; their first date. He hadn't called it such, but Jessica didn't mind. She felt it was a date, and that was what counted.
Even though they were just heading to Port Angeles so Harry could pick up his prescription medication and he was treating her to dinner to be polite and pay her back, it had the feel of a date. Jessica may not be in love with him – she wasn't dumb enough to think she could be in love with a boy who she had only met a month ago - but she thought she had a crush, and he was too good looking to say no to. Ever. That would be like if Edward Cullen asked her out, though he was more sullen whereas Harry seemed more... borderline depressed with what seemed like the occasional suicidal streak.
Then again, judging how much he was afraid of her driving, the few thrill-seeking moments, such as the cliff diving and the incident a week past when he came up covered in scratches, were probably just coincidence.
Jessica was as cool as a cucumber. "It's only natural that I'll help a friend, right? I mean, we are friends, aren't we?" They were too close to other cars for her to divert her gaze long, but she managed to pout cutely at him anyway.
"Something like that," Harry responded with only the slightest hitch, and Jessica counted herself a win. That meant more than friends, didn't it? Or that he wanted to be.
"Yeah, something like that," Jessica grinned and decided to at least pretend to pay more attention to her driving.
She didn't mind that Harry was probably going to go back to England without looking back once. She didn't mind that he had his health problems – a rare genetic illness that stopped him from making stomach acid, so he needed pills that took care of that (2), sickle-cell anemia he gained from a blood transfusion as a child (3) which required a liquid dosage daily, and an acute allergy to sunlight (though he just used a special sunscreen to deal with that one) being only the most prominent of these – or that sometimes he seemed so socially awkward she wondered if he'd ever talked to kids his own age before.
She could teach him how to react to people, certainly. Jessica could teach a class on that.
Harry was very specific on which pharmacy he was supposed to go to, giving her directions he had taken from the internet to get there. He'd had to order the medications specially, and apparently this pharmacy, simply bearing a sign that said "The Apothecary" (if it hadn't been for the required reading of Romeo and Juliet as a freshman, Jessica wouldn't have known what that meant), was the only one in Port Angeles that would receive it.
The Apothecary was a small building wedged between a Starbucks and a record store. The outside was white with red letters, as one would expect from something having to do with medicine, and was filled with the usual suspects. No pharmacy was complete without an old man in a bathrobe, showing off his archaic flip-flops and disgusting toenails. Although, Jessica had never seen anyone wear a sleep cap outside of a cartoon, and she was pretty sure he was naked under the robe, which proved he really needed the meds.
Eventually they reached the front of the line. When Harry listed his name, she was pretty sure there was recognition in the pharmacist's eyes, but that could just be because special order meds were rare or something.
"Of- of course, Mr Potter!" The man behind the counter seemed to beam but that couldn't be right. He'd been all but surly until then. He rushed off to grab the meds – a small orange canister of pills, standard, a glass bottle that had to be half a foot tall and half that wide, and several other assorted medications for the problems that Jessica didn't know Harry had – and was back in a jiffy. "Sign here?"
If Jessica had noticed that the paper Harry was signing was an autograph book rather than a release form, she might have realized some very important things about Harry Potter. However, she was looking at the display of candies by the register, bored, and didn't notice what was going on beside her. What on earth was a chocolate frog anyway? It sounded gross, but kids liked that sort of thing. Especially little kids who have to run errands with their grandparents.
They left in due time, and Harry complied without the slightest protest when Jessica said she wanted to go shopping. A boy who didn't complain about shopping was perfect really.
To be fair, she was just looking for a Halloween costume, something more interesting and less potentially traumatizing than, say, looking for lingerie. Though she did try to force Harry to pick something out for himself, in the end she settled on a witch costume that she could alter to be as risqué as she liked.
Harry let her pick where to have dinner, and she picked a conveyor-belt sushi place. Angela was allergic to shellfish, so whenever Jessica went into the city with her friends she never got to go, and her dad always wanted to get burgers or pizza, so eating something so chic was like a dream.
Conversation passed, they drove home, and Jessica felt that even though Harry didn't kiss her goodnight on the doorstep or anything, their date really was perfect.
Halloween landed on the seven week mark for Harry Potter's arrival in Forks, Emmett noted dully. Which marked at least 8 weeks since the Brit had drank blood. At least seven weeks of eating human food, digesting it (sort of), and of being at once more and less human than all the Cullens and Hales combined.
It was, to Emmett, somewhat maddening.
Harry Potter should have gone insane by now, should have tried to massacre everyone in Forks and been torn limb from limb by the Cullens and then burned. He shouldn't be able to not drink blood.
And yet those eyes were still pitch black, and Jasper was constantly thanking every god he could name that he didn't have any classes with the foreign vampire because that gnawing bloodlust was threatening to overtake him from all the way across the cafeteria. Emmett did not envy his empathic brother, but even he felt phantom hunger around the blood starved vampire.
Edward relayed, after beating Emmett to his second period history class, that Harry's thoughts had been apprehensive when they passed in the hall that morning.
"He dislikes Hallowe'en," Edward revealed in a voice too quiet for passing students to catch. "He kept on thinking about 'things' that happened. I followed him around for a few minutes, until I had to get to Trigonometry, and his thoughts revolved around screams, a dead cat, fire, and a green light... but mostly screams. Women screaming. With the green light there were cries of a woman begging that he not be killed. I think his resolve is breaking."
Emmett frowned deeply and thought to his brother, I can watch him this period, but I think Alice's third and fourth periods are closest to his. There is only so much we can do at school.
"I will ask Jasper to try and feel more at lunch, but I am unsure if he will comply." Edward was gone soon after, leaving as fast as he could while still appearing human so he wouldn't be late to class.
Emmett took his seat and watched the stragglers filter in to take their own. Harry Potter, normally punctual, was the last one in the room, slipping in just as the bell went off. Most people didn't notice, but Emmett was more observant than he was often given credit for. He wondered if Edward had noticed how much Harry was twitching, how he looked to be fighting the urge to look over his shoulder.
Maybe... maybe he was turned on Halloween. Or if his sire was like Carlisle, perhaps the incident that led to it was on Halloween. Emmett kept these in the forefront of his mind as he pretended to listen to the teacher's lecture. The words "partner projects" caught his attention, and Emmett sighed. He always had to work with Jamie Daniels because of the alphabetical order, and the girl was dumb as a rock. Only, she thought she was quite smart, and refused to just let Emmett do the entire project so they could have a decent grade.
Oh, and let's not forget she tended to paw at him so much Rosalie would quickly become cross with him. His wife would probably refuse to come within two feet of him for a week. Again.
"Move to sit with your usual partners," the teacher announced. "Harry, you can work with Patricia and Amy – that's Amy O'Neill, not Amy Allen, Patricia, so don't try and pull a fast one on me. Or Dillon and Sarah if that's more to your taste." Emmett didn't know the names of all his classmates – he just didn't care – so he didn't really know who those mentioned were, but he could guess Potter was between both pairs.
Emmett stood a little reluctantly to join Jamie at the front of the room. What he had done in his life to deserve working with her he would never know.
Behind him there was a clatter, and Emmett's foot stopped in midair as his nose was assaulted by the scent of blood. He whipped around and bit down on his tongue. He hadn't gone hunting that weekend because the family had gone out on Wednesday when the sun came out for a bit, so he was a bit closer to the edge than normal for a Monday. However, he also wasn't about to go on a feeding frenzy.
No, he was far more concerned about Harry.
The clatter came from a girl who tripped – a Junior, sporty girl, Emmett thought her name was Hope or Faith or something – and brought down a chair with her. The chair bit into her knee, causing blood to well up.
She happened to be the girl who sat in the desk in front of Harry Potter, and his partners were coming to him rather than the other way around.
Emmett wondered why he was frozen like this, unable to move as he watched Harry stand oh-so-slowly – or so it would seem to vampiric eyes – from his desk, maneuver around it, and come to a stop in the aisle not a foot from the fallen maiden. The Southern vampire knew he should get between the black-eyed vampire and the bloodied girl, but he couldn't. Something stopped him.
He would later recognize it as curiosity at how the other vampire in class would deal with the situation when he was so obviously famished.
"Are you alright?" Harry squatted down so he was on level with the injured girl. "Mr Benedetti, are there any large bandages in the room? No? Is it alright if I take Destiny to the infirmary then?"
"No, Tim can do it; they're partners in the class anyway," Mr Benedetti sighed aloud from somewhere behind and to the right of Emmett. "Show's over kiddies. Get back to work. Just because it's Halloween doesn't mean you can all just have a party in the middle of class." The glare thus leveled was enough to make the students go to their seats, though Emmett perhaps did so slower than others.
"Next time you should make sure you tie the laces on your boots," Harry admonished as he helped the injured girl to stand and handed her off to her partner. "Hallowe'en doesn't mean we can just... forget these things, right?" Emmett could, by this point, tell by sound just what variety of false smile his classmate put on. It was his cheesy "you did something stupid but I'm going to pretend I'm just your average nice guy who doesn't want to drink your blood" smile with a dash of "stupid grin" thrown into the mix.
An arm suddenly latched on to Emmett's and started to pull; it took an extra second to remember to let himself be pulled. "Hey Emmett, aren't you just so glad we're doing pair projects again?" Jamie's airy voice was like a miasma in the air, and Emmett forced himself to remove his focus from the other vampire in the room and on to making sure that Jamie didn't sabotage his grade for the semester.
Surely there were only so many surprises one vampire could throw at them, right?
The horrid gagging sound of someone throwing up God only knew what was not what Eric Yorkie was expecting when he opened the door to the boys' bathroom. He's expected, at worst, that a jock would be at the urinals and he would feel awkward for a while. But no, the pained hoarse noise of barf was what greeted him upon entering, and he almost turned straight back around to head back to class, or maybe just find a different bathroom.
But no, he had to pee, and Señora Preli had a strict five minute rule for the bathroom, which wasn't enough time to get to the bathrooms in the next building that tended to get more traffic because they were a little cleaner. So he decided to brave the sound, hope the smell was gone by the time he left, and double hope that whoever it was wasn't throwing up because they had gone on a bender during Thanksgiving Break and forgotten to sober up by morning.
Mostly because he would probably feel sorry for the poor guy and get conned into making up an excuse for him to the infirmary and be late getting back to Spanish. He did not need a detention! He was going to graduate as the Valedictorian if it killed him, and a detention would probably work against him, somehow.
Eric went about his business as quickly as he could manage, but not fast enough it seemed. The sounds stopped by the time his zipper was down, and before he was finished, the door to the offending stall was opened smoothly. Eric kept his eyes forward, not wanting to catch the attention of whoever was sick more than he had to. It was one thing if the guy was, y'know, actually sick, but the flu hadn't hit Forks just yet, and the footsteps were too measured, too perfect for that.
Eric's eyes betrayed him, and glanced to the side.
Harry Potter stood at the sinks, using a wet paper towel to wipe his mouth. It was red, a bead of blood going so far as to drip from his chin and into the ugly three-station sink before him. Eric's eyes swiveled straight forward again.
Harry was throwing up blood. How many kinds of sick did he have to be to do that? This wasn't the usual "teenager goes on a bender and ducks out of class to throw up the morning after", the guy had to actually be sick!
Eric swallowed thickly and zipped up. He was hesitant to approach the sink – the water sitting in the bottom of it, not going down as it ought because some ass (probably a freshman) had left a paper towel covering half the drain, was pink with blood – but tried to seem casual. Like it didn't seem as though the senior before him was dying or something.
He washed his hands and left as quickly as possible, not daring to look back, and trying with all his might to forget. He was so focused on this that he didn't notice when he passed Edward Cullen in the hall.
When Edward arrived, the bathroom was empty and smelled faintly of Pinesol. That was what he remembered from that not-encounter, was that the bathroom smelled of Pinesol, the acidic chemical scent driving away any vestiges of what Edward had seen in Eric's mind. Until then, the Cullens had been sure that while Harry Potter's state of being wasn't good, he at least knew how to take care of himself.
He had not thrown up before, at least not so far as Edward was aware. He had gleaned from Jessica that there were no yakking sounds like Eric had been treated to. For all the girl was unobservant and deluded, you notice when someone is throwing up in the bathroom, especially when it's right next to your own room. You notice, and Jessica hadn't, and Harry had suddenly excused himself from English on the first day back from Thanksgiving Break and started throwing up blood in the bathroom.
If Edward hadn't seen the memory with his own mind, he would not have believed it at all when he entered that bathroom, yet he'd taken no more than ten seconds after reading Eric's mind. No signs of Harry or sanguineous barf.
That was why Edward found himself sitting on the roof of Jessica Stanley's house that evening, and indeed every evening for the next week leading into December. Of course, Harry was aware that he was there – it was kind of obvious and having vampiric senses made it only more so – but the Brit did not care. At all.
Then again, he didn't know Edward was a mind reader, either.
I'll have to talk to Fred– in his thoughts, an image of a red-haired man with a tan, brown eyes, and a grin popped up, along with another, identical, followed with a sting of pain angst desolation – about adjusting my dosages. Again. Hope he can work a telephone now – a mental echo of fellytone and a laugh, another red head, this time with blue eyes, younger, and a vicious stab of agony desperation despair rather than a sting – but maybe Hermione – a picture of duality, a young girl with poofy brown hair and beaver teeth, then a young woman with sleek curls, a perfect smile, and a pretty face, for a human – taught him by now.
Then he thought of his "medications". Some strange pills that caused his digestive tract to pull food through so he wouldn't throw up. Something called a "blood replenisher" that made him produce blood so that the digestive tract could move. Various other medications that made him seem human, or were just placebos to give the illusion of poor health.
Edward learned a lot that first night. How Harry Potter seemed so human, that he had human friends he met in school who helped him by making things that would make him seem human.
Edward did not know how old Harry was, nor how long he had that particular guise. He didn't think about those things. He just thought about his friends. How most of them were killed by a man with pale skin and red eyes. Some bald vampire had killed all those people to get at him.
The following nights, Edward didn't learn anything quite up to par. He listened to Harry pretending to sleep for eight hours every night, heard him practicing a fake sneeze so he could feign that his poor constitution had led to a rather vicious cold. The thoughts weren't very enlightening to the things Edward wanted to know, like why he wouldn't drink blood or this mysterious "him" that he was searching for.
But he didn't need to know at that moment, because he knew without a doubt that the invading vampire was unstable.
It was time for an intervention.
It was, in retrospect, perhaps too easy to get Harry Potter to go along with them, but Carlisle wasn't about to complain. The British vampire seemed to have expected it, to be entirely honest. It was a half-sunny day, but the Cullens – Carlisle, Emmett, and Edward that is – made sure to arrive at the Stanley household during a cloudy moment so they would not look like humanoid disco balls. Harry was sitting on the front porch, applying sunscreen and barely looked at the vampires before feigning to remember that Gosh! He was late for that Doctor's appointment he had scheduled and he was awfully sorry for taking up more of Dr Cullen's time than was necessary on his day off.
Jessica had been too dazzled by the combined beauty to say anything and just waved to them from the porch.
The drive was made in silence, with a few small exceptions. One was the sound of Harry's nails piercing the leather seat he was perched on as they began tearing down the road. The other was Edward telling him to slow down because they were freaking Harry out.
Amaxophobia, the fear of riding in a car, was fairly common in older vampires, because they felt so out of control in cars, since the damned things were impossible to have under complete control, and so Carlisle slowed down to something a bit closer to the speed limit, only doubling it instead of murdering it viciously.
He was uncertain the effort was appreciated judging by the breaking of the passenger "oh shit" handle. (4)
At length they arrived at the house. Harry didn't seem overtly surprised at the size of the house – medical doctors made a lot of money after all – and entered in the middle of the group. He seemed to have a good grasp on the etiquette of such situations, even if he had blatantly ignored it previously.
Alice was directly inside and ushered them into the living room where Esme and Rosalie were already seated, eyeing the door. While Esme was looking as welcoming and radiant as always, Rosalie was wary, eyeing the potential threat to their family with every ounce of judgment she could muster. Carlisle invited Harry to sit, and he did, taking the armchair rather than sitting by any of the coven. Carlisle took the seat beside Esme.
"So, what've I done that's drawn offense?" Harry looked into the many sets of golden eyes with black voids. Carlisle didn't think he had ever seen eyes so black. "I went to great lengths to not cross any of you. I don't hunt on your territory or anything."
"You have not offended us!" Esme protested immediately. "We are having you over because we... we are concerned."
"That I'm going to go mad and kill the town? Don't," Harry shook his head when several members of family might have tried to protest to his phrasing. "I will do no such thing. There is nothing that can make me do that; I'm not a monster." His face twisted into an expression that Carlisle thought wouldn't be out of place on a monster.
"Nothing can prevent it! How long has it been since you ate?" Rosalie sniped. "How can you say you will not kill everyone? I can admit it is a miracle you have managed thus far, but vampiric instincts are too strong to just repress for this long!"
"She is right," Carlisle began before Rosalie could say anything that might ignite their guest's ire. She had a real talent for that. "Some of the more scientifically minded vampires across the world have tested it. The longest one was held off is only about a week longer than you have gone so far, from what we have gathered. She did so on her own at first, then put herself into confinement for months after ordering some newborns under her care to make sure she didn't attack anyone for as long as possible. She turned the entire village to rubble and killed all of her coven when she snapped."
"Serafina II, currently of the major coven of Denmark," Harry supplied, "thought dead by the majority of the vampire world. She's been using her ability – to erase memory – to keep her current existence and affiliation a secret from the Volturi. She published the results of her experiments, including the one you mention, where she almost starved herself to the point of redeath, and those of various others in similar positions in a medical journal about two hundred years ago, before disappearing."
Silence filled the room.
"I understand muggle vampires rarely go into the magical world, but you really should at least find some shops for the sake of learning your own history," Harry rolled his eyes. "And, as I said, I will not give in like Serafina did. As I was going to say, my 'trait' that was exaggerated when I turned was my self-control. At least, that's what Hermione says. Bull in my opinion. I just don't give in to temptation. I've hardly ever been 'in control' in my life."
The vampires were quiet for an extra moment, and Carlisle was the first to process the information.
"A magic origin vampire... I can see the advantage of course," it had never occurred to any of them that Harry Potter was magic – perhaps that Harry Potter! But he would only be 18, wouldn't he? – but Carlisle had met plenty of vampires whose origins were in the magical world. He winced ever so slightly. Yes, he had certainly met some. None of them had quite the same advantage. "But if you are not 'giving in to temptation' as you put it, how are you still –" he couldn't say alive. None of them had been alive for a good while. "-existing? As you said, Serafina's experience almost killed her, and yet you look as healthy as any of us, minus your eyes." Eyes that didn't have bags under then because he could and did go into the sun.
"A combination of things," Harry shrugged, and Carlisle recalled the medicines Edward had told him about. Perhaps they had more purpose than the illusion of humanity. "Look, now that you know I'm not going to go ballistic, can I leave? Jessica will get suspicious if my 'appointment'," he made air quotes here, "goes too long, and I don't want to have to make up another symptom to justify it. Merlin knows pretending to cough and sneeze is bad enough!"
"I have some more questions for you," Edward intervened even as Carlisle was hesitantly nodding his head. "If you would not mind answering, you are welcome to question us in return."
"I'm not curious," Harry heaved a sigh, "but go ahead. I have to be in Port Angeles in two hours at the latest."
"How old are you? When were you turned?" Were the first questions out of Edward's mouth. Ice breakers.
"I'm eighteen, or I would be, and I was turned in June," Harry replied evenly. There was surprise around the table of course, and Carlisle realized that he had been correct in his thinking. This was "that" Harry Potter. THE Harry Potter.
When everyone seemed to come to terms with the information – and Edward would know, wouldn't he? – he asked his next question, the one Carlisle knew had been burning in him for the past two and a half months.
"Who are you searching for?"
At this query, Harry's eyes hardened. "I'm not going to ask how you know. The only ones I've asked are the wolves at the reservation –" this caused some raised brows, "so I'll just assume one of you figured it out or something. I don't care how you know, but it probably isn't in your best interest to know, nor to find him. I'm looking for a member of my godfather's family, who used to be a vampire hunter. He was the son of a squib, so that he's lived so long... maybe he turned out to be a shape-shifter like the Quileutes or something. Again, I don't care how he got to be so old. The important thing is that he was a vampire hunter and the family Grimoire said he was currently living somewhere nearby. Forks was in about in the middle of the map for where to look."
"Are you going to kill him?" Edward's voice was diamond hard.
"Kill him?" Harry laughed, a harsher sound than Carlisle thought it would be. "Kill him! Why should I do such a thing? I'm trying to find him so he'll kill me. There's no other reason to go looking for Carlisle Black."
While his family floundered over Harry's apparent death wish, Carlisle was more concerned with the name uttered.
Carlisle Black. Carlisle Black. How had he ever heard that name? How could Harry know that name? He'd mentioned the family Grimoire, but Carisle thought those only kept track of magical relatives, not squibs and their sons.
"If someone with the name Black comes to you, you will know him for a witch," Carlisle's father had said once upon a time. "You shall know him for a godless heathen. And do not be fooled by him if he too calls you by that name, boy, for he will only lead you astray."
So many centuries later, Carlisle knew better of course. He'd learned not long after his father's death that his name had been Black – when he found out his first successful witch burning was his own grandmother – and they had taken his mother's name of Cullen rather than bear the name of a family of witches, but he had never dreamed of- of this.
Carlisle's head twisted too fast for the human – or, indeed, vampiric – eye to see to a surprised looking Edward. The family knew of his history of course; he'd told them all of what he did before his turning. The topic of the Black family just never factored into it, because he wasn't a Black, he was a Cullen and always had been, before and after death.
"Carlisle Cullen... Carlisle Black..." Harry's head tilted from side to side, and Carlisle could see his expression become stonier. "I get it. Fuck. Maybe this would've been easier if I'd accepted that invitation in September. I could have disappeared easier anyway. Fuck. I went to all the trouble of coming to Forks so I could ask you to kill me, and it turns out you are not only a vampire but one with compassion for human life. Just my luck."
It really was just his luck. Everything had gone to hell for Harry, and it would figure that the one bright point he'd had the past months would cease to exist in a fiery pit of shit.
Of course, it all began when he was a baby, then through his life with the Dursleys, school at Hogwarts, and finally, after five years at Hogwarts, Dumbledore put the piss-icing on the shit-cake and told him about the prophecy and horcruxes and all these damned things that he didn't want to know. He was already the world's bitch, and now there was a damned reason for it.
They spent forever looking for the horcruxes, and people died, Dumbledore being first and foremost in the middle of sixth year when he was poisoned by some mulled mead sent to him by Draco Malfoy. From then on Harry was more alone than ever in his pursuit of ending this stupid prophecy. Long story short, he found all seven horcruxes by the end of April the following year, by which time many others had died. George and Ginny were killed in Diagon Alley, Luna and her father in their home, many of Harry's classmates at that year's Quidditch Cup, which was held in France, Remus died outside St Mungo's, buying time for Tonks to escape the Hospital with their newborn son Theodore "Teddy" Remus Lupin. The list went on and eventually Harry stopped caring, his grief spent.
Then he would find out about another death and be hit just as hard as the first.
Ron died when they were retrieving Huffleuff's Cup, eaten by a Gringott's dragon. A few days later was what the Prophet christened The Final Battle and The Battle of Hogwarts. Most of the teachers were killed when all the stairs in the castle collapsed. Molly was hit in the back by friendly fire, bled out before anyone even noticed.
At length, Harry and Voldemort faced off, and Harry was hit by a Killing Curse before he even knew what happened. He didn't die, but he might as well have. He was on auto-pilot when he whipped the same curse at Voldemort. He – he couldn't –
He could hardly even think of the soul-deep pain of that curse. He had realized, upon surviving, that he had been a horcrux all along, but it wasn't the knowledge that hurt. He had gone his entire life with an extra bit of soul within his body, and with his parseltongue ability as proof, that little shard of soul had integrated into his own. It was his soul and it had been ripped away. Not the whole of it, but enough.
More than enough.
While most would say that Harry's despondency was due to the deaths of everyone he ever cared about, the truth was that he was struggling to find an equilibrium that quite simply didn't exist. It was like he didn't exist. He wasn't him anymore. He just... wasn't.
For a month, while the wizarding world tried to pick up the pieces, Harry tried too. On June tenth he gave up. Not in the way most gave up – he didn't try to off himself, nor did he just lay in bed and refuse to do anything or just go on pub crawls day in and day out. No, when Harry gave up he just walked out of Grimmauld Place, picked a direction, and continued walking, not caring about the bloody world or his well being any longer. The world could go fuck itself and he didn't know if his being had ever been well.
When he was jumped by a dog from alleyway, somewhere in the W3 area, he didn't even put up a fight. When more dogs – rabid, he realized upon seeing those foaming jowls – joined in, he knew he was going to die.
And he did, but it wasn't the way he wanted. He passed out beforehand, and when he woke he was in a flat, throat burning, thirsty for some substance he didn't know. A man with silvered hair and impossibly pale skin was sitting on a couch nearby the bed, reading a weathered copy of Stephen King's 'Salem's Lot and humming some modern muggle music Harry remembered Dudley listening to last summer.
The man looked up then, red eyes telling Harry precisely what he was, and then the man was going on about how grateful he was to Harry for defeating Voldemort, who had apparently killed the vampire's entire coven when they refused to join his cause back in the seventies. His name was, ironically, John Smith, and yes, that was his name he'd been born with, and he had saved Harry as quickly as he could, but it wasn't soon enough for him to not die so John had had to turn him as a show of his gratitude.
Harry hadn't moved from the bed for a good ten minutes, just listening to the man. Then he left. He didn't say good-bye, he didn't ask for help with his new situation, he just left. He later learned that John had freaked out, thinking he set a regular Newborn upon the unsuspecting citizens of London, but Harry just went back to Grimmauld Place and explained his new transformation to his worried friends, few that remained, that had congregated in his home over the past day since his disappearance. Though, there was little explanation required when sunlight filtered through the windows and caused him to refract light everywhere.
Had Fred laughed that much since George's death? Harry couldn't say.
Considering everything they had gone through Harry wasn't surprised when his family – and that's what they were by then, family, because otherwise they'd all be in the loony bin already – were entirely supportive of his new life and went about finding new ways to help him live the way they thought he wanted, to still blend in as human. He registered with the Ministry and the Volturi, as was the law, and was informed of his options as a vampire; they were probably greater than those of the average vampire, because he was not only a wizard but Harry Potter and a personal friend to Minister Shacklebolt. George made more options for him when he invented SPF Vampire, a magical sunscreen that literally layered shadows over the area it was applied to, so he could go out in the sun without being embarrassed.
His "ability" gave him more options, options that left him at least able to pretend he was human. Blood replenishing potions triggered his body to create blood, keeping his organs in a state to function but also leaving him in a constant newborn-state. If he didn't have the trait to never give in, he would have probably massacred half of London; no other registered vampire was capable of that sort of control. This blood, however, was laced with venom, and did not nourish him; for that he had blood pops. Blood pops were only 3 percent blood, but if he ate at least ten every day he would be just healthy enough.
He appreciated the effort, really he did, but Harry just wanted to keel over already. But the problem with vampires was that they were so damned difficult to kill. He couldn't starve to death, Hermione warned him, because even though his self-control was impeccable now, on the very brink of death a vampire would go berserk to the point where nothing short of a volcanic eruption could stop them. It was at this point that Hermione gifted him with Serafina's book, which detailed when just such a thing happened and how Mt Vesuvius was made to erupt to stop the bloodbath.
At one point, Harry was so guilty about his wanting death when his family was so intent on him living despite it, he sequestered himself in the small library at Grimmauld Place, which was where he found the Black Grimoire, a book detailed spells and potions invented by the family – mostly dark, with the exception of several healing potions and the tickling charm – and in the back half a detailed history of the family. It was self updating, so it knew which members of the family still lived and who had died.
It was when looking through the short list of living relatives that Harry found out that he was a member of the Black family – apparently his grandmother was one – and that he had a very very old squib relative who had in his youth been a successful witch and vampire hunter. While it was rare, it wasn't unheard of for squibs to inherit a wizard's life span, and though it didn't detail children, there was mention of adoptions, though no names.
Harry had figured that the man would still be a man and would still be in the business of killing vampires. Or his children would be. Or he would know someone Harry could go to for death, at least.
But no. He had to be a fucking vampire! He had to be a nice guy and so utterly unlikely to kill him that Harry had a feeling that if he even asked the man would be too torn to say anything. Harry couldn't very well tear himself to pieces and throw himself into a fire now could he? And if he committed suicide he'd be feeling too guilty to face his friends in the afterlife and Hermione would resurrect him, no matter how impossible that may be.
Perhaps having someone else kill him was cruel too, but he'd feel a little better. And it had a higher chance of success.
He didn't mind that Edward narrating his thoughts to the rest of the room, because it couldn't make any difference. They wouldn't kill him. No one would fucking kill him! Not even the Volturi, and he'd asked. Aro was too obsessed with the thought of having a vampire on his side that was always perfectly in control and could never be tempted. Just because he had to register with the bastard didn't mean he was part of the coven though.
"When do you want to die?" Harry was shocked by the question asked so calmly by Carlisle. Maybe...
"As soon as possible. I can't stand it anymore." Maybe he really did understand.
Edward could not help but to think it had all been sudden and easy. Too easy. Now he knew that this Harry Potter was the Harry Potter, he wondered at how easy it had been to kill the boy who saved England from Voldemort. The Cullens may not have been up on current affairs, but everyone knew about that... and they had killed him.
It really had been easy. Carlisle had driven Harry back to the Stanleys' with the family following on foot, only Emmett in the car; Jessica had been out, expecting Harry to meet her in the city, but her father was putting up Christmas lights and her mother was yelling at him to stop breaking the bulbs when they arrived. Harry had gone into the house, even paler faced than normal thanks to a spell, Emmett following to help with luggage, as Carlisle explained the story he had come up with to explain Harry's departure.
They had found something wrong with his Medulla Oblongata during the check up, having used a cat scan to check on one of his other long-term health problems, and found that Harry's health was so unstable that he could die before the New Year at the drop of a hat. Harry had elected to return to Britain and booked the last direct flight to Amsterdam so he could get home, because he wanted to tell his family, and if he was to die he wanted to do it knowing that he wasn't putting an unneeded pressure on people who had been kind to him.
It was a sob story, true, but it worked. Jessica's parents were understanding; Mrs Stanley wrapped Harry in a teary hug when he appeared outside again with Emmett standing awkwardly over his shoulder, suitcases in hand. Mr Stanley gripped Harry's shoulder tightly, wished him good health, a gesture which Harry only smiled at. He thanked them profusely, and then the trio got back in the car to "head to the airport".
Harry picked the place for his death. South of First Beach where he had enjoyed the day with his peers, to stay out of Quileute territory. It was sunny as they built up the bonfire, but they didn't glisten as normal because Harry had given them the "SPF Vampire" and a way to contact Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes for more if they wanted.
Edward was the first to tear off a limb, helped by Emmett. Jasper was comforting the women, and Carlisle stoking to flames to be hot; Harry never even winced as he was torn limb from limb. Edward might have sworn that, as the head was chucked in the pyre, he saw a smile.
It made him wish he had eaten human food that day, so he could throw it up.
After that... that was the hardest part, going to school and pretending that they hadn't played a hand in Harry's disappearance. Jessica skipped the first three days back, and everyone knew about the tragedy of Harry's failing health and decision to return home. No one even glanced at the Cullens, not more than usual anyway. Some were shocked, but when Eric admitted to hearing Harry throwing up blood in the boys' room after Thanksgiving, even the doubters came to understand.
Another week, and then it was Christmas vacation. Talk of Harry stopped by then. There was a new topic to worry over, and while those closest to him still lamented his leaving, they didn't know he was dead, just gone. Edward felt sorry for Harry, that these three months had proved him inconsequential in Forks High. He was a lot more interesting than the latest gossip.
Who cared if Chief Swan's daughter was moving to Forks, anyway?
Author's Note: I really wish I wasn't so under the spell of the plotbunnies, and I also wish this was my last time touching Twilight... but it isn't. You have no idea the sorts of plotbunnies I get for this. I've already started on another
I'd just like to reiterate that I read Twilight back in November, over the course of seven hours. (The damn thing is so fluffy it only took so long because I kept needing to pause and stare at some of the horrible sentences that never should have gotten through the editing process and the stalker things Edward does...) Based on what I've read in Twilight and the VERY sparing glances I have taken into the Twilight wikipedia pages, I made various inferences regarding vampires, the turning process, etc. If I'm wrong, I don't care.
In regards to cliff-diving, I found mentions of it in the Twilight wiki (something about Bella and suicide? I dunno), looked it up, etc. What is written about it is what I found. Information from whdf(dot)com. If it's the wrong kind of cliff-diving, again, oh well, I don't care. It was the only way I could think of for Harry to get away from Jacob quickly.
Also, why is it I can write Harry speaking formally, and as soon as I'm writing any of the Cullens it's all contractions? Ugh.
(Finished writing this about a week and a half before publication, but it spent a while being beta'd by the ever-so-awesome MarauderHeir :3 Just got it back this morning, gave it one final edit (when I should have been sleeping... last night was Graduation, and the school Grad Party went 'til 430 am - I'm officially out of High school), and here it is.)
(1) Yes, I did put vowel on purpose rather than bowel. It's a phrase my dad uses to describe French (he's trying to learn, but being fluent in German seems to make it even more difficult, somehow).
(2) There is an actual disease like this. My 7th grade science teacher had this problem and there are pills in the real world that deal with it. (She told us a story about her grandmother, who also had the problem, and discovered it when a sandwich was rotting in her stomach for three days. It was kinda gross.)
(3) Sickle-cell anemia is normally limited to those of African descent, but people can get it through blood transfusions. (My dad mentioned a week ago someone I know who has it by that method, but I've forgotten now.)
(4) An "oh shit" handle is the handle on the inside of a car that seems to have no purpose; I don't know if it has a real one, but it is an "oh shit" handle because people who are nervous in cars (or in a car with a reckless driver) tend to grip it to relieve tension and resist the urge to freak out.