Warnings: Contains many references to Hinduism and Buddhism (not in a convert-y way – I'm an atheist – but in a "this religion works well for this story" way), slash, Twilight (scary stuff there), crude language, shorter chapters than my norm
Disclaimers: Harry Potter belongs to JK Rowling and associates of whom I am not one. Twilight belongs to Stephanie Meyer and associates of whom I am (thankfully) not one. No views, religious or otherwise, are meant to reflect the views of the author (well... except the ones that make fun of Twilight, but those are well deserved!).
4: Right Action
The time it took for Edward to integrate himself into Harry Potter's life was less than expected, and only caused his feelings – no longer Cedric's, he was certain – to intensify.
Harry was a fascinating young man. He was genuinely kind to people, but wouldn't put up with brown-nosers or people who tried to antagonize him; the latter he told off and the former he ignored outright until they approached as an equal. And as he saw anyone willing to treat him as such to be his equal, that was fine.
He was neither popular or unpopular; a couple of girls found him cute, and Harry went out with one of them to the homecoming football game and dance in mid-October. Edward had kept a close eye on the pair, but they had done little more than share a short kiss once she found that the wizard did not know – and did not want to know – how to dance the provocative styles his peers displayed, as he could barely pull off a waltz right, let alone wiggle his limbs in odd ways that would be considered in some way or another to be "sexy". The girl spent most of the dance talking with her girl friends and, and Edward was content that Harry wouldn't fall for some Forks girl right in front of him.
By November, it was normal for Harry and Edward to study together in the school library for an hour or two twice a week, just enough for Harry not to fail his classes. Ginny rarely joined, as she had joined the school's volleyball team for lack of Quidditch, and one of their regular days was the same as the chess club meetings, meaning Ron could join them only once per week, and even then he normally didn't, choosing to spend his time flirting with Jessica Stanley instead.
When Thanksgiving rolled around, Esme insisted Edward invite the Weasley family over, though they didn't accept. The elder Weasleys were not fond of Harry's choice in locals to befriend – Edward had met them only once and, while they were kind, their thoughts whirled with concern for the well being of the savior of the wizarding world in the face of a "dark creature" such as himself – and being British did not see any point to the American holiday beyond that the three attending muggle school had the week off.
They had only broached the topic of what happened after Cedric's death once more, at the start of December. Edward learned of Harry's time in training at the Ministry, being relentlessly drilled by aurors, healers, and even members of the Department of Mysteries in the arts of magical combat, emergency medical spells (in case he should break his leg in battle, for instance), and… creative uses for certain branches of magic not normally used that way. The vampire still shuddered to recall what Harry could do with a potato peeling charm.
Edward could sense Harry still had reservations about him. Harry saw too much and too little of Cedric in him, and worried that he was becoming Edward's friend, not for Edward, but in an effort to posthumously become Cedric's friend and make up for their lack of interaction in Cedric's final year of life.
Edward, however, was a mind reader. He knew those were not Harry's motivations; knowing that Harry worried about that possibility made him that much more certain that it was not the case. Harry was an earnest sort. A little shy sometimes, a little too outgoing at others, but he was a Gryffindor and the Cedric in him remembered that Gryffindor and Hufflepuff were kin houses. Both valued loyalty and honesty.
The most important thing, Edward thought, was that Harry accepted him. Never was there disgust for his vampiric nature - Harry had never met one before, and after the thestral incident never judged a being by what books said on them - or hatred for him assuming Cedric's form (after learning what happened that is). Harry did not judge Edward or compare him to anyone with malicious intent.
To Harry, Edward was Edward, and a perfectly acceptable person to spend a Friday evening with, no matter what Mrs. Weasley said.
"This is a great forest," Harry observed, looking up through the trees. They were in a part of the forest Cedric had walked many times, but as of yet had not brought Harry to. "Some of these would have been just saplings the first time you lived here, right? The only forest I have experience with was the Forbidden Forest. I don't know if Cedric ever went into it, but it was nothing like this."
"He did not," Edward confirmed. "Or else the impression would have been strong enough for me to remember a little, I think. The first time I saw the trees here, I think the entire family spent a few nights camping just to appreciate it, though we told each other it was because we couldn't decide where to build the house."
Harry chuckled and Edward snuck a glance at him, drinking in the sight of a happy Harry Potter. In whatever number of Cedric's memories that retained images of the boy, very few of them included a smiling face. Or footsteps squelching through a three inch thick layer of orange and yellow leaves, for that matter. Even with half the trees in the area being evergreen, there was a ridiculous amount of leaves underfoot, though most were already mulched so close to Winter.
Edward wondered if Cedric's soul could see this, if personalities really went anywhere after death or if they just disappeared, and, slightly sickened, decided it was best not to think on it any longer.
"Harry," Edward interrupted the flow of their conversation before he could lose the determination that brought him to this soggy bit of forest in the first place, "I was wondering if you would do me the honor of attending dinner with me this Friday?"
Edward could tell the exact moment that Harry realized what he was being asked. Not that Edward pried into his mind, no, his thought processes at this moment would be too private, and Edward didn't want to dash his chances by peeking, but there was a part of him that was always, if only peripherally, aware of Harry and if not what he was thinking, at least the stage in a thought process he had reached. He could feel it clicking into place.
"Oh, you're... oh," Harry hummed lowly and looked up through the tree branches at the great expanse of gray. Edward could wait for his response, he had lived more than a hundred years now after all, he could wait a few minutes for this. "Why?"
"Why does anyone ask someone to go on a date? I have developed feelings for you, my own feelings, though they grew from seeds from Cedric," Edward didn't dare look away from Harry for fear that he might be viewed as insincere, even as Harry refused to look away from the bare boughs above them.
"'From Cedric', huh?" Harry dropped his head back down and looked over Edward's face, and Edward knew he was seeing Cedric in those features. "So they aren't your feelings, you just clung to what you got from Cedric. That's it, isn't it? You've got Cedric's soul, you have his emotions. Are you just trying to live Cedric's life now or something?"
Though it wounded Edward to hear it, he knew Harry didn't mean it either. He knew Harry could scarce believe Cedric had liked him, that Edward was misinterpreting.
"Cedric liked you intensely, it's true, he even dated a girl to see if you would get jealous, though you were jealous of the wrong one," Edward frowned at Harry wished he could make him believe. "But my emotions are my own. It was harder to separate at first, but I know myself, and I know Cedric."
They stared at each other for a while before Harry smiled. Edward's heart soared.
"Give it time. It will go away."
Before Edward could reply, could understand, Harry had turned on a heel and disappeared with a soft "pop!" to leave the vampire alone. The only sound to accompany his slow walk home was the start of the rain in the trees.
It was three weeks later before Harry would speak to Edward again, and at first it was only to say "I told you so."
Christmas and New Year passed with no word, though Edward did drop presents on the Weasleys' doorstep in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. School started up again on January fourth, and brought with it a new student to Forks High. Not that Edward particularly cared about such things. New students were a bit of an oddity, sure, but Harry and the Weasleys were proof that it did happen on occasion.
He heard plenty in the minds of the other students before ever seeing her; she was Isabella "Bella" Swan, the daughter of the town's Sheriff, and flown in straight from Arizona. Paler than most native Washingtonians - and that was saying something - she was mostly rather plain. The image he saw of her in the minds of his fellows was a reasonably attractive face, fairly average, if thin, body. A very normal teenager all in all, and no one he felt the need to be concerned about. He'd been rather amused about her table during lunch but didn't bother reading anyone's mind from that far across the room. He could hear just fine.
The main reason he even glanced that direction was because Ron had started dating Jessica not long before Christmas, and Jessica happened to have decided to take the new girl under her wing. Meaning that Ron, his sister, and most importantly Harry were seated at the same table as the new girl, though Harry was apparently doing some homework last minute.
It wasn't until Biology that he realized anything was different about this girl.
She was seated in the seat next to his, giving him constant furtive glances. Not unexpected, Edward knew better than to think he wasn't ridiculously good looking. His whole family was. They were used to the attention. But the movement of air in the room shifted and suddenly he could smell her.
Every inch of her he could smell. Specifically he could smell the blood under her skin and there was nothing more he wanted in the world. His thoughts of Harry vanished, his thoughts of Carlisle and his family vanished. He was hungrier than he had ever been, even though he had fed only a few days ago. Everything else faded into the desire for blood, her blood, because no one else's blood would do.
His mouth was suddenly filled with venom, and his body tensed, ready to coil and strike, to take her and shred her and lap up absolutely every single drop of her blood until nothing remained but shattered bones bereft of marrow and withered organs.
Then the teacher cleared his throat and started giving instructions for the day's class, and he realized that through the delicious, mind blowing scent, he could also smell her fear, fresh fear, fear that appeared in the past ten seconds as she felt his glare, saw the darkening of his eyes and the tensing of his body. It was like the scent of a deer in the split second before he ripped its neck open to feast. The one thing she didn't sense was his mind smashing into hers, trying to feel her thoughts, because there was simply nothing there, nothing to read, nothing to assault.
And he knew then that something was very very wrong with him.
"Sir? Can I be excused? I think- I think I must have eaten something funny, I need to go see the nurse," he lurched to his feet, not even needing to act like it was difficult. Tearing himself away from that scent, when what every fiber of his being was screaming at him to do was take her and destroy her and ingest every bit of her that he could.
He ran from the room, his only conscious efforts to keep to a human pace and to put a hand over his mouth - though he was really masking his nose - so that people would think he was rushing away to throw up.
He did go to the Nurse's station and was discharged to have a sibling drive him home. Alice was already waiting for him in the main office, so he handed her his keys and they walked to the car. The drive was quiet as Edward fought to think. He had to think, to defeat the blood thirsty worm in him.
"I never wanted to drink human blood so badly before," he whispered as he got out of the car at home, and he knew she heard him.
She just smiled, and he read the thought in her head as she started to drive away. I know Edward. It will be okay.
He doubted it.
Harry frowned when he exited the school on the first day back from Christmas. Edward's car was in the lot, but his siblings were all piling in without him, Emmett taking the driver's seat. He waved a hasty good bye to Ron and Ginny, making sure that the vampires saw him before they could pull away. The car was humming with energy, ready to take off, but Emmett was kind enough to let it sit and wait for his approach.
"Where's Edward?" True, Harry hadn't been talking to Edward since before Christmas, but he also knew Edward had read his mind since. So Edward knew that Harry was just giving him a bit of space after the awkward declaration last month, wanting to let them both compose themselves and not be awkward at the next meeting.
"He fell ill in his fourth period class," Alice replied. "He says he ate something funny. The new girl, Bella Swan, was sitting next to him."
Bella Swan? Harry recalled she had been sitting at the same table as him for lunch, because he opted to join Ron and his girlfriend rather than the vampire table that day, though he fully intended to sit by Edward the following day. He didn't recall much, since he was trying to finish up some reading for his English class at the time, but the girl had seemed boring. Maybe a bit intellectual, but otherwise very boring. Her questions were standard, her attentions were standard. Everything was standard except for the amount of attention the boys of Forks decided to pay her. She wasn't especially attractive, right about in the middle of the range for Forks honestly, so he failed to see what drew so much attention first day.
Even Ginny didn't get that much attention her first day, and it was a common opinion that she was "smoking hot", according to the boys in the locker rooms before PE.
He recalled she also happened to have that class with him, but hadn't participated since she didn't have a PE uniform yet.
As of that moment, she was about twenty five feet away, getting into her beast of a car.
So what was so significant about her? Why would Alice bother mentioning the stunningly average girl at all?
"Budge up then," he opened the passenger side back door and, though Rosalie didn't like it, she moved her bag and allowed Jasper to slide into the seat beside her, though she shot Harry an annoyed look as she did.
Something was wrong; Harry needed to figure out what.
Author's Note: That took longer than intended, and for such a short chapter. Partly because I kinda stopped caring again (I don't like Twilight, I just liked the idea I had for this... y'know, two years ago, and feel bad for not finishing), partly because I've been busy, and partly because SKYRIM. Honestly though, a lot of it I think was laziness and lack of inspiration. Still, I am Dovahkiin!
I'm not going to bother making promises about when the next chapter will be out. I'm busy. I have a life. I don't actually care about this story, but I know people want to see the end. If I don't think I will reach the end, I will write a chapter summarizing what the next 4 chapters would have been and then just write the three epilogues after that. But only if I think I won't write the next 4 chapters; I'm going to give myself some time to think about it.
Though I'll admit, part of my distraction from my current ongoing stories started at the beginning of this month when I suddenly decided I wanted to rewrite a couple of stories. Not any you've seen here, but ones from an old account of mine that I haven't used in years. With a Midnight Smile. The stories in question are Nunquam Somnus: Never Sleep (I already have a couple chapters of this one done, though I won't post it until I have a sizable buffer - currently truncating the title to Never Sleep) and Walking on a Broken Past (not started yet, but the title will likely be shortened to Broken Past).