Title: Crimson Tangerine

Author: enchanted nightingale

Beta Reader: pussycatadamah

Summary: Their first encounter changed the course of their lives. What will a second meeting bring?

Disclaimer: The characters do not belong to me. I only use them in my plot for fun.

A/N: Inspired by idea/prompt Aliengirlguy suggested to me.


Chapter 9


LXXIX

The girls noticed the ring first the moment they saw him on the train. Hannah and Susan cooed and gushed and made Cho and Marietta come over and do the same. At one point the green eyed teen had to ask for his hand back in a drawl not unlike Blaise's when he wanted something.

"But this is unlike anything I've ever seen," Susan told the Hufflepuff.

"I know, it was a gift," Harry revealed to his friend.

"Some gift," Hannah said when it was just the three of them in the compartment.

Harry had smiled and changed the subject, not willing to go to lengths on just how important the ring was. He did not correct them about the stone either. He knew most wizards were not aware of Vampire traditions and while the green eyed teen trusted his friends to support him and be happy for him they were too young to appreciate the gesture of the courtship, the nature of his relationship with Orpheus. If anyone asked, he would answer truthfully; he would not hide his relationship as if it were something shameful. But unless asked, he would not volunteer the information. It was private. His parents knew, some Vampires knew and Harry was happy. It was what truly mattered.

On a different note, the boys and young men that were his friends had a lot tamer reactions than the witches Harry knew but even the guys took notice of the expensive gift. While most Hufflepuff's, Neville and even Luna and Cho had no idea of the nature of the gift, the Slytherin's turned to be a whole lot more knowledgeable. Blaise in particular had been shocked.

"Really? Aren't you a bit young?" the Italian wizard had asked Harry.

"You recognized it for what it is?" the Boy-Who-Lived was honestly surprised.

"I'm taking runes," Blaise replied. "And my grandmother's ring has similar ones on her wedding ring. I recall what she told me the one time I asked about their meaning. My nana said it was a promise of fidelity and love and protection. You are engaged at age fifteen. That's big Harry. A big responsibility, a big commitment."

"Essentially yes," Harry agreed.

"Do your parents know?" the Slytherin asked.

"Yes, the moment the courtship started. And I'm pretty sure that we've been chaperoned, however discretely, on our dates."

"Then I guess congratulations are in order," Blaise allowed himself a true smile as he hugged the other teen. "I want and invitation to the ceremony."

"That's… way too soon!" Harry blushed.

"At least it gives me time to choose a gift," the dark skinned boy commented. "Do I need to ask who the lucky guy is or am I supposed to guess?"

"Who do you suspect?" the green eyed youth asked.

"The guy that asked you to dance during the Ball last year," was the quick reply and it was spot on. "Just warn the guy that I have a sword that can cut him in half if he ever hurts your feelings."

Harry's smile was wide for the rest of the day.

LXXX

She watched, eyes keen and senses alert, as the students slowly entered the class. It was all due to political reasons and the pull her kind now had that she managed what her people could not do before. That Albus Dumbledore had decided to stop being his usual placating neutral self long enough to seize this unique opportunity spoke of Xyla's negotiation skills. They Ministry Of Magic had tried to stop this, stop change from happening but then the purebloods had stepped up, first the neutral Zabini's (wasn't the Zabini heir friends with the Boy-Who-Lived) followed by the Longbottom's, the Diggory's and the Bones families, to name a few. It was how they managed to get Binns out of the classroom (that and a handy exorcism) and now Clemencia, Sired to Xylanthe, came to teach in Hogwarts nine centuries after the time she was turned and met the Founders.

One by one they came in, everyone stopping and staring at her with questions and surprise on their faces the moment they realized the ghost was no more. Most of them had no idea what she was and she was greatly amused by this. A few centuries back and the students would have known on sight that before them stood a Vampire. The downward spiral in education was pathetic really. Yet one fifth year stepped inside and stared at her the moment he saw her, green eyes lingering even as he sat down at a desk directly in front of her. The ones after him, two witches, closed the door and joined him at the front.

Clemencia smiled, fangs showing.

The reactions were instantaneous and amusing as all save Harry Potter gasped and paled at the realization that she was in fact not a witch.

"Welcome to History of Magic. I'm Clemencia of the House of Glafka. My Sire created me over nine centuries ago. My parents relocated on the island of Alvion when I got my very own letter. I was the second generation that walked the halls of this castle. At the time none of the towers were built. I studied under the Founders and I can tell you that they were more than the colours you currently wear and the lies and prejudice you believe of them. But that's the history as I saw it happen. I've seen and fought in wars and skirmishes all over Europe and unlike the former professor of this class, not everything is about Goblins and their…differences with wizards. With me you will learn about the Battles of Avalon, the Statute of Secrecy and how it came to be, how the Muggle wars affected our world and how our wars disturbed theirs. And yes little morsels, I am indeed a Vampire. Now if you could please be so kind as to pick your jaws off the floor and start taking notes like Mister Potter here is doing. And stop gawking. I'm not going to jump you and such your blood, you are not that irresistible," she sniffed at them, almost offended that they thought they could make nice meals. Most of them were not magically powerful enough to have tasty blood and from those that did…. Well, Potter was already claimed by someone older than her.

The wizard-children did what she asked, still scared of her yet one look at their Saviour and they felt at ease. Sheep in the making, this generation, just like the previous ones. It would take a lot to bring change about but it was her job to start it. One lesson at a time.

LXXXI

Lorcan reckoned that he was too preoccupied with Harry to notice the world so when summer ended and the teen was back in Hogwarts, Orpheus suddenly found himself with entirely too much time in his hands. The part Vampire was hardly any real help as he had to leave for Japan to promote his new album. So Orpheus turned to the one thing that could possibly fill his time, music. The un-dead singer, to the delight of his manager, wrote and composed twelve new songs in the span of September and October and by the start of November the album was released in the Muggle and magical worlds, just in the height of protesting the new allowances made to Vampires in the magical world and Britain in particular.

The Vampire followed the news closely whenever he had the time, keeping up with what Xylanthe had started. One of her Childe was in Hogwarts, teaching History. Umbridge was no longer a part of the Ministry and her vitriol towards those she deemed second class citizens or beasts beneath her notice. The new movement started at the most opportune time, when their kind had the best publicity from helping rid of Voldemort forever. If Xylanthe had her way, equality would happen soon. Fudge's term was nearing its end and Orpheus was willing to bet the next Minister of Magic would be one the so called creatures and beings approved.

As for him, he had not been in politics in centuries, the games and the deceit no longer what he found amusing. Back when he was involved, strife in the political arena could end with a stab in the back or a drip of poison and a beheading, depending on the era and the ruler. He knew Harry would not approve of such dealings. The teen for all his youth was far from naïve about the nature of Vampires. He had not asked anything of him but in reality he did not have to ask for Orpheus to change. Killing was not beneath the pale eyed male but it was not what defined him anymore. Accidents could happen. He did keep feeding from the willing and the unsuspecting but there was no trail of bodies, nothing that could set back his relationship with the teen.

And if a good public image helped promote Vampires in the magical community, he was all for it. After all, in the end it would benefit his relationship with the green eyed wizard. He did not doubt that when, not if, his relationship with the Boy-Who-Lived was revealed, they would need as many allies as they could get.

LXXXII

The first proposal came from a girl from Gryffindor who apparently had not given any thought to the rumours that the green eyed Hufflepuff preferred wizards to witches. The teen, one Romilda Vane, had quite publicly asked Harry Potter out on a Hogsmeade weekend date. It could really not be more public and more confrontational and the young wizard had blushed crimson and had very slowly and gently tried to turn her down. The look on her face was one of complete shock and then affront at being turned down. Her hand moved fast with the intent to slap the wizard but Susan Bones caught the witch's hand.

"That's not a nice reaction," Susan told the Gryffindor girl. "If you did not want a public turn down then you should have asked in a private setting. Nothing gives you the right to hurt another just because you feel slighted. And in this case, Harry should feel slighted for what you did." Then Susan looped her hand around Harry's and walked away with her fellow Hufflepuff muttering his thanks to her.

The second incident was private. It was a Ravenclaw seventh year who asked him out. Harry knew the teen; they had even talked once before. The raven haired teen turned the older wizard down gently, admitting that there was someone else and that he was happy and not interested in another and the Ravenclaw had smiled, thanked him and walked away. The next day no rumours came flying around and Harry knew that the older wizard had kept his private life a secret and he greatly appreciated this fact. He confided this much to Susan and Hannah and the girls kept quiet about it. There were a few more notes and a couple of love letters expressing interest in the Boy-Who-Lived and quite an amount of hero-worship that had Harry feeling rather uncomfortable but those were still more private and the teen turned them down with minimum fuss.

And then the Gryffindor girl confronted him again, this time in the middle of Hogsmeade, publicly calling him and idiot for not choosing her and instead coming to Hogsmeade in the company of Slytherin's and worse wizards, making Blaise and the rest of the group he was with bristle at her for her attitude. She kept digging herself a bigger hole until Harry had had enough of it, took his wand out and spelled her silent with a 'Silencio' and walked away. The next day the witch received a very public Howler during breakfast. The envelope had been red and bursting to explode and she opened it with curiosity

When the voice came out it was a smooth, deep baritone that the green eyed wizard recognized instantly as Orpheus' voice.

"Dear Miss Romilda Vane, I kindly ask you to desist harassing my intended. In case you are wondering I am talking of one Harry James Potter. If you could please notice the ring on his finger you will see that it is an intent ring stating that he is formally courted and for all intents and purposes my fiancée. I am certain there are other young wizards available, please focus on them. If you insist on forcing your attentions on him and continue badmouthing him, the consequences will be dire and your health at stake. And yes, that was a threat of bodily harm. Have a nice day."

The envelope exploded into ashes and fell on her plate. The entire Great Hall was silent, watching as the witch blushed and stood rushing out in a hurry and then attention focused on the green eyed teen having breakfast at the Hufflepuff table and the admittedly eye-catching ring on his hand.

Up in the table Clemencia, the professor of History of Magic, was smirking in a predatory way but it went unnoticed.

LXXXIII

Orpheus smiled and replied politely at the woman who was interviewing him. She was genuinely polite, unlike other colleagues of hers and for a novelty; she had not made a pass at him. That meant that even though the Vampire was feeling peckish and wanted to be a right bastard, he reined the impulse and acted like a polite and civilized human being. It was a toll on his acting skills, really. To distract himself from her blood he sipped the coffee he had been offered, wishing he had time for a quick pick me up during break.

"I could not help but notice that your latest album… The lyrics are not as dark and filled with despair as in the previous one," the Muggle woman, commented. She was blonde and her smile was perfect, as was her posture and dress. Carlie Johnson was nothing but a professional. And she had apparently done her homework on his music as her next question showed. "You've released two singles and the album is coming out next week."

"That's right," Orpheus confirmed, "On November ten."

"The first single, 'Straining for a heartbeat' is quite… light compared to other songs. Some have accused you of trying to go via the Pop route," Carlie remarked.

"That isn't what the song is about," the Vampire answered. "And they would know if they had paid attention to the lyrics. It's about that time of the night, early morning, when you lie in bed, your lover next to you and in the quiet of the hour; all you can hear is their heartbeat. After a long day, or a fight, or even say… an accident, that can actually be soothing to some or even a way to bring insecurities forth. That is passionate, and in my opinion it still holds some darkness in it, but hope as well. That's what was missing from previous albums really."

"Wow," Carlie blinked. "That is actually deep. And I have done it myself. Granted, I was keeping vigil on my sister after her car accident and her heartbeat was faint but… That is both scary and hopeful."

He nodded and sipped some more of the coffee, still wishing for the tang of blood.

"Does the hope mean that there are changes in your life? More specifically, your personal life?" the blonde woman asked.

The smile that came on his face had her and several of the people watching the interview take place suck in their breaths.

"Okay, I think that smile is answer enough," Carlie said, staring at him.

Orpheus thought of Harry, of the days they shared during summer, of how close they came, on the Howler he had sent at Hogwarts the other day, warning the young, hopeful mortals that the green eyed wizard was taken… And then Harry's letter that found him on that same day, how he was thanking him, touched that he went about such a public way to defend the teen especially since his voice could be recognized if one paid attention. He really did not like hiding away, but admitting it also would be a problem, perhaps a rather big one since in the eyes of Muggle's, Harry was still underage, and male.

"Is she that good?" Carlie asked. "Do we get a name?"

The Vampire snapped his gaze back to her. He cocked his head to the side, coming to a conclusion right then and there. "No, you don't get a name just yet, I'd like it to be a secret for just a bit longer," the singer replied. "But yes, he is amazing and I love him very much."

His manager was nearly apoplectic in the background at his impromptu 'coming out of the closet' moment but Orpheus would not regret this at all and from the glazed look on Carlie's face he knew the fall out would not be as bad at his manager feared. Still, the Vampire did not care as he more or less got to admit that he was taken, just as he had earlier that week revealed that Harry was taken. It was a fair turnabout in his opinion.


End of Chapter.