Chapter 15 – The Fight
Genna woke up the next morning to a house full of guests. Not only was yesterday's core group there, but others had joined them as well. Genna recognized four more students, two of which were on her Quidditch team, one from Marcus's House and another one from Earth.
"How did they get involved?" she asked to Audrey.
"Well, they were pretty upset with your arrest so Mathiew and I spoke to them."
Genna was also greeted by her cousin Stephane and three of his brothers.
"We're with you on this one, cousin," said Stephane, hugging her.
Somebody tapped on her shoulder and Genna turned around to see her favourite cousin smiling down at her, his wife standing next to him.
"Luc!" she said, hugging him.
"You didn't think I would let you go alone, did you?"
"But the kids?" she protested, thinking about her five-year-old goddaughter.
"She'll be fine," said Isabelle, Luc's wife. "She's at my mum's."
"Isabelle, you should have stayed with her," said Genna, remembering how bad it had been to grow up without a mother.
"I'm pregnant, Genna," announced Isabelle. "Don't worry. I'll stay out of harm's way."
"Congratulations!" said Genna, hugging her. "That's great news!"
The Headmaster then introduced her to four people she had never seen before, all Ministry employees who had helped gather information for him throughout the years.
The Headmaster sounded like he had a horrible cold and Genna's heart went to him. She wanted to tell him to see the nurse and take it easy but she needed all the help she could get.
"We're pretty sure the Minister is not controlled by her but most of the senior staff is," one of the men was saying, bringing Genna's attention back to the conversation. "We've seen evidence of bribery and also mind control."
"Imperius Curse?" asked Genna.
"That and something else but we're not sure what," he answered. "But at least one of them is just her minion and does what he does for the pleasure of it, I would say."
"Hmm," just said the Headmaster.
Professors Flyleaf, Lafeuille and Merrill had also joined them and so had Nurse Feelgood, who was now in deep conversation with Marcus.
That was Genna's army.
And she felt horrible at the idea of some of them dying.
"I know that look," said Audrey, arriving next to her. "Don't feel bad, Genna. They are all of age, they all volunteered, and they know what they're getting into."
"Do they, really?" she asked uncertain.
"Oh, yes," said Audrey. "They do. I've got to go now. Professor Shield and I are leaving to implement the first phase of the operation."
The first phase of the operation was to go to Leandry and find one of the minions. They would then Imperius him into going to the vampiress' lair and follow him there to find its location. They would then put the goon out of commission and return to get the others. If they were not back within four hours, another pair would be sent. Genna did not like to see her best friend go but, with Professor Shield, she had better odds of succeeding because of her charm spellwork which could disguise them both as needed. As for Professor Shield, he was the best one with the Imperius Curse.
"I wish you were not the one going," said Genna sadly.
"And I wish you were not the one having to fight that maniac," said Audrey with a small smile that didn't reach her eyes.
"Be careful," said Genna.
Audrey hugged her and left with the Defense Against the Dark Arts' Professor.
Genna was sick with worry when Audrey and the Professor returned about two-and-a-half hours later. Most people were quietly sitting in the living room or the kitchen, holding quiet conversations or remaining silent and waiting. Marcus had joined Genna in the living room and had stopped trying to engage her in conversation over an hour ago. He simply sat with her, holding her hand and every once in a while telling her everything would be all right. While Genna didn't have the heart for anything, Marcus was reading a book while keeping her company.
He had just said everything would be fine when Audrey and Professor Shield walked through the front door. The grin on Audrey's face told everyone they had been successful.
"What happened?" asked Genna, getting to her feet and walking to her.
"It was so easy," said Audrey, hugging her friend.
They both sat on the sofa next to Marcus while the ones who were in the kitchen joined them.
"We found one of the goons almost immediately," said Audrey. "He was at the Dragon Inn, eating breakfast alone, the idiot! In any case, we Imperiused him and made him Apparate about a mile away from the compound.
"By the way, we found out her name: Angelina Rotini," she added, interrupting the flow of her story with a grin.
"Please, continue!" said Genna impatiently.
"The compound is in a forested area on the north shore of Montréal. It is not very big and there are about fifteen guards that we could see," continued Audrey.
"Did you see her?" asked one of the students.
"No," answered Audrey.
"How do we know she's there?" asked Professor Murray.
"Oh! She's there," answered the Headmaster, between two coughs. "Her kind does not have a very high tolerance for the sun. She wouldn't leave in the middle of the day unless it was absolutely necessary."
"So, we attack? Today?" asked one of the Ministry employees.
"Yes," answered Mathiew, retaking his leadership role, "right at lunch, when the guards are less likely to be as attentive. In the meantime, let's eat something as it wouldn't do for us to be distracted by our hunger."
At eleven-thirty, they Apparated in small groups lead by Audrey and Professor Shield to the location away from the compound and made their approach on foot. While they were eating, all the tasks were assigned to the participants and, even if they hadn't rehearsed, everything seemed to progress smoothly.
When they arrived at the compound, they could see only ten guards who were probably Muggles since they had guns. Lauren, Professor Carlisle and Professor Murray took out their wands and transfigured the guns' firing mechanisms to prevent their use. Once it was done, Professor Murray and two others sent a Confundus Spell at the guards while four others approached to cast Full Body-Binding spells.
Genna had the nagging impression this was just too easy.
"Headmaster, this is a trap," she whispered to the Headmaster who had stayed next to her. "They know we're coming."
"It may well be, or they are a lot more stupid then they have a right to be," he said, his voice distorted by his cold.
Genna felt another pinch to her heart to have allowed the Headmaster to come when he sounded so sick, but her mind was brought back to the situation at hand when some of their group began to enter the compound. That was when all hell broke loose and they were attacked from behind.
"Genna, quick! Follow me!" said the Headmaster, keeping his head low.
Genna did not hesitate. With Marcus, she followed the Headmaster who was clearing a path to the entrance, throwing amazingly accurate curses and spells at their assailants while shielding her as best he could with his own body. The Headmaster had told her that everybody was expendable but her. She was the key to this entire affair and she had a mission to accomplish.
When she entered the compound, she could hear sounds of struggle coming from deep within.
"Quick, this way," said the Headmaster, walking towards the centre of the building.
Genna wondered how he knew but she figured it was only logical that the vampire would stay towards the middle of the building, where she would be the most protected from the sun.
They arrived at a door. The Headmaster opened it slowly and peered inside.
"Come, quickly," he said, signalling them to proceed.
As Genna passed him, she suddenly realised what had been wrong for the last few hours: the Headmaster did not seem to have known the entire part of the plan except to be certain the vampire would be home. And this entry tactic was nothing like they had discussed.
"Remember Genna, never be the first one in a room," he had said the previous night.
As Genna began to turn around to confront the Headmaster, she saw him attack Marcus, binding his legs and disarming him. At the same moment she realised the Headmaster was an imposter, an Expelliararums spell disarmed her and her wand flew in the air towards a woman sitting on a desk: Angelina Rotini. She turned to look at the woman, losing sight of Marcus. Angelina was smiling like a cat who got the cream.
"So easy," she said, playing with Genna's wand. "Oops!" she said as she broke the tip of it.
Once it was broken, she threw it back at Genna who caught it with Seekers' reflexes. In the silence that followed, she heard the imposter break Marcus' wand followed by another sickening crack which made Marcus groaned in pain. By the feel she was getting through her ring, Genna knew Marcus had been injured rather painfully but she didn't dare look back at him.
"So, girl from the prophecy, we meet again," said the woman, getting to her feet. "Get the cane," she said to the imposter.
The false Headmaster grabbed Genna's cane and walked to Angelina.
"Here, my Lady," said the imposter.
Genna's gasped in surprise. She knew that voice! She would have recognized it anywhere. It was Steve Smith's.
"The look on your face is priceless," he said with a smirk that didn't really belong on the feature of the Headmaster. "Yes, you are going to get only what you deserve."
Angelina looked at them, amused by the exchange. She then looked at the cane she was now holding for a few moments before breaking it on her knee.
"We can never be too cautious," she said with a smile at Genna. "Leave us!" she told Steve.
"But my Lady, who will protect you?" asked Steve, genuinely worried.
Genna could see the humour in that. Steve, the bully who had never cared for anyone in his life, cared for that woman who definitely did not need him to defend her. Beside, Genna knew Steve stood no chance against her.
"From who?" asked the vampire with a chuckle. "A kid with bound legs and a broken arm? An old man chained to the wall? And a crippled girl?" she asked with irony. "They are no threat to me."
Genna threw a glance around the room and spotted the Headmaster chained to the wall. As she brought her eyes back to the vampire, she heard the door close behind her.
"I see you saw my other guest," she purred with satisfaction. "We succeeded in capturing him this morning when he went to Hidden Alley to get his allies. You see, one of them was actually in our service and agreed to play this little charade for us."
Genna remained quiet while her eyes never left the other woman.
"Quiet much," said the vampiress. "Pity. I guess I will be doing the talking then."
'Typical,' thought Genna. 'Evil person, making a speech, just like in Muggle movies.'
The vampire looked at the two pieces of cane she was still holding and threw them to the floor. She then looked at Genna again.
"Since alive, you are a threat to me," she said. "I think I'm going to snack on you. Besides, I'm quite hungry. Come here!" she ordered Genna.
Genna could feel the compulsion to obey but it broke right away, like when Harry had tried to Imperius her. Then, realizing what the compulsion she had just felt meant, Genna looked at the vampire with a surprised frown. Everybody's suspicions were just confirmed: this vampire was effectively of an older generation.
"What generation are you?" asked Genna to the vampires who was still surprised Genna hadn't been controlled by her mind trick.
"We never tell. But since you and your fiancé are about to die, there is no harm in telling you," she said smugly. "I am a fifth generation."
Genna took this in, and hoped she or Marcus would somehow survive to tell the tale.
"Come here!" tried the vampire again, without success.
She scowled at Genna.
"Fine!" she said and ran to Genna faster than humanly possible.
In less than the blink of an eye, Genna was knocked to the wall and the vampiress was holding her there, both hands on her breasts. Feeling violated, Genna tried to fight her but without success.
"So weak," she purred with a satisfied smile. "So, so very weak," she added, her canine teeth growing.
In the next instant, the vampire slowly sank her teeth in Genna's neck.
The first moment of pain and surprise was followed by an intense pleasure. Genna felt like her entire body was on fire with an intense sexual desire and, while the moment before she had felt violated by the hands on her breasts, she now welcomed them. She now understood how vampires could stay fed despite the amount of blood they needed. The sexual tension was so incredible Genna wished the woman would touch her between her legs. And when the woman's hand touched her exactly where she wished, Genna came like she never had before, her body numb in the afterglow of her violent climax and the loss of blood.
"Genna! No!" she heard somebody scream. "Genna! Genna!"
As she felt the love of a man she had all but forgotten the moment before pour through her ring, she remembered that she loved him too. She closed her eyes, and despite the intense sexual pleasure of the bite, the hand on her breast and the other one on her sex, she remembered making love to this man who had worshipped her for over a year.
'Marcus,' she thought.
And she could hear him calling her name over and over again. And she could feel him through the ring. And she knew, if she was to survive this, she had to do something, anything, and fast. She wished she had her wand to have a fighting chance against the vampires, but her wand was broken in her hand and its power gone.
Her poor faithful wand.
It was made of wood!
It was a weapon against a vampire, even if broken.
Genna grabbed the end of the useless stick firmly in her hand and looked at the exposed neck right in front of her eyes. Slowly, gathering all the strength she could muster, she dug her wand into Angelina's neck as far as it would go.
The vampiress suddenly released her and fell to the ground as if suddenly struck by a Full Body-Binding curse.
Without hesitation, Genna dove for the closest piece of cane and grabbed it. Seizing it with both hands, she drove it through the vampire's heart. As the vampire turned to ashes, Genna collapsed and felt consciousness leave her from lack of blood.
As best he could with his bound legs and broken arm, Marcus dragged himself to where Genna had fallen. His worst fears were confirmed when he reached her. She was still bleeding from the puncture wounds to her neck and Marcus knew it wouldn't be long before she bled out. He grabbed his stone, put it in his broken hand, and put his fingers on Genna's punctures. He closed his eyes concentrating deeply and, channelling all the power he could muster through the diamond, he tried to close Genna's tiny wounds. He knew his chances of success were doubtful at best, but he had to try to save her. He could not live without her.
He did not know how long he tried to heal her but, in his desperation, he could see the blood wasn't flowing as fast. He didn't know if it was because she was dying or his efforts were succeeding but he wanted to believe it was the latter.
Suddenly, the doors blew opened and Marcus looked up just in time to see Audrey and Mathiew rush in.
"Mathiew!" he yelled urgently. "Wand! Now!" he added, extending his good hand.
Mathiew threw him his wand without hesitation and Marcus healed Genna in the few seconds it took Mathiew and Audrey to reach them.
"Blood replenishing potion," said Marcus, giving back Mathiew his wand and extending his hand.
Audrey fished in her bag and pulled out a vial. She uncorked it and gave it to Marcus who poured the content in Genna's mouth while Mathiew held her upright.
"Another one," asked Marcus throwing the empty vial to the floor and extending his hand again.
Once Genna had drunk the second vial and colours had begun to return to her skin, Marcus sagged in fatigue and pain.
"The Headmaster! He's an imposter! He's Steve Smith!" he exclaimed, finally remembering what had happened.
"We know," said Audrey while Mathiew unbind his legs. "He gave us something to do that was so contrary to instructions that we asked him for the password."
"The idiot told us he couldn't remember it while we all knew there were none," said Mathiew with a shrug. "We really have to have one next time."
"No! Please! No next time!" begged Audrey. "Any idea where the real Headmaster is?" she asked.
Marcus indicated the wall, and Audrey and Mathiew ran to the chained man.
"Marcus," called Audrey. "He's unconscious but he's alive."
But Marcus wasn't listening anymore. His head was now spinning with pain and fatigue and, a few seconds later, darkness closed in on him.
"Mr Tyler? Mr Tyler?"
Marcus came around to the sound of a woman calling him. He opened his eyes to see he was still in the room where Genna had vanquished the vampiress. Nurse Feelgood was leaning over him, a look of concern on her face. And suddenly, pain shot through his arm and he winced.
"Anything other than the arm, Mr Tyler?" asked the Nurse.
"I don't think so," he answered.
And the Nurse began to work on his injuries. He knew by the feeling of the ring that Genna was still unconscious and he looked around for her.
"Genna?" he asked when he couldn't see her.
"She was taken to St. Leandre with some of the others who were injured," answered the Headmaster who was now standing next to them.
The Headmaster looked in a pitiful state and Marcus wondered how he could still stand. At his neck, Marcus could see fresh puncture wounds. Then he remembered Steve's ruse and wondered if it was really the Headmaster.
"And before you asked, I'm really me and we met in England over the summer when I first told you about the truth in Harry Potter's kitchen," said the Headmaster as if he had read his thoughts.
Marcus nodded convinced. The Headmaster's visit to England was not common knowledge and the subject of their discussion even less.
"What happened?" asked Marcus. "Did we succeed?"
"For now, Mr Tyler. For now," answered the Headmaster. "However, there is a very long road ahead of us. While we have removed the force that kept us apart, healing centuries of hatred will not be easy. And a lot of people will not believe what happened here, despite all the information we uncovered."
"What information?" asked Marcus.
"Apparently, our vampiress was fond of writing and she kept copious records of her activities throughout the years," answered the Headmaster. "We are awaiting the arrival of the Ministry of Magic to decide what to do with them and to inform him of what transpired here.
"I know you would like to go back to St. Leandre and be with Miss Hudon, but I would greatly appreciate if you could stay, Mr Tyler."
Marcus nodded then took a good looked at the room they were in. All along the walls, there were floor to ceiling shelves full of books. There were also doors which opened into closet size spaces, also full of books. If Marcus didn't know any better, he would think the amount of books rivalled the St. Leandre library.
"Are all these going to go to the Ministry?" he asked.
"I don't think that would be advisable, Mr Tyler," answered the Headmaster. "The Ministry is bound to be in quite a disarray in the next few months, if not years, and I am sure a lot of people would rather have those books destroyed."
"And I agree," said the Minister, walking in the room and joining them.
"Robert, my friend," greeted the Headmaster, shaking his hand.
Marcus could not fail to notice how old and frail the Headmaster really looked at that moment. It was obvious his ordeal had taken a toll on the man.
"Patrick," acknowledged the Minister. "So what you told me was all true? Somebody was conspiring to keep our society apart?"
"I'm afraid so."
"And where is that person?"
The Headmaster pointed to a pile of ashes through which could be seen Genna's broken wand and one of the two halves of her broken cane.
"Ashes?" asked the Minister.
"She was a vampire, Robert," said the Headmaster. "Upon her death, she turned to ashes, like the rest of her kind."
"And those books?"
"Her records and some other lore books," answered the Headmaster. "We think her records are written in an old form of Romanian. Only Professor Noël seemed to be able to make sense of some of their content since he studied dragons in Romania for a few years."
"Inconvenient," said the Minister. "But you are right, Patrick; if those are her records, they won't be safe at the Ministry. Too many people may want them destroyed and until we know who these people are, we cannot ensure the safety of these books.
"And I have to admit; even I dread what can be found in those records.
"Headmaster, would St. Leandre be willing to keep them until they are translated and whoever is behind this conspiracy arrested?"
"Yes, Minister," answered the Headmaster. "I will also send requests to my European contacts for translators so we can begin working on them right away."
"Yes, please do!" agreed the Minister. "We definitely need to begin cleaning our house if we are to survive the scandal this is likely to bring. I am afraid my days as Minister are numbered," added the Minister as an afterthought.
The Headmaster squeezed the Minister's shoulder without a word.
"So, can anybody explain to me what happened here?"
It was late afternoon when Marcus was finally able to make it to St. Leandre. Genna had been released from the infirmary and Marcus found her in the guest room they shared. She was sitting on the bed, holding her knees against her chest, and her eyes were red with tears.
"Yeah," said Marcus, sitting next to her and taking her in his arms.
"We survived," she said bitterly. "But Louis and Professor Lafeuille did not make it. Neither did my cousin Yvon."
"Oh, Honey! I'm so sorry," said Marcus.
"Half the others ended up in the infirmary. It's a miracle so many of us survived from what I heard," she added. "We should have acted sooner," she said. "That way, maybe none of them would have been hurt or died."
"Genna, don't do this to yourself," said Marcus gently. "It won't make this any better."
Marcus could feel the anger shake her body.
"Maybe you can handle it, Marcus. But I can't," she said, pulling away from him.
Marcus took her in his arms again and even if she fought him, he didn't let her go. Sobbing hard, she finally stopped fighting and he comforted her by just holding her.
"Have you seen Amanda yet?" she asked once she was finally calmed down.
"No," answered Marcus. "I came to you first."
"Let's go find her," said Genna. "We've been gone for a week. She must be dying with worry by now."
They made their way to the Fire Common Room and despite protocol, Genna let him in. As they entered, the Common Room occupants became totally quiet and everybody looked at them.
"Where's Amanda?" asked Genna in the silence.
"Upstairs," said one of the first-years.
"I'll get her," said another one, sprinting up the stairs.
The silence and the staring were becoming increasingly uncomfortable, and Genna didn't dare look at anyone.
"Is it always this silent in your Common Room, Genna?" asked Marcus loud enough for everybody to hear. "One would think Merlin just entered the room."
His attempt at humour worked as the other students laughed nervously and the atmosphere relaxed significantly, even if for the most part, the students remained quiet and subdued. A few seconds later, they heard someone run down the stairs and, in the next moment, Amanda threw herself in Marcus's arms, huge sobs rocking her body.
"They said you might die," she finally screamed in pain and anger. "They said you might not come back! Who would have taken care of me? Marcus, don't leave me again."
Not a single pair of eyes in the Common Room was dry.
"I'm not dead, sweetheart," said Marcus with a broken voice. "I'm so, so sorry."
He rocked her, holding her tightly against his chest.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered in her hair again. "I'm not leaving you again, Amanda."
Genna had closed her curtains and cast a silencing spell on her bed. She wanted to be alone with her pain and her misery.
Last weekend, the first weekend since they had been back, she had not been able to let Marcus touch her. She had felt how much he had wanted her but she had frozen, feeling violated. He had been gentle and comprehensive, and had only held her while she cried.
But Genna now hated herself. She hated the fact that she was not able to give back to the man she loved, she hated the way her body still craved the vampire's touch, she hated that she had taken such pleasure in somebody else's touch, and above all, she felt an immense self-loathing and disgust at her body. Even in the shower, she hadn't been able to bear the sight of it and now, she hid it under as many thick clothes as she could.
She could not understand how Marcus could bear to touch her, but his hand on her breast had made her want to vomit.
And now, she felt guilty she could not give him the pleasures of love he so deserved.
Tears were now freely falling from her eyes and she didn't even try to sweep them away.
All week, she had tried to forget about it by studying harded and practising Quidditch with her team longer. She had driven them to the ground under the pretence of catching up for the lost practices while in fact, she was trying to forget and loose herself in something. Marcus had been there, supportive, as always, but the sight of him reminded her of what she now considered her failure. She could feel, through their ring, his misery and more than once, she had thought about removing the ring so he wouldn't know how she felt, but she hadn't had the heart to. The ring was the only thing she had left that was as it should be.
But it was Friday night and tomorrow, Marcus would be in their guest room waiting for her, like he had done since the room had been given to them. And Genna did not know what to do. She did not want to go to that room and see the desire in Marcus's eyes when she only felt disgust with herself.
And feeling Marcus's misery made it so much worse.
She was so absorbed in her confusion and emotions that she jumped almost out of her skin when a little paper airplane landed on her bed next to her. She looked at it surprised. She had seen those used at the Ministry but she hadn't known them to be used at school. She took it and read it.
Would you please join me for tea in my office?
Genna debated simply not going. Her eyes were red and puffy, and she didn't feel like seeing or talking to anyone. However, a request from the Headmaster could simply not be ignored.
She went to the bathroom, washed her face and, grabbing her new cane, left the comfort of her dormitory. Thankfully, the Common Room was so busy that nobody noticed her, and the school corridors so empty, she didn't meet anyone. She arrived at the Headmaster's office and knocked.
"Come in, Miss Hudon," said the Headmaster and the door opened of its own accord.
Genna walked in and stayed close to the door, not seeing the Headmaster and not knowing where to go.
"Second floor, Miss Hudon," she heard the Headmaster call.
She climbed up the stairs and found a comfortable sitting room with two loveseats facing a lighted fireplace. The walls were surprisingly devoted of any paintings. On a coffee table, between the two seats, sat two cups of steaming hot chocolate.
"I know my note said tea; however, I thought hot chocolate would be more appropriate," said the Headmaster who was sitting on one of the seats. "Come, join me."
Genna sat on the other seat and took the cup he was offering her. When he took a sip, she followed suit and took one also.
"You must be wondering why I asked you to come," he said quietly.
"Yes," she answered. "I do."
"I wanted to talk to you about this," he said, showing her the two small puncture wounds on his neck, wounds Genna recognized only too well having the same one herself.
"I didn't think her... kiss would be so... overwhelming," he said hesitantly.
"I know," said Genna quietly, guilt and self-loathing enveloping her at the thought of it.
"Genna, I want you to remove your engagement ring," he suddenly said.
"What?! No!" she protested.
She couldn't and she definitely wouldn't without telling Marcus first otherwise he would think she had died.
"It's okay, Genna," said the Headmaster. "Marcus knows."
"He... he wants me to remove it," she asked despair filling her.
For response, the Headmaster gave her a letter. Genna put her cup of hot chocolate on the coffee table and with shaking hands, she took and opened the letter.
I love you with all my heart, my soul and my being. I feel your suffering right now, and it makes me sad because I do not know how to help you. And I know my sadness makes you even more miserable.
Please, my love, remove your ring. This way, you can have the privacy you need to face what you have been facing and you won't have to feel my misery. Place the ring in the little pouch that comes with this letter and wear it around your neck as I will mine in a sign of my undying love for you.
I wish I could tell you this face to face so you can see in my face how much I still love you, but the Headmaster told me it would be better this way.
Genna I love you,
She folded the letter and the Headmaster gave her a little pouch with a long cord for her to put around her neck. She took the pouch and just looked at it.
"Go ahead," encouraged the Headmaster gently.
"I... I can't," she said with tears gathering in her eyes.
"You may find that you will have to, my poor child," said the Headmaster. "Right now, you are both on a downward spiral that will not end if you don't remove that ring."
The Headmaster took a moment to drink another sip of his hot chocolate while Genna looked at her ring, tears freely falling from her eyes. She knew the Headmaster was right and she had to admit, she had thought about it herself more than once. She also realized how miserable feeling Marcus' misery made her.
Slowly, she removed the ring and rapidly hid it in the pouch. She closed the pouch and put it around her neck.
It felt weird not to feel Marcus constant presence, but at the same time, it was a relief, which did not ease her guilt any. In despair, Genna struggled not to break down and sob loudly.
The Headmaster put his empty cup down on the coffee table and looked at her.
"Now, I have something for you," said the Headmaster. "I have looked at you for the last ten days and I know you are not doing so well, am I right?"
"Have you talked to somebody about what happened?"
"I... I can't," she said, looking away. "How do I explain to anyone what the bite did to me? It would only hurt Marcus even more. Audrey would only get angry, and Mathiew would not really understand. He is nice and all but he tends to take things on the lighter side."
"Since I am pretty confident that you would rather not talk about such an intimate experience to an old wizard like me, I'm giving you this," said the Headmaster, putting an old toothbrush on the table next to her cup of hot chocolate.
"A portkey," corrected the Headmaster with a smile.
"Ginny?" asked Genna with hope in her voice for the first time in ten days.
Through the summer she had spent in Britain, Genna had come to see Ginny as the big sister she had never had. And right now, she wanted to see her, to talk to her, and maybe even tell her what had happened and how she felt about it.
"Yes," answered the Headmaster. "She's waiting for you."
"But it's the middle of the night over there!"
"Nevertheless, she's waiting," said the Headmaster. "Go get yourself a bag and once you're ready, just speak up your destination. Mrs Potter already has a portkey for your return on Monday night."
"What... what about Marcus?" she asked.
"Do not worry about Mr Tyler," reassured the Headmaster. "He knows and he understands. Actually, it was his idea," added the Headmaster with a chuckle.
"Quidditch practice?" asked Genna.
"I'll ask your second in command to see to it, if your team has the energy for any more practice," he added with a twinkle in his eyes.
"And classes on Monday?"
"You have Defence, Genna. I think you can skip it for once."
"Thank you, Headmaster," she said, standing up and taking her portkey.
If she could have run, Genna would have. As it was, she made her way to her dormitory quicker than she had ever had before. She threw clothes in her backpack, including her Quidditch uniform, and grabbed her broom from under her bed. She flew down her dormitory to the courtyard, landed, and taking the toothbrush, said "12 Grimmauld Place". A few seconds later, she landed in the park across from the Potter's house where Ginny was waiting for her.
"Hey there," said the older witch with a smile.
"Ginny," said Genna, walking to her.
"I heard you could use a holiday."
"You have no idea, Ginny. You just don't," she said and threw herself in the older girl's arms, sobbing.
"You're here now," said Ginny, gently patting her back. "Come to the house and let's have some hot chocolate."
Still crying, Genna let Ginny guide her to the house and then up the stairs to the Sitting Room.
"Where's Harry?" asked Genna once she was sitting with the hot chocolate in her hands.
Her eyes were now dry and she could think more coherently.
"I sent him on a boys' weekend out with his former Gryffindor dorm mates. He needed a holiday too," she said amused. "So, tell me, how did it go?"
"It was quite anti-climactic, really," said Genna. "It was not all bangs and booms. There might have been a fight outside but we were rushed inside right away. And then we were in this central room and she was there. She broke my wand and I stabbed her with it."
"You stabbed her with your broken wand?!" said Ginny, surprised. "That's pretty amazing, don't you think?"
"It was that or dying. She was biting me, Ginny," she added quietly, looking at the hot cup in her hands.
She took a shaking breath and Ginny waited silently.
"She was biting and... and... and I didn't want it to stop!" she said, tears running down her face again. "It felt so good."
"Good how?" asked Ginny intrigued.
"Like you just had the biggest orgasm of your life," answered Genna, sobbing harder.
Ginny went to sit next to her and took her cup from her hands, put it on the table, and hugged her.
"Ginny, I feel so ashamed and so... dirty for wanting it again," she said. "I understand now why vampires don't have problems with finding donors.
"When Marcus tried... you know... last weekend, I couldn't let him. I... I felt so disgusting and I couldn't figure out how he could still want me. And I'm afraid I won't be able to be with him anymore. I just want the bite so bad.
"Ginny, what am I going to do?"
"You'll get through this."
"But I feel so violated and at the same time, I want it so much again. And I'm so ashamed and I'm so afraid that I won't be able to be with Marcus anymore."
"Genna, stop it!" said Ginny firmly but gently at the same time. "Listen to what you are saying and think about it for a second. What you and Marcus have, it's love. And what that vampire gave you is only sex. Good sex, mind you, but only sex, nevertheless."
"But it's so addictive."
"Yes, it sounds like it, but you're strong and you have good people around you. Give yourself some time and stop thinking that you're disgusting for wanting something that made you feel good. I mean think about it like chocolate. It's not good for you but you want it because it's just so good. Of course, the two may not compare, but you get the idea."
Genna pulled back at little and smiled, amused but the chocolate comparison. Ginny was right, the comparison was grossly inadequate but funny, nevertheless.
"So, what do you want to do this weekend?" asked Ginny, changing the subject on her.
"Can we play Quidditch on Sunday?"
"Of course," answered Ginny. "And tomorrow afternoon, we'll practice with the Harpies."
"Yes. When I told Gwenog you were spending the weekend, she was happy to invite you to practice."
"And I could use it!"
"Good. Let's go to bed then and we'll talk more tomorrow."
And they did. They played Quidditch and talked about their respective experiences with their own fights and the stress of it. When Monday evening came about, Genna felt a lot better and was actually anxious to see Marcus. She really wanted to tell him about her weekend and the practice with the Harpies.
She took the portkey and arrived right at the front door of St. Leandre. Marcus was waiting for her with Fawkes. He looked at her uncertainly until she greeted him with a big smile. He smiled back and walked to her.
"Hi," he said quietly.
"Hi," she said with a grin.
He was looking at her uncertainly again and she took a step towards him so he could hug her. She looked up at him and he kissed her. She let him and melted against him, happy to be home.
"How... how was your weekend?" he asked.
"Good! Thank you for thinking about it. It was exactly what I needed," she answered. "I practiced with the Harpies! I had so much fun," she added, excited.
Marcus tooked her bag and her broom, and walked her to her Common Room, listening to how her weekend went.
A few weeks later, Genna had just finished her transfiguration homework and, even if it was late, she didn't feel like going to bed at all. Her dorm mates were already asleep but she just sat on her bed, wide awake. The last weekend with Marcus had been good. They were yet to return to the guest room but Genna no longer felt the self-loathing, even if the desire for the bite was still there.
She had just opened her charm book when she heard someone who was sniffling enter her bedroom. She pulled her curtains apart slowly and saw Amanda standing there.
"Amanda?" she asked surprised.
"I didn't know where else to go," said the distraught girl.
"Come," invited Genna, patting the bed next to her. "Do you mind if I cast a silencing charm? We don't want to wake the others."
Amanda nodded and Genna cast the charm.
"What's wrong, sweetheart?" asked Genna to the girl who had snuggled against her.
"I... I think I'm dying."
"Why would you think that?"
"I'm... I'm bleeding and it doesn't want to stop!" she sobbed.
"You're bleeding? From where?" asked Genna now worried.
"From down there," answered Amanda, pointing to the junction between her legs.
"Oh! Sweetheart, you're not dying," said Genna, hugging her.
"No. You're just becoming a young woman."
Genna could not believe that nobody had taken the time to explain to Amanda the transformation of her body. Even Genna, who did not have a mother, had got that explanation from her aunt.
Genna spent the next hour explaining to Amanda what was happening to her young body and, unlike her aunt, showed her the contraceptive spell Ginny had shown her over the summer.
"I... I don't think I'll ever want to have sex," said Amanda.
Genna, remembering what had happened to Amanda for the better part of last year, knew she had to tread carefully.
"Why do you say that?" she asked.
"It's disgusting," she said with vehemence.
"I happen to think differently," said Genna gently.
"You had sex with my brother, didn't you?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, I never had sex with Marcus," she said slowly. "We only made love."
"What's the difference?" asked Amanda sceptically.
"When you make love with someone it's not just your body," said Genna, "It's also your heart and your soul. When you make love, it's not about giving pleasure but sharing it, and it is totally beautiful."
And it hit her. It hit her so hard, she almost gasped. Marcus wanted her not for sex but because he loved her. And that, she knew she could live with because she loved him too. And at that moment, she wanted to go to him, to be with him, to be filled by his love because it was beautiful, sincere and true.
"Do you see the difference?" she asked Amanda.
"I think I do," she answered.
"Good! Now, you've got to go to bed," she said gently. "We have class tomorrow."
"Okay. Thank you, Genna."
As soon as she could no longer hear Amanda in the stairway, Genna got out of bed and grabbed her wand and her cane. She sent her patronus to Marcus and made her way to the guest room as fast as she could. She had just come in when Marcus walked in, short of breath.
"Genna, what's wrong?" he asked alarmed.
At that moment, she thought she could not have loved him more. She pulled her small pouch from around her neck, opened it, and slipped the ring to her finger.
"Genna," whispered Marcus, looking at her like he was seeing her for the first time.
After a few seconds of hesitation, he took his ring and slowly put it on, as if fearing what he would find. Genna felt fear, worry and unconditional love wash over her, the same love she had been talking about to Amanda a few minutes earlier. He looked at her amazed, feeling the love she felt for him, and suddenly, they were in each other's arms, kissing passionately.
"Love me, Marcus, love me," she whispered to his ear.
And he did, slowly, attentively, and when Genna came, she knew she would be all right.
She had won.