A word of warning. This story is bordering on the edge of M rating. If you're afraid of blood and violence, turn back now. When the imagery becomes truly grotesque, the chapter will have another warning. Oh, and I don't own many things.
Bleeding the Magic
Harry Potter and Vampire the Masquerade crossover
Hiding the World
Harry was lost - the visions and sounds were flowing right at him in an endless stream - the life he had lived - it was too much - too fast for him to understand, too complex. Then, he heard a distant echo of someone speaking slowly - through all the mess of rushed whispers, hurrying explanations and rapid shouts.
He latched onto that slowest element, trying to calm himself down, trying to find a semblance of balance. It repeated once more, the language forgotten and different, the world spinning around his focus. He had to concentrate more - he had to believe that the voice was his salvation with his whole soul. And he did - he wanted to listen, to understand, to see, he let that calm voice take over his mind.
The visions came to an abrupt end. Harry found himself standing in some sort of study. It seemed like he was in a large wooden house, the walls clean, even extremely tidy - every single line was completely straight, not a single curve anywhere. It was too perfect to be a true place - not with the desk positioned exactly in the middle of the room, not without any sign of life or dust everywhere. Most importantly - there were no walls, nor any windows - it was like an inside of a perfectly square wooden box.
At the wooden table, hands holding some scroll of parchment, elbows planted on top of the desk, there sat a man, appearing in his late fifties. He was wearing wizarding robes, and was intently examining some scroll of parchment. Then, he raised his head, revealing incredibly old, wise eyes and the face of sharp features. He put down the parchment, and it disappeared the moment it touched the table. And, his whole attention was on the young wizard now.
Harry was sure that he had seen him somewhere, but couldn't for the life of him remember just where it was.
There was that voice again - the man from behind the desk spoke in the language Harry didn't know once again. However, when the wizard gathered his courage to tell him that he couldn't understand a word, he suddenly could.
It was not like he suddenly knew the language, but that he understood the meaning of separate words - somehow, his mind was echoing their English meaning - it came up as a mangled mess, but the silver lining was that he could at least make some sense of it.
"Open mind, must keep you one!" There was a hidden shadow of the true words spoken, but even though Harry could hear them, he only tried to listen to their meaning etched somewhere in his mind. Maybe the man was helping him to understand, needing him to open his thoughts for the strange, yet, at the same time, familiar presence. He tried to focus on the presence and allowing it whatever it needed. "As for your future, has brought my childe you here and holds she in her hands it. Will complete you to the best of your abilities one vital task - will not accept I failure. Will shape the task it."
Harry gulped - he recognised the man now - this was Her sire, one She had spoken of with great reverence. Harry could remember that She told him that the ancient vamp- kindred, he corrected himself quickly, for he was sure the elder could read his surface thoughts as easily as one reads a book, was a scholar of numerous fields. A doctorate in most of them. Even when she never told him the name, she needn't have. He was standing before one Dr. John Dee, a divinations, alchemy and ritual master from Wales, even though the language he spoke definitely was not welsh. A man directly out of the History of Magic books, one who had his records in the Ministry crossed out at the end of the sixteenth century. The wizard had been as famous as Albus Dumbledore in his own time, but one who had disappeared from the Wizarding world during his trip to Venice. Harry was surprised by how much he could remember - didn't he read the paragraph on the man only once?
However, now, the very same wizard was sitting before him in an impossible room, threatening, no, calmly informing of his future fate. There was an important task ahead of him. He felt that She would be proud of him if he would manage - he felt that it was important for Dr. Dee too - it must have been, for such an old kindred to converse with a simple wizard.
He had to be brave, for Her. Harry bowed his head low, trying not to let the fear show in his eyes, instead locking it deep in his heart. "I will do my best at any task you will give me, sir."
Dr. John Dee didn't seem to be too happy with the young wizard's words, and Harry felt like he had just made a mistake. However, he was too afraid of making another, so he just remained, his head bent - his posture displaying as much compliance as he could.
"The Fidelius charm, must figure out you the complex mechanism of it. Can not fuel vitae its magic, requires it the touch of true life. Will find you with Rebecca the solution for it. My trust, more than has been given to any other mortal, am giving I you it. Must not waste you it."
Harry bowed even lower, afraid to say anything out loud, lest the elder take offence to anything. There was silence for a long moment, Harry's nerves strained to their limits, one could touch them and hear music, it seemed.
The world spun around, the room quickly retreating to darkness, the world losing colours, swirling the vision out of control. Harry gasped for air, once, twice, and his vision completely empty, he felt something at his fingertips.
The cold touch of Her hand, sent strange, unnatural warmth running up his arms, shocking him like a stream of electricity. It woke him up from the vision with a start.
He sat up - there was no sign of the room he had been in - how could there be - it had all been but a vision. He was back in the museum's basement. The candlelight, dancing on her face, died out with the revelation.
"Rebecca?" he asked, marvelling at how well Her name echoed in the darkness.
He could see Her predatory eyes glittering in the darkness for a few more seconds, until the last remnant of light disappeared. "You can call me that, if you want to," She admitted, sounding slightly uncomfortable - at that moment, She felt more human than ever before. "How do you feel?"
"Alive." He replied, feeling his heartbeat, fast, strong, powerful. The elder's vitae in his body felt like pure energy, like power personified - She was powerful, but this didn't even compare. "Different."
Harry looked around himself - he couldn't actually see in the darkness, but with his senses, once more heightened by the vitae in his body, he could feel the room he was in. He knew where the walls were, he could hear his own heartbeat like he had an ear to his own chest. He felt the stillness of Her form. She hadn't pretended to be anything but what She was - there wasn't even a single sound, a slightest movement, unlike any human had. She took breaths only when She spoke, and even then, they were unnaturally short, calculated - just what was needed for the words. When She was silent, She became one with the darkness, like a void right next to him. Only Her touch could prove that She truly had been there.
"He spoke with you." She did not ask, She knew. "He told you what we need you to do."
"He did." Harry shook his head - the memory was etched deep in his mind, and he could have sworn that he remembered every single word that was said - both their meanings and the words themselves. He almost slipped in his concentrated state and the scene of him, bowed before an ancient power, flashed before his eyes, like a distant, unforgettable mirage.
"It was enlightening." And it was - to glimpse at such a power before him... Every time when he spoke with Dumbledore, he was in awe of the superiority the man held in his hands. He was reminded just what could be done with magic. Now, he had met a being that was even more experienced, one who had been a wizard on par with Dumbledore, but one who chose to leave his magical powers behind to become one of the kindred, an immortal.
"Are you feeling well enough to work?" She asked carefully, helping him stand up straight. "There's a small library here."
"What is this place?" He asked, trying to remember whatever he knew about the Fidelius charm - a Secret-Keeper, a place to be hidden. "The Secret-Keeper has to know what he is hiding?" Harry muttered uncertainly. "If that is to be me, you'll need to tell me everything."
"You're not going to be a Secret-Keeper." She smiled in the darkness with a predator's smile, breathing lightly into his face. "My sirewill. But you are right - I will show you around. This," she spoke with obvious pride. "Is going to be the new, better Chantry of London for our Clan, hidden with a magic that no opponent can pierce, a safe-haven no traitor can enter. You're going to help us build an impenetrable fortress at the heart of this city."
The Chantry-to-be had been rather enormous, signifying decades of careful work poured into the hidden underground complex. Rebecca showed Harry every room, every corner and every single humming rune. It already was a fortress - Harry realized it with awe. Only those carrying a drop of her Sire's blood in their bodies could enter without tripping the dangerous array of wards.
Judging by Her comments, Harry slowly formed a rough idea of how the place came to be. Dr. John Dee had poured half of his unlife into this new Chantry, its imminent completion promising a dangerous shift in the local balance of power. It had been a scheme not on a mortal scale of planning - the Chantry's foundations were laid at least two hundred years back. No one was to know that it was being built - and the place had only been accessed by a handful of chosen candidates. Every mortal who had worked directly in the place had his memories cleaned daily - Rebecca had done most of the work herself - She had been quite proud with her usefulness for Her sire. She never told him, but Harry could guess that no mortal worker even remembered meeting her at this point - the Chantry looked finished anyways.
As for the magical protections, Rebecca had proudly let him view the work of her Sire - some of it too complicated for either of them to understand. A couple of runic inscriptions in hundred years old blood were making his vision dizzy even by looking at them. One made his head hurt by simply entering the room with a strange, carved column, littered with just another set of writings, seemingly without any semblance of order. And he was one of those allowed to be inside – he imagined that any intruded would quickly find themselves dead from immense pain.
After a long excursion ended, Harry could say that he at least had some idea where everything important was. Rooms for training, places for rest during the day, halls for meetings and special places for experiments and rituals, columns dedicated with keeping the Chantry safe. One of the ritual rooms, She said, was to be where he would weave the magic of the Fidelius charm.
The library was their last place to visit. It was behind a small, single stone door, smaller and bulkier than any other doors in the whole building were. Entering it proved incredibly difficult, too - the protections were making him want to run away in panic, and only Her hand stayed him in place. Then, She sang something in that same language She and Her sire kept using all the time, a poem as a means for opening entrance.
He felt a tug inside of him, the blood of Dr. John Dee responding to some eerie call, making him twitch uncontrollably, a presence of the elder shaking his mind. He swore he could see something else, further, stretching on the edge of his consciousness, heading from his mind into infinity... And then, the door slid open. The unnatural fear was gone.
It was the most protected room of the whole building. And it was gargantuan, a majestic piece of incredible architecture. Looking like inside of a cathedral would, with masterfully carved walls, incredibly high ceiling, every inch of every stone was covered with dark blood coloured runes. Harry's eyes started watering every time he looked at one of these for longer than two seconds.
The rest of the room was a maze - with book shelves towering over him, standing on two different storeys, the upper one only half full. Books, scrolls of parchment and even ancient engraved tablets were kept in this library. She had called it small - this cathedral for books looked at least as large as Hogwarts Library – and, where the Wizarding School's one was deliberately made much less daunting by the castle's magic, this one was always in its true form. Thus - Harry did not know which one was actually bigger. At least here, Harry genuinely felt insignificant, too unimportant, whereas at Hogwarts every drop of pressure was just from madam Pince being nearby.
Rebecca moved towards the stone gargoyle, reminiscent of the one guarding Dumbledore's office and poured a generous dose of Her vitae into the open jaws. Harry could swear that the statue - half embedded in the wall right next to the entrance - shifted in its pose, a content smile splattered on its grotesque face, a tickle of Her incredibly alluring vitae running down the stone chest.
"We're going to start here," She spoke as they stopped at one of the shelves, quite near the entrance. "It has all the relevant magical theory on the Fidelius charm. Most of it is in English, and I will be translating the ones that are not."
"Before that, there are a few rules you must know. Never try to enter this room alone, and never take anything outside the library's bounds. Do not touch any of the runes, and leave Cyneath alone," she waved towards the gargoyle. "Now, let's get to work - my sire said that we have a month, but I think you could do it faster - there's only so much needed to know before you should be able to cast it."
And they started working - Harry plunged into the task with a determination that rivalled the one he had during the Triwizard Tournament. This time, however, he knew what he was looking for, and, more importantly, he had someone with decades of experience in research helping him along the way.
It was just a question of time.
And time, as it always does, moves quite fast when you let it to.
During the day, he would catch some sleep, eat some food - stale, yet sufficient, and as she woke in the dead of the night, they would enter the library, she would 'feed' Cyneath, and then sit down to help him with the texts for a few hours. Afterwards, she would leave and only return to pick him up when the morning was nearing.
One time, when She had left him alone at least two hours before, he was analysing a short book, written by none other, but Albus Dumbledore himself. It had been about the First Wizarding war with Voldemort and the various protections of magical households used during it, the Fidelius charm rather well detailed. Of course, it wasn't a book for a wizard currently enrolled in Hogwarts, but rather for a graduate with good grasp of both Runes and advanced Charms. Thus, Harry had to have a fat tome ready nearby – a cross-reference compendium of the various terms mentioned in different magical literature and where he could find their more detailed descriptions. He even had a small stack of notes, in an orderly pile - a list of questions that he asked Her when She was available. At first, he almost never wrote down anything - his mind still in overdrive after tasting Dr. John Dee's blood, but soon, he started understanding what he could and couldn't remember with ease, and the notes became much more systematic, filling only the gaps of his enchanted memory.
The night had been silent. No more signs of life anywhere, only a sound of turning pages sometimes piercing the silence. The task didn't seem so daunting as it had been on the first day. Now, Harry could claim to have a good understanding of the basic foundations of the ritual. For it wasn't a simple charm. It was almost a class of his own, a close relation to the realm of hermetic thaumaturgy ritualistic magic - precise, with a perfectly defined beginning and end, and very exact result, dependant on every single part of the process. Of course, the cornerstone incantation and spell was a charm, but one could only cast it only after immense preparation.
However, as well as the work was progressing, Harry had had run into an unexpected difficulty. A Secret-Keeper was supposed to be human. And that threw his research off - no one had ever tried casting the charm with the intent of making a kindred into a Secret-Keeper.
Harry sighed. He wanted to go and take another look at the space they had been preparing for the charm - but if he left, he wouldn't be able to return. Even more - he couldn't take the example from the book and compare some runes – even if he copied it – he couldn't take it out. Before, he had to make do with a rough draft of the magical circle – but this time, he wanted to make sure of the distance between two important lines and that wasn't marked in the draft.
"I don't suppose they'd let me take this outside," he half-asked at the empty room - for he had learned to dismiss Cyneath as a meaningless decoration. Sure, the gargoyle could move slightly in its stone prison, but so could many things at Hogwarts.
"No." There was a cold voice, echoing through the library.
Harry jumped up, startled. The statue was looking right at him now, its mouth was locked in some sort of grotesque smile. A heavy book dropped on the floor with a loud clatter. Harry clamped his mouth shut. He should have expected something like this. Leave Cyneath alone, had been her words. Should he do anything? He had not really spoken to him, but now, if he did not speak anymore, would Cyneath persist?
"You know that no one else can hear us there." it turned out that he would. There was a strange, slurping noise, like a something heavy was being lifted from the clutches of the swamp. The gargoyle looked as horrific as when it was just a part of the wall. The stone-like quality of its skin became much less pronounced, but retained the texture of marble. The rows of sharp teeth were moving easily, two bat-like wings folded neatly on the back. The claws of the creature were flexing lightly, and then he moved on to stretch himself. "This is a place not even Dr. John Dee could enter," Cyneath 's voice dripped with barely hidden fury at the name.
Harry remained silent, his hand drawing his wand in a swift move – just in case. Fire spells and blasting charms, he reminded himself.
"Now, little wizard, don't be hasty. I'm not going to harm you. I know that She has plans for you and I can't hurt you because it would hinder Her." He took a step forward. "Unless you attack me." The rows of teeth were forming a strange, grotesque smirk. "Please do, if you don't mind?"
Cyneath dashed forward, right at Harry, moving faster than was humanly possible, his wings stretched in their full length – a full swipe of them, and he was half-way already. Harry raised his wand for a Shield Charm, but did not cast any spell - Cyneath froze inches from tearing Harry's throat out. "Fine," he lowered the sharp claws down as if he hadn't just threatened to kill to wizard. "Be like that."
And he slumped down on the nearby chair. It creaked painfully under the incredible weight. His wings were crumpled in a way that looked quite uncomfortable, but Cyneath looked rather happy to be free from the wall and did not care of the state of his wings. Harry couldn't understand why he chose to sit down - but then again, the gargoyle had been standing for all this time - he didn't even know how long - maybe sitting down was something he felt like doing.
"You know what is best, little wizard?" Cyneath scratched the side of his wing with his claw distractedly, the movement followed closely by Harry's eyes. "No, scratching an itch isn't it, but it comes close. It's that the old bastard won't know that I got out unless you tell him."
"Dr. John Dee?" Harry asked finally, without actually thinking this time.
"I think I like you." Cyneath laughed maliciously. "You're not going to live for too long. Say what - I won't tell them that you spoke with me, and you won't tell them that I got out for a stretch. No one owes anyone and everyone's happy."
"I don't think that they would punish me." Harry thought for a bit. "You're the one who dropped your duty."
"Who do you think you are?" Cyneath roared. "To speak to me about my duty!"
"But it is true, isn't it?" Harry grinned, latching onto the idea. "They don't let you leave your post at the wall unless someone asked you directly. And I wasn't really asking you. That means youhave used a loophole. Same as you would have killed me if I had defended from you."
"I take it back." The gargoyle frowned - its face even more horribly misshapen than before. "I hate you."
"So, when I tell them what you did, they're just going to change the nature of your bindings."
If Harry hadn't developed a habit of keeping his senses sharper at all times, to better read the texts and to see the further books without much trouble, he wouldn't have caught the sudden pause in gargoyle's movements.
"You're lying." Harry said studying the repulsive features of the creature's face. "I can see it." And he really saw it then - a faint flicker of colours. The orange colour was flaming especially bright - and he knew that it was fear, a primal, bestial fear. "You're afraid that they're not going to let you come out ever again."
Cyneath hummed something under his breath. "Fine. It's not something they're going to go searching in your mind for. Not something important - you could keep it silent. Do so; for a boon."
"What?" Harry blinked at the sudden change of colours into rich violet, his eyes hurting from the information that he couldn't fully comprehend.
"Little wizard, let me tell you a short story and you'll understand. You see, I have been stuck here for the last fifty years. In some ways, I am the soul of this building - I have seen everything that transpired here. I have seen people erect the walls, the passages, build the chambers. They were mortal, weak and fragile – a perfect tool in the hands of a competent kindred. After they were finished, he came to speak with them. Personally. He thanked them for their hard work and dedication, for the years of their life they left here, and then, without a single regret, locked them in the last room they had completed but hours before. With me."
He laughed, the unnatural inhuman laughter echoing in the furthest edges of the library.
"As I said - they were mortal, weak and fragile. But first and foremost, they were tools. Like you are now."
"I'm not the same as them!" Harry protested. "She cares about me!"
"She does." He nodded. "Maybe. But does he? Does he really need you after you cast your fancy spell? I know how to listen - you're inevitably going to know where the Chantry is, and even with your Fidelius up and running that won't change, whoever the Secret-Keeper is. And hedoesn't need a backdoor, however small it is."
Harry crossed his arms. "You're saying that just so I wouldn't rat you out."
"Yes. But that doesn't make it a lie."
He hadn't been truly scared before, but now - he was. Cyneath seemed to believe what he was saying with unmovable conviction. And that made Harry's blood chill in his veins.
"You're lying," he tried.
"Are you prepared to make that bet?" Cyneath grinned – repulsive and grotesque as always. "Are you prepared to stake your life on this? You are gambling with your life. I'm offering you a chance. A boon, in exchange for silence."
"How is a boon going to help me - how are you going to help me?"
"I will stay here for a long time still. You're going to end up living here too, until such a time that he doesn't need you. There will come a day that you're going to need me. For one thing or another. And this is precisely what I'm offering you. Boons are a sacred deal - no kindred dares to dismiss them, no kindred gets back on them. They are a pillar upon our world has been built. I'm offering you a chance of a lifetime. What say you, little wizard?"
Suddenly, the gargoyle jumped back, as if having heard something from beyond the walls. "She is back. Don't tell them, and you have yourself a boon from Cyneath. I don't give those lightly."
And he leaned back to the wall, partially melting together with it, turning once again into a stone statue, guarding the entrance. One of his eyes was partially closed - frozen in an unmoving, satisfied wink.
When she finally came inside, she found Harry deep in thought, hunched over his notes.
As I said, the updates are going to be very sporadic. This might not be a very long story, too. Blame ocs for everything.
Or, better yet, go and read something else of mine while you wait. For a (complete) crossover with some complex plots going in the background, where Harry is as clueless as here, there's tToM, for a Harry who was bitten by werewolf - FFF, for Harry, Daphne and a funny mess with time - SitC, and for something else entirely, there's HtRO. There's also a collaborative project with Morta's Priest - a Death Note and Batman crossover - you can check that one out - basically, it's Morta's Priest fixing every problem my writing has.