Chapter 7 : The Ears of Grief
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We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Please find enclosed a list of necessary items and books. Term begins on September 1st. We will receive your owl no later than July 31st. Yours sincerely,
Albus Dumbledore ( Headmaster, Order of Merlin, First Class, Grand Sorcerer, Chief Warlock, Supreme Mugwump, International Confederation of Wizards)
Henna smiled brightly, and saw that there was another letter attached to it. She quickly scanned it:
P.S. I was able to locate your parents in Brazil, as you suggested. I’m glad to inform you that they are in perfect health, yet they were unable to answer my questions about why you stopped schooling. I do hope you will be able to provide me with a proper answer soon. I was able persuade them, to put it lightly, into giving you the funds to attend Hogwarts this year. But they wished me to tell you that you are strongly advised to find other lodgings during the holidays. Enclosed is extra money that you may purchase your school supplies with. Sincerely,
Henna looked excitedly into the envelope and saw many Galleons clanking at the bottom. There was more than enough money there to buy her school supplies. She looked happily at Remus, and even gave a little smile.
“He did it! He was actually able to get money from them!” she said, her face alight with surprise. Remus felt like he had died and gone to heaven. Seeing Henna happy was paradise. He’d never noticed it before, but she had a beautiful smile!
“I knew he would,” Remus said proudly. Henna sobered for a minute, realizing that without Remus, none of this would have ever happened.
“Remus,” she said, her voice cracking with pure joy. She smiled, and actually gave a laugh. This had to be the happiest day of her life. She was going to go back to school! The reality of it hit her. At school she would be able to learn, and from there she could get a job! Her laugh died on her lips then.
She was a vampire.
She couldn’t go to school with humans, and normal people. “Yeah?” Remus interupted her thoughts.
“What?” she asked. Then she remembered she had said his name. “Thank you. A lot,” she said. “I really mean it.”
“You don’t look like it anymore. You were all happy minute ago, and now you’re so depressed. What’s wrong?” he said, concerned. She wracked her brain. She was so tire of lying to people....
“I’m afraid I won’t fit in,” she admitted. It wasn’t really a lie. Remus smiled at that, and put a hand on her shoulder. They both were shocked by the contact, and Henna felt her face grow hot. I shouldn’t let him touch me, she thought nervously.
“Trust me, you’ll be fine,” he muttered softly. Henna gulped rather loudly. It would be so easy, to just give in, and tell him the truth.
“I’m getting sort of cold,” Henna said, but it was about the exact opposite. She had never been so hot in her life. She felt as though she was suffocating from the heat between her and Remus. He raised an eyebrow and shook his head.
“You’re going to tell me the truth one day,” he promised. “I’ll get it from you one way or another.”
“What are you going to do? Torture me?” Henna taunted, except that there was a hint of actual seriousness in her voice. Remus leaned in closer, taking his time to let his eyes roll over her body. He pushed a piece of blonde hair from her face, and let his hand rest on the side of her head. He could feel her pulse fluttering madly in her neck, and his eyes widened. Was she honestly scared of him?
“Henna,” he muttered, leaning even closer. She didn’t know what to do. Was he planning on kissing her? She certainly hoped not. She had endured enough pain for a lifetime; she didn’t need searing kisses to top it off. He let his head fall close to her’s, and he breathed in her scent. It was pure bliss, and he knew that he could stand like this forever, that is, until his body exploded from un-quenched need. He breathed deeply, controlling the rollercoaster of pressure that mounted itself upon him. He needed her. He wanted her so badly.
Henna stared up at him and saw something she knew all too well. It was pure, honest, cold, hard lust. But there was something else too. There was tenderness and constraint. He wasn’t attacking her with his mouth or bruising her with his needy hands. No, he was controlling himself, for her. He wasn’t doing anything that might risk himself losing his composure, and that made Henna respect him against her will.
He wasn’t Derek, she realized, but he was a still a man. Yet he was a man like she’d never known. He was caring, and loving, and she could see that directed at her. He loved her. Her heart constricted as she came to this realization. Her eyes met with his, and she knew it was true. She had been loved before, and look where it had gotten her! She became even more terrified, yet she masked it by looking away.
“Remus?” she said as softly as possibly, so that her voice didn’t waver too much.
“Yeah?” he whispered, obviously paying a lot more attention to her lips than what they were actually saying.
“Please don’t kiss me,” she mumbled. As she looked into Remus’ eyes, she could see the universe falling to pieces to the bottom of his broken heart. He let his pained eyes drop to the ground, and he took a few steps back from her. There, she had done it. She had lost him forever. She knew that he would never want to be her friend now. But that’s what she’s wanted all this time, right? She should be happy with her accomplishment, but she wasn’t. He began to walk away, and she knew she’d hurt him.
Let him go, leave him alone. You’re a vampire, she told herself. But her lips simply wouldn’t obey her fear’s commands.
“Remus!” she practically screamed. He turned around abruptly, looking at her with barely contained melancholy. He said nothing, but waited patiently for her to speak. “Don’t....” she stopped, unable to express herself. She shouldn’t do this. Don’t pull him back, push him away. Don’t toy with him, you’re a vampire.
“Don’t what?” he said softly, taking an eager step closer. Henna wracked her brain. What should she do? Indecision lay heavily on her already burdened shoulders.
“Don’t give up on me,” she said. He smiled then, and she felt her heart warming with relief.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said proudly. “Coming?”
“No, actually I’m just going to sit for awhile. You know, I’ve got a lot to think about...”
“Alright, be careful,” he said before turning to walk away. Henna’s breath caught in her throat. He wanted her to be careful. He cared about what happened to her. She held that little bit of information in her heart, took strength from it, and confided her own little secret to herself. She cared about him too....
Her stomach chose that exact moment to growl loudly. She doubled over as pain engulfed her. She needed to eat. Now.
Looking around, she saw nothing, but that didn’t dampen her resolve. She began searching. Looking for anything that contained the life she craved. She needed blood, and she needed it soon. It was nearly fifteen minutes before she actually was able to catch a rather fat rabbit. She grabbed it up greedily, and ignored its squeals of protest. As always, she numbed herself to the fact that she was taking another’s life just so she could live. The rabbit probably gave more to the world than she did, she thought as her teeth extended into the soft, wriggling flesh.
Her body convulsed in pleasure-filled shivers as she devoured the tiny creature. It twitched helplessly against her lips, but she surrounded herself with the smell f it, the taste of it, and, disgustingly, the feel of it. It wasn’t pleasant, but it sure beat trying to swallow a piece of toast. She was so enthralled with the feeling of having her body awakening in delight, she didn’t hear the crunching noises behind her, announcing the presence of another.
“I knew it!” a cold, horrified voice said. Henna quickly dropped the rabbit, and spun around. It was Lily. She quickly wiped blood from her face, smearing it on her wrist. “I knew you were a...”
“Shut up!” Henna yelled, as fear controlled her whole body. “Just stay away from me!”
It was Lily’s turn to be surprised. Henna sounded more afraid than she was. “Henna, how long have...”
“I’m leaving. There is no need to get upset!” Henna screamed, backing up as though Lily were approaching her with a knife. “You’ll never see me again, just don’t tell anybody!”
“Henna! Calm down!”
“I’ve never killed a human, so don’t worry. I only eat the animals because I have to! Just stay back!” Henna yelled, nearly falling over, as Lily neared.
“HENNA!” Lily finally yelled, getting the frantic girl’s attention. “It’s okay!”
“What?” Henna said, confused.
“You don’t have to worry about anything. I’m not going to hurt you!” she said. Henna stared, breathing deeply.
“How long have you known?”
“Since I saw you try and choke down that piece of toast,” Lily said proudly. Henna looked stricken.
“What are you going to do?” she asked, feeling her dreams of going back to school collapse in all their glory.
“It all depends. How long have you been a vampire, have you ever bitten a human, and why didn’t you tell us in the first place?” Lily gushed, all very quickly.
“Nearly three years now. Yes, but it wasn’t that bad of a bite. I had good reason. I didn’t tell you because I figured you would freak out and kill me,” Henna explained with precision.
“How could you think we would kill you?!” Lily said, giving an exasperated laugh. “We’ve been through this sort of thing! I mean, if we didn’t kill a werewolf, then we certainly wouldn’t kill a vampire!”
“A werewolf?” Henna asked, confused. Lily clapped a hand to her mouth. She had said too much, the idiot.
“Never mind,” Lily said quickly. “Boy this explains a lot.”
“What are you planning on doing with me then?”
“Nothing! It’s your own business being a vampire. As long as you don’t eat one of us, it’s none of my concern. And believe it or not, I don’t think you would ever hurt any of us,” Lily said, sounding like a teacher.
“And why is that?” Henna asked.
“Because if you had wanted to hurt us, you wouldn’t have killed that rabbit a few minutes ago. You would have just sucked one of us dry.”
“Good point,” Henna said, her head drooping.
“And I know you would never hurt Remus, or his friends,” she added.
“How do you think that?” Henna said defensively.
“Because you’re in love with him,” Lily stated matter-of-factly.
“I am not!” Henna defended, incensed. Lily raised a brow, but nodded. “Are you going to tell anybody that I’m a...well, you know?”
“Do you want me to?”
“NO!” Henna shouted quickly.
“You really should tell Remus,” Lily advised. “He deserves to know.”
“He would shun me if he knew,” Henna assured. Lily shook her head.
“If you told him, trust me, you’d feel a lot better. I’m not at liberty to discuss it exactly, but you’ll see if you just tell him.”
“Don’t tell him,” Henna said firmly. “Promise you won’t.”
“Henna....” Lily said impatiently, wanting to explain things better.
“Promise me!” Henna repeated. Lily gave a sigh and nodded.
“I agree,” she said grudgingly. Then she looked Henna over. “I admire you, you know,” she said firmly.
“Really?” Henna said, unsure. She didn’t quite know what to think. Should she trust Lily not to tell anybody? Or she should run away while she still had the chance? The scar on her back burned from the memories that washed over her. The last time she had tried to mingle with humans....
“Yeah, really. There aren’t many vampires that have the will-power to simply live off of rabbits,” Lily informed. “I hear that eight out of ten vampires give up on animals and just start eating humans after a year. I didn’t think vampires had souls, hearts, and stuff like that. Yet you seem to be extremely...emotional.”
Henna laughed at that. Her? Emotional? Never! “Well, I’m only half vampire, I was made one, not born one,” she informed. She nearly vomited as she realized that she had given away a valuable piece of information.
“It’s okay, your secrets are safe with me,” Lily assured her, seeing how pale her complexion had gone. Henna looked up, and there was vulnerability in her gaze.
“Thanks,” she said, her voice quavering. Lily smiled then.
“I knew we were going to be good friends the moment you began to fight me,” Lily announced, nodding firmly.
“I’ll have you know I’m not very good at being a friend,” Henna informed. Lily laughed.
“Yeah, I’ve noticed that part, but it’s only because you’re too busy hiding your ‘big secret’ from everybody. You don’t have to hide it from me,” she insisted.
“How do I know that for sure?” Henna said, uncertainly.
“You don’t,” Lily stated. “You’re just going to have to learn to trust people. Now why don’t you go tell Remus?”
“Because I don’t want to loose his friendship!” Henna said, irritated with herself. How could she let herself give so much away!? These people were slipping her own secrets past her. Soon she would be an open book, and she wouldn’t be allowed at school anymore. And then she would loose all her friends, people would hunt her down, and they would kill her.
“See? You do care,” Lily said encouragingly. Henna said nothing, but stared at the ground. Lily came up, and put an arm around her. Henna jumped in fright, and then realized that she posed no threat. “Do you want to talk about how you became a vampire?”
“No,” Henna said sadly. Lily nodded.
“I can understand you not wanting to talk about it, but sometimes it’s best to get things off your shoulders!” she said with a laugh.
“Some things you just want to keep on your shoulders. I wouldn’t force my burden on the cruelest of people,” Henna said.
“You’re a little dramatic,” Lily said, smiling. Henna snorted.
“You’re a little blunt,” she retorted.
“‘Honest plain words best pierce the ear of grief,’” Lily reiterated wisely.
“That’s Shakespeare, isn’t it?” Henna asked.
“How did you know that?!” Lily said, looking as if Christmas had come six months early.
“I read quite a lot, actually,” Henna said. “Muggle books were the only one’s I was able to get a hold of.” Lily was grinning ear to ear.
“You and I are going to be great friends,” she insisted.
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