Chapter 1 : Willow Manor Hotel
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I used to be golden, a saint in a time of sorrow,
But then the turning came and I kissed
The sun goodbye, don't you get it,
It's always darker in my eyes
~Atreyu: A Vampire’s Lament
I’m going to find you again ‘Mione, I don’t care how long it takes.
Hermione jumped from her bed, gasping for breath and holding her chest. ‘You’re doing it again.’ The familiar female voice in her head chastised. ‘We both know the Hotel can’t take much more of your abuse.’
“Yes, I’m well aware. Marius is an obnoxious reminder of the messes I make.” She replied falling back into her bed and running a hand over her damp face.
The door suddenly swung open and two men walked into her spacious room. One was taller than the other, but younger by four years.
“Marius and Halley told us to come drag you down to the kitchen.” The older man stated.
“Sam, Dean, what have I told you about barging in my bloody room right when I wake up?” She asked hotly pulling up a sheet to cover up the revealing night gown she wore.
“Not to.” Sam smiled. He was the younger of the two brothers. His unkempt brown hair came past his ears, and almost always covered his dark green eyes.
“Well, make yourself decent Hermione, we’ll be waiting outside.” Dean said and yanked his brother from the room. Even though he was a good six inches shorter than his brother, Dean was much rougher looking. Worn out jeans and destroyed aviator jackets were his main wardrobe, plus the heavy boots he enjoyed stomping around in. A stranger might think twice before approaching the brothers, but Hermione knew their soft side, mostly because Sam and Dean refused to ever cross her.
Hermione stood from her bed and stretched out the aches in her muscles. The past few weeks had been rough on her because she couldn’t seem to control her powers any longer. In the 11 years since she received her powers, not once did they fluctuate like this. Something was wrong with her, and she couldn’t figure out what. She moved in front of the mirror that was hanging on her off-white walls. It was one of many enchanted mirrors she imported from Italy that vampires were able to see their reflections in. They were expensive, but there was a lot of old antiques that had been left in the Hotel after it was abandoned that she was able to sell and get money for.
Willow Manor Hotel sits in New York City, in Manhattan. On the island, there are upwards of a couple thousand vampires spread all over. There are also about a hundred normal people that know about the vampire society. Some are high up executive types that have business connected to the vampires. But a majority of the higher executives are vampires themselves. Hermione and the others at the Hotel stay more toward the ‘laying low’ plan some vampires have. And only Marius knows why she keeps the others that way.
Hermione walked out of her room and adjusted the loose black zip down sweatshirt she had changed into. It was probably almost 4 in the afternoon already, but she adjusted quickly to the odd scheduling after she left life in Europe. All night every night she is up doing errands for the Hotel, or for the Reformers. The Reformers is the group that controls the area the Hotel is in. Compared to all the other vampire organizations, this was the one Hermione agreed with most and was most likely to trust. The leader wants vampires to one day be able to join back into normal society without fear. There are also strict rules upheld in the territory. A vampire, when taking blood from a person, can never leave obvious marks on the donor. It is preferred that drunks or junkies are used because a person drunk enough won’t remember how a little needle hole got in their arm, and a junkie won’t notice an extra needle hole in their arm. It’s simple, keep a low profile until the Reformers are ready to initiate a plan for moving back in with normal society.
The kitchen was enormous because Marius and the boys hauled out all the extra stoves, table tops, and cookware that would never be used. All the extras were sold for money needed to furnish the rooms that would be used, and a few extra incase lost vampires came to the Hotel.
“Where’s Cameron?” Hermione asked Marius when she saw him at the dinning table with his morning cup. He looked up and shrugged not knowing if he was even up yet.
“You got a little -” A woman came over to Marius and pointed to her lip. “Oh let me do it.” She said smacking away his hand and instead wiped the bit of blood off of the corner of his lip from his mug. Halley Poole adopted the role of motherly-figure the second she arrived at the Hotel. She had been a vampire since the 1700s when her home town was raided by vicious Rogues and everyone was either turned or slaughtered. One of those slaughtered was her little girl, and she has resented the Rogues still living today for it.
A girl with straight black hair and blonde streaks walked through the door cuddled in a large fluffy robe and slippers. Halley passed her a mug and sat with her at the table. Hermione watched how the two interact each morning, and feels almost jealous. The girl is Becky Flint, and Halley loves her as if she was her own daughter that had been killed. It’s sad that she pretends Becky is something that she isn’t, but no one ever speaks against it.
“Becky, have you seen Cameron?” Hermione asked.
“No, but he was up this morning around 9 or so. I don’t think he’s gotten used to being a vampire yet.” She responded. “Oh, I almost forgot!” She stood up and pulled out Hermione’s wand from inside her bathrobe.
“Took my wand again I see...” Hermione sighed.
“Shouldn’t have ever taught her those hair spells, girl comes down each morning with a new head on her shoulders and I just don’t know what to expect anymore.” Marius said lifting his head from the newspaper. “By the way, you should read this Hermione, it’s very interesting.” He tossed her a page in the paper and continued reading.
“I’m going to head back to my room for a bit before we have to begin our training, I’ll read this when I get up there.” She said and left the kitchen.
The ceiling in the lobby stretched up to the second story, beyond that is where the rooms begin. She heard flirty voices coming toward her and sighed loudly. Rori Pierce and Xavier Crane appeared and looked thoroughly pleased.
“I don’t want to hear the story.” Hermione said flatly when she saw Rori wearing his shirt and Xavier in only boxers.
“Hey, I don’t mind.” He said passing her.
“You really don’t know what you’re missing Hermione, I really should find you a man.” Rori said stopping and putting a hand on her shoulder.
“Oh, don’t worry about me, I’m just fine.” Hermione responded and kept walking to her room while Rori caught up with her last night fun.
Hermione’s room is on the fifth floor and its one of the largest rooms in the house because it is the Honeymoon Suite. She got rid of all the old and rusted metal cherubs spread across the room, and the tacky red, well, everything. She repainted in off-white, and decorated in many soft, earthy tones and blues. Not many decorations where in the room, just simple everyday essentials. She tossed her wand onto the wood nightstand and slumped down on the oversized love seat by the large bay window. Since it was still light out, there were thick black curtains covering every inch on the window so no sun could come in.
Hermione sat reading the paper over and over. Another young guy had been tapped by some Rogue that has lost his mind. The police are out looking for a serial killer, someone that would benefit from having pints of blood stored somewhere. No one has even let the thought of a vampire cross their minds, atleast not yet. The Rogue is smart, hasn’t left tell-tell bite marks, but Hermione knows the type and she knows he’s going to slip up soon. The phone beside her suddenly rang making her jump slightly.
“Hello?” She answered, but knew exactly who it was.
“I have to speak with you tonight.” The voice of Phillip Brun sounded from the other end.
“You’ve read the newspaper I assume.”
“Yes, and I’m not too happy about it. We have to get him off the streets before he directs too much attention toward us.”
“I know, but the killings aren’t happening in Reformer territory.” Hermione pointed out.
“We will talk tonight.” The phone clicked and she sighed, hanging up her end.
Brun was the Reformers’ leader and a damn good one at that. He reminds her a lot of Dumbledore, even though he is probably half the old Headmaster’s age. He loves every vampire part of his group, and has compassion for those who come to him in need. But he also has a way of taking care of business, and fast with no mess to clean up. Hermione doesn’t like to admit it, but she is one of his main errand runners, and the girl he calls when he needs something major taken care of. The Rogue is one of those major issues that must be taken care of.
Hermione moved the thick curtain barely a centimeter to the side to peek out and check the sun. It was quickly dropping behind the city skyline, and she smiled at how beautiful it looked. The finger pushing the curtain began to itch and she shot away from the window holding it. She looked down to the tip of her finger and noticed the bright red sun burn that had marred it already.
“Hermione,” The door to her room creaked open and a young boy popped his head in, “I heard you were looking for me earlier.”
“Yeah, you weren’t down for breakfast.” She said. “Look I have to get to the training room, come on we’ll talk on the way.”
Cameron Rasputin has been living at the Hotel for only a week now, and has been a vampire since the night Hermione brought him home. He’s seventeen forever now and that’s what she fears. Becoming a vampire that young is hard, especially for muggles because they don’t understand the secrecy and importance of the rules.
“You haven’t been around too much.” Hermione said to him. “What’s on your mind?”
“Nothing, I’m just not adjusting too well. It’s hard having to leave my family and my friends in a blink of an eye.” He responded looking a few inches down to her.
“I understand, we all do, and that’s why I brought you here. All of us are a family, but it’s going to take time to get used to all of this.”
“I know,” He yawned widely and shook his head, “I think I’m going to go back to my room, I haven’t fell into a normal sleep schedule yet.”
“You should stay awake until the sun rises. It will make you exhausted, but it will jump start a healthy schedule for you.” She advised. “I need to get to my session, but go find Christian, maybe he can help keep you occupied.”
“No, I think I’ll go hang out with Dean and Sam.” He decided. Hermione rolled her eyes and laughed.
“Don’t let them rub off on you too much.” She said and got into the elevator and went to the training room.
Hermione bent over trying to catch her breath that came in sharp gasps. The grip she held on her knees tightened and she forced herself back up straight. She felt her head get light and she blacked out, but before she lost her balance, she came to again.
“Iris, I assume.” Marius said noticing a switch from brown to blue eyes. The entity inside Hermione was no longer evil, but instead helped Hermione control her power and everything inside her mind. The two had decided that to lessen confusion, the entity would be named Iris because of the found power to change Hermione’s eye color when in control.
“The one and only.” She said. “Hermione is getting worse, so I would appreciate if you would lighten up on her until she gets a hold back on her powers.”
“I can’t do that, and you know it. She has to work through this rough patch, and learn from it. Not take it easy and wait for it to pass.” He responded.
“It isn’t her fault.” Iris sighed. “All of her thoughts are taken up by the boy, and its making her lose control. Any time a memory comes to her, something is blown to hell. I’ve been trying to block those thoughts, but it’s getting very hard.”
“So, what does this all mean?” Marius asked curiously.
“I think the boy is close and her magic is picking up on it, almost like a radar detector. Since her power is based with her emotion, all the sadness wrapped around him could have trigger something like a warning system for if he gets close.”
“You have to get it under control, together. Fill Hermione in when she comes back, and make sure you both figure something out. I would rather you be wrong about this, but if not, there has to be a plan of some sort.”
“That’s fine, but I need to get back to our room and let her rest. She has a meeting with Brun in a few hours and she can’t be groggy.
“Okay, take care Iris.” Marius said and hugged her lightly.
Hermione woke and stretched her sore muscles slowly. ‘Feeling a little bit better? I hope you don’t mind I brought you back to your room.’ Iris said to her.
“I don’t mind at all, I’m actually thankful.” Hermione said sincerely. She got up from her bed and walked to the bay window and moved the curtain. It was dark and the moon was high above the tall skyscrapers. She got dressed into blue jeans and a white t-shirt, simple and comfortable was how she liked it when she was meeting with Brun.
She walked down the 5 floors to further stretch and get herself moving. Brun wasn’t specific in what he wanted from her tonight, they barely ever just talk. Her sore and possibly damaged muscles healed quickly from being a vampire, so by time she reached the lobby she felt new and refreshed. Christian Dresbok was spread across an old couch just looking up into the ceiling.
“Aren’t you going out somewhere?” Hermione asked standing next to him. He just shook his head ‘no’ and kept staring. “But it really is a nice night. There’s a big, bright moon that’s just floating above the buildings.” He shook ‘no’ again and she gave up. “Alright, well I’ll be back later tonight. I have to see Philip and sort some things out with him.”
“He only calls upon you because of your pretty face.” Xavier came over to them and flopped beside Christian who gave him a disgusted look.
“Hermione is a strong and intelligent vampire, and that is why she is an asset to the Reformers.” He said. It was rare to get a word out of him, and near impossible to have to utter an entire sentence of his own will.
“Well, thank you Chris.” Hermione turned to Xavier and eyed him. “You’re lucky that Halley likes you or else I would have knocked you out on your arse a long time ago Crane.”
“Oh, don’t play Granger, I know you want to spend a night with me.” Xavier smirked, but Hermione turned quickly away and stormed from the Hotel.
‘What was that about?’ Iris asked when they were outside.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me Iris, everything reminds me of Draco, even that git Crane.” Hermione groaned. “That bloody smirk was just like his.”
‘Let’s just get through the meeting with Brun, and then we can sort this all out.’ Hermione agreed with her other side and picked up her pace.
The Reformers headquarters was an old factory warehouse a few blocks down from the Hotel. Outside, a large man stood waiting for her.
“Hey Ralph, still don’t trust me to come in on my own?” She joked.
“It’s nothing personal Ms. Granger, strict security rules, you understand.” Ralph said softly and opened the large sliding metal door. On a warehouse that looked so old and run down, the door never made a sound, and neither did anything else in the building. The Reformers kept things maintained and clean, another thing Hermione liked about them.
“Hermione, I’m glad you made it,” Philip Brun walked in and hugged her tightly.
“Before you start, I have to ask if we’re only going to be talking tonight.” She said pulling away.
“Well, for the most part, but you know how it is.” He said.
“Yeah, I know how it is, so where am I going tonight?” She asked.
“There is a bar up on 31st and Main that I need you to scope around at. Seems to be some ripples coming from there, and I can’t help but think the Rogue could be using it as a Base.” Most vampires that have to tap for their own blood stash have what is called a Base. It’s a spot where they constantly come back to and pick up humans to tap.
“Why do you think that?” She wondered.
“Each victim so far has been from that area, and a newspaper reported that last night’s man was last seen at that bar. It’s called ‘Oakley’ or something along those lines.”
“Keep a low profile, that isn’t going to be easy for a girl that doesn’t drink.” She said.
“And such a pretty one at that.” He said and jokingly rubbed her cheek. “Now, get going and stop wasting time.” Ralph escorted Hermione out and half way to the bar by order of Brun. He knew she didn’t need protection, but she was an important part of the Reformers, and he wouldn’t risk her safety.
A/N: The next chapter will be all Draco. So don't fret, he is part of this story. Sorry that there was a lot of explanations and character introductions, but that is standard in a first chapter. I tried to make it interesting. Leave a review and tell me what you think!
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