Chapter 5 : New Hotel Resident
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And pack the wound with salt, I want to feel it bleed
You wanted me to crawl so now I'm on my knees
~Smile Empty Soul: For You
The large kitchen filled with the long forgotten aroma of eggs and bacon. Halley was smiling widely as she explained to Cameron which spices would go into the scrambled eggs.
“You really don’t have to do this. I could just go down to a convenience store or something.” Draco said from the kitchen table.
“Please, I haven’t cooked for a human in nearly 200 hundred years.” Halley said not allowing Draco to get out of this. “You know, I cook all the time just for the smell. I can’t eat it and no one here could without getting sick. But I just miss it so much. You won’t be able to keep me from making this meal.” She said with a sweet motherly smile on her lips.
“Is that enough pepper?” Cameron asked scrambling the eggs in the pan. Halley ground a little more in her hand and sprinkled it into the pan.
“No worries, I promise my hands are clean.” She giggled looking to Draco. Cameron looked up and leaned his head to the side confused.
“I think Hermione is outside the kitchen asking for you, Halley.” He said awkwardly.
“So, I assume you are pretty new to this life?” Draco said catching Cameron off-guard. “It’s okay, I’ve seen the faces of new vampires when they realize how fast and strong they are. The heightened senses are most likely pretty similar.” He clarified.
“Yeah, it’s only been a few weeks. Hermione doesn’t really let me do too much though.” Cameron said thoughtful.
“How about once I feel a little bit better, we go to the country and break you in?” Draco asked.
“Oh, I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I mean, you’re human.”
“Trust me, I’ve been tracking vampires for eleven years now, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to keep up.” Draco said and rolled up his sleeve to show his dark tattoo and winked.
“Okay, but can we not tell Hermione about it? She’s pretty scary when she’s angry.” Cameron said.
“We’ll see.” Draco smiled knowing that even if she was angry, Hermione would never seem scary to him. She would always be perfect and beautiful.
Hermione’s entire body shook with the anger pulsing through her. The couches and tables littered through the lobby shuddered with her. Halley stood tall and refused to let a stupid temper tantrum ruin her mood.
“Hermione, this is ridiculous. You told me yourself that you loved him. That your love was the kind of love that only comes along once in a lifetime.” Halley said calmly.
“I never said that about our love.” Hermione snarled feeling too vulnerable. “He can’t be here Halley. I won’t allow it. It is just too dangerous for us.”
“Too dangerous for us, or too dangerous for you?” Halley said striking a nerve. “That man loves you, why can’t you just accept that? I know you still love him or else you would have killed him last night. I’ve felt those feelings before too, and it’s nearly impossible for a vampire to restrain those impulses.”
“Halley, please, I can’t do this. I ran away from my mortal life so that a situation like this would never happen.” Hermione pleaded.
“This is your decision, but you should think about it clearly. I’ll talk to Marius and see if you can skip your training tonight. If he allows it then I want you to take a run and clear your head out.” Halley then added, “No missions either. Just run for yourself for once.”
“I am only doing this out of respect for you.” Hermione said and suddenly the furniture jolted to a stop.
“So, how about some breakfast?” Halley said and linked her arm around Hermione forcing her into the kitchen.
Draco was yanking down his sleeve when Hermione walked in. He looked up to her when he noticed that she was stopped in the doorway. Slowly, she closed her eyes and cut off the air flowing to her lungs and walked past him toward the walk-in fridge. Inside the fridge she looked at all the blood around her.
“I don’t think I’m hungry...” She whispered knowing only Iris would hear her.
Maybe you should drink something to satiate the hunger anyway. Iris told her feeling uneasy about Draco also. Even she was drawn to his smell, and she had been locked up in Hermione’s head since he arrived. You know, it still hurts that you don’t trust me around him.
“It’s not that I don’t trust you Iris, I’m just afraid.” Hermione touched the metal rack next to her. It was around 45 degrees in the fridge, but still the metal felt warm to her. She grimaced and snatched one of the bags of blood and slammed the door shut.
“Breakfast was delicious, thank you very much.” Draco said as Halley swooped down and took his empty plate from him. Hermione came around to the table and dropped the blood pack down before she sat. “Hello.” He said when she sat down.
“How are your knuckles?” She said struggling to speak without breath. It was a mistake to speak. She would have to take another breath if she was going to answer anyone again.
“Fine, Halley took good care of me.” He told her and flexed all his fingers for her to see. “I heal quickly. It wasn’t too bad.” Hermione sat just poking the bag and listening to the blood slosh around inside. It was thick and loud, but did nothing to her hunger. The burning in her throat made sure of that. “Look, I’m sorry that I let my guard down and got beat down by some vampire on steroids alright? I’ve never been up against something so strong. I didn’t want to reunite with you bandaged and bruised.”
“Wait, you know who attacked you?” Hermione ignored the fire. She suddenly could only think of hunting the bastard down and ripping him apart.
“I don’t know him, but he sure as hell was strong. I couldn’t see his face either from how fast he was.” Draco pondered for a moment. “I’ve never seen anything like him.” This bothered Hermione.
“Could that be the Rogue you’ve been after?” Cameron asked.
“I really hope so.” Hermione growled imagining how it would feel to destroy the vile creature. In that moment she stared at Draco intently. He looked so much older than he should. She always imagined that he would have stayed the proper, well-groomed boy that she once knew. But now, he was rough and looked as though life had drug him on his back for the past years. His eyes had turned darker also, but she didn’t know if it was simply from age. Instead of the beautifully light blue, he now held dark, nearly midnight blue eyes. She inhaled and the fire burned deeper, but became easier to handle. “What happened to your eyes?”
“I got a lot older, Hermione.” He said without hesitation, but Hermione caught the slight twitch of his jaw.
The doors to the kitchen burst open and the Wolff brothers and Xavier came in. Sam detoured to the furthest path from Draco, but Dean and Xavier walked right behind him. Hermione shot daggers as Dean let a low growl echo from him.
“See, I told you Becky is never allowed out again.” Xavier said and knocked Sam in the chest. Dean kept his stance behind Draco and crossed his arms defiantly.
“Sit down, Dean.” Hermione ordered and tossed her bag in front of the seat at the far end of the table. Without a word he sauntered over and sat loudly down. In one quick motion, he tore the corner of the bag off with his teeth and let the blood pour two inches in the air down to his mouth. Draco smirked slightly at the show the vampire made and found it amusing.
“Hey, do not waste our blood like a child!” Halley scolded and slapped Dean in the back of the head causing him to swallow loudly. “You know just how hard it is to keep a good supply in a house with so many of us.”
“I agree with Halley.” Hermione said and made a ‘come here’ motion and the bag whizzed from Dean and stopped in front of Sam and Xavier. “Share and don’t open another.” There was still enough in the bag for three of them, but Hermione didn’t feel like being the dictator.
“So, where did he sleep last night?” Sam asked trying to be civil. Hermione looked questioningly at Draco because even she didn’t know.
“The lobby, but I wouldn’t exactly call it sleep. I just kind of -” The phone rang cutting Draco off, and Hermione jumped up able to catch the phone before the end of the first ring.
“I can’t do that, Dan.” Hermione whispered. “My alliance is with the Reformers above the Salvation.” She froze and ground her teeth together. “Yes, we still need it...I said that we need it...I have a lot going on at the Hotel right now...Fine, we have enough here to last us until then.” Hermione hung the phone up and stood staring at the receiver for a few minutes.
“What happened?” Marius materialized next to her knowing that the only people who call the Hotel were Dan Bartoli and Phil Brun.
“I’m sorry everyone, I think I just pissed off Bartoli for the last time.” Hermione shook her head. “He still wants me to let the Rogue go. I don’t understand why. The Rogue is a danger for exposure for all vampires.”
“You did the right thing.” Everyone in the room agreed.
“Sam, can you do me a favor?” Hermione looked to the tall brother. “Please, take Draco to an empty room and get him settled down. I need to talk with Marius.”
“Sure Hermione, but what floor?” Sam asked.
“It doesn’t matter.” She then turned to Draco. “There are rules here, and I expect you to follow them. You aren’t to ever go to the 5th or 6th floor. Those are my private floors, and I don’t need any disturbances there. If you need me and think I’m there, just call my name and I’ll hear you. I’m serious, you aren’t ever to step foot above the 4th floor.”
“Uh, sure.” He said not understanding what exactly was happening. She’s letting him stay here? He was more than surprised about this because of the way she acted toward him last night.
Sam was walking through the entire hotel showing Draco everything to make sure he never got lost. The worst thing that could happen was for him to run into Dean and not know where to go.
“So, tell me about this Reformer and Salvation stuff.” Draco said still wondering what Hermione was talking about on the phone.
“Well you see, in New York City there are about 4 thousand vampires all over, each belonging to a different group. The Salvation is the biggest and most powerful of the groups, and they control everything from 23rd street to 117th street, and their leader is Daniel Bartoli. Above them at the tip of the island is the Wolves territory. They’re these nut-job radicals that fight to take down the Salvation and the stronghold they have on the vampires and the blood supply through the island. So then, below 23rd street on the east side is unclaimed, and to the west, where we live, is Reformers land. The Reformers is made up of vampires wishing to join back with normal society, but they have very strict rules on drinking blood. No killing and no spreading the curse. Most vampires, except the Rogues, use medical kits to get blood from people, instead of leaving obvious bite marks on all the victims. Rogues belong to no one though, and live on the lower tip of the island, segregated from all the others. There is also a very weird and selective group called the Oratores, and they hold more power than the Salvation, but they don’t use it. They believe vampirism is like a religion or meditation that can be used to harness power. They hold this unhealthy obsession with Hermione also. They know about Iris and they offer her many gifts to get her to join them.” Sam told him.
“Who is Iris?” Draco asked.
“Oh, she’s the voice in Hermione’s head. She is some ancient entity that sometimes takes over her body and helps her. We call her Iris because she changes the color of Hermione’s eyes to lessen the confusion.”
“That evil thing is still inside her?!” Draco felt furious. He thought that when she came back into control of her body that the thing had left.
“Hey, Iris is far from evil. She is just as kind and smart as Hermione is.” Sam told him.
“No I met that thing when it first entered Hermione, and it was made to be evil.” Draco persisted.
“Perhaps, but right now she is good. She helps us out a lot, especially Hermione.” Sam said confidently. “Anyway, this is your room. There really aren’t any locks, you know, not really a need for a security system.” He joked and gestured toward his ears. “Do you mind if I ask you a question?”
“Sure, what do you want to now?” Draco said.
“I can tell that you and Hermione know each other, but from where?”
“Oh, we went to school together. I knew her before she, erm, changed.” Draco wasn’t sure how to put her becoming a vampire nicely.
“So,” Same nudged him, “Were you two a thing, or what? The tension between you both wouldn’t exist if you had just been friends.”
“It’s a bit more complicated than that.” Draco said uncomfortably.
“You loved her, she became a vampire and decided to be all protective and leave you, but you didn’t want her to go, so you followed her half way across the world and finally found her again.” Sam said simply.
“Okay, so it’s not that complicated.”
“Come on, give me some credit here,” Sam pointed to himself, “I am a vampire you know, I had to go through the severing of ties just like her.” He suddenly frowned and looked away from Draco and said, “She just hasn’t realized that it gets a lot harder once those loved ones finally live out their mortality. When they’re truly gone, the hope that they will someday find you and you will be able to see them again is diminished.”
“Well, I’m here now and an army couldn’t make me leave.” Draco said truthfully.
“Look, just don’t hurt her. Hermione is important to all of us. Without her this family wouldn’t be together right now.” He said and bid goodbye to Draco.
The room was most likely one of the Hotel’s suites because it was much larger than any hotel room he had stayed in. But then again, lately he had only stayed in cheap hotels where no one would bother him. He ran his hand across the bed spread and smiled at how soft it felt.
“Wow is this silk?” He mused to himself.
“No, it’s actually just high thread count.” Hermione stood leaning against the doorframe with a frown. “A lot has changed, huh?” She moved into the room and sat lightly on the bed. “I never thought the day would come where Draco Malfoy would mistake some soft cotton as silk.”
“I haven’t exactly lavished in expensive things for a while.” Draco shrugged and sat next to her. Hermione slid from the mattress and stood a few feet from him. He was so close that the heat from his body engulfed her. “Does it bother you that I’m here?”
“No, it bothers me that the animal inside me wants to drink your blood.” She said and grimaced. “I’m trying very hard to not hurt you, and being alone here was a bad idea.”
“Please, don’t leave. I want to talk to you, and know what has happened to you through all these years.” He looked genuinely hurt, but she couldn’t agree with his pleads.
“I just came here to make sure you were alright. I assume you have belongings somewhere in the city, so if you would like, I want you to stay here instead, for now at least.” She told him.
“I’ll go and get my bag now; it’s not too far into the city.”
“No, you aren’t leaving here in your condition. I still haven’t figured out if your tapping was random or not. If this vampire on steroids is actually after you than I’d feel better if you stayed here.” She frowned again at the thought of Draco being tracked. “I’ll get your things tonight, just tell me which hotel.”
“It’s a shabby little motel about 5 blocks north, and 9 blocks to the left.” He told her. “Room 17, it’s just a single duffle bag. Nothing was taken out of it.”
“Simple enough.” She turned to leave and Draco wasn’t ready for that. He reached out and touched her bare wrist, but his hand instinctually twitched away from the freeze.
“I forgot how cold...” He trailed off and didn’t finish.
“Please, never do that again.” She said and could feel the scorching tingle on her wrist from his burning hot hand. She wrapped her own hand around her burning wrist and allowed it to cool, but the tingle remained.
“It doesn’t bother me, the cold I mean.” He tried to explain. “I run pretty hot anyway, so it evens out.”
“Draco, I can handle the smell, but I can’t handle touch. The heat and the pulsing are just too much for my already weak control.” She shook her head and couldn’t force the frown away. “I’m not going to be around until the sun falls. There isn’t much to do, but I suggest you get some rest.”
“Thank you for not running this time.” He said when she turned to leave. She paused and closed her eyes tightly, but left the door open when she left.
Author's Note: Nothing really to say except remember the tattoo. It's important. *hint hint*
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