Chapter 7 : Wild Goose Hunt
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I still picture your face and the way you used to taste
Roses in a glass, dead and wilted
As wicked as you are, you're beautiful to me.
You're the darkest burning star, you're my perfect disease.
~Five Finger Death Punch: The Bleeding
His skin was soft and warm, but it wasn’t a dream this time. Hermione’s skin seared from his body heat and she jumped from his arms.
“We shouldn’t do this.” She admitted and crossed her arms protectively around her chest. Being against him would have felt so good if it hadn’t been for the temperature difference.
“I don’t care anymore Hermione. You’re a vampire, and I came to terms with that the day you left. I love you enough to be able to get past something so tiny.” Draco said trying to convince her.
“Something so tiny? Tiny? Draco, this isn’t tiny.” She clamped her hands over his cheeks and waited for him to breath. A slight vapor escaped his mouth and she let her hands fall.
“It’s alright, love. I’ve been out in the snow with just a sweater on. This is just like that.” He said rubbing his cheeks. “I think it feels good though, remember, I run a little hot these days.” He signaled to his arm and shrugged.
“Is that why your eyes are so dark now?”
“Yes, but I’m not sure if one day they are just going to never turn back. It’s a scary thought, but it was my only choice.” Draco shrugged again.
“I want to see again.” She said pulling up his sleeve for him. Goosebumps trickled up his arm, but the rest of his body made no complaint from her cold touch.
“Iris isn’t going to burst out and try to beat me to a bloody pulp again, is she?” He asked with a grin. Hermione cracked a smile and nodded ‘no’. “I miss that smile so much.”
“That’s what everyone says.” She said feeling guilty.
Draco performed the spell and Hermione watched carefully as the ink raced up his arm and his neck. He closed his eyes as they began to cloud and turned away from her. When the entire tattoo was vanished, she sighed and traced a careful line across his jaw with her fingertip. There were no goose bumps that popped up in the wake of her finger. His skin felt solid and a lot less like fragile glass.
“S-So I can’t hurt you now, right?” Hermione stammered. She looked up and realized he still had his eyes tightly closed, “Open your eyes, Draco.”
“It will scare you again. I don’t want to be the cause for any discomfort.” He replied, but opened his eyes and kept them firmly turned away from her.
“Don’t be such a girl, Malfoy.” Hermione mocked and yanked his head to face her. His eyes were leagues deep and seemed darker than night. But she could still catch the emotion swirling inside them and noticed how ashamed he felt.
“I’m not a bloody girl, and you know it.” He retorted.
“Your eyes actually aren’t that bad. But you didn’t answer my question before.” She said staying a safe foot away from him.
“I can still bleed and be hurt, but it is very difficult. When I do get injured, luckily, I heal quickly.” He said.
“Where did you ever find such powerful magic? Never have I run across anything like this in the books I’ve read.” She stared at where the tattoo once was and could find no detail as to it ever touching his skin.
“You would never find this sort of magic in any book that a sweet girl like you would read. It’s,” Draco paused and seemed as though he was rethinking something, “It’s not important.”
“Draco, I know you well enough to catch when you want to avoid something. Tell me, or else I’ll find out for myself.” She threatened.
“I found it in one of my father’s journals. It was an old spell that the Death Eaters once tried to bring Voldemort back in our fourth year. It failed because there was no body for the magic to reside in. It seemed like it was the best option I had, so I performed the spell on myself.” Draco said uneasily.
“Dark magic?” Hermione gasped in disbelief. “Draco, how could you ever dabble in something like that? And it’s all because of me. Oh, no what have I forced you into...” Hermione said clasping her hands over her mouth.
“No, it was my choice to do this. It was either this, or I was going to hunt down a vampire and hope that he had enough self-control to not drain me.” He told her roughly.
“But, you are still a human, correct?” She asked.
“Completely human once I contract the spell. It doesn’t hurt at all anymore. This is the only reason why I’m still alive. Well, this and a mix of vampire scent. The scent throws vampires off, and the immortal strength and such keeps them believing. It’s my way of staying off the menu when I’m in vampire hangouts.”
“I thought you were a vampire that first night because of the smell. I nearly broke down and tossed myself into the sun. One of Halley’s vases got in the way though, she’s still pretty sore about that.” Hermione said feeling total relief.
“Hermione, I want to ask you something.” He said suddenly shifting into a very serious tone.
“Of course, just ask.”
“After all of these years, the one thing that I never forgot was the feel of kissing you. I just want, one more time, to remember.” He said looking her right in the eyes.
“And I won’t be able to hurt you?” She asked unsure.
“Absolutely no way you could or would hurt me. Not even those razors in your mouth could puncture me unless you really tried.” He said smiling.
Ugh, okay, okay I’ll go lock myself in a room or something. Iris groaned and Hermione could feel the extra eyes and ears disappear.
“But, I’m not quite sure about this.” She trailed off and looked around the room longingly. Draco grumbled and grabbed tightly onto her waist. In a quick blur, he had her pinned down beneath him on her bed.
“Stop thinking so much and just give into some human feelings.” He demanded and locked his eyes on her. Without thinking twice, Hermione pulled roughly down on his neck until his lips were an inch apart from hers. She inhaled deeply, and for the first time she savored the burn in her throat. The yearning was no longer out of thirst anymore, but was now transformed into passionate want. She had never wanted something so badly.
“I never think too much.” She whispered.
The loud knock on Hermione’s door caused them both to jump. Draco was so close that she could taste his breath. She felt as though all her senses had been all but washed away.
“Tell whoever it is to go away.” Draco whispered not receding a millimeter away from her lips.
“Who is it?” Hermione said and pushed against his solid chest, but he didn’t budge.
“Marius says that it is very important for you to come downstairs right now.” Becky said and then her soft footsteps moved away from the door.
“Maybe that was for the best.” Hermione again pushed for him to move, but he remained still as a statue. “This isn’t funny.” She said pushing as hard as she could.
“Fine,” Draco groaned and pushed himself from the bed and landed next to the door, “Wouldn’t want to keep Marius waiting.” He said annoyed.
“Draco, don’t do this. You know that Marius and I aren’t in a relationship like that. He’s my mentor and I’m his stubborn student.” Hermione said walking over to him.
“It’s going to be awhile until I can get that close to you again, right?” He asked disappointed.
“I’m afraid for you to be that close, and I can’t keep asking you to perform dark magic on yourself so that I can be selfish.” She told him staying a foot away. Draco just shook his head and performed the counter spell and the tattoo resurfaced.
“And I’m afraid for you to be far away from me.” He said clenching his jaw tight. His words hurt every part of her body. She sighed and grabbed his hand and brought it up to her face. Carefully, she kissed his finger tips as soft as she could and put his hand back down at his side.
“I hope you understand that I now need to wash my lips so that I won’t taste you. I can’t promise that some instinct inside me won’t break free from your taste.” Hermione told him sadly. “Your smell is one thing, and I was able to control that. But, I’m not sure the same goes for actually knowing the taste of your skin.”
“I’m not scared.” He said simply.
“You say that too often in the presence of a vampire.” She said incredulously. She left the room without him and dragged herself to see Marius.
Hermione walked into the kitchen and had her hand on the walk-in fridge handle when Marius appeared.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Marius drawled and sat down at the table. “You might need that to feel better later. Bartoli needs to see you today.”
“As in daylight today?” Hermione asked feeling annoyed.
“Bartoli would like to see you red and burning like always.” Marius replied repulsed. “I don’t see the urgency of wasting a mere few hours.” Hermione growled and stormed from the kitchen nearly knocking Christian to the ground.
“Sorry, Christian, I’m in a bit of a rush if you couldn’t tell.” She said to him, but received a small smile and nod of understanding. She quickly piled on the heavy white clothes that were hung on the lobby coat rack. Bartoli must have been angry about something if he was forcing her to go all the way to his office in the sun. Draco came up behind her as she pulled a pair of gloves on and gave her a questioning glance.
“I’m just going out for a light jog.” She stated in mock happiness.
“Isn’t it dangerous for you to be going out into the sun?” He said looking unpleased.
“Well, if I have enough layers and I’m not delayed too much then I’ll only suffer second degree burns.” She said and roughly pulled on a full face ski mask and sun glasses. Draco bit his lip to stop his outburst and helped tuck all of her hair into the hat. “I...Draco, I don’t want to see you when I get back.” She told him.
“Hermione, I’m sorry that I tried to kiss you, but please, don’t separate us again.” He pleaded.
“No, no it’s not that!” She said in a rush. “I just don’t want you to see me, crisped.”
“I’m not promising anything. Maybe you’ll get lucky and I won’t be in the room.” He said with a smirk. Without another word, Hermione check that her layers were secure, and quickly pushed out into the sun and disappeared.
It’s just a few more blocks, Hermione. Iris told her as the sun itched and gnawed at her skin. The material of her clothes was brushing against the sensitive burns already forming on each part of her body. She was no longer even able to make a fist without feeling something burst under her skin.
The building is right there, just run! Iris shouted at her and Hermione broke out into a sprint. She burst through the glass doors and skidded to a halt at the receptionist desk.
“Miss Granger, I’ll let Mr. Bartoli know that you have arrived.” The woman behind the desk said and gestured toward a row of seats. “Yes, she’s just arrived, sir.” Hermione heard the woman whisper as she turned to sit down. “Alright, I’ll send her up now.” The receptionist glanced up with a well learned smile and called to Hermione. “He’ll see you now.”
“Thank you.” Hermione said nicely and headed to the elevator and rode it to the top floor, 27 stories above the ground. As the doors slid open she felt the burns on her face lessen, so she gently removed her sunglasses. The office was very long and elaborately decorated. The full length windows were curtained with expensive Chinese looking drapes.
“It’s good of you to show up, Hermione.” She heard Dan Bartoli call from his desk at the end of the room.
“Believe me, Dan, the pleasure is all mine being here.” Hermione seethed and ripped the mask off showing the remains of her burns.
“Oh don’t be so sore, that face of yours will be perfectly beautiful soon.” He said and leaned into his luxury seat.
“Stop wasting my time. What was the rush in bringing me here during light hours?” Hermione snapped still able to feel the itch of the burns.
“Do you remember our conversation a week ago about the Rogue?” Bartoli saw the slight nod ‘yes’ and continued. “Things have changed, and along with it, my mind. I want the Rogue found and killed. Furthermore, if his head is not sitting on my desk in the next four days, my protection will be lifted from your home and all the residents inside. That includes blood rights and privileges to be in my territory.” Bartoli said blankly.
“I don’t understand. What is so different now? No one has been killed in the past few days, and the Rogue has all but disappeared.” Hermione said.
“Those are trivial matters to me!” Bartoli roared causing the glass of scotch on his desk to tremble. “I did not tell you to ask questions. I told you to bring me the head of the Rogue in four days, or else.”
Hermione bit back her retort and murmured, “Is that all?”
“Yes, now go.” He demanded and swiveled his chair so that the back was facing her.
If only he knew what exactly you were capable of, he would never speak to you like that. Just one time, Hermione, one single time and he’ll all but die from fright. Iris pleaded with malicious intent. Hermione refused and quickly left the office and yanked on the ski mask and glasses before braving the sun again.
Draco sat in the lobby reading an uninteresting book from Hermione’s library. After each sentence, he glanced up at the large clock to check the time. It had been nearly an hour and a half and he was beginning to wonder just how far this office was. Suddenly, he heard a deafening bang on the hotel front door and then an accompanying slam shut. He immediately walked over to see Hermione face down in front of the doors panting.
“Hermione!” He shouted and ran over to her. Marius was kneeling down next to her whispering something so fast and so low that Draco couldn’t understand. All he saw was the slightest nod from Hermione in return.
“Move out of the way.” Marius demanded and began tearing the jacket Hermione was wearing. Halley and Sam came in next with ice and bandages, and Becky was right behind with a bag of blood. When Marius tore the last remaining layer and exposed Hermione’s bare back the smell of burnt flesh filled Draco’s nose. He pulled his collar up to cover his nose and kept a close eye on what was happening. There were wrinkles and bubbles covering Hermione’s back, and when she was turned over the same grotesque marks covered her chest and stomach.
“Hermione, dear can you look at me?” Halley asked. Hermione groaned and looked up at her with clouded eyes. “Oh my, look at her eyes, Marius.” By time Marius was finished, Hermione was laying on the ground in just her knickers as Sam and Becky rubbed ice over her.
“Please, someone get him out.” Hermione croaked feeling the need to cover up.
“Shush, Hermione, that’s not important night now just relax and drink.” Becky said biting a hole in the blood bag and putting it to Hermione’s lips. Blood trickled down the corners of her lips and dripped to the floor. Draco swallowed hard and turned away as Hermione snatched the bag from Becky and hungrily drained it all.
Hermione collapsed back onto the floor after having drunk an entire pint of blood and let out low moans as she felt her skin repair itself. She could feel new skin stretch and attach to the remnants of old skin that hadn’t been badly damaged. Becky, Sam, Halley, and Marius crouched around her peeling the scar tissue from her. Her eyes felt sticky and thick, so she wiped the boiled layers away in disgust. This was the absolute worst part of being a vampire. The regeneration was convenient, but it wasn’t magic. The regeneration was real, and the destroyed parts of her body didn’t just disappear into thin air. No, instead they stuck around until someone tossed them in the garbage. It was similar to the shedding of a snake, just stickier.
“Are you alright?” Draco said softly trying to take in the scene.
“I need a shower.” Hermione said flatly and pushed to her feet. She wiped her eyes again and cleaned her fingers off on her ripped shirt.
“That doesn’t answer my question.” He said following her from the room. “Ugh, take this.” He grumbled and took off his sweatshirt and draped it over her shoulders.
“Thanks...” She said and slowed her pace to a human speed. “I’m fine by the way, it’s unpleasant, but I’m used to it.”
“Unpleasant seems like an understatement for what I just witnessed.” He clenched his jaw and wiped away a droplet of blood from the side of her lips.
“You shouldn’t have seen that.” She said ashamed and looked away from him as they got into the elevator.
“There’s no reason to pretend you’re something else, Hermione. I know what I’m getting into, and I’m ready for it. I just need to get used to the taste of blood on you.” He smirked, but it immediately fell from her hurt expression.
“Draco, you know there is no way -” She started, but he put his hand over her mouth.
“Please, don’t finish that sentence.” He all but got to his knees and begged.
“You know that it’s true.” Hermione looked him in the eyes. He didn’t respond to her though. Sighing deeply, he zipped the sweater she was wearing all the way up allowing his fingers to caress over her stomach as he did so. She swatted his hand away and buried the smile that momentarily hit her.
“I saw that.” He laughed and then took an obvious glance at her rear. “You should probably find some pants soon.” The elevator doors slid open and she shoved him backward with a laugh. Draco rubbed his chest and smiled as she turned into a blur down the hallway. She rolled her eyes at him before entering her room and shutting the door behind her.
The icy water washed away all the remaining discomfort Hermione had. The creaking of her bedroom door opening made her laugh.
Here comes your human lover. Iris said lacking emotion and shut herself away again not wanting to know what the man was thinking.
“Oh quiet, Iris, you are such an overdramatic ancient being.” Hermione said with a crooked smile. She turned the shower knob and the cubicle quickly filled with steam as the ice from her body was hit by the hot water. Then, as predicted, the bathroom door opened and Draco walked in nonchalantly.
“That wasn’t very nice, Hermione.” His voice echoed off the tiles. She laughed again and wiped a viewing slot into the glass shower door and peered out. “Could I get my sweater back?” He raised his eye brow and wondered how badly she would hurt him if he hoped into the shower also. A small hand popped up from above the shower door and pointed toward the discarded clothes on the floor a few feet away. He shrugged off any worry of getting mauled by Hermione and quickly performed his spell.
“Don’t you dare, Draco Malfoy.” Hermione shouted hearing him whisper the spell.
“Oy, you can’t tell a grown man what he can and can’t do.” Draco said and vaulted himself over the shower door causing her to stumble against the shower wall. He smirked wildly and placed his hands on the wall next to both sides of her face. The shower suddenly felt very crowded to her, and it didn’t help that her mind began to cloud.
“What do you think you’re doing?” She managed to say.
“I thought it was obvious.” He tilted his head to the side.
“The black eyes ruin your attempt at looking innocent.” She told him.
“And the look in your eyes kind of ruins any attempts of pretending to not be attracted to me.” Hermione immediately averted her attention away from his broad chest and rolled her eyes at him trying to prove him wrong. “Come on, you’re torturing both of us here.”
“I’m doing nothing of the sort!” She said defensively. “I’m trying to keep you safe, but you’re too bloody thick to get that through your head.”
“I’m not being thick! I miss you and want you back, ‘Mione! I’m not the one who is afraid to show some passion and take a small risk.” Draco argued back slamming his palms against the wall causing the tiles to crack under the pressure. “I’m sorry.” He mumbled seeing her flinch.
“Don’t apologize for being right.” Against her best judgment, her hands began moving up his chest and looped around his neck. “I won’t hurt you.” Hermione said with more confidence than she thought was possible. The truth of her own words seemed so obvious once spoken. Draco picked her up in his arms and carried her from the shower. He gently placed her on the bed and climbed on top of her.
“I’m too cold.” She sighed noticing him shiver. “Intimacy doesn’t work when your teeth start chattering.”
“I can fix that.” Draco cast a nonverbal warming charm all over her body and comfortably pulled her even closer to him. “And you’re not just doing this to shut me up, right?” Instead of a response, Hermione pulled hard on his shoulders and kissed him. His muscles tightened in the wake of her wandering fingers. The feeling of skin touching skin forced her senses into overdrive. She fought the instincts trying to kick in at the heat, smell, and taste of him. Thick venom was coating all over the inside of her mouth. His taste caused tremors of hunger to rocket through her limbs, and that fresh pint of blood made her stronger. Draco twisted his hand through her hair and squeezed hard on her hip causing maddening friction between their naked forms.
“Draco!” Hermione let a low husky moan escape her lips as he bit and sucked at her neck. The hunger suddenly retreated into the darkest recesses of her body at the mention of his name. She flipped him onto his back and claimed his lips again now hungering something altogether different. His obvious arousal pressed against her thigh, so she grinded her hips against him causing a teased groan from him.
“You can’t be doing that to a man, ‘Mione.” He said and grabbed onto her hips. He sat up and she straddled over him as he kissed and nipped across her chest. “I’ve waited eleven years for you, and if you don’t want to do this now then I can always wait longer.”
“Quit your worrying and show me how much you missed me.” She whispered into his ear and he eagerly took her for his own.
Draco felt the darkness around him, and the still silence on the room. It was late at night and he could feel the cold naked body cuddled up against him. The cool chill woke him initially, but the lack of movement anywhere in the room kept him alert. He had the urge to smack himself in the head for earlier.
“How much rubbish am I in?” Draco said knowing Hermione was awake.
“Tons.” She said flatly and rolled over to face him.
“Sorry...” He mumbled as his eyes flickered to the wall the bed was against. Draco hadn’t exactly paid attention to his surroundings with a naked Hermione beneath him. He may have remembered accidentally putting his hand through the wall a few times. “I was just very distracted.”
“Mmhm,” She shook her head, “Sure, whatever you say, Draco.”
“Look, I haven’t been with you or any other women in eleven years, and definitely not in that form. All my senses, especially touch, are hypersensitive and I didn’t really know what to do with all that...excess.” He said defensively. “I’ll fix it, I’m sorry.” He decided defeat was best and kissed her softly.
“You had better.” She tried to stay stern, but gave into his lips. The door opened just as Hermione pressed herself up against Draco’s bare chest, and Marius cleared his throat roughly.
“Would you adolescents like to swallow each other’s faces before Hermione has to leave?” Marius asked crossing his arms in annoyance.
“Marius, don’t you knock?” Hermione hissed yanking her blanket up to cover her naked body. This was the point at which she was thankful there was no blood in her body to allow a blush.
“I hope that you realize her body is still seventeen.” Marius mentioned inappropriately. Hermione felt her jaw drop and turned to Draco as he fidgeted uncomfortably next to her at the statement. “Let that sink in while you dress. I expect you in the lobby, alone, in 5 minutes.” Marius said looking her dead in the eyes and vanished from the room in a cloud of smoke.
“Am I perverted or something for this?” Draco asked collapsing into the pillows and covered his face with his hands.
“No, Draco it’s still me. Physically I don’t look my age, but then again I never will. We’re both twenty-eight,” She pried his face free, “I’m just aging a bit better.”
“Come on, ‘Mione, we should get ready before the vampire rain cloud comes back.” Draco said and watched her gracefully slide from the sheets. “Well, you got one thing right, you’re aging fantastically.” He added watching her rear as she rummaged through her clothes.
Hermione refused to break the silence between her and Marius. She was furious with him, and angry vampires didn’t let go of problems, ever.
That was downright rude of him. Iris said fuming inside Hermione. She was happy that her host was smiling and laughing again. It made life easier for the both of them. Marius was supposed to be the level headed, helpful guidance at the hotel. Now, he was just being a big-headed git.
“Hermione, have the two of you forgotten already that I can pick up on your thoughts?” Marius said in defeat.
“You promised me that you would never use that on me.” Hermione growled feeling angry tremors rip through her.
“I’m not trying to do anything; it is just blatantly obvious what the two of you are saying to each other.” He responded bitterly. At the same instant, they both caught a fresh and painfully potent smell that burned their nostrils.
“There,” Hermione pointed to a shattered window with a piece of fabric blowing in their direction. “It’s definitely a vampire.”
“No, a vampire wouldn’t sting like that.” The two immediately forgot their argument and streaked to the window and leapt inside, two stories above the ground.
Hermione landed first and noted the old abandoned machinery around her. It was an old textile factory, and by the stale stench, was vacated ages ago.
“There is no human scent in here anywhere. How long would it take to disappear completely?” Hermione asked.
“Years to make a place this grimy smell so clean.” Marius responded and moved past her on the trail of the scent from before. The trail weaved in erratic lines all through the factory. It travelled up and down stairs, out onto the roofs and then back inside the building. This wild goose hunt was working on their last nerves. When they were about to give up and go back to the streets, Hermione noticed the scent lead straight to a heavy metal door.
“It’s a completely solid metal room. Walls, floor, and ceiling are all 6 inches of steel.” Marius said tapping on the door.
“Oh bloody hell, Marius, it’s an abandoned lot.” Hermione said and tore the door straight out of the wall. Just as soon as the air inside hit her, she regretted it. The thickest smell of old rotting flesh and coagulated blood nearly made her vomit. That is, if she had the ability to.
“Shit, its bad, don’t even look inside.” Marius warned and took the metal door from her and tossed it down.
“Too late.” Hermione said disgusted and cut off the air passing through her nose. She whined quietly to herself when the smell still seeped in. “Bloody hell, what is this?”
“I think we can safely assume that this is the Rogue’s home.” Marius said swallowing hard and lifted his chin away from the bodies.
“We have to figure out who they are. If they are the missing people then we can say with total assurance this is the Rogue’s handiwork.” She said and bravely stepped into the room. The blood pulled against her shoes with every step she took. She leaned down and began going through the pockets of the worst looking victim. After a few minutes she found a small wallet. The only thing inside was a New York University ID card, and a piece of paper. Marius held up the same paper and gave her a questioning glance. On each of the victims was the same wallet, a single form of ID, and a piece of white paper. Each paper was identical, as if it was a printed copy, but the ink bled through to the other side. They were done by hand with precision and care. The painstakingly accurate copies weren’t what scared Hermione though, it was the picture.
“It’s a depiction of the Black Death.” Marius said with wide eyes.
“What does that mean?” Hermione said recognizing the scene from books she had read.
“I’m not sure. I suppose that is how the Rogue views himself. He is the plague in his own eyes.” The Rogue had suddenly become more dangerous than Hermione ever thought. He isn’t the uncontrolled monster running around on a killing spree. He is thinking on a higher level than expected, and he wasn’t killing just to feed. This was his hobby, or at the very least, a sick game.
Author's Note: Yay for the longest chapter yet! I love writing long chapters, it's just so satisfying. Let me know what you think of the nice plot development, oh, yeah, and the Dramione action of course ;)
Also, tell me if I should have more "playful" scenes with Draco and Hermione. I don't want this to be smutty, but for the love of Merlin, they haven't seen eachother for 11 years (they have needs). Or, if my readers would prefer, I'll stick strictly to the serious plot and mystery aspect, and write less scenes of a sexual nature. Thanks dearies!!
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