Chapter 8 : Emerging with Grace
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Flay you alive
One more word and you won’t survive
And I’m not scared of your stolen power
I see right through you any hour
I won’t soothe your pain
I won’t ease your strain
You’ll be waiting in vain
I got nothing for you to gain
And just in time
In the right place
Steadily emerging with grace
~Blue Foundation: Eyes on Fire
The wind swept through Draco’s clothes as he strained himself to go faster. When he promised to take Cameron out to the countryside, he never realized it would be so hard to keep up.
“Cam, slow it down! I know you’re excited, but damn, take it down a few!” Draco yelled at the figure many meters away.
“Sorry, Draco.” Cameron said as he slowed and fell into step with him. “I’ve never gone so fast before. I didn’t even think I was capable of moving like this. Even after I was changed, I never really felt inhuman.” He said not even out of breath.
“I can see that, but I think this is far enough.” The two slowed and came to a halt. They were surrounding by rocks and forest on all sides.
“So, what do I do now?” Cameron asked timidly.
“Relax a little bit, and just let your senses go. It’s going to be hard for you to let go since you never learned when you first changed.” Draco said and slumped to the ground and caught his breath. Cameron sat down beside him and started sniffing the air awkwardly.
“I smell...” Cameron strained himself and then was suddenly to his feet. “Carnivores.” Draco was confused at how accurate the boy already was. Had he even been outside the city since he was bitten?
“It could be a bear. They’re common around this time of year.”
“I want to find one.” Cameron said and started inhaling the air like a hound dog. Before Draco was able to stand straight up, Cameron was far off into the woods on the trail of a massive black bear.
Draco raced after him as fast as his blurred legs would take him. By time Cameron came back into sight, the bear was infuriated and slashing uselessly at the boy. Draco watched as the bear’s claws chipped and broke apart on Cameron’s chest. His shirt tore, but sparks shot off as if the bear was scraping against solid metal. Draco watched in awe as Cameron lurched at the bear with impossible speed, even for a vampire.
“Cameron, are you alright?” Draco asked, but he already knew the answer.
“That was exhilarating!” Cameron said and wiped the bear’s blood from his mouth.
“You’re awesomely fast, Cameron. Much quicker than any other vampire I’ve met.” Draco tapped his chin in thought. “And you’re abilities are developed far beyond your age.”
“Is that a bad thing?” Cameron asked worried.
“No, no there is nothing wrong, it’s just odd that’s all. Maybe you just took to the virus better than others.” Draco convinced him, but didn’t believe it himself. “Never mind about that, though. You have a lot more to play with.”
Hermione watched frantically as the sky began to lighten. The sun was still far, but night was definitely over, and Cameron was nowhere to be found. What was worse, Draco had disappeared also. The whole night, she and Marius had spent searching through the abandoned factory they had discovered the night before. They already got as much information from the victims’ bodies, but Hermione wasn’t ready to move the search out of the factory. Sadly, the two returned back to the Hotel with nothing more than annoyance and dirt.
“Hermione, there’s something I need to talk to you about.” Draco’s voiced called from the front door and he and Cameron entered.
“Where were you -” Hermione noticed Cameron’s ripped and bloody shirt and became frantic, “What the bloody hell happened to you?” She screamed.
“Draco took me up to the mountains and I hunted a bear, it was amazing.” Cameron said unable to get rid of his smile.
“And why, may I ask, would Draco think that was a good idea?” Hermione seethed.
“No, Hermione it was so much fun. Watch,” Cameron sprinted the length of the lobby and was back in front of Hermione faster than she could see, “Draco said he’s never seen anyone faster.” He told her triumphantly. “And I’m just as strong. See, the bear didn’t even break the skin.”
“Cameron, go upstairs and clean up, I need to speak to Draco.” Hermione said much calmer than before.
Once Cameron was gone, Hermione exhaled in relief and jumped into Draco’s arms. She pulled away and smacked him hard on the arm and scowled.
“You had me worried sick!” She said crossing her arms. “I told you about the factory mess, and yet you still disappear.”
“I’m sorry, really. I fixed your wall, and Cameron was bored and just wouldn’t stop bugging me. I told him that we should go out once it was dark, and he reminded me of my little promise of teaching him some stuff.” Draco said guilty and rubbed her arms.
“Don’t you ever do that to me again.” She said sadly.
“Okay, but I really need to talk to you about what happened.” Draco pulled her over to one of the couches and sat comfortably. “I was lying to the boy when I said I had never seen someone so quick. Cam reminded me of the vampire that attacked me. The bear didn’t even leave an indent when he swiped at him. And I have never had trouble keeping up with any vampire.”
“It’s just because he’s a newborn, Draco. All that fresh human blood is still sitting inside him making him stronger and faster.” Hermione said unworried.
It has been too long for those affects to still be taking place. Iris thought uncomfortably. You know, we never did find that vampire who changed Cameron so carelessly.
“And all the Rogue killings started about around the time I found Cameron.” Hermione said in realization.
There is no way Cam is the Rogue though. I think the Rogue is the one who changed him.
“So, maybe Draco’s attacker is the one who changed Cameron.”
“I really hate when you and Iris speak like that. I can’t follow along at all.” Draco huffed, but was silenced with a short ‘shh’ from Hermione.
Hermione, it’s time to hone those skills I was telling you about. Iris said sternly.
“No, I already told you that I don’t want to invade people like that. Once I learn, I can’t just turn it off.” Hermione said crossing her arms.
“Hermione, come on fill me in.” Draco said.
“I have the ability to look into other’s minds. I’ll be able to see anything at all that has ever passed through someone’s mind, subconscious or conscious.” Hermione told him.
“And that’s going to help, how?”
“Cameron doesn’t really remember too much about when he was bitten. So long as his eyes saw something, I’ll be able to dig it out. Then, I’ll be able to see the image of your attacker in your mind and compare to see if they are the same vampire. It is a very good possibility that if he is the same vampire, then he is also the Rogue.”
“I’m going to need your help, and we need to start immediately.” Hermione’s eyes went green and Iris took Draco’s hand. “It will be much faster for me to refine the mind reading, rather than Hermione learning from scratch.” She dragged him with hasty speed to the training room.
Draco sat in boredom staring around the training room as Iris pried at his mind. He couldn’t feel anything going on which only added to his bored state. Iris was concentrating hard and grunting in frustration. Her brows furrowed in concentration and Draco watched his Hermione’s face lovingly.
“Ah,” Iris shouted and pointed an angry finger in his direction, “I saw that!”
“Saw what?” Draco blushed deeply.
“Ew, okay I got it now. I really don’t want to see that again.” Iris said childishly and let Hermione back.
“Very nice, Draco,” Hermione told him and stood up. “I’m glad you can think about sex in such pressing times.”
“At least I was imagining you naked. Don’t I get some credit for that?” Draco joked and stood as well.
“I suppose. But, Iris is thoroughly repulsed that her host body was in such activities. She was very pleased about the mostly innocent state of my body. According to her, it is less awkward to be in a host who has minimal memories of sexual things.” Hermione smiled slightly.
“You know, it is very weird having her around. Was she in your head talking while we were in bed? Oh god, she was critiquing me and mocking, wasn’t she?” Draco asked feeling mortified.
“No, it’s nothing like that. Iris and I have an agreement that if something personal is going on, the one who isn’t in control will, for lack of a better word, shut off momentarily to give the other privacy. It’s a very nice gesture.” Hermione explained.
“So, if I were to kiss you,” Draco moved close and snaked an arm around her body, “then she would disappear?”
“Back off, Malfoy.” Hermione’s eyes turned blood red and Iris scowled at him.
“Okay, okay I got it.” Draco put up his arms in defense and backed away.
Iris, that wasn’t very nice! Hermione said with a laugh.
“Hermione is laughing at you right now. I think I’m going to stick around for a bit to make sure some real work gets done. Lately many distractions have thrown us off course.” Iris said.
“Well, Hermione seems to be enjoying those distractions.” Draco said in a huff.
“You need to think about your attacker. Get a clear image of him so that I can more easily find the memory. I want to spend as less time in there as I can.” Iris told him and began to concentrate. Draco cooperated and did his best to not wander. When Iris shifted her weight and tilted her head in confusion, his thoughts broke and he began imagining the worst.
“Stop it! Imagine his face again!” Iris roared in anger and grabbed his shoulders.
Iris, that is enough, you’re going too far! Hermione struggled and knocked Iris back from the controls.
“What the hell was that about?!” Hermione demanded at Iris and immediately let go of Draco.
The face of the attacker is so familiar. I told you before that it is very difficult for me to remember details of my past lives. Well, this face seems to stick out like a sore thumb, but I can’t place it. It’s old, even older than I am. I need to see it again!
“No, that’s enough. You’re losing your hold and I won’t allow you to hurt Draco.” Hermione concluded roughly.
“What’s going on?” Draco asked watching the internal argument.
“Iris recognizes your attacker from a previous life. She’s very frustrated that she isn’t able to place him.”
“Then let her take another stab at it.” Draco said in an obvious tone.
“She’ll hurt you. I’ll let her check out Cameron first.” Hermione told him.
“Oh,” Draco seemed almost frightened at the thought, “Good idea then.”
“Just, stay here and get some rest. I know you haven’t been sleeping lately.” Hermione told him softly.
“Wait, how did you know?”
“Draco, I haven’t slept since the first time I saw you that night in the alley. I’ve been preoccupied and worried about you, so instead I just watch you.” She would have blushed if it was possible.
“Please, ‘Mione, don’t be doing that for me. I can take care of myself.” He wrapped his arms around her and kissed her forehead lovingly.
“If you could take care of yourself then you wouldn’t have been attacked in the first place. Anyway, I don’t need sleep to function. Sleeping is just a way of wasting time. Eternity gets boring quickly without any sort of break from reality.” She pulled out of his embrace and quickly left the room without him following.
It was very easy for Iris to find Cameron. He was sitting in the old restaurant part of the hotel retelling the events of his morning with Draco. Dean and Sam were wrapped up in the story and in total amazement with the newcomer.
“I need to speak to Cameron alone boys.” Iris said and shooed them away with both her hands.
“Usually it’s Hermione that wants to talk to me. Is something wrong, Iris?” Cameron asked concerned.
“Nothing bad, I just want to know about the vampire that bit you. I heard you talking about this morning and it seems like a lot of fun. The vampire that changed you must have been very strong, so Hermione and I were thinking we would go talk to him and see if he wants to help us out with the Rogue.” Iris lied easily to the boy.
“Oh, that’s a great idea. The more help you get, the better, right?”
“Exactly, so tell me about him.” Iris began concentrating and watched the memory unfold in Cameron’s head. She didn’t even listen to the droning of his voice as he spoke. The dark alley made it hard to see the figures, but suddenly the memory jump into fast forward and Cameron was running to a street lamp. In a flash that most people would miss, Iris saw it. The exact same short black hair and face as the vampire from Draco’s memory. Cameron’s mind was so vivid that Iris could even feel the ice cold, and rock solid grip the vampire had.
“It was all so quick though, that I barely know what happened.” Cameron concluded looking sullen.
“Thank you, Cameron. You’re a great help.” Iris smiled and ruffled his hair as she stood to leave.
“So, where do you think you’ll find him? I kind of want to meet him. I never knew my real father, so he is sort of like my vampire father.” Cameron said hopefully.
“Well, when we find him, I’ll be sure to let him know you live with us.” Iris left the restaurant and moved in a blur through the lobby and up to her room.
“So, they’re the same vampire. Now what do we do?” Hermione asked. She stood out in the hallway near her bedroom because she could hear snores coming from Draco.
Find him and then quickly take care of the insect. We both know he’s the Rogue. There is no doubt at all in either of our minds. Once we find him, we put him to death. Iris said matter-of-factly.
“Sounds easy enough,” Hermione crossed her arms, “Except for the fact that he is stronger and more powerful than any normal vampire.”
Minor details that we’ll work out beforehand. The snores from inside the room hitched and then Hermione heard the bed creak and Draco roll off. His footsteps approached the door, but Hermione opened it before he could himself.
“Did we wake you?” She asked at his sleepy form.
“No,” Draco rubbed his eyes, “My tattoo started to itch really badly and my head began to pound.” Without time to even reply, Hermione felt as though her head had become extremely crowded. It was as if another presence was rooting around through her thoughts.
“Iris, what’s going on?” Hermione asked on edge.
I’m not sure. He feels so close and familiar. Iris growled in frustration as she rummaged through as many memories as she could.
Iris, eh? That wasn’t your name before. I believe the name I gave to you was Argenta. Ah, yes my sweet little Silver One. But, perhaps you are most used to your birth name, Isleen? A powerful masculine voice echoed inside Hermione’s mind completely drowning out Iris. Suddenly, an image of a vampire standing outside of the Hotel in the sun flashed in her mind causing her to struggle for breath.
“He knows where we are. He’s... outside?” Hermione gasped at the revelation. Draco ran to the window overlooking the street and pulled the thick curtains away. Hermione ducked fully into the hallway away from the stream of light. Shining in the sun like the pale white creature he was, the vampire smiled widely and waved at Draco. With a single wink, the vampire disappeared into the throng of people bustling on the street.
Author's Note: Interesting turn of events, right? Don't worry, this was more of a filler chapter, and the next ones will be better. Since this story is only a Novella, there will probably be only 5 more chapters. I'll have a more definite number for you all in the next chapter though. Welp, let me know what you think, and thanks for reading!
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