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Chapter 9 : Complications
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If I ever own a house, the last thing I would want is a starry, midnight blue ceiling. It has only been two weeks since classes have resumed and I can’t stand the sight of my dormitory’s ceiling anymore. It feels like that’s all I ever seem to do: wait for mealtimes to end, sometimes eavesdropping on the less boring conversations, sometimes keeping an ear on my "family". Little did I know it would soon prove to be worthwhile.
"James!" all the girls yelled after he had delivered the punch line of an inappropriately vulgar joke.
"I’m telling mom," Lily’s authoritative voice warned.
"I’m telling mom," James mimicked. I could easily imagine him pulling a face.
That caught my attention at once, causing me to twitch. The voice, vaguely familiar, had phrased my name like one ends a question.
"I don’t know." I knew that voice. "But I do know something’s not right," Victoire stated, without even an ounce of doubt in her tone.
"What do you think it is?" the other girl asked.
"Like I said, I don’t know." The girls fell silent for a moment. "I just wish I spoke to him more.”
"He seems so... secluded."
Her friend remained silent, so she must have pressed Victoire on because the latter continued.
“I just want to help, Laila.”
Believe me Victoire, you don’t.
“I don’t fully trust him, Vic.”
"Oh please, he’s only part Werewolf – and to some extent, so am I."
"Yes, to some infinitesimally small extent, meaning you don’t turn into a furry beast with claws every few weeks!"
Victoire didn’t reply.
I was beginning to like this Laila. She was perhaps the only Gryffindor with some sense.
"Vampires," the young professor announced in front of the class, "are most fascinating creatures."
Why thank you.
"But one must be very careful when meeting one: they are very manipulative and have more than one tool to manage so."
Really? I had no idea.
"I once had the rare privilege of meeting one myself."
Make that double. Privilege? Clearly this teacher loved his subject too much for his own safety. I have also had the ‘privilege’ of meeting one and not a day goes by that I wish I hadn’t.
"Unfortunately, their reputation was tarnished by the many myths invented by mankind. If you took History of Magic last year, Professor Binns has told you all about them."
Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure. He most likely failed to mention that those myths were made up for a reason: protection. To scare people so that they were careful with Vampires. Vampires have tarnished their own reputation.
"The most famous Vampire of all is probably Count Vlad Drakul, who inspired the story of Dracula. Also very well known is Lorcan d’Eath, the singer, though he is but part Vampire. It is very hard to gather enough information about this kind as to reveal an approximation of their population."
That would be because they're all mass-murderers and hardly leave any survivors.
"Most of them choose to hide their identities and live in," the teacher paused for a dramatic effect before whispering eerily, "shadows."
I wonder why.
"Today, we will focus on the physical and magical aspects of Vampires. Next class, we will be studying their habits and lifestyle."
Thank Merlin Victoire was a year younger. The teacher walked across the narrow classroom and reached his desk, picking up his notes.
"The first thing you need to know is that legally, the Ministry considers Vampires as ‘non-wizard part-human’ –"
"Just like Ted!" someone voiced from the back of the class.
I was readying myself to hold down Andy beside me: it looked like he was about to dash through the desks and strangle the student. I sighed silently – yes, just like me, literally.
"Actually," the professor granted me an apologizing glance, "Werewolves have moved from the Beast Division to the Being Division at the Ministry for quite some time now."
"Yeah, so shut it," Andy threw in for my benefit. I often wished he didn’t.
"That said," the teacher continued his monologue as though nothing had happened, "Vampires have been known to seem pale and gaunt and wholesome Vampires usually have red eyes..."
The young professor carried on with the lesson, uninterrupted, and I listened carefully, yet made sure not to do so too obviously as to attract attention. Then again, everyone was listening most attentively. I suppose Vampires must have appeared exciting to them. I shuddered slightly. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.
The teacher ended the lesson with questions from the class. A dozen hands shot up.
The teacher pointed towards a student.
"How long can they go without feeding?"
"It depends on how much they drink, really. I was planning on discussing this topic further next class."
The young teacher pointed another student
"Does it hurt, turning into one of them?"
You haven’t got a clue.
"It is said to be excruciating."
The professor continued with his sombre, morbid answers – much to the class’ joy – while I pondered whether or not I should ask something. Something that had been bothering me all along. I suppose asking wouldn’t make me look suspicious; half the class had their hand raised. On top of things, it had to do with my lycanthropy...
"What would a Vampire do to a Werewolf? Or vice versa – if they met," I asked, subtly adding the ‘if’.
"That is a very interesting query. Mr. Lupin here is referring to the urban legend that these two creatu... beings are mythical archenemies. Let me assure you, it is most likely only a myth: there has been no evidence of this."
I’m sorry to break the news to you, Professor, but there has been for almost two months now.
"Thank you, Professor."
He gave me a pitiful smile.
"You missed some class, Haden," Andy commented at the Ravenclaw table in front of a large plate full of foul smelling "food".
"I maintain Ancient Runes is more useful nowadays," he responded smartly, earning a grimace from Andy. "What was it about?"
Andy stuffed a spoonful of beets in his mouth and let the crimson juice dribble down his chin.
"Vampires," he snarled rather skilfully. It still had me and Haden laughing. Only, I was pretty sure I was laughing for a different reason: it had been a very weak impression.
I managed to vanish most of my plate while the two were busy laughing. Needless to say I would be extraordinarily skilled at vanishing spells by the end of the term. I could already do it non-verbally.
"Are you going to eat that?" Andy asked, smiling.
Oh, how ironic. The only items I hadn’t vanished were beets.
"Do you mind, then?"
"Not at all."
He scooped them up with his spoon and shoved them into his mouth once more.
"If ya’ll eshcuse me," he babbled, juice squirting everywhere.
He then went to the Gryffindor table, earning giggles from several students, probably in hopes of impressing my ‘family’. I myself got to my feet, deciding to play his game. When everyone’s eyes were on Andy, I silently pretended to crouch behind him and when he had my ‘cousins’ laughing loudly, I pounced, taking him down with me. He was about to bite my neck when I heard girls whispering and passing suggestive comments amongst each other hastily. I thought it best to push my friend aside and drag him back towards our own table. He bowed theatrically in the process, which earned him cheers and applause... not to mention a few whistles.
"I’m never letting you eat beets again. Or any juicy red thing," I hissed to him. He simply laughed.
(A/N: A short & sweet chapter! I just wanted to mention that most of the information about vampires in this chapter was found on the Lexicon (i.e. the names and ministry stuff) so major disclaimer for that. Although, I did make up other things, as I don't intend to follow the typical vampire mold (or cliché). Thanks for reading.)
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