Chapter 2 : Awakening
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The modern kitchen is normally sparkling clean, possessing buttercup yellow cupboards that conceal the food and utensils belonging to its owner, and a worktop with a sparkling black pattern upon it. Muggles, and most vampires, raise their eyebrows at the unorthodox décor, but Lucy Weasley likes her choice of colours. It is a nod to the colours of Hufflepuff, the house that she had been in when she was a student at Hogwarts. The fact that Lucy chose those colours for her kitchen, when the Hufflepuff common room and dormitories are located near it, has gone unnoticed by most of the people she now socializes with. Fortunately, Lucy does not mind – as long as she knows the reason, she is happy for her friends and complete strangers to continue believing that her taste in interior design is abysmal.
Tonight, the kitchen is stained with fresh blood that is currently smeared across the worktop and down the lower cupboards. Lucy stares at the blood, wishing she could taste some more of it – in her opinion, it is a ridiculous waste of sustenance. She has already tried taking a lick of the liquid, but had been disappointed to find that the tangy taste of blood had been contaminated by the bleach she uses to clean, and it tastes unpalatable. When she hears a small groan, her attention is diverted from the blood to the young man lying beneath her – a young man who she cannot risk leaving.
Hugo Weasley's eyes flicker open, his crimson irises piercing his cousin's. While Lucy remains kneeling down next to Hugo, her blonde hair falling onto his chest as she stares at his face in a search for his reaction, the brunet freezes. All he can see is Lucy, with her deathly white pallor and her glittering eyes that are the very shade of blood. Almost instinctively - his human instincts not quite abandoning him yet - Hugo scrambles backwards until he can feel the wall behind him.
"Hugo, please," Lucy says with a small cry, although the sound is bitterly harsh to his ears and he winces in pain. "Sorry," she continues, dropping her voice to a whisper. "I forgot your ears would be sensitive."
"Why would my ears be sensitive?" Hugo asks, watching as Lucy rises up to a standing position and, with horrifically fast speed, bolts towards the fridge before reappearing in front of him with two sports bottles in her hands. "Lucy?"
"You're a vampire," she answers, dropping one of the bottles into Hugo's lap and walking towards the breakfast bar at normal speed. After seating herself upon one of the accompanying chairs, she takes a swig from the sports bottle. "Like me."
"No, I'm not," Hugo splutters in disbelief. "I can't be a vampire." It is not something he can easily believe. After all, vampirism is the affliction of those who hide in the shadows thirsting for blood and death, while Hugo is a twenty-two year old wizard whose only worries are whether he has enough money for one more Jägerbomb.
"Newsflash: you are," Lucy shrugs casually. "You've still got alcohol in your blood, so the hunger hasn't kicked in yet. Getting drunk makes vampires less hungry for a little while, but drunk vampires can easily get out of control, which is why you are staying right there until you sober up or Claudine will kill us both. I'll be in enough trouble as it is once she finds out about you."
Hugo closes his eyes in disbelief, unable to accept Lucy's words despite understanding what they meant. It simply had to be impossible that what she is saying is the truth. How can he be a vampire? How can Lucy be a vampire? When he had seen her a few days ago after visiting their Muggle grandparents, she had looked perfectly normal. She'd been giggling as she walked hand in hand in the street with a dark-skinned guy that Hugo didn't recognize, looked carefree and young like any other twenty-two year old. He had wondered then how she could be so callous as to leave her parents and Molly suffering, wondering whether she was alive or lying dead in some gutter.
Even now, almost a year after her disappearance, the Daily Prophet still print her photograph with the word "MISSING" above it. Hugo had been astonished when he'd learned that she had been right there in Muggle London all along; living in an apartment just around the corner from where the Grangers' dental practice was. He'd followed her that day and seen her friend bid her goodbye, and spotted her walking into the main building. Too shocked to confront her at the time, Hugo had instead had returned home to regain his composure. All of the theories for Lucy's running away that he had thought of, all of the possible explanations for why she was happy to let her heartbroken family believe that she was dead; none of them had included her being a vampire.
None of the potential outcomes he'd considered might occur after his visit had included her turning him into one, too.
"Why?" he asks quietly, his entire body aching with a dull kind of pain. "Why did you turn me into one, Lucy? How? I mean, I remember walking into the building, but I don't remember getting here..."
Lucy's eyes wide in surprise. She hadn't expected Hugo's memory loss to be so short - her own blank recollection spanned several more minutes - but what she is more horrified at is the hatred in Hugo's eyes. For a moment, she considers telling him the truth, but she is too afraid to contemplate the consequences if she does. As the boyfriend of a vampire slayer, Hugo will never survive as a vampire if he tries to join the vampires living in London without Lucy's support - and if he returns home, the Ministry will catch him and execute him. And Lucy will never let that happen to her cousin.
"I'm sorry, Hugo," she whispers, careful to make her tone sound sincere. "I wasn't here. It was someone else."
Later, Lucy will tell him the truth - she is sure of that. But right now, when Hugo is at his most fragile, she needs to protect him from himself. If she wants him to truly understand the consequences of what he had done by abandoning her last year, he will need to be alive - technically undead - to suffer for what he'd done.
Hugo closes his eyes, allowing the news to sink in. Immediately, guilt starts to take hold: he'd accused Lucy, his cousin, of more or less murdering him. This is the very Lucy who had clung to Hugo for most of their lives, who had wept bitterly when she'd been Sorted into Hufflepuff and he into Gryffindor because it meant they would spend a good chunk of time apart, who had hexed a Ravenclaw bullying him and warned off the other boy. This is the Lucy who loves Hugo, who has always loved Hugo, and when he really thinks about it, he is sure that she loves him too much to ever do something like that.
"Great," a voice says, punctuating Hugo's thoughts and he looks up to see its owner - the same man he'd seen Lucy with days earlier. "We've got some crazed lunatic targeting Weasleys, it looks like."
Both confused and alarmed, Hugo turns to Lucy, his eyes searching hers for answers.
"Jeremiah," she sighs, looking at the newcomer. "Realistically, how would they have known who Hugo was? His parents have always tried to keep him out of the spotlight; my dad used my sister and I as bonus publicity. If anyone's being targeted, it's probably me." She turns back to face Hugo, a concerned expression marring her beauty. "I don't know who turned me, either. He or she disappeared before I woke up."
"What if he's right, though?" Hugo asks, his eyes flickering towards Jeremiah. "What if Rose and my mum and dad and the rest of the family's in danger?"
Lucy shakes her head. "If someone did target you - and that's a big if, then it was probably because you were here. I stayed away from my family because it's dangerous being a vampire around humans, and look – no-one's been hurt in the past year!"
It is a fact that Hugo cannot deny, until a thought occurs to him.
"But when I saw you the other day, you were in the street surrounded by Muggles. How come it wasn't dangerous then?"
"I'd drunk some blood before I went out," Lucy explains. "And Jeremiah was with me; he's older, so he's learnt more self-control. If I had tried to hurt anyone, he would have stopped me."
Hugo nods in understanding.
"You need to drink," Jeremiah orders, tilting his head to indicate the sports bottle still in Hugo's lap. "As soon as it's dark, we have to go. Claudine needs to know that there's another newborn."
"Why do we have to wait until dark?" the brunet asks, confused. "And who's Claudine?"
"Vampires can't survive in the sun," Jeremiah answers. "We'd burn to a crisp. But there's a loophole, and that's to get a wizard or witch to charm something that you wear to make you able to walk in the daylight. I've got one, and Claudine's got a ring that Lucy borrowed, so that she could get used to being around crowds. But even if we had Claudine's ring, the charm on it is so old that it's wearing off; it wouldn't protect either of you against this bright sun. These days, it's only usable when it's overcast or cloudy."
He walks over to the breakfast bar and effortlessly picks up a chair with one hand before resuming his position, this time seated. Surveying Hugo carefully, the older vampire continues speaking, his brown eyes firmly fixed upon the brunet's crimson eyes.
"As for who Claudine is, she's the boss around here. If a vampire did something to endanger the rest of us, he or she would be in major trouble. Without a leader, the local vampires would be attacking that one, and each side would be dishing out an eye for an eye until our numbers almost die out. The head of a coven is someone who takes responsibility for the rest of us; who metes out punishments and grants rewards to those who behave. Usually, it's the oldest vampire in the coven who's the head of it, but I can name ten vampires off the top of my head who are older than her and are part of the London coven. Claudine's an exception because she's too much of a bitch that no-one will dare argue with her."
"So, don't get on Claudine's bad side," Hugo says. "Noted. Out of curiosity, how old is she?"
"Two hundred and fifty, give or take," Jeremiah answers. "Now drink."
Hugo looks down at the sports bottle, seeing the red liquid swirling within. He doesn't need to ask to know that it is blood, but as he pulls open the sucker and brings the bottle to his lips, he cannot bring himself to drink. It's someone's blood. It's blood that once coursed through a human body, keeping a person alive. How can he drink that?
Before Hugo can even blink, Jeremiah rises and moves forward with lightning speed, grabbing the bottom of the bottle and tilting it so that the blood trickles out of it. As soon as he tastes the first drop, Hugo begins to gulp thirstily, as if he has'nt had a drink for weeks. While there were small clumps within it - like excess powder in a milkshake - it tasted delicious, and irresistible, and every fibre in his body begged for more of the substance.
"Careful, Weasley," Jeremiah chuckles. "Wouldn't want you getting addicted."
For a moment, Lucy frowns: those are the very words that the older vampire had said to her when she'd first tasted blood, and she cannot deny her jealousy. Lingering in the background, the blonde watches as Hugo drinks, until a shrill emitting from the living room distracts her from her thoughts. Quietly, while Hugo puts down the bottle and begins to converse with Jeremiah, Lucy slinks out of the kitchen and into her lounge to pick up her mobile phone.
"Lucille." Claudine's voice is icily sharp, and Lucy can instantly tell from the older vampire's use of the French version of her name that she is in a horrendously bad mood. "Sandra was injured by a vampire slayer. You're the nearest one with surplus blood supplies. Expect us in less than ten minutes, and serve it warm. Special circumstances."
Without a further word, Claudine hangs up the phone, although it takes Lucy several seconds to realize that the line is now dead. She puts the phone down and returns to the kitchen, ignoring the other two vampires talking quietly as she approaches the fridge. Opening the door with a gulp, Lucy freezes as the contents are revealed, and she can do nothing except stare at the one remaining bottle of blood contained within.
Sandra Plummer's burnt orange eyes are barely visible as she fights to stop her eyelids closing completely. Lying upon the makeshift bed of dresses in the abandoned wedding dress shop she is currently in, Sandra only has a restricted vision of Claudine, who peers out of the open door but is unable to step outside into the bright sunlight. Fuzzily recalling a phone conversation that Claudine just had with Lucy Weasley, the first newborn vampire that had been accepted into London's coven since Claudine had arrived thirty-four years ago, Sandra frowns.
"I don't think I can glamour," she mumbles, referring to her ability to charm people into doing most of what she wanted.
It is a rare gift that extremely few vampires possess, and as she is the only one in London able to glamour, Claudine values Sandra's life above others' because of her usefulness. She knows that if she was any other vampire, Claudine would simply have put her down to end her pain and misery, and then simply walked away. But instead, the Frenchwoman simply continues to stare out of the doorway.
"Glamour would not be strong enough to persuade a witch to transport us to Lucille's," Claudine answers. "Compulsion will work, at least for a short distance."
Sandra cannot help but look surprised: glamour is rare, and the ability to force others to do whatever you wanted is even rarer.
"You can compel?" she asks in surprise.
"Yes," Claudine answers, quickly glancing at Sandra. "Mon Dieu, for somewhere located so close to Diagon Alley, this street doesn't seem to be frequented by witches and wizards. Ah!"
Sandra quietens, knowing that if compelling someone was anything like glamouring them, Claudine will need to make eye contact with her victim and exercise her utmost concentration. She watches as the brunette extends her foot into the pathway, her knee-high leather boots protecting her leg from being burnt. Momentarily, her victim stops in their tracks.
"You will stop," Claudine instructs. "You will enter the building."
Sandra watches as a young blue-eyed witch with long brunette hair cascading down her back enters the shop, following Claudine. With the older vampire blocking Sandra's view of the witch, it takes the raven-haired woman several moments to realize why the witch looks so familiar.
"Claudine," she calls out.
"Shush!" the Frenchwoman exclaims, before turning back to the young brunette. "You will Apparate my friend and I to Apartment 21B, Williamson Court. It looks like this," and she quickly flashes her phone screen at the witch - Sandra assumes that Claudine is showing a photo of Williamson Court - before continuing. "Once we arrive, you will release us and Disapparate away. You will not recall this event or either of us. Do you understand?"
"I understand," the witch nods, and Claudine turns to Sandra with a glare.
"Now, why the hell did you interrupt me?"
The raven-haired vampire opens her mouth to speak, but before she can utter a single syllable, she feels the edge of a silver blade pierce her chest. Completely taken by surprise, a horrified Claudine feels her back hitting the wall as the witch forces her entire weight into the vampire.
"Slayer," Claudine splutters, the witch holding another silver knife that is pressing against her chest. The sharp tip easily pierces her clothing, and is slicing into her skin - not deeply, but the silver sears her skin painfully nonetheless. "You're wearing aconite. I'm guessing it's in that pretty silver locket - or are you one of those ones who make it into tea and drink it so it's in your blood?"
The vampire slayer smirks. "Now what kind of professional would I be if I answered that question? The correct name is wolfsbane, by the way - rather appropriate, considering that it was the werewolves who planted it in the first place as a way to protect themselves against the bane of their existence."
"I don't need a history lesson," Claudine hisses, stealing a glance at Sandra's limp corpse. "She was already injured. Why did you have to kill her?"
"Her death was guaranteed," the slayer answers. "But I knew that if I kept her alive for long enough to contact you, you'd come running. I'm surprised you tried to save her, though - all the others, you've put down. What makes her special?"
Claudine winces internally as she realizes that Sandra had tried to warn her about the slayer, and in hindsight, she regrets dismissing her interruption.
"None of your business."
"Actually, it is. You're the most elusive vampire criminal in the world - there are others older than you but you're the first in history to cross twenty-six different Ministries, including this one. As the last person you'll ever speak to, I have to admit that I'm intrigued. Don't you want to pass on the knowledge of how you've survived for so long?"
"Oh, I do," Claudine nods. "Just not to you."
The slayer laughs. "Fine. Then I have a question, Miss Claudine with no last name."
"What is it?"
And Alexis Longbottom grins, her sky blue eyes sparkling with mirth as she deepens the blade ever so slightly into the vampire's skin, causing Claudine to cry out in pain.
"Any last words?"
Author's Note: Eeee! I hope you like Bite Club so far - for those of you who aren't aware, this originally started out as a one-shot but after some love and sprinkles from Sam (TheHeirOfSlytherin / SamMalfoy93) I decided to indulge my desire to expand this into a novella. This one is for you, Sam ♥
Also, Mon Dieu is French for My God.
If you liked this story, please review - even a couple of lines would make my day! ♥
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