Blood Bound: A Vampire Tale
Disclaimer: Everything concerning Harry Potter belongs to J. K. Rowling. I own nothing, nor is this done for any purpose except my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of anyone reading this. There is no attempt to make any profit.
I wish to extend a grateful thank you to my beta readers, Amanda and Prof Roz. Any mistakes left in this story are due to last minute revisions.
Harry Potter shook his head as he carried the pizza up the stairs of Number Four Privet Drive. It sounded like Ron and Hermione were going at it again. The three of them had been cooped up in his bedroom for the better part of the nearly three weeks they had been home from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and their nerves were wearing thin. The trio had tried to spend as much time away from the Dursleys as possible, but the summer was unusually cold and damp. The heavy fogs had persisted for more than a year. They were forced by the bad weather to stay indoors much of the time.
He smiled at the memories of his first day back at Privet Drive. He still felt Dumbledore's death most keenly and he was glad that Ron and Hermione were coming to stay with him. It was when he told the Dursleys that some of his friends were coming that the sparks started to fly.
Aunt Petunia was most adamant that Harry would not be allowed to co-habitate with a girl under her roof. It wasn't until Harry told her that the "girl" was an adult witch and quite capable of making sure the Dursleys spent the summer masquerading as slugs in the garden that she began to relent.
Hermione arrived at the front door just as Harry's threat was sinking in. Although Hermione tried to be polite, her efforts were met by stony silence.
"Besides," Harry continued to his now terrified foster parents, "she is going to be here with her boyfriend. I'm going to be the one chaperoning them. Ron is an adult wizard and he can turn the garden into a miniature salt flat, if you get my meaning. So you better be nice to them when he arrives."
He and Hermione left his aunt and uncle muttering to each other as Harry carried her suitcase and overnight bag upstairs to his room. As they left the kitchen, Hermione stopped to take a long look at the door under the staircase, and then she followed Harry up the stairs. "Harry," she whispered, "should you be telling them things like that?"
"What they don't know won't hurt them, and might help us," Harry replied.
"I don't mean about turning them into slugs, as far as I'm concerned, they deserve it. I mean telling them Ron is my boyfriend. He still hasn't asked me to be together with him."
Harry experienced a momentary pang at the thought of Ron and Hermione being together and him being excluded from their relationship. That thought occasionally haunted him since that day in the greenhouse. Due to Ron's jealousy he didn't think that the three of them could keep their relationship close. Ron still got angry when he thought about Hermione snogging Victor Krum and he still was suspicious of Harry when he found him with Hermione. Hermione was still hurt by his fling with "Lav – Lav."
Neither of them had time to deal with uncomfortable memories because Ron arrived at that moment. Harry and Hermione heard the Knight bus arrive with a bang. Ron couldn't Apparate yet, and he and Harry were planning to take the test together after Harry's birthday. Harry went downstairs and introduced his red-haired best friend to his aunt and uncle. Ron didn't seem put off by the Dursleys lack of welcome as he had had dealings with them before. Harry helped Ron carry his burdens upstairs to his room.
Ron had brought two camp cots as well as his clothes and toiletries. After he laid them on the floor he placed a bag of money on Harry's desk. "Bill got the money you requested from Gringotts." Harry looked at the pile of Muggle money that he had exchanged his Galleons for. It seemed that two hundred Galleons equaled something over two thousand pounds. He didn't think that the Dursleys would share willingly with his friends, so he had taken it upon himself to look after their needs. The rebuke that Dumbledore had given the Dursleys the summer before had not changed them at all.
"What now?" Ron asked.
Their first order of business was a shopping trip to Little Whinging. Harry led them to a hardware store, and a store to buy some inexpensive sheets so that they could build a privacy screen for Hermione. After a bit of supper, they returned home.
In the first week he showed them around the village and his favorite places. They didn't talk much together as they were all still deeply grieved by Dumbledore's funeral. They ate lunch and dinner out so as to keep out of the Dursley's way. Hermione would take the opportunity to phone her parents and let them know how she was doing.
Harry also subscribed to The Daily Prophet so that they could keep up on the war news, but mostly they read the obituaries. They hated them but could not seem to be able to help themselves. It seemed that the war had slowed somewhat. Evidently Voldemort had taken out most of his primary targets in the previous year and now was trying to sow terror mainly by keeping everyone guessing on where he would strike next. The number of Dementor attacks, however, was slowly on the increase. It gave Harry some small satisfaction that a great many of the DA members could cast a Patronus Charm.
During the second week the weather had closed in and it rained five days out of the seven forcing them to stay indoors. In between the rain showers they went shopping and had bought some snack food that would keep without refrigeration, and had pizza delivered a few times. Ron was still puzzled by Muggle customs but he was rapidly developing an appreciation for Muggle food.
Hermione had begun to take the lead in trying to get Harry to make some definite plans for after the wedding which had been moved back until the fourth of August. The healers hoped to be sure of all the effects of Bill's wounds and the wait would give them another full moon cycle. All Harry could concentrate on was passing his Apparition test and visiting his parent's graves at Godric's Hollow.
Finally, on that second weekend, Harry had started to discuss with them what he had seen in Dumbledore's Pensieve. The discussions were tentative at first, but as the weary days drew on, some vague plans were coming into being.
This Friday after rising and getting ready for another day, which included an inspection and discussion of the obituaries, Harry embarked on the tale of Hepzibah Smith and Hokey. They had discussed the memory before, but now they were trying to try to understand what Dumbledore had been trying to teach Harry.
Hermione had been growing more irritable all week. Now she started griping about the way house-elves were treated.
Ron raised his eyebrows and began, "Are you still on about 'spew', Hermione? You didn't say anything at all about it last year. I hoped you had given all that stuff up. Can't you get it into your head that they LIKE taking care of humans?"
"Exploiting a magical creature's natural tendencies doesn't make what wizards do right, Ron. Hokey slaved for Hepzibah all those years and the Ministry didn't even think twice about blaming her and locking her up, just because she wasn't human. It's disgusting," Hermione shot back.
"But didn't you say that she confessed, Harry?" asked Ron defensively.
"Yeah, but Hermione's right this time, Ron. If she hadn't been a house-elf the Ministry might have looked more carefully at the case, and the theft of the locket and cup might have come to light sooner. I guess we'd still be in the same situation with the Horcruxes and all," Harry added thoughtfully, "but maybe Tom Riddle might not have been able to become Voldemort with such secrecy and we could have begun to fight him sooner. Riddle used the fact wizards don't care about house-elves to cover his escape. With an organization like S. P. E. W. around he might not have been able to get away with it."
Hermione shot Harry a small thankful smile.
Ron raised his hands in surrender, "All right. You win. I'm getting hungry, could we get some more of that pizza stuff?" He looked at Harry, desperately trying to change the subject.
With that Harry had gone downstairs to order the pizza. Now as he came back up the stairs carrying the pizza they had ordered he could hear Ron and Hermione arguing.
Hermione's voice sounded unusually shrill as she said, "I'm not going to give up on S.P.E.W., Ron! Not now! Not ever!"
They both turned around as Harry entered the room. Hermione looked to be near tears and Ron's ears were getting red. Harry nodded at the door. Understanding what Harry wanted; Hermione drew her wand and cast a silencing charm so they wouldn't disturb the Dursleys. Harry put the pizza down and opened the box.
Ron turned his attention to the pizza. Hermione stared at him for a minute or so, and then she walked over to the bed. "I'm sorry, Harry, but I've got to get out of here," she said in a flat tone of voice. She threw some of her things into the overnight bag, "I'll be back the first of next week."
Ron was very pointedly staring at the pizza with a tightly set expression on his face.
Hermione stalked to the door and disappeared down the stairs.
Harry grabbed a couple of slices of pizza, wrapped them in a napkin, and followed her down the stairs calling, "Hey! Hermione wait up!" He caught up to her at the bottom of the staircase and steered her to the back door.
Once outside her tears spilled over. "What's the matter with me, Harry? He hasn't tried to be alone with me since we got here."
Harry just stared at her, wishing he knew what to say. Encouraged by his experience with Ginny he stepped forward and took Hermione in his arms. "He probably just doesn't feel comfortable with that kind of thing here. I know I wouldn't," he explained. Hermione gave him a watery smile.
"How are you and Ginny getting along? I see she hasn't written."
Harry released Hermione and stepped back. He sighed, looked at the ground, and mumbled, "I broke up with her at the funeral. I don't want her to be a target while I'm hunting Voldemort."
An odd expression flickered across Hermione's face, "Are you going back to her when Voldemort is finished?"
"I guess so, if I survive … but I just don't know; an awful lot can happen. I just can't forget Dumbledore's hand," he shuddered.
Hermione stepped in and hugged Harry, trying to reassure him. Harry looked into her eyes and suddenly pressed his lips to hers. For a moment the world was forgotten and there was only the touch and taste of their kiss. She released Harry and they stepped apart, both of them looking guiltily at the back door, but there was no sign of Ron. "I'm sorry, I don't know what came over me," Harry whispered.
"Maybe when I get back we can talk in private." Hermione was staring into Harry's eyes as though looking for something. "But for now, I really need to go."
"Thanks for coming, Hermione. I appreciate you and Ron coming to stay with me. It's been the best time I've ever had here." Harry pointed at the back corner of the yard. "You can Apperate from there, the bushes will hide you." He handed Hermione the slightly squashed pizza. She took the napkin, walked to the back of the yard, performed a graceful pirouette, and vanished with a soft pop.
"Get in here, Harry! Now!" growled Uncle Vernon as Harry came through the back door. Harry frowned as he followed his uncle into the living room. Vernon whirled and poked a fat finger at Harry's face. "Dudley and I are going to a Smelting's alumni benefit and I want your word that there won't be any 'funny business' while we're gone. You understand me?" he hissed.
"Yeah, I do, believe it or not," Harry replied as he tried to control his resentment. "It is only a week more before I'm gone for good. But in the meantime there will be no 'funny business' as you put it."
Vernon may have wanted to say more, but the thought of the adult wizard upstairs cowed him. He dismissed Harry with a derisive nod of his head.
Harry trudged back up the stairs. He found Ron sitting on his bed with his back up against the wall. With the departure of half of his friends, plus the attitude of his uncle, he was feeling rather put out.
"Why did you have to go and upset Hermione for, Ron?"
"It's probably just her monthlies, Harry. She'll get over it. If you hang around Ginny long enough, you'll see. Besides, she just won't give up on that ridiculous 'spew'. She just wants to set them all free? Then what are they going to do?" He shook his head in disbelief.
Harry sighed, "You ought to give just a little, it's ridiculous to you, but it's important to her. Are you ever going to try to compromise?"
Harry just stood looking at the floor. He hadn't thought to mention to Hermione why Ron had been snogging Lavender. Now he just couldn't bring himself to enlighten his other best friend as to how he might get closer to Hermione, or warn him that unless he did something positive soon he just might lose her interest in him. Suddenly he came to the realization that Ginny must not have mentioned their breakup to her brother. He was saved from the possibility of further discussion by the sound of thunder and the noise of raindrops as they began to pelt the windowpane.
Not wanting Ron to be mad at him he suggested, "Wanna play some chess?"
Ron brightened considerably, and started digging for the chess board. They played through the noise of Vernon and Dudley packing their things for the trip. The house grew quiet as they left. Playing through the early afternoon they talked about Quidditch and wondered how the house team would get along without them.
A frantic tapping on the window drew their attention. Looking outside Ron's tiny owl, Pig, was desperately beating his wings against the glass. Ron raised the sash and drew the little bird into the room while Harry started rummaging for some owl treats.
After reading the note that Pig had delivered Ron collapsed onto the bed.
"Oh, great!" he announce in a disgusted tone. "The robes are ready for the ceremony, and Phlegm wants everybody to try theirs on to make sure they fit. Mum wants me to come home for the weekend to help with the preparations."
Harry couldn't help concealing his disappointment. "You need to go. It's not every day your brother gets married."
"Why don't you come, too? Ginny would be glad to see you."
Harry had faced fewer things as difficult as saying no to Ron. He was afraid that he might not be able to resist Ginny and get back together with her. He was already feeling guilty for kissing Hermione and he really didn't want Ginny to be in greater danger because she was his girlfriend.
"N-No …," he managed to stammer. "This should be a family time, Ron. There will be plenty of time for guests later." Ron tried unsuccessfully to get Harry to change his mind as they packed. They finished off the pizza and he and Ron walked down the stairs and out into the evening.
The sun was setting beneath the wrack of clouds, staining their undersides with a fiery gold that was rapidly fading into reds and purples as they made their way to the park so that Ron could catch the Knight Bus home. The air was cool and crisp after the freshening rain. When the bus arrived, Harry pressed a galleon into the conductor's hand before Ron was aware of what he had done. Harry smiled as he waved to Ron. The bus disappeared with a bang.
Shoving his hands into his pockets he started the lonely walk back to Number Four.
As Harry walked along he thought about the kiss he had shared with Hermione. He really enjoyed it, but wasn't sure what it meant. When he rounded the corner of Privet Drive he almost ran into a tramp. "Sorry, I didn't see you," he smiled as he managed to side step the strange, smelly old man. "Are you lost? I might be able to give you directions if you tell me where you are going." Underneath his broad-brimmed hat the man's eyes glittered in the twilight as he smiled back.
"Thank'ee, young zur, 'Tisn't many who'd be so perlite to a stranger. But nay, I be fine." His voice sounded gravelly from disuse. The tramp bowed to him and went on his way.
Harry had been so involved in his own troubles, he had forgotten what a little courtesy could mean to some.
Albus Dumbledore had tried to protect Harry from everything he could anticipate, but even the wisest can't see everything. He had preempted most forms of magical attack, but could do nothing about Muggle violence. In view of what happened after, it was ironic that the object that ended Harry Potter's life was a wooden croquet stake.
The attack came as he passed the hedge three houses down from Number Four. With a whistling crack, the wooden stake exploded against his temple. His broken glasses fell from his face. He dropped face down on the sidewalk, blind with pain.
Involuntarily, he pushed up, instinctively trying to escape. The club came down on his back again and again, driving him to the sidewalk. Unable to cry out, he rolled on his side.
A second assailant, wearing cowboy boots, kicked him several times. Harry didn't feel much pain. His mind registered the force, but the agony from the first blow masked the pain of the rest.
Four pairs of hands scooped him up from the sidewalk and dumped him into the bushes beside the walk. Harry hit the ground and slid into unconsciousness.
"Harry! Harry!" Petunia was calling Harry to supper. She was lonely and didn't want to eat by herself. Her rare moment of kindness cost her everything.
As she was closing the door, a sharp blow knocked it from her grasp. Four men in dark clothing shoved her back into the entry hall. She didn't even scream as something very sharp poked her in the side. She stared in horror at the men surrounding her. Swiftly her consciousness drained away and she sank to the floor. When Vernon and Dudley found her early Sunday afternoon, there wasn't even a drop of blood on her immaculate floor.
The four fanned out through the Dursley's home efficiently picking up easily pawned items, and checking the places most people kept cash. Within fifteen minutes they left through the back door, without much evidence they had been there at all.
Harry was trying to crawl out of the hedge, blood oozing from where the branches of the bush had cut him. His hand encountered a heavy shoe and he tried to look up.
The man in the hat was looking down at him, "Ye be a fighter, lad, I'll give ye that, but they've killed 'ee. Sorry, but 'twill be on'y a short time an all be o'er." He pondered the bleeding teenager at his feet. Then swiftly, he bent, and with a strength that belied his gaunt frame, picked up Harry's broken body. "Mayhap, ye'll make summat of a second chance." With that the stranger vanished into the night.