Chapter 15 : Sun-Kissed
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“Finally awake I see?” The voice that haunted Henna’s nightmares, and now waking hours, floated across the ground to her. She looked up into the forbidding face of Derek. “It’s nearly dawn!”
Henna’s neck snapped toward the horizon, and her heart worked furiously. She was going to get burnt! She quickly shuffled about for her wand, but it was nowhere to be found. “Looking for this?” Derek asked softly, and Henna turned as he twirled her wand through his fingers. “It’s been awhile since I’ve had a wand...” he said, examining it with interested.
“What do you want with me?” Henna asked furiously, standing up slowly. She was terribly sore. Looking around her surroundings, she noticed she was in the middle of a park. Trees surrounded her, looming over her with malice. Their branches shuffled laughter, and the leaves quivered with excitement. The rusted swings creaked a warning only she understood; she needed to get out of here.
“Haven’t you guessed by now, kitten?” he asked, walking towards her, holding her wand aloft.
“Don’t call me that,” Henna ground. Derek grinned menacingly.
“I brought you here, because I need you,” he said simply. “You are the only way that I can become a human again.”
“And how’s that?” Henna asked, trying to sound unconcerned. Derek was even closer to her now. He slowly reached into his baggy pockets, and pulled out a knife. Henna screamed, and ran as fast as she could away from him.
“Shall the blood of the one that was made,” he recited, “Change the blood of the one that was born.” Derek pointed the wand lightly at her, and ropes flew out of the end. The first to go were her ankles. She fell hard on the ground, scraping her hands across the dirt in an attempt to save herself. Next went her arms, as ropes wrapped themselves around her torso, clasping them tightly to her sides.
“So I’m ‘the one that was made,’” Henna snapped angrily, struggling with the ropes. Derek nodded sweetly.
“And your blood will make me human,” Derek said longingly. In seconds Derek was in front of her. “ That means that I need you to cooperate,” he hissed. The last word was accompanied by his firm hand being wrapped around her upper-arm. Her flesh revolted in his brutal grip, and his rancid breath played across his face. “I just need some blood,” he whispered.
“I don’t have blood,” she lied. “I’m a vampire!”
His grip grew tighter. “I know you’re half-witch.” Then he got close enough to whisper in her ear. “I made you...”
Henna spat in his face, a sign of her great disgust. Derek didn’t move for quite sometime, and he just stared at her. Henna felt more afraid of him now than she ever had. Yet she stared him directly in the eye. Derek cast a wary glance at the horizon, where the sun was coming up quickly. “I will watch you burn,” he said, and without warning shoved the knife he was holding into her shoulder. She refused to yell in pain, but red swam before her eyes as she vaguely noticed Derek drinking the blood that was dripping down her blouse.
When he finally seemed to have had enough, he pulled his head up, looking like a rabid animal. He was smiling. He quickly pulled a vile of black liquid from his pocket, and downed it. He let out a yell of pain, and then started laughing. Henna stared in confusion. What was going on?
“Almost finished...almost done!” he screamed. Then he frantically grabbed a handful of Henna’s hair. “Drink!” he spat, shoving his wrist into her face. “NOW!” he screamed. “Drink just one drop of blood...and I’ll be human...” he explained, as though this would entice her.
“Why do you want to be human?” Henna asked furiously, refusing to drink.
“Do you think I enjoy living my days hiding from the sun? Do you think I enjoy having to lure humans away so I can eat them?” Derek snapped, rolling his eyes. “I want to feel! I want to breath, and eat food. I want to live...”
“I’ll never give you that,” Henna said, her eyes narrowing. “You will live forever in this dark hell, and you will be miserable!”
“DRINK!” he screamed. He grabbed Henna off the ground and yelled in her face, his eyes blazing with fury. Henna simply stared at him, but he smiled suddenly. He was staring at something behind her. She turned and her world flip-flopped. The sun was slowly creeping upwards. Her time was running short. “Either you bite me, kitten, or I leave you here to die.”
“Then I’ll die,” she spat. It was then that she noticed something. A new figure was coming over the hill, followed by the sun. It was Remus.... Her heart clenched in barely withheld relief. Derek noticed her looking at something over his shoulder. Turning his head in the direction her watery eyes were gazing, he found the source of her enthrallment.
“Bloody hell,” Derek hissed, throwing Henna from him, yet still holding the knife in his hand. She dropped to the ground as the knife slid from her shoulder. It gave a nasty throb and the scenery floated before her eyes through a sea of tears. Now she focused only on Remus, and as their eyes met across the pale grass, worlds collided. They lost themselves in the universe of emotion that was tangible between them. The sun was trickling slowly over the grass, creeping its menacing way towards her. Within minutes she knew she would be burnt to a crisp.
“Now we finish this,” Remus yelled across the park, stopping to stand before a picnic table. Now even the swings seemed to stop creaking. Derek nodded his agreement.
“I look forward to it,” he muttered, and then without warning, he raised Henna’s wand. “Accio table!” The picnic table that had been lurking behind Remus lifted into the air, pulling overgrown weeds with it. It started hurtling towards Derek. The only problem was that it had to go through Remus to get there, which had been Derek’s plan.
Remus spun around just in time to widen his eyes in shock. “Pennorus!” he screamed, and the huge table burst into a colorful flock of birds. Wings fluttered about his head as he covered his face. Soon the birds had made their way towards Derek, and he dropped the knife he had previously been holding.
Henna’s eyes lit up, as she had been trying to wrestle the ropes from her wrists. Slowly, so as not to bring attention to herself, she began to inch towards the fallen weapon.
“Think...think...” Remus was currently muttering himself. What do vampires fear? As the sun came creeping up the hill, still threatening, he came up with an idea. “LUMOS MAXIMA!” he yelled, putting as much power as he could into the spell. Derek let out a yell, as his arm quickly caught on fire.
“Protego! Protego!” Derek yelled in panic. This fight was definitely not turning out the way he had planned. The light stopped hitting him, but his arm remained alight. “Wavliso,” he whispered and water drenched his arm. Then, in the same breath, he screamed a spell neither Remus nor Henna had heard before. “ANIMATIO!”
For a few seconds nobody moved, Remus thought the spell hadn’t worked. Then the earth began to tremble. Henna finally freed herself and stood up, looking around for the source, then she saw it, and her eyes lit with terror. “REMUS LOOK OUT!”
Remus turned just in time to see a huge tree branch flying at him. He was struck hard in the middle and knocked off his feet. Rolling to the ground, he coughed and spluttered. The wind was completely gone from his lungs, but it had no plans on returning once Remus saw what was after him. It was as if the Womping Willow had followed him to this park. Now a tree was swinging its branches at him, bent on murdering him. He watched as a large branch began to fall. Remus rolled to the side just in time. Leaves crashed down next to him, and as the branch lifted back into the air, he saw the huge dent in the earth.
“What have you done?” Remus screamed, running around, moving from the branches grasp. But then the tree did something that the Womping Willow had never done. It began to lift its roots up from the ground, as though planning to move! “Merlin...”
“Impressive, is it not?” Derek asked silkily. But he noticed that the tree was flailing a little too much now, and he wasn’t completely certain he was safe for him. While Remus had been so occupied, he didn’t hear Henna’s cry of pain. She was trying her best to hide from the vicious rays of sun now, but failing miserably. Already she was covered in burns. “Protego Apricus,” Derek muttered as he began to notice the suns effects too. He sighed in relief as the spell he’d done on himself worked its magic, then grinned snidely at Henna, who was currently covered in black marks.. Henna looked longingly at the wand, wishing she could put the spell on herself.
“Not feeling so good now? Just bite me and everything will be over,” Derek said, walking towards now that he had Remus occupied.
“Remus!” Henna cried, staggering away, trying to find some shade. “Explode the tree!”
“What?” Remus yelled over his shoulder, uncertain of what he’d heard.
“Blow it up!” she gasped. He jumped out of the way of the huge tree.
“I can’t do that to something that big!” Remus said, shaking his head. “We have to find another...”
“BLOW THE DAMN TREE UP AND FIND A PLACE TO SHIELD YOURSELF!” Henna screamed at the top of her pained lungs just before Derek grabbed her mouth to stop her yelling. Remus seemed to understand, while continuing to be utterly confused. Henna, however, was struggling with Derek, and finally was able to knee him in the groin, while smoke rolled off of her.
Freed finally from Derek’s brutal grip, she ran for the only bit of shade she could find. Huddling behind a tire swing, she was sweating profusely. She watched as Remus shook his head, but did as she ordered. He dove behind the swings and scrambled his brain for a spell that might do the trick. His heart was pounding, and he knew this would never work. The tree was too big!
“Wait a second...” he thought, and then he kicked himself mentally. How could he not have thought about it. “Reducto!” he yelled, and the once huge tree started shrinking slowly. Before it got too small, however, he smiled evilly. “Petrificus Totallus.” The tree froze, shrinking and all.
“Good, now blow it up. Trust me,” Henna whispered, so softly that not even Remus would be able to hear. Her throat was dry, and she was on the verge of dropping to the ground. She knew already that one more large exposure to the sun would kill her off, vampire or not. She was half-witch.
“Everto!” Remus screamed at the top of lungs, praying with every particle of his being that whatever Henna’s plan was worked. Everything seemed to slow down, and Remus watched as his spell hit the tree. Derek, who had been huddling on the ground, looked up in what could be labeled as fear. In seconds, a loud BOOM rent through the air and the tree was blasted into shards. The pieces of wood went everywhere. They bounced off the swings, hitting the ground with tremendous force.
“NO!” Derek yelled, as he was suddenly aware of the danger this could possess. His entire body was peppered with wooden steaks. If one pierced his heart.... Remus watched on in glee, until one of the pieces grazed his side, and he saw Henna wincing as one stuck itself into her leg.
“Henna!” Remus breathed, and he ran to her, his arm over his face. She was breathing hard as Remus put his arms around her. Blood gushed from the gash in her leg. She felt her world completing itself as she was wrapped in his arms.
“You found me,” she muttered against his lips. He kissed her back.
“I will always find you,” he assured.
“Look!” she whispered urgently, breaking the kiss and pointed to Derek, who was standing still and staring at his own body. Then he began laughing. His entire body was covered in the wooden spikes, yet he stood alive. He pulled one of them out of his neck, grinning.
“You missed my heart, kitten!” he hissed. Henna stared on in disbelif. He had to have no less than twenty pieces of wood sticking out of him, yet he stood there, whole and healthy. All because he was a...vampire. A thought struck her, and though her mind rebelled against it, her heart knew it was the right thing to do. It was the only way....Henna knew what she had to do. Standing up, she ran as fast as her injured leg would allow towards Derek. He looked puzzled. Henna began to catch on fire as she left her shaded spot, and she yelled in pain, but kept moving forward.
“Henna! The sun!” Remus screamed frantically and unnecessarily, watching as she ran through it all. Henna ignored his cries, and instead threw herself at Derek, sinking her teeth blindly into the side of his neck.
“What? Yes! Yess....” Derek said, closing his eyes as Henna’s teeth drank from him his immortality. He began to laugh in glee, but slowly he began to realize that this was nothing to celebrate. “No...wait...” he muttered. His face began to contort in pain. The effects of the wood stuck in his body mingled with his new-found mortality began to take control. “NO!” Blood trickled from his wounds, and he clasped his neck where a particularly large spike had once been. He began choking. He frantically shoved Henna off him. She was nearly unconscious anyways, however. She was fully engulfed in flames. Yet she managed to whisper something that only Derek heard.
“Congratulations, you bastard. You’re finally human...”
She smiled as her body fell to the ground. Derek’s screams of pain lulled her into sleep. A sleep she might never wake from. But she didn’t care. Remus had come for her. He hadn’t left her forever after all.
Remus scrambled to the fallen form of Henna. He could barely see her though the flames. “PROTEGO APRICUS!” he screamed, dowsing the fire. “Henna...HENNA!”
Henna’s eyes opened a fraction of an inch as Remus dropped to her side. “Is he dead?” was all she could think to ask. Remus nodded, glancing over at the fallen body of Derek, the human. “We did it...”
“Oh god, don’t you leave me now,” he whispered, tears streaming down his face. He held her burnt body tightly in his arms. She smelled of burnt flesh and hair, and her face was completely black. If she were human, she would have been dead by now. She closed her eyes vaguely.
“I’m sorry I lied to you,” she wheezed, trying to sit up, but finding it too painful. Remus shook his head.
“Never be sorry. You didn’t do anything wrong,” he whispered fiercely. “Come on, let’s get you to the hospital,” he muttered, trying to pick her up. But as soon as he lifted her from the ground, she let out a hiss of extreme pain.
“Don’t...do...that...” she coughed. Then, shaking her head she said, “I’ve already been burnt too badly,” she stated with a smile. “I’m not completely immortal,” she sighed. “There isn’t a way out of this one, Remus.”
“Yes there is,” Remus said firmly, unable to see her charred face through his watery eyes. “There is always a way.”
“Shut up,” Henna coughed, rolling her eyes. “You’re starting to sound.... like one of those ch-cheesy romance n-novels.” She began to choke out a laugh, and Remus leaned down to kiss her warm lips. It was a passion-wrought kiss, though extremely cautious. It was only the second kiss they had shared, yet the way their lips melded together, you’d think it was an everyday occurrence.
Tears mingled in their lips, creating a salty-sweet taste. It was a kiss that completed unsaid stories, finished unsaid words, and fulfilled promises unkept. The kiss to end it all, it was more powerful than either had ever experience. When they broke apart, Henna sighed contentedly. She reached up her parched hand and wiped away a tear from Remus’ face.
“Don’t cry, Remus...don’t cry...” she said, her voice as soft as silk. Remus grabbed her hand, holding it close to his cheek. He closed his eyes, trying to stop the tears that blurred his vision.
“This isn’t fair,” he ground out furiously. Henna smiled vaguely.
“Few things are,” she breathed.
“I wanted to save you, Henna. I wanted to show you happiness, and family, and...” he trailed off, his shoulders shaking. “I wanted to show you life...” Remus sobbed, holding her to his chest.
“You’ve shown me more than I could ever have imagined, Remus,” she said.
“It wasn’t enough,” he choked. He stared at her face as he watched life slowly draining itself from her body in the form of tears. She let out a sigh, but then her eyes grew, and she licked her lips.
“Remus...” she suddenly whispered in awe.
“What is it?” Remus asked gently.
She looked up at the sky as though it was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. Her breathing grew deep, and she felt sun-rays washing over her. She smiled even brighter, as she reached up and touched Remus’ face. “I feel...” she whispered in amazement. “I can feel the sun,” she cried happily. Her eyes wept with amazement. “I can smell, and can taste... I can taste the air, Remus,” she muttered innocently.
“Henna?” Remus asked, nervously. “What’s happening?”
She looked up at him with the purest joy upon her face. Tears ran down her cheeks, swimming with her smile. “Oh, Remus...” she said happily. “I’m dying...just like the humans do...It’s beautiful.”
“Sweetheart...” Remus cried. She put a hand to his cheek, still smiling. Her eyes remained on the sky, and she reached up to grab Remus’ hand. He hurried to oblige, but had to bend down as she let out her whispered last words:
“I’ve never felt so alive....”