Several dozen feet stomped on the loose gravel in unison.
“We want rights! We want rights!”
“Yeah!” Jack called out, grinning. He jabbed his sign towards the night sky like a spear, briefly throwing it into the light of near-by lanterns.
Several glances flew his way before the stomping and chanting resumed, led by a shrill-voiced, tail-swishing centaur at the front of the group.
Someone large and sweaty stumbled near Jack and bumped into him with a weighty hip. “Wad’re you doin ‘ere?” The ogre snarled, glaring down at the sickly, darkly clad and young man.
“I’m , uh…” Jack gestured towards the plank of wood the ogre was holding over its head. “MoAr MeeT For ALL” had been scraped with visible love and dedication into its rough surface.
Jack smiled. “I’m also here to protest, like you! I think it’s splendid that magical creatures are finally orga-”
“Yer ain’ one o’ us,” the ogre interrupted, his entire face contracting in a mountainous frown.
“What? Of course I am!” Jack exclaimed, bewildered. He hadn’t realized that being part of the strongly aromatic herd of the wizarding world’s most disenfranchised, gutter-dwelling underdogs required an elite membership card.
“Hah!” Something squeaked from below. “Binky laughs at what the human says!” It was coming from somewhere around Jack’s knee level.
Jack looked down politely, at which point his eyes encountered two wide, watery orbs of blue.
“Young human’s troubles are nothing compared to those of magical creatures, nothing at all,” Their owner tearfully informed him.
“But I’m like you!” To illustrate his point, Jack pulled back his lips and barred his teeth to reveal a set of sharp canines. “Thzee?” he announced through his teeth, feeling triumphant and slightly giddy. He wished he could do that more often.
“A vampire!” The house elf gasped and drew back, her thin hand flying to her chest. On her wrist, she wore a flashing pin about the size of her own head like a shield. At regular intervals, the text on it changed from “A happy elf is a happy house” to “DEATH TO ABUSE AND PILLOW-CASES”. It flickered like a manic Christmas decoration in the darkness.
To match the pin’s color pallet, Binky had wound red, blue and yellow scarves around her torso, leaving the loose ends to trail behind her. Jack assumed she must have been freed only recently and was still figuring out all the details, such as pants and underwear.
“Ye shud be ashamed o’yerself,” the ogre rumbled, his large face still folded in thought. “Comin’ ‘ere wid us simple folk…”
By this point, the enthusiastic smile was fading from Jack’s face for good, an irritated glower taking over its place instead. “I don’t understand…we have the same cause! I’m here to fight the wizard hegemony-”
“The vampire lies…” Binky insisted, hands propped on her hips and childish demeanor turned inside-out by a dark grimace. “The vampire is here to suck our blood!”
Jack groaned. He cracked open a sarcastic half-smile and jabbed a finger in the direction of the ogre. “Well then I suppose he is here to eat us all.”
“The vampire lies again: ogres only eat human children,” Binky corrected him impatiently. “And it is not as revolting as sucking blood.” She stuck out a small, grey tongue in disgust. “Ugh!”
“Aye, “The ogre confirmed from above. “Notin’ wrong wid good ol’ honest meat. But blud, tha’s… un-nat’ral.”
Jack opened his mouth to resist but then popped it shut again. Their conversation was beginning to attract attention. The blond centaur at the front was flashing concerned glances at them between chants. Right in front of Jack, a half-troll mother of five had placed a protective hand on the shoulder of her youngest square-shaped offspring and was eyeing Jack with burning malice. It sent a shiver down his undead spine.
The recently out vampire could feel the crowd shifting away from him on all sides. The couple dozen roughly human-shaped creatures stumbled, slid, hovered or hopped- depending on the level of their similarity to the human form - away from Jack and closer to the front, where the enthusiastic centaur continued to chant provocative and easy to memorize statements in an increasingly hoarse voice.
A blissfully unaware Muggle couple passed by the rim of the square, holding hands and giggling to themselves while automatically staying outside the perimeter designated by the bright lanterns. They remained blind to the spectacle right in front of their eyes and were quick to disappear, never knowing that they had been only several feet away from the incarnations of all their childhood nightmares - ogres, elves, centaurs, banshees, a sphinx and even a shy half-giant - that were not only real but also gathered together, rubbing shoulders, waving banners and bellowing into the night in unison.
Jack lowered the placard he was still holding (“Stop Acting Like Muggles: Not Believing Creatures have Souls is Like Not Believing in Magic!”) and glared at his own shaking hand. He was a vampire. A Vampire. Not dim-witted, club swaying ogre or a pea-brained elf. He was the king of the night, for Lilith’s sake, a big, terrifying predator. Predators did not wave colorful banners under the Ministry’s window.
“AAaaaaaaaRAAWWwwwwwwrrrRRRRR!” he bellowed, spit flying past his teeth, his throat tearing with the force of the roar.
In unison, the creatures around him jumped with alarm.
He directed his red-eyed, pale face up towards the star-less sky, fangs flashing, clawed hands tense and writhing at his side: the complete show of classical damned vampire.
There were some more gasps, some shuffling. The organized chanting of slogans broke off. Jack flashed his eyes at the crowd and wondered if he should keep going just a little bit longer, maybe get some attention from the Aurors that were supervising the protest, possibly even make the Daily Prophet…
What’s the point? He thought as he let out a particularly loud wail and snapped his teeth a few more times at the troll for dramatic effect. I’m protesting against a protest…
With a whoosh, his cloak and robes collapsed onto the gritty ground, empty. The cardboard sign, no longer clutched by his by long pale fingers, toppled over onto the pile. For several seconds, as he ascended, Jack could still see the white of the text in the center of the illuminated square. The sight reminded him of a stage. His rag-tag protester friends had scattered around the stage and stood at its corners like shy extras, leaving only a few to poke the remains of Jack with their toes in bewilderment.
Jack was going to miss that cloak, it had cost him an entire month’s wages.
Still worth it, he assured himself as he zigzagged higher into the night sky. Not a mistake, not at all.
It was worth the cloak and more if it meant he had finally expressed himself. If it allowed him to no longer be afraid of lashing back at the world and all of its mind-numbing idiocy.
No more Mr. Nice Guy, he thought to himself smugly. With my fangs comes the real me…. Yes, he was feeling very good about himself.
He flapped his tiny webbed wings against the cold autumn wind with a new fervor. Soon, the bat left the skies above the Ministry of Magic building behind it and headed west, out of downtown London and towards the dark outskirts of the city.
Hello dearest readers! Vampires don't come up in Harry Potter fanfiction very often, do they? I know I wouldn't have thought to write this if it weren't for the challenge...
But now I started the story and it turned out to be so much fun! So, what do you think so far? Any thoughts about vampires? What did you imagine they would be like in the HP uinverse? Broody and hawt? Or maybe nerdy and awkward?