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Suck from us and live forever.
Rotten beauty
Will haunt you for a lifetime.

*NightWish, of course

*Chapter Four*

Grass is eaten by herbivores; I school myself. Herbivores are eaten by carnivores. Carnivores are eaten by other carnivores, also currently known as human. It’s a life cycle.

So if it’s a life cycle, and everybody in turn is eaten, why, I ask myself, are people so opposed to werewolves and vampyres taking what they consider as rightfully their’s? Animals don’t kill humans in revenge for being eaten? Don’t punish them and condemn them to death?

So what’s the big problem?

I didn’t sleep last night. I drowsed, drifting from nightmare to nightmare, dreaming in blood, drowning in it. Surely that’s not normal? If I’m a vampyre then the dream probably is normal, but then again, I could be just paranoid. I could be worrying about nothing at all, the dreams being a consequence of my commitment in such anxiety. Or at least, I hope.

I go to the hospital wing to ask Madam Pomfry for some sleeping pills. She gives me a vial of sea-green potion, but not before an interrogation. Honestly, you’d think the woman had nothing else to do. I bet she gets so bored sometimes she entertains herself by picking her nose, you know the type - “Now, what’s in my nasal cupboards today?” Yummy.

“What’s it for?”

It must be complicated, trying to define exactly what the illness is when someone asks for some sleeping potion. I mean, hell, it could be anything. They could want it for curing warts, maybe even washing their hair. Honestly, some people are such dolts!!

“I can’t sleep,” I tell her dryly, flatly.

“How long has this been going on for?”

“A night.” She frowns. I clear my throat and quickly correct myself, lying. “Or two. Perhaps even three. I can’t remember. You know how it is . . .”

Clearly, judging by the look on her face, she doesn’t. “I can’t give you this potion unless you need it.”

I grow angry now. She thinks I’m in the mood to stand around arguing over whether or not I can have a potion? I think I’m a vampyre, for god’s sake! “What sort of people can have it?” I enquire innocently, sending her a soft smile, my eyes flashing a shade darker briefly. “What other symptoms could there possibly be? Perhaps I should be growing horns out of my ears, maybe even a reptile for a beard. Or maybe its because of the consumption method. Perhaps you think it’s dangerous? Maybe the insertion includes shoving it up my -”

Someone clears his throat beside me, and I spin to glance around, cut off mid-sentence. Potter is stood next to me, his eyes glittering in a sheen of emerald green. I stare at him for a moment, then drift my eyes back towards Pomfry. At seeing she has another customer to bother, she shoves the potion into my hands and regards me with a little disdain.

“Swallow a mouthful each night an hour before you go to bed. Dilute it with water, otherwise it will become too strong, and there’s a bitter taste to it, so you might want to add sugar to that.”

“I don’t put sugar in water, thank you,” I respond darkly, clutching at the potion as if it’s the most valuable thing in the world and turning on my feet, shoving deliberately past Potter’s shoulder before heading off down the curving narrow corridor that leads to the staircases, putting the potion in my pocket and sighing. I look a mess and I know it. I think my eyes are shadowed with dark rings. Nonetheless, I’ve got the potion. If it doesn’t work in the water, I’ll just swallow a mouthful, regardless of the taste.

For now, its Quidditch training time.


“What the hell are you doing?”

I glance up angrily, watching Draco’s stormy eyes fixated on me, his expression wrought into a sneer. What a bastard.

“What do you think I’m doing? Dropping the Quaffle.”

Draco rolls his eyes. When he speaks, its as if he’s speaking to someone completely stupid. Like a toddler who wants honey on it’s dummy. Duh, it’s bad for your teeth. Bet it tastes good though.

“That’s precisely the point Blaise. You’re a chaser. You’re not supposed to drop the Quaffle. You’re meant to catch it, and then score.” He makes some sort of wild gesture towards the goal, an imaginary Quaffle in his hands, throwing it and watching the air as if it’s travelling through a goal. I stare at him, bemused, and he waves again at the imaginary Quaffle. “Like that.”


“Throw a pretend Quaffle towards the goal . . I see. Draco, I think you’re losing it.” He glowers. I sigh and give in, opening my mouth with a roll of my eyes to explain. This time, I return his baby-wants-a-dummy tone, and he looks less than pleased. “It’s called a Porskoff Ploy, as stated by Quidditch Through the Ages. Read it?” Judging by his face, he hasn’t. “You look as if you’re going to throw the Quaffle into the air, then you deliberately drop it to the player beneath you. It’s a good trick, or would have been, if ugly here hadn’t spoiled it.” I wave a hand dismissively at one of my fellow chasers, who glowers in return.

“Try to stick to the simplistic, Zabini.”

I scowl. “Just because I have a brain ten times the size of both Crabbe and Goyle put together doesn’t mean that -”

But he doesn’t listen. And so my fabulous joke fails.

It begins to rain and I can feel each droplet of water as it soaks through my clothes. My body, strangely, is at the height of awareness, and I’m not sure I like it too much. I mean, it’s great and all, knowing everything that’s going on around you, but it’s a little unnerving to hear the tapping of a foot in a distant classroom, or the whispers in the next-door dormitory. It keeps me awake all the further at night. Which reminds me that later on, I must take the potion.

Quidditch training is just as thrilling as ever. Draco, having been made captain of the team, seizes every opportunity to tell others what to do. Being myself, I deliberately resist to his tyranny and do the exact opposite, ironically pretending to be suffering from lack of decent hearing. Draco heartily informs me that if this “selective hearing” continues, he’ll ram a broomstick so far up my arse, bristles first, that then I’ll have something to complain about.

Oh ha ha. Charming. Now I know exactly what the girls see in him.

By the point lunchtime arrives we’re all cold, wet and miserable. A perfect combination to the ingredients of “a sour-faced Slytherin”. We stroll into the Great Hall, dripping trails of muddy water behind us in our soaked robes, careless for Filch’s threats, and sit down at our table in silence. Draco is in a mood with me, I can tell. First of all I wouldn’t believe him about that stupid kiss, and now I’m being snappy and resistant to his so called “authority”. Perhaps if he could learn to speak without his voice quavering into high excited squeaks every now and then, I’d be a little more appreciative of him. As it is, he’s number one in my books of “people to avoid this week”.

I retire to the common room in search of silence to finish off my homework. As it is, there isn’t much silence to be found. It seems the concept is misunderstood by those first years who insist on making my life a living misery. I resist the urge to curse them twelve times over and instead stand up, leave the room and search out the library. It is becoming a recent sanctuary of late.

Walking into the place, I find the first person I bump into is Granger. Literally bump into, I mean. She almost falls head over heals as she drops her book, skidding to the ground as she collides into my body and tumbles to land on her buttocks. I frown and glance down at her, to which she meets my eyes with a firm scowl. She runs an awkward hand through her bushy hair and climbs to her feet once again, brushing down her robes. I eye her curvy figure hungrily but quickly drive the lust away. She gathers her books in her arms and sighs heavily, watching me with a glare.

“Watch where you’re going.”

“Because usually I walk around with my eyes closed,” I respond sarcastically, moving around her and feeling her eyes burn into my back. It is an uncomfortable feeling, like white hot knives driving into my flesh, but I grimace and cope with it. I think for a fragile moment that she may say something, giving me some random excuse to gather her up in my arms, but I’m out of luck. I peer over my shoulder and already, she is walking away.

The next few hours are spent scribbling down some faint notes, planning for a huge essay Snape set last week. It’s due in tomorrow. I don’t think I can make it. My eyes are bleary, my vision strained and tired; there’s dark circles around my eyes that echo this deprivation of sleep, and when I breathe, it is thick and heavy breathing, not at all what I’m used to. I feel like I need to claw at my throat, like I’m running out of oxygen. Which is weird, because I’m sitting in a room full of it.

My eyes half-closed, the lids suddenly heavy, and I begin to daydream of Hermione Granger. She is sitting next to me in class, having been forced by Professor Flitwick to take that seat. Don’t ask why it’s Flitwick - I know Gryffindors and Slytherins don’t have charms together, but still, we’re there, the sunlight streaming as silver through the window, the class echoed in silence as people scribble down on parchment and practice wordless spells. Hermione is breathing. I can taste her scent on my tongue, can feel the fragrance linger as a warming pressure around me. My lust grows and I lift my head to find her eyes burning into me. She has been watching me for a while, and when I lock gazes with her, a blush forms on her cheeks and she offers a shy smile.

“I, I just -” she tries to explain, and suddenly I feel my hand straying, lingering to a pause on her leg. I can feel the warmth of her flesh beneath my hand, can hear the throb of her heartbeat as it increases, her breathing suddenly shallow. Her hair glints in the silver light and we both smile, small smiles. She takes my hand in hers and squeezes it, and together we get up and leave the classroom, to stand outside and watch the lake as it glistens like a mirror and ripples like liquid gold.

Dust clots the air and at last, at half-past seven and a whole afternoon of staring into nothing, I decide to call it quits. I haven’t gotten any homework done and my mind is like lead. I sigh, getting to my feet and packing my things away into my bag. Madam Pince looks less than pleased that I have wasted my afternoon slumbering in her library. She tells me so and I quickly increase my steps, leaving the room as hastily as possible. She glares at my back.

It is dinner. My hands tremble lightly as I stab my fork into mashed potato. The sounds of humans eating has never seemed so loud. Chomp, chomp, chomp. They sound like the whir of machines, their jaws working, ripping apart the meat with their teeth, swallowing loudly before clattering their cutlery once again.

To my right, Pansy Parkinson sips delicately at her water. She is watching her diet, she says, and therefore water is her only sufficient source of liquid. To me, that delicate sip is a gulp. I hear her throat expand and swallow as the water churns down. It crashes to my ears like a waterfall, working its way through her system. Crabbe’s belly growls loudly. It’s like one of those revving Muggle machines - an engine of some sort.

My fork trembles a little more in my hand. Draco glances sideways at me and strains a smile. He is still angry with me from earlier. He will get over it.

“Eat, Blaise,” he prompts me, nodding to the mashed potato quivering on the end of my fork. “It’s good. Besides, you’ve had a long day.”

“Who are you?” I snap irritably. “My mother?”

My temper is increasing these days.

He scowls at me and turns away again, concentrating on his own meal and ignoring mine.

Slurp, gulp, growl, chomp, swallow.

I drop my fork and race for the bathroom. I think I’m going to be sick.

It is night time. In fact, I think it is a little more than night time. It is one of those hours when no one is supposed to be awake. My eyes shift sideways, taking in the dial on the clock. Two fifty-nine a.m., it reads. Two fifty-nine a.m., I repeat inside my head, the information beating at my skull like a bludger. I should not be awake. I should be asleep. This isn’t right. There’s something wrong.

My teeth are aching. It’s like those times when you’re younger, when you think your teeth are ready to fall out but they’re not. The little baby ones, the yearlings - you twist them and pull at them, desperate for them to come out, but stubbornly they remain. And then finally comes the relief that they are gone, and you no longer spend your lessons pushing with your tongue at the teeth that are precarious, willing them to fall out, encouraging them with thorough exasperation.

And then they grow back again, an uncomfortable process that leaves your gums sore for days.

I turn in my bed restlessly. This can not be happening to me, I tell myself. I can not be turning into a vampyre. I’m a Zabini, sole heir to the Zabini wealth. I should be a normal teenager, worrying about if I can race the others to the shower in the morning, not about whether or not I’m a vampyre.

There’s a thirst inside my mouth that I can’t seem to quench. I pass my tongue around my mouth, soothing my gums. It feels thick and heavy, like leather. There’s an arid desert that replaces my mouth. No saliva can be found.

I sit up slowly, crawling out from beneath the covers, my eyes heavy and exhausted The empty glass on the side of the dresser tells of the sleeping potion I drank earlier tonight. I can’t remember where I put the vial. I want to drink the whole lot, to sleep until I am no longer fatigued. Slowly, I convince myself to climb out of bed, finding my wand and lighting it damply. I wander into the bathroom and stand there for a while, fidgeting, staring at my reflection in the mirror.

There’s a dullness about my hair that wasn’t there before. I scrape my fingers through it with agitation, as if that familiar movement will bring back the shine. My eyes are shallow and sunken. There’s nothing attractive about my face right now. I look haggard and at death’s door.

Pacing the bathroom back and forth, I swing my arms at my sides, a sigh raking from my dry chapped lips. I cannot understand this feeling, cannot understand the changes occurring in my body. My fingers stray to my neck, but whatever mark that was once there is now gone. I drop my hands away once again and face the door, hurrying back to bed.

I lie awake for the next few hours until dawn approaches, ploughing beneath my eyelids and setting my head to screaming. I roll over with a groan and bury my head beneath a pillow. I can’t sleep and I’m hungry, thirsty. I want something to devour.

And still, fluttering like a moth against the light that is the central of my mind, there is the small reminder that I must get up soon, to stroll to breakfast with bleary eyes, to sit at the table and stare at crumbly toasted bread, to snub my food and receive strange looks from my fellow housemates. And then I must walk to lesson, to sit in Snape’s freezing dungeons whilst my breath vapours the air, to bow my head with shame and mutter when he asks me why it is that I have not done my homework.

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