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Light the fire, feast
Chase the ghost, give in.
Take the road less traveled by,
Leave the city of fools,
Turn every poet loose.


*Lyrics, NightWish

Chapter Five


As predicted, Potions was awful. I mean, really, seriously awful - to a point where I reached the point of utter humiliation. Snape made me look like a fool; after discovering one of his precious Slytherins had failed the task in completing homework, he decided to hurl a few nasty, spiteful words at me, and then, to twist the knife a little further, upon noticing that I was half-asleep within his cold, dank classroom, he continually selected me out to answer questions I hadn’t even heard to begin with. The few painful, depressing hours concluded with a detention tonight cleaning in the Armoury Room. And to make it even worse - Potter and Weasley only went and landed themselves in the same detention also. And so here, at dinner, I find myself in the worst temper yet. If one person even pushes me too far . . .

“Blaise, you dropped bread in your lap.”

I glance up sharply to Pansy’s observation, before I narrow my eyes and my stare travels steadily down. Indeed, I have dropped bread, butter and all, into my lap, with a little smudge of gravy to top it off. Wow. Today really does suck.

My hand trembles lightly as I retrieve the food, well aware of Draco’s absurd, rather disgusted look lingering upon me, burning holes into my back. I duck my face quickly and stare down at my plate, which is still rather full, considering I’ve been sat here for well over half an hour. I don’t know what it is about being a vampyre, but apparently, my appetite has failed me. No matter how hungry I am, how terrible the thirst is that battles waves of fury across my mind, I find that the bread is like a rock inside my mouth, and water now seems so acid-like, plain and burning and unsatisfying. Does that make sense? It’s like I’m being punished for something. Even my favourite apple crumble cannot tempt me. It feels almost as if the world is falling apart. I’m an embarrassment to myself.

Apparently, Draco seems to think so, also.

“Have you looked at yourself recently?” he glares disdainfully, shaking his pale, pointy face I want to crush between my fingers so much, to smudge his annoying features out of existence. Arrogance radiates his stormy eyes, and nudging himself away from me a little, he does his best to look affronted. “Honestly, the whole school’s started to notice. You fall asleep in lessons, you’re failing classes . . . You’ve even gone and gotten yourself a detention with Potty and the Weasel. Slytherins don’t get detentions. If you even think about stepping out of line, of losing house points and being the cause of defeat of the Quidditch team . . .”

“You should be grateful,” I snap wrathfully, the fury spilling out from my mind to splash across my face with contorted rage. “At least me being out of the picture means you can have the limelight you so desperately pursue for once.”

His eyebrows quirk, disgruntled. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It means,” I continue, as if he’s a troll just wandered in from the mountains, “that now for once, your precious parents will feel the ability to be proud of you. It means that perhaps you’ll actually beat me in grades this term, excel in Quidditch, claim your throne as Slytherin king . . .”

He snorts, shaking his head, pretending to be nonchalant to my insults, and yet clearly we both know he’s not. His face is white and pinched, flushed a little pink. It causes me to chuckle inwardly to consider how a girl could ever feel any sense of desire for a man who blushes pink. Draco sees the amusement spark inside my dull, tired eyes, and glues onto it, hissing.

“What’s so funny?” When I fail to answer and only offer him a provocative smile, his fury increases, cheeks flaring all the more pink, as if he’s smudged make-up over them. I strangle the nasty laugh that bubbles in my throat, but not before he hears it. His eyes narrow, enflamed. “You know, you really are being a bastard lately . . .”

“What? Me?” I ask in mock-horror, staring down at myself in all my bread and butter glory. I brush at the blemish on my clothes and laugh again, leaning forward to ruffle Draco’s hair. “No worries, Drackie-poo . . . You’re just feeling a little tender. Is it because I don’t follow you around anymore? Because I’ve finally found my own voice and don’t come running to your every whim? Sorry I’m not as easy as those thick-set thugs who kiss your arse. I suppose I’d just rather severe my mind from the one you imbecile’s all share, and I find it shameful to obey a boy who blushes pink like a girl . . .”

His fist clenches all the further and he takes a lunge, although my reflexes are sharp, and with impossible swiftness, I stand and step aside at the last minute, so that his fist slams instead into the hard, wooden table, and there’s a sickening crack that sounds like he’s broken his wrist. His grey eyes blur with the rain of tears, and embarrassed, he ducks his head and closes his eyes, taking long, gasping breaths to drive away the pain of his bloodied knuckles.

Blood.

The scent tangles through the air, rich in its intoxication. It wafts with promises of indulgence to my greedy eyes. The thickness of that warm, salty smell is glorious, and I stare with fascination, the boiling heat tempting me, showing me this is my only way of survival, like a salt-water fish needs the constant assurance of the heaving sea. Sucking in a deep breath, my eyes blur in their colour, flashing dark with intensity, watching, anticipating . . .

But I’m in a hall full of people; immediately this informs my sensitive hunger that there can be no kill here. My eyes walk the tendons in his neck with gluttony, before fastening once more on the scarlet ribbons that thread in a slow river down his fingers. It drips onto the table, onwards and on, and as each droplet collides, it is another drop wasted.

Turning sharply, inhaling with desperation that seems almost like starvation, my stomach knotting into painful coils of hunger, I clutch at my stomach and try to leave the hall with as much dignity as I can muster. All the time, my mind is thinking, plotting away . . . I could get him tonight, in the dormitory, when all the others are sleeping. It will be quick and painless, and there will no longer be any tiredness once I have had my feed. Or an empty corridor - my arm will snake out, powdery white in its perfection, to snatch him and drag him towards me, to press my teeth against his neck, to watch as his blood rushes to tinge his pallid cheeks pink . . .

The thoughts have blurred my mind to savage blood thirst, and realising this, the idea seems to shut down, strangled out by my cold, utter horror. I’m shivering all over, having destroyed my confidence that I will solve this problem easily. Just the sight of blood has driven me into a wide frenzy, and now, I find it difficult to cope with the thought of drinking the blood of one of my best-friends. True, Draco can be a right pain in the arse, but nothing justifies thoughts like that.

Oh hell. I’m dangerous. I’m out of control.

This vampyre thing is really getting to me, and as each day passes, my hunger increases, like a huge, black void, eager to swallow every last shred of human in me up. If I drink, then that’s it. All is lost. I will become one of them - the hunter’s of the night.

I’ll become a monster.

As difficult as this thought is to digest, it’s clear in my mind, and with misery, I find my way back to the dormitory, hoping to catch sleep in the desperation of my hands, before finishing off what little homework I can and heading off to detention. My life seems to have fallen so quickly out of hand.






Sleep. It stares at me, a darkened veil that flutters with the lightness of my very own breath, like curtains caught upon a fragile breeze. Yet as I walk the struggling steps towards it, aching with fatigue, it slips back a little further. My hands outstretch, gripping with insistence, but I only manage to graze the soft surface of it, silky to my touch, before it tears away again, viciously this time, denying me. Why won’t it just accept me? Why must it deny me, constantly? And yet here, on this savage plain of restlessness, I find peace amongst the agitation, walking between the lands that divide dreams, reality and sleep. My wakefulness surges stronger with each tiny trickle of awareness, and yet the cold blackness is luring me down, despite the fact I long for its warming embrace.

Basically, I cannot sleep. No amount of sleeping potion aids me in this lack of ability, this deep longing and desperation. I want to choke, strangle and scream at the veil that barricades me from the burning desire, but it just cackles in its flapping as I grow all the more breathless. A voice breaks me from my reverie, a clearing of a thought, the glazed eyes watching me with faint concern.

“Blaise? Are you ok?”

I blink, surprised, and slowly sit up, wiping the dust from my eyes and sighing slowly. Still, the dull ache throbs in my teeth, although now it has reached my head. I feel totally miserable, not to mention irritable, and my eyes fall across Pansy, who is twirling a stand of dark hair against her fingers. Her delicate neck is exposed to the warmth of the firelight, which launches a golden splay across the pillar of it. I swallow audibly and quickly glance down.

“Fine.”

A silence falls between us. I’ve never really spoken to Pansy, nor in fact respected her. I can’t seem to realise she has the ability to be serious, or anything other than vain and drowning in her lust for Draco, the boy who blushes pink. Rising disgust mixes with the taste of nausea. Obsequious, love sick bint.

“I didn’t like the way you spoke to Draco today.” Oh great, more lectures. As if I need her to spare me her thoughts. She’s corrupted by that narcissistic bastard. “I think it was cruel and uncalled for,” she continues, pushing her words out slowly and with care, as if expecting another mood swing. “In fact, these past few days you’ve been acting strangely, Blaise. We’re all beginning to notice it. Is there something wrong? Something bad going on at home?”

I stare at her in deep disbelief. Since when did she care for the affairs of others, less it allowed her to spread a vindictive form of gossip? I continue to blink and stare. She takes this as permission to move onwards.

“Because you know it’s not good to take it out on others, especially Draco. He admires you, you know. He may not show it, but I know he does. He values your friendship.”

I draw a deep, patient breath, struggling to hide my disgust. “Pansy, Draco Malfoy is a leech. He sucks like a parasite the power from others, using it for his own gain. He takes all and gives little; manipulation is what he attempts to wield as a tool, and he fails miserably. I refuse to become another of his followers, of his little Slytherin gang.” I spell it out to her, eyeing her carefully, as if to make sure she understands. The earlier lust for blood boils into my mind and simmers with anger. “I’d prefer if you kept out of my business.” My eyes stray towards the homework I have not yet gotten through, the heavy piles of it forming a tower besides my armchair. The rest of the common room seems eerily silent, although there’s the sounds of frantic mutterings and exploding snap from the shadow-filled corners. Pansy watches me, impatient, and quickly I retrieve myself from the seat and brush down my robes, turning my attention away. “Now if you don’t mind, I have a detention to get to . . .”

“Think about what I said,” she calls after me, her voice thick with insistence. “Don’t push him away from you.”

I leave the dungeons less than satisfied. What with no sleep, no completed homework and no blood, my temper increases in its heat. Yet Pansy’s words leave me thinking. Draco admires me? How could the git love anyone other than himself? If he feels I should be honoured by his proffered friendship, then he’s sadly mistaken.

These days, I’ve begun to realise. Right now, I don’t need no one.






Detention. Oh, how I so very much so love it. As the shadows outstretch their darkening fingers, they highlight the note of twilight, the familiar dusky scent of dewed grass and wintry nights stinging the air with familiarity. My mind screams that I should be out there, in the dark of the world, awaking to the new day. Suddenly, all fatigue is swept away and replaced with awareness. My nightly hours await outside, open for me to explore. Out there, I will find blood, I will find . . .

“No,” I murmur softly, bringing up palms to hold my head in my hands. That world is not for me. Not whilst the fragments of a human cling with desperation to my body, even as the vampyrism strives to tear it all out, to mark me with the kiss of savagery. I will not come that of which I despise. Not whilst the candle of hope burns, despite the flickers of shadows that grip with darkened doubt to stifle it out.

Potter and Weasley are already in the Armoury, Filch watching them with a pleasured smirk, cat cradled in his filthy, ape-like arms. His eyes steer towards me as my footsteps, with the bare hint of a whisper across the ground, halt in the doorway. His eyes snap to a glare and he gestures wordlessly with a gnarled, warty thumb for me to hurry up and get the hell inside the room. Then, with a scratchy, ear-grating voice, he deals out his instructions to all of us.

“Wands. Hand ‘em over.” Grudgingly, we do so, and his eyes twinkle gleefully. He places them inside his pocket - oh god knows what else he’s got inside there - before his mouth twitches and he moves on, hand gliding over his steadily purring cat. The noise is like a motorbike, or one of those Muggle washing machines. “You clean this room, without magic. Any sign of cheating -” he passes us a warning look - “and the punishment will be severe. Ya hear ?”

His voice is like a lazy drawl, but it causes the others to nod and me to shrug lightly with nonchalance. Once he’s left, the door shutting soundlessly behind him, Potter and Weasley exchange disgusted looks before turning to eye me narrowly. None of us speak, but I feel their eyes on me even still as I turn away, picking up the provided rough fabric and polish, walking towards the nearest suit of armour and resting a palm upon it. Gradually, I sense the burning holes their eyes cast upon me fade away, and soon enough they’re talking darkly together, shooting occasional glances, but other than that, there is nothing and I am left to both my peace and my thoughts.

Scrubbing at the armoury feels good - the way it drives away all concentration, the way it eases my mind. I’m enabled to feel calm and my breathing grows regular. The armour is steely beneath my hand as I continue to scrub, the polish setting the dulled material to a metallic gleam. Gradually, my arms begin to ache, although only dully. The ragged breaths and curses coming from Potter and Weasley tell me they are less than pleased with this arrangement, and who knows how many hours it has been since we started . . .?

Finally, I move onto another set of armour, getting to my feet and watching the helm between narrowed eyes. The darkness inside the eye holes are marvelling - entrancing with blackness, they stare back out at me in their soft darkness. One hand reaches to graze upon it, although halts when I find a dent in the smooth, steely perfection. A sigh rakes from me and my eyes half close. It seems we all have our cracks and flaws.

“Enjoying playing house maid, Zabini?” Weasley suddenly hisses spitefully. “Probably good for you to play the House Elf for once, isn’t it? Really melts down your ego.”

Slowly, with impatience, I drop my gaze from the armour and turn to face him, eyes locking with a sense of disdain. His hair is dark with sweat, cheeks flushed scarlet that burns to the tip of his ears. He looks like an over grown beanstalk, the way his wiry body seems to structure out. Burning with intense annoyance, his eyes shade a little with frustration at the lack of my response. Eyes that meet his are only dull and cold, watching with lack of interest. My eyes trail to the half-finished armour behind him. He is still on his first.

“Surprising that you’re so slow,” I comment dryly, shrugging. “Aren’t you used to cleaning up by now? Or perhaps your house really is so much of a pig sty you’re used to the stink. Maybe mess doesn’t bother you.” I step forward to trail a finger through the gritty dust and dirt that coat the armour in an unpleasant sheen. “It’s almost the same colour as the armpits of your shirt. Do you enjoy indulging in your own filth, Weasley, or is it just an unobserved habit?”

His eyes light a little with flame, and he reaches to grab my wrist, twisting it lightly inside his hand and pulling it away from the armour. As my smirk plays at the corners of my lips, his grip tightens, to what he probably assumes is painful. Somehow, I feel so much stronger than him, and I pull away with ease, his fingers slipping away easily with just one movement of my arm. He stares, a little confused and with annoyance. I step away from his grasp and turn dismissively back towards the armoury.

“Even Filch smells better than you.”

A hiss of impatience releases from his lips, but at that moment the door bursts open, and Filch enters, if a little reluctantly, wands back in his hands and extending his arms to give them back to us.

“Yer can go now. But mark my words, next time yer land yerselves in detention -”

The rest of his words strike no interest in my mind, and I tune out, exhausted now. I take my wand, feeling comfort as I replace it in my back pocket, and soon enough we are released. Walking into the draughty corridors offers a wonderful, icy draught to my flesh, and in my daze I continue, halting only when I reach the dungeons. I shower quickly - and this time I’m not even going to tempt you with the offer of a description - and tug a towel around my waist before leaving the bathroom. The dormitory is quiet, but even as I find my way to my bed, I sense Draco’s resentful glare touching my skin. This triggers thoughts of what Pansy said earlier, and slipping into my boxers behind closed curtains, I get into bed, knowing already that it’s useless attempting to find sleep and so not even bothering to try.

Laying awake, I listen to the sounds of my dorm mates around me, the heartbeats that flutter into my ears. They are like drums, with their thump, thump, thump - their merciless pounding, taunting me. Just one droplet, I tell myself with the squashing temptation, just one little drink . . .

No.

There’s no way I can touch any one of them and not be found out soon enough. My behaviour’s getting strange enough already - my mood swings, my lack of control, the way I stared at the blood on Draco’s hand this morning . . . Dumbledore only needs the alert that there’s a vampyre in the school and he’ll call the experts in. He’ll track me down and find me. And then - well, I don’t even want to know what’ll happen.

My mind sighs in its strain and its disappointment, and still, sleep does not find me. As the world ticks on and the night grows to swell outside around the castle, the whisperings of wind shatter against the glass, the battering collision tempting me, coaxing me.

With the idea settled like a seed inside my mind, it stems all sorts of possibilities. With a groan I roll over, the silvery patterns of moonlight spreading like milk water across my skin. Slowly, gradually, I sit up, feeling my hunger unfurl and wake to the night. My feet touch the icy cold ground and my sharp eyes easily find my clothes inside the blanket of warm dark.

With a sudden energy, I prepare myself. Prepare myself to go hunting.





A.N: So, review . . . anyone? :p

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