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Chapter Seven

 

Chapter Seven

Then You're out of luck...

In her mind, things were twisting. A myriad of colors were dripping together, spinning and blending into a backdrop of clashing hues. Crimson. Emerald. Vermilion. Lemon. It was so confusing, millions of flashing drops in every shade of every color imaginable.

Then it was white. A blinding, unpalatable bland white that filled her mind. There was a man there. Tall, blonde, cloaked in black. Pale face. Icy blue eyes as deep as gushing wellspring and as inviting. He held a hand out, broadening his smile to reveal white teeth. A lilting note or two drifted through her head.

And then Diana woke up. She ached all over, inside and out, and for a few moments she remained still, eyes closed and adjusting to the new feeling. A cool sensation alighted on her forehead, and she heard a soft murmur of voices.

"When she—"

"If—" There was a long pause, and then she recognized Harry’s voice, hesitant and more than a little bit sheepish. "Thank you, Draco" I think we all might have underestimated you. Thank you for taking care of her."

"Might have?" Draco’s voice, with its usual cockiness, strained somehow. "Definitely have."

She opened her eyes slowly, not moving yet. The room was dark, curtains drawn tight. No one was looking at her. Draco sat to her right, one hand holding a cloth to her forehead, the other gripping her hand. Harry and Ron and Hermione were there too. She was surprised to see Ron, and felt a rush of uncertainty. She opened her mouth to speak, found no words coming out, and turned her eyes to Draco in silent plea. He glanced at her, then looked away. It took him a moment to register her eyes on him, and slowly he looked at her, breaking into a broad smile.

"You’re awake," he whispered, looking relieved. "How do you feel?"

"Terrible," she managed to squeak out. "What happened?" Harry and Draco exchanged glances. Ron was suddenly at her side, opposite Draco, with an expression of intense concern.

"You don’t remember?" Harry ventured cautiously.

"No." Diana furrowed her brow. "I…don’t think so."

Draco cleared his throat. "Diana, honey? You were attacked by a vampire." He looked supremely uncomfortable. "I found you on our balcony."

Ron burst out suddenly, sounding venomous. "Our balcony--" What do you--"

Harry kicked him sharply in the shin. Diana looked from Harry to Draco, confused. "When?"

"Last night." Draco glanced over at Harry. "I'm not sure what time."

"You don't remember anything?" Harry pressured.

"Not about any vampires," Diana said slowly, trying to think. "I got up. The moon was very bright. It was hot, and I--" she paused, coughing and grimacing. "Can I have some water?"

Draco quickly poured her a glass of water from a pitcher on the bedside table. She took a few sips before lowering the glass from her lips. "Go on," he said quietly.

"I looked at the mirror," she said softly. "I saw images, lots of them, flashing by."

"What kind of images?" Ron pressured.

She glanced at him, then continued on. "Then there was this sound, coming through the door... I went outside and looked over the railing. Something howled." She closed her eyes. "The moon was full. I saw Remus running through the woods but I wasn't scared. I could sense that it was him. And then... that's it." she shrugged helplessly. "No vampires."

"We know Professor Lupin was there," Harry said quietly. "He stopped by earlier, to tell us what he'd seen." Diana looked up at him, lifting her eyebrows in question. "He sensed the vampire. Apparently," Harry said, "They smell like stale blood to werewolves." he shrugged, implying his inability to either confirm or deny the statement. "He was investigating when he saw it attack you. When he pursued it, it ran away and left you there."

"And then he left?" Diana furrowed her brow. "I don't understand."

"He might have taken the potion to return himself to human mind, but he didn't trust himself." Harry paused, then clarified. "You had an open wound, and it would have been a risk to go up there. So he retreated and waited until dawn to investigate. By the time he got there, Draco had already found you and brought you here."

"What I don't understand," Draco grumbled, "Is why he didn't just go into the house and get me."

"First of all," Harry said, giving Draco a cold look, "is that your house is warded against anything that could do harm to the two of you." (At this, Ron opened his mouth to protest, but was silenced by Hermione, who had finally put down her book to join the group.) "And that includes werewolves."

"But not vampires?" Hermione asked, wrinkling her nose.

"Technically," muttered Draco, "It wasn't actually in the house. I didn't ward the verandas or the balconies."

Ron rolled his eyes. "Bloody brilliant, Malfoy. Now look where it got you."

"Shut up, Weasley," hissed Draco, standing up. "AT least I have a house to ward."

"Both of you, SHUT UP!" Shrieked Diana, who promptly gasped and collapsed into a coughing fit. Draco pressed more water into her hands, looking guilty. Ron reluctantly took a seat.

Harry cleared his throat. "As I was saying--" he gave Draco and Ron each dirty looks. "secondly, Draco, how likely would you be to follow a werewolf who had wandered into your bedroom?"

Draco scowled. "That's not the point, is it?"

"Actually, that's exactly the point." Harry rolled his eyes. "Even if Lupin did get past the wards on your house, its likely you would have stabbed him with a silver baby spoon or something."

There was a pause during which the only sound was Diana wheezing into the glass of water in what appeared to be a weak attempt at laughter.

"I don't see how that's so funny," Draco said indignantly.

***

Diana's doctor wanted to keep her an extra night for observation, but Diana complained so loudly and forcefully that he felt compelled to let her go, giving Draco strict orders to keep her in bed for the next two days, and to close and lock the bedroom door until the vampire could be found. In addition, he recommended hiring a vampire hunter to keep watch just in case the vampire returned.

"Once a vampire's found a victim he likes," the doctor said as he reluctantly signed Diana's release papers, "He's likely to come back. You've only got three bites, and then you're out of luck." he handed the papers to Draco. "Have a nice day."

Draco looked down at Diana, who was perched indignantly on the edge of the wheelchair that had been insisted upon. "Can't I just walk?" She asked. "I'm not an invalid."

"You need to rest," Draco said. "The doctor said you shouldn't walk for a few days." Diana scowled up at him. "I'm sorry," he said, "but that's the way it is."

"Fine," she said, folding her arms and slumping down in the chair as Draco started to push her out, then she looked up at him with a weak smile. "Thanks," she said, "by the way."

"It wasn't a problem," Draco said vaguely. "You were in my way when I walked out onto the balcony. I figured I might as well move you."

***

Harry felt decidedly uncomfortable sitting in the middle of the atrium in Draco’s mansion, shifting his feet nervously.

The house elf who had let him in squeaked that it would go find Draco, and true to its word, Draco came down the stairway into the room a few minutes later. "Diana’s asleep," he said without prelude. "Can I get you something to drink?"

Harry arched an eyebrow. "What do you have?"

Draco laughed, and Harry felt a trace of resentment bubble up. "Whatever you want, Potter."

Harry gritted his teeth. His old grudge was not dying anytime soon. "Just a butterbeer, Draco."

He shrugged. "Suit yourself." He glanced behind Harry and nodded. "And I’ll have a white wine."

Harry turned his head and saw another house elf scamper off towards one of the side wings of the house. "Got plenty of servants, Malfoy?" He arched an eyebrow.

Draco shrugged again, taking a seat in an armchair and draped one arm gracefully along the back, arching an eyebrow. "They won’t leave. You try and suggest it, they’ll throw a fit." He took a sip of wine as the house elf returned with their drinks. "So, Potter, to what do I owe the honor of your presence?"

Harry swallowed his butterbeer and fixed Draco with a firm gaze. "I’ve hired you a vampire hunter, Draco."

There was a very poignant pause, during which time Draco froze and stared at him over the rim of his glass. "You… what?"

"Hired. You. A. Vampire. Hunter. I thought I’d enunciated well enough for you, Malfoy." He sighed. "That vampire will come back, and when it does, we should be ready."

"We? She’s my fiancée."

"Well, she’s my cousin, Malfoy, and I want to protect her just as much as you do."

"You know, everyone should probably just consult with her directly instead of having secret meetings behind her back." Draco and Harry both jumped, turning to see Diana standing, arms folded, on the stairwell. "I’m not stupid, you know."

"You should be in bed," began Draco.

"Why aren’t you resting?" said Harry at the same time. Diana fixed them both with a level glare.

"Because the damn house elf came in and told Draco that you were here." She looked at Draco. "I’m not an idiot, you know. I know the vampire’s going to come back." She descended the rest of the stairs and took a seat on the couch next to Harry. "And Harry, I think a vampire hunter’s a good idea. But you should have spoken to Draco first."

Both Draco and Harry seemed to have a mingling of satisfaction and resentment on their faces.

The was a cough from the entranceway, and they all turned to see the tiny figure perched there. "Excuse me, Master," the house elf squeaked, "But there’s a Miss Abigail Corelli to see you."

"Ah," said Harry, smirking and downing the last of his butterbeer, "she’s here."

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