Chapter: 4 of 35 - What is Going On?
Pairings: Asher/Anita/Jean-Claude, Anita/Nathaniel, Harry/Nathaniel/Draco, Harry/Draco, Anita/Micah
Rating: R/15 or NC17/18
Summary: Harry Potter could find trouble in paradise and when Draco sends him to St Louis for a holiday it's not paradise and there's lots of trouble. With dark magic, vampires, lycanthropes and more, who else could sort it out but Anita Blake?
Chapter listing: click here for other parts, publishing schedule and A/N
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling and Laurell K. Hamilton, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, Orbit books, Time Warner Book group, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Warnings: This story is set post Harry Potter and the OotP and post Incubus Dreams and therefore has SPOILERS for all previous books. If you don’t want to know anything that went on in or before HP book five or AB book twelve do not read this story.
Chapter 4 What is Going On?
Harry really did not like the fact that his higher brain seemed to be at war with his instinctive side; usually they were pretty much in agreement. The fact that the vampire, Jean-Claude, was watching him with unconcealed interest was not helping matters. Draco revived the police officer in the room and Dolph, who seemed to be in charge sent the man home, and then everyone started looking at Harry again.
"Mr Potter," Dolph said plainly, "I'm Lieutenant Storr, I head up the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team. These are Micah Callahan, the representative of the local wereleopard group, Jean-Claude, Master Vampire of the city, and you've already met Anita Blake, our resident preternatural expert and US Marshall."
It was beginning to become clear that over here they did things very differently than at home, of course Harry had had nothing to do with Muggles since the debacle of his sixth year summer holiday, so he couldn't be sure.
"Do you feel up to giving us more information about the attack?" the detective asked in a very reasonable tone.
What he really wanted to do was tell them to go stuff themselves and let him get the hell out of the hospital, but Harry was more considerate than that. He was about to reply when his stomach gave a very loud and most embarrassing gurgle.
"Hungry?" it was Micah who spoke.
"Starving," Harry admitted, and could not for the life of him figure out when he had ever been so hungry before. It was like he had a huge hole where his stomach should have been and he had a strange craving for rare steak that was trying to distract him from everything else. Last time he'd checked he hadn't even liked rare steak.
"I'll get them to bring some food," the compact man said efficiently and then walked out of the room.
Everyone else was still looking at Harry, making him more than a little uncomfortable. Jean-Claude's jacket only just covered his modesty where he was sitting down, and he never liked being the centre of attention. Part of him wanted to panic and shout and rant, but he'd been in too many bizarre situations to let this one overcome him again.
"I don't really know what happened," he admitted slowly. "The taxi dropped me off in St Marks's street and I was just going to the house when someone hit me from behind."
"St Mark's, as in the old district?" Dolph asked as he paused.
Draco fielded the answer to that one.
"Yes," the Slytherin replied, "my family own number thirteen."
That caused an interesting look to pass over both the detective and Jean-Claude's face.
"Malfoy," the police officer said slowly, "as in the Pritchard-Malfoys?"
"I believe my great aunt married a man by the name of Pritchard," Draco said, and from the tone of his voice Harry did not think he was too impressed. "My great great grandfather almost disowned her for marrying beneath her station and she and great uncle Cuthbert emigrated here. Uncle Reginald moved back to England and managed to get himself killed by a pack of doxies, so the property reverted to my father and then me."
Draco was never good when dealing with anyone who had annoyed him, and Harry could tell that his friend's rather imperious tone was rubbing Anita completely the wrong way. Jean-Claude seemed to be rather enjoying the display.
"And then what happened, Mr Potter?" the police officer turned his attention back to Harry.
"I woke up in the middle of some sort of ceremony," he said quietly, his voice a lot less firm than he wanted it to be.
The memory was nasty and he really did not want to recall it, but he knew he had to. The glowing eyes in the severed heads were going to haunt him for a long time, he could tell. He would probably need the Dreamless Sleep potion that had caused so much trouble at customs.
"They'd taken my clothes and chained me to the ceiling," Harry tried to make the images in his head a little more distant, but they did not want to go.
Looking down he could just see the top of a white scar on his chest, poking out of the jacket. Unable to stop himself he touched it lightly, wondering how it had healed so quickly as his mind remembered the pain.
"Someone had carved something into my chest," he said eventually, "and as soon as I woke up people started chanting. I couldn't see any of them; they were outside the candle light. I don't think there were more than about four or five."
He took a breath, trying to calm himself as the memories came back thick and fast. Staring at the floor was about all he could manage, not wanting to see how any of those around him were reacting.
"A leopard and a man came out of the darkness, only I learned pretty quickly that he wasn't actually a man," Harry continued his description, unable to keep the bitterness out of his voice. "They both looked at me like there was nothing behind their eyes, and then they attacked. The leopard went for my leg," he traced one of the three long white lines on his thigh as he spoke, "the vampire went for my neck. I thought they were going to kill me."
He had to stop again as the recollections threatened to overwhelm him. A hand rested gently on his shoulder and he looked to see Draco watching him with a small worried frown. Since the Slytherin rarely showed that type of emotion when in company, Harry decided he did not want to know what he looked like to invoke such an expression.
"We can wait a bit if you like," his friend said calmly; "you look like you're about to keel over."
Harry shook his head.
"I'd rather get it over with," he said shortly.
Now that he was reliving this he did not want to have to start all over again. They would probably make him rehash it, just like everyone at home had made him repeat his description of the final battle with Voldemort over and over again, but he knew the first time would be the worst. He'd be able to distance himself better with practice.
"Then they just stopped," he said resolutely, drawing in another deep breath and attempting to marshal his unruly thoughts. "The leopard became something between a man and a cat and then these two robed men came up behind them. They both just stood there and let their throats be cut."
The memory of the smell of blood made power curl around in his stomach, and he bit his lip to stop himself whimpering.
"I closed my eyes, but I couldn't get away from the blood," Harry knew he had to continue or he would never finish. "It was everywhere and it burned. The dark magic in the circle was horrible and there was nothing I could do to stop it. When I opened my eyes again the robed men had cut the heads off the vampire and the wereleopard; they were holding up in front of my face. The eyes..."
He trailed off as the image burned itself into his thoughts. The fear was so real and it caught him.
"Harry?" Draco sounded even more worried.
"Their eyes were glowing," Harry whispered, staring at nothing as his mind filled with the memory. "That was when I fainted."
He wrapped his arms around himself as cold invaded his body.
"They seemed to have been waiting for me when I came to," his voice sounded odd as he spoke, but there was nothing he could do about it. "One of them was kneeling in front of me with a knife and a goblet. He cut my leg and collected my blood."
Of all things his mouth was aching and although he had yet to put his glasses back on, the floor tile he was staring at was moving in and out of focus. He felt more than a little out of control as the images in his mind became more and more prevalent.
"Harry," the voice was warm and kind and he found himself looking up into deep blue eyes.
Jean-Claude seemed to almost glow in his vision and he found all his attention on the vampire. The sight almost drove the memories away.
"You need to calm down, child," Jean-Claude said slowly and calmly, "or the bloodlust will take you."
"My teeth hurt," was the most sensible thing Harry found to say, "and I'm cold."
"Something of the vampire who was sacrificed has joined with you, Harry," the Master of the city told him gently, but with a certainty that made Harry believe him. "If you allow it to take over you will need to feed and you could hurt yourself or someone else. You must control yourself."
Harry moved his tongue around his mouth and found longer than normal, dangerous fangs jutting from his upper jaw. It seemed completely impossible, but he had never been one to ignore the facts. He did not understand, but the power he sensed moving through his body was not stronger than he was. Using the stubbornness that had saved him many times in his life he pushed the magic back from wherever it had originated and the world faded back to its normal soft edges.
"What just happened?" Draco asked in a voice that suggested he would start breaking things if someone didn't give him a straight answer.
Harry could only sit there and blink at the rest of the room, far too confused to be of any help.
"We don't really know," it wasn't the greatest news that Anita revealed, and Harry had a sinking feeling that he had just warped known magical law, again. "We have concluded that something to do with the ceremony that was performed has bonded vampire traits to Harry as well as infecting him with lycanthropy. The major problem with this is that all vampires are dead; Harry definitely isn't."
"Lycanthropy and vampirism are also mutually exclusive," Micah added from where he was re-entering the room.
Harry almost laughed, and had to admit that he was feeling a little hysterical.
"Yes, well death tends to avoid Harry," Draco said, and the Slytherin did not sound too happy about revealing the fact, but appeared resigned to do so. "He's survived the Killing curse twice, and by all rights several other things that should have killed him."
"Killing curse?" Dolph did not seem to like that piece of information.
"One of the three Unforgivables," Draco said plainly. "The penalty for using them is life in Azkaban or the Dementor's Kiss, which before you ask I am not about to explain. The Killing Curse has no counter and no block, but Harry survived it at a year old and about six months ago when it looked as if it just bounced off."
"Bloody hurt though," Harry commented in an attempt to not suddenly start laughing like a loon.
The Slytherin did not appear impressed with his addition to the conversation.
"Are you trying to say that anyone else would be dead now?" Anita sounded sceptical.
"What I'm saying," Draco replied in such a way that Harry was sure his friend and Anita Blake were not likely to see eye to eye any time soon, "is that Harry's magic has this incredible habit of keeping him alive. Normal rules don't apply to him, and you'll probably never be able to explain what happened."
"I don't like loose ends, Mr Malfoy," Anita said with a very unhappy expression.
Sooner or later Anita and Draco were going to have a very loud row; that much was obvious to Harry.
"Which does beg the question, was Mr Potter deliberately targeted?" Dolph brought the conversation back to its original point.
"Only four people knew he was going to be here," Draco said firmly, "Harry, Harry's two best friends from home, and me. I made sure of it myself so that no idiot of a Ministry official or reporter could contact him and wreck the first proper holiday he has had, ever. No one here could possibly have known, I even only told the house elf to expect a guest."
That was one of the main reasons Harry had left the country for rest and relaxation; at home he could never be sure someone wouldn't trace him, but here he was completely anonymous.
"So there's absolutely no way anyone could have known where he would be?" Dolph seemed to want to be absolutely sure.
"None," Draco said with a tone that begged no argument.
"So we're left with random selection," Anita sounded very unhappy about this, "which makes our perpetrators even more difficult to find."
"Not quite random, ma petite," Jean-Claude decided to join the conversation, "the spell carved on Harry's chest requires a virgin with a magical gift, so someone out there either has a totem or a sensitive who can discern these things."
Harry blushed at the word virgin, but at least his sudden mortification managed to distract him a little from what had been done to him.
"What's going to happen to me?" he asked before anyone could do more talking about him rather than to him.
It was not that he was suddenly dying to face all the new challenges in his life, but he was practical if nothing else. Being practical sometimes helped him avoid thinking too hard.
"I'm afraid we can't just let you go home to adjust to your new changes," Dolph said apologetically. "We'll need you to make yourself available for the investigation, which means you can't leave St Louis."
Harry had rather suspected that, but it wasn't really the police he was worried about. Anita and Micah were looking at each other and there was a whole lot of body language going on that Harry did not understand. When Anita turned back it seemed as if a decision had been made.
"It's the full moon tonight," Anita began once the lieutenant had finished, "you will change and you will need to hunt. You may join my pard for the duration if you wish."
"What's a pard?" Harry asked, although he could guess he wanted to be sure.
"Like a pack only with cats instead of wolves," Anita offered shortly. "I am Nimir-Ra of the Blooddrinkers Clan."
Harry was confused.
"You said you had an affinity with wereleopards, not that you were one," he really needed someone to start from the beginning and explain everything, but he doubted that would happen.
"I'm not," Anita said firmly, although then glanced at Micah and made a face. "It's complicated."
Now the expression on the woman's face just then was very familiar.
"Normal rules of the universe not apply to you either?" he asked and thought he did very well to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
"Something like that," Anita admitted with a shrug.
"There is also the question of feeding your vampire," Jean-Claude said in his annoyingly mellow tones.
That was something Harry really did not like the sound of and could not help glaring at the Master of the city.
"It cannot be helped," the vampire said sympathetically. "I can feel the bloodlust in you. Sooner or later you will have to feed it. I would suggest you allow me to assist in this matter to prevent, shall we say, any unwanted accidents."
It was frustrating when logic told him to do things he did not want to and Harry scowled.
"And what exactly does feeding my vampire entail?" he asked, not at all sure he wanted to know the answer.
"I will find you a willing volunteer," Jean-Claude said simply, "and then I will supervise to make sure nothing untoward occurs."
That sounded so delightful, but what was Harry supposed to say? It wasn't as if he had much choice. He nodded.
"When?" he asked.
"The bloodlust is faint and so I would suggest we allow you to deal with the full moon and recover from its effects first," the vampire said reasonably, "however, I would prefer if one of my people were there to ensure that your vampire nature does not incur any unforeseen problems."
Jean-Claude looked to Anita who gave her consent with a swift twitch of her head. There was definitely something between the two of them, but Harry could not quite work out what. The whole 'ma petite' thing seemed to suggest they were close, but something about the way Anita and Micah were standing together was suggesting things as well, and Harry had never been good at figuring such problems out. It was all too confusing to make sense.
"Asher," the woman said shortly, "he knows the pard well enough to be accepted. I'll ask Damian to stay as well."
"As you wish, ma petite," the Master of the City replied.
Harry knew there were going to be more questions and more unpleasant memories, but he hoped they would at least let him eat first. There was an enticing smell coming from just outside the door, and Harry felt his mouth watering. As if reading his mind, Micah turned towards the door.
"Food's here," was the wereleopard's announcement.
"Can't it wait?" Dolph did not sound particularly impressed with the interruption.
"Lycanthropes need to eat after shifting, Dolph," Anita was giving the police officer a look that suggested to Harry there could be an argument brewing. "It's full moon tonight, so if you want this settled in a civilised manner I'd let the kid eat. If you make me shoot him because he decides that you're lunch I will never speak to you again."
It would have been funny if the expression on Anita's face hadn't been so serious. Harry wasn't sure he'd ever feel the need to eat anyone, but as he considered it his stomach gave another loud growl and made everyone look at him.
"Not going to go mental, promise," he said and did his best to look harmless.
These people were strange, and they reacted the way he remembered people reacting during the war. He wasn't sure he wanted to know what made them like that.
"I'll get the tray then," Micah decided as Dolph and Anita glared at each other.
End of Chapter 4
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