Chapter 3: And If I Feel a Rage, I
Won’t Deny It
was gone by the time Rosmerta woke up the next morning. The house seemed unnaturally still. Even Fang was quiet, curled up in a sunny
patch of the living room, dozing. She
washed and dressed in silence. The cool
September air caressed her cheeks as she flew to the tavern.
still loves her, she thought, her
heart turning to lead. Why else
would he go see her? But he didn’t
sound very happy. Maybe she won’t take
him back. But why would he have stayed
the night then? Rosmerta’s mind
kept going around and around these thoughts like a Sneakascope at a Death
Eater’s picnic. She didn’t realize she
was brooding until Russell Banges waved a hand in front of her face.
Rosmerta, did you Apparate to the moon and leave your body behind? You’re acting quite peculiar today.” He gave her a quizzical look as he shoveled
a handful of crisps into his mouth and chewed rather enthusiastically, crumbs
conglomerating in the corner of his mouth.
Rosmerta said, shaking her head.
“Sorry, I didn’t get much sleep last night.” She offered him a feeble
smile as she refilled his tankard.
you don’t have to brag,” Russell teased, a slight edge to his words.
know, didn’t get much sleep…what sort of things prevent someone from getting a
good night’s sleep…” Russell gave her a lusty wink before biting savagely into
his corned beef sandwich. Now the crisp
crumbs were joined by a glob of mustard.
Rosmerta huffed, pursing her lips. She
kept her eyes on the bar top, polishing it with a cloth until it gleamed. She had to do something to occupy her hands,
as the urge to grab Russell’s napkin and wipe the corner of his mouth was
becoming rather overwhelming. “Is that
all you men ever think about?”
teasing. You sure look like someone who
was tossing and turning all night—and not in a good way.” Russell surveyed her over the brim of his
tankard as he drank his ale. “Trouble
in paradise?” he asked mildly, toying with his remaining crisps. The hard edge
was gone from his voice, replaced with a hungry curiosity.
Rosmerta replied automatically.
“Yes. I don’t know. I don’t wish to discuss it right now.” She closed her expression like a window
before an impending rainstorm. “Please
excuse me. I have to check something in
the kitchen.” She set the cloth aside
and moved from behind the bar.
Russell said, swiveling on his stool as he finally wiped his mouth with a
napkin. He grasped her forearm lightly
before she brushed past him. “Anytime
you want to talk, you let me know. Just
talk,” he reiterated, releasing her arm and holding up his hands. “That’s all I’m going to say.” He turned
around and resumed eating his lunch, but as she made her way to the kitchen,
she thought she felt his eyes on her, watching every move she made.
day wore on. Rosmerta went home in
between the lunch and dinner shift to take Fang for a walk. She decided to make blackberry scones for
dessert that night with the last of the summer’s crop. It was his favorite and a part of her wanted
to show Max just what he was missing if he decided to do something
foolish. All during the dinner shift,
she looked up expectantly whenever the door opened, expecting Max to walk
through it and join her for dinner, perhaps bearing a bouquet of “I’m Sorry”
owl arrived at half past seven with a note for her.
working late again tonight. I need to
use my computer, so I’m going to stay at my flat. I’ll see you soon.
crumpled the note and flung it into the fireplace. She took a savage pleasure in watching the flames consume the
parchment, reducing it to smoldering ash.
All of the calm acceptance she had amassed last night burned in time
with the piece of paper. He never
stayed at his flat. Working late again
her right foot. Love, Max. Love. He had some nerve using that word.
Wednesday evening, Rosmerta was so mad that she could barely perform the most
routine spells without wreaking havoc.
Twice the stove spewed forth flames, singeing her apron, and when she
tried to do the dishes, a small ocean of water and foam splashed over the sink
and soaked her new purple suede heels, causing Rosmerta to swear so loudly that
Cleo Belmar came running into the kitchen to see if she was all right. To her patrons she projected a cool sort of
politeness, but they must have sensed the vibe emanating from her because no
one dared to complain that the gravy was lumpy or their chicken overcooked. Even the night crowd that arrived to listen
to the Wednesday night Quidditch broadcast could tell that the mood was less
than festive. No one protested much
when Rosmerta closed the tavern at eleven, well before the game ended.
Rosmerta approached her house that evening, she saw a light in the living
room. Came crawling back, did he? she
thought nastily as she alighted from her broom and stalked inside the house,
shoes squishing slightly.
was on the couch reading from a scroll.
Parchment, inkbottles and quills were heaped on the coffee table in
front of him. When he saw her, a smile
softened his rather exhausted looking features. Setting aside the scroll, he stretched, got to his feet and
crossed the living room.
missed you,” he murmured into her ear as he folded her into an embrace. Rosmerta kept her arms by her side. After a second or two, Max pulled back, his
hands on her shoulders. Rosmerta
crossed her arms over her chest and looked up at him, a stony expression on her
have to do better than that,” she said, each word falling from her lips like a
snowflake, soft and cold.
Max sighed in a weary sort of way.
“Let’s not have a row.” He
leaned in to kiss her but she turned her head.
I’m dreadfully sorry if this is an inconvenient time for you.” Her voice had
taken on a dangerously pleasant quality of a psychotic game show hostess.
I’ve been incredibly busy this week.
Come off it, don’t be angry.”
now he was ordering her around on how she should feel? Somewhere in
the back of her brain, a warning light was flashing. Like a clabbert, it tried to tell her of the impending danger but
she ignored it. She knew Max was
capable getting angry, really angry, and that little voice was telling her to
stop talking before she found out what it was like being on the receiving end
of that anger. But like a child with a
loose tooth, she couldn’t stop poking her tongue into that sore spot until she
had nudged the damn thing out.
you tired, darling? Shall I sit quietly
in a corner and keep my mouth shut and smile as if I’ve been hit with a bloody
Cheering Charm until you are ready to bestow your attention upon me? Would that please you, my love?” She gave him a smile that curled her lips
and showed too many teeth.
tipped his head back and looked at ceiling, most likely to disguise the rolling
of his eyes. He looked back down at
her. “What is the matter with you
tonight? You’re acting like a—”
a what?” Rosmerta shrieked back. Bitch.
Harpy. Shrew. Fury.
She’d heard them all before but she thought she would die before Max
said one of those words to her. “Say
you’ve been hit with a Cockamamie Curse.
All angry, illogical and …Wait,” Max’s expression cleared and the beginnings
of a sympathetic smile appeared. “Is it
that time…with your lunar cycle…Do you need some chocolate or crisps or
wasn’t sure if she wanted to laugh or scream.
She made a noise that was somewhere between the two. “I’ll thank you very much to stop
patronizing me!” she snarled.
not patronizing you! I’m trying to
figure out what you’re so hacked off about.
Is it because I was at my flat last night and didn’t let you know ‘til
you at your flat? Or did you lie to me
again?” Her shouting made Fang look up
from where he was curled up in front of the fire. The dog whined and slapped his tail on the floor a few times but
she ignored him.
“Oh.” He fell silent. “I don’t want to get into this right now. Ros, you’re getting all worked up over
nothing,” he said as her face went from upset to apoplectic, “Just…can we
please discuss it in the morning? Come
began rubbing her shoulders and arms as if her tension would just dissolve
under his touch. He was so close,
moving slowly to bridge the space between them. His hands began moving toward her neck. Most likely he was going to continue giving her a massage but the
memory of an argument past, of a looming presence and of hands closing around
her throat, of hands trying to knock her unconscious reared up so vividly she
thought her heart stopped. A cold surge
of adrenaline flooded her body and all that mattered at that moment was
you dare touch me! Don’t you ever
touch me again!” she yelled, jerking from his grasp, knocking his hands away
and backing up against the wall.
He advanced on her and in a panic she swiped at him, clipping him across the
cheek. He recoiled and stared at her as
if she had been possessed.
paused for a moment, horrified at what she had done. She took one look at his face and fled to the bedroom, slamming
the door behind her. At the sound of
their arguing, Fang started barking.
Max pounded on the bedroom door.
I’ve done it. Rosmerta cowered on the bed, clutching her
knees to her chest, biting down on her knuckles as the bedroom door
vibrated. He’s going to kill
me. He’s actually going to kill me. Fear had taken over her, but the small part
of her mind that was still thinking clearly realized that she was the one who
was angry, not Max.
knocking stopped. “I can just use Alohomora,”
he said in a rather practical, if slightly annoyed, tone over the sound of
I can use a Stunning Spell!”
came Max’s muffled shout from behind the door.
“Once you’re acting like a rational human being again, we’ll talk.”
buried her head in her pillow and quietly sobbed herself to sleep.
next morning Rosmerta awoke, not quite remembering when or how she had
slept. Her mouth felt fuzzy and her
head was pounding. Peering blearily
around the room with dry and itching eyes, she saw by the clock that it was
nearly six in the morning. She was
still in her robes from the night before.
Feeling grubby and exhausted she replayed the fight she had with Max a
few hours ago. Damn it! What was the matter with her?
not Ares. He’s not Ares, she told herself.
He’s not. He’s not.
ashamed of her behavior, she crept out of her room, intending to freshen up in
the bathroom before facing Max. She
wouldn’t blame him if he had left during the night never to return. A strange noise made her pause before going
into the bathroom. She peeked into the
living room to find Max sprawled out on the couch, lightly snoring and
partially covered with a blanket. He
hadn’t bothered with an Engorgement Charm and he was contorted into what looked
to be a rather uncomfortable position.
it was the noise of Queenie scratching up Max’s many scrolls and parchments
that drew her attention. It appeared as
if the Fwooper had spent the better part of the pre-dawn hours clawing
everything to shreds. And any piece of
parchment bigger than a Galleon, Queenie had used to do her business.
saw Rosmerta and gave a little bob, looking quite pleased with herself, like a
cat offering a dead bird to its master.
Fang cracked an eye and quickly closed it again, looking rather guilty
about his poor performance as a guard dog.
“Queenie! Bad girl!
“Huh? Wha’?” Max jerked awake and nearly slipped
off the couch.
gave one last scratch with her talons and flew up to her perch where she
strutted about before settling down.
saw Queenie’s handiwork and swore, tumbling off the couch and onto his
knees. He was fully awake now, but he
looked tired and defeated as he picked up bits of parchment, not quite
believing what he was seeing. The
parchment fragments fluttered from his hands like pathetic confetti from a
lousy party. There was something so
disheartening as he surveyed the damage that Rosmerta forgot to feel
embarrassed or angry. She rushed to his
side and began helping him gather up the torn sheets.
am going to sell you to Scrivenshaft's,”
Rosmerta hissed at her bird. “See how
you like your tail feathers pulled out for quills and sold for five Galleons
apiece!” Queenie stretched her feathers
and settled her head underneath her wing, giving Rosmerta a haughty sort of
look. You’re welcome, you ungrateful
human, she seemed to say.
Rosmerta used a combination of Vanishing Charms and Scourgify to clean
up the parchment, Max used a modified Reparo Charm to get the pages to become
whole again. They worked in silence
except for the muttering of spells, avoiding each other’s eyes. After twenty minutes they had managed to
erase all of Queenie’s hard work.
make some tea?” Rosmerta quickly glanced at Max before returning her gaze to
if you have it. Thanks. I’ll take Fang out,” he added, since Fang
was now awake and pacing around the back door.
down, Rosmerta went into the kitchen and busied herself with the coffee. She heard the back door open and then close
a few minutes later. She returned to
the living room with two steaming mugs to find Max, scratching Fang behind his
ears. In silence, she handed Max his
mug. Max opened his mouth, presumable
to ask about cream and sugar, but one glance at his mug told him that Rosmerta
had prepared his coffee exactly the way he liked it. She settled on the loveseat and watched him on the couch.
last night,” Rosmerta began, glancing at his cheek. She was relieved to see that she hadn’t left a mark. “I never should have…reacted like that. It was inexcusable.”
didn’t get me too bad. I think I can
find it in my heart to forgive you.” He gave her a crooked smile but then he
shook his head at her. “What got into
you last night?”
took a deep, shuddering breath, feeling sick.
She opened and closed her mouth several times before the words could
make their way out. “It’s just
that…well…your temper. It…frightens me
sometimes,” she said in a shaky voice to her coffee.
temper? I wasn’t the one shouting and
slapping people last night,” Max replied, sounding like he was trying very hard
to keep the sarcasm in check but some of it leaked into his tone.
flushed crimson and continued staring into her mug. “No,” she replied evenly, mustering up every ounce of
courage. “But I’ve seen you get angry
before and…well, last night I thought I was making you angry and I—I
was…afraid,” Rosmerta shook her head, unable to form her dark thoughts into
words. She set aside her mug, sloshing
coffee on her hand, burning it. She
pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes to stop the tears before they even
got a chance to start. After a moment
she opened her eyes and look directly at Max.
Max squinted at her. “Afraid? No.
Oh…no, no, no,” he said. He set his coffee aside and crossed over to the
loveseat. Enveloping her in his arms,
he rocked her as if she was a sick child.
She wrapped her arms around the back of his neck and buried her face in
his shoulder, breathing the scent of him in through his t-shirt. He was grubby and unwashed and yet the smell
of him made her homesick, even though he was sitting right beside her.
never do that, ever. Ever. Not
ever.” he repeated over and over again.
He got one hand underneath her chin and tilted it up. “How could you even think that?” His hazel eyes searched her blue ones. “Ros, you have to believe me and this is the
last time I’m going to say this: I.
Will. Never. Cheat on you. And I will never leave you either. Never.”
could she tell him what she was really afraid of? To say it aloud…that would make it real instead of the bad dream
she often pretended those years had been.
And what would Max think of her if she told him everything? The Silencing Charms and confiscation of her
wand when she talked too much or demanded answers for questions Ares didn’t
feel like answering. Hit with the Full
Body-Bind and left on the floor in Ares’ study for a day or so to “teach her a
lesson” after a row. Jostle Jinxes,
Stinging Hexes, Constricting Curses.
didn’t want to argue that he had missed the point. He had come close enough.
She just gave him a weak smile, shook her head and returned her cheek to
his chest and stared across the living room.
“I hate fighting,” she said to his chest. “I hate it so much.”
couples fight at some point. Just
because we have one row doesn’t mean we’re doomed. Have a little faith.”
Rosmerta shook her head slightly. “I
don’t mean a little tiff over who put the empty pumpkin juice container back in
the refrigerator or who was supposed to owl who. I mean I hate yelling and shouting. I hate it. I hate
it. It frightens me to death.”
your parents fight a lot?”
Rosmerta shook her head and gave a hollow chuckle. “I never saw them in the same room long enough to do that.”
both grew quiet for a while. Rosmerta
had almost dozed off when Max’s voice broke the stillness.
father passed away several years ago, didn’t he?” he asked out of the
blue. “What did he die of?”
“Hmmm? Liver cancer, quick and painful.” Rosmerta frowned. “Why do you ask? Are
George and Grace all right?”
long pause followed and then Rosmerta felt Max’s exhaled breath ruffle her
hair. “Alice’s mum is sick. Breast
cancer, end stage. She asked me if…if I
could help. Thought magic could cure
her. I tried to explain to her that I’m
not a Healer and even if I were, there are limitations to magical medicine and
with the Statue of Secrecy I might not be allowed to help. She wasn’t hearing any of it. Accused me of not helping because I was still
angry about the divorce. It got
ugly. Really ugly.”
looked up. She reached for his hand and
twined her fingers with his but didn’t say anything.
shouted things…terrible things. But the
worst part was, she was right.” He ran
his free hand over her hair, absentmindedly winding a lock of it around his
the thing is,” Max continued, “you think I’m a good person. And I like that you think that. But the truth of the matter is that I’m not
a good person—or at least, I’m not a very nice person. I can be a real asshole. I know that. I thought by visiting Alice, maybe even helping, I could somehow
make all the things right that I’ve done wrong in my life. Make peace with her and…go out on a high
note. And that would balance things out
that I’ve done in my life, make me a better person. Because I don’t ever want to be an asshole to you. But I guess it’s a little too late for that,
huh?” He gazed down at her,
disappointment settling over his features.
glanced up at him, puzzled. Whatever
she was expecting from him, that certainly hadn’t been it. “You’re not a…you know. Or—why don’t we call it a draw?” she
murmured, a feeling of exhaustion settling over her. “Just promise me that if we ever argue again that you get angry
with me…but not at me, all right?”
he replied, sounding a little confused.
Rosmerta purred, hugging him tightly.
“Now that we’ve made up, you know what I feel like doing?”
a nap. It’s only half past six. We could get in a good two, maybe three
hours of sleep…you could go into work late.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a little lie-down?”
thought you’d never ask,” Max groaned.
“That couch is no where near as comfortable as your bed. I promise to never complain about your pink
comforter again.” He sat up, gently dislodging
her, and scribbled something on a piece of parchment.
this to Ed,” his instructed Rosenkrantz as he tied the parchment to his owl’s
leg. “And I’m still annoyed with you,”
he said to Queenie who was watching with one sleepy eye. Queenie turned around and presented him with
Max trudged off to the bedroom.
Rosmerta paused to send the mostly undrunk coffee back to the
kitchen. She glared half-heartedly at
her pet. “He must really love me if he
puts up with you,” she muttered, rubbing Queenie’s head before joining Max in a
collaboration of sweet dreams.
looked around the kitchen at Grimmauld Place Sunday evening. So these are the people I’ll be working
with, Maddie thought. What does
Dumbledore have in store for us?
herself and her girls there were Remus, Sirius, Tonks, Moody, and a young witch
with dark hair. Hestia, Maddie thought
her name was. They were waiting for
Dumbledore and the American witch to arrive.
had procured tea and after a flurry of requests to pass around the milk, sugar
and lemon wedges, they all lapsed into an uneasy silence.
dear.” Maddie began. “You’re an Auror, yes? Have you caught many vampires over the
course of your career?”
not really,” she said with a shake of her head. Today her hair was bright pink.
“I only just qualified last year.”
to work on her stealth and tracking before she goes hunting down vampires,”
Moody said in a low, admonishing tone, like a coach providing critique after a
poor game performance. Tonks blushed
and looked at her bright purple fingernails.
There was another long, silent pause.
Remus,” Maddie continued, feeling like the hostess of a disastrous dinner
party, “you taught Defense Against the Dark Arts. Do you have a lot of experience with vampires?”
gave her a thin smile. Maddie thought
he seemed less than pleased by Selena, who had managed to sidle into a seat
next to him with an expression on her face like the cat that ate the augury. “I’m afraid most of my practical
applications in the Dark Arts is limited to fighting Death Eaters. And, of course, being a dark creature is
another one of my many qualifications.”
He gave her a lopsided grin.
I didn’t mean to imply…” Maddie faltered, not sure what to say.
do you know about vampires, Miss Maddie?” Sirius asked abruptly, surveying her
dealt with a few vampires in my day. We
get all sorts at the Lair,” Maddie replied, taking a sip of tea. She was glad to get a chance to keep the
conversation going. “Customers as well
sort of ‘types’ do you mean?” Hestia asked, wrinkling her nose.
part lorelei,” Selena drawled, tossing her pale blonde hair over her
shoulder. The rest of the table turned
to look at her. “Right now we have a
banshee, two harpies, and a veela. In
the past we’ve had a couple of werewolves, a succubus, dwarves, hags, and
goblins,” she said as if she was cataloguing a list of attractions at a
about all of them are mixed bloods, so some of the more dangerous instincts
are…quelled,” Maddie quickly explained.
“Still, I have to look out for the safety of my employees and my
patrons. I make it my business to know
how to handle various...beings. Rose
and Isis,” Maddie nodded at them, “and a few others are old hats and know what
to do in case any situations arise. I
prefer to have the Ministry keep its nose out of our business as much as
possible. The villagers aren’t fond of
the Lair, but they tolerate us so long as we keep to ourselves and there aren’t
there been any incidents?” Remus asked with a frown.
sighed and stirred her tea. “Yes,
though they’re few and far between.
Since I’ve been running the Lair the Ministry has had to step in only
once and that was enough. We prefer to
handle things…in house.” Maddie gave
him a tight smile and set her cup down with a delicate clink. “Of course, given the clientele, it is in
everyone’s benefit that all matters be handled as discreetly as possible.”
happened that brought the Ministry in?” Remus asked.
gave him a twisted smile. “Ironically
enough, it involved a vampire. It
happened a long time ago. A vampire—one
of my employees—bit and killed a client.
She had been good for months and then…” Maddie shook her head. “He was with a group of friends, so there
was no way of hiding what had happened.
To make matters worse, he was the nephew of a prominent Ministry member,
so the punishment was swift and brutal.”
did they do?” Remus asked, leaning forward on the table.
tied her to a stake in the village square and waited for sunrise.” Maddie said simply.
gave snort of disgust into his teacup but Remus and Tonks exchanged worried
was the Ministry member?” Hestia asked.
was the Assistant to the Head of the Department for the Regulation and Control
of Magical Creatures—Temperance Palltree.”
“Palltree?” Moody growled. “I knew her when she was Head of the Committee
for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures.
Had to deal with her on a few cases.
Real enthusiastic about her job.
Ministry forced her to quit around ’70, ’71 after she ordered the
beheading of several prizing winning show-hippogriffs.”
“Short, unpleasant woman with curly blonde hair? Looks like the love child of a slug and a
Moody suppressed a snort of laughter and nodded. “That’s her. She had a sister who was a file clerk in the Spirit Division,
Ruemara. Must’ve been her kid what was
Palltree woman sounds as pleasant as Dolores Umbridge,” Sirius interjected.
“Harry’s written about her. Says she
makes Mum look down right sweet.”
Umbridge is a horrible, narrow-minded hag,” Remus burst out with
uncharacteristic venom. “Who won’t be
happy until she exterminates every non-magical being with human or near human
intelligence.” He turned his teacup
around and around in circles as if trying to calm himself down.
sneaky about it too. First, it was all
the anti-werewolf legislation, ‘for your own safety and protection’,” Remus
mimicked in a mincing falsetto. “She
formed a law that reduced the number of acres of forest for centaur herds, ‘oh
deary me, budget restrictions! Wouldn’t
want the Ministry to raise taxes that people pay to take care of a few
horsies ’,” he said in that same falsetto.
“And I heard the last thing she was working on before she left office
was something to do with rounding up and tagging merpeople, as if that wasn’t a
waste of good gold. And now she’s at
Hogwarts—teaching! Spreading her poison
to the students is more like it.”
she certainly does not live up to the high standard that you set, Remus,”
Dumbledore said from the foot of the stairs.
“Then again, she has only been in the classroom for two weeks, so
perhaps she should be given the benefit of the doubt. However, I must confess
that my optimism is rapidly dwindling.”
stepped into the kitchen, followed by a woman around the same age as Sirius and
everyone is here. This is Miss Diana
Waxwaine. She just arrived this
afternoon.” Everyone assembled
introduced themselves in turn.
left my trunk in the entrance hall; I hope that’s all right,” she addressed
heaved a disgusted sigh. “I’d better
make sure Kreacher doesn’t—”
Diana asked. “What sort of creature?”
with a ‘K’. He’s the house-elf.”
Diana’s eyes widened with interest.
“I’ve never seen a house-elf before.
We don’t have them in the States.
Could I meet him?”
me, you’d be better off avoiding that annoying little toerag at all costs,”
Sirius grumbled, ignoring Dumbledore’s frown.
“I’d better move your trunk before Kreacher chucks your clothes out the
window on the pretext that he’s putting them away. You are staying here, right?” Sirius cast a hopeful look at
sorry, Sirius, but Diana will be living in Hogsmeade,” Dumbledore replied, with
just a note of apology in his voice.
“It is not that I fear for Diana’s virtue were she to share living
quarters with you and Remus, but it makes much more sense for her to be
stationed in the village.”
looked like he was about to argue, but he shrugged his shoulders instead. “All right.
Excuse me while I make sure your trunk is out of the way.” Shoving his
hair off his eyes, Sirius swept past them and bounded up the stairs.
and Diana settled themselves at the table and Remus offered them tea.
you do drink tea over here, don’t you?” Diana said in an amused voice, looking
into her cup as if she was trying to read the leaves.
they waited for Sirius to rejoin them, Maddie looked over the new member. She was of medium height and her body was
compact; it was the sort of sinewy thinness that was cultivated by discipline
rather than deprivation, like a greyhound in top racing form. Everything about her appearance was in soft,
neutral earth tones, from her light brown eyes flecked with green and gold, to
her shoulder-length hair the color of toffee, to her crisply pressed khaki
trousers, white button down shirt and polished brown boots. Except for the lovely faun-colored traveling
cloak she wore, Maddie would have taken the woman to be an ordinary Muggle.
is a highly regarded barrister in the States,” Dumbledore began when Sirius
returned to the kitchen. “She
specializes in non-human rights, particularly laws pertaining to vampires. She used to teach at the Salem Academy of
Magic— Beasts and Beings was the name of the class, was it not?” Dumbledore looked over at her and Diana gave
a quick affirmative nod.
is currently involved in a vampire social program, which I am sure she will
tell you all about much more eloquently than I could. Diana,” Dumbledore yielded the floor to her.
Thank you,” Diana nodded, getting to
her feet. She placed an elegant,
well-used, brown leather briefcase on the table, opened it and pulled out a
stack of parchment. She distributed
what appeared to be a small booklet to everyone assembled. Maddie flipped through it idly; it contained
a lot of numbers and charts and looked quite boring.
begin,” Diana said crisply. “These
pamphlets explain the history and work to date of V.A.M.P., as well as our
future aims and goals. I’ll leave you
to peruse them on your own time and if there are questions, they can be asked
at the end of the meeting. I have a
short presentation that summarizes our organization quite well.”
Moody asked, sounding suspicious.
V.A.M.P.—the Vampire Assimilation and Management Program.” Diana tapped her wand three times against
the table and a beam of light shot at the opposite wall, forming what looked
like a screen with the letters and words spelled out. She flicked her wand and the next slide appeared.
is a non-profit group and our mission is to provide the resources vampires need
to become viable members of the magical community. We accomplish this in the following way.” Diana continued
flicking her wand so that new slides kept appearing at a brisk pace.
we provide them with counseling, both individual and family, so that they can
come to terms with and fully understand their condition. We also have a peer-mentoring program where
we match a newly created vampire with an older one. There are also job placement services, so that vampires can
regain a sense of autonomy, and a legal division, which I head up. Our organization helps vampires see that
just because they’re dead doesn’t mean that they still can’t have a productive,
we set up arrangements for alternative blood sources so they don’t have to
obtain it from living humans. We have
agreements with Gully slaugh—“
know…Gullies. Non-magic people. What do you call them over here?”
charming,” Diana said, eager to press on with her presentation. “As I was saying, we have arrangements with
Gully slaughterhouses through our—“
Rose blurted out. “You kill
Diana said shortly. “Animals.” Rose appeared not to hear her and just
continued to stare horror-struck at Diana.
know…animal slaughterhouses?” Diana explained as if trying to teach a toddler
that cows say, “moo.” “Gullies kill
animals for food and we have agreements with people who work at the
slaughterhouses to collect blood. It’s
all detailed on pages six and seven.”
narrowed her eyes, a skeptical expression on her face. After a moment, she flipped open her
pamphlet, but didn’t appear to be reading it as Diana plowed on.
also hold blood drives because vampires do need to drink human blood from time
to time in order to survive. We believe
that by providing vampires with food they will be less inclined to seek it on
their own. This achieves several
objectives, which are detailed on pages ten through twelve. Third—”
a blood drive?” Rose interrupted again.
stopped, looking slightly annoyed. “A
blood drive…you know, where people donate blood.”
what?” Rose’s mouth hung open. “People don’t jus’ give someone their own blood! What kinda sick, twisted, dark magic are you
playin’ at?” A few murmurs of agreement
Diana looked around the table, utterly taken aback. “It’s not dark magic,” was all she managed to muster up as a
a little fishy to me,” Moody muttered, his magical eye now whizzing around in
its socket, taking in Diana and the pamphlets more closely.
think I know what Diana means,” Hestia offered a bit hesitantly. “Muggles don’t have blood replenishing
potions. If a Muggle is injured and
needs blood, their healers actually administer blood that other people have
donated for such a purpose. I’m not
sure how…I think needles are involved.”
disgustin’!” Rose shouted. “Muggles put
blood from one person into another person?
What the bloody hell’s wrong with them?
I think I’m gonna be sick!”
stop interrupting,” Maddie hissed. “I’m
sure there’s a perfectly logical explanation.”
does seem like a bizarre idea,” Sirius offered. “I mean, blood is used in all types of Dark magic. No witch or wizard is going to willingly
hand over their blood to strangers, especially if they know their blood is
going to feed vampires.”
is right,” Moody growled. “I don’t
fancy the idea of willingly giving up my blood to anyone. Too many possibilities for sabotage.”
looked around the room bewildered as if she had no idea why the room was
turning against her. “I had no idea
people over here would be so unfamiliar with non-magical concepts,” she said
slowly, as if realizing for the first time exactly what she was getting
into. She turned to Dumbledore for
help, but he seemed rather interested in his pamphlet.
not a bunch of ignorant trolls if that’s what you mean,” Tonks said
pleasantly. “It’s just that some people
know more about Muggles than others.
And besides, we’re all pretty fast learners.” She smiled at Diana.
said, Nymphadora,” Dumbledore interjected, folding his pamphlet shut. “Perhaps we can debate the merits of magical
blood donations at a later time, after everyone has had a chance to read your
informative pamphlet.” Dumbledore
smiled and nodded, indicating that she should continue.
paused for a minute. She shook her head
slightly and then resumed speaking. “As
I was saying,” she said, working herself back into her groove, “the third goal
of our organization is to lobby for legislation that is anti-discriminatory and
which supports and protects vampires and their families. I would be very interested in learning more
about vampire laws in Great Britain as well as initiating a similar V.A.M.P.
program here. What sort of support
system for vampires do you currently have in place here?”
there’s the Society for the Tolerance of Vampires in London. They’re quite small,” Remus supplied. “Do we know anyone with their organization?”
am not currently involved in the goings on of the club, but I do get their
newsletter. Sturgis is a member
though,” Dumbledore sighed. “I believe
one of his childhood friends is a vampire.
We should make it our priority to work with the S.T.V. this year.”
are we working with vampires again?” Rose asked. “Do we jus’ wanna make sure that they don’
Dumbledore replied. “That is one of the
main reasons. Voldemort has already
begun recruiting for his army. I had
word from Hagrid that Voldemort’s emissaries to the giants over the summer
were, unfortunately, successful. He is
also determined to bring the Dementors to his side as well as the werewolves,
goblins, trolls…any group that has been marginalized by wizarding society. The vampires are one such group.”
second reason is that no one has been able to determine the reasons behind
Voldemort’s apparent immortality. Our
intelligence has come up empty so far.
I have been working through several theories, one of which is that one
or more of Voldemort’s earlier experiments involved vampires and possibly
zombies since both beings possess the quality of immortality, at least
theoretically. I am especially inclined
to lean toward the vampire theory in light of what Harry told me regarding
Voldemort’s appearance after witnessing his rebirth a few months ago.”
you know, vampires drink blood. They
can survive for a while on the blood of animals, but they must occasionally
drink human blood in order to survive.
The older the vampire, the more people they have most likely murdered to
maintain their immortal status. Over
time, a vampire’s appearance changes from resembling a pale, malnourished human
being to something more demonic. It is
thought this gradual change in appearance occurs in order to reflect the evil
in their soul that killing has wrought, an “Essence of Evil” if you will. Anyone who has ever seen a really old
vampire—five hundred years old or so—will note that the skin has moved beyond
pale to pure white, the eyes have turned red, all of the hair on the head and
face has fallen out, the ears become pointed, the fingers elongate and large
wings have sprouted. Such beings are
quite rare, so rare in fact that they are more legend than truth. I do not think Voldemort is a true vampire,
but he may have perverted their condition to suit his own purposes. We are facing the complete unknown.” Dumbledore’s worried look was not
comforting. A chill seemed to go
through the room.
Sirius muttered. “I think I liked it
better when Voldemort was just an evil wizard instead of some sort of giant,
demonic vampire bat.”
started to laugh, but cut it short immediately when she saw everyone’s
reaction. “So, where do we begin?” Diana asked briskly. “If I understand you correctly, Professor
Dumbledore, our mission is threefold.”
She counted the points on her fingers.
“Stop the vampires from joining Voldemort—why does everyone keep
shuddering?“ she asked, rather impatiently.
don’t like to say You-Know-Who’s name,” Hestia explained apologetically.
quite agree, Diana,” Dumbledore said, a smile twitching at his lips. “I hope others will soon follow your
“Right. As I was saying, we need to prevent the
vampires from joining Voldemort, recruit them to our side, and work on
reforming vampire law. A helpful little
acronym to keep our goals in mind is PEAR: Prevent, Enlist, And Reform. I suggest that we use that as a sort of
codeword amongst ourselves, don’t you agree?”
Everyone stared at her for a second before nodding. Maddie wondered how much longer this woman
was going to talk. She was exhausted
just listening to her.
have some ideas as to how we should get started, but I’d like to hear what
everyone thinks.” Diana tapped her wand
against the wall three times and the light went out. She took a seat and produced a quill so quickly she might have
conjured it. Holding it poised over a
pad of parchment, she turned to Dumbledore expectantly.
don’t we begin with the first order of business, namely seeking out vampires
and persuading them not to join Voldemort?
Hestia, Alastor, I believe you can be of assistance with this,”
Dumbledore looked over at Moody.
were never my specialty, but I caught a few in my day. The first thing to do,” Moody growled, “is
to get your hands on all the newspapers you can. Every little village rag you can find. Muggle too. Look for
funny deaths, mutilated animals, or livestock going missing. Chances are it’s the work of a vampire. That’s where you should start. Or I could just pay a visit to an old friend
of mine. Used to hunt vampires in
Diana said sharply. “We don’t want to
know that, missy, but he may have some tracking suggestions.”
check the records at St. Mungo’s,” Hestia volunteered. “Of course, we need to maintain the
strictest patient confidentiality, but based on patterns of deaths and new
infections, I will be able to tell you general locations of where to begin
searching for a vampire colony.”
sort of treatments do you give to people who have been bitten?” Diana asked.
looked sadly at Diana. “I am a Healer,
but I mostly work in the morgue. I
examine people for cause of death. In
the case of those bitten by vampires, if they don’t appear to be fully dead we
call in Aurors who…complete the job.”
mean…you stake them through the heart?” Diana said accusingly, getting quite
policy,” Hestia said apologetically.
“Policy!” Diana exploded. “It’s barbaric is what it is!
Are you people still living in the Middle Ages? We need to change this ‘policy’ pronto. Do vampires have any rights here?”
as Mad-Eye alluded to, vampire hunting is illegal,” Tonks explained. “Aurors are allowed to track and…dispose of
a vampire if it’s suspected of killing a human. Since vampires are dead, they’re not classified as beasts or beings. Or spirits.
Same goes for zombies, although they’re quite rare this far north. Too cold.”
why the hospital has to notify the Aurors whenever we get a newly created
vampire,” Hestia explained. “After a
person is bitten, they have that twenty-four hour period where they transition
from human to vampire. During that
period they’re legally “dead”, so by staking them we’re not technically killing
them. We are just preventing the
completion of the vampire cycle.
However, if a vampire were to come to St. Mungo’s, possessing
consciousness, then we don’t…terminate it.
It’s a tricky policy.”
closed her eyes and shook her head, trying to digest all this information. “I’d like to see everything you have on the
treatment of vampires in Europe.”
believe Alastor and Tiberius Ogden will be able to supply you with the
necessary information,” Dumbledore said.
gave Dumbledore a curt little nod and glanced down at her notebook. “All right, now the people who will be
approaching the vampires are myself, Remus, Moody, and Selena—correct?” Diana looked around the table, matching
faces and names.
Nymphadora Tonks, when she is available,” Dumbledore added.
Diana continued consulting her notebook.
“Moody, you’re a retired Auror…that’s law enforcement…Remus, you taught
Defense Against the Dark Arts, so you’re knowledgeable…and Selena…you’re a
lorelei?” Diana peered at her.
“Yes,” Selena replied. “I suppose it’s to set the
vampires at ease.”
seemed to satisfy Diana. “And Sirius,
what will you be doing?” she asked quite pointedly.
gave her a rather twisted smile.
“Nothing, apparently. Staying in
and making tea. I’m the host with the
most.” He gave a short bark of
can help with research,” Moody said in a low growl.
arched her perfectly groomed eyebrows but made no further comment. “And Miss Harrison…what is your role in all
this? Dumbledore said I’d be working
with you as well.”
Harrison runs an establishment in Hogsmeade with a rather…eclectic collection
of employees,” Dumbledore said with a smile.
“Selena works there, as do Rose and Isis. If we are successful in persuading some of the vampires to join
us, we will offer them the choice of living in the village. This will be the outreach portion of your
program. In Hogsmeade they will have a
place to stay and arrangements will be made for food. Hogsmeade is also an excellent place to overhear gossip. As I said to Sirius, you’ll be staying in
Hogsmeade where you will appear to be nothing more than an American tourist
glanced over at Dumbledore.
“Technically, after that business with the Ministry, I’m not allowed to
employ vampires anymore, but there’s nothing in the decree about letting them
live on the premises. We can ready the
basement in case any of them decide to relocate.”
how do the villagers feel about this?” Remus asked. “They weren’t exactly happy with the events of two years ago.”
happened two years ago?” Diana asked.
were Dementors patrolling the village,” Isis said, speaking for the first time.
were looking for me,” Sirius chimed in with a grim expression. “Supposedly I was going to murder Harry
Potter and the Dementors were sent to capture me.”
safeguards will be put in place, but I think it best if the villagers remain
largely unaware of our plans,” Dumbledore explained. “There are some in Hogsmeade who are sympathetic to our cause,
but we do not want to cause unnecessary panic.
Part of the purpose of our mission is to show that not all vampires are
bad and with proper treatment, there is no reason why they should not be an
integral part of wizarding society.” He
looked at Diana, who nodded with satisfaction.
expect you all to meet at your discretion and to provide periodic reports at
Order meetings,” Dumbledore said.
“Remus, Maddie, Diana, and Alastor— please keep me informed with written
progress reports. I think we are
adjourned, except for Maddie and Diana.
I will be contacting the Order this week to inform them of Diana’s
Patronus after I instruct her how to use it for communication.” Dumbledore nodded at everyone and waited for
the kitchen to clear.
Remus,” Selena cooed, waggling her fingers in a suggestive good-bye. “Looking forward to seeing you again.” Remus gritted his teeth and gave her a brief
wave before marching out of the kitchen, Selena’s throaty chuckle following in
looked Diana up and down when the kitchen had been vacated. “Please don’t take this the wrong way, dear,
but you’re a bit refined for the Lair.
We’re going to have to tart you up a bit if you’re going to work for
me. You’ll be waitressing, of course. Unless you can sing or dance.”
“Actually,” Dumbledore interrupted, sounding slightly
apologetic, “I was thinking that Diana could work for Rosmerta at the Three
“Rosmerta?” A look of concern came over Maddie’s
face. “She’s not part of the Order, is
I think she should be kept out of things,” Maddie said firmly. “No sense in mixing her up with this
business.” Out of the corner of her eye
Maddie could see Rose and Selena exchanging smirks.
does not need to know the details of the Order’s mission, but I think it would
be wise to have a member of the Order at each of the village’s three
taverns. Aberforth will send reports
from the Hog’s Head, you and your employees will be at Lorelei’s Lair and Diana
will be at the Three Broomsticks. I
also think that Diana will assimilate better with the clientele at the Three
exactly do you do at Lorelei’s Layer?” Diana asked her voice tinged with
a little of this and a little of that,” Maddie replied vaguely.
think it is time Diana retired. She has
had a long journey. I have made
arrangements for her to room at the Hog’s Head. I wish to speak with Rosmerta myself, so I would appreciate it,
Maddie, if you would not let on that you know Diana,” Dumbledore said.
right,” she sighed, reluctantly. “I
won’t say anything until Rosmerta mentions her ‘new waitress’ to me. Just—keep an eye on her, will you?” Maddie addressed both Dumbledore and
Diana. “For the first time in a long
while, she’s happy and I don’t want to see her in harm’s way.”
noted,” Dumbledore said politely. “And
now, I’m sure Diana would like a hot meal and a chance to freshen up. Ladies,” he tipped his hat and headed up the
meeting you.” Diana shook hands with
Maddie, and nodded at Isis, Selena and Rose in turn. She gathered up her briefcase and swept up the stairs.
“ Maddie asked when the four of them had Apparated back to the Lair. “What did you ladies think?”
shrugged but Selena grinned, her eyes sparkling with excitement. “I can’t wait,” she murmured. “This is going to be fun.”
Maddie turned to the redhead who had remained silent since asking her many
questions at the meeting.
grimaced and appeared to think for a minute.
“All’s I know is, I ain’t givin’ my blood to no one,” she said firmly. “Mad, Dark Muggle magic,” she muttered,
shaking her head.
were murmurs of agreement from the others but Maddie had the feeling that blood
was just the beginning of the sacrifices Dumbledore was going to ask them to
Thank you to the women of workshop for help with this chapter!
chapter’s title comes from the song, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy by Sarah