Rating: PG13 - NC17
Summary: Ten years have passed and Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny have done nothing but perfect their skills in preparation for their final battle with Voldemort. None of them expected they would run into Snape, let alone did they foresee the price he would demand for his teachings. Well, nobody except maybe Ginny.
Warnings: Blood. Male/Male sexual situations. Language. Rimming. Violence.
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction based in the world created by J.K.Rowling. They aren't mine and I make no money from them. No toes were intentionally stepped on.
Author's notes: Yet another vampire!bonding!fic that every vampire fanatic must write. What can I say, I love vampire fics. Written prior to Deathly Hallows during NaNoWriMo 2006. Spoilers for all books prior but no intended references to the final book.
I'm kind of jumping the gun because momebie is reviewing this right now, but I'm kinda mopey and I just wanted to post something. Thanks so much to asrai99 who has reviewed my story! You are amazing. All mistakes are mine and by all means, let me know if you find any.
Word count: Approximately 4,839 of a total of 54,000
Young Immortals - All Chapters
"Severus, I'm afraid to say it, but you cannot stay here any longer. The people don't understand, even after we explained your part in this most worthy cause." Minerva McGonagall's accent weighed heavy with worry.
"We're putting you into the Sentinel Program and we have a location for you." Kingsley Shacklebolt handed Severus a set of Muggle papers—far too smooth and uniform in his hands. He scanned the first page, then the second and looked up at the two Order leaders before him.
"You wish to send me off to Austria to rot?" It wasn't so much a question as his eyes pierced them with accusation.
"Now, Severus." Minerva laid a calming hand on his arm, which he yanked away in spite. "The Sentinels are very important, especially now that Voldemort has fled." She tsked to herself and Severus Snape sneered in return.
What had these people thought? That the Dark Lord would remain in the open while his Horcruxes were being destroyed one by one? Even infected with insanity and megalomania, he had more of a survival instinct than that. Did they think he had been sorted into Slytherin by simple chance?
And damn that Harry Potter. Incompetent brat. If only he had listened to Severus, but the young fool had thought he knew best, as all headstrong teenagers seem to. Voldemort had escaped and Severus' cover was blown and now he had to hide himself away from the world in the bitter Alpine cold. Hidden away like something shameful. Severus hated being the secret nobody wanted to keep.
"The manor is quite extensive, there is a laboratory in the basement, and we'll set up a support Floo to send you any necessary items you might need," Kingsley explained.
"Wonderful," Severus mumbled to himself, "They have my exile meticulously planned out."
And he had left as they had arranged, because he had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. He would fade away into obscurity, a watchdog tucked away in a mountain of rock, waiting for the Dark Lord to show himself. Severus laughed a dark, bitter laugh, and immediately regretted it.
"Ah, the filthy man laughs. Laugh, little man. Laugh at your decay!" The screech sliced through the empty halls of the manor house, fluttering the molding tapestries and causing the layers of dust to shift and stir. "Expel your last breath with that laugh, because nothing could amuse me more than your death."
Severus rose from his chair, hunched over with his long, gray hair shielding his face from the luminescent woman who slipped through the bookcase to his left, startling the silverfish dining within.
"Leave me be, apparition," Severus snapped at her, his old baritone now feeble, laced with creak and wheeze.
"This old house holds nothing but ghosts," she giggled, high and irregular. The ghost appeared to be a young woman, buxom and dressed in a full gown; her misty hair, a wild tornado floating around her head. "Ghosts and the living dead. Let it all putrefy, just like your old and shriveled heart."
She swirled around Severus, lightly rustling the air around him. He batted her away like a buzzing fly. One of these days, when he drew up the energy to actually care, he would brew up a potion so foul it would rend her spirit in two. He would trap one half in the portrait of Saint Sebastian--that righteous little martyr always whined about the pain--and the other in the attic with the ghouls. That should keep the resentful bitch amused.
He shuffled past the fireplace—the Floo long dormant due to lack of upkeep—and accidentally caught his reflection in the full-length mirror set in the wall beside it.
A feeble, old man stared back at him, a stranger with skin the shade of maggot bellies and wrinkled like a crumpled, linen suit. The gummy eyes held no light and the ever present scowl no humor.
"Not lookin' so good, are ya, hun?" said the mirror in a sweet, Midwestern American accent.
He should have shattered that mirror years ago.
"I will taste you. Slurp your blood. Nibble your flesh. Suck out your…" The frenzy of taunts ended in a squelching thump followed by a series of gurgling noises as the kobold slumped to the floor, a thick shaft of wood embedded in its temple.
"Well," said Ron dryly, "that was impressive."
"A chair leg?" Harry was scandalized. "You killed it with a chair leg?"
Hermione dusted the dirt off her blue jeans. "Well, I had it on hand. All this furniture is rubbish anyway." She gestured to the piles of broken chairs and tables littered across the floor and kicked at an old copper tea pot. It rolled a few rotations away before it rocked itself to stillness.
Ginny, however, was applauding. "I thought it was brilliant. Bravo!"
"A chair leg?" Harry whined.
"Yeah," Ron piped in, "couldn't you have tried something a little more… flashy?" He turned his body around, scanning the room for something with some flash. After he faced Hermione again, he lifted his wand and shook it at her, as if in reminder that such at thing actually existed.
"Mundane got the job done, Ron. Now come on, I'm hungry. Whose turn is it to cook?" Blatantly, she stared at Ron, with Ginny's own gaze joining hers. Neither looked impressed.
Ron's eyes darted around aimlessly, avoiding the women. He started whistling a flat tune as he stuffed his hands in his back pockets.
"A chair leg?" Harry said once more, still staring at the corpse. Little islands of brain matter and skull fragments were populating an ever growing pool of blood.
"Yes, Harry, a chair leg," Hermione said frustrated, arms akimbo, obviously ready to be done with the conversation.
He tore his gaze away from the expanding blood lake. "But, you don't expect to take down Voldemort with a chair leg, do you?" Harry asked.
"Well, probably not. But remember, we did take down …"
"…a troll in our first year with Wingardium Leviosa," they all finished for her.
"Oh, do shut up." Her hair tossed about as she scolded them. "Ron, you're on for dinner. And I am sick of macaroni and cheese; I want something with substance." Hermione grabbed her bag and tromped out of the dilapidated house; her sturdy boots crossing the plank wood floor caused echoes to rebound through the empty rooms.
"Ginny." Ron had that tone to his voice that suggested he was ready to beg and would do anything to get what he wanted. She returned his plea with a blank look. "Will you do dinner tonight?"
"I did your last dinner Ron, so no, I won't." She turned and lifted an arm in a departing wave, and left the building, too.
"Harry?" Ron began.
"A chair leg?"
"Fucking hell, Harry. Get. Over. It." Ron took a deep breath. "Please."
"Yeah, I suppose," he said, a heavy sigh lending a touch of defeat to words. "Ron, do you think we're doing any good? I mean, getting any better? Last week Ginny took out a Pogribin by pushing it down the stairs. Sure, none of us much cared at the time, but… magic, Ron. Aren't we supposed to be wizards? We might as well pull out our pistols and dress in chain mail, leave our wands on our night stands." Harry kicked at the kobold's body with his boot releasing a stench so strong it turned his stomach. Together they darted out of the room.
"Harry, does it really matter how we complete the job as long as we get it done? Think of this as a way to test our improvisational skills. We can kill with any tool, mundane or magical. Isn't that good?" Ron offered a cheeky grin.
Ron was right and Harry knew it. They'd been traveling all over the world studying under various masters and taking on odd eradication and detection jobs for the last ten years, just waiting to hear word that Voldemort had resurfaced and they could finally kill the bastard and get on with their lives. Any skill they could improve upon helped them in their final cause and being able to kill with odd kitchen implements probably rated just as high as tossing off a few Sectumsempras at 'their enemies.'
Still, there just wasn't as much dignity in braining something with a chair leg.
"So, will you do my dinner?" Ron finally asked, dragging Harry out of his head space.
"Okay. Yeah, sure."
"Yes? Thanks mate! I owe you." Ron slapped him on the back as they descended the stairs from the second floor, remembering to skip the third step that was rotting away.
"Sure as hell you do, you owe me… what is it now, seven dinners? Not that I'm keeping track."
"But you like cooking," Ron informed him.
"So what? Doesn't mean I want to do it all the time." Harry picked up the bag that he'd tossed to the floor when the kobold had attacked. They each had one. Ginny called them their Battle Bags and they held a menagerie of death dealing tools, as well as a few incarceration instruments such as handcuffs and blindfolds. Each also had a reduced broom, a Sig .45 German pistol, an emergency set of potions and a back-up wand. It was a mix of magic and Muggle and was constantly being modified and improved upon.
Harry and Ron left the abandoned country house and found Hermione and Ginny leaning against an old willow tree that grew beside the dirt road leading back towards a small village. Small flowers bloomed in the high grass. Hermione had a book out and was reading a page halfway through it. The years hadn't been kind to any of them, but in these moments when they were all relaxed, Harry could remember what they were like when they were kids, when life had been less tedious and a future had seemed a possibility.
Then he snorted. When as a child had he ever thought a future was a real possibility? He had constantly lived in fear of dying, if not from a rogue bludger then from the unceasing pursuit by a very focused madman.
"So Harry, Ron talk you into cooking?" Ginny asked. Her eyes were closed as she faced away towards the setting sun that highlighted a few thin clouds in pinks and purples.
"Yes," he said.
"Good." Hermione let out a relieved sigh, eyes still pacing along the print on the page. "Shall we stop by the market then?"
"Since we have nothing in the larder, we need to. How do shepherd's pie, fresh bread and strawberry cheesecake sound?"
Hermione looked up from her book and beamed at Harry. "You know I love you best, right?" She tucked her book away into a pocket and stood.
Harry laughed. He loved his friends so much it often made his heart ache, and he offered thanks to every pantheon of gods he could think of that they hadn't abandoned him on this quest years ago. "Only 'cause I keep you fed."
"Well, all this fighting evil works up an appetite," she said as she patted her flat belly.
"And none of us can cook worth shite," added Ron.
The four friends laughed as they walked down the lane lined with little, yellow blooms to the village they'd been calling home for the last six weeks. They'd been sleeping on the floor of a renovated barn, sharing the kitchen with the wizard who had been teaching them spells ranging from tracking charms to dismemberment curses. These days they took any training they could get.
Often their Mentor of the Month—another of Ginny's title creations—would send them on 'chores,' usually involving dispatching some nasty beasty that was terrorizing the locals. It provided a nice break to the monotony of their daily drills and workouts.
Ginny cleared her throat and said, "Going to rain."
Harry looked up at the sky, counting the clouds floating above. "You sure?" he asked.
"So, when's Voldemort going to surface?" he asked quickly.
"Don't know…. moment's fleeting," Ginny said rather airily, casually flicking her arm through the air.
"Damn," Harry cursed under his breath.
"It'd be useful if we could harness these premonitions you get, Ginny," Hermione said, rummaging in her pack for a rain jacket. "Time, subject, place. Anything would help."
"I know!" Ginny said, exasperated. She took her frustration out on a stone and kicked it to the roadside. "I would if I could but I can't so there… And Ron… I would stay in tonight if I were you."
Ron glanced down at her in surprise. "What? Why?" he asked. "What do you see?"
"Well, I don't really get a see this time, more of a feel. You wouldn't be happy when you come back tonight," Ginny explained.
"Come back tonight? So, no sleep-over for me?" His lip extended in a pout.
"Ron, you've been out with every woman in town already, maybe that's what's going to be the piss in your ale his time. Last town didn't the women band together and throw rotten fruit at you in honor of your last night there?" Hermione asked, smirking.
Harry laughed at his friend, but his heart wasn't fully in it. They all handled their situation in different ways. Ron had turned slut, sleeping with anything bearing tits. Ginny grew whimsical and somewhat spacey, though her developing seer abilities probably had a hand in that. Hermione, who at the beginning of their training micromanaged every single detail of their lives, had quite embraced a laissez-faire attitude about it all, even killing monsters with chair legs. Harry… now Harry didn't think he'd changed much. He was a little quieter and took to hobbies that he could practice on his own, but really, he felt he was pretty much the same person he'd always been.
Ginny shrugged at Ron's question. "Don't know; just what I told you. It isn't a good night for you. Rein it in, you stud." She giggled.
Right before they reached the market a soft rain began to fall. Harry grabbed the things they needed and paid with what little Muggle cash they had, and then they ran to their barn as the droplets turned to bullets that pummeled them in autumn fury.
"Ginny, you said it was going to rain, not downpour. Ugh, I'm soaked." Ron stripped off his wet clothes and tossed them over a wooden railing that had once separated a horse stall from the rest of the open area. The girls adamantly ignored him—they'd seen too much of that already—but Harry glanced at his friend's form. He'd seen enough of it too, but he still enjoyed the view. Maybe he had changed a little after all.
Ron pulled on a set of dry robes as Harry collected their foodstuffs to take to the kitchen and prepare dinner. The others had simply used drying charms, but Harry secretly thought that Ron liked to strut around naked as much as possible. Hermione lounged on a shoddy couch propped up in one corner with bricks reading a book while Ginny started on a set of sit-ups. Everything on par for a typical evening.
He hadn't lied when he said he enjoyed cooking. It was one of those things he'd learned that he was not only good at, but that had also become a sort of refuge for him. Nobody wanted to hang around him during mealtime, just in case they ever got enlisted to slice potatoes or grate cheese, and any time alone, especially over the more recent years, he cherished more than Christmas morning. There was no doubt he loved his friends, but even with loved ones, enough was enough.
"You got demoted to cook again?" asked Abbot Sabelli, their Mentor of the Month, who had just walked into the shared kitchen. He was a tall, thin Italian man who was quick to share his knowledge.
Harry shrugged. Over the years they had had countless teachers, yogis, masters, professors, and trainers of many levels in many fields. He'd long since passed the point where he got attached to any of them, and Mr. Sabelli was no exception. "I don't mind, sir. It lets me think. Would you like to join us?" Harry always asked and the answers ranged the broad spectrum from adamant 'yes' to fearful 'no.' Mr. Sabelli usually took up the offer, if only to try the 'ethnic' food Harry cooked.
"Yes, thank you." Mr. Sabelli poured himself some coffee and left the kitchen, leaving Harry to his work.
With chopping, dicing and mashing of boiled potatoes the shepherd's pie was finished and the bread warmed in no time. Harry called in the others and they all jockeyed for positions around the small table to enjoy a quiet dinner. Or Harry hoped, but Mr. Sabelli always asked so many questions.
"So, how was your extermination today?" he asked between mouthfuls of pie and bread.
A very long pause followed his question.
"Fine," Ginny finally said after nobody else had spoken up. She was sitting to their teacher's left and they kept bumping elbows when they reached for the butter. "Hermione killed it with a chair leg through the temple."
Harry groaned quietly. Ron rolled his eyes.
"Well, it worked," said Hermione.
"A chair leg?" Mr. Sabelli asked, confused. Everyone grumbled, except Harry—he released an amused snort.
"I think it's time we move on." Ron sat with his back to the plank wall, the wood gray against his brightly colored sweater, tossing a knife up in the air, watching it flip a few times and then catching it on its dive down. Sometimes he would throw it at a target set up near the far side the barn and accio it back. Other times he would toss it high, pull out his wand and send it flying through the air with a special Wingardium Leviosa he'd developed.
"Shagged all the girls already?" Ginny asked. She glanced over at her brother who only shrugged.
"I agree," Hermione said. "I don't really think Sabelli has much to offer us. That trick with evaporating the blood within the body was interesting, but he hasn't really shown us anything new."
She was nested in her usual spot on the couch, tucked into the same novel. Ginny was sitting next to her with Hermione's feet in her lap, both wrapped up in a wool blanket. Ginny was reviewing a set of scrolls, their most recent correspondence from the Order detailing any possible Voldemort sightings. It also contained a list of potential Mentors of the Month. They usually left it up to Ginny to decide where to go next.
"So, Gin, where to?" Harry asked. He was floating about six inches off the ground, sitting Indian style with his eyes gently closed, lips softly chanting. He had been working on the hovering mantra for about three months now ever since they had returned from India. He'd gotten quite steady at it.
"Well, there is Michael Moorehouse in the Ukraine. He specializes in Dark creatures. Dragons, maybe."
"Didn't Torhu back in Japan say that Moorehouse was dead? Eaten by a chimera?" asked Hermione, turning a page in her novel as she spoke.
"Oh yeah," Ron agreed. "It was a complete fluke, too. The guy was an expert in his field and that chimera attack was totally unexpected. Poor sod." Ron picked up the blade and tossed it in the air again. Light reflected off the steel, threading rainbows through Ron's red hair. "Anyway, I don't want to go back to Russia."
"It isn't Russia, it's the Ukraine," Ginny corrected him, sounding frustrated and tired of a conversation rehashed far too often.
"Don't much matter does it, don't want to go there."
"Sheesh Ron, pout why don't you." Hermione looked up and gazed at her ex-boyfriend. On instinct he glanced over at her, and in that moment of distraction missed the knife, which landed with a 'thud' into the wooden floor, narrowly avoiding his crossed legs. Ron looked at the narrow miss aghast, then up at Hermione who smiled sweetly at him and then returned to her book. "Ginny, do you get a sense about where we should go?" She turned a page.
Harry slowly lowered himself and looked over to his friend. They'd dated for a while, had had some really great sex, but after Ginny started seeing the future she wanted nothing to do with a relationship with Harry anymore. She wouldn't tell him why and he'd finally dropped it, but not without some complaint. Going from regular, quite energetic sex to nothing at all had been hard to grow accustomed to. So one night while in the southwest United States, they had imbibed far too much local beer and had gone out on the town. That fateful evening proved to Harry that when you're starving you'll eat anything, and that men had a flavor all their own.
He'd had a grand time of it initially. He would hit the town with Ron and have double the people to ogle and a few more to choose from than his narrowly straight friend. But while a good romp in the sack relieved excess tension, it did nothing for his generally romantic heart and he stopped after one woman swore her undying love for him and all he could say was "thanks for the shag."
He hadn't had sex in almost two years.
He missed Ginny, the old Ginny who had a fiery temper and a strong will, but he loved this new, softer Ginny as well. While they weren't lovers, they were still very close, and he cherished that connection.
As Ginny closed her eyes and started running her finger along the list of names, Harry watched on. They'd often chosen where to go next by this very unscientific method, but they had nothing else to direct their travels or training, and Ginny's guess usually led to some very interesting places.
"Here," she said with a flourish, planting her finger firmly on the paper. She opened her eyes and looked down. "Eisenstadt, Austria, near the Neusiedler Sea. Fraulein Gabriella Bethlen, specializing in Earth magic and estate protection spells."
Ron tossed his knife into the stall boards, then stood and walked over to the couch. The arm of the couch creaked as he leaned on it to read the scroll where Ginny pointed. "Haven't we studied that already?" His brow was wrinkled as he tried to remember exactly what they had studied where and with whom over the past ten years.
"Yes, Ron, we have," Hermione said, finally putting the book down. She lifted her feet off of Ginny's lap and scooted closer to read the scroll as well. "But not together and we haven't learned Austro-Hungarian forms of Earth magic." She shrugged. "It'll be cold," she added offhandedly.
"Why do you read that stuff?" Ginny asked, checking out the cover of the novel that displayed a long haired, well built man holding onto a petite, obviously helpless looking woman.
"What else do I have to read?" Hermione asked dryly. "Anyway, not all of us can run off to town and shag half the populace, nor do we want to." She leaned back into the couch and buried her nose into the book again, a slight pink blooming on her cheeks.
Ron chuckled. "Not half the town. I'm not that good…yet."
Ginny batted at Ron with the scroll. He darted to one side and snatched it from her hand. A minor battle resulted until Harry picked up a balled up shirt and threw it at them, grinning.
"Is that a challenge, Potter?" Ginny asked.
Harry grinned some more.
In the blink of an eye all four adults sprung into action. Hermione tossed her book at Harry's head, who shifted his weight a minute degree and let it sail past harmlessly. Ginny grabbed a pillow and whacked Ron upside the head with it, while he poked Hermione in the back of her neck with the scroll.
Throughout the battle they laughed out loud.
"We all wanted to thank you, Mr. Sabelli. It has been an honor studying under you for the past few weeks." Harry shook Mr. Sabelli's thin hand as the other three finished packing their few possessions in their duffel bags.
"It was my pleasure, Harry. If you ever need anything else from me, please don't hesitate to stop by."
The four waved at the man as they gathered together and Disapparated.
They reappeared in a designated Apparition point in Vienna, Austria nestled in the small wizarding section near the Hofburg Palace. The streets were closed in, sometimes only a shoulder's breadth apart, and the bricks in the road were missing in places. They had decided to travel through this way point due to its central location and because of an amazing Hungarian restaurant that caused even the most stoic of men to weep in culinary zeal. Usually it was Hermione who insisted they eat there, not that any real arm-twisting was required. They all sat in a back booth in the little restaurant, a candle on the table and light Hungarian music being performed by a floating fairy quartet in the center of the room.
"I think Ginny picked Austria just so we could hit this restaurant," Harry said through a mouthful of goulash thick with mushrooms and beef.
"Don't hear you complaining," Ron said and sipped from his glass of red wine.
Little else was said as they ate their fill. Harry found he didn't have much to say to them anymore. It wasn't that something between them was lost, it was just that they'd said everything already. They knew everything already. The silence between them wasn't silence, but an unspoken acknowledgment full of camaraderie few married couples of fifty years ever achieved.
Ron looked over at the salt and Ginny automatically handed it to him. When they were all finished, Harry leaned back into his food coma and enjoyed the finish of his wine.
"So good," he groaned while patting his belly, and the rest nodded in agreement.
They left the wizarding section for the Muggle environs to find a cheap hostel to stay the night. In Vienna, like most major European cities, they could find classy hostels or cheap and scary hostels. Hermione and Ginny usually picked, because honestly Ron and Harry could care less. As long as there was a bed and the stains were minimal, they needs were met. But if the girls wanted a bath they would find a nicer place that provided such luxuries.
"So, which is it, Hermione? Do you want a soak tonight?" Ginny asked.
"Hmm, yes, I think so. A nice soak where I can finish my book sounds relaxing." She winked at Ginny, who laughed back. Subtlety had little hold between them.
Finding a room wasn't hard, especially of the nicer variety that advertised in every pamphlet and handout available at the tourist kiosks. After they walked in the room, Hermione retired to the bath and Ron changed his clothing before he left to find a hook-up. Harry and Ginny were left alone flipping through channels on the TV.
Killing evil creatures or killing time. It had become their life.
END BIT 1