To Believe, To Desire, To Trust.
CHAPTER TWO – Valentine, Not Potter
He was running through the forest, the twigs and branches breaking in his way. A scowl was in place on his face as he shielded himself from another branch. The Forbidden Forest was a very unwelcoming place, even for creatures of the dark. As much as he wanted to stop and turn back, he knew he couldn't. He was being chased after by two Ministries and they even sent one of his own kind after him!
But what would he do? When he escapes, if he escapes, where would he go? He killed his family, his sire was gone. He couldn't show his face in two countries or he would get killed, the remaining part of his soul will be ripped out of his body and ripped into shreds. Where should he go? As far as he knew, there were no vampire communities and joining other criminals on the run would be far too risky.
If he decided to go on, to run off to some distant country, he would have to hide. He would be deprived of all the pleasures in life. Holding a woman in his arms, taking pleasure of hearing her moans as he ran his hands down her body. Going out with friends, getting drunk and coming back home, only to get scolded by the same woman. Or simply walking around in the sunlight, he wont be able to do that either. He would simply be.
Was there any point in that? He had no point in living. Maybe he could just...
"HEY YOU!" He heard someone yell.
He turned to see the one after him not far behind him. There was no point in running now. He stopped.
"Glad you stopped. This started to get boring." The other vampire said as he sat down on the forest floor. He seemed childish and open to people but his smell meant that he was an adult vampire, although he looked like a teen. Although young, he knew that looks were not everything when it came to vampires. "Will you sit down, so we could talk? What's your name?"
Nodding dumbly, he sat down. "Jules Pelletier."
"Well then, Jules. Can I call you that?" He got a nod in reply. "Well, Jules, I'm Ciarán Valentine."
Jules lowered his head. Subconsciously, he clenched his fists in his lap. "Why are you even talking to me? Just kill me now, that's what they want, don't they?"
"They may but I don't. You're a vampire and vampires stick together, right?" Ciarán gave the other vampire a honest-looking smile.
Jules snorted. "Vampires stick together? What kind of bullshit do you expect me to believe in?"
Ciarán lowered his head and a small smirk formed on his face. "You're right. I don't believe in that either."
"What do you want?"
"Why would I want something?"
"I can smell it."
Silence. Ciarán stood up and walked a few feet ahead. He looked up at the tree tops and didn't move an inch for quite a while. Wind was playing with his black curls as he stood there, his back facing Jules. His skin was bright as a flame in the darkness, burning with inhuman white light. Ciarán seemed calm, unlike Jules who was impatient, waiting for the other vampire to do something.
"Smell it?" Ciarán said, in a voice barely above whisper. "Congratulations are in order, your senses are developing correctly – and you know how to utilise them well! As for what I want..." He turned on his heel and stared right into Jules' eyes.
"I want you." He said. "You are a strong person, now as a vampire and also when you were still human. I saw you. You are perfect for being my bodyguard. As for why would I need one – I have plans that may not please some people."
"And what if I theoretically agree to this? What are your plans?"
Ciarán chuckled. " What are my plans? Why, to conquer the world, of course. You see, I don't like the way some creatures are treated and I do like money and power to be quite honest." He stopped. "But now you know this, you have a choice. Join me, or die from my hand."
Jules weighed his options. Being Ciarán's bodyguard could give him a better start in his new existence. From the way the vampire acted and held himself, he seemed confident and prideful in who he was. Also, he vaguely remembered his name, he worked for the French Ministry, someone to do with dark creatures. Yet at the same time, he would be in constant danger. He would have to be ready to sacrifice himself for Ciarán. Was he ready to do that?
To hell with it, what did he have to lose?
"Yes." Jules said, in a voice barely above whisper. "I will join you."
Ciarán flashed a brilliant smile at him. "Perfect, " he purred. "Now lets go back, and lie to the Minister."
Ministers Fudge and Bessette, along with Headmaster Dumbledore stood on the edge of the Forbidden Forest for a while. Slowly, Minister Fudge stepped closer to the trees and squinted his eyes to try to see what the shadows conceal.
"No point trying." He heard Bessette's cheerful voice behind him. "He is probably miles into the forest by now."
Even through the words were rather simple, Minister Fudge took a while to decipher them from the thick French accent his counterpart wielded. It was frustrating for him, but he could do nothing about it. Throwing a last glance at the forest, Minister Fudge backed away and followed the two wizards back to the castle.
"When is he going to come back?" Minister Fudge asked Bessette as they entered the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts. The said wizard was enjoying the chilling thrill he got from passing the wards and took a second before responding.
"Before midnight, tonight." The younger wizard replied. "With a matter of not much importance, he usually takes few hours at most."
"Matter of not much importance?" Headmaster Dumbledore echoed.
" es. I am surprised Ciarán insisted on doing this one. Usually he lets others do jobs like this. He much prefers more tricky and dangerous missions."
"Chasing after a vampire murderer is not dangerous?"
"Depends how old is the vampire. From what I know, this one is very young therefore easier to fight."
Minister Fudge nodded. The three wizards stopped in front of the gargoyle – the entrance to Headmaster's office. Once again, Minister Bessette was lost in his thoughts, same going for his English counterpart. The oldest wizard, Headmaster Dumbledore had a small smile on his face when the gargoyle told him that James Potter was waiting for him in his office, along with his wife. He could only wonder what joyous event made the Potter couple be in his office, as he refused to think that it was something bad.
"Chocolate Frogs" Albus said and the gargoyle jumped back, revealing the entrance to his office.
The three men stepped onto the staircase that lead up to the door to Albus' office. They entered the office, with all those weird and delicate items within it, (which seemed to catch Minister Bessette's interest) and the sleeping Phoenix sleeping on the perch. Inside, waiting, were two people – Lily and James Potter.
James looked giddy, like a five year old that was told that he will get the newest toy broomstick, but at the same time quite shocked. Lily on the other hand, sat in the armchair with eyes open wide, shocked and confused.
"Albus!" James jumped up in excrement, an old piece of 'parchment' in his hand. "You will not believe what happened! Good Day Minister Fudge, Minister Bessette."
"Good Day, Lord Potter." Replied both Ministers in unison.
"What about the news you bring, my boy?"
James' eyes almost sparkled. Minister Fudge winced from the brightness and happiness that radiated from Lord Potter. The last time he saw this was when he had a meeting with Albus Dumbledore and his thrice damned Lemon Drops.
"The Marauder's Map! It shows...him! I cant believe it...And Albus...Forbidden Forest."
"I'm afraid you don't make sense, Mr Potter." Said Minister Bessette.
James took a deep breath. "I saw someone on the Marauder's Map. He was standing with you on the edge of Forbidden Forest not so long ago. His name was Ciarán Valentine but he also had another name. Harry Potter."
Silence. No one spoke, no one moved as they let the information sink in.
"What's impossible Minister Fudge?"
All of the adults turned to face the oak doors that lead to the staircase. There stood Ciarán Valentine along with Jules Pelletier. Ciarán was wearing a charming smile while Jules seemed cool and intimidating. The younger vampire (but older in looks) seemed to be ready to jump in front of Ciarán at any second and bare his pointy fangs.
Lily paled when she saw Ciarán. He looked exactly the same as he did on the day of the Ministry Ball, apart from the fact that he wore robes that were less formal and more comfortable. Ciarán...
Shouldn't she start calling him Harry? Maybe he doesn't even know...He is no longer a splitting image of his father like he was when he was a child. He looked like a stranger, a stranger with her eyes.
"Ciarán" Minister Bessette said, voice laced with displeasure. "Those people thing that you are James Potter's dead son, Harry."
Ciarán gave his Minister a meaningful look. The man's eyes widened ever so slightly.
"I am Ciarán Valentine. " He said. "As I have said before this is my preferred name but I have many, Right Mrs Potter?"
"So you don't deny being Harry Potter" asked Minister Fudge, suspicious of the boy's words.
"I do not deny but do not confirm."
"Ciarán, my boy." Albus got a glare from the young man which he promptly ignored. "How about we all sit down and sort this matter out?"
Nodding, everyone sat down in the armchairs that Dumbledore conjured, well, almost. Jules decided that he would rather stand by Ciarán's side rather than sit down. No one bothered to ask him why since all they got from him so far was a cold, threatening glare.
"Now, James" Albus started, his lips curved up at the corners. "Are you sure of what you saw on the Marauder's Map? That you saw your son?"
James nodded. "I saw my son...Harry Potter but the map showed him as having a second name – Ciarán Valentine." He took out the map. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good. Here, you can see all of us in Headmaster's office right now."
Everyone crowded around the map. True to James' words, all of their names were floating besides the dots in the room labelled as 'Headmaster's Office'. But they were interested only in one person, and they saw same as what James did not long ago.
"The map never lies." Lily whispered as she watched the dot on the map. Next to it, it said ' Ciarán
It was silent. Albus Dumbledore did not know what to think, and neither did the two Ministers. James was happy, he knew that he was right and now, he had his son back. Lily did not know if she should cry or attack Ciarán – no, Harry – with hugs. And Ciarán himself, he chuckled at everyone's reaction.
"Guess I've been found out." He said, voice barely above whisper. His eyes flicked towards Lily before resting on Albus.
"Mr Potter –" Albus started.
"Valentine" Ciarán corrected the old wizard.
Albus ignored the correction and continued to speak. "– can you please tell what happened when you disappeared?"
"I rather not speak of it." The vampire replied curtly.
Albus nodded. "Maybe some other time then. Now, about your living arrangements, I suppose you would like to live with your parents again and go to Hogwarts, Harry – "
"Its Ciarán , no matter what the Map says, sir. And no, I would like to keep my living arrangements as they are, but the idea of going to Hogwarts does sound tempting as long as you do me a few favours, Headmaster. I never got any formal education after all."
"My boy, I strongly suggest you go to live with your parents. You haven't seen each other for many years now and I suppose you would like to get close again. As for your education, what would be the favours you as for?"
"I need to be able to get out of school without anyone stopping me, as I would like to keep my job in the French Ministry. Also, I would need to feed every so often, so I need access to some hunting area, preferably with rather large animals. I can only be in direct sunlight for three hours or I would be reduced into ash so either my lessons are going to be indoors or at night time. I don't think it would be wise for the student body to anger me so they theoretically should be warned of what I am. Also, my sire will probably visit from time to time, I have no control over that."
Minister Fudge glared daggers at the young vampire. As much as he disliked Dumbledore, he would not have this child – a child! – make his own rules up when someone is willing to give them education. This was unheard of! How dare he?
"Mr Valentine. " Deciding to use the boy's preferred name, Minister Fudge said harshly. "I think that you're in any position to state your own rules –"
"It's quite all right, Minister. " Albus interrupted him. "Those rules seem acceptable as they are for safety reasons."
"What about his sire? Letting a fully grown vampire into a school is not a great idea!"
"I am a fully grown vampire also, Minister." Ciarán chimed in.
Minister Fudge gave a last glare but shut up. Dumbledore is an idiot for being so trusting, he thought.
"So this is set. Mr Potter, you shall start Hogwarts this year, you will have to take some tests before we will put you classes." Albus smiled.
The surprised "What?" echoed through the office. But didn't he just say –
"Mr Potter will not attend Hogwarts. But Mr Valentine will kindly do so. I shall await your owl. Let's go Jules."
The two vampires left, leaving a group of flabbergasted wizards behind.
Ciarán and Jules reappeared at Ciarán's apartment in the early hours of the next day. Both were tired and thirsty from the journey and yesterday's events. So much happened in only few hours. The two vampires almost, almost but not quite, stumbled into the kitchen and each grabbed a bottle of blood to feed from.
For the two of them, it was nice to have another vampire companion. Usually, when two vampires meet and they are not related in the sire/chide way, they attack. Attack to kill. Yet this, this was different. The two could speak to each other civilly, without the worry of one suddenly jumping for their throat.
"Ciarán!" The two turned, both, surprisingly, knew the voice. In the doorway stood the man both knew. They both had feelings for him. One, felt like the man was his father and if the other said that he disliked the man – it would be the understatement of the century.
"Ambrose" Ciarán smiled at his sire at the same time as Jules let out a growl. "Hm? What's the matter Jules?"
"Ah, so this is Jules." Ambrose said, not moving an inch from the doorway. "My, you look different from the time I last saw you. You're not trying to claw your eyes out from agony any more."
END OF CHAPTER TWO
A/N: Edited on 20/06/2011 Hopefully for the better!