I own none of the characters. JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer own the characters. I'm just playing in their worlds. Thanks to my beta who has been amazing at helping me read through this. AvidReader2425, you're awesome!
Bella had just arrived at her new high school. As a new kid, transferred mid-semester, she was getting quite a bit of attention. People were staring at her and whispering as she went. She should have expected it, really. She was stopped on many occasions by people wanting to talk. There was even a kid from the newspaper, saying that he'd be putting her on the front page. She'd almost begged him not to, and fortunately it seemed like he was planning on changing that plan.
She made it through the first few classes after that, but the sense of unease, since many people still looked at her like an oddity, was still hanging around her by the time she went to the cafeteria.
"Hey there, new girl." a voice broke her from her thoughts as she looked around for a place to sit. Bella looked around and found herself face-to-face with a friendly smile. The boy was slightly taller than her, with black hair, grown out a little longer than she suspected would be acceptable in certain schools. He was wearing clothes that seemed comfortable, but still stylish enough to not draw negative attention to himself and he carried a soft brown leather backpack.
His most prominent feature, however, was his eyes. They were leaf green, with an almost unnatural glow to them, as her eyes seemed to lock with his.
"Um." she said intelligently.
"Harry Potter." he introduced himself. "And you?" he asked leadingly, when she kept on staring into his eyes.
Realising she was staring didn't help her, at first, but she finally blinked and the spell was broken, as she came back to herself. "I'm… sorry." she finally said. "I'm Bella. Bella Swan." she finished. 'What was that?' she wondered.
"Hello, Miss Swan." Harry said, never having lost his smile. "Let me be the first to greet you properly. As the most recent person to go through this process, let me put your mind at ease. The staring will continue for about a week, before people realise you're just another one of us."
"One of us?" she asked.
"Another human being." Harry said, cocking his head and waving her to a nearby table, where he had already placed his sealed lunchbox and thermos. He tended to bring his own. School cafeterias were not known for their stellar cuisine. "Come, you can sit with me until you know what clique you want to associate with."
"Clique?" Bella asked, as she shrugged, deciding to join him, since she had no other offers.
As she went, Eric, the boy from the school newspaper, kicked himself for not intercepting her quickly enough. The new girl was hot and he wanted to invite her to sit with him and his friends. Now she was going to fall under the same spell as all the other girls. The young Englishman had shown up at the beginning of the school year, and while he was friendly, he was intimidating to most of the other boys and the girls all watched him with quite a bit of interest, not unlike what happened with the Cullen kids. Nobody even knew why he was usually sitting alone, reading a book while he ate what looked and smelled like five-star cuisine which came from his metal lunchbox.
"You know… which group catches your interest?" Harry asked. "I've been watching and should be able to help you find a spot with like-minded people."
"Why are you sitting alone, then?" Bella asked.
"I like to enjoy my meal without the randomness which is the American high school experience." Harry said, as he cocked his head in the direction of another table where one guy was doing some kind of dance, with his shirt halfway over his head. "Care to explain that to me?" he asked.
"I wouldn't know where to begin." Bella said, just as confused as him. Changing the subject, she asked, "So, you're from England?"
"Picked up on that, did you?" Harry smirked at her, as he opened his thermos and poured himself a cup of something steaming. "You want some?" he asked.
Bella looked and saw what looked like some kind of milk tea. "What is it?" she asked. She had yet to touch her food, but so far she was feeling much better than she had since coming here. It seemed that people weren't staring at her anymore and she was finally able to relax a bit.
"It's a blend I made myself." Harry said, producing a cup out of his backpack and pouring her some. "I'm sure you'll like It." he added, before he unsealed his lunchbox and opened it.
Bella was curious at the box, never having seen something like it before, and she was shocked to be hit by a smell of something delicious. Not wanting to give offence, however, she decided to take a sip from the cup, not even questioning why he had an extra. The taste of the tea was something new to her, but she couldn't help the smile that crossed her face.
"This is really good." she complimented.
"See." Harry said, not even looking at her, as he stuck a fork into the lunchbox and withdrew a piece of steaming chicken, drizzled with a sauce he was experimenting with and which had been pre-cut into bite-sized pieces.
Bella watched as he stuck the food into his mouth and closed his eyes as if contemplating the flavour.
"What are you eating?" she asked.
"Chicken." Harry said, after swallowing his mouth-full. "It's still missing something."
Bella didn't know what to think of that and decided that she'd given him enough attention, so she turned to her own meal. By comparison to the smell coming out of his box, her food wasn't what anyone would call appetizing, but with the tea it was at least bearable.
By the time lunch was over, Bella was feeling much better and she even had a bit of a chat with the strange boy. She'd thanked him for the tea and he'd taken her cup and stashed it in his backpack, before he put his stuff away.
She'd completely missed the arrival of the Cullen kids, but then, they'd not noticed her either.
As she walked to her next class, she realised Harry was walking next to her. "Biology?" she asked.
"Yes." Harry agreed. "I think we're on the same schedule. I was in your other classes too."
"Really?" Bella asked. She'd not noticed him.
"I try not to stand out in class." Harry said. "That way I can read without the teachers catching on that I'm not really paying attention." he whispered conspiratorially.
Bella smiled at that. It was a skill she wished she could learn. As the new kid, doing something like that would be rather difficult for her, at this point.
As they walked into class, Bella saw Edward for the first time, just as Harry went to go sit next to him.
"Sup, Eddie!" Harry said, with a bit of a smile, knowing that Edward hated it when he called him that. Edward did not respond to that, this time, which was strange. He tended to have more of a response to Harry. Harry followed his eyes and noticed Bella standing in front of the fan. "Come on, Eddie! Don't stare at the girl! I thought you were better raised than that."
Edward broke his eyes from the girl and looked away. "Shut up, Harry." he finally ground out.
Bella went to the only other available table and went to sit behind Harry and Edward.
"Couldn't get enough of me?" Harry asked, turning around to look at Bella, but the smile on his face assured her that he was just joking.
"Is your friend alright?" Bella asked. The boy next to Harry looked like he was in pain.
"Spastic colon." Harry shrugged. "He's a little fragile at the moment."
"Shut up, Harry!" Edward said again, but with a bit more humour in his voice.
Harry leaned towards Edward. "Listen, drama queen, if her smell is bothering you so much, maybe you should go hunt more often, to stay in control." he whispered.
The Cullens were a family of vampires he'd met shortly after coming to this town. Having known something was going on here, when he arrived, he'd done his research. They were less than enthused about his knowing, when he let things like that slip, but it seemed he could keep his knowledge to himself. They still didn't know how he knew, or where he came from.
"I can't help it." Edward whispered back. "She calls to me."
Harry decided to do something, to ensure there were no consequences when the vampire lost control, so he concentrated for a moment, before letting his power out.
After a moment, he asked, "How's that?"
Edward wasn't certain what he had done, but suddenly the urge to bite the new girl was gone. Experimentally, he breathed in slightly, but found that he couldn't smell anything at all. "What did you do?" he asked.
"That's a secret." Harry whispered again. "Feeling better, buddy?" he asked more loudly.
"Much." Edward said, as his features cleared.
"You should take your meds before lunch, so that this doesn't happen." Harry said. He turned back to Bella. "All better now."
"That was quick." Bella said.
"It's an unpredictable thing." Edward said, also turning back. "Hi. My name's Edward. Don't call me Eddie." he added, deciding to introduce himself, now that it seemed he had control.
"Bella." she said.
Edward looked at her strangely, then. Why couldn't he…?
Class soon started, and with the arrival of the teacher, Edward had to pretend to pay attention. Having been through high school, multiple times, he already knew everything. His thoughts kept on coming back to the fact that there were now two people in his class who he couldn't read.
Harry kept on bothering Edward with questions, as they went through the practical lesson, but he didn't mind the distraction, since he was also trying to figure Harry out. On every other question, Harry would turn back to Bella to ask her what she thought of what they were currently busy with and she ended up confirming that she had been through this class before, the curriculum for her previous school having already covered what they were doing.
Harry noted that that might mean that she'd missed out on something else, so he suggested that she find out what else had been covered in the year, so that she could self-study if necessary.
When classes for the day finished, Edward was waiting in the parking lot, as if he'd somehow been waiting there for school to finish, when Harry made his way toward him.
"We need to talk." he said to Harry, as he walked to where his bike stood. It was a 1959 Triumph Bonneville. The one Harry had brought with him. It wasn't Sirius' old bike, but it was the same model, and Harry had made a few modifications of his own over the years.
"Shouldn't you be planning a hunting trip?" Harry asked, not stopping. "Your current state of Anosmia is temporary, so you really should get on that."
"I need to know how you did that." Edward said, deciding to step in front of Harry.
"It's not something I can teach you." Harry said, stopping and looking at Edward, with a sigh. "I can do that because of who I am, but you can't rely on me to be there for you, to do that every time."
"And her… immunity?" Edward asked. He'd not mentioned his talents to Harry, but he suspected he knew, especially because he was the only other person he couldn't read.
"Immunity?" Harry asked. This was news to him.
"You seriously don't know?" Edward asked, seeing signs of true confusion. How is it possible that he'd meet two people who were immune to his power in just six months?
"I'm afraid I don't." Harry shrugged, as he side-stepped the vampire and continued to his bike, leaving a very confused Edward behind him.
The next day Edward was not at school, but his 'brothers' and 'sisters' were still there, and they kept on sending looks in Harry's direction, whenever they spotted him in the halls.
Jasper, their empath, couldn't sense any sort of emotions from Harry. Alice, their seer, was similarly unable to read anything from him. He was simply not there to their extra sensory gifts, like he didn't exist.
They'd also noticed that he seemed to disappear when he went to the cafeteria. They were peripherally aware of him, but it was like their eyes slid off him when they tried to look directly at him. His voice, when he spoke to people, mostly Bella, since she'd decided that she liked his quirky nature, was lost in the din of other voices, with them unable to pick up what he was saying besides the fact that he was speaking.
Bella, on the other hand, was not such a mystery. Her emotions were pretty standard for a teenage girl, and Alice had seen her coming a mile away. Her suspicion that Edward and her were somehow meant to meet had also come true. Edward was of the opinion that there was something more going on and that Harry had somehow done something, but when the others confirmed that they were able to sense her like any other person, his theory was shot to hell. Perhaps she just had a gift, like some of them did?
When Edward came back to school, he was well fed and at smelling Bella's intoxicating aroma, he had more than enough control, to not react to her visibly. Harry had watched and confirmed that things were fine there, so he let things play out as they would. Bella was soon just as enamoured to the Vampire as all the other teen girls in the school. He was still her preferred lunch-buddy, but she started stealing glances at Edward with a regularity that bothered Harry for some reason.
It wasn't that she was giving him attention, as much as it was that he seemed to be interested in her as well. He should know better. As a vampire, he was unnaturally attractive to humans, to make them easier prey. He shouldn't be taking advantage of that, especially with how attracted he was to her blood. That being said, it was human nature to be attracted to forbidden fruit. Perhaps that was a vampire thing as well?
Then the bloody van thing happened. Edward was unable to help himself from jumping in to save the girl when there was a van about to hit her, after it started skidding on the icy road. Harry had been about to use his power to shield the girl, from where he stood by his bike, but if his shield had gone up, Edward would have likely hit the barrier, and since he was moving so bloody fast, he'd have ricocheted off the shield and been sent flying. That would definitely be difficult to explain, if he survived it.
"Couldn't help yourself, could you?" Harry asked Edward, when he approached him in the hospital, where Edward was internally freaking out about how he would explain this away.
"I couldn't let her die." Edward said, after looking around to ensure nobody was within earshot. He knew Carlisle and Rosalie were just around the corner, listening in.
"You could have." Harry argued. "You didn't want to." he corrected.
"Would you let her die, if you could help?" Edward challenged.
"Of course not." Harry said. "But I couldn't help her because you were in the way, you bloody pillock!"
"What could you have done?" Edward challenged.
"I'm not going to fall for that." Harry said. "It's pointless anyway. It's done. Now you have to consider the consequences. She's not an idiot. Your' saving her, will be the only thing on her mind until she figures you out."
Edward was quiet for a bit, as he let that sink in. "What about you?" he finally asked. "Got any tricks to help with this?"
"I could." Harry said noncommittally. "But like I said before, I can't help you every time you screw up. I want to know what you are going to do."
"I'll try and explain it away." Edward said, after looking at Harry for a moment, before admitting. "I don't have much of a choice."
"And you're all fine with this plan?" Harry asked at the same volume, looking back down the passage, where his tracking charms felt two of the other vampires. "Doctor Carlisle, Rosalie?"
They walked around the corner and approached. "How did you know we were there?" Carlisle asked, with a bit of worry on his face, while Rosalie just glared at him.
"I have my gifts, just like you do." Harry said.
"Fair enough." Carlisle said. He'd heard all about the strange boy, but this was their first meeting. "Carlisle Cullen." he introduced himself, even though the boy already knew his name.
"I like a man with manners." Harry said, smiling at the doctor. "Harry Potter. Nice to meet you." he turned to Rosalie. "Rosalie, you're radiant as ever."
"Stop playing with us." Rosalie said. "You could protect us, but you're having too much fun playing with our lives."
"I said I could help, but I don't think her suddenly getting amnesia would help at this point." Harry said.
"Amnesia?" Carlisle asked.
"Precision removal or changing of perceived memories." Harry said. "It's something that I'm capable of, but am loath to do for just any situation. Bella's also a friend, so I don't think I'll be going down that route."
"You just met her recently." Edward said. "You couldn't be such good friends."
"And you saved her, without thinking of how that would affect the rest of us." Rosalie retorted.
"She has a point." Harry said. "How old are you? Somewhere around a century, I'm guessing? How have you not learned tact? You could have stopped the van and run away without anyone having seen you, so why did you stay for her to see you?"
"That is a very good point." Carlisle said.
"You're the fastest…" Rosalie was saying before her head shot up and all three the Vampires looked to where Bella had just exited a room, with her phone in her hand.
"Bella!" Harry said happily, as he walked up to her. "I was just asking the Doctor how you were doing."
"I'm fine." Bella said, looking past Harry at Edward.
Harry looked back at Edward, before turning to Bella again. "Yeah, don't make a big deal about Eddie. He hates the limelight. He'd prefer you kept his involvement to yourself. Have you seen how many fan-girls he has already?" When Edward and Rosalie walked closer he said more loudly, "Personally, I'm all for shouting it from the school's roof, just to see him sweat. I can already see the fan-club."
"You've got just as many fan-girls." Rosalie said, having caught on to Harry's ploy.
"Hey!" Harry objected. "I'm no hero! If I were, I'd have been the one to run in to save her." he said. "Seriously, though, I saw the dent in that door. Do you work out, or was it some sort of martial art, Kenpo, thing?" he asked Edward.
"Oh, I'm sure it was one of those things." Carlisle said, smirking as he walked past, intent on selling this ruse. It was better than hoping the girl was an idiot and believing Edward's plan to say it was adrenalin.
"Emmett is the martial arts buff." Edward said. "I've not really put as much effort into it as he does."
"Could have fooled me." Bella finally said. That made sense. "You really saved me."
"You're welcome." Edward said. "Just, don't go telling everyone?" he asked, with a bit of a smile. "As Harry said, I don't really want more attention."
"What do you say?" Harry asked Bella. "We can start on the posters and have them plastered all over the school, declaring the fan-club is recruiting and then you can tell everyone how he saved your life." Harry waggled his eyebrows at her. "Then I get to watch as Edward has girls fawning all over him, while they start leaving me alone."
Bella smirked, seeing a bit of fear cross Edward's face. "I think I could retell the story a few times." she joked along.
"You're not helping, Harry." Edward said.
"Who said I was trying to help?" Harry smirked back.
"How long have you known each other?" Bella asked. She didn't know Harry was so close to the family.
"Oh, I've been trying to seduce Rosalie since I came to the school." Harry said, conspiratorially, as he looked at Rosalie. "Have you seen her!?"
"I'd like to see you try and steal her from Emmett." Edward chuckled.
"Oh, I don't have a death-wish. Especially now that I know he's a fighter." Harry said. "But you never know, he could mess up and then I'd be in the right position to make my move." Harry looked at Bella again, and noticed she was holding her cell. "Were you about to make a call?" he asked.
Bella seemed to remember something and hurried off to go call her mom, who was likely freaking out, after her dad told her she was in the hospital.
"Think she bought it?" Harry asked, watching her as she started speaking on the phone.
"Couldn't tell you." Edward said, also looking after her, listening to her speaking quickly, likely hearing both sides of the conversation.
"Do you normally… You can read minds?" Harry asked, in realization.
"Nice." Rosalie said. "Why don't you just give all our secrets away?" she asked Edward.
Edward had been distracted, so he blamed that for the slip. "You didn't know?" he asked. He'd honestly thought the boy knew.
"I don't know all your dirty little secrets." Harry said. "Thank God for Occlumency." That explained the weird feeling he got around Edward, at least.
"Occlumency?" Rosalie asked.
"Mental defences against being read." Harry said. Hey, if they were sharing secrets, mention of something like that wouldn't cost him. It was a very obscure and specialized skill.
"What are you?" Rosalie asked, with just a hint of envy. She'd love to be able to keep her thoughts private.
"Wouldn't you like to know?" Harry smirked.
"Could I persuade you to teach me some of them?" Rosalie asked, smiling at him invitingly.
"You do know that was an act, right?" Harry said. "To help distract her?"
"You don't think she's attractive?" Edward asked. He wasn't so much worried about Rosalie, as he was trying to figure out if Harry was immune to their natural attractiveness to humans.
"Oh, Rosalie is a fine specimen of the female form, but I find the idea of being attracted to someone as hard as stone, about as appealing as you'd likely find sticking your pickle in a blast furnace." Harry said. "No offense." he added for the blond vampire.
"None taken." Rosalie said. "I can't say the same, but then you aren't a bad looking specimen… for a juice box." she joked.
"I suppose I deserved that." Harry allowed.
Rosalie was internally actually quite pleased that Harry had been there. It seemed he'd smoothed over things nicely and even if Bella continued questioning things, at least Harry was usually around to help distract her. Should worse come to worse, perhaps they could help each other out in the future. The Brit seemed to have many skills that might benefit them in the future, and perhaps they could one day even be of use to each other.
"Thanks for trying to help out." Edward said. He didn't think they'd covered everything, but perhaps there was hope for them to not have to leave Forks again soon.
"You should learn to moderate your words." Harry said back. "You keep going like this, and she'll have you figured out in a month."
Bella had not been fooled, but realising that Harry was trying to cover for them, she'd kept her suspicions to herself and did her searching in her own time.
In the meanwhile, Bella had been approached by a group of teens consisting of two girls and two boys. The girls, Jessica and Angela, were both seemingly interested in the boys, but both of them, Mike and Eric, were after Bella, while Jessica had a thing for Harry. Harry couldn't figure out why, since Jessica seemed to be the more attractive to his eye. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Bella was new?
Either way, when Bella was invited to go to the beach with them, Bella decided it was the perfect opportunity to drag Harry out of his comfort zone. He grumbled about it, but didn't really fight it, since he didn't really have that much to do back home and he thought an excursion would probably not be all that bad. Whatever strange knack she had, had allowed her to approach him through his protections during lunch, which was interesting too. He had no doubt there was something special about this girl.
On the day of the beach excursion, Harry decided to pay her back, by showing up to her house on his bike.
Chief Swan, Bella's dad, had answered the door. "Hi?" he asked.
"Hi Mr. Swan." Harry greeted. "I'm Harry."
"Potter, right?" Charlie asked. "Bella's friend?"
"Yes, sir." Harry said. "I'm here to pick up Bella for the outing to the beach."
Charlie looked at the bike in his driveway and back at Harry. "On that thing?" he asked.
"I assure you, sir, that I am properly licenced and have undergone an advanced driving course to ensure I don't get into any accidents." Harry said easily.
Charlie just held out his hand, as if asking for Harry's licence and registration. Harry smirked and pulled out the documents, like he had been expecting it. Charlie looked through them quickly and his face actually showed shock. "Why so many licences?" he asked, having noted that the kid was registered for all kinds of heavy vehicles, too.
"I like to keep my options open." Harry said. "I'll be getting a pilot's licence as soon as I'm able, too."
"Keeping your options open?" Charlie asked.
"I always liked the idea of being able to go where I want, when I want." Harry said, with a shrug.
"This have something to do with why you were emancipated?" Charlie asked. He'd checked the kid out, once Bella told him of her new friend. It wasn't strictly necessary, but Harry was a foreigner and Charlie had been curious.
"Yes." Harry said, affecting a sad expression, which he quickly wiped off his face. "But I don't like talking about it."
The files had stated something about an abusive home. The boy's guardians had not been gentle on him when they found out his parents had left him a fortune and they had tried many different ways to get him to share the wealth. The mention of neglect and starvation also explained why Bella always mentioned whatever food Harry had brought to school. It seemed that the kid had a taste for good food and was quite the cook, if what Bella had told him was anything to go by.
Deciding to change the subject, Charlie waved Harry in and called up to Bella, who was in her room upstairs. Then he asked, "I hear you bring all kinds of gourmet foods to school."
"Yeah, I'm a bit of a foodie." Harry said. "Cafeteria food is not what I'd call appetizing."
"So you order special food every day?" Charlie asked, trying to find out more. "Isn't that expensive?"
"It's cheaper when you make your own." Harry said with a shrug.
"You make that?" Bella asked, as she came down from upstairs. "But you had sushi the other day."
"Hi Bella. Nice to see you too." Harry said, with a raised eyebrow.
"Hi Harry." Bella said.
"I took a course on sushi, back across the pond, before I came here." Harry said. "Fresh is simply best when it comes to most foods, except for stews. Some stews are best after it sits for a bit. It has to do with how the proteins break down. Like how a steak needs to rest for a bit after cooking." Both Bella and Charlie looked at Harry for a few seconds after that. "Yeah, sorry about that. Like I said, I'm a bit of a foodie."
"No kidding." Charlie said, a little amusement leaking into his voice.
"Told you." Bella said.
"You talk about me?" Harry asked.
"I was just curious." Charlie said. Bella was normally a bit of a loner, so he wanted to know about the boy who had befriended her. "I've heard nothing bad. About you at least."
"Probably because I'm the only boy not sniffing around her." Harry said with a smirk.
"What?" Charlie asked. He'd not heard anything about that.
"Oh, Bella is quite popular with the dunderheads that go to school with us." Harry said.
"Harry!" Bella objected.
"Just because you don't notice, or don't want to, doesn't mean I don't." Harry said, easily.
"What about you, then?" Bella asked. "I've seen a lot of girls looking your way."
"It's the accent." Harry said easily. "Once my accent starts fading that will drop off, I'm certain."
"Uh-huh." Bella said, noncommittally. She hadn't heard the girls mention his accent. It was all about his mystery and those eyes, for them. Jessica and Angela had been asking her questions about Harry whenever he wasn't around.
As far as she could tell, Edward and Harry were the most attractive single boys in school. Jessica had intimated that she'd rather go to prom with Harry, though. Apparently she wouldn't mind if he tried getting lucky either. Mike had asked her, though, and she'd agreed to go with him, because she didn't see Harry making a move anytime soon. He was a decent looking boy though, so she didn't mind.
"So, I came to pick you up." Harry said, changing the subject. "Thought you'd rather not squeeze into that van with everyone else who's going."
"Wouldn't want to encourage close quarters." Charlie decided. While he didn't necessarily like the idea of Bella sitting so close to this boy, he at least wasn't after his baby girl. No doubt if she went with the other boys, they'd use the opportunity to take chances. Still, "You'll be careful, right?" he asked Harry.
"Sure thing, Mister Swan." Harry said. "Slow and steady wins the race."
"Charlie." Charlie said. "If you get my girl in an accident, then I'll be Chief Swan."
"Guns and everything." Harry agreed easily, as he led Bella from the house, opening the door for her as he went.
"I like him." Charlie said, with a smirk.
"You're good with him." Bella complimented, once they were outside.
"I've dealt with his type before." Harry said handing her a helmet, which he had brought with him. "Straight shooters like him are the best kind of people."
"Charlie's cool." Bella said, as she put the helmet on, not seeming to mind the motorcycle, if it meant she could avoid being seated between Eric and Mike.
It wasn't a long time later that they joined the others at the beach. Harry wasn't all too familiar with the outer edges of the town, so he'd agreed, so that he could explore a bit. Not long after dropping Bella off, he'd sped off again on his bike, intent on getting a look around.
Bella was surprised to meet her childhood friend at the beach. Jacob and she were good friends when she was still a kid, but now he was not a little kid anymore, and he was giving her just enough attention for her to realise it wasn't strictly friendly, either.
And then the Cullens were mentioned. There seemed to be something going on between the Quileute tribe and the Cullens. Jacob definitely didn't like them and eluded to some past event, where the Cullens agreed not to go onto their lands, telling a story about how the Quileute tribe were descended from wolves.
"Wolves?" Harry asked, as he walked up to them. "Cool."
"Um." Jacob said.
"Jacob, this is Harry." Bella said. "Harry, Jacob."
"Hi." Jacob said. He didn't like that someone else had heard that. He was certain that nobody was in earshot, though. "Where'd you come from?" he asked.
"Back there." Harry said, pointing to where the others were still having fun. "Sorry if I startled you. I get that a lot. I sometimes seem to just slip into the background."
"Useful trick." Jacob said. "How do you know Bella?" he asked suspiciously.
"School." Harry said, shrugging. "You?"
"Childhood friend." Jacob said.
"Cool." Harry said. "Sorry to interrupt then."
"No, we probably have to go before it gets dark anyway." Bella said. "Bye Jacob. I'll see you around."
"Bye." Jacob said, as he watched them leave. He didn't like that his time was cut short by this random guy. He liked it even less when he saw her get on the back of his bike and hugging him closely before they pulled away. He was trying to give her a subtle warning about the Cullens too. He couldn't out them, but if he got her interested enough, she might discover the truth on her own.
"Jacob seems nice." Harry said over his shoulder.
"He is." Bella agreed.
"Do you mind if we stopped at my place real quick or do you want to go straight home?" Harry asked.
"I don't mind." Bella said.
Harry turned them down a road just before they got to town and drove up a hill, to the house he was currently staying in. It wasn't all that large, but it had a large patio on the second floor from where he could see all the way to the ocean and all the lights of the town.
He parked them in the garage, next to a car he'd stripped down and intended to modify, but never got around to. It was an old Chevy. It was a pretty thing, in all black, but the engine was shot, along with many other issues, and the guy he'd bought it from had warned him more than once that it was almost worthless. Harry wanted it anyway, since he could fix anything, as long as it wasn't too advanced. He'd look up pictures of the parts online and then fix them once he knew what they were supposed to do.
"Nice car." Bella said.
"Still fixing it." Harry said. "It needs a lot more work, before it could be considered road-worthy."
"So that's why you ride the bike?" Bella asked.
"No, I could buy another car, but I like the bike and the car is more of a pet project." Harry said, leading her to the stairs to the second storey. "Welcome to my home." he said, as she followed him up.
The place was nicely furnished, mostly tidy and had a few personal items scattered about. The biggest attraction was the kitchen, where everything was in its place, with shiny metal tools and implements. Harry walked straight there and pulled out three metal containers from under a counter. Then he proceeded to switch on the stove to re-heat the stew he had made the previous evening.
"You live here alone?" Bella asked.
"It's my place, so I would hope so." Harry chuckled.
"I mean; where are your parents?" she asked.
"They died when I was small." Harry said.
"I'm sorry." Bella said quickly.
"Don't be." Harry shrugged. "You didn't kill them."
Bella didn't know what to say to that. Did he mean that they were killed, like murder?
"Don't worry about it." Harry said, seeing her discomfort. "I had a rough childhood, but I finally got away from my past, and that's where I intend to leave it."
Bella just nodded at that, since there was little else for her to do.
It took only about ten minutes for everything to be ready and Harry dished up, into the containers, taking care to garnish and add a bit of salt, before closing the containers up and placing it into a nearby bag.
"Thanks for waiting." he said to Bella, who'd been watching with some interest.
"What…" she started.
"Dinner, for your dad and us." Harry said. "I could see that he wasn't convinced, when I was talking about food, so I thought I could show you heathens the error of your ways."
Bella smirked at that, but said nothing. He'd not let her taste his food before and she'd been interested after smelling it for the first time.
When they arrived at Bella's house, Charlie was waiting, but since they arrived at a decent hour, he wasn't upset. In-fact, it seemed he was rather pleased when he saw his baby girl get off the bike with a smile as she joked with Harry about something or other. If she wasn't interested in him, then it seemed she'd have a good friend around, at least.
"You're early." Charlie called as they walked to the front door.
"Harry decided food was more important than watching Eric shiver." Bella mocked.
"I just can't understand why anyone would be interested in swimming in this kind of weather." Harry said, as he followed Bella to the door. "It's like they're trying to prove something, but none of them were actually enjoying the effort."
"Teens." was all Charlie said.
"Fair enough." Harry said. "We can't all be reasonable, or we'd break the stereotype."
"Come on dad." Bella said as she led Harry directly into the house. "Harry brought dinner."
"I was going to…" Charlie started. He had half-formed plans for getting take-out, if Bella didn't want to do something healthier.
"We're having stew." Bella said.
"Stew?" Charlie asked, realising that Harry had mentioned something about stew earlier. "Did you let it rest?"
"That's steak." Harry reminded him. "But I made this last night, so it should be just right."
"What kind of stew?" Charlie asked as Harry removed the containers and Bella went to fetch some cutlery.
Instead of answering, Harry placed a container before Charlie and opened it. As the steam escaped and wafted to Charlie's face, his mouth began to instantly water and his eyebrows rose. "You tell me." Harry challenged.
"Lamb." Charlie said, as he took the offered cutlery, while Harry went to the fridge and took a beer from the fridge and put it in the freezer, for after dinner.
Nobody said anything much for the next few minutes, except for sounds of approval. When the food was consumed, Harry went to fetch the beer for Charlie and opened it for him.
"It feels like you're buttering me up." Charlie said as he took the extra chilled beer and took a swig.
"I'm just taking a moment to educate you in the finer things in life." Harry said, as he picked up the containers and went to the sink to clean them.
"Are you sure you don't like him?" Charlie asked. "You could marry him and die fat and happy."
"Harry's more interested in stealing other people's girlfriends." Bella mocked.
"I never said I want to steal her." Harry said. "I specifically said that I'm waiting for him to screw up. In the meanwhile I'm just laying the foundation."
"What're you talking about?" Charlie asked.
"Oh, it's nothing." Harry said, while Bella said, "He's gunning for Rosalie Cullen."
"I am not gunning for anything!" Harry objected. Frankly, Alice was the more attractive of the Cullen girls, as far as he could tell. He couldn't put his finger on it, but she reminded him of someone he used to know, long ago.
"Seriously, though." Charlie said. "That was probably the best meal I've had in my life. You should consider becoming a chef or something."
"Or a mechanic, or a pilot, or an interior designer." Bella said. She'd noted just the right amount of clutter to make Harry's place look lived in, while not taking away from the aesthetic appeal. It had only been while he was finishing the prep for the food, when she was looking around, that she had noticed that it was all done to make the house seem more comfortable.
"Got many talents?" Charlie asked.
"Oh, like you wouldn't believe." Harry said, with a cocky smile. "Honestly, though, I just have a wide range of interests, so I dabble in a bit of everything."
"Jack of all trades?" Charlie asked.
"Master of none." Harry agreed. "It's amazing what you can do with just a bit of research, though."
"He's got some kind of muscle car in his garage, which he's planning on fixing." Bella said.
"Right, a mechanic." Charlie said. "Maybe him and Jacob could get along?"
"Jacob's a nice enough guy." Harry allowed. "He's a mechanic?"
"We saw them down by the beach." Bella explained. The thought brought back their conversation, though, and Bella soon excused herself to go look something up online.
"She's been distracted lately." Charlie said, as he saw Harry out.
"Probably just a girl thing." Harry shrugged. "Let me know if you ever want to taste a steak done right."
"I'll take you up on that." Charlie said instantly.
"Cheers Charlie." Harry said, as he put on his helmet. "Next time, I'll cook at my place, so we can do it right."
Meanwhile, down by the docks, an old Swan family friend was having his throat torn out.
It was the very next day that things started going south, fast.
It was a clear day, for once, which meant the local vampire family were absent. Harry had gone to school, to keep an eye as he always did, and when the girls decided that they wanted to go dress shopping, with Jessica inviting Harry to 'come watch', he decided he'd rather finish some chores he had back home. He wanted to work on the Chevy.
Harry was taking a moment to have some tea, when he saw the police lights flashing at the station. "Well this can't be good." he mumbled to himself, as he got ready to leave.
Edward had been following Bella and some things may have happened that likely meant that she'd know what was going on pretty soon. He had saved her from a gang of hoodlums in a nearby port town and in his anger he'd let slip about his ability to read minds. Then he took her out to dinner and did it again, finally coming clean about it. Her immunity to his power made her self-conscious, of all things. It was that fact that actually gave him some hope. She wasn't so much freaked out that he had powers, rather just the fact that she seemed to be different too.
When they returned, they saw the same thing Harry had and stopped by the police station. Harry was out front, talking to Carlisle, and when they stopped, the conversation ended and Harry just waved at Bella, before he got on his bike and sped off at speeds that likely would have gotten him a ticket, had there been any police to catch him.
When he was sure they couldn't follow him anymore, he unleashed his power and seemed to vanish from sight. His bike lifted up and he quickly went to the location where the body had been found. It had been a day since the attack happened, by Carlisle's reckoning, but that wouldn't stop Harry from getting at least something to go on.
Scanning the area, he found a trace. Vampires. Or at least, this new kind. Their strange energies were weak, but still there. Unfortunately it was too weak to follow, but it would be enough for him to set up a bit of a ward, to let him know if they entered the area again. Covering the whole town would be difficult, but he could at least put something in place in places where such creatures would find easy victims.
When he was done with that, he decided that it was about time to go visit the vampire family.
He flowed back into visibility a few miles away from their house, just in case they could hear that far, and drove down the road and up the long driveway to their house.
He was not surprised to see them gathered in front of the house.
"Good evening." Harry said to them.
"Why are you here?" Edward asked. "It wasn't us."
"Of course it wasn't." Harry scoffed. "If it was, you'd be dead already."
"What do you mean?" Carlisle asked, putting a calming hand on Edward's shoulder.
"There are three others." Harry said, not responding to that. "They appeared from out of the woods and took off into it again."
"How do you know?" Jasper asked.
"I've got my own gifts." Harry said. "Now, what do you normally do in these cases? I'm assuming you have borders or boundaries so that people don't feed in your areas?"
"We do." Esme said. "We're not allowed to intrude on other clans' territories."
"Do you have some sort of way to let people know that you are in an area?" Harry asked.
"Not really." Emmett said.
"Nomadic life is not uncommon for our kind." Carlisle said.
"Unless you can live in harmony with humans, or, I'm assuming, in a large enough city so that you can take advantage of the homeless or something?" Harry asked.
"A smart person…" Carlisle started.
"Vampire." Harry corrected. "Let's not pretend that I don't know exactly what you are."
Carlisle's eyebrows lifted, but he finally nodded. "A smart vampire might stay in one place long enough to use such a system, but there are rules about our secret coming out, so nobody would dare stay in one place long enough to risk discovery."
"So you've got oversight?" Harry asked.
"Why should we tell you?" Rosalie asked then. "You aren't one of us. A human knowing about us will only bring us to their attention."
"I can keep a secret." Harry said. "After all, you don't know what I am, do you?"
"What are you?" Jasper asked.
"I'm not here to discuss me." Harry said. "My purpose is to safeguard human life, so all you need to know is that while I may not be your enemy, I'm not necessarily your friend either."
"A calling?" Esme asked. "Like a priest, or a knight?"
"Something like that." Harry said. "Except, I work with impunity."
"What do you think you can do?" Emmett challenged.
Harry's eyes flashed for a moment and suddenly none of the Vampires could move. "Anything I think is necessary." he said as he walked up to Emmett and flicked his nose. It was hard as rock, though, so Harry doubted he'd felt it. "Don't test me. When I'm around, there's no such thing as immortality." Harry released the hold he had on them and they stumbled back, and away from him.
"Are you here to kill us?" Esme asked.
"No, he's not." Alice said for the first time. "He's trying to protect the humans, and by extension, us."
"You seem like decent folk." Harry allowed. "Except maybe for you." he said pointing at Jasper. "I see a lot of death around you."
"He's trying to change." Alice said instantly.
"And that's why he still draws breath." Harry allowed. "While you all may not be innocent, Carlisle's soul is clean, and since he's your leader, I'm not going to do anything to break your family up."
"Soul?" Edward asked, as something he was hearing resonated with him. He'd always feared he was a soulless monster.
"Sure." Harry said easily. "You're all immortal, but you have souls. I've seen things that don't have souls. You wouldn't want to meet them. Completely incapable of rational thought and hungry for what they don't have."
"You have proof?" Edward insisted.
"I do." Harry said. "You don't." He shook himself as the memories of Dementors overcame him for a moment. "We're getting off topic. What are you going to do about these others?"
"We can't harm our own kind without cause." Carlisle allowed the conversation to go back to topic. They could discuss what they had learned later.
"Threatening humans in the area where you live isn't cause enough?" Harry asked. "I'd think you'd have a different arrangement with your government or something?"
"We can interact more easily with humans, so we don't threaten exposing our kind." Esme said, nodding.
"And what if Edward outs you to Bella?" Harry asked. He was worried that she'd be in the crosshairs of whoever ran the vampire world.
"She, her family and ours would be in danger if anyone ever found out that she knew." Rosalie said, sending a glare at Edward.
"Um, about that…" Edward said, looking slightly sheepish.
"You didn't?" Carlisle asked.
"She felt how cold I am." Edward said.
"So, she knows about your speed, strength and your cold skin?" Harry asked. "Is that it? Because that's still something you can explain away."
"She also knows about my ability to read people." Edward said.
"How could she possibly… Oh, you bloody moron!" Harry exploded. "It's like you're asking her to… Oh." he said in realisation, as he ran out of steam. "So you're hoping to share your life with her, is that it?"
"He's not even considering her family!" Rosalie exclaimed. "Or her future!" This was the first they were hearing of all this.
"Family squabbles later." Harry said. If she wanted to become a monster, that was her deal. It would by no means be an easy life, but if she was old enough to make the choice, she could. He'd stipulate that rule later. "You'll have to actively look for these others. If one more person dies in this town, I'm afraid I'll have to resort to taking a personal stake in this." With that, Harry turned, put his helmet on and drove away, disappearing as soon as he reached the road.
"What the hell is that guy!?" Emmett exclaimed. He'd never felt so powerless.
"I don't know." Alice said. "I think we can trust him to keep his word, though."
It was the very next day that Bella confronted Edward with the answer she had come to. Idiot that he was, he revealed his secret to her completely. The next week was crazy for Bella, as she spent time with Edward, asking all kinds of questions and, finally, she was set to meet the family.
They had yet to find any trace of the interlopers in their area and suspected that they had left.
Edward led her into their house and was shocked to see not only his own family, but Harry, working in the kitchen to prepare a meal for her.
"She already ate." Edward blurted.
"She could eat." Harry said, even as Bella suddenly felt she was starving. She'd eaten, because she knew vampires didn't.
"Harry?!" Bella exclaimed. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm helping the bloodsuckers make you something edible. As I understand it, their sense of smell and taste is so acute that they can't appreciate human food at all." Harry said, with his cocky grin. Strangely, it was Alice who'd come to him, asking for his presence.
"You know?!" she exclaimed.
"Of course I know." Harry said, before turning to Rosalie. "You can just leave the vinaigrette on the table for Bella. The salad is perfect, thanks."
"You know, and you didn't tell me?!" Bella exclaimed again. "I thought we were friends!"
"Not my secret to tell." Harry shrugged. He turned to Carlisle, but before he could say anything, Carlisle was reducing the heat on the pan, which he was handling. "Perfect, thanks."
"We may not appreciate human food, but I've been around long enough to know how not to burn something, Harry." Carlisle said.
"Fair enough." Harry said. "Food's almost done, Bella. Go wash up, or whatever."
Harry didn't need to do too much, but his experience and talent just added a little something. The family soon all joined together and Bella went to take a seat next to Edward at the dinner table, with Harry sitting between Jasper and Emmett. With him as an unknown, they weren't allowing Harry near their girls.
"One moment, please." Harry said, before he and Bella could start eating. "I have a surprise for the rest of you filthy monsters." He said it with a smirk and Emmett actually smiled, while Edward scowled and the rest showing different emotions, ranging from indignation to amusement.
Harry looked up and a sound of a slamming door was heard. As everyone looked up, a plate with burgers and fries appeared before all of the Vampires.
"Enjoy." he said, as he started digging into his own food.
"Harry…" Alice started, shocked at the food that hadn't been there before, but also not wanting to mention their diet while the humans were eating.
"How'd you do that?" Bella asked.
"Slight-of-hand." Harry shrugged. At their continued looks, he asked, "Just… try it, okay." He'd taken the time to experiment a bit and then went hunting. He'd have some game to process at some point, but they were all thoroughly drained and he'd collected the drainage to transfigure some vampire friendly food.
Carlisle, the leader of their group, was the first to move, taking a small fry in hand and sniffing it. It smelled like human food, but there was a hint of something else in it. He looked at it curiously, before he stuck the fry in his mouth. His eyes widened as he chewed, before he swallowed. "Deer." he said.
"Yes?" Esme asked.
"No, I mean, deer, like antelope." Carlisle said in shock, taking another fry and sticking it in his mouth. "Wonderful!" he exclaimed.
The rest of the family didn't take long to taste the food. Emmett was the first one to finish and then he started snagging food from Jasper's plate, right over Harry, until Jasper growled at him. Harry just clicked his fingers and everyone blinked involuntarily, only to reveal a whole new plate had appeared before Emmett.
Emmett looked like it was his first Christmas and dug into the food again.
"This is unbelievable." Alice said. "You can make food for our kind."
Harry just smirked and stuck his arm into a pocket, pulling out several bottles of wine, one at a time. He'd added a bit of spell-work which might have a calming effect on vampires, but he'd not tested it yet. "It's not for normal people, obviously, but it should be socially acceptable." he said. Everyone stared.
Bella was slightly freaked out. Those were obviously magic tricks, but the vampires seemed just as mystified as her.
That was it for the doubters in the family. Harry had just fed them and showed them the benefits of cooperation. When Edward and Bella finished their meals, Harry remained behind as they went up to his room, pulling another bottle out of a pocket and pouring himself some whiskey.
"Aren't you a bit young?" Carlisle asked, as he sat back sipping slowly from the red wine he was drinking. At least, it looked like red wine. The taste was definitely alcoholic, but the majority of the flavour was deer and none of it had any negative reactions on his body.
"I'm not sure how old you are, but I know for a fact that you don't know how old I am." Harry said, easily.
"Immortal?" Alice asked.
"Secret." Harry said.
"You're not going to tell us what you really are, are you?" Jasper asked.
"Not on your life." Harry agreed.
"But you have shown us your powers." Carlisle said.
"Have I?" Harry asked. "These little tricks prove nothing." He indicated the table with the bottles of wine and the plates that the food had been on.
"If you can change one thing into other things, could you make a vampire, human again?" Emmett asked, as the thought occurred to him. They all knew vampires could not eat human food and the food they had eaten was definitely made from blood, or they'd not be able to stomach it.
"Maybe." Harry shrugged. "It depends on factors I'm not discussing with you."
"We can pay." Rosalie pressed. If he could give her a chance at a human life, she'd take it in a heartbeat.
"Don't need money." Harry said.
"We can pay a lot." Rosalie tried again.
"I'm not strapped for cash." Harry said. "I'm really rich." He'd never had a real interest in money and when he wanted something badly enough, he tended to spend a few days using a bit of nifty divination magic he'd perfected over the years to either win a lotto, or to make large bets on whatever his divination told him to focus on. He'd even once been led to a stock broker, who'd figured out a way to make millions in just a few hours with a flaw in some system or another.
Harry was never one for divination, but for some reason he'd been really good at it for the last couple of years.
"What do you want for this help, then?" Carlisle asked. "If you could do something for us, we'd be indebted to you for life."
"Why are you pushing for this?" Harry asked, as he poured himself another large one, before pocketing his bottle again.
Carlisle looked around the table, before nodding seemingly to himself. "Most of us didn't choose this life. Some of us would prefer to live normal lives with our loved ones."
"What about this vampire government?" Harry asked. "Wouldn't they want to stop something like vampires going back to being humans? Surely they'd consider such a thing a threat?"
"The Volturi are the reigning vampire monarchs." Rosalie said. "They make the rules and ensure that they are kept."
"So, things like protecting the secret, keeping humans dying too often from coming to light, that kind of thing?" Harry asked.
"Yes." Jasper said.
"Seems like some sort of enforcement is likely a good idea, but from your expressions, I take it they're not as benevolent as they seem on paper." Harry asked, having noted a few looks going between the family members in attendance.
"There are a few things that are suspected, but couldn't be proven." Carlisle said. "If people are found to have spread those rumours, they tend to disappear."
"So, not clean at all." Harry said. "If they disappeared, would that make things better, or would it lead to more human casualties."
"You shouldn't consider something like that." Esme said emphatically. "They have many means and no matter how strong you are, there's very little chance that you'd come out of such a confrontation with your life."
"Best case, they turn you and sway your loyalties to them." Carlisle nodded. "They have done it before. I don't know everything you can do, but I can't imagine that you could withstand their full attention and I don't want to imagine what you'd be capable of after the turn."
"Fine, let's shelve that for the moment." Harry said. "Volturi, bad. Kill them later."
"Kill them?" Emmett asked.
"Later." Harry agreed, as he snapped a finger and a tongue of flame danced above his finger for a moment. It was dark and looked angry. "Not much could withstand that. I'll keep it in reserve for the right moment. I assume vampires are flammable?"
There was silence at that. How many tricks did this guy have? He could immobilize their entire coven and now it turned out he could have simply lit them on fire even then, all while they were unable to fight back.
"Don't worry guys. I'm not planning on torching you." Harry assured them. "I'm just demonstrating that I have means to protect myself and defend the humans."
"Humans." Rosalie asked. "Aren't you a human?"
"I don't think I could be counted among the ranks of Homo Sapiens." Harry said. "Not anymore."
"What about turning one of us, into one of whatever you are?" Rosalie tried a different tactic.
"I'm not contagious." Harry chuckled. "I was born human, with certain advantages, much like I suspect Edward was, but with a different skillset. Then some other stuff happened." He considered their pleading looks for a bit longer, before sighing. "Fine, I'll put a bit of effort into looking into solutions for you, but I'm no geneticist. I'm thinking I'll likely just be able to make your lives a little better, or some sort of short-term transformation. I'm thinking sorting you with a way to handle that damn thirst will likely go a long way to helping already."
"If you can turn me human, I'll have your babies." Rosalie said, just a bit too firmly for Harry's comfort. Emmett's hurt look didn't seem faked, this time.
"If I can make you human, I'll be sure to do the same for Emmett, so you can start popping his spawn out." Harry chuckled at the looks being exchanged between the two of them. Rosalie seemed apologetic, but also kind-of not, while Emmett had a scowl on his face. No doubt he'd heard the rumour about Harry wanting to steal his girl. He'd thought it was a joke, but for Rosalie to say that, a part of her must have thought it was true. "Don't worry, big guy. While I find your girl dead sexy, I'm not stepping on any toes."
Carlisle was smiling. "Rosalie is a beautiful girl and I don't doubt that she still catches many men's attention." he said to Emmett.
"Anyway, I'm thinking we've discussed enough." Harry said. Then he remembered something. "Oh, right. Tell Edward that if he tries to turn Bella before she turns eighteen, I'll take it personally. This is an adult decision. She doesn't get to make it, unless her father agrees, or she reaches the age of adult consent."
"I doubt he plans on turning her at all." Carlisle said.
"If her heart stops beating before her eighteenth birthday, and he's involved, I'm doing something about it." Harry said again. Then he downed the rest of his drink and stood up. "Enjoy the wine. Let me know if you experience any sort of unnatural calm after drinking it. I did something in the hopes that it will chill you uptight bloodsuckers out."
Then he left, without a backwards glance.
"What do you think, Carlisle?" Esme asked, once Harry was gone.
"I'm thinking, I'd like to inspect some of this wine under a microscope." he said, as he picked up his glass and went to his lab.
"Alice?" Jasper asked.
"Still nothing." she reported. "He's not even a blank spot. I see right through him, like he doesn't affect the time-line at all, but everything he does changes things and I can't predict them until he does them. It's so strange."
"What about the people he interacts with in the future?" Esme asked.
"Same thing." Alice said. "Only once he does something do I see things change for them. It's like he's overwriting the future with his actions, like he's somehow outside the flow of time, but manipulating things from where he is."
"Some kind of extra-dimensional being, perhaps?" Emmett asked.
"You read too many comic books." Rosalie said.