AN: This oneshot was written spontaneously from a spontaneous idea and is dedicated to the Haphne Halloween 2021 Collection organized by the Harry/Daphne Discord Server.
Blood Soaked Kiss
The light of the moon drenched the castle in a silvery glow.
Cold wind whipped around the two lovers.
Ginny remained in the shadows of the spiral staircase, the cold stone rough under her fingers. But she hardly noticed, too spellbound was she by this ... nightmare that was playing out before her. A nightmare that squeezed her heart like an icy fist.
How? How had it come to this?
It had all started with Harry becoming more and more estranged from his fellow Gryffindors – even from Ron and Hermione, his best friends until then, with whom he had already experienced so many adventures, with whom he had outwitted the forces of darkness time and again. But at the beginning of her fifth (Harry's sixth) year at Hogwarts, Ginny had seen the two of them more and more often sitting alone in the common room, bent over their homework, the Daily Prophet, or even just a chessboard. Who had been missing was Harry. He had rarely shown his face in the common room anymore, and since Ginny didn't share classes with him and he had also resigned from the Quidditch team, she had hardly seen him except at meals in the Great Hall.
When asked about his whereabouts, Ron and Hermione had just shrugged. He had a lot to do, they had said, with his private lessons with Dumbledore (which they weren't allowed to tell her about, so they never went into it), and apparently, he had still been grieving for Sirius. So they had wanted to give him his space, after all, he already had so many burdens to carry.
All these would have been Ginny's guesses too, if it hadn't been for that downright ethereal smile on Harry's face with which he had regularly returned from his trips alone...
And yet, she would have been resigned to the fact that Harry was once again keeping secrets from them (and ignoring, out of misunderstood heroism, that he had friends who wanted to help him, who would be happy to share his burdens). She would have put up with it ... if she hadn't found him in a rather unusual state one evening.
If only she hadn't been so stupid then…
Cursing quietly, Ginny hurried down the corridor to the Gryffindor Tower, her books and ink glasses clattering loudly in her bag. She barely had the time to hastily throw them in before Madam Pince had kicked her out of the closing library. That also meant she had to pull an all-nighter to finish the essay on the importance of humidity in the discolouration of canaries – otherwise, McGonagall would flay her alive tomorrow. At least, the sofas in front of the crackling fire would be unoccupied at such a late hour...
However, all these thoughts of bossy teachers and annoying schoolwork abruptly disappeared from Ginny's mind when, around the next corner, she suddenly spotted Harry, in a very unusual pose. With one hand he was propping himself up against the wall, with the other he was pressing down on his neck, while his face gleamed ghostly pale in the light of the torches.
"Harry!" cried Ginny, running to him. She simply dropped her bag on the stone floor, causing the ink glasses to shatter loudly, but she hardly noticed. "Harry! What's wrong with you?"
Startled by her voice, Harry jerked his head up, but relaxed again as soon as he recognized her. "It's ... it's all right," he said, giving her a slight smile. "I'm just a little tired..."
Ginny had her doubts about that, for she had never seen him look so pale before, neither after the Chamber of Secrets nor after the third task of the Triwizard Tournament.
"Really, Ginny. I'm fine, don't worry," Harry said as he stood up – only to stagger all at once.
Instinctively, Ginny grabbed his arm, preventing him from collapsing. And for a brief moment, while gathering himself, Harry released his hand from his neck – and Ginny saw a red mark on his skin. Lipstick?
"Maybe I am more exhausted than I thought," Harry muttered, hastily covering the red mark with his hand again. "Can you maybe help me to the common room?"
Ginny only nodded, too busy trying to quell her burgeoning jealousy.
Even many hours later, when she had long since lain in her bed and her gaze bored deep holes in the wooden ceiling, her thoughts circled incessantly around what she had experienced earlier. So Harry had a girlfriend, or at least he was seeing someone – someone who caressed his neck with her lips!
So what? she tried to tell herself. Then he was seeing someone, just like he had seen Cho last year. It couldn't be anything too serious, otherwise he wouldn't be hiding it so much. That didn't mean she wouldn't have another chance to win his heart...
But who was this someone?!
Certainly no one from Gryffindor, she would have noticed. So Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw – it certainly couldn't be anyone from Slytherin. But who? So far she hadn't seen him interested in any girl, except his previous crush Cho. Could it be Susan or Hannah? After all, they had both been in the DA ... but weren't they perhaps a bit too boring for Harry? Luna was anything but boring, but she was out of question; her friend would have told her, would never have been so cruel to her…
So who was Harry's mysterious, hickey-leaving acquaintance?
She needed certainty.
The next time Harry slipped out of the Gryffindor Tower, a small shadow followed him, eager to remain unnoticed. Ginny was undoubtedly helped in this by the sneaking skills she had learnt during her childhood – one doesn't grow up with numerous brothers and an overprotective mother without learning to move around silently.
Carefully, she stepped behind him through the Fat Lady's portal, only to barely see the hem of his robe disappearing around the next corner. She stuck to his heels, but he kept getting faster and faster and was taking new shortcuts all the time, so much so that Ginny almost had to run to keep up with him. And eventually, after yet another hidden passage that Ginny had never seen before, he vanished without a trace.
Had he noticed her? Or did he have his bloody Invisibility Cloak with him?
Ginny cursed as she let her eyes wander over her surroundings. She was on the seventh floor, not too far from the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy and the Room of Requirement.
Was that where Harry was going? Surely there was nothing else of interest in this part of the castle?
Should she perhaps just go to the secret room and see if she could enter it? But what if she met Harry there for a tryst with his mysterious girlfriend with the crimson lipstick? What was she supposed to do then?
Ginny was still lost in her thoughts when she suddenly saw a dark silhouette in front of her, rushing down the corridor, and then abruptly bumping into her. A sharp cry came from the other person.
"I'm sorry!" called Ginny, jumping back. "I didn't see you!"
She froze as she recognised the shadowy figure. A pale, almost sickly looking, elfin face. Long, black hair. And glimmering red eyes that had earned the girl the reputation of a freak throughout Hogwarts.
Daphne Greengrass. A Slytherin student from Harry's year.
"No, I'm sorry. I should have been more aware of my surroundings," Greengrass said, straightening her clothes.
Ginny shuddered. Even her voice sounded strange, downright eerie, though it was hard to put into words what exactly was so disturbing. Instinctively, however, all the alarm bells started ringing in her head. This girl promised danger, she was sure of it.
Before Ginny could say anything back, though, Greengrass suddenly turned and hurried off in the same direction she had come from. Confused, Ginny looked after her. What was a Slytherin doing so far away from her dungeon?
And then a sudden cold suspicion pierced her.
Had SHE been going to meet Harry?!
Could ... could that be possible?
As if in a trance, Ginny made her way to the Room of Requirement, and found it indeed locked. The room was already in use. By whom? Was it Harry? Was he waiting for ... Greengrass?
Her throat tightened. Still, she decided to wait, in defiance of her pounding emotions. The sensible part of her knew it would be best if she just left, but she had to know, if only to protect Harry, as she tried to tell herself.
She had to wait over an hour before the secret door finally opened – and Harry stepped out. Ginny's heart felt like it was falling into a dark crater. Her fears had been confirmed.
Their eyes met, green and brown jewels in the torch-lit darkness.
"Harry," Ginny whispered. "What were you doing in there? Were you going to meet with –"
Abruptly, Harry slammed the door behind him so hard that the whole castle might have heard it. "Don't stick your nose where it doesn't belong," he hissed. Never before had she seen him so brusque. And then he stepped past her without giving her another glance, his hands shaking almost uncontrollably.
Left behind was Ginny, struggling with her tears – a struggle she eventually lost.
After that fateful encounter outside the Room of Requirement, Ginny had not managed to follow Harry again. In fact, she had hardly seen him at all, for he had been even more absent from the common room after that and had stayed away from the Great Hall more and more often. And when he had shown up at dinner, he had made it a point to ignore her, only talking quietly with Ron and Hermione, while making such a clear effort NOT to look in the direction of the Slytherin table (and a certain black-haired, pale student there) that it had been conspicuous.
Perhaps she could have still prevented this tragedy then, could have saved Harry from his gruesome fate. But these plaguing questions had always been the survivor's curse…
Loud laughter and the booming chatter of joyful students surrounded Ginny from all sides, surpassed only by the smell of the delicious food with which the house-elves had once again outdone themselves for this year's Halloween feast. But for all that, for all this festive atmosphere, exquisite delicacies, and sumptuous decorations, she had no eyes, no ears, no sense. Her eyes were fixed solely on Harry, who in turn did not seem to notice her at all. Instead, he kept glancing, consciously or unconsciously, towards the Slytherin table on the other side of the hall – and towards her.
Why this sudden change in his behaviour? Why was he no longer hiding his and that freak's ... connection, or whatever that was between them?
The golden spoon Ginny was trying to eat her pumpkin soup with quivered in her hand. She had waited long enough. This very evening, she would confront him and not rest until he had told her everything. His security – and his alienation from his friends – were something she would stick her nose into whether he liked it or not!
So she kept her eyes firmly on him as the feast finally came to an end and the glutted student body streamed out of the Great Hall, pushing and shoving. Thus, she noticed Harry abruptly detaching himself from the crowd and disappearing through a small side door. And she also noticed that he was not alone. Behind him, Greengrass also stepped through the door.
Without saying goodbye to her friends, Ginny hurried after them, the curiosity inside her burning even hotter than the ugly jealousy that fed on her like a demon. At last, she would learn what Greengrass wanted from Harry. Or rather – since he held her hand – what he wanted from her.
Behind the side door was a narrow corridor that led straight to numerous stairs that floated through the air accompanied by the hum of magic. And on one of these staircases stood Harry and Greengrass, still hand in hand as they continued to ascend.
Ginny kept a close eye on the fleeing pair, doing her best to remain undetected as she followed them on another flying staircase. But that didn't seem necessary, as the pair seemed to have eyes solely for each other.
They passed through more dark corridors and long staircases until they finally arrived back in a part of the castle that Ginny knew all too well: The astronomy tower, where the students usually observed distant stars and planets, but which was now completely deserted.
And that brings us back to the beginning of the story.
With bated breath, Ginny remained in the shadows of the spiral staircase, the cold stone rough under her fingers. But she hardly noticed, too spellbound was she by this ... nightmare that was playing out before her. A nightmare that squeezed her heart like an icy fist.
Wrapped in the silver glow of the moon, the two lovers (for they were lovers, there was no doubt about that now) stood before the battlements, entwined, their faces only millimetres apart. The wind whipped past them, but they didn't seem to notice.
And how could they? They hadn't even noticed how she had followed them this far, and now they didn't notice her watching them either, even though she was crouched on the stairs only a few steps away, her heartbeat thundering and her thoughts roaring. A feeling of powerlessness gripped her as she watched the two of them on their rendezvous, much more intimate than all the weddings she had attended in her childhood.
"You don't have to do this," Greengrass said in her eerie voice.
Harry tightened his grip around her body, and she pressed herself even closer to him – as if they weren't close enough already. "I know, but I want to," he said. "I've made my decision."
At his words, a bright smile spread across Greengrass's face; and to some, it might've seemed innocent, but to Ginny, it sent a cold shiver down her spine. Everything became clear to her at that moment. No matter how hard Greengrass tried to hide her cursedness behind the façade of a schoolgirl, she was a creature of darkness wrapped in corrupted light.
Ginny felt a tear slide down her cheek. As a child, she had dreamed of how she and Harry would meet, fall in love, and eventually get married. And then she had met the real Harry, had had to confront her childish fantasy images with reality, and had only fallen in love with him all the more. And even now she didn't want to destroy the grotesque, sacred image she had of him, even if what was happening in front of her destroyed any hope of ever being able to conquer his heart.
For what was happening right then no longer bore any resemblance to a wedding. It looked more like a ritual, a dark, depraved and blasphemous ritual.
Harry threw his head back, exposing his neck, as if he had done this many times before. Ginny trembled but could not avert her eyes, even as her throat tightened.
Greengrass bent over his neck – and then Ginny saw the flash of a pointed tooth, followed by red ... dark shimmering red covered Harry's skin. Not lipstick, but blood.
With an almost blissful expression on her face, Greengrass began to drink Harry's blood. Ginny could even hear her greedy slurping and swallowing. They were inhuman, disgusting sounds.
After some time, she broke away from Harry again, her lips covered in his blood, smiling insidiously. And Harry returned her gruesome smile, even though his face looked unnaturally pale by now. How much blood had this monster drunk from him?!
Ginny's fingers clawed at the hard stone, but she still couldn't move, being riveted by the outrageous, but at the same time mesmerizing, events in front of her. The fascination, however, could not cover the horror that she felt and that lay over her heart like a shroud.
She saw Greengrass now bring her wrist to her lips before ripping open her own flesh with her deadly teeth. Blood, as black as the night, gushed from the wound.
This time it was Harry who drank her blood, and he did not hold back either. Like a man dying of thirst, he fed on her dark claret until finally, he had become as inhuman as she herself. His eyes, too, were now sparkling red in the moonlit darkness.
And when he broke away from her wrist, his lips glistened in her black blood, just as hers still glistened in his. They smiled at each other, blind to the earthly profanities around them. All at once, the wind died down and it became quiet as a mouse, as if the world itself held its breath. Then, as if in slow motion, their lips drew closer and closer to finally meet in a blood-soaked kiss with which the two lovers, now partners in eternal damnation, sealed their bond.
From that moment on, Harry James Potter was lost to the Wizarding World forever.