Disclamer: I do not own Harry Potter. However, I do own Ardella, Dimitri, Damien, Valissa, and Lysander Sterling as well as the ideas that put together this story.

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Thirsty. So thirsty.

The uncontrollable thirst that left her throat ablaze like a fiery inferno was the first thing that registered in Ardella's newly awakened conscious. She was sure that if the firestorm was not quenched soon it would spread and burn away at her body leaving naught but ashes in its wake. Her first attempt to speak was futile, her tongue feeling ten times its normal size and unable to form words. Swallowing, she felt as if someone had filled her mouth with hot, coarse sand which only intensified the burning flames in her esophagus, nearly bringing tears to her closed eyes.

"Wa-t, w-er," came her feeble croaked in hopes that someone was nearby to hear her distressed pleas. Unable to open her eyes, the lids heavy and seemingly glued shut, she continued her whimper her requests for water. After a time, it seemed someone had heard her cries as a door creaked open somewhere to the left.

"Are you awake, dearie," the voice was kind and sounded like it belonged to an older woman, but was unfamiliar to Ardella. Not caring who the person was while her body attempted to burn away from the inside, she repeated the broken request.

"Wt-r, wa-ater."

"Oh, of course."

Ardella heard the shuffling of feet before the door squeaked close and assumed the woman must have entered the room as she heard items being moved around. The woman continued to prattle on about useless matters in her merry voice, clearly not noticing that Ardella was incapable of responding to the chatter. It was another moment before the woman voice was directly besides her head and she felt something cool and smooth touch her lips.

"There we are. Make sure to drink it slowly," the woman cautioned, tipping the glass to pour refreshingly cool water down her throat that immediately began to sooth the raging blaze. However, the sudden liquid hitting her parched throat caused Ardella to sputter, spewing some of the contents from her mouth.

"Ah, careful now. Don't drink it too fast."

Ardella did as she was instructed and this time was able to swallow a fair amount of the water, taking the edge off the burn, though it did not disperse completely. Blindly gesturing that she was done with the water for now, the cup left her lips as Ardella desperately tried to open her eyes. The lids were heavy and unwilling to move from their closed state, but after a moment or so she was able to crack them open just the slightest. Bright lights immediately assaulted her retinas, and she quickly closed her lids once more to block out the offending light. Waiting a moment, she attempted to open her eyes once more, this time prepared for the blinding torrent of light. Bit by bit she opened them wider and wider until they were fully opened. Blinking a few times to clear her eyes from the fuzziness that accompanied a long sleep, she looked around the room and tried to discern where she was.

The room was almost completely white, reflected the lights to make it seem even more vibrant than it actually was. She was situated on a bed, the linens and pillows all unnaturally clean and stiff, and the only other furniture in the room was two chairs to the right of the bed and small nightstand to the left. Sitting upon the nightstand was a vase with an enormous bouquet of flowers in every color, about the only item to break up the continuous white. Taking a closer look of her surroundings, Ardella observed many strange instruments throughout the room, none of which she recognized, and a small counter with a sink and cupboards. Turning to the woman from before, who she assumed to be a nurse, she was met with a small woman probably in her late forties with short blonde hair and a kind face.

"Excuse me, but where am I? How long have I been here? Why am I here and where are my parents?" Hearing these questions caused the kind face to crumple into one of pity and the woman looked upon Ardella with eyes full of sympathy before answering.

"My dear, you're at St. Mungo's. You were brought in three days ago. Don't you remember anything about what happened?" Ardella stared at the nurse in bewilderment. St. Mungo's? What am I doing in a hospital? Thinking back to try and recall her memories of before she ended up here, Ardella scrunched up her face in thought before letting out a shrill scream.

She collapsed back on the bed and wailed, the nurse running from the room and shouting for help while tears rained down Ardella's face, the awful memories rushing back to replay over and over again in her mind. She could see the dead bodies of her parents, the vampire advancing on her, and the blood. Oh, all the blood; it was everywhere.

Looking down at her hands, she saw them once more bathed in bright crimson blood, her mind making her relive the awful moment and leaving her stuck in her memories. She squeezed her eyes shut, tears still falling from the corners as she released another tortured shriek. It was then the door banged open to reveal the woman followed by a man in a white coat, identifying him as a Healer.

"What's happening to her?" the woman questioned frightfully as the youth before her twisted upon the bed and cried out it pain as if under the influence of the Cruciatus Curse.

"She's reliving her memories and to her it looks and feels as if she's going through the whole ideal again," the man let out a sad sigh as he too observed the pained girl. "We'll have to sedate her." The man pulled his wand from his coat pocket and carefully approached the girl. However as soon as he was within an arm's reach of the bed, Ardella's eyes burst open and she stared at him in horror.

"No, get away from me! What do you want? Why are you doing this?" Her voice was hysterical now and she frantically tried to move away from the Healer. "Why did you kill them? Get away from me. Get away!" The Healer quickly moved forward and tapped her head with his hand, muttering a spell under his breath. Ardella's face quickly lost is fear instead becoming blank before she closed her eyes and fell back into the pillows on the bed, obviously in a state of unconsciousness. The nurse cautiously moved closer, waiting for the girl to sit up and any moment and resume her tormented screams. Realizing she was out for good, she hurried forward and examined Ardella to make certain she hadn't injured herself during her fit.

"Was that really necessary?" she inquired after the doctor as he began checking the girl's vitals.

"Unfortunately, yes. She was so absorbed in her memories she couldn't see what was really happening. She should be alright when she wakes up. I don't believe she'll relive the memories again. At least," he paused and stared at the girl's prone figure noticing her brow furrow as if troubled, "At least, not while she's awake. I have no doubt she'll have nightmares or years to come."

Both medics looked on at her sadly before exiting the room, leaving Ardella to wrestle with the demons that resided in her mind.

When she awoke for the second time, Ardella noticed her throat still burned with thirst, though it was nowhere near as potent as the first time. It was annoying but, for the moment, tolerable. Taking inventory of the rest of her body, she found that all her limbs felt heavy and she didn't have the strength to make an effort in moving them. So instead, she turned her head to the right and opened her eyes to have them once again bombarded with the bright lights of the hospital, causing them to water slightly. Bleary-eyed, she blinked before focusing on the sight in front of her. The two chairs were now occupied by two men, both seemingly in their late teens or early twenties, one with a large muscled frame and dark hair; the other lean with light brown hair. They were both situated as comfortably as one could be in a stiff, plastic chair and had apparently dozed off while waiting for her to wake.

The dark haired one, as if able to sense her stare, blinked away sleep and locked onto her gaze with warm, olive-colored eyes. Seeing awake, a grin stretched across his handsome face and he jostled the other man before leaning forward to pull Ardella up into a fierce hug.

"It's good to see you wake, Ara," he whispered, using her nickname and refusing to relinquish his hold on the girl.

"It's good to see you too, Damien." The hug lasted a while longer, until Ardella pulled back slightly to see that her other brother, Dimitri, had awaken as well. Damien surrendered his grip on her to allow his brother to hug her and express sentiments similar to the ones he had uttered only a moment ago. Once Ardella had broken from Dimitri's grip she promptly fell back against the mountain of pillows on the bed, unable to hold her leaden body up on her own. Her brothers looked on in concern but she dismissed it with a wave of her hand and attempted a small smile, though it was little more than a tilt of the lips.

"Don't worry, I'm just a little sore and it's hard for me to sit up," she meant this to assure them she was fine but upon hearing this admission both jumped up, Dimitri checking her for any injuries and rearranged her pillows so she could sit up while Damien headed for the door, presumable to find a Healer. Seeing them both so frantic and overprotective, despite the situation, she couldn't help but laugh. This only resulted in Dimitri becoming more worried, questioning why in the world she was laughing.

"I'm sorry," Ardella managed to reign in her laughter, though it wasn't hard to accomplish given the ordeals she had recently faced. Sober-faced, she explained, "It's just funny see you two running about like worried mother hens and treating me like a fragile porcelain doll." Before the event, Damien and Dimitri and been protective of her like most older brothers and the fact that they came from a pure-blood family they had been drilled from a young age that it was their duty to watch out for their younger sister. However, for the most part, they treated her like any kid, and the three of them could often be found wrestling and rough-housing as if she was their little brother. Ardella had never before seen them this panicked and treating her as if the smallest thing might break her.

Dimitri let out a small sigh and collapsed back into one of the chairs, the panic leaving his features but his face was still etched with concern.

"I know, I know. This isn't like us at all. But you have to understand Ardella, when we saw you," his voice wavered at the end and he reached out and grabbed her hand to clasp in firmly between his two larger hands. "When we saw you, we thought you were," he paused, seeming to rethink his words, "We thought you were with Mom and Dad."

Hearing this, Ardella lost any amount of cheerfulness she may have achieved since waking up. She knew what Dimitri had been about to say. They thought I was dead. They thought the vampire had gotten me, too. Wait, the vampire.

"Dimitri," he looked up, his cobalt eyes widening at the fear he saw on her face. "Dimitri, what's going to happen to me? The vampire, he, he," she choked, unable to finish as tears leaked from her eyes. Immediately understanding where her train of thought had gone, Dimitri wrapped her up in a hug as more and more tears spilled, soaking his shirt.

That was how Damien and the Healer found them, and Damien urgently inquiring after what had happened. Dimitri quickly informed him of the dilemma, Damien looking distressed and joining the hug. The siblings continued the group hug until someone cleared their throat. Pulling apart, they all turned to see the Healer, still standing in the doorway and looking slightly sheepish at having to break up the hug.

"I'm sorry to intrude, but I have some important matters to discuss with you all and I'm afraid it can't wait."

"That's alright, now what's the situation?" Damien questioned in a straightforward tone. He had always had the worst temper and it was clear his was tired of waiting for answers.

"Right, then I believe it would be best if we got straight to the point. Ardella, what do you remember about the attack?"

All three men turned to look at her, eager to hear what happened. Closing her eyes, she let out a sigh before describing the incident; every occurrence she recalled vivid in her mind. When she had reached the end of her tale she once again was unable to finish when she recollected the vampire bite.

"And then the vampire bent in front of me, and he, he," sensing her grief, the Healer quickly intervened.

"It's alright dear, you don't have to finish. I just need to know, did he actually drink your blood?"

Unable to speak, afraid that she would again dissolve into tears, she simply nodded her head. This small movement caused the three men to deflate, any hope they had was now gone. The Healer shook his head as he scribbled something on the clipboard he held in his hands and both brothers grabbed one of Ardella's hands in silent support.

"Thank you, Ardella. Your information was extremely helpful. Unfortunately, I'm afraid I'll have to run a few tests and ask you some questions," the Healer appeared weary, looking very much like he didn't want to. He left the room, saying he would need additional equipment but that he would be back soon.

As soon as the door shut behind him and his footsteps faded away, Ardella turned to her brothers. "What happened?"

Both seem to be puzzled by her question.

"What do you mean, Ara?"

"What happened, after you found me? Where's the," she paused but a new determination crossed her features, "What happened to the vampire?" Understanding flooded their faces and it was a moment before anyone said anything. Dimitri, who was closest in age to Ardella at eighteen, was always there when she needed him and always told things like they were, not afraid to sugarcoat things just because she was younger. So it wasn't a surprise to Ardella when he was the first to speak.

"We woke up after hearing Mom screaming. We couldn't figure out why she was yelling at you to run, but figure it couldn't be good. Mom never got that worked up over small things," referring to their mother in the past tense made all of them flinch, but Dimitri continued in his explanation. "We grabbed our wands and Damien headed straight for Mom and Dad's room, but I lingered to send a quick Floo message to the Ministry to tell them we had a possible attack. After we arrived the vampire had released you and you passed out from blood loss."

After this statement, Dimitri seemed to waver in his story so Damien picked up where he had left off.

"After that we managed to distract and hold the vampire until some Ministry officials arrived. They captured him and he's supposed to stand trial, though Newt Scamander, he's in works in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, said he'd most likely end up in Azkaban." Finished with the recollection, the three sat in silence, none of them knowing the right thing to say.

"Good." Damien and Dimitri looked quite baffled by Ardella's sudden comment and when she didn't elaborate, Dimitri ventured to ask her what she meant by that.

"It's good that Mom and Dad's killer will be locked away."

She couldn't help it. Despite all the crying she had done in the past few days she once more released a storm of tears. Her brothers hugged her and they too cried for the parents they had lost far too soon.

After their wails had died down to hiccups and sniffling, they all sat down in silence, content just to be with one another. It was then that Ardella realized that her throat was starting to burn again and wishing not to experience it as badly as the first time she woke, asked for some water. Damien fulfilled her request, grabbing a cup and pitcher from the nightstand. After downing three glasses of water, the burn had been controlled, but still not completely doused, leaving an itch in her throat she couldn't rid herself of.

Not long after the Healer came back with a goblet, scalpel, and a small packet full of an unidentifiable liquid. Depositing the items on the counter on the far side of the room, he turned to address Ardella.

"To start off I'm going to examine you and ask some questions, alright?" Ardella nodded her compliance and the Healer started his examination. Taking out his wand he did the usual; checking temperature, blood pressure, reflexes, and respiratory. Once he was finished scribbling the results on his clipboard, waved his wand at the far wall, producing a full-length mirror.

"Now, I know this sounds strange, but would you mind getting up to look in the mirror? Just look and tell me if you think you look any different than you did before."

Slightly perplexed at the odd request, Ardella nevertheless sat up and stood from the bed, finding it much easier to move now that when she woke earlier. Moving over to the mirror she stood directly in front of it and scrutinized a reflection she had known for thirteen years.

Before her stood a rather short teenager, just shy of five foot, that was caught in that awkward phase of being neither a girl nor a woman. A few curves had started to bud, but her overall figure was still rather flat and boyish-looking. She had rather smooth skin, not yet prone to teenage acne, that was pale like most who lived in cloudy areas. Long dark hair, like that of her father's and eldest brother's, fell in long straight tendrils past her shoulders with bangs that somewhat obscured her sapphire irises.

Taking in her appearance, she found nothing amiss, as was about to tell the Healer as much, but paused. Squinting, she leaned closer to the mirror. If she looked closely enough, her irises had a strange purplish tinge around the edges. Now comprehending that the doctor meant for her to look for little differences, she observed the reflection more closely.

Had her hair always been that long? And come to think of it, her nails hardly ever looked that nice or grew that long. She seemed to have lost a bit of weight too, but surely that was due to being asleep the past few days without food. Nearly all people in London were pale to an extent, but had the veins at her wrist and elbow ever been that prominent? Now that she saw these changes, she looked in the mirror and saw a complete stranger. Who was this person? What had happed to Ardella Sterling?

Shaking her head to clear it of these outlandish thoughts, she turned to the Healer and reported the small changes that she had noticed. Upon hearing these, her brothers dashed over and began studying her, as if to prove her wrong and nothing had changed at all.

"Thank you," the Healer once again scrawled something down before moving on to the next test. Gesturing for Ardella to come closer, she acquiesced, going over to sit on the end of the bed.

"As I said before, what I'm about to do will seem strange. I need you to trust me and do as I say if I am to correctly diagnose you," Ardella nodded her understanding, though she puzzled over the word diagnose. What would be wrong with her that needed diagnosing? "Now, I need you to hold out your hand if you will."

Reaching out her left hand, the Healer held it out flat, palm up. Taking the scalpel, he quickly ran it across the center of her palm before anyone could question his actions. Reacting to the gesture, Ardella quickly pulled her hand back to her chest.

"What do you think you're doing, you lunatic?" Dimitri bellowed, Damien and him looking ready hex the Healer into oblivion. The Healer, however, seemed unperturbed.

"May I see your hand, Ardella?" his voice was level and calm and despite what he had done, she tentatively held out her hand for him to see. What they saw came as a shock.

Nothing.

They had all seen him drag the sharp blade along her hand, and she had felt the acute pain of being cut, but there was no slice. The Healer, apparently expecting this, grabbed her hand and pulled it close to his face, while the others stared in shock.

"What, how is that possible?" Dimitri seemed to be at a loss for words as they all stared at her hand. "I saw you slice her hand open, but there's nothing there."

"No, you're wrong. The proof that I cut her is right here," he gestured towards the spot where he had sliced her skin. The three of the leaned forward, not seeing anything, but upon taking a closer look, they noticed the skin was torn like when you receive a paper cut.

"I did cut her, and it did break the skin. It simply healed up at an accelerated rate."

The Healer's words were met with absolute silence. Accelerated? What did that mean? Voicing her thoughts, the Healer simply replied with, "I won't know what it means until the final test." Going over to the counter where he had set down the items, he opened up the liquid bag and poured it into the goblet, simultaneously questioning Ardella.

"Do you feel strange in any way? Any part of you that feels different than it usually does?"

"Well, when I woke up I seemed to have a hard time moving. It felt like my arms and legs had been filled with lead, but I'm feeling better now. Better than I've ever felt actually."

"Anything else?"

"No, nothi-," she paused as her throat began to itch and burn once more, "Yes, when I woke up the first time I had an awful burn in my throat like I hadn't had anything to drink in weeks. I've had some water since then and it helped a bit, but it still burns." The Healer nodded slowly at this revelation, and walked over to Ardella, handing her the goblet full of the strange liquid. She stared at it, trying to discern what it was but the inside of the goblet was black, preventing her from accurately guessing the contents color. Taking a small whiff triggered something in her memory, but she couldn't seem to grasp it.

"Well, go ahead and take a sip," the Healer encouraged when she showed no signs of drinking the strange drink. A bit apprehensive, especially after having him slice her hand open, Ardella nonetheless brought the cup to her lips and took a sip.

As soon as it touched her tongue, an explosion of sensation burst in her mouth. It was the greatest thing she had every tasted; hot, soothing, bitter, and sweet all at once, it left a cool trail down her throat, successfully extinguishing the burn completely. Craving its delightfully ethereal taste she continued to drink more and more of the strange liquid until there wasn't a single drop left. Feeling slightly dizzy, but at the same time content, she brought the goblet away from her mouth and let out a satisfied sigh, handing the empty goblet back to the Healer.

He quickly looked at the goblet, but it was clear that she had guzzled down every bit. Making another note on his papers, he looked at Ardella, his gaze full of pity. She turned to him, oblivious to his sympathetic gaze.

"Was that the last test?" she questioned, secretly hoping that there was another test that involved more of the wonderfully, strange drink that she couldn't seem to get out of her mind.

"Yes, that was the final test. I believe I have everything I need to know." His voice was hollow and not at all like the cheerful tones he had used not so long ago. Ardella and her brothers continued to look at him, waiting him to divulge the results of her tests. Waiting for him to tell them that she was perfectly fine and was able to go home.

"Well, is she alright? Is she able to go home now?" Damien questioned as the Healer seemed to be in no rush to tell them anything. The Healer stared and Ardella for another moment before blinking away whatever momentary trance he had been under.

"I don't know how to tell you this," his voice had become strained and he was nervously clenching and unclenching the clipboard in his grasp, "I'm afraid that Ardella is a vampire."