A/N: Here's the next chapter, 5000 words!
Harry opened his eyes. Immediately his gaze was drawn to the face of the occupant of one of the many beds he'd glimpsed briefly like iron being drawn to a magnet. There was hardly any chance to take in his surroundings but Harry managed to get quick look of a clean room, dark stone and brick walls and a row of beds with about four of them occupied. Probably some kind of hospital, Harry thought wearily, before he focused on her face and everything else vanished.
She had long, dark hair, a straight nose and high cheekbones. Her skin looked pale, but Harry wasn't sure if this was because she was actually pale skinned or because it appeared pale next to the sapphire blue crescent on her forehead. Her face was as the face of an ancient queen, a native American wise-woman. She's powerful, Harry thought. He looked into her eyes.
Zoey opened her eyes. As soon as she did, her head turned to look at someone in a bed beside her's as if she was a sunflower, turning towards the sun. She only had time to see grandma, sitting in a chair by her bed before her eyes fell on his face and everything else disappeared.
He had messy black hair and an oval face with chiselled features. He was majorly pale. Well, ok so he wasn't that pale, he was probably quite fair-skinned but the sapphire crescent moon and the storm-grey lightning bolt on his forehead amplified it so his skin was like ivory. He also looked as though he hadn't slept or eaten for a while which might have had something to do with it. Altogether, he had a strange, aristocratic appearance and there was something about his expression that looked old and worn and sad though his hair made him seem more mischievous. He's strong, Zoey thought. She looked into his eyes.
Emerald green met light hazel. Unseen by everyone except Harry and Zoey, a beam of golden light shone out from Harry's eyes and a ray of purple light radiated from Zoey's eyes. They intertwined to form a braid of vibrant energy connecting the teenagers. At that moment they both heard a beautiful voice.
~Twins by fate, by magic and by spirit. I have brought you together so that you may find your path. Both of you have the power of the ancient world and the understanding of the new generation. You will be my eyes and ears in both worlds.~ Nyx gently touched their marks. Harry and Zoey smiled as their marks tingled warmly but they didn't look away from each other, they couldn't. ~I will leave you now. Welcome to the house of night. Remember that a face can be more of a disguise than a mask, you have to look through it to see the person and sometimes they don't even know they're wearing a mask until someone takes it off.~ She brushed her fingers softly over their cheeks. ~Blessed be,~ they heard her whisper as she dematerialise.
Zoey and Harry found that they could move again. They jerked back, startled and dazed. What had just happened?
Harry stared at the ceiling, dumbfounded. He didn't understand any of the events of the last... what was it? Seconds? Minutes? Hours? It might have been days or months or years... Harry shook his head irritably, he was being ridiculous. This wasn't a muggle fairytale, people didn't just stare into each other's eyes for years. But something happened, there was definitely some magic there, he thought. Harry sat up hurriedly and examined the room. Maybe Voldemort found a way to get him out of Privet Drive and this was all a trick. A second later he relaxed. He doubted that Voldemort would bother putting him in bed. This of course brought up the question of who had put him in bed and for that matter, who's bed was this? It certainly wasn't his bed at the Dursleys. It was much too comfortable and it made him think of a hospital. He remembered what he'd seen before the weird power had linked him to that girl, whoever she was. He sighed, "I'm not even at Hogwarts yet and already I'm in a hospital," he muttered. Now that he'd established that noone was going to try killing him right at this moment, he glanced over at the other beds.
The girl, Zoey, he thought with out knowing why, was talking to an old woman who Harry guessed was her grandmother. Zoey saw him looking so he turned away hastily. In the bed on his other side there was... Neville? Harry gaped, Neville? Why was Neville here? Come to think about it, why was he here? Then the memory of his meeting with Nyx came back to him. His jaw dropped further, so this was what she'd meant when she said he wouldn't be alone. He peered at the two beds after Neville's. He shut his mouth and grinned broadly, Ron and Hermione were here too. He thought back to his conversation with Nyx. She'd said that he wouldn't be alone and he was relieved that his friends were with him. She also said something about his soulbonded and he supposed that that meant the girl. It would explain the odd connection between them. But what is a soulbond? What did Nyx mean about being twins in magic, mind and spirit? Harry made a mental note to ask Hermione about it when she woke up.
A nip on his ear made Harry turn. He smiled and extended an arm.
"Hedwig!" he exclaimed in happy surprise.
He blushed when he realised how loudly he'd spoken and lowered his voice.
"How did you get here?" he asked his owl softly.
"We were hoping you would be able to explain."
The voice was melodic, gentle, soft and smooth as silk. Harry knew that the owner of the voice would be amazing.
She was, as the woman stepped into his line of vision, Harry gasped. She was astonishingly beautiful, tall and graceful but that wasn't what made Harry gasp. She had long, wavy red-brown hair and almond shaped green eyes. Harry trembled, remembering a reflection in a mirror. A young woman with red hair and eyes the same shape and shade as his, looking at him with the same kindness as this woman looked at him now. Harry shook his head, this was another world, he was sure of it. He remembered Nyx saying that on his world her children were called wizards and that sounded like there were other worlds and she wouldn't have mentioned it if it wasn't important. Apart from that, there was also the feeling he had. It wasn't painful or uncomfortable, it was more like something was off-balance inside him, like something was out of place. This was another world and the woman was definitely not human. She was too beautiful and graceful and powerful to be human.
"Err... what? Where am I?"
"This is the infirmary at the house of night," she answered, "you and your friends appeared here a few hours ago with two owls, a cat, a toad and four trunks."
It was as much a question as a statement.
"I don't know how we got here," Harry replied truthfully, he felt it would be a bad idea to tell her about Nyx.
"Where were you before you were transported here?"
"This is going to be hard to believe," Harry began slowly, "we came from another world."
To her credit, the woman was only slightly surprised. Her eyes widened and her auburn eyebrows rose.
"Well, Nyx works in mysterious ways," she commented, recovering a little.
Harry certainly had to agree with that.
"Excuse me," Harry started politely, "but, who are you?"
The woman laughed, seeming to pull herself together, "ah, I apologise for my manners," she said warmly, "I am Neferet, healer and high priestess of this house of night."
Harry guessed that the high priestess was in charge, it was peculiar that she could be both high priestess and healer at the same time.
"What is the house of night?" he asked.
"The house of night is a school for vampyre fledglings," Neferet replied, "I take it there are no vampyres on your world?"
"Well, there are vampires but I don't think they're the same as the ones here," Harry explained, "they have red eyes and fangs and long nails like claws."
Neferet smiled, obviously amused, "so the stereotypical vampire then."
Harry laughed, realising that she was talking about the muggles' idea of vampires.
"So you're a vampire."
Harry looked at Neferet's tatoos, were they signs of a vampire? or was it just some kind of fashion here to have sapphire crescent moons on your forehead. If it was a sign of a vampire, then Zoey, his soulbonded was a vampyre. But she only had a crescent, did that mean she was a fledgling and she'd get the tatoos around her face and eyes when she became a full vampire?
"Yes, I am a vampyre."
Harry gaped, he knew she was a vampire and vampires were probably immortal or at least aged slowly here like they did on his world but still, the idea of someone looking so young being so old was staggering. Neferet laughed again, Harry loved the sound and he wished he could listen to it forever but he was sad because he sensed that she couldn't be trusted and he remembered the goddesses warning. Neferet's beautiful face was a mask, her voice an illusion.
"There is something else I wanted to ask you about," Neferet said, she sounded more serious now.
Harry looked at her questioningly, "What?" he asked.
"Usually a fledgling's mark is only an outline but you and Zoey," she paused to point Zoey out to him, "both have the filled in mark of a mature vampyre on your forehead. I've asked Zoey but she says she doesn't know what happened. Would you know anything about it?"
Harry shook his head and groaned.
Already anticipating the answer, he asked, "do my friends also have filled in marks?"
"No, only you and Zoey," she replied, a little confused.
Harry signed in resignation, "this kind of thing happens to me all the time," he explained.
Neferet smiled warmly at him and Harry had a hard time stopping himself from believing it was genuine.
A moan from Ron's bed drew Harry's attention. His red-haired friend was blinking the sleep out of his eyes and looking around. Harry thought it was slightly ironic that the laziest of his friends had awaken first. He's probably hungry, he thought, smirking. Ron appeared to realise he wasn't in his room because he began to get worked up and scrabble around beside him. Harry assumed he was looking for his wand, which reminded him that he didn't know where his was.
Ron grasped his wand from somewhere on his bed and tried to stand. Neferet was by his bed, putting her hand on his shoulder. Harry didn't bother to listen to what they were saying. Instead he hurriedly explored his pockets and scanned his bed. Nothing. Where was his wand? Somehow, even though Harry felt weaponless without his wand, he wasn't worried.
Ron moaned, he was tired, but he was starving. Should he go back to sleep? Or should he go down for breakfast? The bed was comfortable but he knew if he slept too late, there wouldn't be any breakfast left to eat and his mum was trying to get him to wake up earlier so she wouldn't make anything more for him. His stomach won the fight with his protesting muscles and he sat up. He realised that something was wrong. This wasn't his room at Grimmauld place, it wasn't any room he'd been in before.
He sat up quickly, where was he? He frantically looked for his wand. It wasn't in his pocket. He ran his hands over the bed, hoping to feel the familiar length of wood. Yes! He grasped it in relief and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
"You should lie back down, you're still weak from being marked."
Ron looked up and gaped. The woman who'd spoken was... Ron couldn't think of words to describe her. She was like a veela- she didn't look like a veela but she had the same unbelievable beauty. Her exotic tatoos only enhanced her looks. Her soft voice and her warm green eyes entranced him.
His grip slackened and he lay back down.
He came to his senses enough to stutter, "wh-who are you? Where am I?"
The love and reassurance in the woman's smile overwhelmed him and erased any lingering doubts he had about the situation. A deatheater couldn't look like that or have that expression, Ron thought.
"I am Neferet, and this is the house of night."
Ron wrinkled his forehead in puzzlement, the house of night? This was a rectangular room with lots of beds in it. It didn't really seem like a house, although the 'night' part could be a reference to the dark stone of the wall.
"Well, this is just the infirmary," Neferet laughed, seeing his frown.
Ron blushed, how could he have been so stupid? of course this wasn't the only room in the building.
"Where's Harry?" he asked.
He figured his friend would be somewhere nearby, all the crazy stuff always happened to him.
Neferet laughed again, "yes, he's over there," she waved a hand at a bed a little way to the left of the bed next to Ron's, "he woke up a few minutes before you did and he's already explained to me about you coming from another world."
Ron was astounded, he didn't know it was possible to go to other worlds or that he had done so. He was also thankful that Harry had gotten the explanations over with, he was no good at that sort of thing.
"Oh, err... good," he replied uncertainly, "did anyone else come with us?"
"Two others were transported with you, they are in the beds to either side of you."
Ron looked. In the bed on his right was... Hermione! Ron beamed, he'd never realised how much he relied on Hermione and enjoyed her company until he was faced with the idea of being without her. At least now I'll have someone to explain this whole `being-transported-to-another-world` thing to me, he thought. He inspected the sleeping figure in the other bed. Who else would have come with them? It was only ever the three of them on their adventures.
Neville? Ron wasn't sure who he'd been expecting but it wasn't Neville. Ron liked Neville, it was hard not to, but he wasn't exactly the type you'd choose to go exploring a new world with. Neville wasn't very good at magic and he got frightened easily. This didn't mean Ron thought he shouldn't be a Gryffindor, even though Neville got scared he didn't run, he pushed past his fear and fought if he thought it was the right thing to do. Ron had learned this in first year when Neville tried to stop him, Harry and Hermione from leaving to save the stone. But it would help if he had a bit more confidence, Ron thought, maybe Harry could do something about it, he's good at that. Every time Ron had tried to make Neville feel better it had come out all wrong (like when he told him not to lie down in front of Malfoy after the leg-locker incident) so he'd had given up.
Ron looked over at Harry, he was staring around wildly. Ron could tell he was panicking and searching for something. He wondered what it was. The sound of rustling sheets made him turn. Hermione was awake.
Hermione sat up. Immediately she noticed that she was inexplicably weak and a little dizzy. Was she sick? She decided to go downstairs and ask Mrs. Weasley if she had any potions for it. Wait... This wasn't Grimauld! Where was she?
She started to panic how did she get here? Had she been kidnapped by Voldemort? She pushed these thoughts from her mind angrily. She was being stupid. Noone knew where the order's headquarters was who wasn't a member, and even if they did, they wouldn't be able to see it. But you're not in Grimauld now, someone must have taken you, a part of her mind whispered treacherously.
Hermione searched for her wand. If she had her wand she would have a chance to escape if she had somehow been kidnapped. She found it hidden in a fold of the sheet. Good, now she had her wand, it was time to find out where she was.
"So, your awake."
Hermione looked up. The woman was stunning, she had an aura of power, gentleness and concern and a wavy sapphire tatoo framed her face, making Hermione think of a powerful priestess. Hermione was awed, she couldn't help but respect this woman.
"Yes. Where am I?" she asked politely.
She tightened her hold on her wand just in case, this could still be a trick. Constant vigilance, she thought, she was sure that Moody wouldn't let his guard down in this situation and she would follow his example.
"As I've just informed your friend," the woman indicated the nearest bed, "you are in the infirmary at the house of night but it might be easier if we waited for your remaining companion to wake up before I explain anything else."
Hermione looked at the bed and was surprised to see Ron lying on his side to face her. Hermione smiled at him.
"Ron!" she exclaimed.
"Hey Hermione," Ron replied happily.
Ron stood up unsteadily, shuffled over to her bed and dropped in to the chair beside it.
"Harry's here too, and Neville but he hasn't woken up yet."
Hermione's eyes widened, "Neville?"
"Yeah, I know," he confirmed.
As he said this, Hermione noticed someone walking up to their little group.
Hermione pushed herself to her feet and hugged Harry. She was so glad to see him.
"I think your friend has woken up."
Neferet's voice brought Hermione back to reality. She let go of Harry and blushed sheepishly when Harry massaged his ribs. She sat on her bed and Harry sat next to her. She heard Neville murmuring sleepily to Neferet.
Neville opened his eyes. Instantly he was assaulted by a torrent of jumbled emotions. He was disorientated, confusion, alarm, joy, concern, suspicion, anger and calculation, they all rushed into him. He shut his eyes and put his arms over his head in a vain attempt to block it out.
After a few seconds the emotions became less jumbled and Neville found (to his surprise) that he could tell who they belonged to. He estimated that there were about five or six people in the room with him. Some he didn't know. One was angry about something and was plotting. Another was calm but a little anxious. But three people were familiar... Harry, Ron and Hermione? Yes, he was sure it was them. The golden trio as they were known at Hogwarts. Neville didn't think this name was entirely accurate since everyone knew Hermione was just as much a Ravenclaw as a Gryffindor and he thought that Ron might be a good Hufflepuff if only he cared more about his work and of course it was obvious that Harry shared traits with all the houses. More like the multicoloured trio, Neville thought amusedly. But what am I doing here? and where is here anyway?
Neville opened his eyes again. He was in a large room with lots of other beds in it. He paid little attention to the left of the room. There were two people there but he knew that they weren't a threat. To his right there was a recently vacated bed and beside that he could see the back of a chair with Ron's fiery-red hair protruding from the top and Harry and Hermione sitting on another bed.
"Good, now everyones awake."
Neville didn't take in the woman's looks, he knew she would be beautiful but the emotions he could sense from her stopped him from feeling anything but mistrust and caution. She was recovering from a shock but she was scheming and the cold, twisted hatred rolling off her made him sick. He nodded quickly and tried not to throw up.
The woman didn't seem to notice anything wrong because she said "You're jut feeling a bit sick after being marked, you'll be better in a minute."
"Marked?" Neville asked, not understanding.
"Yes, everything will be explained soon, just come with me to your friends and I'll bring Zoey and then we can talk," she answered soothingly, "My name is Neferet and this is the house of night."
Neville shrugged and followed Neferet over to the trio. He was a bit nervous about being so close to someone like Neferet but he didn't think she would do anything yet and even though he didn't understand how he could sense these things but he was sure he could trust the power. He fell into a chair beside Ron.
"Hey, Harry, Ron, Hermione, what are we doing here?"
As he asked this, he noticed something different about their faces. He didn't understand how he hadn't seen it before. Ron and Hermione had crescent moons outlined in dark sapphire on their foreheads. Harry had a crescent too but his was filled in and it was dissected by his famous lightning-bolt scar. But even the scar was different, Neville realised. Instead of its usual angry red, it was now a deep storm-grey. Harry's Potter features also seemed more defined, they stood out more than usual.
"Hey Nev," Ron greeted, "I don't know why we're here."
Ron glanced at Harry questioningly.
"Well, it seems we've been transported here by a goddess and become vampyre fledglings," Harry said off-handedly.
"What, Harry, the idea of gods and goddesses was created to explain things like the weather before we discovered science," Hermione explained patiently.
Neville shook his head, religion wasn't a big thing in the wizarding world. They took holidays like Christmas from the muggles because they thought it would be fun but noone believed in any god or goddess or prayed to any higher beings. Neville wasn't sure whether a goddess really could exist but how else could four people be transported to another world?
"How else could we get here?" Harry voiced his thoughts, "if magic exists, why can't there be a goddess?"
Hermione opened and closed her mouth a few times, "ok, if you put it that way, I suppose..., but why would a goddess send us here?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Ron asked rhetorically, "Harry's here to stop a murderous madman and we're here to help him."
Hermione kicked him in the ankle, "Tactless," she hissed.
Harry laughed, "it's ok Hermione, that's probably quite an accurate explanation.
Neville scrutinised Harry's face. He was clearly tense and agitated.
"What's wrong Harry?" he asked.
Ron and Hermione looked at Harry in surprise, just now spotting his agitation, they also seemed to see the sapphire marks for the first time.
"i can't find my wand," Harry replied tensely.
"Don't worry mate, Hermione and I have got ours so yours is probably here somewhere," Ron reassured, "but something weird has happened."
"Weirder, you mean," Harry corrected, "What is it?"
Neville decided it was time for him to join the conversation.
"We all have blue crescents on our foreheads."
His cheeks reddened when they all turned their attention to him.
"Well, you two," he indicated Ron and Hermione, "have an outline of a crescent moon on your foreheads and you," he nodded to Harry, "have a filled in crescent and your scar has changed colour."
"The marks show that we're vampyre fledglings now," Harry informed them casually, "I don't know why mine's filled in- My scar has changed? That's interesting- I wonder if my connection with Voldemort has changed?"
Hermione gasped, then frowned. Neville could tell that she was quickly assessing the newly-gained information.
"Vampires!" Ron yelled.
Harry put a hand over his mouth.
"Yes Ron, vampires. Look, I'm sure Neferet will explain all this but now Neville and I really need our wands. I don't think we'll be attacked or anything but we should be careful and it feels strange not having it with me."
"I found mine on my bed, we could just summon yours," Hermione said.
"I couldn't find mine but I suppose we can give it a try," Harry shrugged.
"I didn't have time to look so I don't know if it's here but accio- works over a distance doesn't it?" Neville added.
"Alright," Hermione raised her wand in a business-like manner, "accio- wands."
Something rose from Neville's bed and flew towards them. When it came closer Neville recognised it as a holly wand. But his wand wasn't holly, why was there only one wand? His confusion was amplified by the incomprehension he could feel from his friends, apparently they hadn't expected this either.
"But that's my wand," Harry said.
The wand landed in Hermione's lap and she handed it to Harry.
"That's strange," she commented, "why was it on Neville's bed? and where is Neville's wand?"
Neville shrugged, he had no idea. He supposed he wasn't important enough or good enough at magic for the goddess to bother transporting his wand but he didn't understand why Harry's wand was on his bed.
When Harry's fingers closed over the wand's handle he felt something touch his mind. It was a familiar warm presence that soothed him. Harry was amazed, he'd never heard of this happening before. Tentatively he projected a thought towards the wand. ~Is that you?~ His response was an affirming trill of phoenix song. ~How am I... er... talking to you?~ Somehow even though the wand didn't use words, Harry understood its meaning. The wand was reaching out with its spirit. This came as a shock to Harry who'd never thought of wands as alive. ~Why?~ A hint of sadness emanated from the wand but also confidence and happiness. An image entered Harry's mind. An image of Neville holding Harry's holly wand and casting spells. ~You're Neville's wand now?~ The wand showed him the image again. ~Why? What about me?~ Harry was sad about loosing his wand, he realised now that he'd grown very close to it. The wand was amused, the image of Neville was replaced by an image of Harry with his hands outstretched, surrounded by a golden aura. ~What?~ The wand sent him feelings of pride and reassurance, though they were still tinted with amusement. ~Well be a good wand to Neville alright?~ he said resignedly. The warm spirit of the wand seemed to engulf his soul in a spiritual embrace. A trill of promise echoed in his head and Harry smiled, knowing that his wand wasn't completely leaving him. Then the wand's consciousness left his mind and Harry woke from his trance.
Neville became aware of another mind. He could feel its emotions like he could with everyone elses but they felt different, distant, alien. Whoever or whatever it was, was feeling a complicated mix of emotions. Neville was mystified to find that the vibes he got from the new mind were echoed in Harry's mind. At first they were both sad, then they seemed to have agreed on something, then there was a mixture of loss and determination and friendship and the mind disappeared.
Neville had been so focussed on his discovery that he hadn't noticed Harry's eyes go vacant.
"Here," Harry said, holding his wand out to Neville, "it's yours now."
Neville's jaw dropped. This had never been done before. A wizard never gave away his wand!
"Ar-are you sure?" he stuttered, "what about you?"
"Yes, I'm definitely sure," Harry answered firmly, "I don't know what I'll do but it'll probably sort itself out, it always does."
Neville nodded, that was true enough.
"Ok," Neville took the wand.
Warmth rushed through his fingers, scarlet and forest green sparks flew from the wand's tip.
"How come your wand works for Neville now?" Ron asked Harry.
"We'll talk about it later," Harry replied, his eyes flicking to Neferet who was coming over with the girl and the old woman.
"But," Hermione started.
Neferet reached them.
"Sit down Zoey, Silvia."
The girl and woman who Neville assumed was her grandmother sat on the bed.
Neville shivered, Neferet's anger had calmed and hardened into an icy malevolence. Ron was completely under her spell and Hermione clearly trusted and respected her. Zoey had also fallen for her tricks but there was a subtle feeling of caution. Harry was not fooled at all but strangely there was the same feeling of adoration in the back of his mind as at the forefront of Zoey's. There was a sort of link of emotion joining them. Neville decided to think on this later, maybe Harry or Hermione knew something about it. The old woman was unsure and withholding judgement.
"We should start with introductions," Neferet said.
Harry shrugged, "I'm Harry Potter, this is Hermione Granger, that's Ron Weasley and that's Neville Longbottom."
Zoey nodded politely and said, "I'm Zoey Redbird and this is my grandma Silvia Redbird."
"Good, now that we all know each other, there are some things we need to disgust. First I think it would be a good idea if you could tell us a bit about your world and then we'll tell you about ours," Neferet suggested.
Neville, Ron and Harry looked at Hermione expectantly. She sighed and rolled her eyes at them.
"I suppose I might as well explain," she said wearily, "it might be a bit hard because I don't have anything to compare with to help you understand but I'll try. First, on our world there are people who can use magic, they're called witches and wizards."
A/N: I'm really sorry it took such a long time to update but I had bad writers block. What do you think?