This chapter has some fun Easter eggs – references to vampire pop culture. Some are obvious, some not so much. See how many you can guess. Answers in the Chapter notes at the end.
Epilogue, What Epilogue?
Three Years Later…
Draco opened his eyes and sat up with a start, knocking the blanket covering him to the floor. His surroundings were completely unfamiliar. This was not the cave in the Philippines where he had laid himself to rest before sunrise. He was sitting naked on someone's couch, in a small living room. He was alone here, but Hermione's smell was everywhere. This must be her flat in London. Immediately, he felt the beginnings of hunger and lust stir in his body from her smell. He glanced to the side. The windows were charmed not to let sunlight in, but it was past sunset anyway. He could feel it, even with the time change.
He didn't know how she had tracked him down, but he supposed he should have expected it. It wasn't as if he was hiding from her. They still communicated, after all, but he moved around and didn't often tell her where he was or what he was doing.
He eyed her living room. It was unremarkable. Earth tones, shelves overstuffed with books on various subjects. Pictures on the wall of her family, the Order of the Phoenix, the Golden Trio. A few pictures of her with small children. The next generation of Potters and Weasleys. He ran his hand through his hair, which had grown longer, past his chin. His eyes travelled around the room and rested on the coffee table before him. In its center was a bar glass half full with a red, viscous liquid.
That must be it.
Her promise to help him.
"Tru Blood"* was the potion's commercial name. She and Damocles Belby had been working on it for the past few years, but only a Weasley could have come up with a name so ridiculous. Hermione and Belby had done a few isolated experiments on some vampire volunteers to adjust strength and dosage. Their big success came when they were then asked to work with a group of teenage vampires with 1980's style mullets in Santa Carla, California who had been harassing the local population.** After the wizard media had published the story, the Weasley twins began preparing to produce, market, and sell the formulation, and they were looking for potential buyers.
From what Draco understood, Hermione and Belby had figured out how to simulate the aging process so that younger vampires such as himself, could have as much control as vampires several hundred years old. At least, until the potion's effects wore off. Hermione was already talking of drafting vampire integration legislation. She wanted to help vampires become productive and accepted members of the wizarding world. Slughorn promised to help; he had always had a soft spot for vampires for some odd reason.
Hermione was on a mission, and the more successful she was, the more momentum she gained, the more Draco felt the need to pull away and distance himself from her. She was creating space for him in her life, and in society. It was a singular act of love, but he didn't deserve it. He couldn't give her what she wanted, and none of this was fair to her. Ultimately, it didn't matter whether or not vampires could integrate into society and hold jobs.
Hermione could have children. He couldn't.
He looked at the pictures of her holding a baby, playing with a toddler, and giving a piggyback ride to a small child while another reached upwards towards her. She could grow old and eventually die surrounded by those she had loved, with a family she had borne. He couldn't do any of those things with her. And truth be told, even if he could have children and raise a family, he didn't know if he wanted to return to a human life.
He wasn't human. He didn't have human needs. He was a predator at heart now.
Would this potion alter his nature? Make him more human? Or would it only help him control himself for the times he chose to be with people?
He didn't want Hermione to put her life on hold for him. He didn't want to mislead her about what he was capable of. When she started on this quest to help vampires have more control over their instincts, she had thought his situation analogous to that of werewolves, but the past three years on his own had taught him differently. She had told him that Tru Blood was ready and that he should come back to try it, but he wasn't sure how to respond. He didn't want to give her false hope, and so he hadn't responded. That had been several months ago. She must have gotten impatient with him.
Curious, Draco picked up the glass and held it to the light. It certainly looked like blood, it had the same consistency. The glass was warm. She was thoughtful, casting a warming charm on it for him. He dipped his nose in the glass and sniffed. Definitely not blood, although there was a small bit of human blood in there.
He would be the first wizard vampire to test this Tru Blood concoction. Perhaps that was why she wasn't here yet. He swirled the glass to mix whatever had settled at the bottom, sipped, and smacked his lips. It wasn't terrible, and yet, it wasn't blood. He supposed she would want him to drink the whole thing, so he knocked it back and swallowed. The red liquid slid down his throat.
Draco didn't feel any of the all-encompassing pleasure that came from drinking blood, but he had to admit, he wasn't hungry anymore. The real test would be whether or not he could control the compulsion to feed around people. He set the glass down on the coffee table with a clink, stood up, and extended his arms to stretch his muscles, almost touching the ceiling. He wondered when she'd be back and walked naked around her flat.
He paused at the doorway to her bedroom and rested his forearm against the doorframe. Her smell was even stronger here. He inhaled it slowly, deeply, and shuddered. Her bed was made and on the dresser was a novel and a Hogwarts-style Slytherin tie. It must be the same tie from the night she'd been brought to him at the Manor. He felt a twinge of longing, and then guilt for intruding on her privacy. He returned to the living room.
She had left some clothing folded for him on an arm chair. He no longer felt the need to clothe himself, but it would make her feel more at ease. He decided to forego everything except trousers. He picked up the pair of black slacks, pushed his feet through the legs, one at a time, pulled them up, zipped and buttoned them around his waist. They sagged slightly on his hipbones without a belt, but they were comfortable.
He didn't know when she would get back, and walked over to her bookshelf to pass the time, eyeing the titles with interest. There were quite a lot of texts devoted to vampires, all of which he had read and found mostly useless. Many more books were devoted to potions and blood magic. She had a few legal manuals on Wizengamot procedurals. On the bottom shelf were some titles he didn't recognize. Perhaps Muggle.
A loud crack sounded, and Draco whirled around at the sudden intrusion, fangs bared.
Hermione drew her wand, and then, after seeing the empty glass on the coffee table, slowly sheathed it in her holster. "Sorry, I should have known Apparition would put you on edge."
She wore a white lab coat over a dark shirt and trousers. Her hair was held back in a loose braid, and she set her bag and some papers down on the couch where he had woken up. It didn't matter what she was wearing. He wanted to tear her clothes off right now and fuck her into the ground. It was a testament to how well the potion worked that he could even retract his fangs. He did so slowly.
She must have noticed the gleam in his eye because she took a step back cautiously and removed her lab coat, eyeing his bare chest, torso, and the V leading down below the waistband of the trousers.
He smirked at the expression on her face. "You kidnapped me."
Her eyes snapped back up to his, and she flushed, having been caught ogling him. "I had to," she said unapologetically. She was looking at him with such love and longing it hurt. "You didn't come."
She had devoted the past few years of her life to him, and he hadn't even been with her. He couldn't hold her back anymore, couldn't allow her to shackle herself to him.
"Why didn't you come, Draco?" she asked timidly, her deep hazel eyes searching his.
"I've been thinking about what your potion can do." He took a few experimental steps toward her and breathed in the air around her. "And what it can't do."
Hermione nodded in understanding. "So have I." She looked him up and down observing him critically. "I calculated your dosage according to BMI and vampire age. I didn't know how to adjust for your magic and still haven't heard of any wizard vampires besides you." She peered into his eyes, as if looking for something. "Do you need more?"
He looked at her neck, her lips, and into her eyes, which studied him curiously. He listened to her heart beating and took another deep breath, inhaling her scent. He felt his desire for her, he felt his hunger for her, but it wasn't overwhelming his ability to think and control himself.
"I don't think so. You and Belby did a fantastic job."
"Alright." She gave him a once over and then slowly closed the distance between them, pressing her body against his and lacing her fingers in his hair. He sucked in a breath.
"Still okay?" she whispered.
He felt his erection forming below. He wanted to drink her blood, but it wasn't the singular focus to the exclusion of all else that he usually felt when he hunted and fed. "Yes."
"I missed you," she said as she pulled his head down for a kiss. His fangs extended.
"I could cut you," he warned with a grunt.
"I don't care," she said, exhaling onto his mouth. Her lips pressed against his, her tongue gently sliding against his lips, trying to gain entrance. He held back, not quite trusting himself, and let her take the lead so she could explore and test the limits of her invention. The kiss was soft and tentative and delicate. Cautious. Slowly, she pulled away.
"So far, so good?" she asked.
"So very good." Draco's fingers flexed against her upper arms, and he slid his hands around to her back, holding her close. "It almost feels like being human. How long does your potion work for?"
She gave him a saucy smile. "Long enough to have plenty of fun." He swallowed, and she pressed her hand into his chest, pushing him backwards towards the couch. The back of his legs hit the cushions, and he fell to a sitting position as she climbed on top of him.
"Hermione," he said, his skin tingling while her hands slid over his bare chest. He wrapped his fingers around her wrists, stilling her movement. "I've learned more about being a vampire."
Undeterred, she kissed his cheekbones, the scruff of his jaw, and down the tendons of his throat. "So have I."
He couldn't think with her kissing him like this, didn't know how to explain himself. "I travelled and lived with them. I found some things out about myself aaaahhhhh…" His hips bucked as his ear lobe entered her warm, wet mouth.
"Yes," she said with a smile after releasing his ear. "You had mentioned that in your letters, but didn't provide much detail."
Gently, he cupped her face and held her still. He couldn't form two sentences with her lips on him. "I tried to find vampires living with humans. Hermione…" She looked at him. "There aren't any." She didn't look disturbed by this news and leaned down to kiss him again, but he held her still. "The closest I could find was some tosser in Los Angeles who runs a detective agency because his human girlfriend dumped him."***
"Why did she dump him?" she asked, latching onto his throat. He moaned as she sucked his skin into her mouth and then, not without considerable difficulty, pushed her away again. He had to make her understand. They would never work. He wasn't right for her.
"Probably because all he does is mope about her and some delusional redemption path he thinks he's on. I could barely last the evening."
Her cheeks were deliciously flushed. "Some vampires really are a mopey bunch aren't they?"
"He was. I found someone far more interesting in the area though. Some punk British vampire, with hair more blonde than mine, if you can believe it. He was alright, talked about a Muggle Quidditch team called Manchester United a bit much but was hands-down the best drinking buddy I've ever had."****
"Drinking buddy?" Hermione's eyebrows furrowed disapprovingly at his description as she ran her hands up his chest and over his shoulders.
"Drinking buddy," Draco repeated with a smirk, reaching up to still her hands. "It was fun hanging out with him for a while, until his girlfriend***** came back into town. She was batshit crazy." He shuddered at the memory.
"Human?" Hermione asked, leaning in to kiss him again.
"Vampire," he answered, shaking his head. "She reminded me of Aunt Bella." Hermione backed away with a look of pure horror on her face.
"That's terrifying." He watched Hermione's eyes glaze over. They both had terrible memories of his Aunt.
"She called me Ickle Draco and had the same cackle. She gave me nightmares, I had to leave."
Hermione shook her head, clearing herself of whatever she was reliving from the war. "Where else did you go? I heard there was a group in the Pacific Northwest that was trying to live among humans."******
He rolled his eyes. "No, they're not vampires. Just some cult painting themselves with glitter so they can sparkle in the sun—" Her laughter cut him off.
"You're kidding me!" she gasped for air and leaned on his chest, shoulders shuddering. "Oh my god, that's the funniest thing I've ever heard!"
He grinned as her laughter died down. "Believe me, that's far from the stupidest thing I've seen."
"What do you mean?" she asked with a smile, struggling not to laugh.
He placed his hands on her waist, now that she had stopped trying to snog him. "There's this pervasive idea that vampires and werewolves are mortal enemies and always at war with each other."*******
She furrowed her brow. "At war? Over what?" Hermione asked, genuinely interested. "The two groups don't even have any competing interests."
"Fuck if I know," he replied and sat in thought. "As if it were any contest," he continued. Hermione eyed him sharply. "I mean, werewolves are only slightly stronger and faster than humans and do what? Turn into glorified guard dogs once a month. Vampires are faster and stronger all the time. I'd argue we're more intelligent as well, on average."
Hermione stared at him curiously and her lips quirked upwards. "You seem… Bothered."
Draco scoffed. "Not bothered at all. I could take out twenty of them with one hand tied behind my back. Without any magic. Who cares about werewolves? I certainly don't."
"Draco, you're hurting me."
He looked down and saw his fingers clenched, knuckles white, and digging into her sides. He sheepishly relaxed his hands. "Sorry."
She looked like she was going to laugh and then asked, "Were there any vampires left in Romania?"********
He shook his head. "Van Helsing and his followers did a number on that community. Most left Europe for the United States, especially during World War I. If there were any vampires in Romania, they were extremely well hidden. I couldn't find any."
"Where else did you go?" she asked.
"Louisiana." He saw a flare of recognition in her eyes. "You were also there?"
"Yes, with the twins. There were quite a few vampires in that community interested in Tru Blood," she explained. "They were so old they didn't need it themselves, but thought it would be an opportunity to integrate into Muggle society and live more securely. One of them thought he could open a vampire bar."*
"A… Vampire bar." Draco gave her a mortified look. He imagined a rave with loud music, a bunch of jumping vampires, and blood streaming from water sprinklers in the ceiling.*********
"Yeah," she smiled. "Fred and George said he should call it Fangtasia."*
Draco snorted. The Weasley twins were the absolute worst with product names. "That's almost as stupid as starting a vampire rock band.********** Who's bright idea was this?"
Hermione chuckled. "I don't remember his name. He was blond, like you, but taller, broader, and had blue eyes. Very old."
At her description, Draco blanched. "Eric*?"
Hermione's eyebrows rose. "You know him?" She must have seen something change in his face because she added with a lowered voice, "You know him."
"Yeah," Draco searched her eyes for judgement but only saw a mixture of curiosity and lust. She had been working with vampires the past few years. She must have known that he wouldn't be able to abstain from sex with women or men, no matter how much he loved her. "I spent a few months with him. He was… Helpful."
Her eyes became hooded, and her lips spread in a slow smile. "I do remember him being very attractive."
"He taught me a few things," he added. Hermione smiled even wider, but his sadness returned. He needed to explain things to her. The sooner he did, the sooner she could move on with her life and find someone who deserved her love and devotion.
"Like what?" She rocked her pelvis against him sensually, and he growled as he felt himself harden.
"Hermione..." He pushed her back slightly so she wouldn't be directly on top of his cock. "Even with Tru Blood, even if we were together, I can't give you children."
She tilted her head to the side. "Who says I want children? I enjoy being a godmother. Harry and Cho are about to pop out baby number two, and then she'll go back to playing with the Holyhead Harpies. I made Teddy a kid-appropriate potion set. Ron and Lavender are also expecting. I don't want my own children. I want you."
He looked up at her, worried. She wanted to give up a family and children for him? And for what? This wasn't right at all. He couldn't be a proper partner. A proper husband.
"But I can't be… Human," he explained. "Vampires hunt. And they have sex. Lots of it. With multiple partners. I can't be faithful."
"I know." She didn't seem bothered.
He couldn't understand why. Maybe her potion could change his nature? That's not how he understood its function.
"Does your potion… Temper that desire?"
She shook her head. "Just for the few hours you take it. It doesn't change your nature. You'll be able to feed from humans without hurting them, though, just like the older vampires do. You don't actually need that much human blood to live. You won't have to kill anyone anymore."
And suddenly all he could hear was her blood pumping in his ears.
She gave him a sultry smile. "Do you want to bite me now?"
He stared, entranced, at her neck. Her flesh was so inviting.
"Hermione." Draco heard himself speaking but forgot what he wanted to say.
She cupped face and tilted his head up to look at her. "You okay?" she asked with a smirk. He had to tell her. He had to end this now.
"It's not fair to you," he whispered.
"What's not fair, Draco?"
"You'll grow old and die. I'll stay in my twenties forever. Even if I don't kill you, I wouldn't be like a human. I would still be driven to hunt. I would still have sex with others while feeding from them." She blinked and listened to him patiently. He took a deep breath and continued. "It's not a relationship that you deserve. I've looked everywhere. I knew what you were doing for me and I tried to figure out how we would work together. I lived by myself and I lived with other vampires. A vampire-human relationship simply isn't possible." He closed his eyes and pushed her gently away from him, off of his lap. "That's why I hesitated to come back. I was trying to figure out how to tell you."
She stood in front of him. None of his confession seemed to faze her at all.
"Do you still want to be with me?"
He swallowed. "More than anything," he breathed.
"Then I don't see the problem," she insisted.
"I'd be having sex with other people."
He flinched. "That doesn't bother you?"
"I'd probably be watching, or joining, whichever. All this research into tempering vampire desires has been very," she gave him a small sultry smile again. "enlightening."
"This is the last time you'll be having sex with me as a human, Draco." She unzipped her trousers and shimmied so they would fall to the floor.
He felt his fangs extend immediately. She wanted… She wanted that.
"You won't miss the daylight?" he asked, disbelieving, as she crawled back on top of him and pulled her shirt up and over her head.
She looked into his eyes. "I'd give up the sun for you."
They were in a nameless field, looking up at the moon and the stars. Draco had Apparated them out of Hermione's apartment, knowing that they would likely destroy it after he turned her. Vampire sex could be extremely violent.
Hermione lay on top of him with a contented smile, and he tightened his arms around her. His whole body was thrumming in post-orgasmic bliss. It hadn't felt like this since she had been brought to him at the Manor three years ago.
"What do you want to do now?" he asked, cupping the back of her head tenderly. "There's no war, and we can take your potion if we want to be around humans. We have all the time in the world now."
She turned to him, resting her chin on his chest, and smiled. "Yes. We do."
"I could take you to the moon."
Her eyebrows rose slowly in disbelief. "You can Apparate to the moon?"
He grinned. He had spent the past three years trying to understand what it meant to be a vampire. Together, they could try and understand what it meant to be wizard vampires.
"I'd like to find others like us," Hermione said, voicing his thoughts. "You can't be the first."
"I agree. They're in hiding. I don't think we'll find them unless they want to be found."
She ran her fingers through his hair, massaging his scalp. He let his eyes flutter closed and moaned softly. He opened his eyes to see her grinning mischievously down at him. "Let's go back to Louisiana."
He raised an eyebrow. "Oh? You want to help the Weasley twins corner the market in the States?"
"No," she said, her hazel eyes glittering in the starlight. "I want to try an Eric/Draco sandwich."
His fangs extended at the thought, and he let out a groan while sliding his hands down her naked back, digging his fingers into her rear.
"Or, we could see if that batshit crazy girlfriend—"
"No!" he cut her off forcefully. "No. No. No. Absolutely not." She laughed at him and he glared at her. "Way to kill the mood, Granger."
Chapter End Notes
*True Blood (of course)
**The Lost Boys
***Angel/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
****Spike/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
*****Drusilla/Buffy the Vampire Slayer
**********Lestadt/The Vampire Chronicles
Thank you for reading everyone! I hope you enjoyed it. If you like my writing, try my fluffy, smutty, whodunit called A Dish Best Served Cold.