Harry sat alone in a small café. He sipped at his drink as he read the Daily Prophet. The wizard was quite immersed in his reading when a man approached.
“Is this seat taken?” Harry looked up from his reading and gestured for the man to sit. The man was young, looking to be in his mid 20s. He sported traditional Greek features: the straight nose, full lips, and large eyes. The man was terribly pale, however this fact served only to make him seem more ethereal rather than sickly. The man seated himself with unearthly grace across from Harry. When he spoke, his voice was soft and calm, perhaps even a hint amused. “I must say, when I imagined the hero of the wizarding realm, I imagined you… taller.” The man smirked, his red eyes glinting.
He knew. How could he know? Harry folded his newspaper as calmly as his could, his nerves on high alert. One hand lowered below the table to grip his wand. The vampire across from him tutted. “Calm down, I’m here to ask of your assistance.”
“I believe that before discussing business, some introductions are in order.” Harry said, sipping at his tea.
The vampire across from him quirked an eyebrow in distaste, but eased his expression into one of amusement. “A proper Englishman, are you?”
Harry set down his tea and glared with impatience.
“I am Aro. I represent a certain group of vampires–you may have heard of us–the Volturi.” Aro calmed reached a hand across the small table.
Harry cautiously shook it. Aro’s grip was strong, and vaguely threatening. “I’m afraid I haven’t.”
“The Volturi is responsible for maintaining a balance between the magical and the non-magical realms, much like your own Ministry of Magic. However, there are many factions of vampires in existence. It is often… difficult to keep them in line.”
Harry nodded in understanding. “You want my help in securing these rogue factions.”
“Essentially. We would do it ourselves but many of my children are occupied disarming a potential uprising in Australia at the moment.”
Harry finished his cup and picked up his newspaper. “I have heard your offer, Mr. Aro, but I must decline.”
Aro was shocked by Harry’s blatant dismissal. “Mr. Potter, you would be heavily rewarded for doing this for us.”
“Sorry. I’m not really interested at the moment. I have a lot of… important tasks to do at the moment, so if you’ll excuse me–” Harry spouted in one breath, his eyes flitting from side to side. Harry rubbed his knuckles and made to leave.
A hand swiftly reached out and wrapped around Harry’s arm, pulling the man back into his seat. Aro smirked. “Now, now, Mr. Potter.” An evil glint flashed in Aro’s blood red eyes. “You must not tell lies.”
A shudder passed through Harry.
Aro laughed lowly. “I know that you are currently unemployed. I know that you recently broke up with your fiancée, a Miss Ginny Weasley, correct? I know that your god-son, Teddy is under the care of his aunt at the moment, relieving you of babysitting duties. Your friends are busy with work, you have no living relatives you have to care for, and you don’t even have a pet. Therefore, I know that you, in fact, are not busy with anything at the moment. Unless you consider spending most of your days reading magazines and watching trash television ‘important tasks’.”
Harry glared at Aro. How did he know all of that?
Aro continued to speak. “As I said, the Volturi is responsible for maintaining balance. These newborns pose a serious threat, endangering the lives of my kin and yours alike. If allowed to continue on their rampage, they could murder entire populations or worse— expose the magical realm.”
Harry quirked an eyebrow but remained displeased.
Aro gritted his teeth and tried to work from a different angle. “Mr. Potter, you know very well that the ministry won’t agree to help vampires. Who I am to turn to? You are my only hope. You don’t have any responsibilities at the moment, and you would be paid handsomely for your trouble.”
Harry met the old vampire’s eyes. Aro smiled widely, flashing his fangs. “I guess… it wouldn’t hurt to take a look,” Harry conceded.
The vampire across him immediately brightened. “Excellent! I knew you’d come through, Mr. Potter. I’ll arrange for a couple of associates to pick you up once your arrive in Forks. Your plane leaves at 9am.” Aro pulled out a folder full of papers, seemingly from out of thin air. “This contains your plane ticket, and all all the information we have concerning the situation. I suggest you read a little before you arrive.” As quickly as he had come, the vampire was gone.
Harry finished off his drink and headed back home. As he walked, he thought to himself. Perhaps this trip will be like a little vacation.
“You’re going where?!” Hermione shrieked.
“Forks, Washington.” Harry replied simply. He carried over a pile of folded laundry and placed in his suitcase.
“I don’t know, mate. The guy accosted you outside a cafe and borderline threatened you into doing his dirty work. This whole thing seems pretty shady.” Ron reasoned.
“Now that’s a bit of an exaggeration. He didn’t accost me. He asked to sit, stated his case and I accepted. That’s all, I swear.” Harry raised his arms defensively as he moved around the room.
“Harry,” Hermione pleaded. “Be reasonable. You don’t know how long this ‘job’ is going to take. It’s not like you’re visiting the neighbors down the street, you’re moving across the pond. What if we need you her––”
“You won’t need me, Hermione,” Harry bit out. “Voldemort is gone. We graduated from Hogwarts years ago.”
Hermione winced. “Why are you getting so upset?!”
“You two, Ginny, Neville, Luna; you all have lives here. You’re needed here. And me? I don’t have a family. I have no job and enough money to last me a lifetime. What, exactly, is keeping me here?!” Harry glared at Hermione before returning to his task.
Rage welled up inside Hermione. She grabbed Harry’s shoulder, whipping him around to face her. “Is that why, then?! Is that why you have to go all the way to America? To escape? To be useful? To be the hero you once were?”
Harry scoffed, ignoring Hermione.
Hermione growled. She felt heat rise in her cheeks as anger boiled in her gut.
Ron stepped in to try and diffuse the situation. “Hermione! Harry! Let’s stop fighting okay––”
“HARRY! YOU HAD SO MANY CHANCES TO HAVE A LIFE HERE! THE MINISTRY PRACTICALLY BEGGED YOU TO ACCEPT THE CHAIRMAN POSITION! YOU AND GINNY WERE ENGAGED BEFORE YOU CUT IT OFF! THE ONLY REASON YOU THINK YOU’RE NOT NEEDED HERE IS BECAUSE YOU WON’T MOVE ON!” Hermione screamed from the top of her lungs.
“ISN’T THAT EXACTLY WHAT I’M DOING NOW?! MOVING ON? GETTING ON WITH MY LIFE? MAYBE INSTEAD OF TRYING TO BE A HERO, I’M JUST TRYING TO ESCAPE THE HORRID MEMORIES OF MY FRIENDS DYING, HERMIONE!!” Harry screamed back, his voice hoarse. Gasping and still seething with rage, Harry straightened his back in preparation for Hermione’s response.
Hermione’s eyes widened, tears threatening to flow over. She looked so small as she collapsed on the couch, all anger gone from her body, her hands covering her face.
Ron immediately dropped to his knees. “Hermione?”
“Oh… oh, Hermione.” Harry lowered himself to the ground in front of the sobbing woman. “I didn’t mean to.... I just––”
“We are all suffering, Harry.” Hermione whispered. “I know what it’s like to see my friends die. If you don’t remember, I was there too. Ron was there too. We were all there. You’re not the only one going through this.”
Ron nodded. “Yeah, mate. Everyone’s got their own problems. Believe me, I understand the need for a change of scenery. Hell, that’s the reason Mum left the old house. But is this really the right answer?”
Harry sighed. “I’m not moving to America. It’s just a temporary job. And it’s just that… I don’t know, I just feel like this could be a real opportunity for me. I might be running away and I might be trying to find one last adventure, but either way, I need to do this.”
“Do you mean that?” Hermione whispered.
Harry nodded. “I do.”
With a mighty sniff of her nose and a couple of wet coughs, Hermione got back up on her feet. “Well then, I suppose we should help you pack.”
Ron stood and gave his wife a warm hug. She rested her head on his shoulder. Harry beamed. And then, the three friends started to prepare for Harry’s trip. For a moment, everything was perfect.
Harry apparated to the airport with his enchanted backpack in hand. Harry knew he could just apparate directly to the Cullen home, but figured he could enjoy the muggle way of travel every once in a while.
Two hours later, Harry regretted his decision. First, it took forever for Harry to even board the plane. The line to check in was long and torturous. The security team raised eyebrows at his wand and magical items as he went through security and he was pulled aside for a “random” security check. Harry got lost trying to find his terminal, having to ask three different people who, evidently, did not know what they were talking about. Once Harry found his seat, the cabin was packed to the brim with people. People with smelly feet, wailing babies, and this one little brat kicking the back of his seat. Harry knew this would be that last time he travelled by muggle means.
Around 3 hours into his flight, people seemed to calm down and the plane fell silent. Harry praised Merlin’s name for the blessed quiet. Harry napped a little, read his trash magazine, and listened to his few muggle songs stored on an old mp3.
A couple hours later, Harry was feeling restless and cramped. He stood and walked to the bathroom to stretch out his legs. Returning to his seat, Harry remembered the folder Aro had given him before he left. Harry hadn’t had a chance to read it the day before and figured that now was a good time to do so. Harry pulled out the small stack of papers and started to read.
“Mr. Potter, thank you for your cooperation. The Volturi thanks you. Concerning the uprising of a possible vampire army, we have very little information. However, we suspect that the rogue vampire, Victoria, is behind it. The Cullens, a vampire coven who has resided in Forks, Washington for the last few years, came into contact with Victoria and her mate sometime last year. The Cullens murdered Victoria’s mate, in the effort to save the life of a human girl. We suspect that Victoria may be acting out of revenge, however, the Cullens are reluctant to share any information with us. As far as we were able to gather, her army appears to be rather small, only about 10 or 20 newborn vampires. These newborns have been allowed to run amok, terrorizing humans in the area. The humans think that the attacks and disappearances are due to wolf and bear attacks, but we are concerned that they will soon catch onto what is really happening. Your job is to apprehend the newborns and kill Victoria.”
Harry hummed. 10 or 20 vampires didn’t seem too bad. Harry didn’t know why these newborn vampires posed such a problem. Harry guessed that Victoria is likely an older, more experienced vampire. “She might pose a bit of a problem,” thought Harry.
The wizard checked his watch. 2 hours until landing. Harry felt prepared.
Two handsome men stood at the departure terminal. One man was quite young with honey-blond hair and had a bad case of RBF. The other was a bit older, perhaps in his late 20s, and wore a cheerful expression as he held up a sign labeled “Mr. Potter.”
The young man sighed, glancing at his watch. He’d been standing at the the terminal for almost an hour and was starting to get a little impatient. "Carlisle, why did we have to come so early?"
"I didn't want to make a bad impression. Besides, Alice made it seem like it was pretty important that we both come meet him."
That is true. Just earlier that morning, Alice had a vision and promptly told Carlisle and Edward to go to the airport. Edward tried to peek into her head, but the smaller vampire stubbornly started singing the State Farm jingle to ward him off. She sent them off with a smile, telling them to look out for a "Mr. Potter".
Carlisle was more than a little concerned. They didn't get many visitors in Forks, Washington. If Alice was sending Edward, did that mean that this person is dangerous? Is he another vampire? Was he sent by the Volturi? Is he here to kill Bella?
Edward was picking up on his father's unease. Edward was concerned for Bella's safety, yet couldn't help being a little curious about their visitor. Alice isn't seem troubled by their arrival. From what he could gather by using his telepathy ability, Alice seemed almost... happy?
Eventually, the flight passengers started to be let off the plane and a crowd of people passed by on their way out of the airport. The smell of blood in the air was uncomfortably potent, but not unmanageable. Edward tried to keep his face pleasant. Carlisle kept a sharp lookout. Alice was unreasonably vague before sending the two men off. The older vampire raised his hastily- made sign and scanned the crowd for a head of curly, black locks.
The smell was what tipped him off. It was subtle but unmistakably different. The source of the smell turned around the corner and Carlisle was struck cold. The man's wavy, black hair was artfully mussed. He was dressed quite plainly, but the fact seemed to only add to his beauty rather than detract from it. His face was framed with dark, perfectly arched eyebrows, and pink lips. The glasses perched delicately on his nose accentuated a pair of luscious green eyes.
Edward was confused. The man’s mind was a blank, silent. There was a presence there, but it was muffled. It like having to try and listen through a wall. Edward lowered his voice so that only Carlisle would be able to hear him. “I can’t read his mind.”
Carlisle gave a barely perceptible nod in acknowledgement. He waved to the man and raised up his sign.
The man smiled minutely and approached the pair. Face to face with Carlisle, the man did not cower or evade eye contact, even despite a large disparity in height. Up close, his beauty was even more glorious. If not for the smell, Carlisle would’ve thought the man was another vampire.
With a polite smile gracing his features, Carlisle finally spoke up.