“Vampires, you are saying ?”
“Yes, mistress Katherine. Mr. Beckett would like for you to travel there to find out their whereabouts and if they could cause a threat to the secrecy.”
The young woman nodded absently towards the house elf, deep in thoughts. She was, of course, aware of the existence of other magical creatures in the universe, but she never quite had the opportunity to be faced with a vampire before and certainly not a whole coven. The fact that they would hide themselves in a small town was both worrisome and curious. Were they opportunists using the fact that the town was so unknown that people going missing would not make much noise ? Or were they simply trying to keep a low profile and live a peaceful life ? Both theories could be possible, but she hoped for the sake of the people living there that the first one was wrong.
“Did he mention when I would depart.. should I accept ?” she asked finally.
“He said that as soon as possible would be better. Living arrangements were already planned in case you’d say yes.”
“And if I were to say no ?”
“Mr. Beckett said he would simply ask someone else..”
Katherine nodded once more, conflicted. On one hand, she was curious about actually meeting vampires in the flesh. Do they have actual fangs and red eyes, like in the books ? She pondered silently. On the other hand, if they were truly monstrous creatures killing innocent No-Majs for their own pleasure, then she was worried for her own safety. Would they try to kill her if they even found out about her true nature ? Would she even be able to talk to them ? The risks were numerous, but her curiosity and need for adventure were overwhelming and she desperately felt the need to accept this work.
“Should I go prepare your belongings, mistress ?”
“Yes..” answered Katherine, her decision taken. “I will need to make some preparations so I can use Portkeys to travel there ; the sooner I am here, the better.”
She also did not feel comfortable enough to use what the muggles called a “plane”. The idea of being trapped in a flying metal box for an unknown amount of hours, in the incapacity of using any magic without the risk of being seen, and without being able to control it herself was a terrifying thought.. not that she would admit it to anyone, and especially not to Beckett.
It was utterly depressing.
The young woman had barely arrived in the town two days ago, and already she missed the comfort of her home. Forks was definitely the smallest town she had ever seen, and it was no compliment. Her arrival there had been more than noticed, as the population did not exceed the number of 3,500. Everyone had their eyes set on the new face coming into town, which did not make her task of blending in any easy.. on the contrary. Worst, she had yet to cross paths with the vampire clan she had been looking for in the first place.
Luckily, as words traveled fast, she had the opportunity to gather many information during these days lurking in the streets. Most of them had been revealed as useless, but she was now upon new tracks ; a family of the name Cullen had been making waves upon the day of their arrival, as their patriarch had bought the most expensive house of the town and soon became a doctor. But that was not all ; the man had apparently adopted all of his children, was both the source of jealousy and admiration of many, and was a secretive person.
All of these little details were more than enough for Katherine to consider them as the clan she was looking for. As Beckett had not provided her any information about them (since he did not possess any), she had to trust her own intuition on the matter and hope that she was not mistaken. That is how she found herself walking in the Forks Community Hospital the very next day, a self-inflicted wound bleeding on her arm.
“Hello..” she said, a mask of pain falling on her face.
The old woman at the front desk rose her gaze from the screen in front of her, welcoming the newcomer with a gentle smile. Katherine quickly noticed the name tag she wore, which displayed the name of “Mary”.
“Welcome to Forks Community Hospital. What can I help you with, dear ?”
The young woman had to briefly stay silent, swallowing down the sarcastic reply she was about to answer. Instead, she made the look of her face as miserable as possible, before raising her arm with the help of her free hand. The old woman’s shock was visible as she finally noticed all the blood soaking the white shirt she wore.
“Oh my ! What happened ?” asked Mary, alarmed.
“Kitchen accident.. I was just cleaning my knives when one of them fell out of my hand.”
If only she truly knew , thought Katherine. The young woman had thought about many different plans to come face to face with one of the Cullens . Her first idea had been to infiltrate somehow the students of the school where the teenagers were enrolled, but quickly realized that the whole ordeal would become too risky. Even if she had graduated from Hogwarts barely three years ago and, therefore, looked young enough to play the part, the idea of playing the fake student in a muggle school seemed like a terrible one. As she never had a “normal” education with normal subjects, it wouldn't have taken much time for people to notice that something was wrong with her. The year had already started anyways and managing to become a new student would have been hard.
Her second idea was to find a job in the same hospital she was now standing in, so she could meet the Cullen patriarch and, hopefully, find herself spending time by his side because of that. But like her lack of knowledge about No-Majs ’s school subjects, Katherine had no idea how to do the work of a doctor, or even a nurse. She had always counted on well prepared potions and spells to help her heal from any sickness or injuries that fell upon her. There would be no way for her to be able to truly act the part, especially with no diplomas.
Finally, her choice went to the last of her ideas and what would be the most simplistic one, at least in terms of execution. Hurting herself hadn’t not been pleasant, especially with the massive kitchen knife she had used. But she knew that by doing so, she would get the perfect cover story to meet the infamous Doctor Cullen everyone was talking about. The only downside of her plan was that once she was healed, she would have no reason to come back there.. unless she damaged another part of her body in yet another accident.
“I will call someone to take care of your dear..” said the old woman, gently pushing Katherine forward until she found herself sitting in one of the chairs of the waiting room.
The woman went back behind his desk then, quickly dialling a number on the phone in front of her. Katherine could not hear her from where she sat, and she did not want to risk being caught by casting a spell, even a wandless one, so she maintained her curiosity in check as she faked being in more pain than she actually was. Finally, after what seemed like hours, another woman made her apparition, smiling at Katherine.
“Hello, please follow me.”
“Will you be the one taking care of my wound ?” she asked, uncertainty clear in her tone.
“Yes ! You are lucky, I do not have any patients at the moment so I will be able to fix your arm quickly.”
Katherine had to maintain herself from screaming in frustration in the middle of the corridor as she followed the woman. She knew the chances of actually ending face to face with Doctor Cullen would be low, but she still had the pitiful hope that her plan wouldn’t be in vain. Think think think.. she muttered to herself internally as she looked around, trying to find any way to get rid of the nurse. The corridor was empty of any soul except the two of them, but there were too many doors, so too many possibilities for someone to suddenly come out and see her in action. She would have to wait for them to be alone inside a room.
They walked for another minute before Katherine found herself entering a small room. She breathed out a sigh of relief upon seeing the two beds in the room empty. As the nurse closed the door behind her, the young woman took out her wand from her pants and quickly hidden it behind her back with her free hand in what she hoped like a casual manner. Her heart was starting to beat faster and faster from the nervousness ; the idea of getting caught by a No-Maj was an anxious one, even if she could Obliviate their memories in order to make them forget anything they would have seen. She had barely arrived in town two days ago ; what would Beckett think of her efficiency if she was not even able to hide her nature from a muggle in her precipitation ?
“So, Mary told me you hurt yourself wh–”
“Memoria,” said Katherine out loud, pointing her wand towards the nurse who suddenly fell in a dazed state, her eyes becoming unfocused.
“You were about to check my wound..” she continued slowly, as she implanted new memories inside of the woman’s brain. “.. But you suddenly received an urgent call, from a member of your family. They need you to come to your place right now, it cannot wait. You need to be replaced by someone else.”
“I need to be replaced by someone else..” muttered the nurse to herself.
And now the final touch , thought Katherine, moving her wand once again.
The nurse had walked out of the room ten minutes ago.
Katherine felt both relieved and even more anxious than she was moments before. She knew the false memories had been successfully implemented as she had seen the woman climb into her car from the room’s windows, now convinced that her family needed her. But even with the nurse out of the picture, the young woman still had no certainty about what would happen next. Would Mary send another nurse to take care of the wound ? Katherine could not make two nurses coincidentally leave around the same time just after her arrival, not without appearing suspicious. She would have to find another solution this time.
Her thoughts were interrupted as the door of the room opened once again, and she felt herself tensing her fingers, the urge to take out her wand from her pants, where she hid it once again, getting bigger. But her mind went suddenly blank as she came face to face with golden eyes, unlike any she had seen before.
Get a grip, Rosier.
“I heard someone needed stitches over here.”
“Must be me..” answered Katherine, half-laughing as she raised her arm, showcasing the mess her shirt became where the blood accumulated.
“I see. Well, I do think I will be able to help. Doctor Cullen.” said the stranger as he introduced himself.
Katherine found herself unable to speak for a short moment, her eyes slowly blinking multiple times until her brain finally registered the words she had heard. Doctor Cullen. Doctor Cullen.. Doctor Cullen ? Oh fuck.
“Katherine Rosier”, she finally said.
The man only nodded politely before pointing at her arm, as a silent question. Understanding fell upon her as she nodded in return, giving her agreement. The fabric pulled difficulty from her skin as the doctor raised it, the blood having already begun to dry. She was deeply regretting her clothing choice of the day. After a few seconds, the man successfully got rid of the barrier that had been hiding her wound until then, and he made a small sound as he saw it.
“It must have been quite the knife.”
“Indeed, my biggest one.”
That was not a lie. What couldn't I choose a smaller one ? She thought bitterly, before reminding herself that a smaller wound wouldn't have been a good reason enough to go to the hospital. Focus , Katherine. Her eyes rose up, watching more closely the man in front of her. She understood now why so many women in town were talking of him with a lot of admiration. The man was apparently rich, smart enough to become a doctor, kind enough to adopt multiple children and, on top of that, was as handsome as a model. He does not look like a vampire..
His eyes, even if they surely were of a surprising color, were not of the red hue she expected. She briefly wondered if he was wearing contacts, and thought about asking him directly before changing her mind. Don’t ask weird questions, you do not want him to feel suspicious. His skin was definitely very white, but so was hers and she could safely say that she was not a vampire herself. And even as she tried to look as closely as she could without being noticed, she could not see any fangs. Perhaps I could try to make him laugh ?
“Stitches will definitely be needed, the knife sliced deeply into your arm. I’m afraid that the wound risks an infection without proper care.”
“You’re the doctor, I trust your judgement.”
The man smiled then, before walking towards the back of the room where multiple shelves stood, full of products she could not identify. No visible fangs.. this is weird. Had she been completely wrong in assuming this doctor was the leader of the coven she was looking for ? Was he just a normal man, just a bit more exceptional than the others ? Katherine truly thought her intuition had been right about the Cullens. But then, how to explain such a control in front of a big amount of fresh blood ? Maybe he already ate before.. Fuck, what do I do now ?
“I have never seen you before.. are you new in town ?” asked Doctor Cullen, taking her away from her thoughts.
“Yes, I arrived two days ago as a matter of facts.”
Walking back towards her, he put multiple objects on the table beside her, but she barely looked at them, as she was much more focused on the man who stood in front of her. The pain in her arm was slowly getting too much for her liking and she knew looking at it would make her be even more aware of it.
“What brings you to a small town like Forks ?”
“An old friend needed me ; her mother passed away a week ago and she needed some moral support, so I came.” answered Katherine, lies falling off her mouth easily, as she had prepared her cover story days ago.
“That is nice of you.”
“I suppose.. I just want to be a good friend to her.”
“I am sure she must be grateful for your presence.”
“Well, I do hope so since I was close to slicing my arm by wanting to prepare her favorite meal to cheer her up.”
Doctor Cullen laughed then. Definitely not fangs.
“Luckily for you, the wound is not that deep. You’ll live.” he said then, his fingers working on my arm, his eyes following them, completely focused. “However, you will need to come back here in a few days to take out the stitches. We wouldn't want you to make your skin grow on them.”
Katherine felt a shudder going through her spine at the idea, even if she knew she would probably be able to fix the issue with a spell.
“What about you, doctor Cullen ?”
“What about me ?” he asked, meeting the young woman’s gaze for a moment before focusing once more on the wound.
“How does one become a doctor in a town like this ? Surely there must be many job opportunities in better places for someone in your position. Were you born in Forks ?”
“No, I originally came from London.”
Katherine could not hide her surprise upon the revelation.
“Really ? What a small world. It’s actually where I was born as well, and where I currently live.” she said then, smiling.
The doctor responded to her smile, before putting her arm down slowly. As she glanced down at it, expecting to see blood, she was surprised to see her skin completely cleaned and her wound covered. She had not felt him put the stitches through her arm at all.
“It has been quite a while since I met someone from my homeland.”
“Do you miss it ? London, I mean.”
The doctor looked down for a moment then, seemingly deep in thoughts. Katherine wondered if she made a mistake by asking him such a question, if he would close himself to her intrusion and ask her to leave as she was done being treated now. But finally, after a few seconds, he finally answered.
“I do miss some parts of it, but not enough for me to want to go back. I am happy with the life I have here with my family.”
“You have a family ?” she asked, falsely surprised.
She, of course, already knew about his adoptive children, but she was not planning on telling him. If she did so, it would be admitting that she knew who he was even before he introduced himself to her, and it would do her no good. What lies could she give in order to explain the knowledge she had, as she had supposedly only arrived recently in town ? None would be believable enough to make him trust her. She needed to pretend.
“I have five adopted children ; two girls and three boys.”
“Wow.. that’s a lot.”
Impressing answer, Katherine.
“They are all teenagers now, almost adults. It is less hard to raise them than it would be with young children.”
“Still, it is quite an impressive number.”
Before the man could answer, the phone inside Katherine’s pocket made a loud sound, taking her by surprise. As she took out the small object, she read the name “Becky” on the screen.
“Your friend, I suppose ?” asked Doctor Cullen, his eyes not missing the name written in bold.
“Yes.. I am sorry I have to answer.”
“Not a problem, we are done here anyways. I will prescribe you some medication to help with the pain. I will need you to come back in a week..”
“So we can take the stitches out.” completed Katherine before he could finish his sentence. “Got it, doctor. Thank you for your help.”
Doctor Cullen nodded then, before opening the door for her. Gentleman on top of everything ? This will be harder than I thought. Katherine smiled at him one last time before walking away from him, her hand bringing the phone to her ear after clicking on the green button.
“I am at the hospital, Becky . I will be here soon.”
The call ended without an answer, not surprising the woman in the least. After signing a bunch of paper at the front desk, she finally found herself walking outside the hospital, taking a large breath. The weight on her shoulders loosened a bit as she realized that her first plan had been achieved with success ; she had met the infamous Doctor Cullen. But unsurprisingly, she was now left with much more questions than she had before her arrival. Was this man truly a vampire or simply different ? Was there behind this persona of a gentleman and samaritan an actual monster feeding off innocents ?
I will learn your secrets, Doctor Cullen.