Become Like One of Us
A/N: This chapter is FR15.
A/N: Disclaimer, spoilers, author’s notes, etc., are at the beginning of chapter 1.
Ginny and Harry apparated right in front of the door into the back of the shop. She quickly checked that there was no one else in the alley. Then she took one step to the door and knocked. Hard.
The door rang like it was a solid steel door and someone had just hit it with a sledgehammer.
The peephole snapped open, and an angry yellow eye glared from the other side. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
Ginny tried to give the eye her fiercest glare. “I could
say ‘Hepzibah sent me’ but we both know that’s a lie. Let me try something else. The Golden Slayer sent me
She pressed her luck. “We can do this the easy way, or the hard way. But the hard way ends with me standing over some piles of dust.”
“What’s the easy way?”
She said, “You let me in. No fighting. I talk to whoever is in charge. If I’m happy, I leave. If you’re lucky, you never get another visit again.”
“I’d like to go with the easy way. I’m just gonna go tell the boss you want to see her, and then I’ll take you upstairs to her. All right?”
She said, “Me and my watcher.”
“Right. Got it. Can you just wait there a minute?”
She said, “Yes. You have two minutes, and if you’re not back and opening the door by then, it’s opening without you.”
He grumbled, “Slayers. Always gotta be the tough guy.” But he left the peephole open and hurried off.
Harry whispered, “Pretty tough talk there… sheriff.”
“Shut up. Watcher.”
He snickered to himself. She was fairly sure that at least a couple of the vampires inside could hear. She could certainly hear that there were a couple guys inside who were really
enjoying themselves. Ick. She sometimes thought about taking things farther with Harry, but that didn’t mean she wanted to listen to complete strangers having sex. Or whatever they were really doing. With vampires. Extra ick.
Seriously. How could people have sex with a cold, dead corpse that might rip their throat out at any second? Or was something else going on here? The word ‘suckhouse’ might mean people went to have vampires suck their blood. But why would anyone do that? And how would that make them have orgasms? Because Ginny wasn’t really worldly, but she did know what that noise was. Not every student at Hogwarts was still a virgin, especially if they ever dated Blaise Zabini. According to Lavender, Blaise made it pretty clear on date number one that if you weren’t going to have sex with him, there was never going to be a date number two. And there were plenty of girls at Hogwarts who had more than one date with him.
The vampire came back to the door and opened it. “Follow me. We’re going upstairs.”
She followed, but she had her wand out. And she knew Harry had his wand out. She didn’t have to look behind her to know that.
The door opened into a small entryway which had another steel door on the other side. So they were trying to keep something in. Or keep something out. That opened into a narrow hallway that had lots of doors opening off of both sides. She could feel vampires on both sides of the hallway, and the moaning and other gross noises were coming from those rooms.
At the end of the hallway they were all the way at the front of the empty shop. The front wall was painted white, but she could tell the white paint was over concrete blocks. And the paint was new enough that she could still smell it. They had blocked off the front windows and door with concrete blocks, and they had done it recently. Just what were they worried about?
There was a narrow, steep stairway there. The vampire leapt straight up to the upper story, and Ginny did the same. She ended up in another hallway. This one had a massive steel door that could be shut over the stairwell opening and locked in place. It seemed like they were preparing to defend themselves against an army.
Harry clambered up the steep stairway and pulled his wand back out once he was standing beside Ginny. They followed the vampire past several open doors to what looked like bedrooms, a drawing room, and a kitchen. At the end of the hall was one more door, this one also solid steel. The vampire knocked softly, and a woman’s voice inside said “Come.”
The vampire opened the door and let Ginny and Harry walk in. Then he left. Ginny heard him hurry down the hall and jump down to the floor below.
In front of her was a big desk that reminded her of Professor Dumbledore’s desk. Sitting behind the desk was a woman who in no way reminded her of Albus Dumbledore.
The woman was a striking brunette with jet black hair that draped down her back. The woman looked about twenty-five, and was beautiful. If Ginny hadn’t been in a veela’s wedding recently, she probably would have been intimidated. The woman had large, dark eyes and full lips and a perfect straight nose. The woman had large breasts that were bulging out of a lowcut Muggle dress. A really, really lowcut Muggle dress. The woman was expertly made up by someone who knew how to use cosmetics to really emphasize her high cheekbones and luscious lips. That someone was also emphasizing the fact that the woman was a vampire, including using some blood red lipstick.
Ginny hoped it was lipstick.
No, it didn’t smell like fresh blood. The woman didn’t smell like fresh blood, for that matter.
“What can I do for you, Slayer?”
Ginny said, “I just want to make sure you’re not hurting any humans. If this place is safe, I have bigger problems in London to deal with.”
The woman smiled, showing off a set of sparkling white teeth. “So you know about Marius and his sudden decision to build a small army.”
Ginny guessed, “Vampires and
The woman smiled again. “So you do know quite a bit. Marius is very bad for business. And make no mistake about it, this is a business. We have had to increase our defenses just to protect ourselves from his minions who want us to… enlist in his army.”
“What kind of business is a suckhouse anyway?” Ginny complained.
The woman smirked. “So you disapprove? You and the boy who has your scent all over him? He is obviously too young to be a Watcher.”
Ginny said, “What my boyfriend and I do is none of your business. And he’s old enough to know how to be my backup.”
The woman said, “And yet he stands there with nothing but a tiny stake that would break with the first attempt to use it.”
Ginny said, “Harry? Demonstrate please.”
A vase soared off the desk and hovered in mid-air. Then it shattered. Then it assembled itself again and settled back onto the desk.
The woman blinked several times, and then plastered her smile back on her face. “Very impressive. You have a mage. One of the wand users. We have several clients like that. Their blood is most… energizing.”
Harry asked, “How does this place work? How can you keep the humans safe and keep your… staff cooperative?”
The woman gave him a leer. “Interested in finding out, are we?”
“Not personally,” Harry said. “Just professionally.”
The woman gave him a tiny nod. “Six of us live here. You already met Ralphie. He is not the most handsome of men, but some women prefer the rugged look. We also have Derek, who is most attractive. He gets a lot more… business. Then we have myself and three other women. There are a surprising number of men and women who come here for oral sex, and quite enjoy the ‘lovebites’ they receive. We never take too much. We have to be extremely careful about that. And we make sure they drink fluids before they leave.”
“Fluids?” Ginny asked suspiciously.
“Yes. Milk, orange juice, Gatorade… Nothing alcoholic.”
Ginny had no idea what ‘gator ade’ was, but she wasn’t going to say so. She knew what lemonade and limeade were, but she doubted it was possible to get juice out of an alligator. She figured she would wait and ask Hermione. It was probably another weird Muggle thing.
The woman went on, “And we have some clients who just want to be bitten. I do not understand the psychology of such people, but I am not going to turn away people who feed us and pay us to feed. Some of them are part of the ‘goth’ crowds and perhaps find vampires mysterious and sexy, like those abysmal books and movies.”
Ginny said, “So the downstairs rooms are for business, and the upstairs rooms are where you live?”
The woman nodded. “I own the building and the buildings on either side. I collect enough in rent from the open stores that I can easily pay the taxes and the utility bills. What more do I need? My food comes to me and begs to be devoured, and even pays me to do so.”
Ginny checked, “So you make sure none of your people ever hurts your… customers, and in turn your customers keep coming back and paying you for the privilege. And you need the local vampires to keep a low profile so you don’t have to deal with the Vampire Slayer or any demon hunters.”
“Yes, exactly,” said the woman. “So any information I acquire about Marius and his forces would stand me in your good graces?”
Ginny nodded. “Yes. I now know where he’s based. But I don’t know how many people he has, or the types of demons, or the numbers of demons. And I have no details about the humans in his employ.”
The woman said, “All I know so far is that he has made some sort of connection with someone who supplied him with a couple truckloads of blood. But none of the local hospitals or blood donation centers has made any noise about thefts or break-ins, so I don’t know how the blood was obtained. He is feeding his army and not attracting the attention of the authorities. Yet. I just don’t know why he needs an army, or where it will fight.”
Ginny knew the answers to those questions, but she had no intention of telling a vampire. She said, “I may come back and check to find out if you have any more information.”
The woman nodded. “If you can avoid attracting attention to my little establishment when doing so, I would appreciate it.”
Ginny said, “I can manage that.” She took Harry’s hand, and they disapparated. She only wished she could have stayed around to see the look on the woman’s face when they vanished.