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Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Wednesday, June 20th ~ Late Evening

Colin has been waiting for a nice clear night, without too much moon or too little, to play with the new toys he'd picked up on his last visit home.

The special lens and film were supposed let him get some amazing shots in the dark, with a sort of eerie effect.

Which is why Colin was lurking in the bushes near the Hogwarts' gate after dark; camera pressed to his eye, breath held, as he waited for the small creature near the tree to come just a bit further out of the darkness.

Somewhere to the left, a twig snapped, and Colin froze, the creature gone in a split-second.

For a moment he was in the midst of another grove of trees, spells were flying overhead, and Colin nearly called out for his brother before he remembered where - and when - he was.

"Probably a rabbit," he muttered under his breath, lowering the camera just the same. There was something on the other side of the gate, something far too big to be a rabbit. Fear began to wind its fingers around his pounding heart as Colin swallowed hard.

She was trusted, now. Her skills had been honed, her newfound abilities perfected, and Roman allowed his Rose to hunt. To hunt, and to draw much closer to the castle than he could. It wouldn't matter if she was seen — she was still a friend to those inside.

As their friend, she could watch, and see who left and who stayed as the summer approached.

Oh, Izabel. You'll thank me, I promise. It feels so ... perfect.

Thoughts of the fun they'd have when Roman had claimed what was his and they could truly be together distracted her, and she carelessly trod upon a snapping twig. With the guilty thought that he expected better from her, his first among the brides, she fought to control herself, stilling the blood that began racing when it became clear someone else was out here.

It might be someone who could overpower her, she was still so young. And so close to the castle, she couldn't feed — it would give the game away.

But it wasn't the Headmistress or the Dark Arts instructor or anyone to be afraid of; it was the photographer.

I remember you. You're ... nice.

Rose refrained from licking her lips and glided into the open.

"Did I scare off your bunny again?"
"Bunny? Oh, the bunny!" He realized one of his hands had been creeping up toward the back of his head, two fingers spread in the "V" formation, and he quickly detoured the hand to rub at his eyes.

Colin was grateful that it was dark because he was pretty sure his cheeks were burning.

"Right. Well, it could have been a bunny. Or perhaps a squirrel. Or, knowing some of the things Hagrid likes to keep out in the forest, it could have been much worse, couldn't it? I should probably be thanking you for saving me from a fate worse than death, Rose. It is Rose, isn't it?" Colin was aware that he might have been babbling, as he moved closer to the gates themselves. And her.
"Yes, it's Rose." She stood still and let him come to her. Even from a distance, she could feel the warmth radiating from him.

"I think you should, Colin. I might even deserve a reward, if you think about it."

Rose giggled girlishly.
He peered at her through the bars of the gate, smiling self-consciously. "You're right."

Colin reached down and opened the gate, holding it ajar for her. "I have an in with one of the elves down in the kitchen, if you want to come on up to the castle, I can get us something to drink and probably some of the custard left over from dinner."

With his other hand he lifted his camera. "My offer still stands to take your picture. And that's not meant to be nearly as creepy an offer as it's beginning to sound, I swear I'm not trying to lure you up to my rooms or anything."
Skating up to the edge was fine, but actually entering the grounds of Hogwarts was strictly forbidden; she would not be allowed to go with her prey, although the invitation had been freely given.

"Actually, I came here to speak with Vera ... but I didn't realize it was so late."

Rose stood just on the far side of the gate, and considered. Colin was allowed inside. How pleased Roman might be if she could arrange for some help.

"I probably shouldn't enter the castle without seeing her or she'd be upset, but by now she's probably preparing for bed, her and Roger. I could hardly go up there — could you imagine?"

She tilted her face up and smiled.

"And since you're not trying to lure me to the safety of your rooms ... maybe we could discuss some outdoor photos? I'd hate to waste the trip."
He looked down at his camera and then back up at Rose. "Well, I don't really have the right - I mean, I can, but they wouldn't really look portrait like, but I was hoping to try the set-up out tonight."

He slipped through the gate to stand closer to her. "If you don't mind, that is?" Colin asked eagerly. For some reason, it was really important to him, that he made Rose happy.

"There's a really large tree just over there, it would make a nice backdrop for you to lean against." He nodded toward a tree a bit down the lane toward Hogsmeade.
Rose backed away, luring Colin farther from the gates where a passerby might see them.

"I'm sure they'll look fine, and if not — we can try this again, can't we?" She had no intention of letting herself be caught on film, but trying — she had no objection to that.

Soon Rose stood under the tree he'd so helpfully picked for her. She ran a hand through her hair, the picture of confusion.

"So — I guess you should come over here and ... pose me."
"Uh, erm, yeah, I suppose I can - do that." He looked a little uncertain, but willing to help.

Colin set his camera down carefully, and moved toward the tree. He'd done this hundreds of times before, made his living as a professional photographer when he was living in the Muggle world, but this instance was making him more than a little nervous.

"You could put your back to the trunk, sort of like this, then maybe put your hand here." He realized he was avoiding her gaze as he started to reach for her, and quickly looked up to meet her eyes, losing his train of thought completely.
The closer Colin got, the more Rose had to struggle with her thirst. She shouldn't kill someone connected with Hogwarts, and she'd been fed so well recently that she could juuust control herself ...

Ohhh, but you smell so goood.

She grasped Colin's lapel and pulled the Muggle Studies professor in.
She was flush with more than just the warmth that still ran through her veins as Rose wandered through the shadows of Hogsmeade. She had taken from Colin, and shared just enough of her own to mark him as hers, to ensure that he will be able to hear her Call. Pride made her steps light, and nearly silent.

He would be pleased. Their inability to get close to the castle where Izabel slept had been a thorn in his side, and Rose was delighted that she had managed to find at least a partial solution.

It would be hours before he returned from his meeting, but Rose knew what would happen when he did. She could almost hear the velvet of his voice as he praised her, feel the satin brush of his lips against hers, taste the -

A few townsfolk passed by her, none noticing the dark haired woman who took pains to blend into the darkness, just as Rose took almost no notice of them. Until one face seemed to stand out from all the rest.

Rose knew him from before. She changed her direction, choosing to follow him instead of continuing on her way.
It was the first relatively warm night in a long time. As much as he hated to admit it, Nevada spoiled him with the warm nights. Once out of the city the stars were always so clear in the desert. As much as he prefered the cooler days he had here at home, part of him would long the Nevada evenings.

Percy was working late so he had taken advantage of the opportunity to deliver the man some supper before doing a bit of evening window shopping. With the sun gone from the sky Greg found himself walking slowly along the streets, wishing he take off and just fly. It would be a few days as they marked his test before he was given approval. Until then he was grounded.

He chuckled to himself, of course he was grounded for a lot longer after the earful he got from Percy on the subject when he told him.

He wandered through the street, just enjoying the feel of the night air on his face not really paying attention to the world around him.
It was him, one of the ones who spurned her. Used her, then threw her aside for another. Just like Viktor and Charlie...

Rose stopped as the face of one like Charlie but not, swam before her eyes.

Oh yes, I know who has claimed your heart, now. She wanted to spring forward and rip that still beating heart out of his chest, tensed to do so...

Then his voice spoke softly in her ear. Satisfying, yes, but only for a moment. Much better to make him pay for eternity, don't you think? Watch. Learn his secrets. Draw him to you, my Dark Rose.

She nodded, although the voice was already gone, and continued to stalk her prey.
It was odd, Greg felt an odd pressure on his back near his shoulder blades. He knew he was imagining it but it felt like there were eyes on him. He was torn between needing to hurry his steps and get home and dismissing it all as his imagination.

He tried to pin it on something. Maybe it was that he couldn't hear any of the night sounds he was used to. Now that he was away from people he should hear crickets or owls or something?

Now he really began to wish he could change into an owl. At least that way he would be able to see in the dark and ease his suspicions. Trying to appear as casual as possible he looked around him slowly, trying to see if he really was just imagining things. He'd say hello but chances are if something really was out there that wished him ill, they were unlikely to respond.

I didn't think paranoid dementia ran in my family.