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And here is a very different novel from anything I have ever done, but I was looking to do something very original. A fair warning that this is out there and is in no way intended to be viewed realistically. But anything unrealistic I like to call using your imagination!
So, with that said, I hope you enjoy it. At this point, any sort of feedback at all would be much appreciated, and I could most certainly benefit from it. Especially with this opening part of the chapter. I was looking to make it as accurate as possible. So please review! Thank you so much!
This story puts Ignotus and Dominique at 20 years old. :)
Edited and revised: 1/12/13
absolutely STUNNING chapter image by Lucie Longhorn @ TDA
- Year 1234 -
Three brothers traveled across a vast plain together on a long journey. They had traveled from their complacent homes in the small dwelling of Godric's Hollow in West Country, England to the plains of Devonshire for some hunting. All game near Godric's Hollow had been driven out of the area as more witches and wizards settled in, scattering their sources of food and forcing the inhabitants to travel out of their small towns.
After a rather unsuccessful day of hunting, the youngest of the three brothers came to a halt as they reached the mountain top. He sighed, adjusting himself better on his horse, holding the reigns in his hand and patting the creature’s long neck. He made sure his bow and arrow were still appropriately attached to his back, and he looked towards the boundless plains that he and his brothers had yet to travel.
"Thankfully the journey for hunting is pleasant," the man's brother, Cadmus Peverell, said as he came to a halt next to the youngest man. Cadmus readjusted his cape and tucked a strand of his thick, chocolate hair behind his ears.
"Yes," the youngest agreed as he looked to the plain were the sun was gently setting. "Quite pleasant."
Ignotus Peverell glanced to his older brother from the corner of his eye. He caught Cadmus' face holding a smile as he looked at the painted sky. Ignotus smiled at his brother's happiness. However, Cadmus’ pleased look faded before Ignotus’ smile could even form itself. Cadmus sighed and looked down to his saddle, and Ignotus let out a heavy breath. "Brother, you must move on. Look to the future with hopeful thoughts."
"You are young and foolish, Ignotus," Cadmus said in a low voice as his brother seemed to know exactly what he was thinking. "Do not speak of things you cannot understand."
"What?" Ignotus weakly challenged. He sat up straighter in his seat. He never liked it when his brothers used his younger age to their advantage. They always spoke to him as if he were foolish and did not understand the meaning or importance of things, or of life period. "Because I have not married, you find me incapable of understanding love? Do not forget that you and Antioch are my brothers. I love you both, and I understand the emotion perfectly."
"You do not know the kind of love shared between a man and his wife," Cadmus said again. He looked to his brother with wise eyes, and hidden beneath that exterior, was Cadmus' pain of losing his fiancée only months ago.
Ignotus sighed and let it go at that. He knew he was fighting a losing battle with Cadmus. He did feel for his brother; he felt his pain, but Ignotus knew there was nothing to do but put the past behind him. Yes, Cadmus and Seraphine had been madly in love. Seraphine had been a woman of lower class while the Peverells were the most noble family within Godric’s Hollow; their mother had not approved of their love, but the birth of their son had allowed his mother to see reason.
Ignotus had never experienced a love between a man and a woman such as that, but he could understand the emotion between the two, and he knew what was best for his brother now that she had passed on.
The third brother, Antioch, came up from behind, oblivious to the heart-to-heart his two younger siblings had just shared.
"Come, brothers. We should not delay. It is nearing twilight now," Antioch said as his horse trotted past his two younger brothers. Cadmus and Ignotus looked to one another as he pulled in front of them. Smiles reached their faces, and they brought their heels into the thighs of their horses, triggering a slow trot.
Cadmus came up next to the eldest brother and looked to the plains on the far left. "If we go through the plains, it will be three more days before we reach home. What about the forest there on the right? Cut through it, and it could cut our journey in half."
"Another one of your clever shortcuts, Cadmus, eh?" Antioch laughed as he gently kicked his heels into his horse's abdomen, gaining speed. He looked over his shoulder to grin at his younger brothers. "You shall make us lose our way again!"
"I would not," Cadmus laughed.
"Right, because the shortcut through Devonshire was so successful, was it not, brother?" Ignotus joined in on the playful banter and caught up with Antioch.
"We survived, did we not?" convinced Cadmus.
Cadmus set off in the lead, and the three brothers galloped forward. Their horses picked up speed, kicking up the lush grass as they went. They traveled through the forest and shared stories as they went. They told jokes as they made their bee-line through the trees, occasionally swatting at branches and shrubs with their swords to clear their path. Before they knew it, they had reached the other side with the sun setting in the distance.
They picked up speed as the plain opened. A pathway revealed itself to them from past travelers leaving signs of grass that had been trodden upon. Antioch reared up on his horse's hind legs and sprinted forward.
"Well done, Cadmus," he complimented.
"The both of you should have more faith in me," laughed Cadmus.
They continued on, riding at a great speed, until suddenly Antioch leading the three of them came to an abrupt halt. His horse reared up once more, and he yelled to calm the animal, patting its neck. "Woah, woah! Easy."
Cadmus and Ignotus slowed so they did not face the same situation Antioch did as he began to back away from whatever had spooked his horse. A horrified look took over Ignotus' face, and he asked in worry as his horse only meandered towards the eldest brother. "What is it, Antioch? Are you all right?"
"Fine," he answered. "Just spooked. That would have been a long ways to fall."
Ignotus swallowed in worry, and he peered over the ledge they were suddenly standing upon. Indeed, the drop down was a long ways to go, and a thick, roaring river lay in the valley that separated the land they stood upon and the gap to the other side.
Antioch backed away from the ledge and cursed under his breath. He circled around Cadmus, grinding his teeth in frustration. "Look at what you have done, Cadmus. How shall we cross now?"
"Can the horses jump?" Cadmus asked casually. He did not seem to be worrying about the situation in the least.
"It is too far," Ignotus said quietly.
"You fools," Antioch said once again under his breath. “This shall be the last time we agree to one of your clever short-cuts, Cadmus!”
“As you wish brother,” snorted Cadmus. He was clearly amused by the situation, for Antioch appeared to already have their escape route figured out.
He dismounted his horse and let the animal graze amongst the grass by his side. He whipped his wand out of the saddle bag and motioned to his two brothers to do the same. "Well? What are the two of you waiting for? Heaven and earth to collide?"
Ignotus and Cadmus followed the motions of their older brother. They each peered over the edge at the long drop down, and together they flourished their wands. Sparks shot out of the end, and the ground of the edge of the cliff shot out into the gorge. The roots of the ground beneath their feet reached out over the valley and entwined themselves. It continued to weave itself together until it reached the other side, chunks of dirt falling into the river beneath. They made a thick, wide, supportive bridge together, and when it was finished, Antioch lowered his wand and placed one foot on the dirt and root bridge.
He tapped gingerly at it with his foot to test its support, and he finally stepped fully onto it, gave a few jumps, and then nodded in satisfaction. Antioch placed two fingers along his lips and made a sharp whistle; his horse, knowing the call of its master, quickly reacted and returned to its owner.
"Come now," Antioch told his brothers as he tugged his horse onto the bridge.
The other two followed in his wake, but as they reached the center of the bridge, a commotion occurred. Dirt from the bridge rose into the air with large gusts of wind, twine and leaves following in the wisps as it gathered in the center. Amongst the swirling, a dark hooded figure appeared on the bridge connecting the two landforms together.
To the three brothers, at first sight it appeared to be a Dementor, but as they looked closer at the figure, it no longer looked like a Dementor. They racked their minds, trying to determine just what was before them. It had a long, black cape and a thin frame. It had skeleton-like form, and it reached out its long and bony fingers, opening up its arms with congratulations. The horses reared up in fright, and the brothers dismounted them in an attempt to calm them as well as themselves. Their eyes were glued to the scene before them, but neither had a clue as to what was happening.
"Well, well, well, such clever men," a deep, cold and raspy voice left from somewhere beneath the black, translucent cloak. Its long, frayed ends were delicately touching the bridge as it hovered over it. However, what resided beneath the cloak was neither human nor another defined creature. "How clever you are to best me. No man has ever survived the crossing of this path. I congratulate you on your excellence."
"What are you?" Antioch was the first of the three to speak. His horse pattered back and forth anxiously, neighing in apprehension, but he ushered the horse into silence. Cadmus and Ignotus stood behind the eldest brother with bewildered expressions on their face.
"I am everywhere, yet none have seen me. Every man, woman, and child must join me some day. Some call me Heaven and Hell. I simply like to call myself Death," it said in a cool, eerie voice.
"Death?" Cadmus stuttered. He seemed to be torn partly between laughter and bewilderment. He looked to his two other brothers for questioning, repeating the name under his breath.
Ignotus seemed apprehensive, his brows pulling together, and he tried to stop his brothers from getting themselves into anything too risky. Death was death, and the meaning of the word followed. Did such a name ever have any sort of pleasant congratulations to give? Welcome to the afterlife, congratulations on making it here!
His brothers enjoyed living on the edge; especially Antioch. Antioch lived for adventures and thrills, and not only that, but he was power-hungry like no other man Ignotus had ever met.
"Antioch," he tried to speak up. He tugged on the sleeve of his tunic, trying to grab his attention, but Antioch pushed his little brother off and strut forward towards the cloaked creature that called himself Death. "Antioch, we should turn around. Take the plains through Devonshire and start again in the morning."
"And add nearly a fortnight to the journey?" Antioch asked. "No, sir."
The creature did not let them carry out any further conversation. He opened up his arms, a secret plot formulating in his mind. "Oh, no. Do not heed me any mind. I have not appeared to you to take you with me, but rather I have come to give you my congratulations. You used extraordinary magic to best me when others would sooner perish in the river. As a part of my congratulations, I will reward you each with your own gift of choice."
Antioch's thoughts rested on the fact of how he and his brother's had evaded Death's best efforts. "Anything we like...?" Antioch asked.
"Yes, my lord," said Death in a cunning voice.
"Antioch..." said Ignotus under his breath. “We are being played for fools.”
Cadmus elbowed the youngest brother in the ribs, and in an embarrassed fashion, Ignotus rubbed his side and looked to the ground of the bridge to avert his attention.
Ignotus watched his brothers completely misinterpret the situation at hand. It may have seemed like Death was offering a hefty reward for accomplishing just what was said: performing extraordinary magic and avoiding Death's trap. But why would Death, a creature who had no obligation to perform any good, a creature whose existence was for the very reason to take away life, have any reason to perform an act of kindness? There was something wrong with the entire situation.
Death had a plan up the sleeve of his cloak. Ignotus just didn't know what it was. He pursed his lips as he watched his older brother Antioch gratefully accept Death's offer.
He stepped forward, chest puffed out with deep breaths. He shook his head about so that his hair was better positioned against his forehead. The long brown locks went past his shoulders, and he adjusted his tunic, tucking his wand safely into his pocket. Death bowed down respectfully.
"Antioch Peverell," he said in his droning voice. Antioch gave a flinch of surprise at Death's knowledge about him, but he said nothing. He remained standing tall with his chest held proud. "The eldest brother. I admire your thirst for power. I know what you seek from me. You need only ask."
"Anything?" Antioch questioned, and Death gave a nod, whispering the word to Antioch in persuasion. What was he to ask for? Antioch knew Death must have been humiliated for being bested by three wizards, so Antioch tried to determine what would humiliate Death even further. Finally he knew.
"I ask for a wand more powerful than any in existence."
Antioch awaited the reaction of Death while the two brothers looked at each other in surprise. Ignotus believed this was taking a drastic turn for the worse. He only wished his eldest brother would listen to him and view it as he did. But Ignotus did not have time to further react. Death made a deep bow and said in his raspy voice, "Most certainly."
Death turned to view an elder tree sitting peacefully on the side to which the Peverell brothers wished to reach. Looking at the tree, he placed his hands together, and when he separated them, forming between his hands was a wand of unique design. It was different from any wand the men had ever seen. The wood was fine, smooth, and embellishments decorated the length of it. The corners of Antioch's mouth pulled up into a grin, and he happily accepted the wand.
With his new wand in hand, Antioch grabbed the reins of his horse, and Death slipped to the slide to allow the eldest brother to pass. Next he addressed Cadmus who, when received the attention of Death, began to stand straight and proud like his older brother. Ignotus always knew Cadmus yearned for the acceptance and respect that Antioch received, and Cadmus would go out of his way in an attempt to receive such respect. Death bowed to him and began speaking in a voice that was all too persuasive. "Ah, and Cadmus. The middle brother. You yearn for approval of those around you, but something is troubling you, Cadmus. Come now; ask for the very thing that would solve all your troubles and you shall receive it."
Ignotus looked to Cadmus and then to Antioch, awaiting his brothers on the other side of the gorge. Ignotus' eyes went wide, and he immediately knew the troubles Death was referring to. Cadmus’ yearning to have Seraphanie back from the dead. He feared that Cadmus would fall into Death's trap just like his brother had. He wanted to say something to stop anything horrible from happening, but he couldn't do so without Death realizing what he was on to and potentially taking his own life.
"Brother," Ignotus said with a warning, "a life cannot be lived when such life is being lived in the past. You must move on."
"Foolish Ignotus," Cadmus hissed to his brother under his breath. He gave his brother's shoulder a gentle push and stepped towards Death's congratulating arms. "I ask for an object to awaken those from the grave."
Death was silent for many moments, and such actions only convinced Ignotus further that something was amiss, but his two older and foolish brothers did not notice. Death finally inclined his head, a hand sweeping over the long drop down to the river below. Swiftly a stone was rising from the hundreds of feet below them, and it finally came to rest in Death's palm, and he reluctantly turned it over to Cadmus.
He stared at the thing in his hand for many moments. It was a stone that Death had pulled from the river over a thousand feet below, but it was not like any others. Just like the wand the eldest brother had just received made of the nearby elder tree, it was different in its own way. It was not of a disfigured shape, or of the white or tan you would find in a river. It was a deep black stone, and it was shaped like a diamond. With a smile, Cadmus nodded his thanks and led his horse to the other side just as Antioch had done.
Knowing it was his turn, Ignotus debated simply accepting nothing from Death. But he believed such an action would bring forth questions. He swallowed as he tried to prepare himself for any ploy that Death may have been conspiring. Death then addressed him. "And finally, Ignotus. The youngest; a kind man with a pure heart. You are misunderstood by your brothers and question their reckless decisions, and you genuinely fear for their safety. But what you want from me is not clear. You must be troubled. Tell me, Ignotus, what it is you seek."
Ignotus stepped forward, leading his horse. Humbly, he opened up his hands as he believed he had determined the right request. "I ask to not be followed from this place by anyone or anything other than my brothers."
"An unusual request, but I oblige nonetheless," said Death. He lifted one of his bony arms, and with his other hand, he tore a large section of material from his cloak. In his hands, the material shifted, expanding in size, rippling in his hands and giving off the effect as if one were viewing water. When the material finally sat still in his arms, Death offered the item to him, and uncertainly Ignotus took it from his hands.
Ignotus nodded to Death as he passed, and he turned the object over in his hands to determine that it was a separate cloak that Death had torn from his very own. Ignotus reached his brothers, and without another word, the three of them turned to leave. Together they continued their journey, but Ignotus could not rid of the sickening, fearful feeling boiling inside of him, and as they crossed the bridge, Ignotus could swear he heard a cruel laugh leaving the mouth of the creature behind them. Then, with an uproar of the wind around them, Death was gone just as soon as he had appeared.
"Well, what do you think, Dominique? With or without the lace?" Victoire Weasley asked as she held two different napkins up to her sister. Victoire looked at them both, appraising the napkins, and then looking feebly to her sister.
Dominique looked up from her comfortable spot in an arm chair by the window at Shell Cottage. She had been reading a book, quite enjoying the afternoon. The window nearest to her was cracked, letting the cool breeze and the smell of the ocean water just outside waft into the cottage. She dropped her book as she looked up to her sister with little interest.
Shell Cottage, as well as the Burrow, had been hectic with the planning of her sister's wedding, and while Dominique was happy for her sister, it was all she heard about. The topics of the wedding planning were the only source of conversation and had been for months. She had listened to her mother, grandmother, sister, aunts, and cousins all question what the color of the center pieces should be, if they should serve chicken or salmon, what color the bridesmaids’ dresses should be. Anything and everything possible to decide about a wedding had arisen and had still yet to be decided because Victoire was either so precise or just didn't know what she wanted; Dominique couldn't tell which.
The only thing any of them knew for certain were the names of the bride and groom that would be going down on the wedding invitations. Other than that, it was all still up in the air.
Of course, she was excited for her sister to be marrying Teddy Lupin, but she could only handle so much of the constant bickering about colors and place settings.
"The ones with the lace say more elegant, but I was going for the simple theme," Victoire sighed.
At that, Dominique tried to decipher just what 'simple' meant to her sister. Victoire had a wedding book of all combinations possible, ranging from the simplest of weddings to the most extravagant. As far as Dominique was concerned, a theme had in fact not been declared as of yet.
Dominique sighed and ran her fingers through her strawberry blonde hair, inclining her head. "Then go with the ones without the lace."
"But the ones without the lace are just so dull," hummed Vic as she squinted at them as if that would persuade her decision.
"Then the lace ones," Dominique said in an empty voice. Her head moved to look out the window. The day was beautiful; she could hear the waves of high tide rolling in, the cawing of the sea gulls, and she could hear her brother Louis demanding a game of Quidditch from a few of his cousins a ways down the hill the cottage sat on. She would much rather be outside with them, joining in on the game, or dipping her toes into the ocean water rather than sitting inside and making no progress whatsoever.
"Yes, but the lace isn't simple," huffed Victoire.
And you are? Dominique laughed to herself. She rolled her shoulders and suggested, "Then find one in between."
"Yes, you're right. Neither of these will do." She dropped them in defeat and picked up her tedious book of different napkin patterns and table settings. So Victoire started from scratch as she flipped through them, dropping hopelessly down into the chair at the table. The table was so full and cluttered with all sorts of booklets and fabric sample patterns that the wood of the actual table didn't even peak through.
"There are too many options," Victoire sighed, and she closed the booklet of napkin options and moved on to something else. "I'll just try to decide color schemes for now. I've always liked beige."
"Ugh," Dominique grunted under her breath. She glanced to her sister to see if she had heard, but Victoire seemed to be in a completely different world in that moment. She shut her book and dropped it on the coffee table in front of her. "I'll be outside."
She rose and approached the back door, letting her fingers toy with the chimes next to the door. They made a pleasant sound as she left. Victoire seemed to only then recognize her sister leaving the room, and she called after her, "Hey! Dom! Come back here. You’re my maid of honor; you’re supposed to help me!”
Dominique didn't answer as she disappeared out onto the lawn. She felt relieved as the cool air swept over her. It lifted her hair from her back and shoulders. The long, strawberry blonde locks fluttered about her, and she strolled off down the hill. She hadn't bothered to put shoes on, and the sand was already seeping between her toes.
She came across Louis, Rose, Albus, and Molly all trying to balance the tip of their brooms on their noses. All were being quite unsuccessful until Albus managed to hold the thing on his nose for nearly twenty seconds.
"Aha!" he blurted cheerfully. "Beat that!"
Dominique grinned at them and sat comfortably on a patch of grass. She picked at the blades and began to twirl one between the tips of her fingers. She placed her chin on her knees, watching her cousins in an appraising fashion. She wished she felt confident enough to join in on their fun, but she had never been one to join in on their games. She had always been the cousin to sit back and watch. Not only was she a spectator to their games, but they never bothered to ask her to join in as well. She felt like an outsider to her cousins most of the time, but it was something she had long ago accepted.
She didn't know how long she sat on the ground for, watching her cousin enjoy the afternoon until she heard her uncle calling her from the house. She jumped to her feet, wiping her sand covered palms on her thighs and returning to the cottage.
"Hey, Uncle Harry," she said with a grin as she came to a stop in front of him.
"Hi, sweetheart," her uncle said. He flashed her a smile before leading her into the cottage and away from any chatter. Once away from any distractions, Harry grabbed a bag from the kitchen table. He reached inside and pulled out his old invisibility cloak. He pushed it into her hands, and he quickly went from being 'loving uncle' to 'responsible boss.' Dominique took it carefully and folded it under her arms, preparing herself for the next few minutes. Harry began to talk in a responsible voice. "Here's my cloak. Be careful and don't lose it. Your itinerary for the case has been finalized. I have a copy of it with me for you, but you need to be at the Ministry ready to go by six AM."
"Got it," she answered with a smile. She nodded her head in reassurance.
Dominique had recently completed her training, and only a short month ago she had become a full-fledged Auror. She had been on a few cases, but she would begin her largest case so far the following day. Her uncle's invisibility cloak was something that she knew she would need for the case, and she had been waiting for the moment when Harry would lend her the cloak. She was excited for her case. She enjoyed her job; she was good at it, and she wanted to make her uncle proud.
"Atta girl. Rest up. You should get a good night's sleep. Busy day tomorrow. I'll see you at six, Dominique," Harry said as he clapped her on the shoulder.
He left her to call James and Albus inside, and shortly Dominique said goodbye to everyone and returned to her flat where she made herself a nice dinner. After she had cleaned up and prepared her bags for traveling to Rio the following day, she began to pack a small bag of items that she would possibly need in between traveling from the Ministry till they reached their destination in Rio. She gave her small bag an Undetectable Extension charm and dropped a few things into it, finally coming to the last item: her uncle's cloak.
She ran her fingers over the fine, smooth fabric. It rippled under her touch, and she lifted it to experiment with it. She draped it over her shoulders, pulling the hood over her head, and she turned to face the full length mirror on the other side of the bedroom. She knew what to expect. She knew she would see an empty mirror, but actually witnessing it was an entirely new feeling to her. She smiled as she moved closer to it, moving in and out of the mirror's view as if it would change the outcome each time.
Finally she pulled the cloak off of her and returned to the edge of her bed to sort through the mess of items spread out across it. She gathered a few potion vials to shove into her bag, straightening up and backing away from her bed. In the process, she lost her footing and tripped. She stumbled for a bit before falling backwards onto her bum. To steady herself, her hands played out, prepared to smack the wooden floor. However, this action caused the few potion vials to roll out of her hands, and she landed on top of them with enough force to break the vials.
She winced as her hands impacted the glass. She could feel the cuts on her palms, glass and an assortment of potions beginning to push themselves into her skin. She lifted her hands in pain, blood running from her palms down her forearms. She turned over onto her knees, realizing she was sitting in a pile of mixing potions. As she turned, her uncle's cloak fell out of her lap and onto the floor. She tried to snatch it before it soaked up the liquid covering the floor. When she reached for it, she felt the glass embedded into her palm snag at the cloak, making small tears. She groaned in pain and frustration at herself as the cloak in her hands turned into a frayed, potion and blood soaked one.
She attempted to rise to begin cleaning up the mess when the mixed potions on the floor began to create a small layer of fog around her. The air grew thick and humid, and a strong smell overwhelmed her senses. She could feel the potions mixing together as if a concoction were being made within a cauldron, a thick and unusual smell taking over. She tried to not inhale, but she could not rise in time to continue holding her breath. Sucking in a quick one, she felt herself go lightheaded at the smell.
Dominique could begin to feel her thoughts weighing down on her, her mind growing hazier by the second as the air grew thicker. She couldn’t recall what happened next; she was only aware that she lost all sensation, and she fell to the soaked floor in a heap as she lost consciousness, coating her front with a mixture of blood and potion with her uncle's cloak tight in her glass-stricken hands.
Here is the second chapter! Thank you very much to those who began reading this story and continued on to the second chapter. I do hope you enjoy it. It is quite different from anything I have ever attempted, so any criticism would be graciously welcomed! Thank you, and enjoy!
Edited and revised: 1/13/13
stunning chapter image by bellatrixx @ TDA
- Year 1234 -
When Dominique awoke she expected to find herself on the floor of her bedroom, but when her eyes opened she was met with completely unexpected surroundings. She blanched as she felt smooth blades of lush, green grass tickle her cheeks. It took her a moment to fathom just what had happened. And even once she was certain she was lying in a heap amongst the grass, she could not understand it. Last she remembered she was on the floor of her bedroom at her flat. She had spilled a few vials of the potions she would need on her mission, and then she had cut her hands on the glass on the wooden floor. Perhaps she had also snagged her uncle's cloak on the shattered pieces.
She knew she had passed out; that much was sure. So why was she awaking on the ground outside? Even further, it was a ground she did not recognize. It was not the sandy, gritty earth with champagne blades of grass and weeds. It was smooth, soft, and the color of a vibrant green.
She finally lifted her cheek from the grass and looked about her. Her mind raced for an answer when she did not recognize her location. It was not the green grass of the Hogwarts grounds or of anywhere else she could recall from memory. As she rose to her knees, she looked down to the ground beneath her. Lying in a heap she found her uncle's cloak still clenched tightly in her grasp.
She let go of it with one hand, rising to wipe the blood and potion from her cheeks, the other still holding the cloak tightly. She turned the cloak over in her grasp, inspecting it closely for any tears she may have caused. Pleased when she couldn’t find any, she stumbled to her feet and whipped around. She could hear what sounded like the trotting of a horse some distance off. As she listened, it grew louder, seeming to be moving closer. Then she turned around and a man was riding at full speed upon his horse. He did not appear to be wearing modern clothing. If it was modern, it was neither wizarding nor muggle clothing. But rather he wore a white tunic loose about his body, a V shape cutting down the middle from his collar bone to his chest. The bottom of it was tucked into brown trousers, and the bottoms of the trousers were tucked into thin leather boots. A deep purple cape with embroidered edges hung loosely about his neck, flapping behind him as it hung askew. His hair was long, thick, and dark, and his face was lined with short facial hair.
Dominique's brow pulled together at the sight of him. Never in her life had she seen a man in such clothing and with such hair. She believed that, not being in his path, he would ride right by her. But his head traveled to the side, and at the sight of her, he did a double take as he rode by. She could feel as if their eyes were meeting as his horse sprinted by. His face, empty of all expression, returned to the plain before him, but he quickly did a double-take and looked back to Dominique as he passed her.
She stood blankly with her lips pursed as the man guided his horse to turn around. He slowed and finally came to a halt in front of her, the horse rearing up on its two back legs.
She didn't know what to do as she stood before him with her hair a mess, blood and potions smeared on her cheeks and hands, the cloak clenched tightly in one. She met his eyes, and his gaze immediately turned fierce. He pursed his lips in anger, letting go of the reigns to point at her uncle's cloak. "You, woman! Where did you find that?"
"What?" Dominique asked in confusion. She held the cloak tighter and tucked it under her arm. She promised her uncle she would hold onto it, and she would not break that promise. "What are you talking about?"
"That cloak! The cloak is what I am speaking of! How did you come to possess this?" he asked in frustration. His pointed hand turned into a clenched fist as he held back his anger. Dominique made a questioning face and pulled the thing deeper beneath her grasp.
The man quickly kicked his heels up into the thigh of his horse, urging the animal forward, and he latched onto Dominique's arm. She could feel her forearm bruising; his grip was tight, and he pulled her closer to him, gritting his teeth. "How did you come to possess this?!"
"It's mine! And it's none of your business. Now let go of me," hissed Dominique. She tried to yank her arm free, but the man had the advantage. He had strength and height on her; he also had a fierce determination about him that she couldn't quite place. Dominique, on the other hand, was simply trying to fathom the situation, one that the man seemed to be fully aware of.
"Release it!" he demanded.
"No. Why don't you release me?" she snarled at him. "It's mine."
"Fool. Why do you speak in such a tongue? Do not try to pass yourself as an illiterate to me! You cannot deceive me with this matter. I know the cloak is mine. There is no other like it," he said in a cruel voice.
"’Such a tongue?’" Dominique repeated in an appalled voice. She was taken aback, and she retorted back with equal force. "I speak normally, thank you very much! Where the hell are you from?!"
"Godric's Hollow! Not far from here," he snapped, not seeming to understand her point. "But it is not any sort of hell. If there is a hell, it must be where you have come from!"
"What the...?" she muttered under her breath. If the man was correct and they really weren't far from Godric's Hollow, then she officially did not believe him to be sane in any shape or form. She knew the area of Godric's Hollow well. The Potters lived in Godric's Hollow, and the area was more developed than this. Godric's Hollow was a cozy and amicable village, sure, but the land around it had turned into other small villages, stores, shops, and a local park. This was nothing like the land near Godric's Hollow.
The man drew in a sharp breath, and he shook his head. His grip on her arm tightened and he decided to not carry out the conversation. In a swift move, he tugged on her arm and hauled her onto his horse in front of his body. She yelped at the swift movement and attempted to fight, but as soon as she was atop of it, he beckoned his horse to begin its run again.
"I have had enough of this foolish game," she heard him say against her ear.
"Let me go!" she shouted in front of his body. She swiped at the arms that were around her body, his fists clutching the reigns, creating a lock about her body.
"Not until you return what belongs to me," he said.
"I'm telling you. It doesn't belong to you! It's mine," she stated in a positive voice. This man was insane, surely.
"You are lying," he said. The horse reached full speed, and they were riding across the vast plain. Dominique looked about her as the land passed them by in a quick haze. It did not look like anything she had ever seen before. The air was clear, crisp. She could almost taste how fresh the air was with every inhale. The ground seemed to be greener than normal. Everything had a clean, warm, healthy, and fresh feel to it out there in the open plain.
She spotted a small village. The air around it was thick and heavy with smoke, and soon enough she realized that that small village was their destination. The man behind her who had so carelessly hauled her onto the horse and draped her body across it kicked his heels into the horse once more, and they picked up their speed until they were racing down the hill. Bouncing about the top of the creature in such a fashion was new to her. She scrambled to better adjust herself.
She was finally straddling the horse between her legs, and she clutched the horse's mane with her finger tips as it ran. The man behind her had his arms around her, making her escape impossible and holding her there securely. They entered the village soon enough, and he did not stop or slow down even as they reached the edge of it. The man had a goal, that much was clear, and he wouldn't let anything get in the way.
They raced past small houses, or buildings that could only be called houses, at least. It was a small village of shacks built out of cobblestone, wood, hay, and tree branches. Some were sloppy while others appeared to be precise in their architecture. Their windows did not have glass panes, but rather just an open gap with wooden shutters attached to the folds. The townspeople were busying themselves with day-to-day tasks that Dominique would rather wave a wand to accomplish. A woman was washing her clothing in a basin outside while her child enjoyed playing with the frayed ribbon she had clearly pulled from her hair.
Everyone's clothes were of dull colors; the richest color she had seen so far was the deep purple cape the man riding with her had tied about his neck. The seams of the clothes of those around her were carelessly or unskillfully done, and the bottoms were tattered and frayed. Some had stains from dirt or soot upon them. It seemed rather unclean; she could only imagine the layer of grime that had gathered beneath the nails of the man who was sharpening a blade outside of his home or workplace.
Everyone walked about, greeted one another with friendly faces in the village, traded and bartered their bread for something else like eggs, flour, or something tangible by other sorts such as fabric. Only then did Dominique realize how untimely it all seemed. She pursed her lips as the village raced by her, and she had the desperate urge to ask the man what year it was. Was it even possible that she had traveled to another time? Was that even possible when an incident didn't involve a time turner? Had her accidental concoction of potions, her uncle's cloak, and her own blood sent her back in time? She didn't make any rational decisions or speculations just yet. She waited patiently to find out just where she was being taken.
As they progressed deeper into the village, the ugly shacks began to space out, and as they did so, they became larger and more livable. There was definitely a drastic difference from where they began in the village to this point; it was as if it represented those with no money at all to those of particular wealth. She then realized that her captor must have a fair amount of wealth. Only as they went deeper did she begin to piece its appearance to that of the Godric's Hollow she knew. Of course, the buildings were not the same, but the streets were quite dignified, and she did ponder if there was any relation. When they zipped past a street with the words Gryffin Lane etched into the side of a residence did she finally piece it together and begin to recognize the familiar layout of the streets of her home.
It was Godric's Hollow. And that was when it struck her. She had to be in a different time.
They finally came to a stop outside a cobblestone home with a few open windows. The man hopped down, and quite out of element, Dominique did not know what to do other than wait. She watched him readjust his cape in an irritated fashion, then quickly tie the reigns of his horse to the wooden post outside. He slammed a bucket of water down in front of the creature, letting it lap up the water gingerly, before finally turning to Dominique. Without word or warning, he grabbed her by the arms and hauled her off of his horse and into the home.
He pushed her inside, and after she stumbled in, he followed and made haste in slamming the door shut. He barred it and then continued on to close the shutters of his window. It was then quite eerie inside the house. Only a small of light was poking into the room from the holes in the wooden windows. So the man went to light a few candles at a wooden table. The wax had long ago dripped down the long thing and clumped together on its metal holder. The light grew in the room and it became sufficient, but it was still very different to accommodate one's self to after living at Shell Cottage your entire life. She also couldn't help but notice how congested and thick the air inside the house felt. It didn't feel like that of the cottage at home. It was as if there was little room for the air to escape, but there was still an occasional draft that would sweep in from somewhere inside the walls.
Once there was light within the room, she watched the man move quickly to the stone staircase hidden discreetly behind a wall. He ordered for her to follow, and she did so obediently. He led her up the stairs and onto the second floor. He moved quickly through the few halls that there were and into a room on the far right-hand side. Like he had ordered, she followed in his tracks until they reached what she assumed was his bedroom. There were dusty objects about the room; a drawing of the man himself was perched in a corner, along with a mirror with scorched, black blotches on the surface and a gold frame. There was a trunk on the far side where she knew his clothing was, and a wooden rocking chair sat in the corner. His bed was made with a fine mahogany frame, and his sheets, like those of his cape, showed the wealth he must have possessed. They were made of a rich navy blue with gold embellishments here and there with tassels on each of the four corners.
He walked straight towards the bed where he flipped his sheets onto the mattress that must have been stuffed to the brim of cotton. It revealed the gap between the frame of his bed and the wood of the floor. He dropped to his knees, and Dominique jumped when there was a bustle behind her. A short, middle-aged woman pushed her way into the room. Her head was bowed, her hair pinned in a mess on top of her head, and she had a white apron tied about her waist with cooking flour wiped across the front. She spoke in a rushed and almost fearful voice. "I-I am sorry, my Lord. I did not reach you in time before you retreated to your quarters. Shall I take your cape?"
"Yes," he said dully. He fumbled with the golden ties about his neck before slipping it off and placing it in the woman's hands. He didn't pay her much mind, and at this, the woman's spirits seemed to lift if only barely.
"Is there anything else I may do for you?"
"No, thank you, Jocosa," dismissed the man. "If you will only shut the door on your way out, that will be all."
"Yes, my Lord," she said with a small nod of the head and she made haste for the door, shutting it behind her exactly as directed.
When it was just the two of them again, he continued his work. Dominique was still fascinated by him, his actions, his long hair and scruffy beard, his clothing, the entire house, that woman's actions. Nothing of it seemed to fit. It would only make sense if something completely ridiculous had happened: if she had gone back in time. This terrified her; it made her want to panic. It made her want to cut slits into her palms again, dump her uncle's invisibility cloak, and shove her hands into a mixing concoction again to send herself back home.
He put his hands under the bed and pulled out a black, heavy, metal trunk. He toyed with the locks, pushing and pulling pieces of metal from their holds to create the perfect combination that would allow the hinge to unlatch. Finally it made a soft click, and he opened the lid. He dug through its contents until he stopped in confusion. His hands emerged with an identical cloak within his grasp.
Dominique pursed her lips and watched with wide eyes as the man rose to his feet. He as well was lost and confused. He looked from one cloak to the next, utterly perplexed, as neither said a word. His demeanor changed from that of menacing and punishing to fearful, worrisome, and most of all apologetic. Dominique could begin to feel her fear for him diminishing. She no longer feared for her life while she was in his presence, but rather she began to pity him and his apologetic expression for lashing out at her so quickly. She stood still with her lips tightly pursed and her fingers unrelenting on the object in her grasp.
The man finally took a step forward so they could compare the objects more closely. Once he was certain they were identical, he raised his head to hers, and their eyes met. His were swimming with fear, but lodged deep inside, she saw a sense of hope form within him, as if she could be his saving grace. The words he spoke next perplexed her even further. She had to listen closely, for his voice was only a whisper then, and she had to make sure she had heard correctly.
"Have you seen Death too...?" He became still then and said no more.
He waited for her reaction, and it took many moments to be shown. Dominique had to gather her bearings. She finally blinked rapidly, shaking her head, and spluttering out, "What?!"
"Death...?" he questioned again.
"Are you..." she started, but then she didn't quite know where to take her question. She didn't really know what she had intended to ask. There were so many questions in her head, that was for sure, but she didn't even know where to begin.
"Yes?" he urged in questioning, that soft voice coming forth once more, and Dominique then knew there was no reason to fear him. He was gentle and humble; she had only come across him at a bad time and perhaps their introduction hadn't been the best. He had thought she had stolen something of his, and now she understood why. It was, after all, a very important item.
"Does yours....?" she started but faltered again. Luckily though, he picked up what she meant, and uneasily he let the cloak unfold, the bottoms of the fabric touching the floor as he held it up. Dominique did the same, holding it up. Once again, they were identical in not only pattern but also in size. She realized that he wouldn't go any further if she didn't. Just by his actions, she understood that this cloak was precious cargo to him, and he wasn't willing to let information about it slip into the wrong hands.
So she made the first move.
She separated the two folds of the cloak and eyed him to do the same. Once he followed, she swung it swiftly over her shoulders and disappeared into the room. Dominique looked in front of her, and the man who had just been standing before her had also vanished completely. She tried not to gasp, but after understanding that the very item draped over his body was also an invisibility cloak, she knocked the hood off of her head so the man could see her.
He did the same, and their expressions were both that of fascination. He asked her before she could even find the words to ask herself. "Where did you come across this?"
"It's a family heirloom," she answered simply.
"From my uncle.It's been in his family for centuries," she said in an uneasy voice. She was trying to read his expressions and reactions to determine just what his thought process was. He reached out to feel the fabric of her cloak. Not like he had expected anything else, but it held the same silky feeling as it ran through his fingers. He let it flutter back against her body, the folds of the cloak no longer creating silvery ripples in the air.
"And did he get it from...Death?"
She blinked once again, and then did she not only begin to question the man's gentleness but also his sanity. What was he talking about? Death? Unless...
Without trying to seem too forward, she turned the conversation around on him, postponing the source of the cloak for as long as she could manage. She decided it would be an easy enough task to demand a name from him. That was generally the order of things before people began to discuss one's family heirlooms. "I'm sorry. Who are you?"
"Forgive me for not introducing myself. I am Ignotus Peverell, son of Yrian Peverell. What is your name, miss?" It did not go unnoticed to her how he stood straighter when he said his name, as if he were proud of who he was.
She wanted to choke in surprise. How could that be possible? When she realized he was patiently awaiting her response, she cleared her throat "D-Do-Dominique," she gasped, slightly embarrassed. She was surprised she was even able to utter a word after what she had just heard.
Was it really true? Of course, she had already gathered all the evidence she needed unless she was going crazy or was senile. But was she really standing before Ignotus Peverell? One of the three brothers of the creators of the Deathly Hallows itself? Was she really in the 1200s?
There was only one way to find out, and that way wouldn't be able to pass without making her appear to be slightly insane. She hadn't even caught him muttering quietly about how odd her name was. She listened to him say it quietly, so foreign to his tongue. He touched the tip of his tongue as he tried to roll his 'o' with the correct vowel sound, but he somehow kept coming out with what sounded like 'Dome-in-eek.'
"What year is it...?"
Ignotus blanched but finally answered plainly. "1234."
"Oh, Merlin. I need to sit down..." she muttered. She stepped out of the cloak and let it fall on the wooden floor. She clutched her forehead and immediately felt herself feel faint. She needed to sit down. With her sweaty palms now pressed against her forehead, she realized she became fully aware of her bleeding and cut palms. In the commotion of everything, she had completely forgotten. Now she was aware entirely of the pain it was shooting up her arms. She didn't even acknowledge him or ask for permission before she fell onto Ignotus' bed and put her head between her knees with a soft groan.
She was aware of his gaze on her, confused by her actions and not knowing what to do. She didn't cry; she didn't do anything but groan and question how she had gotten there for several minutes until she remembered her first mission to occur the following morning.
Her head jolted in the direction of the shut windows, the sunlight seeping in. If time were on the same spectrum as that of her home year, hours would surely have passed from the moment she had cut her hands till now. It had been nighttime when her accident occurred. The sun was now bright and shining, and she would say the time was nearing noon. If the time were to be parallel, she would have missed her arrival time by hours.
That was when she panicked.
She jumped from the bed and paced the windows. She crouched to peak through one of the gaps; she looked to verify that there was in fact sunlight as if she hadn't been outside just a mere five minutes ago and had seen the light for herself. She clutched her head and pulled on her strawberry blonde locks. "Have to get home, have to get home."
"Very well. I apologize for what I did to you just now. You have to understand why I was afraid now, but I have my cloak and you have yours. Now we can both be on our way. I can take you anywhere you need."
"Have to get home...." she muttered again.
"My horse is just outside. We can go now if you like," he said again in a kind and hopeful voice. He felt the desperate urge to apologize profusely, but he knew it wouldn't do any good.
"It's not like that!" she shouted, rounding on him. "My home is...I can't get there from here! I don't know how...I don't belong here!"
"What are you speaking of?" he asked in confusion.
"Are you daft?!" Dominique blurted, and she only then wondered if he would get the expression at all. "You've had the nerve to comment on the way I talk and my clothing, but you can't piece together those things and my questions to figure out just what I'm worried about!"
Ignotus' brow pulled together, and when he seemed to connect the dots, he gave Dominique a look of pure surprise. "That is not possible," he stuttered, shaking his head for good measure.
Dominique shouted, "I am from the year 2022!"
stunning chapter image by nymeria
- Year 2022 -
Harry paced back and forth in the main atrium of the Ministry of Magic at six AM. He gnawed on the nail of his thumb, eying the large, ticking clock over the statue. “Where is she?” he muttered under his breath to no one really but himself.
She was late. Dominique was rarely, if ever, late. She was always prompt and did her best to arrive on time. Especially when it came to her work. She knew she had been given the easy road when it came to her job due to her uncle’s position, so she knew how vital it was for her to live up to her uncle’s expectations. If she didn’t, it would be just as easy to let her go as it was for her to join the career path.
It was vital for Dominique to show up for this mission. Harry had given her his cloak because she was the most valuable player in this. Now she was late and they were without the cloak. He told her that they would leave without her, but Harry needed that cloak.
When the clock struck 6:05 and Harry and Ron were still standing in the atrium with six other Aurors, Harry turned to his brother-in-law. “Ron, I’m going to get to cloak. If Dom isn’t ready, we’re leaving without her. Why don’t you get a hold of Evyn Murray? She’s on call and should be ready; she’s being brought on board.”
“Yeah, Harry,” Ron answered and shoved his hand into his pocket, digging out the coin all Aurors carried when they were on call in case someone needed to get a hold of them.
“If I’m not back in five minutes, leave without me. I’ll meet you there.”
Knowing Ron had things under control, Harry set his bag down and apparated directly into Dominique’s flat. Inside, nothing looked amiss. Her living room was quiet and empty. All the lights were out and it was dead quiet. “Dominique?”
Harry huffed and headed for the stairs, calling up, “Dominique! You’re late!”
When there was no answer, he went to the second floor and poked his head into her bedroom at the end of the hall. His brow furrowed at the sight within the room. There was no sign of Dominique, but the room clearly showed that she had been there. The light by her nightstand was still on, and her suitcase was half packed. It was open with clothes folded neatly both inside the suitcase and on top of her bedspread. Harry approached it, wrinkling his nose. He fingered her black cloak curiously. “Dom? Dominique, are you here?”
There was still no answer. He looked further about the room. The door to her bathroom was wide open, and the light inside it was ablaze as well, but there was still silence throughout the flat. He stepped away from the bed, and that was when he noticed the liquid on the floor. He gave a small slip, swinging his arms around to steady his balance.
He looked at the substance that caused him to slip, and he grunted in confusion. The liquid was a thick, sky blue that reminded him oddly of unicorn blood, and it covered a large puddle of the deep, mahogany wood. Seeing that it hadn’t eroded at his shoe or didn’t permeate the air with a foul stench, he crouched down and prodded the potion with his finger. When it didn’t burn or sting him, Harry was satisfied that the substance wasn’t harmful and was therefore reassured that Dominique’s well-being didn’t pose an immediate threat. He rose from his stance and looked about the room. He called Dominique’s name out again, but of course, there was still no answer.
Only when he was standing again did he notice the different color that was swirling into the liquid with the sky blue. It was a deep red, and Harry didn’t have to think twice to know it was blood that now stained the floor. “Dom…?”
He found himself scouting the room for any sign of Dominique. He had believed her to be safe, but the blood on the floor now showed him differently; she was clearly hurt. But how badly? And that explained the half packed luggage and her late appearance to the Ministry. Was she missing? Was she unconscious somewhere in her flat?
He didn’t even know what he was looking for as he searched the room. Perhaps other droplets of blood, misplaced items, anything he could find that would give him a lead. He pulled out his wand and muttered, “Homenum revelio.”
When nothing happened, Harry knew he was alone. Perhaps she had apparated to the Ministry just as he arrived. But he wasn’t ignorant enough to believe that. He returned to her bed, his thoughts jumbled with Dominique’s whereabouts. He had to at least get the cloak to Ron, and then he would notify Kingsley and the family to keep an eye out for Dominique. The cloak was now the least of his worries, but rather his niece was. If she didn’t appear somewhere within twenty-four hours, they would send out a search party, but Harry looked back to the mess on her bed, the concoction of blood and potions on the floor, and was certain of two things.
Dominique was missing, and the cloak had disappeared with her.
"I do not understand," Ignotus finally muttered. Dominique didn't know how long she simply stared at him for, her eyes set ablaze with intensity. She had been looking for his reaction, but he hadn't given her any wiggle room. He had been expressionless until he was finally able to speak.
"I'm not from your time. If I'm right, I don't think I belong here. I think I went back in time..." By the time she had finished her statements, she was spinning about the room as if her surroundings would give her a sound answer to if she truly were in another time. But of course, that did no such thing.
"Is that possible?" he asked.
She blanched, temporarily taken aback by his question. Of course it was possible. Clearly if she were standing before him, but everyone knew of time turners. Unless...
It hadn't occurred to her that there was the strong possibility that time turners had yet to be created. She hadn't considered it, but it was highly likely. She had no idea when all sorts of useful magical objects came around; it wasn't like she spent her free time memorizing the dates, but a full 800 years separated that gap. She decided to play it nice and give it the benefit of the doubt that no, time turners were not around just yet.
"Yes," she answered. "Well, not exactly. I had no idea someone could make such big jumps in time, but where I'm from we have time turners." The look on Ignotus' face convinced her to elaborate further. "Objects that send someone back in time to a precise moment of their choosing."
"Oh," he said with a satisfied nod.
But come to think of it, no time turner had been involved during Dominique's time jump. She didn't even know where the closest one to her would have been. She didn't even own one; her method of transportation had been a concoction of potions, her uncle’s cloak, and blood gone wrong. This was all an accident. It was no 'moment of her choosing.'
With these thoughts, Dominique began to ponder how her travel was even possible, but Ignotus quickly pulled her from the thoughts that bewildered her beyond repair. "So, you used a time turner to get here?"
"No," Dominique shook her head. "That's the thing. I didn't. It was an accident."
"And that cloak. A family heirloom, you say?" questioned Ignotus, and Dominique then began to realize that Ignotus was figuring out the very thing she already knew. He looked to the cloak in his grasp once more and wrinkled his nose. He rubbed the material between his fingers, glanced to Dominique's cloak, and then asked uneasily. "These two cloaks...They are the same one?"
Dominique pursed her lips. Was there any point in lying to him? Was there any point in telling the truth? This was an instance where she did not know which would benefit him the most, which would benefit herself. But she was stuck in the year 1234 with no one to help her. If she ever wanted to get home, those helping her would have to know the truth. Perhaps it was indeed best for her to share the truth.
"I believe that they are, yes. This belongs to my uncle. It had been passed down to him for generations. We believe that it is the same one, yes, and that he is ultimately the descendant of you," Dominique answered.
Ignotus looked somewhat shocked, but he kept his composure well. After a few moments, he didn't know what else to say other than, "I have no children."
Dominique rolled her shoulders. This was not a big deal. Ignotus was young. Didn't men generally begin to have off spring at an older age? It was women that began to have children at a young age. She believed that was how it went. Looking at Ignotus, she would say he was around twenty-years-old, her age, in fact. He still had plenty of time to have children. She answered as if it were not a big deal. "Then, you will."
"So..." Ignotus began and tried to reform his thoughts. "You are my descendant?"
"Not really," Dominique rolled her shoulders as she thought about it. "Only related by marriage."
"But you are sure your uncle is a descendant of me?"
"Well, yeah," she answered plainly. "I mean, there's only one known cloak like this that doesn't lose its effect over time, and my uncle's has never lost its effect. We can't track the generations this far back, but we know my uncle's is one of the three Deat - "
She faltered. She didn't quite know what was holding her back. She had, after all, just made a pact with herself to tell the truth for the benefit of herself, but what did sharing her knowledge of the Deathly Hallows with Ignotus mean? If she told him of his own mark on history, would it ultimately affect that mark? It was a puzzling situation, but for the moment, she wished she could gobble her words up just to rethink them so she could be certain next time she began to speak of the Deathly Hallows.
"Go on," he urged.
"We know he is your descendant because of the cloak," she said, "and that's that."
"Wait, you said one of the three. How much do you know?" Ignotus questioned.
That was when Dominique had to think about her answer. She was not good at hiding her reactions. So she stood there simply dumbfounded, trying to find a way to answer Ignotus' question. She tried to find ways to dodge the bullet of him finding out things about his future. Wasn't that exactly what you were supposed to do? Not let others find out about their future? Well, that wouldn't even have been an issue if she had followed the number one rule of time travel: don't be seen.
"Not much," she answered with a roll of the shoulders, playing it off as if it were no big deal.
"You said 'three.' Do you know of my brothers...?"
She sighed. There was no use in holding anything back, was there? No matter how hard she tried. Despite Ignotus' rather long attempt at finding out what Dominique meant about her time travel, he was unusually quick at piecing together bits of information dealing with other things. Like how she had already let slip that she knew of the Deathly Hallows, that there were three, and that was ultimately a bigger puzzle piece than any of them had let on.
"Yes," she finally blurted.
"Y-You know...?" Ignotus asked as if their day by the river crossing had been a crime.
"Everyone in my year knows everything. That day you met Death is bigger than you can possibly comprehend," said Dominique.
"What do you mean?" he asked. By this time, Ignotus had grown too interested and curious about the girl before him. He had so many questions. She was peculiar to him. Of course, he knew the reason he found her peculiar would be due to the year she came from, but that did not lessen his curiosity about her. He went to sit in the rocking chair by the window. He would have motioned for her to sit as well, following the customs of his time, but she seemed fine maneuvering herself about his bedroom and sitting on the edge of his bed just like she had done minutes ago.
"That day became legendary. I don't know how, but the story of the Peverell brothers is kept alive, the story of how you met Death and asked for those three items, how the three of - "
"Tell me the three items," Ignotus interjected. He demanded to know the items from her for further proof. He didn't know what made him decide to believe the girl, but he did. He believed that she was from another time, that everything she said was genuine. He just couldn't afford to think that she was lying. If she was, then he didn't know what he would do. He would have to discover how she knew of those events if she were, in fact, not from the future. For the girl's sake, he wanted to believe that she was being honest. This was just another test to discover if she was telling the truth or not.
"The Cloak of Invisibility, the Resurrection Stone, and the Elder Wand."
Ignotus had to take a moment to himself to appraise her words. She spoke of the three exact items they had received only a week ago; they even had formal names. Dominique seemed to have discovered his method to the demand, and seeing his satisfaction, she moved on. "Everyone knows the story. It faded from being history into legend into just a myth. Some doubt the truth in it, if the three of you actually met Death or if the three of you were just seeking power."
"Most certainly not!" Ignotus shouted. He was appalled by the very idea. Dominique watched him rise from his seat, his right hand coming to his chest and clenching in anger. She only watched him, knowing he would calm down momentarily, and sure enough, he did exactly that after a few seconds. He breathed in sharply and sat back down. "Well, not me. My eldest brother cannot speak the same."
"I know," Dominique said. He shot her a glance at those words but did not question her. Sensing the tension that suddenly entered the room and knowing she had to defuse it, she changed the subject. "You believe me?"
"Strangely, yes," he answered.
Dominique welcomed a smile. "Thanks."
"Now that you are in 1234, what will you do?"
"Try to find the quickest way back..." she muttered, again looking about the room as if it would offer some sort of solution.
He nodded in agreement. "I will help you. Do you need shelter?"
"If you are willing to offer it, yes please."
"You are welcome to stay as long as you need. But if you are to fit in, you must change that disgraceful attire," he said with a chuckle. He rose, wiping his palms on his trousers, and he went towards her. He offered her his hand to assist her in rising, but Dominique looked at it in confusion. Her brow furrowed, and she eyed the hand. Stifling an awkward cough, Ignotus wiped his sweaty palm on his pants once again and pretended he hadn't done that as he watched her rise. "My servant will see you are washed and dressed properly. Jocosa!"
After a few moments, the kind, gentle looking woman entered once again, eager to serve. "My Lord?" she asked in questioning.
"Please have Lady Dominique made presentable. Also see to it that an additional setting is placed at the table for supper and a bedroom is prepared for her. She will be staying with us indefinitely," he said in such a formal fashion. Just watching him speak and listening to his words fascinated her. It was so well thought out and organized, but it also seemed like too much work. He clearly thought about his words and what he said, whereas Dominique had already spoken carelessly. She wouldn't like having to think so hard about her words. Sometimes it was just so much easier to blurt it out all jumbled together.
Lady Dominique, she thought. She liked the sound of that, though.
"Yes, My Lord," answered Jocosa in response. Dominique looked to Ignotus one last time before he gave her a persuasive nod to follow his servant, and so she did so. Jocosa led her from the room, Dominique following in her wake. They entered a room on the other side of the second floor. It was clearly what Dominique would call their bathroom. There was a hearth with blazing coals sitting in the bottom of it while buckets of water absorbed their heat, and a stone wash tub sat in the center of the room. Behind it there was a small vanity of boxes of oils, flower petals, and other items used for scents. Perched on the vanity was blurry glass used as a mirror with thin, off-white cloths beside it for drying.
It was actually quite decent and different from what she would have expected of a bathroom in the 1200's, although, as she thought about it, she didn't quite know what to expect at all. She only grinned, pleased at the living standards. She only hoped that those at the front of the village were just as lucky, even though she knew that they weren't.
She was startled when she felt Jocosa try to figure out the methods of her clothing. She jumped and clasped her hands around the buttons of her shirt. She pursed her lips, prepared to retaliate with harsh words, but she realized that it must have only been a custom of their time. Politely Jocosa turned away and instead filled the wash tub with warm water from the hearth. Realizing that it was Jocosa's duty to make sure she was bathed, Dominique undressed herself and slipped into the warm bath water.
She was pleased that Jocosa payed it no mind. She went to the vanity and grabbed the metal basket of flower petals and sprinkled a handful into the water Dominique laid in. She dropped a bag of other herbs into it and let a dollop of oil drip into it as well. She then dipped her hands into the water to wet them before settling on a stool behind Dominique, and her tender, gentle fingers went to work on her hair.
It was different, having everything about herself tended to. It was somewhat relaxing, knowing someone else could take care of it. It was a good moment to simply breathe, but she could not do that. She was troubled. She had to find a way to get home. Despite how riled up she got, Jocosa's fingers untangling her hair found a way to coax her into a sense of tranquility once more. The woman was humming softly under her breath.
"Your hair is beautiful, my Lady," said Jocosa in a soft voice after many minutes of combing through the tangles.
She nodded in thanks. Dominique wiggled her toes in the water until she finally found the will to speak to the woman. "So you...work for Ignotus?"
"I am his servant, yes, my Lady," she answered kindly.
"Is that..." she faltered. How was she supposed to go about asking that question?
"He is very kind to me and he pays me well. I am grateful that he is my master," she said. Dominique tried to decipher her answer. Her brow furrowed with her thoughts until she finally continued to ask questions, weaning out different answers. "Is that because of his brothers?"
Jocosa pursed her lips, not wanting to speak against the brothers of her master. Her answer was well thoughtout. "I used to work for the entire Peverell family until Lord Antioch moved out from under my Lady's roof. Then Lord Cadmus was betrothed and living with his fiancée until she died. When she died, my Lady moved to help Lord Cadmus and his child through this difficult time. I stayed here with Lord Ignotus."
Even through her story, Dominique knew the answer. That yes, she was grateful to be Ignotus' servant rather than the servant of either of his brothers. But Dominique only nodded.
That was when something else dawned on her. Were the other two Peverells alive even? She knew they died shortly after the creation of the Deathly Hallows, killed by Death's evil doings himself, but had the Peverells received this misfortune yet? Dominique would have to devise a question to which she could formulate the answer.
"Does Ignotus visit his brothers often?" she asked quietly. When her hair had been fully combed through, she dunked under the water and reemerged rejuvenated. Jocosa moved to scrub down her legs and feet with a cloth. She answered while continuing, "Yes, quite often. They do not live far from here."
That only meant one thing. That all three Peverells were still alive, and that Antioch Peverell was currently number one on Death's hit list.
Dominique swallowed and did her best to pretend that nothing was amiss, but she didn't speak much more until she was fully cleansed. When she stood in the bath and Jocosa draped a thin sheet over her shoulders and Dominique hugged it to her body, she wondered if she had ever even smelled this good at home. Of course, she didn't smell bad, but the aura of roses, sweetness, and something like honey gave her such a pleasant feeling. She wouldn't ever have imagined such a lovely smell coming from the year 1234, but then again, she kept telling herself she would have no idea what to have expected.
Jocosa said as she wiped her wet hands on her apron, shuffling about the room and heading towards the fragile, wooden vanity. "I believe some of Lady Eirene's things are still here."
"Lady Eirene?" Dominique asked quizzically.
"Yes, my Lady. Master Ignotus' mother," she answered. Jocosa did not turn away from her search, but rather she went to her knees and shuffled through a few things in the vanity that Dominique could not make out. She took that opportunity to dab her body dry. Jocosa rose again with a gown in her hands, muttering about how it would do. She turned to face Dominique, holding the deep purple gown up to her.
It was simple, not quite like what Dominique had expected. Perhaps it was more of a day gown and the fancier things were for later, but she still thought it was beautiful. The fabric fell loosely to the floor, and the edges of the gown were embroidered with gold ribbon. It was shaped to fit the curves of a woman, and the neck of the gown expanded to the shoulders, where the arms went down to the wrists. Dominique smiled, approached her, and gingerly fingered the gown.
"It's beautiful," she commented.
Jocosa's look was a mix between appreciation and kindness. She began to help Dominique into the dress when she finally spoke her thoughts. "You're not from around here, are you?"
"No, ma'am," she answered, running her hands over the folds of the dress. It fell perfectly about her curves.
Jocosa began to plait her hair and then placed a gold band over her forehead, weaving it into the braid. Dominique looked at herself in the mirror and was surprised by her appearance. Dressed like she was supposed to, no one could tell that she wasn't from this time. She looked like she belonged, and she liked the change in attire. She smiled at herself as Jocosa smoothed the folds of the gown on her shoulders.
"There," said Jocosa with a smile. "The master should deem this appropriate enough."
"Thank you, Jocosa," she answered, and after much debate over her thoughts, she finally continued on. "Do you really have to speak about Ignotus like that?"
"Yes, ma'am," she replied. "I am his servant. I do his bidding, as well as any other requests he wishes me to tend to. This also includes having little personal conversation."
Dominique's brow furrowed at this. Was that really how it worked? Why couldn't Jocosa have a normal conversation with her master and whoever else she wished? She said to her over her shoulder. "You can always talk to me, Jocosa."
"Thank you, miss," she said with the sweetest smile. After she had given Dominique a final look over, she escorted her from the washroom and back into the hall. Jocosa stopped Dominique before they reached the door. If Dominique were in her own world, she would have given a quick knock and then gone inside, but these circumstances were different. Jocosa knocked and stated that she had Dominique ready, and then Ignotus answered from somewhere within his chambers.
She pushed Dominique into the room, and then Jocosa dismissed herself. Ignotus was sitting in the wooden chair in the corner of the room, his elbows perched on his knees and his hands rubbing the scruff of his beard. He finally looked to Dominique, and his brow rose in acknowledgement. "You...You."
She held her lips tight together, awaiting him to finish his thoughts. "Mmmhmm?"
"You look like you belong," he said. He rose from his spot and wiped his palms on his trousers. "No one will suspect a thing."
"Uh," she paused and smiled. "Thanks. That's good, right?"
"Yes," Ignotus nodded. He grabbed a few of his things and walked towards the door. Dominique, lost and confused, followed in his footsteps. She questioned what was next, and he answered her kindly. "I know you have had an eventful day and I know you wish to return home, but I believe it best that we at least situate you here. Since your stay is currently indefinite, I should accommodate you with proper clothing."
Of course he meant that he would buy them for her, but Dominique felt guilty at this. She sighed in frustration and said quietly and in a voice full of guilt. "No, Ignotus. You don't have to do that."
"What else will you wear?" he asked in a convincing fashion. Dominique looked at him seriously, but he flashed her a smile and it was enough to convince her.
"Fine," she nodded. He escorted her from the room. They passed Jocosa warming something over the fire, and Ignotus told her they would be out for a few hours and expected to come home to dinner. Outside, Dominique looked at the people who passed. They paid her no mind; Ignotus was right. No one would notice her if she looked like she belonged. She fiddled with her hair and pulled the two loose curls next to her ears closer to her cheeks so they somewhat blocked her peripherals. Even though they didn't acknowledge her, she didn't want to meet their gaze. She felt like they would know immediately she was from another time, as if they could read her mind.
Ignotus seemed to register her fear. He was suddenly by her side, touching the small of her back. "Do not fear, my Lady. All will be well."
She only swallowed her fear and nodded to him before he continued on. "We will go to my brother's, where we will borrow my mother's horse. She rarely rides anymore and would not mind if you rode her during your stay."
"Are you su - "
"Yes, Lady," Ignotus stressed again. He untied his horse from the post and directed Dominique to the flimsy saddle. He stuck out his hand, and she looked at it in a questioning fashion. She took it, but Ignotus pulled her close and whispered a warning to her before helping her mount the horse. "I do not know what the customs are like in 2034, but here you do not mount or dismount without assistance of a gentleman. You will also ride side-saddle. You are a woman."
"Ugh," she huffed at his words. She understood why he asked this of her. If she wished to blend in, she would have to abide, but she could hardly ride a horse in a normal fashion. Let alone side-saddle. He helped her up onto the horse, and she muttered. "In my time, women don't have to ride side-saddle. We ride just as you do, for those who still ride. I, for one, had never ridden a horse before until you yanked me on top of one today. I don't get it; this is not going to be a piece of cake for me.”
His brow furrowed, and Dominique only then realized that he must occasionally struggle to understand the meaning of her words. The contractions he didn't use, the odd phrases and changed words. He climbed on behind Dominique and chuckled. "You talk so strangely. I do not know if I like it."
Edited and revised: 1/13/13
absolutely gorgeous chapter image by nymeria
Dominique did not know exactly where they were going, but she put her faith and trust in Ignotus that he would lead her somewhere beneficial. That he wouldn't dispose of her somewhere in a ditch or leave her to find her own way back. She believed that he was truly helping her.
They rode their horses through the town at a steady, relaxing trot. It was not at a fast pace like it had been upon entering Godric's Hollow. Dominique found herself able to breathe, to relax, and to concentrate on her posture upon the horse rather than worrying about the unfamiliar creature bobbing between her legs. They passed townspeople, but Ignotus was right. No one paid them any mind other than to incline their heads politely in acknowledgement. Dominique blended in with her time-appropriate attire and her correct posture. She just nodded to the people along with Ignotus.
They reached the back of the town where she knew the wealthier townspeople lived. The houses back there were finer, more cautiously made with stone and standing stories tall. Ignotus led them to a house on the edge of the town. The grass was green and flowers littered the entry way and the along the edge of the house. The house's wooden shutters were painted a fine red, and two horses were tied out front, grazing in their available grass.
The horse came to a stop and Ignotus slid off the back, tying the reigns onto the post with the other horses. Dominique just sat there patiently like Ignotus had instructed her. She waited patiently, head held high, until Ignotus came to her aide. He held out his hand, and she grasped it firmly, sliding off. Ignotus gripped her waist until she was steady.
Not used to her new clothing, she smoothed down the long dress and her cloak. Ignotus adjusted her plaited hair, clearing his throat to grab her attention. "You did well; you learn fast. We are at my brother's home now. Once we are inside, you are free to be yourself. My family can be trusted."
"Okay," Dominique swallowed, nodding. "Thank you. I appreciate this."
He nodded, escorting her to the door. He lifted his fist to rasp firmly on the door to signal their arrival, but before he could even knock, the door was flung open and a blur jumped from the entry way of the house to Ignotus' waist.
"Uncle!" the blur shouted excitedly, clutching to the man's legs.
Dominique took a step back to appraise their new company. Ignotus pried the child off of his legs and crouched down to his level. Ignotus was beaming as he smoothed down the young boy's copper locks. "Ah! Tyrion! I promise you get faster every day. With eyes and ears like yours, you'll know I'm coming before I can even dismount my horse! Perhaps your father will take you on your first hunting trip soon, yeah?"
"Oh, Uncle! I ask Father all the time, but he never listens," the young boy said.
Ignotus laughed and shook his head. "Your father will listen someday."
"Who is that, Uncle?" the young boy asked. Ignotus stepped behind the boy, placing his large hands on the kid's shoulders and giving gentle squeezes.
"This, Tyrion, is my friend the Lady Dominique. She will be staying with me for a while." When he finished speaking, he looked from Tyrion to Dominique and mouthed something. She nearly outstretched her hand to shake with the young boy's, but Ignotus caught her eye. She finally deciphered what he was mouthing. Bow.
She dropped her hand to her side. She didn't know how to curtsy; she had never done so in her entire life, but she just did the best with what she did know. She grabbed the loose fabric of her gown and held it up as she dropped down into her curtsy. She knew it clearly wasn't too vital that she be appropriate, so she put on a bright smile and giggled with a jesting tone. "My Lord. What an honor to meet you."
"Well done," Ignotus mouthed with a pleased smile.
"My pleasure, my Lady," Tyrion said with a grin. He turned up to his uncle and beamed. "She is beautiful, Uncle."
Dominique blushed at the compliment, and after Ignotus nodded in agreement with Tyrion, the boy jumped for her hand. He took it and led her into the house with a wide smile, suddenly ranting about all the things he wanted to show her. "Come with me, Lady! Have you met my father? You should come play with me and my dog! His name is Arrow. He was a present to me from my grandmother."
"Oh my," Dominique said under her breath, surprised at the boy's enthusiasm to entertain her. She looked up to Ignotus for further help. He only smiled and nodded, mouthing for her to follow the boy.
Ignotus stepped into the house behind Dominique and the boy. He watched them disappear into another room, brushing past another Peverell brother. Dominique stopped in her tracks, freezing. Cadmus, however, hadn't noticed her just yet. He steadied his child and chided to him. "Woah, Tyrion. Slow down."
"Yes, father," Tyrion said before beginning to drag Dominique away again.
Cadmus stopped him again though, folding his hands before him and eyeing Dominique. Dominique looked at the tall man, his strong jaw, long dark hair and scruffy moustache. He was just as rugged as Ignotus and draped in fine fabrics. "And who is your friend, Tyrion?"
"This is Lady Dominique. She is an acquaintance of Uncle's," said the boy. He let go of Dominique's hand long enough for her to drop down into another curtsy.
When she stood up once more, Cadmus reached out and took her hand, placing a kiss on the back of it and locking eyes with her. "Lady Dominique, what a pleasure to meet you."
"T-The pleasure is all mine," she replied in a shaky voice. She knew trying to fool a grown man would be much more difficult than trying to fool an eight-year-old boy.
"A friend of Ignotus' is always a friend of ours, but why it has taken so long for us to become acquainted is beyond me," Cadmus said.
"A story I will share with you and mother," Ignotus commented. He gave his brother a look that said to not say anything more about it.
Cadmus nodded and patted his son on the head. "Go, Tyrion. Your Uncle and I have matters to discuss."
"Yes, Father," said the boy, and he was dragging Dominique out of the room in the next moment.
When Ignotus watched the door through which Tyrion took Dominique through, Ignotus approached his brother. "Cadmus, brother, the strangest thing has happened."
"Who is that woman?" Cadmus asked under his breath, not quite focusing on his younger brother just yet. "She is absolutely radiant."
"That is wonderful you think so," muttered Ignotus, not quite caring what his brother thought. He reached out for him, tugging him into a sitting room. "Where is Mother? There is something I want to share with the both of you about Lady Dominique."
"Why, she is in her chambers," Cadmus answered. He whistled loudly, and a servant came bustling into the room. She bowed before the older brother and asked what her master wanted of her. She scurried out of the room to fetch Eirene Peverell when Cadmus told her.
The brothers waited patiently in the sitting room, the room lined with old paintings, antique objects, and only wooden chairs around it. A tall, lean woman briskly entered the room. She adjusted her hair as she stepped in, beaming at the news of her son's visit.
"Oh, Ignotus," she exhaled in a breezy voice. Ignotus smiled and rose, taking both of his mother's outstretched hands and placing a gentle kiss on her cheek. "So lovely of you to stop by."
"Of course," he said in reply, pulling out a chair for his mother. He pushed it in behind her as she sat, sitting in between her and his brother. "And you look beautiful as always, Mother."
"Thank you, son," Eirene nodded. "Now, what is so urgent?"
"There is something I would like to tell the both of you, and I wish Antioch would be here to know as well, but I will not wait. Mother, there is a woman with Tyrion right now. He is introducing her to Arrow. Her name is Dominique. I found her in a field just outside of Godric's Hollow dressed in the oddest clothing. She - umm," Ignotus began to explain, but faltered. He was not used to lying to his family. Not like this, and he found that he was still unsure about lying or telling the truth to his mother and Cadmus.
His stories were conflicting. How was he to get help for Dominique if he didn't tell the others? They could have ideas, while he still had none. However, he, Antioch, and Cadmus had agreed to never speak of their encounter with Death to anyone else. Granted, Ignotus had already shared such events with Dominique, but different circumstances had risen. But this pact included their mother Eirene. She did not know of their encounter on the bridge, nor did the brother's ever hope for their mother to find out. Eirene was a pure woman who the brothers believed would disapprove of their actions. Therefore, he couldn't share how the cloak was what sent up the red flag for Ignotus.
But he also couldn't share how Dominique claimed to be from a different time. Cadmus and his mother would immediately shoot down his proposal and declare the both of them mad. If they knew that Ignotus had even considered Dominique's story, and even worse if they knew that he believed her, they would consider him mad as well.
"She does not remember anything but her name," Ignotus found the words falling out of his mouth before he could think twice about them. "I could not just leave her there. I brought her back to my home, let her borrow one of your dresses, Mother, and had Jocosa clean her up. She will be staying with me until she finds her home once again. Brother, you will understand why I have told Tyrion she is an old friend of mine. The townspeople don't do well with outsiders unless they can prove they are witch or wizard."
"And is she?" Cadmus asked. "Is she of magical blood?"
"Yes, I believe so," Ignotus nodded.
"It matters not if she is of magical blood. She is a woman lost who has forgotten her home, her family, and possibly her husband. She must be feeling lonely, perhaps confused. I approve of your actions, Ignotus. The people do not need to be questioning her magical ability, or her status, at that; that is the last thing she needs. You are always kind to those around you. I am glad you have taken her in."
"Thank you, Mother," Ignotus smiled. He did not believe that his mother would have had an issue with his discretion at all. He and his mother had always seen eye to eye. When there were disagreements within their family, Ignotus and his mother always sided together. They rarely ever disagreed on anything. "I knew you would agree, so I was going to ask if you could lend her some of your clothes and your horse until she returns."
"Yes, of course. That creature needs to leave the house every now and again. She is free to ride her," Eirene commented with a wave of dismissal. "I would love to meet this woman."
"I will get her, if you will just wait right here." Ignotus rose and made his way through the house. It was small, but amicable and comfortable. He found Tyrion sitting on the ground in the servant's kitchen, Dominique kneeling next to him as they played with a small puppy. Tyrion was tugging on a stick that the puppy was gnawing excitedly on.
"Dominique," Ignotus said.
Startled, Dominique turned to face him. She excused herself from Tyrion, dusted off her dress, and went to stand by his side. Ignotus pulled a leaf out of her hair and looked at her sternly, instructing her in a whisper. "My mother would like to meet you. I have told her that you do not remember anything but your name. It is the safest way to go about this for now; you must play along."
"All right. I can do that," nodded Dominique. "W-What do I...What is the proper way for me to introduce myself?"
"You will bow to her at the door and wait for her to say something. She is a woman of high and respectful class."
"Okay," she nodded. She closed her eyes as she stared at the stone floor, exhaling deeply to keep herself calm.
"You will do fine," whispered Ignotus, aware of her anxiety. She was doing brilliantly already. By simply watching her, he could tell that Dominique was a natural. Perhaps she didn't think so herself, but no one would suspect anything. Tryion already loved her as well. "You are performing magnificently."
"Thanks," she whispered, and with that Ignotus led her from the small kitchen.
They curved throughout the house. Ignotus led her slowly, aware of how curious and interested she was in the paintings, the objects, and the furniture within the house. Ignotus couldn't even imagine how different things must be for her. Instead of looking at what she was observing, Ignotus found himself looking at her instead, how fascinated, how awe-struck she was with everything, how she seemed to find everything so whimsical when Ignotus believed everything in his life to be so plain and boring.
It fascinated her how well structured the house was. Eight-hundred years in the past, she couldn't have possibly imagined how people built anything, how they made their food, their clothing.
It fascinated her, and she didn't quite know why. But everything was so well done. Clearly not in all parts of Godric's Hollow; she had observed that on her ride in. But Ignotus' home and his brother's home was strong and sturdy, built of stone with fine wooden furniture and decorative paintings.
They reached the sitting room and Igntous introduced the two women. "Mother, this is Dominique. Dominqiue, my mother, the Lady Eirene."
Eirene nodded, and Dominique dropped down into her curtsy. That was when his mother smiled and rose from her chair, taking both of Dominique's hands and kissing her cheeks. "Dominqiue. So lovely to meet you. And what a beautiful name."
"Thank you so much, my Lady," replied Dominique in the hopes that she had worded her response correctly.
"What you have gone through, Lady, is terrible. You are welcome here as long as you need. Ignotus is the sweetest man I have ever known, apart from his father. I am not surprised in the slightest that he has offered you such hospitality."
"Thank you. I greatly appreciate your kindness, and I know. You have raised a very generous man," commented Dominique.
Before anyone could comment any further, a knock came from the front door. There was no time to reply or to even allow the servant to answer the door before the knock continued. It grew into a persistent pounding, the person on the other side shouting impatiently. The door was shaking, rattling the entire front wall of the house. "Cadmus! Ignotus! Come quick!"
Cadmus had risen from his seat. He had his hand clasped over the hilt of his sword. Ignotus grasped the elbow of his mother and Dominique, pushing the two women together and further into the sitting room.
"Dominique, Mother, stay here. Cadmus and I will see what is the matter," said Ignotus.
He and his brother ran to the door, opening it to a young man with brown hair. It had a braid in the front and was pinned back; his forehead was coated in sweat, and he dabbed at it as the door was flung open.
"Cadmus! Ignotus! You must come quick."
"Calm down. What is it, Edmund?"
"I am afraid it is Antioch," the young man answered.
At the sound of their brother's name, Ignotus and Cadmus looked to one another and immediately knew they had to go to their brother's aide. Cadmus held the door open for Edmund to briefly step inside. Eirene gasped and clasped her hands to her mouth in shock, horror, and worry for her eldest son. Cadmus grabbed his cloak and swung it over his shoulders. He shouted to Eirene.
"Mother, watch after Tyrion!"
"What has happened? Is Antioch all right?"
"I don't know! There was a fight at the pub last night. I have heard some terrible things. You must come," Edmund said.
Ignotus nodded, knowing he and Cadmus had to leave to help their brother. He ran to Dominique, grasping her shoulders. "I have to find my brother. Stay here with my mother."
"But - "
"Do as I say!" Ignotus shouted, and he turned from her.
He tied his cloak about his neck, fastening his sword there, and he followed Edmund and his brother out of the house. They mounted their horses and took off at a dead sprint throughout Godric's Hollow. They caught the eye of everyone outside; their speed was clearly that of great urgency. The brothers could not pay them any mind, though. Their brother was of great importance to them, and if Edmund had come to fetch them from their house, clearly it was important.
Antioch lived in a village not far away, but it was a long enough ride to put Antioch's life on the line if he was hurt.
Ignotus kicked his heels into his horse, coming beside Edmund's side. He asked with a shout, the clattering of the horse's hoofs and the wind rushing by making it difficult to hear. "Edmund! Do you know what has happened?"
"I was in Hertfordshire this morning, and there were people gathered outside Antioch's home. People were saying things. I did not wait any longer to find out what had happened. I came to get the two of you," answered Edmund.
They bolted out of Godric's Hollow and across the plain to the small village across the way, Hertforshire. When they entered, the three of them could tell that there was a commotion throughout the village. The townspeople were gathered in the streets, muttering in horror. Women were crying and shrieking; children whispered in shock and confusion. Upon their arrival, the whispers grew as they recognized the two brothers of Antioch Peverell.
The looks they received made Ignotus worried. He could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest, the heat rising to his cheeks as he wished for only his eldest brother's safety. Cadmus looked to him, saw his fear, and nodded to him in a reassuring way. "He will be fine, Ignotus. He will be fine."
With the cluttered streets, they could not pass through at a sprint, but luckily they reached Antioch's house soon. Like Cadmus' and Ignotus', it was one of the larger houses in the village. They came to a stop, recognizing a few of Antioch's friends outside of the home. Ignotus jumped off his horse, immediately making his way for the door of his brother's home.
"Ignotus. You do not...You do not want to see," said the tall man, placing his hand out on Ignotus' chest to steady him.
"No! I must see him!" roared Ignotus, shoving the man out of his path.
"It is of no use, my Lord!"
Ignotus did not listen. Instead, he pushed his way through the crowded street, past Antioch's quiet friends who averted their gaze from him, and through the front door. Blood immediately filled his vision. It was in puddles on the wooden floor, leaving a trail from the door and deeper into the house. Frightened, Ignotus followed the thick trail of blood. It led to his brother's bedroom. Uneasily, Ignotus raised his hand. It took him a few moments to gain the courage to open the door. He was frightened for what he might see, but he eventually pushed the door open.
It swung fully open with one easy swing, and Ignotus gasped in horror at the sight. He covered his mouth, tears filling his eyes. He nearly fell over, but steadied himself and ran to his brother's side.
"NO! Antioch!" Ignotus shouted. "You are not dead! You are not!"
Cadmus was suddenly behind him, squeezing his neck in reassurance. "I-Ignotus, there is nothing we can do."
"NO! He cannot be dead! He cannot!"
But he was. No matter what Ignotus could say or do, the gaping slit in his throat was proof that Anticoh Peverell was dead.
Edited, revised, and extended: 1/13/13
amazing chapter image by nymeria @ TDA>
Cadmus had to pull a sobbing Ignotus off of their eldest brother's corpse. Ignotus remained on his knees as Cadmus and Antioch's friends busied themselves around the small bedroom. Together the men lifted the body of Antioch Peverell and removed it from the house. The crowd inside the village of Hertfordshire split like the sea as they watched the men carry the body down the wooden steps and place it delicately on a cart attached to a horse. When the body was placed, Cadmus entered the house once more and knelt by his brother's side.
He placed a firm hand on the man's back and said in a low voice. "Ignotus, we must be strong. For Mother and Tyrion."
Ignotus listened to his brother's instructions. He knew they were sincere and true. Cadmus was always the understanding one. The older Peverell brothers still believed Ignotus to be a man who had only recently come of age and left the years of boyhood, and therefore, Cadmus had been understanding and lenient with him. Antioch had always been the opposite; Antioch had tested his youngest brother, dared him to be a man before he had to be, and had demanded perseverance and strength from Ignotus at all times. Cadmus, a man not much older than Ignotus, remembered the transition from a boy to a man and gave his brother the leeway he had always wished to receive from their brother and father before their father's time came.
Ignotus closed his eyes and tried to breathe deeply. His brother's voice was in his ears once more. "Come. We must place Antioch's wand and sword by his side."
Ignotus watched Cadmus go to a table in the corner where Antioch's sword and holster were lying, as if waiting to be strapped about their eldest brother's waist one more time. Cadmus withdrew the sword that had been forged by their father. Ignotus rose from his spot and sauntered over to Anitoch's bedside where he began to look for the Elder Wand. He knew his brother had kept his wand by his bedside or under his pillow, so he checked in those two locations. No wizard slept without their wand or sword close at hand.
When Ignotus could not find his brother's newest wand, he turned to Cadmus with a sense of fear.
"Brother," Ignotus began in a quiet voice, worried the others outside Antioch's home would overhear, "Antioch's wand. The new one. It is not here."
"What...?" whispered Cadmus. "You sure? You searched everywhere?"
"Well, not everywhere!" grunted Ignotus with a reprimanding tone. Of course he hadn't searched everywhere. "But I have searched his bedside, his pillow, within his sheets, under the mattress. It is nowhere to be found."
Cadmus said nothing. His face moved from his brother's gaze to stare at the floor where he entered deep thought. Ignotus watched his face for any trace of Cadmus’ thoughts, trying to understand what was running through his head.
"You do not think it was...stolen, do you?" inquired Ignotus.
"I do not know..." muttered Cadmus. He then stood up straighter, trying to hold off any more troubling thoughts. There were other matters to deal with for the time being. "But let us not worry about that wand just yet. Find his old one, and we shall place that one beside his body. That may be the best thing to do to begin with. If people see, they may question why he has a different wand."
Ignotus agreed with his brother on that matter. Witches and wizards rarely had an excuse to obtain a new wand when theirs worked perfectly fine, unless the other one had broken. People would surely see such a different wand and find it peculiar, wonder when and why Antioch had gotten a new wand. Especially one that was so finely made, so smooth and elaborate in its crafting when others were so lumpy and plain.
He found his brother's old wand set aside in one of his drawers, and he left the house to set it on the cart with Antioch's body. Clumsily and shaking, Ignotus grasped his brother's cold hands. He tried not to jump at the icy cold touch, and he placed the wand atop Anitoch's chest, folding the cold hands over the wooden hilt of the wand. With everyone still watching and a somber quiet taking hold of Hertfordshire, Ignotus set Antioch's maids to work by cleaning up the bloodied mess.
Ignotus turned to Edmund, waiting patiently beside the cart with his head bowed. He whispered to him so none of the townspeople could hear. "You will come with us back to Godric's Hollow. My brother and I have questions for you."
Edmund nodded and remained silent. The townspeople bowed their heads and stepped aside, muttering words of blessing and condolences. Without another word, Ignotus followed in Cadmus' footsteps and mounted his horse. Edmund took charge of the horse attached to the cart, and they began the caravan back to Godric's Hollow. It seemed slow and eerie even though the sun was beating down on their backs. Ignotus kept his head down, hiding his face from his brother's gaze so he wouldn't see him cry. He watched his tears drip onto his navy cape and watched it sink into the fabric. When his cheeks were dripping, he swiped his wind-burnt skin dry.
A sudden silence fell over Godric's Hollow as they entered. The wheels of other wooden carts stopped turning. Children stopped their playing in the streets, recognizing a death procession, and with the two living Peverell brothers in the lead, they immediately knew who lay in the back of the wooden cart. With the new silence, people exited their homes or peered out of their windows to see what had gone amiss. Ignotus was aware of everyone's eyes on his brother's body, and he held his head high and tried not to tremble with his cries.
Then Ignotus began to dread the return home. How would their mother react? Would she scream? Ignotus felt his demeanor slowly beginning to break. He was never good at hiding his emotions. Like he always could, Cadmus sensed his little brother's fear and turned to face him. He said just loud enough for him to hear. "Be strong, brother."
Ignotus drew in a deep breath and gave a firm nod.
They came upon Cadmus' home, and once the sound of the horse's hoofs vanished, the door to the home opened, and uneasily Eirene stepped out from the home's depths. Her eyes went to her two sons, tears in them, her questions daring to leave her lips, and then her eyes darted to the cart attached to Edmund's horse. That was when she clutched her chest and needn't ask anymore. She knew her eldest son was dead.
Eirene stumbled out of the home, past her sons, and to the cart where she could look at her grown son. Cadmus and Ignotus quickly dismounted and ran to their mother's side. She held her chest as if she couldn't breathe, and tears were steadily running down her cheeks. She was choking over her words as she lost her balance, and her sons each grabbed an arm to steady her.
"No," moaned Eriene. "Oh, Antioch! No!"
"Shh, Mother," Ignotus choked out, and he pulled his mother away from Cadmus and into his arms. He pulled her head into the crook of his neck and patted her head. She willingly sank into his embrace and clenched the broach holding his cloak together. The sound of thundering footsteps made Ignotus look up from his mother, and he saw Dominique and Tyrion standing in the doorway.
"Uncle!" Tyrion shouted painfully and tried to run, but Dominique reached down and took the boy into her arms, holding him there.
Ignotus watched his only living brother suck in a deep breath of courage and approach Tyrion to tell the boy that Uncle Antioch had died. Cadmus knelt in front of his son, and Dominique turned him into the arms of his father. Then, still holding his sobbing mother, Ignotus looked back to the new woman standing in the doorway of his brother's home, and with one tear in her eye, she faded into the home to leave the Peverell family to their mourning.
Harry Potter apprehensively bit the nail of his thumb as he paced about his office. Hours had gone by and he had yet to hear from his niece. After what he had seen in her flat, the combination of her absence and the blood on the floor sent an uneasy feeling throughout Harry's body. He was stiff, and yet trembling with worry. He had sent Ron off in his place for the mission, and instead Harry had chosen to stay behind in hopes that Dominique would show up somewhere at some point. If worse came to worse, he would order a search party.
Unfortunately though, Harry's by-laws stated he couldn't send out a search party for anyone unless they had been missing for over forty-eight hours. That would be his last resort, though. He was still hoping that Dominique would turn up somewhere. Despite his desperate wish, there was a gut-wrenching feeling inside him that screamed to him that wouldn't be the case. Too many things went against the hopes of Dominique returning unharmed and of her own free will. The blood on the floor had been a sure sign that she was hurt. Her unpacked suitcase and broken glass all over the floor with lights still ablaze in her flat could show many things; that there had been a forced entry or that she was taken. Not to mention Harry's cloak was long gone, and that didn't help with anything.
Harry began to question if Dominique had left or if she had been taken. Had she accidentally hurt herself, left to find help, and something went astray along the way?
These were the questions that plagued him as he couldn't do anything but pace about his office and wait for the forty-eight hours to pass. Worst of all, he had yet to tell Bill and Fleur. He didn't want to worry them until absolutely necessary, and Harry liked to believe that he had the situation under control. But did he? He was frantic about the disappearance over his niece. He worried for her safety, and unless something seriously terrible had happened to her, she had jeopardized her entire career this morning and Harry couldn't simply let it slide because she was his niece. She would have to earn her spot back. Analyzing his thoughts, he came to the conclusion that no, he was far from controlled.
He had notified Ginny of their missing family member, and he had asked her to remain at Dominique's flat in case she showed up. Gladly she had done so while Harry now waited in his office until he figured out his next move.
He had already modified their mission as needed, seeing as the cloak wouldn’t be turning up in time for the mission. Harry didn’t mind this, though. The modification was easy enough, and the resurfacing of his cloak was the least of his priorities. The cloak could remain missing for all he cared. All he wanted was the safe return of his neice.
"Jocosa," Ignotus grunted over the crackling fire. He was slouched in his favorite chair in the living room of his home, his hand hanging limp over the edge of his chair. He waved his empty goblet around lethargically. "More ale."
He heard her quiet reply from somewhere in the room, and he held out his cup, awaiting the moment when it would be full again and the warm liquid would burn his throat and ease his troubles. When it was so full he felt the red liquid splash against his hand, he gave her a nod of thanks and took a deep gulp.
The air inside of Ignotus' home was hot and thick. The closed windows, as they should be when in mourning, prevented the pleasant summer air from drifting inside, and the fire Ignotus could not tear his eyes from only made it less than pleasant. He muttered to his friend sitting across from him again. "You have to remember more than that, Edmund."
"I have told you all I know, my Lord," said Edmund in a distressed voice. He leaned forward in his chair, his elbows braced on his knees, his hands gripping his goblet that was still full of ale.
"You have to know more!" Ignotus groaned, his voice rising with intensity. "My brother was murdered, and I want to know who killed him!"
"I know nothing for sure," whispered Edmund. He remained calm while Ignotus grew impatient and demanding, but his friend was never like that. He knew it was just how Ignotus was dealing with the loss, as well as the effects of the ale. "There are only small things that stand out."
"Like what? I must know everything," demanded Ignotus.
"When was the last you spoke to Antioch before he died? And the last you entered Hertfordshire?" asked Edmund, and while Ignotus did not know where this was leading, he answered.
"I spoke to Antioch perhaps four days ago. Hertfordshire? Before today, I had not entered for a week at the very least."
"Then you did not hear of what happened at the pub?"
"No. What happened?" asked Ignotus, suddenly curious and feeling as if his conversation with Edmund was finally going somewhere.
It had taken a good while to calm Eirene and Tyrion down, and after they had done so, they had placed Antioch's body in the ground beside their father. Ignotus had said his parting goodbyes to his family for the day and returned home with Dominique and Edmund. Since he had returned home, he had been ringing Edmund dry of everything he knew that could answer the questions Ignotus had about Antioch's murder.
"Well, Antioch came in to the pub three days ago walking taller than he normally did. He began boasting about what a powerful wizard he was, and he picked a fight with that man he had always quarreled with as a boy. Gannon? The beast of a man who always had Antioch on his knees until he yielded in a sword fight? They taunted one another and threw a few blows; it was nothing out of the ordinary for Gannon or Antioch. They were always the troublemakers down at the pub. The blows turned into jinxes and stunning spells, and Antioch continued to brag about this new power. None of us interfered; duels between Gannon and Antioch were common. Neither of them ever meant any true harm. Until Anitoch struck Gannon dead."
Ignotus listened carefully. He had long ago torn his eyes from the fire and stared into Edmund's. He was disappointed in his brother for picking yet another fight, but it had always been in Antioch's nature. Antioch had a thirst for power like none of the men had ever seen. It was also not the first time Antioch had killed a man, and therefore, the story did not seem all that extraordinary or peculiar other than the small things Ignotus picked up from Edmund's story that related to the Antioch's gift from Death. The brothers had sworn to never speak of their encounter with Death or their gifts, but it was clear that Antioch had given away the fact that he had possessed something out of the ordinary and extremely powerful. This slightly infuriated Ignotus, but as he was mourning his brother, he found he could not hold his anger for long.
"And what of it? Gannon would not be the first man Antioch has killed," inquired Ignotus with a roll of the shoulders.
"Yes, you are quite right. Though you were not there to witness it, Ignotus. Antioch did possess this new power. Somehow. He was stronger, he was mightier, he was...unbeatable. All the men in the pub, including myself I will admit, were mesmerized by his power."
"Are you saying my brother was murdered because a few men were jealous of his power?!" stammered Ignotus. The thought enraged him. How foolish and immature of those men!
"Perhaps," Edmund rolled his shoulders.
"The fools!" Ignotus raged. He jumped from his chair, his ale spilling all over the floor. Jocosa quickly scurried over to scrub the liquid from the stone floor, and she refilled her master's glass as she knew she would be demanded. "The damned idiots! Lords have power, Dukes have power! Kings have power! And yet you do not see them being struck down in their sleep like helpless children! You mean to tell me that my brother, only a noble Lord of the House of Peverell, had his throat cut because he had more power than a few commoners?!"
"I do not know, Ignotus. It is only a hunch," answered Edmund humbly, shaking his head and remaining calm as Ignotus fumed before him.
Then suddenly everything made sense to Ignotus. The Elder Wand hadn't been hidden by Antioch before his untimely death; the Elder Wand had been stolen from him. He had been murdered so that his killer could possess the wand and its power. Antioch had given himself away that his wand had more power than anything, and it had cost him his life. Ignotus went still as he realized this, and he fell back into his chair. Quickly he chugged his ale and stared blankly ahead.
"The bastard..." he cursed. He sat still and then breathed in an icy cool voice. "Antioch's killer should know better than to remain in Hertfordshire."
"Why do you say this?" Edmund inquired. "He was struck in the middle of the night. We cannot know who killed him."
"I know now that Antioch was murdered for the sole purpose of stealing his wand from him. To gain pure power."
"The wand does not always dictate the power of a witch or wizard. Besides, I saw Antioch buried with his wand. You cannot know this."
"But I do," hissed Ignotus. "You saw my brother buried with his first wand. Not his second, Edmund."
"My Lord?" Edmund questioned with raised eyebrows.
"Antioch obtained a new wand perhaps only a fortnight ago, and when we arrived in Hertfordshire today, that wand was nowhere to be found. His new wand...It has a power like never before."
"If you are correct, then Antioch's killer should be walking around with this new wand?"
"Exactly," said Ignotus sternly. It was a possibility that the killer could sit around Hertfordshire for some time, walking around with Antioch's wand, for no one would notice a wand that had only belonged to its first owner for a mere two weeks. However, Ignotus hoped the killer feared him and his brother and knew they could come after him. "And when I see him, he shall meet the same fate as my brother."
"You are drunk. You were never one for revenge, my friend," said Edmund uneasily. He eyed Ignotus for a hint to see if it was just the ale talking or this new side to Ignotus he had never seen before.
Ignotus ignored his friend's comment and kept his mind set on revenge. He knew he wasn’t drunk. "When it comes to my family, I will always avenge."
"And I do not see you chasing after the man who killed your father," muttered Edmund.
Ignotus grew still, and he shut his eyes to the sudden vision of his father with an arrow straight through his heart. He felt his skin grow cold and rigid as it rose with goosebumps. He could still picture his father's dead body clear as day, as if it had only just happened, not ten years ago. If his father had died in front of him, he would have remembered the face of his killer and waited until he reached manhood to avenge him, but he hadn't. His father had died on the battlefield, a noble death, and he had not seen the face of his father's killer. No one had. It would be impossible to avenge, but Yrian Peverell’s death was a noble one and therefore didn’t need avenging, and Ignotus knew this. He didn’t need to prove that fact to Edmund. Not now.
He shook his head, and when he opened his eyes, a demand left his lips. "Go home, Edmund."
Edmund pursed his lips and watched his still friend for a few moments before he finally rose, obeying. He gave a quick and small bow before turning to leave. "My Lord," he answered curtly.
When the closing of the door signaled his leave, Ignotus uneasily rose to his feet. His breath was heavy; everything felt heavy. He left the room leaning against everything that came across his path, and when he turned into the hallway to head for the stairs, he was startled by what he saw.
He had forgotten about the woman he had taken in. He had thought her long ago to disappear to the guest chamber and be asleep, but that didn't appear to be the case. She was sitting on the floor, attempting to scramble to her feet. It was evident that she had tried to rise and flee upstairs before Ignotus could know of her presence, but she hadn't been quick enough. Her eyes were wide, and he could tell she was trying to figure out if she should apologize.
"Have you been listening the whole time?" asked Ignotus.
"I-I'm sorry," she stuttered, curling into a ball against the wall. "I just..."
"That conversation was to be private," he said in a stern voice.
"I'm so sorry. I knew you were looking for answers, and I thought maybe I could help. But then you seemed to figure it all out pretty well yourself," answered Dominique in a quiet and humble voice. It was too delicate and weak for Ignotus to continue with his raised voice. She had earned his forgiveness simply with her frightened demeanor.
To coax her, he slid down the wall and sat beside her. Then he listened to her words more closely. "What do you mean you thought you could help? Do you know...You know why my brother was killed?"
"Yes," answered Dominique, her face between her legs.
"How could you possibly..." began Ignotus, only to falter and let his voice trail off.
"You know that people in my time are aware of your encounter with Death, but I didn't tell you everything. There's more to the story," whispered Dominique.
"You must tell me," demanded Ignotus.
"I don't think I should," she answered, contemplating what to do. People always said to never mess around with time travel. She may have already changed the future by coming. She could have changed it by just meeting Ignotus. Would it change the future if he knew the story of the Peverell brothers and the cheating of Death before it happened? Would her uncle still be alive if things did change? What would happen to her world?
"My brother died today, and you give me a bad feeling. If this threatens the safety of my family, you must tell me," Ignotus whispered.
"Another time. After I think. I understand you've lost your brother today, and I'm terribly sorry. I just...I just have to figure things out," answered Dominique.
"You are right. You are 800 years from your time. I apologize for reprimanding you and neglecting you this evening."
"Don't worry about it," answered Dominique with a roll of the shoulder. She didn't mind. Of course she understood; Ignotus had lost someone dear today, but at Ignotus' next expression, she realized she probably should have phrased her words differently.
Ignotus looked troubled. He shook his head. "I am not worried, my lady."
Dominique actually laughed. "No, no. It's an expression. It basically means, I accept your apology."
"Oh," said Ignotus. They entered silence, and Ignotus was the one to break it after a few minutes. "Have you ever lost a loved one?"
"No," she whispered, and she wished she had something to say other than that. She had been fortunate enough to not have lost a family member during her time of living.
Ignotus went on immediately. He let his head fall back against the wall, and he entered his deep thoughts. "It is terrible. You do not know how much you love someone until they are gone. Antioch...He was always demanding the best from me. He was like a second father to me; he pushed me to become the man I am today. There were some days when all I wanted to do was hit him over the head with the hilt of the sword he had forged for me in my days of training. He called me a fool almost daily; he always had a lesson for me. Sometimes I hated him for it, but now...What I would not give to have him call me a fool just one more time..."
"I'm so sorry, Ignotus," she whispered, and she debated if she should physically comfort him or not. Did she place her hand on his back? Did she hold his hand or pat his knee? What was she to do? Would he be offended if she did or would he consider it inappropriate? Her difficulty with keeping up the correct actions at all times was overwhelming her, so she did nothing.
After a moment of reflecting on his words, Ignotus finally cleared his throat and rose from the ground. "I apologize. My troubles should not be your burden."
Dominique clambered to her feet, wiping her hands on the skirt of her dress. "It's not a burden. You're going through a difficult time. People can't keep everything to themselves. We need someone to turn to."
Ignotus smiled at that and diverted their conversation from something so dreary. "How different your time must be. I bid you goodnight, Lady Dominique."
Cadmus Peverell turned to leave his son for the night after tucking him into bed, but the boy’s small voice made him turn around once more. “Father?”
“Yes, my son?” Cadmus gently inquired, pausing in the doorway. He looked to Tyrion, tucked in his bed and holding the covers up to his chin.
“Do you miss Mother?” Tyrion innocently asked.
Cadmus tried not to make a gasp of surprise. He knew Tyrion had struggled after his mother’s death, but as a fair amount of time had passed since that day, Cadmus had thought the boy had moved on, that he was looking more positively on things now. He wondered how often Tyrion thought back on the death of his mother.
“Of course I miss her, son,” he said gently, trying to not let his emotions get the best of him.
“Is Uncle with her now?” Tyrion inquired.
At that Cadmus actually smiled. He nodded to his son. “Yes, my boy,” he answered. “Uncle Antioch is with Mother now, and they will watch over you.”
Tyrion managed a smile at those words of reassurance. Seeing that his son was done speaking for the night, Cadmus turned to leave once again. “Get some sleep, my son.”
With that Cadmus slipped from his son’s bedroom and shut the door. He entered his chambers and dropped down into his favorite chair nearest the hearth where a weak fire was burning. He gazed into it for many moments before turning to the table by his chair. A small gold box sat on the table, and after minutes of working up to it, he finally lifted the lid of the gold box to stare at the dark stone sitting inside of it.
He inspected its smooth surface, its sharp edges, and its dark black color.
He had asked for something to reawaken the dead, and what had he been given? A mere pretty rock? What had Death been playing at? How was a stone supposed to reawaken the dead? He uneasily reached for the stone and turned it over in his hands as he had so often done of the last fortnight. He had sat in the very chair he now sat in, turning the stone over in his hands until the early hours of morning, just waiting for Seraphine to enter the room once again.
Now he had someone else he wished to recall from the grave. His brother Antioch.
He knew he had appeared strong that day when he had coaxed Ignotus out of Antioch’s home. He knew he had pumped the courage he had needed into his brother, but what had he saved for himself? Here alone in his chambers, he had nothing but his sorrowful and mournful thoughts. He wanted nothing more than to have Antioch and Seraphine back in his life.
Why wasn’t this stone fulfilling that request? How was he supposed to utilize a damn rock?
In frustration he placed the stone back in the gold box, and in one swift movement, he rose from his chair and hurtled the box across the room. It shattered a mirror on the opposite wall and fell to the ground, unbroken and useless.
Cadmus sank to his knees, buried his face into his hands, and cried.
Edited and revised: 1/14/13
beautiful chapter image by nymeria @ TDA
- Year 2022 -
"Please, Bill, Fleur," Harry swallowed. He wiped his sweaty palms on his jeans as he sat in an arm chair in the sitting room of Shell Cottage. "I think you should sit for this."
"What's wrong, Harry?" asked Bill uneasily. He sat in a chair across from Harry, and Fleur followed suit. Bill reached over and took his wife's hand, giving it a firm squeeze.
"I need to tell you something concerning Dominique. You know she was due to leave for a mission two days ago. She never showed. I searched everywhere and waited at the office. Ron is also stationed in my place and keeping a watchful eye for her, but she has yet to resurface. We don't know where she is," said Harry. His words were quick and jumbled. How did you tell someone their child was missing? He thought about being told one of his children was missing, and he gave a dreadful shudder. All he could do was shiver and spit it out as fast as he could.
The couple was silent, and finally Fleur was the one to speak up.
"What?!" she asked with a wave of panic. "Ow'r daughter is missing? For two days? And you wait till now to tell us!"
"Yes, I..." he said and faltered. "I don't know what else to say.”
"Fleur, love, breathe," Bill said in an encouraging voice. Harry was relieved to see that Bill was not too panicked. When he spoke, he spoke to Harry and Fleur at the same time, convincing Fleur everything would be all right and also showing Harry how he felt about the situation. "Dominique is a big girl. She can take care of herself. I'm sure she's fine."
"''Ow can you say this? You don't know this for sure!" Fleur cried out.
"I'm sorry," claimed Harry again. "You know my by-laws. I couldn't send out a search party yesterday, but as of one hour ago, a search party can be arranged. I've already done so, and a team is already out there searching for her. I promise; I will do everything I can to find her."
Fleur folded her hands together and held them to her lips to silence her worried cries. Bill set down his mug of tea and wrapped a reassuring arm around his wife. He knew Harry was doing everything he could, and that was all they could hope for. Bill believed Harry to have the situation under control, and he had faith in his daughter. He tried not to worry. Instead, he needed to be there for his wife. He looked to Harry, knowing his brother-in-law had done what he came to do.
"Thanks, Harry," said Bill quietly.
"This is nothing to thank me for," he muttered.
"It is," corrected Bill. "If anyone can find her, it's you."
Harry pursed his lips and gave a curt nod. With that he apparated out to join the search party. The search for Dominique Weasley had officially begun.
Two weeks went by and Dominique made little progress with figuring out her situation. She found no answers, but she found that searching for them at that point in time wasn't the best thing to do. She was living with a man who had lost his brother, and he needed comforting. He needed to be understood that he was going through a difficult, and therefore, she asked little of him. She did as he asked, though, by keeping Tyrion company and keeping his mind off his lost uncle. She also helped Eirene about Cadmus' home with whatever needed to be done.
In truth, with helping the Peverells and adapting to such a different time and living situation, she didn't have the time to worry about where she was or how she had gotten there. She found that this didn't bother her either. It was becoming surprisingly easy to blend in with the rest of Godric's Hollow. She began to enjoy her life there and decided she didn't have to rush too quickly back home. The Peverells made her feel as if she belonged, something she so rarely felt in her life. She had never been one for jewelry, fine dresses, make up, and chic styles like her sister. Where she was and the customs of the time were a perfect balance of the things she did like.
Ignotus had taken her to a tailor where she had gowns of all colors and designs made for her. It had quite fascinated her as well, to try on the many gowns, see their vibrant colors and feel the way they fell upon her curves, and how the fabric spun when she moved. She felt graceful in them when she knew she was far from it. She had gotten comfortable enough with letting Jocosa de-clothe her when it was time to bathe at night. She comfortably let the woman wash her and comb through her hair just like what was done with other respectful women in the time. She had learned to adapt with many things.
Riding side-saddle was no longer a disastrous event when she mounted a horse. Instead, it was only slightly uncoordinated, but she was getting better at it every day. Ignotus was beginning to understand her language that seemed so strange to him. He would ask her to stop and explain a word in mid-conversation, and he would remember it for the future. Just as much as Ignotus tried to understand her, Dominique did her best to understand him. She was beginning to cut the contractions out of her dialect and lengthen the way she walked. At first she had found it all too irritating, but now she rather quite liked it.
Everything was different. In fact, different didn’t even begin to explain it, but it wasn’t a bad different. She had never felt at home in the year 2022, and there were certain aspects of the year that she had hated – aspects that were irrelevant or had ceased to exist in 1234. Instead of finding herself missing jeans – or bras for that matter – she found herself adoring other aspects of 1234. She loved how she was treated. She was treated like a princes, just as any other woman of respectable class was treated: with such respect and fragility. She loved having a man hold doors open for her at all times of the day; she loved her dresses, the beautiful land saturated by the color green. Everything seemed special in 1234, and it made her love every minute she spent in that year rather than yearning for her home.
There was a day when Cadmus was off on a hunting trip and Eirene traveled to a few towns over to visit with an old friend. This left Ignotus in charge of watching over Tyrion, and as such, Dominique had come along for Tyrion's entertainment. Ignotus had Jocosa pack up a few loafs of bread and a pitcher of wine, and they left Godric's Hollow and headed out to the wide plain just before the forest. Arrow had trotted along behind Tyrion, and when they reached the clearing, Arrow had demanded a game of fetch with a stick he had picked up from the ground.
Ignotus and Dominique sat on the grass together as Ignotus pulled a piece of bread from within the cloth to keep the loaf warm. He ripped Dominique a piece and handed it to her. They sat in a happy silence for many moments, watching Tyrion play with the dog, before Ignotus turned to Dominique and asked her the very question that he had been dying to ask since the night of Antioch's death.
"You never told me the rest of the story. The story of my brothers and me," he said, taking a bite out of the bread. He wished he had asked her sooner. Those two weeks of sharing little about each other’s pasts had been eating at him. He had been dying to find out what Dominique knew, but with Antioch’s death only a fortnight in the past, the right time to talk about it hadn’t arrived yet.
Dominique looked up at him as she fiddled with the bread, plopping tiny pieces into her mouth.
"You're right. I didn't," she answered decisively, her lips pulling up into a crooked smile. She hoped Ignotus had forgotten. She had still yet to decide what was best for her future as of yet: whether it was harmless in telling Ignotus what she knew or if she should keep her knowledge a secret. Sure, she had had two weeks to think hard on the matter, but she had yet to come to a conclusion.
Ignotus eyed her and a smile spread across his face as he understood her tease. He then chuckled. "I am asking you to tell me."
She nodded. Of course she knew that he was asking, but it was her way of diverting the situation.
The next step in the story of the Deathly Hallows was the death of Cadmus Peverell, which Dominique knew to be suicide. She had noticed only days ago how Cadmus was quickly declining into a reserved man with little drive. She assumed it wouldn't be long before he reached his breaking point, but how was she to stop a suicide? And if she did, she knew that would completely alter the future. What would that do to her world? She didn't believe she was being selfish in her thought process, despite the fact that she was willingly and knowingly standing by as a man would be stripped away from yet another brother. She was not only thinking about her world, but every single life that had ever lived between the year 1234 and the 800 years that followed. It would alter so much.
But even if she didn't try to stop his suicide, how was she to tell Ignotus that his brother would shortly be suicidal? She had learned Ignotus to be a kind, loving, and determined man who cared about his family and the ones he loved above all things. Ignotus would never let Cadmus kill himself, and when the inevitable came, surely Ignotus would feel at fault.
No, she did not believe Ignotus could know of the story.
There were other things that constantly reminded her of her decision to keep those facts to herself. Seeing Tyrion was one of them. As much as she had come to love the boy, Dominique would still have her moments when she would be reminded of just who that boy was. The blood-line of Lord Voldemort. The continuation of that blood-line until the Gaunts would be married or born into the bloodline, and then the birth of the most wretched wizard to ever walk the earth. Sometimes, she just looked at Tyrion and couldn't believe how it was possible.
"There isn't much else to tell," she said, rolling her shoulders. "The Elder Wand will travel from master to master; it has a dark and bloody history. The other Hallows will also make their way through time from generation to generation."
"So..." Ignotus began as he pondered her response. He tried to figure out the meaning that lied beneath her encrypted words. "You knew Antioch would die, struck down for the sake of possession of the Elder Wand?"
"Yes," Dominique answered, and she wondered if Ignotus would be furious. "I did. I'm sorry."
"Do not apologize," Ignotus said. He actually smiled. It was the first time, Dominique noticed, that he had smiled after having recently discussed his deceased brother. She took this as a good sign. He was slowly recovering from his loss. "You could not have stopped it, and neither could I. Antioch was dead long before you arrived."
Ignotus' response sent a wave of relief running through her. She knew it hadn't been her fault, and yet she had feared Ignotus' reaction. She knew him to be tense, rash, and hostile when it came to his brother's death. In all other things, however, Dominique had found him to be a kind, gentle, and humble man.
Dominique tried to apologize one more time, but Ignotus waved it off before she could, changing the subject. "Do you miss your home?" he asked, looking at her with curiosity before popping another piece of bread into his mouth.
Dominique was slightly taken aback by the question. She knew he would ask her at some point, but within those past two weeks, he hadn't asked her directly for her opinion or her feelings. He had only made comments of how he hoped she was comfortable, or how he would phrase it: how he hoped everything suited her.
"Of course I miss it," she answered automatically and without thought.
Did she, though?
She fell back against the grass and toyed with the loose locks of her hair that had fallen out of the braid Jocosa had done for her that morning. She looked at the sky and tried not to notice Ignotus' eyes upon her. Despite her answer that seemed so reassuring, she began to think about it. She hadn't even thought about her home, her job, her family, everything she had left behind. She hadn't even given it a moment's thought. Was time still moving forward there? Did her family believe her to be missing? She briefly panicked, but she found that she couldn't worry about it too much. There was something deeper inside her that told her to breathe, that said everything would be fine.
What had Harry done when she didn't show up the next morning for her mission? Had she blown her opportunity for a promotion?
All these questions plagued her, but then she relaxed and wondered if it was even worth it. Worry wouldn’t better the situation at all. What were her chances of ever going home again even? She missed her family; she knew that, but did her family miss her? Had they noticed she was gone...?
Pain hit her hard in her chest. A thick lump rose in her as she debated the answer to that question. Tears threatened to form in her eyes, but she forced them away. She remembered the day she came to 1234, how that afternoon at Shell Cottage, she had sat alongside the shore, watching her cousins play their games, how they had been completely oblivious of her presence. How she had gone completely unnoticed. Suddenly the truth came spilling out of her mouth.
"I actually don't know," she said, changing her mind. "I don't miss my home. I don't miss my job or anything else. I only miss my family."
"Surely you miss your home...?"
"I guess," she shrugged. "I never really felt as if I fit in there. My family is huge. Sometimes, when we have get togethers, there are so many of us that you could just sink into nothing and no one would notice. And I'm the only one who isn't near the same age as all the other kids. My sister is twenty-three, but she has her fiancé to keep her company. My next youngest family member is seventeen; he’s my brother, but he has all sorts of other cousins who are his age too. I'm twenty, and I have just always felt like I am stuck in the middle, never going anywhere, never..."
She faltered and looked to Ignotus. He was listening intently to her, but Dominique just realized how she had opened up to him.
"I'm sorry. I'll stop talking," she said quickly.
"No," Ignotus said. "Do not stop. I want to know."
She looked at him to tell if he was being genuine, and he was. His eyes were kind and gentle, looking deeply into her. She opened up one more time. "I just don't feel like I belong there. I never did."
"I am deeply sorry to hear that," he replied. "I also find it strange. You have adapted so well; you fit right in. You are natural at doing so. How could you possibly have trouble finding your place?"
"Don't be," she said, and once again, she found herself pouring her heart out to him. "And I don't know. Perhaps it was never the place I was meant to be."
"You think you are meant to be here?"
"I don't know," she answered again. "I don't know what I think. I just know that...I feel more at home here than I ever did anywhere else."
Ignotus actually smiled. "I am glad to make you feel at home."
She rolled onto her side and looked up to him. "Thanks, Ignotus," she whispered.
She watched his smile. It always grew bigger when she said his first name, and as she realized this, she wondered if she were speaking appropriately to him. Did only his family or close friends call him that? Was it inappropriate of her to call him that because they were only a little more than acquaintances, or was it inappropriate because he was a lord? She almost grew worried if she offended him when she said his first name, but the smile told her differently.
Deciding they were already sharing more than they had over the past few days, she asked him, "Why do you smile when I say your name?"
He looked taken aback, but still his smile didn't fade.
"Do I?" he questioned. "I had not noticed."
"You do. Only when I say your name. Not when your mum or Cadmus. Just me."
"I do not know," he answered, rolling his shoulders. He looked away from Dominique as he continued. His eyes landed on Tyrion, having a grand time playing fetch with Arrow some ways off. Dominique almost wondered if he diverted his gaze just so he didn't have to look at her, as if he was embarrassed. "Perhaps it is because I am not used to being called that by anyone but my family."
"So I am being disrespectful when I say it?" she asked, looking underneath his words.
"No," he said quickly. He didn't want her to think that she was disrespecting him in the least. "I mean, if you knew better, you would be, but you do not. You are not from this time and do not know better."
"I can call you my Lord, if you like," she said under her breath.
"No," he said in a rush. "That is not necessary. When it is just the two of us - or we are around my family - it is appropriate enough. I...I like being called Ignotus by you."
Dominique smiled and left it at that. She thought they would enter a pleasant silence with only the birds chirping over their heads as they rested in the oak tree they lay under, but Ignotus was the one to carry on the conversation.
"How are people addressed where you come from?"
"Everything is much more relaxed," she began, wondering if she had used the right word to explain. "No my Lords, or Lady. Your elders are addressed as Mr. or Mrs. Your peers are simply called by their first name or their surname. It's also not Mother very often; it's Mum. And Father is Dad. Things are very different."
"Yes, I see that it is," he said with much curiosity. Ever since he knew of her different time period, he had been desperate to know what it was like. He knew many things had to have changed, but he couldn't even begin to fathom what those changes consisted of. He had wanted to pick her brain, but hadn't found it appropriate to bombard her with questions when she must be so worried and confused. But Dominique didn't seem to be that. She didn't seem to be worried; if she was, it was on the inside, and she was adapting very well. In fact, she seemed just as eager to learn about 1234 as Ignotus was to learn about 2022.
And despite his reluctance to ask her questions, he had still gathered a lot of information through simple conversation. They had both attended Hogwarts; apparating had been perfected in her year while people were still attempting it and winding up with missing limbs. Things called indoor plumbing had been invented that Ignotus was still trying to understand the concept of, and he had learned that witches and wizards weren't the only ones who had made advancements as well. Muggles had gone a long way, creating things that Ignotus could not comprehend: electricity, light bulbs, cars, airplanes, televisions. These were all things that Dominique had mentioned to him and tried to explain, and he had failed to understand. He just couldn't fathom such things.
But it wasn’t just the invention of new objects that fascinated him as well. The standards of her time were also completely different to him. He had listened to her explain how women were free to be their own spirits. Men didn’t always hold doors open for women, women had jobs just as much as men did, and horses were nearly obsolete by means of travel. When Ignotus had listened to her explain how she had perhaps only had doors held open three times in her life, Ignotus believed that the people of 2022 had never heard of something called chivalry.
He was completely fascinated with everything she had to say. If he could ask her questions or listen to her talk about her life and her home all day, then he would. But he would have time for that later. He looked to the sky and saw that the sun was beginning to make its trek downward for the day, and that was when he remembered an event he had to attend.
"Dominique," he began.
"Tonight there is a marriage within Godric's Hollow between two noble families. It is required that my family and I attend. Would you accompany me as well?" he asked.
She tried to figure out what was beneath his question. In his time, was this his way of asking her on a date? If that's what it could be called. Or was he asking her because he knew she would enjoy herself?
Despite what his reasoning was, she tried not to think too hard on in it. Instead, she just nodded and smiled. "Of course!" she beamed. "I would love to."
"Brilliant," he said and rose.
He wiped the grass from his trousers and offered Dominique his hand. This time Dominique did not look at it in curiosity. She had begun to understand their ways. It wasn't that he found her - or women in general - incompetent; the men were just being polite. Still, women seemed to be these gentle and sacred creatures, quite handled like glass even though Dominique refused to let herself be handled too frailly. But never in her life had she had a man show her exceptional chivalry, so she was beginning to quite like Ignotus' actions. She reached out and placed her hand in his, letting him pull her from the ground.
"As much as I would love to spend the day talking with you under the oak tree, we best be heading back. If you are to come to the party, then we should find you something to wear." He looked over his shoulder to Tyrion a ways off. "Tyrion! It is time to go home, mate!"
Tyrion smiled, burst towards them, and hollered over his shoulder for Arrow to follow. The three began a nice pace back inside Godric's Hollow. The weather was beautiful, and the wind was blowing, making for a very pleasant and enjoyable walk. With Arrow leading the way, Tyrion slipped between Dominique and Ignotus. He placed his hands in each of their own and swung them back and forth between their bodies.
Tyrion looked up to Dominique with a board smile. "I am glad you came to us, Dominique."
"Lady Dominique," Ignotus corrected before she could say anything.
She looked to him curiously; he knew it didn't make a difference to her what she was called, but the look on his face said that he had corrected his nephew for other reasons. Tyrion was just a boy and still learning what was considered proper for conversation.
Tyrion pursed his lips and nodded, looking back to Dominique apprehensively as if he had offended her.
"Yes," Tyrion said, correcting himself. "Lady Dominique."
They entered Godric's Hollow and walked the winding street. Tyrion waved to children he knew; men and women stopped to bow to both Dominique and Ignotus. A kind woman arranging flowers outside of her home handed Dominique a posse with a smile and a curtsy. Knowing what was appropriate because Ignotus had passed Dominique off as a woman of higher class, Dominique inclined her head in return. When they began their walk once again, Ignotus took a few of the daisies from her hand and twisted them into her hair. She smiled to him, and it wasn't long before they reached Ignotus' home.
They slipped inside, and Jocosa was immediately there to take their cloaks. She said to her master, "Your mother awaits you."
"She does?" he inquired curiously. Jocosa only nodded her head, and Ignotus rolled his shoulders. "Very well. Tyrion, put some water down for Arrow. Jocosa, you will see to it that Dominique is dressed appropriately and ready for the Strathclyde wedding party this evening."
"Yes, my Lord," she answered with a bow. She smiled to Dominique, a woman she would consider her friend these days, and led her from the room.
Ignotus watched Dominique fade up the stairs with a look of admiration about his face before he turned into the sitting room where he assumed his mother was waiting. And there she was, sitting patiently in a chair. Seeing his arrival, she rose, beaming. Eirene opened up her arms and embraced her youngest child.
"Ignotus, my dear," she greeted him.
"Mother," he answered back. "I thought you traveled to Wiltshire for the day. What brings you?"
"I have only just returned from Wiltshire. I have wonderful news," she answered, dropping into the chair again. She latched on to her son's hands and dragged him with her. Unable to sit quickly enough, Ignotus simply sank to his knees as he let his mother cradle both of his hands. "I would have announced this at the wedding party tonight, but seeing as I am not going, I thought it best to tell you now."
"Tell me," he encouraged.
"Lord Pellinor? You remember him. Your father used to take all of his hunting trips with him. I paid him a visit today in Wiltshire,” Eirene began. Ignotus nodded, signaling that he remembered the man and didn't want to interrupt his mother. "He had a wonderful proposal that I could not deny. You should remember his daughter, Brigid. The two of you were always splashing about in puddles together as children."
"Yes," answered Ignotus. "I remember her."
"She is eighteen now, and quite a beauty, I must say."
Ignotus swallowed a lump in his throat. There was something deep within him that said he knew where his mother was going with this.
"Mother, what is it you are saying?"
"Oh, Ignotus!" she beamed. "Is it not wonderful?! You and Brigid are to be married!"
His breathe escaped his lungs, and he tried to suck it back in, but he found that nothing would come. He tore his eyes from his mother, knowing he wouldn't be able to shield his pure sense of bewilderment from her eyes if they made contact. Before his mother could question him, he swallowed the thick lump in his throat and replied, his voice hoarse. "Yes, it is wonderful..."
"I know," Eirene said. It then became evident that she was not even analyzing her son's emotions. She was too absorbed in her own happiness that her youngest son was to be married. She ranted on and on. "Ignotus, you are so lucky to be marrying at the age of twenty. Men do not usually marry until well into adulthood. This was the way of my mother and father, and by then my father was too fat and old for my mother, still a young girl, to love. To be marrying at such a young age for you is wonderful! Once Brigid sees you again, it will be impossible for her to not love you."
"Yes," answered Ignotus quietly.
"Oh come, darling. Have faith," said Eirene in a breezy voice. She thought her son was doubting his ability to be loved by a woman. "How can she not? A man as handsome as you? And kind and gentle. You are everything a woman could hope for in a husband."
"Thank you, Mother," said Ignotus just to stop her. He winced and knew he couldn't tolerate the conversation any longer. He had to clear his head. So to shut his mother up, he showed his false thanks and dismissed himself. "Mother, thank you for this. Really, I am thrilled to be marrying Lady Brigid, but now I must get ready for the Strathclyde wedding party."
Eirene nodded, and Ignotus slipped from the room. He bolted up the stairs and dashed into his chambers, slamming the door behind him. He let his back hit the wooden door, and pathetically he slid to the floor. Latching onto his head, he tried to breathe again.
He didn't know why he was so panicked. Why did he seem to be so bewildered to be marrying Brigid? He remembered her from his childhood, and sure they had play well together as children, but he hadn't seen her in a decade. Ignotus didn't care if his mother declared she was breathtakingly beautiful. He didn't care if she was the most beautiful woman in the world. He knew he should be grateful for such a match, for his mother was right. Men rarely married before the age of thirty, and only the lucky marriages - like his parents - were the ones that held strong with the force of love with an age difference of nearly fifteen years. Ignotus was young and in his prime; in fact, he still had years left in his prime, and he knew his mother was right. Any woman would be grateful to be marrying him at his age of twenty rather than ten years later when who knows what had happened to his form. Even Antioch before his untimely death at the age of twenty-eight had yet to marry. Cadmus had been a rare exception; Eirene hadn't approved of his brief engagement because Seraphine hadn't been a woman of high class, but Eirene had come to an understanding because Cadmus' fiancé was, in fact, Tyrion's mother. Ignotus hadn't thought he would be marrying for another ten years.
He told himself to just breathe. To not panic about it just yet. For his mother's sake - and for the sake of his sanity - he told himself that he would wait until he saw Brigid again. Perhaps his mother was right and love would immediately come naturally.
He assumed his problem was due to this sudden surprise and his expectancy to not marry for quite some time. It came as a shock to him when he still believed himself to be so young. All those times years ago when he would be pestered by his brothers, being teased about being so young. He suddenly wanted them back. He remembered how he had hated being demanded of different things simply because he was a man now. Now he yearned for childhood years to come back. He wasn't ready to be a man.
He knew this played some part in his surprise to be marrying Brigid, but there was something else deep within him that he couldn't quite place a finger on. He didn't know what it was, and he knew it was foolish to not be grateful for such a betrothal, but Ignotus had always wanted to marry for love. And maybe he would love Brigid before the time of the wedding, but something within him believed that Brigid was not the woman he was meant to love. If she wasn't, then who was?
Edited and revised: 1/15/13
Michael Vartan as Cadmus
Sophia Myles as Seraphine
lovely chapter image by nymeria @ TDA
Ignotus forced aside his bothersome thoughts of his new betrothal and focused on getting ready for the Strathclyde wedding party. He shaved the new stubble that had formed on his cheeks and dressed in his best attire. When he went back downstairs, Dominique was already in the sitting room waiting for him. She rose from her chair upon his entrance, shaking slightly with anxiety.
Ignotus paused mid-step at the sight of her and blanched. He knew his mouth was agape, but he found that he couldn't budge. He was too stricken by her beauty. A lump formed in his throat as he found himself rooted to the spot. He had never been so taken by the sight of a woman before.
Dominique grasped the sides of her dress and dropped down into the curtsy she had recently mastered. "Is this okay?"
She stood before him in her humble curtsy. Her strawberry blonde hair was hanging about in loose waves, and part of her hair was pulled back and pinned. A gold band sat atop her head, pressed against her forehead, and loose tendrils fell about her ears. She wore the pink and gold dress Ignotus had purchased for her earlier in Godric's Hollow.
"’Okay?’" Ignotus choked, finally able to speak. He stepped forward and grasped her by the elbows, pulling her from her curtsy. "It is perfect."
"Thanks," she said quietly with a blush.
"Do not fear. You have been an unfamiliar face to the village thus far; this shall be your first introduction to Godric's Hollow. People will know your name after tonight, but you have nothing to fear. You are performing flawlessly."
"You sure?" she asked quietly, flustered, and she put her hands against his chest. He seemed surprised at the sudden contact, but he did nothing and only listened. She didn't seem to notice his surprise or his sudden intake of air. "Ignotus, I'm worried. I really haven't met anyone but you. What if someone questions who I am? And you simply accept anything I have done that may be deemed inappropriate by others because you know I don’t know any better. What if - "
"Oh, Dominique, slow down," he ushered quietly. He found his long, calloused fingers stroking her smooth shoulder. The scent of roses reached him as she pushed back her curled locks. "You should not worry so much. Have you always worried like this?"
Dominique gave a quiet and defeated laugh as she lowered her head. Ignotus reached for her chin, stroking the round curve of it, and he pulled her gaze up to meet his. "Even when I first saw you in that god-awful attire of yours and heard you speaking in that tongue of yours, I had no idea. People will know you are not from around here, but there is nothing wrong with that. Just curtsy when need be, try and talk like I do, call everyone either Lord or Lady, and you will be marvelous."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, Domini - "
"And your dances! I don't know them! How will I - "
"Dominique!" Ignotus found himself suddenly interrupting her. He gave her a smile and shook his head. "You must breathe. You have nothing to fear. I will be there, and I will teach you. You simply have to follow my lead. What can I do to convince you that you have nothing to worry about?"
"Nothing, nothing," she muttered. "Just...Just please be there with me. Always. Don't leave me alone there."
She finally stepped away from him and rubbed her sweaty palms on her pale gold dress. Ignotus watched her pull at her hair and turn her back to him. With her eyes elsewhere, one of his hands fluttered to his chest where Dominique had touched him. It was so rare for a woman to cross the boundaries into physical contact when it wasn't necessary. If it wasn't his mother or there wasn't any dancing involved, then the contact anywhere other than hands was always so alien. Women were too worried about respect and maintaining their class to care or let these things happen, but Ignotus was beginning to understand that was what he despised. He didn't like how women of the 1200s were so reserved, so worried about how they would be interpreted, so worried about being proper.
Then there was Dominique.
And Ignotus knew it couldn't just be within Dominique's personality, but most women would be like this in the 2000s, but he loved it. He loved how carefree she seemed to be when it came to so many things, even when she was worried. He loved how she didn't fear to cross the boundaries into physical contact. He loved the spontaneity she held when she would suddenly be standing in front of him, then touching him, and then turning away from him. He loved how he couldn't predict her, and how simply different she was compared to everyone.
He suddenly realized his heart was racing, and he forced the rapid beating to come to a slow. He didn't know how long it had been since he had spoken. So he finally cleared his throat and said as he followed Dominique's rapid pacing. "I promise, Dominique."
And now he was following her. Chasing her. She was so captivating that he would follow her about his home, so fearsome that she would leave without him. It was yet another part of Dominique that made him so enthralled by her.
When she finally stopped by the window and peered out, he came to stand behind her. He looked to the smooth skin of her upper back that was exposed and the curve of her shoulders. If she could touch him without questioning it, then could he do the same? Uneasily he lifted his hand and gingerly let it splay out across the curve of her shoulder. Her skin was warm and soft, and his touch ignited a flame in the palm of his hand. It was so different to have such freedom in exchanging physical contact without having to ask permission or seem uneasy about every touch.
Dominique didn't even react, which Ignotus believed to be the bes. Sucking a deep breath, he let his hand trail down her arm until his hand dropped to his side once again.
Standing up straighter, he cleared his throat and went to pull on his cloak. He fetched Dominique's from the rack and urged her towards him. When she finally came to a stop in front of him, he draped the deep purple cloak over her shoulders and brushed back one of her curls. He was aware of the flush that reached Dominique's cheeks, but he tried to not let it affect him. "Do not fear. We will have a marvelous time."
She gave him a genuine smile, and then they were out the door. Dominique was careful to follow Ignotus' every move and order. While she was nervous for the party, she was beyond excited. She couldn't wait to discover more about the ways of his time. Something about it drew her in and captivated her.
Instead of taking two horses, Ignotus lifted Dominique onto his horse. Like she had been taught, she sat side saddle with her back straight and head held proud. Then Ignotus climbed on behind her and the horse began a steady trot towards the center of Godric's Hollow. It did not go unnoticed to Dominique how Ignotus had grown exceedingly more comfortable with how he held himself around her. Upon their meeting and until now, he had always been so formal. Then again, that was the way of his time and he was formal with everyone, but she could see that their differences were beginning to collaborate. She grew more formal while still maintaining her care-free enthusiasm, and he was beginning to adapt that same comfortableness she always carried with her.
She could feel it in how he moved around her and how he spoke. She felt it when he touched her back, something so unheard of in this time with ones of such high class and respect. She felt it once again as they rode to the pub with one of his hands positioned lightly on her hip, the other holding the reins. It was obvious to her that he was trying to play it off as holding her securely on the horse in fear that she would fall, but she knew the truth. The delicate rubbing of his thumb along her dress was proof enough that he just couldn't resist touching her.
They didn't speak as they rode. They found no reason to. They were perfectly content, and their silence was quite enjoyed. It didn't matter that they weren't talking; they both felt comfortable enough to just ride in silence.
They approached the pub where the window shutters were wide open, allowing a breeze to roll in. The light from the torch lamps gave the open pub a warm, golden glow, and a happy tune was emitted from the depths within. Dominique could feel her anxiety and juxtaposed excitement as they closed their distance. Ignotus climbed off and tied the reins to the wooden post outside the pub before helping Dominique off the back.
He whispered one more encouraging thing to her before offering her his arm. She took it with ease, sucking in deep breaths, and they turned to enter the pub.
People were everywhere, drinking, dancing, laughing, chatting. Everyone was having a grand time, and the carefree atmosphere quickly washed over Dominique. She let it engulf her whole, and she soon found herself beaming. Before Ignotus could even lead her further into the pub, a young man with copper locks to his shoulders strolled forward. He had a wide grin, and sweat was beading along his temple from all the dancing. A mug of ale was in his grasp, and he had disposed of his jacket, now wearing just his white tunic that was coming untucked.
"Why, Lord Peverell! It has been far too long, old friend," the young man beamed.
Ignotus grinned back at him, and he let go of Dominique's arm just long enough to embrace him. "Callum! It certainly has been too long."
"You must tell me who this mesmerizing beauty is," Callum said with much enthusiasm as the men let go of one another and turned to Dominique.
Her cheeks flushed, and while she could already tell Callum was a man of little care of respectful exchanges, she still dropped down into a quick curtsy.
Ignotus spoke for her, and for that she was grateful. "Callum, this is the Lady Dominique. Her parents are acquaintances of my mother, and she was passing through and is paying a visit. Lady, this is Lord Callum Conway."
"Oh, please, Ignotus. We brawled together as boys, and I am hardly one for such formal pleasantries. Just Callum, my Lady."
"I am so pleased to meet you, Callum," said Dominique, careful to not use any contractions in her words.
Callum pulled her from her curtsy by latching onto her hand and bringing it to his lips. There he placed a chaste kiss on the back of her hand, and Callum said in a husky undertone, "Delightfully enchanted."
Ignotus retrieved Dominique from Callum's grasp with his lips tightly pursed. While Callum Conway was one of his oldest and closest friends along with Edmund, he was quite the womanizer. In the past Ignotus hadn't cared who Callum courted or slept with in his free time; Callum had the right to do as he pleased, but something about his promiscuous friend made him worry to have Dominique in his presence. He didn't want her being enticed by his charms.
Ignotus' arm went protectively about Dominique's waist. Callum's eyebrows lifted in recognition at his actions, yet Dominique remained unaware of the exchange. Seeing his friend willingly pull a woman into his side was new. Callum new Ignotus to be humble and more cognizant of the emotions and physical actions he shared when it came to women, so to see him be so protective over her gave Callum an idea of how important she truly was to him.
"Yes, well," Callum said, clearing his throat. He didn't want to draw attention to the situation, nor was he about to question Ignotus there in that moment. He wiped his curious look from his face, took another large gulp of ale, and his expression was once again jubilant. "I must return to the party."
Ignotus and Dominique both nodded their goodbye and turned to one another. Ignotus turned to Dominique and explained how he was childhood friends with Callum, and as they scanned the pub, he would point out his friends or those of noble class and inform Dominique of their names and such. Occasionally an acquaintance of Ignotus would come and introduce themselves to Dominique, but they would quickly dismiss themselves and leave the two of them to enjoy the party.
They had a great time dancing, and Ignotus had a few cups of ale. While Dominique wished she could try the ale and asked Ignotus if it was appropriate for her to do so, he turned down the request. He explained to her that ale was not a drink a woman of high class should drink at a party, but wine was perfectly fine. Dominique wrinkled her nose at this; she was never fond of wine, but perhaps the wine in 1234 was different from that of home. She would try it later, but for now she stuck with sipping at her water gingerly when she and Ignotus weren't dancing.
She caught on to the dances quite fast. Most of them were line dances consisting of the men and women, or just the women. While they didn't know her, the other women treated her with respect, knowing she was of high class. She danced happily with them while the men watched, grinning as they gulped down their ale. Ignotus enjoyed watching Dominique dance. She moved gracefully and with joy. Her smile was bright, and her curls bounced as she moved. She was the center of attention inside that pub. Her happiness radiated from her, and it spread like wildfire until everyone was smiling and laughing. He enjoyed it even more when he got to dance with her. He was able to touch her without those around him looking at him in deep questioning or wondering if she was actually a whore pretending to be one of wealthy class. When they danced, he was able to hold her close and feel her against him without anyone giving a care.
When he was sweaty from all the dancing and Dominique continued to dance in the next women's only dance, Ignotus downed his ale and disappeared onto the porch of the pub, desperate for some fresh air. Ignotus sighed as the cool air washed over him. He breathed it in, relaxing after so much dancing and feasting in the stuffy ceremony hall. He believed himself to be alone, so he strolled about the porch, just letting the breeze greet him pleasantly. When he went to step off the porch, he nearly tripped over his brother.
"Cadmus," Ignotus gasped, turning to face his brother, sprawled out along one of the steps. How had he not seen him before? There he was, lying on the steps with the end of his un-lit pipe hanging off of his lips. "I did not know you were here."
"Still here," Cadmus answered, and Ignotus believed his answer had a whole different meaning to him. Cadmus wasn't just speaking of being on the porch.
"Are you drunk?" questioned Ignotus quietly.
"Call it what you will," he slurred, waving his free hand around as the other caressed his pipe. "I like to call it negligent. For once."
"What is wrong?" Ignotus huffed, sitting opposite of his brother on the steps.
"Oh, where should I begin?" snarled Cadmus, and his younger brother flinched at his outburst.
Ignotus wondered what had brought this on from his older brother. For the first month after Seraphine's death, Cadmus had turned into a drunkard until he realized how much Tyrion needed him without his mother around anymore. Cadmus had shaped up, and therefore Ignotus and Antioch had gotten off of his back about it, but now, Cadmus seemed to have gone backwards. If Ignotus didn't know better, it appeared as if Seraphine had just died yesterday to Cadmus. This wasn’t just about Antioch and their loss; it was about Seraphine.
"You miss Seraphine," breathed Ignotus for an easy start.
"I do not miss her. I pine and yearn for her," hissed Cadmus. "Do you know what it is like to love a woman? Not infatuation. Love."
Ignotus pondered the question, and for some reason he couldn't quite place, his mind immediately went to Dominique. He shook the feeling off, and consciously answered his brother's question. No, he didn't know what it was like to love a woman. But there was no need to answer Cadmus; he had turned it into a more hypothetical question.
"Of course you do not," muttered Cadmus his own answer. "You are just a boy."
"Cadmus," Ignotus whispered, a warning as he grit his teeth, "I am not a boy. You know that very well."
Cadmus didn't seem to hear him, and he continued to rant on. "A boy, Ignotus! You know nothing! So do not attempt to lecture me or console me when you cannot sympathize."
"I may not have loved, Cadmus," he began uneasily, "but I have lost. You and I have both lost Father and now Antioch. I can sympathize when it comes to the loss of a loved one."
"Oh, take your pity elsewhere," snapped Cadmus. "Go, and dance yourself to Lady Dominique's side! Enchant her with your boyish charm and innocence!"
Ignotus made a soft hum under his breath. For a moment he believed he had hit the root of it all. Knowing he was entering treacherous waters with Cadmus, he began his question gently. “Lady Dominique. That is where all of this is coming from?"
Cadmus didn't answer, and Ignotus was the one to snap that time. “Are you jealous that I am dancing with Lady Dominique?”
Once again Cadmus didn’t answer. He only pulled his lips into a grimace and faced elsewhere. Ignotus gasped in shock. "My God, you fancy Lady Dominique!"
"She is a beauty," Cadmus answered indirectly. "And you must be stupid to not know that you fancy her as well! Everyone can tell; you have been blinded by her beauty, as have I."
Ignotus grunted under his breath. Yes, he knew that much to know that he had begun to fancy Dominique throughout the evening, but what he didn't need was other people knowing it as well. Not with the news his mother had given him earlier today. Luckily that news still remained a secret, but for how long? Eirene had been bursting with excitement that afternoon; surely she would share the news with the public soon, and then it would be deemed inappropriate for Ignotus to be seen with her in such a fashion as tonight.
"What?" Cadmus sneered. "For once in your life you seem to be positively love-stricken and you cannot even manage a smile. Why is that?"
"Mother had news for me today," he began. "I am betrothed to Lady Brigid Pellenor."
"Ah. My baby brother. Betrothed," sighed Cadmus. He appeared reminiscent for the slightest second, and then his expression turned to that of detestation. He wrinkled his nose and grimaced. "Why you?"
"Pardon me...?" gasped Ignotus.
"Why you? Why you and not me? Me, with a son with no mother. Me, who is desperate to love a woman again. If it be not Seraphine, then give me a woman I can imagine is Seraphine. And here you are, just a boy and torn between two women."
Ignotus blanched. He blinked multiple times before he was finally able to recover from his brother's harsh words. They left a bitter sting in his heart, and Ignotus wondered if it was just the ale talking or if Cadmus was speaking from his heart. He hoped it was the ale.
"You are drunk. You know not what you speak," encouraged Ignotus.
"I know what I speak, and I declare you to be an ignorant, spoiled boy!"
"Cadmus!" shouted Ignotus. He rose from the ground quickly, pained by his brother's words once more. His fists balled against his side. He was used to his brothers - now simply brother - releasing their frustration on him; he had learned to accept it and not take it to heart, but this was too much for Ignotus. Instead of entering silence like he normally would, Ignotus rounded on his brother with ferocity. "I am not ignorant! I understand as much as you! You were once twenty, as I am, and Antioch never spoke so unkindly to you as you have done to me! You were once twenty, and you know that I am not ignorant! Nor am I spoiled. Even if you were the one betrothed to Lady Brigid, you would disgrace yourself by imagining her to be Seraphine! Lady Brigid deserves as much respect from her husband as any other woman. Seraphine is gone, Cadmus, and she is not coming back! You must let her go and move on if you are to ever love again or give Tyrion the mother he needs! And I will never let you court Lady Dominique, for she deserves more than your selfish imagination!"
With that Ignotus whipped around and stalked back into the pub, leaving Cadmus to wallow in his thoughts. He gulped down the rest of his ale and threw the mug at the ground nearby. He sat still for many moments, desperately wishing to be with Seraphine, the woman he loved so much. He found himself rising and leaving the party shortly afterwards. He wandered down the road, leaving his horse still tied to the post. He walked about aimlessly, stumbling here and there.
He finally fell to his knees under a tree by the river where he fished out the Resurrection Stone from his pocket. He turned the dark, cold stone over in his hands. He grew furious that he had yet to understand the Stone. He had seen his brother put on the Cloak of Invisibility; he had seen its power and truth with his own eyes. And Antioch had killed the one wizard he had ever lost a duel to. All of the other gifts from Death worked flawlessly, but the stone...
He couldn't figure out just what to do. What was he doing wrong? Why hadn't Seraphine returned to him? Had he been cheated?
He clutched the thing tightly to his chest, rocking back and forth as tears threatened his eyes. Alone and knowing no one would find him, he allowed himself to cry. He forced his eyes shut and squeezed the thing tightly in his palm, the tip of the stone digging into his flesh. As he squeezed and rocked, he muttered her name endlessly.
Nothing again. Why wasn't he hearing her voice?
He opened his eyes, and shock took over him.
There she was.
Seraphine. In all her beauty. She looked as she did shortly before she had grown ill, only she appeared translucent. Cadmus could see the bushes surrounding him through her stomach. Her long black hair was pleated with loose tendrils about her face, and she appeared somber. Her expression was that of remorse as she looked upon Cadmus with her lips pursed and eyes wide.
"You are here..." whispered Cadmus with a sharp intake of air.
"Yes," Seraphine's voice was almost metallic, a soft push of air from her throat.
"Where have you been? I have needed you. More than ever," begged Cadmus. He quickly stood and outstretched a hand. He prepared himself for the touch of Seraphine once more, but utter disappointment filled him as his hand swiped clearly through hers, as if moving air. He couldn't touch her; he couldn't feel her.
He tried again, moving his hand quickly back and forth where hers motionlessly rested.
Seraphine finally whispered. "I do not belong here, Cadmus. This you know."
"No. You do belong here! With me! With Tyrion!" cried Cadmus.
"I have come every time you hold that stone in your hand. I find something pulls me from the afterlife to here, and then I see you. You always close your eyes and wait. Never have you once looked, yet I have watched you every time, unspeaking. I did not want you to know of my presence; however, you opened your eyes before I could leave this time."
"Why did you not want me to know of your presence?!" Cadmus demanded an answer.
"I have told you. I do not belong here. I will never return to you as I once was. Those who are dead cannot be recalled from the grave, even from such a stone given to you by Death. There is a time for dying, Cadmus, and mine has long since passed. You must accept this."
"You belong here with me. I have given you my whole heart."
"I give it back to you, Cadmus. Your heart is kind and generous. Another woman deserves your love; give it to her and she will cherish it. You must let go of me. Know that I love you and Tyrion," she spoke as if she were parting from him.
"You cannot leave me here!" he cried.
But it was too late. Seraphine disappeared from him, leaving only a soft layer of mist where she once stood. Cadmus sank to the ground and let out his loudest scream.
Author's Note: I debated a lot about what happens in this chapter. I wonder if I moved things along too fast or if it just seems out of place, but after much debate, I've decided to go with my gut.
You will know what I'm talking about as you read. :) Please, feel free to leave any constructive criticism you may have about the speed, pace, or any plot events in this chapter. :)
Edited and revised: 1/15/13
gorgeous chapter image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
After hours of dancing and feasting, Ignotus finally had to pull Dominique from the dance floor. She was still beaming and full of energy, but she willingly said her parting goodbyes to her new friends and let Ignotus drape her cloak over her shoulders. Together they entered the cool night and he lifted Dominique onto his horse, climbing up beside her. They set off at a pleasant trot, Dominique's laugh gracefully meeting the dark night.
"Do we have to go back just yet?"
"It is late, my Lady," answered Ignotus, but he was already grinning. He knew he would give in quickly.
"But I'm not ready for tonight to end just yet! It was so much fun. Can't we go out to the meadow?" she asked with desperation. She clasped her hands together, pleading with him, her smile bright and wide.
He chuckled and nodded. "Very well."
He wrapped an arm tightly about her waist, and he kicked his heels into his horse's side. They took on a fast pace as they raced through Godric's Hollow, the both of them laughing as they did so, and they finally reached the meadow where they had so often come to relax these days. Knowing no one was around to see her, Dominique hopped off gracefully before Ignotus could even attempt to help her, and she spun around. Her skirts delicately circled about her, the moonlight caressing her pale skin.
Ignotus grinned and hopped down, letting the creature graze to its liking. He stepped up behind Dominique, joking to her. "And you were so worried it would not go well. You were the life of the party, my Lady."
"I love it here," she said in an airy voice. She realized she wasn't just speaking of the meadow. She was talking about everything. Godric's Hollow, 1234, the atmosphere within the town, the people, the way they spoke, the way everyone was treated with such respect, the clothes. All of it. She did love it. She hadn't realized just how much until tonight.
There was something strange within her that made her feel as if she belonged here. Why hadn't she been here all along? She didn't miss the option to use the air conditioning unit when she got hot at home; it didn't bother her when the rooms became stuffy due to lack of circulation. She didn't miss being overlooked by everyone; here, she was special. Here she was enjoyed, here she was the life and energy of those around her.
Ignotus caught on to what she was talking about. He sank to the ground and watched her move about the meadow with deep interest. "You must miss your home,” he suggested.
He just didn’t understand how she could be so relaxed about being away from home, about being in a place so unfamiliar to her, about being away from her family. Here he was, having already lost one brother he wished to keep forever by his side, and she didn’t appear to be missing her one brother and sister in the least.
"You don't understand, Ignotus," she said to him without stopping her dancing. She moved to one of the line dances she had done with the women, the steps now known to her by heart. "Compared to here, everything is so different at home. No one...cares. Women are equals, which - don't get me wrong - is wonderful. But that's when people get overlooked. I'm just...I'm so ordinary at home. Actually, I'm less than ordinary. I'm forgotten. I have two siblings, nine cousins, and ten aunts and uncles. My family is huge, and they are all so close. Everyone except for me. I'll watch everyone at our family dinners, everyone laughing and joking, and I try to join in...but it just doesn't feel right. I feel left out, and no one seems to mind."
"Dominique," Ignotus breathed in pity. He knew Dominique had struggled at home. Why else would she be so comfortable here? But he hadn't known it to be this bad. This had begun to explain some things to him. "They must mind, and they all love you very much, I’m sure. How could they not?"
"Thanks, Ignotus," she said, rolling her shoulders, "and yes. I know they love me, just like I love them. But here...Here is exciting, and I feel selfish when I say that I feel special here."
You are special, he thought. Ignotus felt his cheeks actually flush crimson at that, and he was thankful for the dark night to hide his blush. When it faded, he finally lifted his head to look at Dominique. She had stopped spinning, and when their eyes met, she sank to the ground before him, folding her legs beneath her skirts. Ignotus followed her by sinking to his knees.
"Will you return home?" asked Ignotus. He feared the answer. He didn't want her to leave, but he was curious as well. He awaited the answer patiently.
She bit her lip as she debated her future. "I don't know. I know going home is the right thing to do. I have told you that we have time turners where I am from. There are strict rules when they are used. You can't be seen, and when they are used, you return to the same moment you left. The thing that confuses me, though, is that I didn't use a time turner to get here. I just...showed up here. So I don't know if time is still moving forward where I'm from...or if it's just sitting still. I wonder if my family is missing me; I wonder if I've been sacked from my job for not showing up for my mission, and worse, I wonder if they have even noticed...Or if I'm just here, and no one will ever know the difference because time is standing still. Because I didn't use a time turner to get here, I simply don't know how to go back."
"I see," he muttered. He didn't understand some of the things she spoke of, such as 'getting sacked' and things like that, but he didn't question it. He knew now wasn't the time. "Do you want to go back?"
She took a moment to think his question through. Then a look of sheer guilt spread across her face, and she lifted her gaze to him. "No, I don't. Not yet, at least."
His heart was racing, and he wanted her to stay, but he did wonder about her family. What if time in 2022 was moving forward while she was in 1234? Her family was certainly missing her then, worried for her safety and well-being. Could she really give that all up? He wanted her to stay, but was it right? He tried to work this from her with his next question.
"But your family...?"
"Will make do without me," she answered under her breath. "They always have."
"I am so sorry you feel this way, my Lady," he answered, feeling her pain.
"I used to regret it," she commented under her breath. "I used to wish for something different. To be like the rest of my family. To be normal, to feel like I fit in. Then I came here, and then...Then that all changed. Do you think things happen for a reason?"
"Yes," answered Ignotus. "Most of the time. There are the things that I find hard to convince myself have happened for a reason, such as Antioch's death. But I try to tell myself these things happen for a reason we cannot understand but let go because we have faith in the destiny that has been laid out before us. Life will lead us down the right path. Do you think you were sent here for a reason?"
"I don't know..." she whispered her answer. "Maybe."
"What reason do you believe?" he asked. He wanted to hear more from her, he realized. He wanted to hear her say that yes, she believed she was here for a reason and that he was that reason. As he came to this realization, he wondered how he had grown so fond of Dominique already. How had this come about without him realizing it?
He inched closer to her, desperately awaiting her answer.
"I have a few ideas..." she muttered, embarrassed as she hung her head low.
Ignotus reached out and grasped her chin between two fingers. Slowly he lifted her gaze to his. Her beautiful blue eyes were alive with the moonlight, and he urged her further to share with him.
"Sometimes I think I was sent here to find my home. I finally feel like I've found my home. I think I was sent here to find you..."
He swallowed and froze. His wish had been spoken, and now he didn't know what to say in return. He took a deep gulp of air and parted his lips, suddenly feeling parched. "I think I was meant to find you that day..."
Dominique noticed he had yet to let go of her chin. His thumb was stroking the skin there, and she aware that he was slowly working his way up closer and closer to her lips. She knew she tested his boundaries. What they did together when no one else was around was already so different from what he was used to. She could feel it in his actions, his anxiety and yet full excitement to reach out and touch her. He wanted to, despite what was considered appropriate.
He shifted, his eyes moving down from hers. She watched his grey eyes move downward, analyzing her nose, her cheeks, and down to her lips where he couldn't seem to look away. She then knew what he wanted. The desire was alive within her as well. She wondered if he would do it. She had already worked him out of his ordinary actions, but would he go so far as to actually do it? Or would he need more convincing? Did she do it first? Would he be angry or refuse?
Unable to tolerate the wait any longer, she whispered to him, breathing against his thumb. "Are you going to kiss me?"
It took him many moments to finally answer.
"I want to, my Lady," he whispered. And he did. More than anything. But Ignotus knew nothing about what was acceptable in Dominique's time. He only knew his own time. He shouldn't kiss a woman that he wasn't betrothed to; even further, he was betrothed. Did women from 2022 kiss men simply because they had the desire to do it in the heat of the moment? Or was that frowned upon as well? It was too difficult to tell. He anxiously awaited any further notion from her.
"Kiss me, my Lord," she finally whispered.
Ignotus did so gladly. He kept his hold on her chin, and he gently drew her towards him. He pressed his lips against hers, breathing into her mouth. He jumped when he felt Dominique's hands at the back of his neck and sneak into his hair, pulling at it with her long fingers. She pressed herself against him, and her lips were suddenly moving against his in a way he had never experienced before. Then he felt her tongue.
He abruptly pulled back and looked at her in surprise. The feel of her lips had been exhilarating, a thousand times better than when he had kissed the few women he shouldn't have in his past, but now was different. He had loved it, but Dominique moved in a way he had never heard of before.
"What's wrong?" she asked, surprised by his sudden retraction.
"You...What did you do?" was all he was able to manage.
"I kissed you..." she answered with curiosity. Finally she gasped and sat up straight, retracting her arms from around his neck. "I'm sorry. Is that not how you do it here...?"
"I..." he faltered again. "It was very different, to say the least."
"I'm so sorry, Ignotus," she found herself apologizing. Suddenly she feared if he had enjoyed himself or not. "Did you not like it?"
“Oh, Dominique, I loved it. I have just... never been kissed like that."
"How have you been kissed then?"
"Much more...plainly," he answered, unable to phrase it any other way. "There is no using of the hands like that or...moving of the mouth like that."
"I'm sorry," she said quickly, hiding her blush.
"Please do not apologize," he said. He reached out and entwined their fingers. "I loved it."
She grinned at that, and she looked to their hands, his thumb moving sweetly against the back of her hand. He wished he hadn't ruined the moment; he wished he had just let Dominique move the way she wished with him without showing his surprise. He was curious to know more of how different their kissing was, and he wished she would kiss him again. He hoped he hadn't killed the moment, for he wanted to feel her and taste her like that again.
"Will you kiss me like that again?” he asked, urging her on. It was becoming clear to him that perhaps, yes, women did kiss men however they wanted when they wanted to rather than only kissing your betrothed or your spouse.
"You will let me? It will be very different. Please don't think me as unlady-like," she muttered.
"I would never think that of you," he answered. He knew he wouldn't. He could never think Dominique as unlady-like. She was a woman and a beautiful and classy one at that; all he had to do was understand that they came from different times, which he completely did.
She smiled to him and let go of his hand. This time she moved closer to him with full confidence. She pulled up her skirts just slightly to position herself better. She pulled herself into Ignotus' lap, straddling his hips. He remained still as he let Dominique move her body as she pleased. Her arms went around his neck, and this time she pulled him to her. She kissed him gently. After he grew accustomed to her actions, she began to move against him. Her hand stroked the back of his neck, and her lips moved against his. She would take it step-by-step. She could feel his rigid form growing looser and looser by the second. His hands moved to her hips, grasping her dress, and his lips slowly began to move against hers as well. When his breathing grew heavy and she knew he wanted more, that was when she opened her mouth and let her tongue dance across his closed mouth.
She could feel his surprise once again as her tongue stroked his lips. He seemed to recoil in shock temporarily, but he did not break the kiss. Despite his shock, she could feel his excitement in the rapid beating of his heart. She knew he felt confused, unpracticed, and unknowing of what to do. She knew this was new to him, for he had kissed women differently, more reserved and respectfully. So she broke their kiss just long enough to encourage him. "Just do what your heart tells you."
He nodded against her, and when he felt Dominique's tongue against his closed mouth once more, he listened to desires. He wanted to taste her, to feel her tongue with his own, so he opened up his mouth, and Dominique let out a pleased and satisfied groan as he did so. Their tongues collided, an entirely new feeling to Ignotus, but instinct took over. His tongue roamed the inside of her mouth, desperate to learn it by heart. His hands moved up her hips, sliding along her torso until he slid them into her hair, running through her long locks. He let out a whimsical sigh as she fidgeted in his lap, and they continued to kiss for minutes.
Only when they were both breathless did they finally pull away. Ignotus did not let go of her, though. With his hold on her hair, he brought her forehead to his lips and placed a gentle kiss there before their foreheads rested against one another's. He could smell himself on her breath, and he loved that.
When he faltered, unable to find the words, Dominique nodded in return. He was right; it was exactly what he said it was. There were no words for it. She had kissed boys and had her fair share of experience, but she had never enjoyed something as much as that. Nothing had felt so right and so good until she had kissed Ignotus.
She fidgeted on top of his lap, retracting one of her legs from his hips. When Ignotus worried she would pull away from him, his hands desperately went to her hips, squeezing delicately to keep her there.
She smiled at that, and she traced her fingers over his wet and parted mouth. She whispered before kissing him chastely. "I'm not going anywhere."
With her reassurance, his grip loosened and he let her do as she pleased. She grabbed his hands and maneuvered their bodies so they were lying side by side on the grass, facing one another. Ignotus smiled, outstretching his arm for her to use as a pillow. She lay close to him, the heat of his body radiating about hers and keeping her warm. She placed her head on his forearm, and she reached out to touch his cheek, kissing him once more.
"Now I know I came here to find you," whispered Dominique.
"I am glad I found you that day, and no one else." He reached out to stroke her hair, and in that moment he felt more at home with Dominique than he had ever felt in his entire life with anyone.
"I am too. At first, I was always trying to find a way to go back. I wanted to; I felt like I was intruding. Especially while you and your family were mourning Antioch. I felt like I was a bother. I've loved it here from the beginning, but when I met your brother, I knew I had to leave. I didn't want to be here for what was to come, but now I don't want to leave you. Now I want to stay here and be here for you," said Dominique. She reached out to play with the tie on his tunic. She was unaware of how much she had disclosed. Her words left her mouth unguarded, and she didn't even think about how she could have just given away more of Death's plan. When she felt Ignotus grow still under her touch, she knew she had said too much.
"When you met my brother, you knew you had to leave? Why?" he questioned in a soft voice, his thick brow pulling together in confusion.
"Oh," she squeaked. "No reason."
"Dominique," Ignotus then quickly pressed. His voice grew stern. "Do not lie to me."
She said nothing and only looked hopelessly into his eyes. What was she to say? Was she to share what she knew? Would she change the future? Had she already?
"It has to do with our encounter with Death, does it not?" inquired Ignotus.
"Yes," she finally whispered, her voice jumping an octave.
"Please tell me what you know," he encouraged.
She pursed her lips. She felt like she was in a rather vulnerable state. She had already voiced to Ignotus that she believed she may have been sent to the year 1234 for a reason. If there truly was a reason, was that reason to share what she knew with Ignotus? Would it change it? Or was the silver lining the fact that the future would be the way it was because she told Ignotus? What was she to do?
But with Ignotus' desperate face, she found herself giving in.
"Please don't be angry with me, okay?" she asked quietly. "There are rules to time travel. That is why I haven't said anything. When I knew both of your brothers were alive, I knew I had to leave because...I didn't want to be here when they died."
"What?" breathed Ignotus in an airy whisper. "You knew Antioch would die? And you know when Cadmus will die?"
"Not the exact day or time. But yes, I knew. I have told you that your encounter with Death becomes known to everyone. It fades into legend and becomes nothing more than a mythical story. Ignotus, the story tells you to be a humble and clever man. That's why you had no desire to ask for anything other than what you did from Death. You knew something was wrong when Death offered you those gifts. You can't deny that you didn't."
Ignotus stumbled over his words, blanching in surprise. "H-How did you...How did you know?"
"It's written in the legend, Ignotus," Dominique sighed, shaking her head. "Your brothers were too consumed in their own thoughts to notice the peculiarity for Death to offer gifts for being cheated. You...You were smart. You knew in the way you worded your request to not be followed by Death. Death wasn't about to let the three of you get away with what you did after being so accustomed to taking lives at that water crossing. He planned to give you anything you wanted and take your life later. The Elder Wand...He gave it to Antioch, but Death knew Antioch's ways. How he desired power. He knew in the end your brother would die because of that wand. Antioch was murdered for the possession of the Elder Wand and nothing more. And then Cadmus...No one can be recalled from the grave. Not even Death can do such a thing. So he provided Cadmus with something that would only give him the illusion that his fiancée is alive. Death knew it would drive him mad. Death knows that...Cadmus is not too far along from Death's grasp."
"Cadmus will die?"
Dominique pursed her lips. What was she to say? How could she tell a man that his brother's death was imminent? How would he take it? She hated to be the bearer of bad news.
"Yes," she sighed. "Sooner than you think."
"Oh no," he breathed as he was struck with an epiphany. "H-How...?"
"Ignotus, I - "
Sensing her retraction once more, he urged her further. "No, my Lady. Please tell me."
"He kills himself, Ignotus," she said before she could back out once again.
Ignotus grew stiff as he lay on the ground beside her, his eyes wide as they suddenly filled with tears. "H-He takes his own life...?"
"Yes, Ignotus," she sighed. She reached out and stroked his cheek, loving the rough stubble as it rubbed against her fingers as she did so. She drew his head towards her chest and held it there as she consoled him, aware of him trying to hold back his tears. "I'm so sorry. The woman he loved. Seraphine, right? Cadmus loved her too much. He can't stand to be apart from her."
"He wants to join her," Ignotus cried.
He could only recall two times in his life when he had cried like this. When his father died and then only weeks ago when Antioch had died. He had let his guard down then in front of all of Hertfordshire, and after that day, he had promised himself it wouldn't happen again. And it hadn't. He had cried before everyone that one time, and since then, he had saved his tears for solitude. He had spent countless nights crying himself to sleep just so no one could see how truly vulnerable he was.
Why did men have to be so strong all the time? Why was it they had to always appear fearless in front of others? If Ignotus wasn't fearless all the time, then certainly not all men were either. How could so many people lie so blatantly? All the time? He wondered if men had to behave like this in Dominique's time. Did they have to put on a brave mask and pretend like everything was okay?
Even if men had to be just as brave and courageous, this was something he loved about being with Dominique. It didn't matter what was the custom of now or of Dominique's time. It didn't matter who was supposed to be brave or who was supposed to be ladylike. They did what felt natural, and they accepted each other for who they were, regardless of what customs they didn't wish to follow.
"Tonight makes sense now," he whispered as the dots all connected. "He was drunk at the party, going on about love and how much he missed her."
Dominique said nothing. What was she to say to that? Instead she only continued to hold him against her chest, running her fingers through his hair. Before tonight she had felt so guarded around Ignotus. She had been prudent of what she said, how she acted, how she touched him, but now she didn't pay it any mind. She realized it didn't matter how they acted around each other; what mattered was how everything seemed to fall into place when they were together.
"But how can he?!" he suddenly cried against her chest. "He has Tyrion here! And me! And Mother! H-How can he, Dominique? How can he? I...I have to stop him."
"No, Ignotus!" yelped Dominique quickly, jerking him away from her so she could look him in the eye. "You can't. I know it must be difficult...To hear this and let your brother die, but...you can't change history. And no matter what you say, Cadmus will do what he wants. No one can bring her back from the dead; it's what he wants."
"But he's my brother!" he fought weakly.
"I know he is," she cooed to him.
Seeing he had calmed down, she pulled him back to her, holding him there and soothing him with her talented fingers in his hair. She continued to stroke his long locks until he was breathing easy once more.
Ignotus may have firmly believed that he could stop his brother's suicide, but something within him said differently. No matter how hard he tried to convince himself - or despite the fact that he had only spoken to his brother hours ago - something told him he was already too late.
And the ninth chapter! I want to apologize for the drastically long wait. I'm very sorry for that, but the next chapter is finally here!
I just want to give a fair warning: this chapter holds some EXTREMELY touchy topics pertaining to suicide. I just want give readers a warning in advance, but other than that - despite that sadness of this chapter - I hope you enjoy!
beautiful chapter image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
It was hours later when Dominique and Ignotus finally pulled themselves from the plush grass and mounted their horse once again. They had spent the rest of the evening just lying on the grass beneath the stars, sharing their deepest thoughts and ponderings. Dominique assuaged Ignotus' fears of his brother's impending death, occasionally having to convince him he couldn't do anything about it. While most of their conversations seemed somber in topic, Dominique did her best to move to the happier things, occasionally getting a smile out of Ignotus when she would speak of how happy she was with him and then kiss his cheek.
After what seemed like no time at all - despite the fact that at least an hour had passed - they reached Ignotus' home. He helped Dominique off the horse and led her inside. He opened the door for her but made no movement to join her. She paused in confusion in the doorway. "Are you not coming in?"
"No," Ignotus answered, "not yet. I want to check on my brother."
Dominique blinked a few times, a sinking feeling hitting her stomach. It weighed her down, dragging her along the floor. She wanted to take Ignotus' hand and pull him inside; she knew there was nothing he could do despite what he thought he could change. But Ignotus couldn't deny the feeling inside of him. He had lost one brother already; he knew what it felt like. Horrible, falling into darkness, as if you had lost a part of yourself. He couldn't lose Cadmus too. He had to try and reach out to him while he still had the chance.
"Ignotus," Dominique sighed heavily, "please. Come inside. Cadmus is..."
She faltered, unknowing of what to say. Cadmus was what? She wanted to say he was incapable of being rescued, that he was beyond reach, that Ignotus couldn't do anything, but she knew that would only infuriate Ignotus. She knew he would declare that she had no right to speak in such a way or make such accusations when she barely knew him. She knew that nothing she could say would keep Ignotus from going to Cadmus'.
So she shook her head and looked to the floor. "All right," she said in reply to him finally.
"Go to bed, my Lady," he said tenderly to her, not wanting her to worry. "I will see you in the morning."
Dominique nodded and moved to close the door. She watched him turn from her, but she stopped him before he had mounted his horse once more. "Ignotus?" He turned back to her with a curious, waiting expression. "Please be careful."
He only gave a curt nod before slipping his foot into the stirrup and hoisting himself onto his horse once more. When the door to his home was shut, he kicked his heels up into the horse's side and they were off, galloping through the quiet town. Ignotus didn't care that it was the late hours of the night. He had to see his brother. Even if Cadmus wasn't suicidal yet, even if Ignotus still had time to make his brother see reason, Ignotus at least wanted to make sure his brother had made it home safe after seeing him drunk on the steps like that. Tyrion had stayed the night at Ignotus' with Eirene for a reason; Tyrion was too young to be home for the night by himself and Eirene had chosen to not attend the wedding party. This way Cadmus could attend the party with no worries about Tyrion's well-being for the night. However, this also gave Cadmus a perfect reason to allow his incoherent state to get the best of him.
The town was quiet, apart from a few drunkards who were clumsily making their way back to their homes after leaving the wedding party. When Ignotus reached his brother's home, he abandoned his horse out front, letting it graze for grass to nip at.
He tried to slow the rapid beating of his heart. He tried to tell himself to relax, that he had nothing to worry about just yet. He shouldn't be panicking when there was no immediate reason to. He made himself be still on the porch of Cadmus' home until his heart came to an easy, relaxed beating, and he then allowed himself to approach the door. He raised a fist and knocked three times, stating his presence while knowing Cadmus could very well be asleep inside. "Cadmus? It is I, Ignotus. Are you there?"
After many moments of nothing but silence, Ignotus knocked again. His heart began to race again, and when he felt as if he may vomit from the anxiety, he pushed the door open. The inside of his brother's home was dark; not even shadows were visible. He pulled out his wand and gave it a wave, a beam of light radiating from the tip. He looked in to home, and his gaze came to rest on the very thing he feared.
He dropped his wand. His hand went to his mouth, and he fell to his knees. Tears blurred his vision within seconds and he began to choke on his cries.
"NO! No, no, no, Cadmus!" Ignotus begged from the door way.
He turned his grip into fists, and he beat down on the wooden floor, cursing himself for not interceding sooner.
Why would his brother do this? How could this happen? Why would Cadmus leave him? Why would he leave Eirene and Tyrion? How?! Ignotus let out a terrible cry. He had lost both his brothers. Cadmus Peverell was dead.
Dominique couldn't sleep. No matter what she told Ignotus. He had told her to not wait up for him, but she hadn't listened. There was something unsettling about it all, something she couldn't quite place her finger on, and she wondered if Cadmus Peverell's time was upon them.
She waited in the front hall of Ignotus' home for his return. She sat on the bottom step of the stairs, gnawing on her nails in fear. She didn't know why she was so worried, but the duration of Ignotus' absence made her worry even more. She was tired; sleep was clawing at her eyes, and her corset under her pale gold gown was beginning to make her stomach ache. She had grown accustomed to wearing the corsets; in fact, she quite liked them now, but she still felt the tight pain of the clenching of her stomach after wearing one for hours on end.
It was after two hours had gone by that she finally rose from her spot on the stair and stepped into the living room to speak to Jocosa. Upon the sound of her footsteps, Jocosa gave a stir and awoke from her light sleep. She too had been waiting for Ignotus to come home, knowing she should be around to take his cloak for the evening. She pretended as if she hadn't been sleeping when Dominique entered the room, but she knew better.
The corners of Dominique's mouth tugged up into a grin. "Don't worry, Jococsa," she said kindly. "It's fine. I'm going to go find Ignotus. Please, get some rest."
"But, my Lady, I should - " she began, but Dominique stopped her with a raise of the hand and a shake of the head.
"No. I will tell Ignotus I dismissed you for the day. He won't mind. Please. Get a good night's sleep," Dominique said sweetly.
Jocosa smiled in return and expressed her gratitude before slipping out of the room and to her quarters for the night. When she was gone, Dominique went to the door and grabbed her cloak. She swung it over her shoulders, connecting the fine purple material to the golden broach at her throat, and she left the house.
The night was quiet. There was no rustle of the wind, and not even the crickets chirped. In the silence she stole away to the stables where she saddled up her horse like Ignotus had taught her to do, and she heaved herself up onto it. She didn't bother with riding side saddle. Not in the middle of the night like this. She hoped it was late enough to not pass anyone on her ride who would notice and judge her. She knew she had previously been in a delicate position; she had to appear proper, respectful, and mannerly. If she didn't, then her reputation could reflect on Ignotus', as he was the one who had taken her in. She found that she didn't care for her reputation, but for Ignotus'; however, she had luckily won over everyone at the wedding party that night.
She rode swiftly. She had learned to understand the creature she sat upon; she knew when to lean, when to rise from the horse's back when it jumped. It had become second nature to her, and while riding the thing the first few times had terrified the life out of her, she rather enjoyed it now. The wind lifted her curls off of her back and breathed the life into her cheeks as she raced through Godric's Hollow in the dead of night. As she wished, her journey was lonely. No one inhabited the streets at the lonely hours of the night.
They were coming upon Cadmus' house soon enough, and when the horse had slowed to a trot outside the door, she hopped off and patted the creature's neck in thanks for its obedience. She let it graze next to Ignotus' horse a fair ways off, and at the sight of his horse, she knew he was either within the house and perfectly fine or something had gone terribly wrong. She hoped it was the first.
Uneasily, she hiked up her skirts and ascended the steps onto Cadmus' porch. The door was wide open, and a noticeable sobbing sound was coming from within the depths of the dark house. Dominique felt her heart jump into her throat, and her face grew hot with fear. She had heard those cries before; they belonged to the man who had found her in the meadow, the man who had taken her in, the man she knew she had come to care for. She had heard them before when his first brother had died.
"Oh, Ignotus," she moaned painfully.
She sucked in a deep breath and tried to prepare herself for what she would find inside, and mustering her courage - for herself and for Igntous - she took a bold step forward. She blinked her vision into focus and tried to force down the churning feeling in her stomach that arose at the sight before her. She was an Auror, yes; she had been trained for certain events and seeing certain things, but she had never seen this, and she had only seen Antioch's body covered by a sheet.
The sight was painful. She couldn't look at the body of the man she once knew anymore. Hanging in the air, a chair knocked over on the ground, the noose strung from the rafters.
Ignotus was on the ground, just feet in front of her. She tore her eyes away from Cadmus' body and to Ignotus on the ground. She fell to her knees beside him and embraced him. He recognized her arms and welcomed her gentle shoulder as he cried into her.
"Ignotus, I'm so sorry," she gently whispered into his ear.
His tears dampened the skin against her collar bone, and his arms went around her for support, clinging to her. She didn't know what to do. She couldn't imagine how Ignotus must feel. She only knew one thing to do, and that was to comfort Ignotus. She rubbed his back and kissed his head, muttering her apologies.
After what seemed like ages of more crying, Ignotus finally sucked in a deep breath and went quiet. With his new silence, he went still. Dominique pulled away from him. The question that wished to leave her lips was 'what's the matter?' but she felt as if that question was obsolete. Of course she knew what the first matter was: Cadmus was dead. But what had caused Ignotus to go so still, so quiet, and for his cries to cease.
"What is it?" she phrased it, seeking out his eyes in the darkness.
She found his warm hazel eyes, bloodshot and beseeching. His mouth was open with an epiphany forming on his lips, and her brow pulled together in questioning. He lifted a weak hand and pointed at her. "You..." he moaned, his voice catching on his cries. "You knew. You knew he would take his life!"
"Ignotus!" she breathed out in a painful gasp. Was he accusing her of Cadmus' death? Was he placing the blame on her? "Are you blaming me for what he did?"
"You knew and you could have done something!" he hissed.
She flinched. Ignotus had been forgiving about Antioch's death, so why was this different? She had tried to explain to Ignotus how fragile the balance of time was, how one small thing could change so much. She couldn't interfere, and Ignotus knew that.
"You knew that I couldn't," she begged in an airy whisper.
"He is my brother!" moaned Ignotus, beginning to hold himself together as he rocked back and forth. "You could have done something. You should have told me sooner."
"I couldn't! I shouldn't have told you in the first place," she said with acidity. She wished add further retorts to show her anger with him, but she tried to be understanding. She knew he had just lost his brother. Just like his need for vengeance after Antioch's death, perhaps this unnecessary blame and angst towards her was only temporary. Perhaps it was his way of coping.
"We could have saved him!" Ignotus cried out. "We could have! If you hadn't been so worried about your life back at home! About the future 800 years from now!"
"Shh," she whispered. She forced down her anger at him. With the faith that it would soon subside, she wrapped him into her arms once more. She cradled his head and pulled it into the crook of her neck where she rocked him back and forth. She listened to him momentarily continue his accusations of Cadmus' death being her fault. She tuned them out, forcing her eyes shut as she rocked him, and finally his cruel accusations turned into nothing more but muffled cries.
"Shh," she continued to soothe, running her fingers through his hair as she rocked him. "I know. I'm sorry."
She didn't know how long they continued to be like that. When he was no longer crying and only breathing heavily into her neck, she finally pulled away from him, knowing they would have to do something about the body.
"Ignotus," she began uneasily, "we have to do something. We can't just leave him like that."
He swiped at his eyes and sat up straight, nodding. She could see him trying to be the man he knew he was. She could see him struggling with his emotions and trying to force them aside so he could take the initiative he knew he had to. He stumbled to his feet, forcing down his cries, and he instructed Dominique to help him as he needed.
Dominique stood the chair back up, and Ignotus helped her onto it. When she was steadily standing on the chair, he passed her his sword and he positioned himself beneath his brother. Dominique cut the rope from the rafters in one fluid motion, and Ignotus readily caught the body of his brother.
Dominique stepped down from the chair and watched Ignotus cling to his brother for dear life. She watched one tear roll down his cheek, but he quickly carried the body of Cadmus Peverell through the house and to his bedroom where he placed his body on his bed.
Dominique asked when he reemerged, "You aren't taking his body back?"
"Not yet," he replied. He sucked in a deep breath, placed his hands on his hips, and stood up straight. In that moment Dominique saw the man he truly was beginning to shine through. "I need to tell my mother first. Without the entire village knowing. And Tyrion..."
Dominique wanted to cry at the mention of the boy's name. The boy who no longer had either of his parents.
"This will crush him..." whispered Dominique in fright.
"He can't know," Ignotus suddenly blurted. Dominique blanched, looking to him for further explanation. "Not yet at least. He cannot know how he died. That he took his own life. To know his father willingly and knowingly left him would destroy the boy."
"But how do you expect him to not know that he committed suicide?" asked Dominique.
Ignotus pondered the idea, scratching his head and pacing about the small entry hall. "We leave his body here. For now. And we send Tyrion away. For the time being."
"Ignotus..." moaned Dominique. "Are you sure that's the best thing to do?"
She didn't know what happened to the child of Cadmus Peverell. All of the stories involving the Deathly Hallows had left out such details. She didn't know if Ignotus had already set off down the correct path or if she should interfere or not; however, not knowing the decided fate for the boy made her more inclined to think only of his well-being and fairness to the boy. How was it fair to send a child away from his home to hide the truth that his father had committed suicide? Was it the right thing to do? She didn't know, but she trusted that Ignotus knew what was best for his nephew.
Ignotus bit the nail of his thumb. "Is it the morally obligatory thing to do? No, it is not. The morally correct thing to do would be to sit Tyrion down and tell him of his father's death, but it has only been weeks since Antioch's death, and we can still see the pain of his uncle's death that follows him around. Imagine what the death of his father would do to him, Dominique. He isn't ready. He is just a boy; he isn't ready to handle this. Not yet. We send him away, and we tell him when we know he can tolerate it."
"Where will you send him?"
"To Wiltshire to be with Lord Pellinor. He is an old family friend. He and my father were lifelong friends. Tyrion is approaching the age at which he should begin his apprenticeship. He will just start a year early. Lord Pellinor will understand our predicament." The idea seemed more and more plausible to Ignotus as he thought more about it. He knew Lord Pellinor would willingly take in Tyrion as long as they needed. Despite this, he intentionally left out Lord Pellinor's daughter, his betrothed.
Dominique nodded. Even if it wasn't right thing to do, she knew it was ultimately the best thing to do for Tyrion.
She watched him move about the house. He grabbed the chair and put it back where it belonged at the table. He discarded the rope, and lastly he noticed something small and black on the floor where the chair had been. He bent to further distinguish it, and he pursed his lips in surprise, picking up the Resurrection Stone. He assumed it had fallen out of his brother's grasp in his last moments. He showed it to Dominique, and she swallowed her sadness.
She could see an idea coming to be in Ignotus' eyes. The light in them grew significantly, and he looked to her in questioning. She finally understood just what was going through his mind.
"Should I...?" he asked, uneasy.
Dominique grew rigid with being asked such a question. She knew what Ignotus meant by it; he was asking if he should use the stone to speak to his brother. If the stone truly recalled those from the grave, she would have immediately said no, but she knew how the stone worked. She had heard the story from her uncle; they would appear as ghosts and could never truly be recalled. She decided to give him this piece of advice.
"Nothing can truly recall those from the grave. They can't come back, Ignotus, but the stone will allow you to speak to them again. The decision is yours to make," she advised.
He nodded in understanding, and with that in mind, his palm closed over the small black stone, and he closed his eyes. Dominique watched the scene unfold before her. She watched the space in front of her, empty and dark, suddenly become lit with the presence of the recently deceased Peverell. When Ignotus opened his eyes, he fell to his knees at the sight of his brother.
"Cadmus..." breathed Ignotus in pain, "how could you?"
"Brother," spoke Cadmus. His voice was different; it wasn't deep of all the emotions he had previously held, whether they be love and happiness, or anger and pain. "Leave me be."
"Not until you answer me," declared Ignotus.
"Drop the stone, Ignotus!" demanded Cadmus.
The intensity of Cadmus' words sent a rush of pain to Ignotus' heart. Why was his brother so desperate to leave him? They both knew this would be their last time to speak to one another. Did Cadmus really wish to end their brotherhood like this?
"How could you do this?!" Ignotus demanded to know. If that was how Cadmus was willing to play, then so be it. "How could you leave me?! How could you leave Mother? But above all! How could you leave Tyrion?!"
"Stop this, Ignotus," said Cadmus.
"Tell me why! Just tell me why," Ignotus moaned.
"Life without Seraphine wasn't a life at all," answered Cadmus finally. "You will be a far better father to Tyrion than I ever could have wished for myself, Ignotus, but please...Do not tell him what I have done."
Dominique could tell Ignotus was fuming with anger. How could Cadmus do such a thing and then ask so much of him? Despite their decision to already do as Cadmus asked, she could tell he was appalled.
He still nodded, though. "I will not," he replied. "I will send him to Lord Pellinor's, where he will learn how to handle a sword before he goes to Hogwarts in two years."
"Thank you, Ignotus," said Cadmus calmly. "I do love you. All of you. But I am happy now. I am with Seraphine. Please do not blame yourself or anyone else. Give the stone to Tyrion, but do not tell him of what it can do. Leave us be in our afterlife, and we will see you again one day."
"I will," promised Ignotus. He prepared himself to drop the stone, to let Cadmus fade away from him forever, but he stopped himself at the sound of Cadmus' voice.
"Yes?" asked Ignotus, looking to him in questioning.
"I do love you, Ignotus," Cadmus reassured him.
"I love you too, brother." And with that, Ignotus let the Resurrection Stone fall from his hand, the presence of Cadmus Peverell forever fading with it.
Another huge thank you to those who remained faithful to this story during this story's hiatus. Those of you who returned, it truly means a lot to me. And to any new readers, I am so glad you are enjoying this story enough to have made it this far.
When I began this story, I really did worry about how it would be received, but I didn't let that bother me. It was an idea I knew I had to write, and I only hope that you are enjoying reading it as much as I am enjoying writing it! :)
A cast list to help the imagination:
Dominique Weasley - Tamsin Egerton (as appears in Camelot)
Ignotus Peverell - Henry Cavill (as appears in The Tudors)
Brigid Pellinor - Gemma Arterton (as appears in Clash of the Titans)
Edric Pellinor - John Lynch (as appears in Merlin (BBC) as Balinor, Merlin's father)
With that said, here's chapter 10! Enjoy!
another wonderful chapter image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
"Come on, Tyrion," urged Ignotus. He held the bag of Tyrion's things in his grasp, standing in the doorway of his home. He looked to the young boy, pouting in the middle of the sitting room.
After leaving Cadmus' home last night, he had sent a messenger to Wiltshire to deliver the message to Lord Pellinor that he would be bringing Tyrion in the morning to him without delay. He had also written in his letter that no questions be asked, but rather he would explain everything in person when they arrived the following afternoon. Ignotus had also told his mother earlier that morning of her middle son's death, and he had also shared his decision to send Tyrion away with her. Unable to argue due to her cries, she had nodded in agreement. She also believed this to be the best decision for the boy. Even though Tyrion acted as if he were fine, they all knew he was hurting from Antioch's death still, and hearing the news of his father's death would only destroy him even more. And if that wasn't enough, how were they to explain to an eight-year-old that Cadmus had willingly left him behind?
"But, Uncle!" whined Tyrion. "Must I really go now? Where is Father?"
Ignotus dropped to his knees in the doorway and opened his arms for his nephew to come into them. Pouting, Tyrion approached his uncle and let Ignotus cup his face in his hands.
"Yes, my boy," said Ignotus in a somber voice. He felt his heart clench in his throat at his next words, knowing they would be the biggest lie he had ever told. "Your father has matters to attend to, but we cannot delay. Your father will come visit you soon, Tyrion."
Ignotus felt terrible for having to strip Tyrion away from the life he knew on such short notice, but Tyrion should have been preparing himself for this day. He knew he would have entered an apprenticeship in approximately a year, and to do so, he would have to leave home. The only difference in the matter was that it came as a surprise to Tyrion at his younger age.
With his lips pursed, Tyrion finally nodded.
"Tell you what, though," encouraged Ignotus, and he grinned, knowing his next bit of news would make Tyrion a very happy boy. At least someone would be happy amongst this mess. "I have a surprise for you."
"Really?!" the boy beamed. "What is it, Uncle?"
"You get to take your father's horse with you! Dax is yours now: a gift from your father," Ignotus said enthusiastically.
As Ignotus had expected, the news thrilled Tyrion beyond belief. Ignotus had pondered giving his brother's horse to Tyrion, as the beautiful black horse, Dax, no longer had an owner. He had debated giving Dax to Dominique, but as seeing Eirene practically never rode her horse and that horse was virtually Dominique’s now, Ignotus had decided this to be best. As he had anticipated, giving Dax to Tyrion also softened the blow.
Tyrion clapped his hands together and gave a jump of excitement. He threw his arms around his uncle's neck in an embrace, and Ignotus couldn't help but smile into his nephew's long, copper hair.
"Oh, really? Dax is mine? Oh, Uncle, thank you!"
"Of course, my boy," cooed Ignotus. When Tyrion pulled away, he patted his head, pushing back his long hair so he could look into the boy's eyes. "Now you have a horse of your very own! And guess what else?"
"What, Uncle?!" Tyrion demanded to know. Ignotus could tell that he had pumped excitement into the boy, excitement for his journey to Wiltshire, and perhaps excitement to be going somewhere new and exciting to him as well.
"You get to take Arrow with you as well," said Ignotus with a generous smile.
This brought the biggest smile to Tyrion's face, the biggest Ignotus had ever seen from his nephew before. With better reassurance over the situation, Ignotus finally rose from his knees and asked Tyrion to gather the last of his things. He went out the front door where the two horses were waiting. Dominique knelt beside Arrow next to the horses, encouraging the Tamaskan husky to drink from a bowl of water before the journey. Hearing his approach, Dominique looked to Ignotus as she stroked the dog and flashed him a smile.
He returned it before he went to strap the bag of Tyrion's thing to Dax's saddle. When he turned around, Tyrion was padding out of the house with the remainder of his things. Ignotus took that bag from him and strapped it in as well. Realizing there was nothing more to be done, Ignotus knelt beside the boy again and gave him an encouraging smile. "It is time to say goodbye to Lady Dominique now."
Hearing her cue, she rose from her spot beside the wolf-like dog and approached them. She dusted the dirt off of her green day-dress and gave the boy a sympathetic smile. That was when Tyrion's frown returned. He had already said goodbye to his grandmother; Eirene had long ago stolen back into the depths of Ignotus' home to cry in solitude, but now it was Dominique's turn.
Despite her conflicting feelings for the boy over the past few weeks, she was sad to see him go. She had grown fond of him. He was quite like a little brother to her now. She had enjoyed looking after him, holding his hand when they walked in the streets about Godric's Hollow, joining in with him in chasing Arrow across the plains. She hated the moments when she would look at him and all she could think of was Voldemort, but she had done her best to force those thoughts to the back of her mind. Tyrion was too loveable anyways to let that bother her too much, and besides, the future was the future. She was already doing what she thought was best in maintaining the future, so she couldn't do anything about the fact that Tyrion would be the ancestor of Lord Voldemort.
Tyrion turned to Dominique, a pout on his face, and his eyes full of sorrow. "I do not wish to say goodbye, my Lady."
Dominique knelt down beside the two as well and she grasped his small hands in her own. "I know, sweetheart. I will miss you terribly," she said carefully and with a genuine smile. "But I promise your Uncle and I will come visit you soon."
"Please do!" requested Tyrion with a smile at the thought of Ignotus and Dominique coming to visit him in Wiltshire.
"I promise," she said again, and she took the boy into her arms. She hugged him tight to her, Tyrion clinging on to her shoulders, and she kissed his cheek.
She released him, and when she did so, Ignotus guided him to Dax. He helped the boy up onto Dax, and then Ignotus was heaving himself up onto his own horse. He looked to Dominique as his horse absently beat its front hooves on the ground.
"I will be back by nightfall," Ignotus said to her in a gentle tone. "Look after my mother."
"I will, my Lord," she answered humbly.
Then with a nod of his head, Ignotus kicked his heels into his horse and Tyrion followed suit. Ignotus looked over his shoulder and whistled sharply. Responding to the whistle he had been trained for, Arrow's ears perked up and the dog began to follow behind the horses. Ignotus and Tyrion gained speed as they set off down the road that led out of Godric's Hollow. They turned the corner, and Dominique was out of view.
They rode fast, the horses responding well to the orders of their masters. The townspeople were quick to clear out of the road when they saw them swiftly approaching. Some didn't even have time to bow in respect to Ignotus, but Ignotus was hardly a man to take offense to such things. All he wanted to do was reach Lord Pellinor's. He wanted to share his brother's death with the man, but more importantly, he wanted to return to Godric's Hollow so he could rightfully take care of his brother's body. He had set his brother on his bed; he had even pulled a blanket over his body and tucked him in, as if he were only sleeping, but the thought of disregarding his brother's body for so long only upset him further.
They were soon leaving the comfort of Godric's Hollow and traveling through the plain and to the hills Ignotus had long ago memorized. He remembered riding through them with his father, learning how to hunt, and then with his brothers. He remembered when, shortly after their father had died, the three boys had left Godric's Hollow for one night just to come camp under the trees between the hills, sitting around a warm fire and telling stories about their father. He remembered fighting off bandits with his brothers another time. How many varying memories those hills held for him, and now his father and brothers were dead.
Feeling his demeanor grow weak with his nostalgia, he gave a deep sniff from atop his horse and sat up straighter. He shook himself into the strong and courageous demeanor he knew he had to hold, and he looked over his shoulder to check on Tyrion and on Arrow. Tyrion was silent, but he was neither beaming with enthusiasm nor pouting. Arrow was still following along at a run, but Ignotus knew the dog was fine. Arrow had travelled with them like this before; the dog was used to long journeys and following behind his masters' horses. He was also a wonderful hunting dog that the Peverells had taken on many adventures.
Pleased, Ignotus turned to face their path once more and kicked his heels his horse's side once more.
After another hour of riding, they were finally coming upon the front gates of Wiltshire. Wiltshire was much like Godric's Hollow; it was a respectable wizarding village not much bigger than Godric's Hollow, and like Ignotus' home village as well, it was home to many noble wizarding families, the Pellinors included. Smoke was rising from various spots within the village, most presumably blacksmith's at work, and even from their small distance, the sound of chatter, the clanging of metal, and the rustle of skirts on grass was audible. The village was happy, and it was a happy change to Ignotus. Sure, Godric's Hollow had seen a fun and happy night only the previous day, but it was obvious the people of Godric's Hollow were trying to move past the mysterious murder of Antioch Peverell, and now - when Ignotus returned - they would only have another death to deal with. Ignotus was once again reassured that he had made the right decision for his nephew; Tyrion would be in the presence of blissful ignorance. He would be happy here.
They approached the gates of the town where an elderly man was slouched in a chair. He had a pipe hanging from his mouth, and his cheeks were bearded, his hair long and matted. A staff rested against the gate he leaned against, and spotting the visitors, he perked up. A gatekeeper. Many villages had gatekeepers. Godric's Hollow, however, had been one to do away with gatekeepers a long time ago. He wondered, though, if Antioch's murder would inspire the idea of reinstating gatekeepers.
Ignotus and Tyrion came to a stop just feet away from him, Arrow panting behind them, and the gatekeeper rose with a smile.
"Not from Wilthsire, sires? How may I be of service?" The man continued to approach them, leaning against his staff. Before Ignotus could open his mouth in reply, though, Ignotus saw the gatekeeper's eyes pass over his horse, and something must have struck his attention, for he perked up immediately. "A Lord Peverell of Godric's Hollow?"
It then occurred to Ignotus that the gatekeeper must have recognized his family's crest on his saddle bag. Ignotus inclined his head in answer. "Yes. Lord Ignotus Peverell, and my nephew Tyrion."
"It has been many years since I last saw you, my Lord. You were only just a boy then," the gatekeeper chuckled. Ignotus briefly pondered if this could possibly be the same gatekeeper from the last time Ignotus was in Wiltshire when he was just ten-years-old. "Welcome back to Wiltshire. Lord Pellinor is expecting you."
The gatekeeper stepped aside and allowed them entrance. Ignotus nodded his thanks, and they weaved their way through the village. Recognizing a noble family, the townspeople stepped aside and bowed their heads as they passed. Ignotus was respectful and nodded in return; if it had been a decade since he had last visited Wiltshire and he was to marry Brigid, surely the townspeople would recognize him from this moment on. With that thought in mind, he wanted the village to believe him to be a kind man, not one of arrogance with a large ego due to a sense of entitlement.
Ignotus remembered his way through the village as if he had just been there yesterday. He remembered what it was like to be a boy here, splashing in the puddles when it rained with Brigid, chasing chickens in the streets until their mothers ordered them to stop. With his memories fresh on his mind, he used them to weave through the town, and shortly they were coming upon the Pellinor's manor.
The manor was a vast one, far bigger than Ignotus' home. It had many windows with shutters, and flowers were planted along the edges of the house and in the front garden. He imagined the plants were Brigid's doing.
He instructed Tyrion to dismount, and after they both did so, Ignotus tied the reigns of both horses to a post. He found himself adjusting his tunic, running his hands through his hair, and trying to make himself appear more than presentable. He didn't quite know why he wanted to make an impression with his looks. He knew he was about to see Brigid again for the first time in a decade and now they were betrothed, but Ignotus didn't want to marry her. Not now at least. So why did he care?
He felt his face grow hot with his anxiety, but he forced himself to remain calm and collected. He wouldn't have Tyrion seeing him like this, especially when Tyrion didn't know of the betrothal and he wanted to keep it that way. He wanted to keep all knowledge of his betrothal between himself, his mother, and the Pellinors, but more importantly he wasn't ready for Dominique to know. He knew he fancied her, but after their kiss last night, he didn't know what she would think.
"Come, Tyrion," encouraged Ignotus, pulling himself from his thoughts.
They approached the manor, and with Tyrion tucked into his side, Ignotus raised a hand and rasped on the front door of the manor. The door was soon opened by one of the Pellinor's servants, a young woman with a kind and generous face and blonde hair. She bowed her head in respect and stepped aside to grant them entrance. "Lord Peverell," she said in acknowledgement.
Ignotus nodded in return, stepping inside. The young woman showed them into the sitting room on the side and she dismissed herself to fetch her master. Shortly the friendly and burly man was entering the room with his arms outstretched for a friendly embrace. Ignotus rose from the chair he had positioned himself in and embraced the man he had known his entire life.
"My, my," Edric Pellinor beamed as he embraced the young man, "Ignotus Peverell. What a fine young man you have become. Last I saw you, you sneaking either mine or your mother's horse out of the stables and riding away with Brigid to the river. What a man, Ignotus. What a man."
"Why, thank you, my Lord," Ignotus said kindly as they released one another.
He let Edric Pellinor hold him at arm’s length and appraise him. Edric was a man entering his elder ears with his hair past his shoulders. He was tall and burly, his arms thick with years of wielding a sword. Beneath his thick, dark, and graying beard, he had a friendly face with wrinkles pulling at the corners of his eyes.
Ignotus waved Tyrion over, who had been humbly sitting on a chair. He scurried over and leaned into his uncle's side. Ignotus squeezed the boy's shoulders in an encouraging fashion, looking to Edric. "Lord Pellinor, my nephew Tyrion."
"Hello, Tyrion," said Edric kindly, his mouth pulling into a smile, dimples forming on his bearded cheeks.
"Hello, my Lord," said Tyrion quietly.
"Thank you for agreeing to my request on such short notice," said Ignotus, scratching his chin where his stubble was growing. His cheeks and chin were currently covered in short, dark stubble. He reminded himself to shave again.
"Of course, of course," nodded Edric, patting Ignotus on the back. "It seemed urgent. Surely you have your reasons."
"I do. Perhaps I can explain them to you further," Ignotus said, and he paused to think about how he could get Tyrion out of the room. Seeing that Edric was waiting for him to finish his sentence, Ignotus finally just blurted out the rest of it. "While Tyrion is shown his room."
"Of course," agreed Edric. He waved the blonde girl over and instructed kindly to her. "Keira, please show young Tyrion to his room, and once he's settled, why don't you fetch my daughter?"
Ignotus felt his face grow hot at the mention of Brigid. He could feel himself grow more nervous by the second to see Brigid once again.
"Certainly, my Lord," the girl said with a curtsy.
Ignotus urged Tyrion to the girl with a gentle push. When he watched Tyrion round the corner and disappear into the home, Ignotus took a quick step forward and spoke to Edric in a hushed whisper. "Really, my Lord, thank you for taking Tyrion in on such short notice. Cadmus is..."
He faltered. He could feel his throat clench with the horrible words that his brother had died. He had already told his mother, and that was pain enough. He was tired of the pain life had brought him over the past few weeks.
Edric looked upon him in worry, and he gripped his shoulder, trying to encourage Ignotus to continue speaking.
"Cadmus is dead, my Lord," Ignotus finally choked out.
"He what?" gasped Lord Pellinor. "But I spoke to your mother only yesterday. She made no reference to such a tragedy."
"He was still alive when my mother visited you yesterday. He died last night. I found his body in the early hours of morning."
"And the boy?"
"He does not know," whispered Ignotus. "His uncle's death was painful for him. His father's...His father's death will ruin him. He cannot know. Not yet. That is why I have asked for you to begin his apprenticeship. I will tell him, but all in good time."
"Of course," nodded Edric again, rubbing his beard as if in deep thought. "I trust your judgment, Ignotus. I will not tell him. We will take good care of him."
"Thank you, my Lord," sighed Ignotus in heavy response. He felt his shoulders drop with an overwhelming relief of tension he didn't know he had held. He let his shoulders fall with relief, and he began to rub his forehead with one of his hands, as if he could relieve himself of his loss and his stress.
"Ignotus." He listened to Edric gently begin to console him. "I truly understand your reasoning. Tyrion will be happy here. Do not fret. I am terribly sorry for the loss of your brothers."
He only nodded as he continued to rub his forehead. He gave a started jump and yanked his hand to the side of his body when he heard the gentle voice of a woman from the entrance to the room. "Father? You sent for me."
Ignotus swallowed the lump that had formed in his throat and let his eyes come to rest on Lady Brigid Pellinor for the first time in a decade.
"Ah," Edric said quietly and leaned into Ignotus with a whisper, his lips pulling up into a knowing smile, "perhaps this will brighten your day." He then turned to his only daughter in the entrance of the room and beckoned her forward. "Yes, my dear. Come here, sweetheart."
Obeying, Brigid Pellinor gracefully approached the two men, and as she did so, Ignotus was left to stare in shock and surprise. He had to do his absolute best to maintain a respectable demeanor. When his eyes had first come to rest upon her, he could feel his mouth drop in surprise, but he had quickly clamped it shut. He remained frozen, rooted to the spot, and he could feel the heat in his face continue to grow as she approached them.
Ignotus had remembered her as a girl. Always small, petite, with long brown hair, fair skin, and chocolate eyes. Now she was a woman. She was of average height and still had a petite form. Like she had in her childhood years, her skin was still fair and smooth, and her brown hair was down to her hips. Today it held waves from being braided, and the top was pulled back and pinned with a gold banned delicately weaved into her hair. Ignotus could tell she was still gentle and kind, and the pink touch of life in her cheeks and the tug of her smile suggested she was still young and youthful when she didn't have to be so careful of her actions. She was the same girl he had known; he could tell that much, but he wondered if the girl he once knew was there at all anymore. Or had she become yet another reserved socialite like the other noble women Ignotus knew?
She was breathtaking; Ignotus knew that much, and he knew he should be lucky to marry her, but still something seemed wrong.
He ignored the despairing feeling in the pit of his stomach for having to marry the woman, and he instead let Edric re-introduce them.
"Ignotus, you remember my daughter, the Lady Brigid," Edric said with a beaming smile.
"Of course," Ignotus said sweetly, standing up straight and holding his shoulders back. He reached out a hand, as he knew he should, and he took one of Brigid's in his own. He brought it closer and leaned over it to place a gentle kiss on the smooth back of her hand. "How could I forget? My Lady, it is wonderful to see you again. The ten years we spent apart served you well."
"Thank you, my Lord. They have been kind to you as well," Brigid said in reply to him. Ignotus was quick to notice the wavering in her voice. He could feel her hand delicately shaking in his grasp. Her voice had waivered, but she had been careful to hold her composure. Ignotus couldn't help but wonder why. Was she just as nervous as he was?
The small, sharp intake of air that escaped from Brigid as he pressed lips to her hand did not go unnoticed to him, and he then released her hand, standing up straight once more. From the corner of his eye, Ignotus could see Edric giving a knowing and mysterious smile. He cleared his throat after their exchange, and both looked to him in surprise. Edric Pellinor shuffled from foot to foot and pointed to the door.
"Perhaps I should see if Tyrion's accommodations are to his liking," Edric said quickly, a smirk tugging at his lips.
Ignotus was quick to react. He knew what Edric was getting at; despite the custom to not leave a man and a woman who are betrothed alone before they are married, Edric was eager to give time alone to the two young adults, and Ignotus was fully aware of that.
"Really, I'm sure they are - " He shortly faltered. Lord Pellinor was already leaving the sitting room, leaving his daughter alone with her fiancé.
Why was Edric so eager to break the custom? Was it because he trusted Ignotus with his daughter? Perhaps Edric was a man who believed in young love and awnted the two to have a chance to spend unsupervised time together. Despite Edric's desires, Ignotus had different ones. He didn't want to be left alone with her. Not when his mind was only on one woman, and that woman was most certainly not Brigid.
Ignotus turned uneasily back towards Brigid. She had a humble and nervous smile on her face, and in that moment, Ignotus believed her to be just as uneasy as he was, although most likely for different reasons.
After a few moments, Brigid took a bold step forward, raising her head to meet Ignotus' eyes. "I see that you have become a man, my Lord. Surely you are a fine wizard and warrior, but have you done away with the boy I once knew?"
Ignotus wanted smile at her question then. He was beginning to understand that his expectation of Brigid was wrong; the young girl he had once splashed about in puddles with was still somewhere inside her. Perhaps she was beating at the social class constructed cage she was virtually held confined in, wanting to be let out.
He felt his smile tug at his lips until he saw Brigid then grin at the reaction she received from him.
He finally shook his head. "I have not done away with him," he answered gently. "Not completely."
Brigid's grin grew bigger with his response, and her next words were eager and quick.
"Shall we take the horses and ride like we used to? Or just one, just like the times of our childhood," she asked eagerly. Her eyes were wide and bright with life.
Igntous actually chuckled, and he felt comfortable enough to take a small step forward and take hold of her hands. He squeezed them gently, pushing his admiration for this woman into her hands. She seemed surprised by his sudden contact, for her gaze went briefly to their hands. She seemed to admire his large ones before looking back to meet his eyes. Ignotus wondered if he should have considered his actions more before taking her hands into his own; he knew he hadn't even given the action a second's thought due to his time spent with Dominique, with how carefree he could be around her, and he wondered if he now should have acted differently. But Brigid's reaction suggested differently. She was fine with it, it not slightly surprised.
"As much as I would love to, my Lady, I must tend to my nephew. Then I must be going. I promised my mother I would be back by nightfall. But another time, I promise," he said kindly, and he knew his words were genuine. He knew he couldn't leave Tyrion. Not yet. And he did wish to ride with her like he used to. After hearing her speak, unguarded due to her father's absence, Ignotus had realized that she was the same free spirit he had known when he was a boy.
He was grateful for this. She hadn't become a stuck-up woman like so many others. She was beautiful and he knew she was everything he could have ever hoped for in a wife. He knew he should feel lucky and grateful for such a betrothal.
Brigid's spirit did not diminish with denial. Instead, she only continued to smile, and she squeezed his hands in return.
"I shall hold you to that promise, my Lord," she said generously.
He knew that no man had ever been as lucky as him to be marrying a woman such as Brigid, and yet he couldn't seem to let go of his despair to the entire betrothal. He knew he was selfish to have this woman and yearn for another, another he knew he could never have if his mother and Edric Pellinor were to have their way, but he had always been one to wish to obey the heart. No matter what it told you.
And his heart, right now, was telling him he couldn't marry Brigid Pellinor. He couldn't marry her because he was falling in love with Dominique.
And the next chapter! Once again, a huge thank you to those who make this story possible!
And another MASSIVE thank you to those of you who nominated this story for the Ultimate Ship-Off Competition at the forums in the Best Unusual/AU category! I honestly can't tell you how much that means to me! But most certainly, Ignotus/Dominique is a pretty unusual ship! :P
Thank you so much, and here's the next chapter!
stunning chapter image by Modthryth
Only a short while later Ignotus had to give his heart-wrenching goodbye to his nephew. Tyrion had begged his uncle to not leave him behind, to not leave him with people he had only just met. With his heart breaking, Ignotus had to whisper to his nephew that everything would be fine, that he and Cadmus would visit soon, all the while telling the deepest lies Ignotus had ever divulged. He had even fought back tears during his goodbye to his nephew, but he knew he couldn't cry. Tyrion didn't believe there to be any reason to cry, and he wouldn't have himself cry in front of Brigid or her father. He had to show courage to the Pellinors, and to Tyrion, he had to appear happy. As if nothing was the matter, as if Cadmus Peverell wasn't lying dead on his bed back in Godric's Hollow.
He had then departed with a bow to the Pellinors and a hug to Tyrion, sending him to Brigid's side. Then he was mounting his horse and riding out of Wiltshire.
Perhaps it was knowing that he was lying to his nephew, that the poor boy would never see his father again, that he was leaving behind a sad Tyrion. Perhaps it was their dreadful goodbye, but he didn't know what came over him as he kicked his heels further into his horse's side, urging the creature to run faster, harder, to take him away from the place. When he was so often humbled and sad while in mourning, he felt anger fuel him like it hadn't ever before. The last time he was this angry he had just learned that Antioch died for the pure possession of a wand, for power. Now his second brother was dead, and while Cadmus had taken his own life, the blame was solely on Death's shoulders.
This was all Death's fault. It was Death who took his brothers away from him.
He was angry at Death for his foolish game, for tricking his brothers into accepting its gifts. He was angry at his brothers for not realizing the peculiarity of the situation. He was furious.
As he left the village, the wind making his cloak billow out behind him, his hair pushed back by the wind, his teeth bared, Ignotus rode hard. He rode fast through the valley and across the plain. He didn't know for how long he had ridden for; time meant nothing to him. Only the anger in his heart. The anger of why this had to be.
He didn't stop until he had reached the very valley that had changed his life. The place where the ignorance of his brothers had cost them their lives, the place where the gifts to the Peverells were nothing more than mere forms of mockery from Death. His horse paced back and forth along the edge as Ignotus looked for some sign that Death was there. His heart thumping in his chest, he began to shout.
"I knew you were making fools of us! I knew all along!" he shouted over the valley. "Now tell me why! Tell me why you had to take my brothers from me! We are only wizards! What means do you have to take the lives of anyone who dare cross this valley?! Tell me why!"
There was a quick gush of wind. It lifted his cloak off the back of his horse, toyed with his hair. The leaves that littered the ground rustled, and some fell over into the valley. Ignotus could feel the atmosphere changing. Death had heard him and his response was quickly coming. The weather around him changed. Suddenly the sky darkened and ominous clouds moved across the sky to block out the sunlight, the sky turning a desolate grey. The wind gained speed, and Ignotus was quick to usher his horse away from the edge of the valley.
Then, with a churn of the air that had quickly grown cold, Death appeared before him. He materialized out of thin air and hovered over the valley he so desperately loved to claim the lives of the innocent in. Like he had appeared the first time, he was hooded and cloaked in the odd black, fraying material. Death lifted his arms, and his long fingers of pure bone interlaced with one another in front of his form. His cool and knowing laugh echoed from beneath the hood.
"Ignotus Peverell," greeted Death knowingly.
"Tell me why!" Ignotus demanded to know. He hadn't even noticed when his cheeks had grown damp of his hot tears, but they were steadily streaming down his wind-burnt cheeks.
"This valley is my territory. No soul has ever survived its crossing. Why should a mere wizard be any different? I claimed their lives because they should have perished in your crossing," said Death.
Ignotus bared his teeth. "You congratulated us! You played us for fools! Why not destroy the bridge from beneath our very feet instead of using such trickery?!"
"My dear Ignotus!" Death laughed. It was a loud, booming, and cruel sound. Ignotus knew Death was mocking him, thinking him stupid and a fool. "I do nothing but claim the lives of those who have reached their time and see them to the other side. I am a creature of the afterlife, and I am a creature of habit. I do not enjoy disruption or change. But when I am disturbed from my habitual existence - such as your foolish bridge crossing incident - I like change it up. Call it revenge if you will."
"You and your hateful games!" snarled Ignotus. "I have lost two of the people who are most dear to me because of you and your nefarious games! Have you no kindness in your heart?! You could not have simply instructed us to turn back?!"
"Kindness in my heart?" Death asked with a burst of laughter. "I have no heart, Ignotus Peverell. I am Death itself. Where was the fun in telling the three of you to turn back? The time of the two elder Peverells was upon them. I am Death; I know all that has come to pass and all that shall ever be. Antioch had run his course; he lived a pointless life other than starting bar fights. If Antioch had lived another year, do you know what he would have done, dear Ignotus? No, you do not. Antioch would have continued his quarrels with Gannon, and they would have escalated beyond your imagination. Gannon would have left Godric's Hollow to gather forces, and he would have marched upon Godric's Hollow and burnt every home to the ground and seen every man, woman, and child slaughtered. Antioch Peverell would have led Godric's Hollow to war in another year's time! And Cadmus on the other hand. Cadmus' existence reached its fulfillment nine years ago when Tyrion Peverell was fathered. I was more than generous in giving them the time that they had. You should be grateful for the years you spent with them, and you should also be wary that I can take your life from you in a matter of seconds, boy!"
"Then take it!" dared Ignotus. "If I was only a piece to your games for so long, then end this game now and take my life!"
Death laughed again and shook his cloaked head. "Oh, such a sacrifice would make things all too easy. And you knew from the very beginning, Ignotus Peverell, that I was one with tricks up my sleeve! You knew! You knew and yet you said nothing. You should have spoken up; you should have voiced your fear. Perhaps they would have listened to you. Perhaps, and they would still be alive. You are as much to blame for the death of your brothers as I am."
"NO!" cried out Ignotus in pain. The thought had long ago crossed his mind, but he refused to think it. He had forced it from his mind; he wouldn't allow himself to be the object of blame. "Their deaths are not my fault! They would never have listened to me! I am NOT the one to blame!"
"Do NOT quarrel with me, boy! We are killers. You and I. We killed your brothers. Together. And you do not even have to ask who is next to die," snarled Death.
Ignotus drew in a sharp breath of air. He knew Death's meaning. He was next. He could feel his heart jump into his throat, and he knew in that moment that his encounter with Death had to come to an end. Just as he began to tug on the reigns of his horse, he felt the ground begin to quake beneath him. He looked to it in confusion and shock, and he knew he hadn't imagined it. The ground was moving.
He yanked harshly on the reigns, demanding his horse step back away from the valley's edge. Just as the horse reared back, the ground fell out from beneath them. Chunks of rock, grass, and earth fell out from the surface and went crashing down into the valley. As the width of the valley expanded, Ignotus and his horse bolted away from the edge until the ground was solid beneath them. Panting, Ignotus looked back to where Death hovered, still hovering over the valley and still as ever.
He knew what Death had just done. He had already made an attempt on his life, and he had tried to kill him by bringing him down in the valley in which this all began.
"I will not be a part of your games!" snarled Ignotus harshly in a tone he had never known himself to have. He had never felt such hatred toward something.
With his last statement, he tugged on the reigns and kicked his heels into his horse's side, demanding him to ride away from the valley and leave Death behind. As his horse began to run at full speed, kicking up the earth beneath its hooves, the cool voice of Death rang in Ignotus' ears.
"You cannot hide from me!" Death raged. "You are mine, Ignotus Peverell! You have been ever since you were foolish enough to join my games!"
As Ignotus rode away from him, the wind picked up once more, and now with it came loud claps of thunder. Rain began to pour, and bolts of lightning flashed against the sky. Ignotus gave a shout when a bolt struck the grass not only feet from him and set the grass ablaze. The blast, white and blinding, the sound of it painful and eradicating, terrified the creature beneath him. His horse reared up on his hind legs, neighing in fright, and Ignotus was thrown from the back of the creature.
The horse continued to rear up in fright as the flames grew with life. Ignotus struck the ground with great force on his back, temporarily rendering him immobile from the impact. He lay gasping for many moments, begging for the air to enter his lungs, and when it did, he pulled himself to his feet and approached his horse. He raised his hands, attempting to seize the reigns as he horse towered over him.
"Easy! Easy!" said Ignotus loudly enough to catch the horse’s attention. "Woah, Caspian."
When he had calmed the horse enough to keep him from rearing up once more, Ignotus mounted Caspian and kicked his heels into the horse's side again. He could feel Caspian struggling to go against his will as he led the horse closer to the flames, but with another kick into the horse's side, Caspian gained speed and they leaped over the flames.
With his heart beating away within his chest and his fear reborn, he looked over his shoulder to the valley and the fire. Still towering over the flames colliding with the rain, Death remained ever still until finally Ignotus watched Death disappear from view, taking the fire with him but not the rain.
Ignotus turned back to the path before him and was racing towards Godric's Hollow at full speed. The rain continued to beat at his back, but Ignotus could feel his fear beginning to diminish when he noticed how the wind had lessened and the deafening claps of thunder and blinding bursts of lightning had faded. Now it was just the rain. He found himself able to breathe again just as he was reaching Godric's Hollow. He only slowed down from his fast pace when he was turning the corner to arrive at his house.
He led Caspian to the stables where he removed the horse's saddle and littered the ground with the horse's food. Only then after he had finished his busy work did he allow himself to relax. He slouched against the creature's side as he grazed. He closed his eyes against Caspian's side, the horse's brown coat smooth against his cheek. He patted Caspian adoringly and found himself talking to the creature. "You are a fine horse, you know that, Caspian. Never have you failed me. I am sorry for the events at the valley."
After minutes passed, he finally stood up straight and gave a good-bye pat to the horse. Ignotus strolled out into the rain, feeling his body and muscles responding weakly and lethargically to his actions after such a fright. He could feel his back and bones aching when he had been thrown off of Caspian. He rubbed his lower back with a grunt.
He found that he wasn't ready to go inside. Not yet. Inside he would have to face his mother; he would have to face duty and bravery once more, and he wasn't ready for that. He needed a moment to himself, a moment to recuperate.
Before he had even reached the gate to his home, he found himself collapsing onto the muddy ground outside as the rain continued to fall. He let it drench his coat, the knees of his trousers now covered in mud. He sighed heavily, closing his eyes to the world around him and letting drops of rain fall from his eyelashes.
He gave a terrified start when he felt the gentle brush of something against his chin. He yelped in surprise and scrambled back, whipping out his wand as his eyes flew open, his first thought going to Death and his next attempt.
"Hey, hey, hey," a consoling voice said quickly. "It's just me. I'm sorry if I scared you. It's just me. Dominique."
His shoulders dropped in relief, and he dropped his wand into the pile of mud beside him. He looked to Dominique before him, wearing the same green dress he had seen her in earlier that day. She hadn't even cloaked herself before coming out into the rain, and her dress was already a shade darker from the water, and her hair clung to her neck and forehead with the water. She knelt in front of him, letting her dress become coated in mud.
"Ignotus," she whispered encouragingly, "what happened?"
He shook his head. How was he even to begin explaining? How could he tell her he was torn apart by lying to his nephew, by leaving him with the Pellinors? How could he tell her he was tormented by the idea of marrying the strikingly enticing Lady Brigid when he knew he was falling in love with her? How could he tell her that he had for once been fueled by anger and let it get the best of him, and as a result he had confronted Death? How could he tell her Death had tried to kill him and had threatened him? Where to begin?
He was lost, so he spoke of nothing relevant. He looked to Dominique, her beautiful face shaped with worry, her strawberry blonde hair now wet and lying flat, and her green dress muddied. He said weakly to her, "Lady, your dress. It will be ruined."
"That's not important," she whispered, scooting closer to him. "I want to know what has upset you so much."
"I did something foolish," he finally muttered. He let Dominique's gentle fingers continue to stroke his chin, ruffing up his stubbled beard, and he finally lifted his head to hers. He wished he could send away his regret and anger like he sent the water away from his eye lashes as he bat his eyes. "Very foolish."
As he said this, he realized just how true he was being. In his short burst of anger, he had let it get the best of him. Never in his life had he encountered such anger, and as such, he had no idea how to cope with it. Instead of stifling it and coping with it, he had acted rash. He had sought out Death himself to defy him and yell in rage. Death was right; he could take his life away in a matter of seconds. So why had he tried his luck? He was now faced with an inevitable truth: he was next on Death's list.
"What did you do, Ignotus?" she asked gently. Even as he looked at her, she made no move to take her hand away from his chin. Instead, she let her palm rest flush against his cheek and she stroked gently.
With a heavy sigh, his eyes fluttered shut at her touch and he leaned into her warm, small hand. "I went after Death," he said weakly.
"You did what?!" asked Dominique in shock. She made a move to retract her hand as surprise took over her. She went to sit up straight, alert and aware, but Ignotus snatched her hand as she tried to pull it from his cheek. With his grasp on her wrist, he gently willed her palm to return to his cheek. Dominique let out a sigh and went back to stroking it gently; she didn't understand just why but her touch was like a lifeline to him in that moment. He was weak and broken; he needed her touch and reassurance, and she knew in that moment that she couldn't act rashly with him. She had to be the shoulder to lean on that he needed.
"I went to the valley," he said again in a defeated voice. "The valley where my brothers and I made the bridge and Death appeared. I went back, and I asked him why. Why did he take them from me? Why did he have to be so cruel? I shouted and I...I acted rashly."
"Why would you do that?" she asked in shock. "He's Death! And you decided to go and piss him off?"
"I do not know what I was thinking!" he cried out. "I said what I did was foolish!"
"You weren't thinking, Ignotus," she accused. In that moment, she was only thinking of him and keeping him safe. And in order for him to be kept safe successfully, Ignotus couldn't go running around with a death wish. She had told him that Death had made them targets since that day at the valley; he knew that Death would soon be after him, so why had he done such a foolish thing? Now that both the Peverells were dead, she couldn't sit back anymore. Not if Ignotus was close to Death. Perhaps it was her time to intervene; perhaps she would be the one to set the future straight. She had to keep him out of trouble. "I told you! I told you that Death has a price on your head, and you thought it would be a good idea to seek him out? Are you trying to get yourself killed? You can't do that!"
She pulled her hand away from his cheek only to give a push against his chest in frustration. She didn't care about the customs of his time, if a woman should never handle a man in such a way or anything of the sort. She would show her frustration, but mainly, it showed how much she cared in her own way. She had grown too fond of Ignotus to let him run around so recklessly.
Her push sent him from his knees onto his bum. "I was just trying to find out why!"
"Why?" blurted Dominique, and even though she didn't really know why, she began to rant on. "Because he's Death! That's why! Ignotus, you bloody idiot. You can't do that. Now that your brothers are dead, you are next on Death's hit list. You have to be careful! He will try to kill you from now on."
"Then I will die at his hand," Ignotus sharply hissed.
Dominique recoiled in shock. Why did he seem so willing to die? Did he believe that he had truly lost everything? She knew he had lost much, but he still had his mother. He still had Tyrion. He still had her. And hadn't she shown him just the previous night how much he meant to her? Dominique was making no progress in going home, and it was very unlikely that she ever would; she had kissed him the night before and she wasn't going anywhere. Didn't he see that? Didn't he see that she was basically his already? What could she do to express that to him?
That was a conversation for another time, though.
"No," she said sternly. "You can't, and I won't let you."
And she would. She would protect him, no matter what the costs. He couldn't die; not yet. Not until he had fathered the child that would carry on the Peverell bloodline until her uncle Harry would be born. Whether he wanted her or he didn't want her, whether she lived happily ever after with him or he refused her, it was her duty to keep him alive to maintain the balance of the future.
"Dominique," he said, and she was careful to notice how he had left out the term 'my Lady.' He cared very little for formalities at such a time with her. "Nothing can hide me from him. He will find me."
"Ignotus," she sighed in an exasperated manner, "have you already forgotten about the cloak?"
"Of course not," he snarled in malice, not to Dominique specifically but towards the entire situation. Towards Death. "That cloak is what got my brothers and me into this mess. But what more can that do?"
"Oh my gosh, Ignotus," she groaned again at him. "It does more than make you invisible to the eye. It makes you invisible to Death too. He gave you the very thing that can save you from him."
Ignotus didn't know how to interpret this. In a way it was a relief, but what else did it mean? Did it mean he was doomed to live the rest of his life while invisible to everyone around him? Doomed to live the rest of his life invisible and in solitude?
He voiced his ponderings. "But what does that mean? Must I wear the cloak for the rest of my life?"
"I don't know..." she answered, and the fierceness in her voice diminished. She turned to a more gentle approach. "Please, Ignotus. You have to be careful now."
He said nothing. Instead he remained still, sitting in the pile of mud Dominique had knocked him into, his purple cloak turning a dirty brown, his hair lying more and more flat by the second as it framed his face with the rain. He shook his head in sadness. "If I had known just how much that day would affect our lives..." he moaned.
"It's history, Ignotus," she soothed, and she moved closer to him, sliding along the mud and placing a hand on his knee. She squeezed lovingly. "There's nothing you can do about it now."
He nodded and was silent for many moments. Finally he said before pulling himself from the mud. "I will be careful."
As he rose, he turned to Dominique and offered her his aide. She took his hand and let him pull her to her feet, but after that, he dropped her hand and turned abruptly from her, heading towards the house. Dominique watched him go with a somber expression and her arms folded across her chest.
He may have given her his word, but he had done nothing to fully convince her. She didn't know why she had the sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that Ignotus' life would soon be at risk during every waking moment he wasn't wearing that cloak.
stunning chapter image by Modthryth @ TDA
"What about these?" Dominique asked enthusiastically over her shoulder to Jocosa. Jocosa dropped the bouquets she had been inspecting at another table and came to view the one's Dominique was now speaking of. Dominique held a bouquet of yellow daisies in her hand, embellished with a white ribbon to tie the lot of them together.
It had been weeks since Cadmus' death, and as such, everyone was slowly recovering. As fast and as far as recovering could go when it came to the loss of a loved one, of course. Ignotus was more reserved, and Dominique noticed he smiled less, but he was on the right track to once again living a life with a sense of normalcy. Just the other day he smiled for a good minute: a record length since Cadmus' death. She had been patient with him. She understood where he was coming from; she didn't pester him with unnecessary things, just as he didn't go out of his way to question her either. She gave him his space when she knew he needed it, and she was doing her best to ease the blow of the death of his brother's.
Since that day outside Ignotus' house, she hadn't spoken of the tale of the three brothers to Ignotus. She knew it was only another burden for him, and so she hadn't encouraged him to live his life prudently or anything of the sort. She could tell he was nervous, though. She'd sometimes see him flinch at minor outbursts, such as a sudden knock on the front door or a dog bolting across the street, and in those moments, she knew he was wondering if Death was striking again, when he would strike again. She knew she could ease the pain by telling him - as the story had told - that he would live a long life, see a son grow up, and greet Death like an old friend. But she just hadn't found the right time to do so, and she believed bringing anything up of the sort would only set him off again. And now that he was having better days more and more, she liked to just watch him smile and occasionally share a laugh.
They had also not shared any more romantic moments since the night of the wedding party. She often wondered if he would kiss her, embrace her, or even hold her hand, but then she had to remind herself that Ignotus lived a different life than she always had. She tried to be understanding and patient with that as well, but she thought that night of intimate kissing meant they could, perhaps, become something. Whatever that something may be in the 1200s, if he were to begin courting her.
She wondered if his lack of intimacy was also due to his brother's death and his time of mourning, but it had been three weeks and she had yet to receive any evidence that persuaded her one way or the other. And she couldn't deny the constant feeling in the back of her mind that there was another force at work also. Something else was keeping him wanting to be intimate with her; she just didn't know what it was, and it was itching at her. It was yet another subject she wanted to speak to Ignotus about, but in his saddened state, she was doing her absolute best to refrain. And perhaps it was also nothing, and perhaps it was this was an area of the 1200s that she lacked better understanding of.
It was just hard to sit by and smile at him and pretend like she wasn't longing for more every second she was around him. She had dated boys back home; she had had her fair share with relationships that she thought was love, and even a one night stand had been thrown into the mix early on into her Auror training. She liked to consider herself experienced when it came to dating, but there was something different about Ignotus. And it wasn't just because he was from 1234; if it was, she knew she would also be head over heels for other men as well, such as Edmund or Callum. But she wasn't. It was only Ignotus. There was something about that night when they had kissed: how right it had felt, how exciting and new. She wanted him to kiss her again, and as such, over the past three weeks, any contact sent shivers throughout her entire body. Like when he would still occasionally trail one of his fingers down her arm as he walked past her, or how he caressed her hand for only a moment when they ate dinner. And only when they had dinner alone. If Eirene was with them, Ignotus was careful to refrain from physical contact. After a few weeks of observing his actions, it didn’t take a fool to put the two together. Dominique just couldn’t figure out why he wanted to refrain from touching her in front of his mother. Perhaps it was still due to the customs of his time, but she tried not to let it bother her. Despite all that, they were actions that said nothing of what she could truly be with Ignotus, she knew they were still physical expressions of affection.
She just wanted more.
So she knew she had an ulterior motive when she was out that day, strolling about the town's streets with Jocosa. She and Jocosa had been taking trips out into Godric's Hollow more and more these days while Ignotus became more reserved, but Dominique loved her time with Jocosa. She had grown close to the woman, and she now considered Jocosa her friend. Dominique could tell Jocosa knew this as well; she noticed how Jocosa acted differently from when Ignotus was around or wasn't.
She and Jocosa had been out to fetch a few things that Ignotus and Eirene needed, but Dominique had also had the idea to stop by a man's florist and purchase flowers to adorn the table at the house with.
Jocosa's head inclined as she inspected the yellow daisies, and she delicately fingered the bunch of them. "Perhaps," she pondered.
"And what about this one?" the voice of a man suddenly said from behind the two women.
Dominique and Jocosa gave a jump and turned around to see the man who had joined in with them. Jocosa immediately dropped into a curtsy at the recognition of the man, and Dominique, remembering in quite delay that he was a lord, did so as well.
She held the skirt of her red dress in her hand with the daisies as she fell into a brief curtsy and then smiled to Callum Conway.
She almost didn't recognize him, having only met him twice, but she quickly placed a name with the face. Callum was tall and broad, his shoulders thick and sinew from years of yielding a sword. He had long, dirty blonde hair to his shoulders, tan skin, and a narrow jaw. His eyes were a striking shade of blue, and it was those blue eyes that she remembered so vividly about him. When she had first met him, he had been alive and at ease at the Strathclyde wedding party, and that liveliness had been an echo of those shades of blue. Then the second time she had met him had been the following day at Cadmus Peverell's funeral. She hadn't talked to him much then, just as their introduction had been brief the night before, and his visit at the funeral had been brief.
Callum chuckled, twirling a rose in between two of his long fingers. "Oh, please," he laughed, and a genuine smile reached his face. "I should think you would remember from our first meeting. Please, no such formalities."
"I am sorry, my Lord," said Dominique with a smile, careful to speak without contractions.
"Yes, well," he said, changing the subject, "never mind that. What brings you here on this beautiful day, my Lady?"
"Jocosa and I were looking for some flowers to buy. For Lord Ignotus' home. That house has seen happier days; certainly a few daisies will brighten up the place," said Dominique, and she half turned back to towards the table of flowers before her. Jocosa did so as well; Dominique knew it wasn't in Jocosa's rightful place to speak unless she was spoken to, so she knew Jocosa would continue their search of flowers.
Callum Conway moved to lean against the table of flowers as he watched Dominique turn from him. He let one of his palms rest against the table, and he placed the other one nonchalantly over the hilt of his sword, strapped to his waist with his leather belt.
"Certainly," said Callum in agreement. "That house has seen happier days. How kind of you. I presume Ignotus is not with you today on your outing, then?"
"No," said Dominique, and she eyed him from her peripherals, a smile tugging at her lips. "So if you were hoping to speak with him, I am afraid I cannot help you."
"I was not looking to speak with him," Callum said in a husky voice. "All I wanted was to speak with you, my Lady."
"Is that so?" she chuckled and glanced at him fully. She caught the corners of his mouth tugging into a grin, and she turned back to set the bouquet of daisies down. "And why were you wanting to speak to me, my Lord?"
While looking at Callum, Dominique noticed the small chuckle that escaped from his throat. It was brief, and she could tell he wished it to go unnoticed. He bit his bottom lip, and in that bite, he was doing his best to hold back a smile, and he remained quiet. In those actions, she could tell there was something else he wanted; he had an ulterior motive, but it wasn't one he was willing to share.
She felt her cheeks flush at that and she turned away from him to look back to the flowers. What did he want? Was she being hit on?
"You looked like you could use some help in your decision. Clearly those daisies are a wrong choice," said Callum, his attempt at coming up with a clever line.
"You think?" she joked after a brief burst of laughter. "I am fairly certain I have far better judgment in flowers, my Lord."
"Perhaps," he said casually, and he turned from having his back to the table so he was facing the flowers and he was shoulder to shoulder with Dominique. "But I am certain I have the better judgment on what suits you."
He reached into the pocket of his trousers and pulled out a gold coin. In one fluid motion with his thumb, he flipped it to the plump woman behind the table, and with the single rose he held between his fingers, he snapped its stem and delicately tucked it behind Dominique's ear, pulling her curls out to frame it perfectly against her face.
"There," he said with a smile, his fingers lingering on the ends of her blonde hair. "This proves it. Roses. They certainly suit you best, my Lady."
Dominique blushed again. She couldn't help it. She wasn't attracted to Callum, but one thing was obvious now. He was hitting on her.
How was she to respond? Did she thank him? As she stood before him, still with shock and unknowing what to do next, she noticed his smile of success as he turned his head from her. Just when she felt her heart begin to race, she was thankful for the voice of another.
"Callum!" the recognizable voice of a man shouted. "There you are!"
Callum Conway let a small grunt of annoyance escape from him as he straightened and turned away from the table and to Edmund, who was approaching them at a jog. Edmund came to a stop before them, panting slightly from the run with his holster about his waist. He wore a brown, leather vest, unbuttoned and hanging loose, over a white tunic, and brown trousers tucked into his leather boots. He pushed back his brown hair as he looked to his friend.
"Edmund," Callum nodded in acknowledgment to his friend, and when Dominique inspected Callum's reaction closely enough, she thought he actually appeared disappointed to be interrupted by Edmund.
"We were going to the archery range. Why did you run off?" asked Edmund. He looked to Dominique, and they both inclined their head to one another in greeting.
"Because I spotted this rather beautiful and distressed damsel and thought I would offer my services," said Callum with a cheeky smile.
Dominique let out a small burst of laughter at Callum's blunt and conceited comment. Edmund grinned too, though, despite how ridiculous it seemed to the both of them.
"Your services?" questioned Edmund with a chuckle. "Really? In flowers?"
"Sure," said Callum with a role of the shoulder. "I am a man of many talents."
"Really, Edmund," said Dominique to him. "I can rather manage flower picking myself. I am sorry to have pulled Callum away from you. Please, feel free to take him with you."
"Not bothering you, am I, my Lady?" questioned Callum with a laugh.
Dominique only chuckled under her breath and shook her head. She finally selected a bouquet of white and wild flowers. She showed them to Jocosa, who nodded in approval, and Dominique paid the woman behind the table.
"Well, then, perhaps you would like to accompany us to the archery range?" asked Callum.
Archery? Dominique didn't know if it was a particularly good idea for women to go to archery ranges, but archery. It was something new to her and something she had not taken the time to discover yet while in 1234. The idea of watching archery seemed intriguing to her; even more so, she had the strange desire to shoot a bow herself. She wanted to go with them. She looked over her shoulder to Jocosa, and together they shared a silent exchange. With their eye contact, Jocosa seemed to understand her question. Jocosa smiled and nodded. Pleased, Dominique turned back to the two gentlemen.
"Certainly, my Lords," she responded.
Callum gave a victorious grin and held out his right arm. Taking a bold step forward, Dominique let left arm hook into his right and he escorted her away from the flower stand. Jocosa obediently followed behind them, the basket of things they had recently purchased while out and about tucked under her arm. It held many herbs and other potions ingredients that Jocosa may have found strange as to why Dominique was purchasing them, but she had her reasons. And those reasons were meant for her, and her alone.
Dominique flashed a smile to Jocosa, who seemed to smile back like an eager little girl when she knew her friend was speaking to someone who was romantically interested in them. Dominique then understood why Jocosa was so excited to watch Callum and Dominique together; Jocosa had noticed Callum's flirting as well. Dominique had a brief moment of a panic, wondering what flirting and such meant in 123, especially if she reciprocated it. Which she had slightly. She forced away the thought. She wasn't attracted to Callum, not really. Sure, he was a handsome and strapping man, but her feelings for Ignotus seemed to put up a blockade to all other romantic thoughts for any other man. She wasn't trying to be a flirt with him; she was just being friendly. She had noticed that being with Callum was easy. He was such a free spirit that her difference in personality due to the times and his spirit made for an excellent collaboration.
She turned back to face the path on which they walked, Edmund on Callum's other side, and she looked to Callum who smiled down at her.
"Tell me, Lady Dominique," began Callum with great interest. "Where are you from? What is your home like?"
She briefly blanched. She hadn't been asked by anyone what her home was like or where she was from, and now that she had, she didn't know what to say. All of Godric's Hollow had been fed a lie. They couldn't know the truth. How could they? Only Ignotus knew the truth. Not even Eirene had been told the whole truth. Ignotus had lied to his mother for her because they both knew how it would sound: it would sound ridiculous, and surely the both of them would have been thought mad. Not only that, but being stuck in 123 with her true past known, she would not have been given the same respect she currently had. Status was important here; Dominique had learned that from the beginning.
But what did she tell him? Eirene had been told that she was from somewhere else, somewhere Dominique didn't remember and had no recollection of what had happened. Eirene and Ignotus had then lied themselves, Ignotus lying for a second time, saying that Dominique was the daughter of one of Eirene's friends who had been through an accident, and that was why she was currently the Peverell's ward.
Where was the silver lining in what she could share with Callum while still being truthful?
She began slowly, carefully, and created a mixture of "I am from Cornwall. I used to live in a cottage by the ocean. It was a beautiful place. Wonderful family."
She faltered. Where did she go from there? She knew Cornwall wasn't all too far from Godric's Hollow. They could reach it after maybe a week's ride on horse, and even more, she could apparate there in a matter of minutes, but no one knew that. Not even Ignotus. It hadn't even occurred to her to share or show the advancements in appration. If Cornwall was reachable, then people would wonder why she wasn't attempting to return home after her 'accident?' She hadn't even determined what her accident was.
If she had an attachment, those in Godric's Hollow would help her to go home? And where could she go? Be taken back to Cornwall where she could stand along the shore where Shell Cottage would be built in 800 years?
She realized she had to get rid of all attachments in order for people to believe that she had no reason to even try to leave Godric's Hollow.
"Then there was the accident," she found herself saying. "A fire. They died. All of them. That is why I came here. I had no one left in Cornwall. I do not remember much about it anymore. I believe I have shut out the memories. They are too painful to bear."
"I understand," said Callum solemnly. "How horrible that must have been for you. I am sorry to bring up painful memories."
"It is fine, my Lord," she said in a quiet voice. And after all her lies, she found that her next words were true. "While the last I have were painful, there were also many happy memories over the years."
"So," began Callum uneasily, and Dominique could sense that he was debating whether or not to speak of something happier, "you have no family left?"
"No, my Lord," she answered, and while she knew she was happy here, it was a desolate feeling, to renounce the entire family who was living happily in the 2000s without her.
"I am so sorry. I can only hope the Peverells have welcomed you into their home like one of their own," he said kindly.
"They have," she said admirably. "Lady Eirene and Lord Ignotus have been wonderful to me, even during their times of mourning."
"Yes, it is extremely unfortunate to lose two great men so soon, and so young. Ignotus has become rather reserved lately, has he not?"
"He has. I try to speak to him, but some days he just is not willing to participate. He needs to let someone in. Perhaps he will listen to you, my Lord," suggested Dominique. "You are his friend. Please. Take him out one day soon. Perhaps to a pub, or on a hunting trip, or - "
She was immediately out of ideas as to how young men spent their free time with one another. If she were at home, she would have recommended they play a game of Quidditch together, or quite the same, that they go out to a pub, bar, or club one evening to let loose. But she wasn't too familiar with how these men bonded, but she knew it was enough for Callum to catch her meaning.
"Most certainly, my Lady," he agreed. "I believe that is a marvelous idea."
Their conversation subsided as they reached the small archery range on the outskirts of Godric's Hollow. Dominique hadn't been over on this side of the village yet; she had no reason to. She knew what it looked like in her own time. It was just an open area with tall grass now, one on which she could often recall watching her cousins play a game of Quidditch on occasionally.
The range was simple. It only consisted of targets at one end of the field, and a wooden fence with a gate allowed those to enter.
At the gate she pulled her arm away from Callum's, and she and Jocosa leaned against the fence as Edmund and Callum entered. Dominique and Jocosa entered conversation as the men gathered their bows and quivers from where Edmund had set them down before setting off in search of Callum. They began to shoot at the targets; they took their time and seemed to be in deep concentration from the moment they placed picked up another bow until they released it. In between each shot they would share jokes with one another. Dominique was aware of the moments when they would lower their voices so they couldn't hear, and then she would notice Callum glancing her way with a cheeky smile, and then Edmund would laugh in reply.
Dominique ignored the obvious fact that Edmund and Callum were talking about her. It didn't matter to her, and she knew it certainly wasn't over anything bad. So she let them have their fun. She was more fascinated in watching the men shoot. She had never seen archery with her own eyes, and now that she was, she was absolutely fascinated by it. She wished she could join the men in the range and shoot for herself, but she knew that wasn't likely to go over well with Ignotus when he found out. She didn't know how involved a woman could be with archery, so she decided to play it safe and result to watching for the day. Perhaps Ignotus could teach her one day.
Dominique wasn't aware of just how much time went by since she had arrived at the range with Callum and Edmund. She was enjoying herself, chatting with Jocosa and watching the men shoot at their targets. Each of the targets at the end of the range had at least one arrow in them, some on the outer edges of the circle, some towards the center, and every now and then one had struck the bull’s-eye.
The sky was beginning to illuminate an orange glow about the village as it began to set in the distance, painting everything a beautiful color, and Dominique was still laughing by Jocosa's side when she heard her name called from a distance.
She turned around to see Ignotus jogging down the path to the archery range. Dominique was aware of Jocosa clamping her mouth shut in mid-sentence and standing up straight.
"Ah! There he is!" Callum's voice boomed from within the range. A chuckle was obvious as he teased Ignotus. "The finest archer in all of Godric's Hollow!"
Ignotus disregarded Callum's words entirely and turned to Dominique.
"Dominique! My Lady, there you are," he breathed as he came to a stop in front of her. "You have been gone all day. You had me worried."
She didn't know why, but she immediately felt guilty for causing him worry. "I am sorry, my Lord," she answered truly apologetically. "You knew I was out for the day with Jocosa. I am sorry if I should have come home sooner."
"No, no," he answered finally. "Do not apologize. I should have known my worry was for nothing."
His look changed then. Dominique watched him wipe his fear and worry from his face in a single sweep. It was gone, or if it wasn't truly gone, he had begun to hide it well from her. She then only understood just why he had the right to be so worried. He knew Death was after him; what if he thought Death would make an attempt at her in order to lure Ignotus into Death's grasp? She felt even more guilt at the thought.
"Although I did not expect to find you at the archery range of all places," said Ignotus with much confusion. His eyes moved from Dominique to Callum some distance behind her who had stopped his shooting to watch the two.
"Yes. Well, Jocosa and I ran into Callum earlier this afternoon and asked us to accompany him and Edmund to the range."
"I see," answered Ignotus, and he seemed to disapprove of the idea. Dominique wondered why, but she knew that was a question for later. "Well, it is late. We should be returning home."
She knew it wasn't a request, but more a demand. It was easy enough to tell that Ignotus didn't want her at the range or with Callum. Dominique nodded and moved into Ignotus' side without question. She looked over her shoulder to the two men and gave them a parting wave. Even as they turned to leave, Ignotus without a word to his two friends and Jocosa fell into step beside them, Callum called after them. "Say, Ignotus!"
Grunting, he turned around and looked to Callum with impatience.
"How about one shot? Come on, my old friend. For old time's sake!"
Ignotus gave a hefty sigh, and Dominique could feel him beginning to reject Callum's question, but she gently nudged him in the ribs with her elbow and jerked her head towards the range, hinting he should at least shoot one arrow.
"Fine," he muttered and stalked off towards the range.
Dominique couldn't help but let a smile reach her face at the thought of watching Ignotus shoot a bow and arrow, especially after Callum's comment about what a fine archer he was. Ignotus hopped over the post that separated the range from the spectator's section and took Callum's bow and a single arrow from his offering hands. In one swift movement, Ignotus placed the arrow in its rightful position and pulled the bow up, his left hand holding it steady, the right pulling it back, the feather of the arrow gracing his cheek. He closed one eye as he held it steady and aimed. In the next moment, he let loose on the arrow and it soared down the range and struck the target in the dead center.
Callum grinned and clapped Ignotus on the back as he lowered the bow. "As I said," chuckled Callum. "The finest archer in all of Godric's Hollow."
"Please, Callum," said Ignotus dully. "You exaggerate my talents."
"Certainly not," he said, shaking his head. "Listen, Ignotus. You should have some fun. What say you to a hunting trip? Just you, me, and Edmund."
Ignotus pursed his lips and finally nodded. "All right," he said. "Just the three of us. Like old times."
"Wonderful," said Callum and he waved goodbye to Ignotus as he left the range, hopping over the post and sauntering back to Dominique and Jocosa.
He fell into step beside the women in silence, and Dominique finally urged him into conversation. "Why do you dislike Callum?"
Ignotus looked to her in surprise, his mouth opening in shock. "I do not dislike Callum. He is a dear friend of mine."
"Then why do you act the way you do with him? You're not like that to Edmund. Just Callum."
Ignotus pursed his lips as he debated on how he should answer her question. He knew the answer in its full truth. He did like Callum; he did, but Igntous understood his ways and how he was a romancer. He had his way with women of lower class and then left them. He didn't like the way he flirted with Dominique because he knew she deserved something better. He didn't want Dominique getting tangled up with Callum and he didn't want to see her hurt by Callum, but even more so, he didn't want Callum to think that Dominique was a woman he could fancy and then abandon.
Besides, Ignotus didn't even know if he had any right to reveal is jealousy and protection for Dominique when he had treated her the way he had since Cadmus' death. He had tried to disregard all romantic contact with her, for he knew he was a betrothed man. But every day was becoming a harder and harder battle. He didn't know what to do: whether to marry Brigid and abandon the truest feelings he had ever felt for a woman, or did he disappoint his mother, leave Brigid, and give everything up for Dominique?
No, he knew he couldn't be that way with her. It wasn't fair to her. He had no claim to her, and he wouldn't until he made up his mind.
stunning chapter image by Modthryth @ TDA
"Is there anything else I can get for you?" asked Dominique as she walked to Ignotus.
She ringed her hands together as Ignotus prepared leave for his hunting trip with Callum and Edmund. She didn't know why she found herself slightly on-edge for him to be leaving. It had been her suggestion to Callum, after all. She knew Ignotus needed a get away with his closest friends, but Dominique believed she was slightly apprehensive over Ignotus' safety. She had told him he was a risk now. He remembered their conversation in the rain just as well as she did. He knew his life was constantly a threat now, but they hadn't made any notable changes to their living situation.
If she remembered the story correctly, didn't the story state that Ignotus lived his life under the cloak after the deaths of his brothers to keep himself hidden from Death? She recalled that he shed the cloak after he lived a full life, when he was ready for Death, and greeted him as an old friend.
So when would Ignotus be prudent and begin to use the cloak?
It made her uneasy. She had tried to push the subject further, but he seemed reluctant to do so.
Ignotus chuckled as he tied his cloak about his neck, shaking his head at her. When he finished tying the cloak, he closed the gap between them and gingerly touched Dominique's elbows, holding her at arm’s length.
"My Lady," he sighed, "no. You have done enough. Thank you for your help."
She nodded, tucking a strand of her strawberry blonde hair behind her ear. Finally she blurted the question that had been eating at her. "You did pack the cloak, right?"
Ignotus sighed at the reminder once more. Would he never be able to forget about that dreadful mistake he and his brothers made? It seemed not.
But he hadn't packed the cloak. He didn't want to risk losing it or risk Edmund or Callum finding it and discovering his abilities.
He wanted to lie. He wanted to tell Dominique that yes, he had packed the cloak and that it was safe in his bag, but he was never a very good liar. He bit his lip after his sigh, his eyes downcast. Dominique could read him immediately, something she was becoming spectacularly good at, Ignotus realized. She huffed in exasperation at him. "Ignotus!" she complained. She felt like a mother scolding a child. "What did I tell you? You have to keep it with you now! Just as a precaution, at least."
"That cloak is too powerful to risk being found," Ignotus said gently and in a persuasive voice, but he knew he wouldn't win with her. He wasn't particularly trying to win either, though.
As he expected, Dominique would not budge on the matter. She shook her head and stomped off from him. She immediately went to his locked trunk as they stood in his chambers, and she pulled her wand out. She pointed it at the lock. "Alohomora!"
The trunk clicked open, and she dropped to her knees, shuffling through the trunk's random contents until she found the cloak buried beneath his things. She shoved it into the bag slung across his shoulder and scolded him once more. "Please, Ignotus. Keep it with you. Just in case. I can't have you taking risks like that. Please don't be that reckless!"
He gave a defeated smile, admiring her spirit and her obvious care for him. He wanted to kiss her again, right then and there, just as he always desired these days. But he refrained; however, despite his rather strong compulsions, one of his hands still moved from her elbow to her cheek where he stroked her smooth skin gently with his thumb.
"For you, I will refrain from being reckless," he cooed.
At his words, he found that he had rendered Dominique speechless for once. She stood still with her hand on his bag, his on her, and her mouth slightly agape. Ignotus was surprised; Dominique almost always had something to say about everything. He smiled with a feeling of triumph, but Dominique wondered just what he meant by his words and what he was doing to her.
They still had yet to be physical with one another, save for the small exchanges of physical contact such as now. Over the past few weeks, Ignotus had done particularly well in convincing Dominique he hardly had feelings for her at all anymore, but it was times like these when she knew that wasn't true. He had to have feelings for her. He couldn't look at her like that or touch her like that without any deeper emotion. Or if he could, she hoped he wasn't that cruel.
She couldn't read him, and she had given up trying. She was trying to do her best to allow him whatever time he needed to sort out these thoughts. She knew something was holding him back from being with her, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to know the answer, so she refrained from asking. She felt, though, as if it would be reasons such as his mother that kept him from initiating anything further between the two.
It tore her apart, though. To be with him every day. To let him touch her so gently at times, to look at his smile. She knew what was happening to her, but she didn't want to admit it. She was falling, and falling hard. She knew it, but she refused to think it. Not until she knew just exactly Ignotus was doing to her.
It was times like these when he would otherwise seem uninterested - or at least try to seem uninterested - in her and then he would surprise her out of nowhere with loving affection that left her surprised and caught off guard. It was moments like these when she just wanted to forget the world and what was right and wrong and just kiss him.
She cleared her throat, though, and took a step back from him, forcing herself to move away from the temptation.
Ignotus seemed to purse his lips at her step back, but he tried to not think about it and what it may have meant. He opened his mouth to speak, but a knock came from the door. He turned to grant Jocosa entrance. "Come in, Jocosa."
The brown haired woman opened the door to inform her master. "They have arrived, my Lord."
"Thank you," nodded Ignotus and Jocosa excused herself with a curt nod.
Ignotus flashed Dominique a small smile before moving towards the door. He was about to brush past her when Dominique quickly grabbed hold of his wrist.
"Wait," she said in a fast whisper, and her eyes moved to Ignotus.
He paused, looking down to her in curiosity, feeling her touch at the base of his wrist set fire to his skin. He waited patiently for her to say or do whatever it was she had in mind. She bit her bottom lip, seeming to be having an inner-debate. Finally her eyes shifted from his gaze and she only brought herself up on her tip-toes to delicately kiss his cheek.
Ignotus felt his chest seize up as he saw her move to kiss his cheek. He turned his head into her touch, letting his lips gaze her cheek that pressed against his. He could feel the heat of her skin, her warmth, the smoothness, and he found himself almost turning even more so to meet her lips. But he refrained. He couldn't.
Finally Dominique lowered herself, her eyes seeming sad. Ignotus wondered if he had disappointed her. Had she wanted the kiss on the cheek to turn into the very thing he had resisted doing?
"Be safe," she whispered.
"I will," he encouraged, and he allowed himself to embrace her. He turned his face into her hair, plaited and woven into a bun and pinned at the back of her head today. The loose tendrils by her ears tickled his neck. When he pulled away from her, he found himself beginning to rant, his thoughts arising as if from nowhere. "I should not be leaving you alone, should I? I could cancel this trip, if you want. I can stay here with you."
"No, no," she said quickly and dismissed the idea. She only then realized it would be her first time in 1234 without Ignotus by her side or in the same house as her, but she could manage a few days without him. She had adapted perfectly. Surely she wouldn't come in contact with any situations in which she wouldn't know how to act in the span of three days. "I'll be fine. Besides, I have Jocosa and your mother to entertain me. Go. Go and have fun, Ignotus."
"I will try," he chuckled and they made way for the door.
Dominique followed behind Ignotus in silence, and they exited the house. Callum and Edmund were waiting outside, Edmund atop his horse and Callum holding the reigns of his as he stood. Ignotus smiled to his friends and went to untie his horse's reigns from the post. He heaved himself up onto his horse and smiled to her. "We will return in three day’s time," he said encouragingly.
She smiled and nodded.
Ignotus' horse moved back and forth impatiently, ready to be running across the plains again. Ignotus and Edmund turned away from them as if to leave, but they stopped and looked back when they did not hear Callum mounting his horse.
Dominique watched him with interest. He clearly wanted something from her; she could tell that much, but perhaps he didn't want the others to see. She watched Callum jerk his head towards Ignotus, trying to give him a sign. Dominique could see the discomfort in Ignotus' face as he bit his bottom lip and grew pale, but nonetheless, he encouraged his horse to turn around. When his back was to them, Callum took two long strides towards Dominique.
She stood there before him, curious, with her hands clasped in front of her.
He cocked his head to the side, his blonde hair swooping into his vision as he approached her. When he was close to her, that cheeky smile of his reached his lips.
Dominique had seem Callum quite a few times since their day at the archery range together. They were never of great importance - at least they weren't to her - but she had gotten to know Callum. She knew he was a care-free spirit and she got along great with him. Her different demeanor and social norms due to her time period and Callum's lack of desire to use common social graces made a good pair; often enough their actions mirrored the other. They were one and the same. They weren't as formal as others would be, and they were both joyous and carefree, unable to be tied down by proper mannerisms.
"You will miss me while we are gone," he teased.
Dominique chuckled and folded her arms across her chest, shaking her head in an exasperated fashion. He was joking, she knew that much, and she couldn't help but laugh at him.
"I will survive nonetheless, my Lord," she teased in return.
"Very well," he said, and his fake attempt at seeming disappointed did not go unnoticed. He was still grinning when he stroked her elbow, which caught Dominique fairly off guard, but she didn't let her surprise show. Yes, she and Callum were friendly and disregarded the norms when it was acceptable, but he hadn't seen him act so boldly in public. Especially with Ignotus around.
He leaned towards her, and she froze in even further surprise. "But never the less, I shall leave you with a kiss."
And with that, he bent down and gracefully kissed her cheek. His lips were soft and full against the round curve of her cheek. When he pulled away, she did her best to keep from blushing. Yes, she was attracted to Ignotus - not Callum - but she couldn't deny that Callum was a charming man. She couldn't deny how handsome he was, and she knew what a man he was to the women of Godric's Hollow. She saw the women who fawned over him, who tried not to drool when he passed, the ones who giggled and batted their eyelashes excessively when in conversation with him.
He released her and turned to mount his horse.
She took a few steps back from him, preparing to watch the men leave on their trip, and when she did so, she caught sight of Ignotus. He had turned around at some point, and by the look on his face, she could tell he had seen everything. His face had gone white as a sheet and he looked as if he were going to be sick. Dominique immediately felt guilty for letting Callum act in such a way with her, and she felt even guiltier for leading him on when she was with him, but she tried to tell herself that she had no right to be. Ignotus continued to deny the sexual tension between them, so why did he have any right to be jealous or make Dominique feel guilty.
She could feel his eyes on her, and his gaze felt heavy. It wasn't angry, but rather it was sad and full of longing. She diverted her gaze to the ground to avoid making eye contact with him. Callum, however, was completely oblivious to the entire scene, which Dominique found herself to be grateful for.
She wished she was brave enough to look into Ignotus' eyes before he left, for she didn't want such unspoken thoughts to be left up in the air for three days before she would speak to him again. But despite her desires, she didn't find the courage before the men kicked their heels up and set off at a trot to enjoy their hunting trip.
Ignotus looked to Callum as Callum's horse caught up with Caspian. He wrinkled his nose at the sight of Callum's broad smile. "And what the devil was that about, Callum?"
"What?" asked Callum, his mind seemingly elsewhere. His gaze shot to Ignotus and to Edmund, who was looking at him with fascination. "Oh."
"Well?" inquired Edmund, his look hopeful for a story and a smile reaching his face.
Callum bit his lip to hold his tongue. He didn't know what Ignotus would deem appropriate to be said about the woman. Especially with how fond Callum knew Ignotus to be of the woman. Callum saw the way they acted with one another. They had grown close in such a short period of time, but Callum believed that to be expected when they had both lost so much.
Callum was, however, completely and utterly unaware of the true relationship of the two.
"I knew you fancied Lady Dominique, but my!" gasped Edmund in shock and laughed. "You look utterly besotted!"
Ignotus threw Edmund a reproachful look, which went unnoticed to the other men.
Callum chuckled, keeping his eyes on the path before them as they left the coziness of Godric's Hollow.
"If I may speak freely about her, Ignotus?" Callum gingerly suggested. He looked at him hopefully. He knew he had every right to speak as he wished, and even when he didn't, he would normally do so anyway. But this was different with Ignotus. Ignotus was his dear friend, and he didn't want to offend Ignotus with anything he could have said, and with Callum's thoughts - running rampant and excited about Dominique - he knew he wouldn't be able to hold back many details. But they could very well be details Ignotus didn't want to hear; Callum didn't know.
"By all means," muttered Ignotus.
Callum took Ignotus' permission with complete lack of grace and immediately began ranting. "Of course I fancy her! And I am besotted, Edmund; I will not deny it," chuckled Callum quite emphatically.
Callum let out a heavy sigh, his gaze on the sky as if in a whimsical daze. "How could I not be? She is a stunning woman. The way she carries herself with pride and independence. She is not like other women: needy and reliant. Dominique is her own woman, and beautiful! Her hair being that unique color, her blue eyes. And I shall disregard all proper decorum when I say how bloody irresistible she looked in that dress just - "
"All right!" burst Ignotus painfully. He let go of Caspian's reigns long enough to clamp his hands over his ears. Hearing Callum talk of Dominique in such a way and being unable to truly express himself was all too painful. He couldn't take it anymore, and he didn't know how he was supposed to continue doing so.
Callum and Edmund took his outburst all in good fun, though, and they looked to him with fits of jovial laughter.
"Yes, sorry," apologized Callum half-heartedly, his smile ever present. "It must be strange for you to hear Dominique be spoken of in such a way, with her being your ward."
Ignotus tried to nod, despite how wrong he knew Callum to be. However, at his comment, Ignotus was able to better understand how Callum perceived his relationship with Dominique. He realized that Callum spoke of them as if they held a brother/sister relationship. Ignotus felt sick to his stomach again and felt himself pale.
"Yes, strange," admitted Ignotus. It was strange though for the talk to be coming from Callum. He knew how beautiful Dominique was, and he most certainly knew how seductive and tempting she looked in the red dress she had been wearing when they left. He tried not to think about that aspect; instead, he began to speak of her in a protective fashion. As if it wasn't the subject of the conversation that bothered him, but rather the fact that he was protective over her.
"She is my ward. I care for her and look after her. She is important to me," he said kindly, and he decided to throw on a joking comment for good fun. "And I have grown protective over her. Especially when it comes to romanticizers such as yourself, Callum!"
Callum laughed freely. "I am hardly a romanticizer these days, Ignotus, my friend. For Dominique, I would set my romanticizing days aside."
Ignotus pretended as if he didn't hear his last comment and decided to change the subject entirely. Unable to tolerate the talk any longer, Ignotus turned to his two friends with a jesting smile on his face. "Come on! A race to the nearest wood! Loser cleans tonight's dishes!"
He didn't wait for his friends to agree. Instead, his kicked his heels up into Caspian's side and set off at a run. Edmund and Callum were quickly behind him, though, and finally with the wind whipping through his long black hair and his navy cape billowing out behind him, he was able to forget all his troubles. For the first time in a long time.
The men returned home in three days’ time just as they had promised after thoroughly enjoying their hunting trip. All of the men had found themselves having the time of their laugh; they couldn't remember the last time they had spent such a time together, just old friends, sitting by the fire in a wood at night, telling stories, drinking ale, and singing their favorite songs while hunting for game during the hours of daylight.
They entered Godric's Hollow in the early hours of night with their game slung across the backs of their horses. They were silent, as the hour was late and their trip had been exhausting. They reached Ignotus' home, and the other men helped Ignotus to carry the dead game to the back entrance of his home at the kitchens where he would take care of it the following day. He then removed the saddle from his horse and led Caspian into the stables.
With his horse away for the night and nothing left to be done, he turned to his friends. He clapped them each on the shoulder with a genuine smile. "My friends," he sighed. "I thank you for our trip. I cannot express just how much I needed it."
"Of course, Ignotus," Edmund replied and patted his friend's hand. "A man's trip was much needed, but you know that Callum and I are just a few streets over if you ever need something of us."
"I know, and I thank you."
Edmund nodded, and with that, he bid goodbye to his friends. He mounted his horse, gave a wave, and turned from them.
When Edmund's horse had set off down the street, Callum turned to Ignotus, his gaze hopeful and expectant. "Ignotus," he began kindly and humbly, a tone that Ignotus heard all too rarely from Callum, "I wondered if I might have a word."
"Of course, my friend," he replied kindly. He looked to Callum, awaiting whatever it was he wished to speak to him about.
"Perhaps inside...?" Callum pressed again.
Ignotus rolled his shoulders. "Sure," he answered again and turned to lead Callum inside his home.
He wondered what it could possibly be about. Ignotus could tell just by looking at Callum's demeanor that it was a serious matter, but what serious matters came Callum's way? Or even if they were truly serious, which ones did he ever approach with prudence?
They stepped inside the dimly lit home, and soon Jocosa came scurrying to her master's side when she heard them enter the sitting room.
"My Lord," Jocosa said quickly, startled. "I did not hear you arrive. I hope your trip went well. Shall I fetch Lady Dominique?"
"No!" blurted Callum quickly to Jocosa.
Jocosa's mouth clamped shut in surprise, and Ignotus glanced to his friend in shock as well. Clearly embarrassed, Callum cleared his throat and shook his head, looking to the ground and appearing to be humble for speaking out of turn. "S-Sorry," he stumbled over his words. "That was inappropriate of me."
Ignotus did his best to wipe the appalled look from his face, and when he found himself successful, he was able to chuckle as he looked at his friend. He knew he could potentially be worried, but to see Callum so humble, nervous, and embarrassed was not an everyday experience. It was a treat for Ignotus and he would enjoy it while he could. Surely Callum's matter couldn't be all that important, for he was not a man of serious means.
Callum scoffed at Ignotus for laughing at him, but Ignotus turned to Jocosa in dismissal of him. "Very well. Lord Callum clearly says no, so do not inform Lady Dominique. I shall inform her myself when Callum and I have finished our business."
"Yes, my Lord," replied Jocosa as she dropped down into a curtsy. She made way for the door, but stopped at the sound of her master's voice once more.
"Oh, and Jocosa?"
"Yes, my Lord?" she inquired.
"You may retire for the night. Thank you," he said with a smile.
Jocosa returned it, dropping into her curtsy once more before leaving the sitting room and shutting the door behind her.
Once they were alone, Ignotus turned towards the table at the back of the room with a sigh. He grabbed one of the mugs on the tray beside the ale Jocosa had set out earlier for him. He helped himself to a glass, asking Callum if he wanted one as well. Hearing his reply, Ignotus poured him a drink as well and took it to his friend. They sat down opposite one another in the large arm chairs beside the hearth, and while swishing his mug of ale, Ignotus looked to his friend.
"Well?" he inquired. "What is it then, Callum?"
"It has to do with Lady Dominique, my Lord," he replied.
Callum's sudden revert back to formal addresses did not go unnoticed to him. As Ignotus heard him being called 'my Lord' as he had, perhaps only been called once in his life by Callum, Ignotus knew Callum found it to be a truly serious matter. And hearing it was one that had to do with Dominique didn't help either. Having seen his friend kiss her cheek three days ago had made him uneasy, and the combination of Callum's formalities in that moment and the matter having to do with her made him sick to his stomach.
He suddenly didn't want the ale anymore. He set his mug down on the table beside his chair, trying to hide his unease from his face. He looked to Callum, ringing his hands together in his lap like a worried child who might be scolded.
"Go on," encouraged Ignotus. He wished he would just spit it out.
"Yes, I suppose I should just say it," commented Callum under his breath, fretting as he ran his hands through his long, blonde hair. He looked into the fire, his mouth moving subtly as if he was trying to string his thoughts into words. When he was ready, he looked to Ignotus. "My Lord, it pains me to see Lady Dominique with her family gone and no home to ever return to. I know you have given her a happy home here, but family is something that can never be replaced. You and I know that more than anyone."
Ignotus nodded along. Yes, he did know. Ignotus had lost all of his family except for his mother, and he understood Callum to be in a similar situation as him. He was an only child and had lost both of his parents more than a decade a year ago. Ignotus encouraged him even further, wondering when Callum would get to the point.
"And so," resumed Callum, "see, my Lord. I would like to offer her another family to have. A family to start. A family with me. And you know now that I find her absolutely captivating, my Lord, and with no family of her own, I did not know who else to turn to. You are her ward; I believed if I were to ask anyone...it would be you."
"Ask me what, Callum?" Ignotus asked slowly under his breath.
"If I may have your permission to ask the Lady Dominique to marry me."
Jocosa couldn't help but to stay and listen. She had caught Callum's last words as she had bid her master goodnight. At the sound of her friend's name, Jocosa found for once in her life that she couldn't resist the temptation to listen. She had shut the doors just as she heard Dominique's name, and unable to leave with the temptation too great, she had pressed her ear against the wood of the door and listened intently.
She couldn't believe what she was hearing. After having watched Callum with Dominique over the past few weeks, Jocosa knew it was obvious that Callum had grown fond of the woman. Fancied her even. But Jocosa was not ignorant like most women in Godric's Hollow were. Most women were mesmerized by Callum's handsome face and form, and his wit and his charm. They were so mesmerized with him as to be completely oblivious to the fact that, at the same time, he was also Godric's Hollow's most infamous romanticizer.
Despite Jocosa's knowledge of that, one thing was sure: he was different with Dominique than he had been with women in the past. His actions and behavior did seem to go beyond that of simple flirtation to woo the women of lesser values and standards to get himself into their bed. There was something true beneath his interactions with Dominique, and Jocosa couldn't help but believe that Callum was truly sincere in his wishing to marry Dominique.
She found herself stunned. Shocked. She was still with utter bewilderment, and the rest of the world seemed to fade away from her temporarily. She couldn't make out Ignotus' words after Callum's proposal, as her mind was far off somewhere else.
When she was able to pull herself back to her senses, she quickly moved away from the door, worried much time had passed since the last time she had listened and with fear of the men leaving the sitting room.
In any other situation, she would act as if she hadn't heard anything and go to bed for the night. But this was different. This was Dominique. And this was Callum. Dominique was her friend. They had come to an understanding when they were on their own. They were like true friends, sisters even. Jocosa had to tell her.
She picked up the skirts of her brown dress and bolted up the stairs, her smile wide and her brown hair bouncing against her back as she jumped up the stairs. She scurried down the hall, her skirts rustling against the wood, and to Dominique's chambers.
Another thank to those who have remained faithful to this story thus far! It really does mean a lot to me. Thank you to my readers and reviewers. You guys give me inspiration!
Hopefully here is a chapter that will answer some questions and settle a few things. :)
absolutely stunning chapter image by (sol) @ TDA
When Jocosa reached Dominique’s chambers, she knocked rapidly. She knew Dominique was awake, for the faint glow of candle light was visible against the threshold of the door. "Lady Dominique!" she whispered fiercely. "Dominique, open up!"
"Jocosa?" asked Dominique, stunned.
"Yes!" she whispered again hastily.
In the next moment Dominique opened the door, and Jocosa pushed herself inside. Jocosa quickly shut the door behind her and turned to Dominique, beaming.
Dominique couldn't help but giggle at the sight of her friend. "Geez, Jocosa. What's got you so excited?"
"His Lordship has returned," began Jocosa but quickly delved into the true reason of her excitement. "And Lord Conway asked to speak with him. I listened, and I know I should not have. Please do not tell Master Ignotus, but I could not help myself. But what I heard! It was worth it, Dominique! Lord Conway...He's asked to marry you!"
Dominique's eyes went wide with surprise, and she had to refrain from shouting her response. "What?!"
"Yes!" beamed Jocosa, happy for her friend. "He is with Lord Ignotus this very minute, asking for permission!"
Dominique felt sick. She wanted to sit. She had to think this through, but she didn't want to worry Jocosa. Not now. Especially when Jocosa had put herself at such risk to listen in.
Jocosa noticed her stunned silence and quickly inquired. "But Dominique, are you not happy for such a proposal? Callum is..." she faltered as she found herself at words to describe his handsome physique.
"Oh, I am!" said Dominique quickly. Even though she wasn't. "I'm just surprised!"
"I am sure you are, my Lady," giggled Jocosa. She looked to the door, suddenly apprehensive once more. "Well, I must go, Dominique. Before Lord Ignotus sees me and questions what I am doing outside my chambers."
"Yes," she replied. "Don't get in trouble for my sake. Goodnight, Jocosa."
When Jocosa left, Dominique fell onto her bed in stunned silence. She couldn't begin to fathom the many emotions running through her in that very moment.
She was sad. Sad for Ignotus to seemingly be slipping away from her more and more with each passing day. She was angry. Angry with norms of the time, for such a vital question to be asked of Ignotus and not asked to her directly. Did she have any say in who she married? What would Ignotus say?
She couldn't find the will to make herself move, but before long, she heard heavy footsteps on the stairs. A knock came moments later and she granted entrance. Ignotus opened the door, his cape still tied about his neck and still wearing his thick gear. He looked pale, sick, and uneasy. Dominique believed she couldn't have looked much different, though. But she knew she couldn't give away Jocosa's position. She had to find out for herself.
She tied her robe tighter about her nightgown. While she wouldn't have cared otherwise, she knew it was indecent for a man to see her in her nightgown. It didn't matter to her; she would often spend the majority of occasional days at home lounging around in her sleeping attire. But for Igntous' sake of his moral standards, she tied the thing about her middle and sat down on her bed.
She noticed he reacted briefly to her attire, but he must have understood as she did. She came from a different time when such a thing didn't make a difference. Seeing her fold her robe about her middle, though, added a slight flush to Ignotus' cheeks.
"What is it?" she immediately pried.
Ignotus tried to smile, swallowing a lump in his throat. "What? No proper hello?"
"Oh," she said under her breath. "Hello, Ignotus."
His look of disappointment was inevitable, but he quickly moved past it. He rubbed the back of his neck uneasily. "I - uh...Oh God. Where to begin?"
"From the beginning," she found herself encouraging, feeling her lungs clench with lack of air. She tried to act as if everything was all right. If Jocosa hadn't told her of the men's conversation downstairs, she knew she would have greeted him with a smile and a hug, and she would have pestered him with questions about his trip. "How was your hunting trip?"
"It was wonderful," Ignotus answered as he shut the door behind him. He positioned himself in the red arm chair beside Dominique's bed where she sat. "It truly was. I did not know how much I needed time away. Away from everything."
"I'm pleased to hear that. But then why do you look so...disturbed?" she asked.
"Because I just..." he faltered, rubbing the stubble along his jaw in anxiety, "I had the most surprising conversation with Callum just now."
When he stopped speaking, she gave him a look for him to continue on. "He..." began Ignotus, and his brow furrowed with the pain of the conversation. "He asked to marry you."
Dominique seized up at hearing the words from Ignotus' mouth. She knew what he was going to tell her, but it was like a surprise all over again. She felt her breath catch in her throat, her head grow fuzzy. "He what?!"
"He asked to marry you..." whispered Ignotus painfully.
Dominique sat still for many moments. While she didn't know what persuaded Ignotus to act one way or the other, she found that she was truly grateful to see him be saddened by this proposal. This was proof to her that his feelings were still there and very real.
"And what did you tell him?" breathed Dominique after she had gathered her bearings.
"I told him I would think about it."
"You told him that you would think about it?!" she gasped in shock. She looked to Ignotus, reproachful and with her mouth agape.
He looked to her humbly and seemingly lost. "Well, yes," he groaned. "I knew I could not give him a solid answer. Not without consulting you. It was the most polite thing to do."
Dominique found the faintest sense of anger reach her. She rose from her spot on her bed and begin to pace about her bedroom. She gnawed on her nails to give her hands something to do, and Ignotus watched her with a pained and curious expression. She wrinkled her nose, exasperation entering her voice. "Oh, well, thank you very much for including me in the decision of my future!"
"Dominique," Ignotus gave a heavy sigh and shook his head, "do not mock me."
She rolled her eyes and continued to pace. "But what about me? Do I not have a say in my own future?!"
He grew speechless at that. He only continued to watch her. What was he to tell her? He understood that their times were different, but she was in 1234. What could he possibly do about the entire situation? He had to act how he normally would in this situation if Dominique were truly his ward because of the loss of her family. It pained him to see her like this. In many ways. He didn't want to see Dominique marry Callum. He didn't want to see her marry anyone but him, but he couldn't have her. He knew he couldn't be with her. But that didn't make anything any easier.
It upset him, also, to know how much this bothered Dominique. Perhaps not so much the prospect of marrying Callum, but having no say in her life.
He finally worked up the courage to be forthright with her, despite how much he wanted to tell her she could do whatever she wanted, she could be with who she wanted, and she could do it of her own free will. "You can't," he whispered. "Not here. Not freely. I will do what I can for you."
"But - urgh, Ignotus!" she groaned. She didn't remember the last time she had truly been angry. She was a more passive person when it came to arguments, but now? This was different. This was about her getting married, for Merlin's sake! She couldn't be passive in this situation. "Where I come from, Ignotus, we don't marry just because we fancy someone! Nor does anyone else make the decision! We marry when we love each other and know we want to spend the rest of our lives together! I may be in your time, but I will not let you make such a pivotal decision for me! This is my decision to make. I will make it, and you will just have to come up with an excuse for Callum."
He pursed his lips. Was he seriously being bossed around by Dominique? He knew he should have been appalled, offended, and he would have it if were any other woman, but Ignotus found himself even more fascinated by her courage and independence.
"Very well," he passively answered. "I know I cannot stop you. You are a headstrong woman."
At his comment, she folded her arms across her chest and nodded her head with pride.
"Why is it your decision to make, anyway?" she asked. She was scornful but also truly curious as to why the right was Ignotus'.
"Because you have no family here," he answered truthfully. "If the marriage is not arranged by the parents beforehand, permission is asked of the father. But you have no family and have no higher authority over you. I am your ward, and because it is my responsibility to guard and protect you, as well as care for you and give you a home, the responsibility falls upon me."
"That's just - " she burst, but faltered, as she didn't quite know what to say. She pressed her palms into her eye sockets as she paced. "It's just ridiculous! Ridiculous, Ignotus, and it isn't fair!"
"I am so sorry..." he apologized sincerely, his eyes growing sad as he watched her. When she said nothing more, he asked after a few minutes, slightly unsure if he was taking it a step too far and if Dominique just wished to let the conversation go for now. "What would you decide? If it was your decision to make."
"I don't know..." she answered truthfully.
And she didn't. She knew she wouldn't give an outright yes. But she found herself believing that she wouldn't give an outright no either. This surprised her. She knew her chances of returning home were very unlikely. She had long ago accepted that 1234 was her home now. Despite her trips into Godric's Hollow when she would by supplies bit by bit so she had the ingredients to concoct what potions had spilled and mixed with her blood to bring her here, she didn't think she would ever be successful - even if she decided to leave one day. She had been happy here. She hadn't wanted to leave.
But with a decision such as this, what was she to do? She couldn't ignore her feelings for Ignotus. How could she marry his best friend when her feelings for him were the strongest she had ever felt for a man? But how could she also marry a man that - yes, she found perfectly charming and got along exceptionally well with - she didn't love?
But if she weren't to be with Ignotus, then she realized that Callum Conway would be her second choice. She didn't want to wander around 1234, forever alone, and Ignotus was right. She had no family, no money, and no title to her name. With nothing to offer her husband other than the love of a wife, there was a very small chance that she could ever marry any better in 1234. Ignotus was what gave her a chance for a successful future. If she wasn't to marry Ignotus, then this would be the best offer she would ever receive, and she knew she couldn't rely on Ignotus for the rest of her life.
Ignotus seemed appalled by her answer, for his passive state finally left, and he asked in great surprise, his mouth dropping. "You do not know?!"
"Well no!" she cried out horrifically and grabbed onto her head, spinning around to look at him. "Ignotus, you...I...I would be lucky to marry a man such as Callum, so it gives me an incentive to say yes! But then...Ignotus, our fee - "
She broke off. She didn't know how to say it. But Ignotus seemed to know what was on the tip of her tongue. He rose with anticipation and walked to her. He caught her hands and pried them away from her head, and he held them between their bodies, his thumb pressing gently into her palms. He looked to her hopefully. He knew it was wrong; he knew he couldn't admit his feelings for Dominique, nor could he be overly physical with her. But something pulled him to her. He couldn't resist her anymore, and he didn't want to.
"Yes?" he encouraged.
She was troubled. She shook her head painfully, squeezing her eyes shut and looking to the ground as he held her hands. Finally, she didn't hold it back any longer. Her thoughts came forward in a quick flurry of angry accusations. "I can't take it anymore! How you treat me! What you do to me! Do you fancy me, or not?! We kissed that night after the party, and it was wonderful. To me at least, dammit! And ever since then I can't tell what's going through your mind, but you're driving me mad with the way you disregard me completely and then are suddenly touchy with me and jealous in the next! You have to be honest with me. What are your feelings for me, Ignotus?"
He dropped her hands, choking on a heavy swallow. "I c-cannot say," he said painfully.
"No," she begged and this time she was the one who approached him. She placed her hand against this cheek, and even as Ignotus verbally refused, he turned his cheek lovingly into her palm, his eyes fluttering. "Ignotus, please. Be honest with me. Just tell me." He raised his head to her, his eyes glistening with tears of frustration. His breath was heavy as Dominique looked to him with anticipation, waiting for the moment when he would finally speak again.
He didn't know what to say, but he wanted to do as he asked. He wanted to be honest with her. But he found that no words would come.
Abandoning all words completely, he let his actions speak for him. He took one bold step forward and kissed Dominique full on the mouth. His hands went to cup her face as his mouth moved against hers, and Dominique was quick to respond. Her arms shot around his neck as she savored the kiss, rising up onto her tip-toes to be even closer to him. She pressed herself full against him, and his arms trailed down the length of her arms and to her hips, where they snaked around to her back and held her flush against him.
Kissing him this time was different from the first. That time he had been slow and unsure while kissing her with delicacy. This was entirely different. This kiss was full of lust and want, desire for all those weeks they had gone since their first kiss. Ignotus was sure of himself as he moved; he kissed her the way his heart told him to as his impulsive act coursed through his veins, setting his skin and soul on fire, sending his heart into a rapid rhythm.
"Oh, Ignotus," moaned Dominique into his mouth when they both took a deep breath.
Ignotus made a satisfactory grunt of agreement as he pressed his mouth to hers once more. She stumbled back with the force of his mouth on hers again, but Ignotus wouldn't let her fall or even separate her body from his. Instead, he stepped back with her, holding her tight to him, and he continued to walk back until he knew Dominique was pressed against the wall of her bedroom. With her pinned there, he pressed his body tight to hers, their mouths moving in perfect unison.
Her hands travelled up his chest, around his collar bone, up his neck, and into his hair. As she tugged on his long, raven locks, she brought his head closer to hers.
He responded with great interest. His hands moved from her face and down her neck. His long, fine fingers tickled her skin, and his worked their way down her shoulders, pushing her robe down with them. When her robe punched up around her middle, she helped him by untying the thing from about her waist, and she pushed it down her wrists, letting the intricately made thing fall to the floor.
When Ignotus grasped her hips again, he seemed to slow down, and in the next moment, he was jumping away from her as if she were fire. He stumbled back, his hands moving to his mouth in surprise with himself.
Dominique gasped in shock and surprise. "Ignotus?"
"I-I am sorry," he whispered, gasping for air. He turned away from her, embarrassed. "I should not have done that. That was rash of me."
"What?!" she blurted out, appalled.
She thought everything was finally going right. She thought he was finally kissing her because he was admitting his feelings for her. She thought she could finally be with him. What the hell had he meant by kissing her then?!
He latched on to his head and groaned.
"What do you mean it was rash?!" she demanded to know. "Ignotus, I thought...I thought you wanted that! I wanted it!"
"I do, Dominique," he admitted, and he raised his gaze to her, pained, "but I just cannot."
"And why not?!" she shouted horrendously. She was tired of playing this game with him, of going back and forth on where they stood in whatever relationship they had with one another.
"I just can't," he moaned. He wasn't ready to tell her that he was to be married. Not yet, and not like this.
"That's not a reason, Ignotus!" she groaned painfully. "I'm tired of you acting this way with me! Do you fancy me or not and will you be with me or will you not be with me?! Stop leading me on and then pushing me away!"
"I am so sorry," he moaned again. He knew he must have been causing her stress and confusion, but hearing her voice it was just a reminder of how truly selfish and inconsiderate he was being in this situation.
"Tell me why you're doing this to me!" she begged. She had never been so hurt or confused by a man.
He nodded, but when he looked at her, he closed his eyes and turned his head away. He humbly asked of her, "Will you please put your robe back on?"
Huffing, she bent down to snatch the thing up off the floor. When she had pulled it on over her shoulders and covered the revealing nightgown with the fine fabric, she went over to Ignotus and sat beside him on her bed.
"Come on, Ignotus," she urged, this time more calmly. She decided anger wasn't perhaps the best way to approach the situation, despite how frustrated she may be. "Tell me."
It took him a good while. For many moments he just stared at the floor, biting his lower lip, until finally he looked to her. "Please do not take offense to this," he began. "I do have feelings for you. Very strong feelings; I do, but I just cannot be with you. It is not right. It is not appropriate. I am a Lord. You are..."
He faltered; he didn't know how to put it politely.
"I'm a nobody..."she spoke for him, looking to her hands in her lap. She suddenly felt as if she was beginning to understand the magnitude of the situation. She had gone through her days thinking that her class didn't matter. She was had no title to her name to the people of Godric's Hollow, but that had yet to make a difference. The people loved her, and sure, she was addressed as a lady, but she had no title, no money, and no claim.
She had been able to charm her way into the hearts of those in Godric's Hollow, but she hadn't realized that that would only get her so far.
"In the social sense, yes, but not to me. You are not a nobody to me, Dominique," he answered. He turned to grab her hands, and he held them between his own. "You have become...everything to me."
"Then why can't you put aside whatever it is to be with me? If I'm really everything to you. Who cares if I'm a nobody? I know it may be a lot to ask, but why, Ignotus? Why not? Are you embarrassed of what people will think of me?"
"What?" he gasped. "No! I...Godric's Hollow loves you. It...It would be my mother," he came up with a quick excuse for Brigid Pellinor.
"It would disappoint her if I were to marry anyone but a noble," he said gently. "I am her only son still living. I must not disappoint her."
"I see..." she replied painfully, turning her gaze away from him.
"I am truly sorry," he said. She could feel his gaze scorching her, setting her on fire. "I apologize for being the way I have been with you. For letting you think I could be with you. I was not thinking. I had yet to sort my thoughts. I was constantly fighting a battle whether to be with you or not. I had not decided, but I know I cannot now."
"So you really can't?" she murmured painfully.
"No..." he said, his voice barely audible. He still did not let go of her hands, though.
With that, she yanked her hands free of his and rose. She began pacing about her bedroom once more, her arms folded across her chest, and her brief spurts of anger beginning to return. "Why did you even let this go so far? Were you ever going to tell me? You should have told me before - "
She faltered. She didn't quite know what she was going to say, or if she was prepared to say it. Even if she was and knew it to be true, she didn't know if she could admit it to Ignotus. Not now. Not when he said he couldn't be with her.
"Before what?" he pressed. He looked to her, his eyes swimming with something she didn't quite understand from him. Anticipation? Desire for her unspoken words?
"Before I started to fall in love with you, Ignotus!" she blurted.
When the words came spilling out of her mouth, she clamped her hand over it and let her eyes grow wide. She hadn't meant to say it.
"No," he moaned, his head tilted in misery and his eyes swimming with sorrow. "No, Dominique. Oh please tell me you don't. Please."
He cringed and latched onto his head. Humble Ignotus hated the idea of a woman he couldn't be with loving him. Especially Dominique when all he wanted to do was be with her. He didn't want to make her unhappy. There was no coming back from love, and Ignotus knew better than anyone that living without the ones you love was one of the most painful of life's endeavors. And she had already lost her family. She didn't need to love a man who couldn't return it.
"It's too late," she said sternly. She had admitted it to him, so she might as well stand by her word. "I'm falling in love with you."
"Oh, Dominique," he breathed painfully. "I am sorry. So sorry. You are everything to me, and if I had my way, I would be with you until the end of my days. But it isn't my decision to make. If I was in your time, I would be with you. I would...But...I have no control over the matter."
"Maybe your mother would understand," she said quickly. She began to rant; maybe she was even speaking nonsense. "Cadmus was going to marry Seraphine, wasn't he? She wasn't a noble, right?"
"Seraphine was an exception. She was carrying Cadmus' child, and Mother is against the idea of a child born out of wedlock within her family."
Dominique felt her shoulders slouch in sadness. She fell onto her bed beside him once more. "And we can't even try to...be together," she tried to put it delicately, "until you're engaged?"
He turned to her sympathetically. "Would that not make it all the harder to end it when the time came? I believe that, if I discovered what it would be like to be with you, I would never want to leave you."
"Then be with me," she breathed, and crawled to him. Her hands went for the tie around his cloak. She had untied it with her long, fine fingers and it had fluttered to the bed before he could even stop her. She breathed against his neck and let her hands move to his cheeks, feeling the stubble that had grown during his hunting trip. She liked the way it tickled her skin. "Be with me, and never leave me."
"You are making this so bloody difficult," he moaned even as she moved closer to him. She crawled into his lap just as she had done the night of their first kiss, and she kissed him again. Slowly, drinking him in.
She could feel him giving in to her touch. At first he seized up when she kissed him, but he was slowly responding. First his lips began to move against hers, and then his hands went to her hips. She gave only a slight amount of pressure to his shoulders, and he willingly lay back against her bed.
When she pressed her body against his, though, he was his adamant self once more. Instead of pulling her closer, he gripped her hips tight and picked her small form up from his body. He set her on the bed, and he jumped up from beside her. He was the one to pace this time, and he gnawed on the nail of his thumb, shaking his head.
"No, no," he said quickly. "I want to, Dominique, I do, but I cannot taint you in such a way! I cannot be the one to make you impure for any man you may marry!"
"I'm already impure!" she blurted, using his delicate term. He looked to her in horrified shock, but he seemed to quickly move past it. Dominique knew it would be a big deal to him, of course with the standards of 1234, but in her time, it would not have been such a big deal. She had been dating the guy for quite some time when it happened, but that didn't matter now. Luckily, though, Ignotus' look of shock quickly faded and he was back to his self-loathing ways.
"I am sorry," he said again. "Truly. I cannot and will not be with you."
She felt tears reach her eyes at that. As if he had truly said the final word. This was his final and last stand on the matter, and she had accepted it.
"Fine," she said quickly as she sat on her knees. She fidgeted with her gown to give her something to do, and she pushed down her hair that Ignotus had distorted, and she adjusted her robe. "Fine then."
"W-What will you do?" he breathed, seeming surprised at her surrender.
"If I can't be with you, then there's only one thing I will do," she said sternly, and she swiped the tears away from her eyes. "I'll marry Callum."
"Dominique..." he moaned with a sympathetic look.
"What, Ignotus?!" she snapped and rose from her bed. "I understand the situation I'm in! I will never get a better offer than Callum, and if I can't be with you, then I will be with him."
"Do not marry Callum because you are angry with me! Do not marry him out of spite!" he shouted arduously.
"I'm not marrying him out of spite, Ignotus!" she retorted, and that was when she had had enough discussion for one night. She needed time to herself, time to think things through. "Now, go and leave me alone. Goodnight."
He stood there in silence for many moments, his mouth pursed as if debating his words. When he didn't budge, Dominique pointed to her door and said with a stern harshness. "I said goodnight!"
His eyes moved downward in sorrow, and he finally moved for the door. He let himself out without a word, and once he had shut her door, he felt his knees give out. He slid down the door of Dominique's bedroom, his eyes squeezing shut to force away his tears. On the ground, he took his head into his hands and moaned.
He couldn't believe the situation he had put himself in. He was such a people-pleaser, and he knew that that was ultimately his issue. He wanted to please Brigid by giving her the chance to marry her childhood sweetheart; he wanted to make his mother and Edric Pellinor happy with their union. He wanted to make Cadmus happy by letting him marry Dominique, but more importantly he wanted Dominique to be happy. He knew her happiness would coincide with his own, but why did their happiness to come at such a price? Why would their happiness have to cause everyone else so much sorrow?
It wasn't fair, and he truly didn't know what to do. He knew abandoning his promise to marry Brigid was the wrong thing to do. Marrying Brigid would be the noble and the right thing to do, but could he really run away from his heart like that?
He had always been a man to follow his instincts and to follow his heart, wherever it led him. It had never led him astray, and luckily for him, it had always coincided with the path of moral and obligatory righteousness. So why did he now have to face such a difficult choice?
But by refusing Dominique just now, had he ultimately made up his mind? He believed he had. He would have turned to either of his brothers for advice if they were still alive, but Death clearly had other plans. He couldn't ask his mother for her opinion, though, for Eirene would find out the woman was Dominique and she would most surely have Dominique sent elsewhere, to be someone else's ward, but Ignotus wouldn't have that. If he couldn't be with her, he at least wanted her close so he could keep a watchful eye on her.
He groaned for how his life had unfolded, and he prayed for a sign to lead him down the right path. Because one thing was for certain that Ignotus had tried so hard to not admit: he, too, was falling in love.
So here's chapter 15! Again, another huge thank you to those who have followed the story thus far and have supported it! You guys are great! I'm trying to get the chapters out as fast as I can while also balancing updating another WIP of mine and also juggling studying for my exams coming up in a few weeks. So thanks so much for bearing with me! :)
With that, again, thanks to those who have been patient with me and with a particular blonde man with an interest in Dominique. ;) Thanks for having patience and bearing with me on that as well. ;)
That said, here is chapter 15! Be sure to leave your thoughts! Especially on Callum. ;)
gorgeous chapter image by wishaway. @ TDA
"Dominique," groaned Ignotus as he stood in the doorway of her chambers. He leaned against the door frame and watched her as Jocosa did her hair for the day. He watched his faithful servant plait her hair and then twist it into an elegant bun at the base of her neck, pulling tendrils free from its pins. He tried to reason with her. "Please. You do not have to do this."
Dominique looked to his reflection in the mirror. She took in his contorted expression of dismay and sorrow. The area around his eyes was sunken with his lack of sleep. It pained her to see him in such a state, but she knew it had to be this way. He had adamantly refused to be with her, and Dominique knew this was what she wanted. If she couldn't be with Ignotus, then she would be with Callum.
"I know I don't have to," she replied back, trying to withhold any anger or frustration she may have. "I told you. I want to."
When Jocosa was done with her hair, she dropped her hands and took a step back, appraising her work. Seeing that she was done fixing up Dominique for Callum's arrival, Ignotus dismissed her. Jocosa parted with a curtsy, and she closed the door behind her as Ignotus stepped fully inside. Dominique rose from where she was perched at her vanity and turned to him. She took his hands into her own to reassure him.
While she was frustrated with him for his refusal to even try to be with her, she didn't want him to beat himself up over it. She tried to trust his judgment; she did her best to convince herself that Ignotus was making the decision he truly believed to be best. She knew he cared greatly for her; that much was obvious, and if this was the decision he made, then Dominique had to believe he made the right one for all the right reasons. So she put her anger behind her and instead tried to convince him everything was all right.
It had taken her a few days to realize that this was the best approach to the situation, but after much deliberation, she knew she was right in doing so. She was taking the highroad by consoling Ignotus while trying to persuade herself that Ignotus was only thinking of their best interests. She knew she wasn't letting her own desires get in the way of her actions.
"Please," she encouraged him. "Let it go, Ignotus. You and I can't be; you've made that decision, and you've made it clear. So I told you, this is what I want."
"Can you promise me he will make you happy?" he asked, his voice full of sorrow. She could tell he gave in to his desires, for his hands crept up to cup her face. He wouldn't hold back. Not now. Not when he was sure this would be his last moment of intimacy with her. He would drink in what intimacy they would share in these last few moments together before Dominique would become a betrothed woman.
She thought about that. She didn't like making promises she wasn't certain she could keep, but she thought harder on it. On Callum. Of the life she would have with him, and she found herself believing that yes, he would make her happy. Maybe one day she could even love him. She and Callum were too much the same person to spend their lives happily together.
She nodded honestly, and she smiled. "I promise," she encouraged, and she tried to ignore the fact that Ignotus even looked slightly hurt to hear that someone else would be the provider of her happiness.
Can't have it both ways, pal, she thought.
"He will make me happy," she said again. "Callum and I will be happy together."
With Ignotus' hands so lovingly on her face, she knew this was a true moment of clarity between the two of them. Neither of them was hiding anything from the other. There was nothing holding them back, no social norms of what was right or wrong. It was just them, Dominique and Ignotus, in their last moments alone. So she let herself act freely. She placed her hands on his hips where his trousers always hung so seductively from with his leather belt strapped about them.
She felt her fingers clench with the desire to move across his body, to feel him and explore every crevice of his beautifully sculpted frame. They crept across his stomach and up to his chest where her palms flattened against him.
"Good," he replied, and he shortened the distance between them by taking a step forward. His fingers went to push back the tendrils from her face. "Because I could not bear to see you unhappy and for it to be my doing. Even though you will belong to another man, you will always have a place in my heart, Dominique."
She felt her eyes swell with tears. A man had never made her cry before. She batted her eyes to keep the tears at bay, and she turned her face away from him to hide her weak demeanor, but she wasn't good enough.
"No, no," Ignotus moaned quickly, and he brushed away the tears that had clung to her eyelashes. "Do not cry. Crying means sadness, and you promised me you would be happy. Happy, Dominique."
"I - will be," she hiccupped and turned her face back into his palm. "I will be happy with him. I promise. It just upsets me to not be with you."
His lips quivered as he attempted to speak, but he found he didn't know what to say. He finally swallowed and gave a single nod. "I know," he agreed. "It upsets me too."
He faltered, and they continued to hold one another, their eyes locked as they shared a mutual and meaningful silence. When he knew Callum must be arriving at any moment, he found the will to speak again, and his words surprised even himself.
"May I kiss you? One last time," he asked.
"Please do," she breathed in agreement.
He did not delay for a moment longer. He swiftly closed the remaining space between their bodies, and he engulfed her into his embrace. He kissed her gently, yet longingly and passionately. He tried to kiss her with everything he had, to show her that he would always care for her, that his feelings for her would never go away. He kissed her with everything he could muster, and he was pleased when Dominique responded just the same. Her arms went up and around his neck. He felt her lift herself up on her tiptoes to be even closer to him.
When he thought about pulling away and of never kissing her again, he found that he couldn't. He found the passion in their kiss intensifying. He clung tighter to her hips, and he could feel her doing the same. She gripped locks of his hair, deepening the kiss, and he began to feel a dampness against her cheeks and seeping between her lips. He finally realized the wetness was coming from her tears.
He moaned into her mouth, kissing her between each word. "Please do not cry," he begged, feeling himself pained by her hurting. "Please do not cry."
He quickly resumed kissing her. He didn't want to waste a single second. He didn't have much time, and if he believed this to be the last time he would kiss her, he wanted to soak up every second of it.
She only nodded at his request, but that didn't stop her tears. She continued to kiss him, though, her kisses full of longing and full of desperation. She clung to him, and when Ignotus knew they were running out of time, he broke away to breathe into her mouth.
"No kiss with you could ever be enough to last a lifetime," he moaned, and then he kissed her one more time.
He didn't know how he could ever find the strength to stop. How could he stop kissing her when he knew his feelings for her, when he believed he would never feel this way for any other woman? How could he let go of something so special and so dear when he never thought he would feel so strongly as this? He didn't know how he was supposed to let go of the woman in his arms who clung to him, just as desperate to keep him there.
He finally broke their kiss and peeled his body from hers. When he stepped back, he wiped Dominique's cheeks with his thumb, and he adjusted her curls for her. While he straightened out her appearance, she sniffed and blinked back any more tears until any signs of her crying had gone completely. When she looked more than presentable, Ignotus tried to muster a genuine smile. He offered her his hand as he made way for the door.
"Come," he encouraged. "It is time to greet your betrothed."
She took his outstretched hand and together they abandoned her bedroom and made their way into the sitting room. They were only sitting for a minute when a knock came from the door, and Jocosa quickly scurried to answer it. Ignotus rose from his spot in his favorite arm chair, and he wiped his sweaty palms on his trousers. Dominique bit the inside of her cheek to withhold her giggle at him; she could swear Ignotus looked more nervous about the situation than she was. She was the one getting engaged, after all.
When she heard Callum's regular, jocund greeting, Dominique turned and rose to face the entrance of the room. She watched Jocosa take his cape from him, hang it up, and then lead him into the room.
When she first spotted him, Dominique could sense anxiety within Callum. She could see it in his eyes and she could see it in how he held himself. He normally walked loosely, without a care in the world, and his eyes were always full of life. Today she could tell he was nervous, for his frame was rigid with apprehension and his eyes were swimming with fear of what Ignotus' answer may be. But for some reason, all that seemed to fade when he saw Dominique standing before him. She watched all that anxiety fade from him in an instant, and his happy demeanor quickly resumed.
Perhaps he knew what Ignotus' answer would be just upon seeing her. She believed she wouldn't have attended their gathering if Ignotus' answer was no; that would have been much too awkward a situation. Perhaps Callum knew this as well, and therefore seeing Dominique at their gathering had to be a good sign.
His eyes passed over her, and he smiled, but he greeted Ignotus first as he respectfully should. He embraced his friend joyfully, clapping him on the back.
"Ignotus, my friend!" declared Callum. "What a lovely day it is, and I do hope you have some lovely news for me, as well."
When he released Ignotus, Callum turned back to Dominique, and he gracefully took one of her hands into his own. He dropped into a low bow and kissed the back of her hand. "My Lady," he said in a low voice.
Dominique curtsied in return. She couldn't help but smile at his charm. "My Lord," she greeted in reply.
"Yes, indeed," Ignotus replied to Callum's previous statement. Dominique was aware of Ignotus sucking a deep courageous breath, for he was giving her away for good. "We do have lovely news for you."
Callum beamed. "Oh, you do?"
"Certainly," nodded Ignotus. "Callum, it would be my honor to give you the Lady Dominique's hand in marriage."
Callum beamed. His smile grew to the biggest Dominique had ever seen. Dimples formed in his cheeks, and she could see how happy he was upon this news. He still maintained what respect for Ignotus he knew he should in such a situation, so he addressed Ignotus first. He grabbed his hand and shook it thankfully.
"Oh, Ignotus!" burst Callum in happiness. "Thank you, my dear friend. Thank you!"
Ignotus actually chuckled, and Dominique forced herself to tear her gaze away from Callum's expression and to Ignotus'. She wanted to see if his laughter and attitude was true, and as soon as she looked into Ignotus' eyes, she knew his emotions were real. His smile was just as real as Callum's; perhaps he was able to set aside his bitter attitude due to seeing just how happy this news made his friend.
When Callum released his friend's hand, he turned to Dominique. She stood before him with a big smile on her face as she watched him. To her, he looked like a happy child on Christmas morning. She knew this could very well be the happiest Callum had ever been in his entire life.
She didn't know what to expect from him as he turned to her, so she just stood there with her bright smile, and she was pleasantly surprised when he took two long strides to reach her and he scooped her up into the air. In a quick flourish, he held her by her arms and he spun her around. As her skirts fanned out, she couldn't help but giggle. She placed her hands on Callum's shoulders for support as he spun her.
Just after the world began to spin around her and she felt her heart's beat quicken, he set her down and embraced her. Dominique returned it as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her cheek to his chest.
Maybe she didn't have to lie to Ignotus anymore or put on a brave face, she thought. She hadn't known how a future with Callum would be, but she saw how happy the prospect of her being his wife made him. He was thrilled beyond imagination. And it was all because of her. All because he would have her. The thought of her finally making someone so unimaginably happy thrilled her.
She had never been the source of someone's pure happiness. She had always gone unnoticed at home. She was just a person in the background. Another face in the crowd. She had watched as other members of her family made each other happy, and all she could do was sit and watch the happiness unfold that she hadn't been a part of.
Now it was different. Now she was finally the one and true source of someone's happiness. And she may not love Callum, but perhaps that would come in time. For right now, though, making him so happy was all she needed to reaffirm her decision to marry him.
The next few days went by in a quick flurry of things for Dominique. It was a strange idea: to be preparing for her wedding, to be the village's next bride.
The news had been announced the moment Callum Conway left Ignotus' home the day he was told of the good news. Callum had departed with a bright smile and had rode throughout the town, sharing his excitement with everyone he passed. Dominique was congratulated for the betrothal, and Godric's Hollow was quick to throw together an engagement party for the young couple.
It was only three days later when Dominique and Ignotus rode their horses down to the village's local pub. Dominique had only been to the pub one other time for the Strathclyde wedding party she attended. She realized it was the first time she met Callum as well, and how appropriate she thought the entire thing seemed.
She found herself truly smiling as their horses trotted side by side down to the pub as the sun set in a distance. She and Ignotus shared a mutual silence as they came upon the pub. He helped her down from her horse, as they were careful to not tamper with her dress in any way before the evening had even begun. She wore a light-gold dress Ignotus had made specially for her. The collar and edges were embroidered with a deep gold thread, and the front part of her dress where her corset was underneath had been stitched with gold needles to create an intricate pattern of vines and flowers.
Jocosa had done her hair carefully. She had worn it plaited all day to give it extra waves and volume, and when it was time to get ready, Jocosa took them out and made a braid on each side of her head. Gold ribbon was weaved into them, and the braids were pinned back with white flowers at the back of her head.
When she was steady on the ground, Ignotus took the reins of their horses and tied them to the post along with the other horses of those who were already at the pub. With a smile he offered her his arm, and she took it enthusiastically. He led her up the steps of the pub and inside.
When the doors opened, Dominique was overwhelmed by the pleasant atmosphere. The pub had the same yellow glow she had remembered from the first time she was there. Hanging from the rafters were white fabrics, draped from rafter to rafter with flowers weaved in between them to give the pub a joyous atmosphere. She beamed as she looked to the decorated place and then to the people of Godric's Hollow who were already dancing and drinking merrily.
Upon her arrival, the room seemed to pause. The music subdued itself and the people turned to look at her. They smiled and clapped upon her entrance, and Ignotus gave her a grand introduction. Then the crowd parted from the dance floor and Callum stepped forward.
She couldn't help but let her smile grow. He looked splendidly happy, with his hair swept off to the side and his smile ever-growing. Ignotus released her arm, only for it to be taken by Callum, and he led her to the center of the dance floor where they began to dance.
The pub quickly resumed its joyful atmosphere. The music was once again loud and over-joying. People danced, laughed, and drank as the evening went on. Dominique had a splendid time chatting the night away with Callum and dancing with him. She took part in the majority of the ladies line dances, and she enjoyed catching up with the friends she had made throughout her stay since the wedding party. Everyone was enjoying themselves; Dominique even spotted Ignotus drinking a few ales with a few of his other friends and appearing to be having a grand time.
The evening went by in a flash, and she was actually sad to see it coming to its end.
She had just finished a line dance with the other women when Ignotus approached her on the dance floor for the next song. He asked for her hand, and she graciously accepted. She let him lead her back out onto the floor, and he pulled her close as the music began.
He grinned down to her as they swayed. "You appear to have had a marvelous night, my Lady," he suggested in a husky voice.
"I truly have," she replied with a smile.
"I am pleased," he said, and Dominique found his words to be true. She could see it in his eyes still; he was pleased to see her happy, despite the fact that she could sense the underlying sorrow in his words that he had given her up.
They danced in silence for quite some time until Ignotus finally spoke again. "I wanted to inform you that I shall be departing for the night after this dance with you. I have already spoken to Callum. He will accompany you home when you choose."
"Oh," she said, surprised. "All right then. Are you not enjoying yourself?"
"I am very much, Dominique," he said in a quiet voice, adding on her name in an undertone so no one else would hear him address her in such a way, "but the night is late, I have tired myself, and I have reasons that I shall not share, for I do not want to dampen your mood."
She pursed her lips. That was enough for her to figure it out herself. He was hurting. Hurting from watching her happily celebrate the fact that she would spend her life with another man. She gave a disgruntled sigh, but said no more. She didn't trust herself to say anything wise, so she left it at that.
When the song ended, he grabbed her hand to give it a gentle kiss. He then dropped into a small bow and departed, leaving her to watch him turn away from her, and that was the first time all night when she had felt not a trace of happiness. She felt her happy exterior quickly fade. She knew she would see him tomorrow and that he would always be in her life as a protective figure, but there was something about seeing him treat her with such formality and then turn his back on her. She felt her heart sadden and grow heavy.
She didn't want him to turn from her. In fact, she wanted to be with him solely and irrevocably. Him and only him.
But she couldn't have that. And she knew that. But she wouldn't leave 1234 either. She belonged here; this was her home now. She was happier here than she ever had been at home, and she reassured herself that Callum would give her a lifetime of happiness.
As if on cue, she felt his large, strong hands at the small of her back. She gave a small jump as she was pulled out of her thoughts, and she turned to him just as Ignotus slipped out of the pub. He cupped her face in his hands and smiled down at her.
"You are a beautiful and kind woman, Lady Dominique," he began, and she found herself surprised at his sudden declaration. "You shall make me a happy man by spending your life with me."
"And you shall make me a happy woman, my Lord," she responded, and she turned her face into his hands. Feeling his palm against her lips, she pressed a gentle kiss there. She could feel Callum's surprise. She had yet to kiss him anywhere, hand or cheek included. His surprise seemed to be in the fact that she had kissed his palm in public before their wedding, but she could tell that he hardly cared. He was too happy, and Dominique knew him to be a man of little social discretion.
He dropped his hands from her face, only to take one of her own into his.
"Shall we depart?" he asked in a quiet voice. His free hand went to toy with one of the locks of her hair. "I should like to spend the rest of the evening just you and I."
This surprised Dominique to a certain extent. She didn't blame him for wanting to spend the rest of the evening just the two of them, but she had learned what was acceptable over the few months she had spent in 1234. It wasn't custom for a man and a woman to be out too late, together and alone, unless they were married. Perhaps they would be an exception though because they were not betrothed, or perhaps Callum had no intention of them being seen at all. This, however, had no effect on Dominique at all.
So she found herself nodding, and she let him lace his fingers between hers. They quietly slipped out of the pub, going unnoticed to the few of those who remained. Callum went to untie her horse's reins from the post, bringing back her white horse in toe. Dominique smiled and patted her horse's belly, then looked to Callum in questioning.
"And your horse?"
"I shall fetch him later," he answered carelessly. "I promised Ignotus I would see you home safely."
Dominique didn't understand why that meant he had to leave his horse at the pub and return for it later, but she didn't question it further. She simply rolled her shoulders.
"Shall we walk or ride?" he asked.
She shrugged her shoulders again. She had no preference. The night was lovely; the breeze was cool and it rustled the trees, sending leaves dancing down the cobblestone streets.
"Very well," he replied with a chuckle and a smile.
Dominique was caught off guard when Callum grabbed her about the waist and heaved her up onto her horse. He set her upon her saddle, and when she had herself situated, she was even more surprised to see Callum climb up behind her.
She tried to hide a smile, for now her questions were answered. Callum was a clever man, and he clearly had his ways to inadvertently get what he wanted. He was leaving his horse at the pub for the sole reason to physically be close to her.
She giggled. She couldn't deny it was a smooth move.
When he was situated behind her, he gently kicked his heels up and they set off at a slow walk. He kept one hand on the reins and the other he settled around Dominique's waist to hold her steady and fast against his chest. His hand was warm on her hip as his palm was pressed firmly against her side, wrapping around to her stomach. He moved his fingers gently in smooth circles, and she could feel his breath against her ear.
They rode in a comfortable silence, and when they reached Igntous' home, Callum helped her down from her horse and took the creature into the stables for her. He returned a few minutes later and took her arm with a smile, leading her up to the front door.
As they walked, Dominique couldn't help but feel just how similar the situation was to her and just how little such a situation had changed over the course of 800 years. She felt like a teen again being walked up to the front steps of her home to meet a curfew after a date. It was all very familiar to her.
When they reached the door, he turned to her with a gentle smile, and his free hand went to brush back her curls, his palm coming to rest against her cheek.
"You know I am not a conventional man, but when it comes to you, I have the utmost respect for you and what is expected of me," he said.
She was fairly confused by his words. What exactly did he mean? Why say it now?
Then she seemed to work it out herself. She knew that look in his eyes she knew what the heavy breathing, the rapid beat of his heart, and that stern gaze meant. He wanted to kiss her, and she realized that she would let him.
She knew it probably wasn't the most acceptable of actions in 1234, but what did it matter? They were alone and they were betrothed. They also knew the other to be fairly unconventional, just as Callum had said, so she found herself persuading him further before she could even think twice.
"You know that I am not a conventional woman either, Callum," she said gently, and she placed her hands upon his chest for further persuading.
His lips separated in a grin as he understood her meaning, and she could see his admiration for her in the gleam in his eyes. He didn't need any more persuading after that. She pulled herself up on her tiptoes when she saw him lean in.
His kiss was gentle and soft, not at all how she had expected. She had expected a sort of raw passion from him, but this was pleasantly different. She was certain that that passion was in him somewhere, but as he said, he had the utmost respect for her, and understood that. Especially when he was kissing her before they were married.
His hands moved from her cheeks and into her hair, down her shoulders, and to her hands where he laced their fingers together. She kissed him back gently and sweetly, pleased to feel her own heart accelerate.
After a few more moments, he finally pulled away from her. His breath seemed to escape his lungs, and he found himself struggling to gain it back.
"The happiest day of my life shall be when you and I become husband and wife," he said gently, and then he sweetly kissed her forehead. Then he turned from her and bid her goodnight.
gorgeous chapter image by Caren @ TDA
- Year 2022 -
Victoire Weasley stood at the window of her sister's bedroom, staring off into the distance. She didn't know how long she had been standing there for, nor did she care. She found that she was mindlessly watching the waves rush up to the shore a distance away. She felt as if that was all she did these days. When no one was around or she found herself getting lost in her thoughts or emotions, she stole away to Dominique’s bedroom and sought solace in it.
Victoire felt empty, and she had felt that way for the past three and a half months. She had felt as if a piece of her was missing since her parents had sat her and Louis down one afternoon to inform them that Dominique had gone missing.
There was still yet to be any sign of her whereabouts at all. Victoire had been told what was found in her sister's flat. She knew her uncle had found it with liquid and a decent amount of blood on the floor. That fact terrified her. Was her sister okay? Was she hurt? Was she being held captive or being tortured? Or worse, was she already dead?
The disappearance of her sister taught Victoire many things. She hadn't realized just how consumed she had been with her wedding to Teddy Lupin until Dominique was gone. Victoire couldn't help but let her thoughts dwell on what she could have done differently to show her sister that she truly cared. She should have noticed Dominique's empty and careless voice the moment she heard it the day she disappeared. She should have known that her wedding planning was taking away from her sister's feelings.
Victoire had consumed herself, and she had taken her sister for granted. Now she regretted every moment of it.
She could still recall the last conversation she had with her, even though it was approaching four months now. Victoire had been perched at the table in the dining room, going over napkin patterns as she so often had. She had asked for her sister's opinion, and Dominique's voice had been empty of all care. Not in the cruel way though, Victoire believed; in fact, she sounded hurt for being so overlooked.
Then her sister had risen and abandoned the room. Victoire had demanded her return but not because she wanted her to stay. But only because she needed a second opinion on the lace napkins. And they were napkins, for crying out-loud! They didn't matter! Not one bit. And Victoire hated herself for not realizing that sooner.
"Vic," a voice said behind her. “I knew I’d find you in here.”
She gave a jump, her hand moving to her throat in surprise, and she whipped around to see who the new-comer was.
"Oh, Teddy," she sighed heavily in relief. "You startled me."
"I'm sorry," he said kindly, and he approached her. "That wasn't the intention."
Victoire turned back to look out the window as her fiancé approached her. She felt him settled behind her, his warm and comforting arms wrapping around her and pulling her close into his chest. She settled there, temporarily feeling her guilt diminish and to only be left with her sorrow.
"Is Harry back?" asked Victoire after moments of silence.
"Yes," Teddy whispered into her ear. He kissed the side of her head. "I was just speaking with him. Nothing again, Vic. There's no sign of her."
Victoire felt her eyes fill with tears. She closed her eyes to hide them from the world, and she begged for the tears to not come. She had already spent countless days crying for her sister's return. She hoped and prayed every day that Dominique would return safely, and she was ever-hopeful. She wouldn't lose faith in her sister's safe return. She couldn't; faith was all that was keeping her going now. Her disappearance was approaching four months now, though, and Victoire's wedding was right around the corner.
With the affirmation once more that there was no sign of her sister, there was something she had to do. Something she had been thinking about for a long time.
"Teddy?" she asked uneasily.
"Yes, love," he answered curiously.
"I've been thinking..." she began, "would it be all right if we...postponed the wedding?"
Victoire was surprised when she felt Teddy's cheeks lift against the side of her head with a grin. She didn't know why he was smiling at a time like this, but perhaps he had anticipated such a request. She added on quickly, though, for she didn't want him to get the wrong idea. "Don't get me wrong. I want to marry you more than ever. It’s not about you, but Dominique - "
"Vic," he cut her off and turned her to face him, "I understand. I had been debating asking you the same thing. I know how much you love your sister."
She nodded, grateful for his understanding. "It would just feel so wrong. To get married without her there. I need my maid of honor to be there."
At her words, she felt herself break after trying for so long to hold herself together. She felt her tears escape from her eyes and roll down her cheeks. She buried her face into Teddy's chest to restrain a loud cry.
Teddy sighed in sympathy and he patted the back of her head lovingly.
"I know," he cooed. "So we'll wait. And she will come home, Vic. She'll come home to us."
It was a few weeks later Dominique strolled along the streets with Jocosa and Ignotus. They were having a fine outing one lovely afternoon, picking up random things here and there that they needed back at the house. The picking up of things had been Dominique and Jocosa's doing over the past month, but because it was such a lovely day, Ignotus decided to join them as well.
Dominique and Jocosa were standing at a table shop, smiling and giggling over the fabrics they were inspecting. Ignotus stood off to the side, leaning against one of the wooden pillars and looking particularly bored. Dominique noticed this and couldn't help but smile and giggle. Men were hardly any different been 1234 and 2022 in this aspect, she realized; men still hated to shop and look for the more girly things in any year.
"My Lord," she twisted her head and peered to him with a chuckle. She watched him kick a pebble and fumble around with the hilt of his sword strapped to his belt. "Do such fabrics not interest you?"
He gave an exasperated huff, but smiled. He shook his head in tease and turned back to face the busy streets on such a fine day.
"Oh, my Lady," sighed Jocosa as she held up a white fabric with beads and silver thread stitched onto it, "you would look absolutely beautiful in this fabric."
"Yes, it is exceptionally beautiful, isn't it?" asked Dominique in awe as she fingered the fabric. It was definitely one of the better fabrics she had seen. She had never been a girl who was particularly fascinated with fabrics or choosy when it came to them. She knew that much in her many hours of pointlessly helping Victoire choose hers for her wedding, but now that she was looking for the fabric that her wedding dress would be made of, she saw the fascination. She began to partly understand Victoire's dilemma in finding the perfect fabric.
Jocosa leaned into her friend's side and giggled under her breath so Ignotus would not hear her address his ward in such a way. "You will be such a beautiful bride, Dominique!"
"Thank you, Jocosa," beamed Dom in return.
They set down embroidered fabric and inspected the next. When Dominique unfolded the lacy fabric, she gave a start when the sounds of bells began to toll. She dropped the fabric and whipped around to look about the streets. Jocosa jumped in fright as well, and the both looked to Ignotus.
"What is that?!" asked Dominique.
She had never heard bells ringing in Godric's Hollow. Not even on joyous occasions such as the Strathclyde wedding party or her own engagement party. She had never heard them before. They seemed to be coming from the tower at the gates of the village. They made a low and rumbling sound as they were struck blow after blow by a gong.
Ignotus even seemed to give a start. He turned to face the front of the village, a ways down the street, the source of the bells. He breathed in surprise. "The bells of Godric's Hollow."
It was strange. She never even noticed the village had bells. They certainly weren't there in 2022; clearly their use was no longer necessary in 2022.
"What does it mean?"
She watched him grip the hilt of his sword, at the ready, and looking startled.
"It means there is a threat outside the village," he answered, and he jogged away from the table and to where the horses were tied to a post nearby.
Dominique and Jocosa quickly followed behind him, watching the rest of the townspeople scatter like flies. Women grabbed their children by the hand and rushed them from the streets, bolting to their homes. Men rushed for their horses.
"A threat?" gasped Dominique. "Ignotus, what's going on?!"
Dominique was awaiting his answer when the sound a horse's hooves on the cobblestone streets emerged. They were quick; the horse was running, and there was clearly a sense of urgency in it. They whipped their head to source to see Edmund a ways down the street and urging his horse to run faster. When Edmund spotted Ignotus and finally reached him, Edmund demanded his horse to stop. The horse reared up on its back legs and neighed in protest. Edmund's face was stricken white with fear, and he was panting.
"What has happened, Edmund?" Ignotus demanded to know.
"Bandits! In the ravine!" gasped Edmund in between breaths. "Callum and I! We were raided!"
"Callum?!" gasped Dominique, suddenly worried for his safety. If Edmund was here and looking so afraid and Callum was absent, what did that mean about Callum? Was he okay? She blurted her question, despite the inconvenience. She didn't care if it was inconvenient to ask at such a time. He was her betrothed, and his safety was the most important thing. "Is he all right?!"
Edmund set his jaw tight and looked to Dominique. His expression was painful as his horse trotted back and forth. "I am afraid not," he answered. "Callum has been mortally wounded."
That was all Dominique needed to know. She abandoned Jocosa's side and raced forward. She ran past Ignotus, startling him. She untied her horse from the post and mounted the creature. She sat astride Fay, completely neglecting side-saddle for the moment. This was a matter of grave importance. She couldn't waste time struggling to remain atop her horse while side-saddle.
"Dominique!" blurted Ignotus in horror. "What do you think you are doing?!"
"I'm going to help him!" she shouted.
Edmund and Jocosa watched the two in fascination. Ignotus ran to her horse's side, trying to grab the reins from her hands. "A ravine full of bandits is no place for a woman! Edmund and I can handle it."
"I don't care if you can handle it or not, Ignotus! Callum is to be my husband, and he's hurt! I'm going and there's nothing you can do about it," she argued sharply.
Dominique knew Ignotus was only thinking of her safety, but she wasn't worried for it. She was a skilled dueler. She had undergone three years of training to be an Auror; she still had many wizarding talents that Ignotus had yet to see, for there had been no need of them. She could take care of herself in such a situation.
Ignotus grit his teeth in frustration and ran his hand through his hair. His jaw was set in a stern expression as he caught her eye, and he gave her a heavy look. "I forbid you to come with us."
Dominique actually gave a laugh. She couldn't be told to do anything. Not when someone she cared about was in danger. She gave him a stern look to signal that her stand on the situation was final.
"He's my fiancé! You can't stop me, Ignotus, and I'd like to see you try," she breathed heavily in defiance. Then she kicked up her heels, and her horse reared up in surprise. Then they set off at a sprint down the streets.
"Dominique!" Ignotus shouted after her. As he watched her continue to flee down the streets and to the exit of the village, he swore and ran to Caspian at the post. "Dammit!"
He untied his bow and quiver of arrows form his saddle and slung the thing across his back before he hauled himself up onto Caspian and turned to Jocosa. "Jocosa, go home and inform my mother of the situation. Stay there with her and await our return."
Jocosa bowed in obedience. Then Edmund and Ignotus were racing after Dominique. Their horses caught up quickly, and together, the three of them charged out of Godric's Hollow, past the horrified townspeople and past the front gates where the bells were still tolling.
Dominique knew the general area of the ravine. She had never been directly to it, but she remembered passing it on her initial ride to Godric's Hollow after arriving in 1234. Ignotus caught up to her quickly, and once he reached her side, he looked to her as they continued to bolt across the plains and towards the trees.
"Dominique!" he called to her as his cape billowed out beneath him. He swiped his hair out of his eyes with one of his hands. "You must be careful! These bandits are muggles! They will not fight with magic. They result to harming and getting their way through sword fights and bows and arrows!"
This didn't scare Dominique in the least. In fact, it actually explained some things for her. It made sense why a wizarding village was quick to scurry off the streets when there was a threat of muggle bandits nearby. Dominique knew of how witches and wizards were treated in the early centuries; they were shunned, thrown into jail, or even burnt at the stake for witchcraft.
But this didn't change anything for Dominique. It actually reassured her that it would be an easy fight. She forgot how much she missed the thrill of something. Suddenly her three years ofAuror training came rushing back to her. All she had to do was stun a few muggles, and all would be well. Then she could reach Callum and help him however she needed to.
"Easy!" she called to him over the sound of the wind rushing past her. As she turned her head, her strawberry blonde curls beat against her cheeks. She turned her head back to the path before her, her eyes alive with the desire to protect Callum. "A few harmless muggles. I can manage."
"You know not what you are up against!" roared Ignotus in frustration.
"I'll be fine! You don't even know half my skills as a witch, Ignotus," she replied. Which was true. She had still much to share with Ignotus involving her skills as a witch. She and Ignotus hadn't sat around and shared with one another what curses and enchantments had been developed in 1234 and in 2022, but she knew that her arsenal in dueling had to be at least slightly greater than Ignotus' because surely there were plenty of dueling spells that had been invented after 1234.
She possessed a knowledge of magic that Ignotus couldn't even fathom just yet, and she still had much to show him.
She ignored any of his further demands for her to not go into the ravine, but even as he shouted frustrated obscenities, his horse continued to lead them across the plain and through a thicket of trees, Edmund close on their tail. When Dominique knew they were fast approaching the ravine, she pulled her wand from her bosom and held it at the ready, the reins of Fay in her other hand. She felt her senses reach full alert as she scanned the space behind the trees for any potential bandits. At least she wouldn't be knocked off her horse by a jinx; that was lucky enough. She had seen worse during her training. She was ready for this.
The ground was growing steeper by the second as they lowered elevation, entering the ravine. The ground, littered in leaves, was growing wetter and darker as they traveled further in. They must have been nearing the river.
Just when Dominique began to grow restless from no sign of the bandits, she heard Edmund shout wildly from behind them, a warning. "ARROW!"
Dominique's head whipped around to see a thin arrow whizzing in their direction. Ignotus guided his horse closer to Dominique's, and he reached a hand over and forcefully pulled Dominique's head low down to her saddle. She grunted from the pain, but she knew he was only protecting her. He ducked as well, and then there was the noticeable sound of the arrow whizzing over their heads. When the coast was clear, Ignotus sat up straight once more, and he yanked his bow out from across his chest, and he reached back into the quiver for one of the arrows. His fingers were quick to secure one, and even as Caspian ran, Ignotus spotted the faintest movement of a brown cloak. So, he quickly shut one eye, pulled back on the string, aimed, and he fired away.
The arrow whizzed out of his grasp, through the air, and Ignotus knew the arrow had struck its target when he heard the shout of a man from behind the trees above them.
Ignotus shouted to Edmund after his success. "How many ambushed you?!"
"Seven!" yelled Edmund over the sound of the leaves crunching beneath the hooves of the horses. "At least!"
Dominique turned her head away from the two men just in time to see a bandit racing across the ravine in front of him. She knew he was running to gain a higher position to let loose an arrow on them, but Dominique was too quick. She didn't care if they were muggles or what the consequences would be. She raised her wand, pointed it square at his chest, and shouted.
The bandit fell to the ground in a heap, his bow and quiver tumbling down the steep hillside of the ravine. Ignotus' gaze shot to her quickly in surprise, and he shouted in dismay at her.
"You can't use magic against them! They are muggles!"
"Why not?! We'll wipe their memories!" she shouted as they continued to bolt through the ravine. There was still no sign of Callum. She continued to scan the hillside for any sign of him.
Ignotus let out another long slur of curse words, but she couldn't pay attention to him anymore.
They rounded a corner within the long ravine, and then they saw him. Callum, lying hopelessly on the other side of the ravine up the slope. Dominique knew he hadn't been wounded in that exact spot, for his bow and quiver lay far below him, close to the bottom of the ravine, and there was a trail of blood from where his weapons lay to where he had positioned his body against a rock. He was clutching his chest, sweat beading around his forehead, and he was panting, clutching an arrow that protruded from his chest.
Dominique immediately felt tears cloud her vision. Her fiancé, a man she had come to know in such a short time but had always seemed to invincible, so bold and carefree, so daring and courageous. Now he lay on the ground, using a rock to shield his body with an arrow in his chest.
Dominique urged Fay to a halt, and she jumped down from her horse, running across the river. She didn't care about the water or getting wet. She waded through the knee deep water, desperate to reach the other side. She clutched at her dress, still holding her wand tightly in her hand. She heard footsteps up the riverbank, and her head shot to the source of the sound, and there was the third bandit, attempting to cross the riverbank on a few rocks.
He spotted the wand in her hand, and his eyes grew wide. He took on a menacing look and, with his bow already in one hand, he reached behind his back to pull an arrow from his quiver.
"Witchcraft!" he snarled.
So, that was his problem. Dominique grimaced at him; she had never held distaste for any muggle whatsoever, but in that moment, a fury against that man ignited in her, and she lifted her wand, pointing it at the man's chest.
"Stupefy!" she shouted, and he was knocked unconscious and thrown into the shallow river before he could place his arrow against the bow.
Dominique continued to wade across the river, feeling the skirts of her dress grow heavier with each passing second as they absorbed more water. She fought against the weight, ignoring Ignotus' protests coming from behind her along the riverbank. He was demanding her to return to him, but of course she didn't listen. She kept on pursuing Callum, and she knew Ignotus was temporarily thrown off her case when two bandits jumped out from behind a few trees, slid down the steep ravine slope, and quickly engaged Edmund and Ignotus in a sword fight.
The clanging, scraping, and crashing sound of sword against sword sounded from behind her. She finally reached the other side of the ravine, and the dirt and leaves along the ground clung to her wet skirts as she climbed up the slope and to the large gray rock that her fiancé was lying behind. She came upon the other side of the, and upon seeing her, Callum gave a start.
He jolted, but his panic seemed to temporarily diminish, knowing it was only Dominique before him and not a bandit. But when he realized that it was indeed in fact Dominique - Dominique, his betrothed, in a ravine with bandits nearby - and he understood the unprecedented danger, he began to panic for her. Even with the arrow protruding from his chest, he reached for her skirts and yanked her to the ground.
He hissed, blood sputtering from his mouth as she spoke to her. "What in Merlin's name are you doing here, Dominique?!"
"I came to help," she said gently, and she reached out and cupped his cheek in her hands.
Her gaze moved to the arrow, feather tipped, and deep within the middle of his chest cavity. Blood stained his tunic where the wood of the arrow had pierced through.
"No, no, no," he moaned over and over. He groaned like a stubborn child at her words. "You should have stayed in Godric's Hollow! What the bloody hell were you thinking?! It is dangerous here! I will not have your safety put at risk because of me! You fool, Dominique! Edmund went for Ignotus, and that would have been help enough."
Dominique shook her head at Callum. Oh, the men of 1234. Something she knew she certainly didn't prefer in 1234 to 2022 was how dainty and useless women were considered. She could take care of herself, and even more that, she was good in a fair fight. But these men wouldn't even stop to consider that. She knew their caring for her weighed in heavy on their thought process, but neither Ignotus nor Callum seemed to stop and acknowledge the fact that she could manage and it was her choice to come.
"Shhh," she encouraged him, ripping the bottom of his tunic and using it as a handkerchief to wipe the blood on Callum's chin that had rolled out of the corners of his mouth. She felt tears in her eyes, tears for Callum's safety, and she tried to think positively. "Stop talking. Just relax, and everything will be fine. We're going to get you safely back to Godric's Hollow, a-and then we'll patch you up. Good as new. And it will all be fine. You can scold me then, how about that?"
He smiled weakly to her, and he shook his head in dismay. "My love," he sighed, "ever the optimist. I am dying, Dominique. I shall not make it back to Godric's Hollow."
"Don't say that," she blubbered as her vision grew even cloudier.
She saw a blur move for her and knew it was Callum's hand when she felt it against her cheek. He stroked it gently. She didn't even mind that he was wiping his blood against her cheek. She did her best to refrain from crying, but all thoughts of sadness quickly fled her mind when she felt Callum abruptly grab her and shout.
"Dominique! Behind you!"
Author’s note: Hello there again! Here’s chapter 17! I just thought I would take a quick moment to tackle a few questions I’ve been getting! I’ve been doing my best to answer every review I get. Really, I see them all. I check daily and I love and appreciate all of them! :D I do my best to respond as soon as possible, but I just thought I would address these things here just in case my responses hadn’t been seen.
First off, I’ve been asked if I know how many chapters may be in this story. The answer is yes. I believe I know roughly how many. I think right now the outline is looking around 35/40, give or take a few, depending on how wordy I get in some situations (sometimes I get pretty wordy, I’m trying to not have so many chapters verging on 5k words :P ). The next question is if we will see more of 2022, and the answer for that is yes as well! I’m working some 2022 scenes at the moment so I can share with you guys what’s happening with Harry and the search on the home front. :D
On another note, the Hufflepuff house over on the forums just finished its annual story awards called the Keckers! Lucky me, And Love Prevails was the recipient of quite a few!! And Love Prevails is the winner of the 2013 Most Addicting Story award, the Best Written: Other Ship award, and it is the runner-up for the Best Romance and Most Unique ship awards! So, all in all, four!! A huge thank you to ANYONE who helped this story reach that point! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
I think that’s it! Thanks for all the reads and reviews, you guys! You really inspire me! Also a HUGE thanks to anyone who is a Hufflepuff on the forums who nominated or voted for this story in Hufflepuff’s Keckers competition! Thanks SO MUCH!
And I’ll conclude there! (Wow, sorry that was so long!) Enjoy! (Despite the sadness…)
gorgeous chapter image by (sol) @ TDA
She jumped up from beside Callum and whipped around to see two bandits running for them. She felt the brief sensation of panic, but then she remembered her wand in her hand. She didn't quite understand what Ignotus' deal had been about muggles and using magic. She could simply wipe their memories, so she didn't think twice about it.
She raised her wand to one of them, shouting yet again, "Stupefy!"
The one closest to them was lifted into the air and violently struck a tree. He slid to the ground, unmoving and unconscious. Upon seeing her actions, the second bandit raised his sword to Dominique, and like the other she had taken down in the river, this one seemed disgusted at the sight of magic. He declared just as the other had, "Witch! Witchcraft!"
Dominique was aghast. Never had she encountered muggles who knew she was a witch, and if they did, they were never so cruel. She had truly believed that neither of the bandits would harm her, for she was a woman, and if the bandits wanted nothing more than to perhaps steal their silver and gold, then why would they hurt her? But that perception of things had faded when she saw the viciousness each man had taken on upon seeing she was a witch. When they saw her wand in her hand, something else seemed to replace that chivalry act to not harm a woman. All decorum was gone, and it no longer mattered that she was a woman. No, she was strictly defending herself for her life against a muggle.
The bandit began to hurtle himself down the steep slope, and before Dominique could raise her wand to him, he collided with her. He lunged onto her, and the two of them went tumbling onto the ground. Dominique grunted as they twisted and rolled a fairways down the slope. She could hear Callum's shouts of horror; she could feel his fear for her in his voice. She knew Ignotus had seen her as well, for his voice was the loudest above all else. But he couldn't come to her aide; he was still fighting off his bandit in a sword fight.
When they stopped tumbling down the ravine, she was lucky enough to be on top. She was smaller and lighter than he was, so she was able to quickly scramble to her feet and move much more swiftly than he. She ran the distance back up the slope to Callum, and she dropped to her knees, frantically running her hands over the leaves and scattering them in search for her wand.
"Come on, come on!" she begged. "Where are you?!"
She was aware of Callum begging her as he leaned against the rock. She could see him out of the corner of her eye as he struggled to move and pull himself up into a standing position to defend her. He begged of her, "Go, Dominique! Just go! Get yourself to safety!"
She shot him a stern look over her shoulder, her eyebrows pulled together in a tight declaration. "I am not leaving you!"
He grit his teeth and cursed under his breath. She could hear the bandit scrambling back to his feet again, working his way up the slope. She knew she wouldn't find her wand in time, and so when her eyes scanned Callum's body and came to land on his sword, she was struck with an epiphany. There was no other choice. She was defenseless, her wand blending in with the dirt and leaves. So she lunged towards Callum, and she swiftly pulled his sword out from around his belt.
"No!" he demanded, trying to snatch the blade from Dominique. "Do not! You cannot handle a blade! Run, Dominique! Do not fight him!"
In the heat of the moment, she found herself almost demanding silence from Callum. That he stop treating her like a hopeless child, but she realized that he knew no different. He, unlike Ignotus, didn't know where she came from or what she was capable of. And so she knew she couldn't retort at Callum in such a way, so she bit down on her lip to keep her comments to herself.
Instead, she kept moving swiftly. She had never picked up a sword before. She had had no reason to. She had only watched Ignotus strap his about his waist, watched him put it away nightly, and seen him and other men occasionally wield one in Godric's Hollow. She knew they had to be heavier than they looked, but she hadn't expected this. The tip of the sword fell against the ground as she grew accustomed to the weight, but then she found herself lifting the thing up off the ground and holding it between both hands just as the bandit charged at her again.
The man stopped briefly to laugh at her, for he thought of how foolish the sight appeared. A young woman wielding a sword who appeared to have no experience at doing so whatsoever.
"Don't doubt me," she dared as she lifted the sword.
"Very well, witch," snarled the bandit before he made a gigantic lunge for her.
Dominique found that instinct took over. She raised the sword, prepared for the blow, and the blades came together with a crashing sound. She took a step back when he made his second swing, but she found that she maneuvered Callum's sword to meet the blow once more. Their swords crashed and scraped together as she continued to step back, positioning herself swing after swing and ducking after his swipes through the air. She could see Callum squirming desperately on the ground, begging for the bandit to leave her be.
But Dominique couldn't pay attention to Callum. Not now. She was doing this for him to begin with. To protect him.
They continued to fight, sword against sword. Dominique felt herself tire from the heavy sword in her grasp. She could feel the sweat on her brow and beading against her chest. From down the slope, she saw Ignotus send his sword plunging into his bandit's chest after one particularly impressive blow. The man sank to his knees, and Ignotus temporarily went with him, for his grip was tight on his sword currently lodged in the man's chest. Ignotus grit his teeth as the man fell, and then he pulled his sword clean out of the man's chest. The bandit fell to the ground in a heap, and Ignotus looked up the slope to see Dominique. His expression grew terrified, and he wasted no time in jumping into the river and wading across it.
She focused back on her task at hand. She could hold off the bandit for a few minutes longer. She knew she could. Just until Ignotus came to her aide. She used that incentive to push herself further, to find the strength to keep fighting even as her arms grew weak. When the man made one particularly large lunge forward, Dominique jumped off to the side and was able to spin around and step down the slope to position herself behind the man. He fell briefly onto the ground at the sudden surprise of her quick movement.
She knew it wasn't fair: what she was about to do. But how was this at all fair? This man was fighting her! A woman. This was already an unfair fight. So Dominique took the opportunity as she saw it.
She had never killed a man before, but it appeared that she would do so now.
She raised Callum's sword high above her head, and in the next moment, she plunged it into the bandit's back. He made a few horrifying gurgling sounds, and then he went limp against the ground.
Panting, she whipped back around to face Callum again. She saw Ignotus pause in shock, horror, and surprise, and his mouth fell open. Both men were staring at her with expressions of mixed emotions. Both men blanched, but Callum held a look of admiration even. She fell to her knees beside him, ready to finally tend to his wounds and help him any way she could.
"That was...Impressive," gasped Callum, struggling to continue his speech as his mouth continued to pool with blood. "Now, please, Dominique. Go. You should not be here. Get to - "
"Your wand," she demanded of him, interrupting his pleas. She had heard it from him before, but hearing it over and over again wouldn't change anything. She wasn't leaving him.
"My left pocket," he answered, confused.
Dominique crawled over him and pulled his wand from his pocket. She held it tightly in her grasp and turned to look up the slope. She pointed it in the general direction of where hers had disappeared, and she gave Callum's wand a wave. "Accio."
Her wand soared up from the ground some distance away, and she caught it readily. When she did, she turned back to Callum, sliding his wand back into his pocket and preparing herself to tend to him with her wand.
She finally let her gaze come to rest fully on his injury. Dominique felt herself grow sick and frantic. She had never seen anything like this; the extent of the wounds or injuries she had seen had been simple accidents. Jinxes that give you boils, enlarged noses, bloody noses, minor splinches. But nothing like this. Nothing where something was protruding from another's body. An arrow at that and currently lodged in his chest. She bit her lip in fright.
What was she to do, anyway? Where did she even begin? She didn't know how to tend to such an injury. During her three years of training, sure, she had received some lessons on how to heal injuries, but nothing was as major as this. Besides, half of the things she did know of, the supplies didn't even exist yet. There was no Essence of Dissany yet. Nothing.
She felt her stomach fall into a bottomless pit as her fear grew. Could she even save him...?
She couldn't lose him. She knew it was selfish to think in such a way, but what would she do without Callum? She couldn't lose him.
"We're going to take care of you. I promise. You're going to be all right," she blubbered quickly, not even realizing that she was ranting.
Ignotus watched from a short distance away, his expression holding deep sorrow. He knew what was inevitable; his father had died from the same wound. He felt pity for him in his heart for Dominique, but the deepest of sorrows for his friend. He slowly approached the two on the ground and fell to his knees on the other side of Callum. Callum turned his head to Ignotus, his lines pursed as he tried to manage a smile for his friend. Edmund finally approached them as he ran up the hill, having defeated the bandit he had taken on.
After Callum's weak smile, he turned back to Dominique. He watched her move frantically over him, her expression contorted with determination to save him. She was fumbling around with her wand held over his chest. He caught her hands and brought them to his cheeks.
"I am dying, my love," he said quietly and sternly. "I am afraid I cannot be saved."
Tears fell from her eyes, and she shook her head in adamant refusal. "Don't say that," she whispered. "I'll make you better. I will."
She refused to listen to him. She pulled her hands away from his cheeks and grasped her wand. She gave it a wave and began to levitate Callum's body back down the slope and to the horses. Ignotus rose to help Dominique, moving alongside Callum as he was levitated down the slope.
Callum momentarily accepted Dominique's help, but he could feel his strength fading by the moment. He knew he didn't have much time left. So he shook his head and reached out for one of them. He found Ignotus' wrist, and he turned to his friend.
"Please, Ignotus," he whispered desperately. "Lay me down."
"I'm going to save you!" Dominique interjected.
Callum closed his eyes to the pain and tried to accept his fate. "Please," he moaned again, "I know I am nearing my life's end. Allow my last few moments to be peaceful."
Dominique didn't wish to give up on Callum, but she could feel Ignotus' eyes on her. She met his eyes, and despite the sadness in them, he nodded his agreement with Callum.
Finally accepting that they would allow Callum to die, Dominique let out a sob and fell to her knees. Ignotus took over the levitating and placed Callum's body on the ground as gently as possible. Ignotus and Edmund sank to the ground beside him. Callum turned his gaze to Ignotus, and after he had mustered his courage, he asked of his friend, "Ignotus, please. The arrow. Take it out."
Ignotus' eyes grew wide. Why? Why cause Callum any more pain that needed? He knew he was dying; he surely didn't have much longer, and so he wanted to spend his last moments in agony?
"You sure?" he whispered.
"Certain. Get that blasted arrow out of the way. I want," he moaned in pain, pausing to wince loudly, "to be held by my love as I die."
Ignotus made a deep swallow and nodded. He etched forward, pushing his hair out of his eyes so he could focus on the arrow protruding from Callum's chest. Bracing himself, he gingerly ripped apart Callum's tunic so the fabric was free of the arrow's path, and then he looked to his friend and gave him a reassuring look.
"Brace yourself," instructed Ignotus as he gripped the thin wooden arrow in his palm.
Callum nodded, closing his eyes. He reached out a hand to Edmund, and Edmund took it kindly. Callum wanted to take Dominique's, but he knew the pain he was about to feel would be excruciating. He knew his group would be tight, and he didn't want to hurt her, so he turned to Edmund instead. With his free hand, he placed his palm against the ground and dug his nails into the earthy ground, preparing himself.
"I'm ready," he answered as he clasped Edmund's hand.
Ignotus bit his bottom lip as his grip on the arrow tightened. With his free hand, he flattened it against Callum's chest, ignoring the blood that immediately soaked his hand. He sucked in a deep breath of courage, and in one swift movement, he yanked the arrow free from Callum's chest.
Callum jolted about, his grip on Edmund's hand growing impossibly tight, the nails of his other hand digging into the dirt, and he let out a horrid scream. "Ahh - FUCK!"
"I am sorry!" burst Ignotus as freed the arrow. He held it in his grasp and inspected the thing. The arrow had been embedded deeper than Ignotus had expected, for a large segment of the wood was coated in Callum's blood, the tip of the arrow dripping with it. Ignotus threw it off to the side.
With the arrow no longer in the way, Dominique moved forward and wrapped her arms around Callum's body. She pulled him into her lap despite the blood that was now rolling freely from the open wound. His blood soaked his tunic and pooled in their laps. He seemed to struggle briefly to speak, for his mouth was full of blood, but he turned his head to the side and let it roll out the corners of his mouth. Dominique reached for his already ripped tunic and tore a piece of it off that wasn't yet stained with blood.
When Callum turned his head back to her, she wiped the blood from his face. Callum turned his gaze to Dominique as she held him, and with a shaking hand, he reached up to wipe her tears with his thumb.
"My betrothed, ever the optimist. Your determination to refuse my life's end is touching."
"B-But you can't leave me," she hiccupped. Her tears continued flow steadily, running down her cheeks, seeping between her lips, down her chin, until the dropped onto Callum's cheeks. She didn't want to lose him. How could he leave her? "Please, Callum. You can't leave me."
"I am sorry the day will not come when you and I will be husband and wife, but know that you have made me a happy man just by knowing you would have been mine," he whispered as he stroked her cheek.
Dominique let out a small cry and turned her face into his palm, kissing the inside of his hand just as she had done the night of their engagement party. When she pulled her lips away, Callum turned to Ignotus. His hands fumbled around briefly as Ignotus watched him, unsure of what he was trying to grasp. Finally his grip latched onto Ignotus' tunic, and he pulled him close. He held Ignotus close and whispered into his ear, his words for Ignotus and Ignotus alone.
"Love her as I would have loved her. Love her enough for both of us, my friend," he whispered.
When Callum released him, Ignotus pulled away in surprise. His brow furrowed, and his mouth fell open. He looked into his friend's eyes, silently questioning him. Did he really mean it? Callum seemed to understand his questioning surprise, for he gave a reassuring nod.
Then Ignotus swallowed down his surprise and nodded.
"I already do," he whispered, a declaration.
"Then I can be at peace," he sighed in reply and turned back to Dominique. He took her hands into his own and held them to his chest. Neither seemed to mind the amount of blood that coated their hands. He gave her hands a reassuring squeeze, something to show her that he wasn't afraid of where he was going. He was ready.
Dominique stifled a cry and leaned over him. She kissed him delicately, not giving a care in the world that Ignotus and Edmund were watching. She had every right to give her betrothed one final kiss goodbye before he died. She kissed him deeply, yet careful of his wound, but Callum didn't seem to care, for he pulled her closer. He kissed her desperately, refusing to let go. He savored it. Her kiss, the soft feel of her lips, her smell, her sweetness.
This was how he wanted to go. With Dominique kissing him like this.
He pushed his mouth against hers just a little more, giving her everything he had left. Then she felt a release of air against her mouth as they kissed. His body slackened. She felt his heart beat beneath her palm once more and then never again.
gorgeous chapter image by Eponine @ TDA
When she felt his heart give its final beat, she knew he had died. Died beneath her, kissing her. With her lip still against his, she let out a cry, and she pulled him tight to her chest. She pulled her mouth away from his to cry into his hair. His form was limp in her grasp, and gravity took hold of his arms as they fell from across his stomach and to the ground.
"No," she cried out desperately, "no, no, no! Callum!"
She cradled his limp form against her body, aware that the front of her dress was being stained red with Callum's blood, but she didn't care. She felt Edmund grow still in sorrow beneath her, as was Ignotus for quite some time until he finally leaned forward. He reached out a hand, unsure of what to do, and he finally placed it against her arm, whispering mournfully. "Oh, Dominique..."
He then faltered. What was he to say to her? How could he comfort her? Yes, he had lost a lifelong friend, but Dominique...Ignotus didn't think he had been aware of just how much Callum meant to her. Seeing her cry like this was heart-breaking. He couldn't even imagine how she must feel. He had turned her down; he had told her he could never be with her, despite their feelings for one another, and then she had promised she would be happy with another man. And Ignotus was beginning to see the happiness that Callum and Dominique would have given one another. He saw that she was truly happy with him when she smiled at his name, how she blushed when she was with him. She had been truly happy; she thought she had found a man who would love her and take care of her after she had been rejected. And now that second man had been taken from her too.
Dominique continued to cry under Ignotus' touch, but she did not move. She did not turn into Ignotus' arms for comfort. Instead, she kept her hold on her fiancé’s body, crying into his hair.
Unsure of what to do and unready to ask anything of her, Ignotus rose to his feet, picking his sword up from where it lay on the ground. He turned to Edmund.
"Come, Edmund," said Ignotus solemnly. "We must kill the bandits Dominique subdued."
That seemed to catch her attention, for she jerked her head up from where she was crying and looked to Ignotus with curiosity. "Kill them? Why? I said I would wipe their memories."
"No," Ignotus shook his head, "we cannot wipe their memories. Memory charms today are not trustworthy, but even if yours are flawless, we cannot wipe them. They must be killed."
Dominique could tell Ignotus didn't like the truth in what he was saying. She could tell that he didn't want to have to kill anyone, but she still didn't understand why. "But why?!"
"Because what will they do when they wake up and have no recollection of what happened? What will they do when they see their four comrades that we have slain? They will be confused, lost, and they will be in search of answers. Bandits work in large numbers; they surely have a camp of more bandits nearby. They will return to their camp, and they will inform the others. And where does that leave us? Leaving them with wiped memories puts all of Godric's Hollow and witches and wizards alike in danger of the muggles and their cruel ways when it comes to magic."
Dominique grew quiet at that. She began to understand the point Ignotus was making, but she still had questions. Despite that fact, she took Ignotus' word for it. Any more questions and Edmund would grow curious as to why Dominique was so ignorant on the subject, so she knew it was smartest to keep quiet. She also had to put her trust into Ignotus and believe that he was doing the right thing, as she always did when it came to him.
So she fell into silence one more, and with her silence, she felt her tears return.
Ignotus pursed his lips and turned away from her. He directed Edmund in the general area of where Dominique had stunned the first bandit they had encountered, and Edmund set off in that direction while Ignotus trekked up the slope to the one Dominique had most recently stunned. When he reached the man, the poor muggle, unconscious and hopeless, defenseless as his death came, Ignotus breathed a heavy sigh. He hated this. But he knew it was what he had to do. He had to kill the muggle. For the sake of Godric's Hollow. For the exact reason he had just explained.
Muggles were crazed when it came to magic. More witches and wizards were being burnt at the stake as magic was growing more and more recognizable. Witches and wizards were beginning to have to lead a careful life of secrecy.
So he had to.
Ignotus apologized to the man for what he was about to do, and in one swift motion, he raised his sword above his head and sent it plunging into the man's chest.
He never liked the feeling. Of course he didn't. He had killed men before. Bandits such as these when he had been raided in various places. A few times with his brothers, another with Callum and Edmund only a year ago. He had killed before, but that was different. That was in defense for his life. It was kill or be killed then. This was different. He was unarmed and unconscious. He died without a fair fight beneath his feet.
He groaned inwardly, trying to not let it affect him as he pulled his blood-coated sword out of the man's back and made way for the next bandit to kill. When he and Edmund had taken care of them, they returned to Dominique, still on the ground and cradling the corpse of her betrothed.
Ignotus kneeled down next to her, knowing it was high time to move out of the ravine. They needed to take care of Callum's body and place it in the ground; he needed a proper burial before too much time had passed.
He didn't know how he managed it, but after so many deaths, he always found the strength to go on. He thought his father's death had crushed him, had obliterated his spirit and taken away all signs of ignorance from him. But he had recovered with time. The same had happened with Antioch and Cadmus. He thought he would never recover from the death of his brothers, and while every day was a battle, each day was slowly becoming easier and easier to deal with.
While he was pained by the death of Callum, like the many other deaths he had been through, he knew he would find the strength to go on.
So he pulled on that strength in that moment for Dominique, for he could tell she needed it most. He rubbed her back, pushing her curls away from her tear stained cheeks, and he encouraged her. "Come. We must mourn properly."
She finally nodded, and she opened up her arms, exposing Callum's body to the air. Ignotus crouched down and slipped his arms under Callum's knees and back. He hauled his body into his grasp, and he trekked down the slope of the ravine while holding his friend. When he reached the water, Edmund went to fetch Callum's horse, which had wondered off a ways, but when he returned with it, together the two men heaved Callum's body onto his horse and gently draped it across the saddle.
After his body was situated, Ignotus turned to look back up the slope to see if Dominique had moved at all. It appeared she hadn't. She was still on the ground in a ball, her knees pulled up to her chest and her face buried between them. Ignotus gave a sympathetic sigh as he made his way up once more to her.
He crouched down in front of her and encouraged her once more. "Please, Dominique," he whispered soothingly. "Let us return."
She swiped at her eyes, but continued to cry. When she made no movement to rise, Ignotus did to her just as he had done to Callum's body. He placed his arms against her back and under her knees, and he swiftly picked her up in his arms. Her arms went around his neck simultaneously, and she clung to him as he carried her down the slope. He could feel her tears wetting the folds of his tunic against his chest.
When he reached her horse, he placed Dominique atop of Fay. Once she was on her saddle, she sat upright, prepared to remain astride her horse without assistance. Then the men mounted their horses, and they made their way to return to Godric's Hollow.
The trip back was a silent and slow one, aside from Dominique's quiet weeping. She did her best to remain quiet and strong, but she found that it was too hard a task. She felt selfish and conceited in her thinking, but she couldn't seem to force those particular thoughts out of her head. The thoughts of being denied by Ignotus, finally feeling truly happy with the man she would marry, perhaps even infatuated with him, and then he had to be taken from her. Now what was she to do?
There was also a thought in the back of Dominique's mind, a question and a fear, of if the attack in the ravine was something Death had devised.
Ignotus hadn't encountered any strange incidents or moments that seemed particularly life-threatening, but they both knew that Death had a price for his head. There was a constant fear in the back of their minds as to when Death would strike again. He had seemed quiet over the past month or so, but perhaps this attack and Callum's death was Death's way of showing this was only the beginning.
Dominique couldn't help but fear for the many life-threatening moments ahead for Ignotus. There was no denying the fact that they were fast approaching a time when Ignotus would have to lead a life under the cloak.
After what seemed like ages, they finally arrived at Godric's Hollow. The streets were quiet, as most of the townspeople had fled to their homes after the bells had tolled. For this Dominique was grateful. She didn't need the whole town seeing Callum's body draped over his horse, nor did they need to see her melting into a pool of tears. As they travelled deeper into the village, Ignotus gave her instructions.
"My Lady," he said gently, "go home. You do not need to trouble yourself with what is to come. Edmund and I will take care of the rest."
Dominique didn't argue with him. She nodded, and once they reached the fork in the road, she took the one that led back to the Peverell house. She was thankful for the quiet streets and for when she reached the house. She led Fay into the stables and then entered the house. When she stepped in, she saw Jocosa sitting in a chair in the sitting room off to the side. Spotting her teary eyed friend, Jocosa immediately jumped to her feet.
She ran to Dominique's aide. "My Lady," she ushered quickly, "what happened?"
"Callum..." she moaned, shaking her head. "He...He didn't make it."
"Lord Conway has died?" asked Jocosa in a low and uneasy voice.
Dominique only nodded.
Just then there was shuffling from further into the house, and both the young women turned to face the newcomer. Eirene stepped out from around the corner, and she looked to them with great interest. She folded her hands together, his aging face kind and sympathetic in her expression.
"My dear," she began sweetly, her voice gentle and loving as it always was, "what ever is the matter?"
"Lord Callum Conway has died," answered Jocosa for Dominique, seeing that Dominique was in no state to speak any further.
Eirene's reaction was just as sorrowful as Jocosa's had been. She stepped forward and grasped Dominique by her arms, and she rubbed them in a reassuring fashion. For the moment, Dominique was grateful to receive such compassion. She had missed the touch and love of a mother, and now, when she knew she needed it most, she was grateful to have Eirene there. She felt herself tremble under Eirene's touch, and she tried to keep her composure, for she didn't know how Eirene would react to any further physical affection from Dominique. But she found that she couldn't hold back any more.
She gave one small cry, and then she fell against Eirene's form. Eirene gave a small start, but she immediately wrapped her arms around Dominique and patted her head.
"Oh, my darling," moaned Eirene as she held the young woman, "I am so sorry for your loss."
After moments of no sound beside Dominique's cries, Eirene turned her head to face Jocosa. She pressed her cheek into the top of Dominique's head as she spoke to their servant. "Jocosa, would you please start a fire in Lady Dominique's chambers? And perhaps some hot tea?"
"Of course, my Lady," answered Jocosa. She dropped into a small curtsy before scurrying from the room and to the kitchens to prepare the tea.
For many moments, Eirene and Dominique just stood there. Dominique clung to the older woman, and she savored the many ways in how she was so similar to her own mother. Her arms were loving and comforting; they were gentle and encouraging. She felt safe in them, just as she had always felt in the arms of her mother as a young woman. She didn't realize how much she truly missed her mother until that moment while she was in Eirene's arms.
There, in Eirene's arms, Dominique then felt a mixture of so many varying emotions come rushing forward. Emotions she thought she hadn't felt and wouldn't feel in 1234. She felt desperate for the arms of her mother, desperate longing for the comfort of her family; she felt her desperation to be with the ones she loved who would love her in return. In Eirene's arms, she started to realize that she did miss 2022 no matter how much she had denied it over the past four months.
Finally Eirene straightened but took Dominique's hand and led her to the stairs. She guided her up the stairs with her other hand at the small of her back and to her chambers. Eirene pulled back the covers of her bed and helped her into it. Dominique crawled into her bed silently and without question. When she was situated, she had almost expected Eirene to leave her. But she didn't, to which Dominique was pleasantly surprised.
Eirene sat on the edge of her bed, and she took Dominique's hand. With her other she brushed away her tears and pushed back her hair. Dominique closed her eyes to her touch and imagined they were the fingers of her mother. She missed her desperately, but in this moment, she was able to shut her eyes from the world around her and imagine they were truly hers.
"You have seen so much, been through so much," Eirene mused aloud as she continued to stroke her hair. "I cannot possibly understand just how much you are going through, but I know what it is like to lose a man you would have called your own. And I know you must miss your family dreadfully."
Dominique nodded, and she knew was receiving the love of a mother, but it just wasn't the same. She found herself blurting out, "I want my mother."
Eirene's hand did not even still in the slightest. She continued to console her and comfort her, and the corners of her mouth even pulled up into a smile. "I understand," she whispered, "and I am so sorry that you are in a seemingly impossible situation in ever seeing her again. I also know that nothing can compare or ever replace the love of a mother, and I may be no consolation, but I am here, my sweet."
Harry stood behind his desk in his office, staring blankly at the report he had just been handed by his assistant. He had read it thoroughly over and over again. He couldn't be reading it right, could he? He could have yet another blank Auror report. He didn't want to believe it. He groaned, rubbed his sunken eye sockets and collapsed into his large chair behind his desk, groaning.
Bill Weasley, after just watching Harry in careful silence, finally spoke. "Nothing again?"
"I'm so sorry, Bill," answered Harry in reply, his explanation for a 'no.'
He didn't understand. What were they missing? How could Dominique possibly have disappeared without a trace? Without a single sign as to where she went. She had to have left something, or there must be something that they could have traced. What did they miss in the analysis of her flat? What had they overlooked? These were the questions that had plagued Harry's thoughts constantly over the last four months, but after each run through of these doubts and questions, he had gone back and done a re-analysis of everything he had. And the same results would arise.
Bill looked to the floor in defeat. Like Harry, the four months in which his daughter had disappeared had taken a toll on him. He appeared weak and tired these days, with his eyes a dark blue and sunken. They both lacked sleep as they put their every breath into finding Dominique again.
"I don't know what else to do," said Harry slightly frantically. He looked to the many reports he had acquired since beginning his search for Dominique, all of which led to nowhere. "I don't know where to turn or what else to do."
"I know," said Bill kindly. "You're trying. We all know you are. I just don't understand...Where could she have gone?"
"I don't know," answered Harry sorrowfully, despite the fact that Bill had said it as more of a rhetorical question.
"She was always a quiet girl," Bill mused aloud. "I noticed it a long time ago. How she would always steal away to the back and go unnoticed. I don't know if she wanted to go unnoticed or not, but she did. Fleur and I could always tell she believed herself to be the odd one out...Harry, do you think she could have...chosen to leave?"
Harry looked appalled. "What?! No!" he gasped.
"It's just..." began Bill uneasily, rubbing the kinks in his neck. "She was, though. She was the odd one out. Fleur and I could see her when she thought herself to be invisible, and Merlin knows Vic must have been driving her insane with the wedding."
"Maybe she has always been the odd one out, but I don't think that justifies her reasoning to leave. If she did in fact leave. The blood in her room says differently though," said Harry.
He didn't want to believe that Dominique had left. He would have respected her decision whatever it may be, so he would have respected it if she had chosen to leave, but Harry liked to believe that Dominique would have left some sort of note instead of choosing to put her entire family through an endless agony.
"And I realize the blood says differently," nodded Bill in agreement. "I realize that. I guess this is just me trying to make reasoning out of where she could have gone. Wherever she is...I'm sorry if none of us ever stopped to make her feel like she fit in. I just hope that, wherever she is, taken by force or having chosen to leave, I hope she's happy..."
I'm so excited for this chapter! :D Out of all the things I've written for this story thus far, I have most been looking forward to this one. :) I hope it will be your favorite one to read!
Again, a huge thank you to everyone who follows this story! You guys are awesome! And of course, as always, reviews with your thoughts or also any constructive criticism is always much appreciated!
lovely chapter image by Modthryth @ TDA
- Year 1234 -
The next few days after Callum's death seemed endless. Dominique had worn mourning clothes after Cadmus' death, but this time it was completely different. Those thick, black dresses felt different this time; she felt as if their material weighed her down for the fortnight she wore them. They were a constant reminder of what she had lost in Callum and of what she would never have.
She had attended his funeral, of course, and it had been the most painful of experiences she had ever gone through. Cadmus' funeral was the first she had ever gone to, but once again, Callum's brought on an entirely new feeling and magnitude of sorrow.
She missed him, she did. She regretted now the days when she was angry at the entire prospect of having to marry Callum. Despite the fact that Callum hadn't known she felt this way, she still felt guilty for ever wishing to not marry him. Their betrothal had been short lived, and in his death, she wished him to have only experienced happy things, and she knew her thougths - if he had known - would have crushed him, and that's where her guilt came in.
But she knew she had made him happy in their short time together. She could see it when she was with him, and he had most certainly changed her opinion on the entire matter. While, yes, her first choice would always be Ignotus, she knew Callum would have truly made her happy someday. Perhaps she even could have loved him.
Now she would never know what the future would have been for her and Callum.
The next fortnight and the week after that seemed to go on for ages when Dominique just wanted them to be over. She was grateful when she was able to shed her mourning clothes by Ignotus' standards. She knew it was a notion out of respect, but to finally be out of the black allowed Dominique to finally feel as if she could move on. However, anytime she felt herself trying to move on, she felt as if she hit a wall. There was nowhere for her to move on to. Where did she go from here? She missed her family at home, yes, and she felt lost in 1234 now with the idea of never being with Ignotus and having lost the only man who would possibly just accept her for her and no money, but it wasn't enough for her to decide to go home.
She was searching in 1234 for something else to put her mind, heart, and time in. She knew Ignotus saw this in her as well, and she could tell he was doing his best to help her. She knew he had lost a dear friend in Callum's death as well, but he was more supportive for her than she could have ever hoped for. He was particularly kind and caring towards her; he spent every waking minute of his free time with her, and Dominique thought that would have potentially made their situation difficult with the romantic tension between the two of them, but it wasn't. It was comforting to always have him there. He would take her hand when they were alone, not in the romantic kind of way, but just in the reassuring type way. He was extraordinarily compassionate to her, and while his touch always made her yearn for more between them, she was grateful for it.
When Ignotus was busy or she found herself yearning for the presence of Callum again, she would find herself falling to her knees beside his grave in the Godric's Hollow cemetery. The time she spent there in the first fortnight since his death was reasonable; people expected it of her, and so no one questioned it. But when that first fortnight of mourning was over, and then the following week was over, and then as they were approaching the end of a second fortnight, she knew people would wonder if she would ever move on from his death. Time was closing in on one month since his death, and so Dominique took to the Cloak when she entered the cemetery so she wouldn't have to deal with anyone's sympathetic gaze.
She liked it better that way. She could mourn silently, and no one would pay her any mind. It was strange in a way, how she had reverted back to her ways at home. At home she unintentionally went unheard and unseen, and now she longed for it when she was in the cemetery. She didn't like everyone's constant fretting over her and if she would ever get better.
That was why it was okay for her to be sitting by Callum's grave one rainy afternoon. The rain was only a light drizzle, but the lightning and thunder in the sky were raging their own battles. None of this bothered her, though. Underneath the cloak, she simply leaned against Callum's tombstone in silence.
She didn't know what to say to him - or the tombstone - anymore these days. In her other times of visiting him, she had found herself talking. Just talking to Callum as if he were there and listening. She had told him everything: her story, how she got here, where she was truly from, how different this all was for her. She had even told him that she had feelings for Ignotus but she had truly been excited for her life with him. She wondered if he could hear her, if he knew all of this about her since she had shared it with his grave. She had asked him what it was he had whispered to Ignotus that had made him reply 'I already do' as if she would receive some sort of answer, but of course there was none.
But now, sitting here this day, she seemed to have run out of things to say.
She didn't know how long she had been there for, but surely Ignotus, Eirene, or Jocosa would come looking for her soon.
As if on cue, she raised her head to the sound of boots sloshing about on the muddied ground. She saw Ignotus opening the cemetery gate and letting himself in. He wore a somber expression, and she wondered what he was doing here, but when he began to move about very slowly and cautiously - as if he could run into something at any moment - she knew.
He was there for her. He had figured her out a long time ago. When he couldn't find her for hours on end and knew the second Cloak to be gone from her chambers, he knew what she was up to and where to find her.
He walked to Callum's grave very slowly, his hands slightly outstretched in front of him. Finally he reached the grave, and Dominique only watched him from beneath the cloak. She watched him scan the area around her, and then his hands more confidently moved towards her. They moved very slowly, very gently, and finally she felt one of his hands on the top of her head. When he knew he had made contact, he let out a heavy sigh, and he allowed himself to fully let his hand rest on her. He knelt down, and when he had situated himself, with his other hand he pulled back the hood of the cloak.
When her face was exposed, she looked to him.
He gave her a sad look. "My Lady," he said despairingly, "will you not come inside?"
Dominique didn't answer him. What was she to say? She had no reason to go inside. What would she do in there that she couldn't do out here with Callum?
When he saw that she wouldn't answer, he shook his head disdainfully. "It pains me to see you hurting so."
Yes, she was hurting, but she didn't know if that was truly the right word. It wasn't the fact that she was hurt that weighed her down and kept her out here; it was more the fact that she was lost. She was lost now in 1234. What was she to do now for the rest of her life? She couldn't be with Ignotus; he had made that clear, but what was she to do now? She knew Callum was dead and he wasn't coming back, and of course she missed him - she always would - but she had come to terms with the fact that he was dead. When she had shed her mourning clothes, she had truly begun to move on, and in a way she already had, but it was just the fact that Callum was the man who gave her a reason to stay in 1234 before he died. Now he was gone, and it was that aspect that was she was still clinging to. He had been that reason to stay, and now that he was gone, she was hoping he could somehow show her another reason. Guide her in the right direction.
She found herself blurting out a question before she could think twice about it. "What was it Callum told you before he died?"
Ignotus seemed surprised by her question. He set his jaw in a tight line, and Dominique could tell he was having an inner-debate about what to say. Finally he shook his head in refusal. "Perhaps I shall share another time."
She looked away from him and fell into silence once more. When she said and did nothing further, Ignotus finally prompted her. "Please come inside."
She debated saying something, moving in some way. In fact she was actually about to rise to her feet when there was a particularly loud clap of thunder, and then in the next moment, lighting struck the ground only feet away from them. The light was blindingly bright. They both let out a yelp; Ignotus fell back onto his bum and into the mud, and Dominique covered her head with her arms as if that would save her from anything.
When the moment had passed and they had both recovered from the sudden shock, Dominique whipped the entire cloak off of her body. She stood quickly and draped it over Ignotus' shoulders without a moment to lose, pulling it over his head. She knew what that lightning strike was about. What were the chances that lightning striking so close to them would be nothing more than a coincidence? It wasn't. Dominique knew it was the work of Death.
"The cloak, Ignotus!" she begged. For the time being, she felt like herself again, worrying for Ignotus and his safety, wondering when he would have to lead a life under the cloak. "When will you start to listen to me and wear the cloak?!"
Dominique couldn't see him anymore, but she knew he had risen from the ground, for she could see footprints form in the mud on the ground where his feet were as he moved from sitting to standing. He said nothing, though, and Dominique only shook her head in exasperation.
"You're on Death's hit list! He wants you dead. You have to be careful!"
"How could I have possibly known he would try to kill me by lightning?!" he said, his voice floating to her from where he stood. He seemed frustrated with her, but Dominique didn't care.
"You can't! That's why you need to wear the cloak!"
"And do what?" he questioned, mortified. "Live the rest of my life as an invisible man?!"
As he finished his question, he pulled the cloak off of him. This cloak was Dominique's, or her Uncle's, the one that was 800 years old, and so Ignotus quickly handed it back to her, for he didn't want to hold it any longer. He didn't like what Dominique was saying; he didn't want to believe that he would have to live his life under an Invisibility Cloak.
She took the cloak and gave a defeated sigh. With that, she stalked off from him and towards the exit of the graveyard.
"Dominique!" Ignotus called after her desperately. "Wait, my Lady. I just...How am I supposed to live a life under a cloak?"
Dominique didn't know what course through her veins then, but she found herself giving him a solid answer on that question. She quickly turned around and took a few bold steps towards him, her eyes piercing his with the intensity of what she had to say. "I don't know, Ignotus!" she began sarcastically. "Death wants you dead, and this cloak will hide you from him! We know he's making attempts on your life. He just did it only a minute ago! He may end up taking someone else's life to get to you! Collateral damage. People could get hurt, you will constantly have to be alert and aware of the threat you face! So I don't know, Ignotus, but protecting the one's you love seems like a pretty good incentive to me!"
"He would not..." breathed Ignotus in surprise. He understood completely what Dominique was saying, but he hadn't looked at it that way before. Now that she had taken away his ignorance on the matter, he suddenly saw it in a different light. "I never looked at it that way."
"Well, you should," she said sourly. "Because I could have been hurt just then. And who knows what he'll do next? Maybe he'll take Edmund down too if he has to. Or your mother. Who knows, the bandit incident could have been his entire doing as well! He tried to take you down in the ravine. Myself or Edmund could have been that collateral damage. And perhaps that's what Callum's death actually is. Your collateral damage."
Ignotus blanched, and then in that moment, he found himself truly angry. He would not allow her to make him feel such guilt. "Do not say that!" he shouted horrifically. "Callum's death was not my fault! You cannot blame me for the death of your betrothed!"
"I don't blame you for it, Ignotus..." she whispered, her angry and hurtful tone finally leaving. She knew she had hurt his feelings, and she hadn't intended to do that. She had only wanted to make him see the potential possibilities of what Death could do. So now she spoke lovingly and forgivingly. "I know his death isn't your fault. You just need to understand the unprecedented danger that you face. And I just...Ignotus, I can't lose you too!"
She found herself breaking down in the end. She collapsed against his chest, and he quickly caught her. His arms went around her, and he held her to his chest as she clung to his waist. She pressed her cheek to his chest and held onto him. She hoped she had made him understand now. She had lost Callum; she couldn't lose Ignotus too. He was all she had here, and she knew if she lost him in any way that she would leave, but that was beside the point.
At some point she had fallen in love with this man, and he was the only thing keeping her now.
For the rest of the day, Ignotus couldn't stop thinking about what Dominique had told him in the graveyard. About Callum's death. He knew she had said it as a mean for drastic measures, but he couldn't help questioning if she had been right. What if she was? Was Callum's death truly his fault? Was the bandit attack in the ravine generated by Death in order to get Ignotus into the ravine and into a danger with a possible death scenario? What if Callum's life really had been collateral damage from the choices of his brothers that day at the valley?
He hated himself for it now, and what he hated most was the fact that he would never know what would have been if he and his brothers hadn't crossed that valley and met Death. He could never know.
He did his best to force it from his mind. He already missed his friend enough; he didn't need to feel the guilt of Callum's death as well.
He could tell Dominique felt guilty for what she said to him afterwards, for once they went back inside the house, she was unusually sweet and talkative with him than she had been since Callum's death. They spent the rest of the day together when they had so often spent them apart since Callum's death. They would each steal away to their respectful chambers when they weren't busy, despite the fact that Ignotus would always console her in some way when they were together. But this day was different; the conversation in the graveyard changed things. Eirene spent the majority of the rainy day sewing a tapestry she had been working on for months now in her chambers, and so Dominique and Ignotus were free to spend the day together as they pleased but also take each other's hands when they desired without having to wonder what Eirene would think.
The day ended much sooner than Ignotus would have liked, considering the progress he and Dominique had made in the day, but he only hoped their relationship would continue to be the way it was this day.
They had bid goodnight to one another near an hour ago, and Ignotus lay in bed after he had shed his day's clothing and replaced it with a simple loose, white tunic and baggy trousers. He lay in bed with his arms above his head, his fingers laced together, and hands behind his head, staring hopelessly at his ceiling.
As much as he wished to fall asleep, he found that his mind would not obey. It was full of thoughts. Thoughts of his guilt about Callum, about a simple conversation with Dominique had improved their actions with one another, but most of all, he couldn't stop thinking about his feelings for her.
He had been able to choke them down once Dominique had accepted Callum's proposal. It had hurt him greatly to see the two of them together, and now that Callum was dead, Ignotus felt guilty for ever wishing to deny Dominique or Callum from one another. He had done well in forcing down his sexual desires and had been pleased to see that he could still love her in a strictly platonic way, but this day seemed to demolish all that progress he had made.
He couldn't take his mind off of her. Off how he felt when he was with her, of how beautiful she was, how kind and sweet, gentle when she wanted and fierce in the next. He loved how simply unpredictable she was at times because, even after five months, he was still trying to learn her ways. He loved her, and he knew it.
But he hated the fact that he couldn't be with her. He had to marry Brigid, and he wondered daily when he would find the courage to tell Dominique, but he knew the day was approaching. He couldn't keep it a secret for much longer. The planning would begin soon, and it would be inevitable then. He wondered if she would hate him for his lies, but he hoped she wouldn't.
He didn't want to marry Brigid, and he wished he had it in him to be the strong and defiant person that Dominique was. He wondered how he could find it in himself. He wanted to be with Dominique more than anything, so how could he find a way?
How angry would his mother truly be if he were to break off the engagement with Brigid? Fairly angry he knew, yes, but wouldn't she understand it was because he was in love? She was a woman, and Ignotus knew she had loved his father. Eirene knew what it was like to live without the one you love, so wouldn't she spare her son that same fate? Ignotus hoped she would...
Brigid and Edric would surely hate him for breaking it off, but what did that matter...? Did it really?
Ignotus found that it didn't. It wouldn't matter. At all. Because he would be happy and with the one he loved. And that was the power of love; so many things could be lost because of it, but it would be worth it. All the sacrifices would be worth it. Just for love.
And he had lost so many people so quickly. His brothers, and now Callum. If their three deaths had taught him anything, it was that life is too short to not make it worthwhile.
So what the hell had he been doing denying Dominique for so long?!
In the next moment, Ignotus didn't know what came over him, but he felt it arise from his heart, and he followed Dominique's advice from so long ago. Just do what your heart tells you. He found himself rising from his bed. He tossed back the covers, extinguished the light in his room, and made way for the door. He padded down the long hallway and to the other side of the house where Dominique's chambers were.
He could see a faint, golden glow coming from the crack beneath her door, so he knew she was awake. He found himself anxiously fiddling with his tunic. He briefly wondered if he was doing the right thing. Was this respectful? He knew if she were a woman of 1234, it would be anything but respectful to show up at a woman's chambers, but Dominique was not your average woman.
He forced away any and all thoughts that could turn him away from her chambers. It had taken him long enough to muster the courage to finally approach her and share his feelings with her; he couldn't allow himself to back away now.
He was just about to raise his fist and knock on the door when it suddenly opened beneath his hand. He gave a start, but Dominique was startled by his presence more than he was by the door.
She gasped in surprise and quickly covered her mouth with a hand to subdue herself. Ignotus blanched, and he felt his throat grow dry as he suddenly became parched with his loss of words.
Why hadn't he thought this through? When he left his room, he realized what he was doing, but what would he say?! Why hadn't he taken the time to figure out what he wanted to say? After so long of denying her, all he wanted was for every moment to be perfect with her.
"Ignotus," she whispered, "what are you doing?"
Dominique inspected his attire. She had never seen him in his sleeping attire before, and so she felt her cheeks grow pink. She wasn't a stranger to the form of a man; she had been with men and seen their figures, but there was something about the fact that it was Ignotus before her that made her blush. His trousers were looser than normal, as he wore no belt to hold them up. They hung loosely from his hips, and he wore a plain white tunic, untied at the neck, so it fell open across his chest, exposing much of his chest and abdomen. It was the most she had ever seen of him.
He finally straightened and cleared his throat. "Where were you going?" he asked in order to allow himself a moment more to gather his thoughts.
Dominique's blush grew even more with his question, and that did not go unnoticed to Ignotus. He knew what her answer was after that. He didn't need words to clarify. She had been heading for his chambers. Perhaps to do the very same thing he was doing.
She diverted the question to ask the same of him. "What are you doing at my chambers?"
He rubbed the back of his neck anxiously. He had never made a declaration of love to a woman before. What was he to say?
Finally he came out and said it. The words rolled off his tongue in a quick declaration.
"I love you," he breathed.
She seemed temporarily surprised, and silence took her, but she quickly recovered. She blinked rapidly, and then she smiled. Her reply escaped her in a quick rush of air. "Ignotus, I love you too."
"Then forgive me for being so foolish," he said quickly.
Then, before she could reply or hardly take in his words, he embraced her and kissed her full on the mouth. His kiss was full of longing and passion, and she responded quickly by wrapping her arms around his neck and drinking him in. They kissed like that for many moments, and Dominique wondered if he would pull away. So many kisses with him had ended with Ignotus changing his mind or refusing her. She hoped this time was different, but just to give him the time and encouraging he needed, she let him be the one to take it further.
For minutes, their kissing was heated and passionate. Then finally, his hold on her finally changed. His hands travelled from her back, to her side where they slid down her hips. When he had a firm hold of her, he took a step back. She followed his lead and continued to walk back with him. They disappeared into her bedroom, and when Ignotus knew they had cleared the threshold, he kicked the door shut, refusing to let go the woman in his arms for a single moment.
They continued to kiss in her room for the longest time, each kiss a new and exciting one. They finally moved once more, and when Dominique felt her bed at the back of her knees, she willingly complied. She gracefully lay back against the plush mattress, pulling Ignotus with her. He climbed on top of her and settled in between her legs as they continued their kissing. She felt his hands roam along her body and his breath grow heavy and heated; this pleased her. She was glad to see him doing what he wished and doing what felt instinctive and natural instead of worrying about what was considered proper or respectful. That didn't matter to her. Not in the least. The only thing that mattered was that Ignotus had finally admitted the truth of his feelings to her, and he was here, kissing her with enough love and passion to prove it.
He was slow and gentle, his touch romantic and spurring a fire deep within her. His hands moved up and along her stomach, across her chest and to the top of her dressing gown. When he pulled his lips away to kiss her neck, her hands went for the bottom of his tunic. She gently tugged at it to get her message across, and as he kissed a trail along her jaw, he arched his back so he could help in removing the thing piece of clothing from his body. He set it on the bed next to their bodies, and before they could return to kissing, Dominique took that moment to take in his form.
She had never seen him like this before with his chest exposed. His chest and stomach alone - sinew, hard and laced with muscle from years of wielding a sword and practicing archery - would have been sight enough to make her heart skip a beat, but seeing him with his chest heaving from their kissing and lined with a thin layer of sweat that coated his chest made her shiver and lose her breath. He smiled at seeing her reaction to seeing him, and so he took one of her hands and placed them delicately on his chest directly over his heart. His flesh was warm, and she could feel the rapid beating of his heart beneath her palm. She let her hand trail across his chest and down his stomach where she took the time to carefully analyze the feel of each raised ab. Her hands finally travelled back up his chest, and when she wrapped them around his neck once more, she pulled him down to her again and began to kiss him.
He settled happily on top of her again, their mouths moving in perfect rhythm. His fingers fumbled with the ties of her dressing gown, and she helped him free the thing from her chest and then pushed it down her shoulders. Before he did anything else, though, he slowed and came to a stop, his hands cupping her cheeks. He gave her one long, loving kiss before he spoke.
"Just tell me when to stop," he advised, for he didn't know how far she was willing to go with him and he didn't want to overstep their boundaries.
She gave him a wide smile, and she ran her fingers through her hair. "Oh, Ignotus. I'm not stopping you from anything."
He grinned and gave her a chaste kiss. “I love you, my Lady.”
gorgeous chapter image by abyss @ TDA
Dominique had never had such a good night's sleep in all her life. In fact, she didn't wish to wake up at all from how wonderfully she slept. She stirred from her slumber the next morning, feeling the air around her beginning to warm with the rising sun. She gave a pleased smile, her eyes still closed, feeling the plush covers of her bed twisted about her bare body. Lazily she reached out a hand and felt the bed beside her, trying to seek purchase on Ignotus' body. He had held her all night, and she had loved every minute of it.
She had always been a woman who liked her space when she went to sleep; she never thought she would be the type to enjoy cuddling, but it was an entirely different situation when it came to Ignotus. She wanted him to hold her fast to his fit body. She wanted to feel his arms around her, protective and loving, and she had. She only wanted that again even as she awoke, and so she tried to grab hold of him.
She was fairly surprised when she felt his hand take hers into his own. He laced their fingers together, and then she felt his other hand brush back her hair and come to rest on her cheek. That was when she opened her eyes, and there he was, sitting on the bed beside her and giving her a loving smile. The light surrounding them was dim with only the sun rising far off in the distance for light; it must have been very early in the morning.
"Good morning, my love," he said sweetly.
She grinned and yawned. "Good morning," she said lazily and she turned on her side to better look at him.
He was pulling on his trousers, which had been thrown onto the floor without care the night before. He tied the laces together as they hung on his hips, and Dominique furrowed her brow. She didn't want him to leave. Not yet. Why did their night have to end? Couldn't he stay longer? Couldn't they just stay there all day?
"What made you change your mind?" she asked sweetly, turning onto her side and moving closer to Ignotus. She moved in against his form, his back resting against the curve of her stomach as she lay there. He twisted his torso so he could wrap an arm around her as she lay there, and he gave her the most sincere smile.
He answered honestly. "A lot of thinking with the understanding and acceptance that this situation will require delicate handling. That, and I have lost too many loved ones. Too many to not be with them as I should in my life."
Dominique smiled. She wished it hadn't taken him so long; the time she had gone wondering if they could ever be and wallowing in her sadness of never being with him as she wanted had been excruciating. But she forced that aside; none of that mattered now because he was here and with her as he should be.
"I know it will be hard for you to tell your mother. I know what this might mean to your mother and how difficult this may be for you to break the rules of 1234, but Ignotus," she breathed in an airy, dreamy voice, nothing more than a whisper, "I can't tell you how happy this makes me."
He bent down to kiss her forehead, and he let his whisper carry to her. "I know. I must go back to my chambers."
At the mention of that, Dominique latched onto him. Her arms went around his neck, and she pulled his body flush against hers. He chuckled as he was pulled back to the bed, their chests pressed tightly together as she clamped his body to hers.
"Do you have to? Can't you stay?" she whined in a teasing fashion.
He knew she was messing around with him, but his answer was honest and serious. He squirmed about on top of her to free his arms so he could stroke her cheek.
"No, my love," he said sadly. "As I said, the fact that I will love you and be with you always requires gentle handling with my mother. You must give me time. Until then - "
"No one can know..." she finished for him, almost sounding disappointed, but she understood. He had already travelled leaps and bounds to accomplish the relationship they had only just established. He was doing so much and giving so much up for her. She would be patient with him. As patient as it took.
"That would be best," he said in reply. "It is why I must go at such an early hour. I must go before Jocosa awakes and sees us."
"I don't know how you wake up this early," she commented lazily. She had never been an early riser. She always slept well into the morning. One thing she had noticed was that she did wake up exceptionally earlier in 1234 than she ever did in 2022, but that was mostly due to Jocosa awaking her when she was supposed to. She didn't know how Ignotus awoke at so early an hour on his own. He was always up before her. Despite their different chambers, she knew this. After Jocosa had awoken her, dressed her, and she would finally leave her chambers for the day, she would always find Ignotus busying himself with the day's work.
"I have always awoken early, as I must," he commented. "It is simply a habit of my body now. But, love, I must go."
"Fine," she agreed but with a huff. When he pouted at her, she gave him a smile and pulled him in for another kiss.
"Do not fear," he said against her lips. "I will return to your chambers tonight."
"Then I can't wait for this day to be over already."
"Believe me, my Lady," he chuckled as he finally rose from the bed. He finished tying the laces of his trousers and began to search for the tunic that had been abandoned. "I yearn for it as well. I shall see you in a few hours. Go back to sleep."
She watched him as he turned from her, watching the muscles in his back move as he did so. He snatched his tunic off the floor and pulled it on over his head and headed for the door. When his hand wrapped around the knob, he turned back and gave her a smile. She returned it happily and then watched him go. She grabbed her dressing gown from where they had abandoned it the previous night, and she pulled it on so that Jocosa wouldn't find her sleeping naked in her bed. More than pleased with the previous night's events, she shimmied further down into the bed, tugging the covers up over her body once more. She fell asleep with the largest smile on her face.
The start of the day came soon for Dominique. It felt as if it was only moments later when she awoken by Jocosa's cheerful greeting as she opened her drapes to let the sunlight spill into the room. While Dominique normally would grunt and turn over, burying her face into her pillow, she actually smiled and stretched this time, pleased to awake. Jocosa titled her head to the side as she appraised her friend, noticing this difference.
"Well, look at you, Dominique," teased Jocosa. "Awake and ready to face the day!"
"It will be a good day," commented Dominique in a relaxed manner. Jocosa was her best friend; she was dying to tell Jocosa of her relationship with Ignotus, but she would trust Ignotus' judgment and keep it a secret until he had spoken with his mother first. Until then, she had to hide the truth from her. She sat up and pushed the covers off of her. "I can feel it."
And it was. When she was ready for the day, she went downstairs and saw Ignotus at the large, elegant table in the dining room and eating his breakfast. He looked to her and gave her a true and knowing smile. Dominique looked quickly around, saw that they were utterly alone, and she ran to him while she had the chance. She kissed him deeply as she sat at the table; she held onto him, savoring him, and she kissed him until she heard footsteps in the hall. When she part from him, his smile still evident on his lips, she backed away from him and took her seat at the table. She was already seated and pouring herself a glass of water as Eirene entered the room. She noticed both of their pleased and happy exteriors but made no comment.
The rest of the day continued on in a similar way. They stole from each other what kisses they could when no one was around, and Dominique only felt as if the day was dragging on and on. She only yearned for it to come to an end so she could spend the night in Ignotus' arms again.
In the afternoon, Ignotus left to help Edmund build a new stable for his horses, and he said he wouldn't be back till late. Dominique ended up helping Eirene with the quilt she had been making, and when night fell, she retired to her chambers for the night. She waited patiently in her chambers for him. She didn't have a single doubt in the world that he wouldn't come; it was only a matter of time. She knew he would come to her as soon as his mother and Jocosa had retired for the night.
She felt as if the wait would never end when finally there was a knock upon her door. She sat up straight as she lay on her bed in her dressing gown. On the other side, he didn't even wait for a reply. Ignotus let himself in, shut the door behind him, and he was giving her a smile and approaching her without a moment's delay. She rose to meet him, and she lovingly wrapped her arms around him. He cupped her face in her hands and pulled her close for a kiss. She savored the touch she had been yearning for all day.
When he pulled away, he brushed back her hair and asked her sweetly, guiding her to her bed where they sat down together. "How was the rest of your day, my love?"
She watched him lean back against her pillows and settle himself in for a conversation. She did the same; she crawled up the bed and next to him where she nuzzled against him. He instinctively put his arm around her and drew her close.
“It was fine," she answered. "I helped your mother with that quilt, then not much else. How was building the stable with Edmund?"
"Enjoyable, actually," he answered, seeming fairly surprised. "I do not mind physical labor, hence why I volunteered to help him, but Edmund and I had a nice time building together and also talking. We had not spent an enjoyable time together since before Callum's death. I even stayed after we finished for an ale. Despite all that, though, it was still exhausting."
"I am really glad to hear that, Ignotus," she smiled. "Truly."
"As am I, my Lady," he said as he turned onto his side to face her.
He slid further down as he laid there, turning and adjusting so they both lay on their sides and faced one another. He reached out and ran his fingers through her hair, watching each strand of strawberry blonde hair shimmer with the light of the candle glowing on the night stand. He whispered to her, feeling utterly mesmerized. "You are so beautiful, Dominique."
She felt her cheeks grow hot as she flushed, and she gave him a smile. There was nothing more to be said after that. He drew her in for a kiss, his arms going around her, and she rolled beneath him. The night went from there, and once again, Dominique found that she had never been happier in her entire life.
The next morning came much sooner than she would have liked, so even as she felt herself begin to awaken, she allowed her eyes to flutter shut once more and for sleep to take her again. This continued for quite some time, and it was a while later when she realized she was not alone as she had expected to be when morning came. She knew the sun had risen, for she could feel its heat warming the sheets around her. Morning had come, and yet she still felt Ignotus' thick, strong frame against her back.
Gently and careful not to wake him, she turned in his arms. There he was, peacefully asleep. She couldn't help but smile as she watched him. The rise and fall of his chest as he lay on his side, one arm tucked beneath the pillow and the other resting lazily on her hip. His thin lips were slightly parted as he snored delicately, and his hair, when so often pushed back and out of the way, had a few curls that had fallen forward and rested against his forehead. The sheets of the bed rested further down against his hips, exposing his chest and stomach to her.
She couldn't believe that she had awoken before him. He was so used to waking early, but then she remembered him saying that the building of the stables had tired and exhausted him. And even after he had said those things, they had still shared a night of loving lust and passion. So she let him sleep. She nuzzled into his body, his hand already against her waist limply falling around her as she moved closer to him. She buried her face into the crook of his neck, letting his breath toy with the hair behind her ear. Pleased, she gave a satisfied sigh and tried to let sleep take her again.
She found that she couldn't when the door to her chambers opened, and it was followed by the rustle of skirts against the wood of the floor and the voice of Jocosa.
"Good morning, Dominique!" she greeted in her voice that was always so cheerful and airy, even at the early hours of morning. "Time to - Oh, dear!"
In a matter of seconds, that peaceful tranquility Dominique had been enjoying only moments ago was stripped away from her. Ignotus gave a jolt from next to her, and they both bolted up right. Jocosa jumped in shock at the sight of her master in bed with her, and she covered her mouth with her hand. She whipped around and turned away from them as to not be disrespectful; she even covered her eyes with her hand.
"Oh! Forgive me! I am so sorry, my Lord," she ranted quickly. "I can come back later."
"N-No," answered Ignotus. "Stay. I shall...return to my chambers."
Dominique looked to him. His cheeks had flushed immediately upon awakening, and she watched him take in the situation. Dominique actually found it quite amusing; she knew Jocosa wouldn't tell anyone. The only matter at hand was Ignotus risking some humility, but she loved to see him fumble around helplessly like that. It was cute. From the bed, he quickly scanned the room for his clothes. Dominique helped him by pointing in the right direction of where his trousers and tunic had been disposed of the previous night.
He nodded and looked to Jocosa to see if he was in her line of sight. When he saw that she had turned, he threw back the covers of the bed. Dominique still watched him completely; she watched him quickly scramble to his clothes while completely bare. She quite enjoyed the view, even as he stumbled into his trousers and only had his tunic successfully on his frame after a few failed attempts at putting his arms in the wrong holes.
Without another moment's delay, he headed for the door. As he passed his servant, he cleared his throat and said awkwardly. "Good morning, Jocosa."
Jocosa bit her lip, trying to suppress a flush as her master passed her. "Good morning, my Lord."
Ignotus left the room without further ado and shut the door behind him. When he was gone, Jocosa turned back to face Dominique. Her mouth was open in surprise, her eyes wide and wild with the desire for gossip. She ran forward to Dominique and sat on the edge of her bed. "My Lady," she gasped quickly, "why did you not tell me?!"
Dominique giggled and took Jocosa's hand happily. "Because he asked it of me," she said in reply. "He hasn't told his mother, and it's taking time for him to figure out what to tell her. He asked me not to say anything, but Jocosa, you're my best friend! And I've been dying to tell you!"
"I understand your reasoning," she said kindly, nodding along and quickly moving past it. "And I had no idea! None at all! How long has this been going on?"
"Oh, not long," she answered truthfully. Their relationship really hadn't; the relationship that they had denied had been going on longer. "Just two days, but I've loved him for a long time now."
At that, Jocosa's expression turned curious. She tilted her head to the side. "Even while you were betrothed to Lord Conway?"
Dominique flushed with true embarrassment. "Even then."
Jocosa only let out a heavy exhale of air. Dominique added on quickly though, not wanting her friend to get the wrong idea. "But I was happy to marry Callum. I was. Ignotus was denying our feelings for one another, and I knew that if I couldn't have Ignotus, I would be with Callum. I was truly happy to marry Callum, but Callum is - "
"I understand," said Jocosa quickly as she saw Dominique enter a slightly panicked state. She could tell Dominique was beginning to feel embarrassed, guilty, and conflicted with her feelings, but Jocosa didn't want that. She understood her reasoning, so she didn't need to explain and get all worked up. She reached out and put her hand on Dominique's shoulder and gave her a reassuring look. "I understand, Dominique. You needn't explain."
"Thank you, Jocosa," said Dominique quietly with a humble smile.
"Besides," Jocosa said, piping up with enthusiasm, "now that I know, I can help you both with keeping your secret. I can help keep it from Lady Eirene if I must."
And she did. For the next three weeks, Dominique and Ignotus stole away to one another's chambers at night. Jocosa was helpful; she gave told them when it was safe to go to one another, when Eirene would be leaving or where she was so they could share their romantic moments together. When Dominique first decided to surprise Ignotus by coming to his chambers instead, Jocosa helped her to prepare for that. She helped dress her in her most beautiful dressing gown and fix her hair. Ignotus had returned the surprise when one night Dominique expected her bath to be ready for her in her chambers; instead, Ignotus had told Jocosa to not draw her a bath that night, for she was to bring Dominique to his chambers where they would share one.
One afternoon, Eirene had disappeared to her chambers and Dominique and Ignotus both felt like venturing out for the day, so they took the horses and rode down to the river. They followed along the path of it, just talking happily and enjoying the other's company. The brush and trees along the banks of the river finally cleared out, and they reached an open clearing where the water flowed into a small lake.
Dominique had never been down here before. She hadn't known there to be a lake. There certainly wasn't one in 2022 either; it must have dried up by then.
They abandoned their horses, leaving Caspian and Fay to graze and nip at the grass. Ignotus took her hand and led her to a dock that rested on the banks of the late. Tied to a post on the dock was a small wooden boat. With her hand in his, he guided her out onto the dock and together they stepped into the boat. She settled down comfortably on a seat in the boat, and Ignotus took the paddles. He rowed them out to the center of the lake, the sun beating down on their backs and necks on the lovely autumn afternoon.
She smiled as she watched him. She never thought she could be so easily fascinated just by simply watching someone, but Ignotus proved her wrong when it came to that. She loved watching him do the simplest things, such as what he was doing now: rowing them out to the middle of the lake. There was something wonderful about just watching him be. She assumed that was how the mind of a girl in love worked, for she had never known before she met him.
She found herself itching to ask him the very question that had been eating at her since the first night Ignotus had declared his feelings for her. In their tranquil silence with nothing but the churning of the water on the oars, she found herself asking him before she could stop herself.
"When will you tell your mother?"
Ignotus looked up, his jaw tight and his expression suddenly different at the mention of his mother. Dominique could tell she had perhaps ruined a perfectly wonderful moment, but she couldn't help it. It had been three weeks; what was he waiting for?
"Soon, my love," he reassured her and released the oars as he became satisfied with the boat's position. He moved across the small boat then to reach her. Kneeling in front of her as to steady himself as the boat rocked with gentle waves, he took her hands into his own and kissed them. "I am sorry for the delay. You must understand that I do not know what to do in my position, but you also must believe that I want nothing more than to be with you with my mother's approval."
"All you have to do is tell her you're in love," she said slowly and desperately. "Surely she will understand. You said yourself she loved your father dearly. I don't think she would intentionally keep her son from the woman he loves simply because I am not of noble blood."
"Yes, well," he said in a reply, swallowing the lump in his throat, "my mother is a complicated woman."
There was so much more to it than that, though. He believed Dominique to be right. Perhaps if he wasn't betrothed this would have been a much simpler matter; but that wasn't the case. Ignotus was betrothed to the daughter of his mother's lifelong friend. That complicated things, and when Edric Pellinor - the dearest friend Yrion and Eirene Peverell had ever known - was thrown into the matter, Ignotus believed Eirene would always do her best to please him.
In a way Ignotus wanted to tell Dominique all he knew. About his betrothal to Brigid. All of it, but he knew at this point that was an unnecessary evil. Dominique didn't need to know at this point if Ignotus believed he could talk to his mother under the right circumstances and ask her to call off the engagement. Finding out that Ignotus has been betrothed all this time would only hurt Dominique, and Ignotus didn't want that.
"1234 is complicated!" huffed Dominique in an exasperated tone, and she gave a hefty sigh, feeling her shoulders drop.
"My dear," said Ignotus encouragingly, and one of his hands went up to cup her neck and stroke her cheek. "It is all worth it, though. We can be together. You and I are only together because you were sent here. You must have been sent here for a reason. Believe that that reason is me, and remember that."
She nodded. He was right. She had never been one to believe in fate or destiny, but many a time had she run that moment in her flat through her head. Such a strange combination to result in time travel: her blood, the cloak, and the potion she finally remembered and deciphered to be Veritaserum through the process of elimination when she visualized the moment over and over. It didn't make sense that such a combination could send her back nearly 800 years, so she had believe that something had a greater plan for her, and that plan resided in 1234. She had long ago decided Ignotus was a part of that plan, and when she had been so desperate in the beginning to be a bystander and not meddle with time, she firmly believed now that she was vital to setting the events in motion for all the years to come.
They continued to have a good float on the lake, sharing kisses here and there and exchanging romantic declarations until Ignotus rose to his feet as he stood in the middle of the boat. Dominique did so as well, and with her weight shifted to one side, Ignotus stumbled on his feet, and in the next moment, he was falling into the water. He went with a yelp, hitting the water with a splash, and he broke the surface moments later and spat out a mouthful of water. His hair clung to his forehead, and he gave Dominique an exasperated look.
"You did that on purpose!" he declared as he waded in the water.
Dominique laughed at the sight of him, how adorable he was and how enjoyable it was to actually see him in a moment of clumsiness when he was also so agile, light, and talented on his feet. She kneeled down on the boat and leaned over the edge, folding her arms along the edge of the boat as she looked to him in the water.
"I did no such thing," she giggled.
He gave her a teasing smile, and before Dominique could move away - even as she caught the snickering smile from Ignotus - he grabbed her by the arms and hauled her into the water. She went in shouting, toppling in, the skirts of her dress fanning out in the water around them.
"Now that was on purpose!" she accused and she splashed him.
She couldn't be mad though. The water felt lovely on a day like this, and instead of climbing out and back into the boat, Ignotus swam over to her and wrapped his arms around her as they waded. She put hers around his neck and pushed a few locks of his raven hair away from his eyes. He smiled and said nothing more, drawing her in for a long kiss as the water moved between them.
Dominique didn't know how long the splashed about in the water together, but she knew evening was approaching when they finally climbed back into the boat and Ignotus rowed them to shore. When they climbed out, Dominique dried them both with a wave of her wand, and climbed atop the horses once more and rode back to the house. They left the horses in the stable once they reached their destination, and they emerged from the stables, hand in hand and in happy conversation.
He gave a chuckle at her as she skipped along beside him and he squeezed her hand. She thought they would continue on the conversation as they reached the Peverell home from leaving the stables, but that didn't happen. Ignotus stopped mid-stride and froze.
Dominique gave him a frown of confusion and watched him as he paled.
"What is it, Ignotus?" she asked gently, stroking his arm with her free hand.
That was when he jerked away from her, rejecting all physical contact as if her skin set his on fire. She blanched at his actions and prepared to prompt him again with what was the matter, but he spoke this time.
"Look to the house," he said, his voice so quiet it was almost inaudible.
Dominique did so, and she beamed at what she saw. She immediately recognized Dax, the horse that had been Cadmus' and was now Tyrion's, and Arrow lapping at a bowl of water. There were also two horses tied to the posts out front that she did not recognize.
"But that's Dax and Arrow!" she said excitedly. Did that mean Tyrion had returned to them to visit after being gone for so many months? Would she finally get to see that sweet boy again?
"Yes, said Ignotus slowly, "it is."
"They must have come to visit! So why aren't you happy?" she asked uneasily.
He swallowed a large lump in his throat and tried to manage a smile. He was sure it looked more like a grimace. "I am happy," he said, but he wasn't.
This was the last thing he needed. Sure, indeed he was happy that he would see his nephew again after so long, but with Tyrion's visit came others, and that meant complications for Ignotus.
Dominique shrugged it off and turned back to look at the horses she didn't recognize. "So if that's Tyrion's horse, the other two must belong to the Pellinors."
Ignotus choked. It looked as if it was finally time to reveal the very thing he had been hoping to abolish before he would have to reveal it. It appeared that he had been too slow in doing so; now came a difficult matter. Now came something that made him uneasy and made him hope that Dominique would still be by his side after it all.
"Yes, they belong to the Pellinors."