Chapter 6 : Just Breathe
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- 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?
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