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Chapter 5: Five.
Everything you recognise is J.K Rowling's. She's a babe.
Galleacht was beautiful. It was a delightful summer’s day, and the waves crashed against the bottom of the white cliffs. A long path led up from the forest we had arrived at, lined by quaint cottages and shops. It ran all the way up to the top of the hill, where a church perched precariously on the top. Its bells rang out loudly into the fresh breeze, and the birds sung joyously in the trees.
Not that I was in any mood to enjoy it.
Part of me didn’t want the sun to come out - like it was an insult that it was shining on this day. Although the day was warm, I felt cold and tense. The sound of the waves and the bells clanged against the inside of my head, and I felt queasy. My feet stumbled ungainly on the path, clutching a stitch in my side as I lumbered up the hill. A baby was crying from an open window, its cries mingling with the shrill tunes of the birds. People stared at us from their doorways or from their shop windows. They were watching the procession.
I walked at the front, with Luna. Although she was wearing black, she was smiling serenely with her long blonde hair tied back in a long plait and a sunflower was tucked behind her ear. She had told me that Lorcan had gone to a better place, and that we should celebrate that and not be sad. I knew this was true, and I admired Luna’s optimism, even though she said that nargles were living in my cardigan. A couple of Lorcan’s friends from the hospital were behind us. I had met them briefly at St Mungo’s a few years ago and they were walking solemnly, dressed in identical black suits. Rose and Scorpius were walking together, their heads bowed and not speaking.
Behind them was Lorcan.
He was encased in a simple, black wood coffin with silver fastenings. Similar to Muggle tradition, several men were carrying it. Rolf was walking in front, silent tears flowing down his cheeks. Noah Bryant was also there, looking stern and troubled as he carried the coffin on his shoulder. A number of Lorcan’s other friends from Hogwarts had joined him. Lysander had also reluctantly agreed to do it after Rolf had persisted him. I turned to look at him now, to see him flashing Noah unsubtle glares. I smiled weakly before resuming my never-ending trudge up the hill to the church.
I thought that I’d be a bit more upset, that I’d be crying uncontrollably onto someone’s shoulder. I thought that I wouldn’t be able to carry on, or even stop. It was refreshing to know that I might, one day, accept it. I wished I could say that I would be able to move on, to find someone new and perhaps eventually return Lysander’s love. But I knew that would never happen. I would not be able to live with the memory of Lorcan, constantly comparing the new boyfriends with the old one. I might accept it, yes, but that didn’t mean I wanted to.
I looked out, over the cliff, to the sea. I watched the fishing boats bobbing soundlessly on the blue waves. I watched the children looking at us from their windows, their innocent eyes wide and staring. I thought about what would have happened if Lorcan had not died. If he had proposed to me that night, and that I had accepted. Lysander would have still been travelling. I would not have known of his feelings, and would have carried on my life as before. My dull, uninteresting job at the Auror office, the many galas and balls for St. Mungo’s fundraising. Noah and Rose’s wedding with Lorcan as best man and me as maid of honour. Our own wedding. Me in a white dress walking down an aisle. The honeymoon. Perhaps the pitter-patter of tiny feet...
“Are you alright, Dominique?”
Luna was looking at me, her hand on my arm. We had reached the entrance to the graveyard.
“Yes,” I said truthfully, opening the old, rusting gate, “I’m fine.”
Luna smiled sadly and entered, closely followed by Lorcan’s work colleagues. Rose and Scorpius stopped and stood by me at the gate, slinging his arm comfortingly around my shoulders. I watched as Lorcan passed, Rolf still crying. Noah flashed Rose a smile, which she returned, and Scorpius’ arm tensed. Lysander had given up on carrying the casket on his shoulder, so had got out his wand and was levitating his end with a spell.
Rose shot him a glare.
“What?” He answered to her stern look, “it was tiring work!”
Scorpius laughed weakly and I smiled. We watched the entire Weasley family squeeze themselves into the small graveyard. Mama and Papa stood by me, as well as Victoire. My sister gave me an enthusiastic hug as she reached us, her soft, blonde hair suffocating me. Louis wasn’t back from France.
“Shall we go in?” Mama asked. I nodded, and Rose grasped my hand. I looked up, and she smiled at me. There were tears welling in her eyes.
The rest of the mourners were gathered around an empty grave, dark and ominous even on that sunny day. Lorcan was levitated off the pallbearers’ shoulders, and lowered into the hole. The sun reflected off the shining metal - the silver handles, hinges and plaque.
The two words flashed up at me, a constant reminder of who was in there. Noah began his eulogy, depicting Lorcan’s life, their memories at Hogwarts and their friendship. He mentioned me. I simply stared at the silver plaque, the tears unwilling to come. I had cried too much already. Lorcan would have wanted me to be strong.
The graveyard was silent, apart from Noah’s quiet voice. Rolf cried loudly, and Luna held him in her arms, whispering words into his ear. I heard Rose’s muted sobs from beside me, and I squeezed her hand. I wanted to cry too.
Noah had finished, and all that was heard was the wind and the soft sound of dirt on wood as they began to bury him. Luna withdrew her sunflower from her ear and threw it in. I watched as the silver plaque was covered up, the name finally disappearing into the earth. And just like that, with a single pile of mud, he was gone. Officially. Not just sitting in some undertaker’s office. But gone. Into the earth. Six feet under. Gone to a better place.
And then as the mourners shot their sparks into the sky, the tears came, thick and fast, down my cheeks. I would never seen him again. I gazed at the disappearing casket until I felt a slight nudge on my shoulder, and turned to see Scorpius looking down at me.
“Come on, Dom,” he whispered softly. We stood looking at each other for a while, the other black clad people leaving the graveyard and bustling all around us. Lysander had stood at the back during the ceremony, and he had left early. Rose was comforting Noah.
“No,” I replied, my voice cracking, “no, I want to stay.”
Scorpius didn’t look surprised, or angry. He just pulled me into his arms.
“I’ll be here with you.”
I wrapped my arms tighter around his torso, his tears soaking his suit. He gently kissed the top of my head. We broke apart and sat in front of the freshly dug earth, his arms around my shoulders. The sun was high in the sky now, and the day was getting warmer, but we did not move into the shade. Instead we sat there, tears still falling down my cheeks and my breath still hysterical.
Scorpius rubbed my back consolingly. I thought before that I would prefer to be alone to properly say goodbye, but I doubt I would have been able to do it. It made sense that Scorpius was here, that my friend was here. It would just be awkward if it was Lysander and Rose would have cried as much as me. I needed somebody to be strong, and that someone was Scorpius.
I re-read the inscription on the gravestone over and over.
The pursuit of perfection is the pursuit of sweetness and light.
For a second, my thoughts flashed back to the night with Lysander. He wanted the perfect life, and he got it by treading on the nobodies. I wondered whether this might have been true, however my musing was broken by the sound of a creaking gate, and footsteps up the path to the church door.
I looked up from the gravestone to see Rose standing above us.
“I just came to see where you were. The wake is about to start,” she said.
Scorpius stood up, helping me up slowly.
“Sorry, Rose. Dom wanted to say goodbye. I guessed that she shouldn’t be alone.”
Rose looked worried and came over to me, tucking my hair behind my ear and gripping my shoulders lovingly. She looked up at Scorpius.
“Is she alright?”
“I’m not great, but I’m sure that I’m not going to throw myself off the cliff,” I answered for him, wiping my eyes with my sleeves.
“Are you sure?” Rose asked again, her voice stern.
“Of course,” I replied, “how’s Noah?”
“He’s fine, I mean, it’s obviously a bit...” she started but then stopped, noting that Scorpius was there. Awkwardness floated dangerously around us.
“Are you hungry?” They said at the same time for a desperate change of subject. They both looked embarrassed and I laughed nervously.
“I’m starving, where’s Lysander?”
“He left,” Rose answered as we began to make our way down the hill towards Luna and Rolf’s house, “nobody knows where he’s gone.”
“I’m sure he’ll come back, it must be a bit difficult with him being the black sheep of the family and all,” I said to break the uncomfortable silence that had grown between the three of us.
The journey towards the house was silent and uneventful after that. I tried to stop the awkwardness from starting again with whistling, or humming to myself. Rose just looked at the ground, and Scorpius stared over the sea. It was a blessed relief when we reached the door to the house.
It was a picturesque cottage on the main high street, opposite to a small harbour. Its front garden was overflowing with various bizarre plants, and vines were creeping around its windows and doors. Several dream catchers and wind chimes were dangling from strange fruit trees, their odd tinkling sound ringing around the tiny garden. Rose knocked on the door, and it opened to reveal Luna, smiling broadly.
“There you are, Dominique!” She exclaimed enthusiastically, grabbing me by the arm and pulling me inside her house, “you have lots of people to meet!”
As I disappeared into the house, I turned around to look at Rose and Scorpius, who were still outside. I wanted them to emphasise with me, but instead, I saw Scorpius laughing loudly, his head thrown back. Rose was grinning up at him and her cheeks slightly flushed. As Luna pushed me further into the crowd of people dressed in black, I smiled to myself. Perhaps they’ll be all right.
I certainly was not. Luna introduced me to millions of her naturalist friends, all with equally distant and dreamily distracted looks on their faces. One of them was even cradling what looked like a sheep’s skull with a long, curved horn in the forehead. She shoved it in my face when we met, a manic glint in her eye, the horn almost knocking me out.
“For you, my dear, for the ghosts in your house!”
And with that, she forced it into my hands and skipped off into the living room, trails of beads glistening at her throat.
I met more of Lorcan’s friends from the hospital, all them looking equally glum. They shook my hand politely, gave me their respects and moved towards the bar. After them was the distant aunts, cousins, grandmothers, great-grandmothers and other relatives that seemed to make up the Scamander household. Throughout meeting all these new people, I kept looking for my friends. Scorpius seemed permanently glued to the bar, whereas Rose and Noah were circulating, looking as ever like the world’s most perfect couple. Lysander wasn’t around.
When I had finally given a strained goodbye to a person I knew I would never meet again, I walked across the room towards the bar, my strange sheep’s skull clasped in my hands, I slumped into the seat next to Scorpius.
“Another firewhisky, please,” he said, thrusting his empty glass towards the bartender, “and one for the lady.”
I put the skull on the table, and let my head fall into my hands.
“Where did you get that?” Scorpius asked, eyeing the thing suspiciously.
“Don’t ask,” I replied glumly, sipping from my glass, “I hate funerals.”
He grunted in agreement, quietly asking the bartender to leave the bottle. I took another gulp of firewhisky, the alcohol burning my throat, and turned towards him.
“Have you seen Lysander yet?”
“Yeah, said he had somewhere to be,” he replied. I nodded. It must be hard for Lysander having his return to England publicly announced at his estranged brother’s funeral filled with his family who weren’t exactly fond of him because of his departure.
Scorpius downed another glass, his hand shaking as he filled a fresh one. The alcohol in the bottle was slowly disappearing as he drunk glass after glass.
“Scorpius, are you...”
“Ah, Weasley. I know it isn’t a good time but I was wondering if I could have a word.”
I turned around to see my boss standing in front of me, his black suit creased and old-fashioned. Jasper Higgins was tall and intimidating, his black hair and stubble streaked with grey, his skin oiling and scared. He looked about fifty, but was actually nearer thirty-five. His faced was aged, wrinkled and tired, giving him the appearance of someone much older than they looked.
I looked at Scorpius, stooped over his glass, his face troubled and brooding. He had been there for me, and I should do the same for him. My eyes flitted back to my boss, his stern dark eyes staring back at me.
“It’s regarding your work at the Auror office,” he said.
I nodded distractedly, smiling apologetically to Scorpius as I allowed Higgins to sit on the stool next to me.
“I’m sorry that I haven’t been to work, sir,” I began, “but I have been a little distracted.”
“That is totally understandable,” Higgins replied, his gravelly voice quiet and sincere, “but actually this talk is about late Mr. Scamander’s demise.”
I hated that he spoke about it with such bluntness and with such scientific language, as if it was just another statistic. Tears came to my eyes again, but I forced them back. I felt Scorpius turn on the stool beside me, listening in.
“You do know that my department has taken over the murder case and now that the personal matters have been settled, the enquiries into his death will begin.”
“And?” I managed to croak out.
“We would not want to hinder the case any further, due to the lack of evidence already surrounding it. The powers that be are convinced that having you working for us might hamper our progress.”
“What? How?” Scorpius exploded from next to me. I merely sat there, unable to believe what was happening.
“They think that Miss. Weasley might get involved on a more emotional level,” Higgins protested, “which can be difficult in interviews with suspects and therefore the development of a case.”
“So you are just firing her?” Scorpius said again, his voice angry.
“Of course not, Malfoy,” Higgins responded, “Miss. Weasley will be welcome back at the Auror office once everything is dead and buried.”
“Wonderful choice of words, sir,” Scorpius replied scathingly. I felt a tear escape.
“Here is a letter from the head of department, explaining everything,” Higgins said, and I felt a piece of parchment slide into my hand, “let us know if you need anything.”
“Like her job back,” Scorpius mumbled under his breath. Jasper Higgins slid away into the crowd and I felt Scorpius’ arm around me.
“Come on,” he whispered kindly, “have another drink. Higgins is a bastard. I’m sure there is some sort of explanation.”
“No,” I said. My voice was stronger now. “I don’t want to get in the way if they are finding Lorcan’s killer. Plus the break will do me good.”
I smiled at him. Part of me wanted to go back to work, to be distracted by something so I didn’t haven’t to think of him all the time. A little bit of me was upset because I enjoyed the adventure that being an Auror could bring. Most of all, I decided that I was grateful that I could stay at home. I wasn’t over him yet.
Scorpius looked a bit surprised, but then nodded slowly before sinking back into his chair and pulling the bottle of firewhisky towards him.
“What’s wrong?” I asked him tentatively. He gaped at me incredulously.
“As if you don’t know.”
“I saw you two before, before I was kidnapped by Luna,” I said. He knew that I was talking about Rose and he laughed bitingly, “you seemed fine.”
“She told a joke. I laughed. Then it was awkward again.” The last bit was almost lost as he gulped down another glass of firewhisky.
“She’ll come round, Scorp. She always does,” I stated, spinning on my stool to watch the people milling around, looking for a certain red head.
“No she won’t,” Scorpius answered glumly, “we would never work and she knows that.”
“Now look who’s trying to steal the emotional thunder! Your boyfriend didn’t just die!”
“Yeah well she might as well have.”
Silence followed this statement, and I looked out into the crowd. I couldn’t think of anything to say. Scorpius refilled his glass.
“Do the family approve of him?” He asked.
“Scorpius, don’t do this to yourself.”
“I want to know,” he persisted.
“Of course they do,” I said rather harshly, “apparently we’ve never had an editor in the family before.”
I saw the couple standing in the corner of the room, Noah’s arm wrapped tightly around Rose’s waist. She was smiling up at him serenely as he talked to one of Lorcan’s grandparents. Sometimes, I could see what Rose saw in him. He was handsome, with dark brown hair and brown eyes. He was clever - he was the youngest editor of Witch Weekly in a century. He was kind and loving and rich. He was safe and secure. That was what I had always admired in Lorcan.
“They would have beautiful babies.”
I turned to see Lysander standing in the doorway, his black jacket slung over his shoulder and his shirt untucked.
“Where have you been?” Scorpius asked. His words were starting to slur.
“Around,” Lysander replied simply, sweeping the bottle out of the blonde man’s hand. He eyed how much was left, “that’s enough for you. No more moping. Rose is never going to go for a drunk.”
“Bit harsh, don’t you think, Lysander?” I asked, as he attempted to sit Scorpius upright on his chair.
“It’s the truth,” he answered quickly, “how about we get out of here? Scorpius needs to go home.”
“He can stay at mine,” I said, helping Lysander by slinging one of Scorpius’ arms around my head and walking him towards the door. “I’ve got a spare room.”
“Is it alright if I come as well? It’s just I’m not sure whether I can stand a night with my family,” Lysander asked. He was still struggling with Scorpius.
I tripped clumsily over the blond man’s dragging legs. I blushed slightly when I realised that the last time he had stayed the night he had declared his love for me. There wouldn’t be anyone or anything to distract me from that now.
I shook my head, and blinked a couple of times before answering him. I shouldn’t have been having these thoughts, particularly at my boyfriend’s funeral. Or ever. In that moment, I was fully prepared to refuse him, to tell him that it would be difficult for me having him there, that I wanted to spend some time alone.
With a drunken Scorpius.
“Sure, Lysander. That’s fine.”
I am super proud with the updating speed, if I might say so myself. I really like this chapter, but I do think it's a bit choppy in places. I needed to convey quite of plot stuff into one chapter. Also, I'm desperately searching for a beta for this story. Anyone who wants to help, please contact me through the forums or something. Thank you!
P.S. Was the funeral cheesy? I had major problems with it.