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Chapter 10 : I Wish I hadn't Gone To Paris
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I Wish I hadn't Gone To Paris
It was fantastic to be home for Christmas. I continued taking my potion and it took my parents a while to get used to seeing me look so young, but I was happyer than I had been in a long while. I was back in my own world. I had been away for so long the neighbours didn’t really realise I looked younger than I was. They might have been surprised, but they hadn’t seen me for so long, and when I had been home it had always only been for a short stay, they didn’t really remember what I had looked like the last time they had seen me. I was able to just watch TV, walk to the corner shop, pay with money that I understood, check my emails and didn’t have to pretend I understood and could handle everything that was going on around me, when I didn’t.
On Christmas morning Hermione and I came down into the kitchen at the same time. After wishing my parents a happy Christmas I sat down, while my mum said: „You’ve had an owl.“
„Oh“, said Hermione happily, „from Ron?“
„No, honey, not you. Helena.“
Hermione looked a bit disappointed and my mum laughed, pulling Hermione into a hug.
„I know“, she said, „but I’m sure he’ll write.“
It was a Christmas card from Draco. I read it and put it away, determined not to think about it. It made me feel so bad. I was on holiday I didn’t want to think of Draco and all the lies I told him, of his father and of anything connected to the wizarding world. I wasn’t really able to push it off my mind though. I was determined to keep myself busy thinking of other things, but I felt bad fort he rest of the day.
I send him a letter back a few days later though. I can’t remember what I wrote, it wasn’t important. I just remember I was thinking he was probably waiting for an answer from me. And that I didn’t want to disappoint him because I liked him and didn’t want to hurt him. And that at the same time I was thinking maybe it would be intercepted and have him kicked out by the Death Eaters finally because I was a mirthless manipulating bitch.
Hermione left a few days after Christmas for The Burrow, but I didn’t. I wanted to stay in my own world as long as I could. And the evening before I returned to Hogwarts I was really depressed. My mum noticed but I didn’t want to upset her. She didn’t know half the things I had got myself into and I somehow felt speaking about them to my mum would somehow make it all even bigger and harder to handle. So I just smiled. My parents were watching telly and I was sending a few emails to friends in France and Sweden, and looking up a few websites. I was surprised to see that Allie Ziggs did a workshop in Paris. Allie Ziggs is a spiritual woman from Somerset, very wise and beautiful, and I had been lucky to be able and do one of her very rare workshops in Ireland when I lived there. She doesn’t do them very often and I immediately knew I had to be in Paris for that one. It was on the last weekend in January and I booked my place online rightaway. After that I felt a bit more cheerful going back to Hogwarts, knowing I had this weekend to look forward to, to do something for myself and in my own world.
I travelled back to Hogwarts by floo powder, Professor McGonagall came herself to get me. She seemed in exceptional happy spirits, but I didn’t dare ask her what made her so happy. She was so stern usually and so intimidating and somehow this cheerfulness was disturbing. Or maybe I was just being paranoyed.
I found out what it was the moment I returned to my room. Draco was sitting on my bed waiting for me.
„Helena“, he said when I got in and pulled me into a tight hug. And in that moment, feeling his arms around me again, breathing in his scent I was really happy. I felt true happiness to be with him again.
„When did you arrive?“ I asked him and threw my bag onto my bed.
„This morning. Helena, I’ve left.“
I stared at him.
„I’ve done it. I’ve left.“
I sat down on the bed. I somehow couldn’t support myself.
He sat down beside me and took my hands.
„Everybody knows I left. I didn’t go quietly as they say…“ He seemed rather content with himself. So that was the reason McGonagall was in such a good mood. Her plan had worked.
„Draco“, I said, because I didn’t know what else to say.
„I know“, he said, „I’m free. I can do whatever I want to now. Oh Helena, I missed you.“
He pulled me towards him and kissed me. I didn’t know what I felt, and I didn’t want to think about what this meant. Would I tell him the truth now? I didn’t care. In this moment all that mattered was to touch and to be touched.
After that evening everything went wrong. I don’ t know what happened first and what came next, everything seemed to just happen at the same time. Somebody let something slip and it was the big headline in the Daily Prophet, that Draco had left the dark side. They seemed to believe that he had important inside information for our side and made it sound as if it was only a matter of hours until Voldemort would be captured and the world would be safe again. McGonagall was raging. She summoned all of us to her office trying to find out how the media had got wind of what Draco did. The plan had been to make it public anyway, but McGonagall had intended to overlook how it was done. None of us had any idea how it got into the Daily Prophet and we assumed in the end that it was someone on the other side who had tipped the journalists off, and that scared me a lot because I couldn’ t see why they did that. I mean, what was their plan?
Hermione, Ron, Harry and Ginny still hated Draco and couldn’t really help me. They tried to console me but they didn’t understand the complexity of my feelings. Hermione just told me happily that I wouldn’t have to pretend I liked him much longer and I felt horrible for I still hadn’t told her I really liked Draco. He tried to comfort me and that made me feel even worse. I mean he was only seventeen and tried to give me some courage when I still lied to him and didn’t stop him from loving me, even though I didn’t have the same feelings for him.
The next day I read in the papers that Lucius Malfoy had announced he would kill Draco himself. There was a disturbing picture of him in the Prophet, his handsome features were distorted with rage and he was screaming apparently mad with hatred. I was mentioned as well, because he also threatened to kill me, but as he had done that before I was surprised I wasn’t more worried.
“You know, we’re safe here”, said Draco, “there’s no way he could get into Hogwarts. And look they are keeping an eye on him!”
He pointed to somewhere in the article where it said that the wizarding community was shocked to see highly respected Lucius Malfoy lose countenance like that and that every necessary measure would be taken, to make sure Draco Malfoy and Helena Granger were safe and protected in Hogwarts, and that all hope was that Lucius Malfoy would be his usual composed self when he travelled to Paris next week to represent the Minister for Magic who couldn’t make the journey himself to instruct the french government on how to protect their magic and non-magic citizens from poisonous lager that kept popping up in France. The problem was, there were no traces of poison in the beer before it was filled into certain enchanted pintglasses, so it looked harmless enough when imported into France. A rather high number of french Muggles had been killed already and Draco shook his head.
“Sending my father of all people… there’s no way he’ll tell them how to recognize it. It might have been his idea in the first place…”
I had to admit, I hated the idea it could have been Lucius’s idea, but that wasn’t what worried me most. What I found disturbing was that this meant, Lucius Malfoy would be in Paris the same day as I was and there was no way McGonagall would let me go to do my workshop if she knew that.
I thought back to the last time I had met Lucius Malfoy and how he had freaked out. I really did not want to meet him. I couldn’t believe he would really kill me, but then I also did not want to find out. I just told myself that Lucius probably didn’t know where I was and what I was doing and that he hopefully was too busy to think much of me anyway. And what were the chances we would run into each other anyway, in a city as big as Paris?
The trouble was, Hogwarts students read the Daily Prophet as well and they figured out much quicker than any of us could have thought, the part that I had played. They congratulated me in the corridors on bringing about Draco’s fall from grace and some of them, mostly young girls who, I presume, just thought that Draco was really attractive, expressed their hopes that together with me Draco would be changed into a total different person and lead the wizarding world into a new and better future where, once Voldemort was defeated, Muggles and wizards would live peacefully together. They seemed to look at Draco and me as some kind of Mother and Father of the future to come, and somehow that got through to the Quibbler, which printed a long article on me with a picture and everything. I received a lot of letters. They were all adresed to the “Mother of the Future” and I realised that there was no way that Lucius Malfoy did not pay that any attention.
“I know how you feel”, said Harry but I doubted that.
Still I was determined not to let those Death Eater bastards ruin my life and there was no way I would hide away. I was so going to go to my workshop and even though Hermione was not happy at all, she agreed on apparating right to the bathroom of the building with me. I was planning to drive back all the way two days later. My old Volkswagen was shrunk neatly in Hermione’s pocket, while I had the keys and she was going to park it outside at its right side before apparating back to the UK. I was so looking forward to my course and the drive back, things I understood, that belonged to my own world, that I just barred Draco and McGonagall from my mind. I had never asked McGonagall whether I was allowed to go, because I knew she would have said no. And Draco was so worried about me that I couldn’t stand the thought of him.
I enjoyed my course immensely. It was about some kind of Yoga dance, which I had never heard about before, but it was great. I managed to release a lot of the tension that had been in my body for the last few months. The other women on the course and I went for some food together on our lunch break, and on the way I found my car, which Hermione had parked just down by the corner, and everything was perfect. The food was nice and I was looking forward to the afternoon, when on the way back I realised that my car was parked right in front of the Jean-Baptiste Haroche Building. Now Hermione hadn’t known this, but it was this exact building where Draco’s father would meet those french people. I knew it, because Draco had given me an article which gave all the details of this visit to France to improve the international co-operation.
I tried to stay calm, after all there was no way that Lucius could know I was in France or that that little Golf was my car, the more so as it had a German registration, and he didn’t know I had lived in Germany, did he? I would probably just drive peacefully off to my hotel in the evening and nothing would happen at all. And then I would be safe. I had read Draco’s article so often that I knew by heart that Lucius was scheduled to just stay this one day in Paris and that he would return to the UK tonight. But I was quite tense all through the afternoon, and when the day ended at half five I drove straight to my hotel and lay on my bed for a while, ready to cry feeling, utterly miserable. I was so sick of being tense and scared and always expecting the worst to happen. Eventually I fell asleep.
When I woke up the next morning I realised how stupid I had been. I had been really taking a huge risk and I should return to Hogwarts immediately where McGonagall and all the others could protect me. But when I returned to my workshop I thought, maybe that wasn’t necessary. After all yesterday had been the dangerous day, Lucius was gone now and I ws safe here. I had parked my car on a different corner today and there was no reason why I shouldn’t enjoy my workshop!
It was not that much dancing anymore today, it was a certain massage technique that Allie taught us today and we all brought massage tables. I was too warm in my jeans and winter jacket carrying my table down the street and I badly needed to pee. I was pissed off to find out the ladie’s bathroom was out of order and just sneaked into the man’s room, which was dirty and stank and was horrible.
The course was fantastic though. I didn’t pay much attention to what Allie said though, because I was just so deep in my own thoughts. I was going to go to McGonagall and ask her to let me go. Let me return into my own world. I didn’t want to let any of them down, Harry, Ron, Ginny, they were my friends now, but then maybe I didn’t. I mean I had done what they had asked of me, hadn’t I? I had made Draco leave the dark side. I had not agreed to do anything more. So I wouldn’t actually be letting them down. I would go and ask McGonagall to take that Secrecy Spell off me and then I would explain Draco everything. Just how exactly I was going to explain everything to him, I didn’t know. He would hate me. And he had every right to. But then so be it. I couldn’t stand it any longer. All the lies all the fear… I needed to get away. I needed to be honest with Draco and give us the chance to maybe one day when all of this was over meet again with no lies between us and see if we could be friends or something else or what ever. Maybe it was impossible. But maybe it wasn’t. I just had to get out of all this. It had nothing to do with me anymore.
I looked at the people in the room around me and was happy. I felt grateful. For the first time in months my head was clear.
When everybody got ready for their lunch break I packed up my things.
“Aren’t you coming?” one of the girls asked, a lovely french girl and I gave her a smile.
“No I’m sorry, I can’t stay on. But I hope you’ll have a great rest of the day. Here’s my email if you want to get in touch. It’s been lovely meeting you.”
She pocketed the little piece of paper and I took a deep breath. Everything was so normal and I was so reliefed I had made my decision.
It was raining outside as I carried my table back to my car. But it was warm at the same time and I was sweating. The traffic in Paris is always horrible, and I wasn’t looking forward to the drive right now, but I decided to be positive, go to the loo again and then head off.
And then I heard something which made me feel sick again. I had just put my table on to my backseat when I heard somebody shout:
“It’s Helena Granger – the Mother of the Future!”
Somebody picked it up and soon there were voices screaming happily, congratulating me and when I looked around I saw a huge crowd of cloaked people who were obviously wizards. I had no idea where they all came from so suddenly and I didn’t know what to say at all. I tried to calm them down but they were very excited and so I just fled into the next building, found a loo and braced myself for coming out of it again and making my way back to my car. And then I’d leave and I’d be free!
Leaving the toilet I realised the building had a really funny architecture. It seemed to be really big, the size of the whole block and there seemed to be a very long hallway running right through it. On both sides were little cabins with tables and chairs, little separées, that looked quite elegant. The seats were dark red leather and the wood was dark red too. I wondered if it was some kind of hotel or restaurant when I saw the name of the building written on one of the glas doors.
I was in the Haroche building!
Although I knew that Lucius had left the day before I started sweating and had no other thought then leaving before anyone noticed me.
And then something happened which just couldn’t be possible.
It was as if I had awoken from a troublesome dream just to find myself in a nightmare that was a million times worse. There, down by the very end of the corridor, somebody came out of the little cabinet. Someone who wore Muggle clothes of the finest kind, a white shirt, black trousers and shining black shoes. Someone who had long platinum white hair.
I couldn’t believe he was here. What was he doing here? He was supposed to have left the day before!
Lucius Malfoy looked tired and annoyed. The top button of his shirt was open and the sleeves rolled up to his ell bows. He looked like someone who had been in a work meeting all day and was tired of the talking.
He hadn’t seen me yet, but it was just a matter of seconds, and I, I stood rooted to the spot unable to move.
And then he saw me. I saw his lips stop moving in mid-sentence. I saw him look at me unbelieving. And then he started running. And I finally got to my senses, turned around and started running back to my car.
Now I’ve never been a great runner, and Lucius Malfoy had much longer legs than I had. But I had my car nearby. I just needed to get through that crowd of cheering wizards who were still celebrating the Mother of the Future.
“Let me through”, I panted, “let me through to my car!”
They seemed disappointed but they formed a little alleyway and I ran through to my car. Lucius was close behind.
“Stop him”, I screamed to the crowd, “don’t let him get me!”
Happy to help the Mother of the Future they closed in on him and for the first time I was glad they thought me some wonderful woman who’d save them, because it meant they actually helped me.
But then my car wouldn’t start and I was close to crying. I turned the key and again and again, and finally I heard the engine. Tears of relief ran down my face and I was just about to jam in the gear, thinking I would get away, when I heard a cold voice right beside me.
“Move, Muggle. I drive.”
I turned my head. There he was. Holding the door open, looking at me with an expression of hatred on his face, but besides looking quite composed. I glanced over to the crowd that looked rather confused and realised. He had just apparated right next to my car.
“I don’t want to repeat myself”, he said calmly.
Feeling numb with fear and shock I moved over to the other seat. Lucius took the driver’s seat, closed the door and set off from the Haroche building, before anybody noticed us. I was in his hands.
Let me know what you think of this chapter, that would be great!
P.S. I have updated my other story, check out "A Lightning-shaped Scar"!!!
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