Chapter 1 : THE SPECTRUM SINGS
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The lyrics are from 'Ask The Mountains' by Vangellis.
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Tuesday dawned in flames, and the golden sunrise shone on the surface of the puddles and made them look like honey. The day would be a beautiful one, but the curtains were drawn and the bedroom was dark and the only light penetrating the suffocating shadow was the muted yellow lamp on the bedside table. Beneath the sheets, a pallid figure turned over and exhaled a soft groan.
Dominique looked up from her book and blinked, waking from her monotonous stupor. “Need anything, Vicky?” she asked in a quiet voice so sweet it was almost sickly. “Glass of water? I’ll get you some water.”
She rose from her chair and vanished into the en-suit bathroom. Victoire shifted weakly, eyes half closed and pale hair spilling on the pillow like a halo, lips tracing a silent sentence that she hadn’t the voice to support. She was dying, although what ailed her was a mystery.
“You know,” Dominique called through, her sing-song voice carrying over the sound of the running faucet. “Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny might be coming over for tea later today. Wouldn’t that be nice? You haven’t spoken to them in a while, sister.”
The word rolled off her tongue like blasphemy and she paused, seeming abruptly overwhelmed. Lately she had taken to referring to the older girl as Victoire or Vicky, never ‘my sister’ and never ‘ma soeur’ and it even left a lump in her chest when one of the cousins passively asked her how her ‘sister was doing’. Fixing the smile back onto her face, she strode bouncily back into the room with a glass of water in her hands.
“Here we go Vicky.” she sang, sitting beside the bed and leaning close to her sister. “Water, Vick. From the robinet.”
Victoire turned her head and opened her mouth slightly, eyes still half-closed. Her sister gently held the water to her lips and allowed a few drops to roll into her mouth, keeping a cautious eye on how her throat constricted with the effort of swallowing even this measly amount. Dominique withdrew her hand and set the water on the bedside table, accidentally knocking the lamp aside.
Green and blue tiffany shattered in a small explosion of diamond-like shards across the soft carpet - it was barely a tinkling loud enough to be heard outside of the bedroom door but Victoire inhaled sharply. Dominique stared down at the lamp, blinking. Outside the window a wave of cream butterflies settled on the ivy growing up the trellis on the side of the house, wings catching the early morning sun.
Follow me along
When you read this I will be gone.
It was almost eight. Dominique crossed the room to the window and drew open the curtains, shedding a wide square of light onto her sister’s bed. The golden orb in the distance lit a circle in her pupils; Dominique blinked and held up a hand to shadow her eyes, but didn’t move from the window.
“It’s going to be a beautiful day, Vicky.” she breathed. “Like no other.”
She reached up to tuck the folds of curtain around the hook on the wall and something fell from her sleeve, landing with a muffled thump on the carpet by her feet. It was a glass vial, on which the colours of the morning sun danced like fairies, but the inside of which was stained with droplets of a clear liquid. To any observer, it could have been bottled water. Dominique knew better, and quickly stooped to retrieve it.
It had disappeared back into her sleeve when the bedroom door opened and Teddy Lupin stepped in with a tray in his arms. “Good morning Weasleys.” he smiled, dark eyes glinting like freshly dug-up onyx. “Vicky, I’ve brought you some breakfast.”
The figure in the bed twitched in acknowledgement of his presence, which was more than anyone else got when they called her name. The smile fixed firmly upon his face, Teddy strode over, casually meeting Dominique’s eyes as he sat on the opposite side of the bed and set the tray on the duvet. The corners of her mouth twitched dangerously.
“Oh, I see you already have water.” Teddy spotted the glass by Dominique, sounding surprised. His eyes roved her seated form in search of something, before settling back on her own grey irises, which offered him no answer. “Well this is mineral water.” he said eventually.
Victoire turned her head weakly and attempted an adoring smile. The word ‘thankyou’ formed on her chapped lips: she hadn’t the breath to speak it out loud but Teddy understood and leant down to kiss her forehead. “You’re welcome my darling.” he breathed into her hair, eyes flashing up to her sister’s face.
Dominique sat back and gazed at the window. A blackbird had landed on the balcony outside, ruffling it’s feathers and settling by the ivy to bask in the young sun. She took in a deep breath and closed her eyes, wondering where everyone else was. Fleur and Bill were probably enjoying the vast garden or strolling into the village or dancing like teenagers around the music room to the sound of the world. She couldn’t blame them. It was a beautiful day…
“Here you go, beautiful.” Teddy was murmuring, holding the water to Victoire’s lips. Dominique observed that she tried harder for him, managing more than the few drops Dom had coaxed down her throat.
The fluttering of wings drew her gaze back to the window. The blackbird had gone and the butterflies were re-emerging from the ivy, their wings heavy and slow in the lulling heat, to settle on the outer leaves and bathe in gold. Inside the room, Victoire sighed gently, and faded away.
Ted leaned forward to carefully check her pulse. Dominique hovered her hand over her sister’s lips.
Their eyes met and tears sprung into both with heart-crushing remorse, and yet when they rose to run for Bill and Fleur a small glass vial fell to the floor to be hastily retrieved. Teddy stuffed it back into his pocket, met Dominique’s eyes once more, and followed her into the hall.
After all, it was a beautiful day.