Chapter 4 : Aftermath: I'm Home
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August 18, 1998; 9:17 A.M.
The light streaming through the open window caused the young girl to stir in her sleep. She turned over to shield her eyes from the sun’s glare. She was falling asleep again when a ‘pop’ of apparition at the foot of her bed jolted her awake. She sat up rubbing her sleepy eyes only to find a small house elf cowering behind her bed’s canopy curtains.
“Dinky is sorry to wake the mistress but the head elf says breakfast is ready,” the elf said fearfully. “Will the mistress be coming down to the dining area? Or would she like her food to be brought up here?”
“Well, hello there. Dinky, is it? I haven’t seen you around before. Are you new?”
The elf’s eyes widened, probably shocked at the lack of a violent response. She was expecting a blow or at least an object thrown in her direction. “Yes, miss. Dinky is replacing your old personal house elf. Flimsy is now in Hogwarts, miss, looking after our friends who were hurt in the war.”
“Oh, right. And how are you adjusting to life here in the manor? Are you being paid enough? Or do you require additional holidays?”
“Everything is fine, miss. I didn’t knows we elves is allowed to be given wages. Such generosity here in the mistress’ manor,” Dinky replied in a bolder voice as compared earlier, “I is thankful miss!”
“It’s only proper,” she shrugged. “Well then, give me a few more minutes and I’ll be down for breakfast.” She mumbled something incoherent as she plopped back down on the bed and buried herself in the blankets.
The elf took one last puzzled look at her mistress’ sleeping form before disapparating.
August 18, 1998; 9:52 A.M.
“Aw, come on now D. Big boy like you can’t possibly be tired that easily,” she teased, extending a hand to help me up. “Put some of that Quidditch training to use, would you."
Draco glared at the woman towering over him. He swatted her hand away and grabbed the nearest chair to hoist himself up. “I don’t know about you but I’m off to take a long, hot and relaxing shower. After which, I’m heading down to breakfast,” he said as he stalked past her. “Even big boys like me need their nourishment before engaging in manual labor.” He smirked at her over his shoulder. He had to catch himself when he almost fell over because of the house elf that apparated directly in front of him. Draco could hear Callie trying to suppress her laughter. He clenched his fist as he looked down on the little creature. “What?” he spat.
“Apologies, young Master,” the elf flinched, anticipating a blow. “Letters come for the young Master. I is bringing it to you, sir.”
He snatched the bundle from the elf’s outstretched hand. “I expect a hot meal when I come down after my bath,” he commanded, “Leave.” The elf nodded and disapparated with a loud crack.
“Would it kill you to be just a little more courteous?” she scolded him gently. He simply grumbled and slammed the door as he walked out. “Spoiled little brat,” she mumbled. Callie dropped the textile samples she had been holding, and followed suit.
August 18, 1998; 10:13 A.M.
For the hundredth time that week, she was once again lost in her own devices. The spoon was in her hand but the meal before her remained untouched. She paid no attention to an elf placing a thick letter next to her plate. Nor did she notice the fireplace bursting into green flames until a pair of strong arms encircled her waist. She jumped up a bit, dropping her spoon on the table.
“Who are you and what have you done to Izzy?” a deep voice whispered into her ear.
The voice relaxed her slightly frazzled nerves. She turned to give him a kiss on the cheek. “Hello to you too, Kyle. How did you know I was home?”
“Ah, I see. Meddlesome brother. He told you keep an eye on me, yeah?”
He nodded, loosening his hold on her so she could face him. “So, why didn’t you tell me you were here? All this time I thought you were still in London.”
“I needed some time alone, so I left. I didn’t know where you were that time ‘cause the last I checked you and your mum were in Switzerland. And that was before the battle at Hogwarts.”
“Oh, right. We were in Spain then, never staying in one place for more than a week, you know the drill. We only got back mid-June,” he explained, “That doesn’t excuse you from not calling me the moment you stepped into Italian soil, though.”
“I, uh, sort of went globe-hopping,” she smiled sheepishly at him. “You know. Australia, Asia, America. I have yet to visit Africa. I hear Egypt is just magnificent.”
Kyle narrowed his eyes at her. “And you didn’t bother to tag me along?” he pouted. “I thought we were going see the world together after we graduate?”
“We are, Ky. I only went to about five countries, that’s hardly the world,” she argued softly. Her hand ruffled his hair, smoothed the frown lines on his forehead and rested on his cheek for a few moments. She moved closer to him so as to rest her head on his chest. His arms that were still around her tightened, pulling her even closer. They stayed that way for a while. Neither noticed the arrival of another person through the fireplace.
Francesca Graziani stepped out of the hearth gracefully. She flicked her wand to get rid of the soot that clung to her cloak. She was about to call out for an elf when she noticed the couple sitting across the room. Her daughter had her arms around a young man’s neck, head cuddled on his chest. Meanwhile, he was stroking her hair with one hand and rubbing small circles on her back with the other. His head was resting atop hers, occasionally burying his head into her hair and breathing in deeply. She watched them for a while then cleared her throat to announce her presence. The pair sprang apart, clearly embarrassed at the affectionate display.
“Good morning Isabelle,” she smiled at her daughter before turning to the other person in the room, “Young Mr. DeVito. How is Adalina these days?”
Kyle was momentarily stunned at the untimely arrival of Lady Graziani. “Mother is doing better these days, Mrs. Graziani, and she misses you dearly. She was strong enough to levitate me out of bed and push me into the fireplace.” He purposely glanced at the woman beside him. She blushed even more, looking everywhere but him. “Apparently, she knew Isabelle was here before I did.”
Francesca nodded, mentally planning to visit her long-time friend sometime this week. She looked at Isabelle, spotting the edge of a letter with a familiar looking seal behind her. “I see you have your letter,” she pointed out, “I take it we will need to visit London soon?”
Isabelle was confused for a moment. She turned to the direction of her mother’s gaze, finally realizing her Hogwarts Letter had arrived. She picked it up and carefully opened it to reveal three separate pieces of parchment. She knew the first one contained the customary lines from the Headmaster, or in this case Headmistress, and the second was a booklist and other materials they might need. She read through them quickly, the words not really registering in her mind. It was the third piece of parchment that piqued her interest. It was unusual for a Hogwarts letter to have more than two pages. It contained only a few words but powerful none the less.
Break it to them gently.
A/N: Awww.. I was hesitant in posting this. I hope you guys aren't too disappointed.. ^^,
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