Chapter 3 : paper wishes and familiarity
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All around me are familiar faces,
worn out places, worn out faces
Life at Summerbee House is easy to get used to, Dom realizes, after a week passes. She has slipped into an easy routine without noticing.
Get up at eight, have breakfast at half past. Sit with her group. Smile as Agatha downs her black coffee in a haze, while drinking her own cup.
She notes that it’s the first time in a while that she hasn’t put hangover potion in her morning drink, and it tastes off.
She spends the day in groups, sometimes - just talking about life in general. Sometimes, her original groupmates are in it, and sometimes they aren’t. They don’t pressure her to talk about why she’s there, and she’s grateful.
Sometimes they go on trips outside. The country is beautiful, rolling green hills as far as the eye could see. The air smells of early summer: flowery and bright and hopeful, if one could smell hope. There is no town nearby or visible on the distant horizon, only a dusty road that leads away from the house.
They have their wands taken away from them on occasion: it makes Dom feel vulnerable and open in a way that nothing else can. Her wand has been a part of her for almost a decade - it feels like an extra limb has been torn off.
Walking in the open countryside, she feels like a Muggle - a plain, ordinary Muggle. It’s odd - but perhaps not so horrible.
After all, the alternative is being a witch with a tarnished reputation and limited options.
They’re given time to write each night, but Dominique hasn’t. Certainly she’s picked up her quill, determined to say something. She owes Victoire, especially, an apology, and she’s longing to write to Rose. But the words just won’t come.
That one hour is the only blemish in her currently passable life. For one hour, she is forced to remember that which she has left behind and the mistakes she has made. After the hour is finished, she pushes thoughts of her family and her actions to the back of her head and tries to move on.
So it is with some apprehension that she listens to the morning announcements to hear her name being said along with a list of others to begin one-on-one therapy that day. The idea itself is repulsive to her: spilling her secrets and thought and feelings to a stranger. She likes her secrets; likes to hold them tightly to her and never to let anyone know. She likes to wrap herself in mysteries and things unsaid and unknown - it’s her protection.
You said you’d get better, she accuses herself. Dom grits her teeth and walks to the nurse who holds a clipboard in her hands, and gets in line behind the other three or four people who are to start today as well.
She is to meet her Healer that afternoon during the time that she normally had to herself, South Wing on the second floor. Someone can show her where it is, if she likes.
“Oh - and also, Dominique,” the nurse adds, “You’ll be having a resident Healer. He’s almost done with his exams, and there will be a fully qualified Healer to oversee things as well, but don’t worry - he’s entirely capable. If you have any issues, you can always come talk to one of the staff.”
“Thank you,” she murmurs and walks away.
Oh, joy - a bloody resident Healer. Excellent. She can confound some poor innocent soul with her life story.
You said you’d get better, she has to remind herself once again. So she’ll go to therapy - secrets and resident Healers be damned.
She is sitting with Agatha over a pile of neatly stacked small paper squares, watching as the older woman’s fingers fly as they fold and tuck and turn.
“See,” she says to Dom, satisfied, holding up a blue paper crane. “It’s not that hard.”
Dom glances down at her own mess of red paper. It’s such a sad sight - all crumpled and misshapen - that she can’t help but snort and lay her head on the table.
“Yeah, right. Why are we doing this again?” she grumbles.
Agatha rolls her eyes. It’s something she likes to do a lot, Dom has noticed.
“Come here. Give it to me, I’ll show you again.”
Dom watches Agatha’s slender fingers carefully smooth the paper out, ridding it of the creases. Once she deems the paper satisfactory, she begins to fold it again patiently.
She holds up the paper crane, presents it to Dominique. “See?” Agatha says again. “Try it.”
Fold to the corner. Make a square. Flip it. Fold some more.
She now holds a crane in her hands: fragile, delicate, messy - but there. She admires it.
“Make another one,” Agatha directs, and she does.
They sit in companionable silence there, at the small table under the tree outside.
Dom isn’t completely sure where Agatha found all the paper - a small mountain of it lies between them - or why she had suggested folding cranes for their break hour, but she had gone along with it. One did not argue with Agatha. It simply wasn’t done.
“You know,” Agatha suddenly starts to say - Dom notices that Agatha seems to say things suddenly quite a bit. “In Japan, they say that if you make one thousand paper cranes, your wish will come true.”
Dom listens quietly. She doesn’t know much about Japan or any other country, really. Honestly, she doens’t know much about England - if she thinks about it, she might be able to name the Minister, but that’s it.
“When I was younger, I wanted to do it,” Agatha continues with a shrug. “But I never finished.”
“What would you have wished for?” Dom asks, surprising even herself.
“Something silly, no doubt. A pony. Some money. Chocolate. Dunno.” Agatha shrugs again.
Dom thinks back to when she was younger, more innocent perhaps. What would she have wanted? “I’d have just wanted not to be related to my family,” she says.
Agatha looks at her for a moment, calculating, but doesn’t comment on Dom’s seemingly strange desire.
“What would you wish for now?” is all she asks instead.
What would she wish for now? While Dom can’t say that her family doesn’t irritate and infuriate her, she no longer holds the wish to separate herself from them.
All she can think of is, “To get better.”
That’s why they’re all here, after all.
A pause. One crane later, Dom has an idea. “Let’s do it.”
Agatha doesn’t know what she’s talking about at first.
“The cranes,” Dom clarifies. “A thousand. Let’s make them.”
Agatha is hesitant, at first. A thousand, she points out, is an awful lot of cranes to make. But for once in her life, Dom feels confident. They’ll get William and Lydia and Danielle to help them - and they’ll do it before the end of three months.
It’s childish, perhaps, the way their eyes light up with suppressed excitement, Agatha realizing a childhood dream and Dom being able to be like a young girl again, but it’s joyful and pure and happy.
There are, Dom realizes, far worse things to do than to spend three months making paper cranes.
The two make a plan to spring their idea on the others later during the next group session, with silly smiles on their faces. It feels good to have a goal again, no matter how superficial.
Anyways, Dom figures she can use all the luck she can get.
After lunch, she realizes that she’s supposed to meet her Healer soon, and that she’s absolutely clueless as to where their office is.
Dom’s savior today comes in the form of Lydia, who cheerfully agrees to walk her to the South Wing. “It’s easy enough,” she assures Dom on finding her way. “But then again, I’ve been here for a while,” she says with a wry grin.
“How long?” Dom asks, curious, before remembering Rule 1 of life at Summerbee House: never make someone answer a question they don’t want to. Chagrined, she begins to blush, but Lydia’s light laugh prevents it from spreading all over her cheeks.
“It’s all right. I don’t mind,” she assures Dom. “About a month here. But I’ve been other places like this before,” she adds with a shrug. “You get good at navigating them.”
Dom senses that this is perhaps all that Lydia will volunteer for the moment, and lets it go. After a moment, Lydia wonders if Dom is nervous for her first meeting.
“Yes,” Dom admits. She’s terrified. Apprehensive. Afraid. Certainly, she is nervous.
“Don’t be,” Lydia says with a shrug. “Honestly. They’re not scary. Just talk to them. Relax.”
“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to see one,” Dom says with a grimace and a laugh, “deep down inside.”
“It was in the pamphlet. Didn’t you read it?” Lydia wants to know.
She is frank, honest. It was not her who read the pamphlets; it was her family.
Lydia laughs - a high, soft one. She sounds like a little girl - like one of Dom’s various cousins running underfoot. “Come on,” she says, “I’ll show you.”
Lydia stops in front of a plain wooden door. Healer Moffat, a small nametag on the wall reads. “Ooh,” she says. “Healer Moffat’s nice, I hear.”
“I’ve got a resident Healer, actually,” Dom says with a noncommittal shrug.
“Maybe you’ll get one of the good-looking ones,” Lydia says brightly. “Good luck!”
With that, she is off, which leaves Dom to summon up her courage and knock on the door.
No one answers. Before she knocks again, she notices a small piece of paper stuck on the wood. Pulling it off, she reads it.
Please head right in. Sorry that I’ll be a little late, but make yourself at home is scrawled on it.
With a shrug, she opens the door and enters.
lt’s a nice enough office. There’s a large window that offers a nice view of the countryside, partially cracked open so a warm spring breeze is wafting through. There’s a desk and a chair facing it, which she sits down in, counting her breaths to calm herself.
A few minutes pass, and then she hears footsteps out in the hall. A voice follows them, faint but growing louder. “Sorry, sorry,” it calls. “I’ll be right there.”
It sounds terribly familiar, but she can’t quite place her finger on it.
“It’s been a crazy day,” the voice continues. “Didn’t find out I had to be here until an hour ago. Terribly disorganized. Sorry again, hope it wasn’t an inconvenience...”
The door opens, and immediately Dom’s face splits into a wide smile as she sees the man speaking. He does not see her at first, preoccupied with the files in his hands.
She cuts him off. “Well, fancy seeing you here.”
He looks up at the sound of her voice, his eyes wide.
“Scorpius Malfoy,” she continues, shaking her head.
There in front of her stands Scorpius
“Dom?” he says incredulously.
On the list of things that Dom never thought would happen:
One, going to rehab. Two, having her best friend and cousin’s ex be her Healer.
She supposes life isn’t predictable.
A/N: Um. So I said I would have this chapter done a while ago... and yeah, that failed. I got about halfway through, then life got super busy and I sort of lost inspiration. D: Gah. However, writer's block seems to be once again defeated and I'm determined this time to get out the next chapter in a timely manner.
Again, not the most eventful chapter... but we do get to finally meet Scorpius. :P Thank you for reading... and feel free to leave a review? *cough*