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Chapter 25 : Twenty-five.
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Molly said I should write home to tell everyone that I had arrived safely. She still does that weird hand-twisting thing that we used to tease her about and she’s still got the same old personality, too. She’s grown up though, her and your brother. They look different now and the French air has done them some good – Molly tried to talk to me about vitamins in onions and cheese and grapes but I switched off – and now I sound like Percy and I know how much you hate him.
I hate writing these letters because I sound so stupid and pretentious and I know you’ll never see these. I was never good at writing, not like Rose or even Noah (vomit, cry, punch etc) with his creepy love poems. I feel like something out of a Fifi LaFolle book: me, the handsome (obviously) man with the gaping white shirt and you, the damsel in distress (but you won’t like that) left alone and dressed in a bodice and petticoats and about to be burnt as a witch. I would rescue you, obviously, and Scorpius would be my little sidekick who got all the comic relief lines… if he would just cheer up. Say hello to him from me.
I wasn’t sure who to address this to. I probably won’t even send it.
I just wanted to pretend that things between us are normal. I thought we could write to each other… like we did when you spent the summer with your grandmother. I thought that we could go back to being what we were before Lorcan died and before last night - if there is even anything between us anymore. You told me you hated me. I told you that I loved you and I still do.
If I was in a LaFolle novel, you would be standing on a balcony right about now and I would be on my steed wearing stupid breeches and a stupid billowing shirt.
I didn’t kill him. Maybe I should just kill Molly. Then they’ll actually arrest me for something I did and then I could come home. You’d probably like me again then, if I killed your very annoying cousin. It’d do the world a favour.
“Incendio,” I whispered, as I pushed and battled my way through the crowds in the Ministry atrium. The letter burned steadily and I dropped it into a metal bin on the way to the elevators. Back in the Ministry for the second time that week, I navigated my way up towards the Auror office. I felt happy and a little proud after my confrontation with Noah that morning. I had showered and put on new, clean clothes that Victoire had bought for me and which Hannah had delivered that morning. I even wore the necklace Rose had picked up for me on her honeymoon.
I was going to talk to Scorpius. I was going to tell him that I wasn’t going to kill Noah, that he should man up and shave, and that we’d work together and be there for each other. I would apologise for everything – all the stupid petty arguments we had about Debole and Lysander and Rose. He would hopefully apologise too, and the two of us would head into Diagon Alley and buy him a new suit of clothes. Apparently, according to Witch Weekly (the source of completely true and legitimate fact) buying a completely new wardrobe and going on a detox was the best way to reassess your life and your relationships and the solve the elusive question of ‘where you are going in life’.
Valerie was crying again when I asked politely where Scorpius was. She sniffed heavily before pointing further down the corridor. I saw Oswald Jones lurking around Higgins’ office and he waved brashly at me. I smiled weakly in return.
“Dommy! Oh thank Merlin, you’re alive!” I kept on walking as I heard Victoire’s tuneful tones from behind me. I almost knocked over a very short wizard carrying an impossibly high stack of paper.
“Dom!” I felt her hand on my elbow before I remembered how fast my sister was and how she could sneak up on you in no time at all. She looked flustered, but not overly so and she still looked beautiful with her cheeks faintly pink, her hair still locked in their loose curls. She was clutching a picnic hamper and a bottle of champagne along with her expensive handbag.
“What are you doing here?” Victoire asked as we started to stroll towards the offices.
“I came to talk to Scorpius.”
“Oh, good,” she said, patting me on the shoulder, “Rose told me about how he is. It’s terribly sad. I thought it might have something to do with you.”
“It’s not… well, it might be but that’s not the real reason.”
“I wanted them together,” she continued, “so did Ted. The rest of the family are too bewitched by his charming smile and his wealth to think there’s anything wrong with him. Mama loves him.”
“He did say she was ‘tres jolie’ when they first met.”
“And that’s enough to sway her, apparently.”
We continued walking, passing office after office. Several people even said ‘hello’ to me. I saw Atticus Debole lurking in a corner, flicking through an important looking document. Various uncles stopped to chat for a couple of moments before flying off to some important meeting or to lunch.
“I saw Rose this morning. She came to visit me.”
“I heard they had come back,” Victoire replied, “was Noah as delightful as ever?”
“I called him an arsehole.”
“Oh, Dommy,” Victoire said, smiling, and I had forgotten how much she disliked Rose’s new husband. He had once let his magazine print an article about how she was cheating on Teddy with someone at her work. “It’s good to know you’ve still got some brain cells and you haven’t slept them all away.”
“Did they enjoy their honeymoon?”
“Didn’t ask. Got into an argument before the small talk could really be exhausted.” She smiled wryly and I glanced at the champagne bottle. “What’s all this?”
“Oh, I’m just visiting Teddy. He’s been working nights and I haven’t seen him in a while. I thought I’d do something special.” She gestured at the hamper, smiling shyly. I grinned. She gave an awkward, one-armed hug and the bottle of champagne knocked against me. We carried on walking until we reached Teddy’s office. Victoire knocked on the door and entered.
“Victoire!” Teddy did look like he had been working nights. His hair was stuck up in all different directions and there were dark shadowy bags underneath his slightly bloodshot eyes. There was a towering pile of files and paperwork on his desk and a few crumpled balls of parchment littered around the overflowing bin. Victoire set the hamper and bottle down and threw her arms around him. He looked so happy, a smile overtaking over his handsome face, and I felt like crying.
They kissed and I looked away politely.
“And Dom! Hello!”
“Hello Teddy,” I replied quietly as Victoire played affectionately with his hair. I knew it wasn’t true, but I couldn’t help but feel that they were flaunting their relationship in my face. They had a perfect life and a perfect love and I didn’t. I was jealous.
“How are you? You look better.”
“I’m good, I’m well.”
“She’s going to talk to Scorpius,” Victoire added, unfolding a picnic mat and lying it on the tiny office floor. She pulled a couple of plates and glasses from inside the hamper.
“Oh brilliant,” Teddy said happily, sitting next to his wife. “I think he’s been unwell, and what with Rose getting married and Copperfield and her going on honeymoon…”
“I know. I understand,” I said and there was a pop as Victoire opened the bottle of champagne. The couple giggled as white foam spilled over the rug and their laps. Teddy performed a quick spell that cleaned it up.
“Would you like to join us?”
Maybe before Lorcan died, before I left Hogwarts and Lorcan and me got together, before Teddy and Victoire got married, I would have said yes. I would have worn a pair of very short shorts, put my hair up, smothered my eyelashes in mascara and spoken seductively, finishing every sentence with a coy smile. I would have tried to steal Teddy away from Victoire with suggestions that we go for a walk in the woods. I would have eaten strawberries and licked my lips. And at the end, when I stupidly still didn’t realise that his eyes would always be fixed on my glorious, beautiful, kind sister, I would scowl angrily at them as they walked off hand in hand. It took me a while before I realised that I couldn’t break them, that Lysander had left me, that Lorcan was the one for me.
I looked at them both, sitting on the floor, Teddy’s arm around his wife. They were both smiling, looking so beautiful that I was suddenly filled with a horrible sense of jealousy. They were perfect and I was not.
This was what Lorcan and I should have had. We should have shared strawberries and cucumber sandwiches and champagne on the floor of his office of St Mungo’s. His furniture wouldn’t be wrecked. His blood would not be on the floor or the walls. I would not be wearing short shorts or lots of mascara. I would be myself because that’s who I was around him.
I missed him. A tear escaped and I saw Victoire’s face change from a smile to one of sympathy. I couldn’t be around them.
“No, I can’t, I’m sorry. I wish I could but I have to go and see Scorpius.”
“I’ll come with…”
“No, it’s fine. I’ll be fine. You stay.”
She sat back down but still stared at me. Teddy smiled sadly, already chewing on a sausage roll. I swiftly left and closed the door but I could hear their whispered concerns through the wood and so I started running towards the end of the corridor.
Almost magically, Scorpius appeared from his office and started shouting at some poor intern, her lip quivering, and her eyes bright with tears. He gesticulated wildly and the parchment in his hand flapped around. He was running his hand through his longer, unkempt hair. He looked dangerous. Maybe he’d ask me to kill her too.
The girl squeaked when she saw me and ran off. Scorpius stared at me, and I saw something break within him. Another tear escaped as he started towards me. I shook my head wildly.
I turned and started running, brushing passed people until I reached the elevator. I slammed the golden grill closed and pressed deftly at the buttons. Swallowing two of my pills to soothe my pounding headache, I realised I had nowhere to go to. I had nothing to do. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t do anything. People glanced at me worriedly in the lift as more tears spilled onto my cheeks. Scorpius had broken. Lorcan was gone. Rose was busy with Noah. Lysander… Lysander couldn’t be here. I knew he would be and should have been and I hated that. He would have been here. He would have been here with me.
I stumbled out in the atrium, rushing towards the fireplaces. I flooed away, a piece of paper clutched tightly in my hand. Directions.
There was one man who was to blame for all of this. I used to think it was Lysander. The man who had killed Lorcan, caused Lysander to return, forced Rose into a rushed decision and in turn made Scorpius to doubt himself and turned him into some sort of monster: Anthony Featherby.
I felt a phantom pair of lips on my neck and relived his hot, foul breath on my face. I grabbed the map from my pocket, easily navigating down the road. His house was small and the light was on. I could see him through his kitchen window, his disgusting face pulled into a horrible smile, laughing and joking with his friends. He killed Lorcan. He ruined everything. And here he was, laughing as if he didn’t have a care in the world, like he had some sort of soul that wasn’t destroyed.
I stood there, across the street, until it grew dark. I watched as his friends left in various states of drunkenness. I watched as the lights went out and the last one left was on the top floor. I crossed the road.
It took very little for me to open the door, for me to creep up the stairs, for me to open the door to his bedroom. I could see him. All was silent. He was sleeping but I didn’t think he deserved to dream. I stood in the darkness until he woke.
“Dominique Weasley, you came back to me…” His voice was the same: cold and dark. I watched as his lips moved and as he sat up in his bed. A shiver ran down my spine.
“You’ve been standing outside my house all day. Don’t think I didn’t see you. I thought you’d come in and join the party.”
He was talking but I wasn’t listening. He was standing by my side now but I didn’t care. I felt his touch on my skin, on my clothes, on my hair. He was a shadow in the darkness that had enclosed me.
“You’re really very pretty, you know… at least now it’s a private party.”
“Diffindo ,” I whispered, a cut appeared on the top of his arm, the blood oozing from between the torn material. He laughed as I backed away from him.
“You like to play dirty, then?” Featherby picked his wand up from the table. He sent a hex spinning past me as I dived out of the bedroom. It hit a picture just above my head and I scrambled down the stairs, into the dark and empty kitchen. I pushed myself into the corner, hidden by the shadows of an ancient grandfather clock. I could hear his footsteps on the stairs.
“Oh, Dominique,” I heard him singsong, and he was closer that I anticipated. I shot a hex in his direction and I smirked as I heard him yelp with pain.
“You’re good, I’ll give you that,” he said, “it must be a Weasley thing. Now, Rosalie… Rosalie was a different matter.”
The glass protecting the clock face shattered and I screamed. A shard of glass had flown into my face, cutting my cheek, and I press my fingers to the wound. Featherby was in the furthest corner of the kitchen. Darting from my hiding place, I shot another spell his way but he shielded it.
“Now, Rosalie… she wasn’t very good at the whole duelling thing,” he continued, and I wondered why he was talking about her now. I wondered whether he had killed her too. “But she was spectacular at the non-verbal stuff… if you get what I mean.”
I sent another jinx into the shadows. He deflected it.
“What are you trying to do here, Dominique? Are you trying to kill me? Or this some sort of really complex, deeply psychological foreplay?”
I growled. A purple jet shot from his wand and hit the wall next to me. It bounced and hit an old armchair. It exploded.
“Huh, Dominique? Is this just you trying to get rid of your daddy issues? Going for the bad boy? Pretending to hate people when really you love them? Apparently all girls do that.”
I can’t believe I thought that Lysander had killed Lorcan. He had denied it and I should have trusted him. This man was much worse and he had been scurrying around with no one watching him, no one trying to catch him. He was stupid enough to leave his fingerprints on the one piece of evidence that apparently convicted Lysander. Anthony Featherby disgusted me.
“Come on, Dominique… we don’t need to do this! You know I like you too! Just come and give me a kiss…”
I sent a spell towards him and watched gleefully as it hit his cheek. I watched as his body spasmed and he fell to the floor. Waiting for a sign of life that didn’t arrive, I bent close to his face to check his breathing. I couldn’t believe it. I had killed him. I had killed another person when I had promised that I…
“Be careful, Dominique,” he said as his hands twisted around my throat. I could barely breathe as my airways constricted. My lungs were screaming. “You should really know that people like me can rise from the dead.”
He slammed me against a wall and another photograph dropped to the floor. I was crying freely now as I felt his body up against me. I felt lightheaded with lack of oxygen. He forced his lips on mine before releasing me.
“You see? That’s better, isn’t it? I think I’m coming around to your way of thinking, Dominique. This is quite fun. It’s very good at getting me in the mood…”
I punched him, square in the jaw and heard the bones in my hand crack and fracture. I ignored the pain instead scurrying away as Anthony Featherby hit the floor for the second time. I found safety behind a kitchen cupboard and waited, breath steadily flowing back into my lungs, for some movement. There was silence apart from the sound of the broken clock, ticking out of time to a strange rhythm.
Maybe he was unconscious. I was tempted to peep around the corner to see whether he was upright, but I couldn’t see…
There was a loud crash above my head as the vase on the cupboard smashed, the broken porcelain landing on my shoulders and on my hair. Gripping my wand, I peered around the edge, only to see Featherby with his dark hair flapping in front of his pale, sweaty face. He taken up the perfect stance: weight equally balanced, centre of gravity low, and wand withdrawn, ready to strike. I moved into a crouching position, wincing at the scraping of my trainers on the floor and the rattle of the cupboard as I moved against it. If he heard me, I…
““Expelliarmus,,” he whispered. My wand disappeared from my hand and flew across the room, hitting the wall and falling to the flaw. I paled. Footsteps approached, crossing the room with increasing speed. My heart was beating wildly in my chest. I was unarmed. I was hiding behind a cupboard that could be blasted apart with a simple spell. I was the target of a homicidal maniac.
“Come on, darling… I’m sorry about before,” Featherby whispered, his voice a disgusting mixture between desire and amusement. Glass crunched under his boots. Silence descended in the room. I clapped a hand over my mouth to stop my overly loud breathing from alerting him to my presence. The clock ticked.
“Expulso!” The cupboard to the left of me exploded. I screamed but the sound was muffled by my hand. Another footstep.
“Darling Dominique,” the man said, “I just want for you to come out and play…” The sound was louder now, closer, and I searched frantically for something to defend myself with. The living room was destroyed with possessions and furniture littered all over the floor and, for a moment, I was transported back to Lorcan’s office. His blood. His last breath…
I twisted my head to the left, and heard my neck crack satisfactorily. My headache had subsided. I took two deep breaths, the air filling my lungs. I looked towards the cupboard to my left, now a pile of broken wood and smashed plates, and spotted a glint of silver in amongst the rubble. A pile of cutlery, old and worn and rusted, a knife positioned perfectly in the middle, shining up at me as if it had a large smile plastered on its inanimate face.
“Incendio!” The cupboard to my right burst into the flames, the heat causing my eyes to water and for the blade to turn gold. I spotted my reflection – covered in dirt and blood and soot, my hair a tangled mess of blonde – and watched as I smiled. My heart was beating at lightning speed now and I felt faint with giddiness and excitement. It was like I was born for this. I was born to get revenge for Lorcan for his death, to get revenge for Lysander for being framed, to get revenge for me simply because he ruined my life.
“I’m simply burning with desire,” Featherby whispered. He was behind me, perching on top of the cupboard I was squatting behind.
Slipping the knife into the waistband of my jeans, I stood up. I watched as Featherby’s eyes widened. I smiled sultrily at him, stepping forward as I held his face between my hands. I felt his sweat pool beneath my fingertips. His pupils grew as if he had just been plunged into darkness. His hot, foul breath quickened as he slid off the worktop to stand in front of me.
I tried to picture him as Teddy. I was trying to seduce him. Victoire should be just around the corner all perfect and beautiful and kindly. I should be wearing a pair of very short shorts, my hair should be up and my eyelashes smothered in mascara. I should finish every sentence with a coy smile.
I pressed his lips to mine. His hands gripped at my waist, fumbled with the buttons of my shirt, twisted into my hair as I guided him towards a chair. He mumbled ‘I love you’ into my skin, and I was reminded of Lysander: the two of us locked in the kitchen of the Burrow, his revelation etched in my memory.
Featherby sat, and I crawled on top of him, shooting him another coy smile. His wand dropped to the floor with a clatter and I kissed him again, as if in congratulations. I listened politely as the dark haired man whispered things into my ear that should have made me squirm and scream with disgust, but I remembered I was doing this for a reason. I pretended it was Lorcan. Even Lysander would be better than this man, perhaps even better than Lorcan. He was alive.
I slipped my hands around his throat, caressing the delicate skin there, running my fingers over his stubble, and tracing the blue of veins over pale skin. His face was on my neck, kissing me, and in his distracted state, I pulled the knife from behind my back.
I watched as the blade sunk into flesh and bone, into heart, as silver became ruined with red. I heard my soul rip again, for the second time, and I grieved for it. Blood blossomed over Featherby’s shirt as he collapsed back in the chair, gazing at me with wide, grey eyes, pupils dilating and contracting as if staring into some great white light. I smiled again, pressing one last kiss on his steadily reddening lips. I unattached myself from his arms, careful not to knock the knife handle still sticking out of his chest. I could hear his whispered pleads, his muted insults, but I didn’t care. His cold grip loosened around my wrist.
I crossed to the sink and poured myself a glass of water. Standing by the window, I looked out onto the dark street, the orange streetlamps, and the bright headlights of the passing traffic. I drank steadily and my breathing regulated. I washed my hands, pleasantly surprised by the soap’s soft floral scent.
I removed all traces of me from the house. With one last glance towards Lorcan’s killer, his eyes blank and staring up in the darkness of the ceiling, I left.
Another one bites the dust - good thing it isn't Becca, who beta'd this for me.
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