Chapter 17 : Bright Lights and White Walls
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Let the chaos and love begin!
Bloody hell! Everything hurt so much! She blinked uncertain of where she was, last she remembered was being whisked away by the portkey, she remembered the sharp rap of the whip against her back but her mind was a blur after that. It was probably the shock she thought. Well the walls aren’t white, so I’m not in the Hospital Wing.
“Julietta love, are you awake?”
“Mmmhmm” Julietta tried to speak but nothing came out but a few strangled noises.
“Loxy, please inform Andrew that his daughter is awake”
“Yes Master” replied the elf.
“Julietta love, can you hear me?” her fingers moved in response.
“I’m here love, don’t go leaving me now, we haven’t even had a second date” he chuckled to himself.
She cannot leave me! I know she will get better, she’s Julietta, and she’s strong, brave, loyal, romantic, gorgeous…
“Is she awake yet” Andrew asked, peering down at his daughter.
“I’m not sure, but she can hear us” replied Draco.
“Little girl, wake up for Daddy” he whispered.
Julietta wanted to wake up, she really did but somehow she couldn’t bring herself to. She knew it was coming to a close, this looming darkness. She didn’t know how but she knew. She just wanted everything to go away. She wanted to concentrate on her friends. She wanted to get to know Draco, she wanted to be with Draco, and she needed him. Prophesies she decided were annoying.
She tried to talk again but only succeeded in ruffling the bed sheets.
“Little girl, sit up for us. Draco help her” said Andrew.
He motioned for Draco to help Julietta, then held a glass of water to his daughters mouth, willing her to drink it – which she thankfully did.
“Better?” he asked.
“Draco’s mine isn’t he Daddy” she mumbled sleepily.
“Yes Cara, Draco’s yours” he smiled at the devoted look on Draco’s face. In all the hectic drama that had been happening, the bridges Draco and Julietta had been building had laid forgotten but it seemed that even though they hadn’t spent much time together, Julietta’s heart already knew what she wanted, even if she didn’t want to admit it yet. This pleased Andrew, he so very much wanted his daughter to be happy and if she was happy with Draco then that made him even happier.
“Draco, I have some matters to attend to, please contact me if she improves”, Draco nodded in response, his attention completely focused on Julietta.
He brushed her hair from her face, his fingers trailing down her cheek. She looked so peaceful when she slept. He couldn’t stop the way he felt about her, she was still an insufferable know-it-all but she was his know-it-all. He couldn’t explain how far his feelings had changed. If she had remained Hermione and never been Julietta Draco envisioned that nothing would have changed. However, that small change in her identity had changed and with it so had he. He’d spent years dreaming of who Julietta was and what she was like. He’d found in Julietta everything he’d wanted in a witch and he wasn’t about to let it go for anything.
She sighed contently and he relaxed into the sound.
“Draco, you should get some sleep” Natasha stood in the doorway looking at Draco and her daughter.
Draco shook his head, “I can’t” he replied.
“You love her don’t you”.
Draco nodded silently, “God help me I do”.
Natasha smiled down at him, crossing the room to reach his side. “You’ve both changed, you accept her and she accepts you. Don’t be afraid Draco”.
“Do you think she’s completely forgiven me for the past?” he asked nervously.
“Draco, she forgave you long ago. She may not have seen it at first but you are her knight in shining armor ready to carry her off into a happy ever after”.
Draco looked at Natasha skeptically. “All the best knights have a shadowed past. Just look at your father” Natasha smiled.
“Go, take a nap. I will stay with her” Draco felt dismissed, chancing one last look at Julietta, he placed a kiss upon her forehead and walked from the room.
“Ahh my beautiful little girl, what have you done to Draco” Natasha murmured.
Julietta’s hand twitched ever so slightly, it was like she was slowly waking from a dream.
“Julietta can you hear me?” questioned her Mother.
Julietta heard the voice, it was like a comforting song reaching her ears. She knew she was safe.
Her hand twitched again, “Mama?” her barely audible voice whispered.
“I’m hear sweetheart” replied her Mother.
“I know darling. Let’s sit you up”. Natasha helped her daughter sit up in bed and passed a large glass of water to her daughter’s parched lips.
“Little Miss is awake” squealed Loxy, appearing in the room and immediately fussing around Julietta. How sweet it was that Loxy had taken a personal shine to Julietta thought Natasha.
“How do you feel sweetheart?” she asked her daughter.
“A little sore and confused”.
“Will you be able to reencounter your story if I call the others in?” asked her Mother.
“I think so” replied Julietta.
“Loxy, please fetch the others here” Natasha asked the elf, who had finished tending to Julietta and was now waiting to the side with a very determined expression.
“Draco was here you know”
“Stayed with you all the time, I only just managed to send him off for some sleep a while ago. He was terribly worried about you. He refused to leave your side” Julietta blushed at her Mother’s words.
“I like him. More than I should. I see people around me at school and I know they are questioning my actions. They think I shouldn’t be allowed to like him because of past actions and behaviors. But I cannot help myself, these last few months, when I see him I just light up. I know there is more to him that I have let to learn but the person he is now is the one I want him to be, it’s the one I’m falling in love with” Julietta seemed embarrassed by her sudden declaration of feelings to her Mother but Natasha was happy to finally understand what was going on in her daughter’s head.
“Darling, think not of what other people thing. You follow your head, if it’s letting you Draco’s the one. Then go for it, don’t let anything get in the way” Julietta smiled at her Mother’s comforting words, she really wanted a hug from her, but moving still hurt.
The doors reopened when people started to arrive, some seemed a little out of breath as if they had run from one side of the Mansion to Julietta’s room. Draco was the first to run in.
“Julietta! Love, I’m so glad you are awake, you had me so worried baby” he said, clasping her hand in his and looking adoringly in her eyes. Julietta was startled by the depth of his eyes, it was like drowning she thought. The look of unconditional love and fear took her breath away, at that moment, she had no doubt of his feelings. She honestly felt like they were alone in the room, and frankly she wished it were true.
Her name called by different people, all who had special places in her heart. Her family, the look of fear, worry and relief etched on each of their faces. It was in that moment that she realized how lucky she was to have such an amazing family. She couldn’t wish for better people to surround her with love and comfort, to keep her safe and happy. Dumbledore stood in the crowd also, a deep frown covering his face. After hearing Blaise’s story earlier, they were all here for her accounts.
“Cara, you don’t have to talk now if it’s too hard” spoke her Father as he noticed her pained face when she moved.
Loxy was by her side in an instant, muttering words over her wounds till she felt a cool healing sensation, ridding her of the uncomfortable pain she was in. The injuries were still there but the pain was momentarily at bay, “Thank you Loxy” said Julietta.
“Miss Julietta if you please. I apologize for interrupting your healing process. But we have Blaise’s account of things and now we would like to hear yours” said Dumbledore matter-of-factly.
Julietta nodded in response, gathering her thoughts. Her cheeks stung slightly but no one had given her a mirror to assess the damage.
“I ended up as I’m sure Blaise has told you in the house of Henrietta Granger. She was responsible for my kidnapping you know. She’s quite mad, worse in a way than Bellatrix. She talks to imaginary voices. She speaks of revenge, power, and darkness. She said she could not kill me, nor could she bind my powers like she wanted. She told me I was to work with her until the darkness claimed me. She started losing it. Talking about society and ugliness, she wanted me to be ugly. Hence the scars on my face. When Blaise and I read Hermione Granger’s diary it mentioned some secret hidden in the fireplace chute. When Henrietta disappeared I took my chance and found what was hidden, a portkey that transported me here. Alas, not before Henrietta had returned with a whip which caught my back as I disappeared. The darkness is coming and I’m the only one who can stop it” Julietta sighed, it was big getting all of that off her chest. A range of faces stood before her, most of worry and fear, one of confusion.
“You are not Potter Julietta, this doesn’t rest on your shoulders” said Severus.
“Oh but it does. I’ve seen it. Blaise has visions of protection because he knows to keep me safe. I have visions of what is coming. I see the Athena Knights; they are teaching me how to weld my power. I am not afraid of what’s coming. I understand both the seriousness and the ludicrousness of the prophesy. This isn’t another Voldemort Potter situation. You just have to trust me on this” she finished somewhat lamely.
The occupants of the room sighed, each knowing how stubborn she was and each knowing she was not going to change her mind. They so wanted to keep her safe and unharmed, having missed so much of her life, they didn’t want to put the rest of her life in danger. However, they all knew what type of person Julietta was. She was the kind who always put others before herself and would always help when the time came. If she was the one who could safe them then she wasn’t going to give up just because of the circumstances that might happen, she was going to fight for what she believed in regardless of the consequences. They didn’t call her the smartest witch of her age for nothing!
Blaise and Draco seemed most affected by Julietta’s speech. Blaise had hoped Julietta would stop thinking she had to save the world once they’d uncovered more about the Grangers and been in the presence of Henrietta. Alas, he knew deep down that this was her job to do, she wasn’t going to listen to him, and he wouldn’t be able to stop her. He knew it was his job to protect her, he’d known it for as long as he’d been having visions. Julietta was a part of him and he was going to make damn sure he didn’t fail her.
Draco’s heart pinned for Julietta. In just a few short months he’d gotten to know the girl behind the names. He’d seen her flourish under new settings and new friends. She had a new glow about her and wasn’t constricted by the put downs that her old friends were so used to giving. He couldn’t pin point exactly when he fell in love with her. He just knew how he felt whenever he saw her and knew he didn’t want to lose that feeling. When Julietta had disappeared, his heart had cracked, when she had returned all bruised and bleeding, his heart had cracked even more. He longed to take her in his arms and hold her close, protecting her from the world. He longed to show her how much he cared, how he loved her. He wanted to shower her in kisses and presents and make sure she was always happy. This darkness that was looming worried him. He knew Julietta was stubborn and supposedly thought she was the one to deal with this but he worried for her. He didn’t want her going anywhere, he didn’t want to lose her. Plus the thought of her controlling fire was wreaking havoc on his emotions, someone so gentle and fragile shouldn’t get mixed up with fire. It made him shudder to think of her using her new found power, what if she hurt herself? Or others? He couldn’t bare that thought.
It was hard to keep his emotions separate. His love for her was as strong as his fear and worry. He knew he should tell her he loved her but his insecurities of rejection stopped him short.
Dumbledore cleared his throat, “Thank you Miss Julietta, that was most enlightening. I shall leave you to your rest now” and with a flourish he was gone, never does things by halves thought Julietta.
With Dumbledore gone, the others filed out quietly, intent on leaving Draco and Julietta alone a while. Subtly didn’t seem the family’s strong point as both Draco and Julietta realized what they were doing, though they were quite thankful for it.
“Julietta” Draco murmured as the door closed, signaling they were alone.
Julietta blinked, trying not to lose herself in his deep silver eyes.
“You scared me love, please don’t do that again” he whispered.
“I’m sorry” she replied.
He held her face between his hands, looking intently into her eyes, “I don’t know what’s going to happen” she said.
“Neither do I” he replied.
They stayed silent, each lost in each other’s eyes, the tension between them heightened.
“Draco” she whispered, “Kiss me”.
Draco looked at her for one moment before devouring her lips in the most gentle yet passionate kiss. Julietta felt like she was on fire, no kiss could be more perfect. She moaned in delight as he ran his tongue along her bottom lip seeking entrance. She gladly allowed him in and deepened the kiss, pulling him close. Several minutes, hours, years later they broke apart, each breathing heavily and looking slightly disheveled.
“That was amazing” whispered Julietta.
“You’re amazing” murmured Draco.
They stayed like that in a comfortable embrace until Julietta fell asleep and even then Draco did not leave her. He chose instead to stay with her, idly stroking her hair and thinking to himself.
Julietta sat bolt upright, startling Draco from his thoughts, “Draco did you hear that?”
Draco looked at her quizzically.
“The voice, sounded just like Ron. It was so scary.” Julietta panted, she was starting to hyperventilate.
“Julietta relax, there is no one here. It was just a dream” Draco soothed yet Julietta felt no better.
“No Draco, it’s here, I can feel it” she whispered.
Draco started to get alarmed, not only by Julietta’s words but the hot heat emitting from her hands.
Her eyes had glazed over, “Julietta, Julietta” he shook her in hopes of a reaction but she merely fell limply back onto the bed.
Draco had now entered a state of full panic, he didn’t know if she had fainted or if something worse had happened. Alarmed by her current state he ran from the room in search of help.
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