Chapter 21 : A Choice to Leave History Up to Chance
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"Ignotus," encouraged Dominique, stroking his arm as he finally let her touch him again, "what is it? Why aren't you happy?"
She had never seen him like this, and it made her worry what was the matter. After minutes of silence, she finally comforted him again. "Ignotus, everything has it's time. It's time for Tyrion to know his father is dead."
"Yes," he swallowed, finally speaking. "It's time."
He took a step forward, and Dominique could see that it took every bit of strength, courage, and will power within him to move forward and to the home. When he walked, he left her behind, pulling his hand from hers and leaving her. She stumbled behind him, walking a safe distance behind him, for she could tell something about this situation made him feel strange and want to distance himself from her.
Pursing her lips and accepting the situation for what it was, she followed behind him. Before they could even reach the house, though, the front door opened and Tyrion bolted out from the depths of the home.
"Uncle!" he shouted excitedly as he ran.
Ignotus dropped to his knees where he stood, tears filling his eyes with the excitement to see his nephew. He opened up his arms, desperate to embrace him. Tyrion ran excitedly, his long, blonde curls bouncing as he ran. When he reached him, he flung his arms around his uncle and Ignotus pulled him tight.
"Oh, Tyrion," sighed Ignotus. "I have missed you so!"
"I have missed you as well, Uncle," whispered Tyrion into his ear.
"Have the Pellinors treated you well?"
"Oh, yes," beamed Tyrion as he pulled away from him. "Very well! They are so kind, Uncle! Especially Lady Brigid! She is so kind to me, and she will be my Aunt! Uncle, I am so pleased Lady Brigid will be my aunt!"
Ignotus bit his lip. Tyrion had already spilled the one thing Ignotus had wanted to gently inform Dominique of. He only hoped she hadn't heard or didn't understand.
Ignotus tried to manage a smile, and he whispered to his nephew so she couldn't hear. "Yes, my boy," he admitted. "She will be your aunt."
He didn't know if he was lying through his teeth or not.
Ignotus peeled Tyrion off of his frame, rose to his feet, and turned to Dominique. He tried to smile at her, for she appeared to not have heard. She only looked slightly confused as she tried to decipher what it was the two had shared with one another on conversation.
"Lady Dominique!" Tyrion burst and ran to hug her about the waist.
"Hi, sweetie," she beamed as she hugged him. "What are you doing here?!"
"Lord Edric wanted to surprise everyone! He awoke me this morning and told me to pack my things to return home! Only for today, though," said Tyrion. He took her hand and led her to the house, Ignotus following on her other side.
"Well," she smiled, "no matter. We are so glad you are here."
"Have you met Lady Brigid, my Lady?" asked Tyrion excitedly.
Dominique pursed her lips in confusion. She hadn't even heard the name before. "No, I haven't. Who is she?"
"Why, she is Uncle's betrothed!" declared Tyrion with an innocent enthusiasm.
Ignotus stopped dead in his tracks, as did Dominique. She blubbered hopelessly. There had to be some sort of mistake. Ignotus wasn't engaged.
Dominique turned to him, expecting him to give some sort of explanation that this was all misguided information. But that wasn't the case. The look on his face said it all. And that explained why he was so apprehensive upon seeing the Pellinor's horses. Why his mood had so suddenly changed and he didn't wish to touch her.
Ignotus took a deep swallow and nodded his head towards the house. "Tyrion, go inside. Tell the others we shall be in momentarily."
Tyrion departed with an obedient reply and disappeared into the house. When the door was shut, Ignotus turned to a panicked and angry Dominique. He had never seen her like this: shaking, if only slightly, a look of fear and betrayal in her eyes that reflected a broken heart. Ignotus immediately wished to apologize profusely.
"Tell me that's not true," she whispered before he could even offer an explanation. "Please tell me you're not betrothed."
"I cannot," he said gently, "because I am."
"What?!" she gasped. Dominique felt tears reach her eyes. "And you thought you just wouldn't tell me? How did you think you were going to get away with that? And what's going to happen, then? To me? Are you going to marry her?!"
"No!" he blurted quickly, his hands outstretched as if to grab hold of her, but he resisted. His certainty, though, seemed to quickly fade. "I do not know. My betrothal is why it has taken me so long to confront my mother. She must allow me to break it off."
"And what if she doesn't?" asked Dominique sourly. "What then?"
Ignotus was the perfect example of a rule follower. He had been the entire time she had known him. The only time he had made an exception to those rules was to be with her romantically, and that had taken ages and an exceptional amount of encouraging. Dominique didn't know if he had it in him to defy his mother. She believed, if his mother wouldn't allow it, then he would follow her wishes until the end of his days.
His next words affirmed Dominique's thoughts. "I do not know. I mustn't think like that, though. I must have faith."
"Is faith all you've got?!" she asked reproachfully.
"Yes," he admitted weakly.
Dominique didn't quite know why, but then her tears were inevitable. She thought he loved her enough to do anything to be with her. Anything. Even if that meant defying his mother, and his words now seemed to be proof that that wasn't the case.
There were so many things wrong with this. So many things that made her angry, sad, and heart-broken. He had kept something so vital from her. And for how long? She didn't even know. She wondered if this was the 1234 equivalent of being cheated on. She had been cheated on before, and this brought back painful memories of that.
"But I thought you loved me," she blubbered as she swiped at her eyes. She knew she was suddenly a crying mess, and she wished she wasn't. Ignotus was the only man to ever have such a hold over her; he was the only one she had ever cried for. But this was insane.
"I do love you!" he gasped, and she could see him reach out to hold her, to kiss her, but he resisted for fear of being seen.
"Well, having a secret betrothal to another woman is a hell of a way to show it then!" she snarled, her mood switching from sorrow to anger. She swiped the tears from her eyes.
Before he could respond, the door to the house opened up, and a short, young woman with brown hair stepped out.
Ignotus looked to her and said quickly under his breath while they were out of ear-shot. "We will finish this conversation later."
Brigid Pellinor quickly closed the door and began speaking before even turning around.
"Lord Ignotus, I wanted to see you while you were alo - " She cut off there as she spun around and saw that he was, in fact, not alone at all. She blushed. "Oh, forgive me. I thought you were alone."
"You are forgiven, my Lady," he said kindly. His responsible and mannerly tone was suddenly back in his voice. He straightened up, and Dominique worked to clear any signs of her tears as the woman Dominique could only assume was Brigid Pellinor approached them.
"You must be the Lady Dominique," said Brigid kindly as she reached them. She dropped down into a respectful curtsy, her lips pulling up into a genuine smile. "Tyrion has told me so much about you. He honestly never stops going on about you."
Dominique then managed the most fake smile she had ever produced. She couldn't believe she was talking to Ignotus' betrothed. However, she dropped into a curtsy as well.
"Yes, my Lady," she said in response. She was good at putting on a face when necessary. No one would ever see how destroyed she truly was on the inside. "And you must be Lady Brigid. An honor to meet you."
"You are too kind," said Brigid with a smile. "I only hope my betrothed has spoken well of me to you."
"The best," smiled Ignotus.
Dominique looked to his expression to see if she could decipher it. And then she saw it. How good of a liar he was. Either that or he really was truly happy to be with Brigid in that moment. And if he could lie this way to Brigid's face, then what was true of Ignotus?
Brigid offered him her hand with a smile that made Dominique sick to her stomach, and she watched the man she loved take the woman's hand into his own and give it a gentle kiss in greeting. It took everything in her power to not look away.
"Hello, Ignotus," she said in the most gentle of voices, and the way she called him by his first name and that alone made Dominique cringe. She was the only one who could do that.
"Hello, Brigid," he said just as softly and just as whimsically.
As soon as they finished their exchange, Brigid turned back to Dominique. She looped her arm through hers and led her to the house in happy chatter. Ignotus followed behind in silence.
"I know this must be a surprise. Our visit. To you, and to Lord Ignotus. It was my father's idea to come to Godric's Hollow for a visit. Tyrion has been just dying to come home. He misses you and his uncle dearly, and my father told him of Lord Cadmus' death two weeks ago. Tyrion knows now, and we have much planning to do for our wedding. So it seemed like a splendid idea!"
"Splendid idea," Dominique falsely agreed. She instead turned the conversation around to something she could tolerate. "So your father told Tyrion of Lord Callum's death?"
"Yes, he did," said Brigid sadly. "Tyrion had recovered from Lord Antioch's death then, and the questions of when he would see father again would not end. My father thought it necessary, and he took the burden away from my betrothed."
"That is very kind of him," said Dominique, genuinely this time.
They reached the house, and Brigid opened the door to let them in. When they stepped in, the sound of happy chatter was evident. Brigid led her to the source of it, and they entered the sitting room where Tyrion was sitting on the ground and petting Arrow while Eirene and Edric were in cheerful conversation.
As soon as Edric spotted them, he rose and opened up his arms. "You must be the ward I have heard so much about! Lady Dominique."
Edric took her hand and gave it a kiss as she dropped into a curtsy, and then he embraced her as if she were his own.
"Lord Edric," she said in greeting as he released her. He went to Ignotus and embraced him like a son as well.
They all shared exchanges of greetings, how the other was doing. The afternoon was quite enjoyable. Everyone was laughing and having a good time, save for Dominique. She knew her laughter would not have been fake if she hadn't known the one single fact that Brigid was his fiancée. So she found it impossible for her to enjoy herself.
Not to mention, with Brigid and Edric there, Dominique knew it was impossible for Ignotus to sit near to her as he always would. Instead, Edric abandoned a seat beside his daughter so the engaged couple could sit by one another. Dominique couldn't tear her eyes away from them, how Brigid was so ignorantly happy to be beside him. Dominique could tell how just Ignotus' laughter put a smile on her face; she knew what a girl love-stricken looked like and Brigid was utterly besotted. It made Dominique sick to her stomach. It was even worse because of how beautiful she was. There was nothing absolutely astounding about her, but she was rather one of those women that had natural beauty without any effort at all. Dominique wanted to hate her as she sat there, watching the Pellinor girl smile at her man, but she couldn't even find a reason to hate her. It was infuriating.
Dominique assumed Brigid was even somewhat like her in comparison to 1234, that being that she was a girl who lived on the edge of the social norms. She could tell this because of how she sat, with her hand nearest Ignotus in her lap and palm facing upwards. It was a bold invitation for him to take her hand.
Dominique could see Ignotus eyeing the invitation, and she wondered what he would do. Edric finally cleared his throat quietly from the other side of Ignotus, and they shared an exchange that Dominique knew no one else noticed. Edric directed his line of sight down to his daughter's hand, a sign for Ignotus to take her offer. Ignotus gave an uneasy swallow, and he wiped his sweaty palms on his trousers before taking Brigid's hand into his own. He entwined their fingers and pulled her hand into his lap.
She watched Brigid's reaction. She smiled brightly, and she looked to him. He turned his head and returned the smile, his perfect and charming smile now luring in another woman other than her.
Dominique felt herself grow sick. She knew they had to share nothing more than platonic exchanges if they didn't want to draw attention to the possibility that they were anything more than friends, but this was all too painful. If he really loved her and had no feelings for Brigid, then he was an exceptional actor at tricking Brigid and breaking Dominique's heart along the way.
The afternoon continued on that way, with Edric and Eirene talking about the approaching wedding at every chance they got, with Ignotus and Brigid sitting too close for Dominique's comfort, sharing secret smiles and refusing to let go of the other's hand.
They were in the middle of dinner, and Dominique was sitting next to Tyrion at the table and across from Ignotus. Brigid, however, was directly next to him, their hands still lovingly clasped together on the table.
Dominique paid careful attention to her food, poking and prodding it more than necessary. She spoke only when spoken to, unable to get past the idea that Ignotus may have feelings for Brigid as well.
In the middle of another one of Brigid's stories of how she and Ignotus used to splash in puddles together or run in the fields and chase butterflies as children, Dominique found herself suddenly interrupting. She dropped her napkin onto her plate and rose immediately.
"I am sorry," she said sternly, refusing to look at anyone in the room as all eyes turned to her at her abruptness. "I suddenly feel ill. I must retire for the night."
"Of course," Eirene said kindly. "I hope you feel better. I will have Jocosa see to you and perhaps bring you some hot tea."
"Thank you," said Dominique before she left the room.
She appreciated Eirene sending Jocosa to her room. Now Jocosa had an excuse to come to her room, and Dominique could share all her troubles. She needed to talk to her friend.
She bolted to her room and slammed the door, then throwing herself onto her bed in tears. She curled up into the fetal position and felt her tears dampen the duvet beneath her head.
Crying. So much crying. She had never cried so much in her life. What was wrong with her?
She was in love. That's what was wrong with her. But what about Ignotus? He seemed happy as can be by Brigid's side? And with Edric and Eirene as enthused as they are about the wedding, would they ever let the wedding of Ignotus and Brigid fall through? And if they didn't, then what then? Ignotus had said he didn't know what he would do, but Dominique didn't think he would ever so greatly disobey his mother.
What would she do then? What would she do without him? If she didn't have him? She truly didn't know. She would be lost.
Even if he would be with her, he had lied to her. And for so long. Throughout the course of the day, she had learned of when the betrothal has begun. The day of their first kiss. Before their first kiss. So long ago. He had been betrothed even then.
She didn't know what came over her then. But she rose from her bed, still a crying mess. And she picked up a bag Callum had given her weeks ago before his death, and she placed an Undetectable Extension Charm on it, and she began to throw things into it. Random things she wanted to keep. Her favorite gold gown, the Invisibility Cloak, the ring Callum had picked out for her that would have been her wedding ring. And then she grabbed the most important things. One of her hair pins, sharp at the end, and a vial of Veritaserum she secretly made long ago in this precise case of emergency.
Then she left her room silently. She could hear everyone in the living room, chatting happily as if she wasn't even missed. And she knew that was true. She wouldn't be missed. She was just as superficial here as she was at home. At least the people in 2022 must miss her. She knew that much. All she wanted now was her family.
So she abandoned the Peverell house as the sun set. She went to the stables and saddled up Fay. When the horse was ready, she mounted her and rode swiftly. Swiftly through Godric's Hollow, leaving it and the man she loved behind.
She remembered the path perfectly. She rode through the hills and to the open plain where she had first appeared in 1234. She dismounted when she reached the center, taking her bag from the horse, and she gave Fay a pat on the backside to send her off.
"Go home, Fay!" she demanded with tears. She remembered being fearful of horses when she first arrived, and now it was almost painful to leave Fay behind.
"Please," she begged as the white creature nudged her cheek lovingly with its nose, "go home, Fay. You know how. Go!"
She gave the horse a push and another pat, and then Fay was running off. Dominique swiped the tears from her eyes and prepared herself. She pulled her hair pin, the vial of Veritaserum, and the Invisibility Cloak from the bag.
She slit the palm of her hand with her hair pin and then dumped the serum onto her hand. It stung, and she winced. But she ignored it. She didn't even know if she was doing this right. She was only trying to recreate what had happened in her bedroom that night.
She dropped the vial, and next she grabbed the cloak by the bottom where the snag existed from her first travel in time. She took it and tore it further, but only enough to do the job, and then she wrapped the cloak around her injured and stinging hand.
She was pleased at what happened next. The mist returned, a light blue and swimming around her. She continued to cry, and she sank to her knees as the mist carried her home.
Ignotus was enjoying dinner, doing his best to not think about Dominique upstairs. He knew he had upset her greatly, and it would require a lot of mending. But he just didn't know what to do. He had to please Brigid, his mother, and Edric. Until he could tell them at least.
He was finishing his last course when the door opened and Jocosa discreetly entered. The others paid no mind to her; Ignotus did as well until she leaned over him and whispered into his ear.
"Yes?" he asked, wiping his mouth with his napkin.
"It is Lady Dominique," she whispered so only he could hear. "She's gone, as are her things."
"What?!" he blurted, dropping his fork and attracting the attention of the others.
"I am sorry," she said quickly. "She is gone."
"Gone where?!" he demanded to know, rising from his chair. He didn't care if his family and the Pellinors saw his outburst. If Dominique had left him, he wouldn't care about anything.
"I do not know," stated Jocosa. "I can only assume she has returned home."
"Dear, no. Please," he begged, and he abandoned the dining room without even excusing himself.
He ran from the house, grabbing his cloak and swinging it over his shoulders as he ran to the stables. He saddled up Caspian and rode faster than he had ever ridden.
He only had one guess as to where she could be going. The plain in which he had found her.
He rode fast, and he was approaching the plain as the sun set when he saw Fay bolting the other direction back towards Godric's Hollow. He panicked. She wouldn't leave him.
Just as he reached the top of the hill, the plain came into view, and he saw her. Mist began to swirl about her, and he shouted for her at the top of his lungs. He yelled for her with all his might. He felt the tears in his eyes run down his cheeks as he shouted, Caspian running closer and closer, and yet so far away.
“DOMINIQUE!” he screamed as loud as he could muster. “Do not leave me! Please! DOMINIQUE!”
He was closing in on her, but the mist was growing larger and swirling around her. He was finally close enough, and he leapt off of Caspian and bolted into the mist. He stretched out his hands, calling for her and trying to seek purchase on her.
“Dominique!” he begged. “Please do not go! Do not leave me. Let me explain! I would do anything to be with you! I have no intention of marrying Brigid! I would not! I cannot! Please! DOMINIQUE!”
There was no response, and he felt nothing as he continued to reach out, his vision clouded by the mist. And in that moment, he knew he was too late. She was gone.
The mist faded, leaving him to stand alone in the middle of the plain. He felt his heart sink. If only he had broken off the engagement sooner. If only he had taken the time to explain to Dominique. If only he hadn’t lied and kept it a secret.
He stifled a sob, covering his mouth with his hand, and he suppressed a loud cry. Despite his great efforts, he still fell to his knees and cried. He had lost her for good, and he had no way of ever finding her. All because he never had the courage to follow his heart.
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