Chapter 22 : Hallowed Flames
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perfect chapter image by Clara Oswald @ TDA
- 2022 -
When the mist faded, Dominique almost couldn't believe her eyes. She was back in the bedroom of her flat. Exactly where she had disappeared from.
It was a little bit different, though. It had an empty feeling to it that created an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. Her furniture even had white sheets draped over them, and a layer of dust had collected on top of everything.
What day was it? Had time moved forward in 2022 while she was in 1234? She had the distinct feeling that it had.
What did that mean then? Had she been gone for six months, then?
She felt herself begin to panic. What would he tell her family? How would she explain her absence? No one would believe the truth.
More importantly, what had she done? Why had she acted so rashly to Ignotus' mistakes? She had never been one to act on true impulse without thinking things through, and yet that's exactly what she believed herself to have done.
She didn't know where to go from here. What would she do in 2022 now? Her life was forever changed, that much was for certain.
She decided to take it slow. She knew the first thing she had to do was tell her family.
So she showered and rid of her 1234 wear, shoving it far back into one of her drawers. She unpacked the few things she had brought with her, putting the gold gown away and placing the ring and crown on her vanity.
Then she took a long shower. It had been so long. It was strange tone in a shower once more. The water beating against her back almost felt foreign to her. The electric light throughout her flat seemed to be all too bright.
She took the time to remember the things of 2022 as she had used them before she left. Shampoo, conditioner. She shaved her legs with a proper razor this time, instead of using magic to keep them smooth as she had done in 1234.
Then she dressed herself. It was strange to put on pants again after so long of wearing dresses. She almost didn't like the feel of it.
It was different to say the least. More than different. 2022 was now so very foreign to her, and she wondered if she would ever adjust again.
When she was as ready as she could possibly get, she knew she faced the inevitable. She apparated to the porch of her parents' house. Sucking in a deep breath as she took in the cottage again, she raised her fist and knocked.
She could make out the voice of her father from within Shell Cottage. His voice was actually heaven to her ears. She felt her heart begin to bear wildly and her face grow hot as his footsteps grew nearer.
The door opened, and Bill Weasley appeared with an ignorant smile on his face until he turned to look at their visitor. Then his smile was wiped from his face and replaced with a look of pure shock.
Dominique tried to smile. "Hi, Dad."
"D-Dom..." he stuttered, unbelieving. He hollered over his shoulder. "FLEUR! Come here right now!"
Dominique was overwhelmed to say the least. Her father had called her mother down, and it had gone from there. Tears of disbelief to happy tears. They had dragged her in, hugged her, showered her with kisses, and proceeded to ask question after question.
Dominique reassured them that she was fine, but she also told them she wouldn’t be sharing where she had gone during her absence. It had taken a lot of convincing, but her parents finally dropped it. Her parents slowly let her see her family again that evening, for they didn’t want to overwhelm her. With Dominique providing no information at all, they didn’t know if she had been or was traumatized, so they knew taking things slowly was the best thing for her.
So Bill and Fleur let Louis and Victoire see Dominique that night, but that was their limit. Bill did owl the rest of the family, though, to share the news, and he informed them that they could come see her one family at a time the following day.
Dominique appreciated this. She knew they were babying her, but she couldn’t have expecting anything less after reappearing after six months. She found that she actually liked it. She hadn’t missed home because she felt unimportant to them, and she had chosen to leave 1234 because she had once again felt that way, and so to return home and to see just how much her family loved and missed her meant the world to her.
They had truly missed her. She knew they had; she could see it on their faces. Her mother and Vic had cried upon hugging her again, and they wouldn’t leave her side. They weren’t as understanding or respectful of the boundaries she wished to have about what she had done in her absence, but Dominique could understand that. They were concerned for her well-being; they wanted to know if charges needed to be pressed on anyone, if she had been harmed, if she had been abducted. They wanted to know all these things, and to every question, Dominique only said she wouldn’t share anything other than the fact that she was all right.
She was huddled up in her bed early that night with her family surrounding her. She was in her old bedroom at shell cottage, and even when she had been in 2022 before her journey to 1234, she hadn’t slept in this bed in years. She had moved out shortly after her graduation from Hogwarts to the flat she had now, but her parents had told her that they had covered the place up with sheets to prevent and furniture damage, but they had paid the rent so it would still be hers when she returned. But her parents insisted on her staying at Shell Cottage for a week or so at least until she was situated back at home. Dominique did like the idea of this, despite the fact that she did want to just have a good cry about losing Ignotus, and she would have to do that alone. She wouldn’t be able to share why she was crying; no one would understand, and she knew that – if she shared the truth – no one would believe her. It was a long shot at least; they would think she had suffered some sort of brain trauma if she came home rambling about time travel and meeting Ignotus Peverell. So she knew she had to keep her mouth shut.
Despite the fact that she was enjoying her family’s intimate company, her mother had once again started the persistent questions about where she had been during her absence.
“Please, Dominique,” encouraged Fleur. “We only want to know what happened to you.”
“I’m not going to say, Mum,” she said sternly, “so can you just leave it alone? For now? Please? I’ve been gone six months. I just want to enjoy your company.”
“We only want to know that you were okay,” said Bill, as if an apology for Fleur’s persistence.
“I promise that I was okay,” said Dominique exasperatedly. “Really, I promise. It’s complicated, but I promise I was okay. The whole time. I just need you to understand that I’m not comfortable with sharing what happened.”
She noticed her father’s jaw tighten that statement, and she could tell that he was thinking the worst. Dominique wished he wouldn’t, but she also knew that she couldn’t do anything about it. She reached out and touched his hand. “I promise,” she said again. “Just drop it. I’m just glad to be home and with you again.”
“We’re glad you’re home again too, Dom,” whispered Bill, taking his daughter into his arms. “We missed you so much, and you terrified us. We had no idea what happened to you, but we looked. Every day someone was out there looking for you. We love you, and don’t forget that.”
Ignotus couldn't believe that he has actually lost her.
Dominique was gone. For good.
He didn’t know how to even begin getting her back. Could he even? That involved time travel over hundreds of years, and he and Dominique had come to the conclusion that it was fate that made such accidental events bring her to him.
And now she was gone.
He knew it was his fault. It was entirely his and his alone. If only he had explained himself. If only he had chosen to defy his mother and act sooner. If he had, maybe she would still be here.
But he couldn’t go back and change it. Not now. He knew that much.
He didn’t know how long he remained on his knees in the middle of the open plain where Dominique had last stood, but he cried until he couldn’t anymore. He never remembered crying like this. Sure, he had cried at the deaths of his brothers, but he had forced himself to move on then. Now there was no point in trying to move on. He had no reason to keep his tears from coming. So he continued to cry.
Night had fallen when he finally peeled himself off the ground and knew he had to return home. He mounted Caspian, who had patiently waited and grazed about during his cry, and he rode.
When he reached Godric’s Hollow, he could feel his pace beginning to slow. He knew he was subconsciously acting and instructing Caspian to slow down so he would delay his return home. He knew going home would mean many things; he it would mean explaining his outburst, it would mean explaining that Dominique was gone and she wouldn’t be coming back. He didn’t want to do that. Any of it. Maybe he would ask Jocosa to tell the others that he had fallen ill and had to retire for the night. Yes, that is what he would do.
When he rounded the corner of the last street leading to his home, he finally acknowledged his senses other than his sadness once more. And so he noticed something he should have minutes ago. The smell of smoke.
He looked about, confused and trying to find the source of it. The darkness did not help in the matter, but he was finally able to decipher its location. It was coming from the end of the street. The very spot where the Peverell Manor stood.
Adrenaline rising and pumping through his veins, he kicked his heels up into Caspian’s side and rode fast. The trees parted and revealed a sight that struck him to the very core. Peverell Manor. Ablaze from ground to roof and crumbing into nothing.
He could see figures out in front of the house, shouting with their wands raised in an attempt to put out the flames. He rode fast until he was in front of them, and he hopped off Caspian before approaching Edric.
“What happened?!” he demanded to know, urgency present in his voice.
“We do not know!” shouted Edric over the roaring of the flames. “We were sitting at the table, and we could smell the smoke! Then the house was just…on fire!”
Ignotus scanned those who were outside at the front of the house. There was Edric, of course. Then there was Brigid, Tyrion, and Jocosa. One person was missing.
“Where is my mother?!” roared Ignotus in fear.
He immediately thought the worse had happened. He thought that his mother was trapped inside and burning.
He ran to Edric, forgetting all decorum, and he grabbed him by the collar of his tunic and shook him violently. “Where is my mother?!” he demanded again.
“I do not know!” answered Edric frantically, understanding Ignotus’ urgency. “She retired for the night and went to her chambers! We fled the house as soon as the flames began.”
Jocosa ran up to Ignotus after attempting to extinguish the flames in hope of aiding Ignotus in his worried state. “My Lord, I tried!” cried Jocosa, feeling tears escape her eyes. “I tried to go to her chambers to get her, but I could not! The fire was spreading too fast! She may have escaped through the kitchens.”
Ignotus doubted it. That wouldn’t be his luck these days. He had lost everyone he had ever loved now. Tyrion and his mother were the only ones he had left. He couldn’t lose them. He didn’t know if he could handle it. He felt as if the loss of either one of them would destroy him.
Brigid ran up to him then, sweat beading around her forehead from the heat of the fire, and she latched onto his arms. “My Lord, I know what you are thinking! Please! Do not go in there!”
“I have to,” said Ignotus sternly. “She is my mother. I cannot leave her.”
“Please!” begged Brigid with tears in her eyes. Her hands moved up to his neck, where she kneaded her hands against his warm flesh urgently. “Do not go in there. You did not see the flames as we did. You will perish in the fire, Ignotus! Please do not go in there!”
“I have to! I cannot leave her!” he cried, and he turned towards the manor in preparation of entering it.
But Edric caught him by the elbow and held him fast. “Brigid is right, son,” said Edric sternly. “If you mother is in the house, she will not have made it. You cannot risk your life for a fool’s errand!”
“I can, and I must!” he cried. He had lost Dominique now. If it was truly a fool’s errand, then would what he have to lose?
“You will not go in there!” demanded Edric.
“Please, Ignotus! For my sake,” Brigid moaned, trying to convince him.
Ignotus then knew what he had to do if he was to re-enter his home in search of his mother. He would have to convince Edric and Brigid to let him do so. He acted on the first idea that crossed his mind. He didn’t exactly want to do it, but he knew it was what was necessary. So in order to act convincingly, he pretended Brigid before him was Dominique.
He reached out and cupped her face in his hands, as if she were Dominique and as if he had been doing that with her for ages. She seemed surprised, for she stilled beneath his touch and paid him careful attention. That meant it was working so far.
“I have to save her if I can. I would do the same if it was you,” he said gently, stroking her cheeks with his thumb. He knew he would. Not because he had romantic feelings for her; in fact, he still lacked any romantic feelings for her at all, but he knew that he was simply too kind to sit back and watch when he knew someone was burning in a home.
He could he left her speechless, for her mouth opened slightly in surprise, and even Edric stilled as he watched them in the moment they shared. Ignotus paid him no mind when he drew Brigid in and kissed her delicately. It was only a small one, a light and gentle peck on the lips, but it was enough for him to send his message across. And it did exactly as he had hoped.
When he pulled away from her, she swallowed and choked out. “Go,” she gasped. “Go save her. Just please be safe.”
“I will,” said Ignotus gratefully, and he released her immediately and turned back for the Manor.
Ignotus ran towards his home, having to double back once as pieces of the roof collapsed to the ground before him. He felt panic and fear coarse through his veins, but none of that mattered. Nothing was greater than his need to save his mother.
When the structure landed, he jumped forward again, pulling out his wand. He raised to it the door and shouted. "Bombarda!"
The door, alive with flames, was blown from its place in the threshold, exposing the inside of Peverell Manor. Taking a deep breath and braving himself for what was to come, he burst into his home. The inside was even more appalling than the outside. Every inch was roaring with fire, and so he wasted no time.
He ran to the stairs, hopping up each step as the flames on the wood dared him to linger.
"Mother!!" he shouted into the depths and over the sound of fire crackling. "Mother, where are you?!"
There was no answer, and so he went to the one place Jocosa said she had last seen her. He ran for her chambers and kicked the door down. He crumbled easily beneath the force of his foot, caving and exposing Eirene's chambers.
"Mother!" he called, running in.
He scanned the room, the smoke making it all too hard to see. But he heard her. He hear her coughing, and he looked to the source.
There she was. Huddled on the floor in a corner, her elegant dress scorched and singed. She looked to him and tried to cry out. Her hand reached out to him in desperation, and she began to cough again. Ignotus ran to her, and he took her form into his arms.
"Mother," he gasped desperately. "Are you all right?"
Her eyes fluttered, and she made a choking sound. Ignotus could tell she was struggling to breathe; it took all of her strength to manage a breath. Then she found the will and strength to speak.
"Ignotus, my son," gasped Eirene between coughs, "why did you come back for me? It is not safe."
"I could not leave you here," he cried, shaking his head.
They both gave a start when the posts of Eirene's bed gave out and it collapsed to the floor. Ignotus knew they had to get out of there. And fast.
Without another moment's delay, he scooped his mother into his arms. He hauled her out of her chambers, leaping over blazing pieces of furniture. He could feel the heat against his cheeks as every inch of his skin coated with sweat, smoke, and ash. As he made his way down the stairs, he felt his arm beneath his mother's legs begin to burn. He wondered if he had caught fire, if he had been singed in his attempt at a rescue. He winced as his arm burned, but still his first concern was for his mother. He looked to her, and it was a good sign to him that she was not screaming, nor did she appear to be in any pain like he was with his arm. So if he had been scorched, at least it was only him and not his mother.
As he looked at her, he seemed to be watching her fade right before his eyes. He panicked and quickened his pace through the manor.
"Stay with me, Mother!" begged Ignotus. The tears that left his eyes were evaporated instantly by the heat.
Eirene tried to nod in her son's arms, but her eyes closed as she found herself unable to hold them open any longer. Her body slackened, and so Ignotus pressed further on with his mission. He had to get them out of there.
Ignotus looked to the next step on the stairs during his descent down. It appeared to have crumbled to nothing more than ash, and so Ignotus sucked in a deep breath of courage before leaping down the last three steps with Eirene in his arms and with all his might. He felt himself stumble, but with the pressing need to keep his mother safe, he was able to upright himself.
He finally burst through the open threshold of the manor and into the fresh air. He took a deep gulp of air and cherished it as it reached his lungs. Ignoring the looks of pure shock he received from Edric, Brigid, and Jocosa, he ran further to clear himself from wreckage and to give his mother the fresh air she needed to clear her lungs. He set her down on the plush, unsinged grass and knelt beside her.
He touched her cheek lovingly and rubbed as he watched her lay there, limp and - Ignotus prayed only - unconscious. He shook her shoulder.
"Mother," he whispered in an attempt to wake her. "Mother, you are safe now. Mother..."
She didn't move. She lay completely still beneath him, and Ignotus then feared the worst. He felt himself grow wide-eyed and he refused to believe the possibility that she had died. She couldn't die. Not now. Not when he had lost everything. She was all he had left; he couldn't lose her too.
"N-no," he blubbered. "Please. Mother, please wake up!"
He was aware of the fact that the others had approached them and were looking on with saddened curiosity. With a shaking and terrified hand, he bit his lip and placed his palm over her heart. He listened and felt carefully, only to feel nothing.
He let out a gasp of a cry.
His mother was dead. Eirene had died in his arms.
He had been too late. Too slow. Now she was dead. He had lost every member of his family, save for Tyrion.
He didn't know where to go from here. What did he do? What would he do?
He felt his left arm surge in pain once more, and he remembered the burning sensation he had felt when he was carrying his mother out. He released a small cry of pain and looked to his forearm, and there, blazing red on his skin and oozing blood, words had burned themselves into his skin.
You try my patience, it read.
A message from Death. He knew it as soon as he took the words in. It was a message from Death, and he suddenly knew what all this was. The fire that started as if from nothing. It was all another one of Death’s attempts at his life. Even now Death wasn’t giving up.
Ignotus felt his jaw tighten in fury. That day was doomed to haunt him for the rest of his life; it had taken so many of his loved ones away from him. Now his mother was dead too, and everyone else’s lives had been put in danger also. Edric, Jocosa, Brigid, and Tyrion. All because of him. All because of his brothers and the Deathly Hallows.
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