Chapter 25 : A Girl Who Never Belonged
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- 2022 -
Dominique had always been happy for Teddy and Victoire. Even from the very beginning. She had loved the fact that they had fallen in love. It was wonderful for everyone; she and her family always joked - even when Teddy and Victoire were young - that the two of them should get married. That way Teddy would finally truly be family. Dominique had loved that. As a young girl, she had liked to watch the two of them build sandcastles together. She watched Teddy take her sister's hand and race along the beach with her. Those days had made her smile; they made her grin and yearn for the days when she would find love as well.
When her sister had told the family that they were in fact dating, Dominique had been thrilled, and when they learned of Victoire's engagement to Teddy, Dominique had been thrilled even more so. She had looked forward to the day of her sister's wedding for a long time.
But now that they day had finally arrived, Dominique felt everything but happiness for her sister and Teddy.
She wished that wasn't the case, and no matter how hard she tried to force her sorrow and aside and be happy for her sister on this day, she found that she couldn't. It was all too hard, and there was still much of the day to go.
Victoire's wedding day had come faster than anyone would have expected. Dominique had been home for a month now, and she felt as if she had only partly readjusted to her life back at home. Her family still babied her at every turn, asking if she was okay, getting her things that were more than unnecessary, and still pestering her about what she had done and where she had gone in her absence. Dominique had gotten good at brushing them off, ignoring their questions and telling them over and over that she wouldn't tell share. It became routine; it no longer upset her when they asked, for she forced herself to be prepared for it. It was just a part of her day now.
That month at home had gone by quickly, and as soon as her family realized Dominique was well enough, the date for Teddy and Victoire's wedding had been set.
Now Dominique stood at the altar, watching her sister, as beautiful as ever in her satin gown, marry the man of her dreams. Dominique felt her heart breaking as she watched. She watched the way Teddy looked into her eyes, the way they held one another, the way they exchanged their vows. There was no denying that the two loved one another more than anything. It reminded Dominique of what she had shared with Ignotus, and now what she had lost.
She had always thought she would never find the man for her. She rather thought that it was a long shot that she would one day be married, and even in 1234, when she realized she loved Ignotus and he declared he would face the consequences for her, she knew that she had been wrong all those years. That she would get married, that the right man would come along. All she had to do was be patient enough to meet him in 1234. She had been so happy, and so in love. Then she had left.
Why had she left?! She still didn't know why she had done something so foolish, but she was back now, and what would she possibly tell her family if she were to leave them again? Clearly they had missed her, more than she had expected. That much was obvious upon her return when she had seen everybody crying and cooing over her safety, refusing to let her out of their sight. Dominique had been wrong about how much her family had loved her. It upset her greatly to even think about leaving them again; it would destroy them when they were all clearly so happy to have her back.
But Dominique couldn't be with Ignotus. She knew that. He wouldn't be with her, not truly. It had taken him so long to accept the consequences he would face with his mother, and then she had found out he had been betrothed all along to another woman. That had hurt her more than anything, and she knew it didn't mean much, for the betrothal most certainly had not been of his own doing, but it still hurt to see that Ignotus hadn't made any move at all to be certain that he would be with Dominique completely. Rather the continuation of his betrothal to Brigid Pellinor showed Dominique that he wasn't willing to do what was necessary, to give up everything to be with her, just as she had already given up everything she knew to be with him out of love. That was what truly hurt her, and if he hadn't done it, she had no reason to believe that he would in the future.
And after living her life for twenty years, feeling out of place, never belonging, never fitting in, never feeling truly loved, she didn't need to keep going in a place where the one who loved her wouldn't do anything for her. It sounded selfish to her, and demanding - almost as if she expected too much of Ignotus - but she loved him enough to do that. She would have broken off an engagement to be with him, she would have defied her parentsí wishes to be with him, so shouldn't she be granted that same action?
She did her best to force all thought of him from her mind as she watched her sister's wedding, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't. He was all that she could think about. Ignotus. Ignotus, and his fleeting physique. His tall and broad stature, his strong arms from years of wielding a sword and practicing archery, his long and black hair, his hazel eyes that gleamed with a form of passion that only Ignotus could behold. His voice, how he curved his words with his thick accent, soft and gentle, yet strong and powerful. His kindness, his courage, his heart, how gentle he could be and yet how passionate and courageous. She loved it all about him. Everything there was about him. And he had all belonged to her for a fleeting amount of time.
She felt her eyes swell with tears as she stood there. Luckily, though, if anyone saw her cry, they would think it to be out of happiness for her sister. No one would know better. She pulled a handkerchief from the bosom of her dress and dabbed at her eyes, looking anywhere but at the happy couple at the altar. As her eyes moved, she felt another pair on her. It was a strange feeling, to know she was being watched, when all eyes should be on the happy event that was taking place. She scanned the crowd to see if her assumptions and feelings were correct, and most certainly, they were. She found her uncle watching her, a somber expression on his face, his lips pursed and eyes sad.
As soon as she made eye contact with her uncle Harry, she straightened up and blinked her tears out of her eyes. She tried to manage a smile for him, for she didn't want Harry to worry about her in the least. When the corners of her mouth were able to briefly pull up into a smile, Harry returned it, and only then did he turn his attention back to the wedding at hand.
The wedding continued on, and her sadness became almost too much to bear. But she knew she couldn't leave. As much as she wanted to, to run out of there crying, to run away and hide in a corner, to keep to herself and wallow in her sadness and think of nothing but Ignotus, she knew she couldn't. All eyes would go to her; all would forgive her and blame it on her months of absence, but she didn't want that. This was Victoire's special day, and she couldn't ruin it. No matter how badly it hurt.
No matter how badly she had plans for after the wedding that she was itching to get to.
Yes, she wanted to leave the wedding for more than just the pain of thinking of Ignotus. She had been troubled lately, troubled as to why she had faced so many mood swings, troubled as to why she had acted so rashly when leaving 1234, and now troubled that her period was late. It was only last night when she had put the puzzle pieces together; it hadn't made any sense, and it hadn't occurred to her to try and connect the dots until last night. So, this morning, when everyone was busy fussing over perfecting Victoire's hair, when no one would miss her, she slipped out and found a muggle drugstore to purchase a pregnancy test.
She knew she couldn't take the test the wizard way; that required using her wand, and she had returned to the Auror Department just last week as an Auror in training. It was a step down from what she had been seven months ago, but it was kind enough of Harry to give her a job back at all when she had asked. But as such, any spells performed with a wand were recorded by the Auror staff, and a wizard pregnancy test was not something she wanted going down on her record. She would rather keep this private.
Before too long, Victoire and Teddy were saying their 'I Do's and they moved along to the reception. Dominqiue felt the pain diminish enough at the reception, but was still miserable to be present for. Even as the newly married couple danced the night away, she sat in her chair at the long table, sulking and miserable. She smiled when people looked her way, she clapped when she had to, and she cheered when she had to, but otherwise, no one was paying her any mind. Like old times. Now, though, she was grateful for the lack of attention she was receiving. She didn't want anyone to notice her sorrow on a day that was supposed to be joyful.
She continued to sulk at the table, kicking her heels back and forth. One of the waiters walked along her table, bending down to offer her a glass of champagne. Eagerly she accepted it, wishing to wash all her sorrows away with the effects of alcohol, but as soon as she took a gulp of the drink, she spat it back out into the glass. She had forgotten her impending test, and if she really was pregnant, then she knew taking in alcohol was a poor decision.
Disgruntled, she dropper glass with a grunt and didn't even mind it as the liquid sloshed over the rim and onto the white table cloth.
Wondering if she was pregnant was something that had even kept her awake till the early hours of morning last night. She had fretted over it, unable to sleep. She didn't know what she would do if she was pregnant, how she would feel if she was. It would certainly explain many things: why she had been so moody, why she had acted so rashly when she had left Ignotus, and why she was such a weepy mess and unable to control herself today, but still. The thought of being pregnant terrified her. It had constantly been on her mind, so she was bewildered by the fact that her sorrow had overtaken her worry of her impending test so much that she had completely forgotten about the possibility that she could be pregnant.
She gave a start when a familiar voice chuckled to her. "The champagne not to your liking?"
It was her uncle Harry.
"What?" she said with a start, her hand flying to her throat with surprise. "Oh, yes. Not really."
"A shame," said Harry. "I thought it was quite good."
Dominique knew it was good. In fact, it was her favorite champagne. And she couldn't even drink it until she knew the results of that test!
When Dominique said nothing, Harry gave a hefty sigh and placed himself in the chair beside her. He gave her a sympathetic and appraising look before speaking. "Dominique, you look absolutely miserable."
"No," she said quickly and in dismissal. "Really, I'm fi - "
"Dominique," said Harry sternly, cutting her off before she could even finish her lie, his eyes meeting hers, "I know you better than that."
Dominique sighed. "I know you do, Uncle Harry..."
"So why don't you tell me what's the matter?" he asked gently.
Dominique shook her head. She wasn't ready to share, not even with Harry. How could she? Everyone would think her mad. There was a part of her that truly did want to share with her uncle where she had been, what she had experienced, and what she was feeling now: true heartbreak. But something inside her just convinced her the very idea of it wasn't in her best discretion.
If she were to tell anyone the truth, though, it would be Harry. He was truly the family member she was the closest to; he was the one who would always listen attentively to what anyone had to say with careful analysis. If she were to tell anyone, he would be the one she would tell who wouldn't laugh at her at the end but would rather appraise her words carefully and take her seriously.
"I just...can't," she said pathetically.
"Fine," said Harry, shrugging it off and giving her the space she needed. He rose from his spot at the table and extended a hand to her. "If you won't share with me, then at least let me have this dance to get your mind off it."
She gave a genuine smile at her uncle's efforts, her first true smile in a long, long time, and she accepted his offer. She placed her hand in his and let him lead her to the dance floor. There, she let her uncle take her into his arms, and they began to dance. He was quiet, un-asking, just as he had promised, and she appreciated that. She took in their tranquil and shared silence together, and with a smile, she placed her head on Harry's chest as they danced.
Harry smoothed down her hair, his chin resting atop her head, and he gave another defeated sigh. "I know you don't want to talk about what happened while you were away, but I'm not blind. None of us are," said Harry. "We can see that it changed you, and I don't know if it was for the better."
"Maybe it wasn't a change for the better..." admitted Dominique truthfully.
It was strange to say, and almost painful. To consider her entire journey to 1234 as something that wasn't for the better, despite how much she had enjoyed herself there, despite the friend she had made in Jocosa, despite her happy time with Callum, despite the young boy Tyrion she had come to admire, and despite the one man she would ever love. If it was all for nothing but to leave her truly miserable like this, then perhaps it really wasn't for the best.
Upon saying this, Harry seemed surprised. Having no idea as to what had happened to her during her disappearance, it was strange to hear her contemplate the events, as if it truly had been for her betterment at one point. If she had been gone for so long and it had been for the better, what could she have possibly done? That prompted his next question.
"Dom," her uncle said slowly, "I know we keep asking, but please. We're only concerned. Were you okay while you were gone?"
"I was more than okay, Uncle Harry," she admitted, and she realized that was the most information she had given anyone about her disappearance. She was surprised with herself to even say as much, but out there on the dance floor, with her uncle holding her so lovingly, she found herself opening up to him.
"Then tell me this," he continued on. "Did you choose to leave?"
"No," she said truthfully. "I didn't."
"I don't understand," said Harry then, and he didn't. How could she have been 'more than okay' if she didn't leave of her own accord?
"You still wouldn't understand even if I explained it to you," said Dominique sadly.
"I could try to understand if you explained," encouraged Harry. He wanted to know, not because he was curious, but because he would tell that his niece was sad, and he wanted to help in any way he could.
They had stopped dancing by then. The music continued on, though, and those around them continued to dance, not paying Harry and Dominique any mind. She raised her gaze to his and looked into his eyes, sad and desperate for her to share. In that moment, Dominique saw her uncle different than she had ever seen him before. She still saw the Harry she knew, but there was something else there too. Ignotus.
Ignotus was in his every feature. His tight jaw, his nose, the thick black hair.
Sure, Ignotus was much taller than Harry, and Igntous' shoulders and back were more broad from the physical labor he had endured his entire life, but their features were the same. So much of Ignotus was in Harry. She wondered how it was possible, how after - nearly 800 years and many generations apart - how Harry could still possess so many features of his ancestor.
Dominique couldn't keep the shock from her face. Her hand went to her mouth first as it fell agape, and then she reached out and touched his jaw. "I-I never realized it..." she murmured, nearly stumbling over her words.
"Realized what?" asked Harry, hoping he was finally getting somewhere with finding out the truth to Dominique's disappearance.
"How like him you are..." she said whimsically. She retracted her hand and placed it over her heart, feeling the pain of her loss once more. She wanted to cry. More than that, she wanted to collapse and clutch onto her heart, and sob for her stupidity in leaving the man she so dearly loved.
"Like who, Dominique?" questioned Harry, placing his hand on her shoulder as she fell into stunned silence.
"S-Sorry," she stuttered as she pulled herself together. She shook her head to pull her thoughts away from Ignotus. "Nothing. I mean, no one. Forget I said anything..."
And then she turned away from him and abandoned him on the dance floor. She quickly ran away from him, picking up the skirts of her long dress like she had done so many times in 1234. She pushed past the dancing crowd, fighting back her tears. She worked and weaved her way through the crowd, once again pleased that they didn't pay her any mind. This time she would flee as she wanted. She wouldn't be missed, not from the reception at least. And if she was and her parents demanded to know where she went when she saw them the following day, then she would say that the evening had exhausted her.
Wiping the tears from her cheeks, when she was clear of the crowd, she apparated away from the reception and to her flat. In a crying fit, she yanked the pins out of her up-do and let her curls fall freely about her face. She went to her sink and splashed cold water on her face, clearing her skin of any make-up. After she did those things, she didn't quite know what to do next. She sank to the cold tile floor of her bathroom and pulled her knees up to her chest. She buried her face between her knees and cried.
She didn't know how long she sat there for, crying, until finally she remembered the one thing she needed to do. Startled, she quickly stood up and went to one of the drawers along her sink. She yanked the test out of the drawer and quickly began to read the instructions. She carefully followed it step by step until she was finally waiting. And waiting.
All it said was five minutes. To wait five minutes. And yet, they were the slowest five minutes she had ever encountered.
Then, when those five minutes were up, she closed her eyes and reached for the test, feeling her heart hammering in her throat. She pulled the test in front of her and dared herself to find the courage to open her eyes to look at the results. What would she think? Would she be disappointed if she wasn't pregnant? Would she be disappointed if she was? What was she possibly going to feel?
Unable to anticipate it any longer, she opened one eye, and then the other. She looked down to the test.
Dominique was pregnant.
She was stunned. There were no other words for it. She clamped her hand over her mouth in surprise, feeling herself begin to gasp, and her heart did not slow its rapid rhythm in the slightest. She tried to grasp the idea of it. She knew she was happy; she really was. To finally have someone of her own, one that she could call her own and would love her and she would love in return unconditionally. A child. She truly did believe that she could find her solace in this lonely world in her own child. Perhaps this was a good thing.
The only thing that made her sad, made her confused, bewildered, and lonely all at the same time, was that Dominique Weasley was pregnant. And the child's father had died 800 years ago.
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