Chapter 6 : Meetings and more.
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Dominique’s hands shook as she read the piece of parchment over and over again. She couldn’t believe it. Delilah Jones, her boss? How could she have done this? How could she be the reason that her life was an utter mess right now? How could she?
“Merlin’s beard,” Teddy whispered and she was startled out from her thoughts. “I…I can’t believe this! I knew there was something fishy about this woman, but I never dreamt that she would… that she’d stoop to such an extent for… for what? For her selfish gain? What does she even gain from this anyway? What the hell is going on?”
“I… I don’t know. I had no idea…I… How could she do this?” Dominique almost screamed, crumpling the letter in her hand as her eyes clouded with tears of anger and pain. “I am going to kill that woman, I swear! How dare she pay someone to give me a bloody werewolf bite? To turn me into a werewolf? She is insane and she’s so going to pay for her actions. I’ll make sure she gets thrown into Azkaban for a lifetime for this blasted crime!”
She seethed, her breath almost coming out in gasps. Dominique may not have liked her boss very much, but she had never imagined that the woman could do something like this. Teddy put a hand on her shoulder and his touch slightly eased her tension.
“Dom, calm down. I know you have just experienced a big shock but we can’t barge into the Ministry and file a complaint against her based on a letter! They’ll need substantial proof and for all you know this Dale guy could simply go back on his word, especially since he went to such great lengths to ensure you performed a promise charm and that you don’t reveal his identity to anyone. We cannot prove anything right now, Dom. Nothing at all. We need evidence…or a confession.”
“A confession? What makes you think that this vile, disgusting lady will come out in the open by her own.”
“I don’t know, Dom. I have always found her to be slightly…off her hinges. I think if you urge her, she may just blurt it all out in a fit of anger.”
Dominique almost refused to believe that such a thing could happen before she realized that Teddy might actually be right. Knowing Delilah Jones, she may just come clean in a fit of emotion, if ‘persuaded’ with the right words.
“And of course, there’s the matter of this werewolf,” Teddy continued, his jaw clenching as he mentioned him, “I’ll definitely have a word with him. He sounds like a weak character, we could easily get him to spill.” There was a certain kind of hardness in his eyes as he said this and she knew that the werewolf had it coming bad. She sighed.
“As much as I’d like to hex him into oblivion, I don’t want either of us to do something that we regret later, especially not you. Don’t do anything drastic to him, okay?”
“As drastic as him biting you? No, I won’t.”
“Teddy…” she raised an eyebrow at him and he sighed while pulling her into his arms.
“Don’t worry, Dom, I won’t do something awful to him. I’ll merely teach him a lesson so that he knows not to hurt innocent people again,” he muttered. His eyes softened as Dominique planted a kiss on his cheek. “It angers me so much that someone would intentionally harm you so. The pain you’re going through, it just kills me to see you like this. I wish there was a way to turn back time, to make this horrible ordeal go away.”
The next morning, a piece of good news greeted the couple. Uncle Harry had managed to locate Wilson Young. Though the two had decided to keep their ‘discovery’ and the reasons for wanting to know his whereabouts from the family until matters were clearer, Teddy had asked him to assist them in finding the man. The Head Auror had been unwilling at first but something in his godson’s manner had told him it was crucial, and after making him promise that he’d tell him what was going on some time soon, he had agreed to help.
“Dominique, wake up! Uncle Harry’s owl just came in. Wilson Young has been spotted in his old family house in Scotland,” Teddy announced to his girlfriend as he walked in the room where Dominique was sitting upright in her bed wide-awake. A crease appeared on his forehead as he realized that she’d probably not slept the whole night. Making a mental note to talk to her about this later, he handed her the letter. Her face lit up as she read it.
“Finally! I can’t wait to talk to this asshole that ruined my life. Let’s leave immediately. Have you arranged a portkey?”
“Yes, I have,” Teddy gestured to the teacup he was holding towards her. “We can leave in about twenty minutes, though it is a tad early to knock on someone’s door.” He smirked, pointing to the muggle clock on the bedside table showing it was five a.m.
“I don’t give a damn. We’ll drag him out of bed if we have to. I’ll be ready in ten minutes.”
Teddy smiled as he saw a glimpse of his old Dominique beneath the tense woman he’d been seeing for the past few days, as she scurried across the room, yanking out her jumper and cursing under her breath almost every two seconds when unable to find something.
Twenty minutes later, he had brought her to the front of a big yet crumbling bungalow standing in what seemed like a deserted countryside. Wilderness was growing freely in what appeared to have once been a front garden, harboring gnomes thrice the size of the Burrow, all of which quickly hid in the bushes at the sight of the two strangers. Dominique exchanged an uneasy glance with Teddy. This place didn’t seem like it had been lived in for years.
“Are you sure this is the spot?” She asked him, biting her lip nervously. Teddy gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.
“I am pretty sure. Let’s go check it out.”
They slowly trudged through the overgrown path to the house, and as they got nearer, a foul stench met their noses. Dominique crinkled her nose in disgust and Teddy frowned, before both of them took out their wands, unlocked the door, and stepped inside easily.
“Well, that wasn’t too difficult. I was expecting burglary charms and the like.”
“Nah, Teddy. This Young guy doesn’t seem the type to me. Look at the state of this place for Merlin’s sake. It looks like it hasn’t been cleaned by years,” Dominique shook her head, her eyes scanning the scarce and rusty furniture, numerous empty bottles strewn across the floor, and the cobwebs hanging from multiple corners. “I would say that no one has been living here but…”
“But the empty Firewhiskey bottles suggest otherwise,” Teddy finished for her, picking one up and examining it.
“Hello, what do you think you’re doing, barging in my house like that?” Teddy and Dominique looked up as a thin man wearing nothing but a shabby pair of loose pants descended down the stairs towards them. He froze mid-step as he realized the identity of the woman standing in his living room, his brown eyes widening and sweat breaking out on his brow. In a quick flash, his wand was out.
“Don’t even think about it!” Teddy snarled, jumping in front of Dominique, almost pushing her in the process, his wand at the ready as well. His hair was flaming red and his eyes black with fury.
Dominique held her wand in front of her as well, shocked at the unexpected wave of fear that washed through her when she looked at the man who had attacked her. Shaking the unpleasant feeling, she braced herself and kept a hand on Teddy’s shoulder. She didn’t want him doing anything rash on her account. She knew how much he cared for her and what lengths he could go to just to protect her, but she didn’t want him to lose himself. This was her battle, and she wanted to fight it on her own terms.
“Teddy, let me handle him,” she murmured, and he looked at her in disbelief. When she continued to stare him down, he nodded with a resigned sigh and stepped back, though his wand was still in position. Satisfied, she turned her glance back at the man who was still frozen on the staircase looking unsure whether to attack or run.
“Look here Mr. Young, I know who you are and what you did, but what’s done is done. Believe it or not, we are not here to harm you. I just need some answers, and if you answer them honestly, I won’t hex you into the next universe, how much ever I want to,” her eyes flashed even as she said those words and she had to take a deep breath to calm her growing fury before continuing, “but you should know that my uncle is Harry Potter, also head Auror, and he will be here in a second if you try to be over smart. We may just have you carted off to Azkaban for a lifetime too, if you refuse to co-operate.”
Teddy gave her an amused look for the briefest of moments as she blatantly lied through her teeth. She knew just as well as he did that Uncle Harry had no idea what they were exactly up to and there was no way he’d be coming here. Yet, her lie seemed to have the desired effect as Wilson Young promptly lowered his wand, and slowly walked down the stairs, looking more alarmed than he was before if that was even possible.
“Now, that’s more like it. Why don’t we sit down somewhere and have a nice little chat?” Teddy intervened just as Dominique opened her mouth, possibly to begin her interrogation right on the spot. The man nodded nervously and turned towards a room on the left, gesturing them to follow him. She looked at Teddy exasperatedly who merely shrugged as they walked to the room.
The condition of what was apparently Young’s study was slightly better than the rest of the house. There was a firm black couch, a large desk with many papers strewn on it, and a floating chair in front of it on which their ‘host’ was currently seated. It was pretty much clean except for the few empty bottles resting on the desk.
“You have found me at a good time, I woke up not so long ago, in case you were wondering how I’m sober,” Wilson Young mumbled, a bitter note in his voice, having noticed that the couple settled on the couch were eyeing the empty bottles.
“In that case, we expect you to tell us everything truthfully, as you don’t seem to have any excuse to do otherwise,” Dominique snapped and he winced at her harsh tone.
“Look Miss Weasley, I am sorry for giving you that bite okay. I didn’t know what I was doing-”, he started to say but was cut off by Teddy.
“Save your breath. We know that you were perfectly aware of your actions. We have a very reliable source who has informed us that what you did was on someone’s orders.”
The little color that had remained in the man’s face paled at his words, and he hastily looked away from the angry glares of the duo.
“You have no proof of that,” Wilson Young responded, though uncertainly.
“Oh, but that’s what we’re here for. You are going to be our proof,” Dominique snarled and Young’s eyes widened.
“What are you trying to say?”
“I am simply saying that you better be out with the truth right this moment or the consequences are going to be really bad. My Uncle would arrest you on the spot if I just ask him to, so we’ll have you spilling your guts one way or another, whether you like it or not.”
The man sighed while nervously wringing his hands.
“I don’t want to go to Azkaban, please,” he whispered, almost pathetically. Before Dominique could retort, Teddy intervened quickly.
“Fine, we’ll ensure that your sentence is the shortest that it can ever be, if you tell us the entire truth and are willing to give testimony in court. In fact, we could also have your, er, lifestyle improved, maybe get you a job or something, if you’re willing to help us.”
Dominique stared at Teddy in annoyance at this but he kept his hand on her shoulder reassuringly, silently asking her to trust him. She rolled her eyes – one moment Teddy wanted to hex the man, and the next he wanted to help him; she just didn’t understand him at times.
“You can really help me?” Young mumbled disbelievingly.
“Yes, but only if you help us.”
He seemed to think for a moment before nodding.
“Fine, I’ll tell you everything then, and I’ll testify in court as well, but you have to give your word that you will ensure that I don’t have to serve a sentence in Azkaban for long, and that you’ll help me get a job so I can make some galleons to survive.”
Dominique sighed with relief at his words – persuading him was easier than she had thought.
“Deal,” she agreed and he nodded before continuing.
“I am a newly turned werewolf. I have been wandering from forest to forest ever since I turned in hopes of finding a pack to settle with, since I am completely new to all of it. I don’t have any family to help me either, and to cap it all; I have been running out of my finances as well. So, when I found a nice pack at the Cannock Chase forest, I decided to settle with them and find a job in the nearby village. One day when I was asking the manager of the village bar to appoint me there, a lady overheard me. She was from the Daily Prophet and was there to do some ‘background check’ – or something of that sort. She told me that she had heard me talking to the manager and could see that I needed gold, and offered to help me if I carried out a small job for her. I immediately agreed and she asked me to meet her at the afternoon of the upcoming full moon in the bar itself. It seemed that she had come up with some sort of plan on the spot, and had yet to work out the ‘details’, or that’s what she said anyway.”
Dominique felt sickened listening to Wilson Young tell his tale. The more she heard, the more she was convinced of the despicability of her boss.
“So you went to meet her on the afternoon of the full moon night, and she asked you to bite Dominique?” Teddy asked, an expression of horror on his face, and he subconsciously pulled his girlfriend closer.
“Yeah, in a nutshell. She showed me a picture of Miss Weasley, gave me her cottage’s location, and instructed me to only bite and not kill her. She offered me three hundred galleons for it, and said I must not recount the terms of our deal to anyone else.”
“And her name was?”
“Well, she didn’t exactly tell me her name,” he paused to look at Teddy and Dominique’s crestfallen faces. “However, I managed to overhear it when she was talking on those muggle phone things after our deal was done. I remember her saying, ‘Yes, Delilah Jones here’ quite clearly.”
The couple took a sharp intake of breath as this confirmed the editor’s involvement distinctly.
“Thank you, Mr. Young. I hope you recount everything you’ve told us truthfully at the Ministry as well, and help to punish this vile woman,” Teddy murmured.
“And if you don’t, you’ll have to face my wrath, which won’t be pleasant at all,” Dominique added through gritted teeth and Wilson Young nodded, slightly taken aback.
Teddy squeezed his girlfriend’s hand comfortingly.
“Well, we’ll be off then,” he mumbled, and the pair got up. “We’ll be calling on your ‘services’ soon, so don’t you dare disappear.”
“I won’t, as long as you keep your part of the deal.”
Dominique nodded curtly and strode past the man, with Teddy in tow. As they were about to leave the room, Young called out.
“Miss Weasley, the full moon is less than two weeks away. If you wish to, you can join our pack at the Cannock Chase Forest. We can help you…” he trailed off as Teddy and Dominique turned around, the former glaring daggers at him, and the latter’s face very pale.
“She is not going to live in a pack. She’ll stay around her family. Her being a werewolf doesn’t change anything, her life is going to be just the same,” Teddy muttered, almost angrily, and the man raised his hands in the air in surrender.
“Back off man, I was just trying to help her.”
“No thank you, you’ve done enough damage already.”
Dominique watched the exchange in surprise even as she struggled to keep her own emotions in check. She had rarely seen Teddy lose his temper like this, and she couldn’t afford to jeopardize the ‘deal’ they had made with Young. She took his hand in his and gave it a gentle squeeze, forcing herself to not lose it at the same time.
“It’s okay Teddy, let’s go,” she almost whispered, for fear of letting out the sob that was choking her throat. Wilson Young’s words kept ringing in her ears, implying that she was not fit to live in civilized society like normal, that she ought to settle with a pack in a forest. His words seemed to have cut open the wounds in her heart that, over the past few days, she had so carefully forced closed with determination to get through it all. She quickly rushed out of her attacker’s home, not wanting to break down yet again, especially not in front of the man who had brought this ordeal on her.
As soon as they were out in the front garden, Teddy stopped her.
“Dom, don’t listen to him. He doesn’t have a family or even friends and he doesn’t understand another way of life. Things are going to stay just as they were. We’ll fix up something for the full moon. You don’t have to worry,” he almost pleaded with her, already seeing the fear and pain shining in her eyes.
Dominique shook her head at him and bit her lip to stop from screaming out loud.
“Please, just stop it. I… I don’t want to hear any of this. I don’t want to deal with this right now; I can’t Teddy. It’s too… too damn painful to even think about,” she choked on her last word and Teddy pulled her into his arms, his heart shattering at seeing his girlfriend like this yet again.
“You’ll be fine, I promise,” he whispered and she made a disbelieving noise before stepping out of the embrace and wiping away the tears that had slipped.
“Come on, let’s leave. It is half past eight now and I have to be at work in an hour. I’ll deal with Delilah Jones first, before I have to think about any of this,” she told him in a flat voice and he nodded with a pained expression on his face before taking out the portkey.
Dominique brushed imaginary dust off her pencil skirt self-consciously as she walked to the reception. Several of her colleagues passed her by, bustling in and out of the office, though not one greeted her. She would have liked to think they were busy, but knowing that in all her time here they had at least passed her smiles if so, made it all the more difficult to keep it together. Courtesy to the gossipmonger magazine Witch Weekly, it was no secret to the wizarding world that a werewolf had bitten the famous Weasley journalist. She could feel stares at the back of her head and wanted nothing more to do than scream that she was still the same person.
“Good morning Rosaline, how are you doing?” She greeted the receptionist as warmly as possible with her raging insides. The eighteen-year old brunette looked slightly alarmed at being addressed and quickly looked away from Dominique.
“G-good morning Miss Weasley, what can I do for you?” She mumbled shakily and Dominique rolled her eyes. This was absolute bullshit. She wanted to take Delilah Jones’ eyes out for saying that ‘everything will be normal at the office’.
Though werewolf prejudice was illegal in today’s wizarding society, the behavior she was currently facing showed that it had not disappeared from people’s minds. She could now understand why werewolves chose to live in packs, away from civilized areas, despite having so many laws secure their freedom to ‘go about their lives as normal’ and get good jobs.
“I just wanted you to inform Ms. Jones that I have arrived. I have an article to hand over, and some matters to discuss. I’ll be in my cubicle until she’s ready to see me,” she managed to respond as sweetly as possible before stalking over to her personal workspace.
She let out an infuriated sigh at the sight that met her eyes. Her workspace was in a total chaos, with files, papers, memos, photographs, and various other items overflowing all over her desk, small cupboard, chair, and even the floor. She noticed with horror that her wizardocorder – a very useful device during interviews for recording audio – had actually fallen to the ground and was apparently broken. Muttering angrily to herself, she quickly took out her wand and waved it in a few complex motions that Aunt Hermione had once taught her, and to her immense relief, everything was soon in order.
“Impressive,” a soft voice murmured and Dominique jumped before turning around to find a tall and slim blonde woman, clad in a short blue dress, standing in front of her, her lips coated in bright red lipstick and large snakelike earrings dangling from her ears. A smile was playing around her lips and Dominique couldn’t help but grin herself at the sight of her best friend.
“Julia! You’re back,” the redheaded Weasley almost squealed in delight and Julia laughed before hugging her friend, who was also her colleague.
“Well, I should be saying the same thing to you! I certainly wasn’t expecting you to come back to work so soon; though I am glad you’re here now,” Julia said, stepping back to take a good look at her best friend who had recently experienced a terrible nightmare.
“Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to come back to work so soon either, but I had to since I had some things to take care of,” she mumbled in response and Julia raised an eyebrow. Dominique sighed. “I assume you’ve heard about what happened. The whole wizarding community seems to know after all.”
Julia smiled sadly at her friend.
“I am sorry, honey. I wish I had been here when all hell broke loose on you, but you know I was on assignment in Italy. In fact, I only just got back early morning today, and rushed here to hand in my report. You know Ms. Jones, she won’t let me take even a single day off.”
Dominique nodded sympathetically, feeling relieved that her best friend was not treating her any differently. She and Julia went all the way back to her Hogwarts days; both Ravenclaws had instantly bonded over the fact that they wanted to become journalists, and since their fifth year had been inseparable.
“It’s okay, you’re back now, and I am already feeling much better seeing you. You have to tell me all about Italy!”
“Yes missy, I’ll tell you everything. In fact, you have loads to tell me as well! But right now I need to get back to my cubicle before Ms. Jones notices us chatting here,” she laughed again and with a parting hug strolled away. Dominique smiled at her retreating friend, feeling that perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad after all, before sitting down and going through her article one final time. Impatience was catching up with her fast though, she was itching to confront her boss, and hoped she would see her soon, hopefully by that time Teddy would arrive as well.
A flying memo zoomed in after a few moments, and Dominique quickly opened it.
Ms. Jones will see you now in her cabin. Please take the article along. – Rosaline
Dominique quickly got up and made her way to lavish cabin of her editor, feeling slightly nervous. She knocked on the door twice before the glass door opened as her boss flicked her wand.
Dominique was not prepared for the gush of anger that coursed through her as her eyes locked with the striking green ones of Delilah Jones, and suddenly she realized she hated everything about the woman, from the sickly sweet smile on her lips, to the pointed quill tucked in her dirty blonde bun.
“Oh sweetie, come on in. I have been waiting for you. How are you doing? I hear you have the article ready?” The older woman gave her an expectant look and Dominique strode forward, handing her the article soundlessly.
“Excellent, excellent…” Delilah Jones murmured, her eyes scanning through the parchment. She looked up and appeared momentarily surprised to still find her senior journalist standing before her.
“Anything else you need, darling?”
Dominique clenched her fists and exhaled slowly to stop herself from hexing her boss.
“Actually, yes, Ms. Jones. I regret to tell you this but, your game’s up.”
A/N: So, what do you think? Of Wilson Young? Of Dominique in this chapter? Of Julia? Over all? This chapter gave me quite a bit of trouble, and it took me forever to write it, so I agree it may not be best, so I'd love to know any suggestions of how to imrpove. Also, feel free to point out any mistakes you find, if you do. As always, I love to hear your thoughts in reviews.
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