Chapter 5 : Chapter Five
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My mind did not stop racing for the rest of the day even though not a single word was exchanged between Draco and I after our discussion in the front room earlier. After I had given Draco the information that he had asked for, He had sat and digested my words for a few minutes. I could tell that he was breaking them apart and turning them over and over and over again in his head. Peeling at every letter I had spoken so he could juice out maximum information and try and make sense of as much as possible. However, after a few minutes of sitting there in silence, he had excused himself and retired to the library. A small four by four room at the back of the house. I left him too it.
I didn’t exactly know what he was expecting to find in a muggle library anyway, especially when the word ‘library’ was somewhat of an overstatement; I highly doubted we would find anything on the subject of Asclepius’ Rod amongst a load of books about French cuisine and how to build a sustainable rose garden, But I let him look anyway. If by some bizarre chance, Draco did come across a book that had anything at all to do with Greek Mythology, It would be in our favour. Truth was, I wasn’t entirely sure why Draco had not suggested that we leave for France straight away. I had half expected him to get up as soon as I had told him and demanded me to apparate us to my mother’s former home.
Draco’s delay of actually taking action did not seem to mimic his fortitude when it came to actually finding the grail. His words always held grit but his actions seemed so hindered. I tried my hardest not to ponder on my decision to help Draco, I fought hard to satisfy my own conscience and go underground with any second thoughts I was having about this whole situation. Believe me I tried. I told myself that I had no option but to adhere by Draco’s side, that just maybe, some good might just come out of this bad situation. Maybe after all of these reservations are over, I could go out and make a life of my own. Somewhere far away. Like Switzerland. Calm and genial and at liberty.
But then again, I just couldn’t get the thought of how this situation was all I was ever going to be in out of my mind. This was most certainly my only future. I would die a part of this mess and that will be the only thing I will ever be a part of. Not to mention how living here without much protection spells when hundreds of death eaters were prowling the country for us was highly stupid and we were merely lambs up for slaughter. So afterwards, when I was done hashing out with my head, I came up with theory that I must be a masochist. That even after all the pain I had been put through during the course of these past few months, I was still reluctant to walk away from it all when it was quite clear that I could. I wish I didn’t feel the need to endanger myself every so often.
It was better to just keep on going on the path I already was and that was much easier if I just didn’t think too much about it. As a result, I decided to engage myself in something other than saving the world for the time being.
After moping around and giving myself a headache for much of the morning, I took off for a wander in the back garden. The actual condition of the garden was shocking. There was not much greenness or beauty left in the place. Everything faded from the summer’s last sun. Once upon a time, the garden must have been beautiful. I could tell by the way apple blossom trees had been carefully planted in a symmetrical manor and the twisted naked branches of clematis and sorbus vilmorini wrestled each other as they fell over the walls of the garden. Weeds grew where flowers should have. I knew the couple who used to live here were old but I still could not understand why they didn’t just hire a Gardner.
If you weren’t willing to master your garden, you simply shouldn’t have one. There must have been music in these trees and I bet the plants coloured well in the autumn time. It was a shame we wouldn’t be staying long enough to find out.
I was amazed to find that the apple tree however, seemed to be full of life. It appeared to have defied the frost and ice of recent weeks and had managed to retain it’s fruit crop. At the sight of them, My stomach growled, reminding me of how it needed feeding. Alive and Angry it was. I felt slightly dizzy with greed at the sight of something to eat that wasn’t soggy wheat biscuits and dirty water, something that had been my diet for months. There was no reason why the apples shouldn’t be edible unless they had been frozen solid. I rushed over to the large tree, It was right at the very back of the garden and I had to tread past countless weeds and slush to actually reach it. I picked up a decaying branch from the foot of the trunk and stood as high as I could on my tiptoes. The apples were likely to be quite hard and I reminded myself not to stand underneath the tree for too long.
When simply standing on my tiptoes and reaching for the fruit with a stick didn’t work, I started to jump. Feeling slightly victorious after a the stick in my hand would come in contact with an apple and send it falling to the ground. I would pick them up later. It was silly of me to be smiling but I couldn’t help myself. It was more the outrageous idea of what I was actually doing that made this all the more fun.
I was so caught up in what I was doing. Hitting apples with sticks that I missed the sound of footsteps behind me.
“What exactly are you doing?”
I jumped, this time not to hit an apple but out of shock. I felt my cheeks burn as I saw draco leaning against another tree a few meters away, looking slightly amused. How was I supposed to come across as mature and powerful when he had just seen me do such a ridiculous thing?
“Picking apples” I stated the obvious, dropping the sick.
“Picking?” Draco scoffed, “You look like you’re battering them”
“Well I don’t exactly have a wand do I” I retorted, Angry that he was ridiculing me.
“I’m not snapping!” I snapped.
Draco just sighed in reply and pressed the bridge of his nose with his fingers. As if he was dealing with a small child. This only angered me further. “You don’t need to be jumping for apples, I’m going into a nearby town, and there I’ll get some food and see if I can acquire a wand for you”
I was silent.
Draco continued, “I’m not the bad one here, stop acting like I’m the enemy”
I was silent again; I was thinking.
“Now if you’d please come inside, I think I found something” With that, Draco turned on his heel and walked back towards the house and I was left with no choice but to follow him.
I still had my suspicions about Draco. Anyone would. In the past, he hadn’t exactly proved himself to be the most truth worthy of people and If he thought that bringing me from my cell to this house and feeding me words was enough to gain my trust, then he was wrong. It was true that I had told him everything I knew about the stones but that information was not enough for him to obtain them alone. He needed me and I had to keep it that way. I could not afford to loose that advantage. We might be on the same side and working together, But I had to always be one step ahead. There was a lot more than my life on the line here. If the stones ever fell in the grasp of the wrong person, It would be the lives of people. Lots of people. Men, women and children. Wizard and Muggle. Young and Old. I couldn’t exactly let that happen.
My mother always taught me that Imagination was stronger than Knowledge and dreams were stronger than facts and more than anything else, Love was stronger than death. I was by no means a martyr and I was not trying to be. But if it was my imagination and my dreams and the love I possessed for my parents, then the search for the stones would be in my favour. Last I remembered, Yaxley was a coward. He would never welcome death as an equal; however, after months of torture, the Idea of death did not scare me anymore. Yaxley had basically handed me this advantage on a silver platter and he didn’t even realize it.
This is what a mother’s promise does. It makes you want to rewrite the world.
I pulled out a chair and sat down at the kitchen table, picking up a butter knife that lay there and toyed with it absently. I traced the tip of the knife against the bumpy wooden surface of the table, creating a slight scratching sound that sounded almost like a whisper, “what did you find?”
He took a seat opposite me, “something about the rod being a very important artifact and symbol in Greek and medical history. Not much more than we already know, I just hoped maybe you Knew more”
I shook my head, “You do realize that we are wasting time the longer we stay here”
Draco obviously knew this and he inclined his head in something that I took as a nod of understanding, “Our next step should be to go to France, to your mother’s house”
I obviously knew this was coming. I didn't really want to take Draco to my mother’s house. Having him there would only make this situation all the more real. He would be all to woven into the secret of the stones. I would feel like a betrayer towards my mother. Bringing someone like him into what was once her sanctuary. But I had to be realistic, We couldn’t just stay here like sitting ducks. We had to go to France.
I felt a flicker of uneasiness but nodded all the same.
That night, I found myself sitting with my knees drawn up in front of the fire in the front room. The house was deathly silent and the gritty ticking sounds of the clock above the mantel piece really were not good for my nerves. Draco had apparated to a wizard town a good hundred miles away in search of wand for me. I ached for my old wand back, to feel the familiar burst of magic but my wand was smashed to pieces so I would have to make and do with whatever Draco bought back. Even though He had placed countless protection charms on the house before he had left, I still could not help but feel a small chill in my spine where ever I went. As if it were muggle instinct, I had done a small circle of the house and locked all the windows and doors. I knew a stupid padlock would do nothing in protecting me against Yaxley or someone of his like, The locks were just a comforting novelty. When sitting in the library, reading a few books on dressmaking and waiting for Draco to return got too much to handle, I retired myself to the front room. Sitting down in front of the fire and bringing my knees up to my chest. The dancing flames cutting down and breaking up my anxiety. This is what happened when you possessed such a lively imagination. I constantly felt like I was in the presence of something else and it terrified me.
I could not even properly concentrate on the book I had opened in front of me. It was a story book I had found in my bedside drawer. About two villagers, a boy and a girl, falling in love. It supposed to be a classic but I had never heard of it before.
As if Subconsciously, I found myself looking up at the clock every few minutes.
And then Time elapsed some more.
Draco came home at exactly 02:30 in the morning. I knew because the door clicked as soon as I looked up at the clock for what seemed like the hundredth time.
I don’t think I had ever been more grateful to see a familiar face in all my life. Not even when I was 6 and I went to a market place with my parents and got lost. I was crying because I was scared and I was crying because I had fell and gotten my dress muddy. When I eventually did find my mother, who was having a conversation with the person behind the fruit stall, I cried some more because she hadn’t even noticed that I had gone.
I jumped up as soon as Draco entered the room. He however, Did not seem to notice my relief, “we leave tomorrow morning, early” he tossed me a box wrapped in paper and disappeared upstairs.
I frowned at this but chose to ignore it. I knew Draco would start being weird sooner than later. I picked up the box that had landed on the floor and started to unwrap it. Felling positively dizzy with greed at the thought of having a wand again. It had been too long. But wait. What if the wand didn’t like me? The wand chooses the wizard. What if it senses all the harrowing things I have been through and decides that I’m just too damaged and messed up to even be allowed to do magic. What if I couldn’t do magic anymore? But even voldemort had had a wand and I doubt anyone could be more damaged and messed up than him. So I pushed all the thoughts out of my head and plucked the wand from its box. It was roughly ten inches long and it felt nice and supple in my grasp.
“It’s cherry wood, Veela hair, Ten and a bit inches” I looked up see that Draco had appeared again, “I got it from a apprentice wand maker, He said that Veela hair makes for quite the temperamental wand but then again, wands are only as powerful as the wizard that uses them”
I didn’t know if he had just called me weak or powerful but I chose not to question him, “If a wand is not suited to it’s wielder, it will not do anything at all”
“Try it then,” Draco nodded to the wrapping paper that the wand had come in which was now lying at my feet.
I nodded, taking a deep breath and adjusting the wand in my hand, I could not help but marvel at its beauty. It was a deep reddish brown with silver markings to represent the Veela hair. It was the right weight and the right length.
I pointed my wand at the parchment, “Incendio!” Flames shot out from the tip of the wand straight away, and as the magic poured out, some of it seemed to divert back into me, running through my veins. Filling me with warmth. The flames that had engulfed the paper danced happily, as though they had been burning for hours.
The wand was perfect and the relief that flooded through me was enough to make me almost jump up and down. But I remembered where I was and I looked up to see Draco grinning to himself. No doubt, smug about the fact that he could not have chosen a more suitable wand.
“Aqua Eructo” A thin fountain of water escaped from the end of my wand to extinguish the fires.
“Thank you” I murmured, feeling too happy to find a reason not to say thank you.
Draco nodded, “I’m glad that is sorted then, Remember, we leave at 6. You should sleep”
I allowed myself a half hearted smile when on the inside I was bursting with joy. I could have hugged him but it wasn’t exactly Draco I had happy with, So I decided not to. “I’ll see you in the morning then”
Draco nodded, “There’s food in the kitchen”
I looked at him. And saw his weary face and the guilt in his eyes. I remembered how he and his mother and hugged and held each other the night that Voldemort was defeated, I knew that hard knocks will always leave him with dents but for the first time I saw what was in his heart. Guilt. Raw and Alive and masses of it. And then I remembered lying in my cell a few weeks ago, cursing his name along with others. And I was so ashamed.
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