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Chapter 6 : Chapter Six
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Secondly, this is a bit of a filler chapter so please bare with me! Chapter 7 will bring a lot more progress to the story's plot side of things!
You can’t argue with the dead; they always get the last word. I try to make a case with my mother in my head as I pull on the robes that I had woken up too, they had been draped over the back of the dressing table chair and I felt an odd sense of comfort when I had seen them. I tell her that she was wrong to entrust me such a burdening task and that this could cost me my life. That all this pain was simply not fair. I was eighteen years old and I was scared but for some reason, my mother simply wasn’t listening. I tell her that I have taken plenty of risks for her already and I won’t take anymore. But I have already contradicted myself and by the end of my little one sided squabble, I am left feeling quite selfish and rotten.
I pushed aside the curtains slightly to see that it was still dark outside. It was morning, some of the sky was yellow, some the softest blue. It was strange how all the world could be at war and ridden with death and chaos but the sky above was always at peace.
I button up the last of my robes and ran a quick brush through my hair, I realised that, I am quite literally, a reflection of my mother. Apart from the fact that I look like her. Inside, we are one too. I guess that is the case with most mothers and daughters. A daughter spends her whole life trying to oppose her mother and not be like her, but in the end, she ends up like her anyway. I don’t mind being my mother of course. My mother was a remarkable woman. She was also the most strangest person I had ever met. But If I am my mother? When will I become Imogen Blanc? Who even is Imogen Blanc? And that is when I realised the real reason I was actually agreeing to finding the stones. Somewhere, along the way, I wanted to become my own person. My mother had never been able to actually hold the stones in her hands. But Imogen Blanc would. I would stop saying that one day I will honour the ones I love and actually prove it.
It was round about six o’clock by the time I got downstairs. I found Draco outside of the front door, leaning against the many brick columns looking into the house. He was fidgeting impatiently with a piece of parchment he held in his hands.
He looked up at the sudden disruption I caused with my feet as I came down the stairs, my shoes hard against the wooden floor. I stumbled slightly when I reached the bottom but managed to stay on my feet. It had been a while since I had worn shoes.
Draco raised his eyebrows but didn’t really make a point of commenting on it, “I thought maybe I should have set an earlier time”
“No, there would have been no need for that” I huddled up deeper into my coat as I stepped out through the door, “This way, we should be right on time”
Draco nodded, “I have to make sure this place looks like we were never here” He pulled out his wand and opened up the piece of parchment that looked like it had been creased and crumpled, balled up and thrown against a wall on repeat, From what I could see over Draco’s shoulder, On it were some smudged inscriptions. A spell no doubt, “You should wait out here”
I sighed but walked down the steps from the front of the house and towards the main gates of the grounds. I was sick of being treated like someone who could not take care of myself. Like a child who kept getting in the way. It felt like if Draco wanted too, he could just get all the information out of me and go on this bloody great adventure on his own. But instead he had plucked me from my cell and placed me in another binding situation. Fair enough, I should be grateful but I guess I have always been a person who is unhappy with things as they stand.
Outside, It was a cold and bleak December morning. The rest of the world wouldn’t be awake for another four hours and that fact made me feel uncomfortable alone. I pulled my cloak tightly around me and stood there shivering at the bottom of the steps, waiting for Draco to return. I buried my face in my sleeves, trying to shelter myself from the ice draft that bit at my exposed skin.
I watched Draco cast a few charms from where I stood a good few meters away and even from that distance I could sense the power of the magic that he did. It was no secret that Draco Malfoy was a powerful wizard, mostly because he was the type of person who found it incredibly hard to shut up after any success, ever since first year when we were paired up together for our end of year examinations. He had managed to make a pineapple dance across the desk before I did and had not shut up about till six months into the next year. I doubt he even remembered that now. I watched him disappear further into the house and I felt an eccentric wave of nostalgia rinse over me for the little girl I used to be. Time was passing by like a hand waving from a train I had missed. All those people I had grown up with were following the normal path of life, I however, felt derailed. Heading in a direction different from most.
Draco returned after a few minutes, looking unaffected by the cold. I inwardly scowled at his ability to appear so unruffled to another person. It was a quality I envied.
“You’ll be apparating us” Draco said, jogging over to where
I stood, “I trust you know what you’re doing?”
Patronising as ever.
“I’m not stupid” I squinted at him from the corner of my eyes, pulling my wand out my pocket, wanting more to Jinx him than to apparate, “I can do spells instinctively you know”
“Yes, that must be why you look like you’re suffering from spattergoit every time you apparate then”
I shot him a look of white rage but he just looked as cool and collected as ever. I decided to block Draco and his lack of communication skills out. Concentrating hard on where I wanted to go. I reluctantly clutched Draco’s arm with one hand, so not to leave him behind and held on tightly to my wand with the other. I tried my hardest to paint a clear picture of the rolling hills and the church squire and the quaint French village I had spent most of my childhood summers in. I could see it all in my head like a portrait. The stream behind my mother’s farmhouse and local inn where my mother would work on the busy summer weeks. I had to concentrate on one place otherwise I would risk getting splinched. So I focused on the Inn instead but no matter how hard I tried, the deliberation just would not come.
After a while of standing there with my eyes clenched shut, I heard Draco snort. Obviously he was finding something about my struggles amusing.
“What is so funny?” I retorted, cracking my eyes open.
“Obviously apparating isn’t your strong point?” He asked bemused, “As always it looks like I have to come and save the day”
I pinched the bridge of my nose after a pointed sigh, “You’re starting to sound a lot like professor Trelawney you know” feeling satisfied after I heard him halt his breathing.
“I’ll take that as a compliment” he shrugged, still smirking.
It made my blood boil.
But I didn’t protest when Draco pointed his wand at my forehead, openly letting him read my mind so he could prowl it for the destination he needed. I wasn’t very surprised at how easy it had been for me to let my guard down and have my mind invaded. Torture had made me weaker than I thought. The next thing I knew, Draco’s arm was on mine and the same life crushing feeling of apparition consumed me again. I secretly wished that I would just faint so that I wouldn’t have to feel this sickening feeling anymore. But fainting whilst apparating was never a good idea so I stuck with it and increased my grip on what I hoped was Draco. The idea of letting go and spiralling out into a dark unknown abyss was to frightening to contemplate.
The actual process of apparition only lasts roughly ten seconds but I’m sure it felt like a good ten minutes. Either I had completely lost my mind or my apparition exam invigilator was very wrong. The floor almost scooped me up as soon as I felt solid ground and I blinked to steady myself to my surroundings. I must have looked as bad as I felt because I could see Draco standing opposite me looking very amused.
“I wonder how long it took you to pass Apparition class” Draco shrugged, “You’re almost as bad as Charlie Weasley, I heard he apparated 5 miles south of where he was supposed to be and landed on some poor old lady doing her shopping, But then again, he was a Weasley”
“Oh shut up” I sighed, straightening up and taking in my surroundings. I felt immediate relief when I realised that we had landed in the exact inn that I had spent countless summers helping out in. Serving the old French ladies hot chocolate for breakfast and helping Mr. Irvine, the cook, make ice cream on the hot days. He was German and overweight and would spoil me like mad. Every day after the ice cream was made, he would send me off to my mother with a large tub of the day’s finest. Whether it be strawberry, mint or chocolate. I smiled to myself at the memory. It had been 8 years since I had visited last, After my letter for Hogwarts came, my mother thought it best to limit my socialisation with the muggle world incase I exposed myself in anyway. I was naive and she was paranoid.
I enjoyed Draco’s confused face as he tried to figure out where exactly we had landed. We seemed to have apparated into one the inn’s back rooms, once, it used to be a downstairs bedroom that would look over to the farmland through it’s wide windows. Now, the bed and the furniture had been removed and was now replaced with a collection of brooms and other cleaning equipment that looked as though it needed a thorough clean itself. I frowned at the state of the place before opening the door that would lead to the reception.
The rest of the building was in no much better state than the back room and the man behind the main desk was someone I had never seen before. Before I even had a chance to speak, Draco was in front of me, explaining to the receptionist in remarkably fluent French of how we needed two rooms and a map of the local area. The rooms I understood but it was beyond me why we needed a map. Probably to look more convincing as tourists. It was a benefit that I had not been here since I was 10; I doubted anyone would recognize me now. I went and took a seat on the tattered sofa’s, watching as the receptionist, who did not look in the least bothered about anything Draco was saying, hand over two keys and folded up piece of paper. Draco didn’t bother thanking him and the man didn’t seem to care.
“I didn’t know you spoke French” I said as I took the keys from him.
Draco pretended to look wounded, “And I thought we had a much better relationship than that”
I scowled at him, “We have no relationship Malfoy” I stood up, walking off towards the stairs to go to my room.
I heard Draco shout after me, “You’d think after a handsome stranger comes and rescues you, I’d practically be your prince charming!”
I smiled at him over my shoulder, “Don’t be a prat”
I must have spent over half an hour just lying like that, staring at the ceiling with my hands folded on my chest. I tapped my fingers to the rhythm of some random song I had just made up in my head. It was pointless but sounded right. It seemed as though everything at the inn had changed apart from the ceiling. I was weird as child, I would not pay much attention to the things that mattered but instead focus on silly things like the ceiling. Not so silly now is it. When I had gotten to the room it had made my heart pound knowing that I was just a stones throw away from finding out everything I ever wanted to know about the stones. But yet, I was scared. So I had tried to delay it as much as I could by telling Draco that I wanted to rest. He surpinsgly, had nodded and said that he would be in his room if I needed him.
His sudden mood changes and how one minute he would be as approachable as someone like him could be and the next he would be cold as ice and you would want to be his friend just as much as you would like to swim with the merpeople. Not very much.
But Draco Malfoy’s erratic mood swings were the last thing on my mind. I had come so far and I guess this was always my destiny, to protect the stones if any danger was to come to them. Yaxley was danger and it was now my time to do what I was always supposed to do. Trouble was, I had no idea how. And so, The idea to come to France was born. Here I would meet up with the woman who raised my mother when my grandmother passed away. Maeve knew more about the stones than my mother even did because even my mother had a lot more to learn. Therefore, Maeve was the person to go to. If she was still alive that was. After our home in England was raided, Maeve and her grandson Arian had fled to France, to my mother’s childhood home, a farm only half a mile from this village. They had managed to send me a letter before I was captured by Yaxley. I had made sure to burn the letter as soon as I had received it, making sure no one would ever find out that they were here. If even a small amount of luck was on my side, I would find them here.
I jerked out of my chain of thoughts when I heard a sharp knock at the door, I sat up and was just about to call out when Draco lazily swung it open and strolled in.
I looked at him slightly shocked, “I could have been changing!”
“But you weren’t” He closed the door and leaned against the doorframe, “I personally think you’ve had enough rest”
“I personally think that you should learn to knock” I retorted.
“If you were so desperate for privacy, you would have locked the door” Draco wiggled his eyebrows and I fell back into the bed, groaning.
“Now, if you would stop treating this like a holiday and tell me what the next step is, I don’t really like to be the one who takes orders” He seemed to be examining yet another piece of parchment in his hands.
I raised an eyebrow at him, “I was under the impression that you were snape’s little pet cat?”
Draco snapped his head in my direction, “Watch it Blanc, I didn’t save you from what would have surely been a slow and painful death for you to insult me”
I swung myself out of bed, wincing when my feet met the cold floor, “I don’t know how you expect me to pay this debt of yours. You might as well dump me back to where you got me from because I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sick of you moaning about it. You didn’t do this to save my life did you, It was for your own selfish reason! So please do tell me, how can I ever repay you”
I could feel my chest rising and falling from speaking so fast and tears stinging the corners of my eyes. I felt hurt and incredibly stupid for thinking for even one minute that Draco did this because he actually cared. “We are not Friends Malfoy” I spat, “Let’s get that straight right now”
Draco, being the conceited person he was, just smirked, “Once I see those stones scattered at my feet in a hundred pieces, then you will know that the debt is paid”
And with that he turned on his feet, opened the door and walked out as swiftly as he had entered.
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