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Chapter 27 : The Child with 100 Gifts
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Three streams of black smoke descended upon the Granger residence at near dusk.
Draco was the leader of three ordered to enter a specific address to get information on the whereabouts of a key Order of the Phoenix member, Hermione Granger. Their instructions were specific; extract information by any means necessary.
When they arrived just before dusk, it appeared that no one was home and Draco told the other two Death Eaters to keep watch while he went inside.
Unwilling to question Draco’s reasons for going in alone, they remained outside, one behind a wooden gate that led to the backyard and the other toward the front corner of the home in the shadows of the landscaping. They would be ready to storm the brick house should any Muggles show up.
Draco had warned Hermione that her parents would be in danger, never giving thought back then that it would be him to do the deed. He wasn’t sure what she had done to protect her parents, but he knew that she would be smart about it. She would do what she thought best, but he wasn’t sure what lengths she would go.
Of all the people that fell to their knees in front of him, pleading, crying out in pain, it was the Grangers most of all that he didn’t want to hurt. They didn’t deserve what was coming. He would try to be merciful.
Using the Alohomora spell inaudibly, Draco opened the door to Hermione’s childhood home.
As he stepped in, there was still just enough sunlight to see clearly without aid. He closed the door behind him and scanned the room.
What he saw was very typical. Everything seemed to be tidy and in its place. Nothing fancy. There were cozy furnishings, throw pillows on the couch, white painted woodwork, along with a few motionless pictures in frames. Otherwise, the place seemed rather empty.
But before he got a close look at the photos, he came to an upright piano that had been covered with a white sheet and became curious. He cast a simple spell on it so that it would manipulate the keys to play the last song that was performed. But his heart lurched in his chest as soon as it began their song. Draco abruptly waved his wand and stopped it. He had hoped this wasn’t the correct address, but the song served as the first clue that his hope would be lost.
He looked for her to be in the photos, but she was in none of them. He looked at them closer, realizing the subjects weren’t centered. It seemed odd, as if someone was missing. But then he realized that the person missing was her. And the people that remained, he faintly recognized. He had seen them long ago at the bookstore in Diagon Alley. Sadly, they were Hermione’s parents, he knew.
It was silent in the house except for the clocks ticking out of unison. When he noticed, he thought it rather irritating and decided it was time to quietly make his way up the stairs to find her room.
Draco happened upon her parent’s room first and stepped in briefly. He eyed a closet door and magically opened it to get a look inside, but was surprised to find it nearly empty; almost no clothing and plenty of empty hangers.
The Grangers were gone!
He moved more quickly then and found Hermione’s room.
At first glance, it looked like any normal guest room. But then he saw her window seat and recalled her saying that it was her favorite spot in the house. He wondered how many books she must’ve read there, growing up in this very Muggle house.
It was so quiet. It was the only thing that reminded him of his own room. It seemed so lonely. And loneliness was something that they had in common. He recalled the conversation in the Hogwarts kitchens with her… about knowing what being lonely felt like, the emptiness of it.
Being in her room seemed surreal, like stepping into some dream that wasn’t his. He didn’t belong there, invading her space.
Slowly, Draco made his way to her window seat, taking in the view from it. It wasn’t spectacular, just a view to the neighbor’s lawn.
He turned slightly to go back, but something caught his eye on the wall. It was a little pink painted heart with a sloppy little “Prince” spelled inside of it. That tiny detail would not have meant a thing to him, except that he knew in his heart that it was her doing.
He stared at it for a long moment, thinking that it might be the only evidence that a little girl had ever lived here. Was this the only mark she left on this place? He wondered as he ran his fingers over the old raised nail polish painted there long, long ago.
His eyes followed the trail of tiny lopsided hearts down to the window seat. And that’s when he noticed a gap where the seat met the wall. Examining it further, he could tell that there might be some space underneath the seat… a possible hiding place. Knowing her well, he thought it a good chance that she would use her favorite spot to store things she wanted hidden from the world.
He tried to move the seat, but it wouldn’t budge due to the extra protections she had placed on it. But Draco made short work of it, blasting off the seat like a box with an unhinged lid.
What he found both surprised and intrigued him. For he didn’t expect to see the flower he’d given her, the beautiful black orchid, expertly preserved under a glass casing; the medical gauze still tied to it.
Not only did she get it, but she preserved it. Perhaps that meant something. Perhaps she didn’t really hate him after all. But then, he quickly dismissed the thought, figuring that out of all the things she must’ve taken with her, she chose to leave his flower behind. His flower most likely meant nothing to her at all.
Under the glass case lay a Daily Prophet with an article about a Muggle family that had been murdered. Surely it would’ve been Hermione’s worst fear. It would be the reason why she would take drastic measures to protect them.
He set the newspaper to the side and noticed there were two small boxes. He opened the first, seeing her documentation of her genealogy, her birth certificate, and research done on her blood status.
That familiar guilty feeling came over him. “I told you didn’t matter,” he uttered under his breath, pushing the material aside.
He then went to the other box and found a few clues; copies of passport applications for people by the name of Wilkins alongside copies of several old memory charms and spells.
And with those two things, coupled by her image erased from the photos downstairs, Draco knew what she had done.
“No,” he breathed.
It was getting dark. The sun had set and he went ahead and sealed the seat back into place, keeping the secret of her parent’s new names safely inside.
Standing to full height, he turned to take in her room once more. It eerily felt like times when he would see her light. She would be so close, but still so very far away. And now, being in her childhood bedroom, it felt the same. He could feel her presence there, but yet, she was gone.
A commotion on the first floor brought him back to the task at hand. He was quite relieved to know that it wouldn’t be Hermione’s parents. Instead, it would be two impatient, irritated Death Eaters.
Draco met them at the bottom of the stairs.
“It’s cold out there and I’m starving!” growled one of them.
“Well, feel free to search the kitchen for food, but there won’t be anything there. These people are long gone,” Draco replied as if irritated.
Following several explicative words and empty pantry cabinets slamming shut, the two reappeared in the living room.
“So it seems.”
“There’s no sign of them or their whereabouts upstairs either,” Draco added. “The closets are empty. Only God knows where they are or if they’ll ever return.”
One of the Death Eaters began rummaging through a desk, emptying the contents onto the floor, while the other began turning over sofa cushions.
“I swear. You’re like two children hoping to find a galleon!” he scolded their unprofessionalism and common thievery. “Let’s finish this and get out of here! Muggle homes give me the creeps.”
Draco would eventually tell Voldemort only part of what he found. He would say that the Granger’s wouldn’t be worth finding, considering their altered memories. But he would keep their new names to himself just so they wouldn’t be hunted and killed for revenge.
As he left her former home, Draco looked back, thinking of all that Hermione had sacrificed in protecting her parents.
She had succeeded, but the heavy price she paid had not been lost on him. She loved them with her whole heart and when he thought back on their conversation about how she lied to them by putting on her best smile and telling them everything was well, he understood that she’d been protecting them for a long time. Protecting them from the truth, from danger, from her world… and from Death Eaters who would come knocking one day. Death Eaters who would’ve tortured them to find out where she was.
She was bloody brilliant, but he knew her well. This would be unbelievably tough on her, even if she never showed it. Hermione was incredibly strong, but this would weigh on her tremendously. He also knew that this was something her friends would never have allowed her do. She would’ve done this on her own first, then told them about it later.
In many ways, it was a tragedy. It was as if she was choosing to be an orphan to protect them from harm. There was a strong possibility that there would be no more holidays with them. No family to attend her wedding. And her children might never know them. It was her sacrifice to bear in order to protect them; a tremendous loss.
Somehow, he felt both proud and sad for her. For she set out to protect her parents from Death Eaters… from him. And she had succeeded. Oh, the strength it would’ve taken… he could only imagine it.
Forgive me for not writing sooner, my Delilah. For my punishment in being discovered with you prevented me from being able to pen a letter until this moment. It is with heavy heart that I tell you yet another story. I tell it with the hope that you will understand why this will be my last letter to you.
For there once lived a spoiled child who received one hundred gifts. He could open ninety-nine of them, but not the one-hundredth. For he was told that he was forbidden to open it.
Naturally, even after opening all the others, he became curious about the one he couldn’t have. He began to wonder why. Was it dangerous? Was is fragile or rare? When he asked of it, he was only told that the gift was deemed unworthy and ‘not good enough’ for him.
He did not appreciate that answer. He wanted to see and judge for himself.
So, that very evening, the curious boy secretly possessed the box intending to open it. He peeled back the layers of pretty paper and opened the lid. What he found was something most definitely different than all of the other ninety-nine gifts.
What he saw was the very desire of his heart… what he longed for all his life. It gave him an indescribable joy just getting close enough to look at it, let alone hold it and feel it in his hands.
All the other gifts became meaningless and forgotten in the brightness and light of the one.
But danger came upon him as he attempted to hide the gift. And it came to pass, his secret discovered, the boy took ninety-nine lashings for his disobedience.
Nearly driven mad at coming so close to having what he truly desired, the boy found his heart exceedingly low and wanting.
For in time, the boy was caught yet again with the beloved gift that was never supposed to be his. When found, the gift was destroyed, leaving the child shattered and heartbroken.
You are my forbidden gift, my precious Delilah. I have suffered my lashings concerning you, but my soul cries out not from pain, but in remorse and regret. For I must leave you now because I cannot bear to live if you were to be destroyed because of my doing.
From the dim light of an old oil lamp in the rare quietness of the Weasley home, Hermione closed her eyes briefly… then closed the book. While there was no description of its author, in Hermione’s mind, he was a tall man, dressed in black, with silvery eyes and striking blond hair… one who looked eerily similar to the one who had referred to her as being a gift to him while in the waters of the Prefect’s Bathroom.
When she opened her eyes, she knew there was a danger in thinking such a thing. The words she read were written by someone else, not Draco. Yet, their situation seemed so eerily similar. Could this young author’s feelings for Delilah mirror Draco’s feelings for her? Whether or not it was true, it sure seemed real. And this letter to Delilah that she had just read seemed as though it could’ve been written by Draco and sent to her. It was a tenderly crafted let down for a fragile heart; one that Hermione was sure had left Delilah in tears.
Staring into the still, constant flame of the oil lamp, she wondered if Draco had been one of the masked Death Eaters who’d ambushed them in the air in their attempt to get Harry to safety. Had he been so close? Had he been the one to cause George to lose his ear? Had he been the one to cause Moody’s death?
Riding a Thestral with Kingsley Shacklebolt, Hermione had never felt such a mix and rush of emotions… dread, worry, and fear mixed with pure adrenaline as they all blasted through the night sky in a fury, dodging curses and spells in the blackness of the night.
Any of the Death Eaters could’ve been Draco. And if he had looked at her, he would’ve seen Harry’s likeness staring back at him, not hers. For they had both worn masks to conceal themselves that night; fighting on opposite sides.
Hermione’s heart squeezed in her chest. Had the one she loved really become her enemy after all… after everything?
Her face was aglow as the flame became watery before her eyes; the image of it becoming a little fiery blur from her tears.
“Hermione? Hey,” Ginny called to her from the darkness.
She quickly dabbed at her eyes.
“Come in,” she greeted with a smile that didn’t quite reach her eyes.
“Pretty crazy night, huh?”
Hermione answered with a slow nod.
“How’s George doing?”
“Mum says he’ll be much better in the morning when his body recovers from the blood loss. And she’s distraught over his ear. She can’t fix it. He’ll just have to remain ‘saint-like.’”
George’s comment from earlier made both girls smile even though the air between them still remained quite serious.
“Look, I… um…” Ginny started. “I know the three of you will be leaving soon and not returning to Hogwarts this year. And I wanted to give you something to take along with you.”
“Oh, okay,” Hermione replied, unprepared for what she was about to receive.
Ginny held out a blanket, but not just any blanket. It was black and luxurious and had the World Cup Quidditch logo on it. She had seen that blanket before… at Christmas!
“I don’t have any money to actually purchase something, you understand? But I thought you might need this more than I do. You know, wrap up and keep warm and remind you of a wonderful Christmas,” Ginny explained, holding up her gift given by an unknown person that had shocked them all with generosity and gifts that were perfect for each of them.
But Hermione knew precisely who sent them. That blanket had belonged to Draco Malfoy.
Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped in disbelief.
“Oh, no. You love that blanket. You need to keep it and…”
“I do love it,” Ginny interrupted. “But I want you to have it. Besides, it’s just the World Cup emblem. If it were my favorite team, well… then I’d never let go of it, you understand,” she teased to lighten the mood.
Hermione could not refuse. Once the blanket was in her hands, she was mesmerized by its softness, but more so of its history. She brought it to her cheek… so amazingly soft.
A quiet, “thank you,” was nearly all that she could muster thinking about how it had been Draco’s… perhaps from his very bed. “You have no idea what this means to me.”
Ginny smiled at the sentiment, but after a friendly hug and a moment’s pause, she changed the subject.
“There’s something else I want to talk to you about,” Ginny confessed, finally taking a comfy seat next to her. “My brother… he still cares for you very much.”
“And I care for him.”
“Yes, but what I mean is that he wants you to care for him like you used to.”
“He made his choice, Ginny, and was quite clear in wanting to be like it was… as friends.”
“But sometimes people make the wrong choices,” she pleaded. “Sometimes people make mistakes that they would give anything to take back.”
Suddenly Hermione wasn’t thinking of Ron’s choice, but Draco’s choice and her own concerning him.
“Please forgive him,” Ginny begged for her brother.
“Forgive?” Hermione repeated rather distantly, remembering the feel of the Dark Mark on Draco’s forearm against her fingertips.
“He wants you back.”
Hermione thought of Ginny’s words, wishing it was Draco who wanted her back. Or did she?
Being with him had been a dream… a dream on fire. And as much as she felt there was no future for them, something told her differently. Like the book she’d been reading, it seemed the relationship was over, but there was plenty more to read of them. More was coming. And she didn’t want to give up her feelings for Draco just yet.
Sometimes she would catch Ron glancing at her. Most times, he would look away. But there were times when he continued to stare at her with a look that said he was sorry and that he definitely wanted her back. Those were the times when she would look away.
And on occasion, Harry looked at her too… with a seriousness that bore into her. It made her feel as though he would be willing to cross the lines of friendship into something deeper, should she ever feel the same. Like a silent, but sincere invitation; unspoken and withheld for the rift it would cause between them all.
On the day she had altered her parent’s memories, she could admit to craving a lover’s touch from any of the three men in her life… Draco, Ron, or Harry. But she would feel no such comfort on a day when she needed it the most.
For she knew that in a single moment of weakness, a single touch from Ron or Harry would’ve had her crumbling. And her will to stop… scattered to the four winds.
For Hermione had discovered something about herself that day. In the very hour of her strength, she was also at her weakest.
As Harry’s serious stare flashed into mind, Hermione felt that she was betraying the other girl in the room who had been patiently waiting for an answer. If Ginny knew her thoughts on Draco and Harry, Hermione had a hunch they wouldn’t be friends much longer. She had to say something.
“I suspected so. I can tell by the way that he looks at me sometimes.” Hermione let out a soft sigh. “There was a time when I would’ve given anything for Ron to look at me like that. But when I was ready, he wasn’t. And now that he is, I’m not,” she shrugged. “I have forgiven him. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. But really, Ginny, I have fifty things on my mind right now and a relationship with your brother is not one of them. I’m sorry if that sounds harsh, but I just don’t want to deal with him right now. There’s the R.A.B. clue that I’ve made no progress on. And I’ve been trying to prepare for a trip where I don’t even know where I’m going or how long I’ll be there. And then there’s the unbelievably difficult task of saying goodbye to the people I love, worrying about what’s to become of them.”
Hermione stopped, putting her hands to her face briefly. She didn’t want pity from Ginny. She didn’t want her to know that she was on the brink of falling apart.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t thinking,” Ginny began apologizing. “You’re right. There are more important things at hand. But really, your parents should be safe, right? In Australia?”
Hermione’s breath caught in her throat at the mention of them. She didn’t want to think about them and what she did or weigh for the millionth time if it was right or wrong. And frankly she was glad to have a book that she could dive into so that she didn’t have to think about her own sad reality; even if it meant reading of someone else’s.
“Ron told you what I did?” Hermione asked, swallowing hard and feeling ashamed somehow for altering their memoires so they wouldn’t know their real names or even know who she was.
“No. Harry did. He’s concerned for you too, you know?” Ginny gave a sympathetic look while Harry’s serious expression flashed into Hermione’s mind once again.
Ginny continued, saying something about tea being downstairs should she need help getting to sleep. And then she was gone, leaving Hermione with thoughts of guilt, but more importantly, a beautiful charcoal-black blanket.
She stared at it on her lap, running her fingers over it again and again. And when she could no longer stand to be apart from it, she grabbed the ends, flipped it open, and wrapped herself in it.
Soon she was lying on a thin mattress, closing her eyes against a cold throw pillow, remembering vividly Draco’s arms wrapped around her; remembering an embrace that was love without words.
“Oh, Draco, where are you tonight? Tell me I did the right thing. Tell me they truly were in imminent danger. Tell me it was not done in vain. I don’t know if I can bare this.”
It was nearly November. The autumn brought color to an otherwise dark world.
Normally, it was Draco’s favorite time of year, but it was now tainted.
Like fresh drops of blood over the Malfoy grounds, the bright red leaves lie splattered here and there and scattered about. It was as though fear had seeped into every crack and corner of the manor, tainting the very air Draco breathed.
And well, some believe that when a person has lived in fear and oppression for so long, eventually they grow weary of it, longing for a change in the status quo. And whatever the consequences, be it for better or worse, something in them pushes them to do something… anything so long as their everyday lives were somehow different.
And Draco, very tired and weary of living in fear of death from Voldemort’s doing, decided that he wanted a change. For better or worse, something had to change.
And when he felt ready, he grabbed hold of the bottle of Firewhiskey that had been his birthday present months earlier and began drinking. When he finally felt bold enough, he trudged through the manor, bottle in hand, bent on greeting Voldemort with it. For he was utterly sick of living in fear and either he was going to improve the situation or die trying.
Walking into the fire-lit room, Draco ignored the shadows on the wall that made it look like the black fires of hell were about to consume the place.
“Draco,” Voldemort greeted, seemingly happy to see him. “What brings you here on this fine eve of All Hallows Eve?”
Draco went to a nearby alcohol cabinet and grabbed two drinking glasses; thick crystal, appropriate for the drink at hand.
“Blaise Zabini once reminded me that it wasn’t healthy for a man to drink alone,” Draco replied, recalling the fight underneath the courtyard when Blaise destroyed a picture that belonged to him. “Care to have a glass of the magical world’s finest Firewhiskey? Father paid a small fortune for it,” he offered, pouring himself a glass.
Voldemort was amused by this surprising pouring of hospitality, figuring Draco surely wanted something in return.
“I’ll oblige you. But a drink amongst gentlemen must come with a toast. What do you propose?”
Draco poured the liquid into the second glass and let out a sigh. And then it came to him…
“World peace.” Draco laughed a genuine deep laugh and Voldemort joined in.
“I didn’t take you one for humor, Draco. Good one,” he said, accepting his glass as Draco sat opposite him in a high-back chair facing the fireplace. “To world peace,” he said with a smile.
The two raised their glasses and drank.
“Unfortunately, war tries everyone’s patience… both sides. One must have it in droves, stockpiled, and running over. War is a nasty business. What’s the quote? “No path of flowers leads to glory.””
“You quote Jean de La Fontaine, seventeenth century poet,” Draco commented matter-of-factly.
“Yes,” Voldemort acknowledged, clearly impressed. “I like many of his quotes. They still stand useful today. He understood well the workings of timeless human nature.”
“The one that pertains to me most these days is, “Happy is he who knows love through stories and not by his blows.””
“I’ll drink to that,” Voldemort magically refilled both of their glasses.
“You would drink to that? Sorry, but in my years, I’ve never heard that you had a love interest. Pardon the alcohol induced frankness.”
Voldemort, figuring Draco had been drinking for quite some time already, actually sat intrigued by the display of boldness. He wasn’t used to it. It amused him.
“I’ll have you know, that in my… adolescent stupidity, I once fell for someone. It didn’t work out. You see, her parents blamed me for corrupting her, accusing me of bewitching her and cursing her to do my will. But that was not true. They didn’t want to believe that she actually had feelings for me.”
The Dark Lord poured the harsh liquid down his throat and looked into the flames as if troubled by a distant memory.
“They feared that she would get pregnant with my child and one day, my Mini lied down to sleep and when she awoke, they had taken away her ability to have children.”
“Wh… what?” Draco sat horrified and frozen. He couldn’t believe the story he was hearing. His gray eyes moved to the lush dark carpet, trying to register what the Dark Lord had just said. It was appalling.
“It was a long time ago. The concept of magical birth control was new and experimental… theoretical. They nearly killed her. And I never wanted to kill two people more than I wanted to kill them.”
“What did you do to them?” Draco asked, thinking of a few dark curses he would’ve used if in the same situation.
“Ironically, nothing. Even after what they did, she begged for their lives. In hindsight, I should’ve killed them long before that and consoled her while she grieved them. Our lives… could’ve been different. As it turned out, they suffered with the knowledge that they killed any chances of grandchildren and they did lose their precious daughter. She never spoke to them again and as I understand it, she didn’t attend their funerals either. Her mother drank herself to death and her father was found dead some time later. They never found the cause of death, but it wasn’t by me. I kept my word,” he sneered as though regretting the decision.
Taking another swig of his drink at the unexpected, shocking path of the conversation and becoming far too brave for his own good, Draco asked, “What of her now?”
“She lives.” Voldemort downed the remainder of his drink and magically poured another, keeping it coming. “She became afraid of me. She didn’t understand my ambition… my destiny. And even though she would have nothing to do with her parents again, she sided with their beliefs and did not come with me when she could have. To this day, she defies me.”
“She defies you… and lives?”
“She lives because I do not wish her dead. It is not impossible to escape my wrath. You of all people should know this, Draco. For you also live because I do not wish you dead.”
And with that, the two sat silent for a long moment, staring into the flames. To Draco, the temperature of the room shot up to boiling. He was pretty sure he felt a drop of sweat fall down his temple, but ignored it.
“She chooses to walk this world alone,” Voldemort continued. “As do I. When you cannot have the one you want, you tend not to want anyone at all.” Coming out of his reflective contemplation, he added, “But you wouldn’t understand that yet now would you?”
Draco answered quickly, not wanting to reveal the truth. Of course he knew. He understood all too well.
“No,” he lied. “My experience tells me that women are blood-sucking leeches… users that have only wanted me for my money, my status, my last name, or my dashing good looks,” he said with a wicked smile. “They have no capacity to care about anyone but themselves and are far more trouble than they are worth.”
“I’ll drink to that as well.”
After much drinking and more discussion on Jean de La Fontaine’s many quotes and insight about life, destiny, fear, patience, time, and strength, they were both surprised at the thoughts and opinions that had been revealed. It brought amusement as well as understanding and much to their surprise… agreement.
It was the turning point that Draco sought after.
“With the exception of tonight, you are too quiet, Draco. But you are not a mindless creature like so many others. Intellectual conversation is most welcome here. Since we’ve talked so much about human nature and fear, I give you this advice. To overcome that which you fear most, one must do what we can to prevent it. And to prevent it, one must seek the knowledge of the Dark Arts and grasp all the power that you can. The higher your achievement, the more confidence you will gain, the more courageous you’ll become.”
Voldemort paused for a moment, now knowing why Draco came.
“Above all others, it is you who has the greatest potential to lead your generation. They will respect you. They will fear you. And they will do whatever you say. I want sound, intelligent, talented, powerful leaders. I do not wish you dead. Do you understand?”
As Draco stood, his head went down respectfully. He was drunk and feeling the full effects… and the last thing he wanted to do was say something stupid, so he said nothing. Instead, he raised his glass one last time as if to toast what the Dark Lord had just said and gulped down his last full drink.
He set the glass down with a thud and picked up the bottle of Firewhiskey. It still had plenty for the future, should he need it. And even though his legs felt like he was holding up the weight of the world, he managed to put one foot in front of the other and make his way back to his living quarters.
And as he left, Voldemort had one last Jean de La Fontaine quote milling around in his paranoid, inebriated head…
“People who make no noise are dangerous.”
Shamefully, I work at a snail’s pace. Writer’s block reared its ugly head again and caused me to re-write. First, he interrogated her parents, but I hated it, so I had to completely re-write that piece. I’m still not completely happy with it, but alas, the story must go on. I spent entirely too long it. Ugh! Sorry!
This next chapter planned is very near and dear to my heart. I’ve had these images in my head since day one and I finally get to share them with you. Imagine if you will, Christmas Eve; a black-hooded figure with a silver mask; a remorseful Death Eater at Westminster Abbey. It’s coming up next…
Hugs to all still reading this story. Thank you from my heart,
P.S. *78,600 reads and 316 have Favorited. Amazing! My hopes for this story were far exceeded long, long ago. I don’t know how to thank you!
News: I wrote a new one-shot for the Autumn holidays called “Blue Pumpkin.” It is very different than my normal writings as Molly tells a sad tale to one of her grandchildren. Check it out if you are interested.
And finally, Credits:
Yes, there really was a Jean de La Fontaine (French poet who lived 1621-1695) and many of his quotes are still around today.
Quote 1 is from Book X fable 14, reported in Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations 10th ed. (1919).
Quote 2 is from Book IV (1668) fable 1.
Quote 3 is from Book VIII (1678-1679) fable 23.
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