Chapter 8 : At The Burrow
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Dominique frowned at the dark circles that had appeared under her eyes over the past few weeks as a result of her lack of sleep. Picking up her wand, she quickly covered them under a concealment charm. Her gaze then drifted to the ugly scar on the side of her neck which her pale blue sleeveless midi failed to hide. She was about to murmur the concealment charm once again when a pair of strong, muscular arms wrapped around her waist and Teddy’s smiling face appeared next to hers in the mirror.
“You look beautiful,” he murmured softly, his breath nearly tickling her ear.
“Thank you,” she replied turning around in his arms. “You look quite dashing yourself.” She smiled, admiring her boyfriend in a tuxedo. Teddy grinned.
“Well, I would have been happy in a simple pair of wizard robes but you know your grandpa. He’d be thrilled to see us in Muggle wear.” Dominique chuckled, remembering the last time they’d visited him to find him wearing a colorful and somewhat mismatched muggle pants and shirt. “Besides, tonight is special.”
She raised an eyebrow at Teddy’s remark. “Special? Why?”
Teddy’s smile faltered slightly but he merely shrugged. “Well, uh, everyone’s going to be there, and stuff…”
Dominique nodded slowly, her thoughts resuming to the scar, as she once again turned away from Teddy towards the mirror. He seemed to have read her mind as he lightly traced it with his finger.
“I-I’ll conceal it with the charm,” she muttered, almost ashamed of it.
She blinked in surprise and met his eyes in the mirror. “Why not?”
Teddy turned her around and cupped her face in his hands.
“Because it’s a part of you now. And I don’t want you to hide any part of yours from me or anyone else. We all love you Dom regardless of that scar. I love you. And people who love you accept you for as you are.”
Dominique shook her head. “These are all philosophical things, Teddy. I don’t want unnecessary attention drawn to me at the dinner with everyone gawking at it. There’ll be enough of that already.”
“They’re your family. They want to be there for you. They want to help you. Please, let them.”
Teddy shushed her with a finger on her lips.
“No buts. We’re getting late, come on.”
Dominique rolled her eyes. She knew she could fight this out with Teddy but a part of her didn’t want to. It was afraid of even the smallest of things driving him away from her and that part finally won as she obliged with a sigh.
Five minutes later, the couple apparated on the garden path outside The Burrow and despite her discomfort and nervousness, Dominique smiled at the sight of the place. The house had a welcoming vibe which put her mind slightly at ease, probably because it reminded her of Nana Molly’s cookies and Grandpa Arthur’s anecdotes from her childhood.
As she walked with Teddy towards the front door, her eyes automatically drifted to the evening sky above. She shuddered slightly thinking about how the full moon that was going to transform her into a beast was merely one night away.
Closing her eyes briefly, she took a calming breath and tried to direct her mind elsewhere. It was no use dwelling on dark thoughts, especially not right now.
Teddy looked at her questioningly and she smiled at him reassuringly as he knocked on the door. Moments later, her sister’s beaming face appeared in front of them.
“Dom! Teddy! Come on in!” She said excitedly, hugging her sister and ushering them in.
Dominique hugged her back then fell into step beside Victoire.
“Is everyone here already?” she asked softly as she heard noises from the dining room.
“Yes, you two are the last. Mama thought you are not coming and was quite upset. And then we were all wondering if we should owl Teddy whether he is coming or not and then you two turned up together! Oh and you look gorgeous, Dom!” Victoire was gushing and Dominique knew she was anxious, probably concerned about her. Victoire only rambled like this when something was bothering her.
"You look stunning too, Vic. And by the way, I am fine. Seriously. So stop worrying, okay?”
Victoire flushed slightly before shaking her head. “I am not worrying,” she mumbled though she appeared to be quite relieved.
They didn’t get a chance to continue the conversation as Nana Molly and her mother surrounded them at that moment, fussing over Dominique and asking about her health. From the corner of her eye, she noticed Teddy leading Victoire away from everyone.
“Oh dear child, you look so pale! Come on, let me get some food into your system,” Nana Molly ushered her into one of the chairs. She was about to protest when she caught Aunt Hermione’s eye. Her expression told her to accept all the fretting, they were doing it for their satisfaction and not hers. So, she let Nana Molly and her mother smother her.
After a few minutes, when demand for more cookies had forced Nana Molly into the kitchen and Aunt Audrey had occupied her mother in some conversation about beauty tips, Dominique slowly made her way to her father who sat on the sofa with Grandpa Arthur, Uncle Harry, Uncle Ron, and Uncle Percy. They seemed to be in some deep discussion, but stopped as she greeted them.
“How’re you doing, Dom?” Bill asked her concernedly and she smiled at him.
“Great dad, all’s well.”
“We were all just talking about that horrible boss of yours. Harry thinks she has a very high chance of a long sentence in Azkaban as all the evidence clearly points at her.”
"Yeah, that cow is going to deserve what she gets, don’t you worry Dom!” Ron declared but Percy scowled at him, silently reprimanding him for his language. She chuckled, wondering if Uncle Percy knew the string of curses she almost uttered every day for some reason or another.
“Yeah well, the Ministry is in capable hands, and she is a criminal who’ll get her punishment. Let’s not stress you out now, dear. Come, sit with us.” Grandpa Arthur smiled at her and she sat across him.
"So, where’s Teddy?” Her father enquired and she shrugged.
“Last I saw him with Victoire, guess he’s been engaged in conversation with someone or the other by now.”
Bill nodded and then waved at someone behind her. She turned around to see Julia walking towards them and rushed forward to meet her.
“Julia! I didn’t know you were coming too!”
Julia hugged her best friend. “Of course I was coming silly. Mrs. Weasley invited me herself.”
“Great! I was afraid I’d be bored to death, especially since Teddy seems to have vanished somewhere.”
“Really? Where’s he? And what about all your cousins?”
“Well, most of them are still at Hogwarts. As for James, he’s probably out flying with Lorcan and Lysander, and I guess Uncle George is ‘supervising’ them. I heard Mr. and Mrs. Scamandar discussing it with Aunt Hermione and Aunt Ginny over the dining table.”
“Ah okay. Let’s go find Teddy and Victoire then.”
Julia and Dominique walked into the kitchen and found the two munching on some cookies. Ian, Victoire’s fiancé, seemed to have joined them. The three stopped talking instantly at the sight of them. Dominique frowned at the abrupt silence.
“What happened to you guys?”
“Nothing,” Teddy muttered quickly and she glanced at Ian and Victoire questioningly who shrugged. Shaking her head, she decided she’ll interrogate Teddy later.
“Ian! How’re you?”
“Hey! I am good, thanks. Congrats by the way, heard about Jones been taken away.”
“Yeah… thanks, I guess?”
Nana Molly bustled in at that moment and tutted at them.
“What are you doing here? Come on now, it’s meal time. Off to the garden! I have gotten everything arranged there!” She drove them out and they made their way to the garden where all her uncles and aunts were already seated around the magically enlarged table.
Almost the entire next hour was spent savoring the delicious dinner cooked by Nana Molly, punctuated with conversation here and there. The atmosphere was relaxed and Dominique would have said everything was just as usual had it not been for the subtle glances thrown her way occasionally from everyone, especially her aunts and her mother, as if they expected her to explode any moment.
“They’re just overly worried about you. The last time all of them saw you, with the exception of your mum, you were sitting motionless in your house and not saying a word. They’re bound to be anxious,” Teddy said in a low whisper as he’d apparently sensed her unease.
She nodded, her elbow brushing against his as she helped herself to dessert. “I know but it’s still kind of annoying. You’re right though, everyone here means well of me, and I should try and show them that I’m strong. If I break down, they are all going to freak out.”
“Well that’s one way to put it,” Teddy said with a chuckle. “Anyway, as long as you keep it together, and I know you will Dom, everyone will eventually realize that nothing is wrong. Things will just go back to normal.”
“I hope so,” she muttered under her breath.
“Dominique honey, more dessert?” Aunt Hermione suddenly asked her from across the table.
“Uh, no thanks, Aunt Hermione. It was delicious but I’m full,” she replied hurriedly, lest her empty plate be filled again.
“Okay then, come, let’s keep the dishes in the kitchen,” her aunt said sweetly. Dominique was a little confused as she knew perfectly well that they could simply wait until everyone was done before clearing away the dishes, and that too by magic. However, knowing that her aunt never said something without reason, she suspected that perhaps she wanted to talk to her alone. Sighing inwardly, she nodded and followed her aunt to the kitchen.
“Dominique, I wanted to talk to you about something,” The older brunette said softly as the two of them were alone in the kitchen.
“I guessed as much Aunt Hermione. But before you say anything, I want to assure you, I am fine. Seriously, I am not going to break down crying or start screaming or go into shock again. That phase has passed. I’ve accepted my fate. Yes, I am a little scared, but I am not going to-”
“I know dear. I know you’re strong. I have faith in you, we all do. We know you’ll get through this. But that’s not what I wanted to speak to you about,” her aunt cut her off and Dominique looked at her confusedly. “You know the Full Moon is the day after tomorrow right?”
“Yes, I’m aware… just one night away,” she replied, almost bitterly.
“So, in that case, I am sure you must have thought about some preparations?” Hermione sighed as Dominique gave her a puzzled look.
“Seriously, am I the only one that plans ahead?” she muttered to herself and Dominique almost chuckled. “Anyhow, the point right now is that you need a safe place for the night. You can’t possibly spend it in your house which is in the middle of a residential area – of course I know you won’t harm anyone dear – but the noise and stuff – it’s just better to be… to be…”
“-isolated,” Dominique finished the sentence for her aunt who seemed to have trouble saying it. Hermione nodded hesitantly. Dominique wondered how she hadn’t thought of all this before. She had been so busy finding her culprit and then agonizing over the looming full moon, such ‘preparations’ had entirely skipped her mind.
“I can tell that the idea hadn’t entered your mind before this, but it’s okay. After all, what is family for?” she smiled faintly before continuing, “Besides a safe place, you’ll also need the wolfsbane potion of course.”
“The- The wolfsbane potion? But how? I mean… Uncle Harry just applied for it in the Ministry on my behalf only a few weeks before, and I’ve heard the procedure for acquiring it takes months. I-I thought I’d have to make do without it.”
“Dear me, no wonder you’ve been so stressed! You thought you’d have to make do without the potion! Nonsense. There’s no way I’m letting you go through that hell.”
“But what can you do Aunt Hermione? I know you work in the Ministry and all, but I don’t think even then-”
“Some things, my dear, we have to take in our hands. When the batch from the ministry comes, it will come. But until then, I’ll have to provide you with the solution.” Dominique’s eyes widened and she stared at her aunt in awe who was beaming, seemingly proud of herself.
“But, won’t that be like, illegal or something?”
“Let’s just say that Voldemort wouldn’t have died if we had all stayed true to rules and laws.”
Dominique startled Hermione then by hugging her fiercely.
“Thank you, Aunt. You’re-you’re the best! I can’t believe you’re going to brew the potion for me!” she almost squealed excitedly and Hermione hushed her.
“Now, don’t create a racket out of it. And I am not going to brew it – it takes time to brew it for Merlin’s sake – it’s already ready. I am going to give you a vial tonight okay, after everyone has left.”
“Why? Don’t they all know?”
“Well, you can tell Teddy if you want but as of now, the less people know, the better. I know they’re all family but Arthur might not approve. And Merlin knows who is lurking around the area – if word gets out we’ll be in trouble.”
Dominique nodded and her aunt smiled at her encouragingly. “You’ll get through this alright, Dominique. You will be fine.”
Before she could respond, Nana Molly and Aunt Audrey came in the kitchen and she heard everyone else making their way back into the house as well.
“Now, what are you two chatting about here?” Aunt Audrey asked her and as Hermione was answering her, Dominique slipped out, a bubble of hope rising in her chest.
“Dom! There you are, we’ve been looking all over for you. Don’t tell me you were in the blasted kitchen all this time!” Victoire rushed to her sister. “Teddy’s waiting for you in the garden, go!”
Dominique looked at her wondering what all this was about when Ian joined them.
“Now, don’t keep a man waiting Dom. Go!”
“But what for? What’s going on?”
Victoire rolled her eyes. “You’ll find out when you go!” She was grinning from ear to ear and Dominique shook her head knowing she wouldn’t be able to get out anything from either of them anymore. So, she walked out to the garden once again and saw Teddy standing near a flower bed.
“Teddy! What’s up? Victoire sent me out here saying-” Dominique started to ask but as Teddy turned around, something about his expression cut her off. There was a different kind of intensity in his eyes, his face displaying an emotion that she seemed unable to name.
As if in slow motion, Teddy bent down on the damp grass on one knee and took Dominique’s left hand in his. He then opened his other palm to reveal an open box in which sat a glittering ring with a diamond in the center and its band studded with tiny sapphires the color of her eyes. She suddenly realized what he was doing and drew in a sharp breath.
“Dom, this is the very garden where we’ve grown up playing together; the garden where we first kissed, although unexpectedly, and where I first realized that I felt something for you that was more than friendship. Today, I love you so much that I can’t bear the thought of parting with you ever again. And so, I want to take our beautiful relationship one step further in this very garden,” Teddy took in a small breath as he stared into his girlfriend’s eyes which were shining with tears and continued. “Dominique Weasley, will you please-”
He stopped as Dominique kept her finger on his lips, shaking her head. The tears were now flowing down her cheeks and Teddy stared at her, stunned.
“N-no. Don’t do this Teddy. Please. No.”
A/N: I am so sorry it took me so long to post this chapter but I had a bad case of Writer's Block and RL was keeping me super busy! Anyway, if you're still reading this story, thank you. Please let me know what you thought of this chapter! I am, as always, anxious to know your thoughts. Any constructive criticism is welcome too. So are speculations and theories xD
I will try to post the next chapter as soon as possible. Thank you for reading and reviewing.
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