Journey to the Past
Dominique could not lie - she was a bit nervous speaking with her aunt that morning. After seeing the memory and talking to other family members about her, she felt as though she treading into uncharted territory. Discussing her past that had long been hidden from most of the family, even Iris' own children.
But if they were going to understand who they were and what they could do - and what this meant for the future of the wizarding world - it needed to be done.
Dominique straightened her robes and skirt then stepped into the fireplace in her and Molly's apartment, shouting her aunt's address. When she stepped out of the fireplace in the living room of the elder Woods' giant country house, it was empty, though she could smell coffee.
"In here!" she heard Iris yell from the kitchen. Dominique turned and walked out of the living room, through the hall and into the giant kitchen. "Figured you'd might like some coffee," Iris said from where she stood at the pot. She was dressed casually in a pair of white crop pants and a loose gray blouse, her still vibrant red curls pulled back into a low ponytail, no doubt to keep it out of the way while she worked at her potions for the shop. She looked much younger than her 51 years. For a moment, Dominique wondered if this was how Harry's mother Lily would have looked now if she survived.
"That sounds wonderful," Dominique said with a smile. "I didn't get a chance to have any this morning, I was in such a rush."
"Figured as much. You lot at the Ministry are always in a hurry," Iris said with a smile, holding out a steaming mug. Dominique accepted it.
"Where's Uncle Oliver?" Dom asked, not quite used to be alone with her aunt. Her parents had been close to her and her husband, but she had never been too terribly close to the Woods herself - due in large part to the triplets enjoying her and Molly as frequent prank victims at school. She realized this was probably the first time she had ever been alone with Iris.
"Off to the field to plot out the summer practice schedule," Iris said, walking passed Dominique. "Let's chat in the living room. It's more comfortable." Dominique followed her and they both sat on the large comfy sofa.
"See the triplets talked you into a television too," Dominique said, glancing up at the monstrosity on the wall above the fireplace. Iris chuckled.
"It was my birthday present from them," she said. "Took some time, but Oliver's gotten used to it. Spends a lot of time watching football."
"Why am I not surprised that Uncle Oliver took to watching sports?" Dominique said with a slight roll of her eyes.
"I wasn't either," Iris replied. "But gives the boys and their father something more to talk about than quidditch." Dominique nodded.
"Thanks for agreeing to speak with me today," she asked, a bit unsure how to ease into the conversation.
"Don't even think about it. You're family. And whatever this is, it seems to be centered around me, Jamie and Daisy," she said, furrowing her brow slightly. Dominique nodded.
"I suppose it's best to just get into. If there's anything you don't want to talk about, just let me know," she said, quickly. Iris smiled sadly.
"At this point it's time to get it all out in the open. If it'll help," she said with a sigh. "Suppose some secrets aren't meant to be kept for too long."
"I know the most of it - your gifts started showing a different times, some from birth, some later," Dominique started. Iris nodded.
"I orbed for the first time when I was 9. I wasn't really thinking of a specific place, I just… wanted to be somewhere safe. And it was like… the magic took over. The next thing I knew, I was in an alley far away from Godric's Hollow," she said.
"Was it like that other times?" Dominique asked. "Like… the magic just took over?"
"Yes… I remember the first time I created a shield - or I suppose that's what it was. To be honest, back then when I couldn't control it, I would often go into a sort of trance. And I can't really recall anything that happened," she said. "I can show you, if you like."
Dominique nodded and sat up.
"Do you… need to hold my hand or something?" she asked. Iris laughed softly and shook her head.
"No, just relax," she said. Dominique took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
Suddenly, she was no longer sitting in the Woods' living room but a dark alley in Diagon Alley. Young Iris was standing up against a wall shivering as tears streamed down her face. She looked exactly like she had in the Hall of Prophecy. Dominique gathered that this must be right after she left.
"'Ello there, little girl. What you doin' here alone?" a voice said. Iris looked to her right, eyes widening as a menacing man stood there, blocking her way out. Iris swallowed and looked down at her hands, her expression clearly showing that she didn't know what was going on.
"Please, don't come any closer," she said, looking back up at the man. She grimaced as though she felt a flash of pain. The man stepped closer.
"Are you alright, m'dear?" he asked, though the tone of his voice betrayed the fact that he wasn't interested in Iris' well being.
"Please, I beg you, just leave," Iris said, panting slightly, the panic clear in her voice. Her hands began to shake. "Something's happening." An odd look came over the man's face.
"It's alright, I won't hurt you," he said, reaching out and grabbing her arm.
"No! Don't!" she shouted. Suddenly, her entire body went rigid as her eyes flashed. There was a bright flash of light, one so bright that Dominique had to cover her eyes. She looked around and noticed that several boxes in the alley were thrown back. She looked back over at Iris. She was no longer rigid, but now stood shaking as she looked down at the man who was strewn on the dirty ground of the alley, his eyes closed.
"What… what have I done?" Iris whispered, panic in her voice. She looked around the alley frantically and then disappeared.
Dominique blinked her eyes as she found herself back in the living room, Iris looking at her with a furrowed brow.
"Did you… was he dead?" she asked softly. Iris shrugged.
"I don't know… I obviously didn't stay long enough to find out," she said, looking down at her coffee mug. "There was another time that I lost it at Hogwarts. I don't remember what happened exactly, but… Harry could tell you. Or maybe show you. He was there and saw it all. He said I went into a trance and kept repeating 'He must be protected.'"
"That doesn't happen anymore, does it?" Dominique asked.
"Thank god, no," Iris said, finally looking up at her. "Once I gained control of it, I don't have anymore episodes where it tries to take over."
"You kept looking at your hands and it seemed there was… a pain… of sorts…"
"Yes… my hands started feeling unnaturally warm. And there was a shock that went through my body. It started in the mark on my back," Iris explained. "When it would start… it would start from my back and then spread out… it felt… like water coming to a boil."
The two sat in silence a moment, collecting their thoughts.
"Why do you think it showed up when it did?" Dominique asked. "Why some of the abilities you had from birth and others came later?" Iris shrugged.
"I'm not sure. I wish I knew. And I wish I had gotten some of them sooner," she said, frowning at her coffee mug again. Dominique remembered the red stripe she saw on Iris' neck in the first memory. Part of her wanted to ask, but the other was worried she would be treading onto ground she shouldn't.
"I was whipped by my master a few weeks before that incident took place. The wounds were still healing," Iris said softly, reading Dominique's mind. The younger woman gulped.
"Was it terribly hard for you?" she asked softly.
"Yes, I suppose it was," Iris said. "During that time… All I knew is that I couldn't be me - Iris. I was, someone else. And I did that for so long, I thought I was forgetting who I was… They - the people who hurt me - they didn't know. It makes my blood curl to think what they would have done if they found out."
"How do you mean?" Dominique asked. Iris looked up at her.
"I was at Malfoy Manor for two years. Lucius Malfoy was the one who whipped me," she said. "It wasn't until right before I ran away that I knew he was a Death Eater, but… if I hadn't been in disguise or if he had figured out… Or even if more of my gifts had shown up at the wrong time… Things would have gone a lot differently.
"But… they didn't and I escaped. And then I was on my own for 10 years in the muggle world. I mostly kept to myself - though I did make a few friends. I practiced when I could, learned to… well, I'm not sure if I taught myself or if it just came to me, but I managed to figure out how to use my magic. I started feeling Harry and looking out for him when I could - always from the shadows, mind you - and then… Dumbledore found me."
Dominique studied her aunt for a moment, having difficulty reconciling what she saw in her memories and the woman she had known growing up. She was always warm, smiling. Taking in strays, as she called it. Cooking large, fantastic feasts and trading jabs with Uncle George. Creating amazing things for the shop she helped him run. It was hard to imagine her as a scared, frantic young girl who didn't understand what was happening to her.
"I know… I seem so different now," Iris said, smiling slightly. "I scarce believe who I was either."
"How did you get control of it?" Dominique asked.
"I'm not sure. I tried to use too much of it too soon and it put me in a coma for over a year," she said. "I woke up during the Battle of Hogwarts."
"Would you mind too terribly if you showed me?" Dominique asked. "I'm just… I want to better understand what it is you can do." Iris nodded.
"Just… are you sure?" she asked. Dominique took a deep breath.
Suddenly, Dominique was there in Hogwarts over 20 years ago. She saw Iris talking to Harry, who looked much younger than Dominique was. She was shocked. She knew he was only 17 at the time, but seeing it was something else.
Then there was waiting with Hermione and Ron - both so young as well. Harry's death. The moment Iris realized he was still alive. Everyone pouring out of the castle. The final fight. Dominique stood watching everything play out, her mouth hanging open as shield after shield appeared, protecting so many. Iris - older now - battling with Death Eaters while simultaneously shielding everyone in the courtyard. Out of the corner of her eye, Dominique caught glimpses of her own parents fighting. But she couldn't look away from Iris.
It was equal parts amazing and terrifying watching her, her long red curls flying around her. Her green eyes glowing unnaturally. It was like no magic Dominique had ever seen. The ferocious look on her face as she squared off with one tall, blonde Death Eater was deadly serious.
"You can't save everyone, Iris," the man called out.
"Watch me," she said.
"Like you tried to save Wood? You weren't here earlier to save him!" the man called back. A look of panic came over Iris' face, but was quickly replaced with one of determination. Dominique knew that her uncle had survived - he was elsewhere in the castle at that moment, but she didn't know where. However, she couldn't imagine what Iris must have gone through in that moment, thinking he was dead.
"Wrong move," Iris said. She then closed her eyes and took a deep breath. As she exhaled, it was like a wind rushed out from her - power coming from her very being. It hit the man, turning him to stone and then blasting him to bits.
Dominique blinked and she was back in the living room. Birds were chirping just outside the window. It was such a change from the scenes she had just seen that it took a bit for her to acclimate.
"How did you get through all that? How did any of you?" Dominique asked, looking up at her aunt, tears in her eyes. Hearing the stories were one thing - seeing it was something completely different. She decided right then and there she was going to her parents' house that night and hugging both of them.
"Time," Iris said, a sad smile on her face. "And the hope that we would never have to go through something like that again. That our children wouldn't face the horrors that we did." She wiped away a lone tear than fell down her cheek. "I have all this power and… I somehow can't save them from that."
Dominique reached out and took her aunt's hand.
"We will find out what all this means. And we will stop it from happening," she said seriously. Iris looked at her, her eyes bright with unshed tears.
"I hope so," she said softly. "God, I hope so."
Dominique sat in Teddy's office, chewing her bottom lip as she mentally went over everything she had learned from her aunt that morning. She wanted to know more, but felt like she could only take so much at a time. She left, giving her aunt a tight hug and then promising to come back next week - hopefully with something to share that she had found.
She then went to the Ministry and straight to Teddy's office rather than the archives, begging him to give her about 30 minutes alone to process what she had learned and seen. He did so without question, noting her pale pallor. She had seen Chris come in and start to make for the office, though Teddy stopped him thankfully.
A knock on the door drew Dominique from her thoughts. She looked up and saw Molly and Teddy peering at her through the glass, their faces silently questioning if they could come in. She nodded.
"How did it go?" Molly asked. "Did you learn anything that might help us?" Dominique sighed.
"I saw quite a lot. How it helps us, I'm still not sure," she said, her brow furrowed.
"What did you talk about?" Teddy asked.
"How her gifts showed up… the war," Dominique said. "She showed me her memories…"
"Oh dear," Molly said as she moved over and sat in the chair in front of Teddy's desk. "How was that?"
"Difficult," Dominique said, staring into the space in front of her. "I never realized how young Uncle Harry, Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron were. How young they all were. Aunt Iris couldn't have been but a couple years older than us."
"She showed you her memories from the battle?" Teddy asked. Dominique nodded, still not looking up at them.
"I wanted to see how her magic worked. So she showed me… it was… I've never seen anything like it," she said. "With us, you have to… wave a wand a certain way… say an incantation… but with her… it was like it… flowed out from her very being. Not so much magic was in her… she was pure magic." She looked up at both of them. "It was terrible, but wonderful all at the same time."
Molly and Teddy stared at her, their faces grim.
"What if that happens again? A war? It was… it was terrible to see… I don't want want to live it. I don't want our parents to live it again," Dominique said, tears starting to fill her eyes. "We must stop this - whatever it is."
"Don't worry, Dom," Teddy said, his face set in steely determination. "We will."
"What's this? Did I miss your owl?" Fleur said when Dominique walked into the kitchen at Shell Cottage that night. Dominique stared at her mother a moment. She was older, her face finally giving in to time with a few delicate wrinkles around her eyes. Her hair was still blonde and her eyes bright. Flashes of her younger self flew in Dominique's mind, still reeling from the images Iris had showed her earlier that day.
She rushed over and hugged her mother fiercely, tears already springing in her eyes.
"Dominique, what is wrong?" she asked. She pulled away and searched her youngest daughter's face. "Did something happen at work today?" Dominique sniffled slightly.
"Did I hear you say Dom is here?" a voice said. Dominique looked over as her father walked into the room. He was still tall, still ruggedly handsome with his cheek scarred. His hair still long though peppered with gray. Dominique whimpered and then ran over to him, throwing herself into his arms. He looked over at his wife, silently asking her what was wrong. Fleur just shrugged.
"Dom? What's gotten into you?" Bill asked, looking down at his daughter as she struggled to stem the tears. She looked up at him.
"I visited with Aunt Iris this morning and she showed me… the battle, and, and… All I could think about was getting here to hug you both," she said before burying her face in her father's chest. Bill chuckled as he rubbed her back.
"Dom, that was a long time ago," he said softly. "And as you can see, we both survived."
"I know, but seeing it…" she sobbed. Bill shared a look with his wife, who walked over. "I know that I can't let that happen again. I don't want us to lose anyone else in our family."
"Oh, Dominique, we won't," Fleur said soothingly. "We are more prepared this time. Whatever is coming, we will face it and we will win." Dominique let go over her father and looked over at her mother. She wiped at her face.
"You're right," she said, calming down. "Of course we will… we have Iris, Daisy and Jamie this time." She looked up at her father. "I saw what Aunt Iris did. If we have all three of them… I don't see how any foe could stand a chance."
"That was a quick about face," her father commented with a smile. "Since you're here, care to join us for dinner?" Dominique grinned.
"I'd love to."
And for the first time since Saving Iris, I had to sit down and really plot out what's up with Iris and her advanced abilities. I've finally got that sorted - I think - for a later chapter. But I've liked having to go back and write about some aspects of her life before Dumbledore. Thought about maybe doing a short prequel or something. Just to show the contrast and how far she has come from then...
I'm really, really enjoying writing this. I get to really dig into some characters who have been on the sidelines while exploring new sides of old favorites. Been doing research to flesh out some parts of the plot. And got to put all that research I did into Greek mythology and Athena for my original novel to good use.
I'm really excited to get to the mid to later chapters when things start picking up. There's definitely some conflict and angst and drama. But also some laughs and fluff here and there. I hope you all are enjoying! Thanks for reading!