You travelled. With a nothing but a small backpack and an envelope with money that you had saved from your small part-time job in the bookstore.
In the beginning, the apparition had caused you difficulties, because it had been something that you rarely were allowed to do, back then in America. You simply had gotten out of practice, because even here in England, Draco was usually the one who insisted on doing it. Sometimes you ended up with small cuts, sometimes you splinched. It was painful but it was worth it, really.
The beginning of your journey was London. The heart of England, pulsing with life and so much technology. You visited Diagon Alley, walked through the streets along with hundreds of other wizards and witches – were one of them. Completely anonymous, ordinary and most of all – free. Walked along the Thames, with a steaming hot cup of coffee in your hands and a scarf tightly wrapped around your neck while the autumn wind whirled up the scattered leaves on the ground. Playing children and the beeping of taxis in the distant. How magical the Nomaj world was, in its own way. The man with the starlight hair and silver eyes was forgotten, his image locked away in a drawer in your heart.
Ethereal [adj] - extremely delicate light, not of this world
Galway was street music and festivals, accompanied by the salty smell of the sea. And water, water, water everywhere. You were part of morning markets, fishers offering freshly caught fish and craftsman threading your name into silver. In the evenings, the city would shine brightly in its lights, music was coming from local pubs and you could hear laughter and happiness. You tried Guinness, a famous Irish beer that tasted the way it looked. You wandered along the Cliffs of Moher, letting the wind playfully caress your hair as your breath hitched; the view was overwhelming... Somewhere, you could hear the distant cries of seagulls.
Aoibhneas [noun] – bliss, delight filling our senses; conjured by external things such as music, scenery (…)
Paris, the city of love, the city of art. Boulangeries filled with colourful sweets and luxurious pastries. The sticky sweet smell of freshly baked macarons would fill the streets when the door to another shop was open. You could the see the chefs in their white attire working with such precise movements, creating pieces of art for your taste buds.
Water lilies in wild colours, sprayed and splashed, painted in quick but proper strokes. Le Musée Marmottan. Claude Monet, the impressionist that painted and painted; even though blindness was in grasp. You strolled in that circular museum, letting these huge paintings impress and inspire you as the natural sunlight highlighted these vibrant colours in a breathtaking way. Muggles truly were impressive even if they didn’t possess any magic abilities. But here, in Paris, you believed they did.
Flâneur [noun] – a person who strolls aimlessly, simply wandering the streets and soaking the city
Aizu, Tokyo, Kyoto. Following the thread of history of an ancient country, you let yourself being drawn into a culture that was so different from what you’ve known. Of Samurais and Geishas. The melodious language, just as sweet and quiet like the eastern languages of countries in the oriental sun that you had visited weeks before. Pink cherry blossom petals softly raining, snowing over you – tangling with your hair in a clumsy waltz that took you back to a country, to a place that was imprinted with rain and grumpy blonde men.
Valiant men that were defending their beliefs as the Japan was on the verge of an evolution. You wore a kimono, feeling the expensive silk on your skin as the kind woman helped you into the heavy material. They took a photo of that beautiful stranger. You tried the freshly brewed green tea, discovering the different, distinct tastes of the bitter beverage. What was the way of Bushido?
物の哀れ [Mononoaware] – the pathos of things, the awareness of all things and the gentle sadness and wistfulness at their passing
All over the world, you talked to the natives and it didn’t matter whether it was in wild, clumsy gestures or thick accented English. It just wasn’t important because you were able to learn, to discover and explore parts of the world that you had only known from the pictures in the books. Whether it was about Greek gods or the secret corners of the Taj Mahal, you were able to get a taste of what different cultures were, how diverse the world was. Saw the good and the bad, the happiness and the suffering.
Countless photos were taken; many of them would later be printed and sealed in a thick photo album. They were beautiful, yet they didn’t do any justice for all the magnificent places that you had been to. No technical device would ever be able to capture the real beauty of the world when it was awake, pulsing with the sounds of chirping birds and rustling leaves.
You had just gained your long-desired freedom, so why was it that something was amiss?
All along, while you were collecting all of these pieces of experience, something was not there, something important. You couldn’t quite figure out why, why you still felt incomplete while travelling. It wasn’t until you were in Paris when you figured out what exactly you had been unconsciously searching for. You had been looking at a particularly famous painting of Monet and you had turned around with a smile on your lips and a mocking phrase, half expecting him to be there. And your breath hitched, drawing all the air out of your lungs when the realization washed over with an impact of a tsunami.
You couldn’t possibly miss him. He had uttered words of utmost cruelty, had insulted and humiliated you in the worst way that could happen. There was no way that you were missing him.
No, no, no.
Deciding to ignore the odd feelings of incompleteness, you didn’t stop your plans. Yet, your eyes would scan for the light blonde hair in the crowd; your hand would pick up things that you just knew he’d liked. There were spots that you wanted to show him; places to go that he’d be interested in visiting.
Your heart skipped.
By all means, you couldn’t go back. He had divorced you; had stripped you of the home that never was your home. Even now you could still feel the coldness of his expression; could still hear the disgust in his voice as he demanded you to sign the papers. Even if you wanted to, it was simply impossible to return. Why should you miss something that you never really had? Why consider going back to a man who loathed you, when you could have freedom? Have the magnificent view of whole China?
Your heart, your heart was heavy.
But your resolve was strong.
You found yourself standing at the doorstep of the building, months later – not knowing whether this decision should deject you. As soon as you walked through the small garden in front of the house, the distinct smell of flowers was filling your nose and you briefly closed your eyes to give yourself this moment. This moment of strange familiarity and comfort. Of coming home. Except that you had been thrown out of it.
You opened the door with an enchanted key and entered. Weird, how the locks were still the same.
So many memories were already flooding your mind.
Stepping over the threshold for the first time, his broad back right in front of you.
Today, the house was in complete silence. You couldn’t hear the rattling of pans and pots, or the sizzling meat that was being fried in hot oil. Or Loony’s squeaky voice as she hummed while cooking.
Upstairs there were no noises either, you noticed while walking past the rooms.
There was the smell of the old books in the library. Reading Shakespeare out loud in a ridiculous voice. The sound of deep laughter and cold fingers casually brushing yours when taking the book out of your hands. The broomsticks hanging in the display and just the thought of it did already swirl your hair like the wind always did.
Your room was still the same. A bit dustier than usual but the vase with the flowers was still on the window-sill, carrying now dried, faded roses. You moved towards the window, glancing outside in hope of spotting the almost white shock of hair. Yet, at the same time, you weren’t ready; your heart wasn’t – at least. It was thumping loudly in your chest, seeming to burst out of your ribcage at any moment. You wanted to see him, even if you weren’t welcome. Just a glimpse was enough.
You remembered thunderstorms and heavy rains. Waltzes. Steaming hot coffee and tea. Burning kisses trailing over your cold skin. Thin lips smiling against your neck. Heated skin grazing yours, entangled with the sheets of your bed.
“Why are you here?”
His presence affected you immediately, sending ripples over your spine as you turned around to face your former husband.
“I’m…I can leave immediately if you want.”
Draco was just as handsome as ever, even though he seemed skinnier than your memories. The high cheekbones seemed to stand out even more than before. Ash eyes were scrutinizing you thoroughly, trying to read you like an open book. But just like months ago this woman – you - were a mystery to him.
“I am asking you, why are you here?”
Unreadable. Reserved. And most of all, confusing.
He thought of all the letters that he started to write but threw away, not knowing how to explain all the things that were going on deep inside him. They were all unfinished and raw, incoherent chains of explanation and clumsily formulated sentences. He thought of the nights where he missed you so much, he was convinced his heart was going to burst. And here you were and the blonde hid the fact that your arrival hit him more than he had ever pictured in his countless visions. Draco Malfoy was a gifted actor.
You moved slightly, shifting your weight into a more comfortable position.
“When I was in Wales, shortly before I came back to here, I spoke to an old Welsh lady.” There was a short pause and you averted your eyes, not able to stand his intense gaze. They were burning holes in your very soul and you felt a bit uncomfortable.
You didn’t care if he hated you. The only thing that mattered was that you loved him and this was something that you needed to tell him in order to be able to move on.
“And she saw right through me. We talked. About my journeys and about what I have seen so far. She asked me whether I was happy,” you brushed a strand of hair behind your ear and Draco noticed that your fingers were shaking. Suddenly, you seemed awfully unsure and small. Tired, worn out even. The young Malfoy didn’t dare to interrupt you, although he found that this story wasn’t really the answer to his question.
“I told her that I wasn’t and she just smiled with so much knowledge and wisdom in her eyes,” you inhaled and exhaled loudly, “Gosh, I felt like she was seeing right through me.”
Draco opened his mouth in reply without intending to say anything. He didn’t know why you were telling him this; didn’t understand what your intention was. All he knew, was that inside him, there was uproar. Fire and chaos; in a circus with you as the main attraction.
And you were juggling with his heart.
“I came to tell you, Hiraeth, Draco,” your mouth was dry when you spoke.
“It’s when you’re homesick for a home that you can’t return to, or that never was.”
It was an unspoken love declaration. He could see it in your eyes.
“I should get going,” your voice was hoarse and you tugged a strand of your hair behind your ear. Draco was still looking at you, his expression unchanging and motionless and it was so uncomfortable and hurting – you couldn’t stand it. Just as you were about to walk towards the door, bracing yourself to walk past him with eyes averted to the ground, he spoke up.
“You always speak in riddles, _______” he addressed you with your maiden name, his lips curling in a mocking way when you looked up. Your heart fluttered. Leaving his spot at the doorframe, he walked closer to you until you had to look up to see his pretty face. Shaking fingers were touching your cheeks, caressing the corner of your lips. You had to try your hardest not to close lean into his touch.
“I missed you, Draco.” Your voice had gone all quiet, insecurity shone in your eyes that held unshed tears. I love you.
His eyes resembled the bright stars in the night sky.
“Won’t you kiss your husband?” his voice remained deep and smooth as he smiled down at you in suffering happiness.
“I haven’t submitted the papers yet.”
“It’s been more than half of a year, Draco.” He sheepishly looked aside, his mouth moving as he chewed on his lips.
“I was hoping that you’d come back to me,” he muttered under his breath, causing you to let out a ragged laughter. His anthracite eyes widened slightly; he hadn’t heard your laughs for so long and they were plucking on his heartstrings in a painful kind of way, impossible to bear. But how long was he able to listen to your voice before you’d disappear from his grasps again?
“How were you so sure that I’d come?” returning his gesture, you put one hand on his cheek, letting your thumb wander over his skin.
“I wasn’t. I was just desperate,” he placed his pale hand over yours, slightly leaning into your touch. Draco briefly closed his eyes and then opened them again. They bore the colours of moon and marble. But today, they weren’t as cold as they used to be. No, today they were full of yearning.
“Will you stay?” And there was so much hope in his voice; in the way, his lips slightly curled yet haltered just before it could become a smile. As if they were unsure, indecisive.
“Pursue your happiness,” the words of your sister suddenly came up in your mind.
You softly kissed his lips and then leaned against his forehead, lovingly gazing into his eyes. Draco’s heart was full, so full, it could burst. You were back, even though he had done terrible things to chase you away. He didn’t know a single touch of yours could leave him as breathless as he was now.
Draco had always been greedy; and he once again confirmed it, as he leaned down to capture your lips once more.
“Answer enough, Malfoy?”
“You always speak in riddles, Mrs. Malfoy,” Draco repeated but just like before, it sounded gentle.
“Where are you going?” His strong arm protectively curled around your waist as if he was afraid that you weren’t going to come back. Before you knew it, you were pulled back to the bed. His warm breath brushed over your cheek when he hovered over you.
“I need to-“
“What do you need? I’ll get it. Or I let Loony bring it.” Then again Loony wasn’t even here, Draco remembered. But he wouldn’t want you to get up.
“Draco…uhm, I actually just need to go to the bathroom,” you chuckled, slightly embarrassed.
“Oh.” He made, a little embarrassed as well, blinking slightly before his grip weakened. He buried his face in his hands when you left, slapping himself for his clinginess. It was amazing and cringe-worthy at the same time and Draco never imagined himself to be that time of man.
“Speaking of Loony, where is she? I haven’t seen her when I entered,” you slid back under the covers and back into Draco’s arms. He wasn’t ready to let you go yet and you weren’t ready to go.
“I forgot she isn’t here. I sent her to visit her family at mother’s and father’s place.”
“Why?” you propped yourself up so you could rest your head on his chest. Draco’s long fingers tangled in your hair and conjured goosebumps on your arms when occasionally brushing your neck.
“I needed some time for myself. Couldn’t stand her complaints about you not being here.”
You took your time to imprint his aristocratic features while he was talking. Half a year had passed and you had been walking around places, miles away from where he was, with only a blurry image of him in your heart.
Before you could ask any further, he opened his mouth to demand: “Give me your left hand.”
The blonde softly took your hand in his larger one, sliding your wedding ring back to its place. He had been carrying your ring around, wherever he went, even though he had never actually taken it out. But now there was no need to carry it when its true owner was here.
“Now it’s back to where it belongs,” he just said, before kissing the ring finger and then leaning in to whisper something in your ear.
He wasn’t the type to say it often. But once, just once, Draco had considered it best to tell you.