The candles flicker and sputter in the warm breeze as the waves lap onto the shore, leaving frothy fans of lacy foam as they recede. I glance around, making sure that there aren’t any Muggles (or anyone for that matter) on this crescent-shaped, sheltered area of the beach and then bend down and enchant the candles so that they won’t blow out. It’s a little spell that Oliver showed me.
I wanted to do something special for Padma. After everything that happened in the labyrinth
, the excitement of Lav and Oliver’s wedding
, and celebrating with friends, I thought we needed some time alone. In particular, time spent not talking about Horcruxes, the Order, Lucius, or worrying about what’s going on in England right now.
Padma has a vague impression that Snape was somehow there when the Horcrux was destroyed
by Hera’s phantoms. I can’t say either way as I don’t remember what happened, but as time passes she seems to grow increasingly unsure of what exactly transpired. I believe her, but I can’t reason out why or how Snape could be there – we never saw him with the other Death Eaters. In fact, nobody’s seen or heard of him since he disappeared all those years ago. The last time I ever laid eyes on him was when he and Draco were fleeing Hogwarts the night
Dumbledore was murdered. Furthermore, it makes no sense to me that if
he was there, why he’d just stand by and let his fellow comrade, Mulciber, be turned into a phantom (not that he didn’t deserve it). But I shouldn’t even attempt to understand the inner workings of the criminal mind – I’ve seen enough to know that it’s a dark and twisted place.Let it go. It’s over. Finally,
a small voice repeats again.
It is over. My father’s notebook
is destroyed along with all of his DoM research
, including the proper Horcrux-bonding ritual
. The two remaining ancient Horcruxes are gone. And now Lucius can’t get his hands on any of it.
I pause and gaze out at the rows of rolling waves emerging out of the flat pane of deep water caressing the horizon. So many things have changed this past year; it’s hard to believe that it’s all been real: reconnecting with long old friends like Lavender and Parvati who I thought I’d lost forever; finding new friendships with Justin, Oliver, Neville, Susan, Ernie, and crazy Luna; overcoming past misunderstandings with Ron; meeting Padma.
Smiling, I let her name run through my head. Padma.
Her name means lotus
in Sanskrit. The lotus flower is a strong symbol of triumph and reawakening. The flower rises out of the muddy bottom of relatively stagnant water and slowly fights its way to the surface where it blooms and flourishes into something beautiful. I think there couldn’t be a more appropriate name for her especially after everything she’s been through this past year with Diego and then our relationship.
I suppose that this year has been a reawakening for me as well: returning
to the wizarding world, rediscovering magic
, finally letting the past rest, finding Padma. All of those things don’t seem as insignificant when lined up next to each other.
Ever since I stopped working at the Ministry, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I’m ready to start back on the path that I left after Zara’s death. I’ve been looking casually into art schools. I’ve mentioned this in passing to Padma, but she doesn’t know that from Hope’s prompting, I put in an application to a Magical Art Institute in Paris at the last minute and got my acceptance owl this morning – the heavy parchment is still in my pocket. To be honest, I was flabbergasted because I really didn’t expect to get accepted. It was such an unlikely scenario that I had filed it away in the back of my head and then promptly forgot about it with all of the recent drama.
The windows of villa that Padma and I have rented for the next couple of weeks glow in the growing twilight. From where I stand, it’s framed between the boughs of a couple of fig trees and looks like something out of a fairy tale. Padma’s shadow passes in front of one of the windows and then she appears at the front door. The breeze is running through her hair. She’s puts her hand up to her forehead and begins to scan the beach below. It feels like home.Home. Funny how I could be thousands of miles away from home, yet it feels like I’m there. Things just seem so much more real and focused when she is around….
I blink as realization hits. If I moved to Paris, I’d have to be prepared to be away from her for a long while. I couldn’t ask her to move – there’s nothing for her in France. Her family is in London. Her job is in London. Her friends are in London.
Watching her, I understand that some things are more important than a degree. Love doesn’t come around that often and second chances only happen once. Perhaps I could go back to studying Muggle Art instead at Byam Shaw in London. It’s not so different. Magical Art can be pretty pretentious. And who is really interested in wand sparks anyway?
The letter in my pocket makes a crinkling sound. I pull it out and without glancing at it, shove it to the bottom of the picnic basket before turning to jog up to the villa to fetch Padma. This is her night. There are plenty of things to celebrate,
I remind myself as I plaster a smile to my face. I decide that I’ll just mention Paris in passing because I’ve vowed that there won’t be any more secrets between us.