Status: Work in Progress

Lost in the Echo

Chapter Six

Draco knocked on the door to Syndil's hospital room, and when she said he could come in, he entered quietly, for fear she would scold him for being too loud. Honestly, it was ridiculous that he was terrified of being scolded by this little girl. Well, maybe she wasn't so little anymore, but still!

"Good afternoon, Draco." she said calmly, and Draco stopped himself from doing a double take. Syndil hardly ever spoke to him first, so this was surprising. She lifted her eyes from her book and he swore she smiled at him, but her mouth was covered.
"Erm... Good afternoon, my Lady." he said, stiffly bowing to her. "You seem less spirited than usual. Did you not sleep well, again?" he asked, and she smiled sadly.
"Alas, no. I had that dream again." she said, then turned back to her book. She had told him a week or so ago that she was having a strange dream every night. Normally, in the wizarding world, that was usually a portent of some kind. Draco, however, had been using his Legilimency and Occlumency skills while she slept to see what dream she spoke of because she never gave him details.

Because of this, he knew that the strange dream she was having was just bits of memory from her past.

"Why don't you tell me about them, my Lady? They say that dreams often have hidden meaning behind them. Perhaps yours is trying to tell you something."
"I suppose it is possible." she said, but said nothing further, and Draco sighed inwardly.
"Ahem." he cleared his throat. "I wanted to let you know that the rest of this week I won't be able to come in and serve you, my Lady."
"And why not?" she asked, lifting her eyes to look at him once again.
"My son, Scorpius, is away at boarding school. Tomorrow is his birthday and I am planning on going to visit him and staying in town."
"Your son... I did not know you were married..." Syndil said, and Draco thought he saw her lower her eyes to his empty left hand.
"Widowed, actually. My wife died four years ago. She was very ill." Draco said thickly, and thought he saw her eyes darken slightly, but it was gone so fast he thought perhaps he had imagined it. "It has been very difficult for both me and him."
"What was her name?" she asked, and Draco was startled at her question.
"Astoria. It was an arranged marriage, but... we did care for each other." he said, and Syndil nodded.
"I see. I am sorry for your loss." she said, then went back to her book and Draco pulled his own book out as well.

They read together in silence for the rest of the evening until Draco had to take his leave.

Syndil lay awake in bed that night, questioning herself. Things weren't making sense. For starters, why had a servant had an arranged marriage? As far as she knew, arranged marriages were reserved for royalty and nobles, not commoners. Commoners chose who they wanted to marry themselves, if she was not mistaken. So why had Draco had an arranged marriage?

Second, why had she cared? When he first said he had a son at boarding school, her chest had tightened. Children were born from two parents, a man and a woman. Therefore, that would have had to mean he was married, yet he had never told her any of this before now. Surely his wife would have been upset that he was gone every night to serve her. It had hurt her to hear that he had a child. But why?

Third, why had she been so...happy...when he told her his wife had passed? Certainly, she had no reason to be upset that he was even married to begin with, let alone happy that his wife had died. And it was fairly recent, too. And fourth, why had it pained her to hear him speak so fondly of his wife? While he had not told her stories of his wife or his life with her, it had still pained her to hear him speak of her with affection in his gaze and voice. Surely, he had a right to have affectionate feelings for her. They had been married, and had had a child together. That meant they at least had to care for each other on some level.

Syndil rolled over and stared out her window at the cloudy moonlit night. This man was a servant. How could he stir such feelings within her when she hardly knew him?

'But you do know him.' a voice in her head said. That same voice who had said to consider Draco a friend again. What on earth could this voice be talking about.

Syndil curled tightly into herself, frightened at the sheer number of questions whirling around in her head.

What should she do?

Draco sat in front of his fireplace that night. He had been trying to probe Syndil's mind for the last several hours, but she appeared to be having a restless evening. While she may not recall that she was a witch, he was fairly certain she could still sense when someone was poking around in her head, which is why he made a point of only doing so late at night when she was in a deep sleep.

Part of him felt bad for using Occlumency without her knowing and agreeing, but he knew that if he told her he was a wizard, she would just get angry at him and think he was mocking her belief that she was a princess. He had made that mistake once before, he did not want to make it again.

When he finally felt her mind settle down into sleep, he used his skills as an occlumens to wander into her head. While Professor Snape had been limited to doing Occlumency in close proximity, Draco had been studying very hard at it since he was younger under his mother's tutelage, and was able to do so over relatively far distances if he knew the person he was using it on well.

Tonight, the sky was a dark, cobalt blue with stars shining in it, and not the clear, light blue one that it usually was. Tonight she sat having a conversation with three shadows. As Draco neared, he saw the outline of her father, mother, and brother.

He could not hear what was being said but did not dare to move any closer, because if he did she would know of his presence. He liked to keep himself under a tight rein when it came to her.

The shadows did not seem to really be saying anything at all he noted, while watching them. It seemed that unlike her dreams of their younger days, she did not converse with their memory, but rather, spoke to herself. Curious, he took a step forward, then froze, afraid she would hear him.

"I don't understand. I feel oddly about this man, but I cannot describe it. Today, when he came to visit me, he told me he had a son. My heart felt heavy and painful, but not because I dislike children. Simply because it meant he already had a woman in his life, but that confuses me, as well. He is a manservant, a commoner, how could it upset me that he is married?" she sighed, then picked at the grass. "I suppose I'll have plenty of time to figure it out over the next few days, though. He's going away to visit with his son. I think it's wonderful, truthfully, but I can't help but know I will miss his company."

The shadow lips of her brother moved, but no sound came out.

"Jacob... do you think I'm crazy?" she asked, then looked up, startled. "Jacob? Where did that name come from?"

But the shadows of her family were gone, and Draco knew it was time to withdraw from her memories for the night. This certainly was a good sign, though. At least on some level she had memories of her past life.

Now, if he could just bring them to the surface and make her realize that her delusions are exactly that: delusions.

None of what she believed she knew about herself and life was real.