Chapter 1 : Prologue: Games
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Brandishing her wand and looking to the sides, Fleur had been trying to work out a plan when suddenly, she was hit from behind by the most excruciating pain she could have ever felt. It brought her to her knees, then face-first to the floor; writhing in pain and blind, she had faintly heard awful, drawn-out screams. Then everything had been abruptly cut off; the pain, the consciousness… everything.
When she had come around, she had opened her eyes to several of the English wizards and her beloved Madame Maxime, who had carefully helped her up and explained she had passed out and had red sparks over her head; apparently, those awful screams were hers.
But something was wrong with that statement, and Fleur knew it. She had not passed out, she was sure. But nobody believed her. They thought she was just trying to regain some dignity, and that she had been screaming from fright at the oncoming ‘acromantula’; that she had shot red sparks in her panic, and passed out in fear.
Now, three hours after she had entered the maze, Fleur was left here in her defeat, stewing in her anger and desperation to change the outcome somehow, when a shower of red sparks shot high above the maze.
Immediately, the entire crowd gasped, and to the side of her Harry Potter’s friends were frantically muttering to each other. She heard her name from the bushy-haired witch several times, and the gangly ginger one seemed to be agreeing with whatever she said. She tried her best to ignore them, and just watched the steady progression of the ant-like figures of the helping teachers as they flocked to the sight of vanquish. Fleur wondered briefly who had needed help, and why they had needed to be pulled out, before looking once again to the sky above.
There were clouds, dark and heavy, plastering the sky with a sticky heat. They were silent and unmoving, never letting a peek of the darkening sky through in a vaguely menacing and imposing manner. And the colour… it was the bloody, stifling crimson colour that got Fleur. It shouldn’t have been out of the ordinary; no, it definitely wasn’t, Fleur told herself. But a nagging sense of its presence just wouldn’t go away from the back of her mind, and she turned impatiently to the slim silver watch adorning her wrist. Three and a half hours, and still nothing.
Then, the fallen warrior was helped into the arena. It was Viktor Krum, dazed-looking and rubbing his eyes as though a fog had just cleared. At his appearance, there was a raucous mixed reaction from the crowd; both cheers from most of the Hogwartians, because now they would have a victor whoever won, and boos from Krum’s fan-girls and fellow Durmstrang pupils.
Fleur kept her face impassive, mentally calculating the reaction to her reappearance against his.
Along from her, Harry Potter’s friends were having another argument; Fleur wondered if they ever stopped bickering. The bushy-haired girl was telling the boy that she had always supported Harry, and the ginger seemed to be arguing rather heatedly back… oh, that was right; the girl (Hemmonie?) had been Krum’s date to the ball.
Well, she’d seen odder pairings. Maybe the clever bookworm would do the hulking and gruff quidditch player some good? Fleur had her doubts.
And so the time crawled by as they waited impatiently for a winner, with the Cup, to emerge from the maze. Money was being exchanged all over the place, as more bets were taken; students putting their money on Krum and herself either cheered at their winnings or groaned at their loss, and the odds on Potter vs Diggory escalated.
Five hours after she had gone into the maze, Gabrielle was somehow asleep on Fleur’s shoulder and Fleur’s legs had gone to sleep. Fleur was exhausted and half-dead from the fatigue, barely keeping consciousness, but determined to stay awake until the end so as to avoid the humiliation of being a sleeping loser of the very front row of the stands. And then without warning, two figures slammed into the ground not three metres from her.
Both Potter and Diggory had appeared with the cup… how had that happened?!
The crowd around her went wild at the sight of the two champions and the glowing cup that had been the symbol of glory for so many months. The band was playing the most cheering and rousing music they could muster, everyone was jumping, and the teachers were coming down the stairs to the side of them to help them up.
Potter was streaked with mud, his arm streaming with blood, his face pale… he was lying on top of Diggory and refusing to get off.
Fleur’s gaze shifted to Diggory, and immediately something instinctual in her mind clicked at the sight of the handsome boy.
His eyes were open and glassy. His face looked waxy and a little green. His limbs were so stiff… within a heartbeat, Fleur knew he was no longer with them, and totally out of the running for the competition.
Without meaning to, she stood up and screamed in horror at the dead champion almost beside her feet. The two had been there for less than five seconds, but she knew… she knew what the others did not.
Her scream was haggard and high, barely cutting through the happy excitement that exploded in the most awful way around her. Fleur clutched her face, the haunting image of her competitor’s staring face burned onto her eyelids, and her body still screaming of its own accord.
It was her terrified scream that caused a disturbance in the crowd; while most pupils carried on their celebrations, there was confusion as her shriek cut through and reached the ears of those higher up. Students started to realise that there was more to the scene than a couple of winners, and a suddenly frantic team of witches and wizards reached the couple as the cheers started to turn to screams of terror.
For several moments, panic built up like a wave ready to crash, until it was like a stampede around her. All Fleur could see was the body of Harry Potter as he released the Cup and its glory, and clung on tighter to Cedric’s body with one arm whilst seizing Dumbledore’s wrist with his own.
Despite the low volume with which he spoke, despite the distance, despite the loud chaos around them… through it all, Fleur still heard the words Harry Potter whisper to Albus Dumbledore that night.
Later she would claim she had not, that it was impossible, but in reality she could feel the world shifting as he thickly spoke those few words. They would haunt her, in dreams and consciousness, for many years to come.
“He’s back… he’s back. Voldemort.”
It may have been the end of the Tournament, but it was the beginning of what promised to be a rather more deadly game; the most deadly game of all.
Ça va, chère Fleur? - How are you, dear Fleur?
Ça va très bien, merci Marie - I am very good, thankyou Marie.
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