“Fleur, we’ve talked about this. It would’t be right! You know how I feel, but not under these circumstances,” spoke a handsome man, doing his best to keep an even tone.
“No, you ‘ave talked about zis! I ‘ave told you it does not matter to me,” replied a breathtaking woman, dark blue eyes hammering into lighter ones. The perfectly delicate face remained composed, with just a touch of scarlet under the ivory cheeks to give away her brewing anger.
“You are too important to me! You know why I took the London job, it wasn’t because I want to spend my days behind a desk, but I need to be here! The danger my family is constantly in is nothing I am willing to make you part of!”
“I am part of it, Bill! Every witch and wizard is part of it! You zink that it matters to me zat zey will try ‘arder for us? It does not! I can protect myself! What matters to me is zat I am with ze one I love!”
“You don’t know that you love me! You can’t know what you feel without even understanding me!”
“I see, so now you not only can make decisions about what you zink is best for me, you can also tell me how to feel? I know who I love, it is you zat does not!” She rose from the blanket that the two had been sharing, throwing her waves of gold behind her as she stalked to the edge of the pond. Bill watched as her small frame stood erect against the wind, her arms resting at a cross in front of her. He knew he loved this woman; this misunderstood, spoiled, conceited, caring and selfless woman. What he didn’t know is if she could handle what was to come, what the war would bring.
As if she had been reading his mind, she turned, and sent her ocean blue eyes piercing into him once more.
“You don’t zink I can do it? I can!” she hissed, anger shaking the voice that typically sounded as if it had come straight from an angel’s harp.
“Fleur, you would never have what it takes to do what would be needed if, or when, we fall under attack. You are too naive, you couldn’t-” he was abruptly cut off by the furry he saw building behind her eyes. What was it they said about never angering a Veela?
“You zink zat I could not protect what I love? Zat I could not protect myself? You, you will see!” She had her wand against her skull before Bill had a second to react, from it she drew silvery bits of substance and threw them against him, they slipped into his skin with an icy chill. She really does know her stuff, he thought idly, before being submerged into the memory.
Bill glanced around his new surroundings, still impressed with the bit of magic his hot headed witch/veela just pulled off. He started walking forward and realized the grass under him was moist. The smell of salt indicated that they must be near an ocean. He couldn’t see two feet in front of him, why did she have to pick a night time memory? Without warning a sleek silver and cream woman appeared almost inches from him, her blonde locks glowing in the dark. As his eyes began to adjust, he could make out her school uniform, giving him the knowledge that this memory was at least a year old. He paused his evaluation when he noticed that she had large tears streaming down her cheeks. Fleur never cried. What was making her cry? She finally stopped walking and sat on a rock close enough to the sea to have the mist hitting her face. Bill inched closer to her, wishing to hold her.
“Cedric, I wish I could have helped. I wish I could have.” He heard her whisper before her head fell into her hands, her words now drowned with sobs. Bill’s heart ached at the memory of Cedric’s death. A true tragedy in a world that had seen all too many. Cedric had affected everyone deeply, especially if you weren’t thick enough to believe he died of natural causes. He wondered if this was what she had wanted him to see, because, if truth be told, all it did was further solidify his need to keep her from this war. He was about to draw away from her when another noise caught his attention.
A breaking of twigs, a deep grunt. Did she hear it? Was she too lost in her misery? He waited for whatever the cause of the noise to disappear, but it only drew closer. The form of a large man, who by the looks of his attire had been fishing at some point in the day, appeared from the shadows of the woods. Why isn’t she reacting? How could she not hear him? Smell the whiskey filling the air? Bill grew afraid of what he was about to witness.
“Well hello darling, sent an angel to help get me to my boat, have they?” He said, slurring his words together. Fleur jumped at the voice, but regained her composure quickly a she stood to face the man.
“If you will excuse me, I ‘ave found zis spot wishing for alone time.” She responded.
“Oi! An angel with a pretty way of talkin’? Well now I can’t be letting you sit out here by yourself, can I!” He lunged at her quickly, capturing her dainty wrists between his sweaty, thick hands. Bill saw the wand hanging from his pocket, and assumed Fleur did too, for she let out an annoyed sigh. Only Fleur could be annoyed in this situation.
Before she could reacted, a small voice echoed from the dark.
"Fleur! Fleur! Fleur! Mother and Father ‘ave sent me to find you! Zey want to ‘ave a word with you!” Bill stood frozen, horrified as he watched Gabrielle Delacour enter the scene.
“Well, if this isn’t a lucky man’s night!” He threw Fleur to the ground, her head whipping back with the movement and crashing into a large stone.
“You are a pretty, young thing, aren’t you?” The man spoke, lifting a finger to touch Gabrielle’s cheek. Bill felt tears building behind his eyes as he watched the girl’s fear take over, and her body begin to shake.
“Please don’t touch me.” She spoke in barely a whisper. The man grabbed tightly to the front of her dress, tearing it as he pulled; Unaware of the woman behind him who had recovered from the blow.
“CRUCIO!” Fleur screamed, the man dropping to his knees as the torture curse took hold. Fleur ran to her sister, quickly cradling the shaking body in one arm with the other still pointed at the man.
"My love, my sister, it is okay now, it is okay. ‘e wont ‘urt you, my Gabrielle.” Fleur finally released the man from the curse, who had been knocked out from the pain. Bill expected her to break into fresh tears for the person she had just severely injured, possibly killed. Most people would, despite what he had almost done. She stood up, gathered her sister in the safety of her arms, and as she stepped over the man’s body she did something that shocked even herself; she spit directly into his lifeless face.
Bill came back to the present, shaken by what he witnessed. He moved toward Fleur to fulfill his need to cradle, to heal. She stepped away.
“No, I did not show you zat memory to ‘ave you giving me your pity. I want you to understand that I can do any’zing to protect my family, ze ones I love.”
“She said zat we would not be married. She zinks little enough of me to believe I would care zat you will be scarred. I would never leave you, you ‘ave given me everything.” Her voice broke as the tears filled her throat. She had forced herself to be strong in front of the others, refusing to show the fear that consumed her. “Everything, Bill. You are a ‘ero, you must know zat? Nothing, especially not marks of your bravery, will bring you away for me. You know your mother would prefer it if you did not marry me, right? Your sister, she would to. But it does not matter to you, you love me anyway. People will look at us and see my beauty and your courage, and zey will see ‘ow perfectly we fit together.”
She cried over the sleeping body, whose face was slashed and maimed. In the solitude of the room, surrounded by the weakness that had been eating her, she let her words fall freely. “Bill. I am selfish, I know zis. I ‘ave always been loved and adored, and I demand eet. I must ‘ave attention ze second I want eet. You know all zis Bill, and you still want me. ‘Ow am I to know you will keep wanting me?” His hand tightened and she sat shocked for a moment, unaware that he had awoken some time ago.
“You didn’t tell me you could ‘ear me!” she spoke accusingly at him.
“I didn’t want you to stop talking, I needed to hear your voice. I need to adore you, I need to give you attention. Everything inside me wants you. Your temper, your arrogance, the way you will say whatever comes to mind. Your soft touch, your sweet words, and how easy it is for you to just love me. I know all of you, Fleur. I will never stop loving any of you.” His voice shook with weakness at the last sentence before his eyes closed again. Visions of white, soft angels danced around him while his beautiful bride-to-be soothed him back into sleep.
“Maybe you were right, maybe zis is moving too fast. I am so scared that after ze war, ‘e will realize I am not who ‘e really wants,” the words spilling from Fleur were such a shock to Molly Weasley, that she nearly had to sit. “I love ‘im. I couldn’t ‘andle it if ‘e stopped loving me.” Molly took a deep breath, still trying to contemplate a response. She had never seen the slightest bit insecurities in her Fleur.
“I don’t think that I said this was moving too fast-”
“Ha! You didn’t ‘ave to say it. You don’t need to pretend zat you are thrilled I am to be marrying your son. I don’t need zat. I shouldn’t ‘ave brought zis up.” Fleur moved to stand, but was halted by the warm hand that reached for her own.
“You’re right, and I wont insult you by pretending otherwise. I was nervous when Bill told me you two would be getting married. I’m still nervous. I have learned quite a bit raising my children, and one of the most important lessons, is when to let go. You love him, Fleur. I don’t question that. I’m not saying we will have the perfect relationship, but I know we will work on it, because we both love Bill very much. I also know that he would have never dreamed of asking you to be his wife, if he wasn’t sure that it would last forever. Don’t doubt him.”
Fleur stared for a moment, shocked at both of their revelations. She looked down at the soft, aged hand, holding hers, and let out a long sigh.
“Well, I zink it is time for me to go get married,” she placed the borrowed crown on top of her head and glanced back into the mirror, “At least my tears did nothing to my face, I still look beautiful.”
Molly could’t help but smile, she stood up and opened her arms to embrace her future daughter-in-law.
"SIT! None of you will leave.” Fred was in the ground, buried beside the other heros that had fallen. War brought death; a war they won cost them too much. Fleur had ushered Bill, Hermione, Ron, Harry, Ginny, and George back to the shell cottage after they finished the burials. Charlie and Percy had declined, needing solitude. Harry had tried, but Fleur was adamant that they needed to talk, all of them. She sat them in a circle in the main room, then after explaining what they were to do, she took a deep breath and began.
“Alastor Moody. I wish ‘e had gotten to see ze end of zis war, to know all of ‘is teaching ‘ad saved many lives. ‘E died fighting for everything he believed in, for zat I am thankful.” She held her wand up to her head and pulled a long silvery strand out, one of her most dear memories of Alastar Moody, then let it fall into the Pensive that sat in the middle of them. “I am ‘appy Tonks and Remus left together. As ‘ard as it is, we know zey could not ‘ave survived without ze other. Zey left us all a beautiful boy zat will never go unloved.” She took a slow breath, forcing control over her tears. “Cedric’s death was not ‘onored for so long. Ze ministry trying to pretend it not to be ze terrible murder it was. I ‘ad never experienced death before ‘im.” She lost control, the sobs that spilled from her rang through the dark house, and covering her pale skin. She signaled that her time was over, and pulled the rest of the memories from her glowing blonde hair before nodded at George to continue.
“I feel like it wasn’t just Fred that died, but me, as well. Only mine is worse. I’m stuck in this shell and I can’t do anything but wonder why I couldn’t have gone with him. I know that isn’t fair, and I’m trying to be thankful that I’m still around to be with the rest of my family,” he sent a defeated look toward his siblings, knowing they were hurting just as badly, “I’m sorry Fred, I’ll get strong, I will. I couldn’t have asked for a better twin. Well, unless I had gotten myself as my own twin.” It came out before he could stop it, words that formed the first joke he had told since he had watched Fred’s lifeless body fall to the ground.
He stared up towards the Heavens, as if to thank his brother for giving him that small amount of hope. “Fred made me who I was, being a git isn’t useful unless you have a matching git by your side. I know he would be proud, though,” he, like Fleur, became too drowned in his own misery to continue. He pulled countless strands of silver from his fire red hair and let them sink into the Pensive, then motioned at Harry to take over. Harry nodded, his voice cracking through the tears with his first few words.
“I wish Sirius was here to see it. It hurts so bad when,” he paused, letting his hands clench Ginny’s, “When I think about how all of them died for the same thing. My mum and dad, Lupin, Sirius... they were all there from the beginning, ya know? They were there from the start. They tried to do it, it almost feels like after so many better witches and wizards died, what right to I have to live? It hurt Sirius more than anyone to lose my parents, and now that everything they died for is finished, he can’t see it. None of them can. It just...hurts,” He paused, waiting for his cries to ebb.
“Dumbledore and Snape are the two bravest men I have ever known. They deserve to be here and see everything they created, everything they gave their lives for.” He pulled the memories from himself, and held onto them for just a moment before letting them sink. “Dobby saved our lives. He is the reason we made it out of the Malfoy Manor,” He watched Hermione shutter beside him, the terror of Bellatrix Lestrange’s torture that took place in that Manor still fresh in her heart, “it makes me proud knowing he died a free elf.” He looked at Fleur, the words he knew he couldn’t say echoed from his eyes. He had need to let some of the pain go, to share it with the others. They had all needed precisely what she was giving them.
"Your parents would be so proud of you, Harry.” Ginny’s voice was hardly more than a whisper, but in the silent devastation of the room, it seemed to reach to every corner. “I was so mad when he,” she inhaled a shaky breath, “when he brought you out and said that you were dead, I was so angry that you just quit. That you left us. All I could think was, that’s it. My entire family would be murdered for what we are, for being blood traitors. Teddy would be raised to think this world was only for pure bloods, if he survived at all. Chances are, they would have killed him for being part werewolf, part traitor. I felt my insides break. I wasn’t just losing you,” she fought through the thick cries filling her, “but I was losing everything.”
Hermione quickly moved from Harry’s side to Ginny’s, embracing her into her own tears.
“I know, Ginny, I know. We thought the same thing. Ron and I kept begging over and over for him to be alive. All he could say was that he couldn't handle losing two brothers at the same time, that he wouldn’t be strong enough.” Ron’s face paled, Hermione’s admission of his fears bringing everything back.
“Hermione was the only thing holding me up. I would have just fallen and waited for one of his men to kill me. She kept saying that it would be okay, even though I knew she didn’t believe it. After everyone we lost, I just knew I couldn’t,” the pressure of his pain finally over took him, he closed his eyes and let his head fall.
“That’s it though, isn’t it?” Bill’s voice spoke for the first time. “We didn’t have to lose everything. I should have been able to protect Fred, I should have saved him. I’m his older brother, he never-” he stopped himself, not wanting to go back down that road. “I know it will be hard for all of us, and I don’t think we will heal fast. We lost so many people we love less than 24 hours ago, we don’t have to be strong. Not yet. Harry, Ron, Hermione. Everything you three did this last year, everything you fought against and struggled with, gave us the chance at another life. No, stop,” he held up his hand when he saw Harry motion to argue, “I don’t want to hear it. You don’t need to be the hero, you don’t even like to, I know. That doesn’t matter right now. What matters is that because of you three, it’s over. He’ll never come back.”
Silence followed Bill’s statement, the depth of the words sinking in.
The group continued to fill the Pensive with thoughts of their dead. After the night had crept away and the morning was near, Fleur ushered them all into bed.
“That was amazing. You are amazing, how did you know it would help?” Bill whispered to Fleur, his arm cradling her body as they drifted off to sleep together.
“It is not easy, it wont ever be. Zey needed to know zat it is okay to let yourself grieve, and it’s okay to let others comfort you. Everyone is so broken Bill. It ‘urts so much to know nothing will ever be ze same again. Zen part of me feels guilty when I zink of what zis means, safety. Safety for us, for our families, for ze children we will someday ‘ave.”
“No baby, no no. Don’t ever feel guilty for that. I feel it too, the relief that we are finally safe. Everyone does. There was no point to all the deaths if we didn’t have that.”
The two held each other, crying and talking late into the night.
“Bill! Come quickly! Bill!” She sounded panicked, his heart stopped as he jumped from the sofa, following her voice into the bathroom.
“Fleur? What’s wrong? Are you okay?” She stood frozen, blue eyes wide with fear. “Talk to me! What happened? Is everyone okay?”
“No, not me. It is me, something is wrong,” The words were said in a whisper.
“Are you sick? Do we need to go to St. Mungo’s?” He tasted terror, they had suffered too much their first year together, lost too much for anything to be wrong with his angel.
“YES!” It was as if she had never thought of the idea, and she raced from the room to slip her shoes on.
“Fleur! Wait!” he grabbed her hand as she began lacing up the second heel to get her focus on him.
"Tell me how you know you are sick! What are you sick with? I’m sure it’s nothing, it’s probably just a bug that they will be able to get rid of right away,” he motioned to touch her, help her, but the look on her face made him stop.
“No! Zey can’t! Why would you say that? Why would we get rid of it?” Her bottom lip began to tremble, much like a child’s on the verge of a tantrum.
“You just said you are sick! I don’t understand,” the lip broke, tears began falling. “Fleur! Why are you crying! I don’t know what to do, if you are sick we need to see a Healer!”
“I’M PREGNANT!” She shouted, thinking it had been brutally obvious. He looked at her with a mixture of confusion and shock, slowly letting the news sink in. The shock became wonder, the confusion turned to awe. He began laughing, the noise ringing through their home; happiness filling every fiber of him.
Bill picked her up in his arms and danced her around the room. The soft sound of her laughter met the deep tone of his. When he finally placed her back down, she locked eyes with him, able to see the kind of love he was already feeling for their first little witch or wizard. His hand found the back of her neck and he pulled her into a kiss. She let her mind wander to the first time he did that; after a long picnic on the grass, when she forced him to see the painful memory as proof of her strength, then he took her in his arms and kissed her, finally agreeing to be her lover.
Over a year had passed since that fateful night, and they had survived things many people, many relationships, would not. They witnessed death and felt the pain of loss, but through it all their love proved strong. It guided them through a world of terror, and now it was giving them a precious miracle. A perfect child that they would raise in a safe world.
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