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"Mother! It is so wonderful to see you!" Fleur flung her arms around her mother and enveloped her in an enormous hug. After all, she'd not seen her family in months and she missed them. Family was always important to her and she'd struggled with that aspect of the Triwizard Tournament. "And Gabrielle! It has been too long!" She turned to her younger sister, letting the girl jump all over her in her excitement. Gabrielle was young, just eight, and didn't understand why they had been apart for so long.

In the excitement of seeing her family again, Fleur chattered away happily, paying little attention to what was going on around her. She was vaguely aware of the guttural sounds of what must have been Viktor Krum's family – they were speaking some eastern European language, she supposed: whatever it was they spoke in Bulgaria. She was vaguely ashamed of knowing so little about other countries but really, France was everything. Family, school, future – it was all there. She was proud to be French and saw no reason to be impressed by anything she saw in this dismal excuse for a country.

In fact, she felt utter disdain for what she had seen at Hogwarts so far. The castle was old and draughty, the ghosts were out of control (honestly, a poltergeist? Why did they put up with it?), there were not enough fires and the food was far too heavy. She was sure she'd put on two kilograms in the time she'd been there, just from the breakfasts they served. And the decorations? Old suits of armour that sometimes moved by themselves, and the most ghastly portraits and busts lying around. The previous day she'd even seen a statue of a one-legged duck, of all things. She shook her head in disgust. There would never be such frivolous trinkets at Beauxbatons.

Then she saw him. She supposed he must be family to the boy, Harry Potter – but then, she'd heard he had no family. She wondered who he was then ... and she would have to find out. Normally redheads didn't really do much for her, but there was something about this one.

"Fleur?" Her father's voice brought her back to the moment. The redhead could wait, she decided. If worst came to worst she could always ask the Potter boy about him – who he was, what relationship they held. The woman was certainly the redhead's mother, because not only was there a physical resemblance but she was tugging at his hair as though she wanted it cut. Fleur, if she had anything to do with it, would not allow that. She liked it long.

"Fleur?" Her father again, and this time she shook her head to help her concentrate on her own family. Not Potter's, hers.

"Sorry, Father," she said hurriedly, turning her back on the Potter boy and his friends.

"You don't seem yourself," he said, speaking in French so that no one would overhear their conversation. She wasn't sure why, because it wasn't like they were saying anything particularly secret, but that was like her father. Overly cautious, often needlessly so.

"I am fine," she assured him. "These challenges are just taking a lot out of me, that's all. I'll be fine once it's all over, whether I win or not."

"Of course you'll win," he said bulliently. "You're a Delacour, aren't you?"

She smiled. "Yes, but I am running last at the moment. It will take a miracle to get to the front now."

"We're Delacours," he reassured her. "We deal in miracles."

"For example," her mother went on, "it's a miracle that you have been eating all this English food and not put on any weight!"

Fleur smiled. "The English, they overcook their meat," she admitted. "It is hard to eat that way. But I am hideous, I am sure I have put on kilograms!"

"You look beautiful," her father assured her again.

"And when we get you back to France we'll get you back to normal," her mother insisted. "I will cook food for you the proper way, the French way."

Fleur grinned. "Because the French way is always the best way," she parroted, quoting what had been pounded into her since birth.

"Precisely," her father grinned. "Nothing beats France."

Fleur was about to agree when her attention was once again taken by the tall redhead near Potter – it seemed he, his mother and Potter were going for a walk. She admired his features as nonchalantly as she could – the straight nose, determined chin, kind eyes and, well, that hair. Not to mention the fang earring, which she was almost ashamed to admit intrigued her more than she'd thought possible. Perhaps, she thought, just perhaps, French is not always best.

"I do not mind being in England," she said finally, her eyes on the back of the trio leaving the room. "Perhaps I will even come back here once I have graduated."

"Come back?" her father asked. "Whatever for?"

She fought back the exasperated sigh. Yes, the English might overcook their meat, but there was more to life than meat. She could always go vegetarian if it came down to it. And perhaps Hogwarts wasn't as bad as she had thought; some of the paintings were actually quite endearing, and the poltergeist, if she thought about it, could be very amusing. No, England was not so bad at all. After all, if it produced men like that ...

She smiled again. "I think," she said, "that there might be more for me here than I realised."

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