The sun was peeking through the mountains on the crisp spring morning, bathing the scene below it in a warm golden light. A cool breeze rifled through the trees, and the grass was still sticky with dew, squelching underneath the feet of the barefoot children who ran through it, eager to make the most out of the warm and sunny weather, uncharacteristic for Britain so early in April. Birds chirped as they sat in the apple and pear trees that surrounded the open fields, and the collective buzz of murmurings were slowly, but steadily beginning to get louder and louder from the tents, as the people started to wake up.

“Brilliant,” said a tall, willow man called Luis Schmidt, as he poked his head through his tent flap, feeling the warm early summer breeze rifle through his hair. “Honey, it’s a lovely day today, do get up-”

“No,” his wife replied stoutly, and rolled over in their bed.

The rolling fields of Wiltshire were alive with the intoxicating laughter of the little children, blending in with the quiet harmonies of the birds, crying out for their mate. The sun reflected in the water droplets of the dew and it gave the impression that the grass was sparkling under the cornflower blue skies above, devoid of clouds and solely hanging the sun.

Fragrant smells filled the air, the floral scents of roses, lavender, peonies and the other flowers of the English countryside, and underneath it was the dying smell of the bonfire of the night before. It was a beautiful time to be alive, Kezia Lovell mused, as she walked out of her tent, and gazed upon the scene in front of her. It was surely a tragedy, how all the other wizards and witches her age would be spending this Tuesday inside an office or a school.

Kezia Lovell was a beautiful young woman, of the ripe age of 24. Still young and carefree, but edging onto a different chapter of her life, a chapter which Kezia was quite reluctant to start. It was also, in the opinion of anybody who believed they were entitled to the opinion- and that really was everybody- that Kezia Lovell settled down, get married, give birth and raise children.

“I 'ad assumed zat David’s daughter would end up with Pascal Cavey,” said Valentine Lucien, a French woman with a lust for gossip. She owned and trained a dozen penguins, who handed out drinks and other refreshments during the show. Her daughter, Lilah, grew up in the circus with Kezia and Pascal, and performed as a gymnast.

"Don't we all, Val," replied Flynn O'Sullivan, an Irish clown who worked with Kezia's father. "Oi, Connie, put my bloody wand down- bloomin' toddlers. Anyway, yes, even David's waiting for them to click. They're a self made love story, I say."

"We 'ave been waiting for them to click since they were teenagers," retorted Valentine. "Soon Kezia will not be as beautiful as she is and Pascal will lose interest! It 'az 'appened before, Flynn."

"Oh Val," said Flynn, chuckling and stroking his stubbled chin in amusement. "Pascal is besotted with Kezia, haven't you realised? The bloody idiot's been in love since he returned from Beauxbatons and saw her for the first time a few years ago."

Valentine tutted. "No proper French man suffers unrequited love for such a long time," she snapped. "You are being sill-ee, Mr O'Sullivan!"

"Aye, maybe," grinned Flynn. He then stretched his legs from his position, and felt his hand slip into something sticky. "Oh bloody hell, Connie, do I need to fetch your mother? Fuck's sake..."

But Kezia knew the talk about her, and she loved being a subject of discussion. The people of the Cirque had all gone their separate ways over the long winter, and they had united once again, in the south of England. All the men and women and children and animals… They’d only been back together, as a community, for a few weeks, yet it was like winter had never happened.

It was all so exciting. Kezia had been with the circus her whole life, and yet the buzz and adrenaline that saturated the camp before the opening show always, always thrilled her, right down to the marrow core of her bones.The Cirque de la Vie was a French circus, and yet the 90 member strong community members were from all around Europe; Russian, German, Italian, French, Romanian, English and Irish. It was such a melting pot of cultures, heritage, languages and experiences people often argued that, ironically, children learnt more whilst travelling with the circus than studying at Hogwarts.

It was the only wizarding circus, and normally only circulated around the continent, for wizarding populations were far bigger over there. But the head of the Cirque, a slightly daft man called Jon Rudi, received a telegram from the desk of British Minister of Magic, pleading him to bring the Cirque to Britain.

Mr Minister, replied Jon Rudi, for whilst he was a capable and charismatic leader he was always rather reluctant to respect the authority of others, We are not scheduled to play in Britain on our tour for another 5 years. Besides, everybody is looking forward to a summer in Italy. The Italians are a very hospitable people. And anyway, it is to my knowledge that there has been a recent war in Britain. I am reluctant to let my men perform in countries where I fear for their safety.

Dearest Mr Rudi, replied back a lanky and pale man with ginger hair, too smug to be writing on behalf of the Minister to be upset by Jon Rudi’s rudeness. Whilst there was a war 3 years back, we are now the stable and prospering country we have been since the International Stature. However with every end of war there is need for celebration, and what better way to celebrate than the return of the circus? We will provide you with optimum grounds for staying and performing, Sir, the very same grounds in which the latest Quidditch World Cup was hosted.

Well, wrote back Jon Rudi, not even bothering with mannerisms of letter writing, I suppose it is our duty, for the Brits within our community, to provide you Brits some entertainment? Can’t be easy with all that rain and soggy scones! Ha ha ha! I am a very amusing man, am I not? And the rent for the land is free, is it not?

Oh yes, replied Mr Weasley furiously, eager to alert Minister Shacklebolt of his success. Oh yes, Sir, of course it is free! Wizards from all over the country will come together for the Cirque! It is such a great way, we think, to unite the country once again!

What an eager man,” said David Lovell, after Jon Rudi gave Mr Lovell the letter to read. On the circus, under Jon Rudi’s management, there was no board of governors or senior committee- Jon Rudi just simply went after the approval of anyone who he liked, and he very much liked the intelligent, slow-tempered, British clown. “When I studied at Hogwarts, I think I remember a Weasley. He was utterly besotted with Muggles, if I remember correctly. I think he was a Gryffindor. I doubt it is the same man.”

“Well, Weasley isn’t the type of name one forgets easily,” replied Jon, discarding the case with the same air of not caring he applied to any matter outside his beloved circus. “So we are going to England?”

“Well, you already told Mr Weasley so,” said David, smiling at his friend.

“Oui, mais je suis un artiste de cirque,” said Mr Rudi, going from French to English with the ease of a man who had spent a long time surrounded by the two languages. “I gave up any responsibility to commitments when I ran away from school 40 years ago.”

David laughed. “Didn’t we all, mate.”
 

 




 

“David! David!”

David Lovell turned around, and saw the handsome young face of Pascal Cavey, the French chap who had been inseparable from his daughter since the two were born.

“You alright?” asked David, turning away from the scene in front of him. He was standing with Gus Johansson and Flynn O'Sullivan, the three clowns of the Cirque, observing the building of the Big Top. Two dozen men, some from within the circus and some recruited from nearby Muggle towns, were pulling on large ropes, edging the vivid red and golden roof up. Jon Rudi was adamant to not use any magic whilst putting together the Big Top every summer, and between David and Gus, it was all gypsy superstition nonsense.

“Have you seen Kezia?”

David observed Pascal. He was a handsome bloke, he mused. Handsome and well built, after several years of working with dragons. Whilst his daughter rode them, like common mules at a fair, Pascal trained them, fed them and practically slept with them. He was a good man, Pascal. Hopefully one day his daughter would realise how good a husband he would be. It would be good to get Kezia married. She was a very stubborn and headstrong girl with an admirable spirit, and Pascal would tame that. David didn't mind, but Valentine Lucien did. David's wife and Kezia's mother dad died during the first wizarding war, and Valentine, bless her, had taken on the role as Kezia's substitute mother.

“I think she’s with the gymnastics,” said David, scratching his ear. “Oi, don’t you have some dragon tamer meeting?”

“Yeah, but Reggie’s sick-”

“Bloody barstard been drinking again, properly,” snorted David.

“-and since Kezia’s going to be riding them, Mr Rudi said it would be best to bring her.”

David nodded. “I see. Alright then, good luck finding her.”

He turned away from Pascal, and went back to standing with his two colleagues. 

"Asking for Kezia's hand in marriage?" chortled Gus, taking a sip of the bottle of beer he had in his hand. 

"Nah mate, Pascal wanted to know if it was okay if their children spoke French before English," grinned Flynn, and the two clicked their bottles together.

"Shut it," said David, smiling.

  

Pascal ran to the tent by the other end of the Big Top, passing various men pulling on various ropes, their shirts all off as their tanned skin glistened with sweat in the midday heat.

“Hey Pascal!” a few of them would call out, and Pascal waved back hurriedly, in order to get to Kezia as quick as he could.

Finally he reached the tent, a small white canvas that smelt of womanly perfume. The 6 gymnasts of the Cirque de la Vie were a feisty lot, and very attractive. Out of all the performers, they were the ones that were taken out on dates, had the most roses thrown at them and received the biggest cheers.

Pascal walked in, and ignored a few shrieks from the girls. He was a good looking man and he knew it; well built, tall, with piercing green eyes and dirty blonde hair. His skin was tanned from spending winter in southern Italy with relatives, and his arms were calloused from various burns and scratches. He had been popular with the girls at Beauxbatons, and he gathered the same response from women as he grew older. 

“Pascal!” said a voice, and he turned to see Kezia Lovell, sitting down with another girl, her long legs dangling in a way too extravagant pool. The gymnasts were, in his opinion, utterly spoilt by Jon Rudi.

“Why are you here?” continued Kezia. In a hot tent surrounded by girls known throughout Europe for their beauty; half of them were Veela, it was rumoured; Kezia was the one who stood out the most for him. Her long blonde hair cascaded down her shoulders and around her back in tumbling waves, and her big blue eyes, surrounded in fair eyelashes, blinked at him. Her lips, big and pale, were always inviting, especially when she laughed and showed the world her pearly white teeth. Her skin was flawless except a few freckles over her nose, and her nose was cute and small. Yes, Kezia was a beauty, a real English Rose as his mother referred to her. And she was intelligent, and funny, and daring and talented and compassionate.

Pascal had been her best friend since they were little children, growing up and attending whatever nearby Muggle primary school with the 6 other circus children. But it was only when he was 17, returning from Beauxbatons, that he noticed how his childhood mate had blossomed into a beautiful, graceful, elegant young woman. 

Oh how Pascal regretted taking his grandmother's advice and studying in France! He should have been tutored within the Cirque, with the other kids his age! Maybe then, Kezia would love him the way he loved her. 

But he knew that Kezia would see the error of her ways and love him back. Everybody loved Pascal.

“I could ask the same of you,” he replied cheekily. “This is a gymnast tent! You work with the animals!”

“But she’s always welcome,” said a particularly good-looking woman called Rosa, with tanned skin and voluptuous black hair. Her violet eyes twinkled in the light that poured inside the tent. “As are you, hot stuff.”

“Rosa!” cried Kezia, laughing.
“Well look at him, Kezia! So manly and macho,” retorted Rosa, whilst another girl called Lilah sauntered up to Pascal and slapped his bum, much to the amusement of the other girls.

“Kezia, Jon needs you to come with me to the meeting today,” said Pascal, wrapping his arm around Lilah and kissing her on the cheek. Lilah was the second girl in the gang he and Kezia were in when they were the children of the Cirque, the rest being boys. There were 8 of them in total, and only he, Lilah, Kezia and two other boys remained. The other 3 had left to go start families; when Kezia and I start a family, Pascal decided, we will stay with the Cirque.

Kezia was looking up at Pascal with interest. “What about Reggie Duke?”

“He’s ill.”

“Drinking again?”

“Funny, your father said that,” said Pascal, and Kezia smiled. She rose out of the pool and conjured a towel with her wand to dry her legs. She watched Pascal with amusement as she took off her tee-shirt she was sitting in, and walked around the room in her underwear, trying to locate nicer clothing.

“Give us a dance then, Kez,” shouted out Rosa, and Pascal grinned.

“Come off it,” she laughed, slipping into a summer dress. She waved her wand around her hair to remove and bumps or tangles, and held onto Pascal’s arm as she put on her sandals.

As they walked out of the tent and into the glaring sunlight, Kezia murmured into his ear. “I have no idea whose clothes I am wearing.”

Pascal laughed, and let Kezia weave her arm around his. Her hair smelt of the patchouli scented joss sticks that her mother hung around their tent and the strawberry shampoo she had used since she was a little girl. And the dress she was wearing may not have been hers, but it was a very pretty dress, and looked very nice on her. Anything looked nice on Kezia, he concluded. She was like a blonde little fairy, dainty and quirky and full of laughter.

“So where are we going?” she asked. It was around midday, and the sun was at its peak. Bees and wasps buzzed around the air and Pascal swatted them away, as they walked under the apple and pear trees.

“Meeting with some other dragon tamers,” he said. “The usual dragons we use we couldn’t bring into Britain-”

“I noticed,” she said, but Pascal interrupted her, his husky French accent overpowering her voice.

“The Minister said they were too wild and would create too much of a disruption to neighbourhooding Muggle towns. So we’re meeting these two men- from Romania, I think- to see if we can rent some tamer, smaller dragons.”

“Good thing I’m fluent in Romanian,” said Kezia. "Why am I fluent in Romanian, Pascal?"

"Because you stayed with the Cirque and I didn't," replied Pascal, and poked his tongue out at her whilst she threw her head back and laughed.

"Your loss!" 

Pascal laughed. “Whatever. We’re meeting them in London. Lovely day for it, isn’t it? Hopefully they booked an outside table.”

“How are we getting there?”

“Apparition,” replied Pascal, thinking just how well this had turned out. Reggie Duke, a man with such a thick Moroccan accent he could barely understand him, was ill, and now he was spending lunch in a foreign city with the lovely Kezia.

It was a good thing that Pascal was so good at brewing poisons from basic ingredients.


 





 

Hi! So this is my second attempt at fanfiction- I hope it's alright! Thank you so much for reading, and perhaps a cheeky little line of feedback! Reviews honestly make my day! 

Big thank you to Janice (Mistress), for everything. This wouldn't be the same story without her incredible foresight, input and advice.

Until next time! Bea xx

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