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Chapter 1: Starlight
This one shot is for ValWitch21 - Happy Birthday!!
Fleur uncrossed her legs, and crossed them again for the millionth time.
She sighed impatiently, glancing at the heavy gold frame of the clock that hung on the cream coloured wall.
She flicked her silvery blond hair out her face, but the perfect curl still hung to the side of her breathtaking complexion.
Fleur had never liked to be kept waiting, she had always had things brought to her in a reasonable length of time, or she’d get them herself. Mostly the latter. But this, this was taking longer than Fleur had imagined.
She was close to getting up and leaving the interview.
No, She regained a professional composture.
This was a respectable job, and she wanted it to prove to her mother and father that she could be able, she could have a job for what she was like on the inside, not on the outside.
She would never forget the disappointment that flickered through her mother’s eyes as she returned from the Triwizard Tournament.
Her mother had quickly blinked, and it had disappeared, but Fleur had still seen it. It was stuck in her brain, imprinted there.
She hadn’t dated since the last task, not after seeing the dead unseeing eyes of Cedric Diggory. She shuddered, remembering those cold glazed pupils, that limp frame...
“Miss.Fleur Dullacar,” A goblin called, in a high pitched squeaky voice.
“Delacour,” Corrected Fleur automatically, getting up elegantly, and smoothing down her blouse, before strolling at a lesiurely pace over to the goblin.
Fleur had mastered the art of walking in high heels when she was eleven, and she was still indignant to taking it off her CV.
She followed the goblin in to a small office room, with a fan blowing in the corner, and another mean-looking goblin perched on the end of a high stool.
A sobbing girl shouldered past Fleur, running out the room with puffy red eyes.
Fleur watched her, slightly bemused, before reluctantly dragging her eyes back to the goblin.
She resisted the temptation to ask why she was crying, and remained standing up stiffly.
The goblin was currently chattering away to a young man.
When the young man looked at Fleur, Fleur thought four things.
One, that he had very ginger hair. She'd never seen hair like that, since she'd seen dead Cedric Diggory..
Two, he was quite tall, his scrawny body leaning over her in a what most only be described as: "towering" but in a good way, if that was possible. Not the kind of "ahhh, there's a huge towering acromantula" way.
Three, she’d never seen anybody with that many freckles. It must take years to count every single orange or brown one, and some of them had blended together round his cheeks to make some kind of tanned orangey blob.
Four, her heart was beating so hard she was scared it might burst out her chest - a feeling she’d never experienced before. No man had ever made her feel like that before.
The man caught her eye in his own blue ones, sparkling with humour and mystery.
He sauntered over to Fleur brushing right next her, and leaning in close.
“Good Luck,” He said with a grin. Fleur could smell the minty toothpaste in his breath, and her cheeks turned a light pink.
Flustered, she frowned and turned around to face the goblin.
She could feel the freckled man’s eyes on her back.
A smile spread across her face, and it looked like the sunshine on a stormy sea, a new dawn on the rough waves.
“Miss.Delacour, please take a seat.”
At least someone can pronounce my name correctly, thought Fleur.
The other goblin gave a tiny bow and scuttled off, shutting the door firmly behind him.
Fleur folded her hands neatly on her lap.
“Let’s take a look, shall we,” He said in a flat boring monotone, slipping a fat gnarled finger under the envelope fold that contained her CV.
“So.....how did it go?”
It was the freckled man again.
Fleur clicked the door gently behind her, then spun around slowly to face the freckled man, who was leaning against the wall, his shadow stretching
Fleur drew a shaky breath, tucking the stray blond curl behind her ear.
“Terribleeee,” She said miserabley, a dismayed pout on her face.
Suddenly, she glanced up at him with narrowed eyes and a puzzled frown.
“Did ‘ou wait fur me to cum out ze interview?” Her eyebrow was perched disbelievingly and pointedly at the freckled man.
“No!’ He said quickly, exclaiming in an outraged voice.
Fleur’s eyebrow stayed there.
“Maybe?” He said, wringing his hands nervously.
The eyebrow did not move.
“Fine. Yes.” Bill said tiredly, his shoulders drooping.
Fleur laughed, and to Bill it sounded like a light tinkle, that made his gut twist in to a tight knot and butterflies flutter in his stomach. He couldn’t help laughing along with her.
When they finished, they held each other’s gaze, smiling from ear to ear, his blue ones ot her silver ones, like glittering starlight.
Bill suddenly dropped his gaze, still smiling at the ground.
“I can always put a kind word in for you, if you’re really worried about it.”
Fleur’s eyes lit up, an eager smile tugging at her crimson lips.
“es pleaze.....‘what is ‘oar ‘name, may I inquierr?”
Bill gave Fleur his best lopsided handsome grin, holding out a huge hand, and shaking Fleur’s small soft pale one.
Bill smiled all the way back home.
As he drove back to his flat in London, a wide beam was stretched across his freckled face.
As he put the microwaveable lasagne on the hob, he was grinning madly.
As he lay in bed, he was smiling wildly.
A smile was penamently stuck on his face.
He hoped that his boss had taken his suggestion in to account, he hoped with all his heart. He couldn't imagine work with her, with her funny laugh, and her funny accent and her beautiful eyes, and yet he couldn't help imagining it.
Smiling at a new found bright.
He did not expect however, a week later, to be greeted in his office by the same girl that had been making him smile every day.
Bill yawned lazily, as he made his way to the back of Gringotts, ignoring the usual stern glares from just about every goblin in the room. Miserable bunch, he grumbled under his breath gruffly, the dry taste of early morning tea in his mouth.
He pushed his hand through his ginger hair, always surprised it ended so quickly.
You have something the same for so long, that when it changes it always shocks you.
He used to have long hair, but got it cut shorter with his new job at Gringotts.
He sighed deeply, wishing that there weren’t as many early starts for work, and pushed open his office door, unsure why it wasn’t locked.
He blinked for slightly too long.
“Kuffee?” The playful light voice that had been haunting Bill made him jump and have coffee spilt all down his shirt.
Fleur’s eyes were wide and apoligetic.
“I am zo zorree!”
She grabbed a tissue and started to dab desperately at it.
“ It’s fine,” chuckled Bill, pushing her hand away with the dripping tissue.
His chuckle was cut short as they held each other’s eyes again. Fuck, why do her eyes have to be so huge and bloody entrancing? It’s making me look all soppy and romantic.
This time it was Fleur who drew away first, still holding an empty coffee mug.
“I got zee job, so I thought I’d repay ‘ou wiz zum kufee,” she explained, putting the coffee mug down on his desk. “Obviously, it’s not all down to ‘ou. He zed he wuz going to pick me anyway because I wuz ze right perzon fur de job.”
“Nah, it was all because of me,” Bill said inspecting his nails and trying hard not to laugh at the puzzled frown on Fleur’s face.
“No, he zed...”
Realisiation slowly dawned on her face, and her rosy cheeks flushed deep scarlet in embarassment.
Nice one, you idiot, she cursed mentally.
Bill drew a breath in sharply, his heart thumping.
“Hey, Fleur, I was wondering, you know how you owe me a coffee. How about we go for one on Saturday, ten o’clock, at the coffee house?”
Bill had rehearsed that line in his head so many times at night.
He had laid in his bed, head propped up behind his hands, gazing up at the ceiling.“Hey Fleur, I was wondering....” “Fleur, do you want to.....” The words still sounded alien to him even now, after all of that preperation. He'd vowed to himself, next time he saw her, he'd ask her out on a date. And maybe for the first time ever, Bill wasn;t 100% sure if she'd accept.
Fleur’s cheeks died down, and a look of curiousity and wonder came across her face.
A date? With him? What Fleur was most surprised at was the way she actually wanted to go on a date with him.
“Alright zen,” She said cautiously, chewing her lip, and tucking her hair behind her ear.
Fleur arrived late, thinking it best, keep him keen and see how long he stayed around for her. That's what her Grandmere had always said, too, but then again she'd also said that 'Beggars can't be choosers.'
Fleur had done this whole dating thing a billion times, but all Fleur felt was anxiety as she waited in her car, a shiny blue ford fiesta, just around the corner from the coffee shop. Cars were easier to drive around in - they helped keep ones dignity in tact - rather than arriving to work with windswept hair from either flooing or a broomstick. And Fleur could not stand disapperating. So she was stuck in the car, listening to an interview with the new minister for magic on the radio, and tapping her long slender fingers on the dashboard.
In the end, she could not resist and rushed in to the coffee shop 6 minutes later than the agreed time with Bill, 9 minutes earlier than what she had agreed in her mind.
Her eyes desperately scanned the room for his freckled face, the flaming hair, with no such luck.
She felt embarassed - no one had ever let her down before.They'd always be spot on time, or even early, but never late.
She came out from the door way, her face hotting up as she gazed around at the tables - seven full and four empty.
The faces of chatting people, all sipping warm coffee and nattering away for their brief break from work - mothers from having dropped off their children at school, a journalist jotting down some notes in the corner, two women having a cosy catch-up.
There were three people on duty - two behind the counter and one spotty young lad in his twenties clearing away a tray of dirty plates and cups.
She approached him first, pulling up her sleeves and trying to think straight.
“‘Ello, ‘ave you zeen a young man wit ginger ‘air, cum in to zis shop in e last ten minutes?”
She asked him worriedly, peering at the man as he straightened his cap, revealing a greasy brown fringe of hair that was rapidly covered again by the black cap he was wearing. He wiped a hand on his apron, balancing the crammed tray on one hand, unable to speak at her beauty.
“I.....ddon’t know,” he stammered, his eyes fixed on Fleur.
She let out a short sigh of impatience and annoyance, checking her silver watch that fitted perfectly on her slim pale wrist.
“Zank you,” She said, flashing him a quick smile that made his insides churn, and she
marched briskly over to a small table, pulling up her smart blazer sleeves and listening to the echo of her clopping heels.
The young man rushed over to throw the tray in a sink full of hot frothy bubbles, sinking his arms in, elbow deep as he hurriedly scrubbed at the trays half heartedly. Lifting them out of the washing up water, he dumped them on the side, not caring what his boss would complain to him about, as he ran a hand through his hair.
Delving in to his apron pocket, he pulled out some breath freshner his flat mate had got him. He sprayed it twice in his mouth, and five times on his clothes, hoping that it would work as a kind of perfume. Trying to conceal his grin, he shook off his damp hands, the young man pulled a notebook out his apron pocket - he kept a lot of things in there which resulted in a rather bulging front pocket and snide remarks from the other workers.
He gulped, picking up the courage to go over and take her order.
“Hello, can I take your or-”
He stopped mid-speech.
Her cheeks had died down to a delicate pale pink, her eyes shining in laughter and her shimmering silvery hair flowing down her back. His eyes lead him away to tall man sitting opposite her, with strikingly ginger hair, a face plastered with freckles and a lopsided cheeky smile. “Can I take your order please?” He asked, not bothering to hide his disapointment.
“Just two expressos please,” the ginger beamed up at him.
The man plodded away, with a bitter glare at the pair of them.
It was obvious that they were in love, the young man could tell by the way they each tried to avoid each others gaze and laughed awkwardly, fiddling with their buttons, or hair, or napkin.
“Just two expressos, coming up.”
A year later...
Fleur came bursting out the cinema doors, bursting out the lobby doors, and almost sending popcorn flying. Bill had to bring that up, about his brother attempting to ask her out, just at that moment in the film. She was watching that stupid romantic movie for him anyway, she would've much preferred Fast and Furious in 3D, but Bill loved rom-coms. At what point was it appropriate to bring that very thing up, that Fleur had told him not to mention, and Bill had swept aside and said very grimly that it wasn't true and she made it up.
Fleur folded her arms tightly across her chest, her face contorted with rage. After how many dates, how many? About sixty, that's how many. And he - that infuriating creature - still insisted on thinking he was right about everything. She was sure, so sure, that Ron had tried to ask her out to the Yule Ball. She'd grab Hermione or Harry themselves and get them to tell Bill, if she had to.
She still remebered the day, though was tactful enough to never bring it up in front of Harry, Ron or Hermione for that matter. He just gone up to her, a face as grey as someone from Sain. Mungos', made this most bizarre noise and then almost collapsed as he stumbled away again. It had made Fleur's face go crimson, let alone Ron's, and the hisses and whispers around the table that dinner confirmed her worst suspisions.
Even when she was this right, when she was this sure, Bill wouldn't believe her. They'd given up so much for each other, was it ever worth it? Anger boiled through her veins,
“Why duz you nut listen too me? Duz you nut care?” She whipped round, practically spitting in fury up close to his face.
Bill took a step back, rubbing his red cheek and trying to figure out how this fight had started.
One minute they were at the cinema, making popcorn levitate and getting warning glances from the muggle usher. The next, Fleur had stormed out with a face like thunder, throwing the box of popcorn at him. He had followed of course, shouting a trail of excuses, and causing quite a stir in the lobby.
Some japenese tourists even got out their cameras and started filming it.
Bill had remembered saying something like: “stupid french, alwaysu making stuff up” and then he remembered the hard slap on his cheek, with tears glistening in her eyes.
Bill had never seen her cry before - except maybe at the Matrix. If anything he was the one that should be crying - he'd just been slapped, and the stinging sensation was not going away any time soon. He'd bet thirty galleons there was the angry scarlet imprint of her hand on his cheek.
Now she was slipping through his fingers, and he wanted to run after her, yell at her at the top of his voice, pleading for her to stay. It was always Fleur, it always had been.
But she was running down the street, tears running down her cheeks, pouring from her silvery eyes.
He sprinted after her, picking a piece of popcorn out his ear.
She spun around, her hair whipping him in the face.
“Listen to me, monsieur. You're my knight in shining armourr. Ne l'oubliez pas.”
Bill felt his hands react before his mind.
He’d immediately cupped her head in his hands, and they’re mouths had latched on, and before he knew it he was kissing her.
And it was bliss.
It was like a warm cup of tea after a winning game of quidditch in the winter, like the corn field outside The Burrow in the summer, like raking the leaves in autumn, gold, orange and red.
It was better than all of those things put together.
Bill’s hand went down in to his jeans pocket for something he’d got given by his Aunt Muriel.
He’d been carrying it around with him ever since he’d met Fleur, for good luck he supposed. Though Bill wasn't a veyr superstitious person. His hands clasped themselves around the small dark blue velvet box, and he had drawn away from her lips, one knee digging in to the hard gravel of the street, and opened up the lid of the box with a thudding heart.
“Fleur Delacour, will you marry me?”
His mouth was dry, his heart pounding, his eyes pleading.
Had he waited long enough? They’d been together for one a half years now, he supposed it was long enough.
He hoped it was long enough.
He saw that Fleur was still crying, tears were still streaming down her cheeks.
“Yez, of courze I will, vous crétin!”
She flung her arms around him, and didn’t let go.
They clutched hands underneath the table, her in her white dress, him in his suit.
Of course, this meant that they both had to eat with one hand, prodding the prawns in white wine sauce, and nibbling elegantly on the yorkshire puddings with just one hand.
It was worth it.
Fleur kept on looking at him and laughing, in disbelief and happiness.
Here she was, a white vale draped over her shoulders, a white sequined dress with a beaming face. She didn’t care that she kept on getting slightly discerning looks from Mrs. Weasley, and disappointed shakes of the head from maman, Bill was hers now. Nothing could ruin this day.
She had obviously spoken too soon, as the wind started to whip at the tent, making it flap wildly. Bill dropped his fork in a clutter, wand raised and poised around him, obviosuly sensing the same as Fleur. The same kind of suspicion, the same kind of terror.
Men all over the tent were copying, the whole room tensing as the chill swept over them.
The Jack-o-lanterns, that were swinging crazily on their hooks, suddenly went out, and the darkness was like a vast impenetrable cloak that had wrapped itself around their hearts.
The tent had been swallowed up by darkness and panic.
Still clutching Bill’s hand and her wand, Fleur carefully gathered up her dress with a grimace. Nothing could go much worse.
She had spoken too soon again, as in a whirl of green a death eater had apperated next to her with a rather mailicious smirk.
All around the tent other death eaters were doing the same, with flames flickering in their eyes. The darkness seemed to choke Fleur in a cold hearted embrace, and she felt unable to react at first, frozen in shock and horror.
She looked in to those beady eyes contorted with rage and madness, and thought “No. No more losses.”
She shrieked, and gripping Bill’s arm, shut her eyes and thought of their honey moon destination. They were still hugging two minutes after they’d arrived at the entrance of the hotel.
Fleur didn’t want to leave the crook in his neck, it was warm and safe. She was scared to see a frown on Bill’s face, judging her seflishness. She worried about Gabrielle, and was half-convinced to apperate straight back, even though she did deteste apperating.
Back to danger and pain?
What about Harry? She had already risked his life for him once, but then he’d saved her life and her sister’s. Should she go back for him?
She finally plucked up the courage to look up at him, and was astonished to see a weak smile, at his new wife.
Bill was whistling to himself, cleaning up the dishes with a flick of his wand.
He was feeling rather manly.
He’d washed and dried up, because he was just that macho. And he’d made dinner - amazing beans on toast. It took skill to make beans on toast - there were lots of things involved. First there was toasting the bread, in a muggle instrument, that he knew how to use, he thought with a smug smile. Then there was boiling the beans.....and not one was burnt! He would boast to Charlie later about it, perhaps brag in a letter to him. He reached up to pop a plate on the highest shelf of the cupboard, when he heard a faint wailing from upstairs.
Bill remembered his wife’s praise for those beans.
“Zey are ze best I ‘ave ever tasted!”
Too right, they were. Bill, still whistling the Blues Brothers, raced up the stairs to investigate. It could be anything from a minor crisis, like the bed breaking, to a more major crisis like his broomstick snapping. Bill sincerly hoped it wasn't the latter, but his wife's tone suggested it could be He replayed her call in his head, trying to detect how much urgency or panic there had been, his pace quickening. He finally charged through the slightly too small door frame, to the scruffily painted walls of his bedroom, and his broomstick safely sitting against the wardrobe.
His wife - he still smiled when he called her that - was sitting on the bed with a rather blotched and puffy face. Fleur had been ill - she’d been tired and sick and everything.
That was why Bill had had to make those amazing beans on toast that were the very height of manliness. Bill stopped whistling, putting his arm round her comfortingly.
“What’s wrong?” He asked gently, sure it was in the 'minor section' category now that his broom stick was safe. He sat on the edge of the bed, feeling the materess sag underneath him, and slipping an arm around her tiny shoulders.
She looked up at him, her bottom lip trembling terribly, her eyes looking just like they did on that first date, when she'd got angry over whether Ron had really asked her out to the yule ball or not. Bill remembered how hard he'd found that, to accept the fact that his own younger brother was in complete awe of his wife, and might even possibly have feelings for her...he must've been a jealous twit to not believe her.
“Bill...I..I am pregnant.”
At first he couldn't breathe, and his lungs had been completely deprived of oxygen. Then Bill drew her in close, laughing softly at first. It was like a trickle of water, that swiftly grew and grew till it was a rushing stream, that grew in to the huge sea, the echoes of their laughter ( Fleur’s rather watery one and his manly roars) ringing around Shell Cottage.
A thousand things were running through Bill's mind like toddlers, which room would be the nursery, what if it was a boy, what if it was a girl, what if it were twins? Triplets? Sixtuplets? And merlin, think about the money! He couldn't be a dad - he barely managed to look after himself, let alone another person.
He though of how scared he must feel, and then looked down at his trembling wife, who must be at least as petrified as he was. The anxiety suddenly made way for more laughter, and much more beans on toast.
“Louis, mon cher, not in ze house!” Fleur shouted at her son, who was currently zooming around the house on a toy broom, knocking in to a rather cross Victoire and smashing two vases. Louis, eyes wide in panic, swerved as he just missed his father’s head, millimeteres from impact.
“Wow there,” chuckled Bill, catching the end of Louis’s broomstick and dragging it to the ground.
“Maman, Dom stole my wand from Uncle George,” Vic grumbled with a frown, sitting on the bottom step of the stairs in hell Cottage, listening to them groan under strain.
“Dominque, did ‘ou steal ‘er wand?” Fleur asked from the washing up bowl, a few stray bubbles balanced in her silvery hair, that was a cross over of both sunshine and moonlight. It was as blond as the sun, glossy and shining with silvery streaks. Typical Veela.
“Yes, but I’m going to give it back,” Dom said crossily, throwing her patterned blue china cereal bowl in to the bowl with a sulk.
“You should ask next time, Dommy,” Bill said gently, lifting Dom up and tickling her. “Or there will be consequences.”
Dom was determined to have a jutting bottom lip and a scowl on her face, but that soon changed as she gave in to fits of monstrous giggles.
Louis waddled over to Vic, his thumb in his mouth, handing her a piece of crumpled paper and then toddling back to his toy broom under the table.
“Thanks,” Victoire said, with a bemused smile. She had recently turned nine, and had just learned the power of sarcasm.
“No no no, what’s that you have Vic,” Bill said, his face creased in to a concerned frown as he marched over to Victoire on the bottom step, which is not easy if you have a six year old hanging off your leg.
Victoire shrugged, handing it to her father and sticking her tongue out at Louis as he whizzed past her and flew up the stairs.
“Louis,” Called Fleur, running up the stairs after her son whilst the dishes washed themselves.
“What was Louis doing with my bank statement? Who spent 10 galleons on Droobles best blowing gum?” Bill quizzed, scanning it thoroughly with a scruitnizing gaze.
He looked up, narrowing his eyes at his oldest child.
“Don’t ask me!! Ask Teddy!” Victoire said in a high pitched shriek and a shrug.
Dom unattached herself from Bill’s leg and started to bawl her eyes out.
“What is it Dommy?” Bill asked, sitting next to Victoire and pulling Dom on to her lap, as tears tumbled down her freckled cheeks.
“Look at her foot,” Observed Victoire proudly. “ It’s infected.” Victoire could not hold back a smug smile.
“Merlin, is that pottery in there?” Bill said, at her rather red and swollen foot.”How did you know about it Victoire? And how did that get there?”
Louis soared back down the stairs, all of them ducking their heads in unison as he came plummeting down.
“LOUIS!!” Fleur bellowed furiously, racing back down the stairs again.
“I want to be a healer when I’m older, just like Uncle George,” Victoire grinned broadly, with a proud nod of her head
“Uncle George runs a joke shop?”
“No, he told me he was a healer. He said he healed Uncle Percy once, with a puking pastille, and he cured Ron of his sense of humour..”
Dom continued to sob.
“Louis! Not another vase from my grandmére!”
“So that’s where the pottery came from....” Wondered Victoire aloud. “I’m pleased the charm me and Uncle George put on Louis’s broom worked anyway.”
“Charm?” Questioned Bill, rubbing Dom’s back sympathetically.
“Yes, the charm we made so that it knocks over stuff like a magnet. Uncle George said it would help heal your sense of humour.”
Bill rolled his eyes.
“Come on, Dommy and Vic, I’m going to take you to a place where you get to see real healers heal Dom’s foot...”
Bill couldn’t help but wish, just occasionally, what life would be like if he was like Charlie with no kids. Pretty dull, in all honesty. More money, granted, and more energy, time, space, blah blah blah, but probably a bit boring.
Maybe Victoire was a healer after all.
Fleur looked at Bill’s weathered face, and pushed her reading glasses further up her nose.
She was lucky to have found such a handsome man, and a smile formed itself on her old wrinkled lips as she thought about them. The spritely young ginger in the old photos, looking over his brothers and sister.
The Head boy, in scarlet and golden robes with a freckled face and cheeky grin.
The Gringotts worker, who she’d spilt coffee on.
The boy who she’d thought stood her up, but had in fact had the same idea in mind as her and had deliberately come late.
The man who made disgusting beans on toast.
The man who had proposed to her on the street by the cinema.
The man who now gave a contented sigh and hugged her bony soft-skinned frame.
The man who was forever hers.
And somehow, Fleur knew that when they died they’d still be together, with their lives written in starlight.
A/N: Helloooo! I though I hadn't wrote a fluffy romance one shot, and my AP was a bit deprived of Bill/Fleur, and also it fitted nicely with Shazalupin's challenge and the awesome ValWitch21, who shares a love of Bill/Fleur along my own!
Ne l'oubliez pas -- Don't you forget it.
Vous crétin! -- You moron!
Mon cher -- My dear.
Thank you so much for reading this, and I hope you have time to leave a review! :D