Chapter 1 : The moment when love first touched me.
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Fleur Delacour followed the goblin, her heels clicking on the marble floor. She didn’t care much for the architecture in the country, though this bank was really very beautiful. She glanced around the chamber they crossed – yes, she could imagine working here. At least for a little while, to improve her English.
Her parents didn’t understand why she had stayed on, after the Tournament was finished. She had returned to Beauxbatons briefly, to sit the exams she had been studying for under Madame Maxime while at Hogwarts, before coming back here.
England seemed like the place to be at the moment – there was something changing - that was what Madame Maxime had said, something to do with the Potter boy. For some reason or another, in any case, she was following this foul little creature that called itself Greefhook to the person who would show her around her new workplace.
They stopped at the door. This person wasn’t incredibly high up, in fact he wasn’t much older than her, the goblin had told her. However, from what she understood, he knew the ropes and had been kind enough to offer his assistance.
They paused at the door as the goblin called the man’s name. Weeslee. Her delicately featured face furrowed in concentration. She knew the name, yet was too anxious about her first day to make the connection.
Her first impression of the man was that he was very handsome, though not in the French way. He was not as groomed as the boys at Beauxbatons, and had a very different type of style. His red hair was too long, and he had an odd earing, yet these oddities appealed to Fleur.
Their eyes met, his registering her sudden recognition of him as hers did his realization.
Weeslee, red hair. She had seen him before the third task, someone to do with the Potter boy’s little friend perhaps. She blushed slightly, remembering she had admired him briefly, though hadn’t given him much thought. She had seen him, but not perceived him. Not like she did now.
The goblin was speaking, though neither paid attention.
After that initial meeting, they fell into a kind of pattern. Every morning, she would bring him a cup of coffee – French, obviously. He would explain to her the morning paper, the stories that she found difficult to read. They would sit at his desk like this, neither confessing they came to work early for this purpose, that this was in fact the highlight of each of their days.
He made her laugh – this was odd to Fleur. Not that she did not enjoy humour, or come across it – it was because his way of seeing the world was so different from her own. Sometimes, later when working at her own station, walking through London’s crowded streets or wandering around the small apartment her parents had rented for her, she would suddenly grin, or giggle a little. People around her, if there were any, would turn to look at the extraordinary beautiful blonde girl, made perhaps even more exquisite by the glow that came upon her face with this smile.
He was a little reserved, a quality she admired in him. She was somewhat reserved too. He didn’t speak much about his own personal life. She knew he liked to travel, as she was realising she did too, and that he had returned here to be near his family. This struck something within Fleur – here was someone who could perhaps understand the sadness of being separated from her parents, and more importantly, from her dear Gabrielle.
One day, like every other, Fleur woke and showered. She dressed conservatively, though impeccably for work. She combed through her soft blonde hair, a prized possession of hers, before pinning it up. Her mother had always told her to look after her beauty. She had become extra-careful about her appearance since meeting Bill.
She ate a little and set off to work on foot. She was not far from the bank, and enjoyed the exercise and fresh air. She stopped by the café whose coffee she deemed good enough to drink her and bring to Bill. She smiled to herself, anticipating the little chat she would have with him that morning. She had brought in a little photo of Gabrielle – today she felt ready to share a little more with him.
She arrived at the bank over twenty minutes before she was due to begin working. She trotted towards the place in which she and Bill worked, attracting some admiring glances from those around her. The gazes of others meant nothing to her nowadays.
Bill was already at his desk, newspaper ready, and something else in his hand. She could see the excitement in his eyes, holding this little fact in her, letting it fill her up. Perhaps he was beginning the same way too. She carefully placed the coffee on his desk, and pulled her chair closer to his.
They sat there, smiling gently at each other, not saying anything for a moment. Realising neither had said anything, they both giggled awkwardly. Fleur shyly took out the picture she had brought.
“Thees iz Gabrielle. She iz currently at Beauxbatons.” She placed it in front of Bill. To the outside world, this moment would not seem monumental, though both could feel the closeness growing between them. Another picture appeared beside it. It was a family of redheads, outside a pyramid.
Fleur studied the picture, smiling. She touched the picture where the little girl stood. “Ginnee?” she asked. She looked a little older than Gabrielle, and very pretty.
Bill laughed again. “Yeah, that’s Ginny. Hopefully you’ll like her, she’s very…” he trailed off, meeting her glance.
He had said that she would meet her. This surprised Fleur, knowing how private Bill was, guessing that he had to be for whatever reason. She dared to hope, as she had been almost afraid to hope.
Men thought she was beautiful. Her Veela blood was the cause of this. Yet, Bill did not act around her the way others did. He was quite different.
Their eyes met again, her blonde hair falling over her eyes, his red hair hanging near hers. Red and gold.
Their faces grew closer, their foreheads almost touching. They did not think about where they were, or who could walk in. They did not speak a word – the difference of language between them was no longer relevant. They had their own language.
Years later, she would tell Gabrielle of the first time Bill kissed her. They were in a crowded café, a beautiful little girl in a pink dress dancing around their table. It was when she started to feel at home in England, when she didn’t feel so lonely anymore.
But most of all, she whispered quietly to her, by then, estranged sister, the moment when loved first touched me.
People bustled by, barely paying attention to the girl with the hood up, shielding her face along with the oversized sunglasses. The large sweatshirt covering her sundress cloaked her figure as she made her way slowly through Muggle Paris.
This is where Gabrielle Delacour had chosen to flee to. Growing up in provincial France, the city symbolised a kind of freedom she craved. There, she was ensured anonymity, in a way.
The clothes that disguised her saved her from recognition from the harsh eyes of strangers. In order to keep her fed and other in necessities, she had reduced herself to small scale modelling. She appeared in windows of department stores, in nightwear and swimwear. Thankfully, it was nothing scandalous, though she had been approached by less than reputable parties.
Her luck was starting to run out. Tomorrow, she knew she would have to agree to the first of her photo -shoots advertising underwear. It was still above board, though she did not feel comfortable doing this. She was sixteen years old, and should have been still sheltered from this in school.
She had come to Paris to dance. Modelling disgusted her – she had inherited this beauty from her mother, who was half Veela, she had done nothing to deserve what other people strived for. Apart from the act herself, she became aware of the darker side of the occupation – men who would more than happy to “launch her to fame,” for a price.
Fleur’s move to England had sparked something in Gabrielle. At a very young age, she felt abandoned by the older sister she idolised. It was lonely enough being left to her parents while Fleur was at school – however, being separated by so many miles was quite different.
Though she had never confessed this, watching Fleur go through the trials of the Tournament, had had an effect on her that only became apparent to her a few years later.In her first year at Beauxbatons, she had spent every waking hour trying to get news of Fleur, who was in England; Fleur, who had foolishly insisted on remaining with her new husband though a way was raging on around her. During the day, she obsessed over every bit of news coming to her from England. Every night she dreamt of Harry Potter, pulling Fleur’s dead body out of that horrible maze, instead of the body of the other English boy.
That summer, she went to stay at a friend’s house. There she heard the war was over, Fleur was safe. She could not bring herself to return to her parents for more than a week at the end of the holidays. They had kept information from her – her parents and Fleur could have been more forthcoming with news of the war. They said they wished to protect her from the terror the war was causing – Gabrielle could not imagine it would have worsened her own terror.
And so, this grew into resentment of her parents, and of Fleur. She spent Christmas and Easter at school, only returning briefly during the summer holidays, spending the rest at the home of a friend, near Paris. Adele, her friend, introduced her to ballet, an art she had studied before finding out she was a witch.
Gabrielle was fascinated by this muggle world of dance, something she had not encountered before. Gabrielle begged Adele to teach her what she knew; the two practiced together at school, and received intense training during the summer.
Her parents were not happy with this. They could not understand what had gotten into her, and why she would not return to them. They grew tired of sending her all this money, not understanding why this tuition should be paid by them, to aid their almost estranged young daughter. Instead of going back to Beauxbatons for her sixth year, she had moved to Paris, staying with a friend from the ballet school. She did not care what affect this would have on the parents who no longer understood her.
She was a gifted dancer, no one denied this. Yet, she still had some training to do before she could be a ballerina. This is why she worked – to put herself through the training. She was running out of money, and her worry was starting to get in the way of her dancing. She would have to drop out of the ballet school soon.
What would become of her then?
Today, she was going to meet Fleur for the first time in over six years, since the wedding which had been attacked by dark wizards, wrenching her away from her sister.
Fleur had tracked her down, saying this had gone on too long. She had allowed Gabrielle to pick a date, time and venue that would suit her. It was only out of sheer desperation Gabrielle agreed to meet her.
She stopped outside the café. Yes, that was Fleur. Immaculately dressed, positioned confidently in the middle of the shop, the eyes of the other patrons fixed on her. She was the same, yet very different. She had filled out a little; she was less willowy than she had been. Gabrielle herself was much thinner, being away from home for so long. There was a change in Fleur’s face, a glow.
She stepped inside, taking off the sunglasses, and letting her hair fall out. Her sister looked up sharply from her coffee, and their gazes met.
Tears sprang to Gabrielle’s eyes, though she did not let them fall. She had forgotten how much she loved and missed her sister. She moved towards the table, her glance never wavering, barely seeing the small child that darted in front of her, delighted with dogs seated under their master’s chairs. She must have been new to Paris.
There was a cup of coffee waiting for her at her seat; Fleur must have been keeping it warm secretly by magic. Gabrielle missed such benefits of magic; she had left her wand at her parents’ house when she left.
They sat in silence for a moment, before they began the necessary awkward small talk. Gabrielle told her a little about the dancing and the modelling she was doing at the side. She did not disclose the trouble she was in – she was too proud for that.
Fleur began telling her a little about what was going on in her life. She had two daughters now, one very recently. This would explain the difference in her appearance. She seemed happy, fulfilled in motherhood in a way Gabrielle had not imagined she would be. She spoke, almost breathlessly of how she had come to fall in love with her husband.
They lapsed into silence again, until Fleur spoke again at last.
“Come home Gabrielle”, she pleaded, her concern finally showing. “Whatever has happened, I promise to help.”
Gabrielle ignored her, anger rising again. Fleur really would not understand the pain she had caused. She focused instead on the little blonde girl, twirling in circles so fast she became a tiny mass of pink and gold.
Fleur looked to where Gabrielle was gazing.
“Victoire”, she called lightly. “‘Ere pleese!”
Gabrielle looked at her sister quickly and back at the child, around the age of three or maybe four, pottering towards them. The little girl’s arms were raised towards her Mama, smiling in a way that made Gabrielle’s breath catch in her throat.
Fleur introduced the pair, in English that Gabrielle could barely comprehend. She had not been so devoted in learning a second language as her sister had been.
“Gabrielle,” Fleur said, grinning, her face lighting up. “This is your eldest niece, Victoire. She has come to meet you at last.”
Awestruck, Gabrielle looked at the miniature of herself, so innocent, so beautiful.
During Victoire Weasley’s adolescent life, she would regularly visit Gabrielle in France, or the aunt would come to see the whole family in England. Gabrielle was loved by all three of the children, though her relationship with Victoire had certain significance for her. Meeting her coincided with the decision to finally talk to her family and to agree to sit her exams at school before her return to dancing, which would then be funded by her parents. It was the moment, she repeatedly told Victoire, when the world began to make sense to her, when everything fell into place.
But most of all, Gabrielle would add silently, the moment when love first touched me.
Victoire stood in silence as they waited for Teddy and his grandmother to arrive at the station. Uncle Harry was pacing back and forth nervously; terrified Teddy would miss his train. Aunt Ginny was trying to calm him down, though she looked worried as well.
Papa stood beside her, watching all the muggles in amusement. He had brought her there after much begging on her part. The Potters had thrown a going away party for Teddy a few nights before, when all the cousins said their goodbyes. James and Albus had been quite teary, as had the baby Lily been once she realised what was happening.
Victoire had refused to say goodbye. In her favourite pink party jupe and the ribbon Gabrielle had given her last time she went to see her dance, she had sulked every time she was in Teddy’s line of sight. Up until last night, she had been angry with Teddy for leaving her. He was going away to school, leaving her until Christmas. He was going to make new friends, she knew. Mama had told her she should be happy for her mellieur ami..
Her stomach had been in knots for the past week, hoping that something would happen, she would get her letter a year early, school was cancelled for the year, Teddy would take the year out – but she knew none of these things would happen.
She heard her uncle breathe a sigh of relief. Victoire knew Harry and Ginny counted Teddy among their children, and she loved them for it. Right at this moment though, she wasn’t thinking about her aunt and uncle.
She saw Teddy in the distance and immediately the knot in her stomach disappeared for a moment. She grinned at him, seeing his blue hair before anything else. His grandmother had wanted him to fit in with everyone else, but Victoire knew he would never consent to that.
He looked nervous, and her heart went out to him. At that moment, she just wanted him to be happy. Not paying attention to her Papa’s shouts to be careful, she ran as fast as she could, dancing in and out of the crowds, her long, soft blonde hair falling out of the ballerina bun she sometimes wore.
Her eyes were focused on Teddy’s hazel ones, which turned from questioning to delight as she neared him. She didn’t stop running until she reached them, when she threw her arms around him and hugged him like she would never let him go.
He had gotten a little taller this summer, so she only reached his shoulder now, into which she buried her face. She took in everything – the way he wrapped his arms around her, despite it being a public place, the way he smelled. She took in everything, remembering everything until she would be able to see him again.
The adults had all caught up now, and were laughing. Teddy was laughing too, making Victoire do the same. She pulled away from him slowly, beaming up at her best friend.
They chatted excitedly until they reached the entrance to their platform. Harry had explained how this was done to them, but Victoire still wasn’t convinced. Her Papa and Andromeda walked through first, she and Teddy would then be followed by Harry and Ginny.
Teddy turned to her, grinned, and then sprinted full speed at the barrier, shouting “Come on Vic!” before he crossed over.
This was more than enough for Victoire. Whatever lay beyond the wall, she would face it with Teddy. She ran after him, closing her eyes and jumping, almost like a pirouette that Tante Gabrielle had showed her how to do.
Suddenly, she was on the platform. She could barely take in her surroundings, just catching glimpses people in robes, with owls and rats. Most prominently, she saw the big red steam engine that would take Teddy away from her.
The old fear had returned the private one she had not voiced. She was afraid, more afraid than she had ever been of anything, that Teddy would forget about her – which he would make a new best friend, and she wouldn’t be important to him anymore.
Victoire stood, rooted in terror, as she watched her uncle introduce Teddy to a son of an old friend of Harry’s. It was starting already. For a moment, she couldn’t see anything, everyone had crowded around them.
She pushed her way through, and saw half the station rush over to shake Harry’s hand, then Teddy’s, then Harry’s again. She was puzzled, though remembered that the adults said Harry was famous for something to do with a war.
She stood, like the pretty little spoiled girl she was, almost stomping her foot in annoyance. No one could take Teddy away from her; she would simply not allow it. She would go to Hogwarts too – yes, she would slip onto the train and refuse to leave his side. She didn’t see any other option.
It was just before eleven, and Uncle Harry was asking everyone to let him say goodbye in peace.
The crowds cleared, and she saw him again. He and Harry looked very serious. She started to walk over, but Papa stopped her. Victoire looked at him in annoyance, but was met with a firm head shake.
She pouted, knowing that it wasn’t very grown up, but didn’t care. She couldn’t believe Teddy was leaving her without even caring. She glared at him now, keeping up the tough exterior though all she wanted to do was cry.
Uncle Harry was straightening up, clapping his beloved godson on the shoulder. Teddy walked slowly, smiling a little sadly now, over to his aunt Ginny, who kissed him lightly on the forehead. He waved at Bill, before turning to her.
The whistle was blowing, people were rushing around. While the world sped up, time for Victoire Weasley slowed down. It was just Teddy and Victoire, Victoire and Teddy, just like it had always been.
He walked over her, his sad smile becoming more animated, more Teddy as he drew nearer to her. He stopped just short of her, both of them untouched by the bustling crowd.
Teddy pulled her into a brief, tight squeeze, before pulling back and hitting her with his massive, infectious smile.
“Love you Vic, see you soon!” he said, still beaming.
“And you better write!” he shouted, boarding the train as Harry helped him with his luggage.
He waved a final goodbye at everyone, winking at her before the train pulled away.
She took off running, as the train moved off, tears in her eyes, tears of happiness as she chased after the train. She danced through the crowds, weaving through the air like the dancers she was fascinated by. She ran and waved until Teddy disappeared from sight, until she fell back, beaming.
He loved her. They were best friends and his absence would not change anything. She would wait for him to return, and write to him every week until it was time for her to join him at school.
And it would be Teddy and Victoire and Victoire and Teddy just like it had always been… and always would be.
A new feeling began to grow in her that day, a feeling that was strange and alien to her, one that she would not begin to name as amour until some years later. She glowed, she shone, she radiated pure bliss.
It was the moment, she told little Dominique a little while after the event, that she decided she couldn’t wait to enter the wizarding world, to start Hogwarts.
But most of all, she thought to herself years after that, the moment when love first touched me.
Dominique looked up at her Auntie Ginny. Auntie was storming around pouting, like Dominique did sometimes. Dominique didn’t know what the tantrum was about, but hoped Auntie would calm down soon; she was scary when she was angry.
Auntie Ginny was Dominique’s favourite Auntie. Tante Gabrielle was Dominique’s favourite tante. Auntie Ginny had two children, their names were James and Albus, but they were only little. Mamma said soon Auntie would have another baby. Dominique knew this because Auntie Ginny had gotten all big like Mamma had last year before Louis was there.
Dominique liked Louis sometimes. He was very small and very pink and very nice-smelling. Papa said it wasn’t Louis’ fault but sometimes Dominique didn’t like him because he didn’t play with her.
Sometimes Victoire wouldn’t play with her either. She and Teddy were best friends and they had lots of fun games. Sometimes they let Dominique play and sometimes they did not. When they did play with her it was fun. Sometimes Victoire didn’t like getting her clothes dirty so then just Teddy and Dominique would play. This was fun too but she liked playing with Victoire the best.
Sometimes they played a game called Les Souers, Papa called it “Sisters.” Victoire was a famous French ballerina whenever they played, Dom was her sister but she changed who she was every game. Victoire wanted to be like Tante Gabrielle. She liked Auntie Ginny too but Tante Gabrielle was her favourite of both of them.
Dominique decided it was time that Auntie should stop being angry. Auntie had just made a hissing noise like a cat and was shaking. She had red hair like Dominique wanted and now her face looked like her hair.
“What’s wrong Auntie?” she asked. “Is James being bold again? Is that why you’re here?”
She watched as Auntie spun around to look at her. Dominique remembered that whenever Auntie was angry people let her be. Even Uncle Harry. Especially Uncle Harry.
Auntie stopped hissing and storming and shaking. Then she smiled, and this surprised Dominique.
“Sorry love,” Auntie said, in her normal voice. Auntie didn’t use baby voices like Auntie Hermione or Auntie Angelina or Aunt Audrey.
“I’m just a little sad you see, because I’m not allowed fly.”
Dominique was shocked. Auntie loved to fly!
She frowned. “Why are you not allowed to fly, Auntie? Were you bold?”
Auntie laughed, and pulled Dominique on to her lap. Dominique looked up at her, waiting for an answer. Dominique liked answers, especially from Auntie.
“I am here, Dom, because Harry is bringing the boys to see our friend Hagrid, your Mamma and Papa are bringing Louis for a check-up, and Victoire is staying with Teddy. The two of us,” she finished cheerfully, “Are going to have a fun day.”
This made Dom happy, especially her new name. First she asked who Hagrid was and then what a check-up was.
“But why are you not allowed to fly?” she persisted.
Auntie looked annoyed again, but finally explained. “Well, do you remember when your Mama told you I was going to have a new baby?”
Dom nodded. She remembered this.
“You see the doctors and your Uncle Harry, and all the other people in the family for that matter, think it would be bad to fly when I have the baby in my belly”.
Dom was momentarily confused. “Why is there a baby in your belly anyway? How did it get there?”
Auntie stood up quickly, almost knocking Dom over.
“Let’s go outside!” Auntie shouted. Dom ran outside happily, forgetting about the answer she wanted.
Dom and Auntie went outside and they ran around. Dom played on her toy broomstick as Auntie trotted along beside her. Auntie got tired because of l’enfant nouvelle, and so they sat down.
Dom looked up at the sky, and wondered what it would be like to fly up in the sky. She asked Auntie, but Auntie only smiled.
Suddenly, Auntie got up. She looked excited, and asked where Papa kept his broom. Dom showed her but was confused. She watched Auntie take out the broom. It was old because Papa didn’t really play Quidditch.
Uncle Harry had a very nice broom but Auntie Ginny’s broom was nicer because it was a special broom that was made for her because she was famous for flying. Papa’s broom was not like this but Auntie said it didn’t matter and that it didn’t need to go high or fast.
They walked outside and Auntie knelt down so she and Dom were the same height.
“Now Dom,” Auntie said in a serious voice. “Can you keep a secret?”
Dom didn’t like secrets but she thought that this might be a good one so she said yes.
“Would you like to fly with me? We would go very slowly and not very high.”
Dom nodded, very scared but very excited. She climbed onto the broom and held on tightly, as Auntie gripped on to her even tighter. This hurt Dom a little, but she knew that Auntie was just making sure she was safe.
Before Dom could even be nervous, they were flying. Red hair and gold hair whipping around in the wind. Dom and Auntie up in the sky. Red and gold.
She was flying.
Years later, when she told her mother, Fleur, about this, Dominique Weasley would look back on this moment in her life, as something that formed her as a person. It was exhilarating. Never before had she felt this rush, this feeling of being. It was the moment when she knew who she would be every time when she played Sisters with Victoire. It was the moment when she knew she wanted to be like Ginny – fearless, a force of nature, and a flyer.
But most of all, she would think to herself, the moment when love first touched me.