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Chapter 1 : Just Bill and Fleur
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Fleur Delacour Weasley stood on the beach outside Shell Cottage, her bare feet curling in the sun-warmed sand, and her silvery-blond hair billowing around her face in the ocean breeze. It was a picture of peace and calm, the slender figure silhouetted in the sunset, but inside, storms and turmoils tore at her heart.
She and Bill had been married for such a short time, and now? Now he would have to go to war...a war which she knew he might never return from. She, being a month pregnant, had been convinced into remaining behind, but she was loathe to let Bill go. He had become everything to her over the past three years. If he died...if he did not come back to her...
A chill ran down her spine and she shuddered involuntarily.
If he never came back to her, she would have to go back to living as she had before she'd met her William Arthur Weasley. Once, already, she had feared he lay at death's door, and being strong, though very difficult, had been the only way to convince herself that he would be fine.
This time? This time, she would be left behind. Her precious husband would be off fighting the Dark Lord, Death Eaters, snatchers, and whatever else, risking his life every moment, while she, his pregnant wife, would worry and pray for his safe return. If Bill didn't come back, she'd be a widow, their child would be fatherless, her world would surely go black and crumble around her.
Normally, Fleur would never have dared to let anyone see her cry, but at the moment, she didn't care if everyone on earth saw the shining tear that trailed its way down her fair cheek and dripped off her jawline onto the pale skin of her neck. It was followed by another, and she didn't even bother to wipe them away.
Her husband, her beloved Bill might not come back. He might die.
Perhaps her emotional responses to things were made much stronger by her pregnancy, but Fleur was an emotional wreck right now, either way. How did Molly do it?
Fleur had never really cared for Molly except for the fact that the woman had carried Bill in her womb for nine months, nurtured and fed him, and helped him to grow up before Hogwarts. But Fleur definitely admired the fact that she had never known Molly to constantly cry and moan for the inevitable. Mrs. Weasley had let Charlie go to Romania to train dragons, which Fleur could never have done; she had (albeit, begrudgingly) permitted Fred and George to open their own store and live there, perhaps not as tough as alot of the things she had to endure, but still; she had allowed not only Arthur, but also Fred, George and Ron to assist in the extremely risky business of moving Harry from Little Whinging to the Burrow...sure, Bill and Fleur had both helped, as well, but they hadn't been married, and they had been together the entire time; and Ron...Molly had stood by as her youngest son went off to who knows where with no one but Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, Fleur would not have allowed it.
There was so much that Fleur saw in Molly Weasley that she wished she herself had, yet she lacked it. She allowed herself to sink into self-pity, wanting Bill all to herself-so what if a few people had to suffer an extra injury or two? As long as Bill was safe and in her arms, Fleur would be the most content woman alive.
Another tear joined the others at the base of her neck, and she placed a hand lightly over her stomach, which had not yet expanded noticeably. This child didn't deserve to be fatherless. What had it done to deserve such cruel fate?
Tears fell freely now, and Fleur wrapped her arms around herself, desperate for comfort, when she felt a light touch on her shoulder.
It was Bill, his scarred face contorted into a pained expression...or no, it was a concerned expression.
"Fleur, why are you crying?" He asked, gently, running one rough hand through her fine, part veela hair, while the other slipped around her waist from behind so he could pull her against him. Her silver-blue eyes looked searchingly into his deep brown ones, and he saw the unshed tears that just waited to join those already streaming down her cheeks. She very rarely cried, but when she did, Bill knew that something really was wrong. "Love, tell me what's wrong."
Her eyes held his for a moment more before she turned around completely and threw herself into his arms, burying her face in his chest and inhaling deeply the scent of his nice cologne. She was so used to it so comforted by it, that her burden already felt a small bit lighter.
Then she looked up at him, and fear washed over her again. If she lost him, if he died...
"Bill, don't go," she murmured, brushing one small hand against the thin red stubble along his jaw. She loved the way he tried to shave it every day, but got distracted sometimes and forgot to.
He took her hand in his and kissed her open palm, holding it to his lips for a few moments before lightly kissing each fingertip. He didn't know what to tell her, she was usually so headstrong and determined, he wasn't accustomed to this. He didn't want her to worry, yet, there was nothing he could say that was guaranteed to put her mind to rest. For all he knew, he might be cursed dead a minute into the battle.
Fleur's hand in his slipped a bit to twine her fingers with his, and her other hand brushed back some of the longish, Weasley-red hair she so loved, "Please don't leave me, Bill."
Bill's arm around her waist pulled her in to him until their entwined fingers were pressed between them. He could just feel the moisture on her skin from the tears she had shed. He couldn't leave her. No, William Arthur Weasley could not leave his wife. If he had to kill every Death Eater in existence, he would do it, if only to hold her one more time.
He leaned down slowly, and Fleur tilted her head up to meet his tender kiss with one of her own. She let her free hand play with the ends of his hair, and felt the hand on her back doing the same. They could have been the young adults who had met at the Triwizard tournament, stealing a kiss behind a curtain. Her lips fit against his as if they had been made for each other. The sunset behind them gave a soft, romantic glow to the scene, and Fleur was content to let her mind forget the impending danger Bill would face for just a few minutes to bask in the perfection of them just being together. No one was around to interrupt them, or to make the typical gagging noises of those who could not understand, it was just man and woman, husband and wife, knight and maiden, wizard and witch, Bill and Fleur. Nothing else mattered; nothing else was important.
The last rays of sunset washed over the couple as they finally pulled apart, and their entwined hands fell to their sides as they began to walk back to the cottage.
Somehow everything would be fine in the end.
Then the sun dipped the last bit and the night took over.
A dark night, but darkness always comes before morning.
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