Fleur sat at the crowded Ravenclaw table, hundreds of golden plates bearing breakfast before her, though she was in no mood to eat. It wasn’t just because the Hogwarts food was so heavy compared to the delicate cuisine of France, although her dress robes had become infuriatingly tight at the Yule Ball. No, her stomach was tied up in uncomfortable knots. Today was the day of the Third Task in the TriWizard Tournament; what she’d been preparing for all year. She’d have to work harder than ever tonight.
She would be entering the maze last because she’d earned the least amount of points; something she was not altogether pleased about. She’d known the Champions from Hogwarts and Durmstrang would be skilled, they’d have to be for the Goblet to choose them, but she hadn’t imagined that she would be continually outshone. And then there was the peculiar matter of the fourth Champion. She’d had to admit; initially she’d considered the Potter boy to be a joke. How could a fourteen-year-old child possibly compete with the likes of Fleur Delacour, the Beauxbatons Champion? But despite his three year disadvantage, Potter was now tied for first place with Cedric Diggory. However, she felt that he did deserve the extra points he’d received in the Second Task. If he hadn’t pulled Gabrielle out of that lake as well as his red haired friend, who knows what might have happened?
“Oi Fleur!” an obnoxious voice called from the other side of the table; Roger Davies.
Fleur sighed. She had really grown to detest that boy. He’d asked her to the Ball back in December and she’d agreed, without really thinking what she was doing. She’d been slightly alarmed at the ridiculous measures the Hogwarts boys in particular, had taken in asking her to the Yule Ball. With a slight grimace, she remembered how Potter’s friend from the lake had approached her in the corridor and shouted a rather nervous invitation at her before being led away by his sister. At least, she assumed that girl was his sister. They certainly had the same fiery hair.
“Fleur!” Roger continued, apparently unaware of her disgust. “I have a free class after breakfast if you fancy coming up to the Common Room with me, and, er, you know…” He trailed off, winking significantly.
He sounded hopeful, but there was no denying the confident tone of his voice born, no doubt, of his talent on the Quidditch pitch. He’d explained to her, in meticulous detail, every single match he’d played as the Ravenclaw captain, and his outrage that the House Championship couldn’t continue that year. If Fleur had wanted someone to talk about Quidditch for the duration of the Ball, she would have asked Krum! Admittedly, though, he had accompanied a Hogwarts girl; another of Potter’s friends.
No, if she was being completely honest, she would have quite liked to go to the Yule Ball with Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts Champion, but he’d asked Cho Chang, a Ravenclaw student, before Fleur could speak to him. Cho was pretty enough, Fleur thought, and rather well-mannered, though she seemed blind to the fact that Potter had eyes for her. Fleur sighed irritably. These Hogwarts students! They were causing more trouble than they were worth.
“No zank you!” Fleur replied to Roger, taking a fortifying sip of pumpkin juice before standing up. “As..er…delightful as zat sounds, my family are here to watch ze task and I must see zem!”
She made her way to the chamber off the Great Hall, where Madame Maxime had informed her family would be waiting. Harry Potter was making his way over from the Gryffindor table, looking apprehensive and worried like he so often did, his untidy dark hair falling in his eyes. Fleur felt an unexpected stab of pity for the boy. She was not as familiar with his story as the Hogwarts students were of course, but she did know he had been orphaned by the Dark Lord as an infant. She wondered who had come to support him. Aunts and uncles perhaps?
But all pitying thoughts of Harry were driven from her mind as she pushed open the chamber door and her mother, father and little sister come into view.
“Maman! Papa! Gabrielle!” she exclaimed joyfully, all dignity and poise forgotten as she ran to embrace them like a child.
She had not seen Gabrielle since February when she’d emerged from the lake, and that had been long enough. However, Fleur had not seen her parents since the beginning of September when the school year had commenced. It was only as she felt her parents’ arms around her did she truly realise how much she’d missed them. Letters sent by the unreliable Hogwarts owls over the festive holidays were not the same as being home for Christmas. Gabrielle began to chatter in a stream of excited fluent French. Fleur found the familiar sound of her native tongue so welcoming after the sharp English and harsh Bulgarian dialects she had become accustomed to.
From somewhere behind her, she heard an excited young voice exclaim, “Mrs. Weasley! I didn’t expect to see you here!”
Weasley…Weasley…That name was familiar somehow. Taking a quick glance around, she caught sight of an utterly bemused Harry being enveloped by a good natured looking woman with flaming red hair. That explained it. She was obviously his friend’s mother.
After a long moment’s embrace, the Delacours broke apart. Fleur’s mother held her eldest daughter at arm’s length and resigned to simply looking at her; drinking in the long silvery hair so like her own, her tall willowy figure, her blue Beauxbatons robes.
Fleur could see Cedric talking to his parents. His father seemed to be muttering about the unfairness of having two Hogwarts Champions, though Cedric himself seemed to be shrugging him off, looking to his mother for relief. He was like that, Cedric, kind and modest. Most Hufflepuffs were, from what Fleur had heard.
Viktor Krum was conversing in unintelligible Bulgarian with his father, whom he bore a great resemblance to, looking more animated and excited than Fleur had ever seen him. His parents seemed in no hurry to converse with any of the other Champions of their families, unlike the Diggorys. Fleur thought Krum’s parents might have adjusted to being in the spotlight, what with having an international Quidditch star for a son, but their sullen expression and low, furtive voices said otherwise.
Madame Maxime burst into the room, ducking her handsome dark head to avoid hitting the door frame. Her olive skinned face broke into a huge smile as she saw Madame and Monsieur Delacour. Gabrielle became bored by the formal and polite exchanges between her parents and the headmistress and took to peering round the room interestedly. She made a conscious and rather transparent effort to catch the brilliantly green eyes of Harry, whom she’d become rather fond of after he’d pulled her from the lake, never once losing the dazzling smile only the granddaughter of a Veela could produce. Harry, whose spirit seemed to have lightened considerably from the arrival of his friend’s mother, moved forward to speak to the delighted little girl, and Fleur was given a clear view of the person behind Harry, over her mother’s shoulder.
He was tall, much taller than the motherly red haired woman and he positively towered over the slight figure of Harry. He too had vibrant red hair, but unlike his mother’s, for Fleur suspected he was another son of hers, his possessed a kind of casual scruffiness and it was tied back in a long, loose and effortlessly cool ponytail. His face was full of joyful anticipation and excitement for that night’s task. His eyes were not the warm brown of his mother, but a clear, distinctive blue; as brilliantly blue as Harry’s were green. But what seemed to set him apart from everyone else in the room, perhaps even in the world, was the earring that pierced his perfect earlobe; an unmistakable curved white fang.
Fleur found herself unable to tear her eyes away from this intriguing new arrival. Everything about him seemed to spark her interest; his long flaming hair, his twinkling blue eyes, his unusual choice in jewelry, even the way he laid a casual hand on Harry’s shoulder in a brotherly gesture. No, she couldn’t draw her eyes away, and nor did she particularly want to.
She could hear voices in the background, but the incessant chatter had been dimmed down to only the softest of murmurs. Their voices were unimportant. Cedric strode past her, his parents in tow and he smiled pleasantly at her, but he paled into insignificance next to this mysteriously alluring stranger.
He looked up and for the briefest of moments, their eyes met. The crowded chamber seemed to melt away, and for that instant, they were the only two people there.
“Come on, Bill, dear,” his mother said, taking his arm and following Harry. “Harry’s going to give us a tour of Hogwarts!”
The moment had passed. The general noise of the room was returned to full volume and Fleur felt Gabrielle tugging at her arm, begging to be shown round the school but Fleur brushed her off impatiently.
Despite the uncertainty of the Third Task that lay before her, Fleur knew one thing for sure; she was definitely going to see Bill Weasley again.
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