This is a long one-shot set after Deathly Hallows Chapter 8, The Wedding. Warnings for sex and language.
This fic is in Fleur's PoV, and I doubt her perspective would include the accent JKR writes her as having in the books. Therefore, I haven't included it in this story.
I hope you enjoy.
Light of Day
Over the years, Fleur had plenty of ideas about what her wedding day would be like. When she was very little, she imaged her wedding would look like the illustrations in the picture books Grand-mere read her. She would be a dazzling bride in a long white dress, and she would almost certainly be marrying a handsome prince. After a holiday with her cousins in the Pyrenees when she was six, Fleur decided that all boys were stupid so she wouldn't be getting married after all. When Fleur's family moved house after Gabrielle was born, Fleur become friends with a Muggle boy who lived across the street. He was called Tim, and Fleur decided she was in love with him and they would get married. By the time she went to Beauxbatons, Fleur knew that her looks gave her power and status. She wasn't sure if she wanted to get married or not (her passion for Tim has burnt out when he'd accidentally pushed Gabrielle off the swings), but she knew that she could make boys do what she wanted by fluttering her eyelids or swishing her hair. She'd seen Maman do it plenty of times.
In their Beauxbatons dormitory, Fleur and her friends would sometimes look at the wedding pages of magazines, and they'd discuss which venues, grooms and dresses they liked best. Chortling, they wrapped their bedsheets around their waists and pretended to walk down the aisle. Some of the girls practised kissing with each other, but Fleur got enough real experience of that with boys. As she got older, real boyfriends and the excitement and complications they brought seemed more important and mature than childish wedding fantasies. Fleur had plenty of boyfriends throughout school, though she knew it was unlikely that she'd marry any of them. She became accustomed to attention from lots of men, and it seemed silly to limit it to just one.
Then Fleur's final year came, and lots of things happened. Afterwards, Fleur moved to England and met a kind, calm, glamorous Englishman, and she didn't want attention from lots of men anymore. Bill's attention was all that mattered. When they got engaged, Fleur had fantasied about the perfect wedding she and Bill would have. Then, however, she met his family. It was clear that none of the Weasleys liked her. Fleur began to fret that Bill's sulky little sister would want to steal attention from her on her big day, or his twin brothers would cook up mischief. The building war meant that they had to change lots of their plans, and Fleur had brooded about what else might go wrong.
What Fleur had never predicted about her wedding day, however, was the wedding being over-run by Death Eaters as the British Ministry of Magic was overthrown. She didn't anticipate watching the wedding decorations her mother-in-law had made be ripped up, and the tables where her family had friends sat kicked over. She didn't expect her last glimpse of her father on her wedding day would be begging him to leave with her baby sister. Fleur had yelled at Maman to flee too, but Maman refused.
"Go! Run!" Fleur cried in French, "Stay with Papa!"
"I won't leave you," Maman maintained.
"It's not safe!" Fleur wailed. Maman and Papa didn't understand how dangerous the Death Eaters were- they had to leave now with Gabrielle. Fleur's little sister was staring, frightened, as guests ran and yelped and disapparated. Before Fleur could say any more, a boy stepped over to them. He was about Fleur's own age and had dreadlocked black hair piled on top of his head. Fleur recognised the boy from Hogwarts as a friend of Bill's twin brothers. Fleur barely knew him, and Bill didn't really either. Mrs Weasley had "suggested" (Fleur would call it insisting) that Bill invite a friend or two of each of his siblings. Fleur had decided that was ludicrous- it was her and Bill's wedding, not his parents' or his siblings'- but Bill had sighed that it was best that they pick their battles with his mother. Besides, he claimed, they didn't have to pay a fee per head now that they were getting at married at home, so why not invite as many people as they could? In many ways Bill wasn't much like the rest of his family, though when he said things like that he was undeniably a Weasley.
"Come with me," the dreadlocked boy suggested to Fleur's parents in English, "You can stay at my place. My name's Lee,"
"See? Go with him," Fleur urged in French. Gabrielle burst into tears. She flung herself at Fleur and hugged her tightly around the waist, which made Fleur want to cry too. There was nothing more important than keeping her baby sister safe. Swallowing tears, Fleur peeled Gabi off herself.
"No, baby girl,"
"I want to stay here!" Gabi squealed.
"Let's take a minute to consider-" began Papa, but Fleur cut him off. They didn't have a minute to consider. Whoever was coming would be here very soon. Guests were disapparating and Maman, Papa and Gabi must go too.
"There isn't time!" Fleur screamed, "Just leave!"
She shoved Lee towards her family and he stumbled into Maman. A distance away, they heard a crash. Fleur, her family and Lee swivelled around. Max, Fleur's friend from school, had tripped on table-leg and was sprawling on the floor. Their friend Clemmie ran back for him, yanked him to his feet, and apparated away. Fleur was both relieved that they'd escaped, and terrified about who else was left.
"Come with us," Papa told her.
"I can't. I fight here,"
She could defend her family and her friends better here than by going with them. Plus, she was in the Order. Fleur knew what she'd signed up for and she had made her choice. This was duty.
Gabi crumpled into Papa's side and Maman glanced between them all. Fleur could hear another family having a similar argument behind them, hissing and swearing at each other in stressed English voices, their noise becoming louder as panic rose. Time was running out.
"Take Gabi and go," Maman instructed Papa. She turned to Fleur and said, "He stays with her. I stay with you,"
"No! Maman!" Fleur begged. If Maman stayed, Papa could run with Gabi. They'd be safe, but Maman wouldn't.
"I stay with you,"
Gabi reached for Maman, fingers snatching the air like a toddler. Maman crushed her into a hug and grabbed Papa by the label to kiss him. Fleur gasped in anguish. Gabi's hand snaked out of Maman's hug and grasped at Fleur.
"It's okay, baby girl, don't cry," Fleur promised her sister, "Stay with Papa and this nice boy. He's cute, no?"
She forced a smile and bent down to kiss Gabrielle's hand and squeeze her fingers.
"But it's your wedding!" Gabi squealed, wriggling her hand in Fleur's. Fleur felt herself tear up- she'd done that a few times today, out of elation and thrill. Now, the tears were from being overwhelmed by the chaos around them and the terror about what would happen next.
"We've got to go now," Lee urged. He was speaking in English, which wasn't helpful. Maman let go of Papa and Gabi and stepped over to Fleur. She was staying, and Fleur would have to protect her.
Papa gripped Fleur's elbow. "When will I see you?"
"I'll take care of them," Lee promised, looking seriously into Fleur's eyes.
"Yes, run, I love you," Fleur gabbled, as Lee seized Papa and Gabi's hands and apparated them away.
Maman turned to Fleur, "Now what?" she said. Fleur realised that she didn't know what to do now. Someone in the Order must have a plan, so she pulled Maman towards the house. She hadn't been with Bill when the patronus arrived and had no idea where he was now. Would he be in the house? Before Fleur could get there, however, Charlie barrelled towards her, with Remus sprinting behind him.
"Have you seen Harry?" Remus demanded.
"No," said Fleur. She hadn't seen Harry Potter for hours.
"Mrs Delacour," said Charlie, "It isn't safe for-"
"I stay with my daughter," Maman answered stonily.
"How many guests left? They've all got to-" began Remus, but he was cut off by a new voice booming from the end of the garden.
"Well, well, well. Looks like a party,"
Maman gripped Fleur's hand as they spun around. A group of witches and wizard had appeared at the end of the garden, wands raised. There were eleven or twelve of them, some dressed in long black robes, a couple in the moss-green robes Fleur had seen Tonks and Kingsley wear, and the rest in maroon. The woman who had spoken was at the front of the pack. She was wearing the black robes- the uniform, Fleur knew, of Death Eaters. The woman was short and stocky, and the smile on her face was not a kind one.
"All of you, inside the house, now," she ordered, "Don't even try to run away. And if Harry Potter's here, he'd better show himself,"
Most of the pack of wizards and witches approached the Burrow wall. A couple wandered away from the woman who had spoken, over to the archway Fleur and Bill had said their vows to each other under. They kicked the arch over, and it landed on the grass with a crash. Fleur watched it happen though she still jumped at the noise. The men who'd knocked the arch over stamped on it, trampling the flowers which Fleur had taken so much care to arrange.
"You heard me," yelled the woman in black robes, "Move!"
Hagrid had to squat and hunch to fit through the door, and Elphias Doge was so decrepit that Charlie took his arm to help him inside. Tonks was eyeing one of the green-robed arrivals furiously. Ron, Harry and Hermione were nowhere to be seen- they must have fled when they could. Fleur didn't know if that should relieve her or concern her. She saw Bill walking a few paces ahead, trying to reach for Ginny's hand. Ginny, however, folded her arms and marched into the house in front of him. Fleur resisted the temptation to hiss Bill's name. She kept a tight hold of Maman's hand as they entered the Burrow's living room. The witch who seemed to be in charge shouted at everyone to sit down on the sofa and chairs, and when they ran out of space she made them sit on the floor. Then she sent a few of her crew back outside.
"I want no trace of this wedding left," she instructed them. The witches and wizards dressed in maroon scuttled compliantly, although the fear was clear on their faces. They were Ministry staff who must have been forced into this invasion. Fleur wondered if the difference mattered anymore- Kingsley's patronus had said that the Ministry had fallen. Did Death Eaters and the Ministry count as the same now?
The Death Eater in charge looked at Fleur and Maman, curling her lip disdainfully. It was a long, awful moment. Fleur bit down on the inside of her lip to steady herself, and because the pain was a tiny distraction for the terror.
"Beautiful bride," the witch sighed dreamily, and then her face twisted into a sneer, "Half-breed,"
She stared at Maman with such malice that Fleur thought that she was going to hit her. But the witch looked back at Fleur and continued talking:
"A half-breed marrying a Muggle-lover. How charming," she said, in a tone which was not charmed at all. She moved swiftly across the room, leant into Fleur's ear and hissed, "You've trapped him with your pretty face for now. How long 'til he betrays you for a Muggle slut?"
Fleur knew the woman was only saying this to goad her, so the words did not sting. She felt more afraid about how close the witch was to her and to Maman. Outside, she could hear tables being tipped and glasses being smashed as her wedding was torn apart.
"So many Mudblood-lovers here. Which one is your husband?" the dark-robed witch continued. Fleur tipped her face up and stared into the woman's eyes. She would not give her the satisfaction of a response. The witch smirked and scanned around the room. When she spotted Bill, the drooping sunflower in his buttonhole and his scarred face, her eyes narrowed.
"You?" she gasped, and tittered. Fleur wanted to grab the woman and put her hand over her eyes to stop her looking at him with such giddy amusement.
"I should have brought Greyback here. He'd be delighted to be re-acquainted with you," said the witch, "And with your lovely wife,"
There was a sudden bang from outside and everybody jumped. The sound was followed by laughter, and Fleur knew that the rest of her mob must have started blasting down the decorations from the sky. The witch in charge, however, seemed irritated. She wheeled round to one of them men who'd come inside with her. He was wearing maroon robes, and looked pale.
"Get them inside," she directed, "They can finish that later. Now I want this house searched from top to bottom. Nothing missed. He could be hiding,"
There was no doubt who "he" referred to. But Harry wasn't here- he must have escaped with Ron and Hermione. When the rest of the group tramped into the Burrow, half stayed in the living room keeping their wands pointed at the Order, while the others began tearing Bill's house apart. They crashed into every room, tipped over furniture and flung open cupboards and drawers. When the Ministry staff seemed hesitant, the Death Eaters screeched at them to work harder. The Death Eaters called Harry Potter's name over and over, bribing and threatening and casting explosions to try to scare him out. When they came across drawers or cabinets which could only be opened by the owners, they forced the Weasleys out of their seats at wandpoint to open them. At one point, one of the maroon-robed witches came hurtling down the stairs, gabbling fearfully. She spoke too fast for Fleur to understand, and the Death Eater woman wrenched Mr Weasley out of his seat and bundled him up the stairs to explain. Fleur could hear the muffled conversation above her and she suspected that she heard nerves in the Death Eater's voices. She couldn't work out why that would be- what dangers could there be in the Burrow apart from the dopey ghoul and the remnants of the twins' experiments? She kept her mouth shut and clung tightly on to Maman's hand. Occasionally, Fleur would catch one of the Order members' eye, though they glanced away quickly. She found Bill's gaze a few times and his expression was fierce.
The group returned from upstairs, shoving Arthur ahead of them.
"Potter appears not to be here," announced the witch in charge, "Where is he?"
Nobody answered. The witch barked the question again. And again. Where is Harry Potter? Has he ever been here? Where is he? He's a friend of this family, yes? Why isn't he at this wedding? When did you last see him? Where. Is. Harry. Potter? Fleur had been warned that Death Eaters frequently used torture, although they'd clearly been instructed not to this time. That didn't mean that the interrogation was peaceful- the Death Eaters took a dislike to Charlie ("What you staring at me for, big man? Reckon you're tough?") and he was left with a split lip and a sprained elbow. Remus and Hagrid weren't hurt physically, though they bore the brunt of the Death Eaters' hostility and jeers. Elphias Doge had known Dumbledore when they were teenagers, and the Death Eaters (who were leading the interrogation- clearly they didn't trust the Ministry staff to do a good enough job) were gleeful when they reminded Doge of how foolish and naive Dumbledore had been. They cackled as they described his death in detail, mockingly re-enacting Dumbledore's body being thrown off the tower. The twins sat together, either side of Ginny, until the Death Eaters realised that it would unnerve them to be separated. They made George go to sit on the other side of the room beside Hagrid. They'd sneered at his missing ear and Fleur had never seen the twins look so furious.
Fleur and Maman were leered at and had propositions hissed into their ears. Fleur was used to men invading her space, touching her and telling her what they'd like to do to her. It was a price to pay for looking the way she did. She knew more than most women about hands stroking and squeezing where she didn't want them. Yet to have it happen in front of Maman, Bill and her new family would have been too humiliating to bear, and to watch it happen to Maman would have been worse. It was a relief when all they received was taunts and lewd suggestiveness.
It was almost light outside when, finally, the Death Eaters agreed that there was nothing more to do. Harry Potter clearly wasn't here, and everybody in the Order denied having seen him since the school term had ended weeks before. After a final once-over of the Burrow, in which they tipped Molly's wardrobe down the stairs and blasted the kitchen cupboards off the walls, the Death Eaters and Ministry staff left.
"We'll be watching you," were the woman's final words.
Once the pack were gone, half of the Order flopped and groaned in relief, but Fleur stayed rigid with fear and shock. Mrs Weasley sprang into action to heal Charlie's arm, and Fleur's father-in-law began fretting about the state of the house.
"Anyone else still a bit drunk?" asked Fred woozily.
"I need to drink more," sighed George.
Maman dropped her head onto Fleur's shoulder and wrapped her arms around her. She mumbled Fleur's name.
"Maman," was all Fleur could reply. Now it was over, her body was thrumming with relief that she'd managed to get Gabi away.
Bill unwedged himself from the sofa and stepped over to them. He'd tied his hair up for the ceremony, but at some point this evening it had come loose to spill down over his shoulders and back. He'd looked dashing in his wedding suit, though now his shoelaces were untied and the flower had dropped out on his buttonhole. His white shirt was grubby, sweaty and half-untucked, his tie was wonky around his collar, and the labels of his jacket were rumpled from when the biggest Death Eater had grabbed them to hiss into his face. Bill's scars, which had been barely noticeable during the ceremony, now stood out shiny and scarlet. Usually when he looked at Fleur they grinned or winked at each other, although this time he only looked at Maman.
"Mrs Delacour. Are you alright?" he asked.
Fleur watched Maman struggle to translate the answer in her head. "I will be," she said eventually.
"I'm sorry," Bill breathed. His eyes flicked to Fleur, and he looked so upset and disappointed that her heart tremored. Bill raised his hands in an I don't know what to say gesture, and Fleur reached out to and squeeze them comfortingly. He didn't need to know what to say, he just needed to be with her, and she with him. That was what today was supposed to celebrate. It seemed a long time ago now.
Hagrid began asking Arthur about repairing the house, and the rest of the Order drifted over to them. Mr Weasley was rubbing his head tiredly, and when he spoke his voice was empty of the enthusiasm it normally bubbled with.
"Let's get the rooms back in shape so we can go to bed," he was saying, "We can sort the rest tomorrow,"
"I'll begin at the top," offered Elphias Doge. Bill and Fleur weren't especially friendly with him, though they'd invited almost all the other available Order members, so Bill claimed it was rude not to invite Elphias too. Fleur reckoned that this reasoning was silly, though she'd always had a fondness for old men like Elphias, the type of men who patted her hand always called her "Miss," as if to remind themselves that she was a quarter of their age. Fleur liked to make an extra fuss of that type of old man, because their flustered sweetness around her was amusing.
"Nah, we'd better do that," insisted George, "We can handle the ghoul,"
"Never expected we'd be grateful for that stupid thing," said Ginny.
"That's no way to talk about George," said Fred, and he, George and Ginny laughed, though Fleur had forced enough laughs in her life to know that this one was fake.
"We should go," Tonks decided tersely, "They might have gone to Mum and Dad's,"
Remus nodded. He looked more tired and grey than Fleur had ever seen him. His jaw had been clenched throughout the entire interrogation, and he seemed unwilling to unclench it.
"Yes, yes you must," babbled Molly.
Remus and Tonks left, he offering a hasty "Goodbye, everybody," to the room and she looking too jittery to say anything.
"Where are your family?" Bill asked Maman gently, helping her to her feet. He was so considerate, and despite everything Fleur felt her insides flutter with affection.
"With a boy. A…" said Maman, fluttering her fingers around her head to mime dreadlocks.
"Lee," Fleur told Bill, standing up too.
Fleur's mother-in-law had finished tending to Charlie, and bustled over to them.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she trilled to Maman, "You've come to our house and this all has happened. I don't know how to apologise for-"
"You do not apologise," Maman interrupted, "You and your family protect my daughter,"
"Always. I promise," said Bill. He slipped an arm around Fleur's shoulder and pulled her close against him. Fleur hadn't been this near to him since the Death Eaters arrived, and she shivered contentedly at the contact.
"I did not know what to expect when I met this family," Maman whispered to Fleur in French, "Now I know that they are dangerous. And they are good, and kind, and brave. Almost as brave as you,"
Fleur teared up again. She slid away from her husband to hug Maman. Maman's hadn't had to stay, but she'd refused to leave Fleur. Fleur felt overcome by her devotion. She kissed Maman's temple, then held her by the shoulders and repeated, "The boy is called Lee Jordan,"
She spoke in French, although the name must have been audible because one of the twins muttered, "Trust him to run off with the bride's sister,"
Fleur ignored him.
"What's his address?" Bill asked the room.
"38 Ashdene Road. It's in Birmingham," said the other twin. Now that they had moved seats, Fleur could only see one side of their heads, so she couldn't tell them apart.
"Smethwick," added the first twin.
Maman repeated the address slowly in English, making sure that she'd got it correct.
"Tell them I'm safe and I love them," said Fleur in French, "And I'm happy they were here for my wedding. And tell Gabi not to be upset,"
Gabi was little enough that perhaps in a few days' time the way the wedding ended would seem like a bad dream. All Fleur's baby sister would remember from today would be how ecstatic she'd felt to be a bridesmaid, how much fun she'd had, how dazzling Fleur had looked, and what a glorious day it was.
"I couldn't be a prouder mother-of-the-bride," whispered Maman, "Your father will say the same,"
She kissed and hugged Fleur one more time, then hugged Mrs and Mr Weasley, who had come over too. Maman kissed Bill, and whispered something to him that Fleur didn't hear.
"Stay safe," Fleur begged, as Mr Weasley walked Maman to the door.
Bill folded Fleur into an embrace, rubbing his hand down her arm and pressing his mouth to her hair. He smelled of sweat and smoke and sawdust, though underneath it all Fleur could still smell the scent of his aftershave, sexy and familiar. Fleur felt desperate to be alone with him. Now Maman was gone, Bill was the only person left here who loved her. There had been too many English voices today and her head was starting to feel fuzzy. She wanted to hide with Bill, away from the wisecracks of the twins and the fuss of her parents-in-law. But to do that, they'd have to make the house liveable in again. Grimacing, Fleur shimmied out of her husband's embrace. She took his hand as she went over to her parents-in-law to ask what she could do to help.
Molly suggested that Elphias, who was at least a hundred, might prefer to go home to bed. Elphias refused and he, Fleur and Ginny were tasked with clearing the remnants of the wedding from the garden. As they headed to the door, Bill caught Fleur's arm.
"You don't have to," he whispered. Fleur understood that he meant she didn't have to if it would upset her to see how her wedding had been trashed.
"I know," Fleur told him, "I will help,"
It was her wedding, she thought fiercely. She'd worked hard to make and arrange the decorations. She would pack them away properly. She, not the Death Eaters, would be the last person to see them and touch them. Bill must have understood because he nodded, gave her a small smile, and let her go.
Outside, Fleur plucked her wedding flowers from where they'd been stamped on the floor. She fondled the petals lovingly, straightening them and wiping the mud away.
Ginny kept glancing around nervously. "They're watching us, aren't they?" she muttered.
"I've counted four so far," wheezed Elphias.
Shuffling and creaking were heard from the Burrow as the rest of the Order fixed it, and a few times one of the rooms shifted straighter, making the whole house tilt precariously. Fleur winced and scurried away from the building, though Ginny barely seemed to notice. Fleur didn't hold much affection for the Burrow and, as well as planning their wedding, she and Bill had been finding a house to rent. They'd found a cosy cottage by the sea and were hoping to move there in next few weeks. Had been hoping to move there. Could it happen now? Fleur hoped so.
Looking up at Bill's family home, where she'd felt distrusted, frustrated, controlled, patronised and crammed-in, and where the disaster of today had happened, Fleur was filled by the need to get away from the place. She wanted to be back in her flat in Bracknell, where she'd made everything the way she liked it. She'd had space and order and control, and she could have whoever she wanted there. But Fleur had moved out of the flat a few weeks ago and hadn't signed for the new cottage yet, so the Burrow was her home for now.
Fleur wasn't wearing a watch, so she didn't know how long they'd been outside when Arthur came to the front door and told them that that was enough for now and everybody was heading to bed. The grass in the garden was still straggly and muddy, but Fleur, Ginny and Elphias had cleared up most of the debris from the wedding and the vandalism that had followed. Elphias staggered and Ginny leapt over to catch him.
"Thank you, my dear," he wheezed, though Fleur could tell that he'd have preferred it to be her to catch him and walk him inside. She glowed with smugness as she recognised that there was another person here for whom she was the favourite.
Mr Weasley patted Ginny's hair when she passed him on her way into the house. When Fleur followed a couple of paces behind, she was surprised that Mr Weasley touched her comfortingly on the shoulder, too. He shut the front door behind them and they walked through the kitchen to the living room. Fleur immediately went to Bill, who was already holding his hand out to her. When she was close, he moved to stand behind her, crossing his arms over her chest to pull her against him. He rubbed the balls of her shoulders with his palms, and Fleur bridled comfortably.
"I'm sorry this has happened," Molly whimpered to the room.
"This wasn't your fault," Elphias reassured her.
"And the three of them have disappeared," she added.
"They'll be fine," shrugged George.
"Hermione's probably running a revision session for them as we speak," said Fred, and his mother laughed weakly.
"I've sent a patronus to them so they know that we're safe," Arthur told the room.
Hagrid spoke. Fleur had trouble deciphering his accent, especially as his voice was muffled by his beard, though she reckoned he said he wanted to head home.
"Yes, we should go to bed," Arthur recommended to the Weasleys, "Thank you for staying to help, Hagrid,"
Hagrid responded incomprehensibly.
"I might drop off here," yawned one of the twins, "Use Ginny as my pillow,"
He was sitting beside his little sister on the sofa, and he dropped his head onto her shoulder and pretended to snore.
Fleur felt Bill press a kiss to the side of her head. "Let's go upstairs," he whispered.
The Weasleys began getting to their feet, yawning and stretching. Fleur unwrapped herself from Bill's embrace and slipped her hand into his. His wedding ring felt cool against her skin, and the feel of it gave Fleur a flicker of elation. To her surprise, her new mother-in-law came over to them and hugged her arms around Fleur's middle. They were so different in height that Mrs Weasley's forehead only reached Fleur's collarbones.
"I'm sorry," Molly babbled again. Since Bill had been attacked, she'd been less frosty towards Fleur, though they'd both been tense for the past few days and had reached an unspoken mutual agreement to avoid each other. Fleur still didn't know how to handle her mother-in-law, so she was relieved when Bill took the lead in this situation.
"It's okay, Mum," he promised. His free hand reached out to stroke Mrs Weasley's hair.
"It was your big day," murmured Molly.
"I know," consoled Bill, "Not a wedding anybody's going to forget in a hurry, eh?"
Mrs Weasley let out another shaky laugh. She peeled her face away from Fleur's chest and gazed up at her.
"You are beautiful," she breathed.
The word "beautiful" didn't mean much to Fleur. It was a fact, not a compliment. Molly had called her beautiful before, tutting and huffing the word. What "beautiful" meant from Molly Weasley's mouth was "shallow", "superficial", "not worthy". That belittling was something else Fleur was used to, though it had hurt more from the woman who had been going to become her mother-in-law. Now, however, as Molly held her and looked into her eyes, Fleur knew that Molly meant she was truly beautiful, the type of beauty that was strong and sharp and steadfast. Fleur felt tears spring again.
"Thank you," was all she could reply.
Molly seemed even closer to tears than Fleur. Thankfully Bill must have realised, because he prised them away from each other.
"Night, Mum," he said softly, "Thank you for today,"
He kissed her forehead, and Fleur did the same as Bill led her away. She wanted to get upstairs with Bill and away from the hubbub as soon as they could, but Bill's siblings clumped around them as they tried to cross the room, wanting to hug them and kiss Fleur's cheek and shake Bill's hand. It was a unnerving mix of celebratory and deflated.
"Welcome to our family," said Mr Weasley quietly to Fleur, "We're delighted to have you here,"
That made Fleur want to cry again, so she was pleased when Ginny cut across to speak to her father. Eventually, Bill and Fleur made their way through the crowd of Weasleys, and Molly, having regained her composure, declared that now it really was time they went to bed. Clinging onto Bill's hand, Fleur climbed the rickety staircase which, having been knocked around by the Death Eaters, felt even less stable than usual. Fred and George clattered behind them, speaking too fast and too overlapping for Fleur to bother translating, though she could tell from the tone of their voices that they were joking with each other. Fleur had rarely seen her twin brothers-in-law not joking. They were so immature that Fleur struggled to believe they were only a year and a half younger than her. Thankfully, however, when Bill and Fleur peeled off on the first floor to enter Bill's bedroom together, neither of the twins pointed it out or crowed an innuendo (Fleur had spent the last couple of nights sharing a room with Gabi, and Charlie had been put in Bill's room. Fleur and Bill had agreed that while this was bearable in the lead-up to their big day, there was no way they were spending their wedding night apart. Charlie had assured Fleur that it would be easy to get Charlie out of the way -"With any luck he'll pass out in the garden". Fleur had talked Gabi into spending the night in Ginny's room, Bill had convinced Ginny to let her, and they'd both persuaded everybody involved to keep quiet about it to their parents. Gabi, Maman and Papa having left made the arrangement less complicated, although for Fleur that didn't feel like a consolation). None of Bill's siblings remarked on it, except for Ginny sticking her tongue out at Bill when he reached out to ruffle her hair as she passed.
When they were alone on the landing, Fleur began to push the door to the bedroom open, ready to sink down onto the bed. Her husband, however, stopped her.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" he grinned. Fleur didn't understand, until Bill stepped towards her and lifted her up. She gasped, then giggled as he hooked his arm under her legs to carry her like a bride. She was his bride, his. Fleur beamed, wrapped her arms around Bill's neck and said it over in her head: his, yours, ours. Bill span her around a couple of times, pushed his bedroom door open with his shoulder and carried Fleur into the bedroom. He brushed his lips against Fleur's forehead, set her down on the floor, and shut the door behind them.
Then he threw his suit jacket off, exhaled heavily and croaked, "Oh my God,"
Immediately, Fleur reached to hold both his hands in hers. "Are you alright, my love?"
"Don't know," he sighed, "Are you?"
She didn't know the answer, so instead of replying she pulled her him into a hug. Fleur ran her hands across Bill's shoulders, down his back and up to his neck. She liked feeling Bill's muscles and shoulder-blades, and fiddling with strands of his long hair. Fleur much preferred Bill's hair loose like this, spilling down to his shoulders ready for her to stroke and pull and tangle her fingers in. When she'd first seen him at Hogwarts two years ago, Bill's hair had been the first thing she'd noticed. Hardly anybody in France had ginger hair, and Fleur had never seen anybody with so much of it. How could she not have been fascinated?
Fleur closed her eyes, feeling more content already now that the door was shut and they were alone. Bill's arms circled around her back and he burrowed his face into her neck, though he wasn't stroking her back or hair like he normally did, so Fleur knew his mind was elsewhere.
"You're worried about your brothers," she murmured. Bill moved away a little to look her in the eye. He nodded.
"Charlie with a broken arm, Ron on the run with Britain's Most Wanted, and Merlin knows what Percy's going to do now," he groaned, "At least the twins managed not to do anything stupid,"
He was a spectacular big brother: protective but relaxed, a role model but not a control freak. He forgave them but he held them to account. He was constantly looking out for his family, even the brother who was estranged. Having five very different brothers and a baby sister was huge responsibility, although Bill took it in his stride. Living with the Weasleys had made Fleur appreciate how different Bill was to the rest of his family. The Weasleys were noisy and nosy, always vying to make a joke, garner attention or score the last word. Bill wasn't like that at all. He was calm and easy-going. He didn't jostle for attention like his siblings did. Despite being the oldest, he didn't boss them around, nor did he compete with his brothers. He was less of a loud-mouth than the rest of them, and the most laid-back person in this family by far.
"You're worried about your parents and Gabrielle," Bill added.
Fleur nodded. If Maman apparated to the right place for Lee Jordan, she'd have found Papa and Gabi by now. She'd have promised them that Fleur was safe. She'd have made Papa laugh to stop him brooding. She'd have scooped Gabi up to snuggle and tickle her, just like Fleur had done this morning. She wanted to be able to do it now, too. One of the hardest parts about moving to England, and about getting engaged to Bill, had been knowing that she'd be leaving Gabi behind. Now Fleur was in the Order she was a danger to her family, so was safest for them to go home to France where they could stay out of all this. Although right now she wished that Gabi was here.
"I understand," said Bill. Terrible things had happened to Ginny and to Ron while Bill was away in Egypt, so he knew that it was like to be far away and anxious about his family.
"What did you do?" she asked.
"I was worried- and scared. But I knew my family are tough as old boots,"
"Tough. Strong," said Bill, letting go of Fleur to mime a couple of little punches, "Just like your family. And I knew that they'd be safest together. Like you and me,"
Today they'd become a married couple, though they'd been a team and a partnership for ages. Bill was right that they kept each other safe, though Fleur knew she could keep her family safe as well. The feeling of being torn between her husband and her family twisted inside her. It wasn't fair. Today was supposed to be about everybody being together, celebrating with her family and her husband. It was meant to be the happiest day of Fleur's life, yet it was ending with her feeling frightened and conflicted.
"You're angry," said Bill.
"Of course I'm angry," Fleur spat, "I want my family. I want my wedding,"
"I'm sorry, Fleur. Today was important to us,"
"It was! It was our special day!"
She'd been looking forward to today for over a year. Fleur couldn't wait to build their life together, and she definitely couldn't wait to stand up in front of their family and friends show everybody how much she loved him. Even when it transpired that she and Bill would have to get married in England, in the back garden of this house, Fleur had been giddy with excitement. They'd changed their plans and worked out how a wedding at the Burrow would work, how to make it special and grand. Later, when they had to cancel their honeymoon, Fleur had been infuriated, but Bill had promised that there'd be time later. Besides, the wedding meant more than the honeymoon. They'd knuckled down, designing and arranging and sending invites. 1st August had crept closer. And then the battle had happened. Bill had been attacked. It had been an appalling, terrifying shock, though it had made Fleur more determined than ever that their wedding would be amazing. They would stand up in front of everybody and show that they were together no matter what. No werewolf or Death Eater could break them apart. What had happened to Bill was horrific, but Fleur had been determined that it would make the day mean more than ever. Although now that had been ruined too. Fleur felt ire coming fast now. How dare they spoil all the work she Bill put into today? How dare they make a mess of the home Molly was spent days cleaning? How dare they make Maman afraid, and how dare they make Fleur feel as if she had to choose between her husband and her baby sister? Furiously, Fleur brushed the tears from her eyes.
Bill dropped to his knees on the floor and reached under his bed. He scrabbled for a moment, pulled out two mugs, and a plate covered in crumbs
"Charlie's always leaving these lying around," he explained, holding them out to Fleur, "For you. To throw,"
Fleur didn't need telling twice. She snatched the plate off Bill and hurled it at the bedroom wall, where it shattered with a satisfying smash.
"Go to hell!" she shouted in French. She grabbed both mugs from Bill's hands and flung them too, then picked up the hairbrush from the bedside table and span it out of the open window. It landed with a thwack outside.
Breathing heavily, Fleur wheeled around to look back at her husband.
"Better?" he asked.
Fleur nodded. She'd always enjoyed making a scene.
"My wife," said Bill, and she noticed that his voice was gruffer than usual, "Bloody hell, my wife!"
A second later he was in front of her, holding her jaw with one hand and crashing his mouth against hers. Fleur kissed back, hard. They'd kissed plenty of times today, although there were so many people who wanted to talk to them both, and so much to do, that the kisses had needed to be quick. They'd hadn't kissed properly all day. And kissing Bill was phenomenal. His kisses could work her up or calm her down, they could make her feel warm or hot or excited or wobbly, or all at the same time. They could make her feel tight and breathless, and they could make her sigh and melt. This time, Fleur shoved every ounce of hatred she was feeling towards the Death Eaters into the kiss. She attacked Bill's mouth with hers, angry and possessive. He was hers, and nobody could take that away from her. Bill responded with the same fervour, clamping his hands on either side of her head and twining his tongue with hers. Fleur felt proud when people watched her and Bill kiss and cuddle in public. She liked flaunting her relationship and their love. She liked people to feel jealous of her, too. This kissing, however- sloppy and hungry and carnal- this was private. Fleur knew that she looked good like this, though she knew she also looked wanton and wild, not the elegant swan she usually was. This side of her was just for her husband. Husband- Fleur shivered happily at the word. She unsuckered their mouths with a satisfyingly noisy squelch, and craned round so her mouth could reach Bill's ear. Fleur nipped his earlobe, then bit the air beside his fang earring- she knew he enjoyed hearing those little air-bites- then his ear again, then the air. Bill nuzzled her neck, as his hands had slid down from her face and to glide across her shoulders, back, bum, hips, waist- everywhere. Fleur wanted him everywhere on her, and she wanted to be everywhere on him. The scars didn't matter because Bill didn't belong to Greyback- he belonged to her. They couldn't ever stop him being hers. Fleur gripped Bill's waist harder- she loved the leanness of his body, masculine without being muscle-stuffed. Bill caught her lips with his again and bent her backwards, dipping her like the illustrations of weddings in Grand-mere's picture books. His kisses softened, more lips and less tongue, tender and slower. Fleur loved how easily they could slip from lust to sweetness. She moved her hand up to cup Bill's neck, strumming his jaw with her thumb.
"When we were little, and it was birthdays or Christmas," he mumbled, moving his mouth a fraction away from hers, "Charlie used to say the day wasn't over until you went to sleep,"
Fleur tried to reply, though her brain was groggy with exhaustion and emotion, and she couldn't work out how to respond. Her kisses were the only answer he needed, so she pressed her mouth against his again. Bill kissed her back for a few moments, then prompted:
"So it's still our wedding day,"
He kept his hands around her, but pulled her upwards and leaned back so they could look each other in the eye. Fleur gazed at his strong, kind features spattered with freckles. She was still getting used to the way he looked now, though his smile hadn't changed. It was as warm and titillating as ever.
"Our wedding night," she elaborated.
"Do you want to go to sleep?" Bill offered, knowing that that wasn't what Fleur had been getting at.
They moved at the same time, she to fling herself on him and he to lift her. Bill held Fleur up by her waist and she gazed down at his beaming face.
"Je t'aime," she breathed.
"I love you too,"
Fleur wanted to wrap her legs around him, although the dress meant that she couldn't move them wide enough. Bill carried her across the room as Fleur giggled and dropped kisses to the top of his head. He set her down beside his bed, and now she could see into the chipped mirror propped against the wall. Fleur had never been able to resist her reflection, and craned her neck to look at herself.
"What?" asked Bill.
Fleur stepped out of his arms and over to the mirror to examine herself properly. Her hair had spilled down from the up-do her cousin Henriette had styled it in, and was now a tangle of messy strands. Her dress was grubby, with tatters around the hem where it had been trod on. Her face and arms were grazed, her hands were muddy, and her eyes were red from tears and fatigue.
She wasn't- she was a mess. Fleur felt shocked by the bedraggled girl looking back at her. She was not looking this way on her wedding night.
"Don't look! Turn around while I make myself nice," Fleur demanded.
Bill folded his arms, leaned against the wall and winked.
"Bill!" Fleur protested, giving him a little shove.
"Staying right here,"
"Nope nope nope. I'm not taking my eyes off you. Because," he said, stepping over to Fleur, wrapping his arms around her from behind, sliding his hands down to her hips and jutting his head onto her shoulder as he looked at their reflection in the mirror, "You have never looked more gorgeous to me,"
He pressed a damp kiss to Fleur's cheek, then her neck. Watching herself and Bill in the mirror made Fleur feel proud and sexy, and she couldn't help but be mollified.
"You're gorgeous because you were brave," he murmured, "Because you protected Harry and my brother and your family. You're gorgeous because you're angry, and because you won't let them spoil this for us,"
Fleur knew he meant it, because Bill had never focused on how exquisite she looked. She was used to men tripping over their tongues around her, offering to buy her coffee or carry her bags or have her babies. She expected it. Bill was not what Fleur expected. From when they first met, he treated her as an ordinary person. Fleur wasn't used to that from men she'd just met, and she hadn't liked it. That sounded ridiculous now, although at the time Bill's indifference had made Fleur feel insulted. And infuriated. And intrigued.
When they got together, Bill didn't get jealous by the attention other men paid Fleur, nor did he show off about Dating The Veela Girl. He wasn't aloof towards her but he was certainly aloof about her. When (after a few too many glasses of wine) Fleur asked him why, Bill had chuckled and told her that he'd met plenty of pretty girls, but never one like her. He often said challenging, unexpected things like that- he challenged Fleur on lots of things, especially the way she perceived herself. It had been unnerving and captivating, and it still was.
In the mirror, Bill nibbled Fleur's neck and started to slide his hands around her wedding dress to stroke and grope her body, but Fleur wormed away.
"You say I look good l enough for you. I want to look good for myself," she explained.
She knew that Bill understood her well enough not to disagree. He shrugged and leaned against the wall again. He tucked his shirt back into his trousers, unknotted his tie and stuffed it into his pocket. When he straightened his collar, and ran his hands down the front of his shirt to unwrinkle it, he looked so rakishly handsome that this time Fleur didn't snap at him not to watch her. She pulled her wand out of the secret pocket she'd sewn into her wedding dress (Hermione Granger's idea, of all people), vanished the mud off, and smoothed the dress down with her hands. Then she pulled the drooping pins out of her hair, and pushed it all to one side of her head. Bill toed off his shoe (Fleur had taken her heels off during the interrogation), stuck his foot under the hem of her dress and ran his toe up the back of her calf. Fleur sniggered.
"Stop it," she whined, spluttering.
"I'm not doing anything!" Bill protested through a smirk.
"Give me the hairbrush,"
"Cherry, you chucked it into Mum's rhododendrons," Bill pointed out. He took her hand and pressed a couple of kisses up her arm before going to the window and summoning the hairbrush. He handed it back to her, and Fleur brushed her hair straight, then swung it back over her shoulder the way she knew turned her husband on to watch. Through the mirror, she saw Bill smile a satisfied smile.
Fleur inspected her face and felt thankful that she hadn't work much make-up, because it seemed not to have run (Fleur wasn't particularly interested in make-up anyway. Make-up was for girls who needed to make themselves look pretty, and Fleur had never needed that). She stroked the blood away from the grazes on her cheeks, elbows and hands, then turned around to inspect herself from either side and the back.
"Finished?" asked Bill, when Fleur eventually turned away from the mirror.
"I think we were," said Bill, stepping away from the wall and back over to her, "Right about here,"
He pressed himself against her back again and kissed her temple, as one of his hands crept up to her chest and the other slid down to her thigh. Fleur relished the sight of his hands grabbing her, the way his fingers bent to grasp her flesh. She relished it even more now that she could see and feel the wedding ring on Bill's finger. Bill stuck his tongue, teasing and hot, into her ear, and Fleur tiled her hips back into his. The hiss of contentment he breathed into hear ear made her shudder. Fleur reached round to twist her fingers into his hair again, and Bill stroked his thumb up and down over her breast. The sight of them in the mirror, entwined and flushed with his hands on her body and his tongue in her ear made Fleur feel dizzy with lust. They were married now- he was her husband forever and she would always have him, have this. Sex with Bill has always been terrific. He had size on his side, but more than that he was a fun, generous lover, whether it was tender lovemaking on a lazy Sunday, or a rough and frantic shag against the pantry wall with his family in the next room. It was special right from the first time, and Fleur found her mind flicking back through memories, to their first night together.
They've been dating- or "going out" as everybody in England confusingly calls it- for a couple of months now. He's been back to her flat a few times too, and they've sprawled on the sofa kissing for ages and ages. Fleur really, really likes kissing him. She really likes him full stop. He's six years older, which means he's more mature than most of Fleur's previous boyfriends. He's got his own job and his own money and he's travelled, too. Unlike most men, he seems actually interested in what Fleur has to say- they spent ages tonight talking about the election in Tunisia. Fleur's aunt lives in Marseilles and travels to Tunisia to trade snakes, and obviously Bill's interested in the election there because he lived in Egypt until a few months ago. Fleur hasn't had a conversation like that for ages. She's a bit drunk now, having had a few glasses of wine and only a packet of crisps at the pub. She'd been trying to keep up with the number of pints Bill was sipping, except Brits drink more than people in France do so Fleur's drunk more than she'd planned on. She'd stumbled when they'd walked through the front door, which should have felt embarrassing as she was meant to be swanlike and elegant, not clumsy. But when Bill had caught her and chuckled, Fleur had felt fizzy and bright, and she giggled back. She'd pulled him to the sofa where they'd kissed for a long time, and now they've wound up in her bedroom. Fleur had been hoping this would happen for weeks, and had tidied up before her last few dates with Bill in case it did.
He's backed against the wall holding her face in one hand and her thigh in the other, lifting her leg up at the knee so they can push closer. His lips taste fantastic and his tongue is nudging against hers, in and out of her mouth. The hand on her face slithers down to her chin and, gently, Bill moves their mouths apart. Then, casually, deliberately, he says, "Sweetheart, take your clothes off,"
They're the five sexiest words Fleur's ever heard. Usually, men who Fleur ends up in a bedroom with are pulling her clothes off her themselves, or stripping themselves naked as fast as possible, afraid she'll change her mind before they get what they want. One of her exes, Jamari, was so intimidated by Fleur's beauty that he clammed up the first time they had sex. There have been boys who get pushy and aggressive, regardless of if Fleur wants them to (though she's learnt to spot and to avoid those types). Fleur knew that Bill wouldn't be like that, or get jittery like Jamari, or want to rush. "Sweetheart, take your clothes off"- it's both a suggestion and an instruction. Fleur knows that she should make him work harder for it, pout and purr and play hard to get, but she's so turned on and taken aback and that she doesn't want to. Bill's other hand drifts off her thigh and he takes a step back, giving her look which seems to say: I'll give you the space to do exactly as I told you.
Fleur knows how to take her clothes off in front of men. She turns halfway around, reaches for the zip at the back of her dress and pulls it down slowly, making a show of lifting her arms to withdraw them from the sleeves. She arches her back as the dress pools at her feet. Fleur turns to face Bill properly, relishing his eyes on her body as she removes her underwear. His gaze makes her feel both alluring and giddy. She arranges herself on her duvet in an alluring pose (Fleur knows a lot about alluring poses), and feels her pulse judder with excitement as Bill walks over and climbs onto the bed. He lies beside her, propping his head up on his elbow as he curls his body around hers. The contact makes goosebumps bubble across Fleur's skin.
Bill combs his fingers through her hair and kisses the crown of her head. He trails his fingers down her face, jaw and neck, and then his lips follow. The kisses are soft, with none of the heat of a minute ago. He lifts Fleur's arm and kisses from her shoulder down to her wrist, lingering on the inside of her elbows as if he already knows that she's ticklish there. Fleur sniggers, and he laughs back, a laugh which is both sexy and reassuring. When Bill reaches her hands, he rubs her palms and kisses each of her fingers individually. Fleur feels pleased and vindicated- he's taking in just how stunning she is, all the different places and ways she's perfect. This is how someone like her should be treated.
Bill rubs Fleur's knuckles as he kisses back up to her shoulder, across her collar bone and down to her chest. She likes watching his head hover over her breasts as she laps at their underside, then up to her nipples. She likes the feeling of it even more.
"Bill. Mmf, oui, Bill,"
"Do you like that?" he asks. He glances up to wink at her, and as he moves his head his hair slides across Fleur's skin.
"Tell me again,"
He laps and licks and loves on her breasts for a long time, and once he's done he crawls down the bed and shifts onto his knees. He skims his palm down Fleur's thigh (he must be able to feel her goosepimples), to her shin then her ankle then her foot. He cups her heel and pulls it upwards, extending her leg fully. Fleur grins at the thought of Bill realising just how long and smooth and elegant here legs are. Bill keeps eye contact, looking amused as he pushes Fleur's foot back towards her, making her leg bend at the knee. Then he pulls her foot back out to unbend it. Bend. Unbend. Bend. No wonder he looks amused- he's playing with her. Fleur's insides flutter, charmed. When Bill unbends Fleur's leg the third time, he hooks it over his shoulder. Fleur likes the way that looks, and the contrast of her pale, unblemished skin beside Bill's freckly face, still tanned from Egypt.
He shuffles forward, turning his head to skim against the inside of her shin, then up to her knee, then back down to pepper kisses around the ball of her ankle. He does that a few times, getting higher past her knee each time. Fleur can feel her breath coming harder now, and she stutters out a few more "Yes"es and swear words. She rubs her heel on his shoulder and touches his hair with her toes. Bill's mouth flutters up and down her leg again before finally moving higher.
"This alright, cherry?" he asks, and his breath tickles.
She knew he'd ask. Not all men do, or they ask then don't care what the answer is. Fleur's better than most girls at working out which men are like that ("It's not a skill I want," Maman had told her when she was eleven, "But it's a skill I have, and you'll need it too,") and she knew that Bill wouldn't be, that he'd be respectful and considerate. With other boys who've asked, Fleur's sometimes told them No or Stop, and she's felt a thrill at seeing the alarm in their eyes (she reckons it's alarm at the prospect that they've hurt her, although she knows it's also be alarm at the fact that if she's told them to stop, they won't get what they want).
Bill glances up at her again. "Sure?"
His expression isn't concerned. He's clarifying, not panicking. He trusts Fleur to know what she does or doesn't want.
"Yes. Yes," she tells him.
"Say it in French,"
He's not clarifying anymore; he's playing. Fleur should be annoyed at Bill entertaining himself by giving her orders, but it isn't annoying, it's hot. He's hot. Everything about this is hot.
Bill pretends to consider, making her wait a few more maddening moments. Then he decides, "Okay,"
His hand snakes up to search between her legs. He knows what he's doing- Fleur can tell a lot about men, and she could tell that Bill would be good at this, he wouldn't prod and poke and expect to get her off about four seconds. Fleur considers, momentarily, where he learnt, how many other girls he's had, who was there at Hogwarts and in Cairo? Truth be told, Fleur's wondered that a few times recently. She hasn't felt this type of jealousy before, and she'll take it to her grave because it's silly for someone like her to feel jealous. She's the one who makes women jealous. But Bill's different and bamboozling and she fancies him so much that- but then his fingers move just right and whatever Fleur was thinking about doesn't seem important anymore. His touch is gentle yet insistent, swirling and strumming. Oh, he's good at this. She knew he would be. Fleur squeezes her eyes shut and kicks her heel against Bill's shoulder. Mmmf. Yes. More. She knows what noises men like, and she lets out a few mewls. With other guys she'd had to force the sounds, though with Bill there's no acting required. Actually, Fleur realises, her moans are louder and more unladylike than usual. She feels momentarily embarrassed, but then Bill's mouth traces the same route as his fingers and oh God, oh God, oh God. He keeps making her forget what she's thinking. His lips rub over her, then his tongue, round and up and over again. And then again, and again. Fleur unscrews her eyes to watch, grinning at the sight of Bill's head between her legs. It looks good and it looks right. They're supposed to look like this together. Watching what Bill's doing as well as feeling it turns her own even more- she's getting close now, really close. Bill's hair's fanned out across her thighs, and Fleur twists her fingers into it, touching him and feeling him touch her and watching it happen. They look fantastic together, especially the way they look now. He's so hot, she's known it since she first saw him. He's cool and charming and the perfect mix of humble and cocky. He's so good at this, and he treats her like a person and he's fun, and he listened to her about the Tunisian election and she's close, nearly there-
And then she comes. Hard.
Bill swirls his tongue around a few more times, then kisses his way back up her body. Fleur reaches to pull his face down on hers, kissing him hard and hooking her leg around the back of his knees. He's hard, and that makes her feel possessive and powerful. She wants to touch him everywhere. She wants to ride him hard, and she also wants to feel his weight on top of her, pinning her down. She wants to know what he'd feel like against her, on her, in her. She wants to show him how good she in bed, too. They're going to be explosive together.
Before Fleur can do anything more, Bill rolls off and flops onto the bed beside her. He angles his body away from Fleur's, and kisses back more gently. His tongue retreats into his mouth so that Fleur can't reach it with hers. Puzzled and still panting, she breaks the kiss to look at him. What's he doing? Is he teasing her again? Except his expression isn't playful, it's…normal. He doesn't really have an expression right now. Bill pecks Fleur on the cheek, then the nose. Then he gathers her into his arms, tucks her head under his chin, and pulls the duvet up over them both. He brushes his mouth on her forehead, then shuts his eyes.
Fleur feels baffled. Is Bill…going to sleep? Now? After he's just done that to her? Before he's got anything from her? Doesn't he want sex? It's what all men want, especially from Fleur. He got her off like that but he doesn't want more- what does he think she is, a man? He's got a boner, so why doesn't he want to do anything with it? Fleur remembers that most of the men she's been with had grunted and gasped when they felt themselves getting hard, or wanted her to touch them there. Bill doesn't seem to have noticed, and that makes Fleur's smugness about her effect on him sap away. She wonders if this is what English mean are like. Is this normal over here? Perhaps this is what people mean when they say that British boys are gentlemen. English etiquette is complicated, and that might also include in bed. Roger, her boyfriend at Hogwarts, hadn't been like this, but Bill's older and more mature.
"Hmm?" he purrs into her hair.
Fleur's bemusement makes her feel annoyed with him. He'd tasted her, so why doesn't he want to come inside her? Doesn't he want to come at all? Of course he does, he's a man, and she's Fleur Delacour, so it's insulting of him not to want anything from her. He reckons he can do that to her then act as if it's nothing? Though what if it was nothing to him? What if Bill's done that with loads of other girls, what if half the women in Egypt have been to bed with him and felt his fingers and tongue do those things? But there aren't other girls like Fleur. She's the grand-daughter of a Veela. Men trip over their own tongues when she's around. She's too desirable to be just another number to a man. She shouldn't be treated this way. She remembers that she was thinking about the Tunisian election when she came- that's annoying too. It's all Bill's fault.
"It's cherie, not cherry," Fleur tells him waspishly.
Bill laughs and cuddles her closer. "Goodnight, cherry,"
In the morning, waking up beside him is so lovely that Fleur forgets she's supposed to be irritated, and Bill has to rush home because he needs to change his clothes and brush his teeth before work. At few people at Gringotts have worked out that they're dating even though neither of them have officially told anyone.
When they go out together a couple of nights later (Bill takes her to Welwyn Garden City, a pretty town with an unpronounceable name. Fleur's charmed by the fact that takes her to unusual places, parts of the country she'd never hear of if it weren't for him) they end up back in her bedroom. Again, Bill gives her orders which he doesn't seem to care if she follows. This time Fleur juts out her bottom lip and tells him, "No". Sulking and baby voices normally make men work harder, which makes Fleur feel even more desired. But Bill shrugs with disinterested acceptance, unfazed by the rejection. Fleur seems like the one whose been rejected, and it makes her feel petulant and childish- not to mention disappointed. She's spent the last two days remembering how good he was at going down on her, and all evening she's been eyeing him up, watching how his body moves under his clothes and imagining him moving against her. She thinks about it for the rest of the evening as they kiss and cuddle, not dispassionately, but far more chastely than Fleur wants. She can't, of course, ask him. It'd be ridiculous for a girl like Fleur to ask a man for sex. She's the one who is asked, needled, pestered, begged, and whoever she says yes to should be grateful to have received such an honour. Though Bill doesn't seem aware of that.
When Bill goes home later than evening, leaving Fleur to spend the night alone, she decides she needs to take matters into her own hands. She can't ask Bill, but she doesn't have to wait around for him either. In the morning she puts on her most expensive blouse, and the heels which show off her legs best (neither the blouse nor the heels are strappy or tight. Fleur doesn't need to look cheap to be enticing, least of all to Bill. Though given the last few days she isn't sure what he does find enticing).
At lunchtime, she finds him in the canteen with a group of his friends, and tells him in her best "polite secretary" tone that Mrs Agyeman-Bryant needs to speak to him upstairs. Once Bill follows her out of the canteen, Fleur drags him into an empty storage cupboard and shuts the door behind them.
"We're going to my flat,"
She smiles coquettishly, "You'll see,"
"Doesn't Mrs Agyeman-Bryant need me?" Bill asks.
Fleur flips her hair behind her shoulder. "No," she tells him, grinning wickedly.
She sees the realisation enter Bill's mind, and she grins wider. He's on the back foot for once. This time, it'll be Fleur taking control. She won't have to ask for what she wants- she'll tell him. Bill won't be so cool and indifferent when it's her giving him orders. It's going to be so hot- Fleur's thrumming with anticipation.
"Oh, right," says Bill. He cringes apologetically and explains, "Sorry, sweetheart, I don't have time for this now,"
He twists his hand out of Fleur's grip. She wilts.
"I'll still see you Thursday night," Bill promises (Fleur notices that this is not a question).
"But…well, yes," she mutters, irritated at her own discombobulation.
"Good," he says, with a small, kind smile, "I've got to go now,"
He rubs Fleur's shoulder and kisses her forehead, gestures which feel patronising and paternal. Then he exits back into the corridor, leaving Fleur alone and disappointed and feeling extremely foolish.
On Thursday evening, he tells her he's sorry and he's going to make it up to her. Fleur isn't expecting an apology, and surprise makes her more compliant than she planned to be when they're back at her place he starts telling her to undress and to lie down and to say "Yes," (the bunch of flowers he bought doesn't hurt either). He kisses and fondles and teases, making her wriggle and whimper with the best possible discomfort. He slips his hand between her legs and makes her come, breathless and moaning. And then he rolls onto his back, puts his arm around her, and starts asking about the trip to Nottingham she's planned for the weekend, again showing no interest in his own pleasure. Fleur can't tell if she should feel flattered at the focus on her, or insulted that he doesn't seem to want her for himself. It certainly makes her want him more. She's felt what Bill's fingers and tongue could do, and now she wants to discover the rest of his body. He's touched her all over, yet Fleur hasn't even seen him with his shirt off yet. Feeling his ribs and back and muscles through his shirt isn't enough. She wants more, wants him totally and completely. Her body is blazing for it.
"Bill?" Fleur asks, interrupting his description some sort of Nottingham windmill.
Fleur tries not to squirm as she calculates what to say. She needs to tell him, yet she can't possibly ask him. Fleur Delacour does not ask!
"I want you," she murmurs eventually.
When Bill looks down at her, his expression is kind. Kind is perfectly lovely, but kind is also not excited, passionate or aroused.
"Want me what?" he replies. He shifts onto his side so he's facing her properly, and dapples his fingers down her arm, "Never had to ask before, have you? So I don't think you really know,"
"I want you," Fleur repeats.
"What? Where? How? Go on, say it,"
"I don't know the English,"
She wants to feel and to watch, not to talk. Fleur tilts her chin to look up at him with a challenge in her expression, though Bill's face is calmer and curious. He's studying her, and Fleur makes herself keep looking fierce when inside she's cringing and trembling.
"Alright," Bill decides, "I'll teach you. I want you to ask me, using these words,"
Bill hauls himself up over her body, lowers his mouth to her ear, and whispers what he wants Fleur to ask him to do to her. Fleur doesn't know many of the words he uses, but she can tell that they're nasty and dirty. It's easy to make words sound nasty in English- it's a blunt language, with none of the musicality of French and Italian. Fleur can tell that these are especially filthy words, words used by silly teenage boys (this is the first moment when she realises what growing up in a house full of boys must have been like) and skanky witches, words that someone like her shouldn't say to a man or use about herself. They're worse than the French swear words Fleur uses. Feeling Bill's weight on top of her and the warmth of his breath as he hisses into her ear makes her burn and writhe and feel dizzy with lust. Then he licks and kisses down her neck and shoulders, over and around her breasts to her ribcage and then lower still, until she's tremoring, desperate for him.
He stops abruptly before she comes.
"Now," he purrs, locking eyes with her licking his lips, "Ask me, the way I told you to,"
He's known exactly what he's doing all along. He wasn't being a gentleman, he was toying with her. Bastard. Fleur wants to hate him, but he's too gorgeous and good with his tongue to hate. This makes her want to hate him even more, but mixed in with hate are ecstasy and elation.
Bill rubs the tip of his nose against her hip-bone. "That's the only way it'll happen,"
So she does. Fleur looks Bill in the eye asks him, though it feels more like begging, using the nasty English words he taught her.
They don't come up for air until the morning.
"You're thinking about something," Bill said suddenly, back in his bedroom on their wedding night, "Are you frightened for your family?"
He lifted his face from Fleur's neck to look at her through the mirror.
"No," Fleur admitted, slightly guiltily, "I was remembering the first time we made love,"
Bill smirked. "I don't think we called it making love that time,"
"You didn't. Dirty boy,"
"That's no way to talk about your husband,"
Bill spun Fleur around and backed her into the wall, pinning her against it. Fleur loved it when he got rough with her- he couldn't wait to have her, he couldn't get enough of her (after those first few times in bed, when he'd been infuriatingly composed, Fleur enjoyed worked out how to make Bill hiss and groan and pant her name and choke out how much he wanted her. It was a thrill to have that power over him). She relished the pressure of Bill on one side and the wall on the other, and being able to arch her back off the wall to press against him. She knew how seductive she could look when splayed against a wall, and nothing made Fleur feel more seductive than knowing how seductive she looked.
"Tonight though, we will make the longest, hardest love we ever have," said Bill, jerking his hips into her. Then he kissed Fleur on the nose and added, "And with the most love, too,"
"My husband," Fleur breathed. She ran her palms up from his elbows to his shoulders, enjoying the feel of skin beneath shirt.
"Forever, mon cherry,"
"Your accent's still horrible,"
"Good news," Bill beamed, "That we've got the rest of our lives for you to help me get it perfect,"
Fleur liked perfection. She was perfect-looking, so it was only right that the clothes and houses and food around her were perfect too. She'd spent months trying to convince Bill's messy, chaotic family of this, with limited success. She'd accepted today would not be the wedding she'd dreamed of, yet she never could have predicted how badly it had gone wrong. The house had been wrecked and Harry, Ron and Hermione had gone missing. The Ministry was under control of the Death Eaters. The war she was fighting in his changed course and Fleur didn't know what would happen now. Her family had to flee with a boy she barely knew. She didn't know if Maman's found Papa and Gabi, and she didn't know how they were going to get home to France. Her wedding day had been the antithesis of perfect.
But she had her husband, who was funny and strong and protective and who needed her. She had Lee's promise that he'd keep Papa and Gabi safe, and Maman's assurance she would find them. She had the Order of the Phoenix, who never gave up despite their numbers dwindling and the noose tightening around them. She had her in-laws, who for all their faults were there for her today, and who perhaps were softening towards her a little. And she had hope that her family were together and safe and that one day this terrible English war would be over. It had taken and taken from her, and from Bill, and from their relationship. But they were still here, and they were together and they were fighting. And this war, Fleur thought, pressing a kiss to Bill's forehead and taking his hands to pull him over to the bed, would not take her wedding night too.
Thank you so much for reading. Please review to let me know what you thought.