A/N: I was going through my fanfiction folder, and found this abandoned drabble, five months old, typed, and ready to post. It started as an idea for a challenge, but I didn't get it finished in time and it didn't fit the challenge well enough. I put it away and forgot about it until tonight. I made a few small changes, and here it is.
The title comes from the album title "One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels" by Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova. The song I use for an epigraph, "Spring Cleaning," is on that album.
She's crying and glowing
She's three months and showing
Seeing her now makes me want to live
Seeing her now makes me want to live
- "Spring Cleaning," Bright Eyes and Neva Dinova
They hadn't planned it, but these things happen. You cast the charm wrong, or forget to take the potion on time, or maybe it just happens. They're married, they're ready, and yes, it was a surprise, but they're happy, they really are, they can't wait. Isn't it nice to have something to look forward to. Isn't this beautiful, a new life among all this death. Won't Molly be so happy. Isn't this just what everyone needs.
It's August when it happens, the hottest summer in years. The fruit from the garden rots as soon as Fleur brings it inside and Bill's skin burns and peels, leaving white flakes scattered around the house. There are flies everywhere.
They're supposed to make the whole world over, that summer, but the only thing to build on is decay.
The Mediwitch says not to tell anyone yet, to wait and see what happens. It's early yet. You want to be cautious. You never know what's going to happen.
Sometimes, Bill wonders what it's like to be dead. It would be dark in the coffin, and cool. Comforting, even. Nothing would change.
A month goes by, and another, and it's useless trying to keep their secret. Fleur, slender, willowy Fleur, is rounding, and pinking, and glowing. She's a thing of beauty, and she's his.
Molly guesses it before they tell. One Sunday dinner she just jumps up and hugs Fleur. They burst into tears together and Ginny joins the sobbing a moment later.
Everyone's so pleased with him, patting him on the back and congratulating him, as if this was something he wanted, as if this was something he'd chosen. Isn't this wonderful, isn't Fleur beautiful, isn't this what we all fought for.
Bill smiles and nods and kisses his wife. Yes, he says, yes, it's wonderful, yes, we're so excited, we can't wait, we're so happy.
It feels like betrayal.
Under the ground, Fred rots.
The name is Fleur's idea, and though Bill doesn't like it, he knows she's right. The date is what it is, and since they can't change it, they might as well acknowledge it. It's exactly two years later, and maybe Fred is bone now. Bill doesn't think this world is a good place for his daughter to live.
But she's here, and she's beautiful, and he can't believe how much he loves her, and just look at those toes, those fingers, those eyelids. Molly coos over her constantly and even George smiles when he holds her.
Bill uses nicknames at first, Vicky and Tori, until, five years old, she's had enough. "My name is Victoire," she says, stamping her foot, hair streaming out behind her, looking just like her mother.
And that's how it goes. Her name is Victoire, and though once it was impossible to connect her name with anything but loss, Bill finds himself saying it with her: Victoire. It means victory. Because we won. Because we're free.
And isn't she beautiful, isn't she brave and bright and bold, his daughter, and isn't she everything victory looks like, isn't she everything victory should be.
And Fred is dust now, maybe.
But somehow, you move on.