TITLE: Prodrome

Author: Ladyfun

Pairing: Fleurmione

Rating: Prologue story = T-ish; however, the main body inevitably will become M, someday...

Disclaimers: All of this (Ladyfun gesturing big wide circles over the computer with her hand) belongs to J.K. Rowling. I own nothing, and this is all for non-profit fun.

SUMMARY: Written for the Quidditch Competition, Round 4. The beginning of a love story that never really finished. This is the prodrome for the story of Fleur and Hermione's initial rendezvous. Later, Fleur will be unexpectedly summoned to help recover one of England's most famous citizens, a former Golden Trio member. The same one that broke the Veela, so long ago...the aforementioned Hermione Granger. Armed with her cigarettes and her wounded pride, she agrees to help them, against her better judgement. Endgame: Fleurmione!

A/N #1: This is a repost with some edits so you can understand the fragmented workings of my mind's eye.

A/N #2 : Chapter 1 (the prologue) was origionally posted as "prodrome" for round 4 of the quiddich fanfic competition .

Chapter 1. Prologue
Place & Time: Scotland, Circa Year 4 at Hogwarts

Convincingly, the brightest witch of her age had almost managed to persuade her friends, once again, by utilizing her stock tools of trade: facts and logic.

Those "go-to" tools, facts and logic, when layered upon the foundations of her fastidious research, generally made her invincible. After all, her argument was foolproof. There was nothing for the hapless other 2/3 of the Golden Trio to do, other to retreat from her or to concede to her, as they often did. It was often a bitter pill they had to swallow, indeed.

This time, however, rather than retreat or surrender, Ron had reached his limit. He took the preferred route of many modern politicians, refusing to go down without a fight, despite his blatent ignorance. Harry inadvertidly compounded the problems, unfortunately. Ron employed the classic tactics of the ad hominem attack; the approach that had been utilized, ironically, by much older wizards from both the Ministry and the Death Eaters alike!

Hell, it's even been known to elect American Presidential candidates far inferior to those of their opponents, from time to time.

After all, If you can't debate the facts, attack the person.

They stood in the deserted hallway, after curfew, the invisibility cloak long discarded, as their tempers rose. The three were arguing, facing off, literally, in an almost comical triangular standoff. They all grew so frustrated, finally, that conversation ceased altogether.

The red-head spoke first.

"Bloody hell! You're such a know-it-all, Hermione! Clearly, your research kept you from brushing your hair…or putting on make-up… or doing anything like a normal bird!" Ron lashed out.

Hermione looked at Ron, clearly stung.

The third member of the Golden Trio, as it were, cleared his throat. Conflicted, Harry looked sheepishly between his two best friends. Finally, he nodded his head resolutely, interjecting. "Ron, that's utterly not fair!"

Hermione and Ron both looked at the boy-who-lived, waiting.

He continued. "I mean, really, Ron! It's not like she neglected doing herself up, in order to go to the library to research this…right? I Ron, she said, "Really, Ron? That's the best you can do?"

Hermione's eyes were burning, as she stared at the two trators in disbelief. In an instant, she spun around, putting her back to her friends, obscuring the tears she knew were forming in her eyes. She ignored the feeble protests of "Wait, that's not what I meant,'Mione!" From Harry, mingled with the rude laughter from that stupid git slash ex-friend slash ex-boyfriend slash waste of oxygen Weasley.

She took long strides away, attempting to put some distance between her and her so-called "friends."

Friends who didn't even remember she hated the nickname "Mione."

Merlin's beard! "Mione" sounded like a name for a pet gerbil! Hermione thought, in disgust. It certainally didn't sound like appropriate nomenclature for me! And I've told them so, over and over...

Stomping down the hallway, tears now flowing freely, she headed in no particular direction. Stopping to lean against the wall, and collect herself, Hermione heard the lumbering footfalls of Ron and Harry chasing after her, but she also heard something else.

She heard the familiar click, click that was now familiar in the Hogwarts' castle, as they echoed further down the hallway.

Really? Can my day really get any worse? Hermione groaned to herself, her swollen eyes desperately seeking out the source of the noise.

Click, click.

That sound was unmistakable. It was the sound made by the expensive heels of the visitors from Beauxbaton's Academy. She could only hope the owner of the clicking was sone of their random students she had yet to meet, as opposed to the other option. Option "B" was that causation of said clicking was none other than the infamous Champion from Beauxbatons, Fleur Delacour.

Hermione was already too overwhelmed and too emotional right now to risk another confrontation with anyone...much less her.

She wheeled around, eyes now wild, and desperately seeking a hiding place.

Click, click.

With Harry and Ron approaching on one flank, and one undisclosed member of the birds of Beauxbatons closing in on the other, Hermione felt instant doom. Truly. This was the epitome of disaster for her...the Golden Girl. The one who was know for thinking, not feeling.

There's going to be a whole lot of "feeling," arising soon, if I don't do something! Hermione grimaced.

Looking around at the barren hallway with minimal furniture or statues, her heart plummeted in realization of the dearth of things that would be helpful in obscuring her. There was absolutely no coverwhatsoever...in any direction.

Clickclick. The clicks were getting louder. That meant they were getting... closer.

"Merlin's beard!" Hermione groaned, realizing she was in quite the pickle. Swallowing, she worked up her nerve. The brightest witch of her generation lived up to her billing. With a quick flash of light, she did the incredible: she transfigured ...into a house cat!

Hermione, in her cat form, slipped behind one of the columns. While not a true "animagus," per se, she actually became a Felis silvestris catcus for all intensive purposes. Her daunting feat of transfiguration was certainly not a 4th year spell; no...Professor McGonagall would nary teach it to the most skilled of the seventh years...if at all. Hermione had been able to do this for months, unbeknownsts to Professor McGonagall; like many things, this was a skill Hermione kept "under her belt", for when the time came.

Click, click, click...

Then the clicking abruptly stopped.

Sounds of skidding, gasping, and the cacophony of people falling against something was heard. Hermione could hear a drooling "Bloody hell, mate! It's her...uh, you know...her! You know the one I'm talking about, Harry! Oy...It's that wanky Veela girl!" He let out a low whistle. "She's so pretty..."

Hermione fought the urge to gag. She didn't have to see Ron to know his complexion was now a hypoxic purple, from being so transfixed by one Miss Fleur Delacour's incredible thrall. Harry, thankfully, had the decency to not bellow his voice across Hogwarts.

"Yes, I got it, Ron! Now, shhh!" Harry hissed, quietly.

Harry knew, first hand, how uncomfortable it was to be talked about and judged based on really superficial issues. He was pretty sure that Fleur didn't like the attention she drew any more than he did...

Click, click.

There they were. The heels of Fleur Delacour, as viewed from 6" above ground, in her present form. Thank god for the shadows. "

"Pardonnez-moi, si'l vous plait...I am right in front of you, Monsieur Weasley. And I assure you," she paused, a borderline malevolent air filling the space, as the lovely Fleur Delacour came into their view, standing directly in front of them. She continued. "zat I am far from ze deaf! My 'kind'," she said with an almost curtsy, egging Ron on, "as you alluded to...we do 'ave 'earing zat is...how you say... très bon?"

"Oh...uh, yeah. Um, that's good...um, hearing you got...and everything.." Ron fumbled.

Harry was rolling his eyes, Kitty Hermione noted from under the table. If she could do it, she would have as well. As it was, all she could do was listen and hiss quietly.

"Mais, oui! So good, en fact...zat I heard even more zan I zink you realize, Monsieur Weasley."

"What?" His head shot up, drool rolling down his face.

"I 'eard what you said about 'ermione Granger..."

Hermione's heart dropped. She knew she hadn't been exactly kind to the French Veela in her time at Hogwarts; it's just that Fleur infuriated her! Not like Ron infuriated her...with him, he just pissed her off, mostly. That was not the case with Fleur.

No, Fleur was an entirely different ball of wax, altogether. From the time she had set foot in Hogwarts, swooping over to the Gryffindor table to relieve them of their bouillabaisse soup, Fleur's piercing gaze had landed on the younger witch, Hermione, zeroing in one her, and staring. The Veela had left her feeling stripped bare. The exchange student made the Gryffindor nervous.

Unsure.

Self-conscious.

And in the few quiet moments of actual reflection she managed to obtain in her crazy life, Hermione would admit the truth to herself. In an extremely guilty admission, she realized that the beautiful witch made her feel something else as well...

Arousal.

She'd be damned if she let her crush...infatuation...whatever this "emotion" was, leaving her breathless when she saw a flash of the silken hair out of the corner of her peripheral vision...show to the sophisticated visitor from Beauxbatons. No, her life was just fine, without being ridiculed by French women. She was fine with the daily hazing she got from the English women, right here on her home territory.

But no ridicule came, from that particular French woman.

She would appear everywhere Hermione was, and pass a small smile; bump into each other in the library, and exchange a few pleasantries; even at the off hours she went to the study hall, the Vellea would be felt the Veela's eyes on her, everywhere she went. It made Hermione's plan to escape and evade much more grueling that originally planned.

And now here she was, witnessing the epitome of her humiliation; her most dark moments of friendship with Ron and Harry. Her alleged "best friends." Hermione was mortified. Once again, the Frenchwoman would surprise her. The kitty Hermione stopped daydreaming, hearing the French witch speak again.

"You call yourself a friend? Bah! You are no friend! You are a petty, jealous fool, Ronald Weasel!"

She turned to face Harry, next. "And for your information, Monsieur Potter, Mademoiselle Granger was actually right! That is the correct application of zat particular draught was exactly as she explained to you! You are lucky to have a friend like 'er for charms and potions, oui?"

Hermione felt that warm tingling she had experienced before. Was Fleur Delacour actually defending her?

"I would expect somezing petty from sat mouth brethzer, over zere," Fleur said, pointing in Ron's direction. "But you, 'arry? Your friend 'ermione must be devastated, non? Somezing along ze lines of "Et tu, Brute?"

Harry looked glumly down at his feet. Ron looked a strange mix of enchanted and angry, resulting in a generalized purplish-pink hue to his face.

Fleur spoke more gently, this time. "I know it iz 'ard...but really, 'arry." She put an hand on his shoulder. The Veela spoke gently. "Your words create what you speak about. Learn to speak... positively." She patted him on the cheek, and turned to go.

All three of them, however, let out a collective gasp, when Fleur practically crashed into a man standing in front of her.

"I must say, Ms. Delacour, I am impressed that a French witch can quote someone like Sanya Roman! You have left me pleasantly surprised with your versatility." The kind eyes of Albus Dumbledore looked at her, amused.

Fleur opened her mouth, then wisely shut it.

"So...tell me this: what, pray tell, are the three of you doing out of bed, after curfew?"

Ron and Harry mumbled excuses, incoherently.

Fleur , however, after a moment, offered the Headmaster her reason. "Je suis désolé, mon proviseur! I was out looking for my familiar..." Fleur's eyes scanned the room. Hermione shrank in horror as she observed Fleur headed straight for her.

In a delighted voice, Fleur squealed, "Voilà, vous y êtes !" as she scooped the kitty in to her arms. Fleur made an elaborate show of show of kissing and petting her familiar.

"Oy! I didn't know the other students brought familiars!" Ron grumbled.

"Why wouldn't they? They're students, you idiot!" Harry hissed back.

Hermione, mortified, couldn't help but to let the deep "purrrrrs" escape from deep inside her throat, as the French witch was very skilled with finding her "spots," while scratching her fur. It wasn't long before, much to cat Hermione's horror, Fleur was now kissing her! Well, "cat" her, anyway. She murmured little French sayings to Hermione, stroking her fur.

Nuzzling into her, Fleur whispered, "I've missed you, Mon compliqué féline!"

"What I'd give to be that cat..." muttered Ron. Hermione wasn't really paying attention any longer, but she was pretty sure she heard Harry kick him in the ankle.

"Very well, Ms. Delacour. Now that you have retrieved your ... familiar, you should return immediately to the Beauxbaton domicile."

"Bien sur, Headmaster." Fleur said, with a graceful curtsey, holding her kitty tight to her chest. " Jusque à demain, Monsieur Potter...Weasley." She added. As the click click sounded as she walked away with her cat, Fleur hummed to herself.

The Headmaster called out, with a parting statement for the Veela.

"Oh, and Ms. Delacour? I expect you will return your familiar, Mrs. H.G., to her rightful location, in the morning...."

Fleur flashed a wide grin over her shoulder. "But of course, Professeur ! C'est entendu!" Fleur's cheeks were slightly red, but other than that, her expression gave away nothing. She resumed stroking her kitty, who was purring in her arms, contentedly.

Fleur grinned the entire time she "click click clicked"away.

XOXOXOXOXOXO

The sun was rising, and the smile had seemingly not left Fleur's face all night as she leaned her forehead against that of her younger British companion. Her cerulean Blues twinkling, the beautiful Veela let the smallest of breaths escape as she spoke.

"So...I have to ask. I tried, 'ermione, ma belle, I did. I tried to defend your honor. Were you 'appy? Did I make ze argument, ma amour?" Fleur asked, her smile now wavering, slightly. "Do zey understand, now? Zat you cannot be treated like zat? Zat you are mine?"

The last part slipped out.

Fleur held her breath, as Hermione considered her question. Fleur fully expected a small dissertation; from her past observations of the bushy-haired girl that had so enraptured her inner Veela, Fleur knew Hermione would never utter ten words if a thousand could be uttered, instead. She smiled, thinking of her little verbose witch….

Fleur's eyes drifted upwards, a confident smirk on her face.

She regarded the student from Hogwarts closely. As she took in her companion's expression, Fleur's smirk faded.

Hermione, although still seeming dazed from Fleur's unexpected "revelation", had a frown on her face. A frown! A myriad of expressions passed through those brown eyes, as she looked up at Fleur, clearly measuring her next words carefully. The fact she had taken so long to consider a reply could portend many things, Fleur astutely realized. The result? The ordinarily confident Fleur Isabelle Delacour, Champion from Beauxbatons, was losing her swagger.

Fleur pondered to herself, wondering if she somehow... misunderstood. Perhaps she had inadvertently misread the signs? Had she been wrong about Hermione?

The young woman from Beauxbaton reflected.

Had she been wrong about what this young girl would become to her, someday?

She regretted immediately her impulsivity in stealing the girl's first kiss, much earlier, when they had arrived to Fleur's room, and the older witch laid Hermione down gently on her bed. Nothing much had happened; not really. They two witches got to know each other. They talked. They laughed.

And they kissed...

What was I thinking? Fleur thought, beginning to sweat, slightly. What am I still thinking?

Every second Hermione didn't reply, the blonde was beginning to feel like a caged-in animal, her eyes becoming darker. Fleur glanced around, attempting to remain impassive appearing, while looking for an avenue of egress to escape this horrible faux-pas. Her troubled eyes roamed nervously, inadvertently meeting Hermione's dark brown ones directly. Eyes locked in and focused directly on the Veela, before her.

Fleur could feel herself sweat, slightly, as reality came crashing down on her in rapid fire:

Hermione was barely 15 years old! Hermione was widely reported to favor that red-headed boy twerp! Hermione favored...boys.

Even if she didn't, Hermione was unlikely to favor her.

Tragic! Fleur snorted, to herself. Fleur Isabelle Delacour, the champion from Beauxbatons...hopelessly in love with an English girl. More than in love, in fact.

Hermione voice brought the older witch out of her troubled revere via its extremely soothing tone. Hermione spoke gently, reaching for Fleur's trembling hands.

"I believe the question on the table is this…" Hermione began, her frown dissolving. She was staring at Fleur's hands that she had grasped. Hermione spoke deliberately, reflecting what she wanted to express to the older girl. "Fleur...you want to know if you made the arguments, adequately?"

Fleur nodded, speechless. The combination of Hermione's mind reading, coupled with the fact the younger witch had moved into the Veela's personal space in a few mere seconds, made it hard for the normally poised young woman to find words all of a sudden. Hermione was smiling, with a knowing look. The Gryffindor simply nodded back, in acknowledgement, as she spoke.

"Well, Fleur... after some consideration, I would have to say, my reply is simply this…."

Hermione was leaning in towards Fleur, with such a determined look that it caused the older girl to tremble. Fleur took in the brunette's dilated pupils, rapid heartbeat, and increased respirations of the girl before her, her Veela's senses kicking in. However, Hermione's countenance belied the nerves her body obviously felt.

Observing her, Fleur was frozen to the spot. Unable to move, to think, to understand fully what was about to happen to her.

Hermione's lips, those piquant delights that she had stared at her entire time at Hogwarts, were coming towards her. Fleur was mesmerized, watching the woman's gorgeous mouth move towards her, dumbstruck. She stopped starting at their trajectory only when they arrived at their final destination, landing firmly on her own, her long lashes fluttering shut.

Fleur couldn't really describe the moment, it happened so fast; words would not do it justice. Warmth filled her from her core; the world seemed to lose a dull-colored, returning with a luster she didn't expect.

And she felt warm...for the first time, actually.

The drafty castle that had been her place of duty for the last few months no longer seemed dark, damp, and cold; rather, it was colored with an entirely different palate. Every sense she had felt sharpened with just that singular kiss.

Oddly enough, the suddenly minimalist Griffyindor girl would eventually utter a response. Her spartan comments would light Fleur's heart on fire.

"Did you make the argument? Hmmm. I would have to say …yes." Hermione sighed. "Yes, you impossibly gorgeous woman! Yes, you made your argument, Fleur..." Hermione looked at the beautiful witch, her eyes sincere. A large smile crept across Fleur's classically sculpted face upon hearing Hermione's qualifier:

"Oh, yes, Fleur Delacour, you charmer, you! You made the argument, one would say, so.. hmmm. Rather..."

She leaned in towards Fleur, her closeness clearly intoxicating to the Veela. Fleur's eyes fluttered shut again, as her lips that had been hungering for those of the English girl next to her, were finallysated.

The last word Fleur heard, before she lost complete control, was Hermione's breathy exhale near her ear:

"...convincingly."

TBC