Hi everyone! :) I'm back with another QLFC story. The prompts this time (Round 8, holy cow) involved choosing one next-gen Weasley, so I chose Mlle. Victoire, eldest of the clan and one of my personal favorites. The rest of the prompts were as follows:

1. no using the word 'Weasley'

2. no question marks

3. owl

As a note, the title of this story appealed to me because, of course, Fleur's maiden name, although it means 'of the court', is obviously a play on 'of the heart', so YAY puns. In French, naturally. This also marks another of my favorite silly things that I enjoy about the Delacours, which is the FAAAAAHbulous Christmas party I imagine that they throw every year. Smooches!

24 December 2016

It was freezing in this room, Victoire thought to herself, although she couldn't quite muster up the energy to do something about it. In the wee hours of the morning on Christmas Eve, she lay on her back, staring up at the ceiling of the guest bedroom in her grandparents' home, one arm bent behind her head. She glanced sideways; Dominique lay in the bed beside her, her long, gingery-gold hair obscuring her face and fluttering slightly every time she snored. Victoire sighed and returned her gaze upwards, to the ornate and delicate molding on the ceiling.

Dominique suddenly gave a particularly loud snore, and Victoire elbowed her ribs. She groaned and rolled over. "Stop," she moaned sleepily, kicking Victoire in the shin.

"Quit breathing like a graphorn, then," Victoire replied grouchily. Dominique gave no response; she was already asleep once again and snoring louder than ever.

Giving sleep up as a lost cause, Victoire slid out of bed and picked up her bathrobe; she was glad she'd thought to bring the warmer one she owned to France with them on this trip. She yawned and crept silently out of hers and Dominique's bedroom, out into the wide upstairs hallway, her footfalls muffled by the plush carpeting.

Christmas, at least for Victoire's immediate family, had always been an event with a rather split personality. The very moment that she and her siblings arrived home from Hogwarts for the holidays, they all traveled straight to the Delacour family's chateau and stayed for the enormous Christmas Eve party that her grandparents had held every year for as long as anyone could remember. Then, at dawn on Christmas morning, they all packed off to the Burrow for Christmas Day and dinner with Gran and Granddad and the rest of her father's family.

This year, however, Victoire was not as eager to return to the Burrow as she normally was. As attached as she was to Grandmère and Papá Delacour, Victoire usually looked forward to Christmas Day with her cousins more than any day of the year, especially now that the youngest ones, Molly and Lucy, were no longer babies. Ever since she was a child, she'd loved 'collecting' her cousins, which was how her father always teased her. Even now that she was almost seventeen, she couldn't disguise how much she enjoyed braiding Lily's and Roxy's hair, playing chess with Albus, and unwrapping gifts with Hugo and Fred and the rest.

But it would be a very different kind of Christmas this year, because she had done something very stupid. More than once since her parents had fetched them from King's Cross, she'd wondered how she could possibly get out of the festivities this year, but each plan she conjured up was as unworkable as the next.

Victoire walked silently past the next three guest bedrooms, which housed her parents, then Louis, and then her Aunt Gabrielle and infant cousin Charlotte, whom she could hear starting to whimper. She slipped down the large, main staircase of the house and wandered through the downstairs hall, past her grandmother's office, past the parlor and library that had been opened up and enlarged for tonight's party, and finally wending her way to the enormous black-and-white-tiled kitchen.

She sighed and sat down at the table in the corner and rested her chin on her hand, her gaze wandering about the room aimlessly. No sooner had she decided to make herself a cup of tea, than she heard footsteps in the doorway, and looked around.

Grandmère, her silvery hair pulled into a long braid over the shoulder of her deep violet dressing gown, stood in the doorway, looking sleepy and a bit bewildered. "I thought that was you I heard, little girl," she said to Victoire in French. "You shouldn't be awake at this hour."

"I didn't mean to wake you up," said Victoire softly. "I'm sorry. I couldn't sleep."

Grandmère waved a hand and smiled, coming into the kitchen and sitting down beside Victoire. "Ask any of my patients, they'll tell you. Once you've been a mother, a baby crying is always going to wake you up. But your aunt can handle Charlotte without me interfering, I think. Tell me what is bothering you, my darling."

Victoire smiled as her grandmother picked up her hand that lay on the table and stroked it gently. "Nothing," she said simply, with a small shrug.

Grandmère arched an eyebrow. "You are exactly like your mother, telling me that story."

She laughed a little and nodded. "All right…but…" she switched into English, "—please don't tell Mum and Dad. Or even Papá."

"Of course not, petite," Grandmère replied, changing to English. For as long as Victoire could remember, she and her grandmother had used a specific combination of French and English to communicate, switching back and forth at speeds that baffled most of the rest of the family. "Zis is between you and me."

Victoire took a deep breath and nodded. "It's about Teddy," she said. Grandmère narrowed her eyes curiously. "You know, Uncle Harry's godson, and his parents were friends of Mum and Dad…"

"It 'as been a few years since I 'ave seen 'im, but I know 'oo you are talking about, petite," Grandmère said, smirking. "'E always had ze most interesting 'air. Bright blue, ze last time I saw 'im."

In spite of herself, Victoire smiled. "Yeah, that's him."

Suddenly, her grandmother's expression became shrewd. "Ah. I understand, now."

"You—no," Victoire said immediately, "it's not really—I mean—"

"You like this boy," she replied, a smile spreading across her face.

Victoire spluttered. "But—what—I didn't say anything!"

Grandmère heaved a long sigh, clucked her tongue with a wave of her long fingers and said in French, "She thinks I can't see it in her eyes! You've turned pink, little one." She pointed one finger at Victoire, her smile knowing and amused.

"I am not," Victoire mumbled, covering her cheeks with her hands and looking down at the tabletop, feeling very embarrassed. Grandmère clucked her tongue again and took Victoire's hands away from her face, kissing her fingers gently. After a moment, Victoire sighed.

"Right before…before I went back to Hogwarts in September," she said slowly, "Ted and I had a really long talk, just the two of us. He had a really bad summer." She looked sideways at Grandmère. "His grandmother got really sick—she's completely fine, of course, but she's—you know, she's all he's got, even though Uncle Harry and Aunt Ginny would take care of him in an instant if he needed anything, but—"

"I understand, petite," Grandmère said gently.

Victoire nodded. "Well…we…kept talking. Two or three letters a week, sometimes more. We met up in Hogsmeade one weekend when he wasn't in training, and…and then, right before Christmas…" she moaned and covered her face with both hands. "I wrote him a really, really long letter about how I felt about him."

"Ah," her grandmother sighed, closing her eyes. She switched to French again. "Now I see. So he has not answered you yet, darling."

Victoire shook her head. "It's not just that, he…he's completely ignoring me. I saw him, he came to pick up James from King's Cross, and it was—" tears burned her eyes, and she looked away. "It was like I was invisible, like I wasn't there at all. And now, I…I feel so stupid."

Grandmére's hand closed on her arm. "You are not invisible, Victoire," she said firmly, brushing a finger through a strand of Victoire's long, blonde hair, "And you are not stupid. I will 'ave no granddaughter of mine saying ozerwise. If zis boy does not recognize a good—" She trailed off when two fat tears slid down Victoire's cheeks and dripped onto the table.

A split second later, Victoire felt herself being pulled into her grandmother's arms. She closed her eyes and sniffled, feeling more tears rise. "Oh, my little one," Grandmère cooed in French. "My sweet girl, I am so sorry."

Victoire held onto her more tightly. "I really don't want to go home on Christmas Day," she mumbled. "He's going to be there, they always are…"

"Hm," Grandmère said thoughtfully, "but zat would not be my brave girl. Zat would not be my Victoire. She does not let anyone else tell 'er 'ow she feels. She does not pay attention to anyone 'oo 'as no time for 'er."

Victoire sat up. "I don't feel brave at all," she said, sniffling. "I feel miserable."

Grandmère gave a sigh and rose from the table, taking Victoire's chin in one hand and pecking her forehead. "I 'ope you told your young man zat you love 'im," she said, in a long-suffering sort of way as she got up to make two cups of tea. "Because it is quite clear to me, petite."

Victoire covered her face with both hands, her elbows resting on the tabletop, and tried to collect herself.

"Dominique, darling," said Grandmère suddenly.

"Morning, Grandmère," said a groggy voice in the doorway. "Have you seen—Victoire."

Victoire raised her head, hoping she didn't look too tearstained. Dominique was still half-asleep, but apparently quite irritable, because she marched up to the table and slapped an envelope down. "An owl," she said, glaring at Victoire, "smacked into the bedroom window, and it was so loud that I fell out of bed." Still glowering, she rested her fingertips on the envelope and slid it towards Victoire, not breaking her stare once. "Please inform your boyfriend that four in the morning is a completely uncivilized time to send letters, and that I'll be having a word with him about it on Friday."

Then Dominique straightened up, turned on her heel, and said, "Good night, Grandmère," before striding out of the kitchen again.

Grandmère chuckled as she carried the tea to the table. "Sometimes I think your sister should join the theater," she said, sitting down next to Victoire again.

"I don't believe it," Victoire said, dumbfounded. She stared at the little card she'd ripped out of the envelope that bore Teddy's handwriting. "I—I'm going to kill him!"

Her grandmother lowered her teacup mid-sip. "I beg your pardon—"

Victoire held up the card, on which Teddy had scribbled two words: Me too.

"Me too!" she said, brandishing the card furiously. "That idiot, he probably thinks this is so romantic, and it's going to get him out of all he's put me through—it takes him three weeks to put two bloody words on a scrap of parchment and he expects me to swoon! That's it, I'm done—he's completely dead, and I'm going to kill him."

She looked at her grandmother, her heart racing and her cheeks burning.

Grandmère sipped calmly from her tea, her eyes on the kitchen window, outside of which the sun was beginning to rise. "You are your mother's daughter, little girl."