A/N: Friends, Romans, citizens, here now cometh the last chapter. Nothing much happens here, it just rounds off the story, but it's very sad, nevertheless. I have already a couple of interesting ideas for the sequel boiling and bubbling in my cauldron, and I hope you will all follow Harry and Fleur's further adventures with interest. I'm just debating with myself if I should keep up the diary mode, or use a more impersonal way of telling the story. What do you guys think? Also, I'm still fishing around for a nice title, The secret Diary of Fleur Delacour aged 17 ¾ doesn't sound so great, does it? Suggestions welcome!
Thanks once again to all those wonderful reviewers, especially LT2000, your ideas are very valuable to me. I see what you mean, and I'll try to go into the whole curse deflection thing some time or other. And KarlaBob, if you read the passage again, you'll find it's quite as you said it should be: Harry is Leo (31st July), and Fleur is Scorpio (31st Oct). I just checked it and found it correct.
Chapter 31 – Good byes
July 2nd, 1995
I was not sure whether I should tell Margaux and Iphigenie about my afternoon with Harry, but I needn't have worried. They realised at once that something must have happened, and they wouldn't leave me alone until I finally told them.
"Oh, Fleur, I'm so happy for you!" Margaux said at once, hugging me. "You've been waiting so long for it to happen!"
"But – what now?" the sensible Iphigenie interrupted. "I mean, I'm glad for you, too, make no mistake, but you're going back to France tomorrow, and he'll stay in England. AND you even have one whole more year of school, too! What do you expect to come of this?"
"I know," I said unhappily, fighting back my tears. "It's going to hurt awfully…"
"But, - the prophecy!" Margaux interrupted excitedly. "Water and fire – you've just said it yourself! Unless it was just rubbish, - and I can't imagine it was, - doesn't it mean you belong to each other? It did say WHEN and not IF, if I remember correctly?"
"I don't know, all I know is that I have no idea when I'll ever see him again after tomorrow… What if Voldemort gets him before we even meet again?"
They both flinched as I spoke the hateful name and looked at me in shock.
"What?" I said impatiently. "It's just a name, after all. It doesn't make him any less awful if I am too frightened to say it out loud. That's something Harry has taught me, at least!"
"Amazing," Iphigenie was clearly impressed. "If this is already an effect of your relationship, there is not telling where it might go… And I shouldn't be surprised if some chance developed to get the two of you together sooner than you think."
We spent the rest of the morning packing our things for the departure next day, and it was with a heavy heart that I stacked all my books and things into my trunk. Try as I might, I could not imagine how there was even a remote chance of me and Harry getting together any time soon.
I was still feeling rather depressed when, after lunch, I set off for the quidditch pitch with my broom. I found Harry already waiting for me, and a look at his face showed me that he had been thinking on similar lines. The smile that he gave me as a greeting was apologetic rather than happy.
Silently, we dropped out brooms at the same time and fell into a tight, embrace, desperately exploring each other's mouths and bodies with tongues and hands.
Tears were stinging in my eyes, and as we pulled apart I could see Harry's were wet, too.
Still without a word, we mounted our brooms and rushed off, up into the sunny afternoon, to forget, to taste the feeling of freedom, the freedom we knew was only an illusion.
High above the castle we came to a stop and I wiped my eyes that were now streaming with the rush of wind from the rapid ascent.
"What wouldn't I give up, if we could just remain here for ever and ever," I said sadly. "Away from everything, evil wizards, idiot ministers, horrible mothers…"
"Hateful uncles and aunts, and bullying cousins… and memories… Why don't I just let go of this broom…?"
"No!" I almost screamed at him in my shock. "How can you even think of something as horrible as that? You can't give in like this! Don't you see that Voldemort would have won, if you did that?"
"You are right," he said calmly. "And my mother would have died in vain…" He gave me a rueful smile. "And you are saying his name! I'm proud of you!"
"Moreover," I retorted, fighting the tears that were welling up inside me again, "How dare you even think of leaving ME like that? Have you forgotten that water-fire thing already?"
"I haven't, and I won't, ever, I promise. No, I'm sorry for having been so selfish. It seems we are in this together for good. – Hey, don't let's go on all melancholy like this, let's do some flying, that's what we came here for in the first place! There'll be time enough for moping all over the place when…"
He didn't finish and tore off at a mad speed, and I had to summon all the CdF's resources to keep up with him.
We soared and dived on our brooms for the best part of the afternoon, without talking much, enjoying every second together, aware that tomorrow at the same time we would be hundreds of kilometres apart.
When we finally returned to the ground, exhausted, I had at least been able to push my depressive feelings to the back of my mind. After another long kiss that was more tender and relaxed this time, we parted.
"See you at dinner!" Harry said, his cheerfulness sounding forced, as he turned to walk up to the castle.
The Great Hall was draped in black at dinner time, and the general mood was quite untypical of an end-of-year fest. I noticed Maxime sitting at the teachers' table next to Hagrid, and saw that they were talking quietly and seriously.
The hall was a lot less noisy than usual, and as Dumbledore rose from his seat a dead silence fell. His speech was long and I only recall the most important parts of it. I still find it difficult to follow a longer speech in English, especially if it is about abstract things.
"The end of another year," he began, and his tone was a lot more serious than most of the time.
He made us all stand up and raise our goblets to the memory of Cedric. (Nobody except Harry, me, and Cho seems to know about his state, apparently Cho has not talked to anybody.) Everybody, including the Slytherin table, followed his bidding.
"Cedric Diggory." The low, yet loud murmur that went through the large hall was impressive.
I looked around, and there were many tearful faces, especially at the Hufflepuff table. Cho was standing next to me, crying silently.
"I think you have the right to know exactly how he died," I heard Dumbledore continue. "Cedric Diggory was murdered by Lord Voldemort."
So he had chosen to ignore the minister and tell the truth to the whole school, fully aware that the students would carry the news to their families, even this evening the owls will be dispatched with the shocking message.
The reaction of panicked shock was evident. I glanced over towards Harry and met his earnest gaze. He nodded silently.
Ignoring the frightened murmurs, Dumbledore continued.
"There is somebody else who must be mentioned in connection with Cedric's death. I am talking, of course, about Harry Potter.
Most faces turned towards Harry of course, and I could see he hated every bit of this attention.
"… and for this I honour him," I heard. He turned to Harry, who turned scarlet red, and raised his goblet to him. Most of the people in the hall followed suit, except, as I noted with annoyance, the Slytherins. A wave of pride surged in me at this show of loyalty.
Next he said something about the Triwizard Cup, and promoting magical understand, which, he said was even more important now that Voldemort had returned.
"Every guest in this hall," he said, looking at the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students in turn, "will be welcomed back here, at any time, should they wish to come." It may have been my imagination, but I had the distinct impression he was looking at me especially, when he was saying that.
"Lord Voldemort's gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust." Again my eyes locked with Harry's and we nodded at each other.
"Remember Cedric Diggory."
With these words, Dumbledore's speech ended, and an excited murmur set in almost at once. Many students seemed to find it difficult to believe Voldemort was indeed back, and I wonder what will be left of the overwhelming show of loyalty tomorrow, when they have had time to think things over. I'm afraid a lot of them will prefer the minister's way, ignoring the danger as long as they can…
After the feast, I met up with Harry again.
"I wish he hadn't said all those things about me," he said. "Some will remember Skeeter's article only too well, and see it just as further proof of my attention seeking instability, trust me."
"But don't forget, there are others who need to know what your part in the struggle is, and I'm sure they will accept it in the way it was meant. And the others… there is nothing you can or can't do to change their opinion anyway, so just ignore it. Well…"
I broke off and looked into his eyes, where I could see a swirl of emotions.
"Yeah," his voice was hoarse. "So this is it, I guess. When shall we two meet again? I haven't got a clue, really. But I promise-"
"Don't," I said softly, taking both his hands in mine. "We can just wait and see what's in store for us… Who knows, we might meet again sooner than we think…"
"That's just wishful thinking, and you know it. We both know how slim our chances are. It's so awful!" he broke out suddenly, "Just when there's something I love-"
He stopped short and looked at me with wide eyes.
"Oh Harry," I whispered, "what can I do? I'll- I'll run away, I'll hide here in the village…"
He shook his head with a sad smile.
"No, you can't, and you won't. You need to finish school, you need all the training you can get in what's to come… And they'd find you, too, and force you to go back, and probably do all sorts of nasty things to punish you… No, I won't allow it! It's – I'm not worth it!"
"There's nothing you're not worth to me," I replied quietly. But you're right of course, and I shouldn't do anything rash and stupid."
Feeling I couldn't keep back my tears any longer, I hugged him quickly, kissed his cheeks and then ran out of the Great Hall and to the carriage.
I really must get a grip on myself; it just doesn't do to keep crying my eyes out for hours. I have to calm down and think of ways to clear up the mess I'm in. I'll see what Gabie has to say, she has the most extraordinary ideas sometimes.
July 3rd, 1995
I'm writing this as our carriage is flying somewhere over France; we are due at Beauxbatons in some two hours. I don't expect my mother will be there to meet me, she'll expect me to take the train to Paris and then floo back to the mansion from there. Not that I feel too eager to see her anytime soon, anyway…
Our departure from Hogwarts was swift and businesslike, a few handshakes and some polite exchanges; I could only hug Harry very briefly, and say good-bye to Hermione and Ron, who were standing next to us, before Maxime gave orders to board the carriage. A few minutes later, we were up in the air and on our way.
When I look back on these last months, the feel like a dream to me, and I'm not sure if it's going to turn into a nightmare, or if a happy awakening is waiting for me, - no, for us. So many things have happened, and I'm hardly the same person that set out to Scotland ten months ago. Whether I should be happy or sad about this, I don't really know. But there is one thing nobody can take away from me, and my life would not be complete without it: My deep and unconditional love!
A/N: I know, I know, a thoroughly dissatisfying end. And I even did it on purpose! So bear with me and let's see what's going to happen! I'm just as eager to find out as you (hopefully) are! A good way to pass the time until July 16th, anyway!!!