The weather was cruel on that fateful day. England's annual winter seasons were relatively cold and windy, lasting up to three months the longest. It did not always bring snow actually but that year was an exception. Winter that year brought snow and along with it, pain.
But of course, not all of UK inhabitants saw that as a disaster.
Near the outskirt of the small town of Godric Hollow, out in an open playground covered by pure white snow, children and adults alike can be seen playing within the knee deep snow, building snowman and having snowball fight. Everyone was having fun and frolics during the short lived annual winter season.
Well, nearly everyone.
From the kitchen window he stood and watched as a group of children were having an intense snowball fight. The children's laughter could clearly be heard from where he stood. It was certainly infectious to anyone who watched. But somehow this year, he was totally immune to all of that. Like the weather, the winter this year somehow was different than before.
He was pulled out from his reminiscent by the sound of coughing coming from the bedroom. He quickly gathered a bowl of water and a soft towel and walked towards the bedroom. Carefully placing the bowl of water on the bedside table, he turned his gaze towards her.
Victoire, Dominique and Louis were already there. They arrived at Godric Hollow that morning together with their respective families. With the exception of Louis, both Victoire and Dominique had children.
Laid on the bed, all feeble and shrunken was a woman whom to his eyes was the most beautiful woman in the world. But now, only traces of it were left. Her sunken face belied the suffering she endured due to the bastard named cancer.
He sat right beside her. Wetting the soft towel he brought with him, he began to wipe his wife's face, her hands and her feet, hoping that it will help to contain the excessive body heat generated by the flu she contracted a few days ago. That flu certainly did quite a number to her already severely weakened body.
And as he did that, he began to recall the conversation he had with Cassandra Osman three days ago...
Saint Mungo's Hospital, three days ago…
From the entrance to the ward, Harry watched solemnly as Healer Osman ran a series of diagnostic on Fleur. His wife contracted flu a few days ago. Due to Fleur's condition at that time, he was unable to bring her to a magical clinic at Godric Hollow. He had to call in Healer Osman, who happened to be their neighbour and a good friend of Fleur, for help. Osman advised him to take Fleur to the hospital, telling him that it would be the only way to deal with the sickness. Harry objected at first, seeing how weak Fleur was due to her cancer treatment, worrying that she may not be able to make it. He finally relented though after Fleur's condition worsened.
Healer Osman finished her diagnosis and wrote her findings into a piece of parchment. After making sure that the drip was in good order, one of many muggle's inventions that was finally adapted by the magical community, she walked towards Harry.
"How is she, Cassy?" asked Harry.
Cassandra sighed. She took off her glasses and looked at Harry intently. "The virus that infected her came from a common strain flu virus. Fatalities only occur in extremely rare cases. Usually, a person with decent strength of body immunity would be completely cured within four to five days, a week top. But Fleur no longer has any of those defences within her. That cancer treatment she underwent literally wiped everything off her. She was already severely weakened even before she got the fever, Harry. The flu makes it even worse."
Harry took a glance at his wife, who was lying unconscious on the bed not far from them. Without taking his eyes off Fleur, he said, "And here I thought magic can solve everything."
Cassandra, knowing what he meant, shook her head. "There isn't much difference between us and the muggles, Harry. Most diseases could still kill us. The only respite that we have, if we're lucky enough, is that our normal lifespan is far longer than them."
"Isn't there anything you could do? Anything?" asked Harry hopefully.
"At this point, there isn't anything else I can do, Harry. I could give her something to ease the pain, but everything else will entirely depend on her."
"Cassy, please. She needs help."
"I know that, Harry. What do you think I'm trying to do? We have done everything we can based on what we know about the flu but right now and like I said before, everything else will entirely depends on her. I hate to say this Harry, but her will to live could be the only thing that would ensure her survival. That's the only thing that could save her, Harry."
Harry sighed. Strangely enough, for some unfathomable reason, he already saw what was coming. Feeling dejected, he said, "I'm not ready to lose her, Cassy. She's the only one I got."
"You still have your children, Harry," reminded Cassandra, a little bit sternly. "I know how much you care for her. I care for her too. We have long been best of friends even before you came along. Like you, I also don't want to lose her. But being a healer and after seeing so many deaths, taught me to become more pragmatic."
Harry shot her a look. "What do you mean by that?"
"Harry," said Cassandra softly. "Fleur is already more than 95 years old. She's older than even you. She is not as strong as before, you know that. She could only suffer so much."
Harry didn't say anything at first. He simply stared at her. "You're asking me to let her go?"
"No. I'm asking you to be prepared. Despite the level of advancement we achieved this few hundred years, there are still things that we can't control. You know what I'm talking about. You have taken good care of her, Harry. Even better than what I had imagine. You have loved her, you cherished her and you've protected her all these times. You held resolutely to your vow you made on your wedding day. You have been a good husband to her and a good father to your children. They grow up beautifully because of you."
Harry didn't say anything.
Cassandra took the advantage of Harry's silence and continued, "Harry, at this point, Fleur will need another service from you. Something in which only you as her husband would be able to give. Be strong for her, Harry. Let her be at peace."
After a few moments of silence, Harry finally nodded.
Cassandra smiled. "Thank you, Harry," she muttered. She gave him a tight hug before she left for her office.
Harry's gaze followed Cassandra until she disappeared around the corner. Sighing, Harry slowly entered the ward where an unconscious Fleur was kept and took a seat beside her bed. He reached for her hand and began to caress it. It was still soft, but Harry could feel that it was no longer as strong as the first time he touched it.
That conversation kept on playing inside his mind as he continued to attend Fleur.
That night, Fleur started to have breathing difficulties. Harry quickly administered the inhaler to her but her condition did not improve. Her breathing kept getting worse until at one point, she literally had to breathe through her mouth. Her chest continued to heave with every breathe she took.
Harry knew that the time had come. He quietly asked his children, with the exception of their spouse and his grandchildren, to gather inside the room. Both Victoire and Dominique were silently crying. Louis, their only son, didn't cry but traces of sadness lingered on his face as his eyes transfixed on his mother.
Harry sat beside Fleur on the bed. Slowly but lovingly, he cradled her head.
Fleur's eyes fluttered opened. Her eyes found him and despite her conditions, her lips managed to form a smile.
Her voice was still soft, just like the day the first time he heard her voice. Properly of course. It was right after he 'saved' Gabrielle. But now, that beautiful voice had frailties lining it.
Harry forced a smile. "Everything is going to be fine, honey. You're going to be fine."
Fleur smiled further. "You're always the more optimistic one, Harry. But one day, you'll learn not to speak things that have no truth in it."
"I heard what Cassy said to you the other day. I'm willing to accept what is coming to me, Harry," said Fleur softly. "And you should too."
Harry didn't say anything.
With much difficulties, Fleur turned to look at her children. Her frail hand reached out for them. Victoire was the first to grab it. The other two immediately moved closer to her.
Fleur bright blue eyes travelled between the three of her children. She could see tears lining up the cheeks of both her daughters. Her only son didn't cry, but she knew he was on the verge.
Victoire looked up. "Maman?"
Fleur croaked up a smile. "Don't cry for me sweetheart for I will be going to a better place. I will be going home where your grandmother and grandfather were already waiting for me. And someday, you will be home too and I shall be waiting for the day all of us together once again."
Both Victoire and Dominique sobbed even harder. Louis had traces of tears lining his cheek.
"Until that time my love, be strong for your children. Be strong for your love ones. Be strong for your father. Promise to me that you will endure all the pain and suffering of this world with your head held high, just like your father and I did."
It took a while, but Victoire, Dominique and Louis finally nodded.
Fleur smiled further. "Thank you," she softly said, not once her eyes wavered from her children. "Thank you for being such a wonderful children. Thank you for being the light of my stars that shine through the night. Thank you for all the happiness and the love all of you have given me. I hope that I have been a good mother and I hope that everything that I did will be enough in your eyes. Forgive me for not being able to do more."
Nobody said anything. Her daughters continued to cry. Harry had to look away. He did not want Fleur to see him failing to conceal his own anguish. He tried very hard to fight back his tears.
"Now," Fleur's voice was heard once again, "There's something that I need to say to your father before I go. Could you-?"
Luckily her children understood. They each gave her one last tearful kiss and hugged her very tightly before filing out of the room.
The door clicked to a close. Harry retook his seat on the bed beside his wife and took her hand into his. His green eyes stared deeply into her blue ones.
"Harry," she said softly. "I have loved you for the past 70 years and if given the chance, I will gladly do it all over again. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for being a good friend and a good father to our children. I truly can't ask for more."
"I tried my best, honey," said Harry as he continued to caress his wife's hand.
"Indeed you have," said Fleur. "And the best was what you have always given me. I am so proud of you, Harry."
Harry said nothing.
Fleur took the advantage to continue. "Harry, there are so many things I want to say to you. So many things I want to tell you, but I'm going to wait until we're together again." At this point, her face took on an angelic quality like she was heaven sent as she spoke the last words Harry knew he would hear from her on this earth. "With you, the spring would forever in bloom and whenever we're apart, it would be the winter in my heart."
Harry's body began to quake as he tried with all his might to stop the tears that were coming.
"Harry," said Fleur. "You know where I'll be waiting. I love you, Harry."
"I love you, sweetheart," said Harry.
It was her last wish and Harry dutifuly obliged. He bent down and kissed his wife's lip for one last time.
As if on cue, Fleur's breathing began to slow down and moments later, she drew her last breathe. Her eyes were completely shut and a small smile concocted on her lips. She was finally at peace.
And Harry continued to hold her throughout the night, weeping for the beacon of his life that had extinguished forever.
Godric Hollow cemetery, eight days later...
Fleur Isabelle Potter
1977 – 2072
"With you, the spring would forever in bloom and whenever we're apart, it would be the winter in my heart."
It was five days after the funeral and for five days straight, Harry never failed to show up at his wife's grave. The funeral was a simple affair, attended by few of the couple surviving friends. Cassandra was one of them. Hermione came alone. Her husband Ron passed away five years prior due to heart complication. Neville and his wife Luna attended too. But the most surprising attendance would be Draco Malfoy. He changed a lot after the second Great War. Harry never really considered him as a really close friend but Draco's change of attitude was most welcome.
Fleur was laid to rest beside the grave of his parents and every day he would gaze at the tombstone that decorated Fleur's grave for hours and silently wept. His tears continued to fall but he never made any effort to wipe it off. It was strange. He was standing close to her and yet he could not see her. But he knew that Fleur was sleeping peacefully beneath the snow, not knowing nor caring that her husband stood so near. At this moment, the sense of hopelessness completely engulfed him that Harry truly wished that he was sleeping under the snow with her.
That day was the same as before. That morning, like every morning before it and with the help of his walking stick, he walked three miles from his house towards the cemetery. It wasn't easy, especially for a man of his age. But he endured it anyway. He never really likes being parted from his wife for so long. And like everyday before, he would stand beside Fleur's grave for hours.
That night, Louis came into his bedroom. After their mother's death, all of them took turn to look after him. Harry didn't like to bother his children, knowing that they'll have other priorities. But like always, his children insisted. Fleur certainly did her job well. None of their children neglected their parents.
They chatted for a few moments and upon feeling satisfied that everything was in order, Louis decided to take leave. He kissed his father's cheek and climbed into the fireplace. And emerald green fire erupted and Louis disappeared.
Harry went back to his bedroom. He turned off the lights and went to bed. And he laid on the bed, he began to reminisce everything that happened throughout his entire long life and just before sleep took over him, he turned to look at the empty space beside him.
His lips formed a smile. "Good night, love," he whispered.
But something happened just as he closed his eyes. A white blinding light engulfed his body and seconds later, he was gone.
"Harry! Harry! Harry!"
Someone was shaking his shoulder. He blinked a few times just as a bright white light entered his eyes. It took a while before his eyes could adjust to its surrounding.
"Uh, what-?" he grumbled.
"I'm up! I'm up! What's all the fuss ab-."
Harry suddenly froze.
Next: Chapter 1.
A/n: This is my first foray in writing a HP fanfic. I know the high quality of writing this section has but I'm going to try anyway. I hope you guys can forgive me for the many mistakes that I will definitely make. I'm more of a computer gamer after all. I always like Harry-Fleur pairing and was keen to write a story about them for quite a while.
This story, like several H/F stories before it involves time travelling. Although it can be considered as AU, a lot of canon facts will be used. Just so you guys know, there won't be any character bashing and Harry won't be an awesomely powerful wizard like what most stories portrayed him. He will be Just Harry. I never like character bashing anyway and Harry being an ultra powerful wizard, becoming the head of several magical families and ultra rich is never my cup of tea. Sorry, I simply do not like it. It's too unreal.
Anyway, please read and review. I appreciated it. Any feedback would be most welcome.