"How did you do it?"
"How did I do what?" Hermione snapped and turned towards the person who dared to interrupt her reading time in the library. "Oh, sorry Fleur, I didn't know it was you."
"Yes yes, my fabulous self is very stealthy. Now, how did you talk Harry into asking me?"
"I told him to, simple as that. Now, pay up!"
"I don't know why we are friends," Fleur grumbled but nonetheless placed five Galleons in Hermione's outstretched hand before sitting down at the table between three tall bookshelves filled with tomes far older than herself.
"Because I got you a date that won't stare at you like a piece of meat?"
"I could have done that myself."
"In Hogwarts? I think not. I asked some older students and Harry is the only one who can shrug off the Imperius curse. Your allure works similar to it so he should be immune."
"That curse is a vile perversion of our allure," Fleur hissed with narrowed eyes.
"Sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned it."
"You are not wrong, it is a bad copy of our magic by a Dark Wizard trying to profit from the revolution. Our Allure had a different effect when the mind arts were more popular. It used to be more like a warm blanket on a winter day and was never meant to control others. Distract them, or even arouse them a little, all in good fun of course. The Allure stimulates others. Not physically, but in their heads they are in ecstasy. And since most people no longer defend their minds, the effect becomes more... how do you say... more drastic."
"So why doesn't it affect those who are in love?"
"It affects them, but instead of the nearer Veela, they want to ravish their loved ones… Eet ees a very pleasurable experience, zere are couples who pay good money for zat kind of 'elp. Perhaps you should try eet as well… We could even invite 'Arry…"
Hermione intellectually knew that Fleur was just trying to mess with her, the fake accents and the ridiculously exaggerated puppy eyes were proof of that. And the pleasant warmth and the sense of safety she suddenly felt were most likely Veela magic. But knowing and doing something about it were two different cups of tea, because there was nothing she could do about the images Fleur' words had conjured. And judging by the dull impact of a fifth year Ravenclaw walking into a nearby bookshelf, she was by far not the only one affected by the allure. "No, no, my experiences have been perfectly satisfying so far."
"Ees zat so?" the French witch asked with a raised eyebrow.
"One of your countrymen if you must know, from Alsace. We met near Bordeaux, where my parents were attending a conference and his grandfather owned a beach house. Liam was very physical, but gentle. We didn't… go all the way… but he had a very talented tongue and loved to massage me with the sunscreen..." Hermione realised that she was babbling, but couldn't tell whether it was due to some Veela mind magic or just deeper desire to talk about her summer romance and the lack of anyone at Hogwarts whom she would trust with that topic.
"What a horrible chore."
"Yes, and despite his altruistic nature he was very, very diligent, making sure that my bum was always perfectly protected," the Gryffindor deadpanned and before laughing at her own sarcasm.
"His heroic sacrifice will always be remembered " Fleur paused for a moment before the mock-grim expression faded from her face and was replaced by curiosity. "But tell me, how did Harry react when you proposed your mad scheme?"
"He laughed and I guess I would have done the same in his place. I mean, asking you out after you shot down forty suitors wasn't exactly fool-proof. But luckily for you, I could make him see reason."
"He must trust you blindly."
"That he does. Harry expected to be shot down but asked you nonetheless. He had even forgotten that he can't dance," Hermione replied and had to smile as a warm feeling spread through her. Despite being rather introverted and sometimes difficult to be around, Harry was the best friend she could ask for. She would not trade him for anything in the world and hoped that he felt the same way.
"Well, we can't have that. Tell him to come to the old Transfiguration wing after dinner and not to dress up. We are not trying to impress anyone so a… what do you call them here? Ah, yes, a tracksuit will be fine. That is what I'll be wearing," Fleur declared dramatically.
"Fleur, it would be easier to convince Harry that you are Voldemort in disguise than that you would wear a tracksuit."
"Do I really come across that aloof?"
"Aloof is not the word I would use, but you always look so immaculate that it is impossible to imagine you in casual grab."
"Hermione, let me tell you a secret. My favourite clothes are long, baggy t-shirts and loose shorts. If we were at home I would still be asleep at this time, probably wearing even less, but Maxime is a horrible tyrant."
"It's almost noon!"
"Yes, that's why I would sleep for another hour."
The Gryffindor was surprised that she had to giggle at this. Then again, half of the school would probably find her moderate two-piece swimwear scandalous and if Fleur ever entered the Great Hall in any kind of shorts, or heavens forbid, hotpants, lessons would end up cancelled that day.
"I will tell Harry but don't be surprised if he comes with a wand drawn."
"Well, obviously he comes with his wand in his hand."
"Fleur!" Hermione tried to sound outraged but couldn't stop herself from laughing. It felt good to have someone to make this kind of jokes with. Sure, there were Lavender and Parvati but she didn't get along with them very well while Fey spent most of the time with her Ravenclaw friends. And Harry was far too clueless to catch the double meanings she tried using a few times.
"I am not wrong though."
"If I get Harry to the Transfiguration wing tonight, will you stop talking about my best friend doing… that? Or try to distract me with your allure."
"Oiu." Fleur replied with a wide grin on her face, clearly enjoying the brunette's discomfort a tad too much.
"You want me to what?" Harry asked before wincing. He found the idea absurd but that didn't mean that he had to shout. After all, shouting attracted all sorts of attention he neither needed nor wanted. And Hermione's eardrums would thank him as well if he kept his voice down, especially since she was sitting right next to him on the side of his armchair.
"To wear something casual after dinner and go to classroom 46, that's in Western Wing on the 4th floor, because Fleur will teach you how to dance."
"But I can't dance."
"We know. That's why you are getting lessons so you don't make a fool out of yourself during the ball."
"But then Fleur will know that I can't dance."
"Harry, why are you so difficult about this?" the brunette asked her friend after staring at him for a moment.
"I thought I could learn to dance with you so I could impress Fleur but now she will see that I'm rubbish at dancing."
"She already knows that and it will not leave a bad impression if she has to teach you. It shows that you are willing to learn to make sure she has a good time at the Yule Ball," Hermione replied in a calming tone. Sometimes it was just too obvious that Harry had very little experience when it came to girls. Then again, the way Hogwarts' female population acted around him, it was not surprising. If half of her potential partners were thinking of trapping her with a baby, she would choose a life in abstinence in a faraway monastery over playing baby roulette with those odds. Harry was fourteen for Christ's sake, he shouldn't have to worry about fangirls ensnaring him because they wanted to live out their childhood fantasies.
"It's just, I have no idea how to talk to girls…" Harry sighed loud enough to scare two firsties at the next table.
"And what am I, chopped liver?"
"You don't count, you're not girly."
"Do I have to prove just how girly I am?" Hermione challenged, grabbed the hem of her shirt and pulled it up an inch, exposing a little pale skin. Not that she would have gone much further in the middle of the Common Room, but Harry fell for her bluff.
"No no, no need for that," he replied quickly before beginning to grin. "Nice knickers by the way?"
Harry certainly didn't expect the speed at which his friend spun around to check her trousers, nor did he see the slap aimed at his shoulder coming.
"Yes, but I am your prat," he added cheekily.
"Careful now, or I'll be dodging an angry Veela quicker than you can say fireball."
Harry stood in front of Room 46 and considered if it wasn't too late to run. His previous, admittedly not really solid, plan of impressing Fleur with his dancing ability never went anywhere because Hermione gossiped with his date. On the other hand, she had gotten him at least one more date, given that he didn't mess things up too badly, so maybe that hadn't been something he should be angry about. Yet, Harry wondered briefly how he ended up with the Beauxbaton Champion as his companion for the Yule Ball if he couldn't even say two words to Cho. Oh right, he had used the same mindset he had been in when facing dragons and basilisks. Charge in and worry about the consequences later. Well, in for a penny, in for a pound!
But before he could reach for the door, it swung open and nearly hit him right in the face. Standing in the frame was Fleur Delacour, herself rather surprised that she had almost knocked out her student before she could have some fun at his expanse.
"Come in… there is much to learn," Fleur said as she pulled him inside and Harry had to do a double take since this was certainly not the prim and proper witch he remembered from the last month. Gone was the frosty, snobbish Champion in her immaculate, made-to-measure uniform. Instead, her platinum blonde hair, now freed from its tight bun, fell down both sides of her face. A loose, black t-shirt of Le Petite Mort, the French answer to the Weird Sisters, and a pair of grey tracksuit bottoms made her into an entirely different person.
When Hermione had vouched that Fleur was just putting on an act for the general public, Harry had expected her to be a little less frosty, yet still reserved. But this casual look was not matching his expectations and if not for those deep blue eyes and her flawless skin, the Gryffindor would be wondering if he was the butt of a practical joke involving makeup, hair dye and a couple charms.
Apparently, even her accent had been faked and Harry briefly wondered just how many layers of deception and disguise Fleur usually used to hide behind. He was no stranger to unwanted attention, but her actions seemed a little unnecessary, even by "boy-who-lived" standards.
Yet at the same time, did it even matter? She probably had a good reason and that was enough for now. Especially considering how she was smiling. Not just a posed smile for the Daily Prophet or her superior smirk, but a genuine, dazzling smile that made Harry feel all kinds of funny.
"Usually, the base position for these formal dances is quite… proper, but you wouldn't want to dance with me like with your classmates' grandmothers?" the witch asked and Harry suddenly remembered an image of Snape wearing Mrs Longbottom's attire, vulture hat included, and quickly banished the thought.
"Good. So give me your right hand and put the other one on my lower back."
The Gryffindor did as asked and was promptly surprised just how soft Fleur's skin. He hadn't had any expectations, and Fleur certainly didn't seem to be a soft person in public, but that didn't change the fact that it felt nice to hold her hand. Lost in these thoughts, Harry didn't even notice that he had reached too low and needed a cautious squeeze to realise where exactly his other hand had ended up.
Fleur had to giggle because this certainly wasn't the kind of beginner mistake she had anticipated. "Higher."
"Oh… Sorry," he replied sheepishly while blushing in a lovely shade of red which would put any Weasley to shame. Once Harry took the proper position, a flick of Fleur's wand started the music from an old Grammophon. His surprise at the lack of any instructions was rather obvious, at least if Fleur's toothy grin was any sign.
"I will teach you the Waltz today. Since they are not revealing which dances will be played, you will have to learn the most popular ones."
"Dances? As in, more than one?"
"Of course Harry, or did you think that people would bother wasting that much time and gold on just repeating the same four steps for five minutes?"
"How… How long are we going to dance?"
"As long as we have fun, so don't plan anything else for the night," Fleur giggled and to Harry, it sounded like a sincere promise and not a pompous boast. "Now, it is usually the man who leads, but I don't think you would mind a pretty witch leading you across the dance floor."
"No, no… not at all."
"Good, I even promise that I will not twirl you."
That did little to reassure Harry. If anything, the prospect of being twirled, twisted or dipped in front of the entire student body was the fuel for nightmares. Then again he was no stranger to being scorned, and if being ridiculed by half the school was the price to pay for a date with a girl he found more and more fascinating, not to mention attractive, he would gladly endure any and all taunts, laughs and jokes Hogwarts could throw at him.
Harry was jolted out of his thoughts when Fleur pulled him closer, leaving barely any space in between, his head nearly resting on his shoulder. The Veela went through the steps, but he barely heard her, lost in the new sensation. They were practically hugging, and yet it felt like so much more. Not just the companionship Hermione conveyed through her hugs, or the celebratory mood the Chasers were in whenever they kissed him after a won match, but something new, something deeper which he couldn't quite place yet. And Fleur only added more fuel to the fire when she began to lead him through the room, gently coaxing Harry into the right movement or position.
At this point, Harry was enthralled by her. But unlike any of her previous dates, he seemed to be aware and even embarrassed, which was a novel experience for Fleur. Usually, people around her became utterly shameless and while the false bravado could be hilarious to watch, it was a mask she could often not see through. That was not to say that Harry was the first able to resist her allure, but he was the first to do so while still being attracted to her. The Veela was quite sure that the novelty would eventually wear off, but until then the Gryffindor was uniquely fascinating.
It made Fleur feel oddly powerful. This wasn't her Veela side stunning some foolish boy and reducing him to a stuttering fool. Sure, Harry seemed to be a little awestruck, but his eyes weren't glassy and he still had the cognitive power to continue breathing without a reminder. She alone was responsible for his state, not her heritage. Not that her previous experiences had been lacklustre, but wrapping someone around her little finger without her allure was something new, and, according to two aunts and a cousin, something that rarely happened, even to adult Veelas. Her date was quick to learn the steps, but his sense of tact needed some serious work before Harry's moves could be called presentable. Luckily, she had a few hours to teach him, and also to get to know him a little better. And hopefully her fellow champion was a decent conversation partner, otherwise she would be stuck with her headmistress's attempts at talking, and Fleur really didn't want to listen to Maxime's musings about the Beauxbaton budget for three hours.
Hermione once again considered forming a union so she could demand a pay rise. Not that she was getting paid in the first place, but keeping Harry out of trouble was a full-time job with bad hours, lots of overtime and she doubted that it was integrated into National Insurance. At least this time, the trouble was merely a missed curfew, not a dragon looking forwards to munch on her best friend for dinner. Harry didn't particularly care about curfew under the best circumstances, but he had forgotten his invisibility cloak and the Marauders' Map. Therefore Hermione found herself wandering through the Hogwarts corridors in the dead of the night, hoping to find the dance lessons before a prefect did.
Alright, she found the entire thing more than a little thrilling since it was her first time sneaking around on her own. It made her feel like James Bond, despite the probability of getting into trouble being nearly nil, at least for her. Another glance at the map showed that her friends had stopped dancing and were now sitting next to each other, probably talking and trying to figure out what exactly was between them. Hermione really hoped that Harry would find some happiness with the French Champion because he could really use some bright spots in his life. He needed someone to bring him out of his shell, someone who would try a more hands-on approach. Someone like Fleur.
When the door swung open, Hermione realised two things. First, the locking charms had not only been meant as a deterrent for nosy prefects and secondly, Sirius had been wrong when he said: "the map never lies". Maybe it wasn't too late for a refund?
The two dots on the Marauder's Map had clearly been next to, not atop of each other as her friends were right now. Harry was lying on the teacher's desk, his shirt open at the front and pooling below him. Fleur had gotten rid of her top and her bra was pulled aside, no longer fulfilling its purpose as its owner pressed her chest against Harry's equally naked one. The Veela was enjoying a practical demonstration of how seeker skills could be applied to her rear while her own hands were busy ensuring that Harry could never again straighten his hair. Also, for somebody so averse to drool, Fleur showed surprisingly little inhibition swapping it.
"Who is there?" Harry squeaked, looking like a deer caught in the headlights while Fleur was annoyed more than anything else. The Beauxbaton Champion slowly turned towards Hermione but seemed to look straight through her. Only then the younger witch remembered that a certain cloak was still covering her.
"I am Hermione's ghost, returned from the dead to haunt you for missing curfew and not choosing me to snog. Run foolish mortals, for I will haunt thee until you finish your Charms essay," she said while doing an over-the-top imitation of the Bloody Baron. Once he recognised her voice, Harry blushed beet red and looked like he wanted to crawl into one of the joints in the wooden floor.
"What? You don't have to explain anything to me."
"Harry, my mum gave me the talk before I came to Hogwarts so I know what French kissing is and I can make an educated guess why you were doing it."
"So, you are not mad?" he asked while Fleur silently laughed, still laying on top of him without a hint of shame or embarrassment. Hermione blushed even further once she noticed that the Veela's nipples were swollen and glistening with wetness, undoubtedly Harry's doing. Fleur seemed to be entirely unconcerned by the show she was giving the younger witch, who was reminded of the topless beach her parents had gone to during their holidays. Although the most people there showed more restraint than the half-naked woman.
"I might be a tad annoyed that I had to track you down past midnight but I you snogging your girlfriend is no big thing."
"It certainly is big from my perspective," Fleur quipped and rocked her hips, which caused Harry to groan.
"Really, you are my friends and I don't mind this," Hermione cut in before things could escalate further. She paused to gesture at the couple in front of her while trying hard and failing to keep some of her blood anywhere but in her cheeks. "...This development but I can live without seeing that much."
"Well 'Arry, looks like the time is up for today. We should certainly schedule another date to make sure you remember my lessons."
The way Fleur purred his name and her rather obvious wink made it perfectly obvious that she was not talking about dancing. It also made Hermione consider if Fleur knew a quick way to get to Alsace, or maybe had any single cousins.
This is the second part I promised months ago. It took me this long because it was very difficult to capture the same spirit of the original one-shot. I wrote and scrapped a lot of drafts since they all came out much grimmer than I intended. There will be no third part, but if anyone wants to do a sequel or a spinoff, feel free to do so.
Veela are difficult to write because either your readers will see them as sluts or Fleur is a prude and Harry is so amazing that he sweeps her off her feet, something I don't find particularly believable. I went with a middle road here, but it's hard to find realistic reasons why a gorgeous blonde with a lust-inducing aura would find a dorky, short boy three years her junior attractive.
Before you complain about the pacing, ask yourselves the following question: What would realistically happen if two teenagers, who are, to some degree, attracted to each other, are left alone in a room and spent several hours in the rather intimate positions of various dances?