The Stag and the Flower
A/N: Don't own a thing, especially not HP. I hope you enjoy this one. Italics denote thoughts. Bold is for spells.
Well, this wasn't how I expected my engagement party to go. Harry thought to himself as he watched the guests amble out. Ginny breaking it off at the party after screaming in his face and insinuating that he'd cheated on her with Tonks was not part of the plan. It was supposed to be a simple party, they'd announce their engagement to cheers, and their friends would have a nice dinner.
Instead, he had a bruised cheek, his ring back, and her rather furious promise that he would never see her again.
All because of a painting. He'd spent a good part of the reward he'd been given by Kingsley and the Wizengamot for stopping Voldemort on commissioning a painting of Remus and Tonks for the nursery he'd put in the renovated Grimmauld Place. How is this proof I had sex with Tonks? It's both of them. Teddy deserves something to remind him of his mother and father. He was glad that at the first shout of anger, Andromeda had swiftly taken Teddy and vanished back to her home. If she'd stayed, Andromeda would have probably hexed her out of her boots. He thought with a grin then frowned as the reality of what had happened hit him.
Now what? He asked himself as he walked out of the dining room and made his way upstairs.
Fleur Weasley was, to be completely honest, furious with her husband and his family. Bill was staying completely quiet as Ginny fumed, calling Harry every name she could think of except his own. "Can you believe he spent all that money to have their portrait painted? For what? For his 'godson'! Teddy wouldn't even have been around our kids, but there would've been Tonks and Professor Lupin's portrait in our house." Ginny had worked up a full head of steam and nothing short of a blown blood vessel would stop her.
"Of course Harry wanted Teddy to have something to remember his parents by. They both died making a world where he could grow up safe." Fleur had finally had enough of Ginny, and more to the point, of the Weasley family's refusal to challenge her.
"Oh shut it Phlegm, as if you'd know anything about a real relationship. All you had to do was put out and use your Allure and Bill was putty!" Ginny said, her face red with anger.
"How dare you! I have never used my Allure on Bill!" Fleur shouted, moving to stand face to face with the younger witch. Blue eyes locked on brown, and not a single Weasley moved to try and separate them.
"Oh so you just shagged him and got him to propose then? What'd you do, tell him you were pregnant?!" Ginny spat. Bill saw the feathers starting to appear on his wife's arms and finally moved to pull her back.
"Calm down the both of you. Fleur, I'm sure Ginny is just upset right now, she doesn't mean anything by it.." Bill said, trying to placate his wife, "Harry should have spoken with her first before spending all that money on a single painting."
"Why is that William?" Fleur asked, making her husband wince as she used his full first name, "Why would he have to tell Ginny what he planned on doing with his own money?"
"I was going to be his wife, it was our money!" Ginny retorted angrily, "He had no right to spend that kind of money. If he thinks he's ever going to see me again, it'll be after he sells that painting for every knut he got it for..."
This was going nowhere and Fleur knew it. "I have had enough of your little temper tantrum, I am going home. Are you coming, Bill?" She asked her husband.
When Bill didn't answer right away, Fleur drew her wand and apparated away. But not to Shell Cottage. She wanted to check on Harry first.
Harry heard the soft knock on his door and went to see who it was. Opening it, he smiled and allowed his guest into the house, "Fleur, I'm surprised you came back to see me...did you forget something?" He asked as she stepped past him.
"Non. I was concerned about you Harry. When I left the Burrow, Ginny was still raging, she believes that-" Fleur said, only to be stopped by Harry who held his hand up.
"That I was cheating on Ginny with Tonks?" He was surprised when she shook her head.
"Non, I think that was a heat of the moment sort of thing...she believed that the money you spent on the painting was hers as well as yours," Fleur said quietly, Harry had poured a glass of wine and handed it to her, she accepted as he poured his own drink.
Harry sighed, "Yeah, that sounds about right. 'Yours is ours, ours is ours, and mine is mine'..." He frowned and sat down on the couch, "Knowing the Weasleys, I get the feeling that you'll be the only one coming to see if I'm alright..." He took a sip of his wine, Fleur could see how miserable he was at that idea.
Fleur thought, "Molly is convinced that you will give the painting to Andromeda and apologize to Ginny, Arthur is being quiet as usual, George might come to see you or send an owl, he didn't return to the Burrow.." She sat down beside him, "I'm glad Andromeda left, she would have shown Ginny just how related she was to Lestrange." She sipped her own wine after that, watching Harry's expression change.
Harry laughed at that, "I actually thought the same thing..." Then he grew serious, "I don't care what she thinks. I'm keeping the painting and if that means that I won't be married to Ginny, then I won't be married to Ginny."
Fleur nodded, "That may be best..." She sighed and looked at her hands and then over to him, "I worry that someday soon, I'll be the one facing the Weasley firing squad.." She confessed, "Bill never defends me when his mother insults my housekeeping or my cooking. he never defends me when Ginny calls me 'Phlegm'...he never defends me."
"That's what made you come to see me, isn't it? You're wondering what it would look like if it was you sitting alone after he stormed out?" Harry asked.
She nodded miserably, "Ginny accused me of using my Allure to get Bill to marry me." She looked over to Harry, "She accused me of sleeping with him first as well...why does she hate me so much?"
Harry sided and put his hand over hers squeezing it gently, Fleur looked up at him and he smiled, "Ginny is..I think jealous of you. You're beautiful, brilliant, better with charms than almost anyone I've ever met...You're this glamorous woman and worst of all, you caught her eldest brothers eye. She is the baby of the family, she had every one of them wrapped around her finger from the time she could crawl according to Ron.."
Fleur flushed softly at the compliments he'd paid her, "I remember how she used to glare at me after the second task. When I kissed you and Ron..." She said with a little smirk, "I think she hated me from that moment...I kissed you first..."
Harry chuckled and released her hand, "She used to be that way around Hermione too...she accused me of wanting to sleep with her a few times...can you imagine? Hermione's my best friend, it would be like sleeping with my sister...that's the same thing that made me so angry when she said that about Tonks.." His smile vanished then, "I loved her...Ginny I mean...well I mean I do love Hermione and I loved Tonks too, but of the three women I really only ever saw myself with Ginny.."
"May I ask why?" Fleur said quietly, "Hermione is one of your closest friends, and I know that Tonks was a bit older, but six years is not so much..."
Harry shrugged, "It's not her age. Tonks was just...she was so in love with Profe- with Remus that no one else stood a chance..." He shook his head softly, "as for Hermione? I don't know, I mean we had a moment in the forest when we danced together, but...I don't know the spark was just not there."
"You truly love Ginny don't you?" Fleur asked softly. The look on her friend's face tore at her heartstrings. Harry Potter, for as little as they saw each other after the Tri-Wizard Tournament, was still her closest friend in England. She had been a poor friend to him, she mused, vowing to spend more time with him.
"I did. But, after tonight? I don't know Fleur...how can I love someone who acts like everything I do is supposed to be for her benefit and no one else?" Harry asked, draining his wineglass in a single gulp, "Teddy is my godson, and he will always be in my life. He deserves to see his parents..."
"Perhaps you could give the portrait to Andromeda.." She offered. Harry looked over to her and smiled softly.
"She has her own, that's why it was so expensive. It was a matched set. Tonks and Remus can see him from either house," He shrugged, "It was the least I could do..."
The pair continued to speak until the clock chimed three times. Fleur swore and rose to her feet, "I must get home. I am on leave from Gringotts for the next three weeks, may I come back over later?" She asked him, drawing a smile from Harry.
Harry nodded, "Of course. If Bill says anything, just tell him the truth, you came to check on me and we sat up far too late talking...if he doesn't believe you send him to me, I'll take an Oath if he needs it."
Fleur arrived home to find Bill snoring on their bed. Shrugging out of her clothes, she crawled in bed beside him. Sleep did not come easily tonight. She was still angry. He wasn't waiting on me..there was no note, nothing!
She lay there, staring at the ceiling until the first rays of sunlight began to filter into the bedroom. Bill rose without looking at her and made his way into their washroom. Fleur heard the hiss of hot water and turned her back to the door. The last thought she had before she finally fell asleep was that Harry would have been waiting on her.
This was a dream she'd had once or twice before after the Tournament. Harry coming out of the water, carrying Gabrielle in his arms while Ron sputtered beside him. She'd kissed Harry on the cheeks, thanking him profusely when it happened in the waking world.
But in the dream world?
Here, the crowds melted away and she kissed him deeply. Her arms went around him, Gabrielle sliding nearly forgotten onto the ground. The kiss broke long enough for some panting breaths and then they were back at it.
"Be mine." He whispered against her lips.
And she was.
Much later in the afternoon, Fleur awoke trying to understand why she'd had that dream again. She sat up, swinging her legs over the mattress, hissing with slight discomfort as her bare feet touched the cool wooden floor. Why we cannot have carpeting, I will never understand...I had a lovely warm carpet back home at this place I will have to invest in either warming charms on the floor or a pair of slippers and I hate slippers...
She groused silently as she made her way into the bathroom. Bill had left for work without waking her, an act that she should consider his usual practice, but for some reason angered her today. I am still angry that he did not defend me against Ginny...She reasoned as she stepped into the shower and let the hot water spray onto her body.
Fleur was angry, pure and simple. She was angry at every member of her husbands family. That tears it! She thought I am leaving for some time away before I go mad! She left her shower well earlier than normal and began to dry herself off. As she did, she began to plan out this trip.
France was out, she knew they couldn't afford an international portkey. She would have to stay in England unless she wanted to take a muggle transport.
Now that idea had some merit. Perhaps she could take out a small advance on her salary, convert it to pounds and use that. With the exchange rate, a few galleons would be plenty of muggle money for the trip.
She dressed in muggle attire and grabbed her wand, apparating to the staff entrance of Gringotts.
Fleur made her way out to the customer lobby with a scowl marring her otherwise beautiful features. She couldn't get an advance from the payroll office, she had to ask for a loan. Greedy Goblins...they want to make sure they get their interest on the three galleons I wanted to borrow.
The scowl vanished as she saw a familiar face in line, "Harry, what are you doing here?" Fleur asked as she moved to stand beside him at the end of the line.
"Putting the engagement ring back in my vault and I want to set up a trust vault from the Black account for Teddy." Harry told her, "What brings you here?" Harry was surprised to see Fleur in a plain light yellow sundress and sandals rather than her usual light blue robes.
"I am...well I want to take a small loan out to take some time away from the Weasleys." Fleur admitted, "I was going to just take out an advance, but regulations decree that you have to make it a loan."
"Or you could just ask your incredibly wealthy friend to give you an advance." Harry pointed out with a wry smile on his face, "How much do you need?"
"I only wanted to take out three galleons and exchange it for Muggle money." She said, "I was planning to take a trip to France and see my family."
"In that case, you need more than three measly galleons." Harry said to her, "How about I give you fifty as thanks again for being the only Weasley who came back to see me?"
Fleur blushed, "Harry, that really is too much..."
He waved her off, "You're my friend. Someone should have some fun."
"Come with me then." Fleur didn't know where the idea came from, but once she'd said it, she couldn't get the idea out of her mind, "You were just left by the woman who claimed to love you. I have three weeks of leave, we can go see my family together and perhaps visit Paris...perhaps Beauxbatons as well."
"Well, Proudfoot did say that if I didn't use some of my vacation hours he was going to use a sticking charm to keep me in my chair..." Harry said, "Alright. I'll go to the Ministry and make the arrangements for my leave and then we can meet back at Grimmauld Place in two hours, will that work?"
Fleur leaned in and hugged him, "That will be perfect. I will spend the time here in the Alley." She patted the purse on her shoulder, "I already have my luggage with me."
He smiled, "Then come with me to the Ministry and we can leave from there." His smile was matched by her own and once his business was concluded, the pair left the bank to being their summer adventure.