Chapter 01

• Aperçus •

Gabrielle Delacour had everything. Well, almost everything. She turned, the lights of the camera's flashing around her, and wondered as she smiled, if having everything was what she wanted. She smiled brighter, swung her hips and then flipped her leg over the fake fence that she had been modeling against. She sat down directly on it, and as uncomfortable as it was, she knew that it would be one of the better photographs.

It was at that moment she decided she was going to do something she'd wanted to do for a long, long time.

Four months later...

Nervously Gabrielle stepped out of the car. Her driver had missed the house, but she didn't mind, she'd sent him forward, stopping him near the park instead. It wasn't too far off, and she wasn't wearing heals, so it'd be a good walk.

She looked at the empty park and wondered what was so special about it, it was ransacked, a single rusted swing creaked in the breeze. Paint had been sprayed on the sidewalks and the bars, and there was nothing that looked remotely clean. But, it made her smile. There was a feeling here, something she did not look past. He had been here many times, she could feel it in her very bones.

Perhaps today would be the day that changed her life.

She nodded to the driver, who reluctantly stepped on the gas and rolled down the street until he disappeared around the corner.

Turning back to the park for a moment, she smiled and walked down the street, swaying to a tune that few could hear.

Ten minutes later she came to a stop in front of the house she'd been looking for. She stared at it for a long time, wondering how this could be his house, how someone like Harry could have ever lived there. However, she was determined to find the answer, and so she soon found herself knocking on the door.

There was a commotion inside, she couldn't make out everything, but she was sure there was a female voice yelling for someone named 'Studley' to open the door, of course she could be wrong. Could Harry be called Studley? She grinned at the thought. The stained glass window darkened, but it was too dark for Gabrielle to make out, she was sure that the window was designed that way, but then, it was much darker inside than it was outside.

The doorknob turned, and the door swung open. She smiled as brightly as possible, hoping it would be Harry to open the door. The fact that there was a woman in there didn't make her happy, but she supposed that she could deal with it as long as he wasn't directly mated, or married as humans tended to call it.

When the light filtered in on the person who had opened the door, Gabrielle almost didn't catch the gasp of shock.

"Hello," the man who answered the door said. She was surprised that he could even speak at all.

"Bon jour," she said, forgetting her English momentarily.

The voice finally seemed to leave the man standing in front of her. She heard something else behind him and a hand managed to slip between the man and the wall to try and pull him out of the way. When that didn't work the door opened all the way, to barely reveal a second figure peaking around the massive man in front of her.

There was a little yelp from the woman and Gabrielle was surprised to here her speak her name.

"Miss Bontecou," the woman said, frantically trying to shove the younger man out of the way.

Gabrielle smiled as best as possible at the woman, trying to keep from frowning. This might be a little easier now, but difficult in other ways since the woman recognized her from some spread. She really, really hoped this was going to be worth it, she could already feel the man's leering gaze bearing down on her and she had specifically repressed her charm because there were muggles around.

"I am sorry," she said in reply to the woman, speaking English very carefully "I was looking for Number Four Privet Drive. Am I mistaken?"

"No, no," the woman said gleefully, "come in, come in."

Gabrielle wasn't sure if she should, but the neighborhood was a muggle one, and muggles didn't really worry her, even fantastically stupid ones that thought with things other than their head.

The man at the door backed away slowly, his eyes never leaving her body, and Gabrielle had a hard time not glowering at him. She knew what his mind was thinking, many people thought it, but at least they were not so obvious about it.

Once the oaf had moved, the woman gestured for her to come in, then peaked out the door and looked both directions, as if expecting someone else. When no one was there she just stepped back and gestured a second time for Gabrielle to enter.

"Zis..." she said, and then took a deep breath, calming herself. "This is the Dursley home?" she said carefully, double checking to insure she was at the right place.

"Oh! I've forgotten my manners, of course, of course," the woman said fretfully fast. "I am Petunia, Petunia Dursley. This is my son, Dudley."

Dudley, not Studley. Gabrielle almost laughed because of how ironic her thoughts had been. Dudley Dursley was anything but a stud.

Accepting that she at least had some information correct, Gabrielle decided to step in and see where this path led. She had been trying to track down Harry for quite a long time, and there had been absolutely no information left on where he'd been heading, or what he was planning on doing.

She had eventually, with some of her mothers influence on one of the English ministry officials, been able to get an address for Harry's muggle relatives, and she had hoped that she would be able to find him nearby, or even that he kept in contact with them. For some reason she was beginning to dread even approaching the house. As she stepped in there was a short shocking flash of deep cold, but it melted away quickly. At that moment she almost decided to leave, and try and discover if Harry had left any other clues. However, she knew that this was it, and if she didn't find anything here, she wasn't going to find anything anywhere else.

The room was almost cold and rigid. It didn't seem that way, but her Veela senses were quite strong and she picked up things muggles couldn't sense. She glanced around immediately, picking up on pictures of the family, and a third man, who must be Mr. Dursley, but there was a figure suspiciously absent.

Perhaps she'd been wrong. But, why would someone put Harry Potters last known residence as this place? And name them his last of kin? Perhaps he'd only been around for a short time before he disappeared. Very little was known about Harry when he wasn't saving the world, everything was kept in locked drawers and no one spoke about it.

"Can I get you anything?" Petunia Dursley asked quickly, leading her to a very stiff looking couch.

Gabrielle took her seat before answering, and glanced around, finally finding the words. "Yes please," she said carefully, "tea would be wonderful."

"Dudley, you look after Ms. Bontecou while I'm making tea, don't let her feel uncomfortable," Petunia Dursley said before disappearing out the doorway.

That was a joke, the moment Gabrielle stepped through the door she'd felt uncomfortable. However, one of her jobs in life was to deal with people , and she had become quite good at it.

"So... Dudley, do you live here, or are you visiting?"

"I... have place... of my own..." he said, barely able to talk straight. Maybe he was trying to decide why she was talking to him at all.

"Is it near?" she asked conversationally, and noticed the look she got. It clicked how wrong it was to ask, and she decided she was going to get straight to the point before she had to do something painful to Dudley Dursley to snap him back to his senses.

Luckily enough Petunia Dursley returned with some hot tea and some biscuits.

Finally, now that Petunia Dursley had returned, Gabrielle refocused. She was here for a reason, and she needed to get that out of the way before anything else. Especially if she had to leave.

"Mrs. Dursley," Gabrielle said, looking away from Dudley Dursley. "I was wondering if you would answer a few questions I have." Petunia Dursley positively glowed and Gabrielle wondered why.

"I would be delighted to Ms. Bontecou. Ask me anything you like, and please, call me Petunia, no need for formalities."

Gabrielle didn't really care to call the woman anything, but she nodded. "Alright Petunia. I don't know if this will make very much sense, showing up here and..."

"Oh, it makes perfect sense! When I applied for that contest I never really thought I was going to win. I'll have to call all my friends and let them know that..."

"Contest Mrs... Petunia?"

"The one in Elle, it was about seven months ago."

Gabrielle sighed. This was going to be even more difficult, she really hoped that she was at the right place. "Petunia, I am not here because of a contest. My reasons are much more personal."

Petunia Dursley stared, slightly confused, and then glanced between her son and Gabrielle. There seemed to be some sort of connection in her eyes, and Gabrielle tried not to yell at her for being dimwitted.

"When I was younger I met a young man by the name of Harry Potter..."

The feeling of ice returned again, but this one was stronger, like someone had enclosed her in a coffin of ice. It wasn't coming from the house this time, but instead from the two people in the room with her. And, it was quite obvious that they knew who he was. However, it was just as obvious that she wasn't going to get anywhere with questions. They hated Harry, for reasons she could not fathom. Harry didn't do anything wrong, even when he was wrong, it always ended up for the better.

"Harry is dead," Petunia said coldly.

Gabrielle stared at Petunia Dursley for a moment, surprised at the ferociousness hidden behind her smooth tone.

"I am knowing..." Gabrielle paused, trying not to explode at the outright lie. The fact that they disrespected Harry's name wasn't going over well with her. "...this is a lie. Harry is very much alive. He would not die after everything he has done."

Petunia Dursley's eyes widened, and her demeanor, not just her feeling's was very much colder than it had been moments before. "You're one of them," she spat.

"I do not understand," Gabrielle returned, glancing towards the other occupant of the room. She'd been ignoring Dudley Dursley until now, but his surprise was apparent, because he slipped off the couch, which he'd been leaning forward on, and bounced on the floor.

"You're a... w... w... You're like him. With that foolish... stuff."

"You mean magic?" Gabrielle asked, even more confused. Both the woman in front of her and the man on the ground gasped as if she'd said something forbidden. "You don't like magic?" Gabrielle continued, unsure of what it was that was going wrong with the scene. Could Harry have really grown up in a house like this?

"You are!" Petunia Dursley exclaimed. "You are one of them. I don't believe I was fooled by your normal act. Dudley close your mouth. Ms. Bontecou is leaving. Now."

"I'm sorry," Gabrielle said, trying to prevent herself from reaching for her wand and hexing them to trout and then letting the neighborhood cats at them. "But I am wanting any information you are having on Harry."

"We don't know anything about him. He left and swore he'd never return," she snapped.

With that information, Gabrielle decided it was best to leave. She stood, to have Dudley Dursley reach out his fat hand, offering to escort her out she assumed. Somehow she'd missed him getting back to his feet, which must have been quite a feat.

"No thank you," she said as politely as possible. "I can find my way out."

Gabrielle moved so fast that they couldn't follow her and she was standing at the door. "I'll just excuse myself," she said before trotting down the steps and slipping into a car that was waiting for her.

Several minutes later another figure appeared at the end of the street next to a shadowy alleyway. Nothing else on the street was at all disturbed, in fact, as always, it was perfectly normal. Grimacing, Harry stepped forward. He certainly didn't want to have to talk to his relatives.

Smoothing out his slacks, he moved forward quickly. He was in a hurry, but it was his fault that the Dursley's may be in danger, so it was his duty to insure their safety. He hoped the wards that had gone off were an accident, or just someone magical that didn't know it. He would hate to have to deal with reporters finding them. Still, as muggle as he pretended to be, he had never put off magic.

The street looked exactly the same as it had the day he left, the yards perfectly manicured, the houses perfectly kept. Perhaps it had been a mistake, but he couldn't leave without making sure. As much as he hated the Dursley's he couldn't live with the knowledge he had caused them pain, it was one of his failings.

Without even bothering to knock, Harry stepped into the house. He was surprised to find Aunt Petunia and Dudley sitting in the living room, Petunia scolding him for something. Harry almost turned and disappeared before they saw him. He was, after all, not welcome in the home. Petunia noticed him though, and stopped her snipping to stare. "You!" she shrieked, waving a magazine she had in her hand. "You're the cause of all this strangeness!"

"Hello Aunt Petunia, it's been a while," Harry said as cheerfully as possible. It had been a while, several years in fact. He'd gotten over the childhood fears, and was as scared of them as a mouse scared a snake. "I wonderfully long while actually, but I'm only visiting to see how things are going and make sure you're all right. I understand that someone visited you recently, and I just needed to make sure they had no ill-intentions."

"Ill intentions!" shrieked his aunt. "That thing did ma... ma..."

"Magic, Aunt Petunia?"

"Yes, that, on Poor Dudders. He's absolutely gobsmacked and can't think of anything but her."

"A woman?" Harry asked, surprised. He'd had some dedicated fans, some who'd offered to be whatever he wanted, but no one had ever been able to track him down in any way.

"THAT WOMAN!" she shrieked throwing the magazine violently forward. The page she was pointing at ripped from the magazine and fluttered to the floor. Harry picked it up and stared at the page, then turned it over, but there was no picture on the back. The model that was frozen mid-stride down the runway, looking angelic. He turned the page again, then studied the picture, looking for someone else who it could probably be. There were a few other woman in the picture, but the only other model wasn't facing forward, and the other woman were sitting in chairs, barely even visible. He read the caption at the bottom, something about Ms. Bontecou and her success over the past year.

"Her?" he asked, dumfounded. He didn't recognize the name, or the face. In fact, he'd be quite surprised if she was a witch at all. But his alarms had gone off, so she had been magical.

"That... thing pretends to be one of us and then she comes here, looking for you and playing with my poor boys mind."

"Has Dudley ever even had a girlfriend in his life?" Harry asked, trying to piece together why a model would be looking for him, and also try to figure out what she'd done. He couldn't feel any magic having been used, but there was a curious smell, something vaguely familiar, but he didn't remember where he'd smelled it before.

Dudley started to defend himself, but Harry had turned over the page and was reading the article. There was a show, tonight. Harry grinned, he'd have to see what this person wanted before he returned home. However, he needed to get back to his job for the moment.

Sad that she'd failed, Gabrielle just sat while she was prepared for the run, everything went on like normal. She was used to it, the eagerness of some of the inexperienced assistance, the rush that was going on around her. In fact, she rather enjoyed the feeling. However, tonight she didn't really pay attention to the feeling that everyone was having.

She was walked to the runway, she knew the run, and could do it in her sleep, and, in a way, she was. It was halfway down the runway that she noticed the stare. Everyone stared at her, but this stare was... penetrating, intense, curious, stronger than anything she'd felt in a long time. She raised her eyes and started focusing on the audience. Until now she'd just been looking around without seeing anything but the runway.

The walk seemed to slow, though she knew she hadn't changed pace, and then, near the end of the runway, right before she was suppose to turn, she located the source. He was hidden well, his eyes burning through the shadows between all of the lights. His green eyes.

Gabrielle started to turn, but couldn't let go of the gaze, and somehow she lost her balance. She cursed herself as she fell, she'd never fallen, never once fallen on a runway. It didn't matter what she was wearing, or what she was doing, it had never interfered, not once.

Then there was Harry. Her eyes widened as she fell, because somehow he had disappeared from the shadow and was standing beneath her. "Harry!" she said as she fell into a pile in his arms. "I found you."

"Gabrielle!" a voice in the audience called.

For a minute second she saw his eyes widen, and a look of dawning pass through his face. They both looked up to the source of the yell, her sister, Fleur, who always was around at the major modeling events. She saw the look of surprise on Fleur's face and heard a whisper in her ear. "You've certainly grown up since I pulled you out of that lake," he said smugly. Then, the hands that held her disappeared from beneath her and she turned to see Harry had disappeared yet again.