Long goodbyes, chapter one- Fleur Delacour

As Fleur sat alone at the Weasley's dinner table, it was all she could think of. How long had it been since Dumbledore had died? A week at the least, two at the most. How long since the Death Eaters had launched their attack on Hogwarts, thought to be the safest place in Europe? And finally, how long had it been since that werewolf, curse him, had attacked Bill, her love, her husband-to-be?

She closed her eyes silently, the tears rolling down her fair-skinned face. She didn't care what he looked like. She loved him…loved him with all her heart! Nothing could change that, not even if he was the ugliest man in the world! The gashes across his face were badges of honor, showing what bravery he had displayed in the face of his greatest adversaries. But why, then, was she crying?

She cried because she knew that life would never be the same. It didn't bother her for a minute, but what would he say? He seemed glum at times, and occasionally withdrew from her. Was he afraid to look at himself in the mirror… and thus at her as well?

It was a bitter irony. She was the granddaughter of a veela, with ivory skin and crystal blue eyes, and hair so pale blond it was almost silver. And here she would marry the most human of human men: red hair that was pulled into a messy ponytail, daring to the point of recklessness, a strong, confident gait accompanied by the thunk of heavy, dragon-hide boots….

…. And his scarred face.

She opened her eyes at length. Bill was Bill, more so than he had ever been. The wolfishness of his personality only added to that rogue-like personality she had fallen in love with. The scars were something she was proud of, and perhaps one day he would display with pride as well.

Silently she stood, gliding silently up to his room, opening the creaky door as quietly as possible and kneeling beside his bed. Gently she stroked his face, smiling. It wasn't ugly to her… it was even more beautiful than before. And if Bill couldn't see this, she would make him. Despite the knowledge that Mrs. Weasley would have a fit if she saw it, Fleur climbed into bed next to him, huddling close to the comforting warmth of his body and listening to his slow, steady heartbeat.

"Hmm…?" he groaned, eyes flitting open.

"Shh…," she whispered, still keeping a hand on his face.

"Is that you, love?" he asked, smiling slightly.

"Oui, it is me," Fleur said softly. "We 'ave much to talk about in ze morning, my love. Rest now."

"That bad, huh?" he asked with a bitter smile.

"Eef it was," she countered, "would I be here?"

"Fair enough," he said, soothed by the reasonable argument. "In the morning, then. Let's just hope Mum doesn't see this, or she'll go mental."

He lay back down, and they closed their eyes. Several moments passed before Bill spoke again.

"I love you, Fleur."

"I love you as well, Bill… no matter what."

And with those words, Fleur bid goodbye to the life she had known, and full heartedly embraced the one she knew awaited her… and she knew she would not face it alone.