A/N: As always, the Harry Potter universe does not belong to me. I am merely playing around with the poor, helpless characters as I see fit, and, as you all should know by now, am making no money from this at all.
For those who know and follow my other fics, this
may seem a bit of a departure from my usual. In a way, it is - it's a
much older, much less trivial little fic than the others in some ways,
and therefore isn't for anyone who doesn't like to read references to
graphic sex. It'll probably have nothing more than a couple references
to slash, but will definitely feature lots of adults doing naughty
things that have stuff to do with the plot. And there are definite HBP
spoilers that will be cropping up from time to time, so...
Now, background: It is seven years after the War that started in OOTP and intensified in HBP, and Harry isn't living in happily ever after, as he'd thought he knew it. Things have fragmented for him - his relationship with Ginny, his dynamic with most of the Weasleys, and his career prospects. Enter the ever-so-secret Organisation, which eagerly harnesses Harry's festering desire for revenge, and suddenly he is nudged side-first into a situation he'd never imagined he would be facing - a relationship with someone he'd never dreamed he would be with. Someone who is just as damaged and needy and utterly confused as he is...La Danseuse.
Rendezvous au Théâtre – 1
Harry could hardly believe his eyes.
There, in the centre of what was undoubtedly a very close knit group of dancers coming out of the backstage entrance, was Fleur – or someone who looked remarkably like her.
He did not let his shocked body still – he had too much training for that – but kept moving casually, glancing at the items on auction as the twittering group of five messily dressed girls, their hair still in ponderously tight buns, gracefully came his way. 'Fleur' smiled shyly – who would have thought it – at something one of her friends said, shaking her silvery-blonde bun wildly. Too wildly – Harry had spent seven years amusedly watching Fleur Weasley's graceful, flirtatious movements at Weasley gatherings, and she'd never shaken her head like that, or smiled so shyly, even at Bill –
The dancers came dangerously close by, stopping to snatch away a far too meagre helping of expensive treats that had been laid out in the very middle of the anteroom, giggling as they went. Harry paid them no attention, even when some of them lingered, eyeing him provocatively. He was waiting for Fleur's look-alike – for that was surely all the mystery girl could be – to spot him –
Wait a minute – I know her –
"'Arry?" Tired blue eyes brightened slightly, the remaining dancers and people parting easily to let her by. Harry smiled uncertainly, eyes darting here and there – it wasn't exactly in the plan to get noticed here, but he supposed it would have to do.
Besides, this was Fleur's sister –
"Gabrielle," he took the pale, outstretched hand, wondering whether he would have to kiss it, or even if he should – but too late, she was energetically pressing his hand and pulling him close for a dainty half-hug.
« I cannot believe it – of all the people to meet, at my first real performance… » she gushed happily, in French, tugging him gently towards her curious friends. "Quelle surprise, mon Dieu…you will explain properly later, eh?" she added in an undertone, her English coming smoother than Fleur's ever had. Harry nodded easily, thanking Merlin for the fact that he'd taken the time out to learn the language before he embarked on his mission – those three days of headaches had proved themselves well worth the hassle of mixing up French, Spanish (the learning charm had a tendency to bring forth memories of other languages you used it for) and English words for the weekend. Translation charms were all very well for delegates and fat old warlocks at stuffy conventions, but they paled in comparison to actually being passably fluent in the language of the target country while on a sensitive mission.
"Pardon – excusez-moi, monsieur – " Gabrielle slipped between two middle-aged men that turned rather pink when she pressed against them inadvertently. Harry kept back a smile – Veela charms were known to work on Muggles, though a little less effectively, and, besides, Gabrielle Delacour was, as far as he could ascertain, rather good-looking without the charms. He'd last seen her at William Jr.'s christening three – or was it four? – years ago, and she'd definitely blossomed since then. She'd been merely pretty then, a shorter, shyer shadow of her sister, but now –
«Watch where you are going, sir,» a portly woman snapped at him as he knocked her bag from her hand, using a ruder word than sir. Harry apologised hastily, keeping Gabrielle's blonde head and toned upper half in sight. He quickly regained his position by her side, bumping into her once or twice as the crowd in the anteroom thickened as people poured from the packed balconies of the concert hall.
Gabrielle's perfume was odd – lacking, truth be told – and she smelled interestingly of sweat and some sharp, tangy scent he could not identify. He took it in as they forced their way back over to her friends, who had been joined by laughing male dancers – at least, he thought they were – sipping champagne and, as they got into hearing range, telling raucous jokes. Gabrielle pressed a hand here and there, now easily securing passage for them both as she tugged impatiently at her pale bun.
«Gabby – oh, there you are – »
«Finally deign to join us mortals, do you, Princelle – »
«Who's your friend, Gabby?»
"Zis," Gabrielle piped up, gesturing gracefully up at Harry, "is my old friend 'Arry, from England. 'Arry," her now rather messy head twisted back up at him charmingly, "zese are ze stalwarts of ze Ballet Atlantique – my dance company. Say hello to Richard, Amelie, and all ze rest – "
"All ze rest, Gabby – mon amie, mon chere, you cannot 'ave forgotten moi," a pale, vaguely pretty girl spoke up, theatrically waving about an hors d'oeuvre.
"Or moi – " at least three other male dancers heartily added.
«Nonsense, you cannot expect me to remember all your names at this moment, you silly folk, » Gabrielle retorted in rapid French.
«Are you bringing him to the party?» the pretty girl asked, smiling predatorily at Harry.
"'Arry?" Gabrielle turned on him, eyes beseeching. "We 'ave a party – a small thing, just for minor danseurs, if you'd like to…"
«I would be delighted,» Harry replied slowly, taking pains to make it look like he was a beginner. All the girls laughed merrily at him, their male counterparts rolling their eyes – except for one, who was also quite clearly giving him the eye. Gabrielle let loose a brilliant smile reminiscent of Fleur, and within minutes, they were all heading down the stairs and out into the cool evening air.
Harry sighed to himself. He'd barely even gotten to take so much as a look round the anteroom or the foyer below, surrounded as he was by flirting, laughing dancers. But, catching a grateful half-smile from Gabrielle as he sneakily cast a mild Warming Charm on her shivering shoulders, he felt that the all-important mission could wait a few more hours.
Two hours and fifteen bottles of champagne later, Harry was escorting a giggly Gabrielle and one of her equally giggly girlfriends back to their respective flats, and smiling for the first time in a long week. She and her dancer friends had made some effort to include him in their conversation, and bombarded him with questions about England. He'd easily caught the hinted references to magical England from 'Gabby', and had answered them as best as he could, noting, with some interest, that one of the male dancers also had that intense interest in his words. He'd filed that away for reference, wondering if Gabrielle knew the somewhat handsome man – Paul, I think - was a wizard, just like her.
As Gabrielle shouted at the disgruntled cab driver to stop – "Arretez! Ici, ici – " – her friend gave him a lascvicious grin, sliding her hand unabashedly into his lap. Harry gave her a wry, somewhat uncomfortable smile, moving her hand out of that region. He still wasn't used to the way all women seemed to react to him – perhaps the damned hair? – but he certainly didn't want to leave Gabrielle to make the journey back on her own.
"À Lundi, Sophie! À Lundi!" Gabrielle slurred out after the now-pouting Sophie, who was staggering up to a half-asleep doorman at a rather boring-looking old apartment block. She slumped heavily against him as the driver started the cab, just as she managed to get the door closed. "'Arry…" she sighed, eyes lidded with far too much champagne, "…I don't theenk I can walk up ze stairs – hic – on my own – "
"That's all right," Harry murmured, trying to quell his reaction to her closeness, and telling his mind to stop the stream of illicit thoughts that waltzed through his slightly fuzzy head. "I'll walk you up, how's that?"
"Ah…?" Gabrielle was staring at the open neck of his dress shirt, mouth slightly open in a frighteningly endearing manner.
Harry shook his head, trying not to touch anything he wasn't supposed to as he rearranged her slumped upper half against him in a more appropriate position. After all, she'd be hurt if he propped her back against the tatty leather of the backseat, as if he couldn't stand her touching him –
Which, Harry thought, guiltily, was very much not the case. She had very soft skin on her shoulder, and –
"Finalement…trente-neuf, Rue Fontaine – madame ? Madame…?" Gabrielle started to life at the increasingly loud exclamations of the taxi driver, producing her impossibly tiny little clutch and digging around in it for change, kicking Harry in a very unladylike manner when he offered to pay for the ride.
"No, 'Arry – it is your first trip to Paris, no? I treat you – you are merely escor-ting me 'ome, n'est pas?" Harry tried not to snort as more of her hand disappeared into the clutch than was possible – she'd obviously not entirely given up magic, if that was any indication – and handed the sullen driver some crumpled notes and coins. Remembering his manners (and sense, to a certain degree), Harry hastily exited the cab, walking round to Gabrielle's door so he could open it for her and help her out of the car.
It proved to be a very good thing that he did so, as, on lurching out of the cab, Gabrielle proceeded to trip over her low heels and fall, giggling, into a rather large puddle on the pavement. Harry apologised profusely for a moment, until he realised that she was laughing, and not crying.
She's got a nice laugh, too, Harry found himself thinking dazedly as he helped her up, a smile stretching at his lips. Only fitting, seeing as she's got such nice –
Harry's eyes widened – no, no, and no, he was not having those thoughts about Gabrielle. She's six years younger than you, for Merlin's sake – get a grip, Potter –
"Mon Dieu – if zat is 'ow I exit ze cab, who knows 'ow I shall get upstairs…" he heard her mutter unsteadily, as he tried to ask the cab to wait for him in bad French, ignoring the calculating look the impatient driver was giving him and the – he had to admit it – exquisitely rumpled-looking Gabrielle.
«I will be back in minutes, I tell you», Harry repeated for the fifth time, guiding a foolishly grinning Gabrielle through the front door of the complex, after she finally managed to find the key.
"Pas de problème, monsieur, pas de problème – " the driver insisted again, giving Gabrielle another envious once-over. Harry sighed, giving up as he somehow managed to close the door with one arm and balance Gabrielle on the other. Not three steps forward into the musty hall, he heard the noise of the damned cab starting, and sighed again as they approached the stairs beside the lift – hors service, that was 'out of order' – and began to climb.
"Is everything all right?" came the breathy, unsteady query from the soft bundle of drunken French girl from just below his head on the right.
"I'll have to find a new cab, that's all," Harry forced himself to reply. That was what he would do – get Gabrielle into her flat, safe and sound, get her phone number – he didn't suppose she was hooked up to the Floo network here – say goodbye, call another bloody cab and get back to his boring little hotel room and sleep. And perhaps get woken up by that horribly cheerful Alain for an equally boring 'emergency' in his rather boring, empty bed –
Stop that now, Harry warned himself again, keeping an eye out for no 152 – at least he thought that was the room number she'd said – as he gently guided Gabrielle down a long corridor with several – there –
"Here we are - number 152…?"
"Thank you so much – I do not theenk I could have made it on my own," Gabrielle sighed, trying to force the already abused key into her lock. Harry gently relieved her of it with a wry grin, turning the key in the lock with a soft click and opening the door so she could stagger in. He followed her inside slowly, swallowing convulsively as he watched her start to tear off her soiled blouse. "Is zere anything wrong?" The look in her eyes was undoubtedly one of heady, drunken challenge.
A challenge he was not going to take up – Merlin knew he'd given in to enough of these situations after Ginny to learn that they all ended in tears –
"Gabrielle – " Harry started to say, willing his eyes not to travel downwards –
"Close zat door, Harry," she said negligently, stumbling across to the tiny kitchenette. "I don't want to shock any of ze other tenants – zey are so conservative – " Harry shut the door, eyes involuntarily caressing her largely smooth, toned back – her bra was so lacy from the back, it'd surely be indecent if she –
Turned round. Harry swallowed again as Gabrielle tugged her hair out of the loosened bun, knocking back some of the champagne she'd just gotten out of the small fridge. God, he couldn't help looking – at that soft, pale, skin –
"Ze telephone is in ze bedroom," Gabrielle said unsteadily, licking her lips, gesturing to a door on the other side of the tiny sitting room. "You want to call a cab, don't you?"
"Yeah," Harry said, feeling his cheeks redden as she leaned against one of the counters in an unconsciously provocative position, toeing off her low pumps. "I'll just – " she nodded, waving the bottle at him, her slightly pink flesh wobbling inside that thing that was definitely too sheer to be a bra –
The phone, Potter!
Harry darted into the bedroom, averting his eyes from the almost equally racy, freshly smelling underwear in a wicker basket by the door, instead heading for the rumpled, all-too-inviting bed, from where something that sounded like a distressed mobile phone was beeping frantically. He cursed, digging it out of the blankets, trying not to breathe in the inviting smell of perfume and female sweat as he extracted the phone, which – no no NO – turned off, after displaying an ominous sort of "pas de batterie" motif for a few seconds.
"Fuck – this is just – Gabrielle," Harry stormed out of the tempting bedroom and away from that god-awful (beautiful, inviting) bed, brandishing the phone. "It's not – "
"Oh, merde," she sighed, flopping onto her tiny cloth couch, setting down the bottle of champagne, "Oh Harry - je suis très, très désolée, I always forget to charge eet – " She elbowed her long, slightly sweaty hair out of the way as she reached for her skirt.
"It's all right," Harry said, a little desperately, unable to tear his eyes away from the sight unfolding before him, "I can just charge it for a bit, or something – " he gulped as she hiked up the respectable swathe of something he now realised was tweed, almost high enough that he could see her knickers, and jabbed fingers into the top of one of her almost opaque blue tights, quite clearly rolling it down – "Gab – wait – what are you – "
"Taking zese off," she offered flippantly, pausing halfway down her right leg to take a swig. "Ze charger should be somewhere in my room – on my bed – "
"I'm not going back in there," Harry insisted, trying and failing to make his tone light, not desperate, because he really wasn't – "I'll drown in all the lingerie, there's so much of it out – " Gabrielle gave a little gasp (more of a hiccup), clapping her hand to her small forehead in what was probably supposed to be dismay, but, to Harry, looked more like a gratuitous display of bouncing – delicious – cleavage.
"Fuck," she said, trying to stand up, the word seeming oddly out of place even with her burgundy, unmentionably lacy bra and rumpled skirt and tights. "I'm so messy – must be disgusting – "
"It's all right," Harry said, voice hoarse as – dear Merlin – she headed unsteadily for him – no, not for him, for the door to her bedroom, that had to be – "I'll just – "
"No, no, don't – " She tried to make something of a dash past his already half-turned body, but somehow ended up colliding with him.
And then, really, because a bloke could only take so much, Harry let his arms and body operate of their own free will, and he was very suddenly devouring her mouth, and having his devoured in return. It was tinged with alcohol and the smell of sweat and perfume, but bloody hell was he rising to the occasion, because she was pressing those unspeakably warm breasts into him, and licking her lips as she took a break to draw breath –
Harry's memory began to blur, dissolve into achingly warm hands and lips and skin everywhere and clothes, too many clothes in the way –
His mind sharpened briefly as she helped his shaking fingers tug down her knickers – this wasn't – perhaps he shouldn't be – what was he doing –
But Gabrielle was giggling, and pulling him down for another hungry kiss, and freeing the insistent erection down below.
Legs wound about each other of their own accord as Harry slipped fingers inside the soft, insistent heat between her legs and stroked –
The way she moans – bloody hell –
And then they were almost naked, and all the skin rubbing against him and his hard, hard erection was driving him mad, so –
Harry could no longer think, only feel the satisfying thrusts into achingly tight warmth – oh shit – she's too – Merlin –
When she convulsed around him, he saw stars, and that was the end of that. Except that it wasn't – she held him to her, inside her, warm slickness pulsing slightly around his sensitised flesh, breath coming hard against his ear, languid hand stroking through his now-sweaty hair.
Harry closed his eyes as they slowly disentangled, hoping this wasn't the daftest thing he'd done all week. Looking at Gabrielle's small, tired-looking frame, he cursed himself for growing hard again – bloody chivalrous of him, getting her drunk and doing her on the floor of her flat when she was obviously –
"Don't just stand zere – come to bed…"
– ready to do it again. Arousal speared through him as her blue eyes drifted lustfully over him again as she bent briefly to pick up her discarded and now very rumpled clothing. Harry reddened self-consciously – he'd never been immune to looks like that from any girl -
"Now, 'Arry," Gabrielle tossed his equally rumpled dress shirt at him, threading fingers through her slightly tangled hair as she made for the bedroom door.
And Harry, though guilty and fully aware that he needed to get home and sleep, didn't need telling twice.
A/N:Well well well. How was it for you? Do drop me a line - I love getting reviews.