TITLE: The Third Sunday
AUTHOR: Mnemosyne

Disclaimer: All belongs to JK Rowling!
SUMMARY: Continuing her correspondence with Charlie Weasley, Gabrielle Delacour reveals that not all is well for her at Hogwarts. Sequel to Alia's How to Catch a Dragon (w w w. livejournal . com / users / aliaspiral / 114804 . html ).
RATING: PG, for angstiness
SPOILERS: Possible through Half-Blood Prince
WARNINGS: None!
CHARACTERS: Gabrielle Delacour, mentions of Charlie, Bill, Fleur
NOTES:
THIS ISN'T SQUICKY. LOL! I just want to get that out RIGHT NOW, before anyone starts accusing me of same. ;) The whole Charlie/Gabby thing started very innocently in a Bill/Fleur story I wrote some time ago called Mon Mari, Mon Epouse. My evil twin Alia and I have since nurtured this little ember into a tiny flame, and if we can help it, it will soon be a roaring fire. Jump on the Charlie/Gabby bandwagon, folks – the dragons keep it cozy warm:)

DEDICATION: To the fabulous Alia, who puts up with me even when I'm spazzing in truly spazztastic fashion. snuggles you!


It was Sunday, which meant it was time for Gabby to write her letter. Being a fifth year at Hogwarts was a tiring business, full of studying and spellcasting and dashing from class to class; but Gabby tried her best to take an hour every Sunday to write a letter to her family. The first Sunday of each month was reserved for Mama back in France, who worried no end about her youngest daughter so far away in England. The second Sunday was reserved for Fleur and Bill and the little babies. Fleur liked to hear all the gossip, and of course Gabby's older sister demanded to know how she was doing in her studies. Being a mother had turned her sister into... well, a mother hen!

The third Sunday was reserved for Charlie. And his dragons. But Charlie.

Today was a third Sunday.

Gabby settled in on her bed, quill and parchment in hand. Odette perched on her headboard, hooting softly to tell the young Veela she was there. Gabby smiled up at her owl, gently stroking the bird's downy feathers before turning back to her paper. "What shall we tell 'im, Odette, hmm?" she asked. "Zere is zo much!"

Gently tapping the quill against her chin, she thought for a minute, then began to write.

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My Dear Charlie,

Bonjour! I hope that this letter finds you well, and that you have not been letting the dragons try to blind you again. That was very silly of you and no, I have still not forgiven you for making me fret. When I have gray hair at the age of twenty, I will know who is to blame!

I made Hagrid cry today when I told him how I plan to work with the dragons in Romania when I am graduated. Always he has thought he could persuade me to stay and help him teach his Care of Magical Creatures, but I think I have finally convinced him that I will be going. I did not mean to make him cry! He is very sweet. It is nice to know that he will miss me! But that is a few years in the future still, and I have many things to concentrate on here at Hogwarts before Franco and I can join you and the big dragons down in Romania. Everyone is very nervous about the O.W.L.S. Am I supposed to be nervous, too? This is something I have never understood. It is just a test. If I study, will I not do well? You English are very confusing!

Franco wrote me a letter! I know what you are saying. You are saying, "Gabby, silly girl, Franco is a dragon. He cannot write!" And you are right! Fleur dipped his foot in ink and pressed it on the paper, and now I have it tacked up beside my bed. I miss him very much. Odette is the best owl in all of the world, but we do not share as many interests as I share with Franco. She does not roll in the mud as Franco does, and I cannot fly. I fear our relationship is purely aesthetic. No, I kid. I adore my Odette; I hope she does not bully the other owls when she visits you in Romania! I am trying to make her less vain. That is what happens when you are reared from a hatchling by Mama. I hope I am not so narcissississtic!

That is a very hard word to spell and I think I have included too many S's. I am saying it now and it makes me sound as though I am speaking Parseltongue.

---------------

Gabrielle paused in her writing and let her gaze unfocus for a moment. What more did she want to tell him? Charlie was so busy down in Romania, caring for the big dragons. She didn't want to distract him by making him worry for her; and he would worry, the big silly oaf. He would worry and then he would get hit by another dragon, and it would be all her fault.

But she wanted to talk to SOMEBODY, and Charlie far away in Romania was much easier to talk to than Fleur.

She bit her lip and glanced up at Odette again. "Odette?" she asked, as if the owl could read her thoughts and make the decision for her.

The beautiful white owl bobbed her head and made a soft hooting noise before fluttering down to stand beside Gabrielle on the bed, nipping at the girl's hair.

Gabby sighed. "Oui, Odette, I will do it," she murmured, stroking one knuckle down the white owl's soft breast. "But we will pretend it is not so bad, oui? We will play."

Gently kissing the owl's head, she turned back to her letter.

--------------------

We are working in Charms on Giggle charms, and it is very fun! Professor Flitwick says I am a natural. Fleur was always so very good at Charms at Beauxbatons – I think I have inherited it from her!

We are working in pairs, and I am paired with Charity Pickwick, who is a Hufflepuff. She says I make the charms sound funny because of my accent. That is becoming very tiresome. You would think no one had ever heard a French accent before! The other girls in my dorm have taken to hiding my hairbrush because they want me to get tangles in my hair. They are very silly, because Veela hair does not tangle. It is, however, very relaxing to brush my hair, and I will become very cross with them if they keep doing it! I think they are just jealous because all the silly boys keep staring at me like I am a fox and they are foxhounds. I do not know how Fleur endured it; she was much prettier than I am!

There is one boy who is becoming especially frustrating. His name is Peter Piper, and yes, I pity him for that, though I am quickly thinking I will stop very soon! Always he is sitting next to me in the Great Hall and during class. I would not mind, except he does not like dragons and he used to call me a Frog. I think someone has dared him to try and kiss me, and I will punch him in the nose if he tries! I have taken to squeezing between the bigger Sixth years at mealtimes to keep him away. The girls do not mind, but the boys act nervous. I am thinking I will stop eating in the Great Hall and will ask Dobby if he will bring me food in the dorm. Or maybe the Owlery, so that I may eat with Odette.

Dobby is very funny. I have given him the spare mittens Mama sent me in her last package, and they look very sweet on him! He wears them on his ears! I hope that they will keep his ears warm down in the kitchens when he and the other House Elves are cooking. I am thinking I will go down and learn how they make such tasty food. House Elves are almost as interesting as dragons!

Sometimes it is very lonely, being the only person besides you and Hagrid who I know loves dragons. I am glad I have Hagrid and Odette, or I should go stir crazy from the silly girls prattling and the silly boys staring.

--------------------

Gabby's eyes were beginning to droop. Writing her letters always made her sleepy, curled up comfortably on her bed, especially with Odette's soft, downy warmth near her elbow.

"You mus' move, Odette," Gabrielle warned gently, snuggling down on her side. "Or I will fall asleep and roll on you, and I do not t'ink you would like zat."

The elegant white owl hooted softly and hopped into the air, flapping her wings once until she came to rest on the girl's hip. Gabby giggled as a couple of feathers drifted down and skirted across her collarbone. "Merci, Odette," she said, situating herself so she could still write. Now that she was done whining, she could get to business.

----------

Can you believe that it is already November? I am very surprised! I have already done much of my shopping for Christmas, but I still must buy toys for the babies. Mama is terrified of what to get for her little grandson, but I have told her I will buy something for her to give him. Bill has given me many ideas for what to buy a baby wizard. He said that I should get baby Christian a Quidditch robe. You Weasley men get your children started young! I will get robes for the three of them, including Amelie and Bernadette, so that they can have a Keeper, a Seeker and a Chaser. Bill and Fleur must have one more baby so that they can have a Beater, too. They will look very sweet! I have enclosed pictures from Amelie and Bernadette's birthday. Etta is the one with the cake on her face. Amy is the one trying to lick it off. Mama Weasley says they are continuing the tradition of Weasley twins, and that they are already little hellions, but she loves them very much. I think Christian will be very happy to have them as older sisters. I think he will be happier to have another brother. Fleur tells me she and Bill are working on that, and she does not even blush when she says it. I think it will not be long before there is a baby Daniel or Danielle Weasley to add to the brood!

Of course, I would not have to include the pictures if you had been at the birthday party. I will put my foot down now, Charlie Weasley, and demand that you come home for Christmas! I have not seen you in forever, and I am beginning to forget what you look like. I have taken to picturing a small red-haired bunny in my head when I think of you; it is easier than trying to remember how many freckles you have. I know that you must spend time with your big dragons down in Romania, but will a week away be so very bad? Your family misses you very much.

So you will come to England for Christmas, and you will stay with Bill and Fleur, the same as me. Yes. Franco will be so excited to see you again! I could not help noticing a sad slump to the pawprint he sent me, and I know it is because he has not seen his friend Charlie in so very long. So when you come home for Christmas, he will be positively beside himself with excitement. I hope there will be snow for him to roll in, or he may explode as a very happy fireball!

When you come, will you bring me a dragon fang? Do not take one from a dragon, of course, but if you have any that have come knocked loose and are not in their dragon's head anymore, will you bring one to me? I will make it into a necklace and it will make me look very fierce. Then the girls will perhaps stop stealing my hairbrush, Charity will stop giggling at my accent, and Peter Piper will wet his pants and run away. That would be the best Christmas gift ever.

I am getting sleepy now. It is very warm and comfy on my bed, and even though there is so much to chat with you about, I think I will be drifting off to dreamland before I am able to finish. It is no matter. I will tell you everything else when you come home for Christmas. So you see, now you must come, because I know Weasley men like their gossip as much as Delacour women.

I hope that I will hear from you soon, before you come home for Christmas, but if not, I will see you when you come home for Christmas! Please say hello to the dragons for me, and do not let them hurt you again. Someday I will be down there to watch your back, but until then, I must trust you to do so yourself. Do not let me down!

Au revoir, mon ami! As always, I am your friend,


With love and kisses, Gabby

PS: COME HOME FOR CHRISTMAS

-----------

"Done!" Gabby said, yawning and stretching, which set Odette to fluttering for a few seconds until the young Veela had settled back into her original position. Carefully folding the parchment, Gabrielle tucked it into her envelope, then reached out with one hand to fish around in her nightstand drawer in search of her little bottle of jasmine perfume.

It wasn't there.

Frowning, she pulled herself closer to the table and peered down into the drawer. There was her pencil box, and her little bag of toiletries. There was her potion kit, and there next to it was her small box of jewelry.

Alongside that was her silverbacked hairbrush.

But her bottle of jasmine was missing.

Tears sprang to her eyes. She knew she was being silly – it was just a little bottle of scent. She could order more to be sent up from Hogsmeade in a heartbeat, or write home to Mama to send her some more. It was foolish to cry over such a silly thing.

But it was the third Sunday of the month, and she always included a puff of jasmine in her letter to Charlie. Always. And she knew the bottle had been there this morning, because she'd sprayed a little on her wrists and a bit behind her ears. Which meant someone had taken it between now and then, because they knew she'd be looking for it.

They knew, and they took it anyway. They took it especially.

Gritting her teeth, Gabby sat up and angrily scrubbed at her eyes with her fingers. It was an unladylike action but she didn't care. "I do not care," she muttered aloud. "They are silly girls, and I do not care."

Odette nipped comfortingly at her knee.

Blinking away the remaining tears, Gabrielle gently extracted the letter from the envelope and stared at it. Then, very carefully, she rubbed first one wrist then the other across the crisp parchment. Bringing it to face level she gave it a test sniff, and though her nose was a little stuffed from the tears, she could smell the jasmine on the paper; faint, but there. That made her smile. Good.

Rubbing her eyes again, she kept smiling as she retucked the letter into the envelope, sealed it quietly, wrote "Charlie Weasley" on the front, and handed it to Odette. The owl didn't even need to be told where to go – it was the third Sunday of the month. She knew exactly where to go as she flapped soundlessly out the open window.

Still smiling, Gabby sighed and curled up on her side, snuggling down into her pillow and closing her eyes.

Her pillow smelled like jasmine.

Why did they have to take her jasmine?

She stopped smiling and sniffled as a pair of tears rolled down her face, one trekking over the bridge of her nose before joining the other in its path down her cheek and into her jasmine-scented pillow.

She closed her eyes, curled tighter and wished for Christmas.

THE END