Title: Through the Eyes of Babes
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairings/Characters: Fleur Delacour/Cedric Diggory, Cedric/Cho (implied), Gabrielle Delacour.
Prompt: 028 - Children
Word Count: 1,971
Authors Notes:Stand-alone fic. And the relationship obscurity in this is fully intended. Yeah.
Boys have always been interested in Fleur.
As far as Gabrielle can tell, they've been sending letters and flowers and poetry to the mansion since forever. And never more so than during the summers when Fleur comes home. She and her sister have a good giggle over the things that arrive; boys write and do such silly things when they think a girl is beautiful.
And Fleur is certainly beautiful.
Gabrielle remembers lots of funny encounters. Like the boy who cast a spell and made the apples on the apple trees fall to the ground and spell out Fleur's name. And another who bewitched the ground to grow flowers wherever Fleur walked. And the one who almost broke his neck when trying to show off on his broomstick outside the front gates.
So many boys, so many tricks up their sleeves and yet Fleur rarely wants anything to do with anyof them.
When Gabrielle asks her maman why it's like that, she's told that it will take a very special kind of boy to catch Fleur's attention. They will be fine-looking, of course, but it will be what's beneath that's important.
For a long time, Gabrielle doesn't understand what she means.
Then Cedric happens.
Fleur writes many letters during her time away in England, and she mentions Cedric Diggory in every single one. She only ever has nice things to say about him, like he's kind and brave and generous. His smile, she says, could probably melt butter.
Gabrielle has never heard Fleur say that about anyone.
The first time Gabrielle sees him, she's bundled up in towels and trying to shake water from her ears.
She has no idea who he is, at the time, but she sees a very tall and very handsome boy standing on the lake bank, and she thinks he's beautiful. He's standing next to a dark-haired girl whose face she can't see, and his arm is around her shoulders. They're talking between themselves and though she knows it's rude to eavesdrop, Gabrielle strains to hear.
" – didn't doubt you for a minute, Cedric," says the girl.
And finally, she knows.
"You must be Gabrielle," he says, lowering himself so they're nearer the same height. "I've heard a lot about you." He holds out his hand. "I'm Cedric."
Gabrielle looks up at Fleur for approval (who smiles encouragingly) and then she slips her hand into Cedric's proffered one. His fingers are long and warm and slightly rough around her smaller softer ones and Gabrielle remembers Fleur writing that he plays a lot of sport.
"Fleur writes nice of you." She says, hoping that she's said the words in the right order, and Cedric smiles at her (he has a verypretty smile) and lets go of her hand.
"I hope so." He says.
She stays for a few days following the adventure in the lake.
Fleur rarely lets her out of her sight, but Gabrielle doesn't mind. They always do something interesting, so she's never bored. They walk around the castle grounds and talk to the ghosts and look at the funny paintings. There's always something.
But the best times, her favourite times, are when Cedric's around.
They spend a lot of time together, Fleur and Cedric, whilst Gabrielle's there. She's always with them, of course, but she suspects that they'd be together even if she wasn't. Sometimes they seem to forget she's even there at all.
It's during those times that she watches them. Heads close, hushed tones. She's never seen a boy be so relaxed around her sister – so, so…real. And she's never seen Fleur look at anyonethe way she looks at Cedric.
She wants to see her look at him like that forever.
Gabrielle finds them kissing, one afternoon, the day before her maman is due to collect her.
They're showing her the library – Gabrielle likes libraries – and they let her wander off. She weaves through the towering aisles, trailing her fingers along shelves and tables and book-spines that bear English words she doesn't understand, and when she realises that Fleur and Cedric haven't caught up with her fifteen minutes later, she heads back to find them.
And then she hangs back in the shadows and watches.
They look like they belong in a painting, she thinks, one of the pretty watercolour ones that her grandmother collects.
Cedric presses Fleur lightly against one of the bookcases, his hands firm on her waist, Fleur's hands in his hair. And they kiss. Over and over and overagain.
Gabrielle walks away, knowing it's not something she's meant to see.
And this time, she waits for them to find her.
Do you love Cedric?she asks later that night.
Gabrielle, you shouldn't ask such things.
Fleur smiles. Their maman has always said that Fleur has a very expressive smile.
And this time it says yes.
Gabrielle doesn't want to leave, the next morning. She wants to stay and see magic; the kind of magic that doesn't come from wands or spell books. She wants to see a love story. There obviously is one. She's already seen part of it in motion.
So when she sees Cedric walk out of the Great Hall, holding hands with another girl, (the black-haired girl from the lake!) she doesn't understand.
She frowns and she glares and she bites her tongue.
"Don't frown like zat," says Fleur, pretending that she hasn't seen them too, "eet does not suit you."
Gabrielle suddenly can't wait to go home.
Fleur's letters are no different.
She still writes about Cedric in every one, only good things – alwaysgood things – but now, Gabrielle doesn't believe a word of it.
You are too young, she writes, you won't understand.
But Gabrielle thinks she understands just fine.
Don't frown, Gabrielle, her maman scolds softly, smoothing her fingers across Gabrielle's forehead, it doesn't suit you.
But Gabrielle can't help it. She doesn't want to bethere and that's that.
She holds onto her maman's hand, looking around at the six strangers in the chamber. They're all waiting for their Champions, and no-one's talking. It's horribly quiet.
When the door finally opens, it's Fleur who enters the chamber first, and Gabrielle smiles (alwayshappy to see her sister, no matter what) but the smile quickly fades when Cedric steps in straight after her. Gabrielle sees him wave, but she ignores him. He looks hurt, she thinks, and pretends not to notice. She can pretend, too, just like Fleur.
She waves at Harry, though, when he comes in a bit later.
She looks up at Fleur, to see if she's seen Harry too, but she's too busy talking to their maman. Every now and then, though, she notices Fleur sneaking sidelong glances at Cedric on the other side of the room. Gabrielle doesn't like it. She doesn't like seeing some silly boy make a fool of her sister, no matter how real he seems or how pretty his smile is. It's never happened before and it won't happen now.
Gabrielle tugs on Fleur's sleeve, drawing her attention away from Cedric, and points her towards the man with the long red ponytail.
Isn't it funny? She says, as Fleur observes the man over their maman's shoulder. Fleur smiles.
Very impressive, she says.
A minute later, she's watching Cedric again.
She clutches tightly onto Fleur's hand and scowls as Cedric crouches down in front of her.
"Fleur tells me you're not talking to me," he says quietly. Gabrielle watches his face but says nothing. "I thought we were friends."
They're standing in the Entrance Hall, by one of the big hourglasses (the yellow one), and Gabrielle has a perfect view of Cedric's eyes. Fleur had written about them once, about how they were grey but easily passed for blue in bright sunlight. Gabrielle has always thought grey sounded cold and boring.
But Cedric's eyes are anything but.
They're deep and warm and kind, and they make it very difficult for Gabrielle to hate him.
You must be kind to Cedric, says Fleur; he's been very good to me during my time here.
Gabrielle sighs, looking at Cedric. "Oui," she says, "friends," and Cedric grins.
"Good, because I'd like it if you both came back to visit, sometimes. I -"
Someone behind him calls his name and when Cedric turns his head, Gabrielle sees that it's the dark-haired girl from the lake, again (the one she'd seen him holding hands with, the one who should have been Fleur). She's standing with a curly-haired girl who Gabrielle doesn't recognise, and smiling expectantly. Cedric calls something out to her that Gabrielle can't quite understand, before turning his attention back to herself and Fleur.
Gabrielle feels a little rush of triumph as both girls walk away.
"Are you going to be watching the task, later?" asks Cedric, and Gabrielle nods. "If I wave will you wave back?"
Gabrielle feels Fleur gently squeeze her hand, and she nods again.
She watches Cedric stand up, then, and listens as he and Fleur talk for a bit. It's in those hushed tones again, and nothing makes sense to her, but when Fleur lets go of Gabrielle's hand and wraps her arms around Cedric's neck, Gabrielle really, reallywishes it had.
"Good luck." She hears them both say, their voices blending into one, and they laugh awkwardly as they pull apart.
Gabrielle thinks back to the last few letters Fleur had sent to her in France, and she remembers what she'd written.
"You are too young," she had said, "you won't understand."
She'd been right all along.
The stands are noisy and crowded and uncomfortable, but Gabrielle has a wonderfully clear view of the maze.
The task hasn't started yet, and she stands away from her maman's lap to see if she can spot Fleur down on the ground.
Cedric's the first one she sees, and a moment later, he sees her too. She watches him point her out to her sister (who's looking up and scanning the crowds), and then he waves.
As promised, Gabrielle waves back.
Gabrielle covers her eyes when she hears the first scream.
And then everything changes.
When Fleur comes home, she cries everyday for week. Gabrielle never hears her, but she sees her eyes afterwards, and she can tell from that.
Her sister is different, after Cedric's gone; everyone thinks so, though they all think it's because of the Tournament.
Champions are never the same, if they survive,they'd said, but Gabrielle knows better and so does her maman. Fleur's different because of Cedric and that's all there is to it.
She has more patience and pays closer attention to things that, six months earlier, she would never have given a second thought to. But it's Fleur's zest for life that's the biggest change. She suddenly wants to make something wonderful of it, make it hers and she surprises everyone when she decides that England is the place to help her do it. Gabrielle hears her maman say that Fleur's making the most of a bad situation, and that they should be proud of her for it.
Gabrielle never has to be told to be proud of her sister. She always is.
She wonders if Cedric would be proud of her, too, if he could see her. She thinks he probably would be. It was him, after all, who had changed her. And she'll always remember him for that. Even though his friendship with her sister had confused her, even though she doesn't think she'll ever understand it (no matter how old she is), Gabrielle knows that Cedric Diggory was the first boy Fleur ever loved.
And for now, that's all she needs to know.