Summary: HPFD, post GoF. Thanks to a mysterious voice, Fleur Delacour stops Harry Potter from touching the trapped Cup and discovers that the two of them share an ancient and powerful connection.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the associated properties.
Chapter 1: Voices
Fleur Delacour stumbled through the hedge maze blindly. She'd done badly in the earlier parts of the tournament and this, the third task, saw her starting at a disadvantage. The fact that the maze had been soaked by a brief downpour shortly before the Task started certainly didn't help matters. Cursing to herself in French, she raised her wand and was halfway through casting her direction-finding spell when she was interrupted.
"DUCK!" a voice cried, though it was not one she recognized. She instinctively dropped to the ground, and didn't have time to worry about who had warned her as a bolt of sickly orange energy impacted on the hedge just behind her. She cast about for a glimpse of her attacker and spotted Viktor Krum, moving jerkily in her direction with his wand held in an aggressive manner.
Silently cursing herself for not being more aware, Fleur rolled to the side, coming back to her feet at the end of the motion and casting a stunning hex at her attacker. He spotted her at the same time and returned fire, overlapping her cry of "Stupefy!" with his own cry of "Expelliarmus!"
The bolts of energy passed each other and both young casters were struck and flew backwards. Viktor rested, unconscious, in the corner between the muddy ground and one wall of the hedge maze. Fortunately for Fleur, Viktor had tried to disarm her rather than stun her, though it did send her wand flying off into the hedges and her slamming back into them. For a brief moment, it was all she could do to sit there, leaning against the hedge and resting on the soggy ground.
In that moment, her disjointed thoughts fixated on the cool slimy feel of the mud between her fingers. She would never have been in a position like this prior to this tournament, and she rather hoped that she never would be again. She knew that she was a vain girl, but she had lived so long being noticed only for her looks that she felt that it was, somehow, okay to be that way. However, after spending a few heated moments rolling in the muck, she would be hard pressed to claim that beauty. At that moment, she was just Fleur. There could be no pretenses of vanity maintained while she was huddled there, covered in mud and wearing torn robes.
"Get up! You must hurry. If Harry Potter takes the cup, all will be lost. The cup is a trap!" the now clearly male voice declared, snapping her from her reverie. This time, Fleur got the distinct feeling that she was the only one hearing it.
"'ello?" she asked, as she groaned to her feet. She didn't want to go on. She just wanted to sit down and wait for this whole ordeal to be over. "'oo are you?"
"No time. Hurry!" the voice repeated, sounding anxious. This time, Fleur could tell that the voice was more of a mental impression than actually spoken words. She knew a little about spells which would allow that, but the voice didn't sound familiar, and it shouldn't have been possible for someone to cast such a spell on her without her knowledge. However, whoever it was didn't appear to be hostile. If anything, the voice was urging her to do something positive.
Fleur shook the uncertainty from her head and cast about. "I don' 'ave my wand!" she declared, hoping that the voice had an idea for this or would decide to leave her alone. Without her wand, there was little chance of her making it to Harry, especially with his lead over her and the Viktor imposed break she'd just taken.
"No wand? Damnit. Alright, do this," he said and suddenly an image of three runes appeared in her mind. "See those? Draw them in the air and I'll tell you the incantation."
"Draw theem?" she asked. She'd done wand writing before, but that went back to the whole 'I don't have a wand' problem she was facing.
"Are you Veela or not? Conjure up a little flame and use it like ink. The fire and runes do most of the channeling for you so you don't need one of those silly sticks to do it. There's no time for this…" the voice trailed off, sounding frustrated.
Not even knowing why she trusted the voice, Fleur sighed and brought forth her Veela magic enough to produce a handful of flame. Full Veela could easily perform the feat, but Fleur found it quite difficult unless she was in a rage. Using the fire and working quickly, she traced first one, then two and three runes in the air. She'd never seen Veela fire hang in the air like that, but the blazing runes certainly showed that it was possible.
"Good, now the incantation. Repeat after me and try to keep an image of Harry in your mind as you do so," the voice said and proceeded to chant a half dozen short, squawking words into her mind. The words were in the ancient language of the Veela, though Fleur didn't think even the Veela really used it any longer.
"Squa, ek, cak-ak, guo-uo, ak-uo, swek-rak!" she chanted, finding the birdlike sounds difficult to manage, and with each word the runes blazed a little brighter before her. She kept her mind fixed as firmly as she could on Harry Potter, though it was difficult to do that and still mimic the chant.
As the last two words were said, she felt her body ripple. A change was taking effect as her Veela nature became dominant and flowed through her. Over the course of half a minute, she shrank and shifted forms until she had the body of a large silver falcon. Shrieking in surprise at the changes the spell had caused, she flapped her wings and took off. On the breeze, she could feel a subtle pull toward the one she sought and she sped toward it, riding the magic as much as the wind.
In the form of a falcon, Fleur felt like her mind had been divided almost in two. The two halves were able to communicate with each other, but only just. The active part of her mind followed the bird as it sought for its prey, but the rest of her had nothing to do but contemplate what she was doing.
Harry Potter. She'd known him only slightly for the last year and found him to be interesting. If he had been closer to her age, she might have tried to date him, but her original assessment of him being too young to compete still held true. She did admire his courage and what he'd done for Gabrielle. She didn't know many boys her age which would have risked their necks and the contest on something like that.
Under different circumstances, they might have been friends, but she didn't think he'd want to explore that possibility now that she'd been cold and dismissive to him for an entire year. Not to mention that she would be back in France in a few days, possibly never to see him again.
If they did meet again, maybe when he'd grown up a little, she'd probably make an advance on him. He was rumored to be rich, and she knew for a fact that he was famous and noble. Fortunately, he was also a half-blood and had been raised outside of the wizarding world, which meant that he might actually not have a problem with her mixed heritage. Part-Veela, unlike werewolves, vampires, and other hybrids, were generally welcomed in polite society, so long as they behaved themselves. That did not, however, mean that part-Veela were treated as equals. There was a knowing joke among purebloods that a part-Veela was a great shag, but you just didn't bring one home to your mother.
Fleur pushed away the thoughts that had somehow progressed from her not being interested to her marrying a twenty year old Harry Potter in a lavish spectacle, and she focused in a little on what was going on with her falcon-brain. Because the top of the hedge was warded, she was forced to skim just below the barrier near the tops of the walls. Even with this limitation, her height and speed evaded all but a few of the hazards and her nimble wings were sufficient to avoid the rest, making a joke of this so called 'challenge'. Even filtered through the "wall" in the middle of her mind, the feeling of winged flight was exhilarating, more liberating than anything she had experienced before. However, the magic required to fuel it was significant and she quickly found herself flagging.
Just as she felt like she wouldn't be able to go any farther, the maze ended and she spotted her prey and another human hobbling toward the cup. Screeching in warning, she dove at him, beating him with her wings. As the stunned boy tumbled away from her, falling on his back a bare ten feet from the plinth which held the Goblet of Fire, she landed on top of him, lost her concentration, and transformed back to normal much more quickly than she'd changed the first time.
Harry, either thinking himself under attack or that Fleur meant to take the cup for herself, struggled to push her away so that he or Cedric would be able to claim the prize. In her panic to keep him from touching it and the aftereffects of the spell she had been under, Fleur's tenuous grasp on English slipped even farther than normal and she found herself babbling disjointedly and mostly in French as she tried to keep Harry from escaping her grasp. He managed to get onto his back and seize her wrists in his hands, halfway to throwing her off of him.
Even though Harry was three years her junior and rather scrawny his that age, she knew that he was strong enough to eventually unseat the slender young woman atop him. The fact that both of them were coated in a slimy layer of slick mud didn't help that. Desperately, Fleur did the only thing she could think of that would buy her some time. She knew that Harry was a shy boy, and she knew that she had one weapon he would never be able to defeat.
She forced her body forward and planted a kiss firmly on Harry's lips. As their lips met, there was something, a spark or a crackle of electricity, that passed between the two of them and Harry went rigid in shock. This was all as Fleur expected, but then something she hadn't thought possible occurred. The sensation running through both of them seemed to intensify and pulse, almost as though it were a living thing worming its way into their very beings. Slowly, Harry began to relax, and Fleur found herself unable to draw away from the kiss.
Within a span of a minute, things changed dramatically. Fleur had thought to use the kiss as a weapon, but now she found that she desperately wanted it to continue. For his part, Harry had gone from being shocked to enjoying the situation. Thoughts of escape fled his young mind as he was mercilessly kissed and he started to kiss back with just as much vigor. The feeling rushing over their bodies was nothing short of magical, and their world seemed to disappear as they hungrily continued the kiss.
Fleur had kissed before. She'd kissed a lot before. However, the feeling she experienced with Harry was nothing like those other kisses. While he was kissing her, it was as if he was not kissing just her body, but the whole sum of her being. It was a kiss between two souls. If other kisses had thrown off sparks, then the kiss she was having with Harry was throwing off bonfires and was itself a raging inferno.
Harry had never kissed before, not that he could remember, at least. However, he made up for his lack of experience with enthusiasm and an almost instinctual regard for the feelings of the person he was sharing the kiss with.
How long they clung to each other in the mud, Harry had no clue, but Cedric eventually nudged the pair of them back to alertness. Without Harry's support, he'd landed in slime beside them, but hadn't really thought to move as he watched his two opponents frantically snogging in the mud. The pair blushed a deep crimson, but there had been something so very, very right about the kiss that made it hard to be too embarrassed. It had been like coming home.
"'Arry, you must not touch ze cup! It ez a trap," Fleur declared, her voice even more throaty than usual, and fished for Harry's wand in the muck before letting off red sparks with it. Surprisingly, Harry didn't seem offended that she'd touched his wand or that she'd used it without consulting him. Though it was a taboo, it didn't feel wrong at all for Fleur to do it. "Let uzz call for 'elp, inztead."
When help finally came, Fleur repeated her dire predictions and a few quick spells from the Headmaster himself confirmed that someone had turned the cup into a portkey. Working quickly, Dumbledore conscripted six Aurors and Mad-Eye Moody to accompany him as he followed the portkey to its conclusion to find out who or what was on the other end.
Not even realizing that they were doing it, Harry and Fleur clung together for comfort as they waited for the outcome of using the portkey to be discovered. Harry was more than a little terrified that he'd almost stumbled into a trap set by someone who might well have malicious intentions for him, though the presence of Fleur calmed him somewhat. Fleur, for her part, desperately pondered who might have sent her the warning message. She also wondered why she'd just gone and snogged Harry Potter, the boy she'd been telling herself was too young for her for months. More surprisingly, when she thought about it, her heart's only questions were of the "when can I do that again" variety.
After a tense half hour, the cup appeared again, though only Dumbledore and four of the Aurors held it. The grim look in their eyes said it all as they related the story to the Minister of Magic. Mad-Eye Moody, it seemed, had betrayed them, and the group had fought a running battle in a graveyard with a man that Professor Dumbledore declared to be Peter Pettigrew. There had been someone or something else there, as well, but it had been covered in a cloak and Peter had escaped with it after Moody had been killed.
It was a much subdued crowd that cheered when, after the portkey had been removed, Harry, Cedric, and Fleur took the cup jointly and ended the tournament. Fleur had not wanted to be included, but Harry insisted she join them and Cedric didn't protest. A little later, during the photo shoot with them holding the cup, Harry's free hand brushed Fleur's and their fingers laced together, almost of their own accord. Harry offered her a sheepish grin and she offered one in return. Even that brief contact made them both feel an odd tingle, which just heightened their confusion.
For his part, Harry was dreading going back to the Dursleys for yet another summer, but what he was dreading the most was being apart from Fleur. They'd known each other for less than a year and had only shared a single kiss, but Harry knew he was feeling for her in a way he'd never felt for anyone before. He didn't just want to be near her, he desperately needed her presence.
Unfortunately, while what had passed between them in the grimy maze was never far from either of their minds, it was a full two days before they could find time to be alone together after all of the press and victory celebrations. There had also been a number of questions but few answers.
Fleur still didn't understand where she'd had her cryptic warning from, though she managed to satisfy most of her questioners by professing ignorance but mentioning that her aunt was a noted Seer in France. It was true enough, but Fleur had a strong feeling that it had nothing to do with what she'd experienced. One of those that didn't believe her story was, of course, Albus Dumbledore. Mercifully, he refrained from pressing her too hard for the truth once it became clear that she would not provide a better answer.
Aside from those obligations she could not avoid, she said as little as she could to the press, especially when it concerned Harry Potter. A few of those with sharp eyes had noticed their brief exchange during the official awards ceremony, not to mention that they'd seen what happened on the field. The maze had been charmed so that spectators could see in, and she had to put up with quite a few veiled and not-so-veiled innuendos about it. She simply hoped that Harry was having it better than she was.
The odd events, including the mysterious voice, the strange Veela spell, and the magic of that first kiss, were all still mysteries to her, though her mother provided her with some insight on at least part of it. It was information that she both loved and dreaded, though she knew she would have to confirm the truth of it with Harry before she her hope and fear get out of hand.
The most positive thing to occur over those two days was the rescue of the real Alastor Moody from his trunk which did serve to lighten the sting of his supposed betrayal. The fact that an imposter had been teaching the students of Hogwarts the entire year didn't exactly raise public confidence in Dumbledore or the Auror corps, however.
Harry, for his part, was having a fairly bad time of things. Fudge was obstinate that the man seen in the graveyard could not have been Peter Pettigrew, which enraged both Harry and Dumbledore. Even with the testimony of four Aurors, the head of the Wizengamot, and the Boy-Who-Lived, it was not enough for Fudge to admit that there might have been a mistake in the matter of Sirius Black.
Fortunately, this fact did not go unnoticed by the press who smelled blood and started looking into the way Sirius Black had been handled in the courts. Some went so far as to demand that he be retried if he was captured, and there appeared to be at least some degree of public support behind it.
Harry was, by and large, greeted as a hero in Hogwarts upon his return. Cedric Diggory received much the same treatment, though he deferred to Fleur and Harry whenever he was asked about it. He declared that Harry was the real winner of the tournament, and Fleur the true hero since she'd saved both Harry and himself from an unknown fate.
When Harry and Fleur finally found a chance to meet again, it was a misty morning by the shore of the lake where the second task had been held.
"'Arry," Fleur began, but stopped, not certain of how to proceed.
He took her hand shyly and offered her a small but incredibly genuine smile. His eyes betrayed an odd mix of confidence and uncertainty that she found intriguing. The touch of his skin against hers was warm and welcome and she could almost feel the essence of him radiated towards her. It was an odd but quite enjoyable sensation.
"'Arry… I don't know how to tell you this… not really. I'm not certain that it is true, and… well… it's complicated," she said but stopped her fumbling explanation when she realized that he was staring at her, his mouth open and his eyes wide.
"Fleur… I just realized that for the last few days, I haven't been hearing your accent." he asked, confusion adding itself to the mix in his eyes.
Fleur blinked at him, not understanding. "My accent, 'Arry?"
"It's… I don't know how to describe it, Fleur. I think… I think you've still got the accent, but somehow… I just know what you mean. It's like I can pick up on your intentions and my brain patches in the spots which should be there but aren't," he said, still highly puzzled. He could distinctly hear her say the word "azzent" but his mind automatically substituted "accent" when he processed it. Something about the odd connection they shared appeared to be making such a translation possible.
"That is… not unexpected. 'Arry, you know that my grandmother is a Veela, correct?" When he nodded, she continued. "The children of Veela can have a lot of Veela traits, and it's an all or nothing kind of thing. Either a child is a part-Veela or she isn't. As the blood thins, female children become less and less likely to be part-Veela, but it's like a light switch. You're either one or you're not, and all of us are about the same," she said, but realized that she was rambling and took a deep breath to steady herself before pressing on.
"Anyway, one of the Veela traits is the potential, though it is rarely ever fulfilled to meet a soulmate. Pure Veela make the bonds much more often, but they are only with other Veela. The bonds of pure Veela are powerful though they do not compare to what a part-Veela can forge by bonding with a human. Such a thing is rare… very rare. There have been fewer than a dozen such Bondings recorded, but when they occur, they are for life and provide many benefits to both partners," she said, finding it difficult to string together so many words in English all at the same time. Even as fractured as her explanation was, however, she was easily understood by Harry.
"I think that we have the beginning of such a Bond," she finished, blushing.
As Fleur had always seemed to be so composed and poised, Harry was momentarily perplexed by her blush until he realized what she had just said. "You mean… you and I… together for the rest of our lives? Like, married?"
"More than married."
"More than married… us?"
"Do we have to do this?"
"Have to… no. We do not have to," Fleur said, with just a hint of sadness in her voice. "We can part here, 'Arry, if that is our wish."
Suddenly, Harry found himself wrapped up in a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions. He was sitting there, talking to one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen and she was, essentially, asking him to marry her. Oddly enough, it wasn't the first time a girl had asked him, though the other times had been in letters from the sort of drooling "I see fame" fan-girls who didn't really mean it. This was as different from that as it could possibly be.
What did he feel for Fleur? Did he like her? Yes, he liked her, but was that enough? Then there was the connection that she was sharing with him. He had first experienced it in the maze and he felt it quite clearly now. It was something magical and real. Somehow, he felt like he'd lived his whole with only one hand, but now he had both. Touching her, feeling her nearby, just felt right. He wasn't afraid of the idea of spending his life with her, but the fact that he didn't feel fear about that was frightening in and of itself.
His fears and thoughts swirled for a few long minutes as they sat in silence, just looking at each other. Harry was surprised to notice that there was just a hint of fear in Fleur's eyes. Fear of the bond or fear of him rejecting her, he wasn't sure, but either way he, an inexperienced schoolboy, was unsettling one of the most sophisticated women he'd every laid eyes on. Slowly, he worked his way through the thoughts and came down to one final question. Could he say no and face the possibility of never being near Fleur again? In that moment, he knew what the answer had to be.
"No… I don't think that would be the right thing to do. This Bond… if it is so rare, then I think that we should probably explore it. How do we do that?" he asked, his mind going back to their last mind-blowing kiss and hoping that whatever the path forward held, a lot of that was included.
"It's pretty simple, really. We just need to declare our intentions to accept the Bond. Then… well, the stories about this aren't clear, but I think that we will spend some time asleep as the Bond finishes forming and then… well, we will never be apart again," she said, nervousness in her voice and a blush on her fair skin. "We might want to wait a while, though, before we do that. I mean, we barely know each other…"
Harry nodded his head slowly. "I know what you mean. Somehow, I feel like I've known you all my life, but at the same time… we've only talked a very little. I will gladly take on the Bond, though, when we're ready for it." He offered her a genuine smile and squeezed her hand a little tighter.
Fleur smiled back and nodded at his words. "I know how you feel. It is as though we are two halves of the same thing, but we should wait. You are still so young… too young for this type of thing, I suppose. I will wait for you…" she paused and blushed a little, "I'll wait on you till the world comes to an end, if need be. I will accept the Bond gladly when the time comes.
Fate, however, had different ideas for the young couple and as Fleur declared her intention to accept the bond at the right time, a warm green light blossomed out from the space between the two of them and their world disappeared.
… BREAK …
Author's Notes: Well, this started out as another attempt to break some writer's block, but I'm really starting to like this story. I find that I think a lot about "playing with clichés" and this story definitely falls into that. There are going to be a number of clichéd elements in this story, but I will always endeavor to make my takes on these elements unique and entertaining. Fleur and Harry will both be powerful in this story, but not off the scale.
Also, I want to cite Hope by Jeconais as an influence on this story. I know that Hope is a Harry/Gabrielle fic, but he has a few concepts about Veela that have certainly inspired me a little in this story. These influences will become more apparent in the next two chapters. The Scorpion's Sting by Fledge is also a guilty contributor (though, oddly, I never read the prequel) on a couple of things (making Veela able to assume avian forms, for instance, though I won't be using the same mechanics). I'm not directly drawing from those two fics, but both are heavy inspirations.
Finally, a huge thank-you to my beta readers on this one (the Acting Artist and the one who wishes to remain nameless for now). Without them, this chapter would be half as long and a quarter as interesting.