A/N: This is a pointless, pointless one-shot that I started ages ago for the "Annual Ginny Kill Off" thread over at DLP, and never got to finish. Found it again today, and I was bored so... here it is.
The action takes place in an imaginary and quite improbable seventh year, where the trio would be free to go back to the Burrow in the middle of looking for the Horcruxes.
Warnings: strong violence, character death, torture and other fun little events.
Sisters in Law
It was raining. Again.
Fleur sighed. There hadn't been a single sunny day since her wedding; she had come to wonder if a moron had managed to permanently curse the sun out of the sky of England, only leaving in its place that thick layer of pale grey clouds. Said clouds were currently very busy emptying themselves upon their heads; and it wasn't even good, strong and honest showers: just a dull, half-hearted rain mournfully splattering the windowpanes of the near-empty kitchen of the Burrow. Utterly depressing.
The new Mrs. Bill Weasley chewed unenthusiastically on her buttered toast. She was bored. Yielding to God knew what typically male instinct, Bill had decided that Fleur didn't need to go looking for a job and would be much better off staying at home acting the housewife. Granted, the young Frenchwoman had no idea what kind of job she could apply for; the subordinate position she had held in Gringotts had had for sole and only purpose to get her closer to Bill. It was a boring job, not to mention one she was dreadful at, and her boss had only been too happy to accept her resignation.
That said, she was a skilled witch, and she could have effortlessly got a teaching job at Beauxbâtons, or even started studying to become a Healer — anything but stay here watching the rain fall. But apparently she was to follow the Weasley family's stupid tradition: Weasley wives didn't work. They stayed at home and were good.
Fleur sighed again, lazily gathering her long silver-blonde hair in her hands and twisting it into a bun, that she held into place by planting her wand in it. If Bill hadn't insisted that she should try to get along with his family…
The brothers weren't too bad, thank God; they generally avoided a direct conflict with her, since they knew that she was at least as magically powerful as they were — and they also knew that they couldn't refuse her anything when she switched on her Veela charm. However, the problem was different with his mother, that dragon in a fluffy dressing-gown. And his—
"Nobody down here?... Oh. Hello, Phlegm — I mean, Fleuuur."
—and his tart of a sister.
Fleur put down her toast with a grimace of disgust and turned around to face her sister-in-law; the sixteen-year-old, probably delighted by her own lamentable joke, was smirking with a sickeningly self-satisfied expression. She really should stop doing that: her eyes were small enough when she wasn't smiling, but now, they had almost entirely disappeared behind the round freckled cheeks, until being reduced to two slits gleaming malevolently. Fleur also spotted a large quantity of pimples on the girl's face, hiding among the freckles. Funny, she had never seen them before. The girl was probably applying generous quantities of her brothers' potions on her face every day; but the acne looked particularly tenacious.
All in all, the youngest Weasley was not a welcome sight, especially in the middle of breakfast. This was probably the explanation Fleur had been looking for: the sun had seen Ginny Weasley, and it had fled from the sky of England out of horror.
"Bonjour, Ginny," she suavely answered, careful to pronounce the tart's name the French way.
"What're you doing here all alone?" Ginny scornfully asked. "Got in a fight with Bill, perhaps?" The thought seemed ravishing to her.
Fleur chose to wear her most charming smile, in contrast with Ginny's ugly frown — though she doubted the girl had intended to look ugly. Ah well, some things can't be helped.
"Oh no, we're perfectly fine, thank you," she purred, emphasising on purpose her French accent. "However, should our couple ever have a problem, you'll be the first person informed, I promise. I value your support."
"Yeah, my support, right," Ginny snorted, visibly missing the sarcasm. "You really think you're the centre of the world, don't you?"
Fleur sent her way another dazzling smile, allowing a touch of solicitude to dim the brightness of her eyes. Maybe it was time to try to make an ally out of her.
"You know, I think we've started off the wrong foot," she said decidedly. "We should be the best friends in the world, I'd love to have another little sister…"
…qui ne serait pas une sale mioche rousse (°), her Delacour-half acidly thought in French. Her Weasley-half resolutely ignored that last thought and encouraged her to go on.
"…It must have been hard to be the only girl in a family of seven children," she bravely continued. "There are conversations a girl can only have with another girl, secrets she can't share with boys, concerns she can't talk about in a male household… Wouldn't you like having an older sister?"
Ginny snorted again. "I don't make girly talk. That's for stupid bints."
Fleur's smile didn't waver. But her feebly protesting Weasley-half was sharply silenced as her Delacour-half started coming up with various colourful insults for the insufferable waste of human flesh standing in front of her.
Did the brat want a war? Then she was going to get one.
"It could be fun," she said softly. "It could be useful for you, too. I see the way you vent off your frustrations on your parents and your brothers, and even if most teenage girls go through such a phase, that's not very healthy. I could help you with that. Trust me, even I know what it's like to be sixteen and not look as good as you'd like to."
Ginny burst in derisive laughter, and Fleur winced as the strident, extremely unfeminine sound filled the kitchen. The hand on her lap instinctively curled around her wand, her thumb lovingly stroking the wooden length. There was only so much vulgarity one could endure.
"I don't need you or your advice," Ginny jeered. "I've got plenty of boyfriends."
"So I have heard," Fleur delicately said. "But there is a difference between being genuinely appreciated and being easy, sweetheart."
Ginny flushed scarlet. Sweet Jesus, the poor girl really wasn't a pleasant sight when she did that.
"Coming from a self-proclaimed slut, that's a bit rich," she lashed out, her wand suddenly appearing in her hand. Fleur inwardly admired the brat's swiftness. Maybe she was a good duellist; that would be the first good thing Fleur would notice about her.
"Now you see, that's probably a problem of vocabulary," she answered very seriously. "A slut, as I see it, is someone who isn't picky about who she chooses for boyfriend. At your age I had standards high enough that I had a very limited number of boyfriends. That's a question of good taste, dear; a girl going through boyfriends as she would go through different shirts, on the other hand…"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Ginny snarled.
Fleur smiled apologetically.
"I'm sorry, did I speak too fast?" she sweetly asked. "I'll try to use simpler words in the future. What I'm saying is that I used to choose my boyfriends carefully. You on the other hand, are obviously not very… hard to satisfy."
Ginny made a sound like a cat being trampled.
"Are you talking about Dean?" she hissed. "I bet anything you're a racist bitch, just because he's Black…"
"That," said Fleur in icy cold tones, "is a bit rich coming from someone who claimed the other day that Frenchwomen were all… what was that? 'Useless whores?' And in front of Gabrielle, no less."
"Well now you know how it feels to hear an airhead like you claim that the British can't cook their meat," Ginny said triumphantly.
Fleur blinked once or twice as the tart let out a satisfied 'Ha!' before going to lean against the sink, provocatively showing her legs.
"Maybe you have a point," the Frenchwoman lightly said with another one of her charming smiles. "Indeed, I can't see the difference between eating a piece of meat cooked by your mother, and eating the sole of my own shoes. Anyway, in fact I was talking about Dean… among others. But not because he's Black. I briefly met him at the Triwizard Tournament, and he was one of the boys that kept bothering me before the Yule Ball… Doesn't he have an atrociously whiny voice?"
"Of course that may be just me, I just can't stay with someone whose voice I don't like… Although Dean was better than your first boyfriend, who, from what I've been told, has bad breath and horrible manners when eating."
"…told me that?" Fleur had a lazy smile. "That Nymphadora Tonks did. She was at Hogwarts quite a lot last year, and she apparently loves gossip as much as I do. A rather nice girl, although she could be a little more graceful in her moves, if you ask me."
Ginny straightened up, glaring fiercely at her sister-in-law as she pointed her wand at her again.
"What about Harry?" Ginny hissed. "Is he a bad choice as well?"
"See?" said Fleur brightly, ignoring completely the threatening wand pointed at her. "You're developing a taste for girly talks! I told you it could be fun… Anyway. Harry's problem is that he's famous. Famous boys are always a bad choice when you aren't yourself exceptional. They are easily tempted and they're attracting all the attention."
"So that means I'm exceptional enough to be with him," Ginny concluded with a smirk, as she surveyed Fleur's reaction from under her eyelashes.
Fleur arched a perfect eyebrow, her lovely features set in an expression of polite disbelief.
"You can always try to ask him out," she said slowly. "I doubt it will work, though. No offence dear, but—"
"Keep your information up-to-date," Ginny snickered. "We are together."
Fleur's mouth fell slightly open, the pink lips parting to reveal pearly white teeth while her dark blue eyes widened in shock.
"Oh mon Dieu," she breathed, completely forgetting her English in surprise.
Ginny shot at her sister-in-law a smug grin as she lowered her wand; negligently tossing it aside, she pressed her palms against the edge of the sink and heaved herself up to sit on the iron draining board.
"That's right," Ginny confirmed, beating the cupboard under the sink with her heels as she swung her bare legs. "We've been together for several months now."
Fleur experimentally shook her head, still unable to speak due to the shock she had experienced. Ginny sniggered again as she retrieved her wand and started tapping the iron sink with it, in rhythm with the beating of her heels against the wooden cupboard.
"Will you stop that noise?" Fleur said tensely.
"Bothering you? Too bad, that's my house," Ginny drawled out, accelerating her beat.
"We finally agree on something," Fleur muttered crossly. "Avec ou sans Bill, je fous le camp de ce trou à rats dès ce soir.(°°)"
"What're you mumbling?" Ginny called out over the noise she was making.
"None of your concern," Fleur snapped.
"What?" Ginny half-shouted, a wicked grin stretching her lips; the sound of her heels banging against the cupboard door was almost deafening now, and soon the saucepans it contained started rattling loudly in protest, adding to the racket. "What are you saying? I can't hear you! I CAN'T—"
A flash of blue light filled the kitchen. The pounding on the cupboard door came to an abrupt end, the saucepans rattling one last time before they, too, fell silent. In the ensuing quiet, Ginny's wand clattered loudly as it fell, useless, into the empty sink.
Fleur had barely moved from her sitting position at the kitchen table; her long legs, clad in an old pair of cotton pyjamas, were still crossed in a lazy and graceful posture, the weight of her upper body leaning on her left forearm, which rested on the table in front of her. The only difference was that her right arm was stretched out, her hand holding a wand that she kept pointed at Ginny's form, which was sprawled across the red-tiled floor.
Ginny was struggling against invisible bonds, her body rigid as a board, her eyes rolling in their sockets as she wildly tried to determine what kind of spell maintained her pinned to the tiles. Her gaze finally came to focus on her sister-in-law, who had stood up at last and was now walking towards her. Fleur crouched down next to the immobilised teenager, in appearance as serene and friendly as before, but her dark blue eyes were now hard and unforgiving — and they glinted with what curiously looked like greed as she eyed Ginny, who, being far too busy glaring up at the Frenchwoman, had failed to notice the ominous change in her expression.
"I said," Fleur repeated softly, "that what I was saying was none of your concern."
She inclined her head a little, causing her abundant blonde hair, which had been freed from the bun when she had taken her wand out of it, to fall in a thick curtain around her face; the ensuing feeling was strangely intimate, as if she and Ginny were isolated from the rest of the world by the a barrier of silky, luminous hair.
"Now, since I have you here," Fleur went on, her voice going distinctly deeper and huskier, her eyes still alight with that strange hunger, "I think we should do something about your… aspect…"
Ginny's eyes widened in shock as the tip of Fleur's wand idly trailed along the line of her jaw, golden sparks flying from it every time it met a pimple. Fleur seemed oblivious of the fact that a scarlet line of burned skin appeared in the wake of her wand on Ginny's face.
"First, get rid of those freckles…"
Ginny started struggling more vigorously still against the Full Body-Bind, and for the first time fear seeped inside her chest as Fleur yanked on her red hair to expose her face to the greyish daylight, her wand hovering over the youngest Weasley's nose. But Fleur's spell was an extremely solid one, and Ginny could only stare in helplessness at her sister-in-law's beautiful face, standing out, pale and perfect, against the blackened beams of the kitchen ceiling.
Was it only Ginny's imagination, or was Fleur's skin literally glowing? It was even paler than usual, its whiteness almost dazzling, and her hair fluttered lightly around her face although there was no breeze in the kitchen. Her eyes were brighter, her parted lips showed pearly-white teeth that—
"Argilus!" Fleur whispered, tapping Ginny's nose sharply with her wand. A kind of thick paste erupted from the tip of her wand and abruptly came to plaster itself on Ginny's face, like a dark-green mask. There was a strange, quite repulsive sucking noise as the pool of green clay spread over the redhead's skin, sliding down her neck and slipping under her nightie to cover her entire body. Fleur's eyes widened slightly as the clay enveloped the most unexpected areas, even coating the teenager's skull.
"Sweet Lord," she said in mild surprise. "You do have freckles everywhere."
After a few minutes, Ginny's entire form was encased in a thick layer of greenish clay, leaving only a tiny crack at the level of her lips, where it couldn't find any freckles to erase. The redhead's breathing was coming through the crack in wheezing inhalations. Fleur had an appreciative smile.
"You have to let the beauty mask rest for seven minutes and fifty-three seconds," she told the greenish, shapeless mass brightly. "I'm looking at my watch, don't worry."
And so she did. Raising her wrist at eye level, she stared at her watch with frightening intensity, her tongue darting out at times to moisten lips curled in a delighted, slightly carnivorous smile. Fleur Weasley looked less and less human by the minute — although very prettily so.
"…seven minutes," she finally announced. "That's where it gets tricky," she genially informed the heap of clay lying on the tiles next to her. "If I don't think of counting the seconds… Oh, which reminds me, where was I? Er… three, four, five…"
Fleur dutifully counted the seconds, her clear voice ringing in the empty kitchen; out of the corner of her eye, she saw that Ginny had started to smoke — and although her smile grew at this sight, she gave no other indication that she had noticed the strange phenomenon.
"…fifty-two, fifty-three!" she sang. Pulling out her wand, she tapped once the hardened layer of clay — which exploded at once with the strength of a small bomb.
Fleur shouted out a spell just in time, creating all around her a protective bubble off which the bits of dried clay bounced without touching her. A fine dust filled the kitchen, and Mrs. Weasley screamed one floor above them. Spinning round, the young woman lashed her wand out at the door, which locked itself from the inside. A powerful Silencing Charm came next, rippling in waves against the door, windows and ceiling.
"Right," she panted, pushing her hair out of her face. "That should give us a moment of privacy, don't you think, Ginny?"
She turned around again to face the brat, and a cruel, gleeful smile blossomed on her pale face as her eyes fell upon a pitiful body curled on the floor. Ginny was unrecognisable: her skin was scrubbed raw, as if burned, and all her hair had been ripped off her skull with such brutality that blood trickled off her bald head. The Full Body-Bind had been lifted by the violence of the explosion, and she writhed on the ground, sobbing and wailing and cursing, her repulsive body barely covered with burned fragments of her nightgown.
"Oh, I might have let the beauty mask on a few seconds too long," Fleur delicately said, turning Ginny over with her foot. "What a shame. We were having so much fun…"
The quarter Veela crouched down again, her huge eyes glinting oddly in her unnaturally pale face as she stared into her terrified sister-in-law's eyes.
"You don't look pretty, you know?" she purred, lips curled over her bared teeth. "You never did, of course, but now it's even worse… You need to hide that skin of yours under a good layer of makeup."
And with another wave, another incantation, a flesh-coloured liquid shot out of Fleur's wand and crashed down on Ginny, splashing the reddish tiles in the process. Ginny let out a high-pitched wail as the foundation got into her eyes, but her scream came to an abrupt end when more of it trickled down her throat, effectively choking her.
"You have to suffer to be pretty!" Fleur exclaimed over her victim's screams, and there was something truly animal in her face now; her beauty was wilder, crueller, more primitive. Unbeknownst to her, a pair of wings abruptly burst out of her shoulder blades and spread out on either side of her, while her fluttering hair crackled with electricity.
"Now how about… some mascara!" Fleur suggested. Black wisps of smoke erupted from her wand and zoomed straight to Ginny's face, intertwining with her lashes. However, once again the spell was much more powerful than it was designed to be: with a sickening sound, the redhead's lids were torn off her eyes and landed a little further, the lashes artistically coated in mascara.
"Well, no more lashes, problem solved!" Fleur trilled. "I forgot the nail polish—" As the corrosive substance splattered across her hands and feet, Ginny's nails melted in a swirling of acrid-smelling smoke. "—the lipstick—" The conjured lipstick soared down on Ginny and started painting random figures on her tortured body. "—and you really need to learn how to stand up straighter, young lady!"
With an other wave of Fleur's wand, Ginny's body went straight and rigid like a board again, so abruptly that several bones were twisted in the process and broke with wet, loud noises.
"That's better!" Fleur murmured, and for a second a flame seemed to flicker inside her palm before vanishing from sight. The quarter Veela was panting slightly, her wings flapping on either side of her. Never before had she looked so terrible and so beautiful.
Ginny Weasley was now little more than a dislocated, bald puppet, covered in foundation. Blood trickled down her cheeks from her lidless eyes; the lipstick had drawn flowers and little hearts and other girly figures on her entire body, and smoke still rose in wisps from her fingers and toes. Fleur stared at her intensely, the sweet satisfaction of revenge mingling in her heart with the fierce joy of the hunter.
She bent over her victim's prostrated form, her expression almost tender, almost loving. Ginny seemed to have fainted, but she was still breathing feebly. Fleur extended her left hand to pick up the still painting lipstick.
She suddenly froze. On her left hand shone her wedding ring, and as she eyed it unblinkingly, struggling to remember what it was, Bill's face popped up into her mind. Then she remembered — she was Bill's wife, she was in his family's house, and she had just brutally tortured his sister.
"Oh no," she whispered, horror-struck. "I did it again."
As she uttered these words, her skin seemed to lose the unnatural glow it had taken when Fleur had given in to her predatory instincts; her hair fell softly on her back, no longer fluttering in the still air of the kitchen, and the wings retracted inside her shoulder blades. Fleur straightened up, having mechanically picked up her lipstick, and considered the wreck of a human body sprawled down at her feet.
"Flûte!" she cursed quietly, the childish and old-fashioned swear word making an odd contrast with the devastation she had just caused. "How am I going to hide that from Bill?"
A slight noise coming from the door made her start, and she realised with a thrill of horror that Mrs. Weasley was attempting to break through her spells to get inside the kitchen.
"Ah, triple flûte!" she cursed again, and turning to Ginny, she muttered the first spell that came to her mind.
"I'm here, Mrs. Weasley, hold on a minute!" she called out, cancelling her Silencing Charms.
"Fleur?" Molly Weasley answered crossly from the other side of the door. "Why did you lock yourself in? What was all that noise?"
"I, er, I did some experiments!" Fleur invented wildly. "In cooking! And — it went badly… The kitchen is a mess now, give me time to clean it up!"
There was an exasperated sigh on the other side of the door.
"Unlock this door, Fleur, please," Mrs. Weasley testily asked. "Harry, Ron and Hermione are here, and they're hungry."
A rather dishevelled Fleur opened the door of the kitchen, revealing several tiles covered in a fine dark-green dust and speckled with what looked like flesh-coloured paint.
"That kitchen's perfectly fine, there's nothing a few cleaning charms can't repair," Mrs. Weasley acidly noted. She then proceeded to clean up what was left of Fleur's 'experiments'. Fleur gave an apologetic smile to the three seventeen-year-olds standing on the doorstep, and graciously invited them in.
"It's good to be back here," Ron sighed as he let himself fall in a chair. "Where're the others?"
"The boys are at the Order's Headquarters, I think," Fleur said, sitting down herself. "And — how are you three doing?"
"Well enough," Hermione answered briskly. "Sorry we had to leave so soon after your wedding…"
"Oh, I understand, of course," Fleur hastily interrupted. "I've heard you were… looking for something."
The three teenagers nodded gravely.
"And where's Ginny?" Ron distractedly asked.
Fleur hesitated before shrugging in faked ignorance, although she couldn't help glancing nervously at a big, foundation-covered spider that was exhaustedly dragging itself towards the kitchen table. She crossed her fingers under the table, hoping that her Transfiguration Charm would last until the trio's departure…
"Ah look, the sky's clearing at last," Ron said appreciatively. It had finally stopped raining, and two clouds had just parted to let through a beam of golden sunlight which fell on Fleur's face. The Frenchwoman smiled in pure happiness.
"I hadn't seen the sun in ages," Ron noted. "It's a wonder — ARGH! WHAT IN THE NAME OF MERLIN IS THAT?!"
"What?" asked both Hermione and Fleur in alarm.
But Harry rolled his eyes and stamped his foot on the kitchen floor.
"Relax, Ron, it was just a spider," he tiredly said.
He removed his foot, uncovering the crushed remains of a big spider.
(°) ...who wouldn't be a red-haired brat.
(°°) With or without Bill, I'm getting the hell out of this rathole before tonight.