A.N: Heya! I got this idea from Tigersflame, so many thanks to him for it xD Anyway, even though my common tests are like...2 days away, I just have this irresistable urge to write. Yep, and so, new story!
Background info: This will be set in the Trio's fifth year at Hogwarts, and it starts off with Hermione and Ron at Grimmauld Place, in the same room which Harry had originally entered when he first arrived. But in this story, Harry has yet to arrive at Grimmauld place.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except for my fingers; J.K Rowling deserves all the credit for coming up with the amazing world of Harry Potter.
So, read and review, let me know if I should continue! Review will be greatly appreciated. =)
Chapter 1- Dogged
The house was quiet; barely a sound could be heard. Dust particles floated in the musty air, and could barely be seen with the poor lighting in the house. Grime lined the walls, floor and the name of the place. Grimmauld Place.
Faded curtains moved gently near the entranceway, but there was not even a slightest breeze. The air was still, so still that it was as though time had frozen. The curtains concealed not a window, neither a doorway, nor a priceless treasure. It hid a portrait, a remembrance of the Dark origins of the house, a history that could never be forgotten or removed.
Fleur lazily maneuvered herself up the grimy, wooden stairs; bored. The rest of the Order were busy with their own things, and were either in one of the many rooms in the house, or out risking their lives against the risen Dark Lord. With so many people in the house, one would expect the house to be bustling with life and activity. But no. The house remained solemn and cold.
There was never anything interesting to do around the place, unless you regarded cleaning as an entertainment. The round, plump and caring Mrs Weasley would probably think that way, but not Fleur Delacour. Fleur (Cold) Isabelle (Phlegmatic) Delacour. She never liked the traditional Muggle way of cleaning, and would rather make use of her wand. But Mrs Weasley thought that when one has the time, the traditional way would make the task more fulfilling, providing a sense of satisfaction after the chore was completed. Mrs Weasley could enjoy spending the whole day on chores, but not Fleur. She would rather lock herself in her room. And that was what she planned to do.
The Frenchwoman took her time as she made her way up the stairs, careful not to touch the railings or the walls on the other side, which were lined with the wrinkled, shrunken heads of generations of house-elves. Inwardly, the witch cringed in disgust. It was not the sight of the heads that made her felt that way, but the act behind the framed heads. Apparently, it was a great honor to the house-elves to have their head displayed on the wall, though Fleur could not see anything honorable that could be gleamed from it. Instead, she found it a gruesome and cruel act, to butcher and decapitate house-elves once they are too old to lift a teacup. Back at home, her family always regarded the house-elves as part of the family, and they were treated just like equals, with respect and care. Unfeeling though Fleur may seem, she could never stand the inhumane treatment given to house-elves, though she had never admitted it to anyone. Perhaps it was because of her Veela heritage, which had probably given her the heart to empathize with mistreated magical creatures.
Fleur stopped at the staircase landing; it seemed like there was a heated argument going on in the boys' room. A highly agitated voice rung out, but it (thankfully) was not loud enough to rouse Mrs Black from her slumber. Still, the lone lady was able to catch what the shrill voice was going on about.
"Ron, could you at least put yourself in her shoes? At least use that stagnant mind of yours to THINK. Would you enjoy having someone drooling and paddling after you like some desperate dog?!"
"You are calling me a dog?!"
"So what if I am? Your behavior totally resembles one! And let's not forget; your Patronus is one. It's a no wonder. Patronuses are supposed to reflect the individual anyway. Ha. How fitting."
Inside, a muffled stomp. The girl's tone was harsh and low and Fleur could just imagine Hermione throwing all her sarcasm and anger at the red-headed boy, who, Fleur must admit, she somewhat detested. He just love to come up with excuses to keep her in his view, stalking her and tagging after her, like…Fleur smirked as she thought of what Hermione had said; a dog. She could not agree with the younger girl more.
"You're just jealous that Fleur's good-looking." Ronald's tone was defensive, but his words were harsh. Fleur, who could not be bothered with the argument, was about to continue her route up the stairs, but stopped the moment she heard Ron's reply. Of course, she knew that her looks were way above average; she was after all, a part-Veela. What made her stop in her tracks was not the compliment though. She waited at the landing, curious to know what the brunette would say in her own defense.
"Why should I be?"
The words were dripping with spite. A brow twitched subconsciously; Fleur could just imagine Hermione's reaction to the boy's words. It was clear that the boy had hit a nerve.
Fleur knew that Hermione disliked her. Take note, not hate; but dislike. Strong, intense dislike. She never found out why, for she has never really gotten the chance to speak with the brunette. Even if she had, she was sure that the conversation would end in a cold war. Relations were never warm between the two of them; they were like the Northern and Southern Poles of the earth, never meeting face-to-face. It was quite a feat, considering that both of them were sharing a room with Ginny. Whenever Fleur woke up, Hermione's body heat would have already been lost from her bed; and whenever Fleur decided to turn in for the night, she would find Hermione already fast asleep in her own bed. Hermione was evasive, the way a prey would avoid its predator. She would always find a way or another (and she never run out of ideas) to avoid the blonde; and as a result, their routes never clashed, and they never met face-to-face. Not once.
Contact between them was not minimal; it was non-existent.
Which was why she found Hermione standing up for her unexpected; she thought that Hermione would not want to have anything to do with her. The brunette had all along treated her like a piece of the dusty, overlooked, forgotten furniture, and had not spoken a single word to her ever since she arrived at Grimmauld Place.
Yes, Fleur has joined the Order after her last year at Beauxbatons, joining the fight against the most infamous Dark Wizard of the wizarding world. Her last year at Beauxbatons was not literally at Beauxbatons; it was spent at Hogwarts, where she took part in the Triwizard Tournament, in a competition for fame and glory. Both of which she already possess, thanks to the Veela blood in her. Fame? As the most popular and well-known girl to ever step foot into Beauxbatons. Glory? Her beauty and brains glorified her. Fleur graduated from the school with results that was rivaled by none. And, though she was not a full Veela, but merely a quarter, she was still as stunningly beautiful as one. And that was not purely a good thing, for it gave Fleur as much problems, if not more, than benefits.
For one, it brought about much unwanted attention, of which a good example would be Ronald Weasley. Fleur hated it, but it was not like she could blame her entranced admirers, for they could not help being pulled under her thrall. Men fall prey to her thrall, and women? Their jealousy were unimaginable.
And her thrall was the cause of the quarrel between Hermione and Ron. Truthfully, Fleur felt slightly guilty, though she would never admit it. She would rather put on a nonchalant front, and just pretend as though she did not hear anything. Call it ego, call it pride, but Fleur would shoot you down. Fleur was never one who liked to worry herself over others, and none has succeeded in making her do so, unless they were family. Her heart was safely locked in its chamber, never to be touched. Harsh reality has taught her not to be too trusting and empathetic to the plight of others. Her mother has brought her up meticulously, and taught her to be wary of people so as to protect her from all sorts of people that would bring her harm. And Fleur has learnt well, and had grown up to be a fine, young lady. With an ice-cold heart that could freeze the whole of hell.
But no, not this time. Hermione's gallant act thinly scratched the surface of her heart. Never before has anyone been so thoughtful towards her, and she, however much she would deny it, did felt slightly thankful to Hermione for her gracious act. Though it barely grazed across Fleur's heart, it still left a mark; it still touched her heart; whether superficial or not was not the main point. No matter the reason why the brunette had done what she did, Fleur, deep inside, did felt slightly thankful. Slightly, but it was a start. The brunette was the first, and probably the last, to be considerate of her feelings. And that was what Fleur felt thankful for. Even if it did not mean much to the girl, it meant a lot to Fleur. For someone who seemed to have everything money can buy in the world, Fleur was never happy.
She was highly curious, not to mention suspicious, of the girl's intentions though; that she would never deny. Hermione dislike her. Why would she be bothered by Ron's constant drooling over Fleur? Wouldn't she be happier with the fact that Ron would make Fleur uncomfortable with his behavior?
Rapid movement could be heard from the other side of the door, which flew open before Fleur could do anything. And there she stood facing the door, a deer caught in the headlights, a Fleur caught by Hermione.
The moment could not get any more tensed, and the two just stood rooted at their positions, glaring at each other. Hermione's face was contorted with intense dislike, her mouth a mere thin, twitching line. Fleur was an icy cold sculpture, her porcelain face revealing no emotions. Cliché as it sound, icy blue met smoldering brown. Nonchalance met anger.
Fleur found the situation funny. Yes, funny. As in hilarious, amusing, laughable funny. She was caught listening in (eavesdropping) to a quarrel which she was the cause of. By Hermione. The situation was almost…comical. And Fleur responded to it with a smirk.
Hermione though, could not see the humor behind the situation. She was taken aback to find Fleur right outside the door, and her first worry was that Fleur had overheard everything. She did not want that blonde bimbo to laugh at her for being so…considerate. It was not impossible; the blonde would probably think of her as a naïve little girl who believes that life can be a bed of roses. And there, Fleur was smirking; probably mocking her naivety. Hermione glared back in her own defense. Her glare was the only thing that she have in control; her only weapon (defense) against the blonde. And she held onto it with her life.
Fleur could sense the other girl's fear behind that intense glare. Not surprising, Veelas are intuitive, emotional creatures. So Hermione was not angry, hmm? But afraid. For what, though? Fleur was curious. She would just have to confront the girl later. It would also give her a chance to find out why Hermione had gone against Ron for her.
The blonde witch did not reciprocate the dislike of the younger one. Instead, she just held eye contact, meeting the brunette's challenging gaze with one of…disinterest. She was not interested in wasting her energy reciprocating the feelings just because the brunette disliked her. However, something about the brunette interests her. Fleur was curious to know what ran through the girl's mind; why she did whatever she had done, and why she dislike Fleur so much. If Hermione were any other woman, Fleur would have just ignored her hostility totally.
Seeing that Fleur has no intention of moving before she does, Hermione whipped around angrily and ran upstairs. What followed was the slamming of a door (most likely into the girls' room's door).
Nevertheless, Fleur continued her route upstairs, undeterred by a pissed Hermione. Floating pass the open door of the boys' room as she continued her way up, Fleur thought that she had saw a sullen-looking Ron slumped on one of the beds. Not a thought was spared for the boy, whom Fleur, of course, ignored.
Standing outside the girls' room, nothing could be heard. It was as though no one was in the room. But of course, Fleur knew better. Slender fingers wrap around the doorknob, and with a gentle twist, the door swung open silently. Fleur smirked; Hermione did not even lock the door. The girl really should learn to be less complacent. She had probably thought that Fleur would not follow her up; and she had obviously thought wrong.
Fleur slid into the room with grace, and smiled at Hermione, who, seated on her bed and hugging her pillow, was staring up at her with a disbelieving look. That was soon replaced with a guarded and wary expression. Dislike was painted with large, bold strokes on her face.
"What do you want?"
Fleur chose not to answer, but sauntered over to the edge of Hermione's bed, where she sat herself down. Hermione was momentarily taken aback by the blonde's boldness, and brought her knees up to her chest defensively.
"Why are you here?"
"Tsk tsk, so demanding. You could use a few lessons on respect, hmm?"
"Don't treat me like a kid, Fleur. You are hardly in the position to teach me anything. Talk about respect? Shouldn't you have knocked the door before you enter?"
"Hmm? Why should I? This is my room too, non?"
Her reply knocked Hermione off her rhythm momentarily.
"Wh-what if I was changing? Haven't you heard of privacy?"
Fleur laughed, "Privacy? I've never known what that was. And you know that." Her blue eyes stared straight into the deep brown depths of Hermione's. "And we're both women, are we not?"
Hermione did not reply. Fleur took a deep breath, and said in a low tone so quiet that Hermione had to strain her ears.
"Yes, I have never known what privacy is. No one has ever respected mine, aside from my own family. They may think that not bothering me means respecting my privacy, my solitude. But with their penetrating eyes and their ever-wandering gaze, I never had my own privacy. I am under surveillance, twenty-four seven, my every move being tracked by mindless people."
Hermione advert her eyes away from Fleur's. The blonde's piercing stare was making her very much uncomfortable. But if Fleur had notice Hermione's discomfort, she gave no signs.
"Which is why…I'm here...to thank you."
Hermione swiftly turned to face Fleur in shock, so fast that her neck almost cracked. And what met her widened eyes surprised her even more. Fleur steadily gazed into the molten chocolate of her eyes, and though the blonde's face remain cool and calm, Hermione saw something that she never thought she would see in the blonde's eyes.
Sincerity. The slightest hint of warmth in the freezing ocean of blue.