Runaway Wizard

By: Bluminous

A/N: Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling

Chapter 2

I found Fleur and Apolline still inside the kitchen, finishing their breakfast while they read their respective wizarding newspapers between bites. Gabrielle wasn't there so I asked where she was.

"She's probably in her room." Apolline answered. "Are you going to start her lessons today?"

I nodded. "I thought I'd evaluate her skills first, give her a test. That way, I'd know where to start."

"I'd like to observe your teaching methods. Where do you plan to conduct the lessons?" Apolline asked.

I didn't know what to say. I thought she would be the one to provide me with a place.

"What do you suggest?" I asked.

She bit her lower lip in thought and I never realized that such an innocent gesture could be so sensual at the same time. I realized that she was unconsciously using her allure and I focused instead on the old painting hanging on the kitchen wall so that I wouldn't ogle her.

"The gazebo at the back beside Julian's garden... Would it do?" She suggested.

I nodded. It was perfect. I thought she'd suggest the living room, but I feared that we might permanently break something when practicing, and I didn't want to get fired on my first day of teaching. Not everything can be repaired by magic after all.

The Delacours lived modestly, but I could tell they once lived in a lifestyle far above their current station. Some of their furniture had intricate designs and carvings that they wouldn't seem out of place in the Minister of Magic's office, and he was known for his expensive tastes. I wondered what happened to my current employers during the war that caused them to live in a simple house in Dorset.

It wasn't really a simple house, since it was as big as the houses that I've seen in my short stay at Bridport. Perhaps I was just used to the palace-like houses that are owned by the minister's campaign contributors when he used to bring me along.

Gabrielle and Fleur each had their own rooms in the second floor, along with the master bedroom. The third floor had a large open space, but separated by a large curtain. One end was my room, with my window facing the sea. The other end was crammed full of old furniture and boxes, (I peeked before I went to sleep) and even old paintings that didn't move.

I was rocked out of my musings when I heard footsteps running down the flight of stairs. I looked up and saw Gabrielle grinning while holding her wand, it looked like it was just polished. She was obviously excited and I couldn't help but get sucked in by her enthusiasm.

She was wearing blue jogging pants with a matching shirt. Both had a design of two wands crossing each other sewn in the material, and I realized later that it was the crest of Beauxbatons. She really looked adorable, with her hair pulled up behind her in a ponytail, and her budding curves showing her figure hugging attire that promised the woman she would soon become...

Apolline must have thought I was crazy since I suddenly smacked my forehead – hard. I shook my head, and realized again that my student was releasing a good amount of allure. It seems that those with veela heritage released their allure whenever they were feeling strong emotions and they varied differently from each person. Gabrielle had a strong allure compared to her mother and sister.

In that moment, I realized that living in the Red House was going to be more complicated, rather than the simple, carefree life that I envisioned when I first arrived.

"Someone looks excited." Fleur smiled at her sister while we headed to the gazebo. She had decided that she too wanted to observe our first lesson. I wasn't really surprised with their decision. I guessed they wanted to make sure they hired a competent tutor and not some dangerous, insane wizard that was attracted to their fourteen year old daughter.

We passed by Julian, he was on his knees tilling the soil, sweat and dirt marring his face. I was amazed by his dedication to gardening, it was a hot day, and even I felt uncomfortable in my shirt and pants. Gabrielle ran ahead and hugged her father, and they exchanged a few whispered words, both grinning like mad at each other before Julian turned to me and smiled.

ooo


It was really disconcerting to see Apolline and Fleur sitting at the far bench in the Gazebo while Gabrielle sat in front of me. I was leaning against one of the posts, while tapping my wand on the side of my leg. We had just removed some of the wooden chairs and benches suited for the outdoors to the side, to make space for the practical lessons I had planned which involved footwork - a very essential skill in dueling.

"How's your English?" I asked. I wanted to make sure that we could communicate well before we started throwing magic around. I wanted to be certain that she followed my instructions to the letter, I've seen enough magical mishaps in a lifetime and I didn't want her, or the both of us to suffer some irreversible curse.

"Gabrielle's English is perfect." Fleur answered from the back. "She knows three languages."

"Well that's good I guess." I gave the older Delacour sister a glance before I looked back at my student. I couldn't help but be annoyed by her interruption.

"Stand up, take your wand out." I ordered.

I was thinking about how to teach a fourteen year old veela, wondering what method that I should use. I had many teachers since I started training at the age of six, and I had many examples to draw upon. I finally decided to copy one my teachers, Alastor Moody, but without the constant shouting of Constant Vigilance! He always made each and every one of my lessons exciting, and I wagered Gabrielle would find his methods less boring rather than endless drones of lecture.

My lips twitched when I saw Gabrielle take her wand out from the back pocket of her jogging pants. Hammering elementary wand safety into her head would be fun.

"Do you know how many wizards and witches lost their buttocks or worse, because their wands discharged when it was stuck in their back pockets?"

Gabrielle's shocked face made laugh out loud for the first time since the second wizarding war began.

ooo


I decided that the quickest way to determine Gabrielle's current level in magical knowledge and application was through a quick practical lesson in Defense against the dark arts, namely a duel.

Offensive spells that are used in duels consisted of a mixture of hexes, curses and jinxes- all used charms or transfiguration, even both together, to manipulate the magic that the caster needed in combat.

I wanted to see the spells Gabrielle was capable of and so I told her to use everything she knew to disarm me of my wand.

As I expected, she looked hesitant and unsure of herself, and so I smiled to encourage her.

"It's all right Gabrielle. You can use anything you know to disarm me, unless you know the Unforgivables." I joked.

"Everything?" She asked.

"Sure. Cast any spell you want. I won't hit back, but remain on the defensive. The objective is for you to disarm me of my wand." I explained patiently.

She looked hesitantly at her mother, as if to get permission, and I followed her gaze. I should have suspected that something was up when I saw Fleur smiling at me and she even winked.

"Stupefy!"

There was a slight difference in her pronunciation because of her accent, but nevertheless, the spell was effective.

I quickly turned around and parried the stunning curse with my wand, sending it towards the ceiling. I could have deflected it back towards my sneaky student, or her older sister but I wanted to make a good impression for my first class.

"Sneaky." I smiled at the look of surprise in Gabrielle's face.

"How..."

"It's generally frowned upon to curse your teacher while his back his turned, or using others as a distraction." I gave Fleur a glance, while I tapped my wand on my thigh. "But then, I told you to use everything to disarm me, so I can't fault you for that."

Fleur looked disappointed that I had not fallen prey to their trap while Apolline had moved closer to us, probably to get a better view of my first lesson.

"That was an impressive stunning curse Gabrielle." I turned to my student. "Not many witches your age could have done that."

Gabrielle smiled briefly from my praise before she asked, "How did you block my curse with just your wand? Shouldn't you use a shield?"

"I could have, but there was not enough time to cast it while my back was turned." I said.

Gabrielle's reddened a little, but she remained attentive to what I was saying.

"Experienced duelers deflect and parry curses with their wands by channeling raw magic through it. It is not a skill that even grown witches and wizards learn, because it is very difficult and dangerous in an actual duel."

"What do you mean by channeling raw magic?" Gabrielle asked.

I paused for a moment, thinking of a simple example that she would understand easily. "Before you cast a curse and say the incantation, do you feel slight tingling sensation in your skin?"

Gabrielle looked thoughtful before nodding. "Yes, now that I think about it. I do not notice it these days. It is the raw magic?"

"Yes." I nodded. "But we're not going into that yet. Any other questions before we proceed?"

"Why do you say blocking curses with your wand is dangerous?"

I was surprised that Fleur had asked a question. She was now seated in a desk nearest us with her mother, listening intently on my lecture.

"Is is dangerous, because you need precision to block any incoming curses." I nodded at her. "Also, a powerful wizard or witch can overcome your own magic and fry your wand, and it's not something anyone wants when they're in the middle of a battlefield."

"Can you teach it to me?" Gabrielle asked eagerly. "I can already cast the shield charm!"

"Sorry Gabrielle, it is really advanced magic, not something even N.E.W.T. students study." I said. "Now, why don't we move on transfiguration? I'll even teach you some tricks that you can use while dueling your opponents later."

Gabrielle's expression brightened to only fall again as I transfigured a long bench into a large blackboard. She realized that I was planning to teach her theory first, and like all young witches and wizards, she probably abhorred it.

"But first, we have to go to the theory of transfiguration." I said, smiling at her pout. She probably thought it was going to be a boring lecture, and I felt the same thing when I was around her age. Basics and theory were important though, and there are no shortcuts.


ooo

Fleur's car roared through the narrow roads of Bridport, and I checked again to see if my seatbelt was properly fastened. Gabrielle was sitting behind us in the backseat, talking with her sister about what she was going to buy with her week's allowance.

It seemed that my talk yesterday about proper wand safety was taken seriously by the Delacours, and they decided that I should accompany their daughters to purchase wand holsters for all of them.

I was nervous at first, thinking that we would head to Diagon alley and to Ollivander's. I was sure that the ancient wand crafter would be able to recognize me, scar or no scar. Thankfully, Julian told me about a small, isolated wizarding supply store right in the middle of Bridport.

Julian explained to me that the war had forced many of the small store owners of various magical commodities to spread out across the country, to avoid the attacks that the death eaters usually staged in Diagon Alley.

Protective wards were expensive, and not all could afford paying for the ministry or the goblin's services while trying to make a profit.

"What's the name of the store again?" I shouted over the wind to Fleur.

I guess she didn't hear me, but her sister did.

"It is called Madam Puddifoot's" Gabrielle answered.

I blinked, and looked behind me to see if she was joking. I recognized the name. It was a small tea shop that usually caters to students in Hogsmeade, and I spent my early years as an auror trainee patrolling the area when the war erupted.

"I didn't realize that a tea shop sold wand holsters." I decided to speak with the young Delacour sister, since she was more likely to answer my questions that her obviously still pissed sister.

"Where were you during the war?" I turned to see that Fleur had finally decided to talk. "No doubt you were hiding deep inside the ministry."

"I didn't..." I protested, but she continued speaking.

"Most of the store owners that changed addresses noticed that wizards and witches are very nervous when shopping, and wanted to buy all of their needs in just one location." Fleur said. "Madam Puddifoot started selling all kinds of wizarding merchandise to maintain her profits."

I nodded, it was logical I suppose. The less time you were out in the open, the less likely you would be attacked by the death eaters or get caught in the crossfire in a skirmish between aurors and dark wizards.

"How's the security in her store?" I asked.

"Enough." Fleur turned the wheel to the left to avoid what looked to be bales of hale and changed gears again. "We gave her establishment additional wards, though not in the level of Ollivander's, or the others that refused to move from their premises in Diagon Alley."

"We?" I asked. "Did you fight in the war?"

"Of course she did!" Gabrielle piped up from behind. It was clear that fourteen year old looked up to her sister. "She was a member of the Order..."

"Gabrielle!" Fleur snapped. "What did I tell you about that?"

"But the war is over! And he who must not be named is dead!" Gabrielle said stubbornly.

I suddenly felt nervous when I realized that Fleur was an operative of the infamous Order of the Phoenix. They were a vigilante organization that had popular support within the population. Minister Fudge was at first annoyed at their activities, fearing that he would lose his popularity. But as the war dragged on, he grudgingly acknowledged that the vigilante group's actions helped against the fight against Voldemort, and later deputized the Order of the Phoenix with the same powers as the auror corps.

There were many rumors about the Order of the Phoenix in the Auror barracks. The most famous one was that most of our superiors were part of the group, though I couldn't imagine Madame Bones following anyone's orders, since even the minister feared bossing her around.

Another was that the most of the intelligence we acted upon was based from the order's information, that they were an excellent intelligence gathering organization. They were supposedly very interested in me, and that was why Fudge kept me in a tight leash and surrounded me with his most trusted aurors, meaning they constantly received gifts from the minister.

For Fleur to be a member meant that she was a capable witch, and if news of my disappearance became public, no doubt that the order would soon hunt for my whereabouts. I had to be careful.

"...there are still many death eaters that are still roaming free." I listened in as Fleur and Gabrielle argued. "We have to remain vigilant."

"I heard form a few friends that the Order's very famous in the auror barracks" I added, hoping to hear more of the mysterious organization.

"No doubt." Fleur said. "If it weren't for us, the ministry would have fallen years ago."

I wanted to dispute her statement, but I couldn't annoy her again, since she seemed like she was in a talkative mood. "Then let me, in behalf of the ministry, thank you. If what you say is true, then if it weren't for your organization, I would be out of a job."

She gave me a steady look, and I feared we would crash on the rows of hedges that lined the narrow dirt road. "What exactly, is your job, in the ministry, Mr. Parker?"

"I can't say." I mumbled, wondering why she was so curious about my job. She couldn't possibly know what my true identity is, could she?

"Mr. Parker's an Unspeakable..." Gabrielle began, but she was interrupted by her sister.

"Please." Fleur snorted. "I know for a fact that Unspeakables are not secret agents that you keep comparing to those muggles you and Papa keep on watching on the television. They're just wizards and witches, mostly scholars - that study obscure branches of magic."

I was impressed. Not everybody knew what the Unspeakables really were, unless you were really friendly with those in power. It was rare for someone not in the higher ups in the ministry to know that the unspeakable were really just a bunch of introverts obsessed with their own research, slowly wasting their lives away in their poorly lit offices.

Sure, the department of mysteries from time to time managed breakthroughs in some branch of magic like time travel, (those time turners for example), but most of their discoveries were rarely useful and unpractical for the common witch and wizard. Unfortunately, the department of mysteries hadn't invented even one single spell that could help the ministry during the war.

She turned to me, ignoring her sister's crestfallen expression at the thought that her tutor, besides his clumsiness, was not some elite wizard. "And what you displayed yesterday was not something an unspeakable should know. It was obvious during the short time you taught Gabrielle, that you know your way around a fight."

I was starting to get nervous, not because of her suspicions but because she was looking straight at me, and had forgotten that she was actually driving a car. But she then had a thoughtful look on her face and thankfully, she focused her attention back to avoiding all of us suffering a horrible accident.

"But then..." She continued while her she continued looking forward. "Alastor Moody had sent you in his place."

I guess she finally realized who had recommended me, and I know for a fact that Moody rarely trusts anyone. Hopefully, with the help of Moody's endorsement, Fleur would stop getting curious about my background. Still, I needed to tell her something, to ease her mind.

I've met several witches and wizards that acted like Fleur before. They were all high strung, nervous, and seemed to be infected by Moody's paranoia. I couldn't really blame them- or Fleur for their actions. It was war, and the enemy isn't above using the image of one's loved ones to get past their defenses and stab them in the back.

"Watch out!" I yelled.

I closed my eyes for a moment, fearing that we'd kill a cow munching beside the road. It looked like the animal had escaped and was happily munching on the green shoots beside the hedges, but was now looking curiously at our rapidly approaching death machine.

I partially opened one eye and breathed a sigh of relief when I realized we didn't hit anything... yet. I glanced at our driver and frowned at her atrocious driving.

"You should slow down." I said quietly.

Fleur glared at me for a moment then spoke. "Do you have a muggle driver's license?"

"Well, no..." I trailed off. "But there's this supersensory charm that..."

"Can you even drive?" She asked scathingly, pronouncing every word slowly as if I was stupid to comprehend them.

"No." I said more firmly. I was about to continue, but once again she interrupted me. What the hell is wrong with her?

"Then do not offer me any advice in matters you do not know." She finished.

The three of us spent the rest of the short trip in silence, just listening to the hum of the engine as our lunatic driver changed gears every so often. I really thought this was a good idea back then, when Apolline suggested that we head into town. I wanted to learn more about my mischievous student and get to know her, but her older sister's bitchiness was getting in the way.

I glanced at the rear view mirror that Fleur didn't even bother to adjust and saw Gabrielle's expression. She looked like she was used to her sister's foul mood, since she was just combing her long hair down with her fingers. She caught my gaze and she grinned, clearly enjoying my poor treatment by her sister. I decided to just watch the hedges that lined the narrow dirt road, but that didn't turn out to be a good idea since I suddenly felt sick after a minute.

Thankfully we reached the town proper, and we soon passed the train station that I was supposed to get picked up two days ago. It turned out that Madam Puddifoot's was not far from Hugh's, the pub I had a quick lunch with.

If I had been a death eater, I would look past the small building as one of hundreds in the long street. Even with my trained senses, I couldn't detect any wards at all on the three story building. It had brown bricks and a darker brown roof, similar to the style as the Delacour's Red House in construction. There were no markings or signs to indicate that it was a store at all, just shrubs and plants that lined the front of the house.

Fleur didn't even bother to knock as she and Gabrielle entered the house while I hurried to follow them. The room we entered looked normal enough for a house, except for a very old telly in the corner and an assortment of muggle devices that I thought we entered an antique store.

"This way, Mister Parker." Gabrielle tugged the sleeve of my sweater. We headed down a small, poorly lit hallway and I almost stumbled when I heard the noise when Fleur opened the door at the end.


ooo

Madam Puddifoot looked like your average, run of the mill, middle aged housewife that seemed to thrive in being the center of attention, very similar to my former boss. The proprietor was listening to the wizarding wireless, while half a dozen witches listened patiently.

"...and for some reason, Fudge has not yet presented our savior to the public! Is the minister concerned about all the attention that Harry Potter is receiving? Perhaps he is jealous, dear readers."

I immediately recognized Skeeter's voice. She was at first, Fudge's most favorite person, when she still worked at the Daily Prophet. I remembered the yearly interviews I had with her when I was younger, where surprisingly my one word replies turned into full paragraphs with Rita Skeeter's editing.

When the war dragged on, Rita started to criticize Fudge's inaction when his most valuable campaign contributor, Lucius Malfoy, was caught by aurors while attacking a muggleborn's house in London. This was when their relationship turned sour, and Rita's articles became venomous, and Fudge's bane of existence. Sadly, I was caught in the crossfire.

"Good morning." Fleur greeted. The other witches in the room waved to her and Gabrielle, and only gave me a passing glance.

"Fleur!" Madam Puddifoot hugged the older Delacour sister and beckoned her to sit with the rest of the witches on the table. "Come have tea with us! You wouldn't believe the latest gossip!"

Fleur accepted and sat among the witches, I guess this was a common occurrence. I just followed Gabrielle and we sat near to the shelves that lined the well lit, large room. Everywhere, shelves lined the walls, with circular tables and chairs in the middle with a bar at the end.

It was warmer inside, and Gabrielle removed her denim jacket, and I smiled when I saw her improvised wand holster- a scarf with floral design tied to her wrist. She really took my elementary wand safety lessons to heart, after I showed her visual images of what could happen if a wand misfired while tucked in the back pocket of one's pants.

I looked back at the laughing witches due to whatever Skeeter said and noticed Fleur's face. She had a strained smile on her face, obviously trying to be polite around the other witches who were in a celebratory mood.

"You have to forgive my sister." Gabrielle noticed where I was looking and had spoken up. "She's not usually like this."

"Really?" I had trouble believing Fleur could be anything but a bitch. She was still hot though...

"Well, she's really hard to please." Gabrielle admitted. "But before, she often made jokes around me and even played with my dolls when we were younger."

"So what happened?" I asked.

"Our home in France was destroyed." Gabrielle said sadly. "It was the same day that Beauxbatons was attacked by death eaters."

"Why would you move here to England then, when it's closer to the war?" I asked.

"It was Fleur who suggested we stay here in Bridport. Papa had given this house to Fleur and her fiancé for her upcoming marriage as a wedding gift, and she offered that we stay here and we would be under the Order of the Phoenix's protection." Gabrielle replied.

"She's engaged?" I never figured Fleur was the type to settle down and get married. From the short time that I had known her, she seems very bitter and angry, and it was all focused to me.

"Was engaged." Gabrielle said.

I leaned back on my chair and looked at the topic of our conversation. Gabrielle's story explained why her sister was in a foul mood. I suddenly felt bad for my own behavior against her, and decided to be more patient with her attitude, instead of responding with biting remarks and words.

"We really had a nice house in France." Gabrielle sighed. "My room was really big, and I had my own bathroom, and a balcony overlooking the gardens!"

That explained the odd pieces of furniture I noticed inside the Red House. I felt pity for the Delacour Family, and wondered how many other families suffered through the war.

"Then why don't you move back?" I asked. "The war is over, and Voldemort's dead."

Gabrielle squirmed a little when I mentioned the Dark Lord's name, but she didn't scold me like I expected. "That's why I'm so happy when I heard that Harry Potter defeated him! Mama and Papa are probably preparing to move back soon!"

"That's great." I smiled slightly.

"What's great?" Fleur said from behind me.

"I was telling Mister Parker about our home in France." Gabrielle answered, as she looked at her sister with excitement. "When do you think we're going back?"

"Gabrielle?" Fleur sighed. "You've probably asked me that question a dozen times for the last few days. I told you, it's up to Mama."

"But..." Gabrielle was about to protest, but her sister held one hand up and cut her off.

"We'll have this discussion once we got back, and in private."Fleur glanced at me for a moment, obviously did not want to discuss the matter around me. She held up two large paper bags and nodded to the exit. "Let's go, I have the wrist holder you kept on bugging me to get."

Gabrielle nodded and obediently followed her sister back to the car. I offered to carry the paper bags and Fleur's silence told me her answer. I was slightly annoyed with her attitude, even with the loss of her fiancé and decided to cool off. It was Saturday after all and decided to spend my first paycheck that I received that morning from Julian.

"I think I'll stay for a bit." I said once we reached the car. "I'll explore the town and get something to eat from the local pub, so tell your mother I'll be back after lunch."

I immediately turned around and headed to Hugh's, ready to order a meal that was of better quality and volume than the previous one I had inside the pub. I knew I was slightly rude when I told them of my plans and then walking away from Fleur without waiting for her reply, but her hostile attitude towards me was grating on my nerves, and getting a pint or two seemed like a good idea to cool off.

Thoughts of the Delacour sisters gradually slipped away from my mind at the prospect of a good meal, a pocket that actually contained British notes and not coins, and a town waiting to be explored.


ooo

As he claimed, Hugh's steak and homemade mead was excellent. I leisurely consumed the meal, and between bites I answered questions from the other patrons about the Red House and the family who was occupying it.

"They really like their privacy." I said while I played around with the slice of strawberry pie that Hugh's wife made. While Hugh's cooking was excellent, his wife's was not, judging from the untouched slices of strawberry pie that the other patrons had in front of them.

"I never figured that a French family's living there." Patrick, the first person I met in Dorset said.

"At least now we know it's not haunted." Hugh quipped. "It's worse, it's the French."

The patrons all laughed at Hugh's joke.

"They really are nice people. The father's quite the gardener. I think it helps him relax." I added, feeling the need to defend my host family. "You should see his vegetable garden and the flower beds, they're in full bloom. He's very passionate about plants."

"Hmmm." Patrick scratched his beard. "Well that explains why he moved his family here. Tell him if he's interested, he should enter the vegetable competition."

"I will Patrick."

"Does he own any livestock?" John, the farmer that I met days before that kept on talking about his pregnant Pig Maggie asked.

"No. I haven't seen any sheep or pigs. They use the barn for their two cars." I replied.

"Pity. That place has some prime grazing land." John said. "Well, tell... Julian was it?"

"Yeah."

"Well, tell him that if he's interested, I'm willing to sell him some young pigs and a couple of hens." John scratched his own beard. I was beginning to wonder if I should grow my own, though it would probably look silly on me.

"Will do John." I pulled a few notes and gave it to Hugh. "I'm off, that was a great meal."

"See you next Saturday!" Hugh waved.


ooo

"How was your afternoon Mr. Parker?" Apolline Delacour asked me as we were finishing dinner.

"I spent the afternoon looking at the various shops." I replied. "The people here are very friendly."

Seeing that I wasn't going to elaborate further, Apolline turned to her daughter. "Any news from Madam Puddifoot?"

"It's just the same Mama." Fleur began when she scrunched up her nose and paused for a few moments, and then snapped her fingers. "I almost forgot. We were listening to Rita Skeeter on the wireless, and there were some very interesting about the ministry that she revealed."

"You do know Rita Skeeter's reputation for distorting the truth." Julian warned her daughter. "Remember the triwizard tournament and those awful things she wrote about you?"

"Yes Papa." Fleur said. "But what she said this time is really intriguing. It's about Harry Potter."

"What about him?" Gabrielle asked instantly. I had an idea on what she would say next and just focused on my food.

"Rita's sources say that Harry Potter's missing, and that the Ministry is trying to cover up the fact that no one had seen him since his victory over the Dark Lord's." Fleur said seriously.

"Do you think he might be captured by his followers?" Apolline's eyes were wide with concern, the exact expression on her youngest daughter's face. I admit it was a very cute look on them.

"No one knows." Fleur said. This morning's issue of the Daily Prophet showed Fudge meeting with Dumbledore at Hogwarts. "It's possible that he's going to ask for our help to look for him."

"I hope he's not taken by those Death Eaters." Gabrielle said fearfully.

"I don't think a wizard that just defeated the Dark Lord can be easily captured by a bunch of death eaters." Julian tried to comfort his youngest. "He's probably taking a vacation somewhere."

I hid my smile while I drank my glass of water. Julian couldn't be closer to the truth than possible.

"There is some resentment against Harry Potter though." Fleur said slowly.

"What do you mean?" Apolline asked.

"A few of Rita Skeeter's readers expressed their disappointment at Harry Potter over the course of the war." Fleur explained. "That he had taken too long... and for someone who has been trained since childhood by the most experienced practitioners of magic, he should be more than a match against the Dark Lord."

"That's ridiculous!" Julian exclaimed, while Apolline and Gabrielle voiced their own protests. I suddenly felt grateful to the Delacour family, and affection grew in my chest as I looked at their faces.

"This British Ministry's incompetence simply amazes me." Julian took another sip from his glass of red wine. "Just because they have this prophecy they think they're assured of victory."

I remembered the exact words of the prophecy when I was 8, when I was led inside the Hall of Prophecies deep inside the Department of Mysteries. Fudge was there with me, and he had made its entire contents made public.

"They couldn't possibly know what the Order of Phoenix did to secure his victory!" Julian ranted, while Fleur and Apolline tried to calm him. "That prophecy isn't a guarantee that Potter would win. Damn Horcruxes..."

"Papa!" Fleur hissed.

"What?" Julian asked. He noticed me and waved off his daughter's concern. "Don't worry about Mr. Parker Fleur. Alastor trusts him, and so do I. Besides, we got them all, didn't we? And now the Dark Lord's dead."

The goblet slipped from my hand and it fell on the stone floor, breaking into thousands of pieces.


ooo

A/N: I did have dividers(Line breaks) for scene changes in my other stories. For some reason the ****(asterisks) had disappeared whenever I post it here.

Thanks to DLP for their valuable input.