After writing for 8-hours straight, I present to /u/ and FFN a Hermione/Fleur femslash. Due to my dyslexia, this thing is probably need some serious edits (I tried, I swear). This is the first HP femslash I've ever done, so bear with me.
11/20 - Finally coming around to revising it. I still don't have enough free time to start on a new chapter. Gotta study for 'em finals.
Two Years After (Revised)
Hermione Jean Granger had woken up from a strange dream.
It featured two children clinging to her and a crowded Platform 9¾. She had no idea why she would dream of the platform of her school days, but then she had no idea why she would be dreaming such a dream at all. The children were quirky, fidgety, and unmistakably Weasley. A redhead man who she had guessed was Ron (why she did, she had no rational reason why) was ahead, pushing a trolley full of suitcases and a cage occupied by a miffed owl. They were walking briskly towards a more occupied area of the 9¾. The older child, female, looked up expectantly at her as if waiting for some sagely advice.
It had occurred to her that the two children might be hers, but that notion was insane to her. She and Ron had broken up years ago, during a fight that they both saw coming. And through an owl, no less. It devastated her then, so much that she was unable to study for her NEWTs. But she emerged out of them splendidly nonetheless, a fact which baffled her. Perhaps the break up's lack of impact on her meant that they weren't supposed to last, she thought. Perhaps whatever she felt for him could only have lasted in times of war.
The other child, male, had yanked her arm hard for attention, and that was when she had woken up.
Conscious, Hermione looked to her bedside. It was 6:18 AM of a murky April day. The year was 2000. First thought that occurred to her was that she should go back to sleep, but she was feeling too undeniably hungry to do so. And so she emerged groggily from bed.
Ron. She hadn't thought about him for a while. They also never had a proper talk about their break up, despite Ginny's meddling. They were also uncharacteristically civil to each other during their get-togethers. According to Ginny, Hermione was just waiting for Ron to apologize and Ron was waiting for Hermione to not be so ready to hex him to oblivion. Insightful as that was, Hermione wasn't aware that she was angry. And since she has been so busy, she hasn't been meeting Ron or any of her friends all that often.
She was starting to miss them.
As contemplative was she was, hunger prevailed. She freshened up, showered, and threw on an outfit. Figuring that she would have time to come back after the early breakfast, she laid out her work robe across the bed.
Hermione liked Dolahov's Grange for what it was – an austere row of townhouses tucked away from the muggle London. Everything appeared very much like the main road where it branched out from except for the lack of paved lanes. No cars were parked out the front of the houses. No cars within the compound at all, in fact. Each morning she strode through the door was a reminder that she was on familiar ground, magical ground. No cars, no muggles, no one likely to give a flying toss if she ventured out of the house mid-run while she used her ward to freshen herself up. The only thing that drove her out to venture beyond the magical veil that guarded her home was this mom-and-pop bakery just down the muggle road. Each morning the smell of fresh loaves and melted butter wafted into the magical compound unbidden. Many of her neighbors, all partial-blood but too far from their muggle roots to feel comfortable with the muggle world, were tempted by the smell. Yet they dare not seek out the source of the baked goodness, much less attempt to buy some. But Hermione was beyond such fears this morning, as it was with any other morning.
The bakery – Her mouth watered at the thought of it. It was muggle-owned and also known to open quite early. Once she really gave thought to it, the neighborhood that surrounded hers was largely muggle. She had no idea why she chose it. She just needed a place to go to once she graduated from Hogwarts and the place seemed convenient enough then. And there was no way she could have gone back to live with Ron. She had far too much pride for that. She had far too much pride to go live with her parents either. After living in completely different worlds for years, they were now incompatible. And they were still uncomfortable with the fact that their daughter had cast a False Memory Charm on them. Even now, Hermione was still unsure of how well they grasped the magnitude of the Second Wizarding War. And she was sick of explaining everything while they just pretend to understand. Then again, she was sick of a lot of things.
But no matter how out of touch she felt with the muggle world, she cherished whatever amount of time she spends in it. There, she was not Hermione Granger, a muggle-born witch in the Ministry of Magic and friend of the up-and-coming Aurors Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. To muggles she was Hermione Granger, the only daughter to her dentist parents and a freelance writer whose current project she would never show to anyone and whose expression always seemed tired. She also has grown thin over the years, almost unhealthily so.
The perpetual state of incognito was refreshing, like the soft crunch of the warm croissant she was biting into. The walk to the bakery was so short it hardly registered in her mind. The changes to the bakery hardly registered either. With little chairs and tables laid out, it was now more like a café. Back against the wall, she sat. It hadn't occurred to her to bring a book along today, but that made it all the easier for her to daze out of reality.
The door to the bakery opened with a cheery jingle and a woman entered. At that moment, the hardworking atmosphere of the place turned into a smitten one. The young man behind the counter was especially susceptible to the woman's charm, though for a different reason than he would have guessed.
And then entered Fleur Delacour, in a muggle bakery. Perhaps she, too, was beyond such fears.
Fleur was scared of muggles. Not that she would be upfront to admitting it, of course. Their ways were a harder one, impractical and completely foreign to her. But what they lacked in magic they compensated with innovation, and that alone was both strange and admirable to her.
In her mind, muggles were people too. All were people, who are alike in their duality to cause both good and harm. If she shut herself away from the people who, just a short while before, a group of dark wizards were so willing to oppress, what else was there to say about her character? Prideful as she was, Fleur was no oppressor. It was no good to her being a bystander either. Her role in the war had taught her better.
The boyish man behind the counter was eager to catch her attention, but she found herself drawn by the hunched figure sitting back against the war.
She sucked in a surprised breath when she realized that it was not just another pretty face before her. It was Hermione Granger, the one and only. She was the one who had made the pursuit of knowledge a noble one in Fleur's eyes. Though she would have to be both deaf and blind not to notice that her admiration for the woman 4 years her junior was not a purely innocent one.
Her heart began to race, its pulse resonating through her body like a calling drum. The younger woman had not noticed her or her painfully thudding heart yet.
If Hermione was fully aware of who had just entered, she would have instantly scowled. She didn't feel like dealing with a Weasley at the moment, even one that had married into the family and had taken care of her during the War.
The woman, whose initial intention was to get herself breakfast, was distracted by Hermione's quiet presence.
"Hermione? Is that Hermione Granger?"
And thus her state of incognito was destroyed by the voice of Fleur Weasley. Hermione must admit her English was far less accented than before, yet it still rubbed inside her in a weirdly indescribable way. It didn't help that the woman was now walking towards her with a strangely cordial expression. Surprised, she could not bring herself to sufficiently scowl. Instead, she choked:
"Hi, Fleur. Long time no see."
Since the blonde Frenchwoman was a Weasley, Hermione wasn't sure what she has heard about her and Ron. It had been a while since she had last seen the Weasleys, even Ginny, or been to their home. Then she wondered what Fleur was doing here, since Tinworth was ways from London.
"I haven't seen you since the War," she said. "Mind if I sit?"
The last time Hermione had seen Fleur was during Fred's funeral. But they were both too preoccupied then to take proper notice of each other and Hermione hadn't the heart to correct her. Deciding to at least be civil, Hermione shook her head. "Go ahead."
Fleur seemed glad. "But after I get my breakfast first, of course. Excusez-moi."
She made her way to the counter and ordered 2 croissants from the bewitched young man. Once Hermione was paying proper attention to the older woman, she saw that Fleur was wearing a cream-colored wool turtleneck and a pair of tight dark jeans. Her blonde hair was tucked into a floppy brown beret. Veela or not, Fleur was an attractive woman who took great care of herself. It was easier for Hermione to admit this ever since her stay at Shell Cottage during the War. Even so, Hermione felt underdressed in her presence and felt frumpy by comparison.
Once properly planted on a seat opposite to Hermione with a paper bag in her hand, Fleur remarked "The croissants here are perfect. Reminds me of home."
It was the first instance Hermione had ever witnessed Fleur praising something. Finishing her own croissant, she could only inwardly agree. Perhaps the bakery was magical in its own ways.
In an attempt to be consistently civil, she asked "How have you been?"
"I am settling in. London is more crowded than what I'm used to. Fish and chips are just too fattening. I cannot bear it."
Hermione blinked, stunned. "You moved to London?"
"For a job at Gringrotts." If Fleur was surprised that Hermione wasn't privy to this tidbit of information beforehand, it failed to show.
"Oh." This was the first time Hermione has heard of it. "Is Bill working there too?"
Fleur shook her head calmly, perhaps far too calmly. "No. We have separated. Have you not heard?"
"No. I'm… not currently in touch with the Weasleys."
"…Ever since Ron… Ah. I do not think Molly forgives him, even now. She would have liked you as a daughter-in-law than she does me."
Hermione shifted uncomfortably. She was itching for answers. Fleur and Bill seemed the unlikeliest to ever break apart. They were compatible, something that she and Ron was not. "But why? You were good together."
"He had another woman. I walked in on them. Sounds simple enough, no? But it was enough to break us." Any other person would shy away from sharing details, but not Fleur. This aspect of her had not changed, Hermione realized. But Fleur seemed pained by the recollection, even for just a slight moment. Perhaps it wasn't good for her to share at all.
"Sorry. That was impolite of me. I shouldn't have asked."
"Non, Hermione." She waved. "You have no idea how great it is to see a familiar face. It's merely an update to my predicament. And I'm not used to you being so meek. What about you? It's been a while since you've graduated from Hogwarts, no? Where are you working now?"
It might be just her, but Fleur was starting to sound a lot like Molly Weasley, of all people. "Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. A desk job, really."
"You are happy with it, at least?"
"I suppose. I took the job for a reason, but even that isn't going well." She thought about S.P.E.W., which she was working on, in her own way.
"That would not do. You are Hermione Granger! You are the reason I even got the job at Gringrotts in the first place! If anyone can do things, it is you."
Hermione sat in stunned silence before turning a light shade of red. It was high praise coming from someone as hard to please as Fleur. It was also the only praise she has been getting as of late. While she was thorough and hardworking, she was also driven and meddlesome. She was not widely liked by her coworkers. It was like Hogwarts all over again, but without Harry and Ron and Ginny and Professor McGonagall.
Fleur leaned in. "Would you like to have lunch sometime?"
Hermione was shaken back to Earth by a lunch invitation which, to her elated mind, sounded at first like a date. "Sorry?"
"Would you like to have lunch? You're probably busy, but it is just so lonely here."
Her heart leapt for some strange reason unknown to herself. "Yes! Definitely." she replied hurriedly before sinking back into her chair. "…But I can't do lunch. I only get 30 minutes for it." Cursed bureaucrat's lunchtime, she thought.
"We can do dinner, if you'd like. I have a place in mind. Casual-wear. When do you get out of work?"
"6 sharp." Hermione usually worked on her translation of The Tales of Beedle the Bard during the evenings, but she supposed she could take a break for one day.
"Tomorrow night, then?"
"I'll apparate to your office, then. The goblins get tense whenever one of you three appears."
"It's been 2 years!" Hermione huffed.
"1 year and 11 months," said Fleur playfully. "Not so sure about the amount of days, but I'm sure the goblins do. Which reminds me…" Fleur stood and began to smooth out her cream-colored turtleneck. "I must get ready for work. I will see you, hm?"
Hermione nodded. "Of course. Tomorrow night."
"Tomorrow night," Fleur beamed. She was gone with a graceful turn of the doorknob and a push, leaving Hermione the happiest she has been in a long while.