Disclaimer: I do not in any way, shape or form own Harry Potter and the related characters. I do however own, my original characters and the plot.
AN: Sorry for the delay in the newest chapter release this time, but this was the only chapter I so far hadn't finished. However, sadly you will have to get used to it. From now on I will be writing new chapters as I go along, and it will take significantly longer, as I will have to fit it in between college and my job. Thought you should know.
Also you should know that in this chapter there will be more intense scenes, character death, and some of the main characters will personality traits that some people will hate. When I started this fic, I started it out on a small but important premise; why do Fleur always have to be so nice? Why can't she be the manipulating, tough, spiteful seductress. The main reason she has seemed so pleasant so far is because she has only been in the company of Harry for the most part, in this particular chapter we will see her interact with other people away from him. Likewise, you're going to see exactly how dis-associated Harry has become from the general populace of Hogwarts, it will probably astound most.
That's about it. Enjoy the read.
Surprise and concern had been the most dominant emotions when the distinguished man had stormed up to Harry. His focus had been mostly on Daphne, but he had still spared Harry a nasty look which had put her on her toes.
She had discreetly removed her wand from her holster within her robe, just in case the situation had turned volatile. However she needn't have worried at all as both the elder Greengrass and his daughter, as she quickly deduced, had had their wands seized by the Hogwarts Headmaster.
Harry left quickly but not before extracting a promise from Fleur to meet the following day.
So she was soon enough left alone at dinner in the Great Hall, except for the occasional young boys asking her to the Yule Ball. The dining hall was filled with young teens gossiping. Mostly it was about the Tri-Wizard tournament, and mainly the last contestant, Harry, but the sudden emergence of Mr. Greengrass had only spurred the young men and women on, and soon the hall was abuzz with one conspiracy theory after another.
She herself was curious as she pondered the nature of the connection between Harry and Daphne, as she herself had been unable to find the link. It might explain the deference the girl showed to Harry and some of the more conspicuous comments she had picked up on.
She had lost her appetite after the display before and soon enough she was exiting the Great Hall leaving the noisy crowd behind, and she calmly ascended the staircases on the way to the Ravenclaw dormitory, with only a brief glace out the window at the waning sun.
They were a couple of days into December, and it was only getting marginally colder. There were no signs of snow at all, and she was unsure if any would fall in time for the Yule Ball, but she held out hope.
The walk was to the Ravenclaw tower was slow, but it gave her the time and necessary quiet to think properly.
It had quickly become obvious to Fleur that things would become complicated whenever Harry was involved and the trouble with Mr. Greengrass only further attested to this. Moreover, she suspected that trouble of one sort or another would always follow him around, and it seemed that this only became truer when it became obvious that he was a male Veela.
She had however confirmed a suspicion of hers today, when it came to the new breadth of her Veela powers. She had been able to affect Harry much more powerfully than she normally had, but it was still significantly less than how she had been able to affect ordinary men before her sudden boost. It was possible that his resistance simply came with his own Veela powers.
She still did not have complete control of her powers, but that was to be expected. Actually she thought she had done quite well so far, considering how long it had taken her to originally grasp it, but at that particular point in time she didn't have anything to compare it to, no base of reference.
She heard footsteps behind her, but she ignored them in favor of immersing herself in her own thoughts, at least until she felt a gentle but firm hand land on her shoulder.
She turned around ready to lash out at the person who had drawn her attention, and was a bit surprised to find one of Louise's cronies there, the petite redhead specifically.
Fleur adopted a haughty look, and attempted to project her irritation through sheer force of will. She could mention a hundred things she'd rather do than talk with one of Louise's henchwomen.
"What do you want Michelle?" Fleur asked, automatically going back to her native language, though it was heavily tinged with the impatience and annoyance she was feeling at the moment.
Michelle narrowed her eyes, but otherwise didn't respond to the non-verbal taunt. She however looked up and down the hall as if to ensure that nobody was listening in, raising Fleur's interest slightly.
"I have a favor to ask of you," she seemed to force out. Fleur herself realized how difficult this must have been for her, as she herself would never under any circumstances ask for help from Louise's or any of her cronies.
"Well, what is it about?" Fleur asked.
Michelle took a deep breath, drew herself up and stared into Fleur's eyes resolutely.
"It's about Louise," she said finally. "I assume you know about the situation between her and Harry Potter, right?"
Fleur nodded stiffly. "If you're referring to the fact that it's becoming common knowledge that they've had sex, then yes I do. But I don't see the problem yet, many people have sex, it's not exactly uncommon. You should know that as well as anyone."
Fleur could see from the sudden rigidity of Michelle's posture that her barb had struck home, but the girl kept herself under control.
"The problem is that Louise has become very attached to him," Michelle continued as if the veiled insult hadn't even been uttered.
Fleur couldn't help but laugh condescendingly. "Are you saying that you're worried that Louise is actually developing feelings for him? Would it be better if it was just a meaningless one-night stand?"
"That's not what I meant," Michelle snapped, finally losing some of the reign on her temper. "The problem is that her attachment is bordering on obsession. She almost attacked another student today because he bad-mouthed Harry."
"So? I'm pretty sure Louise's is old enough to make her own decisions," Fleur retorted. "Though I sometimes have my doubts, and I still don't know what exactly it is I'm supposed to help you with."
"The problem is that if someone doesn't make her see what's happening to her, then she'll become so obsessed about Harry Potter, that she'll throw away everything she's been working for so far," Michelle said heatedly. "You need to say something to her, snap her out of this funk or whatever it is she's in."
Fleur was actually a bit stumped by her solution and couldn't help but look at Michelle as if the girl had a screw loose. "I don't know if you've noticed, but she hates me, and I doubt anything I say actually gets through that thick skull of hers."
"Yes you can, you're probably one of the only people who can actually get her to stop," Michelle retorted instantly. "She's fancies herself your rival, and measures herself up against you. If you somehow let it be known that you think he is immature or something it will eventually get to Louise. She wouldn't want something that you don't."
"So let me get this straight," Fleur began. "You want me to put down another Champion because you think it will help Louise realize that she, according to you, is acting in a very unhealthy manner? Tell me again why I should do it? For what we know they could very well have genuine feelings for one another."
It left a definite gall in her mouth just imagining it, actually saying it left her feeling almost emotionally ill.
Michelle's face grew very red, in what Fleur assumed was anger. "He's only talked to her one time since they were together, and she's been going insane from worry and he's not even passed along a message to her or anything, he's just been ignoring her."
"From what you say it doesn't seem as if Louise actually minds it," Fleur responded seriously. "Besides have you thought about the possibility that he's been too busy since then to focus his attention on her? In case you hadn't noticed he is a Tri-Wizard Champion despite what many people prefer to pretend."
"He doesn't deserve her," Michelle shouted with anger predominant in her eyes. "She's a wonderful person and he's treating her like trash."
Then Fleur laughed as she finally found the root of the problem, and she continued laughing for a few minutes until she was almost out of breath. Meanwhile Michelle was only getting even more incensed, as it seemed she was taking her laughing as an insult.
"What are you laughing about?" Michelle suddenly snapped. "What's so funny about this?"
Fleur finally managed to calm her breathing and stop laughing, however she couldn't keep the smile off her face.
"You should know better than anyone what is funny about this Michelle," Fleur said lightly.
"What are you talking about?" Michelle snapped.
"I actually do see what your problem is now, and it's amazing I didn't notice before," Fleur said with a wicked smile in place. "You're jealous."
"Jealous?" Michelle questioned.
"Yes, jealous. Jealous of Harry to be exact," she said and snickered. "You don't think he's worthy of Louise."
Michelle paled suddenly, the red leaving her instantly, and she seemed to shrink in on herself.
"You want her for yourself," Fleur continued gloatingly. "I wonder how you managed to keep this hidden from Louise for so long. How long have you been in love with her?"
"I'm… I'm not…," Michelle stuttered suddenly, the exact opposite of the personality she had been projecting previously.
"Don't lie to me," Fleur snapped impatiently. "I think we're past that point, aren't we?"
Michelle kept quiet, though if possible the petite redhead seemed to become even smaller.
"So you won't say anything?" Fleur inquired.
"Will you do it or not?" Michelle asked quietly, with her eyes focused on her toes.
"Help you break them apart so you can have her for yourself?" Fleur mocked. "I don't think so. You're on your own on that front, though I feel I should warn you that you have your work cut out for you, as I seriously don't think Louise has any lesbian tendencies."
Michelle winced as is she had been physically struck and sucked her breath in.
Michelle didn't say anything and simply skulked back down the corridor she had come from, like a beaten puppy, and Fleur suspected that it didn't help that she was snickering at the poor girl while she was practically running away with her tail between her legs.
When the redhead was out of sight, she sighed deeply.
That really had been cruel of her, but constantly hearing about Louise's brief exploits with Harry still angered her greatly, mostly because the closest she had gotten to that point was a brief chaste kiss in an empty hallway.
What steeled her nerves was the inevitability of her own victory over Louise. She still had the greatest weapon to wield over her, and that was her Veela Allure.
Which led her back to her previous thoughts from before she was rudely interrupted; she would have to further hone her abilities if she was to be capable of really attracting Harry in the way of the Veela.
Besides, she still had trouble controlling her Veela Fire to the extent she had been able to before, and whenever she managed to call it now it quickly flickered out of existence moments after, though it was significantly larger than it used to be.
She encountered no more people while walking through the halls and she occasionally snickered at the thought of one of Louise's best friends being in love with her, and extremely jealous of Harry. It however required that she keep a sharp eye on her as well, as it would not do for her turn hostile intentions towards Harry, if her jealousy pushed her that far.
When she arrived at the Ravenclaw tower it was surprisingly devoid of life, and she could only see one young Ravenclaw actually in the common room, and he was so engrossed in his book that he didn't even notice her entrance.
Soon enough she was secluded in her bed, she allowed sleep to overcome her thought-riddled mind.
She was walking down an old hallway.
There wasn't much to see, the stone wall looked ancient, but the few portraits scattered across on it on her trek down the hall was in pristine shape.
It however puzzled her that she couldn't make out what was painted on the portraits, as they all seemed hazy and blurred, and she could only vaguely make out figures and colors.
The only thing that seemed substantial was the hallway and the undeniable urge to reach the end of it, to see what was there, and it was growing by the second.
However alongside it was a growing sense of foreboding.
Soon enough everything, but the stone-lined floor and the urge to discover what was at the end of it, was a giant blur and it was with a giant effort that she ripped her attention away from the hallway, and closed her eyes in an attempt to shut away the feelings.
"Good, it wouldn't do for one of us to be weak-willed," said a very feminine voice, from behind her.
Fleur quickly whirled around and felt slightly nauseous when the entire hallway seemed to ripple and blur, and changed instantly to a large rectangular room, which if possible felt even more ancient than the hallway.
The dizziness the shift caused was quickly swept aside as Fleur forced her mind into analytical mode and quickly scanned the room. She noted a large round table in the middle of the room, with ten majestic seats spaced equally around the table. She could see the back of some of them; which showed sinister carved numbers on the back of each.
Her eyes thought quickly caught the one person in the room besides her.
When blue eyes met blue eyes her breath was taken away.
Sitting in front of her was what Fleur herself defined as the very epitome of perfection of physical beauty, though only the face of the person was visible, as the rest of the body was shrouded in what looked like a heavy woolen cloak.
The face of the woman in front of her, was deeply tanned, giving her a very exotic look, however it was probably her least prominent feature. Her high cheekbones and delicate jaw lent a very aristocratic air to the woman in front of her. Her lips resembled Fleur's own to a certain degree; they were rosy colored and slightly pouty which rendered an indescribable sexiness to the woman in front of her. Above this was a delicate, almost frail looking nose which, though incredibly beautiful in and of itself, only served the purpose of drawing a person's eyes higher.
When Fleur locked eyes with the woman she almost gasped.
The electric blue that met her own were so intense and expressive that Fleur almost felt like a child trapped in that gaze. They almost seemed luminous as they stared into what felt like her soul for an indeterminable period of time.
She idly noted that her face was framed by silky looking blonde hair so light in color that it almost matched her own silvery blonde hair. It stretched down to just past her shoulders, with a few stray locks lying down the front of her body.
The woman absentmindedly swept the locks back over her shoulder.
It was only Fleur's own confidence in her own looks that kept her from quailing beneath the stare of this goddess made flesh, who was staring straight at her with inscrutable eyes. The feeling of being weighed had never been more tangible than it was now.
Fleur's mind felt blank, and she was unable to put words to the hundreds of questions that was milling around in her head.
The woman suddenly gestured to a majestic seat which left just one seat between them. The gesture itself was sensuous in every sense of the word and it didn't look rehearsed in any way, it just seemed to be the way her arms moved, however Fleur was sure it was one of the single most sexual movements she had ever seen a woman perform.
"Why don't you take a seat," she said in a feminine voice which seemed to fit perfectly in with the total package.
Fleur felt her body move on auto-pilot and sat down in the appointed chair, in which, she offhandedly noted, was carved the number 10.
The woman smiled congenially at Fleur, and she recognized it as an attempt to put her at ease.
"It should be more comfortable for us to talk like this," the older beauty explained, and this time Fleur noticed a rich accent in her voice, though she had no idea from where it came from. "And I'm quite sure you have a lot of questions."
Fleur sat still, simply staring at the woman, attempting to figure out whether or not this was a dream.
"Well," the woman said with small laugh. "Ask away, we do have limited time here, and I would like to get some real sleep tonight."
"So this is a dream," Fleur said, and was inwardly surprised at how much more confident she sounded as opposed to how she felt.
The woman frowned briefly. "It is, yet it isn't. This is both a dream and something else, something very much real. It is hard to explain, and the entire subject will probably take more than a few hours to cover substantially enough for you to dimly grasp what this," she said and waved at the room around them. "is. The easiest way to put it is that this is a state of dreaming before the actual state of dreaming."
"It doesn't sound that complicated to be honest", Fleur said, though it was still in that level, confident tone.
The woman laughed daintily. "It's complicated beyond both yours and my understanding. Suffice it to say that this realm is not really bound by the laws of the physical or the magical world. Almost anything is possible in here."
She waved her arm again and out of nowhere popped a weird one-horned creature, easily the size of half the table. It had scales all over the body except for irregularly placed patches of sparse fur. Its beady eyes stared confusedly around the room, and Fleur could hear the heavy panting of the slightly terrified beast.
Fleur's posture became more rigid upon seeing the somewhat horrifying creature appear out of nowhere, and she felt a trickle of apprehension at the sight.
It seemed that the strange woman noticed this as she reassured her.
"Don't worry, it's doesn't even know we are here, and besides, I can make it disappear as quickly as I made it appear," she explained and snapped her fingers, causing the beast to disappear again.
"What was that thing?" Fleur asked, the sliver of revulsion noticeable in her voice only showing the merest part of her disgust.
The woman waved off her question. "It is a very rare beast in the world nowadays. Its old name was Belligondras Darriode, but I believe it goes by many names in the present time, the most weird one being Crumple-Horned Snorkack."
Fleur shook of the wonderment she felt in favor of getting answers to her real questions.
"Who are you?" Fleur inquired seriously.
The woman shook her head. "I'm afraid I cannot tell you. We are not allowed to know the identity of each other."
"What do you mean 'we'? And why can't you tell me?" she demanded.
"We are what you would call a very old order," the woman explained vaguely. "The world doesn't know of us, and we intend to keep it that way. As for your second question; the reason I cannot tell you is because I am not allowed to."
Fleur huffed. "Then what can you tell me?"
"Not much I'm afraid," the woman answered with a sigh. "But we must move on to the real reason I have brought you here."
The woman sat you straighter and took on a more imposing demeanor.
"I am sure you have become aware of certain changes you have been going through with in the last week or so, am I correct?" the woman asked with a quiet authority in her voice.
Fleur stiffened and immediately felt more ill at ease.
Harry had been the only one besides her to know about her condition, and she really doubted he was the one who had told her.
The question then was; how did she know?
"I'm afraid I don't know what you're talking about," Fleur lied smoothly. "I have noticed nothing amiss."
"Don't lie to me," the woman said impatiently, with a disapproving frown on her face. "I know you've experienced something unusual recently, just like I know that you're confused as to why your powers have grown to such remarkable degree. So why don't you just tell me exactly what's happened to you so far?"
A lesser person might have buckled beneath her stare, but Fleur kept her head high, refusing to let the woman think she was better than her.
"Suppose something has happened," Fleur said after a tense moment. "What exactly would it be?"
"What happens is that a Veela, such as yourself, would be under extreme emotional duress, it could be in a situation where your own life, or the life of a loved one is in mortal danger, and you feel completely helpless," the woman explained while keep full eye contact with Fleur.
"This probably triggered an extreme emotional response in you, which caused certain natural barriers within your Veela core to deteriorate at a rapid pace," the woman then narrowed her eyes at Fleur. "And I would be correct in assuming that you found that your power was capable of things you would never have imagined, am I right?"
Fleur nodded stiffly. "Hypothetically speaking, that is very plausible."
The woman nodded to herself. "That is what I thought."
"But that still doesn't explain why you brought me here. Nothing you've told me really concerns my own theoretical condition," Fleur said, sounding a good deal calmer than she felt.
"Of course it does, you just don't know how it fits in with it yet," the woman said exasperatedly. "What I am here for is to train you in your new powers. I am to make certain that you can control it to the degree that you won't hurt yourself or somehow expose the rest of us."
It was at that moment that realization dawned on Fleur, and she suddenly looked at the woman in a completely different light.
"You are the same as me; it happened to you as well," Fleur stated, opting to forego pretenses.
"Yes I am," the beauty affirmed. "It however happened long before you were even born."
Fleur was startled at that. "You hardly look a day over twenty."
The woman laughed silkily then, with the sleeve of the robe held in front of her mouth. "I appreciate the compliment," she said with a sparkle in her eyes. "But as you will also come to understand in time; age means nothing to people such as us. It is but a number affixed to that which will become ageless."
"Are you saying you are immortal?" Fleur asked, then swallowed at the implications. "Are you saying that I am immortal?"
The woman laughed then, a rich full laugh. "Oh dear, no you're not immortal in the conventional sense. You can still die the same as every other person. A rock can kill you as easily as it can kill a muggle. The same applies to the Killing Curse for that matter."
The woman shook her head in amusement. "No we are not immortal in the conventional manner. Our immortality lies in supposedly eternal longevity."
"'Supposedly'?" Fleur asked in confusion.
"Well, of obvious reasons we don't know if it truly is eternal longevity, or simply very long life," the woman said with a bright smile. "But the general consensus is that all clues points to it being eternal."
"As interesting that might be, that doesn't explain why you would need to train me," Fleur said, suspicious at the offer. "After all, relearning how to create and control the Veela Fire and the Allure might take time and be difficult, but I should be more than capable of doing that by myself."
The woman laughed again, and genuine amusement could be seen in her eyes. "You don't honestly think that is the limit of your redefined Veela abilities, do you?"
Fleur remained stoic, though thoughts were now buzzing around her head again. She had honestly thought her abilities had just been amplified, but it seemed she had been wrong in her assumption.
"Well that is no good," the older woman said with pretty frown. "Let's just say that your abilities stretch further than you could ever imagine; from shape shifting, to true flying without brooms or any other tool."
"You mean we become metamorphs?" Fleur inquired in amazement.
"Heavens no, a metamorph is both better and worse than our abilities," the woman said with the roll of her eyes.
"You see, where a metamorph can with enough training and control actually shift their own form to that of an animal, we cannot, it is simply just not part of our magical makeup," the woman explained.
"Then how can our abilities at the same time be better?" Fleur asked in general confusion.
"That is where our abilities surpass those of a metamorph," the woman said with a twinkle in her eyes. "Where a metamorph needs to have seen the subject or part of the subject to change their body accordingly, we do not have any such restrictions. We can freely change any part of our body with enough training."
As if to emphasize her claim, her facial structure suddenly changed. The skin lost its tanned glow and her eyes growing a deep green, before reverting back to their original features.
"This is a lot to take in," Fleur said after a short silence.
The woman reclined her head in acquiescence. "I understand. I suggest we talk further in a few days' time. Hopefully by then you will also have come to a decision regarding coming under my tutelage."
"How will I contact you?" Fleur asked.
"Do not worry yourself over such things yet. In two days I will again approach you in your sleep," the woman stood up then, for the first time during their entire meeting. "Until then I wish you a good time."
Before Fleur could ask anything more, the woman had disappeared and the room blurred intensely.
Fleur woke up again briefly before, falling into a restful sleep. Her dreams revolved around a million mysteries with no obvious solutions and an eternal chase after luminescent green eyes.
The flames were arching high in the fireplace, and cast the room in shadows.
It illuminated the intriguingly furnished living room. It was clearly dominated by a woman's way of decorating, though it never went as far to be girly, but simply retained a classy feel. At the same time, it had a homely feel to it.
It was a representation of the rest of the small house as well. It was the picture-perfect house, but being inside it felt so hollow.
Penelope sat in the comfortable armchair, with a small cup of brandy sitting on the small table beside the chair, with the still open bottle of brandy beside it.
She was just staring blankly into the flickering flames.
She had no idea how long she had been sitting there, she just knew that when she sat down there had still been light streaming in through the window. By now the room was completely coated in darkness except for the illumination the flames in the fireplace provided.
The room felt cold despite the fireplace, but somehow she felt completely numb to it, befitting her current thoughts perfectly.
In the next room over dinner was on the table, and had been for several hours now. But it remained untouched, and just lay there cold now, as cold as this room felt.
She shouldn't have been surprised at the situation; it was too like the general tendency of their household now. It was normal for her to sit home alone, while Percy became even more engrossed in his work.
She would fix dinner for her and Percy after getting home, only for it to sit and become cold long before Percy ever floo'ed in. It was only in the last couple of weeks that she had begun breaking out the brandy.
It was a means to an end, a way for her to drown out the miserable thoughts in her head It had a way of pushing the numbness away, replacing the cold with a flickering warmness, which had to be replenished often.
Tonight was no different from any other night, except that it was the last night that she would see Percy for a couple of days, so she had prepared a great meal, and had set the mood with candles which were by now burnt down.
She had known for a long time that they were not in an ideal place in their relationship, though she seemed to be the only one who could see it. Percy was too absorbed in his job to notice much else, and it was also the only thing he talked about when he was home.
"If I was a piece of a new legislation he'd probably pay more attention to me," she mumbled to herself with a bitter laugh.
She snatched up the small cup of brandy and poured it down her gullet, enjoying the burning feeling it left in its wake.
It had only been a couple of days since she had been out on the town with Elle and her boyfriend, and her own naturally missing. Despite knowing how she would feel about going out with Elle that night, she had still done it, and she had tried putting on smile the entire night, and at some point during the night it had become genuine.
She had been thinking about how her life had been steadily moving forward, especially with this amazing new chance to cover the Tri-Wizard tournament, and she fondly noted all the appreciative stares sent in her direction. It felt like years since Percy had last looked at her like that, and she couldn't help but appreciate the attention.
She had had the best time in ages, but all good things had to come to an end. By the end of their night, when she had returned home, she had found Percy sleeping soundly in their bed, and it had brought back all her frustrations and misery at the direction their relationship had been going.
It was Sunday now, and tomorrow morning she would be travelling to Hogwarts to cover the Tri-Wizard tournament, and she suspected she would be spending a good deal of time in between the tasks with interviewing the contestants.
So she wouldn't actually see much of Percy at all for the next many months if they didn't somehow work their schedules together.
She sighed and poured a new shot of brandy in the cup which she instantly downed. If nothing else, it would at least help her fall asleep tonight without spending too much time thinking about how her life was now.
She put the lid back on the brandy and stashed it away at the back of the cupboard in the kitchen again, the same place she had been hiding it and several of its previous companions the last couple of weeks.
With a swish of her cherry wood wand, the table in the dining room cleared, and an assortment of dishes and utensils flew into the kitchen, and straight into the sink only to begin cleaning themselves.
It was at this point that she heard the tell-tale sound of someone floo'ing in, and Penelope plastered a fake smile on, just as Percy walked into the kitchen.
"I'm sorry, there's no food left, I just got rid of the last," she informed him.
"No problem dear," Percy responded. "I got something to eat at work."
"Oh, that's good I guess," Penelope said resignedly. "Listen Percy, I've gotten assigned a big story that could mean the breakthrough story I've been looking for."
"Congratulations Penny," Percy said and hugged her briefly, followed by a brief kiss on the cheek, before he sat down at the kitchen table and began riffling through papers he'd taken out of his briefcase. "That's great."
"So I would have to be gone for a great deal of time the next couple of months," she explained. "And I was wondering if perhaps we could pencil some time in for both of us."
"You know I can't change my schedule," Percy said with back to her. "We're heading into some busy hours in the ministry the next couple of months as well, so I'll be pretty tied up."
"We won't see each other at all if we don't…," Penelope began, only to be interrupted by Percy.
"Penny can't this wait till tomorrow, I'm really quite tired right now," he responded and got up to head towards the bedroom. "We'll talk in the morning."
When he was out of sight, she crumbled down in a chair at the table and sunk her head into her hands and cried silent tears until no more would come.
It was hours before she finally crawled into bed next to Percy, and when she was woke up the following morning, he had already left for work.
She had been lying in wait outside the library for a couple of hours now, just waiting for the right person to leave. So far she had avoided the detection of all leaving, but she was fairly confident that by now, there was only two other persons besides her target in there.
One of them would remain for many hours yet, for that was just the nature of Ms. Pince, as she spent at least a couple of hours every day after closing hours to sort the books out again and put them back where they belonged.
Daphne had always perceived the spinster librarian as mildly neurotic at best.
However it was the other that was the wild card.
Despite all the derogatory terms that might apply, nosy being the mildest, Granger did have a tendency to cause trouble for people she was suspicious of, and she had a knack of being perceptive.
The problem was that it seemed that her target was there because he had, unbelievably enough, a crush on the bossy mudblood, and if he, as he had done so far, spent all his time in the library because of her, it was unrealistic to believe that he would leave before she did.
But regardless, she would get her chance soon enough, the ever-approaching curfew would ensure that both would be leaving the library soon enough, and from then it would be a simple matter to follow him.
Daphne had been loaned her Master's Invisbility Cloak, which was why this task had basically just become a task of 'hide'n'wait' so to say. It was just a matter of time, and she had almost come to a decision as to how she would accomplish her task.
Though admittedly not her strongest skill, she was passing decent in Legilimency, and coupled with her proficiency in Memory charms she was certain she could achieve her goal.
As if on cue the library door opened and a somewhat weary looking Granger bustled out, with a couple of rolls of parchment under her arm and moved towards the Gryffindor tower, and sure enough as if to verify her claim the final student walked sluggishly out of the library.
Her target; Victor Krum.
She followed him quietly down the halls, till they reached the more deserted corridors, and a quiet 'Stupefy' later at close range brought the Durmstrang champion down.
A quick Levitation charm had him floating through the door to an unused classroom, where he was placed on a chair.
She secured the room with various privacy charms, and made sure to magically lock the door, as it would not do to suddenly have someone stumble into the room by accident. Briefly the room was colored in many different lights as the spells took hold.
When she was satisfied the room was sufficiently spelled, she turned back to her victim of the hour.
A fleeting thought, which seemed well grounded in reason, caused her to utter her next spell.
She pointed her wand at the unconscious boy and muttered a quiet 'Incarcerous', causing long conjured ropes to shot forth and wrap his frame tightly to the chair.
An 'Innervate' later and Victor eyes shot open immediately searching his vicinity, and quickly locked his eyes on her.
"Who are you? Why am I tied?" he asked, in his strongly accented Bulgarian dialect.
"Tch tch," she said condescendingly. "You should know better than to ask such questions, you are after all a Tri-Wizard Champion, or is this simply the best Durmstrang had to offer?"
"Why am I tied up here?" he reiterated through slightly gritted teeth.
"Someone has a use for you, but there is a slight problem," Daphne said. "You would not willingly cooperate, so I have been allowed to 'induce' the correct behavior and compliance in you."
Victor set his jaw stubbornly, but Daphne could see his eyes darting around in search of an escape route.
She sighed internally at not being able to toy with him, but her Master's orders had been very specific. She was only to make him report any progress between the tasks, not in any way hinder his own performance.
She caught his eyes with her own and trained her wand at him.
She let her own consciousness partially slip into the boy before him, only for her delicate attempt to be rebuffed.
The shock of finding him capable of defending his mind was more the reason behind her withdrawal from his mind than any defense he erected, which she suspected were not much of a defense at all.
He sat panting in front of her, but with his eyes still locked onto her own.
"I didn't expect you to even know how to protect your mind," she chirped. "But that just means I get to play with you after all. You are welcome to cry for help if you want."
He managed to answer between pants. "Would it even… help?"
"Not really, but you might not be capable of stopping yourself when I get going," she said matter-of-factly. "I still lack the subtlety of a true master of the art of Legilimency."
She fingered her wand delightfully and she again trained it on him, and this time struck with the strength of a battering ram, tearing through all his defenses like they were not even there and brutally putting down any he attempted to marshal in order to get her back out.
Her work was slow and tedious, and she spent many hours, building up new memories from scratch and rewriting other subtly to make it seem plausible. But the problem of achieving what she was attempting was that it needed reinforcement, so after one bout of memory correction or deletion if needed, she drove straight back into his now chaotic mind to fit all the pieces together.
All throughout the ordeal he screamed till he lost his voice, and only occasional spasms wracked his body.
By the time she was certain her conditioning and rewriting of certain parts of his memory were complete she herself was exhausted, both magically and physically.
In no time at all she had him Obliviate'd to believe he'd come into this room alone in his rage over not working up enough courage to ask Granger out, and he'd screamed himself hoarse in self-loathing, it had become so late that he had actually fallen asleep at one of the tables in the room.
She banished the charms she had put up before, and threw the Invisibility Cloak over her shoulders again, before quietly making her way back to her sleeping Master.
The eerie quiet of the hallways were interrupted by what sounded as footsteps, though Daphne simply dismissed it as someone out after curfew, and she couldn't well blame them when she herself were in the same situation.
However, just as she was reaching the staircase she heard the quiet on this floor broken suddenly by a terrified scream, but the only thing she managed to discern before it was cut off was that it was not far from her position.
She weighed her option in her mind quickly before making her decision.
Whatever was happening would probably demand her rather 'aggressive' attention to solve if what she heard was correct, but she was also fairly magically drained at the moment, however with the cloak she would have the element of surprise and that would probably be enough to settle the matter in her favor.
Of course, that is if the matter required settling.
With swift steps belying her current state she quietly headed back down the corridor from which she had heard the scream. Searching for what she knew would be there somewhere.
At first she heard nothing but the eerie silence, but soon enough it was broken by the distinctive sound of a slap resounding through a door on her right, following by a gasp and a sob.
"Please don't do this," whimpered a small voice.
Daphne glanced through the small crack left by the open door, though nothing could be seen.
"Begging won't help you," a deep voice answered maliciously.
"People will know," the small voice held an edge of panic.
Daphne carefully opened the door and slipped inside as the answering laugh reverberated in the room.
The room was a small classroom, which seemed to have not been used for decades as evidenced by the dust resting on the tables and the floor.
However what held her immediate attention were the occupants of the room, one of which almost shocked her into a stupor.
In front of her were two people; a boy and a girl, only one of which she knew, but only by reputation. The boy seemed a bit older than the girl, and he had the girl pinned effectively to the table, while he himself was standing between her spread legs, though nothing had happened yet of the more physical kind as proven by the clothes still remaining on both of them.
The girl in front of her seemed to be about Daphne's age or perhaps a little bit older. She had brown hair, settling just above her shoulders, framing a pretty face, which was even now stained with tears. Her brown eyes also were red from crying and Daphne could easily see the terror in them.
However her attention immediately settled on Daniel Crawling, the seventh year Ravenclaw Headboy.
"Truly, who would believe you over me," he remarked with a condescending laugh. "Daniel Crawlings Headboy or confused little Hufflepuff, Emily Grellick with a well-known crush on said Headboy."
The sobs of the girl only increased in intensity. "There are wa-ways it can be proven."
"Would you really go so far?" Daniel asked rather seriously, and Daphne moved around so she could see the expression on his face, which were surprisingly calculating. He held his wand loosely in one hand. "If that is the case I will just have to make sure you can't tell anyone, and I know a lot of places in this castle where no one ever goes."
This caused the girl in question to stop struggling completely, seemingly frozen in fear.
Daphne silently raised her wand under the cloak, and held just the tip out of the cloak, and silently moved closer while the Headboy shuffled with his own pants, seemingly trying to draw down the zipper, while the girl just remained frozen in fear.
She took careful aim, and while doing a small upwards arch followed by a downward stab she intoned the incantation.
"'Parvoscindo'," Daphne muttered, and watched as a small slim blade of very light green energy exploded out of her wand and quickly pass over the throat of the attacking boy. He stopped his current ministrations and his hands flew with wide eyes to his throat in an attempt to hold in the massive amount of blood which suddenly seemed to explode out of a delicate but clean cut on his throat. His wand clattered uselessly to the floor, as he tried to stem the flow of blood, which was all but impossible.
Daphne took a perverse delight in seeing the Headboy fall to one of her spells, and a small flush spread throughout her body as she shivered in pleasure.
She was completely intoxicated by the ability to end his life, and she was certain if given a chance to do it over she would do the same in heartbeat; just to hear the rattling gurgle of his death.
She was drawn out of her reverie by the sudden scream of the girl who was no longer so passive, and who had falling down from the table and curling in on herself. Her entire front was covered in the dying Headboy's blood, and she would have looked frightening if it was for the sheer terror in her eyes.
"Be quiet girl," Daphne snapped and pulled off the cloak to reveal who she was, and quickly stepped up to the girl and briefly scanned her up and down, which revealed nothing but a red cheek from where she had received the slap earlier.
She looked the girl in the eyes. "Did he hurt you other than the slap?"
Suddenly the girl broke down into sobs again, and flung herself into Daphne, burying her face in her midriff. She shamelessly cried, and Daphne only awkwardly patted the girl on her shoulder.
Her eyes looked back over to Daniel Crawlings only to see him staring at her with pure hate, while reaching for his wand with the one hand that one wasn't trying to stem the flow of blood.
She made a long downward slash her wand and muttered 'Trunca Lacer', causing a piercing grey light to emanate from her wand and hit the hand that was stretching for the wand. She couldn't stop herself from gasping and feeling faint shortly and the headache that had been announcing its imminent arrival since her session with Krum now arrived in full force.
She had been using way too much energy tonight, and she was feeling the effects now. But seeing the curse hit the outstretched hand made the feelings completely worth it to see his hand be mutilated beyond recognition.
She felt such a surge of perverse bliss at seeing the life in his eyes go out that she almost moaned, and she just only managed to hold it in.
However the girl, although crying less now, had remained oblivious to the proceedings, and Daphne wasn't sure how the distraught girl would react to seeing the still expanding puddle of blood on the floor and the mangled body of the now dead Headboy.
She gently pried the girl from around her and tilted her face upwards, to once again look into her eyes. "I will not ask again. Did he hurt you?"
The girl quickly shook her head in the negative. "Nothing but the slap, no."
Daphne looked at her. "He is dead, you know."
The girl trembled a bit, but otherwise showed no physical reaction. "I know," she said quietly.
"He would have killed you if I hadn't done it," Daphne said, examining her carefully. Her reaction would be crucial, as Daphne doubted she would be capable of anything to energy-costly right now.
"I know," the girl said quietly but lowered her eyes to the ground.
Daphne was getting a bit tired.
"Get me a chair," Daphne sighed in exhaustion.
She was briefly surprised at the instant reaction she got from the girl, who scrambled to the task, but she figured it was just because the girl was in a sort of suspended shock or something similar, where she would rather follow orders than do anything too mentally challenging.
The girl quickly placed a chair behind Daphne who slumped in the chair, with a now satisfied sigh as she took in the scene, before gazing back at the girl with cool grey eyes.
"I assume you know the 'Scourgify' spell, right?" Daphne inquired, as she would need help to cover up this mess, as she herself was terribly drained.
"Yes I do," the girl responded immediately. "You want me to use it on… on him?"
Daphne snorted. "You can't just 'Scourgify' a body away, but I would like you to transform it to chair or a desk or something," she explained. "But use the 'Scourgify' to remove the blood afterwards."
The blush was hard to see for all the blood covering the girl's face, but it was there nonetheless, and she covered it by turning to the body for the first time since his helpless death.
Daphne heard the girls sharp intake of breath, but was pleasantly surprised to see the girl waving a, until now unseen, wand around in small patterns. Soon the body was almost completely similar to the other desks in the room, except for the missing layer of dust and the blood quickly vanished as well.
When the girl turned back around, Daphne could see the tear trails running down her cheeks, as that was where the blood was partially washed away, but the expectant look in the girl's eyes was almost palpable.
"Well done," Daphne said. "'Scourgify' a few of the others tables so that particular one doesn't stand out, and please put a glamour on or something so people won't know if we happen upon them."
As soon as she was done Daphne hoisted herself up from the chair and briefly let her eyes scan over the room in search of any revealing evidence, but was satisfied that it wouldn't be discovered too easily if at all.
"Follow me," Daphne said when she was satisfied with everything.
The girl followed Daphne like a lost puppy, never once questioning her about any of the decisions she had made.
"Where are we going?" the girl asked in a small voice, as if she was almost afraid of angering Daphne.
"To my Master's chambers," Daphne responded wearily, glad that they no longer had to hide their relationship.
"M-Master?" the girl enquired after faltering briefly.
"Yes, my Master, girl," Daphne retorted wearily, but with annoyance. She was too tired to even care what the girl was even called. "I am a servant. I should hope that doesn't bother you."
Daphne had put a certain edge in her words, and the Hufflepuff was silent after that, and simply followed her.
It seemed like hours to Daphne before she found herself on the third floor in front of the unremarkable door that was the entrance to her Master's chambers.
"Tall tales," Daphne said with a yawn, and with a delighted sigh she felt the presence of her Master, or rather the Allure of her Master, and with a delighted smile on her weary face she passed through the doorway followed by the quiet Hufflepuff.
One thought still passed through her mind as she entered.
She had taken a life.
She had killed and it was one of the most wonderful feelings in the world.
Harry had been more suspicious of others around him of late.
This had led him to carefully re-examine many aspects of his life, and one of the realizations he had come to was, granted, very peculiar.
He would expect that a person with his moniker and fame would inevitably receive some sort of attention from the public besides the occasional newspaper article, as in the occasional fan-mail or something of the kind, but in all the years he had been a part of the Wizarding Community he had never so much as received one.
He could understand how it would be difficult for it to reach him when he had been living with the Dursley's, as people generally hadn't seemed to think he would live with muggles and that understandably also meant that he would never been expected to actually live and be part of the muggle-world, without knowledge of the magical world. There was also the possibility that Dumbledore had placed some sort of charm on his Aunt's home, or somehow on him, that made it impossible for fan mail to reach him.
However, Dumbledore didn't seem to be the type to tie such a charm to a person, and it would inevitable have to be very complex for it to only sort out the fan-mail.
It stood to reason that his problem actually lay in a charm somehow interfering with his receiving of mail, at home, and Dumbledore was well within his rights to assert such authority in his own school, but he doubted he was the type to cast such a charm on his home.
Which meant that he was all in all, very confused as to the lack of fan-mail and he wondered if the Wizarding World in general had just given up on sending it as no such mail had been answered the first eleven years.
He sighed, and leaned back heavily in his couch, while staring into the fire in the hearth.
He realized the value of the concept, and though he would doubtlessly have to sort through throngs of useless drivel, it was also a hidden gold-mine. If they were zealous enough to actually send fan-mail, they could possibly prove useful later on, and there also was the far-off possibility of a treasure being buried in the midst of the mindless crowds.
The alliances he could forge with him as the dominant partner might be quite lucrative, all he had to do was somehow set in motion the fan-mail wheels somehow, and he was sure Daphne knew of a way to go about that.
He was pulled out of his thoughts by an insistent pecking on his window, and he looked up to the distinctive outline of an owl behind the window.
He wearily picked himself up off the extremely comfortably sofa to let the, now distinctly brown, owl flutter into the room and settle on his arm, where Harry quickly removed the letter tied to the leg before it took off again into the night without another glance at him.
He glanced at the letter in his hand briefly before tossing it on the table, and lying down on the comfortable sofa again with a sigh.
There wasn't any real reason for him to still be awake, as he was fairly certain that he was tired enough to fall asleep instantly if he allowed it to creep up on him unawares, and that is what had prompted his thoughts on the path they had been on earlier.
The reason was that Daphne had commented that she would initiate her plan with Krum today, and he was a smidgen anxious to know how it had gone over.
"Hopefully she'll be back soon," he muttered to himself.
Almost as if on cue he heard the portrait swing open.
He was a bit surprised to see two people standing in his entry-way when he sat up and glanced over.
Daphne he easily recognized, though he was a bit surprised at how worn out she looked, and he sensed that she was easily as tired as him, if not more.
The second person, though, he didn't recognize, and she looked very normal, at least compared to Daphne or the other women he had been surrounded by as of late.
The brunette's jaw dropped instantly upon seeing him, and she simply stood stock still as if paralyzed just inside the doorway. He could see disbelief written all over her face, and he could feel the numb shock permeating her many feelings.
He immediately turned hard eyes on Daphne. "Who is she?" he demanded in a emotionless tone "And why did you bring her here?"
The peaceful look that had been spread over Daphne's face immediately evaporated and he could see the fear of his displeasure and disappointment in her eyes.
"I don't know who she is Master," Daphne said in an unnaturally vulnerable voice. "I didn't think to ask, but I didn't bring her without due reason Master. She was almost raped, and would have been killed."
"Why would that matter to me Daphne?" Harry said, in so cold a tone that it even surprised himself. "I could care less for what happens to the fools in this school, and you know that. I'm sure this girl was part the group to publically mock me in the school halls, so why should I care about what happens to her."
Harry saw the girl lower her head in what appeared to be shame, and he knew he had her pegged correctly.
He didn't feel like discussing this with an audience, and therefore he directed his next statement to the girl.
"What is your name?" he asked impatiently.
She carefully looked back up at him. "Emily Grellick," she answered in a subdued tone.
"Well Emily, I'm sure you're rather tired by now, so I suggest you get some sleep in one of the guestrooms," he said, and pointed to a door just inside the hallway leading to the master bedroom. "I'm sure you will find it to your liking. I hope you will sleep well and hopefully we can discuss the situation in the morning."
Emily took it as the dismissal it was, and quickly scurried away to the appointed room, as if aching to be out of his sight.
When Harry was satisfied there was enough privacy to continue the conversation he turned back to Daphne.
"I hope you've got a very good reason for bringing her back here," he said with a hint of edge in his voice.
"I do Master," Daphne hastened to reply. "I didn't bring her because of who she was, but rather who her assailant was."
"Well," Harry pressed impatiently. "Who was he?"
"It was Daniel Crawlings, Master," she hurriedly supplied.
That gave him pause for a second, the time it took for him to digest the news of the Headboy getting caught in such an act, and that second also managed to significantly cool his anger.
"How did he react when you stopped him?" Harry asked, inquisitiveness taking hold of him.
Daphne fidgeted slightly, but he felt a surge of pride and euphoria make its presence known in her knot of emotions.
"Not well, I am afraid," Daphne replied. "But that is because he didn't have the time to react."
Harry's bespectacled eyes narrowed, not in anger, but more foreboding. "What do you mean?"
"I killed him Master," Daphne clarified. "With a Cutting Curse."
He sighed and plopped down in the chintz armchair. "This has potential to turn ugly," he muttered.
"I suspect it does Master," Daphne agreed calmly. "But not for you, nor I, nor Emily."
He glanced up at her, demanding an explanation through the sheer force of his stare alone.
"I made sure to clean the site and dispose of his body," she explained. "Odds are that they will soon launch a quiet investigation into his disappearance, but they will find nothing to incriminate neither you nor me."
"Are you completely sure of that?"
She nodded in the affirmative. "Yes, and should they stumble upon the room where his body is transfigured in time to search for magical signatures it is highly doubtful they would even pick mine up at all. I made sure Grellick did the cleanup in the room on her own, so as to leave a good residue of her own magical signature."
After an indefinite amount of time he relaxed back in the chair, and let out all the tenseness that had been building steadily inside him.
It just then struck him that he was looking a murderer in the eyes.
One who apparently took pride in killing, and felt no remorse for pinning the blame on someone else.
Briefly he shivered as he thought of them being enemies, and he was glad that she was bound so tightly to him that not even the thought of betrayal could take root in her mind. He was finally beginning to see how dangerous she truly was.
"So in the event of things suddenly going downhill, we pin it all on Emily?" he asked for clarification, to see the proof of the remorselessness he knew she harbored.
"Indeed," she confirmed, before a frown overtook her features. "Unless you wish me to do something different."
"No, that will not be necessary," Harry responded and waved away her concerns, but caught her eyes in an intense stare.
"You did well tonight," Harry praised her. "Your way of cleaning up the mess was rather ingenious; though I'd rather you not even get involved in such things at all. Because I meant what I said before, I could honestly have cared less what happened to her."
"Understood," Daphne acknowledged. "I will strive to remember and do better."
He opened his arms in a comforting manner and Daphne crashed into him and burrowed her head into his shirt. He returned her hug and stroked her hair with a smile playing on his lips.
"I know you will Daph," Harry said quietly. "But what about Emily, have you given that situation any thought?"
Harry was not surprised to feel her nod against his shirt, and she drew back slightly to make herself more comfortable in his lap, and he certainly found the delightful wriggling of her rump in his lap pleasant.
"I'm quite certain she owes me that much by now," Daphne explained. "And from what little I saw of her after the incident, she is, at least temporarily, in a state of shock I think, where she more or less does everything I tell her to."
"I assume that you intend to call in a life debt in the event of her ratting us out someday?"
Daphne nodded in the affirmative. "Though if nothing else I think I can intimidate her into compliance should it be necessary, she doesn't seem like the strongest of persons mentally, but I doubt it will get to that point. But either way, rest assured that I have the situation well in hand."
"Make sure you do Daph," Harry said forcefully. "I'd rather this not come back and bite us in the ass."
His forceful look morphed in a contemplative one. "Putting the matter aside for now, how did you do on the task I set you?"
"It is done," she said. "He will keep me informed of everything of note by owl, as per your instructions. I suspect we'll start seeing the fruits of it all in a couple of days."
"It's not likely to provide overly much in the way of information, but it might be useful nonetheless," he said offhandedly.
"You look tired," Harry commented quietly after Daphne had settled back into him again. "You should go get some rest, after all tomorrow is another day and probably a busy and trying one at that."
Daphne nodded, but her reluctance to make her body part with his was obvious, however eventually both her need to obey him and her need for rest overcame that as she soon stood in front of the chair he was sitting in, looking at him with an exhausted but content smile.
"Is there anything you need before I retire?"
"No, I don't need anything right now," he declined with a smile. "Now be off with you, and get some solid rest."
She acknowledged his command and was halfway to her own room before he halted her again.
"Oh, before I forget; regardless of what you do with Emily you should erase her memories of the invisibility cloak, understood?"
Daphne nodded, and changed her course to the recently occupied bedchamber.
"In the morning will do Daph," he interjected. "You need your rest for now."
He watched as the door to Daphne's own bedchamber closed quietly behind her and contemplated his newfound epiphanies about her.
It seemed every generation simply just had one person that was completely mental, murderously so. His parents had Bellatrix Lestrange, who was still alive today, and he had Daphne, the fourth year girl who apparently loved killing.
It wasn't that Daphne was insane that made her dangerous, it was that she was sane enough to hide her insanity and though he had seen and heard inklings of it in the time since she became his slave, it was different suddenly just being confronted by it.
The fact that he wasn't scared or even remotely wary of her of what she might do, proved that he might be just the slightest bit delusional himself, but he couldn't honestly care less. It felt wonderful being who he was now, being what he was had given him a taste of true freedom, one he had never tasted before, and it most certainly was something he would never again relinquish, regardless of the sacrifice he or the world would have to make.
He turned back to the fire again, looking into its flickering flames as a sigh left him.
"Things have just become much more complicated."
Fleur wandered through the halls, scarcely paying any attention to the students milling about around her, and for once they seemed to be less intent on her than usual, which she briefly noted in satisfaction.
The crowded hallways were filled with talk of Harry's performance yesterday, where he proved to the united students of three schools that he was a Parselmouth. Many people thought of the ability as a vile thing, due to the people associated with the skill before, though she was a bit surprised at how many people actually took it in stride, and though it certainly didn't improve his standing among the general student populace, it neither really seemed to sour them.
It seemed Harry had distanced himself so much from all the schools that they didn't really care much one way or another, though they still seemed to carry resentment for his unfair admittance into the tournament; or what they perceived as unfair. However, they all seemed exceedingly surprised at the revelation that the boy they had all shunned could speak to dragons, which everyone had believed impossible until the recent demonstration, and she could count herself among the group of shocked individuals.
However neither shock, awe nor, recent dreams taken into consideration, wariness could stop her from treading the path she had already set foot on.
Her entire life she had always felt incomplete, as if a she was lacking several integral pieces necessary for her to feel fulfilled and satiated. Throughout her life her accomplishments had always felt hollow, as if simply for show and so she had pushed herself further and further trying to grasp something intangible. This lead to a very limited number of acquaintances, of which none really were her friends, not of any fault of theirs, but because she couldn't feel any connection to them, not while this incompleteness was gnawing away inside of her.
This feeling of loneliness had been the driving force pushing her through her life, and it had brought her to where she was now, a participant of the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and it was what brought her that much closer to feeling complete. It was in this place she had found something that filled that gap, and that was the presence of something never thought possible. The moment she had seen Harry she had known he was different, but it was when she was in the presence of him that she more complete than she had ever before.
It was the reason she had been so receptive to him, and now that she knew how complete she could feel, it was something she would never be able to live without again.
She was so caught up in her pondering that she before long found herself walking through the doors of the Great Hall and into the fray of bustling students. It was a something she had gotten used to during her time at Hogwarts, and so she could now more easily disregard the masses.
The moment she was seated at the Ravenclaw table she was accosted by a Beauxbaton student, one of those who were particularly insistent on having Fleur spend as much time as possible to solve the puzzle that the egg had presented her with.
"Have you figured the egg out yet?" the girl asked, her brown eyes focusing intently on Fleur.
She sighed and turned her attention to the girl. "I'm as far as I was the last time you asked," Fleur growled. "And you pestering me aren't going to make things go quicker".
"I know you have been spending a lot of time with Harry Potter recently," the girl persisted, undaunted by the rebuttal. "Maybe some of that time would be better spent focusing on the next task than falling for a boy three years younger than you."
The sting she would have certainly have felt just a couple of months earlier was nonexistent now and the only response the remark elicited was a condescending smile. "I suppose that would be true, but as it is now the deadline is still far off and as I've said before I'm confident that I will have it figured out before then, with time to spare. Therefore I see no reason why I can't spend some time with Harry. It's not as if I need your permission after all."
"The honor of our school is at stake here," the girl, a sneer adorning her face. "And while I have no idea why you were chosen as our Champion, I do know that your time should be focused on the tournament rather than a boy, regardless of how famous he is."
Fleur had been in a rather good mood when the day started, and not even the ever present reminder of her continual failure to grow more intimate with Harry, that Louise represented, had been unable to ruin her day. She was looking rather much forward to the day she and Harry would spend together, and when the girl had initially started the conversation it had not done any real thing to ruin her mood. But suggesting that she was only interested in Harry for the sake of his fame was a ridiculous and rage-evoking accusation.
She could however feel a bubbling cauldron of anger welling inside her, and she was itching to test out her new and improved Veela fire on the girl who has dared insinuate that she was only interested in Harry for his fame.
"How dare you even suggest something like that?" Fleur demanded in a clipped tone, while consciously keeping a tight rein on her anger. Though the need to strangle her and fry her alive was still very much present.
The girl was oblivious to the mounting explosion that she was confronting. "How can I not? You are exempted from normal classes for the sole purpose that you spend as much time as possible to figure out and prepare for the coming tasks. But what do you do? You spend so much time with Harry Potter that you hardly have time to prepare, and the rest of the time we find you perusing books and texts that are pointless and in no way associated with the task."
Fleur snorted in derision. "How can you possibly know that what I was reading wasn't to help me figure out what the egg does? For all you know I could be on the right track, and while you were trying to dissuade me from that path."
"You shouldn't be our Champion," the girl returned with heat. "There are many people that are more suited than you to be in that position."
Fleur laughed condescendingly. "Oh, is there now? Then do tell me why I was chosen instead of one of them, because we both know that the Tri-Wizard cup only choses those most suited to participate in the tournament."
The girl narrowed her eyes at Fleur. "Just remember that the reason we're even here in the first place is to participate in the tournament, and none of us wants to see you throw our chance of victory away because you were fawning over some celebrity."
"That is rich coming from you," Fleur responded with a malicious grin. "After all if I remember correctly I've seen staring at him like some lovesick puppy more than once these last couple of days."
It was true that, even at the very low level he had been exerting his Allure these last couple of days, girls were still practically drooling after him, a very strong contrast to how they would have behaved before his Veela powers suddenly exploded into existence. She knew that many of the people drifting around in the circumference of his life had only begun doing so because of the Allure he was exuding, and the girl now confronting her was simply one of many.
Fleur could see the apprehension in the girl, who now seemed very reluctant to meet her eyes. However, it seemed like there was still a spark of defiance left in the girl, or maybe it was just her honor refusing to walk away with her tail tucked between her legs. Regardless the girl just sniffed at her, and with a final parting remark telling her to act more like a Champion the girl went to sit further down the table.
She took a deep calming breath, to soothe her own temper.
This occurrence had become increasingly frequent after the first Task and as it was now she didn't see an end to it. While she in no way regretted the strange twists and turns her world had taken these last couple of days, she still found it incredibly annoying to be constantly confronted by these vapid people.
She had noticed a change in Harry that had taken place the time he came into his powers, and it was barely noticeable when put together with his recent new outlook on life. However, it was hard not to notice for her as she had spent more than enough time around him recently, and she had noticed changes that were too radical to simply reflect a view of life. He was much more assertive than any fourteen year old boy would ever be. She saw a sharpness in his and a glint of understanding in his eyes that was almost unnerving.
"You seem a bit preoccupied," a voice commented.
Whereas she might have been snappish with another interruption, she simply turned and greeted the person who had taken a seat next to her with a large smile.
"Harry," she greeted him. "I was just thinking about the Second Task."
"Ahh," Harry acknowledged, and shrugged. "I suppose I should be more focused on that than I am at the moment. But hey, we still have lots of time to figure it out yet, so I'm not going to work myself up over it."
"I know, besides I'm quite sure I will soon have the egg figured out."'
"Still not up for sharing I assume?" he asked with humor.
Fleur laughed. "No, I'm afraid I can't let you have that advantage. Besides you seem to be doing quite well on your own."
"I suppose I am," Harry grinned, and loaded a bit of food onto his plate which he immediately set out to demolish. If she didn't know any better she would have thought he had been starved the last couple of days.
She suspected it had something to do with him using such an excessive amount of his Veela powers, which she knew from experience exhausted him greatly. It still confounded her how using a natural extension of himself could be so physically taxing for him, so she allowed him to eat in relative peace.
"So," Harry began, after inhaling his breakfast. "I seem to remember a promise I made to you."
"Do you now?" she returned bemusedly. "I seem to remember quite a few promises already."
Harry simply grinned in return. "So do you think you're for the grand tour?"
"Of course I am. Who knows, after today I might even be able to find my way around the castle on my own," she replied and got to her feet, followed by Harry.
"You might, and if not, well then I'll happily volunteer my own services to help escort you about the castle," he kidded. "Within reason of course."
She followed Harry out of the Great Hall, which were rapidly filling with students of all schools, who only spared them the occasional ogling glance, which she had long ago become accustomed to. A quick glance at Harry showed that Harry himself really wasn't that bothered by it either.
"I suppose you know your way around the more regular parts of Hogwarts already, and it wouldn't be much fun for either of us," Harry said, as he led them down corridors and up stairways. "But hopefully we'll have a few interesting things here, that'll catch your interest."
"I'm sure you will," Fleur responded, and noticed the crowd of students they had been immersed within before were practically nonexistent now, and she decided to approach a subject that had managed to intrigue her more and more each time she thought about. "So, you're a Parselmouth?"
Harry turned to her, and wasn't met with the scowl she was half-expecting, but with a knowing smile. "Yes, no point in denying it. I hope you aren't one of the people who think Parselmouths are the very incarnation of evil."
"If I thought you were an evil dark wizard, would I be here right now?" she returned with a lilting laugh.
Harry shrugged, though his eyes were alight with humor. "I don't know. Would you? For all I know you might have a thing for bad boys, and a dark evil wizard certainly fit the description."
"Shouldn't you consider yourself lucky then?" Fleur returned with humor prevalent in her voice.
"I guess I should," Harry chuckled. "You know, you're one of the few people I've met who doesn't look differently at me after they learn I'm a Parselmouth."
It was Fleur's turn to shrug this time. "It carries a certain stigma in most societies, so it's not that unexpected that people would shy away from it. Besides, I didn't think you cared that much about what people thought about you or am I wrong?"
Harry turned down another corridor which just appeared as the walls shifted. "No, I would say you're spot on. But when it was first discovered I was a Parselmouth, I was only twelve years old and at the time feeling them looking at me like I was some sort of monster was a bit harder to deal with. Luckily it quickly died down again."
Fleur kept a careful watch on Harry for a few seconds, but he didn't seem at all that bothered by that anymore, as if it was strictly an event of the past now. Besides, it also tied in with some of what she had heard during his First Task, about him being able to talk to snakes and all the muttering that had been running rampant in the school in the immediate wake of his success against his dragon.
It was remarkable, and perhaps a bit intimidating, how mature he could be and still only be fourteen years. "It's a good thing you don't care about that anymore, because they're going to talk even more about it now that you've demonstrated the skill in front of three schools. Also, it's a skill that most people still fear because of its connections to evil wizards over the years, so odds are that it'll become very public very quickly."
"I know," he said and directed a smile at her. "But I honestly wouldn't do something like that without considering the consequences. Besides, between you and me, it's brought something good with it. After my second year I quickly learned that I couldn't just hope for the good in every person, and it also showed me which people in the school I probably could never stand. The events this year only served to reinforce this. Basically it's taught me to pick my friends carefully."
Fleur laughed at that, and she could see the incomprehension in Harry's eyes. "You're a bit cynical aren't you? But then again, from what I've seen since I've come here, I can't really blame you."
Harry laughed again. "I suppose I have become a bit cynical, but then again it's nothing you yourself can't relate to, right? From what I've heard you all but castrated the poor boy in public."
Fleur huffed, a seething anger at his disregard for Harry still burned inside her. "He deserved nothing less. The idiot somehow managed to indirectly insult you and ask me to the Yuletide Ball at the same time."
Harry looked askew at her for a few seconds, and Fleur felt small pools of heat suffuse her cheeks. She however quickly fought down the blush and returned his look with a smile.
"You know you don't have to defend me from the students, it'll probably only make it harder for yourself while you stay here," Harry reasoned. "Besides I don't care much for their opinion."
"I might not have to," Fleur responded. "But I can't just say nothing, at least not when they directly confront me about it."
"I'm really not very popular in this school right now, and I suspect if you weren't a Champion yourself you'd probably be hexed as a way to get to me. Some of the people here have no qualms doing something like that."
"I can take care of myself, you know," Fleur reminded him with a chuckle. "How else could I become a Champion, and you're changing the subject Mr. Cynical. Speaking of which; how do I fit in with your now very cautious admittance of friends."
This time his stare was significantly longer, and she could almost see the thoughts whirring in his mind.
"Honestly, I don't know," Harry said after a few seconds silence. "You were just suddenly there when I woke up in the Hospital Wing, and it felt nice to have some company, and well… I guess I sort of got used to your presence. You were fun to hang around with, and you have no idea how relieved I am that you were there when my powers suddenly came to."
Fleur knew he was fumbling a bit for the right words, but still it was the spirit of what he was saying that endeared him to her, and she knew it was not because of his Allure that she was feeling like did right now. She could feel it's presence at the comfortably low level that he normally used, and it didn't interfere with her reflections.
A tender smile lit up her face as she stared back at Harry.
"I'm glad I was there Harry," Fleur said, before figuring it was best to get their minds back on the original track of the grand tour of Hogwarts. "Where are we now?"
"We're on the second floor," Harry replied. "The place I'm going to show is very infamous here in Hogwarts, so I hope you can keep it a secret, and only very few people have ever seen it."
"Of course," she assured him, getting a bit excited at the prospect already. "What is it?"
"One of the founders of Hogwarts, named Slytherin, created a secret chamber here in Hogwarts," Harry explained.
"The Chamber of Secrets?" she enquired.
Harry looked at her a bit owlishly. "Yes, how do you know about that? I thought only Hogwarts students knew about that."
Fleur grinned. "Word travels fast when you find one of the Champions talking to dragons. I overheard a conversation during the event that mentioned the Chamber of Secrets, so I really don't know much about it."
Harry returned the grin. "Well, perhaps I can satisfy a bit of your curiosity. But honestly I don't know much about the place, only one person does, and he's not very inclined to sharing."
Harry walked through a door into a girl's bathroom, and Fleur followed along with an eyebrow half-raised in query.
"Harry, you do know this is the girl's restroom, right?" she asked bluntly.
He responded with a laugh. "Yes, I'm aware, however it's been abandoned for Merlin knows how long, and I very much doubt someone's going to break that tradition," he said, then lowered his voice to a whisper and leaned in closer. "Especially not with the ghost that lives here."
Fleur only looked about the restroom, but kept her voice equally low. "What ghost?"
"We call her Moaning Myrtle, but call her that to her face, she doesn't take well to that, or strangers for that matter, so just keep your voice down," Harry implored her.
Fleur chose to heed his words, because while most ghosts were fairly harmless, most of them were exceedingly annoying, and a ghost named Moaning Myrtle certainly didn't bode well in that regard.
"Why have you come?"
The moaning voice startled Fleur slightly, and she spun around to spot the head of a girl poked up out of the loo, looking at her through beady eyes magnified by the glasses the ghost seemed to be wearing, which seemed fixed on Fleur.
"You are pretty like Olive Hornby," the ghost continued. "She bullied me until I ran in here to cry. I died that day."
"Eh," Fleur said, unable to find a proper response and she could hear Harry sigh beside her.
"Hello Myrtle," he greeted her. "How are you?"
"Oh, hello Harry," Myrtle said, and a slight giggle escaped the ghost. "You promised you would come visit me, but you never did."
"I'm sorry Myrtle," he responded, but Fleur could easily hear his exasperation. "I've just been extremely busy."
"No one has time for me," Myrtle moaned. "They lie and they bully and they make me cry."
With a drawn out moan Myrtle retreated back into the toilet from where she had come, leaving behind two relieved persons.
Fleur kept looking at where the ghost had disappeared with disbelief for a little while longer, before turning to Harry who was looking at her with a wide smile.
"Now, you know why nobody uses this bathroom restroom anymore," Harry chuckled.
"You weren't kidding," Fleur commented with a small degree of disbelief. "She really is quite annoying. No wonder people keep away from this place."
"Yea, and keep in mind, we apparently caught her on one of her better days," Harry replied.
"That's hard to imagine," Fleur said. "However, it begs the question; why are we here?"
"The entrance to the Chamber of Secrets is in here," Harry responded and crossed the restroom to stand in front of an inconspicuous sink. "Right here in fact."
Fleur wrinkled up her forehead in confusion. "It's just a sink Harry."
"That's what I thought originally as well," Harry responded, but kept his focus on the sink in front of him, and she saw him carefully tracing an engraving on the side of the tap.
She heard a low hissing and jumped back a bit startled, and was embarrassed to hear herself let out a slight 'eek' as the sink shifted and draw back into the wall to reveal a big entrance. Furthermore, the sound of him speaking Parseltongue sent shivers down her spine.
The entrance was bathed in pitch darkness, only slightly illuminated by the flickering lights in the restroom, affording her a view of only the most immediate part of the entrance. It was however enough to see that the entrance led into a wide chute.
"We can't go down there," Harry explained as he looked into the darkness. "And watch your step, it's a long way down, and I have no idea how to get up from there."
Fleur peered carefully into the pitch darkness. "I thought you'd been down there before?"
"I have," Harry conceded. "But let's just say; I had some help when it came to getting out of there."
"For the entrance to a legendary secret chamber it's not very awe-inspiring," Fleur observed and sniffed. "It actually smells a bit moldy."
"I guess it would by now," Harry chuckled. "There's a fifty foot Basilisk corpse down there, so it's bound to smell a bit."
"Are you telling me there was a Basilisk down there?" Fleur asked breathlessly at this new discovery. She was normally not so easy to impress, but being near such a legendary creature, not to mention dangerous, was thrilling despite the knowledge of it being dead.
"Yep, it's hard to imagine, but down there is this spacious chamber with a giant statue of Salazar Slytherin at the end," Harry explained. "This entrance might not be awe-inspiring, but believe the Chamber of Secrets itself is, in that creepy, sinister but still impressive way."
"Salazar Slytherin was one of the founders of this school, right?" Fleur asked. "And he made this chamber?"
"Yes," Harry confirmed. "Dumbledore told me Salazar made this place in secret, and none but he and his descendants would ever be able to find it."
"Does that mean that you're…," Fleur began, only to be interrupted by Harry.
"Not as far as I know," Harry replied. "From what I've been able to gather it was due to a side effect of Voldemort trying to kill me."
"What does he have to do with this?"
"As it turns out he was the descendant of Slytherin, and that also made him a Parselmouth," Harry informed Fleur. She couldn't help but be a bit amazed at knowing that the most infamous, deceased, Dark Lord of this age had been a descendant of someone so famous, but it made sense in a macabre way when paired with the public knowledge of him being a Parselmouth as well.
"Did Voldemort ever find this place?" Fleur asked, eyes a bit wider at the implication of her actually standing at the entrance of what Voldemort might have used as hideout.
"He did, and he knew this place better than anyone but Salazar himself," Harry confided. "He was actually the reason behind many of the things that happened in my second year here."
"How so?" she enquired with an arched brow.
"It would probably make more sense further down the line if I told you right now that he isn't dead," Harry said, and Fleur felt her jaw go slack in shock.
"What… How? He's supposed to be dead," Fleur sputtered, and a very real shudder suddenly ran down her back at this new revelation. "How can you be certain?"
Harry however seemed to have expected that reaction, as he was not in the least perturbed at the misbelieving questions.
"I met him in my first year, attached to the back of our Defense Against the Dark Arts professor's head," Harry began calmly. "After he had tried to kill me, the Killing Curse apparently rebounded or something of the sort, almost killing him. He became a sort of ghost, only much weaker, hiding for little over a decade in a forest in some faraway country."
Fleur shuddered at the mere thought of having a Dark Lord stuck on the back of one's head. "Everyone always said he died," she remarked.
"From what I'm told, nobody but Dumbledore knew he was alive," Harry continued. "And he just suspected it. But as I said, he was stuck on the back of my teachers head, and he was using him to get to the Philosophers stone, which was here at Hogwarts at the time, it could apparently have brought him back to life."
"You had the Philosophers Stone here? At Hogwarts?" Fleur questioned, and was beginning to feel rather silly for asking so many questions. "My father always said there was no more Philosophers Stones."
"Apparently Dumbledore was keeping it here as a favor to Nicholas Flamel," Harry shrugged. "And I doubt there are any more tones left; I think it was the last one. Anyways, that was in my first year, and well, apparently Voldemort kept a journal when he was a student here, and somehow placed a piece of his soul in the journal. Somehow it found its way into the hands of Ginny Weasley, the younger sister of Ron."
"I doubt that ended well," Fleur pointed out, and she could feel the irrational anger rearing it's head at the mention of the Weasley's. Despite how fake she knew the feeling to be, it was still there eating away at her.
Harry laughed. "It didn't. He was eventually capable of possessing Ginny, and could through her enter the chamber, and he could control the Basilisk down there, and several times during the year he set the Basilisk out to kill people, and it was only sheer luck that no one died. During Voldemort's own school years he actually managed to kill someone."
"That's horrible," Fleur gasped.
Harry shrugged. "Yea, but what can we do? Anyway, he had somehow managed to gain so much control over Ginny that he could drain her life and bring himself back to life. I managed to find the chamber and stop him before that happened obviously."
"The Basilisk actually bit me," Harry said with a small laugh, managing yet again to earn a gobsmacked look from Fleur.
Obviously there was something more to the story than just that, because most people knew that Basilisk poison killed within minutes. However, for it to even happen and him to survive it was almost an achievement comparable to surviving the Killing Curse. There was after all only one known cure for Basilisk poison, a cure which were much rarer than Basilisk poisonings.
"You were healed by a phoenix," Fleur deducted breathlessly. "Your Headmaster really has a phoenix?"
"Why is everyone so surprised about?" Harry asked exasperatedly. "He's had it for so long
"Because their near extinct," Fleur responded in the same exasperated tone. "I've never even seen one."
"Personally I don't think they're that different from any other bird I've seen," Harry commented. "But then again, Fawkes is pretty smart, and he's got all that fire and rebirth going on; but all in all just a glorified bird. But then again, I've only seen him a few times."
"You do know it's supposed to be a great honor to meet a phoenix, they rarely show themselves to anyone they don't consider worthy unless it's to safe someone they do find worthy," Fleur explained.
"From what I know of Fawkes he lets practically anyone who gets into the office see him," Harry replied. "It's really no great wonder that he's so attached to Dumbledore, he's one of the most peace-loving people I've ever meet."
The conversation sort of lulled to a stop then and with another hiss that made her shiver slightly, Harry made the dark entrance close up again, and he gestured towards the door.
"We should probably get out of here before Myrtle gets back," He remarked. "She can be a bit… nerve-wracking when she gets back from one of her pouting trips."
So they silently slipped out of the door.
"You remember I told you Voldemort caused a death here at Hogwarts while he went to school here, right?" Harry asked as they walked casually down one of the hallways.
"Yes, the Basilisk killed the person," Fleur confirmed.
"That person was Myrtle," Harry said, catching Fleur totally off-guard. "It is one of the reasons she still haunts the bathroom."
Fleur was struck silent for a while, pondering this new information. But no matter how she twisted and turned the matter about, she couldn't find any appropriate response, so she opted to not respond to it at all.
"So I imagine it's going to be quite hard to show me somewhere that's as interesting as this place," Fleur commented with a grin.
"Yea, well I suppose I should have saved the best for last, but I figured it might interest you after the spectacle yesterday," Harry said his grin matching her own. They trailed down the corridors now, which were completely desolate, without any students in sight, though that might be attributed to them all being in classes.
"It worked," she replied with a grin. "What are you going to show me now then?"
"Well, like you said nothing really tops where we just were, but I am certain there's at least one more thing that will catch your attention," he replied. "But that's for later."
The next couple of hours went by quickly, with the both of them joking back and forth. For Fleur, the day was shaping up to be even better than she had hoped, and she had the enjoyment of spending time with Harry without Louise and his friend Daphne nearby. She was quite certain where Louise stood in regards to Harry, but she was very uncertain about Daphne, and she didn't like feeling uncertain, especially not about Harry.
The day progressed almost too fast for her taste, and soon she saw the sun waning through the windows as they strode through the corridors, and regrettably the student crowds began to become more prominent again. However, despite all this his attention seemed to be solely focused on her, and hers were completely focused on him as well, to the dismay of several of the students, who were trying to catch their attention in one way or another.
"Well, I've showed you almost all of the most important places in the castle now," Harry said gracing her with a smile, as the ascended the stairs to the seventh floor. "So now it's time for the big finish."
"So what's so special about this place?" she asked, looking around the deserted hallways. "There's no one here."
"It's not very often people actually come to this floor, as they aren't aware of the existence of one special room here. It's why this place is so perfect."
Fleur watched him as he paced three times in front of a portrait, clearly deep in thought. She was about to call out to him, when suddenly out of nowhere a door appeared in the wall in front of where he had been pacing. Harry just tuned to her with a mischievous grin and gestured for her to follow him inside.
She carefully stepped over the threshold of the door, and entered into the most breathtaking room in Hogwarts. It wasn't very big, but it still managed to fit a couple of armchairs into the scene. However, what took her breath away was the one wall that was completely see through, showing the Hogwarts grounds while the sun was setting.
She graciously sat down in the plush armchair and admired the view, letting herself relax and simply enjoy the experience. The peace of mind however, was pushed to the back when she remembered the situation with Daphne's father yesterday.
"Harry?" she started tentatively. "What happened yesterday after dinner?"
Harry sighed. "I figured you were going to ask me at some point. Besides, I did promise you to tell you what was between me and Daphne when I could."
Fleur's ears perked up, and she felt an inexplicable nervousness settle on her person, though she was still too curious to not follow through with this conversation.
"It started after you left the Hospital Wing the first day," Harry began. "Daphne came to visit me a couple of hours later and presented me with a deal, which I at the time had a very hard time refusing. You see, Daphne was having trouble with her family, as was obvious yesterday, and the only solution she could think of was to somehow lose her family name, and with it, her obligations to the family and all control they might have been able to exert over her."
"How could it be so bad?" Fleur asked disbelievingly.
Harry shrugged. "Apparently her father intended her to marry the son of a former Death Eater, and she really didn't want to do that. So she started researching ways to get out of that, and she did find one, however it was not without its own drawbacks. But she apparently felt they were worth the rewards of going through with her plan."
"So what was her solution?"
"Daphne discovered that the only way she could get rid of the ties of her family was through entering a sort of Chattel contract with me, though from what I understand it's not quite like them, as she does not become a member of my family. However, the end result was that she became a slave."
Fleur just looked at him with a perplexed expression, indignant outrage stirring in her chest. "You're telling me you made her your slave?"
"Yes I did," Harry responded morosely. "She presented me with an ideal opportunity to survive in the tournament, perhaps even win it, and at the time it seemed stupid not to accept it. But she herself presents a whole new set of complications."
"Not turning out like you'd imagined?" Fleur asked curiously.
"Oh, it is like I imagined it would be, mostly," Harry responded. "But let's just say, having someone being that dependent on you can be straining at times. She's more than capable of handling herself, but I'm beginning to suspect that having her as my slave might be more trouble than it's worth."
"What do you mean?" Fleur queried, silently perusing his features. However, besides his brow being furrowed in thought, he was impossible to read. Besides, despite the her thoughts being more or less uninhibited by his Allure, she still had trouble maintaining any sort of anger in his presence.
"I can't really tell you," Harry said, and shrugged. "Sometimes I wonder if what did was right, but then I remember that she was the one who came to me, and I didn't coerce her into doing anything that wasn't already planning on doing. Besides, like you she just seemed to slip under my guard while I was in the Hospital Wing. So while I didn't do what I did out of the goodness of my heart, she's become a good friend if nothing else, though that relationship might be a bit skewed."
He stood up again, and turned to face her fully, his back to the impressive view. "I hope that answers your questions, and hopefully you don't think too badly of me after I've told you this. I just felt like you deserved it. You know, for all the help and understanding."
Fleur was happy he felt he could confide in her, and despite the subject being a bad one, he had tried to present it as objectively as possible. That at least earned some credit for honesty, and besides, but it only added to her burden of concerns that required more thought. As if dreams of Veela like her wasn't worrisome enough.
However, she appreciated the honesty Harry confronted her with, and that at least showed that she wasn't wrong about him yet.
With considerable ease she summoned a smile enveloped him in a tight hug. "Thank you for telling me Harry, I really appreciate it."
She could almost feel the body temperature of Harry skyrocket, as he almost certainly blushed, and her smile turned up a notch. However, the mood in the room was completely platonic and she felt no immediate need to change that.
When she pulled back she was greeted by the sight of a blushing Harry, with a grin almost as wide as her own felt.
He cleared his throat and gestured to the door. "It's time to get something to eat. Feel like joining me?"
"I would love to."
AN: Again, you're welcome to bombard me with reviews.