Golden Haze, Finale
AN: Finally this is done! I love you all so much, you who have stuck with this story through the ups and downs of my life and my writing insanity. I think that you all are amazing and thank you so much for reading this story and enjoying it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.
A series of letters from the academic year 1999-2000:
August 20, 1999
Dear Harry (& Ron who I'm sure will read this letter)
Cairo is an amazing city! Fleur has found another position at Gringotts and they have even revoked my ban upon entry for their branch here in the city and has started work as of two weeks ago – I start classes next week to complete my mastery.
I'm sorry that I have not written sooner. It is absolutely barking mad here. I personally blame the heat but there's some unrest going on locally because of something the muggles are up to going on as well. I've been reading the muggle papers as best as I can, but I don't speak Arabic so I am limited.
You all should come visit some time, I know that auror training is difficult and you aren't allowed many breaks at the beginning, but I miss you both, terribly.
All my love,
September 2, 1999
Dear Hermione –
Aurors are bloody insane. The amount of coursework that we have to do is positively mad. We are working constantly. Nothing we did in school even remotely prepared us for this. Wish you were here to help, could really use one of your study guides right about now.
I can't write much, got no time to sleep, let alone breathe,
Hi Hermione – Ron has taken to hiding with your letters and responding to them without my input. We're doing well – but Ron's right, we're both going mad here. Training is insane. Hopefully will be able to floo call you soon. -Harry
September 25, 1999
Dear Mum and Dad –
I don't know how to begin this letter. I don't even know where to start. I am so tired to dropping metaphorical bombs in your laps in letters and in the brief time that we've been able to speak over the phone. I am so deeply, incredibly sorry to do it again.
Fleur is pregnant.
I cannot get into the specifics of how, but know that the reasoning behind it is purely logical. I do not make poor choices like this. This is not the time in my life that I find completely ideal to have a child, but we have no choice.
Fleur grandmother wrote us not long after we moved here and told us that we had a very limited window of time before Fleur's body would begin to attempt to create offspring at any possible chance it got. As we are both working professionals, this was not an option.
I have explained some of this to you, at Christmas and then after my commencement ceremony. Fleur's grandmother is a magical creature called a veela, because of this, Fleur is not entirely human. Her body is part magical creature, and because of that she is subject to slightly different urges and desires than a human being.
One of which is the desire to mate.
Mum, dad, I can't even find the words to put this in. Fleur had to have a child or else she would go insane and probably attack me, the emotional transference is too strong a pull for her to resist. No magic in the world could protect me from her when she's like this, so I merely have to go with it.
So yes, Fleur is pregnant. It will be a girl, her name will be Victoire Jean.
"The phone's ringing," Dorothy Granger called to her husband from where she was elbow-deep in soapsuds. He had cooked that evening, so she was doing her turn with the dishes.
The house was oddly quiet. Thomas was in the other room reading the wizarding newspaper, and Dot was pretending that she didn't mind that he kept up with it. So many things were happening in both the wizarding and non-magical world these days that it was challenging to keep track of them all. Dot was fairly certain that Thomas read the wizarding newspaper for the inanity of the reporting and the columns of magical-non-magical dating advice. Which were, admittedly, hilarious.
They were not talking about it.
Not talking about how their daughter has matured to the point of being almost unrecognizable to them, about how she's off in Cairo, further her education when all they want is for her to be close at home. The fact that her daughter is going to be a mother soon.
"Got it," Thomas called, and there was the sound of shuffling from the sitting room as he folded the paper and stood to answer the telephone. She couldn't hear anything for a minute before her husband's joyous shout of her daughter's name cut across the room like music to Dot's ears.
She dried her hands.
"—you've taken classes in what now?" Thomas was saying as Dot came into the living room. "Forensic linguistic analysis of old Egyptian? Why on earth would you possibly need to know that?"
Dot laughed. Hermione was always putting others to shame with her vast knowledge of seemingly trivial things that proved to be useful, upon some eventuality. She'd always been like that, even as a small child.
Thomas and Hermione talked for a few more moments, Dot was quick to notice how he did not ask about Fleur, about the pregnancy. She supposed that it was probably too soon to ask questions like that, Hermione's letter had barely come a month ago now.
He handed the phone to her a few minutes later and kissed her cheek, inclining with his head that he'd finish doing the dishes. Dot raised her hand in protest, but then Hermione was talking over the static-filled international telephone connection and Dot had to concentrate to understand what Hermione was saying.
"Hey sweetie," She breathed, happy to hear her daughter's voice. Cairo really was too far away.
"Hey mum," Hermione returned. "Have you been listening in?"
"A bit. Your father said something about your classes going well?" Dot is avoiding the subject too, it seems.
"Yes, Fleur is helping me with some of the ancient Egyptian – she had to learn a lot of it when she first started working for Gringotts, even if they've mostly just got her working in the office now." Hermione sounds tired, but it's late at night there with the time difference.
"Is she doing alright?" Since Hermione has brought Fleur up, Dot supposes that it's in good taste to comment on it. She doesn't really approve of them doing something so young, but the letter that Hermione had sent had included several pages from various books that seemed to imply very heavily that because Fleur was at least some part 'veela' - whatever that was – that there wasn't much of a choice to be had in the matter.
"She doesn't like it – she'd wanted to wait." Hermione said quietly. There was a crackle of static and then Hermione adds, "I'm too young to do this."
"But it's a necessity, from what you implied."
Dot pursed her lips. "I just hope that you're prepared to care for a child since you are going to be having one whether or not you want to."
Hermione was always prepared, though; this should not be a problem.
November 2, 1999
It is truly astonishing to think that we are finally at a point where we can simply be friends again. Friends who have so much caught up in each other's lives still – and now, with little Victoire, still just a figment of all our imaginations, you have saved me yet again. I am forever in your debt and gratitude.
She'll come in March, a perfect sign for a perfect child, right? I'm just hoping that you'll be alright, alone in a strange country with even more bizarre customs. Hermione has a good head on her shoulders, I'm sure that she'll keep you safe.
I am actually writing you to give an update on the Jones situation. Issac Richards has been sentenced to a life prison term in Azkaban, no possibility for early release. Part of his rehabilitation program (more like punishment for one such as himself) is that he will be interviewed and examined extensively by many mixed-race therapists and academics who have taken an interest in his case. Minister Shacklebolt thought that it was a fitting end for him and I am in agreement on that front.
Mum says that they should have given him the dementor's kiss for what he did to you – and to Hermione – but, as I have told her many times, they do not do that anymore. Dementors are banished back into the well of despair that they once originated from and no one could be any happier for it. We do not need such a blight upon society freely roaming where we keep our most dangerous.
All my best,
December 24, 1999
Sorry that you could not come home this Christmas, but I understand that traveling at that late stage in a pregnancy would be very challenging for Fleur. Maybe we'll come see you? Haha, like that could actually happen. Ron and me are way to bloody tried to even walk down to the pub after work, let alone try and organize an international apparation or portkey. We'll have to wait until this auror training is done, won't be too long now.
I miss you. And Fleur, but mostly you. Ron does too. He's found some girl that's taking up all of his free time and I'm going slightly mad because it's like the Lavender Brown debacle of sixth year all over again. (speaking of her, I saw her the other day, she's doing as well as could be expected, but you know her – she'll pull through.) Ron says that I have got to get myself a girl who is not Ginny so that we can go out together and he won't be mildly horrified every time I kiss her.
Gin says hello, by the way.
We're all at Ron's mum's for Christmas. Andromeda came along with Teddy and Draco Malfoy has apparently taken to corrupting him while I'm stuck at auror training. The little shite has taught my GODSON to call me 'scarface.'
Basically, we are lost, desperate and useless without you. Please come home soon,
A Clipping from the Daily Prophet, March 6th, 2000:
Delacour-Granger: A baby girl, Victoire Jean was born early yesterday morning at four thirty local time in Cairo. As of now, the Prophet has been unable to ascertain any more details as to how this baby is faring, but it is safe to say that with veela blood running through her veins, she is probably doing just fine.
Two Years Later:
Teddy Lupin was a rambunctious five year old. Hermione had not been expecting him to be quite so exuberant when she'd agreed to allow him, as well as his godfather and her best friend, to come visit the tent that was currently home to her little family.
They were on a dig, an excavation, as Fleur liked to put it. The large arching structures were half-buried in the sands of time where slowly being blown and blasted away by charms that Hermione had painstakingly learned in school to reveal the wonders of the ancient world. The old tenants of ancient wizardry where such that she spent much of her time supervising Victoire while Fleur went down into the tombs and broke the curses and jinxes so old that they had become volatile. Hermione did not mind spending time with her little girl, but she was incredibly grateful when Harry had arrived with Teddy and Victorire had taken an immediate liking to the boy. They were currently constructing some sport of castle using sticks and leaves from the lone palm that served as their oasis in the middle of the Jordanian desert.
"You doing alright, Hermione?" Harry asked as Hermione set down her quill and closed her book wearily. He was a full auror now, he had his own beat and got to solve cases and help people. Hermione was so proud of him.
Hermione shrugged, "As well as I can be doing."
"They get better, you know, when they're not two years old." They both laughed.
"Oh, I know, I'm just grateful that Fleur's grandmere agreed to come and supervise them both. She is not much for the heat, you see." Hermione laughed, thinking of Fleur's imposing grandmother and her magically conjured lawn chair, sitting in the shade watching her great-grandchild and her new friend play.
"That was nice of her." Harry intoned quietly, running a hand through his sweaty hair. He wasn't used to the heat and it was showing. It was actually fairly cool that morning.
Hermione's voice dropped conspiratorially low, "She just thinks we're bad parents and wants to make sure Vic gets the best parenting possible."
"Zat es parce que vous vivez dans le désert!" Fleur's grandmother's voice was loud and mildly terrifying. Hermione winced and Harry burst out laughing. "'ardly a place for a child."
She didn't say anything, she knew it wasn't the best place for Victoire with her sun kissed skin and her insatiable curiosity. Hermione could not help it, she had to give her child the best she could, and this was far better than cold, rainy, England and the potential for a very self-important government job that Hermione was sure was waiting for her if she ever went back.
She did not want to go back, she and Harry and Fleur had talked about this the night before. Fleur's grandmother had been snoring – Hermione was not entirely sure that she was actually asleep, and they had discussed their plans for the future.
"I would rather Victoire go to 'ogwarts," Fleur had admitted quietly. "Beauxbatons is probably not the best of 'abitats for her."
Hermione had agreed, especially if she was going to have cousins and friends and family also going to Hogwarts.
Now, as she and Harry sat at the camp table that functioned as the household's dinner table, Hermione could not help but smile. "I think she likes Teddy," she whispered conspiratorially at Harry.
"Hermione he's five, she's two, of course she likes him." Harry laughed. "Besides… Gin and I were thinking that it might be our turn for real." He coughed, "Once we get married, of course."
Hermione nodded, she'd been introduced to the legalese of being not wedded to the mother of one's child not long after Victoire was born and it was quite horrible. She advised Harry against it the last time he'd brought up children.
"A new generation of troublemakers, huh?" Hermione laughed.
"I take it that you are not going to willingly give pointers?" Fleur's voice was soft and mild from the entrance of the tent and Hermione's face blossomed into a smile. She stood quickly, crossing the room and throwing her arms around her love.
Harry grinned, "Yeah, really Hermione, you were the worst of all of us at rule breaking."
Fleur kissed Hermione who muttered indignantly that she was quite certain she only broke stupid rules that were asking for it and Fleur patted her on the head and quietly told her to not worry about it. "I can corrupt our child enough for both of us."
But it was alright, everything was alright now. Voldemort was gone, Jones was in prison, their lives were finally happy once again. Hermione realized that soon she was going to have to ask Fleur to marry her – they could not keep beating around the bush like this forever, and this was her forever and her always.
And Hermione Granger was really okay with that.