On Teenagers & Love
a story by anamatics, beta'ed by HyperCaz
Chapter One - On Assumptions and a Tendency to Blush
Author's Notes: This was written for a challenge on livejournal for International Day of Femslash. The prompts I chose were 'first times' and 'history lessons,' and this monstrosity fell out of it.
The Fleur-Hermione fourth year is rather overdone, but I could not resist the charm of such a story. The entire story is written in the present tense, so if that bothers you, you might want to stop reading now.
A word of warning for the story - there will be a good but of underage sexual content over the course of the story. Hermione is fifteen during Goblet of Fire and Fleur is seventeen, while they age up over the course of it, I feel it is necessary to warn the readership who might find such sexual situations triggering.
There are also some mentions of general World War Two history and aspects of the Holocaust.
"Put it on my life baby
I can make you feel right baby
I can't promise tomorrow
But I promise tonight"
-"Give Me Everything Tonight"
"Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string." – Self Reliance
The first time she sees her, she hates her on principle. A beautiful girl with a bewitching smile and a charming accent is a sure-fire way to win the hearts of the crowded Great Hall of Hogwarts, but not the heart of Hermione Granger. She is uninterested in beauty; it is a fallacy. Nothing is ever underneath the looks and the holier-than-thou attitude. She will surely not be made Triwizard Champion, Hermione thinks, and goes back to her dinner.
When Halloween comes and they pick champions, Hermione only has time to be shocked for a minute when the name that Professor Dumbledore reads as the Beauxbatons champion belongs to that same beautiful girl. Her name is Fleur Delacour, and Hermione can't even take the time to think about the name when Harry's name comes out of the Goblet of Fire and everything that was good and normal about her life vanishes in a cloud of angry smoke.
Ron and Harry are not speaking because of some misguided jealousy on Ron's part, and Hermione ignores their feud to read about Fleur Delacour in the newspaper one morning. The article is unflattering, but her professors at school give her very good marks and she's apparently at the top of her class. Hermione doesn't know if she should be impressed or not.
She decides that maybe being a little bit impressed is reasonable after the First Task. Fleur Delacour's dragon sets her arm on fire, but she receives good marks despite this. Cedric's are much worse, she reasons. Harry is tied for first place, and Ron is speaking to him again. Hermione breathes a sigh of relief and goes about her business.
Viktor Krum asks her to the Yule Ball and Hermione reasons that she really should say yes. She's annoyed that Harry hasn't asked her to be his partner for such a grueling social ordeal, and Ron has gone and done a colossally stupid thing in shouting a date invitation at Fleur Delacour. She doesn't even like Ron that way, so the fact that she's annoyed by his asking Fleur Delacour out (and greatly satisfied by the subsequent rejection) is puzzling to her. She says yes to Viktor and resolves to contemplate this situation at a time when it is not quite so stressful.
Fleur Delacour is going to be the reason, the one and the only reason, that Hermione Granger has ever been late to Professor Binns' History of Magic class. Fleur Delacour might be the only reason that Hermione Granger has ever seriously considered outright skipping Professor Binns' class. She can't even begin to think of herself being in this predicament at the beginning of the year. She had hated Fleur Delacour on sight, and yet now, she finds herself far more intrigued than annoyed by the champion from Beauxbatons.
Every day she is tempted with a small and private smile and a friendly query as to her destination. Every day she answers with a sad shake of her head and the name of her next class. Every day she gets up to leave at the end of the lunch hour, and every day, Fleur Delacour asks her to stay.
Hermione tries to be polite, really she does, but with time ticking down and still no discernible answer in sight, she's beginning to seriously consider taking Fleur up on her generous offer of company. Lord knows she's going to need it by fortnight's end.
The Second Task. Only two weeks away.
Harry is going to drown in that bloody lake if she can't find the answer soon.
She slams the book shut, groaning in frustration at the utter lack of information it contained.
This is useless; she might as well go to Professor Binns' class.
She stands, and the cycle begins again. Fleur glances down at her watch and then to Hermione. "Where is it zis time?" she asks, accent thick but still full of that subtle and barely hidden curiosity that Hermione finds so intriguing.
Hermione makes her way down the bookshelf, looking for the empty spot where the tome in her hands originally resided. "History of Magic," she whispers quietly, feeling her cheeks burn. She turns her attention back to surveying the stacks, afraid to look at Fleur, to hear her argument against Professor Binns' class. She (privately) hopes it can top the broken English argument against going to Potions class.
("Professeur Snape... est un bâtard complet. Why tu veux aller... I do not understand. Ze man, 'e is toxic.")
She slides the book back into its home between two thinner volumes that have collapsed into the space that the larger book had once occupied, righting them to fit all three back on the shelf. Fleur is speaking again.
"Ze man, il est un spectre, 'ermione," Fleur is saying. She's curled up in one of those overstuffed armchairs tucked away in the corner of the stacks and out of sight of the watchful Madam Pince. They've started to retreat here, knowing that Madam Pince is onto the fact that they are more than just silent study partners. They do, on occasion, speak to each other. "I doubt zat 'e will miss you."
Hermione looks at Fleur sideways from her place halfway down the long and overfull bookshelf. She's so glad she spent the past hour flipping through a five hundred page long book that offered zero advice on how to best spend an hour breathing underwater. Another dead end, another lunch period spent in the library in the company of the beautiful and mysterious Fleur Delacour.
C'est la vie, as the French say.
Hermione wants to say that she doesn't mind the presence of Fleur, her leather book bag and her incessantly neat handwriting as she works on an essay about some advanced bit of charm work that Hermione finds absolutely fascinating; but oh, how the woman bothers her.
She cannot think around Fleur. She cannot breathe. She cannot even talk for fear of making a fool of herself.
And yet Fleur seems to tolerate her presence – to seek it out, even. Hermione has noticed this through careful experimentation and more than a few missed lunches. On the third day of sitting in the same spot at the same table at precisely twelve fifteen, a sandwich carefully wrapped in wax paper had appeared next to her elbow and behind it had extended a long fingered hand clad in a thick off-white sweater and connected to the smiling face of Fleur Delacour.
As Hermione had sat there, flabbergasted and completely at a loss for words, her stomach growled, loudly. Fleur had laughed then and asked if the seat next to her was taken.
She had nodded wordlessly and in that moment, she'd gotten herself into this mess. She couldn't even find herself hating Fleur any more, not after those quiet conversations about nothing in particular and how completely willing Fleur is to talk about anything under the sun.
"The second task is two weeks away – he'snot prepared," Hermione mutters, pulling the next book down from the shelf and flipping to the table of contents. She glances at her watch and groans. "I'm not going to make it on time; Professor Binns will take points for sure."
Fleur places her finger into her own book and brushes her bangs out of her eyes. Her hair is down today, falling into her eyes and around her shoulders, bothering Hermione greatly in its unruliness. Fleur Delacour is supposed to be the picture of perfect poise and control. Now here, in this casual setting, she is anything but. Nimble fingers, still stained with ink from the morning's classes, tuck silvery-yellow hair behind an ear even more perfect than any Hermione has ever imagined. She looks away from those distracting fingers and meets Fleur's eyes, piercing blue and intent on winning whatever staring contest that they've just inadvertently gotten into.
Hermione looks away, knowing her cheeks are red and not entirely sure she knows why.
"As I said, 'ermione, 'e is a spectre. You will not be missed."
Hermione glances at her watch once more, and then back at Fleur. "But..." Her argument is futile, she can tell now. She knows that it is stretch to think that Professor Binns even notices if he has a class half the time, but she genuinely likes the class and the current subject matter is far more modern and therefore more interesting than literally hundreds of years of goblin wars. Even Hermione, who never admitted academic weakness to anyone, could find the Goblin Wars a bit tedious.
"Stay, avec moi," Fleur demands. She uncurls herself from her perch in her armchair, sitting up properly and reaching down into her bag. She pulls out a notebook that looks worn and faded at the corners. Hermione squints at it and sees Fleur's too perfect handwriting and 'Histoire de Magie' written across the subject indicator at the top left corner. She's come prepared, this time. Hermione is impressed.
Fleur fiddles with her notebook for a minute, setting it on top of her book and carefully pulling a loose page out of the back (a quiz paper of some sort) and tucking it into the place where her finger marked her page in her book. Hermione watches those intense blue eyes - obscured now by hair and a look of intense concentration – and comes to a decision. "Je vous enseignerai - teach you - what are you studying en histoire right now?"
"French resistance to Grindelwald during World War Two," Hermione says, shoving the latest book back into the shelf and conceding defeat. She comes back to her own comfortable armchair and sits down dejectedly. She could still make it, if she hurried and cut through that passageway near McGonagall's office. She checks her watch one more time and resolves to at least listen to what Fleur has to say before she decides.
Fleur's smile at the mention of their current subject matter is not lost on Hermione. She remembers how Professor Moody told Harry once that Fleur Delacour was no more a fairy princess than he was, and she wonders if his implication was that Fleur Delacour was far, far more intelligent than she let on. Hermione would have to test that hypothesis sometime in the near future.
A single, carefully maintained nail taps thoughtfully against the cover of her notebook. Fleur Delacour stares at her with inquisitive eyes. "'ow much do you know about ze muggle resistance during zat war?"
Hermione shrugs. She can say very little on the subject - for her reading of muggle history has been sorely lacking since she came to Hogwarts. She tries to read the books her father recommends her (he is something of an amateur World War Two historian in his spare time) but she honestly does not have the time these days. With every passing year the class workload gets harder and her spare time has dwindled into almost nothing. She pulls out her class notebook and flips to the most recent page. Her notes are clear and concise as always, but she pushes it across the low table between them so that Fleur can see where exactly Professor Binns was up to. "A bit – I didn't get to go to secondary school in the muggle world – so just what I've read in books."
Fleur turns a few pages back in Hermione's notebook. Her face is impassive, but Hermione can see her eyes flicking across the pages rapidly. She reads quickly for one who does not speak the language all that well. "Do you find zem good, zese books?" Fleur asks offhandedly, closing Hermione's notebook with a snap and opening her own. She passes Hermione's back across the table.
"Naturally," Hermione replies, taking her notebook back and watching Fleur with almost nervous eyes.
"C'est... C'est bon, zen, I ask you to forget what it is zat zey taught you." Unnaturally blue eyes look up now, their eyes piercing into Hermione's own curious stare. Never before has Hermione been told forget what she's learned in a book; she does not know how to handle such a request. She opens her mouth to speak, but Fleur silences her with a jerk of her head, shaking it slightly in the negative. Hermione watches her warily, as Fleur seems to choose her words carefully. "La Résistance Française cannot be learned in mere books."
And that is how Hermione Granger ended up skipping her first ever History of Magic class.
The French Resistance against Grindelwald's forces during World War Two did not fare much better than the muggle resistance against the Nazis had. Hermione is surprised to learn just how closely both parties worked together during the war. Professor Binns has touched upon it, but he is too caught up in following the overarching narrative of Grindelwald's rise to and eventual fall from power to go into what the Nazis were up to during that time. Fleur seems to have no such qualms, and speaks at length about the differences between the two groups and how they worked parallel but not together most of the time. Grindelwald was not opposed to the mass murder that the Nazis committed, but he did not favor such selective extermination.
Fleur says that if Grindelwald had had his way, the deaths from Europe alone would have been much closer to 60 million in civilian casualties compared to the current estimate of around 45 million, and that was just the muggles. Hundreds of thousands of wizards died during that war, deaths that have never been added to the official figures that Hermione's father has shown her.
Hermione remembers Anthony Goldstein mentioning once during Professor Binns' class that a few of his extended family members had lived on the continent and she wonders if they had been rounded up by Grindelwald or the Nazis or both. She had friends, back in primary school, who were also scarred by that great wound, and Hermione feels her heart go out to them as Fleur tells her this story.
If she has anything to do with it, nothing like that will ever happen again.
Fleur tells her how when Marshall Philippe Pétain became the premier, his surrender to Hitler was a carefully orchestrated move in order to prevent further loss of life by both the muggle and wizarding governing bodies. Hermione isn't sure she believes Fleur at first, as a great many people, muggles and wizard alike, died after the Nazis took France. She points this out and Fleur simply raises an eyebrow and says that she is the one teaching Hermione and not the other way around.
Hermione resolves to not ask questions after that.
With the Germans everywhere, Grindelwald's forces were able to move in, aiding the Nazis in catching as many who resisted as possible. In France, Fleur laments, they were no longer after those of mixed heritage, but rather anyone who did not fit the perfect ideal of the wizard, of the Aryan, or of both. Everything he (and she was not specific here) did was for the 'greater good'. Fleur had spat that out, anger in her eyes. Hermione wonders how many of Fleur's family died during that time.
Fleur shakes her head at the mention of the Vichy Government in Hermione's class notes when Hermione turns back a few pages and asks a question about their role in all this. She tells Hermione that she is from the south of France, that it is there that her family had lived for generations. Her parents were young still, but the remnants of that government even cut into the wizarding community there. Vichy was entirely a muggle creation, Fleur explains, but there had been a few of Grindelwald's closest advisors pulling strings behind the scenes.
They created a secret police within Vichy's own secret police force. Fleur compares them to the sniffers that Voldemort had used during his time in power. They made people disappear - collecting people who seemed innocuous to the muggle secret police and sending them to a place worse than death of the Dark Wizard's own creation.
Grindelwald had set up a mirror death camp to the one the Nazis were using in the occupied French territory just to the north of the Vichy border. All Beauxbatons students are required to go there during their second year, for it is important to the French wizarding government that they learn from the horrors of the past. Fleur tells Hermione about the nightmares she had for weeks after going.
"And the resistance?" Hermione asks, on the edge of her seat and full of worry at the idea of Fleur having nightmares. She cannot explain her concern, and she frankly does not want to. It is just a horrible idea, this concept of Fleur Delacour (who Hermione is very quickly learning is not Practically-Perfect-In-Every-Way) being plagued with bad dreams about the horrors of the past.
She supposes that collective memory scars a lot deeper in a place where the war was actually fought, rather than merely attacked.
"Ah, La Résistance," Fleur says fondly, as if recalling a folk hero. "Zey did not much care for Vichy and Pétain's clever plan to save France." She bridges her fingers and looks at Hermione sideways with those strange blue eyes for a moment before beginning her explanation.
It turns out that a difference in opinions and being sympathizers with the Nazis and Grindelwald was the least of Vichy's offenses. Pétain had apparently erased something from what was considered to be so core to the collective French psyche by creating a 'new order' and by taking away what Hermione had always been taught to be the true moto of the French people.
The first time she hears it from Fleur's lips, she is struck. She's never heard it in French, as spoken by a French national. She has half a mind to say 'God Save the Queen' right after it, but thinks better of it. She knows how the French feel about their nobility.
"Liberté, fraternité, égalité," Fleur whispers reverently. "'e took zat away from us." She stares off into the distance. "Even in ze wizarding communautés, it is so core. We would not stand for it."
They lapse into silence then, Hermione thinking about the implications of what Fleur is saying, about how it changes her perception of the French wizarding government. She is filled with questions, mostly as to why Professor Binns never mentions this when he talks about that period of time in history. There's three major goblin wars, a giant uprising and all of the nonsense with witch burnings in America on top of several very important muggle historical events. Why does Professor Binns never talk about how the muggle events might have correlated or even have causative or reactionary affects based on the wizarding ones?
Hermione decides that next time she sees Professor Binns she'll ask him.
A few minutes of silent contemplation later, Fleur adds, "Did you know that Charles de Gaulle was a wizard?"
No, Hermione had not known that, but suddenly it all makes sense.
Charles de Gaulle had spent much of his time during the war exiled in London. Her father has told her how Churchill could not stand the man, and she smiles a little knowing that a 'good sensible man' like Winston Churchill probably would not have taken very well to knowing that there was a wizard in exile living in his country.
Via radio broadcast, Fleur explains quietly as Madam Pince walks by, he was able to organize and get the word out about how to avoid the camps and the conscription. Hermione knows this; her father has been marveling at Charles de Gaulle's ability to orchestrate things in absentia for years. Being a wizard would make his acts so much more believable. She can't wait to tell her father. She makes Fleur write down the name of a book that Fleur thinks is also available in English and sends an owl order off to Flourish and Blots as soon as she can.
Fleur smiles quietly at this, and goes back to telling Hermione her story. She talks about how de Gaulle probably was not the leader that he made himself into after the war, something that Hermione already knew, but it is nice to have confirmation on it. But de Gaulle did start a pattern of resistance that can be pointed to as a method that future groups used against Voldemort during his reign of terror.
Hermione contemplates this, and thanks Fleur for the lesson as the bell rings. Fleur says nothing for a long moment, her cheeks reddening as Hermione holds out her hand to her.
"In France, we do not shake 'ands," Fleur says, standing fluidly and placing her hands firmly on Hermione's shoulders. She kisses Hermione's cheeks, first one, and then the other. "Au revoir, 'ermione," she says.
She is bright red, but Hermione manages a squeaky "Bye!" as she hurries out of the library.