This story is about the comings and goings of Shell Cottage during The Deathly Hallows, as well as Bill and Fleur's first year of marriage and the struggles they must overcome as Voldemort gains power in the Wizarding World .
A Safe Place
A gentle mist cast itself upon the rocky Cornish Coast replacing the heavy rains that battered it's jagged cliffs the night before. Hidden beneath the cliffs was a tiny beach covered in fine white sand that collided with the rolling grey sea. It was here that Eloise Wintour found a place of refuge from her daily life.
A precocious girl of ten, Eloise enjoyed exploring the sandy shore littered with magnificent shells and curious rocks. Being tiny, she could move through the rocky environment with ease, fitting between large stones and discovering small coves. Her dark brown eyes sat behind large glasses, and her mousey features where framed by a mop of unruly black hair. She was usually quiet, preferring to observe rather than speak, and to many she seemed a bit strange.
On this particular dreary August day, Eloise perched herself upon a group of rocks cluttered near the shoreline to read. She kept her mind focused on her book until out of the fog strolled two mysterious figures, one male and one female. People rarely came to this part of the coast, and Eloise was curious as to who these people could be.
Carefully she studied the woman first. She was breathtakingly beautiful, with a tall willowy stature that gracefully glided along the sand. Her hair was long and blonde, and it gave off an ethereal silver glow that made Eloise wonder if she was really human. Her face was regal and proud, with delicate features and full pouty lips, but despite her unapproachable nature there was something soft in her wide set blue eyes, especially when they turned upwards towards her partner.
The man was also tall and lean, with broad shoulders, and a confident gait, but the first thing Eloise noticed was the hideous scars that spread out across his face, specifically on his right side. At first they frightened her, but beneath the scars she saw that he had a congenial face with kind intelligent grey eyes and a boyish grin. His hair was wild and red, barely tamed with a leather band pulling it back into a ponytail.
Watching the pair move towards her, Eloise hid behind a large rock hoping they wouldn't spot her, but instead of continuing in her direction the two turned towards the cliffs where a narrow and winding set of stairs led them up to a whitewashed cottage decoratively covered in shells.
Of all of her time exploring this remote part of the Cornish Coast, Eloise had never noticed the cottage, but there it stood right before her very eyes. It was nothing impressive, but it looked cozy and had spectacular views of the ocean.
Why hadn't she seen either the couple or the cottage before, Eloise wondered. One thing she knew for sure was that she was desperate to find out who they were and what they were doing here.
There was a reason that Eloise had never laid eyes on the isolated cottage, and that was because it was protected by magic and was rarely privy to any muggles that might come it's way. It was the home of Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour, who had recently moved in after their wedding.
Still enjoying their honeymoon Bill and Fleur spent most of their time held up in their bedroom, but at times they managed to tear themselves apart from the private world they created between their sheets to explore the beach surrounding their cottage.
Fleur loved the vast expanse of the ocean, it reminded her that the world was so much bigger than her problems. She remembered going to the shore every summer as a girl with her family, and now she would have a family of her own. She imagined the tiny footprints of children littering the sand around her home and it made her smile.
Bill just enjoyed spending time with his new wife. Underneath her (admittedly) icy cold exterior she had a fiery spirit that complimented his calm and relaxed nature, and she stuck by him even after his werewolf attack which made him love her even more.
Together the two worked to fix up the old cottage that they chose due to it's difficult to get to location. With a dangerous war raging on (especially now with the collapse of the Ministry) they needed a safe place for themselves and other members of the Order of the Phoenix if need be, but despite the mounting dangers of the wizarding world around them, for that first week together, Bill and Fleur almost forgot of the war, that was until they were visited by two old friends.
"As far as I know Harry is safe," said Remus Lupin with a worn but resolute look upon his face. His wife, Tonks, was at his side still sporting the spiky blond hair she had at the wedding.
"And Ron?" Bill asked with a look of worry. Fleur placed her arm around her husband in an attempt to comfort him.
"Safe too, with Hermione. All three of them were able to escape the Death Eaters unharmed, and are now on some sort of mission for Dumbledore"
"And no one in the Order has the slightest idea of what this mission might be?" Bill asked. "I mean, what if they need help? They're only kids."
"Unfortunately not. Dumbledore kept it top secret, and might I remind you that all three of them are of age. I trust that Dumbledore knew what he was doing when he gave them it."
"Sorry," Bill sighed. "I guess I'm just protective of my baby brother."
"I completely understand," Lupin gave an exasperated smile. "I offered to help, but Harry refused."
Tonks let out a frown. "They'll be alright," she stated in tone contradictory of her sullen expression. "I mean you were off in Egypt breaking curses around their age, and I was training to be an auror, neither of those are particularly safe, but we managed."
"Yeah, but neither of us were up against the most powerful dark wizard of the time," replied Bill.
"True," Tonks conceded.
The air seemed a bit tense. "Why don't I get everybozie sometin to drink," smiled Fleur in an attempt to lighten the mood. She wasn't expecting a visit from Lupin and Tonks, but she knew that the only way to keep everyone in the Order informed was through personal visits as the mail was no longer safe, and since they were here now she wanted to make them feel welcomed.
"That would be great," said Tonks regaining her usual cheerful composure.
"Oh uh, maybe if you have some tea." Lupin's fatigued eyes gave off a kind twinkle, and Fleur realized that he had undergone a stressful few days and was in need of some relaxation.
"Come sit down," she said warmly.
When the four of them had made themselves comfortable, Remus quickly began to discuss what was next for the order.
"Kingsley and your father believe it's best if most of us resume our daily business as usual. They seem to think it's safe enough if one's a pure blood, and that going into hiding is akin to waving a white flag. It also gives the death eaters more reason to be suspicious. I mean we're all being watched. Mind you, Voldemort has yet to be spotted, and is believed to be out of the country. Of course, my little werewolf predicament has forced me into disappearing from the wizarding world for the time being."
As soon as everyone had finished their drinks Fleur got up to clear the table, asking if anyone wanted anything else.
"Here let me help," said Tonks grabbing her and her husband's cups.
"But zere iz no need," replied Fleur.
"Please," said Tonks walking over to the kitchen sink, and Fleur, despite her original protest obediently followed Tonks' lead.
"I'm sorry about what happened on your wedding night, I'm sure having it crashed by death eaters wasn't how you imaged what's suppose to be the happiest day of your life," said Tonks as she washed out her cup.
"Zere iz no need to be sorry. Ze important theen is zat Bill and I are married now, and we and our familiez are alive, and we are safe," Fleur stated, adding a,"For now." She turned to look at Bill with a hint of sadness in her eyes.
"I know what it's like to worry about the man you love." Tonks replied patting her stomach so that her robes pressed up against her tightly. For the first time Fleur noticed a slight bump.
"Are you pregnant?" Fleur blurted out before covering her mouth in embarrassment realizing her question might be taken as rude. "Sorry, I did not mean to be so…" Fleur searched for an English word to use "…bold."
A subtle shade of pink appeared at the tips of Tonks' hair, but her lips twisted into a smile. "Quite alright," she replied with a kind-hearted laugh. "I have a habit of blurting things out myself."
Fleur was relieved to hear that she wasn't upset.
"And to answer you question, yeah. I am."
"Oh zat is wonderful," Fleur cried. "You must be so 'appy. Remus too."
Tonks' smile left her face at the mention of her husband. "Well, he isn't quite sure how to take it," she looked over towards him deep in conversation with Bill. "It's just…" Tonks paused for a moment, but Fleur's gentle nod encouraged her to continue. "He's worried. I mean who knows what will happen tomorrow, and he has it in his head that our kid's gonna be a werewolf, which is completely mental, but try telling that to him."
Fleur continued to nod, not sure how to respond.
"And he just disappeared after the death eaters questioned us the night of your wedding. I thought for sure I would never see him again. I think Harry set him straight. Apparently he wanted to assist him, but Harry refused, and only after Harry's rejection did he come back to me to apologize."
Fleur was a bit taken aback by Tonks' confession. She supposed they had always been on friendly terms ever since Bill had introduced her to the members of the order, but truth be told she wasn't use to having other females confide in her. For all of her accomplishments she always seemed to lack female friends.
"It's alright, theenz zey will get better," she replied in a comforting tone. "You are alwayz welcome here if you need a place to stay, zis place is safe."