DISCLAIMER: All of the places and characters in this story belong to the genius Ms. J.K. Rowling. No profit is being made from this story. It only serves to (hopefully) entertain.
To Protect and Love
"Honestly, what was she thinking? Unbelievable!"
"Calm down! You're completely overreacting."
"Overreacting? You can't be serious! Perhaps you didn't hear James when he ran by us on the platform shouting that our daughter was sharing a juicy snog with some bloke! She's not even old enough to snog!"
Fleur rolled her eyes at her fuming husband and continued to prepare lunch.
"Don't be so ridiculous, Bill. She ees seventeen years old! And she wasn't just kissing 'some bloke.' Teddy ees a very respectable young wizard whom we 'ave known for years, not some stranger. You 'ave always liked him."
"Yeah, well, that was until he started running his hands all over my baby girl."
"Zey were kissing, Bill, and nothing more. Relax!"
Bill huffed and stubbornly folded his arms across his chest as he leaned against the back of his chair. He had going on about Victoire and Teddy ever since he and Fleur returned home from King's Cross an hour before. When James had run by, gleefully announcing what he'd just seen, Bill's jaw had dropped so low that he was surprised it didn't break. Victoire, his baby girl, his little princess, was snogging a boy.
Bill, of course, thought his desire to Floo right over to Teddy Lupin's flat in Diagon Alley and strangle him was a perfectly rational and acceptable feeling, and he couldn't understand why his wife was so calm after hearing about what had happened. How could Fleur possibly be okay with the fact that their daughter had a boyfriend? An older boyfriend? Teddy was nineteen. He was already out of Hogwarts and working as an intern for the Ministry, whereas Victoire still had a year of school to finish. Bill had been hoping she would focus on a career before getting involved in a serious relationship, but apparently that was out of the question now.
As soon as she finished the sandwiches she had been making, Fleur made her way over to the table. She placed two plates down and sat across from her husband.
"She's too young for boyfriends and snogging," Bill said the second she sat down.
"No, she ees not, and you know it. Zis was bound to 'appen eventually."
"But she's only seventeen!"
Fleur raised her eyebrows. "And 'ow old were you when you 'ad your first kiss, Bill?"
"That's not the issue here..."
"Bill," Fleur said with warning.
"Fine. I was fourteen, alright?"
"And your first steady girlfriend?"
Bill sighed. "Fifteen. I get your point, Fleur. Really, I do, but it's different with Victoire. She's a girl – no! I didn't mean it like that!" he added quickly when Fleur shot him a stern, angry look. "I just mean that she's my girl. She's our daughter, Fleur. I don't want to see her get hurt."
"Nor do I," Fleur said with a sympathetic smile. "Zat's why I'm happy she chose Teddy. He ees a good boy – young man, rather. He ees trustworthy and smart. He'd never deliberately 'urt her."
"I know, I know," he said with a sigh. Bill hated admitting it, but Fleur was right: Teddy really was a decent bloke. "I know he'll be good to her. But still, he's so much older than her."
Fleur couldn't help but chuckle.
"Zey are a mere two years apart, Bill. Might I remind you zat you're seven years older zan I am, and I think we turned out just fine."
"Let me guess," Fleur cut in, grinning. "Different?"
"Well, yeah. It is different."
"Well, it's...I don't know. It's just different, alright? I mean, don't you think it's a little strange that Victoire didn't tell us she was seeing Teddy?"
"Not really," Fleur said. "Look at 'ow you reacted today on ze platform."
Bill, as stubborn as he was, couldn't muster a counterargument for this. He silently admitted that he wouldn't have told himself such a secret, either.
"Fair point," he reluctantly admitted after a couple of seconds. "Why is it just me, though? How come I'm the only one having a complete meltdown over this? You're so calm about it."
Fleur shrugged. "Probably because I 'ave been down zis road before. I was so worried to tell my parents about my first boyfriend. When I finally did, my father went completely bonkers, telling me I 'ad no business clinging to some boy. I was angry at 'im for days because I felt like he didn't trust me."
"I'm sure he trusted you. He probably just felt like you were replacing him or something."
Fleur raised an eyebrow. "Elaborate on zat."
"Well, I mean, the point of getting involved in a relationship is so you'll always have someone there for you, right? Someone to protect you, to help you when you're down, to love you. That's what your dad was to you for your entire life."
Fleur smiled, and nodded. "Mhm. Go on."
Bill shrugged. "There's nothing else to say, really. I just think he probably felt like you having a boyfriend made it official that he wasn't the number one guy in your life anymore."
"Ees zat 'ow you feel?"
Fleur smiled. "Ees zat 'ow you feel about Victoire dating Teddy? Zat you're being replaced?"
Bill suddenly became very interested in the texture and appearance of the table surface.
"I...well...no! No, of course not! It's-"
"Don't say 'different,' Bill. We both know it's not."
"Okay, fine. Maybe I do feel a little...weird. I don't know. It's stupid, really..."
"Sweetheart, it's not stupid. She ees your daughter. You 'ave cared for her and protected her since ze day she was born. Zat ees not an easy thing to let go of. I know. It's hard for me, too."
Bill looked up at her. "Really?"
Fleur nodded. "Really. But I'm getting through it, and you will, too. Victoire ees smart and strong-willed. She'll be okay."
"I know she will. But it's still scary. In less than a year she'll be out of Hogwarts, out in the real world...with Teddy."
Fleur laughed. "He ees a good young man."
He knew it was true. Setting aside his fears about Victoire growing up and facing the world, Bill really couldn't think of any young wizard he'd be willing to trust with his daughter. Teddy was exceedingly kindhearted and caring, just like his parents were. Bill knew Teddy would protect her, and that's what made it so hard. He couldn't shelter her forever, but he didn't want to be replaced.
"She ees not replacing you, you know," Fleur said with a caring smile; Bill swore she could read his mind sometimes. "You're her father. She may be growing up, but she'll never stop loving you."
Bill smiled at her words.
"So you really think all of this is okay, then?"
"Well, eet ees going to be a challenge for us both, but in ze end, it comes down to trusting Victoire. I don't like to brag, but I think we did a fairly decent job raising our children. Zey are all going to be okay. We're just going to 'ave to give them ze space zey need to show us that."
Bill laughed. "Merlin, that's right. We're going to have to go through this all over again with Dominique and Louis, aren't we?"
"Are you kidding? Zey're way ahead of us. Zey are both already dating people."
"Joking!" Fleur exclaimed, laughing. "Sorry, I couldn't resist. You're just such an easy target!"
"You're lucky I love you, sweetheart," Bill said with a grin.
"Mm, and I love you, mon cher."
"Do you they're in love? Teddy and Victoire, I mean."
Fleur shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe."
"If they are, good for them."
"You mean zat?"
Bill nodded and smiled at the woman he'd loved for more than twenty years. Having love in his life had made him the happiest man on Earth. It had brought him pure joy, a reason for living, and nothing was more important to him. He could only hope that all of his children would be able to share such a wondrous emotion with another person. Love was something that some people sought after for an entire lifetime to no avail, and if Victoire and Teddy were lucky enough to find it in each other so early in life, then he meant what he said with all his heart.
Good for them.
Author's Note: This was written for EssatheTwerp's "Anything you Wanna Write About Competition - Week 2" on the HPFC forum. This week, I had to write a story with Fleur as a main character and somehow include the prompt "juicy."
My apologies if Fleur's accent isn't exactly perfect. I looked through my copies of GOF and HBP to refresh my memory as to how it was written, so I hope it didn't come out too awful.
Hope you liked! :)