Disclaimer: HP and characters do not belong to ookamidesu.
Here is the long awaited sequel to Torn. It's been a while since I've delved into the Harry Potter fandom, so in the process of writing this, google was a very helpful resource.
This one is written from Fleur's POV! Hope you all enjoy! Please read & review!
"I love you, Fleur," Hermione said as she smiled at me.
"I love you too, 'Ermione," I replied, donning a smile of my own. "But, are you not wiz Ronald now?"
She chose not to answer me. Instead, she gave me a quick kiss and continued smiling her secret smile. There was a glint of mischief in her eyes and I wondered what it meant.
"Zat wasn't an answer," I stated, my voice firmer.
"I love you, Fleur," she replied, never ceasing the upward curve of her lips.
She leaned in for another kiss, but I avoided this by backing away. When her hands started wandering, I grabbed hold of them and restrained her.
"You know I can't do anyzing wiz you eef you are still wiz Ronald," my voice serious.
She shook her hands free from my grasp with an aggravated huff and turned away from me. "Fine. You want me to be with him so much, I'll go be with him."
She slowly started to walk away, creating distance between the two of us. I tried to catch up, tried to run after her, but the distance didn't seem to be decreasing at all.
"Zat's not what I meant, 'Ermione," I yelled after her. "Don't-"
Suddenly, the image in front of me cleared and I found myself staring into darkness. It took a moment for me to realize that I was sitting on my bed in a Hogwarts staff dormitory. And everything that just happened was only a dream, a very vivid dream.
"Why won't you leave me alone, 'Ermione?" I mumbled, throwing my head back to stare at the ceiling, which was magically enchanted to show random constellations.
I tried to still my aching heart from it's accelerated rate. Clutching at my chest, holding my breath, and breathing slowly helped, but not enough. I could still feel the pounding, the throbbing. Each pump was so loud, I could hear it beating against my eardrums, and it was deafening.
Hermione, what have you done to me? Why is it so hard to just forget about you and move on?
I knew coming here and seeing you would be hard. I knew that, but I am not a weak person and I was convinced I could do it. I knew it would be hard, but I didn't think it would be this hard, didn't think that you would be haunting me even in my dreams.
It's bad enough that you are one of my students; bad enough that I have to see you weave in and out of corridors in between classes; bad enough that I always have a clear view of you during mealtimes. It's bad enough that my eyes always zero in on your position, and all I can do is watch you interact with your friends and boyfriend.
But to erase your memories? To erase all your memories of our time together? Why? Why was that necessary? What does that accomplish?
I moved my head to the side to stare at the letter owled to me a few days prior. There was no indication of who sent it, besides the handwriting. A handwriting that I vaguely remember seeing. It read:
I know that you're going through a difficult time right now. I can see the masked pain in your eyes. I also know the reason is because of a student named Hermione Granger. Please forgive her cold demeanor to you these past few weeks. Her memories of you have disappeared. All of her memories of your time together has been erased due to a highly advanced potion. For her sake, please forget her. Thank you and take care.
And that was it. That was how I found out that Hermione has erased me from her life. Just like that. One potion... and all the pain, all the joy, all the times we spent together... gone.
Gone. Erased. Disappeared. Just like that. As if all those memories meant nothing to her. And maybe it didn't. Maybe it was just a nuisance knowing and feeling all the things she did for me. But why? Why would it be a nuisance if there was really nothing left between us?
Then again, why did I care if there is something left between us? I shouldn't. It shouldn't matter anymore. I have other things that I should be more worried about. But it did matter. And my heart ached thinking that I probably really didn't matter to her, while she mattered so much to me.
My days continued as usual. I taught. I graded papers and made lesson plans. I watched as my brunette goddess shuffled through the halls as if I was just another face. A part of me wanted to stop her on a random day and ask her why she did it, ask her what she hoped to gain from erasing me. But I knew it was pointless. She doesn't remember a god-damn thing, so how would she know anymore?
Luckily for me, I had a distraction. I had a duty to fulfill while I was at Hogwarts. And heartbroken or not, I intend to fulfill it.
My official job was the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor. But underneath that, I was working with Professor McGonagall and other non-death eater staff in an effort to regain control of the school. When Albus Dumbledore died in his last duel against Voldemort, the Dark Lord appointed Snape to oversee the school. In appointing Snape as Headmaster of Hogwarts, many rules have changed and more have been created to restrict freedom.
Even in the little time that I have been here, I have seen many students break under the newly implemented "rules". And the newly implemented disciplinary system for breaking those "rules". The Carrow twins were especially ruthless. I have heard of their special "re-education" system, which resulted in Madame Pomfrey becoming extremely busy in the infirmary. So, when Amycus Carrow angered You-Know-Who and was consequently forced to leave Hogwarts, the others took advantage of this and brought me in.
Our plan was simple, but also required a bit of stealth, time, and patience. We were being watched, and we knew it, so we had to be very careful with what we did and how we did it. Most of the time, we had to talk in code, speaking about a non-existent pet or relative to pass off information. Communication was difficult most of the time, because we were always being watched. One of the strict rules we all agreed upon was to never pass information through any means that could be traced. We didn't want death eaters finding a loose piece of parchment or an unsuspecting messenger blabbing something that would sabotage the entire operation.
I sighed to myself as I stepped into the hot bath water. If a few years ago, someone told me that I would be working covertly with a bunch of school professors to overthrow one of the Voldemort's bases, I would have laughed it off as a joke. Then again, a few years ago, Hermione told me she loved me, but now she hardly even sees me.
I submerged myself into the water, hoping to get those depressing thoughts out of my head. I have more important things to think about now. Hermione made her choice. Even if I wanted to do something about it, I have to wait until You-Know-Who has fallen from power.
Re-emerging to the surface, I inhaled deeply in an effort to re-oxygenate my lungs. Then, I leaned back against the wall and closed my eyes, hoping to empty my mind.
"Professor Delacour. What a pleasant surprise," a familiar voice said, causing me to open my eyes.
"Good evening, Professor McGonagall," I replied with a smile. " 'Ow 'ave you been?"
"Well, thank you. There are a few students in my class who have been acting up lately," she started, holding my gaze intensely. "I have been overlooking their behaviour because it hasn't been too disruptive, but I believe it is time they received some sort of punishment, lest they think they can continually get away with it. Do you agree?"
"Zat depends, professor. Ze punishment you speak of, eez eet ze special punishment we 'ave in place currently?" I asked. I had a fairly good idea what she was implying, but I wanted to make sure that she was talking about what I thought she was.
"Yes. If I continue letting this slide, I'm afraid they will no longer take me seriously and I will not be able to control them."
Time is of the essence. We must do this soon, or else we will lose our chance. That's what she was saying.
"Eef zat eez what you zink, zen you should do what you need to," I replied as I stood up. "I 'ave papers to grade, so excuse me."
Giving her a faint smile, I turned around and left the baths. The when of it was deliberately left unsaid. It was understood to be tomorrow. I don't have much time to prepare for my part in the operation, so I must make haste.
I couldn't sleep that night, but not for the same reason as the nights previous. My body shook with anticipation. Or was it nervousness? I couldn't tell. I just knew that within the next 24 hours, things will get very messy. And not long after that, we will either have recaptured the school, or died trying. I was aiming for the former.
Before I knew it, my room was illuminated by the sun, signaling that morning has arrived. I glanced at my shaking hands and willed them to stop. I had to act normal and pretend that nothing out of the ordinary is going on. At least, for the better part of the morning. I went through my usual morning routine before showing up for breakfast at the Great Hall. Knowing glances were passed briefly between a few professors before I made it to my usual seat. As I passed by, I tapped one of their chairs twice, signaling that they were being a little too obvious.
I sat, but I barely ate. I poked at the eggs and cut up the sausages to make it look like I ate, but the only thing I consumed that morning was bread and water. I left the table with my plate barely touched and headed for my classroom to wait.
Soon enough, I was summoned to see the Headmaster. As I made my way across the castle to stand in front of the stone gargoyles, I found that I gripped onto my wand a lot harder than necessary. I tried to calm myself as I walked up the stairs, but it was done in vain. Surprisingly, however, when I reached the top and saw my fellow comrades, I was able to relax.
It appeared that Snape has called all of the faculty and staff of Hogwarts for a meeting, regardless of whether they were a death eater or not. A few others shuffled in after me as we all tried to fit comfortably in the room, which was noticeably divided by our loyalties.
"I'm sure you're all wondering why I've called you here," Snape began as he appeared from another part of the room. "It has come to my attention that some of my staff are neglecting to enforce the new rules I have put in place." Snape looked around the room expectantly as the death eaters sneered at us. When no one spoke, he continued. "As such, I will be instating a new rule that any staff member who refuses to enforce the new school rules will also be subjectable to punishment. Any staff who breaks a rule, or fails to enforce a rule, will subsequently be punished. And as you are all grown adults and not students, your punishments will obviously reflect that."
He continued to speak more words, but I couldn't hear him anymore. I was angry, and I wanted to hit him. Not just hit him, hurt him. He was making himself thoroughly clear. The students can not have any allies from the faculty. There will be no mercy, even from us, should they fail to abide by the twisted new rules. And it made me sick to my stomach.
I had to clench my teeth to hold back a slur of colorful words that would make people think twice when describing me as a "good and respectable lady". I needed to stay calm because any minute now, we will be given the signal, and once the signal comes, we will have to spring into action.
A few death eaters suddenly dropped to the ground. When the first few thumps were heard, some of their comrades ran to their aide. Snape stopped his little speech as he stepped forward to see what was happening.
That was the signal.
Within moments, my wand was out and I could hear myself screaming spell after spell as I fell into a duel with Alecto Carrow. Space soon became an issue as people tried to distance themselves from enemies. A few death eaters decided to run for it, leaving the Headmaster's chambers to run wild in the school, causing a few people from the Order to chase after them.
I was still locked in battle when that happened, but not with Carrow anymore. A different death eater, whose name I didn't know. As the battle was prolonged, more and more people found themselves outside of the Headmaster's room.
This was not going as smoothly as we originally hoped. The plan was to drug most of the death eaters during the morning meal so that the few that weren't drugged were outnumbered. It was our hope that the battle did not continue on long enough to be brought out into the open. Except now, it was out in the open, and students were getting caught in the crossfire.
They all seemed to catch on quickly though. They realized there was a battle going on and proceeded to fight for their side. I rendered as many of my enemies unconscious as I could, but for some reason, there seemed to be a never-ending supply of death eaters. It must be the reinforcements from Hogsmeade. They must've called for them when the battle first began.
A slur of elegant curses escaped my lips as I felt a searing pain run through my back. Growling lowly to myself, I whipped around and threw a curse of my own at the witch who attacked me. She dodged it easily and mocked my aiming skills. I threw another curse at her, and another, and another. All she could do was dodge my attacks. I didn't give her any time to retaliate, but when my attacks finally hit her, I was drained.
Not that it mattered. I had to push forward. If I'm not dead, I'll still fight. Because at the end of this battle, we either recapture the school and turn it into the Order's base, or we die and the Order will become that much weaker.
My mind was clouded and my ears barely registered any of the sounds that were happening around me. I could hear blood-curdling screams and anguished cries, but I felt nothing upon hearing them. Until I heard a distinct male voice yell out.
"Hermione! Behind you!"
I reflexively scanned the area where I thought the sound came from and found the golden trio plus one. Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny were all fighting their own battles. A death eater was sneaking up being Hermione as she was engaged in a battle with another. I threw a spell from afar at the sneaky bastard as I ran towards her.
"Hermione!" The same voice yelled at her again.
I didn't notice why until I did another quick scan around her. Another death eater emerged and was pointing her wand at the brunette. I couldn't help but think frustratedly to myself, why was everyone making Hermione their target? A fresh new spring of curses left my lips as I continued my trek towards her, anger clear as day showing in my movements.
I pushed my legs harder and I yelled an incantation that was meant to disarm her, but all I succeeded in doing was cause her to dodge, which in turn delayed her attack. When I was only a few feet away from her, I noticed from my peripheral vision a green spark that was headed to the same destination I was.
The only thing I could think of in those few seconds was that I couldn't let Hermione get hurt; that I had to protect her no matter what. And that was the last coherent thought I had as I ran into the green spark, shielding her from harm.
My body felt like it had gone through several volcanic eruptions in the span of five seconds. I was burning inside and I felt like my organs were melting. Where the burn stopped, needles were prickling my skin at an intensely fast rate, as if mini-jackhammers were drilling into me. After that, I felt nothing. There was darkness all around me and a sort of cool numbness. I briefly wondered if I died.
And then I thought, if this is death, it's kind of comfortable.
But as soon as I thought that, I felt an immense amount of pain shoot through my body. That was when I concluded that no, I wasn't dead. I was very much alive, and very much injured. Slowly, I began to make out whispers. I tried to move, tried to clear my throat or make a sound, but the closest I got out was a groan. Though it was enough to catch the attention of whoever else was in the room.
"Oh, thank god you're alive, Fleur," the trembling voice said.
It was Minerva McGonagall. I'm glad she survived the battle. We needed her to be head of operations here, assuming we won. I can only assume we won, because when I opened my eyes, I notice that I was in the infirmary.
"We... win?" I slowly managed, wanting confirmation.
"Yes," she nodded as a lone tear escaped her right eye. "We won. We chased the death eaters out. Right now, those of us who are mobile enough are setting up defenses, while others are calling for members from the Order to come here."
I smiled at her and closed my eyes again. Partially because I was tired, but mostly because I was in such pain that I decided to try to suppress it with some healing magic that I learned. It seemed Minerva took this as her cue to leave, because not long after, I heard her shuffle out the door.
I spent three days incapacitated on my bed, healing myself slowly as each day passed. But as far as the rest of the population could tell, I was comatose. Not that I minded. I didn't want any visitors. I didn't want people to see me when all I could do was lie down and speak to the ceiling. By the fourth day, I felt surprisingly well. The pain was gone, and I could move freely again.
Taking advantage of this, I ventured off of my bed and stretched my limbs. It felt so good to actually use some of those muscles that I found myself engaged in a minor workout. I stopped for a moment to cool down, but since I didn't want to go back to bed, I opted to lean against a wall for support. When I did, I noticed approaching footsteps as they stopped right outside of my closed curtain.
"Professor Delacour?" the nervous student asked. "May I come in?"
"Oui," I answered.
"Are you okay?" she asked tentatively.
"Oui," I replied. "Zere eez no need to worry."
"You-" she started, but abruptly stopped herself. After a few seconds, she tried again. "Your emotions seemed to control you when... during that time."
I gave a small chuckle, hoping to make light of the situation. "Yes, eet did, didn't eet? Did I surprise you?"
"A little," she admitted.
Silence filled the air. I watched as she wrung her hands together repeatedly; watched her struggle with herself, her words, her feelings. And I waited patiently for her to verbalise it.
"I just... I don't understand," she finally said.
"Understand what?" I asked.
"Why you... protected me like... like..."
Like a lover. I could tell she wanted to finish the sentence that way, but instead, she just allowed it to hang as it was.
Her brown eyes glimmered with confusion as her gaze fell onto me. I hesitated. I wanted to tell her, but I knew it wouldn't change a damn thing. But I still wanted to tell her, because I still hoped - no, wished - that she would remember.
Her voice shattered my train of thought, and I found myself staring at her. " 'Ermione. Zere are some zings zat are better left unsaid."
"But I want to know!" she persisted. "This has been eating at me; gnawing at me day in and day out. It's not just your actions and reactions that confound me, but mine also. Why do I feel what I feel when - when that happened? Why do I... why am I... why does it hurt? If you know, I want you to tell me!"
I couldn't understand what she was trying to tell me. Her actions and reactions confuse her? What were those? What did she feel when I was hurt in battle? Or when I shielded her from pain? And... she was hurting?
My mind was reeling so much from what she was saying that I barely registered she was standing right in front of me. When did she cross the distance? Why didn't I notice?
A teardrop slowly slid down her right cheek and without even thinking, I tilted her face to the side and kissed the salty liquid away. As soon as I realized what I did, I took a step back... or tried to. Her hand found its way to the nape of my neck such that when I tried to pull away, I couldn't. The next thing I felt were her lips on mine. A sweet, tentative kiss slowly turned passionate, and hungry.
My back against the wall, her lips and tongue on my neck, her hands on my hips. I was losing control of myself, and I was losing it faster than the rate of my heartbeat. I tried to form words; tried to tell her to stop, to tell her that this shouldn't be happening. But I couldn't.
Just as I was about to pull her closer to me, pull her into me so that I could feel her the way she was feeling me, she pulled away with a look a guilt on her face.
"I-I'm sorry. I just... it felt familiar." And as soon as she voiced those words, her eyes bulged a tiny bit as if realization finally hit her. "Why... does it feel familiar?"
She stared at me expectantly, waiting for me to answer her question as if I had all the answers in the world, when in reality, I was just as perplexed. Her memories of us were gone. She erased them; erased them with a stupidly advanced and irreversible potion. So, how could she still feel familiarity with me? Doesn't familiarity stem from memories? Memories that she doesn't have anymore.
"Don't lie to me. Please..." she begged. "I want... I need to know."
I sighed to myself. She was not making this easy for me. "Why do you assume I know ze answer?"
"Ginny. She told me that... that you would know."
I almost scoffed at that, but refrained from doing so. I made my way back towards the bed and situated myself onto it, pondering on what I should and should not tell her. I pondered if I should even tell her anything, or if I should tell her everything, or something in-between? And how will I determine what that middle ground is?
A migraine slowly began to form as my thought process continued down this path. I rubbed my forehead in an attempt to assuage the pain, but to no avail. Eventually, I just gave up on trying to force myself to come up with an answer and turned my attention to the brunette.
"Come back tomorrow. Maybe I'll 'ave an answer for you zen," I finally said.
Hermione's face clearly showed disappointment, but she complied. She left me without argument, but she dragged her feet doing so. As if hoping I would change my mind before she reached the curtain and tell her everything she wanted to know. I didn't know if she looked back at me before closing the curtain, but I knew she lingered for a moment, because there was a noticeable time difference between the sound of the curtain opening and closing.
I sighed to myself once more as I laid myself down and stared at the blank ceiling. What should I do? What do I tell her.. and how much? This is Hermione we are talking about. When it comes to information, she is insatiable. But I wonder if I should even be feeding her any...
A knock on a wall outside my curtain interrupted my thoughts. I was tempted to pretend to be asleep, so that I did not have to deal with the person on the other side, but etiquette won and I answered, "Come in."
Ronald Weasley walked into my infirmary space and tried to smile at me as a greeting, but it turned out looking more like a grimace. I returned the favor in kind and gave one of my smiles... or attempted to. Whether I succeeded or not, I'll never know.
" 'Ello Ronald," I greeted, deciding to keep my words limited.
"Hey, professor. I was wondering if we could... talk?"
"Of course," I replied, motioning to a chair not too far from the bed.
He slowly moved toward it and took a seat, but never once looking at me as he did so. "I know Hermione came to you a little while ago... I was just wondering what you told her. She seemed kind of... sad."
I stared at him, trying to understand his intentions for asking that question, for wanting to know the answer to that question. I couldn't pinpoint what it was, but as far as I could tell, it was because he really did care about the brunette.
"I did not tell 'er anyzing," I replied.
"I told 'er zat I might 'ave an answer for 'er tomorrow. I 'aven't decided what I wanted to tell 'er yet, or eef I want to tell 'er anyzing at all."
"I know it's not really my place to say, Professor, but I think you should tell her everything," he spoke, finally looking up to meet my eyes.
A hint of anger and annoyance hit me. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to feel when I heard that statement coming from him. Before I could stop myself, I blurted, "What do you know?"
He seemed taken aback from my question. Probably because it held more hostility than I wanted to show. He turned his gaze away from me and started playing with the hem on his long-sleeved shirt.
"Not a lot. Ginny told me some stuff... about how you and her had a past and that she took a potion to forget it. I didn't ask for the details... because, well, honestly? I didn't really want to know. She was my girlfriend... and I thought... but then... yeah..."
When he looked up at me again, I could see the hurt in his eyes. And suddenly, some of his words registered in my brain. "Was?"
"What?" he asked, confused.
"You said she was your girlfriend. Was. Past tense..." I replied.
"Yeah. She broke up with me. She was... torn. She doesn't know anything about your past with her. I haven't told her and Ginny hasn't told her. We thought it was best if she heard it from you."
"What eef I don't want to tell 'er?" I asked.
"In the end, it's your choice. But I really think Hermione has a right to know part of her past. It's been eating at her, and it just... she's not the same Hermione I know. It's almost like she's... hollow, but... with some of Hermione's habits and quirks."
"She chose to erase eet 'erself."
"She wasn't thinking straight. She was-"
"I know, but a part of me 'ave not been able to forgive her for zat. And anozzer part of me 'as already forgiven 'er because I can understand why she did eet." A few seconds passed by with the ginger-haired boy still silent. "I'm sorry. Zat probably didn't make any sense."
"No," he replied. "I get it. It's kind of the same way with me. I mean - if she wasn't really happy with me, she could have just... told me. Why did she have to feel like... like there was no other way?"
"You are surprisingly understanding," I replied, giving a small chuckle as his face tinted with pink.
"This is only after many nights of thinking and talking to Harry... and sometimes Ginny," he smiled before standing up. "Anyway, I will leave you alone now. Whatever you decide to tell her, just make sure you won't regret it. I'm sure if Hermione remembered what she did, she'd name it her number one regret."
I returned the smile, "Merci, Ronald."
"Oh - and I wanted to thank you, for saving Hermione during that... battle," he said as he was about to open the curtain. "I know we have more important things to worry about right now than forgotten memories, but.. well..."
"You're welcome, Ronald. You are right zat we 'ave more pressing matters to worry about, but right now, I also want to resolve what I can wiz 'Ermione. If not for anyzing but peace of mind," I replied with a smile.
He gave me a quick nod before exiting, leaving me to my thoughts once more.
It was afternoon when Hermione decided to approach me again. I was heading out to take a short walk, but before I was even able to leave my enclosed area, I found her on the other side of the curtain. She seemed somewhat flustered, but I ignored it and stepped back into my small space, cuing for her to come in. I seated myself on a chair by the bed and waited for her to speak first.
After some time passed and she realized I was waiting for her to speak, she shifted uncomfortably on her feet before mumbling some words that I did not catch.
"I'm sorry. Could you repeat zat?"
"You said that if I came back today, you'd have answers?" she repeated.
"Might. I said I *might* 'ave answers," I corrected her.
She stopped herself from speaking when I extracted a flask from my pocket and held it in front of her. "Zese are my memories. You will find your answers 'ere." After I handed her the item, I added, "I will not do zis a second time. I am going to take a stroll now."
When I left the infirmary, she was still standing there, somewhat dazed, staring at the flask that I had given her.
My stroll ended up lasting for hours. Mostly because I wasn't sure what would be waiting for me when I went back to the infirmary. I pro-longed my time outside by wandering through the grounds, checking on the status of our defenses and plans of operations, and passing the Great Hall for food before heading back to my corner of the infirmary.
By the time I returned, I found Hermione sitting on my bed, still holding onto the flask I had given her this afternoon. Except now, the flask was empty. When I entered, her head shot up to look at me, half-scared, half-surprised.
"I'm sorry, Fleur... for everything I did... everything that I put you through..."
I didn't know how to respond to that. The first words that came to my mind were bitter, selfish words that would speak volumes of the pain I've endured because of her. My first thought was to scoff at her apology and make sarcastic remarks, but I held it back, because I knew I would regret it later.
I opted for silence, neither answering her nor starting a new conversation. I just stood there, in the middle of my allotted space with my arms crossed, and waited for her to make the next move.
"Fleur?" she asked, voice meek.
My chest felt heavy. I know she's expecting a response, but right now, I'm not sure what kind of response I should be giving her. I let out an audible exhale before uncrossing my arms.
"I'm tired, 'Ermione. Per'aps we can 'ave zis talk anozzer time?"
"Can't we talk about this now?" she asked.
"Non. I am tired. I would like to sleep," I replied with a sort of finality in my voice.
"Why are you running away from this... from me?"
"You 'ave a lot of nerve to say zat to me, 'Ermione. You say I'm running away when you are ze one who took a potion zat destroyed memories of us? You say I'm running away when you are ze one zat left-"
"I know," she cried. "I know I made mistakes in the past. And I want to amend them. I'm trying to amend them."
I took one look at her quivering body and instantly regretted my outburst. A sigh escaped my lips as I found myself backing up to lean against the wall. Crossing my arms again, I hardened my gaze on her, determined to get through this without breaking down. Or melting like the lovesick schoolgirl I was for her.
"Zen speak," I said, voice firm. "Whatever you wanted to talk about, talk."
I waited. And as I waited, I watched her struggle to find words. The silence was deafening, tempting me many times to call off the conversation and send her back to her room. But I know from experience that once Hermione is determined to do something, she would do it. No exceptions.
My impatience was slowly starting to surface. My foot began to tap against the floor as my eyes wandered around the room. Right when I was about to speak up, her voice cut through the air, silencing me.
"Do you still love me?" she asked.
"I zink you already know," I replied.
"Fleur," she sighed. "Do you?"
A small bubble of anger erupted in me and I wanted to scream at her. But I held it back and answered, "Look at where we are, 'Ermione. Eef I did not love you, I would not 'ave protected you. I didn't know what zat spell was, nor did I care at ze time. I was prepared to die for you."
"I think I love you too," she admitted in a small voice.
"My mind is really jumbled right now and there are just some things I still don't understand. But, when I looked into the memories you gave me, suddenly a lot of things that I felt in the past made sense to me. Like when I look at you, I feel like I'm home. Safe and secure. And well, happy. I never felt that way with Ron, and it always confused me because I thought I loved him."
She paused and turned her gaze to me, her eyes glistening slightly as if tears will fall any second now. I stayed quiet. I wanted her to continue. I wanted to see what else she would say, so I said nothing and looked at her expectantly.
"And well, I do love him," she continued. "But I realized that I loved him more as a friend than I did as a lover. For the longest time, I felt like there was a growing void in my life, but I didn't know what it was or even how to find out what it was. Though, I guess, that was attributed to the fact that I was missing some memories."
" 'Ermione..." I started, voice showing how tired I really was.
"I need you, Fleur. I realized it too late, but I know now that it has always been you, and it will always be you that I need," she blurted desperately.
I sighed as I pinched the bridge of my nose. It made me happy to hear all of these words coming from her. Giddy, even. But we were in the middle of a war now. A war that I am now deeply involved in. A war that I would inevitably have to fight in, and would probably die from.
"So," I started. "What do you want?"
"From me. What do you want from me? What do you expect to 'appen?"
"I didn't... I didn't think that far. I guess I was hoping we could spent more time together, and see where things go from there?"
I wanted to say yes. I really wanted to be able to start over with her, but I also knew that with the impending war, starting a relationship right now should be my lowest priority. Letting a small sigh escape my lips, I pushed myself off of the wall before turning my gaze to the brunette on my bed.
"I'm going to sleep now, 'Ermione. I will zink about what you said," I uttered as I gestured it was time she took her leave.
"When will I get an answer?" she replied as she stood up.
"I don't know," I said as I made my way towards my bed. "You will know when I find you."
She looked like she wanted to press for a specific timeline, but I turned my gaze away from her and towards my bed. I was not in the mood to be pressed for answers, even if the one doing it was her. She silently took her leave and I was grateful for the time alone.
I needed to think. I knew what I wanted, and I knew what she wanted, but I didn't know if following our desires would be a good idea right now. I chuckled amusedly to myself as a thought crossed my mind. An outsider looking in would probably see the answer clear as day. As a matter of fact, the answer is probably as simple as following our heart's desire. So why doesn't feel simple?
Probably because I'm caught between torrents of emotions. That might be it. Or it could just be because I'm so tired now that I can't think straight. That might be it too.
I laid myself down onto the bed and allowed sleep to overtake me.
I didn't dream that night. At least, I couldn't recall any dreams. When I woke up, I found Madame Pomfrey shuffling around in the infirmary. When I pulled the curtains back and showed myself in the large room, she greeted me absently as she went about her chores. Then, as I was about to open the doors to leave, she called out to me.
"Oh, right, Fleur. You can start sleeping in your own room again if you feel fine. You're healing surprisingly well considering the damage your body took, but it seems there aren't going to be any lasting effects, so there is no need to come back here anymore," she said.
"Zank you, Madame Pomfrey," I replied. "I zink I will return to my room. Your 'ospitality was much appreciated."
"You're welcome. Also, Minerva wanted to see you," she added offhandedly as she continued her work.
"Zank you. 'Ave a good day, Madame."
"You too, Fleur."
After taking a morning bath and changing into some comfortable robes, I began my search for Professor McGonagall. I ended up finding her in the Headmaster's room, which I suppose is now the Headmistress's room.
"Professor McGonagall?" I asked as I walked in. "You asked to see me?"
"Ah, yes, Fleur. Come in, come in. And please, call me Minerva. We have gone through a great deal together. There is no need to be so formal."
"Minerva," I smiled at her. "Was zere somezing you wanted to talk about?"
"Fleur." Her tone of voice changed dramatically. It was heavy and I detected a hint of hesitance in it. "Right now is a very critical time for us. We need organize ourselves as fast as possible so that operations will run smoothly when they happen. I have been talking with the other faculty and staff lately and we unanimously agreed that you would be a perfect candidate."
I waited for her to finish, but after a long moment of silence, I spoke up. "Candidate for what?"
"Front-line defense," she supplied. "Head of front-line defense."
"E-Excusez moi, Madame McGonagall," I uttered out in disbelief, switching back to French unknowingly. "Minerva, I can't possibly... 'ead of front-line defense? 'Ow... 'ow did I qualify for zat position? What does zat position even entail?"
"Right now, front-line defense is exactly as the name implies. It is our base's first line of defense. When there is an enemy attack, that team will be the first to retaliate. I'm sorry for giving you such a dangerous position. And you are, of course, free to reject it."
"What qualifies me to be ze leader? I lack some years of experience and I am not, by any means, specially trained for combat."
"But you are," Minerva replied. "You don't even realize your own potential? Fleur, it was utter chaos during that battle to recapture the school, but you were able to keep your wits about you the entire time. You fought death eater after death eater-"
"And almost died doing so," I interrupted.
"You shielded Hermione Granger from a surprise attack. If it was not for that, I suspect you would have gone on for quite some time after," she replied. "I think you underestimate yourself, Fleur. Everyone else has faith in you. It was a unanimous vote to offer you this position. And not because it was dangerous and others didn't want it. Believe me, there were a few who were adamant that I should not force this on you. It is entirely your decision."
"Eef I decline, zen who will be ze next candidate?"
"We haven't decided yet," she replied with her eyes downcast. "We haven't been able to agree on a second candidate yet."
I let out a deep sigh as I pondered over her words. It wasn't that I didn't want to take on the job, but I felt like she was giving me more credit than I deserved. If she had offered me a position as a mere member on the front-line defense squad, I would have gladly taken it. But that wasn't the position. The position she wanted me to fill was the leader of said squad. And I have doubts about whether or not I should be taking on such a responsibility.
"I'm sorry, Minerva," I finally spoke. "I zink I will need some time before giving you an answer."
"That's not a problem. Think it over. I want you to make a decision you won't regret. But I must remind you that time is of the essence. Please let me know soon."
There was a sort of finality in her tone that told me the discussion was over. I politely stood from my seat and bade her a good day before leaving. This week has been a very eventful week. After a draining battle and a severe injury, I still had to deal with issues of love and sustaining obligations. Hermione wanted an answer and Minerva wanted an answer. The problem is I didn't have any answers to give right now. I wish I did, but I didn't.
It occurred to me later in the night that I neglected to ask her where I would be posted if I declined, but that was a question for another time. I suppose it didn't really matter much as long as I can do the job right. Over the next few days, I sought out members of the Order to see where I might be useful to them. I mostly ended up helping with security checks and making sure our perimeters were being watched carefully. And in the times that I have helped, the others have praised me for my thoroughness and attentiveness to detail.
"How have you been?" Bill asked as we walked through the grounds together one night.
"I 'ave been well. And yourself?" I replied, flicking my wand to illuminate an area. I did a quick scan and decided to move on.
"Good, except for those special few days in a month where I lose myself to a beast within. Listen, I heard about the position they want you to take," he continued. "What's holding you back?"
I flicked my wand again to inspect the last area for the night. When there was no sign of suspicious activity, I turned my gaze to Bill as we trekked back to the castle. "What do you mean?"
"You still haven't given McGonagall an answer. Something's making you think about not taking it, and I want to know what it is."
"I am nozing special, Bill. Ze only combat magics I know was learned from my time in Beauxbatons. I didn't receive any extra or special training for eet."
"If that's the only thing holding you back, then you can get one of the aurors to train you," he shot back. "It's something else, isn't it?"
I turned away from him as I entered through the large doors into the castle. Bill has always been a perceptive one, and I have never been able to hide anything from him that he wanted to know. I opted for the easier route and just gave in to his thirst for knowledge. "I 'ave no faith in myself. I don't zink I can do eet. I'm afraid zat I will fail and people will die because of my incompetence."
"This is war, Fleur. People are going to die because demented wizards like Voldemort exist," he reasoned. When he realized that hearing people die just because it was war wasn't helping, he decided to approach this from a different route. "I think you're perfect for the job. Well, not perfect, but as perfect as it can get with the resources we have right now. All the aurors and specially trained people are on the offensive squads. When they're gone, we need a stronghold that will be able to withstand a death eater's raid when it happens. It's true that you don't have as much experience in battle as a lot of the others in the Order, but you know something? You're a good strategist."
"I am?" I asked, perplexed. I never considered myself someone who would be good at any aspect of war.
"You are. You used to always beat me in wizard's chess, remember?"
"Zat eez a game, Bill. Zis eez not."
"Chess is a game of the generals. It is a good test for strategic minds. I heard that even in the middle of chaos, you were able to think coherently. Not many people can do that, Fleur. Don't you see? McGonagall values that aspect of you. A leader is someone who can rise above chaos and stress, and make decisions when others are too scared to."
"Bill, I'm too scared to."
"But you shouldn't be. You are an amazing woman, Fleur. Remember the TriWizard Tournament? You were picked as your school's champion. You were seen fit by the Goblet of Fire to enter the battles against dragons and mer-people."
"And I lost zoroughly to 'Arry Potter. Ze boy was 3 years younger zan me, and I lost zoroughly to him."
"Harry is a special case," Bill provided. "Look, Fleur. This is about you, not Harry. Because if you don't take it, someone less competent than you will, and then the possibility of even more people dying increases. This is war. It's life and death. I think it's time we stepped out of our comfort zone and tested our limits, don't you?"
I sighed to myself. Not because I thought he was being an annoying nag (though he was), but because I saw truth in his words. He was right. It was time I stepped out of my comfortable little bubble and stopped running away from things just because I was scared. I'm insecure and I have doubts, but people believe in me. Other people, who have seen my capabilities so far, believe that I am right for the job. And Minerva did point out that it was a unanimous decision to offer me the leadership position. That meant something, right?
There was, however, one small thing that was still holding me back. Hermione.
She wanted to spend more time with me. She wanted to start over with me and see where things would go. I wanted that too. But if I took the offer, my risk of dying increases tenfold from what I thought before. If I took this offer, then I should not entertain the brunette, because in the end, she'll only suffer. In the end, she'll probably have to watch me die. And if I became her lover, that would devastate her.
"Fleur?" Bill asked, breaking me out of my reverie. "What's the matter?"
"Nozing. I was just zinking about your words," I replied.
He nodded at me. "Just remember that the decisions we make now is the difference between life and death."
We parted ways after that. I decided to return to my room for the night as well. I had a lot to think about. Mostly, the new revelations that Bill has imparted on me. He was right on so many points. If I didn't take the position, they'll have to give it to someone else. And from the looks of it, someone who didn't seem as competent as me. But if I did take it, then the reason people died could very well be because of me.
And apparently, I'm a good strategist. That was new information. I didn't know that about myself.
A small groaned erupted in my throat as my thoughts continued. But Hermione...
Just remember that the decisions we make now is the difference between life and death.
Bill was right, once again. I shouldn't let outside variables hinder my judgement right now. Everything else in my life should take a backseat so that we can create a safer future for following generations. Because this decision that I have to make for Minerva right now, it's a decision that will affect more than just me. It'll affect everyone.
"Minerva," I called out to her after breakfast the next morning. "I wanted to give you my answer regarding ze offer you made me a week ago."
"What is your decision, Fleur?" She stared at me intently.
"I accept," I replied, with equal intensity. "But I will 'ave to request some lessons in combat from an auror or anozzer equally qualified person."
I saw relief in her eyes as she smiled back at me. "It isn't a problem. I can probably arrange something for you."
"Zank you," I returned. "I 'ave anozzer errand to run. Please excuse me."
We exchanged goodbyes before I bolted off to look for Hermione. It was time I gave the brunette her answer too. Though, I had a distinct feeling that she wouldn't be very thrilled with the answer I had for her. I found her in an empty corridor not too far from her dormitory with her friends. When I walked up to her, all of them focused their attention on me, but I did not let that deter me from what I was about to do.
"I need to speak wiz you, 'ermione, in private. Please."
She nodded at her friends and they took that as their cue to leave.
"We'll see you in back in the common room then, Hermione," Harry said, giving me a knowing look as he passed by.
When I was sure they were out of earshot, I decided to break the silence. "About what you said a week ago... where you wanted to spend time wiz me and see where zings go... I'm turning you down."
"Wh-What's the reason?" she asked meekly, her voiced strained.
I could see the pain swirling in her eyes. And I wanted to look away so that I wouldn't feel so guilty about doing what I was doing, but I couldn't. I was mesmerized.
"Because," I said as I forced my eyes closed and looked away. "We 'ave more important zings to worry about right now. We don't 'ave time to dilly-dally in romance."
"You're worried about the war, aren't you?"
"Of course I'm worried about ze war, 'Ermione! Eet's a war, for god's sake! People will get 'urt and people will die... we do not 'ave the time to worry about our feelings," I replied, aggravated.
"I know that, Fleur! I know that! I've been fighting with Harry since we were eleven! Eleven! I didn't even hit puberty yet and I was facing death next to my best friends," Hermione cried, her outburst taking me by surprise. "But damn it! War is war and romance is romance. I'm not saying neglect your duties. I just want to spend some time with you. Maybe an hour a week or something. I'm in the Order too, Fleur. I'll have duties and obligations and I'll be facing danger every day too!"
"You don't understand what you do to me, do you?" I whispered harshly. "Eet's not zat simple for me."
"Then how is it so complicated? What is making it complicated?"
"You!" I spoke that a lot louder than intended. After a few moments of silence, I decided to try again. "You... 'Ermione. You make eet complicated. Your presence makes eet complicated. I can't deal wiz you and ze Order at ze same time!"
"Deal with me? I'm something you have to deal with?"
"When I am wiz you, I stop caring about everyzing and everyone else. I can't zink like zat eef I work for ze Order. Eef I zink like zat, I will die. And ozzers will die because of me. I can't let zat 'appen."
"We all have to face danger. It's inevitable, but we are creating a defense system now. When it gets implemented, we should be infinitely safer in the castle," Hermione tried to reassure me.
I smiled at her efforts, but I knew for a fact that the smile did not reach my eyes. "I know. I am part of ze first line of defense."
She faltered as she realized how her reassurance only further served to reinforce my feelings. "B-But as long as your leader isn't an idiot, y-you'll be okay, right?"
"I'm ze leader..." I supplied in a low voice.
"Oh..." she let out in her speechless state.
"My risk of dying eez not as great as ze offensive squads, but I am also not as well trained as zey are. Eef You-Know-Who attacks tomorrow, or even the next week, I am not ready for him. I need to focus right now, 'Ermione. So my answer to you is no."
"I'll wait then," she blurted. "After the war is over and everyone is safe, we'll have time to dilly-dally with romance, right?"
"I might be dead," I returned.
"I might be dead," she replied. "But if we both live... then, will you reconsider?"
"Why wait for me when zere are so many ozzer eager students who will 'ave no issues wiz dating you now?" I asked.
"I told you before, didn't I? It's always been you, and will always be you, that I need. So, will you?"
I couldn't help but smile as I watched her hopeful expression. "We will discuss zat when ze time comes. For now, let's focus on staying alive."
She hummed her agreement and I couldn't help but feel slightly giddy that she was willing to wait for me. The giddy feeling, however, was dampened by the realization that the whole reason why she needed to wait for me was because of a war that one or both of us might die in.
So, that staying alive thing. I might want to do that if I plan to hold Hermione the way I used to.
So, what didja think? It's a hell of a lot happier ending than its prequel. I received so many messages and reviews about how I needed to write a sequel to amend Hermione and Fleur being together. Well, it's kind of amended.
PLEASE REVIEW! RAWR!
... I need sleep.