As you may have noticed, I haven't updated much for this story lately. That's because I've been carefully planning how I was going to write this chapter. See... this is a very important chapter! And I wanted to get it right! **I have never witnessed childbirth or given birth myself and have only read about a few in very vague description so I apologise if it is not correct! Please forgive me** Enjoy! xx
2 May 1999
Bill wrapped his arms around Fleur's heavily pregnant frame as Kingsley approached the lectern. His face was grim and solemn as he addressed the congregation in his soothing voice.
"We are gathered here today, to pay our respects to those who sacrificed their lives on this day, one year ago, during the wizarding war. Though many sacrificed their lives, they gave us all the most precious gift – peace."
His loud voice echoed throughout the memorial. Thousands had lined up to pay their respects and as Fleur looked around, she saw every man, woman and child with tears in their eyes. The war had affected everyone in the wizarding community.
She looked up at Bill's face and her heart broke when she saw his expression. His pale blue eyes stared straight ahead and were shining with tears. His teeth were clenched tightly and Fleur knew he was struggling to hold himself together. Sensing his pain, she ran her hands tenderly up his arms and kissed his shoulder gently. Bill merely held her tighter and rested his chin on her silvery hair.
As the ceremony continued, Fleur felt a strange pain growing in her lower abdomen. She squirmed uncomfortably and rubbed her belly. Cramps were frequent for her now and she was used to them, but they seemed to be more painful this time.
"Ughn," she groaned, squeezing her eyes shut for a second.
"You okay?" asked Bill immediately, concern all over his face.
Fleur swallowed and took deep breaths. "Oui," she said through gritted teeth. "It iz just cramps, Guillaume. I'm fine."
Bill frowned, not at all convinced, but said nothing and kissed her nose softly.
Deep down, Fleur was not fine. She bit down on her lip hard to keep from crying out in pain and disturbing the ceremony. Her breathing was heavy and short and sweat beaded along her forehead. Suddenly, a searing pain ripped through her stomach and she gripped Bill's arms tightly, her nails digging into his skin.
"Argh," she moaned loudly as she doubled over and clutched her belly.
"Fleur!" cried Bill. "What's wrong?"
A few people near them, including Bill's family, were looking at her in concern.
It was then that Fleur felt the wetness between her upper thighs. She met Bill's eyes and they soon widened in understanding.
"Guillaume," she barely whispered, frightened that someone would overhear her. "I zink my water 'as broke."
Bill wasted no more time with unnecessary questions. Without a word, he took hold of Fleur's hand and lead her through the mass of people to the back of the ceremony. Fleur clutched her belly and cried out in pain as another contraction shuddered through her body. People turned their heads to watch the couple weave in and out of the crowd and Fleur felt herself growing incredibly embarrassed. This was not how she had planned the birth of their child. Bill continued to shove people out of the way and pulled Fleur behind him, jerking her roughly. Some people complained and Fleur felt like hexing them all.
"You should have gone to the bathroom before the ceremony!" grumbled one man irritably. Fleur pulled out her wand and turned on him, her expression venomous.
"I'll 'ave you going to ze bathroom in a minuit!" she growled lowly. The man put his hands up in surrender and Fleur glared at him as she followed Bill.
After a few minutes, they were outside the memorial. Fleur put her hands on her hips and crouched slightly.
"Come on," urged Bill, taking her hand and trying to pull her with him. But Fleur stayed put.
"Non! Guillaume I cannot make it! It iz too much for me! I can't run anymore!" her voice was breathy and weak from the pain she was in.
"Well, we're going to have to Apparate. Can you handle that?" He cupped Fleur's face and stared into her deep blue eyes.
She nodded firmly and Bill grasped her hand and turned on the spot. Fleur was barely able to control her nausea when they appeared outside St Mungo's and she collapsed into Bill's arms. Bill half carried her into the hospital and demanded loudly that they been seen immediately. A distressed looking Healer took them down to a room and had Fleur dressed in a simple, light blue hospital gown and laid her on the bed. Her fair eyebrows were screwed up in pain and she gave another cry, squeezing Bill's hand so tightly that he thought he would lose circulation.
"Don't do anything," the Healer advised Bill. "Just look after her."
Bill nodded and the Healer quickly left the room for a moment, leaving the couple alone. Fleur's breathing, while still heavy, had calmed down and she fixed her eyes on Bill's face.
"Don't leave me," she said firmly.
Bill smiled and bent to kiss her. "I won't," he assured her. "I'll just send a patronus to Mum. She wouldn't want to miss the birth of her first grandchild."
Fleur smiled weakly. "I'm sorry to ruin ze memorial. I know zat zis is a difficult time for you... for all of you..."
Bill frowned and shook his head. "You're apologising for going into labour? Fleur, how could you possibly feel guilty about this? This is the greatest day of my life!"
She gave him a sad smile and traced his scarred cheek gently. "But also ze saddest." She closed her eyes and gave a pained groan, squeezing Bill's hand again.
"You alright, love?" he asked.
"No," she said. "Zis is by far ze most painful zing I 'ave ever experienced!" She shot him a glare. "Don't ever do zis to me again!"
Bill was a little taken aback by her words. Luckily, he was spared responding as the Healer had returned and began to do some tests on Fleur to see how far along she was. Bill, not exactly wanting to watch this process, decided to use this time to send a patronus to Mrs Weasley.
When he came back inside, he saw Fleur in an awful lot of pain, her knees up and the Healer encouraging her to push. Bill quickly rushed to her side and took her hand again. She met his eyes and he couldn't shake the feeling that she was accusing him of putting her through this.
"Argh! I'm going to kill you, Bill Weasley!" she screamed as she screwed her eyes shut and squeezed his hand extremely tight.
"You're doing wonderful, love," he told her soothingly, not know what else to say. "Keep it up."
"YOU KEEP IT UP!" she shrieked.
"That's it, Mrs Weasley!" the Healer encouraged.
"Ughn!" she wailed, tears spilling down her cheeks. Bill couldn't watch her – he couldn't stand to see her in so much pain and yet be unable to do anything about it. He looked away, still grasping her hand, and he saw his mother's face peering in through the glass section at the top of the door.
"Fleur," he said. "Mum's here. Do you want her to come in?"
"No!" she cried, shaking her head madly. "She cannot see me like zis! No one can see me like zis. Not even you, Guillaume!"
The only thing comforting about her words was the fact that she used his nickname, which meant that she wasn't angry with him – at least not at the present time. Bill met his mother's eyes through the door and shook his head.
Another face soon appeared next to Mrs Weasley's in the window. Before Bill could recognise who it was, the door burst open and Apolline Delacour hurried into the room.
"Ma fille!" she cried in her throaty accent, crossing the room in three strides and taking her place beside Fleur's bed. "Move! I need to be 'ere with my daughter!" she told the Healer abruptly, before kneeling next to Fleur and taking her hand. "Ma cherie, regarde-moi."
Fleur opened her eyes and beamed at her mother. "Maman!" she cried. "Tu es venu!"
Ms. Delacour shook her head at her daughter. "Bien sûr, ma cherie. Tu penses que je manquerais la naissance de mon premier petit-enfant? Je ne pense pas!" Ms. Delacour bent down and kissed her daughter's cheeks.
"Mais, comment tu sais?" Fleur asked.
"Ton mari," she responded simply.
It was then Fleur turned to look at Bill, her eyes welling with tears and she squeezed his hand gently. "Guillaume..." she whispered, tenderly.
He kissed her forehead and cupped her face. "She needed to be here."
Fleur's response was interrupted by another painful contraction. She let out another anguished cry and her grip tightened once more. Bill thought his fingers would fall off soon.
"Ça y est, ma cherie. Poussez!"
Bill watched in fascination as Apolline kept encouraging her daughter in French. Fleur seemed to feel comforted with her mother by her side and as a result, the labour was over shortly.
"Ah! I see the head!" cried the Healer happily.
"Une plus, Fleur. Une plus!"
"Argh!" screamed Fleur for the last time. The Healer delved between her legs and returned with a newborn baby, covered in muck.
"It's a girl!" the Healer announced and Bill and Fleur gazed at each other in rapture. With a shaky breath, Fleur collapsed back against the pillows and closed her eyes wearily.
"You did it, love," said Bill proudly, kissing his exhausted wife tenderly. Their daughter, still in the Healer's arms, began to cry loudly and Bill immediately rushed to her side.
"Is she alright?" he demanded.
The Healer merely chuckled. "She's healthy alright," he assured him. "Got a good set of lungs on her, this one. You've got nothing to worry about."
Bill beamed at Fleur.
"Ma fille! Ma petite!" Fleur rasped from the bed, sitting up and reaching for her daughter.
"Just a minute," said the Healer, "let us clean her up and then you can hold her."
Fleur pouted at this and beckoned for Bill to sit beside her. He hugged her slim body, covered in sweat and brushed her wet hair from her sticky forehead. She leaned into his side wearily.
"You were amazing, Fleur," he told her, his face aglow with admiration.
"Zank you, mon cheri."
"A granddaughter!" cried Mrs Delacour proudly. "I am going to be a grandmuzzer!"
The Healer soon returned, followed by the entire Weasley family. Fleur eagerly reached for her daughter and gently cradled her in her arms. She was tiny and so pale, with wisps of honey blonde hair. The baby nuzzled into Fleur's breast and opened her sapphire eyes, blinking up at Fleur.
"She is parfait!" Fleur exclaimed tearfully, stroking her daughter's pale cheek. The baby mewled at the sound of her mother's voice and her tiny mouth formed an 'o'.
"She looks like you," Bill said softy, his voice filled with emotion as he regarded his daughter.
Mrs Weasley approached Bill and put her arms around him. "She's got a bit of Weasley in her too," she said through happy sobs. "Look at her freckles."
Sure enough, a small cluster of light-coloured freckles decorated the baby's tiny nose. Fleur grinned up at her mother-in-law.
"May I 'old my granddaughter?" asked Mrs Delacour thickly, wiping tears from her eyes. Fleur lifted her arms and handed the child to her mother, who stroked her cheek gently and rocked her back and forth. One by one, family members congratulated the new parents on their wonderful achievement.
"What a lovely thing to happen on such a grim day," exclaimed Mrs Weasley when it was her turn to hold her granddaughter. "Fred wouldn't have wanted it any other way."
Mr Weasley approached his wife and gazed tenderly at his tiny granddaughter. "It just shows that we are victorious over death."
There was a hum of agreement and soon the Healer asked the visitors to leave in order for Fleur to rest.
Now alone, Bill lay next to Fleur and kissed his daughter's forehead softly.
"Look at what we made," he whispered in amazement. "Words cannot describe her."
"We still 'ave to name her, Guillaume."
Bill smiled and kissed Fleur's cheek. "Do you have any ideas?"
The baby sniffed and closed her eyes, nuzzling against Fleur and keeping a tight grip on her finger.
"Victoire," Fleur said after a pause. "Because we 'ave been victorious."
"Beautiful," Bill whispered as he kissed Fleur's temple.
Well, apart from my horrible description of Fleur's labour, that turned out well in the end! I wanted Victoire to have a grand entrance into the world because she's just that kind of girl! THE NEXT GENERATION STARTS NOW! :D Please read and review! xx