The summer she turned seventeen, Fleur Delacour heard her first prophecy.
She, along with several of her girlfriends, had slipped away from the Delacour's summer villa in Nice and wandered into the countryside. They'd heard word that a traveling band of gitans outside the city limits, telling fortunes and selling other trinkets picked up from their nomadic journeys.
Fleur, her mind woozy from a bit too much red wine and her blood racing through her veins in excitement, had not objected. Even at her age, she longed for excitement and adventure, for more than her privileged lifestyle had afforded her thus far in life. Everything had been planned for her since birth; she'd been tutored from the tender age of five in the social sciences, the arts, the humanities. In short, everything to make her a proper society witch and housewife.
It bored her.
At Beauxbatons, her wandwork was unparalleled. She'd quickly distinguished herself as a competent dueler and was unafraid of using nastier spells to win whatever challenge happened to be issued. The Dark Arts didn't appeal to her, but she would be lying- and Fleur never lied- if she were to deny the thrill, the sense of power that winning a duel gave her.
The pampered princess had a sharp tongue and an even sharper wand. It was no wonder that she was the de facto queen of the school.
So when Marie-Christine and Anouk had suggested a jaunt to the gypsy's camp, Fleur had jumped at the opportunity for some excitement. With a few bottles of champagne and a packet of cigarettes for the others, they made their way to the camp, a giggling gaggle of girls bent on excitement and mystery.
The night air had been cool, but Fleur's skin was hot as she danced among the campfires with her friends. Handsome Roma men twirled them about, teaching them the steps to their native dances. The beat of the drums, accompanied by the merry jangle of tambourines, led to the loosening of inhibitions, and Fleur’s keen blue eyes were bright with merriment and knowledge as she watched Delphine, another one of their friends, sneak off behind a wagon with one of the gypsy men.
The crescent moon hung low in the sky as the festivities continued late into the night. There was a keen edge to the air, one that made her skin prickle with awareness despite the haze that had descended from dancing and drinking. The night was alive, full of possibility and excitement.
Quite by accident, Fleur stumbled upon an old woman, sitting on the back of one of the gypsy wagons. A haze of blue smoke filtered out of her pipe, and the younger girl could see that the wizened old woman’s teeth were yellow, and several of them were missing.
“Pardon,” Fleur said quickly, backing away as the old lady startled out of her reverie. “Je ne voulais pas vous déranger.”
The woman grinned and waved her hand. “C’est rien,” she rasped, her deep voice gravely from years of smoking. “Venez ici, mon enfant.”
Despite her misgivings, Fleur took a step closer. Without saying a word, the gypsy reached out to grasp Fleur’s hand in her own, beady dark eyes intent on Fleur’s snow white skin. Her aged and wrinkled fingers ran over the lines, tracing about her palm and moved to her long, elegant fingers, unadorned by jewelry on this night.
“Vous êtes un chiromancien?”
“Oui. Je suis Jaelle.”
Fleur gave a faint smile. “Enchanté. Je m’appelle-”
“Fleur.” When the younger girl startled, eyes wide in surprise, Jaelle gave her a crooked, toothy grin. “Mon corps est vieux, mais mes orielles sont vif.” Tracing her fingers over the lines of Fleur’s palm, she said, “Votre famille a de l’argent. Vielles fortunes, l’argent de l’aristocratie.”
Chill bumps grew even more pronounced over Fleur’s arms. How did this woman know about her family? It wasn’t written on her skin. Ce n’est pas possible. She didn’t believe in Divination, never had. Chance and the Divine had nothing to do with a person’s lot in life.
Jaelle smiled. The young woman was shivering, a tell-tale sign that they were fighting against belief. “Vous aurez deux amours. L’un d’eux de mettre fin prématurément, l’autre durera jusqu’à votre mort. Voyez, là? Très brusque.”
It was unsettling to Jaelle, a woman who had read palm upon palm over the course of her life, to see such tragedy and danger written for this young woman. But she knew that Fleur was a strong girl despite her outwardly appearance of delicacy, and she would survive. “L’un de feu, l’un d’or, mais votre coeur sera leur souhaite à la fois.”
Two loves? Did this mean that one of them would leave her? No man had ever left Fleur willingly. Jamais.
“Trois bébés, tous avec la peau nette et les cheveux d’or. Et vous, mon enfant, trouverez un grand bonheur et l’aventure que vous cherchez.” Quite pleased with herself, Jaelle released Fleur’s hand and inhaled a long breath of sweet smoke from her pipe.
Fleur’s heart was racing as she tried not to clench her hand. It was nothing, meaningless babblings from an unsettled old woman. Harmless fun on her birthday.
She had just opened her mouth to thank Jaelle and take her leave when the old woman went rigid, her eyes widening as if possessed before they rolled back in her head. The pipe dropped from her lips and fell to the ground beneath their feet.
Gasping, Fleur lurched to help her but was stopped in her tracks when the woman began to speak again. If her voice had been raspy and deep before, it was nothing compared to the way it sounded now. It was deeper than any voice she had ever heard before, deeper than the booming bass that sounded during Père Jean’s rambling homilies during Sunday morning Mass.
“Il y aura quatre,” she rasped in her trance, completely unaware of Fleur’s enraptured presence. “Quatre au lieu du la Trinité. L’enfant se promener parmi les élus, and l’un d’or tombera. La Trinité ne doit pas être rompu.”
And then she seized up, her entire body going rigid before Jaelle slumped back against the wagon, seemingly unconscious to the world around her.
Fleur hurried to her side, checking for the old woman’s pulse as she spoke rapidly to her, urging her to wake up. There as a faint but steady pulse beneath her fingertips, and Fleur breathed a small sigh of relief. “Jaelle?”
After a moment, the old woman’s eyes opened again, and she struggled to right herself. “Ce qui s’est passé? Pourquoi êtes-vous encore là?”
“Je vous aider. Vous ne souvenez pas ce que vous avez dit? Avant vous êtes effondrée?”
“Je n’ai rien dit,” Jaelle said, brushing off Fleur’s hand. “Vous avez eu trop à boire.” She reached down and plucked her pipe off the ground, not even bothering to wipe it off before she popped the stem back into her mouth. “Allez. Vos amis seront en attente .”
She needed no further encouragement. Giving the old woman one last searching look, Fleur hurried out of the shadows and back towards the campfire. Anouk rushed to greet her, color high on her cheeks from the kisses of a stranger, and giggling about where Fleur had been hiding. She didn’t correct her friend; after all, compared to stolen caresses from a handsome man, Fleur’s story about the bizarre gyspy woman was practically laughable.
Fleur did not think on the old woman’s ramblings again until spring of the next year. It had been unsurprising that she’d been chosen to go with several of her Beauxbatons classmates to the Triwizard Tournament that year and even less so when she’d been chosen to compete. Madame Maxime, a strong woman of fortitude and tough love, had confided that she’d been sure Fleur would be picked- although Fleur wasn’t entirely sure if the woman was telling the truth or not. After all, what would she have said if it had been Sophie or Jacqueline who’d been chosen?
She did not like Hogwarts. The castle was drafty, and the Highlands were constantly cold. Winter came early that year, and the delicate silk robes worn by the Beauxbatons students did little to combat the chilling winds that constantly howled about. The food was too heavy, and whoever prepared it had little to no knowledge about the proper use of sauces in cuisine. There was no wine, which was unsettling to teenagers who had been drinking wine with their dinners since they were young children, but some fruity, sweet drink called pumpkin juice. It tasted like nothing more than fermented sugar, and it made Fleur want to gag.
The classes were not nearly as challenging as those offered at their Academy, and Hogwarts did not offer nearly the number of options. There were no classes for the arts; no music, dancing, languages, nothing that would enrich the creative souls that dwelled there. It was a pity. Fleur loved to dance.
There was one thing, though, that redeemed Hogwarts ever so slightly in Fleur’s eyes.
Or, rather, someone. A girl would have to be blind to ignore the tall, charismatic Hogwarts champion- the real champion, not the child pretender who somehow managed to hoodwink the Goblet of Fire into believing he was seventeen and eligible. Fleur pitied Harry a little, but mostly she thought him an attention seeker. Perhaps if his parents hadn’t died…
But Harry Potter was not who held her thoughts. No, it was Cedric Diggory. Cedric, the tall, Quidditch captain, whose smile made the corners of his eyes crinkle, and his hair that looked so adorably rumpled no matter where he was or what he was doing. He’d caught her eye the first moment she’d stepped into the Great Hall, and she hadn’t been able to look away.
She’d been pleased to note that he hadn’t been entirely unaffected by her presence, either. They shared a number of the same classes: History of Magic, Charms, Transfiguration and Potions- all subjects at which Fleur excelled. She could feel his eyes on her when she walked into the room, and she always gave him a coy smile before glancing away. If there was one thing she knew how to do, it was make men want even more of her.
Their little game had lasted nearly two months before he’d asked her take a walk about the grounds with him. Fleur had smiled and gathered her books into her arms before rising gracefully from her table in the library. Her girlfriends were giggling as they exited the room, though she paid them no heed. Let them giggle; Cedric Diggory had asked her, not them.
There was so much more to him than what everyone saw on the outside. He was handsome, obviously, but he was intelligent. His mind was of equal to hers, and he liked to discuss theories and history with her. They spent an hour of that first walk debating the merits of the Treaty of Calais, signed in 1654 between the French and British wizarding governments.
He was an only child, he’d told her, and though his parents had wished they could have another, they’d both been pleased and proud with just him. His mother had insisted he learned to play the piano, and his father had encouraged him to play Quidditch. He’d fallen in love with both of them; the skill and strategy of Quidditch had appealed to the tactician in him, while the beauty of music soothed the artist within.
Their first kiss had come, surprisingly, during their first fight.
It’d been directly after the first task. Fleur was in a foul mood; how was she in third place and Krum in second? His dragon had smashed half its eggs! Her spell had worked perfectly, and losing set of robes to a bit of fire was a small price to pay to get the golden egg.
The more she thought about it, the angrier she grew. Fleur Delacour was never in last in anything, least of all behind a fourteen year-old boy!
She had worked herself up to a nice, angry frenzy when she heard a voice calling her name. Her head whipped to the side to see who it was, then turned away. She snarled; he was half of the reason she was so angry.
“Fleur!” Cedric sounded out of breath as he came to a stop in front of her. “I’ve been looking all over for you? Where’ve you been?”
“Right ‘ere, not zat zat ees any of your concern,” she snapped. “Go away, Cedric.”
He was confused, and told her so. “What’s the matter, Fleur? I thought you did well against your dragon.”
She snorted. “Obviously, ze judges did not share your assessment. Now, what do you want?”
“I wanted to talk to you, make sure you were okay,” he said slowly. Something else was bothering her, something other than her scores at the first task. “Talk to me, Fleur. Please tell me what’s bothering you.”
“Why did you not ask me to ze Yule Ball?” she asked suddenly, whirling about. Her long, white-blonde hair whipped about, and her blue eyes were fiery with emotion. “Pourquoi?"
“What?” Cedric asked, confused and surprised.
“You ‘eard me,” she hissed as she crossed her arms over her chest. “You asked zat ozer girl and not me.”
“I-I-I thought…” he stammered, unsure of what to say that wouldn’t brass her off even further. She was part-Veela, and he didn’t know how much Veela blood a woman had to have before she sprouted wings and claws.
“You thought what?”
“I didn’t think you would want to go with me,” Cedric finally replied. “I thought you would say no, and it was less embarrassing to ask someone who I knew would say yes than to ask you and be rejected.”
Fleur was silent for a long moment as she processed his words. “I would ‘ave said yes, Cedric,” she said quietly as the anger at him slowly melted away. Pride she could understand. It was something she had an excessive store of.
“I didn’t know that.”
“Well, you should ‘ave ‘ad ze courage to ask me and find out,” she said loftily, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “Now, if you weel excuse me, I ‘ave zings to attend to.”
She had turned to go when she felt his hand encircle her wrist and pull her to him. Her feet stumbled against the jagged terrain before one hand braced herself against his chest. Her lips were parted as she turned her face up to him, but before she could voice her surprise, he ducked his head and pressed his lips to hers.
A soft whimper sounded in her throat as Fleur pulled him closer. Her lips parted beneath his, opening to his softly insistent ministrations. His hands slid to her hips, then around to the small of her back as he kissed her. She could feel that fog descending over her brain, shrouding her thoughts and making it hard to focus on anything except the way he smelled, the firmness of his body against hers, and the way his hands splayed out on her back, cradling her protectively.
“Belle,” he whispered against her lips.
Fleur pulled back, a small smile tugging at her lips. “What did you say?” she queried softly.
Cedric gave her a small grin, the same one that brought out the twinkle in his eyes. “I don’t speak French, but I do know what that means.”
“Ah bon? And what does zat mean?” she asked teasingly even though she was well aware of the meaning of the word.
“Beautiful,” he murmured before capturing her lips with his again.
Their relationship continued in this vein over the course of the Tournament. They met in secret, mostly to avoid the gossip; Fleur also wished to avoid the stern talk that she was sure Madame Maxime would give her if she knew that she was ‘fraternizing with an opponent.’ They’d only danced together once at the ball, and she’d also danced with Viktor so that nothing looked suspicious.
But the weight of his gaze and the feel of his hands on her while they danced…it stayed with her long after the night was over.
All too soon, the time came for the third and final task. Gabrielle returned to Hogwarts along with her Maman and Papa, which was a surprise. She hadn’t known that her parents were being invited to watch her compete. She still had a chance to win the tournament. If she could get to the center of the maze first, victory was hers.
She was talking with her parents after lunch and trying not to keep glancing over at Cedric, but it was a losing battle. Both his parents were there, as was that girl- So? Chi? She couldn’t remember the name- and he looked so at ease and happy with them.
But if that girl kept putting her hand on Cedric’s arm, Fleur was going to fly across the room and rip out her eye balls with her bare hands. Deciding that two could play that game, she let her gaze wander about the room until she settled on a tall, rugged redheaded man who looked to be friends with Harry. He was also handsome, though different from her usual tastes. Her lips curled in admiration, and anyone who was looking at her could see that she was looking at him.
Of course, she knew who was watching her. After she’d bid au revoir to her family and headed back to her room to prepare, a hand grabbed her elbow and pulled her into the shadows.
“Are you trying to make me jealous?” Cedric whispered as his hands moved to her hips, thumbs running over the silk of her robes.
“And eef I am?” she asked coyly, looking up at him through her long blonde lashes. “Ees eet working?”
“Admirably.” He pressed his lips to hers briefly. “I admire your tenacity, mademoiselle.”
“Mais you are ze one with another woman ‘anging on your arm,” Fleur pointed out before nipping lightly at his lower lip. “I was only giving you a taste of your own potion.”
“But you, Fleur, are the one who didn’t want us to be seen together until after the tournament,” he reminded her teasingly. “So this is really your fault.”
“Touché. And speaking of ze tournament, I ‘ave to go prepare myself.” Reluctantly, she pulled away, lips curling downwards in a pout.
Cedric sighed. “So do I.” He reached out to take her hand, brushing his thumb over her knuckles tenderly before he pressed a chaste kiss to her skin. “Bonne chance, Fleur.”
“Good luck, Cedric,” she whispered.
Fleur never saw who Stunned her, nor who pulled her out of the maze. The first thing she remembered upon coming to was hearing a noise before the world went dark. She was disappointed, of course. Now she had no chance at winning the tournament, and she felt as though she’d let both her school and her family down. All eyes had been on her, and she’d failed all three chances.
If anyone had to win other than her, she hoped it was Cedric. He deserved something like this, and he was worthy of it. Harry, it seemed, had luck unlike anything she’d ever seen before, and while she liked Viktor as a person, he really wasn’t that bright.
When he’d stumbled out of the maze, though, she knew there was something wrong. There was a milky white sheen to his eyes, which she’d seen for a split-second before it’d disappeared. Viktor acted as though he had no idea what had transpired in the maze and could recall nothing after he’d entered the imposing leafy walls.
Madame Maxime was whispering with Dumbledore, as was Karkaroff. Fleur recognized the sheen she’d seen in Krum’s eyes, had seen it in her défense class.
The Imperius Curse.
Her mind immediately leaped to Cedric, but she brushed the thought away as quickly as it’d come. Cedric would never Stun her or use an Unforgiveable Curse just to win. He was too good for that. And Harry was too young. Even if he’d had the will to get rid of either of them, he wouldn’t have had the stones to cast an Unforgiveable.
Her heart was beating wildly in her chest as she waited. She hated waiting. After what had transpired between the hedges, she didn’t care who won. She just hoped that both Harry and Cedric were alright.
Time passed so slowly. It seemed like forever, yet in reality, only five minutes had gone by. She was starting to get anxious. The students in the stands chattered away as if oblivious to her inner turmoil- which, of course, they were. To them, this was nothing more than sport. It was as if they were watching a particularly long and boring match of Quidditch.
Her mind started to wander, and for the first time in months, she remembered the old woman’s words. Jaelle? Why in Merlin’s name was she thinking about the old gypsy lady at a time like this? “Quatre au lieu du la Trinité. L’enfant se promener parmi les élus, and l’un d’or tombera. La Trinité ne doit pas être rompu. She couldn’t… it wasn’t possible…
Had Jaelle predicted the outcome of the Tournament?
Fleur’s heart seized up in her chest. Non, she thought at the same moment there was a flash of light and a loud crack! from a Portkey. Cedric!
But something was wrong. Harry was bent over the Triwizard Cup and Cedric, clutching both of them like a life preserver. He was crying, she could see and hear that much, but why wasn’t Cedric moving? And then she saw the ethereal paleness to his skin, ever lighter than usual, the dimness to his eyes. He was frozen, perfect in death as comprehension dawned on Fleur. Non, non! Mon Dieu, non! La prophétie…
As rational thought fled her mind, Fleur screamed, a sound of terror, horror, fear and despair that echoed into the night and haunted the minds of all those who heard it. It had come to pass. The Golden One had fallen, and the Trinity was once more comprised of three as it should be.
But Cedric, her Cedric, was dead.