If you prefer audiobooks, listen to the audio version created by Sam Gabriel below!
The wind tugged at Fleur’s dress. Its shimmering silver thread rippled like sunlight off the sea. The world dropped away from her bare feet into darkness, gloom drifting past like thick winter fog. Countless tiny things swept past her in its haze.
‘Strange.’ Fleur reached a hand out into the dark.
A glass flower snagged on her fingers. Its petals glimmered yellow, white, blue, purple, red and back to yellow again.
‘Gabby broke this years ago.’ Fleur studied the flower’s smooth stem. ‘Years.’ She let it drift into the dark.
Other little trinkets floated past. A bird of ice. A handful of wooden fish. Two trees of webbed stone, one dark, one light, each no taller than her hand.
‘Long lost or broken things,’ she murmured.
The tear-stained pages of a burnt journal eddied past her feet and a scatter of photos full of smiling girls swirled round her toes.
Emilie, Caroline, and me. A bitter heat curled around Fleur’s heart. Long since burnt to ashes. She swatted them away.
The gloom parted like a curtain. Countless figures wandered beneath her, strolling through an endless scatter of Fleur’s creations, arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand, embracing, smiling, kissing, and never looking up. She knew them without seeing any of their faces; a parade of girls in blue robes and faceless boys.
A silver cup clattered to her feet, blurred words etched upon its stem.
Fleur plucked it from the floor with a smile. ‘I won.’ She glanced down at the crowd below. ‘I beat you all. Everything you wanted to be. I am.’
None of the figures looked up. The silver cup felt cold as ice beneath her fingers.
‘I won,’ she whispered. ‘I won.’
The crowd drifted away, leaving her upon the spire. And for a moment, as the last pair of them faded, she thought she glimpsed green eyes and a lopsided smile beside scruffy brown hair and chestnut eyes.
‘Perfect.’ Raw, ugly heat twisted the word into something sour. ‘As always.’
She hurled the cup into the dark.
Quiet laughter echoed back. It rose like a wave, pouring over her like spilt ink, and her spire crumbled beneath her feet. Fleur jolted awake beneath her silver blanket.
Caroline’s shrill laugh echoed from down the hall of the carriage. A little heat seeped through Fleur’s bones and feathers prickled just beneath the surface of her skin.
‘A stupid dream.’ She kicked her blanket away and wriggled out. ‘If I wanted a boy, I’d have one.’ Fleur locked the door with a flick of her wand and ripped her nightdress off.
Pale skin stretched from her reflection’s toes to her silver hair. Her eyes slid along each curve. She ran the fingers of her left hand down over the slight curve of her stomach between her thighs and brushed the fingertips of her right hand over her nipples.
Veela are always beautiful. She let a little of the heat in her bones creep out and watched the blue of her eyes darken to black. On the outside, at least.
‘I look perfect. As always.’ Fleur took a deep breath and let her hands fall to her sides. Her reflection’s eyes faded back to sky blue. ‘And I care more about real things than those shallow little girls. There will be someone who thinks the same.’
Green eyes flashed through her thoughts. Someone who doesn’t hate me for enthralling them and violating their trust just to show I could.
Fleur glanced at herself in the mirror again. ‘Maybe if he saw me like this, he’d forget about that kiss and try to talk to me,’ she murmured. A sigh slipped out through her lips. ‘But then that would mean he’s just as shallow as all the rest.’
Don’t think about it, Fleur. She waved her wand at her wardrobe and let her underwear and school robes drape themselves over her. A thin strip of gauze tumbled from the pocket of her robes. Fleur caught it before her robes buttoned themselves closed and trapped it.
‘Tempus.’ She grimaced at the numbers that appeared. ‘Still a little while until Gabby and Maman arrive.’
Fleur spread the gauze veil out on her bed and tapped her rosewood wand against her palm. ‘As simple a solution as possible, like Harry and the toy dragon.’ A small smile crept onto her lips. ‘Let’s see which of us has the best solution this time.’
Most of the enchantments will weave together. Just not the one trapping the bubble, I’ll have to put that on the other side so it doesn’t mess with the rest. She touched the tip of her wand to the gauze and murmured the words for the ten enchantments she wished to imbue it with, folding them into one another until they formed a single blanket of magic.
Not as good as anything goblin made, but their possessive, stubborn magic lends itself better to strong, lasting enchantments than any human magic does.
She flipped the gauze over. ‘And now for the ward.’ Fleur drew a thin layer of her magic over the veil and let it seep into the threads upon the surface. ‘There. That ought to do it.’
Fleur pursed her lips, strode into the bathroom, shoved the plug into the sink, and twisted open the tap. Water swirled into the basin, creeping up the porcelain. A single silver hair floated on its surface. She wrinkled her nose and plucked it out, letting a little magic through to turn the water on her fingers to steam and huffing the hair away.
‘Test time.’ Fleur dropped the veil into the sink and poked it beneath the surface with the tip of her wand.
A long, thin bubble formed along one side of the gauze and a faint shimmer of magic danced upon the other.
‘Perfect.’ She smiled, tugged the plug out, and draped her gauze over the edge of the sink to dry. ‘A little fragile, but more elegant than transfiguration or the bubble-head charm. And definitely better than choking down gillyweed.’
Fleur cast another tempus charm and frowned. Still a little time left, but if I walk slowly, then I might not be waiting long. Even Gabby can’t make maman too late.
She disillusioned herself and stepped out into the corridor.
The other girls huddled around the tables of the communal room. Caroline and Emilie clutched a copy of the Daily Prophet, giggling at the picture of Fleur and Harry.
A little heat trickled through her bones and Fleur’s fingers twitched toward her wand. Not worth it. Who cares about plain, shallow, little girls living empty lives?
A sharp, clear chill waited outside and a cloudless sky stretched overhead.
Cold. Urgh. Fleur cast three warming charms and waited for the heat to wrap itself around her like a blanket. Much better.
She wandered down from the castle into quaint, thatched buildings with frosted windows and bright-painted doors.
Shops lined the main street between the two inns. Pink-framed windows and heart-scattered white doors loomed near the centre, pink cushions, napkins, walls, and chairs clustered within. Near thirty couples crammed themselves inside.
A bit much pink. Fleur glanced at the sign. Madam Puddifoot has terrible taste.
A familiar scatter of brown hair appeared from the doorway of a shop half a dozen windows down the hill.
Katie Bell. Fleur tracked the English girl across the street. Another shallow little girl. She watched Katie dart across the street to link arms with another dark-haired Gryffindor. Fleur’s heart plunged down into her stomach. Harry went back to her after she hurt him. Heat bubbled in her bones and feathers prickled at her skin. He didn’t even try to talk to me.
The dark-haired Gyffindor twisted to peer into a window and Fleur caught a glimpse of brown eyes and a full chest. A swooping, flood of relief carried Fleur’s heart back up where it was supposed to be.
Merde. She poked herself over the heart until its beat calmed. So much for taking a bit of time to let things calm down.
Fleur caught sight of the Hogsmeade Post Office. ‘Tempus,’ she muttered, drifting toward the portkey point through the crowd of students. ‘Only a few minutes.
Gabby bounced on the balls of her feet beneath the sign.
Fleur released her Disillusionment Charm. How on earth did maman manage to get Gabby here early?
‘Fleur!’ Gabby bounded forward. One of the buttons on the chest of her old blue coat popped free as she seized Fleur in a tight hug.
Fleur laughed. ‘Hello, Gabby.’ She stepped back and cupped her baby sister’s cheeks. ‘Look at you!’
She beamed and twirled. ‘I look like you now.’ Gabby forced the button back through its loop with a broad smile. ‘I need a new coat. Finally.’
‘You’ll still be my baby sister,’ Fleur cooed.
Gabby pouted, her eyes flicking down to Fleur’s chest. ‘Younger sister. I’m not a little girl anymore.’ She giggled, smirked, and pushed down the collar of her coat far enough to reveal the pale corner of an envelope. ‘And you should be extra nice to me, now…’
Merde. Fleur gulped and glanced toward the post office door.
Their mother waited just inside, beneath a shawl and a wide-brimmed hat.
‘Perhaps I should look after that?’ She stuck her hand out. ‘There’s not much room inside that coat now.’
Gabby shot her a look of pure innocence. ‘It’s ok, big sister, I’m going to take great care of it.’ A bright spark of mischief welled up in her blue eyes. ‘After all, you wrote about so many interesting things.’
‘Nuh uh, Fleur.’ Gabby stuck her tongue out and pulled the collar of her coat back up. ‘You’d just do something silly if I didn’t stop you, like hide away or avoid talking to him.’
‘No I wouldn’t,’ Fleur lied.
‘Yes, you definitely would.’ Gabby screwed her face up. ‘You’d go and hide, then, when you’ve beaten him in the tournament, you’d come back to France and never write to him. You’re silly like that.’
Fleur huffed. ‘You worry about your own boy problems, little chick.’
Gabby scowled. ‘I don’t have any boy problems. All my friends have boy problems. They think staring at cute boys, giggling, and chasing them around is such great fun. It’s rubbish.’
Fleur sighed. ‘I know, Gabby.’
‘But not now!’ Gabby beamed. ‘Now, I look like you and maman, I’ll have all the cute boys staring at me and then all my friends will want to talk to me again.’
For a little bit. Fleur mussed her baby’s sister’s hair and ushered her back toward maman. Then they’ll hate you. But I’ll be here, Gabby. And I always will be.
How to see chapter???
If you’re a patron, you just need to log in! Otherwise, I’m unlocking a chapter every four days to the public to match my original posting rate.
As someone who has followed your work from Day 1 of posting (albeit a quiet lurker!), I have to say I’m beyond confused why fanfiction (which by definition cannot be ‘sold’) is locked behind a paywall. I have read up to Sirius Conversation and at that point (which was a LONG time ago) the paywall rose.
I waited… and waited…and waited for the free content to unlock… but that hasn’t happened. Every four days, you said? I’ve been patiently waiting for weeks for them to unlock. They haven’t. It’s locked on Patreon- and it’s locked on your website.
This is… problematic, for a lot of reasons.
I’m very aware, as a fanfiction author myself, that I’m not entitled to anything- and that you are doing this without getting paid, so are beholden to no one. But the fact is that it’s NOT okay to lock fanfiction behind a paywall. That’s a huge DMCA violation (as well as problematic copyright infringement as you are profiting off another’s work).
When can we expect the next chapters unlocked for the public?
I apologise for the delay!
As you know, I’ve been unlocking chapters every four days on all my public access sites and I think we’re now only a handful of chapters away from my website and all the other sites I post on catching back up to A Sirius Conversation and what I originally posted for free on Patreon – I got a bit carried away when I was posting on there to begin with and everything got out of sync, so now I’m syncing all my various sites up so my chapter releases all happen at the same time everywhere. It’s simply the only way for me to stay on top of it all! You’ll notice that the vast majority of the previously locked posts are already unlocked!
I will emphasise, once more, that it’s not permanently locked behind a paywall, and will be available for free just as soon as everywhere else catches up to what I had on Patreon. At which point, you will be able to resume lurking and reading everything for free just as you hoped!
Again, I apologise for the delay, I know it wasn’t ideal for those who were reading for free on my Patreon to have to wait a couple of months for the next chapter after getting so many chapters so quickly at the start. However, the wait is nearly over!