Sweet Dreams Are Made of This…

Fleur sat cross-legged on the thick, cream carpet, her arms wrapped around her stomach and a soft gleam in her wide blue eyes as she watched Katrina snooze upon her silver blanket. Gabby curled into a ball beside her, her head in Fleur’s lap and clutching her elbow.

Warmth rose through Harry’s chest like the gentle glow of hearth embers and he tiptoed into the room.

Fleur pressed a finger to her lips.

He eased himself down onto the carpet next to her and wrapped an arm around her waist. Gabby stirred, peering through her silver hair with a small smile. 

‘How is she?’ Harry whispered. 

‘Sleeping.’ Fleur leant her head on his shoulder. ‘I fed her a few minutes ago and she went straight out.’

He rested a hand over hers. ‘Are you okay?’

She sighed into his neck. ‘I feel empty without her in me. It’s strange and quiet and sad without her. Even though she’s right there and I can see her, it almost feels like she’s not.’

‘Emilie is here,’ Harry murmured. ‘Do you want to go downstairs?’

Fleur’s fingers crept across her legs and curled into the silver blanket. ‘Non,’ she whispered. ‘I want to stay here. Where I can see her. So I know she’s here.’

Gabby nudged her in the side. ‘I will watch Katrina for a little bit, Fleur. You and Harry go downstairs.’

Fleur’s knuckles whitened in the blanket and her brow furrowed. ‘But—’

‘She’s not going anywhere, mon Trésor,’ Harry murmured. ‘Gabby will be right here with her.’ He pressed a gentle kiss to her cheek. ‘And we need Emilie to make sure you’re recovering, you have to look after yourself to be able to look after our baby.’

Fleur’s frown curved into a pout. ‘You are a sneaky bird-wizard, mon Amour. Now I cannot win.’

Gabby muffled her snicker into her hand. ‘He’s just starting to work out how to stop you being silly.’

‘Hush,’ Fleur hissed. ‘Don’t wake her. Katrina’s dreaming peacefully.’

Dreaming peacefully. A little niggle of worry ate into Harry. Can babies have nightmares? 

‘Go downstairs then, birdbrain,’ Gabby whispered. ‘Wouldn’t you rather go now while she’s sleeping than be away when she’s awake?’

‘Of course.’ Fleur scowled and grabbed hold of Harry.

The room lurched and he thudded into the kitchen tiles, smacking his head on a chair leg. 

‘Ow.’ He picked himself up, rubbing his throbbing temple.

Emilie stood beside the table, her bag dangling from her shoulder. ‘Bonjour, Fleur. Rebonjour, Henri.’

‘Pardon, mon Amour.’ Fleur caught his hand and brushed her thumb across the twinging. ‘The bruise is already fading.’

‘I heal quickly,’ he said.

Emilie grimaced. ‘I should really have a look at your hands, Henri. After I’ve made sure Fleur’s still recovering well. Healing’s not as simple as you might think.’

Fleur’s eyes darkened a few hues. ‘What did you do to your hands?’

‘Nothing.’ Harry shot Emilie a pointed look. ‘Let’s make sure you’re doing fine, before Gabby mistakes Katrina for clafoutis and eats her.’

Fleur rolled her eyes. ‘Even Gabby cannot mistake a baby for cake.’

‘They’re about the same level of squishiness, though.’ He grinned. ‘Only Clafoutis is a lot quieter than hungry Katrina.’

Emilie pulled her wand out with a smile. ‘How’ve you been feeling, Fleur? Tired at all?’

‘A little,’ Fleur murmured, her fingers creeping to her stomach.

‘Empty?’ Emilie’s eyes rested on Fleur’s hand as she rummaged in her bag for a couple of small vials of white liquid. ‘That’s natural. And don’t worry, it will pass. Any bad dreams or dark thoughts?’

Bad dreams and emptiness. Like I used to have. Harry smothered a stab of unease. 

‘Non.’ Fleur shook her head. ‘Not really.’

‘That’s good.’ Emilie pushed the pair of vials across the table. ‘Take one of these today and the next one in a week. They’re the same thing I gave you just after giving birth, they’re to help your body keep recovering well.’

‘Can babies have nightmares?’ Harry asked.

‘I don’t know,’ Emilie replied. ‘We don’t really have a good way of finding out.’

So maybe. A hint of unease coiled in his gut and a sparkling opal pendant hung before his mind’s eye, bouncing on the chest of the green-eyed girl as she twirled behind cold glass. I should’ve kept that. Katie’s necklace should be Katrina’s. 

‘Take a seat, Fleur.’ Emilie raised her wand. ‘I’m going to give you a last check over and if everything’s still looking fine, I’ll remove my charms.’

Fleur settled into the nearest chair and crossed her legs. Emilie touched the tip of her wand to Fleur’s stomach, closing her eyes. Harry grimaced and turned away.

Laurent and Apolline stood in the kitchen doorway. 

‘All okay?’ Apolline asked.

‘I think so.’ Emile opened her eyes and straightened up. ‘You’re recovering nicely, Fleur. Childbirth is very tough on the body, but by the time you’ve had those two potions you’ll be more or less back in shape.’

Fleur arched one eyebrow. ‘More? Or less?’

‘It can take a little longer for everything to settle down after giving birth. Your body’s used to having all sorts of hormones flowing through your blood.’ Emile swept everything but the vials back into her bag and tucked her wand away. ‘Physically, everything is absolutely fine.’

‘Bon.’ The corner of Fleur’s lips curved into a small smirk.

‘How’s little Katrina? Is she nursing well? Sleeping well?’

‘She seems fine,’ Fleur murmured. ‘She certainly nurses just fine. And she’s sleeping now.’

‘Good.’ Emilie nodded. ‘None of the charms have indicated anything at all wrong and they’re pretty reliable, but if you’re concerned about anything, just call me out to take a look.’

‘Merci,’ Fleur said, her eyes sliding toward the stairs. ‘Au revoir.’ 

‘Au revoir.’ Emilie vanished with a loud crack.

‘She’s fine, Fleur.’ Apolline swept across the kitchen to fuss over Fleur’s hair. ‘All babies do is feed, sleep and cry.’

‘She doesn’t cry very much,’ Harry said. ‘Just when she’s hungry.’

‘Fleur cried a lot more,’ Laurent said. ‘I think maybe the fact that Katrina’s had one of Gabby or Fleur with her at all times probably helps.’

‘One day I will get to hold her,’ Harry said. ‘Maybe.’

Laurent laughed. ‘When she needs changing or when she just won’t stop crying, I would suspect, Harry. That was usually the point where I found Fleur stopped being our daughter and suddenly became my daughter.’

Fleur batted Apolline’s hands away with dark eyes. ‘Maman, stop. My hair is fine.

‘Pardon.’ Apolline clutched her hands to her chest. ‘It’s just—’

‘Let her be, ma Chérie,’ Laurent said. ‘Fleur’s not going out anywhere. Let’s go check on our granddaughter.’

Apolline’s eyes filled with tears and Laurent led her upstairs with a small smile.  

‘Maman is crying again.’ Fleur watched them go, rising from her chair. ‘What happened to your hands, mon Cœur?’

‘You were quite focused when you were giving birth to Katrina and there was some fire.’ Harry caught the glimmer of upset in her eyes. ‘I healed up just fine afterward, don’t fret about it.’

A small pout crept onto Fleur’s lips and the disquiet gleam faded. ‘I am not the one who frets. You are.’

‘I do.’ He pulled her close, wrapping her into his arms and breathing in the sweet, sharp smell from her hair. ‘I can get my arms all the way around you again now.’

She laughed into his neck. ‘That’s not the only thing you can do again now.’

‘Maybe not right now,’ Harry replied. ‘We need to make sure Gabby’s not run off with our daughter and I think it might be smart to make sure you’re all recovered from giving birth to her first, non?’

Her lips curved into a faint pout and she tilted her chin into the air. ‘Fine, mon Amour. We’ll see how long you can resist.’ Fleur apparated them up onto the soft carpet of their bedroom. 

Gabby rocked Katrina in her arms, sitting on the silver blanket in front of Apolline and Laurent, and humming to herself, brushing her fingers through Katrina’s little silver tufts.

‘Sorry, Fleur,’ Gabby whispered. ‘I couldn’t help myself.’

Fleur tutted. ‘Give her to me, Gabrielle.’

Katrina shifted, balling her hands into tiny fists as Gabby passed her into Fleur’s arms then relaxing back into soft, deep breaths, her toes curling. 

Fleur cradled Katrina against her chest, a warm little smile on her lips and a soft light shining in her eyes. ‘Isn’t she perfect, mon Amour?’ She brushed the little wisps of silver hair off Katrina’s forehead. ‘Look at her, dreaming so peacefully.’

The cold little niggle burrowed into his stomach. Always dreaming…

‘I’m going to go get something, mon Rêve,’ Harry said, tiptoeing back out and onto the landing. ‘I’ll be back soon.’

He slipped his wand from his sleeve, reshaping his face and threading his irises full of grey. Back we go. Harry ripped the world back past him, stepping onto the cold Normandy beach and then out under red umbrellas. 

A soft pang twisted beneath his ribs and a soft melancholy settled over him.

Katie’s mother stood behind the counter, staring down at the cakes beneath the glass. He drifted through the tables, smothering the flashes of Katie’s bright smile in the summer sun. 

‘How can I—’ a soft gasp tore from Katie’s mother. ‘It’s you.

Harry offered her a faint smile. ‘I didn’t intend to come back, but…’ 

‘But?’ Her tone wavered.

‘The gift I gave you, the Opal Pendant, I would like to give it to my daughter.’ He held her sad, brown eyes. ‘She was born a couple of weeks ago. We named her Katrina.’

Tears trickled down Katie’s mother’s cheeks and she tugged the necklace over her head. ‘Thank you.’ 

The shining gold chain pooled around the gleaming opal in her trembling fingers. 

‘I’m sorry,’ he murmured. ‘I know I gave it to you for Katie, but it feels right that Katrina has it.’

She pressed the necklace into his hand and shook her head, smearing her tears away on her sleeve. ‘It would have meant everything to Katie to know you’d named your daughter after her. She loved you.’

A jolt of ice tore through him and his wand slipped into his fingers. 

Katie’s mother’s eyes flicked to it. ‘It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone.’

And there’s no way any Memory Charm will keep you from remembering this. Unease coiled into a tight knot in his gut. I’ll have to hope.

Harry tucked his wand back away and slipped the Opal Pendant back into his pocket. ‘I’m sorry.’ The little pang in his chest ripped deeper, turned colder, biting into his heart. ‘I should’ve kept her safe. She should still be here.’

‘You did more than anyone could’ve expected from you.’ She dabbed her eyes with her sleeve. ‘And I don’t blame you for not coming back. Britain’s gone mad since you saved us all.’

‘If anyone learns. Anyone—’

Katie’s mother pulled her wand from under her apron and pressed it into his hands. ‘I will swear an oath. The scary kind. Name whatever terms you like.’

Harry grimaced. ‘I’m sorry,’ he muttered, ‘but if they know…’

‘I know. And I know what an oath like this can do to me. There’s a reason they’re almost never used.’ Katie’s mother closed his fingers over her wand. ‘But we lost our Katie. I don’t want to be the reason why you lose yours.’

His heart wrenched. ‘Do you swear to never share anything that might make anyone think or suspect I could still be alive?’

‘I do.’ 

A slim ribbon of white fire sprang from the wand and wrapped about her wrists, sinking through her skin. Katie’s mother shuddered. 

‘Do you swear to take any measures necessary to ensure that what you know isn’t learnt by anyone?’

She swallowed. ‘I do.’

A second pale curl of flame curved over her arms and soaked into her. 

Harry passed her wand back. ‘That ought to do it.’

‘Are you coming back again?’ Katie’s mother asked.

‘I don’t think so.’

‘Don’t,’ she whispered. ‘They’re putting wards up all across the country now just in case of war and Neville Longbottom is hunting you. The papers laughed at him for his private manhunt before they had worse things to talk about, but he is certain you’re alive and determined to prove it. And if he succeeds, Britain will try and force you to fight.’

Harry squashed a flash of dawn-bright amber and a hoarse, twisted whisper. ‘Neville won’t find me.’

‘Goodbye.’ Katie’s mother squirmed, then darted forward and wrapped him in a tight hug. ‘Be safe. Be happy. It’s what my Katie wanted for you.’

He eased himself out of her arms and stepped back. ‘Goodbye.’ Harry cupped the acorn pendant and his wedding band. ‘Argent.’ He stepped out beneath the willow branches, wrenching the world past him until he stood in the kitchen..

Katie’s necklace. Harry pulled it from his pocket, staring into the iridescent gleam of the opal. Katrina’s necklace. He untransfigured his face and eyes, striding up the stairs and tiptoeing down the landing. 

Katrina slept in Fleur’s arms, resting on her shoulder. The quiet sound of their daughter’s breathing filled their bedroom. 

‘Where did you go?’ Fleur whispered. 

Harry held up the Opal Pendant. ‘It reminded me of Katie. I gave it to her mother—’  His gaze dipped to Katrina’s tiny, delicate fingers ‘—but I think it should be Katrina’s.’

Fleur shifted Katrina’s weight onto her shoulder and took the necklace. ‘This is enchanted. Very powerfully.’

‘It’s meant to stop nightmares.’

‘Katrina is too young to wear this, mon Amour.’ Fleur twirled the gold chain around her finger until the opal thudded into her palm and lifted Katrina off her shoulder. ‘Hold her for me.’

Harry cradled Katrina’s small, warm body against his chest, cupping her little head in his palm. She’s so small. A rush of warmth gushed through his chest. And so perfect. 

Fleur clasped the Opal Pendant around her neck and dropped the stone down the front of her dress. ‘There. In a few years, when she’s old enough, we’ll give it to her.’

A wry smile tugged at Harry’s lips. ‘And in the meantime, it’s yours, so every time I see it, I think of you.

She twitched. ‘Sorry, I—’

‘Am a very jealous, possessive bird-wife,’ he murmured, pressing a light kiss to the tip of her nose. ‘I know. Je t’aime à la folie, mon Rêve. And I do not think Katie would mind too much. I will not forget her. And if you’re not happy, I can’t be.’

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