Kiss Goodnight

A single purple spark hovered above Harry’s palm, uncurling into a rune of violet flame. He sent it floating up into the spiralling pattern of thousands and lay back on the pebbles, watching the slow shift of the patterns as it spun.

Just missing the arm of the spiral for resurrection. Soft humour tugged at the corner of his mouth as he checked the arithmantic patterns within the arms and the shifting macro-arithmantic structure connecting them to each other. Salazar would have really liked this one. 

A wry chuckle escaped him as he stared up at his work. ‘But he’d probably be upset we chose to resurrect like phoenixes and didn’t decide to somehow shed our skin like a snake.’

Now I need to do something with this, because it took all morning to do. Harry frowned and raised his wand, conjuring thousands of writhing tendrils of green fire.

They wriggled up into the sky, threading the runes together into a tangled web of emerald flame and tying it all back to the tip of his wand.

Harry gave the tendrils a light tug, studying the design. ‘Nothing broke. Let’s see if this just ruins it.’ He drew them down little by little until they coalesced into a ball of purple and green fire and cast them out from his wand like a fishing line.

The runes unfolded across the sky, spreading out on the web of emerald flame until the rune design hovered beside the willow fronds and the spiral began to spin. 

‘Seems to have worked.’ Harry scanned his runes one arithmantic pattern at a time, working his way across the shifting macro-designs until he’d covered the entire spiral. ‘As long as I have some way of making sure this tethered end stays tethered…’ He frowned. ‘But I might need my wand.’ Wry humour tugged at the corner of his mouth. ‘Good thing I have two.’ Harry thrust out his hand and summoned the Elder Wand, switching the anchoring green fire to its tip. ‘And now to stash you somewhere safe…’

His eyes drifted to the covered Mirror of Erised. I really do quite want to know if this was how Dumbledore managed it.

Harry swept the black silk off the mirror and smiled at his family laughing behind the glass in the bright light of the sunset. ‘You’ll look after this for me, won’t you? Nobody but us will be able to see it.’

He sketched a ring of runes upon the glass with his wand and pushed the ball of purple and green flame against the silver surface until his fingertips pressed against the cold glass. 

His reflection reached out over Katie’s head, pressing its fingers to the glass against his. The Elder Wand and the rune design vanished from Harry’s hand and his reflection smiled, cupping them in his hands.

‘Look after them,’ Harry whispered. ‘We’re so close now.’

Just the one last piece of the puzzle and whatever’s needed to pay its price. He swept the black silk back over the mirror as unease churned in the pit of his stomach. Even if it must somehow be as invaluable as La Victoire Finale.

Dark mist trickled from his wand, curling through his fingers.

Harry breathed the tight, trembling knot of fear out into the soft rustle of willow leaves. ‘We’ll find a way. I sacrificed things that seemed invaluable before. For this.’ Harry slipped his wand back into his sleeve and apparated back into the kitchen.

‘Success?’ Fleur sat over a slim piece of smooth stone, surrounded by small scribbled notes.

‘Everything but the resurrection part,’ he replied. ‘And whatever we need for your touch of death trigger.’

Fleur hummed. ‘We have the Hallows, our own things, basilisk venom, which devours everything alive, and your horcrux. We still have a few things to get, but while it might be a little dangerous, it shouldn’t take long. Gabby and I had some very difficult-to-acquire things on there, but we don’t think it would be possible to get them, and we’ve sacrificed more than enough to keep our sunset already.’

‘What’s on the list?’

‘Things you would feel at the touch of death,’ she said. ‘Despair. Fear. Anger. Escape. Relief.’

‘So we’re going after things that represent those emotions very strongly,’ he muttered. ‘I see.’

‘Dark pearls, formed from the despair of drowning wizards. There were many in Carthage’s ruins, but now the only ones left I know of are in the Aegean amongst the ruins of Atlantis. They’re considered almost sacred and strongly protected.’ Fleur put her wand down. ‘Dragonstones, the gem-like rocks formed by the transmutation of a dragon’s excess magic, are regurgitated and hoarded by them to impress their mates, but sometimes, with rage-fueled ones, they grow too large and choke the dragon when they try to regurgitate them, particularly older sleeping dragons. Those are called dragonbane gems, they’re rare but very valuable. There are several dragon preserves in Eastern Europe that famously have them.’

‘What about fear, escape and relief?’ Harry asked.

‘A lethifold, living off and bringing death by fear,’ she murmured. ‘It should be easy enough to get one. From Azkaban. The Black Forest. Or even the wilderness of the Russkayan Tsardom. For the last, we will need a lotus flower.’

‘A flower?’ Harry smothered the flash of a red rose. ‘That sounds… not very death-like?’

‘The true lotus is a floating magical plant the size of a small island.’ she said. ‘Its flower stems rise up around an oasis of rainwater trapped in the main body of the plant. Eating the flowers fills you with bliss, is highly addictive, and inspires a very strong thirst. To relieve that thirst, you try to drink from the oasis, but the sides are steep and slippery…’

‘You drown. Lovely.’

Fleur nodded. ‘Beneath the rainwater sitting at the top of the oasis are the digestive juices of the lotus. Its prey drowns, so caught up in bliss and the relief of their thirst they don’t even know they’re dying, and sink down into those juices. Their joy-filled magic saturates the digestive fluids and is sucked out into the plant along with all the other nutrients it needs to grow more flowers.’

‘So when I go get those, I shouldn’t eat any.’

‘Non.’ Fleur rolled her eyes. ‘Don’t even touch them with your bare skin.’

‘I could go get most of those in just a few days…’ Harry’s fingers crept to his wand. ‘Atlantis. Azkaban. A dragon preserve. We know where they are. Do we know where a lotus is?’

‘They are rare, but most often seen floating around the small islands of the Aegean.’ Fleur picked her wand back up, tapping it against her palm. ‘But we have to sort out Katie’s birthday before either of us go off anywhere. The seventh is coming soon. She will scream her head off if anyone is missing for more than a few seconds.’

A fond smile crept onto his lips. ‘It’s very important our baby bird gets all the attention she expects. She is just like her maman.’

Fleur laughed. ‘What did you do with your runes, mon Amour? Are they somewhere safe?’

‘I stashed the design in the Mirror of Erised.’

‘In?’ Her eyes narrowed. ‘Have you been messing with that very dangerous magical artefact, mon Amour?’

Harry snorted. ‘Are you pouting because I didn’t do it with you?’

A peal of laughter burst from Fleur’s lips. ‘A little. But you shouldn’t tamper with it unnecessarily, mon Coeur, it’s very dangerous.’

‘I know.’ He dropped into the seat next to her. ‘I just copied what Dumbledore did. It’s not really in the mirror, the mirror is just the key to revealing it.’

‘So nobody but us can get it, because only we can see it in the Mirror of Erised.’ The corner of her mouth curved up. ‘How ingenious.’

‘Dumbledore’s idea.’

‘He was a great wizard.’

Harry studied his reflection in the smooth stone on the table. ‘I wonder what he’d make of this.’

‘The magic?’

‘Yes.’ He sighed and rested his head on her shoulder. ‘I know what he’d say about trying to overcome death.’

‘He was old,’ Fleur murmured. ‘He’d already seen and lived his dreams. When he was younger, I’m sure he felt more like you did.’

‘He wanted to change the world with Grindelwald.’

‘To be great.’ She hummed. ‘Voldemort wanted that too.’

‘In a different way.’ Harry slid his arm around her waist and relaxed into the faint, sweet smell of marzipan. ‘I don’t want to be great. You don’t need to be great to enjoy a sunset.’

Fleur set her wand down and cupped his cheek. ‘You are great. Greater than all those shallow little people who demanded you die for their dreams and despair of your own.’ She bent and pressed a soft kiss to his jaw. ‘Now, help me with this, mon Amour. You wanted to learn some enchanting, didn’t you?’

‘What is it?’

‘This is going to be our present for Katie’s first birthday.’

‘A rock?’ Harry chuckled and lifted his head off her shoulder. ‘A shiny rock for our little baby bird-girl?’

Fleur laughed. ‘It will be a toy. You remember the one Gabby made that changed shapes and colours?’

‘I do. Katie used to love that when she was very small.’

‘This will be similar. It’s going to conjure things from water vapour and when Katie manages to say what they are, it will change.’ She picked her wand back up. ‘I’ve done the conjuring bit. All the different threads of that enchantment are woven together on the top surface of the stone.’

‘Woven together?’

A soft hum left Fleur’s lips and she tossed her silver hair over her shoulder. ‘Each little piece of the enchantment is like a thread. One to conjure water. One to make it a vapour. One to give it shape. Another to give it colour.’

Harry closed his eyes and tried to picture it as tiny pieces of string wriggling within the stone. ‘How are they woven together?’

‘The intent with which they’re cast ties them together. If you have the same thing in mind when you create each bit, they weave together within the same object.’ She smiled. ‘It helps having my softer magic. If I had your magic, I would feel like I was trying to untie a knot in thick gloves.’

‘So what you’re saying, mon Trésor, is I’m absolutely no help at all.’

Fleur’s smile broadened into a smirk. ‘You make very good moral support, mon Amour.’

Harry snorted. ‘Thanks. At least I’m learning how to enchant things. Grise was very unimpressed by my sea-serpent inferius.’

 ‘Did you just pour magic into it?’

‘I might have done.’ He grinned. ‘I never really read all that much on inferii beyond how to stop them.’

She wrinkled her nose. ‘Anyone could pull the magic out of that.’

‘I thought you said if it was one intent it would be really well-woven?’

‘But there has to be threads, some structure within the enchantment, otherwise the moment you’re not concentrating on it, it will be no more than vague intent and easily overwhelmed.’

Harry frowned. ‘It didn’t last very long, it’s true.’

‘More attention to detail, mon Coeur.’ Fleur kissed him on the cheek. ‘If you actually planned things out instead of having just a vague concept and a lot of determination to improvise your way through the rest, you’d know what I mean.’

Harry laughed. ‘I suppose it’s not really how I instinctively do things. I don’t like being caged in by plans.’

‘Or anything,’ she murmured. ‘Plans lead to hope, non?’

His laughter faded into quiet melancholy. ‘I used to hate hoping so very much.’ He mustered a smile. ‘Not so much now. I have you, my beautiful bird-wife, and our little baby bird—’

‘And that chirpy harpy of a sister-in-law.’

‘And Gabby.’ The soft sorrow eased. ‘And soon I won’t have to worry about hoping in vain ever again.’

Fleur slid her chair across and leant her shoulder against his. ‘We’re going nowhere, mon Amour. Every time you start to fret, you come and look for us. You’ll find us here. As always.’

‘I know,’ Harry whispered. ‘And I think I might even really believe it now. Before there was Voldemort to take things away and nothing ever happened if I wished for it.’ He pulled her close, a hot lump swelling in his throat. ‘But now we have our tiny feathery little angel as proof that perfect wishes can come true. It’s like I reached right into the Mirror of Erised and pulled her out…’

‘Let’s finish her birthday present, then,’ Fleur murmured. ‘Or there will be tears and feathers everywhere next week.’

‘I was going to give her the opal pendant.’ He hooked the gold chain on a finger and drew the gleaming white stone up out of Fleur’s cleavage.

‘Maybe next year.’ Fleur tucked the opal back into her dress. ‘It’s not a toy and she’s not having any nightmares yet. She just gets cross when she wakes up in the night and we’re not right there with her.’

‘I think this is better.’ Harry kissed the small silver hairs at the nape of her neck and smiled at Fleur’s small shiver. ‘It will help her learn lots more words. Can we add new objects to it?’

She smirked. ‘That’s where it gets clever. The objects don’t come from the stone, they come from Katie. Anything she’s seen and recognises as an object will appear.’

‘My brilliant bird-wife is showing off again,’ Harry murmured in her ear.

Fleur tilted her chin up, the faintest hint of a pout on her lips. ‘I am very good at it. Why should I not be proud?’

‘I do quite like it.’ He pulled her into a soft kiss. ‘It’s very attractive.’

She smiled against his lips. ‘Je sais que tu aimes ça.’

‘So how does your extremely clever enchantment work, mon Ange?’

‘A little like the pensieve, but rather than give it a memory, it will skim yours while you hold it to find objects.’

He frowned. ‘It’s not going to pull out something bad, is it? Like, if I hold it, I’m not going to see my Firebolt?’

‘It only takes memories without strong associations,’ Fleur replied. ‘I didn’t want it picking anything that would upset her.’

‘That’s good.’ Harry reached out a hand. ‘Does this mean I get to play with it?’

She grabbed his fingers and rested their hands in her lap. ‘That is our daughter’s toy, not yours.’

He laughed. ‘What a strict bird-wife I have.’

Small footsteps thudded down the stairs and Katie’s excited babbling rang through the hall.

‘Hide the toy,’ Fleur whispered, sweeping the door shut with a flick of her wand. ‘Quick.’

Harry grabbed the piece of stone and stashed it in the cake cupboard under a stack of meringues. ‘All hidden.’ He shut the door and leant on the side over the top of it. ‘We’re safe.’

The kitchen door handle wobbled and a frustrated wail echoed through. 

‘Gabba!’ Katie cried.

‘I’m coming, little chick.’ Gabby opened the door and stepped in, glancing between them. ‘You two look very suspicious.’ A spark of mischief rose in her eyes. ‘Did your veela hatchling interrupt your attempt to provide her with a sibling?’

‘Hush, harpy,’ Fleur murmured. ‘With la Victoire Finale there will be no siblings. You know that.’

Gabby winced.

‘Hapa,’ Katie burbled.

Harry snorted. ‘Yes. Gabba is also Hapa.’

Fleur smiled across the kitchen. ‘We were actually making something. For in a week’s  time.’

‘Ah.’ Gabby beamed. ‘I see. So we should avoid looking in any cupboards.’ She eyed Harry. ‘Particularly the one behind Harry, I assume.’

Katie scampered around the table and stuck her arms up at Fleur. ‘Maman!’ 

Fleur’s smirk softened into a warm little smile. ‘Come here, little chick.’ She hoisted Katie up onto her hip. ‘Have you been having fun with your Auntie Harpy?’

Harry’s daughter buried her face in Fleur’s shoulder and grabbed two handfuls of her hair, babbling into the blue cotton of Fleur’s blouse. 

Harry’s heart melted. She really is so very perfect. A little chill trickled down his spine. There’s nothing I wouldn’t trade for this. Nothing. Fear bit deep into his heart, sharp as glass shards and cold as ice. If the price of La Victoire Finale has to be worth keeping them forever, what can I even sacrifice? An icy sick feeling churned in his stomach and the world swam beyond dancing dark spots in the corners of his eyes.

Katie let out a soft wail.

Gabby twisted on her heel. ‘Mon cher frère, what’s wrong?

‘Breathe,’ Fleur whispered, rubbing Katie’s back. ‘Breathe, mon Amour.’

Harry took a gulp of air and fed the bubbling panic into the emptiness, letting hollow teeth as sharp as rose thorns rip it away until his fear faded into the distance. ‘Sorry…’ He mustered a faint smile. ‘For a moment it all seemed a bit too perfect.’

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