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Title: First Fall
Warnings: Timeline might be a smidge off from canon.
Author's Notes: Thank you, mods, for being so wonderful and paitent!
By the time Bill had gotten the realtor to shut up about the thatched roof and the traditional awnings, his fiance had disappeared. After searching various rooms with no avail, he found her outside standing by the shore of the small lake.
Walking away from the realtor who had started in again about the magical pantry shelving, he quietly leaned against the cottage door admiring the pretty picture Fleur made. Her golden tresses were painting swirls in the fall wind using the deep blue sea as a backdrop. It was only when she started shivering, that he allowed himself to add a melody of crunching leaves to the picturesque scene as he headed out to her.
He pulled his jacket over her shoulders and embraced her tightly from behind. She leaned back and kissed him on the lips as both of their hands gathered unconsciously over her rounded middle.
He breathed in the scent of her hair along with the crisp autumn seabreeze before he softly reassured her, “If the water bothers you, we don’t have to take the place you know.”
“I know,” she murmured, hands tightening against his. She sighed. “I couldn’t even protect my grown sister, Beel. ‘ow am I to protect a baby?”
Bill couldn’t help but grin as he pressed a kiss into her temple. “Are you really worried that our unborn child will be captured by mermaids and we’ll have to call Harry to rescue him or her?”
Fleur whirled around to glare at Bill. “Don’t make fun, Bill. Eez not nice.”
He pulled her close and pressed a gentle kiss against her lips. “You have no reason to worry. Barty Crouch, Jr. is long gone. But just in case, we can have a garden of gillyweed, always ready for the picking.”
“You’re so silly, Beel.” Fleur said, shaking her head, but not before her pink lips cracked into a partial smile.
“But more importantly,” Bill said seriously, tightening his grip around Fleur, “This baby? It’s our baby. You’re not alone protecting him or her. You’ll have me there too.”
“‘im,” Fleur countered, half-grin turning into a brilliant smile.
“As you wish dear,” Bill said with a matching smile. They had found their first home. “As you wish.”
Title: Tell Me You Love Me
“Zey are such funny creatures.”
“I think he's whispering that he loves her...” Bill grinned stupidly, whispering his words into Fleur's ear as not to disturb the two wild animals on the log in front of them.
“You are too romantic.”
Bill tightened his grip around her and tucked his chin into her neck.
“Probably. But then it's so miserable at the moment, a bit of romance wouldn't go amiss, would it?”
“Zey are fine.” Fleur's voice hardened, as it usually did. Her body followed suit, drawing up to its fullness, shoulders squared. “Ron is alive. It would be everywhere if he weren't. Zey would want to brag about 'is death.”
“But what if he isn't?”
It was hard to control his pessimism. With his family Bill pretended to be strong. Alone with Fleur, who had always been able to unlock every nuance from his soul, he was a mess, fearful and trembling, wondering if he would ever see his littlest brother alive again.
“Ron is brave,” she declared. “'E is with 'Arry, doing what is right. 'E will come back to us all.”
Bill said nothing, focussing his eyes on the two squirrels, who still sat close on the log. Fleur fell silent, seemingly also watching.
“What if he never tells her that he loves her?” Bill murmured.
“'Oo? Ze squirrel?” Fleur asked, confused.
Laughing softly, Bill said, “No. Those two are meant to be together. I mean Ron and Hermione. They just fight. They're in love but never say as much.”
“Sometimes... love should die with ze person,” Fleur said quietly. “Zey will find their own way, Beell. It is not for you to decide whezzer 'e says it or not.”
She turned in his arms then and pressed her lips to his.
“You will be a marvellous papa, Beell. You care too much.”
“Here's hoping I get the chance,” Bill said grimly, before choosing to lose himself in her kiss to stem the flow of painful conversation.
Title: The Gryffindor Season
"You know, Beel, it's your season." The porch swing creaked as Bill and Fleur swayed gently.
"How so, love?"
"All of the reds and golds of the leaves—they are Gryffindor colors, just like your hair."
Bill laughed, "I'd say my hair is starting to get more silver now."
"To me, your hair will always be like the autumn leaves." Fleur cuddled up closer to Bill and kissed his cheek.
Bill chuckled. "It's not fair—your hair was silver when we were young, and it's still silver now that we're . . ."
"Hey! I'm not old yet, just old-er. My hair might be as silver as yours someday, but yours will never change."
Fleur threw her arm across her eyes. "Ah! The hardship of being part Veela!"
Bill laughed, reaching around Fleur to tickle her. She shrieked and tickled him back. After struggling and laughing, making the swing jerk wildly, Bill breathlessly asked, "Truce?"
"Of course." Fleur cuddled up against Bill again, arranging the blanket over their legs to keep out the chill in the air, the swing still creaking.
"So, do the other houses have seasons?"
"Yes. Spring is for Hufflepuff with the black and yellow bees buzzing everywhere, summer is Slytherin with the bright green of the trees and grass, and winter is for Ravenclaw because the sunlight reflecting off the icicles on the trees is sort of blue."
"That last one particularly is a stretch," Bill chuckled.
"It works best for Gryffindor."
"What about those orange leaves? Orange isn't a Gryffindor color." Bill winked at Fleur.
Fleur smiled. "The orange is for Quidditch season and Ron's Chudley Cannons."
"The orange leaves are the Cannons' consolation prize?" Bill and Fleur both laughed. "I can't believe Ron passed that obsession on to Louis," Bill sighed dramatically, "but the game next week will be fun, even though they'll lose."
"We see the children more now that they 'ave left home than we did when they were in Hogwarts."
"That's true. And we are all alone in an empty house. Why don't we go inside and curl up together in front of the fireplace? We'll still hear the wind whistling through the leaves, but can stay warm. We can drink some wine, eat homemade bread and that cheese you love. Then we can have . . . dessert." Bill waggled his eyebrows.
Fleur kissed Bill softly on his lips. "Let's have dessert first."
Title: The Autumn of His Life
Warnings: character death
Author's Notes: The quote, the quote. How can I make something morbid out of that quote?
Leaves crackled under Victoire’s feet as she walked up the path of her childhood home. The noise was too loud in her ears, a reminder of how anal her mother had been about keeping the walkway clear of detritus.
The way the twigs broke sounded like those times in her childhood when her father had come home and cracked his knuckles, asking where his beautiful girls were and weren’t they going to welcome him home? She would squeal as Bill twirled her and her sister and her mother around and then toss her brother into the air.
Later in life, especially once their mother died, it sounded like his bones and joints protesting. It told of the time he’d no longer been able to lift her at all.
The wind soughed through the drying grasses and leaves. Victoire trudged to the door, determined, and shivered, hearing her mother’s last breath and her father’s deep sobs.
Why have I come back? she wondered, hand resting on the cold doorknob. She breathed deeply, filling her lungs with crisp air.
“Because,” she murmured, “he asked you to.” She reminded herself of that as she slammed her shoulder into the door to open it. There was a time it hadn’t squealed or stuck at all.
The wind’s wailing muted after the door closed. Victoire’s shoulders relaxed, and she remembered how safe this place had felt growing up. It felt empty now. Abandoned.
“What was it he wanted again?” she muttered. Ah, there, on the mantle. That picture. “Oh, yes.” The entire family crowded into the frame, but her Mum and Dad were front and center with Victoire, Dominique and Louis. Victoire cradled it in her hands, that memory of happier times. Back when they weren’t scattered, when all the cares of the world hadn’t settled onto her shoulders. When her father wasn’t dying, in the autumn of his life.
She returned via Apparition to her father’s room in St Mungos, a liberty only Healers such as she had. But it was too quiet. The walls echoed with silence, the hush acute after the sounds of the season.
It was too late. He was gone, though he lay in the bed. Gone, before she could tell him she’d found it again—the family, the feeling of home.
Gone. Again. The picture dropped, the glass shattered.
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