A/N: Thanks to Stu for the helpful PM and to my
beta, Zsenya. This fic was inspired by
a book called “Females in Harry Potter.”
The author seemed to think that the females in the books aren’t
strong. After reading that, I felt the
need to write about a very strong character, and Fleur was the first to jump to
It wasn’t often that her parents
let her roam where she pleased, especially on an unfamiliar street. But they’d told her they had business to
discuss, and seemed to realize she didn’t really want to spend the sunny
afternoon stuck in a pub listening to grown-up talk. Her mother had smiled and handed her a few galleons, telling her
not to spend it all.
half spent and her fingers still slightly sticky with ice cream, the nine-year-old
wandered down Diagon Alley, her eyes wide as they took in the colorful
surroundings, from the bright fabrics hung at a small stand to her left, to a
pet shop down the street where loud squawks seemed to draw customers in. The people around her all seemed to know
what they were doing and where they were going. No one seemed to bother a glance at the tiny French girl whose ears
only understood that the raised voice of the cauldron seller meant he still needed
to sell a few more cauldrons, and the soft whisper of the mother to her
children meant she still had patience with them for the moment.
shone brightly as Fleur walked from shop to shop, stopping for a moment to gaze
into what appeared to be a robe shop.
Careful not to touch her nose to the glass, she peered inside. Her mother had promised her a new one by the
end of the summer due to her sudden growth spurt. She wondered what color she’d be allowed to wear. Her favorite one, the one she wore today,
had been a lovely silvery blue that barely dragged on the floor when she bought
it. Now it had lost most of its sheen
and stopped at the top of her socks.
sigh, Fleur moved on. She would have
robes before summer’s end, and it wasn’t as if her mother had given her enough
gold to pay for a new set. The family’s
tailor in Paris would more than likely charge less and do a better job than
this strange English woman who made her gold by sewing dull black uniforms for
crowd of people gathered around a window to what looked to be the local
Quidditch shop. Quidditch was a
favorite sport of her father’s, and the girl had often followed him to matches. Fleur loved watching the wizards and witches
zoom above her head, cheering with the rest of the fans when something exciting
happened. She loved listening to the
cheer of the crowd, and sometimes, when her father was busy watching the match,
she would close her eyes and imagine they were yelling for her, cheering her on
at some unknown task. But then the
commentator would announce the score, and the moment was broken.
what the group was looking at, she followed a gaggle of boys her age over to
the crowd. They were all pointing and
talking about something on display, but the people in front of her were too
tall for her to see in the window.
Inside, it was packed full of people.
It would be impossible to get in.
to stand on her toes to see, but a shove from behind caused her to topple to
the ground. She looked up and glared at
the person behind her.
anglais,” she muttered when the tall red-haired boy didn’t even
apologize. She flipped her hair back as
she had seen her mother do, and stood, brushing the dirt off her outfit.
nearby said something…his voice sounded as though he were apologizing, but it
had been the red-haired boy who’d pushed her over. She frowned, and looked toward the sound of the voice. A kind-looking teenager whose hair was
equally as red held out his hand. She
took it and he pulled her up.
The boy was
saying something, but all she picked out was his apologetic tone. She frowned at him, unsure how to
respond. Her grasp of English was not
the best. Her parents had taught her a
few words and phrases so that if she got lost she could find her way back to
where they were staying, but she didn’t know enough to figure out what this
handsome boy was saying.
te comprend pas,” she said, wondering if perhaps he spoke French. But by the confused look on his face, it
didn’t seem so. She tried another
no…Eenglish,” she said, fumbling over the strange words. “No…Eenglish.”
frowned at her. “No English?” he asked.
Parlay voo fransays?”
She winced at the butchering of her
native language, but nodded her head, glad that he at least understood
that. She hated how helpless this
language barrier made her seem, and was determined to make sure this boy knew
she wasn’t one of those pathetic females her mother always complained
about. Smiling at him, she tossed her
hair once more and stood on her toes.
One of the taller people in front
of her moved out of the way, muttering something to himself, and Fleur moved
forward eagerly. She could now just see
into the shop, and could tell that the item that everyone was eager to see was
a new racing broom on display. The
people around her made excited noises and were talking in loud voices about the
Satisfied, Fleur stepped out of the
way, knowing that those behind her would want a look at the broom. She would have to tell her father about the
broom. He would enjoy seeing it, though
he would go on for hours about how wonderful the design of this particular
broom was, until her mother told him to be quiet, she had a headache. Fleur smiled. Perhaps at home, she would get to see the broom up close. At least there the other customers didn’t
shove their way just to look in a window.
There, everyone spoke French and there was no embarrassing herself
simply because she couldn’t explain to a handsome boy that she was perfectly
capable of helping herself up. The only
reason she’d taken his hand was because he’d offered it, and her mother had
taught her it was rude to not accept a gentleman’s help.
Fleur turned to see the red-headed boy
running toward her, holding something in her hand. He had her money bag! Had
he stolen it? But if he’d stolen it,
why would he be coming her way?
The boy panted, trying to say
something. He held out the bag, and she
snatched it away, glaring, just in case he had stolen it. This seemed to upset him. He shook his head and rambled on. She recognized the word “damn,” but nothing
else. As if determined to find a way
for them to communicate, he waved his hands at her bag, then at her, then at
himself. She raised an eyebrow. The English had been easier to understand
than this nonsense.
“Bill.” The boy patted his chest, looking at her carefully to see if she
understood. “Bill Weasley?”
She smiled at him. “Fleur,” she said, patting her own
chest. “Fleur Delacour.” She held out her hand for him to take. He frowned at it for a moment, but took it
and shook it. “Enchanté Monseiur…Bill,”
she said with what she hoped her mother would deem an appropriately kind
“Um…eel ay…er…damn.” He looked down at her, and Fleur found
herself looking at his eyes, noticing the way the sunlight created tiny golden
specks in the green irises. He was
handsome, nearly as handsome as the teenaged boy who lived across the street
from her. He seemed startled by her
gaze, as so many men and boys were. Her
mother said it was what came with being part-Veela.
Bill was talking yet again. He seemed to keep forgetting she couldn’t
speak French. She smiled at him,
waiting for him to realize. His ears
turned bright red when he saw her smile.
“Er…Goodbye,” he said. “Er…ah river? No…Ah rev-war? Oh
“Au revoir,” she corrected. “Good…bye et good day.”
Her money bag clutched in her hand,
she turned to leave the stumbling, confused boy. It was nearly dinner time, and her parents would be wondering
where she was.
She stole one last glace back at
the boy, who had turned and was walking back to the window, perhaps to find the
other red-haired boy who was most likely his younger brother. She smiled, and wondered if he would ever
learn how to speak French, then laughed.
It was probably just as likely as her learning to speak English.