gabrielladusult (gabrielladusult) wrote in quillerfluffers,
gabrielladusult
gabrielladusult
quillerfluffers

Conflict and Resolution with Bill and Fleur

There's no chocolate, sorry. Cross posted at my own journal. Back in January, I asked some writing group friends to give me couples to write about for Valentine's Day. I only got to two of the five requests before the actual day (still working on the others!) -- this was based on moonette1's request for Bill/Fleur angst. I altered a couple phrases and corrected some typos (there are doubtless more), but this is basically it.

Some things you should know about my Fanverse.
Bill initially resisted Fleur’s attempts to ‘court’ him. It was a protective big-brother thing, he didn’t like how the twins said she initially treated Ron.
Fleur’s grandmother was captured by a man who hated veela – that man was technically her grandfather, but they never met.
Fleur’s father fought Voldemort the first time around and was blinded by a curse and sent back to France – Fleur’s mother was working as a volunteer at St. Odilia’s (French St. Mungo’s) and that’s how they met. (This information and more is covered by the links at the bottom of the post).

~*~*~



Most people sat for a respectful moment after the centaur’s tribute. Then, because eventually life had to go on, they began to get up and mill about. Bill sat in his chair a bit longer, between still being weak from the attack and the draining nature of such an event, he really didn’t have the strength to move quite yet. He was eager to get back to the Hospital Wing, however, as he also didn’t have the strength to keep up the “same old Bill” front that he had managed to maintain for the past week or so. Fleur had temporarily left his side to speak with Madame Maxime and he closed his eyes hoping no one would attempt polite conversation with him before he made his escape. He took a couple of deep breaths to gather the strength he would need for the climb back up to the castle. Already he could feel his aching muscles protesting at the coming exertion.

Cool fingers gripped his arm. He didn’t know how Fleur’s touch managed to calm his fiery aches and stoke his energy simultaneously.

“Are you ready, mon Amour?”

He blinked his eyes open and attempted to smile at her. The cracking of some barely scabbed over wounds on his face stopped the action.

“Oui,” he answered her hoarsely.

Her hand moved up to his face, working the same magic there as she kissed his brow and whispered, “Yes.”

He stood with as little help from her as he could manage. “Dad, Fleur and I are going back up now.”

“Oh, right, son, right.” Dad looked down at Mum, who was watching the ministry delegation. Rufus Scrimgeour was limping towards them with a severely annoyed expression. It was clear that the group would be leaving any moment. “We’ll join you shortly. We have some…people…to talk to first.”

Bill didn’t like the grim look on his father’s face, or the forlorn one on his mother’s, but circumstance and experience had taught him the futility of intervening with either his parents or his brother. He supposed he would have to get used to his own impotence in other such matters now.

“I am sorry to keep you waiting,” Fleur said as they made their way back to the Hospital Wing. “But Madame Maxime, she is…”

“She’s important to you,” Bill finished for her.

“As your headmaster was important t you.” Her tone held a rare sympathetic sobriety.

They quietly started the long climb up the stairway from the main hall. Fleur seemed to forcibly brighten.

“It is good our wedding is so soon. We will replace everyone’s grief with joy!”

Bill suppressed the urge to raise his eyebrows. He knew what Fleur meant, but it was these sorts of statements that often rubbed others the wrong way.

She knew it too. “Of course, that is silly. Zis terrible grief can never go away – but people can never fight ze evil if zey do not have something to be ‘appy about. What better reason to be ‘appy zan our wedding, alors?”

Bill made a grunting noise that could be interpreted as agreement without actually committing himself.

Fleur got on a roll talking about finalizing the wedding plans and her newfound bond with Mum as they finally reached the Hospital wing. Bill was content to have her talk as he plumped up the pillows and eased himself back into bed.

“…of course I will wear the tiara no matter what, but I hope that it does not class terribly with my robes. I could order new robes, but to rush the job would risk shoddy workmanship unworthy of a goblin made tiara. To be sure of the quality would mean delaying the wedding…”

“Maybe that’s not such a bad idea,” Bill muttered tiredly.

Some people thought when Fleur got up a full head of steam talking about herself or seemingly frivolous things that she was oblivious to what anybody else thought or said. Bill knew better. Fleur stopped talking mid-sentence and stared at Bill. He closed his eyes against the hard questioning silence between them. He should have known better. He certainly hadn’t meant to bring up this topic after such a draining day. Then again, maybe he brought it up exactly because the day’s events left him too tired to keep himself from letting the thoughts clamoring in his aching head to just burst out.

“Bill?” Fleur finally spoke, her voice a soft, questioning whisper. “What do you mean?”

He sighed – no avoiding it now.

“I mean with everything that’s happened, maybe we ought to put the wedding plans on hold until…”

“Until what?” Fleur folded her arms over her chest.

Bill sighed again. “Until after the next full moon at least.”

“You are not a werewolf,” Fleur declared firmly.

“No,” Bill conceded. “But Greyback’s attack obviously affected me. I think we should wait until the full moon to see how much.”

“I told your muzzer zat it did not matter. I told her nothing would stop you loving me.”

“I’ll always love you, Fleur.” Bill’s voice rasped with honesty.

“Zat does not sound like ‘appily ever after…”

“Fleur…” Bill tried to divert her by sighing and covering his eyes with his forearm. “Can we talk about this later?”

“Non,” she said sharply. “Since we must talk about it at all – we will talk about it now. Tell me what you mean when you say you will always love me?”

Bill couldn’t help but sarcastically crack, “You’d rather I not always love you?”

He lowered his arm to look at her. She looked back down at him, hands on her hips completely unamused.

“I would like for you to say so without it sounding like au revoir!” she snapped.

“I didn’t…” Bill stopped. He didn’t want it to mean goodbye, but he knew that it might.

“Non? Tell me zen.”

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair, pulling some strands out of the ponytail as he did. “I only meant that I love you, Fleur, enough not to force you into a situation that would make you unhappy.”

“You could never make me unhappy, Bill.” She moved closer to him and tucked a loose stand of hair behind his ear.

Bill took her hand and kissed her palm before dropping it back to her side. “Why don’t we just see what the full moon brings?”

“You are not a werewolf!” Fleur repeated, though her tone sounded a bit more desperate. Bill half expected her to stamp her foot for emphasis.

“We don’t know what I am.”

The foreboding of his tone hung thickly between them. Fleur stared back at him for several unblinking moments. “What do you mean?”

“During the full moon, a lycanthrope loses his mind to the dark creature within – but at least you can see it – he transforms. What if the same darkness overcomes me, but I don’t transform?”

“Zat would not happen.” Fleur shook her head in denial.

“Why not?” Bill made the effort to sit up. “If someone bitten by a transformed werewolf becomes a werewolf on the next full moon, mightn’t it follow that someone bitten by Greyback could become…like him?”

Her blue eyes flashed fire. “You could never be like zat…zat man.”

“Fenrir Greyback isn’t a man, he’s a monster…and I might be one too.”

For a moment, Fleur just looked at him. She opened her mouth as if wanting to say something, but he had apparently temporarily stunned her speechless.

Finally, she whispered a barely audible, “Non.”

“We have to face the possibility.” Bill insisted.

“I do not zink it will be so,” Fleur her gaze steady on his. “But if it is zen…we will…” Her eyes flicked away for a moment before she squared her shoulders and looked back. “We will confine you at zose times.”

“That might not be good enough.”

“What do you mean?”

Bill had given this a lot of thought over the past few days. Lying in bed all the time gave one plenty of time to think and curse breaking had taught him to imagine the worst possible outcome of any given scenario.

“If I never transform, how do we know when I’m dangerous and when I’m not?” he asked.

“The full moon…”

“Might just be a trigger. If the darkness in Greyback isn’t governed by the moon why should we expect mine to be?”

Fleur tossed her head and crossed her arms over her chest. “Now you are just being silly. You will govern such darkness, if it even exists.”

“A werewolf loses his mind…”

“Non,” Fleur interrupted. “You cannot have it both ways. A werewolf is only mindless on ze full moon. You zink Greyback does not have complete control of himself ze rest of ze time?”

“But what if…?”

“Non!” She repeated holding up her hand. “I will hear no more ‘what ifs!’”

“I won’t marry you if there’s a chance I’ll become a monster like that.” Bill blurted in desperate agony.

It didn’t matter that he had been thinking it for days – saying it out loud stunned even him. Bill felt his entire body go numb as if hearing the words had killed something inside his soul. When he saw the way the color drained from Fleur’s face, he realized exactly which part of his soul it was that was aching.

“I love you too much to let you be hurt like that – not you of all people.” Helpless to repair the damage, Bill seemed unable to stop himself from continuing to inflict it.

“What does zat mean?” The question seemed to be echoing, but the hard edge to Fleur’s voice was unfamiliar. “‘You of all people?’”

Bill squinted in confusion. “It means I love you – and knowing what your grandmother went through …Your grandfather was wicked and evil.”

“You are not like zat.”

“Haven’t you been listening? I could be – I could be just as bad. If I get overcome by this, who knows what I might say or do…, I could be worse than your grandfather. What he did to your grandmother…”

“Because she was veela and he hated all veela. Zat is what you meant when you said ‘of all people’ is it not? Zia is about me being a veela.”

Bill felt more confused than ever. “No, it’s about how contaminated this werewolf attack has made me.”

“I will not hear zis any more!” Fleur turned and swept towards the door, reeling on him as she opened it. “You either want to marry me, or you do not – please decide and let me know which it is… before the full moon!”

The hollow numb feeling inside him increased in the silence Fleur left behind. ‘Well, so much for not wanting to hurt her,’ Bill thought. He could almost hear Charlie’s familiar sarcasm in his head.

Fleur thought everything that had to do with love was simple. Bill wasn’t sure if that made her naïve or not, but he didn’t have the luxury of looking at things that way. Of course he wanted to marry Fleur. From the time he first kissed her – maybe even before that – he couldn’t imagine any other possibility for them. And he was trained to imagine possibilities. That was why it hurt so much to say he wouldn’t. How could he give up the cool, liquidy silk of her hair, the icy fire of determination in her eyes, that perfect soft curve of her lips right before…

“Argh!” Bill groaned and fell back into his bed. Those thoughts were not helping.

Perhaps Fleur was right and he was worried over nothing. The full moon might very well do nothing to alter him any more than he already was. And if it did, perhaps it would only be once a month like any other normal werewolf. He just wished he could know for sure. Bill opened his eyes and looked around the empty Hospital Wing feeling suddenly quite alone and in need of company. He wished Charlie was here to tease him and joke over it all until his worries seemed like nothing. Or Remus, perhaps, to offer some educated guesses as to whether Bill’s worst fears might be realized.

Bill sighed. No, who he really wanted to talk to was Fleur. He would talk to her calmly, this time – explaining his fears and getting her ideas. Over the past week he had only really felt like his old self when Fleur was there – holding his hand, or stroking his arm or face with her cool fingers – offering him that peculiar soothing strength that was hers alone.

Bill practically shot out of bed, only to collapse back in pain from the sudden movement. He only felt like himself with Fleur. If his worst imaginings were right – and he sincerely hoped they weren’t – then the answer wasn’t to push Fleur away. The only way to beat back the darkness was if she was there with him, helping him fight.

“Oh, I’m an idiot,” he groaned. He didn’t even have the strength to chase her down. He could only lie here and hope she came back for her apology soon. And if she didn’t…Bill closed his eyes tiredly…if she didn’t he’d send someone to fetch her back. Tonks or Remus probably – that would be less embarrassing than Mum or Dad – or Merlin forbid, the twins.

“She’ll come back,” Bill whispered amazed at his confidence despite the sick emptiness inside him. Fleur loved him, he knew, as much as he loved her. She’d give him at least one chance to make it right. That thought relaxed him enough to allow sleep to overcome his weary body.

*~*~*

A cleared throat jarred him awake. Sadly, the figure at the foot of his bed did not com into focus as Fleur, but as Triplock, one of the senior goblins at Gringott’s.

“What are you doing here?” Bill asked ungraciously. He didn’t appreciate being awoken so soon by anyone other than Fleur.

“Funeral,” the goblin replied laconically. Most goblins Bill knew were fluent in English, but preferred to speak as few words of it as possible.

Bill wondered if he had even slept ten minutes. “The funeral’s over – plus it was outside.”

“My cousin told us what happened – he let me in here.”

“Your cousin?” Bill asked.

“Flitwick,” Triplock replied. “Distant cousin – more wizard than goblin, but you can’t choose your family.”

“No.” Bill’s eyebrows shot up of their own accord, stretching out his healing face. So – all that speculation about Flitwick during his Hogwarts days and here was the answer – goblin blood. Wait until he told Charlie.

Triplock eyed Bill’s face and said bluntly, “Your recovery is slow.”

Bill sighed, another thing he was afraid would happen. “Very slow – I suppose you’re here to sack me then?”

The goblin frowned at him. “Why sack you?”

“I know how you feel about the work not getting done…”

“The work is getting done, your woman took care of that.” Triplock waved a dismissive hand.

For the first time since she left, Bill was glad Fleur wasn’t around to hear herself be referred to as his ‘woman.’

“Fleur’s been with me almost the whole time – there’s no way she could have done all my work and hers on top of that.”

“Not her – she has the other wizards staying late to complete everything.” Triplock explained.

“That’s…generous of everyone.” And unbelievable too. Gringott’s could be competitive, even at the office. Bill found it hard to believe that some of his rivals wouldn’t be happy to see him fall behind and out of favor.

“Yes,” Triplock chuckled knowingly. “Some were reluctant, but she turned veela on them and convinced them.”

A near paralyzing jealousy clenched in Bill’s gut. “You’re telling me that my fiancée seduced other men into doing my work for me?” As if he hadn’t been feeling emasculated enough.

Triplock frowned. “I don’t understand the word ‘seduced.’”

Bill’s Gobbledygook vocabulary did not include any terms pertaining to romance or sexuality. He did know a few things about greed. Finally he tried, “She made them want her.”

Triplock’s expression cleared. “I forgot about veela and men – they have no such effect on goblins. That is not what I meant. I meant the other part…she became…harpy-like.” Triplock concluded and flapped his arms to demonstrate.

Bill shook head. “Fleur’s only one quarter veela – she can’t do that.”

“Maybe not full bird form – but what she cane do – even some younger goblins were scared.”

Bill silently marveled for a moment trying to imagine Fleur throwing fire and scaring post-adolescent goblins. “So…if the work’s getting done, then why…?”

“We’ll help,” Triplock resumed his laconic style.

Bill felt the wind get pushed out of him by a swell of hope. “What?”

“With Voldemort and Death Eaters and…Greyback. Attacking you is attacking goblins, attacking Hogwarts is attacking Gringott’s – it’s bad business so we’ll help.”

“Well that’s…that’s…” Bill was at a loss.

Triplock nodded, satisfied apparently with Bill’s inarticulate response. “We will make plans through my cousin until you return to work.”

“Good!” Bill finally burst out. “That’s good.” Forget good, it was bloody brilliant!

Before Triplock could reply, they were interrupted by movement near the door. Bill looked up. Fleur had returned, her still pale face was shockingly framed by hair in a bit of disarray and every so slightly red-rimmed eyes, which widened when they settled on Triplock.

The goblin gave Bill what he swore was a knowing nod. “Heal faster, you need your strength.”

Bill wasn’t sure if Triplock meant he would need his strength to fight Voldemort or to deal with Fleur. It didn’t matter. Triplock left with another knowing nod at Fleur, who gave him a wide berth as she approached Bill’s bedside.

Bill wasn’t sure where to start so he just offered her a soft, “Hi,”

Fleur, as usual, dispensed with the pleasantries. “He told you what happened at ze bank.”

Not where Bill would have started the conversation, but worth discussing, at any rate. “Yes, he did. Fleur, I had no idea you could do that, that’s ama…”

“Zen I suppose you have made your decision about ze wedding.”

Bill frowned. It was only a little surprising that Fleur wanted to change the subject since she had kept this particular ability of hers secret up until now. And he even understood her pressing him about the wedding, but her tone and stance were so abrupt and defensive that he wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

“Well yes, but there are still some things we need to talk about. I hope you’ll let me explain…”

“You do not have to explain. I thought zis might ‘appen. I ‘oped, of course, zat you were different. But…” She had started to square her shoulders in her usual defensively haughty stance, then suddenly broke off and deflated.

“Wait a minute – what do you mean you hoped I was different? What do you think I decided?”

“Not to marry me, of course,” she shrugged forlornly.

“And why would I make a stupid decision like that?”

A glimmer of hope and a mass of confusion shone in her eyes. Bill was glad he wasn’t alone in the confusion. Hopefully they could enlighten each other.

“Because…because I am veela,” Fleur stammered.

That was less than enlightening. “Fleur, first of all, I have always known you were part veela.”

“Zere is a difference between knowing I am part veela when it makes me look like zis.” She gestured to her face, which was resuming its immaculate state, and her figure. “And knowing zat it also means I can be…like zat.” She waved her arm back towards the door.

Bill ran a finger over one of the more pronounced gashes on his face. “I thought appearances didn’t matter.”

“Zis is not about appearances,” Fleur bit out.

“No – and it isn’t about your being veela either,” Bill said. “When I thought about calling off the wedding it wasn’t because of anything about you, it was about me.”

“I heard what you said,” Fleur said with defensive accusation.

Bill threw up his hands. “What did I say?!”

But instead of answering, Fleur got a faraway look in her eyes and stared out the window behind his bed. After a moment she spoke, her voice as distant as her gaze.

“When my grandfazzer captured and enslaved my grandmuzzer, he told her why he hated veela. He said zey were the most deceitful of all creatures because zey pretended to be beautiful women when really zey were…” She turned and looked at him with a hollow, wounded expression. “Monsters.”

Fenrir Greyback isn’t a man, he’s a monster…and I might be one too.

“Fleur…”

Her eyes welled up. “You don’t think a monster is worth marrying.”

“Fleur, that’s not what I meant. I was talking about evil, darkness…not…you’re not a monster.”

“If you saw me at ze bank, you would zink differently, perhaps. You would not want me.”

“Not want you? But I think it’s brilliant that you can tap into that power!”

“It is not brilliant. I become shrill and hideous and…”

“Scary?” Bill couldn’t help provide.

She gave him a less than amused look.

“Come on, Fleur, none of that makes you any different than an Animagus whose form is…a spider or something.”

“Spiders are not dangerous monsters,” she muttered.

“Tell that to Ron.”

“You…you do not think I deceived you? Zat I pretended to be something I’m not?”

Bill cursed under his breath. “Fleur, you never even met your grandfather and look how his words hurt you. Forget about what he thinks.”

“I do not care about what he thinks! I care about what you think!” She said angrily. “Do you think I was deceitful?”

Bill wanted to just say, ‘no’ and move on, but the truth was…

“The truth is, Fleur, you were deceitful. You hid a part of yourself from me and I wish you hadn’t.”

She sighed and looked away.

“But I understand why you did – better now than I might have a couple weeks ago and…and none of it changes how I feel about you.” She was close enough that he could reach out and take her hand, waiting until she lifted her eyes to his again. “I love you, Fleur -- nothing will ever change that.”

She sat on the edge of his bed and leaned her head lightly on his chest. “Then ‘ow could you believe my love is less zan yours? Zat I will not love you no matter what happens?”

“I’m just worried that I won’t be myself…what if I do become…?”

“A monster?” Fleur asked raising a wry eyebrow. “Whatever you become will be nothing zat my monster cannot handle.”

Bill felt sheepish and defended with humor. “You know, even full veela aren’t monsters, they don’t even appear in Newt Scamander’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Fleur snorted. “Zat silly man’s book is not comprehensive. Georges Dagobert’s Le Regne Animal Magique is a much better text, if ze English would only translate it…”

Bill laughed and hugged her close. This was his Fleur. He sobered for a minute.

“Fleur, I think it will be a while before we know how much this attack has really affected me.”

She lifted her head from his chest to shake it. “It does not matter…”

He put a finger to her lips. “Shh…it does, but I realized that whatever happens I can only face it, I can only fight it with you by my side.”

Her mouth formed into a soft smile under his finger.

“That is…if you’ll still have a stupid Rosbif like me.”

“Not stupid.” Fleur protested, grabbing his hand and rubbing her cheek against it before kissing his palm. “You cannot call the man I love stupid.”

“Oh Fleur.” Bill wrapped his arms around her and shifted to the side so that they could share his small hospital bed. “You defend me even against myself.”

“Of course.” She settled in next to him, returning his embrace. “It is what champions do.”

*~*~*

For more of my Bill/Fleur see the following links:
Bill asks Fleur out the first time
Bill and Fleur’s first date
Bill and Fleur’s first kiss
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  • 10 comments
Oh, wow!

:is speechless:

I specially enjoyed the clever mirroring of their situation as 'monsters'. The argument proceeded very realistically and this certainly felt like the Fleur we see in HBP. You really got right inside these characters! Wow!

Xia
Le Rosbif!! Poor Bill - all that time on his hands with nothing to do but think about the possibilities and fret about the future. You managed to convey the real insecurities that both he and Fleur have about themselves while showing the real depth of their love: He only felt like himself with Fleur and both of them wanting to protect each other from the monsters they think they are.

And I loved how you had them mirror each other all the way through - even down to the little gestures like kissing each other's palms. I think these two are going to be pretty happy together if they work all their conflicts out like this. And they even manage to do it without recourse to chocolate!!
I'm going to friend you btw, if that's okay.
They really need to add an edit function to comments!

I also meant to say that I really liked the title - that poem is perfect for Bill and Fleur at this stage of their relationship.
I know -- I hate having to delete a comment when I really screw it up. I'm glad you like the title. I was going to search for a quote about beasts or monsters within when Shakespeare blessedly popped into my head.

I think half of the mirroring I wrote in there was subconscious. This is just how this couple behaves with each other in my mind. I noticed they were both saying, "What do you mean?" a lot and I thought it might be a bit much -- but just because you're in real love doesn't mean you always understand each other completely. And Bill and Fleur have a lot to learn -- as they aren't even newlyweds.

I'm so glad you liked this. I have to get on the stick and read yours!
But of course it's ok! I confess to being surprised that you weren't already on my friend list. I probably have seen your comments so often on stmargarets posts that I assumed we were already friends (in LJ terms, of course we were already friends!).
Thus raising the interesting modern social dilemma - does there come a point in one's LJ relationship when it's too late to admit that you're not yet 'friends'?!!
I'm the last person to ask about on-line etiquette, but it seems to me that it's never too late to make a friend (/sappy Hallmark moment)
Zia said this was amazing, and she was right! The twist at the end with Fleur thinking that she was a monster herself was brilliant. I'd totally forgotten about the Harpy side of Veela charm. Just brilliant!

As usual, I LOVE how you capture Fleur's voice and Bill's. I'm so glad that you posted this for the rest of us to enjoy.
Thank you -- I'm so glad you liked it. I've always thought that veela were just really regular women, only moreso. We are all beautiful and sexy (though sometimes not in our own eyes) and we can all be harpies -- often simultaneously.