A violent sound tore through the air, immersing the entire village in Marseille. Veela around the village grabbed their wands in a sudden panic, most of them having lost someone to wars at some point in their lives. Luna and Gabby strode out of the Delacour house, followed closely by Lira. Gold and silver light shone brightly from the hall where the election meeting was being held, and Luna, Lira and Gabby ran to the building fearing the worst.
When the three women reached the building and opened the door, they were slightly shocked. Hovering in the middle of the room was a woman that Gabby recognized as Giselle. Her skin was cracked, golden and silver light bursting from her body, as it seeped out between the spaces. Before her was Fleur, holding an unconscious Hermione, and in front of them, there was a luminous wall that was also shimmering with beams of that same colored light.
The lights began to spiral, around the room and then Giselle's body dropped and slammed against the floor. The gold and silver lights were still shining and the distant sounds of a bell began to ring. Slowly, the curtain of the veil of reality seemed to crumble, like cracks spreading rapidly through glass. Strange voices grew louder inside the hall, and then slowly appearing as images were forming in the middle room,figures became translucent images of people.
Dressed in simple clothing with fierce feathers on their bodies, two women were battling each other with swords and magic. Blue fireballs materialized in their free hands as blades clashed and the aggressive exchange continued. They spoke in an unknown language, but it was easy to see that the woman with blue feathers was furious with the woman with purple feathers. In a quick movement and a precise stroke of the sword, the fight was brought to an end, and the purple feather woman fell to the ground, bleeding profusely but crawling her way to safety. The victor ran to a third woman who had fallen into a more fair away place. The blue feathered woman fell to her knees to help the other, supporting each other and rising to their feet, moving in slow steps.
There was a flash and the sound of a bell was heard again. This time, the image was two women in bright, shiny dresses walked side by side, talking animatedly with their arms linked. They whispered to each other and one of them blushed beautifully at the whispered words delivered in her ear. They walked and walked, until they came upon three indistinguishable figures arguing in front a door. The smaller woman stepped forward to ask what was happening, and suddenly the sounds of four shots rang out, followed by running steps and the clang of metal hitting the floor.
Suddenly, as fast as the blink of an eye, the scene changed again. Two figures were lying on a bed side by side. They were holding hands and smiling at each other, visibly elderly. "Life was good, wasn't it?" One said to the other, who just smiled widely. "Life was good," the other one confirmed.
"I'm finally going to get rid of you two," A third figure announced, standing outside a magical dome that protected the two women. "I will finally have everything."
"You can't have everything. We can only have what we should have, what we actually deserve," one of the two women replied calmly.
"For at least one of my infinite lives, I will have everything and you will not be there to disturb me!" The third woman screamed angrily.
"You are a part of us. A soul fragment like ours, an original fragment of the same soul. I never understood why you were always so irritated by that fact. We gave you everything we could, except us . You have power, you have money, and you finally lead our flock. What more could you want?"
"I..." The furious woman hesitated and took a step away. "I want it all."
"You cannot command love." The second woman spoke. "Love is given freely."
"I want my soul mate."
"You can't control this."
Hermione was sitting on the floor, and she was bored. In fact, she had already wandered to all the places she could find within this place, this white and so boring room, with no place to go and no one to talk. Then abruptly, the empty room glowed with multicolored light, almost as if a dimensional door had opened, and a few women started walking towards her.
She recognized only one of them; “Elora,” from her past vision with Fleur and communion with the clock, was suddenly present in this limbo in which Hermione was trapped, and the Gryffindor was more confused than ever. Then was she, Hermione Granger, really dead? The fiery-haired woman smiled at her and sat down on the floor as well, near to Hermione.
"It is a pleasure to meet you," She spoke with a wide smile. "I am Elora."
"Hello," Hermione said uncertainly. "I am Hermione."
"We know." The older woman among them responded with a wide smile on her face. "Where are the chairs in this forgotten place?" She said loudly, and suddenly several white chairs appeared, forming a circle. "Ah, excellent. So much easier," She said laughing, and turned to everyone else. "Come on, sit down, we have to talk, and that one needs to be back soon." The woman winked, and Hermione leapt to her feet and sat down on a chair.
"Well Hermione, you have before you a unique opportunity!" The elderly woman declared with amusement. "You are getting to know your past lives." Hermione felt her eyes widen in confusion and her mouth drop open.
"Oh look at that, she really is a part of us. That familiar ‘fish out of water’ reaction!" A young woman, 15 or 16 years old, observed with delight. She had black hair and yellow eyes.
"My past lives?" Hermione repeated, bewildered.
"Yes, past lives , fish mouth. I'm Leonor, you can call me Lenny," The woman with black hair and yellow eyes said, while rolling her eyes. "The older ‘you’ over there is January. Yes, just like the month. Her parents had a terrible imagination." Said lady just shrugged.
"People called me Janny," She commented, chuckling briefly. Janny was an elderly woman, with white hair and blue eyes, she was wrinkled but still retained traces of her beauty in her youth. She was wearing a flower dress and a cardigan and she also had a cane.
"You obviously already know Elora," Lenny continued. "And that sulky little thing over there is Maksa." She pointed to a black woman with curly hair wrapped up high on her head in a red scarf. Maksa merely nodded and kept sharpening her knife silently. "The pompous lady here is called Victoria, like the queen. Unfortunately, lack of imagination runs through our generations."
"What is my timeline here?" Hermione was puzzled and completely lost, but a curious mind would always be a curious mind. Elora smiled slightly at that and Lenny and Maska just rolled their eyes, while Victoria was staring impassively at Hermione. January suddenly smiled widely.
“We started with Elora, in 1111. Elora lived... and for 28 years she did not know Val, until they finally met and their souls sang. Both were murdered in a coup d’état when they were 35, in 1136. We died with a physical attack mixed with magic that ended up having giant effects on everyone..” Elora smiled sadly when Hermione glanced at her, and at the same time they both reached for the mark on their left side. Janny cleared her throat and quickly continued explaining the order of events. “It took a long time for Maska to be born. We believe that the soul fragment took a bit longer to find its birthplace; that perhaps Val's fragment was not yet reborn, or wasn’t ready for rebirth. Maska was finally born in 1539, and was one of those who found the fragment of Val earlier than most of us, who at the time was called Aziza. Maska was the leader of the flock and they had Malika at 21, in the year 1560.”
"I died during a clan battle, at the age of 40, in 1579. I had this enemy, was a great warrior but arrogant and envious, hated me for having Aziza and to lead the flock. I was killed during a battle, I was surrounded and my enemies killed me like a bull in a bullfight. I was crossed by several blades in different places. And my longtime enemy, the person who envied me and tried to destroy me more often than not. We were friends, you know? We both loved Aziza and she chose me. In the end, I died with my head being cut off. At least, I died as a warrior." Maska's hoarse voice interjected. “Aziza and Malika lived for a long period of time, but in the meantime, we had already been reborn as Lenny in 1580.” Hermione's eyes darted from the statuesque black woman to Lenny's thinner, smaller, and paler figure. The young girl sighed deeply.
“Here goes the sad story of Countess Leonor. I was born in 1580, and I imagine you’ve heard of the figure known as Dracula, haven’t you?” Hermione's eyes widened and Lenny’s smile was predatory. “He had a bride named Galiliea, and this woman decided it was a good idea to turn a 16-year-old countess into a vampire. So despite my youthful appearance, I am the one who has lasted the longest out of all of us.” The other women rolled their eyes, and Hermione let out a little laugh. “I met Cassandra much later, almost 80 years later in fact. I believe that this happened because Aziza still needed to die, be reborn and reach adulthood. What a waste of time if you ask me,” Lenny relayed in monotone. “I met her and she was already so wonderful at 18 years old. But being a creature of the night, I just wanted to consume her. However, my soul, which I thought had been dead for a long time, seemed to vibrate when I seduced her. Of course you’re all thinking that I just wanted to have dinner,” Lenny laughed morbidly. “It turned out that she became more than a meal. We spent 28 years together.” Hermione's eyebrows went up in surprise.
"Oh," Hermione said softly, processing the story, and Elora suddenly laughed out loud as Hermione's eyes wandered over to the last woman present of her reincarnations. Victoria gave her a brief smile and became stoic again, though this did not diminish Hermione’s curiosity about the figure with blond hair and green eyes.
“‘ Oh? ’” Lenny repeated. “I’m the one who has lived the longest with our soul mate*,” she stated, eyeing Hermione. Janny cleared her throat. "Fine, the second who had the most time with our soul mate”. Lenny corrected herself so quickly that Elora started to laugh again, this time accompanied by Maska. "Anyway." The yellow eyes glanced irritably at each of the other women. "On a beautiful summer night, I was with the vampire coven trying to convince them to allow me to transform Cass, since she was human and wasn't getting any younger." The atmosphere suddenly grew cold as Lenny's mood degenerated into sadness. “I was able to make a deal to try to earn the right to transform her and keep her in the coven with me.... But in the end, I was so, so hungry. I don't really remember exactly what happened, she was there, willing to be bitten, feed me, but I...” She lowered her head, the strands of her fringe falling across her eyes. "I lost control. One moment she was there with me and the next… I… ”
"You killed her," Hermione concluded solemnly. Lenny nodded.
“I couldn't live with it, the pain was consuming me every waking moment. There were already wizards who hunted creatures such as myself, and I just... I made sure that my path crossed the heir of the damn Van Helsing family and waited for him to do the job. I was probably the easiest target in all that bastard’s life.” Lenny was silent for a long time.
"It took 86 years for our soul to reincarnate after that," Janny began again.
"We believe that because it was such a tragic death and caused by her own mate, Val's soul fragment took time to recover, so it delayed the next rebirth." Elora explained calmly. “In 1790, Janny was born. And she was really the one who spent the most time with our soul mate.”
“Audrey was her name. My magnificent and unique Audrey. We had lived together all our lives and I am proud to say that we died of old age!” The old woman said cheerfully. “We lived through a torrid and forbidden love affair, since she was the daughter of my father's enemy and a tragic end was to be expected. But my mother, very smart she was, negotiated a truce to unite our families, and in the end we had a lot of money. But little did my father know that it was because we were soulmates.” Janny laughed. “I've known Audrey my whole life, but we just noticed how much we actually loved each other when we were both 25, and we had 84 years together. Ah, the wonders of magic prolonging our time on earth, we lived to be 109 years old. And we passed the veil together, holding each other's hands.” Janny smiled contentedly. "Our life was good. And now, last among our line here, we have Victoria." All the women turned to look at the blonde. Victoria was royalty, she sat up straight with perfect posture, and Hermione smiled as the blonde woman with green eyes blushed slightly with the attention.
"Hi," She spoke sheepishly, and looked at the floor. “As you’ve already been told, I am Victoria. I was born in 1900 in France, just like our current, living soul mate.” Victoria smiled and closed her eyes briefly. “I am Veela, pure blood Veela, and she was a simple human without powers. But I did everything for her; I fought with the clan for her, and everything else you could imagine. But Charlie was promised to a man,” She snorted derisively. "Men, such ridiculous beings," she proclaimed, and the other women all smiled in amusement. “And that same ‘promised one ’ was the end of us. I met Charlotte in Paris. She had come from Belgium, and I was 28 years old while she was 23, and I fell in love the moment I saw her. But she took some time to accept the fact that she loved a woman, for internalized prejudice is the worst. And that's not even counting the ‘creature’ part. I was 30 when we finally...made it. We…” Victoria cleared her throat. "Uh,” she hesitated again for a brief moment.
"Fucked," Lenny announced, without looking up from the nails she was evaluating.
"Have a little more class, Leonor!" Victoria retorted with red cheeks. "But yes. We…consummated our love.” She said finally, looking at the floor and sighing, and blushing very deeply. It didn’t take long for her face to grow serious again. "I was 35 years old when it all ended on a bloody afternoon," Victoria sighed heavily as she continued her tale. “Charlie's younger brother was always deeply jealous. He was third in the family's line of succession, and he was furious because the man Charlie was promised to had just taken a large amount of money from their company. They were fighting over that money, and he was pushing for himself to command the family. Andres, Cahram and Gustav. Gustav, the younger brother, murdered his brothers in cold blood, pretending to be a robber, but when he spotted both myself and Charlie, we had seen him, identified him, and he couldn't leave witnesses. We died in front of Charlie's house, without her family ever knowing about our love or…” Vic cleared her throat again. "I was… I was pregnant, she died without know that" A poignant silence blanketed the women, while everyone felt the same pang Victoria was feeling.
“You need to understand, Hermione, that my soul has broken into several pieces. Only you and Fleur are true soulmates. We have had a…” Elora paused awkwardly. "Recurrence problem in the lives that came after mine. Since my death and Val was so violent and we were true soulmates, something got wrong with veela magic and shattered us.”
"One of the soul fragments has always become fucking envious!" Lenny growled in aggravation. “So, he or she is always reborn extremely destructive. It's a feature that grew into the warrior that killed Maska, what we find out only when we all meet. Galiliea, in my own life, a very envious Veela in Janny's life, and Gustav, Charlie's murdering brother. It is a recurrence of someone who has no happiness, joy, direction or purpose in life. An envious soul fragment.”
“The point is, that person will always appear in our lives, and eventually they will try to enact some harm against us. It becomes intuitive for that soul fragment, which is corrupted by the absence of their soul mate,” Maska revealed, cutting off the vampire's tirade.
"So the destruction of the clock?" Hermione? asked.
“My daughter created the clock in honor of my death, and to celebrate the victories of the clans in my homeland. And yes, the clock was damaged because for this jealous fragment it was extremely offensive. It is someone whose whole life has been firmly against you or Fleur, even if you just meet them recently somehow they are always present in your or Fleur’s life.” Maska said pointedly, and Hermione's eyes shone with recognition. "Do you know who it is?" Hermione opened her mouth to answer, when a new voice cut into the conversation.
"It's me." Hermione jumped to her feet as her past lives turned to look at the new arrival.
"Giselle." The Gryffindor said, looking extremely confused as the older woman approached in slow steps. She thought the woman indeed looked like her, like Giselle, though despite the passive-aggressive behavior she observed, Hermione was not quite sure that she really would be the current manifestation of the spiteful soul fragment. If Hermione was honest, she really thought it could be Ronald.
"You didn’t see what you did, did you, little girl?" Giselle sneered, and she sat down on one of the chairs the room had generated. Hermione looked at her warily, not knowing what the blonde was talking about. She wasn’t even aware of how she got to where she was, in this blank space speaking to her past lives. Part of her thought she had died.
“You sacrificed yourself for Fleur,” Giselle said, interrupting her thoughts. “Somehow your combined magic has countered my spell,” Giselle told her angrily. She was tense, and if the Gryffindor concentrated hard enough, she could almost discern a bird with ruffled feathers in place of the woman at same time Hermione saw pain, like if her soul was hurting.
"Did the spell come back for you?" Victoria asked. The full-blooded Veela was looking stern and her mouth was pressed in a tight line. Giselle nodded, confirming that the spell had been hit. "Well done." The cold tone made all women stay alert. "I'm already tired of you," Vic continued. "You are a vindictive and bitter piece of our soul that has never learned to move on." Giselle sighed. "You destroyed our lives more than once, and you refuse to realize that you will never get what you want. You perpetuate an endless cycle of blood. You should regret everything you’ve done, and more than anyone, you should know the cycle will never end until you decide to move on. I hate you so much ," Victoria proclaimed bitingly, her eyes glinting gold in restrained fury, like she was a storm ready to be unleashed. But Giselle's response startled the women out of their tense state of preparedness.
"I know." Suddenly, the other women’s expressions shifted from caution and disdain to shock, as everyone had expected Giselle to resist and defend her actions. They had anticipated a confrontation like had been the case for centuries, but none of them expected a concession. "I am so tired of trying to conquer my way into love," Giselle admitted slowly, her irritated demeanor dissolving, her shoulders hunching as she sighed. "Her sacrifice showed me that love is freely given and not won by force, and I don't want to fight anymore. I feel this tiredness in my bones, as if my soul screams for giving up the battles that I have done so much. I minimized Fleur's life as much as I could and for what? By power? For love? Whose love? I saw you being so happy with you and it broke my heart and I lost the desire to fight, but then the anger came and I just wanted to destroy everything... How much is it worth? I just want…. Peace.” She spoke with an uncharacteristic calm; her low tone as well as her body curled up in her chair, seeming to express mixed feelings of shame and pain caused the others to become more and more confused.
"You will never be able to move forward if you use force to push fate," Elora replied. "It is not how it works. Fate cannot be changed, we have our free will, but in this life or in any other, our choices can prolong the time in which our destiny is fulfilled. We cannot escape, nor can we force the hand of the universe. We are what we are." The fiery-haired woman said calmly. "Fighting and attempting to force the hands of destiny will never allow you to get what you want."
“I thought that if I removed the Delacours from power, if I just gained some power, I could finally feel complete. But now I think it would never happen, would it?” She asked Elora directly.
"The greatest goal of being alive is being happy, to seek happiness and to let love seep into every little part of yourself. Only love can change the pains we feel in our chest, only by freely loving in the way that love comes naturally, will you feel complete." The fiery-haired woman said authoritatively.
"We all have soulmates." Fleur's voice suddenly rang out. Except for Giselle, all the women let their eyes slip shut when they heard the voice of their soulmate fragment. Fleur began to appear slowly in the room. "You decided to destroy ours. Do you have any idea how scared I was with Hermione practically dead in my arms? TWICE? You are a small, angry person who decided that the happiness of others hurt yours. How the hell would us being dead fulfill you?" Fleur addressed Giselle so furiously that all the magical energy around her vibrated, fluttering her hair and making her blue eyes sparkle with fury. "How rewarding was it!?" She raged, and Giselle hesitated for only a moment.
"It was not." The pitiful answer unbalanced Fleur’s righteous wrath, and she frowned at Giselle in confusion. "I thought that if I eventually removed any and all obstacles from my path, I would be able to finally feel complete. ...Happy," The younger Veela's anger drained a little. She knew in part what Giselle felt, it was how she felt with Bill. Within a constant struggle for happiness, as if she was compelled to keep up, to fight and to swim against a current, and it was a disturbing, frightening feeling that consumed her soul for a long time. She knew how terrifying it was to feel incomplete.
"You must let your anger and envy go so you can find your happiness. A bitter soul will never be able to feel complete. Love does not grow amid hatred and pain," Fleur said soberly. Hermione, who was watching the exchange, stared at her with a tight feeling in her chest, the same ache that came out of her soul mate thrumming in her chest.
"I don't want to cause damage and destruction anymore, I'm so tired of fighting futile battles. How do I end up in this same cycle over and over again? Again and again?" Giselle lamented in anguish. After more than 500 years, reality seemed to have finally reached that soul fragment. "I think I just want to be reborn one last time to be able to live fully. Being able to really see what fate has in store for me. I think I got tired of being in a lonely place. She stood up and stepped away from the group. Suddenly, Giselle turned to Hermione. "I knew that I had recognized you in some way. I just didn't know that I was part of you and that we were an ‘us.’" She smiled strangely, and slowly her body became ethereal.
A black-skinned warrior appeared beside Giselle, then a woman with brown hair and yellow eyes, followed by an old lady, and lastly, a tall man with blonde hair and hazel eyes. They all smiled and in a blended voice, all said, "See you in the next life, I will do right for all of us. Next time, there will be peace." With a flash of white light they were gone, and Elora sighed deeply, placing her hand in the center of her chest. The women felt an echo of magical warmth, as if something that was previously broken was complete. Finally, the peace that Giselle was speaking of echoed through them, they were completely together again.
"She..." Elora hesitated. "They have become part of us again," She spoke with eyes full of tears. "They are a part of us, as they always should have been." They all sighed in relief. Fleur approached Hermione, and put her forehead against the brunette’s.
"Let's go home?" Hermione smiled as she felt Fleur's skin against hers. When she opened her eyes, she felt tears trail down her cheeks. Val had appeared behind Elora, hugging the red-haired woman around her shoulders, holding her tightly against the center of her chest, with her cheek nuzzling her soul mate’s red hair. Maska and Aziza were holding hands and smiling at each other. Cassandra was sitting on Lenny’s lap, kissing the vampire deeply. Audrey was embracing Janny, and lastly, Charlie had a hand on Vic's shoulder, running her other slowly along the woman's face. As a voice echoed in one, Hermione and all of her reincarnations spoke to her soul mate: "I love you."
Perhaps Hermione and her past lives expected a more dramatic ending, perhaps a battle, perhaps an spectacular death for some of the parties. And perhaps some of the past lives had hoped that they would have to live more lives to get to that point. Hermione understood, she nevertheless knew how tiring it was to be pushing the same button and expecting different results. Maybe time and death has matured Giselle, or maybe past lives were just tired of the boring struggle against fate. If Hermione looked critically she would see that Giselle was much more against Sybelle than Fleur, at least when she lived in the village, perhaps someone more attentive would have seen that even in her fury and anger the older veela was tired, her soul was tired. Tired of dying and reliving and then dying again. Even an unexpected end point as it occurred, Hermione thanked the small gifts, the gift of not having to fight for her life again, of not losing her soul mate, of having known her past lives and especially of Giselle having chosen to move on.
The Gryffindor blinked. When she opened her eyes, she found herself lying on the floor, Fleur holding her and gazing at her with affection. When their eyes met, the two came together in a slow kiss, a magical wave emanating from them, and all the veela felt an intense and loving heat expand in their chests.
"The year was 2012, that's when your mother finally proposed to me," Fleur said, amused. "She was a nervous wreck. It was so ridiculous, and yet so cute, and perfect because it was all her." She grinned at the thought, and laughed lightly, running a hand through her hair. “She took me to an old, magical tree that we visited once. The ground was covered with white petals, and then she got on one knee, and she proposed to me.” Fleur placed her hand gently on the girl's face in front of her. "A little while later, I was pregnant with you, my Françoise, and you were one of the best things that happened to us." The veela pulled her daughter into a hug, and the 11 year old girl rolled her eyes in a mixture of amusement and affection. "And now you're going to the middle of nowhere in Scotland!" Fleur declared, pulling the young girl closer against her. Françoise was tall and slim for her age, as was Fleur in her childhood, with long blond hair and large curls. Hermione always said that Françoise had gotten the hair she always wanted to have when she was young. Big curls, and the little one had dark blue eyes just like Apolline, and Hermione's gentle smile as well.
"Oh, maman please . It's not that far away," The young girl said logically, rolling her eyes again and returning her mother’s hug with a wide smile on her face. She loved Fluer so much (even though mum was still her favorite, as Hermione's constant calm always soothed the young girl). Fleur's chaotic energy always brought out the worst in Françoise's behavior, but she loved the stories and the sentimentality of the older Veela. "Pregnancy is making you exceptionally emotional," She pronounced with clinical calm, as if she had all the answers in the universe. Fleur snorted against her hair, and squeezed the young veela.
"Be nice to your maman," Hermione's voice called out in amusement. The architect knew how poor Françoise must have listened to her mother's stories and complaints at length, being terribly emotional and hormonal. Since Fleur had learned of her daughter's choice, the woman has been in an eternal cycle of emotional ups and downs. "I see you’ve been telling her the story leading up to our marriage. Did you get to the part where I created your engagement ring from scratch, and you made a Veela relic to be mine?" Hermione asked, her eyes fluttering with emotion. She loved how much Fleur was in love with that memory. Hermione knew that that was the memory, along with the birth of Françoise, and the news of the pregnancy itself, that Fleur used to conjure her Patronus.
"She was telling us about when you proposed, Aunt Mione." Lucia was sitting with a lollipop in her mouth. "You know what Aunt Fleur is like," She shrugged, and smiled widely. "I do enjoy the stories, though," She said decisively and chuckled, legs dangling over the wooden crate she had decided to perch on. "Pregnant women are weird." She announced with her nine-year-old maturity, and continued to suck on the lollipop.
Lucia was a little mental, often going back and forth, and very much like Luna, the young girl could never focus on a sentence or thought for a long time. Considering that she was Luna and Gabby's daughter, it was totally understandable that the little girl's mind made loops around herself. Even Hermione sometimes had difficulty keeping up with the young girl's quick thinking. Like her mothers, the young Lovegood-Delacour was blonde, but unlike both her mothers, the little one had bright oceanic green eyes.
"Sometimes you're right, little one." Hermione came over and pecked her wife's lips, and ran a hand through her daughter's silky hair. "Love, let our daughter breathe and go and play with her cousin," Hermione cajoled, pulling Françoise slowly from Fleur's arms. The veela released her daughter reluctantly and complained, "but she is leaving!" Fleur said mournfully, and Hermione held in her laugh.
“It's April, and she's going to Hogwarts in September, you can calm down," Hermione reassured her, rolling her eyes at her drama queen. “You know this is your fault, you told her to choose.” Françoise rolled her eyes much like Hermione had done just a few moments ago. “Go and play with your cousin,” she told her daughter. Without even stopping to think twice, the girl quickly left the room, followed by Lucia.
"This is your fault! You convinced me to let her choose."
"My love, what difference would it make for her if she went to France? She’ll still be going away to school," Hermione asked calmly, having already had this conversation with Fleur more than once.
"I would be closer!" The Veela protested again, as she had done many times before.
"We can apparate." Fleur only grunted a response. "We have the Floo." The blonde pouted. "She will always write, you made her promise." Fleur looked at her wife, still resolute. "You made Minerva promise that she would report anything via Patronus." Fleur's stubbornness slowly began to give way.
"Neville will look after her personally. You know she will choose Gryffindor. She was always a good girl, causing few problems and a bookworm just like the two of us. You trust your daughter, Fleur." The French woman gave in and she sighed with a nod.
"It is so painful to see her go. It seems like yesterday she was born, and only a little while later she was setting fire to the curtains in outbreaks of raw magic," Fleur said quietly. "Soon she will find a girlfriend, and I will have to see my daughter at her own home and with her own children!" Her tone quickly changed, and Hermione rolled her eyes yet again, pulling the woman into a deep kiss to distract her.
"If she is as slow as we were, at least another 18 years." Fleur maintained her sulky expression. "How are we with Dom over there?" Hermione asked playfully, lightly poking her wife's belly. She needed to make her veela change focus quickly, otherwise the blonde would descend into a bout of crying. Fleur was at 32 weeks, and she was as beautiful as ever, but the hormones of this pregnancy caused much more agitation than her previous one, which turned Fleur into an emotional roller coaster.
"She's just like you: a hurricane," Fleur finally replied under her breath, but a slow smile began to form on her lips when Hermione's hand was placed fully on her belly, and Dominique kicked hard. “And I am exceptionally emotional . As your daughter so astutely pointed out.”
"So she’s only my daughter now?"
"When she decides to be a smartass, she is." Hermione laughed out loud. Françoise was known to be too much like Hermione for her own good. The girl was probably truly a well-balanced mix of both mothers, but her tongue was definitely as sharp as Hermione's. Fleur's political mind on the other hand, made the girl as sharp as a knife and extremely well versed with words.
"Okay, I can live with this," She laughed, and grabbed one of Fleur's hands. “Come on, mummy. Your mothers have arrived and they are waiting downstairs for the barbecue. Let’s feed you and this little hurricane,” Hermione said, guiding Fleur. The blonde grumbled a little, but she let herself be led. Downstairs, they found Lira and Apolline cooing over and playing with the three children. There was Françoise, Lucia, and Luna and Gabby's youngest daughter, Sybelle. The youngest girl was very similar to her great-grandmother, and it was just a pity that Sybelle would never meet her or the other children, for the veil came for everyone. "Look who I managed to drag with me!" Hermione called in mischievously, and everyone laughed at Fleur's little pout.
"I love you," Hermione whispered to her wife, and pecked her extended lip.
"I love you too."
Hermione could never believe how fortunate her life was.