The Big Reveal
Chapter 5 - The Big Reveal
Harry took a seat next to Fleur on the bench outside Mr. Allan's office, listening absent-mindedly as the older man thanked them for their time before bustling off to speak to Mr. Crouch. As expected, Harry's memory had been the same as Fleur's. Mr. Allan had gotten some truly "topper" sketches, and asked them to wait outside his office for their guardians to pick them up. Harry thought about that.
Mr. Weasley, he guessed, was his unofficial guardian for now. The thought made him happy, and a little sad. Happy, because he was away from the Dursley's, and the Weasleys were really very kind to him. Sad, because he wished he were with Sirius. Harry quickly banished that thought. He certainly did not wish Sirius were here right now, he told himself sternly. He didn't want there to be any chance his godfather would go back to Azkaban prison. He wished he had never sent a letter to him about his scar.
Hermione and Ron had seemed to agree that it was the right thing to do, but Harry still worried about his godfather. His thoughts turned to the events at the Cup then—which he was sure Sirius had heard about by now—and to Fleur. He had gathered from her that she was part Veela but, even with her descriptions, he wasn't sure he really understood the significance of that.
Hermione had told him a little about Veela before the Quidditch match, since they were the Bulgarian mascot, but that had been decidedly little. Mostly that they weren't native to Britain, and were known for having a very intense effect on men in particular. He had experienced that first hand when the Veela had appeared on the field; they had been women so ethereally beautiful and so alluring that Harry had found himself wanting to do something spectacular just to gain their attention. It was a good thing his own attention had been diverted, or else he might have jumped right out of the top box. Fleur didn't have that effect on him though, beautiful as she was. At least, she hadn't yet.
Harry was so lost in thought, he nearly jumped a foot when Fleur touched his arm.
Fleur jerked her arm back as if scalded, cheeks flushing uncomfortably. "Oh, I am sorry 'arry, I did not mean to startle you." Her voice was quiet, and tense, her blue eyes glancing around to make sure they were unheard. Harry kicked himself for reacting like he had. He waited until she looked at him again.
"No Fleur, I overreacted. Too lost in my own thoughts." He laughed half-heartedly. His thoughts drifted back to the conversation they had been having before Mr. Allan had interrupted them. She had been telling him about Veela.
"Fleur," his voice was hesitant, his green eyes looking at her intently. "What were you going to say, before Allan came back? What is the one trait that all Veela share?" Fleur wouldn't meet his eyes for a minute. This must be really hard for her, Harry thought. She seemed almost afraid to tell him…but how could someone this beautiful, and powerful, be even a little afraid of a scrawny runt like him?
"Fleur," he said again, "Whatever it is, I mean, you barely know me. You don't have to tell me anything." He shrugged self-consciously. "I'm kind of surprised you're talking to me at all." That seemed to snap Fleur out of it. She whipped her head around to glare at him, blue eyes fierce.
"Now don't you start!" Her voice cracked a little. She was angry. "What I look like 'as nothing to do with zis!" Her eyes narrowed to slits and she spoke heatedly to Harry, "My entire life 'as been like a show. The descendants of Veela are, without exception, "beautiful"." Fleur sneered the last word, using air quotes to further show her disdain.
"This "beauty"," she maintained, "iz a curse more often than not, acting as an Allure that we sometimes cannot control. It iz hard to find true friends when all that men, or women, care about iz my face." Fleur stared Harry down, and Harry had the decency to look sheepish. Her chest heaved with ire, and Harry knew he had really done it this time.
He decided to speak. "I'm sorry Fleur. I didn't mean to make you upset. I know better than most what unwanted attention is like." Harry grinned ruefully, and pulled back the bangs of his black hair to reveal the well-known lightning bolt scar. He continued, "I guess I was just surprised you wanted anything more to do with me." Fleur opened her mouth to speak, but Harry raised a hand, urging her to let him finish.
"Not because you're part Veela, or anything like that," Harry assured her, "just because you are the most amazing girl who has ever paid any attention to me whatsoever. I don't mean that in any way other than what it is. I mean, I am only 14, and pretty scrawny to boot." Harry tilted his head and smiled, his eyes clear of any kind of self-pity. He was just stating fact. Fleur found herself blushing faintly, and turned away before he could see. Harry watched her take a breath, before turning back around to face him.
"Very well." she said, accepting his statement. Perhaps Harry Potter understood a little something about superficial attention after all. Being the Boy-Who-Lived would definitely come with a lot of attention—not all of it well-intentioned. "I am sorry I snapped at you. Now I will tell you what you need to know." she broke off, closing her eyes. Harry could see she was mentally preparing herself, but for what he couldn't say.
He waited patiently for her to speak, and was at last rewarded. Fleur's eyes slid open, and she spoke carefully, "'arry, what I 'ave been trying to tell you iz that all Veela have an "ability", for lack of a better word, called the "Bond"." Fleur stopped, taking another breath, unable to meet his eyes.
She continued, "When a Veela's blood is mixed with the blood of another, and great feelings are involved, those two individuals become "Bound"." She risked a glance at Harry, and he smiled encouragingly, still totally lost. Fleur plunged on. "Those two people are then bound, forever. Certain new abilities begin to appear in each person, reflecting some of their partner's abilities and strengths. Overtime, other things can develop. An empathy link, for some, for example. My parents have a link like that… More rarely, some couples can eventually communicate nonverbally. That iz usually something that develops in partners with more Veela blood…" She was rambling now. Fleur put her head in her hands, unable to continue.
Harry was confused as to why Fleur was telling him all of this about Veela. Not that it wasn't fascinating, but he was not sure where she was going with all of this. Still, he could tell she was upset. It was not in Harry's nature to leave someone upset, not like this, and not after they had gone through something terrifying together only the night before.
Hesitantly, Harry slid himself across the bench until he was very close to Fleur. He rested a light hand on her arm, half expecting her to swat it away. "Fleur, you are going to have to tell me more because I don't understand." he kept his voice quiet, not wanting to draw undue attention. His eyes glanced up and down the corridor, wondering what was keeping Mr. Weasley and Fleur's father. He was glad he had this chance to talk to Fleur, but thought it strange they were left alone for so long. Fleur sat up again, and Harry forgot all about Mr. Weasley.
Her voice was so quiet Harry could barely hear her; he had to lean in very close. " 'arry, I am so sorry…but we are Bound…" her voice trailed off, and Harry froze. His dark brows drew down, and he leaned back in the bench, away from Fleur. What? No, he couldn't have heard that right. Bound? With Fleur? But that…that wasn't possible…
Harry ran a hand back through his thick black hair, pulling hard at the roots as his mind raced. He remembered last night as clearly as if someone had stamped the memory into his head. Fleur holding so tight to his arm…him asking her to stop…the strange look on her face and her even stranger apology, even as he noted the cut on her wrist…the pounding fear that had accompanied their frenzied flight… Harry swallowed hard, and reached over blindly for Fleur's right hand, the one that had been holding his injured left arm so tightly. He gazed at the slim silver scar on her wrist, and blinked. Dimly, he heard her speaking.
"E-even w-with magical healing, there w-will always be a scar. For both of us." her voice was choked with tears. Bound forever. Harry's mind raced, thinking back over everything Fleur had just explained to him. An empathy bond? New abilities? His eyes widened. That was what she had meant when she said to contact her if he experienced any changes.
But bound? To a girl like Fleur? What would it mean? Did it mean that they…that they were…together? As in, boy and girl? Harry couldn't even bring himself to finish the thought. While he had allowed himself to imagine what it might be like with Fleur briefly after the cup, this was a thing for his wildest dreams—not something that could happen in reality.
With a start, Harry realized that the sound of her crying had changed—she was in pain. He immediately snapped back to the present and looked down. He had her wrist in a vice-grip. Harry released her quickly.
"I'm so sorry." Harry stared at his hand like it was not his own. Fleur was shaking her head.
"N-no, it iz the least I deserve." She was still crying, watching the faint bruise forming on her porcelain skin. It was then Harry realized that this must be awful for Fleur too. Here she was, stuck with him. Forever. Harry was freaking out, and he didn't even fully understand what this "Bond" entailed. He turned to face her, taking her wrist gently in one hand. He was glad to have something else to divert his attention to.
Harry pulled his wand from his pocket, and lightly laid the tip upon her bruising skin. He spoke quietly, fixing the bruise on her skin firmly in mind, "Sano." Fleur watched in surprise as the bruise slowly receded, as if sucking itself up into Harry's wand. "My friend Hermione taught me that," he murmured as he finished up, letting go of her wrist, "I can only do bruises and small cuts with it, but she could probably use it to fix broken bones." He laughed slightly, thinking of his brainy friend. He was relieved to talk about something else, for even a few seconds, but that was over now. Harry closed his eyes and bowed his head. "Fleur, did you Bind us on purpose?" He spoke quietly, waiting for her response.
It was instantaneous.
Fleur sat up ramrod straight, blue eyes flashing again. "Of course not! I would never do such a thing!" her voice was angry. Harry was relieved she had stopped crying, and a tiny smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Fleur's voice faltered. "W-why are you smiling?" Harry's head came up, emerald eyes alight.
"You didn't do this on purpose." Harry said, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Seeing her confused look, he tried to rephrase the thoughts in his mind, "This is not something either of us planned, so there is no blame in it." Harry rubbed a frustrated hand through his hair, "I can't blame you for something that wasn't your fault. We'll just have to figure this out…together." He raised his eyebrows at her, hoping for a response. Fleur stared at him in bewilderment. Harry waited for a response…and waited.
Fleur stared at Harry. She could not believe this boy. She had just poured out this dark secret, this terrible thing that had happened to him… He had bruised her arm in what she had thought was his very justified anger, and then apologized and fixed it with a spell she knew most 14-year-olds couldn't use.
Now he was staring at her with those fathomless emerald eyes that looked so much older than 14, and was telling her that he didn't blame her for what had happened. He was reassuring her, when it was his life that had just been thrown out the window. It took her a few minutes to collect herself. Finally, she spoke.
Fleur spoke quietly, but intently, "I do not think you understand the situation. 'arry, we are bonded for life. There iz no way to break zis bond." He needed to understand. Fleur continued, "Our bond was created from fear, not love, but that does not matter. It will be hard now, so hard, for you to be with anyone…" Her voice faltered and she looked away, anguished.
Fleur was not in love with Harry at this point, and while he was certainly attracted to her, that was not love either. Fleur knew she could never be with anyone else, as long as she lived. The bond for her was too strong. She was too much a Veela to be able to ignore the bond. But Harry…he might be able to push it aside. She did not know. If he did, and did find someone else…she shuddered to think what that would feel like through the bond.
An insistent hand on her arm urged her to turn around again, and she met those green eyes that were undeniably striking. Harry was smiling faintly again, though she couldn't tell why. His voice was so steady, so sure, as he said, "I get it Fleur. We'll work it out. I know we will." His scrawny shoulders rose in a shrug that Fleur suddenly found endearing.
"Besides," he said, "it's not as if either of us have a girlfriend or boyfriend to worry about." His eyes snapped up to Fleur's then, worried. "Wait…do you have a boyfriend?" his voice squeaked a bit at the end, but it was the look in his eyes that did it for Fleur. She threw her silvery head back and laughed. After everything she had told him, that was what he was worried about? Fleur was still laughing when her father and Mr. Weasley showed up to get them.
"No," she said for his ears alone, her sapphire eyes sparkling, "I do not 'ave a boyfriend, 'arry Potter." She laughed again and got to her feet, ready to meet her father. "I will see you again soon, 'arry. Send an owl if you 'ave need of me before then." She winked at him, amused by his dazed expression, and left with her father.
Jefferoi smiled at her as they walked away, glad to see her burden had lessened. Perhaps the Potter boy wouldn't be so bad. "How did he take it?" he asked curiously. Fleur glanced up at him, and then looked ahead.
Her voice came eventually, "He took it…rather well. I don't think he really…understands. Papa…I am afraid." She leaned into her father a little bit, eyes still firmly fixed ahead. "He said we would face this together…but when he realizes what this is, I think he will run far away."
Fleur heaved a great sigh, and Jefferoi felt his heart pain him. He wished there were a way to help his daughter. His eyes narrowed thoughtfully. The only way to break this bond…would be to kill either Fleur or Harry. Well, Jefferoi decided, if this Harry didn't get his head on straight…Jefferoi would be paying him a little visit.
Harry stared after Fleur, dazed, bewildered, and oddly happy. Her eyes, he thought. They were so beautiful…seeing them sparkling like that…his heartbeat quickened. What had she meant, that she would "see him soon"? A throat clearing startled him, and Harry glanced up to see Mr. Weasley looking at him with an amused expression.
"Alright there, Harry?" He asked. Harry blinked, his eyes coming back into focus. His face flushed a deep red as he got up from the bench.
"Erm, yeah." He sheepishly rubbed the back of his head, embarrassed. Mr. Weasley just smiled at him, and offered one slow, conspiratorial wink.
"I'll not tell the misses when we get back, eh?" Mr. Weasley chuckled, and turned to head back toward the elevator. "Ah, young love! I remember it well…" his voice continued on into some story about some girl or other, but Harry wasn't listening. He was thinking about a girl with silvery hair, and sapphire eyes.