It neared late afternoon one Friday in the Charms corridor, many of the magical castle’s denizens had just exited their last class of the day when the tell-tale sound of heels furiously cut through the din of chatter within the hall. Almost as one, the crowd parted and instinctively allowed the perpetrator of the fierce staccato to travel unhindered, her ethereal blonde hair perfectly coiffed and the signature powder blue of Beauxbatons’ silk uniform free of any form of disarray. Under normal circumstances many of the black robed students of Hogwarts, which likely consisted of the male half of their population alongside a smattering of those with more sapphic preferences, would have found themselves tripped up in a foolish attempt to secure the blonde’s attention. In fact, the entirety of their first week there consisted of exactly that idiotic behaviour any time the aforementioned French student so much as walked on by.
Instead, the entirety of the corridor pressed hard against the castle walls in an attempt to give the blonde as much room as possible to get through, more than one pair of eyes wide with the fear that they may be the one to invoke that young woman’s wrath.
It probably didn’t help that Fleur Delacour had her wand out in front of her as she flicked it back and forth in an aggressive manner nearly in time with the ferocity of her strut, her face set in a deep scowl as she simultaneously muttered in french. Few in the hall could clearly hear her, much less understand her, but there was no doubt by any who bore witness to the sight of the Beauxbatons’ Triwizard Champion that she was pissed.
Which wasn’t too far off the mark. Fleur wasn’t pissed, per se, so much as she was annoyed, unsettlingly embarrassed , and upsettingly cranky of all things. And it all boiled down to one fundamental factor that was the cause of her current lack of grace and the rest of the student population’s sudden practice of Slytherin self-preservation.
Fleur Delacour was cold.
It was such a simple and petty reason when pointed out as such that it served to make the blonde even more furious on top of everything else.
It all began with a single student’s displeasure at not being chosen to join the contingent of Beauxbatons’ finest for their year long trip to the UK in order to participate in the newly revived tournament. Which then led to an elaborate prank by said aforementioned student that systematically transfigured all of the tasteful, heavy woolen robes that the group brought with them into garish orange monstrosities that deserved nothing less than an emergency treatment of fiendfyre upon immediate discovery. Thankfully, Madame Maxime was quick to extinguish the one student’s over the top reaction before it quickly engulfed their transport while midair. Unfortunately, their discovery of the prank was while they were near visual distance of the majestic castle and none aboard the carriage, even the Headmistress herself, could transfigure the charred remains of all of their outer robes into something respectable in time for their landing.
So the contingent from Beauxbatons exited their carriage as a collective shivering mess in their silk uniforms, muttered warming charms, and whatever hats and scarves survived their one classmate’s accidental foray into pyromania. Fleur was neither blind, nor dumb, and over the past week that they’ve been in this castle she has heard many of the resident Hogwarts students snidely question why the powder blue robed students thought silk of all things was appropriate for winter in the Scottish highlands. The blonde wanted to take one of the fools who didn’t even know how to properly whisper to each other; shake them furiously; and remind them that silk was fine so long as it was paired with a heavily enchanted woolen cloak that could easily keep one warm in the face of a sub-arctic blizzard.
Beauxbatons’ was located in the circe forsaken Pyrenees Mountains , for crying out loud! They knew how to dress for the weather. Alas, first impressions are everything, and the other two schools’ first impression of them was that they were idiots more concerned with looking fashionable than actually being warm. It didn’t help that their promised replacement cloaks were delayed for the following week.
Hence the frantic and repeated warming charms that Fleur was in the midst of casting and recasting as she traveled through the ice box that the black robed denizens of the castle deigned to call ‘home.’ Even when thrown out at extra strength, the charms were far from permanent and would eventually dissipate in the face of the surrounding below freezing temperatures. The blonde’s warming charms averaged five minutes and thirty-two seconds when cast at full strength.
One full week of this so far and it was no wonder that propriety went out the window after the hundredth cast of a spell she had become begrudgingly very adept at.
This was on top of the fact that Fleur’s Veela heritage, diluted as it was, made it so that the cold affected her twice as much as her fellow powder blue clad classmates. The ancestral cousins to the sirens were as beautiful as they were dangerous, but they absolutely loathed the cold to the point where resentment for winter was a genetic disposition. Full blooded Veela could at least counteract this by their ability to produce magical balls of flame from their palms.
Quarter-Veelas stuck in a castle with a bunch of gawking pre-pubescents on the other hand were stuck with an ineffectual charm and the realization that they had one whole school year of this nightmare. Thankfully for all those involved, her thrall could act as a fabulous crowd clearer when she was desperate enough. And right now Fleur desperately wanted to get to the library, finish her essay for Professor McGonnagal, and then get back to the sweltering confines of the Beauxbatons Carriage before the crowds decided her prickly disposition was not enough of a deterrent for their misplaced adulation.
Before long the blonde found herself in the one place where her exhausted and cranky self temporarily took a step back and the part of her that thoroughly enjoyed being a bookworm could really appreciate the sheer majesty of one of Europe’s greatest public magical archives.
A draft that soon followed her entrance was enough to remind her that even this majestic space was not above being fucking freezing . Fleur was quick to enter the aisle on her right, her previous exploration of the space allowed her to remember that the books she would most likely need were to be found near the back. It was on her way to her intended section that the blonde felt the oddest sensation prickle up her spine. The Triwizard champion slowed her gait to an eventual stop, her brow furrowed in thought as she attempted to make sense of the excited churn in her gut.
While three quarters of her blood was undoubtedly human, there was no denying that her creature blood still sang in her veins. And though part-Veela could not incinerate their enemies or their discomfort with convenient balls of fire, they could still sense the next best thing.
Without thinking, Fleur made a sharp right into the labyrinth that housed the ancient castle’s collection of books. Left. Right. Right again. And then several more turns that effectively ensured that the blonde had effectively lost track of where she was but that was the least of the young woman’s concerns. Even her wand arm had ceased its habitual, tired motions in favor of this nearly singular focus to discover the very thing that made her creature blood yell out with urgency.
Her ears began to pound, the normally even staccato of her kitten heels eventually transformed into a desperate sprint, and instinct was most definitely the primary driving force that decided her next series of actions.
Or so Fleur later claimed.
Hermione on the other hand, can only be (later) thankful that she was too shocked to find herself with some foreign blonde’s arms tight around her hips and the accompanying stranger’s face pressed firmly to her chest to yell out in alarm. The brunette had been in the midst of writing her potions essay when the muffled sound of desperate steps against the carpeted floor made her turn and get up in annoyance towards the noise, only to catch a flash of ethereal blonde and a powder blue uniform mere seconds before being summarily tackled back into her seat.
Due to the discrete placement of her favored study carrel no one else bore witness to the odd scene in the far back reaches of the Hogwarts library. So only silence accompanied the fourth year’s thoughts as she tried desperately to restart her frazzled mind, though it was only a few moments before shock turned into indignation. How dare this… this stranger so rudely accost her person! The Gryffindor opened her mouth, absolutely set on ripping the blonde a new one and a demand to remove herself from the brunette on the tip of her tongue, when she noticed the near violent shiver that continuously wracked through the other student. Their close contact allowed for Hermione to truly feel the full bodied shake that coursed its way through the powder-blue clad body.
Soon the brunette’s eyes were wide with concern as she tentatively patted the back of the other woman, and by the noticeable feel of the blonde’s bosom against her stomach she certainly was indeed a ‘woman,’ and gently whispered -
“Hello- ah, are... Are you alright?”
By this point, Fleur had realized three things.
First, her miraculous discovery of warmth and safety from the fuck off cold was in fact another student. Second, her face was firmly entrenched in the chest of said aforementioned student. And third, the rest of the school already thought them useless shivering idiots so she might as well throw the rest of her dignity in the fire alongside the hideous orange remains of the Beauxbatons contingent’s cloaks.
“Non.” Hermione blinked at the muffled response, her face certainly flushed from either bafflement or embarrassment at the fact that the strange blonde apparently insisted on talking into her chest. When no other response was forthcoming, the Gryffindor sighed as she realized that she’d likely need to pry some sort of answer out of her odd captor in the same way that she would likely need to pry the other woman’s arms and face from her person in the near future - with a muggle crowbar if needed.
“No? Well, can you tell me what’s wrong?” Other than the violent shivers, she could find no readily apparent signs of distress. Then again, Hermione was only capable of seeing the back of the blonde’s head and the upper part of her torso. Their odd positions did not lend well to further inspection and if the tightening of the other person’s arms were any indication, it was unlikely to change anytime soon.
“Il fait trop froid ici.” Sometime during the french champion’s fall from grace, she had decided that english was not an option. If she feigned ignorance via foreign tongue, maybe the deliciously warm furnace of an individual would allow her to remain where she was for the rest of eternity. ‘I am perfectly okay with dying where I am. Fuck the tournament!’
“Oh are you bloody - Of course it’s too cold! It’s November and you’ve literally only have a silk uniform and no cloak in the Highlands!”
And of course she had buried her face in the tits of the one person who happened to also speak french. Fantastic. It also did not help that the other student’s voice began to steadily climb in volume and octave with every word. Not that Fleur could blame the poor girl, the blonde hadn’t moved an iota since her initial desperate sprint for insanity. ‘Ah, but the english accent on this one is so adorable when she’s angry.’
Before the brunette could continue her rant and possibly have them discovered in such a compromising position, the normally proud part-Veela slowly separated herself from the Gryffindor, swallowed her discomfort, and unleashed the one tool in her arsenal so potent that it made her thrall seem tame in comparison.
Fleur Delacour, top of her class in Beauxbatons, chosen by the Goblet of Fire to be one of the three Triwizard Champions, and a proud member of one of the most noble clans of Veela in western Europe, did her best rendition of puppy dog eyes.
For the second time in so many minutes, Hermione Granger’s very notable brain stuttered to a stop and queued itself to be rebooted at one’s earliest convenience.
“Please, s’il vous plait, let me explain?”
“Wait, you’re… you’re Fleur Delacour! What- why-?” The blonde’s eyes shimmered in a way that should have been illegal for anyone over the age of five to use. Regardless, Hermione’s mouth clicked shut and she nodded for the other woman to go on with her explanation.
And explain she did. Mere moments after introductions were made, the rant that had bubbled within the part-Veela for the better part of the last week spilled out to the brunette. Her frustrations at the situation, their failure to secure a proper first impression upon their arrival, and her insecurities about her ability to handle this tournament if she couldn’t even deal with her discomfort with the cold of all things! Everything came out and not once did she move farther than a few inches away from her original position at the base of the other girl’s feet.
“Well, I can certainly sympathise with the feeling of being overwhelmed by so many things out of your control.” Hermione winced when she thought back to the nearly disastrous previous year, her common sense temporarily waylaid by her pursuit of academic perfection. ‘Thank goodness for Professor McGonagall. Who knew you could have detentions that only consisted of sleeping?’ Still though, there was one thing that was bothering her… “While I can understand that, I still can't quite figure out why you had to pin yourself to me ?”
Apparently a lack of dignity did not mean that Fleur was immune to blushing.
“Ah, well. You see…” The seventeen year old blushed harder and found herself incapable of coming up with a less pathetic excuse. So she sighed and thought to herself, ‘What was one more undignified truth?’
“Well, you remember how I told you that Veela are terribly uncomfortable with the cold?” At the brunette’s affirmative nod, Fleur continued. “While those with more… diluted heritage cannot spawn fire from our fingertips, our instincts can still ring true.”
“And that means…?”
“You, ma petite feu, are deliciously warm.” At this, it was Hermione’s turn to blush. Fleur barely managed to stop herself as her arms itched to yet again throw themselves around the younger witch and coo in delight. ‘Elle était très mignonne!’
“Oh.” For as long as the muggleborn witch could remember, her overall body temperature had always run a bit warmer than most. It certainly worried her parents quite a bit during her childhood, but other than the unusual base temperature she seemed to be in fine health according to the doctors. They later learned that it was actually her innate magic that resulted in such an odd physical manifestation of her abilities. It was certainly more passive and less terrifying than the sparks that traveled through her curly locks when she was spitting mad.
“‘Oh’ she says! You are not the least bit surprised?”
Hermione surmised that if what Fleur said was true about Veela, and especially part-Veela like Fleur, she could hardly blame the woman for her instincts and magic seeking out the nearest most viable pillar of warmth; especially after such a stressful week. She shook her head and smiled placatingly at the blonde.
“Well, I’ve always run a bit hot due to my magic. It would be terribly rude of me to blame you for something you can’t quite control.”
“Wait, always? ”
“‘Always,’ what?” Hermione briefly scrunched her face in confusion, another look that Fleur decided was quite adorable on the younger girl. If the French witch wasn’t careful, she would end up attached before she knew what was happening. ‘Not that that would be a terrible thing, not at all… .’
“You are always this warm? You do not even have your outer robe on!” The blonde exclaimed in amazement. Her eyes rested upon the red and gold lined black robe that marked the girl as one of the “lions” within the school. Even the thick jumper that normally layered on top of the standard white blouse had been discarded and could be found neatly folded on top of the curly haired witch’s bag.
“Like I mentioned prior, I always run a tad hot. It’s my magic, you see… .” Hermione’s voice tapered off, a little unsure of herself under the sudden silence as Fleur stared intently on the younger witch. “Um, Fleur? Is everything alright?”
It was at this point that the blonde part-Veela realized three more fundamental truths as she stared at the English witch before her.
To begin with, for the first time since they arrived at Hogwarts, Fleur felt at ease and less like she was about to lose her mind. Second, the prevalent chill that had decided to haunt her throughout the castle was pointedly missing and she certainly didn’t miss it. And finally, the longer she talked with this brunette witch, the more Fleur was sure that she did not enjoy the idea of another person cuddled up with this brilliant Gryffindor.
Hermione could only watch as the French witch promptly smiled at her, and the brunette was suddenly reminded that this incredibly attractive blonde had spent at least ten minutes with her face practically glued to the curly haired witch’s chest. And in fact, was still only a few inches away from that previous position.
Hermione gulped. Fleur’s smile grew.
Due to the varied nature of many a person’s sleep schedule on the weekend, Saturday mornings in the Great Hall were treated more like a brunch like gathering than the normal quick breakfast before classes. Few got up early, but many often hung out throughout the pre-noon hours and sometimes all the way to two in the afternoon if it wasn’t a designated Hogsmeade weekend. So to find the hall filled with bodies in the late morning was not so surprising. What was surprising were the gawking looks and the frantic mutterings and whispers that spread throughout the population, all aimed at the Gryffindor table.
Though those from within the House of the Brave were not above doing some gawking of their own.
“So Hermione, that’s a…” Ginny Weasley stifled the laugh that threatened to escape her lips. Unlike her brother, she would at least try not to irritate the curly haired witch, no matter how ridiculous the brunette looked right then. “That’s quite the scarf you’ve got there.”
The redhead immediately followed up her statement with a pointed sip of her tea, possibly in an attempt to mask the amusement that clearly laced her voice. The aforementioned brunette narrowed her eyes at the younger girl, a growl of irritation low in her throat.
An image that normally would have intimidated, was entirely ruined by the Beauxbatons’ champion and her apparent need to be as close as possible to the resident Gryffindor genius’ side. Fleur paid no heed to the hundreds of eyes that were glued to the odd spectacle she had created, and instead continued nuzzle the side of the brunette’s neck without a care in the world. A murmured ‘you’re so cute when you’re angry, ma petite feu’ was whispered directly into the brunette’s olive skin.
Hermione could only sigh as she pointedly ignored the ridiculous blonde’s words and looked directly at the teasing redhead, her face completely deadpan in spite of the fierce blush on her face.
“Thanks, she’s French.”