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Hermione flitted around the cottage nervously.

Fleur had showered and gone to nap in her room. She hadn't said anything more about what had happened with Pansy. But Hermione was unbearably curious. She wondered if they had broken up because of how Pansy had behaved at Neville's party... or because of the kiss between Fleur and Hermione.

Regardless, what Hermione was most curious about was whether this meant that Fleur was now ready to take a chance on her.

As Hermione's hangover ebbed, she cleaned the cottage. She cleared away her messy paperwork, stacked her books, swept the floors. She prepared lunch for two, but Fleur did not emerge from her room.

However, Hermione was nothing but patient. As the day stretched on, Hermione moved her focus to making a delicious dinner. This time, as she set the plates on the table, Fleur finally padded out to join her.

Fleur had completely regained her composure since Hermione had last seen her. She had showered and changed into comfortable clothes. She had brushed her long mane of platinum blonde hair to perfection. She had cleaned her face of every scrap of smeared makeup. She was looking carefully preened and impeccable, albeit still a little tired.

"Thanks for dinner, it smells amazing," Fleur said with a small smile, picking up her fork.

"No problem," Hermione replied, biting her lip, "So… How are you?"

"Better," Fleur said with the same small smile.

Hermione fidgeted between taking a bite and pushing the issue. She knew she should tread carefully, but she wanted to know. If nothing else, as confirmation that Fleur really was okay- the blonde had been in quite a state when she had arrived home.

"Erm… Do you want to talk about what happened with Pansy?" Hermione asked tentatively. Fleur sighed, pushing around the food on her plate.

"We had an argument," Fleur said finally, "I was really upset about how she had been behaving during the drinking games. She said that she wanted people to know that I was hers and… I just, I just thought that I was safe with her. But she put her own need to flaunt me in front of my needs."

"That's entirely understandable," Hermione nodded.

There was a long pause and they both ate their dinners in silence. Hermione looked up at Fleur again.

"You know, you've really been opening up lately… I think that has to be like the second or third time you have actually talked about feeling something," Hermione said with a lop sided smile. Fleur looked surprised for a moment before snorting.

"Shut up," Fleur laughed lightly.

"Don't worry, I won't tell anyone… Wouldn't want to ruin your Ice Queen reputation," Hermione continued in a lighthearted manner, before being swatted by Fleur.

"Anyway…" Fleur said, growing serious again, "I was thinking of returning to France. I feel like my head has been a mess lately and it would be good to see my family and spend some time with my sister."

"Oh… For how long?" was all Hermione could say. She fiddled with her cutlery. She was torn… She wanted the best for Fleur and wanted her to do whatever would make her the happiest and healthiest. But on the other hand, she couldn't bear the thought of the blonde slipping out of her life just as suddenly as she had slipped into it.

"I'm not sure," Fleur admitted, not looking up from her food.


Ginny was lying comfortably on the couch in her flat, balancing her wand on her nose aimlessly, when Hermione apparated in with a crack.

"Jesus, 'Mione!" Ginny yelped, jolting up so suddenly in her seat that her wand was flung to the floor.

"Sorry," Hermione said, flopping down onto the couch beside Ginny.

"You really need to start owling in advance… I could have been in the middle of something," Ginny moaned, retrieving her wand.

"Yeah, you sure looked busy," Hermione scoffed, running a hand distractedly through her curls.

"Okay, so I know why you're here," Ginny said, sitting up straighter in her seat, "Look, I'm sorry about snogging you at Neville's party. But come on… Something happened with Fleur, right? You were so funny after you came back from chasing her. Admit it, my plan to make her jealous worked!"

"Yes and no," Hermione sighed, "And I still haven't entirely forgiven you for springing that on me… But anyway, Fleur's decided she's going back to France."

"Permanently?!" Ginny gawked.

"She's not sure," Hermione said miserably, "She's on her way to the train station now. I honestly couldn't handle watching her pack up and leave."

"Ohh… 'Mione…" Ginny cocked her head to one side sympathetically, "You have it bad."

"I do," Hermione admitted, throwing her hands up in exasperation, "But what do I do? I've missed my chance for real now!"

"Hermione…" Ginny said, rubbing her temples, "I know you don't want to hear this… But maybe it's time for a grand gesture."

"I have made a grand gesture!" Hermione said defensively, "I've been cleaning the cottage and making her meals! I picked her flowers and put them in a vase!"

"Oh my God, you really are just like Harry and Ron…" Ginny groaned, rolling her eyes, "Those are nice gestures, sure. But it's not a sweep a lady off her feet gesture. That isn't coming out and saying exactly what you feel, throwing the ball in her court."

"Okay, fine," Hermione grumbled, crossing her arms, "Since you're the expert and you have all the schemes, what counts as a grand gesture?"

Ginny sighed, shaking her head.

"Listen up, Hermione," Ginny said with a grin, "It's not too late."


Fleur rubbed at her forehead before drawing her cloak closer around her. She was standing at the train station waiting for the train to arrive. She felt like she had been suffering from a permanent headache since the events of Neville's party. She couldn't believe things had got so out of hand.

A train hissed as it eased out of the station and began its journey, drawing Fleur's attention.

She had always loved the train back to France. It would travel on the ground for a portion of the trip before fantastically launching into the sky for the remainder of the journey.

Fleur readjusted her bag. It was magically expanded so she had been able to fit most of her belongings in it. She bit her lip, feeling conflicted about going home with no return date in mind.

But then her mind turned to her parents, Gabrielle, and the little schnauzer dogs at her parents' house. Her mood brightened and a small smile played at her lips. It would be comforting to be around her family again.

A whistle blew and the bright green train that Fleur was to take rolled into the station.

Fleur sighed, beginning to move through the jostling crowd, trying to ignore the ogling of some of the men around her.

"Fleur!" a voice rang out throughout the station and Fleur froze in her tracks. She recognised that authoritative voice anywhere.

The crowd parted with mutterings as Hermione Granger of the Golden Trio herself appeared. The crowd watched with building interest as the ordinarily reclusive celebrity approached the blonde part-Veela on the platform.

"Hermione?" Fleur was puzzled. Hermione had given her a wide berth while she had been preparing for her trip. She had assumed that she was upset at her for leaving and didn't want to see her.

"Fleur… Well, this is a little mortifying, but, I have to say something before you go," Hermione said breathlessly, her chocolate eyes focussing on Fleur like she was the only one in the world.

"Erm… Okay…" Fleur said cautiously, unsure if Hermione was about to vent her displeasure at her leaving.

"Fleur…" Hermione looked at the crowd self consciously before swallowing heavily and returning her focus to Fleur, "When I first moved to the seaside, it was to get away from all the fame and drama in my life. But the reason I stayed there… The real reason I stayed there, was so much more. You've become a huge fixture in my day-to-day. If you leave, there's going to be a giant void in my life and I honestly don't know what I'm going to do… I guess…. I guess what I'm saying is…" Hermione bit her lip awkwardly, "I respect that you're not ready to date. But even if we are only ever going to be just friends… I really need you in my life."

"Hermione…" Fleur said slowly, floored. Hermione had spoken at great length, on many occasions, about how much she loathed going near crowds since the war. Not just that, but loathed the public discovering anything remotely personal about her. But here she was, crowd be damned, insisting on telling Fleur her full feelings before she could get on the train. 

"Fleur," Hermione interrupted, "Go to France, see your family, clear your head… But please. Please come back. Promise me that you will come back to me."

Hermione exhaled heavily. She had finally bared everything in front of Fleur. Her palms were drenched in sweat and her heart was thumping heavily in her chest. She watched Fleur nervously, waiting for a response.

Fleur finally, after what felt like an age, nodded slowly.

"I will come back."

Hermione closed the gap, throwing her arms around Fleur's waist and pulling her into a tight hug.

"I'll miss you, Fleur," Hermione whispered into Fleur's ear.

"I'll miss you too, Hermione," Fleur said softly.

The murmuring intensified and Hermione released Fleur, a light blush rising in her cheeks.

"Erm… I'll let you catch your train…" Hermione said awkwardly, mortification beginning to set in.

Fleur leaned in, kissing her softly on the cheek before withdrawing and heading onto the train.

Hermione sighed, turning around as flashbulbs began to go off. Of course, the crowd had alerted the ever-present press to her whereabouts. She frowned at the paparazzi and turned on the spot, apparating away.


Weeks later, Hermione was at the bar in the VIP area of a club, Ginny at her side, as they ordered another round of drinks for the group. Since her mortifyingly public confession to Fleur, she had become a little more desensitised to being out and about. She'd been attending parties more frequently, and now- in an extremely rare move- had finally accepted her friends' invitation to go out to bars and dance for a night. If nothing else, it would take her mind off the empty space in Shell Cottage.

"So, she's still not back?" Ginny asked Hermione, her voice loud to be heard over the music, "Are you sure you don't want to move into the spare room in my flat for a while? Must be lonely out there,"

"It is a bit lonely at times," Hermione admitted, "But she could come back at any time."

"Talkin' bout Fleur?" Ron bellowed, coming to lean at the bar beside them, "Saw the papers bout you confronting Fleur at the train station… And don't think I don't remember you admitting at Nev's that you got off with her while we were going out. Don't worry, I forgive ya."

Ron was grinning sleazily at Hermione and she rolled her eyes.

"Please, Ron," Hermione said, taking a generous sip of her strong drink. Ron smiled wider at her.

"Nah, I mean, I'm not saying it's a bad thing," Ron said, clearly thinking he was being supportive, "In fact… I'd love to see a reunion between you two,"

"Urgh, take a cold shower, Ron!" Ginny frowned with disgust, shoving Ron in the chest. He raised his hands in surrender.

"Hey, this VIP area is shit," Ron said, changing the subject, "Should we head out and dance in the main area?"

"With all the people who will just fawn over you, Hermione and Harry?" Ginny asked, unconvinced. Hermione shrugged, she was feeling the heavy effects of the alcohol and felt like dancing in a thick crowd of strangers to take her mind off Fleur. Her friends reminded her too much of the part-Veela and she was missing the blonde terribly.

"Great, let's go," Ron nodded, rounding up the others in the VIP area. Ron was still quite obnoxious in Hermione's opinion, but she had to admit she was quite relieved he was no longer harbouring ill feelings towards her.

Predictably, the drunk crowd in the main area of the club swarmed around the heroes of the Wizarding War, but Hermione no longer cared. The music was deafening, the lights were flashing brightly with the pulse of the beat, and the alcohol was taking her away from her problems.

She waded out into the crowd, dancing near Ginny, Harry and the others. She ignored Ron who had an arm wrapped around two girls that he was attempting to grind on at the same time. Hermione danced, tossing her hair over her shoulder as she moved with the rhythm of the crowd. Strangers were dancing closely to her and soon she had lost sight of the others.

For a moment she could forget.

Hermione felt arms wrap around her waist from behind. She hadn't minded the crowd dancing closely to her, but had no interest in somebody grinding on her. She whirled around before the person could get too much closer.

Hermione felt her stomach lurch suddenly, as her eyes locked with azure. Fleur Delacour was standing in front of her, her arms around Hermione's waist.

"Is this real?" Hermione uttered breathlessly. The music was pounding so loudly it was doubtful that Fleur could even hear her. Fleur, whether she had heard her or not, smiled before leaning in and pressing her lips against Hermione's.