fleur delacour falling in love with bill weasley because he sees her. his youngest brother looked and went hair-eyes-teeth-legs, thought body, thought sex. her whole life, men have been looking and seeing a thing, not a girl. since she turned thirteen and bud-breasts pressed up against her shirts and boys at school wanted to sit close, men back home lingered too long in hugs.

until she was fifteen she dressed herself in shame before she put any clothes on at all. wore everything a few sizes too big, a few inches too long. draped herself in thick fabrics to hide the body beneath them. never learned that hot eyes on her were the fault of their owners, not her. took the uncomfortable stares and the endless flirtation as a fact of life. was fourteen the first time she dared to say “stop looking!” and met only laughter.

it’s not until she’s nearly sixteen and her sister is turning ten that she sees eyes begin to slide over her and to gabrielle. a friend of their father’s, not even that deep into a bottle of wine, caresses a child-round cheek and murmurs a line from lolita, eyes too bright and lips too dry. gabrielle flickers a panicked glance around the room. that look is so familiar. the same hour fleur switches her baggy sweatshirt for a crop top and rolls her skirt over two inches. 

they will look at her. never at her sister.

at school, the same. at home, the same. slowly, she learns to be less ashamed of the looking. to play to the object they expect her to be. she comes to scotland and she’s the centre of attention. they hear her name pulled out of  the goblet of fire and all anyone wants to talk about is her legs in that skirt. she defeats a dragon and boys whisper all the dirty things they want to do to her just moments after they finish comparing cedric’s charmwork to krum’s reflexes to harry’s flying. they watch her pass in the hallways and their eyes glaze over like she’s a thing put there for their pleasure. 

fleur lifts her head high and lets the stares keep coming.

then she meets bill weasley, and not long after he asks her how she’s doing. asks it like he really means it, like it matters to him that she still gets nervous going around blind corners, that vines make her skin crawl and that the green flash of a hex makes her mind go too blank with fear to defend herself. he brings her a bottle of his favourite whiskey and sinks deep into it, tells her about his life and his job and asks about that night in the maze she doesn’t think about. he doesn’t look at her legs even once.

the next time she brings him her favourite wine and they share it. she’s giggling and silly by the end of the evening and he laughs with her, laughs at her like an equal and not like a thing he wants to fuck. he takes her to her door and leaves her in the care of her friends and he doesn’t do it because he thinks it’ll make scoring easier next time. doesn’t decide his actions based on which will result in sex the fastest.

he doesn’t ask her out until he’s laid himself bare for her, doesn’t even touch her until she reaches down and presses her fingers into his. the first night she feels brave enough to go home with him he keeps her up at the kitchen table until three am telling her all the things he likes about her. her physical appearance doesn’t even make the top one hundred. he says, how much you love your sister. how fierce you look when i take the last croissant. that funny french way you roll your ‘r’s. how you try to tell me jokes but laugh too much to finish them. how you know exactly how many children you want, and the precise shade of blue you’ll use to decorate your nursery. the bravery of you. the way your mind moves so fast sometimes i can’t keep up with it. the fact that i think you could do my job ten times as effectively as i can. they fall asleep on top of his covers, fully clothed, and the next morning fleur has to say yes i want this i am sure that i want this ten times before he starts to undress her.

his family call her all the things she’s heard a million times before. fleur lifts her head high and lets the insults keep coming. his brothers still sometimes look at her like they’ve forgotten to see a person, his mother mutters under her breath about fleur’s lack of suitability, his sister takes every opportunity to express her dislike. they see her beauty and they think they know her. they watch her move and they think she’s nothing more than her body and face. 

but bill weasley sees her. and fleur will not let anything—not a war, not lycanthropy, not a disapproving family—take him away from her.

About C.A. Jacobs

Just another crazy person, masquerading as a writer.
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