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July 26, 1992, 2:00 AM, Beach, Village Du Phantasime, France

Fleur Delacour

The moon shone brightly, casting a silvery glow over the sandy beach. Waves crashed gently against the shore, the sound of the water soothing and rhythmic. The sand was cool and soft beneath her feet, and she breathed in the salty sea air. However, this time, it did not leave her with the sense of invigoration she used to feel.

And how would it? After everything that had happened, after Claire—

Fleur shook her head stubbornly, unwilling to dredge up the images of her dead friend. Instead she stared over the beach once again. Images which used to fill Fleur with wonder and romance now felt hollow when faced with the deep hole in her soul.

She missed Claire. But Fleur did not cry— not because she was strong, no. The explanation was far simpler; her tears had already dried up hours before.

Fleur sighed and drew her gaze up at the Moon, remembering long nights spent with her best friend, talking about whatever was on their mind and generally enjoying each other’s presence while occasionally using Gabrielle as their little dress up model.

The thought would have made her smile if she wasn’t feeling so miserable.

Why am I doing this to myself? She thought, but the only answer which came to her was the gentle pushing and pulling of the waves against the shoreline. I should get back inside, it’s gotten really cold and I’ll be sick tomorrow if I stay here.

Despite these thoughts, she stuck to her position on the bench overlooking the beach. For some inexplicable reason, she felt that, if she got up now, she would be insulting Claire somehow. It made absolutely no sense, this much she knew, but every fiber of her being was telling her to stay on that beach.

No, going back to the inn was not an option.

Besides, she wanted to stay away from her father for a while. Ever since the attack, his presence had become suffocating. She’d seen his face more this past day and a half than she’d seen him in months, and it was starting to wear on her patience.

She understood why, of course, and even appreciated his need to protect her, but it was just too much. She felt trapped, like in a cage. The fact that her mother was now behaving in the same way only made it worse.

Gabrielle was the only one who instinctively understood her need to be alone for a little while. She’d given Fleur a hug and a few kisses before giving her the space she needed.

Fleur sighed, feeling guilty over it all. She loved her family in a way that escaped the strict confines of words, but she felt like she was betraying them in some way by doing this. Did that mean that she would head back to the inn?

Oh, no. Not in a million years.

Fleur simmered further in her negativity, letting it pervade every pore of her being for a while longer until she focused on the real world again. Something wasn’t quite right, she felt.

She shuddered, partly from the night chill and partly from the ghost sensation of shards of glass digging into her skin. She looked around her, seeing no one nearby. She closed her eyes, willing the feelings away, but they refused to obey any of her commands.

Anger rose within her, and she stood in the same fury she’d felt when she learned that she’d been the reason Claire had died. Opening her eyes, she felt her anger pause at the sight of two people in the distance.

It’s them. Fleur thought, her surprise washing her anger away and leaving her a little drained. The two boys who came to my aid.

From her spot by a few large benches, she doubted that they’d noticed her— not that they would have, what with her being so far away. The two seemed to be deep in conversation. She sat back down on her bench, content to simply watch as the two interacted.

Her savior, Harry Potter— and wasn’t that a surprise when her father had revealed the information the other night?— seemed to be angry about something, judging from the raised voice she heard all the way there.

The boy with the milky white eye, Adam Clarke, didn’t say anything, content to let Potter wail at him. He nodded and made soothing gestures for a minute or two, weathering the boy’s tumult of anger.

Potter continued to rage, attacking what seemed to be a rather large structure of sand beside him. Any other time, his clumsiness and sheer anger would have amused her, but Fleur did not find any humor in what was going on right now.

Clarke, for his part, only stood there, watching. His expression remained the same sympathetic one even as Potter proceeded to annihilate the sand fortress. Eventually, the boy grew too tired to keep going and moved away from it, stumbling towards his friend.

Potter almost fell on his face, clearly exhausted from that little episode, but was kept standing by his adopted brother. Clarke grasped the boy by the shoulder, leaned forward and said a few words to him.

Potter didn’t say anything, but whatever the older boy said seemed to be good, because the two embraced in a hug after the fact. Fleur started feeling like she was witnessing something she shouldn’t be, like she was intruding on a special moment.

It’s their fault for having it out in the open. Part of her argued in irritation. The beach is not their personal little playground, after all. I shouldn’t feel guilty about it. Stupid boys.

Her words were logical, her indignation genuine and strong, and yet she wasn’t able to shake off the feeling of unease from it.

She wished she could hug Claire one last time. Just one last time…

She turned her eyes away for a few moments before losing the war against her own curiosity and looking back again.

She blinked. Potter had gone ahead to sit closer to the shore, and Clarke was moving away in the direction of the inn. He paused, looking back at Potter for a few moments before shaking his head and leaving.

Perhaps it was a trick of the light, or it was her being paranoid, but the slow way he had been turning almost seemed like he had been looking right at her as well. But that couldn’t be, could it?

Maybe I’m not as well hidden as I thought I was. Fleur thought in mild dismay, her dark blue eyes moving towards her savior. He was sitting still on the shore and watching the waves crash into the beach, stopping mere feet away from him before retracting into the sea.

For minutes she watched as Potter just sat there, doing nothing but stare at the waves, and occasionally at the Moon hanging in the starry canopy far above.

Before she knew it, Fleur found herself moving forward, moving down the path which led to the beach.

What am I doing? She thought to herself as she walked the gravel path which eventually gave way to a large expanse of sand. She traversed the beach, ignoring how the sand got into her sandals as she passed the structure which Potter had decimated and was only a few feet away from the boy.

For a few moments, she stood there, not at all sure what she was doing here.

This is stupid. She thought to herself as she started to back away. He hadn’t seen her yet, so she could turn around and leave before he—

“Said you’d be going back to the hotel room, didn’t you, Adam?” Potter said, not looking behind him. “Why are you still here? Worried about me, or something? I’ll be fine. I just want to watch the waves for a while.”

Fleur gulped, realizing that she was going to have to stay, since he was going to turn any moment n—

“Adam?” He turned, green eyes widening as he saw her. “Oh!”

A second passed before he spoke again, quickly getting to his feet and dusting the sand off of his shorts. “It’s you…!”

Fleur nodded, gulping. What am I even doing here?

“You are ‘Arry Potter, yes?” Fleur said, and felt absolutely stupid even as she said it.

Of course he’s Harry Potter. You’ve already met him, you stupid twit. Stupid stupid stupid! She raged at herself, hoping the boy didn’t think the same.

Potter blinked at the way she said his name before nodding in confirmation. “I— erm, yes. I am. Nice to meet you… Fleur, right?”

Fleur nodded; Potter extended his hand, which she took. She made sure to keep it nice and quick. The boy seemed a little anxious.

“Not to sound unwelcoming or anything.” Harry said, looking around with a bit of nervousness. “But what are you doing here?”

Fleur stuttered out a few words, closed her mouth with a blush of embarrassment for a moment before speaking again. “I was just… I needed space.”

That seemed to strike a chord in the boy, because he ended up relaxing, if only a little. “Oh. Oh. Well, all right. I suppose… I suppose we all need to process what happened.”

He gave her a guilty look, as if to say ‘you, most of all’, but Fleur ignored it with a nod towards the boy.

“I saw you and… and your bruzzer earlier.” Fleur offered.

“Oh…” Harry said, green eyes flitting towards the destroyed sand castles behind her. “You, you did?”

Fleur only nodded, looking away in discomfort. She regretted asking and now felt bad about embarrassing him. “Sorry.”

She expected the boy to be angry with her for witnessing his private moment of weakness between him and family. What she didn’t expect was him taking a step forward, placing a hand on her shoulder and saying his next words.

“I’m sorry.” He said, voice thick with emotion. “I’m so sorry…”

What?” She said in French, unable to stop herself. “Wh—what are you sorry about?”

Harry looked down. “I couldn’t save your friend. I’m sorry.”

Fleur gaped at the boy’s words, unable to even fathom that level of selflessness. “You… Zat wasn’t your fault, ‘Arry.”

But Potter shook his head, his eyes flaring up with stubborn anger and some grief. “Why does everyone keep saying that? Maybe if I was a little faster, a little better… I could’ve done something.”

Fleur shook her head, shuddering as the boy’s words echoed in her mind, waking up her Veela side— a primal set of sensations that she always did her best to ignore. Powerful, negative emotions welled up inside of her, threatening to make her break out crying again, but Fleur did her best to keep control of herself, unwilling to be weak tonight.

Not in front of her savior.

“Zat wasn’t your fault.” Fleur repeated with far more iron and certainty that she felt. “Claire—”

Fleur stopped as her voice broke, closing her eyes in an attempt to rein in her emotions again.

“I’m sorry.” Harry said quickly. “I shouldn’t have mentioned her. I should—”

“Non, non, non.” Fleur cut him off, raising her hand to stop him from saying anything else. “Claire— she was already gone long before you arrive, ‘Arry. You could not ‘ave done anyssing.”

“Still…” Harry looked into Fleur’s eyes for a moment before sighing and looking down. “I don’t know. I just feel so useless.”

Fleur sighed as well, sitting down by the shoreline. “Me too.”

She stared ahead at the waves, and Potter joined by her side without a word. Nothing more really needed to be said, there. She shifted closer towards the boy, pressing against him with a shiver as a particularly cold breeze hit them both.

The minutes continued to pass with nothing but the sound of their breathing as well as the waves filling their ears. It was, by far, the strangest, most pleasant time Fleur had since before she and Claire had started to break apart…

“Me and Claire.” Fleur broke the silence, not sure why she was confiding in this boy. “We were ‘aving… problems.”

“Problems?” Harry said quietly. “What kind of problems?”

Fleur frowned, not wanting to remember the fights she had with her friend, but answered the boy’s question anyway. “She was, erm… Jealous, I think is ze word? She was jealous zat all ze boys were looking at me, last year, and not ‘er.”

It wasn’t her fault that her Veela heritage made her look breathtaking to all of the boys— and some of the girls— but Claire hadn’t been able to hold back the building resentment for long.

That wasn’t to say that her friend wasn’t doing her best. She ignored it as well as she could, but everyone had a breaking point. She and Claire had more than one fight about it over the course of the past year, and Fleur had felt that her friend was slowly drifting away. It was breaking her heart, then.

Now part of her wished that Claire had ended their friendship.

At least… At least she’d still be alive. Fleur thought. I don’t care if she would have hated me forever… Claire.

“I see… I’m sorry to hear that.” Harry said, bringing her back to reality. She looked at him, able to tell he was being genuine.

“Zis vacation, it was going to fix everyssing.” Fleur said, her voice wavering. “Fix my friendship wiz Claire.”

The truly awful part was that it had worked. She and Claire were having fun again, enjoying each other’s company again, and it felt like their rift was finally beginning to heal.

“But zen, ze attack came…” Fleur said, trailing off. “And now she’s… Gone. Gone.

She felt the boy stir beside her. “I’m sorry, Fleur.”

“I am ‘appy you are ‘ere, zough.” Fleur said, and Potter shifted slightly away from her. “And ‘appy you saved my life. Merci.”

Harry shrugged. “I couldn’t just let it happen.”

“You almost died, ‘Arry.” Fleur said.

“I did.” Harry said, shaking his head in mild irritation. “You don’t have to tell me. Adam keeps reminding me of it enough times.”

“Your bruzzer?”

A hum of confirmation came from the younger boy. “I don’t know. I just don’t understand him. Sometimes, he’s so easygoing and content, but other times he’s just… I can’t explain it.”

Fleur remembered that night, seeing the boy enter the room, surrounded by floating chains, covered in blood, and with a look of deadly murder in his mismatched eyes.

“I saw ‘im, zat night.” Fleur ventured. “‘e looked…”

“Yes.” Harry said, shaking his head with a mirthless smile. “That’s Adam, my… My brother.”

Fleur nodded, though a little confused by the boy’s hesitation. Then again, from what her father had told him about the two, they weren’t actually blood brothers, but adopted by the same man.

The boy’s sheer propensity for violence, however, was astounding— not that she could talk, with what she had done to that horrible, horrible monster.

No, she decided. Adam Clarke was not a bad person.

“I know zat, if it were Gabrielle in danger, I would stop at nuzzing.” Fleur said, her voice raised a bit. “To save ‘er.”

Harry’s green eyes met her own, searching them for a few moments before nodding. “Yeah. You’re right.”

The two went quiet again, content to be in each other’s presence, and for a time, everything felt at least a little less bad.


July 26, 1992, 7:00 AM, Snape’s Workroom, Dungeons, Hogwarts

Severus Snape

The air was thick with the fumes emanating from the cauldrons that lined the room, releasing the scent of burnt wood and sulfur, as well as the aroma of the various ingredients used in the potions. 

Such smells and scents would drive away all but the most stubborn and talented of wizards or witches. Severus Snape knew that he was one of the few gifted enough for this art, and so this is where he thrived.

The bubbling from each cauldron mixed with the occasional hiss or pop, filling the space with an eerie and intense energy as the steam rising from the bubbling mixture appeared to the unwary as dancing ghosts.

Walking between several of his cauldrons, he checked over a few of his brews with a calculating eye before moving on to the third, frowning slightly.

A slight adjustment to the formula. Severus said as he raised a small vial and tipped it over the concoction. A single, very gentle tap, and a drop of leech juice fell into the mixture.

Instantly, the potion shifted color from red to a dark purple. Severus didn’t bother smiling, despite the rush of pride going through him. No, he had too much to do to worry about a single potion right now.

He moved to check over a cauldron he kept at the edge of his lab. Staring at its contents for over a minute, he studied the texture of the flowing liquid.

Perhaps a slower stir every twenty clockwise turns? Severus thought to himself before nodding. It was all coming together. Twenty regular stirs, one slightly slower. That makes twenty one, which is a multiple of three and seven— both powerful magical numbers.

It was quite astonishing how even a rudimentary understanding of Arithmancy helped one improve in other fields of magic. Truly, Potions was an art enhanced by all the other branches.

He continued to check over his brew of Felix Felicis for a few more moments before he heard a knock on the door. Severus blinked, reaching into the folds of his robes and pulling out a pocket watch.

It’s that time already? Snape thought as he set his potions up to rest until he was able to return to them again. A moment later, he exited his lab, greeting the one who knocked.

“Nibby.” He said to the house-elf, who gave him a single nod before disappearing.

Severus felt his lips twitch at the elf’s behavior as he made his way to the Great Hall.

Nibby was almost as antisocial as he was— which was why he had a good bond with him. It had taken Severus some time to find a house elf who wouldn’t waste his time trying to talk or understand what he wanted, but his efforts had paid off.

Nibby knew to knock on his door without saying another word. It was, of course, a little strange that he waited for Severus to greet him, but the Potions Professor chalked it up to a house-elf quirk of being unable to trick their masters.

Whatever it was, it had become a bit of an amusing habit that Severus had grown accustomed to— almost even fond of. He could scarcely imagine starting the day without the ever helpful and present Nibby there to greet him.

A group of ghosts parted to allow him through, greeting him as he passed them with a terse nod. Severus had never liked the ghosts of the castle— not even his fellow teacher, Binns.

It was probably Binns’ fault, at least in part, for making History of Magic one of the most dull classes he’d ever had the displeasure of attending. Wizards possessed a deep culture with a great and storied past, and the school had a ghost teach it?

Severus shook his head; he knew Albus would never allow him to exorcize the ghost, so there was no point in thinking about this. Not my problem to solve, anyway.

He banished such thoughts away from his mind as he entered the Great Hall, heading straight towards his spot at the Head Table. Sharing greetings with Pomona, Filius and several of his colleagues who’d elected to stay in Hogwarts for the summer, Severus took his seat and began piling breakfast upon his plate; nothing too complicated, some eggs and sausage.

He didn’t waste time, tearing into his food with a quick, but still clean pace. Severus wanted to get breakfast over quickly before returning to his brew of—

“Oh, yes. I almost forgot; Severus.” Pomona said from his right, getting his attention. “I’ve a new batch of Venomous Tentacula almost ready to be harvested— I should say you will have them by the end of the day.”

Severus nodded, wiping at the side of his lip with a napkin. That should speed up the process of a few of my brews… Very good.

“Thank you.” He said and only got a nod in reply. A moment later, he went back to his food, time just flying by as he finished his meal. He was about to excuse himself before he heard an exclamation from Pomona again.

“My word!” She said, holding today’s copy of the Prophet. “Will that man never cease?”

Severus frowned, leaning back slightly in his chair. “Which man?”

Pomona turned the page, holding the paper out for him. Severus took it with a nod of gratitude before reading its contents, frowning as his eyes moved from the article’s content to the images of horror interspersed between the text:




Many of us knew that it was only a matter of time before the violence in the mainland would begin again— but no one expected it to happen this soon, this fast.

So it is with a heavy heart that we report this news to you today, valued readers. Le Village Du Phantasime, a French Wizarding village which serves as a summer escape for many of its people, has been attacked by a legion claiming to work under the banner of none other than Gellert Grindelwald, the man who had recently orchestrated the mass breakout and escape of over seventy percent of the wizards and witches imprisoned with Remords De L’Ame.

The attack could not have come at a more inopportune time, as the village was having its annual Foire du Feu, or Festival of Fire as the words translate to.

“The death toll is monumental.” Our on the ground reporter relayed to us earlier this morning. “The French Auror response was near glacial in its speed. By the time they got here, the damage had already been done. Everyone has been scouring the city for survivors. What few we’ve found were terribly injured and suffering from dehydration and slowly suffocating under the buildings they once called home.”

But, not all is lost, as many wizards and witches rose to the occasion, fighting off the various Dark wizards and witches behind the attack— two of which are young students from Hogwarts: Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived, and his adopted brother, Adam Clarke, the Rising Star of Hogwarts.

Together, they managed to save the daughter of a highly ranked French Ministry official, and possibly revealed the true reason behind the attack. Could Grindelwald and his forces be attempting to gain control over the French Ministry by absconding with the children of their most prominent members of government?

Such news would indeed cause alarm, for if Grindelwald is targeting France already, who could be next? Italy? Spain? Bulgaria?

Or perhaps our own home?

The article continued in this fashion, its theories eventually getting so out of hand that he set the paper back on the table in mild disgust.

“Can you believe it? Mr. Clarke and Mr. Potter, not even a month after what happened here, already in danger again.” Pomona said, not noticing the sudden flinch from Minerva, who sat to her left. “And yet they were able to save someone during all that chaos. Remarkable, is it not?”

Severus nodded to the woman, but was more preoccupied with how Minerva dabbed her lips with a quick jerk of her napkin, gave nods to everyone and left the table abruptly, citing a need to check over something.

What had that been about? He’d only seen her like this a few times in the past. Once was when her favorite student, Potter, had perished, and the other when her other favorite student, Black, had been declared innocent.

Oh. He thought as he made the connection. That’s right; that fool Black is the boys’ guardian now. She must be feeling guilty.

Such nonsense; Severus bid his goodbyes to Pomona and the others before exiting the Great Hall as well.

There was no reason to fear for the safety of Black, Clarke or Potter. Loathe as he was to admit it, Snape acknowledged that Black was at least able to fight well enough to challenge him. Potter, while being nothing special, was likely being extensively trained— he’d seen the fruits of the boy’s labor in his fight against the Dark Lord.

And Clarke… Severus paused mid-step and shuddered, remembering the boy’s mismatched eyes as he promised Severus an audience with the love of his life.

Adam Clarke was a creature of frightening proportions.

No, no… There was no need to worry about any of them.

Severus banished such thoughts out of his mind, content to focus on his brewing for now. He could forget about the world burning all around him for a little while.

Albus would call on him eventually, after all.

He always did.

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