A/N: So you guys are getting this chapter early because I'm going out of town for work next week. I'll be writing, but it'll be sporadic. Hope you enjoy the reunion.
Once Maman and Papa had made sure everything we had brought was safely in the carriage, we all exchanged hugs and goodbyes as this would be the first time Gabrielle was away from them for any real extended period of time. I decided to go into the school for a little while. Gabrielle and I had just made our way up the stairs leading into Beauxbatons Academy of Magic. She was excited to see as much of it as possible before we left for Hogwarts.
I'd just completed the tour of the upper portion of the school when I heard footsteps approaching us rapidly.
I glanced over my shoulder in time to see Arabella come up behind me. Her arms wrapped around me in a big hug. I smiled as I had not seen her since the end of term last year.
"It's nice to see you too, Bella." I murmured as I placed my hands on her arms in further greeting.
As she released me, Gabby rushed into her arms and hugged her. Watching the two interact made me smile more. I was glad they were comfortable with each other.
"I came to find you guys. Madame Maxime is beginning the headcount for the trip." Bella stated as she and Gabby separated.
Upon hearing that, Gabby grabbed us both of by the arm and dragged us downstairs and out of the front gates.
Coming to stop in line with the other 18 students and a few scattered guests, Madame Maxime advised that upon arriving, the guests would wait behind her as we performed the opening guard number that was only used before the welcoming of schools during dueling season.
She continued to explain that those guests in school would continue their education as we did at Hogwarts; Those who weren't would spend the day with her as she reviewed things that they would need to know prior to beginning their first year.
After explaining that, she advised we would either be staying in the carriage or in the rooms provided by Headmaster Dumbledore. It all seemed very reasonable, but there was still those who felt the need to ask ridiculous questions. Madame Maxime answered them with admirable patience before ushering us into the carriage.
Traveling with the help of the Abraxan winged horses, the journey would be completed by tomorrow afternoon. Inside the carriage, it was sorted so that all 18 of us had a suite; If we invited a guest, they were sharing it with us. I suppose it's a good thing Gabby and I got along so well.
The room was large enough for us both to exist for the year without begin on top of each other the entire time. There were two decent sized desks that sat facing each other in between two beds. I noticed one side had my things already unpacked so I made my way over and sat on the bed.
Gabby stayed long enough to change into comfortable clothes before she went to find Arabella. Declining to join her, I pulled out my iPod and found the singer I was looking for. Laying down, I closed my eyes and allowed the powerful voice of Kelly Clarkson to fill my ears. My fingers ran over the ring that sat on my on my ring finger and the final thought I had as I drifted off was that this time tomorrow, I would be in the same place as my mate.
The arrival of the new term and sorting of the new first years passed without much fanfare. During the opening feast, I noticed more than one of the new students staring at me. I discreetly glanced over my shoulder to confirm that my wings were in fact in their transparent state.
Looking back at one of the first years closest to me, I asked, "Is everything okay?"
The little girl squeaked as if surprised I addressed her and quickly diverted her gaze back to the table.
Raising an eyebrow, I looked at another one first year who had also been staring in question.
"They're very pretty." She stated politely.
Giving her a small smile, I replied, "Thank you. Can you ask them not to mention them, please? I don't wish to draw attention."
She nodded and began whispering to the other kids that had been staring and they all began to eat dinner.
"She's right, you know? They are very pretty." Luna stated airy as she picked at the food on her plate.
I chuckled and replied, "You've been telling me that for the last month, Luna. I definitely get that you think they're pretty."
"Leave her alone, L." Kiyoko stated from the other side of me.
Shaking my head, we'd had multiple variations of this same talk since I had arrived in Ireland with my adopted parents.
I was just looking forward to classes beginning tomorrow to start my fifth year. Luna and Kiyoko were both incredibly supportive when I told them that I had skipped two grades and promised that nothing had changed. I was glad they were treating me the same as I had been warned by Professor Flitwick that my acceleration would be the cause of resentment for those in my previous year and from the upper years.
As dinner was coming to a close, Headmaster Dumbledore announced that the TriWizard tournament was being hosted at Hogwarts this year. In being reinstated, there would be a congregation from Beauxbatons and Durmstrang arriving tomorrow.
We would attend the first half of classes, but instead of coming to the Great Hall for lunch, we would be in the courtyard to welcome them. After which, there would be a welcome luncheon and our afternoon classes would be cancelled. He proceeded to give the first years the standard warnings regarding the restricted sections of the schools.
Dumbledore concluded his welcoming speech and dinner was over; The prefects gathered the first years and the student body dispersed.
Kiyoko, Luna and I were making our way back to the dormitory when Luna asked, "Isn't Beauxbatons the magic school from France?"
I stopped in my tracks at the question and looked up at her in shock as two things clicked in my mind. Fleur was apart of a magical family in France so she most likely goes to Beauxbaton and she was more than likely going to be coming here tomorrow.
As I began walking again, I confirmed absently that it was. Waking into the common room, I told the girls I would be turning in early and went into my quarters without waiting for a reply.
Upon entering, the door closed behind me and Lucy appeared in her normal place beside my fireplace.
"Mistress has heard the news. Visitors shall be with us this year at Hogwarts." Lucy stated excitedly as I undid my tie and made my way to my closet.
"Yes, I think we shall prepare for a guest in my quarters this term as well, Lucy." I murmured still in shock as I pulled my pajamas from my closet.
I had been waiting for this moment for 10 years. She would be here tomorrow. I was not prepared for this. I had no idea what I would even say to her.
"A guest, Mistress? Lucy thought her Mistress has met her mate." Lucy inquired in confusion.
"I have, yes. I believe she will be within the group arriving from Beauxbatons."
Lucy began to vibrate with excitement again as she nodded, "Of course, Mistress. Lucy will prepare for the arrival of our Lady."
I turned to her in question, but she had popped out already.
"Do you know what that meant?" I asked my mothers as I began to change for bed.
"It's the hierarchy of the royal family. I was born of royal blood, Gabriella as my mate, essentially married into it. I was the Queen and Mistress of the castle and kingdom. Gabriella as my wife was the Lady of the castle and kingdom. Though she was addressed as Queen, she technically never was.
You are the Queen of our race as my only child. Your mate is the Lady of our kingdom. Lucy recognizes her status and will only address her as such." Artemis explained as I got into bed.
Laying down, I took in that information, but I drifted off before I could respond.
The next morning …
I was woken by Lucy pulling the curtains back and allowing sunlight to flood into my room.
A morning person I was not so I drew the blanket over my head and turned away from the sunlight.
"Come now, Mistress, up. Mistress must prepare for our Lady. Mistress cannot meet our Lady if Mistress stays in bed all day." Lucy stated as she snapped her fingers and the blanket was gone.
I groaned and rolled to sit up as she made her way to my closet. Sighing, I took the clothes she picked out and went into the bathroom.
After I got ready, I grabbed my bag from the hook and waved goodbye to my mothers. Luna and Kiyoko were waiting for me in the common room, but aside from a small smile, I did not acknowledge them.
My mind was buzzing with thoughts of Fleur filled my mind. I could clearly remember the last time I saw her. Standing in the floo of my childhood home, her eyes shone with unshed tears. Absentmindedly, I grasped the necklace that she gave me as we sat in my backyard. I gasped as I felt it for the first time and it was warm and seemed to be heating up even more.
She really was coming!
The morning classes with the fifth years was a little unnerving as they were not very friendly to my being there. For the most part, I answered questions when called upon, took notes of any material the Professors provided that wasn't in the textbooks I'd already read and tried to think of what I would say to Fleur when I saw her again.
Before I had come up with anything specific, the morning classes ended and the student body began making their way to the courtyard.
Kiyoko, Luna and I stayed closer to the doors and away from the clamoring students trying to see where the other schools would be coming from.
Within a few minutes, there was a tiny boat that emerged in the Black Lake. Seconds later, the boat began to rise up and a mast of a ship came into view.
Headmaster Dumbledore announced the Durmstrang Institute from Scandinavia had arrived just as the remainder of the ship emerged and the hull bounced on the surface as it settled.
Docking next to the shoreline, the bow separated and became a bridge allowing the passengers inside to march off in two straight rows. Each student was dressed in a deep red Kung Fu poplin shirt and black slacks. They each wore thick overcoats and their boots echo as the walked across the bridge holding a large staff. The Durmstrang Headmaster walked in front of his students and straight to Dumbledore who gave him a jovial hug and introduced the man as Igor Karkaroff. After presenting the visiting institute, they were directed into the school to rest.
They walked directly past Kiyoko, Luna and I as we stood leaning against the wall near the entrance. As they passed, one of the students suddenly turned his head to stare directly at me and watched until he was unable to see as he walked into the school.
"That was weird. Do you know him?" Kiyoko asked.
"Never seen him before." I replied as I turned back to watch for the other school.
"He was looking at you like he wanted to either eat you or conquer you." She stated in earnest.
I hummed my acknowledgement of her words, but didn't say anything else.
Just then, I heard of the students call out and point at something in the sky.
Glancing up, I saw a carriage being pulled by twelve mighty horses with wings and made me long for the sky in a way I never thought I would with my previous fears of falling.
The carriage skidded on the ground as the horses landed and I wondered if the occupants felt the jolts. Once it settled, a young boy immediately emerged and step up small steps from the carriage to the ground. He snapped back as a large foot stepped through the door and a giant woman came into view.
She clearly wasn't fully human and seemed to be a few inches shy of the magical creatures Professor Hagrid.
As she moved to greet Dumbledore, the Beauxbatons delegation appeared in the azure and white waistcoats that paired with the azure and black camo pants that each wore. They each had a fur lined cape the was affixed by pearl rivets on their shoulders. A slim Claymore sword was on the hip of every student in uniform and next to most of the students stood a second either in the same uniform or dressed in regular clothes.
The students stopped behind their headmistress who Dumbledore introduced as Madame Olympe Maxime. Like the Durmstrang delegation, the were ushered into the school. As they walked past the students, many tried to follow behind them as close as possible.
As they drew closer to where we stood, the necklace around my neck heated so much that I could feel it through my school robes. I glanced down at it and back up just in time to see the cerulean eyes I had longed to see in person for 10 years. She came to a halt and the rest of her delegation stopped as well.
Pushing off the wall, I walked until I was directly in front of her. Reaching out, I touched her cheek and wrapped a strand of her around my finger just as I had when we first met.
"Fleur." I whispered in awe to see her.
"Hermione." She stated in reverence.
There was a gasp and whispers erupted around us.
Fleur was no longer looking at me and instead was focused behind me.
"Your wings." She murmured.
The connection between us allowed my focus to shift to her completely and I lost control of the spell causing my wings to be transparent.
"Fleur! We must go inside." Madame Maxime called from just inside the doorway.
Fleur nodded her understanding and took my hand as she pulled me within the semi-circle that had formed around her. As soon as I was within it, they all began to move into the school.
Well Hogwarts just got that more problematic, I thought as I fought for control over my magic in order to hide my wings again. The issue was that my magic was flowing through me and seemed to be centered in my hand linked with Fleur's. I could not bring myself to break the connection now that she was standing right next to me.