This Chapter is short, but it's all Fleur...
Walk up to almost any witch or wizard and ask them who Fleur Delacour is, and those who have spoken with or even just seen the witch in question will give you a wide variety of responses. This is only natural, really; everyone has his or her own differing opinions and points of view. But if you took all of those responses and sifted through them, translating the vulgar or scathing answers into something a little less insulting, you would get a general idea of the kind of person the world at large believes the young veela woman to be;
Haughty, on occasion.
If you walked up to someone close to Fleur and asked them the same question, you would get basically the same responses, with a couple more thrown in;
If you asked someone even closer to Fleur, say, a member of her immediate family, you would most likely get all of that, plus one more;
A being of utter darkness during the first ten minutes of the day. Unless, of course, she was roused by her beloved younger sister.
*RING-RING! RING-RING! RING-RING!*
If you haven't figured it out, that is the sound of a phone ringing. This particular phone is a rather classy device of the type usually find in the largest and most expensive suites of five-star, high-class, uber-sophisticated hotels. Rather appropriate, considering that this particular phone is in just such a suite of just such a hotel. The suite itself was made up in a modern style, with the decorations and furniture all white with gold trim, with a few splashes of colour and the odd plant here and there.
The current inhabitant of the bedroom of this suite was in no condition to appreciate the elegant decor; the phone had just woken her up, and she was now under the influence of the dreaded El Diablo. From the veritable cocoon of blankets and sheets on the vast bed emerged a pale, slender arm. It was quite shapely and attractive as arms went...or, it would have been, if the hand attached to that arm wasn't twitching violently and shifting from a human appendage to bird-like talons and back between blinks of the eye.
After the hand slammed down onto the noisy device, the handset was dragged, like some small, doomed creature, into the darkness of the bedcovers. The voice that answered was not that of Fleur Delacour, but of a vicious, yet somehow enthralling beast from the Abyss. "What...do...you...want?"
The voice on the other end of line was disgustingly cheerful. "Good morning Ma'am! This is the 6am wake-up call you requested!"
Fleur's initial response was a low, horrible, hissing/rattling noise emanating from the back of her throat. Finally, she managed to scrounge up a few more words from the English language. "Your...name?"
The poor cheerful sap actually sounded apologetic. "I'm sorry Ma'am, but it is against hotel policy for individuals in my position to give out our names. My predecessor did so, and he had to enter some kind of protection scheme for some reason. Any-hoo, would you like room service to bring you up some breakfast?"
Somewhat more lucid, Fleur found the words a little more easily. "Cereal. Fruit. Yoghurt. Low-fat, or the man...delivering it...die. Dies."
The Wake-Up Call Clown rattled off the list as he, presumably, wrote it all down. "Cereal, fruit, and yoghurt, all low fat. Would you like a drink with that? I hear the kitchen has some delicious freshly-squeezed orange juice!"
"Excellent decision, Ma'am! Your breakfast will be at your door in twenty to thirty minutes! Have a nice day!"
The following click told Fleur that the bastard hadn't waited for a reply, so she was left with no one to vent her early morning rage upon. Making that same hissing/rattling noise, the French woman slammed the receiver back into its cradle and freed herself from the covers with a series of violent thrashing motions that resulted in her falling off of the bed. Untangling herself from the last of the pristine white sheets with a hiss, Fleur staggered to her feet and stalked towards the bathroom, stripping off her black silk pyjama top and pants and throwing them aside as she went.
Shoving open first the bathroom, then the shower doors, Fleur positioned herself under the showerhead and twisted both taps, yowling as cold water rained down on her like needles of ice until the temperature equalised. Snatching up the bar of soap in a grip hard enough to crush it into a misshapen lump, Fleur began to scrub.
Half an hour later, a much more human Fleur was relaxing on the balcony in a white terrycloth bathrobe, enjoying the morning sunlight and magically-filtered fresh air as she brushed the last few knots out of her shimmering silvery hair. She had only just put down her brush and stood to go get dressed when the doorbell buzzed.
Padding barefoot over the soft carpet to the door, Fleur snapped off the locks and opened the door, revealing two burly gentlemen in stiff uniforms escorting a cart. She smiled beautifully, and the white-knuckled grip the two wizards had on their wands relaxed considerably. "Bonjour! Is that my breakfast?"
It took a second of stammering for the man pushing the trolley to answer. "Oh...er, yes, yes it is. Ma'am." The French woman stepped aside, and the two men hurried into the suite. "Would you like to eat inside, or on the balcony this morning, Ma'am?"
Fleur waved outside. "On the balcony, please."
As the two men bustled about, setting the balcony table for breakfast, Fleur went into her room and retrieved her coin purse, coming back out just as the men were finishing up. "I am not sure `ow much is usual when giving a tip, so-"
The two hotel employees shook their heads emphatically. "Oh no, we don't need a tip. We're just doing our jobs!"
The other man agreed. "It was our pleasure, honestly!"
The Triwizard Champion frowned slightly. "Are you sure? I'd be more than happy to tip you."
The two men shook their heads, bowing as they backed out the door, dragging the trolley. "We wouldn't hear of it! You have a nice day, now!"
Waving to the two grinning men, Fleur returned their well wishes. "You `ave a good day, too!" Closing the door and locking it tight, Fleur shook her head and sighed, bemused. "They never take tips." Moving to the indoor dining table, Fleur put her coin purse down, but paused at the sight of several sheets of parchment, a neat eagle-feather quill, and a small inkpot. Wincing slightly, she picked up the writing tools and carried them outside, setting them out before sitting and pouring a glass of juice. She took a long drink of the sweet liquid before picking up the quill and starting a long overdue letter...
I am truly sorry for not having written as often as I said I would. These past few days since leaving home have been very hectic, but also very rewarding, I must admit.
Once I was finished with all of the British Ministry's registration nonsense, I went straight to Gringotts to apply for work. As is the Goblin way, I was not allowed to request a specific position, rather, I was interviewed, tested, and my qualifications were examined, and at the end of the day the Department Heads assembled in private to discuss amongst themselves where I was best suited to work, if anywhere.
I did not have to wait in the bank that whole time, thankfully. They owled me just yesterday morning, informing me that if I wanted a job as a Junior Liaison, then the position was mine. I accepted right away, of course; it is a minor position at the moment, but my future prospects are very good if I choose to stay in the business.
No doubt I am starting to bore you, but my next little bit of news should prove more interesting; I met your hero while I was waiting to be dismissed. That's right, Harry James Potter! I must admit he has grown into quite a handsome and charming young man in such a short time, aided, no doubt, by the splicing procedure he underwent not a week ago. Remember those animal people we saw on the evening news? Well, Harry had the same thing done. I won't spoil it for you, but I will be sure to send you a picture of his new look in my next letter, and you will no doubt convince Mama to enlarge it and stick it in a place of pride amongst all the other Boy-Who-Lived posters on your bedroom walls.
Such an adorable crush you have, little sister!
I spent an enjoyable time with him shopping for our new clothes, aided by another new friend of ours, Nymphadora Tonks. Such a lovely name, but for some reason she prefers to be called by her family name alone. Regardless, she is a quirky and very likable, if a little clumsy, Auror. She also happens to be a mimic, or a metamorphmagus, as they say in Britain; she made it a point to change hairstyle and colour at least once an hour.
I hope I am not reading too much into the past few days, but the three of us are fast becoming very close friends, so much so that I might just invite the pair of them to spend the Christmas holidays with our family in the Alps.
Well, I believe that is everything I have to write about at the moment. I will try to write more often, and I will come home and visit once I have found a more permanent residence.
Give my love to everybody at home, work hard in your lessons, and try and behave yourself for Papa and Mama!
Setting her quill aside, Fleur studied the finished letter with a critical eye before folding it neatly and tucking it under the fruit bowl so it didn't blow away. Checking the clock inside, Fleur noticed that she still had plenty of time to eat and get dressed for her first day at work.
As she picked a nicely ripened banana out of the bowl and began peeling, Fleur couldn't help wondering what Harry and Tonks were up to at just that moment...
Enjoy, you crazy monkies!
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