***WARNING: DH SPOILERS***
Challenge Fifteen: Deathly Hallows Missing Scenes
Title: Letters of Love
Wizard/Witch: Fred Weasley/Cecile Argent (Veela cousin)
Word count: 1,432
DH Chapter: Chapter 24 -- The Wandmaker
Summary: The bundle of letters is held together with a pale blue ribbon which Cecile had once worn in her silvery blonde hair.
“Oi, Fred, get in here quick!”
His twin’s call has Fred rolling off his bed, taking only a second to close the lid of the small wooden box he has just opened, and rushing into the small shared living space of their flat.
In the middle of the admittedly messy living room, a silvery wolf is pacing restlessly back and forth across the rug. It sits after he arrives, and its mouth opens, tongue lolling slightly. The voice of his eldest brother, Bill, fills the small flat.
“The seventh son is in the oyster. Lost Free Sock. Don’t come, will be in touch.”
For a second, before the entirety of the message sinks in, the twins grin at each other. All of this espionage code and sneaking about is right up their alley, so to speak.
The seventh son is obvious — that is Harry, who they all know is like another son to Molly Weasley. The Oyster is Shell Cottage. Free Sock is the name of their spy within Hogwarts, the ever-loyal Dobby. Their grins fade as they realize just what they have lost, though Harry is safe.
They curse simultaneously, the same series of words, but even that familiar oddity doesn’t cheer them. A silence settles like a winged demon perching on the mantle, heavy and ominous, bringing in darkness and depression.
"I'm going to my room," Fred says after a long moment.
"Writing Cee-Cee?" George asks with a lightness that is weighted with the effort of trying to change the dark mood. The attempt falls flat, an unheard clang of gloom against forced levity.
"Oui, Cecile," Fred replies. He knows that his twin has no idea what to think about his preoccupation with her. Fred isn't sure how to explain it himself. She simply obsesses his thoughts; he dreams of her face and anticipates her letters.
He leaves his one-eared brother on the couch and retreats to his bedroom, closing the door. He has to be grateful that Aunt Muriel disliked them enough that his mother was willing to let them get a private -- if well protected -- flat when it became clear that the Weasley clan was in danger. He closes his door and sits back on the bed in front of the wooden box.
His fingers caress the smooth, satin texture of the lid for a moment before opening it. Inside is a bundle of letters held together with a pale blue ribbon that had once been worn in Cecile's soft, silvery hair. He withdraws the parchments, fingers tugging the ribbon loose gently. He smoothes it out almost obsessively until every crease and wrinkle disappears.
It is ritual by now, these steps. He flips through the letters. Some days he reads them all again; others, just certain ones. He goes past a few, but pulls out one, carefully unfolding it.
I miss you. How silly is that? How can I miss someone who I have only spent a few hours with? But I am missing you, regardless.
I am also hoping that you are safe. You say so little about what is being going on there, but the papers I get -- the Prophet, it is not the only paper on the continent -- they are saying awful things about what is going on in your country. After what happened at the wedding, too, I am being scared for you.
We (Celine and me) went to the market yesterday, and I bought a pretty new scarf. It is bright blue, just like your eyes. I remember your eyes — the prettiest colour I have ever seen. Celine, she teases me that it is my favourite colour.
It is getting colder here now. I think it is even worse where you are?
Is there any way that I will ‘a bientôt’? Vous promised moi, remember? If you could come visit… or I can visit maybe? I am missing you.
My mother, she is calling. Write soon.
Fred folds it again after rereading the portion about her favourite colour. She is so sweet and refreshingly innocent sometimes, he thinks. It’s a balm to his soul during these troubled times.
The next piece of folded parchment is the dearest one in the group and the most worn one as well. He is careful of the worn creases as he opens it.
This is a short note, but I am wanting to let you know that I am back in France safely. I so enjoyed visiting you, though it was after Christmas.
I want to see you again, mon couer. Je t’aime, Fred, please be safe. I cannot wait to see you again — after finding myself loving you so much, I want to see you again though I have just left.
Je t’aime. A bientôt,
Long, freckled fingers trace those words again. That visit, that dangerous visit… He should not have allowed it, but he couldn’t resist. She’d come after Christmas and stayed two days. George had covered for them. They had deepened their relationship so quickly, but not just physically. All of the sudden those emotions that the letters had started just fell into place, like ruffled feathers smoothing out until one individual was indistinguishable from the rest.
Fred never expected to fall in love, let alone with a French half-Veela girl who was atypically shy. He doubts that she had expected to find love with him, either, but they dared not question it.
The spring has never been so long as this one. Fred sighs, feeling all of the burdens of this war settling over him: the loss of their ally, the worry for Harry, for the rest of his family. The worry that he’ll never see Cecile again, that somehow something would happen to her.
There are more letters after that, but he carefully packs them all back in the box, retying the ribbon carefully. He wants -- no, needs to write her.
He grabs the ink pot, parchment, and quill from the bedside table. Wet, black ink shines on the tip of the quill for a brief moment as he thinks and then touches tip to paper.
My dearest Cecile,
I miss you. Today has been one of those days, cheri. One of those sad days that I’ve told you about.
They’d come up with a code when she’d visited. Fred had treated it like a game, but Cecile, for all her village-girl innocence, had sensed the underlying seriousness.
No one you’ve met, don’t worry. Merlin’s beard, I wish you were here.
I wishYour safety is more important, though, so stay put at your mother’s. I have a million things I want to say, but I sit down to write them and they escape me.
So all I can say is I miss you and I love you. I hope to see your beautiful face soon. Until then, I am always yours.
He writes the letter and then stares, feeling completely inadequate. A letter doesn’t seem to convey the emotions inside him that bubble up and boil over when he thinks of her. It makes him giddy, like champagne, yet comforted, like a warm blanket in front of the fire during winter.
Being in love is a lot harder than he ever thought it would be. And this war, the necessity for secrecy — something he has formerly enjoyed — seems to hamper and cage him, keeping him from what he truly wants: her. Her presence, her safety, her soft skin and silky hair. Her lilting, accented voice laughing and talking, sighing and moaning.
He seals the letter lovingly and sets it to one side to send soon. He moves to close the lid of the wooden box, but his fingers linger, touching the pale ribbon once more. Impulsively he unties it again, taking it completely off and lifting it to touch his lips. He imagines that he can still smell the heady scent of her hair, though he knows it’s been too long.
Instead of replacing it again, he tucks it into his pocket, patting it to make sure it will stay in place.
The breeze blows mournfully through the hole in the castle wall. The body is gone, hidden away until it can be fetched and prepared for burial. Amid the tumble of stones that still litters the hallway, something flutters. The fingers of the wind pluck at it, pulling part of it loose.
Marred only by a single drop of blood, the frayed end of a pale blue ribbon dances and twists as if yearning to return to the one to whom it belongs.
Author's Notes: Thanks to seaislewitch and somigliana for their feedback and words of encouragement. This is a follow-up piece to A Bientôt.