***WARNING: DH SPOILERS***
Title: Letter of Loss
Wizard/Witch: Fred Weasley/Cecile Argent (veela cousin)
Rating/Warnings: PG-13, character death
Word count: 1,037
Summary: Cecile is informed of Fred’s death.
Celine’s mother was going out of her mind when she got home. “Maman, Maman, Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?” Celine asks. Mother, mother, what is the matter? She grabs her mother’s arm. Her devastatingly beautiful mother is frantic, normally sleek and perfect hair mussed and mascara faintly smudged. “Qu'est-ce qu'il y a, Maman?” she repeats, making sure the veela woman heard her the first time.
“Cecile … somet’ing is wrong with our Cecile. She was getting a letter and then …” Her mother degenerates into a babble of French that even a native speaker like Celine is hard put to understand. It is equally troubling to the half-veela that Maman makes no comment on the scantiness of her clothing and the hickey already visible on her neck.
Celine feels her heart constrict, worry for her younger, shyer sister settling in place like a plump cat on her chest, making it harder to breathe. Though she knows she should comfort her mother, she whirls out of the kitchen and rushes up the stairs, not even bothering to kick off her high, stiletto heels.
Her younger sister always acts like the strong one in their family, but Cecile knows how tender her heart is and how fragile her emotions. If Cecile has done something to upset her mother this much, there has to be something dreadful wrong.
“Cecile? Cecile! Where are you, mon petit?” she calls out. She needn’t have bothered, for the sound of muted, pained keening is audible from the room the sisters have shared all of their lives.
She tries to enter but is nearly knocked over at the threshold by an invisible barrier. Celine clings to the door jamb and surveys the scene. Cecile is kneeling in the middle of her bed, a savage look of grief twisting her face. Celine had never before seen so clearly their shared veela heritage evident in her sister, who was usually the calmest of all the cousins.
Cecile’s face is sharply defined, skin seeming almost moonlight-silver it was so pale. Not quite the bird-like face of a full veela, but it is sharp, stark, and altogether not how her sister is supposed to look. She rocks as she sobs, clutching something—the letter, Celine assumes—to her chest.
“Cecile. Cecile! It eez me … il est moi, c’est Celine, Cecile.”
The girl did not seem to hear her or even know that she is there. The stark, viciously beautiful planes of her cheeks are streaked with tears. Objects are whirling in the air; Cecile has not lost control of her magic since she was a little girl; that she is upset enough to do so now is very telling.
Finally, some of Celine’s words seem to make it through to Cecile. Pale blue eyes—Celine has always envied the colour—meet the darker, plainer (though still beautiful) blue, and the objects seem to slow, falter, and finally drop. The lines of her face soften but don’t completely smooth out.
After a moment, Celine is able to enter the room, and she rushes over to her little sister, wanting to pull her close but unsure whether or not her touch will be welcome. Her quandary is solved when Cecile clutches at her arm, leaning against her side. Celine wraps her arms tightly around the younger girl, tucking her neatly under her chin. She ignores the stiletto heel that is poking into her thigh from how she’s sitting; she ignores everything but her terribly distraught sister.
“Qu'est-ce qu'il y a?” she asks her, voice as gentle the softest ocean breeze. There was no immediate answer, unless the trembling sobs counted. After another minute, Celine carefully plucks at the parchment that is still tightly held on one hand.
It takes a little bit of coaxing before Celine can take the parchment from the clutched fist, and some awkward maneuvering to keep the embrace while smoothing it out. For a moment she thinks she won’t be able to read it at all, but finally it is smooth enough. She recognizes her cousin Fleur’s handwriting, though it is much shakier than she can recall ever seeing it.
I am afraid I am writing this letter with the heaviest of hearts. I know that you and my brother-in-law, Fred, have been exchanging many letters in the months since I was married. He often asked me of you, as you have of him.
Oh, Cecile, I do not know how to say this. He spoke of the war, I am sure. Or perhaps not. I do not know what passed between the two of you.
Désolé, chéri. Fred is dead—he died in the final battle against Voldemort, the evil man I have told you of. I thought you should know that his funeral is in three days. I hope you will come, I know you cared for him very much. I have enclosed a Port Key that will bring you here. Bill says you can stay with us for as long as you wish.
I am so very, very sorry.
A bientôt, your cousin,
“Oh … oh oh oh.” It takes a second to sink in, but tears fill her eyes as she realizes what this means, particularly to her sister. Celine has been the one that Cecile has been confiding in; it is Celine who covered for Cecile when she sneaked to England over the holidays to visit, and who listened to the woes and joys of the relationship … who knew how deeply Cecile loves Fred. “Désolé, oh Cecile, désolé.”
She rocks her sister, kisses her brow, and murmurs nonsense words until finally, exhausted from her outburst, Cecile drops off to sleep. Celine tucks her in gently, smoothing back the silvery whirlwind of hair that storms across the pillow. “Oh, chéri. My most precious sister. This should not ‘ave ever ‘appened to you. Not you.”
Tears cloud her own eyes as she rises, and she nearly breaks an ankle as she stumbles. She had lost feeling in her feet as she sat, and her shoes make it even more dangerous. She steadies herself and dashes tears from her cheeks. It is her turn to be strong for her sister.
A/N: Thanks to redvelvetcanopy for beta-ing and proofreading this. Any errors left are mine. Oh, and all the French is courtesy of Babelfish. Let me know what you think of this!
I might, at some point, write a middle portion, and perhaps the funeral, that goes along with this. I'm not sure yet, we'll see if the muse is willing at some point.