beyond beauty

This snippet from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince never fails makes me tear……

‘Bill,’ whispered Mrs Weasley, darting past Professor McGonagall as she caught sight of Bill’s mangled face. ‘Oh, Bill!’

Lupin and Tonks had got up hastily and retreated so that Mr and Mrs Weasley could get nearer to the bed. Mrs Weasley bent over her son and pressed her lips to his bloody forehead.

‘You said Greyback attacked him?’ Mr Weasley asked Professor McGonagall distractedly. ‘But he hadn’t transformed? So what does that mean? What will happen to Bill?’

‘We don’t yet know,’ said Professor McGonagall, looking helplessly at Lupin.

‘There will probably be some contamination, Arthur,’ said Lupin. ‘It is an odd case, possibly unique … we don’t know what his behaviour might be like when he wakes up …’

Mrs Weasley took the nasty-smelling ointment from Madam Pomfrey and began dabbing at Bill’s wounds.

‘And Dumbledore …’ said Mr Weasley. ‘Minerva, is it true … is he really …?’

As Professor McGonagall nodded, Harry felt Ginny move beside him and looked at her. Her slightly narrowed eyes were fixed upon Fleur, who was gazing down at Bill with a frozen expression on her face.

‘Dumbledore gone,’ whispered Mr Weasley, but Mrs Weasley had eyes only for her eldest son; she began to sob, tears falling on to Bill’s mutilated face.

‘Of course, it doesn’t matter how he looks … it’s not r – really important … but he was a very handsome little b – boy … always very handsome … and he was g – going to be married!’

‘And what do you mean by zat?’ said Fleur suddenly and loudly. ‘What do you mean, ‘he was going to be married?’

Mrs Weasley raised her tear-stained face, looking startled. ‘Well – only that –’

‘You theenk Bill will not wish to marry me anymore?’ demanded Fleur. ‘You theenk, because of these bites, he will not love me?’

‘No, that’s not what I –’

‘Because ‘e will!’ said Fleur, drawing herself up to her full height and throwing back her long mane of silver hair. ‘It would take more zan a werewolf to stop Bill loving me!’

‘Well, yes, I’m sure,’ said Mrs Weasley, ‘but I thought perhaps – given how – how he –’

‘You thought I would not weesh to marry him? Or per’aps, you ‘oped?’ said Fleur, her nostrils flaring. ‘What do I care how ‘e looks? I am good-looking enough for both of us, I theenk! All these scars show is zat my husband is brave! And I shall do zat!’ she added fiercely, pushing Mrs Weasley aside and snatching the ointment from her.

Mrs Weasley fell back against her husband and watched Fleur mopping up Bill’s wounds with a most curious expression upon her face. Nobody said anything; Harry did not dare move. Like everybody else, he was waiting for the explosion.

‘Our Great Auntie Muriel,’ said Mrs Weasley after a long pause, ‘has a very beautiful tiara – goblin-made – which I am sure I could persuade her to lend you for the wedding. She is very fond of Bill, you know, and it would look lovely with your hair.’

‘Thank you,” said Fleur stiffly. “I am sure zat will be lovely.’

And then, Harry did not quite see how it happened – both women were crying and hugging each other. Completely bewildered, wondering whether the world had gone mad, he turned around: Ron looked as stunned as he felt and Ginny and Hermione were exchanging startled looks.

J K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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