Title: A Matter of Life and Death
Author: Carol Anne Caiafa
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Hannah/Gabrielle; implied Fleur/Pansy and past
Hannah/Justin and Hannah/Pansy
Word Count: 1,626
Author's Notes: Contains flangst and some slight
dark imagery. Many thanks to my beta, who wishes to remain anonymous.
Summary: Post-war AU. Hannah’s meddling nearly causes more trouble
than she bargained for…
I sigh deeply and pull the covers over my sleepy little son, stroking his
soft blond curls and watching his eyelashes flutter and his cheeks flush.
His tiny thumb slips into his mouth as he begins to doze off. I don’t know
how long I stay by Doyle’s side, but it doesn’t seem like long enough. My
hands clench and my breathing is shallow as I thank heaven again and again
that we are both safe, and that I am together with my loved ones. My Doyle
and my Gabi, the most precious beings in my universe, bar none.
From the corner of my eye I see Gabrielle pause in the doorway momentarily
before slipping off again. I catch a glimpse of her face and her expression
is still set and stony. It’s obvious she doesn’t want to speak to me, and my
heart begins to hammer again. The illusion of safety that I had built up
mere moments before is shattered. My mouth goes dry and I force myself to
keep my eyes on my darling little boy. Miserably, I wonder if my meddling
has cost me too dear this time. It was all my own fault – I put my own life,
Doyle’s and Gabrielle’s in danger, and this ghastly mistake may have lost me
Gabi’s love for good.
Gabrielle – it would be bitterness beyond belief to lose her. I spent so
long wanting her, waiting and longing and hoping she felt the same about me.
It was like a slow ascent, our meeting and getting to know each other, a
gradual unfolding of our hearts. Not the almost instantaneous affection
mixed with friendship that I felt for Doyle’s father Justin, or the heated
and almost forbidden flares of passion that I experienced with my first
female lover, Pansy Parkinson. This was hoping and awkwardness, tossing
fitfully on my pillow at night, wondering if the smiles and small touches on
my arm, the lowered eyes and purred French endearments meant what I wanted
them to, or were just some tortuous Veela game. I’m reasonably confident
most of the time, but even though the erotic tension between Gabi and I was
almost palpable at times, I doubted myself. She was so graceful and sensual,
with her bright eyes and silky white-blonde hair, and I felt myself clumsy
and ordinary by comparison. And she was, and is, so brave and glamorous –
she became an Auror, no less, while I have a rather dull, though well
paying, job in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Office, and am a single mother
with a young son. But she came to me, and she loved me, and I was in seventh
heaven. It felt like an angel had touched me, when I lay in the arms of this
glorious woman who was named for an archangel.
Regretfully I slip from Doyle’s bedroom and go to try and get some rest on
the sofa. If Gabi is going to confront me, I would rather it isn’t in our
room, our place of repose and love with its calming pale pink draperies and
the gentle fragrance of incense. However, Gabrielle is nowhere in sight – I
can’t sense her anywhere in the house – and I wonder if she’s used the Floo
to go out, to leave entirely. I feel suddenly cold and lonely, curling up in
a ball with a cushion cradled in my arms, shivering slightly as I recall the
events of the day.
Gabi had recently told me of her sister Fleur’s interest in women, which had
increased since Fleur’s divorce from Bill Weasley. It was meant to be in
strictest confidence, but I immediately was tempted to start plotting,
interfering and matchmaking. I’d managed to pair up a couple of old school
friends and find a husband for a cousin of mine, so of course I couldn’t
resist this chance to stick my nose into Gabrielle’s family affairs. All for
the best, I convinced myself. All I wanted was for everybody to be happy
like me… although the last thing I want right now is for anyone to feel the
way I do this very moment.
So I took a day’s leave from work, and Doyle and I set out to pay a visit to
my ex-girlfriend, Pansy. I had this vision in my mind of Pansy, so
adventurous and daring in her amorous pursuits, as the ideal life partner
for someone as lovely and exotic as Fleur. So surely I could persuade Pansy,
with her fondness for a challenge, to send Fleur an owl asking her out? I
certainly had enough confidence in myself to believe that I could.
I had heard that Pansy was staying at a luxurious dwelling far from any
urban areas… she was lying low, cleared from any Death Eater associations
but strategically waiting to make a re-entrance into polite society at a
later date. Although the war against the Dark Lord was long over and
You-Know-Who defeated and killed by Harry Potter, there were still
fragmented groups of Death Eaters making the odd sporadic attack, causing
trouble in the hopes of establishing a new Dark Lord or Lady.
I should have known that travelling unaccompanied, except for a
four-year-old, at this time was too dangerous (and I was insane beyond
belief to take Doyle with me, I know, but Gabrielle was working and I
couldn’t leave him on his own). It would have been better to send my ex a
letter or talk via the fireplace, but I was determined to take a Portkey to
Pansy’s home and talk to my old flame face to face. Although there had been
no deaths yet, there had been the odd skirmish between Aurors and Death
Eaters in the area toward which I was headed. But I was too intent on my
purpose, or too stubborn and pig-headed more like, to pay any heed.
Everything would be fine, I rationalised. There had been no attacks for
months. And, to be brutally honest, I hoped that Pansy would have
chocolates. The luxurious, melt in the mouth, liqueur filled kind that I
felt too guilty to buy for myself most of the time, as I struggled to keep
my figure trim.
The moment we arrived before Pansy’s house I knew something was wrong. Pansy
was nowhere to be seen. A stench of rot hung in the air, and a strange aura
of dark magic. Feeling suddenly panicked, I had only the barest minute to
scoop Doyle into my arms and run like hell towards a small dusty tool-shed.
I barricaded the door with whatever I could grab, and crouched in a corner,
my son clinging to me and whimpering. I had only caught a glimpse of what
was lurching across the grounds towards us, but I knew that I had to get us
away. Hide somewhere, and have my wand at the ready… I struggled to remember
a suitable fire spell as I held Doyle tight and withdrew my wand from my
Inferi, the walking dead, zombies… whatever you wish to call them, they were
out there and coming for us. I didn’t know how they got there or which Death
Eaters had called them forth, but there they were. I felt sick to my
stomach, my flesh creeping as I imagined their hideous sunken eyes and their
bony hands. Fearsome thuds echoed from the shed’s wooden walls and the
window splintered and broke. Fleshless white fingers reached through the
broken glass, held back only by rusty bars. I aimed a blast of flame towards
the invading hand, fearing all the while that I might set fire to our hiding
place and roast us alive.
“Mummy, I’m scared!” Doyle sobbed, and I braced myself to defend us as the
thumping sounds intensified and I heard the sickening noise of the walls
beginning to split. They gave way with a resounding crunch, and I stood and
pushed Doyle behind me as the ghastly white figures loomed all round us…
… to be consumed by an almighty whoosh of flames sent forth by the Aurors’
wands. In the smoke and confusion, I didn’t recognise most of our rescuers,
but I saw the pink spiked hair of Tonks, the tall frame of Kingsley
Shacklebolt, and a slight and slender shape that could only be my darling
Gabrielle. My beautiful brave angel, who had miraculously come to save our
I don’t know how long I’ve lain on this couch, feeling miserable and trying,
without success, to go to sleep, but it seems like an eternity. I’m so
tensed up that I nearly don’t hear the door open and close, and soft
Gabi doesn’t look angry any more, just sad and disappointed, which is worse.
Her hair has escaped from the severe bun she usually wears it in when on
duty, and hangs around her face in wisps.
We talk for hours, voices low to stop from waking Doyle. Well, mostly she
talks and I listen. I’m the one who’s done wrong, after all. I almost got
not only myself killed, but also my baby boy – our baby boy. She’s not happy
with me, and likely to feel that way for quite some time. But at least she’s
not going to leave. She loves me far too much for that. Almost as much as I
“But if we’re going to make this work, Hannah Abbott, you have got to give
up this meddling, matchmaking habit of yours!” Gabrielle whispers fiercely
as she leans forward to capture my lips with hers in a deep and searing
It’ll be hard, a real sacrifice for somebody like me, but I will do my
best. Our family is worth it, after all.
And for those who want to read the pieces, bits and ramblings that don't fit in with my regular fanfic - I have a new journal: jigsaw_angel.