The first time Bill and Fleur fought over money, it was when Fleur was pregnant with their first child.
Fleur, of course, wanted to relocate to France for the birth and for Victoire’s first year at least; she wanted to be near her mother, to be sure, but she also wanted France’s excellent maternity and postnatal care, including la rééducation périnéale and that very special wand designed for new mothers.
Bill wanted to stay where they were, near his own family, in the cottage that had been handed down to them like everything else in the Weasley clan. His mother hadn’t needed a wand to bear seven children. His mother hadn’t gone out and purchased new baby clothes and new toys, all items that Fleur was happily stacking in Shell Cottage without bothering to consult him beforehand.
“We’ll get plenty of hand-me-downs,” he told her, “from my mother.”
“I don’t want hand-me-downs from your mother,” Fleur replied.
The two of them had once thought they were exactly the same, both of them carrying a streak of magical creature within them that set Bill and Fleur apart from their peers; now they were realizing just how different they were.
Everything Fleur spent made Bill worry that there wouldn’t be enough left. Every expense Bill protested against made Fleur worry that he didn’t understand that they didn’t have to live like he did growing up. That, in fact, she did not want a home like The Burrow, which she viewed as sloppy and cheap and uncomfortable.
Bill wanted Fleur to stay at home, like his mother had done. Fleur wanted to hire a nanny and go back to work. They both thought parenthood would change them, but in different ways; each of them made the mistake of thinking they would recreate what they valued in their own families, instead of creating a new family with its own values.
There was a second fight brewing underneath this initial one: the type of fight that takes months to fully bloom and changes everything when it finally transforms from thoughts into words. Bill thought Fleur had grown up with a life of privilege. Fleur had always believed that her home and family were quite average. But Fleur’s arguments that she, too, had been required to earn her own pocket money and occasionally pass clothing down to her sister held no weight against Bill’s accusations that her family vacations, international travel, even the small-but-chic apartment in which Fleur spent her childhood were all indications that she could not fathom real life, that she had no resources to deal with their current financial situation.
“So let’s not make it our current financial situation,” Fleur screamed back. “Let me go back to work, and maybe you’ll try to get a job that pays enough so we don’t have to argue over this!”
In the end they both lost. Bill made more and more excuses to travel to Egypt and break curses, and Fleur found herself still at Shell Cottage, now with three children. Neither of them had the life they wanted; Fleur ached for the home she had hoped to build, and Bill simply missed his home.
Previously: Neville Longbottom