Ron rounded a corner on his way to Transfiguration to find that someone else had the same idea, but in the opposite direction. Books tumbled to the floor and the person Ron had hit did as well. “Are you ok?” Ron bent to collect the fallen books.
Pansy Parkinson flicked her hair out of her face with annoyance and replied, “I’m fine, as if you care.” Getting to her feet and taking her books from Ron, she added, “Why is it I fall down every time I’m around you?”
“Not every time,” Ron assured her hurriedly. “Sometimes it’s you causing me pain.”
Frosty bells sang through the hallway. Ron began to walk, Pansy alongside him, his feet automatically tracing the route to his classroom. After wondering briefly why Pansy was still there, he remembered it was her classroom, too.
“I have been seeing a lot of you lately,” Pansy commented mildly. “It’s almost as if you’re stalking me.”
“I am not!” Ron frowned down at her.
She simply shrugged and hugged her books tighter to her chest. They stopped outside the classroom door, Pansy sizing up the situation inside as students found seats. Ron simply studied her for a moment, chest still a little sore from where the books she had been carrying had poked him. He found it surprising how happy he was to see her.
After a moment, Pansy realized Ron was looking at her. She glanced down at herself quickly, then back at him. “What?” she demanded sharply.
Ron shook his head, “Nothing.” He motioned to the door with an arm. After a slight hesitation, Pansy walked through. Ron headed to his usual seat to the left of Harry, realizing with surprise Pansy was still following him. When Ron sat and she dropped her books on the desk to his left, he finally asked, “What are you doing?”
“I heard we work in partners today and I don’t feel like moving.”
“What?” Ron gave her a confused look.
“You know if we’re going to work in partners, we’ll end up together. I don’t know why; it’s like a curse of late.” Pansy shrugged and slipped into the seat.
“Oh,” stated Ron intelligently. After a moment he added, “I thought you might have been stalking me.”
Pansy arched one eyebrow and smirked – a look Ron was sure she must have worked hard to make appear both completely evil and almost cute. “You wish.” He wasn’t quite sure what to say to that, as, at the moment, he was thinking being stalked by Pansy Parkinson might not be the worst thing in the world.
A little while later it turned out Pansy had been right; they did have to work in partners and he and Pansy were paired together. This, Ron mused as Pansy took a turn at their pineapple, might have been because they were sitting next to each other, but he didn’t much feel like pointing that out.
Pansy threw down her wand with an exclamation of, “I give up! This pineapple doesn’t want to be a bloody tissue box!” Ron laughed at her words and Pansy gave him the tiniest of grudging smiles. “I think it’s your turn again,” she told him with the air of someone handing over a particularly disgusting task and feeling all too pleased with herself.
“Alright,” Ron submitted, picking up his wand and waving it half-heartedly at the pineapple before them. Nothing happened. He shrugged, “Ah well, the next time I need to blow my nose and have an extra pineapple laying around, I guess I’ll be out of luck.”
Pansy laughed her tinkling-bell laugh, but this time it didn’t feel so cold. “But you won’t be hungry,” she pointed out with amusement.
Ron shook his head, “Oh yes I will. I’ve never figured out how to cut these things.” He motioned to the pineapple.
Pansy clapped a hand over her mouth to smother her giggle, light brown eyes sparkling with amusement. When she had removed her hand, she picked up her wand and said only a little sarcastically, “Here, I’ll show you so you don’t starve.” She murmured the cutting charm and proceeded to carve the pineapple in several slices. Juice leaked across the desk. Finished cutting, Pansy picked up on of the newly cut slices and took a bite. “Mmm…”
Ron stared at the girl before him with an expression of disbelief. Wasn’t she afraid of getting in trouble? He was sure McGonnagal would not be too pleased to discover Pansy had mutilated their pineapple instead of transfiguring it like they were supposed to be doing. “Aren’t you afraid of getting in trouble for not doing what we’re supposed to be doing?”
Pansy stopped nibbling on her pineapple to give Ron a look that he was almost sure meant something beyond his comprehension. “Sometimes I just do what I want because I want to do it,” she told him. She picked up another piece of pineapple from the desk and offered it to Ron. When he hesitated she scoffed, “Live a little, Gryffindor.”
Ron took the pineapple and took a bite. It was very good even though its sticky juice ran down his chin. Pansy watched him eat with a strange expression of satisfaction on her face.
“Can I have some?”
Ron glanced up to see Millicent Bulstrode standing over their desk, looking with interest at the slices of pineapple.
She added, “Granger already made our unsuitable for consumption.”
Pansy waved a hand at the pineapple. “Sure.”
Millicent helped herself, and then addressed Pansy, “So Nott asked me to the Yule Ball.”
“No!” Pansy exclaimed with disbelief. Then she smirked smugly, “Does he know that you know that he already asked me?”
Millicent shrugged, “I don’t know, probably not. It’s not like it matters; he wasn’t my first choice either.”
“So,” asked Millicent casually, “why haven’t you accepted anyone’s offer yet? Who are you waiting – ow!” Millicent dropped her pineapple on the desk and bent down to clutch her shin. “What the bloody hell was that for?”
“You talk too much,” sneered Pansy elegantly. She gave Millicent a strange, slightly angry look, which Ron did not quite understand. Millicent returned Pansy’s look with another, different, yet equally incomprehensible look and left soon after.
Ron had been right: McGonnagal was very angry. She gave them both a three foot essay to write on the spell they had not done on the pineapple and instructed them to come the next week having mastered it. Pansy, however, had also been right, Ron decided. As he followed Pansy out of the Transfiguration classroom, he could still taste the pineapple in his mouth and felt strangely satisfied. He walked along for a minute, unsure why he was so happy of late.
Pansy stopped suddenly and Ron bumped into her.
“Ooff!” Ron exclaimed, bouncing back slightly and struggling to regain his balance.
Pansy spun around. “Why are you still following me?” she demanded.
Ron looked around him; they were a hallway away from the Transfiguration classroom. Ron frowned, “I don’t know.” They regarded each other for a few moments before Ron asked, “Why have you turned everyone down?”
Pansy studied her nails as she replied, “I’m not really sure. I guess it just didn’t feel right. How about you? Had to beat ‘em off with a stick?” she smirked.
Ron shook his head, “I haven’t asked anyone yet.”
“We have talked about how difficult it must be for you to find someone willing to stoop low enough to go with a Gryffindor.” Pansy shrugged.
“I could have asked someone!” replied Ron indignantly. “I just didn’t have anyone I wanted to ask.” He wondered what it was about her that could make him so angry, yet make him not want to see her go.
“Oh.” They studied each other for a few seconds, and then Pansy summed it up, “So I haven’t been asked by anyone I want to go with yet and you haven’t found anyone you want to ask yet.”
Ron swallowed. The image of swirling pink and midnight-blue dress robes danced before his eyes. “I didn’t say I haven’t found anyone I want to ask.”
Ron’s mind spun frantically. Just ask her, you fool! he thought desperately. But this is Pansy Parkinson we’re talking about, he reminded himself. Slytherin extraordinaire. Why would she want to go with me? For that matter, why do I want to go with her? Ron couldn’t answer any of those questions, so he just stood there, mind spinning with memories from the past week. Somehow all of them consisted of frosty bells.
Finally Pansy said slowly, “Alright then, I better go. Good luck finding some sucker to go with you.” Her voice was sarcastic and a little bitter. She turned and continued down the hall.
Ron watched her go, aware that the farther she away she got, the easier it was to breathe. Ah well, he thought, there’s another one to cross off the list. The only problem was now the list was empty. Suddenly it hit him: there never had been anyone else on the list – not for him, not really. There hadn’t been since the night after the list was written, when he had looked it over and decided, for whatever reason, not to cross of her name. Standing there, watching her walk away, it hit him – bam! Just like he had told Harry it would. Ron decided breathing was overrated anyway.
Pansy was all the way to the end of the hall when Ron called, “Wait!”
She stopped in the process of turning the corner to look back at him. “What?” she asked, with the air of someone who had somewhere else to be.
Ron opened his mouth, but all that came out was a small “er….” He shut it, took a deep breath, and tried again. “If you don’t have anyone else you want to go with, do you want to go to the ball with me?”
Time stood frozen for what seemed like eternity. Finally Pansy answered simply, “Ok.” When Ron just stood there, looking at her with an expression of mild surprise, she added, in the same expressionless voice, “I’ll meet you in the Entrance Hall at a few minutes to eight. You know we’ll clash horribly, right?”
Ron nodded quickly, “I know.”
“Alright.” Pansy disappeared around the corner, leaving Ron standing in the empty hallway, wondering vaguely if he had any idea what had just happened and not caring if he didn’t in the least.
* * * * * * *
The Entrance Hall was beautiful; finely sparkling tinsel wrapped the banisters of the main staircase and the ceiling glittered with thousands of tiny icicles. Ron noticed none of it. He was too busy pacing a tight circle on the tiled floor and wondering for the millionth time, whatever had he been thinking? She would never come. It had all been one huge joke. She was probably in her common room right now, laughing at him with her real, Slytherin date, and planning how she could best use this to humiliate him. But she’s wrong there, Ron thought wryly. She can tell whoever she wants; it’s not going to make it any worse.
Harry gripped his friend’s shoulder. “Ron, you’ve got to stop or Filch will come out and make you replace the tiles you’ve worn through.” He was wearing a pair of plain black dress robes and a slightly exasperated expression.
“I don’t think he would,” Luna replied mistily. “He rushed past a few minutes ago…something about a pair of first years who knocked over one of the large Christmas trees in the Great Hall.” Luna gave the Great Hall doors a slightly curious look, as though she expected see through them to the drama beyond. She was looking exceptionally pale in the sparkling light of the hall, light blonde hair standing out against her bright blue dress robes, accented by large, Christmas-ornament earrings and matching necklace.
Ron had stopped pacing and was staring, too, at the doors to the Great Hall. His expression was not one of curiosity, however, but one of dread. “Where’s Hermione?” he asked dully.
“She’s already in there,” Harry answered, although he knew Ron wasn’t really listening.
Harry was proved right when a few seconds later Ron whispered, “What was I thinking?”
Suddenly Harry nudged Ron’s arm. “Look alive, mate.”
Ron spun frantically to see the cause of his panic emerging from a dungeon stairwell. Pansy wore a pair of light pink dress robes that flowed as she walked. Her light brown hair was twisted up at the back of her head and seemed to sparkle as she moved. But then, Ron supposed, he could be hallucinating from panic. She had not being fooling him, and he was considering that this might be worse.
Pansy glided over to him and, saying nothing, inspected him as though she were deciding if a dress fit properly enough to buy. Finally she said coolly, “I was right. Midnight-blue doesn’t look completely horrible.”
Ron stared down at her. “Er, thanks…I guess.” She gave him a sharp nod and waited. After a moment Ron gathered that he was supposed to say something nice back, if what she had said could be considered nice. “You look…er…I mean…your hair’s sparkly,” he finished lamely.
She smirked. “Brilliant observation, Weasley.” She turned her head this way and that, making the sparkles in her hair flash. “Just blinding, aren’t I?” she asked sarcastically.
Ron nodded a little, “Yeah.”
Frost covered bells rang for a moment. They regarded each other for a few seconds before she asked, “Are you sure about this? No one in there’s going to be too happy.” She nodded at the Great Hall.
Ron shrugged. “Since when have you cared about making other people happy?”
She gave another short laugh. “Very true. But,” she added seriously, “you do know we may kill each other.”
“I know,” Ron shrugged again.
“And some stupid, innocent, little Hufflepuff may be blinded by the way my dress robes clash with your hair.”
“Since when do you care about Hufflepuffs?”
Pansy gave a not-quite-friendly smile. “Alright then. One way or another, the hospital wing will be full tonight.”
“Let’s just hope it doesn’t include us,” Ron added, attempting a smile back.
“Oh,” Pansy replied, “I don’t know about that. This ball could be dreadfully dull; we may need a little excitement to keep things interesting.”
Ron wasn’t sure if she was kidding, but he decided he didn’t want to ask. “Well, er, shall we go then?” He awkwardly offered her his arm. She took it with a frosty laugh. Ron made his way toward the ball he had thought would be his downfall, accompanied by the girl he now knew would be. The Great Hall doors opened and they entered arm and arm.
Her dress robes clashed horribly with his hair.
Well, there you have it. The last installment in this three part series that took me forever to post. I hope you all liked it! If you did, all I ask is that you take five seconds of your time to type “I liked it” in the review box and let me know (if you didn’t feel free to say so, too). If you would be willing to say more I will seriously hang on your every written word, but due to my terrible updating skills I won’t be greedy.
Thank you so much for reading and have a very wonderful morning/afternoon/evening/night!!
Hearts to everyone,
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