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Chapter 11 : The Masked Ball
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AN-So, I hope that this wasn’t too long a wait. Thanks for all the reviews, they really do help me get through my writer’s blocks. J I’d really appreciate all criticisms and tips. Please read, enjoy and review!
The week before the ball was filled with much excitement. Hermione arranged it so that a special spell would be put on the hall until the appropriate time. No names would be able to be uttered, that way people couldn’t tell who they are nor could they ask who someone else was. Hermione spent most of her time with Ginny and Luna, talking about the ball. No one went with dates, since the whole point was to not know who was who.
“I swear, as soon as we are allowed to tell who we are I will come find you so that you can see my dress.” Hermione promised Ginny.
“Yeah, me too. I’m so excited, I love my dress. This was a great idea!” Ginny gushed, grinning from ear to ear with excitement.
“Thanks, I’m just glad that Malfoy agreed to it. I’m really looking forward to it too!” Hermione told her.
“I bet these masks will confuse the wiffborners that usually attack people at balls.” Luna observed in her usual, lofty voice. Hermione and Ginny merely smiled and nodded slightly, used to Luna’s odd ideas by then.
“Granger!” Draco shouted up toward her room, knowing that she couldn’t come out, or else he would see what she was wearing and ruin it all.
“Yes?” She asked through her door.
“I’m just letting you know that I’m heading down to the Ball. You should head out soon if you don’t want to be late!” He turned to leave, but not before he heard her say ‘Thanks! Bye!’ through the door.
Draco was not wearing traditional dress robes. He had on black pants which he wore with an ivory suit jacket and a shiny gold tie. The suit was obviously made of expensive fabrics and matched with his jet black hair very nicely. He had even gone so far, for the sake of his identity remaining hidden, as to charm his eyes to be a clear, crystal blue. The mask he was wearing was cream with black and blue accents and designs. He made his way down to the great hall.
Hermione finally finished bunching her soft, red ringlets on top of her head in a rather nice messy bun type bundle and left her room. She was careful not to trip on her long dress.
Hermione made sure her mask was firmly in place before leaving the Heads’ Dorm. She began walking down to the entrance hall. Draco had been right, she was going to get there about three minutes after seven, officially late to the masked ball.
When she opened the door, in finally occurred to Hermione that she was setting herself up to attract even more attention then she had planned. By arriving late, everyone was seated at one of the many tables set around the dance floor, listening to the Headmaster’s speech. Every pair of eyes in the room turned to look at her. The girls looked on with envy, the boys with desire and awe.
“I see we have a late comer.” Headmaster McGonagall said, noticing Hermione’s arrival, but not knowing who she was. “Please hurry to take a seat, I am almost finished.” Hermione rushed to the nearest seat, much to the delight of the boys sitting at that table. After McGonagall finished her speech, the music started and several boys approached her.
“Hello” one of the ones closest to her said. “Want to dance?” Nervous about being surrounded by boys she did not know, Hermione declined all offers and hurried off to get a glass of punch.
“Well, you certainly fought off those boys well.” A soft, almost whispering voice said off to her left. She turned. Leaning against the wall about three feet away was a boy. He was elegantly dressed and he seemed sure of himself. He had not been in the on slot of boys who ambushed her, so she already was inclined to like him over all the rest.
“Thanks.” She said, equally quietly.
“I assure you, I can dance far better than any of them, having been taught as a young child. I would not embarrass you.” The boy observed.
“I’m sure you would not, but that is neither here nor there.” Hermione replied, unsure if the boy was asking her to dance or not.
“Seeing as how we happen to match tonight,” the boy continued, indicating their similar hues of cream, “it would be a shame if we did not dance together, at least once.” He smiled and winked.
“A shame indeed.” Hermione responded, sure this time that he was going to ask her to dance. He did not ask her, not in so many words. He merely held out his hand, jerking his head in the direction of the dance floor. A waltz like song was on.
“I don’t know how to waltz I’m afraid.” She admitted sheepishly, hating to admit inadequacy at anything. He continued to hold his hand out to her, smiling to show that it was ok. “Well” she continued, “if you insist.” She placed her glass down and took his hand.
He was an excellent dancer. It did not matter that she did not know the dance, he lead so well that she could easily follow along. Soon more people were watching them dance than dancing themselves. They were a blur of cream, black, red and blue, cream being the main color. They complimented each other so nicely that anyone who saw them simply had to stop to watch. When the song ended everyone clapped for them awkwardly. Hermione blushed and walked off the dance floor with the mystery man.
“I need to be able to address you.” She decided. “We will have to make up names for each other.” He nodded in approval.
“I will call you Emily.” He told her. She smiled, liking the name.
“And you shall be Damien.” She told him, unaware of how close that was to his actual name.
“I like it.” He said, smiling. “Well, Emily, would you like to go sit down? We could get to know each other a bit better.” Hermione gladly accepted. They sat at a table in the corner where no one would bug them. “So, mystery woman, what is your favorite color?” He said it with such a serious face and serious tone that Hermione burst out laughing when she heard the question. He smiled.
“Well, I’d have to say purple. You?”
“Brown, but don’t tell.” He whispered. Hermione laughed.
“I couldn’t if I wanted to, I don’t know your name.”
“But you will.”
“Well, in the meantime, what would you do if you could do anything?”
He seemed to really think about it for a minute. “I would erase my past and start afresh.” This time, Hermione did not laugh.
“Why? What do you hate so much about your past?” He seemed to hesitate, unsure how much to reveal. “You can tell me” Hermione assured him. “I won’t tell anyone, even after I know who you are.” That seemed to decide him.
“A lot of things I guess. There are several things that I wish that I could forget, and a few that I wish other people could forget about me.” He paused, thought it over, and continued. “I did not have a good childhood, and I wish that I could erase the bad memories from then. I ended up being forced into the wrong side during the war, and I would love for people to forget about that and not judge me by what I had very little control over. And lastly, I was raised with very strict beliefs and often wish that I could just forget all the lessons that have been inscribed into my mind.”
“You kind of sound like a guy I know. We’re not close, so I don’t know for sure if he feels this way, but I often feel bad for him because of similar reasons. You never know, maybe you’re him.” She smiled at the end, to show that she didn’t think that it would be a bad thing.
“What about you?” He said, changing the subject. “What would you do if you could do anything?” Hermione took a minute to think it over.
“I would get back the year that the war took from me.” He looked confused, so she elaborated. “Due to the way that the school was being run, I did not attend school for sixth year, and I wish that I could have that year back. The year was spent fighting the war and I wish that I could have spent it at school, learning, getting to know more people, all sorts of stuff. I am finally realizing how short life really is, and I just wish that I could have that year back again to spend it differently.” He seemed to understand much better. Suddenly, the dark sky of a ceiling above them showed them that it had begun to rain. Those students who had ventured out of doors quickly rushed back into the hall. Hermione remembered something that was on her list of things to do.
“Do you want to go outside?” She asked him.
“Why? It just started raining?”
“That’s why. I’ve never danced in the rain. I want to. Please come with me!” She stood up and held out a hand to him. He took it, still looking nervous, and followed her out of the hall. Once they were outside, a wave of her wand and they were surrounded by music. Hermione kicked off her shoes. For one, her heels would simply sink into the grass. Also, her list said she wanted to dance barefoot in the rain. Her mystery man followed suit.
“May I have this dance?” He asked her, bowing at the waist and extending a hand towards her formally. The music was light and fun, no slow dancing necessary.
“Of course!” She said, taking his offered hand. They danced around, simply having fun, while the rain poured down on them.
“This is actually really fun.” He observed. “I can’t believe that I’ve never done this before!” He laughed, causing Hermione to begin to laugh too. By the time they had managed to stop laughing, they decided that it was time to head back inside. They grabbed their shoes and walked back into the castle. Once inside they used a drying spell on themselves and slipped their shoes back on.
“Those are lovely shoes.” He told her as she put her glass shoes back on. “Where in the world did you get them?” She blushed.
“I actually made them, I transfigured them.” He looked mildly surprised.
“A smart girl I see.” He said. When they reentered the ball they noticed something different. They had left at around eight fifty, so naturally, after spending nearly an hour out there, the younger students had removed their masks already. There were only about ten minutes left before the younger students had to leave.
“You’re not a younger student are you?” He asked nervously, realizing how little he really knew about her.
“No” she said with a wide smile. After the younger students left and it was only fifth, sixth and seventh years, there was much more space to spread out. They had two hours left before their revealing, three until the end of the ball.
“I’m going to get something to drink” she told him. “I’m really thirsty.
“I’m going to sit down, feel free to join me again once you have your drink.” He smiled a sly smile at her before going over to their previous table.
When she was at the drink table a boy approached her. He made it look like he was coming over for a drink, but Hermione could see a full cup of punch sitting on the table in front of the chair that he had so recently vacated.
“Hello” he said. “You certainly are a vision tonight.”
“Thanks” she muttered, made a bit uncomfortable by their close proximity.
“A girl as lovely as yourself should never be left alone. Why don’t we go somewhere a bit more private?” It was half a question, have a statement of what he thought they were, for sure, going to do. Hermione looked him over, trying to find features that she recognized. He had blonde hair, which meant that he was not naturally blonde, and he had blue eyes, which were probably his natural color. She did not see anything familiar in his face or apparel.
“I don’t think so.” She said politely. “But thank you for the offer.” She picked up her full glass of punch and tried to walk around him to get to her table.
“Oh, but I insist.” He told her, latching one hand onto her wrist and pulling her in the direction of the doors.
“No!” She said it more forcefully this time, trying to show that she wasn’t weak. He did not seem inclined to release her any time soon and for some reason this made her very mad, maybe more so than the situation warranted. She took the hand that he was not pulling and slammed it hard into the side of his face that was turned towards her.
“Bloody hell!” He shouted, dropping her wrist. She quickly rushed away, the extreme anger and terror leaving her almost as soon as it had appeared. When she reached the table her mystery man was on his feet, a worried look in his eyes.
“I’m fine” she told him, sitting down. He sat back down and they were silent for a while, neither needing to talk, but still enjoying the other’s company.
“Um…excuse me miss.” Hermione heard this whisper and turned to see a handsome boy looking shyly at her.
“Yes?” She asked kindly.
“I was just wondering if you would like to dance with me?” He seemed like a sweet guy, and she knew him almost as well as she knew her mystery man, Hermione seriously considered the offer.
“Sure!” She told him with real enthusiasm. “I’ll be right back.” She told her mystery man. “Feel free to dance with someone; I’m not going to hog you all night.” She smiled warmly at him before disappearing through the crowd with her new dance partner.
AN: Please read and review to let me know what you think. Thanks!
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