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Chapter 2 : Where She Differed
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‘I know they’re not you’re kind of people, but,’ she paused ‘I love them.’
She looked at Ginny then, and thought of how she’d refused to be tempted to ask Harry, of how she’d made a pact to move on. Ginny’s eyes caught hers and she gave Hermione a grin. It meant a lot to her to be at the Yule Ball, and Hermione loved her ten times more for asking Neville.
Krum had not taken his eyes off her.
‘Ov course,’ he said, and he put his hand on hers. Hermione blushed a little, but managed to give him a smile. They began to eat then, and Hermione was left to her thoughts. She looked down at her Turkey – oh how traditional. She almost laughed at herself. Everyone around her was eating chicken and beef but she felt that so wrong. It’s Christmas, she thought, you can only have Turkey. But that was where she differed from everyone else – Muggle traditions. She hadn’t told Krum that she was Muggle born yet, as he seemed like the kind who might be prejudice seeing as he came from Durmstrang, which she knew was prejudice in itself, but she felt the truth could wait.
She looked over at the Slytherins next to them then. Krum was leaning over to talk to Ginny, so Hermione could see Draco. He had given her an odd look; well, he’d stared at her. And when she’d met his eyes, he didn’t even take the time to smirk and call her a name. Instead, he looked shocked and embarrassed, and had turned away. What was that about? She thought, feeling anxious, but glad he wasn’t being unpleasant to her. Tonight was going to be wonderful, and she didn’t need a git like Draco ruining it for her.
Krum turned back from Ginny Hermione asked him something she’d wanted to ask for a while. She didn’t touch her food.
‘Viktor, what’s Durmstrang like? Is it like Hogwarts?’
‘Vell, ve have a castle also, not as big as this, nor as comfortable, I am thinking,’ he told her. ‘Ve have just four floors, and the fires are lit only for magical purposes. But ve have grounds larger even than these – though in vinter, ve have very little daylight, so ve are not enjoying them. But in summer ve are flying every day, over the lakes and mountains-‘
‘Now, now, Viktor!’ said Karkaroff loudly from the table next to them. ‘Don’t go giving away anything else, now, or your charming friend will know exactly where to find us!’
And Dumbledore turned to him with a smile, and Krum turned away, embarrassed.
‘He is not enjoying such friendship during a competition,’ Krum said a little quieter. Hermione frowned.
‘But that’s the whole point! International magical cooperation!’ And she furrowed her eyebrows at Karkaroff, who was now eating whilst Dumbledore talked to him. Dumbledore turned and gave her a quick smile as Karkaroff responded. She smiled back and turned once again to Viktor.
‘Do you like it, at Durmstrang?’ she asked, then immediately regretted it. Of course he does, she thought angrily to herself, he’s been there for years’
To her surprise he shrugged.
‘Hogvorts looks to me much nicer,’ he said, not talking his eyes off her. ‘And you? Do you like it here, Hermy-own?’
‘Viktor, its Hermione.’ She said with a laugh.
‘Her-my-oh-nee’ she said, slowly and clearly.
‘Close enough,’ she said, and she saw Harry watching and she grinned at him.
Then, Dumbledore stood up and said cheerily, ‘Could everyone please stand!’
They did, and the tables zoomed back along the walls, leaving the floor clear, and then he conjured a raised platform into existence along the right-hand wall. A set of drums, several guitars, a lute, a cello and some bagpipes were set upon it.
Suddenly, the Weird Sisters were walking on stage, and Ginny who was now close to Hermione, squealed and applauded excitedly, along with many, many others. The lights dimmed, and noticing their cue, Viktor held out his hand to Hermione, who blushed as he led her to the middle of the stage. The three other champions and their partners were also assembling. Harry looked utterly lost, and Hermione grinned to herself as he tripped over his dress robes.
Then, Viktor took one of her hands gently in his and put his other to her waist as the music began. Viktor led confidently, but he was very gentle. Hermione’s heart was racing, but for once not out of nerves. She felt confident as the music sped up, and as they travelled across the floor. With a great leap in the bagpipes, Viktor put both hands to her waist and lifted her high above his head in a fantastic turn. She almost shrieked, but instead giggled as the crowd applauded. He set her down and took her hand once more, as he smiled from ear to ear. The song carried on, and others joined the dance floor, so the champions were no longer alone. Dumbledore was leading them with Madame Maxine. She was extremely graceful, and was laughing at something that Dumbledore had said.
Hermione turned to see Pansy leading Draco onstage, who had a painful expression on his face. He saw Hermione and again looked down as if embarrassed. Hermione frowned for a second, but was caught in an amazing lift by Viktor, and she laughed loudly as he set her down and held her closely. The song ended with a quavering note from the bagpipes, and Hermione was pulled in even closer by Viktor, who said ‘You did vell,’ he chuckled, ‘and you said you ver a bad dancer.’
She blushed, ‘Well, I haven’t been to a ball before.’ And he looked surprised.
She shook her head.
‘Veird,’ he said, but his voice was dampened by the beginning of the next song which was loud and much faster.
Girls were cheering loudly, and everyone started to dance. Viktor began, and Hermione joined in, a little self conscious at first, but as the song progressed, she forgot about everyone around her and just enjoyed herself.
And for once, she felt like an ordinary girl, dressed up nice and dancing side by side with a wonderful boy. What could bring her down now?
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