The last Saturday of term a Hogsmeade visit was scheduled. I needed to get a lot of things done. Not having shopped properly for school items over the summer I was now running low on…well everything really. Even my Potions supplies were low. I also had Christmas shopping and I needed a dress and shoes for the Yule Ball. I should start on those last two first, lots of girls seemed to be planning shopping trips too. I wanted to beat the rush, but first…
“What are you wearing?” I asked Fred Friday morning.
“To the Yule Ball.”
“You’re making this very difficult,” I said a bit annoyed.
“I honestly have no idea what you’re asking me.”
“What color are your robes?”
“Oh, er, our choices are dark green or blue.”
“Blue. Wait you have two sets of robes?”
“George will wear whatever I don’t, so blue it is for us.”
“He should tell his date what color his robes are.”
“So she can get something that goes well with him.”
“To most girls,” I said shrugging. “I guess they don’t want to clash with their date.”
“I’ll let him know.” Fred paused for a moment. “Er…”
“My robes…well their sort of…second hand,” he said a bit awkwardly.
“Do they need some adjustments to fit better?”
“No, but, well maybe, I haven’t tried them on. My point was they’re a bit worn down”
“That’s fine. Doesn’t matter to me.”
“I’d hate to look like your shabby date.”
“You aren’t going to look shabby. And it wouldn’t matter even if you did. I’m going with you, not your dress robes.”
“Aw, that was very sweet of you.”
“First and last time I’m sure.”
Fred started laughing. “You’re adorable,” he said smiling.
“Excuse me?” Adorable?
“Yes, adorable. I love it,” he said before kissing the top of my head.
“Are you patronizing me?” I asked frowning.
“No, well not really. It’s just…you’re so smart yet you get all awkward and oblivious with romantic or girly things. It’s adorable.” I glared at him. “Please don’t punch me, you’re actually getting good at it. I’m too cute to bruise.”
“My punches are better?”
“Yes, definitely – wait are you working on punching?” he asked suspiciously.
“Er…” Bugger. “Not specifically punches,” I said vaguely.
“What? You work out?”
“A bit.” Fred looked me over thoughtfully.
“Huh, looks good.” And he left it at that.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Saturday morning there were a few early risers like myself, Hermione being one of them. She was coming into the bathroom just as I finished getting ready.
“Morning,” I greeted quietly so Lavender and Parvati wouldn’t wake up.
“Morning,” she replied while yawning. “You’re heading to the village early too?” she asked spotting my outdoor winter attire.
“Yeah. I need a dress and more. I’d rather get it done before the shops are swarming.”
“Me and Ginny are going too. She needs a dress.”
“Who invited her?” Ginny was only a third year and needed a date to attend.
“Neville did.” I tensed a bit. “Did you want to go with us? Ginny wouldn’t mind.”
“Er…sure.” I hadn’t been expecting that, but Hermione and Ginny wouldn’t be horrible to shop with. Well not as bad as other girls would be. “I’ll wait for you both in the common room.”
I left Hermione to get ready. Before leaving the dormitory I grabbed my coat and bag. Being the weekend, Fred was sleeping late, we’d already made arrangements to meet at the Three Broomsticks later today at one. I sat in the common room thinking about gifts to buy everyone. Hermione, Fred, George, Snape, Dimitri, Kuniye, Tsukino, and Victor. And Narcissa, in September she’d told me to bring a date to the Ball and also send her a photo. I wonder how she’d feel knowing I was going with a Weasley. She did say to take someone Lucius would hate. Hmm, maybe something small for Ginny Weasley too, I’d talked to her a few times this year. Next to Fred and George, she was my favorite Weasley. I suppose that wasn’t fair, I’d never gotten to know the others, even Ron Weasley, despite him being in the same year and house as myself.
Hermione came down the stairs twenty minutes later. We waited for Ginny while making small talk. Not even five minutes later she joined us. She wasn’t at all bothered that Hermione had invited me. The three of us headed to the Great Hall for breakfast. We still had half an hour before we were allowed to leave school grounds.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“It’s times like this when I really hate having red hair,” Ginny complained while searching through a rack of dresses.
“We’ll find something perfect for you,” Hermione promised.
“Aim for something green or an earth tone, that will suit you better,” I added. I imagine it would be difficult to find a bright dress that didn’t clash with Ginny’s hair. “Do you know what Neville’s wearing?”
“Er…no, not really.”
“How about this one, Ginny?” Hermione asked, holding up a golden brown dress. “Oh, never mind,” she amended quickly. “Who spends that much on a dress?” Hermione frowned and glanced across the dress shop. Several Beauxbatons girls, including Fleur Delacour, were shopping for the Yule Ball too. Ginny briefly checked the price tag before she returned the dress to the rack.
“Let’s go to another store,” I suggested. “All these dresses are too…sophisticated, not really made for people our age. Far too much like something Narcissa would wear.”
“Jade’s right,” Hermione agreed. “There’s another shop down the next street, we can try there.”
Unfortunately the next shop was just as bad. All of their dresses were…‘poufy’ would have been the right word, I suppose. They were more like something you would see on some sort of muggle fairy princess. And the ruffles…so many ruffles. These were not the type of dress I would ever wear in a million years. Ginny seemed to feel the same way so we headed across Hogsmeade to the last clothing shop in town. A few Hogwarts students were already here but Hermione immediately went to a deserted part of the shop where we started the process of searching through different racks.
“What about this one?” I turned to see Hermione holding a white dress.
“Never wear white,” I responded automatically. Hermione and Ginny both looked at me. “Really, never wear white. It’s horrible for parties.” That was something Narcissa had repeated several times as I reluctantly prepped myself for yet again another boring party. Annoying lessons on how to dress and act proper. I’d never be able to forget those.
“I might end up slopping something down it, probably better to aim for something else,” Ginny remarked.
Ten minutes later, I pulled out an emerald dress to look over it. It had capped sleeves and would fall just past Ginny’s knees. It was also within her price range. “What about this one?” I asked, holding it up for the others to see.
Ginny bit her lip, looking worried. “Is it formal enough?” she asked.
“Of course, we’ll make sure to get you a nice pair of heels.” Ugh, I’m sounding like Narcissa again.
“I have a necklace that would go with it, Ginny,” Hermione said. Ginny took the dress and held it up against herself. “It looks good. Come on, you can try it on.”
After a few alterations by one of the clerks, Ginny bought the dress. Since Hermione already had one, it was now my turn. I cringed as I looked through the racks now. This was much simpler when I’d been shopping for Ginny.
“This?” Ginny asked, holding a strapless, silver gown.
“Nothing strapless,” I replied awkwardly. I needed a dress that covered up my scared shoulder. “Also look for blue, black or silver so I match Fred.”
“Fred who?” Ginny asked curiously.
“Er…” I shot a look at Hermione, apparently she hadn’t mentioned to anyone that I fancied him. She was also wearing a small, knowing smile. She knew exactly which Fred I meant. “Your brother actually,” I muttered.
“What?!” A few of the other customers and a clerk turned towards us. “You’re going with Fred?” Ginny whispered, noticing their nosy looks.
“I knew it,” Ginny continued. “I knew there was something up with them. They’ve been acting weird all summer. George teased about moonlit walks becoming a habit and Fred got annoyed with him. I didn’t know it was you they were talking about though.”
“Wait, moonlit walks?” That was a bit random…oh well I guess maybe not. There was that time at the end of third year and the World Cup. And Fred had started with a nightly walk to ask me to the Ball. “Never mind.”
“How many moonlit walks have you taken with Fred?”
“Not enough for you to look that scandalized,” I answered Hermione. “Back to dresses, before we’re overrun.” The number of girls in the shop had doubled since we’d entered. It seemed like more and more of them were out looking for the best outfit they could find.
“This,” Ginny proclaimed ten minutes later. I turned to see what dress she was holding and froze.
“Er…that’s a bit…form fitting, don’t you think?” Hermione said awkwardly. You think?! Even ‘a bit form fitting’ was an understatement. It was a one shouldered, dark royal blue dress with a beaded bust. It looked very snug until the knees, where it flared out some. A mermaid dress. Please no.
“She’d look good in it,” Ginny told Hermione before facing me. “It’s only over one shoulder, is that alright?”
It was the left shoulder I noted, still though. “I don’t think I can pull that off,” I replied honestly. I didn’t particularly want to try and pull it off either.
“Try it on,” Ginny said as she held it up against me. Hermione was looking thoughtful now.
“You should try it, just in case,” she added.
“Do I have to?” I asked, cringing.
“Yes,” Ginny said firmly, hauling me and the dress to a fitting room. I sighed after she opened the door, handed me the dress, and shut me inside.
Grudgingly, I changed. Yes, it was snug but I did manage to fit into it alright. I spent a bit of time making sure my scar was fully covered. Finally I looked into the mirror I’d been avoiding. It felt so unnatural, maybe I just wasn’t made for dresses.
“Done?” I heard Hermione call from the other side of the door. I went to open it a crack to speak to her. Several other girls were in the fitting rooms too. Hermione pushed the door open enough that she could slide in, Ginny joined right after.
“Wow,” Ginny said, examining me. “Told you that was the right dress.” I glared at her before turning to Hermione.
“How bad is it?” I asked her.
“It’s nice, really nice.” I growled in annoyance while I looked in the mirror again.
“You might like it more if you were smiling,” Ginny pointed out, amused.
“You sound like Fred now,” I mumbled.
“Better than sounding like Percy, I suppose,” she said, shrugging.
“Buy the dress,” Hermione told me. “You look great and the shop’s filling up fast.”
“Fine,” I conceded. ‘Just keep remembering you’ll have fun with Fred,’ I told myself. That was probably the only reason I ever would have consented to this dress.
After paying we went to a shop that sold all sorts of accessories and shoes. Shoe shopping went much quicker than dress hunting, much to my relief. We all found a pair in less than thirty minutes. Ginny opted for a pair of black shoes with a low heel and Hermione and I each found a pair of silver ones. Well at least the hardest part of my shopping was done. It was nearly ten and Ginny separated from us, saying she’d planned to meet some other friends.
“I was going to head to the book shop before I had to meet Harry and Ron, want to come?” Hermione asked me as Ginny left.
“Sure.” I needed some ideas for Christmas gifts now, books were a decent place to start.
An hour later Hermione and I had bought nine books between us. Most of hers were gifts, mine were mostly because they looked interesting to read. Not exactly in the Christmas, giving season, but hey, I needed something more stimulating than what I’d found in the Hogwarts library.
We went our separate ways and I spent the next two hours buying gifts. At five to one I made my way towards the Three Broomsticks, carrying three large bags. Entering the pub, I scanned around, looking for Fred.
“Excuze moi,” an accented voice said impatiently from behind me. I turned to see Fleur Delacour with three of her Beauxbatons friends.
“These children are not knowing how to be polite,” one of the girls said rudely in French.
“They are knowing how to speak French though.” The girl looked surprised but unapologetic.
“You are that first year,” another one suddenly said.
“Fourth year actually.” I had a hunch about what she was talking about, despite my response.
“No, the one who burned half the library a few years ago.” I rolled my eyes and looked away from them. “How could Dumbly-dorr allow you to attend ‘Ogwarts?”
“Then the boy in the tournament is not his first mistake,” the last girl added in a condescending tone. Thankfully Fred entered the pub and I pushed past the Beauxbatons girls to meet him.
“No manners,” the first girl muttered before I was out of ear shot.
“You have no idea how happy I am to see you,” I told Fred.
“Really now? Bad shopping?” We ordered a couple of Butterbeers and sat down at a small table. “So what happened?” Fred asked once we were seated.
“Dress shopping, telling your sister that we’re attending the ball together, then lots of Christmas shopping and some annoying French girls. How was your day?”
“Woke up an hour ago and headed here,” he answered, shrugging.
“You haven’t eaten?”
“We can go somewhere with more food,” I offered.
“I’ll be fine until dinner. Tell me more about this Dark Arts ritual that is dress shopping,” he said jokingly.
I scoffed and started talking about anything that wasn’t related to shopping or dresses.
A/N: for those of you with no knowledge of French - moi = me. Yes, I know excuze is not the correct French word nor is it supposed to be, she's trying to use the English word but with her French accent that's how it sounds.
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