“Don’t you have to get ready? You’ll be late!” Hermione called out as I left the third year girls bathroom.
Honestly, I’ve done this enough times to get changed and do my hair in ten minutes. Right now I had to go check in on Fred and George who asked me to adjust their robes a bit to make them fit better. There was also the fact that I was dreading anyone else seeing me in the dress I’d bought. So far I’d been lucky and only Hermione and Ginny knew what I’d be wearing. I guess I should also be thankful that Ginny offered to let me and Hermione use her bathroom so we wouldn’t have to deal with Parvati or Lavender. Parvati in particular had been extra annoying with all of the giggling and gushing because she was going with Potter.
I walked up the boys’ staircase, intending to head to the sixth year boys room. Before I got there, I heard one of the twin’s voices coming through a partially opened door. The fourth year boys’ door actually.
“Knock, knock. Your door’s open so I sincerely hope none of you are naked,” I said while knocking on the door frame.
“Yeah, there’s only one of us you want nak–bloody hell!” I presume that was George.
“Ignore him,” Fred said, pulling the door open more. He frowned as he took in my appearance. “You’re not dressed,” he added, sounding confused.
“What?!” a voice from inside the room yelled. It sounded suspiciously like Dean Thomas.
The door opened wider as George came into view. “Don’t get your hopes up lads, she’s still fully clothed.” He stood there examining me like Fred was, seemingly unaware of me glaring at him. “I like the whole ‘bullocks to formal attire, I’ll wearwhatever I want’ rebel look you’re sporting.”
“Do you want your robes fixed or not?” I questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“She can fix robs?!” Ron asked frantically.
“Would take a lot more than a wand to fix yours,” George responded.
“What’s wrong with his robes?”
“What isn’t wrong with his robes would be the better question.”
“Is everyone dressed?” I asked, ignoring George’s reply.
I pushed past the twins to find Ron wearing…dress robes? I guess? Wow…those are truly terrible. “Er…definitely was not expecting that,” I said, cringing. Ron looked miserably down at his robes and I noticed that most of his hems were frayed. “What happened to the hems?”
“He…er, cut off the lace,” Potter answered.
“Where is it?” I asked, quickly thinking up something that would improve Ron’s robes, even if it only lasted tonight. Potter pointed to a bed that had bits of lace strewn over it. I picked it up and stepped over to Ron, my wand already withdrawn.
“You’re not going to reattach it!” Ron cried out, looking appalled.
“Well, yes. It’s part of the robes, it will bind easier than another material,” I explained.
“I’ll look ridiculous with lace all over this mess,” Ron muttered darkly, glaring at the lace in my hand.
“I’m not going to leave it as lace,” I said a bit impatiently. I waved my wand and the lace fastened onto the robe. Ron let out an annoyed groan, but said nothing. I tapped the lace on his cuff with my wand and it changed into a golden ribbon. Then I traced the cuff, causing the ribbon to fold back onto the robe. It was definitely an improvement, Ron must have agreed because he let me adjust the rest of his hems without any fussing. The rest of his robe was still a mess though.
“It’s a bit better,” Ron commented. “Can you do anything to fix the rest?” he asked sounding cautiously hopeful.
I bit my lip trying to think about what would look best. Ron’s hair certainly limited color options. I suppose I could…though with this fabric…I could change that too I guess. I tapped my wand against the robe, making the material a solid deep shade of red.
“Maroon?” Ron complained.
“She can always give you the lace back,” Fred threatened. Before anyone else could speak again, I tapped Ron’s robe yet again and the fabric changed into satin. I frowned and tweaked the color again.
“Whoa,” Dean said in awe. “That certainly improved them.”
I stepped back for a better look. Yes they were better, still something wasn’t quite right. I used my wand to make a few size adjustments. “Much better.” I proclaimed after tailoring the robe for Ron’s body stature. The boys in the room nodded and murmured in agreement.
“You’re amazing,” Ron said, admiring his robe.
“And taken,” Fred said firmly from behind me. I turned around to look at him, his tone was slightly different. Figuring I could ask him later about it when there weren’t as many people around, I didn’t mention anything. I did though, use my wand to adjust his robes some, George’s too. Thankfully they needed much less work than Ron’s.
“You look great,” I told them after I’d finished.
“I always look great,” George replied, puffing his chest out.
“You look like Percy,” Potter snickered. George looked deeply disturbed by this and went back to standing normally.
“Could you give us a few adjustments?” Seamus Finnigan asked.
I nodded and made a few quick changes to his robe before moving on to Dean, then Potter. Not paying much attention I turned to fix the next robe. I stopped hastily, realizing it was Neville I’d turned towards. I jerked my hand back swiftly. There was an awkward pause between us until he spoke.
“I think I’m fine,” he muttered. There was another awkward pause.
“I should go get ready,” I pointed out. That provided me with an excuse for a fast exit.
As I headed for the door the others gave their thanks. Down in the common room were a few older students who looked at me curiously. Ignoring them, I continued up to the bathroom Hermione and Ginny were still in.
Ginny was fully dressed with her hair and makeup finished. She was helping style Hermione’s usually bushy hair. For this occasion Hermione had decided to use Sleekeazy’s Hair Potion. She looked like any entirely different person wearing a dress with her hair looking so smooth. They both turned to me as I rejoined them.
“You’re going to be late,” Hermione said, disapprovingly.
“You’re only saying that because you don’t know me well enough,” I shot back while grabbing the long, protective bag my dress was in. I locked myself in a changing stall that was connected to one of the showers. Five minutes later I was emerging, trying very hard not to look in a mirror.
“Wow,” Ginny said, looking at me. “You should dress up more often.”
“I’ll pass on that.”
“You look nice though,” Hermione chimed in.
In a moment of weakness I glanced at the mirror. I tried very hard not to cringe but all I could see was my mother. I already kept my hair shorter in an attempt to differ myself except there was no getting around it. Our features were nearly identical, everything down to the shape of our lips.
“We need to do your makeup and hair,” Ginny said, getting my attention.
“I’m not doing anything fancy with it.”
“You really don’t like this kind of thing, do you?” Hermione said, frowning.
“It doesn’t feel like me,” I admitted.
“It’s only for one night. Knowing Fred and George, they’ll make it a good time,” Ginny reassured me.
“Yeah.” I really hope that’s true. I started applying a bit of lip gloss then brushed my hair. It took all of 1 minute, now I just needed to slip on my shoes. See, ten minutes max and here Hermione had doubted me.
“You’re not going like that,” Ginny stated as she finished with Hermione.
“Er…yes I am?” Ginny and Hermione gave me pointed glares. “You said I looked nice!”
“Sit,” Ginny commanded, pointing to the seat that Hermione had just vacated. Sighing, I sat down reluctantly. Ginny started applying makeup almost immediately. “Did you just growl at me?” she asked, amused.
“You have seven brothers, how do you even know how to do this?” I muttered, ignoring the truth that I had, in fact just growled at her.
Ginny shrugged. “Just read about it mostly. It isn’t that hard. See how much better you look?” Unwilling to admit defeat, I gave her a quick “Hmph,” for a response.
“Do you know any comforting charms for shoes?” Hermione asked while picking up her own heels. “I meant to look some up, but I got so distracted by that Arithmancy project.” I flicked my wrist then tapped Hermione’s shoes with my wand. I repeated the same spell for Ginny’s and my own pair. “How do you do that?” Hermione questioned.
“Most of the time you use non verbal spells. We don’t get taught that until N.E.W.T. year.”
“Oh,” I said, holstering my wand. Somehow I always managed to slip up around Hermione or maybe I just wasn’t used to people my age being that observant and clever. “Learn the spell out loud, then work on muttering it till it works as well, then whispering, then not speaking at all. Easier than just trying speaking then nothing. Never understood why they taught it that way. Oi, what are you doing?” I asked Ginny, glancing at her in the mirror.
“Fixing your hair,” she answered, rolling her eyes.
“What’s wrong with my hair?”
“You need more…it just needs to look extra special tonight, shh.”
“Hermione is the one sitting at the head table. She’s the one who needs to look extra special,” I reminded Ginny.
“She already does,” Ginny said briskly. True, Hermione did look very nice for the ball tonight. Victor would certainly be impressed.
“Didn’t you ever play with dolls?” Hermione asked me.
“Absolutely not.” Dolls? Please don’t insult me. Who wants to play with dolls when you have the entire Malfoy manor to explore?
“There,” Ginny proclaimed. “You’re done. Like it?”
I stared into the mirror, examining myself. Thankfully Ginny had made me look slightly less like the Bellatrix Lestrange I remembered. Actually, I kind of almost liked what she’d done. Surprising, I know.
“It looks…good.” I told her honestly.
“Are you going to keep your wand holster and that necklace on?”
“Er…” No wand and no necklace with the key for my trunk attached? They did look a little out of place I suppose. It was only for a couple hours. I’d be fine without them. “I’ll pop upstairs and put them away.”
“Do you need a necklace or some–” Ginny began, triggering a memory.
“Earrings,” I said, standing up. “I should get those.”
“It’s almost time for us to go.”
“I’ll be quick.”
I opened the dormitory door and several girls were walking down the stairs, towards the common room. It sounded like half of the older students were already there. A few of the girls stopped to look at me, I ignored them and quickly went to my dorm and grabbed Narcissa’s earrings as I stashed my wand and holster in my trunk. I put my key and sliver chain under my pillow. Too obvious, I mentally criticized. I slipped it carefully under the mattress at the foot of my bed. Thankfully Lavender and Parvati weren’t here or I wasn’t sure what I would have done.
Not even two minutes later I was back with Hermione and Ginny. Hermione was looking nervous as Ginny clasped a chain around her neck.
“I think we need to get going,” I said, quickly putting on the earrings then sitting on a bed to do up my shoes. Ginny sent a look at Hermione.
“You sure?” she asked.
“Yes,” Hermione answered.
“What’s going on?” I questioned, confused.
“You both go. I er…want to wait a minute until the common room’s more cleared out,” Hermione explained.
“Don’t be late,” Ginny warned.
“Don’t stand up Victor,” I said at the same time.
“I’ll be there,” Hermione responded firmly. Ginny and I nodded and headed for the door.
“Have fun,” Ginny reminded Hermione.
“Ignore Karkaroff or hex him, you know, whichever you prefer,” I added.
Ginny and I walked down to the common room together. There were only twenty or so people still here. I spotted Fred and George with a small group of their friends. It only occurred to me now that I would probably be sitting with the twins’ friends. As I spotted the other fourth years I couldn’t help but feel relieved. Sitting at the same table as Neville Longbottom, even if Ginny was there, would have made the night even more awkward.
“Good luck,” I whispered to Ginny as she moved towards Neville.
I approached Fred and his group feeling rather nervous all of a sudden. George spotted me first and looked surprised. He elbowed Fred and nodded in my direction when Fred turned to glare at him. Fred faced me and looked equally surprised. Now I was downright dreading tonight.
“Wow,” Fred said, awed. “You look…wow.”
This was a horrible, stupid, foolish idea. Why had I said yes? I could have said no, I should have said no. I probably look like a mess. Stupid dress, stupid shoes, stupid hair and makeup. I wanted to go curl up in a cave alone and loveless for life. Stupid bloody ball and you know what? Curse Dumbledore for having this ball.
Fred pulled me closer and gave my hand a squeeze. “Smile,” he teased. “You look beautiful.” Then he kissed my temple and every worry just sort of drifted away.
“Should we leave you two here to start snogging?” George asked quietly, draping his arm over Fred’s shoulder. “Or can you hold off until after dinner?”
“Go bother Angelina,” Fred said, putting his hand over George’s face and pushing him away.
I laughed and rolled my eyes. “We should get to the Great Hall,” I told Fred.
“I’m still trying to figure out where you put your wand.”
I stopped smiling and glared at Fred. “Where do you think I put it?”
Fred must have picked up on my threatening tone because he hastily straightened up. “So, to the Great Hall then?” he said, business like.
“Smart choice,” I muttered as we exited through the portrait hole.
A/N: Yeah, it's a bit of choppy ending, the chapter would have been too long for me if I had the whole Yule Ball in here. Also, I'm not a huge Ron fan, but I always felt bad for him with those horrible robes. Seriously, they're wizards why couldn't Hermione just use a charm to make them look better, even if it only lasted a night?
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