Chapter 15 : Chapter 15
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“Please tell me that is not Percy,” George said disbelievingly after we’d sat down.
I turned towards the head table. Sure enough Percy Weasley was there looking quite…pretentious really, even more than last year when he was Head Boy. “Where’s Crouch?” I wondered. Bagman and the three Headmasters were already seated.
“He’s probably here for Crouch,” Fred said from beside me.
Fred looked at my confused expression and explained further. “Oh Percy, he works for Crouch. He’s probably here because of that. That would explain why he looks so smug.”
“Your brother works for Crouch?”
“I think the words obsessively in love describe it better. He wouldn’t shut up the whole summer.”
“I assure you it was even more sickening than imaginable. Wouldn’t be surprised if he started a Crouch fan club. He probably wants to be just like him.”
“Just like Barty Crouch? I sincerely doubt anyone would want that,” I told Fred.
“You know Crouch?” Fred asked in an undertone.
“Not important at the moment.” Fred didn’t need to hear about Death Eaters and Ministry employees tonight. “Hermione and Harry are coming in,” I said, changing the subject.
“Bloody hell. What did you do with Hermione?” George exclaimed loud enough for the whole table to hear.
“Hit him for me,” I instructed Fred. He reached over and slapped the back of George’s head.
“Oi!” George cried out, looking offended.
“She’s better looking than you are, sorry mate,” Fred responded, shrugging.
“Hermione looks great,” I proclaimed. “Your sister did most…well all of the work.”
“Yes, Ginny. Very threatening with a brush and mascara, she is. Found this dress too, actually.”
“So it’s her I should be thanking? Huh, I’ll need to get her a good birthday gift,” Fred said thoughtfully.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Of course something would have to go wrong. Especially when I was enjoying the night much more than I would have thought possible. Then Ron Weasley had to throw a fit…really it was more of a childish temper tantrum over Hermione and Victor attending the Ball together.
“Why can’t he just enjoy the Ball? I mean he’s got a good looking date. Why does he have to make Hermione miserable?” I muttered darkly.
“You know I think I’m starting to get jealous,” Fred said. I looked up at him as we were still dancing.
“You don’t have a reason to be jealous of Victor.”
“Victor? No I mean of Hermione. You can go off and dance with her if you’d like. Me and Victor can enjoy a nice slow dance together. Twirling in each other’s arms, lovingly gazing into each other’s eyes.” Fred let out a longing sigh making me laugh.
“You’re making it hard for me to be annoyed,” I complained, lightly hitting him.
“I do apologize. Continue being annoyed.”
“You’ve already ruined it.”
“I want to see you slow dance with Victor.”
“But what if he says no?” Fred whined, sounding like a teenage girl.
“I’m glad I came with you,” I told him, smiling.
“I’m glad you did too. It would have been an awkward date if you’d have said no.”
“You’re too cute to say no to,” I teased.
I hit him again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Dare you to ask McGonagall for a dance,” George said to Fred.
“What do I get for it?” Fred asked, eyeing McGonagall.
“Lasting memories?” Fred raised an eyebrow. “Fine, fine. It says Fred and George Weasley on all of the inventory. Only for six months though.”
“One year,” George shot back
“The dance has to last at least three minutes,” George countered.
Fred pondered for a moment. How to get McGonagall to dance? Asking wasn’t an option but maybe…that could work. Fred walked over to propose a plan to Dumbledore.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Overall it had been a good night. Ginny and I had convinced Hermione to ignore Ron and enjoy herself. Although it was more than a bit awkward spending half the night near Ginny because Neville was there. Luckily I spent the other half with Fred’s friends - George and Angelina Johnson along with Lee Jordan and Alicia Spinnet. Both Angelina and Alicia were on the Gryffindor quidditch team and close friends with the twins.
For most of the night I danced with Fred. I did happen to get a dance with George and Lee, and a couple with Victor. And somehow I managed to get a dance with Dumbledore. Fred was responsible for that.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Er…there might be some partner swapping for the next dance.” I looked up at Fred suspiciously. “Just go with it. Act casual.”
“Do I want to know?”
“I’ll be very grateful if you go along with it.”
“Better not be Moody.”
“I’m not that cruel.”
“Never a boring moment with you, is there?”
“Isn’t that why you like me?” Fred asked, smirking.
Let’s just say I was quite surprised to be dancing with Fred one moment and Dumbledore the next. McGonagall looked even more surprised to twirling around with Fred now.
“Miss Lestrange,” Dumbledore greeted.
“Professor. Plotting with students now?”
“Ah, well Mr. Weasley did offer me some delicious canary creams in return. Are you enjoying your evening?”
“Yes, sir.” It was actually going pretty well. Fred seemed rather persistent that I enjoy the Yule Ball.
“I wonder if I may question you about something. To get your take on things. You have quite a different perspective than most.”
“Er…sure?” I answered, slightly confused.
“How would you have gotten past my age line?”
“As Hogwarts champion or like P-Harry Potter?”
“Well the only way for Harry’s situation would be a very strong Confundus Charm. It would take some serious magic to pull that off and trick the Goblet. You’d have one night to do it, meaning you had to be quick and efficient. It’s not something you do on a whim.” I’d actually been giving this some thought. Obviously Potter hadn’t done it, and it likely hadn’t been a random student. Potter as a fourth champion was much more worrying than if he’d been picked as the Hogwarts champion.
“And to be chosen as Hogwarts champion?”
“You think so?”
“Levitate a piece of paper with your name on it.”
“It would have dropped once it passed over the age line.”
“Really?” I asked surprised. “Well I suppose that’s a simple solution. What about a broom passing over?”
“Also would have been stopped.”
“Roll the paper into a ball and throw it in.”
“That would have stopped the paper similar to levitating it.”
“Take a long stick and drop it in off the end.”
“I feel you’ve given this some thought.” Dumbledore commented, sounding amused.
“I haven’t even gotten to the good ones yet.”
“Do continue on then.”
“You think that’s possible?” Dumbledore asked, chuckling.
“If you were determined enough. I assume you would have instructed the house elves not to help a student.”
“Just ask someone who could get past the age line to drop it in.”
“Only one entry per person.”
“Not everyone wants to enter though. There’s also a dozen teachers.”
“None of them would have assisted.” ‘He assumes none of them would have assisted,’ a voice in the back of my head said.
“Risk Azkaban for a chance to be school champion?”
“Some people think the ends justify the means.”
“How would you have done it?”
“Me personally?” Dumbledore nodded. “I would have removed your spells.”
“You believe you could do that?”
“You were able to remove them. Why couldn’t somebody else?”
“I suppose that is always a possibility,” Dumbledore conceded. “Why didn’t you enter?” he asked curiously.
“What makes you think I didn’t?”
“A fair point,” Dumbledore said thoughtfully. “However I would answer that I do not believe you would enter because you seem determined about staying out of the limelight. You prefer the background, hoping others will overshadow you.”
“And here I thought you had grown bored of me.” I fought to keep the irritation from Dumbledore’s words out of my tone.
“There have been numerous things on my mind. I certainly have not grown bored of you. You are a rather curious person.”
“Maybe you need a hobby,” I said a bit sarcastically.
“Perhaps,” Dumbledore responded. “I had considered taking up knitting. I’m told it’s quite therapeutic.”
I couldn’t help myself. I snorted in laughter at the image of Dumbledore sitting in his office merrily knitting away. “I expect a pair of mittens next Christmas then.”
“You will, of course, be at the top of my list.”
“You should knit a pair of green and silver ones for Professor McGonagall and a pair of red and gold ones for Professor Snape. They have to wear them to promote school unity.”
“I am beginning to see that Mr. Weasley is not the only devious one in your relationship,” Dumbledore said, amused.
“Ah, but only he can risk detention.”
“Perhaps I should be more thankful for that.”
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“Always zoning out on me.”
“Sorry, bad habit,” I responded, turning my attention back to Fred.
“So who was he?” I looked up a Fred, confused. “The bloke you were thinking about instead of me,” he clarified, making me roll my eyes.
“I was remembering Dumbledore telling me he was considering taking up knitting. I asked for a pair of mittens.” Fred looked at me curiously. “I swear it’s true,” I said laughing a bit.
“It’s far too bizarre to be a lie,” Fred replied, laughing some too. “Knitting?”
“It’s supposed to be therapeutic.”
“I’m jealous I wasn’t there.”
“You were busy wooing McGonagall,” I reminded him.
“I do know how to woo the ladies,” Fred said sounding proud.
“Where’s everybody gone?” I asked, looking around the room. There were less than fifty people left and most of them were, like Fred and I, heading towards the door.
“Snogging or common rooms. Or snogging in common rooms.”
“Yes, that would be very romantic. Snogging as most of your house walked through, heading for bed,” I said sarcastically as Fred and I walked up the grand staircase.
On the fourth floor Fred grabbed my hand and pulled me in a different direction. “Come this way.” He led us to a darkened, rarely used corridor on the sixth floor. We went all the way to the very end where a huge window looked out over the grounds. “Like the view?” Fred asked me.
I stepped closer to the glass. It was dark out but with all the snow reflecting light I could make out the surroundings. “It’s very nice.” I felt Fred wrap his arm around my middle. I was getting better at not tensing every time he pulled me close.
“I’m very glad you agreed to come with me. Did you have fun?” Fred asked.
“I had a good time,” I told him sincerely.
We stood there for a few minutes, quietly taking in the view.
“You’re beautiful,” Fred said softly.
“You’re rather ravishing yourself,” I teased lightly.
Fred turned me around to face him. “Really,” he said cupping my face in his hand and brushing his thumb over my cheek. “You’re beautiful tonight. Every night actually.”
He sounded so sincere and serious, it was different from how he normally was. I wasn’t really sure what to say. A simple ‘thanks’ didn’t seem adequate. I looked up at him knowing I had to say something though.
Or at least I thought I did. Apparently Fred didn’t think that was necessary because before I even had a chance to open my mouth he kissed me.
Yes, Fred Weasley was definitely kissing me!
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