Chapter 14-Before the Dance
AN: I’m sorry. I’ll go hide behind a rock for taking so incredibly long to post the next chapter. You guys did an amazing job of reviewing, again, and it made my heart happy. :D This story has been hard to write lately. I guess it’s because I have so many plans for once they openly know they are each others’ pen pals, but the in between and big reveal are a bit fuzzy. Anyway. Read the note at the end. Love you all! On with the show-
“Hermione, that’s a terrible idea!” Ginny argued, very uncomfortable with Hermione’s latest ‘mad-genius-scheme’.
“I think it’s a perfect solution. You don’t really like anyone you can ask, and I know that no one has asked him and it’s highly likely that no one ever will. You wouldn’t want him to be unable to attend just because girls are intimidated by him, would you? I’m sure he would say yes. You’re pretty and you aren’t very ‘anti-slytherin.’ Plus,” Hermione reasoned, “you’re friends with me and everyone knows I’m willingly going with Draco Malfoy. So what’s the big deal if you ask Blaise?”
“Because he’s Blaise!”
Hermione gave Ginny a disapproving look.
“That’s a horrible way to think. You know that your pen pal is a Slytherin and yet you don’t really seem to judge him based solely on that information. Maybe Blaise is the same: Slytherin on the outside, awesome on the inside. You’ll never know unless you ask him.”
Ginny still didn’t look convinced, so Hermione pulled out her last resort.
“Could you do it as a special favor to me? Draco’s told me about how Blaise doesn’t show it, but he’s worried no girl will have the guts to ask and he’ll have to miss one of the last dances of his final year here. Please? I’ll help you pick out a dress, and on the day of the dance I’ll do your hair and I’ll paint your nails for you and I promise not to complain when you take an hour and a half to calm my hair…” Hermione was planning on just continuing to ramble on for a few minutes, but luckily that wasn’t necessary.
“All right!” Ginny interrupted her. “I’ll do it. But you owe me big. Bigger than doing my hair and nails. And if he ends up being a dud at the dance you have let me take Malfoy out to the dance floor at least twice. I may not be his biggest fan, but Malfoy can dance and I want to have fun.”
Hermione jumped to accept the terms and conditions.
“Of course! Thanks, you’re the best!”
Later, Hermione told Draco of Ginny’s intentions to ask Blaise.
“Why would she do that?” Draco had his ‘what-is-happening-to-the-world-I-knew’ look on his face.
“Well, for one, I asked her to. Also, she doesn’t like any of her options in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. She waited too long and all the tolerable guys are taken. Third, she’s nice and knows that it’s unlikely anyone else will ask him and she doesn’t want people excluded. Finally, she wants to go. I told her I thought he would say yes and she needs a date. So please, prepare him for her to ask and convince him not to turn her town. I think they would have fun.”
Draco agreed, but he was still suspicious of the look on Hermione’s face.
“What aren’t you telling me?”
Hermione blushed and chuckled.
“Well, you might also want to convince him that it is in your best interest for him to be fun and actually dance while they are there together.”
Draco was confused, “why would it be in my best interest?”
Hermione gave a sly grin. “Because I promised Ginny that if her date was a dud on the dance floor that I’d let her steal you for a couple songs. So unless you want to dance with Ginny, Blaise needs to say yes and mean it.”
Draco gave an overly dramatic ‘gulp’ and nodded, his grin ruining his ‘scared’ impression.
Since the dance was semi-formal, the weekend before the dance was a Hogsmead weekend for girls to go buy dresses. Hermione was going with Ginny, naturally, and both were looking for more formal dresses that just teetered on the edge of semi-formal. Why waste a chance to get all fancy?
“Hermione, all of these dresses are terrible! The only good ones are ones I’m sure someone else is already wearing. I don’t want to match anybody.” Ginny was using an extra-annoying voice for her complaining, hoping to prompt Hermione to think of an alternative.
Hermione sighed. She agreed whole-heartedly with Ginny. She wanted to look perfect for Draco, especially if he turned out to be her pen-pal.
Hermione’s face took on its ‘I’m deviously scheming’ look and Ginny began to worry about what she had gotten herself into.
“Well,” Hermione started, speaking quietly, “we don’t have to be back in the castle until later this evening. That gives us several hours of free time to shop. I bet I could get us to Diagon Ally and back without anyone being the wiser. We could even try muggle London if we needed to. What do you think?”
Ginny readily agreed and Hermione took them to the shrieking shack. She decided that the sounds of disapperation would be less noticeable from the famous haunted house. She then wrapped her hand around Ginny’s arm and with a resounding ‘crack’ they were gone.
“Lord Hermione, this was such a great idea!” Ginny’s voice was a bit muffled as both girls were drowning in dresses. Diagon Ally had many more choices and the girls were a bit overwhelmed by all their new options. “How does this one look?”
Ginny came out of the dressing room in a short red one-shoulder dress. It was tightly fitted and looked great on her.
“It makes your body look great, but I don’t think it’s really all that special. I would keep looking for something better but keep it in mind as a fallback.”
“That’s a good idea. What do you have one?”
“It’s a red cutout dress, but I don’t like the way the cutout parts fall on my, so I’m not going to even bother coming out.”
The girls went through several rounds of similar discussion about all the dresses they tried on before Ginny came out in the perfect dress.
“Ginny, that’s stunning. It’s magical, literally.” The dress was, again, a tightly fitted red dress, but it had two shoulder pieces. The fabric was like velvet and the shoulder straps were made of magical roses and went from mere buds to fully bloomed roses and then repeated. The cycles were slow, taking a few minutes to completely bloom each time.
“I love it too; I think this is the one.”
It was another half-hour before Hermione felt like she had found the one.
“What do you think of this one?” Hermione asked as she stepped out of the changing room. She was wearing 50’s styled black halter dress. The halter strap was thick and had a single red rosebud on one side that was just like those on Ginny’s dress. It had a sweetheart neckline and a thick, red elastic belt around the waist that clipped together in the center. The skirt flared out and was about knee-length.
“That looks amazing.” Ginny said.
With Ginny’s approval Hermione decided to get the dress and they both went to pay for their purchases. Ginny adorned her dress with silver lace up heels. The lace up part looked like a silver snake wrapping itself around each of her calves. They were even charmed to slither and move up and down her calves like real snakes.
Hermione’s shoes were clear bottomed stilettos with red ribbon wrapped around her toes and then the same red ribbon criss-crossed over her foot to wrap several times around her ankles.
The girls took their purchases and Hermione apparated them back to Hogsmead with no one the wiser. As they were sitting in The Three Broomsticks having a drink before heading back to the castle Ginny looked at Hermione curiously. Hermione gave her a ‘what?’ look and she explained.
“I was just thinking about how much you’ve changed this year.”
Hermione looked confused. “What do you mean?”
“You just broke the rules. It wasn’t even a small, unimportant rule. Not leaving Hogsmead is a legit rule. I’m impressed. Shocked, but impressed. You are breaking out of your shell more.”
Hermione blushed in response and quickly finished her butterbeer.
The evening of the dance was stressful for most of the students. Since everyone was attending with someone from a different house, many students were really all that close with the person they were attending with and, thus, were nervous about how it would all work out. It also meant there were a lot of bizarre couplings, since the girls were the ones who had had to have the courage to ask the guys.
Blaise had said ‘yes’ to Ginny, secretly relieved that someone had finally asked him. The only girl who had had the courage to ask ‘The Harry Potter’ to the dance was, oddly enough, Pansy Parkinson. Though, she had stipulated that it was just because she could probably tolerate him better than most other non-slytherin guys and that Potter shouldn’t be getting ideas about them ever being together. Luna had ended up asking Ron to go with her, and of course, Hermione had asked Draco.
Hermione and Ginny had planned to get ready together in the seventh year girls’ rooms, and in the end they decided to invite Luna as well. The last member of their ‘getting ready group’ was an odd addition.
Several days before the dance-
“Hey, Hermione, can I ask a favor of you?” Draco’s voice forced Hermione to look up from her homework over to where he was pouring himself some more tea.
“Well,” Draco looked nervous, which in turn made Hermione nervous. “Since you made me get Blaise to ask Ginny to the dance, I thought you could return a similar favor and ask Pansy to get ready with you guys.”
Hermione looked at him confused and skeptical.
“Well, you see, Slytherins might be getting better and the whole inter-house unity thing, but a Slytherin going with a Gryffindor is still pretty looked down upon. Blaise and I have each other and I have authority, so it’s not so bad for us, but Pansy has been getting some backlash or asking Potter. I don’t think the other girls really want her getting ready with them. She might say no, but I was hoping you would at least, maybe, genuinely invite her?”
Hermione thought about it for a second.
“Sure. If she’s a friend of yours then I should get to know her, especially now that she and Harry are going together. I think it’s a great idea and I feel bad for not considering it. Luna, Ginny and I are going to take get ready in my room and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind if I invited her. Maybe, if you wouldn’t mind, I could ask Harry and Ron to let you and Blaise into the common room once you are both done getting ready in your room. This way all the girls’ dates will already be here when we get done. Sound ok?”
Draco breathed a sigh of relief. “Yes, that sounds great. I’ll try to convince Pansy to say yes when you ask. Thank you.”
Hermione stood up and went over to where Draco was standing. “Of course, it was very sweet of you to think of her.” Hermione leaned up and gave Draco a kiss on the cheek before stealing his mug of tea and returning to the couch and continuing her homework.
Draco just stood there, stunned, again. Not only had she kissed him again, but she had stolen his tea! He chuckled to himself as he went to talk to Pansy.
The next day, still a couple days before the dance-
“Hey, Parkinson, can I talk to you really quickly?” Hermione jogged a bit to catch up to Pansy as she left Potions class.
“What do you want Granger?” Pansy knew what was coming, but that didn’t mean she was going to make it any easier on the girl she had spent a large portion of her school career tormenting.
“Well, I thought, since you are going to the dance with Harry, and I know, you want nothing to do with him afterwards. But anyway, since you are going with him, I was wondering if you wanted to get ready for the dance with Ginny, Luna and I in my dorm? Harry and Ron would then let Draco and Blaise into the common room when they are done getting ready, so they can pick us all up from there when we are done. You don’t have to, but I thought it would be a great way to get to know each other. Also, Ginny is amazing at doing hair and Luna knows some great nail charms.”
Pansy looked at Hermione skeptically for a minute or so. “I guess that would be acceptable. Since I’m sure I will have to suffer your company during the dance anyway, since I chose to attend with Potter. Very well, I will get ready with you and your friends. I think I may feel charitable enough to share my make-up spells with you all.”
And so it was settled, Pansy was going to be getting ready for the dance with Hermione, Ginnny, and Luna.
Back to the evening of the dance, Hermione’s room-
“Pansy,” Hermione called, they had quickly decided that first names was easier, “what spell did you use to get your mascara to sparkle like that, it’s beautiful!?”
Pansy was doing everyone’s make-up while Luna went around doing everyone’s nails, Ginny did everyone’s hair, and Hermione performed the necessary charms on their dresses to keep them clean, ironed, not too hot and not too cool, etc. The room was a little chaotic, but nobody seemed to mind.
“I’ll teach it to you later.” Pansy responded to Hermione’s inquiry. “But you’ll have to teach me the spell you are using to get the dresses to stay ironed but not starchy.”
Hermione agreed and they continued getting ready. Luna’s dress was floor-length. It was silky and fuchsia. The skirt was soft and free flowing, darker fuchsia at the bottom and got progressively light the closer to the waist the fabric was. Her waist was accented by a beaded strip that encircled her waist and the top was horizontal rushing of the same fabric, but a mix of the darker and lighter fuchsias. She wore simple silver flats with it.
Pansy had surprised everyone with her dress choice. They sort of expected her to, despite the theme, wear Slytherin black. Well, she hadn’t. Now, she wasn’t wearing Gryffindor red either, nor was she wearing pink. But really, who in their right mind would expect to see Pansy Parkinson in pink, or worse, a Gryffindor color. No, Pansy had chosen an elegant, floor length, strapless, deep purple colored dress. It was very simple. It flowed freely downed to the floor and the only accent to the dress was a single round cut-out on the left side of her waist. The cut-out was edged in silver thread and she wore simple silver stilettos. She, of course, then added a silver snake necklace, to prove she was still a Slytherin.
So, in the end, two of them had short dresses while two had long dresses. Ginny did their hair in a mix of up, down, and half-up-half-down styles, depending on what best suited their faces and dresses. Luna did their nails to match their dresses, adding silver to Ginny’s, Pansy’s, and her own, but not Hermione’s. Hermione’s were plain, blood red, with a black rose on each of her ring fingers. Pansy kept their make-up light, simple, and elegant. When they were done Hermione sent her Patronus to Harry, asking if they were ready and whether Draco and Blaise had arrived yet. Harry’s Patronus returned to tell them that everyone was there and ready.
“Well, ladies,” Hermione turned to address the other three girls. “It seems like it’s time to go down and meet our men.” The other three nodded and they descended the stairs to the common room.
AN: Again, I’m so sorry for the wait. And that it's a bit short, but I really wanted to end it before the dance. I am, however, like, a whole new level of sorry. I’m a terrible person and I would understand if you all have stopped reading due to my epic sucky-ness. My summer was filled with my summer job, family, my lake house that has no internet, and then school started again and college is so much more stressful this year. still, that’s no excuse for my unprecedented craptastic delay in posting this chapter. My muse just ran away. I’m not even sure it’s back yet, so sorry if this chapter is a bit of a disappointment. For anyone that stuck with the story, you are the best of all readers in the whole world. To anyone who reviews this chapter, I don’t know what I’ve done in life to deserve you! Anyway, I have plans in my head-and on paper- for this story, so please stick with me. I swear I won’t ever abandon it.
A few issues that have been pointed out to me:
1. I realize now that Ginny and Harry were dating at the beginning of the story. Let’s say that they amicably parted ways romantically at the beginning of the new school year. They had fun and are still good friends, it just didn’t click for them, a summer fling. (Thanks HartOfARebel for spotting this one!)
2. At the beginning of the story Draco said he was all alone and his whole family was in jail, but his letter talked about his mother being home alone while he was at school. How about we have it such that in October or so, the Ministry finally ruled on Mrs. Malfoy’s case, she had been in jail for suspected elicit activities with Death Eaters, but in fall they found her innocent, so now she lives at the Manor by herself.
Sorry about all that, I’m relatively new at this and love to put in plot holes so I can be forced to come up with a way to fill them in later. lol. Thanks for being awesome! Hope you all had a great summer!