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Chapter 1 : The Christmas Ball
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Author's Note: Hello, and welcome to Deception!
Now before you decapitate me, lower your pitchforks and hear me out, dear readers. True, I have been absent for an insanely long time, and true, I've deleted Serendipity. I'm sorry for both. Serendipity, though it was my baby, was just not happening. As for my extra-long hiatus, the reason is my studies and the bitch they're being. The good news is, I present to you my brand new fic, which will hopefully be nice enough to earn your forgiveness. In the meantime, Genesis and Exceptional Circumstances are on hold, though I swear I'll complete them.
And now, I implore you again to sit back and enjoy the (mis)adventures of Rose, Scorpius, et al. Keep faith and happy reading!
Beauteous CI by LittleBear @ TDA
The Christmas Ball
25 December 2026, 10.01 pm
Cap d'Antibes, France
“Leo, I'm going to kill you!” muttered Rose Weasley, struggling to inhale through the vice-like grip of her gown's constricted bodice. “I can't bleeding breathe.”
Nicole Newman, perched precariously on an oak tree right opposite one of the gigantic French windows that allowed her to peer into the château's grand ballroom (with the help of long-range high-res Infrared omniculars), scowled at that proclamation. “Stop being a moany bitch, Rose,” she replied into the microphone, “and focus.”
Annoyed, Rose tapped the receiver earpiece attached to her ear, hidden by her artfully side-swept blonde hair. “But Nicole,” she whined into the ingenious mike built into her bracelet, more to irritate her partner than because she was uncomfortable, “what if I faint from oxygen deprivation? The entire plan would be shot to hell.”
Nicole gritted her teeth. “Rose, for the love of God—”
Leo Chang, lounging beside her on the leafy bough, snatched the mike from her hand, as Nicole was starting to tremble due to a combination of rage, nerves and cold, making the branch shake, and frankly, he had no wish to fall thirty feet and break a leg. “Rose,” he drawled, “please don't insult my dress-designing skills. The gown fits like a glove, and the only reason it's getting tighter is because you won't stop gobbling the vol-au-vents.” Rose made a protesting noise, but he ploughed on, “And it's time to take the Poly-J.”
Rose frowned, but relented. Glancing around to make sure no one was paying attention to her, she fished a tiny vial of Polyjuice Potion from her gold sequined clutch, and, grabbing a flute of champagne from a passing waiter's tray, proceeded to add a muddy gloop of the potion to the sparkling drink, and down it all in one gulp.
She grimaced, feeling the foul, bubbly liquid slide down her throat. Her skin felt like melting wax on her bones—decidedly disgusting.
“That was horrible,” she declared. "If I have to drink that filthy concoction one more time, I'll puk—”
“6 o'clock, Rose,” Nicole interrupted her rant, “Incoming, Gregory Goyle and his son, Richard.”
Immediately, Rose dropped her wrist from near her mouth, rearranged her lips into a dazzling smile, and turned.
A large, grey-haired man, in mauve dress-robes and a pointed wizard's hat decorated with glittering stars, came towards her, dragging a rather reluctant-looking young man by the hand. He grinned maniacally when he reached her. “Ah, Miss Alderdice, there you are!” He turned to his son, who was taking advantage of his father's momentary lapse of attention to straighten his black tuxedo, and look around for a quick getaway.
“Richard,” said Gregory, snapping him out of his search, “Richard, have you met Miss Aileen Alderdice? She's the heiress of the Alderdice Group of Hotels and Resorts. Miss Alderdice—Aileen—,” he whirled to Rose, “my son, Richard.”
Richard shook her hand, and said (quite stiffly, Rose noted), “Delighted, Miss Alderdice.” With a polite smile, Rose returned his greeting in the Irish accent she had spent weeks perfecting.
Eventually, Richard slipped away with an excuse about greeting an old friend, and Rose was left alone with Mr. Goyle, listening to his riveting babble.
Rose had never been a patient person. She quickly grew tired of tittering to Goyle's lame anecdotes, and being introduced and shown off to the other guests like the prize cow at a village Annual Agricultural Show. Her facial muscles were sore from smiling almost constantly, and she was so mind-numbingly bored, she was almost glad when the orchestra started to play and Goyle asked her for a dance.
“I must say, Mr. Goyle,” she said as they waltzed around in a slow circle, more to fill the silence than anything else, “your residence is very beautiful.”
“Oh, this little place,” he dismissed her compliment with a careless wave of his hand. “And please Aileen, call me Gregory.”
Rose only smiled, feeling her cheeks scream in protest.
Gregory Goyle's 'little place' was actually Château de Goyle, located in Cap d'Antibes, and was one of the show places of France. The carefully manicured gardens housed some of the most exotic species of flora, the rooms were luxuriously furnished with invaluable antiques, and the place itself dated back to the fifteenth century. It was practically a palace.
A few more twirls, and Rose spoke again, charming Irish drawl in place, “You are very kind, Mr. Goy—Gregory,” she corrected herself, “arranging such a nice charity ball to help the less fortunate."
“Yes,” he agreed, nodding his head somberly. “Anything to help children.”
“If that were true,” suddenly Nicole's voice rang in Rose's ear from the receiver, “I'd eat Colonel Fitzpatrick. This benefit ball of old Greg's is a racket, I tell you. Only ten percent of the money ever reaches the children, if at all—the rest goes into his pocket...” She went into into an angry, cuss-filled rant after that, and Rose stopped listening, instead turning her attention to Goyle, who'd just asked her something about her father's hospitality business.
“It was all started by my great-grandfather,” she replied airily, “a tiny little inn in Dublin. Today my father has expanded that into five-star hotels and luxury resorts all over the world. Of course,” she added modestly, “that is nothing compared to your business empire, Gregory.”
He boomed into laughter. “Oh, you flatter me, Aileen, but I own WiZenith only in part. It is a joint venture of my dear friend Draco Malfoy's and mine.” He spun her as the orchestra played the last few strains of the song. “Speaking of which, here comes our company's promising future heir.”
Rose turned quickly—almost too quickly, but no one was looking at her. Goyle's eyes were fixed on the young man in a smartly tailored grey suit, making his way through the guests to him, a dark-haired girl in a figure-hugging lavender gown hanging off his arm. Even across the room, his blonde hair and sharp, angular features were perfectly recognizable. Scorpius Malfoy.
For the first time all evening, Rose Weasley's smile was neither forced nor fake.
Four Weeks Ago
27 November 2026, 2.14 am
“'Every year on Christmas, Gregory Goyle, co-owner of the world-renowned WiZenith Industries Ltd., sponsors a winter ball for the benefit of the St. Matigny Children's Hospital in Paris, in his South France residence. The wizarding society's elite, including foreign dignitaries, important Ministry officials, nobility and celebrities fly in from around the world to attend this charity fête. Invitations to the black-tie affair are rumoured to be a thousand Galleons apiece, an—'”
“—And can,” Nicole muttered, interrupting Leo, who folded the Evening Prophet he had been reading the article from, and put it aside, “be arranged for with a Confounding spell or two.” She finally looked up from the notebook she had been scribbling on for the last few hours. “Okay, here's the plan.”
Rose, who was draped on an armchair and seemed too caught up in solving a crossword puzzle to pay attention, turned at that. Glancing at a page full of Nicole's untidy, cramped handwriting, she said, “Really? 'Cause that just looks like a drunk spider fell into an inkwell and decided that skittering across that page would be a good idea.”
Nicole, too exhausted to argue, simply told her to shut up. Violently shoving back a fistful of her hair that threatened to fall into her eyes, she continued, “So, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted—” Rose just grinned at her glare “—the plan. We kidnap Scorpius Malfoy at this charity ball thingie.”
“While your "plan" sounds quite eloquent,” Leo began, “I can't help but ask, how?”
Nicole sighed exasperatedly. “Isn't it obvious? We send in Rose to the ball, disguised as a princess or something, and then she uses her sultry-eyes-pouty-lips routine to get Malfoy alone, knock him out, and Side-Along Apparate him here.”
“While I'm flattered that you've put so much of the plan's success on my considerable talents as a seductress,” Rose said, “doesn't it sound a little, um, sketchy?”
“Don't be ridiculous, Rose. My plan is flawless. And has a back-up. And if you think I'm leaving everything in your hands, you're bonkers. Leo and I'll be keeping an eye on everything, and communicating with you. Which reminds me, I need to repair the bugging devices.” She turned back to Leo. “We're going to need Polyjuice, some heavy-duty Sleeping Potion, and a fake identity for this one,” she glanced at Rose. Then, she gathered all her pile of papers, and stalked out of the room, mumbling about 2 micron copper filaments and bicorn tail hair.
“Well, that went well,” Leo observed dryly, and then fixed his eyes on Rose, who was back at her crossword. “So, what d'you wanna be? Chinese diplomat's daughter? French widow of a rich businessman? Indian Maharani?”
Rose put aside the half-finished puzzle thoughtfully. “Hmm... I was thinking, something...Irish. I've not used that accent in ages.”
Leo nodded. “Sure. I'll have to look for hair samples, though.”
“You do that. Meanwhile, I'm going to go catch up on my beauty sleep.” She stood up and stretched, so that her maroon Witchified T-shirt lifted, and bared her stomach with the silver navel-ring. “I absolutely fail to understand why Nicole insists on having these meetings in the dead of the night, honestly...”
25 December 2026, 10.38 pm
Cap d'Antibes, France
When she had first stepped through the giant oak doors of the ballroom, Nicole's voice had hissed out of the transmitter, telling Rose to “bloody pick your jaw up from the floor”. True, she had attended Ministry parties with her parents when she was a kid, but they were nothing like this. The château's grand ballroom was easily larger than Hogwarts' Great Hall, hung with several crystal chandeliers and gold and white draperies. Sparkling ice sculptures and Christmas trees decorated with live fairies and enchanted snow were arranged artfully near the many French windows that overlooked the grounds.
Then there were the guests themselves. Respledent in their robes and gowns and tuxedos, laughing over flutes of champagne or discussing the latest developments in politics and business and other tiresome topics. Rose recognised several faces from tabloids, and it had taken her everything she had to not lose it completely and profess her undying love to Novak Shermangil, lead singer of The Anarchists, in front of a thousand-strong audience.
Scorpius, on the other hand, seemed incredibly unaffected by all the fame and frivolity around him. But then again, he had been attending functions like these all his life, she mused, as he walked to where Goyle and she were standing. A moment later, an overenthusiastic Gregory was making introductions.
“Scorpius, my boy! We were just talking about you!” he exclaimed. “What took you so long? Anyway, here, I don't think you've met my friend, Miss Aileen Alderdice?” He faced the blonde girl exitedly. “Aileen, allow me to present Mr. Scorpius Malfoy and Miss Justina Nott.”
Justina Nott took a moment to survey Rose from top to toe, sniffed disdainfully, and then threw her a customary “hello”. Scorpius, meanwhile, inclined his head (always the gentleman), and said, “Pleasure to meet you, Miss Alderdice.” He was polite enough, Rose felt, but not particularly friendly.
Her ice-blue eyes danced in the bright light. “Likewise, Mr. Malfoy.”
It had been almost two years since she had last seen him, but she remembered Scorpius from school. They had been in the same year, and her cousin Lily had been freakishly obsessed with him. He was different now—his white-gold hair was longer, face more chiselled and cut-glass—and yet unchanged. The Scorpius from Hogwarts, the one Lily wrote poems and love-letters for, was still the same—civil at best, indifferent at worst. Reserved, she thought. Much like he had resisted Lily's advances all those years ago, Rose strongly suspected that he would ignore her flirtations now.
Scorpius turned to Goyle. “Uncle Greg, Father mentioned that he wanted to meet you as soon as possible. Something about the Bridggets and Borgurls deal.”
“Is it now? Hmm... ” Was it Rose's imagination, or did Gregory look strangely reluctant to leave? “Well, I'm sorry, my young friends, but business calls. Aileen,” he took her pale hand in his huge, clammy one, “Please, do enjoy yourself. And don't forget you're seated at my table for dinner.”
As soon as he was gone, Justina yanked down Scorpius and whispered something into his ear. He nodded, and she whirled to Rose, a sickly-sweet smile plastered on her face. “Excuse us, Aileen, but we have to go meet my parents,” and then, without a word, she dragged her partner away, who did glance back briefly at her, but said nothing else.
Inwardly, Rose sighed. If truth be told (to anyone but Nicole) the most important part of their operation, Rose's bit about getting Scorpius unconscious and abducting him, was, well, largely unplanned. She had thought she could wing it, thought that he would be easily bowled over by her sultry-eyes-pouty-lips routine, as Nicole put it. After all, it had worked on several prior occasions. But it was obvious from his decidedly unethusiastic greeting itself that this bloke was going to be a tough nut to crack. Especially with that black-haired leech stuck to his side like that.
But then again, she mused, staring at him as he talked to a tall, smartly-dressed couple who could only be Justina's parents, she hadn't waited all evening—drinking champagne mixed with Polyjuice every hour, listening to the mindless coddle of brain-dead old geezers, in the death-trap heels that were mercilessly murdering her feet—to end up failing. Rose Weasley never failed, and come hell or high-water, tonight would be no exception.
Edit 2/12/13: I've changed the year of action from 2025 to 2026. While this is not a major change, I just wanted the main cast to be in their 20's. Rose and Scorpius are both now 20, Leo is 22 and Nicole is 24.
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