A/N: Shout out to awesomepotter on the forum for beta reading this one shot and making it extra fabulous! She’s actually awesome!
Going to the Potters’ Christmas Ball is always a highlight for many families in the winter. Some anticipate seeing the astounding set up, the large ballroom filled with winter decorations designed just for the holidays. Children are no exception - awaiting the gifts present under the enormous Christmas tree, the element of surprise as to what they’d receive making them giddy with anticipation.
The snow falls ever so lightly, landing delicately on my nose. On such a cold night, my breath can be seen condensing in the winter air as my family and I make our way to the grand oak doors.
“Oh William, the Campbells are here! Oh Sarah, it’s good to see you,” Mrs Potter greets, kissing my mother affectionately on both cheeks.
“Good to see you Michael, William will be right here; you two can go have a drink and chat.” Mrs Potter continues, greeting my father.
“It’s good to see you, Caroline.” my father replies, similarly kissing both cheeks affectionately.
All the while I stand waiting for the queue of guests to diminish.
“Oh, and this must be little Eleanor - my, hasn’t she grown! What a pretty little dress you have on!” Mrs Potter addresses me, smiling down at me warmly.
I look down at the shimmering, gold, strapless ball gown my mother had placed me in this evening. The gold shimmer reflects off the lights, making the dress sparkle.
“It’s very good to see you Mrs Potter.” I reply politely, smiling. Being brought up in a pureblood family meant I was taught to act courteously and respect my elders; otherwise I was in for a beating.
Walking through the large doors, we leave our coats on the stand where they will stay until departure.
“Eleanor, dear, why don’t you go find James, he’ll be around here somewhere.” Mrs Potter offers.
As my parents and Mrs Potter leave to go and mingle, I stand by my lonesome self deciding what I could possibly do to make the time go by faster. I had begged my parents to let me stay home, but it was deemed ‘improper and unladylike’ for me not to attend.
Of course, I’m about as proper and ladylike as they get. Of course. Yeah...
Looking around the ballroom, I can see Mrs Potter has surely out done herself from last year’s Christmas party. The room brilliantly decorated with tinsel, Christmas lights flashing throughout the ballroom, snow sprinkling around the room but not a single touch of coldness felt - obviously a charm Mrs Potter had been working on. The ballroom delineates the winter season so well – it’s as though I’m outside smelling the winter air - but the real showstopper is the tree, reaching so high I’m fairly certain it touches the ceiling. More tinsel and more Christmas lights don the tree, with beautiful ornaments scattered around it. Gifts lay underneath the tree, just as expected, for kids big and small.
Moving towards the drink stand, I grab myself a drink, tasting a hint of firewhiskey; obviously James (and no doubt Sirius) are behind this, spiking the drinks for this evening. Mrs Potter is sure to have a fit when she finds out. As I make my way through the masses of people, I find myself out by the balcony. The cold air slices through my skin like a splinter; I shiver at its touch, but revel in the beauty of the winter season.
“Well, don’t you look ravishing tonight, Campbell!” the deep rugged voice belonging to a one Mr Sirius Black.
I turn in his direction, taking in his suited figure leaning against the balcony’s door frame, his bow tie crisp and his overall image flawless.
“At least one of us does, Black.” I answer nonchalantly, keeping up with his banter.
The smirk resting on his lips widens, “Now come on Eleanor, don’t I just look divine?” he questions sardonically.
He smells divine. He looks divine. He is divine.
I opt not to answer, walking past his figure. He follows closely behind. “What’s the matter Campbell, cat got your tongue?” He smirks.
He advances forward, making his way in front of me, stopping me in my path.
“Now, now, Eleanor, not so fast, we haven’t even had a chance to talk. Drink?” he offers, seeing my now empty glass.
I hand him my glass. If there’s one way to get through the night, drinking will speed it up quite nicely.
“I noticed the drinks were spiked. Tell me, Sirius, whose handiwork was that?” I question sarcastically.
“I have no idea.” he responds, grinning at his work.
He hands me my drink before leading me away from the ballroom with its dancing couples and slightly drunk parents. I follow, hopeful to find something worth my time while I’m trapped at this party. I do - Sirius and his group of friends, along with the other kids of parents, have found their way into one of the smaller ballrooms; this one is obviously less decorated, and dimly lit, but just as catered as the real party down in the ballroom.
“I’m just going to go talk to James, stay here, I’ll be right back.” Sirius says, almost... smiling at me?
He walks towards James who’s busy distributing firewhiskey and often stopping to chat to guests. While they talk I take the chance to observe the surroundings. With no shortage of alcohol, many are already off their heads for the night, several of whom would later fail to remember what they’d done, or what had happened. Already there were couples snogging each other’s faces off as if their lives depended on it. What could have possibly started as an innocent kiss under the mistletoe had turned into a sordid game of tonsil hockey.
I cower away, drawing closer to Sirius’ side subconsciously. I bump into him before I can stop myself. I move away slightly, feeling claustrophobic at his touch, as he turns around and notices my small petite figure against his tall, broad one.
James looks in my direction and greets me. “Hey Eleanor, welcome to the real party. This is where the fun really begins now!”
James seems to be bouncing off walls. When I look towards Sirius, giving him a questioning look, he pulls his lips towards my ears whispering, “James lost in a drinking contest.”
James’ normally unruly messy black hair is slicked back, obviously one of Mrs Potter’s attempts to keep it in check, but pieces are poking out. Like Sirius, he is nicely suited; his bow tie, however, is loosened, threatening to come off. His stance is wavering, showing signs of his tipsiness. Should he really be the one handling the drinks in this condition?
“I noticed. Those two in the corner there seem to be having whirls of fun sticking their tongues down each other’s throat!” I reply sarcastically.
All eyes turned to the couple who were about ready to get their clothes off.
“OI! You two! Keep your clothes on!” someone yells out at some point, causing the two to pull away bashfully, red cheeks and no doubt swollen lips.
“That’s the spirit! Have you got yourself a drink? Sweet. I’ll talk to you two later, let you two love bugs get it on.” James says, winking on his departure, leaving Sirius and I alone.
“What? James!” I respond exasperatedly.
Sirius and I, ‘love bugs’?
I look up to Sirius’ face, only to notice a playful smirk, “We are not ‘love bugs’.” I warn Sirius, cautioning him not to get any ideas.
“You know, we could have some fun too, just like those two in the corner.” Sirius jokes, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Get lost, Black.” I reply. Whilst I wouldn’t turn down a snog, and definitely not one from Sirius, I have some decency to keep it classy... or at least keep my clothes on unlike some people.
Sirius barks with laughter, having known full well I was going to turn him down.
“Come on then, follow me!” he chirps, before leading us away from the party.
“Where are we going?” I ask. Any party with drinking and girls are Sirius’ favourite kind, and back there he had plenty of that.
We pass back through the ballroom noticing a lot more drunken parents, letting a few phrases slip from the tongue, “Elizabeth looks like a downright hag in that dress tonight!”
As Sirius and I try to make our way past, Mrs Potter stops us by her hand, “Sirius! Eleanor! Before you two go anywhere go pick yourself a gift! Go on! Now Sirius, don’t give me that look, you’re never too old to have a bit of the Christmas spirit alive in you. Now go on!” Mrs Potter exclaims, pushing us in the direction of the large Christmas tree.
Reluctantly, both Sirius and I pick up a small gift. Mrs Potter has walked away by now, but if we ditch the gifts and go running, she’s sure to come after us. We open the gifts with mild enthusiasm. Inside mine was a beautiful little snow globe where the snow continues falling from its top without a single shake, a dancing couple rotating ceaselessly out in the winter snow. Sirius, having drawn some Fleetwood’s High-Finish Handle Polish, was delighted with his gift.
“Now your broom can be a lustrous as your hair.” I mumble. But seeing Sirius’ delighted smirk I can only guess he heard me.
He leads me outside onto the gazebo, covered fully in snow, which Mrs Potter has no doubt decorated specially for tonight. The winter air nips at my nose, snowflakes settle in my hair, but thankfully, Mrs Potter has thought to place a warming charm surrounding the gazebo, keeping the air toasty and warm.
“What on earth are we doing out here?!” I exclaim, a smile playing at my lips.
Sirius shrugs, moving forward to take my hand in his, “Dance with me.”
“Dance? With you?” I question, the smile still on my lips.
Sirius smiles, “Come now, I’m not that bad of a dancer.”
He leads the dance with ease. By no means could he be considered a poor dancer, gliding across the gazebo floor effortlessly. The snowflakes fall around us, gliding towards the ground delicately, as though they were dancing with us. There’s no need for a warming charm when in such close proximity to Sirius, his body warmth more than enough to bring the colour back to my cheeks. We sway to the beat of the soft music we could hear from the ballroom, but even without music there rings a sweet symphony of bells throughout my ears. When we come to a stop, I’m pleasantly surprised.
“Not bad, Black, not bad at all. Tell me, wherever did you learn such splendid dance moves?” I enquire as a smirk of my own forms at my lips.
At my question, red tinges Sirius’ cheeks, threatening to show through. “Just my awesome self.” he tries to play off as he quickly pulls away, trying to hide the colour forming on his cheeks.
“Really, now? You sure it wasn’t those dance classes mummy had sent you to?” I press, my smirk widening by the second.
At the sound of my accusation, Sirius’ face pales.
“Hey, how did you- you can’t say anything about those-“ Sirius starts, trying to save his reputation as Gryffindor’s bad boy.
“Chill, Sirius, you forget that I was in your class, and besides, every pureblood goes through the same thing. We’ve all been to a dance class to make sure we look ‘nice and proper on the dance floor’.” both our faces sickening at the thought of being a ‘nice and proper’ pureblood.
“ Besides, I would have thought for sure you’d want everyone to know of your ‘awesome’ dance moves, as you so modestly put it; I think I might just go find my way back and tell everyone...” I joke.
As I fake walking back towards James’ little party of his own Sirius lunges for me, wrapping his strong arms around my shoulders.
“No you don’t!” He exclaims.
I try throwing his arms off me but attempting proves useless.
“Black! Come on, Black, get off! Sirius! Come on, seriously, Black!” I say before I can stop myself. I mentally shake my head for letting myself walk right into this.
I can just feel his smirk forming at my words. His grip loosens ever so slightly. His lips find their way closer to my ears.
“Oh, but Eleanor, I’m about as Sirius as they get!” he jokes. His whisper sends shivers down my spine. He chuckles at his joke, the same joke he uses way too often.
“Sirius, let me go.” I plead, almost at the point of begging.
He looks up above our heads and then straight down into my eyes, “I’m afraid, Eleanor, I just can’t do that.” He replies, his smirk remaining.
“Why not?” I ask, getting irritated by his games.
“You see, Eleanor, I appear to be under some sort of curse! Will you help me? Oh please help me, Eleanor! All it takes is just one kiss.” He bargains.
The sneaky bastard.
“And if I don’t?” I play along.
“Then you’re stuck here, dear Eleanor, for it seems you have to kiss me now.” His eyes point above.
Following his gaze, I notice the branch of mistletoe forming just above our heads, poking out from the roof of the gazebo. We really are stuck here unless I-
“Just one little kiss, Eleanor, and we’re free.” Sirius pushes.
The surroundings blur as I stare into his eyes. We both move in, and despite the warming charm, shivers shift down my spine.
Just one little kiss.
We pull apart, but Sirius’ arms don’t seem to move, almost gripping tighter at my waist, seemingly not willing to let go.
“Merry Christmas, Eleanor.”
“Merry Christmas, Sirius.”
“So you think my hair is lustrous, hey?” he smirks, laughing while we dance in the winter air.