Chapter 1 : The Winter Air
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Going to the Potter’s Christmas Ball was always a highlight for many families in the winter. Some anticipated seeing the astounding set up, the large ball room filled with winter decorations, designed just for the holidays. Children alike, awaiting the gifts present under the enormous Christmas tree, the element of surprise as to what they’d receive.
The snow fell ever so lightly, falling delicately on my nose. On such a cold night, my breath could be seen condensing in the winter air as my family and I make our way to the big wooden oak doors.
“Oh William, the Campbell’s 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 my queue to leave.
“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 looked down at the shimmering, gold, strapless ball gown my mum had placed me in this evening. The gold shimmer reflecting 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 you’re taught to act curiously and respect your elders, otherwise you’re in for a beating.
Walking through the large doors, we leave our coats on the stand where they would 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 left to go 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. Please, I’m about as proper and ladylike as they get! Maybe.
Looking around the ball room, Mrs Potter had surely out done herself from last year’s Christmas party. The room brilliantly decorated with tinsel, Christmas lights flashing throughout the ball room, snow sprinkling around the room but not a single touch of coldness felt, obviously a charm Mrs Potter had been working on. The ball room delineated the winter season so well, as though I was outside smelling the winter air, but the real showstopper was the tree, reaching so high I’m fairly certain it touched the ceiling. More tinsel and more Christmas lights donned the tree, with beautiful ornaments scattered around it. Gifts laid out 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 found out. Making my way through the masses of people, I find myself out by the balcony. The cold air slicing 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, 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 handed him my glass. If there was one way to get through the night drinking would 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 ball room with its dancing couples and slightly drunk parents. I follow, hopeful to find something worth my time while I’m trapped at this party. Rightly so, Sirius and his group of friends, along with the other kids of parents, have found their way into one of the smaller ball rooms, this one obviously less decorated, and dimly lit, but just as catered as the real party down in the ball room.
“I’m just going to go talk to James, stay here, I’ll be right back.” Sirius says, almost, smiling at me?
He walked 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 were already off their heads for the night, many who would 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 coward away, drawing closer to Sirius’ side subconsciously. I bump into him before I could 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 looking in my direction greets me, “Hey Eleanor, welcome to the real party. This is where the fun really begins now!”
James seemed to be bouncy 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 Mrs Potter attempting to keep it in check, but pieces poking out. Like Sirius, he was 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 had yelled 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 latter, let you two love bugs get in on.” James says, winking on his departure, leaving Sirius and I to ourselves.
“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, wavering 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, knowing full well I’d turn him down.
“Come on then, follow me!” he’d chirped, before leading us away from the party.
“Where are we going?” I ask. Any party with drinking and girls were Sirius’ favourite kind, and back there he had plenty of that.
We pass back through the ball room 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 had walked away by now, but if we had ditched the gifts and went running, she was sure to come after us. We open the gifts with mild enthusiasm. Inside mine, was a beautiful little snow globe, the snow continued 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 could only guess he had heard me.
He led me outside onto the gazebo, covered fully in snow, which Mrs Potter had no doubt decorated specially for tonight. The winter air nipped at my nose, snowflakes in my hair, but thankfully, Mrs Potter had 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 led the dance with ease. By no means could he be considered a poor dancing, gliding across the gazebo floor effortlessly. The snowflakes swirling around us, gliding towards the ground so delicately, as though they were dancing with us. There was 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 swayed to the beat of the little music we could here from the ball room, but even without music there rung a sweet symphony of bells throughout my ears. When we came to a stop, I was pleasantly surprised.
“Not bad, Black, not bad at all. Tell me, where ever did you learn such splendid dance moves!” A smirk of my own forming at my lips.
At my question, red was tinging at Sirius’ cheeks, threatening to show through. “Just my awesome self” he tried to play off. Quickly pulling 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 pressed, my smirk widening by the second.
At the sound of my accusation, Sirius face paled.
“Hey, how did you- you can’t say anything about those-“ Sirius started, 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 such ‘awesome’ dance moves, as you had 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 lunged for me, wrapping his strong arms around my shoulders.
“No you don’t!” He exclaims.
I try throwing his arms off me but attempting was useless.
“Black! Come on, Black, get off! Sirius! Come on, seriously, Black!” I said it before I could stop myself. I was mentally shaking my head for letting myself walk right into this.
I could just feel his smirk forming at my words. His grip loosening, ever so slightly. His lips finding their way closer to my ears.
“Oh, but Eleanor, I’m about as Sirius as they get!” he jokes. His whisper sending 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, because it appears dear Eleanor, you have to kiss me now.” His eyes pointing 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,
“Just one little kiss, Eleanor, and we’re free.” Sirius pushes.
The surroundings blur as I stare into his eyes, we both move in, 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, seeming not to let go.
“Merry Christmas, Eleanor.”
“Merry Christmas, Sirius.”
“So you think my hair is lustrous, hey?” he smirks, laughing while we danced in the winter air.
'Till then, Ellie :)
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