A/N – Sorry it took so long for the last chapter. I made some spacing errors, so I had to resubmit to be validated. Although, after I resubmitted it only took 2 days so yay! Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed ‘Plannings’ I know there wasn’t anything too interesting in that chapter, but don’t worry. Things will definitely start to get more interesting! So please enjoy.
Chapter 8: The Invitations
George smiled at Hermione as she examined herself in Madame Milke’s mirror wearing a simple yet eloquent blue sundress. She really was beautiful.
“It’s lovely enough,” Hermione sighed, “But do I really have to wear it just to hand out invitations.”
“Of course,” George’s smile turned into a grin, “We have to do this right.”
“But why?” Hermione almost whined.
“Because it’s your first big social event, everything must be perfect!”
“Since when did I become a debutant?” Hermione grumbled.
“A what?” George looked at her confused.
“Never mind,” Hermione smiled as she went to change back into normal clothes.
Before she reached the changing room, however, Fred came running towards them, much to the dismay of the shopkeeper.
“It’s all arranged, everyone is prepared to receive their invitations….today.”
“What?” Hermione looked furious.
“Excellent,” George’s grin couldn’t get any bigger.
Fred and George paid for Hermione’s dress and then led her out the door into bright and cheery Diagon Alley.
“Where to first?” George asked as they went into the Leaky Cauldron to floo.
“Godric’s Hollow,” Fred answered, almost with an apologetic look on his face towards his brother.
“Harry’s first?” Hermione’s eyes lit up.
“here we go,” George fought the urge to roll his eyes.
“What do I say?” Hermione seemed a bit more eager yet still nervous as they approached Harry’s home.
Fred tried to instruct her, “Well really, you just hand him this and then tell him you’d be delighted if he could join us and then he’s suppose to offer you tea or dinner or something snazzy like that. And if he has any questions, you’ll answer them.”
Hermione accepted the light blue envelope that held an invitation to what seemed to be her doomsday and winced, “Questions?”
“Don’t worry, George or I will always be with you as an escort. So we’ll know most of the answers.”
Hermione sighed with a bit of relief and then tensed up again as Fred rang the doorbell. George had left them back at Diagon Alley claiming he forgot to do some paperwork at the shop.
It only took 3 knocks before someone opened the door. It was Ginny. Hermione’s face fell.
“Hello Ginny, dear sister,” Fred looked amused, “Is Harry here by chance?”
“I’ll go get him,” Ginny said a bit confused, “come on in and have a seat.”
Fred and Hermione went to what looked like a simple parlor room. Fred sat in the only armchair while Hermione sat on a red velvet loveseat.
“Is Ginny and Harry…”
But Hermione couldn’t finish her question before Harry entered the room, without Ginny.
“Sorry, I didn’t expect to see you so soon,” Harry apologized.
“No need to worry,” Fred answered although the grin was still in his eyes.
“You look lovely.”
“We’d be delighted if you could attend.”
Harry and Hermione said their bit together and very rushed. Each trying not to look at each other in the eye. Being the only seat available in the room, Harry had sat on the loveseat next to Hermione. It felt too close for both of them.
Harry accepted the light blue invitation with a nod and replied, “You’ll stay for some morning tea?”
Hermione grimaced, “of course.”
“I’ll let Ginny know you’ll be joining us,” Harry said as he quickly got off the loveseat and headed for the door.
“Are they together?” Hermione asked Fred sharply.
“If they are, they’re not officially. It would have been in the records and he wouldn’t be eligible to be invited,” Fred answered.
“You only invited single eligible males?” Hermione glared at him.
Fred grinned sheepishly, “and only the best looking for your sake of course.”
“Of course,” Hermione rolled her eyes.
Ginny came into the room then. She had changed into a yellow sundress. Not nice as Hermione’s but the point was clear.
“Everything is set up in the dining room,” Ginny gave a friendly smile.
Hermione wanted to ask her. The question was there…burning in her gut. But she thought it might be a bit rude.
Midway through the dull polite conversation of tea, Fred did ask.
“So Harry, what is Ginny doing here?”
Everyone but Fred blushed at the bluntness.
Harry and Ginny tried to answer at once, their words getting mixed and confused with each other.
Harry finally completed the answer, “She’s helping me get my house in order. You know…furnishing…hiring help…and such…”
Harry finally met Hermione’s eyes for the first time that day and gave her an apologetic look. Hermione nodded in understanding as everyone finished their tea. It was awkward. And Ginny’s face never did go back from matching the color of her hair.
“Thank you for tea,” Fred said as they exited Harry’s door, “We hope to see you next weekend.”
“Of course, I can’t wait!” Harry said with a truly earnest grin.
Hermione could have sworn she saw Ginny’s face glaring back behind Harry before he shut the door.
“Well that wasn’t bad was it?” Fred asked.
Hermione glared at him in response, “Do I really have to do that for everyone?”
Fred nodded, “Don’t worry, it’ll get easier.”
Hermione wanted to cry. Fred wanted to laugh. George, who had now rejoined them on their way to the Burrow, wanted to kill Harry. It was a great morning.
Ron was ecstatic to receive his invitation. Mrs. Weasley came up with a huge lunch for them all, and everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Until Ron began to try.
“You look really nice in that dress, Hermione,” Ron choked out after finishing his 4th glass of butterbeer.
“Thanks Ron,” Hermione mumbled.
“You should see what we have planned for her for the ball,” Fred grinned.
Hermione groaned while everyone else at the table grinned.
“I’m sure it’ll be quite lovely,” Molly chirped up.
It was strange for Hermione. She felt like Ron who was a future prospect for a suitor, was a little boy she had come to visit. He seemed so much younger compared to his older brothers and with his mom hovering around him.
Ron smiled at her, and Hermione tried to smile back. Would he ever be able to grow up being the youngest brother?
“Ron, dear, why don’t you show Hermione those new roses I planted in the garden?”
Ron’s face lit up like he had come up with the idea himself. He quickly rose from his seat leaving his dessert half eaten and helped Hermione to the backdoor. George rose to go with them as an escort, but Molly sharply said, “George, do you think you could help me clear the table?”
Then as Fred tried to cover his twin’s place, she commanded again, “Fred, there are some boxes in the attic I need taken to the village. Do you think you could do that for me?”
Of course the twins grumbled their ‘yeses’ and set out to do their jobs. Leaving Hermione and Ron alone in the garden.
“They are quite nice,” Hermione said while inspecting the enchanted roses.
“they change colors you know. They pick up the feelings around them and change accordingly so.”
“Like a muggle mood ring,” Hermione said softly.
“A what?” Ron looked at her curiously.
“Never mind,” Hermione gave a warm smile.
Ron picked one of the flowers and held it out to Hermione. It wouldn’t stop changing colors as if Ron’s mood was flying from one thing to the next. Hermione accepted the flower and it changed to the brightest of yellows.
Ron blushed, “here, allow me,” he took the flower back and placed it behind her ear.
“thank you,” Hermione said softly.
“You’re welcome. The ball should be fun, don’t you think.”
Hermione groaned and Ron chuckled, “It won’t be that bad, I promise.”
“I have to dance all night, did you know that? Fred and George said I’m never to be without a partner.”
“It’ll be alright,” Ron rushed the last part, “if you want I can stay with you most of the night so you don’t have to dance with anyone unpleasant.”
“That would be nice, I guess,” Hermione tried to smile. He was trying, after all.
Ron grinned, “It’ll be fun, just wait. Fred and George can’t have just a normal ball. There’ll be something to it, you can be sure.”
Hermione sighed, “you’re probably right. Goodness knows what they’re up to though.”
“You sound like you’re expecting the worse,” Ron commented.
“No the worse is already over,” Hermione said grimly. That set them into a period of silence for a while. Neither of them knew quite what to say to change the mood.
“We should get inside.”
Fred and George led Hermione away soon after that. She had other invitations to hand out, and it was already 1pm. Ron waved merrily at Hermione and she could have sworn she saw him wink.
“this cannot be happening,” she groaned.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Hermione,” Fred replied, although not understanding what she was referring to, “Neville is a fine gentleman. He’d be hurt if he wasn’t invited.”
Hermione’s eyes widened as they reached Neville’s home. His grandmother had decided to go on a permanent vacation, leaving Neville as owner of his own vast estate.
It was Neville who answered the door, “pleased to see you!”
He ushered them inside, “Have you already had lunch?”
“Yes, Neville, just now actually. Sorry lad,” George answered.
“Maybe just a tour my house then? Just finished redoing it last week,” Neville seemed excited to show off.
Fred smiled in a ‘if we must’ way, “of course, but first,” he looked pointedly towards Hermione.
“We’d be delighted if you could attend,” she said politely as she handed him an invitation.
“Splendid!” Neville tucked the invitation into one of his pockets and started to lead them out of the room. He seemed rushed, like he wanted to show off his entire house as quickly as possible. Perhaps it was just nervousness.
Hermione doubted it though as the tour continued. Neville was proud of himself. He was proud of what he had become. And he wanted to show it off.
Finally, as Neville tried to persuade the to check out the garden and grounds, George stopped him, “We really must be going Neville, we have to deliver other invitations as well.”
“Of course,” Neville smiled, “see you at the ball then.”
“Who would have known,” Fred chuckled as they made their way to Dean’s house.
Seamus was visiting Dean when they arrived. Hermione was thankful to have gotten two invitations handed out at once. And the visit seemed rather short as well. Seamus and Dean were leaving to go see a game and couldn’t chat long. Although, both seemed very interested in Hermione and the ball.
“Will you two be meeting with Oliver?” George asked.
“yes, we’re meeting at his house first actually,” Dean replied.
“Could we join you. Just for a moment, of course to deliver his invitation?”
Dean and Seamus’ faces fell, “Oliver Wood is invited as well?”
“Yes, do you mind if we come along?” Fred asked this time.
“Sure. Let’s get going then,” Dean replied although not so happy now.
Oliver seemed surprised to receive an invitation, but happy anyway.
“Hermione, hopefully I’ll have a chance to get to know you better at the ball. You seem like such a lovely girl.”
“Thank you,” Hermione blushed not really knowing the response to something like that.
Dean and Seamus rushed them out claiming they really needed to leave for the game soon.
Fred laughed, “It’s started already.”
George laughed with him, “Indeed it has!”
“what has?” Hermione asked confused.
They laughed and didn’t answer. They weren’t quite sure what her reaction would be to a competition for her hand in marriage.
They handed out a dozen more invitations, before they finally got to someone that Hermione could not wait to see. She was beaming.
“Here we come ‘Vicky’,” George sneered as they knocked on his door.
Hermione glared as the door opened, and then went back to beaming.
“Hermione!” he had finally gotten her name right, “How wonderful it is to see you again!”
“Victor! Have you been working on your English?”
“Yes, have I improved that much?”
Hermione giggled very girlish, “yes, I dare say you have!”
“Well come in! come in!” Victor Krum ushered them inside his beautiful home.
“Will you stay for tea?” he asked hopeful.
“Sorry Krum,” George answered, “we’re already behind on handing out invitations. You understand.”
Krum did look downhearted until Hermione said, “Oh come on George, one little cup won’t hurt!”
One cup however, was not enough to catch Hermione and Victor up on old times. As they chatted away, Fred and George chatted quietly, although much gloomier.
“He better not win our contest George. I’m not sure if I could stand him being around all the time.”
George replied, “It is a bit sickening. What is the contest anyways?”
Fred grimaced, “I was hoping you had come up with something.”
“Clueless,” George answered.
“Maybe we could have several?”
“that could work…until we find a good one.”
“What will we start with?”
Although Fred said the last bit a tad louder than needed. Hermione and Victor both turned to them.
“I think we should be moving along, Hermione,” Fred told her pointedly.
“Oh, yes I suppose,” Hermione looked sad indeed.
“Don’t worry, Hermione. We’ll see each other soon,” Victor kissed her on her cheek while grinning.
Fred and George made gagging noises as they walked away from his house.
“Hermione, you cannot be serious,” George finally told her.
“It was your idea,” Hermione stuck out her tongue.
George grumbled something unintelligible. He was having doubts now, if anyone could be up to standards for Hermione, contest or no contest.
“Who’s house is this?” Hermione asked very bored.
“Blaise Zabini,” Fred said calmly, although there was mischief in his eye.
“I’ve been expecting you,” Blaise said impatiently as he opened the door for them. He was richly handsome and somewhat refined. Hermione was trying not to notice.
“We’d be delighted if you could attend,” Hermione said coldly thrusting the invitation at him. She wanted to get this over as soon as she could.
“Of course,” Blaise grabbed the invitation, but in doing so grabbed her hand as well. He didn’t let it go, “After all, I still have that interest you know.”
George growled as Hermione’s eyes went wide.
“We’ll be leaving then,” Fred announced.
“What a shame. I was hoping to have you all for dinner,” Blaise said with a bored disappointment.
“We have a few more invitations to hand out, and not much time as the day is nearly over,” Fred answered.
“Understandable. I’ll be seeing at the ball, then,” Blaise smirked and kissed Hermione’s cheek.
They left quickly. Fred ushered George and Hermione out before Blaise was killed.
“Does he have to come?” George asked.
Hermione glared at him, giving him all the blame.
“He already has the invitation,” Fred sighed.
“We can’t go here,” Hermione said suddenly.
They had reached the gates of Malfoy Manor.
“Come on Hermione, he’s harmless,” Fred pushed her forward.
Draco smirked in a welcome, “charmed to see you again, Hermione.”
“I’m sure,” she tried to glare, but it didn’t work. He was a bit intimidating.
“have something for me then?”
“Oh,” Hermione stammered, “Oh yes.”
“Don’t get too excited,” Draco chuckled.
“We’d be delighted if you could attend,” Hermione said in a much smaller voice and handed him the invitation.
Draco looked at it, and then hesitantly took it from her hand, “proper dress is to be required then?”
“yes,” George answered, “of course.”
“Will dinner be served?”
“Buffet of the finest foods,” Fred answered.
Hermione looked at him strangely. He was planning on staying the night?
“if the need arises,” George answered stiffly.
“You’ll be attending then?” Fred asked.
Draco gave a very rare grin towards Hermione and answered, “Wouldn’t miss it.”
Hermione tried not to wince as they headed out to leave.
Draco took her hand and kissed it, “pleasure having you over.”
“See you at the ball,” Hermione hesitated, “Draco.”
As soon as they left Malfoy grounds, Hermione let out a huge sigh.
“At least none of us died,” Fred tried to laugh.
“We still have at least a dozen more invitations,” George said pointedly.
“the night will never end!” Hermione almost wanted to cry.
The night did end, however. And no one did die. The ball was fast approaching now. Arrangements were being made. It was going to be big. It was going to be spectacular. And Hermione was going to be the center of it all.
A/N – yay! Hoped you enjoy that longer chapter! Please keep reading and remember to review! Thank you!
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