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Chapter 35
You asked who?


Dejectedly, Harry returned to the Room of Requirements, where the others avoided making eye contact with him. He was in an irritated mood, and Ron and Hermione took over the lessons. They were reviewing the new spells that they had learned. Scipioardore made the opponent’s wand get so hot, it burned the skin, and they were forced to drop it. The other spell created a small iron cage that trapped the opponent, and it blocked spells cast from the inside. Most members were getting quite adept at using these, although the caging spell was more complicated, and so far it only lasted a few seconds.

“So what happened, mate?” Ron asked him, as he, Harry, Hermione, Ginny, Neville and George lounged in the common room.

“We broke up…” Harry said not really wanting to speak about it. Ginny and Hermione gasped.

“Sorry to hear…” George said with a somber expression.

“I still can’t believe it… I mean, we’ve had worse arguments before… it really seems stupid,” Harry said unable to hide his hurt feelings.

“Maybe she’ll come around… I mean, it was a rather stressful weekend for her. What with Malfoy and having to deal with the lawsuit, and to top it off… now people that have never spoken to her or even know her are acting as if they’ve been her friends all this time… it would be enough to make someone go crazy…” Ginny said.

“Yeah, plus not to mention that she is a member of the mysterious female population and she perhaps is suffering from PBS…” George added.

“PBS?” Hermione asked with curiosity.

“I read all about it in this muggle magazine Dad had… something to do with the ‘time of the month’ or other and that women became dangerous creatures during that time. I found it quite enlightening. Now I know that when Katie is in this weird snappy mood every once in a while, I stay away as was advised by the magazine. It’s worked wonders for our relationship. I have wondered if it isn’t some sort of muggle lycanthropic disease or other. I mean, it said it happened once a month, but my theory that it was affected by the full moon didn’t hold…”

Hermione burst out laughing. Ginny giggled.

“What’s so funny?”

“PMS, not PBS…” Hermione said and shook her head.

“That’s right… that does sound correct.”

Harry couldn’t help but smile.

The next few days were weird. Whenever Harry met Veronica in a hallway, he could have been a fly splattered on the wall for all that she took notice. Harry had wanted to speak with her, especially since the Halloween Ball was this Thursday night and they were supposed to be going together although Harry knew that it wasn’t likely to happen now. He hadn’t been able to approach her, because now Veronica walked with a mob of girls that seemed rather hostile towards him.

On Wednesday night, Harry headed down to the Library to meet Hermione, Ron, Neville, Dean and Seamus who were working on narrowing down the list of Planes some more. Ginny was with them now as she had been informed of the situation (she rather figured out for herself and after about an hour of arguing they had finally agreed). She did want to help. As soon as Harry entered, he felt eyes on him. He walked quickly towards the area where they usually gathered, feeling his face burn hotter. He wondered what was going on.

The six people in the table looked up at Harry, and they all held the same expressions as the rest of the students in the library. He placed his book bag down and took out a quill.

“What?” Harry asked frowning.

“Michael Corner dumped Cho…” Ginny began with an air of might-as-well-get-it-over-with. Harry was confused.

“So…?”

“… and he’s asked Veronica to the Halloween Ball. They are going together…” Ginny said and Harry felt as if someone had scooped all the air out of his lungs. They were waiting for him to explode. There was a snap, and the quill in his hand trembled, folded within his palm.

“Well…” Harry began and they saw him visibly shake holding down his rage. “Good for him. Let’s work on the list,” he said shortly as he sat rather violently on the chair and slammed the quill onto the table. He took another one. They worked for the next hour mostly in silence, and Harry had simply stared at the same piece of parchment, reading it perhaps 100 times and never seeing a single word in it. Neville jumped occasionally when Harry would attempt to write something, only to snap the quill in half.

“We obviously aren’t getting much done…” Hermione said finally and stood up. “Not to mention that Harry has broken all of our quills,” she said smiling with understanding. Harry looked up surprised, and for the first time seemed to notice the pile of broken quills next to him. He blushed with embarrassment.

“Why don’t we each take some more scrolls and work on it when we each have time. Just let me know of any other planes that you find that we can cross out off the list,” Hermione said and the group agreed. Everyone cleared out of the table rather quickly but Hermione lingered.

“Will you be all right Harry?”

Harry’s anger had subsided somewhat now, and he was now brooding. He managed to nod.

“I don’t want to pretend I know what you’re feeling right now, but you should put up a fight you know? At least get yourself another date for the ball, and ignore her as she ignores you. Don’t let her see that she’s getting to you,” Hermione said and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t stay too late… we’ll see you back in Gryffindor,” Hermione said and left him alone.

Harry sat in the table for a little longer thinking about what Hermione had said. He was actually thinking about not attending the ball at all. He was not interested in seeing Veronica having fun with Michael.

Madam Pince gave the 15 minute warning before the Library would close and Harry picked up his things and left. He was wondering who would be left to go to the Halloween ball with at any rate, and he thought he was in the same boat he was two years ago. The last minute date had not been successful. Also, Parvati already had a partner. Harry raced down the hall of the fourth floor absorbed in his thoughts when he ran into someone carrying a pile of boxes.

“Oof!” He heard the girl’s voice as the boxes went flying everywhere, several of them spilling their contents. Harry lost his footing and landed on his rump. He straightened his glasses that had been knocked askew on his nose.

“Harry! Were you being persecuted by the Labogabs?” Luna said blinking at Harry from her seated position where she had landed. She had an extremely worried expression on her face.

Harry couldn’t help but laugh. He didn’t want to ask what the heck Labogabs were, and felt his brooding mood and frustration evaporate in an instant. He laughed heartily, while Luna looked on with worry.

“Oh dear! Did they get you?” She asked alarmed, now sitting on her knees next to Harry and pressing her hand on his forehead. “You haven’t a fever yet… this is good,” she said while Harry doubled up with laughter. She rummaged through the bag she had slung across from one shoulder and pulled a piece of whitish looking something; before Harry could stop her, she had shoved it into his wide open mouth. Harry coughed and sputtered as he chocked on the thing, and swallowed it involuntarily, and began to gag.

“That ought to do it. Garlic is extremely useful against Labogabs,” Luna said as she pulled a flask of clear liquid and handed it to Harry.

“What’s this?” Harry said hoarsely, the strong smell of garlic coming from his breath.

“Just water, it’ll help the garlic go down,” she replied.

Harry uncorked the flask and downed the water. He still had that spicy feeling in his mouth and strong smell of garlic.

“Now that Labogabs will surely leave you alone tonight!” Luna said brightly and Harry thought that with his breath smelling like that, anything would stay away from him tonight. He looked at Luna who seemed extremely pleased with herself for helping him, and he sighed.

“Thank you Luna, I surely needed that…” he said and smiled despite himself.

He began to help Luna pick up the spilled contents of the boxes, and noticed the dark indigo blue low heeled sandals coming out of a shoe box. Luna was folding a tulle dress of the same color into a white square box.

“Is this your dress for tomorrow night?” Harry asked wondering who was taking her to the ball.

“It was supposed to be. I am actually taking all of these to the Owlery to mail them back to my Aunt. I had told her that there was a Halloween Ball this year, and she mailed all of this stuff for me, but I don’t need it,” she said with a dreamy smile as she picked up a box that contained some hair accessories, and some elbow length indigo blue gloves.

“Oh, you already have a dress?” Harry asked picking up a box absentmindedly, and then dropped it when he noticed it was lingerie.

“Oh no, I am not going to the dance. No one is interested in asking me…” Luna said as a matter of fact. She picked up the box that Harry dropped and replaced the contents inside.

Harry wasn’t quite sure how to react or respond to that. Luna didn’t seem to be upset that nobody had asked her, and Harry felt a twinge of admiration. Luna seemed like someone who accepted who she was and the world around her. She never seemed fazed by the fact that people picked on her, or that they thought she was crazy.

“I’ve got an idea,” Harry said involuntarily as a voice in his head asked him if he was crazy. “I don’t have a partner for the ball anymore, and you have all this stuff your aunt sent you… why don’t we go together?” He asked and felt like slapping himself the moment the words left his mouth.

“Me? You are asking me to go with you to the ball?” Luna asked surprised. “I really didn’t think you would be the type that would be interested in asking me,” she said with a huge smile.

“I mean… as friends. You are my friend, and why not?” Harry said a bit taken aback by her truthful assessment, and feeling that there was no way to back out of it now.

“I’ve never been asked to a dance before! I mean, I’ve never been asked for real. There have been several times when I’ve been asked, but it turns out that they didn’t mean it, and I’ve been stood up. This is really nice of you Harry,” she said and Harry had the uncomfortable feeling that she seemed to understand that he was being nice to her. Her expression turned to one of suspicion. “You aren’t planning a bad joke on me, if you are, I mean, that’s ok. I’d just rather know so I can do something else if you plan on not showing up…” Luna said casually.

“No, I mean it,” Harry said. She smiled at him.

“Should we meet by the entrance hall?” She asked picking up all of the boxes, almost dropping them. Harry levitated them for her, and she looked surprised. “..of course…” she mumbled as if the idea had been a novelty.

“No, I’ll come over to the Ravenclaw tower and pick you up around seven,” Harry said and Luna agreed.

Harry made his way back to Gryffindor trying to sort out exactly what had made him ask Luna Lovegood to the Halloween Ball with him. He sighed loudly and wrinkled his nose at the smell of garlic.

“You asked who?” Ron looked at Harry incredulous. “You’ve lost your gobstones…” Ron said shaking his head, but he was grinning. He had been in a foul mood this week since the subject of the Halloween Ball had resurfaced the fact that he was to take Bianca Malfoy to the party. On Tuesday night, while Harry had been with Joséphine and Donovan, Ron had landed in detention for fighting with Malfoy. He had been forced to polish the trophy room alongside Draco who murmured threats to him the whole night for daring to ask Bianca to the ball. It didn’t matter that Ron yelled at him that it wasn’t his choice. (“Sure Weasel, you are just trying to take advantage of the opportunity to snare your hands on our fortune.” Malfoy had said, to which Ron reminded him that it was worth less now, and that soon Malfoy would have to work to earn a living.)

Regardless, Lavender Brown had practically forced herself as his date and was to go to the ball with him once he rid himself of Bianca. It was only because of the bet, he now assured her, and that he’d plan to ask her all along. So now it would be Harry stuck with a less than desirable date.

“Be nice Ron!” Hermione reprimanded him to the surprise of both Harry and Ron. They thought she didn’t like Luna.

“Oh, she’s all right,” Hermione replied and shrugged.

The next morning, news of Harry’s new date had reached everyone’s ears and the Slytherins laughed at Harry, and tormented Luna. Professor Donovan had to threaten the sixth year Gryffindors and Slytherins with detentions when things began to get ugly during lunch.

“Don’t pay attention to them Harry. I am really happy for Luna. She’s really excited,” Ginny said to Harry when they were leaving the Great Hall, though Harry didn’t see the disappointment in her tone. “Which reminds me, she said to pick her up outside of the Room of Requirement,” she said rallying up, “and I am going to help her with her hair, and Lavender and Parvati will be helping Hermione and Padma,” she added and looked at the clock. “I guess I best be going to class. We’re supposed to meet there right after you guys get done with Herbology,” Ginny waved goodbye and headed to Charms with Professor Lupin.

Harry wondered how it could take girls four hours to get ready. He shook his head, joined Hermione and Ron and headed to the greenhouses.

When Harry and Ron returned to the common room, they found the celebrations were already starting. First, second and third years were decorating the common room to have their own celebration since they were not allowed in the Great Hall unless invited by someone from a higher form. Also, since the Great Hall needed major preparations to accommodate the bands hired to play tonight (rumour was that three bands were lined up!), a sort of Halloween feast would be served in each common room. Most of the older students weren’t going to eat anyway, since a lot of them would be getting ready, and there would be refreshments at the Ball.

Harry and Ron played some chess to kill the time before they would have to get ready.

Hermione was down at the Great Hall helping the Head Boy and Head Girl. She was part of a volunteer committee made up of Prefects from all houses to decorate and set up everything. It was five o’clock when Terry came to her.

“I think you should be able to leave now and get ready,” he said as he stood next to her surveying the Great Hall.

Hermione was examining the ‘to do’ list to make sure everything had been taken care of. “Are you sure?” She asked and he nodded.

“Yes, all the other girls have gone back and there isn’t much left to do but wait now. Besides, I will still be here for a while; it only takes me 10 minutes to shower and another 10 to get ready,” he winked at her. “Go on.”

“All right, I’ll leave…” Hermione said handing him the ‘to do’ list.

“Meet me in the staff room ten minutes before the doors are to be open. We’re entering through the back to keep the Great Hall doors closed,” Terry said and Hermione nodded.

The castle was practically deserted as she made her way all the way up to the Gryffindor tower. Ginny had taken all of her things to the Room of Requirements, but Hermione had forgotten to set out her hair brooches that she was going to use to put her hair up. The common room was a bustle of noise and activity as the feast was served, and people were eating, playing games, dancing. There were a lot of people already dressed for the Ball mingling amongst the younger students. She waved at Harry and Ron, who were with Neville, Fred and George playing a game of exploding snap. Hermione raced up the steps to the sixth year dorms, and passing by the first year rooms just before her own, she thought she heard someone crying. She wasn’t sure because of the noise coming up from the common room. Yes, someone was crying. Hermione pushed the door open and found Bianca Malfoy on the floor by her bed crying. She was huddled with her knees drawn up, hear head on her knees.

“Bianca?” Hermione asked with a frown. “Bianca, what’s wrong? Why aren’t you getting ready for the ball?” Hermione wondered if Ron had been a prat to her.

Bianca looked up to Hermione, her pale blue eyes bloodshot from crying.

“I… I… can’t… it’s ruined…” she managed to say amidst her tears.

“Ruined?” Hermione asked kneeling next to her. Bianca extended her legs to reveal a cream colored bundle of rags.

“My… dress…” she said holding the rags to Hermione and Hermione gasped.

“Do you know who did this?” Hermione asked feeling sorry for Bianca. She knew from observing the first year that although she had appeared aloof about the Halloween Ball, she had been really excited despite the fact that Ron was being nasty to her. He would take her no matter how much he threatened not to. Bianca had known that. Also, Bianca was the only first year Gryffindor attending the Ball, and many of her classmates and second and third years resented her that. She had put up with everything, because no matter what, she was still going and they weren’t.

Bianca shook her head in response. Hermione tried to calm her down so she could speak. Bianca sniffed and took a shaky breath. “When I came back from class… I set out everything on my bed so I could get ready… and I went to the showers… when I came out… this… this is all that was left of my dress… and my shoes are gone, and… my necklace… it’s mum’s necklace… it’s gone!” Bianca managed to say before she dissolved into tears again.

Hermione stood up infuriated. Since this had been done inside the Gryffindor tower it meant that a Gryffindor had done it. She knew many hated Bianca for simply being a Malfoy, but even then… this was a low blow for Gryffindors. Gryffindors should not behave like this!

“We’ll sort this out right now!” Hermione said as she stood up, “I’m going to get Professor McGonagall. Do you have a piece of parchment?”

Bianca pointed to her trunk and Hermione opened it and took a blank piece of parchment.

She used Bianca’s quill that was on her bedside cupboard and scribbled a message. She folded the piece of paper.

“Dobby?” Hermione called and a faint pop revealed the house elf. Bianca jumped up a little bit.

“Harry Potter’s friend asks for Dobby?” The overly excited house elf squeaked.

“Yes, I need a favor… do you think you could take this to Professor McGonagall. It is really urgent…” Hermione said Dobby took the note.

“Dobby will help Harry Potter’s friends. Ms is Harry Potter’s best friend and a friend of Dobby’s!” The house elf bowed.

“Dobby?”

Dobby turned to look at the blond girl, who looked at him with surprise.

“Miss Malfoy!” Dobby squealed delighted. “Dobby didn’t know the miss was here at Hogwarts… Dobby didn’t think Master Malfoy would allow it!... Why is the miss crying!” Dobby asked realizing now that Bianca had been crying.

“Because someone did something very mean to her, and that’s why I need Professor McGonagall,” Hermione answered.

“Dobby will get help right away miss!” The house elf responded and disappeared with a faint pop.

“I didn’t know Dobby was here,” Bianca said managing to stand up and sit on her bed. Her tears had stopped now, but she still held her ragged dress in her lap.

“He’s a free elf now. He works for Dumbledore.”

“I heard father say that we were best rid of him. He was really mad when I asked him why Dobby wasn’t with him when he came to visit,” Bianca said and Hermione was puzzled. [i]Visit?[/i]

The noise coming from the common room died down considerably. Hermione knew that McGonagall had just entered the common room. Even though she was head of house, McGonagall rarely visited the tower. Few seconds later, the elegantly dressed Professor strode into the first year room. She was wearing a dress of deep dark green, with a high collar and long sleeves. Hermione noticed that the tight bun of hair was gone, instead the professor had arranged it with braids coiled around in a loose bun; probably her version of letting her hair down.

“Miss Granger, I received your note. It seemed urgent,” Professor McGonagall said her lips pressed into a thin line.

Hermione explained how she found Bianca crying and what she told her, then Professor McGonagall questioned Bianca. Hermione noticed the facial expression of McGonagall change from her usual stern look, to one of pure wrath. She was livid; yet when she spoke, it was with an icy calm.

“Please hand me your dress, Miss Malfoy. Follow me.”

The three made their way to the common room. McGonagall silenced the music, and everyone looked at each other nervously. Harry looked up at Hermione questioningly and noticed Bianca next to her, her eyes puffy and blood shot.

McGonagall tapped her wand to her neck. “All Gryffindors return to the common room immediately. You have two minutes,” McGonagall said and Harry knew that her voice had been amplified and delivered throughout the castle. Within seconds the Portrait hole opened and anyone outside of the common room began to come in. Ginny, Lavender, Parvati, Joséphine, Katie, and other girls that had been in the room of requirements came in with hair-do’s halfway done and unfinished make up. They were wearing dressing robes.

McGonagall waited one more minute to allow any last minute stragglers. The common room was silent, and everyone gave each other nervous looks. McGonagall looked terrifying.

“This…” McGonagall began as she unrolled the ragged and destroyed dress which didn’t resemble a dress at all, “is what is left of Miss Malfoy’s Halloween dress.” The old witch looked at everyone, fire blazing in her eyes. There was a gasp of horror.

“Not only is there a Gryffindor without scruples that would stoop so low to commit this atrocity, there is also a thief; more likely thieves. This is intolerable, unbearable and unacceptable. Whoever did this is not only insulting and demoralizing the very principles that make Gryffindor a great house, they are also tainting the reputation of everyone in this common room today. Sir Godric Gryffindor himself is probably twisting in his grave thinking about the behavior displayed today!” McGonagall said, her nostrils flaring.

“The individual or individuals who did this are a disgrace to our Gryffindor pride. I will give you only one chance to redeem yourselves. If you give yourself up at this moment, I will be lenient and will only deal out detentions. Refuse and you will be expelled when I find who did this. And believe me when I say that I will find out who did it! Even if I have to force-feed each and every one of you a goblet full of Veritaserum and subject you to the Ministry of Magic’s interrogation! The acts committed today are punishable by law. Stealing and damage of personal property is a crime. Now, whoever did this step forward right this instant. And if any of you know anything about this, it will be in your best interest to point out the persons responsible for this.”

The whole house was aghast. Hermione had noticed a couple of Bianca’s roommates pale, and a few others. Nobody dared to even breathe at this moment.

“Very well… detention for everyone…”

The whole house broke into yells of anger, disbelief, and shock.

“SILENCE! Since no one will step up to take responsibilities for their actions, it will befall on everyone to pay for the crime of a few. The Halloween Ball has been cancelled to ALL Gryffindors. Your curfew from now on will be 7 pm for the rest of the year, and you will all be in bed by 9 pm sharp. The Gryffindor Quidditch Team is banned from playing, and I will deduct 100 points from everyone in this room!” McGonagall yelled above the panicking, rage stricken students. They were howling in pandemonium. (It’s unfair! 100 points each from her own house; we’ll be in the hole a biillion points! You can’t cancel Quidditch! Professor! Please!) Girls were sobbing, boys were giving everyone death glares. Threats to whoever did it came out. Those who did it better leave school before anyone found out…

“I SAID SILENCE! Everyone to your rooms!”

“REBECCA DID IT!” someone yelled from the crowd.

“Who said that?” McGonagall turned from where the voice had come.

A small first year girl named Sofia stepped in front of McGonagall. She was trembling.

“Rebecca Ditsworth did it!”

“Miss Ditsworth, come up to my presence now!” McGonagall said livid.

A third year student, with dark black hair came through the parted crowd. She had begun to cry.

“Did you destroy Miss Malfoy’s dress?”

Rebecca couldn’t answer, but she nodded.

“Why?”

“Emma Pakin told me to do it!” Rebbeca finally managed to say pointing her finger at another first year girl with short, curly blonde hair.

“No, it’s a lie! I didn’t do anything!” Emma screamed with fear.

“Miss Pakin…”

“It was all Sofia’s idea!” Emma said pointing her finger at Sofia.

The girl who had shouted Rebbeca’s name paled… “No, Professor! I swear… I was just in the room. I had dropped my ring and it rolled under my bed! They didn’t see me when they came in, they thought they were alone! They did it! I heard Emma say she’d take the necklace and that Rebecca could take the shoes! They threatened me when they found out I was there!” Sofia said as she began to sob. “I didn’t do anything… I swear Professor; I wouldn’t do that to Bianca or anyone…”

“Enough! Go and retrieve the items that do not belong to you,” McGonagall said to Emma and Rebecca, “then the three of you will come with me. The rest of you are relieved from any punishment,” McGonagall said and the students screamed with joy and relief. McGonagall turned to Hermione and Bianca.

“Miss Granger, will you see to it that Miss Malfoy is ready to attend the Halloween Ball?”

“Of course, Professor.”

“But I don’t have a dress anymore,” Bianca said disheartened.

“It will take me a few minutes to undo whatever they did to it. I will send the dress with Dobby,” McGonagall said giving Bianca a small smile.

Emma and Rebecca came back and handed the necklace and the shoes to Professor McGonagall. McGonagall made them apologize to Bianca, and deducted 200 points, then left the common room with Sofia, Rebecca, and Emma following her. The whole of Gryffindor were glaring daggers at them. They had almost ruined everything for everyone, not to mention that they were over 100 points in the hole now.

Hermione retrieved her hairpieces, and helped Bianca gather the rest of her things. They left with Ginny and the other girls that were getting ready in the room of requirement. The girls felt sympathetic towards Bianca now, and were being very kind to her.

When they arrived at the room of Requirement, the other girls from the DA from other houses listened intently to what had happened as they continued to comb each other’s hairs, apply make up, and make last minute adjustments to their dresses. Shower and bathroom stalls appeared when needed, mirrors, lights, everything they could think of that they needed to get ready was given by the room. It had been such a great idea to get changed in here. They all oooohed, and aaaahed as each revealed their dresses.

Bianca relished the opportunity to hang out with so many of the older, and some of the most popular girls in her house. Ginny helped her do her hair and Parvati even did her make up. They all complimented her beautiful dress and the gorgeous ruby and diamonds necklace that she wore. It was a frenzy of activity as the clock stroked 6:30 pm.

Hermione looked herself in the mirror one last time as she swung a large, black cowl around her shoulders, closed the clasp to hide her dress, and pulled on the large hood to hide her hair style. Joséphine had told them about this practice at Beauxbatons to hide their dresses until the very last second. It did make for a grand appearance. Everyone had thought it a good idea.

“All right, I have to get going. I will see you in the great Hall!” Hermione said as she left 20 minutes to seven to meet up with Terry at the staff room. They would take the back entrance into the Great Hall.

When she stepped out of the Room of Requirement, she smiled at Neville, who was wearing a pair of elegant midnight blue dress robes. He held a bouquet of White Lilies in his hands. He waved sheepishly. Dean Thomas was there as well, with a bouquet of Magnolias. They were waiting for their dates. Hermione rushed down the hall, down the steps, and down the marble staircase attracting curious glances from those gathered, or making their way, to the Great Hall. Hermione smirked. Joséphine was right… hiding her dress and hair made it more exciting.

She noticed Pansy Parkinson hanging off of Malfoy’s arm glaring at her. Pansy’s dress was exquisite, but now everyone would see it right away, while Hermione’s dress was a mystery and now everyone was speculating about it. Pansy was scowling.

Hermione knocked on the door, ignoring the threats of the Gargoyles. Professor Snape opened the door, and looked with indifference at her hooded and cloaked persona. He let her in with a bored expression, although Hermione later caught him looking at her.

“Good evening Professors,” she said and several of them answered her. Hagrid was there speaking with Dumbledore and he was positively beaming at Hermione, and waving enthusiastically.

Terry was conversing with Professor McGonagall when she came in. He turned to Hermione, and smiled. The Head Girl was ogling Hermione with unhidden curiosity, and loathing. Her Slytherin date was looking at Hermione with repulsion. She ignored both.

“Let me take your coat,” Terry said and Hermione pulled the hood off her head, and undid the clasps of her cowl. Remus was smiling at Hermione, and nodded at her appreciatively. Hermione blushed. She felt everyone’s attention on her.

“You look stunning tonight,” Terry said as he kissed her cheek, and handed her a bouquet of yellow roses.

“Thank you Terry, you look very handsome as well,” she replied as she took his offered arm.

“I think it is time,” Professor Dumbledore said with a large smile, and winked at Hermione.

They made their way to the Great Hall, and several of the Professors that hadn’t seen the Great Hall yet gasped excitedly. Hermione took out her mask and placed it on her face. Her mask was a ¾ face mask with a moon-shaped cut away design. The mask was made from paper mache face, gold leaf, gilt accent design, braid and a small charm.

Terry was wearing all black, and his mask was a simple Harlekin white mask. Hermione hung back, as Terry and the Head Girl made their way to the doors. They opened the doors and welcomed those gathered to the Halloween Masquerade Ball.

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