Chapter 8 : The Belle of the Ball
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AN: Please read and review!
Hermione had completely forgotten to tell anyone that she was going to be coming back for the ball. She had sent an owl to Professor McGonagall to tell her that she would be returning for that one night, but beyond that she hadn’t even thought to tell anyone else. She had briefly contemplated telling her pen pal that she would be there,but she discarded this thought, since it wouldn’t make any difference.
The day of the ball arrived and Hermione made her way to the hospital with all of her makeup, hair products, everything. Her mother had made her promise to get ready at the hospital. Mrs. Granger didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to help her daughter get all dolled up, since she would probably miss Hermione’s wedding day.
They spent the morning just hanging out, talking, and generally spending quality mother-daughter time together. When the time came to start getting ready, Hermione’s mother started working to tame her hair. First she straightened it, which took an hour on its own. Once it was sleek she started curling it into tame ringlets.
“Why do you bother to straighten it if you are just going to curl it?” Her mother gave her a look that clearly said, ‘mother knows best, always’.
“Because, Hermione dear”, she spoke with a patronizing tone, jokingly talking to Hermione like she was a small child. “It would be impossible to curl in a nice way if it wasn’t first straightened.” Hermione didn’t interrupt again.
Once all of her hair was hanging in curly waves down her back her mother started pinning the curls up on her head. Once they were all up the effect was that it looked like an elegant messy-bun with a few loose strands. The loose strands curled to either side of her face.
“Oh mom, this is perfect, and so pretty! Where did you learn to do this?” Hermione’s mother smiled.
“I was a young girl once. My friends and I would do each other’s hair. My mother taught me how to do this particular style. Believe it or not, but when I was your age my hair was just as unmanageably thick and curly.” Hermione was, honestly, a bit surprised to hear that.
“But your hair has always been so smooth and beautiful. How did it get like that?” Her mother brushed a hand along the side of her face caringly.
“Trust me sweetie, your will get there. It just takes time. I didn’t do anything; it just changed as I got older. Yours will too.” This made Hermione smile, thinking about have manageable hair.
Next they did Hermione’s makeup. After the basics like foundation and cover-up, they decided on a pale pink blush. For her eyes she did subtle blue makeup for her eyes. It was a metallic kind of blue just around the eyes paired with dark black mascara. She used pale pink, almost nude, lipstick. To all of this Hermione added a charm that would keep it all looking that way. For her hair it was like a very strong hairspray, for her makeup, it was like waterproofing and long-lasting protection.
“Ok,” Hermione’s mother said once they were done. They had half an hour left before Hermione had to leave to get to Hogwarts on time. “Now that I’ve labored tirelessly to get you looking even more breathtaking than usual, I deserve to see the final product, go put your dress on and come out here.”
Hermione took her garment bag with her dress inside and went into her mother’s hospital room bathroom. Instead of putting her dress on the regular way, she used magic to swap what she was wearing with the dress, this way her hair and makeup were not disturbed. She slipped on her dainty white heels and her jewelry. She had chosen a simple silver chain necklace with a snowflake pendant. her earrings were long silver dangling strands. She wore a silver bracelet her mother had once given her than was bare except for the small interlocking hearts charm signifying her and her mother’s love. She only wore one ring. On her right hand ring finger show wore a simple silver band with a braid design sketched into the metal, a present from her father’s mother, who was big on her Celtic identity. Once done she stepped out of the bathroom.
“Oh, honey, you look magnificent.” Hermione’s dad had been asked to come back in the room to see the final look. He couldn’t even speak.
“My baby” he finally said. “You are so grown up. When did this happen?” Hermione smiled through the few tears that fell. Luckily her magic did make it all waterproof, so she could cry all she wanted to.
“Hermione, dear,” her mother said through her own tears. “You look like a princess.”
The dress Hermione had settled on was strapless. It had a sweetheart neckline with a draped criss-cross bodice. There was sparkling crystal beading on the top with a ball gown tulle skirt with a glitter net over taffeta. The glitter made the skirt of the dress look like it was studded with starts. The draped criss-cross bodice tugged at Hermione’s waist, making her appear even skinnier than she really was and accenting her chest slightly with the sweetheart neckline. The overall effect was majestic.
“Thanks mom, dad. I really should get going soon.” Her dad pulled out a camera.
“Go stand over by your mother; we need to document this moment, our baby growing up into a woman just as stunning as her mother.” Both women beamed at him as Hermione did as he asked. After taking a bunch of pictures of Hermione with her mother, with her father, a nurse taking pictures of Hermione with both of her parents, and pictures of Hermione by herself they finally let her go. Hermione turned towards her mother before leaving.
“You have fun sweetie, enjoy yourself, you deserve it.” Hermione smiled at her mother.
“Thanks for everything mom, have a good evening, don’t get too wild while I’m not here to watch you, ok?” Her mother promised not to have too much fun, they kissed and hugged, and Hermione headed out to find a suitable apparation point.
It ended up that, thanks to all the picture taking, and a small miscalculation on Hermione’s part as to how long it would actually take her to walk from Hogsmeade to Hogwarts, that Hermione arrived at the ball fifteen minutes late. She was greeted at the gates of the school by Professor McGonagall and led to the Great Hall where the dance was taking place.
“I have to tell you Miss Granger,” Professor McGonagall started, turning to Hermione, “I was dubious about you leaving the ball in the hands of Draco Malfoy, but I must say, it turned out splendidly. He did a great job, was very organized. I think you will be proud of it all.” Hermione was pleasantly surprised by this statement.
“I never doubted in Draco’s abilities, he might surprise you. He’s not the same as he was before the war.” Professor McGonagall gave her a curious look before nodding and continuing towards the Great Hall.
“Here you are Miss Granger. I hope you have a lovely time.” Hermione smiled at her Professor before going to open the Great Hall doors. McGonagall spoke one last thing before she left to go back to her office. “You look wonderful, by the way, Miss Granger. Now go have fun.” And Hermione opened the door and entered the Great Hall.
She paused momentarily upon entering the room. She was stunned. Draco had done wonderfully. The lighting was tinted ever so slightly blue. The ceiling was a canopy of white birch tree branches, with the starry sky just visible between the branches. It was snowing. The snow disappeared a few feet above the heads of the students, so that no one actually got wet. The tables along the sides of the dance floor were circular with white table clothes and clear class chairs. The center pieces were igloos made of white Lisianthus and a mix of blue and clear bits of glass covered the tables to make them glitter. The dance floor itself looked like it was covered in snow, but she could tell by the way people were dancing that it was just an illusion, so the snow didn’t get in the way of the dancing. Up where the Professor’s usually sat was the same long table, only it was covered in food. In the center of the table was a large ice sculpture of the Hogwarts Crest. Hermione was very pleased with the overall effect; it was positively ethereal, in the best way possible.
As Hermione had been starring around her in amazement, many of the people had turned to stare at her in return. For one thing, she was late, so everyone noticed her in a way they might not have had she arrived with everyone else. Secondly, she really did look spectacular, especially considering what everyone usually thought of when they though ‘Hermione Granger’. Most of them remembered the Yule Ball, so they had seen her dolled up before, but never to this extent.
Hermione spotted Draco Malfoy standing alone by the table of butterbeers and looking at her. Frankly, he looked a bit stunned. She made her way over to him. He was smartly dressed, oozing sex appeal and a superiority complex. She almost blushed just looking at him.
“Hello Draco, you did an amazing job with the ball. Honestly, I knew you would and all, but you’ve outdone yourself. It is breathtaking.” She smiled up at him, genuinely happy to see him. He gave her a small smile of his own, which only served to turn her smile into a grin.
“Thanks. You look great; you blend in really well with the theme. I didn’t think you would be coming, since you went home and all.” Ah, so that’s why he’d been surprised.
“Thanks. And my mother insisted that I come back for the dance, so here I am. I hadn’t meant to be late, but my mother was taking a million pictures of me in my dress so it took forever to leave.” She smiled a bit sadly, thinking of her mother, but Draco just passed her a butterbeer, giving her an understanding look. “So I take it there were no glitches, it all got off to a smooth start? No trouble while I’ve been gone?” Draco shook his head.
“Nope, it’s all been pretty quite. Professor McGonagall announced that after Christmas break we will be allowed to tell our pen pals what house we are in, but nothing else. I don’t know if she told you.” Hermione’s eyebrows shot up.
“No, she hadn’t told me. That should be fun. I already have my suspicions though.”
“Yeah? Which house do you think your pen pal is in? I mean, obviously not Gryffindor.”
“No, couldn’t be Gryffindor. I think he’s either in Ravenclaw or Slytherin, personally.”
“Hmm. A Slytherin guy, that would be funny. He might have an aneurysm if he found out he’d been writing to none other than one third of the Wizarding world’s saviors. Then again, that would be true of any guy.” Hermione gave a faint, un-amused laugh at the thought. “What makes you think he’s one of those two houses, why not Hufflepuff?”
“Well, I’m pretty sure he’s a pureblood, and there are fewer purebloods in Hufflepuff. And he just doesn’t write like I know most Hufflepuff’s talk. He’s too sure of himself. How about you, got any suspicions about your pen pal?” Draco shook his head.
“Not really. My pen pal is a girl; that much I know. She’s obviously not a Slytherin. But as to which house she’s in, I honestly don’t know. She does sound pretty smart, so perhaps a Ravenclaw?” Hermione nodded in understanding.
“Are you worried about the revealing? I mean, like you said, whomever I end up with is going to have to deal with the fact that I am Hermione Granger. But the same can be said for you. You know you don’t have a Slytherin, so, and I honestly am not trying to insult you, but there aren’t many people in other houses that are particularly fond of you.” Surprisingly, Draco laughed at that.
“No, you are right about that. I guess I’m a bit worried. Mostly I’m hoping they will think about our letters and try to ignore the past. We get along really well and I really like her, so I’m hoping she can overlook my past indiscretions.”
After this they amicably parted ways as Hermione went to find Harry, Ron, and Ginny to say hello. Hermione spent most of the ball hanging out with those three, dancing, eating, talking, and just generally having fun. Ginny was dressed in a strapless, floor-length pale blue dress. The dress was fitted so that it clung to her body and only flared out a bit towards the bottom to make walking easy. Over the top Ginny had a white, furry shoulder cover, like a muff, only over her shoulders as a wrap. Overall it looked perfect for the theme and suited her body shape quite well. The boys were, of course, dressed in classy black dress robes. Harry had white accents, Ron had blue. They were a striking pair.
Hermione saw Luna Lovegood from across the dance floor. Luna looked beautiful in her short blue dress. It was strapless and made of dark blue satin. It had a crumb catcher style bodice with a fitted waistband with beadwork in a flower pattern. The skirt was taffeta and tulle of a slightly darker blue and came down mid-thigh. Hermione was impressed.
Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves and the ball was a big hit. Hermione got countless compliments about her dress and was asked to dance by many different guys. Secretly Hermione talked to them while they were dancing to try and see if any of them sounded like Damien. They didn’t.
Towards the end of the evening Hermione decided that it was time to check out the dessert table. She had left most of the food decisions up to Draco, figuring he could handle it. So far that evening, his choices had all been great and she had definitely eaten her fill. He had a selection of soups, stews, steak, good food. The drinks were great, including hot chocolate, butterbeer, tea, and milkshakes. A mixture of cold drinks and drinks you drink when cold. Hermione dragged Ginny with her as she went to peruse the desserts. There was a large selection of ice creams, snow cones, cheesecake, smores, a chocolate fountain, various baked goods, and so much more. There were clear glass containers filled with various sweets, like m&ms, white chocolate covered pretzel sticks, blue and white rock candy sticks, and blue and white candy canes.
“All these desserts look absolutely delicious Hermione. Oh, but what’s that, it looks like it has chocolate in it. Mmmm. Looks creamy.” Hermione looked over to what Ginny was putting on her plate and her face lost a bit of its color. She quickly shook her head, deemed it a coincidence and went to grab herself a slice.
“This, Ginny, is only the most delicious pie on the planet, Oreo Pie. It does have chocolate, and cream, and other delicious ingredients. It’s my favorite pie.” She took a large slice and they went to sit down to eat.
Finally, the last dance of the evening came and Professor McGonagall had come down from her office to close the evening.
“Students, I hope you have all had a great time tonight. I would like to thank our Head students for their hard work in putting this all together for you all.” Everyone burst into rowdy applause. “For the last dance I would like to ask our two Head students to close the evening for us by sharing a Heads’ dance.” As she said this, on came a waltz.
Hermione scanned the crowd and spotted Draco. He was looking at her with a small smile on his face and walking towards her. She, in turn, began to walk towards him. They met in the middle of the dance floor. Draco bowed graciously and offered her his hand. She placed her hand in his, placing her other hand on his shoulder as his went to her waist. They began to waltz.
“I should warn you,” Hermione whispered to him conspiratorially, “I am not very good at waltzing, I haven’t had many opportunities to practice.” Draco chuckled a bit.
“That’s quite alright, just follow my leave. I have had lots of practice.” She did as he said and she could tell he was quite good at dancing. She barely had to do any work as he glided them across the floor, twirling her occasionally. Other couples had joined them on the floor by that time. Hermione could hear a few people saying things like ‘since when do they get along’, ‘ten sickles says she slaps him’, and ‘are they together?’ The last one made her giggle a bit. Draco seemed happily oblivious. They didn’t talk much as they danced, mostly just enjoying the simple pleasure of dancing.
“So, Draco, how have you been coping without our daily meetings? You doing ok?” She chuckled to show she was in no way seriously insinuating that he needed her to get by. Draco laughed a bit too, it was a nice sound.
“Oh, it’s been so hard! I don’t know how I’ll last the whole of winter break.” He chuckled a bit. “Nah, it’s been alright. I miss just relaxing and chatting with you, but things have picked up with my friends. I don’t find Blaise and Pansy nearly as annoying as I had previously. So, it’s actually kind of nice to be forced to hang out with them more. I guess I have you to thank for that.” They smiled at each other before resuming their comfortable silence.
Unfortunately they night had to come to an end. At the end of the dance everyone clapped, mostly just to say that it had been a good ball. Hermione said goodbye to Draco, he gave her a gentlemanly kiss on the back of her hand before heading off to the Dungeons. Hermione then proceeded to say goodbye to her other friends before making her way home, despite the late hour.
AN: First off, thanks to everyone who has been reviewing, it really spurs me to write. Thanks to annyluvesmalfoy for inspiring the ‘Heads dance’. Thanks to Ilovecookies for the idea to have Draco connected to Oreos in some way. To see the dress I’m talking about for Hermione, it’s in the Disney Wedding dresses collection. It’s one of Cinderella’s. You’ll know it when you see it. :D To see my inspiration for the decorations, Google images ‘winter wonderland dance decorations’. Please read and review. And thank you all sooo much for being such great reviewers, it really is what pushed me to finish these chapters so much quicker than before!
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