Author: Jinni (email@example.com)
Pairing: W/RL, DM/GW, RW/HG, Buffy/Sirius
Disclaimer: All things BtVS belong to Joss Whedon, et al. All things HP belong to JK Rowling, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Summary: In answer to my Halloween Challenge.
"Why'd Giles want us to do this again?"
Buffy glanced over at Willow, hiding a smile at the distressed look on the red head's face. One would think, looking at her, that this was going to be the end of the world. The witch was picking absently at the gown that covered her from head to toe.
Well - maybe head to toe was something of an overstatement. It was a thin type of silk that the Slayer had been assured wasn't something that the muggle world knew anything about, with little patches cut out in strategic places all over the body. A little tummy here, a little hip there. It was a rich forest green, with tiny sparkles shimmering in it. And, on her back, two wings. For tonight she would be a fairy princess.
Unfortunately, Willow didn't seem at all thrilled by that idea.
"We're going this because it's fun, Wills," Buffy reminded her with a sly grin. "Not because the stuffy Englishman asked us to."
"Right. Fun." The red head rolled her eyes. "Somehow, I'm thinking that parading around naked isn't my idea of fun."
"You're not naked!" The Slayer laughed. "Not even close."
"Really?" Willow turned around, giving Buffy a good view of the back of the dress. "Tell me again how un-naked I am?"
"Alright, I'll give that it shows a little in the back. . . but still - not naked."
Willow frowned, plopping ungracefully into a chair. She pointed at herself, rolling her eyes playfully. "Naked. Anyway, though. As if the nakedness wasn't a big enough issue - there's the whole mystery date thing. This Headmaster guy is more than a little looney, isn't he?"
Buffy snickered, tugging on her dress to get the lines to fall smoothly. She would be a regular old human princess tonight. Complete with tiara and sceptre. The dress was a warm cream that looked good against her tanned skin. "He's a few monkeys short of a barrel, yeah."
"And how come the King of Tweed isn't here himself?" the witch pouted. "Trusting us as representatives of the Council? With no one to watch over us? I'm thinking the Headmaster's looniness might be rubbing off on Giles."
"Actually - I think he sent you to watch over me," Buffy smirked, winking at Willow. "Little does he know what kind of mistake that was."
"Right, because I'm so not the cause trouble type." Willow grinned. "Poor, poor Giles."
Buffy grinned, tossing her cloak over her shoulders. It swished down to her ankles, twirling around her like a shimmery liquid waterfall. She grabbed her mask from the table and turned to Willow. "You ready to do this?"
"Too bad," the blonde took Willow's hand and together they left the room in search of dancing and, maybe, a little fun.
"Time to mingle."
Draco rolled his eyes, letting the woman on his arm slip away. He had to admit, Pansy did look good tonight. It was due, in part, to all of the charms she had spent the day using on herself; but any witch would do that. She just had a little more to work on than others. What a shame that he couldn't spend the entire night with her. She was like a sister or best friend, someone he could spend time with without the fear of reproach.
But she had to go find her own date for this horrendous event.
The platinum haired Slytherin glanced down at the little jewel on his wrist, noting that it was still an off-black color. According to the instructions the Headmaster had given them during lunch, the gem would begin to glow as they neared their intended date for the night, flashing brilliantly when they finally found them.
What a waste of time.
He stalked off through the crowd nearest the doors of the hall, ignoring the questioning looks that others were sending his way. They didn't know who he was, of course. Bloody masquerade. And a costume masquerade, at that. He had put no thought at all into his costume, letting one of the many clothiers on Diagon Alley take care of it all for him. And, he had to admit, they did a good job. He was a prince in the colors of black, green and silver. His mask was attached to the circlet he wore in his hair. It was a rather flattering look, if he did say so himself.
The Great Hall was decorated in true Halloween flair. Everything was orange and black, with little bits of gold and red thrown in for variety. Even the food had conformed to the strict color requirements, and he hoped after tonight to never again see another orange apple or black tart. They tasted the same, from what he could see of those already eating, but the sight alone was enough to make his own stomach revolt.
He slouched against the wall nearest the side doors of the hall, watching as his fellow students paired up. Even some of the professors were getting into the act, though Draco was proud to see that his own head of house was as anti-social as ever, mimicking Draco's own pose on the wall opposite the doors. Another hour or two and the Potions Master would be out scouring the gardens, looking for would-be merry-makers to take points from. There were even some visitors amongst the masked participants tonight, representatives from the MInistry, a few well-placed figures in the wizarding world, and some representatives from something Draco had only heard referred to as 'the Council'. He wasn't sure what Council it was or why they would be invited to Hogwarts for the Masquerade, but that didn't stop it from being nothing but the truth.
A piece of hair slipped from the little gold band in his hair, falling into his face. He pushed it back with irritation, glaring at the rapidly filling dance floor. He supposed he needed to just find his date for the night and get it over with. At least then he'd have someone to talk with. Unless, of course, she was an addlebrained twit, like that Parvati girl in Gryffindor, or Looney Lovegood in Ravenclaw.
On the plus side, he mused. There was always the chance that he'd get partnered up with a girl from his own house. Maybe Blaise, with her darling Cleopatra sheath, slitted all the way up to her hip. When she walked he could see the shimmering gold underthings she wore beneath it. Yes, Blaise would definitely be an acceptable diversion for the evening. Unfortunately, he cursed silently, it appeared that she'd already found her 'partner', someone Draco couldn't recognize. The Slytherin growled in frustration, stalking out onto the dance floor.
"Who do you suppose it'll be?" Ginny whispered nervously, rocking back and forth on her feet. Her green eyes sparkled from behind a mask of black satin and sparkles. A Dark Fairie, that's what she was, despite her brother's protestations that people would get 'the wrong idea'. The slinky black dress, with tiny sparkling wings and matching cloak had called out to her, though; when she saw it hanging in the shop. She had spelled her hair a darker shade of red, twining it up into a bun with little tendrils hanging around her face.
"Well, Dumbledore said it could be anyone in your year or the years around you - so, for you, someone in year five through seven." Hermione stated matter-of-factly, pulling at her sleeve self-consciously. Her dress was much shorter than anything Ginny would have personally worn, but the red head got the feeling that the choice had more to do with a dare she had lost to Harry than anything else. Certainly the bookish seventh year would never choose to wear something that exposed that much on her own.
Ginny sighed, wondering for the first time if this whole masquerade thing was a good idea. It had seemed like fun enough when Dumbledore had first suggested it. Of course, that was before he had thought to mention that their dates would be chosen -for- them. Even the visitors at the ball were going to be paired up with someone.
"Oh! Mine's glowing." Hermione muttered in suprise, turning this way and that, trying to find the source of the glow.
"And here come Ron and Harry," Ginny smiled. "Took them long enough."
Hermione frowned, glancing down at the little gem on her wrist. It was getting brighter and brighter now, but she couldn't pinpoint who it could possibly be twinkling for. The only people near her were already paired up. Well, except for Ron and Harry, of course - but it couldn't be --
She blinked in surprise as the little gem went off like a miniature supernova.
"Guess it's you an' me tonight, 'Mione."
The curly-haired brunette glanced up into Ron's face, feeling a small smile tug at her lips.
Well, it could have been worse.
Ginny smothered her own grin and murmured what she hoped was a cheerful greeting to Harry. Had it been too much to hope that he would turn out to be her date, even if only for tonight?
"I'm going to get some punch," she offered by means of explanation before turning around and disappearing into the crowd. She listened for a moment to see if anyone would call her back and only breathed a sigh of relief when they did not.
The hall was brilliant tonight with wonder and fantasy, she had to admit in spite of her own misgivings on the entire proceedings. There was a small instrumental band set up in one corner of the hall, playing their magically haunting music for the couples on the dance floor. It was the type of soft lilt that made you want to sway from side to side, eyes half-closed, as the music just washed over your skin.
On her wrist, the gem began to flash, and she felt her stomach churn nervously. So, her mystery date was already in the hall. She paused, mid-floor, and looked around curiously. All around her couples were moving to the music, whispering with each other. Identities were supposed to remain a secret until midnight, but some people had already begun to guess. It really wasn't that hard if one put their mind to it.
She sighed, taking another couple steps, watching the gem as she did so. It grew minutely brighter, which she took as a good sign, and she began to slowly weave in and out amonst the couples, eyes glued to her wrist. The little gem was getting brighter and brighter, sparkling within its thin metal encasement.
It flashed as she stumbled into someone, cursing softly for her own clumsiness. She looked up, staring into eyes that she knew all too well, a face that was set with a smirk she had come to both adore and detest.