Chapter 7

The Ball


Emmaline Crystalnite, a first year Ravenclaw, walked onto the muddy field

and sighed. She wanted to be out here, with her two new friends, Avery and

Vivi, but it was impossible to deny how cold it was outside.

“This sucks,” she said, wrapping her arms around her sides in an effort to keep warm, “It’s really cold out and I left my cloak in the Great Hall.”

“Stop complaining.” Avery muttered, coming up behind her. “Incendio

Orbis.”

An orb of blue fire appeared on his hand, warming him thoroughly. “Take it,

I’m fine. Now, where’s the midget?”

Emmaline nodded her head as she grabbed the fire and it warmed her up.The

fire Avery had created worked well, and soon she was warm. After a

moment or two passed, the midget, also known as Vivienne Moor, arrived.

Vivi impishly bounced up, waving to the two older years. It was quieter out

here in the cold, and it really was cold, proof that with Halloween would

come the freezing torrents of November.

“I resemble that remark.” She said with a laugh, copying a phrase from The

Three Stoges.

“What are you guys wearing to the ball?” Emmaline asked, glancing at Vivi

and Avery.

“I don’t know. Is it formal or costume? I can’t figure it out.” Avery answered

with a shrug. The dance was two nights away, and much talked about. The

Wrightwards boys had arrived, much to the joy of the female population of

Hogwarts, and so all that was left to happen was the actual event itself.

“I think it’s costume.” Vivi offered. “The Headmistress said that it was fancy

dress, but the way she phrased it made it sound like costume. I’ve no fashion

sense, but my mom sent me a cool dress…’fraid it’s gonna be a surprise

though.” She grinned cheekily. “But wait’ll ya see it…”

Emmaline smiled and said, “Cool. I already have my dress. It’s pink.”

Avery stopped, and then jumped into the freezing cold lake. “So, do you

think Talmorra and the-spawn-or-Satan’ll win the award for best dressed?”

Cold, cold, he thought.

Emmaline Crystalnite nodded her head as she stopped walking and looked

oddly at Avery.”Yeah, I mean you know how Agatha always gets her way.”

Suddenly an idea popped into Avery’s head. “Do you know anyone who has

great fashion sense and hates Agatha? I wanna see if I can get someone else

to win that thing.”

Larissa’s eye lit up. “I have great fashion sense and don’t really like Agatha.”

She began plucking shards of grass.

Avery smiled. “Good. Any others? Agatha’s good. Very good. She’ll

probably hire Gucci and Versaci reps to help her get the perfect outfit. So

we’ll need a whole army of people. And— what are you doing with that

grass?”

“Did you ever make the clover tiaras?” Vivi asked, noticing what Emmaline

was doing as Avery exclaimed his question.

It must be a girl thing, she thought, amused by the expression on Avery’s

face.

“Girls never cease to confuse me.” Avery said as he jumped out of the water,

shaking the excess on the girls.

“I haven’t made any in forever,” Vivi said to Emmaline, “I didn’t much at

home anyway though.” A glance at Avery, and she laughed, “But poor Avery

is gonna be bored ta death if we go inta the finer points of tiara making—

eww!” She ducked away as water pelted towards her. It was cold!

“Finer points?” Avery asked, dipping a foot back into the cold water. “How

are there finer points?”

“Do ya really wanna know Avery?” Vivi asked, “I’ll tell ya o’ course but…”

she giggled.

“Erm, though it sounds so exciting, I’ll pass. I could die from the excitement.”

Avery scoffed.

Emmaline reached for her wand, eyeing Avery demonically. “You’re in need

of a complete new wardrobe. Want me to get some new things for you?”

She asked, giggling. It was an apparently random comment, but Avery was,

well, wet.

Not intending to re-enter the school in his saturated state, Avery agreed.

“Sure! Mind you, I like black. It’d go good with my hair and eyes!”

Emmaline smiled as she waved her wand and said, “Cloer Movetry!!”

Suddenly Avery’s clothes changed to a black sweatshirt with dark baggy

jeans and sneakers. She smiled as she put her wand away.

“There ya go.” Vivi said. “Now, ‘bout your hair and nails.” She snickered,

trading glances with Emmaline. Avery had once told her, “If you have the

chance to annoy someone, do it. Be ruthless.”

Well, Vivi now had a chance to annoy Avery.

I wonder how he looks as a blond…

She laughed, and the three continue to joke as they headed back to the

warm castle. They were eleven, happy and carefree…for now.



Avery ran into the common room after being kicked out of the Great Hall.

“Crap, crap, crap!” he muttered as he climbed the stairs to his dorm.

“I haven’t a clue what I’m wearing, and the Ball’s in half an hour?! Crap!”

Anyone walking by at that moment would most likely have thought that the

second year boy was loosing his mind. He flung open his wardrobe and

began throwing clothes onto the four-poster behind him.

“Okay. Erm, black, obviously. It’s costume, so…”

After all his clothes were out of the wardrobe, he began making two

piles—the clothes he could use for a costume and the ones he could not.

“No jeans. Robes, no. What the heck is that? No, no way, not a chance.”

He muttered, digging through the cloths.

“Sure, okay, that’s good. Maybe.” It took about five minutes for him to

decide, but he finally did. He levitated the useless clothes into the closet

lazily, some making it, others dropping lifelessly onto the floor in front of it.

“Now, what am I going for?” he asked himself, looking over the pieces of

black material on the bed.

“What pants?” he thought for a moment. Leather. Perfect. But he didn’t own

any.

He ran over to his bed (for his clothes were on Donal’s) and began roughly

thumbing through his Transfiguration text.

“Dang.” he said, actually quite surprised that what he was looking for was in

there. He dropped the book, then ran over to his jeans and muttered the

spell. They instantly turned into leather.

“This’ll turn a few heads.”

“Okay, shirt,” he said out loud, returning to the clothing pile.

I don’t wanna look really gay, but what can I do with this crap?I don’t

know what the heck I could go as! A Pharaoh, naw. Too normal.

Nothing related to Medieval times. Oh no. That’ll be way over done. A

person from the Castros?


He sniggered at the thought. With the leather pants, that was about the

direction in which he was going.

Well, I could dress all slutty, but then change into something after the

armor stunt.


He smiled at the thought, but continued panicking, looking for a costume.

“Donal!” he screamed, hoping that the boy was not with Agatha in the

Slytherin Common Room.

Donal entered the common room, already dressed in his costume. He was

wearing an elegant black silk shirt, with a dark blue iridescent waistcoat.

Over this rested a stylish jacket with Victorian style tails, again in black.

Upon his shoulders draped a black silk cloak with a scarlet lining.

As he climbed the stairs to the dorms, he was tying a purple cravat around his neck.

Hearing Avery’s screams, he hurried up and entered their dormitory. Looking

around, he saw Avery’s clothing dumped on his own bed, and Avery

panicking slightly about his costume.

Slightly disgruntled as to the mess Avery was making, Donal said, “So,

what’s the panic?”

Avery glanced up at Donal, but continued filing through his clothes. “Trying

to— no, that’s bad— find a costume. I’m— possibly— trying to find— ick-

something good, but so far–- no way— I’ll end up looking like a guy from

the Castros.” He sighed and transfigured a black turtle-neck into a mesh top.

“Aw, screw it. I’ll figure something out after the armor stunt. I’ll see what the

others are wearing and go from there.”

He quickly changed into his mesh top and leather pants (which he hated

wearing) and ran out of the room.

“You coming?”

Donal shrugged and followed Avery out of the door.

Professor Elionwy Mayvero, standing at the edge of festivities, a glass of

punch in one hand and a plate of finger foods in the other, eyed the dance

floor with an amused look on her face.  It was early in the night, so only a

few brave couples ventured out into the middle of the circle, to dance

awkwardly or elegantly, depending on their upbringing and experience.  The

rest of the students were mostly, like her, camped out around the edges,

looking apprehensive.

Taking a sip of her punch, Elionwy swallowed, suddenly feeling happier.

Mm, that was good.  It was enriched with a fine dandelion wine, one that had

just enough of an alcohol content to feel warm going down.  Just because

Elionwy was a chaperone, she did not feel that it should keep her from

having any fun at all, especially when it was bound to be a long night.

A very, very long night, she thought again, wincing as the giggly shrieks of a

teenage girl split the air.  So long.  Impossibly long.

She took another, rather large, sip of her dandelion…ahem, her punch.

Avery saw no one he knew; rather, no one he cared to talk to.  Aiko and

Vivi and Brian were all so short they had gotten lost in the mass of taller

people, and Donal would be arriving with Agatha later.  He was dateless

(which, he finally decided, was a very bad idea), so to kill a few minutes of

boredom, he headed toward the punch.

Standing next to the punch was his Herbology professor, Elionwy Mayvero.

So, if he couldn’t annoy his friends, he might as well annoy his favorite

teacher.

“Hey!” he said, stepping into her line of vision to force her to look at him.

(She looked like she had been staring determinedly into space, as if

chaperones shouldn’t have to care about the goings-on in front of them, but

should rather care about the interesting specks of dust settling on the rafters.)

“Mmm—” Elionwy squeaked, jumping, her thoughts having wandered.  The

surprise caused her to swallow her punch wrongly and she choked, coughing

and sputtering the bright red liquid all over Avery.  The tray of finger foods

overbalanced and followed suit, smothering him a layer of vegetables and

ranch dressing.

“Oh dear,” Elionwy gasped, looking down at her own soiled black robes and

then at Avery.  She coughed some more.  “Good evening Mr. Berke.”

Avery had jumped back a few feet to avoid the ranch dressing, but it still

managed to completely cover his shirt and a large part of his pants.

Cold…. he thought.  The ranch dressing on his bare skin was anything but

comfortable.

He pulled out his wand, pointed it at Elionwy, and muttered a few words.

Her robes were completely clean and wonderful and no longer smelled of

ranch dressing.  He then turned his wand on himself, cleaned up his clothes,

and pocketed his wand.  “In the future, if you don’t mind terribly, I’d prefer to

not be covered in ranch sauce….”

“And I’d prefer not to be surprised into choking on my punch,” Elionwy

replied, smiling nonetheless.  “Thank you for your handy spell work,

however.”

She looked Avery over, noticing his mesh shirt and leather pants, and raised

her eyebrows.  “Dare I inquire?”  She asked, wondering if he had modeled

his costume off of someone in particular, or just strove to create the most

disturbing ensemble possible.

“I live to shock,” Avery said, grinning wickedly.  “The more heads I turn, the

better, don’t you think?”

“Of course,” Elionwy agreed airily, “That is the idea at such a party, I

believe.”  She shook her head slightly, still, marveling at Avery’s panache.

But perhaps that was one of the reason he was, perhaps, her favorite

student.  Oh, she was not supposed to have favorites, but in her defense it

was not because Avery was good at Herbology.  He was hopeless at it.  But

he did always…liven the class up.  Yes, that was the best way to put it.

Avery certainly kept her on her toes.  “So, mangled any plants today,

Avery?’  she asked conversationally, taking another sip of her punch and

feeling better all of the time.  As long as she did not choke again, the ball

might turn out to be not so bad.

Avery shook his head. “No, though I do intend to go set fire to some in a few

minutes.  This ball needs a nice light show….”  His hatred of plants was not

exaggerated.  The previous year he had nearly died in Herbology, and many

times after that he had been severely hurt.  Plants didn’t like him, he didn’t

like the plants.

It was just that simple.

“Though I’ll have to knock you unconscious and toss you in a broom closet

so you can’t stop me.”

“Interesting,” Professor Mayvero commented, entirely nonplussed, “And

good luck with that.  However, be careful.  I am currently entertaining a

rather large specimen that is to the Venus fly-trap what a kitty cat is to a

lion.  So do be careful.  I believe I have it properly restrained, but you never

know.”

Avery eyed her with suspicion.  It did seem like the kind of plant she would

love and cuddle and claim to be as harmless as a Muggle lily…

“But a well-aimed curse should be able to take it down,” he said, almost

confidently, before adding, “right…?”

Maybe burning down the greenhouse wasn’t such a good idea…unless

Elionwy was lying.  If she were, then Avery would most certainly kill all her

precious plants….

“Afraid not,” Professor Elionwy sighed, “If it were that simple, restraining it

would only involve stunning it.  As it were,” she pulled up her sleeve so that

Avery could see a large bite mark on her arm, “the plant rather got the best

of me.”  Catching the look on Avery’s face, she smiled.  “You would find it

most difficult to find entry into the greenhouse tonight.  I have taken every

precaution…I do not want any more casualties before the plant is shipped off

to its new home on Monday.”

Avery shivered.  “Okay…you win.  No plant killing.  But when that thing’s

gone…”  He patted the pocked with his wand in it.

“Perhaps I should keep it around the Greenhouse,” Elionwy mused, then

laughed, “No, I think not.  So, what lucky lady have you dressed

so…noticeably…for tonight?”

Avery was glad she had stopped talking about the evil man-eating plant.  If

she really did intend to keep it around, Avery wouldn’t be showing up for

any of Elionwy’s wonderfully painful Herbology lessons.

“I’m alone tonight,” he said, shrugging.  “Thought it would be just as fun

without someone as with.  Though it is rather boring alone….”

Elionwy raised her glass, toasting him, “Cheers for alone.  But if you prefer

not to be alone, I would turn around,” she nodded behind Avery, to where

two first year girls stood, looking somewhat self-conscious and, like Avery,

bored.  She recognized them from her classes, a Miss Aiko Watanabe and

Vivienne Moor.  “And now,” Elionwy announced with a sigh, “I believe I

must resume chaperoning.”  Her eyes drifted to where Donal Talmorra,

another one of her students, was lingering near the punch bowl.  She could

almost swear that she had just seen him pour something in…

Lifting her robe free of her feet with one hand, Elionwy hastened off in the

direction of the second year.

Wonderful… Avery thought, sighing softly.  I either get no social

interaction at all, or firsties…


Avery nodded at Elionwy and walked off toward the midget girls.  Both

seemed entirely too small for eleven year olds, but perhaps that was because

Avery was much too tall for a twelve year old—at 6’1, he towered over

most of the fifth years and a good number of the sixth years.  He liked being

tall, but not when talking to short people—his neck suffered too much.

Avery raised his hand so the girls could see him more easily (not that they

would have had much trouble to begin with).  “Hey, Aiko!  Vivi!”

Professor Elionwy Mayvero, standing at the edge of festivities, a glass of punch in one hand and a plate of finger foods in the other, eyed the dance floor with an amused look on her face.  It was early in the night, so only a few brave couples ventured out into the middle of the circle, to dance awkwardly or elegantly, depending on their upbringing and experience.  The rest of the students were mostly, like her, camped out around the edges, looking apprehensive.

Taking a sip of her punch, Elionwy swallowed, suddenly feeling happier.  Mm, that was good.  It was enriched with a fine dandelion wine, one that had just enough of an alcohol content to feel warm going down.  Just because Elionwy was a chaperone, she did not feel that it should keep her from having any fun at all, especially when it was bound to be a long night.

A very, very long night, she thought again, wincing as the giggly shrieks of a teenage girl split the air.  So long.  Impossibly long.

She took another, rather large, sip of her dandelion…ahem, her punch.

Avery saw no one he knew; rather, no one he cared to talk to.  Aiko and Vivi and Brian were all so short they had gotten lost in the mass of taller people, and Donal would be arriving with Agatha later.  He was dateless (which, he finally decided, was a very bad idea), so to kill a few minutes of boredom, he headed toward the punch.

Standing next to the punch was his Herbology professor, Elionwy Mayvero.

So, if he couldn’t annoy his friends, he might as well annoy his favorite teacher.

“Hey!” he said, stepping into her line of vision to force her to look at him. (She looked like she had been staring determinedly into space, as if chaperones shouldn’t have to care about the goings-on in front of them, but should rather care about the interesting specks of dust settling on the rafters.)

“Mmm—” Elionwy squeaked, jumping, her thoughts having wandered.  The surprise caused her to swallow her punch wrongly and she choked, coughing and sputtering the bright red liquid all over Avery.  The tray of finger foods overbalanced and followed suit, smothering him a layer of vegetables and ranch dressing.

“Oh dear,” Elionwy gasped, looking down at her own soiled black robes and then at Avery.  She coughed some more.  “Good evening Mr. Berke.”

Avery had jumped back a few feet to avoid the ranch dressing, but it still managed to completely cover his shirt and a large part of his pants.

Cold…. he thought.  The ranch dressing on his bare skin was anything but comfortable.

He pulled out his wand, pointed it at Elionwy, and muttered a few words.  Her robes were completely clean and wonderful and no longer smelled of ranch dressing.  He then turned his wand on himself, cleaned up his clothes, and pocketed his wand.  “In the future, if you don’t mind terribly, I’d prefer to not be covered in ranch sauce….”

“And I’d prefer not to be surprised into choking on my punch,” Elionwy replied, smiling nonetheless.  “Thank you for your handy spell work, however.”

She looked Avery over, noticing his mesh shirt and leather pants, and raised her eyebrows.  “Dare I inquire?”  She asked, wondering if he had modeled his costume off of someone in particular, or just strove to create the most disturbing ensemble possible.

“I live to shock,” Avery said, grinning wickedly.  “The more heads I turn, the better, don’t you think?”

“Of course,” Elionwy agreed airily, “That is the idea at such a party, I believe.”  She shook her head slightly, still, marveling at Avery’s panache.  But perhaps that was one of the reason he was, perhaps, her favorite student.  Oh, she was not supposed to have favorites, but in her defense it was not because Avery was good at Herbology.  He was hopeless at it.  But he did always…liven the class up.  Yes, that was the best way to put it.

Avery certainly kept her on her toes.  “So, mangled any plants today, Avery?’  she asked conversationally, taking another sip of her punch and feeling better all of the time.  As long as she did not choke again, the ball might turn out to be not so bad.

Avery shook his head. “No, though I do intend to go set fire to some in a few minutes.  This ball needs a nice light show….”  His hatred of plants was not exaggerated.  The previous year he had nearly died in Herbology, and many times after that he had been severely hurt.  Plants didn’t like him, he didn’t like the plants.

It was just that simple.

“Though I’ll have to knock you unconscious and toss you in a broom closet so you can’t stop me.”

“Interesting,” Professor Mayvero commented, entirely nonplussed, “And good luck with that.  However, be careful.  I am currently entertaining a rather large specimen that is to the Venus fly-trap what a kitty cat is to a lion.  So do be careful.  I believe I have it properly restrained, but you never know.”

Avery eyed her with suspicion.  It did seem like the kind of plant she would love and cuddle and claim to be as harmless as a Muggle lily…     “But a well-aimed curse should be able to take it down,” he said, almost confidently, before adding, “right…?”

Maybe burning down the greenhouse wasn’t such a good idea…unless Elionwy was lying.  If she were, then Avery would most certainly kill all her precious plants….

“Afraid not,” Professor Elionwy sighed, “If it were that simple, restraining it would only involve stunning it.  As it were,” she pulled up her sleeve so that Avery could see a large bite mark on her arm, “the plant rather got the best of me.”  Catching the look on Avery’s face, she smiled.  “You would find it most difficult to find entry into the greenhouse tonight.  I have taken every precaution…I do not want any more casualties before the plant is shipped off to its new home on Monday.”

Avery shivered.  “Okay…you win.  No plant killing.  But when that thing’s gone…”  He patted the pocked with his wand in it.

“Perhaps I should keep it around the Greenhouse,” Elionwy mused, then laughed, “No, I think not.  So, what lucky lady have you dressed so…noticeably…for tonight?”

Avery was glad she had stopped talking about the evil man-eating plant.  If she really did intend to keep it around, Avery wouldn’t be showing up for any of Elionwy’s wonderfully painful Herbology lessons.

“I’m alone tonight,” he said, shrugging.  “Thought it would be just as fun without someone as with.  Though it is rather boring alone….”

Elionwy raised her glass, toasting him, “Cheers for alone.  But if you prefer not to be alone, I would turn around,” she nodded behind Avery, to where two first year girls stood, looking somewhat self-conscious and, like Avery, bored.  She recognized them from her classes, a Miss Aiko Watanabe and Vivienne Moor.  “And now,” Elionwy announced with a sigh, “I believe I must resume chaperoning.”  Her eyes drifted to where Donal Talmorra, another one of her students, was lingering near the punch bowl.  She could almost swear that she had just seen him pour something in…

Lifting her robe free of her feet with one hand, Elionwy hastened off in the direction of the second year.

Wonderful… Avery thought, sighing softly.  I either get no social interaction at all, or firsties…

Avery nodded at Elionwy and walked off toward the midget girls.  Both seemed entirely too small for eleven year olds, but perhaps that was because Avery was much too tall for a twelve year old—at 6’1, he towered over most of the fifth years and a good number of the sixth years.  He liked being tall, but not when talking to short people—his neck suffered too much.

Avery raised his hand so the girls could see him more easily (not that they would have had much trouble to begin with).  “Hey, Aiko!  Vivi!”

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