Chapter 15 – Good Night, Ladies

It was the weekend before Christmas and Drea was spending her Saturday in Hogsmeade, shopping for presents for Demitri, Draco, Xander, Candra, Jadon, Chase and Cristi. She'd thought about buying a present for Hermione, but had decided not to as she would have to buy presents for the two males in the group known unfondly by the Slytherins as the Golden Trio, and she wasn't comfortable enough with them yet.

Drea had also considered buying something for Professor Snape, but had decided against it. He would only think that she was trying to make up for what she had said to him, although that wasn't the case at all. She didn't regret it at all, aside from the fact that she'd yelled at him.

The only people she had left to buy for were Draco and Xander. She stared into her hot apple cider, trying to think of appropriate gifts.

"Drea!" someone called to her, pulling her out of a trance.

"Hello Hermione," she answered, nodding to the two boys behind the frizzy-haired girl. She waved them over to her table and asked about their plans for Christmas.

"Well of course we're staying at the castle, because of the Yule Ball," Hermione answered, as though it was the most obvious thing in the entire wizarding world.

"Me too," Drea said, "But I think I might be leaving for a week after that to spend time with Demitri, my father."

"Have you found someone to go with?" Hermione asked. Drea had always thought that Hermione was the type of girl who didn't care about boys and balls, and found herself surprised at the amount of interest that the girl had.

"Uh… no, I hadn't even thought of it," she admitted. "I'll probably end up going with Viktor, since we dated last year and he doesn't know anyone here anyway."

Hermione's eyes widened and Drea realised immediately that Viktor had finally gotten up the courage to ask the girl. She felt a bit jealous, but blamed it on sisterly love and gave Hermione a little half-smile to let her know that it was okay.

"Of course, he's probably been asked by so many girls that he doesn't know which way to answer," she said, laughing.

"Hermione won't tell us who she's going with," Ron complained, crossing his arms over his chest.

"Don't worry boys, she's in good hands," Drea answered, flicking up the side of her mouth. She always enjoyed causing innocent commotion. Hermione looked terrified and the boys looked shocked.

"You told her and not us! Some friend," Ron huffed. Drea laughed, and then took a sip of her cider.

"So… have you gotten all of your presents?" Harry asked, forcing conversation. Drea almost wished that he'd let the silence take gentle presence.

"Almost. I've still got two left, and I have no idea what to get them."

"Did you want to come with us?" Harry asked, glancing at his red-headed friend and trying to hide his smile.

"No thanks," she answered, "They're kind of personal gifts. But thanks for the invitation. I'd better be going. Nice seeing you guys."

Drea felt nothing but relief when she left the coffee shop. It had been an awkward situation, with Hermione's embarrassment and Ron's huffiness, and it felt good to breathe again, and to be alone with her own quiet thoughts.

She wandered through numerous shops before buying a large book of spells for Xander. It looked old enough to be interesting, but was kept in very good condition. She then set off to look for the most difficult present yet.

She flopped into bed that afternoon, incredibly satisfied with her purchases. She dreamt that Professor Snape was brewing a batch of candy, singing, "What's This?" from Tim Burton's classic film, "The Nightmare before Christmas."

Drea awoke and crawled out of bed, wondering if she'd missed supper or not. She stretched, yawned, and rubbed the back of her neck, then headed for the Common Room. On her way out the door, someone ran into her shoulder. Hard.

Drea knew immediately that it was Pansy, but to her surprise, the girl was crying. She knew that something had to be seriously wrong for the brunette to be visually displaying weakness and emotion.

Before she could even open her mouth to ask what was wrong, Pansy snarled, "Keep out of it, orphan."

"Whatever," she answered, rolling her eyes. "I can't help you if you don't tell me what happened."

"Who said I wanted your help?"

"Well, since the only thing anyone wants to do in this House is gossip about everyone else, and I have absolutely no interest in that, I'm probably your best bet." She sat down on her bed and crossed her legs. "Go on, tell me what happened."

Normally, Drea wasn't the kind of person to care about the petty problems that normally troubled teenage girls, but understood that sometimes all that's needed is the calm reassurance that somebody is willing to listen.

Pansy scowled and looked away, trying to control her emotions, but Drea could see the lump forming in the girl's throat. "Come on, Pansy, I'm not going to laugh or whatever it is that you're worried about."

Pansy looked Drea straight in the eye, and then spat at her feet.

"Well, that was pleasant. Kind of makes me wonder why you don't have anyone you can trust," Drea said sarcastically. "I'm going for supper. Come get me if you feel like talking."

Drea sat in the Common Room, writing a letter to her father. It wasn't a long letter, but it had taken her a long while to write it. So much had happened so far, but most of what had happened were things that she didn't want to bother her father with. She folded the parchment, slipped it into an envelope, and sealed it with green wax. Placing the envelope on the table next to her, she noticed that only she and Pansy were still in the room. She cocked her head to the side and glanced at the girl, who was reading a magazine. After a few minutes, the girl closed her book and looked right into Drea's eyes.

"It was Blaise," Pansy answered simply, as though that should make all the sense in the world.

"What about him in particular?" Drea asked, trying to be patient. She wasn't sure how she was supposed to act, having grown up with Demitri. There obviously hadn't been a lot of female bonding in her life.

"You can't tell anyone. Or else –"

"Yes alright."

"Well, the other night I slept with Blaise. And… it… it was my first time." Pansy paused here, judging Drea's reaction.

"He didn't hurt you, did he?" Drea asked angrily. It wasn't that she cared about, or even liked Pansy, it was that she'd known many people in Durmstrang who'd been abused in relationships, and it was just something that infuriated her, despite the fact that she hadn't cared for any of them.

"Oh no, he was very sweet about the whole thing, telling me how amazing it was and the like. Anyhow, today I just wanted to make sure that we were still going to the Yule Ball together, and he looks at me like I'm loony and starts laughing at me, in front of everyone. I was so humiliated that I ran all the way back here. Then, tonight at dinner, he was flirting with Higgins, who isn't even pretty, right in front of me, and kept glancing at me while he was doing it. I was so sure that we were going to the ball together, and now I don't have a date."

Drea stared at the girl in what she hoped was a sympathetic manner, trying to figure out what to say. She finally settled on, "I'm sure you'll find someone, Pansy." At that point, the brunette began to cry again.

"It's not just the ball. I gave him something that I've never given anyone, and this is how he treats me."

"Well…" Drea began cautiously, "You'll just have to show him that you can do better." Pansy looked surprised, and then almost happy. "Yeah, that's a good idea. But who can I go with? Everyone's already got dates."

"I'm sure you'll be okay," Drea answered, standing up. "Besides, you should be worrying about what to wear, and how to do your hair, not some boy who doesn't appreciate you. He's obviously a self-centred prick, so don't bother with him, he isn't worth your time."

Pansy nodded and forced a smile. Drea heard a small, "Thanks, Daray," then watched the girl walk out of the room. She walked to a large chair in front of the fireplace, thinking about everything she had yet to do. Wrap presents, send dad's present, find a date, and find something to wear…

Drea's eyes widened at the realisation that she hadn't even found something to wear yet. She summoned her broomstick and ran out the Common Room door, and ran into a tall, hard surface.

"Glad to see the tradition remains," Draco said, smiling genuinely.

"Yeah." Suddenly, Drea had an idea. "Hey, I need to talk to you about the dance. Ball. Whatever. Are you going with anyone yet?" she said hurriedly.

"No, I'm not. Are you?" he asked, eyes twinkling.

"No. I need you to do me a favour."

"Anything," he said, smiling.

"You need to ask Pansy to the ball, but you can't tell her that I had anything to do with it."

Draco stood in shocked silence for what must have been a full minute before he finally managed a short, "Why?" His voice, which was normally deep and silky, cracked a little. Drea might have found it cute if she hadn't been in such a rush.

"I can't tell you, she'd be furious. Please, Draco, this is really important."

"But - "

"Draco… please."

"Yes, alright," Draco answered, looking annoyed. "But tell me, who are you going with?"

Drea opened her mouth to answer, then paused, as though realising for the first time that she didn't have a date. "…I don't know. I'll find someone. Thanks Draco. I've gotta go, I need to find something to wear!"

"See you," Draco said unenthusiastically.

Drea waved without looking back.

When Drea finally got back from her midnight shopping spree, she flopped onto her bed without even looking at it. She landed with a crunch and stood up quickly. On her bed was a small, silver-wrapped box. She picked it up and read the label. Happy Christmas Drea From Draco Drea carefully unwrapped the gift. Inside the miniature box, she found an emerald guitar pick, magicked to weigh the proper amount. Engraved in gold on one side was a magnificent serpent, and on the other, a woman sitting on a rock, reading a book, a sword at her side. It took Drea a moment to realise that this was to represent her. Her middle name, Atheanae, was a modification of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom and war.

Drea picked up the guitar pick, testing its weight and size. It was absolutely perfect. It even had a slight indent for her thumb, which fit exactly how she held it. She was looking at the way the light refracted though the gem when she heard a knock at the door.

"Glad you like it," Draco said. "Is Pansy here?"

"Draco?" Pansy called from where she was wrapping her gifts on her bed.

"May I come in?" he asked.

"Of course," Pansy cooed. Draco walked over to her bed and put his arms around her shoulders, speaking softly into her ear.

"I know it's probably too late, but do you have a date for the Yule Ball? I was hoping you would come with me."

"Of course!" Pansy shrieked, turning and embracing the boy.

"Perfect," Draco answered, kissing her on the forehead. "I'll meet you here tomorrow night then."

"Yes, sure," Pansy said, still staring at him.

"Good night, ladies," Draco said, strolling out of the room. Drea beamed at him. Pansy seemed to take notice of Drea for the first time.

"What have you got in all those bags?" she asked.

"My dress, some gift wrap, shoes, a bit of jewellery. Which reminds me, I have to send my dad his gift." Drea regretted the words the moment they came out of her mouth. Surprisingly, Pansy didn't comment.

"Alright. Good night, Daray."

"Good night, Pansy."

Wow, it's been FOREVER! Sorry this took so long, I went to Quebec this summer and it's proven to be quite difficult to think in French and write in English. I've had this chapter written forever, but the first draft came out as a 15 minute blur, so it's taken some time to go through it and fix it. Hopefully the next chapter won't take so long, but if the homework load keeps up, it just might be. Sorry this chapter is written so poorly, but it's hard to go back and re-write stuff that you've written. It's kind of the only way I can see it now, even though I know it's wrong or doesn't really make sense. Anyways, hope you enjoyed!

Ciao for now ;)

Earelen - Don't worry, that line's supposed to be confusing. It is like a deja vu of sorts, but this will become more clear furthur on in the story, or even if you look back a few chapters. Thanks for reviewing, it means so much to me that you're keeping up with the story!

Collins - Thanks for your review. Actually, at the time I hadn't read the new book... shudders at the thought of having to wait 3 weeks to read it Alas, I am ashamed.

Brianne - You're right, you are a loser.

Sever13 - Thanks so much! I believe her hair is black at the moment, but I'm thinking about changing it for the Yule Ball. Any suggestions?

Kerichi - Quebec was AWESOME, thanks for asking. And don't worry, I have a plan for Ron and his little infatuation. Death to Mary-Sue! Ouch, that must suck to actually be named Mary-Sue. Can you imagine how much the FanFiction nerds would tease you? Anywhos, awesome review, and I definitely see it in a positive light.

Sage and Snape - Yeah that chapter was written poorly. So is this one... Gah! Anyways, hope to talk to you on MSN soon, and hoping you find the time to write, though as I understand it, university is super hard, so don't worry about it too much. Thanks for the continued support!