Disclaimer; I don't own any of the characters.
A/N Here is a new story I thought of at 3 in the morning. I know I should be working on THE DEAL (don't send hate mail...lol) but this story just kind of popped in. I don't think it will be that long but you never know. Happy reading and please please review.
St. Mungo's 433rd annual fundraiser
He stood in the corner of a large ballroom filled with people. It was a fundraiser for St. Mungo's Hospital and twenty four year old Draco Malfoy was bored to tears. He sipped on champagne and watched the fake smiles on his fellow partygoers. It was his party thrown out of obligation towards St. Mungo's. His family had thrown this annually for years and years and he felt like it was his duty to keep it up even after his mother and father's deaths. The name Malfoy was disgraced at the end of his father's life, but had regained some of its former respect as Draco lived the life of a business man and prominent member of the community. Every few moments someone would approach him and make idle conversation, keeping with the impeccable manners of pure blooded wizards. He would nod and smile and check his watch hoping that this would all end soon so that he could get back to his work. The hours droned on and on as he kept to himself the best he could. His black dress robes and crisp white shirt felt heavy and stiff on his body.
"I need some air." he mumbled to himself setting off for the kitchens where he could sneak out the back door momentarily.
"Is anything wrong master Malfoy?" one of the house elves squeaked.
"No, nothing…just need a break." he said headed for the heavy oaken door at the end of the large kitchen.
The cool night air hit his face cooling him immediately. The tiny beads of sweat that dotted his forehead evaporated into the sky. He sat down on a large bench that bordered the gardens and sighed, gulping the rest of the champagne in his glass. The black sky was dotted with twinkling stars only a few, misty grey clouds marring the vast, dark blanket. He checked his watch again.
"It's only nine?" he asked aloud to himself. "Merlin, why did I agree to this?"
He stayed outside for a brief while, savoring the quiet before heading back into the noisy ballroom inside his home. New people had arrived that he had to greet quickly in his fakest voice.
"Mr. and Mrs. Evans, how nice to see you. Please enjoy yourself." he said shaking Mr. Evans hand and kissing Mrs. Evans on the cheek. He motioned towards the bar and the house elves carrying tiny trays of finger foods.
Just then Blaise Zabini came up and clasped Draco on the back heartily.
"Draco, and just where have you been?" he said with a booming voice and a thick Italian accent.
"Just out back, you know how I feel about these parties." he whispered back to Blaise.
"You love them." he laughed. "Where is your date?"
"Don't have one." Draco replied as he gulped yet another drink.
"Don't have one?" Blaise repeated in a shocked voice. "What about Pansy? Isn't she your…uh…standby?" he half chortled.
"Don't even bring up that cow's name. I am sick to death of women like her. I would rather live alone than have to put up with her whiny voice and demands on my precious time. She is as interesting to talk to as a rug and about as pretty to boot."
"Oooh, harsh." Blaise joked, handing Draco a shot of bright red liquid. Draco gulped it down choking as it burned his throat.
"My life is perfect the way it is." Draco said grabbing another drink off of a passing house elves tray. "No complications. Nothing standing in my way."
"You need someone the exact opposite of Pansy." he laughed. "The anti-pansy if you will."
Draco rolled his eyes at his friend.
"I think I will just stick with another drink." he said grabbing yet another. "Have fun."
Draco walked away from his friend and wandered the room finally finding an empty seat at the far end of the ball room. He sat there for what seemed like an eternity. Watching, waiting and getting slightly drunk. His eyes focused on the grand staircase and the people gathering around it. It was then he spotted her.
To be honest it was the emerald green dress that caught his eye. It gleamed in the dim light of the room as she moved. Strapless and fitted it seemed to be painted on her skin. Her chestnut hair was piled high on her head in loose curls and diamond pins sparkled every time she turned. He cocked his head slightly to try to get a better view. She was someone he did not recognize. He half laughed as he stood up to go closer. But he had more to drink than he had planned. Draco stumbled backward onto his seat and when he looked up again she had gone.
"Damn." he swore silently getting to his feet again and regaining his composure. His pale grey eyes scanned the room for her but he was unsuccessful. He walked carefully over to the staircase and looked again. She was nowhere to be seen.
"Excuse me…" he began to a wizard standing near. "Did you see a woman here a moment ago? A woman in a long green dress?"
The wizard shook his head no and continued with his conversation. Draco shrugged his shoulders and circled the room looking for the mysterious guest.
"Where did you go?" he wondered aloud. He hated not being in the know about something, and he thought he knew every guest at that party. Nonchalantly he walked about, keeping his eyes open for the emerald green that stood out among the blacks and whites of the typical party goer's wardrobe. She had all but disappeared off the face of the earth.
"Maybe I had more to drink than I thought." he mumbled to himself. "She was probably a figment of my imagination."
"Talking to yourself?" Blaise's voice boomed from somewhere behind him. "That's not a good sign."
Draco slumped into a rich brown leather chair.
"I was just looking for someone." he replied.
"I see." Blaise replied casually leaning on the arm of the chair. "How long is this party supposed to run?"
"Merlin knows." Draco said in an annoyed fashion. "I wish these people would just go."
Just then a tall wizard with wavy brown hair and dazzling blue eyes stood up and walked onto the makeshift stage.
"Attention ladies and gentlemen. Our bachelorette auction is to begin soon. Everyone who is interested in participating in the auction as a bidder should go to the table near the bar and pick up a number paddle. We will begin in five minutes time." he said waving his wand and making a ticking countdown clock appear just above the stage.
"Shall we?" Blaise asked.
"No, you go." Draco replied gulping his drink.
"Absolutely not, you are not going to waste your night away drunk in this corner." Blaise pulled Draco to his feet and drug him towards the sign up table. A squat witch sat behind the table with a fake smile plastered across her broad face.
"Need a number?" she asked. Blaise nodded and grabbed two numbers filling in his and Draco's name on the sheet.
"Ready?" he asked Draco after handing him his number '21' paddle.
Draco shrugged irritably.
"Let's just find a seat." Draco growled.
They made their way to the seating area that was just set up in front of the stage. Most of the front rows were taken, leaving only a few seats near the back. Draco made his way down the crowded aisle and sat down. Blaise sat next to him and grinned from ear to ear.
"You gonna bid mate?" he asked Draco.
"No, I don't know why you talked me into this. I've seen the kinds of girls that show up for this thing. Inbred with the intelligence of a rock."
Blaise laughed heartily.
"Are you never satisfied my friend?" he asked Draco.
"I have high standards." Draco spat back. "You should take a page out of my book. I've seen some of the girls you've dated."
"It's about to start." Blaise said putting his finger to his lips to indicate silence.
"Respected witches and wizards. It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the 433rd annual benefit for St. Mungo's hospital. We will be starting the auction in just a moment. The young ladies that have volunteered for this auction will accompany the winning bidder on a date consisting of dinner and dancing at the Starlight ball room. All proceeds will go to St. Mungo's Hospital orphan fund. Let's start the fun!" He waved his wand and twinkling lights began to fall from the ceiling. The lights dimmed and a spotlight appeared on stage directly in the center. A beautiful woman in a gleaming white dress stepped onto the stage. She had flaming red hair piled onto her head with several tendrils falling about her delicate face.
"And the bidding begins!" The wizard shouted pointing to the first paddle that went into the air.
"A hundred galleons!" the man with the paddle shouted.
"A hundred galleons from number 68." the wizard said pointing to another.
Draco was barely paying attention. It seemed an endless parade of woman made their way onto the stage. One after another. A blonde, a brunette, another blonde, and another and another. Draco rolled his eyes in disgust.
"Is it over yet?" he asked Blaise who was paying rapt attention.
"No. Now shut up." he said turning his attention to the five millionth blonde that had pranced her way onto the stage.
"Sold!" the wizard shouted pointing to Blaise who was grinning like a child.
"Congrats!" Draco said standing up to leave. Just as he did another girl walked on stage. A girl with chestnut curls and a shimmering green dress.
"Our next bachelorette is a healer at St. Mungo's. This is her first year in the fundraiser and she is slightly nervous so let's start the bidding high. She is our final woman for the night. Please welcome number 21." The crowd cheered loudly and several cat calls were heard from the audience. Draco stood still and stared at the woman. She was the same one he had noticed by the stair earlier. Her smile was bright and genuine. The diamond pins in her hair glittered in the spotlight.
"A thousand galleons." Draco said absentmindedly raising his paddle. Several gasps from the audience followed his bid. Blaise tugged on his friend's robes.
"Draco are you mad?" he whispered. The woman on stage narrowed her eyes trying to see who was bidding so much on her company.
Draco kept his eyes on her. His paddle still raised in the air.
"Very good!" the auctioneer said gleefully. "21 has bid 1000 galleons. Any more bids?"
Draco did not expect there to be any others but to his surprise several hands shot up and bid 1100 galleons and then 1200. His hand went up again.
"1500 galleons." he said loudly giving icy stares to the other bidders.
"1500 galleons going once, 1500 galleons going twice, 1500 galleons going three times. Sold to number 21. Please go to the bidding table and fill out your bid guarantee." Draco moved towards the table but Blaise stopped him again.
"What are you playing at? 1500 galleons? You could have any woman, why pay top dollar for the company of a simple healer?"
"I have my reasons." Draco said as he reached the table and was once again greeted by the squat witch with the broad smile.
"Number 21?" she asked. Draco nodded.
"My, my Mr. Malfoy. You are a generous man. First the party and then the donation to our orphan fund at St. Mungo's. I had you pegged all wrong." she handed him a slip to sign. "Your donation will be taken out of your account at Gringott's." He handed her the slip back and she handed him a folder with information about his date.
His eyes scanned the information and he smirked several times.
"What?" Blaise asked dying to know what made Draco spend an elaborate amount of money on one girl.
"She's nearly 25." Draco said.
"She's practically an old maid." Blaise frowned.
"Born in September, a Virgo." he read aloud to himself. "Likes to read, born near London…"
"Draco, who cares?" Blaise asked. "What does all that matter?"
"She has a cat…went to Hogwarts…I wonder if I know her?" he mumbled.
"I didn't recognize her. But she would have been in the same year or one ahead." Blaise replied thinking.
"When do we meet our dates?" Blaise asked.
"At the Starlight ball room on Saturday. But I would like to meet her before then." he looked around the room for her but she had disappeared again. "Where did she go?" he asked annoyed.
"She must be a ghost." Blaise mused.
"Or an angel." Draco replied under his breath. "Only one way to find out." he said running towards the stage.
The wizard who had been the auctioneer smiled at Draco.
"Mr. Malfoy. You have no idea how much our fund appreciates your donation. Never in all my years have I met anyone as generous as you." he said smiling showing every one of his perfect white teeth.
"I wanted to meet my date tonight." Draco said out of breath from running.
"I'm afraid that's not possible. The girls have left already. Eager to meet her I suppose?" he laughed.
"She just seemed different from the others." Draco sighed.
"Oh, she is. Very intelligent. Smartest witch of her age I always say. She finished healer training in two short years. Most take three or more. She was just promoted to head healer in her department at St. Mungo's. More young people should be as dedicated to helping others as she is." he said smiling reminiscently.
"What's her name?" he asked. "I went to Hogwarts the same time she did and I don't recognize her."
"Oh dear. I can't tell you that. If she decides to tell you that on your date it is her decision. That way the girls can have some privacy." he smiled kindly at Draco. "Now you have your instructions for the date?" Draco nodded. "Well I hope you have fun. The starlight ball room should be beautiful this time of year." Draco shook the man's hand and found his way back to Blaise.
"So?" Blaise asked anticipating his answer.
"Can't meet her until our date. Don't even know her name. Only that she is number 21 and she will be wearing her number when we meet. Isn't it funny we both had number 21?" he chuckled.
"Yeah must be fate." Blaise mused. "Well I am off. Wonderful party Mr. Malfoy." he said in a mock female voice before winking at Draco and heading for the door. The guests were thinning out rapidly and Draco was thankful. Wizard were waving wands to disassemble the stage and shrinking the parts into dollhouse sized pieces that fit into a small carrying case. Draco walked over to the bar and ordered one last drink He didn't know what had come over him at the auction. All he knew is that he HAD to meet her. He swallowed the drink quickly and made his way over to the staircase that lead to his office. He was nearly at the top when he spotted the girl in the green dress running back into the ballroom. His heard stood still as he watched her. By the time he made up his mind to go after her she was headed back out the door, this time with a cream colored wrap about her shoulders. Her curls were coming loose from their bindings and falling freely around her face. Her face was flushed from running and her long dress flowed like silk behind her. Draco ran down the stairs as fast as his feet would carry him. She had left by way of the garden door. He raced there, only seconds behind her. The only sounds he could hear were his footsteps as he ran. The door was open and he ran out into the night air. The fragrance of honeysuckle and lilacs filled the air. He looked around. She was gone. Apperated seconds before. Draco caught his breath as he leaned against a marble statue of Venus.
"I will catch you next time." he said heading back inside.