We'll All Fall After The Yule Ball
written by Don E. Delivery
Harry's attraction to Parvati leads him to take his Yule Ball preparation much more seriously and his night is changed as a result. Includes an awesome Ron, an interesting Parvati and a drunk Katie Bell.
Author's Note to Readers:
This is a story I started back in 2011, and most people have assumed abandoned since 2012. Surprise! It's not. I've gone back through and fixed any mistakes I've noticed, and plan to finish this up by Christmas of this calendar year. It was a hell of a lot of fun writing back then, and I'm looking forward to its completion.
In the week before the big occasion, Harry had gone through the trouble of acquiring beautiful Yule Ball dates for both himself and his best friend, taken an extra hour and a half to learn the steps for the ridiculously complex dance he was obligated to open the night with, and congregated with the few upperclassmen he knew in order to purchase alcoholic beverages for the evening. Furthermore, he had transfigured a series of tables, chairs, couches and a rather elaborate and unnecessary fountain in an empty classroom near (but not too near) Gryffindor tower, stocked it full of food and drinks, and he made sure that the few upperclassmen he knew would be there after the Ball.
Now, an hour before the Ball was to commence, he eyed himself in the only free mirror in Gryffindor tower, trying to ignore the complaints of most of his fourth year roommates. With the exception of Seamus, who looked more than a bit pissed already and was sure to make a fool of himself later, Harry was the only one of the five boys who had been looking forward to the Ball. He straightened his robes and ran a hand through his wild raven hair.
He had to admit that his green dress robes made him look much older than he was, and considering his plans for the evening, that was a definite plus. Feeling slightly foolish but more than a little giddy, he strutted in front of the full-length mirror, pondering how he should make an entrance with Parvati at his side. After a moments thought he decided to just wing it. He had bigger fish to fry.
"You're sure you don't know who Hermione is taking to the Ball, Harry?" came Ron's voice from the showers. "You know you can tell me. I'll still act surprised and all."
Ignoring his best friend Harry instead winked at Neville, who was looking more than a little green around the gills and bid a farewell to the rest of the room. Dean looked up from the nearest sink where he was struggling to stop the blood that was steadily pouring from his now hairless chin.
"Are you heading down now?" he queried. We've still got an hour before it starts. What's the hurry?"
Harry grinned, and then winced after seeing how badly Dean's chin was cut. Feeling cheeky he said, "I don't want to cut it too close, Dean. I'll see you all in a bit."
He shut the door before Dean's bloody rag could hit him, hurried down the stairs and then stopped at the bottom, walking leisurely into the common room. Many of the underclassmen were present, with only the female population looking bothered that they were missing out on the Ball. From across the room Harry spotted Fred and George talking quietly to Lee Jordan, all three of them dressed to impress and sporting the same mischievous grins. Having a few minutes to kill, he stood nearby, trying to overhear their conversation.
"Yeah, but Angelina won't go for that," whispered George, shaking his head. "Her dad worked in a Muggle beer factory and drank like mad. I can hardly get away with a swig of Butterbeer after Quidditch games." Fred made a whipping motion with one hand and Lee laughed accordingly.
"Yeah," Lee said, "Alicia is kind of a homebody too. Her mom caught her drinking last summer and grounded her for the rest of the break. Since she's going to see Hollyhead over the Winter break she doesn't want to risk it. She said she's definitely coming to the party though."
Fred shrugged. "Katie drinks like a fish. You remember when she drank that whole bottle of wine and then we bet her she wouldn't fly off the Astronomy tower?" George and Lee nodded, laughing. "We thought she fell off her broom! Turns out she dove straight down, flew back around to Trelawney's quarters, spelled the window open and came back swigging sherry!"
The boys cracked up; even more so when Katie walked down the stairs a moment later dressed in periwinkle blue and carrying a handbag that looked suspiciously bulky.
"What's up, chumps," she asked, slurring her words noticeably. "You guys ready for the party?"
"Shouldn't we go to the ball first?" asked Lee, trying and failing to contain a smile.
"Ball, schmall," she said, reaching in her handbag. "Harry said there would be alcohol."
Harry chose that moment to make his presence known. "Now where did you hear that? I certainly didn't go out and buy any alcohol."
The four Gryffindors turned to him all smiles. Katie giggled. "I must be getting drunk; Harry is looking ripe for the fucking." Everyone gasped, and then all the color drained from her face. "I meant ripe for the plucking!"
The boys cracked up again, and Harry did his best to refrain from blushing. He had certainly harboured those same thoughts about Katie Bell, but he didn't think it would be appropriate to tell her that. Instead he thanked her for the interest and wished them all a good evening. As he left, she told him to save her a dance, and he promised he would, causing the boys to laugh once more.
Shaking his head, he crossed the room to stand near the girls' dorms. He wanted to greet Parvati as soon as she came down the stairs in order to make the best impression possible. The fact that he got to be the first man to see each of the other girls sashay down the stairs was just an added bonus.
Seven girls later and fifteen minutes before the ball was scheduled to start, Parvati crossed the threshold, looking magnificent in very fancy golden robes. Just enough of her long tanned legs were showing and quite a bit of her chest was visible as well; he felt an enormous surge of pride that he was taking the best looking girl in his year to his very first dance.
She smiled at him as she walked down the stairs, taking care not to trip and ruin the evening before it had even started; he held an arm out for her and helped her down the last few steps, twirling her slowly once she had reached the bottom.
"How do I look?" she asked, her brown eyes looking for assurance. "Worthy of a champion?"
"You look amazing," he breathed, completely sincere. "Nobody will even notice I've entered the room."
She blushed and her long eyelashes fluttered, causing his heart to skip maddeningly. "You're so sweet, Harry," she said, pecking him on the cheek. "Are you ready to go? Or would you like to wait for Ron? Or," and this she said with more than slight distaste, "Hermione?"
Smiling and ignoring her obvious jealousy, he shook his head in the negative. "No, no. I think they can find their way to the Great Hall by themselves. Shall we?"
Her smile brightened noticeably and he inwardly pat himself on the back. "Yes, we shall," she intoned, before suddenly changing her mind. "Well, maybe we should wait for Ron. After all, he should be meeting my sister just outside the Hall. That way we can all walk in together."
Harry just nodded and turned to look at the entrance to the boys' dorms. For a few minutes they chatted quietly, Harry enjoying the chance to talk to a girl he had surprisingly little contact with most of the year. He made sure to look her in the eye every chance he got, and only look down at her bosom when it was prudent; he also made sure that she caught him looking at least once. Everything was going splendidly when Ron finally made his way downstairs, causing the majority of the conversation around the common room, including Harry and Parvati's, to drop to a hush.
Harry struggled not to laugh as his friend walked stiffly towards him, looking as if he'd rather be anywhere else in the world. Luckily Harry had seen Ron's robes beforehand or he probably would have laughed; in fact, most of the common room had openly jeered Ron when he walked out. Instead, Harry noted the reddening of Ron's ears and took pity on his friend, grabbing him by the shoulder and pulling him aside before he could make a fool of himself.
"I look bloody awful," he said, summing up everyone else's thoughts on his dress. "My Uncle was married in this thing half a century ago; there's a picture of it in our living room. And it looked terrible then!"
Harry smiled, trying to cheer his friend up. "Hey, look on the bright side. At least you have a pretty date; you could do much worse than one of the best looking girls in the school. Nobody really cares what you look like."
Ron grimaced. "I do, Harry! Not only will I look like a laughing stock in front of Hogwarts, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons will be there too! Look at the leetle English wizard," he said in a dreadful impression of the French accent. "Oui, Oui; Bonjour!"
Noting that Ron was drawing contemptuous looks from one seventh year who had brought his French date to the tower, Harry tried a different tact. Frowning heavily he grabbed Ron by the arm and steered him away from Parvati.
"Look, Ron. I'm not going to play games with you. Your dress robes look bloody awful; that, and you kind of smell like old feet. But if you're going to act like this all night then you might as well stay in your bloody tower like Professor Trelawney! There's a knockout waiting for you outside the hall right now, and all you have to do is be a wizard and walk out there, apologize for your terrible dress robes and act like you have a bit of sense!"
Ron looked like he wanted to object so Harry punched him in the arm, hard. "I don't want to hear it! Look at Fred and George," he said, pointing towards Ron's older brothers and their two very good looking Chaser girlfriends. "Do you think they would be moaning about their dress robes? If anything they would make a joke out of it all." Ron was rubbing his arm, but he did look to be listening so Harry took a deep breath and calmed down. "I want to have a good night tonight, and I want you to do the same. Okay?" When Ron didn't answer he balled up his fist like he was going to hit him again.
"Okay!" he said, jumping away. "Just don't hit me anymore; you already frogged me!"
Harry ignored him and smoothed out his robes, turning back towards Parvati, who was watching them with a bemused expression on her lovely face. "When you see Padma, compliment her and make sure you say you're sorry your robes look bad. Make sure you dance with her -" he continued, raising his voice over Ron's complaints, "-and don't complain! Just act like everything is normal and be yourself. Have some fun!"
Ron was still grimacing but he did nod in agreement. Harry figured that was the best he was going to get out of his best friend, so he took Parvati's arm once more and the three of them made their way out of the common room, Ron dragging behind them.
The trio of Gryffindors made their way slowly through Hogwarts towards the Great Hall; Ron hoping to put off his meeting with Padma as long as possible, Parvati taking time to comment on every student and dress that she passed, and Harry enjoying the feel of Parvati against his arm enough that he was in no hurry to lose it. In fact, their arms stayed loosely entwined the entire walk to the hall.
However, upon reaching the entrance, Parvati leapt from Harry's side and hugged her twin sister soundly, both of them squealing loudly and talking over each other trying to compliment the other. Ron was attempting and failing to hide behind Harry; he was both taller and wider than his friend and wearing eye-catching robes to boot. Eventually Padma turned her attention to her date, and though she looked less than impressed she reigned in her disgust enough to at least greet him pleasantly.
Ron pulled at the ruffles around his neck and cleared his throat. He looked at Harry imploringly but Harry deliberately paid him no mind; instead, he grasped Parvati's hand and lead her towards the door to the Great Hall. However, he paused at the door in order to hear what Ron was going to say.
"Er, Padma. You look..." he swallowed audibly. "You look very nice this evening. Thank you for... well, you know... agreeing to come with me. And uh, sorry I look so terrible and you look so nice." He was starting to babble, but Harry smiled. At least he made the effort.
Harry chanced a chaste glance back at the couple and his smile grew; Ron was holding a blushing Padma's hand and looking a lot more confident. Apparently, Harry's pep talk had invoked some Gryffindor courage in his best friend.
"Are you ready to walk in?" asked Parvati, drawing his attention once more. "I think it's almost time for the ball to start."
Harry nodded, patted his hair down and straightened himself. He was ready.
"Let's do it," he said, and pushed open the door.
He made his way into the hall slowly, making sure that everyone noticed his entrance. He walked with Parvati quite close to him and did his best to ignore everyone else, instead talking quietly to his date as they walked.
"Look to your right; but not too quickly!" he said when Parvati turned. "Hagrid came with Madame Maxime!" He laughed happily. "She looks quite nice, but I think he had to hunt down and clean that coat he's wearing."
Parvati smiled next to him, and she loosened her grip on his arm. He sighed in relief; she had been cutting off his circulation. "Oh, and there's Ginny and Neville," she said, sounding amused. "Ginny looks great; I hope Ron doesn't make a scene considering how much leg she's showing."
Harry rather hoped that his friend wouldn't make a scene, though he suspected that when Hermione entered there would be harsh words. He didn't voice these concerns, however. "Neville looks like he might be sick," said Harry. "But at least they're both smiling."
Parvati nodded. By now they had made their way into the mass of students standing in the hall, and the majority of the looks in Harry and Parvati's direction had died off; Cedric and Cho were now receiving the brunt of it all. Rather than feel the sharp pangs of jealousy he had expected, he was surprised to find that he was happy for the couple; besides, he could hardly go wrong with Parvati, and if he did, she was less likely to throw a hex that he couldn't defend against.
In the past, he had rarely been comfortable being the center of attention, but it helped that he had an awesome reason to be. He was doing well in the competition thus far, his popularity was on the rise, his grades were rising (especially considering he could skip out on almost any class if he had a good excuse) and he could easily do spell work that sixth years were struggling with. All in all, he had no reason to complain about a couple hundred people watching him.
Still, he didn't want his limited success to go to his head. He was well aware how quickly the tides could turn and how awful things could become in the meantime. It certainly wouldn't do to strut around Hogwarts assuming that he was going to be respected. He would be ashamed to draw any comparisons to Malfoy or Eddie Carmichael; Harry tried to ignore the 6th year Ravenclaw who was staring lecherously at Parvati even though he had been told off by Padma earlier that year for doing the same thing. As much as he wanted to knock the prick on his ass in front of Hogwarts he knew that it would be more trouble than anything else.
Draco was steadfastly ignoring his date, Pansy Parkinson, in favor of making faces at Harry's back; rather than finding it annoying, Harry laughed and turned his attention back to Parvati. "Malfoy's being his usual self. Pansy actually looks nice tonight and he's checking me out. If he didn't hate me so much I'd think he has a crush on me." When Parvati snorted he smiled. He was starting to enjoy himself. "You wanna rile him up a bit?"
She nodded, and taking advantage of the fact that almost everyone else's attention was on Fleur and her date Roger Davies, he leaned in close to Parvati and planted a lingering kiss on her plump red lips. He felt rather than heard her surprise but he was satisfied when she responded in kind, wrapping her slim arms around his shoulders and opening her mouth just enough for him to seek hesistant entrance. For a moment they were lost in the kiss, two teenagers capitalizing on their hormones.
And then Dumbledore was clapping his hands, the sound reverberating around the hall and drawing the attention of almost everyone present. Harry licked his lips and opened his eyes, finding that Parvati's face looked much the way he expected his own did; her eyelashes fluttered and she smiled at him in a way like no girl had ever before. Dumbledore had been talking a while before he reluctantly turned away from Parvati and began to listen to the wizened old wizard, all the while struggling to calm his racing heart.
"If Hogwarts, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang could leave the dance floor, please." He waited a few moments for the other students to clear out, and then continued. "Now, if our four Triwizard champions could make their way to the center of the floor we will start the ball with its traditional dance."
Harry took a deep breath and grabbed Parvati's hand, leading her towards the center. Almost immediately he noted that Hermione was joining him on the floor, and he felt a momentary jolt of surprise when he noticed her date. Viktor and Hermione swept onto the floor quickly and quietly; the former looking down at his feet and the latter gracing Harry with a beautific smile which Harry returned gradually, still more than a little confused, not to mention impressed, at how she snagged Durmstrang's most eligible bachelor. He shrugged and decided she must have caught him in the library; she was the smartest girl in Hogwarts after all. He dreaded Ron's reaction, but could spare it no more thought; Fleur, Roger, Cho and Cedric had joined them on the floor, and the band for the night, the wildly popular Weird Sisters, looked ready to start up the first song.
"Good luck, Harry," Parvati whispered, looking up at him and grinning mischeviously. He returned her sentiment and concentrated on the steps he had learned a few nights before.
Once the Sisters had struck up a steady beat, Harry and the other male champions began leading their female counterparts; likewise Roger tried to maneuver Fleur around the floor, although she certainly seemed to be the one in control. Parvati watched Harry as they moved, a small smile on her face, and Harry spared her as many glances as he could without massacaring the admittedly difficult dance. By the time the dance was finished his forehead was starting to sweat, but he ignored it, instead applauding the band along with the others.
Dumbledore stood once more and asked the champions to join him at the high table, encouraging the other students to sit down. He demonstrated the way to place a food order, drawing the laughter of most of the hall when a large tuna popped into being just in front of him and landed softly on his plate. Even Harry struggled not to laugh when McGonagall licked her lips eyeing the massive fish; she was known to enjoy fish with most of her meals, and he assumed her inner cat was growling for the seafood.
Parvati and Harry seated themselves on the opposite side of Dumbledore and Barty Crouch, Sr., who had brought an altogether too pleased with himself Percy Weasley. Luckily, Harry was able to sit next to Hermione, and once the students began eating, the three of them struck up an easy conversation.
"So, how did you meet Viktor?" Parvati asked, just as curious as Harry. "I have to admit I'm surprised you knew him at all."
Hermione smiled easily, showing her remarkably straight teeth. "Well, I met him in the library," she said, confirming Harry's suspicions. "He asked me for help finding a book on dragons. It took a while, but I found him a first edition that was written in German. He plays for the Bulgarian national team, but he was actually born in Hamburg. Isn't that right, Viktor?"
Viktor nodded, looking as though he was paying more attention to Hermione's lips moving than the words she was actually saying. "Yes. In Hamburg," he said decisively, before turning back to his meal.
Hermione smiled patronizingly at him and continued. "He's really good at English for the amount of time he's been learning. I've been trying to help him, but it's been difficult to say the least. He already speaks German, Bulgarian, Russian and French, but he says that English has been really hard for him. Luckily, I can speak enough French to get by..."
She continued to talk for a while about Viktor, even giving Parvati a rather long summary of Viktor's Quidditch exploits to which Viktor added, when prodded, "Yes. I like Quidditch much." Harry smiled and nodded when spoken to, but turned most of his attention to his food (Prime Rib with scalloped potatoes) and the various students in the hall. He paid extra attention to Ron, who seemed to genuinely care about his conversation with Padma. It looked to him like Padma was enjoying herself so Harry mentally congratulated his best friend. The only thing that concerned Harry was the jealous look he saw Ron shoot Hermione and Viktor when Padma wasn't looking. Harry decided that he had to nip that in the bud before the situation deteriorated.
After a while the clinking of plates and glasses started to die off and there was a sudden buzz of anticipation about the place. Most of the students looked excitedly at Dumbledore, waiting for their chance to join the dance floor. The venerable Headmaster did not disappoint; after another couple of minutes he thanked the Hogwarts elves for the lovely meal, Beauxbatons and Durmstrang for joining them at Hogwarts and the Weird Sisters for agreeing to provide music for the evening. Then, to the joy of the mass of students standing near the dance floor, he swung his wand and revealed the Sisters, who immediately began to play, causing a near riot as all three schools' students struggled to get near the stage.
Harry turned to Parvati, who looked as though she'd like to join the crowd, and he offered his hand. When she took it, he said over the squeals of delight coming from the students, "Would you like to dance?"
Parvati smiled. "With you? I'd love to!" She stood up and nearly dragged him out of his seat, drawing a laugh from Hermione. "Come on lover boy, let's dance!"
Harry followed her dutifully, putting on a brave face and diving into the crowd behind her, hoping that she wouldn't want to dance all night. Still, it looked like a lot of fun and the band sounded great, and he thought she looked beautiful...
He decided to take his own advice, given to Ron earlier that evening. He promised himself he wouldn't complain; after all, this evening was turning out exactly as he planned. He couldn't wait for the party later, but in the meantime, he'd dance 'til he fell.
-end of Chapter One-