DISCLAIMER: anything you recognise belongs to JKR, not me sadly

Written for Lizz IX's one day in the life of an 8 year old challenge on HPFC

The annual Black family Christmas party was the height of social status events, and had been for some years. Orion Black and his wife Walburga played host, their sitting room magically expanded and transformed into a ballroom, with a dozen house elves belonging to various relatives serving platters of au dervs and fine pastries and champagne.

For the children of the pureblood families lucky enough to be invited, it was a night for fine dress robes and absolute best behaviour. It was here that betrothals were made, business deals were discussed and the next generation of high society learned the subtle rules which would govern the rest of their lives.

Lucius yelped as the house elf stabbed him in the back of the neck with a pin.

"Miggy is sorry master." It cringed away, though not far enough to get away from Lucius' slap.

"Why do I have to wear this stupid thing anyway," he pouted, trying to wrench off the half-affixed lacy collar. "It looks so girly."

In the corner his mother raised an eyebrow, a clear sign of disapproval. Lucius sighed and waved the house-elf back. The new elf, Nobby or something, knelt on the floor in front of him and began lacing his boots, green leather with silver rivets to match his dress robes. It was so pointless dressing up like this, he decided. After all he had been betrothed to the middle Black girl for three years now, when most pure blood children weren't even considered until they were ten or eleven. It was a good match too, though the thought of being stuck with Andromeda Black, who ignored his regular aerial displays in favour of some boring book, and who told him to shut up when he was half-way through a good story, was something he didn't like to think about.

He would have to dance with her this year too. His tutor, Mister Gudgeon had pronounced his waltzing adequate, and he had practiced with his mother, but neither of them were Andromeda, a year older, two inches taller, and completely uninterested in him.

He often wished they had betrothed him to Narcissa instead. Granted she was a bit of a cry-baby, and obsessed with girly things like dresses and dolls, but she looked at him with admiration rather than disdain. And she was prettier.

His father arrived just as the elves finished, dressed in green and silver silk matching Lucius' own outfit, though without the stupid lacy collar. He gave Lucius a quick glance over and nodded, then activated the floo. His mother fussed at his hair for a few seconds, handed him the wrapped parcel for Andromeda, then sent him through after.

"Number 12 Grimmauld Place."

Lucius spun out of the fireplace into the magically expanded ballroom, landing on his feet for once, and quickly brushing away the ashes. Glancing around he could already see a number of familiar faces. Adults were standing around the tables in small packs talking over glasses full of champagne. In the corner there were a group of a dozen or so children ranging from thirteen-year-old Thaddeus Potter to baby Sirius who was three. Twelve-year-old Bellatrix seemed to be leading a game of hunt the mudblood judging by the way they were all running around, despite the disapproving looks her parents were shooting her for playing with the children. Lucius guessed she would stop just as the Lestranges arrived, and play perfect little lady in front of the adults like usual. And she'd probably manage to get him into trouble at least once or twice during the night, just for her own entertainment.

"Lucius, come here."

Walburga Black's imperious voice cut through the general buzz of conversation. He sighed and turned to face his betrothed, who stepped out from behind her aunt's frilled dress robe skirts. Andromeda thanked him graciously for the gift, some silver hair thing that his mother had picked out, her eyes wandering to the pack of children. Little Sirius was giggling at the head of the pack now, gesturing with his toy wand at Thad, who was pretending to be cursed. Lucius started to offer his arm to Andromeda to walk her over when they were joined by their mothers, chatting to one another, each with a hand on their child's shoulder. No doubt they would stay this way until the music was playing and everyone started dancing. Sharing a long-suffering look, the pair resigned themselves to a night of boring small talk.