Title: Plus One
Pairing: George Weasley/Lavender Brown
Rating: PG
Word Count: 2005
Beta: Thank you, lksnarry1!
Warnings: None.
Summary: Lavender needs to find a date for the Witch Weekly's Yule Ball.
A/N: Originally written as a pinch-hit (my first! *g*) for luvscharlie for Winter Exchange: 2011-2012 on rarepair_shorts. I was thrilled to finally have the chance to write for my dear friend :)

AND 49. Dance on 100_women

AND 95. Silver on 100_colours

Plus One

Lavender eyed the invitation like it was a last season outfit. Honestly, making it practically an obligation to bring a date was more out of fashion than the huge shoulder pads her mother wore when Lavender was a baby.

"Plus one," she grunted, throwing the expensive piece of parchment another hateful look. "Haven't these people heard about the 21st century?"

"Most wizards believe it's a passing trend," said Ron from the doorway with a shrug, almost giving Lavender a heart attack.

A scowl was about to escape her lips when her eyes lightened with an idea. After all, Ron Weasley washer knight in shining armour. She started smiling for the first time since she got the invitation for the Witch Weekly's Yule Ball, only to fall instantly when she remembered a teeny tiny detail.

"You're still dating Hermione Granger, aren't you?"

Ron looked at her dumbfounded. "Uhh, yes. We're getting married, remember?"

Lavender groaned, her face contorted in pain. Her scars left from the war had never been as painful as the shame of being single was.

"You got the invite last week...?"

A muffled whimper escaped her lips as she pressed her hands harder against her face, trying to disappear from the Wizarding world.

"Yes," she said finally uncovering her face and looking at Ron with a small smile. "Thank you for not adding the bloody words: plus one."

Ron frowned and fidgeted against the door-frame, clearly uncomfortable with this kind of talk. "Is everything alright, Lavender?"

She growled dramatically, punching her desk with her fists. "No, it's not, Ron! Next week is the Witch Weekly's Yule Ball and they insisted on me bringing a date. Because –uh, and I'm quoting here- what kind of publicity would it be if the person in charge of the 'How To Conquer A Bloke With Love' column is pathetic enough to go to the Ball by herself!"

If she hadn't just gone to the hairdresser yesterday and spent fifteen sickles on a hair repair treatment, Lavender would have been pulling at it in frustration by now. Meanwhile, Ron just stood there, speechless and shocked at her sudden outburst.

"I j-just came here to... uh... ask if... you could not call Hermione 'the always so perfect Granger' on your articles. Sh-she... she is not very happy 'bout it," Ron finally mumbled, staring at the floor. His whole body language screamed that he was mentally kicking himself for choosing the worst time ever to drop by. And Lavender would bet her whole shoe collection that he would make sure after tonight Hermione never sent him to face her alone ever again.

She sighed deeply, rubbing her temples. "She could always see through my sarcasm."

Ron shrugged, in an attempt to look like he wasn't taking sides at all.

"You've got a smart witch there, Weasley."

His face broke into a goofy smile. "Yeah, she's—"

But Lavender had stopped listening. She could hear the stirring wheels of her brain working as another idea hit her as she said his last name. If there was one thing the Weasley's were famous for –besides their ginger hair- was...

"Wait a minute, you have like a gazillionbrothers, don't you? One of them MUST be single!"

Her silver high heels echoed in the enormous entrance of the hotel where the event was being held. The soft music and voices from the party drifted along its high ceiling.

"Where the hell is he?" Lavender hissed, sliding a hand over her bright blue dress robes for the hundredth time, vanishing the non-existent wrinkles.

Resuming her frustrated back and forth walk, she saw a flash of red hair by the door with no apparent intentions of coming inside. "What is he doing there?" she muttered under her breath and arranged her bouncing curls as she rushed to his side.

"Would you come in already? I told Ron the Ball started at 8 o'clock!"

He did not looked amused as she tugged him inside by the arm. "Nice to see you too, Lavender. Remember me? George Weasley. I heard you sucked my brother's face during his sixth—"

"I do remember you, funny boy. I'll just tell you this only once: this is notthe place for any of your crazy jokes," Lavender warned pointing a manicured finger at him and stopping just outside the big wooden door that led to the Yule Ball.

George clenched his jaw in response but Lavender couldn't care less at that moment. She was already twenty minutes late and her boss kept sending her assistant to ask when she would join the celebration and introduce them to the wizard that fell into her "romantic claws". The cow certainly hated her...

"Listen, here's the story. You're the owner of your own very successfulbusiness—"

"I am the owner of my own very successfulbusiness!" George exclaimed indignant.

"That'sthe conviction I need," she said with a condescending smile, patting his chest in fake encouragement. "If you believe it, maybe my boss will." George stared at her in silence; his eyes narrowing dangerously. "Of course, you have been head over heels in love with me for years, thinking you weren't worthy of me until you finally asked me out two months ago. Since then, we've been happier than ever before. I will let you improvise with the rest. You know, impromptu trips to Paris, romantic dinners by the sea and a bouquet of expensive red roses at my doorstep for every day you've known me... that sort of thing," she finished with a wink, turning to the door and all but pulling him through the crowd without letting George say a word.

"Oh, Lavender! Finally!" A middle-aged witch with a huge pearl necklace and matching earrings blew a kiss at Lavender's cheek, who did the same. The act was as fake as her hard-as-rock breasts.

"Mrs. Coalman! You look stunning tonight!" Lavender squealed with a fake grin.

"Always, darling. I alwayslook stunning," she corrected.

"Right. Err... let me introduce you," she said, grabbing George by the elbow in a tight grip, hoping he got the hint. "George, this is my boss, Mrs. Aurelia Coalman. Mrs. Coalman, this is—"

"George Weasley," he said, shaking the lady's hand shortly with a pleasant smile.

"Pleased to meet you, George. Here I was already telling my assistant, Judy, you were nothing but a product of Lavender's imagination. But here you are... She actuallybrought a date," Mrs. Coleman said, surprise written all over her face.

Lavender gritted her teeth, almost biting her tongue to not answer. However, George appeared to jump to her rescue.

"Oh, no. I'm very real, if I say so myself." He peered at Lavender from the corner of his eye, watching her sigh in relief. "Although she did almost come solo tonight. If she hadn't begged on her knees to my brother to get her a date for tonight and I weren't the great man that I am, she would have been dancing a waltz with her reflection on the women's restroom."

Lavender glared at him, clutching her hands in fists. She felt her face getting hot with anger. Just when she was about to explode, George caught her eye and immediately turned to Mrs. Coleman with another of his innocently charming smiles.

"Did I mention I'm the owner of my own very successfulbusiness?" he said, looking at Lavender with a devious, broad smile.

Let's just say George Weasley was incrediblylucky she couldn't fit her wand in her tight robes.

Lavender sat at the bar, drinking her third "Magic Ride" cocktail, as her "date" kept telling jokes and stories from the shop to the owner of the Witch Weekly and his wife. This night couldn't have gone worse and just when she thought no Weasley could infuriate her more than Ron, fate had managed to prove her wrong tonight of all nights. Life has a knack for having the worst timing ever. What would she do if she got fired? Maybe she could talk to Granger and ask her to tell Loony Lovegood about her. At least The Quibbler was better than having no job at all.

Suppressing a whimper, she swallowed the remains of her drink in one go.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Brown. Your face has been red since we got here and getting drunk won't help at all. Besides, you wouldn't want to throw up all over Elmer when you dance with him. I heard he likes to twirl women around," he said with a chuckle.

Lavender sighed and closed her eyes, knowing she would regret asking but she couldn't help herself. "Who's Elmer?"

"Elmer Ashdown, of course."

She gulped as her eyes widened. "I have to dance with the owner of the company?"

"Well, I promised Martha I would let her have a dance without spinning for three minutes in a row. I apologized to Elmer. He seems to be stuck with you. I heard you had two left feet," George said, shrugging nonchalantly as if he hadn't just insulted her dancing skills.

Lavender decided taking deep breaths to calm down wasn't working any more. Her blood rushed with anger through her veins and it took her whole being to restrain from screaming at the top of her lungs in frustration.

"Ugh! You're impossible!"

She heard George laugh softly while she tried to gain the bartender's attention.

"Why don't you have a boyfriend?" he asked suddenly.

"Excuse me? Do you want me to cry? Because at this rate I will before the night ends!"

He lifted his hands in a sign of surrender before sliding his fingers through his hair. "It's just that... you're definitelybeautiful, I assume very smart in order to be in charge of your own column at only 24 years old, and you get so easily flustered that it's very funny... and kind of cute, actually," he enumerated with his fingers, ending up frowning as in deep thought with what he was saying. "I don't see a bloke ever getting bored around you," George said. He sounded sincere, which disconcerted Lavender.

She looked at him with a frown, studying the man standing in front of her. "Who are you?" Those words couldn't have just come out of George Weasley's mouth. It simply couldn't... unless there was some kind of catch. "I swear, if this is one of your stupid pranks, you won't—"

"Ahh, I understand now," he interrupted, a know-it-all smile on his face as he crossed his arms across his chest.

"Understand what?"

"You don't take compliments very well. I can see how that affects a man's confidence when they come on to you." He nodded as if analyzing his theory any further.

Lavender didn't know what to do or say. Her acceptance to compliments had changed after the War. She didn't trust anyone who said she was beautiful with those horrible scars across her face and neck. However, that had nothing to do with her lack of dating. She was just going through a... dry spell.

"Dance with me?" George's voice traveled all over her body. He was so close his deep tone made her shiver and spat out of her thoughts in a blink of an eye.

"I thought my incompetence to take complements affected men's confidence," she whispered, not daring looking up at him in case she blushed at his sudden proximity.

"Lucky for you, I have enough confidence for the both of us," he said with a laugh.

Before she could say anything, he had grabbed her waist and turned her to face him. "Oh, and I'm an incredible dancer so don't worry about your two left feet," he added with a wink as he pulled her to the dance floor and laughing loudly when she glared at him.

Lavender knew it was going to be a long night. She just hadn't imagined he could have so much fun bickering in the dance floor with her "plus one".

A/N: Hope you liked it. Don't forget to review!