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 Ministry of Magic and the Ball, Chapter 57

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Cate Snape
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Anzahl der Beiträge : 63
Anmeldedatum : 26.02.17
Alter : 26
Ort : Eastbourne

BeitragThema: Ministry of Magic and the Ball, Chapter 57   Mi Feb 21, 2018 11:05 pm

Ministry of Magic and the Ball

On the next morning, the twenty-second of December, I welcomed the day with a long run, which I enjoyed heartily, through the Wiltshire countryside, despite the freezing cold, after which I set out to get the groceries.

Shopping could wear one out pretty easily was my summary when I carefully, so as not to burn myself, slid into the old, filigree bathtub. I had oils and herbs in the water as bath additives, which would help to make my skin especially soft and fragrant. Tonight I wanted to look perfect, and the dolling up would take the rest of the day. I coated myself in a seductively scented body lotion using Ambra I had specially purchased from a very expensive shop. Afterward, I painted my finger and toenails with a light rose colour and smoothed out my hair magically. I had turned it into a shimmering mass after several rinses and cures.

Then, I started beautifying my face. Primer, make-up, eyeshadow of a delicate grey-silver tone, black eyeliner which emphasized my eyes, mascara to accent my thick eyelashes even more, a little rouge, all in all very beautiful. The face I saw in my compact mirror had softly drawn contours and looked very delicate and dainty, I liked it. Now, all I wanted to do was tame my hair into a set hairstyle, and thanks to magic, I had succeeded and smoothed it down cumbersomely. Using my wand, my long hair now fell over my shoulders, and shone in a soft, light chocolate brown and was draped in a teased knot around my head. But it wasn't tightly combed back, no, rather it was loosely hanging around my head, and I pulled out some long strands that played around my face and neck. I curled these strands, so that they gently fell down in playfull corkscrew-curls and underlined my romantic appearance.

Now things looked even better, and downright beautiful... I didn't know I could look that way. This was better and different by far when compared to the Yule Ball in my fourth year; now I was looking at a very beautiful young woman, whereas before I had been merely a pretty girl. Glancing at the clock, I noted that I had one more hour to prepare, so I started to put on the dress. I carefully took it out of the garment bag. It was overwhelmingly beautiful, and would look good on me. When I was finished dressing, and stood in front of the floor-length mirror to admire it, I concluded that I liked it a lot, and found myself continuing to turn around myself, looking at every angle. I was curious as to how the men would react to it tonight.

Lastly, I put the lip gloss onto my lips, which had a light, rose shade which made them shine seductively. Grabbing my chiffon stole and purse, I left. I quickly walked down the stairs, took my dark winter cloak from the hook, threw it around my shoulders and left the house and apparated to the central apparition point of the Ministry of Magic. Once I arrived, I looked around with interest, for I had never been here before. I had read brochures about the Ministry, but seeing it myself was exciting. I went over to the built-in wardrobe desks to give them my cloak, straightened my stole, draping it around my shoulders, and headed for the designated meeting place. Once there, I walked over the polished, dark parquet floor, the clack of my silver stilettos loud in my ears and my long dress playfully stroking my ankles. I absorbed my surroundings and stored in every detail, there were countless golden ornaments and lattices decorating the corridor. There was gold everywhere, on the peacock-blue ceiling, in the door frames, and covering the many open fireplaces that lined either side of the black stone wall. The gold and the black created a nice contrast of color.

It was bustling with people, despite this late hour and from the fireplaces many noble and sophisticatedly dressed wizards and witches emerged, who joined the stream of arriving guests. When I saw the magnificent, grand hall of the Ministry directly in front of me, which was many stories high, due to the Ministry being underground, I was amazed at its sheer size. In the middle of the impressive hall stood a round fountain. This must have been the "Fountain of Magical Brethren", which as I knew was a sign of the incredible arrogance of the magical society. It portrayed golden, life-size figures, and in the middle of the whole monstrous decoration stood a pretty pair of magicians, surrounded by various magical beings. A centaur, a goblin, and a house elf, who all, to my grief, were looking up at the couple of humans, admiring and adoring them. How populist, I thought to myself.

Disgusting, I thought, just as where the jets of water are coming from. For the couple it came from the tips of their wands, while for the centaur water gushed from the tip of his arrow. The goblin had water coming out of his hat, and finally the poor, poor house-elf had it spurting out most despicably from its bat-like ears. How awful! Had I already said how much I loathed something like that? Mind how the magical community really thought about each other, then this was its biggest lie. The centaurs didn't recognize wizarding law, and who could blame them? They despised us, and didn't want anything to do with us. The goblins fought for centuries against the domination and patronage of wizards, where they were in the right. And the house elves, my favorite subject. Their submissive attitude came through their enslavement, nothing else, and was despicable. You could see the ignorance of wizarding kind which one had to fight against in the abstract monstrosity they had built themselves, indulging in self-adulation, and the way they were masterfully ignoring the Dark Lord. But alright, I could get het up about it all day, but nobody would pay attention to me if i did so, so I saved my breath and shrugged after completing my examination of the hall.

Here I stood, at the meeting point and watched the going-ons around me. I liked watching my surroundings, because that was the best way to find out the most things. When I saw a young, self-confident, dark man approaching me purposefully with a wide, beaming smile, I returned it and was truly glad to see him. He looked good in his smart, black tuxedo, slightly different in style from Muggle ones, and wore a shiny black cloak that left one shoulder free, very neatly showing off his strong, well-toned body.

"Hermione! Nice to see that you're early. You're beautiful, a real feast for the eyes! How are you? I've missed you," he said flatteringly and took my hand, pulling it to his lips to kiss. He breathed a tender kiss onto my skin and looked at me with sparkling eyes.

"Viktor," I replied in delight, shaking his hand. "I'm fine, it's so nice to see you again. Thank you for thinking of me as your partner for the Minister's Christmas Ball, that was very nice of you!" I said, linking arms with him.

"I always think of you!" he flattered, and if one saw him like that, you wouldn't believe it, but he had something intellectually sexy about him. Yes, Viktor was my partner for today and I had wanted to tell Draco about it, but now he'd see it tonight, and that would be fun, I thought sarcastically and sighed resignedly. We walked to the elevators that were in an adjoining room next to the hall which once again, just guess, had gold for safety bars! The elevator brought us to the top floor, where not only Minister Fudge's office was located, but also the festive rooms of the Ministry of Magic, which opened their doors only for special occasions. As we approached the gull-wing doors that led to the ballroom, I grew a little nervous, but I refused to show it. Keeping myself very straight, and going onward with a proudly stretched chest next to Viktor Krum, who was a personally invited guest to this Christmas ball that Fudge hosted today.

Actually, I had wanted Rita to get me an invitation in order to get access into the Ministry, but that had been taken care of when, one morning at breakfast, Viktor's letter arrived and stopped my other efforts.

We had lined up in the queue outside and now we had our great performance, because the couples only entered the ballroom one after the other. The hall shone in the light of thousands of candles, and the ivory-colored marble brightly reflected their light. The numerous, extravagant ornaments were held in even more lush gold. Someone clearly had too much gold in mind, where the black and gold in the hall had offered a harmonious picture, here it was almost blinding.

I was well dressed for the occasion however, my chest was embroidered with large, round silver, with both light and dark green sequins which flattered my cleavage, and small, green, spaghetti straps held it in place. Underneath my chest was a ruffled, moss-green band, dividing the dress into two parts, as in the Imperial style. The rest of the dress fell loosely and gracefully down my body. The delicate, transparent chiffon complimented my body in long strips of fabric, alternating mind green and moss green. It was a romantic dress. However, in order to not show too much skin, I wore a stole of the same fabric, and in the same colors, which ran into each other, around my shoulders.

My outfit was underlined by silver, high heeled stilettos and a small, silver bag. I looked good and that's how I was able to present myself confidently. Just as the ladies of wizarding society glittered and flashed, I was also very noticeable in my distinguished, reserved elegance. I had deliberately left out jewelry of any kind and on the arm of the black-haired, handsome, famous Bulgarian, we gave an imposing image.

Thus we walked very confidently into the ballroom and I could feel the looks of those present directed to me, as I wasn't unknown. People recognized me as Hermione Granger, the best friend of the boy-who-lived, Harry Potter. Yes, Fourth Year had done a lot for my popularity, thanks to Rita! But even if my appearance here would make the press with me as Hermione Granger, I didn't care, as my parents had allowed it in my lively imagination! And Viktor, as the adult, had picked me up, so I’ve already got my excuse as well. Nobody could forbid me to go to a ball with a friend. I had spotted Rita Skeeter at the back of the stairs in a greenish iridescent dress that looked dangerously like the chitinous exoskeleton in her bugform

Well, at the sight of her I couldn't think of anything other than ‘dung beetle’! Wow, but to everyone their own tastes, and I gave her a gracious incline of my head and when she recognized me, her eyes went very large, she stiffened visibly. We've got to work on our acting skills a little bit, Rita, I thought to myself, noting that if I had a suitable opportunity, I would be teasing her with it. And there, on the right, Minister Fudge personally greeted his guests with his wife at his side and an overbearing and pompous demeanor as usual. Fudge, a dumpy man with grey hair, today wore a tuxedo and a grey cloak over it, appropriate for the occasion. His wife... we'd better leave that. She looked like a Christmas tree, wearing a glittering red dress and too many diamonds, but as I had said, we'd better leave it at that, I would risk getting blind if I looked at her any longer.

"Viktor Krum, how delightful that you were able to accept my invitation. I'm very pleased to welcome an internationally known and famous athlete! And your enchanting escort is... uh, Miss Granger!" He had called out less than gallantly when he caught sight of me. We had seen each other a couple of time up close at the tournament, but never talked, but he recognized me.

"Pleased to see you, Minister," I said politely, bowing my head in front of him.

"Is Mr Potter here, too?" he asked curiously, looking past me.

"I'm sorry, Minister. No, I don't think Harry got an invitation. Viktor was kind enough to choose me as his companion!" In pointed out curtly and moved the corners of my mouth into a restrained smile. I could see a head of the typical Weasley-red hair behind the Minister, and thus Percy Weasley, who whispered the names of the incoming guests in case Fudge didn't know them. Percy still displayed an extremely pompous behaviour and looked at me disapprovingly through his thick horn-rimmed glasses.

"In that case: Welcome and enjoy the party!" Fudge said jovially and gesturing with his hands. We said goodbye and I linked my arm with Viktor’s again and walked with him down the stairs into the hall below. Just then, I caught sight of the Malfoy family, which were standing out from the festive crowd with their unique, white-blonde hair, attracting attention with their appearance, which was very imposing just from the way the three stood, as if the world belonged to them and lay at their feet. It was probably necessary to practice this blase appearance in order to do it so convincing that it didn't look ridiculous, so that people actually would believe them that they were of a better class than any other earthlings and almost wanted to go down on their knees in front of them.

The head of the Malfoy family stood aloof in a royal stance, looking like he had just stepped out a painting in his perfectly tailored tuxedo. He wore a deep blue velvet cloak on top of it bearing the crest of the Malfoy family. It was made of elaborate silver embroidery, depicting a large ornate ‘M’, which was entwined by fine, floral patterns. He held himself very straight, he had loosely gathered his long, silky hair that flowed over his shoulders into a ponytail bound with a dark blue velvet ribbon. His face was beautiful, as was Draco's. In this regard, the Malfoys were blessed, one couldn’t question their good looks. Father and son looked remarkably similar when they were standing side by side.

They were nearly equal in size and stature, both seemed to be in good shape and you could see that they knew it, too. Lucius Malfoy had an aristocratic, distinctive profile, a perfect face, and smooth skin, distinguished by its noble pallor, and his eyes, which were of a darker grey than Draco's, looked around with an expression of contempt and boredom. The way he held his walking stick confidently, which, as Harry had told us, contained his wand, an impressive, detail-loving piece. The ebony cane was topped by a silver serpent head with emerald eyes and an aggressively opened mouth.

All in all, he offered a sight for the gods, if only his no less impressive son wouldn't stand beside him, whose hair was shorter but caressed his face. He wore exactly the same exquisite robes as his father, and his velvet cloak wore the same crest. I had to chuckle about this partner look. And then not to forget Narcissa, slim, tall and blonde with expressive, cold blue eyes, she was a beautiful woman. Though she didn't have the same pure white-blonde shade her men had, she possessed beautiful shoulder-length, shiny blonde hair that she wore open. She only wore two white gold combs in her hair shaped like snakes and studded with sapphires, to keep it out of her pretty face.

Her face was in no way inferior to her husband's. Smiling didn’t seem to come naturally to her and she looked at what was happening in the hall with a disgusted, arrogant expression. Her well-formed body was dressed in a tight, long, white silk dress with silver accents on the half-length sleeves and the décolleté, which had a submarine cut and left part of her shoulders bare. For such a flowing dress you couldn't have a gram too much on the hips. The choice of color gave her something almost ethereal as graceful as it appeared. As accessories she wore a white gold necklace with large sapphires and her rings and bracelets picked up the theme again. She made an impression and showcasted that openly, too. They were a truly impressive trio. The proud man, in whom one could see his long line of ancestors, and his wife didn't let anyone forget that. This man here was the right hand of the Dark Lord, surrounded not only by the smell of money and influence, but also by the breath of danger.

"Come along, I'd like to greet Draco. I've always got on well with him at Hogwarts," Viktor said, ignorant that he was in danger of running into a knife he couldn't see coming. However, he didn't give me a chance to speak and pulled me toward the Malfoy family. Hence it came as no surprise that they quickly became aware of us, the couple approaching them. Huh, wasn’t that going marvellously once again? I could see Draco's eyes narrow in suppressed rage, a storm brewing inside them as recognition flashed in their depths. Otherwise the super cold mask was perfect. Mr Malfoy looked at us expectantly, as he had recognized me as well, even though I had thought to notice a short flicker of emotion in his grey eyes, and his wife looked at us as if we were cockroaches, which in her eyes we actually were.

"Mr Malfoy, I'm Viktor Krum. I just wanted to wish your son a nice evening, as we had always gotten along well at Hogwarts," Viktor said politely, performing a pureblood-greeting and bowing slightly to Malfoy, which seemed to please him as he raised the left corner of his mouth and nodded slightly.

"Pleased, Mr Krum. May I introduce you to my wife, Mrs Malfoy, before you turn to my son?" Viktor took the offered hand of Narcissa and kissed the air above her hand, not touching her skin.

"And your companion, Mr Krum...?" Draco’s father asked with a raised eyebrow although he had long before identified me as The Mudblood.

"Of course, Mr Malfoy. May I introduce you to Hermione Granger?" Viktor gestured in my direction in an introductory way.

"Miss Granger, finally I meet you face to face!" I could hear Lucius deep, pleasant sounding voice that still contained coldness, while also revealing a trace of interest that showed briefly in his grey eyes, too. I sank into a deep curtsy, following the Pureblood-rules that Draco put so much emphasis on, and that I had learned from his books, holding my upper body straight as though I'd swallowed a broomstick and slightly bowed my head, which he observed with something probably close to astonishment. I felt a bit idiotic performing this submissive, old-fashioned gesture, but I think I didn't do anything incorrectly. I could see how a hand suddenly reached for mine. He had leaned down to me, as I was supposed to remain in the pose until I was greeted. Yes, I had learned everything from Draco’s dusty tomes. And you could be sure, I never forgot and excelled in implementing the things I had learned.

I could imagine that many would wonder where I had gained the knowledge about this ancient greeting between Purebloods, because this was the correct, perfect conduct in the nowadays not-too common version and I had learned it from books borrowed from the Malfoy library. In contrast, the books from the Blacks’ library said that a quick curtsy was enough. And let's be honest, which young girl who hadn't grown up in those circles would know such rules of behaviour and especially me, a Mudblood despised by this snobbery society. Or could you imagine Lav or Pav doing something like that? No? Good! Me neither.

So he took my hand, pulling me out of my submissive position with a fluent motion, and raised it to his mouth and breathed a flawless kiss onto the back of my hand. I looked deeply into his stormy grey eyes, which were locked onto me. It felt like all the noises were fading into the background in this moment when we stared at each other. He still had my hand in his and held it in front of his chest.

His keen gaze made me aware that this man was a master of manipulation. He tried to stare as deeply as possible into my eyes in an attempt to unsettle me, to make me nervous. But please, not with me, I returned the look without batting an eyelid. I also knew how to play the game ’who flinches first’! I... it didn’t feel unpleasant to touch his skin, to know my hand in his and it seemed like he didn’t care either. Since he hadn’t released my hand yet, but he continued to look at me, focusing on me and my face. I didn't know what was going on here, why Lucius Malfoy was so interested in me. Suddenly I heard a less than gallant and ladylike snort followed by the rustling sound of heavy rustling silk moving away. Narcissa had left, freeing us from our trance. Resolutely, I withdrew my hand from him and he released it. I shook my head slightly and looked at Draco, who was talking with Viktor though never took his eyes off me or his father.

"Draco, I think I don't need to introduce you to Hermione, do I?" Viktor said, turning his head to me, enabling Draco to briefly let his mask fall to glare at me when his father followed his wife into the fray and thus making our exchange pass unnoticed. I widened my eyes and shrugged apologetically while smiling at Viktor.

"No, Viktor! There is really no need for that, I know Granger and if I may, I'll kidnap her for a short dance!" Draco’s declaration came coldly and he didn't wait for an answer from the speechless Viktor before he grabbed my hand extremely gently to lead me to the dance floor. There he skillfully whirled me around to face him and took over the lead of the slow waltz which was playing. Draco was a fantastic dancer who performed every move with great grace. Fortunately, I was able to keep up quite well by surrendering to his excellent lead.

"Draco, you're out of your mind, I'm a Mudblood! What will your father and everyone else think?" I whispered, exasperated, safely cradled in his arms and would've loved to give myself to this feeling, however, unfortunately, it was impossible under these particular circumstances.

"Let this be my concern, Mudblood! What are you doing here? Especially with Viktor Krum?" he hissed very quietly and very angrily, but kept an indifferent expression on his face.

"Don't be upset, Draco! Viktor asked me to accompany him weeks ago and I agreed. But not because I wanted to see him, if that's what upsets you. I've planned to do something different and Viktor's invitation was convenient. Otherwise I would've asked the beetle to get me an invitation. This way was just better, easier. I planned to tell you this on the train, but something came in between..." I said softly while keeping an expression of indifference. Actually, we were putting on a great show here, in which none of us moved a muscle in his or her face.

"Really, you are no longer interested in the international Star Seeker... Viktor Krum? And where have you been anyways? I was looking for you," he shot the questions at me and growled slightly when he said Viktor’s name. I loved non-jealous Malfoys, they were quite amusing in their not-being-jealous state.

"Yes, Draco, really. I'm not into Viktor and I don't even think about him for the time being, and even if... I would gladly decline! I had to leave Hogwarts at night with Harry and the Weasleys. I'll tell you when we're in the cottage." I didn't want to tell him anything about Sirius now, he'd just freak out, considering that Viktor already seemed to strain his nerves. How would he react to the revelation that I had been back at the Blacks’ townhouse of Black? Not well at all, I was sure of that.

"Don't forget it. It's incredible from what kind of situations I always end up rescuing you. But what was that with father? Lucius is dangerous, stay away from him! His greeting to you was... surprising. Mother didn't just walk away without reason, be careful, don't provoke him too much," he said urgently, warning me. He looked down at me and over my appearance appraisingly.

"Why? I only followed the rules of your book?" I asked slightly perplexed. I hadn't done anything wrong.

"It's good that you memorized the book, but you seem to have impressed father and that's not good, if you arouse his interest! He's not who he is because of nothing!" he whispered urgently. "Why have you dressed yourself so seductively? The whole room is focused on you because of your look and all the men would love to have their way with you, sooner rather than later!" he said slightly upset.

"Seriously, Draco, the dress doesn't look that great. You're exaggerating, here are many beautiful women!" I emphasized. I looked great, but not that amazing. "Coming back to something else, is it as dangerous as arousing your interest? I mean, you're certainly not jealous, just because I'm accompanying Viktor! But I promise you I will try to avoid your father!" I offered indifferently as I could spot the truth behind his words, Lucius Malfoy was not to be trifled with.

"Really, even father's eyes almost popped out when he saw you and let me tell you, he's picky! He's a Malfoy. And that's right, at last you got it, Mudblood. I'm never jealous, I just don't tolerate this... Krum by your side, no, absolutely not! And the way he proudly strutted around with you on his arm because he knows how amazing you look and complement him! Stay away from father and the Bulgarian too!" he demanded sternly. Unfortunately, in that moment the dance ended and he escorted me back to his father and Viktor, who were talking about Quidditch.

"And Draco, how did you like to dance with a Mu... with Miss Granger?" Lucius inquired arrogantly, obviously having severe difficulties not calling me Mudblood, which made me smile. I know Draco had said I shouldn't provoke him, but it was just too funny. A Malfoy who bit back an insult!

"Yes, thank you, father, it was fun! Does anyone want something to drink?" He asked politely, the two men nodded, I shook my head and turned to the illustrious group. I, a Muggleborn, between Purebloods and we were all so polite to each other that it could make someone puke.

"If you'll excuse me? I would need to retreat for a short time," I gave Viktor an apologetic smile and explained that I wanted to freshen up, and quickly dived into the crowd. I left the crowded hall, the fun, festive activity behind me and immediately a serious expression appeared on my face. I had to focus on my task from now.

I had to be determined, quick and focused, so no one would notice that I had disappeared.

My target was far below, here in the Ministry of Magic, and I had to get there. It was on the ninth floor and named Dumbledore!
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