Chapter Twenty-Four: The Yule Ball
Christmas Day arrived with a cloudy, but also sunny sky, and the Hogwarts grounds covered in a beautiful glittery blanket of freshly fallen snow. Analie and Ahsoka woke up early, as was their usual routine, not even realizing that today was going to be different. They were surprised, however, when once they opened the curtains to their respective beds, they found at the end of each person's bed, including their own, was a small pile of wrapped presents! Another difference, was that, other than Hermione, who usually got up early like themselves, their other Dorm mates, Lavender and Parvarti, were also waking up and moving to the pile of gifts at the end of their beds.
When they saw the two female Padawans staring at them in confusion, the two girls smiled and said happily, "Happy Christmas!" Analie and Ahsoka nodded back to them, not sure if they were supposed to respond in kind. Just then, Hermione came out from the restroom, having taken an early shower, and when she saw her two friends standing and staring in confusion, she gave them both a look of understanding, and walking over to them, she whispered, "I take it from your lost looks, that you don't normally celebrate Christmas?" Both Padawan's shook their heads, showing that no, they have never celebrated before.
So, for the rest of the morning, Hermione quietly explained to the Padawans the tradition of Christmas. When she was finished quickly explaining, both girl's eyes were wide with amazement, but also deep guilt. Ahsoka then hung her head down and said sadly, "Great, now everyone will be mad at us because we did not get them anything, having not known about this holiday tradition." Hermione then gave them a sly smirk and replied,"Oh, don't worry. I figured none of you knew about it, being that your all from 'out of town.' So I went and planned a little thing with Master Kenobi for you guys."
Analie and Ahsoka gave her questioning looks, but she simply pointed over to where Lavender and Parvarti were engrossed in opening their presents. As they watched, both girls reached for two gifts that looked similarly wrapped. When they were opened, it revealed a round shaped christmas decorated gift box. When it was opened, it revealed a bunch of sweets that had Analie and Ahsoka's eyes widening in shock. The packages contained what looked like sweets that the girls would have back home!
There was tepasi taffy, trammistan chocolate squares, and, not surprising, small Naboo cakes. There was apparently a little note attached to the lid of the box, because both girls smiled and looked up to Analie and Ahsoka. Smile growing to a grin, Parvarti said happily, "Thank you so much Analie and Ahsoka! These look delicious!" Lavender nodded in agreement and said, "I can't wait to try them!" Speechless, all the two Padawans could do was nod and reply, "Your welcome…" Then their surprised gaze turning to a still smirking Hermione, Analie asked, "How?…"
Shrugging and walking over to her bed, Hermione quietly replied, "Well, once I explained the situation to Master Kenobi, he understood and decided that the best thing to do in the short time available, was to make up some treats for everyone to enjoy. Thankfully, he had befriended the once distraught House Elf, Winky, and she, with his gentle instructions, made up those treats from your guy's home to give as gifts." Then gesturing to all of their piles she grinned and asked, "Are the two of you going to stand there and gawk all day at me? Or are you going to see what everyone else gave you?"
So the rest of the early morning was spent opening gifts. Hermione gave both girls a set of three books about the planet earth. One about all the different cultures of the world, one about Earth's nature and all the different ecosystems, and the other about all the different animal species that had been discovered so far, non-magical and magical alike. From Lavender and Parvarti they were given a beginners kit to makeup and a book about how to try styling their hair into different styles. They also received a few other small gifts from the other friends they had made like Ginny, Angelia, Alicia, Katie, Dean, Seamus and Neville. And from Ron they received a peace offering gift to try and mend their broken trust in him.
All the girls smirked at Ron's attempt at the gift and Analie asked aloud, "He does realize it is going to take more than a book about learning the basics of Quidditch, to get us to forgive him right?" All the girls laughed at that.
To the Padawans surprise, they both received a customary handmade sweater from Mrs. Weasley, Analie's being a nice purple color with a white A, and Ahsoka's sweater was made with a pretty Turquoise color also with a stylized white A. Looking to Hermione for an explanation, Hermione chuckled and explained that the Twins, Ron and Ginny, had all written home about the two of them so often in these past few months, that the Weasley Matriarch felt obligated to gift them with a sweater.
Then the gifts started to get a little more personal. Both female Padawans received a box of Honeydukes sweets from the Weasley Twins, but Ahsoka's box was different from Analie's because when she opened it, there was an outer section that she could tell came from Fred, and then there was another box, that, when opened, revealed all of her favorite candies that she liked from the sweet shop, and a small note that read, 'Happy Christmas Ahsoka, Looking forward to having lots of fun tonight! - From George' Ahsoka smiled at the nice gesture, but frowned on how he seemed to know her so well.
It did not help, that the next gift that she opened, had no name on it. It was in a rectangle shaped box, wrapped in a green ribbon. Inside the box, was a beautifully crafted turquoise opal necklace on a silver chain. In the lid of the box there was a small note that read, 'I'm sorry' Ahsoka closed her eyes and sighed in frustration, knowing instantly who the necklace was from, a certain Slytherin Prince.
Analie had it a little easier than her friend. She only had one really personal gift. Her Father surprised her, by giving her a gift of a warming crystal and explained in the note that came with it, that the crystal used to belong to her mother and he thought that she would like to have it to honor her mother's memory. She also had a gift from Harry, but she did not really consider it personal. His gift to her was a book of stories; Fairy Tales, myths, and folklores all from both the non-magical and magical worlds. His note in the gift said that he thought that she would like something quiet to entertain herself when she was not busy training.
After opening all of their gifts, the girls got dressed and went down to the Common Room to meet up with the boys. Once they met up with Ron and Harry, they all headed down to breakfast in the Great Hall.
After breakfast, all the Padawans parted from their friends to head to training, while the wizards went back to Gryffindor Tower to relax and enjoy their christmas gifts. At midday, everyone met up once again in the Great Hall for a magnificent lunch, which included at least a hundred turkey's and christmas puddings.
After lunch, everyone, the Jedi Padawans included, went outside to enjoy the nice snow that lay mostly untouched on the grounds. All the boys started up a snowball fight for fun, and all the girls simply sat and watched and laughed at the antics the boys were causing.
At five o'clock, all the girls got up and bid the boys farewell, explaining that they were headed inside to get ready for the Ball. Some of the boys, Ron and Garen among them, stopped and stared incredulously at the girls, "What you need three hours to get ready?" Ron asked, but was rewarded for his lapse in concentration by a large snowball hitting him in the side of the head, thrown by his brother George.
At Seven o'clock, the boys began to tire and get cold from their snowball fight, so they all trooped inside and headed up to their dorms to get ready for the upcoming Ball as well. No one realizing that this Ball would be a lot more memorable then they first thought.
Count Dooku stood on the Bridge of his Cruiser, observing the interesting looking planet. The only thing remotely remarkable looking about the planet from space that the Count could see, was that the planet had several different ecosystems instead of one main ecosystem that usually encompassed most planets in the Galaxy. Stroking his beard in thought, Dooku thought out loud, "A shame that this planet has no use for us, being to far out in this Force forsaken Outer Rim."
Suddenly a droid approached the Count and announced, "Incoming message for you sir." Dooku nodded his head in acknowledgement and turned on his heel to head to the message room. Once he reached the room, he activated the message, then immediately knelt, as a mysterious cloaked figure appeared in holographic form.
"Have you arrived at the Planet yet, my Apprentice?" The cloaked figure asked, though his voice already hinted that he knew the answer already. Keeping his head bowed, Count Dooku replied in his deep voice, "Yes, my Master. We are about to head to the surface."
The cloaked figure nodded at this answer, then said, "Good. Send only a small ship. I want this to be as quick and discreet as can be. Also, my Apprentice, Skywalker is on his way as well. It would be in your best interests to dispose of the Jedi as fast as you can before that boy arrives."
"Yes, Master," Dooku responded. With that, the mysterious figure ended the conversation, and Count Dooku once more stood tall and proud. Walking forward to the console, he punched in another code, and a moment later an image of his Apprentice, Ventress, appeared.
Once he saw her, he demanded sharply, "Report Ventress." Ventress nodded her head and replied, "Everything is going smoothly my Master. None of them suspect a thing as they all prepare for their little party." Dooku nodded his head at Ventress's words, then asked with a sneer, "And what of our… Associate?"
Ventress grimaced, her lip curling in distaste as well as she answered, "He has agreed that if this first assault fails, then he and his loyal servant will help us with the back up plan, as long as we do not interfere in his plan." Count Dooku nodded at this answer, thinking that this first plan was not going to fail, then stated, "Be ready, I am bringing a small force with me. We will land at the coordinates that you provided me. Once we land, we will move out. And Ventress; don't fail me this time."
With that, Count Dooku ended the transmission and turned on his heel to head to the docking bay. As he walked, he gave a smirk as he said, "It is time, Obi-wan Kenobi. For you and your fellow Jedi to meet their end."
Completely oblivious to the danger looming on the horizon, the girls of Gryffindor were happily getting ready for the Ball in an excited frenzy. While the boys, on the other hand, were becoming self-conscious and anxious.
Poor Ron was horrified with his dress robes, which looked like an old woman's maroon, lacy, dress. In a desperate attempt to make it look more manly, Ron used a Severing Charm on the ruff and cuffs. Which worked fairly well, helping his dress robes be more lace-free, although he hadn't done a very neat job, and the edges still looked depressingly frayed.
Grumbling, he kept glaring at himself in the floor length mirror, finally causing Dean to roll his eyes and state, "Mate I don't see why you are complaining. You are taking one of the prettiest girls in our Year to the Ball, which is still hard to believe by the way."
For Ron's date for the Ball was Parvarti Patil, and she and her twin sister in Ravenclaw were indeed two of the prettiest Fourth Year girls in their Year. Finally turning away from his reflection, Ron gloomily replied, "Animal Magnetism," Causing the other boys in the room, Neville, Seamus, Garen, and Harry, to snicker at the red head's response.
The other boys all wore simple black dress robes with slight accented colors to them. Harry's had a slight emerald accent to the black, Neville had a nice scarlet, Dean's had a dark indigo purple, and Seamus's had a nice dark blue. The only one not in dress robes, was Garen. He instead wore his most formal Jedi attire, which really did not change much from what he normally wore. The only differences was that his long-sleeved under shirt, was a nice dark brown. His over tunic was a crisp, clean cream color, and his dark brown, thigh high boots were nice and polished. His black hair was trimmed to a clean short cut, the only exception being his Padawan braid, which hung on the right side of his face. Over his clothes, he had on a dark brown, almost black, hooded robe.
Looking over at Garen, Seamus frowned and asked, "Not to make this seem like an odd question Mate, but, uh, why are you not wearing dress robes?" Garen smiled and replied, "Technically this is my dress robe. It's my formal Academy attire worn for special occasions." Seamus simply shrugged at that and let the matter pass.
With that, the boys left the dormitory to head down to the Common Room. As Harry walked beside Garen, he suddenly noticed out of his peripheral vision, a flash of silver. Subtly glancing down, he noticed the tip of Garen's lightsaber peeking out of the interior of Garen's robe as he moved his arm in a swinging motion. Curious, Harry lightly tapped his friend on the shoulder to get his attention. When he had Garen's attention, Harry leaned over and asked the black haired boy in a whisper, "Um, why do you have your light sword with you? It's only a dance."
Garen's hazel eyes widened and glanced down quickly to check his utility belt. Seeing, indeed, that his lightsaber was peeking out, Garen adjusted his robe and it then looked like he had nothing on him. Looking back up at Harry's questioning look, Garen whispered back, "For one, it's called a Lightsaber. Two, you can never be to careful." Harry was still confused with that answer, but decided to leave the matter alone for now, since they had arrived in the Common Room.
Dean, Seamus, and Neville quickly left their group to go and find their dates for the Ball, while Ron, Harry and Garen stood at the bottom of the steps and looked around awkwardly. Pretty soon Parvarti joined them. She wore a pretty pink dress, with her hair plaited in a nice side braid with gold accents, and she wore golden bracelets on both her wrists and ankles.
Once she reached the group of boys, her eyes widened slightly at the sight of Ron's robes, but instead of making a comment about them, she instead said, "Hello boys." Harry and Garen both gave her a polite nod and greeted her back, while Ron gave a glum "Hi" in return and went back to fidgeting with the frayed hem of his maroon robe sleeve. Ignoring Ron, Harry turned back to Parvarti and asked, "Have you seen Analie and the others?" Sparing her partner one more glance, Parvarti turned to Harry and replied, "Naomi said that they were just finishing up a few things and that she and Analie would meet you and Garen down in the Entrance Hall."
Harry and Garen nodded at that. As the two proceeded to leave the Common Room, they overheard Ron asking his date, "Have you seen Hermione?" And all they heard Parvarti say back was, "Don't know, shall we head down then?" Right before Harry could step out of the Common Room, he suddenly heard a familiar voice call out his name. Turning back to look, he saw one of the Weasley Twins approaching him. Noticing the other Twin was with Angelina, he guessed that George was the one to call out to him. Once George reached Harry he asked, "Have you seen Ahsoka?" Shrugging, Harry replied, "Well Garen and I were told by Parvarti that Analie and Naomi were going to meet us in the Entrance Hall. So maybe she will be with them there?" George nodded his head at that and then asked, "Mind if I join the two of you? Freddie's a little occupied at the moment."
Harry looked over his shoulder to Garen, who was waiting a few steps away. At Harry's questioning look, Garen simply shrugged his shoulders in reply, indicating that he did not mind. With that the three males made their way down to the Entrance Hall. The Entrance Hall was packed with students all milling around waiting for eight o'clock, when the doors to the Great Hall would be thrown open. Those people who were meeting partners from different Houses, were edging through the crowd trying to find one another.
Looking around at all the people, George let out a low whistle and said to Harry, "Quite the turn out for this thing isn't it?" Harry nodded his head, but was to distracted to reply as he kept glancing around to try and spot Analie.
As he was glancing around, he noticed a group of Slytherins coming up the steps from their dungeon Common Room. Malfoy was leading in the front; he was wearing dress robes of black velvet with a high collar, which in Harry's opinion made him look like a vicar. What piqued his interest however, was though he had Pansy next to him in a frilly pale pink dress, she was not clinging on to him like she would normally do and both seemed to be irritated with each other. Behind them came Crabbe and Goyle, wearing green colored robes that made them both look like moss-colored boulders, and neither of them, Harry was pleased to see, had managed to find a partner.
Suddenly, Harry's attention was diverted from observing the Slytherin's to the person tapping his shoulder to get his attention. Turning, Harry blinked in surprise to find Viktor Krum standing next to him. "Harry, have you seen Her-mi-onee?" The Bulgarian Seeker asked him with, for once, a friendly small smile on his face. Surprised, Harry was about to answer no, when the crowd suddenly gasped in awe, capturing both Seekers attention. Looking to where the crowd was staring, Harry, Viktor, George, and Garen's mouths dropped open in complete awe.
Standing in a perfect line, at the top of the last set of stairs leading down to the Entrance Hall, were four of the most beautiful girls anyone had ever seen! The first in the line was Hermione, but Harry could hardly believe it. She had done something with her hair; it was no longer bushy but sleek and shiny, and twisted up into an elegant knot at the back of her head. She was wearing a dress made of a floaty, periwinkle-blue material, and she was holding herself differently, somehow — or maybe it was merely the absence of the twenty or so books she usually was seen carrying around.
Second in the line was Ahsoka. Her hair was crafted into two elegant side ponytails, with her Padawan braid dangling proudly in the front. She wore an interesting turquoise colored dress that matched her large eyes, there were two parts to it. The first was the top part of the dress, a quarter sleeved top with a transparent, floaty like material that clasped at her neck with a simple dark color jeweled pin. The top stopped just above her stomach, leaving her toned abdomen exposed. Then the bottom part of her dress, was a long, flowing, wrapped style skirt that stopped just above her ankles.
Third was Naomi. She had her long, dark brown hair pulled and twisted into an elegant looking braided bun, also with her Padawan braid dangling proudly on the side of her face. Her dress was similar to Ahsoka's, except the sleeves of her top were long sleeves, and she had a sash wrapped around her to cover her exposed abdomen. Her dress was a mix of colors of a pretty burnt orange, gold, and hints of red.
The last person in the line was Analie. When Harry laid his eyes on her, it felt like his heart literally skipped a beat, and he forgot how to breathe for a moment. To him, Analie was breath-taking. Unlike the others, who all had their hair up in someway, Analie kept her hair down and flowing past her shoulders in elegant waves. The only part she had styled, was she pulled the front of her hair back into two small side braids that were tied with a simple ribbon behind her head, matching nicely with her Padawan braid. Her dress followed the same design as Ahsoka and Naomi's, but she instead had short sleeves and had her shoulders covered by a pretty, slightly transparent, shimmering shawl. Her dress was a nice royal purple color with undertones of blue that highlighted her twinkling blue eyes.
As if in a trance, the four boys moved together to the bottom of the stairs as the girls descended. When they reached the second to last steps, the boys all extended their hands out to the girls, who all sported small, nervous smiles. Once they took hold of their partners hands, the group broke up. George, Ahsoka, Naomi and Garen left to mingle with the crowd, while Viktor and Harry led their partners over to where they could hear Professor McGonagall calling, "Champions over here please!"
Once they reached Professor McGonagall, who was wearing dress robes of red tartan, and had an interesting christmas wreath decorating the brim of her ever present witch's hat, she instructed them all, to wait to the side of the entrance to the Great Hall, and were then to wait and process in once everyone else had entered and sat down.
As they waited for the doors to open, Harry once again glanced at Analie. Noticing, Analie gave him a small, nervous smile and asked, "What?" Averting his gaze and blushing slightly, Harry mumbled, "Nothing, it's just that you look… very pretty…" Now it was Analie's turn to blush slightly. Looking down at her feet, she replied shyly, "Thank you Harry."
Their small moment was interrupted however, when a familiar voice cleared their throat causing both fourteen year olds to look up and see Analie's father, Obi-wan Kenobi watching the two with amusement dancing in his blue eyes. Harry's face paled slightly, thinking he was in trouble, while Analie stared at her father and asked, "Do you need something?"
Obi-wan simply chuckled and said in reply, "I simply came to say Happy Christmas to both of you and I hope that you both have fun tonight." Harry's face broke out into a relieved smile as he replied, "Yes sir, Happy Christmas to you as well." Obi-wan nodded at Harry's response, then looking to Harry he asked, "Would you mind if I borrowed my daughter for a moment Harry?" Slightly confused, but not wanting to get the Jedi Master angry, Harry nodded and looking to Analie he told her, "I'll be over talking with Hermione and Krum."
Analie nodded and watched as Harry walked away towards their friends. Then turning to her Father, she crossed her arms and frowning she asked, "Was that really necessary Dad?" Giving her an overly innocent look, Obi-wan replied, "What ever do you mean? Can I not converse with my own daughter?" Rolling her eyes at his response, she decided to ask instead, "What did you want to talk about?"
Face going more serious, Obi-wan looked at his daughter then glanced to where he could see Ahsoka and Naomi and asked, "Where are your lightsabers? Master Gallia and I specifically said to keep them on you at all times." Analie nodded her head and replied, "There on us, don't worry. We have casted a 'Notice-me-not' spell on our Utility belts, so that no one is wondering why we have such strange equipment with us. Can't exactly hide a lightsaber with this outfit." With that she used her hands to gesture down at herself, making Obi-wan chuckle and reply, "I see your point." Then giving her a smile he continued to say, "Well I will say that you look very lovely tonight and I hope that you enjoy yourself." Returning his smile with a slight blush of pride, Analie grinned and said, "Thanks Dad."
With that, she went to go join Harry, and Obi-wan walked away to find Master Adi Gallia. When Analie found Harry again, he was surprisingly talking with Viktor Krum about Quidditch related things, while Hermione stood beaming happily next to the two. The other Champions and their dates also stood nearby with Cedric listening to Harry and Viktor's conversation with interest, his partner Cho Chang, stood next to him looking a little bored. Fleur and her partner, Roger Davies the Ravenclaw Quidditch captain, stood the closest to the doors of the Great Hall, both off in their own little world.
When Hermione spotted Analie approaching them, she waved her over and asked, "There you are! Where did you go off to?" Analie simply shrugged her shoulders and replied, "My Dad wanted to talk to me before the Ball started." The others nodded in understanding at that and soon began a small conversation about little things.
Pretty soon the Great Hall doors opened and everyone else began entering the Hall. Analie couldn't help but smirk in amusement as she watched people's reactions to her and Hermione. Pansy Parkinson from Slytherin, was openly gawking at the two of them as she walked past, as if she could not believe her eyes. Draco Malfoy, surprisingly, did not throw one of his usual insults; and instead surprised both the girls and even Harry, when he nodded his head slightly at the three of them in a sign of greeting and respect. Ron, as Analie suspected he would, walked right past both Hermione and Harry without looking at them.
Once everyone was settled in the Hall, Professor McGonagall told the Champions and their partners to get in line in pairs and to follow her. They did so, and everyone in the Great Hall applauded as they entered and started walking up toward a large round table at the top of the Hall, where the judges were sitting.
The walls of the Hall had all been covered in sparkling silver frost, with hundreds of garlands of mistletoe and ivy crossing the starry black ceiling. The House tables had vanished; instead there were about a hundred smaller, lantern-lit ones, each seating about a dozen people. Harry concentrated on not tripping over his feet, making Analie smile in empathy. Gently, she gave his arm, that she was holding, a gentle squeeze making him look up at her. She gave Harry a small smile and silently mouthed, "Take a deep breath." Nodding nervously at her advice, Harry briefly closed his eyes, and took a deep breath, surprisingly feeling a lot better after doing that. As they continued to follow the other Champions and their partners, Harry gave Analie's arm a squeeze back in return, to show his gratitude for her helping him.
As they continued to walk down the Hall, Harry caught sight of Ron and Parvarti as they neared the top table. Ron was watching Hermione pass with narrowed eyes, while Parvarti was looking sulky as she looked wistfully at her sister who was happily chatting with her Durmstrang partner. Dumbledore smiled happily as the champions approached the top table, but Karkaroff wore an expression remarkably like Ron's as he watched Viktor Krum and Hermione draw nearer. Ludo Bagman, tonight in robes of bright purple with large yellow stars, was clapping as enthusiastically as any of the students. Madam Maxine, who had changed her usual uniform of black satin for a flowing gown of lavender silk, was applauding them politely. And Master Adi Gallia was there as well.
To Analie's shock, the female Jedi Master was also wearing dress robes! Master Gallia wore a simple quarter-sleeved dark cream, silk colored dress. Her Utility belt was wrapped around her waist expertly blending with the dress's color and design. The last Judge, Mr. Crouch, to both Harry and Analie's surprise, was not there. Instead the seat that should have been Mr. Crouch's, was occupied by Ron's older brother, Percy Weasley.
When the Champions and their partners reached the table, Percy drew out the empty chair beside him and gave Harry a pointed look. Taking the hint, Harry looked to Analie and indicated the two chairs beside the elder Weasley. Analie simply shrugged her shoulders and let Harry guide her over. Once they sat down, Percy immediately pulled Harry into a conversation, much to Analie's amusement and Harry's exasperation. While Harry was trying to get out of talking with Percy, Analie looked around the table and saw that Viktor had sat himself and Hermione down across the table from where she and Harry were sitting, next to Professor Karkaroff. Beside them, sat Rodger Davies and Fleur Delacour, and surprisingly, next to Analie, Cedric and Cho sat themselves.
There was no food yet on the glittering golden plates set in front of everyone. Instead, small menus were lying in front of each of them. Harry and Analie shared a confused look while slowly picking up their menus. Taking a quick glance around — there were no waiters. Professor Dumbledore, however, looked carefully down at his own menu, then said very clearly to his plate, "Pork chops!" And pork chops appeared. Getting the idea, the rest of the table placed their orders with their plates too. As Analie ate quietly, she couldn't help but to listen to the conversations going on around her.
Viktor Krum was enthusiastically telling Hermione all about what Durmstrang was like, much to Professor Karkaroff's annoyance it seemed. Fleur was once again letting her snobby side show, and was criticizing the Hogwarts decorations to Roger Davies. Roger, to Analie's amusement, seemed to be to busy just staring at Fleur to really take in what she was saying. It was most noticeable in the way he kept constantly missing his mouth with his fork.
Suddenly Analie's attention was caught by Cedric clearing his throat next to her and saying, "Have you been enjoying the evening so far Miss Kenobi?" Turning to look at Cedric, Analie's keen eyes immediately caught the faint blush on Cedric's cheeks, and the way that Cho seemed to be glaring daggers at her. Giving the older boy a calm, neutral look, she replied, "So far the evening has been going well, thank you for asking Mr. Diggory." Deciding to cut the conversation short, before anything bad could come out of it, Analie quickly turned her attention to Master Gallia, who was on the other side of Percy, and asked her, "I did not know that you were going to be wearing a dress as well?"
Master Gallia gave Analie a secretive smile and replied, "I can be allowed to have surprises now and again right?" returning the smile, Analie chuckled and said, "I guess you are right." Out of the corner of her eye, Analie could see that Cedric seemed to be annoyed by her brush off, while Cho was giving her a look of surprise, but also slight gratitude. When all the food had been consumed, Dumbledore stood up and asked the students to do the same. Then with a wave of his wand, all the tables zoomed back along the walls leaving the floor clear, and then he conjured a raised platform into existence along the right wall.
A set of drums, several guitars, a lute, a cello, and some bagpipes were set upon it. Suddenly a group of people emerged from the crowd and trooped up onto the stage to wildly enthusiastic applause. In Analie's opinion, they did not look like much. They were all extremely hairy and dressed in black robes that had been artfully ripped and torn. As the last of the odd group got onto the stage, Analie leaned closer to Harry and asked in a whisper, "Who are they?" Giving Analie a slight look of surprise, Harry answered back just as quietly, "You don't know?" His face then immediately morphed into a sheepish expression, when Analie proceeded to give him a deadpan look, "Right, sorry. They are the Weird Sisters. They are a popular music group here in Wizard Britain." Once that sentence left his mouth, Harry's face suddenly got a look of comprehension, as he mouthed silently to himself, "Music…oh no…" and he paled drastically as he realized that the lanterns on all the other tables had gone out, and that the other champions and their partners were standing up and proceeding to the open floor space.
Analie rolled her eyes at Harry's obvious nerves, "Come on scaredy cat." Ignoring her own nerves from long practice, Analie gently, and subtly, guided Harry to his feet and helped guide him towards the dance floor as the Weird Sisters started to play a slow, ballad sounding tune. Trying to rein in his emotions so that no one else in the crowd could see how terrified he was, Harry desperately whispered to Analie, "I don't think I can do this Ana!" Analie froze for a millisecond in surprise, at the sudden nickname that Harry used for her, then mentally shaking herself, she gave Harry a small smirk and replied back quietly as she expertly positioned the two of them on the dance floor, "Don't tell me that the mighty Harry Potter, who can face a fearsome dragon and live to tell the tale, is scared of a little dance?" Analie was pleased to see Harry crack a small smile at the slight teasing jibe. Gaining a little confidence, Harry took up her hand and said back quietly, "Well I guess if you put it that way…" And with that the two began to dance!
As the music flowed over the crowd and the four dancing pairs, it was as if Harry and Analie were the only two in the whole room. Emerald eyes stared deeply into electric gray-blue. Neither of them realized that they were grinning widely, all they knew was that they were having an amazing time. Unknown to the pair, they were being observed.
Professor Dumbledore watched the two with a fond smile on his grandfatherly face, before then leading an also smiling Professor McGonagall onto the dance floor. Ahsoka watched her best friend dance with a small smile on her face. She was happy for Analie. Life had been hard for the young Padawan and Ahsoka knew that Analie deserved this time of happiness. Ron became moodier and moodier as he watched both of his best friends having the time of their lives dancing with their partners. The other person, that did not seem happy about the dancing, was Obi-wan Kenobi.
Standing off to the side, he couldn't help but frown as he watched his daughter dance. Suddenly he sensed a familiar presence stand next to him and glanced to his right to see that Master Gallia had decided to join him. The two remained silent for a while just watching as the dance continued with more and more partners joining the dance floor.
Finally Master Gallia asked, "What do the wizards say? Oh yes, Sickel for your thoughts?" Obi-wan turned again to glance at his colleague, to see that she was still looking out to the dance floor and watching all the couples with a small smile on her face. Following Adi Gallia's gaze, Obi-wan saw her also watching Analie as she and Harry twirled together across the dance floor so gracefully, it looked more like they were flying instead of dancing. Closing his eyes and heaving a deep sigh, Obi-wan murmured, "I just don't want my daughter to have to go through the same hardship that her mother and I had to face."
Hearing Obi-wan's soft-spoken worry, Adi frowned as well. But there was not much else that she could say to ease Obi-wan's worries. So the two Master's simply watched, both hoping that all would turn out well. When the song concluded, Analie and Harry clapped along with everyone else. Then as a new, more upbeat song began to play, Analie turned to Harry with a raised eyebrow and Harry, seeing the look, laughed and said, "All right you win, it was not that bad, surprisingly fun actually." Analie grinned and grabbed Harry's arm to lead him back onto the Dance Floor to dance next to Viktor and Hermione as they all laughed and danced to the upbeat Weird Sister's song of, "Ah Can you dance like a Hippogriff? Na na nah, na na nah, Na na nah! Flying off, from a cliff! Na na nah, na na nah, na na nah!" Soon Ahsoka and George joined the four and they were all grinning and twirling, just having a great time!
When the rock song ended, Hermione, Viktor, Analie and Harry all left Ahsoka and George on the Dance Floor and decided to go take a break. Spying a table full of drinks, Viktor spoke up and said, "I'll go get us some drinks?" Smiling, Harry said, "I'll come help you." The two boys then headed off towards the drinks table, once again in a happy conversation about Quidditch, much to their Partners amusement. Analie and Hermione chuckled at the obvious Quidditch friendship the two Champions had struck up.
As Analie gazed about the room, her eyes soon landed on a certain someone that caused her smile to be replaced by a frown. Tapping Hermione's arm to get her attention, she subtly pointed to a surly looking Ronald Weasley, who was glaring in their direction. His poor partner, Parvarti, was sitting beside him looking completely miserable. Seeing this after Analie pointed it out to her, Hermione rolled her eyes in annoyance and muttered, "Come on, let's see what's got his wand in a knot." Analie nodded and added, "And liberate poor Parvarti."
Walking over, Hermione went straight to Ron, while Analie went over to Parvarti with a look of complete sympathy and said to her, "Parvarti, if I were you, I would just ditch this git. Otherwise your just going to have a miserable night." Parvarti gave Analie a look of gratitude and immediately left the table to go join her sister, who immediately hooked her up with a guy from Durmstrang to dance with.
Nodding in satisfaction, Analie then turned her attention to Ron and Hermione, and frowned as she could literally feel the tension between the two. "What's up with you?" Hermione asked Ron with a frown. Ron, having not even noticed that his partner had ditched him, replied scathingly, "If you don't know, then I'm not going to tell you."
Hermione shared an exasperated look with Analie, who simply shrugged her shoulders. Turning back to Ron, Hermione began to ask, "Ron what…" Analie almost seemed to sense Ron's outburst before it came bursting out of him and took a slight step back as he spat at Hermione, "He's from Durmstrang! He's competing against Harry! Against Hogwarts! You — You're…"
It was obvious that Ron was struggling to find words strong enough to describe Hermione's apparent crime,"Fraternizing with the enemy, that's what you're doing!" Both Hermione and Analie's mouth's fell open at that. Hermione's because she was speechless, and Analie because of the sheer stupidity of Ron's statement.
After a moment, Hermione regained her speech and said after a moment, "Don't be so stupid! The enemy! What, is Analie an enemy now as well, since she is the Impartial Protector? Who was the one who was all excited when they saw him arrive? Who was the one that wanted his autograph?" Ron ignored her and said instead, "I s'pose he asked you to come with him while you were in the library?"
Deciding to speak up on behalf of her friend, Analie inserted herself into the conversation by stating, "Actually, he asked her when all of us girls were down at the Lake studying one day." Ron then turned accusatory eyes onto her, and Analie held his gaze firmly, "And you didn't bother to mention this to Harry and I why?" Narrowing her own eyes at the redheaded imbecile, Analie stated coldly, "Because its none of your Force-forsaken business who Hermione picks to go to the dance with! Just shut up already, and admit that your just jealous that some other guy asked her instead of you." Ron's ears reddened slightly, but whether it was from anger, or embarrassment, it was hard to tell.
Fed up with the redheaded sleemo, who Analie could tell, was just trying to purposefully ruin Hermione's night because of his jealousy, Analie grabbed Hermione's wrist gently, but firmly, and said, "Were leaving Hermione," Then slightly glaring at Ron, she firmly pulled Hermione away before Ron could say anymore hurtful things to her.
Meanwhile, Ahsoka and George had danced to a couple more songs, before also deciding to take a break. Deciding to get some fresh air, the two went out into the Castle courtyard and were amazed to discover that it had been transformed into a wintery wonderland labyrinth! As they walked, they enjoyed talking about small things, slowly getting to know each other.
At one point though, after a prolonged period of silence, George let out a sigh and stated more than asked, "You don't like me do you," Ahsoka's eyes widened and she hurriedly stated,"What are you talking about? Of course I like you!" George gave a humorless chuckle, which was strange to hear coming from him, and explained, "I meant 'like' as in liking me enough to be potential boyfriend material." Ahsoka felt her cheeks blush, even as her heart sank slightly, and she quietly replied, "Oh…"
But George surprised her, by giving her a warm smile and saying, "Its fine with me. I don't want to rush things between us. I would rather us be good friends first, before anything else." Ahsoka easily returned the smile and replied, "Thank you George. Your right, I only see you as a good friend. I can honestly say that I am not ready for a relationship yet, and I'm not sure, at this time, if I will ever be. But hearing you say that means a lot, so again, thank you."
The two continued to wander the beautiful courtyard, currently admiring some beautiful rosebushes with fairy lights spread around decorating them, when suddenly, they heard a very familiar voice. "… don't see what there is to fuss about, Igor."
Ahsoka and George exchanged confused looks and quickly hid themselves out of sight as Professor Snape and Professor Karkaroff could be heard approaching their direction, and it seems that they were having a heated argument. "Severus, you cannot pretend this isn't happening!" Karkaroff's voice sounded anxious and hushed, as though keen not to be overheard. "It's been getting clearer and clearer for months. I am becoming seriously concerned, I can't deny it…"
From where they were hiding, Ahsoka's eyes narrowed in suspicion, even as George's furrowed in confusion as they heard Snape say curtly,"Then flee, I will make your excuses. I however, am remaining at Hogwarts." The two then heard Snape blast a couple of rosebushes and take points away from the few students that he caught.
George and Ahsoka kept as quiet and as still as they could, until they were sure that Snape and Karkaroff had walked away. Once they were sure, they squeezed out of they're hiding spot, and stood in silent contemplation for a moment before turning to each other. Once they did, both erupted into a fit of giggles, as they saw rose bush leaves and petals decorating each other's heads and shoulders.
Once they fixed themselves up, George once again became uncharacteristically serious as he asked, "Do you know what the two Professors were talking about Ahsoka?" Ahsoka frowned as well and looking up to the night sky, she began her reply saying, "I'm not exactly sure what they were arguing about, but I do have a suspicion that they…"
Suddenly Ahsoka's voice trailed off and her eyes widened in worry and fear, as her sensitive ears picked up an extremely familiar, and on this specific planet, dreadful sound to her. "Oh no…" She breathed out.
George looked at his companion in worry as he saw her fear make itself known. "Ahsoka? What's wrong?" Looking up to where she was looking, his question was quickly answered, as they both watched a sleek, small, Separatist aircraft appear from the clouds above and soar over their heads, aiming to land near the edge of the Black Lake and Forbidden Forest!
George Weasley couldn't help but watch the strange muggle-looking contraption with a sense of dread; even though his mouth was hanging open in complete and total awe and shock. He was snapped out of his shock, when Ahsoka grabbed his wrist and yelled, "Come on, we have to hurry!"
"Why? What's wrong?" George asked her as the two of them ran their way back through the garden labyrinth in a hurry to reach the Great Hall. Ahsoka stayed silent for a moment, contemplating her answer, before she finally said, "Let's just say that for the safety of everyone in this school, we need to get back to the Great Hall as quick as we can."
Before the two could exit the maze though, their path became blocked by a tall, slender figure, wielding two crimson blades of light. Ahsoka halted in her tracks and placed a protective arm out to stop George from taking a step further as she growled out, "Ventress."
Ventress smirked and replied,"Why Ahsoka, I hardly recognize you! That dress and facade you're masquerading around in, one would think that you have forsaken the Jedi Order at last." Glaring, Ahsoka curtly replied back, "Hardly," Then under her breath, so only George beside her could hear, she whispered, "George, I am going to distract her, the moment I do, you need to make a break for it to the Great Hall, and warn Dumbledore and Master Kenobi about the ship."
George immediately opened his mouth to protest, but one look at how serious Ahsoka was being, and George decided to heed the younger teen's instructions. So touching her arm, he subtly gave it a light squeeze to show that he heard and understood. Their little moment was broken when Ventress then said, "To make sure that you don't escape and warn the others about my Master's arrival, I have added some, shall we say, incentive to our inevitable duel."
Ventress then stepped to the side to reveal that behind her were Draco Malfoy, Fred Weasley, Angelia Johnson, Fleur Delacour, and Roger Davies all captured in a rough circle and bound together back to back by some standard binders and gagged so that they could not speak or call out for help. What made the situation worse, was that the group was surrounded by a netted circle of one of the worst creatures in the Galaxy… Muscle Maggots!
"FRED!" George yelled in concern for his twin, making Fred's head jerk up from where he and the other captives were trying to desperately keep away from the disgusting insects. The fear in Fred's eyes tore at George's heart, and he immediately moved to run towards his brother, but Ahsoka grabbed his arm to keep him in place. "Ahsoka let me go! I have to save him! What in Merlin's pants are those things?"
Stepping to once again block their view of their friends and fellow classmates, Ventress chuckled cruelly and said, "Like them? These are my lovely little beauties known as muscle maggots." Ahsoka's glare deepened as she stated, "I've heard of them. You used them to torture Master Obi-Wan when he faced you on the Planet Rattatak."
George blinked for a moment in confusion when he heard his female companion say the word 'planet,' but he did not have a chance to ask anything because Ventress was once again smirking,"Very good little Ahsoka, then you also will know what they will do if they touch any one of your precious friends?"
Raising her lightsabers into a fighting stance, Ventress sneered, "If you don't want the same fate that happened to Kenobi, befall your precious friends, I suggest you come at me with everything you've got."
Meanwhile, back in the Great Hall, Analie and Hermione were having an amazing evening with Harry and Viktor. The four of them had enjoyed their drinks, done some more dancing, and now they were relaxing once again at a table just talking with each other.
Hermione was happy to see that Viktor Krum was finally fully relaxed and smiling instead of the sulky persona he usually would have. Analie was happy that Harry was able to relax as well and just have fun like a regular fourteen year old should. Soon they were joined by Garen and Naomi, both looking happy and relaxed as well, enjoying the party.
Suddenly, a sound overtook the music in the room, that made the musicians stop playing, and everyone present turn towards the Great Hall doors with eyes widening in concern. It was the sound of screams!
Just as suddenly as the screams started, the Great Hall doors burst open with a BANG! And in strode the one person that the Jedi did NOT want to see here at Hogwarts. Standing tall and proud with at least fifteen B2-Super Battle Droids lined up behind him was… "Count Dooku…" Obi-Wan said gravely into the silence of the Great Hall.
It has been hard getting through my Writers Block, but I finally hit a spot of Inspiration and was able to finish this highly anticipated chapter. Now, I am currently working on the next chapter which will feature a lot of action and suspense. So stay tuned! And I apologize that it takes me a while to upload but I have to go an extra mile and transfer all my writing from my computer to my phone, which is very annoying.
Thank you for continuing to enjoy Magical Mission!