A pale blue sky greeted the magnificent campus of Hogwarts School of witchcraft and wizardry that late December morning, marking the beginning of a day that seemed like all the rest. Several feet of freshly fallen snow had graced the grounds over the night, and it seemed the makings of the perfect day to do nothing more than have an exciting snowball fight and drink hot coca, which was indeed a possibility – it was a Saturday, and only a week before the start of the winter holidays. Students throughout the castle were waking up and delightedly peering out their windows at that very moment, an impatient few already preparing for the temporary journey home, others, preparing to sleep until lunchtime.
Deep down in the Slytherin dungeons, the scene was the same as elsewhere, and a group of whole, healthy looking Slytherins were already gracing the common room with their presence, chatting happily about the days limitless prospects. Going through the dorms, different yet equally happy scenes played out; the first year boys were having a pillow fight, the second year girls were squealing and jumping about, a group of third years were playing keep-away with a roommates tie. The fourth years were laughing, the fifth years were snoring, the sixth years had left to breakfast, and the seventh year girls were chatting amiably about their holiday plans.
"It's really the same as every year." A girl with short spiky brown hair was saying as she pulled on a pair of green and silver striped socks. "A family Christmas dinner." She sighed loudly. "It would be wonderful if my mum would just stop inviting Aunt Bellatrix." A red haired girl nearby giggled. "Oh, you think it's funny, do, you?" The spiky haired girl mumbled. "An absolute fiasco, last year, what with Gemini and Orion spiking her pumpkin juice with fever fudge…don't laugh!" she called out irritably, for the red haired girl and the rest of the room were in hysterics. "Diana, that's not funny!" the red hared girl grew quiet, but was still grinning. "Suicidal, that's what they were, it was terrible, she nearly killed them, it took father and Uncle both to calm her down." Diana snorted, and the spiky haired girl frowned.
"Well, Alexis," a laughing girl called quietly from the corner, "we're all just picturing her with the pumpkin juice…" She laughed quietly. Alexis smirked.
"I guess you're right. And it was funny. She snorted pumpkin juice out her nose and everything when she realized what was happening, and her face turned a sort of magenta color, though that may have been anger related."
"Nice." The laughing girl commented. "I'll have to thank Gem and Ori next time I see them. My mum hates her, you know, they tend to shout at one another. Hey, have you seen my other shoe? I can't seem to find it…" Although she spoke quietly, her voice carried in a peculiar way, allowing the rest of the room to listen in and inquire which shoe was the missing one.
"Here you go, Mid!" a tall girl practically shouted from her bed, lobbing a sneaker across the room, nearly hitting the intended recipient in the face. "Sorry, Midnight!" she called over again. "Good catch!"
A few minutes later the girls were in the common room, making their way towards the patch of wall that served as their exit. At that same moment, a small flood of boys emerged from the door that led to their dormitories, and a blond seventh year snuck up behind Midnight, made for the others to be quiet, and reached for her ponytail.
Midnight was too quick for him and whipped around, and the boy got a slap in the face with a mane of wavy black hair instead. "Scorpius Malfoy!" she reprimanded. He swore loudly, startling a few first years nearby. "When will you grow up?" She asked, eyebrows raised, as they stepped through the wall and into the hallway. Scorpius was spared an answer, however, because a large black haired boy had just cut in between him and Midnight. Some of the girls nearby giggled.
"Midnight," He announced dramatically, getting down on one knee. "Will you go to the ball with me tomorrow night?"
"Thank you- WHAT?" He leapt to his feet, a melodramatically horrified expression on his face.
"Vladimir," Midnight said dully, now making her way down the hall, so Vladimir had to run to catch up with her, "you have asked me every year since second year, and every year I say no. Yet every year you are certain I will say yes." She wheeled around to face him. "I will say what I said last year. You may be my friend, but that doesn't stop you from being a git."
"But, Midnight, this is SEVENTH YEAR!"
"So I've heard."
"So who are you going with, then? Don't tell me Jasper Nott again."
"No way, he an even bigger git that you are, if that's even possible. I'm going alone."
"Alone! You can't be serious. With a name like yours, you can have any guy in the school, and you go alone."
"Exactly. Every guy I have ever seen was just after my name. And my father's protection and money." They sat down at the Slytherin table for breakfast; Midnight chose a banana muffin; Vladimir chose two muffins, a banana, and several sausages.
"Who's Alexis going with?"
"Scorpius, same as always. And don't even think about asking Aphrodite Dolohov – she's much too full of herself. How about Morgan?" she motioned to the loud, tall girl who had thrown her the shoe.
"Maybe I will." He grunted, mouth full, spraying banana bits as he spoke.
"Brilliant, Vladimir." Midnight said sarcastically. "You'll make a brilliant Death Eater, I expect."
The Gryffindor table was much like that of the Slytherins, jovial and excited at the prospects of the new day, yet these boys and girls were somewhat different. Patched up and bruised, Gryffindors made up ninety percent of the casualties caused by the infamous Carrows, mostly for making snide anti-regime comments behind peoples backs, and to their fronts, as well, the latter being the cause for the numerous injuries. Despite their setbacks, this was a proud house, with everybody seemingly working together to drive the Carrows to retirement, and more importantly, graduate in one piece so as to work together to drive Lord Voldemort out of power. However, both missions were failing drastically; Both Voldemort and the Carrows had been going strong for over fourteen years. But there is a time to think about such things, and the day before the celebration ball is not one of them, so all in all, the Gryffindors seemed pretty content.
A group of boys were lounging at the far end of the table, tunneling through their breakfast and showing off their battle scars like war heroes, calling and waving to any girl that might have passed by. These boys, ranging from about fifth to seventh year, were a particularly beat up bunch, allowing for the conclusion to be made that these were the ringleaders of the underground movement, and not your ordinary group of boys. They were rather loud that morning, the topic of their conversation dates to the ball.
"Hey, Mark, I heard you got Amber Brown to go with you, good job, man!" A dark haired seventh year exclaimed, giving a younger boy a high five.
"Yeah, I asked her this morning, in the common room. So, who are you going with?"
"I dunno…maybe Angela Creevey, or…ooh, I know." He grabbed a handful of blueberries from a bowl on the table, and proceeded to flick them at a group of girls down the table. One girl was struck in the face, and she turned around, annoyed, to face her attacker.
"Albus! What the Hell do you think you're doing?"
"Lily! Get Abby for me!"
"Why should I, after you assaulted me with breakfast fruit?" she challenged, frowning.
"Because I'm your brother and I'll ask Jordan if he wants to go to the ball with you, that's why. "
"Fine." Lilly said, accepting the bribe. She tapped a nearby girl on the shoulder. "Abby, " she said dully, "My idiot brother wants you."
"Um, ok." The girl, a sixth year, said. She leaned down the table. "What?"
"ABBY CORNER, COME TO THE BALL!" He bellowed, causing heads to turn. "DANCE WITH ME! BE MY DATE!" Abby blushed scarlet, but was laughing, as was the rest of the great hall.
"Yes!" She yelled, laughing her head off, beaming.
"Looks like Albus Potter is showing off again." Midnight muttered, glancing over at the Gryffindor table. "So annoying."
"I admire his style, though. Gotta give him that." Vladimir said appreciatively. "I wish I'd thought of that. There would be no way you could have refused."
"Wanna bet?" Midnight asked smugly, but Vladimir didn't seem to hear her.
Across the table from Midnight, Morgan was glumly stirring her cereal with her spoon. "I wish someone would ask me to the ball." She said sadly. "No ones asked me yet." Under the table, Midnight kicked Vladimir's ankle.
"Come on," Midnight offered. "I have to go to the library to get a book, and then we can play a game of exploding snap."
"Ooh, exploding snap?" Alexis asked, lifting her head. "I'm in." the two girls stood up, waved goodbye to the rest of the table, and headed off towards the library.
"Oh, good, Potter and his posse are gone." Midnight muttered as they passed the Gryffindor table.
"Thank God." Alexis agreed. They walked to the library chatting about the ball, Alexis ecstatic about going with Scorpius for the fourth year in a row, Midnight trying to describe her dress. Their conversation halted, however at the doors to the library. Albus Potter and his gang were hanging about the entrance, waving cheerily to passerby. As Midnight approached, a voice called from the group,
"Well, well well. If it isn't miss Congeniality herself."
"Well if it isn't Albus Potter. In a library. That's scary in itself."
"Ah, but not as scary as you, my dear." Albus said in a mock polite voice.
"Oh really. Look in the mirror. Now will you step aside, I need to get in…"
"Make me. "
"I mean it, Potter, and get out of my way. Now."
"Or what? Gonna call daddy?"
"At least I have a daddy." Midnight had hit a sore spot. Albus scowled.
"One of these days." He muttered as he walked away.
"You wish." She hissed back, narrowing her eyes. "Come on, Alexis." She said irritably. "I have a book to get."
"Did you see her face?" Mark laughed jubilantly as they walked away. "My god, she was pissed. Albus?"
"I hate her." He muttered darkly. "Hate her."
"Of course you do." Another boy said conversationally. "We all do." Albus simply grunted.
"Well," Mark said brightly, "we can go have a snowball fight now, dinner later, ball tomorrow, and then home! And I don't know about you, but I think this will be the best holiday yet."