It was the night of the ball, and the Slytheren girls had gathered, getting ready, fixing hair, pulling on dresses, and so on.
"…And so he pulled out this huge bouquet of flowers and ambushed me as I came out of the lavatory of all places!" Morgan was saying of Vladimir's strange yet sincere invitation to the ball, a story everyone else had heard many times prior.
"Don't be upset, that's just his style." Alexis murmured detachedly, rummaging through her trunk for something. Though Morgan didn't look upset at all, she actually looked rather pleased.
"Oh, dear." Diana said sadly, looking in the mirror. "I look like a Christmas tree." The girls glanced over at her. She was wearing a green floor length dress, which made her look shorter than usual, and her bright red hair did give off the impression of a flaming tree.
"It's not that bad, Diana." Morgan said soothingly. Her dark hair was curled into ringlets, and her gown, flowing and sky blue, made her look lovely. When Diana pointed this out, Morgan said, "that may be, but my heels make me even taller. I'm going to be mistaken for a giant." In response to this, Alexis lifted her own dress to reveal a pair of sneakers.
"I hate dressing up." She said calmly. The other two giggled. The giggling ceased abruptly, however, when Aphrodite slipped- or a better word being sashayed- out of the bathroom. She twirled melodramatically, blatantly showing off her flowing strapless white gown, her golden hair cascading down her back, topped off with a simple crown of white flowers on her head. The others groaned. She was infuriatingly perfect.
"What's the matter?" Aphrodite asked, feigning innocence.
"You're gorgeous." Morgan muttered.
"Thank you." She responded indulgently. "Oh, and, um, you guys look nice too." She smiled widely, causing the others to scowl. When she turned her back on them Alexis feigned vomiting.
"Where's Midnight?" Diana asked.
"She went to change after she came out." Morgan whispered, indicating Aphrodite.
"I'm right here," Midnight murmured, poking her head out of the bathroom. She crossed the room to look in the mirror, and said simply, "It's alright."
"It's alright?" Diana asked, sighing. "My hair can be considered alright. Anything else is bloody perfect.". Aphrodite turned to look at Midnight and frowned; the girls could tell she was instantly comparing her ensemble to Midnights, recognizing a potential threat. Midnight's dress was a black and silver floor length dress of some silky material. The front part of her hair was pulled back with a simple yet ornate silver clip, and a silver pendant hung from her neck. Aphrodite, who had been boasting her new necklace bought specifically for the ball, scowled as she recognized the pendant to be the same one Midnight wore everyday.
"Nice hair clip." Alexis said admiringly. Midnight smiled.
"It's my mothers." She said happily. "Father gave it to her for Christmas a few years back."
"Oooh" Diana commented approvingly, standing on tiptoe to get a better look.
"Come on" Aphrodite huffed. "We're going to be late."
The great hall was full of students in various forms of dresses and dress robes, the orchestra was playing, and Midnight was sitting at a table near the dance floor. The ball had been going on for several hours now, and the first through third years had been sent to bed at least an hour ago. Midnight had already danced with an assortment of boys- most Slytherins, a couple of Ravenclaws- and she didn't like any of them, save Vladimir, and that was because they were friends. Vladimir was slow dancing with Morgan on the far side of the floor, Scorpius and Alexis had gone onto the grounds, and Albus Potter and that Corner girl were cutting obnoxiously though the dance floor, causing people to jump out of their way. Overall, the usual. She was sitting next to a half empty punch bowl, and as of right now, there was a small group of fourth year Hufflepuff girls gathered round. They kept glancing furtive looks in her direction. Midnight ignored them.
"Out of my, way, come on, out of my way!" Midnight looked up and groaned audibly. Albus Potter was headed towards her punch bowl, scattering the fourth years.
"Ah, Midnight." He said airily pouring himself a glass of punch. "Satan herself, sitting in between me and my punch."
"I try." He then threw his voice in a perfect imitation of professor Carrow. "That is not funny Mr. Potter!" Midnight giggled in spite of herself, the instantly replaced her frown. Albus slipped behind the punch table and crouched down the floor.
"Don't you have another life to ruin?" Midnight asked coldly. "And what the hell are you doing?"
"Abby's way too clingy." Albus said, crouching lower. "If she sees you, she wont find me. There's no way she'd look for me over here."
"Like I said, I try."
"Amazing." Midnight muttered, contemplating moving. To hell with him and Abby Corner.
"So, why aren't you out there dancing with one of your minions?"
"Because I don't want to. And they're not my minions. You're too judgmental."she snapped.
"Yes." She glanced scathingly behind her at the figure behind the table. "You don't get it, do you. Everyone hears my last name and the first think they think is 'Death Eater' and 'power'. Like I'm going to go on a killing spree in charms or something. All those Slytherin boys want to dance with me because they want to marry into my family. They don't see me. They see opportunity." She cut off then, standing. "I should go. You don't get it. You never could."
Albus laughed, but his face was serious.
"I do too understand." He said defensively. "I mean, everybody expects me to be as great as my father, but really, I just want to have fun. I mean, sure, I love fighting Voldemort, but…" He glanced at Midnight, testing her reaction to the name. She didn't react.
"It was...interesting to talk to you." She said finally. "Good luck with Abby Corner." She strode off before he could respond.
That Tuesday night, Midnight was headed back to the Slytherin common room when she heard a strange noise from elsewhere in the dungeons. She was used to strange noises in Hogwarts, of course, but for some reason, this one struck her curiosity. She weaved her way silently through the corridors, peeking around a corner towards where the detentions were held. In the hall, a red-faced Gryffindor sixth year was arguing with an equally red-faced Amycus Carrow.
"I will not!" The boy yelled, crossing his arms defiantly.
"You will!" Carrow hollered, turning purple. "It is the terms of your detention!"
"Practicing the Cruciatis on first and second years is not ethical, nor is it educational!" He yelled. "They can't even fight back!" Midnight bit her lip. She had never had a detention, though Vladmir seemed to be in there quite often. She knew, through him (and others, of course) it was a "harm or be harmed" scenario, but pitting sixth years against first years seemed unfair. And Vladimir had always spoke of it like it was dueling or something, not like this. She supposed she should have known better; it may very well be dueling when Slytherins were involved, but Gyffindors always seemed to get the short end of the stick. She even knew that. But...many of them deserved it, right? She turned her attention back to the confrontation.
"That's it!" Carrow was screaming. "I've had enough of you! Crucio!" Midnight turned away. She had seen torture before, growing up in her family it was inevitable, but never on anyone under 17. It made her uncomfortable. It shouldn't be allowed. She slipped away back to her common room, troubled. What else had she been overlooking?