A/N: I was reading through an X Files book
that just happened to mention a Scottish version of your average vampire,
called a baobhan sith. I was also trying to think of a HP fic idea,
because I was bored and I’m writers’-blocked on "Dragon’s Nest".
Finally, I was stuck for ideas on how to thank my beta-reader Elanor in
a good way for all her work on "Dragon’s Nest". "Thank
you", even a thousand times, didn’t seem good enough. Somehow the
three things collided and became this. We have here the Yule Ball, some
bored dancers, and a dark creature who will make or break the Ron/Hermione
relationship. All Harry Potter characters belong to J.K. Rowling. Nadine
L’Amia belongs to me.
Dedicated to Elanor Gamgee for beta-reading
and wonderful ideas above and beyond the call of duty.
Many thanks to Zsenya for beta-ing this
so Elanor didn’t have to!
Padma Patil had long since abandoned him,
and Fleur Delacour wasn’t even remotely likely to look in his direction,
let alone come and ask him to dance. In fact, no female had come
near him for the last ten minutes. Ron Weasley was secretly half-pleased
about this in a way, because at least it meant that he would be safe from
stepping on anyone’s toes.
Naturally, he wasn’t worried about stepping
on Hermione’s toes. Hermione Granger had shown up at the Yule Ball
with Viktor Krum, and Ron was working very hard on his air of disdain
for them both. It was easy – neither of them had so much as looked at
him since the start of the dance.
His gaze drifted over to where she was
dancing with the Bulgarian git, and his top lip curled in an unconscious
sneer. He was so... so... grrrr. There wasn’t a word for it. Although
"annoying" would just about cover it, for a few minutes anyway.
Stupid, dark-haired, monobrowed rival. Grrrr.
Ron jumped, realising that the girl standing
beside him had quite possibly been trying to get his attention for a few
minutes now. Her dark lips were curved in a smile, however, and she held
out one slim hand to him.
"Would you like to dance?"
"Er... sure," Ron said. He knew
he was a lousy dancer, and that this girl would probably run away after
three seconds of him stepping on her feet, but she was very pretty, and
might take his mind off Hermione.
They moved out onto the dance floor, and
the girl started leading him in a simple but fun little waltz. Ron, to
his great surprise, found that he was enjoying himself.
"What’s your name?" he asked.
"Nadine L’Amia," the girl replied.
"I am a Beauxbatons student. I entered my name into the Goblet of
Fire, but Fleur won it instead of me."
"Fleur?" Ron said. "Are
you a friend of hers?"
"No," Nadine replied, looking
at him curiously. "Why?"
Ron smiled happily. "No reason,"
Several songs later, Nadine still hadn't
deserted him. Quite a few people shot Ron jealous looks, including Draco
Malfoy, who was dancing with Pansy Parkinson and looking as if he'd rather
be anywhere else. For once, Ron understood Malfoy - with her pug face
and short, plain hair, Pansy was no match for Nadine with her exotic features
and flowing black hair.
"Nadine, you don’t have much of an
accent, you know," Ron said as they moved around the dance floor.
"I... was born in France, but I have
travelled a lot, and have had no time to get a real accent. I have only
been at Beauxbatons for two years," Nadine said.
"Oh," Ron said. "Was it
fun, travelling the world?"
"Oh yes," Nadine said, and she
smiled. "I met many new people in my travels – but none quite so
fascinating as you, Ron Weasley."
Ron blushed red to the roots of his hair,
and stammered, "Th-thank you." He felt as if he could spend
all night with Nadine.
He wasn’t feeling quite the same an hour
later. His legs were getting tired, and he was beginning to want to sit
down, but Nadine kept begging him for just one more dance.
Finally, just as Ron felt as if his feet were about
to drop off, Nadine gracefully excused herself. Ron gratefully sank into
a chair at the nearest table and within a few seconds Hermione was sitting
across from him.
"So who’s your partner?" she
asked, raising an eyebrow. Ron couldn’t quite get over how breathtaking
"Her name’s Nadine L’Amia," Ron
replied. "She’s from Beauxbatons."
"She’s quite something," Hermione
said, smiling. "Are you having fun?"
Why was she being so nice all of a sudden?
"Yes. Viktor’s just getting me a drink."
She looked vaguely off into the distance. "Oh, Parvati’s all on her
own over there – want to come and say hi with me?"
Ron shook his head – he could see Nadine
making her way around the crowded dance floor towards him, and, heart
pounding, was hoping that she actually was coming back to him.
Hermione said something like "Goodbye, then," and disappeared
in Parvati’s direction, but Ron barely heard her.
Nadine held out one hand to Ron, who took
it and stood.
"You waited for me." Her throaty
voice made his knees go weak.
"Of course," Ron replied, trying
to make it sound as if he’d been beating off the girls with a stick while
she was gone.
"Shall we?" She nodded towards
the dance floor. And Ron, although his legs were still tired, went with
"Hello, Parvati," Hermione said.
"Are you having a good time?"
Parvati smiled dreamily. "I’m having
a wonderful time, Hermione! Jacques is simply adorable!" She
noted Viktor’s absence, and added, "Where’s Viktor?"
"Oh... getting drinks. Does Jacques
speak much English?" Hermione tried to divert the subject away from
Viktor, who had been gone for a few minutes now.
"Yes, heaps! He’s such a good dancer,
too..." Parvati raved on about her wonderful, darling, handsome
new partner for a few more minutes, until Hermione’s thoughts returned
to the conversation just as Parvati was asking, "So who is that divine
creature that Ron’s dancing with?"
"Oh, that’s Nadine. She’s from Beauxbatons,"
Parvati’s dark eyebrows knitted. "No,
"How do you mean?"
"Because I thought she looked sort
of exotic and French-y, so I asked Jacques if he was friends with her,
and he said he’d never seen her before in his life. He thought she was
from here." Parvati scented a mystery and asked, "So she’s some
kind of mystery woman who likes to dance, huh?"
Later, Hermione never quite knew what made
her remember the scrap of information she’d read in Magic Mythology:
The Truth and the Facts, nor why it was at that precise moment that
it chose to pop into her mind.
"Baobhan sith," she said
Parvati looked at her, puzzled. "Pardon?"
"I’ve got to stop her!" Hermione
whirled to go and... and... cut in on Ron and his dancing partner, or
But when she turned again, they were no
"It is so beautiful to walk and talk
in the moonlight," Nadine said. "Do you not agree?"
"I think you’re beautiful,"
Nadine laughed prettily and blushed. The
strains of violin music were still audible, drifting out of one of the
windows they were nearby.
"Come, dance with me," Nadine
invited, holding out her pale hand. Ron took it, drawing her into his
arms. He was, for once, unashamed of his height, because Nadine was tall
and thin; and for once he was graceful rather than gawky. Nadine didn’t
seem to mind anyway: she rested her head on his shoulder and smiled at
him as they swayed to the music.
"Can we rest soon?" Ron asked
after a few more minutes. "I’m really getting tired..."
Nadine’s smile widened. "One more
song?" she pleaded, and Ron was compelled to agree. There was just
something so magnetic about Nadine, that he wanted to obey her
His legs were growing heavy, the exhaustion
in them had begun to extend to the rest of his body, even his eyelids
were drooping, but on and on they danced. It must have been more than
one song, surely, but the music was beautiful and Nadine was beautiful,
and he just couldn’t stop...
Making no sound, not even of protest, Ron
slid, all arms and legs now, to the ground. Nadine’s dark eyes darted
around, looking for observers, but they were all alone. Even Snape, who
had taken to patrolling the garden and scaring the wits out of unsuspecting
students, was far away, yelling at some other unfortunate person.
"You were an excellent dancer, Ron,"
Nadine said, dropping to her knees beside him. Her entire face seemed
to flicker, revealing something else beneath the attractive exterior...
something terrible. "It is a great pity that nobody else will discover
Pushing back the neck of his tatty dress
robes and exposing the smooth skin of his throat, Nadine bent her head
almost reverently. But it wasn’t reverence she was interested in, but
It looked like Ron had danced his last
The ceiling was white. It was also spinning,
and Ron groaned groggily.
"He’s awake!" a familiar voice
called from his right, and a hand tightened on his. There were bustling
footsteps from the direction he assumed the door was in, and seconds later
Madam Pomfrey was leaning over him.
"You’re right, Miss Granger. How are
you feeling, Mr Weasley?"
"What happened?" Ron croaked.
"Please, Madam Pomfrey, may I tell
him?" Hermione said.
"Oh, all right, but five minutes only,
then I’m coming in to give him a potion. He needs to rest – he’s still
not in good condition, blood or no blood."
Blood? "What happened,
"Wait," Hermione said, looking
pointedly at Madam Pomfrey, who sighed and left the room. When she was
gone, Hermione began to speak.
"Ron, how much do you remember?"
"I remember dancing with Nadine...
going outside..." Ron frowned. "Then I think I sat down..."
"You fell down, Ron. You fainted."
Hermione patted his hand. "But don’t worry – you’d been dancing for
about two hours non-stop! That was what she wanted , of course,"
she added, "to wear you out."
"Nadine?" Ron was puzzled. "Why?"
"She wasn’t really Nadine, Ron. In
fact, she wasn’t even really French."
"She said she was from Beauxbatons!"
"She said. Do you know where
"Nadine" was really from?" Hermione asked. Ron shook his
head. "Right here in Scotland." She patted – surprise, surprise
– a book, which was sitting on the edge of the bed. "She was what
is known as a baobhan sith – a kind of vampire. You were nearly
killed by a vampire, Ron!"
Ron’s eyes went wide and he felt dizzy.
For a moment he couldn’t speak. Finally he croaked, "So why didn’t
Hermione smiled to herself. She had the
feeling that the rest of Hogwarts would be talking for a long time about
the way she’d jumped out of the Great Hall window and landed on Nadine’s
back, toppling her sideways, away from Ron. "I saved you," she
Hermione explained her sudden flash of
insight. "And, as usual, I was right," she said smugly.
Ron shook his head in admiring disbelief.
"That’s amazing. What tipped you off?" he asked.
"Parvati told me that Jacques didn’t
know Nadine," Hermione said. "Then I realised she’d been making
you dance for ages." She released Ron’s hand and picked up the book.
"‘The baobhan sith always appear as beautiful women who dance with
young men until they become took weak to put up a fight’." She put
the book on the floor and took Ron’s hand again. "And that, Ron,
is why you are in the medical wing – she’d already bitten you when I jumped
Ron turned white – well, whiter, since
he’d already been white. "Am I going to turn into a vampire?"
"No. I already checked that. Any more
questions? No? That’ll be five Sickles." Hermione grinned mischievously.
"You’re amazing," Ron said.
"No, really." With some effort,
because he was still weak from blood loss, Ron moved Hermione’s hand up
to his lips and kissed the back of it. "And if I was going to get
out of here tonight, I’d ask you for a dance."
Hermione had turned bright red. "Really?"
"Yeah, really." Ron squeezed
"Well, I don’t think you’ll be getting
out of here. Madam Pomfrey wants you to sleep so you can recover properly
– you lost a bit of blood before I, uh, stopped her."
"I’ll just have to ask you to the
next ball then, won’t I?" Ron asked.
Hermione impulsively leaned over and kissed
him on the lips. "Sounds good to me. Promise I won’t make you dance
Ron’s eyes met hers. "Deal."
A/N: The information which Hermione quotes
on the Baobhan Sith is paraphrased from page 145 of "The Unofficial
X Files Companion" by N.E. Genge. And L’Amia, or rather, lamia, is
Latin for vampire!