The Sugar Quill
Author: Lauren Greenleaf (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: One More Dance  Chapter: Default
The distribution of this story is for personal use only. Any other form of distribution is prohibited without the consent of the author.

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.

"Excuse me?"

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," he said.

*******

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 she looked.

"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, you?"

"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 her.

*******

"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," Hermione said.

Parvati’s dark eyebrows knitted. "No, she’s not."

"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 aloud.

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 something.

But when she turned again, they were no longer there.

*******

"It is so beautiful to walk and talk in the moonlight," Nadine said. "Do you not agree?"

"I think you’re beautiful," Ron ventured.

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 every wish.

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 it."

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 blood.

It looked like Ron had danced his last waltz...

*******

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, Hermione?"

"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!" Ron said.

"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 I die?"

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 said.

"You what?"

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 on her."

Ron turned white – well, whiter, since he’d already been white. "Am I going to turn into a vampire?" he croaked.

"No. I already checked that. Any more questions? No? That’ll be five Sickles." Hermione grinned mischievously.

"You’re amazing," Ron said.

"Whatever."

"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 her hand.

"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 all night."

Ron’s eyes met hers. "Deal."

 

~FIN~

 

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!

 

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