A/N: This idea came to me after reading way too
many fifth-year fics with Yule Balls in them….The Yule Ball was specifically
for the Tournament! It didn’t happen
every year! I decided there must be a
reason for their appearance in most fics, and here it is. Thanks to Arabella
and Zsenya for the Sugar Quill, and to Yolanda for being a wonderful BETA
Dedication: To DV, Dbs, ‘Vora, whatever. You heard this first; were supportive
All characters and settings are the property of JK Rowling and Warner
Bros. The plot and robe design are
mine. If I had a scanner you could see
what the robes actually look like. J
Of Balls And Bargains
Su Li spun around,
surveying herself in the mirror.
Satisfied, she smoothed down the front of her elaborate robes and began
to plait her waist-length hair. The
design had turned out quite nicely, she thought. No unseemly pulls or whatnot.
Of course, lavish robes were Madam Malkin’s specialty. They should be, too, for the price Su had to
pay. There went her Hogsmeade money for
the next four terms, and this year’s Christmas money. All her gifts would have to be hand-made. But it was worth it, for these robes.
The outfit was rather
against the school’s dress code, the standard boring black. Oh, there was a layer of black on top, but
it was rather sheer and the iridescent layer of a rich blue shown through,
especially through the slashes on the sleeves and skirt. The collar, wristcuffs, and waistband were
silver, glowing softly. The neckline
was high, and the skirt was ankle-length, making an elegant, regal
picture. Su finished plaiting her hair,
and secured the dark braid with a band of silver and blue. The colours proudly displayed her Ravenclaw
pride, which would be to her credit, should she be found.
Su grabbed her cloak,
pulled it over her head, and proceeded quietly down her dormitory’s
stairs. She peered into the common room
and breathed a sigh of relief. No
Prefects in sight. She quickly rushed
to the entrance, a slab of the stone wall guarded by a suit of armour. Once out in the open, Su drew the cloak
around her even tighter. She knew only
too well what the price for breaking the dress code would be-five points
deducted from her house. But Su was a
repeat offender, and could be in line for a detention, should the wrong teacher
Her task seemed simple
enough -get to the library, where she would find all of her year waiting to see
the robes she had talked about endlessly.
Su wished she didn’t have to leave the Ravenclaw house to show off her
robes (the last thing she needed was an owl home about her behaviour; Mum was
already upset over her recent less-than-perfect Potions exam), but the boys
would not be allowed in her dormitory, and the common room was too full of Prefects
and snitches. In the library, the
bookshelves were high and long, a perfect spot to hide from those who enforced
the law. Also, it seemed the other
Ravenclaws were testing her-was she daring enough to leave the safety of her
house, with so many offences on her back?
Well, Su thought, she would show them.
And she would be the recipient of some worthy attention, maybe even that
of one Terry Boot…
Luckily for Su, the
foundress Rowena had thought it well to place the house reasonably near the
library, making Su’s task rather simple.
Through one corridor, up a set of stairs, and past three classrooms on
her right. Then she would be
there. Still, the path was long enough
to make Su a bit nervous.
It wasn’t until Su
began mounting the staircase that she ran into trouble-quite literally.
Professor,” Su said hastily.
Wonderful. Of all the professors
she had to run into, it would be Professor McGonagall. Well, at least it wasn’t Snape. Su shuddered to think what he might say if
he found her.
“Miss Li, isn’t it a
bit warm for your cloak indoors?” asked McGonagall pointedly.
“Oh, erm, I’m rather
cold actually. I was-er-just on my way
to see Flit-Professor Flitwick, uh, to ask him if the house-elves could, er,
possibly make the dormitory fires warmer.
I did not see him in our common room, so I thought I’d try the library…”
Su fibbed quickly.
“Indeed. I believe Professor Flitwick was just making
his way to the staff room. Shall I tell
him for you?”
“If you would,
Professor, thank you.” Argh! Now her dormitory would be unbearable. Padma, Mandy, Lisa, and Morag would be after
her for this. Su turned to continue
going up the stairs, but as she reached for the banister, a bit of blue peeked
out from under her cloak.
“Li, what is that?”
Professor McGonagall pointed.
Su bit her lip.
“It’s-it’s…” She was in Ravenclaw, dammit! Those of wit and learning and all
that rot. Then why couldn’t she think
of a suitable excuse? Just rubbish
about house-elves and fires…
“Let me see your robes,
Su lowered her gaze as
she unfastened the (appropriately) silver clasp on her cloak and showed off her
robes. She waited for the gasp or
intake of breath or whatever, and when she heard nothing, looked up. McGonagall would be excellent at poker, she
thought. Just the right stony face for
“Do you-“ The professor
sighed. “Do you have a reason for
breaking the dress code for the umpteenth time, Miss Li?”
“Black is rather
listless, wouldn’t you agree, Professor?”
Su looked at McGonagall, dressed in black from hat to pointed boot. Even her boot buckles were black. Or perhaps she wouldn’t agree. “Sometimes we need some colour in our
lives. Halloween is tomorrow,
“I am well aware of
that fact, Miss Li. However, that is no
excuse for going against the regulations issued by this school. Save the fripperies for a special occasion-a
dance or ball of some sort. Certainly
not in school, when you ought to be learning.”
Su fumed. Fripperies!
At a ball! What ball?!? They
hadn’t planned another ball, though she knew at least half the student body
would be thrilled to have another Yule Ball, even if the Beauxbatons and
Durmstrang students couldn’t attend.
Suddenly, an idea popped into her head, as if it had Apparated
there. “Professor, I would simply love
to wear these to a ball. Has the staffs planned another?”
frowned. “Another ball? I do not think so…you are aware, Miss Li,
that the entire castle is working vigorously against Voldemort. We hardly have
time to prepare a ball. And the last
ball was specifically for the Triwizard Tournament.”
“But, Professor…” Su
checked her tone. Whinging would not
help her situation in the least. “I
understand, Professor, however, I think a ball could still be beneficial. After all, Voldemort’s goal is to destroy
all of the wizarding population, isn’t it?
If we spend our time moping and feeling sorrowful, won’t that be letting
him win? Better we should go on with
our lives cheerfully, and not let him defeat our spirit, wouldn’t you say?”
“If we were to arrange
a ball, Miss Li, when would you propose we have it? And who would organise it?”
“How about tomorrow?
raised an eyebrow. “You think we could put together a ball in twenty-four
“Well, it was a
thought. How about Christmas? They say Hogwarts is one of the safest
places in the world…I bet Muggle-born students would most likely feel less
vulnerable if they could stay under Professor Dumbledore’s watchful eye. And then we wouldn’t be having a ‘Yule
Ball’, which is just for the Tournament, we could have a ‘Winter Festival’ of
sorts. As for organising…how about
setting up a student committee? I’m
sure there are plenty of students who would want to see another Yule Ball.”
“Hmm…It is an
interesting suggestion. How about
this: If I see neither hide nor hair of
those robes for the next several weeks, and no professor reports a dress code
infraction until then, I will bring your suggestion to the Headmaster. Then,
and only then, may I see you wearing those robes.”
looked at Su sternly. Su held her gaze
as innocently as possible. She must not
give anything away! “Alright then. But you must go change out of those robes
“Yes, Professor.” Su hurried back to her dormitory, and
changed out of her dress robes into the uniform black.
On her way to the
library once more, Su tried to keep from laughing out loud. Another ball! This would be brilliant! Su wondered who might invite her…perhaps
Terry? Su’s cheeks flushed at the
thought, and she nearly turned around to see if anyone was close enough to hear
In the library, her
appearance was met by stares. “Where’re
your robes?” demanded Padma.
“And after all that
talk about their fancy designs…What d’you wager she made it all up?” asked Lisa
“I do have them! McGonagall caught me in them, though.” Several of the fifth-years winced. “Buuut….” Su said, knowing how smug she sounded,
“I got us another Yule Ball!”
The reaction was
instantaneous. Several girls screeched
at once, and the boys began looking around nervously. All in all, it was a satisfying day. New robes, a ball, and lots of deserved attention, yes, quite a
good day. After all, McGongall only
said that she didn’t want to see Su wearing the robes….