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SIYE Time:12:04 on 25th April 2024
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The Masked Ball
By HarryGinnyDestiny

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Category: Alternate Universe
Characters:Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley
Genres: Comedy, Fluff, Humor, Romance
Warnings: Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Sexual Situations
Rating: R
Reviews: 36
Summary: You are cordially invited to the 372nd Annual Ministry of Magic Masked Halloween Ball!

Tired of being recognised everywhere he goes as ‘The Boy Who Lived’ and ‘The Saviour of the wizarding world’, Harry decides that at this years Halloween Masked Ball he’ll go that extra mile with his disguise, so he won’t get hounded by the press all evening, or stalked by fan-girls all night.

Tired of being recognised everywhere she goes as ‘the star seeker of the Holyhead Harpies’ and ‘The daughter of the newly appointed Deputy Minister of Magic’, Ginny decides that at this years Halloween Masked Ball she’ll go that extra mile with her disguise, so she won’t get hounded by the press all evening, or stalked by fan-boys all night.

What could possibly go wrong?

Hitcount: Story Total: 13627; Chapter Total: 2260
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Chapter 2 — The Masked Ball



Two weeks had passed, and the night of the Halloween Ball had arrived, and over at Ginny’s flat all three girls were busy getting ready for the night of fun that lay ahead of them. Ginny had been last to arrive, spending longer than she had intended at Quidditch practice. The match with the Appleby Arrows was only a few days away, and Ginny wanted to make sure she was on top form for it. That last game with the Arrows had been the closest the Harpies had come to being beaten all year, and Ginny was taking anything for granted. She was so fixated on this upcoming match, she had also arranged a meeting with the Team’s Manager Gwenog Jones first thing tomorrow morning, to discuss strategies for the match. Ginny wasn’t planning anything from stopping her team’s current unbeaten run in the League this year.

She was only just through the door, and hadn’t even had a chance to take off her jacket, when Susanne immediately thrust a goblet of golden amber liquid into her hands.

“Quick Ginny!” she snapped. “Drink this! We don’t have time!”

Ginny was quick to obey, knocking the drink down in one go. “What was that?” she choked, her throat burning. “Was that the freckle-away potion you were going on about?”

“Nope” grinned Marianne. “It’s what Muggle’s call a ‘Cocktail’: Ogden's Old Firewhisky, coconut rum, Butterbeer with a splash of pineapple juice! We’re starting off this night as we mean to go on!”

And boy, were they serious! Within a few hours Ginny was six cocktails down, and onto her seventh, and feeling very, very tipsy, while her two flatmates worked their magic on her appearance, wands and spells and potions and gels and mixtures and concoctions of all shapes and sizes, simmering and boiling and bubbling away, applied with precision, as the two girls painted their masterpiece on her canvass. And when they were done, and Ginny at last got a chance to see their creation, she gasped at her reflection.

“Impressed, Red?” smirked Susanne

“Wow!” she grinned “I look amazing!”

“Only one last thing missing” laughed her flatmate, throwing her a small black mask, just large enough to cover her eyes.

“It is a masked ball, after all, but we don’t want to cover up ALL our good work!”

Ginny fixed the mask in place, and grinned at her reflection. Yes, she thought, tonight was going to be a VERY good night.


****



Mea nwhile, over Harry’s place, Hermione was hard at work, putting her finishing touches in place to Harry’s disguise. She had arranged it beforehand for Ron to be helping George at the shop. It was best to keep him out of the way, so he didn’t see what they were really doing. He would be leaving for the Ministry Ball from there, and be meeting them at the Ministry Ball later. He was in enough of a mood this week over Ginny going through with this make-over idea, she really didn’t need to hear any more of his rants, especially if he found out she was helping Harry do it too. Still, almost there, she thought. Only one more spell, and her creation would be complete. She had left the hardest till last.

“Hold still, Harry!” she said, her wand poised close to Harry’s forehead, ready to begin the final phase of his transformation “I want to get all this finished as soon as possible, just in case Ron decides to come home first and notices I’m not there, you know he doesn’t agree with all this! He’s already gone nutters on Ginny for actually going through with it! You know what he get’s like. Now, let me know if it hurts, okay?”

Harry nodded, and then, she began her final spell. Slowly and steadily she worked, tracing her wand carefully across Harry’s lightning-bolt scar for a first, a second, third, and a fourth time, muttering the spell to ensure the effect, her transfiguration performed to perfection. She took a step back, and grinned at the result: not one trace of the lightening bolt scar remained visible! All that remained was what looked like a tiny brown birthmark, just above right eyebrow. She had to hand it to herself, she was a genius! She picked up the mask she had bought for him earlier, small and crimson and just enough to cover his eyes, she wanted to show off all her good work, not cover it up. She fixed it into place, and stepped back to admire her work. It was perfect!

“How do I look?” asked Harry nervously.

“See for yourself, Harry!” she chucked, passing him a small round mirror.

Harry gasped at the stranger’s reflection in the mirror. He had to admit it to himself, it was bloody perfect! Even he couldn’t recognise himself! I mean, he knew it was still him, same face, same cheekbones, same lips and all, but he looked so different. His hair, usually his signature messy black look, now hung in two smooth straight deep-red curtains across his face. His glasses nowhere in sight, now replaced by the contact lenses he had purchased earlier that week, but the finishing touch to this was a simple piece of elegant magic performed by Hermione on the lenses themselves, which made his eyes, which were once green, now look a shining sapphire shade of blue. He grinned at her masterpiece. It had taken hours of hard work to get to this stage, but it was worth every second. For tonight he would go to the Ministry Ball, not as ‘The Boy Who Lived’, nor as ‘The Savour of The Wizarding World’, nor even as ‘Harry Potter’, but as someone else entirely, and he liked that idea.


****



Th e Ministry Ball was already in full swing when Ron arrived. He had planned on going along with George and Angelina, but it appeared they had other plans for the night, heading off on a romantic evening for two somewhere in Muggle London. So instead he had spent the first fifteen minutes there looking around for his other half, and his best mate. He had expected them to be here already. With neither of them in sight, he decided to head to the bar, with the plan to grab a quick refreshment, and have another look around. Something he now regretted, as the queue for the bar was ridiculous. It was never like this when Harry was around, he always managed to get served no problem, no matter how busy the bar was.

It was when he had almost got to the front of the bar, trying to get the barman’s attention to order a Butterbeer, when he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder.

“Hey, can I buy you a drink?” came the girl’s voice.

Ron turned to see who the speaker was, then blushed a deep shade of scarlet. The woman who stood before him was stunning. She had long straight raven-black hair, a wicked smile on her face, and a slim elegant figure-hugging black dress that left very little to the imagination.

“Ummm… No… I…” he spluttered “I have a girlfriend… errr… I mean wife… Hermione Granger… uhhh… I mean Weasley…and she’ll be here any minute! Look, I really don’t think that would be a good idea…”

The girl just laughed, her piercing green eyes shining with a glint of mischief.

“What’s up, Ron? Don’t you recognise your own sister?” she smirked.

Ron spluttered into his drink “Wha… what??”

Ginny grinned at his reaction. This night was going to be perfect! Ever her own brother didn’t recognise her!


****



It was half an hour later before Hermione finally arrived, a strange man by her side. She could tell by the look on Ron’s face that all was not quite right.

“Hi Ron, sorry I’m late,” she said smiling, trying to lighten the tone, “May I introduce you to James Francis Beckham…the Third” she added, almost as an afterthought.

“Alright mate” grumbled Ron, shaking the man’s hand. “Look, I don’t want to appear rude or anything, but do you think I could get a moment alone with my wife?”

The man nodded, grinning widely, and bid his farewell, before stalking off into the crowd.

“Who the bloody hell was that?” said Ron under his breath. “Bloody flash git! And did you see the suit he was wearing? Probably cost more than I make in an entire year!”

“What’s the problem, Ronald?” she asked, smirking at his jealous behaviour, which was quite funny considering who James Francis Beckham the Third really was.

“Well, I don’t like him.” He continued. “Bit of a poseur, if you ask me…by the way, where’s Harry?”

Hermione managed to stifle her laughter. “Oh, Harry’s not feeling well. He decided to have a night in, get an early night. That’s why I’m so late; I stayed with him for a while to see if he could make some potion or something, to help shake this bug, or whatever he has. I’m sure he’ll feel better in the morning. Now, what’s really got this worked up?”

Ron huffed for a while, and then, he was off on one, unable to contain his annoyance. “This bloody thing with Ginny, that’s what! I mean, it’s totally wrong on every level! You should have seen what she was wearing, Hermione! It’s just not right!”

Hermione rolled her eyes. Oh dear! Not this conversation again!


****



H arry left Ron and Hermione, arguing about who-knew-what this time, grinning widely at his best friend’s reaction. He had just passed the first test of his disguise with flying colours! Even Ron hadn’t recognised him in the slightest! And as for that “James Francis Beckham the Third” , Hermione was a bloody genius! Who’d have thought she could come up with a fake name like that on the spot! It was perfect, though he didn’t plan on keeping “the Third”. He chucked to himself. Tonight there would be no Harry Potter in sight, tonight he would be: James Beckham, and, possibly, ‘Jamie’ to his friends? He’d decide the details later. But for now, he just wanted to mingle, to meet new people, to make new friends, friends who didn’t judge him or want to be around him just because of who he was, and, hopefully dance with a few nice girls, ones who didn’t just want to get close to him because of the name, but for what he really was inside.

He walked through the crowd, and it was as though he had his invisibility cloak around him, as no one was pointing, no one was staring at him, no press were watching his every move, and it felt liberating. He did notice a few glances every now and then, a cheeky grin and a flutter of eyelashes, and even a few whispers and covert nods directed towards his location, a few groups of girls checking him out as he walked past. It was very flattering, not that he wasn’t used to the attention, but this time was different. This time they weren’t eyeing up ‘the boy who lived’ or ‘the most eligible bachelor in Wizarding world’, this time they were just seeing a wizard they found attractive, with no idea of his fame or fortune, and that felt good.

Harry was just about to turn, and head off in a different direction, when he was stopped by a slim red-headed girl, her face flushed in a deep shade of scarlet, glancing over her shoulder towards a group of giggling witches who were urging her on.

“I…ummm…hi…I…ummm…Look, I’m really sorry to bother you…I…wondered if I could…” she blushed an even deeper red. “Could I buy you a drink?” she finished quickly, looking thoroughly embarrassed.

“Only if you promise to give me a dance,” replied Harry, grinning widely.

Yes, he thought, tonight was going to be a VERY good night.


****



Gin ny was having a wonderful time, she really couldn’t remember the last time she had been able to let her hair down like this, if ever. She had already danced with quite a few attractive guys, got a few Floo addresses, and even been asked out by several different suitors, though she never got the chance to take any of them up on the offer. As soon as any of the guys began to show any amorous advances, Susanne was quick to intervene.

“You can do a lot better than that, Red.” she smirked.

It soon became clear to Ginny that this wasn’t her flatmate being mean, she was just trying to let her see there were plenty more fish in the sea, and plenty of eligible bachelors here tonight, and not to grab the first frog that came her way, as she might miss out on a Prince. Indeed, she was starting to come around to Susan’s way of thinking. Merlin, she had almost accepted a date from Blake Cooper, a really nice guy who worked in Gringotts’, when only moments later, after Susanne had sent him packing, she was introduced to Marcus Ross, a rather handsome beater who played for the Cannons.

“You don’t have to jump the first guy who chats you up, sweetie!” laughed Marianne, “You’re out to have some fun, meet a lot of nice guys, and have look at the menu before eating!”

“Exactly!” grinned Susanne “After three months of shutting yourself away, you need to see what’s on offer first! Just imagine you said ‘yes’ to Blake? You’d never even have got the chance to meet Marcus, let alone got his Floo number! And who’s to say there isn’t someone even dishier for you here tonight?”

“I know, I know.” replied Ginny. “But let’s say I do meet someone here tonight?” she asked. “Someone I really want to see? I mean, really, really want to see?”

Susanne laughed at that. “Oh, Ginny! If that really happened, I hardly think we’d be able to chase him away! I mean, the guy’s you’ve met tonight have been nice and all, but if you really wanted one of them, he’d still be here!”

“How’d you work that one out?” Ginny huffed. “You keep chasing them away as soon as they even mention the word ‘date’?”

“Because...” laughed Susanne, “If you really thought any of them were really your Mr Right, and I tried to chase him away? You’d probably try to hex me!”

Ginny was laughing now, she could see the logic in that.

“So, what about the two of you?” she asked “Have you ever met someone you thought was your Mr Right? Out of all the different guys you pull every weekend? Surely there must have been one?”

“Well, I kinda met this guy once,” said Marianne smirking, “I really thought it was the real thing! He made my head totally spin, and I went all goosepimply at his touch, and I had butterflies in my tummy every time me looked at me! I mean, it was totally intense!”

“And?” gasped Ginny, “Go on, spill!”

“It turned out just to be food poisoning!” Marianne grinned.

“Merlin!” she laughed “Can you two ever be serious?!”

“We can when we need a drink, Red” smirked Susanne. “Another three cocktails, if you please! Chop chop!” she said laughing.

“Yeah, yeah.” laughed Ginny, “I know! It’s my round!”

“And remember not to use your real name if they ask!” reminded Marianne, “The press is all over this place!”

“I know! I know!” she called as she stalked off into the crowd, headed towards the bar, remembering the name Susanne told her to use: Jennifer. A name just close enough to Ginevra to remember it, close enough to her real name to know when someone was talking to her, the final piece of her secret identity. She loved that.



****



Meanwhile, over at the other side of the Ballroom, Hermione and Ron were still having the same argument they were having when the evening began.

"Oh for goodness sake Ron,” Hermione gasped “Can you please give this a rest? I came here to have a good time with my husband, not listen to this brother’s duty nonsense all night! Ginny's responsible enough to make her own decisions! Seriously! You're just being ridiculous now!"

“You never saw what she was wearing, ‘Mione’…” began Ron again, but he was temporarily distracted by a tall blonde bespectacled wizard who had just walked up to them, and seemed to be trying to get their attention.

"Hey, I don’t mean to interrupt.” began the blonde wizard, fixing his glasses, and looking very apologetic. “I just came over to say hello. Look, I hope I didn’t catch you at a bad time?"

"Reginald!" gasped Hermione, "No, not at all! Ron, this is Reginald Clearwater, he's Penelope’s older brother! We work together at the Ministry. Reg, this is my husband Ronald. He wasn’t interrupting at all, was he Ron?" Hermione glared at Ron.

"Alright mate," Ron grumbled, shaking Reginald’s hand. "Sorry, we were just having a family discussion. It’s nothing to worry about."

“Good, good.” grinned Reginald. “I’ll just shout my wife over, then. She wasn’t sure about coming over, for some reason she thought you were having an argument?”

Hermione laughed loudly, trying to contain her annoyance. Did everyone here think they were having an argument? Merlin! She was positively mortified! Ron was in a lot of trouble when they finally got home.

“Julia, over here!” called Reginald, as a slim attractive witch with bushy red hair came sauntering through the crowd, she was wearing large horn-rimmed glasses that seemed to make her look like a bossy school teacher, but her bright red dress, which clashed with her hair, did nothing to complete that look. If anything, it made her look totally aloof. She reminded him of Luna for some reason.

“See, I told you they weren’t quarrelling!” he called as she arrived.

"So you're Percy's brother!" said the witch, grinning widely. “Don’t worry, there’s one in every family! We won’t hold it against you!”

"This is my wife Julia." said Reginald proudly, “She was actually hoping to run into George here, you know, your bother. Julia used to work in Zonko’s; product development, before they went under. She practically invented half the jokes in there! She’s a really talented witch.”

“Reg, you don’t need to…” began the witch, blushing profusely.

“No, I really do! Any wizarding joke shop would be lucky to have you!” he continued “Look, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to put you on the spot here, it’s just that, we keep asking Perce if he’d be able to arrange an interview, but you know what he can be like?”

“Yes, I know exactly what Percy can be like!” said Ron laughing. “By the way, you’re not the same Julia Clearwater who invented Nose-Biting Teacups, are you?”

Julia’s grin grew wider. “The very same!”

“Wow!” Ron laughed. “I was just at the shop today, helping George out. He’s seriously under-staffed. I’m sure he’d jump at the chance to have you working there! He’s always going on about your jokes, you know. He’s a huge fan!”

Julia blushed even redder, her complexion almost matching her hair colour, and soon they were deep in conversation about various joked and tricks and potions and sweets and powders that did the most revolting things.

“I don’t think I’ll ever be able to pull her away now!” laughed Reginald, unable to get a word in, between Ron discussing new jokes George had planned, and suggestions from Julia on how to make them even more revolting.

“Maybe we should just leave them to it?” suggested Hermione. “I fancy having a dance or two. This is a Ball, after all?”

“I actually like the sound of that!” grinned Reginald. “As long as our other-halves don’t mind?”

“Be my guest, mate,” said Ron laughing. “Rather you than me!”

“Go, go!” Julia laughed, shooing them away. “We still have loads to discuss here.”

And, they did just that.


****



Ha rry had just managed to tear himself away from Charlotte, and her giggling group of friends, whom he had been talking to for most of the evening, and who had been plying him with drink at every opportunity. Merlin! He was starting to feel quite drunk! He was sure if he had stayed any longer she might have taken advantage of him, though part of him enjoyed that idea. She was very pretty. But he had bid his farewell, his noble streak still intact, though she had thrust her Floo number into his hand, which he gratefully accepted. Maybe he would contact her tomorrow, arrange to see her again? Maybe even take her out on a real date, but one as himself. He would love to see her face when she realised who he really was, and he would know she wasn’t just after him for his fame or any of that rubbish, because from their past few hours of conversations it was clear she liked him for himself.

He was on the way to the bar, where he had left Hermione at the start of the evening, when he noticed Ron chatting to a slim red haired witch. Harry had to laugh. When he had first been told about this fantastic make-over Ginny’s flatmates would be doing on her, he had expected something far more spectacular than this, something almost unrecognisable. But he could tell from a mile off it was Ginny! Same trademark Weasley red hair, the only difference was that it looked like she’s gone to Hermione’s hairdresser, and those glasses? What on earth had her flatmates been thinking? They did nothing to flatter her in the slightest. She should have let Hermione do the job, instead of relying on her flatmates, who were obviously not even in the same league as the smartest witch of her age. He was just about to make a detour, and go over and talk to them, maybe tease Ginny about how rubbish her disguise was, compared to Hermione’s brilliant job on him, when someone caught his eye... Harry turned, and suddenly felt like a deer caught in the headlights of a car, unable to look away, mesmerised by the beauty of the girl he had just seen. She was like a Goddess, he would have sworn she was part Veela, though no Veela he had ever met could even compare to her radiance. She was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen in his life.

Ginny was at the bar, getting the next round of drinks in, when she caught a glimpse of Hermione on the dance floor, strutting her stuff with a bespectacled blonde haired wizard, who was obviously Harry! She had talked to Hermione earlier about what she had planned for Harry’s disguise, but she had expected something much better than this! She chuckled to herself, Harry would have been in much better hands coming over to her flat to get ready, she was sure Marianne and Susan would have made a far better job of his disguise than just changing his hair to blonde. Pathetic Potter! she smirked, was that the best he could do? She winked over at him as he looked her way, and was highly amused by the confused look he gave her. She glanced back at the barman, who was busy adding the finishing touched to the three cocktails she had just ordered, and was contemplating to herself on whether to go over and talk to them for a bit, maybe wind Harry up a little about how good her disguise was compared to his feeble attempt, when suddenly a strange feeling came over her that she was being watched. She turned slowly, looking behind her to see if her senses had deceived her, and then she saw him, her heart skipping a beat. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen in her life, and he was staring straight at her.

The girl must have sensed Harry was looking her way, because she turned now to face him, a small grin on her lips. Merlin, she was gorgeous! She had long raven black hair, a smile that sent shivers coursing down his spine, and a slim elegant black dress that clung to her frame, leaving very little to the imagination. She took his breath away, his heart pounding faster and faster within his chest, and it was as though time had frozen between then; no one else existed in the room but they two. She continued to stare back at him, her grin growing wider with every passing moment, the same wide grin he himself wore. She gave him a small wink, her cheeks flushing scarlet as she did, and he knew right then and there that the feeling between them was mutual.

Ginny was still staring straight at him, daring him to look away, the grin growing wider on her face with every passing moment as they watched at each other, her heart beating faster and faster within her chest, but he didn’t look away, and that made her grin even wider. She gave him a small wink, unable to help herself, and he just grinned right back at her, running a hand through his deep red hair, and began to walks slowly towards her. Sweet merlin, he was gorgeous! She had never met this man in her life, but right then she knew she wanted him, badly. Maybe it was the way he looked at her, or the atmosphere in the air, or the fifteenth cocktail she’d just finished, or all of the above, but she knew if he came over here, and spoke to her, she wouldn’t be able to resist him, and why should she? She was a grown woman, why shouldn’t she have a bit of fun? She was tired of being so boring, so well behaved just to keep her family happy. Indeed, she was just able to resist the unbearable urge now gripping her, to just run through the crowd towards him, and throw herself into his arms. And on and on her walked towards her, almost there now, she couldn’t contain the excitement, the anticipation overwhelming to actually speak to this man, the most handsome man she had ever seen, who now walked towards her, who had taken her breath away.

Harry had almost reached her now, the grin on his lips mirrored on hers. Merlin! She was even more stunning up close, her beautiful emerald eyes shining with a glint of mischief, as she ran her fingers through her long dark hair. Something about her looked vaguely familiar too him, though he couldn’t place from where. But maybe he was just imagining that, as he was sure if he’d have ever met her before, he’d have asked her out on the spot. She was a Goddess, and even now, before they had even spoken two words to each other, he could tell he was falling for her. He was trembling as he now stood before her, and more nervous than he ever remembered being in his entire life. He opened his mouth to speak...

“Hi” he said, blushing as he spoke. “I’m James.”

“Hi” she replied, her face flushed too “I’m...errr... Jennifer.”


A masked ball, a night of mystery and romance, of intrigue and adventure, of mistaken identities, untold affections, and hidden desires, and, as Hermione so eloquently put it: What could possibly go wrong?


****

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