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Thread: Weekly Drabble Challenge - Life of a Wizard: Courtship - Results!

  1. #1
    Ebil Gato Loco Ravenclaw
    He's The Dog... He's An Animagus...
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    May 2006
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    Weekly Drabble Challenge - Life of a Wizard: Courtship - Results!

    Your prompts this week is courtship and how a wizard/witch would participate in such an activity. Would only the older generations have courted each other? Or perhaps the purebloods of the Trio's era also courted? Perhaps now that Voldemort is dead the next generation can take the time to court and not elope into a war marriage? Do all wizards/witches court or is this an outdated system in the Wizarding world? What if the wizard decides to court a magical being that's non-human, like a Veela? Taking place in England would there be specific traditions courting couples would be expected to follow? Etc. You might have to do a bit of research for this prompt.

    Here's two definitions of courtship the Ebil One looked up for your convenience and that she wants you to consider:
    Courtship: "the traditional dating period before engagement and marriage. During a courtship, a couple dates to get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement. Usually courtship is a public affair, done in public and with family approval."
    Quoted from Wikipedia

    Courtship:"Courtship when dating may become more serious. Courtship implies a deeper level of commitment than dating does. During courtship the couples specifically contemplate marriage, rather than merely enjoy one another's company for the time being. Couples usually spend some period of time engaged before they marry."
    Quoted from this site
    Use any pairing your heart desires, even slash. This is a "freebie" challenge where there's no restrictions. However, keep in mind the challenge is courtship not dating - there is a difference.

    The following form must be used when submitting your drabble responses to this post -
    PHP Code:
    B]Word Count:[/B]
    B]Author's Notes:[/B] 
    Winners will be awarded 15, 10, and 5 points respectively.

    All drabbles must be less than 500 words; All standard grammar rules, and MNFF submissions guidelines apply.

    The challenge will be up for a week, and be closed exactly a week later (September 7th).

    All questions should be referred to the Question Corner - Do not post questions here. Only drabbles!

    Not So New Anymore for the Weekly Challenges:
    Due to a major lack of quality drabbles being submitted to the weeklies, Gato Loco will require that some real thoughtful, original submissions be posted from this moment on or you'll end up like this woman here. That's your one and only warning! XD

    Other than that...have fun!

    ~Ebil One

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  2. #2
    Honigkuchenpferd Hufflepuff
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    Jun 2008
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    Name: luinrina
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: Black to Black
    Warnings: none
    Word Count: 497
    Pairing: Walburga Black and Orion Black
    Authors Notes: This is such a great prompt – and I couldn’t come up with anything else. <.< I hope that what I have written can be considered as courting; at least (in my opinion) it meets the definitions of what you gave us, teh ebil one.

    Thanks to my beta Terri (mudbloodproud). Once again, lovely work. *huggles*

    ‘Does Miss want another cup of tea?’ the house-elf asked, looking up at her.

    Walburga’s gaze wandered down at the creature. It only wore a tablecloth around its hips, but that was nothing new to her. After all, her parents had three house-elves working for them. ‘Sure,’ she replied courtly. The elf offered her a cup, then hurried off towards the other people in the room.

    ‘No, thanks, Kreacher,’ Orion Black replied when the tiny creature offered his master something to drink.

    Walburga shot the young man a glance; he was lounging on a chair, his legs crossed at the ankles. He looked rather relaxed. Which is exactly not what I imagined this meeting to be, Walburga thought. Her gaze wandered over to where her parents talked to Orion’s. She noticed her mother trying to signal her to talk to Orion.

    Better be done with it quickly or the family will always hold it against me, she supposed, sighing inwardly. Taking a silent deep breath, she went over to him.

    He looked up at her. ‘Want to talk about it?’

    ‘I guess we don’t have a choice, have we?’ She gestured towards the other members of the Black family. ‘And especially after they put so much effort into arranging this marriage?’

    Orion laughed but nodded. ‘True.’ He took out his wand, and with a flick, another chair appeared. ‘Please, take a seat,’ he offered.

    ‘Thank you.’

    Silence crept between both young people; they felt a bit awkward. Finally, after long moments, he spoke, ‘Are you going to consent?’

    ‘Do I have another choice?’ Walburga asked. Upon him shaking his head, she added, ‘Thought so.’

    ‘Look,’ Orion said, ‘we’re cousins and have known each other all our lives –’

    ‘Then you can probably say what my favourite colour is?’

    Orion looked at her, his grey eyes tightened in thought. ‘Black,’ he said some moments later.

    She didn’t respond at first, but after a while smiled. ‘That’s right.’

    ‘Your and my parents want us to marry and keep the Black name pure,’ Orion then continued as if she had never interrupted him, but his voice now sounded authoritarian. ‘We’re getting along quite well, so I consider a marriage possible. You’re also amiable and well-educated. But seeing that you are a Black, I needn’t expect anything different.’

    ‘I agree.’ She smiled tentatively.

    ‘And a marriage within our family – among cousins to be exact – isn’t unheard of, so…’

    Walburga nodded. ‘So we’re now engaged?’

    ‘We’ll be engaged if you consent to my marriage proposal.’

    ‘Before I can consent to anything, you’re supposed to propose to me first,’ she shot back.

    He sighed. ‘Very well…’ He stood and walked over to her parents. Walburga followed him.

    ‘Mr Black, I would like to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.’

    Pollux Black looked at his cousin Arcturus, Orion’s father, before answering, ‘Agreed. She shall be yours.’

    Arcturus smiled while his wife and Walburga’s mother Irma dried their eyes. ‘I announce you engaged then.’
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  3. #3
    Name: andromeda_tonks
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: The Right Choice
    Warnings: None
    Word Count: 493
    Pairing: Two un-named OCs (trust me on this, I still made it work... I hope)
    Authors Notes: Hm. None. Except that I hope the OC thing is allowed.

    “Can you really do this?” The man’s face splutters from shadowed and mysterious to garish orange under the dying street lamp. “Can you give up your life, your family, just so that you can marry the man they hate?”

    The girl is almost the same height as him, although he cannot be less than six feet; she does not have to tilt her head more than a fraction of an inch to stare into his eyes. And in the shining blue eyes, he knows that he has his answer. Yes, she would. But more than that: she wouldn’t consider herself to have lost.

    “Think! Consider! Your mother? Your father? Would you abandon them in this way?”

    For the first time in half an hour, the girl speaks. Her voice carries a metallic edge, as though she is keeping a strict control over herself. “They would not, would never abandon me. They would recover from the shock. They would understand later, but I can’t make this choice later. This choice is for now.”

    “And what if they didn’t? What if your parents didn’t ever recover? What if they left you with me? Living on the streets, begging for every meal, married to a –“

    “No!” she cuts him off, but his words still pound remorselessly through her head. Only when she is sure she can focus does she look up.

    “Married to a Squib,” he finishes softly. There is a silence, as they both consider those words.

    “You’re right.”

    “What?” he asks, shocked.

    “I said, you’re right. We can’t live like that.”

    The shock of her words reverberates through his body, echoing from every surface of his mind. She has made the right choice. She is leaving him, returning to her family, where she belongs. She will be safe. And he will lose her. Lose her forever.

    “Come on!”

    “Come where?” She has confused him again.

    “We’re going to see my parents. We’re going now. And they are going to listen to me.” Her voice becomes stronger as she speaks, pushing away the dark thoughts as she forms her plan. He follows her lead silently as she leads the way through the dark streets. Whatever they might face now, she is still his. And that was terrible. And wonderful. He takes her hand for a moment, and then lets it fall. Acknowledging her choice with his own, although not, perhaps, in the most traditional way. Nonetheless, it is their way.

    After a long pause, the girl continues, and the strength that she has been slowly gaining is clearly evident now. “Whatever they say, whatever they think, they will listen. Because they can’t ignore my choice.” Silently, the girl holds out her hand. On one long finger glitters an old, old band of silver. It was his mother’s, and his grandmother’s. It might go back a thousand generations for all they know. But now it is hers. And that makes all the difference.

  4. #4
    Name: bluemoon13
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: The Rhythm of Tradition
    Warnings: None
    Word Count: 445
    Pairing: Slight Draco Malfoy/Astoria Malfoy
    Authors Notes: This was fun! I wasn't sure about my courtship rules, so I hope it's okay. And this is my first attempt at writing Draco.

    This one is tall- thank Merlin for that; the short ones were always annoying to dance with. Her hair is a honey blond, and she is the first one with any sort of fashion sense. Her robes are a tasteful blue that bring out her eyes, but Draco is just glad she chose a color other than pink.

    His mother is determined to find him a proper witch to marry and his father insists that all the rules for a pureblood courtship be followed. This one is number eight or nine. To be fair, she is quite pretty, but that meant nothing. The pretty ones generally bored him faster than the ugly ones.

    He takes her hand and kisses it, as tradition calls for. She gives him a polite smile, and in return he offers his arm and leads her to drawing room. All of these courtships follow the same rhythm. First, Mother invites the family for tea. These were dry occasions filled with pointless talk, where the girl always takes a sip of the sugarless tea and forces a smile. Draco envies his father, who usually manages to excuse himself from them.

    Tea is followed by several extravagant dinners where Draco always ends up sitting next to whoever the girl happens to be. The bold irritate him with their meaningless chatter, while the shy ones force him to make his own conversation.

    Then comes the parties. Draco has always thought his mother should be given an award for coming up with an excuse for a party. Long, dull parties where he would be forced to ask the girl to dance. The ones that can dance drag him across the floor all night. The ones that can’t dance believe they can, and he gets dragged anyway, albeit in a more literal sense.

    Draco generally puts his foot down after the dancing

    He knows what’s supposed to happen next. He’s supposed to take her out- dinner, just the two of them. He is supposed to spend more time her company-willingly. They’re supposed to go on long walks and take picnics and play games of chess. He would show her the world- his world at least, and hope that she might want explore the rest of it. He doesn’t think he would be able to find love this way, but he has given up on that. Companionship is what he hopes for, or even friendship.

    Draco pulls himself out of his thoughts. Across from him, Astoria Greengrass takes a sip of tea. She makes a face at the bitter taste. Only Draco notices, and he raises his eyebrows toward her. Astoria merely rolls her eyes.

    Draco grins.

  5. #5
    Name: Mistletoe
    House: Slytherin
    Title: His Own War
    Warnings: Perhaps a slightly OOC Sirius. Perhaps.
    Word Count: 500
    Pairing: Sirius Black/Anna Boothe (OC)
    Authors Notes: Er, I hope this even is a response to the challenge. Yeah. It's like . . . pre-courting. I can rewrite if it's too far, well, gone really. >.>

    “You will court her.”

    He sighed. His point was apparently unclear. “Mother, I don’t need the family’s approval for this. I am in love—”

    She scoffed. They sat opposite each other, his mother relaxed, the Black smirk lying comfortably on her lips, and he, erect and uncomfortable. He never thought he would find himself in this house again, let alone to gain their approval. Yet here he was.

    “Sirius, love is third to power and propriety, simply unnecessary. You will court this girl, or you will throw her away.” She paused, the smirk darkening. “You must give your father a chance to meet her.”


    He had never felt so vulnerable as he stood outside her door, patiently awaiting it’s opening. Anna was not a pureblood. She did not carry herself in a respectful manner, she was carefree and alive, not worried about society or its rules. She was everything his parents did not approve of. Graduating merely six months before, they were now in the heat of the war of good versus evil. As he continued to wait, he grinned. He was about to begin a war of his own.

    The door flew open, and on the other side stood Anna. She was grinning radiantly, completely unaware of what Sirius was doing here. Apparently his forced expression gave it away, as she faltered when he stepped forward.

    “Sirius?” She asked as she closed the door behind him and kissed his cheek. “Is everything all right? You look alarmed.”

    Upon his returned silence, she burst forth in a characteristic flow of concerns. “Something happened when you were there, didn’t it? What did they say? You know you are worth ten million of them. If I weren’t so small, I would go over there and give them a piece of—”

    “Breathe, Anna.” He sat on the couch, gesturing for her to join him.

    She crept to him, her eyebrows raised in skepticism. “Why all the formalities . . . ?”

    “I’m worried about how you’ll react,” Sirius returned. He had placed his hands softly atop hers. They were now face to face; the whir of energy had died down.

    “All right. Nothing I can’t handle,” she replied, her never ceasing confidence bouncing forth.

    Sirius sighed. “I was worried you’d say that.” He breathed. “They require that I court you as a prelude to marriage.”

    Confusion took residence in her brown eyes. “This is bad news . . . ?”

    Breaking her stare, he muttered, “Your blood.”

    Her confidence seeped out with a huff. Her hands slid from beneath his to her sides. “Oh.” Her voice wilted. “What next then?”

    “Would you mind being courted by me?”

    Instant light appeared in her eyes. “We’re going to do this?”

    “Only if you think you can handle the verbal beating my family will probably give you.”

    In one swift movement, she was in his lap. He attempted his charming smile, but knew nothing but steel could resist what his parents had in store.

  6. #6
    Fifth Year Gryffindor
    I See Dead People... In Mirrors

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Name: kehribar
    House: Gryffindor
    Title: Consideration
    Warnings: None
    Word Count: 500
    Pairing: Iris Johnson/Arcturus Noir
    Authors Notes: The drabble is written in accordance with my current historical fic, Grounds of Twilight. In case it's not clear - Rose is Iris's sister, and Arcturus and Calanthe Noir are siblings.
    She should have never agreed to do this. She could just swirl on her heel and flee to her room - if only Rose weren't blocking the stairway. Her plump cheeks were flushed in excitement as she made a shooing gesture and mouthed "Go."

    Iris exhaled deeply and adjusted the laces on her sleeves. She would get over with this. If she was lucky, no later than two meetings both the Noirs and her own family would be convinced that the engagement would not happen.

    Bracing herself, she twisted the doorknob and walked into the drawing room, her entire body tensing as though she were walking into the presence of the queen. With a swift glance, she took in the guests. Calanthe Noir, seated closest to the door, slowly turned her head, her face as expressionless as that of the bust behind her seat. Next to her was none other than Arcturus, taller than everyone else in the room, and dressed in dark blue robes instead of the usual black. He rose to his feet upon seeing Iris and made a quick but calm bow. Across the room were Iris's parents - her father looking pleased and her mother suspiciously eyeing the Noir siblings as though they were a pair of robbers in her house.

    Iris swept into the room, her chin held up high, and gave a little, formal smile to Calanthe as the latter gracefully rose to her feet and kissed Iris's cheek with a little murmur of “Iris, ma belle.” Iris turned to Arcturus and made a perfect little reverence, feeling disturbingly self-conscious in her fine dress robes. Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had also risen to their feet.

    After touching his warm lips to Iris’s proffered hand, Arcturus straightened and gestured towards the fireplace where Mr. Johnson had just conjured a fire. “Mademoiselle Iris, shall we?” he asked, and Iris noticed, for the first time, a touch of gentility in his normally brisk voice.

    “We shall, Monsieur,” she replied calmly, and walked over the fireplace. Arcturus took the Floo Powder from Mr. Johnson with a word of thanks, and threw it into the fire. Calanthe was the first to disappear into the glowing flames.

    Instead of following Calanthe quickly into the Floo and to the restaurant where they would dine, Iris took a moment to study the man she was being forced into courtship. From the first time she had seen him, Arcturus Noir had only produced a strong anticipation in Iris. She even found him a little intimidating, especially after noticing how she seemed to run into him anytime she was outside. But tonight, as Arcturus regarded her from a full head above, he had a different expression on his dark eyes that Iris could not identify.

    As she finally turned and stepped into the flames after the Powder Acturus had thrown for her, she was surprised to find herself looking forward to scratch the surface of this man and find out who he really was.
    The Run of the Mill

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  7. #7
    Fifth Year Ravenclaw
    People Hate Me for Losing Points
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    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    With Regulus
    Title:A Memory of Spring
    Word Count: 497
    Pairing: Bellatrix Lestrange / Rodolphus Lestrange
    Authors Notes: I started the drabble out a little differently than everyone else. I hope that is okay. I made Rodolphus a little more sentimental than what most people picture him as.

    Rodolphus Lestrange leaned against the cool wall of his cell, watching the fading light of day through his tiny window. He was mesmerized by the vibrant colors of mauve and gold as they cascaded down to the floor. Soon another night in Azkaban would be on him, with only the harsh light of the stars to illuminate the world; they were as cold as his wife’s black eyes. Rodolphus shuddered and he wished that the day would stay a little longer. He had stopped thinking of his wife as his partner in life along time ago. Now she was callous, obsessed and insane. It wasn’t his name that she screamed out at night, but another’s. He had long ago ignored this; it would have torn apart his heart if he had done anything else.

    Rodolphus closed his eyes, and thought of spring, a spring that seemed a lifetime ago. It was a time when Bellatrix had, at one point, loved him; it was a time when they were young, and their courtship had seemed like a wonderful prelude to a powerful marriage.

    The spring that he had first courted Bellatrix Black had been especially bright and fruitful. The gardens around the Lestrange estate were verdant, rich with myriad splashes of color. A light breeze plied its fingers through the flower beds, collecting up various scents of those delicate blossoms. Rodolphus and Bellatrix strolled along the small cobblestone path, which wound its way through the gardens. It had been one of the rare moments when they were free from the restrictive stares of their parents.

    It was a moment when the war was far from them, which was preferable to Rodolphus, because that was the only time when Bellatrix was truly his. He looked over at his future wife, catching the glints of sun that fell over her black hair. She strode with a purpose, and confidence; that was why he had chosen her to be his wife. When she turned to look at him, her eyes flashed, and a rare, but beautiful smile lifted her lush lips. Rodolphus felt his heart patter wildly in his chest. He took her firm hand in his and lightly kissed it. She stared back at him, a flame burning in her eyes.

    Rodolphus did what any courtier would have down; he let her hand drop to her side, and took up her arm again, continuing their stroll. He heard her give a despondent sigh at his side, and realized she had hoped for more, but social dictates forbid any further contact.

    There were rules. Rodolphus knew this better than anyone. They had already had the introduction brunch that had brought the Blacks and the Lestranges together; the logistical aspects of their marriage had already been canvassed over. Bellatrix had already accepted his ring, an ancient Lestrange family heirloom. He had followed the social conventions of a proper courtship to a perfect exactness.

    And maybe that was where he had gone wrong.

    Banner of one of my favorite characters. Icon is a quote from Battlestar Galactica. Banner and icon by me.

  8. #8
    Name: ashestoashes.
    House: ravenclaw.
    Title: The Blood Rose
    Warnings: nope.
    Word Count: 499.
    Pairing: Uhm...Bellatrix Black / Lucius Malfoy...some Narcissa / Lucius.
    Authors Notes: This topic was really interesting, I really enjoyed writing this. Definitely a more sentimental side of Lucius which may seem OOC... to me it seems to explain some of Lucius' heartlessness later in life... serious disappointments and/or heartbreak can definitely change a person's life.

    Lucius sat in the reception room of the Black family's sprawling manor with a heavy heart. This visit marked the beginning of his courtship of Narcissa Black. Any moment now she would enter the room, and regardless of the way his chest felt tight, his eyes burned, and his impending betrayal tasted acidic in his mouth; he would not disappoint his family.

    Custom dictated that a gift be given on each of the 12 days of courtship. The first gift was to be a white rose, a symbol of the maiden's purity and her willingness consent to the courtship. If the maiden refused the gift, the courtship was ended immediately. His scowl deepened as he glanced at the white rose in his hand. White, he thought bitterly, the color of surrender.

    As he waited he thought of his lover and the oath they had made before graduation. She would never forgive him now, but it mattered little. When Narcissa accepted the rose nothing would matter anymore.

    All thoughts were driven from his mind when the door to the room eased open and his name echoed through the chamber. Bellatrix Black--the love of his life--threw herself into his arms. "They can't!" she sobbed as she clutched at his chest. "They can't!

    "I think you'll find they can, my dearest." Lucius said, not unkindly, as he untangled her from his robes and looked into her deeply hooded eyes.

    “You're to wed Narcissa!” She cried angrily. "Lucius, how can the world be so cruel? How can they destroy something as pure as our love?"

    "We have a duty to our families…" Lucius said obediently, but his tone lacked conviction. "Today I must present this to your sister as a pledge of my willingness to join our families." He said as he held out the white rose for her inspection, but Bellatrix refused to look, clutching him tighter as the volume of her sobs increased.

    “How can you pledge your love to another?” She whispered despairingly, dark eyes meeting stormy grey.

    “From this day foreword,” he began, “my life, my name, and my heirs will belong to Narcissa.” He grasped her wrists in his hands, forcing her gaze back to his own. Releasing her, he held out his palm, trying to hide the tears that filled his own eyes as he conjured a blood red rose which he offered to her tenderly. “But my heart,” he whispered, “will always belong to you.”

    Speechless, Bellatrix took the rose from his hand as tears ran unchecked down her ivory cheeks. Without preamble she raised her lips to his, claiming him in a passionate kiss which both knew would be their last.

    “I love you, Lucius.” She breathed, her eyes never leaving his.

    “I love you, Bella.” He replied.

    Without another word, Bellatrix swept from the room. Lucius barely had time to gather himself before the door was opening once more.

    “Lucius,” came the voice of Cygnus Black, “may I present my daughter Narcissa...”

  9. #9
    Name: Sammy
    House: Gryffindor
    Title: Untitled
    Warnings: N/A
    Word Count: 498
    Pairing: Sev/Lily, James/Lily (don't ask)
    Authors Notes: I tried to protray "Caurtship" a little differently. Don't know if it worked though.

    You had just gotten engaged to the man of your dreams. You had just gotten the man most girls would give their wand arms for, and throw in the wands after it. You should be happy you got so lucky.

    So why did the Great Hall start spinning when James slid the ring on your finger in front of everyone? Why did the tiny diamond that should have weighed next to nothing felt as though it would drag you under the stone floor and to the very core of the earth? Why could you not as much as look towards the Slytherin table as he hugged you tight?

    You had spent exactly ten minutes giving and receiving congrats with a smile you had borrowed from the cover of Witch Weekly and then excused yourself to the lavatory, only to cut back and dash out of the suffocating Hall into the night. At least the darkness offered some solace compared to the brightly lit school.

    Now that your feet automatically carried you to the beech tree, you fling yourself on the dewy grass without caring much for your clean uniform. You bury your head in your arms, but remove it a second later to wrench the ring off your finger and toss it aside, not bothering to look where it lands. You can always Summon it later. For now, you need to be alone and try not to think.

    A soft intake of breath from somewhere near you makes you look up. But the sound does not come from the direction of the oak doors; it is very close to you. Another sweep of the area tells you that what you had first taken to be a patch of deep darkness was in fact a boy cloaked in black, his long hair all but covering his face as he leaned forwards.

    You don’t know what to say, nor are you capable of saying anything. He is the first to break the silence.

    “I would say that congratulations are in order, had I not seen evidence to quite the contrary a minute ago.”

    You want to deny it, but know better. When have you ever been able to hide something from him? And what was the point of starting now?

    He gestures to the ring glinting dully in the grass a few feet away, catching the moonbeams. “I take it you weren’t in on this?”

    A weak urge to defend James – no, yourself – makes you say, “And why would you think that?”

    “Because you always preferred emeralds.”

    “That’s because you always got me-”

    The silence created between the two of you holds more answers than you wish to know. All you had wanted was a moment of peace. Not the realization that you have just doomed yourself to a life like that Cover Witch’s.

    He got to his feet. “Enjoy your courtship, I wish you the very best, always.”

    And as you watch him go, you feel worse than before.

  10. #10
    Name: TheBlackSister/Alice
    House: Hufflepuff
    Title: Dancing a Waltz
    Warnings: none
    Word Count: 514
    Pairing: Henry Potter/Maria Longbottom (I pretended they were James' parents)
    Authors Notes: There are no concrete names for Harry's grandparents, so I used my imagination...

    Minnie loved dancing. Henry was sure of it.

    And courtship was a sort of dance too, one in which the steps were much more intricate than any waltz, and to tread on your partner’s toes was incredibly easy.

    Yet there was nothing Henry wouldn’t have done to be able to place his arm around Minnie’s delicate waist and twirl her around the parquet of life. And if the smooth parquet was to turn into uneven flagstones, why, he would brace her waist harder. They would still dance.

    But in order to achieve that, Minnie had to notice him. Yet she did not seem to! All those balls at the Ministry, watching her talk to others, both women and men, and never to him were infuriating. Even when he did ask her to dance, he was still “Cousin Henry” or “my cousin, Mr. Potter.” How could this brilliant, beautiful perfection named Maria, or Minnie, Longbottom fail to see that he sent her roses after her debut in society? How did she not know that the sonnet she found after her eighteenth-birthday ball was from him?

    His tactics would have to change…

    Minnie was an excellent equestrian. She could outride anyone. Under the pretense of admiring her skill, Henry would go riding with her, first once a week, then twice. She would accept his invitations with a polite smile at first, but, as weeks passed, Henry saw that she actually waited and almost – dare he say it? – looked forward to the two hours they would race each other over the smooth hills around her parents’ summer residence. Their conversations after the rides became longer and did not focus on common friends or acquaintance, but on each others’ tastes for reading.

    Then there appeared a weekly walk, another excuse to talk. They would walk around the winding pebbled paths among Mrs. Longbottom’s azaleas and talk about anything and everything. Nothing else existed or mattered to Henry, when Minnie’s arm rested contentedly on his, when he could breathe in her perfume, a sweet rose scent. He did not see the flowers around him; all he saw was the flower walking next to him.

    The next Ministry ball made him the happiest man in the world, if only for one night. Henry was standing in the back of the crowd, when the Longbottoms came in. He saw Minnie sweep the crowds around her with a searching gaze, and saw how disappointed she looked, failing to find what she was looking for. Gathering all his courage to test his guess, he made to greet his relatives. His heart leapt, when their eyes connected, and hers seemed to sparkle with the pleasure of recognition.

    Henry greeted her parents first, then her elder brother. A smile touched his lips as he turned to her and her younger sisters. After making a customary greeting, he asked her to a waltz.

    It was different this time, and they both knew it. As Henry’s arm snaked around Minnie’s waist, he knew that their courtship has ended, and a new chapter of their relationship has began.

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