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a more realistic yule ball

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No one invites Millicent to the Yule Ball but there is no getting out of it. Her mother offers to pull strings but Millicent does not want the embarrassment of someone being forced to spend time with her, or worse being paid for it. It is not like she is the only person with no date. Neither Durmstrang nor Beauxbatons had brought even numbers of male and female students and she knew of at least three girls in sixth year who were betrothed to wizards from outside of Hogwarts. It would be a scandal for those girls to go with a partner and so they were going as a group. Millicent hoped she would be able to gravitate towards them if only to give the impression that they had taken her in. If she was extra lucky they might just do so.

Her robes are actually very nice. Her and her mother picked out a lovely purple set when Millie was more optimistic about the whole event. Also, despite the name calling and sneers Millicent knows she is not ugly. No one really is. She does not wear make up every day and she prefers her hair down with no accessories. With the less than flattering robes Hogwarts provides it creates an impression that Millicent is fat, ugly and doesn't care. When Millicent thinks about it she is a lot like Granger but just less intelligent. Granger has a date. She must have one. The rumour mill at Hogwarts moves on too quickly for it to be false. Thick fingers run down the lace at the wrists of the robe. So pretty. It makes her sad that no one will appreciate them, or not in the way that she hoped.

Everyone fusses around Pansy and the fact that she is going with Draco and that suits Millicent just fine. She gets into her robes and then hides herself away in a bathroom stall and conjures a mirror to hang on the door while she sits on the toilet with an assortment of products at her feet. She blows air through her lips and listens to them flap. She has no idea. Her hair is alright because she has a clip that will go on the side of her head once it is in a bun and she can manage that but make up just really is not her thing. She does not get the point of it and hates how her cheeks feel when she gets warm and is covered in foundation, like at parties her family stages. If feels like her face is peeling off and frankly she would rather have another fifteen minutes in bed in the morning. Plus, Pansy's shampoo utterly reeks and Millicent likes that the bathroom gets to de-fumigate before her turn.

The foundation is the simple part because she already knows that it matches her skin and she has done this a few times before. She smiles at the improved version of herself staring back and then firmly snaps her mouth shut. The lighting makes her teeth look more squinted than normal. Maybe she should look into those magazines Pansy does with spells that fix things like that. She is too afraid to try any sort of colour on her cheeks in case she gets it wrong but feels confident enough to try the silver shadow on her eye-lids. She has seen other girls go above the lids and create arcs of colour that look amazing but she does not have that much confidence and no friends to tell her how it looks so Millie leaves it at that.

The mascara and eye liner her mother sent don't get touched. Millie has no desire to look like a panda like in one of the picture books her father showed her as a child. The lipsticks in the kit her mother sent her for Christmas the year before look intimidating so she leaves them and turns to the nail varnish. That, at least, she has some good experience with. It is the one thing she does from time to time because it amuses her but students the school wide bemoan the fact that they have to take it off for potions. Mostly they blame it on Snape but deep down they all know the polish would be likely to set their fingers on fire in class whether the product itself is muggle or magical. Allowing the bright lavender to set between applications gives Millie time to ponder the lip sticks and glosses.

The glosses would need to constantly be reapplied but Millie knows you can feel when they have worn off. The actual lipsticks would take longer to fade but be less noticeable to Millie herself and she doesn't want to make a fool of herself. Faded lipsticks look bad on her grandmother and she doubts they will look any better on her. She scowls at her reflection when she realising how much time she is spending worrying. Pointless.

The peach lipstick looks less intimidating than the others so she plucks that from the pile and tries to pull it free from its packaging. Her nails fail to get the edge of the plastic and Millie worries she will chip the polish off before she has even left the cubicle. She is considering changing to another stick when it finally gives and she is able to pull it free and remove the lid. The pointed edge is intimidating as she rolls it up. For a solitary moment she wishes she were in any other house but Slytherin because then she might stand a chance of going unnoticed as absent while remaining in the safety of her room. Damn Snape.

With another tsk at herself she applies the lipstick and rubs her lips together to get it all even. When she looks back to the mirror she is pleased to note that she has not smudged it around her face. She looks pretty. A smile appears. She might just manage this.

Gathering her things back together Millie slips from the cubicle and wanders back through to the main part of the dormitory. All the girls are still there, chatting, and Pansy's face brightens when she sees her. "Millie! You look so pretty!"

The others nod agreement and Tracy gets up off the edge of her bed immediatly to grab the bow ribbons Millie had forgotten about. Before the last of her things have hit her bed Tracey is winding the ribbons into a lovely bow behind her back as Millie mutters a thank you. She is not used to so much attention being on her appearance.

"I love the colour." Pansy states firmly having made her way over, too. "You picked some great make up to go with it too. The subtleness works wonders. Though....the hair is a bit...severe , isn't it?"

"I'm not that great with hair." Millicent admits. "I didn't want to make a mess of it so I went with simple."

"Oh you could have asked! But I do like the hair piece and you want to draw attention to that. You will need to tell me where you got it later." Pansy says.

"What if we pulled some of your fringe free and curled it a bit?" Daphne asks with a smile. Millie feels self-conscious surrounded by such pretty witches. They are, of course, her friends but she thought on this night they may want to focus more on themselves and certainly not help her. She nods quickly and Daphne beams before her face gets serious and she uses her wand to pull some strange of hair free before saying a spell that Millie doesn't catch and curling the hair down around her chin.

"Lovely!" Tracy says, voice full of cheer and excitement. "Almost time to go and meet the boys too."

Millicent throws an excuse together about not having her bag together and the other girls trot off. They can figure out that Millie has no boy to meet later, when it wouldn't do for Slytherin's image to say it out loud. The clutch is her mothers and Millie is terrified that she will break the clips on it before the end of the night.

When she does make her way to the Great Hall it is nearly full and people are lined up to wait for the champions and their dates. It is easy to blend into the crowd. That is the way Millie likes it.