The German ran to his bed as Lovino walked in after him, watching him scribble a note. “What are you doing potato head?”
“I’m writing to Arthur.” Ludwig answered flatly. “Don’t distract me, or I’ll kill you in your sleep.”
“Arthur,” he wrote. “They’re slowly figuring us out. Hermione caught me using Feliciano’s country name. I told her that it was just a nickname, but I don’t think she believed me. What should I do now? By the way, Feliciano did great with his dragon. He used spells I’ve never heard of (probably shouldn’t be falling asleep in class), and got his egg without hardly a scratch. I’m so proud to call him MY friend. I would say the same about Harry, but he spent most of his battle miles away from the field, so I have no idea what all happened, but he’s very much alive and well. Ludwig.”
He sent Gilbert out the window with the letter, then looked at the Italian behind him, his mouth clamped shut. Ludwig laughed fully. “You can talk now.”
“I just finished talking with Feliciano,” Lovino started. “and, he said that McGonagall said that he needs to get close to a girl before Christmas.”
“Why?” Ludwig asked.
The Italian shrugged. “How should I know?”
England was meeting with Switzerland when Gilbert the owl came in and made himself comfortable on the desk. He read the letter and smiled. “Italy, I knew you could do it.” he stated to no one in particular, then another owl came in with another note. “Arthur,” it said. “I know this is going to sound strange, but Professor McGonagall told me that I need to get close to a girl, and all the girls at this school are scary. I don’t even know why I need a girl so badly. Since this is your school, maybe you can tell me why I need to know a girl. Feliciano.”
“England,” Switzerland attempted to get his attention. “England…” Still no reply. “BRIT!” the Swiss yelled, smacking his hand on the desk.
“I’m sorry Switzerland…” Britain apologized halfheartedly, then smiled devilishly. “Say…can I borrow your sister?”
Feliciano was happy to get a response letter back from Arthur. “Dear Feliciano, I believe that Professor McGonagall was referring to the traditional dance that goes with the Triwizard Tournament. Though first years aren’t usually permitted, I have reason to think that because you are a champion, you will be required to make an appearance, despite your age and grade level. I understand that you don’t know many girls within your age group that will accept your invitation, but I will help you with that. Just give me some time to explain to the professors. I think you’ll like the choice I made for you. Arthur. P.S. Give these extra tickets to Ludwig and Lovino, I believe they would be more than happy to join you.”
Though he didn’t understand his reply, he was happy he even got a reply to something that had barely anything to do with the tournament and nothing to do with Harry Potter.
“Now, remember Liechtenstein,” Britain explained. “I’m going to make you look like an eleven-year-old girl, and send you to a magic school just until Christmas Eve, then you can come home in your natural form, and forget it ever happened.”
“I’m a little excited to see Italy again.” Liechtenstein admitted.
“Oh! One more thing,” the Brit stopped her. “while you’re there, go by your human name, Lili Zwingli.” He waited for her nod of understanding before he continued. “Also, you’ll see Italy, Germany, and Romano there, but call them Feliciano, Ludwig, and Lovino instead.”
She nodded. “Ok.”
Feli wandered the halls, sighing in exasperation that he’s the only champion without a date for the Yule Ball (except Harry of course), when suddenly, he heard a familiar voice. “Feliciano!” it called. He turned around to see Switzerland’s little sister, Liechtenstein, wave at him.
He rushed over the girl and exclaimed hushed, “Liechtenstein! Why are you here?”
“Britain sent me.” she answered just as softly. “He said that you needed my help for something about a dance, and also that I need to go by Lili here.”
Feli smiled. “Well, are you going to be sorted like a student too?” he asked.
Lili shook her head. “Britain said that he told the professors that I’m just a visitor from Liechtenstein, only here to be your…” She gulped loudly. “…date.” she finished quietly.
The Italian’s cheeks flared. “Well…” he started, desperate to change the subject. “…where will you sleep until the ball?” She shrugged as he thought for a second. “You can stay in my tower.” he offered.
Lili smiled and started to giggle, hugging him. “This is going to be so much fun!”
The Yule Ball is the only task associated with the Triwizard Tournament that challenges all male students in the school. Ludwig had all the courage in the world when it came to war and survival, but when it came to girls…he might as well borrow a white flag from Feliciano.
There was one girl in Hufflepuff, a first year, that he would freeze when they were partnered together for class. Her long dirty blond hair usually was tied back while her bangs were always needed to be pushed out of her eyes…those beautiful, vibrant green eyes. She reminded him of Hungary, but freckles sprinkled across her nose and cheeks. When he had a chance to talk to her, his heart leaped into his throat, and his voice cut off. He never even heard her voice directly to him, since she never had reason to talk to him, but when Ludwig had the privilege to have her voice grace his ears when she talked to someone else close by, his brain would hit replay again and again.
Every day, he, Ron, Harry, and Lovino would promise each other that they’d have dates by that night, but they always came back in vain. He’d always check the schedule to see which house he’d have the class with, hoping it’s Hufflepuff, but normally, the only class he’d have Hufflepuff with was in potions, assuming he’d have a class with her that day at all.
The Yule Ball was only a few months away and Ludwig still never even asked that girl her name. “Hey, Ron,” He leaned over. “do you know her name? The green eyed dirty blond?”
“Her?” he asked as the German nodded a little too noticeably. “That’s Jane, Jane Scott.” he introduced.
“Jane…” Ludwig repeated in a lovesick voice. “I want her to go to the ball with me.”
Harry pulled him back. He didn’t even realize he was slowly moving towards the girl. “Hold it there lover boy,”
As he returned from his la-la-land Ludwig could just hear his brother teasing him with something like, “West wants a girlfriend! West wants a girlfriend!” along with that annoying laugh he has with his stupid bird flying circles around his head.
“Does she even know you?” Harry asked.
“We’ve been partners before…and…we see each other from time to time.” he stated.
“Come on Harry,” Ron encouraged. “If he thinks he has the guts to ask her out, then let him try.”
After class, Ludwig went straight to the girl. “H-hello.” He forced himself to talk. “You’re Jane Scott, right?”
As she nodded, she looked closely at him, then smiled. “I know you!” she exclaimed. Ludwig never thought he’d see the day when he’d use the words “British accent” and “voice of an angel” in the same sentence, but that’s the only way he’d describe her voice, like a kind British angel (nothing like Britannia Angel, he’s not sweet enough to even come close). “You’re the kid who always falls asleep in class, and drools on paperwork!”
His cheeks burned red. He now knows what it feels like when Lovino looks like a tomato. He laughed nervously and scratched the back of his head. “Yeah…that’s me…” It was silent for a while before he stated, “I’m Ludwig, Ludwig Doitsu.”
“Pleasure.” she smiled and held out her hand to shake his.
Twenty seconds of embarrassing courage. he remembered France say when he was talking about romance to him as he eyed the hand. Instead of shaking it, he held it up, bowed slightly with his other hand behind his back, and kissed her hand lightly. “Jane Scott, will you do me the honor of joining me at the Yule Ball?”
She leaned in close so she wouldn’t be heard. “I didn’t know first years were allowed there?” He looked up at her. Pink cheeks is a good thing, right? he asked himself.
He stood up straight and smiled. It’s not a rejection! he thought to himself. “Normally, not,” he stated. “but, my best friend is a Triwizard Champion, and gave me, and his brother two tickets each.” Her face slowly turned a darker shade of red. “What do you say?” he asked.
She looked around, bit her lower lip, and then looked back at Ludwig nodding. “That night, come to my portrait on the second floor and meet me outside the common room.” she instructed with a smile as she zipped through the halls.
He stood there for a second, then gave a derpy smile . “See you then, Jane.” he slurred as he dragged himself to his common room. If he were a cartoon, then multiple hearts would be popping around his head and a loopy love song would be playing.
Lovino watched as Ludwig came in the common room in a freaky fashion. “What’s with you potato?” he asked.
“She said yes.” he simply stated.
Confused, Lovi looked to Harry and Ron for enlightenment. “There’s a Hufflepuff girl who he’s been wanting to ask to the ball for a while now, and today, he finally had the courage.” Harry explained.
“And judging from your derpy look, you got lucky.” Ron observed.
“WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?!” Lovino tensed, even his hair curl straightened with a cross loop in the middle, then he was back to normal seconds later with his brows furrowed. “The potato loving bastard got a date BEFORE me?!”
“Gilbert would’ve been so jealous,” Ludwig continued absentmindedly. “she looks almost exactly like Elizabeta.”
“Who?” Harry and Ron asked.
“His brother, Gilbert, has a sort of crush on Elizabeta.” Lovi explained. “But before ME?!” He went straight back to the subject of his most concern. “I mean, really! Arthur sent a girl here from home to be Feliciano’s date, you have a date from potions class, and I’m the only one without a date!”
As if his week couldn’t get any worse, Lovino got in trouble and was punished with detention. It wasn’t his fault that he laughed really hard when Professor Snape happened to find a can of exploding candies instead of his bug toes, and he got detention for something anyone with a sense of humor would do in reaction, simply because no one else in that class had a sense of humor.
Maybe they were his candies and he did put them in the professor’s drawer, but whether or not Snape actually opened the drawer was completely by chance. Maybe he did search for the ingredients Snape would pull out that specific day, but the professor should really keep his files and schedules more secret. So, in the end…yeah…he was guilty.
He sat in the room, a few other kids with him, as the professor went over what his detention is like. “No talking, no communication, no moving. The only moving permitted is breathing. You will be in here for an hour, so don’t even try to look at the clock. Ten points will be taken every time you move, and yes, I will keep track from my office.” He then whipped around and disappeared behind the oak door.
Sitting next to Lovino was a Slytherin girl, seemingly another first year, somewhere between nine and eleven. Her hair was straight up black with a blue shine, and straight as a ruler down her shoulders. Her bangs were straight across at the brows, and her skin was fairly pale. Lovi saw a note slowly slide on the desk from the girl. He looked at it and read it silently. “My name’s Sallin Bones, what’s yours?”
He wrote on the paper as slowly and unnoticeably as he could, “Lovino Vargas”
“You’re Feliciano’s brother?” she wrote back as he slumped and nodded.
“Ten points from Gryffindor!” Snape called from his office.
“What’re you in for Vargas?”
“Exploding candy in Snape’s desk. You?”
“Spray paint on the Slytherin’s curtains.”
“This might seem odd, but how old are you?”
“Ten, first year. Duh.”
An idea struck in Lovi’s mind as he wrote, “Because my brother is a champion, I get two tickets to the Yule Ball, even though I’m a first year. You want the other ticket?”
“Are you asking me to the dance?”
Lovino learned his lesson and wrote, “Yes.” instead of nodding.
“I don’t know. That seems really fancy.”
“If you don’t want to, then I understand.”
“Let’s do it. Christmas Eve, outside the dungeons, six o’ clock. Don’t be late.”
“Is that a yes?”
“You really are like your brother, duh it is!”
They both looked at each other. Sallin’s eyes were a bright green. If he didn’t know better, he’d say that she was really a bad luck black cat in human form…but that was just nonsense.
After detention, Lovino and Sallin walked to her common room because it was closer to Snape’s office, talking the whole way. “So, do you think your brother would win the tournament?”
“Feli?” Lovi asked as he chuckled. “All my brother’s good at is surrendering!”
They laughed as they came up to the portrait. “Well Vargas, this is my stop.” she looked back and punched him in the shoulder. “See you ’round Gryffindor.”
Lovino rubbed his arm where her fist made contact as he watched her whisper her password, and the painting open. While she was half way in the darkness, her lime green eyes looked back at Lovi, and a kind smile graced her thin lips.
Ludwig stayed up, waiting for Lovino until he heard footsteps in the entrance. “Where have you been?”
“Getting a date, that’s where potato!” he answered smugly. “So unlucky, but such a jackpot at the same time,” he described. “like a black cat under a golden rainbow.”
“What’s her name? What’s her house? What does she look like? Tell me everything.”
Under normal circumstances, Lovino would refuse and command he’d mind his own bee’s wax, but if he did that, he wouldn’t be bragging properly. “Her name is Sallin, she’s Slytherin, and she has straight black hair and bright green eyes, like a black cat that was turned human.”
“I don’t think that’s a good idea…” Ludwig started. Lovino eyed him sourly. “She sounds like bad news. Harry and Ron tell me that Slytherins shouldn’t be trusted. I think that if it’s important enough for them to tell me that, then you should listen too.”
“You’re just jealous that my date is cuter looking than yours!” Lovi defended. “She is perfect for me! She has a fantastic sense of humor, she can take care of herself, and she agrees with me that Feli won’t win the tournament!”
“Everyone knows that!” Ludwig shouted. “It’s not about winning! It’s about survival!”
“What if the only way to survive is to win?”
The German slumped, remembering the reason they’re there in the first place. What if Lovino was right and the final task would be a five-way duel where only one champion can make it out alive? “Let’s just hope that there can be more than one survivor when this is all over.”