╚╗. The Witches' Wager .╔╝
“I can’t believe they actually did it.” Ginny stared in mild bewilderment at the two wizards at the center of the ballroom. Dressed in formal black robes that complemented each other despite the small differences in style; the two made a handsome couple. They danced slowly and gracefully to the classic waltz being played by the enchanted orchestra and gazed into each others eyes as if it was the last moment they’d ever have together.
“Did they?” Millicent Bustrode giggled, likely having had her champagne glass filled one too many times. “Blaise said they were saving themselves for their wedding night.”
Ginny rolled her eyes at the broad shouldered girl that sat across the table from her. The soft grey gown that she wore looked far less appealing on her than on any of the others seated at the table. It probably wouldn’t have mattered which dress Blaise and Colin had settled on for the female half of their wedding party, Millicent would have been the least attractive in anything. It didn’t help that her wit matched her beauty.
“What I meant,” Ginny clarified, “was that I can’t believe they got married. Colin only graduated from Hogwarts barely a month ago. He hasn’t even experienced life! How could he possible know that Blaise is The One?”
“It was written in the stars,” Luna answered dreamily as she watched the men of the hour twirling around the dance area. “And, of course, the Prophetic Purple Platypus predicted their pairing.”
The ease at which the words danced off her lips was baffling to Ginny. It sounded like a silly tongue twister and still, Luna managed to make it sound like a perfectly rational explanation. Of course, that may have been because Ginny had just finished her third drink of the night.
There was a pause from the entire table before Hermione broke the silence. “I think it’s sweet.”
“Please, Hermione. You, of all people, should agree with me. It’s not very sensible,” Ginny argued.
Hermione sighed. “Everyone thought Colin was dead for three full hours last year, including him. He just wants to live life to its fullest with the one he loves. Sensible or not, they are happy, Gin."
“I know.” Ginny wrinkled her nose. She’d never met a couple so disgustingly sweet on each other. “I suppose it is their life. If they want to settle for each other, that’s their choice.”
“Oh, come on, Gin. Someday you’ll be settling down and you won’t have much room to speak,” said Hermione.
“What makes you think I’d ever want to tie myself down?” Ginny said as if it were the most appalling thing she’d ever heard.
Hermione looked slightly taken aback. “I just assumed – ” she began.
“That I’d marry and pop out half a dozen kids like my mother?” Ginny finished for her. She snorted in amusement. “Not bloody likely.”
Pansy Parkinson had been quietly sipping on a very colorful drink that had a miniature umbrella sticking out of it. “Well, isn’t that what you Weasley women do?” she asked, deciding to add her two knuts into the conversation. It had been Blaise’s wish that all the bridesmaids be seated at the same table during the reception, likely an effort for both his and Colin’s friends to attempt to get along. Pansy didn’t mind so much as long as there was an open bar.
Ginny ignored Pansy’s mocking tone. “I have better things to do with my life than settle down with some chauvinistic arse who is incapable of taking care of himself.” As the floating drink tray passed, she grabbed a glass full of a neon green liquid with smoke oozing out over the top.
“Ginny, I think maybe you’ve had one too many tonight,” Hermione scolded as she watched the redhead take a healthy swallow from the tumbler.
“It’s not that I begrudge my parents for having a humongous family,” she continued as if she hadn’t heard Hermione’s reprimand. “But men in general are hopeless.”
“You know, Weasley, I have to agree with you on that one,” Pansy said with only a subtle slur. “Wizards are only good for two things – shagging and – ” she furrowed her brows in deep contemplation.
“And?” Millicent asked. She look to Pansy as if the next word exiting her mouth was the answer to the greatest mystery of the universe.
“I must have miscounted,” Pansy answered .
“Wizards are good for much more than that.” Hermione sounded almost defensive.
“Of course they are,” Luna concurred. “But I wouldn’t want to marry one any time soon.”
“Me either,” Ginny snickered, though she was sure Luna’s reason was more along the lines of incorrect planet alignment or not being blessed by the moon faeries as opposed to being a liberated witch.
“Honestly, I don’t see myself marrying anytime soon either, but that doesn’t mean – ” Hermione started before she was interrupted by a sudden burst of giggling coming from Pansy, who seemed less than coherent.
“Bet you’d be the first to marry yourself off,” she said between giggles.
For some reason this struck Hermione as offensive. “What about you?” she shot back. “I thought your only goal in life was to get married and produce an heir?”
Pansy only laughed harder.
“I would wager on Millicent being the first.” The entire table stared at Luna, not sure whether to believe her serious tone. When eyes turned to Millicent’s dumbfounded look, the remainder of the table burst into hysterical laughter. Hermione was the only one sober enough to feel guilty for joining in, but the idea of Millicent Bulstrode latching on to some poor man and dragging him down the aisle was too amusing.
“The reward should really go to the last one to get married since we’re all so damned certain none of us will be the first,” Ginny suggested as the last of the laughter died down.
“Now that’s an idea!” Pansy burst out excitedly. “A Witches' Wager. The last one to get married gets five hundred Galleons from each of the other witches involved.”
“Five hundred Galleons is a lot of money, Parkinson. Not all of us can reach into our daddy’s pocket and produce that kind of payment,” Ginny pointed out.
“Well, it could be years before there’d be a winner. It wouldn’t be hard to stow a few Galleons away in a vault every year,” Hermione said sounding very reasonable.
The idea was beginning to sound very good to Ginny.
“Yes, we could all put money into a vault at Gringott’s every year,” Pansy pondered aloud.
“And then maybe it should be invested,” Milli added. “Daddy says there’s more money to be made by putting it to use.”
“Brilliant!” Ginny said after recovering from the fact that Milli had a moment of intelligence. The stocky former Slytherin beamed with pride.
“So we’re all in agreement, then?” Pansy asked.
“I don’t know,” Hermione said doubtingly. “I don’t approve of gambling.”
“But Hermione, think of the wedding you could throw if you won the money. And really, it’s not even gambling. Just a little agreement between a few witches. We’re not breaking any laws,” Ginny pushed.
“Right, Granger. I’ll even let you be in charge of the money.” Pansy seemed far too agreeable, but Hermione couldn’t really argue against being in charge. And Ginny was right. They weren’t exactly breaking any laws.
“Fine then. Everyone at this table who agrees will be involved in the wager,” Hermione said in her most businesslike voice.
“But Looney said I’d be the first to get married,” Millicent said worriedly.
“Oh hush, Milli. You probably have the best shot at winning,” Pansy goaded. Millicent only took a moment to roll the thought around in her heavily burdened head before she shrugged her shoulders and agreed.
“Should we make a toast then?” Luna asked raising a tall glass with purple and orange swirling around in it.
“To the Witches' Wager!”
Five glasses raised in agreement of the most unusual contract any of them had ever been involved in.