HP, 1400 words, rated G.
Crabbe and Goyle need partners for the Yule Ball.
I asked for an HP challenge and dorrie6 said, "Write something that conveys the idea of jealousy without ever using the word (or any other related words or phrases)." I must confess that I completely blew the 35 minute time limit. This is more like 65 minutes plus a quick edit.
"I'm going with Pansy," Draco said. "You two had better find yourself partners."
"Partners?" Goyle said.
"Dates," Draco said.
"Yes, fathead, someone you like."
Goyle's forehead wrinkled up. "Someone we like."
"Girls," Crabbe told him.
Crabbe didn't get to talk to girls all that much, but he was around when Draco talked to them. He thought he would like to go to the ball with Daphne because she had curly hair and a nice smile and when he saw her, he got a funny feeling in his stomach.
But the problem was that when he saw her, his throat also got all tight and his mouth froze up and so he couldn't get the words "Would you go to the Yule Ball with me?" out of his mouth.
Goyle seemed to understand when Crabbe confided in him. "You want Daphne to be your partner?"
"Yes, but I can't talk to her. What should I do?"
Crabbe could almost see the wheels turning in Goyle's head. Slowly. Squeakily. But Goyle sometimes got there eventually. "I know," he said. "I could ask her for you."
That was perfect! Since Goyle didn't fancy Daphne, he wouldn't seize up when he tried to talk to her. "Ask her now, before someone else does."
Goyle nodded and lumbered across the common room. Crabbe kept his head down and watched out of the corner of his eye. When Goyle pointed over at him and Daphne's head swung around, Crabbe quickly looked over at the fire instead. It was all flamey and burning.
"Crabbe." Goyle sat in the chair opposite.
"What did she say?"
"She said that if you ever dared to talk to her again, she would curse you until your nose dropped off."
"But I've never even talked to her at all!" Crabbe felt like someone had crumpled his heart up like a piece of parchment. Daphne didn't like him!
"So, I guess that didn't work. Do you want to play Gobstones now?"
Crabbe didn't want to do anything at all, except perhaps die from mortification and grief. But Draco would be angry if they didn't find someone to take to the ball. "No, we still have to find partners. How about Tracey?"
"Uh..." Goyle said.
"The blonde one with the crooked nose," Crabbe said. Tracey was quiet a lot of the time and she didn't seem any better at talking to boys than Crabbe was at talking to girls. But maybe that was good. "I'll write her a note. Then neither of us has to talk."
"Should I give it to her?"
"No," Crabbe said. Tracey might faint if she saw Goyle charging her way.
"Then you can use my owl."
"Is he still roosting in the dormitory?" Goyle's owl Ferdinand didn't like the owlery so he spent most of his time perched on Goyle's footboard and making a mess of the floor.
"You write the note and I'll take it up."
"Then we'll go out before she gets the note." Crabbe found a spare piece of parchment and scribbled on it.
Will you go to the Yule Ball with me?
Goyle took the note and went upstairs. It was a long time before he came back and Crabbe started to get nervous. Finally, he showed up. "Ferdinand was hungry so I had to give him a box of owl treats before he would go."
"Come on," Crabbe said. "Let's go now." They headed out to the grounds and found a quiet spot to play Gobstones. Crabbe was feeling so nervous that he lost over and over.
They were just starting the thirteenth game when Ferdinand arrived with a folded parchment clamped in his beak. Goyle handed it to Crabbe.
You sicken me. I hope you choke on a sausage and die.
Crabbe felt even more crumpled up now. Crumpled and torn. Why did he make Tracey sick? Was it his spots? They were much better now than before. Maybe he was ugly. "Goyle, am I ugly?"
Goyle stared at him for a while. "No," he said.
Maybe Tracey was just cranky for no reason. Girls were like that sometimes. "Who can I ask now?" Crabbe was running out of options. He couldn't go with someone who wasn't in Slytherin. Maybe there were some third years he could ask. "How about Emily Jackson?"
"Zabini already asked her."
"Violet Partridge? No, she has a boyfriend. Annette Lewis?"
"Who is that?"
"She's the one with stringy black hair and glasses." Crabbe realised he hadn't seen her around lately. "I think she left school." He sighed and rubbed the top of his head. "I guess there's only once choice left. Millicent."
Goyle looked alarmed. "I don't want to talk to Millicent." He had avoided her ever since their first year when she stole his packet of cakes from home and then knocked him down when he tried to get them back.
Crabbe didn't especially want to talk to Millicent either. There had to be another way. But not a note. That was clearly a bad idea. "What can we do to put her in a good mood first?"
This threw Goyle into another thinking fit. At last he got a sort of bright look on his face. "You could give her some chocolates."
Crabbe stared. "That's a really good idea. But I don't have any chocolates and there's no Hogsmeade day before the ball."
"I have some I was saving," Goyle said. "You can have them."
Crabbe was touched. To think that Goyle would give up his own chocolates for Crabbe. He clapped Goyle on the shoulder. "Thank you," he said. "I'll give them to her tomorrow at breakfast. Then I can ask her about the ball after our first lesson."
In the morning, Goyle handed Crabbe a small box. It was black and had "Bloggs Best Assortment" written on it in silver letters. "This has got to work," Crabbe said.
"I hope so," Goyle said.
"What about you?" Crabbe said. They had been spending all their time on finding a partner for Crabbe. "Who are you going to ask?"
Goyle looked uncomfortable. "I asked a bunch of girls already and they all said no."
It wasn't really surprising, but Crabbe felt bad for Goyle. After he had got things fixed up with Millicent, he'd work on a plan for getting someone for Goyle. Maybe Draco would help.
At breakfast, Crabbe levitated the chocolate box and sent it down the table to settle in front of Millicent, narrowly avoiding her toast and honey. He had attached a small label with "from Vincent" on it and he hoped she would remember that Vincent was him.
Millicent took the box and looked over at Crabbe. Her eyes narrowed. Crabbe thought that maybe he should be out of the way until the chocolates had had a chance to sweeten her. He grabbed Goyle and dragged him out of the hall.
After Transfiguration, Crabbe thought this would be a good time to talk to Millicent. He sidled up to her in the corridor and started his prepared speech. "Millicent," he said, "would you--" And then she punched him in the mouth and knocked him down.
"Don't ever do something like that again," she said and kicked him in the ribs for emphasis before bounding away.
Crabbe felt less like a crumpled wad of parchment and more like a crumpled wad of pain. His lip was bleeding and he was going to have a massive bruise on his side.
"Maybe she doesn't like chocolates," Goyle said.
"What am I going to do?" Crabbe said. "There's no one else to ask."
"I guess we'll have to go without girls," Goyle said and helped Crabbe up off the floor.
At the ball, they sat together at a table and watched as happy couples swirled past. Draco and Pansy stopped by in between dances. Pansy pointed at Crabbe and shrieked with laughter. "I heard that you gave Millicent Bulstrode a box of chocolates with dead beetles inside." Crabbe's mouth dropped open. "And you sent Tracey a hexed letter that turned her nose blue and told Daphne she was fat." Pansy looked at Crabbe and smirked. "You're the one who could do with some slimming." She screeched once more and dragged Draco off with her.
Crabbe stared at Goyle.
"So," Goyle said. "Do you want to dance?"