A Basketful of Surprises

"That would be so great! Thanks, Lavender!" Elian exclaimed. Then released a slightly shocked Lavender. "Heh, sorry, I do that when I get excited…" Elian apologized, slowly sitting back down an Hermione's bed. "Anyway, I have Transfiguration, Charms, Care of Magical Creatures, Potions, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Ancient Ruins and Arithmacy." All four of the other girls raised their eyebrows.

"Wow, you're taking a lot different classes aren't you?" Ginny asked. "More than Hermione…" Elian blushed and laughed a little. "I'm serious… Hermione's like the biggest bookworm and is taking so many classes I don't think I could count them. You just might be able to give her a run for her money…" Elian shook her head at this.

"No, I don't think so… Hermione's a lot smarter than I am…but it's like I said earlier about Muggle-borns…More powerful and a hell of a lot smarter than most purebloods." Hermione blushed lightly again.

"How did you know I was a Muggle-born?" she asked Elian, who had a knowing glint in her eyes, then shrugged. "Come on tell me. Did you read it somewhere or what?" Hermione pressed for information.

"No, I could just tell. There's just something about you…your energy…" Elian said, once again staring out the window. "I don't really know how I knew…I've been able to tell things about people like if their muggle-born, half or pure blood. And like if their really good, or really evil." Ginny looked up when Elian said that.

"So, is that why you asked me if we might be wrong about Malfoy?" Ginny asked, Elian nodded. "You don't think he's really a Death Eater? Well, no offense, but I think your sense about people is way off when it comes to him." Ginny said glancing at Hermione, who nodded in agreement.

"Why are we talking about Draco Malfoy?" Parvati asked slightly confused. Hermione shrugged and made a gesture towards Elian. "Oh… so, why don't we al get ready to hit the sack? We have to get up really early in the morning." Ginny and Elian climb off of Hermione's bed and walk over to their own.

"Well, see you guys in the morning." Elian called to the fours girls as she climbed into her own bed and closed the curtains around it. As soon as her head hit the pillow Elian was fast asleep and didn't hear the conversation that Ginny, Hermione, Lavender and Parvati were having.

Sometime during the night, Elian awoke with a start, her ears were ringing. She had been dreaming that Hermione, Ginny, Parvati and Lavender had started talking about her after she had fallen asleep…but there was no way they would do that. Right?

Hermione held her finger to her lips when she heard the sound of Elian's sheets rustling. "Quiet. I think she might be waking up." she whispered to the three other girls sitting on her bed. "We can't risk her hearing us." Ginny nodded.

"And we can't let her know what we're planning, either. I want this to be a complete and total surprise." Ginny whispered, peeking out from behind the curtain of Hermione's bed. "Now, do we all understand the plan?" Elian laid staring up at the canopy of her bed.

'What are they planning that has to be a surprise? And why can't they tell me?' Elian thought sadly to herself, tears forming in her eyes. She blinked them away furiously and turned onto her side. 'Well, whatever their planning, I hope it doesn't involve me or Draco…' her eyes became heavy again and slowly closed, Elian then drifted into a very peaceful sleep.

The next morning, Ginny tore open the hangings around Elian's bed, sunlight flooded over her body, startling her awake. "Gin…what the hell? Are you trying to blind me?" Elian asked pulling her blanket over her head.

"You're not a morning person, are you?" Ginny asked, laughter contained in her voice. "Well, too bad! You have to get up or you'll be late for breakfast!" Elian shot up at the mention of breakfast. "Wow. Um, I'll wait for you in the Common room." Ginny walked over to the open door and walked out heading to the Common room.

'Well, maybe they decided not to got through with whatever their plan is…" Elian hoped as she pulled on her school robes and quickly walked out of the dormitory, closing the door behind her.

When she walked into the Common room, Elian was hit by a wave of cheers and scarlet and gold banners hanging everywhere. "WELCOME TO GRYFFINDOR!" or "WELCOME TO HOGWARTS!" filled her ears as tears filled her eyes.

At the front of the crowd of Gryffindor students stood Ginny, Ron, Harry, Hermione and Lavender and Parvati. Ginny ran over to Elian and pulled her towards the crowd. "So, did we surprise you!" she asked over the noise. Elian nodded vigorously. "Good! But this is only half of the surprise! Just you wait!" Ginny yelled excitedly. Elian was then hugged by all of her friends and was then lead out of the portrait hole and down to the Great Hall.

Once they all arrived in the Great Hall, Elian was astounded to see welcome banners hanging from the ceiling as well. "You guys did all this for me?" Elian asked surprised. Her friends nodded. "Thanks, you guys are the best friends a transfer student like me could ever ask for." She said as she sat down at the Gryffindor table.

"Again, the surprise isn't even half over. Prepare yourself for the rest of the day." Hermione said, smiling widely. "Especially tonight's surprise…" Ginny hit Hermione lightly on the shoulder.

"Ix-nay! You weren't supposed to mention that, Hermione!" Ginny said, casting a slightly nervous glance over at the Slytherin table. "Anyway, I'm not sure that's even been agreed to yet…plus we'll have to find her something to wear." Elian looked at the two of them confusedly.

"What exactly are you two planning for her?" Harry asked, sounding slightly suspicious. Ginny and Hermione shrug nonchalantly. "What aren't you two telling me and Ron?" he asked, the suspicion in his voice growing more evident.

"Nothing to important, Harry. And even if it was important, it would be completely none of yours or Ron's business." Hermione replied, also glancing over at the Slytherin table nervously. "Anyway, we'll catch up with you later, Elian. We have to go talk to the Headmistress about something. Bye!" With that Hermione and Ginny disappeared from the Great Hall, followed closely by Lavender and Parvati.

"Okay, that was just creepy." Ron commented, looking at Elian, who looked as confused as he and Harry felt. Suddenly as though by magic, Draco Malfoy appeared beside Harry and Ron. "What the hell are you doing over here, Malfoy?" Ron asked him angrily.

"Nothing, just taking a stroll about the Great Hall. Stretching my legs." Draco replied, glancing over at Elian, who had started giggling softly and now started to blush. "Well, see you around. Bye, Marshall." Draco turned and started walking back over to the Slytherin table.

"Okay, what was that about?" Elian asked, starting after Draco. Harry and Ron shrug simultaneously. "Well, this food isn't going to eat it's self, now is it?" Ron then nodded in agreement and sat down next to Elian, both of them started heaping food onto the plates, while Harry stood, his eyes still following Malfoy.

"Hey, Harry, what are you looking at?" Ron asked, his mouth full of scrambled eggs. "Come on, what's up? You got this really serious look on your face, mate…" Harry sat down beside Ron, still immersed in his thoughts.

'Their whole plan is rather suspicious…what exactly are they hiding?' he thought starting to place small amounts of food on his plate. Elian glanced over at Harry, a slight glint of concern in her eyes.

"Really, Harry, what's bothering you? You seem kinda upset about something…" she said, slightly returning her attention back to her plate. As she lifted her fork to her mouth, Harry opened his to speak.

"It's Ginny and Hermione's whole secretive plan. It has me worried." he admitted. Elian giggled softly as Ron started laughing. "What's so funny about that?" he asked.

"That's it? Jeez, Harry, paranoid much?" Ron asked, laughter still in his voice. "Anyways, if they're talking to McGonagall about it, it can't be that horrible." Elian nodded in agreement.

Hermione, Ginny, Lavender and Parvati walked back into the Great Hall, talking and giggling softly. As they came closer Harry could heard them mention a ball and finding Elian decent gown.

"Hey, has the Headmistress come in yet?" Hermione asked looking up at the head table. Harry shook his head. "Oh, well, she must still be considering our suggestion…" As Hermione said this, Professor McGonagall walked into the great Hall and took her seat.

McGonagall then stood to her feet and cleared her throat. "May I please have your attention?" the hall quieted considerably as all the students turned their attention towards the head table. "Thank you, I have been approached by Miss Weasley, Miss Granger, Miss Brown and Miss Patil, they have asked me for permission to hold a welcome ball in honor of Miss Elian Marshall. And I have sanctioned this event, also as a special treat, all of your classes have been canceled for today."

Tremendous cheers filled the Hall and McGonagall quickly held her hands up for silence. "This is only a one time occasion, do not expect this to happen again for quite some time. Now after you have all finished consuming your breakfast, you may level-headedly exit the Great Hall. As such, a special trip to Hogsmeade has been arranged to." With that said, McGonagall dismissed them.

They all ran excitedly ran out of the Great Hall and towards the respective Common rooms.

Once inside the Gryffindor Common room, Harry asked "You guys went to the headmistress to ask if you could have a ball for Elian?" The four giggling girls, who had surrounded Elian and were paying no attention to Harry or Ron. "Hey, I'm talking to you!" Hermione looked up at him. "Why did you guys do something like that?" Hermione then shrugged and smiled slightly.

"Just wanted to do something nice for Elian, Harry. Do you find anything wrong with that?" she replied, Harry shook his head. "Good, now go away and take Ron with you!" Ron looked up at the mention of his name.

"Can't you guys go be girly somewhere else?" he complained. Ginny looked at her brother, a sour look on her face. "What? What'd I do?" he asked. A five girls shook their heads and walked towards their dormitory.

"We were just talking…we weren't being girly, Ron." Ginny called back to her brother from the girl's staircase. Ron and Harry then heard a door being slammed (very loudly). Harry looked over at Ron quizzically, then they both shrugged and headed for their own dormitory.

In the girl's dormitory, Elian sat at Ginny's vanity, while Lavender gave her a manicure. "Um, why did you guys ask McGonagall if you could have a ball in my honor? What's the reasoning behind it?" Elian asked curiously, wincing slightly when Lavender began to push back her cuticles.

"Well, like Hermione said, we wanted to do something nice for you…right, girls?" Lavender said as she continued to push back Elian's cuticles. "Plus, Gin has her own reasons for doing it…" she added mysteriously.

"Yeah, I like balls…" Elian started giggling uncontrollably, soon joined by Hermione, Lavender and Parvati. A look of comprehension crossed Ginny's face. "I didn't mean those kinda balls!" Her face was now a very bright red.

"Sure, you didn't, Gin." Parvati said, still giggling slightly. "But, don't worry, we won't tell your brother…" At this all five of them started laughing loudly. When they all finally stopped laughing and talking about God only knows, it was a quarter past twelve. "Oh, we still have to go to Hogsmeade! We should get going, all we have to do will take us at least six hours!" Elian looked surprised.

"What are we doing that could possibly take six damn hours?" she asked, only to receive, innocent smiles from her friends. "Oh, I hate it when you guys do that!" she yelled, exasperated.

As they lead Elian back down to the Common room, it was shockingly empty, occupied only by Harry and Ron. "Hey, we were beginning to wonder when you girls would come down." Harry said, looking up at them as the came down the stairs. "So, are you ready to go to Hogsmeade?" They all nod in agreement. Harry and Ron stood to their feet and waked over to them.

"Well, let's go." Ron said, taking Hermione by the hand and leading her towards the portrait hole. Harry did the same with Ginny. Elian, Lavender and Parvati were left standing by themselves in complete confusion, which was mirrored on Hermione and Ginny's faces. Once they had all exited the Common room they made their way down to the Entrance Hall, which was over crowded with students.

"Whoa. I didn't expect it to be this packed." Ron said as he began to clear a path for them through the crowd to the door. "Okay." Ron slowly started to open the door, which opened smoothly.

"Wow." Elian whispered as she looked over the Hogwarts grounds. "It's gorgeous." Lavender dragged Elian by the hand out the door and across the grounds. "Ow, Lav, take it easy!" Lavender shook her head.

"We have to catch up! They walked off while you were starting at the grounds!" Lavender replied, once again shaking her head. Elian blushed and mumbled an apology. "Don't worry about it…we just have to hurry so we can find you the perfect dress!" Elian nodded.

'Perfect dress? Why does it have to be perfect?' she thought as she and Lavender entered Hogsmeade. 'Wow, this village is beautiful…' Elian thought as she looked at the old buildings that surrounded her. "Lav, where are we going? Everyone else went into the Three Broomsticks…" Lavender just smiled back at her.

"Don't worry, we need to get a head start on your dress, remember?" Elian nodded. Lavender continued to pulled Elian behind her, until she came to a small shop that sat off by it's self. "Well, here we are!" Lavender said happily. Elian started at the shop, narrowing her eyes slightly.

"Right." Elian said as she and Lavender entered the shop. Elian was astounded by the numerous beautiful dress, but one in particular caught her eye. It was strapless, made from black silk, only coming down to the mannequin's thighs, she then walked over to it, leaving Lavender to talk with the shop's owner.

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