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Strange and Beautiful by Proud Hufflepuff
Chapter 3 : Masquerading
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 22

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She's on your mind, she's on your mind.
-The Fray: Over My Head (Cable Car)

The night of the Hogwarts Masquerade Ball had finally arrived. For some unbeknownst reason, Sirius was both angry and happy. Butterflies danced about his stomach and he didn’t know why.

“C’mon, Padfoot; put the letter down,” James said as he pranced about their dormitory. Sirius reluctantly put Alina’s apology note in his trunk. The originally smooth surface of the parchment had been crumpled over the week from it being read multiple times.

“Don’t get too excited, James,” Sirius grumbled moodily as he straightened out his dress robes. The Marauders decided to masquerade as The Three Musketeers, but changing it to The Four Musketeers so that each of them could dress up.

Sirius looked in the mirror and ruffled his hair. He placed his mask carefully on his face before putting his feathered hat on his mess of black hair.

“Where’s Peter?” Sirius said as he turned away from the mirror. James and Remus exchanged nervous glances.

“He’s, erm, he’s picking Alina up,” Remus stammered.

“Oh,” Sirius said, feeling that strange sensation in his chest.

“I’m off to get Lily. Have fun,” James said, avoiding the rest of the conversation. He quickly ran down the stairs and the dormitory fell silent.

“You like her, do you not, Padfoot?” Remus questioned with a knowing grin on his face.

“I do not,” Sirius said, turning away from his friend. Remus walked closer to Sirius and smirked.

“I thought so,” he said as he turned out of the room.

“You should get Lindy soon,” Remus added, turning around for a brief moment.

The strange burning of anger in Sirius’s chest grew and grew. He picked up a glass vase and threw it against the wall before leaving the room himself.

“Sirius!” Lindy squealed once Sirius had arrived in the common room. He sighed heavily and took her arm, escorting her out of the common room.

“You look adorable tonight,” Lindy whispered seductively in Sirius’s ear. He would typically have taken the invitation, but that rage in his blood stopped him.

“You don’t look too bad yourself,” he mumbled, looking at her dress which showed a bit too much. “You ought to cover yourself.”

She scoffed and let go of his arm. He felt a smirk curl on his lips as he entered the Great Hall. He watched with a strange delight as she left his side to be with her friends.

“Where’s Lindy?” James said curiously as he came up behind Sirius with Lily.

“She left,” Sirius said, shrugging his shoulders and looking about the room for Peter. His eyes danced over the intricate details that had been placed about the room. It had been changed from a medieval-looking dining hall into something that looked like it had come out of a fairy tale.

“I noticed that,” James said, trying to hold back a smirk. Sirius turned around to face James and Lily. Lily seemed to be somewhat happy, but still agitated that James and Sirius hadn’t actually finished their essay.

“I told her that she should cover herself more,” Sirius said, shrugging his shoulders once more and stuffing his hands in his pockets.

“That’s an understatement,” Lily muttered, still glancing about the Great Hall. A smirk crawled on James’s lips.

“Good luck with the rest of the evening, mate,” James said as he walked away with Lily. Sirius sat down at the nearest table and watched the different students. He sighed heavily and left the Great Hall.

Sirius slowly made his way to the banks of the Black Lake. He stopped once he got there and picked up a stone. He examined it carefully before tossing it. He watched with great interest as it skipped across the water.

Something across the lake caught his eye. A girl was walking slowly around it. Her dress reminded him very much of a fairy tale princess. She slowly picked up the tulle skirt of the dress and kicked off her shoes. He took notice that she didn’t take off her elegant mask.

He stood, staring blindly for a few moments before he realized that the girl had caught his eye. She put her shoes back on and began walking around the lake to where Sirius was standing. He wanted so badly to run, but his feet seemed to be glued into the ground. He sighed and began skipping more rocks across the pond.

“Peter asked me to talk to you,” a soft voice said from behind him. Sirius slowly turned around to see Alina. She was the girl who had been across the lake. He noticed that she was holding her mask at her side.

“Did he?” Sirius said moodily as Alina sat down quietly in the grass beneath a large tree. She nodded and watched him as he continued skipping rocks. Once he ran out of rocks, he sat down across from her and started pulling grass out of the ground.

“What are you so angry about?” she said quietly as she pulled her knees closer to her chest. He looked up at her, still feeling furious.

“Who said I was angry?” Sirius chided as he sprawled out on the grass. Alina didn’t say anything, but instead put her hand over his heart.

“That did,” she whispered as though she was afraid of his reaction. He looked at her again and put his hand on his gut. She quickly took her hand off his chest and looked away.

“What did Peter want you to tell me?” Sirius said. He sat up, propping himself up on his arms. He stretched his legs out in front of him.

“He didn’t say exactly,” Alina said quietly as she traced shapes in the grass and the dirt. “He did say something about it not working out between us because of something. He wouldn’t say what, though.”

Sirius nodded, having a feeling that the something was him. He couldn’t quite put the puzzle pieces together as to why his friends thought he liked Alina.

“Sirius?” she said quietly, picking at the beading on her mask. He lay back down in the grass and placed his hand on his stomach. He didn’t say anything, but waited for her to finish.

“Peter is your friend; what do you think he wanted me to say to you?”

Sirius shrugged and stood up, leaning against the tree trunk. Alina stayed where she was and looked down at her feet. A strand of her hair fell out of its elegant up ‘do. She didn’t seem to mind, though.

“How did it go with Lindy this evening? I didn’t see you two together,” Alina said after a while, looking up at Sirius. He took his hands out of his pockets and slid down into a sitting position. When he sat down, he realized that he was mere centimeters away from Alina. He started sweating a bit and the butterflies in his stomach fluttered quicker.

“I told her to cover herself and that didn’t go over very well,” Sirius said, chuckling nervously. Alina smiled and put her mask in her lap. He felt a strange urge to reach out and touch her hair or her cheek, but his better judgment told him not to.

Alina turned away from Sirius and looked at the reflection of the stars and the moon on the midnight blue lake. Sirius found himself looking at her rather than the lake.

“Erm, would you, erm, like to dance?” he said, looking away bashfully.

“Sure,” she said simply. He stood up, trying to hide his excited smile. He didn’t understand any of his actions that evening, but decided to go with them.

“May I have this dance?” he asked, holding out his hand. Alina smiled and took the offered hand as she stood up. He placed his hands on her slim waist and she wrapped her arms around his neck. The moment tasted oddly sweet to Sirius.

“Sirius, you’re sweating,” Alina said as she looked at Sirius.

“I’m not sweating. Am I?” Sirius said, worried that she’d think him odd for sweating in the perfect temperature.

Why do I give a damn what she thinks?

Maybe you like her, just as they said.

I do not!

How else do you explain this, then?

“You’re sweating, Sirius,” Alina said, smiling a bit and confirming his fear. “Perhaps you should go to Madam Pomfrey.”

“No, no. I’ll be fine,” he said as they broke apart. They sat down against the tree again.
“You look very dashing this evening,” Alina said, turning her head and blushing. Sirius laughed.

“Thank you. Not too shabby yourself,” he said, still smiling and holding his hat and mask in his hand. Alina smiled, took the hat from Sirius’s hand and placed it on her own head. He couldn’t help but laughing. She looked utterly ridiculous.

“Do I really look that silly?” she joked, holding the hat up so that she could see him. Sirius laughed as he took the hat off her head.

“Yes,” he said simply as he helped her off the ground. She smoothed out the skirt of the dress and pinned one of her stray curls back.

“You lot haven’t pulled any pranks this year,” Alina said once they reached the half-way point between the lake and the castle. 

“No we haven’t,” Sirius said, yearning to change the subject. “So…Hogsmeade is tomorrow.”

“It is,” she said, smiling. He was hoping that it wasn’t because of the stupidity of his statement.

You like her, you daft moron.

I do not!

“Would you, erm, like to go with me? I mean as, erm, as friends,” he stuttered. Alina smiled again.

“As friends,” she said, twisting her mask around.

A/N: Well? Review and tell me what you think! :)

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