Disclaimer: Everything you recognize -- such as the characters, certain spells, and the Wizarding community -- belong to JK Rowling. I don't pretend to be the second-richest woman in the world... But I wish I was! Any characters or plots you aren't familiar with came from me.
If your heart is deflated and your soul is sitting heavily inside of you, the sound of music booming loudly in your ears is not something that you greet kindly or with arms wide open. At least that was how I felt as I walked toward the door to tend the ringing bell.
Yep, you guessed it. The party had started, and I wanted nothing more than to go to my room and disappear for a few hours. Of course, it didn't help that the early birds were looking at me as I walked past them. They had appalled expressions caste over their faces; my party wear did not appeal to them.
"It's Christmas, not Halloween. You're about two months behind the rest of the universe." Her voice made my face distort into an uncomfortable cringe. Stopping mid-walk, I spun around to face my least favorite person. Sirius and Remus answered the door instead.
"Lana 'Lingerie' Jones. Yes. I'm sure you've heard. I just love Halloween -- my favorite holiday. Excuse me for not feeling very Christian lately. Actually, don't excuse me because I don't care what you think. If you have a problem with it then I'll go get your boyfriend to knock you two months into the past. That way, you'll have nothing to bitch about besides yourself. Oh wait, I forgot... You don't have a boyfriend. No one likes being cheated on." I wanted to show some sign of victory, but my lips showed no sign of curling upward into what would have been a satisfied smirk.
Lana Lingerie scoffed. "What's that supposed to mean?" she asked heatedly.
"It means you're a slut who -- surprisingly -- isn't knocked up yet." I turned on my heel as the doorbell rang again, this time three times in a row.
When I opened the door, I found myself in slight shock.
"SNIVELLUS!" The chant came from behind me, spoken rather loudly. Heads turned to decipher the commotion. "You actually came." The boys laughed.
Snape stepped inside, his shoulder "accidentally" bumping mine.
"Potter. Black. Lupin. Pettigrew. And..." Severus turned back around to look at me again. "Lupin."
"Well I'll be damned; he knows our names. I wonder what kind of witty remarks he'll throw our way next," pondered Sirius jokingly. I rolled my eyes and shut the front door. Folding my arms over my chest, I continued to watch the miniature show.
"And I wonder what kind of perfume you're using to make yourself smell so much like a girl." Snape smirked.
"I'd like to know why you wonder such a thing," I slipped in with a smile, fully honest and curious. Snape ignored me, but Sirius grinned over at me and winked.
"Well. I have a question for you, Snivellus. What shampoo do you use -- or not use -- probably the second choice -- so that I know not to buy it?" James stared at Snape's greasy head of long, black hair and snorted in laughter. Sirius, Remus, and Peter joined him.
Snape glared at them all, briefly, and he walked away into the crowd. No mercy was given to him.
"Wow, what was that all about?" I was almost too petrified to ask.
"Hey, he asked for it," Sirius claimed, grabbing me around my waist.
"How so?" I laughed.
"You saw the way he shoved you!"
"Actually, I felt it," I corrected.
"Yeah. And it was more of a...bump," Remus put in.
I rolled my eyes while shaking my head. "Whatever. Just don't get physical with him. Verbal, I can deal with. But physical...that's just dumb."
"Why are you always sticking up for him?" Peter asked me unsubtly.
"Yeah, he doesn't like it when people do that. Remember when Lily tried that last year? He called her a Mudblood," Remus hissed. I knew it bothered him that anyone could sink that low.
"Which reminds me," James started playfully. "I never killed him for that. Be right back..." He didn't move, only smiled.
"Wow. I must be dreaming. You're actually talking to me. What happened to hating me?" I said with a hint of sourness.
"I was being an arse. I'm sorry. Plus, I have to talk to you. About Lily. Where is she?" James looked hopeful for my forgiveness.
"Yeah, where is Amber, too?" Remus cut in.
"They aren't here yet, I guess. Is that all you wanted to talk about, Mr. Arse?" I smiled as James laughed in relief of my forgiveness.
"No," said James, becoming more serious. "I have to tell her something, but she won't talk to me. I want you to tell her it's really important. Will you?"
"She'll talk to you. Trust me." I ignored James' request. "Ask her yourself."
The doorbell rang once, but after that, it rang about a dozen times with some short pauses in between a few. That must be Amber. Ha-ha. And since Lily was going to come here with her...
I smiled and opened the door. I always greeted the guests first. It was tradition.
"Is this the house elf I was told about? What happened to Lawnloo and that other one?" Amber stepped inside, her black dress being revealed from underneath her dark red coat.
"Their names are Loola and James." Remus took Amber's coat.
"And I'm not an elf," I said obviously. Everyone laughed, but I didn't know why. It wasn't funny.
"Oh. Right. Same thing!" Amber laughed.
"I don't know how you get Lawnloo out of Loola, though." Remus shook his head, slightly amused by Amber's cute way of forgetfulness.
Still in the cold of the blissful, winter night, the moonlight fluttered off of Lily, who remained silent.
"Are you going to just waste away and let the snow eat you, or are you going to come in and let me take your coat?" James asked cockily. Lily looked up from the stone embedded concrete and let her eyes answer for James. The emerald duo sparkled brightly as she stepped inside the foyer. Lily tugged a strand of hair behind her ear; it had gone astray as James closed the door and forced a breeze her way.
"You look...beautiful." James whispered, as if only they were supposed to know he said it.
"Thanks," Lily smiled, removing her pink coat. She wore the same color ribbon around her waist, which also had a red, silk, sleeveless dress bestowed upon it. She looked perfect, as always...
I knew that no one would notice me that night. Why would they? Besides Lana, nobody cared. I didn't have Lily's eyes or Amber's fashion sense. There was no use in pretending that I did. And nobody -- not even Sirius -- would recognize me.
Thinking this through in my head, I felt my eyes start to burn with salty tears.
"I think I'm going to go upstairs to get...some...thing. Something. I'll be right back," I said, my voice cracking quietly.
It was not only this that made me freak out; it was everything. From my birth to this moment in my life. My so called "Mum" (the word barely applied...) leaving and abandoning her family, my Father's way of trying to protect himself from a distraught heart (not such good news for me), and my Father's death just as he and I were getting along after all our years together. It all came pouring into my mind. My friends didn't understand -- or make the effort to -- and if I lost Sirius, this world would be empty.
I was starting to realize that I was the opposite of a good-luck charm. Everyone that loved me had gone away. I was almost alone. I still had Sirius Black.
As I made my way up the stairs, Sirius sprinted after me. Like a reflex or something.
I turned around slowly after wiping my eyes. I stared at him expectantly.
"Kris, what's wrong?" Sirius put his hand on my shoulder gently, his touch warming me.
I stuttered, "I can't do this."
"Do what?" he asked softly, his gray eyes full of concern.
"This. 'Party.' Be around people. I just need to be alone for a while. I have to get away. From the music, the jokes, the people... I just need to take some time away from reality for a bit." I looked Sirius in the eye, awaiting some sort of response or a sign of one.
He finally stopped thinking his reply through in his head and let me have it. "I'll go with you. The party is getting old, anyway."
It just started... I thought to myself. I listened as he kept talking, trying to tell my thoughts to stop interrupting him.
"Who needs it? We can go do...something else...to get your mind off of things."
Like what, sleep with you? Fat chance. He doesn't get it, does he...? I didn't listen to myself seconds ago. I had to snap at him the only way he couldn't hear me. So let's try to get him to listen in a more gentle way.
"Sirius. Listen to me. I just want to go back home. I want to go somewhere alone. Without anyone. That includes the boy I love." I looked around the room and felt knots twist inside my stomach. It was time to go upstairs where [hopefully] no one would bother me.
"Oh. Well...okay. I'll check up on you in half an hour. Maybe bring you a Christmas cookie and something to drink." Sirius smiled warmly at me. It made me feel guilty. A little.
I smiled back though. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
"Promise me something." I had changed the conversation's path.
"What is it?" Sirius asked, awaiting my answer anxiously.
"Promise me you'll never leave me."
"I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die."
"Stick a needle in the eye?" My mouth stayed open with a small curl of the lips. My eyebrows would not go back down until I heard his confirmation.
"As long as I'm dead first. That needle thing sounds painful."
I relaxed a little then smiled. I ran up the many steps it took to get to my bedroom.
I slowly opened the door, slightly feeling better about myself. Sirius can have any girl in all of God's creation. Girls that are smarter, prettier, and funnier than me. And he just vowed to never leave me.
I glanced around the room and spotted a black overcoat lying on my bed. It didn't belong to me. I wrinkled my eyebrows in confusion.
Folding my arms over my chest, I walked over to the balcony. It overlooked the black, night sky with the sparkling silver stars and moon. The light from my bedroom window bounced off of the white blanket cascading over the ground. The naked trees looked lonely, and there were no animals to fill that void.
As I got halfway into my mind in deep thought, a voice snapped me out of it.
"What are you doing here?"
I looked to see who it was and got upset. He startled me.
"This is my room, Snivellus. My balcony, I should say."
"...Hmmph." Snape released his gaze on me and looked up at the sky again.
"Are you into astronomy?" I inquired, his interest in the sky prompting me to ask. "Maybe you'll be an Astronomy professor when you're out of Hogwarts."
"No. The sky's just good to look at and think. It reminds me of serenity." His answer surprised me.
"What do you have to think about?"
He ignored my question. "Sorry for your loss."
"How did you..." I started off in shock then I gradually built up enough strength to finish my sentence. "How did you find out about that?"
"It's in the Daily Prophet almost every day this week. In the eulogy section."
"And you know this how? Is it a hobby of yours to get the paper every day just to take a glance at the eulogy section??" I was really infuriated that it was in the Daily Prophet. Who else knew? "What are you even doing here?"
"Looking at the sky."
"No. I mean...why are you up in my room and not downstairs with everyone else?" I asked more specifically.
"I could ask the same of you, Lupin." Snape's words slithered out of his mouth. After I said nothing, Snape kept talking. "I was forced to come here by my insufferable Mother. I don't want to be here at all. The least I could do was get away from the imbeciles downstairs."
"Did you tell her that you didn't want to come?" I inquired, my eyes averted to the ground the entire time.
"No," he replied, a scornful expression on his face. "And if I did, she would still make me. I hate my Mother."
"At least you have one." I looked up at the stars. I knew I had a mother somewhere in the world. Unless she was dead. I didn't even know the truth about her. If she was alive or looking for me. If she really did look like me at my age. I knew that she existed, and that I had one, but I didn't know the degree of everything.
"Sometimes I wish I didn't have a mother." Snape looked at the stars, repeating my action.
I glared at him after snapping my head into his direction. "Well don't!"
The night was silent.
Severus seemed inconsiderably taken aback, as his eyes told me. "Whatever."
I wanted to go into a huge rant about just how lucky he was, but I saved my energy. "I think you should leave."
"I was here first. Find your own hiding spot."
"This is my own hiding spot. It's my room!" I exclaimed.
"Technically, you don't own it, so you do not have the requisite to call it yours. If I'm not mistaken, this isn't even your house." Snape was getting me ready to blow up.
"It's called common sense."
"Same thing," I snorted.
"Hardly," Snape said. "You never answered my question, Lupin."
"You never asked me anything," I said pointedly.
"Why aren't you downstairs with your happy little friends?" Snape's voice had bitterness mixed with curiosity.
"My friends are happy because they choose to be. You don't have to be so jealous. And I'm not down there with my 'little friends,' as you put it, because I wanted to be alone. So I came up here like I always do."
"Kind of hard to be alone when you're up here, though. And Sirius is supposed to be checking on me around this time."
"Hip-hip-hurray for you," snapped Snape sarcastically.
I rolled my eyes. "Seriously. You should go. I told Sirius I want to be alone, and if you're here when he comes--"
"Kris," said a deep, familiar voice from behind me. It was Sirius. "So this is why you didn't want me up here; to talk to him. What are you doing?"
I got up after looking Snape in the eye. Snape sort of just scoffed in Sirius' direction with the hint of a smirk playing on his cold lips. I pulled Sirius to the side.
"It isn't what you think, Sirius. We were just talking, and--"
"I know that. I said that. You sure seem to talk to him a lot these days," Sirius replied with a sour expression on his face. "I just want to know why you can't talk to me more often, but you're perfectly comfortable around Snivellus. Of all people."
"Somebody's jealous," retorted Snape with no regret.
"You're gonna want to keep your mouth shut," Sirius blazed, pulling his hand over his chest. His wand was underneath in the inside pocket of his jacket. I slapped his hand. Not hard. Just with enough force to get my point across. In his other hand, he had a sugar cookie in the shape of a reindeer with white frosting and green and red sprinkles spread over it. I looked past him and into my room and saw a bottle of red wine on my dresser top. I shook my head and closed my eyes, letting out a sigh. I could see my breath in the form of gray fog disputing from my mouth and nose.
"Hush up, both of you. Now listen to me. Don't interrupt. There is nothing going on between Snape and I. So, get that image out of your head. And Sirius? It's harder to talk to people I love. About deep things, anyway. I never even meant to be talking to Snape. He was in my room when I got here." I turned to Severus after taking a breath of crisp, cold air. "You can leave now."
He gave me a blank expression before muttering some swear words under his breath. Once he grabbed his coat from my bed and left the bedroom, I shivered from the cold, but I continued talking. I had to settle this.
"I loved my Father very much. Even when he began to control me as I started to look more like my Mum. I loved him. And...he died. At the height of my love for him. The deepest conversation that I've had with him...and he died after that." I felt tears start welling in my eyes. "And now I'm talking to you about significant aspects that I haven't had the strength to tell anybody else."
I looked up into Sirius' eyes. I blinked, letting those tears dance over my cheeks.
"If you love me then you'll understand. I need you to keep me going. It's too late to take everything we said to each other back." I waited for a response, and it took a while for me to read his facial features. Then, he let loose.
"I'm sorry. But... I don't believe you. You could be telling me this just to save yourself. I want to help you. I love you. But I can't do this. We won't be able to work if you don't tell me things that I need to know. And not like this. Not like you have to tell me because I find out awkwardly. I need you to realize that I have to know these things." Sirius hesitated. "I promised you I wouldn't leave you. Half an hour ago."
"I know. I was there."
"I think we need some time away from each other. You need to figure things out. I wouldn't be breaking our promise because I'm not leaving you. We're just taking some time away from each other. To breathe for once. This relationship could go under if we don't take this space. I hope you can understand." Without further ado, Sirius bent over and kissed my right cheek. "Bye."
The whole entire time, my face was contorted into a befuddled sculpture. My eyebrows were glued in position, my bottom lip quivering permanently, and my eyes were narrowed and watering.
"You're making a big mistake," I whispered, my face now back to normal. I was shaking my head while I moved backward a few steps. "And you're wrong. I was breathing just fine. And you just broke your promise. I don't care what you say. I'm not a liar, I'm not selfish, and I never gave you anything but all of me."
He couldn't look at me. I shouldn't have said what I had just said. It just slipped out. That was the truth.
"I've got to go." He slipped the cookie into my right hand and walked away. I shook my head and sat on the bench that I hadn't seen before. Perhaps because of the darkness? I didn't know why I hadn't seen it. I just hadn't. I started nibbling on the cookie, not even remotely hungry.
I stared down at it as it lay in my palm, the head bitten off of the reindeer. I shook my head, closed my eyes, and stood up. I walked over to the edge of the balcony, near the fence. With all of my arm's strength, I threw the cookie into the woods -- into the darkness -- and I let the snow hide it in its frozen embrace.
It was hours later that night. I was out on the balcony still. My bare arms had goose bumps caste over them. My fingers were turning cyanotic. I had gone numb all over. The bitter cold had a deadly kiss against my skin, and it came from all directions. I was alone with my thoughts and the whispering wind's occasional breeze through my hair.
As I was getting used to the idea of being alone – yet trying not to dwell on it – I heard the familiar voice of Lily Evans, my best friend.
"Kristin Ira-Lynn Lupin, what are you doing out here?"
I turned around to face the glowing, sun-kissed face of Lily. The wind blew some strands of her beautiful red hair as she walked into the moonlight toward me. I looked down at my own hair -- uncombed and wet with speckles of snow -- and I frowned.
"Do you have a death wish, Miss Evans?" I referred to her calling me by my full name.
"Kris, come inside. You're looking really, well, you blend in with the snow. And you're turning a purple-ish gray. Here, step inside. It's really cold out here," Lily said, grabbing my arm. She winced. I probably felt like ice. "Geez, where were you made, Antarctica?"
"No," I muttered.
"Well, obviously. How can you stand the snow??? I'm freezing my behind off."
"You're freezing your 'behind' off? Lily, no teenager calls their arse their behind," I said beside the point.
"Why are you even out here without a coat??" Lily asked, still trying to drag me inside. I wouldn't budge.
"I don't know. Snape did it." I shrugged.
"You've lost me now," Lily sighed, tugging at my arm. "Come on! Move. We have to get you inside. You could die, you know."
I ignored her last comment. "He was out here with me. Well, not with me, per se, but I found him out here."
Lily grunted. "Ugh, what a prick."
I laughed nervously. I didn't want the conversation to get any deeper. "Yeah. Prick."
Of course, the great Lily Evans saw right through my cover. That was sarcasm. A monkey could have figured out I was hiding something.
"Hun," Lily started, her hand over my shoulder. "Tell me what's wrong. You can tell me anything."
"Anything?" I questioned in a quiet voice. My voice was never quiet before my Dad died. It was going to take a while for me to build my stamina again.
Lily nodded in reply.
"Okay," I said in that same quiet voice. I didn't like it. "I love Sirius. And he doesn't love me. Even though he said he does. But I was wrong. I should have trusted my instincts in the beginning of the year. It was telling me to stay away from Sirius' game...back when I thought it was a game. Then, that concept faded away. But now it's fading back in, and I realize now that I was stupid to believe otherwise. I am an idiot."
"You are so not an idiot, Kris." Lily had nothing better to say or do than to soothe my mind.
"No, you see, you're wrong. This was what he wanted. To prove he could get me to love him. When he found out that I did, he left. Just like that. And I let him. I am an idiot. I'm not myself. What's happening to me? Ever since my stupid hormones and my heart met, I've been barking mad. And...I know that it's in the past and over with, but I can't help but talk about it. My Dad was the only one living who ever cared about me, even though he never showed it. He's not here to do that anymore." I frowned, my face starting to gain heat from the hot tears that were waiting to fall from the corners of my eyes. "Sirius broke up with me, Lily. Right after I told him about how much I needed him. He basically called me a liar. He thought I was lying, but I wasn't. It was one hundred percent true."
"Hey, hey, hey..." Lily chanted softly, grabbing hold of my hand. She clasped her other hand over it, sandwiching mine in between her own. "You're not alone, Kris. How could you think that? You're Dad, he's still with you. He always will be. And you have me, and Amber, and Remus. James, too. Not to mention Sirius. He cares for you. That's why he let you go. You've still got the Potters to make you feel welcome. They're letting you stay with them. That must mean something, right? The point is, life goes on. You might be too blinded right now to see that you've got people who love you, but you're just lucky I'm here to point it out."
I glanced from my hand to Lily's emerald eyes. She smiled innocently and got up to hug me.
And for the first time that night, I felt uplifted. It wasn't slow and constant. It was rapid and sudden. I got this sudden urge to cloud the whole night and wake up with no memory of it ever happening. I wanted to rid my grudge on Sirius. I wanted my tears back because I felt as though they had been wasted on something that just was not worth crying over.
Scrunching my eyebrows together and sniffling, I linked my arm with one of Lily's. I led the way over to my bed. "Sit." Lily sat down, and I walked over to my dresser quickly and grabbed the bottle that sat on top of it: The red wine that Sirius left.
Running back to Lily, I held up the red wine so that she could clearly see what I possessed. I raised my eyebrows as she smiled gleefully. I smirked and sat down on my bed, pulling the covers over us both.
I uncorked the wine bottle using the edge of my night stand that lay on my bedside. The cork flew into my bathroom and landed in the toilet.
"Three pointer," I cheered.
Lily laughed with me. Feeling disrupted, Manny the Bathroom Ghost popped out of the bathroom. Lily shrieked.
"You have a ghost in your room?"
"I thought you knew?"
She shrugged, too excited to think straight.
I looked over at Manny. He was watching us intently, his glasses sliding down his nose. His dark gold robes had riffles around the cuffs and his black shoes were as shiny as ever.
I put my free index finger up to my lips and mischievously smiled. Manny glided back into the bathroom, this time occupying himself in the shower area. He wouldn't tell anyone. Who would he even tell? He knew I didn't want anyone to know we were about to get drunk out of our brains.
I turned to Lily and smiled. "Here's to forgetting tonight ever happened."
I took a few gulps of wine and wiped my chin. I passed the bottle over to Lily.
"Here's to helping you forget tonight ever happened."
We took our turns drinking until we were too drunk to remember what was going on. We might have even snuck down to the basement to find more wine. The only thing I remembered after that point was the next morning when the volume of the world seemed to maximize by twenty thousand and how I vomited all over James' shoes.