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with birds in her hair by evie_doherty
Chapter 19 : The rare and the beautiful
 
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Chapter 19: The Rare and the Beautiful.


Disclaimer: JK owns all, except Vienna and the plot. The chapter title comes from Cressida Connolly’s great history book on the 1920s English and French societies.





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‘They wanted to speak, but could not; tears stood in their eyes... They were renewed by love; the heart of each held infinite sources of life for the heart of the other.
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment





The time at Hogwarts was drawing to a close. For those in the younger years whose schooling life still extended into the future; Hogwarts promised many more illicit broom closet encounters, many more foot long essays, many more unworthy detentions. But for those in seventh year it was the end. The end of seven years of mischief, misunderstandings, misbehaviour and misapprehension. The end of seven years of joy, distress, ecstasy, despair.

But it was not quite there yet. There were at least 3 (4 counting the train ride) days of ‘ending’ left, where students wandered through the corridors, wistfully remembering the last time they’d leant romantically against that sandstone wall, the last time they had been dragged ‘coyly’ into that deserted classroom, the last time they had flooded the bathrooms in anguish, the last time they had stolen moments with friends behind classroom doors, conducting youthful séances and circles of truth.

When you come of age you lose a little of the child in you too. Some people joke, saying that at midnight you are suddenly imbued with all sorts of adult responsibilities, wisdom and thought. And though that is, quite obviously, an exaggeration it is true that at midnight a tiny little bit of that childish exuberance and innocence is forgotten in place of the (on the most part) undiscovered world of alcohol and apparition and previously unattainable weapons like knives.

So it was for the Hogwarts students. When you leave a school like Hogwarts you also leave behind the little kid in you that wandered in at eleven, scared beyond its wits at the thought of beginning not only a new school, but for many, a new way of life, and quite amazed at the whole thing. Stars on the ceiling! Disappearing food! Floating candles! Talking hats! Why, it’s just like magic!

Now, seven years of education, both of mind and of body, later, it was the end. And they were all sad to go. It would mean having to embrace the future, think about jobs, and money, and responsibility. Life was no longer just living each day, of potions and practice and pumpkin juice. It was weekly rent installments, it was monthly pay cheques, it was fortnightly visits home.

Everything was about time. And for the Hogwarts departing class, there simply wasn’t enough.

***

Remus had his own special way of saying goodbye. There were places in this castle which meant more to him than he could ever put into words. The secret passageways where him and the marauders had used to sneak out to Hogsmeade for butterbeer, the exploring they did in order to make the Marauders’ map, the whomping willow, whose planting had signified Dumbledore’s acceptance, and understanding…

He was 17, handsome, young, clever. He had his whole life ahead of him, and at this stage, something as silly as… well, being a werewolf. It didn’t mean much to him. It couldn’t. Life would go on, he would be fine. He’d gotten this far, without it being any trouble. When he grew up and left this utopia, the real world would be just as accepting, wouldn’t it?

Remus knew in the deepest recesses of his heart that this was kidding himself, but on this beautiful day, walking through the corridors of a school that, for him, was more beautiful than all the women in the world… he couldn’t let that stuff worry him. Not now. Not just yet.

‘Remus!’

He turned quickly to see the small figure of Vienna sparrow running towards him, plaits flying behind her and face shining with happiness. He had heard she had been offered a job with the daily prophet, and he was insanely happy for her. She was a wonderful girl, Sirius must endeavour to deserve her.

‘Hello, Vienna. Sorry I’m a little…’ he paused, unsure as to what he was. Busy? Confused? Lost?

‘Yes, I can see that.’ Vienna replied, smiling happily in the way that one does when one has achieved almost all of their dreams in the space of a few days. It is a very nice feeling, I’ve been told, as I have yet to have the fortune of feeling it myself. All in good time, I hope.

Remus laughed. ‘Congratulations are in order, I hear.’

Vienna blushed and nodded, then her eyes took on a little mischevious glint. ‘And not just for me, you know.’

‘Hmm?’ Remus asked, a little confused. Vienna’s grin grew wider.

‘Lulu… Lamoraday, this girl from my year in Ravenclaw, I think you know her. She got into the healer academy. Isn’t that splendid?’

Time seemed to have stopped. Remus was vaguely aware of this happy girl chattering away around him, but he thought the walls of Hogwarts were closing in, he felt his heart bursting with… pride?

‘Lulu?’ He managed to croak out, and Vienna nodded.

‘Yes.’ Vienna took a cautious step forward. ‘I’m not going to be aloof or anything, but I want to talk to you.’

Remus laughed a little. Vienna, not being aloof? That would be a first.

‘It has come to my attention…’ Vienna tried to sound serious, but she couldn’t, she just wanted to throw her arms around him and hug him. So she did.

Remus was a little started, but patted her on the back. She let go and stood back, looking at him with her head cocked to the side.

‘What’s up with you?’ Remus asked, feeling a little… odd.

‘Nothing.’ Vienna said, sighing. ‘But you should go and talk to Lulu.’

‘Why?’ He said, nervous again, his heart beating wildly in his chest.

‘Because she’s a darling girl, whom I love with all my heart, and who helped me become so unbelievably happy.’ Vienna said quickly, blushing a little, ‘And I want her to be happy too.’

Remus nodded, unsure what she could be talking about.

‘Just do it. Don’t question it, just go and talk to her. She’s great, you know.’

‘Yeah, she is that.’

***

Vienna felt like a child again, poking her little head out from behind a tapestry as she spied, no, observed Remus approach Lulu in the great hall. Oh what felicity this is! She felt like Emma, except if all of Emma’s matchmaking aspirations had come true instead of failed horribly.

‘May I please ask exactly why you’re loitering behind this here tapestry?’

Vienna jumped, then realized it was Sirius, and from the less than serious (ahah) look on his face, he was joking.

‘loitering?’ Vienna asked, a slight smile on her face. Sirius smirked.

‘You heard me. What, are you tired of me already or something?’

‘Nothing of the sort. No, look.’ Vienna said, pointing as best as one could when hiding behind a tapestry, towards Remus and Lulu. He had sort of awkwardly sat down on the bench beside her, both his legs oddly angled and his hands firmly in his lap. They couldn’t hear a word that the other was saying, and it was amusing to guess.

‘Oh Remus! It’s you! I’ve waited so terribly, terribly long since the accident…’ Vienna breathed in her best attempt at a soapy love scene. Sirius snorted.

‘The accident?’

Vienna frowned. ‘You try then.’

Sirius coughed a little and took on a charming Rhett Butler Southern American accent. ‘It’s been a long time, but I ain’t forgotten, oh no. You’ve haunted my dreams, bewitched me, body and soul. If I wasn’t such a gentleman I’d take you back to mine right now for some-’

Vienna smiled moonily. ‘That’s a line from pride and prejudice…’

‘It’s never!’ Sirius exclaimed, almost completely sure that Austen had never written the line ‘I’d take you back to mine right now for some-‘

‘Yes, Darcy says to Elizabeth when he’s proposing. He says ‘You have bewitched me, body and soul.’

‘Oh, that line.’ Sirius said, now feeling a little stupid. ‘I’ve never read that book before, what a coincidence, right?’

‘You should, it’s marvelous.’

‘I’m sure it is, you have great taste.’

‘Was that a compliment?’

‘It’s always a compliment.’ Sirius shot back, grinning at her. Vienna smiled and looked away.

Then she felt Sirius take her hand in his, squeezing it lightly. ‘Look.’

Vienna poked her head round the tapestry and saw Remus lean into Lulu, stroking her chin lightly with the tips of his forefingers. Lulu looked as if she was trembling and Remus as if he was touching a beautiful, expensive, special artwork.

‘Oh!’ Vienna sighed, ‘How lovely!’

Sirius snorted. ‘How typical Remus. He should just kiss the damn girl and then take her off for some jolly good rogering.’

‘What, is that what you would do?’ Vienna said, eyebrows raised.

Sirius bit his lip. ‘Have you forgotten those lovely hours spent in the broom closet already?’

Vienna blushed, but managed to shoot back. ‘Rogering?’ in an exasperated tone of voice.

‘Yes, you austenite wouldn’t understand.’

‘I’m quite sure I wouldn’t, and thankful of it too.’

Sirius smiled at her. ‘You’re great, you know.’

Vienna knocked him playfully on the arm. ‘Yeah I suppose you’re okay too.’

Sirius leant in quickly kissing her on the lips. Vienna melted into his touch, grabbing onto his shirt with her hands.

‘That was rather out of blue, you know.’ Vienna said breathlessly as she pulled away.

‘Get used to it.’ Sirius said, smiling at her.

‘I dare say I’ll be able to.’ Vienna replied, smiling back. Sirius laughed, moved an arm around her protectively and settled back into a comfortable position.

The two began kissing again, Sirius’ arms on Vienna’s waist and back, her leg curling over Sirius’. They were so engrossed in their own behaviour that they seemed to forget the fact that they were behind a smelly, musty old tapestry with a spider’s web hanging above them and that the beginnings of pins and needles were tingling up their legs.

Oh, and that Remus and Lulu started kissing. Vienna was most put out to have missed this auspicious moment, but, as Sirius reminded her, it had all been for a good cause.

***

Remus stood on the threshold to the Great Hall, unable to cross over. It was like there was a glass wall that separated him from that wide expanse beyond. He could see Lulu, blonde curls bent over the table. He could see it, it was real… But he couldn’t cross.

He tried to, but as soon as he took the first steps across the breach between the corridor and the hall his muscles cramped up, his heart began beating faster, he broke out into cold sweats and his hands began to get clammy.

He couldn’t do it. He couldn’t talk to her. He had broken her heart, he knew that, and he knew that now she wouldn’t want to talk to him. Most likely she would hit him. He hated being hit.

But then, Vienna was in her dormitory, and she never said anything about Lulu hating him. She even expressly told him to go and talk to her, and Vienna was nice, odd but nice, and she would never knowingly lead him into grievous bodily harm.

He took a deep breath, and exhaled. Then he took another deep breath, and exhaled again. Merlin, he would just have to do it, just plunge in, and take the dive… No that’s not right, dive in and take the plunge. Yes. He took another deep breath, held it in for a very long time, then exhaled.

He strode in what he hoped was a purposeful way up to the Ravenclaw table, there was Lulu, he could see her now. She was bent over the table and a couple of pieces of parchment, sucking the end of her quill thoughtfully. His inner resolve steeled, she looked beautiful there, focusing so diligently on her, sure that if he was to take his eyes off for one moment he would lose sight of the goal.

‘Remus?’ Lulu had looked up from her parchment and had seen him walking towards her. He gave what he thought was a disinterested nod, but what really was a spasm of the neck, and Lulu hid her laughter behind a hand.

Then, suddenly – ‘Merlin! Watch out!’

Incredibly quickly, Remus seemed unable to comprehend exactly how it had happened, he was in the air. And then everything slowed down and he became painfully aware that Lulu had leapt out of her chair and was moving towards him, that a little first year had stuck out her bench and she had tripped him over, that this whole thing was dreadfully emasculating, and then the flight was over, he had collided with something solid, thank Merlin, he hit the floor with a loud thud.

If things could possibly get any worse, he seemed to be lying on top of someone, and not one to prolong such awkward moments as these, he went to move off of them and came to the realization that this was the last person he wanted to be lying on top of, at least, at this present moment she was.

Remus groaned. ‘Lulu, I am so incredibly sorry.’

Lulu rubber her forehead gingerly and eased herself up onto her elbows. ‘It’s alright, really.’ She moved herself to a sitting position.

‘Are you okay, though?’ She asked, surveying him with the watchful eye of someone who had just found out she was making medecine her lifetime’s career.’

‘Apart from a bruised ego, nothing’s wrong here.’ Remus said, Lulu smiled at him.

‘Well.’ She said slowly, nodding slightly. Remus flushed at the terrible situation, all created by his monstrosity of an entrance.

‘Well.’ He said, trying desperately to think of something to say. ‘Congratulations on the healer academy, by the way.’

‘Thanks.’ Lulu said, grinning at him. ‘I’m so excited, it’s what I’ve always wanted.’

‘I know.’ Remus said, looking deep into her eyes. She stopped for a moment and just stared back. Then a loud sound from the back of the hall, and Remus could have sworn he saw the figure of Sirius slip behind the tapestry. He must have been wrong though, because, well, what on earth would Sirius be doing behind a tapestry? He wasn’t the artistic kind, and he preferred his romantic interludes in a strictly storage space for broomsticks kind of way.

‘Here,’ Remus said, trying to break the silence. ‘Let me help you up.’

He extended an arm towards her and their fingers touch, sending shocks up his arm. He thought his hand might be shaking, and withdrew it quickly, shoving it into his pocket. Lulu watched this happen slightly sadly, and sat down on the bench in front of her work. Remus sat down beside her, and, unsure what to do with his hands (dear god, just touch her, just put them around her, just kiss her, KISS HER!) he put them in his lap awkwardly and sat facing the wall.

‘So,’ Lulu said, fiddling with her parchment, ‘What have you been doing?’

Remus coughed. ‘Well, I’ve just been sort of, um, doing things.’ He said lamely. He coughed again. ‘I got accepted to do that auror course.’

‘That’s brilliant!’ Lulu said, a little surprised, since he had never expressed a wish to be an auror before. ‘But you always wanted to be-‘

‘I know. I turned it down.’ Remus interjected, turning to look at her. ‘I’m going to be a teacher.’

Lulu smiled, a brilliant dazzling happy smile. ‘That’s wonderful, you’ll be…’ She stopped, thinking for the right word. ‘You’ll be an amazing teacher.’

Remus smiled back. ‘You really think so?’

‘Yes, I do.’ She said, nodding vigorously.

‘I haven’t told anyone yet, I’ve been so self-conscious. I just don’t know what they’ll think.’

‘They don’t care about these things, they’re your best friends!’ Lulu said, ‘Just tell them. They want you to be happy.’

Remus looked down at his hands. ‘Yes, they do.’

Lulu heard some sort of emphasis to those words that she couldn’t understand. What was he talking about? What was he reffering to? She didn’t have to wait long for her answer when Remus blurted out quietly,

‘Vienna told me that you helped Sirius with those books.’

Lulu blushed a little. ‘Yes, I did.’

‘Why did you do it?’ He said, still not looking at her.

Lulu sighed. ‘Because I wanted her to be happy. And him too…’ Lulu felt the breath catch in her throat and she paused a moment, waiting for her heart to start beating again. ‘And I know how it is to not be with the person that you love.’

Remus thought perhaps this was the opportune moment. Without thinking, without even running through a pros and cons list in his brain like he usually did, in a move that was drastically out of character, but much appreciated by Lulu I can assure you, he reached a hand up to her cheek, stroking her jaw line softly.

‘Lulu.’ He said, the words falling off his tongue and hanging in the air like suspended jewels.

Lulu was trembling from the touch, she tried to will her body to calm down, but it wasn’t responding to her exhortations. Remus reached his hand up to her cheek again and Lulu placed her own on top of it, leaning her head slightly into his touch.

‘I’m sorry.’ Remus said softly, feeling like he was drowning in her blue, blue eyes. He had never seen eyes more beautiful in all his time. ‘I only did it because I didn’t want you to regret me and you, and give up your dreams. I wanted you to look back, if ever you had to, and think of us with a smile.’

Lulu shook her head, ‘No, no, you did the right thing. I changed, I became silly and nothing like what I was. But I’ve tried so hard this year to be myself.’

‘Am I forgiven for being a heartless fool?’ Remus asked, and Lulu smiled at him, leaning closer. Their faces were close, so close, she could feel his breath coming short against her lips.

‘You’re not a heartless fool.’ Lulu said. ‘And there was nothing to forgive.’ She added, grabbing his tie and pulling him in to her kiss.

One of Remus’ hands went straight to her waist, sealing her tightly towards him. He felt her hand go into his hair, gripping as if she would never let go, and he thought that this, this was what pure heaven felt like.

Suddenly Lulu was aware of two things all at once. Firstly, that she felt as if someone had dumped a vat of melted chocolate all over her. She felt warm and silky and creamy like chocolate. Secondly, kissing Remus Lupin had never felt so damn good.

***

Sirius and Vienna sat watching, one a little disgusted, the other ecstatic at Remus and Lulu making headway into what they felt was their bid for longest uninterrupted kiss.

‘I suppose they’re making up for lost time,’ Sirius said dryly, though the sight of the usually studious Remus cornering Lulu against the dusty library stacks made him feel a little odd. ‘Well, I suppose this makes you the best matchmaker in the world,’ Sirius said, looking at Vienna.

Vienna glanced up from a letter she was writing. ‘I don’t really think this constitutes matchmaking, considering that they were together earlier this year, and I didn’t do very much at all, I just had a word to him.’

Sirius snorted. ‘I’d like to know what that word was, it certainly kicked Remus into action.’

‘Be happy for your friend.’ Vienna said and Sirius laughed, stretching an arm around her.

‘I am happy for him, I just think, well, this is the library, and you know…’ Sirius coughed. ‘Certain barriers have to be set.’

‘That’s very hypocritical of you, rather like the pot calling the kettle black.’ Vienna said aloofly.

‘What are you talking about?’ Sirius said, affronted.

‘I’m just saying you’ve never been one to aschew public displays of affection.’

Sirius spluttered. ‘Yes, but not in the library.’

Vienna laughed. ‘How come the library is such a sacred place all of a sudden.’

‘Don’t you think it’s supposed to be sacred?’ Sirius said, a little shocked. This was the same girl who professed earlier that her only friends were books, right?

‘I don’t see how the library should be any different to, say, a broom closet, or behind a tapestry…’ Vienna trailed off.

‘Who are you and what have you done with Vienna Sparrow?’

‘Vienna May Sparrow.’ Vienna corrected almost as if by habit. People always left out her middle name, but she liked the way her name sounded with it included.

Sirius shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. ‘Are you saying, Vienna May Sparrow, that you would be amenable to, say, achieving said public display of affection in such an exalted place such as this palace of books?’

Sirius grabbed her hand and pulled her out of the chair, leading her to the nearest shelf of books and gently cornering her in. Sirius leant in and kissed her on the lips lightly, and then moved down onto her neck, kissing it as well. Vienna smiled at his hair. Sirius moved away, leaning in to kiss her again, when Vienna said excitedly.

‘A Nittling Flitter!’ She jumped, and ran to the other shelf. Sirius groaned, falling down onto the shelf of books. This girl was drivng him crazy! Absolutely crazy!

Vienna smiled happily, showing Sirius what she had found.

‘It looks like a ball of dust.’ He said, raising his eyebrows. ‘You abandoned me for a ball of dust?’

‘It’s not a ball of dust.’ Vienna said indignantly, ‘It’s a Nittling Flitter, of the otteran genus.’

Sirius shook his head. ‘Right. What does it do?’

‘Well nothing, really, but on every second full moon it is invested with all the magical power in its area and it uses it to throw a really big party for all the other members of the otteran genus.’

Sirius stared at her for a moment. ‘You’re joking right?’

‘No, I’m not.’ Vienna said.

‘You’re saying that a ball of dust-‘

‘A Nittering Flitter.’

‘A ball of dust.’ Sirius continued, ‘becomes magical every second month and throws a party.’

‘From what people have observed, yes.’ Vienna said, nodding.

Sirius laughed. ‘Oh no, oh no, oh no you don’t.’

‘Don’t what?’ Vienna said, taking a step backwards. The look on his face was almost maniacal.

‘You’re not getting out of it that easily.’ He said, and swooped down on her, kissing her again. He pressed her against the stack, feeling every square centimetre of her frame against his, the rise and fall of her chest sending shivers down his spine.

Vienna sighed, and put the Nittering Flitter down carefully on the shelf. It cracked open a carefully concealed eye and winked at her. She winked back and then immersed herself in the very good-looking boy that was currently running a hand through her hair.

It was the least she could do. And anyway, really, if it was you, what would you do?








A/N; This is the last chapter of actual stuff, the next is an epilogue. *tears welling in eyes*. I'm so sad to see this go, and i hoped you liked this chapter. i know it was a long time coming, but there were uploading problems on my other stories, and so i had to ease those out first. BUt here is chapter 19, and i hope you enjoy it. Thanks so much to everyone who reads and reviews, it really makes my day, honestly. Also, uptowngirlinlove made this splendiforous chapter image. Onwards and upwards!


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