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Behind the Mask by onestop_hpfan18
Chapter 3 : New Year's Masquerade
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 13


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Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, that belongs to J.K. Rowling.  Also, the quote that Holden quotes is from 'The Merchant of Venice, Act 4.'  The only things I own are the plot and any original characters that you don't recognize from the Harry Potter series.



Beautiful chapter image made by obviously394 @ tda!

Chapter Three
New Year's Masquerade






On the morning of the eve of New Year’s Day, Holden was helping set up things for the party that night with James in the garden. James’ mum had told them to put up the fairy lights and of course Holden was the one that got stuck doing it since he was the only one out of the two that could use magic outside of school. Though, why James would choose to follow the rules now was behind him, but whatever.

Holden finished stringing the lights around the bushes, fence, and trees before he let out a sigh and plopped down in the thick snow, sinking slightly. He heard James chuckle some before following suit and taking a spot on the frozen ground next to him. 

“So,” Holden drew out, “I bet you’re happy that you’ll get a chance to see Marisol before we go back to school.”

“Definitely,” James said with a smile that had started to spread on his face as he thought of Marisol. “Tonight couldn’t come fast enough, but what about you? Have you thought of who you want to spend the New Year’s with?”

Holden raised a brow in a quizzical fashion. “I don’t have a girlfriend, just dates. And none of them will be here tonight anyway.”

“Come on, Holden,” James replied to his friend’s behavior. “I think we both know that you’re looking for a girl that’s worth more than just a snog. Why don’t you just admit it to yourself already?”

“Is this a tough question?” Holden asked as he scrunched up his forehead and brows together while he put on a show of thinking long and hard about something.

“Seriously,” James said as he shoved Holden in a joking way. “Anyway, I think Marisol’s friend Evelyn likes you.”

Holden rolled his eyes, “We’re just friends. How many times do I have to tell you that, James?”

“So, and friends can’t ask friends out for a nice night?” James asked him inquisitively. “You should Floo her and see if she has plans tonight yet.”

“I don’t think so,” Holden put his foot down on the suggestion. “Anyway, she probably already has plans, not that I’m going to ask her either.”

“I figured you’d say that,” James said as he leaned back on his elbows in the snow. “And that’s why I suggested to Marisol to invite Evelyn so that you two could hang out some and very possibly have fun in the process.”

“You’re completely impossible, you know that right?” Holden told his best friend in a mock upset voice as he rolled his eyes. “What makes you think that I like Evelyn more than a friend anyway?”

“What makes you think that you don’t?” James contradicted him. “You’ll never know unless you spend more time with her, right?”

“I guess,” Holden mumbled.

“That’s the spirit!” James boosted with a boyish grin on his face as he jumped up from the snow as the back door opened and his mother called the two boys into the house for lunch.

^_^

Holden was standing in the middle of the guest bedroom he was staying in at the Potters’ wearing a black tuxedo and a simple plain black mask that went over his eyes with holes for seeing out of. He bent down to tie his shoe laces before exiting the room.

Holden was met with the sight of James and Marisol in an embrace when he reached the bottom of the stairs. He cleared his throat to get their attention, causing them to pull apart in the process, before he noticed that Evelyn was there as well. He gave her a slight wave before all of their attention was drawn to the sounds of cracking and popping outside as people arrived.

“Hey, Holden,” Evelyn said easily enough as though she were addressing one of her brothers. The two had grown as close friends in the short time that James and Marisol had been dating. “How was your Christmas?”

“Good,” Holden mumbled as he took in her appearance, she was wearing a dark purple dress that fell down to the floor in a silk fabric with sparkles on the bodice. “How was yours?”

“It was alright.”

During the time that they had started to talk, James and Marisol had silently stepped into the living room from where they had stood in the hallway moments before. The moment they took their seats on the couch by the fireplace they snuggled into each other.

“I missed you,” Marisol whispered in James’ ear.

“I missed you, too,” James whispered back as he leaned forward and brushed his lips against hers. He felt her lips mold against his and he smiled into it. “I can’t wait until we can Apparate.”

“Humph,” a deep voice cleared their throat next to where the two sat. James looked up into his father’s green eyes and his expression grew sheepish and self-conscience instead of confident, as it had been not two seconds before.

“Dad, what are you doing here?”

“Looking for you,” Harry told his son, “all the guests have arrived and they’re in the party room.”

“Okay,” James said as he ran a hand through the messy jet-black hair that he had inherited from the man that stood looking down at him. “Come on, Marisol.”

He led Marisol by the hand out of the living room and toward the vast room that the Potters used for parties. He heard her gasp at the marble floors, beige walls, draperies, and grandness in the size of it as they entered and walked over to where his family stood with his father following closely behind them.

The evening was full of laughter and fun as everyone remained in motion while dancing the year away. James and Marisol had barely left each other’s sides. They stayed in the other’s company whether they were dancing or sitting at one of the tables that had been set up on the side of the dance floor with their friends.

On the other hand, Holden wasn’t having as much fun as the couple was. Sure, he was having fun with Evelyn, but he didn’t like her as more than a friend and therefore he didn’t want to spend the whole time with her.

Holden declined a dance from Evelyn and watched as she went to ask another guy. A moment later Holden stood up from where he had been sitting and walked toward the hallway and to the back door to step outside for a bit of fresh air. The last thing that Holden expected was to see someone standing in the garden wearing a long, silky dark blue dress with a matching shawl, heels, and long blond hair done in soft curls down her back. Holden had to stop to regain himself as he had been slightly thrown off by first glance of the girl as he approached her.

Holden cleared his throat, making his entrance known to the girl. She jumped slightly and turned to the side to face him. There was a look of surprise on her face for a moment before a cold breeze blew against her bare shoulders and caused her to shiver, it had reminded her of the below zero temperature.

Holden was about to say something to the girl, but before he could even open his mouth to ask the girl what she was doing outside in below freezing weather he was interrupted by her beating him to the question that was on the tip of his tongue; her voice muffled against the icy breeze that was blowing as she clutched a thin, dark blue, silk shawl around herself. “What are you doing out here?”

“I could ask you the same,” Holden was surprised at how quick he had retorted to the girl’s question. Holden was usually slow when it came to comebacks, just ask James and Fred and they’d tell you all about it.

“I asked you first,” the girl quipped, sounding like there was a smirk playing on her lips as she talked.

Holden sighed. “I just needed a bit of fresh air, that’s all.”

“Oh, really,” the girl smart-mouthed, “Are you sure there isn’t anything tugging at your sub-conscience that made you come out here instead of having a great time with your friends inside?”

Holden was starting to dislike the way the girl was talking to him. It was inconsiderate, rude, and pushy. He crossed his arms in front of him and stared off ahead, not seeing the mountains in the distance because there were too many thoughts floating around in his mind.

“Oh, come on,” the girl turned around to face him, “I didn’t mean anything by it. If it helps any, I’m out here because I’d rather be somewhere else with my friends than here.”

Holden looked back at her briefly before he asked, “Why are you here then?”

“I came with my parents, Aunt, Uncle, and cousin,” the girl replied. “My cousin’s family came because of his girlfriend and we always spend New Year’s Eve night with them so here I am.” The girl rolled her hazel eyes after that statement.

“Who’s your cousin?” Holden asked as he fully turned around so that he was facing the girl.

“No one you're friends with."

“That doesn’t mean I don’t know who he is,” Holden pointedly said to the girl.

“I never said you didn’t know him, now did I?” The girl responded back with that cheeky tone that Holden was growing used to the more she used it.

“So, I do know him?” Holden asked.

“I never said that either.”

“Humph.”

The two of them stood there for a while, not saying anything, their masks covering most of their faces except for the ends of their noses and mouths. Holden’s was black, whereas the girl’s was a dark blue that shimmered and glittered in the winter moonlight.

“You still haven’t told me what you were doing out here all by yourself,” Holden spoke up, his voice cutting through the silence that hung in the frosty air that surrounded the two of them. He watched the girl hug the thin shawl more snugly around her shoulders and arms while he waited for her to answer.

“I… I needed to be alone to think a bit,” the girl hesitated, her cockiness ebbing away as a vulnerability rose to the surface.

“What did you need to think about?”

“Things,” she replied.

“What kinds of things?”

“It’s none of your business.” The girl’s susceptible side disappeared with the more questions he asked her.

“I didn’t say it was,” Holden reasoned. “But that doesn’t mean that it won’t make you feel better to talk about it to somebody.”

“I don’t have anything to talk to anybody about,” the girl said defensively. “I’m only thinking.”

Holden sighed as he turned around to go back inside. When he had only taken a few steps the girl started to speak again.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m just tired of my mother dictating what I do in my life, whether it’s at home or a social event. It seems like she always have to make sure that I don’t make friends with anyone that she deems lower than us. When I’m at school is the only time I actually feel like I can be my own person without her watching me constantly.”

“Why do you let her control what you do if you don’t like it?” Holden found himself asking as he turned back around to face where the girl was still standing.

“I don’t know,” the girl answered. “I know that’s not a good enough answer for you, it’s not for me either.”

Holden walked over to the girl so that he was standing right in front of her, close enough to lean in and kiss, that was only if the chance presented itself.

At the moment, Holden was just playing the part that he often played with girls, the nice friend that won’t ever be anything more. Yeah, that was the story of his life, all right.

“What about your father?” Holden asked, “Does he try to shove you in an opposite direction than you want to go in, or is it only your mother?”

“Well, my dad doesn’t seem care who I’m friends with,” she replied. “We get along a lot better than my mum and me.”

“What house are you in?” Holden asked out of subject as he had just realized how curious he was to find out more about this girl that he was talking to.

The girl smirked, something Holden had already started to get used to since she did a lot of it when she was talking down to him. “If you don’t know, then maybe it’s better that way."

“Well, I’m in Gryffindor,” Holden offered. “It’s got to be one of the other three houses, right? I mean, I would know if you were in Gryffindor since I know basically everyone in my house.”

“Oh, you sound so sure of yourself,” the girl retorted, returning to her cheeky attitude that hid her vulnerability well. “And, by the way, I knew you were a Gryffindor.”

“How?”

“You honestly have no idea how popular you are, do you?” The girl questioned Holden with a real smile playing on her lips this time. “The whole school knows about you, Holden Summers.”

“What about you?” Holden asked her. “You have to be somewhat up the social ladder since you know me. What’s your name?”

“That’s not important,” she brushed off his question with a wave of her dainty hand. “You’d change your opinion about me the moment you find out my identity.”

“How do you know?”

“Let’s just say a friendship between the two of us will never work out.”

“You seem mighty positive of that.”

The girl shrugged, “Nothing good will come out of it.”

“Nothing will come of nothing,” Holden replied with a quirk at the corner of his mouth.

The girl smirked back. “You really are so sure of yourself, aren’t you Mr. Summers?”

Holden was struck speechless as he stood in front of the girl. He could make out the faint voices that were counting down from 20 to the new year that were coming from inside the open window of Potter Manor. It was without hesitation that at the explosion of fireworks in every direction around the pair and the screaming of ‘Happy New Year’ that he leaned in and planted a kiss on her lips.

At first he felt her freeze when his lips touched hers, but after a few seconds she started to kiss him back. Then, as quick as it had happened, it was over. The girl regained herself and walked away from him with a slight wave as she said, “I have to go.” It sounded like something out of a fairy tale to the girl, but it was the truth. Her parents had told her that they would be leaving shortly after the clock struck midnight.

“Wait,” Holden turned around quickly, “I still don’t know your name?”

The girl turned back around to face him with a sly smile. “If you really want to know then you’ll have to figure it out yourself.”

“I pray you know me when we meet again: I wish you well, and so I take my leave,” Holden quoted from a book of his mother’s he had read, his mother being Muggleborn. He couldn’t remember the title, but the phrase had popped into his head as he watched her walk away.

She turned around and gave him a small smile to show that she had heard Holden before turning back around and then she was gone, just like that.  She entered the manor to go look for her parents to leave.

Holden blew out a sigh and looked up toward the star-strewn sky with fireworks of an infinite amount of colors going off all across the vast openness of it. And it was at that moment, his mind racing, heart beating faster and faster, that Holden decided that he would search for this girl. He had nothing but a voice, and his heart to guide him.

^_^

Holden was sitting in a compartment on the Hogwarts Express with James, Fred, Tessa, Evelyn, Marisol, and Jazzy. He was bored and wanted something to do other than what he was doing, which was staring out of the window thinking about the girl that had run off on him. He had told James about it the following morning, but James had been no help since his mind had still been on Marisol.

He had thought about asking James and Fred to help him find her on the train, but he hadn’t had the chance yet as he didn’t want to ask them while the girls were around. It was embarrassing enough, the last thing that he wanted to do was voice his bad luck in front of the girls that viewed him as more than okay, but not okay enough to date. Well, he had a suspicion that Evelyn liked him more than a friend, but he didn’t feel that way about her. Holden was too nice to tell her that, though.

When the train reached the Hogsmeade Station, the group of friends got in a carriage together with the girls. It seemed Holden would have to wait until he was back in the 6th year dorm to tell James and Fred about finding the girl that he had kissed at the Masquerade Party, and it would be difficult since most of her face had been hidden behind her shimmering blue mask. The only thing that he had to find her was his heart and sometimes it was hard to trust that it would find the thing he was looking for, and instead find something that was close enough.

The feast wasn’t nearly as good as it normally was for Holden. It seemed to drag on a bit more than it normally would. That was probably because all Holden wanted to do was to get James and Fred alone to ask their help to find the girl.

After what seemed like forever, the feast was over and Holden found himself walking up to the Gryffindor tower with Dominique and her friends since James and Fred were walking their girlfriends to the entrance of the Hufflepuff common room.

Holden only had to wait fifteen minutes in the dorm before James and Fred entered. It was only the three of them as their other roommates hadn’t come up yet.

“I’m going to find that girl that I talked with that night at the party,” Holden said, choosing to get his plan out in the open faster rather than dwindle around it.

“Mate,” Fred said, “You don’t even know her name, let alone what house she’s in.”

“Yeah, I know, but-” Holden started, but was cut off by James.

“How do you expect to find her?” James asked him. “Hogwarts is a huge castle.”

“How can I not expect to find her?” Holden questioned before he could be interrupted again.

“Okay,” James replied, “Let’s say it was possible for a moment that you could find her without knowing who she was. How do you plan on finding her out of all the other girls here?”

Holden had no idea and most certainly didn’t want to say that he’d find her with his heart to his two best friends. It sounded cheesy to his own mind now that he was thinking about it. He wanted his friends to take him seriously, not laugh at him.

“You know what?” James spoke again. “We’ll help you find her.”

“You will?”

“Yeah,” Fred replied. “What are friends for?”

With that said, the three boys started to get ready for bed. They had a long day tomorrow with classes and the search for Holden’s girl.



Author's Note:  So, what did you think???  I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.  It was definitely my favorite chapter to plan and write so far.  I'd love to hear to hear what you thought about it, though, regardless of whether you loved it, hated it, or just thought it was okay.  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story.

***Thanks a bunches to my fantastic beta slytherinprincess for doing a marvelous job beta'd this chapter for me!***


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