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Behind the Mask by onestop_hpfan18
Chapter 8 : A Note and Dream
 
Rating: 15+Chapter Reviews: 6


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Disclaimer:  I do not own Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling does.  The only things are own are the plot and any original characters that you do not recognize.




Beautiful chapter image made by obviously394 @ tda!

Chaper Eight
A Note and Dream






By the time lunch rolled around the following day the whole castle knew that Lauren wasn’t the Masquerade Girl. Of course, that did not change how Holden felt about her, but now he couldn’t help wondering who the girl he talked to on New Year’s Eve night was if not Lauren. He had been so sure that Lauren was the one that he’d been looking for, even though she had told him that she was not that girl in the beginning.

Holden let out a sigh as he continued walking aimlessly around the castle with his hands stuffed into the pockets of his robes. It was a good thing that it was a Sunday because he doubted if he could have paid attention if he had class lectures to listen to.

It was in no time at all that Holden had reached the top of a particular tower that was used as a memorial for those who lost their lives during the Final Battle. There was a huge standing memorial statue with all the names of who had died, including those who had also died in the first war, like Harry Potter’s parents. Holden liked to come up here when he had something on his mind to think about.

He did not have to come up with a solution to his problems while up here, but a lot of the time he did anyway. It helped calm his thoughts down to a minimum so that he could turn over everything slowly or not think at all. No one in the whole school knew that Holden liked to come up here, not even his best friend James.

Holden sat down near the edge and let his feet hang over the side as he looked out over the grounds. He could see smoke curling up and out of the chimney of Hagrid’s cabin; the huge form of Hagrid standing in his pumpkin patch leaning on his cane. It was from this high up that Holden could really see the beginnings of the spring. Flowers had already started to bloom and the remaining of what little snow that was left over from the winter was melting into nothing to reveal lush green grass that had been buried underneath the icy slush.

Holden turned his head toward the Quidditch Pitch, to which the Slytherin team was practicing on at the moment. The next Quidditch match was Hufflepuff against Slytherin since Hufflepuff had won the first match of the season against Gryffindor. If Hufflepuff loses to Slytherin though, it would mean that Gryffindor would still be back in the running for the House Cup, especially if Slytherin beats Ravenclaw. It was very likely that Slytherin would beat Ravenclaw as well, not that Holden was against Ravenclaw or anything. He only knew that Ravenclaw’s studied more than they practiced Quidditch.

After a while, Holden grew tired of sitting on the tower and he walked back down to the seventh floor where the portrait of the Fat Lady was hung up in front of the entrance to the Gryffindor common room. Holden gave the Fat Lady in the poufy pink dress the password before climbing through when the portrait swung open to allow him entrance. Holden walked over to one of the armchairs by the fire place and sunk down into the folds of its squishy cushions; he was fast asleep within minutes. His mind was still running on overdrive as he slept, though, thinking about whom the identity of the real Masquerade Girl was and how he still had the same feelings for Lauren. It was not until around an hour or a little later that Holden was being prodded awake by James, who seemed annoyed about something, and Holden had an idea what it could only be: Fred and Kelsey.

“What - ?” Holden mumbled through the sleep cloud that had formed in his throat; he cleared his throat a few times until he was able to talk more clearly. “What did Fred and Kelsey do now?”

“Huh?” James asked before he realized what Holden was talking about. “Oh, I don’t know. I was only coming to see how you were holding up… You know, what with finding out that Lauren really isn’t the girl that you talked to at the party and all.”

“I’m fine,” Holden supplied without going any further into explanation.

That statement only seemed to cause James to look more closely at his friend for he was sure that Holden was feeling more torn inside than he was letting on. They had been the best of mates since that first train ride to Hogwarts at the young, tender age of eleven when both still thought girls had cooties. James continued to look skeptical at his friend, knowing that if he did not say anything to pry it out then Holden would come out and tell him sooner or later. It was all a matter of time as Holden had never been all that good at keeping what he was thinking to his self for the most part; he would break down and tell James exactly what he was thinking eventually.

“You know I’m here for you when you want to talk,” James said.

“Yeah, I know.” Holden stared into the grate where small flames were dancing about in a slow rhythmic fashion. He hardly registered that there was an owl tapping at the window that looked out from the common room and down onto the castle grounds. It was several seconds before he heard James stand and walk over to the window to let the owl swoop in and come to rest on the arm of the chair that Holden was currently positioned in.

Holden looked at the owl with the envelope clutched in its beak. It took Holden a few minutes to actually realize that the name that was written in a nice, curly script was his own; Holden Summers. Holden reached out and took the letter from the owl, which flew off and out the window the moment the parchment was no longer in its beak.

Holden stared at the envelope that had his name on it for a few minutes, not knowing what the words on the inside would pertain.

~~~

Alyssa Goldstein was sitting in the Owlery after sending off a letter to a certain someone that she had talked to on New Years’ Eve at the Potters’ Masquerade Party. She had not found enough courage to sign her name, but rather only wrote a vague message that she was the girl that he searched to find. Alyssa had planned to write a meeting location and time in the short note, but had chickened out when it came time to putting it down on the parchment in the ink from her quill. Alyssa’s friends had no idea that she had been planning on sending a note off to Holden, and she had no intention of tell them.

After several minutes of standing beside one of the glassless windows with owls resting on their perches all around her, Alyssa walked over toward the door and climbed down the spiraling staircase. She headed back to the Slytherin common room as that was where her two friends had been the last time that she had seen them. She sometimes asked herself why she was who she was a lot of the time; always on the defense and never letting any of her weaknesses float to the surface.

Alyssa was not paying attention to where she was going as she turned a corner that led toward the top of the grand marble staircase and ended up running smack into a girl that was around her height and size. Alyssa straightened up and smoothed out the wrinkles that had been created in her school robes from the scuffle. It was not until Alyssa had finished by making sure that each strand of her blond hair was perfectly intact that she realized who she had run into.

The girl that Holden was dating… What was her name? Oh, yeah! Lauren and she was with her nerdy little friend that Alyssa cheated off of in Charms. Alyssa scoffed at the two girls, “Walk much? Watch out where you’re walking.”

It was with that that Alyssa stomped around them after throwing a rude expression over her shoulder and headed down the marble staircase. When she reached the bottom she turned left to head down the staircase that led down to the dungeons where the Slytherin common room was located.

~~~

“That Alyssa really is a tool,” Melody said once Alyssa was out of sight and earshot. “What do you think her problem is anyway?”

Lauren shrugged as she bent down to pick up her books—which she had dropped when she had bumped into Alyssa. Lauren did not understand how one girl could always be as cruel as Alyssa Goldstein was. She knew how Slytherins could be at times, but Alyssa seemed to always cross over the line to go beyond the point of only being slightly rude and completely inconsiderate of others; especially those from houses different than Slytherin.

When Lauren had collected all of her books back in her arms, she stood and continued to walk up toward the Ravenclaw tower with Melody following beside her. The two had gone outside to enjoy the nice weather while getting their essays completed. The two Ravenclaws must have been the only two students in the school who were outside that day doing their homework as the other students that had been outside had been laughing and joking around with each other. That was what made Lauren and Melody considered nerdy out of all the rest of the Ravenclaw sixth years by other students of different houses that did not find fun in writing essays and studying for exams.

The two Ravenclaws arrived at the entrance of the Ravenclaw tower, in front of the brass eagle door knocker. Lauren was the one to lift it up and down against the wooden door. She listened with her friend as the soft music sounded briefly before a musical voice asked them a riddle to solve to gain entrance into the common room: “How far can you walk into the woods?”

“Halfway, because then you’d be walking out,” Lauren correctly solved the riddle and led the way into the common room. She sat down on the sofa by the fire place with Melody following suit only seconds behind her.

Lauren opened up the book that rested on top the pile of books that she set down on the coffee table with her bag of school belongings, but her mind was far from on the words that went across the pages. She could not keep from thinking about Holden and how he had seemed distant — as though he had a lot on his mind since the news of the Masquerade Girl still being out there started to float around. Lauren had thought that the truth would not make much difference in their relationship, but it had only been a day and already things were changing all around her.

“Mel,” Lauren voiced, “do you think that Holden will still want to be with me with the identity of his Masquerade Girl floating out there?”

It took a few minutes for Melody to answer Lauren’s question as it had caught the girl off guard from reading her own book. Lauren waited patiently, but she could not stop thinking about the possibility of Holden dumping her; she really did like him a lot after spending several weeks with him. When Lauren’s friend finally responded, Lauren turned her head back toward where her best mate sat on the armchair across from her own.

“Of course he wouldn’t leave you, Lauren,” Melody said. “How could you ever think like that? You two are so great together.”

“But… What about the Masquerade Girl?” Lauren asked.

“What about her?”

“Well, she’s still out there,” Lauren stated the obvious. “And she was the one that Holden fell for before he asked me to be his girlfriend.”

“So… Your point is?” Melody questioned as she raised one of her brows to prove a point like she normally did. “As far as this Masquerade Girl is concerned, I personally think she lost her chance to be with Holden with all of the hiding she’s done so far since we’ve returned back from Christmas break.”

“But does Holden think the same?” Lauren was still unsure of what to believe. She wanted to believe that Holden would not break up with her — that was her heart talking — but at the same time her head was telling her that anything could happen, even the worse. “He could be thinking of dumping me at this very moment,” Lauren added in a hopeless voice.

Melody rolled her eyes. “If he does break up with you then he will lose one heck of a girl.”

“And I would lose the one guy that I actually like more than a friend,” Lauren rebutted in.

“Big deal! If he is thinking of breaking up with you and does, then you can do so much better by dating a guy who won’t break your heart.”

Lauren tried to think of something else she could argue, but found that there was nothing left to say. And that was why she went back to staring at her book, but not even beginning to process the words that were on the pages before her. She could hear the pages flip in a quick motion as Melody went back to reading nonstop while she stared at the same two pages without really seeing the words before her for all of the thoughts that were continuously swirling in her mind.

Lauren hoped that the Masquerade Girl stayed hidden within the shadows. She knew she was not being fair for Holden as he wanted to know her identity, but she really had no sympathy for the Masquerade Girl. The girl had plenty of chances already to come forward and tell Holden who she was and she chose not to. Lauren believed in going for what you wanted, even if she did not always live that way; she was just more quiet and reserved compared to her peers.

After several minutes of staring at her open book, Lauren closed it and took her things up to the Sixth Year Girls’ dorm and started to get ready for bed. She was not tired so much as she needed to do something to get her mind off of Holden and what he would do if the Masquerade Girl revealed herself to him. She curled down under her blue duvet after closing the blue curtains shut around her four-poster bed as she did not want to be woken up by any of her dorm mates. It did not take long for Lauren to get to sleep, but her mind was still full of thoughts of Holden; even in her dreams she could not stop thinking about Holden and who the Masquerade Girl was.

Lauren flipped over to her other side and burrowed her head underneath the duvet in an attempt to clear her mind of all thoughts. It kind of worked so that she would be able to fall into a more restful sleep. Within minutes her mind was void of all thoughts for the moment while she went into a deeper and well rested sleep; she was perfectly content and comfortable.

~~~

Holden lay atop his mattress, the only one out of the whole Sixth Years Boys’ dorm in Gryffindor tower that was awake. In Holden’s hand was the note that he had received earlier that evening and in his other was his wand — the tip of it ignited and pointed at the note as he read it over and over again.

Holden’s mind was whirring with more questions than he ever imagined that he would have all at once. The note in his hand was from the Masquerade Girl, or at least it seemed that way to Holden the more he read and reread it. The note was not even long, but actually very short; and it did not even say anything of great importance as to who she was. All the note had written on it was the exact quote that Holden had quoted to the Masquerade Girl that New Year’s Eve night.

‘I pray you know me when we meet again: I wish you well, and so I take my leave.’ Those were the last words you spoke to me on New Year’s Eve night before we parted.
Signed,
MG


Holden was positive that MG stood for Masquerade Girl and not the girl’s initials. He wished that there was some kind of clue in the note as to who the girl that he talked to was. Even though knowing the Masquerade Girl’s identity would not change how he felt about Lauren.

Lauren.

Holden suddenly felt angry at his self for obsessing over who Masquerade Girl was instead of thinking about Lauren. He still liked Lauren a lot and he did not want to ruin things between them just because of one silly note from his—no, not his—the mystery girl. Lauren was his girl and he could not wait to see her tomorrow morning at breakfast before classes.

It was with that final thought that stood fresh in Holden’s mind, he crumpled up the note and set it on top of his night stand; he then rolled over and pulled his red duvet up before closing his eyes to drift off to sleep.

Holden was fast asleep within minutes and dreaming of Lauren and a girl that was wearing a sparkly blue mask over her face. Both of the girls stood in front of him with smiles on their faces. Holden looked from Lauren to the mystery girl and then back to Lauren again. He smiled at Lauren, who smiled back at him and started to walk over toward him.

Before Lauren reached Holden, she turned into the mystery girl and Holden had to shake his head in this dream world as he looked around to see where Lauren had gone off to. “Lauren!” Holden shouted her name, but it was pointless as she was nowhere in his sight and the mystery girl was closing in on him; he could feel his self getting warmer the more anxious he got.

And then…

Holden burst up out of his bed the moment he felt water being poured over his head. “What the heck!” He turned toward the laughter of the other boys in the dorm to find James holding the water pitcher — which was now empty — that was kept in their dorm by the window in case anyone got thirsty in the middle of the night. “What did you do that for?”

“Well, we couldn’t wake you up so…,” James started, “I figured you’d wake up if I dumped water over your head.”

“Gee, thanks, James,” Holden grounded out in an attempt to keep his voice and temper down.

“Also, what were you dreaming about?” James asked.

“What?” Holden looked confusedly at James and the other boys who were waiting to hear what he was dreaming about. “I wasn’t dreaming about anything.”

“Are you sure?” James continued to plow on, “because you kept mumbling something that sounded a lot like Lauren in your sleep. Also, it seemed like you were having more a nightmare than a dream by the way your head kept moving from side to side.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Holden said as he walked into the bathroom to bathe and get ready for the day ahead of him.

Holden still remembered what he had been dreaming about before James had dumped that pitcher of water over his head, even though he had told his dorm mates that he did not recall dreaming of anything. Holden did not want to get into all of the details of his dream with anyone as it was his dream. Holden finished getting ready and headed down to the Great Hall for breakfast with the rest of the guys.








Author's Note:  This chapter is now beta'd thanks to my fantastic beta, Whitney (slytherinprincess)!  Hope you enjoyed the chapter and I'd love to hear your thoughts on what's going to happen in this story, which there is still lots to come, in a review.  Thanks for reading!

Also, a special thanks to Sammy23 for coming up with the riddle to get into the Ravenclaw Tower!


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