Chapter 11 : Confused Mess
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Disclaimer: The story of Lyall Lupin and Hope Howell is created and written by J.K. Rowling.
"What would you like to drink?" screamed a student from behind the smooth wooden counter, the countertop was perfectly designed for the party (courtesy of the Room of Requirement).
"Butterbeer, thanks," I screamed back, my voice muted in comparison to the dangerously loud volume of the music.
A cool bottle of freshly opened Butterbeer was handed to me as my fingers enclosed around the neck of it, taking an appreciated sip of the buttery drink that coated my throat in its sweetness. Mugs sloshed as people banged them together, shards of glass scattering across the floor. My hand took a handful of the velvet fabric to lift it as I carefully walked across the floor and towards a room that was an extension of the main part except a bit more intimate but nevertheless, quieter.
My ears were relieved of the pressure of the booming music as I blushed upon noticing the highly intoxicated couples snogging on the couches, rolling onto the floor. A person tapped me lightly on the shoulder from behind as I spun on my heel, immediately crashing into the person. "Oh Remus, it's you!" I said sighing in relief, at least I recognised someone here.
Laughter broke through the peaceful atmosphere as I glanced back to see students clutching Firewhiskey bottles in their hands while some of the alcoholic liquid was poured onto their friends laps. I grinned at Remus who said, "I didn't think you would be able to come."
I was about to open my mouth in reply to his statement when Sirius suddenly yelled from a plush couch by the corner, "Ah, Little! Get it?" James popped off the cap of yet another bottle as he took a swig of the contents, leaning comfortably against the couch.
Remus shook is head disapprovingly as Sirius abruptly grasped my arm, pulling me down to a small space in the couch between where James and him sat. "Little!" Sirus exclaimed yet again as my cheeks coloured. Sweat began to form in my palms as I hid them in the folds of my cloak.
Wedged in between the two men, I felt extremely uncomfortably awkward as I hid my face in my blonde locks of hair. "Oi! What are you exactly?" Sirius asked loudly in my ear while I cringed away.
"Well, since you are a Pureblood I doubt you would know but... Little Red Riding Hood," I said, the last part a bit quieter than the rest of the sentence.
"Ah, Little!" James yelled cheerfully beside me, the heat of both their bodies causing my cheeks to redden even more.
"Where's the wolf?" Sirius asked with a mischievous grin sliding onto his face that made me feel even more awkward, as if he knew something about me that I didn't.
"Don't worry, Little, we have the perfect wolf for you," James said in my ear, his breath filling the air around me with the scent of Firewhiskey as I leaned away instinctively.
"What are you two going on about?" I said, desperately wanting to be in on the secret they both knew as they laughed until they were bent over their knees.
"James? How many drinks have you had exactly, or should I ask in terms of bottles?" Remus quickly cut in before Sirius could slip anymore out of his drunken tongue.
"One... two... three," James began counting off the bottles with his fingers as if we were all beginning Kindergarten once again. Before I could pull away, he curiously grabbed a lock of my hair asking if it was my natural colour until Remus said, "We should go."
"The broom closet on the Fifth Floor is highly recommended," Sirius advised as Remus pulled me away from the tangle of limbs that made up James and Sirius.
I flushed at the comment as we walked through the crowds of dancers, several of them knocking into us as others accidentally spilled more liquid onto the floor. "Sorry. James and Sirius truly are great mates but they can be arses when they are drunk," he said with a grin, his light hair falling into his face.
"Isn't everyone?" I replied, grinning back at him until a person had gripped my shoulder and turned me around to face them.
The forceful action caused a spark of anger within me as I said, "Well excuse me."
"Oh, well I'm sorry it's just-"
"You have now fulfilled your attempt to be rude, what more could you possibly want?" I asked with irritation. Remus looked uncomfortable as he muttered something about talking to me later as I said softly, "I'm sorry, Remus." He waved off the apology with a grin before being engulfed by the crowd.
"Are you Alice Liddell?"
"Well, yes," I said as if I doubted that was my own name.
"I'm sorry, I can't hear you," the student said loudly as he pulled me away from the crowds of people and out of the secured door while I struggled out of his grasp.
"Let go of me," I said angrily, retrieving my arm once we were in the silence of the corridor.
"I'm sorry it's just that I would really like to talk to you," he said, running a hair through his hand just like James did an impossible amount of times before.
"If you quit apologising and tell me what you would like to say, then we could get on with the night," I stated, wishing to leave.
"Right," he said and waited until several more seconds to pass to say, "Well, I'm Jacob Greenley."
The pale light of the moon illuminated his skin when I realised that I had seen this student, who went by the name of Jacob, before. Well, I knew that I had crashed into him before.
"Well, hello, Jacob," I said, unable to recognise the reason to this conversation at this ungodly hour.
Silence blanketed us once again, creating a thick atmosphere that caused me to suffocate. I turned my gaze to the waxing gibbous moon that would turn into a full moon hanging in the darkened skies in just a few days.
"Would you like to go out with me?" he blurted out after several long minutes as if he were contemplating whether it was worth asking the question or not.
The question hadn't fully registered into my mind when I said, "What?" although I knew quite well exactly the words he had uttered a few moments ago. But all speech had been wiped clear of my mind at that moment as I felt a sudden rise of heat in my body, my heart beating against my soul.
"I..." I faltered looking at any place except at the Hufflepuff standing in front of me.
"I don't know," I said, the air around me pressuring the words out of me.
"You... don't know," he repeated as if in disbelief, his green eyes widening.
"No," I shook my head.
"Maybe you could think about it?" he asked as if the confidence he once had, had now vanished without any remains.
"Well..." I said unsure if I actually wanted to think about it, crossing my arms across my chest.
"Great then," he said with a smile and started off in the other direction.
My eyes watched his retreating figure, still not fully grasping the meaning of his words as I began walking towards the common room. I was in no mood to return back to a party, a party filled with the thoughts of people. People who had troubles of their own to be concerned about except for this one night.
But a more significant settled uncomfortably in the back of my mind.
Who was he?
The name troubled my usually peaceful slumber as I tumbled through the sheets that my body was tangled in. The velvet cloak was still wrapped protectively around me as I hid in the security of my blankets, taking comfort in the thought of loneliness.
Blonde locks splayed around me, several hidden knots in the thickness of it as I stared up at the fabric that hung from the bed posts. Although I had wanted to lie there for eternity, I pushed myself up from the depths of comfort that made up my bed and neatly folded the velvet cloak that I would return to Lily at some point during the day.
The cream dress was another reminder of the night's events as the fabric fell around the bare skin of my feet as I quietly slipped into the bathroom. Splashing cold water onto my face that sent a jolt through my body, I ran a brush furiously through the locks of hair. Faint circles hung from the rim of my eyes as I stepped out of security of the bathroom and slipped out of the dormitory, shutting the door with a click.
The Ravenclaw common room was still, unfinished writings lingering on the tables and wrinkled pillows gave proof of the existence of occupants. All I knew was that I wanted to run, run to wipe the constant bombardment of thoughts in my head. Soon, my feet were racing across the stone floors of the silent corridors, blonde locks whipping behind me. My hands clenched the fabric of the cream dress to keep from tripping over the delicate material.
And I ran.
I didn't know where I was planning to go, all I knew is that it felt good to feel as if I had not a care on my mind. Eventually, my sides began to ache as my lungs were emptied of oxygen. Darkness clouded over my vision as I closed my eyes, leaning over my knees and breathed in the fresh air. The leaves rustled as rays of sunlight filtered in through the thick mass of clouds.
I immediately snapped up only to meet the comforting face of Remus Lupin. "Remus?" I said with a grin while straightening my dress. "May I ask what you are doing up so early?" he asked as he walked closer to where I stood, still trying to replace the oxygen in my lungs.
"I just am," I said after moments of pondering before asking, "And what are you doing up at this hour?" "
"I usually wake up at dawn because the grounds are lovely at this time," he said, hands slipping into his pockets as we began to walk towards the castle.
"Were you running?" he asked after several moments of hearing the sound of our footsteps.
"Well, yes," I said truthfully although my cheeks flushed slightly.
My hands immediately gathered a handful of the fabric to lift it only to find my bare feet marked with dirt. This only furthered deepened my blush. "You have some interesting morning habits," Remus said teasingly.
I couldn't find the appropriate words to the statement so I allowed silence to fill in the gap. "You must be cold," Remus said, glancing at my bare arms.
Upon deciding to leave the common room, the fact that I would be needing a cloak and a pair of shoes had gone unnoticed. It was only when Remus stated his thought that I realised that the hairs on my arms from standing up as shivers crawled up my spine.
"I'm fine," I said, waving off his sentence.
Before I could stop him, Remus was slipping off the knit sweater that kept him from freezing as he said, "Here." I glanced at the thick cardigan that was a part of the Gryffindor House fandom and back up at his face. "Remus, I'm fine. Honestly, you don't have to freeze for me," I said firmly.
"I'm not going to freeze," he said with a steady tone, gesturing at the thickness of his jumper. I bit my lip, searching for the words to say. "But-"
"No, take it," he insisted, pushing the bundle of warmth into my arms. I stared at him as he said with a smile, "Go on, now."
A sigh escaped my lips as I pushed my arms through the arms of the cardigan. My fingers peeked out from the sweater which was a bit long as a smell of pine trees and the pages of ancient books emanated from it.
"Thank you," I said with sincerity.
"It's nothing," he said, waving off the apology.
"It's not nothing it is something, and that something was very kind," I said until I felt like giving myself a slap for uttering those words.
He grinned as he chuckled quietly, digging his hands deeper into his pockets. "Did you enjoy the party?" I asked at an attempt at conversation. "Well, yes I did until I woke up this morning to find James vomiting into the toilet."
"They never do learn," Remus said, adding on, "And did you enjoy the party?"
"It was sort of cut short for me but I had a good time," I said with a small smile.
"It was cut short?"
"Well, remember that bloke who interrupted our conversation-"
"After that I figured that it was best to end the night there for he put me in a bit of a well, bad mood."
"Oh, I wish you had been able to enjoy the rest of the night," he said earnestly, although a certain curiosity burned behind his eyes.
Silence filtered in, my eyes focusing on the pattern of our steps as my fingers clenched the warmth of the knit cardigan. I breathed in the scent of Remus Lupin as the shadow from the wings of an owl shaded us. The owl dropped an envelope at Remus's feet as we halted our journey. "Oh, it's a letter from my mom," he said with a smile upon examining the handwriting on the envelope.
"Do you write to her often?" I asked before I could stop the words from rolling off my tongue.
"Yes, I do. Do you write to your mother often?" he said with a smile as he tucked the letter away, saving the unknown words for a time of silence.
A crack formed in hardened surface of my heart as I said, "Oh, well...She isn't around anymore," I said, the last bit quieter than the rest.
Regret filled Remus's expression has he said, "Oh I'm-"
"It's all right but thank you," I said shaking my head as if the loss of a mother meant nothing.
Minutes of silence occupied our walk once again until I succumbed to the desire to say, "She isn't dead."
"She just left," I finished.
"When?" he asked softly, knowing the right words my ears needed to say. For years, I had wanted to tell someone of the incident, to confirm it.
"It was the middle of Third Year," I said under my breath.
"Not too long ago," he noted.
"No," I agreed. After silence became our company once again I asked, "How about your parents?"
A smile lit the features of Remus's face as he said, "Oh, they are wonderful."
I couldn't help but smile at the expression Remus held and pushed the words that he wanted to say and asked, "Really?"
He nodded eagerly, his hands folded behind his back, and said, "They love to tell the story of how they met. Every time there's a guest, the story never fails to be brought up."
Remus glanced at my face until saying, "My father, Lyall Lupin, was an authority on Non-Human Spiritous Apparitions. You know, creatures that are ghostlike in their characteristics although they have never been alive, like poltergeists and Boggarts."
"Well, he was on an investigative trip in a forest in Wales that reportedly had a particularly dangerous Boggart. Then he ran into my mom, Hope Howell. She was apparently a 'beautiful Muggle girl who worked in an insurance office in Cardiff.'"
I smiled as he continued, "My mom thought that someone was following her because it is said that Muggles sense poltergeists and Boggarts. According to her, the Boggart assumed the form of a large, vicious man. When she screamed, my father came running through the trees which resulted in the Boggart disappearing."
Remus glanced at me and said, "My mother of course didn't know that it was a Boggart and thought that my father had scared the man away."
I laughed, picturing the scene that his words formed in my mind. "Well, after that he accompanied my mom home to protect her. Eventually they fell in love and my father admitted that it was a Boggart that had been in the forest so she wasn't really in danger."
"Aw, your poor father," I said as laughter slipped through my lips.
"But they did get engaged and eventually married. Their cake was topped with a Boggart in reminder of the creature that brought them together."
A wide smile lit my face as I treasured the story of Lyall Lupin and Hope Howell that seemed to be more of a fairytale, instead of a reality. "That's beautiful," I said.
"Well it got you to laugh at least," he said with a grin.
"Yes it did, it's a wonderful story," I said, not knowing the appropriate reply to the statement.
Daylight broke onto the grounds as we entered the castle, the November wind whispering words of kindness in our ears as we cradled the silence in our arms. A sense of peace seeped through my skin as we enjoyed the early morning.
It was nice.
Well, this story is quite the same but a bit different in scenes. I added more scenes involving Remus and James/Lily because the main focus is actually James/Lily, if you may not believe it (you will notice it more in the later chapters). The story involving Remus and his parents is actually true. If you had logged onto Pottermore yesterday and read about Remus Lupin you would find the same story (written and created by J.K. Rowling). So, I do try to keep as true to the original story as is possible.
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