The night of the party has arrived. Among the 7th years at dinner that night, there is an obvious buzzing of excitement for those who were lucky enough to receive an invitation.
Even Lily looks excited. It has been only two weeks since her rumored severance of friendship with Snape. As I sit at dinner that night, I look from her chatting away with Alice Prewett, over to the Slytherin table. Snape is there, sitting alone near the end of the table. His head is hung low, his hair falling over his face as he slowly eats his dinner, avoiding eye contact with any of his fellow housemates. A sudden spike of sadness and pity consumes me.
“Rora! Look here!” Sirius calls me back to the conversation. He is at my side, feasting on a chicken leg. He holds out a piece of parchment to me. It has a time and location scrawled across it.
“This is our meeting place, pass it down,” he whispers with a giddy look.
I glance at it. It is labeled 9 pm, Whomping Willow, only for those who have pledged allegiance to the Marauders. No additional guests allowed.
I laugh to myself and pass it on to another 7th year Gryffindor who takes it with excitement.
“So you decided to show everyone the secret passage, then?” I ask Sirius and James as they watch with giddiness as the note gets passed furtively around the group of 7th years.
“Actually….no.” James said.
“What do you mean? Why did you have us meet at the Willow then?” I inquire, with a confused look.
“Well we figured we’d just…walk.” James answered sheepishly.
“After all that talk about the brilliance of your plan and showing me the map?” I ask incredulously.
“Well, after I convinced James that it was idiotic to expose our brilliance, I decided that we could just as well walk to the village under cover of darkness and fog,” Sirius explained.
I raised my eyebrows. “You lot are more indecisive and inconsistent then Marigold trying to pick out a dressing gown for a ball.”
“Well you can’t be too careful,” James defended himself.
“I’m just glad I got to see the map at any rate,” I say with a devilish smile.
“And you’ll do well not to share, right, my dear Aurora?” James says warningly, with a forced smile plastered on his face. I laugh and nearly choke on my apple cider.
“Of course, of course,” I say in a mock serious voice. “I would never reveal your secrets,”
James narrows his eyes at me. “Though I don’t appreciate your sarcastic tone, I will hold you to that,” he says, grabbing the chicken leg from Sirius just as he is about to take a bite. James takes a large bite from the chicken and puts it back in his hand hardly before Sirius has time to react.
“Now,” James says, mouth full. “Let’s talk about how I’m going to woo my sweet Lily flower,”
Sirius rolls his eyes. “Blimey Prongs, must we talk about that now?”
“Yes!” James demands, and then gestures to me. “We must, especially when we have to superior female guru knowledge that Aurora undoubtedly holds right at our disposal.”
I snort again. “Oh please. I am hardly the person to ask,” I say, blushing slightly.
“Yes, you surely are,” James says. “Now share the scheme I must craft in order to win her over,”
James sat staring at me, waiting for my answer.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I start sarcastically. “Why don’t you try…talking to her?”
James scratches his chin. “Hmm, interesting hypothesis. But I’ve tried that already.”
It’s Sirius’s turn to snort into his apple cider. Remus, who had been sitting across from us and had been attempting to ignore our conversation, finally interjects, “No Prongs, what you’ve tried is assaulting her with your body and impressing her with lame jokes and over-exaggerated claims.”
James looks insulted. “Hardly! I’m just bein’ me, Moony. Can’t fault me for that,”
Sirius lets out a bark of a laugh. “Oh Prongs, this is why you’re my best mate,”
* * *
Later, an hour before we were meant to meet at the Willow, Marigold and I were busy getting ready in our dormitory.
Marigold was mulling over her selection of dresses, while I was busy making my wavy stringy hair looks acceptable.
“Rora, blue or green?” Marigold asks, holding out her two dress options to me. I survey them, cocking my head slightly to the side. One was a tiny little dress of shimmery blue with beading on the plunging neckline, and the other was fitted at the waist with a soft silky emerald finish.
“You wear the blue, so I can borrow that green one,” I offer. I didn’t usually dress up, but tonight felt different. I wanted to catch attention, rather then avoid it like usual.
Marigold grins and without wasting another second, throws the green one towards me excitedly.
“Deal! Oh I love to get dressed up with you Rora, you never do this!”
I laugh guiltily. “Well, I just thought it’d be nice to look…nice tonight.” I say awkwardly.
“Well, I’m your girl for that,” Marigold says, coming over to my desk where I’m still brushing out my tangled mess of hair. “Mind if I put a little makeup on you?” she asks, taking out her little bag full of no doubt the finest witches beauty products.
“I can do it myself, Marigold. I have worn makeup before,” I mutter, not looking up from my mirror. But she grabs a tube of eyeliner from her bag and plops down next to me.
“Hold still,” she says, and I roll my eyes and close my eyes and let her have her way with my face.
“Just don’t put on too much, I don’t fancy looking like a clown tonight,” I say stubbornly.
“Don’t you worry,” she says, immediately starting to draw my eyelids. After she’s done, I gaze at myself in the mirror. My light green eyes have been topped with a delicate yet dark winged line. My cheeks smoothed over with a soft coral blush, and my lips a sweet cherry red. Though I had experimented with makeup every once and again throughout the years, I never had achieved the classic sophistication these simple touches had. Something about the way they transformed my face by doing so little surprised me. I looked older, yet fresh faced somehow, like the pinup models for Witch Weekly of decades past. I was still me, yet now different somehow.
“Wow, Marigold…” I say, turning my head to one side and then the other slowly. “Thank you.”
Marigold simply beams and gives my shoulders a quick yet soft pat. “Told ya…now let’s finish getting ready, we’ve only got more 20 minutes!”
* * *
We sneak out the portrait hole, careful not to attract attention from the lingering younger students still up in the Common Room. Our dresses are covered in thick black cloaks, and our heads covered in scarves and woolen hats. We could be simply going out for an innocent (though still against the rules) evening walk. No one would suspect much beyond that.
Once we get out into the corridor and down to the ground floor, we spot Sirius, Peter and Remus waiting near the large wooden doors. They too are wearing thick cloaks. Sirius’s is bulged out on one side, undoubtedly smuggling our supple of firewhiskey.
They look up when they hear us approach. “Rora! Goldy!” Sirius exclaims in a half whisper, half yell.
I smile and nearly bounce over to greet them. Peter gives a squeak of a hello and a wave and Remus nods.
“You lovely ladies prepared for the supreme night of debauchery ahead?” Sirius asks with a devilish grin.
“Naturally,” I smile, though I am slightly nervous. I still am at a loss of how the night will pan out. But my trust in Marauders’ cleverness and planning genius has extended quite far up until now.
“Where’s James?” Marigold asks, peering around her.
“Already out there, I assume,” Remus answers dryly. He still looks quite nervous and his face is whiter than yesterday.
“Speaking of, we better get going,” Sirius said, gesturing for us to follow him. He bows his back slightly and takes out his map, careful to keep it in his view only, I assume because of Marigold’s presence.
“Coast is clear,” he whispers and leads us out the great wooden doors. The wind chill of the night immediately hits us. I wrap my scarf tighter around me.
The mist hangs low on the ground as we descend the slopes towards the Willow. There is a slight scattering of stars, but most are consumed by the clouds above. The moon is a waning gibbous, approaching closer and closer to full and its silvery light sheds all around the ground, creating a lit path for our stumbling feet.
The silhouette of the tree looms closer as we walk down. Its branches are stagnant and barren of leaves, but they twitch every so often. I look up at it nervously as we approach. I never did like that tree much.
When we finally reach it, we see a group of people already waiting. I spot James, standing proudly at the forefront of the group with a tall walking stick planted in the dirt below him. Next to him is a skeptical looking Lily, Mary, Alice and Marlene, and at least twelve or more fellow seventh year Gryffindors.
“Greetings!” James says to us, beaming as he surveys the group. Just then, eight Ravenclaw seventh years come up behind us, looking skeptical but excited. I am shocked at the turnout.
“Well, this is everyone I believe, let’s head out my fellow comrades in party action!” James declares, holding up his walking staff and pointing it eastward towards the village.
And the group makes to follow him, shuffling our feet as we go. I walk alongside Sirius, making sure not to trip over the uneven, muddy ground. Marigold is clutching onto Remus for dear life, clearly a bit nervous at the impending dark path. Lily and Marlene are cautiously beside them, looking more and more skeptical with each step.
“So, this shall we interesting,” I mutter out of the corner of my mouth to Sirius. His mouth breaks into a smirk.
“Indeed. But I think we’ll pull it off,” he says.
I cock my head back and forth, “We’ll see,”
After walking for what feels like quite awhile, we finally reach the outskirts of the village. Through the mist, we make out barely the outline of the Shrieking Shack. I hear Marigold audibly gulp in fear behind me.
“Alright everyone!” James yells to the group. “We’re going to have to shimmy underneath the gate,” And with that he approaches the tall, dilapidated fencing that surrounds the Shack’s grounds and, not without difficulty, pries up a bit at the bottom.
“He’s got to be kidding,” Marigold mutters, agitated. Lily too agrees, looking more and more annoyed.
But James simply gestures to us and we one by one we are forced to crawl through the hole, the frozen dirt beneath us catching on our coats.
Once we are all through, James guides us to the Shack’s door. He pries it open and rushes us through, urges us to keep quiet. “Quietly everyone, don’t want to disturb the ghouuuuls and ghooosts!” and gives a maniacal laugh matched by Sirius, Peter and Remus. Marigold looks frightened to death and she practically pushes one of the Ravenclaw boys out of the way to get inside first.
As we step into the dark room, the floor creaks under our many shuffling footsteps.
“Make yourself at home, my good friends,” James announces as he uses his wand to conjure up little orbs of light that set the whole room up in a soft warm glow.
The room, which looks to be a sort of drawing room, isn’t large. The wallpaper is peeling and faded, and what is left of the furniture looks hacked away, as though attacked by some wild beast. There is a staircase to the right and a nook just below it, and over on the opposite end is a grand fireplace, which is covered in a thick layer of long-neglected ash and soot.
“Hmm…well I suppose this could be worse,” Marigold offers as she steps inside, removes her jacket and sets it on the destroyed and filthy sofa.
The rest of the group of us, slightly nervous at first, begins to break up as we group off. Lily and Alice stand at one end of the room with a pair of blonde Ravenclaw girls. Peter sits with Remus on the edge of the large broken sofa. Remus looks uneasy, and I wonder why for a moment, but shrug it off as him being disapproving.
As I walk farther into the room, I cough as the dusty air films my lungs up and Marigold has to pat me hard on the back until I am able to breathe properly.
“Thanks, I croak weakly, stepping over to survey the large cracked fireplace.
“Looks like you could use a drink,” Sirius murmurs to me with a grin. He takes out his rucksack and empties the firewhiskey bottles onto a crooked dusty table in the corner. Peter saunters over with the stacks of cups and places them beside the bottles, looking positively upbeat.
Sirius hands me a cup, fills it with the burning liquid and offers it to me. I take it, surveying its odd golden quality. Sirius fills a cup of his own, just as James calls out, “And music, Sirius?”
Sirius grins and pulls a large wireless from his bag next, and prods it with his wand until streams of loud rock music echoes off the vaulted ceilings of the shack. This seems to put most of the group at ease, as people remove their cloaks and jackets and begin to help themselves to drinks.
James is busy handing out drinks with Peter and Sirius. Sirius is chatting with a few of the Ravenclaws as he does.
I decide to get comfortable. So I slowly remove my jacket to reveal my tight green dress beneath it. I feel suddenly almost exposed, having never worn this type of clothing much before. Sirius catches sight of me from the corner of his eye and for a moment pauses in talking and serving drinks and I see him look my body up and down. He practically does a double take. My heart skips a beat and I blush and turn around, as my shoulders bunch up awkwardly. I’m not quite sure what to make of it.
“Aurora!” I hear my name. I turn back around. It’s James, holding out a cup full of firewhiskey out, meaning me to come over and take it. He is distracted by people waiting on their turn for drinks but for a split second he too gives me a double take. I walk over and take the drink from him.
“By Merlin, Aurora, where have you been hiding?” James mutters in a husky voice.
I smile sheepishly and give him a playful swat. “Easy there, Potter,” I tease.
Sirius is still looking at me with that odd, ogling expression and I’m not sure what to say. But he seems to snap out of it finally as he gives out a cup to the lat person and comes over to me. “Rora…you look…” he starts to say. “…different.”
“Thanks?” I say, my tone more questioning than anything.
“Sorry,” he laughs, almost nervously. “I just mean, I’ve never really seen you dressed up,”
“Yeah well Marigold helped a bit,” I explain, my eyes downcast.
“Speaking of Goldy,” Sirius says, his eyes now surveying something behind me. “Look’s like we’ve got a train headed down the path of wreckage already,” He gestures for me to look.
I hear Marigold give a loud giggle and turn to see her dancing with Peter, her drink dangerously full and likely to spill any moment. She sips it to prevent this and takes a hearty gulp. I swear her cheeks have already begun to flush with intoxication.
I laugh and shake my head. “Oh dear, here we go,”
“Three galleons she ends up back at Ravenclaw tower with one of those blokes,” Sirius wagers, pointing to a huddle of blonde Ravenclaw boys, two of whom I recognize from the Quidditch team.
“Well you know Marigold,” I say laughing. He matches my laugh and takes another long swig from his drink. I can smell the strong scent as he breaths after his swallow, mulled together with his own scent (whether cologne or something else, I couldn’t tell).
“So let’s talk about the map, yes?” I suggest suddenly. I wanted him to spill before he got too drunk, and I knew this was the perfect place to corner him. “I believe you owe me an explanation still,” I say as I bring my cup to my lips and take a testing little sip. I cough but swallow despite the foul burn.
The corner of his mouth becomes upturned for a moment before he takes his cup in one hand, and with the other guides me over by the small of my back to the corner, near a bent old brass color lamp that has long since lost its bulb.
Remus has joined us now, seeming already bored with the gaggle of people attempting to dance in the middle of the filthy rug. He looks around the room we’ve occupied with an uncomfortable stare.
“So…how did you make it?” I ask once I have them both at my attention.
“Automatic, dimension and tracking charms mostly, among other enchantments,” Remus explains. “It took several trials and errors though, believe me,”
“Hmm, interesting,” I say, pondering this. “And why couldn’t you tell anyone? Namely, me?”
Sirius smiles, “We’ve got to keep an air of mystery, you know,” he explains. “Otherwise the mystique of the Marauders is ruined,”
“And more importantly, it’s dangerous to let people know,” Remus adds, with an almost sheepishly apologetic look on his face. “We can’t go around telling everyone, no matter how much James and Sirius like to show off,”
“Hey-“ Sirius starts to object, but I interrupt him.
“But really, how dangerous could it be?” I say with a humorless laugh, raising an eyebrow and taking another sip. “It’s just a map,”
Remus stares at me for a moment, looking slightly confused, before continuing, “Wait, how much did they tell you?”
“Enough, we told her enough,” Sirius says hurriedly, and puts his arm across my shoulder.
“What do you mean, enough?” I ask incredulously as I take a long gulp from my cup. I wobble slightly, whether from the drink or the weight of Sirius’s arm, it’s hard to say.
But before I can inquire further, there comes a screech from across the room.
Marigold’s giggle distracts me as she pulls me away and exclaims, “Rora, I love this song! Dance with me!”
I burst out laughing, “No, you’re crazy, I’m just here,” but she’s taken hold of me and doesn’t seem like she’ll let go anytime soon.
“Come have a dance with me, please!” she pleads again, as I struggle to get back to my conversation.
“But Sirius-“ I try to explain but Marigold has me swaying with her to the blasting music, and as much as I had wanted to continue my conversation about the map, I suddenly am laughing along side her.
“Oh Rora, you look positively drunk!” she announces with a giggle. “Look at your flushed cheeks!”
I laugh and humor her as she flails around, he hair becoming steadily more frizzed as the night goes on.
Sirius and the others join in on the dance crowd now. Sirius uses his wand to amplify the music, turns down the lights and ignites a spectrum of cascading sparks above our heads that illuminate the room in a rainbow of color and light. To my right, I spot a very drunk looking Lily dancing with James, who looks more thrilled than I’ve ever seen him at his situation. He has his hands on her waist and she is giggling like mad. I wonder how many drinks she’s consumed.
I spot Sirius now, a few feet away, and shuffle over near to him. He sees me and smiles broadly. He moves close until our bodies are pressed together, whether on purpose or from the pressure of the moving bodies around us, I don’t know or care. He wraps his arms around my waist and brings me even closer. I hesitantly reach out my hands to wrap them around his neck. I can smell his cologne, feel his torso against mine. The alcohol has made me clumsy, and he ends up half holding me up as we move to the music. I look up at him and he’s looking intently at me, with a twinkle in his eye. My legs feel like they’re on fire with tingles and my stomach won’t sit still.
When the song finally ends, some of us break apart form the crowd. I let go of Sirius and give him another smile. We say nothing, just smirk at one another. I feel like I’m on fire and doused in the most comfortable liquid all at once. I just turn around to make my way back over to the table with the drinks. I’ve finished three now. I grab a bottle and pour myself some more.
James, who had been arguing with a Ravenclaw Quidditch player, catches sight of me from the corner of his eye and does another double take.
“Rora, what a champ!” He holds up his drink approvingly. I laugh and clink mine against his. “Cheers!” I giggle.
“So how are things with you and Lliy?” I inquire with a devious look. “I saw you and her dancing earlier,”
James mirrors my devious look and says nonchalantly,”Oh, you know. Swimmingly,” He winks at me. I cough on my drink and laugh.
“Well I’m glad she’s come round,” I say, smiling at the way he’s absolutely beaming with contentedness.
“Speaking of,” James says, as he catches sight of Lily striding over with Alice. “Talk to you later, Aurora, I must get off-oops, I meant be off how silly of me,” and with that he gives me another wink as I giggle and bounces off towards her.
I gulp my drink down as I make my way back over to Remus, who is now laughing and chatting with Emmeline and Marigold.
His bright expression falters for a moment and he looks concerned when he catches sight of me. “Rora, how many have you had?”
I laugh again, “Who could say?” I sway on my heels. “Say…what were you saying about how much they told me earlier?”
“No, no Remus” I say. “I remember, you were going to say something…” But I trail off as I catch sight of Sirius, who is now across the room laughing and talking to a redheaded sixth year Ravenclaw girl, who I was surprised had managed to sneak in, and a few other Gryffindors. Sirius is the tallest in the group, and he is very much the center of attention. They all stare admiringly up at him as he recounts a story or joke for them. The sixth year redhead is slowly biting her lip as she stares intently at him, one of her hands grasped around his forearm.
“Rora, you okay?”
I snap back to where I am and mutter, “Yes, never mind.”
I make my way across the floor towards him. I feel positively invincible. I am simultaneously weightless and heavy, my face is hot and my mouth is dry but I don’t care.
When I reach the group, I smile silently at Sirius and he stops and stares back for a moment before saying, “Excuse me my fine gentlemen and ladies, carry on.” The redhead looks around at sees me, and gives me an unmistakably snotty expression. But Sirius, not taking his eyes off me, pulls away from the group and leads me to the alcove to the left, underneath the stairs
I cling to his strong shoulder as I walk, for my legs feel like jelly and my face is still hot.
“Enjoying yourself, hmm?” Sirius mocks, but he too slurs and stumbles. I notice he has one of the bottles of firewhiskey in his hand all to himself, now nearly empty.
“Oh yes, quite!” I say with a hiccup. I barely am able to stand straight up anymore.
“You are positively wasted, Rora,” he laughs, looking me up and down as I rest haphazardly against the corner of the wall.
“You aren’t too better off yourself,” I giggle as I poke his chest playfully.
He laughs and looks down for a moment before placing his arms on my shoulder. “Take it easy though, tiger. Don’t overdo it,”
“Okay Professor, okay Mum,” I tease.
“Where’s your drink gone?” he asks, now noticing my empty hands.
“I finished off three…four? Now…” I try to explain.
“Oh Rora, you delicate one,” he teases as he takes a large swig from the bottle.
“Oh, delicate am I?” I say as I raise an eyebrow. I smirk and grab his bottle, take a long hard gulp and try to suppress my wince of pain as the liquid sears my throat.
That was probably a bad idea.
Sirius’ eyes widen as he laughs in surprise. “My mistake. This is the first time I believe I have ever seen you this drunk, Rora.”
“Me too,” I laugh, my head starting to spin a bit. But my belly feels delightfully warm.
I look up at Sirius for a second and say sheepishly, “I don’t usually do this,”
“I can tell,” he says with a smile.
He looks down at me and I just grin up at him. He quickly, before I have time to process it, gives my lips a sloppy yet light kiss. My body surges with energy. I am frozen. My hands fall limp to my sides and my body surges with sensations I hadn’t quite experienced before.
But he just smiles again as he parts his lips from mine, as cool as ever. And before I can respond, there is a loud whistle from behind us. We peak back over into the main room to see James and Peter standing up on a table, unidentified objects in hand. Their faces are filled with mischievous glee.
“Oi! Party go-ers! Friends! Fellow students!” James shouts above the noise of music and chatter. The people quiet down and turn their attention towards the two.
“You didn’t really think we, the Marauders as it were, would throw a party with no…sparkle and bang, shall we say?”
And with that Peter and him release the foreign objects from their hands and there is an eruption of light, sparks, noise and smoke above our heads.
Everyone cheers as bouncing spikes or fire and color multiply beneath the ceiling and whistle in all directions. I laugh as several girls shriek with glee and bend down in surprise.
When the smoke clears, James and Peter give a bow and saunter off the table with gleeful looks on their faces.
“Oi Prongs!” Sirius dashes away from me now to join James and Peter, laughing. “Way to let a mate know about a trick!”
“Apologies, dear Padfoot, from the bottom of my heart.” James says in mock apology.
But Sirius isn’t angry. Instead he high fives his friends and talks energetically with them for a few moments about what I assume to be firecracker logistics.
After an amount of time that in my drunken state I could not possible guess at , I make my way back over to the fireplace where the drinks are set up and spot Marigold. She is hanging off the side of the fireplace’s mantle, drink in one hand. She’s staring up at a tall blonde boy, one of the Ravenclaw Quidditch players. When I join them, he gets pulled away by one of his teammates who have started a drinking game involving cups and a stolen quaffle.
“Rora,” she slurs when I join her, with a determined tone of urgency in her voice. “You have to see this bloke from Ravenclaw I’ve been talking to…he’s gorgeous.” She points over to him, as he swings and dunks the quaffle in alarge pot of alcohol. Everyone cheers.
“He’s completely mad for me, I can tell,” she says with a look of glee on her face.
I laugh. “I think someone owes Sirius two galleons…” I mutter, stifling a laugh.
Marigold’s shiny round face cocks to the side for a moment, “What do you mean?”
“Oh nothing!” I say with a laugh. “Did I thank you for making me pretty tonight?”
Marigold claps her hands together. “Oh yes, Rory, you look positively radiant!” she exclaims. “I don’t know if you saw, but I counted at least five boys who have been looking at you tonight. You’re a right looker now!” And with that she erupts in a fit of giggles. I blush and smile.
“Well, I‘ve only got one boy on my mind…” I whisper with a smirk. “Speaking of…” My eyes search the dark, smoky and crowded room for Sirius.
But I can’t find him. “Hang on one second, Marigold, I’ll be right back,” I tell her as I make my way back over across the room, searching.
I spot James and Lily, furiously snogging on the broken sofa. Remus and Peter and Emmeline are laughing about something together. A group of Gryffindors are still dancing in the middle of the room. There is a Ravenclaw girl slumped down against the wall, passed out.
I finally reach the stairway and peer behind it in the alcove. It’s empty. I suddenly hear a bark-like laugh from upstairs. I recognize it as Sirius’s and I smile.
“Found you,” I say to myself. I wonder if he had gone up there on purpose, waiting for me.
I ascend the steps as fast as my drunken stupor will allow. Once I reach the landing, all visibility is lost. There is a thicker coating of dust up here, and all the doors I can make out are closed. But suddenly I hear a thump in one room and voices. I am confused, wondering why he’s up here shut up in a room. I head over to the door and open it, peering inside.
My heart drops at what I see. Sirius is sprawled out with the redheaded sixth year girl on the bed. She sloppily is clutching his back and straddling him, her skirt barely on and shirt unbuttoned. Sirius’s dark hair is blocking his face, but I can hear him laughing and whispering to her.
I am halfway through the door, but they haven’t so much as noticed me. I am struck and frozen.
The girl is gazing up at Sirius, and with a laugh she playfully brings her lips sloppily to his.
Sirius grins and takes her waist in his arms and kisses her back, half giggling the entire time, still completely unaware of me watching them. His mouth meets her lips, her neck, her chest, as she erupts into a wild fit of laughter.
My heartbeat grows fast and I turn, a hot flush seething through my face. Suddenly, I’m feeling light headed. I shut the door quietly behind me. I walk as best I can down the stairs and back towards where corner where Emmeline, Remus and a few others are still blissfully and drunkenly laughing together.
“What’s wrong Aurora?” Remus asks immediately when he spots me.
“I..I just…I have to go,” My voice cracks and I try to find my coat on the floor in the dark.
“Why? What happened?” Emmeline asks, coming over to help me. Her face, just seconds ago glowing and jubilant, is now hard and concerned.
“I…I can’t.” I am a mess of strangled words and embarrassment as I try to choke back idiotic tears.
“Rora, what happened?” Remus asks more firmly now. “Are you alright?”
“I just need to go back to the castle,” I make my way to the door. As I try to escape, Sirius and the Ravenclaw girl emerge from up stairs, hanging off each other and giggling.
“Ey! Rora where you going?” Sirius slurs, a haughty smile still on his face, when he sees me grabbing my cloak. His long hair is mussed and the top of his shirt is unbuttoned.
I am either too drunk or two embarrassed to respond. I just turn and find the door as fast as I can.
As I enter the cool night, I realize it has started lighting snowing while we’ve been inside. I wrap my coat tighter and trudge through.
I am an idiot. I can’t believe I’ve been acting like such a fool. He’s nothing but a flirt.
There are hot tears pooling in my eyes now, which only furthers my humiliation and anger at myself.
I should have seen this coming. I’ve known him long enough to realize his games. I’m no more special than the next girl.
His voice booms widely across the frosty slopes.
I don’t turn around, knowing that if I do I will only embarrass myself further.
But my intoxication is stunting my ability to make any kind of progress. I stumble and slip, and finally fall down onto my knees in a heap. My head is spinning and I try to right myself, but he’s already there, lifting me up to face him.
“Where do you think you’re going?” He’s smirking now, as if he’s caught a child in a game of hide-and-seek, haughty confidence still plastered across his face.
“I want to go to sleep. I’m over the party. Please let me go,” I struggle to continue, my lips locked into a hard line, my eyes avoiding contact with his. I don’t want him to see the evidence of my stupid tears.
“But wait!” He’s in front of me again, blocking me. “I was thinking, you know…maybe we could..” he trails off in a slur, in an almost suggestive manner. He’s smirking.
I can’t believe what he’s saying, a mere few minutes after me just seeing him with the other girl.
“Could what?” I say, anger and cold causing my hands to tremble. “Snog? Fuck? What exactly were you planning?” He looks taken aback at this, though he’s still got that stupid drunken grin on his face.
“Well maybe, I was just planning on-“ He tried to say but I cut him off.
“Planning on it, were you?” I spit at him. “And was I planned for before or after you snogged the oh, second or third girl tonight?”
This wipes the grin off his face. His face is riddled with confusion now. “Rora, I don’t know what you mean, I-“ but he falters. “Please, why are you so upset?”
“I think that Ravenclaw girl might know,” I hiss darkly. His face falls at this and he says nothing.
I take a deep breath for a moment, trying to collect myself. “Look Sirius,” I say firmly. “Go back to the party. I'm done with it.”
But he won’t give up that easily. “Please, I’m sorry Rora. I don’t know why you’re getting so upset…”
And now my firmness fails me and I am at a loss for words. I am stuck in a trap. What can I even say to him?
That I had a stupid schoolgirl crush and now I’m mad that some other girl got to him first? Or that he obviously wanted someone else? Even though I had gone through years of watching him snog and fuck other girls, without giving it another thought.
Instead, I just look at him, staying intently into my eyes, awaiting my explanation.
“I am confused. I thought…” I look at the ground again. I have lost my firm footing in this argument. The hot tears have returned. I hurriedly wipe them away, willing him not to notice.
“What?” Sirius pleads. “Rora, you’re my friend. I don’t want to see you upset,”
“I thought we…” I can’t finish. I feel like an idiot.
“You gotta give me something here, love.” He says softly with almost a smile, and puts his hands on my shoulders gently.
I furrow my brow. I am suddenly angry again. “See…that. Don’t do that.” My voice cracks, barely above a whisper.
He looks bewildered. “What do you mean? What are you talking about?”
I shake his hands from my shoulders and step back. “Don’t call me ‘love’. Don’t smile at me like I’m yours. Don’t hold my hand. Don’t hint at things. Don’t flirt. Don’t kiss me. Don’t make me want you. Don’t do any of it, Sirius,” I say, my voice starting to shake again. “Unless you intend to do something about it.”
His face, whether effected by the whiskey or not, looks bewildered and taking my chance, I quickly turn around and make my way back towards the castle, willing my feet not to slip.
This time he doesn’t follow. And I don’t look back.
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