Chapter 4-The Morning After

Halloween at Hogwarts had never been more extravagant. The usual house colors were gone, replaced by bright shades of reds, yellows, greens, and oranges. Music was cascading throughout the room, as were the dancers. The partners of each person rarely seemed to switch though. It seemed as if almost everyone wanted to know exactly who was hiding behind the mask.

The stroke of midnight was the official time of revealing one’s self. Once the music had stopped, everyone looked at the clock. The stroke of midnight was upon them. Professor Dumbledore swayed his wand and a loud, almost bell-like sound propelled throughout the room, onto the grounds, and into the starry night.

In the Great Hall, maps were whipped off and the person behind it was revealed. Professor Dumbledore studied the atmosphere, almost anticipating the moment a shrewd scream would be proclaimed after a fairly brutal shock. Yet, none came. He watched as the students actually seemed pleasantly shocked. He looked for his two Heads, but was unable to locate either of them. It was due to them that this momentary unity was able to occur.

Sydney rested her head upon the masked stranger and smiled. She was thoroughly enjoying the mere company of a boy, opposed to the inevitable pressure dating brought. Just sitting quietly and watching the stars was enough for her.

The warm body beside her looked over, his mask still in place. She hadn’t realized that she was wearing hers, making her just as mysterious to the other as he was to her.

Both of their heads snapped up as they heard a bell. That must have meant that it was already midnight. Sydney cursed silently, almost wishing that she could sit on the balcony with this unfamiliar person forever.

She was fairly sure it was Evan Rosier, although she knew from experience that Rosier was much more hands on. The person beside her was into intimacy, but only in the smallest gestures. He liked kissing her forehead, holding her hand, whispering in her ear. It was very romantic. She wished all men would treat women as such.

The two of them turned to face one another. Sydney looked into the captivating gray eyes of her date for that night and smiled. Simultaneously, the two of them pulled their masks off.

Sydney would have fallen straight off of that balcony due to shock if it had not been for Sirius’ arm.

He pulled her up, his own mask lying forgotten on the edge.

“Sirius Black?” Sydney asked, almost thinking it was far too surreal to be true.

“I should have known,” Sirius muttered to himself. “You have the brightest smile of all the girls at Hogwarts.”

He didn’t say this as a compliment though, merely a fact. It wasn’t that Sydney and Sirius had an infamous grudge against one another not so unlike Lily and James. The two of them barely knew one another. The only telling they had heard of one another was usually not so good. Sydney was known for playing the field and enticing the male species with her bright blue eyes and gleaming smile. Sirius was known for his astonishing good looks, impeccable charm, and inability to commit.

It was so odd that from all the horrible things she had heard of Sirius, Sydney had gotten to know a very decent, sweet guy. The man with the mask had been so gentle and caring, so unlike Sirius Black. Sydney was simply astounded. One positive was that she had been correct in commenting that the mystery man had great hair; Sirius did.

“This is really awkward,” Sirius exclaimed. Sydney nodded her head. “I mean, it’s not that you’re horrible or anything. I’ve always thought that we were on opposing sides though.”

“Yes,” Sydney answered. “We’re too alike for our own good. It’s very wrong.”

“Wrong on a lot of levels,” Sirius commented. “I mean, James is my best mate, Lily is yours. I date a lot of girls, you date a lot of guys. We’re both very desired individuals. If two people of the same desirability came together, there would be no hope left at Hogwarts.”

“You’re right,” Sydney agreed. She bit her lip and looked up at him. She couldn’t help but think that he was extremely sexy.

Sirius was noticing that Sydney wasn’t the most beautiful girl he had ever seen, but he could understand why most guys at Hogwarts were infatuated by her. He had never seen anyone like her.

“What the hell,” Sirius mumbled, kissing her on the lips once again. They were too entranced by one another to realize that something extremely significant was going on down below them on the grounds.

Lily had stopped kissing her dancing partner and had gone on to resting comfortable on the soft ground with her head resting on his chest. His heartbeat was pacing unusually quick, but she guessed it was just nerves. The entire night she had been trying to place a face to this mystery man, as well as her previous dance partner before him.

She smiled as she realized she hadn’t had this much fun at school. Usually, she was too concerned with everyone else’s well being to focus on her own.

A loud bell rang and Lily looked down at her hand to see her black silk mask resting still in her hands. She looked up at her partner, but found him easing himself up. She stood and looked over at him.

He didn’t seem to be reaching to reveal himself as he should have. Instead, he frowned sadly.

“I have to go,” he told her quietly.

“What?” she asked, extremely perplexed. “Why? Aren’t you going to tell me who you are?”

He walked slowly away, not turning his back on her just yet.

“I can’t,” he told her. “I just can’t.”

“Will I ever see you again?” she asked him.

“Yes,” he assured her. “I will be sure that we meet up again. Thank you for the most amazing night.”

With that, he ran off into the castle. Even though Lily was sad that she couldn’t see her date, she had to admit, it was better this way. She was glad she didn’t have to be disappointed. Someone completely horrendous could have been under that mask for all she knew. When she thought about it, it was hard to imagine that person as being anything but nice.

She walked back to the castle slowly, a smile dancing across her face every step of the way.

The morning after the masquerade, students were actually grateful for the chance to sleep in. The sun challenged it’s way in through the window panes, shining carelessly into the eyes of those in slumber.

The sun was not what had woken Lily up that morning though. The sound of someone cursing furiously and hopping up and down woke her. She rubbed her eyes carefully as she attempted to pry them open. When she did, she saw her best friend holding her toe and swearing in pain.

She was still dressed in her dress gowns and had her hair and makeup still on, although they looked a lot less neat than they had the night before.

“What did you do?” Lily asked her friend.

“Stubbed my toe,” Sydney confessed, jumping on her bed and immediately tucking herself under the covers, without even changing out of her dress. Her mask fell to the floor beside her.

Alice, who had woken up just as Lily had, smiled at her friend playfully.

“Did you just get in?” Alice asked, raising an eyebrow suggestively.

“Yes,” Sydney sighed. It was a sigh of joy though, as Lily noted.

“What were you doing all that time?” Alice wondered.

“Snogging,” Sydney divulged.

“With who?” Lily gasped.

“Wouldn’t you like to know?” Sydney teased before closing the hangings around her and going to sleep.

“Alice, who did you end up with?” Lily inquired, still lying lazily in bed.

“Frank Longbottom,” Alice told her friend with a hint of a blush in her cheeks.

Lily smiled, happy that Alice had finally gotten herself together with a good guy.

“How did that happen?” Lily asked.

“Well, neither one of us really found much honesty in the entire hiding behind a mask ordeal,” Alice answered. “It may work for some people, but the two of us found ourselves outside the Great Hall. I talked with him until two in the morning. He is a very interesting person, it turns out.”

Lily grinned, knowing that Alice seemed gleefully happy for a reason. Although, Alice wasn’t one to overlook Lily’s glowing face.

“Why’re you so flushed, Miss Evans?” Alice asked. “Did you too find yourself a suitable guy?”

“I think I did,” Lily replied, not going into much detail. She found herself almost hoping that she had known who was hidden behind that mask.

“What a pretty owl,” Alice commented as an owl pecked its beak at the window. “Who does it belong to?”

Lily let the owl in through the window and saw that it had dropped two roses and a note.

Dear Lily,

I had one of the best times of my life last night with you. I would love to see you again. Meet me tonight by the lake at 11:00.

Someone as beautiful as you deserves more than just one rose. See you tonight.

There was no signature. Although, the note was not signed and the owl was unfamiliar, Lily knew precisely who it was from.

Both James and Sirius returned to the dorm at the exact same time. Peter and Remus looked up with suspicion at their two friends.

“Where have you two been?” Remus asked.

“I was just returning from the Owlery,” James told them. “I came back last night, unlike Padfoot.”

Sirius grinned, walking sleepily over to his bed and lying down with a silly expression all over his face.

“I take it things went good?” Peter asked his friend.

“Bloody fantastic,” Sirius replied, his head resting on his pillow. “Best snogging of my life.”

“Who was she?” James asked his friend.

“Hm, I’d tell you, but then I’d have to decapitate your head from your shoulders, use it as a bludger, and eventually use it as a chew toy during full moons,” Sirius told his friend, shutting his hangings and going to sleep.

“A simple ‘I’d tell you, but then I’d have to kill you’ would have worked just fine,” James mumbled, still smiling though.

“Points for his excellent creativity,” Remus pointed out. He returned to folding the clean clothes underneath his bed. He looked over at his friend with an amused look.

“I take it you found Lily last night?” Remus asked.

“Sure did,” James replied. “It was magical, Moony. I mean, I’ve never felt this way around a girl before.”

“You’ve always liked Lily though,” Peter reminded his friend.

“I have,” James admitted. “But last night was what did it for me. She’s truly magnificent. Plus, we kissed.”

“Lily Evans kissed you?” Peter, Remus, and even Sirius from behind the curtains asked.

James nodded. “She doesn’t know it was me though.”

“Prongs, you idiot. You didn’t tell her who you were?” Sirius asked, poking his head out.

“I should have?” James questioned. “I mean, what if she was horribly disappointed?”

“You’re the one who created this bloody masquerade idea. I thought you were going to use it for your advantage,” Sirius reminded his friend.

“Well, I was,” James said. “But now it’s in red mask guy’s advantage.”

“Red mask guy?” Peter inquired. “I like it.”

“Well, red mask guy is better than black mask guy,” James informed his friends. “Lucius Malfoy was basically trying to force himself on Lily last night. I could have killed him.”

“We should,” Sirius answered, now giving up much hope of going to sleep. James’ stupidity would give him nightmares.

“I have tried so hard to get her to like me,” James told his friends. “But now I’m starting to think she’ll never accept me. The only way she’ll like me is if she doesn’t know who I am. If this is the only way to get Lily, I’ll do it.”

The fellow Marauders stayed silent. They all knew that when James set his mind to something, there was no trying to back him out of it. It was hopeless. He would have to learn on his own that he was going about things in the wrong way.

A/N: Fairly long. I hope that’s an explanation to any questions you may have had. So, tell me what you think and please review. Sorry for the wait.

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