Disclaimer: I do not own any of this. I will also forewarn that I absolutely love quotes and collect them like crazy from all over, including but not limited to movies, books, plays, conversations and anywhere else. I will incorporate quotes in this story and will do my best to credit them at the end of each chapter. However, I am human and do make mistakes, and therefore I would appreciate greatly if someone would notify me if I misquote or forget to credit someone. In some instances, I do not know where/who the quote came from and will credit them as "unknown". If anyone does know where they come from I would greatly appreciate hearing from them.
Authoress' Note: This story is, above all, a romance story. I have read the latest installment of Harry Potter (Half Blood Prince) and will try to incorporate as much as I can into this fiction. However, I'm not great at action sequences and angst, so don't be surprised if I neglect to add some of the more intricate parts of the book-plot into this story. Example, Dumbledore is still dead, but the trio will return to school for their seventh year, McGonagall is the new headmistress but the horocrux thing probably won't make a huge appearance in this. Thank you and enjoy!
Chapter Twenty: Obesa cantavit (The fat lady has sung)
And she thinks, "Hey,
How did I come to this?
I dreamed myself a million times around the world,
How did it end like this?"
-Dave Mathews Band, "Grey Street"
Alice Greensburg climbed up the fifth winding stairway in three minutes and was greeted with the entrance to the Heads dormitory. Finally, she cheered inwardly, her tired limbs delighting in the reprieve. You'll get used to it in time—everyone does, McGonagall's voice echoed through her head. Alice sighed. At the time she hadn't believed the aging headmistress, assuming that the trek wouldn't be as painful as McGonagall had made it out to be. Now though, Alice was wishing she had paid a bit more attention to the woman who had tried in vain to offer various energy-saving tips on the trip up.
Stepping off of the staircase, Alice made a beeline for the portrait and was surprised to find Collin Johnston, her co-head, lounging dismally against the wall.
"What are you doing here? How did you get up here so fast?" Alice demanded. She had been so antsy during dinner that she had left the second her plate was cleared. She had proceeded to run the stairways and hallways with great speed (not one of the recommendations from McGonagall) and had arrived, at least she thought so, quite early. Collin merely shrugged.
"I skipped dinner and sorting. I came up straight when we got here," he explained wearily, obviously regretting his choice. Alice looked baffled.
"You didn't even go to the sorting?" She asked, wracking her brain. That had been at least a few hours ago. "How long have you been waiting?" Collin shrugged again, rubbing at his bored face with his hands as if to instill life into his weary visage.
"Not long…two, three hours…."
"Collin!" Alice shrieked, a little louder than she had intended. The journey up to the common room had left her short of breath, causing her tone to rise and fall unintentionally as she struggled to regain normalcy. "Why didn't you go inside?"
"I forgot the password—I wasn't really listening through McGonagall's spiel," the towheaded boy admitted with a sheepish grin. Alice, having regained a limited control over her breath and afflictions, sighed audibly, rolling her eyes.
"Oh honestly," she moaned, storming past her cohort towards the painting. She relayed the password quickly to the portrait that appeared annoyed, and stepped through, glancing back over her shoulder to shout, "I do not know how you became Head Boy at all, Collin. You're about as useful as a wet rag." Collin, who had followed her through the portrait gratefully, rolled his eyes. Did she have to be so annoying? It was as if it was encoded in her DNA. Since first year, Alice Greensburg had worked to annoy him mercilessly. They were both Ravenclaws, but unlike most of their dorm who preferred to keep a low profile most of the time, Alice never failed to let people know that she was supposed to be unendingly clever. On top of all that, she was completely mad about her schoolwork. He had never seen a girl who studied more. Honestly, Collin thought to himself, staring into the dimly-lit room, just because we're Ravenclaws doesn't mean we have to study forty-eight hours a day.
"Collin—look," Alice breathed excitedly, all bother for the boy momentarily forgotten. Alice, unlike her slightly-distracted co-head, had been taking in the room and was as impressed with it as anyone could be. "Isn't this amazing?" She used the moment to practically skip around the room, taking in its splendor—or lack thereof, Collin thought bitterly to himself. He came from a proud pureblood family and in his mind the common room was severely lacking in several luxury items to be described as amazing.
"It isn't as if it's a palace Greensburg," Collin noted dully, collapsing heavily onto the ancient couch. He was beginning to regret having skipped dinner, an apparently his stomach was too as it was currently growling with hunger pains. Alice ignored his comment though, twirling around to catch the full effect of the room.
Alice came from a pureblood family too and was in fact, rather wealthy, but that didn't stop her from being delighted by the simple elegance of the Heads common room. It was simply wonderful. The rows and rows of bookcases, the majestic marble fireplace that had surely floo-ed a number of important people, the ancient looking furniture that undoubtedly seated some of the most important members of the wizarding world at one point or another. It was all just incredible. Being in the same room as greatest seemed to inspire similar feelings in Alice who refused to be deterred by her co-Heads lack of enthusiasm. There was no doubt that the room was simple—lacking any clinquant adornments or flashy pieces—but it was hers. Well, mine and Johnston's anyway, but mine nonetheless, Alice reminded herself. It was private and pretty and she was positive that she would be able to get loads of studying in. It was the perfect atmosphere for learning—quiet and peaceful and oddly inspiring at the same time.
Collin watched Alice's face as it underwent various emotions from undeniably excited to thoughtful to relaxed. Oh gods, she's going to be a piece of work, he thought to himself, slightly daunted by the information. She had always been a bit too much for him and he didn't relish the idea of spending the majority of his time with the blond-haired girl. All Collin wanted to do was relax. It had been a tiring train ride (complete with a lengthy lecture to boot) and an even more exhausting trip in trying to find the dormitory and Collin was quite prepared to crawl into bed and remain there for several hours. Alice however seemed unsympathetic to his desires and insisted on showing him every piece of the room that she found.
"Oh Collin–look at this chess set! Do you know how much work went into it? It's positively beautiful!" Collin peeked an eye open, glancing quickly towards the game in question.
"I have one at home," he muttered, hoping to curb some of her enthusiasm, but Alice didn't seem to notice, prancing towards the bookcases.
"Look at all of these books! I could stay up here all year and read every day and not get through a third of them! It's better stocked than the library!" She squealed. Collin groaned.
"Somehow I doubt that Greensburg."
"Look at this!" Alice cried, having already moved on to a different part of the room. She pointed towards the window, obviously enamored by the view. Since the dormitory was so high up it offered an entrancing view of the school grounds—made even more appealing by the pale glow of moonlight. Collin, who had no desire to "look at this" or anything else Alice might discover, rolled over on the couch, burying his face in the soft cushion. He didn't care who had sat there before or who had laid like that, hoping to drown out the voice of his cohort, all he cared about was getting some rest and shutting Alice up.
Unfortunately, Alice had other plans and before Collin could effectively bar himself off from the world, she had upset him onto the ground, his elbow banging painfully against the wood floor.
"Bloody hell Greensburg—what in Merlin's name are you doing? Have you gone mad?" He demanded, his tone a slight more edgy due to his still-smarting elbow. Alice either didn't catch the malice or chose to ignore it because her tone was unaffected when she pointed to a far wall.
"Collin—look," she instructed and Collin reluctantly relented, turning his gaze to the row of portraits that decorated the partition. They were all of couples—a boy and a girl—and appeared to be drowsy from the late hour. Most were sleeping, some were awake and staring curiously at the strangers who had recently come to inhabit the Heads dormitory, and others seemed completely uninterested with the change. "These are all the past head boy and girl," Alice explained unnecessarily, dragging Collin closer for a better look.
Up close the portraits were just as uninteresting. The first couple, a stodgy-looking pair, had awoken and was looking grumpily out at their late-night visitors. The girl, whose hair had been coifed to perfection, was now brushing invisible offenders from her formal-looking gown, her eyebrows lifted haughtily to show that she cared little for the interruption and less for the two new students.
"Oh this won't be creepy—look at the eyebrows on this fellow," Collin remarked sarcastically, pointing to a portrait a few spaces down from the first pair. The boy did in fact have quite a remarkable pair of eyebrows that seemed to devour his entire countenance under a tangle of dark hair. Alice merely smiled.
"This is so cool," she said in a half-whisper, reluctant to annoy any of the other portraits who refused to be woken. "Look at this one!" She pointed towards another bored-looking duo who were laboring over a game of chess, although Collin was at a loss as to how they had gotten it in the first place. He was about to ask when Alice pointed to an inscription on the bottom of the picture. Squinting to make out the words, Collin read the tiny, explanatory cursive. Joanne Price (H) and Richard Thompson (G) were Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (1873). They contributed to the position by jointly donating the exquisite chessboard and pieces now located in the southeast corner of the room, to e enjoyed by all future generations.
"They donated it, so they got to take their picture with it," Alice explained unnecessarily. Collin nodded.
"Remind me to donate some Quidditch supplies," he remarked lightly, causing Alice to roll her eyes at him.
"Do you have to be so incessantly aggravating?" She wanted to know. Collin looked less than offended.
"I'm sorry—these pictures aren't amusing in the least. These people are all boring and dull."
"That's only because you are an unrefined heathen who wouldn't know entertaining if it were to come up and slap you in the face."
"Oh that's rich coming from you. Miss I-Don't-See-The-Light-Of-Day-Because-I'm-Too-Busy-Studying," Collin taunted in annoyance. Alice glared.
"At least my education is important to me and I don't spend my time slacking off and lazing away, trembling at the mere deliberation of candid exertion!" Collin, who had been quite thoroughly lost after the "education is important to me" bit, rolled his eyes.
"Speak English! I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and I don't believe you do either!" He cried. Alice pouted comically for a moment before returning her gaze to the portraits.
"They aren't all boring," she corrected. "Look at those two." Collin followed her gaze to a portrait of a smiling couple. The boy had dark hair and glasses and was teasing his redheaded companion mercilessly. She looked severely annoyed but every now and then she would smile brightly, turning to shove the boy playfully, to which he always responded by planting a sloppy kiss on her forehead.
"I suppose they aren't so bad," Collin admitted, surprising himself by stepping forward for a better look. He squinted at the inscription. James Potter (G) and Lily Evans Potter (G) were Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts…." Do you suppose they were related?" Collin asked, noting the similar surname for the sparring heads. Alice looked dumbstruck.
"Do you know who they are?" She demanded, not waiting for an answer. "They were Harry Potter's parents! Lily and James Potter!" Collin looked confused.
"Wait—who again?" He wanted to know. Alice looked horrified.
"You have to be the thickest person I have ever met! Harry Potter—he defeated Voldemort! Every year he's celebrated on July 31st? He's always in all of the magazines and papers! He's an Auror now—is any of this ringing a bell?" Collin looked contemplative.
"I suppose—he's the guy with the dark hair and funny scar?"
"Yes. Honestly Collin, how can you not remember him? He's always in the news! You are so incredibly thick." Collin shrugged, nonplussed.
"I dunno—I don't keep up with the news all that often." Alice looked annoyed but her gaze softened immediately when she looked back to the portrait of Lily and James who had moved on to sitting back down in their chairs, smiling goofily at eachother.
"They were so much in love," she noted softly, a gentle smile resting on her face. It was sweet and the girlish notions of a fairytale romance were reawakened with a vengeance in her mind.
"Hey—look at these two." Alice snapped out of her revelries and walked a little further down the line to look at the picture in question.
"I recognize them—that's Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy," Alice said, slightly caught off guard by the instantly-recognizable duo in front of her.
"Yeah—she's really gotten control over her hair now. It's a good thing too, she looks completely batty in this," Collin remarked, eliciting a squeal of anger from Alice.
"How can you say that? She was instrumental in the downfall of Voldemort. Do you know she fought alongside Harry Potter and Ron Weasley for the entire battle? They had been friends since school—all of them—and they all worked to bring down the dark lord together." Collin looked unimpressed.
"I don't know how or why you know all of these random facts about these people. I just thought they looked like a laugh," he admitted, pointing towards the portrait. Alice half-smiled. They were rather amusing. Hermione and Draco appeared to be deep in an argument, Hermione's hands flying like angry birds, struggling to break free. She was yelling something at Draco who looked entirely bored with the entire exchange altogether. Every so often he would make some cutting remark that would work to change Hermione's coloring to a deep magenta. They kept getting closer and closer to one another, Hermione looking as if she were going to strike the blond boy in front of her, until they were almost nose to nose. Then, just when it looked like Draco was facing the last moments of his life, he grabbed Hermione around the waist, dragging her into a very-heated-looking kiss that served to immobilize the fuming Gryffindor immediately. Collin smiled at the picture.
"You've got to admit—that guy's got balls," he announced brightly. Alice rolled her eyes. What a boy, she thought to herself, squinting to read the inscription below the picture. Hermione Granger (G) and Draco Malfoy (S) were Head Boy and Girl of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (1997). They went on to continue their partnership outside of school and were instrumental in the destruction of the dark lord Voldemort. Miss Granger now works alongside Mr. Malfoy not only in the office but on the home front as well.
"How sweet," Alice remarked, caught up in her fantasies once again. She turned to her own cohort who was yawning widely, obviously eager to retire. "We should bring Helena and Dixon up here sometime." Collin tensed. It was common knowledge that he had a more-than-obvious crush on Helena, but her brother often left something to be desired. He had no intention of ever letting that insufferable know-it-all up into his private common room. He was just so—annoying. Come to think of it, he would be perfect for Alice, he mused darkly to himself. Alice however, unaware of his thoughts regarding pairing her off with the Slytherin, frowned at his lack of response.
"Why?" Collin asked finally, raking a tired hand through his hair. Alice pouted.
"Because they would like to see this—it is their parents after all." Collin shrugged.
"So, they've probably seen enough of them."
"Honestly Collin—I think it would be nice for them to see their parents looking so—I don't know. Young and in love." Collin could have gagged. Girls. Still, he didn't protest.
"Whatever you want Greensburg. I'm off to bed." Alice smiled, resolving to tell her friend first thing tomorrow about the portraits. Casting one last look at the lovers, Alice followed Collin's example and headed off to bed. In the now-empty common room, the portraits began to relax. Most notably Lily and James, and Hermione and Draco—smiling in eachother's arms, their pictures physical representations of their enduring love for one another.
"Have you been waiting long?"
"No…two, three hours…." Was from the movie Pretty in Pink
"Speak English! I don't know the meaning of half of those long words and I doubt you do either!" Was a quote from Alice in Wonderland (turns out I had one more after all!)
Dedications: Wow, I can't believe it's over! I would like to thank all of my reviewers—you guys can't imagine how much you inspired me to go on and write and update often! It was a blast to write, but it was even lovelier to get all of the feedback and ideas from all of you. It was truly a pleasure to hear from everyone and I'm thrilled that you all took the time to read and review! A special thanks goes to Zoe and Terra who read and reviewed this story even though they didn't necessarily liked the pairing, and I was so mean to Ron (I'm sorry—honest!). Thank you all. It has been a wonderful ride.