Disclaimer: Go back to the first fifteen chapters and read what I wrote in the disclaimers there and then you'll know what goes here.
The Future of the Past
Chapter Sixteen: Of Balls and Beauties
"Get ready for your King, ladies!" Sirius announced as he and the other sixth year Gryffindor boys stepped off of the grand marble staircase in the Entrance Hall to a tittering of girls. Most of them wore pretty dresses and tiaras or short skirted outfits. Sirius went straight for a blonde girl wearing a low cut nurse's uniform and placed his hands against his chest. "Think you can heal this heart of mine, sugar?"
"Hmm… let's see what I can do." The girl giggled and grabbed Sirius by the collar, dragging him into the Great Hall while he gave the other guys the thumbs up and a huge smile.
"I guess we'd better get going." Harry sighed, making to follow after Sirius.
"Do any of you see her?" James stated from up the stairs a ways. He was leaning over the banister anxiously, eyeing a group of princesses who were flaunting themselves about. Someone in a turtle suit and floofy green skirt, their hair and face covered by the hood of the costume, bumped into him and he nearly fell over the banister.
"Oops, sorry!" Said the turtle and James waved a hand over his shoulder, still gazing at the princesses.
"S'ok." The turtle shrugged it off and continued her way down the stairs, followed closely by a Quaffle with brown hair and a Golden Snitch with red. Harry snorted and then coughed to cover up his laughter. He left James and followed the girls into the Great Hall, dragging a hysterical Ron.
The Great Hall had been decorated with it's usual smattering of live bats and Hagrid's giant jack-o-lanterns that looked as though they were also to be serving as tables for the evening with large flat tabletops placed on top of them, their stems acting as the centerpiece. A large space in the middle of the hall had been cleared, the stone smoothed to a black shining dance floor. Purple and green candles flickered from above, casting the entire room with a haunting glow. A great wooden stage complete with band and even more crazy lighting stood where the teacher's normally sat. The whole place was covered in a foot of fog drifting along the floor.
"Hey." The Quaffle spun around, her brown eyes visible through the holes in her mask. She looked confused for a moment before she leaned foreward, peering up under Harry's mask.
"Oh! It's you! You look great!"
"So do you." Harry laughed and made his way for one of the pumpkins, motioning for the others to follow after him. They did and they all took seats around one of the great pumpkin tables.
The dance floor disappeared beneath the bodies of costumed students. Sirius was surrounded by a group of girls who were all vying for his attention and he was managing to give them each a turn out on the floor. Remus was doing a wild impersonation of what appeared to be the Thriller dance, and James was over by the buffet table.
"Either of you want to dance with us?" Hermione asked, looking longingly out at the floor. Ginny jutted out her lower lip in a fake begging pose.
"I er…" Harry faltered. He looked at Ron who looked kind of like a deer caught in a headlight. Neither of them was much for dancing, as they had shown at the last ball Hogwarts had held. Harry looked pointedly at him, nodding to Ginny as discreetly as possible. Ron nodded. "C'mon Ginny." Ginny seemed quite pleased as she stood up and took Harry's hand, dragging him out onto the floor. Hermione and Ron followed quickly after them.
After doing a poor sort of jig for a few minutes, Harry finally got himself to feel the beat by watching Ginny and remembering that nobody knew who the hell he was so they couldn't point at him and laugh. Dancing was actually kind of fun, he had to admit. At least, with Ginny it was. She wasn't dragging him around or trying to get him to waltz, the music as too fast for that. Instead, they just flailed around a lot, like everyone else on the floor pretty much was doing.
"Hey!" Harry turned his head to find James about an inch from his face, holding a platter of what appeared to be cream cheese filled pastry wrapped in bacon. "Have you seen her?"
"Yes!" Harry shouted over the music pounding in his ears. "She was…" He pointed in the direction of the table, but the turtle was no longer there. "…what's with the food?"
"Bait." James stated, poking the bacon. "If you see her…"
"I'll try and send her in your direction." Harry nodded as James smiled his thanks and wandered off again, holding the tray above his head so as not to lose it. He spun back around quickly.
"Wait, what's she dressed as?"
"You know that story, the Princess and the Frog?"
"She's the princess?"
"No. Think of it more as the Prince and the Turtle." Harry laughed as knowing dawned on James's face. He smacked himself in the forehead.
"Of course! She's obsessed with that turtle of her's… of course she'd want to… thanks, Harry!" He dashed off again, leaving Harry to his dancing. Ginny giggled and nodded after James.
"He's trying to catch Lily isn't he?"
"Yeah. He's got a platter of bacon covered stuff to do it with. I bet she'll go for it… she was hiding with the bacon under the table during that food fight we had at breakfast that one time."
"She does love her some bacon." Ginny nodded and then pointed in the direction opposite to where James was headed. Harry cocked his head and saw a flash of green before it disappeared again. "But he's going the wrong way."
"Harry!" Harry felt someone grab hold of his sleeve and he spun around to find Remus's green, wide eyed faced inches from his own. "Harry… I have to know… who is that young woman over there? Do you recognize her at all? She doesn't look like a student…" He pointed and Harry followed his gaze.
A woman with mousey brown hair stood off in the corner, her wand clutched tightly in her hand. She wore a green and blue mask on her face and a green dress with a huge fan of colorful feathers coming out of the back.. she had to be a peacock. Remus was right. She was much too uninvolved in the ball to be a student. Harry tugged at Ginny's wing and she turned. He pointed and looked at her inquiringly. "Ginny, isn't that Tonks?"
Ginny's gaze narrowed slightly before she smiled very brightly. "Oh! Yes, it is!" She dashed away in the direction of Tonks.
"So you… you know her?" Remus questioned Harry quite frantically. He grabbed Harry by the shoulders and gave him a little shake. "Pleeeease say you know her…"
"Yeah. She's in the…"
"Can you introduce me?"
"Sure. But don't you think she's a little old for…"
"Harry, age is irrelevant when it comes to matters of the heart. Now, do I look ok?"
"You look like a zombie."
"Oh Merlin, I forgot… I must be scary as hell… she probably…"
"Will like it."
"Will she really?"
"Yeah. C'mon." Harry laughed and dragged Remus by the sleeve, knowing the boy probably didn't really have much control of his knees right now. Harry had been in the same boat last year when it had come to Cho Chang. Ginny and Tonks were chatting animatedly about some of the cooler costumes they'd seen and Remus stopped dead in his tracks when Harry had gotten him about five feet from the two women.
"I can't do it. I…"
"Wotcher, Harry." Tonks gave a small smile and waved. Harry dragged Remus the rest of the way over to her and then let go of him. "Hello, Remus. Nice costume. Looking for some brains?"
"I…" Remus looked dazed and then he looked at Harry. "She knows my…" And then the whites of his eyes were all Harry could see behind the mask and Remus fell backwards, landing hard on the stone floor.
"The whole Order is in of the secret." Tonks explained to Ginny's questioning glance. "I've already met younger Sirius. He was surrounded by a gaggle of girls… and I thought the stories my mother told of him weren't all true."
"Is he alright?" Ginny questioned, looking concernedly down at Remus who was still out cold on the floor.
"He'll be fine." Sirius came charging through the crowd that had begun to gather around the fainted boy. "Oy! Prince Charming! Marauder Code! We've got a number seven!" James appeared from the crowd. He shoved his now half eaten tray of bacon wrapped yumminess into Harry's hands and bent down to grab Remus under one arm while Sirius got the other. The two boys dragged their friend away in the direction of the tables. Harry followed after them.
"Marauder Code seven?"
"Moony made an attempt at talking to a girl and failed." Sirius explained simply, hoisting the now coming to Remus into a chair.
"I pulled a seven, didn't I?"
"It was the peacock, wasn't it?" James asked, dipping his handkerchief into some punch and swabbing at Remus's forehead.
"She's… wonderful." Remus gave a sigh, sinking in his chair as Lily came careening across the floor.
"What happened? Are you ok!" She worriedly grabbed hold of Remus's face, looking him over as best she could with his mask on.
"I'm fine. Just a seven."
"Oh thank goodness." Lily sighed, sitting down in another of the chairs.
"Hello, I don't believe we've met." James conjured up a tulip from his wand and offered it to Lily who took it and gave it a sniff.
"Like hell we haven't." Lily stuck her tongue out at him. "I know who you are, you prat."
"No, you don't. We've never seen each other before in our lives." James prompted, grabbing a snack from the tray Harry still had and offering it up to Lily. She took it and delicately gave it a munch.
"Sure, we haven't." She snorted slightly and nommed away some more on the bacon covered snacks Harry was holding until he had a moment to set the tray down on the table so she could go at it.
"So, Moony…" Sirius waggled his eyebrows and fixed Remus's mask that had gone askew. "Are you going to give it another go?"
"No!" Remus looked terrified, all color draining from his face, making him a pale, pasty shade of green. "How old is she anyway?" He asked, looking up at Harry questioningly.
"I think she's about twenty five…" Harry pondered, trying to remember. "Ginny would know for sure though… she can't be over thirty, but she's not in her early twenties, I know that much."
"So… that'd make her… a good… oh jeez… at least ten years younger than me in real time. But… maybe… is my older counterpart seeing anyone?"
"Not that I know of."
"Good. I've got to go find him and make a suggestion." Remus rose from the table, ran a hand through his hair and marched off on a mission. His friends laughed as he went, knowing that this was either going to blow up in his face, or end well, for which they would be happy.
"Hey! Elvis! I want my turn." A very pouty looking gypsy stated, grabbing hold of Sirius's arm and dragging him out onto the dance floor before he could say a word. He gave his friend's a thumbs up, apparently quite delighted with his current circumstances.
"Harry, will you dance with me?" Lily asked suddenly, looking longingly out at the floor. "I haven't found anyone else to dance with yet… these boys don't seem to appreciate any costume that doesn't show a tone of skin."
"What about me!" James said, slightly outraged.
"I don't dance with toerags." Lily huffed and took Harry's hand, leading him away from a very grumpy James.
"I er… I don't think…" Harry groaned inwardly as the song changed to something slow. Lily grabbed his hands and placed them on the small of her back… well... shell... and then put her's around his neck, hugging onto him tightly. Well… if this wasn't awkward he didn't know what was. He was dancing with his own mother, slow dancing with her! Like a pair of teenagers! Well, they were a pair of teen agers but still, it was beyond crazy. "We really shouldn't." Harry dropped his hands and pushed Lily away slightly. As much as he loved her, dancing with her like this was just way too much.\
"But Harry…" Lily's whole being seemed to droop in disappointed.
"I just… we're not… you know…?"
"I get it." Lily nodded and gave a sigh, moving to sit down in the closet chair.
"But hey, maybe when a fast one comes on ok? Otherwise it's just awkward."
"Why would it be awkward? We're friends, aren't we, Harry?"
"Yeah! But… not that kind of friends." Harry groaned to himself again, really not knowing how to explain this to her without risking her feelings. He loved his mother, he really did, but slow dancing was too much. It made them resemble a couple, and they weren't a couple. They were mother and son.
"It's alright. I think Ginny might've gotten jealous anyway." Lily giggled and reached behind her, swiping one of those bacon clad rolls from the plate of the boy who glared at her for a moment before getting up and walking away.
"Huh? Why would Ginny get jealous? We're just friends as well." Harry frowned.
"Oh, she fancies you. Surely you must of seen that by now."
"When she was younger, yeah. But… she grew out of it."
"Harry, sometimes things aren't what they seem. Take Sev for example. He's a lot nicer once you get to know him. Sure, he may have dabbled in dark arts and turned into a Death Eater for a while, but before all of that, he was a great friend. The kind who always has your back… Like Ron and Hermione have your's." Lily nodded her head, as though her logic made any sense whatsoever. Harry just stared at her like she had somehow grown a second head.
"You're… kind of crazy." Harry said.
"I know." Lily grinned at him and grabbed his hands as the music picked up. Harry couldn't remember much of what happened next. The ball seemed to pass in a blur. The music was loud, and his friends would appear every now and then, but besides watching Lupin dance with Tonks and the fighting match that erupted between James and Lily over who had really spiked the pumpkin juice with firewhiskey (Lily said James did it, James was certain it had been Sirius), Harry couldn't remember the rest of it. Of course… that might have been because he'd been downing pumpkin juice most of the night.
Yes, this has been sitting in my files for a month waiting to be finished and no, I don't think I finished it very well either. Ran out of ideas there towards the end. Anyways, I wonder what'll happen in the morning when Harry wakes up and discovered he drank all that spiked pumpkin juice? Hmmm... take a guess! Or make a suggestion. Heheh.