Shiral had just finished the last bits of her homework for the day an found herself wandering the halls thinking of home and her parents. The story her parents told her was that they had met in their fourth years at Hogwarts at the Winter ball. Her mother was actually the one to ask Shiral's father to go with her. Elizabeth, her mother, was always so adventurous and her father, though a bit pudgy, had won over her heart with his brain and his cooking. Who knew a fifteen year old boy could make such delicious food? Still, Shiral pondered on the story a bit longer imagining her beautiful mother dressed in her dark blue gown, flaming red hair pulled back into a mess of curls behind her head...A sigh found it's way through the teenager's lips as she found herself standing in front of the empty dance hall.
She had made a resolution this year to find someone who might go to the ball with her. Her mother's same dark blue gown lay in the trunk at the foot of her bed in the dorms. She had seen images of her mother wearing it, and despite the similarities in appearance to her mother, Shiral did not believe she could do the fine gown justice. Gingerly, the girl stepped inside the empty dance hall looking around to ensure nobody else was there. At first, she stood with her back against a wall, taking in the view of the lovely chambers. Her eyes wandered from wall to wall, to the ceiling, then to the floor on which students danced together. The room was so big and she tried to imagine herself visiting it when it wasn't empty.
Closing her eyes, Shiral could see the blue dress draped off her shoulders and cascading to the ground. She could feel the soft fabric swirling around her feet and ankles as the music played in the background. Though she couldn't see his face, she could imagine herself dancing with a partner at the Winter ball; laughing, smiling, acting like a real person, with real friends. Her feet moved her across the dance floor to imaginary music. She swayed and tip-toed as her imagination took her where she did not believe she could otherwise go. The Ravenclaw was lost in her dream. At least she was not hiding in the greenhouse again...
Wandering was, perhaps, one of Alric’s favorite pastimes. The best part about it was the fact that it could be done however one pleased to execute it. Someone could gather a couple of good friends and wander around in a group, or, someone could very well just be by themselves and enjoy the serene feeling of sweet solitude. For Alric, more often than not, he found himself wandering on his free time alone, and... it was far from sweet at times. Occasionally, solitude was fine - desired, even - but when considering the fact that he was alone because of a mistake on his own part... well, the loneliness he felt found a way to grind against conscious in the most unpleasant way. Alric had other friends he could hang out with, sure, but... well none of them meant as much to him as his brother. That's not to say that his friends didn't mean the world to him, because they certainly did. It was just that Emric happened to be his world. Alric loved his little brother far more than anything else; valued his brother's safety and happiness far greater than his own life even. So, naturally, the fact that his brother wasn't talking to him anymore was practically killing him inside. Of course, it had been a couple years now since his brother's resolution to discontinue their brotherhood, but there was no amount of time that could possibly heal this pain. The wound was far too deep, and, frighteningly appeared to be permanent. Alric had screwed up though, and the guilt he felt for his mistake was the main source of his loneliness. Because, to be honest, Alric could very easily go off and interact with his other friends more, or, hell, he could even go so far as making new friends. That was easy enough for a guy like him, and it would be his solution to his problem if only it was that simple. The fact of the matter was, was that Alric's loneliness didn't stem from him not being around enough people - that sort of loneliness would have been welcomed if that were the case. Instead, the seventh year felt lonely because he was, essentially, a traitor. Or at least that was how he felt, and feeling like that sort of alienated him from everyone else. Almost as if his view of himself in that manner disconnected him from the world around him, and no matter how many escapades he could get into with great friends, nothing was ever enough to make him feel good about himself anymore.
He was in a rut, basically. Had dug himself into a hole that he could no longer see the light at the top, or even hope to ever see it again for that matter. Alric walked the corridors at Hogwarts as an empty shell of what he used to be - laughed, joked around with and explored with his peers as if everything was in fact okay, but in reality it wasn't. He found himself lying again in this regard; something he never thought he'd ever do in his lifetime. That was the thing about lying though, wasn't it? Never would most people believe that they would ever do it, yet when times were desperate enough - when enough was on the line and on the verge being lost - one would do so without hesitation. Back at Durmstrang; back when, he believed, he would be taken out if his parents discovered his liking towards the dark arts... that was when his lying streak began. That had been the first lie he would tell, and now as he wandered aimlessly through his life, it would seem that it had been the first of many. Of course, Alric only lied about his emotional state or to his parents about his continued studying of the dark magic. Those were the only two things that Alric Bolstridge lied about - that counted for something, didn't it? Could it not be said that the fact that he merely lied about two things in his life that, in some small way, the eighteen year old wasn't as horrible as he thought himself to be? No… the wizard lied about those two things enough times , and with enough passion, that he felt as if he might as well had told a thousand lies in his lifetime so far – and then some.
Alric remained sticking to keeping himself alone for most of his days because of all that. Because he felt guilty; because he felt as if he didn’t deserve to be properly happy in any sort of relationship he had at the moment or in any he would hope to have in the future. He felt this loneliness because, in his head, he truly was alone. Alone and left to suffer with the fact that he was a lying fool who, quite possibly, would never be able to redeem himself to anyone. That being said, the boy didn’t feel as if he needed to stop practicing the dark arts. That, in his mind, was not a way to fix things, because in his opinion that was not a problem. He’d told himself time and time again that he was okay in doing so, however, he did wish to find a way to help ease the guilt he felt over lying to his parents about his continued affiliation with the subject. The Hufflepuff just… wanted to find another way that didn’t include him quitting.
All that aside, the eighteen year old was off again, wandering through where his feet wished to take him and, occasionally, greeting a few of his peers in the halls as he passed by them. Soon he came upon the Dance Hall, where, to his surprise, he discovered a twirling girl with hair seemingly alit in a fantastic burst of fiery-red flames. Obviously, the girl’s hair wasn’t really on fire, but it did shine and glow in a mysterious way that made it appear as if it were. The seventh year halted some way past the entrance from he had come, his arms crossed gently across his chest as he stared with curious eyes at the dancing girl. She was spinning, she was twirling, she was pretty much doing every variation of the word with such grace and poise that Alric couldn’t help but feel a little mystified at the show. A gentle smile, one that carried his lips just barely across his face in a curved angle, swept across his scruff ridden face, displaying quite carefully the enjoyment he was having at watching the girl dance. She looked to be in a dreamy state from the way she moved about so carefully and from the soft way she seemed to be holding her eyes shut. The witch looked… like she was having fun. Good, pure, solemn fun that didn’t require loud shrieks of joy or other such exclamations of happiness. The red-head was there, gliding across the dance floor as if she were living through a dream, quietly and peacefully enjoying it all as she did so. Who was Alric to go and disturb this girl? No one special, and so, rather than move up to her and interrupt her peaceful joy, the seventh year merely remained where he was, standing contentedly in the shadows of the room and looking upon the girl in amazement at her graceful dancing. Hopefully, if he was lucky, he could remain enjoying the sight of seeing someone happy for a little while longer, then leave without disturbing a thing.