(1937-10-07) A Memory of Flame
Details for A Memory of Flame
Summary: For some reason, Lucian doesn't want the school to see him put his name in the Goblet of Fire, and he drags Ria along in the middle of the night to do it.
Date: 7 October, 1937
Location: Great Hall, Hogwarts

Lucian takes his time walking down the stairs, lingering while they change to wait for a suitable path to open up to reach the bottom floor. It's little wonder that he's in no hurry, given his company. He is hand-in-hand with his girlfriend, Ria. It isn't often he gets a chance to just be alone with her (and he takes just about every opportunity to pull her into a nook or alcove for a quick snog), so he's savouring it.

Nervous. That's what Ria is. A big ball of nerves. She's not supposed to be out of her common room right now. She's not supposed to be holding hands with this git. And she's definitely not supposed to be snogging! So while he's savoring it, she's appeasing him while driving progress toward their true goal. With every shift of the staircase, she scopes the area before moving, like a spy moving stealthily. "You got your paper?" she asks him.

Lucian sighs, "Of course I have my paper. Would you stop fretting? We're not going to get caught, and even if we do, that jinx on the upstairs girls' bathroom is all the proof we need that you needed to be escorted. Just relax." He gives her a worried frown. Things haven't exactly gone as smoothly between them as he'd imagined. Not that he'd imagined a relationship with her would be easy. Just not so…painful.

Ria scratches her cheek nervously and sighs, still gripping his hand as if it were a lifeline. "Okay…I just like to be sure…that's all," she speaks in hushed tones, still scoping out the area. But upon noticing his frown she caves and gives him an apologetic look, "I'm sorry." And to bolster how sorry she is, she gives him a sweet peck on the cheek and combs his hair down with her fingers. "Alright, come on, let's do this. Though I don't understand why you couldn't have done it during the day."

Lucian leads her down the final flight of stairs to the entry hall of Hogwarts. "I just don't want everyone watching. The glory is in winning, not putting my name in a cup." He guides her along to the Great Hall. In the darkness, the glow of the magical flames beyond the doors can be seen, casting long banners of flicking light along the floor. As he opens the door itself, the entire hall seems awash in the Goblet's glow, casting everything in tones of blue. He pauses for a moment, staring across the hall at the vessel, his hand digging into his robe pocket for the torn scrap paper with his name scrawled on it.

Ria smirks at his reply, and tags along behind, still linked with him until they slow once they enter the Great Hall. Her eyes are naturally drawn to the flame as its light glows on both of them and she bites her lip with anxious delight. "There's something beautiful about the way it burns. Like something exciting is about to happen. Like your life could get engulfed by its flames if it chooses you," she whispers as they slowly approach it.

Lucian shoots her an incredulous look. "Why would you even say that?" As his eyes drift back to the flames, awe is slowly replaced with something never seen in Lucian Proudmore's eyes. Fear. The closer they come, the tighter he grips her hand. Flashes of memory batter at him. Fire. Fire everywhere. No way out. The locks are too sturdy, and the doors are burning. Smoke. Everything fades to black. He tries to blink the nightmare away, but he's shaking now.

Ria can't stop staring with slight lust at the flame, conjuring images of glory and victory in her head. Is it obvious that she would kill for the opportunity. "Why? What's wrong with the imagery? You don't…see it," she trails off upon seeing the look in his eye. Indeed, he doesn't see it. He sees something now, and when Ria senses him shaking and the way he grips her, she stops them in their tracks and places a hand on his shoulder to still him. "Lucian…are you alright?"

Lucian whips his head to look at her, suddenly yanked away from his visions. His shallow breathing gives way to a sudden intake of air. He stares at her with a glazed, wide-eyed look. Swallowing to wet his throat, he croaks, "I'm…fine." Great. What a time for Ria to learn about this. He starts to turn his eyes toward the Goblet again, the burning cup looming all too close now, but he shuts them tightly, unable to bring himself to look at the flames again.

Alright. Something's off. Something's definitely off. Ria looks to the flame and then looks back at the boy's reaction too it, lips pursing in deep thought. So she throws a comforting arm around his shoulder and ask him. "Are you … afraid of fire, Luc?"

Lucian forces his eyes open, but keeps them on the floor. It doesn't help much. The dancing light being cast everywhere only serves to make it seem as if the room is aflame. "I'm not a-…" but he can't even finish the lie. "Don't pity me," he murmurs shamefully.

"Pity?" Ria tilts her head with interest, "I'm not even sure what to pity you for…" Giving his shoulder a rub and then squeezing him closely in a comforting way. "Why are you so afraid of a little fire?" Her mocking tone is usually kept locked away when addressing him. While it occasionally likes to pop its head up, it knows to stay away in this situation.

Lucian sets his jaw. There's no use trying to hide it now. Not from her. "When I was ten…there was a fire." Amidst the fear, something else appears in his features. Something a little more familiar: anger. "The Proudmores had Minister Gambol up for Christmas. So I got locked in the carriage house." He takes a seat on the nearest bench, not feeling especially steady at the moment. "I got…angry, and I accidentally knocked over an oil lantern. It caught on some old newspapers, and the entire place was burning before I knew what was happening." He extends his left arm, unbuttoning his sleeve and pulling it back. Apparently, he has never had bare arms at school before, because Ria surely would have noticed the rather nasty scar tissue along his forearm.

Ria's jaw slackens slightly as if she can't believe the tale she's hearing. This is all news to her. And when he bares his scars, she reaches forward running her polished fingers along his forearms just to check and see if they were real. "How did you manage to get out?" she asks, urging him to continue the story.

The quiet rage in his voice actually fades a bit. "I didn't. Not on my own. The smoke…I passed out. I found out later that Minister Gambol saved me. The moment she heard someone mention I was in there, she Apparated in and pulled me out. She could have been burned alive, but she risked it to come in and rescue me, while my father…" he practically spits out the word, "…did nothing. He even pulled me out of St. Mungo's before the scars could fully heal."

And for the briefest of second, a bit of rage burns in Ria's eyes when she hears of the elder Proudmore's in action. She squeeze's Lucian's wrist, she's so mad. "Your father's a fool," she says sternly, looking straight into his eyes. But she peers back down at his arm, gently running her fingers over the scar and sighing. "I can't believe I didn't even notice it all this time…I notice everything. I'm sorry Luc," she looks rather disappointed in herself. After a few minutes though, she gets an idea in her head and proposes, "Would you be less shaky if…we put your name in together? I'll hold your hand with you and you can drop it in."

Lucian doesn't show even a hint of disagreement with her assessment of his father. His hatred of the man is no secret to her. Perhaps now she understands the full extent of Lucian's loathing. He rises, shaking his head. "I have to do this." Still, his hands seeks hers, trying to draw some strength from her support. He takes several deep breaths, trying to gather his courage, and takes another step toward the Goblet, passing the Age Line that bars younger students from entering their names. He starts shaking again, irrational terror playing across his face. He lifts the paper toward the Goblet, hand trembling. But as he comes closer to the magical fire, his knees start to buckle.

Ria simply lets him do it on his own. She knows when a person it certain in their own methods when she sees it. Quietly, she watches him step closer, pause and suddenly become overwhelmed. So with a concerned look, she steps forward along with him and wraps an arm around his waist, meanwhile she plants a light peck on his cheek. And ever so gently, she nudges his arm a bit closer to the Goblet her grip supporting his arm higher and firm enough to keep it steady. "It'll only be a few seconds…," she whispers quietly.

Lucian gives Ria a look of…what? Astonishment? Adoration? A bit of both. This is what he's been wanting from her. Affection, support…a sign that she cares about him, without the backhanded snark she uses to protect herself. He nods to her, and grits his teeth. Audibly grunting with the effort it takes overcome his primal fear, he forces his trembling hand toward the flame, gently goaded by Ria. In what seems like a small eternity to him, he releases the paper, and it vanishes with a FWOOSH! Free from his need to be near the fire, he whirls away from it, wrapping his arms tightly around Ria and burying his face in her shoulder. He knows he looks rather pathetic, but at the moment he simply doesn't care. Right now he doesn't just want her, he needs her.

Rather pathetic, yes. Rather adorable still, also yes. Ria keeps his hand arm still the best she can the closer he steps toward the fire, and while she's not forceful she remains firm about seeing go through to the end. Holding her breath the entire way, she watches the paper fall in, the light of brief change in color washing her face and Lucian's back in her arms. "It's done," she smiles softly, wrapping her arms about him to pull him close and kiss him a couple times on the forehead. "You did it. It's done." Her fingers neatly groom his hair out of his face.

It takes some time, but he manages to stand upright and looks her in the face. He purses his lips, ashamed of his display of cowardice. "So…now you know. Your boyfriend is a craven."

Ria snakes her arms around his waist and sighs when she looks at him. "He's only a craven, right now. And that's okay," she shrugs, caressing his cheek softly. "We're all cravens about something sometimes. But what matters is what you are most of the time. Most of the time, you're arrogant and full of yourself and just…really brave. I like all of that about you so much that I don't mind the craven." And again to bolster that she means it she leans forward to plant a peck on his nose before settling on his lips, a smooth and a sweet kiss.

Lucian doesn't seem to mind being called arrogant. And brave? Every young knight wants his lady to think him brave. The kiss soothes him, and the longer it lasts, the more his trembling settles. When they finally come up for air, he sighs, nodding. "Thank you. You…you really helped me back there. You make me better than I am, Ria. Maybe…with you at my side, I could beat this." I need you. "Maybe we'll find out I make you better, too."

Ahh snogging. That seems to fix everything doesn't it? "I'll certainly do my best to help. But you need to realize Luc, that it's you who needs to do this. I won't lie and say I'm not concerned because I am," she furrows her brow a bit with worry. "This was just the Goblet. If you get picked, you may have to deal with flames, and the Triwizard Tournament is notoriously dangerous. I don't want you to panic, loose your cool and seriously hurt yourself. Or worse. Get killed." Her fingers grip his sides a bit tighter after she says that last part. "Oh goodness, how many times do I have to tell you that you're friendship alone makes me better. Who else is going to keep me on the edge of my seat and push me with competition, hmm?" she grins, her freckles scrunching when she does so.

Lucian manages a soft smile at that. "I don't want just our friendship anymore. Don't…don't fall back on that, alright? It's time to move forward." He brushes his fingers through her hair, stroking down her cheek. "And for the record, I have thought about what I might face in the tournament. That's why I had to do this. I've never backed down from a fight in my life. But with this thing? This…fear?" It's hard to even say the word. "I feel like I'm fighting with myself. So I have to beat it, or none of the other fights matter worth a damn. Well…none but one." He punctuates his meaning by tightening his embrace around her, planting another gently kiss on her lips.

Ria leans into his hand running through her hair and the side of her face. It'll be hard for her to move backward when he touches her like that. "Well you signed yourself up already. No backing down now, right?" she sighs. "Think of it this way. You already admitted to yourself that you have to work on it. You're taking steps to ensure you do it. That's half the battle right? And here you are thinking that you're a craven, what you just did doesn't seem very cowardly to me." She points out, but she can't help but snicker before she's given a peck. "Ohh you did sign yourself up for a fight, alright. A big one. I'm not ignorant, Luc. I'm very strong and very set in my ways. I'll try my best to compromise I just ask that I am allowed to preserve my individuality as much as possible. That's all. But I'll try my best. Even if you have to beat me into compromising."

Lucian dips his head to look her directly in the eyes. For a moment, he has managed for forget about the bowl of fiery doom behind him. "Hey, I don't ever want you to lose your individuality. What do you think attracts me to you?" His hand remains on her cheek, thumb stroking her skin. "You think I want some simpering tagalong like Polly Parkinson that'll try to be the perfect girlfriend for me? You're strong, and I like that. Just keep in mind that you can be an individual and still be part of something more."

Ria lowers her eyebrows as she says quietly, "Well I mean…you were sort of with her for a while. And you seemed to be pretty excited all the time with her…" If she recalls correctly, she sat through a bunch of his chatter about it when they were younger. "I just want to be able to be the me I was when we still friends, and if that means I'm a little bit more now then that's fine." But she seems rather relieved when he seems rather alright with her being herself. "Thanks," she smiles and rests her forehead on his collarbone. "Thanks for understanding. Really. I don't think anyone else understands me better."

Lucian hugs her, rocking softly, stroking her hair. "Honestly, I don't think so either, and I know nobody understands me like you do." He kisses the top of her head, then gives a half-smirking frown. "Wait…you thought I was into Parkinson?" He chuckles. "That was like a month ago, and I couldn't stand her. Not after spending a few hours with her, anyhow. Ria…I've never really been into any girl before you. Not seriously, anyhow. I mean…who could compare?"

Ria shrugs softly, enjoying this embrace and enjoying kisses to the top of her head. Even the big bad Ria Sykes can turn into a meek kitten in the right situations. "I don't know…boys have such strange taste sometimes. I just never thought I was the type for anyone to like me in that way, which I was okay with. I always thought these kinds of things were for girls like Polly Parkinson," she sighs, but then looks up and lop-sided grin almost similar to the ones Kaiden gives. "But…if you say you like me, I have no other choice but to trust you, right? I already agreed to this."

Lucian returns the grin, giving her cheek another affectionate stroke. "You always have a choice. But I'm glad you trust me. I'd never lie to you, Ria. Not you." It's another tender moment, and deserving of another kiss. Sadly, it cannot last, as the sound of a door closing somewhere nearby echoes, alerting them and reminding them that Ria is out of bed after hours. He grins impishly, taking her hand to lead her quickly out of the Great Hall. He spares one last glace toward the ominous Goblet of Fire. A shudder runs through him, but there is a feeling of accomplishment, as well. Ria was right; he was brave to face his fear. He gives her a charming smile, full of pride in both of them, then slips away with her into the darkness of the castle.

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