December 26th, 2014 - Riddle Me This
26th of December, 2014 - Riddle Me This
Ravenclaw Tower was a wonderful sight to behold, with oil lamps casting a warm glow, bookshelves lining every wall, and festive garlands wrapped around the intricate metalwork of the spiral staircases. Dormitories branched off from each level of the tower, connected by the narrow catwalks that gave students access to each other and all of the shelves. It was a tradition for each graduating Ravenclaw to leave a textbook or novel. After a millennium, the books stretched from the common area to the sunlight at the very top of the tower.
Arthur never tired of the sight and he borrowed a book from the collection whenever he had a moment to spare. Truly, he loved being in the house of wit and learning.
But as much as he adored his house and its clever students, there was one aspect that Arthur could have done without. The stupid riddle he had to solve every time he came back from class! On days when he had finished a hard test or spent hours slaving over an essay in the library, he just wanted to be able to walk into his house and take a well-deserved nap without having to prove that he was a clever person yet again. And if he didn’t know the answer, he had to wait for some other student to arrive, making him look ignorant in the process.
So after a long day spent studying in the library during Christmas break, Arthur approached the door to Ravenclaw Tower with some trepidation. He stared at the bronze eagle knocker and hoped for an easy riddle. His hopes were dashed as the magical knocker recited a short rhyme:
Two are we,
What fools we be,
That pine and yearn,
But do not see.
Arthur tried not to groan. Instead he pursed his lips in thought and attempted to puzzle out an answer. As he was thinking, he heard steps approach from behind. He felt a rush of relief, until he turned around to see that it was Alfred walking his way.
The other Ravenclaw student was handsome and funny and he had an annoying way of making Arthur’s insides turn to mush. Unfortunately, the first time Arthur had begun to feel certain flutterings in his chest (namely, when Alfred had lost his shirt after spilling a shrinking potion on it during potions class), he had mistaken it for indigestion and taken out his ire on the other blond. Things had gone downhill from there, leading them to constantly snipe at each other about shortcomings both real and imagined. If Arthur had ever had a chance with the goofy, gorgeous young man, he had certainly blown it by now.
“Hey, Artie! Can I help you with the riddle?” Alfred asked, giving Arthur a confident smirk as he sauntered up to the door.
“I don’t know. Can you?” Arthur retorted, channeling his inner English teacher. He wanted to wipe that smirk off Alfred’s face with a punch or a kiss, but he wasn’t sure which.
Oblivious to Arthur’s inner turmoil, Alfred just laughed and waited for the knocker to repeat the riddle. When the knocker finished, he wrinkled his nose in confusion, and Arthur tried not to think about how adorable he looked at that moment. Life was so unfair.
“I suppose that’s a no,” Arthur taunted, relieving the tension with a well-aimed insult.
Alfred glared. “Well, why don’t you solve it, Mr. Smartie-pants?”
“I will!” Arthur shouted back. He crossed his arms and glared at the bronze knocker. “So, it’s two of something and they’re blind,” he reasoned aloud.
“It’s two blind mice who smell some cheese but can’t reach it!”
Arthur gave the other boy an incredulous stare. He wondered, yet again, why he had fallen for a spacey dreamer who believed in aliens and crumple-horned snorkacks.
“Oh, I guess not,” Alfred said with a crestfallen expression when the door remained closed. Arthur wanted to wrap him in a comforting hug, but he resisted the temptation.
“‘What fools these mortals be’ is a line from A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Arthur explained. “So it must be about blind mortals.”
They tossed ideas back and forth for the next half hour, and Arthur discovered that it was rather pleasant to spend time with Alfred when they weren’t fighting. Perhaps it was just the holiday spirit, but the teasing felt good-natured in a way it hadn’t before.
“You know, love is blind,” Alfred suddenly suggested. “Maybe it’s about two lovers?”
“That's… a good point,” Arthur replied, making Alfred blush from the unexpected compliment. Seeing those red cheeks, he swore to himself that he would try harder to say nice things to the other Ravenclaw student. “But they aren’t lovers yet. That’s why they have to pine and yearn for what they don’t have and think they never will.”
Alfred gave a heartfelt sigh. “Man, I know the feeling.”
“So do I,” Arthur replied, catching Alfred’s gaze and admiring the way his cheeks darkened further. Like all riddles, it seemed so simple once he had figured it out. “Would you like to go on a date to Hogsmeade tomorrow?”
Alfred grinned. “That sounds awesome.”
The door swung open, letting them both enter the tower, blushing as they brushed shoulders while climbing up the main staircase. Arthur felt a surge of gratitude for the magical knocker and its tricky riddles. As a thank you, he tied a lovely blue bow to the knocker. Seemingly pleased by Arthur and Alfred’s happy new relationship, it asked ridiculously easy questions for the rest of Christmas break. Truly, Ravenclaw was the best house.
Credit to Mayumisatosan for the story idea!