People were fickle at the best of times, and finding himself in the worst of time Regulus was beginning to notice he truly had no one. His mother only needed him for "the future prospects of the house of our forefathers", his brother had all but replaced him with James Potter, his friends... they cared more about their own "future prospects" as friends of Lord Black than they did actually being his friend. So, he had no one. It shouldn't have been as surprising to him as it was, but the more he glued himself to Hermione Graves, the more he tried acting like a good friend, the more he realized that he didn't have any friends. Crouch, Greengrass, the Carrows may follow him around now, act like they hang on every word he says when they like what he says. But he's beginning to wonder if that's even friendship.
He sits in the Slytherin table with Barty sipping at tea as he and Greengrass discuss some 5th-year Mudblood that scuffed his shoes or scoffed at his face or some other ridiculous thing that shouldn't have mattered enough for them to repeat. Regulus isn't paying attention, in any case, he was watching the door, waiting for Graves to come in and yet he was unsure what he would do upon her entrance. The last few days since deciding he would be her friend he would go up to her as she grabbed a piece of toast or an apple or something else that was in no way enough for breakfast. He'd follow her to their classes and when she was finished with whatever she picked up from the Great Hall he'd ask her how she was. But after everything yesterday he didn't know if he wanted to.
So, even as she came in, he sat. Greengrass and Barty talked over him, his thoughts and his sanity while they discussed whether the Mudblood deserved death or prison for tripping a pureblood lord. They were even more ridiculous than his mother sometimes, they were playing bigots because it was what they thought they were supposed to do. At least his mother had beliefs instead of washed out over exaggerations. His eyes followed her out of the hall. She didn't even seem to notice he was there. Regulus didn't quite understand why that made his gut sink. "What about you?" Barty said turning to him, expecting him to have been paying attention to whatever drivel they were spouting now.
"You know what I think."
"You think the new halfblood is hot. We get it. Are you listening to us though?" Greengrass said his eyes wide and the tone of his voice verging on annoyance.
What he wanted to say was that he didn't need to listen to them to know how the conversation was going, that they were two of the most predictable people he has ever met and if tripping someone was somehow a punishable offense there was zero chance that they wouldn't somehow be sent to prison based off of it. Instead, he apologized, "I've been a bit out of it lately, quidditch is starting up again soon." Ignoring the comment they made about Graves was the best way to go when it came to talking to them.
"As if that's even on your radar, is the rumor true?" the rumor they referred to of course was an unknown entity, he had heard it enough times to be terrified of any truth it might be based on. Regulus was apparently set to be marked a Death Eater over Winter Break, with all the violence that would entail. He would hardly put it passed his mother to set something like this without telling him. It was what she had done to Sirius before he was disowned and it was what was expected of him. He knew it was coming. That's what he told himself at least.
"Maybe," he said as he finished his breakfast "I've got potions, see you guys at lunch."
He got up and left the hall, deep in thought and completely oblivious to the Mudblood witch that had somehow fallen into step beside him. "Hi, Regulus." She smiled up at him eyes glittering and her bag bashing into his side. He tried to figure out if Lilly Evans was now officially the only person who was not related to him to call him by his given name. "Are you going to potions? I have a question for Slughorn."
"I'm sorry, maybe something got lost in translation. Just because I asked you about my brother does not make me the new Slytherin to take under your arm." He said trying to step up his pace and get away from the annoying overly friendly Gryffindor.
She sulks a little at his response, or perhaps the reminder of Snape, Regulus couldn't be sure. She sped up again, however, bruising his leg with her bag, his reputation by being seen with her and his pride because he really didn't think running away would help the situation. "Of course not." She said. "I just figured it might mean you owed me."
He stopped dead in his tracks. "I owe you? For the information on my own brother's wellbeing? That's not very Gryffindor of you." Regulus almost scoffed at her despite himself. In reality, he was somewhat impressed at the tactic she was attempting, she obviously wasn't here just to play nice which he couldn't help but respect. "What do I owe you?"
"An introduction." She smiled up at him in an almost charismatic manner.
"I seriously doubt you'd want an introduction to anyone I know." He said starting to walk again, but she seemed ready for him to try and leave her in the dust.
"Last week you would probably be right. But..." Evans just barely managed to get in front of him bringing their little speed walking race to an abrupt end. "But Hermione Graves is new and seems nice and as Head Girl, I really should welcome her to the school."
He shook his head half in surprise. "She's been new for over a month now. Do you really expect me to believe you're just now coming to the conclusion the Head Girl should welcome the new kid? Really, Evans, I know you were raised by muggles but I never thought you were impolite."
"She's a Slytherin, I was unsure whether it would be... an unfortunate conversation." Her pause was long enough for her to say everything that she might think would make it an unfortunate conversation.
"You thought she might hurt your feelings by bringing up blood status? Good to know you're just as good a Head Girl as someone who-"
"Fuck off, Black. You of all people know that in today's political climate caution is important." She interrupted his insult rolling her eyes at his obvious attempt to anger her. "Are you going to introduce us or not?"
"Not. Your Head Girl-why the hell would you need an introduction from me? Now let me get to class, Evans." It was his turn to roll his eyes and step around her. He could feel her following him all the way to Slughorns class in silence. Regulus didn't know if her presence annoyed him more with or without the addition of conversation.
"Hi, I'm Lily Evans and I'm your Head Girl this year. Sorry, I haven't been by to introduce myself before I hope you can understate how difficult it is to get everything done at the beginning of the year." Regulus decided that her voice was much too grating to not be considered more annoying than her mere presence. He sat down in his seat next to Graves and stared up at the board. Slughorn's handwriting scrawled Polyjuice and the necessary ingredients were printed cleanly underneath despite the fact that they were also in all of their books.
Graves was still at his side as Lily and her chatted about finding her way alright and how if she had any questions she shouldn't hesitate to ask her or James Potter. Regulus watched as they chatted and Hermione seemed to fall into an almost familiar lull that she never had with him despite knowing him for five weeks and Evans for barely a minute. He stood up and shuffled over to gather the ingredients for Polyjucie, knowing that if he were to wait for Slughorn to come in the class would crowd around the cabinet.
When he got back Evans was discussing whether they should meet up after classes were over today to further discuss her questions. Regulus couldn't help but wonder why Graves hadn't asked him any of her questions when they saw each other almost every day. "Yeah... Um, that would be nice? Maybe tomorrow instead? I have a something I'm looking-"
"Of course! No problem! I'm so glad I had a chance to talk to you!" Evans interrupted, she really should consider not talking over people if she didn't want to be rude. Before Graves seemed to realize what she had agreed to Evans was walking out of the room. "Oh, and if you want you can bring Regulus! I know you guys are usually there together anyway."
She swiftly left the room without any attempt at a proper goodbye, leaving them alone with a few overzealous Ravenclaws. "She's certainly bubbly..." Graves said looking down at their ingredients. She starts shredding the boomslang skin without even attempting to fish the textbook out of her bag. In fact, she starts to prepare all of the ingredients without once consulting the book, all the while muttering about how she really shouldn't be doing something. She then turned straight to him, her knife now chopping up leaches three at a time and with a slightly nervous expression she starts mumbling to him. "She- You're still going to the library today, right? I didn't mean- I wasn't trying to- I don't mind you being at the library with me. I- I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable."
He looked back at her; hair separated them but he could hear the steady beat of the knife on the table in front of them. "Don't worry about it." He said pulling out his own textbook as Slughorn and a few other N.E.W.T. Level potions students entered the room. "Hey... Graves?"
"I can go tomorrow, too. If you'd want me there." He said not looking up from the flipping pages of his Advanced Potions Textbook. He could still see her hair move up and down with the shrug of her shoulders.
"I mean... if you're going to be there anyway, I definitely wouldn't mind." She said. They worked in silence for a while, him looking over the Lacewing flies they had stared stewing they're first day and her very efficiently working with the other ingredients. "Lily is a bit intense, right? Not that she's scary, I mean she's small so... but she's weirdly intimidating and hard to say no to."
Regulus nodded considering his short interactions with the witch, he supposed that was quite an accurate description of the witch.
"You should come tomorrow." Graves said definitively, nodding to convince herself. "Who knows what she'll rope me into if you're not there."
"What could she do? Convince you to take over for Posy Brown as Prefect? Actually that might not be a bad idea, Posy's a bitch..." He smirked to himself at the mere idea of not having to deal with Posy anymore.
"Of course not." She said rolling her eyes at him and chuckling. "But you might be surprised, she actually reminds me of one of my friends from Ilvermorny. He may or may not have convinced me to help rob a bank."
"You didn't actually do it though."
"Why do you think I had to switch schools?" She was joking now, or at least he'd like to think she was joking based on the playful ring in her voice.
"Ahh, so you didn't get away with it?" He asked.
"Oh we got what we went there for, left on a Dragon."
"Sure." They discussed the legistics of flying a dragon out of a bank for the rest of class. He'd like to say he convinced her it was impossible but she just laughed and said she knew she could do it because she had done it before. They left the class together their Polyjoice in the right stages and all of the ingredients prepared for them to finish tomorrow.
Hello and Thank you for reading! A special thank you to Invader Johnny and FALLENANGLES24, your comments really brighten my day and gave me the motivation to get this out quicker!