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Chapter 3: Chapter III.
It was hard to tell whether it was day or night from within the cave. Regulus, the next day, accepted the fact that this cave would be his tomb. He would die here and disturbingly so, he wasn't troubled. He kept his hand on top of Feliciti's as they sat across from each other, her back against the cold wall of the cave. She giggled from something he had just said. Her laughter brought music to his ears.
“So how come you're here?” Regulus asked after her giggle turned into a small, innocent grumble.
“I told you already, didn't I?” she replied, eyes shining brightly against the self invented green light around the cavern.
“No, I mean, if you're dead...” Regulus didn't like to ponder over her death.
“Why I still have a body?” she continued on, understanding what he was asking. “I've been sent here to help you, like I said yesterday. The boss thought it'd be easier if I was corporeal.” She smiled widely at him causing his own mouth to upturn.
“The boss?” he asked softly, flicking his head to the side in order to take a strand of hair out of his eyes.
Feliciti smiled at his boyish action and leaned forward slowly. She placed her lips right before his, her nose pressing down on his as she whispered, “Not telling.”
He could sense the smile on her face and he couldn't help but smile back. He pushed her lips forward and pecked her softly. “Why not?” he whispered back, closing his eyes to the blissfulness of everything.
Her smile broadened and she pulled back, sitting back down on her bottom.
“Ready?” she didn't wait for an answer. Instead, she pulled a finger to his temple again and they were immediately plunged into a familiar site. A familiar site to both.
- - -
Regulus was ecstatic and jubilant to be getting onto that famous train his brother had been telling him about. The Hogwarts Express was slowly filling up with students, many who had been running around the platform, in an attempt to search for a friend they hadn't seen throughout the whole holidays.
His older brother stood to his side, smiling fondly at the site. Their parents left as soon as they got their message through to the younger son:
“...Not another house, son. It must be Slytherin. Do you understand? Slytherin!” his father almost roared at a short Regulus.
“We don't want you to be a disgrace like the other one, Regulus.” their mother told him sternly.
Sirius ignored what they were saying and stood to the side. Regulus nodded once and almost immediately, his father took hold of his mother and twisted with a crack.
“What if I don't get into Slytherin?” Regulus squeaked to his role model, anxiety filling him as he thought of what might happen.
“The hat listens to you. If you don't want to get into Slytherin, it won't put you in Slytherin. It didn't for me.” Sirius scoured the platform, looking for people he might know. After a while of turning his head left and right, and standing on his tip-toes, Sirius gasped.
Regulus' head flicked from the smoke emerging from the front of the train and at his older brother.
Sirius didn't answer. His face displayed a perplexed frown and he started walking slowly towards the front.
Regulus followed uncertainly, holding onto his brother's ratty shirt, determined not to get lost.
“Feliciti?” Sirius breathed as he tapped a girl with wavy blonde hair on the shoulder.
The girl spun around quickly and screamed with delight, causing many people around her to jump up with fright.
“Sirius!” she exclaimed, hugging him tightly as she jumped up and down. “I got in! I got in!”
Sirius looked at her, eyes wide as bewilderment filled him. He stopped her jumping and stared at her long and hard.
“YOU'RE NOT A MUGGLE!” he shouted, a smile too big on his face.
Regulus watched on with a small scowl on his face as the girl's eyes started to brim with sparkling tears.
She looked to the shrunken figure cowering behind Sirius and strained a small smile. Obviously, his hurtful retort several years ago had not been forgotten.
“That means you'll be in Regulus' year!” Sirius' wide grin was unsuccessful in withdrawing the bitter memory from Feliciti's mind.
“Sirius...” she sighed, anxiety clear in her voice. She pulled Sirius to the side, despite Regulus' tight cling onto his shirt. “What if – What if they- they don't like me?” His face contorted with bewilderment.
“What do you mean, Feli? They'll love you!” His oblivion to the problem was apparent. “You're the sweetest girl I know!”
“I mean- I mean, you know...” She hesitated with a quick look at Regulus'. “What if they think I'm a yucky muggle? I mean, he thought I was!”
Sirius looked down at Regulus as he sneered at Feliciti, trying his best to look mean.
“But you're not a muggle Feli! You're one of us!” Sirius grin was stretched across his entire face. “Don't worry about it,” he pushed Regulus off softly yet firmly and put a hand on her shoulder. “No one will find out. Now, I want you to meet some people.”
Regulus watched as Sirius guided the muggle girl towards a big group of students. He was hurt as his brother had just left him. Coming back to his senses he picked up his suitcase and ran after them.
- - -
“You were the meanest person in the world,” Feliciti smiled, flashing her straight white teeth.
Regulus returned the smile, albeit bashfully. “I was just a kid. I didn't mean a word I said.” He played with her soft hands, entwining his fingers with hers.
“Oh really?” She raised an eyebrow at him. “That's not what I recall for the five or so horrible years we had in school.”
Regulus pondered over those years. He certainly did recall being extremely mean to her.
- - -
“Hey mudblood,” Victor Faughn winked as the rest of the Slytherin group burst into laughter.
“Hi.” Feliciti replied, hiding her dismay by packing her bag. She had just been at the library, finishing off a Dark Arts essay.
“What do you think of the Dark Lord and his morals, hey Gravois?” Victor persisted in harassing her. Day in and day out she was tormented for being a muggle born.
“I think they're silly,” Feliciti said quietly. They laughed again, ridiculing her for her opinion. She avoided eye contact with all of them, especially the handsome one known as Regulus.
“Why don't you look at us?” Victor smirked, knowing exactly why she doesn't. They all knew.
She sighed once again as she picked up her bag. She slowly turned towards them, all boys and all incredibly big headed. She took a quick glance at Regulus as he looked at her calmly.
“Because you're all mean and don't treat people as nicely as you should.”
Regulus smiled with amusement as the others guffawed at her response. Feliciti turned a soft shade of pink and felt herself shrink. She was bullied beyond belief by the Slytherin house. Muggle borns at that day and age were rare and every opportunity to spite one was taken up.
“I have to go now,” she whispered, hiding her face in shame. The Slytherins jeered their goodbye behind her back.
- - -
“What were you thinking?” Feliciti asked Regulus. Her small body lay in between his legs and his hot breath fell on her neck.
“I was thinking about how naïve you were,” he smiled genuinely. He remembered that day and could not forget his thoughts. “I thought you were too cute to be so stupid.”
Feliciti turned her head around to look at his rough face. She smiled sweetly as she looked into his eyes. They both giggled.
- - -
“Sirius,” she approached the famous Marauders at the dinner table.
“Feli!” he boomed as she plonked her bottom onto a seat next to him. He smiled at her. A smile similar to that of Regulus', although, substantially larger.
The other boys turned around to her and smiled. It was her fifth year, their seventh, and every year had been close to hell.
“What’s up?” James Potter nodded at her as Sirius hugged her tightly from the side.
“Stupid Slytherins.” she mumbled, her voice quivering slightly. “I’ve had enough of them! Seriously! I cannot wait until the day they get bored of me.” Her naïvety was unbearable.
The marauders glanced at each other. “Fel, I don’t think they ever will get bored of you.” Remus said, looking at her calmly as Sirius patted her back comfortingly.
“But why?” she squealed, “Why me? Out of the other five muggle borns in my year, why me?”
“I think its because you’re the only one that’s silly enough to react, Feli.” Sirius played with her long, yellow hair tenderly, tucking it in behind her ears.
Feliciti was speechless. It did not make sense to her.
“I think I’m going to go back to the common room.” She stood up gracefully and smiled sheepishly at the boys.
“I shall accompany you madam.” Feliciti giggled at Sirius’ silly behaviour. He bowed down and held out his hand. He winked back at the rest of the marauders and escorted her, much to her dismay. She knew she was already the prime victim of green eyed monsters across the whole school.
“Look who decides she couldn’t resist us!” Victor nudged Regulus playfully and snickered as the two slowly approached the staircases. “Mudblood.”
Sirius’ grip on her arm tightened as they got closer.
“Leave her alone.” Sirius growled as Victor was about to touch her. Victor merely raised his eyebrows. Sirius directed his gaze to his younger brother.
“Regulus, I’d advise that you stop harassing Feli.”
Regulus merely smirked at him. “What, a filthy thing like her?”
Sirius had almost tackled him to the floor if only Feliciti had not held onto his arm for dear life. Though, that did not stop Victor from casting a spell at him, sending him flying down a flight of stairs.
“Sirius!” Feliciti’s high pitched voice cracked. She ran as quickly as she could down the stairs, helping Sirius back up. “Sirius, I’m so sorry.” Her eyes were filled with salty tears that refused to stream down her face.
“It’s not your fault Feli.” He groaned, pushing his arms down to life his torso. “It’s never, ever your fault.” He smiled gently at her as he struggled to get up.
“I’m really, really sorry.” Her eyes were round and rheumy. He continued reassuring her with a bright smile.
Meanwhile, Regulus gazed at them from the top of the stairs. Sirius’ relationship with the muggle born was, for him, considered bemusing. He continued watching them, indifferent to the scene before him.
“Your brother is filthy.” Victor grunted to Regulus. Regulus merely grunted in response before they both sauntered off.
For a moment, Sirius stared at her face, analysing everything there was to it. She merely smiled sheepishly.
“You’re beautiful, Feli.”
Stunned, Feliciti recoiled, blushing a deep crimson almost instantly. Sirius chuckled lightly and stood up, holding her hand as she followed his action. Feliciti was perplexed. Never in her ten or so years of knowing Sirius, she had never seen him in that light that would be considered closer than friends. For Feliciti, it was a terrifying thought.
“Regulus?” Feliciti looked up into his soft grey eyes. Regulus huffed and frowned at her. “What?” she inquired, worry evident in her voice.
“Nothing.” he replied, avoiding looking into her eyes.
She put her hands to his face, forcing him to look at her. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, the serenity bring bliss to his inner self.
“I should have been the only one to call you beautiful.” he confessed, dropping his gaze once again.
Feliciti smiled and fluttered her eyelashes as though demure.
“You are beautiful.” Regulus played with her hands, caressing them ever so tenderly.
She giggled like a little child and it brought about absolute euphoria to the cavern of Regulus’ heart.
~ ~ ~
Regulus had thought at the time that nothing was able to push the two apart. But that Christmas had proven him to be wrong.
“You’re leaving?!” he heard Feliciti scream across the square.
Sirius had just been expelled from the Black household, his tattered suitcase carrying all that was left of his possessions. Regulus had watched from his window as Feliciti held onto Sirius’ cloak, tears streaming down her face.
Sirius’ face had been stern and tense. He tried prying her hands away from him.
“Why are you leaving?!” Feliciti was shrieking, desperation apparent in her voice.
“Feli...” Sirius sighed, agony visible on his already taut face.
“Why?!” Feliciti was on her knees, her bubbly white face distraught.
“Feliciti, I can’t stay here anymore.” He crouched down to her level, “There’s nothing left for me here.”
Feliciti looked at him, shocked. Torn. Regulus could never forget that face.
“Nothing?! There’s absolutely nothing left for you here, Sirius?” Her voice was cracking and it broke Sirius apart. “What about me Sirius? Me?”
It had been Christmas eve. The night was illuminated by the bright red and green lights which decorated the square.
Sirius breathed deeply and bit his bottom lip. Regulus continued to watch with curiosity at the two. It was known that Sirius had left to join the Order of the Phoenix. Regulus knew his motives for leaving, a part from getting away from his family. It was for her own good.
“Feliciti, we’re nothing more than friends.” The line that broke her heart.
Regulus could hear very clearly, due to the spell he cast on the window. He could also see very clearly, despite the snow that slowly fell from the sky. It was not difficult to see the despair Feliciti was experiencing.
Felitici remained as a heap on the floor, sobbing into her hands for her dear life.
Sirius took hold of her hand and stared deep into her eyes. “I love you Feli, but you must understand, I only see you as my sister.” Regulus could see the heartbreak his brother was feeling. “Please understand.”
With those two final words Sirius stood up and held onto his suitcase. With a final glance at the small body on the floor, Sirius shook his head, his eyes red with the tears that glistened in the light. He twisted on his foot and apparated away from the square.