Chapter 48 : Diamonds in the Dust
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Diamonds in the Dust
The Slytherin Quidditch team had practice the morning of the Hogsmeade Village visit. Regulus found it blissfully odd that Sarah hadn't put up a fuss about having to share her Valentine's Day with a tiny Snitch, but he didn't dare bring the subject to discussion. They agreed to meet in the village and Regulus was off to the Pitch. The boy was in a bad mood after practice due to the overworking from the single and bitter Captain. He and Bartemius lingered behind the others just as they always did, then headed towards the village together.
“What time are you meeting Sarah?” Bartemius asked, glancing down at his watch.
“Don't know. I don't wear a watch so she just said she'd find me when she could.” Regulus gave a small shrug and cut his eyes over towards the blonde. “Did you have somewhere to be?” he asked cautiously.
Bartemius twisted his hands nervously and gave the other boy a wry smile. “I might have told someone I'd meet her for tea,” he answered quietly.
“Fiona,” Bartemius answered, staring at Regulus with a slightly worried face.
Regulus grinned over at the boy and raised his eyebrows. “Fiona Ackerley?” When the other boy nodded, Regulus did as well. “She's nice. I never really figured you'd be in to Hufflepuffs.”
“I'm not...usually. But we have a few classes together and she's pretty smart and she's kinda funny and I'll just shut up.” The boy ducked his head and stuffed his hands down in his pockets.
“Why are you acting so weird?”
“Because you have this...temper and I don't wanna end up on the wrong side of it.”
Regulus stopped and grabbed onto Bartemius' arms, forcing the boy to turn towards him. “We're friends,” he said pointedly. “That's it. Just friends. That little...incident was nothing. Just forget about it. I'm not going to get mad if you have a damn date. I'm happy for you.”
“When you say forget about the incident, do you mean the first one or t-”
“Both of them,” Regulus interrupted. “Just forget both of them. It was stupid and it only happened because I was upset. I don't want you that way. I just need a friend.”
Bartemius smiled over at Regulus and turned back down the path. “Alright,” he said. “So can I tell you about Fiona then?” he asked. And for the entire walk, the boy recounted the conversation he'd had in his last Defense class that led him to getting a date for Valentine's Day. “I don't meet her for another twenty minutes,” he added as they stepped onto the crowded streets. “You wanna come to Gladrags with me? I need some new ties.”
Regulus nodded eagerly, wanting to get off the busy street. He hovered around a display of pocket handkerchiefs while Bartemius placed his order, then took a deep breath before they headed back outside. The moment his feet hit the path, a set of large black paws was against his chest, knocking him to the ground.
“Polaris? What are you doing? Get off me!” Regulus cried out as he clambered to his feet with Bartemius' assistance.
The dog barked loudly, bringing shrieks out of some of the near-by girls. His entire body was alert and panicked. The creature bit down on Regulus' robe sleeve and pulled roughly at it. “Stop it. Bad dog. No,” Regulus insisted but Polaris would have none of it. He continued to pull on the boy's sleeve until Regulus consented to go along with him.
“Regulus don't follow it. He's trying to get you alone to attack you or something,” Bartemius cried out, following hesitantly behind the boy and dog. “He's dangerous.”
“Only to you,” Regulus argued in a matter-of-fact tone.
Bartemius grabbed onto Regulus' free arm and pulled him to a stop. “Regulus don't. I don't trust that dog; you need to stay away from it.”
Polaris turned on the boys and gave a loud snarl. He lowered his head and bared his teeth at Bartemius, his lips quivering with a growl. After backing the blonde up against a wall, the creature grabbed onto Regulus sleeve and resumed pulling him. The dog pulled the boy back behind Tomes and Scrolls, the bookshop, and released him. Regulus stared down at Polaris in confusion for a moment, then let his eyes move up to the two figures also behind the bookshop: Sarah Bulstrode and Geoffrey Davies.
Sarah let out a loud gasp and jumped back from the boy she had been hugging. “Regulus,” she whispered fearfully.
Regulus' eyes narrowed at the sight of the boy. “What the hell are you doing?” he asked, his voice hard. He slowly pushed his hand into his robes and drew out his wand, his fingers gripped around it so hard they paled. “I asked you a question, Mudblood,” he sneered.
“Regulus don't! It isn't what you think, he's just my friend.” Sarah grabbed onto Regulus wand hand and jumped in front of him, her eyes peering into his. “He's just a friend.”
“Yeah, I am your friend,” Geoffrey spoke up. “That's why I'm here! To get you away from this asshole.” He put his hands on Sarah's shoulders and pulled her back away from Regulus, into his arms. “I've had enough of it.”
“Get your filthy hands off her!” Regulus snapped, advancing towards the boy.
“Geoffrey, stop it! I love him.”
“He treats you like dirt! You've told me so yourself.”
“Writing letters about me?” Regulus asked, pushing Geoffrey back off of his fiancée.
“It wasn't like that. I just needed someone to talk to. Regulus, please.”
Geoffrey stepped around the girl and pressed his wand into Regulus' chest. “You don't deserve her,” the boy hissed into the other's face.
“And you think you do?” Regulus laughed, slapping the wand away. “Don't pull that thing if you aren't man enough to use it.”
“Oh, I'll use it!”
“Geoffrey don't!” Sarah threw herself into the boy's side and knocked him away from Regulus.
“Sarah you can't stay with him!” the boy shouted. “I won't let you. The last friend I left alone with that son of a bitch ended up dead!”
“Don't say that!” Sarah yelled through forming tears. “You don't know that. You don't know that he's dead; you don't have proof.”
“Oh, Anthony's dead alright,” Regulus interjected with an eerie laugh. He stepped into Geoffrey and looked up into the boy's eyes. “Would you like proof? I'm sure there's still something of his lying around.”
Geoffrey's blue eyes widened to the point it must have hurt and his fist slammed across Regulus' face. The shorter boy stumbled sideways with the force and let out another eerie laugh as he spat blood onto the ground. He slowly looked back towards Geoffrey and lunged at him, wand forgotten. He laid his own fist into the other boy's jaw and shook his hand with the pain it caused him as well. Geoffrey collapsed against a pile of discarded boxes behind the shop and hurried back to his feet. He charged at Regulus and slammed him back against the wall.
There was a bustle of movement as Geoffrey and Regulus' fight escalated. Sarah stood against the wall and screamed her insistence that they stop while Bartemius waited, wand at the ready, for any signs of Regulus needing his help. Polaris stood at Bartemius' heels, his head ducked and soft whimpering escaping him every time Geoffrey got the upper-hand.
“Break it up!” shouted a weak male voice from the back door of the bookshop. “I mean it. You kids get the hell out of here!” the owner continued. The boys continued their fight, much to the man's chagrin. He disappeared back into his shop and returned moments later with another man.
Professor Peakes, the Arithmancy professor, was a rather large man with a stern face and a no-nonsense attitude. He stared in shock at the commotion going on around him. “Black, Davies, separate now!” the man yelled, his voice strong and commanding. Getting no response, he pulled his wand and sent up a shield spell that knocked the boys apart and sent them sprawled out onto their backs.
Regulus let out a loud groan as he hit the ground. He cupped his hand to his bleeding nose and coughed out even more onto the ground. He could see his vision going blurry as his eyes began to swell from the attack. He looked over at Geoffrey and smiled seeing that the other boy bore just as much damage.
“I can't do anything to you,” Professor Peakes growled down at Geoffrey. “You aren't in school anymore. But Black, you have detention for this. You too,” he added, pointing towards Bartemius.
“What did I do?” the blonde cried out.
“You didn't do anything; that's the point. And don't think I can't see your wand out.” The Professor spent the next few minutes helping out Geoffrey while Bartemius and Sarah pulled Regulus to his feet and returned his lost wand. “Miss Bulstrode, you have detention as well,” the man called back to her. “You should have gotten an adult rather than just stand there.”
The girl scowled at the Professor, but stayed silent. She conjured up a cloth and tried to press it to Regulus' mouth, but the boy jumped back.
“Keep your filthy hands off me,” Regulus spat, taking a step back from her. “Give me the ring.”
“No. Regulus, don't. I told you that there's nothing going on,” Sarah cried, her face twisted in defeat.
“Nothing going on? You had your hands all over a disgusting Mudblood!”
“Black!” the Professor scolded just as Polaris launched into a barking fit. “Shut up, mutt,” the man added, throwing his foot towards the dog.
Regulus rounded on the Professor and opened his mouth to lay into the man about threatening to kick Polaris, but he found a set of fingers over his lips. Bartemius shook his head and pleaded through his eyes for Regulus not to get into any more trouble. The boy snatched the cloth from Sarah's hand and pressed it lightly to Regulus' nose, trying to catch the blood that wouldn't stop seeping from him.
“Sorry,” the blonde whispered as Regulus flinched under his care. He pushed his hand back through Regulus' hair to pull it from the boy's forehead and dabbed at his split lip. “You need the hospital wing,” he whispered. “You look like shit.”
“He looks worse, right?” Regulus whispered back, pain shooting through him when he smiled.
“He looks much worse,” Bartemius answered, giving the boy a quick wink.
“Oh isn't this adorable!” Sarah jeered at Bartemius and Regulus. “Oh yeah, you two are just friends. He's practically snogging you right here in front of all!” she screamed, her eyes locking onto Bartemius. “Get your hands off my fiancé,” she threatened.
“I'm not your fiancé,” Regulus argued, turning towards Sarah and holding the cloth to his own nose. “I just told you to give me the ring back. I don't have to put up with this. There's no way my parents are going to make me marry you after I tell them how you were pawing a Mudblood.”
“Regulus Black, if I hear that word one more time, you're in serious trouble,” Professor Peakes yelled.
Sarah pried the ring off her finger and threw it childishly down the road. “You'll regret this,” she whispered. “You will regret it.”
Regulus rolled his eyes and summoned the ring to himself with no effort whatsoever. “I've regretted every day that I've spent with you. This one actually has an upside,” he laughed before turning away from the girl and starting towards the school. “Go on your date, Barty. I can see the nurse alone,” he called back when it was clear the blonde meant to follow.
A Note From the Author: I know some of you were pulling for Sarah, but alas that is the end of their relationship. Would love to hear your thoughts on it and thank you for reading. :) --Jenna
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