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Chapter Eight:






Progs! -I would apologize for the letters coming in slow but it appears you haven’t noticed. I suppose Evans is keeping you occupied. Though you have left me to die, I will have you know summer is turning out better than I ever could have expected. How strange. -Love, your dearest, darling, Paddy





Solene’s face hurt from smiling and her feet hurt from her shoes.



“Want me to carry you to bed?” Sirius asked innocently as they made their way up the front steps of the chateau. His tie was loose, his top buttons were undone and his hair stood up in every direction imaginable.


Solene scoffed and bent down to release her feet from the vice grip of her metallic heels. The sun had fully risen and the air was warm. She had no idea what time it was. In fact, what day is it? She wondered. Solene calculated it could be almost nine in the morning as they had left the casino around four and drove back into France for hours, after which, Charlotte had insisted on stopping for breakfast in Nice. The night felt like a blur, but Solene could not remember the last time she had had so much fun. She tried to recall the dancing on balconies and drinking champagne into the night but she was so exhausted she could barely think.



Sirius opened the front entrance to the hall and Solene felt a sudden wave of panic. The night couldn’t be over! Not yet! She thought desperately. She didn’t want to leave Sirius for the loneliness of her bedroom. He had been so kind to her all night, so charming and patient. He had kept her occupied until she was drunk and brave enough to mingle with the muggles by herself. She found Nate, while still hopelessly oblivious, was actually quite funny and Charlotte’s need to be the life of the party was exciting and refreshing. She had learned that Julien and Audrey were twins and Elias grew up in Morocco.



Sirius had not danced with Solene, as he had so comfortably done with both Charlotte and Marie, but he had also not been chatting up muggle girls at the bar and dry humping any waitresses—which was an improvement. And Solene could not forget the car ride to Monte Carlo when Sirius’ hand had held hers firmly for over two hours. She almost wished she could reach out for his hand once again, but the circumstances were now different.



People can’t just hold hands whenever they feel like it! Solene scolded herself. But there is something incredible about Sirius’ hand. It’s rough and dry, but it held my hand with so much strength and security….



“I’m not tired,” Solene stated.



Sirius’ expression did not change. Now is when you suggest more fun things to do, Sirius.



“Are you tired?” Solene continued.



“Depends on what you have in mind,” Sirius raised his eyebrows.



Solene waited for her eyes to roll and for her face to pull in disgust at his innuendo but it did not happen. She wasn’t disgusted. In fact, at that moment, her thoughts were with Sirius’ answer: “depends what you have in mind.”



What did she have in mind? Sirius’ posture was dangerously inviting. He was close to her and his arm rested against the wall relaxed. He could easily pull her up against him and against the wall. He could easily pull her dress down her body with a single yank. Would she let him?



Solene swallowed nervously and loudly. Her dumbfounded silence had gone on for too long.



“Always your childish banter, Black,” she smirked, and started to make her way down the hall, “I’m suddenly overcome with fatigue.”



“Maybe next time,” he teased but she didn’t dare turn back to him. Instead she kept her chin high and sauntered to her bedroom alone.

*~*~*~*~*~*


The next few days whipped by before Solene had time to evaluate what, exactly, she was doing. What she did notice was that the flutters of desire she used to feel when Sirius touched her, even in the most casual of ways, had developed into a gnawing infatuation. She wouldn’t say she liked him by any means, but she could no longer deny that under the intensity of his gaze she felt her insides burn and when his skin brushed against her own she felt jolts of electricity in the most inappropriate places. She found her eyes hooked to Sirius’ graceful body as he moved around any room and though she had every other boy drooling, she was never satisfied unless it was Sirius’ stare that lingered on her chest for a moment too long as they splashed each other in the Mediterranean.



Unfortunately, playing the role of Sirius’ cousin in public left little room for his suggestive comments and Solene felt herself unsure of whether he ever wanted her at all. At times she was sure Sirius secretly wanted nothing more than to toss her into the sand and pin her beneath his body as the waves enveloped them. He was a boy after all, and she had never met one that had avoided physical contact. But at times it seemed as if Sirius was absolutely uninterested. He wanted to be her friend, maybe; prevent her from being so lonely, perhaps; turn her into a muggle-loving hippy, definitely. It annoyed her that his motives could be so pure. And what annoyed her further, was that Charlotte was getting all of his attention.



Solene did not try to deny that Charlotte had grown on her. All of her new friends, though muggles, were lively and hysterical. Solene had found a way of isolating them from the term “muggle”. No, they were simply friends she didn’t talk about magic with. They were …foreigners of sorts, not enemies. But it was certainly hard to remain friendly when Charlotte and Sirius’ banter was so nauseatingly adorable. They were not sexual, by any means, or even romantic. No, Sirius and Charlotte were simply great friends, siblings almost, and they joked around so comfortably Solene often felt left out. She could barely remember the times the three of them used to run around causing mischief, but she doubted she had always felt like an awkward third wheel. It was clear to Solene that Sirius had messed around with many of her new friends. He had slept with Lydia and Audrey for sure. But Solene could not decipher if Sirius’ escapades were ongoing, and for the sake of her sanity, she did not put much energy into finding out.



It was one of the many evenings Nate had started a bonfire on the beach. The sparks flew into the sand and the sea was as dark as Sirius’ hair.



“Swim?” he asked Solene playfully and before she had a chance to answer he threw her over his shoulder and ran her into the waves fully dressed. Solene screamed and kicked as the cold water collided with her skin and squealed as Sirius slid her down his body, jumped and submerged them both under the surface. The air was chilly when they rose, but Sirius’ strong arms were still around Solene’s frame and she felt drops of water falling from his hair onto her forehead.



“Cold?” he asked and once again, before she could answer, he ran his hands up and down her body, the friction warming her skin, the movement rocking her body against his. Solene felt frozen, not from the cool wind, but from the fear of Sirius letting go. She felt like a helpless parched plant in the desert and was thankful for every drop of Sirius she got. Sirius mistook Solene’s silence for anger and lifted her easily, carrying her back to the shore. He plopped her down beside the fire and grabbed a blanket to wrap around her. Everyone else was off making out in the sand or galloping through the water.



“Something wrong?” Sirius asked kindly and brushed Solene’s wet hair out of her face, “I’m sorry if you didn’t want to go in the water.”



Solene shook her head and tried to find her voice, “It’s fine.”



Sirius nodded unconvinced and sat down beside her, leaning back on his elbows. Solene tried not to notice it made his arm muscles flex.



“Check it out- it’s me,” Sirius smiled and pointed up to the sky. The last moments of twilight had faded and the stars were beginning to shine brilliantly. The Dog Star was the brightest in the sky.



Solene couldn’t help but grin. When she was younger she used to pretend Sirius’ star shone extra bright for her so that he would always keep her company even when they were apart. The thought made her strangely sad. Sirius hadn’t always been there…



“You always used to say that,” she said.



“You always used to tell Charlotte she couldn’t come over to our place because your parents were vampires,” Sirius laughed.



“You always used to bark at cats,” Solene stuck her tongue out.



“You always used to comb your hair exactly one hundred times before bedtime!” Sirius retaliated.



“You always tried to kiss me before bedtime,” Solene giggled especially hard.



“You never let me,” Sirius frowned.



“Except once—”



“On my birthday, I remember.”



The air fell still. In the distance Charlotte screamed as Nate ran up behind her and undid her bikini top.



“Always the life of the party,” Solene said with a smile. She was usually the life of the party Beauxbaton; it was nice to not carry the responsibility.



“Tough fate,” Sirius lay his body down and put his arms around his head. Like Solene, his face naturally fell into a haughty bored expression, but it lacked Solene’s touch of ruthlessness.



“I don’t know. If you haven’t noticed I adore attention,” she laughed.



“Really?”



“Is that blatant sarcasm I am receiving?” she smiled.



“No, honest curiosity. I would think you would loathe it considering how much you receive,” he said genuinely and their eyes lingered on one another’s faces.



“Well then, not everyone’s attention,” she said softly and turned away to face the sea.



“Is that a complement? You crave my attention,” he asked frankly, a small smirk concealed.



“Only because you don’t give me any,” she admitted and wisps of her fair hair danced across her eyes in the wind. He chucked and she glared at him annoyed.



“Sorry. But the beautiful Solene Rosier telling me she needs my attention sounds ridiculous. Remember who I am?”



Solene shrugged and an uncomfortable silence enveloped them. This was getting out of hand.



“Why don’t we invite everyone over to our place?” Solene suggested, partially to break the silence.



“Because Regulus would kill them,” Sirius stated flatly, without any humor in his voice.



“That’s absurd,” Solene brushed him off and Sirius sighed.



“Solene, you’re really fooling yourself you know,” he groaned and Solene rose to her feet quickly. She could not have another one of these conversations. They left her upset, unsure and frightened.



“I have to go,” she stammered quickly and suddenly hated herself for speaking so openly with Sirius. She was really being an idiot around him, and she needed to get away.



“Don’t leave,” he grabbed her hand, sitting up. Solene pulled her hand away from him instantly, as if he had stung her, and made her way down the beach before he convinced her to stay. Sirius didn’t follow her.



When Solene returned to the Chateau she was surprised to see candles lit in the dining room. Regulus was sitting at the head of the table, eating some late supper and drinking wine. He wasn’t meant to be home until the weekend.



“Where were you?” he asked flatly. His hair was smooth upon his head and he wore dark robes. Solene shook imagining what her explanation would have been had she walked in with Sirius and a troop of muggles. She found herself surprised by how alien wizard’s robes had become to her and she’d forgotten how handsome Regulus was. He had a sturdy jaw and lighter hair than his brother, and his strong fingers clutched his glass. His eyes were slightly red and sunken, as if he hadn’t had a good night sleep in a few days.



“I went for a swim,” Solene answered. Her clothes had dried, but her hair was still damp.



Regulus nodded and motioned for her to sit beside him.



“What have you been up to?” she asked him.



“Errands, mostly,” Regulus shrugged off the question but started again when he saw the dissatisfaction on Solene’s face, “I’ve been helping some of our family and friends in determining who is truly interested in the good of the wizard race.”



“Meaning?” Solene questioned further and Regulus sighed frustrated.



“It is just politics Solene. Alliances here and there, some traitors that need to be fished out.”



Solene swallowed nervously, “traitors?”



“Solene do we have to talk about this now, I’m tired,” he pleaded.



“Well when do you plan on telling me anything?” she snapped.



“We have all of our lives to talk about my work when we’re married. Now can I just relax?” he asked.



Married? Did he just propose to me? Solene frowned.



“Was that a proposal?”



“Oh Solene,” Regulus sighed, “Did you need a proposal? Of course I want to marry you someday. I love you.”



Solene stared into her lap. Regulus was speaking as someone twice his age would. How had he grown up so fast? It was unsettling. Suddenly Solene felt as if Sirius, as ostracized and hated as he was, had the better end of the deal. Somewhere out on the beach Sirius was abandoned by his family, but he was free and full of happiness. He was haunted, surely, the skeletons in his closet were piled in a mass grave, but he still carried an air of innocence and youth. This had all but died out in Regulus’ eyes.



Solene felt incredibly sorry for Regulus.



“Regulus,” she whispered and approached him. He leaned back and she sat on his lap.



“You look so tired. Too tired,” she kissed his temple.



He softened noticeably and let his fingertips brush against the ends of her hair. Regulus hated it when Solene was sour with him. He needed her, as hard as he had been finding it to show her.



“I am.”



“Then come home. Stay with me, please,” she asked.



“I can’t,” Regulus said flatly and closed his eyes, leaning his head back against the chair.



Solene saw on his face that Regulus was in too deep. She needed to help him.



“Why not?”



“Solene,” he sighed and she could hear the desperation in his voice, “Please stop with the questions. I don’t have any answers for you. I wish I did but…. Please Solene just be my peace. Let me be with you and let me have peace,” he begged and pulled her close to him.



Solene’s tears ran down her face quickly as Regulus kissed her but he didn’t stop. She couldn’t understand what was happening and it frightened her. She felt as if Regulus was lost forever, as if these were among their last moments before he slipped away from her entirely and there was nothing she could do about it. She pitied him, and she hated him but she cared for him.



Regulus’ hands unbuttoned Solene’s shirt, his hands shaking so forcibly that he abandoned his care and pulled open the bottom half, the buttons flying across the dining room floor. Regulus pushed his plate and glass aside abruptly, the plate sliding onto a chair, wine spilling on the floor as he lifted Solene onto the table. His hands were cold and coarse and his touch was rough but Regulus knew every inch of Solene’s body from countless practice and he immediately made her tremble with anticipation. Breathing heavily, Regulus undressed himself in a swift moment, pulled Solene’s skirt down her legs and discarded it upon the floor. For the first time ever with Regulus, Solene felt indecently exposed and meek as he spread her across the table and sat back down in his chair, running his fingers across the soles of her feet unhurriedly.



“There’s nothing better than this,” he said softly, as if to himself, while his hands ran up and down Solene’s calves and thighs leisurely, and uncharacteristically patient. He seemed to be trying to commit everything to memory in detail.



Then don’t leave it, Solene thought, but she couldn’t bring herself to speak. Regulus stood and kissed her stomach lightly, and then bit her hard. Solene didn’t make a sound.



“I love you, Solene,” he said and kissed her lips, “no matter what you think.”



Solene didn’t know what to think anymore. She felt more confused than she had ever been in her life but soon all coherent thoughts had left her entirely and she gave herself over to enjoyment. It was only when Solene heard a noise in the distance that she was able to come back to earth. There stood Sirius Black in the faintest candlelight, his fists clenched and his jaw tight. Their eyes locked and her heart jolted and then he was gone. Regulus hadn’t noticed anything… had Sirius even been there? She was going insane.




The next morning Solene woke in Regulus’ bed, but he was gone.








A/N: Ok ok, you don't have to hear another one of my hopeless apologies. I am a sucky updater :( but the next chapter is almost finished so this time I shouldn't take too long. To everyone that has stuck it through and kept reading, thank you so so much. You motivate me like nothing else could. Thank you guys again and again! Remember to leave a review!

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