A/N: I apologize for any who have sorely missed my updating on this fic, but I finally landed on a route I wanted with this story. It was an interesting chapter to write, enjoy and leave a review if you please!

I left the Hospital Wing in hugher spirits that day, my heart feeling lighter and warmer than it had in weeks. Once Anabelle was tended to by Madam Promfrey I went through my apology once again, omiting the parts about darkness and disliking Evan out of fear. Anabelle forgave me easily, her kindness deeper than her anger. Promfrey shooed me at the end of visiting hours, tutting about how much she needed to work on the other patient in the room.

I was walking back to my dormitory, a smile draped on my lips and a weight lifted from my shoulders. I was getting close to the kitchens and the barrels that led to our common room when I noticed a looming figure leaned up against the wall.


Instinctively I felt my breath hitch a bit, surprised in the least to see him waiting for me. I imagined he’d send Crouch Jr. for me before he’d traipse down to the kitchens. He looked up, his green eyes catching my blue. I pulled a tight smile over my lips.

“Evan, what brings you here?” I asked walking up to his form.

He smirked slightly, reaching for my hand and pulling me close to him. One of his arms wrapped around my waist, and I resisted the urge to shudder as a slight revulsion overtook my stomach.

“I just came to fetch my darling, girlfriend, whom I haven’t seen in a couple days,” He said lightly, leaning down to plant small kisses on my neck.

“And imagine my surprise when I hear that she has been in the infirmary all afternoon,” his grip on my waist tightened a bit, his tone becoming a bit more sharp, and his kissing becoming only what one could describe as more sensual.

I am no fool to admit that my body didn’t react to him in the way it rightly should with any attractive pureblood male, Rosier knew he was good at putting the moves on a girl.

“Who were you visiting dear?” He inquired gently, his mouth by my ear now.

I couldn’t press back the shudder that overtook my frame now, a mix of attraction and revulsion in the worst way.

“I-I was just there,” I started lamely, my voice breathy and unsure, “I’m, uh, working with Madam Pomfery this school year, as apart of my curriculum we had to chose a career tract and I choose healing simply just to finish out in.”

He paused a bit at this explanation but seemed to take me at my word, praise Merlin, and began to kiss more hungrily at my neck, his hands moving to pull on my hips and draw them closer to himself. I could feel the blush on cheeks at the intimacy of this, especially in public.

I sighed in relief as he pulled back a bit, realizing that we were in the middle of a corridor at which people could pass through at any moment. I was hoping he would take it as some sort of affimation that his kissing was affecting me wildly.

“I don’t see why you have to finish your schooling, Claire, it’s not like you’ll need it,” Evan huffed a bit, obviously equating my time in the Hospital Wing as less time for him to attach himself to my mouth.

Quite frankly it irked me how he nonchalantly underminded my love for my education. I was very aware that that was the ideal life my mother had for me, as well as his parents potentially, but nonetheless. I was excellent with charm work, and if I wanted to I could do some thing with that I was more than capable.

I knew it would be smarter, however, not to state my full opinion on the matter.

“Well, now it’s really just so I can stay around here and spend more time with you, love,” I said leaning on the balls of my feet to kiss his neck gently.

He seemed pleased with this answer, “The boys in my dorm are planning to spend their night elsewhere this evening, why don’t you come over tonight? I’ll send you something lovely to wear.”


I had a feeling the boys were told to make themselves scarce tonight and that Rosier’s whole intent for visiting laid on the fact that he had found his bed too lonely without someone in it.


I struggled with my best sultry look, leaning up slightly to lightly kiss his lips, “Whatever you wish.”


My second time with Rosier was far less notable then the first. I had later that evening received the package containing the very see through nightgown he had intended for me to wear, and no sooner then I had put it on in the dormitory it was already laying absently on the floor.

Alexandria had relayed a couple of times that boys could be rather quick about these things and Rosier wasn’t up for much foreplay that evening. I did what I had to do to confirm to him that I was having a good time of it.

I slept a couple of hours nestled on Rosier’s chest before waking and retrieving the clothes I had brought that were actually sensible enough to wear. I was about to tiptoe quietly out before someone opened the door to the dormitory and slipped in. I squinted trying to make out who it was, my heart hammering at being caught slipping away.

“Black?” I whispered questioningly, his cold gray eyes flicking over to my form.

Under his gaze I felt more vulnerable then I did when I was standing in lingerie in front of Evan. It was unnerving.


“Evan said all of you wouldn’t be here tonight,” I said accusingly, searching for his reasoning, and offended. I couldn't imagine if Black had walked in on us in the act.

“I don’t particularly like being told I can’t be in my own bed for the night, plus I am generally aware that Rosier’s evenings don’t take very long,” Black said softly, a smirk filling out in his lips.

I felt my cheeks flush, and cast my glance away from him, embarrassed that others knew Evan’s sexual abilities with women.


Initially I felt I should come to Evan’s defense as his girlfriend, I shouldn’t allow Black to dishonor his name in such a way. However, in the presence of Regulus I felt little want or pressing to make excuses for him.


“He does make it a rather quick go,” I admitted, an amused smiled etching slightly on my lips as I glanced back towards Evan.


I watched a genuine look of amusement roll over Regulus’s polished features, my heart stuttering with each beat as I witnessed the moment.


“I apologize that you have to endure such an obvious mistreatment, Nott, even you deserve better,” His eyes had lost their coldness and twinkled mischeviously.


I stifled a laugh with my hand; glancing back to see Evan sprawled across his mattress, lightly snoring and none the wiser to our jesting.


“I’m afraid even if my mother knew she’d insist I make the most of it, I have to make a good match and all,” I said with an eye roll, still tickled at making fun of Evan with Regulus.


“Ah, yes, Rosier is the cream of the crop isn’t he,” Regulus said, raising his eyebrows to me for confirmation.


I imagined myself in this moment denying that Evan was the best man around. Instead I had found another man was catching my eye. However, there is a reason I was in Hufflepuff and not Gryffindor. My loyalty, almost to a fault, squashed the idea entirely.


“I suppose,” I said softly, giving him a small sad smile.


I moved to finally make my exit from the room, the feelings in my mind swirling and making it too much to bear, until I heard a gentle whisper as Regulus moved to his own bed.


“The prefects will be patrolling the upper levels of the castle right now, you should be safe getting back to your dormitory if you hurry,” He said not looking back to make sure I understood but moving tiredly to his own bed.


I smiled towards his back thankful for his help and scurried off to my dormitory, easily making it there with no issue.


I breathed a sigh of relief as I slipped into our seventh year room and into my comfortable bed hangings. Our dormitory always smelled so earthy and fresh, and the floors were even nicely warm. I relished in this feel over the cold, darkness of the Slytherin dormitory.


“Finally snuck away?” Came a whispered Scottish accent and I nearly leapt in fright.


But then it hit me; Anabelle was back in the dormitory. Promfrey had released her.


I leapt up and jumped behind her bed hangings, landing across her tucked in form.


“You’re back!” I whispered loudly and happily, I snagged my wand from my pockets and cast a silencing charm over her bed so I could chant happily about having my best friend back in the room.


Anabelle laughed as much as she could muster, her injury recovery impairing her ability to put forth her full-blown laughter, which is louder than one would imagine.


“When did she release you?!” I questioned, sitting up so she could move to sit up and face me as well.


“Around 8 this evening, she was all fussed over the very injured boy next to me and decided all I really needed now was a proper nights sleep in my own bed,” Anabelle quipped, nodding along to her small story.


“I would have come down and walked you over if I’d have known!” I said grabbing her hand trying in some small way to determine if she was okay.


“Well, you my little minx, were already gone and I could have guessed why with that fancy French lingerie box set on your bed,” Anabelle wiggled her eye brows a bit, making light.


I cringed quite obviously, gritting my teeth and trying to smile, “Ah, right. That.”


Anabelle’s expression turned to one of questioning, “What? What happened? Did that git do something wrong?”


Here it was. A choice. Often when Anabelle questioned my reasons for being upset or not all too happy I would find ways to brush it off and not relay to her what my life was really like. To Anabelle I went to plush balls, danced with fine gents, and always had access to the best champagne. She didn’t know the bad side of it all; she wasn’t aware of the force of finding a suitable match, the increasing blood prejudice, and the less than faithful relationships wrapped up in it all. I never opened up about it, having no siblings and a distrust among my peers form being sorted into Hufflepuff, no one was really aware of my thoughts on it all.

“Well, honestly, Anabelle. Rosier is a horrible shag and I’m quite sure I don’t love him an ounce, he’s a git and a half,” I answered with a shocking flair of boldness, anger flooding my words.


I saw Anabelle’s jaw slack a bit, probably just as much surprised as I was that I uttered those words. I had never called a boy a git except in my head, and Merlin’s beard if I ever said the word ‘shag’. In fact, I was sure in some small way my mother would be able to know right at this moment that her lady of a daughter had used such foul language.


“But, dear,” Anabelle started reaching for my hands, “Why are you still with the daft boy? He sounds absolutely awful.”


I could see the earnest expression in her eyes, and I knew instantly she would never fully understand the sense of duty and loyalty that stirred in me from my pureblooded upbringing. Everything I did was for the furthering of our blood. Securing Evan and enduring a not so lovely sex life, choosing the Slytherins over the four girls I shared a dormitory with since the age of twelve, and eventually having to wed a man I didn’t love; it was all for blood. Blood is stronger than anything else.


“You may never understand this Anabelle, you are so lucky compared to me. I have to stay with Evan, I have to marry him and someday have his children. I have to maintain a good bloodline for my family,” I said, giving her a tight smile, trying in some way to feign happiness.


“Oh, Claire. Oh, no,” Anabelle said her eyes widening softly, “I mean, I knew you ran in the circles of those people who had all of that blood nonsense in their heads but I didn’t know how much you believed it. You were always to kind to me, Mary Lou, and the other girls. I always told them you were different.”


I could feel a true smile form on my lips, “Anabelle O’Malley you have got to be the nicest witch I have ever met.”


If only she knew how I reacted when she told me of her muggle lover, if only she saw the look of disgust my mother generally gave when I spoke of anyone not associated with our circle, and if only she knew my own harsh thoughts about other people’s families.


“Well, here’s the thing Claire dearest. Is there any way you can get out things with Evan? Maybe find a boy your family will approve of that you actually care quite a bit for?” Anabelle fixed me with her determined look, trying to find the good in such a tough spot.


Briefly, Regulus flooded my mind. My parents would be thrilled if I matched with a member of the Black family, that was like the sacred twenty eight’s most upstanding of all families.

However, doubt flooded these thoughts very quickly. I was sure my house standing had caused the Black’s to snub me in some small way, and Regulus had bought in to it even now. How pathetic would I be if I left Evan just to be rejected by him?

I didn’t want Anabelle to keep worrying though, I needed to move past this subject as this emotional vulnerability was all too foreign and strange.


“Possibly,” I remarked giving a small, half-hearted smile, “What’s it like, though, being in love?”


Instantly Anabelle’s eyes softened and her lips lifted into an almost serene smile, this reflection of happiness made my heart ache for something that could make me feel as she did.


“Oh, Claire. Theodore is patient, and he is gentle. But strong and wonderfully protective of me, being in love with him is like having a best friend with whom you share all secrets and vulnerability and even though they are armed with every way to hurt you, they love you. And even when you are being insufferable, stubborn, and pig headed they love you. And you them, that’s what being in love is like,” she finished off, clutching a hand to her heart with an extremely earnest look upon her face.


It was futile that I would ever experience what Anabelle was feeling in this moment, and that is enough to break anyone’s heart.



Anabelle and I stayed up far later then we should have with classes in the morning, but sleep came easier knowing I had my best friend’s forgiveness.


I got up early enough to apply all of the usual beautifying charms necessary for a school day and pulled on my school robes with ease, freshly laundered by the house elves the evening before.


I bid Anabelle farewell in the dormitory and rushed off to meet Evan for a light breakfast before class. The Great Hall was less frequented in the morning as we drew later into the term, many people too unwilling to brave the cold mornings in the castle.


I settled in at the Slytherin table beside Evan and Yaxley, Evan’s hand moved easily to my knee and his mouth came close to my ear.


“What a pity that I woke up alone this morning,” He said softly, his grip on my knee tightening.


I managed a smile, “I needed to get proper rest before classes this morning. Besides what would my mother think if she got word of me slinking out of the Slytherin boy’s dormitory in the morning.”


Evan huffed a bit removing his hand from my knee and turning his attention back to Goyle for I assumed business that a lady should ‘never be involved in.’ I wondered silently if they were discussing more of those tests I had heard whispers of in the library.


Yaxley shifted on my other side, pushing his copy of the Prophet into my line of view, and I could feel the natural rhythm of my breath stop short at the front page’s headliner.




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