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    The person standing in front of me was very tall. He had black, black hair and blue, blue eyes. He had an even stance, weight in the middle, and was very reserved. He seemed to have no intentions and know exactly what he was looking for at the same time. I tilted my head to the side, and he didn’t.

    “Who are you?” I blurted, picking my Beater’s bat up from the ground. The boy leaned into his left hip, and I glanced at his chest, spotting a Slytherin insignia.

    “I am Regulus,” he said flatly, extending his free hand. I squinted with the familiarity of the name, and then shook his hand. We both stood there silently, each observing the other. And for some reason, Regulus seemed more comfortable in the silence.

    “I didn’t know you had the pitch reserved so late, Regulus. I was just finishing up here.” I stopped looking at him and crouched down to latch the Quidditch case.

    “I don’t.”

    I furrowed my brow at his immediate response. His strange mechanic demeanor was alarming at the very least.

    “Okay then, Regulus.” I stood up with my bat in one hand and my crate in the other. I was consciously uncomfortable that I couldn’t also hold my wand in my hand. Because while Regulus seemed relatively harmless, I didn’t know what use the bat would be against his wand.

    “Do you need any help?” he asked in a way that made me believe he didn’t really want to help.

    “No,” I said, shaking my hair back out of my face. “I am just going to head to the castle.” I started walking, and the mysterious Regulus began following me.

    “Would you be able to help me out?” he asked flatly, floating along with his lengthy strides next to me.

    “What do you need help with?” I asked warily. I turned my head slightly to the side to look at Regulus, but he was staring straight ahead. I examined the side of his face carefully. He had a hard jawline that made me imagine the rest of his face would be just as hard; but his face was young. His skin was nearly flawless, only a mole or two creeping up the side of his neck.

    “I need to ask you a few questions,” he said, again flatly. His mouth was very vertical when he spoke, too. He didn’t open it all the way: just enough to squeeze his sentences out.

    “What do you need to know?” I hiked the crate up in my hand which was still sweaty from practice. Regulus took a yellow pad out of his back pocket with some unintelligible scribbles on it.

    “Where were you born?” he began with, reading intently off the lined paper.

    “I don’t know.”

    “You don’t know or you don’t remember?” He asked me this condescendingly. As if I didn’t know the difference.

    “I don’t know,” I repeated, struggling to keep the displeasure out of my voice. Something appeared on the page next to the first line of scribbles, and I did my best not to peek over at it.

    “Do you have any siblings?”

    “Not biologically,” I gave up, tightening my grip on the crate. Regulus stopped in his tracks, and for some reason I felt the need to as well.

    “Do you care to elaborate?” he asked slowly, turning towards me and raising an eyebrow at my vague answer. In the rising moonlight, Regulus had eyes that were a piercing sort of blue; a mix between azure and aquamarine.

    “Not biologically,” I repeated, beginning to walk abruptly. Regulus caught up in no time at all.

    “Then surely, emotionally,” he pressed without urgency in his voice. I fought not to scoff at this. To be emotional. It was not something I was used to. But perhaps yes, emotionally.

    “Surely.” He did not push me further on the subject of family.

    “When did you start showing signs of magic?” At this, I was startled. Why was this boy so interested in me?

    “It must have been around ten. But I really couldn’t be sure.”

    “Interesting,” he mused. The notepad wrote to itself again. “And what was your first encounter with the supernatural?”

    And at this I became uncomfortable. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of being a half-blood; it’s that I was confused by myself and afraid what would happen if people found out. And so when this stranger came up to me, asking questions that are answered on a notepad that writes to itself, I didn’t really feel comfortable.

    “What are you asking all of this for?” I asked, a poorly veiled attempt at deflection.

    “I am in a muggle studies class,” he answered, shortly and practiced.

    “I don’t know if I believe that. And if you are, how could you be sure I was muggle born?” Regulus stopped again at the foot of the stairs to the entrance of the castle.

    “That is not a requirement of the assignment. Watch your presumptions, Charlotte.” The way he said my name, aristocratically. That was a detail I noticed.

    “You know my name.” Wind blew my hair forward, but I didn’t move to touch it. At this point I noticed that Regulus’ note pad had disappeared back into a satchel that hung over his left shoulder and on his right hip. Regulus then fought to not let a smile appear on his face, and I wondered if that’s how I looked when I was fighting something.

    “And now you know mine.” The moonlight had shifted to my face, and I saw Regulus watching it. “I’ll see you at the next match, Charlotte.”

    Regulus turned back around and walked somewhere behind me that I forced myself not to watch. I kept walking into the castle, the sky now dark, and curfew was looming. Were I not Charlotte Malkin, and if I knew this Regulus, then his questions may not have been so strange. But because I am who I am and he is whoever he is, I was confused with what had just occurred.

    I am not afraid of answering questions, but I am afraid of people who try to use my answers against me. And I still do not understand Regulus’ motives. And I still don’t believe that he is enrolled in muggle studies. And I am not afraid of tall boys with dark hair; but I was afraid of Regulus.


    “How are you feeling, Charlotte?” Mary asked laying on her stomach on my bed. I sat at the end of my bed, freshly showered and in my pajamas.

    “I am fine, Mary.” I sighed and looked down at the essay in front of me. It seemed finished, but it also seemed too easy. Schoolwork was boring. I looked back up at Mary, and she was looking at me with solemn eyes.

    “How are you, Mary?” I asked in return, giving into her pleading looks.

    “I’m fine,” she grumbled, pulling a pillow into her lap and playing with the fringe. “I just found out that James Potter and Lily Evans are officially dating. And I didn’t make the Gryffindor team. Which is just…well it makes sense but I am still upset.”

    “To be fair, Mary, in six years of going to school together I have never seen you have a conversation with James,” I reasoned, trying to help her understand. Mary threw the pillow at me and rolled her eyes.

    “Sometimes I don’t need you to tell me I’m wrong Charlotte. I already know I never really had a chance,” she said dejectedly. “It has just been a long week.”

    I sat in silence as Mary continued contemplating her issues. I did have issues to voice to Mary, but they didn’t amount to anything more than a bad feeling. A bad taste in my mouth. They were small things, like my meeting with Madame Pomfrey, my interaction with Sirius Black, my date with Remus, and my meeting of Regulus. I was uncomfortable with interaction of any sort really, and I was dealing with a lot of it.

    “Are you listening?” Mary asked, throwing my second pillow at me. I stared at her blankly by accident. “Of course not,” she griped, throwing her legs over the edge of the bed and standing up.

    “I’m sorry, Mary, I didn’t mean it,” I apologized weakly.

    “I know you didn’t,” she said, sighing and putting a hand on her hip. She looked around the room, and seeing that no one was in there, leaned in closer to me. “Is this about your…thing?”

    “What?” I defended immediately. “Of course it isn’t, Mary. It’s never been a problem before.”

    “You are awfully defensive tonight, Charlotte Malkin.”

    “It’s just been a long week, Mary. I don’t have time to bother about every little thing.”

    “Well I’m sorry my life is such a bother to you,” Mary retorted, grabbing her satchel bag from the floor. “I’ll see you on Monday, when maybe you’ll be in a better mood.”

    “That sounds good, Mary.” I rolled my eyes as she stomped out of the room audibly.   

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