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EASTON WASN'T THE BRIGHTEST WITCH OF HER AGE and she never claimed to be one. Even if she did, no one would have believed her, for she continuously failed in all her subjects and had barely passed her O.W.Ls with only 2 O's (Muggles Studies and Divination in which Easton excelled thanks to her vivid imagination and a knack for acting).

And seeing as she didn't have it in her grand plans to become the brightest witch of her age anytime soon, Easton thought it wasn't such a bad idea to skip Transfiguration and spend the now free period in the common room reading a horribly clichéd and sappy romance book instead. The book of noble wizards with a wand that in its power could rival the Elder's (if you know what I mean) and fair maidens who were, to put it plainly, easy. Such books weren't particularly educating (in the traditional kind of way, that is), but Easton enjoyed them nonetheless, for it was a great escape from the boring Hogwarts reality. 

Well, as boring as magic and wizardry could get.

The Slytherin common room was surprisingly deserted that morning, which was rather unusual, but then again, Easton was skipping a class. With that observation she felt free to comment on every stupid line in the book, as she happened to be prone on doing quite often, and right when Torquin took hold of Ophelia's hand and pulled her into his arms, Easton burst in girly giggles knowing full well what would follow.

"Right," she snorted soundly stuffing her mouth with leftover candy from Honeydukes, "Now that's a foreplay, my boy".

"Enjoying yourself?"

Easton could feel her face burning red and gripped the damned book for dear life as if could save her from the quite unavoidable embarrassment. She didn't dare look up at the intruder, instead, she shut her eyes tightly, took a deep breath and then quickly opened them to keep on reading the scene that was as hot as her face at that moment.

"Could you maybe leave and pretend it never happened," Easton begged incoherently, her eyes still locked on the page although right about now the words seemed more like a collection of random letters to her.

"Relax, Greengrass, it's hardly blackmail material. Everybody already knows you're weird," the voice said, and Easton got curious. That's why she tore her eyes away from the book and looked up at none other than Regulus Black, who sat in an armchair across from her pensively (as per usual) staring in the distance.

"Don't you have classes?" she asked timidly.

For some reason Easton was scared of Regulus Black, even though he was a year younger, and she was supposed to be an intimidating seventh year. Yeah, em, no.

He wasn't particularly frightening in the way that her father or Lucius Malfoy were; no, despite his unexplainable affiliation with the "Gang of Slytherins", which Easton always found strange seeing as Regulus was ten times the wizard that they could ever be, he had a different kind of 'scary' to him. 

Regulus wasn't violent, at least not physically. His words, however, at those rare times he actually spoke, stung deeper than a serpent's teeth; his calculative, stormy grey eyes that were so much like his brother's and yet so very different, probed deep into your soul as if seeing right through you.

Regulus Black was a Slytherin shadow—it's like he wasn't even there and yet everywhere, behind every corner, every corridor, every room. Easton guessed it was a skill he had acquired by living with his parents, and couldn't help but feel sorry for him. For despite his cold demeanour, she was sure that Regulus Black was just a little boy craving for human affection and receiving none from his harpy of a Mother.

"Don't you?" he shot back not even bothering to look at Easton.

"Yes, but I'm too far gone at this point," her pathetic attempt at joking went unappreciated.

Regulus said nothing. And he continued saying nothing for so long that the silence started to make Easton uncomfortable. For if there was anything she couldn't handle, which there was admittedly a lot, it was silence. Just to make it abundantly clear–Easton was not one of those people who found long pauses calming and peaceful. No, to her they were bloody mortifying, which might or might not have had something to do with her utter lack of self-confidence. 

Was it something she'd said? Did she have to start talking again just to fill the awkward silence with something she'd later regret? 

"So..." Easton trailed tentatively, "are you—D-do you like reading?" she tried to look as if she'd fully intended to ask this question and didn't just want to fill the awkward silence.

"We don't have to talk, Greengrass."

Right.

"Yeah, sure, no problem," Easton laughed nonchalantly. She stole another glance at Regulus, who was still sitting in the same position with the same reflective look on his regal face, and quickly dropped her eyes to the long-forgotten book. Easton was sucked back into the imaginary world in a matter of minutes; Torquin's hand was in Ophelia's thick blond curls, his lips devouring her mouth with a fiery passion, his other hand...

Blush crept up Easton cheeks. She peeked at Regulus to see if he'd noticed anything to yet again find him in the very same position. At this point she was wondering if he was even breathing, let alone blinking.

"Stop staring at me, Greengrass," Regulus droned in his apathetic voice, and Easton almost jumped.

"Sorry," she mumbled.

Easton really did try to get back to the reading but found it rather difficult, what with Regulus just sitting there and looking like a statue. So she stroke the most casual pose she was physically capable of and started flipping through the pages of the book.

She looked at Regulus.

He didn't even move a muscle.

Easton then closed the book soundly and started examining its cover with almost theatrical seriousness whilst humming a new Beatles song that she'd recently fallen in love with.

"Stop it," ordered Regulus's monotonous voice.

Easton instantly shut up. But it didn't last long, "Don't you like the Beatles?"

Regulus's face finally moved in what was utter disgust, "What, the filthy insects? What is wrong with you, Greengrass?"

Oh, pure-bloods.

"Forget it," she huffed.

"Gladly," Regulus seethed sarcastically.

And just like that Easton realized she had nothing to do, which happened to be another thing she was ridiculously bad at handling. So she picked up her book and stood up from the couch.

"I'm gonna go now," Easton announced unsurely. She didn't even know why she felt the need to explain herself.

Regulus said nothing.

"Right, well, good luck with your—this, em," she made a weird gesture with her hands, "thinking,".

Regulus said nothing. 

Easton finally left. 

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There weren't many people in the Great Hall, for it was lunch time and many preferred to spend the peaceful break in the dorms or in the library, finishing their homework. Students were spluttered at the tables in no particular House orientation, mingling and talking to each other, and only Slytherins still occupied their rightful places, observing what was "House Unity" with absolute loathing.

Entering the Hall, Easton instantly spotted her blond-haired friend and hurried to the Hufflepuff table where Penelope was actively chatting with some girls from Gryffindor, who she recognized to be Mary McDonald and...Marlene McKinnon?

"Hello," Easton greeted way too loudly, somewhat confused as to why her best friend was talking to Sirius's girlfriend.

That bloody traitor.

Penny instantly stopped whatever it was she was saying and looked up at Easton, smile instantly gracing her features, "Blimey, if it isn't Easton," she gasped sarcastically, "sleep well?"

Easton narrowed her eyes at Penelope as if showing that she wouldn't be played like that and then slumped on the bench next to her.

"Perfectly well, thanks," she replied with a tight smile that screamed "I'll murder you in your sleep even though we're in different Houses, beware".

But Penelope chose to ignore her friend's foul mood and perked up in her seat, "The girls told me that Lily Evans was looking for you," she informed with casual indifference.

"Something about Charms," Mary supplied with a friendly smile.

Easton always wondered how it was that Mary and Marlene were friends, for Mary was a pure angel with kind dark eyes and a disposition that could melt the heart of any Slytherin and Marlene...well, Marlene just was.

Ugh.

"Great," muttered Easton and took out the chocolate frog she'd brought with her.

Just when she was about to take a bite, Penny spoke, "Oh, I almost forgot," she reached for her school bag, and after a couple of torturous moments of digging in the Mariana Trench she extracted an envelope and handed it to Easton, "Here."

"What's that?"

"A letter. Your owl dropped it off at breakfast that you missed," Penelope eyed Easton with pure contempt, "And seeing as you'd decided to sleep in, it couldn't well deliver the letter to the dungeons, so I was the next best thing."

"Ah it's from my mother," Easton muttered looking at the beautiful curvy handwriting, "It's the tenth letter in two months, she's truly outdone yourself."

Easton was surprised it wasn't a Howler, for she hadn't replied to the two of her mother's previous letters and carefully opened the envelope not particularly ready to be exposed to Ophelia Greengrass's blazing rage. However, it never came, for the letter wasn't from her mother.

It was from her father.

Easton recognized it instantly: by the way he addressed her as "Easton", just "Easton" without any words of endearment, the way his handwriting looked pedantically perfect on the crispy parchment, reminding of ancients Gothic manuscripts. 

But her father had never written a single letter to her in all the six years at Hogwarts. Why the sudden change?

"Tony?" called Penelope not missing the way her friend's face had suddenly paled.

But Easton couldn't bring herself to say anything coherent. She just stared at the letter in utter puzzlement as if the whole concept of letters was completely foreign to her and then awkwardly stood up from the seat under the concerned eyes of Penny and equally curious stares of the two Gryffindors, "is everything okay? Where are you going? "

Looking absolutely lost in the moment, Easton gripped her bag and hastily headed to the exit.

"Everything's fine, I...I'll be right back," she wasn't sure anyone had heard her indecipherable mumbling and didn't really care at that point.

Easton ran out of the Great Hall, the letter held tightly in her hand, and continued running down the corridors until she found a little alcove. She immediately slid into it so that no could see her and opened the letter again with trembling, cold fingers.

"Easton,

As you have probably noticed, I wasn't able to join your mother at the station this year to see off Josefine and yourself, quite unfortunately. However, I've planned on having a long talk with you before the school year began, an opportunity which I, again, missed due to the Ministry work.

Thus, I'm sending you this letter.

You have a very important year ahead of you, Easton, and I expect nothing short of compliance regarding what this letter will go on to say.

Your mother has informed me of the previous...quarrels you shared, and for many years, Easton, I urged her to bare with you and your adolescent quirks, but it can last no more, child".

Her eyes were rapidly scanning the contents of the letter, gripping at random words and phrases until they stumbled upon a sentence that had Easton instantly stop and lean again the cold stone wall in defeat.

"Times are ever-changing, Easton, believe me when I say: the change is to come sooner than you might think, and for that you have to be prepared. For your own sake and, of course, for the sake of our family.

I demand that you put a stop to this infantile rebellion and become the daughter your mother and I expect you to be, show the behaviour worthy of a Greengrass heir that you are.

I've also managed to have a talk with Professor Slughorn, who didn't fail to inform me of your rather unsatisfactory performance at school. Naturally, together we agreed that this year you'll be provided with a tutor for each subject that you have no care to study yourself, as it appears to be."

Easton scoffed at her father's ever-present condescendence and continued reading:

"We expect good results from you come Christmas, Easton, for this year our home will welcome a number of guests I'd like to introduce you to. You can see how important it is for our family, that you'll be on your best behaviour.

Do not disappoint me again, Easton.

Orpheus B. Greengrass"

Easton could feel her body slump to the ground while she was trying to comprehend her father's words. "Do it for the family" he repeated over and over again, oh what a phenomenal puppet master he was. But did she expect anything different from the man who'd manipulated her mother and then herself all those years? Josefine was too young, or rather too dimwitted to see what went on behind the doors of his gloomy study room, what hid behind his dark brown eyes, what was going through that twisted mind of his while he mindlessly caressed the dangerously alluring onyx that crowned the handle of his elaborate cane. But Easton suspected.

She doubted that anyone else really did, for the thought itself made you want to look the other way. Away from a hungry that cat that would inevitably snap your curious nose should you stick it where it did not belong.

Hours seemed to had gone by when Easton finally composed herself enough to get up and leave the tiny alcove. She negligently shoved the letter in one of the pockets of her dishevelled robes and made for the Great Hall, when suddenly there was the familiar cackling behind her back.

"Oi, freak!" called one of the voices.

Easton instantly tensed but paid them no mind and continued her way.

"Talking to you, freak!"

Oh, how she wanted to spin around and hex every single one of those goons, but she took a deep breath and quickened her pace instead. Unfortunately, the disarmingly idiotic members of her dear House had much longer legs (oh, how Easton envied them) and in a matter of seconds stood in front of her.

The holy trinity that were Cordiac Avery, Regulus Black and her dear cousin Evan Rosier were blocking the way to the Great Hall, stuffing the air with their sickening aura of misplaced self-importance. Evan looked the smuggest, with his toothy smirk, that looked utterly off-putting, and equally obnoxious disposition.

"I believe you didn't hear us, Greengrass," he pointed out in a manner that he found quite threatening.

Easton batted her lashes innocently, not at all intimidated, "Oh, I sure did," she said sweetly, "Did you have anything important to say, Evan? See, the lunch is soon to be over and I'd like to spend this time eating a sandwich rather than talking to you."

Evan's smirk grew into a full-on sociopathic smile as he shared a funny look with his goons.

"Think that horrendous red hair of yours makes you dangerous, do you now, Tinny?" he cooed, the sound Easton found absolutely nauseating.

"Don't call me that," she muttered for no one to hear.

"What's wrong, Tinny? Do we make you uncomfortable?"

"Just say what is it that you want, Evan," Easton fumed which was bound to make them laugh. And they did, under her malicious glare.

"Easy, there ickle Tinsy, it's really unbecoming of a lady to act like that. Your father would surely be disappointed if he isn't already."

He knew he'd hit a nerve when rage in Easton's bright blue eyes morphed into the mixture of surprise and fear. Did he know about the letter?

"Hanging out with half-bloods, dating a mud-blood, taking up Muggle studies?" Evan hissed almost snake-like, "What exactly do you study there, Tiny? How to be filthy and useless? In that case, you have nothing else to learn, do you? You've already excelled in it."

"Out of my way, Rosier," Easton gritted through her teeth, her fingers enclosing around the wand in the pocket.

"Oh, come on, Tinsy, don't fret," Evan drawled and came closer, now dangerously towering over her, "Your mother told me to look after you this year, ickle cousin. I am intending to just that," he smiled, and Easton found it took everything in her not to hit him in the face at that moment.

She held Evan's eyes defiantly not showing an ounce of fear until he finally backed away with the same cocky smirk on his lips. 

"See you later, Tinsy. I'll be watching you."

Well, fuck. 

 

A/N: Hello again! I'm not sure if anyone's reading this, but if you do, pleeeease leave a comment, pretty-pretty please, or just give a sign so I know you actually exist lol

By the way, the gif is ickle Regulus:) 

 

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