Violent Delights

Chapter 3

Sahara threw a few schoolbooks into her bag, almost certainly not the correct ones. Although she was in her 7th year and NEWTs were "just around the corner", as everyone was so keen to remind her, her motivation had started dwindling since the first day back at Hogwarts and was now, two weeks later, nearing nothingness. What was the point, really? Get really high scores and then get a boring job at the Ministry of Magic? Or Gringotts, after a painful internship? Marry a rich wizard and become a housewife?

She laced up her boots and ran a hand through her hair, taking a quick glance at her mirror. Her Gryffindor tie was acceptably straight, and that was the only part of her uniform she cared about, so she was good to go. Down in the common room, a few other students were dragging their feet, delaying the beginning of the school day much like herself. Drake Ruslan was slouching in one of the red armchairs, his favourite ratty one, looking as self-satisfied as ever.

"Fairbanks!" he exclaimed, drinking her with his eyes, which noticeably lingered on the area of her chest.

"Ruslan!" Sahara replied in a mocking tone, and turned directly for the portrait door, rolling her eyes as visibly as she could in the process.

"Oh come on!" she heard Drake huff, disappointed, as she rushed through the hole and out, slamming the fat lady as she rushed away.

She was leaning against the cold walls of the dungeons, waiting for the Potions master to arrive. Horace Slughorn was positively ancient, even for a wizard, having come out of retirement more than 20 years before. The large old man was smart and kind, if a bit of a snob and a sucker for fame and glory. He could now be heard panting on his way to the classroom, gushing to a tall, dark student that nodded gravely every now and then.

"Yes, yes, my dear boy. Indeed, you look like a Grimus, through and through. A powerful well-respected family, always..." Slughorn kept at it, running out of breath. Sahara was pulled out of apathy by recognising that name, and now that she looked closer, the student.

Ralph Grimus was a 7th year Slytherin, and, indeed, the heir of one of the most powerful wizarding families around. They were famously dangerous-looking, the men being tall, dark and slightly reminding people of wolves. Ralph was no exception, with strong cheekbones that created interesting shadows on his face in the light of the dungeons, jet black hair and deep, scrutinising black eyes. He was the Seeker for the Slythering Quidditch team and a notoriously violent player. Although these were things most people knew, Sahara had heard his and more at various parties and functions growing up, as, of course, their families were friendly with each other. She also knew that while he was quick-tempered and used to be a bit entitled, Ralph was not deserving of the given name "The Grim", whispered around corners by younger students.

The class seemed to drag on. Every class seemed to drag on, lately. But it did finally end, and Sahara was half-heartedly waiting for everyone to file out.

"Sahara!" she heard a deep voice exclaim in surprise.

"Oh, hi Ralph," she gave him a half-smile.

"I haven't talked to you in ages," he said, his voice oddly friendly, especially for a guy famous for being menacing.

"I guess not," Sahara replied, thinking that in fact, he had never talked to her outside of those terrible family functions when they used to be forced together by their parents, because they were "kids".

Grimus somehow made the two of them hang back.

"So are you going on the Hogsmeade trip this weekend?" he asked.

"I don't think so."

"C'mon. You should. I'm going on a date with you, and you kinda need to be there," he gave her a rare smile. Sahara furrowed her brows for a second.

"That's a weak line," she smiled, her grey-blue eyes icy cold as ever.

"True. Let me try that again. Sahara, you are a beautiful, smart girl, we've known each other for years, and I'd love to go on a date with you," he allowed another smile, one he didn't bother to remove the arrogance from.

"Sure," Sahara replied, thinking she might as well spend time with an objectively handsome guy and pleasing her mother at the same time.