Author's Notes: Written for Round One of the "Taragh Word Limit" Competition on the HPFC forum.

Word Limit: 500 Words
Prompt: That One Thing

Also for AllIKnowIsADoorInTheDark's Twenty Minute Drabble Challenge with the pairing Regulus/Lily.

500 words exactly. Enjoy!


Regulus, by all rights, should have hated Lily Evans.

She was one of his brother's closest friends, which had been reason enough for Regulus to hate James and Peter and Remus and all of the other toffee-nosed Gryffindors who Sirius strutted around with during the school year. Regulus had not needed any further reason to hate any of them – he simply did and he had no regret over it.

But he did not – could not – hate Lily Evans.

There was something about her that drew him to her. There was something about her that made him think that she wasn't just a dull little Gryffindor brat like the rest of Sirius's friends. There was a fire to her that he found enchanting.

When he saw her with Sirius and Remus and James and Peter, when he watched them from afar and observed how they behaved, he could tell that she was commanding their attention instead of lavishing it on them. Other girls would fawn over James, telling him how terribly handsome he was, or over Remus, telling him that they loved men with brains, or over Sirius, begging him to get into bed with them.

Lily did not behave in that way. Perhaps she had more dignity than the other girls and perhaps that was what drew Regulus to her.

The few occasions on which he had found her without the Gryffindor boys and taken the opportunity to talk to her had been outright disasters.

Lily sneered at him when he told her that she was beautiful, laughed when he asked if she would go to Hogsmeade with him, said thank you when he told her that she was so much better than any of the other girls in Gryffindor but looked more insulted than flattered. And after Regulus had spent a few endlessly long minutes stumbling over his words and trying to find some way in which he could convey how much he felt for Lily, she took pity on him and said, "I think you'd better go back to Slytherin now."

And he would slink away, face burning and heart aching with sadness and humiliation.

But there was something about Lily that made it difficult for Regulus to turn his back on her. He could not stop himself from wanting her, even after she told him to leave her alone. There was something about her that kept him coming back, no matter how many times she told him that she didn't want to be with a man who took an interest in the Dark Arts.

He could call it charisma, perhaps. Regulus could justify his behaviour to himself by saying that Lily simply had charisma, that he could not help being drawn to her.

But he preferred not to think of it that way.

He preferred to think that he was in love with her.

And he tried to ignore how wrong it was to be so very much in love someone who he knew so little about.