Snacks And Letters - Part 94

Author: [info]sionna_raven
Title: Snacks and Letters - Part 94
Words: 2348


Regulus accompanied me back to my quarters. He was quiet, lost in thought. He hasn't mentioned this morning's events at all. The cave is something in his future. He knows the facts, but like it happened to somebody else.

I'm not really tired, too much is going on in my mind, practical things like how to deal with the students and all the memories and feelings Severus' sketches raised. And Regulus of course, my all too lively dead brother.

“Sirius, are you going to bed? May I come ….?”

Old habits die hard. We're a bit too old for that, aren't we? He'd stopped sneaking into my bed years before he was drawn, long before I left.

“Sure, if you're content with the bedside table. Your frame is a bit edgy.”

“Bedside table is fine.”

I put him there and go to the bathroom to undress. I'm glad that Kreacher insists on providing pyjamas, even if they usually remain unused. I put on the trousers. Living with a portrait adds a bizarre quality to life.

I snuggle in bed my face turned to Reggie and douse all candles except the one next to him.

“Put that one out, too. Let's pretend I'm real and it's like it was in the old days.”

Pretend he's real. He's too real already and too unreal at the same time. The portrait magic plays tricks on us. Regulus' portrait is like we remember him, frozen in time, untouched.

It's so easy to forget that he's only a portrait. If he lived, had it been possible for us to be together like this again? He was a loyal Death Eater, as loyal as I was an Order member. If he never found out about the Horcrux, had he been with Evan when the Aurors killed him? Or had he accompanied Bella and Barty to torture Frank and Alice?I can imagine the first, but not the latter. I don't want to imagine the latter. I'd gone mad, if he ended up in Azkaban.

He could have wiggled out like Lucius, like Nott. Even Bella and the gargoyles managed to pass the Wizengamot at first. Or would my crime have condemned him, too?

I can't imagine him lying to the Aurors. He'd laughed in their faces like Harry said Bella did. On the other hand he's a Slytherin. He knows how to save his own neck.... to a point. Even I wasn't really sure that he had joined them, not that he joined so early. Why didn't mother and father stop him? Made him finish school first?

He took my place.

Had he been spared, if I had stayed at home? Could I have kept him away from the Death Eaters?

“In the old days you'd have come through the service lift and brought milk and sandwiches and mother would still be ranting downstairs, until father fled to his study.”

Regulus ignores my comment. “You went to the cave this morning, you and Severus? I'm glad that it is taken care of, that the others will get their funerals.... It was horrible, wasn't it?”

Hmhem,” I grunt.

“You don't want to talk about it, not with me?”

I sigh. “No, I don't want to talk about it. Not tonight and not with you, you shouldn't worry about it. Kreacher's love spared you the fate of the others. You've never been one of them. They will get decent funerals. Kingsley will see to it and Caradoc's ghost will help him.”

Caradoc Dearborn? I remember him. He was a bit older than you and played seeker in my first Quidditch match.” I can sense slight amusement in his voice, jumpy mind of a teenager.

“I'm sure you remember very well. It was the only match you beat us.”

“Not quite, Phineas said we've beaten Gryffindor and won the cup in my 7th year, too. I so much wanted to play against you, but you chickened out. Caradoc wasn't a real challenge. I would have loved the catch the Snitch before you.“

“Are you sure you'd have won, if I played? I showed you a few tricks. What makes you think I taught you all I knew?” I gladly take the opportunity for a light-hearted topic.

“Grab the pillow and whack yourself over the head, you arrogant prat. I can't do it.”

Bad luck,” I chuckle. I wish he could do it. “I did not chicken out. I was in detention. Believe me I'd rather played against you than scrubbing the desks in the Potion classroom.”

“Why didn't you? Potter let loose the Pixies in Slughorn's office. Everybody knew it was him, but you had to step up and say it was you, you alone. “

“James was team captain. We couldn't afford to miss him. Better me than him.”

“Mum and Dad were so disappointed. They came to watch us. They had asked for permission to take us to Hogsmeade and I had all the strawberries and cream to myself.”

“It sounds like a perfect day for you and them. A Slytherin victory and no need to bother with the obnoxious brat who happened to be their eldest son.”

“Don't be such an idiot, Sirius! They came to see us, both of us. Father even asked Potter to look for you, when we couldn't find you after the match.”

James didn't mention it, when he found me. He probably forgot about it in his anger about the lost match or thought I wouldn't want to celebrate Gryffindor's defeat with my family.

Would I? I don't know - probably. I was proud of Reggie's performance. We had so much fun practising in the backyard that summer. I had taught him all my tricks and I really wanted to play against him. James wasn't happy that I spent so much time at home. I would have joined them for Hogsmeade. I was angry that James spoiled my own 'match of the day', the duel with Sev. It was a draw until James interfered. I didn't want nor need his help! Did Severus tell Reggie about it? I don't think so. If he knew, he's mentioned it. I doubt that Severus realized that the interference wasn't planned, that I wanted it to be a fair match. He wouldn't have believed it. Maybe he would now.

I'm getting sentimental. Part of me wants to believe Reggie, but I know it wouldn't have worked. Mother and father didn't really want me to join them for Hogsmeade. They'd only tried to find me to do Reggie a favour.

“I don't need your kind lies to comfort me. I don't care anymore. They never came to see my matches. They didn't care about me. Why should they want to see Gryffindor win? I don't like strawberries anyway.”

“Of course, they cared. Father had Uncle Alphard retell every single match you played. They took count of every single house point you won and I never could match your score. They were so proud of you, even when they didn't show it.”

“Proud? Of me?” I can't help a bitter laugh. “ It was only natural for a Black to excel in magic, all in the blood! That's what she always said when I had learned a new spell and tried to impress her. I gave up trying before I even went to Hogwarts. It was all only means to her ends. I was only means to her ends, proof of pureblood supremacy. Sure, they gave me all I could wish for, all money could buy and magic could do, but not for love, only because it befitted the Heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Black to have the best of everything. I only wanted a bit of freedom, fresh air and friends to play with. Friends who didn't know or care about the family tree. Trained, fed and groomed for mating with a nice pedigree bitch and produce more pureblood offspring. That's all I meant to them and why I left in the end. I couldn't even talk or go out with a nice girl I liked without checking her ancestry, because if she met the requirements, mother had been getting ideas. If they had a choice, they'd chosen you and been happy with the 'good' son!“

There's a small pause while Regulus makes up his mind whether to go for the bitter taunt or not. He decides to ignore it again.

“You were interested in girls from decent families … maybe even Slytherin girls?” he jokes.

“No need to giggle like that. Not all Slytherin girls were like our dear cousins. I might have been interested in one or two, but they were off limits. I couldn't risk getting to know any of them better, without mother making arrangements with their parents.”

“Or Potter throwing a fit...”

“Don't be absurd. James didn't give a damn about blood status.”

“Only about houses. I wonder what he had said, if you had brought a Slytherin pureblood to a double date with him and Evans.”

I have to laugh at the thought.

“Probably not the best idea. My love life was none of his business! It wasn't anyone's bloody business! Mother and father actually did me a favour when they disowned me. From that day on I could be sure that a girl smiled at me and not at our Gringott's account or the family tree.”

“Oh really, Sirius! Gold and name were only a nice bonus. You weren't penniless anyway. Uncle Alphard left you a considerable fortune as mother pointed out when she burnt him from the tree. She always hoped you'd come back for need of money, but he destroyed the last hope with his legacy.”

“Hardly anybody realized how much money I still had. I preferred Muggle girls anyway. They didn't know about the whole nonsense and they didn't expect marriage after a dance and one kiss. ”

“Father would have agreed with that as long as you didn't leave them with child.”

“Trust me I listened to those parts of his teachings. I wasn't interested in anything serious. It was rarely more than a dance and a kiss.”

Regulus laughs again. “I know, but you were really good at pretending. Father believed you were only dating Muggle-borns to annoy mother.”

“He never understood that I don't care for blood status, neither one way nor the other. I was looking for someone special. I tried to explain it to him before I left, but he didn't listen. They never listened to what I said.... ”

“It was hard to listen to the words, when you and mother were shouting at each other. I wasn't the only one who missed you. You broke her heart when you ran away for nothing. She left all your things untouched. I'm sure your room was exactly like you left it, when you came back. Kreacher said she waited for you until her dying day.”

“If she wanted me back, it was only because she couldn't break the entail. I was the heir not matter how much she wished it was you! But there was no reason to worry. I never intended to interfere with your legacy. I never wanted the name or the house or the money. All I wanted was that she accepted me the way I am. That was asking too much, wasn't it?”

“You drove her mad for worry when you sneaked out of the house to meet those Muggles. How many times did you come home with blood on your shirt and sore knees? In your first year at Hogwarts Professor McGonagall sent thirteen owls to inform us about your misdeeds or your injuries. Mother started to flinch every time she heard an owl hooting. She yelled at you, because if she didn't, she'd cried.”

“Next you'll be telling me it was all my fault. I couldn't get anything right in her eyes! Nothing I tried was ever good enough! She was only worried about the Statute of Secrecy or family honour and about you of course. Worried that I get you into trouble, worried that her little darling got hurt, when he was with his good-for-nothing brother. As if I ever let you....”

“You were jealous, you stupid prat? You still are? As if I ever was anything other than Sirius' little brother. To mother or to anyone else! Nice and kind and easy to handle and approachable when you refused. You never had any reason to be jealous. You have been her favourite!....................... Mmmother!!!!????”

At his desperate cry I light my wand. She is there, in his picture, the beautiful young woman from father's locket which I dropped on the bedside table and forgot. Her hand is on his shoulder; tears are in her eyes.

Her fingers brush through Reggie's hair. He looks at her and sobs. Her eyes are set on me. I bite my lips. Her lips move without a sound.

Regulus has grabbed her hands. I wish I could, too. All I can do is touch the parchment with a finger. They both smile. Suddenly Regulus lets go, turns around and starts searching for something. I watch him with apprehension. He pulls the piece of paper and the quill he first used to communicate out of a corner and presses the quill into her hand. She stares at it, slowly comprehending. Her hand is shaking, unused to the exercise, trying to remember the letters, the words, the meaning. She draws the disjointed letters like a small child, often pausing, trying to concentrate.

“ ….brave cunning snake... love you! BOTH!”

I wish I could put my arms around her like Reggie has done, like I wasn't allowed to do since I was barely five. Strong, determined, unyielding, that's what she's always been on the outside. That's what she expected me to be. 'Birds of a feather,' Grandpa Arcturus called us. 'too much alike to get along.'

Love you, too, Mum.” I whisper.

It is suddenly so easy to understand each other without many words, without yelling.


October 2013

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