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Chapter 10: Regulus
When Lily got back to Gryffindor tower there was a letter waiting for her, from her mum. She smiled. Her parents were fascinated by all things wizarding, and had had lots of fun learning to send letters by owl post. Lily sat on the bed, and slid open the envelope with her thumbnail.
Dear Lily (it read)
How are you? You promised you would write to tell us about your first teleporting class but no joy yet, so I thought I’d remind you! We’re all missing you at home, as always, but I know you’ll be enjoying yourself too much to miss us quite as badly. We’re counting on that actually honey, as despite how much we love having you home, I have a favour to ask. Petunia is desperate for us to have her and Vernon to visit, over the Easter break. She says that if you’re home there won’t be enough room, and she didn’t react well to your father’s suggestion that one of us sleep on the couch. I know it seems unfair, but would you mind terribly staying at school for Easter? You see it would be a bit of a squeeze, with five of us in a three bed-roomed house, and the guest room heaped high with junk as I still need to get it sorted. If none of your friends are staying then of course you should come home, but otherwise it might be nice for Petunia to have us to herself. I know she can be selfish, but work seems to be taking up all her time lately and we barely get to see her – almost as little as we see you. Although your sister is older, you always seem so much more secure and happy in yourself than she does – and we saw you at Christmas, whereas she was stuck at the future in-laws (who I don’t think she likes very much). Anyway love, it’s your decision entirely – hope to hear from you soon.
Lots of love from
Mum and Dad
Lily sighed. She had been looking forward to the break in actual fact, but if her mother was asking her to stay in school, then her reason would be genuine. She hated her being away. Bloody Petunia, thought Lily, always making things difficult.
“Alice,” Lily said, turning to her friend, who was sitting reading on her four- poster. “You’re not staying for Easter are you – or do you know anyone that is?”
Alice shook her head apologetically.
“Sorry Lily, no,” she said. “Why - are you?”
Lily made her decision on the spot.
“Yeah,” she said gloomily. She wasn’t having a good day – first Sirius, taking all his family problems out on her, and now the discovery that she would spend Easter in school, on her own. She flung herself face down onto the bed.
“Aww, I’m sorry Lily, poor you.” She heard Alice say, her voice full of her usual concern. “We’ll have to do something fun before we break up – start your holidays on a high note.”
Lily lifted her head off the pillow just long enough to reply.
“Thanks Ally,” she said. “That’d be lovely.”
On the last day before the Easter holidays, Lily Evans, Mary Macdonald and Elizabeth Hayes stood outside the school kitchens, at a quarter to Midnight. Their arms were laden with bottles of Butterbeer and a selection of food, all of which they had been presented with by a group of very obliging house-elves.
“That was easier than I expected.” Lily commented, thinking of the way the marauders had used to boast of their daring raids on the kitchens.
“I might come down here more often!” Mary agreed with a laugh, “though it probably won’t be good for my diet…”
The three girls tiptoed back up the basement staircase, Elizabeth leading the way with her wand lighted. When they had planned their little private party, they hadn’t given much thought to the practical side of things – namely how they would get back to Gryffindor tower from the kitchens, without Filch catching them. It was a big oversight.
“This is exciting isn’t it?” Mary whispered, as the girls edged tentatively along the second floor corridor.
“It’s about to get a lot more exciting.” was Elizabeth’s answer, as the sound of soft footsteps and lowered voices drifted towards them. The girls froze.
“What do we do now?” Mary hissed, less composed than usual. Lily shrugged, panic written all over her face. They were in a long corridor, with no doors leading off and nowhere to hide. Elizabeth thought fast.
“Dissulusionment charm!” she suggested. “You do it Lily, you’re the best at it.”
Lily didn’t need to be told twice. Drawing out her wand she quickly performed the charm (which was successful) and all three girls backed against the wall, in order to be concealed better. As Lily stood there, the feeling of something warm trickling down the back of her neck as the charm did it’s work, she realised that this wasn’t a sufficient disguise. Although it would help, if the owners of the voices were paying proper attention to their surroundings, they would almost certainly notice them.
“We’re going to get caught anyway.” Mary muttered, as if she had just read Lily’s mind.
“Yep.” Elizabeth agreed, in an undertone. The girls drew in their breath, as the sound of the voices grew closer and closer. They were expecting Filch, but instead, a smallish group of Slytherin boys rounded the corner.
“You’re an idiot, in my opinion.” One of the older boys was saying. “He won’t want children among his followers. I plan to join him if he’ll have me, but I’m going to finish school first.”
“Like a good little boy?” sneered one of his fellows. “You think the Dark Lord cares about N.E.W.T.S, Avery?”
The girls looked at each other. The dark lord? Voldemort? That name had been cropping up in The Daily Prophet more and more of late – associated with murders, disappearances, crimes against muggles…
“I don’t see you joining up.” Avery snapped back at the jeering boy. “Everyone knows you’re a coward Rookwood, never declaring yourself, always skulking in the shadows.”
“Better than being a total moron – it’s not big or clever to go around acting like you’re in his inner circle, when really you don’t have the guts…”
“Shhh!” one of the younger boys silenced them, making Lily’s breath catch in her throat. He must have spotted them. As the boy moved slowly towards their hiding place, his wand lit, Lily recognized him as Regulus Black. He was shorter and slighter than Sirius, his skin was sallower and his face less handsome – despite this however, he was instantly recognizable as Sirius’s brother. The piercing grey eyes, that she knew well, sat in a different face – and stared right at her.
“There’s someone there.” He said, sounding only vaguely interested. “With a dissulusionment charm on them, it looks like.”
“What?” another Slytherin demanded. Before they could be revealed on the enemy’s terms, Lily thought it best that they show themselves. She quickly performed the counter curse, and Regulus gave a start of recognition.
“Well hello!” said a tall, dark-haired boy as he looked the girls up and down.
“Shut up Macnair,” Avery demanded. He grabbed hold of Regulus’s shoulder, and whispered something in his ear. Regulus shrugged, and looked back at the girls.
“What are you lot doing here?” Mary asked, her tone less than friendly.
“We could ask you the same question, sweetheart.” said Avery. “Been on the rob, have we?”
The girls looked down at the midnight feast that they held between them, and Lily felt herself blush.
“It’s none of your business.” Mary retorted, and the Slytherins smirked in reply. Lily felt that they ought to get back to Gryffindor tower before any trouble could be caused.
“Well, see you around.” She directed at the Slytherins, motioning to Elizabeth and Mary. They began to follow her, but before any of them could get far, the Slytherins smoothly formed a line across the corridor, blocking their way.
“What’s the password?” smirked Macnair. Mary pulled out her wand.
“How about, get the hell out the way, or I’ll hex you into next week?”
The Slytherins laughed.
“Just try it.” Suggested a stocky blonde, “and Filch’ll be on us before you can say ‘expelliarmus.’”
“I was thinking of something a bit stronger actually.” Mary answered.
“I bet you were.”
Lily and Elizabeth shared a look. What were these idiots playing at? Why not just get on with their own business and leave us be? Lily thought. But thinking wouldn’t make it so.
“Did you hear much of our little conversation?” Avery asked. His face was set in a smirk but his eyes gave him away - he was genuinely worried, Lily could see that. So this was their reason for stalling, they were scared that the Gryffindors would tell on them, for considering joining Voldemort. As if the school could really do anything about that.
What if we did?” Lily replied.
“Oh, we’d just have to remove your memories.” said Avery casually. “Rookwood’s good at memory charms, aren’t you Rookwood?”
Rookwood glared back at Avery, but didn’t deny his statement. Was it as serious as that – were these boys honestly thinking about becoming death-eaters? It was a difficult for Lily to get her head around the concept.
“Like we would tell anybody.” Elizabeth muttered, unable to contain her sarcasm. “I’m sure everyone cares that a few Slytherin idiots have thought about joining Voldemort, but are too scared to actually sign up.”
“I’m not scared.” Regulus spat, stepping towards Elizabeth, inspired to animation by her words. It crossed Lily’s mind that his temperament was similar to his brother’s.
“Oh no?” Elizabeth said.
“Beth, leave it!” Mary hissed at her. She then turned to Regulus and the others. “Whatever.” She said. “We don’t care either way, so we won’t tell. Just let us past.”
“If you give us some of that food.” Cut in a bulky seventh year, who Lily remembered was named Goyle.
“You are kidding?” she asked. Realising now, that the girls probably wouldn’t grass them up, the Slytherins changed tack, latching on to Goyle’s idea.
“Yeah, go on.” Said the blonde one. “Give us some of that, and we’ll let you past.”
They all started grinning, and Lily found herself getting infuriated. She wouldn’t let them get the food – it was a matter of principle. Mary obviously felt the same.
“No way.” She said. “You can get your own, you tramps.”
The Slytherins took a further step towards them. No time like the present, thought Lily.
“Run!” she shouted, feeling melodramatic, as she cast a silent shield charm between herself and the Slytherins. Without hesitating for an instant, Elizabeth and Mary turned tail and fled, shooting mild hexes behind them as they ran, while Lily continued to cover their backs with her charm. All three still clutched their swag, one-handed, to their chests, which made running difficult, especially as the Slytherins followed them, retaliating with a mish-mash of curses. As the Gryffindors rounded the corner they split off, equally avoiding their pursuers and the threat of Filch, who was likely to appear at any moment. Lily dived into an empty classroom, and watched the Slytherins pass. She suspected that they would get tired soon, and give up, as a bit of stolen food was hardly worth getting expelled for. Relieved for the moment, she jumped up on a desk near the wall to sit and wait. The door creaked open slowly. Damn.
“Don’t worry,” said Regulus Black as he entered the room. “I’m on my own.” He looked rather eager and his eyes glinted.
“Right.” Said Lily.
“Soooo,” said Regulus, looking her up and down. “Did Snape talk to you yet?”
“And did you talk to Sirius?”
“Er….” Lily didn’t quite know how to respond to this person – someone who she had never spoken to before. This was the first time she had even seen him close up, and he was talking to her as if they were continuing a conversation they had just left off.
“I did,” she eventually said. “He didn’t take it well.”
“Damn.” Said Regulus, starting to pace up and down. “You’ve got to try harder then. I’ve got to have him home.”
“Wait a minute.” said Lily. “Honestly Regulus, I don’t think there’s much more that I can do.”
He looked at her in irritation.
“You can, and you will.” He said. Lily almost laughed at his arrogance.
“What did your last slave die of?” she said. Regulus’s eyes grew wide in astonishment.
“Excuse me?” he asked. Lily slipped off the desk, and stood face to face with Sirius’s little brother. Well, not quite face to face, as she was slightly taller than him.
“Look,” she said. “I’m sorry, but I’m just not in a position to talk to Sirius about family problems. I don’t know him well enough. You should ask James Potter - or better yet - talk to him yourself.”
“I couldn’t.” said Regulus sharply, glaring at her. “So you won’t help me then?”
Lily’s face betrayed a mixture of exasperation and concern.
“I know you need some help.” She said gently. “I just don’t know if I’m the right person for it.”
As the anger in Regulus’s eyes softened to despair, Lily remembered the conversation in the corridor, and a fearful suspicion came to her. She put a hand on his shoulder.
“Regulus,” she said. “You’re not really thinking of joining the death- eaters are you?”
He shook her off roughly.
“That’s none of you’re business.”
“You are, aren’t you?” she continued, shocked. “This is what this is about – you’re being pressured to join up!”
“No!” he almost shouted. “It’s my decision, I want…”
“Really?” she answered, her tone heavy with sarcasm. “Really, because the last time I looked, you were desperate for Sirius to come home so that you had some back-up. If you really wanted this, you’d want you’re big brother out of your way wouldn’t you?”
“Shut your stupid mouth.” Regulus retaliated. “I want to join, I always have, I’m just not ready yet. I want to finish school, but my mother thinks sixteen is old enough, and…”
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into!” Lily yelled at him. “You’re just a kid.”
“And you’re just an idiotic, Mud-blood bitch.” He hit back, desperately. “You don’t know anything.”
“There you go.” said Lily, lowering her voice slightly. “You think saying Mud-blood is enough, but death-eaters kill people like me. Swear at me all you like, but are you ready for murder?”
“Yes.” Said Regulus defiantly. “You mud-bloods deserve it.”
“Really?” Lily asked. She stood still and faced him. “Go on then.” She said. “Do it.”
Regulus swelled up with rage. He took out his wand and pointed it at Lily with a shaking hand. Obviously he wouldn’t do it, she thought. Not in the school anyway. She held herself very still, not letting him see that she was, actually, just a tiny bit scared. Regulus’s eyes grew wider and wider, until with a sudden, anguished movement, he turned from her and left the room, slamming the door behind him.