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A Brother's Tale of Redemption by No_oneKnows
Format: Short story
Chapter 1: Chapter I.
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What Am I?
Regulus groped around his body blindly, desperately as he attempted to find a jutted rock, where he could place his hold. The inferi had abandoned him to the waves of a violently chilling lake. He'd just committed the worst crime a death eater could possibly commit. Defying the Dark Lord was the right thing to do, Regulus thought. Maybe this was considered a blessing rather than a curse.
The man felt around for anything to hold on to. He had no such luck. He groaned into the crushing water, shortening his remaining breath by a few vital seconds. The icy cold water was pushing down on him, forcing him deeper and deeper towards the never ending tunnel of nothing.
Regulus, a voice said suddenly. Where it came from was a mystery for Regulus, but the fact that he'd heard it brought a glimmer of hope and warmth. Regulus, it said again. It was a girl's voice. Oddly familiar, yet, he didn't know who it was.
Follow my voice, she said gracefully. Even underwater, Regulus managed to furrow his brow handsomely. How was he supposed to follow the voice? It was in his head, goddamit.
He wanted to give up. There was no chance of getting away from his premature death. Embrace it, he thought to himself, You deserved it. So maybe he did make a few, life-changing mistakes. Did he really deserve to drown to death?
Regulus, the female voice called to him.
This was it. Regulus would give himself a couple more seconds before surrendering himself to death. He closed his eyes, as though that would rid him of the suffocating pain.
Regulus! The voice said loudly, jerking him awake from his near everlasting slumber. Finding something like adrenaline rushing in his veins, he felt a compulsion to swim. He couldn't see, it was all black. Maybe he was already dead, he just didn't know it.
Keep going, you're almost here, the voice reassured him. It was gnawing away at the back of his head. Her voice was as clear as glass and still, he couldn't place it. Maybe it was his conscience, voicing her opinion aloud for once. Nevertheless, he continued on. Where? He wasn't sure himself. Gradually, he felt the density of the water begin to thin and he managed to see light specks in the water around him.
His breath was beginning to fall short and his head was becoming light. The voice rung again, loudly in his head. She urged him to keep going. And so he did. He forced his legs to move and his eyes to stay open. His lungs were constricting and before he knew it, his head had smacked into a rock. A large one at that.
UP! The girl screamed at him, almost with desperation. Regulus summoned all his remaining strength and pulled himself upwards. It was as though he was rock climbing underwater. Curious, Regulus looked up in an attempt to see just where he was climbing. He couldn't see anything. Only darkness.
Regulus could feel himself deflating as his climbing gradually became slower. He was on a hopeless search for freedom and life. But just when he saw nothing else but death, his head splashed out into the open and he found that he could, truly, breathe.
With short, frantic rasps, Regulus held on to a jagged rock tightly, not caring that it was scratching at his palm. He was free of the water. He let out a long howl of relief as he leant his head against a cool rock.
With his free hand, he groped around above him for something like a ledge so he could pull himself up.
Quickly! The girl commanded him. It was quite a shock that he could still hear her, but the anxiety in her voice was enough to send him searching in the darkness frantically. The inferi are coming, the girl warned him.
Regulus' heart quickened as he let go of his right hand and pulled himself up by another rock. Whether it was a ledge or not, he didn't care. He was determined not to let the inferi take him again. He let one of his legs onto a small rock which just jutted out of the main frame while his other leg dangled in the water.
He yelled out of shock as something pulled his leg down forcefully. He gritted his teeth from the pain of being pulled apart as he held his grip on the rock. Another pull and his hands were loosening its grasp.
“Help!” he shouted. Whether the voice was real or not, he didn't know. He was merely crying out from desperation.
His hands were slipping as his leg was plunging back into the water. Almost immediately, Regulus felt something warm and silky around him as a white mist surrounded his body, providing him with pure white light. He watched with wide eyes as the light shone into the inferi in the water. It immediately released his leg, allowing Regulus to pull himself up again.
Up, the girl said again, fluidly this time. The light around him sent a sensation within him like no other. It urged him, forced him whether he liked it or not. His body wasn't reacting to his mind anymore, it was under the command of the light. It sent him climbing even where it would've been impossible to climb.
Regulus could literally feel the light leaving him as soon as his hands reached a flat surface. Just by the lurch of his stomach, he knew he was higher up and that if he were to drop, it would be a very long drop. He was keen to stay dry. He placed his hands flat on the surface and pushed up. He let his toned stomach onto the smooth surface before pulling his legs up behind him.
He crawled feebly forward, away from the edge where he would feel safer. Feeling no more energy to crawl, Regulus let himself down onto his back, there where he laid. His eyes were flickering in and out, although that didn't really make a difference. Short breaths took over him.
His eyes closed fully and he could hear a giggle. A girlish giggle which was something like bliss to him. He smiled to himself fondly as he thought about her. He was going crazy and he knew it. Hearing the laughter of the deceased would be considered crazy, would it not?
Regulus jerked his eyes open as he remembered her voice. It was her!
“Feliciti?” he whispered with difficulty. The girl giggled again and he could feel her dancing in circles around him.
Regulus, she giggled. He could picture her giggling as he smiled to himself again. He remembered the feel of her cheeks as he pictured her porcelain, smiling, bubbly face. She didn't deserve to die. Not the way she did. Not because she was a muggle born.
He remembered the day they first shared a kiss, how euphoric he felt the moment his lips touched hers softly, as their fingers entwined...
Regulus. Her voice was becoming louder and louder as it echoed within the walls of his head. REGULUS! She screamed as Regulus was on the edge of eternal darkness. Suddenly a white light filled the damned cave he was in.
He opened his eyes, tears stinging at them as the sudden brightness hurt his eyes. His eyes soon adjusted to the new colour and he found himself looking at a beautiful girl in a white dress.
“Feli?” he gasped, mouth hanging open as he stared at her. She looked innocently angry. Her lips jutted out so that she was pouting captivatingly at him.
Regulus staggered to his feet, hand reaching out towards her. He fell just at her small feet. He looked up and stared as she bent down and lowered her head so that it was half a metre away from his. She was smiling buoyantly, her lips shining and her eyes twinkling. Oh her eyes. They brought Regulus to his knees every time he looked at them.
They continued staring at each other, blinking every so often. Regulus didn't move when she pulled her arm forward, down onto his shoulder. She gripped onto his loose cloak and sat herself down next to him. He continued staring.
“Regulus, you're in trouble,” she tutted, her high voice brought happiness within him.
“You're alive!” He shouted out with glee although hoarsely. He lunged himself forward and planted a deep kiss on her lips. She kissed him back, eyes closed and hands around his neck as Regulus moved closer and closer towards her.
“No, I'm not,” she broke away from Regulus, pushing him back lightly.
Regulus looked at her confusedly, his hands on either side of her waist. “Then, what?”
“I'm dead Regulus. I'm not alive.” she forced herself to smile comfortingly.
“What am I?” he asked. He didn't really care what he was. All that mattered was that he was now together with his love.
“You're neither,” she smiled and Regulus could feel his heart melt at the site. He moved forward again for another kiss. “Regulus, stop.” He stopped, face centimetres away from her face. He couldn't move his head an inch further. “This is serious, Regulus.”
Regulus moved back, never releasing her waist as his brows furrowed.
“You're going to die Regulus.” she told him straight out, “Where you're going when you die... Well, the choice lies with you.” She smiled warmly again and lifted his hand off of her waist, only to be intertwining it with her own. She didn't break eye contact with him as confusion clouded his eyes.
With the other hand, Feliciti put a finger against the temple on his forehead and visions started to fill his mind. Visions of Sirius, his mother, Kreacher, The Dark Lord, Hogwarts, Feliciti. They stopped as soon as she retracted her finger.
“You've done a lot of wrong things, Regulus.” She pulled him softly towards her, so that his legs were over hers.
Regulus frowned as he helped himself to lay half of his body on hers. “I know.”
“Do you?” Feliciti's face was impassive. “Take a trip down memory lane.” she sung as she smiled again. “You have to compensate for your faults, Regulus. The only way you could do that now is admit them with true remorse.”
“And then I'll be with you?” he asked hopefully, his lips right beside her cheeks.
Feliciti turned her head and looked up at Regulus. It was hard to resist the temptation to just kiss her there, where her lips were mere millimetres away.
“Maybe.” she answered, “First, you have to admit your wrongs.” She grinned innocently. She had always been innocent, naïve, harmless. “Close your eyes, Regulus.”
He hesitated a moment. Why would he want to rid of the sight he has right now? He followed her order and he was plunged again, into darkness. Regulus felt a soft prod on the side of his head and he suddenly lunged into a world of colour.
Regulus' eyes widened as he saw two young boys, playing outside in the large square just in front of their huge house. He jumped as he felt a grip on his hand. Feliciti didn't turn to look at him. Instead, she was smiling fondly at the two boys, who were running around. They didn't seem any older than eight.
It only took Regulus a quarter of a second to realise who the two boys were.
“Sirius!” one squeaked as his shorter legs carried him across the square.
“Come on, Reg!” the other boy – Sirius – yelled back. Sirius ran through a bunch of bushes, not waiting for his brother.
They had just heard the ice-cream truck come around to the neighbouring street. Sirius, as curious as he was, never missed a chance to see the other muggle kids being served chocolate twirls on top of a cone.
Sirius hid behind a large tree – leaves in his messy hair - as a line of young children and their parents waited. A rustle of the leaves behind him and Regulus appeared, running to join Sirius.
“Mummy said we're not supposed to talk to muggles!” Regulus whined, his small hands holding onto his brother's shirt tightly.
“We're not talking to them are we?” Sirius kept his eyes on the cone which was now being given to a short boy who's mother was handing money over to the truck man. Sirius longed for a try of this muggle sweet yet, no matter how rich his family was, he couldn't afford it.
From the side of the cue, a small girl wearing a dress similar to the one Feliciti was wearing, was licking away at her melting ice-cream. She didn't fail to see the two boys hiding. Grinning from behind her ice-cream, she released her hand from her father's and skipped towards them.
Sirius, who wasn't alert, didn't move as he continued to watch the other kids. Regulus, on the other hand, saw the girl approaching and managed to pull Sirius back behind the safety of the tree.
“What are you doing?” Sirius yelped as he shook his younger brother's grip off of his shirt.
Regulus didn't say anything. Instead, he remained where he was on the floor.
Sirius got to his feet again, not bothering to brush the dirt off of himself. Just as he poked his head to the side of the tree, the girl with chocolate around her face was smiling widely. They'd ever seen her before. Sirius blinked at her. The girl blinked back, smile still big on her face.
“Hi!” she squeaked, her ice-cream melting away in one of her small, stubby hands.
To the side of the grown up Regulus, Feliciti studied her own hands, smiling a smile similar to the girls'.
Sirius hesitated, “Hi.”
“Sirius!” Regulus shouted softly, “We're not supposed to!”
Sirius ignored him, “Why are you talking to us?” he asked the girl. All the other kids normally left them alone. They were dangerous.
The girl got onto her tippy toes and leant to the side to get a better view of Regulus. She smiled broadly at his frightened expression.
“Why can't I?” she asked, voice high-pitched yet elegant, even for a kid.
“They normally don't talk to us,” Sirius replied, unable to keep the bitterness out of his voice.
The girl didn't recoil or run away. She let herself down onto her flat soles and held out her ice-cream to Sirius. “Do you want some?”
The chocolate was melting over her hands and dripping down the cone. This didn't stop Sirius from taking it from her, although, slightly hesitantly.
She nodded encouragingly as he looked at her, unsure what to do with it.
“You eat it.” she bubbled, not thinking it strange that he didn't know what to do with an ice-cream.
Behind Sirius, Regulus watched fearfully as Sirius poked his tongue out and let it touch the sweetness.
The girl sucked at her fingers as she watched Sirius take larger licks at the ice-cream. She beamed as he crunched at the cone hungrily.
“That's yum,” he sighed, ignoring the pulls of Regulus on his shirt.
The girl smiled even more broadly and pulled out a hand. The same hand she had just been sucking. “I'm Feliciti.”
Sirius smiled back, displaying missing teeth. He shook her hand stiffly, nervously, “Sirius.”
Feliciti looked to Regulus, who was cowering behind his older brother. “What's your name?” she asked, still holding her hand out towards him.
Regulus quivered before shouting: “I don't talk to yucky muggles like you!” He let go of Sirius' shirt and ran off as fast as his short legs could take him, back towards the square.
The girl's smile was replaced by a watery frown, her hand still held out.
Sirius looked at her, a worried and apologetic face apparent. “Don't listen to him, he's being mean.”
Feliciti started to cry, “He called me a yucky muggle!” she wailed, rubbing her knuckles against her wet eyes. “Wh- What's a muggle?”
Sirius faltered before taking a step towards her, to pat her uncertainly on the shoulder. “It's someone who can't do magic.” he told her.
“M- Magic?” she whimpered, taking her hands away from her eyes.
Sirius nodded fervently, “You can't do magic can you?”
She shook her head, her blonde pig tails flying everywhere.
“Do you want me to show you?” he asked her excitedly. Feliciti's eyes instantly lightened.
“Hey, you!” a large man shouted, storming towards the two.
“Daddy!” Feliciti squealed, cheeks wet and sticky.
“Get away from him, Feli. He's no good.” the man told her as a crowd of parents and kids looked on. Even the ice-cream truck driver stopped what he was doing to watch.
Sirius cringed back behind the tree, as though that would make him disappear.
“But he can do magic!” Feliciti protested, looking from her father to Sirius with confusion.
The man scowled, “Let's go Feli.” he pulled on her hand, pulling her away from Sirius.
Feliciti's brows furrowed before she smiled amiably at a young Sirius. “Bye Sirius!” she yelled at him as he poked his head out from around the tree nervously. She tried waving at him but was stopped by a tighter grip by her father.
- - - - - - -
Almost immediately, the adults were plunged into the white light again.
“What did you do wrong?” the adult Feliciti asked, hands still held tightly in Regulus'.
Regulus' brows furrowed, “I didn't do anything wrong!”
Feliciti immediately let go of his hand rounded on him, her face fuming harmlessly. “Don't make me take you through it again.”
He lowered his gaze and reached out again to hold on to her hands. “I called you a filthy muggle.” he confessed, feeling no pleasure out of it.
She smiled again, “Are you sorry?” She held her hands flat in his.
Regulus immediately looked up at her again and nodded quickly, “'Course.” Of course he was. He wouldn't be here with her if he wasn't.
“Then say it.” she told him, looking up at him with her round, blue eyes.
Regulus faltered, he's hardly said sorry to anyone in his entire life. He gazed into her eyes first. She looked back calmly, unblinkingly. “I'm sorry.” he said glumly, looking back down at the floor.
Feliciti nodded approvingly and moved forward, Regulus' hands draping around her back as she stood on her tip toes and planted a soft kiss on his lips, fingers tangled in his hair.
“You'll be saying 'sorry' a lot more,” she breathed, lips parting from his lips slightly, “Get used to it.”
Regulus nodded once, smirking and moved his head forward again, pushing her softly towards him as he kissed her.
Chapter 2: Chapter II.
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The Black Gryffindor
Regulus felt something like total peace as he laid there, the girl's small, fragile body in his arms. He nibbled on her ear lobe as she slept soundlessly, head tucked snugly into Regulus' chest. He loved her and yet, he felt guilty.
Pushing the guilt from his mind, he thought of his past. He didn't need her powers to revisit his own memories. He remembered every day as though it were only yesterday. For Regulus, this was more of a burden than a gift.
Feliciti stirred in her sleep and Regulus found himself rubbing her shoulders fondly, entwining his legs with hers as he turned to his side. He gazed down at her. Never had he felt so gracious of his brother, for providing him with a girl like her, although he didn't mean to.
Regulus thought, his mind pondering over the time of his childhood, where Sirius came back home after the ice-cream ordeal. How much hell he had to witness...
- - -
“Sirius!” their father bellowed as soon as a young, distraught Sirius came through the door. “Get in here!” he ordered from the kitchen.
Regulus remembered hiding behind a cabinet as Sirius came slowly in, red lines stretching across his eyes and chocolate smeared around his mouth. He felt guilty. He shouldn't have told his father what Sirius had just done.
“What did you do?” Orion Black roared, getting to his feet as the young boy before him shook.
“N- Nothing.” Sirius quivered, keeping his distance from his father. His father was large and aggressive when he wanted to be. One of the most intimidating men Regulus had ever seen in his life.
“Nothing, eh? What's that on your mouth?” he spat, taking large steps towards Sirius. Regulus immediately felt a deep regret as he watched his father shake Sirius madly, Sirius yelping at him to stop. “DID YOU TALK TO A MUGGLE?!” his voice thundered throughout the whole house.
It was difficult for Sirius to reply as his father continued to shake him violently.
“DID YOU?!” Gobs of spit landed on Sirius' face and Regulus watched with horror as his father threw Sirius across the room. “If I ever hear you've been talking to those filthy beings, you'll be packing your bags and we'll send you to live with them in their filthy home.”
Sirius didn't think that was such a bad idea, but he held his tongue. Regulus watched as Sirius remained as a slump on the floor, his knees held up against his small body, his face contorting into pain as their father stormed out of the room.
Regulus let out a little whimper as he ran out from behind the cabinet and towards his brother, tripping over the leg of a chair before getting back up and running towards him.
Sirius hid his face behind his hair and kept his arms around his knees, compacting himself in an attempt to disappear into the wall behind him.
Regulus put a hand on his older brother's knee, only to find it jerked off.
“Get away from me!” the older brother yelled, pushing Regulus' hand off of his knee. “You told on me!”
“I'm sorry!” Regulus cried, attempting to pry his brother's arms away from his knees. “I'm sorry, I'm sorry!”
“Leave me alone!” Sirius bawled, pushing his younger brother firmly on the chest. “Go away!”
Regulus watched with remorse as he looked at his role model from the floor. He slowly got up and decided to follow his brother's command. He edged away slowly, in case Sirius called him back. When he reached the door, one last look at his fraught older brother and he ran up to his room.
- - -
Feliciti stirred again and rubbed her warm nose against Regulus' chest. Regulus held her even more tightly as he looked up at the darkness of the cave. He kissed her absent mindedly on the forehead as he thought more of his childhood... Their childhood.
- - -
Regulus remembered spying on his brother and the pretty girl who'd offered him her hand. He remembered hiding in the safety of the bushes as Sirius sat cross legged on the floor, the same girl sitting besides him. She watched as a leaf soared in the air and around her. She giggled. This was two years later.
Even at a young age, Regulus could feel a tinge of jealousy as he watched Sirius laughing along, having a good time. He longed to have what Sirius had, but for fear of his parents, he fought against it.
“Do you think I could do it too?” The girl's voice was exceptionally high, yet, extremely appealing. You could never get enough of hearing her voice.
Regulus had spied on his brother every day for two years and every day, he'd spent his time with the girl.
“Who knows, you might.” Sirius smiled at her as he let the leaf land on top of her head. Suddenly, Sirius jerked and put his hand to his rear pocket, fingers searching for a piece of parchment he'd just received last night. “Feli, guess what!” Sirius' eyes twinkled as he waved the parchment around in the air.
“What?” Feliciti squealed, bobbing her head to the movement of the parchment.
“I've been asked to go to Hogwarts!” Sirius yelled excitedly, shoving the parchment inches away from her face.
“I didn't know Hogs had warts! I thought it was only witches!” The girl bubbled, trying to keep Sirius' hands still.
Regulus snorted behind the bushes as Sirius laughed loudly. Their mother was a witch and she definitely didn't have any warts.
“What's Hogwarts?” the girl continued, brows furrowing as she tried reading the slanted writing. It was quite difficult for her to read adult writing.
“It's a school where they teach you how to control magic! And I'll be gone for most of the year!” Sirius was excited to finally be able to get away from his family but Regulus could never forget the fall of Feliciti's face.
“You'll be gone?” she asked, looking away from the paper and into Sirius' face. Sirius' smile fell as well as the girl's bottom lips trembled.
“I'll- I'll be back for Christmas!” Sirius assured her, attempting to cheer her up.
Feliciti's eyes became moist. She would definitely miss Sirius. She hadn't made much friends from the neighbourhood. They'd all thought her weird because she associated with him.
“Don't cry, I won't forget you,” Sirius told her, putting a hand on hers as slow tears fell down her soft cheeks.
Regulus could feel a scowl on his face as he watched his brother comfort a muggle. That's just disgusting.
The girl started to sob, her hand trembling on her knee. She wiped one of her hands across her white pleated skirt, drying it from the tears as Sirius made soothing sounds to her. Feliciti tapped the tips of her ballet, flat shoes together as she continued to wail. She'd just come back from her grandmother's house, so it was normal that she wore stockings, black shoes, a skirt and a nice shirt.
“I'll write to you everyday,” Sirius told her, picking her hands up in his and smiling broadly at her.
“P- Promise?” she trembled, looking up with her teary eyes.
Sirius nodded fervently and Feliciti held out her pinky finger.
“Promise.” she sniffed. Sirius raised an eyebrow at her as he didn't know what the pinky meant. As though she could read his mind, “You hold out your own pinky finger and twist it around mine.”
Regulus thought that was just stupid. The unbreakable vow was the right way to go, not some silly muggle, pinky twisting thing.
Sirius smiled widely and raised his pinky hesitantly. Feliciti twisted hers around his and shook once.
- - -
Regulus, felt a tinge of anger at his older brother now. Regulus, despite all his efforts, couldn't forget the gloomy face of Feliciti as she sat at the same spot every day, at the same time, waiting for Sirius. He never came.
He remembered how she would just sit there. Whether it be Summer, Winter, Autumn or Spring, she sat there. Regulus couldn't help but feel a hint of despair as he watched her, the hedge hiding himself from her.
She's yuck, he could remember himself repeating in his head, she's icky, yucky, gross. Regulus watched as she took out a crumpled piece of parchment out of her coat pocket, a watery frown as she read through it. Regulus took out his own letter from his older brother and looked from it to her. His face portrayed shock as he saw tears begin to roll down her white cheeks.
“You promised!” she sobbed to herself, startling Regulus as he thought she was talking to him. But of course, she was talking about Sirius. Sirius who didn't write back anymore. Regulus watched with innocent surprise as she ripped the piece of parchment up into tiny little pieces and threw them in the air, letting it fly away with the wind.
~ ~ ~
The Christmas holidays came by and Regulus was there at platform 9 and ¾ to pick up his older brother.
Sirius roared with delight as he saw his younger brother grinning at him, a large man and a thin, gaunt looking woman on either side of him. The two parents looked distraught rather than delighted to see their eldest son again.
“Sirius!” Regulus beamed as he ran up towards him to give him a big hug. Sirius laughed as he put an arm around his brother, patting his back roughly. Another boy stood with his parents just behind them, smiling widely at the two, his glasses crooked and his black hair messy.
“Reg, I want you to meet someone,” Sirius said, gesturing for the other boy to come forward. The black haired boy came bouncing by, a lopsided smile on his face. “Reg, this is Plotter- I mean, James. James Potter.”
“Hey,” James said, nodding his head warmly at the shorter boy. Regulus nodded back and pulled on Sirius' arm. “I'll see you in a few weeks.” he said loudly, smiling at him before turning back to his parents.
Mr. and Mrs. Black looked down at their son and without a word, held on to each of the boys' wrists and spun. A crack and they'd arrived back home. The home which had hardly been decorated in the spirit of Christmas.
“What house?” Mr. Black asked shortly, as he began to leave the kitchen. They obviously hadn't been reading the letters Sirius had sent them.
“Gryffindor.” Sirius replied, a cold look in his eyes. Regulus' head snapped towards his older brother and grimaced. There hadn't been a single Black to have been in Gryffindor. They'd all been in Slytherin. Mr. Black almost took the roof offthe house, literally, while Mrs. Black screeched so loudly that Regulus could swear someone had just dropped a piece of china three doors down the street.
“GRYFFINDOR?!” Mr. Black thundered, turning around to meet Sirius as he stood there, uninterested. “GRYFFINDOR?! DO YOU REALISE WHAT YOU'VE DONE, BOY?! DO YOU?!” They would definitely need a mop afterwards.
Sirius glared at him, jaws tight as Regulus' head flicked back and forth.
“Seven centuries!” Walburga Black – their mother - shrieked, eyes wide and hair messy over her face, “Seven centuries of being placed in the House of Salazar!”
“YOU FOOL!” Orion Black roared, taking massive steps towards Sirius. Sirius continued glaring, not saying a word as he remained firm on his spot. “YOU!” he shouted at Regulus; who yelped with shock as his father turned to him, “You! You better be in Slytherin!” His threat might've sounded like nothing, but to Regulus, this threat just scared the life out of him.
~ ~ ~
“Kreacher,” Regulus muttered in his room as Sirius left for a walk around the square, “What if I don't make it to Slytherin?” Regulus was frightened of what might happen.
“Master should not think that way. If Master wants to be in Slytherin, he will be in Slytherin.” Kreacher answered, standing besides Regulus who was only a head taller than Kreacher.
Regulus thought. From what he'd heard from Sirius, Gryffindor seemed to be the ideal house to be put in. But then again, Sirius had always been the black sheep; white in the Black's version.
~ ~ ~
“I'm sorry!” Sirius apologised again and again to Feliciti as she stood at the door. She'd been left with a baby sitter who'd fallen asleep, as her parents went for a two day cruise.
Feliciti crossed her arms tightly against her chest as her lips pushed out to form a cute frown. “But I told you I'll be back for Christmas,” he said with an attempt to make her happy.
Feliciti's frown slowly ceased and was replaced with a look of awe as she listened to Sirius recount what's been happening at Hogwarts.
“And then- and then, we made this group up called 'The Marauders' and we're all working on nicknames and its cool!” Sirius exclaimed, sitting on her doorstep as she sat in front of him, in the house.
“What's your nickname?” she asked, mouth hanging open as she tried to contemplate everything he'd just told her.
“The Black Gryffindor!” Sirius proclaimed excitedly as Feliciti blinked. That was extremely lame, but she didn't say anything. Instead, she smiled encouragingly. “I got you something,” he said suddenly, plunging his hand into his overlarge pocket on his coat. “There's this wizard town thing where they sell a lot of cool things, but don't tell anyone I got you this because it was only third years and above who were allowed to go.”
Her brows furrowed as she thought, who would she possibly tell? Sirius took out a rolled up brown paper bag, and handed it over to Feliciti, a big smile on his face.
Feliciti peered into the bag and screamed as a chocolate frog jumped right at her. “Get it off, get it off!” A loud snort came from the living room.
“You can eat it!” Sirius yelled at her, “Bite its legs off!” He tried taking the frog off of her face but was finding it quite difficult as her hands were waving around everywhere.
The frog croaked and it bounced off into the garden.
“Are there anymore of them?” Feliciti asked, frightened. She peered again through a small hole she made at the top.
“I only got you one,” Sirius said, crestfallen. “Try the Bertie Botts!” He instantly smiled again and watched as Feliciti took out the box.
“What is it?” she asked, cautiously studying the box.
“Every flavour beans! Try it, try it!”
She opened the box from the top and put a hand in, hand roaming for a random bean. She pulled out a brown/orange bean and studied it, frowning.
“What is it?” she asked, perplexed.
“One way to find out,” Sirius said with a mischievous grin. “I'll take one too, so you won't feel bad.”
Feliciti didn't think much of it so she plopped the bean into her mouth and chewed immediately. As soon as all the flavour came out, she could feel herself begin to gag. She leant past Sirius and spat the bean back out into the grass. She started to cough.
“What was that?” she hiccupped, wiping away any residue on her lips.
Sirius grinned and took a bite into his own pink one. “What did it taste like to you?” he asked innocently, chewing pleasantly on his.
“It tasted like... something like worms,” she mumbled hesitantly. Her eyes widened as Sirius' smile widened. “No...” she gasped. Sirius nodded, smile too big for his face. “You!” she shrieked playfully, lunging forward to tickle him as he chuckled.
~ ~ ~
By the end of the holidays, the two had rekindled their friendship and were best friends once again.
Regulus waited in the square as Sirius pushed through the hedges to say good bye to Feliciti. He couldn't help but feel disappointed as his older brother had been spending much more time with the muggle girl than he did with him.
Their parents had calmed down throughout the holidays, although his father hadn't completely forgiven him. Once or twice, Regulus had overheard his mother mumbling to his father: “At least he isn't a squib...” in an effort to comfort him.
Regulus hugged Sirius once again and watched with sadness as Sirius ran off to join his three newly found friends on board of the train.
He certainly missed his brother, more than he would probably ever know.
- - -
Regulus sighed heavily as he began to rub Feliciti's arms again. He kissed her once again on the forehead and smiled sadly as she moaned in her sleep.
“Regulus?” she muttered sleepily, rubbing her nose once again on his chest.
“Mmm?” Regulus murmured, turning on his side so that he could become closer to her body.
Feliciti lifted her head and placed it on top of Regulus' firm chest, hand draping over his toned stomach as she felt his heart beat. “Why aren't you asleep?” Her voice was clear, even though it was a tad groggy.
“I've been thinking,” he said, snuggling into her as he placed a hand on her waist.
“About?” Feliciti asked, letting her lips move softly on his chest as she spoke.
Regulus took a while to reply. “Ice cream and leaves.”
Feliciti laughed into his chest, causing him to shudder slightly. “Your childhood.” she knew. She'd been following his mind as he thought all that time.
She could feel him nod. “Our childhood,” he corrected her, moving his hand to beneath her hair, onto her neck as he rubbed it gently.
Regulus would never forget it. Feliciti giggled again and moved up to nibble on his bottom lip softly, her head right besides his as he nipped on her top one.
A/N: I hoped you liked it :D and lease tell me what you think!
Chapter 3: Chapter III.
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It was hard to tell whether it was day or night from within the cave. Regulus, the next day, accepted the fact that this cave would be his tomb. He would die here and disturbingly so, he wasn't troubled. He kept his hand on top of Feliciti's as they sat across from each other, her back against the cold wall of the cave. She giggled from something he had just said. Her laughter brought music to his ears.
“So how come you're here?” Regulus asked after her giggle turned into a small, innocent grumble.
“I told you already, didn't I?” she replied, eyes shining brightly against the self invented green light around the cavern.
“No, I mean, if you're dead...” Regulus didn't like to ponder over her death.
“Why I still have a body?” she continued on, understanding what he was asking. “I've been sent here to help you, like I said yesterday. The boss thought it'd be easier if I was corporeal.” She smiled widely at him causing his own mouth to upturn.
“The boss?” he asked softly, flicking his head to the side in order to take a strand of hair out of his eyes.
Feliciti smiled at his boyish action and leaned forward slowly. She placed her lips right before his, her nose pressing down on his as she whispered, “Not telling.”
He could sense the smile on her face and he couldn't help but smile back. He pushed her lips forward and pecked her softly. “Why not?” he whispered back, closing his eyes to the blissfulness of everything.
Her smile broadened and she pulled back, sitting back down on her bottom.
“Ready?” she didn't wait for an answer. Instead, she pulled a finger to his temple again and they were immediately plunged into a familiar site. A familiar site to both.
- - -
Regulus was ecstatic and jubilant to be getting onto that famous train his brother had been telling him about. The Hogwarts Express was slowly filling up with students, many who had been running around the platform, in an attempt to search for a friend they hadn't seen throughout the whole holidays.
His older brother stood to his side, smiling fondly at the site. Their parents left as soon as they got their message through to the younger son:
“...Not another house, son. It must be Slytherin. Do you understand? Slytherin!” his father almost roared at a short Regulus.
“We don't want you to be a disgrace like the other one, Regulus.” their mother told him sternly.
Sirius ignored what they were saying and stood to the side. Regulus nodded once and almost immediately, his father took hold of his mother and twisted with a crack.
“What if I don't get into Slytherin?” Regulus squeaked to his role model, anxiety filling him as he thought of what might happen.
“The hat listens to you. If you don't want to get into Slytherin, it won't put you in Slytherin. It didn't for me.” Sirius scoured the platform, looking for people he might know. After a while of turning his head left and right, and standing on his tip-toes, Sirius gasped.
Regulus' head flicked from the smoke emerging from the front of the train and at his older brother.
Sirius didn't answer. His face displayed a perplexed frown and he started walking slowly towards the front.
Regulus followed uncertainly, holding onto his brother's ratty shirt, determined not to get lost.
“Feliciti?” Sirius breathed as he tapped a girl with wavy blonde hair on the shoulder.
The girl spun around quickly and screamed with delight, causing many people around her to jump up with fright.
“Sirius!” she exclaimed, hugging him tightly as she jumped up and down. “I got in! I got in!”
Sirius looked at her, eyes wide as bewilderment filled him. He stopped her jumping and stared at her long and hard.
“YOU'RE NOT A MUGGLE!” he shouted, a smile too big on his face.
Regulus watched on with a small scowl on his face as the girl's eyes started to brim with sparkling tears.
She looked to the shrunken figure cowering behind Sirius and strained a small smile. Obviously, his hurtful retort several years ago had not been forgotten.
“That means you'll be in Regulus' year!” Sirius' wide grin was unsuccessful in withdrawing the bitter memory from Feliciti's mind.
“Sirius...” she sighed, anxiety clear in her voice. She pulled Sirius to the side, despite Regulus' tight cling onto his shirt. “What if – What if they- they don't like me?” His face contorted with bewilderment.
“What do you mean, Feli? They'll love you!” His oblivion to the problem was apparent. “You're the sweetest girl I know!”
“I mean- I mean, you know...” She hesitated with a quick look at Regulus'. “What if they think I'm a yucky muggle? I mean, he thought I was!”
Sirius looked down at Regulus as he sneered at Feliciti, trying his best to look mean.
“But you're not a muggle Feli! You're one of us!” Sirius grin was stretched across his entire face. “Don't worry about it,” he pushed Regulus off softly yet firmly and put a hand on her shoulder. “No one will find out. Now, I want you to meet some people.”
Regulus watched as Sirius guided the muggle girl towards a big group of students. He was hurt as his brother had just left him. Coming back to his senses he picked up his suitcase and ran after them.
- - -
“You were the meanest person in the world,” Feliciti smiled, flashing her straight white teeth.
Regulus returned the smile, albeit bashfully. “I was just a kid. I didn't mean a word I said.” He played with her soft hands, entwining his fingers with hers.
“Oh really?” She raised an eyebrow at him. “That's not what I recall for the five or so horrible years we had in school.”
Regulus pondered over those years. He certainly did recall being extremely mean to her.
- - -
“Hey mudblood,” Victor Faughn winked as the rest of the Slytherin group burst into laughter.
“Hi.” Feliciti replied, hiding her dismay by packing her bag. She had just been at the library, finishing off a Dark Arts essay.
“What do you think of the Dark Lord and his morals, hey Gravois?” Victor persisted in harassing her. Day in and day out she was tormented for being a muggle born.
“I think they're silly,” Feliciti said quietly. They laughed again, ridiculing her for her opinion. She avoided eye contact with all of them, especially the handsome one known as Regulus.
“Why don't you look at us?” Victor smirked, knowing exactly why she doesn't. They all knew.
She sighed once again as she picked up her bag. She slowly turned towards them, all boys and all incredibly big headed. She took a quick glance at Regulus as he looked at her calmly.
“Because you're all mean and don't treat people as nicely as you should.”
Regulus smiled with amusement as the others guffawed at her response. Feliciti turned a soft shade of pink and felt herself shrink. She was bullied beyond belief by the Slytherin house. Muggle borns at that day and age were rare and every opportunity to spite one was taken up.
“I have to go now,” she whispered, hiding her face in shame. The Slytherins jeered their goodbye behind her back.
- - -
“What were you thinking?” Feliciti asked Regulus. Her small body lay in between his legs and his hot breath fell on her neck.
“I was thinking about how naïve you were,” he smiled genuinely. He remembered that day and could not forget his thoughts. “I thought you were too cute to be so stupid.”
Feliciti turned her head around to look at his rough face. She smiled sweetly as she looked into his eyes. They both giggled.
- - -
“Sirius,” she approached the famous Marauders at the dinner table.
“Feli!” he boomed as she plonked her bottom onto a seat next to him. He smiled at her. A smile similar to that of Regulus', although, substantially larger.
The other boys turned around to her and smiled. It was her fifth year, their seventh, and every year had been close to hell.
“What’s up?” James Potter nodded at her as Sirius hugged her tightly from the side.
“Stupid Slytherins.” she mumbled, her voice quivering slightly. “I’ve had enough of them! Seriously! I cannot wait until the day they get bored of me.” Her naïvety was unbearable.
The marauders glanced at each other. “Fel, I don’t think they ever will get bored of you.” Remus said, looking at her calmly as Sirius patted her back comfortingly.
“But why?” she squealed, “Why me? Out of the other five muggle borns in my year, why me?”
“I think its because you’re the only one that’s silly enough to react, Feli.” Sirius played with her long, yellow hair tenderly, tucking it in behind her ears.
Feliciti was speechless. It did not make sense to her.
“I think I’m going to go back to the common room.” She stood up gracefully and smiled sheepishly at the boys.
“I shall accompany you madam.” Feliciti giggled at Sirius’ silly behaviour. He bowed down and held out his hand. He winked back at the rest of the marauders and escorted her, much to her dismay. She knew she was already the prime victim of green eyed monsters across the whole school.
“Look who decides she couldn’t resist us!” Victor nudged Regulus playfully and snickered as the two slowly approached the staircases. “Mudblood.”
Sirius’ grip on her arm tightened as they got closer.
“Leave her alone.” Sirius growled as Victor was about to touch her. Victor merely raised his eyebrows. Sirius directed his gaze to his younger brother.
“Regulus, I’d advise that you stop harassing Feli.”
Regulus merely smirked at him. “What, a filthy thing like her?”
Sirius had almost tackled him to the floor if only Feliciti had not held onto his arm for dear life. Though, that did not stop Victor from casting a spell at him, sending him flying down a flight of stairs.
“Sirius!” Feliciti’s high pitched voice cracked. She ran as quickly as she could down the stairs, helping Sirius back up. “Sirius, I’m so sorry.” Her eyes were filled with salty tears that refused to stream down her face.
“It’s not your fault Feli.” He groaned, pushing his arms down to life his torso. “It’s never, ever your fault.” He smiled gently at her as he struggled to get up.
“I’m really, really sorry.” Her eyes were round and rheumy. He continued reassuring her with a bright smile.
Meanwhile, Regulus gazed at them from the top of the stairs. Sirius’ relationship with the muggle born was, for him, considered bemusing. He continued watching them, indifferent to the scene before him.
“Your brother is filthy.” Victor grunted to Regulus. Regulus merely grunted in response before they both sauntered off.
For a moment, Sirius stared at her face, analysing everything there was to it. She merely smiled sheepishly.
“You’re beautiful, Feli.”
Stunned, Feliciti recoiled, blushing a deep crimson almost instantly. Sirius chuckled lightly and stood up, holding her hand as she followed his action. Feliciti was perplexed. Never in her ten or so years of knowing Sirius, she had never seen him in that light that would be considered closer than friends. For Feliciti, it was a terrifying thought.
“Regulus?” Feliciti looked up into his soft grey eyes. Regulus huffed and frowned at her. “What?” she inquired, worry evident in her voice.
“Nothing.” he replied, avoiding looking into her eyes.
She put her hands to his face, forcing him to look at her. They stared into each other’s eyes for a moment, the serenity bring bliss to his inner self.
“I should have been the only one to call you beautiful.” he confessed, dropping his gaze once again.
Feliciti smiled and fluttered her eyelashes as though demure.
“You are beautiful.” Regulus played with her hands, caressing them ever so tenderly.
She giggled like a little child and it brought about absolute euphoria to the cavern of Regulus’ heart.
~ ~ ~
Regulus had thought at the time that nothing was able to push the two apart. But that Christmas had proven him to be wrong.
“You’re leaving?!” he heard Feliciti scream across the square.
Sirius had just been expelled from the Black household, his tattered suitcase carrying all that was left of his possessions. Regulus had watched from his window as Feliciti held onto Sirius’ cloak, tears streaming down her face.
Sirius’ face had been stern and tense. He tried prying her hands away from him.
“Why are you leaving?!” Feliciti was shrieking, desperation apparent in her voice.
“Feli...” Sirius sighed, agony visible on his already taut face.
“Why?!” Feliciti was on her knees, her bubbly white face distraught.
“Feliciti, I can’t stay here anymore.” He crouched down to her level, “There’s nothing left for me here.”
Feliciti looked at him, shocked. Torn. Regulus could never forget that face.
“Nothing?! There’s absolutely nothing left for you here, Sirius?” Her voice was cracking and it broke Sirius apart. “What about me Sirius? Me?”
It had been Christmas eve. The night was illuminated by the bright red and green lights which decorated the square.
Sirius breathed deeply and bit his bottom lip. Regulus continued to watch with curiosity at the two. It was known that Sirius had left to join the Order of the Phoenix. Regulus knew his motives for leaving, a part from getting away from his family. It was for her own good.
“Feliciti, we’re nothing more than friends.” The line that broke her heart.
Regulus could hear very clearly, due to the spell he cast on the window. He could also see very clearly, despite the snow that slowly fell from the sky. It was not difficult to see the despair Feliciti was experiencing.
Felitici remained as a heap on the floor, sobbing into her hands for her dear life.
Sirius took hold of her hand and stared deep into her eyes. “I love you Feli, but you must understand, I only see you as my sister.” Regulus could see the heartbreak his brother was feeling. “Please understand.”
With those two final words Sirius stood up and held onto his suitcase. With a final glance at the small body on the floor, Sirius shook his head, his eyes red with the tears that glistened in the light. He twisted on his foot and apparated away from the square.
Chapter 4: Chapter IV.
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Those few weeks weren’t easy on either Regulus or Feliciti. Regulus continued to watch her from his window, hardly ever leaving his room. He watched as Feliciti wandered around the square all day, waiting with desperate hope for Sirius to return.
She would sometimes cry to herself, tears cascading down her face whilst she was seated on a bench. Regulus would watch her with confusion. Baffled with the emotions she had been enduring. It fueled a train of thought that made him think; how much school would change. Without Sirius or the Marauders, she would be alone. And that confused him.
- - -
Feliciti smiled weakly at Regulus. The green light of the cavern illuminated her eyes and Regulus understood that she missed Sirius. There was no doubt about it. The sad look in her doe eyes was devastating for him and he could not help but hold her tightly against his own body as the memory continued...
- - -
Regulus remembered thinking to himself, sometimes even voicing his thoughts to Kreacher.
“I don’t understand Kreacher. I don’t understand why she won’t leave.” Regulus pressed his head against the window, peering through the droplets that had lashed against the glass.
She was seated on the same bench sporting a green rain coat. He thought it was silly. She was a witch and she should use magic. A simple covering spell would have sufficed.
“I don’t understand why I’m so interested even.” Regulus frowned, only realising what he had said.
“Kreacher thinks master Regulus should not ponder over such a girl. Think of what Master Orion will say.” Kreacher placed a small teacup on a table besides Regulus.
Regulus sighed and with great force, turned his head away from the window and the miserable site.
~ ~ ~
That evening the rain had cleared. Regulus was astounded to find Feliciti sitting in the exact same position, her figure illuminated by the night light. Regulus stared at her small frame intently, watching as her distraught, gaunt face did not move, nor did those once bright large eyes blink.
Movement from behind the hedges distracted Regulus. He watched carefully as three greatly built men approached her. It took them a moment to register what she was. He watched as they looked to each other, smiling a sinister smile.
Regulus’ body jerked, fully aware now. He watched with intensity, muttering to himself for her to get up and defend herself. She did nothing.
Regulus cursed and whipped out his wand, running as fast as he could down the stairs.
“Master?” Kreacher asked as Regulus reached the door. Regulus ignored him and instead, bolted past the door, wand ready in his hand.
The three men had gathered around her. Feliciti - finally realising what was happening - was terrified. She whimpered helplessly as they got closer. The men laughed wickedly.
“Do not touch her.” Regulus growled firmly, his wand steady in his hand as he jogged towards the crowd. He saw Feliciti’s gaze flicker towards him, eyes wide partly due to the horror and partly to the shock that Regulus was standing right in front of her.
The three men rounded onto him instead. One of them flexed their muscles and cracked his neck.
“What?” His voice was low and deadly as he fixated his gaze onto Regulus.
“I said, do not touch her.” Regulus snarled, raising his wand even higher.
The three laughed at the ridiculous idea that that smaller man in front of them thought he was a wizard. They were hardly threatened.
“What if we do?” The larger man stepped back, closer towards Feliciti. She merely compacted herself, eyes rheumy and her fragile body shaking with fear.
“STUPEFY!” Regulus shouted so loudly. All three of them had frozen, looks of outrage on their faces. “Feliciti.” Regulus ran towards her and crouched in front of her. Her eyes were wide and her hands were shaking. “Feli, I don’t have much time. Can you walk?” Her non-responsive manner resulted in him picking her up and marching her back to his house.
He carried her up the stairs and placed her on his bed. He closed the door quickly only to find that Kreacher had opened it straight away.
“Master!” His large eyes became even more large as he looked at Feliciti. “Master, she is-”
“Kreacher, it doesn’t matter what she is. Make sure no one interrupts us.” There would have been a blood bath if Orion and Walburga Black knew.
Regulus gave the house elf a small glance before focusing on the shaking body before him. He climbed onto the bed and sat beside her. He pushed the hair out of her face and wiped the tears from her sticky face, analysing her the way Sirius had every day. It made him wonder. What had compelled him to save her? After five years of mistreating and harassing her, why now?
“Feliciti...” he said softly, hand still on the side of her face. Her blue eyes were cold and filled with desolation. Her face was ghostly and portrayed nothing but misery.
“Sirius?” she mumbled weakly, eyes clearly out of focus. Regulus did not blame her for confusing himself with Sirius. They looked unbelievably similar, although the former had a slightly smaller build.
“No... Feliciti, it’s Regulus. You are in my room.” he explained quietly to her. It was the first time he had been up close to her. She had the distinct scent of rain which Regulus must admit, smelt much sweeter coming from her.
“Regulus?” she muttered slightly more weakly.
He nodded and watched as she stirred on the bed. It took her less than a minute to fall asleep. Regulus watched her sleep for a moment, before taking her rain coat off and positioning her more comfortably on the bed. He tucked her in and gave her a final glance before setting up his own bed on the floor.
Regulus placed a single pillow and laid his head on it. He stared up to his black ceiling and started wondering once again.
Regulus lay awake in the cavern, holding onto Feliciti for dear life. He did not want her to disappear like she had. She was fast asleep. Comfortable with the warmth and snug position she was in. Regulus could feel her breathing and there was nothing he could do but sigh. He thought more and more about those few days. Those few days that changed his life.
It was not until noon that Feliciti had awoken from her slumber. Regulus looked at her as soon as she jerked upright, frantic and shocked. The green and silver decorated room she found herself in was foreign to her. The desk across from her was perfectly organised, books entitled The Standard Book of Spells, Guide to Advanced Transfigurations and Advanced Potion Making piled neatly on the edge of the table and she noticed how large and feather-like the bed was.
Then standing right in front of her was a boy. A boy she knew who looked at her ever so calmly. She blinked once she saw Regulus and screamed, recoiling towards the window as she whirled the blanket around her body.
“Shh!” he hissed urgently. He approached her quickly, only increasing the pitch of her scream. He placed a hand on her mouth and sat beside her, holding down on her hands tightly to stop her from lashing out.
“I’m not going to hurt you, Feli.” He could hear her starting to quieten down and stop moving. He knew her nickname would soothe her.
She forced her hands out of Regulus’ and pushed his hand away from her mouth. She looked at him, nonplussed. “Where am I? Why am I here?”
“Feliciti, calm down and let me explain.” Regulus stood up and moved a chair closer towards her.
“Since when did you call me Feliciti?” She was beyond confused, uttering words that made no sense whatsoever.
Regulus had to bite down on his lip to stop himself from chuckling. “Gravois! Calm down! Please?” He stopped her with a hand on her knee. “Will you let me explain?”
Feliciti hesitated before nodding her head, her blonde hair flying into her face.
Regulus smiled softly and explained everything that had happened. Her face was grim as memories of Sirius flooded her mind.
There was silence when Regulus had concluded his story.
“Thank you.” she whispered, averting her gaze. “Thank you.”
Regulus smiled again in response.
“But Regulus, why?” Feliciti was still perplexed. “Why did you save me? You hate me.”
Regulus let out a deep breath. “Feliciti, I don’t hate you. I never did. I respect what you have... or had with Sirius and I understood things that maybe you didn’t. That’s given me an impartial judgement on you.”
Feliciti scoffed, “So you have to judge me, do you?”
“I didn’t mean that.”
Regulus looked at her steadily in comparison to her angry but innocent pouted lips and narrowed eyes.
“I think you should go home now.” he said. A fifteen year old girl - wizard or not - should not have to explain why she did not come home the previous night.
Feliciti paused, “I didn’t mean to offend you.” She looked away from his face, pulling her hair behind her ears.
Regulus laughed. “It’s not that. It’s just I don’t think your parents would appreciate that you stayed the night at my house.”
Feliciti thought about it, only realising that she had, in fact, stayed the night at his house. She nodded and stood up, walking straight to the door.
“Wait!” he yelled, standing up himself and running towards the door. “My parents wouldn’t like it if they found out about... You.”
“Well, you can just explain to them what had happened.” Feliciti didn’t understand.
“No, it’s not that. Feli, I thought you would’ve figured it out by now.”
Feliciti did nothing but blink at him.
He groaned at her naïveity. “Feliciti, my parents do not like muggles, nor muggle borns.”
“Oh.” she said, looking down at the floor. That, she understood.
“Just wait here.” Regulus said, opening the door a little. He peered into the hall for a few seconds before turning back to Feliciti. “I’m going to put a disillusioning spell on you now, okay?”
Feliciti nodded once as Regulus stood beside her. He tapped her on the head with his wand and she was instantly invisible. “Follow me and please, don’t make a sound.” He spoke to where he thought she’d be.
“Regulus... I’m over here.” he heard her say near the door.
“Oh right. Well, hush okay?” He headed out of the door, constantly staying alert. He crept down the stairs, watching out for his mother, or worse, his father. Feliciti did not fail to notice the engraving above the door on the opposite side of the hall. Sirius, in bold letters. She flicked her head away quickly.
Each creak the stairs made pushed his heart to a near explosion, with the literal battering of it against his chest. The door was open as soon as Regulus had reached it and Feliciti was ushered out of his house in less than a second. He led her towards the hedges and tapped the top of her head again with his wand.
The two looked at each other and chuckled lightly with relief that they had made it out alive.
“I’ll walk you to your door.” Regulus said, smiling heartedly.
Feliciti felt herself blush a crimson red. Fortunately, Regulus had already began leading the way to her house. She let the colour in her cheeks dim down before chasing after him.
Regulus turned around as soon as she had reached him, consequently, bumping into his chest quite forcefully. Feliciti yelped like a small dog while Regulus groaned. They both laughed. Feliciti had felt more alive that moment than the past week.
The two talked animatedly for the entire walk, discussing and laughing at things that ought not to be laughed at. It restored her like a splash of icy cold water.
“Look Feliciti, I think I should explain to you why my brother left.” Regulus said as they reached her front door.
Feliciti cocked her head like that of a puppy lost in confusion. “I don’t want to know.” she muttered. She looked down at her feet and began twisting her toe cap around on the door mat.
“I think you do.” he muttered back, lifting her head up by the chin. He smiled comfortingly.
She saw consolation in his dark grey eyes. She sighed. “Then I guess we should sit down.” She took him around to her backyard where a swinging chair sat.
“You may begin.” she nodded at him once they were both seated. The two giggled.
“You see, my brother left to join the Order.” He thought she would understand that, but again he was proven wrong. “The Order of the Phoenix?” He stared at her, incredulous. “Feliciti, you know the Dark Lord is on a rise, don’t you?”
She blinked and faltered, "Yes."
Regulus licked his lips nervously. He wasn't sure how much he should tell her.
“Well.. you know Voldemort, is a dark wizard. A very dark wizard and you know he aims to eliminate all muggles... and muggle borns from the world. Feliciti,” he said, watching her intently to ensure she understood, “You’re in danger. Your kind is in danger. That’s why Sirius left. Sirius joined the Order of the Phoenix. A kind of army, I suppose, that intend to defeat him and all those who follow him.”
Feliciti opened her eyes wider, lips parting in surprise.
“That’s why he didn’t tell you Feli. He was protecting you. It wasn’t because he didn’t love you or because he wanted to get away from you.” Regulus smiled lightly. “He loved you very much... More than anything in the world. I know it.”
Regulus waited for even a tiny sound for her to utter. None came out. Feliciti merely opened and closed her mouth. Regulus anticipated a sound but was bitterly disappointed whenever she had closed her mouth again. He cocked his head at her when she looked at him.
Feliciti shook her head fervently, disbelievingly. “He couldn’t have. He would have told me.”
“Feliciti, you have to stop being so naive.” Regulus touched her arm gently, pushing the chair softly with his legs. He watched her as the seat swung back and forth. He quite enjoyed the rocking motion.
“So he left... He left on some crusade and rather, in an attempt to protect me from the dangers of this stupid world, left me alone.” Feliciti said in a huff, angrily. “Tell him that’s great. It’s great that I’d almost died by some muggles because of him.” She huffed and raised her chin upwards, folding her arms tightly against her chest.
Regulus smiled with a mixture of amusement and incredibility. “Feliciti, don’t hate him. He did what he did with your best interests in his heart. Don’t forget that.”
Feliciti remained uptight and refused to look down.
“And he didn’t realise that I’ll still be seeing him after these holidays, at school?”
Regulus hesitated before answering. “My father and him had a rather big fight. My dad threatened to throttle him if he didn’t leave.” He glanced at her shocked face before continuing, “It was a disagreement about where Sirius’ loyalties lay. And, I’m just going to tell you now, you were mentioned in the argument.”
Feliciti blinked once, eyes owlish and large as she gaped at him. “Wh- What about me?”
“Sirius said, this is a direct quote by the way, that his ‘loyalties laid with you, and protecting you’, since he was so madly in love with you.”
~ ~ ~
Regulus found himself confined to his own thoughts that night. He thought about Feliciti and Sirius and he thought about where his own loyalties lay. He believed it was to his family and his family’s pride.
He called Kreacher to his room, with some small shuffling and a creak of his door, there the small house elf was.
“Yes Master Regulus?” Kreacher bowed and stood right in front of where Regulus sat.
“Kreacher, I’m confused.” He spoke so openly and honestly to the little figure in front of him. He knew of Kreacher’s devotion towards him. “I’m confused about everything. I don’t know what to think.”
Silence consumed them while Kreacher waited for his master to speak again.
“Please, do not tell anyone else Kreacher...”
“Kreacher promises not to say a word.” His low voice was muffled by his bow.
“I’m beginning to think that what our family prides themselves in, and what we believe in is somewhat, wrong. Kreacher, I don’t think we should be following the Dark Lord.”
“Kreacher is guessing this has to do with the mudblood girl.”
“Don’t call her that Kreacher,” Regulus’ voice wasn’t angry as he understood that that was how he was brought to be. “I forbid you to call her that.”
Kreacher nodded and apologised for his misbehavior.
“But yeah, it has everything to do with her.” Regulus paused and looked out the window, out to where she had been sitting twenty four hours ago. “I think I’m in love with her.”
Please tell me what you think :)
Thank you for reading!
Chapter 5: Chapter V.
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Regulus gazed at Feliciti’s soft, white face as she laid on her side, facing him. Her blue eyes were deep and intense as she stared right into his grey ones. “Was that when you first realised?” Her voice asked him gently. She smiled a small smile and played with the hem of his shirt.
Regulus nodded once and held onto her hand. She slowly guided his hand towards her face and smiled bashfully once it came contact to her supple cheeks. He smiled in return and lowered his head, moving the hair out of her face with his other hand. His gaze lingered on her eyes as they were mere inches away from each other. She closed his eyes and he kissed her soft, delicate lips.
“I’m sorry,” he breathed, his hot breath on her face.
“For what?” she sighed back, opening her eyes slowly.
“For only realising then.”
Feliciti smiled broadly and put her small hand against his face, caressing his chiseled jaw. “Well, I’m thanking you... For realising.”
Hogwarts had changed considerably for Feliciti. She found herself more alone than ever and avoiding Sirius had become her mission. She couldn’t bring herself to give him sympathy for leaving, despite what Regulus had explained to her.
The said mission had not lasted very long as they bumped into each other in the common room. One was coming in while the other was clambering out.
“Feliciti,” Sirius stopped dead in his tracks and pushed Feliciti back into the common room. “Please, stop avoiding me.”
She could see James, Peter and Remus watching curiously behind him.
Feliciti pushed his hands off of her, forcing him to relinquish her. “I’m not the one who left, Sirius.” she said softly, avoiding his intense stare. The boys behind Sirius all glanced at each other awkwardly.
“Can we please talk about it, Feli? Please?” Sirius was eager. Desperate to explain everything to her.
“Regulus explained everything to me.” Feliciti braved looking at him. She glared straight into his surprised eyes.
“Re- Regulus? My brother?” he stammered.
“How many Regulus’ do we actually know, mate?” James piped up, moving towards his favourite arm chair.
“He’s got a point there.” Remus said calmly, following him.
Peter merely looked at the two in confusion before scampering after Remus.
“What did he tell you?”
“Why have you never told me?” Feliciti yelped, recoiling herself from him.
“I almost died, Sirius, or worse! I understand that you might think you’re protecting me but how could you be so ignorant? How could you think that keeping me in the dark would protect me? How could you think that if you just left me, everything would be okay?! Sirius, I’m not just a little girl that’s best kept hidden in the shadows. I’m a witch. And I am able to look out for myself, contrary to what you may think.”
Sirius opened and closed his mouth, speechless.
“You- you almost died?” He looked at her, incredulous.
“By some pathetic muggles. But fortunately, Regulus was there. He saved me.” Feliciti upturned her nose and looked away from him like a little child.
Sirius shook his head disbelievingly. “Can we please just talk about it? I’ll take you to my dorm, so we’re not disturbed or overheard.” He looked to his mates and gave them a look to ensure he was understood. They all nodded at him and remained cautious, that no one would come up whilst they were speaking.
He nodded at her in question. She nodded once in response and followed him up the stairs and into his dorm.
She had never been in his dorm before. There were four single beds with polished wood posters, canopy tied in a knot. Sirius motioned for her to sit besides him on his bed. It was the one closest to the window, onlooking the lake. She gasped at the view as the sun began setting over the lake.
“It’s beautiful, hey?” Sirius beamed at her, producing dimples on either side of his face.
Feliciti nodded, face illuminated by the radiant orange that shone.
“Feli,” Sirius moved closer towards her so that their bodies were touching, “I honestly regret leaving you. There wasn’t a moment where you weren’t on my mind. I wondered what you were doing every minute of every day and I could honestly say that I missed you more than anything in the world.” His grey eyes were soft, reflecting the way in which he spoke. “Feli, I’ve never told you, but I’m in love with you.”
The next second felt like an eternity as both their hearts stopped beating. Sirius had planted a deep kiss on Feliciti’s soft lips, finally as they breathed simultaneously, as one.
Sirius paused momentarily, parting his lips from hers by mere centimeters. He looked at her, ensuring that this was what she had wanted. The look in her eyes told him it was. He moved forwards once again and pulled her hair back with his thumb, caressing her face. Their bodies were pressed together tightly as Sirius kissed her again with all the passion he could muster.
~ ~ ~
It wasn’t very long until the whole school knew of this new, yet anticipated, relationship between Sirius and Feliciti. It also wasn’t very long until the incident in the holidays between Regulus and Feliciti had been forgotten.
Everywhere she went, Feliciti could hear murmurs and mumbles as well as see the grudging stares of some girls. But none was worse than the torture that the Slytherins had her endure.
It was potions with the Slytherins that might have escalated the whole situation. Whilst waiting for Professor Slughorn to emerge from his dungeon, talk of Feliciti and Sirius was declared.
“So, the mudblood and the blood traitor are finally together.” Feliciti kept quite as Victor Faughn approached her, smirking. She looked up slowly and glanced at Regulus, who returned her look with a cold stare. Feliciti grimaced.
“I can’t bear to imagine your children, Gravois. Revolting blood, that mix.” He continued on as the Slytherins around him jeered and voiced their agreement.
It was at that moment Professor Slughorn opened the door and invited them all to come in. Feliciti waited till all the Slytherins had passed her before advancing to go in, only to find herself stopped by Regulus, who had lingered behind the rest.
She couldn’t help but smile jubilantly at him. Regulus did not return the smile but rather, frowned ferociously at her.
“He left you.” Regulus’ voice quivered slightly and Feliciti found herself backing away against the stone wall. “He left you and you still-” Anger took over him and he found himself unable to speak. He merely shook his head, his eyes angry and cold.
This time, it was Feliciti who stopped him from entering the classroom.
“Regulus? Why are you being like this?” She placed a hand on his arm and he shuddered.
Regulus approached her until she was flat against the wall. He placed his arms on either side of her face and looked at her, not failing to see the fear in her. Without any notice, he kissed her deeply.
Feliciti was taken by complete surprise and could not find it in herself to stop him. It was only when he released her that she had realised what happened.
“Regulus,” she said softly, shaking her own head, “I- I-”
“You can’t do it,” he finished off her sentence, barely concealing the bitter disappointment that pierced his stomach. “I know.” He left her with a small, bitter smile and entered the classroom.
Feliciti, on the other hand, couldn’t follow him. She crouched down against the cold wall, weak as her body began to quiver. She couldn’t help but sob into her hands with something beyond confusion. She bit onto her knuckles, tears cascading down her white face. She knew she couldn’t do it. She couldn’t hurt either of them. One who had been her friend since the beginning of time, and the other, the other who abandoned everything that had once made him who he was, in order to save her life. She knew what she had to do.
~ ~ ~
Her face bore misery as she entered the common room that following night. She walked briskly passed everyone else and slowly approached Sirius who had claimed the sofa by lying himself on it.
Sirius patted the bit of the sofa that was free in front of him and Feliciti walked towards him and slowly sat herself down. It only took one look for Sirius to realise that something was the matter.
He sat up immediately and cuddled her from the side, pecking her on the cheek. The rest of the marauders all grinned at each other, James even rolling his eyes so obviously that Sirius did not miss it.
Sirius chuckled and tossed a cushion at him forcefully. “It’s not like you and Lily don’t do anything like this.” He turned back to Feliciti, anxiety written all over his face. “What’s wrong?”
Her brows furrowed as she frowned. She retold the story of what had just happened hours ago.
By the time she had finished, Sirius rose to his feet, livid at what he had just heard.
“Sirius, please don’t do anything.” Feliciti was fearful, never seeing Sirius the way he was at that moment. He was shaking from head to toe. He shook his head and strode out of the common room. Feliciti looked to James for direction and with no hesitation, he followed after Sirius.
They were led towards the dungeons, more specifically, the Slytherin common room. They all watched as Sirius wrestled with the door knob.
“James, open the door.” James didn’t move. “James, you’re headboy! Open the door!” Sirius bellowed and James gawked at him, never seeing his best friend that enraged.
Feliciti quivered behind the rest of the boys, unbelievably frightened by what she was seeing. She held onto Remus’ sleeve for guidance and protection as James slowly, reluctantly recited the password.
The door swung open and Sirius stormed into the Slytherin common room, shocking all the Slytherins present. It wasn’t difficult locating the whereabouts of Regulus. His group had easily occupied the prestigious, well polished oak table in the middle of the room. Sirius even marched past Severus Snape, evidence that there was only one thing on his mind.
They all - apart from Regulus - raised their wands. Regulus waved his hand, motioning for them to lower their weapons. He stared at Sirius indifferently before glancing to the small, quivering figure behind the bunch. He simpered slightly before glaring back at Sirius.
“Get up.” Sirius commanded, no sympathy, no mercy, but hatred.
Regulus did so, though slowly. He was aware of how strong headed and determined Sirius could be. He knew that Sirius could lash out at any time. It was hard to tell what Regulus was thinking. His passive face displayed nothing but attention and vigilance to Sirius’ every move.
“Did you snog her?” Sirius’ voice trembled with the barely contained fury.
Judging by the gasps of the people around them, it was evident that that incident had remained a secret. That is, until now.
Feliciti didn’t miss the groan of shame that Regulus let escape his mouth. Her breath got caught up in her throat and she was hurt.
There were a few more seconds of silence before Sirius punched Regulus’ nose with all the wrath he could muster. The people around them withdrew and the marauders struggled with prying Sirius’ hands away from his little brother’s throat.
“If you ever, ever touch her again-” Feliciti heard Sirius snarl.
“It was you that left her, Sirius. I was only there to pick that filthy mudblood back up!” Regulus growled back as Sirius’ hands tightened their grip.
Sirius let out a roar and released him, throwing a wooden chair across the room instead as Professor Slughorn came running into the room, panting immensely hard.
“Don’t let me see you near her again.” Sirius thundered before pushing forwards past the professor and curious onlookers.
Feliciti stood where she was as the Marauders, one by one, left the Slytherin common room. Her eyes were blood shot and rheumy. A single tear dripped onto her cheek and her anguished face brought Regulus’ heart to his throat.
She shook her head once before spinning away and following after the marauders.
“How did you feel?” Feliciti questioned Regulus. That memory was as vivid as it was the day it happened. It never failed to dampen her spirit.
Regulus licked his lip, biting on his bottom one as he averted his gaze. “I’d never seen him like that.” He knew that Sirius was on both their minds. “Ever, in my life.” He noticed Feliciti’s look of torment and angst as salty, glistening tears formed in her eyes.
He moved closer towards the slowly hiccoughing body and held her tightly against his warm, firm chest. He whispered into her small ears as tears of his own formed and slid down his cheek, “I’m so sorry.”
Chapter 6: Chapter VI.
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Graduation for the marauders wasn’t far at all. In fact, it was only in a matter of days. Only a matter of days until Feliciti was truly alone.
“You’re leaving, Sirius and I’ll be stuck at school for another two years, wondering where you are, what you’re doing.” Feliciti sat with Sirius on the sofa, in front of the timid fire. It was only the two present, being three o’clock in the morning.
Sirius mused over that idea. He would be far too busy, involved with the Order to devote his time to her.
“Feliciti,” Sirius hesitated. He was reluctant, but he knew what had to be done. “I think we should end this.”
It was as anticipated. Feliciti’s watery smile broke his heart. “I agree, Sirius.”
He hugged her tightly and pressed her small, fragile body against his own as she sobbed into his chest. “I’m really sorry this couldn’t work out.” He softly caressed the top of her head as he let a few tears trickle down his cheeks. “I’ll always love you, Feli. There won’t ever be a moment that I’m not thinking about you.” He could feel her nodding against his firm chest.
He lifted her chin gently, so she was gazing up at him. He studied her beautiful face as she smiled bashfully, lips quavering slightly. He smiled in return and kissed her tenderly for one last time, before parting from his best, childhood friend.
~ ~ ~
Back in the square, her holidays had made Feliciti felt more alone than ever. Sirius wasn’t there to provide her with the company she longed for, and Regulus was no longer available for her to take comfort in either, not that she wanted to.
She couldn’t help but feel the disappointment every day as she went to sleep, hoping and praying that Sirius would surprise her the following morning. She hoped that she would hear the roaring of his motorbike, in the early hours of the day. No such roar ever came. And that disappointed her.
She spent her time confined her brightly coloured room, gazing out the window, not knowing that Regulus did exactly that as well.
~ ~ ~
“Regulus,” his mother called to him with a loud, high pitched voice as Kreacher served the crowd some tea and biscuits. She watched approvingly as her house elf bowed down until his nose touched the floor to the Dark Lord.
“It is a great privilege, Sir, to have you here at our home.” Orion Black said nervously from his grand, well polished armchair. Orion Black wasn’t a man to be intimidated, heavy and frightening himself, but there was something about this Voldemort character which definitely unnerved him.
Regulus trod down the long steps and paused the moment he came into view of the living room. He looked from figure to figure, stunned as his gaze met that of the Dark Lord’s who sat in his favourite seat.
The man was sporting an handsome robe, his brown hair unintentionally tame and neat, and his posture proper with his pinky sticking out as he drunk his tea. He would have looked like an ordinary, even exceptionally pleasing wizard, if it wasn’t for the distinct evil glint that illuminated his eyes like a bright star.
Regulus slowly walked towards the group, smiling briefly at Kreacher before putting a hand out to greet the guest.
“How do you do?” Regulus drawled uncertainly, almost immediately recoiling from the man’s touch. He was cold and it chilled the last nerve of Regulus’ body.
Voldemort smiled in reply. No warmth or welcome evident but instead mockery and perhaps, even a concealed sneer.
“Your parents,” he gestured towards the two who smiled encouragingly at their son, “Have told me all about your growing interests in the dark arts and even, the morals it possesses.”
Regulus looked to his parents, shock visible in his expression as a wild chill ran down his back.
“They tell me of how you, you, admire my works.” His voice was cold and the sentences he stringed together sounded like a hiss. He smiled again and his eyes narrowed like that of a snake’s. He slowly licked his lips, and it was a surprise to Regulus that his tongue was not forked.
“There is a certain circle, for people like you, who all have a common interest in regards to this world we live in. Your cousins, Bellatrix and Narcissa, such lovely girls, are among this circle. We believe in a world of wizards, powerful and formidable, so unlike the common scum of the earth.” Voldemort was unable to repress his loathing as his lips quivered with utmost hate.
Regulus watched the man intensely, hands gripping onto the arms of his chair tightly.
“However, there are some wizards, blood traitors, who see this interest as,” he chuckled dryly, eyes glistening menacingly, “despicable. I am here to change that. My followers, Death Eaters, and myself, exist to demonstrate to the rest of the community that these human vermin are repugnant and taint the world we live in. Now, your parents have expressed to me their favour in you, unlike their other son,” Voldemort smiled again, “Sirius, they say. Sirius who had joined the very group, the Order, to stop me.”
Regulus knew where this conversation, this meeting was heading towards. The mere mention of Sirius sent his heart pacing, his blood pumping with hatred, and as though Voldemort understood that, he laughed bitterly.
“Your brother is a disgrace to the pure blooded family, toujours pur which I respect so highly, and to our people. And that mudblood girl, I hear, that had captured his heart,” Voldemort spat with disgust.
Regulus’ heart paced even faster, trying desperately to close his mind from the image of Feliciti. His stomach felt sick and his knuckles were turning as white as the snow outside.
Whether the Dark Lord had noticed anything was a mystery to Regulus. He had cocked his head to the side and began speaking once again.
“Regulus, would you have the honour of becoming a Death Eater?”
Regulus’ stomach dropped and he could feel the sweat beads dripping from his forehead. He looked to his mother and father, both of whom had tears of pride swelling in their eyes and beams that brightened their gaunt faces. He glanced back at the Dark Lord, who expressed nothing but curiosity and overwhelming interest.
Regulus heard a voice in his head. A hiss, just like the His voice. But it couldn’t be him. His mouth was closed and no words came out of it.
“Think of Sirius,” it had told him, “Think of him. How he stole her from you. You deserved her, you were there for her, you saved her, but Sirius... He stole her from you. Take revenge. Take revenge and take back what you deserve.”
Regulus closed his eyes, pinching the ridge of his nose as his head throbbed and his heart hammered with hatred and jealousy. He opened his wet red eyes and looked to the Dark Lord. It was between the two, not his parents, not Kreacher, not Sirius, but Regulus and Voldemort.
He nodded once and the Dark Lord’s smile was wider than his face, the evil glimmer in his eyes shining brighter than even the sun...
~ ~ ~
Whether his involvement with the Death Eaters was right. He questioned the fatal decision the moment his left arm was branded by the Dark Lord. What compelled him to do so was not the sway from his parents nor the glaring eyes of the Dark Lord that questioned his stance but instead was the hatred he had for Sirius.
He smiled bitterly to himself, as he watched small children playing outside, giggles and smiles too big for their faces. He remembered the day Feliciti approached them. How it was Sirius who had introduced the two and entwined their fates together.
He thought more about Feliciti and how he hoped for the possibility that she would one day choose between himself and Sirius. Between good and evil. Resentment filled him as he knew there could be no such thing.
Regulus knew he missed her; her voice, her hair, her smell, her face, everything. It was at that moment, that realisation, that he knew what he wanted to do.
~ ~ ~
Regulus studied the building before him, searching for an easy route up to the biggest window on the dark brown brick assembled facade. He made sure it was sufficiently dark and late enough, as to not arouse any suspicion in the neighbourhood.
It was a grueling task and not as simple as Regulus had anticipated. He struggled holding his place as his shoes slipped against the shallow bricks that protruded out of the wall.
Slowly, Regulus breathed as he held onto the window pane for dear life. He peered into where the light shone through and he sighed with relief as Feliciti sat on her single, bright pink bed. He smiled fondly as he watched her quill dancing along a piece of scrap paper.
He knocked and chuckled lightly as she jumped. She couldn’t see him, but it didn’t stop her frowning as she approached the window with caution. She pulled open the curtain and gasped as she saw Regulus’ strained face.
“Let me in!” he mouthed, pointing to the latch as Feliciti’s eyes grew larger and round. She shook her head violently, mouth still agape.
“Please?” he said silently, the desperation in his face apparent as Feliciti undid the lock with a slightly trembling hand.
“Thank you,” Regulus said as he clambered through the window. He smiled amiably, in an attempt to make himself feel welcome.
“What are you doing here, Regulus?” Feliciti whispered, eyes piercing his with suspicion as she retreated from him slightly. She hadn’t forgotten what he said.
He couldn’t pretend that he had forgotten either. He ruffled the back of his head awkwardly and let out a low sigh.
“I wanted to talk to you Feli.” Regulus said softly, looking at her wounded face. “I couldn’t stop thinking about you.”
Feliciti scoffed, looking away from him with a disbelieving bitter smile. “Right, Regulus.” She moved away from him and sat down on her bed, packing her books and quill set up.
“Can I see that?” Regulus pointed at the scrap piece of parchment, which had black links and figures printed on it.
Feliciti leered at him before nodding once. She continued packing her books, stacking them onto the polished wooden table across from her bed.
Regulus stepped towards the bed, picking up the yellowed parchment and watching the small animation play. He watched as a small bird opened its beak and squawked silently as it flew away, towards the parchment and slowly disappeared.
“That’s really nice,” he smiled as the bird reappeared, following through the process once again. “Really nice.”
Feliciti refused to look at him and continued tidying up her table, “You can have it.”
Regulus looked at her small back, bewildered at how one could part from such a thing. He carefully folded it into fours and pocketed it as he slowly approached her. She could feel his warm breath on her neck as he held her hair loosely to the side.
“Feli, please look at me.” Each word made Feliciti’s knees shake and she bit her lip before slowly turning around.
She met Regulus’ gaze. It was soft and filled with passion as he let his hand fall onto her waist while the other caressed her cheek.
“Please don’t, Regulus.” she whimpered, averting her gaze down to the floor. He lifted her head gently, so she was looking back at him.
“I’ve never told you Feliciti,” his face was slowly getting closer to hers and she couldn’t tear away from it. She watched as his eyes glittered with warmth and his lips formed a small smile. “I regret the things I did. I didn’t mean them at all and it would mean the world to me if you, you know, forgive me.”
She pushed him away forcefully, and Regulus let her push past him and onto her bed where she cuddled her fluffy white pillow.
“You can’t just say that, Regulus.” She looked down, her lips pushed to a pout and Regulus could feel himself melting inside. He sat right beside her and pried her hands away from her pillow and rather into his own hands.
He moved his body so he was on top of her as he gazed into her deep blue eyes.
“Feli, you’re beautiful.” - Feliciti shook her head, unable to believe his attempt in flattery - “And I honestly did not mean a word I said. I was hurt, Feli. You need to understand that.”
“Why would you be hurt?” She snapped, eyes rheumy. “Regulus, why would you be hurt? Why did you kiss me like that and expect that nothing would happen? Why would you if it wasn’t to hurt Sirius.”
Regulus rolled onto his side and watched the expressions on her face with an indifferent smile. “You think I wanted to hurt Sirius?”
“What else would it be? Unless you wanted to hurt me which, by the way, you did successfully anyway.” Feliciti returned his stare, narrowing her eyes slightly as the tension between them soared high.
Regulus let out a sigh, looking away from her and instead rolled onto his back. He stared at the bare white ceiling, blinking every ten seconds. She didn’t know. She was unable to decipher the mixed messages he’d presented her with.
Feliciti moved closer towards him, until her face was right next to his. She propped herself up with her elbow. “Why don’t you just tell me Regulus, rather than avoiding this conversation.”
Regulus placed one arm under his head and let out a small sigh. He closed his eyes for a moment before gritting his teeth and confessing everything.
“Feli,” he looked her directly in the eye as his voice sounded like a soft growl, “I was in love with you. I still am. I thought you would’ve figured it out when I kissed you. It wasn’t to spite Sirius or to hurt you either.”
Feliciti’s mouth dropped as her brows furrowed, “This isn’t the time to be making jokes, Regulus.”
Regulus lifted himself up by his elbows, anger clear on his face. “Why can you believe it when Sirius says it but not me?” The bitterness was barely concealed.
“Because,” Feliciti hesitated, unsure of it herself, “because it’s just not right.”
“Why? Because I’m in Slytherin and you’re in Gryffindor? Because I’m a pureblood and you’re not?” He spat, furious at how she thought. How the wizarding community thought. He stared at her intently, brows furrowed angrily.
Feliciti recoiled and looked down ashamed, her golden hair curtaining her pained face. Regulus felt the instant pang of regret and softened his face as she sniffed and rubbed her eyes with her knuckles like a little baby.
“Feli, I’m sorry.” he wrapped his arms around her tightly, nuzzling his chin into her shoulder. “I’m sorry.”
Regulus lifted her small, fragile body and placed her between his legs, keeping her against his own body as though he was afraid of her running away. His arms were wrapped around her waist tightly as her sobs slowly diminished to silence.
“Regulus,” Feliciti paused, turning her head towards his, “What are you doing?”
Regulus looked at her fondly, eyes bright and skin glowing orange as he dimmed the lightbulb above them with his wand.
Feliciti continued gazing into his eyes as he moved his head closer and closer towards hers. Feliciti didn’t recoil nor falter as Regulus’ hand moved up to the side of her face, pulling her soft golden hair behind her ear.
“I’m in love with you, Feli.” he whispered softly and she closed her eyes to the warmth of his breath on her neck. “I love you.”
He planted a soft, tender kiss on her neck as he caressed her cheek, loving the taste of her skin. A short breath escaped her lips as Regulus trailed her jaw line, leaving soft nibbles along it.
“Regulus,” she finally panted lightly. “Regulus.”
“Don’t tell me you can’t, Feli. Please.” he muttered against her porcelain skin, hands moving to the small of her back and the mess of her hair simultaneously. “Please.”
His lips lingered mere millimeters away from hers, his breathing ragged and deep. Feliciti could feel her heartbeat pound against her bones and the tips of her fingers as she touched the side of his face.
Feliciti looked into Regulus’ grey eyes, contemplating over her choice. He wanted to kiss her more than anything at that moment. But the confusion that clouded her eyes was enough to make Regulus stop.
“You don’t want to,” he breathed, recoiling slightly as he furrowed his brows in his own confusion.
Feliciti continued staring into his eyes as tears formed in hers. She could feel the wet trail as tears began to slide down her cheeks. The heat of embarrassment rose in her face as she refused to tear her gaze away from him.
She slowly shook her head. And Regulus’ heart stopped.
“What about Sirius?” she quivered, instantly regretting the question as Regulus’ face contorted to complete anguish and outrage.
“What about Sirius?” he shouted, rising from her bed quickly, violently. “What about Sirius, Feli?! He left you! He left you twice! And I’ve always been here. Here!” He pointed towards the floor as Feliciti continued to weep. “I’ve always been here for you.” Tears began to trickle down his own cheeks as he stared at her with desolated eyes. “I’ve risked everything for you. Everything.”
Regulus stormed from one end of the room to the other, breathing heavily as Feliciti whimpered, cowering at the edge of her bed. He stopped abruptly at the window and shook his head at her, laughing bitterly.
“Goodbye, Feliciti.” he muttered before turning to face the window.
“Regulus,” she moaned, “Regulus, don’t go.” She quickly got up from her bed, jumping to hold onto his arm. “Please, don’t go.”
Regulus shook his head lightly, eyes rheumy and red as he turned around to face her. “I told you I loved you, Feli. What else would you want?” He didn’t leave. He had the hope that perhaps, at that moment, she would realise it too.
Instead, she let go of him, eyes portraying nothing but misery. She shook her head, unable to believe it.
Regulus pulled his left sleeve up, exposing a black skull with a vicious snake protruding out of its mouth. Feliciti gasped, eyes wide. She clasped her hands to her mouth and stared from the mark to Regulus’ intent face quickly.
“Don’t expect me to be there for you anymore, Feliciti.”
With those final words, Regulus climbed out of the window and left Feliciti to the dangers of the world.
Author’s Note: Sorry for the window climbing cliche :) I couldn’t tear myself away from the idea of something as romantic as that! I guess it’s a cliche for a reason! I hope you liked it and please post a review! The next chapter will be up very shortly! :D
Chapter 7: Chapter VII.
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It was uncomfortable and tense in the cavern. Both remembered the event as though it was yesterday, and both remembered the tensions that soared between the two. They were seated besides each other, leaning against the cold, smooth stone of the cave.
“What made you do it?” Feliciti whispered, face contorting into pain and confusion as she looked at the motionless skull on his left arm.
Regulus hesitated for a moment. Deciding that there was nothing left to hide from her, he spoke softly.
“I was in a state of disarray, Feli. I hated Sirius. Loathed him with a passion. He took you from me. You don’t understand how much that tormented me, haunted me. I loved you and to watch you everyday, with my brother just killed me, Feli.”
His eyes were red as he thought of the bitter memories. Watching the two cuddle together on the Gryffindor table, watching her soft golden hair bounce as she ran towards Sirius after a Quidditch match, watching him look so lovingly into her eyes and her cheeks flushing a crimson red as she smiled so sheepishly in return. It killed him.
“Feliciti?” Regulus blinked out the tears, turning his head as he watched her face for expression. “Why? Why did you think of Sirius?”
Feliciti hesitated as she leaned her head against his firm shoulder.
“You two both looked so alike, Regulus. Believe me, you did. It was just, strange.” She said softly, smiling into his shoulder. She giggled and placed a hand over his strong chest as it heaved in and out.
“I really do love you, Feli.” he sighed, placing his own head atop of hers. He grabbed hold of her small, slender hands and their fingers entwined tightly, like the strings of a taut rope.
Feliciti was exposed to all sorts of dangers of the world. Hogwarts was no longer safe, as threats against muggle borns were on the rise. Feliciti traveled through school with not just a schoolbag and books, but with a newly developed sense of awareness and vigilance.
“Have you heard? You-Know-Who’s on a rise, killing muggles and the sort.”
“Death Eaters are everywhere now, torturing and killing. Bloody scary if you ask me. I can’t even go to the bathroom alone.”
Murmurs such as these were all she would hear during meal times and it was during these times, she would notice the lonely world she was left in.
Not touching a thing on the table, Feliciti couldn’t fail to notice Regulus and his friends, on the Slytherin table, laughing, jeering and tormenting muggle borns that walked by. She couldn’t fail to notice the wide, wicked smile on his face as Tony Raebur, a first year, was lifted up by his feet and hung upside down.
“How do you like that mudblood?” They all jeered, throwing insults and food at the poor soul.
Feliciti couldn’t fail to notice that she, a muggle born like the rest, had been left alone. Not tormented, not jeered at, not even acknowledged. Feliciti knew it was Regulus’ doings. Regulus, who led these militant acts. Regulus, who advocated for such views. Regulus, who would not stop watching her every move, for fear that she would get attacked.
Feliciti watched as professors ran towards the crowd, assigning each member with a detention which they all took lightly. Tony was scoured clean as Professor McGonagall led him to her office, where he would be treated with sweets to cure him of the event.
Vince Faughn couldn’t help but notice Feliciti’s curious onlooking and smirked evilly, nodding his head towards her as others followed his gaze. Waiting for the crowd to diminish, Vince stood up and strutted towards the Gryffindor table. Regulus, who noticed immediately, followed after him, heart pacing and butterflies fluttering in his stomach as they got closer.
“Feel like a bit of company, mudblood?” Vince sat himself right next to her, helping himself to a bun in the middle of the table.
“No, thank you, I think I was fine before you came along.” She muttered staring down at the golden plate which reflected her frightened face. Regulus stood in front of her, looking at her with a mix of hidden emotions.
Vince laughed loudly in her ear, flicking crumbs onto her hair. “You were never fine, mudblood. Look at you. You stain the earth. You’re filthy.”
“Then why are you sitting so close to me?” Feliciti snapped, pushing him away on the chest with a loud thud.
Vince brought out his wand, outraged. “How dare you touch me, you revolting piece of muggle -”
“Vince!” Regulus’ rough bark echoed through the room and Feliciti looked up at him instantly. “We don’t want anymore trouble.” His face was stern and serious, his eyes darkening with every second. “We’ll deal with this mudblood later.”
Vince started to complain.
“No! Shut up and listen to me.” Regulus’ ferocious snarl was unfamiliar to Feliciti, like the roar of a vicious dragon. With a small look at her shaking, cowering body, he grit his teeth. “Give it a week.” He said shortly, before turning on his heel and knowing that his comrades would immediately follow him.
Vince spat at her. “You’ll get what’s coming to you, mudblood.” His eyes narrowing at her as he reluctantly followed the others.
~ ~ ~
Day by day, Feliciti lived with the fear that out of nowhere, the Slytherins would attack her. She found refuge in the library, a place where she knew no Slytherin would dare to be seen in.
Feliciti found it slightly relieving and somewhat of a liberation from the rest of the world. Her homework was getting done and studying for the N.E.W.T.s was her new hobby, making her feel more like a normal student.
Her journey to each class, back to the library and back to the common room was always risky. Her eyes were always wide open and full of awareness, while her wand was held steady in her hand.
For a year, she lived with this suspicion. For a year, she anticipated an attack, like the many other muggle borns in school. For a year, she had been as safe as Regulus had allowed her to be.
Now it was their seventh and last year, Feliciti felt a responsibility to protect the younger muggle borns, exposing herself beyond Regulus’ control.
“You’re foul, you know that?” Regulus scowled at a tiny, very pretty first year girl with dark brown hair and wet, frightened green eyes. “You pollute the air we breathe. You don’t belong here. Or do you think otherwise?”
The girl whimpered helplessly. Her hands were bound together to a thick tree branch right above the Black Lake.
Regulus laughed along with his fellow Slytherins.
“Do you know what the Dark Lord does to muggle filth like you? Do you know what he is capable of?”
The girl nodded fervently, tears streaming down her cheeks, body trembling with fear.
“You know what, I don’t think you do. How about I give you a little demonstration?” Regulus raised his wand. It was always for a scare. He had never intended to hurt his victims.
“Stop!” a familiar voice shrieked.
Regulus turned around to see Feliciti running towards them, not even raising her wand as the Slytherins around her did.
“Regulus, stop.” she was panting, looking at the little girl before her with comfort, before turning to Regulus with a plead. “Please stop-”
Her speech was interrupted by the many jeers and boos of the Slytherins around her. Regulus refused to look at her and instead distracted himself by sitting down on a large jagged boulder.
“Look at her, Regulus! Look at her! She’s just a little kid! How can you?!” Her voice was straining as she ignored the laughs and ridicules of those wearing green and silver robes, eyes only on Regulus’ hidden face. He was playing with the loose stones on the boulder, picking one up and throwing it into the lake, watching the soft ripples. She took a small, shaky step towards him. “What happened to you?” she said softly, only for him to hear.
Regulus finally looked at her, eyes tender as he smiled sourly, eyebrow slightly raised.
“Reg,” someone from the crowd shouted out, “Tie her up!” The Slytherins began to chorus, demanding the same fate as the little girl for Feliciti.
Vince suddenly appeared to the side of Regulus, smirking menacingly. “You owe her, remember?”
Regulus looked to the crowd before turning back to Feliciti, who’s eyes were rheumy; not with fear, but plea.
“Do what you want.” he finally muttered, standing up fluidly. He glanced at Feliciti’s crestfallen face as she knelt on the ground before him, defeated. He wouldn’t be able to endure it. He knew he wasn’t able to.
Regulus pushed past the Slytherin body and escaped the miserable sight as everyone screamed and shouted with excitement, insults such as mudblood were thrown around, the first year’s wails of help and desperation and finally, Feliciti’s silent voice as she refused to utter another sound.
He grit his teeth, forcing himself to keep walking instead of running back to save her. His heart paced and his throat constricted tightly, producing tears in his eyes. As soon as he had cleared into the Great Hall, he came into a sprint. A sprint down the long stone corridor, up the moving staircase, even jumping to the landing as it began to move away. He ignored the flinches of those he passed, and even ignored the cheers of other fellow Slytherins.
He ran, not back to the common room, but to Dumbledore. If there was anyone that could help, it was him. The way Sirius had spoke of the headmaster after his first year, Regulus knew that he was the only one to see.
Regulus stopped abruptly as he neared the ugly stone gargoyle. His brother had told him the password years ago, after his very frequent and welcomed visits. Unsure of its credibility, Regulus touched the gargoyle. “Lemon drop?”
To his surprise, the gargoyle leapt aside, a spiral staircase forming just where the gargoyle had stood. He stepped onto the first step and was surprised yet again as his stomach lurched to the sudden movement of the stairs.
Regulus reached a large, circular room, cluttered with flimsy thin tables and silver instruments that made strange noises. Around the walls were bookshelves, filled with an abundance of books and in the middle was a large wooden table and right behind it was a high backed chair in which Dumbledore sat.
“Curiously,” he said with a weak voice, scribbling on a parchment on his desk, “I have had the privilege of multiple visits from your brother when he was still in school, but none from you, Regulus, up till now.” He looked up and smiled, a twinkle in his eyes. “What can I do for you?
Regulus nervously approached the desk in the middle, looking at the many portraits of previous headmasters and headmistresses. He eyed his great-great-grandfather, who watched him, intrigued.
“Be sure to know, Regulus, that whatever you have to say here goes with confidence. Your family will not be notified unless that is what you wish.” Dumbledore’s soft voice comforted him while Phineas Nigellus scoffed loudly. “Please sit down.”
A wooden chair appeared out of nowhere behind him, forcing him to sit down. Dumbledore waited in silence for Regulus to speak, twiddling his thumbs while Regulus looked out to the empty Quidditch pitch through the window.
Instead of speaking, Regulus rolled up his left sleeve. Dumbledore’s face was not shocked or bewildered, but rather passive and calm while Phineas scrunched up his face, squinting to see what it was.
“I am assuming you regret your decision.” It wasn’t a question and Dumbledore’s kind eyes expressed sympathy.
Regulus looked up to the portrait of his great-great-grandfather who’s pointed beard stood out, “I don’t think what our family prides on, or what we believe in is right. We are not the superior beings. We never were.”
Phineas scoffed, “Obviously, there has been a revolution among you young people, wishing to make a statement and the sort.”
“Again, I am just assuming,” Dumbledore spoke again, not breaking eye contact with Regulus, “This has everything to do with Miss Gravois. Am I correct?”
Regulus scratched the back of his head before nodding once, ignoring the wretched sound that his great-great grandfather had made.
“A muggle born I presume,” he scowled, only to be reprimanded by Dumbledore.
“Where is she now, Regulus?” Dumbledore must have known. The condolence in his eyes was prominent and the way he spoke was so sympathetic.
Regulus shook his head, his head hurting from the mere thought of her being tormented. There was silence while Regulus’ body shook with the emotion he had suppressed. His eyes began watering as he gripped the sides of his head tightly.
There was an abrupt, loud knock on the door and barely a second afterwards appeared Professor McGonagall, eyes wide and wild, while her hair was disheveled and frayed.
“Professor Dumbledore,” her voice trembled, “There had been an accident. A terrible accident.”
Regulus turned around slowly, eyes red as his brows furrowed with confusion.
“Professor Sprout is looking after them while Madam Pomfrey gets there, but I cannot say...” Professor McGonagall’s lips quivered as her body shook from the core, tears glistening in her sharp eyes. Regulus was blinking, dumbfounded, while Professor Dumbledore stood up from his seat and strode towards her.
“Minerva,” he patted her comfortingly on the shoulder, “What happened?”
“The branch broke,” Regulus heard her muffled voice say and Regulus’ heart paused for the most painful second of his life, “Two girls... Died.”
Chapter 8: Chapter VIII.
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“No!” Regulus bellowed, shaking his head fervently, disbelievingly. “She’s not dead! She’s not!” Dumbledore and McGonagall looked up at Regulus, inquiringly. He stood up from his chair, body trembling as he stepped towards the two. “She can’t be.”
“Regulus,” Dumbledore said soothingly, placing a firm hand on his shoulder. “Regulus, we are, as of the moment, uncertain.”
“She’s not dead, Sir.” he said firmly, adamant that Feliciti was still breathing at that very moment. “She’s not.” Though the strength of his voice indicated his unwavering and stubborn state of mind, his scared, wide eyes revealed everything else; the angst and turmoil that currently resided in the pit of his stomach.
With one final uncertain shake of his head, Regulus bolted out of the oak doors and ran to the bottom step, waiting apprehensively as the stairs ever so slowly revolved back down. His legs twitched as his heart battered at an irregular pace and his head ached from the constant bickering of his conscience.
He sprinted down the seven flights of stairs and almost charged past the blooming crowd that seemed to follow Madam Pomfrey, Professor Sprout and two motionless figures floating ahead of them.
Regulus paused on the step he stood, unsure of whether he wanted to discover the devastating truth or not. Before he could decide, a familiar group approached him with surprising speed.
There was an immense babble of words that Regulus didn’t seem able to string together. He stared at each forlorn face, except for one. Vince’s face was expressionless, perhaps even mad with insanity. Regulus couldn’t miss the sadistic gleam in his eyes as they gazed directly at each other, an intense tension rising.
“What happened, Vince?” Regulus forced each word out with a concealed strain. His throat was tightening as though the snake on his arm had bound itself around his neck and pulled on each end. It hurt with fear of the possibility that Feliciti may be dead.
Vince didn’t answer and an unnerving silence fell among the crowd. Suddenly, Vince laughed dryly. “She got what she deserved, mate.”
In a swift movement, Regulus had held Vince against the wall by the hem of his collar and roared at him. There was no mercy or sympathy, only rage. “What the hell happened?”
There were murmurs and mumbles among the crowd which Regulus ignored wholeheartedly. It was between himself and Vince right at that moment.
“What happened?” Regulus growled deeply, eyes enraged by Vince’s cackling figure.
“Mate, it’s as though you’re in love with her,” Vince jeered, a wide demonic smile on his face. “She fell in. She wouldn’t stop writhing around, so I did the honours for her. Like I said, she got what she deserved.”
Regulus froze, his heart hammering in his head and he watched Vince with rheumy eyes for any hint of a callous lie.
Those dark eyes told him not to bother. “She’s dead, Regulus.”
Regulus shook his head, punching his face with all the wrath he could muster, before shooting off to find Feliciti. It was simple, follow the crowd. He pushed past the gathering people in a desperate attempt to reach her motionless body.
He had reached the two professors, who’s expressions were grim, though Regulus didn’t see that. He only had eyes for that unmoving frame ahead of them. He had run past them and stopped right beside the body.
“Sir!” Professor Spout exclaimed with shock.
“You shouldn’t be doing that!” said Madam Pomfrey, running in order to stop him. But it was too late. Regulus had already removed the veil covering the still, tranquil body of Feliciti. Her skin was a shade whiter and her lips were blue, just like the cold, motionless eyes that Regulus couldn’t tear his gaze from.
His whole body wouldn’t work. His lungs had stopped operating and his heart had stopped beating as he gazed upon the girl he loved. He fell to his knees, unable to sustain the pain any longer. Regulus howled, hand entwined tightly around Feliciti’s. He howled as the tears of misery and desolation overflowed his sad grey, bloodshot eyes. He was oblivious to the moving world around him. Everybody who had given him looks of pity and some even confusion. He was oblivious.
Oblivious to it all.
“So, that was it?” Feliciti asked Regulus, “That’s when you changed your mind?”
Regulus’ eyes were wretched and distressed. He nodded and his voice was weak. “After that, I’d been plotting Voldemort’s downfall for a year. I collected everything I could of him, newspaper clippings, pictures, I’d even jump at every chance he gave as a way to discover something new about him, maybe even a weakness. Then he had asked for an house elf and I thought of Kreacher and offered him up.”
He thought about his loyal house-elf and smiled lightly. “Right before he left, I told him to come straight back and tell me everything. And so he did. And here we are. ” He looked up to the beautiful girl before him, shame ridden and remorseful. “I’m so sorry, Feli.” he gulped, “I shouldn’t have left you alone.” Regulus’ voice quivered as he looked to the girl who did not, by any means, deserve that death.
“Regulus,” Feliciti got up and backed away from him suddenly, shaking her head. “I’m not Feli.”
Regulus cocked his head, puzzled.
“I’m not Feli,” she repeated, round eyes focused on Regulus. Without warning, her body turned white and hollow. Regulus gave a shout of shock, jumping up to try and stop it from happening.
“No!” he shouted hoarsely, intense panic rising in his stomach, “Not again.” he croaked, teeth gritted together as he choked.
The white ghost disappeared and was replaced by a corporal great black dog which stared right at him with gleaming yellow eyes. Regulus staggered backwards, eyes wide as his mouth formed a perfect circle.
“Regulus,” a very familiar voice said to him.
“S-Sirius?” he stuttered uncertainly, his body trembling and his knees weak.
“Hi,” the dog said, flashing his threatening white fangs in a smile as his pointed ears twitched.
“Sirius?” Regulus said again, stunned. He was unable to believe it.
“Yes, little brother.” he said, circling around on a spot beside the wall of the cave; before sitting down like the dog he was.
“Wh-what? Fe- Feli?” he stammered, eyes wide at the dog before him.
“I’m sorry but I had to impersonate Feli,” The large dog gave a small, sour smile, “and just know, it’s not bloody easy thinking like a girl, mate.”
Regulus stared at him in silence, eyes dilated with a sort of pained disbelief.
Sirius continued looking up at his younger brother with delicate yet warm eyes. “You can’t bring back the dead, mate.” He mumbled, unable to suppress the coldness. He forced a small smile and beckoned with his snout for Regulus to sit beside him.
“Regulus,” Sirius interrupted him, “I know I might have strung you along a little bit, but it was honestly my best intention.” Sirius’ gaze was stern; the yellow gleam in his eyes bright.
Regulus froze just as he sat down, gawking at his older brother with complete bewilderment.
“I mean, making my patronus make out with you was far harder than I’d imagined.” Sirius said lightly, shaking his head with amusement. “I will explain if you let me.”
Regulus mouth dropped as he shook his own head, picturing her soft lips against his as they kissed the kiss that had been torturously over due. He thought maybe she had finally realised... “No, she couldn’t. She wasn’t-”
“Mate,” Sirius paused a moment, thinking of a way to put it softly as he understood the grim look on his face, “She loved you for being there for her and I’m positive that she was eternally grateful. But she wasn’t in love with you... Not in that way.”
There was silence before Regulus laughed bitterly, eyes stinging with the miserable tears that he hid from Sirius, “Because she loved you in that way. She always had.”
There was silence between them yet again. Sirius didn’t know how to counter that.
“Why didn’t you just appear like yourself?” Regulus couldn’t help but resent Sirius’ methods. It had opened old wounds which hurt beyond belief.
“Let me explain, Reg. I had the unwavering belief that you wouldn’t have talked to me if it was in my own form. But I needed to. I needed to get through to you. And the first person I thought of... Well, it was obvious.” Sirius gave him a small twinkle, his eyes drooping with a certain sadness. “And after everything you’ve just told me, I guess it wasn’t wrong of me to think that way.”
Regulus muttered something incomprehensible, eyes avoiding his brother’s gaze.
“Honestly, would you have gone through everything you just did if it was with me?” Sirius forced a chuckle before scratching himself behind the ear with his rear leg. “Would you even talk to me once you saw who it was?” he muffled, but behind the distraction was a tone of curiosity... Of, possibly, even anxiety.
Regulus hesitated before answering. “Sirius, seriously, I would have been grateful towards anyone who just saved my life.” Regulus cuffed his hands to his mouth as he studied his brother’s corporeal patronus, who was biting at his rear.
Sirius laughed openly, his tail wagging vehemently. “Well, there you go. I was wrong and I’m sorry.”
“You’re not... You’re not dead are you?” Regulus asked to stray the conversation away from Feliciti; although he was genuinely worried. Regulus noticed how Sirius’ long snout scrunched up and his black fluffy ears twitched.
Sirius shook his head, the black fur tousling, face back towards Regulus, “Alive and kicking, mate.”
Regulus nodded, truly glad that his brother wasn’t harmed. “What about mother and father? And Kreacher?”
“Honestly, Reg, I wouldn’t know.” Sirius muttered, the bitterness towards his family barely concealed.
Regulus nodded once more, although slightly disappointed. He had told Kreacher not to tell anyone of his antics and he surely hoped that Kreacher had remained quiet... “How did you get her to be so... physical?” Regulus asked, suddenly thinking about Feliciti’s soft body against his, even though it was Sirius.
“Magic,” the dog winked, producing another wide grin.
There was silence as they both brooded over the same thoughts:
“So, did you learn anything?” Sirius breathed suddenly, facing Regulus.
Regulus remained quiet, avoiding his brother’s gaze. There was another moment of silence.
“Are you sorry for everything you did, Regulus?” Sirius whispered softly, knowing full well that he was.
“Yes,” was the reply in an even softer and delicate tone. Of course he was.
Sirius smiled, “Then you’re free to go.”
“Where?” Regulus blinked, unsure of where to search for his death in the cold dark cave.
“Wherever you’d like, Reg. Just make sure you send Feliciti my regards... and my love.” Sirius murmured, smiling gingerly.
Regulus nodded. He had always loved his brother, more than he ever knew. He was conscious of how much of Sirius’ love for Feliciti was pure and sincere, perhaps even more so than his own... Despite how much that hurt him. “Do I just drop dead, or what?” Regulus asked, forcing an affectionate smile at his brother.
“Just close your eyes,” he said as he got up onto all fours. “And you’ll find yourself wherever you want to be.” Sirius rubbed his furry head against Regulus’ palm tenderly, growling fondly. “Reg, you’re my brother and I love you.”
Regulus heard the affectionate growl as he crouched down in front of the dog, holding the hairs of his thick neck tightly. He gazed deeply into the yellow shine of his eyes and pulled in for a tight embrace as he nuzzled the top of Sirius’ soft head.
The two brothers shared one last smile before the great black dog dissolved into white mist. Regulus watched as it turned back to Feliciti with a certain emptiness in his stomach. He had loved her; despite it all.
“One last kiss?” she asked, her voice high and eyes glistening jubilantly.
Regulus shook his head, holding a hand up as she approached him slowly. “No thanks, Sirius. Not now.” He smiled at her and she smiled back.
He could feel her body leaving. The warmth, the light and the memories. He’d closed his eyes to the pitch black darkness and smiled to the chill that came through the cave. Regulus had even embraced the cold, smooth rock beneath him as he laid down fluidly, listening to the hollow echoes. He grinned once more at the darkness surrounding him and finally, he had died.
AN: Thank you all SO much for sticking by this story until the end! I know it went a bit AU ... But I just felt that this was the direction it had to take :) I'm very, VERY grateful for every one of you! And I really appreciate the fact that you've stuck with me through to the end :) It's such a relief to finish the story but I had so much fun with it! :P
So, I don't have much more to say, but THANK YOU!