Oh wow, the situation is getting really grave (no pun intended...)!
It was really nice to see inside of Sirius' head for most of the chapter, but I love how you started out with the picture of Bellatrix springing into action. Even in this story, when she isn't so old or so evil as she will become, she's still a ruthless fighter. Lucius' comment about torturing puppies basically sums her whole life up in a nutshell. She's a vicious loony, but even so, she is saddened by the death of her mother, if not so histrionic as Narcissa.
I can't help but wonder if there were more pieces to the puzzle than what you showed us in the last chapter. Druella may have loved her husband, but I really think that someone from such a family as hers would hardly want to risk even more scandal by offing herself. Was there an outside influence in her suicide? Did the person who killed Cygnus coax or Imperius her into killing herself? I don't know, but I'm definitely anxious to find out what happens next!!
Poor Regulus. Such a child, and his fright at seeing the broken body really brings Sirius' love for him to the surface. Except not really, because they're Blacks after all; they can't show affection! Affection is weakness!
Anyways, my point about mentioning all of that is that in Sirius' mind, we get to see how his protective instincts for his family kind of kick in at the sight of scared!Regulus. No matter how he tries to fight it, he IS a Black, and he IS inclined to at least a little family loyalty now and again. The thoughts of Quidditch and worry over Bludgers validated his concern even more. You've basically given us Sirius in what seems to be the form we know him in, and then explored his character, showing us the things that maybe we didn't see in the books and movies. Awesome!
Of course Lucius Malfoy is hiding something! I think he's a slimeball, naturally, but I don't think he killed Cygnus. What would his motive be? Money? He has his own. An insult? Would that really be cause enough to poison someone, rather than flat-out duelling them? Again, I have absolutely NO clue why he would be looking suspicious when accused of hiding something. Maybe it's all just a red herring. :P
As for Crouch... No, just... No. I don't think that he killed Cygnus. That's way too simple, especially since he's gone missing. I think that if he were the killer, he would stay in the room until every last Black had died. He's just that kind of person. But then again, why is he missing? Surely he didn't leave to take care of some other business, not when there was so much amusement at the most noble and ancient house of Black! Perhaps he's still around, hiding somewhere no one can find him? Arggghhh!! I can't even offer you any plausible suggestions! You're probably the next Agatha Christie, Harry Potter style. :)
As always, this was another really marvelous chapter, and as usual, I have NO idea who could possibly have done it. Perhaps Wipsy the house-elf?
Author's Response: Nice unintended pun :P I always appreciate a good pun! And yeah, it's getting pretty bad. Not too bad, but getting there, lol.
Yeah, she's definitely very loyal (it shows even in the books!) and very family-oriented, just she lacks emotion. Or at least the ability to show it. She's such a fun character and I'm looking to writing more of her in this! :)
Haha, I've confused you! Yes! :D Druella is perhaps a bit more confusing than on the surface, and it's certainly a question as to whether it was of her own accord or not. I'll let you decide ;)
Sirius and Regulus are one of my favourite things writing about in this - it's such a sad thing, you know, that they sort of fell apart the way they did and almost forget about each other. So yeah, a bit of family bonding (more to come later, as well, haha!). I've always thought he would be protective of Regulus when they were little, since he's so protective of Harry (in some ways, I admit...). I'm so glad you like him, though - it's not a common portrayal of Sirius, I think.
Oh, Lucius is a slimeball, you're totally right! And he's definitely hiding something... whether or not the two events are linked, who knows? ;) There are red herrings, of course, but maybe it's a fake red herring? Haha, sorry I'll stop trying to confuse you even more! :)
Crouch has an absolute explanation for why he's not there, but it could be anything and be linked to anything, and, naturally, I can't say anything! (Then again, they all have explanations for their various behaviours... so that doesn't really help!).
Wow, lol, thank you so so much! Maybe, we'll see!
The house-elf did it! :) Aww, poor Wipsy! :D
Thank you so so much for the review - I really loved reading it, it's so much fun to read through and so lovely! Thank you! :)