Chapter 14 : Epilogue - A Honorable Death?
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Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters or locations, objects, etc. mentioned in this fanfic.
Two days later, Mrs. Black slouched in her drawing-room throne, watching through bleary eyes as Kreacher tediously embroidered a new piece of information onto the family tapestry. A scowl crossed her face as she viewed the small round burn mark next to Kreacher’s hand. Why was it that her one true son had been the one to depart so quickly from the land of the living? She would have given everything she owned to exchange the fate of her younger son with that of the elder, but alas, Regulus lay in his grave whilst the filthy blood-traitor lived on.
Her niece, Bellatrix, had tried to convince her that Regulus had been a blood traitor as well. Mrs. Black wouldn’t believe a word of it – throughout his depressingly short life, Regulus had shown naught but complete reverence for the Law of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. Bellatrix’s declaration was undoubtedly another ruse of that accursed fiend Orion, who, Mrs. Black reflected bitterly, would stop at nothing to heap as many stones of despair upon his brother as possible. Besides, she had more reliable testimony, she told herself, letting her mind wander back to the events of the previous morning.
Usually, the sheer displeasure of being roused at five o’clock would have caused Mrs. Black to erupt into one of her notorious screaming fits, but something about the haggard, listless appearance of the man standing before her compelled her to hold her tongue. She gazed apprehensively into his familiar brown eyes, wondering what possibly could have warranted such an urgent visitation.
“Hello, Severus,” she greeted him shakily. “Regulus isn’t home at the moment. Is there anything you need? You look a bit… paler than usual.”
“I… I can’t stay long, Mrs. Black,” Severus mumbled. “I just came to tell you that Regulus… well… he… he won’t be coming back.”
“W-what do you mean?” stammered Mrs. Black, alarmed. Such hesitant articulation of words on the part of perhaps the most eloquently versed wizard she had ever encountered presented a clear sign that something dreadful had occurred.
“What I mean is that… he… he’s dead. Dead in the service of the Dark Lord.” Severus did not take his eyes off the ground as he spoke.
The shriek Mrs. Black emitted was by far the most agonized sound to ever reach the ears of the numerous Dark creatures slowly beginning to infest the walls of No. 12 Grimmauld Place. Hesitantly, Severus drew her into an embrace, fighting back the tears which threatened to drip down his crooked nose while she sobbed fitfully against his chest.
As the sun crept slowly over the horizon, Mrs. Black synchronously lifted her eyes to meet those of her comforter.
“He did… die honorably, did he not?” she managed to choke out.
Severus bit his lip, frowning, while Mrs. Black glowered impatiently up at him. Yes, Regulus had left the world despised by most respectable wizarding folk as the Dark Lord’s accomplice, yet scorned by the Dark Lord himself for failing to comply with his orders. But was there anything truly dishonorable in such a rebellion? The inner workings of Severus’ brain seemed to defy time as they whirled haphazardly, slamming to an abrupt halt on what would come to be the most important decision of his entire life.
“His death was indeed honorable,” Severus concluded hoarsely, muffling the emotions coursing uninvited through his being with a dignified cough. “He has done nothing but bring utmost glory to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.”