Chapter 1 : The First Time
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For the first time
I feel love
I realize that I was always the favored son. I had none of Sirius’ rebel spirit, I was the obedient little pure-blood, destined to become a Death Eater, expected to do exactly what Sirius did not. I remember when we were very little (I might have been but two) and Sirius was still an angel in my mother’s eyes. I used to wonder why she never treated me with the same love. Now I see that it wasn’t Sirius she loved, it was the idea of a pure-blood son to carry on the Black family name. She never loved either of us, not really. And when Sirius ran off and became friends with a Muggle lover and a werewolf, she pretended to forget he was her son.
I will never forget the day that Mother removed him from the family tree. It was the end of my fourth year, his fifth. He went to live with James Potter, a nice enough boy. However, his parents were Muggle lovers, something Mother and Father could never forgive. I think that was when they started to hate truly Sirius. I don’t believe that they had ever hated him until then. Disliked him, maybe, but never truly hated. I remember the terrible look of loathing in Mother’s eyes. It was then I decided to never be like Sirius. I vowed I would never upset her like that. I had never felt compelled to upset her before, but that day was the first time I consciously decided to do exactly what my parents expected of me. And I did. I never did anything for myself. Not until that last day.
The last day of school. What a bittersweet feeling. It was the end of my seventh and final year at Hogwarts. It wasn’t sunny as it usually was on the last day, but overcast and dreary. The sky was pouring rain as Madeline and I made our way down to the train.
Ah, Madeline. She insisted everyone call her Maddie, but somehow I always got away with Madeline. Oh, how I loved her name. Madeline. Still, to this day, it makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. And to look at her was pure bliss. Not that she was exceptionally beautiful, no, quite the opposite. She was rather plain, really, and Mother never failed to point it out. It was the only thing Mother and I ever disagreed on.
I have a lover
A lover like no other
She got soul, soul, soul, sweet soul
And she teach me how to sing
“Come on, Reggie!”
Oh, I hated that pet name, but of course I would never tell Madeline that. I would never do anything that I knew would upset my Madeline. She reached out her hand to me as she stepped out ahead. As I took it I felt the small gold promise ring on her finger and smiled to myself. It was not the first time that day that I had silently rejoiced at our engagement. It was the most wonderful thing I had ever done, to be sure.
She took off running out the door of the school, with me close behind her. “Oh, look at the sky!” She exclaimed. “It’s crying for us.” Many people thought Madeline’s matter-of-fact statements were downright strange, but I had come to treasure them as a precious jewel, like a dragon hoards his gold.
“And why’s that?” I asked her playfully. “Is it so sad that we’re leaving?”
“No, Love, never sad! Mother Nature never cries because she’s sad, she cries because she’s so happy!”
I pulled her to a stop and drew her into my arms. “And why is Mother Nature so happy?” I asked as I leaned in to kiss her.
“Mr. Black! Miss Snape!” I sighed and loosened my grip on her slightly. The moment was gone, Professor McGonagall had ruined it, but Madeline merely smiled.
“Yes Professor?” She asked, but her eyes never left mine.
“You two had best get to the train. That is, unless you want to get left behind.”
“I don’t want to get left behind. Do you want to get left behind?” I asked as I twisted her long black hair around my finger.
“Well…five minutes couldn’t hurt, could it?”
Shows me colors when there's none to see
Gives me hope when I can't believe
That for the first time
I feel love
The train ride home was spent reminiscing with friends, about the good times and the bad, the past and the future, and everything in between. Madeline’s fingers were intertwined with mine from the time we left Hogsmeade until Platform Nine and Three Quarters was visible. It was a rainy day filled with tearful goodbyes and promises to keep in touch which we all knew none would keep.
For the next five months, we lived in almost bliss. We successfully avoided informing my parents about our engagement, while Madeline’s mother helped her with our wedding plans. I became a Death Eater, out of duty. Madeline tried to pretend it didn’t bother her, but I knew it did. Madeline’s discomfort was the first thing that made me regret becoming a Death Eater. I tried my hardest to keep her happy, but it proved difficult to balance Madeline and the Dark Lord. I killed many an innocent witch and wizard, and a few Muggles and squibs as well. With every person that died at my hands, a piece of me died with them. But through it all, Madeline was there for me and I for her.
One day, half way through November, I got a letter from Sirius, asking me to meet him. My brother was fighting for the Order of the Phoenix, our spy had told us that much, and I was a Death Eater. That letter was the second thing that made me regret becoming a Death Eater. I wanted to speak to my brother so desperately. Although Mother could never see it, Sirius and I had been thick as thieves throughout most of our childhood. When he was sorted into Gryffindor, we started to drift apart, but secretly I wished we hadn’t. It destroyed me to get this letter. I wanted so much to meet with him, but I knew that I never could.
So we left. Over the next couple months, Madeline and I got married. It was the happiest day of my life. I continued to work for the Dark Lord, but I hated every minute of it. Madeline and I moved several times to keep ourselves safe.
We moved to a place where Sirius wouldn’t be able to find us, and I could pretend that I had never received the letter. I ran from him, ran like a scared dog. I was ashamed to do it, but it had to be done, to protect him, and to protect myself. I would never admit it to myself, but I was running from my brother as well. I wanted to see him so badly, but at the same time, I didn’t. I was afraid of what he would think of me, a Death Eater.
I have a brother
When I'm a brother in need
I spend my whole time running
He spends his running after me
Then one day, I was out on a ‘job’ with Severus. We were supposed to kill the family of someone who had opposed the Dark Lord. We were never told the names of the people we were murdering ruthlessly; we were only expected to do our jobs.
I took Severus’s lead and entered one of the bedrooms. In a cradle was a little baby girl, no more than a couple months old. I killed her, trying not to think about the father who would come home to find his little girl’s lifeless body.
The next day, my dear Madeline was looking through the deaths when she found an article about a young man’s slaughtered family. The man was Kendrick Adamson, a classmate of ours. He had been in Ravenclaw, and we got on fairly well. We certainly never hated each other. I had helped him out of a situation with Slughorn once, in our first year. The picture in the newspaper showed him holding the body of a baby in arms, rocking her back and forth as his body rocked with his tears.
I never told Madeline that it was me who had killed Kendrick’s baby girl, but I think she knew. Madeline always knew.
That day I vowed that I would leave Lord Voldemort and his followers forever. That I would try my hardest to avenge the people whose lives I had destroyed. I knew that I would have to get help from someone, but I didn’t know who to turn to. Madeline couldn’t help me with this, no matter how hard she tried. She knew she had no say in the ways of the Dark Lord and his followers, not even me, not when it came to this. No, I would have to turn to an outsider for help.
I remembered Sirius, and how he had always been there for me as a child, how he had tried to be there for me when I was grown. I wrote to him, and begged him to help me. I told him of all the awful things I had done, of how ashamed I was. He wrote back to me immediately, and we agreed to meet in a park we played in as children.
I was there on time, sitting on a bench by the pond, but Sirius was late as usual. I smiled to myself as he appeared ten minutes after the agreed upon meeting time. “Marauders are meant to be late,” as he had once said. I never did understand what he meant by that.
“Regulus.” He smiled.
“Sirius.” I stood up to greet him.
There was an awkward silence then, as neither of us knew what to say. I wanted him to know how truly glad I was to see him, my brother, my friend, but my Slytherin habits forbade me from any show of emotion. I wanted to reach out and embrace him as brothers should when meeting for the first time in three years, but I did not.
I feel myself going down
I just call and he comes around
But for the first time
I feel love
“Are you all right, Regulus?” he asked as he gripped my arm.
I sighed. It sounded so good to hear a familiar voice. “No,” I said truthfully. “I don’t think I’ll ever be all right, ever again.”
We sat down on the bench and Sirius looked at me with a worried gaze. “Tell me everything.”
I did. I told him everything. I told him about Voldemort and the Death Eaters. I told him about Madeline and how happy we were. He cried with me as I told him about Kendrick’s little girl and how much I hated being a Death Eater. We talked about the old days, about Mother and Father. He told me all about his days with his friends, and I shared my school days with him. I laughed at his nickname for Severus, and he laughed at Madeline’s nickname for me. I don’t know exactly how long we talked for, hours and hours, it seemed like, but I felt distinctly better when we said goodbye.
He disapparated, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do the same, so I started walking on the path that led away from the pond. It was a cool, calm day, winter day in the park by our old house. It was like walking down memory lane, almost literally. I began thinking about things that we had done here, times we had, kites we lost and toys we broke. I soon lost track of time. When I came back down to earth, I realized my feet had carried me all the way back to Grimauld Place. I found myself staring at the place I had called home for seventeen years. It had never had that feeling of home like the house that I shared with Madeline did.
As I stared at this well kept dungeon, I began to feel bad. Not once had I visited my mother. Not once had I stopped by to see how my father was doing. Not once had I been here since I had left Hogwarts. I felt my feet take me up the steps to the doorstep. I watched as my hand knocked on the solid wood, and barely noticed as my eyes glanced nervously over the painted exterior. I was about to knock again when the door swung open to reveal a particularily nasty looking house-elf.
“Kreacher,” I said, not unkindly.
“Master Regulus has returned!” Kreacher looked around me suspiciously, and then a smile lit his face. “And he has not brought the blood traitor Sirius with him!”
I frowned at the house-elf. “You really should treat him with more respect, Kreacher. He’s still a member of this family, after all.”
“Regulus!” boomed my father’s voice from behind Kreacher. “Come in, son! Come in!”
“Hello, Father,” I said as I stepped over the threshold into the dark and foreboding place.
“How are you?” asked Father importantly. “I was thinking about you the other day, you know.”
“Were you?” I tried to sound interested, but I’m afraid that I was never very good at false pretences. That was Father’s area of expertise.
My father is a rich man
He wears a rich man's cloak
Gave me the keys to his kingdom coming
Gave me a cup of gold
“Yes, I was.” He sighed, and started walking towards the living room. “I’m getting old, Regulus. You may have noticed that I seem warier than usual.”
I had. His features seemed paler and more stretched than I remembered them, and his formerly stocky figure looked to me as if it was thinner and weaker than it had been previously.
“Over this past year, I’ve gotten sick. Terribly sick. The healers can’t find a cure for it; they say that I’ll die about a year from now.”
The guilt I felt at hearing this was unbearable. My father was dying, and I had not been to see him in months. I very nearly broke down and cried. However, I did not. It was a testament to my upbringing that I held my emotions in and did not reveal them when I most wanted to. Now, looking back, I wish I had cried. I wish I had wept, and that my father could have wept with me, but I did not, and so he did not.
“How–how long have you known about his?” I was almost afraid to hear his answer, knowing that I could have been there for him when he found out.
“About two months now. The disease has not yet progressed, but it will.”
“What will you do?” I asked, stunned.
Father looked at me sternly. “I will do nothing. It is my time to go, so I will go. I am glad you came here today, Regulus. I need to talk to you.”
“Your future. The future of the Black family name. Your mother’s future. I was thinking about this the other day. I will be gone soon, Regulus. Who will be the man of the house then?”
I opened my mouth to answer him, but he cut me off.
“You will, won’t you? Yes, you will be the Head of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. You will need to get married, and I will need to tell you all I can about our history before I pass on.”
“But why me?” I asked. I was panicked. This was not the life I wanted to lead; I did not want to end up like my father. “Why not Sirius? He’s firstborn, anyway.”
“He is a traitor!” growled Father angrily. “He has left the Black family forever.”
I was beginning to get very nervous. I wanted none of this, none of the Black family name. As we reached the door to the living room, I stopped, frozen in place. “Father, I’m married,” I blurted.
“What?” he asked, surprised. “To whom, my dear boy?”
“Madeline. You remember Madeline, don’t you?”
“That Snape girl?” Father was enraged. “You married a Halfblood!”
“I don’t care, Father! I love her!” I cried. “I’ve never loved anyone the way I love her. Don’t you see? I don’t want any of this! I want my own life! I don’t want to be the Muggle hating, Death Eater son you’ve always wanted!”
He said I have many mansions
And there are many rooms to see
But I left by the back door
And I threw away the key
“Why you insolent, ungrateful little…” he roared, but I barely heard him. I ran out the door and into the street and didn’t stop until I had once again reached the park.
And I threw away the key.
I Apparated back to Madeline, back to the one person that I loved more than anything. I threw my arms around her, and I kissed her.
Yeah, I threw away the key.
“What’s the matter, Love?” She was more beautiful than anything I had ever seen. She glowed with a light that was unearthly, and I fell in love with her all over again.
Yeah, I threw away the key.
“Don’t cry, Reggie. Everything’s all right. See? Nature’s crying because she’s so happy.”
I looked out the window and saw that she was right. The heavens were pouring rain for us, once again.
For the first time
“And why is Nature so happy?” I whispered. Madeline reached up and brushed a tear off my cheek.
“Because you’re going to be a daddy.”
I smiled, and Madeline laughed. Both of us cried with the skies. Our happiness drowned out everything else, all the regret and sorrow and hate that had built up in me ever since I joined the Death Eaters.
In that moment, I knew that my whole life had been worth it, everything that I had cried over was worth it, if only to see my Madeline so happy.
For the first time
I felt the Dark Mark burn on my arm, but I didn’t want to leave my Madeline. I knew that I should, I should go so as to keep my Madeline and our baby safe.
“I have to leave,” I whispered.
Madeline looked hurt, but she nodded. “I understand. We can celebrate later, huh?”
I smiled and kissed her. “I love you.”
For the first time
“I love you, Madeline.”
That was the last time I saw Madeline. The Dark Lord had known for some time now that I had been regretting my decision to become a Death Eater, and when he discovered that I had spoken with Sirius, one of his enemies, and had done nothing against him, he had me killed on the spot. I didn’t suffer, not for an instant, but I wish I had. I wish I had suffered greatly for leaving my Madeline behind, for leaving our child. I wish he had tortured me, so that I might feel a fraction of the hurt that I know Madeline feels every day.
I was there when they buried me, though not one of them could see me. I saw Madeline cry, and I tried to tell her not to. I wanted to tell her not to be sad, but I could not. I would never again hold her in my arms and tell her how much I loved her. I cried with her, silently willing her to hear my sobs and know that it hurt me to leave her just as much as it hurt her to see me go.
Sirius was not at my funeral. He believed that I had left the Dark Lord openly and stupidly. He thought I had knowingly left my beloved Madeline to raise my child alone. His anger at me was unbearable. He never forgave me.
I want my Madeline to know how much I miss her laugh, and I wish she knew how much it hurts me to see her so heartbroken. I wish I could tell our daughter how truly beautiful she is, and I wish that I could have held her on my knee and sang to her.
But wishes never come true, not for the dead. Not when we wish for ourselves. I can wish for Madeline though. I wish Madeline would find someone, someone who won’t leave her. I wish she would find love again, even if it’s not with me. I want our daughter to have a father, not a faded photograph of a school boy.
I wish the sky would cry for them, just once more.
I feel love.
a/n: Many thanks to Smexy Vampire for being the best beta ever. Thanks for putting up with me and my stupid questions! Jessi, you too! Your critiqueing really helped!
a/n as of 9/27: Couldn't somebody have told me that the html tags were wrong before now? *grumbles incoherently* Ah, well. 'Tis fixed.