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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.”
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