“Well, that was a bit strange.” James commented as Remus walked away.
“Very un-Remus-ish.” Peter agreed.
Sirius nodded slowly. There was something, something more that his parents deaths and the attack on Hogsmeade stressing Remus out.
“What’s tonight’s phase?” Sirius asked.
“Waning Gibbous.” James replied automatically.
“Right.” Well that disqulifed that for why Remus’s stress was so high. That was all Sirius thought of before. The problem always made Remus extremely stressed out. Sirius kept trying to think of things that stress Remus out. He went on like that for a while. Sirius lied on the floor with his hands behind his head, staring up at the starry, snowy ceiling.
There was evil crazed laughter and a cry of pain. Sirius bolted upright. The crazed laughter was his cousin Bellatrix’s. Everyone knew that. It was heard too much lately for Sirius’s liking. He had grown up with that laughter. Sometimes it still rang in his head. The cry of pain was what made Sirius bolt up, though.
Sirius was one of the few people who had heard the cry before. He hoped he’d never hear it again after the last time he had heard it, though. It too sometimes rang in his head. It belonged to Regulus Black. It belonged to Sirius’s younger brother.
“Did you hear that too?” Sirius whispered, clinging to the hope that he had imagined it, both the laughter and the cry.
“I heard it.” Peter said. Sirius’s fear had been conformed.
Sirius grabbed his wand. If Bellatrix had hurt Regulus, and Sirius was sure she had, Bellatrix would have to answer to him. Sirius, being better at dueling that most seventh years, was rather intimidating too.
“Padfoot-“ James started.
“I don’t care James. That cry of pain is my little brother’s.” Sirius’s eyes burned with fury and the need to help his brother.
“But you-“ James started again.
“Still my brother.” Sirius returned before bolting to the scene of the crime.
As Sirius ran, people (particularly his fan girls) stared. Sirius and Regulus’s brotherly relationship was always hidden from the school’s eyes. So this was a rather surprising gesture for them.
When Sirius got there, Professor McGonagall was already taking Regulus away. Regulus was pale as snow and shaking badly. He looked so small, as McGonagall led him out. Sirius would have gone to help his brother, to make sure he was still there, but Professor Whitecap, the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, was holding him back.
Bellatrix was still laughing as Professor Dumbledore took her, undoubtfully, to his office. In the shadows of this were Bellatrix’s younger sisters, Andromeda and Narcissa.
Sirius stared at his two cousins. Through his heavy breaths and anrey, confused tears he managed to speak. “Don’t either of you care about him?”
Andromeda and Narcissa stood in shocked silence. The question had been unexpected. They appeared not to be sure if they cared about Regulus.
“ Either of you?” Sirius repeated, voice raised and still more confused tears streamed down his face.
There was more silence and lose of words between the Black sisters.
“Not even you, Andy?” Sirius whispered fiercely as he looked at Andromeda.
“I owe you an explanation.” Andromeda said softly.
Sirius was about to ask why not then and there, when he was pulled away from Whitecap’s grasp. Sirius turned to face the person who took him away. It was Remus. Sirius could tell he was back into his Remus-ish mode by the calm, assuring, but hurt all the same eyes.
Unspeaking, Remus led Sirius, who was shaking slightly from his anger and fear through the maze of purple sleeping bags.
All Sirius wanted at that moment was to be by Regulus’s side, protecting him. The poor kid was only thirteen. He was the good one so he didn’t know what Bellatrix could be like. Then again, perhaps Bellatrix had shown Regulus at a time Sirius wasn’t going to watch over his brother. Like at school.
Sensing Sirius’s feelings, Remus calmly stated “He will be alright, Sire.”
Sirius shook his head. He doubted that. Regulus had been hidden from harm and now… Sirius bit his lip. “You saw. What did she do to him?”
Remus was looking down. He was sure that information was not something Sirius should hear at the moment. The two passed Tashi Weatherby, who was scrawling in her notebook again.
“What did she do to him?” Sirius repeated.
Remus clenched his fists. Bellatrix had been evil. “Crucio. For about five seconds.”
Sirius stopped in his tracks. His brother needed him. Now. Remus was not going to stop him. This was Sirius’s brother. Sirius loved his brother. Just, he loved him privately.
Sirius knew Regulus went to the Hospital Wing. Sirius had been to the Hospital Wing many times and knew the most direct route to it from almost anywhere in the castle.
Sirius went running to the Hospital Wing, needing to know Regulus was still sane. The moment Sirius stepped into the infirmary, the new nurse, Madam Pompfrey, was begging Sirius to leave, saying Regulus needed his rest after what had happened.
“I can wait.” Sirius said, sitting down on one of the chairs.
Madam Pompfrey pursed her lips and made Sirius swear to be silent and, in the end, let him stay.
It was nearly dawn when Regulus woke up from his sleep. Sirius had been about to give up and get some rest.
“Sire?” Regulus whispered, still appearing so small after what had happened, seeing his brother’s figure in the darkness.
“Yeah, Reg?” Sirius said as he walked over to Regulus’s bed side. He grabbed Regulus’s pale, thin hand.
“Why are you here?” Regulus said, slightly coldly.
“Making sure you’re alright.” Sirius whispered, staring into his brother’s gray eyes.
“I’m fine.” Regulus snapped, pulling his hand away from Sirius’s.
Sirius closed his eyes but stayed at Regulus’s side. Bellatrix probably did the unforgivable to Regulus to show him what would happen if he went against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Now Regulus would go with them. He didn’t need Andromeda’s explanation. He needed to stay by his brother a little longer. Then he would go back to his friends.
Sirius kept sitting by his younger brother in silence. When Regulus had fallen back to sleep, Sirius squeezed his brother’s hand for, possibly, the very last time.
Sirius got up to leave. He looked over his shoulder at the sleeping profile of his brother. He wanted to say something, something that proved he cared. Sirius opened his mouth, but no words came out. With a melancholy feeling, he left.
Remus met Sirius outside the door.
“Where you waiting the whole time?” Sirius asked.
“Nope.” Remus answered. “I was sent to retrieve you.”
“Of course.” Sirius rolled his eyes.
The two walked back to the Great Hall in silence. Remus kept his head up, and wand out, alert. Sirius did the same, but his mind wandered back to his brother.
Sirius and Remus where stopped at the door by Professor Whitecap. Whitecap was in full defense. “Full names?”
“Remus John Lupin,” dead-panned Remus.
“Sirius Orion Black,” Sirius said in the same manor.
Whitecap scanned the list of students in his hand. “Patrounases?”
“Why?” Sirius asked skeptically.
“We have to aske questions Death Eaters wouldn’t know.” Whitecap replied.
“A lab dog.” Sirius answered.
“Wolf.” Remus said.
Whitecap preformed lots of complicated spell work on the doors and they unlocked with simultaneous clicks.
The two boys slipped inside. Remus went back to patrolling and Sirius found Peter and James again.
Peter was asleep and James was barely awake. He fully opened his eyes when he saw his best friend. Sirius had a shocked and sad look on as he got into his sleeping bag.
Reading Sirius’s face, James asked, “How bad was it?”
Sirius swore in response.
“Very, very bad. I see that.” James said shifting himself to face Sirius.
“She used an unforgivable.”
James’s jaw dropped and he had a loss of words. “Bu- no- illegal,” he managed to say.
“And that just gets me thinking. If a Hogwarts student used an unforgivable on family,” Sirius paused. “Think what Death Eaters are probably willing to do.”
“Unless,” James thought, “Bellatrix already is a Death Eater.”
“I wouldn’t put it past her,” Sirius mused, “But I don’t think You-Know-Who wants seventeen-year-olds.”
James shrugged. “Who knows, though?”
There was a moment of silence, and then Sirius spoke. “I’m worried that Regulus will get mixed into that.”
James didn’t know much about siblings, being an only child, but he knew Sirius loved his brother no matter what. This would be a no matter what situation. Sirius would never want Regulus mixed into that. Yet, Regulus Black probably would yet mixed into Dark Magic.
“I know you are.” James managed to say.
Sirius nodded. The boys sat there worring about the war. The war that was there, now. It had started last year, but none of the marauders had paid much attention to it until Remus’s parents had been murdered. Sirius and James’s thoughts were serious and a tad depressing.
“You know our prank?” James said suddenly.
“Yeah?” Sirius replied, being pulled out of his thoughts.
“I think everyone could do with a laugh.” James said. “We should start planning it.”
“Much agreed.” Sirius said.
They talked in low voices while planning and phrases such as ‘Is it only the Slytheriens?’ and ‘Everything red and gold,’ crept into their conversation. Prank talk made the boys feel much safer. So that’s what they talked about into the night.
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