Chapter 13 : Of Secrets and Fear.
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A/N: Hello, all! Another chapter for ya. Please review if you can!
As my cheeks often did around Regulus these days they flushed with color.
“No, but it is a bit improper to be with a lady so late in the evening, dear Reg,” I quipped easily a small smirk flitting on my lips.
His smirk matched my own, “You’re the one whose curiosity drove you to meet some unknown stranger at the tower, Claire. I should say you are more reckless than I with proper ettiquette.”
I let out a soft chuckle, moving to sit on one of the stone benches of the observation deck, “I have been a bit more reckless this term, haven’t I?”
Regulus’ face drew more serious slowly as he mulled over my comment, “It’s the oncoming darkness. Everyone is a bit more reckless these days.”
I observed him quietly as he sunk next to me, muting my own emotions to match his newly solemn turn of conversation.
“Why can you see thestrals?” I said softly gauging if I had overstepped my boundaries.
He sighed heavily and looked down at his feet but relented, “I killed someone. A muggle man actually. The Death Eaters needed his home because it was close to a magical village, any magic we used out there would virtually go undetected.”
“Is that when you got your Mark?” I asked quietly, the curiosity burning in my lips. I was trying not to imagine a cruel Regulus, killing a man with a flick of his wand. I was trying to imagine him as he truly was, a boy caught in a man’s war.
Regulus looked at me quizzically now, “Yes. How…do you know about that? How do you know that’s how the Mark is received?”
I smiled sadly now, glancing over at him briefly, “I watched my father get his.”
I never spoke of that night. Not with anyone. Not even my own mother.
I could feel the emotion well up in me now, the shock had long since buried all of the sadness endued that evening almost a year ago.
“You…watched? Your father wouldn’t have allowed that.” Regulus said in absolute faith, his mouth slack in disbelief.
“My father didn’t know. I snuck into his study before all of the others came for their meeting. They had been coming for a meeting on that evening nearly every month and I was so tried of being left out of the loop. I wanted to know what was going on and my parents refused to include me. Only, this time only one man came. Well, one man and the muggle. The Dark Lord ordered my father to torture the young muggle girl; he was looking for information about a family. And when she had told all she knew, he ordered her killed,” I said evenly now, recounting the events from my hidden vantage point of the small coat closet.
“She was my age,” I finished lamely, feeling my bottom lip quiver a bit. I grit my teeth and pressed my lips together.
My ancestors would be ashamed of the way my chest tightened in grief over the death of a muggle girl. But they hadn’t watched the light fade from her eyes. Or witnessed the brilliant green streak of light emit from the wand of a person they admired and loved.
“I didn’t kill after that man,” Regulus started quietly, grimacing, ”His was the only life I could bear to take. Your father actually covered for me frequently this summer, because if the Dark Lord knew you could not bear to kill, well, you were no better off than those we were fighting against.”
There was a beat of silence among us, the air thick with secrets and words we had not shared with others. We were really in this now; there was no turning back.
“I’m afraid of ending up like that muggle girl. It’s why I listen to my mother. It’s why I need to get married, it’s why I need to get pregnant soon after,” I started quickly unleashing thoughts I had hardly let press to my subconscious in these past few months, “I can’t be apart of this oncoming war. It will get me killed.”
Regulus’ hand reached for mine, and it was not what I expected. It was comfort and strength. It was someone to lean on. I set my head easily on to his shoulder and felt a feeling I had not felt in what seemed like years: peace.
“What are we going to do Regulus?” I asked softly, feeling the tears of worry and grief slip silently down my face.
“I’m no longer sure, Claire,” Regulus answered honestly, giving my shoulder a small squeeze.
I breathed out softly, peeking out at the world beyond the thin black curtains that surrounded the bed. Evan’s chest rose in a slow rhythm against my cheek, his right arm holding my upper body to his as he slept. Some nights I could not escape his grip and slip back to my own bed.
Instead of having the dormitory evacuate for our lovely evening escapades, I had convinced Rosier that a powerful silencing charm as well as a sticking charm for the curtains to remain closed during the duration of our time would suffice.
I could see Regulus clearly from the vantage point, his lean form silhouetted in the dim glow of green light and long black shadows. He seemed to be asleep, his body moving in time with his breathing pattern. A couple of the boys in the dormitory snored lightly as well. It was in moments like these that I could forget who they truly were becoming in the morning light: killers.
They pushed vigorously for the pureblood cause, and schemed the ways to make it a possibility within the walls of Hogwarts. I couldn’t figure out what exactly they planned to make happen, but I knew something was brewing. It made nights like these impossible to settle from.
It’s like my body was eagerly awaiting some call to action, some way to play its part in the ever-present darkness headed our way.
It came more quickly then I imagined but not from within the walls of Hogwarts. It came blaring in all of the news announcements the following morning; it made breakfast in the Great Hall a nightmare. People were shouting, crying, or wearing smug grins as the chaos ensued.
I slipped in to the massive crowd of students gathering around one another. I began to pick up just what had happened and with each new piece of information I felt dread well up in my heart, making my legs feel like lead.
A group of wizards had attacked a prominent muggle village in the early hours of the morning. Among those who were killed were two wizards, it seemed that they were apart of an organization that had slowly been forming to resist the attacking wizards. I had known for quite some time what the group of Voldemort’s followers preferred to be called these days. They had in the past year ditched being known as the Knights of Walpurgis but had donned the darker title of Death Eaters. And now I was hearing that name whispered form the mouths of students and professors alike. I felt my stomach churn.
I finally found the Slytherin table, the boys looking positively joyful. My stomach tosses again, threatening my desire to not throw up this morning.
“It seems they’re finally beginning to take notice,” Rosier announced cheerily as I sat next to him, staring evenly at his mates.
“Yes well, you all will have plenty of time to revel in this when the year is out, for now we have to focus on lying low and making it through exams,” I commented quickly, picking at the banana muffin on the plate in front of me.
“Possibly,” Evan muttered tightly, his face set in a lock of determination as he regarded his friends.
I was just about to inquire about what he meant when the Great Hall seemed to explode all of the sudden. A small Ravenclaw boy lunged toward a younger Slytherin, his expression fiercely angry. The noise level grew dramatically as everyone looked on in surprise at the exchange.
“Enough,” boomed the deep oice of Dumbledore, “In view of recent events all classes will be cancelled today. All students will report to their dormitory’s effective immediately. You will be permitted to leave only for meal times and in the presence of a prefect. Prefect’s please do your duty to this school and your classmates as best as possible. Now.”
The prefects sprang to action and began herding the students to their dormitory; a couple of people pulling the Ravenclaw boy off of it seemed to be the young Carrow boy. We were being herded back to our dormitories quickly, I glanced over to see Regulus directing some of the younger Slytherin’s along. I quickly maneuvered through the crowd to him; I had so much I wanted to ask. Did he know about this attack? Was my father involved?
“I suggest you head to your dormitory now, Nott,” Regulus said rather icily, his words silencing the questions in my head.
I nodded briskly and marched off to the stream of Hufflepuffs, everyone taking their sweet time before they were to be on lock down for the rest of the day. A few couples were kissing and saying good-bye as if the lack of contact for one day was unbearable. A group of first year Gryffindor’s were staring wide-eyed and with fear as a prefect guided them through the hallways.
A couple of taller figures emerged in the hallways, older looking people who wore scars like trophies and harsh glares. Aurors. Hogwarts truly was going under lock down.
Once everyone had made it in we made ourselves at home in our dorm. Many had taken to relaxing the common room but there was too many people for my taste. My room mates seemed to share this sentiement.
Anabelle sat on her bed, marking in her various playbooks and looking at weather maps from last year to plan for possible conditions for her upcoming games. Mary Lou was idly doodling on parchment, I could distinctly make out her writing her name as “Mary Lou Bones,” in numerous ways. Cher, another of our dorm mates who fancied herbology more than boys, was examining her miniature garden and the growth rate of the plants.
“Who do you think was killed in that attack?” I started quietly, flipping the book in front of me on star charts closed.
Cher eyed me warily before answering, “I heard it was a small family, the Joyner’s I believe. Their daughter Theresa, is a Ravenclaw here, fourth year I think. Her dad was a wizard, but her mum was a muggle.”
I breathed out evenly, almost a sigh escaping my lips.
“It’s getting worse whatever is going on out there. People are disappearing, families are getting killed, and muggles seem to be taking the worst of it,” Mary Lou said seriously, regarding each of us.
“I saw a couple of Aurors popping up when we were being herded down here,” I commented, raising my eyebrows.
“I noticed that too. I think possibly Dumbledore is trying to keep everyone calm. They seem to be targeting muggles and muggleborns. And where is the biggest gathering muggleborn witches and wizards currently?” Cher answered quickly, methodically pruning her plants.
“I wonder if Hogwarts is so safe,” Mary Lou said quietly, “I mean those Marauder boys used to always find new secret passages and tunnels in this school. Surely it means it’s easier for people to get in.”
“You only know that because you snogged Black before he high tailed it out of this school,” I quipped, sending Mary Lou a mischievous smile.
She giggled in response, her cheeks warming considerably in the warm lighting of our dormitory.
“She’s right though,” Cher said quickly, setting down her garden tools, “We’re like sitting ducks here. People can get in but it seems impossible to get out if they block the most practical ways.”
“We’re safe here, as long as Albus Dumbledore is here,” Anabelle said cheerily, offering us all a warm smile, “Hogwarts is the safest place in the universe.”
They all exchanged small smiles and I tightened my lips in hope of showing some sort of agreement.
I couldn’t bear to tell them that they should really be afraid of their fellow students. They should fear the pack of boys that they had grown up around in these halls, taken classes with, and completed assignments along side. They should fear my brothers, the boys I had grown up surrounded by and worst of all they should fear the boy I was expected to marry.
Even I was afraid of them now.
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