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Different You by Yasmin93
Chapter 8 : Rule One Of Being A Black
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 1


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A/N: Only a short chapter this time, ready for a nice long one next.
I am over the moon with this story, it's been featured :) I don't know how it happened but I can't explain how happy I am about it!!! Thank you for reading and reviewing you beautiful people xx


I had no idea where I was going. All I knew was that I needed to get away. Get away from the broken man that I didn't recognise and everything he was talking about. The prospect of death weighing heavily over me as I ran as fast as my legs could take me away from my father.

Tears streamed down my face, blurring my vision. By this point I was running on memory alone, praying that I didn't bump into anyone I knew. I couldn't face anyone in that moment. If I was barely able to comprehend what was going on, how could I even attempt to talk to anyone about it.

Warm, brown eyes were imprinted in my brain as I thought about the one person I needed to talk to. He was, after all, there every time before. He was the one person I relied on both times mom fell ill in the past; the only person who had never let me down. He was on the opposite side of the world, living his life in Miami without me, completely oblivious to the dyer state I had got myself into.

I let my mind wander, revelling in the brief escape from my family problems as I thought about how much I needed and missed my best friend.

It was only when I got to the library door that my legs stopped, my vision still obscured by salty tears. I took in a deep breath before pushing the doors open, trying my best to ignore all the eyes that were following me as I manouvered to the furthest table from the door. The looks on everyone's faces made it clear that I definitely looked just as bad as I felt, if not worse.

I quickly, and quietly, sat down at the table, gently placing my bag on it as I started rooting through it for everything I needed. The tears didn't falter the slightest amount. They only seemed to flow faster with every passing moment. And with every passing moment my heart seemed to crumble that little bit more.

Once I had everything I needed to write a letter I glanced around the library again. Everybodies faces were distorted, but I could still hear the laughter and murmurs.

Jealousy washed over me the more I listened. They were all enjoying themselves, whispering amongst one another. The happiness that radiated off them only made my solemn mood even less manageable.

I nibbled on the end of my quill before dipping it in the ink. I didn't care if it was legible. I didn't even care if it didn't make any sense. I just needed to find a way to get everything onto paper, maybe then I could figure out a way to deal with it.

Joe

It happened again. The cancer is back. It's bad.

I don't know anything else. Not that anything else even matters right now. How can he expect me to focus on anything when my own mother is dying?

Everything is falling apart and I don't know what to do. I want to see her. To hug her. To find out it's all a mistake. Or maybe I can find something that will help her?

I can't tell anyone. I can't have them changing the way they treat me. The way they look at me. I can't face the pity any more. I thought I'd finally got away from all of that when I moved here.

I need you to tell me what to do.

Please tell me you're still visiting over Christmas vacation? I have a feeling I'm going to need you more than ever.

I miss you so much.

Love you always,

Jules

xox


I read over the letter for the third time, tears dropping onto the parchment as I got to the bottom of it.

The sound of books slamming onto my table brought me back to reality, causing me to jump out of my skin.

"I should have known it was only a matter of time before you holed yourself up in here again." Regulus' voice was deadpan, yet there was a slight scoff at the end of his words that would normally be enough to know he was joking around.

With a deep sigh, I tore my eyes away from the parchment, not bothering to wipe the tears away. There was no point, I knew it was going to be impossible for me to stop crying by this point. I'd lost my composure and wasn't sure I could shut it off any more.

Regulus was taking the seat beside me, putting himself between me and the rest of the world. It was as though he was protecting me from the world with just his presence.

"Juliet?" The softness in his voice shocked me but I know I gave no reaction to his words. "What's happened?"

I jumped as Regulus gently placed his hand on mine, moving his face slightly into my view so he could capture my attention.

My breath caught in my throat as I realised that his eyes matched his voice. Gentle with a hint of concern. Yet, his mouth rested in a slight grimace as though it wasn't easy for him to let that small sliver of emotion out.

Regulus, who was normally so cut off and in control of his emotions, was showing me a side of him I had yet to see. A side to him that, according to everyone else, didn't exist.

As I looked at him, the struggle obvious on his face, I knew Remus was wrong. I didn't have anything to worry about with Regulus. He cared about me, and was making himself uncomfortable by trying to make sure I was alright. If all I was was a way to get back at Sirius, why go through all the trouble?

"Jules?" My eyes snapped back to those grey eyes and I felt somewhat at ease. Those soft eyes were enough to soothe me enough that it finally felt like I could breath again.

"My mom." My voice cracked as I tried to speak for what felt like the first time in days. "She's ill."

It felt weird, saying it. It was as though by saying those words it really was true. That by telling someone it just clarified what was actually happening.

My head dropped into my heads and I tugged at my hair slightly, wanting nothing more than to scream and let go of everything but it wasn't the time or the place.

"What is it?" If I thought Regulus' voice was soft before, it was nothing compared to this.

His eyes searched my face whilst I did all I could to avoid looking at him. It was just as I had written in the letter. He wasn't looking at me the same.

"Cancer."

I'd never specified that my mom was a muggle before, not in front of Regulus anyway. If my blood status mattered to him he didn't let it show, which lifted a small weight off my shoulders.

Regulus simply nodded as he rubbed his forearm. He looked over his shoulder, his gaze landing on a group of students who were all eyeing me up curiously.

"First things first," Regulus' kept his gaze on the small group, not turning back to me until they all averted their gaze. "come with me."

He stood, his posture was flawless, as always. He offered his hand out to help me up, which I took despite not needing it. I let him direct me to the back of the library, finally out of view of all the other students, who obviously found my state intriguing.

Dropping my hand, Regulus stood in front of me, causing me to crane my neck as I looked up at him.

"Don't let them see you like this." Using his knuckle, he wiped away a stray tear from my cheek. "You're strong. Don't let anyone think otherwise."

I gave him a sad smile as I rubbed my eyes on the back of my hand. "It's a bit late for that." I gave a dry humourless laugh before leaning back against one of the book shelves. "Besides, there's nothing wrong with showing your emotions. You should do it more often."

"Rule one of being a Black." Regulus spoke with a slight sneer, sounding as though he was speaking from memory, rather than what he actually thought. "Don't show any signs of weakness."

Regulus seemed to withdraw away again at his words, like any show of any emotion was just that; a sign of weakness.

The more I got to know the younger Black brother, the more complex he seemed to get. It wasn't just waiting for him to relax enough around me to open up, he'd been brought up not to open up to anybody. He'd been brought up to be cold and distant. Yet, there he was struggling to be open for me. To show some sort of compassion, in the only way he knew how to.

"It's a good job I'm not a Black then, isn't it?" I tried to lighten the conversation, attempting to ignore the heaviness of my heart.

It was no use, we both knew it. I couldn't force a smile or a laugh. I couldn't pretend everything was fine. There was no way I was going to be able to just go on like normal.

I sighed and screwed my eyes shut tightly, trying to stop the tears from flowing freely.

Regulus let out a small sigh at the same time that I did. "Come here." He whispered as he pulled me against his chest, his arms wrapping around me.

That was all it took for the flood gates to open. I clung to the front of Regulus' robes, sobbing into them as he rubbed small circles on my back. His movements were stiff as he tried to comfort me, revealing that he didn't really know what he was doing.

The faint smell of flowers washed over me and I knew he'd been in our clearing before he came to the library. That, mixed with the stale scent of the potions classroom calmed me enough to compose myself. It was only then that Regulus dropped his arms and took a step back.

As I looked up at him I came face to face with the Regulus that I had grown used to. The one in control of every little thing he did. The one that wasn't looking at me with pity filling his eyes.

"I think that's a bit too much emotion from you, Mister Black." I wiped my eyes on the back of my sleeves trying, and most probably failing, to make sure I didn't have black streaks running down my face.

"I must be spending too much time around you." His voice was barely louder than a murmur. "You done?"

Despite the coldness in his voice, there was a sparkle in his eye. It was as though he could read my mind. He was making sure he didn't treat me any differently and it made me feel as though I could deal with anything life could throw at me.

I nodded at him before following him back to the table, glad for the breath of fresh air. It was as though my head was clear and I knew what I had to do.

"Do you want to talk about it?" He pushed the letter on the table towards me, glancing down at it as he did.

"All I know is Mom is ill, and Dad," I shoved the letter to Joe into my bag, under the watchful eye of Regulus. "I've never seen him so bad. He's worried, so it must be bad."

"That's all you know?" Regulus raised an incredulous eyebrow at me. "You didn't think to find out any more?"

"It's not exactly new." I shrugged, biting my thumb nail as did. "She's had it a couple of times before."

"Oh." Regulus seemed to think for a moment before fixing his eyes back on me. He sat with his right hand resting on his left forearm the whole time. "Is there nothing healers can do?"

"She wouldn't go to a healer the other times." My mind went back to the state she was in the last time; how frail and thin she got towards the end. How close she was to giving up then. "But maybe if I can find something to help her?"

I looked at Regulus expectantly, hoping he might know something I was yet to figure out. We both knew he was privy to certain magic that I wouldn't have a clue about.

He sat back in his chair, almost in the same way Sirius would, his hair falling down past his shoulders. His eyebrows furrowed together as he thought for a moment before turning back to me.

"I'll ask around." Was all he said, the tone of his voice was enough to tell me that he wasn't going to answer any questions about who he was going to be asking.

"Was that really one of your family rules?" I blurted out, saying the first thing that came into my head. The last thing I wanted was to sit in silence and stew on everything that was going on. If dad was going to force me to stay here I knew I had to at least have a conversation without breaking down.

Regulus gave me a sad smile, one that matched my mood. "Yeah. I guess it helped growing up." He mumbled, his hands were laid gently in his lap. "It's difficult for people to take advantage if you never let yourself be vulnerable around anyone."

"That's sad." I shook my head, not wanting to believe that he really was so sceptical of everyone. "Being angry or crying isn't a weakness."

"I guess that depends on who you ask. Separating myself from my emotions is probably the only thing that saved me from Sirius' upbringing."

"It's also the thing that pushed you apart." I pointed at him, a pang of sadness hitting me when I thought about the two estranged brothers. "Life's too short. You really should sort that out."

"Like I said before. It's too late for that." Something flitted across Regulus' face as he thought. His eyes seemed far away as he stared at the book shelf behind me. He quickly snapped himself out of it. "You don't know the half of it."

"He's your brother."

"He was my brother." Regulus gave me a small smile which turned into a small smirk. "It's never going to happen. Anyway, shouldn't we be doing some research? Or do you want me to leave you to Joe?"

I raised my eyebrow at him, not sure where he was going.

"It's good to see you finally getting over Sirius." His eyes sparkled mischievously which contrasted drastically with the drawl in his voice. "Love you always." His voice was mocking, making it apparent that he'd read more of my letter than I realised.

I glared at him as he stood up to gather some books for the pair of us to go through. Despite the daggers I was throwing in his direction I couldn't help but feel grateful that he was there. It was never going to be easy, dealing with mom being ill, but it might just be manageable with Regulus by my side, even if comforting me wasn't comforting himself.

He was getting me to use my head, to focus on any good I could do. That was the only way I would be able to get through this and still be sane. To focus on helping her, rather than focussing on what might happen later on down the line.

None of it stopped the heart wrenching feeling that I was going to lose her, but it stopped me from getting lost in it. It gave me the direction I needed to not lose myself along the way. Hopefully.


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