The house was silent. Too quiet. It was like the house was encased in it’s own sound bubble. The unlit halls were dark, empty of life as she creeped forward. The shadows were dimmed as the light hidden behind a curtain across the corridor washed early yellow light steadily around the corner. Particles of glowing dust danced like fairies within the pale light as if they would on a stage.
Soft feet padded across the wooden floor. Careful. Careful. I wouldn't want be caught. She avoided the places where she knew the floors would creak. She took another step towards the innocent looking door. Just a peek. I just want to know who’s behind the door.
Finally the young girl stood before the tall, bronze colored door. Standing on her toes, she reached for the handle as her two tiny hands had grasped the cool knob and twist. Still holding the door, the girl pushed the door forward at a snail like pace, quickly sneaked in, and closed the door with a soft click.
The room went dark when she surveyed around. As her eyes adjust to the minimal light of the closed curtain, she gazed around the familiar space. The walls would be a warm gold-ish color like the sun during spring if the small but spacious room wasn't so dark. There were vaguely shaped furniture pushed against the wall. The girl ignored them and noted the bed was against the wall in front of her, aligned to the center. Finally the young girl had saw a pron form under the covers.
There was a chair already situated just to the left of the bed, so she thought logically to tipped toed her way towards it. It took a bit of determination to climb on top of the chair, but she had successfully made it. The young girl had grinned triumphantly.
Sitting on her knees, she observed the young sickly looking man on the bed. It was too difficult to see much but she could tell that if the room was lit, the man would look like a sweaty ghosts. Do ghosts even sweat? She then was taken aback on how wrapped up he was like an Egyptian mummy. She noted there were already some areas where fresh pink skin had recently grown.
The girl had recalled her mother had spoken about some spells and potions she would use at her job as a Healer. She remembered getting bored at some point, but she was glad her mummy knew how to heal people who are hurt. She knew how much her mother worries about her too, since she always ended up somehow falling over even over nothing–or over her own feet.
The girl looked back curiously at the young sleeping man. He had messy black hair like the colour of a raven’s feather and a black cat. She had vividly remembered tripping over a black cat, as a result the cat had ended up following her everywhere. Her mother had eventually let her kept it.
The girl shook her wandering mind and went back to observing the man. He had the high cheek bone like her mother, but more masculine. And the aristocratic pretty features, though the young man didn't look like he had eaten in awhile. There were also prominent dark bags under his eyelids even though he had slept since yesterday afternoon when the man and her mother popped into the sitting room. She had ferociously denied to her father that she cried at the time because of the ugly scary creature with them. She shivered at the memory. The girl was just happy that she hadn't seen the thing since.
The girl looked back at the man’s sleeping features. She’d wondered how the man came to be like this and worried her mother so.
Unexpectedly, the man had shifted which surprised her so much she fell off the chair with a squeak. The girl crashed onto the follow with a thud, which caused the man to suddenly sprang up. Though, he prominently fell back on the bed roughly, groaning.
She saw the man’s stunning grey eyes shifting around till it landed on her. She practically felt her hair turn pink as her face, so not wanting to be rude about disturbing the man’s sleep she introduced herself.
“Wotcher Mister! I’m Nymphadora, but my daddy calls me Dora a lot anyways. Which I would prefer you call me, by the way. I’m really sorry for waking you up, but I was just so curious about you. Though, I’ve been wondering, why do you look like you’ve been ran over by a herd of hippo-griffs?”
The man just stared at Dora stiffly with his pupils practically blown up. Then replied with a croaky, “What?”
Dora picked herself off the floor and clambered back on the chair, while ignoring the eyes watching behind her. “Well, you looked just awful when you and mummy popped in the sitting run with a umm– the wrinkly creepy creature with big ears.” She nodded satisfied with the description, “Though, mummy healed you, so you look better now. Still awful, but better. Mummy is still worrying a lot about–”
The older man cutted her off, “Wait, who are your parents?”
“Daddy's name is Edward, but everyone calls him Ted and mummy’s name is sort of hard for me to pro– umm– pron–.”
“Pronounce.” The man offered. He had seemed less stiff by then, but his voice would still croaky.
“Yeah, and it’s long like my name.” Dora scrunched her nose. “I can barely pronou- umm, say my own name. Mummy always says my name is beautiful, but I dunno. Anyways, daddy always call mummy Andy. How about you, what's your name?”
The man looked hesitant and studied Dora’s curious face. He then sighed looking resigned, “If you must know, my name is Regulus.”
“That’s a nice name, though kind of strange. Reg–u–lus.”
Regulus shook his head, “You’re a bit strange yourself.” Dora shrugged and bobbed her head in agreement as corner of Regulus twitches up. Dora noticed Regulus eyes shifted up to look just above her head. “That's an interesting choice of color.”
“Oooooh, yeah! I can change my hair and other parts of my body to anything I want. Well my hair color also changes a lot when I’m either reeeaally happy, or reeeeally mad. Anyways, mummy thinks I should at least keep one look for a week or two so I don't keep surprising her when we go out. Daddy thinks it's funny though. Oooohhh, I can show you.” Dora closed her eyes and furrowed her eyebrows in concentration, waiting for the sort of usual fuzzy feeling she felt when she change something. When she was done, she peeked her through her eyelids to see a funny expression where Regulus’s jaws dropped to the floor.
He closed his mouth slowly then weakly stated, “You– your a Metamorphmagus.”
“Yep.” Dora stated as she pop the ‘p’. She grinned and shook her now shoulder length black locks much like Regulus’s raven black hair, while her eyes shown a silver grey a shade lighter than Regulus’s. The young Metamorphmagus kick her short, chubby legs while humming a tune the her mummy usually sings.
Something seemed to click on Regulus’s features, “Who are your parents again?”
Both the older wizard and younger Metamorphmagus suddenly jumped when there was a knock at the door. The room was immediately cast with morning light as the curtains moved aside by themselves. Dora saw Regulus spun his head to face her mother with a look of pure shock on his face that made her muffled her giggle behind her hand.
“I see you're awake now Regulus.” Andromeda nodded at the shocked face wizard then turn to her daughter, “There you are Nymphadora,” Dora scrunched her nose up at her name but faced her mother anyways, “Would you please go downstairs to help your father set the table for breakfast?”
“Alright, mummy.” Dora hopped off her seat nearly falling over again, but caught herself. “Bye Mister Reggie, nice talking with you!” The little girl skipped then passed her mother leaving the still shocked wizard sitting on the bed.
Sirius woke up to find himself that he had spent the night on the hard leather couch. His back was cramped enough to have felt like he had slept on a brick wall (which he knew what it was like since it did happen once, but that was Prong’s fault). The wizard cursed at the much too bright happy light. He groaned, rubbing his face as he got up.
“What the hell am I doing on the couch?”
A burst of green fire lit the flat as a man ran in with ragged breath screaming, “PADFOOT!”
Sirius proceeded to immediately fall off the couch in a heap. He then started to let a second round of curses, but in the end decided to stay on the floor. The floor is a nice place to be.
“Are you just going to lay there?” The man with hair that is forever cursed to look like bed hair raised his eyebrows, then he walked over and plopped on the couch where Sirius had apparently slept on the night before.
“It's too early for everything, Prongs.”
James rolled his hazel eyes and sighed. “I’m just going to be blunt here, Sirius. I came over because I found out about, you know–”
Sirius blinked with honest confusion, he creased his forehead trying to rack through his brain of what he and James last spoke about, “About what?”
“It’s in the paper.”
Sirius gave his friend a deadpanned expression.
James pulled his circular glasses off and rubbed his face. He then took out the Daily Prophet and threw it in front of the man currently resigning on the floor, “About Regulus.”
Everything that happen the other day suddenly came crashing onto Sirius; the letter, the forest, the grieving, the memories.
“Oh.” The wizard just laid there as a forbidding cloud covered his expression.
“Yeah.” James pushed his glasses back on the brim of his nose and looked at Sirius pitifully. “Are you alright?”
“As much as I’ll ever be with grieving for my supposedly dead brother who I haven't spoken to since I left Hogwarts with nothing but recent memories of arguments, yelling, and hexes and then finding out he was a Death Eater which I think that maybe it was my fault for leaving him at my childhood home with parents who are practically the ‘Dark Lord’ supporters and no way to make amends with now that said dead brother is dead. Oh, did I mention, there's no body to bury. Other than that, I’m a great ball of sunshine that wants to dance with pink fluffy unicorns on rainbows.” Sirius then proceeded to curled up on himself. Yep, the floor is where I deserve to be right now.
Sirius felt eyes burning on the back of his head but he didn't care. All he wanted to do is drown in his own misery. Maybe I should get a drink later. In the morning? Yep.
“So–you are planning on going to the funeral? The place where you know your family who disowned you, would be too?”
“Might as well.” So I could curse the lot of them to kingdom come.
James just stared skeptically, “Are you sure that’s a brilliant idea? I’m pretty sure there would be a lot of Death Eaters there too. I wager plenty of them would line up to hex your arse off once they see your face. Maybe torture you to oblivion afterwards.”
“We’ve done years worth of stupid stuff before, Prongs. Do you not remember the incident with the apples?” Both of the wizards shivered.
James shook his head, “Moony still avoids apples like a plague after that, though they still freak me out a bit too. Ugh, Lily sometimes gives me looks when I try to stop her from making apple pie.”
“Yeah–Why not add ‘going to a Death Eater infested funeral’ to the list? ‘Sides, I’ll be staying as Padfoot the whole time and watching from a distance.” Sirius rolled onto his back to the face the ceiling that held some old cracks and took a deep breath, “I just feel like I should go. I don't know, Regulus is–” the wizard paused and murmured, “he was my younger brother.”
As James inhaled through his nose and exhaled out through his mouth, “Alright, the date of the funeral is in the paper.” James turned his head and studied the lonely clean flat around him.
To be truthful, out of all the Marauders, Sirius was surprisingly the most neatest. During their first year at Hogwarts, Sirius initially would be asking questions why either James or Peter had left their beds unfolded or why they had left their clothes around. He had even asked about the way they had organized their things from books and such. Though Remus was neat himself, he thought the way Sirius acted was a bit weird also, not that any of them admitted it. They had all thought he asked those things because he was those type of kids who liked to keep clean, so they went along with it.
Before that, around the Start-of-Term Feast, Sirius had sat up stiffly straight unlike any other First Year and ate like most of the Professors (and the Slytherins) did. James had asked about it, but Sirius had distracted him with a joke of some kind and then asked about the way he would set up pranks. That night, James had realized Sirius didn't eat anything for the rest of the feast.
For the first couple days of the term, James and the rest had thought Sirius was a strange kid for no other reason than being himself. Well, until the day the letter came. His roommate had the very first Howler of the year. The reasons why Sirius was the way he was had finally came to light for the three other roommates. It was the day the four of them formed their pack, and the day James sealed their friendship for the rest of their days.
Sirius was a kid with a strict and unhappy home life. There were some brief information of a younger brother that seemed to shed light to the gloomy childhood, but Sirius would usually became dejected or worried when he was mentioned. James wondered about the Brother’s relationship sometimes, but since he had met the younger Black a year later–it wasn't a pleasant confrontation to say the least. He wasn't sure what to make of him at the time.
Now older, he thought maybe, the brothers only had each other before the elder one left. James had felt a bit guilty about the way he had treated Slytherins back then since Lily gave him ‘the talk’ about the subject. But truly, he thought Regulus made his choice a long time ago.
James’s hazel eyes landed back on the other man’s depressed form resting on the wooden floor. James didn't liked the fact that one of his best friend was suffering alone like this. He will damn well make sure the man who had stood next to him through thick and thin not go down like this. “Until the funeral, you’ll be staying with me. We have plenty of room, and Lily would be happy to see you.”
Dimmed eyes still faced the ceiling above him, “I don't want to bother you or them with me being like this.”
“Nope, you're staying at my place and you have no choice in the matter. If you resist, I will be forced to personally drag you out, and you can guess what I would do when I want to do something.”
“You couldn't get Lily to go out with you till our seventh year.” Sirius dryly pointed.
“Oi! I’m married to her now! You don't need to bring that up! We were talking about your problems, not my past problems. Now get off the ruddy floor and let's get going, Lily is making pancakes right now.”
Regulus fidgeted. His pale, clammy hands clutched the duvet that was spread over the bottom half of his body. He knew his appearance was currently atrocious considering how much he felt like being mauled by a ‘pack of hippogriffs’ as referenced to the little girl who was in fact a Matephorpus. A real Matephorpus! Regulus was also relieved that Kreacher made it out. Even if Andromeda’s daughter sort of insult the poor House-elf.
Though in literal sense, he had been mauled and nearly drowned by animated dead bodies created by the Dark Lord. Well, Regulus refused to refer the man–monster–that anymore.
Monster seems to be the appropriate to describe him. He shall proceed to refer him ‘Mort’ in his head. Since in French ‘Vol de mort’ translates to ‘Flight of Death’ and ‘mort’ is really the conjugated form of ‘mourir’ which means ‘to die’, thus the monster well further be called Mort. Ironically, naming himself of fleeing from death, referring to immortality, was almost laughably obvious. Not that anyone had seen it, the means gaining immortality were just too, inhuman. But blind promises and power within someone's grasp were in the way of the truth.
Overall, Regulus hadn't felt this skittish since he had found out the truth about Mort. Though with all things considering, Regulus hadn't seen hide nor hare of his disowned cousin in a long time. So yes, he would be fidgety when facing her dark intensely sparking eyes that had started right at him down to his very being. Scrutinizing him.
Regulus couldn't recall how he had gotten to Andromeda’s home. He couldn't even fathom why she of all people would save him! Regulus was even more perplexed of how she had managed to have found the cave, let alone fend off the hordes of Inferi and saved him in the midst of that.
His cousin looked much older, more mature than when he had last seen the witch. Her features were still scarily similar to Bellatrix’s, from her high cheekbones to the arch of her eyebrows, though the similarities ended there. Bellatrix held an aura of chaotic madness around her, while Andromeda had held a nature of tenderness and compassion.
At the moment, being under the older woman's care was not how Regulus had envisioned he would be at after he had accepted to have died in his watery grave.
“I need you to take some of these potions. I’ve been waiting for you to wake to administer them to you. If you must know, I already applied salves and Dittany, so your scars would have been healed over by now. Although, you did had a lot of blood loss, so you will need to take the Blood-Replenishing Potion first.” The witch gestured towards the one of the two bottles near what seemed to be a glass of water he hadn't noticed on the nightstand. “The bottle on the right.”
“There were traces of some kind of substance that I couldn't make out within your system. I had managed to get your blood stream cleared of the substance, so I don't expect it would be much of a problem in the long term. You’re also severely dehydrated, I suggest you drink a lot of fluids in the meantime, especially water. I don't recommend eating any solid or hard food for a at least two days.”
She took a moment to pause and continued, “Your heart had stopped momentarily, but I revived you soon enough. Considering you were underwater for an extensive amount of time before I had gotten you out, your brain lacked the oxygen it needed thus you might experience dizziness and nausea at unexpected times. The brain isn't my field of expertise, therefore I could not go further to help you unless you meet an expert. Just take the two bottles of potions I already labeled. I’ll give you the others when it will the time to. If you have any other concerns and problems, just call for me.”
“Thank-you.” Regulus murmured.
She nodded steadily. The silence was deafening by then after Regulus had downed the bitter tasting potions. He avoided the older witch’s gaze as he fiddled with the frayed edge of the bandage on his left arm. She gave a sudden huffed in an unladylike manner and crossed the room with purpose. She then, without delay, took a seat on chair with an air of dignified grace right next to the bed.
Andromeda regarded the younger wizard and exhaled deeply, “Regulus, what happened to you?”
His fingers stopped moving. He just stared at his wrapped left arm. “I had simply made all the wrong choices.”
He knew that the mark hidden from sight would forever be branded to his skin. Not only as a visible mark, but something that represents a more permanent dark force. A constant reminder of past transgressions and trepidation. Though, he had recalled the pure satisfaction when the mark was painted crimson red. For that moment, he had felt a sense of tranquility. He let his arm fall besides him.
The wizard noticed his cousin observing him then looked down on the bare floor, “I know we haven't exactly been on pleasant terms since I was disowned. Though I will never regret my decision on that matter.” She paused, “But that doesn't mean that I still don't miss my family I grew up with either. No matter what their views were, I never truly want anyone of them to get hurt.”
“I didn't want anyone to get hurt either.”
Regulus saw Andromeda gazed back up with bit wonder, but didn't made any comment on his statement. “And the cave?”
The wizard stiffened, “I needed to do something.”
Regulus believed that the information he had on Mort was too vital to just simply appease to his cousin’s curiosity. He couldn't let anyone know. It's a type of information that would end the hellish war once in for all. If it ever gotten out, well, he would be better off killed by the Inferi.
He decided to divert the subject, “How did you save me in the first place?”
Regulus saw Andromeda biting the bottom of her lip, “Kreacher took me there. At the cave I– I remembered Bella had spoken about Inferi and their weakness towards flames. She used the Infierno Ignis spell once before too so–”
Wait, had he heard correctly, “You used that the Infierno Ignis spell successfully? On your first attempt?”
Andromeda bristled like a cat while her eyes flashed, “I had no choice.”
Regulus held his hands up, “I hadn't meant it to sound that way. It's just, I hadn't realized that your that magically adapt with that form of magic. Not because of what it's labeled as, but the amount of stamina to cast and hold it.”
“It’s not without consequences. I can't use a lot of magic now without feeling drained afterwards. I just need to rest for a couple of weeks until then.” The witch relaxed her shoulders in resign.
The younger wizard had a creeping sensation of guilt crawling up his throat. “Why did you save me?” He nearly whispered.
The caramel haired witch dark eyes softened to an expression Regulus hadn't seen in a long time. “You’re family. You're also my younger cousin. I may not agree with you on some topics, but as I’d said, I still care about my family. Even if most of them wouldn't do the same.”
Regulus was at a loss on how to respond to that. Briefly, lost memories flooded through his mind. Of the time before the war, before Hogwarts, before the talk of political views and expectations, before everything crumpled.
Of the time where laughter was a past time. The time instead of blank faces, his father joked. Instead of long winded rants, his mother made banter. Instead of cruel torture, Bellatrix would be in the spotlight telling stories. Where instead of fake smiles, Narcissa had spoken about anything under the sun. There were many others, but Regulus had remembered the time where Sirius, Siri, was his older brother who had made him smile.
“I’m sorry for everything.”
Regulus watch as the older witch face transformed to that of bewilderment, then understanding. Andromeda gave a gentle smile.
“You’re not at fault Regulus. I made my choice and they made theirs. We can't repeat the past, but we could forge a different future.”
Regulus in return gave his own tentative smile.
Unexpectedly, there was a thump outside the room followed by a knock at the door. Regulus saw his cousin’s dark eyes flickered towards him before she called, “Come in.”
An unfamiliar man strode in with a troubled look. Clutched in his hand was what seemed to be the wizarding paper, the Daily Prophet.
Andromeda stood up with concern, “What is it Ted?”
The older man, Ted put his hand through his hair and whirled around looking straight at Regulus. “You’re death is apparently announced all over the paper.”