Author: Xx starlight-moon xX PM
A collection of drabbles - one for each of the five senses - centred around Regulus Black.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Hurt/Comfort - Regulus B. - Words: 731 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 05-26-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7023385
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A / N : This was inspired by a challenge prompt on xoxLewrahxox's Forum - senses. Thanks go to a few people - to Inkfire (the main reason this is being posted at all), to Mesteria (the main reason I wrote it) and to TuesdayNovember (whose womanly wiles are the best cure for a momentary panic attack. If you know her, this sentence isn't nearly as odd as it sounds.) It's also the result of a prolonged battle with fanfiction formatting, so I'm hoping it holds up when I hit publish. Enjoy, and if you liked it, please review!
It burns, searing into his skin like a scream, and he cannot help it – the world blurs into blackness even as his master laughs, and releases the boy's wrist.
When Regulus wakes, his forehead is cold and wet. A panicked touch tells him it's only sweat, not blood, and the room lurches oddly before his eyes. He feels feverish.
It is only when he raises an arm to steady himself that he realizes what has happened – he was branded with the Mark, and he fainted.
Bellatrix grips his arm, her nails as forgiving as knives, and hauls him to his feet.
"Pathetic," she hisses, and he cringes at her touch.
Kreacher lives in a nest of rags underneath the boiler. He keeps things there – a spare pillowcase, embroidered with the Black family crest, is draped over a pipe, and there are yellowed newspaper cuttings pasted to the floor.
It smells like copper and old socks, like mildew and rot, and it is the last place anyone will think to look for him. To his parents, it does not even exist.
Regulus draws himself into a ball, and fights down a shudder. His extended family scowl and simper at him from a cocoon of pictures, but what scares him the most is the stench of decay.
Bellatrix's proud laughter echoes in the stairwell as she tells his parents what a man he is, at last, what a true son of the House of Black he has become. Their voices rise and fall – Bellatrix, excited, strident, triumphant at last, and his parents, muted, smug, just a little thrown, perhaps, in the face of Bella's vicious smile.
He wonders if any of them suspect the truth, if any of them expect to find him upstairs, acid tearing at his throat as he vomits, again and again, into the sink. He leaves only when he is worn-out, empty and numb, at a glassy-eyed remove from his own fear.
His parents sit with him later on, watching with silent, belligerent pride as Regulus sips peppermint tea, and tries to wash away the acrid taste of his own dread.
After a while, he stops sleeping. Closing his eyes is no respite, not when the images have branded themselves so indelibly onto his eyelids.
He sees them reach for him with rotting hands and empty eyes. He sees the water close over his head, the sickly greenish glow of the cavern walls as he struggles in vain for the surface. He sees his mother, screaming in an empty, dust-filled room, fury and fear fighting for precedence as she mourns a son who will never come home.
He sees them everywhere he turns - in every book, at every meal, in every shadow – and when the figures stagger from the water at last, he can only offer up his hands in exhausted relief.
Cousin Cissy's house is silent. Malfoy Manor is huge, echoing, empty.
Regulus strains his ears. He can hear . . . a clock. An insect buzzing by the window.
"How do you feel?"
Cissy dabs his forehead again, and panic blossoms in his chest. It is too quiet. He'll have to fill the silence soon, with the screams in his own head, and the laughter, and . . .
He begins to shake, and has completely forgotten her question by the time Narcissa starts to speak again. She talks as though he isn't there, spinning a skein of secrets he does not have to acknowledge. They don't matter.
It is her voice that brings him back in the end. It lulls him into garden parties and golden summers, a world that is small and safe and quintessentially Cissy. A world he has forgotten was once his too.