The Shame of Crimson

for Amber


Can You Make It To The End Challenge - Round 5 - "Write about Rodolphus Lestrange, not in his canon house."

Once Upon A Time Characters Category Challenge-tition - Competition: Emma Swan - "Write about a character who is not sure of what they want or what to believe."

The Christmas Character Challenge - Naughty - "Write about a light character."


Rabastan Lestrange was ten years old when his brother, Rodolphus, was starting at Hogwarts.

He waited on the train platform as his parents stiffly bid Rodolphus goodbye- his mother said nothing, just gave him a quick hug, and his father shook his hand, saying, "Do us proud, son. You'll be the best Slytherin there is."

Finally, Rodolphus turned to his younger brother.

"I guess I'm off then, Rab," he said, shifting trunk in his hands.

Rabastan's eyes shone with tears, and he swallowed past a lump in his throat.

Throwing his arms around Rodolphus's waist, he buried his head in his brother's chest.

"I'll miss you, Rod," Rabastan sniffled. His brother was his best and only friend, his protector, his closest family; what would he do while he was gone?

"Don't worry," Rodolphus murmured, patting his hair affectionately. "You'll join me in Hogwarts next year, and we'll be together again. And I'll visit for holidays, remember?"

Just then, Rabastan felt a hand on his shoulder. He pulled away from Rodolphus and stared up into the stern face of his father.

Backing away from his brother, Rabastan blinked away his unshed tears.

Rodolphus shot him a reassuring grin. "You'll be okay, Rab, I promise."

Rabastan had nodded.

After all, Rodolphus would never lie to him.

.oOo.

"GRYFFINDOR?" Rabastan's father bellowed, his voice echoing through the entire house. "HOW IS IT POSSIBLE THAT OUR SON- OUR SON- IS A BLOODY GRYFFINDOR?"

Rabastan flinched, huddling in the farthest corner of his bedroom, his back pressed against the cold wall. He had never heard his parents so angry- once they had received Rodolphus's first letter from Hogwarts, the shouting had begun, and Rabastan had immediately scurried away, hiding in the darkness of his room.

"I don't know," his mother kept repeating, her voice low and despairing. "I simply don't know."

Rabastan grimaced as another distant crash sounded in the parlor; his father was probably throwing things, and Rabastan was terrified that he would be the next victim of his father's wrath.

As the moon rose higher in the nighttime sky, Rabastan entertained the idea in the farthest corner of his mind- becoming a Gryffindor.

For his whole life, Slytherin was all he knew, all he had ever considered. After all, that's what his parents wanted, and who was he to disobey?

But Rodolphus was in Gryffindor- the house of heroes, the house of the loyal and the brave.

What would it be like to be a Gryffindor?

A faint smile crossed Rabastan's face as he imagined it- he and his brother, the most courageous Gryffindors ever to live.

The sound of shattering glass brought him back to reality.

.oOo.

Rodolphus didn't come home for the winter holidays, so the next time Rabastan saw him was over summer break.

It was a somber experience.

His parents didn't say a single word to their oldest son on the train platform, instead waiting until they got home, when-

"Crucio!"

Rodolphus screamed, his pain-filled cries drumming into Rabastan's heart.

Rabastan fled the parlor once more, sobbing as he raced up the steps to the second floor of the house.

His father had said repeatedly that becoming a Gryffindor brought shame upon the Lestrange name- but to go so far as to using an Unforgivable on his own son?

Rabastan slammed his hands over his ears, but nothing he did could cut out Rodolphus's wails.

.oOo.

Late that night, Rodolphus stumbled into Rabastan's bedroom.

Rabastan sat bolt-upright from where he had been lying restlessly on his bed. It was well past one in the morning, and the only light in the dark room was the silvery moonlight that filtered in through the open window.

Rodolphus was soaked in sweat, his clothes rumpled, his face streaked with tears… but his eyes were bright and alive.

"Rab…" Rodolphus began, but he collapsed into a heap on the floor before he could finished his sentence.

With a yelp, Rabastan leapt out of bed and hurried over to him, helping his brother into the room and sitting beside him on his bed.

"Are you… are you okay?" Rabastan whispered, fearing what the answer would be.

But Rodolphus just smiled. "I'm better than okay, Rab," he responded, face glowing. "Being a Gryffindor is the best thing that ever happened to me."

Rabastan gaped at him. "What?"

"Yeah," Rodolphus continued. "It's like… they're like a family, Rab. They're all so… good. It's nice to be good for once, you know?"

Rabastan frowned, unsure. "But… Mum and Dad… they just… you were just…"

"And I would endure it a hundred times over if it meant I got to stay in Gryffindor," Rodolphus interrupted firmly, jaw set in determination.

Rabastan shook his head in wonder.

"You can be in Gryffindor with me, too," Rodolphus blurted suddenly, his eyes meeting Rabastan. "Well? What do you say? We could be heroes together, Rabastan. We'd stand together against Mum and Dad. They can't control us forever."

Hearing his brother's words gave Rabastan a sense of determination, of purpose.

"Okay," he said, his voice sounding braver than it ever had before. A grin split his face. "Let's do it. We can face any punishment Mum and Dad can give us."

Rodolphus threw his arms around him, hugging him tight.

.oOo.

When September rolled around, Rodolphus was on the express without even bidding his parents goodbye. Meanwhile, Rabastan stood awkwardly on the platform, staring at his mother and father.

"Don't be a Gryffindor," his father said gruffly. "You will be a Slytherin. Just because your brother is a disgrace doesn't mean you have to be."

Rabastan nodded stiffly, then whirled around and raced onto the train. He edged his way past a gaggle of students and easily found his brother's compartment.

He slid the door open and sat down across from Rodolphus, who took a deep breath.

"Are you ready, Rab?"

Rabastan bit his lip and nodded.

.oOo.

The Sorting.

The moment that would decide everything.

As Rabastan sat upon that stool, with the worn hat atop his head, with the eyes of everyone boring into his soul…

His mouth ran dry. He had never been more scared in his entire life.

Hello, the hat mused, the raspy voice echoing in his mind.

Rabastan jumped slightly, but wasn't really all that surprised- Rodolphus had told him about the Sorting Hat's telepathic talking.

H- Hello, Rabastan answered. He cringed. Even his mental voice was trembling.

Let's see… the Sorting Hat continued. Conflicted, are we?

Very, Rabastan admitted. I… my parents want me to be in Slytherin, my brother wants me to be in Gryffindor… but I don't know if I'm as brave as him, I don't know if I would be able to endure…

He shuddered, his father's voice shouting "Crucio!" still etched into his memory.

I understand, the hat replied soothingly. But don't worry about your family. What do you want?

Rabastan felt hot tears prick at the corners of his eyes. I don't… I don't know.

Very well, the hat sighed. I'm sorry, dear boy, but I believe you are a "SLYTHERIN!"

The word rang through the silent hall.

There were a few scattered claps from the Slytherin table, but Rabastan barely registered it.

All his attention was on Rodolphus, whose face was frozen in shock. He watched as the realization and disappointment dawned in his brother's eyes, and it was more painful than any curse his father could have used on him.

Walking to the Slytherin group was like walking through wet cement. Rodolphus's gaze was fixed on him the whole time.

As Rabastan sat down next to a blonde second-year, all he could think about was what he could have chosen.

Gryffindor.

An impossibility, now; if only he had told the hat that he wanted to be in Gryffindor…

But he had been too much of a coward.

Bloody coward, Rabastan thought bitterly.

Maybe Slytherin was what he deserved, after all.