Disclaimer: I am not J.K Rowling and would not even attempt to impersonate her with Polyjuice Potion, so no, this is not her work.
Author's note: This story will form my response to a challenge set by Skye Samuelle. It will not be particularly pleasant yet will aim to spread awareness of issues that I feel very strongly about; namely children dying in still-birth, homophobia, incest, murder and the right to choose. Please leave a review, this is entirely new to me and I would adore your feedback.
This chapter is dedicated to Amelie and Jessica my twin nieces who were stillborn.
Noun. 1. an act of admonishing 2. counsel, advice or caution
If you dissect a
To diagram the tongue
You'll cut the chord
If you flay a
To marvel at the mane
You'll wreck the rest
From which the fur began.
If you pluck out the
To find what makes it move,
You'll halt the clock
That syncopates our love.
Sylvia Plath 'Admonition'
Lily let her hands fall onto the white sheets that surrounded her, she felt impure and unclean in this sea of white, her body exhausted and broken, an empty vessel. All the strength that had possessed her during the labor had evaporated leaving a cold sweat on the back of her hands and a curiously empty sensation within her soul. It was as if a deep black had spread within her, catching in her throat so she was unable to speak. Her tongue was a bullet that had not been loaded.
It was impossible to forget the truth. To be blinded to the mediwitches huddled in the corner, throwing her furtive glances their mouths speaking in hushed and counseled tones. To be unaware of James' solitary figure, his hand lifted to brush back the curtain, his unmoving eyes staring into the street. To not feel the child that was only a moment ago inside her, to be suddenly empty not only as its carrier but as its protector.
The mediwizard's voice continued to replay in her head, as a horror movie that she did not have the nerve to turn off.
"There was nothing we could do Mrs. Potter, you child was simply unable to survive, his eyes never opened onto this world."
His, yes he had been a boy. James and Sirius had been right and she had been wrong, his name was Harry, the name that they had chosen together. They had held hands by the Thames, James' eyes dancing at the very thought of having a son, Lily's laughter had echoed over the ancient river. And they had decided that if it was a boy, he would be called Harry.
James' hand moved suddenly against the window as he let the curtain fall and block out the filtered sunlight. Lily saw his hand opening and closing in a desperate attempt to catch something that was not there. His back was straight and he would not look at her, he would not even touch her.
So she imagined his embrace and felt the stain of it brush her shoulders, she wished for his hot tears to mingle in her own, she played the pantomime of their grief in the stage that was her mind.
Yet even as her imagination willed it, James was beside her, a solitary tear forming behind the rims of his glasses. They both could not form the words to speak, yet Lily willed her lips to shape the right expressions, to comfort him and to be accepted. His hands took a strand of her ruby hair, twisting it in a moment of quiet contemplation as he has always done.
James brushed an empty kiss into her hair before leaving, his face etched with grief and guilt, the lines upon it portraying an age that was not his own.
Lily knew in that moment that he would not come back to her.
The days stretched onwards, and Regulus felt as if he was only a part of a whole, being pulled along into the days and weeks that made up his existence. A cord had been inserted into his stomach that forced him towards his destinations.
He flicked his wand lazily at the pages of The Daily Prophet, his grey eyes scanning the headlines for anything noteworthy. The battered couch he was sitting on was faded and stained, worn out from the inextricable toll that had been born upon it. Regulus was fond of the couch; as it seemed to be the perfect metaphor for his life, unable to control the people who decided to sit on it.
His life was contained in the old newspapers at his feet, in the moldy coffee on the table, abused and then forgotten.
Yet, Regulus had to forget to remember, lifting the firewhisky to his lips, immersing himself in other people's news, in the things which did not concern him.
To rid his mind of the empty images of dying people, muggles and mudbloods alike, who had either attempted to thwart the Dark Lord or who had simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.
His own decisions had made him a murderer, the alcohol could not change the decision he had made quite willingly. He had wanted to be like his cousin, to be the opposite of his brother, to be adored by his mother. The bonds of his family had helped to confirm his resolution.
And yet he felt contaminated, finding other people's blood on his shoes, hearing other people's screams in his dreams.
The life he was leading could not be considered living.
Severus ran a finger along the rim of his teacup, his eyes focused on the soft swirling of the tea leaves at the bottom. The dainty porcelain seemed unfamiliar in his hand; the delicate petals of roses which adorned the side were out of place.
For he was taking tea with the Dark Lord.
"I consider you amongst my finest, even at such a young age."
The Dark Lord studied Severus over his teacup, his long fingers wrapped around the boiling water, unable to feel the scorching heat.
"I am very much obliged, My Lord. I will always do whatever is necessary," Severus placed the horrible cup on its saucer and folded his hands over his knee, "whatever it takes".
"Ah, I had thought so."
The Dark Lord offered Severus a slice of pumpkin pie.
"Which is why I had thought it necessary to arrange a gift for you for our next meeting, as you are aware," he took a slice for himself, "there is still the matter of your family."
Severus lifted one eyebrow, his hand moving to the teacup again to give it an occupation; he let the Dark Lord talk on.
"We cannot allow for such impure blood to run rampant through our ranks, can we?"
"Of course not My Lord, no one would expect that," he sipped at the sweet tea, trying to ignore the way that his stomach had begun to beat, "we must do all that we can."
"All that you can Severus".
"Yes, My Lord".
Seemingly satisfied with the discussion, Lord Voldemort stretched back into his chair, his empty teacup balanced on one knee.