"Come on," he snaps, irritated. "It can't have been that bad."

"It was h-horrible," stammers the elf.

"Quit your whining," he orders with unnatural gruffness. "Tell me again where it was?"

"In...in a cave, Kreacher knows not where!" Shame tilts his head into the nearest wall.

"Shh," Regulus murmurs awkwardly. One should be kind at a time like this, he feels, but how? "You, you don't have to do that."

His soothing voice is as effective as the harshest order. "The Dark Lord Apparated with me, Master."

"Could you Apparate there again?"

"Per...perhaps. It...it was by the seashore, Kreacher remembers that much."

"By the sea." He stands, trembling with nervous energy. "Kreacher, I want you to stay in the house and not tell anyone about this."

"Not Kreacher's mistress?"

"Not anyone. That's an order."

And he walks away, his mind rolling over distant waves.