Author's Note: There are parts of this that contain strong language. You have been warned. If you feel like the rating should be bumped up, then let me know, but I think it's all right at PG13.
(black is the Sin)
"How dare you."
Her eyes are slits, narrow, pitch-black slits in a contorted, pale face. He cannot see the whites of her eyes, only black, and it sends a shiver down his spine.
(In that second, he thinks she looks more like the Devil than she ever has before.)
He takes a stumbling step backwards, falling into the banister and quickly righting himself, and she counters the movement with a crisp, measured stride of her own.
"How dare you speak to me like that, you insolent brat!"
She flings the last word at him—the flecks of her spittle pierce his cheek like a thousand needles—and he flinches, his shoulder bumping painfully into the newel post directly behind him. She takes another step closer, sinking smoothly down so that she is at his level, right in his face, and takes a hold of his chin. Her blood red nails dig into the soft flesh of his cheek, and his eyes widen.
(Whether from fear or surprise at her, his own mother, causing him bodily harm, he doesn't quite know.)
"You are never, ever, to speak to me in that manner again, do you understand me?"
Her eyes are glinting, and in them, he sees a sick sort of pleasure; her cheeks are flushed, and wisps of her coal black hair are creeping forward around her face, spiralling down into her vision.
(She looks so much like Bellatrix, and it terrifies him.)
Her hold on him tightens, and he winces in pain, trying in vain to escape her grip; her hand jerks his face around, pulls it up close to hers until he can feel her breath washing over his skin in enraged pants.
"Do you understand me, Sirius?" Her voice is dangerously low, enunciating every syllable, and he tries to nod, or speak, or something, but he is so terrified that he can barely breathe, so terrified that his bones are locked into place, muscles aching from their tension, so confused, because he doesn't know, doesn't understand, what it was that he did wrong.
The rage in her eyes intensifies, and her free hand pulls back, the expensive Goblin-crafted rings adorning each and every one of her fingers, catching the light of the overhead chandelier and glimmering ominously. His mouth finally opens, and he attempts to stutter out some sort of an apology, but it's too late.
The resounding smack of skin against skin echoes through the hall, and he feels the tears begin to fall down his cheeks in steady streams.
(He can feel the holes in his face, the shallow cuts and scrapes where the jewels of her rings have pulled back the top layer of his skin.)
And instantly, just like that, the horrible fire is gone from her eyes, and she straightens up, smoothing down her robes as she turns to face her youngest son. Her steps are fluid, graceful as she crosses the hall to lay a hand against the boy's forehead, to smile down at him.
"Run along upstairs, Regulus. I'll be up in a moment."
The wide eyes of his younger brother flash to his face, and he scowls in response, shaking his mane of dark hair into his eyes. When he glances back to the doorway, the younger boy is gone. But she is still there, his mother, facing away from him, her spine ramrod straight.
"Remember where you come from, Sirius," she says softly, perfectly composed. He can hear the underlying threat, though, the words that proper protocol keeps her from uttering, even when it's just the two of them—Or we will be forced to remind you.
She stays for a moment longer, almost as if she is waiting for some acknowledgement that her words have been heeded. He does not reply, though, stubbornness keeping a hand firmly over his mouth, and she sweeps silently away.
(He reaches up to wipe his cheek, and the mixture of snot and tears and blood that he sees on his blue and white striped pyjama sleeve churns his stomach.)
The next morning, as he boards the train with James, he glances back only once. There is something close to fear in his mother's eyes, and as he falters for a moment in his steps, he wonders whether he should be more afraid of her fear, or more afraid of her anger, in the end.
(Fear the Reaper)
(red is the blood)
There is so much blood.
It's on your hands and your clothes and dripping onto the ground, your blood, and for one hectic moment, you think it looks like ketchup, and you remember how James used to love to eat tomato sauce on his eggs, and James—this is his son in front of you, his son is pinned to that god-awful gravestone, crying out, screaming, in pain and anger.
Your whole body is shaking and sweating and you can't think straight, and your arm hurts so bloody bad, and you wish it would just go away, you wish everything would just go away—
There is red. There is red and there is an explosion of light and you are screaming because it's so bright and it hurts so much.
There is blood. There is so much blood.
(blue is the Faith)
The rain hits him hard, pelting him like little rocks. The thin Muggle t-shirt that Charlie gave him for his last birthday and the ragged pair of Percy's old jeans he has on are no protection against the harsh weather. He is soaked through to the bone, shivering and shaking, and so tired that it is all he can do to stumble from tree to tree, blindly groping his way through the forest.
But he doesn't care.
He is mad, he is so fucking mad. Mad at himself and mad at Harry and mad at Hermione, so mad that he can't figure out who he is more mad at. He's mad at Harry for dragging him all the way out into this goddamned forest, mad because they've been doing this for solong now and they still haven't found hardly anything. He's mad at Hermoine, absolutely pissed off, because everything she's said to him in the last seven months means nothing, nothing, if she is willing to let him just walk away from her like that.
And he is mad at himself, so mad, because he is a coward, a bloody fucking coward. He took one step into the real world, the world that his mother and father had shielded him from for so long, and he got scared, he got so scared and he just wanted to go home. He just wanted to crawl into bed and pull the covers over his head and forget all of this shit that had happened. He wanted his mum to bring him a steaming mug of hot tea and a plate of biscuits and sit on his bed and rub his back, just like she used to when he was six and afraid of spiders, or storms, or the ghoul in the attic.
Lightning flashes, blinding, in the sky, and temporarily dazed from its brilliance, he trips over a root, or a rock, and falls to the ground just as the inevitable thunder cracks through the air like a whip. His head hits on something hard, he thinks it's a rock, and he feels warm blood begin to seep down his temple.
And then he is crying so hard that his entire body is shaking and he is gasping for air, pulling in huge breaths that turn into spluttering and choking because it's raining and he is lying on the ground and he is coughing, so hard he's coughing…
He rolls over onto his stomach and he is gagging and coughing and spluttering up vomit, and he's still crying.
There's a puddle underneath him—he's lying facedown in a puddle, for Merlin's sake—and he can see the outline of his head in the reflection of the water. His tears mix with the raindrops that are plunk-plunk-plunking into the puddle and when a bolt of lightning flashes across the sky he can see every line of his face, almost as if he were looking into a mirror, down to the very blue of his eyes, the blue that Hermione used to love, the same blue as Bill's eyes, and Fred's eyes, and even Fleur's eyes.
And he puts his head down in the mud and the sticks and the rocks, and he cries.
(white is the forgiveness)
Her words echo through his head, the letters and syllables chasing each other around, bumping into the walls of his skull until it drives him insane.
He rakes a hand through his hair, pulls on the strands so hard that if he weren't halfway out of his mind, he would be wincing. He doesn't know what to say, doesn't know what to do, he's just shocked, and numb, and so frozen.
This isn't right, this can't be right. They—they were careful for God's sake! She was on the pill, he even used a condom—he knows he did—so how could this have happened?
He opens his mouth to say something, but he doesn't know what to say. What does one say in a situation like this? he wonders. I'm happy? No, because that would be lying. He isn't happy; he's some strange mixture of nauseous and disbelieving and scared shitless, and he doesn't think there are any words that describe that feeling so he just shuts his mouth and doesn't say anything.
Merlin. She's pregnant. With a baby. His baby.
And then the panic sets in. He doesn't know how to be a father; his own father left when he was just a small boy. He's never been around children—bloody hell, he doesn't even know what to do with a kid. Do you—do you play with it? Does it just sit there all day? Does Dora even know what to do with a baby?
An enormous wave of guilt washes over him then, because all of this is his fault. It really is. He's gone and knocked her up, only weeks after they got married, and now she's stuck with this baby for life. She's twenty-four, and she's pregnant. She's stuck with this baby for the rest of her life, stuck with the responsibility of taking care of another human being, a human being who is dependant on her, until she dies. That's too much, too much to put on one person, too much to put on his Dora, especially right now, when they're in the middle of a war, when she's got a job out on the fighting line and he's got a job that takes him away for weeks at a time—
He doesn't look at her. He can't look at her. He's too ashamed, too horrified by what he's done, and it makes him feel sick. She touches his shoulder, runs her fingers across his back, and it's all he can do to not pull away from her.
Her fingers find his chin and she turns his head towards her, leans down so that she is in his line of vision, and he has no other choice but to look at her. He takes in her face: her flushed cheeks, her glinting eyes, that tender look she's wearing that makes his heart melt because it means that even after all he's done, she still loves him, and there aren't any words to express how that makes him feel.
Her hand moves around his neck, and when she draws him closer he obliges, laying his forehead against her shoulder, breathing in the scent of her neck. She pulls her fingers through his hair, rocking him back and forth like she'll do for the child that lays in her womb, and he lets his eyes fall closed, lets all of the tension in his body loosen as his hands find her waist and he brings her body closer to his. Because in the end, it doesn't matter how much he hates himself for doing this to her, or how much he wishes it wouldn't have happened, or how utterly terrified he is. The only thing that matters is that she is happy, and right now, he can feel her grinning into his hair and he knows that she is absolutely ecstatic.
He lays a hand over her still-flat belly, and presses his lips to her ear.
"I love you."
(green is the growth)
The grass is cool underneath his back. He thinks that he'll probably end up having stains all over his shirt, but he doesn't really care. It's not the first time that has happened.
He looks up at the stars, his eyes tracing over the patterns and shapes he knows by heart, connecting the dots to the story of the universe. He feels that dizzying rush, that swoop in his stomach and that flutter in his chest that comes whenever he looks up at the sky and realizes that he is a part of something so much bigger than this school and this life of luxury he's had for the past eighteen years. It sounds cliché and over the top, the kind of thing Sirius would make fun of if he ever said it out loud, but he knows, deep down inside of him, that it's true. They're meant to be a part of something huge, something monumental, all of them.
Her voice brings him back to reality, and he looks to the side. She is gazing up at the sky, eyes roving over the sparkling pinpricks of light that are twinkling down at them.
It takes her a moment to answer, but he waits patiently, knowing she'll eventually get out whatever it is she needs to say.
"Are you scared?"
She meets his eyes, and there is some sort of veil there, some sort of guardedness that lets him know this isn't some out-of-the-blue question that he can make into a joke and blow off.
"Yes," he admits, turning his attention back to the sky. He can feel her eyes still trained on his face, but he doesn't meet them, not this time.
Truthfully, he isn't surprised that she's asking him this. He knows it's been bothering her for a while; she brushes it off as fatigue, and stress, but he can tell when she's lying. He's not entirely sure why she's spent so much time thinking about this particular subject. He can understand her being worried about her friends—hell, he's worried about his friends—but they'll be all right. They've been through school, and they're in the Order. They'll be taught how to fight. Everyone will be just fine. They have to be.
"I'm scared, too."
He is not expecting her quiet confession, though—she's not one of those people who will openly and willingly share their feelings—and he feels his eyebrows jump up a little as he turns his head again to look at her.
She nods, her eyes catching the moonlight and glimmering softly.
He doesn't know what to say, doesn't have any words that he can truthfully speak to alleviate her fear, so he threads his fingers through hers and presses a kiss to her forehead.
(yellow is the life)
The walls are grimy and covered with a sort of moss-like fungus. Water drips from some unknown source day and night, a steady background of plink, plunk, plink, plunk. He can hear rats scuttling around, and water gurgling in the pipes, and, occasionally, the sound of a small, muffled explosion.
(He is really not all that surprised when he hears the first one. The place where they're keeping him seems to be absolutely crawling with dark wizards, so it was only a matter of time before one of them got bored and decided to blow something up, wasn't it?)
His days go by much the same way. He sleeps, he stares at the cracks in the wall, he listens to the drunken banter of the two guards, and he sleeps some more. At some point during the day, he is taken out of his cell and walked down the hall to an antechamber, where he is forced to make wand after wand, endlessly. His only way of knowing how much time has gone by is to count the number of times that pale, slender hand has pushed that same tray of tasteless porridge and mouldy bread crust under the door for him to eat.
(Though, these "feedings" may or may not be on a regular schedule; he has no way of knowing.)
And then, one day, the door creaks open and another body is shoved inside with him. It falls to the floor, tripping over something or maybe nothing, and as soon as its legs clear the threshold, the door is slammed shut again with a resounding clank.
The person sits up, and in the thin shaft of light creeping in under the door, he can see that it is a girl. The girl looks around the cramped, tiny cell, catches sight of him, and smiles slightly.
(He's forgotten what a smile looks like. He's got no one here who smiles at him, and he certainly hasn't had any reason to smile to himself.)
"Hello." Her voice is muted, and rather vague, almost dreamy in its cadence. "I wouldn't sit in that particular corner if I were you. It's infested with Nargles."
Time flies by much faster with this new addition. She talks to him, tells him stories of her childhood, and of Hogwarts, tells him about her mum, who died when she was nine, and her dad, who she hasn't seen in over a year. She tells him about Harry Potter, and all the brave people who are out there, fighting for their freedom. And when she runs out of things to tell him about, she sings, her soft voice lulling him in and out of a dreamless slumber.
He doesn't talk, never talks, only listens. The immeasurable amount of time he's spent here has taken away all ability to trust, and whatever other strains of optimism he might've once possessed have now been beaten out of him. He is half insane—no, more than half. He was half insane when he got to the wretched place, so he's sure that by now he's gone off round the bend. But she doesn't seem to mind. In fact, she seems perfectly at ease with his madness.
(If he's completely honest with himself, it's probably because she's just as mad as he is, only in a different way. Not that he's in any place to judge.)
One day, though, she stops talking. Just stops, quite randomly, in the middle of her twelfth recitation of the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, and he turns to look at her.
"You stopped talking."
His voice is hoarse, unbelievably hoarse, from going unused for so long, but she seems to be able to understand him.
"Yes." She nods. "My throat was beginning to hurt. I think I may have a colony of breeding Calingers down there."
He doesn't ask. He's used to her going on about unusual creatures that he's never heard of.
(He supposes it's all a part of her charm.)
Her head turns to the side, and he can see her curious silver eyes reflecting in the darkness. She has a smudge of dirt on her right cheekbone, and there's a piece of straw in her hair.
"You've never spoken before."
It's worded like a statement, but spoken like a question, and he shrugs.
"There hasn't been anything worth speaking about."
"Anything worth happening is worth speaking about."
He studies her for a moment, not sure that he understands this curious girl at all. But she smiles at him, her teeth so bright in the darkness, and begins to talk once again.
(yellow is the life)
A/N: So there you have it, my first attempt at anything angsty. Please review, I'm a little nervous about this one, considering it's so different from anything else I've ever done. A huge thank you to lily_evans and for wading through copious amounts of italics and helping me sharpen everything up a bit.
Edit 10/27/2009: Beta'ed by the wonderful as well. Revamped! Let me know what you think in a review :)