All characters and canon situations belong to JK Rowling and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story.


Wrath

By

Anne M

(Part 1 of the Seven Deadly Death Eaters Tales)


Summary: Regulus Black's wrath and anger had kept him alive for a long time. Hermione Granger's patience and tolerance had kept her searching for him almost as long. She knew he was alive, but in what sense? No longer human, no longer mere wizard, he was now a vampire, and his fury and need for vengeance was as strong as ever. Equally strong was his desire for her, and her hidden strength, and capacity to love, as well as her need to transform him from a monster to a human being once again.


Wrath –Anger or Rage. Uncontrollable feelings of hatred and anger. Self-destructiveness, violence, impatience, revenge and vigilantism. Fury often marked by a desire for vengeance and retribution. God's punishment for sin. Vengeance, punishment, or destruction wreaked by somebody in anger.

Patience - The ability to endure waiting or delay without becoming annoyed or upset or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties. The ability to tolerate trying circumstances, the ability to tolerate being hurt, provoked, or annoyed without complaint or loss of temper.


Part One

She was there again. Three nights in a row, a lone woman stood in the shadows of an unsavory alleyway, patiently watching a house that for all intents and purposes, she should not even be able to see, and for three nights, a man watched her, impatiently wondering why she was there.

This house was well guarded with not only a Fidelus Charm, which only one man was its secret keeper, but also by a spell that protected members of his sect from being discovered by mere humans or others of his kind. Perhaps this woman was no mere human. For three nights in a row this man stood on top of the house, hidden behind a gargoyle, watching the woman watch the house, and he pondered this and many other things.

His shoulders were hunched over, almost as if he were ill. His brilliant ice-blue eyes flickered over her figure, hidden in the shadows, away from the streetlights. She stood every evening from dusk to dawn, watching, waiting, and anticipating. What did she want? What was her purpose?

He was about to find out.

Not because he wanted to confront the woman. He didn't. He wanted to be left alone. That was all he ever wanted. Nevertheless, he sensed that this woman was different, and that she was not going to leave until someone made her leave. That someone was going to be him.

He swooped down from the roof in a graceful leap to the gardens below, jumped carelessly over the high wrought-iron fence, and started toward the woman hidden in the shadows of the alley.

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Hermione pulled her jacket collar together to ward off the impending cold. She felt a pressing doom tonight. It was more than the winter chill. It was as if there was an entity, or a presence nearby, watching her as she watched the presumed abandoned mansion.

Truly, she had felt this presence since she started watching this house three days ago, but tonight it was more intense, more defined, closer, almost upon her. It almost seemed as if she was waiting for this moment to arrive since she came here.

Perhaps everything she believed was true after all and HE was alive and here watching her even as she tried to watch him.

Her research led her here. Countless hours of reading journals and books at Grimmauld Place led her to the conclusion that this was the house where she would finally find him. Others thought he was long dead. He supposedly died in 1979, at the age of only eighteen. She had long suspected otherwise.

She became fascinated with him, almost obsessed with him, years ago when she found his journal while she was still in school. Later, when they found the fake locket Horcrux with the initials of 'RAB', she suspected that the 'RAB' stood for Regulus Arcturus Black. She felt a kinship with him for unknown reasons. Perhaps because of the note he left for Voldemort stating that he wanted Voldemort to know that he was the one that discovered the truth. Perhaps because she felt that he was a bit overshadowed by his brother Sirius, thus the reason he became a Death Eater in the first place.

She felt that back then he was in over his head, and he desperately wanted a way out, much like Draco Malfoy had been when he became a Death Eater, and he tried to enact vengeance against the Dark Lord all on his own. She liked the single mindedness of that thought, even if he was not able to carry it out in the end. Indeed, most believed he died on the same small rock precipice where he hid the fake Horcrux, either from the poison in the basin, or from the Inferi in the underground lake.

Hermione never believed either of those theories. She believed another. She believed Kreacher was able to save Regulus from the Inferi that night. She believed he survived and went into hiding. She read everything that he had ever written from before that night and she believed that he was filled with enough anger, rage, and wrath that he would never have died so easily after seeking retribution against Voldemort. She also believed that he was smart enough to create a new identity.

In addition, she felt she finally knew what that identity was.

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The man felt no real concern for the woman's safety, even though there was other of his kind who was also aware of her loitering. He was well aware that many of them would love to prey on one as young, pretty and fresh as she. A great deal of damage could be done to a woman like this before she could even scream for help.

Not that anyone would hear her scream.

He moved closer, than closer still. There was something slightly familiar about this woman, though he knew not why. She had an aura about her. He stopped dead in his tracks and stared at her from across the street. She was a witch. He would bet his undead soul on that fact. Why was a witch watching a vampire coven?

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Hermione gradually became aware of a prickly feeling on the back of her neck, as if she was being watched from close by. Could the occupant whom she sought now be seeking her? When she first began to research her theory that Regulus might in fact be alive, in a sense, she was dismissed at every turn, especially as she was basing her assumptions on some old journals, a childhood feminine feeling, and the word of someone that most people in her circle considered a very unreliable source.

She sunk back into the alley and opened her notebook to re-read her notes from her interview with a vampire. Sanguini, a vampire she had first met when she was just a girl at Professor Slughorn's Christmas party, was also the only vampire she had ever met. When she was young, and had almost memorized Regulus' journals, she began to piece together the fact that Sirius' brother's answers to escaping the tentacles of the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters lay at the feet of this lone vampire.

For one thing, Regulus mentioned meeting Sanguini several times. He seemed to admire the man. He went to him seeking answers to questions that others could not answer for him. Hermione suspected that he also went to the vampire seeking an escape from the Dark Lord and from the stigma of being a Death Eater.

After all, Regulus assumed he would die from his betrayal of the Dark Lord anyway, but Regulus was self-centered enough to die on his own terms. He alone thought he could seek vengeance on the Dark Lord, and Hermione felt that he also would want to make certain that he was around to see the demise of the evil tyrant.

Opening another book, this one a tattered brown journal with the initials RAB embossed on the front in gold lettering, Hermione read the entry, written in 1979, shortly before Regulus' death.

It read:


"I met with Mr. S today. He helped me to make up my mind. I'm going to carry out my plan. I know that my anger is righteous and my fury is strong, and they will sustain me in this life and my next. Wrath is my burden, but it will not be my anchor, weighing me down in final death. I'm not afraid of death, for somehow I've always assumed it would come to me early in my life. Even so, that does not mean I welcome it with open arms. It does not mean I intend to embrace it lovingly, or with peace. There are all sorts of death. Death on earth, walking death, living death. Darkness and death do not necessarily go hand in hand. I will meet death on my own terms, by the blood of my fathers, or the blood of others…"


Then the paragraph stopped. Hermione could only assume that 'Mr. S' was Sanguini. When she finally met with the vampire again, years after their first meeting, and asked him pointedly if he knew whether or not Regulus Black was living or dead, the vampire smiled at her and he said, "Yes to both my dear."

Then, they talked for hours. Hermione asked him many questions – questions about his infliction, about how he became what he was, about how he fed. She asked him to teach her fact from fiction. He seemed as fascinated with her questions as she was with his answers.

He told her that not many of his kind lived in the open, such as he did. He told her that most of them feared persecution, especially those who were wizards as well as vampires, like him. He told her that there was a coven of such vampires in London. This coven was a mix of the two, vampires and wizards, but their whereabouts were secret, because they wished to remain anonymous. They were afraid of discrimination from wizards and vampires, oddly enough.

She never figured out how she came to find this coven. Sanguini never told her exactly where to find it. He never betrayed his kind. Yet, one day, while she was out walking, his words stuck in her mind. He told her, "They can only be found by those who wish them no harm, and really my dear, who can count themselves among the friends of the vampires, although, you're my friend, aren't you?"

After recalling that one sentiment from a vampire she now considered a friend, a strange thing happened. The ramshackle old three story Georgian mansion with gargoyles on the rooftop, and chimneys that seemed to reach to the sky, and a tall, black, wrought-iron fence around the outside, suddenly appeared in front of her.

That was three days ago, and for three nights she watched and waited. Somehow, she knew Sanguini had given her a sign. Just as surely as she saw a house that no one else could see, she also 'felt' a presence that she was certain no one else would be able to feel.

Placing the journal back in her bag, buttoning her jacket, and swearing softly to herself, she stepped out of the alley and toward the house just as something made its move toward her.

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As he expected, there were others watching her. Moving on pure instinct, and a desire to save a woman he didn't even know, Regulus disappeared in a puff of smoke and reappeared right before one of his kind lashed out at the young woman.

She seemed to expect the move and pulled out her wand, though the other vampire beckoned it to him, grasping it in his hand, before she could stifle her scream.

Turning around fast, she lunged toward the ground and finally she screamed. The first vampire was upon her, pulling her deeper into the alley. The second one whipped around toward Regulus, hit him with a blinding impact that sent the man reeling, and had him on the ground in two seconds flat.

That was when Regulus knew these were regular vampires. They were not of his kind, so they were no match for him. They might have the power of mind control, and strength, but they possessed no real magic. He could kill them easily, and he would.

He pounced from the ground, flew in the air, knocking over the vampire that was on top of the young woman. The second one thundered down the alley toward the trio on the ground.

Regulus threw the man a quick look over his shoulder and gave him a glare of his piercing blue eyes. The vampire seemed to wither in his boots. He recognized Regulus for who and what he was. "We didn't know! You can have her!" he shouted when he figured out who he was.

Regulus looked down at the vampire on the ground. He was even more cowed with fear then his friend. He closed his eyes and said, "Kill me quickly."

"Death would be too simple, too easy for you," Regulus said in return.

Hermione stood quickly and backed into the brick wall of the building beside the alley. Leaning against the building for support, her hand went to her neck. Good. The vampire hadn't bitten her. There was no blood, even though she was certain that she smelled the coppery substance upon her.

Wait… there was blood on her hand, but it wasn't from her neck. She looked at the crimson liquid pooling in her palm and realized that she must have slashed her hand on a jagged stone or piece of glass that littered the pavement when she backing away from her assailant. She looked at the three men huddled closely together. Their words were too muffled for her to hear them. She looked at her hand again.

Suddenly, all three looked at her, the man against the wall, the man on the ground, and the face of the man to whom she had been searching for years. Regulus Black. All three looked at her hand, and the blood, and then three separate things happened at once.

The man on the ground toppled the man on top of him over to his side. The man who was on top of him, Regulus Black, screeched out in pain as something pierced his chest, and the man who was leaning against the opposite wall started to run toward her.

She screamed. Aware that her wand was missing she ran down the end of the alley, but by the time she got there, the first vampire was already there. She looked back toward the mouth of the alley and saw Regulus lying in a bath of soft light, a long piece of wood sticking out of his chest. Dread filled her body even as she realized it was her wand. The vampire had summoned it from her right before Regulus Black attacked him. It was still in his hand when he went down on the ground. Moreover, when all three vampires were distracted by her blood, the one on the bottom of the heap used it to stab his aggressor. It was the one sure way to kill a vampire – a stake to the heart.

Now, both evil vampires approached her. They walked slowly toward her. The made crude comments back and forth. She felt instantly sick to her stomach. She heard the sounds of Regulus Black struggling to live just a few meters away.

She refused to have searched so long and hard for him to have things end this way.

As the fiendish duo was almost upon her, she reached out her right hand, (the one without blood) and shouted, "Accio wand."

The sound of Regulus screaming as her wand left his chest distracted the two vampires in front of her long enough for her wand to clamp tightly in her hand. The second vampire whipped back around as the first started back toward Regulus. Hermione pointed her wand at the one closest to Regulus, because he was about to attack a man who was already close to death, and she felt it was her fault, so she had to save him first, before saving herself.

She shouted the death curse and the vampire fell overtop of Regulus on the ground. The vampire on the bottom looked over at her, helplessly. She quickly pointed her wand at the vampire who was now upon her. She said, "Go away now, or I'll kill you as quickly as I killed your friend."

"You will die for this!" he seethed.

"We might argue the fact as to who will die first all night, yet I have a wand and you don't, so I suggest you leave!" she said with false bravado, her fear making her heady with hope that he would leave quickly.

Regulus pushed the dead vampire away from him and sat up. He hissed in pain and shook all over. Blood poured from the wound on his chest. The only witness to the attack seeped into the background of the alley and ran away.

Hermione plummeted to the ground, shaking all over in fear. She dropped her wand and the hollow sound of it hitting the pavement echoed through the dark passageway.

"Don't be afraid now," Regulus said through clenched teeth. "Stand back up and don't let go of your wand. He might come back and bring his friends. We have to get out of here."

Hermione nodded. She grabbed her wand, stood up and walked toward the two vampires on the ground, one dead and one bleeding, but alive. Her mouth opened, partly in horror, partly to take deep breaths to keep from passing out. Her hands were shaking. She looked around for her bag, spotted it, and reached down for it. She started to place her wand inside and he said, "Keep it out, damn you!"

She did.

"Is he dead?" she asked.

"You said the Avada to him, so yes, he's dead," Regulus retorted. She edged closer to the dead vampire.

Then she looked down at Regulus. He was covered in blood. The front of his shirt was soaked through with red. He was trying to stand, but he was unsteady and shaking. She felt as unsteady as he did. She felt cold and despondent. She was in shock. She found the man she was searching for, was almost killed, and had killed all in a space of ten minutes. A wave of guilt swam over her even as relief took hold.

Regulus managed to stand. He reached out a large hand to her, placing it on her shoulder for support. "Well, witch, you saved my life tonight. Some say that makes you responsible for me. May God have mercy on your soul if that's the case." His fingers dug into her shoulder tightly. She could tell he was in a great deal of pain.

She reached around him with her arms and said, "May I help you inside your house?"

"You mean the house you shouldn't be able to see?" he asked.

She merely nodded.

"I suppose so," he snorted. They started walking across the street, his arm around her shoulders, her arms tightly around his waist. When they were just outside the iron gates, he reached down for her wand to open the lock, but grasped her empty hand instead, the one soaked with blood.

He grasped it tightly and stared at the red blood welled upon it. "Sir?" she said hesitantly.

He brought her hand to his nose and inhaled deeply. His eyes seemed to widen, but then he dropped her hand and leaned more heavily against her. He mumbled something under his breath. She couldn't tell what he said. His breath was on her neck, and he finally whispered in her ear, "Just help me inside, please."

"How do I get past the wards?" she asked. "Or do we merely go through the gates and up the steps and into the front door?"

He pulled her into a hard embrace. She shivered again. Not out of fear, or from the cold, but from something baser, raw, and intense.

He said, "Are you afraid of me?"

"No."

"Why are you here? Who are you? Do you know who I am?" he asked, while still holding her in a tight embrace. His head felt as if it was swimming. He couldn't contemplate the journey into the house. He felt as if he might expire right here on the sidewalk.

She held him as tightly as he held her. "I'll answer all your questions shortly, but can we get you inside first, so I might heal you?"

"To hell with that," he said. "I'll heal eventually."

"Please, then, can we get off the street. That vampire might come back," she offered.

"Now that's a good point," he mumbled. He backed away from her. His blood was all over her jacket. She held him still, and he kept a heavy arm across her shoulders. He reached for the lock on the gate, but then remembered, "I don't have my wand. Damn." He was going to use hers earlier but was distracted by her blood. It had been years since someone's blood had called to him as hers had.

"I didn't know a vampire needed a wand," she remarked.

Her acknowledgment that he was a vampire shocked him, but not as much as when she offered, "Will mine do, Regulus?"

"How the bloody hell do you know my name?" he barked. Then he promptly passed out.