Author's Notes: Written for Thanatos Angelos Girl's 24 Hours of Romance Challenge on the HPFC forum and the January 12th Prompt of the Day on Hogwarts Online II – "I'm not hurt. I'm all right. I'm a lot tougher than some people think".

Hmm, my first attempt at Scabior… He really is unbelievably sexy, isn't he? I do hope I've done him justice.

)O(

Everything was ready. Regulus's will was written and signed, a few letters to family had been written telling them not to mourn for him, the fake locket prepared and the location of the Horcrux was determined beyond a shadow of a doubt. There was only one thing Regulus still had to do.

Scabior showed up at the exact time Regulus had asked for him to, apparating directly into the parlour of Number 12, Grimmauld Place and immediately falling comfortably onto the couch, stretching out his long arms and legs and smirking up at Regulus.

"So, what'd you want to see me for, beautiful?" Scabior asked, folding his hands behind his head and raising one eyebrow.

"It's…"

Regulus sighed. This was going to be harder than he had expected – why did Scabior have to be so damn casual all the time? He looked like he was expecting Regulus to drag him upstairs to bed, not to have some sort of serious conversation.

He probably was expecting that.

"Speechless?" Scabior smirked, stretching his legs a little further apart.

Regulus sighed. "Move over a little, would you?" he muttered, sitting down on the couch next to him. "This is serious."

"Yeah, obviously. So, what's bothering you, then? Spit it out, beautiful…" Scabior unlaced his fingers from behind his head and reached out, resting one hand on Regulus's leg.

That's right, Regulus. Just spit it out.

"I just wanted you to know…" Regulus swallowed hard, then took a deep breath, "that… I love you."

There was a long, uncomfortable pause, in which Regulus felt his insides shrivel with embarrassment, then, after what felt like hours, Scabior cleared his throat. "Right… great. Why're you telling me that?"

Regulus closed his eyes. "Never mind. I'm sorry–"

"Merlin…" Scabior ran a hand through his hair, sighing. "Hope I didn't offend you by saying that, it's not like I don't appreciate it…"

"You didn't offend me."

"Good. You know I'd hate to think I hurt you."

"I'm not hurt. I'm all right," Regulus told him. I'm not that easily hurt. I'm a lot tougher than people think, he added in his mind. Tough enough to die to help destroy the Dark Lord.

"Good. So, why're you telling me, then?" Scabior leaned close, looking at Regulus intently.

"Because… you know, if…" he mumbled, "if something ever happens to me…" Like the Dark Lord killing me for destroying his Horcrux, "I want you to know that I–"

"What?" Scabior's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "'If something happens to you'? What are you on about? Nothing's going to happen to you. You're one of the Dark Lord's favourites."

"I know." I won't be his favourite for long.

"So why are you saying something's going to happen to you?"

"Just…" Regulus forced a small smile, trying to lighten the mood. "It's just that… well, being a Death Eater is a high risk job, you know. You never know when something might happen."

There was a pause, then Scabior smiled, that wonderful tiny little smile with one corner of his mouth lifted a little higher than the other, and Regulus bit the inside of his lip to stop his face from betraying emotion.

This is probably going to be the last time I see that smile.

"I know. So…" Scabior leaned closer, pressing Regulus against the back of the couch, "since something might happen, we ought'ta stop talking about love and seize the day… yeah?"

Regulus felt himself melt against the other man's body as he kissed him deeply, and he looped his arms around his neck for support.

This is going to be the last time I kiss him.

When Scabior finally pulled back, Regulus's tears were on both their cheeks. He smirked a little. "Bit over-emotional, beautiful…"

"I know," Regulus muttered. "I'm sorry. Didn't mean to be."

"'T's all right," Scabior said, wiping away the tears. "'T's part of what I like about you, you know." He leaned forward, whispering in Regulus's ear, his breath tickling the sensitive skin. "I like it when you're all sensitive and fragile. Makes me feel like protecting you."

"Thank you…"

You can't protect me anymore.

)O(

Fin