Author's Notes: Written for Someone aka Me's "Coming out of the Closet" Competition on the HPFC forum.
So, I'm sure I'm not the only one with a fondness for a really well done dramatic reveal. That's what this is about. No, it doesn't necessarily have to be about sexuality, if you don't want it to be. It just has to contain a good dramatic reveal.
The parlour of Lestrange Manor was pleasantly quiet. Rodolphus was writing a long-overdue Transfiguration essay – or, rather, chewing on the end of his quill and staring intently at his parchment – and Rabastan was curled in his armchair, watching his brother and trying to work up the courage to say what he had been trying to put into words for years.
"Rod?" Rabastan said softly.
"Yes?" Rodolphus asked, clearly glad for an excuse to stop writing. He set down his quill and turned in his seat to look at Rabastan. "What is it, Rab?" he added, a little worriedly, seeing his brother's serious expression.
Rabastan flushed and began to twist the hem of his shirt nervously between his fingers. He had had his speech all planned out, but it was gone now, and every phrase he could bring to mind seemed incredibly stupid.
"What's wrong?" Rodolphus asked. He stood up and moved over to Rabastan's side, shoving him a little so that there was room for both of them on the armchair. Rabastan's heart beat even faster than before – this was far too close for comfort. His brother's solid thigh felt good, pressed up against his own thin one. He shifted a little, trying to minimize the contact between them.
"There's… there's something I need to tell you," he said, his voice shaking a little.
"You look practically hysterical, Rab," Rodolphus said concernedly. "Are you all right? Has someone hurt you?"
"No, no, nothing like that," he said quickly, shaking his head. "I'm not hurt, no, it's just that… that…"
"Well, something's obviously wrong… are you ill?" Rodolphus pressed his hand against Rabastan's forehead, and Rabastan was stricken with an urge to curl up in his brother's arms. He felt so strong and comforting…
No, Rab! You have something to tell him! Remember?
He pulled back, digging his nails into his palms through the fabric of his shirt to keep his hands from shaking.
"Rod," he said slowly, "There's something I need to tell you, and I'm not sure how to do it or how you're going to take it…" He winced a little. "I mean, I don't know how you're going to react."
"Well, good Lord, Rabastan." Rodolphus looked quite unnerved now – almost afraid. "You're scaring me. What's happened? Is someone dead?"
"No, nothing like that."
"Well, what, then? You've been acting odd…"
"I…" Rabastan floundered for words.
"Just tell me," Rodolphus said, taking his brother's hands, bloody from scratching themselves and squeezing them tightly. "Whatever it is, I can help, I promise. Just tell me…"
"No, you can't help," said Rabastan, shaking his head wildly. "No one can help…"
"Yes, I can," Rodolphus insisted. "But I can't do anything until you tell me what's wrong."
"I… I…" Rabastan stammered, then he took a deep breath, calming himself as best he could. He would start with the easiest part to explain. He could explain the rest as he went along.
"I'm… not a virgin anymore," he said in a tiny voice, wishing desperately that that was the full extent of his confession.
Rodolphus stared at him for a moment, apparently lost for words. He blinked slowly, and a small frown creased his forehead. "You're not?"
"What?" Rabastan asked defensively. "Do you think I'm not good enough to… to get laid? Is that it?"
Rodolphus swore softly. "No, Rab, I didn't mean that… I just meant… well, you and Andromeda have hardly been engaged for a month – don't you think it's a little early to–"
"Well, that's the thing," Rabastan cut across him. His whole body was shaking violently, and he could hardly manage to raise his voice above a whisper. "It… it wasn't with her."
Rabastan looked away. He stared into the low, flickering crimson flames in the fireplace, doing his best to keep his eyes on them and not let them drift back to his brother. It seemed like forever before Rodolphus finally spoke.
"Well," he said, "if it was Bellatrix, then I understand… and you're my brother, I wouldn't hold it against you – we're not even married yet…"
"It wasn't Bellatrix."
"Oh." That seemed to throw Rodolphus off, and Rabastan heard a note of horror in his voice. "Oh Rab, not Narcissa…"
"No, it wasn't her," Rabastan said, deciding not to waste his energy in dwelling on why his brother sounded so much more upset at the idea of Rabastan sleeping with Narcissa than with Bellatrix when Bellatrix was the one Rodolphus was engaged to.
Tears of shame and humiliation sprung into Rabastan's eyes, and he whispered, "Regulus."
"Rab…" Rodolphus said at last, very slowly, "how… how did that happen?"
"I don't know!" Rabastan cried. "We were at a party and you'd gone off with Bellatrix and Regulus and I were talking, and he said we should go up to his bedroom and I didn't know what he meant so I went with him and we got up there and he started kissing me and I couldn't…"
"Good Lord, Rab, how easy are you?" Rodolphus demanded. "You slept with him just because he took you into a room and started kissing you? Jesus Christ! Would you do that if it was a Mudblood? Do you know the kind of reputation you're going to get if you do things like that?"
"I wouldn't do it with just anyone!" Rabastan said defensively. "I haven't done it with Andromeda…"
"Well, that's even worse!" Rodolphus told him. "She's your fiancée! You ought to be sleeping with her if you're sleeping with anyone at all! And Jesus… Regulus Black of all fucking people… why couldn't you have at least picked a girl?"
"I don't know!" cried Rabastan. He had not really been expecting Rodolphus to accept it, but he had been utterly unprepared for this level of vehement upset. "Andromeda's kissed me like that before, but it wasn't the same… and I…"
"It just… felt good… when he touched me…"
"You're such a slut, Rab," Rodolphus said derisively. "Yes, of course it felt good. It's supposed to feel good. Just because it feels good doesn't mean you're supposed to hop into bed with anyone who'll touch you. Especially men."
"But Rod…" Rabastan said, his voice cracking. He tried to keep tears from coming to his eyes. "Rod, I… I think… I mean…"
"I think I fancy men," Rabastan said in a tiny voice. "I mean… I don't even like Regulus very much – Andromeda's much nicer – but… I don't know how to explain it…"
"Jesus…" Rodolphus buried his face in his hands. "Andromeda's going to have a fit when she finds out…"
"She doesn't have to find out, does she?" asked Rabastan. "You're not going to tell her, are you?"
"You think she's not going to find out that her fiancé is… is a…" Rodolphus searched for words, waving one hand through the air. "That her fiancé fancies men? How were you planning on hiding that from her?"
"I don't know," Rabastan whispered. "I don't want her to know, though… it'll upset her, like you said…"
"And the fact that you'll be thinking about men when you fuck her – you don't think that's going to upset her?"
Tears spilled from Rabastan's eyes at last, and he hung his head, shame burning his face. "I wouldn't be thinking about anyone else…"
"Oh, wouldn't you?" Rodolphus sneered. "Do you think I don't know exactly what you'd be doing?"
"No!" said Rabastan heatedly, dashing tears from his eyes. "No, you don't know! You don't understand!"
"Oh, don't I?" demanded Rodolphus. His face was flushed, and Rabastan shrank away from him a little. "You don't think I know? You don't think that there've been times when I would have preferred to be fucking a man rather than Bellatrix? You think I don't ever imagine myself with someone else?"
Rabastan opened his mouth, but no words came out. "I… what?"
Rodolphus stood up, pushing his brother down roughly into the armchair when he tried to follow. "Yeah, you're not the only one who isn't the perfect straight boy Mother and Father wanted," he said, venom dripping from his voice. "You know what the difference is, Rab? You got to fuck Regulus, and I'm stuck pretending while I'm with Bellatrix."
He stormed out, and Rabastan was left quite dazed and confused in the armchair, trying to process what had just happened.