All Around The World There's A Sinking Feeling
Disclaimer: The world and characters of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, not to me.
Written for the Regulus Competition at HPFC, with prompt "falling".
"Everybody's trusting in the heart
Like the heart don't lie"
-All I Need, Matchbox 20
From the time he was little, he knew the proverb "Look before you leap" by heart. It was a favorite of his mother's, proper, fussy, pureblood Walburga Black.
But Regulus threw himself off a cliff, and he thinks he's doing pretty well, thank you very much.
Although, he must say it wasn't exactly a conscious choice. Not with her bright green eyes and the hitch in her walk and the way she laughs and the way she smiles (no one else smiles at him like that).
She doesn't think he's just a shadow of his brother.
Maybe that's why he falls for her.
He knows it will be difficult, even if she doesn't.
Regulus is a Black (but so is Sirius, she says). Regulus is proper and he is Slytherin and he is pureblooded, and this will be the hardest thing he has ever done.
She doesn't want to keep it a secret, so he sighs- he can't resist her- and he locks away his instincts and takes her hand.
Preparing to take a fall is much more fun with her by his side.
He thinks the look on Sirius' face when they walk into the Great Hall is almost worth it.
Getting a Jelly-Legs jinx from Potter? Not so much.
Luckily she comes to Regulus' defense- "POTTER!"- and she catches him when he stumbles before jinxing Potter right back.
And then the prefects get between the fighters and the tension calms, although Potter is still glaring Unforgiveables at Regulus.
"So," Regulus drawls when he's alone with her that night, "that went well, don't you think?"
She laughs and smiles her smile, and falling isn't so bad anymore.
Or maybe it is.
"MUDBLOOD FILTH! OH, THE SHAME- BLOOD TRAITOR- OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
He sits on his trunk outside for a while, getting strange looks from the Muggle residents (at least he's not wearing robes).
Sirius is probably at the Potters'. Regulus can't go there, not only because James Potter hates him, but also because he has no transportation.
Although, he does recall Cissy saying something about a vulgar, lower-class wizard bus called… what was it? The Knight Bus.
He may as well try to go to Sirius. There's nowhere else.
He sticks out his wand.
If Sirius is overwhelmed, that's nothing to how Regulus feels.
Yeah, Sirius is stuck between his brother and his brother, glares rebounding throughout the Potter Manor, but here Regulus is, having abandoned all he's ever known, and the girl can't even owl him back?
Some gratitude- but then, Regulus remembers, she doesn't know he's left. She doesn't know that he's thrown away everything (just like Sirius).
He finds the truth is that angels fall harder and fall faster, because they have so much more to lose.
After a much too long vacation, filled with accusatory glances and James' sharp words and one very conflicted Sirius, Regulus is finally back at Hogwarts.
He loiters in the Great Hall instead of going straight to his dormitory, hoping to catch her. He waits and waits and waits- and there she is, walking in, looking around, looking for him.
His mouth refuses to move, but luckily she sees him and her face breaks into a smile.
"Regulus!" she screams, and her voice carries and everyone is staring at him, but then she throws herself at him and he doesn't care anymore.
He says her name, letting out his anxiety and worries and anger in one deep breath. He wraps his arms around her and breathes in her lilac scent, and falls all over again.
They're playing Gobstones in the library, hidden in the corner so the librarian won't scold them. She smiles when she wins a game and he thinks wistfully that maybe falling for her was the best thing that ever happened to him.
She pauses before moving her piece and looks up at him.
"Regulus?" she says.
"Please don't ever leave me," she says, in a much softer voice that quivers at the end.
He grabs her hand. "Are you okay?"
"My sister's not coming back," she says brokenly, shaking her head, and he holds her while she cries. He promises then that he will never, ever, leave her.
That is the day he remembers that there are different types of falling, and not all of them are good.
Lily is a princess, but not every fairy tale has a happy ending.
She breaks up with him later that year. She has to find herself, she says, swearing that she still loves him and she always will.
She ends up with James Potter, just like Regulus always knew she would, and Regulus is "gently encouraged" to join the Death Eaters.
He could die, of course- defy Voldemort, become a martyr like a Gryffindor would (like Lily would) but he is a Slytherin, and he knows there are better ways of fighting back than death, and better ways of defiance than a heroic speech at the very end.
So he joins, and his last thought before he falls into the deep, dark waters is of Lily, and her smile just for him, and the promise he can't help but break.