Title: Regulus' Redemption
Author: Martine Lewis
Summary:Regulus Black realizes that his being a Death Eater is not as cool as he thought it was.
Author's Notes: This is in response to Teacher's Lounge Christmas Exchange. This story is for TellatrixForever. I am rather into canon so I tried to do something that would work for me and hopefully please you. Okay, I added another dimension to Regulus' change of heart about the Death Eaters but since this is not the most developed part of the canon, I figured I could allow myself some leeway. Hope you enjoy!
Regulus just loved her.
Every time he laid eyes on her, he thought his heart would stop. Melody Springfield was a seventeen year old Hufflepuff witch, born to a regular middle-class Muggle family. Her hair was long, straight and the colour of wheat in the autumn, right before harvest. She had eyes the colour of the sky on a sunny day, and her skin was creamy and soft. She also played the piano like no one he had ever heard before. To say that she was good was to trivialize her enormous talent. Melody was the total opposite of the black-haired sober Blacks of his family, and Regulus could not get enough of her, especially when she played her piano, which he would listen to for hours on end, sitting on her sofa, without moving a muscle.
Melody Springfield was the light of his life.
And by loving her, he put her in danger.
Regulus Black was a Death Eater. A few years back, he had been totally taken by the power exuded by the Death Eaters and the Dark Lord. While he understood that they stood for blood purity, he didn't, at the time, understand what the Death Eaters were ready to do to implement their policy. Now, things had changed. Blood purity was an idea his parents and his family supported above and beyond all else and for a time, he had also believed it with all his heart. But now, he could not help but think his brother had been right all along: blood status did not make the wizard. And listening to Melody, he began to understand that even better. Melody was not any less of a witch because of her parentage. In fact, she was one of the most talented witches he knew. She studied her magic hard and was one of the best of her year. And she was incredibly talented with her delicate little fingers running over the white and black keys of the piano.
White and black, just like her and him.
"Regulus, are you still with me?" she asked, her fingers still running over the keys.
He didn't know how long he had been sitting there, listening to her, but hearing her say his name was as much music to his ears as her playing the piano.
"Yes, Love," he answered. "I'm just enjoying your music."
And she gave him one of her crystalline laughs, the kind that made his heart stop all over again. He smiled at her, one of his very rare smiles.
"I think you are the most wonderful person in the world," he said and he realized how much he really meant it.
Melody knew he had the Dark Mark on his arm, but she also knew his heart. And she had understood that his heart was not as dark as the Mark, that his heart, beneath the questioning and the anguish, was in fact pure and true. And while a lesser witch would have walked away from him without giving him a chance to prove himself, Melody, in her generous heart, had let him in and befriended him. No wonder he had fallen for her. Beautiful, kind and talented. What was not to love?
"I will have to go soon," he sadly said, looking at the clock on the mantle.
"I know," she simply said, keeping on playing. "You'll be back soon," she added, more as a statement than a question.
"Yes, I will," he assured her, standing up.
With her music behind him, he walked out of the room without looking back.
"Tonight, I am of need of assistance from you," said the Dark Lord, walking down the long corridor of his estate, his arm around Regulus' shoulder, his snake following behind.
"Yes, My Lord. How may I be of assistance?" asked Regulus, trying to keep his fear in check.
He was in too deep. He should never have got involved. A flash of Melody's peaceful and joyful face passed through his mind, increasing the pain of his heart over the decision he had made, over a year ago, in joining the Death Eaters.
"I am of need of a house-elf," said the Lord.
"Yes My Lord," answered Regulus.
Regulus did not need to be told more. He knew the Dark Lord would expect him to understand he was requesting Kreacher. Regulus did not like the idea, especially since he had no idea what the Lord wanted with his trusted and beloved servant, but he had no choice in the matter. The Dark Lord had asked, he had to obey.
"When will My Lord need him?" he asked, keeping his composure as he had done for most of the last few years.
"In three nights, at the full moon," answered the Lord. "You shall send him here at half past eight with the express order to obey all of my commands."
"Yes, My Lord," answered Regulus, trapped and hating himself for not standing up to the man, for allowing him to have so much power over him.
But a request was an order and Regulus was not yet ready to defy the Dark Lord.
An hour later, Regulus found his house-elf in the kitchen, giving the final touch to dinner.
"Kreacher," he said lightly. "I was looking for you."
"Yes, Master," answered Kreacher, continuing his task.
Regulus knew the house-elf meant no disrespect. In fact, the house-elf was fiercely loyal to him only because he showed him respect and kindness.
"The Dark Lord has asked for your assistance," he said. "It is a great honour," he added, trying to convince himself as much as the house-elf.
"Yes Master," answered Kreacher, showing no impression on the request.
"I want you to meet with the Dark Lord at half past eight on the night of the full moon. You are to meet with him at his mansion and obey him in all points," directed Regulus with apprehension.
He honestly did not know what the Dark Lord wanted with the house-elf but he was very much afraid it would not be good. Regulus knew perfectly well how the Dark Lord saw any creature, human or otherwise, who was not a pure-blood wizard.
"And I want you to return to me as soon as you are done," he added, this directive somehow feeling important to him.
"Yes Master," answered Kreacher. "Kreacher shall obey Master."
"Thank you Kreacher," said Regulus. "You shall have pastry for your desert tonight, after you had some choice piece of our dinner."
"Master is most generous," said Kreacher with what could pass as a smile from the old elf.
Regulus took a last look at his house-elf, hesitated a moment as if he wanted to add something, and left to greet his cousins who were in the Sitting Room.
"A nice fine young man like you need to find himself a nice little witch," said Narcissa, squeezing her cousin's shoulders affectionately.
He had found out, a few days prior, that his cousin was now pregnant and he wondered if it wasn't her pregnancy making her want him to suddenly find himself a witch.
"Narcissa, let the boy be. He needs his fun. He is young after all. Let him have who he wants until we find him someone suitable to his station," said Bellatrix with a sneer.
But Regulus already had found the woman he wanted to marry. Granted, she was not the type his family would approve of. Sometimes, he wished he was more like his older brother, willing to defy them, willing to run away and live his life like he should, not like anybody else thought he should.
But then, there were also his fellow Death Eaters. His family, in and of itself was a big obstacle but the Death Eaters would be something else completely. Why did he even think of joining them in the first place? he asked himself for what seemed like the hundredth time that day.
"What's the name of that Mudblood toy you've been playing with lately?" asked Bellatrix, getting him back to the conversation. "Melo something."
Regulus kept his expression as neutral as he could. His apparent lack of expression had always served him well, especially with the Death Eaters. At first, he had done it because it made him look older than his teenager years but now, it served him to hide his growing panic. How did Bellatrix find out about Melody? Melody was supposed to be his secret and every time he had gone to see her, he had been careful not to be seen. The thought of his cousin knowing could mean something so much worse: it could mean Melody was even more in danger than he had expected.
"Well, once you're done with her, get rid of her and we'll find you a proper witch," she continued, with an indulgent smile.
Regulus nodded once, to acknowledge that he had heard her and to hide his apprehension. He wished he could simply run to her place to protect her, to shield her from the darkness that his associations could only bring her.
He had been stupid. No, he was still stupid. He had to stop seeing her, right now. It was the only way to keep her safe, or at least to try.
Dinner with his cousins, their husbands and his parents was long and tiring. The only thing they seemed to be willing to talk about was blood purity and the marvellous achievements of the Dark Lord and the Death Eaters.
"Our Lord will find a way to survive anything," Bellatrix was saying with adulation in her eyes. "He may even find a way to become immortal."
"That would be convenient," said Lucius slowly.
While Lucious was not as enamoured by the Dark Lord as his cousin, he had an unhealthy appetite for power and admiration for the man who was now looking more and more like his pet snake every day.
How stupid could he, Regulus, have been? he wondered. He had followed this Lord just for the glory of it. Now, he only wished he hadn't.
"Regulus, are you okay?" asked Narcissa.
Regulus rapidly looked up. Everyone at the table was staring at him.
"Oh! Yes," he said in the most neutral voice he could muster. "I was only distracted."
"Well, pay attention," snapped his mother. "It is not polite to ignore our guests."
"Sorry, Mother," he said.
"Your cousin wanted to know what you thought of Morgan Goyle," said his mother, looking at Bellatrix.
Regulus could not care less for the pure-blood witch. She was shallow and he had the impression she had nothing between the ears. He did not remember having seen or heard her have any type of meaningful conversation.
"She's pretty," he said.
At least, that was true. And it was possibly the only thing she had going for her.
"Oh! Good!" said Bellatrix, excitingly. "She is a proper witch and has shown interest in you," she said.
Regulus slowly let out the breath he didn't know he was holding. It was one thing for Bellatrix to talk about Melody in front of Narcissa, but it was another thing completely if she were to mention her in front of his mother.
"We shall organize a dinner at our house for you to spend more time together," continued his cousin.
Regulus gave her a noncommittal nod. What was he to do? Object? No, it was wiser to keep his peace and hope that no other uncomfortable conversation were to happen during dinner.
And he had his wish.
It was close to nine when he could escape the company of his family and take refuge in his room. As he passed his brother's deserted room, he looked at the door for a moment then moved on to his own. The colours were the same, as always, Slytherin green and silver. He liked those colours but lately, he had surprised himself thinking about yellow and black.
He had stayed away in the last month, or at least as much as he could, and now he had to be even more careful. His cousin knew about her and he was terrified to find out who else did. And how he longed to run to her right now, to see her, to smell her, and maybe even touch her. But he couldn't very well do it now. It was too late and his family was still in the Drawing Room. What would they do if they saw him walked by?
In the spring of a moment, he just Disapparated and found himself in the rainy London street. Before he knew it, he was walking, the rain drenching him in a few minutes. Five minutes later, he was at her house, ringing her bell.
"Oh!" she exclaimed, startled by his appearance. "Regulus? Is everything alright?" she asked, letting him in.
But he didn't know what to say. He was being stupid, he was putting her even more in danger and he wanted to tell her to run away as quickly as she could.
"I had to see you," he said instead.
"You look like a right mess," she said, escorting him to the Sitting Room.
The lights were out and a fire was burning in the fireplace to keep the humidity at bay.
"You're alone?" he asked.
"Yes," she answered with a small smile. "Are you afraid?" she asked, walking to him.
Yes, he was, very much so.
But now, he was not only afraid of what would happen to her from the Death Eaters if they were to go after her, he was afraid of what he wanted to do to her.
And her perfume was intoxicating, and her smile inviting.
She took a step towards him.
"I'm glad you came," she said, putting her delicate hand on his chest, touching him for the first time.
And before he knew what was going on, he kissed her.
"Please don't go," she asked, between kisses.
And he didn't.
"Tomorrow, I will have vanquished one of my biggest fears," said the Dark Lord to the Death Eaters standing near the fireplace with him.
Regulus was one of those three Death Eaters. He had joined his fellow members at a little get-together thrown by the Dark Lord. Those did not happen frequently but not attending meant the end of that person's life. Regulus hadn't wanted to come. He had wanted to go and spend more time with Melody. He had seen her the night before again and he simply could not get the feel of her smooth skin out of his mind. She was intoxicating, she was marvellous, she was his light.
But as the Dark Lord kept on speaking, Regulus made every effort to chase her from his mind. Thinking of her so near the Dark Lord would only result in a serious mistake that could get her or even himself killed.
"And all of this will be possible with the help of Regulus," he continued.
Regulus inclined his head to acknowledge the comment. The Dark Lord was surely talking about Kreacher who, the following night, would be helping him. Regulus was still apprehensive of this but he had no choice.
"Isn't it marvellous?" said Bellatrix, admiration in her eyes.
"Yes, Bellatrix," answered the Dark Lord with a benevolent smile. "I will become immortal," he added.
If Regulus had not had the control he now possessed, he would have frowned. How could the Dark Lord become immortal? he wondered.
"But my Lord, surely you already are," said Bellatrix, surprised.
"It is flattering to see that you are putting that much fate in me, Bellatrix," said the Dark Lord.
Regulus was still thinking about this strange conversation when Kreacher left the next night. Regulus had wanted to go and see Melody but her family was supposed to receive visitors and he had reluctantly decided to postpone his visit until the following night. So now, Regulus was home by himself, worrying about Kreacher and missing Melody.
It was closed to two in the morning when he finally heard Kreacher apparate outside his bedroom door. He walked to it and opened it just in time to see the house-elf fall over, holding his belly as if he was in terrible pain.
"Kreacher!" exclaimed Regulus alarmed, kneeling and taking the house-elf's head in his lap.
"Water," asked the battered and bruised elf.
With a flick of his wand, Regulus summoned a glass of water and fed it to the house-elf who drank it greedily.
"Kreacher, what happened? What did he do to you?"
"He made Kreacher drink the poisonous water," whispered Kreacher, closing his eyes.
All of the sudden, the little house-elf was seized by another spasm of pain and he whimpered, holding his belly.
"Drink Kreacher, it's more water," said Regulus, bringing the glass of water to the house-elf's lips.
Kreacher drank heavily again.
"Why did he make you drink?" asked Regulus.
"He wanted to hide the locket in the basin," answered Kreacher.
"What locket?" asked Regulus, offering more water to the house-elf.
"The one which contained a part of his soul," answered the house-elf once he had drunk again.
And it hit Regulus.
A few weeks ago, in the Black's library, he had come across a very dark piece of magic where a person could trap a part of his soul into an object by killing someone else. The person who had trapped his soul would then become immortal until such time as the object was destroyed.
And now that he thought about what the Dark Lord had said the previous night, it all made sense. And the thought completely horrified Regulus.
"How did you survive, Kreacher?" he asked sadly.
"Master had asked me to come back once my task was completed," he answered. "And I couldn't disobey Master."
"Who knows you're alive?" asked Regulus, urgently.
"No one but you, Master," answered the weakening house-elf.
Regulus took the elf in his arms and brought him to his closet. He took some of his shirts and a sheet from his bed and made a bed at the bottom of it.
"Kreacher," he said, putting the house-elf on the improvised bed. "I want you to remain hidden. Do not answer the summons of anyone else but me, under any circumstances. I do not want anyone to know you are alive. The Dark Lord has gone too far and when you are better, I want you to help me stop him."
"Yes Master," answered the house-elf, closing his eyes.
A few seconds later, Kreacher was asleep.
Regulus was still very much perturbed and upset when he made his way to Melody's the next morning. Kreacher had spent a very agitated night and Regulus was worried about the state of the old house-elf. He had hesitated to leave him but he wanted the brightness that represented Melody. He needed to think and he wanted Melody's music to help calm him. His task was daunting but he had to stop the Dark Lord.
After countless detours to make sure he was not followed, Regulus finally arrived at Melody's door and ran the bell. A few moments later, Melody's mother answered. Regulus was surprised by her appearance. Her normally well maintained hair was dishevelled and her eyes were red and blood shot.
"Oh, Regulus," she wailed.
"What… what's wrong?" asked Regulus, feeling the hair on the back of his neck rise.
"It's horrible!" she wailed again. "Melody, my poor little girl, she's dead."
Regulus looked at the woman without understanding her.
"What?" he asked.
"She's dead," cried the woman. "We left her for a moment last night, right after our guests left, and when we came back, she was in the sitting room, on the floor, staring into space, dead."
Regulus felt like the earth had tilted under his feet and fell against the wall.
"Regulus, are you alright?" asked Melody's mother, catching him.
"I… I want to see her," he said, shakily.
Melody's mother took him into the house and brought him to Melody's bedroom, the same one he had slept in a few nights ago. Melody was there, fully dressed, on the bed, immobile. She looked asleep but her chest wasn't moving. Regulus walked to her and took her hand in his. It was cold and lifeless.
"No," murmured Regulus. "No!" he screamed. "Who did this?"
"We don't know," answered Melody's mother. "We're keeping her here until the coroner can come and get her body for an autopsy. We didn't want to leave her downstairs."
Without listening more, Regulus walked out of the room and went to the sitting room. He took his wand and waved it around, trying to get a sense of what had happened. And he felt it: the Killing Curse had been used in the room in the recent past.
Dread coursed through Regulus's body. The previous night was also when the Dark Lord had said he would be finally immortal. And in order to do so, he had to kill someone. And who better than a Muggle-born witch.
Regulus did not know how he made his way home but suddenly, he was there, kneeling in front of his cupboard, slowly opening the door.
"Kreacher," he called gently, tears streaming down his face.
"Master?" asked the house-elf.
"Kreacher, did you see the person the Dark Lord killed last night to trap his soul into the locket?"
"Yes Master," answered Kreacher.
"Who was it?" asked Regulus.
"A witch with wheat hair and who played beautiful music," answered the elf sadly.
Regulus bent over in pain, trying to quiet the sobs that were coming out of him. The Dark Lord had done it: he had killed his Melody. There was just no redemption for the man anymore. Regulus would vanquish him if it was the last thing he did.
"Kreacher, he will pay. I swear to you, he will pay."
Regulus collapsed on the floor and let the grief overtake him.