Summary: Standing alone in the house after Regulus's first kill, Barty speaks to a man who is not there.
Characters/Pairings: Barty Crouch, Jr.
Genre: Gen? I'm always crap at assigning genres.
Rating/Warnings: PG I guess? No warnings
Word Count: 100
Can the Order post to Tumblr?: No
"He is just a boy. He was frightened."
"Yes. But that was one moment of weakness in the midst of such potential and strength."
"He killed the man. Remember that. He has the power to kill, and he will use that power when we ask it of him. It was his first. And he'll kill again, for you."
"My Lord, I beseech you. Let him go. He is so devoted to you."
"I understand. And if he fails, his life will end with my hands."
"You are a gracious and forgiving master. My Lord, I thank you."
Author's Note: I realized after the fact that this style was probably heavily influenced by David Foster Wallace, so credit is due there.
Title: Someday The Sun Will Die And I'll Grow Cold
Summary: Alone and frightened after his first kill, Regulus calls on the only person he can trust.
Characters/Pairings: Regulus and Sirius
Genre: Sad? Angst?
Rating/Warnings: PG-13. Some f-bombs and blood but that's basically it, no gore.
Word Count: 1276 (including the letter)
Can the Order post to Tumblr?: No
The owl flew off into the night. Regulus watched it until it joined the stars, a white speck in the sky.
He was crouched in the bushes, arms wrapped around his knees. Thick pats of blood streaked his face: he had tried to wipe it away, but it only smeared across his cheeks and dirtied his palms. Brambles scratched at his skin, tempting more blood (his own) to the surface.
The only streetlamp was across the road and flickering a dim, orange light. Occasionally a passer-by would amble by the bush. His glare would fixate on the intruder, wand at the ready, biting back his breath, until the person turned out of sight.
His chest cavity rose and fell, rose and fell, and Regulus knew that it was neither normal nor safe to be breathing this viciously. His eyes were unfocused; his brow flushing an uncomfortable heat and then a chilling cold. It was like drowning -- it must be like drowning. He had to remind himself to take deep, lung-filling breaths, because the instinct was lost on him now. This would be the moment where he would cry, and the lack of tears awoke another bolt of panic in him. And that scene would not leave him. Behind his closed eyes, Barty's laughter; the man hanging limply in the air like a zeppelin, limb hanging off on a thread and then detaching; the gush that followed. The grave wail that escaped the man as he was brought back to consciousness. That merciful green light.
There was blood on his shoe. Regulus's clammy, shivering fist clutched at his wand.
A lazy blue beam sputtered from his wand, and died. The top of his shoe cracked in half. The blood was still there. His forehead fell defeatedly to the caps of his knees.
It must have been after 3 am, but Regulus had no way of knowing. Nor did he have any way of knowing how his brother had possibly found him, but Sirius, for all his foolery, always managed to wrestle a plan from the most frantic of situations. The motorbike landed across the road beneath the streetlamp. The orange light accentuated the angles of his face and brought a glow to his already-dark complexion. Regulus peeked his head out the top of the bush; just his head, just to be sure.
"Reg! What in holy hell happened to you?!"
Regulus said nothing. His lips had physically sealed over. He arose from the bush and rushed to Sirius without wiping the dirt from his pants.
"What happened, Regulus."
The smaller boy only climbed aboard the back of the motorbike and locked his arms around his brother's chest, managing the meekest crack of a whisper.
The rest of the flight was like that: Sirius demanding what happened; are you okay; why is there blood; Regulus, holy fuck, to no response. As they pierced through the frigid night air, the wind whipped reluctant tears from Regulus's swollen eyes. They carved out rivers in the stains beneath them.
"Regulus, for fuck's sake, you know you're going to tell me eventually," and Regulus knew he was right. He had not yet learned to refuse him.
Regulus clutched at Sirius's hand as they climbed the stairs in their family home. The papered walls were just as cold as the night air had been while racing through the sky. Portraits of long deceased family members muttered as they passed -- songs of pride, of honor, to Regulus's surprise; words which he would have rather not heard but which cut at his ears anyway. At the top step, his breath had vanished and he collapsed. Sirius carried Regulus the rest of the way, into the boy's bedroom.
The Dark Lord's face covered the bedroom in pictures torn from the Prophet. His eyes and shirt and wand all flashed a Slytherin green. Sirius cast a quick gust and they fell.
Perched on the edge of the bed, Regulus's feet could barely reach the ground. He kept tipping over, his head top-heavy, and Sirius, who knelt on the floor before him, had to hold his shoulders to keep him from tumbling off.
"You can tell me what happened."
This time, Sirius spoke softly, free of the worry and scorn that had followed him home. His calloused fingers brushed Regulus's chin. It sent icicles down his spine, piercing the very nerves that reminded him that he was, in fact, alive.
A lump of air formed in his throat. He turned his head, forcing himself away from Sirius's gaze: warm, inviting, a comfort he knew he didn't deserve but ached for anyway. A little validation. Just a little, enough to prove to him that what he had done was not so dreadful; that it had not altered the shape of his character.
"I killed him." The words seeped through his larynx, devoid of melody. "Sirius, I... there was so much blood."
it must have been what his older brother had feared, because the consoling smile had slid from his lips, and yet he wore no impression of shock. I killed someone, and now he knows. Now this is part of his image of me. Guilt sat like a boulder in the pit of his belly. His cheeks, usually pale, flushed to match the color of the sticky substance on his face. And Sirius was still silent. The pause begged more explanation.
"I-I didn't want to, I swear, Sirius I swear, but he... he was... I-it woulda been worse if... Oh god, please say something, please, Sirius."
Now, more than ever, was Regulus aware of his need to impress. Sirius, the taller of the two, who had begun to adopt the dark lines and faint stubble of an emerging man. Sirius, the better sportsman, the better spellcaster, whose wry tongue attracted crowds while Regulus's stutter sent them ambling away. Who was pulling, swiftly, away from the family; who Regulus toiled to drag back in, to keep him, just a little longer, clutching at his slippery palms.
The older boy said nothing. Instead, his fingers tightened around Regulus's chin, forcing it level, until the two faces were just moments apart, and only Regulus's tired and unwilling lids could break their eye contact.
Ever the better spellcaster, he was. The blood faded from Regulus's cheeks, his temples, his nose. Two more incantations, and his robes and split-toed shoe were clean, as well. The corner of Sirius's lips flickered upwards, just a whisper.
"There. All clean now. All better." But there was no joy to his smile, no sense of relief to see his younger brother cleared from the stains of his mistakes.
They spent the night on that bed. Regulus cowered into the protection of his brother's chest, fingers twisting in his shirt, clinging, as though hanging from a cliff. Sirius coiled around him, arms encasing the small boy's ribcage, face buried in the damp mass of Regulus's short, black hair. Neither of them slept. Occasionally they dozed into a blank tranquility, for a moment escaping the world they would now need to exist in. It always ended with a certainty that they had been conscious the entire time, only loose hallucinations daring them, and failing, to dream.
The next morning, Sirius was gone. Regulus paced into his brother's room to find its shelves bare. His trunk had disappeared. It would all be different now. A rising sickness boiled through his veins.
Author's Note: Title credit to Moving Mountains
46 points for Gryffindor