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22 March 2010 @ 10:47 pm
Nineteen Seventy-nine, part IV  
Part One
Part Two
Part Three


He never once said that he had told me so, never once shook his head at my stupidity. Rather, he helped me pack what I would need, and made excuses with Mother for why the two of us were going for an early morning walk. We made it round the corner before he grabbed my arm and Apparated me a mile and a half east.

He pulled a note from his pocket, and showed it to me, and with that a house appeared before me, narrower than our home, but just as well built. He bustled me inside, to a well-lit and spacious entrance hall.

'Where are we?' I asked.

'It was my Uncle Regulus's,' Father explained. 'He left it to me, I always meant for you to have it. It's as secret as home, more so, since none of your friends know about it.'

I thanked him, and he held me, and told me that I had to be careful. 'Stay inside, no matter what. The house comes with an elf, Welky. He's old but devoted, and very useful. If you need anything he cannot supply, send him to me. Not your mother, I am going to tell her I've sent you to Botswana.'

I laughed then, because that was one place that had never occurred to me.

'I can't lock you up,' he said. 'But be sensible, my son. You're all I have left, and you were always my favourite.'

He knew. I am sure that even then, he knew.

'Father, when the war is over, if Sirius comes back … he was always kind to me. Even in the last few years, he has always looked out for me.'

'We'll talk about that when the time comes,' he promised.

And so he left me here, and I unpacked my bags, and took possession of a house that was far too big for me and a house-elf who was happy to be called on only at mealtimes and I set about reading and planning.

After two weeks, I had read everything that I had smuggled from the library, and I had learned several important things. The first was that there were spells that could render fluids unable to be drained by any method save that set by the wizard who bespelled them. The second was that house-elf magic could only create the tiniest amount of fire: enough for a warm study, but not the conflagration I would need. The third was that in light of the first and second things, I would not live to see Christmas.

I was tremendously grown-up about my third realisation. I sat down and calmly wrote letters first to my Father and Mother, and then to Sirius. I tidied my books, left a note asking that they be returned to the library after the war, and ate chocolate for breakfast as I decided that tomorrow would be a good day to get Things Done.

It was only two in the afternoon by then, so I read the first and last chapters of several mystery novels I had been hoping to get to, did several laps of the house to keep myself in shape, and then tried to decide whether it made more sense to die in my best robe or my worst one.

And by then the sun had well and truly set and the darkness began to seep in through the windows and I told myself it was a terrible idea, but really it was that or lose my bottle entirely and leg it for Botswana, so I grabbed my quill and a square of parchment and I called Welky in and asked if he could get a message to someone without anyone else seeing him, and he assured me that he could.

And so I wrote to her. Regulus Black lives at 14A Eaton Square, it said. Underneath that, three stark words: Lily, I'm afraid.

She came.

Welky had barely returned when I heard the knock at the door, and I ran for it, assuring him that he would not be needed and that he could have the evening off. He checked that I was sure, then Disapparated happily, and I opened the door.

Lily had her wand drawn. She was wearing a Muggle coat and a blue woolly hat. 'Are you alone?' she whispered. I nodded, then quickly collected the hat in my nose and her wand in my back as she barrelled into me, hugging me more tightly than I would have credited given the look of her arms.

She pushed me inside and shut the door behind us. 'Never again!' she said angrily. 'I don't care what your reasoning is, you never again entirely disappear for this length of time without sending word. And you certainly don't send word like that! I was all set to Apparate to Sirius's and come back with the entire Order!'

'I missed you, too,' I said, smiling.

'Prat. Make me a cup of tea. And you'd better have cake.'

I did. Three types. She had taken off her coat and hat and was sitting on the settee when I came back in with the tray.

'So,' she began. 'What trouble are you in and how can we get you out of it?'

'Both good questions,' I said, cutting her a slice of the chocolatiest cake. 'Quite big trouble, and I am afraid there's nothing for it but to plunge deeper in.'

'Regulus Arcturus Black, what have you done?'

She did not sound the least bit like my mother.

'Where did you learn my middle name?'

'I asked your brother. He likes talking about you. Keeps hoping you're going to turn up on his doorstep asking to be taken in.'

'I nearly did.'

'Do! He'd be thrilled. Excellent cake.'

'Thank you.' I decided to dive right in. 'Lily, I think I know how to defeat Voldemort.'

She laughed.

'I'm serious.'

She stopped laughing. 'Really? Really? Well, why are we eating cake? We'll take it to the Order. We can mount an attack.'

'That's the thing.' I put my cake plate down, and waited till she did the same with hers. 'I've looked over it from every angle, and it's a one-person job.'

'All right. Well, you explain what needs to be done, and we'll find the best person for it.'

'No. Lily, I've thought it through at length and the best person is me.'

She nodded thoughtfully. 'Because you're an insider and can get in and out without detection?'

'In,' I agreed.

She noticed. 'What about the out?'

'Fairly certain there won't be an out.'

'Well that's not acceptable.'

'But it's what needs to happen.'

'No.' She pushed her hair back from her face. 'No. You're thinking like your brother. You're a young man who hasn't done anything yet. There are other people who are able to make sacrifices, who are older, and have less to lose, less to miss out on.'

'Lily, I'm not going to ask anyone else to do this.'

'You haven't even told me what "this" is!' she snapped.

'No. And I'm not going to.'

'Fine. You're being ridiculous. I'm going.'

She picked up her coat and hat and stood up. Then she flung the garments back onto the settee and came to my chair and punched me hard in the arm.

'Stop it,' she ordered. 'Get over your Great Heroic Statements for a minute and tell me what you're going to do and we'll find a way to make it survivable. There's always another way.'

'That really hurts.'

'Good.'

I reached out and caught her hand before she could punch me with it again. 'There's a prophecy. They know there's someone who can defeat Voldemort. He's coming, whoever it is.'

She uncurled her fist, and curled her hand around mine. 'How do you know?'

'Severus heard it. He didn't give me any details, only that, whoever this wizard is, he's expected. They tried to learn more from a man who works where they keep the prophecies, but he didn't know anything. They killed him.'

I stopped, then went on with the truth. 'I killed him. I gave him a potion that stopped his heart. He asked me to. But even then I lied and told him he'd die from their curses, so he would think of me as someone who took away his pain and not his life. He had maybe ten minutes left, and I just wanted him to think well of me in them.'

I looked up and saw Lily was crying.

'I know,' I said. 'If there had been anything else I could have done … But all I could do was make it easy for him. And fast. They are scared, Lily, scared of this wizard and already actively working against him. When it becomes clear who it is, you will all be needed to keep him safe.'

'But what does this wizard have to do with you?'

'Voldemort has a back-up plan. I know the details of it, and I've worked out how to thwart it. Aside from the fact that it's almost certainly lethal, my plan is excellent, and should guarantee the wizard in the prophecy will be successful.'

'But … when? When is this mystery wizard meant to get here? How are we even meant to know who he is?'

'I don't know. It could be tomorrow, it could be a year from now. But that's why I need to act quickly.'

'How quickly?'

'Tomorrow.'

She let go of my hand and returned to the settee. 'No. You're being ridiculous. You're upset because you killed someone, and I won't pretend that's not awful, but you did it out of mercy, and that's much less awful. You can't bring him back by killing yourself, that's absurd.'

'The two aren't connected,' I protested.

'Of course they are.'

'Well, yes, but only because I found out about the prophecy because I was there for him. Don't you see, Lily? I'm the only person who has all the pieces, and I'm also the most expendable.'

'Don't you dare say that!'

I jumped a little at the vehemence of her shout. I think she surprised herself, because she covered her mouth with her hand for a moment, but then she went on.

'Don't you dare. You're not expendable, none of us are. That's the way they think. We think about saving everyone.'

'Lily, I'm one of them. So let me do this, so I can save all of you.'

'Let you? What choice are you giving me?'

'None,' I admitted. 'But until I told you what I was going to do, I didn't think I would be brave enough to really do it.'

She thought for a moment. 'You said almost certainly lethal.'

I nodded.

'How almost?'

I shrugged. 'From what I know, and from what I've researched, I can't see a way in which it's not going to kill me. But I always like to consider the possibility of a miracle.'

'Do you believe in miracles?'

'No. But if one were to present itself, I'd happily change my mind.'

She smiled at that, then shook her head. 'I wish you'd never told me.'

'I know. I'm sorry, it was cowardice on my part. But I'm feeling braver now.'

'Regulus, I'm being serious, tell me what you know. You're the only person who's looked at the problem, other people will have other solutions.'

Now I shook my head. 'If you know, and Voldemort finds out you know, he will destroy you. This is his great secret, Lily, the one he would kill everyone to keep. The only reason I am still alive is that Lucius Malfoy thinks I am a soft-hearted coward, because if he had exchanged one word of his suspicions with the Dark Lord, no unplottable address would be enough to protect me.'

I moved to sit beside her on the settee. 'Anyone I tell the details to, I condemn. But I wanted you to know why I died, so that you would not think I had just left. And so that one day, you could tell Sirius, and let him know that I died trying to do the right thing. If I'm successful, you'll know what it was by then.'

She took my hand, but did not speak. Only looked at me, shaking her head slowly and biting her lip.

I forced a smile to my face. 'Anyway, now that I've made you thoroughly miserable, you should probably go back home. Won't Potter be worried?'

'I told him I had a letter from my sister and that I had to go to hers. He'll never ask her, they hate each other. Your house-elf appeared at just the right time for the late post round our way.'

'Oh,' I said, surprised at her easy facility for lying, which was absurd, since how does anyone survive a war without a gift for falsehood?

'I said I might be all night, so there's no rush.'

I was suddenly very conscious of her hand in mine, and let go of it, returning to my chair and my abandoned tea and cake.

'Very good cake,' I muttered, taking a sip of tepid tea.

'If you do this,' Lily said, 'you will die without ever having gone anywhere. Sirius said you've never even left the country.'

'Does Wales count?'

'No.'

'Well, I've read books. And Mother always said Foreigners were just like us, only less so.'

'You've never had your heart broken. You've never even had sex.'

'Steady on!'

'You're letting all of that go. All the futures that you could have had. All gone.'

'Perhaps that will make up a bit for the past.'

'Your past is not that bad! Certainly not compared to others!'

'None of them want to make amends, Lily.'

She flopped backwards, her hair clashing violently with the red velvet of the settee. 'It's just a stupid bloody waste.'

'Yes. That I agree with.'

'Stop eating cake, Regulus. You're upsetting me.'

I put the plate back down. 'Sorry.'

'And stop saying sorry.'

'All right.'

'And stop letting me boss you around.'

'Can't, I'm slightly afraid of you.'

She laughed at that. And then she looked at me, long and hard, until I was forced to look away. When I looked back, she was taking off her boots.

'What are you doing?'

'Finally working out what all those old ladies at the Women's Institute were always on about. And it's a terrible cliché, but it is the right thing to do.'

'None of that made any sense to me.'

'No, I don't expect so. Come on.'

She got up and padded over to me, barefooted, took my hand and pulled me up out of my chair. Then she led me out of the drawing room and along the corridor, pushing open doors as we went until we arrived at my bedroom.

I began to make out a possible meaning as she led me inside.

'You should go home,' I said. 'It's awfully late.'

Lily shook her head and let go of my hand. 'It's not late at all,' she said. She reached into her pocket and took out a hair elastic, drawing her locks up into a ponytail. 'It's New Year's, the end of 1977. I've had a fight with my sister and gone back to Hogwarts. You were so lonely without Sirius that you came back early, too. The teachers are all mostly pissed and we're alone.'

She took off her ring and removed her earrings and put them on top of my dresser by the door. 'I'm not going out with James yet, and I haven't had my ears pierced. We started talking over dinner, and you're showing me the Slytherin dormitory.' At that, she reached out and took my hand again.

'Severus would be here,' I whispered.

'No, his parents have made up. He's having the loveliest holiday ever, he's happy.'

'He's happy,' I echoed, and she raised my hand to her jaw. I moulded it around her fine bones and sank my fingers into her pulled-back hair.

'You had a bottle of Firewhisky, and we took a little each, feeling awfully daring. And then you told me that you thought I was beautiful, and I told you that I thought you were, too, and now you've decided to be tremendously brave and kiss me.'

'Now?'

'Now,' she breathed.

It was not like the time I had kissed her at the Ministry. This time she met me with eagerness, pressing her body against me as her lips gently parted and I learned the warm taste of her. I dropped my free hand to her waist, and hers went to my face, then to my neck, unbuttoning my robes. Her fingers were cool and nimble as they darted inside the wool and traced the lines of my neck and collarbones. I shivered, and felt her lips turn up against mine. Then they moved to my jaw and my throat, and I saw her hair ruffle as all the breath left my lips in a long sigh.

She moved a little away from me, took my hands, and brought them to the belt of her dress.

I blinked at her in surprise, but she nodded.

I was tempted, almost impossibly, but I kept hold of her hands. 'Lily,' I reminded her. 'You don't really want to.'

She kept her bright eyes on mine. 'It's Evans, Black, and I do.'

'But …'

'No, it's nearly 1978, and there are no buts. There are no reasons not to. Just the two of us and a near-empty school.'

'It's Belgravia, 1979,' I corrected her.

'Then you're remembering this,' she insisted. 'This is what happened then.'

'Lily …'

'Regulus, please … It's what I wish I'd done …'

'You love James.'

'Yes. But I didn't then. This could just as easily have happened.'

'But it didn't.

'Then let it happen now, and let's pretend it happened then.'

And I was out of arguments, and my fingers had already left hers and undone the knot of her belt and started on the buttons that ran down the front of her dress. There were a ridiculous number of them, and I fumbled, but finally I had it opened to her hips, and she shrugged her way out of it so that it fell lightly down to the floor.

Beneath it, she was wearing only light Mugglish underthings, and I held my breath at the sight of her skin. It was all over that soft cream, with smatterings of freckles on her chest and shoulders. I paused to kiss her again, and to take the elastic from her hair. I ran my fingers through the long red strands, and my hands came to rest on her shoulders. Bold now, I pushed the straps off them.

'There's a hook, at the front,' Lily whispered.

I undid it with only a moment's clumsiness, then sighed as the garment fell back and down her arms. Her breasts were beautiful, small, yet surprisingly full. She smiled encouragement, and I moved my hands to them, marvelling at the way they fit within my palms, and the peaks at their centres.

She shivered, and I wrapped her in my arms to warm her up. And I kissed her again and I tried to reassert a modicum of common sense – because somebody had to and apparently it wasn't Evans.

'Thank you,' I murmured into her hair. 'This is more than I ever hoped for. But my death is not a good reason for you to sleep with me.'

'No,' she agreed. 'But the fact I desperately want to is.'

I did try for common sense, but there were limits.

She reached behind her back and took my hand and guided it down towards her knickers. They were a flimsy scrap of green fabric, not at all like the long white cotton I had been told good witches wore. I pushed downwards, and gravity helped me after a moment and then Lily Evans was standing bare before me and I wanted to say stupid things, but thankfully was incapable of speech, and she reached up and undid the remaining buttons of my robe.

I swear that I didn't plan it, but I had been entirely inside the house all day, and had not bothered to put anything on beneath, so when she pushed the wool back from my shoulders and it fell to the ground, it was like the unveiling of a rather poor statue.

Appallingly, my already erect prick chose that exact moment to twitch upwards. I might have died of embarrassment, but that Lily's soft hand reached out and encircled it tenderly.

She smiled. 'I knew you'd be beautiful. All over.'

And because she said it, for that moment, I was. I lifted her up, which made her laugh, and I meant to carry her to the bed, except I tripped, so it was sort of a stagger, which ended up with me sitting on the bed's edge and her in my lap, but it was better than the floor and no one sustained any damage.

I had a moment to feel the astonishing luxury of her skin against mine, and then she stepped nimbly out of my lap, and then across me, with one knee either side of my legs. She pushed the two of us back a foot, so that she was straddling my lap and I was marvelling at all the beauty I held in my arms.

I kissed her, long and deep, and ran my hands over her skin, learning the contours of her back and hips, the slight roundness of her arse, her long thighs and the place between them where she put up with my reverential fumblings before reaching down and moving my hand to her hip, then guiding my prick home.

And my right hand was never like that – soft and elastic and wet and warm. She moved against me, once, twice, and then I was no longer able to count as my body shuddered into a release that it had known too few times and never with another person. I gasped my joy against her hair, then dropped my face to her shoulder to hide my mortification.

She kissed my neck tenderly and whispered my name, and after a moment I looked at her. 'One thing that I have learned through being friends with your brother,' she said in the gentlest of voices, 'is that every man's first time is really quite fast.'

She ran her hands the length of my back, then went on. 'Of course, I am also friends with Remus, who said that what Sirius meant was every man's first, third, sixth through ninth times, not to mention when drunk, or just lazy, were all better measured in seconds.'

I couldn't help chuckling, and could feel my laughter echoing through her body, making her shoulders vibrate beneath my hands, which was at once the strangest and most intimate sensation yet.

'So,' Lily said, kissing my jaw until I turned my head and she could reach my lips again, 'it's just as well you're young, so we won't have long to wait for your second time. And I am fairly sure we can test Remus's theory on the third, maybe even the sixth through ninth if we pace ourselves.'

At that, I felt a throb of life in my cock.

Lily smiled. 'There we go.'

As it turned out, Remus was right about the third, but wrong about the sixth.

I expected her to be gone when I woke up. But in the thin grey hours before dawn, she was still in my arms, breathing warmly against my chest. She had invaded all the boundaries of my person, I even tasted and smelled of her, and I was startled to find it delicious rather than a little disgusting, as I had always thought it would be.

We had made use of the night. Just before eleven she had let me run my hand down through the soft thatch of red hair between her legs and taught me what to do for her, which was a joy to watch, and repeat. She had pinned me down a little later and taken me in her mouth, which made me want to know the taste of her, too, so I grabbed my wand and levitated her, to shouts of laughter, and then gasps of more private delight.

We did not want to sleep, but were too exhausted not to.

Now, in the light that might have been the moon but was more likely streetlamps, I memorised her limbs, and the cluster of freckles on her left shoulder, and the way her hair did not lie flat against her skull at one point at the top of her crown.

She stirred, and looked up at me blearily. 'Morning,' she said.

'Not quite yet.'

'Can I have a glass of water?'

I summoned two, and we sat up in bed to drink them. We moved slowly, with tired muscles that were not yet awake.

'When are you going?' she asked.

'Later. Quite a bit later. You?'

'A little before that.'

She put my water back on the side table, too, then kissed me and nestled into my arms. 'That was all quite astonishing,' she said.

'I can easily say it was the best night of my life,' I replied. 'And ask that you ignore the low baseline it's compared against.'

She laughed. 'I didn't know you had a sense of humour.'

'I don't, normally. You bring out the best.'

'I'm glad. I'm glad I met this Regulus.'

'You don't regret it?'

'Not one moment.'

I held my breath before I asked my next question. 'Do you regret that the real 1978 didn't begin like this?'

She looked up at me. 'Yes.'

I was learning to read her face now. 'But you don't regret that you fell in love with James.'

'No.'

'Are you happy with him?'

'Very.'

'Could you have been happy with me?'

'Just as much.'

'Oh.'

She smiled. 'There are Muggle scientists who say that there are many worlds just like this one, all separated by one different decision, here or there. I think that in many of them, you spoke to me in 1978, and when Lucius Malfoy came calling for you, you were busy with me. We'd be getting married about now in those worlds, you'd have been out of school long enough for me to not look like an awful cradle robber.'

'I'm not that young.'

'You're a baby.'

'Do some of those worlds have no Voldemort?'

'Many.'

'Then there are some where we grow old together.'

'I'm certain there are.'

'That's good to know. Some version of me should have lots of nights like that one.'

She laughed, tiredly but properly.

I thought of something. 'Lily?'

'Yes?'

'You and Potter are bound to have children at some point, aren't you?'

'Yes.'

'I was going to say this to my own wife, but I'll tell you instead. Give them new names, not ones that belonged to dead relatives. I was named after my great-uncle, and this is his house. It's a little bit creepy. Stick them in as middle names if you can't resist.'

She was laughing, but I was serious.

'All right,' she said. 'I promise. Only new names. And with a bit of luck, the war will be over soon enough to use Regulus as a middle name for one of them, because everyone will know you died a hero by then.'

She kept her voice level, but her hands tightened their grip on my arms, and I bent to kiss her, and to tell her it would be all right, even if it wouldn't. And she stretched out against me, warm and lithe, and I forgot what I was going to say.

Remus was wrong about times seven through nine, too.

I tried to stay awake. The sun was pouring in through the windows now, and I could see the green of her eyes as she watched me struggle against sleep.

'I have to go soon,' she said.

'I know.' I sat up to help clear the muzziness of my thoughts. 'I want to say something, and I want you to know that it's not something new, it's something that's been true for a long time. I love you, very much.'

She kissed me, and she smiled, and she said, 'I love you too, Regulus.'

'And you also love Potter.'

'Yes.'

'In a slightly different but really quite similar way.'

That made her laugh. 'Yes.'

'That's good. He's a good man. He deserves you.'

'So do you,' she whispered.

'Yes, but with him you will have a life.'

She didn't answer that, because there was nothing to say, but she held me until I went to sleep, and I dreamed of her arms and the sound of her heartbeat.

When I woke up again, it was still early. She had gone, as I knew she must, but she had left every sign of her presence from the extra glass to her scent on the sheets, to red hairs on the robe I had been wearing.

I savoured them, like the late autumn sunlight that bathed the balcony as I took breakfast. Although I had named today as the day, I saw no need to rush. It was a beautiful day, and the work I have to do is the work of darkness … and perhaps I also wanted to live a little with the memories of last night.

So I sat to write. That was at the start of the day and now it is near the end. I will give the papers to Kreacher and ask that he give them to Lily when the Dark Lord is defeated, so that she can know how she made it possible. And, if I fail, that he hide them away, so that Lily need never explain.

It's probable that no one will be able to read any of this at all, since I've written so hastily and poorly. She took my favourite quill, the Everlasting Sirius gave me for my eleventh birthday. I like to think that she will chew on it absently where I did, that her lips will be where mine were.

I've not washed, and I know that is perverse, but I do not care. Lily has given me strength. She has taken a token to keep me with her. I have the knowledge of her courage and the memory of her skin against mine. It will be enough to carry me through what must be done.

It is fully dark now, and so I will finish here, and write one last note before I lay down my quill and call for Kreacher. I will make a final journey, and strike a blow without ever knowing whether or not it hits home. But I believe it will. And Lily will be safe. And she will remember me.
 
 
 
Jamfranalan on March 22nd, 2010 01:47 pm (UTC)
So beautiful and utterly heartbreaking at the end. I was hoping, hoping that Regulus would get away, that everything would be ok. And then I got to the bit about parallel universes and I cried. And cried. My head hurts and I'm all stuffy and my chest is tight and my make-up's run, and I loved it so much.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 22nd, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC)
I blame JKR for the Blacks, which I was almost coping with in canon until she killed Ted Tonks and then, yeah, snuffly mess, too.

Sorry about the mascara, but thank you so much for taking the time to read it and letting me know you enjoyed it. XX
AutumnHearti_autumnheart on March 22nd, 2010 03:11 pm (UTC)
Lovely and bittersweet. This is a very different voice from you, and not a pairing I had ever though of enjoying, but you've made it both readable and plausible.

I liked the interactions between Regulus, Severus and Lucius in particular; they came across as ambitious young fools who have gotten way out of their depths, which rings more true than died-in-the-wool depravity. Also a new look at Lily - less idealistic than most, and the more believable for all that.

Nice work :)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 22nd, 2010 03:20 pm (UTC)
Apparently I have a Marauders era voice, which is actually my I Am Writing Serious Fiction voice that rarely gets a run in fandom ;-) But I can't help taking them seriously, those years were all my childhood and though we had no Voldemort, we had strikes that were met with violence, and sudden cardboard cities beneath bridges and in alleys, which were filled with people we were no longer supposed to care about, which was as Dark a Magic as anything that a Death Eater could manage.

Also, thanks!
being_herebeing_here on March 22nd, 2010 07:18 pm (UTC)
That was so very beautiful. I'm in tears, but so glad I read it. Poor Regulus. Stupid other worlds. We should be allowed to be happy here.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 23rd, 2010 03:24 pm (UTC)
I quite agree with you, and hold JKR personally responsible for her rampant anti-Black persecution. Grrr!

And very sorry about making you cry.
being_herebeing_here on March 23rd, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
Don't be! You should be proud of writing such moving fic (my husband asked why I was sad then he read it and was sad as well. Contagious misery!)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 24th, 2010 02:18 am (UTC)
Oh dear! Let me know if you need any bad jokes to balance it out. I still have some vegetable ones left over from Career Fair!
oceaxeoceaxe on March 22nd, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC)
I just loved Regulus' voice. And his friendship with Lily grew at the just the right pace. Very, very lovely and needless to say, incredibly tragic. My face is wet. I loved how unforced the angst was, you just let the situation speak for itself. This is a perfect example of the value of fanfiction, a thorough exploration of a moment in canon that is only glancingly referred to but deserves much more.

On a happy note, I was enjoying this very much and wanted to recommend it to my nephew, so I was looking to see if he was on Facebook. He wasn't, but his mother was, so I started chatting with her and learned that she's read fanfic (for Gladiator, of all things). So we kept chatting, and I offered to rec some H/D... and she accepted! So may begin a new chapter in my friendship with my sister! Yay!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 23rd, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
Hee! Fanfic -- bringing families together since Shakespeare decided to start reworking some of his old faves ;-)

Thank you so much for that, your opinion as a reader is one that I really treasure. I love this period of the Potterverse, and just wish we knew more about it. Fingers crossed that when JKR finally gets that encyclopaedia out, there will me details!
ELLE LEE LAWLIET (super sekrit alter-ego!): ETC! HEARTS AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEEkaiserkuchen on March 22nd, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
This was just wonderful and intensely moving and all kinds of other wonderful words that I am currently blanking on. I was engrossed from the beginning and spent the last two parts fighting tears as Regulus finally realized how in over his head he was, and all the while hoping that this fic'd turn out to be a surprise!AU with a nice happy ending for all involved. Which it of course wasn't, but it is perhaps all the more beautiful for it still ♥

I also really liked the way you wove in all the supporting characters and showed all their connections to each other (Lucius not aiming at Sirius if he could! Severus and Regulus and their mutual deal re: Lily and Sirius! THE ENTIRE BLACK FAMILY ahhhh :<)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 24th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
I do rather wish it could have been a surprise!AU -- poor Regulus has one of the worst times of it in canon, with only ever a house-elf to hold onto the secret of his courage. Good thing it's the bloody-minded Kreacher, who will happily hold on at great length :-)

Thank you for such a kind comment, I'm especially pleased you liked the connectivity. On some base level these people all know each other, which makes everything about the Voldemort wars in canon more horrible, too.
Azure Jane Lunaticazurelunatic on March 23rd, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
Ohhh, brave Regulus! And clever Lily.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 23rd, 2010 03:51 pm (UTC)
Brave is exactly the word for him: Kreacher was completely right.
auntpurl: repubs for voldemortauntpurl on March 23rd, 2010 08:05 am (UTC)
This is beautiful. And very sad. I wish he could have lived happily ever after!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 23rd, 2010 03:49 pm (UTC)
AHAHAHAHAHA! Oh that icon ... I nearly pulled a cheek muscle the first time I saw those bumper stickers ...

And thank you, dear. I do, too!
Holly: Suzhou pavillionhollyxu on March 23rd, 2010 04:16 pm (UTC)
Oh Regulus. D:

This was so beautifully written but so tragic! Because we know what happens to everyone even before we click on the first section. God, every single one of the people in this fic, except for the Malfoys, are dead.

And Lily is so human here, fully fleshed out and smashing the Madonna archetype into little pieces. ♥

(I fully admit that the pairing made me hesitate, but in the end you had me wishing for an AU of some sort where he survived and lived happily ever after and... and... *cries*)
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 24th, 2010 02:27 am (UTC)
Yes, dead Regulus is just so horribly unfair! JKR must have been bitten by a dog named Black as a child, there's no other explanation for why they all have such grim futures awaiting, even poor old Ted Tonks!

And I find it funny that for all her professed dislike of the Malfoys, they are the only ones to make it through comparatively unscarred, though I think their lives are severely constricted by the choices they make.

Thanks so much for your comment re Lily: I think that from what we see of her in canon she is quite ballsy and smart, so her restriction to Archetypal Mother seems only sane when looked at wholly through the eyes of her son, in any other direction it is not the first thing that would come to mind for her. And sorry about the crying ... *passes aloe vera tissues*
Kareinakareina on March 23rd, 2010 07:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
I love your writing all the time; I'd read your shopping list if that were all that was available. However, I think that your Marauder Era stories are my favourites of your fics so far, they are so well done, and fit so very well with the story as I already understand it.

I stayed up way, way too late last night reading parts one and two, and would have kept going if LJ hadn't suddenly hit the "cannot display" this page when I asked for the third part, so I had to wait till after class today to finish it. It was so worth the wait!

I really appreciated the fact that Lilly is ok with the fact of loving more than one person at a time, even if one of the relationships has no hope for any sort of future.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 24th, 2010 03:00 am (UTC)
Re: Thank you!
Thank YOU, I know how busy you are and taking the time out to read my story is a great kindness.

I think most people are capable of loving more than one person at a time, it just comes down to how their lives are organised and what level of complexity they can deal with. Some of us are only good at the simple, some are good at the more complex :-)

And I have to confess, I love the Marauders cast the most. They're a bit older than me, but their world is my world, and they have actual lives to write about aside from only school and war. Harry and co do not really get a fair go of it in canon as they are being blown up and hiding through most of the time their lives should be becoming most interesting. At least the Epilogue let us know they make it through with minimal PTSD and decent futures ;-)
anna_wing on March 24th, 2010 11:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! That was excellent and very moving. And your Regulus would have been an utter heartbreaker if he had lived to adulthood, far more so than Sirius! You have a real talent for really heroic heroes.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 24th, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think both of the Black boys had such potential, which was all twisted and broken by the world around them. Listening to my grandparents talking about their childhoods and their young adulthoods, it seems that is what being surrounded by war can do with such ease -- and that's always tragic.
(Anonymous) on March 24th, 2010 02:46 pm (UTC)
oh, poor boy! And at the same time I'M happy for him because he has figured out the right thing for him to do, which is so difficult. And he made his choice, and as a cherry on top he got a brilliant night.

I loved Lily's idea that this night was set at another time. A good take on the "let's pretend" game.
ladyjanevaladyjaneva on March 24th, 2010 02:48 pm (UTC)
that was me, by the way, lj dedicded to log me out
blamebramptonblamebrampton on March 24th, 2010 03:01 pm (UTC)
That happens to me a lot, too ;-)

Thanks, dear! And yes, I think that even though he would vastly prefer to live, dying with purpose is his first real and proper choice, which brings him some joy.
Keeper of the Superfluous Es!: Regulus/Nk_Aoedethemostepotente on March 25th, 2010 06:01 pm (UTC)
Oooh, I'm looking forward to reading this, Brammers ♥
george pushdragonpushdragon on March 28th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
OK I know this fic isn't about the Lucius, but I did really enjoy your take on him. He seemed to have a philosophical dimension that's lacking in canon. And I love the idea that are factions within the Death Eaters - what movement doesn't have them, really, but somehow canon doesn't bring that out. I like this line of Lucius's No matter how hard one tries to make it about advancement and improving our world, there will always be some who see it as a chance for acts of depravity, which they seek to excuse as necessary but which are in fact nothing more than laziness - partly because although I thought it was something he genuinely believed, I can't be sure it wasn't just a handy line to feed to Regulus. In fact, I don't think I was every quite sure where Lucius stood.

There are some lovely moments where you capture the absolute world view of youth, but I also liked watching Regulus cure himself of that.

Some classic Brammers moments of levity too, like the mission of librarians.

Very nice working in of Regulus's role with Tom's history too.

It's odd to read a story where James and Sirius are both sidelined, and I liked that very much. The one scene between Regulus and Sirius is nicely equivocal.

The "let's pretend" angle on their last night is every bit as sad as you'd expect.

And geese? Are just bloody terrifying. Especially well done with the goose attack! I don't believe Lily even used magic to make them act like that.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 17th, 2010 07:51 am (UTC)
Good grief, I am appalling at replying to comments!!!

Outside your fic, I am never wholly sure where Lucius stands. Every time I considered him wholly motivated by self-interest in canon, he would come out with some piece of political claptrap which seemed sincere at the time. The only thing I am sure of is that he was much happier as a Death Eater in the absence of Voldemort than in the presence ;-)

Thanks for ... well, you know ... and bloody geese, you're entirely right!
lyraslyras on March 29th, 2010 10:15 am (UTC)
'Are you happy with him?'

'Very.'

'Could you have been happy with me?'

'Just as much.'


This made me cry. I must admit, I started this story thinking I'd read it for the gen aspects and skim over the sex. But you convinced me, the person who always puts down infidelity as a squick when signing up for exchanges, of Regulus and Lily's relationship; you made me want them to be happy.

I love the way you finish the story off. The last couple of paragraphs - every sentence is a blow bigger than the previous one.

An enthralling read; thank you!
blamebramptonblamebrampton on June 17th, 2010 09:01 am (UTC)
I am seriously going to tardy comment replier hell ... Thank you so much for this. And yes, when I read the request I was not sure how I could write it, until it occurred to me that there are very rare circumstances where sex with someone else isn't the same as being unfaithful. Maybe its in the same way that some religions teach respect for the prophets of others, because it does not detract from faith to honour more faiths ...

(Anonymous) on March 30th, 2010 05:28 am (UTC)
This is absolutely lovely. I love how you make the Blacks (and Lucius) real and human, with complex reasoning behind their political viewpoints. So many fiction writers seem to cast them in a two-dimensional role of the stereotypical bad guy. It's nice to see a version where they're human, if still rather messed up.
And oh my god I just about cried at the part where Severus and Regulus protect the people who are important to the other, even though in Severus' case he hates Sirius. That was so endearing and at the same time so heartbreaking because we know that Severus loses Lily and Sirius never really knows how much his brother loved him :(
Thank you for such an amazing story, even if it did make me sad (that's rather unavoidable with Regulus as the main character).
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 17th, 2010 03:58 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry, replying to comments is something at which I have never been half so good as I ought -- at least in the real world I can respond to so lovely a compliment with a blush and a smile. In writing it looks tremendously foolish to say anything that springs to mind and dismissive to say merely thank you. Nevertheless, thank you.

And I am very glad the politics worked for you -- they must have all had reasons that made some sense to them, neither prejudice nor revolution can be wholly passed along out of family tradition alone, they're not noses!
judikickshineyjudikickshiney on April 7th, 2010 09:45 pm (UTC)
Oh my God. I'm broken. You have broken me.

Regulus has always been my favorite character in the Harry Potter universe...which is quite sad when you consider that he was only in the books for...about a page. But this.

It made up for it.

Oh God. I wanted a happy ending so bad but I knew that there wasn't going to be one.

It was amazing. And it broke me. And I'm going to read it over and over and over just because I love everything about it.

This: 'I have a wife,' he explained. 'I love her very much, and she is carrying my child. Now I understand, I truly do understand, that you did what you thought was best. And I sympathize. In fact, if it were up to me, I would be applauding you. But it is not, and you did it in my house, and you put my wife and my unborn child and my parents and me in danger because you felt sorry for someone who is nothing. Do you see? Do you understand why I can't just look past this?'

And Lily's parallel universes.

It's good that I'm sort of a little heartless or else I would have been bawling in my logics class. I was hard pressed not to.
(I started this on my break and I couldn't stop for a lecture, darn it. You're making me neglect my schooling. *teasing*)

Thank you. This utterly wrecked me. I loved every minute of it.

judikickshineyjudikickshiney on April 7th, 2010 09:46 pm (UTC)
Also, I'm secretly deluding myself that James was not Harry's father. Secretly.

Because I enjoy lying to myself about that. *nods*
blamebramptonblamebrampton on July 18th, 2010 04:01 pm (UTC)
I am going to the special fandom hell reserved for writers who have the very best of readers and who are yet still appallingly tardy in responding to their comments. It's just that thank you seems so feeble and inadequate. Thank you, though. Your words cheered me up immensely at a time when a lot of fandom was anything but cheering. I hope you still did well in logic, it was one of my favourite courses when I was young.

As to James or Regulus as Harry's father, look, I'm not going to dissuade you from something that brings you happiness ;-)
shadowclubshadowclub on April 12th, 2010 10:50 am (UTC)
I am totally blown away by this fic. I've always been sort of interested in Regulus, but I just never really thought about him too much until this. While I realize war is never black and white I think few people can explain the mentality of the people who have to live through it. You did a fantastic job of depicting survival and falling in and out of love with ideas. The fact that Regulus's father wasn't too keen on Voldemort and how Voldemort attracted the more intelligent and ambitious like Lucius as well as someone like Bella who was clearly more violent.... I think all this also gave Voldemort a lot more depth than I would have expected in this story.

Regulus was awesome and he and Lily broke my heart here. I just... I loved your Lily and her devotion to their friendship and how she is just this shining light for so many people. The scene in the park with the skinheads was simply perfect for showing the opposite end of her idealism. I have to agree with her though:)

Very well done fic ♥
lotus_lizzylotus_lizzy on June 22nd, 2010 01:40 am (UTC)
*waaaaaah*

Oh, you made me love Regulus and hate the war even more. What a lovely in-between fic. Brilliant.
frnklymrshnklyfrnklymrshnkly on September 26th, 2015 10:36 am (UTC)
This is everything! I live for a fic with a great premise, and your approach to Regulus--his fraternal love for Sirius, his surreptitious friendship with Lily--is nothing short of fantastic.

Equal parts heartbreaking and heartwarming. You really do right by Regulus here, and by the human conscience at large, I think. <3
blamebramptonblamebrampton on September 26th, 2015 02:46 pm (UTC)
I know this sounds ridiculous, but this story is like my favourite cat. I mean, I love all three of my cats, but the one I rescued from death row is the most special cat and when she snuggles up to me or does something amusing, it's just more meaningful than when the others do*. In the same way, I love it when people enjoy anything I've written, especially when – like you – they are kind enough to let me know about it, but when people enjoy this story, I think 'Oh, you gave it a go! You wonderful reader!'

So thank you, and thank you for seeing in it what I wanted to put there.


*She loves snuggling up to my partner, and for three or four years after we got her, when I came into the study to find him gaming with her nestled over his shoulder, she would sit up, give me a look that says 'It's not what you think!' and leap down. She's come to accept that I'm not threatened by her Mr B love in more recent years.
frnklymrshnklyfrnklymrshnkly on September 30th, 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
I can see why this would have a special place for you. It's just...right. I'm so glad that I did go for it--I waffled a bit first, but I definitely made the right choice. :P