[personal profile] trinityday
Title: Back to Black
Fandom: Harry Potter
Word Count: 426
Pairings: Regulus/Barty
Written for: ff.n's HP Fanfiction Challenges Forum Drabble Tag - regulus/bartyjr - back to black

They met in the kitchens of Hogwarts where Regulus overheard this slight boy he had never noticed in the Common Room thank the house-elf who brought him a drink, making sure to add that she had done a good job scrubbing the bubotuber pus from Slytherin table in the Great Hall. Regulus' brother was responsible for that mess and Regulus had spent his day (after being thoroughly decontaminated by Madam Pomfrey) hearing his classmates swear revenge in various imaginative ways. Dinner had to be eaten at with the Hufflepuffs.

The chances that it was the same house-elf were small, but she blushed prettily anyway, pressing a homemade cauldron cake on the boy. He caught sight of Regulus as he watched her bustle off to get his reward and stiffened. Regulus should not have seen that exchange.

The younger boy was wary but didn't back down. Regulus smiled, not smirked, and suggested he ask for a Butterbeer the next time. The kitchen elves had a secret stash, Regulus knew from previous visits; its existence only hinted at to those who liked the house-elves best.

They didn't last. Barty's parents didn't approve of his friendship with Regulus, for all that they were a respectable pureblood family. The Blacks were too closely associated with Dark magic; it would reflect badly on the senior Crouch's political career. Regulus protested but Barty was insistent; he knew, he said, when to give into his father, what to say to appease him, what he was willing to give up now to make things better in the long run.

It was little comfort to Regulus.

Barty joined their side once he'd left Hogwarts and Regulus was given credit for converting the son of the man tipped to be the next Minister of Magic. That Barty found the courage wasn't surprising; Regulus was a Black, he knew all too well what rebellion against family looked like. That Barty sought him out again a few weeks after his initiation was.

It wasn't the same, although Regulus hadn't expected it to be. The boy at Hogwarts, the one who had been so kind to the house-elves in the kitchens, Regulus would have gone to him with his doubts. The man who knew what to say to best get his way was no such confidante. Regulus was a Black; he knew all too well how zealotry went.

He never seriously considered going to Barty, not even when Kreacher returned when he wasn't meant to and Regulus decided he could not serve a man like Voldemort.

Regulus died alone.



October 2013

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