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02 June 2010 @ 01:43 pm
Fanfic: The Box  
Title: The Box
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG13 (implied sex)
Pairing: Regulus/Barty Jr; a little-itty-bitty bit Grindeldore at the end
Summary: All the memories Barty has left of his boyhood lover fits in a shoebox.

 

1994

He runs up the stairs and crawls under his bed, emerging with a battered shoebox. In the excitement of the past two weeks Barty had forgotten about it, and now he scolds himself. It's the only thing left in the house which he cares about. He knows he's lucky to have it anymore; he'd buried it in the garden before going with Bellatrix to the Longbottoms' house, and a few years ago, in one of his moments of lucidity, he had Winky dig it back up without his father's knowledge.

 

It's full of trinkets, most of them common enough: a school tie, the green and silver faded, ruined by a bloodstain; a number of white ash twigs; a cigarette case with the gilding wearing off. Things that many people have at some point in their lives, but rarely keep past their usefulness. Others things are more telling, though—an old, silver peridot ring; a bundle of letters, opened and read a hundred times; a number of photographs of a small, dark teenager; and a single picture of the two of them together.

 

Of all of them, Barty thinks the last is the most valuable. There are two only pictures of them together in existence: in this one, they're sitting next to one another, and the other boy had taken his hand a moment before. Barty remembered invoking a smile out of the his companion right as the camera went off—a real smile, laughing, not like the perfect, icy ones that he normally wore for the public. The other photograph, which Barty had taken by surprise, is hidden somewhere in a huge, old house, its occupants having long since died.

 

The Dark Lord told Barty that he won't need anything, that he'll be using the old Auror's things. But he needs this. He's afraid that without this, he'll forget.

 

The year in Azkaban nearly destroyed Barty, and he knows that he was damaged by it. Even now there are times when things don't quite fit, and he can't always remember things anyone should know. Words, names of things; while he can now copy handwriting, he has trouble on his own, and he can no longer multiply two- and three-digit numbers in his head.

 

When he was snuck out he had few memories of this other boy, none of them good—he remembered him disappearing and the anxiety that came with it, and being positive that his father had something to do with it. He remembered when he was declared legally dead. His father never mourned him, never put any effort into finding him at all, and Barty is sure that it's because his father knew what happened from the very first—somehow, all of this is his fault.

 

Everything good he had to struggle to remember, and he knows he might not if it weren't for this box.

 

 

1977

 

“Look, Reg! It's a 'P'—'P' as in 'Potions.'”

 

“Oh, shut up,” Regulus snapped, glaring at his laughing friend. “It wasn't my fault. If it hadn't been a practical exam, it would have been fine.”

 

Why on earth would anyone give a written exam for potions? It's completely useless if it's in theory. Theory doesn't make your potion for you.” Barty laughed. “You should have let me help you.”

 

Get help from a younger student for a subject I know? I think not.

 

“There's no shame in it. Anyway, it's not like it's your worst grade.”

 

“Oh, God,” Regulus said, closing his eyes. “What did I get in Herbology?”

 

What do you think you got?”

 

“I got a 'T,' didn't I?”

 

You wouldn't have if you weren't such a girl,” Barty said, letting the parchment fall between them.

 

“...It's messy.”

 

“Well, don't worry, you got an 'O' in most everything else.”

 

Most everything?” Grey eyes opened to look at him inquisitively.

 

“There was an 'E' in Divinations.”
 

“Oh, well...” the darker boy shrugged. “It's a soft science, anyway. How would you like a souvenir?”

 

Barty perked up. “Souvenir? Like...a gift?”

 

Here.” Regulus dropped a gold cigarette case on the table. “My great-uncle sent this to me as an early 'congratulations' gift. Seems he missed the memo that I can't actually smoke.”

 

Barty picked it up interestedly. Regulus was rich and over-privileged. This meant that he usually got gifts that normal people could never afford and often didn't appreciate them as much as most people would. Of course, Barty didn't smoke either, but he had a weakness for things that were shiny. He was sure he could find a use for it.

 

“Can't?” he asked. “Or won't?”

 

“Didn't I tell you?” Barty looked at his friend. Twisting the heavy ring on his finger, Regulus said, “I was born a month early, so my lungs are underdeveloped. Or did you think I was small because of some recessive gene buried deep in the Black bloodline?”

 

“Unwilling to wait the full nine months, huh?” Barty flashed a smile. “I always knew you were secretly rebellious. I might not like you so much if you were always so well-behaved.”

 

~*~

 

“Ouch!”

 

Regulus sighed. “I told you to be careful.”

 

“I was!”

 

Barty poked the glass stuck in his hand and gave a hiss. A bottle had broken in Regulus' bag earlier that day, and the older boy didn't have the time to search it out. When Barty asked to borrow a quill, he'd warned the blonde to about it. Barty, never one to be delicate about anything, simply dug through the bag. And now he had a chunk of glass deep in his palm.

 

“Here.” Regulus sat next to Barty and took his hand. “Close your eyes.”

 

“I know what you're trying to do,” Barty said forcefully. “It won't—ow!”

 

Regulus held up the glass he had pulled out while his friend was distracted, face smug. Barty glared, and tugged his hand back. It was bleeding fairly badly. He poked at it, which made it even worse. The darker boy grabbed his hand again and tugged off his school tie. Carefully, he pressed one end onto the cut and wound the rest tightly around his palm.

 

“That'll stop it until we get you to Madam Pomphrey.” He looked surprised at Barty's confused expression. “What?”

 

“You just ruined an article of clothing over me.”

 

“It's just a tie, not like I can't afford another,” Regulus said. “Your hand is more important.”

 

Barty clenched his hand around the tie and pulled it to his stomach. They stared at each other for a few minutes before the younger boy leaned in and pressed his lips to Regulus'. At first the other boy froze, startled, but soon warmed up the to idea, moving his lips against Barty's. Suddenly, Regulus pulled away.

 

“We shouldn't do this here,” he said. “I can't be seen.”

 

Barty understood. There were a number of things that were social suicide for Slytherins, and this was one of them. And Regulus was the only son of an extremely powerful pure-blood family; there were expectations which he had to uphold. Besides, the last word in the first statement, here, promised more to come.

 

~*~

 

The Slytherin Quidditch team returned soaking wet, but triumphant. Barty watched Regulus walk into the common room, broom resting on his shoulder. His normally neat black hair was plastered to his flushed face, and Barty found him oddly beautiful in his dishevelment; it was a reminiscent of what the older boy looked like after love.

 

Regulus was well-liked among the Slytherins, and if not liked, then at least admired, and the rest of the House wanted a party. The team, especially Regulus, were trying to escape long enough to shower and change. Barty slipped down the hallway to the boys' dorms and showers. Opening a door, he checked to see that the room was empty and waited for them to pass. He caught Regulus' arm and dragged the darker boy into the room, slamming the door shut.

 

The older boy made a noise of pleasure as Barty locked his mouth onto his. A gloved hand made its way into blonde hair, and the arm with the broomstick began to lower. Without detaching his mouth from Regulus', Barty reached down and snapped a few twigs off the broom. He was immediately pushed back.

 

“Why the hell did you do that?” Regulus asked angrily.

 

Barty grinned. “I wanted a piece of that broomstick. That way, when I'm old and they've stopped making Silver Arrows years ago, I'll be able to say that I still own part of one.”

 

“Why you bloody arse,” Regulus laughed. “Just you wait—people are going to start realizing what good brooms they are. They'll make a comeback.”

 

“Uh-huh, sure.” Barty leaned forward and kissed him again, murmuring against his lips, “I think we should have a celebration of our own later tonight. A private celebration...”

 

Regulus made a noise of assent. “I'll tell you what, I'll sneak you into the Prefects' bathroom.”

 

“That sounds like a wonderful plan.”

 

~*~

 

He could tell Regulus, who was reclined on his bed reading, was trying to ignore him has he clicked the camera shutter again. Barty was trying to get his attention, but the older boy wasn't going to rise to the bait. He stopped suddenly, camera still half-raised, as he ran the word through is head again. Boy.

 

How long had he been thinking like that? Regulus wasn't a boy. Boys were fourteen-year-olds who took you on awkward dates, held hands, kissed their dates somewhat shyly as they dropped them off at their front doors. It was nearly a year since they became lovers, and now Regulus was a man in the legal sense as well as the figurative. A young man, but a man.

 

Noticing Regulus peering over the edge of his book with one thin eyebrow raised, Barty took another picture. Regulus sighed.

 

And here I thought you were done wasting my film.”

 

Art isn't wasting film!”

 

Art requires some sort of technique,” Regulus said. “Now give me my camera back.”

 

The blonde grinned but didn't move. Regulus raised a hand.

 

Barty,” he said, slowly. “Give me the camera.”

 

Barty took another picture, this time just to tick his older friend off.

 

Barty...”

 

Reg...”

 

Bartemius Crouch, Jr, give me the camera.”

 

Barty lowered camera in shock, blue eyes wide. “...You didn't...”

 

I think you'll find I did. Now give it back, or I will take it back.”

 

He threw the item in question at Regulus, who caught it with both hands. Of course he did, he was a seeker. Eye-hand coordination was second nature. His lover patted the mattress.

 

Come here, I'll make this actually worth your while.”

 

Barty jumped onto the bed and crawled over excitedly, but was confused when Regulus moved to set the camera up. Then he moved to sit against the headboard, motioning for Barty to join him. Getting the idea, the blonde came to sit next to him, and got a happy surprise when Regulus' fingers entwined with his own. Regulus had his wand tucked discreetly next to him to make the camera go off, and Barty noticed that he wore his photograph smile.

 

A second before he cast the spell, Barty stuck his nose in dark hair and kissed the flesh behind his ear. Regulus gave a noise of surprise, then a laugh as the shutter clicked. Perfect—it wasn't fair to have the Public Smile in a picture of the two of them.

 

The blonde rolled over to push Regulus flat onto the bed. Instead of simply snogging him, the way he normally might, he just looked at the face, so different from his own, white and smooth—the Blacks were an un-freckled bunch, and Barty had counted a total of fourteen on Regulus, none of which were on his face. Gently, he drew a thumb along a long, dark eyebrow, across a sharp cheekbone, down to Regulus' lips, causing his lover to close his eyes and smile softly.

 

Lowering his head to draw lips across Regulus' neck, he murmured, “God, I want you so badly...”

 

Regulus laughed. “What are you talking about? You already have me.”

 

Barty sat up suddenly. “Do...do you really mean that?”

 

Of course I do.”

 

What about when you get married?” Barty asked. “What about your wife.”

 

Regulus shook his head. “No, Barty. You're the one that has me. You'll always be the one who will.”

 

~*~

 

They had discussed Regulus' eventual marriage in the past, but when Christmas came around it began to become a real worry. The idea of sharing his beautiful, dark lover was becoming increasingly unappealing. The year before he had stayed at Hogwarts with Barty over the holidays; with nearly everyone gone, there was little worry about showing affection. This year though, Regulus returned home, saying with some distaste that this parents wanted to start introducing him to girls.

 

Now Barty lay somewhat miserably on his bed, sleeve pushed up and fingering the old tie wrapped around his wrist. It was the same one that Regulus had used to wrap his hand the year before when it was cut on glass. The one that was tied on his hand only a few moments before they kissed the first time.

 

Regulus knew that Barty had hung onto it, still wore it from time to time. He would laugh and tell the blonde to just get rid of it already. It was old and ruined. No, Barty would say. It's mine. It was his the same way the cigarette case was.

 

Now, feeling a little lonely, he lay down and rested his cheek against the cool silk on his wrist.

 

On Christmas morning, a few days later, the pile by his bed seemed smaller than ever. He never got much. As usual he received several things from his mother, who claimed that it was from both her and his father; Barty knew that this wasn't true, but he appreciated the sentiment anyway. Near the bottom was a small box with a note from Regulus.

 

Barty,

 

I want you to have this. It's a lot better than wearing that stupid tie all the time.

 

Yours forever,

 

Regulus Arcturus Black

 

Even without the note, he would have known who gave him the ring. Barty didn't think he'd ever seen Regulus take it off, even when he went to shower. Even when they made love. The dark olive stone glittered in the light as he turned it in his hand. He drew his knees up and wrapped his arms around them, still not taking his eyes off the heavy ring; he was suddenly gasping, feeling like he wasn't getting enough air with each breath.

 

He couldn't wear it in the open, too many people knew whose ring it was; even if they were open about their relationship, there was a difference between fooling around and this. Still, he was fairly sure that he could come up with a chain or something so that he could have it underneath his shirt.

 

He folded the note up again and dug in his trunk for his cigarette case. Carefully, he tucked the paper into the clip with the other notes Regulus had given him with gifts. He smiled slightly; yours forever.

 

 

1995

Alastor still being in the hospital wing, Albus is doing his friend a favor by packing all his things for him. It's one less thing for the old Auror to worry about. Walking through the bedroom, he pauses as he sees a box which seems out of place among Alastor's things. It's worn-out cardboard, not at all up to his friend's standard of security.

 

Slowly, carefully, he opens it, then frowns at the assortment of object in it. No, this certainly belonged to Crouch. But not to him alone.

 

A flash of memories comes back, of a summer nearly a hundred years ago, filled with curly blonde hair and a bright smile, constant companionship and secret kisses. He presses the lid of the box down and holds it there with one hand, as if it might open again on its own. This didn't belong to the cruel, delusional man Crouch had become. It belonged to a boy who was in love. Closing his eyes, he frowns thoughtfully.

 

No man, no matter how evil or cruel or sick—and the he was sick—deserves what Barty Crouch suffered. Likewise, no person deserves the newspapers to get a hold of something like this, to poke and prod and analyze until they've twisted love into obsession and perversity. Sometimes it's for the best that the world doesn't see the best part of a man.

 

Albus comes to a decision then, and picks up the box, tucking it under his arm. He's doing some traveling this summer anyhow; what's one more stop on his trip?


He thinks, Regulus Black's grave shouldn't remain empty.


Notes:
I wasn't going to add the last bit, but it seemed warranted to say why no-one ever finds out if he brings it with him. It's the kind of thing Dumbledore would do, I think, since he believes so heavily in Love.

I originally had the ring in a drawing just as a bit of symbolism, then decided I liked it. Also, remember Madam Hooch saying that it was "a shame" they stopped making Silver Arrows? I wondered if they were a little like Linux--fairly good if you know what you're doing, but not very user-friendly overall.



I've been sort of wondering if part of the reason I don't see more of this pairing is because we don't have a hang-out (which is ridiculous, seeing how I found a Regulus/Ginny comm; I'm still trying to figure that one out..) either on LJ or SCUSA. I've been tempted to remedy the situation, but I'm not entirely sure how to run a lj community, or the interest-pool. (Although if I did, I'd ask someone else to promote at crouchjr --for some reason those people intimidate me...) Um...enough talking...

---

 
 
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
 
 
 
Eloise.: Rufus has Slytherin pride.edgewareroad on June 3rd, 2010 06:10 am (UTC)
Oh wow. I really enjoyed reading this.

I love how it drifts between time periods and really makes you feel what was lost. The little mementos broke my heart in a really lovely way…if that makes any sense.

Also, I feel like that’s a really in-character move for Dumbledore at the end. I like it!
MissTeacakes: riffcainmissteacakes on June 3rd, 2010 02:20 pm (UTC)
It made sense. That's how I wanted the whole thing to turn out, so I'm glad!
See you later, instigator: Albus/Gellert (by ushitora_icons)oudeteron on June 3rd, 2010 12:06 pm (UTC)
This was nice. You probably know I appreciated the touch of Grindeldore at the end, but I really enjoyed the whole thing. You've created an endearing but still believable dynamic for two characters we don't get to see much of.

As for running a comm, it's not hard at all! You just found one, list everything you can think of that's relevant in the interests, put up a decription and rules in the profile, and then you wait for people to join. Although with minor characters it's better to promote where you can, as there's likely not going to be much attention otherwise. Still, it's worth a shot. :D
MissTeacakes: Dreammissteacakes on June 3rd, 2010 02:25 pm (UTC)
I thought you might like the bit at the end. It always seemed to me that Regulus got caught up in the "greater good" dream, which unintentionally ends up facist.

I figured that there's really nothing to lose. We exist, just...somewhere in the shadows...
британский белогвардеецtroyachka on November 5th, 2015 07:50 pm (UTC)
Wow!
OMG I like it. So strong feelings are hiding in this text! And the final is so in-character.
May I translate your wonderful fic into Russian for my friends and readers?
Thank you anyway.

Edited at 2015-11-05 07:50 pm (UTC)
MissTeacakesmissteacakes on November 14th, 2015 02:51 am (UTC)
Absolutely! Fanfic is meant to be shared, and I'm very happy knowing you think mine is deserving q wider audience.
британский белогвардеец: оранж_кошкаtroyachka on November 14th, 2015 10:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you! =)
I'll send you a link soon!
британский белогвардеецtroyachka on November 22nd, 2015 10:55 pm (UTC)