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22 December 2010 @ 10:10 am
Fanfic: Fire and Snow  
Title: Fire and Snow
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13
Pairing: Regulus/Barty Jr
Summary: It was snowing when they first met the year before. At the time he had believed that Barty had run into him by accident, causing the books and homework the older boy was holding to scatter across the snow. It was a naivete that he would quickly grow out of; Barty Crouch never did anything by accident.
Prompt: So you tried to put the fire out/ But you used gasoline.
Notes: Hate is a strong word, but I really, really, really dislike this story. It was written for regulus_fest, so they gave me months to work on it (bad idea #1; if I get too long to work, I over think), and was about halfway done when I discovered QAF. At which point I hit a change in perceptions in terms of people and shit, making me unsatisfied with the way it was going. By the time I'd managed to get back to writing it, I (ironically) didn't have time to fix it, and thus took a number of previous things I had written, chopped them up, and stuck them together. However, for the sake of organization, and because someone apparently liked it, I am now willing to put it on my lj.


Fire and Snow

It was snowing in London. Diagon Alley was almost picturesque, the roofs of its shops covered in a soft layer of white, the frosted windows letting out soft golden light as dark slowly began to fall. Last-minute shoppers pounded the snow into a hard, slick path as they rushed about their business.

Regulus' cheeks were flushed with cold, and the snow contrasted sharply with his black hair and the dark velvet of his cloak. Still, he didn't rush. He had done most of his Christmas shopping on the last outing to Hogsmeade, yet nothing could ever seem to rival the sprawling wizarding world hidden in the maze of the capital. Being born into money had its benefits, among them the means to give what he wanted. Waiting until he got home afforded the privacy to buy for who he wanted.

He knew that his mother would be furious if she found out that he was sending something to Barty Crouch, but he didn't care. He'd stopped caring a month ago, about the time his cousin had written to him, telling him to keep an eye on 'the Crouch boy,' to make sure he wasn't a double-crosser. It never failed to amaze him how much Crouch Sr. kept hidden from public.

Closing his eyes, he gave a sigh and turned his head toward the sky, smiling slightly, enjoying the feel of the cold on his face.

There's no snow left in the garden, and the ground is soft, causing their feet to sink into mud. He can feel the scorching heat from the burning house through his mask. Still, he doesn't move.

---

It was snowing when they first met the year before. At the time he had believed that Barty had run into him by accident, causing the books and homework the older boy was holding to scatter across the snow. It was a naivete that he would quickly grow out of; Barty Crouch never did anything by accident.

“Here, let me help.”

“Leave it, I can handle it myself,” Regulus snapped, trying to sort the parchments at the same time that he was gathering them.

“You're very beautiful.”

Regulus' head snapped up, and he saw Barty looking at him intently, a smile playing on his lips. Regulus narrowed his eyes, trying to figure if he was being hit on. When in doubt, simplicity was the best solution.

“I know.”

Regulus harbored no false modesty; he may not be devastatingly handsome the way his brother was, but he was well aware that he was one of the most attractive boys in school. This seemed to please the blonde, though, as a grin spread across his round face in a way that struck Regulus as being adorable.

Blue eyes grow wide with a childlike fascination as something—presumably a gas line—explodes, causing parts of the structure to give way. Regulus is sure that behind his companion's mask, an excited smile is splitting his face.

---

He couldn't be gay. He told himself that as Barty dragged him into the Hogsmeade alley to slam him against the wall and crushed their mouths together. He told himself he couldn't be attracted to the other boy as he dug his fingers into Barty's sides, and got nails in the back of his neck in response. He told himself that he couldn't fall in love as Barty's tongue smashed its way into his mouth, and his own responded eagerly.

It was freezing, and snow was falling rather heavily, and somehow Regulus ended up sitting in a drift with Barty straddling his legs. He moved his hands up to bury into blonde hair, and held Barty's head down as he attempted to take control of the kiss. His mind was screaming that, while in an alley, it was still public enough that another student could see them should he happen to turn the wrong way. His body didn't respond.

The two of them finally parted, and Barty looked at him with an expression that said that he didn't expect his friend to respond the way he did, but there was no way he was about to complain. Looking up into the blonde's wide blue eyes and laughing grin, Regulus thought that he should be freezing, covered in snow as he was. Despite the fact that it had somehow gotten past his scarf and cloak, down the back of his shirt, Regulus found himself sweating.

The heat didn't go away all day, not with Barty leaning over him to pretend to look at something in Honeydukes, finding joy in Regulus' flush. Especially not with the younger boy finding any excuse to grab him, for anything from stopping one of them falling—usually Barty's fault—to making sure that Regulus didn't walk into someone that he wouldn't have anyway.

That night wasn't any better, despite not being in the same dorm. Being underground and underwater, the Slytherin dorms were usually at a constant, cool temperature. Normally, Regulus found this to be comfortable. But in the dark it was too easy to let his mind wander, and he thought again about the Hogsmeade trip earlier that day, and the heat rose up his chest to his face again. He gave in and allowed himself to fantasize, but even after he got off, he still felt as if he were on fire.

When the fire first started, he wasn't sure whether he was telling Barty that they should do something about it, or simply commenting on the fact that the Muggle home they were in would soon be engulfed in flames.

---

It seemed as if they were entirely unable to keep their hands off each other. Of course, it didn't help that Barty was always eager, be it a quick snog in an empty classroom between classes or a blow job in a bathroom stall before supper—the latter of which nearly got the two of them in trouble around the middle of April.

He was reminded of the feeling that he used to get whenever his brother convinced him to do something especially rash. Particularly an incident before his third year, the only time he ever went to stay with Alphard. It was the first time he'd seen the sea, and he and Sirius had gone cliff jumping. Or rather, Sirius jumped, and Regulus had been forcibly thrown into the water. It seemed like suicide, and despite his uncle's assurance that he'd found the safest location just in case Sirius did something stupid, he was sure he was going to die. When he rose back to the surface of the water, the adrenaline was still pumping through his veins; it was the most thrilling experience he'd ever had—until he met Barty Crouch.

Sometimes he felt a surge of regret afterward. Not for his relationship with the younger boy, but for how out of control it seemed to be getting. It wasn't as if he couldn't push Barty away once in a while—it had been his idea the first time they had actual sex toward the end of June, telling the younger boy 'happy birthday'—especially considering the risks that were involved if anyone found out, but he never did.

If he learned one thing from Sirius' addiction to risky behavior, it was that, although it was fun at first, the novelty would wear off if it was done enough times. Therefore logic, which was one of Regulus' favorite things, dictated that if he simply fed it, this strange new ardor would simply go away.

However, he was beginning to fear that he, like his brother, was an adrenaline junkie.

There's something fascinatingly beautiful about the bright orange flames and the black skeleton of the structure before them. He thinks he can understand how a pyromaniac might feel.

---

Regulus considered whether it was worth the risk to go to the Crouch's home for nearly a month after school ended—Barty had provided him with an address just before they parted on the platform in King's Cross—then realized that, if he was so worried about compromising positions, he should have thought before all the other times they'd done anything in semi-public places. Besides, he'd made himself a promise.

Which was how he has ended up sneaking out to the Crouchs' home at eleven o'clock at night. And while he had experience with many kinds of sneaking around—he hadn't done much in the couple years since his brother left, but the knowledge was there—climbing over wooden fences wasn't one of them. He reached his torso, and was trying to slide across his stomach, but lost his grip and landed with a whomp on the grass.

Slowly, he rose to his feet and picked up a stone, examining the house. There were three rows of windows, the top—which Barty said was his room—being a single one under the eave of the roof. There was a strange glow to the light coming through the windows which Regulus recognized as electricity. It struck him as odd for a wizarding family, but then the house was in the middle of a Muggle neighborhood, and was much newer than Grimmauld Place; it was probably built by Muggles, which meant the electricity came with it.

He pulled the hand with the stone back and judged the distance. He was a seeker, not a chaser, and was almost positive he'd miss. Sure enough, it landed next to a second-floor window. The light turned on, and Regulus barely managed to duck behind a tree as Mr. Crouch opened the window and looked out. After a few moments, he closed it again, and Regulus sighed in relief.

This time he decided not to take a chance. He put the next stone in his pocket and jumped, grabbing the lowest branch of the tree, secretly thanking Sirius for constantly managing to bully him into such things when they were little. The tree was enormous, and the branch just outside the window to Barty's room was large enough to hold his weight. The lights were on, and he could see Barty lying on his bed reading a magazine. When the stone struck the window, Barty looked up in surprise, before his eyes lit up with a smile. He threw the magazine to the side and ran to open the window.

“Come on,” the blonde boy said.

“No, you come out.”

“Just climb in.”

Regulus sighed and moved forward, but stopped as the branch swayed. It wouldn't hold him that far out. Barty seemed to realize this, because he bit his lip thoughtfully.

“Go down to the back door, I'll let you in.”

“...What?” Regulus wasn't very keen on being discovered sneaking into the home of the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement.

He tried to protest, but Barty had already slammed the window shut and was heading away. Carefully, he climbed back down, and made the final jump just as the back door opened. As he moved forward, Barty put his finger to his lips and gestured him inside. The other boy was wearing a pair of ripped jeans and a loose T-shirt, but no shoes or socks, which meant that Regulus couldn't just make him come along.

The inside of the Crouch residence was beige. Regulus, despite having grown up in a mostly monochrome house, couldn't understand how any place could be so lacking in variety. They crept up the stairs, feet silent on the sandy-white carpet. Barty made his way to the door at the end of the upstairs hall, and opened it to reveal a set of wooden stairs. Regulus could barely see the top, but knew instantly where all the Crouchs' color went.

As soon as the door was closed, Barty pounded his way up the steps, and Regulus followed much more quietly. As soon as he reached the top, he sucked in a small breath.

The “top floor” was really the attic, with wooden walls and a slanted ceiling. But it looked as if his friend had eaten a rainbow and vomited it back up, and Regulus thought it was quite pretty in its way; it spoke very much of Barty. There were a couple lamps, but for the most part the room was lit by little colored lights on strings, like the ones that the Muggles on his street put up at Christmas, and it gave off a pinkish glow. It actually consisted of two rooms, the doorway to the bedroom partially covered by a tie-dyed sheet pulled to one side, and he could see a bright orange shag rug beside the bed. A small smile flitted across the dark boy's face.

“What're you doing?” Barty asked, looking around, and Regulus moved forward toward the doorway to the sleeping area.

In a much softer voice, he asked, “Shouldn't you be more quiet? Your parents might hear us.”

“Nah,” the blonde said, shrugging. “Father's gone and put a permanent silencing charm on my room—says I'm too loud.”

“Are you?”

A too-wide grin spread across Barty's face. “When he takes it down.”

“You're horrible,” Regulus said, laughing.

With a smile, he jumped onto the bed and lay back, looking around. Dressed in black, as so often happened with him, he felt especially out of place in this brightly colored room. There were a number of tables along the walls, all of them covered in things, many of which Regulus didn't recognize. He thought going through it would be like hunting for treasure. Barty was smiling at him, and climbed over his friend to recline next to him.

“It looks like a shadow has gone and landed on my bed.”

With a sly grin, Regulus said, “Well, I'm sorry, I've gone and darkened your rainbow. Maybe I should just leave.”

He began to get up, but in an instant he was straddled by the younger boy.

“As it so happens, you're a very good-looking shadow,” Barty said. “So I don't mind.”

“And you're an oddly sexy rainbow.”

Barty scoffed. “I know that.

Regulus reached up and batted the blonde head, then dragged Barty down by the back of the neck. The blonde stretched over top of his body, and Regulus gave a low moan as he opened his mouth for Barty's tongue to snake in. He pushed Barty's shirt up, and the younger boy gave a soft squeak as Regulus' cold fingers spread over his sides, but didn't pull away. Regulus was just considering the fact that he could do this for hours and not get bored when Barty sat up suddenly, their lips parting with a loud smacking noise.

“...huh?” Regulus looked up dazedly so see Barty sitting with arms crossed over his chest and an accusatory expression.

“Why are you doing this?” Barty demanded.

“What...?” Regulus was still trying to get his brain to work properly.

“Why are you here?”

“...Because you invited me?” Regulus tried. “Because...because I wanted to see you?”

“Let me change the question, then. Why are you having sex with me?”

Regulus looked dumbfounded. “Barty...it's been...what? Seven months? Eight? Why are you asking now?”

“Because I didn't have a month alone to think about it before.” Barty pursed his lips briefly. “What am I to you? Am I your friend? Your boyfriend? Or just your personal boy-toy? And if that's the case, you can leave right now, because I am not something you can just—“

“No!” Regulus propped himself up. “Listen, Barty, I just...get up...”

He gave his friend a nudge, but the other boy didn't move. He pushed a little harder, but still Barty refused to budge.

“I don't see why I should have to.”

“Because,” Regulus said. “It's inappropriate for the conversation.”

Barty rolled his eyes. “Everything is inappropriate to you.”

“Barty, it's—“

“It's not—“

Barty stopped suddenly at the sound of the door opening and footsteps coming up the stairs. In an instant they were both up, Regulus rolling under the bed and Barty yanking the blankets to the edge so they hid the older boy. Carefully, Regulus moved them just enough to peek out.

“Bartemius!” Mr. Crouch's voice was harsh. “Did you drop something out the window?”

“Huh?” Barty sounded genuinely confused.

“I heard something clatter on the side of the house, and I was going to let it go, but I cannot.”

There was a long pause during which Regulus tried to quiet his breathing, before Barty gave a slow, intentionally calculated-sounding, “No.”

Mr. Crouch gave a put upon sigh. “You will go retrieve whatever it is you threw out there—no, not now, in the morning—and will refrain from doing so in the future.” There was another long silence. “Did you hear me?”

“Yes,” Barty said with an angry sigh.

“Say that without any of your cheek.”

“Oh, yes, whatever you say, Father,” Barty said, his voice sticky-sweet.

There was another silence during which Regulus could imagine a vein bulging in Mr. Crouch's forehead. However, the man seemed to realize that he wasn't going to get any better out of his son, because he left, the footsteps heavy. The blankets were pulled back suddenly, and Regulus dragged himself out. He sat heavily on the bed and looked at a grinning Barty in annoyance.

“This is why I didn't want to come up.”

The smile left suddenly. “You never answered my question.”

Regulus sighed heavily. “Do you want to sit on my lap again?” he asked sarcastically, then instantly wished he hadn't when Barty took him up on his offer and pushed him backward, straddling his thighs.

“Alright, talk.”

Regulus rested a hand on one of Barty's legs, thinking carefully. Finally, he looked up into the other boy's eyes.

“Barty,” he said slowly. “I have to marry. That's all there is to it. I assumed that you understood that.”

“I do.”

“I would say I never wanted to get involved in a sexual relationship with another boy. The truth is, I never even considered it until you...suggested it, so to speak. As it is, I deeply enjoy the sexual side of our friendship. However, that is not all I consider us to have.”

“So we are friends?”

“Yes.”

“...Have you ever thought that maybe we could have more?”

Regulus sighed. “I don't think we should have this at all. I can't be attracted to another boy. That is why I have been so pliant during all this. Because I don't want to be so...zealous? I think that's the word I'm looking for...”

Barty pulled his legs up, but didn't move from his spot. He seemed to be considering.

“You have been having wild, glorious sex with me...because you don't want to want it?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, let me break this down so I can figure it out: you're attracted to a bloke, and love having wild, glorious sex with him.”

“Yes.”

“But you don't think you should be.”

“Yes.”

“So you've decided to put yourself through some sort of poof-rehab...to stop from wanting to have wild, glorious sex with that specific bloke...by having wild, glorious sex with him?”

Regulus hesitated slightly. “...Yes.”

Barty narrowed his eyes and drew his eyebrows together. “You have me stumped, and I am made up of contradictions.”

Regulus shrugged. “It made sense in my head.” He thought for a moment. “I figure that it's exciting now because it's so new. I've determined to allow myself to get bored with it.”

“It doesn't work like that.”

“...It might...”

“Uh huh,” Barty said, as if he highly doubted it. Leaning forward to brush their lips, he said, “Well, you know, I'm anything but boring. So you might have trouble.”

“I'll take the chance.”

Barty had been making fun of him when he went to the garage and found a can of petrol, and poured it on, telling him that it would just burn itself out that way. Regulus figures he probably deserves it.

---

The situation could hardly be worse. The two of them had stopped in a pub because Regulus needed to use the bathroom, and Barty had gotten other ideas just as his friend was washing up. Neither heard the crashes in the main room, and found themselves confronted by Aurors on a raid just as Barty's hand had found its way inside his friend's trousers.

Which lead to Regulus sitting alone in a small, empty room barely able to breath and feeling as if he were about to cry, waiting to find out what would happen. They had stuttered out the situation some time earlier, and the Aurors—all of them were quite young—didn't seem to really know what to do with the situation. They then decided the first step was to separate the pair so they couldn't come up with something else to say.

The door to the room banged open, and Regulus looked up to see his mother looming in the entryway. Walburga Black looked positively murderous.

“Get up,” she snapped.

Regulus jumped out of the chair and scuttled after her as she made her way down the corridor. His mother didn't say anything to him until they had flooed home, but as soon as they made it to their sitting room she rounded on him.

“You stupid, stupid boy,” she hissed, backing him into a chair. “Do you have any idea what could have happened?”

“We were just...” he started weakly.

“You will be seventeen in a week. They were ready to hold you for statutory rape until they could dig up something else—don't think the Ministry hasn't suspected you of working for the Dark Lord. You're only lucky that Bartemius Crouch is as humiliated by the actions of his son as your father and I are of you. It was he that made this go away, and the only reason he was able to was the excuse that you're still legally underage.”

“It wasn't—“

“Don't you dare deny any of this.”

“You didn't care that your grandfather had relationships with men,” Regulus mumbled half-halfheartedly.

“My grandfather was discrete about it,” his mother snapped. “And he stuck to his own kind. That boy is a Crouch. His father is the head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. What if something had come out?”

“Barty's managed to get away with it,” Regulus said.

“For now.” Walburga glared down at her son. “As it is, you are not to associate with that boy outside of the Dark Lord's direct orders. Do you understand?”

“But—“

“I asked if you understand.” Her voice was quiet and dangerous, giving no room for argument.

“Yes, Mother.”

The house had been a mess, one of the benefits of having both Bellatrix and Barty sent on a mission, although Regulus sees them less that than torture-sprees. And of course, they left Regulus to clean up; he has the feeling he's being used. He's glad that Barty stayed behind with him, even though their ideas of 'cleaning up' is different.

---

Regulus lay stretched across the seat as the Hogwarts Express. Barty sat on the opposite seat, feet propped up on by Regulus's. It wasn't often that the older boy comforted himself with food, but he figured that at this point he had a right.

“Well, now both of our parents know, and have subsequently forbid us from seeing each other—not surprising—despite the fact that we're in school together, and...shit,” he groaned. “What have we done?”

“What do you mean, 'what have we done'?” Barty looked confused. “It was bad timing is all—a coincidence—“

“You don't believe in coincidences,” Regulus snapped. “It was us fucking in public. Both of us are too smart for that shit.”

“We're blokes, we only have enough blood for one head to function properly at a time,” Barty said, rolling his eyes. “And it's not as if we get much of a choice which one it is. So calm down.”

“Fuck you, I am calm.”

“No you're not. I have never heard you swear so many times in so short of a period. You should stop, it's tarnishing your image.”

“And what is my image?”

“Cold, heartless, manipulative...”

“Without a soul, you mean.”

Barty shrugged. “Just do what you'd normally do: use it to your advantage.”

“How?”

Barty shrugged. “Go find some marshmallows. Roast 'em.”

“I love how you can use a worn-out old cliché without actually saying it aloud,” Regulus said, raising an eyebrow. “I'm not sure how I'll blackmail anyone with this.”

“If anyone can, it's you.”

The destruction may be far surpassing what it had been before the fire, but it's faster, more effective, and far more enjoyable than what Regulus may have normally done. He can tell that Barty is a bad influence.

---

“Apparently, you're a marshmallow.”

Barty twisted his head to look around where Regulus sat down on the back of the sofa.

“What are you talking about?” A letter dropped into his lap. “Regulus, I don't care what Aunt Burga says, you are not to break off any relationship with Barty Crouch. Despite what the Dark Lord thinks, I don't trust him. You must stay close to him, and inform me of everything he says and does. And remember, I'm thinking of your welfare, too. Bella.”

“I've gotten advice from every member of my family—including my brother, who is technically not family.”

“Oh? And what have they said?”

“Well, my mother doesn't want me to trust or see you and my father doesn't want to know. Cygnus and Druella say that stable relationships don't have to be monogamous, which is not surprising since their 'happy marriage' is more of a happy partnership. You just saw what Bella thought, Narcissa believes discretion is the key, and Sirius says—and I quote—'fuck what Mother says, be with the person you love, and you're her baby boy so she'd love you anyway'.”

“And what about you?”

“Fuck 'em all.”

Regulus looks at his friend, surprised, as he feels Barty take his hand.

“Let's go,” Barty says. “Someone'll be here soon to arrest us.”


---

With a sigh, Regulus turned and began to walk home. He wasn't even entirely sure why he made the attempt to buy anything for Barty; despite having been lovers for a solid year, he was still unsure how the other boy's mind worked.

He figured that he'd find a way to spoil Barty rotten. It was easier, anyway.

---