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01 March 2010 @ 01:24 pm
Fic: The Absence of Fear  
Title: The Absence of Fear
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG (includes a little violence)
Pairing: eventual Remus/Sirius
Summary: One of those darn long-term, through-the-years, how-they met fics. The title is a song by Jewel, but the story isn't based on music.
~~

Inside the absence of fear
there is this hunger,
This restlessness inside of me,
And it knows that you're no stranger,
You're my gravity
.

~~

Regulus first showed magic when he was three years old. He and Sirius were horsing around on the landing on the top floor. The wood of the railing looked sturdy, but it was discovered to be rotten when Sirius pushed his little brother against it and it broke. Walburga, who was supposed to be leaving for a dinner party, gave a blood-curdling scream as she saw her baby fall. Regulus came to a halt just before he was to hit the marble floor of the foyer, and floated for a few seconds before putting his feet down. Orion made sure to have the rest of the house checked for instability.

 

Sirius hadn't shown any signs of magic at all.

 

There was one night he was laying in bed, terrified, when he felt his brother climb in next to him.

 

“What if I'm not a wizard?” he whispered. “What am I going to do?”

 

“You can't be a squib,” Regulus whispered back. “You're a Black.”

 

“I mean it, Reggie. Mummy'll throw me out onto the street.”

 

Regulus was scared. He'd never heard seen Sirius look so close to tears, or heard that quiver in his voice.

 

“I won't let her. I'll hide you in the attic, and I can sneak you food.”

 

“Really?”

 

It was a wonderful fantasy, to be a fugitive in the House of Black. But as time went by, and Sirius showed no magic, the fear became more and more real. Walburga grew nervous. Still, she refused to look at Muggle orphanages, for fear that she'd jinx Sirius' chances of going to school.

 

Two years after the incident on the stairs, a dinner party was held with the closest members of the family. The adults—their parents, Walburga's brothers Alphard and Cygnus, Cygnus' wife Druella, and Orion's sister Lucretia, and her husband Ignatius Prewett—talked around the children, although Narcissa, Andromeda, and Regulus were doing their best to follow the conversation. Regulus was distracted soon, however, as he heard Bellatrix give a vicious whisper. She was leaning across the table to talk to Sirius.

 

“So, Sirius,” she was saying. “What's it like, not having magic?”

 

Sirius glared at her, and said nothing. Regulus frowned. She continued.

 

You're quite useless, aren't you? Just wait, you'll see how you're unwanted. Pathetic.”

 

Regulus' eyebrows drew closer together. He looked around, but no one else was paying attention. He lifted himself slightly to pick up his goblet, but stopped just before his fingers touched it. There were little ripples in the water. Everyone else's drinks were rippling, too. His eyes widened, and he whipped his head around.

 

Bella, stop.” He hated the pleading note in his voice.

 

Oh, come on, Regulus,” she said, turning to smirk at him. “You aren't actually defending that.”

 

I said shut up,” Regulus said, his voice rising in pitch as the words came out louder than he intended.

 

The room went silent. Sirius flushed as every eye turned to them.

 

I don't need you defending me,” he snapped at his brother.

 

Oh, I don't know about that.” Bella's voice was gleeful. “Just wait until they don't send you your letter, you'll—“

 

Bellatrix...” Cygnus' voice was full of warning.

 

Bella's grin got even wider. “I'm sorry,” she drawled. “...Reggie. I know you'd never defend a weak, pathetic—

 

That is enough!” Cygnus slammed his goblet down, a drop of wine spilling over the edge. “Not one more word on the matter.”

 

Bellatrix turned her eyes down, her smile faded slightly. She didn't have to hear what would happen, should she disobey her father. But Regulus could tell she wasn't done. Once the adults had restarted their conversation, she began to push her peas around her plate. Sirius was still glaring at her. The drinks were shaking more violently than ever, and Regulus began to wonder why no one else seemed to notice. He began to slink down in his chair, earning him a sharp reprimand from his mother for not sitting straight.

 

“I'm sure you can read at this age,” Bellatrix said, and Regulus suddenly knew what she was on about. “Tell me, can you read this?”

 

She turned her plate around. The letters formed by her vegetables spelled out S-Q-U-I-B. Regulus ducked under the table, sure of the imminent danger. As he bumped Narcissa on his way down, she looked at him curiously.

 

“Regulus, what—?” she began, but Regulus pulled her down with him, and her head hit the table. “Ow! What do you think you're doing?”

 

Regulus was about to answer when the sound of shattering came from above, and a high-pitched scream rang out. He looked under the tablecloth, and watched as the windows began to blow out, and the rest of the family began to yell, the table rocking as they jumped out of their seats. Sirius' voice rose above the noise.

 

I'm going to kill you, you fucking bitch!

 

Regulus hadn't even been aware of such words before this. He watched as Bellatrix slammed against a wall. A knife followed her, and hit her in the shoulder, and she gave a horrible scream. Regulus heard his mother yell out a spell, and everything—the shards of glass, the additional cutlery that was racing toward his cousin, everything—froze in midair for a moment before falling uselessly to the ground. He looked beside him to Narcissa, who was curled up on the ground, tears streaming down her face as she looked at her sister pulling the knife out.

 

After a moment, they heard, “Where's Reg and Cissy?”

 

Regulus took his cousin's hand and led her out from under the table. Only Sirius was unscathed, but Walburga collapsed in a chair in relief when she saw that Regulus was alright. Druella sat down weakly a moment later. All the china had been broken along with the glass of the windows and chandelier. Regulus looked around in wonder.

 

“Woah...” he whispered.

 

~*~

 

Sirius wandered through the halls of St. Mungo's, having escaped the clutches of his cousins. Narcissa and Andromeda had been instructed to take him and Regulus to the tea room on the top floor so that their parents could sort everything out with the Healers, to explain that the fact that Bella was currently sporting a deep chest wound had been an accident of a child, unable to control his own power yet.

 

He paused outside a ward. One of the first words he had been able to spell was “dangerous.” The way he understood it, the word was synonomous with “exciting.” He slowly peaked into the room, and felt horribly let down. There was nothing exciting about this, it was just dirty with boring people sleeping. He was about to just leave when he heard a sound, so quiet he might have imagined it. He moved farther into the room.

 

At the end of the room, he saw a small figure curled up facing the window, shoulders shaking. The noise sounded again, and Sirius realized that the person was crying. It was almost completely foreign to him—Blacks didn't cry, if they could help it—and so it scared him. When he realized this, he moved farther forward, unwilling to be beaten by fear. Blacks weren't afraid of anything. He came to a halt at the foot of the bed, and saw that it was another boy, about his own age. He wet his lips.

 

“Why are you crying?” he asked.

 

The boy sat up and quickly wiped his eyes.

 

“I'm not...” the boy began, but seemed to realize that it was useless denying it. The tears welling up in his large, brown eyes seemed to be unstoppable. “...'cause I don't wanna to die,” he said, his voice cracking.

 

“You're going to die?” Sirius was suddenly interested.

 

The boy nodded. “I heard the Healers talking about it.”

 

“Why are you going to die?”

 

The boy pressed his lips together. “What're you doing here?”

 

“I'm looking around,” Sirius said. The boy's scouse was starting to get to him, and the sudden change in topic annoyed him.

 

“No, I mean...what're you doing at the hospital?”

 

Sirius shrugged. “I tried to kill my cousin.”

 

The boy looked horrified at Sirius' casual attitude. “Why?”

 

“She called me a squib.”

 

Are you?”

 

Sirius spluttered indignantly. “No, I am not.”

 

“Well, there's nothing really wrong with it.” The boy was looking at him with wide eyes.

 

Now it was Sirius' turn to be horrified. He couldn't think of anything worse than being born without magic. It suddenly hit him that this boy was probably associated with Muggles, to be so lighthearted about the idea. He backed up quickly, and the boy was looking at him with worried eyes. Sirius took the boy's expression, as if he had been found out, as confirmation. He had to leave, and glanced around as if looking for an escape.

 

The boy, who had seemed to have forgotten that he was crying, got the look of hopelessness he had when Sirius arrived, and a single tear rolled down his face. He ducked his head as he wiped his face, then lay back down and curled up. Sirius took the chance to run, slamming the door open and racing down the hall, his shoes squeaking on the tile floor.

 

The words the boy spoke—“there's nothing really wrong with it”—haunted him long afterward, though.


Part Two


Notes: In an attempt to get back in touch with canon, I found a big plot-hole. Supposedly, Bella was born in 1951, and in the fifth book Sirius said he hadn't seen her since he was Harry's age. But in the previous book he lists off Snape's school friends, he says "the Lestranges, they're a married couple."
If she was nine years older than the Marauders, then how was she always hanging out with Snape? Before, I generally tended to put her at the same age as Sirius; in this story, though, I put her as being 15.

Obviously, this is a theoretical sequence of events. And a fun thing about when I get going, is that I can write three and four chapters at a time. So this is getting written very fast. Also, the I chose this title because despite the fact that I've lost a lot of my younger taste in music, I still feel the album Spirit by Jewel has some of the most beautiful songs, with very romantic words that continue to fit many of my OTPs. (I am a person who grew up with folk-country music, though.)

 


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(Deleted comment)
MissTeacakes: pretty facemissteacakes on March 3rd, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
Oh, I know! And Regulus is one of my favourite characters! Actually, I want to make an attempt to not cut anyone out (too much).

Really, the only reason I've been so slow is 'cause I'm actually going through real effort to make sure there aren't any typos.
(Anonymous) on March 2nd, 2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
i >3 it
werewolfsfan: Dark Femalewerewolfsfan on March 3rd, 2010 12:16 am (UTC)
I love this:
He paused outside a ward. One of the first words he had been able to spell was “dangerous.” The way he understood it, the word was synonomous with “exciting.”


If she was nine years older than the Marauders, then how was she always hanging out with Snape?

There is NO canon where Bellatrix is with Snape during his school years. Regulus was supposed to be the youngest Death Eater. He joined while still a student and was dead by the time he was 18 or 19. Severus either joined the DE in his last year or post-Hogwarts and he could have met Bellatrix Lestrange then.
MissTeacakes: backstorymissteacakes on March 3rd, 2010 02:20 am (UTC)
Okay, so Sirius just phrased everything strangely in the fourth book--the way he said it, it sounded like that was Snape's group while they were in school. Thank you for clarifying that bit for me; I knew about Regulus, though. (Actually, this is the first time I've written Bella into a story, so I'm glad I didn't get that bit wrong...)

I'm glad you liked parts of the actual story though. ^_^
Phisophiso_kun on March 7th, 2010 10:45 pm (UTC)
Oooh, this is interesting! It would have never occurred to me to think that Sirius wouldn't show his magic right away, nor that his first bout of magic was about as unsettled as Bellatrix's sanity was, as well as very powerful. The image of Remus sitting alone on his bed, crying about being told he was going to die, and being secretive even now about why, is oddly sweet in a really sad way.

Anyway, I like this, and I can't wait for the next installment. :]
nathcoelho: junjouterroristlovegifnathcoelho on March 16th, 2010 02:21 am (UTC)
yeah!!! kill her!! xD she is a bitch (really, i hate her)
anyway
pretty interesting first chapter! ^_^