Memories of his midnight voyage to Lord Voldemort’s hideout, or at
least his previous hideout, came unbidden to Regulus’ mind as he sat on
his springy bed pondering what he might need to bring with him to
wherever Rodolphus was taking him. He had already dressed himself
in dark-coloured robes and tucked his wand safely inside the
sleeve. What else could he possibly need as he served the Dark
Lord? The bed creaked as he leaned back against the wall and
surveyed his room, hoping that something would jump out at him.
a knife? He had a knife that he had found in the Black family
attic one day when there were visitors in the house and he was looking
for a place to disappear for a while. He presumed that it had
belonged to his grandfather, but not wanting to anger his father, he
had never mentioned it to him and merely nicked it from its storage
That’s something that could come in handy, he
thought as he rose from the bed, causing the springs to creak even
louder than before. He shuffled through a trunk at the foot of
his bed and found the black handle attached to the silver blade, safely
capped so that he would not injure himself if he happened to brush
against it as he rummaged through the trunk’s contents. He heard
the ticking of his mechanical clock and glanced at the desk –
5:45. Fifteen minutes to get “away from absolutely everyone.”
final look around the room convinced him that there was really nothing
else that he felt would aid in his service of the Dark Lord, at least
not on this occasion. Maybe once he had helped with a few tasks
he would have a better idea of what the Dark Lord required of his
“Hey Liam,” he yelled down the hallway.
“Yeah?” Liam’s voice was muffled by his closed door.
“I’m going out for a bit. Do you need anything?”
Liam’s door opened a crack and he stuck his head out, “Not tonight, mate. Thanks for asking. Where are you going?”
Regulus shrugged, “Here and there, about. I figured if I was out anyway, I might as well check with you.”
“Thanks for asking,” Liam said. “I don’t need anything, but do you want some company?”
“No need for that, I don’t want to distract you from whatever you’re doing. I just need to spend some time alone.”
It was a lie. He knew it was a lie. But, it was a lie Liam would believe, and he would be spending some of the time alone in transit. Just not all of the time.
right, mate. Don’t get lost,” teased Liam gently. Regulus
grinned and waved him off before Disapparating to a wooded area just
north of the Black family country house in Yorkshire.
not think of any place in London where he would be away from absolutely
any other person, and it was a place that he knew well so he did not
have to be afraid of botching up his Apparating. He started to
walk toward a clearing in the forest and checked his pocket watch for
the time – one minute before six. He decided to stop by a tree
and wait. He could hear birds fluttering above him in the trees
and shuffling coming from somewhere in the forest. Though he knew
he was not far from the house, he still felt slightly afraid of what
might be there that he could not see. He had never played in the
forest at night as a child; what lived there that he had never
A minute later, though, it did not matter.
He doubled over as he felt the tattoo on his left forearm burn with an
intensity that he had not remembered from his first visit to the Death
Eaters. He grasped his arm and clenched his teeth, hoping that
his cousin-in-law would not Apparate to the clearing and see him at
that moment. Just then, however, he saw a location in his mind’s
eye. He was certain he had never been there before and had no
idea how he would manage to get there by Apparition, but he decided to
take a chance and thought very hard about getting there, and soon he
felt the uncomfortable sensation of Apparition.
“Good to see you in one piece.”
first realized that he was somewhere totally different. And then
he realized that he was staring at the ground. He jerked himself
upward, hoping that very few people had seen him in such a
position. But when he looked around, he realized that he could
see only Rodolphus Lestrange. Where was everybody else?
“Uh, hi, Rodolphus,” Regulus said. “Where is everyone?”
shrugged, “We may be everyone. The Dark Lord does not call all of
his servants together at every meeting. We rarely know who we’re
working with until he chooses to tell us. I am here because I am
your sponsor, the person in charge of you so to speak.”
Regulus recoiled inwardly, “My sponsor? In charge of me?”
need to learn the ins and outs before you can work on your own,
boyo. Don’t forget that you have to prove your worth before the
Dark Lord will be able to trust you with even minute details of his
plans,” Rodolphus retorted.
Regulus opened his mouth to
respond, but just at that moment heard a cold, yet enticing voice,
“He’s right, you know. I don’t want to just send you into the
fray with only the meagre skills taught to you by that school.”
Voldemort. The Dark Lord had been there the entire time, and he
had not realized it. He felt a pang of shame for the way he had
spoken and acted – would the Dark Lord decide not to use him after
all? Would he decide to try to break Regulus’ pride and force him
to work even harder to prove his worth? He had forgotten how
small it felt to be in the Dark Lord’s presence. He was not that
much taller than Regulus, but Regulus was used to being taller than
“Welcome back, my young servant,” the Dark Lord
said smoothly. “Have these last few weeks puffed you up so that
you feel ready to take on the entire forces of the Ministry of Magic on
Regulus shuffled his feet and stared at the ground,
“Well, I, uh, rather, I just thought that maybe you had a mission for
me to do on my own. Something that was only mine.”
Dark Lord cracked a thin sliver of a smile, “I see. You felt
that, perhaps, because you have secured for yourself such a choice job
in the Ministry that I might just give you an assignment all for
yourself from which you can glean all the glory.”
“Well, no, of course I would be working for you. Not for myself.”
was back peddling. He knew he had made a mistake. How was
he to correct it? With flattery? Humbleness? Blatant
honesty? But Voldemort was a Legilimens. He would know if
Regulus was lying.
“Yes, I do know, Regulus,” the Dark Lord
said softly. “Are you lying to me? You are hiding your
emotions very poorly this evening.”
Perhaps a confession.
“Please forgive me, my lord,” Regulus began. “I was not thinking. I work for you, not for myself.”
“Look at me, Regulus.”
Regulus looked up, straight into his eyes. Voldemort seemed
to search his face for a moment and then he felt the touch against his
mind. He almost stepped back in fear, but he suddenly felt light,
soothed, and opened his mind. A moment later, the Dark Lord
seemed satisfied and spoke again.
“I do have a special task for you.”
Dark Lord nodded, “Yes, which is why I have called you here
tonight. I need you to do some research for me in the Department
of Spells and Charms. I have tried in the past to place some of
my loyal agents there, but they have frequently failed to earn the good
graces of the director.”
“Is that what he’s
calling himself these days? Yes, Tobias Jackson, former member of
the Orion Force. He’s apparently been tough to get past…”
As his voice trailed off, Regulus felt as if he had finally done something right.
he seemed to fancy me, sir. That is to say, he was very kind and
eager to hear what I thought about things that the department did and
to help me adjust to working there,” Regulus said earnestly, hoping to
“Is that so?” Voldemort replied softly. Regulus swallowed a lump in his throat and nodded.
then, Regulus, it looks like you have done something right, and I
didn’t even have to ask you,” he said, and cracked his small sliver of
a smile. “I need you to get as much information as you can from
this man about the doings of the department – what they are working on
and developing, which witches and wizards are asking for help, anything
you can provide. If you can get me that, Regulus, I may just have
something bigger and more important to give you next.”
Regulus nodded eagerly, “Yes, of course. When would you like this information?”
soon as you can get it. Tell Rodolphus when you have finished and
he will inform me,” the Dark Lord said. “That is all for tonight.”
With that, he vanished.
Regulus turned to Rodolphus, “So, that’s it? Just get information about my department? That’s not very exciting.”
did you expect, boyo?” Rodolphus laughed. “That the Dark Lord
would give you his most dangerous assignments to start out with?
That he trusts you with all of his secrets? Don’t forget that you
have to work to earn your worth. Can you get back home all right?”
“Good. I’ll be in touch.”
morning came more quickly than Regulus expected it to. His first
day of work passed without much incident – he only managed to spill tea
down his front about three times due to sheer nervousness, and to
misuse the filing system so that the catalogue of spells got completely
out of order. Jacks, however, was just as patient with Regulus as
he had been during the interview and gave him as much assistance as he
needed. He was very grateful, but the thought of how important
the older man was to his success as a Death Eater kept creeping up in
his mind throughout the day. Finally, five o’clock came and he
Apparated home exhausted and ready for something to eat. He
arrived in his room and smelled something wonderful coming from the
“Regulus? Is that you?” Liam’s voice seemed to be coming from his room rather than the kitchen.
opened his door and walked into the hallway, “Yeah, mate, what are you
up to? What are you making? It smells delicious.”
must be Regulus,” a female voice murmured behind him. He whipped
around and saw a young woman with short, curly blonde hair the same
colour as Liam’s standing at the end of the hallway near the kitchen.
“Uh, yeah, I’m Regulus Black. Pleased to meet you, miss…”
She smiled, “I’m Aislinn Merric, Liam’s oldest sister.”
“I thought you weren’t coming for another few weeks?”
decided to come earlier to help me find a job,” Liam answered with a
smile. “She’ll be here for three weeks or so to help out.
Isn’t that great?”
Regulus nodded, “Yeah, that’s brilliant,
really great. It’s nice to finally meet you, Aislinn.” He
extended his hand to shake hers and her whole face lit up.
it’s wonderful to meet you, too! Liam has told us all so much
about you and how you taught him about the wizarding world. I
can’t imagine what it would be like to be transplanted somewhere that
you had no idea about and have to adjust to it and…”
broke in, “Slow down, Linn! He’s not going to be able to make
heads or tails of what you’re saying!” He chuckled.
Aislinn blushed, “Sorry, Regulus. I start talking fast when I’m excited.”
replied kindly, “It’s not a problem. I’m glad you’re excited to
be here. What are you making that smells so absolutely delicious?”
“It’s beef in stout.”
Her forehead crinkled in confusion, “Well, yes, haven’t you had stew before?”
family tends to serve more upscale fare, sis,” Liam told her
gently. “But don’t worry; I’m sure he’ll love it. He needs
to learn how to eat on a budget!”
Aislinn turned to Regulus and he nodded an affirmation, “It smells wonderful. I’m sure it will taste just as good.”
she said with a smile. “I’m going to go make sure it doesn’t
burn. Dinner will be in just about ten minutes, boys.”
both nodded their thanks and she walked back down the hallway.
Regulus leaned against the wall and turned to question his friend.
“So, she just showed up?”
shrugged, “Yeah. About twenty minutes ago. Apparently Mum
and Dad decided that I needed a little motivation in my job hunting.”
Regulus replied, “Well, you do…”
“Bullocks,” Liam retorted. “I’m perfectly fine.”
“Are you now?” Regulus teased. “You have a job then?”
crossed his arms and looked at the ceiling, “Well, no, not
exactly. But I should have one soon. Not everyone can just
walk into a place and get a job in a matter of minutes like you can.”
“No, but it would help if you were out looking for one,” Regulus pointed out.
Liam shrugged, “It’ll happen. I am still thinking about doing some work for a political group, though.”
sighed, “Liam, we’ve talked about this. You’re just one
person. You’re never going to be able to get everyone to go along
with what you believe.”
“Bloody hell, will you just let me pursue what I want to?” Liam snapped.
raised his eyebrows in surprise, “Are you off your rocker? I’m
not saying you can’t do it; all I’m saying is that I think you should
be careful. You’re going to draw attention to yourself, mate, and
it’s not going to be positive attention. I don’t want you getting
yourself hurt. And besides, don’t you think you’d better be a bit
quieter about this in front of your sister."
The boys listened for a moment, but all they heard from the kitchen was
the sound of running water and the sound of bubbling stew on the cooker.
probably doing the washing up,” said Liam with relief. They stood
in silence for a few moments, both staring at the floor.
"What's happening here?" Regulus asked slowly. "I don't understand. Why are you being so hostile all of a sudden?"
eyed him warily and sighed, "I don't know. Really, I don't.
We never used to row like this. Why are things so tense?"
shrugged, "Are you jealous about something? Maybe my job?
You've been acting strangely since you got back from Ireland. No,
even before that. Since we were at my parents' house the day
after we left school. Did I do something?
Yes. Regulus tried to push the thought from his mind.
don't know," Liam said as he slumped against the wall facing
Regulus. "Maybe I'm just missing home. Something seems not
right to me and I haven't a clue as to what it is. Maybe it is the lack of a job. It might all get better now that Aislinn is here."
Regulus nodded, "Yeah, a little piece of home. And with her help, I bet you'll be able to find a job faster."
worth a try," Liam admitted. "I'm sorry, mate. I didn't
mean to take it out on you. I guess I've never had to worry about
all this before. It's quite daunting, being an adult wizard."
"Yeah, it is," Regulus agreed. "People expect you to know what you're doing."
Liam laughed, "Now that's the Regulus I know and love. That sarcastic honesty is exactly why I keep you around."
grinned, but turned sombre again, "So are we going to try to fix
this? I don't want to keep rowing with my best mate every day."
we're going to fix this," Liam said. "I promise. I'll do
the best I can to keep my worries from affecting our friendship."
I'll try not to badger you about it, too," Regulus added. "I'm
sorry that I've been bothering you so much about it. I just want
you to find something you want to do, rather than sitting here alone
Liam gave him a half grin and Regulus questioned him, "What? What's going on?"
I was trying to tell you earlier, but I think I may have found a
political group to do some work with. They're called the Blood
"Blood Equality Society?" Regulus raised his eyebrows.
nodded, "Yeah, just listen. They're devoted to making sure
everyone realizes that magical ability isn't determined by blood, to
raising awareness in the wizarding community. They're
non-violent, not like an opposition force to the Evil Eaters or
whatever they're called."
that's it. I fancy Evil Eaters. Anyway, so they're not
trying to fight Vol-, er, You-Know-Who, sorry, well they're not trying
to fight him or anything. They just lobby to political leaders
and try to talk reason into people. They think I'm a right
interesting chap, mostly because I'm Muggleborn and a Slytherin," Liam
paused from his explanation.
"Well, it sounds interesting,"
Regulus said hesitantly. "I, uh, I don't know how many friends
you're going to make being a part of it, but it sounds like something
you could help with. What did you tell them in reference to your
background and house anyway?"
Liam shrugged, "I just said that
I had a lot of ambition and a lot of things I want to do. I don't
really know why the Sorting Hat put me in Slytherin. I mean, I am
a Muggleborn, and Slytherin himself probably wouldn't have accepted me
as a part of his house. But I think the hat is above all of these
petty differences anyway. I think that it knew what my standpoint
would be and knew that my personality was one that fit Slytherin more
than any other house, so that's where it decided to put me. I've
never really considered it before."
"Yeah, me neither,"
Regulus said. "I've always wondered a little, but it was never
anything that I really took to heart until recently.
They were silent for a moment and then Liam said, "If I ever meet this Dark Lord, I'm going to have a few things to say to him."
Good luck, Regulus thought to himself.
"You think he's a lunatic, too, right?" Liam asked.
Regulus’ stomach started to turn, "A lunatic? Yeah, sure."
serious. You've never talked about it before, but, I know your
parents probably wouldn't argue with having a Death Eater son.
Evil Eater, maybe," Liam said with a chuckle.
"But you'd have
nothing to lose, and a lot to gain. I can see you wanting that
recognition. Hell, if he weren't completely against people like
me, I might even consider joining him, if he were fighting for a
different cause. There's a lot to be said for a man who has the
power to convince, and he sounds like he does."
He paused for a second.
"All I'm asking for is the truth."
"Do you think I'm an Evil Eater?" Regulus asked slowly, hoping the joke would throw him off.
like to believe that you aren’t, and even if you were, that you would
be honest about it. But I just want to hear it.”
I’m about to dish up! Come sit down,” Aislinn’s voice came down
the hallway to where they were standing. Liam gave Regulus a
Regulus took a deep breath, “No.”
Liam nodded, “Okay, then. Dinner?”
Regulus nodded and followed Liam down the hallway, slowly losing his appetite.
Aislinn at the flat proved to be a positive thing for both Regulus and
Liam. She had never been to London before, so Liam took a few
days after she arrived to show her around the city and take her to
Diagon Alley. Regulus arrived home from work each night ready to
hear about her most recent experiences, and to enjoy her home
cooking. He found that he did like to eat the meals she prepared,
even though it was much simpler than what he was used to eating.
in all, Regulus was enjoying having a woman in the house. He had
never had any close female friends, and he was usually very awkward
around girls, but Aislinn was different. He found that he could
talk to her and she would listen, and that she made him feel accepted
and welcome. Liam was visibly cheerier and more positive with his
sister around, but he finally realized that he had to explain to her
about the blood battles in the wizarding world, a conversation which he
had been dreading, after they visited Diagon Alley and she heard
whispers of a “You-Know-Who” at more than one shop. Aislinn took
it all in silently, and then turned to Regulus.
"So this has all been going on for years?"
nodded, "Centuries, really. Even before our school was
founded. In fact, the reason there are house rivalries basically
goes back to blood battles. Slytherin didn't quite fancy
Muggleborns, so he never admitted them into his house originally.
Then when all the founders were getting too old to teach anymore, they
made the Sorting Hat."
"But the Sorting Hat has its own agenda," Liam added.
Aislinn raised an eyebrow, in a manner vaguely reminiscent of Liam's, "How can a hat have an agenda?"
not your world, sis," Liam said teasingly. "You'd be surprised at
how many seemingly inanimate objects can have agendas."
laughed at Aislinn's dumbfounded face, "What he means is that
Gryffindor programmed the hat to have its own agenda. His
agenda. Yeah, it generally sorts the first years into the houses
that the original founders would have selected for them. But it
has been known to place people in ways that you wouldn't expect."
He nodded, "Like Liam. None of us are quite sure how he ended up where he did."
because I have so much ambition, remember?" Liam joked. "You see,
Linn, Slytherin was more than just a Pureblooded favouritist. He
was also full of things that he wanted to accomplish, just like
me. Only, what I want to accomplish is the exact opposite of what
he wanted to accomplish. It's funny how that works."
laughed, "Well aren't you just the little rebel. So are you
launching a mass campaign around this You-Know-Who chap, or are you
actually being safe about it? I don't think Mum would take kindly
to the former."
"That's what I told him, too!"
muttered Liam. "You're not supposed to take her side. It's
not that dangerous. I mean, sure, he's mad and he'll stop at
nothing to get his way, but come on. If nobody ever stood up to
people in the wrong, nothing would ever get sorted out, now would
it? Someone has to be the one to correct injustice, and that's
what I'm passionate about. I know it's not going to make me
popular, and that it will probably alienate me from everyone around me,
but what of it? My best mate is still my friend, and I've got my
family. I just have to be careful who I put my trust in, that's
"You could lose your life, Liam," Aislinn said quietly. "Is it worth all that?"
lowered his gaze from hers, "I don't know. I'm ashamed to say it,
but I really don't know if it's something I could die for. But if
I can, I'll work for it, and we'll see where it takes me. I'll
make good contacts for the future, anyway."
"Yes, in the
political world here, but what if you decide you don't want to do
that?" she protested. "What are you going to tell people when you
come home? You're not going to be able to say that you work for
anyone they know. How are you going to explain your involvement
in this Blood Equality Society?"
Liam folded his arms and
leaned back in his chair, "I don't know. I haven't thought that
far. But this will work for now, I think. Besides, I'm
going to get a paying job, too. In Diagon Alley."
grinned, "I've already talked with the owner of Flourish and
Blotts. I think it would be fun to work in a bookstore, and then
I can get discounts on whatever book I want and be in a place where
lots of people congregate. People talk about all sorts of things
in bookstores. I start next Monday."
"Well, I suppose you're doing something right. Is that what you
want me to tell Mum and Dad, then? That you're working in a
He thought for a moment and then replied, "Yes,
you can say that. And you can say that I'm working for a
political action group which emphasizes humanitarian issues in the
"Don't you think you should tell your family about the crisis here?" Regulus asked.
shook his head, "Not yet. It's not necessary yet. I'm
hoping that it will all resolve itself in time. This is my
battle, and there's really nothing they can do to help anyway."
Aislinn bit her lip and said, "I think they'd still like to know that you're in danger."
is in danger, it's not just me," Liam replied. "You're in danger
when you walk down the street, you don't know if a car is going to come
by with someone pissed at the wheel. You can't escape from
that. And the less they know, the less danger they'll be
in. He's not going to go after them."
"You don't know that."
can't go after them if I get to him first," Liam said darkly.
"That's the thing. He has to be stopped. A Pureblood
pedigree doesn't give you the license to do whatever you want."
The three sat in uncomfortable silence for a moment. Then, Regulus spoke.
"Hey, I have to go. I have an appointment to keep. I'll see you lot later."
had been quite a while since Regulus had visited Knockturn Alley.
His parents, though heavily involved in the Dark Arts, had mostly tried
to avoid being seen there as it would draw unnecessary attention from
outsiders. Every once in a while he accompanied his father to
various shops and the apothecary there to get illicit powders and
supplies, but his mother never once set foot in the place to his
knowledge. It was more than just the danger in going there - the
alley had a reputation, and not a good one. Especially for a
Pureblooded daughter descended from the Black line. She knew that
her husband went occasionally and took their sons with him, but she had
decided to never deign to that level.
He had Apparated to the
Leaky Cauldron and walked the familiar pathways of Diagon Alley.
He was surprised by how empty they were. He had not been to
Diagon Alley after dusk in quite a while and he was used to the daily
hustle of mothers keeping track of purchases and young children,
witches and wizards meeting for lunch or a quick Butterbeer before
getting back to work, and Hogwarts students on holiday trying meet up
with friends for a quick reprieve from home. That evening,
however, it was nearly deserted. Windows were shuttered for the
night and he could only see a few dozen witches and wizards roaming the
streets, and maybe half a dozen children accompanying their parents.
I suppose people really are worried to be alone,
he thought to himself as he hurried toward Knockturn Alley. He
took a quick look about and seeing nobody looking in his direction, he
turned the corner and walked into the alley. He had received a
note with cramped, scrawled handwriting earlier that day requesting his
presence at a pub at the end of the alley around eight o’clock.
The note said that the sender would find him there. Regulus was a
bit shaken by the note, but since he did not know if it had to do with
his first task for Voldemort, he realized that he had to go just in
His stomach started turning flip-flops as he approached
the door of the pub the note described. He took a deep breath and
set himself in what he hoped was a posture of confidence, and then
entered the pub. It was much darker than the Leaky Cauldron, but
he had expected that. The floor was a bit sticky and he forced
himself not to look down to figure out why. As his eyes began to
adjust to the low light, he realized that he had stopped walking in the
entryway and more than several eyes were now resting upon him,
including the eyes of an approaching Severus Snape.
“Regulus, good to see you,” Severus said in a low voice. “Follow me, there’s a good table back here.”
nodded and followed Severus to the back right of the pub where there
was a small table and chairs up against a grimy wall. He took a
furtive look around them, but the closest wizards were four tables
away. Even so, Severus muttered his Muffliato spell and Regulus knew that it would be safe to talk about anything from that point on.
“I haven’t heard that spell in about two years,” he said with a small grin.
nodded, “Yes, well, it is generally rare for a spell that one designs
for personal use to achieve widespread use in the wizarding community.”
“A lot of people caught on to Levicorpus at school,” Regulus noted.
“That was not my intention,” Severus asserted. “In any case, that is only partially what we are here to discuss.”
Regulus raised an eyebrow, “We’re here to discuss the spells you created at school?”
shook his head, “No, we’re here to discuss your involvement in the
Department of Spells and Charms. I understand that Jackson
awarded you with the job that I applied for last year.”
“Well, uh, I didn’t realize that you had applied for it until the Dark Lord…” he froze, wide-eyed. “I mean, I…”
fine, Regulus, I know what the Dark Lord said. He is the one who
sent me to check on your progress,” Severus explained. “I hold no
grudge against you, I’m just glad that you were able to succeed where I
failed to serve the Dark Lord.”
Regulus cleared his throat, “So, you really believe in all this.”
“Of course. You don’t?”
He shook his head, “Of course I do. It’s just, sometimes people say things that make me doubt and see grey areas.”
“Like your friend, Merric? Liam Merric?”
could be part of it,” Regulus muttered. “I don’t know what to
do. I want to serve the Dark Lord to the best of my
ability. I want to help him succeed and reform the problems
within the Ministry, but I don’t want to betray my best mate.”
sighed, “You’re either in this or you aren’t. You cannot be there
halfway. Is Merric hindering your chances of success?
Because you can’t let him get in the way of what you have been ordered
“You’re not going to say anything to him, are you?”
looked down at his hands, “I should. If there is something
getting in the way of you doing your best for him, he should
know. If he knew I knew and didn’t tell him, we would both be
punished, and so would Merric.”
“But Liam thinks that blood battles are stupid. He doesn’t treat the Dark Lord with contempt,” Regulus protested.
not what I’ve heard. I was told that he thinks that the Dark Lord
is a mad man, a lunatic. That he is fighting against the
cause. Regulus, if that is the case, then you need to either
reform his mind or end that friendship.”
Regulus snapped back, “Liam is my friend. I am not going to betray that.”
“Why? Is your loyalty to him greater than your loyalty to the Dark Lord?”
what he sent you here to find out? If I’m really on his
side? If I’m a spy? If I’m going to betray everyone like my
good-for-nothing brother?” Regulus spat. “Well you can tell him
this, Snape, I’ll do what he wants me to do. I’ll get
that information for him. But I will not hurt the only person who
has ever trusted me completely.”
Severus leaned back from the
table in visible surprise, “No, that isn’t what he sent me to find
out. But I’m sure he’d be interested in that information.”
He sneered as he started to get up to leave, but Regulus spoke.
“Wait. What did he send you to find out?”
Severus looked down, a few strands of his hair falling in front of his face, “Are you ready to listen?”
been told recently that that is something I need to work on,” Regulus
admitted. “Please, just don’t put Liam in danger. I’ll do
anything to keep him safe.”
Severus regarded him sceptically,
“He sent me to see what you have been able to find out about Jackson,
Black. Have you found out anything?”
Regulus crossed his
arms and leaned back in his chair, “Nothing out of the ordinary.
Jackson was in the Orion Force. He runs the department as if he
still is. No one gets in or out unless they pass his scrutiny.”
He paused, “That’s why he didn’t hire you. Apparently he thought your morals weren’t high enough for his standards.”
shrugged, “That’s neither here nor there. He is not the first
person to doubt my personal code of ethics. Go on.”
are working on several long term projects to develop large scale
defensive spells, probably to fight the Dark Lord. But I have not
been given personal access to extensive information about them.”
good to know,” Severus said admirably. “Good work. I’ll
keep your secrets for now, Regulus, because we were friends at
school. I’d like to remain friendly and be able to work
together. Let me know if I can help you at all.”
smiled for the first time that evening, “Thanks, Severus. I’m
trying to do the best I can at the tasks that the Dark Lord has given
“That reminds me. The Dark Lord wants you to make some sketches.”
“Sketches? You can hardly read my handwriting.”
laughed, “It’s better than mine is. No, we need rough maps of
Diagon Alley. Because of Sirius, and Liam, most people don’t
expect you to be a Death Eater. You can pass through the Alley as
many times as you want, and no one will be the wiser.”
“Liam is working here now,” Regulus added eagerly. “That should help.”
Severus nodded, “Let me know if you need help. Have a good night.”
walked around Diagon Alley for another hour or so. He bought some
large pieces of parchment at Flourish and Blotts and then made his way
back to his flat. At around one in the morning he stretched his
sore back and noticed that the candles he had lit a few hours
previously were melted almost all the way down. But the
preliminary sketches were almost complete. Surely the Dark Lord
would reward him for his hard work.
Author’s Note: Beef in stout is a beef and potato stew found by my beta, Arnel, in a cookbook she owns called Favourite Irish Recipes. It’s an authentic recipe, and she says that it’s pretty good. Thanks, Arnel!