|HP fic - Doubts and Lies
||[Feb. 28th, 2011|10:07 pm]
Title: Doubts and Lies
Pairing: Regulus/Severus (implied), Igor Karkaroff, OC
Warnings: implied slash
Summary: Maybe they’re only lying to each other. Maybe to themselves as well.
It’s cold. The sort of cold that comes from a never ending winter, thick snow and raging, icy wind. The sort of cold that seems to degrade thermal spells at incredible rates so that a strong heating spell lasts but several hours, hardly through the night. Regulus has cursed the damned place to hell and back.
Their small cabin is mostly warmed by a large, brick fireplace and none of them – except for Karkaroff – ventures very far outside unless absolutely necessary. Sometimes, Regulus or Severus will make rounds to renew the heating spells but they take up so much energy and degrade so quickly that it hardly seems worth the effort.
In the middle of the bleak Siberian winter, Regulus is finally finding something that he had been hoping to find for a very long time. Solace. Solace from his thoughts, from his doubts. The cold has provided a numbing blanket over all of his feelings, sucking away the grief and the despair, the sense of hopelessness that had hung over him since Anatole Bonfante died. They had never lost one of their own before that summer. The war had seemed one big, glorious battle in which they would prevail. People died all the time but they weren’t people Regulus knew well or cared much for. Then Anatole died, betrayed by his own fiancé. Antonin had wanted to get revenge on the girl and her family. He had asked them who would go and Evan had jumped at the opportunity, wiping tears away from his eyes. Regulus, horrified at what this sort of revenge would entail, had begged Evan not to go. To be the better man. The gentleman. Evan had only laughed at him
Here, in the numbing cold, lost in the barren wastelands and the mounds of snow, just beneath the Arctic Circle, he can escape that perennial question: why? Why would a girl betray the man she loves if he is fighting for a Noble Cause? Were her reasons the same as Sirius’ when he left, betraying their family? Why has Evan turned from a sweet, harmless boy into someone who was willing to take bloody revenge on a woman? Why are none of them happy anymore? Why are they ostracized, isolated, villainized if what they fight for is the Truth? The questions tear at every part of him and the resulting guilt and shame are almost worse. To think that the Lord could be wrong, that the Pureblood Cause is ignoble is the highest form of blasphemy, the most despicable heresy.
Regulus shivers despite the relatively comfortable temperature of the room. He moves closer to the fire, wondering where Severus is. He had gone out some time ago and not come back. Regulus thinks that he might go look for his friend if Severus doesn’t make an appearance shortly.
Severus scoops up handfuls of snow and watches it slip through his gloved fingers. His breath comes in clouds of white steam, swirling and dissipating. He had taken the opportunity to accompany Karkaroff here under the excuse of getting some indigenous ingredients of his own and to experiment with external temperatures far beyond freezing. It’s true, actually. He is here to work and that is exactly what he has been doing. He has also been steadily forgetting about Lily. Steadily forgetting that she had married that bastard Potter just last summer. He needs to forget. Needs to understand that he has done what he has done – left her behind – on purpose. That being here, with the Death Eaters, outweighs being with Lily. His future is here, his friends are here. He believes in Free Magic and in the integrity of his wizarding blood and in the purity of others’ blood. He believes in Evan and Regulus and even Igor, or at least his genius as a necromancer. Severus believes.
He simply needs to forget Lily. Forget that every time he cheers “Doom to the usurping Mudbloods!” he is supporting an ideology that would have Lily killed or put to work in the lowliest of positions. Clutching at the freezing snow, the icy wind rippling through several layers of clothes and the thermal spell he had cast on himself, Severus tries to freeze away the pain, the doubt. Perhaps if he can freeze those thoughts, they would develop frostbite and fall off like the dead rubbish they are.
Igor stands in his heavy boots and coat at the door of Dmitri Yertishkin’s humble abode. The man is an old friend of Igor’s from school and these days a peculiar but brilliant alchemist and potions inventor. It takes Dmitri several moments to get to the door and usher Igor in.
“It was getting late, I didn’t think you’d come. Tea, Igor? How are you?” Dmitri bustles into the small kitchen as Karkaroff relieves himself of his coat and boots.
“Not bad. Horribly cold. The two boys I’ve got with me are struggling with the heating spells. Never learned to make them very strong.”
Dmitri’s laugh carries from the kitchen and Igor makes his way into the cramped but warm room which smells of herbs and, interestingly, jam. “Why don’t you help them out?”
“Figured they’d better learn.” Karkaroff takes a seat at the wooden table and watches his old friend as he bustles around with the teapot. “Aren’t you going to ask who I brought with me?”
Dmitri sets two cups at the table and sits down across from Igor, throwing him a sharp look with his small, dark brown eyes. “I don’t want to get too involved with your affairs, Igor. That’s why I moved all the way out here, so people wouldn’t bother me. I’m helping you now because you seem desperate and we were close in school. It’s true what they said at Durmstrang, you know. The friends you make there are for life.”
Igor sips thoughtfully at the tea. “You would like them, Dima. Severus is quite the blossoming potions specialist – part of that list was for him, I wrote you that – and Regulus is very…how do you say? There’s class in that boy. It’s the magic in his blood; you can just tell he is worthy.”
“I don’t doubt it Igor. But I think you and Ivan are in over your heads.”
“It’s good work, Dima. A noble cause. I’m a Pureblood too, after all. Even more than that, I want my freedom, the freedom to do my work and my research where I want and how I want and with the proper funding…not out in the middle of nowhere like you. No offense.”
“Hogwash,” Dmitri mutters. “Are you free there really, Igor? Under that…that fanatic?”
“He’s a great man,” Karkaroff shoots back, but it is more instinctual that anything.
“Of course, Igor. You go and suit yourself.” Yertishkin stands and bustles out of the kitchen. He comes back with a large, old trunk. “Everything you asked for is in here. Really did take me the month to put it all together. I was worried I wouldn’t finish. Hope it helps. Don’t know what you boys are up to this time but be carefully. I would hate the rare owl I send your way to come back one day not having found you.”
Karkaroff downs the rest of his tea and stands, wolfing down a pirozhok as he goes. Yertishkin still cooks like a woman; some things never change. “Thank you. I owe you, Dima.”
“Don’t worry about it. As long as this is what you really want.”
Karkaroff falters, then nods. “Of course it is.”
“Severus! Severus!” Regulus’ voice comes as though from far away, obscured by the howl of the wind. Severus lifts his head and tries to blink the snow out of his eyes. He’s cold – the thermal spell must have worn off – and his face is numb. He first makes out Regulus’ lumos and only then the boy himself. “Severus, are you alright? What happened?” Regulus takes a knee beside him in the snow and Severus realizes he had toppled onto his side from his kneeling position at some point.
“Thinking,” he manages to groan out despite the numbness of his mouth and face.
“Sev, lets go home. Now.” Regulus apparates them back and nestles Severus by the fire in a bundle of blankets and pillows. He brings a trey with tea and pilled high with sweet buns, settling down next to Severus.
“You don’t have to worry so much, Reg. I’m fine.”
Regulus makes a disdainful noise. “You were almost freezing when I found you.” He snuggles up next to Severus, pulling one of the throwblankets over his own lap. “What were you doing out there, Sev?”
“Working.” Severus doesn’t want to tell Regulus that he had been thinking about Lily, about what might have been. He was supposed to have put that behind him. A long time ago. They all were expected to put doubts and concerns of the past far behind them.
“You didn’t have any of your things.” Regulus turns to peer into Severus’ eyes, dark velvet meeting starch coal.
“It wasn’t related to potions this time. I didn’t need anything but my wand.”
“Are you telling me the truth, Sev?”
Severus makes a face. He reaches out and undoes the silver ribbon holding Regulus’ hair back. The younger boy’s dark, silky hair falls in a curtain around his face and Severus smiles, the emotion in the expression unidentifiable. He twirls a lock of Regulus’ hair around his finger and says in a low, steady tone. “Of course I am, why wouldn’t I?”
Regulus sighs and closes his eyes, tilting his head to the side and forward… They’re interrupted by the sound of the opening door. Severus tenses but it is just Karkaroff returning from his outing. The older man eyes them for a moment, then their half-finished tea.
“Any more of that?”
“In the kitchen, sir,” Regulus supplies quickly. “Should I…?” He makes to stand but Igor waves him down.
“No, stay as you are. I’ll get it myself. Severus, I have our things.” He disappears into the hall, even as Severus opens his mouth to answer.
“Why did you come along with us, Reg?” Severus asks after a strangely awkward pause. “Certainly not to make tea for Karkaroff.”
Regulus doesn’t look at Severus as he replies in as light a tone as he can muster. “Wanted to get away from the usual routine. You know how Antonin is. Drills day in and day out. Needed a break.” It seems to be a good enough excuse for Severus, though it sounds horribly empty to Regulus even as he says it out loud, because the older boy doesn’t press the matter further.
Leaving the boys to their obvious snuggling in the living room, Igor decides to sort all the new items out and set things up right away so he and Severus could begin working tomorrow morning and be out of this Merlin forsaken place before the week is out. He sorts items – his things, Severus things, potions ingredients, necromancy relics, books and notes – and finds among them a note, folded up in an obviously hurried fashion and stuck to a potions tube with a sticking jinx. Karkaroff tears it off and reads, in Dmitri’s sloppy, scrolling hand: I wonder if your boys can see the doubt in your eyes.
Igor snarls and lights the hapless scrap of paper on fire. Of course they don’t and he’ll be damned if they ever do.