Rating: NC-17 (This part PG-13)
Warnings: Sex, violence
Genres: Romance, Angst, Drama
Word count: ? (This part: 2400)
Disclaimer: Characters and world belong to J. K. Rowling. I make no profit.
Summary: What is Remus to do when he suddenly finds himself caught in the middle of two brothers' furious feud? The last thing Remus wants is to hurt anybody's feelings, but how can he possibly avoid that? And what about his own feelings? SLASH, of course!
Chapter 30 - Enough is Enough
"I'm just so scared, Lily," Remus said, resting his head on Lily's shoulder as she held him.
"I know, Remus, I know."
He had just told her everything that had happened and how he felt. Poured his heart out like he couldn't do with anyone else - even Sirius. Especially Sirius.
He let out a shivering breath. No. He was not going to start blubbing. Not even in front of Lily. "Tell me he's going to make the right choice," he pleaded, aware that he sounded a bit childish.
"You know I can't," she said, gently rubbing his back. "I barely know him. But I think that if you aren't able to convince him then no one is."
Remus knew she was right. And it didn't help easing the sense of responsibility weighing on his shoulders.
"And you're sure it isn't because he actually wants to join?"
"Yes, I'm sure. He might still be buying into some of that elitist rubbish he's been taught, but he isn't cruel. He doesn't believe in hurting people. And he isn't stupid you know. He knows that Voldemort doesn't get his results through diplomacy."
"Then why is it so difficult for him to say no, you think?"
"Well, he goes on and on about family honour and how it's his duty to obey his parents. But I think that what it all comes down to is that he's terrified they'll disown him."
"Do you think they will?"
"I don't know," Remus sighed.
"He must be very valuable to them," she said thoughtfully. "He's the last heir."
"That makes sense, but they're insane, aren't they? I don't know what to expect."
Regulus entered the Room of Requirement and stopped to take in the surroundings, then gave Remus, who had been waiting for him, a questioning gaze. The room looked different from usual. No romantic setting, no bed. Just a plain sofa and a small coffee table.
"Come sit here," said Remus, patting the spot next to him. "We need to talk."
Regulus gulped and slowly made his way across the floor. "About what?" he asked as he sat down.
"You know what."
"Can't we talk about it later?" Regulus asked, pulling nervously at his collar.
"No. You can't keep putting it off, Reg. Easter's only a couple of weeks away."
"Have you found out what you're going to do?"
Instead of answering, Regulus let his fingertips tap lightly around on Remus' thigh like a spider.
"No," said Regulus airily, his head cocked to the side, eyes following his finger movements.
"Well, figure it out, then!"
The younger boy shifted closer and Remus felt how the dancing spider started marching further up his thigh.
"Stop it," he said, batting the hand away. It was back in an instant, however, along with soft lips on his neck.
"Reg -" Remus started, trying half-heartedly to push him off. It wasn't easy because Regulus was quite insistent and it did feel rather good what he was doing. "N-not now…"
"Yes now," whispered Regulus in his ear.
The warm breath and the tongue tickling the shell of his ear made Remus shiver and all his restraint flew out the window. He grasped Regulus' face with both hands and kissed him hungrily.
They made love, passionately and slowly, savouring each other like it was their last time. And maybe it was.
Remus woke up an hour or two later. He quickly dressed and then sat down to contemplate the still sleeping boy on the sofa. Asleep, Regulus looked even younger than he actually was. Like an innocent child, his face smooth and peaceful, mouth slightly open in a manner that would look stupid on anyone else. But on Regulus it was just adorable.
Remus wished nothing more than to let him sleep in peace, but there was nothing for it. He had to harden himself now. It was time to bring out the big guns.
"Regulus," he called, lightly shaking him.
Regulus groaned something unintelligible and rolled into a ball, his back to Remus.
Remus shook him again, eliciting a very displeased whine.
"Reg, come on. You're not getting out of it. We're not leaving this room before we've talked it through."
Regulus finally sat up, sighing heavily. "What are we going to talk about?" he said, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. "I told you I haven't figured anything out yet."
"That's what we need to do something about. You have to come to a decision, Reg. Now."
Regulus started rummaging around for his discarded clothes. He took his good time getting dressed, carefully avoiding the intent gaze Remus was fixing him with to let him know that he was waiting for him to speak. Finally he sat down, resting his forehead on his palms. "I'm just so confused... I can't wrap my head around it."
"It's pretty simple. Either you join or you don't."
"It's not that easy!"
"I know it's not easy. But you still have to make a choice."
"Remus, you - don't - understand!" Regulus said, annunciating every word. "I don't have a choice!"
"Don't give me that," said Remus curtly. "Of course you have a choice. And you're responsible for your own actions like any other person."
"You know I have to do what they tell me. It's my duty -"
"NO!" Remus cut him off. "I don't want to hear that speech again. I'm sick of it. I know it by heart!"
"Do you think I want to be in this position? If Sirius hadn't left -"
"Don't blame this on Sirius!"
"Remus, I'm all they have left! I can't let them down!"
"Yes, you can! I know it hurts, Reg, but you've got to face the fact that they're bad parents. The worst kind there is. They're treating you like a piece of property - not a person. They don't deserve you or your loyalty and you don't owe them anything!"
Regulus opened his mouth, probably to retort, but Remus kept talking.
"Besides, this isn't just about you and your family. If you join there will be serious consequences for a lot of other people."
"What do you mean?"
"Voldemort - stop wincing every time I say his name - Voldemort causes death and agony to so many. And I fear we've only seen the beginning."
"You know, the - the deaths... I'm sure they only kill the people that are absolutely necessary," Regulus said, sounding unconvinced.
"Oh, you think so?" replied Remus, raising his eyebrows. Then an idea hit him. "Did you know that James' father is an Auror?"
Regulus shook his head.
"Well, he is. And during the Holidays he was put on a nasty case where four Muggles had been killed by Death Eaters. Slaughtered in their own house. The husband had been taken out first by a Killing Curse. He was the lucky one. The wife was found tied up to a chair, surrounded by a pool of her own blood. It seemed they had left her to bleed to death from a slowly leaking wound in her abdomen. Merlin only knows how long that took. And then there were the children..."
Regulus' eyes went wide.
"The little girl was dangling from a rope in the ceiling. Her eyes were bulging out of -"
Mr Potter hadn't actually given them that many details, but Remus figured they weren't unrealistic, and he was fairly confident it would have the desired effect. And sure enough - he didn't even get to finish the sentence before Regulus bolted for the door to the adjourning bathroom, nearly knocking over the coffee table in the process. Remus resisted the impulse to rush out and comfort him. He stayed in his seat, patiently waiting for him to finish up.
"Do you want the rest of the story?" he asked when Regulus came back, still looking sick.
"You don't want to know what they did to the little boy? He can't have been older than -"
"NO!" repeated Regulus, even louder. "Please... please don't... y-you know I'd never do something like that," he said, his voice shaky.
"Yeah? And what if they told you to?"
"I wouldn't be able to! They would have to give me something else to do."
"Do you really think they'd let you pick whichever task you like? And even if they did, you'd still be supporting the cause. You'd still have blood on your hands."
Regulus slumped down on the sofa. "I know. I know, Remus, okay?" he said, burying his face in his hands. "I know it's wrong. I know he's a horrible, horrible man and I really, really don't want to serve him. I..." his voice was shaking slightly, "...I just can't see a way out of it..."
"Just say no."
"You don't know what kind of pressure I'm under! From everyone. My parents, my aunt and uncle, my cousins, in-laws, family friends... several of my house mates..."
"You'll have to stand up to them. You can do it, Reg. I know you have the courage, even if you don't believe it yourself."
Regulus shook his head resignedly. "No I don't. I'm not brave like you or Sirius."
Remus took a deep breath, steadying himself. Then he dropped the bomb. "You do realise that if you become a Death Eater it's over between us, don't you?" he said quietly.
Regulus' face went chalk white. He seemed paralysed for a moment, not even blinking. "N-no," he finally managed to say in little more than a whisper. "Y-you can't do that!"
"I have to, Reg. I can't... I can't be with someone who serves Voldemort. I can't support that. And I can't bear to sit by and watch you move towards your own ruin."
"But - but I'll need you more than ever! I'm not strong enough to do this on my own!"
"Stay with me, then," said Remus, grabbing Regulus' hand. "Just tell them you won't do it."
"I can't," said Regulus as tears started rolling down his face. "I can't say no. They - they'll hate me! Like they hate Sirius. I can't... I never understood how he could stand that."
"What have you got to lose? They never loved you. They've treated you horribly all your life. I don't understand how it can mean so much to you what people like that think about you. They're not worth it, Regulus."
"They're my parents! Wouldn't you be devastated if your parents started hating you?"
"Yes I would. But my parents would never hate me. They love me, and when you love someone you don't just stop, no matter what that person does."
"You will! You just said that if I do this you'll leave me and - you'll hate me!"
"I could never hate you! You'd break my heart, but I would still love you."
"I don't understand," sobbed Regulus. "If you love me so much, why won't you stay with me?"
"I already told you. It isn't because I don't love you. I do! You have no idea how much."
Regulus just shook his head, crying harder.
Remus felt like someone had shoved a knife into his heart. He brought his hand up to brush the damp fringe out of Regulus' tear stricken face. "I love you so much, Regulus. I'd do anything for you. Except this one thing."
"Why not? I didn't abandon you when I found out about your lycanthropy. If I can accept you as a dark creature, why can't you accept me as a Death Eater?"
"It's not the same. I didn't choose to become a werewolf. And I make sure that I never get in a position where I can hurt anybody."
"I don't have a choice either! I know you don't understand, but -"
"Stop it, Reg!" said Remus harshly. "You do have a choice. You're just too scared to make the right one."
"OF COURSE I'M SCARED! I could lose everything! My whole family! I'd have no one!"
"You'd have ME! And - and you'd get new friends. Good ones who would like you for who, and not what, you are."
"I don't know what to do! I can't - I -"
"Try to calm down, Reg. You have to focus now and think it through so you can come to a decision. I'll give you twenty-four hours to make up your mind."
"How can you be so cruel? Making me love you and then abandon me?" Regulus was weeping completely uninhibited now, and Remus had to muster all his willpower to stand his ground.
"I won't if you make the right choice."
"How can you do this to me?" Regulus continued, tears gushing down his cheeks like little rivers. "You know being abandoned is my biggest fear!"
An invisible hand grabbed the knife in Remus' heart and gave a good wrench.
"Say no, and I won't ever leave you. I promise."
"No matter what?"
"No matter what."
"Even if... if I... get married?"
Remus sighed. The thought of watching Regulus marrying someone else, only to be able to have a part of him, having to sneak around, not to mention thinking of the poor girl he would be an accomplice in cheating on, made his stomach churn. But if that was what it took to save Regulus from the dark then it was worth it.
"Yes. I'd hate to share you, but if that was the only way I could have you, then yes."
Regulus seemed to calm a little, but he didn't stop crying.
"Look at your odds, Regulus. You don't know if your parents are actually going to kick you out. They might not. They'll probably punish you, but you can survive that. It won't be the first time. But if you don't say no you will lose me. So which is it? Do you want to lose me or risk losing your family?"
"I don't want to lose you," Regulus sniffled.
"Yeah?" said Remus hopefully. "So you'll say no then?"
"I don't know."
Remus sighed. "Okay. Well, you think about it and I'll meet you here same time tomorrow."
He left Regulus lying on his back, staring up at the ceiling. The next twenty-four hours were going to be complete agony.