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14 August 2008 @ 10:43 pm
Price of Victory: November 25th, 1981  
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November 25th, 1979

November 25th, 1981, approximately 6:00 PM, the Order of the Phoenix has a meeting

They had only been there for twenty minutes or so. Everyone had fussed over Harry (Marlene had even burst into tears, but that was because of her friendship with Lily) and even Mad-Eye had stopped to appreciate him. Sirius was pleased that Harry didn’t seem the least bit alarmed by Mad-Eye’s appearance, the toddler just smiled at the scarred Auror and remained clinging to Sirius’s leg.

Now they were all sitting around a large table, Harry squirming in Sirius’s lap.
“Our biggest worry right now is the Lestrange family,” Mad-Eye barked. “Has anyone gotten anything on them?”

Sirius and Remus exchanged concerned glances.

“They’ve been lying low,” Emmeline Vance spoke up. “There’s no telling what they’re planning. But it’ll probably be bad. They won’t be able to resist waiting much longer, either.”

“And who’s been trailing the Crouch kid?”

A black-haired witch named Hestia Jones raised her hand.


“As far as I can tell, he’s spotless. He’s just some kid, honestly.”

“Why are you tailing him?” Sirius asked sharply. This was suspicious. He thought that Regulus and Barty had successfully shaken off the Ministry.

“We aren’t,” Mad-Eye said. “This Ministry is tailing him. We’re keeping tabs on the Ministry. Corruption doesn’t seem too far out of the common way for Crouch Sr., and this new Under Secretary, Umbridge or whoever, is just as bad as he is.”

“So the Ministry still thinks he’s a Death Eater?” Remus asked.

“And we know he’s a Death Eater. But we don’t know if he’s a danger or not,” Mad-Eye said curtly. “We’ll find out sooner or later,” he added, his eyes darting to the far end of the table.

Sirius had only just noticed Snape, who nodded at the acknowledgement. Sirius narrowed his eyes. Snape had only joined up a few months before Lily and James had died, and while Dumbledore insisted he had reformed- Sirius wasn’t buying it.

“In that same vein,” Mad-Eye said, his magical eye swiveling over towards Sirius and Remus. “Your brother?”

“Is no danger to anyone,” Sirius replied firmly.

“Right.” Mad-Eye nodded slightly. “Good.”

November 25th, 1981, approximately 6:45 PM, Regulus receives a letter

Regulus was curled up in a huge red armchair with a copy of the Evening Prophet. Sirius and Remus hadn’t gotten home yet, and he was happy for the peace and quiet. His contentment was interrupted, however, by a tapping on one of the sitting room windows.

It was a large black owl, with a scroll clutched in one of its feet.
He got up, walking over and letting the owl in. It flew inside, and he took the scroll. The huge owl perched itself on the back of Regulus’s chair while Regulus looked for an identifier of who this letter was for.

The Black Family crest was stamped on the outside of the parchment, so he opened it. It’s not as if his mother or Aunt Druella or Uncle Cygnus would be writing to Sirius.

My Dearest Regulus,
The past few weeks, I can understand, have been very hard for you. You’ve been in the newspapers and in dreadful trouble. All I must say is please, Regulus, come home where you belong. Grimmauld Place has been so lonely since your father passed, and your absence is the most regrettable.
I know how fond you are of that Crouch boy, but I’m of the belief that if you weren’t so attached to him in the first place you wouldn’t be in this kind of trouble. I just want my only son safe. The Crouch family has been rolling in mud for the past decade and the Minister’s actions towards the Death Eaters (who are, if you need reminding, your friends and family!) just puts the ‘Blood Traitor’ seal on it. I know you don’t want to be associated with unfavorable people like that.
I hope to see you soon.
Your Mother;
Walburga Black

Regulus had been dreading this. He was curious as to how the owl found him, but realized it had probably stopped at he and Barty’s flat and Barty had sent it.

Getting up again, he stretched and walked over to the small desk where Lupin kept the parchment and quills. He sat down and rummaged around a bit, getting a piece that was in decent condition and uncapping a vat of ink. He forced down a bit of bitterness at her insinuations about Barty, and her referring to him as her ‘only son’.

Dear Mother,
It’s regrettable that I can’t return to Grimmauld Place at this present point in time. Since the trial, the Ministry has been keeping a close watch on our flat to catch us in our lie. If I were to abruptly move out, the Aurors may think it suspicious enough to be grounds for a second inquiry. I’ll keep myself out of trouble, I do promise.
I’ll be home for Christmas, I promise.
Send my regards to Kreacher, and the cousins.
With Love,

He folded the letter, and gave it to the waiting owl. The owl flew off without hesitation, and Regulus sank back down in the armchair.

The fireplace sprung to life, and Sirius clambered out, holding a maniacally giggling Harry in his arms.

He smiled at Regulus as he crossed the living room to (presumably) put Harry to bed. Remus emerged a mere couple of seconds later, sitting down on the sofa after dusting the stray ash off of his robes.

“How are you, Regulus?” he asked with a soft smile.

“I’m fine,” Regulus said. “How about yourself?”

“Just fine,” he said casually. Sirius reemerged after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, chuckling to himself.

“Who’s the letter from?” he asked, spotting the parchment on the desk.

Frowning, Regulus pinched the bridge of his nose between his thumb and forefinger, preparing for Sirius’s attack. “Mother.”

“…Oh. What did she want?” Sirius asked, looking troubled.

“For me to return to Grimmauld Place.”

Taking a seat, Sirius studied his younger brother interestedly. “What did you tell her?” he inquired.

“I told her I couldn’t return due to the fact that Barty and I have Aurors monitoring us for suspicious behavior, and it would be very suspicious for me to move out so abruptly.”

Sirius and Remus exchanged concerned glances, but didn’t comment.

“It can’t be far from accurate, Barty wasn’t convinced the Ministry bought our excuses.”

“It isn’t. They’re tailing Crouch as we speak.”

Regulus looked alarmed.

“But we have people to make sure they do nothing,” Remus added. “It’s nothing to worry about.”

November 25th, 1981, approximately 8:00 PM, Severus Snape makes a house call

Severus took a deep breath, gripping his wand tightly in one hand as he raised the other and knocked.

The door flew open. “Who is it?” someone called faintly from inside.


“Get inside and shut the door,” Barty commanded.

Severus did as he was asked, shutting the door quietly and walking into the flat. He saw Barty stretched out on the sofa and walked into the sitting room.

“What happened to you?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. Barty was looking particularly…well, he looked like hell. There was a dark purple bruise covering his right eye and up his forehead, his right wrist had been clumsily splinted, and his nose was obviously broken.

“I made an enemy with big friends,” he muttered weakly, wincing and touching his ribs.

“Why didn’t you heal it yourself?”

He shook his head mutely, trying to pull himself into a sitting position. “Can’t…” was all he managed to say before he groaned loudly and fell back.

“I can try,” Severus said, feeling inexplicably sorry for the younger boy. “Hold very still,” he said, pulling his wand out of his robes and kneeling down in front of the couch.

“Why are you helping me?” Barty asked as Severus muttered a few spells under his breath. “You serve Dumbledore now.” He found his ability to speak was much improved now that his ribs were mended.

Severus ignored his question. “You’ll still be stiff for a few days,” he said.

“Why are you helping me?” Barty repeated, sitting up.

“I need to ask you something,” he replied loftily.

“Why should I tell you? You betrayed the cause.”

“Many consider you and Regulus escaping Azkaban to be betrayal,” Severus said curtly, standing and dusting off his robes.

“Touché, what do you want of me?”

He had resigned himself to honesty. “Dumbledore sent me to ask you of your loyalties.”

Barty laughed bitterly, still clutching his aching ribs. “I have no loyalty.”


“I didn’t switch sides when the Dark Lord died,” he said calmly. “I just lost the side I was on. So I have no side. I’m loyal to myself.”

“You’re loyal to Regulus,” Severus corrected, turning to leave. “If he wasn’t holding your hand you’d be out with Bellatrix murdering Muggles.”

“And if Voldemort hadn’t murdered your ‘love’, so would you.”

Severus snarled, and promptly left the flat, the door slamming behind him loudly.
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