[identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] bait_backup
*Since becoming what Barty had blithely termed Absentee Refugees, today is the first time Regulus has allowed either of them to apparate. Indeed, Regulus has hardly dared to use his wand at all despite it being free from any kind of Trace, not until a suitable replacement can be found or the world rights itself, whichever may happen first. Still, in times of desperation, exceptions to every worried rule must be made, and the amount of complaining and convincing he has had to endure for weeks now seem to have finally added up. Barty must get his way, at least for now. However, he had not been pacified, no amount of heroic insistence on Barty's part could fully convince Regulus that the Ministry have not found another way to monitor their travel or that they are, in fact, safe from threat of arrest or worse. He had refused through whining and refused through bribery, all the while maintaining that home, his home, is where Barty should stay. When one recalls one's own home and friend being staked out in the dead of a London night, it is easy to say no, even to a tantrum should it have come to that. What it had taken, it turns out, had been nothing more than a simple look on Barty's face that Regulus can still recognise from his own time spent sporting it – Barty was homesick.

This hesitant acquiescence in the name of home is the first time either of them have been back to Brighton in some time, and, judging by his excited bounds up the stairs to the front door, Barty is infinitely keener at the prospect of returning to his flat than Regulus is of leaving him there for anyone to find. Just a step behind him, Barty's hands and nose prod into Regulus' back as he urges him inside first, but Regulus cannot help but take all his time and more to turn the key and guide the door open with deliberate care. He has avoided saying it aloud, not wanting any teasing or any hurt, but his reluctance to allow Barty into his own flat is not simply because of his fears of the Registration or Barty's propensity to break curfew, but predominantly due to Barty's poor excuse for a home, and the decided lack of parents, protection, history, and the watchful eyes of friends Brighton has to offer.

Dread has made Regulus keep Barty confined to the safety of the guest room since Bernadette's funeral, keeping him content and well-clothed in hopes he might forget to go back at all. Even after Barty stirred from his catatonia Regulus had adamantly put off any date that Barty might leave him and live on his own once again, fearing a relapse into that terrifying stillness. Or, perhaps even more dangerous, the gnawing fear that Barty may find himself alone to face repercussions from the Auror's eyeball, or that the same men who had found him in London would find him here.

All his swirling thoughts have piled onto one another, and Regulus' cheeks flush with nerves. His feet drag as he leads Barty, and the floating luggage of a new wardrobe behind him, inside. It's dusty and stale but otherwise as safe as can be expected, left on pause all this time. He keeps a wary eye on Barty as he crosses the threshold, but no horrible memories seem to accost him, no forgotten remnants of Bernadette or revenge seem left out in the open. All that Regulus can note is a pale blue flash in the corner of his eye, almost missed as he blinks, and he crosses to the window, fretfully pulling the blinds apart with two fingers to check for lightening.

Letting Barty go feels bad, something worthy of an omen of ill-luck to confirm his protective hesitations, but both Barty and the sky outside betray him with their sunny dispositions. If it weren't for the headlines, it would be difficult for Regulus to know just how against them the world is becoming, and how very few places can truly be home to them anymore.*

Perhaps it will storm later, I feel it must. ...Perhaps this isn't a very good idea, what will you do if you have to... stop up a leak? You can't use magic, you wouldn't be able to manage through the rain. Pack some things and we'll go back before anyone has the time to notice we've gone.

Date: 2011-09-02 03:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
Leaks? I expected better. A much more convincing argument is that he already knows where I live.

Date: 2011-09-02 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
Are you sure that's not just daylight? I can see how you'd get them confused. You hide from both.

Date: 2011-09-02 04:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
I think you need more practise, really. For instance - I've seen you this entire time. And Kreacher brought us cookies last night. I wouldn't call that hiding.

Date: 2011-09-02 04:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
*The room has a sad, stale dryness to it - something pervading and underused and lonely that causes the colourful walls to curl around them with all the neediness of a neglected animal. The weeks spent at Grimmauld Place have hollowed it out like a melon. That strange heat that seems to emanate from Barty's core at all times, charging the air around him with summer and energy, absent now. It's absent from Barty's fingers too, never seeming to reach them, leaving his sudden grip of Reg's wrist chilly as Barty wrangles him toward the kitchen mid-sentence.*

I'm not a baby and I don't sit much, so I can't see why she'd come.

Date: 2011-09-02 04:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
*Two cans of distinctly muggle soda float out of the refrigerator at their approach - one into Barty's non-wrist restraining hand and the other hovering questioningly an inch from Regulus' nose.*

How do you even know she's on my team?

Date: 2011-09-02 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
*Barty's words hum with a familiar, bratty insecurity, the sort that eventually plagues all children - even children who are nineteen years old. It's the fear of betrayal, the fear that running from one parent only to seek asylum with another will just result in their inevitable and dreaded alliance. Winky never was an ordinary house elf.

Releasing Reg's arm, Barty leaves him lost in a world consumed by nutrition facts. The popping and fizzing fanfare of opening a can joins his words.*

It's like playing rock, paper scissors. You never know when she'll cut up your parchment.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
*Reg's brave struggle with the can goes completely unnoticed. Instead, rather than coming to his rescue, Barty's socked feet replace his knees and his bottom reaches the edge of the counter and stays there.*

Only if there's a horrible accident. I hope there will be.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
Lying low is a terrible idea. That's expected. They always check under the bed first, but no one ever looks at the ceiling.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
You'd only know where to look because I told you. But you always pick paper too, so it's never mattered.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
But there's better paintings in mine.

*Barty cranes his neck, using the point of his chin to indicate something just beyond Reg's shoulder. It's bright and busy, as would be expected. A smiling manticore rides a train in the background and garish purple hills enclose a cloistered, cartoon metropolis. Everything bulges and towers and tilts and thick black contours encase all of it like a comic strip. There are two of them, unframed canvases strung up on Barty's wall.*

Date: 2011-09-02 05:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
Genius. We have a lot in common that way. Unless it's all just by virtue of comparison - then it wouldn't be hard to be a genius at all. Especially at auctions.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
Muggleborns aren't in the business of towel weaving, apparently. And there's nothing wrong with cheese. My towels can't help it if you're a cheese hating mutant, stomping across the landscape, politely demanding the end to all diary products.

Date: 2011-09-02 05:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com
*At the mention of Victoria, Barty's nose crumples and his chin migrates into his neck.*

The only Victoria-themed event I plan on attending is her funeral. Although she'll probably live forever just to spite us. My auction was much more exciting.

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