[identity profile] mad-actually.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] bait_backup
*There's blood on the sheets again and for once it isn't Barty's fault. Sticky browning-red spreading out from one corner, expanding like an early universe across the vast, empty vacuum of the duvet.

It does that.

The Black family summer home has an impressive amount of bad habits and ghostly blood is only one of many. Creaking and expansive, its hallways are always rearranging themselves and the doors never seem to lead anywhere twice. It's a bumbling sort of incompetence, sickly and well-meaning and just a little bit tricky, like some curmudgeonly old man with a heart of gold. It can’t, however, out-craft a Crouch. Barty’s bedroom is in the pantry tonight - he’s found it - and he indulges his victory with a cocoon. He’s determined to stay, even with the shelf of biscuits half-merged in the headboard, two tin curves burrowing into his scalp. Above him, the ceiling sags like the turkey neck of a hag, low and drooping and battered, a candle filled hoop twisting fitfully from frail beams. He watches it turn. Back and forth, back and forth. The little flames on the candle dance to the consistent rhythm. His eyeballs dance to it too, disobeying heavy lids. Back and forth, back and forth, back and - still. The flames stand straight up to attention, the hoop stopping with a subtle violence.

It’s a slow and almost imperceptible sound. The purposeful friction of bone and skin against shingle. He can hear it on top of him, like twelve half-dead reindeer pulling a sleigh of rattlesnakes. And then, before there are even thoughts, there are pipes - something slipping under his pores and pumping sand and heaviness into his muscles. It braces against his ribs too, crushing his lungs into pulp and pressing his heart up into his oesophagus. There's no time for whys, no pause for atmospheric build. Instead, shapes merely lose form and meaning, wavering somewhere between existence and a parallel dimension where everything is a rounded, indescribable mass. Even the air is a rounded mass, something viscous and Too Big to enter his nostrils. And just like that it releases Barty with a shock, a sudden and electric relief as oxygen forces its way back into his mouth, inflating him with a wheezing gasp and a shudder that energizes all his limbs and pushes him up until he's a 90 degree angle. Until his eyes open and he realizes nothing has changed. The walls are straight and the furniture is intact, the air as stale and dust-filled as ever.

A part of him knows before he looks, synapses having fired and calculated and arrived well before his head can turn toward the window and see the fluttering tail-end of whatever just scuttled over the roof.

There's blood on the sheets again and now it really is Barty's fault. Sticky deep-red dripping from his nose. *

Date: 2011-09-26 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*A bit of light blinks out in the dark, only a lantern but looking more like a confused star come too close to the earth. It's impossible to tell how far from the house it is, air stretches on for miles over the moors that isolate the Black's gothic getaway from the rest of civilisation. Distance is only interrupted here by scrub and heather and bog, and what looks far away might actually be gaining on you faster than you expected.

Regulus's face feels stiff from not blinking, and with a twig-like arm he raises the heavy light to the level of his eye, looking for any patches of darkness that might contain the towering figures he's asked to meet him here. It's over the silhouette of the rooftop that he finally sees something, a black mass whispering between too thin chimneys and back into shadow as it bypasses Barty inside and glides over the cold, wild ground toward Regulus.*

Date: 2011-09-26 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] batshitscary.livejournal.com
*The inexperienced have used musty, incomplete words like 'smoke' and 'velvet' to describe what happens next. However, it's more like spilling ink - all shrapnel and fast-expanding thickness. It doesn't come closer. Instead, it unfolds in Regulus' line of vision until there's only scabbed arms, a blank hood and briny tide pushing against the back of his knees, heavy and cold.*

Date: 2011-09-26 12:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*Alone in the night, in the dark places of England without the constant light of London that Regulus had grown up with, one little lantern to light the way can seem like the brightest thing in the world. As the cloaked figures move in to it's circle however, Regulus feels like for all intents and purposes that his lamp has been extinguished. Light still falls on the sparse ground, but it seems as dark as midnight even so.

As always, there is a brief stutter of panic in his chest as he worries that he's forgotten how to speak to the creatures towering around him, blocking the shape of his family's home from view. Soon enough it comes to him, though, and his memories come with hasty sloppiness to make up for that dangerous pause of stage fright.

"You heard-" "-me-" "-calling..."*

Date: 2011-10-02 11:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] batshitscary.livejournal.com
*There is no waste in preamble, no time sacrificed in plunging Regulus back into the cold lake. Instead, the water drains around his ankles and is replaced by slightly itchy, woollen socks. The grass around him juts upward, rushing until it meets a now vaulted sky, colours and textures draining into stone. Most of all, it's humid - a sudden, awkward combination of stuffy overheating and a chilly January night.

His peripheral is nothing but Barty. Eyes and yellow hair and a pouting voice, "-I knew you didn't find it yet."*

Date: 2011-10-02 11:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*Regulus creeps hesitantly into his own mind's eye, younger but pale hands clutching just as nervously to gloves he has long grown out of as his hands grip the lantern handle now.

"Yes... That's what I wanted to talk about."*

Date: 2011-10-03 08:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] batshitscary.livejournal.com
*The next memory is suddenly heavy, a consuming wet cold thickness. He can hardly see through the rain and the mud - it's everywhere, slopped against his robes like frosting on a layered cake. There's the distant sound of shouts, the electric snap of spells and all around him a press of people he can't see, their bodies ducking and weaving through the blindspots of his mask. It's a battle. Somewhere behind him, someone pushes him forward at the base of his shoulder blade - an attempt to make him faster, to get him back to his allotted position.

"KEEP GOING!"*

Date: 2011-10-03 08:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*He sways forward slightly, the vehemence of the memory's command almost compelling him to physically run. In this case, however, there's nowhere he can run, no more books or manuscripts he can turn to for answers. Whatever other objects Voldemort has turned into vessels for his soul, Regulus hasn't seen a single trace of them, no matter how hard he's looked, since his trip underground for Hufflepuff's Cup. Out in the open like this, stared down by Dementors from under their tattered hoods, Regulus feels exposed, a failure, terrified. When his arm begins to shake, it's not just from the strain of holding the heavy lantern aloft.

A classmate, a Hufflepuff who Regulus is quite confident he has never spoken to, alarms him in the library seat next to him by slumping forward, melting onto the table and over his unfinished homework in hopelessness. "I've tried everything. This is impossible..."*

Date: 2011-10-03 08:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] batshitscary.livejournal.com
*The glass-panelling is strangely half-hearted, constructing itself around Regulus with a cautious reluctance that leaves the Hogwarts greenhouses grey, colourless and somewhat surreal. Professor Sprout swims in front of him, her plump shape undulating like a rippling pond, grotesquely unsettled. Behind, there's a sudden flash of darkness, the dim shapes of a muggle living room beyond fake glass walls. It flickers out but the voice of the the muggle woman remains. She screams, the sound travelling through Sprout's throat, ricocheting off her wagging tongue until it's choked off, burning Sprout's lips with it, the whole image shrivelling into bright, white singularity. There's the sound of a gasp - desperate, unplanned and rattling. It fills Regulus' lungs with lead, the sudden press of water faster and more complete then any he's experienced in the past, middling there for crucial seconds until there's only rocky, grass spurted turf. The very real, present, English moors pressing against his cheek, ghostly paws like twin flag poles obscuring his vision.*

Date: 2011-10-03 09:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*A clod of rock-solid earth jabs into Regulus' thin cheek and some manner of lichen is shoved into one nostril, but he's too surprised to lift his head off them. His first reaction looks as though it's simply staying still, but inside his mind he's hailing memories faster than lightning, trying to ask what's happening.

It's only when no response comes, no connection is out there no matter how hard he tries, that he turns his head to look up at the pale beast standing half over him. Stars and clouds are visible though it, but Regulus can see the very spots on it's fur from how close it is to his face.*

Date: 2011-10-03 10:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*The sneeze feels like nothing more than a tingle of something Regulus will very later recognise as joy spreading down onto his face, but he remains frozen for a moment, expecting a rain of snot.

When none comes, he snaps back into life, and scrambles out from under the luminescent animal, looking wildly around for the Dementors but only seeing Barty instead, standing just behind his patronus and probably in need of a handkerchief.*

Where- what...

Date: 2011-10-18 09:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*Regulus scrambles with very little dexterity out from under the fearsomely protective ribcage, and crouches awkwardly in the scrub amid broken glass.*

Did you see-?

Date: 2011-10-18 10:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*When two worlds overlap the result is usually not particularly pleasant, nor expected. Unable to meet Barty's eye, he stares down at his hands, palms dirty from the earth, and tries to stop his embarrassing stammering.*

How did you know there were... How did that happen.

Date: 2011-10-18 10:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
I wasn't-

*He looks up at him then, eyes round. With the world turned so far around from what it once was, Regulus had somehow almost forgotten one of his most keen limitations. He had fended for himself against the creatures, however disastrous the results, for so long and it has taken Barty of all people to remind him of a very simple and now terrifying reality.*

Date: 2011-11-12 09:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com


*Feeling for all the world like he's just been caught holding a bloody murder weapon and certainly not someone who deserved any saving even if he hadn't been in danger, Regulus glances warily at the hyena again and holds out a hand to be helped up. His thanks are regretful and implied but still very evident, Regulus so rarely allows Barty to help.*

Date: 2011-11-15 07:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*Somehow, standing eye to eye only makes Regulus feel all the more transparent. Barty's speech may not make a terrible amount of sense, especially to his frazzled mind, but it's delivered with such clarity and the diction of a thespian, and he gets a thrill of anxiety that Barty knows very well that all is not as it looks.

With one hand still clapped to his tingling ear he watches a heather bush shiver in the breeze, and hopes he doesn't look sick as well as guilty.*

I'm all right.

I didn't know those things were around here... You won't need to worry about them after tonight.

Date: 2011-11-15 11:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] spindleform.livejournal.com
*Though it's Barty, the one person generally permitted to really and carefully look upon Regulus without causing the onset of eventual stage-fright, Reg leans back almost imperceptively under his stare. Hesitantly, nighttime shadows making him look like a concerned skeleton, he guesses at the only non-incriminating answer he has in him.*



'Know thy enemy'... sort of thing?

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