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22 July 2006 @ 01:51 am
"tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow" Regulus/Lily, R  
Title: tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow
Ship: Regulus/Lily, Lily/James
Rating: R
Word Count: ~3900
Warnings: references to Casablanca and Macbeth
Summary: He is not supposed to feel this way.
Notes: The Marauders and Co. are in their third year when Regulus is in his first. Have fudged dates and continuity to make things run smoothly. Could be considered AR. Could really be considered AR. For unlucky who inspired me.


i. 1972
"Who is he?"

Lily leans over to Emmeline Vance twenty minutes into the Sorting Ceremony. A tall boy has made his way to the stool at the front of the Great Hall, and the Sorting Hat has been set upon his head, appearing to be deep in thought. It hasn't murmured a single word, not even commenting on the curiousness of his thoughts or laughing at a memory. Lily had not been paying attention when Professor McGonagall called out the boy's name, and now wished that she had, because he was staring at her—she was sure it was her he was looking at, he had even smiled when she offered him a nervous grin.

"I don't know. Goodness, am I hungry. Let's hope this isn't as long as last year's Sorting. That took ages." Emmeline is staring at the empty plates stationed on the Gryffindor table, her eyes scrunched with impatience. She shakes her legs, bouncing on the balls of her feet, waiting.

"Stop tapping your foot, you're shaking the whole table." James Potter is across from Emmeline and Lily, beside his friends Remus and Sirius, and his face is bent with annoyance. Emmeline smirks rudely towards him and his friends, and all of them but Remus and the chubby one, Peter, smirk back. Peter is asleep, his head resting on his plate, and Lily almost feels sorry for the poor bloke.

"Who is he?" Lily wonders aloud, as the Sorting Hat has still not said a thing; the boy is now showing all signs of nervousness, his hands quivering in his lap and mouth hung open in disbelief that the Sorting has taken so long.

"Him up there?" Sirius answers, prodding Peter with a fork. "That's my brother. Regulus."

Sirius' eyes glitter menacingly, and Lily is silent. There is something in his stare that does not match what is in his brother's, which is focused on her as well. There is something wild in Sirius', something wild and angry, and Lily says no more, looking instead at Regulus, who is shaking with fright.

"Slytherin," the Hat decides, choosing its word carefully, drawing it out slowly the way Lily's father draws smoke from his pipe.

The table cheers as Regulus Black joins their ranks, boys with green scarves moving to accommodate their newest member. Sirius mumbles something that sounds vaguely like figures and gives one halfhearted clap for his brother before returning to sticking his fork in Peter's hair.

Lily is disappointed, her lips pursed and jaw clenched, but she tells herself to not be silly. This boy is not something she wants.

ii. 1972
They meet in the library where the light is blue and low. A shadow is cast upon Regulus' face, and he looks lonely, his back pressed against a bookcase and his eyes darting from side to side as he reads from Hogwarts: A History. Lily bends down but he does not notice her body first, he notices her hair which is long and red and fallen in front of her face. He notices nothing but her hair, not even her eyes, bottle-green and bright, staring directly at him.

"You were watching me," she whispers, and her voice is smooth and rich like the Swiss chocolate Aunt Lucretia sends by owl post on Christmas Eve.

"No, I wasn't," Regulus denies, not looking up from his book, but stealing glances at her hair nonetheless. Her hair had caught his eye in the Great Hall on the first day, vivid and red, so unlike the hair colors of any of the girls he knows. All his family has black hair, black like midnight, black like their name, black like the magic they practice, the market they sell on; all except Narcissa who is light and fair like morning.

"You were," Lily replies, still kneeling beside him. "Why were you?"

"I wasn't staring at you, Evans," Regulus sneers. He learned her name from his cousins who say it with contempt and jealousy when gossiping in the common room before bed. "Now get out of my way."

He stands and sidesteps to alter his path so as not to be to near her, putting the book back on the shelf.

"Lily," she says, and the word opens like the flower, opening doors and opportunities and scorn from his house if he were to act on impulse and shake the hand she is holding out to him. "Call me Lily."

He shakes her hand as if opening a door, gripping tightly and wanting to know what is on the other side.

iii. 1974
Lily is full of all sorts of secrets. They are on the tip of her tongue and they shine in her smile. The sun winks from behind trees as she runs to them, the sun is setting and Lily is everywhere. She has stories that make Regulus laugh when they hide at the edge of the Dark Forest, and his laughter breaks into thousands of faeries, or so Lily says, and falls like feathers to the ground, swaying as they go down.

She reads to him when she is not rolling her eyes at his brother's friends, reads him Peter Pan in a hushed voice, far back in the library. They sort out scenes from Shakespeare, who, Lily is surprised to find, was a wizard. Lily is always Lady Macbeth, sleepwalking about the library with a book in her hand, giggling as she whispers the lines to Regulus.

She falls beside him, her hand over her mouth to mute her laughter, and it is his turn, Lady Macbeth has died. Regulus swaggers around the tables with only a lantern in Lily's delicate hands giving him light.

"She should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a word. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!"

Lily turns the lantern down to heighten the moment; she knows Regulus has the passage committed to memory; they have performed it together so many times.

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing."

When he closes the book, the sound echoes like his laughter, and his face meets with the dust hiding in the pages. Lily lights the lantern with her wand and smiles.

"That was beautiful, Reg. Have you ever thought of being an actor? Like in films?"

"In what?" Regulus thinks he has heard the word before, but cannot be too sure.

"Films, like cinema. Well, you wouldn't know what that is, would you?" She is deep in thought for a few moments, and then a smile brightens her face like sun on the hillside. "Meet me tomorrow night at ten on the seventh floor by the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy. The one where he's showing the trolls to dance."

iv. 1974
Lily paces in front of the wall three times, her face lined with concentration. A door appears on the wall facing the tapestry, and Regulus knows his eyes are wide as tea saucers as they take in the sight. Even compared with the magic he has seen during his life, a fourth year witch conjuring a door out of nowhere is impressive.

"What is this place?" he wonders out loud, but Lily does not answer; she grasps his arm tightly and pulls him in.

Inside is a dimly lit room with an old couch stationed in the middle. The couch reminds Regulus of Grandmother Melania, it is puce-colored like Melania's cheeks after too much rum. When he sits down he is greeted with the stench of must and moths, and Lily goes to work the contraption set up on a table high above the couch.

"This is a film," she tells him, pulling out a cylinder filled with black ribbon. She then stares at the cylinder and says, "I need this to work."

The spool of ribbon leaves her hands and images bloom on the wall in front of Regulus, Lily sitting next to him on the old couch. There is no color, no red or green or low, low blue, but there is sound. There is music, the sounds of a whole orchestra, and the voices of actors. The movie is titled Casablanca, and takes place during a war Regulus never knew existed.

Toward the end of the film, Lily falls asleep on his shoulder, breathing steadily and lightly, matching the pace of his heartbeat.

v. 1976
James is not unkind. He is simply rough, and the bruises on the insides of her arms show that. He does not mean it, Lily tries to tell Regulus, he doesn't know his own strength, and she bruises easily anyway.

"You swear he isn't hurting you? Because I could—" Lily does not know what he can do; James interrupts them, sliding his hands onto her shoulders and squeezing tightly, protectively, like the lion he is.

"What are you doing talking to Lily?"

"Your girlfriend ran into me, Potter. I was just letting her know what can be done to Mudbloods like her, in case she decides to bump into me again."

His eyes are plainly apologetic, almost tearful, and he stalks back down the hallway.

Have you ever thought of being an actor? Like in films?

"If he ever hurts you, you let me know, because I could—"

"He didn't hurt me," Lily replies earnestly, staring James straight in the eye. "He would never hurt me."

James chuckles. "He's not nearly brave enough to mess with you. I, however, am," and he kisses her, curving his arm around her waist. Regulus watches from the other end of the corridor, a sick feeling churning in his stomach.

He is not supposed to feel this way.

vi. 1976
"I'm sorry about last week," Regulus is quick to apologize when they meet by the lake, reclining by the largest birch near the water.

"It's okay," Lily says understandingly, and Regulus can almost glimpse the secrets on her tongue. "I know what you have to do to make sure no one knows about us."

"What about you?"

"I'll take my chances," Lily smiles slowly, dipping her bare feet into the cool water, starting ripples in the reflections of trees which are bare of leaves in the early autumn. She leans backwards, red hair falling down around her, black ribbon tumbling to the ground. Lily can see Regulus pulling off his own shoes and rolling his pant legs up.

"What stories have you got for me today, Evans?" he grins darkly, swarthy as a pirate or even Clark Gable, whose smile he has attempted to emulate since seeing him in the old American film they watched last week.

"You're a dodgy fellow with that smirk, you know that, Black?"

Lily is laughing, golden with sunshine and the locket around her neck. When he kisses her, her mouth is still smiling from the laugh, and she is surprised but not reluctant, eyes closed but mouth open, so open. He tastes the mystery in her, and a hint of cinnamon and tea with honey lingering on her lips from breakfast.

"Here," she whispers when their lips part, and she removes the gold locket from around her neck and places it in his palm, closing his fingers around it. "Have this to remember me by."

The world is weary with war, Lily says that Muggles around the world are involved in Vietnam, and Regulus is told by his father that the Dark Lord is rising. He knows he must join him, the Sorting Hat had said that he would.

"A time will come, Mr. Black, when you will be faced with two roads," it had said. "One will be overgrown and the other smoothed by the footsteps of those who have walked it before you. You must take that road, Regulus; you must take the road of those who have gone before. It is what must be done."

"I can't take that road," Regulus had protested to the hat, shaking visibly, knowing it should not take this long to sort.

"You must. Your destiny lies at the end of that road. In the end, Regulus, you will be the one that aids in the saving of our kind."

"But—but how will I—"

"Slytherin," the hat declared before he could protest again. Being in Slytherin did not feel right, Regulus felt like a traitor in the green and black scarves, watching his brother in yellow and red.

vii. 1976
Regulus knows the time to choose his path is soon. Lily knows this as well, coming to him in the library late at night, a mess of school robes and stockings and blouse half undone.

"Regulus," she moans, and it is night, the moon bulbous and swollen with light outside the windows. "Read to me, Regulus," she says the day before she graduates first in her year at Hogwarts.

"Read to you?"

Neither of them is supposed to be awake. It is one in the morning and Madam Pince is asleep in her office on the other side of the room.

"Read to me."

Lily is crying, removing Regulus' robes, unbuttoning his shirt, undoing his trousers. She mumbles into his skin as he caresses her hair, mumbles that she does not want to lose him, but there is a war now, and she knows what side he must take. Their friendship has never felt more illicit, more wrong, than it does when he has her against a bookcase, her bum hitting the spines of old school text books, of Shakespeare and the newly updated edition of Hogwarts: A History.

"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow," he says when he and Lily become breathless and exhausted, his skin against her skin and her skin against his. In the dusty moonlight, the bookcase is the only voyeur besides the moon.

"What the hell!"

It is not a question, it is an exclamation, and James is knocking over chairs and pointing his wand at Regulus, his left hand gripping a torn piece of parchment.

"James!" Lily jumps away from Regulus, pulling her robes to hide her body. She arranges her face to look ashamed of her nudity, to look disgusted at Regulus', but all she wants is to be closer to him, to not be so cold.

"What the hell are you doing, Black?" His wand is pushing into Regulus' neck, and James is a livid shade of violet. "What have you done to her?"

"I haven't done a thing," Regulus sneers, knowing his state of undress suggests otherwise.

James turns to Lily, his expression changed to one of concern. "What did he do to you? Are you okay?"

His wand is still pushed into Regulus' neck.

"I was walking back from the prefects' bath and he—he—" Lily begins to sob, though her tears are of loss and not of shame. Her days with Regulus end here, she knows, and when James hits him, he takes it like the man he will someday be, standing naked in the dark of the library.

viii. 1978
It is December when they see each other again. Regulus sends an owl and Lily tells James she has to pop out for a few errands.

"I'll be back by three," she tells her husband, and he looks up from the Prophet and smiles vaguely, his eyes still clouded with sleep and only opening wider when she kisses him goodbye.

The shops in Hogsmeade are decorated for Christmas, windows frosty and signposts wrapped with red ribbons and holly. It has already snowed, and the snow remains white and pure on the ground, despite being trampled by Hogwarts students heading towards the Three Broomsticks.

But the Three Broomsticks is not Lily's destination. She instead makes a sharp turn off of the main street and heads for the Hog's Head, a smaller inn and pub where the clientele is less distinguished and far less jolly.

"I'm here for a Regulus Black," Lily informs the barman, and he points to the wooden stairs to Lily's left.

According to the old barman, Regulus is in the first room upstairs, and it is all Lily can do to keep from running up the stairway.

It is him, she is sure, though he looks older and hollowed, the way everyone has begun to look. He is slouched in a chair at the other end of the room and Lily has already removed her red jacket and skirt. All red, even her knickers, and especially her hair, red as the day he first spotted her in the Great Hall.

"I've dropped out," he says, lying beside her on the unsteady bed after making love. Lily traces his Dark Mark, her fingers hesitant and her breathing deep. She is on her stomach, propping herself up, breasts hanging and swaying like small pendulums. "I am no longer safe at Hogwarts."

"I understand," she says, though she does not. Lily has never felt farther from Regulus than when lying beside him, knowing they are not on the same side. She remembers Hogwarts; she remembers the library and old films in the Room of Requirement. She remembers the Astronomy tower, how Regulus showed her constellations and the star he is named after. She asks him if he remembers, and he does, smiling a bitter smile that lets Lily know that she cannot save him.

"You have constellations on your back," he whispers when Lily mentions Astronomy, tracing her freckles. "You have Leo right here."

Lily lets herself laugh, surrendering to the light touch of his fingertips.

"Here I am," and Regulus taps upon a single freckle, and Lily turns to kiss him, blinding him with red and with love. She still tastes of secrets, but they have been dulled with time and with her duties as wife to James Potter. "Here I am."

There is the sound of knocking and laughter from outside, and then screams; they are the screams that accompany the darkness of torture, and fire is reflected in the frosted windowpanes. Lily falls to the sheets in shock and before she can turn around, Regulus has pulled on his robes and disappeared.

She dresses quickly, casting her stockings aside and forgetting her scarf. Lily tosses on her red coat and storms out into the streets where chaos has taken over the village's former calm. The Death Eaters march through the snow, their black robes skirting the white ground, their fire cutting through the cold air.

The screaming is deafening, and Lily is an obvious target, red like blood, red like Gryffindor, a perfect mate for the green light from a Death Eater's wand.

ix. 1979
It seems like an impossible eternity since their last meeting, but it has only been a year. December sees the world in the same state as it was when it left it twelve months before, and comes on even colder, the world smooth and white as a new sheet of parchment on which words can be written, words that can change everything.

Regulus does not believe it is Lily, and Lily does not believe Regulus is out in Diagon Alley. He offers her a drink at the Leaky Cauldron and she accepts, but only for tea. Liquor has never been to her taste; it is too sour and makes her ill.

She doesn't say much and neither does he, but the silence is not kind, it is wearing away at their time together like waves demolishing the shoreline at a distant beach.

"I wasn't sure you'd be the same. The last time we met…"

"Was Hogsmeade."

"How nice, you remembered," she looks into her tea, which has grown cold, the milk gone to the top and forming white swirls. "But of course, that was the day the Death Eaters marched into Hogsmeade."

The memory is still vivid, still painful, still a reminder of his betrayal.

"Not an easy day to forget," he admits, and he is older than she has ever seen him, his hair beginning to turn gray like the circles beneath his eyes.

"No."

"I remember every detail," he says into his Firewhisky, taking a swig of the dark liquid as Lily watches him tentatively. He knows of her alliance, and she knows of his. It has always been that way. He has always been walking down the same path, ever since the first of September so many years before. "The Death Eaters wore black, you wore red."

She always wore red.

x. 1981
Lily has been killed.

Regulus reads it in the Daily Prophet on the first of November, and carries the clipping with him everywhere he goes. Pain blooms in his chest the way pictures bloomed on a wall in the room on the seventh floor so many years ago, and he crushes the newspaper in his hands before tossing it to the water which churns below him in the throes of a violent storm.

(She should have died hereafter; there would have been a time for such a word.)

The cave is open like a young girl's mouth when awaiting her first kiss, and the wind makes a hollow sound as it skirts past, causing the scrapes on Regulus' hands to sting. He drops all he has carried with him to the water, all except his wand and a golden necklace which he fastens around his own neck.

(Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow, creeps in this petty pace from day to day, to the last syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools the way to dusty death.)

Regulus enters the larger, secret cave with the aid of his own blood. The second cave is dark and damp, and a black lake is spread across it, still and without ripples, smooth as glass. He feels around in the air, careful not to disturb the water, and he knows he has found the chains when his hands brush something rough.

The boat is pulled from the lake, and the only sounds are of water rushing to the surface with the vessel.

(Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more.)

He boards the ship, removing the locket from his neck. Regulus knows the Dark Lord could rise again, knows the pieces of his split soul are stashed in the homes of his supporters all over Europe, knows that he cannot live with himself if he does not continue the path he has taken so far through his entire life.

The locket is light and reminds him of Lily, bright and gold, glimmering like the sun through the trees. He thinks he can hear her laughter, but knows it is only his memory, playing over and skipping like an old film. Like the way she would have to repeat sentences in the Muggle tales she told him when they began laughing too hard to finish.

(It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.)

He remembers her as she was; raising a chalice to the memory of the woman he once loved, knowing there will be no other woman, knowing there will be no more time.

fin
 
 
 
Shantiincroyable on July 23rd, 2006 08:05 pm (UTC)
You've broken my heart! Ohhhhh, this is beautiful. I didn't think I'd like it because I hate things that break James/Lily, but in a tragic, harsh, painful ay you've incorporated canon so perfectly I am speechless. Ahh!!
*sobs*

Thank you for this. This will be in incredibile in two weeks. Thank you. Really.
i feel real weird for you: OMG!!mondayagain on July 24th, 2006 03:33 am (UTC)
dkjhf8743ufvfberut7rejk (give me a moment to finish my squeeful keysmash, please) sdfjk4387iurrj578ij!!!

I feel unbelievably honored to be in incredibile, I've read your userinfo and to be picked out of the many fics you read is amazing, and I am so, SO glad that you enjoyed this! ♥!
Shantiincroyable on July 24th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC)
\:D/
i feel real weird for youmondayagain on July 24th, 2006 03:35 am (UTC)
Okay, I've recovered a little bit. Now to begin a bit of conversation.

Looking back, I wish I had incorporated a bit more J/L into the fic, because when writing this I really felt like Lily and James were in love, but Lily had this connection with Reg that she just did not have with James. She loves them both, but Reg has the depth, and has her trust and her friendship.

I am so honored that you like this!! :DDD