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Methleigh

Second Son

Second Son

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sherlock.  not good?
Title: Second Son
Author/Artist: Janus
Character(s): Rabastan, Rodolphus, other young Death Eaters
Rating: G
Wordcount/Media: 2600
Warnings (if any): none
Summary: Rabastan is the younger of the Lestrange brothers, and this fact allows him to come into his own life.
Author's/Artist’s Notes (if any): with thanks to a friend for discussing the heart of Rabastan's particular magic.

Rabastan was the younger brother. It was not a simple statement. It was a defining fact colouring all his childhood and formation, a fact that had influenced so much there was no possibility of calculating it. But there was a second factor blessing him and keeping him, protecting him from bitter envy and hate-filled competition and despair. The second fact was that Rabastan was glad, relieved with a gratefulness to Fate that inclined him to bend his knee to her many times each day. As a result, he had a brother he otherwise would have lost.

Rodolphus stood the shining special one, to whom Rabastan was almost an accessory. But this meant he was free, or more nearly so. Rodolphus had the focus of all attention, but the price was the weight of expectations which would have crushed and smothered Rabastan. His brother was gracefully glad to take his place as his mother's pride and his father's acolyte. He was pleased to accept presentations at events, functions and celebrations. He truly wanted a fine pureblood wife, scions and heirs, a place of political prominence. He truly wanted to learn the machinations, the ruses and maneuverings which would take him there. Rabastan was his second, his regent, equal in collaboration, but standing aside in company.

It was said that the elder child was the father's, and that the youngest was always the mother's. But his brother was the one for everyone. Rabastan was an accessory - the loyal brother. He was introduced after Rodolphus, and if the eyes of his parents' friends rested upon him, they almost immediately slid past. He was careful to give no impression on which they could remark. His manners were smooth but not elaborate. His clothing and stance were exactly as expected, and he was soon forgotten. This let him slip away to his own thoughts, perhaps even slip away physically to his own pursuits.

There was no interest for him in the pureblood games and formalities. He had a technical nature and saw them all too clearly. They were cold and he had warm inclinations. He watched, and analyzed, and told Rodolphus any observation that might help him. Amongst them he felt like a spy. And he felt that they were hollow shells with souls so small they rattled about within them.

Rabastan liked simple things, innocent, only what they were. That was the focus of his magic, even when he had just learned to talk. He found, lying in the grass, admiring a small flower, that he could feed it magic that felt like love. And it would thrive and last. He could care for it, easing his small secret talent of sweetness into the earth with which he surrounded it, into the water he gently poured into its roots. He found he could listen to its growing heart. So much water, not more, it told him as it grew with such purity. A little tonic in the soil would chase from it the tiny magical but noxious insects. A potion would help his plant's potency - just a drop. A whispered word would strengthen it in the wind.

His magic was to pour tenderness into simple growing things. It was intense communion. It was the best thing in the world. He felt response and reward, and it was genuine. It was more than show, and he could do it himself, giving and making the small things of the world richer. He did not need anything more than his heart and magic. There were no posings or insecurities, no need for exclusive haberdashers, no one to whom he needed to abase himself, no one he had to scorn. He knew he was a wizard, and he could put magic into the world. It was his precious secret, more personal and more natural than pride. It was all he wanted, and he waited quietly through all obligations to spend time with flora and fauna.

It had been his brother who had first witnessed his beloved magic. Rabastan had come to him, a tiny boy, and Rodolphus was only two years older. Rabastan had towed him happily by the hand to his little accomplishment, and they knelt beside it together.

"Flower," Rodolphus had intoned, gravely dutiful. "That's a flower. It's very pretty, Rab." Then he added to this as his father would have, carefully showing his little brother how to be polite. "Thank you for showing me." They had to be perfect pureblood boys, even when they were alone.

"Violet!" Rabastan had corrected happily, and then, very properly, "You're welcome, Roddy! Now look!" And he had stretched out on his stomach before the little group of flowers with a fist supporting his chin. One little flower, not quite open, turned towards him, and he extended his finger towards it. It slowly unfurled like its brother, rich purple under the sun.

"Rab! It means you are a wizard! And so young! We must tell Mama! How proud she will be!" Rodolphus had been glad and excited for him. There had been a delighted hug. "Wizard! You are a wizard!"

But Rabastan had risen in firm opposition. "No. Don't tell."

"Please don't tell." It was Rodolphus' turn to correct this time. He had a little frown. "But why not? She'll be so happy, and she will give you cakes. And she'll tell Papa, and maybe we will have a party! Just for you."

"No party." Rabastan had folded his arms tightly over his chest. His secret was too special to subject to scrutiny. It was his, precious and holy, and he had told his brother. The little flowers were innocent, and he didn't want to see them in a glass case, examined... sullied. He did not have the words for this, but he felt it clear as the peal of a bell within his chest. No one would ever use this. No one would ever regard it as a toy. No one would ever turn it into a chess piece.

"Just mine." Rabastan was quiet a second as Rodolphus looked at him, pointing at himself. "And yours." He pointed at his brother. Then he put his finger to his lips. Then he looked at the dog, calling silently to him, and the dog ambled over to butt his stomach with his head.

"Did you do that, too?" Rodolphus asked, his eyes wide.

"Yes." He petted the dog.

Then Rodolphus beamed at him and came to hug him, dog and all, as Rabastan looked at him directly with his secret, proud and happy smile. "Never mind, little brother. You can tell them when you're ready. And we will have a party with cakes, and everything you like."

Rabastan fell over in the grass and they tussled companionably together like kittens who had respectfully withdrawn their claws. But Rodolphus knew him, and Rodolphus loved him. He kept his secrets and they were brothers. Rabastan would have done anything for him at a word, and he knew his brother would never speak a word meant to harm or deceive him.

The only ones with whom Rabastan was cold were the shells of people. But even then, his cold was secret. It was not a weapon or a tool for power and place. Perhaps it was a scalpel. He watched with a crookedness to his mouth so slight that only his brother saw it because Rodolphus was the only one who saw Rabastan's face when that crookedness was absent.

Rabastan watched the other children of his world, wizards all, for Muggles were nothing. They were encouraged to companionship, meetings, and the celebrations of all the significant events of their lives as an elite - scions of the old families born to power, pride and purity.

There were the Black sisters and the Black brothers, just as he and Rodolphus were the Lestrange brothers. And there was Evan Rosier and Lucius Malfoy. There were others, of course. Selwyn, Avery, Mulciber, Nott, Wilkes, Travers, and the duller Goyle and Crabbe families.

The Black brothers were younger, and Rabastan watched them particularly, because they were brothers too. They were not close or bonded and he wondered at it. But then he saw what it was. Regulus was youngest of them all, a good two years younger he and Evan. But everyone loved him. He was sunny and generous. He tried his best to be good at the things the others did, working twice as hard just to keep up, thinking beyond his years to understand and be his best. Like Rabastan, he was not competing save with himself. But Regulus had an older brother, and whereas Rodolphus was the natural prince of the Lestrange family, it was Regulus who was his mother's child, as he should have been, but who was also his father's child, and the one who delighted anyone they encountered. It did not go to his head, but it ruined Sirius.

Regulus' place should have gone to Sirius. There had been nothing wrong with him. He was clever and coordinated; he managed everything with grace and ease. And he was older. When they were boys he had a year's edge of perspective, knowledge and practice. But Regulus was Walpurga Black's child, and her husband followed whatever she decreed. Sirius was left alone. No matter how well he did, it made no difference, and he came to hate his little brother. He hated his parents as well and everything for which they stood. Rabastan watched Sirius from the beginning, helping his small brother and showing him the world, as Rodolphus had done for Rabastan. But more and more Sirius came to stand off to the side with a sneer and a toss of his head, passed over so many times in so many ways that he became ever more determined to exclude himself before he was hurt by further exclusion.

Rabastan was closest to Evan, after his brother. They would have seemed to slide from one another like oil and water, but they complimented one another. Evan was all quicksilver daring, with a grin for the adventure at t he heart of everything. Rabastan stood solid, ready, and condoning with his little crookedness of mouth, but with a real smile for Evan and his exploits. They were the same age and would go to school together.

They would be in Slytherin, of course. All of them would be in Slytherin because it was for the best and smartest. It was for the alliance of those who would take the world from their parents for the Future, which they would shape themselves. There was always the small fear, however. What if the Sorting Hat made the wrong decision? What if they had Hufflepuff or (oh, the horror) Gryffindor tendencies on that single moment of that single day? Ravenclaw was deemed next best, but no one wanted to be cloistered in dark libraries forever and always. They all wanted Life. Even Rabastan. Sirius stood aside and smirked.

Ah, the future. It was not just school, but Family. And there were the Black sisters. With whom would one be paired for the future of the Wizarding world? Lucius and Bella were eldest, a natural pair, matched. One was named for light, shining and aristocratic, white of hair and eye. One was named for darkness, wild, with wild black curls. It was assumed they would combine their families and fortunes, whether they gave sign of it or no. Rodolphus watched her, captivated, never daring to dream that she would be for him, or rather that he would be hers.

Andromeda was considered. Would she be with Rodolphus? Rabastan? Perhaps Evan, for some light of chance and joy shone in both their eyes.

For Rabastan there was no one, and if he had prayed, he would have prayed that no one noticed. As it was, he wished, eyes squeezed tight with will before he went to sleep. He was most compatible with Narcissa, her hair white as Lucius' with her quiet organization, her loyalty, and her small exquisite interest. He liked to be near her, not for romance but for peace.

Eventually the streams of their lives ran as from a bowl poured on a hilltop, sometimes bubbling, sometimes rushing straight downhill. A rock separated the streams that would have signified Lucius and Bella, Light and Black. Rabastan thought it should have been predictable. The straight rivers of Lucius and Narcissa joined and became one, stronger, shining in the sun. Bella's churned and threw itself into waterfalls and rapids. Dazzled, Rodolphus threw himself after her, losing himself in her mad downhill cascade. Rabastan's little river ran parallel to Evan's and Regulus' they were joined by another - Severus', which had poured from a separate hillock but then immediately rushed down to join them. They poured after Bella and Rodolphus, sometimes melding, sometimes separating, but always parallel. Somehow, somewhere, Regulus stream disappeared, sunk into the grass, and then Evan's was buried in a rockfall, too dissipated to recover.

Rabastan followed his brother, to whom he had given his small dreams and secrets as a boy. He followed the one who would always recognize his heart, who reflected the shape of his nose, the colouring of his eyes, his hair, the one who had shared the best of his quiet wistfulness of childhood.

Rabastan followed his brother with horror in his heart and willingness in his eyes. Anything to keep him. For Bella, towering, wild, beautiful and ardent with the heady closeness of the cause and their Dark Lord, led Rodolphus into danger as a purgatory from which they might emerge worthy. Danger, indeed, was nothing. She had an assumption of invulnerability. Though both brothers recognised it, Rodolphus laughed along with her defiance of fate, sacrificing himself to its spell.

And Rabastan? Rabastan, with his mouth crooked and his eyes watching his brother all-knowing... Rabastan followed his brother. He followed him to bring what solidity, comfort and prudence he could to carnage and wild riot. But it was heady indeed, and sometimes he too lost himself in the pulse of adrenalin, the magic of blood and violence. Heady too was the sense of unity and brotherhood. Secrecy builds intimacy, not of body, but of meaning, of looks understood and expressionless communication. They knew the secrets of the world, building them from stones to castles with their daring. Heady indeed.

And so, on the night of the winter solstice, the three of them stepped out with a boy too young to have grown up with them. Their boots rang on the ice-sparked pavement, their cloaks swept majestic, four abreast, up the street. Their hair glittered with fine snow. And their masks, polished-silver, reflected lamps and the warm light of family homes. Christmas was coming. And Vengeance was coming in their hands and wands. And the little couple screamed until they stopped, and still Bella had laughed. And they had been taken.

And in the spinning indistinguishable horror of Azkaban, all the beautiful wonder poured into childhood flowers, all the safety of his hand in his big brother's, all the friends and smiles and shy hopeful speculation, all the cherished protected remnants of his beloved dead... All these were torn and twisted from him in torment. And it was in Azkaban that Rabastan lost his solid strong heart. Only shreds remained, delicate as a tissue-paper snowflake. He moved blindly to the new world of his Dark Lord ascendant, having nearly forgotten how to move through any world. He moved instinctually again towards his brother and the swirling madness of his wife.

first posted to my dreamwidth account.
  • I've never been so fangirlish as to do this before but it has to be said:
    *faints*

    You really make me appreciate Rabastan's gentle nature and his attitude toward magic.
    You have a gentle magic in your writing.

    Thank you,
    • Oh my goodness! I scarcely know what to say! you have never done such a thing before!

      I have loved all your stories: so many! And Regulus has become such a sure and dear character in them. It is so good to see him and come to know him! For he is goodness.

      The magic here, as in the note, is my friend's special gentleness of vision perhaps. I just wrote it. But thank you so much because it... warmed me too.
      • That means a lot, what you say about Regulus. Thank you. Today must be a flip out day for I nearly squeed at someone offering Regulus art. ;)
  • ::points to icon::

    This is lovely, Janus! Lyrical and elegiac and so deeply felt. Some phrases and passages I especially liked:

    he felt that they were hollow shells with souls so small they rattled about within them.

    The little flowers were innocent, and he didn't want to see them in a glass case, examined... sullied. He did not have the words for this, but he felt it clear as the peal of a bell within his chest. No one would ever use this. No one would ever regard it as a toy. No one would ever turn it into a chess piece.

    But more and more Sirius came to stand off to the side with a sneer and a toss of his head, passed over so many times in so many ways that he became ever more determined to exclude himself before he was hurt by further exclusion. That is a very perceptive take on what separated Sirius and the rest of his family - it makes a great deal of sense.


    Eventually the streams of their lives ran as from a bowl poured on a hilltop, sometimes bubbling, sometimes rushing straight downhill. A rock separated the streams that would have signified Lucius and Bella, Light and Black. Rabastan thought it should have been predictable. The straight rivers of Lucius and Narcissa joined and became one, stronger, shining in the sun. Bella's churned and threw itself into waterfalls and rapids. Dazzled, Rodolphus threw himself after her, losing himself in her mad downhill cascade. Rabastan's little river ran parallel to Evan's and Regulus' they were joined by another - Severus', which had poured from a separate hillock but then immediately rushed down to join them. They poured after Bella and Rodolphus, sometimes melding, sometimes separating, but always parallel. Somehow, somewhere, Regulus stream disappeared, sunk into the grass, and then Evan's was buried in a rockfall, too dissipated to recover.
    I love the poetry of this!

    He moved blindly to the new world of his Dark Lord ascendant, having nearly forgotten how to move through any world. He moved instinctually again towards his brother and the swirling madness of his wife. A chilling and lyrical end to this lovely piece. I will be rec-ing this when I make my post today. :-) Very well done, indeed!

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