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A woman can forgive a man for the harm he does her...but she can never forgive him for the sacrifices he makes on her account. –W. Somerset Maugham

She felt sick from her sobs, and her arms were wrapped around her as tightly and protectively as she could manage. The tears never stopped pouring from her startling green eyes. She never heard him enter, and never saw his silver eyes, but she knew he was there long before he engulfed her into his embrace. She unwound herself and buried her face into his strong chest as he held onto her trembling form as though he feared she would vanish from his side as well.

His kisses were warm on top of her head, and he rocked her gently back and forth, a soft humming coming from deep within his throat. It eased her, even if only a bit. He brushed her hair down as her sobs slowed and his humming turned into a song whispered gently into her ear. The stubble on his face brushed her skin to the point of chill bumps, but she never moved her face from his shirt, or her body from his strong arms.

“I wonder, I wonder, I wonder, she cries, if only the birds and the bees weren’t strung up so high, I wonder, I wonder...” he sang softly. The vice-like grip she had on his shirt tightened for a moment, and as his singing quelled, so did her grip.

Ragged and unsteady though her breathing was, and tearstained and pale though her face was, she looked up at him at last. She reached up and brushed away some of the hair that fell into his face. He shivered at her touch, but didn’t move, his soft eyes on her always.

She didn’t want to talk, and he knew it, nor did he mind it. Her kiss was gentle, at first; his were, in return, soothing and calm. She felt herself lost in the moment, her troubles forgotten as she pressed their tender skin closer, and more demanding. His hands journeyed to her back, pulling her up closer to him. Their tongues found one another, two feathers lost in a storm of passion.

Her fingers fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, to which he responded by merely pulling them apart. His belt buckle and pants were much easier...she never even noticed his hands slipping off her clothing as well.

Their touches became timid, once both realized what they were going to do. It wasn’t a line they had yet crossed, but she knew, when he opened his mouth, that he would ask, and she didn’t want to hear it.

“Make love to me, Regulus,” she said, in the breath of a whisper. It was more than enough for him.

Every muscle in his body worked to please the muscles in hers. He responded accordingly as her hands followed the ridges of his shoulders and the skin down his back. Each new touch was accompanied with a new feeling of pleasure, of lust, and love. She tensed as he came to her; he calmed himself to move easily, and heard her gasp as he did so. Her nails dug into his back and while it should have hurt, it made him want her all the more. His mouth found hers and he felt her tremble under him as they joined. His hands roamed her, attempting to give her something to focus on other than the pain in her hips as they moved together.

It was like nothing he’d ever felt before, and while he knew it was but a distraction to her obvious grief...something he knew he would regret allowing himself to do to her when she was in such a state later, he loved it. He loved her. He was risking everything to be with her, and as her breathing began to grow rapid as their bodies did, he knew she was risking something to be with him as well.

James. The arrogant best friend of his older brother. She was risking everything she had with James to be with him...and she had from the first time she’d pulled him away from his brother’s beatings. He couldn’t win with his family. If he was like Sirius, then his father beat him, if he was like his father then Sirius beat him. Regulus, however, preferred Sirius’ beatings to their father’s. Sirius, at least, would never try to kill him. He had watched Sirius go through their father, and he would rather not repeat the process.

But as they pulled apart at last, he knew that going against his family was exactly what he was doing with her. She was a Muggleborn. A beautiful, loving, understanding, and now his Muggleborn.

“Lily, what’s wrong?” he managed hoarsely at last. He tried to lock his eyes with hers, but she never met them. She snuggled down into his bare chest. “Lily?”

Her new tears were warm on his flesh and he pulled her close to him again. His heart racing as his mind feared the worst. He nuzzled into her thick red hair as she clung to him desperately. His mind found its way back to Sirius. For this...for taking his best mates girl like he was...perhaps Sirius wouldn’t be so incapable of murder. Even he loved her. It was impossible not to.

He wasn’t blind, he didn’t hate Sirius and he worried about his brother. Many a night he had run across just the two of them, Sirius and her. Sirius would have his hands shoved deeply into his pockets and poured his heart out to her. Everything Father had ever done to him was stored into the mind of the girl he held so tightly now. And it was she who mended Sirius from the broken boy he was into the strong man that he could be. Perhaps Sirius didn’t love her romantically as he did, but he loved her all the same.

“James asked me to marry him.”

Her voice was muffled from where the movements of her mouth brushed against his chest. He tightened his hold on her as she spoke and he suddenly felt any warmth between them drain into a tense sadness.

“Oh?” he inquired, his pitch much higher than he would have liked. He never thought any words could feel any worse than the sudden heartbreak he felt at her next ones. The new wave of pain that followed made anything Father had ever done cower in fear of the shear amount of power behind the words. Emotions, it seemed, truly did make one weak.

“I’m in love with you both...but...Regulus, I said yes.”

A/N: Confused? Reread the quote, put the pieces of the puzzle together and if you’re still confused...well then, you’re not very clever with puzzles are you? LoL.


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