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A Ghost of a Chance - A Place for the most Rare of Loves
Find it in the Room of Requirement

Boca. posting in A Gift Exchange for HP Rarepairs
User: hprare_exchange (posted by msqu)
Date: 2007-10-14 22:10
Title: A Ghost of a Chance
Security: Public
Feeling:content
Tags:hermione, het, regulus, regulus/hermione
Story for: pesha
Title: A Ghost of a Chance, or Silver Eyes (I’m undecided)
Pairing: Hermione/Regulus
Rating: PG13
Summary: Hermione finds more than she bargained for at 12 Grimmauld Place
Additional Notes: I really hope that this is something you were looking for, pesha. This was a really challenging thing for me to write, but I’m glad I got to expand my horizons a bit.


Why did she find herself drawn to this room? she wondered, not for the first time. It was the opposite of everything she would have thought she’d be attracted to; dark, dank, and covered in the Slytherin colours of silver and green. Despite all of that, Hermione Granger couldn’t deny that the room held an undeniable appeal for her.

It had been a week since Kreacher’s return with Mundungus, and their plans had solidified just the night before. Ron was going on a reconnaissance mission to the Ministry first, leaving her and Harry to wait anxiously for his return. Harry had taken to sitting rather listlessly in the kitchen after Ron’s departure that morning, and though Hermione had tried to keep him company, the image of the bedroom above shimmered tantalisingly in her vision. She couldn’t deny it any longer.

Excusing herself, she slipped up the stairs, coming to a halt outside of the door to Regulus Black’s room. She whispered Alohamora and waited for the tell-tale click. She stepped into the room and sighed. There was the stack of newspaper clippings about Voldemort. She’d really like to read those more thoroughly. There might be some clue, however small, to his whereabouts.

Hermione settled into the mouldy pillows between the tattered curtains that hung from the bed. The dust of several decades surrounded her in a cloud as she punched one of the pillows to adjust it behind her back. For nearly forty minutes, the only sound in the room was the rustle of the old clippings as she pored over them, or, infrequently, the sound of her quill scratching across the page as she jotted down a note on something she read.

After half an hour with nothing to scribble down, she began to feel discouraged. There was nothing in those old newspapers that was going to help her. She didn’t realise she had spoken the words aloud until a voice responded.

“What kind of help are you looking for?” Hermione nearly screamed; in fact, only a thin shred of curiosity kept the sound strangled in her throat as she looked around to find the source of the voice. The room was empty. Now she was hearing things?

“Up here,” the voice spoke again and Hermione looked up at the ceiling to see – a ghost?

They stared at each other for long moments. She took in his silvery robes, slightly tattered but obviously costly. Their eyes met, and Hermione let out a strangled whisper. “Sirius?”

“Sorry to disappoint, but, no, my brother chose to go on, whereas I chose to linger,” the ghost said, a self-deprecating tone to his voice, as though he were mocking himself for choosing this existence. “Regulus Black, youngest son of the Black Family, at your service.” Though he was floating parallel to the ceiling, he made a bow that brought his face within inches of hers.

“R.A.B.?” she whispered, staring at the ghostly face that was so like Sirius, but so different.

It was Regulus’ turn to look surprised. “I only ever wrote my name that way once, right before my death.” He wrenched himself out of the bow and floated down, contorting until he was sitting cross-legged on the bed beside her. “You found my locket?”

Hermione shook her head. “Harry did. He’s the boy from the prophecy.”

“Prophecy?” Regulus asked curiously. Hermione quickly calculated the dates in her head and gasped. Should she share information with a former Death Eater? She thought of Kreacher and decided she could. As quickly as possible, she explained the history that led to Harry finding the locket.

“I was – lost,” he whispered. “I was lost for quite a long time. And when I did find my way back to this house, it was abandoned – except for Kreacher. And I watched as he fought off those horrid Inferi and I knew I couldn’t haunt him, so I hid in here. No one ever came in here. I shut my ears against it all when I heard the Dark Lord’s name, because I knew then that I hadn’t been victorious. I only knew that Sirius had died because his spirit came through here as it left – almost as though it wanted to remind itself of all the reasons it couldn’t stay on.” The voice faded, and Hermione looked into the face of the person she found it impossible to hate – was, in fact, beginning to sympathise with.

A single silver tear made a trail down his face. “You tried to save them all, didn’t you?” Hermione whispered. Her thoughts ran towards the tale Kreacher had told them. His refusal to allow Kreacher to tell his mother what had really happened to him in order to protect her. They sat in silence for many long minutes before he began to speak.

“It was intoxicating, the Dark Lord’s power.” His voice was nothing more than a whisper. “At Hogwarts, the teachers, even the other students, liked Sirius better. He was handsome and charming and it didn’t matter to them that I was the true Black; that I had the proper pride in my blood and my family. The only person in their year that didn’t admire Sirius was a boy from my own House, Severus Snape. I admired Severus; he was brilliant at Potions, and there wasn’t a Dark spell he couldn’t perform.

"When he started hanging around with the older boys, the ones who were Death Eaters, I knew that he had become one, too. He was everything I had always wished Sirius would be, or so I thought. I joined them at sixteen, and I was proud to wear the mask; proud to sit in the presence of the Dark Lord and feel the pure power that flowed through him.” The ghost shook his head. “I was a fool.

“It wasn’t long before I was being asked to do things, unspeakable things that had nothing to do with bringing the wizarding community out of hiding, and everything to do with instilling fear into those who opposed the Dark Lord.” He shuddered and looked at Hermione.

“You redeemed yourself, though,” she said quietly, conviction and truth in her voice. She knew there were tears in her eyes, but she couldn’t seem to stop them. Her heart ached for Regulus as surely as it had ached for poor Kreacher. She wanted to know the rest of the story.

“Hermione?” came a voice from the landing, and the ghost vanished. Hermione was left alone in the room feeling strangely bereft. She stood and wiped her eyes on the sleeve of her jumper before opening the door, where Ron stood, his hand reaching out as though to knock.

Praying that her voice was steady, she answered the unspoken question in his eyes. “I was reading through those old clippings, trying to find some clue.” Ron nodded, but he looked at her strangely, and Hermione smiled. “I can’t find anything and I’m a bit irritated with it at the moment.”

That seemed to reassure him and he invited her back to the kitchen, where Kreacher had a hearty meal waiting for them.

It was three days before she could return to the room alone. Harry had gone to the Ministry the next day, and Ron had insisted on keeping her company, so she’d looked through the book Dumbledore had left to her while they waited for Harry’s return. The following day had been her turn to go, but that day was Ron’s. She waited for Harry to slip into his usual brooding over the newspaper that Lupin had left for them and then she slipped up the stairs and into the room.

“Regulus?” she whispered. The ghost materialised in the corner. Hermione stifled a sigh of relief that he was still there. He settled himself on the bed once more, and gestured for Hermione to join him. She did, achingly conscious of his silver eyes on her.

“I’m glad you came back,” he said quietly. “I think I have to tell someone this before I’m ready to do anything else.” Hermione only nodded, afraid that if she said anything that her words would come out as stupid or trite in the face of the sacrifices this man had made.
“I started spending more time at the Headquarters of the Dark Lord, which had always been the Malfoy Manor. The Dark Lord is not as wise as he professes himself to be,” Regulus intoned coldly. “He speaks boastfully and gives away his secrets in crumbs. If one listens carefully, one can correctly put those crumbs together and decipher the true shape of the meal. For several months, I spent as much time as I was allowed by his side, listening to his conversations and mentally recording every word. I daren’t write it down, for fear he would see the words in my mind when he used Legilimency against me.”

Hermione gulped. What kind of cold-blooded courage had it taken to do what he had done? This man, who she was looking at with the respect and admiration he’d so craved in his life was, in truth, no older at his death than she was now. The thought stopped her for a moment.

“So you discovered his Horcruxes?” she asked him, staring at the eyes she knew had been brown in life, reading the pain that was beyond her understanding and longing to reach out and comfort him.

“I discovered he had made one,” he corrected, a bitter smile twisting his features. “I did not know there were more until you told me. When he asked for an elf, I thought it was entirely too fortuitous to be real; that there must be some kind of catch. I volunteered Kreacher, knowing that the Dark Lord was not planning on his return, but ordering the elf to come home when he was finished. When Kreacher returned and told me what had happened, I knew then what I had to do. I would not sacrifice my loyal house-elf, but I could sacrifice myself to save not only my family, but all of wizardkind. It was the least I could do to atone for my crimes.”

Hermione let the tears that had gathered in the corners of her eyes fall freely. “So you decided to go to the cave and order Kreacher to destroy the locket, never imagining that he wouldn’t be able to do it,” she finished for him, wiping her face. At his downcast nod, she spoke again. “Even had Kreacher destroyed the locket, there were still five other Horcruxes in existence that you didn’t know about.”

“I know that now, Hermione, and I have to thank you for trusting me enough to tell me that,” he said softly. “That knowledge has allowed me to finally see the things that have happened around me without guilt.”

Suddenly, the weight of his words hit her fully in the chest and she couldn’t help the next words that left her mouth, though she knew they sounded horribly desperate. “You’re leaving?”

“Not yet, but yes, soon,” he said, looking directly at her, a faint silvery blush rising. Hermione squirmed. “It’s time I moved on. I’m finally ready to face Sirius with pride in who he was and who I am. All of these years, I’ve been terrified of facing my mother, knowing that I betrayed her. But facing Sirius was a larger fear. Though we were so different, we were still brothers, and I loved him. I would beg him, when we were children, to try to conform to what our mother wanted, and he would try to convince me to rebel. Would that I had listened to him,” he sighed out.

“Then you should tell him that,” Hermione said firmly, looking back at his face and smiling hugely, ignoring the part of her that would miss the sombre ghost.

“Hermione!” A shout rang from below. “Dinner!” She looked towards the door, listening for footsteps. When none came, she looked back towards Regulus, but he had gone. Wiping her eyes one last time, she managed to make her way down the stairs.

It was another three days before she could make it back to the darkened bedroom, hung with the pride of former Slytherin glory. She called his name softly, terrified he wouldn’t appear, that he had already moved on, but he did. Every third day, she stole into the room and spoke with the ghost of the courageous man-boy. And then came the day she had been dreading: September the first.

She and Ron waited while Harry told them everything, and when they went to bed that night, she waited until the boys had fallen asleep before sneaking upstairs to the dusty bedroom and the ghost she’d grown very fond of.

“Regulus?” she whispered, wondering if he would appear to her at night, of if he went elsewhere while the house was asleep. He appeared instantly.

“Hermione?” he croaked. “Why are you here? Did something happen?” His silver eyes were worried and there was a frown marring the pearly lines of his face.

“No, nothing’s happened, but the boys are ready, and they want to break in to retrieve the locket tomorrow and I – I’m scared,” she confessed, her voice breathy and loud to her ears in the silence that seemed thicker than usual.

“You’ll do wonderfully,” he whispered, putting his hand on her shoulder. The sensation of having just been doused in a bucket of ice water was so sharp that she jumped. He apologised immediately, but she brushed it off.

“It’s alright, Regulus. I was more startled that anything else,” she assured him. More softly, she murmured, “It’s the first time you’ve ever touched me.” He blushed as though she hadn’t woken herself the night before in dreams of him touching her far more intimately than he just had; as though she hadn’t had daydreams wondering what it would be like to take a ghost as a lover, impractical as the idea might be.

The silence stretched on and emboldened Hermione. She reached up on tiptoe and brushed her lips against his cheek, immediately feeling as though her lips had been frozen.

“You should go back to bed, Hermione,” he whispered softly, turning away from her. As she stared at his transparent back, she could only nod mutely and do as he suggested.

The next night, a few minutes before ten, Hermione stood alone outside of the tent; Ron and Harry were inside, presumably sleeping. She was thinking of Regulus, waiting for her to appear the next day and seeing no one there, of his back the night before as he turned away from her.

“Hermione?”

It was as though she had summoned him with her thoughts, but he didn’t look right to her eyes. Even in the dim light of her wand, he looked solid and fleshy. She took a step nearer and found herself wrapped tightly in an embrace filled with sadness and - love? There was no shocking chill to his touch, and Hermione realised what had happened. He’d chosen to go on, to be with Sirius, and he had come to say good-bye. She looked up into the eyes that she had grown accustomed to seeing as silvery, transparent orbs, and saw the solid brown depths before her own drifted closed.

And then he was kissing her, softly at first and then more insistently and Hermione let herself go, kissing him with everything she’d been holding back for the past month, telling him in the only way she could the words that she couldn’t allow to leave her lips. She knew Regulus understood. He drew away from her and she heard it, too; the rustle of someone inside the tent moving.

Hermione stared at Regulus, memorizing what he looked like in the sliver of moonlight that shone down, his black hair and brown eyes as he glowed golden and vanished like a cloud of sand blown away by the wind, until there was nothing left but a faint smell in the air, the smell of dust and mould and newsprint; a smell Hermione would remember fondly in the years to come.

Harry exited the tent and Hermione went inside, checking on Ron’s wound as she walked past his bed, a wave of tenderness for the boy on the bed rushing over her, before she climbed into her own bed and lay upon the covers, touching her lips reverently and sighing before she drifted off to sleep.
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Boca.: Rar
User: msqu
Date: 2007-10-15 04:28 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:Rar
I think you really pulled this off well, my dear. Regulus felt very tangible, ghostly-guy that he was in this story. Really great. I always love a story that can be assumed to be AU in the terms of finite JKR story line, but that STILL could have played out, like this one. Not canon, but totally possible.
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nyruserra: HP - Hermione's Dress
User: nyruserra
Date: 2007-10-16 01:10 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:HP - Hermione's Dress
I love the angle you've taken on this story - Regulus as a ghost is interesting and sympathy-inspiring; and I love the way you've shown Hermione here. She's logical, and curious and wants to understand everything around her, but also vulnerable and more emotional than she might normally be with the strain of everything happening in the background with Harry and Ron - which you pulled off nicely without subsuming the piece with it :-)
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Pesha: Sirius by Renbaby
User: pesha
Date: 2007-10-17 07:36 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:Sirius by Renbaby
From the very start, this read like a fairytale to me. One of those old familiar stories that ends bittersweetly, haunting your memory from childhood to adulthood. It reminds me of those stories. I loved it so much. It's so romantic in an old way. Hermione's fears about the current issues and "the boys" in the background while everything keeps moving around their subtle storyline made it so realistic to me. Thank you so much for taking a chance with such an improbable pairing! I really loved it.
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Nephthys ♥ Rockstar Goddess!: Lost in Shadow
User: nephthysmoon
Date: 2007-11-06 02:38 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:Lost in Shadow
YAY! Now that the masterlist is up, I can actually say thank you for the kind words! It was a delight to write for you and I'm so glad you enjoyed it. *hugs* Would you mind horribly if I put it on archives?
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Pesha: Dean (Pesha): Signe!
User: pesha
Date: 2007-11-21 17:55 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:Dean (Pesha): Signe!
Oh not at all! I'm sorry I was behind on getting back to you. My computer has been infected with a malware virus and has had to be serviced. I'm behind on everything. Thanks again for such a good story.
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merlins_babe
User: merlins_babe
Date: 2008-01-04 00:31 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
This story has been rec'ed at
The Golden Seeker
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Nephthys ♥ Rockstar Goddess!: SQUEE
User: nephthysmoon
Date: 2008-02-25 15:40 (UTC)
Title: (no subject)
Keyword:SQUEE
OMG! Thank you! I am so honored!
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Pining for...
March 2008