Regulus' eighth kiss was the kiss of death.
He failed his family name as he refused to be a part of something terrible - something that he knew he couldn't do.
"Bring us Remus Lupin," he was instructed by Lucius Malfoy at the end of the latest Death Eater meeting. "We have some . . . experiments that need to be done. There's a need for a Dark Creature, and the very one that is fighting for the other side would be perfect. Bring him to us."
Someone that he had once liked. Someone that he had once known.
Someone that his brother had once loved. It would kill Sirius.
So Regulus refused.
And he received the worst kiss of his life in the form of a green flash of light.
Regulus' seventh kiss was on Lord Voldemort's boot.
The leather was hard and unyielding and cold against his face as he placed his lips gently against the top and pressed down.
He looked up as Lord Voldemort spoke. "Welcome to the Death Eaters," the low voice said. Red eyes gleamed down at Regulus. "I am certain that you will show us the quality of a male Black."
It went unspoken that there was a male Black that did not hold to the Death Eaters' standards of greatness.
"I will do my family proud," he stated calmly, but he couldn't help but remember later the dirty taste on his lips from the kiss.
Regulus' sixth kiss was with Remus Lupin.
In a dark alleyway, pressed against the thin body, Regulus took what he could. Lupin struggled at first, weak with exhaustion, but succumbed because Regulus had brought him something important. Something desperately needed.
With the bundle of food on the ground beside them, Regulus and Remus kissed. And kissed. And kissed until Regulus was out of breath and frustrated with searching for something that he never found.
He had needed to know what Lupin tasted like. He had needed to know if the werewolf tasted like someone else. So Regulus had protected Lupin somewhat from the Death Eaters' eyes until he could come up with an excuse to get inside that mouth and taste for himself what he needed to taste again to remind himself of his own humanity.
Regulus vowed never to contact Remus Lupin again afterwards. Lupin had not been able to help him find that small remnant of his brother.
The taste and the memory of what he had sought would have strengthened his resolve. It would have prepared him to battle his family against the Death Eaters, if only to have his brother back.
But it was a disappointing kiss. He had failed to find his humanity. There was only one thing left to do.
Regulus' fifth kiss was with Bellatrix. She cornered him behind the statue of an old humpbacked witch, pushing him into the shadows and draping one long, thin finger across his lips.
"What's the matter with you?" she hissed. He looked at her, startled. She had never used a tone like that with him before. She had always liked him.
So he found himself shrugging, bewildered. "What did I do?"
She rolled her eyes briefly and then leaned forward, her lips capturing his own swiftly. He let her, relaxing his back against the cold stone wall behind him.
When she pulled away she stared at him, her eyes narrowed into slits. "Did you enjoy that?"
He wondered if it was a trick question. "Sure," he lied, "but why did you-"
"Exactly," she interrupted. "You're too comfortable and easy about it. Listen, your brother can go around and snog anyone he likes. If he wants to shag that vile half-blood Remus Lupin to his heart's content, then so be it." Her voice lowered even further, and she practically spit in his face. "But you will NOT spread kisses around like they are sweets. Kisses from a true Black have to be earned. Shag all the idiots that you want to, cousin, but do not let your lips touch anyone else's unless you care for them."
He looked at her silently. At the way the dark strands of her hair fell around her face. At the way that her lips formed a permanent pout. He nodded.
"I understand," he said to her. "I will be selective about who receives a kiss from a true Black."
She smiled at him and walked away, leaving him to wipe at his mouth with the sleeve of his robes.
He can't help but feel jealous of Remus Lupin.
And he disliked the taste that Bellatrix left in his mouth.
Regulus' fourth kiss was with Lily Evans.
It was over the Christmas holidays of his third year, and he was late to lunch because he was finishing an essay for Professor Flitwick in the library. He rushed into the Great Hall, stopping in the doorway and leaning against the frame, staring in shocked silence at the solitary table in the middle of the enormous room.
All of the professors were seated around the table and there were empty seats left for some pupils. Regulus could see his brother and his three friends sitting close to the opposite end from the professors, laughing and talking.
"Come join us," Dumbledore's voice carried over the noise, and Regulus realized that the Headmaster was speaking to him. He noticed that his brother had turned and looked at him, the smile fading from his face as he stared.
"Under the mistletoe, I see," Flitwick said cheerfully, and Regulus looked up to see the sprig of green enchanted to float in the top section of the doorway.
And just then, Lily Evans walked in. She skirted around him and stopped just as she walked into the Great Hall, looking confused at the grinning faces.
Well, one face was not grinning. Regulus could see James Potter turning red for some reason, especially when Dumbledore said, "You know the rules concerning mistletoe."
Lily turned around and saw Regulus in the doorway and then looked upwards, her eyes widening as her cheeks turned pink. Whistles sounded from some of the table's occupants as Regulus watched Lily approach him slowly, her mouth set in a thin line.
A small closed-mouthed kiss was all that Regulus got, but it was enough to feel nice. Regulus smiled to himself as she walked towards the table and he noticed Sirius and the other Gryffindors again.
The kiss may have been pleasant, but the expression on James Potter's face was even better.
Regulus' third kiss was with Narcissa.
She pulled him aside at a Black family gathering in the summer between his second and third years. "Are you ready to learn something very important?" she asked, looking at him through her lashes as she tilted her head forward.
"It depends on what it is and who I'm learning it from," he replied, and she grinned at him, making him feel as if he had answered in a manner befitting a Black.
She reached out and ran a smooth hand down his upper arm, her fingers trailing a path under the short sleeve as she leaned forward a little more. "If there are any flaws in the Black family," she said slowly, "then it is that the males tend to be a bit shy when it comes to matters of courtship."
He stared at her. "I'm thirteen," he said. "I don't have to worry about courtship yet. Mother and Father have not arranged a marriage for me, and I have plenty of time to look around."
She laughed slowly. "You don't have to wait for marriage to court someone, cousin. You will learn to appreciate girls soon enough, but I want you to be ready when you do." She leaned forward swiftly, pushing her tongue into his mouth and rubbing it against his own. He felt himself straighten and trying hard not to bite down.
When she pulled away, she grinned. "You're not a bad kisser, Regulus, but you have a lot to learn if you want to make some girl happy in the future." She looked thoughtful. "Or some bloke. I'll send Lucius to you one day to teach you the ways of pleasuring a man."
Regulus swallowed his disgust at the image - Narcissa's betrothed was mean and old. He hoped it wouldn't come down to his having to kiss the older man.
He reflected later that Narcissa had tasted like something slightly sour and watery.
He had hated it.
Regulus' second kiss was with a girl named Juliana in his first year at Hogwarts.
Giggly and sweet with blond hair and sparkling blue eyes, she waited with her lips puckered at him as he tried to lose the feeling of shock that had come when the wand he had spinned had landed pointing towards her.
"Do it," some of the older Slytherins prodded him. Rebastan's elbow kept jabbing into his side repeatedly in some unknown code, and the other Slytherin girls had their hands up to their mouths, looking back and forth between himself and Juliana.
He leaned forward and kissed her lightly, pressing his lips against hers only for a brief moment before pulling back. Her cheeks were red and she was looking at him with those sparkling eyes, but he felt nothing.
He thought that he should have enjoyed the kiss more than he did.
Regulus' first kiss had been with Sirius.
The summer before his first year at Hogwarts, Sirius came into his bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed, uninvited but not unwanted. Regulus looked at him solemnly.
"I need a favour," Sirius told him. Regulus felt only mild surprise; Sirius hardly ever asked him of anything, but he knew that he was Sirius' first choice in the house of any sort of favour.
"Will I be repaid?" he asked like a good Black, and Sirius made a face but nodded.
"Fine," Sirius said impatiently. "Now, I want you to sit there and close your eyes." He moved up fully onto the bed next to Regulus.
With his eyes closed, Regulus could feel the warmth of the body next to him and hear the deep breaths coming closer to his face.
Something soft covered his mouth and he opened it in surprise, almost jumping in shock when a tongue swiped at his own.
Sirius tasted of chocolate; no doubt Regulus' older brother had been consuming hidden sweets in his bedroom just moments before. Experimentally, Regulus pressed his own tongue into the warm, wet mouth touching his and licked along the small teeth in the back, hoping to taste more. Sirius' tongue rubbed against the side of his. He liked it.
A moan pulled him out of his thoughts as Sirius turned his head away, saliva coating his lips. Regulus watched as his brother licked it off slowly.
"What was that?" Regulus asked him. He was not angry, but he felt a little discomfort at the fact that he wanted to do it again.
"That was a kiss," Sirius said to him. Regulus couldn't help but stare, mesmerized at the very soft pink lips that suddenly made something inside of him explode with understanding.
The first kiss, as innocent and fumbling and awkward as it may be, was the one to compare all others to.
"I know that. I mean, why did you do it?"
Sirius shrugged. "Because I didn't want to go back to Hogwarts not knowing how. And I couldn't leave you to be inexperienced, could I? S'not what big brothers are for."
Regulus nodded. "Right." Something else needed to be said. "Thank you then."
Sirius grinned at him. "You won't be thanking me later." He jumped off the bed and walked to the doorway, pausing as he looked back at Regulus. "That kiss will put all other kisses to shame."
He winked before he stalked out, and Regulus had a feeling that Sirius would prove to be right.