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Chapter 1: A Man of Letters
‘...my self, my anti-self, my self not-self, my assassin, my death, the world’s death.’
-Angela Carter, Reflections
He changes the world. Not through anything as reckless as fighting, but he does it nonetheless, in an quiet, luxurious room with a mahogany desk which he has learned to consider his territory. He sits, silently, and composes himself, dipping an imperious quill into dark ink – how he has come to loathe the word ‘dark’, it seems the only word he hears nowadays – and he writes carefully, as if each word is more important than anything else. And for him, that is the case: he either has too much or nothing at all left beside these words.
The first time, it is 1975, and he is ill for days afterward, either because of his delicate constitution or because it is the only way he can mark this betrayal of his ancestry; the note itself does not mark it, because after it is sent it no longer belongs to him but to the serene young man whom he trusts will maintain his discretion. The note consists of an address, and a few additional words: This coming weekend – get in, get him, get out. I cannot and will not help him further.
The final time, he is no longer a child, and feels less of a need to be so terse. He addresses it properly this time, as befitting his role as both the master and the destroyer of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black. He will die as a result of these words. It is as reckless as fighting.
He keeps the note, of course, it would be somehow wrong not to. He is quietly upset when he hears of the writer’s death – in his head, Sirius’ brother is simply the writer, it differentiates him from the others who still proudly claim their Black blood but it does not make him different, paradoxical as that is. However, as he acknowledges that it is not considered his problem, he says nothing, but weathers Sirius’ feigned, knife-sharp apathy, then his overwhelming anger, and finally his soul-destroying grief. He idly wonders if Sirius knows about the note, and decides that it is best not to tell him.
Many years later, as he sits at a desk which is worn down by memory, holding a ballpoint pen – because, really, what is the point of pretending one is not too poor to buy a quill which actually lasts more than a few hours – he becomes the writer. Stupidly, at the time when he had received it, he’d imagined the note he keeps in defiance of any logic had been written in a rare and unforeseen moment of great passion; now, with a sleeping girl whom he cannot believe is his wife and the mother of his child in the same cramped room at 4:48am, he understands the tranquillity of a necessary rebellion.
I must seem like some
But he does not have the words.