Chapter 1 : A Faith that Wasn't Mine
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We all began...as something else. I've done...unbelievable things...in the name of a faith that was never my own. A faith, that my parents led me to believe was right; only I should have known the truth. For my parents never did what was right – they did what was easy. And because I trusted them and loved them, I never learned that they were wrong, until it was too late.
My brother, the person who my parents said was such a failure – such a regret, was the one person I wish I could have known. For I never knew him – never knew simple things that siblings should know. His best subject in school was hidden from me, his girlfriends – for he had many – I never knew their names, his friends faces never stuck in my mind, and even the simple question of his favorite color was impossible for me to answer.
I was never supposed to know who my brother was in that life he hid from our family. So, in spite of him, I would tattle on him to my parents, I would cause trouble for him. Now, when I look back at my early childhood I find myself cringing at who I was. At the petty things that I thought were so important at the age of ten. I was so jealous when he went off to Hogwarts; so in awe when he came back at Christmas and showed me what he had learned. But it was different then before – he was different then before. No longer did my petty tantrums cause him to laugh, instead he would sneer and insult me. When I asked what was wrong, he would tell me I wouldn't understand – couldn't understand.
So I believed him, and watched as my brother came home that summer more distant then before. No longer did my parents think he was perfect; they would scold him and berate him, as if they were trying to make him understand something far from my grasp. I never cared to pay attention to their lectures because they were directed towards my brother, and I, a young eleven year old, had much more important things to think about.
Such as, what house would I be sorted into once I arrived at Hogwarts. My cousins, Bellatrix and Narcissa, had both been sorted into Slytherin like they were supposed to. But I was worried – what if I was like my brother or my other cousin, Andromeda? Both had disgraced the family by being sorted into different houses. Though, my parents admitted that Ravenclaw was far better then Gryffindor.
For that reason I was terrified and yet excited of what was to come when I met the giant who led us across the lake to Hogwarts. But I was also torn – if I became a Slytherin, my parents would be proud and in turn I would be proud of myself. Except I would lose what little chance I had at understanding what was wrong with my brother. If, I like him – as I secretly hoped as a child – were to be sorted into Gryffindor, then we could face our parents together. We could spend our holidays complaining about how our parents didn't understand us; complaining about what he had said I couldn't understand. Because if I was a Gryffindor like him, I would understand.
But, just as my parents had always told me I would, I was sorted into Slytherin. The sorting hat hadn't even pondered or questioned whether it was the right choice for me. And so, I accepted that becoming a Slytherin was what was meant to happen. My brother, who I so badly wanted to know, shunned me once he heard the hat call out that word. It seemed that my being sorted into the house of serpents that our parents wanted for me was like a death sentence. To him, I was no longer the younger brother who had tantrums or was in awe of what he could do. Now, I was our parents' clone – just another Slytherin.
Only, he never truly teased me or fought with me like the other Gryffindor's did. Instead, we made no contact at all – whether to be civil or otherwise. His best friend, James Potter, seemed to enjoy trying to taunt me, but my brother would always stop him. In a way, I think – I hope – he still cared, even if just a little.
But our stories weren't so interesting after that. We grew up, and I learned the ways of the other Slytherin's. I was Professor Slughorn's favorite student, the younger students looked up to me, and I was the leader once Narcissa and her friends left school. Over the years I forgot about the brother who I so desperately wanted to know as a child. Most holidays' I would spend with friends and when I was home, my brother would be in his room.
That changed the summer after my fifth year, when my brother managed to find the strength to pull away. I was still lost; still thought that my parents were right and that they could never be wrong. My brother – the disgrace of our family – was the only person smart enough to see the truth behind the words Toujours Pur. Our parents had convinced me it meant pure of blood and of heritage. He knew differently; – the one who was friends with mudblood lovers and half-bred half bloods – he knew the truth.
That summer my older brother, who I had secretly admired from afar, ran from our house and never turned back. My parents did not even try to find the boy they had once called their pride and joy. Instead, they held parties and balls while enjoying the company of other pureblood family's. If you took the time to look, however, you would notice a small charred spot on our family tree. Number seven of the family members to be disowned.
My parents did not know that I still kept in touch with Andromeda Black – whose new last name was Tonks. In my second year at Hogwarts, she owled everyone in our family to inform us that she had given birth to a little girl named Nymphadora. When I had received the letter, I had had every intention of throwing it away and never thinking of her again. But I had noticed that the owl before me had one other letter in its grasp, and as I reached forward to grab it, the owl flew away.
I watched as the bird flew towards my brother and dropped the letter before flying out the window. My dark, gray eyes stayed on my brother's form as he ripped the letter open and read the words excitedly. He began talking animatedly to his three friends before grabbing a quill and scribbling a reply with a big grin on his face. He jumped up soon afterwards and rushed to the owlery where I assumed he was going to send his reply.
And so, instead of folding the letter and forgetting that it had ever been written, I took out my own quill and a new piece of parchment. For even then, when I thought I had grown past the silly worship I had for my older brother, I wanted to be like him. Wanted to have his strength to pull away, to have his looks to attract the girls, to have his friends to feel comfort, and to have his smarts to stay away from the Dark Lord.
I did not have his strength, though I did have my own good looks – several girls, Slytherin and otherwise, liked me as I was told – and I had friends, if you could call them that. They gave me no comfort and I knew if I were to screw up, I would soon be forgotten. But I could live with not having those things; I could accept all of that.
But now when I look back on my life I wish I had taken the time to get to know my brother. Because maybe if I had, I could have gotten his smarts – and maybe I could have understood him...and maybe I could have stayed away. My brother had the courage to stand up to a man who wanted to be god – a man, who was getting terrifyingly close. Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god. I am sad to say, that I was attracted to that god-like aspect of Him as a teenager.
My parents, proud purebloods yet cowardly human beings, encouraged my attraction the dark arts. They did nothing to warn me of the dangers of the dark side, though if I had paid more attention I could have found out. Why else would my parents, strong believers in what the Dark Lord had to say, decide to stay an independent family? I should have known, but I was too blinded by my desire to be powerful; too lost in a world where blood ruled all.
My seventh year at Hogwarts was every boys dream – the teachers adored me, swore that I would grow up to be something special, my friends respected me and trusted me, girls giggled when I walked by and swooned when I flashed them a smile. I was the most liked boy in school, and I had a world of opportunities in front of me.
When I finally graduated, I was close with my two cousins and they're husbands, and when they invited me to a party, I went. I had no idea that my life was going to change that night. I wish I could have been warned – could have been given the chance to know what I was going to meet. But alas, I was an ignorant seventeen year old, lost in a world of parties and girls. I had not even imagined that a war was about to start, and that I would be too blind to see that I was in the middle of it.
Until it was too late.
That night was when I finally met the man my parents had spent so long talking about and admiring from afar. And when I did, I was in awe. The man was even more powerful then my parents had ever described, and I couldn't think of what to say. Finally, my cousin's husband, Lucius, broke the ice by informing the man of my name. After that, we spent the night talking though I could tell we would never be friends.
At one point He mentioned His disgust for those of dirty blood, and for a fleeting moment I saw my brother in my mind's eye. I saw him at school, in his Gryffindor robes, laughing as he enjoyed his time with people who had 'dirty blood'. And for a moment, I couldn't help but wonder if they truly were the ones with dirty blood, for they seemed so much more pure and kind then any of the purebloods I had ever met. But that moment passed without another to think of what that might mean. Maybe if I had, I wouldn't be where I am now but I didn't and for the rest of eternity I will regret that.
By the end of the night I had been invited to a meeting of people who thought as He did. And I went to the one without question, and the next, and all that followed. I never questioned what I was doing, or what I was joining. Though from time to time, I did think of my brother's face, wondering if he was still a 'Marauder' or if he had gotten married. I wondered if I was an uncle, and if he ever told his children about me. I wondered if he ever even thought of me or if he had forgotten me forever.
I never bothered to find out.
After a few months of those meetings, they became less about parties and friends, and became more about wars, beliefs, mudbloods, and killings. Several people admitted to torturing Muggles with the Cruciatus curse or just simply killing any that crossed their path – my cousin, Bella, and her husband included.
I, of course, being young was not expected to have killed anyone. Though, admittedly, the people seemed to be quite shocked that I had never participated in any 'muggle fun' as they called it. I had laughed it off easily when they had spoken of it, but the idea of myself joining in caused me slightly sick to my stomach. Yet when they noticed my slightly green complexion, they informed me that it wasn't as bad as it sounded and that most of the time they performed a memory charm on the Muggles. Somehow, I made myself believe that that made it all right.
Maybe I was able to, because I never thought I would participate in those acts myself.
But I should have known – one could truly never know the future.
Soon those monthly meetings became weekly, which soon became daily, until finally a year had passed and we had begun to call ourselves Death Eaters. Followers of a great and powerful man, who would one day ruin all our lives. Except no one but me knows this...but they will. Soon, they all will.
We all received tattoos on our upper right arms, which burned black whenever He wanted us together. And sometimes, I wonder if I can get rid of this mark. So that when they find my body, it will not be marked as a traitor.
My first act as a true Death Eater was to kill a muggle who had gotten in the way of some muggle-torturing. It was all supposed to be harmless fun...until one muggle thought they would be brave. I had been watching with fascination when Bella turned towards me and said those words, which will haunt my dreams for the rest of my very short life, "You can do it, cousin."
And as I stood there, with all their eyes on me and the mudblood with a look of desperation on his face, my mind wandered towards my brother once more. I thought of what my brother would do, how he would turn his wand on my cousin and the others. How he would grab the muggle and escape, taking him to safety and informing our old Headmaster as to what had just occurred.
But I was not my brother; and for that reason I raised my wand arm and spoke those two dreaded words. There was a flash of green, and when it died away the muggle lay on the ground with a look of fear forever portrayed on his face.
We had all apparated away quickly because the muggle people had somehow been alerted, but still...the image of that man's face was stuck in my mind's eye. Everywhere I turned, I saw him with that overwhelming fear on his face, whether I thought I saw him walking or swimming or laughing – the fear never left his eyes. I suppose, you could say that's when I first began to have my doubts.
They were nothing important at first; it was just that my conscious started getting louder...and I actually started listening to it. It has always been there – I was never truly heartless, or unaware of morals. It was just that I was able to ignore it, and live by the morals and standards that other people set for me.
But even though these doubts began to corner me in the dark corners of my mind, I forced myself to push it away. I spent all my time studying the Dark Arts, having meetings with the other Death Eaters, and going on our first killing of a wizard. An Auror who's name I can no longer remember; just his face and the look he wore with his wand arm raised yet nothing clasped in his hand. It was a look of utter defeat, but of something else. His eyes seemed to be glazed over and empty, and I like to think to myself that it was him seeing his life flash before his eyes.
Perhaps what I am telling you right now is my moment with glazed eyes. I don't know, I'm too afraid to look in a mirror.
I immersed myself in the life of a Death Eater, completely forgetting the joys of being young. No more did my life surround parties and girls, instead they surrounded killings and running from the Ministry. I kept on digging the hole deeper and deeper looking for the treasure at the bottom of the treasure chest until I finally lifted my head, looked up, and realized that I had dug my own grave.
That is how I came to where I am today. When I looked up I saw death surrounding me, I pictured a constant Dark Mark hovering over myself. Every time I walked down the street or saw a person I had known my whole life I worried that they knew the truth. My wardrobe consisted of long robes day in and day out, there was no time for me to reveal my skin. How was I supposed to know if someone might come to my house and walk in unannounced? I could get caught, and my life would be spent in Azkaban.
I was afraid – constantly afraid.
But I knew enough – I know I shouldn't be telling you this – because Bella trusted me. He told her everything – and in return she told me, thinking I was as anxious to be His top Death Eater as she was.
I knew about the Horcruxes, but not all of them. I only knew of two for sure; though I could only get rid of the one, which Bella had deemed insignificant. She had informed me of others though – one had gone to Cissy and her husband, another hidden in the ruins of His grandfather's house, the piece of his soul that still resided in him, and the one I could change. A locket with the mark of a large S; apparently signifying His connection to Salazar Slytherin himself.
The locket currently resides in a cave that He visited as a child with other children from his orphanage. It was a place that he considers dark and disturbing – one to remind Him of the awful past He once had.
So when my cousin informed me of this shocking fact, I stayed silent. I remember how I had reacted; a look of shock and then a sinister smile. As though this were what I wanted to hear – that I wanted to know he could not be killed. I began to listen when they thought I wasn't listening. My two cousins' and their husband's constantly spoke of it in hushed tones, even when I was in the room. For of course, I was young and ignorant, there was nothing I could do to change the course of history.
Oh, how simple minded they were.
For I learned everything I needed to know. I knew and understood the exact potions and their effects, which He had placed as protection. The boat, which would await me to carry myself across the water, filled with dead souls. That to keep them away I must light a fire or create light; that I would have to drink a potion to reach the bottom of the basin where the locket lay.
But there was more to this plan. I would have to have the same potion ready to be poured back in, along with a fake Horcrux. I would have to quickly escape and find destroy the Horcrux.
I am sorry to say to you, that I have failed myself.
For that is what I did yesterday – except it was not I who drank the potion, but my house elf, Kreacher. He has sworn to me never to tell anyone what we have done, and that he shall protect the locket for as long as he shall live – until the right person comes along to destroy it. I know some must think me mad, for what a fool I must be to trust a simple minded house elf with such a task of holding onto a piece of the Dark Lord's soul?
But I am not mad; I am simply out of time. For you see, someone caught onto my doubts and my worries and informed the Dark Lord himself. Of course, what should He care of one Death Eater having a few doubts? My cousin, Narcissa, gave me one final warning – He had sent some young Death Eater's to come kill me, not even ones of much importance. I am to leave this country and never come back so that I can save my life.
Only I ask you, what sort of life would that be?
So now, I sit here in the room of my childhood, awaiting the ignorant fools to come and kill me. For they will never know it was I who discovered his secret, and when the time comes perhaps my brother will know the truth.
That he and I were not all that different from each other.
But as of now, I bid farewell. I can hear them outside my door, and I have to say they're not very quiet. My life is ending at the age of eighteen and in the end all my life was, was a lie...just another story of a boy without a mind; about a faith that was never mine.
This is the story of my life; the life of Regulus Arcturus Black.