Chapter 1 : The Cruelty Of Fate
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The Cruelty Of Fate
Regulus clasped his hands around his throbbing wrist, the Dark Mark now clearly visible; staring up at him through glassy emerald eyes. He carried on walking, trying to disregard the image, but that solid fact was as prominent as his unchanging past. It would never leave him. He would be forever tied. Tied to the Dark Lord, tied to his beliefs, and tied to his choices.
The rhythm of the rain echoed all around him in a blur of silver-blue hues as he stole forward, thinking of nothing else but the skull that was now eternally etched onto his skin. Overhead, the velvety skies began to blacken, and a fork of lightning cut through the air like a pair of giant, luminescent scissors. Regulus shivered, drawing his cloak closer around him, eyes trained on his destination. He was only going back to Hogwarts, but there would be much to lie about, much to hide from the rest. Severus was the only one who would understand. Otherwise, only disgust and despair would welcome his presence. He closed his eyes for a moment of reflection, feeling the shimmering drops dribble down his face; a solace to his senses. Regulus coughed, wondering, puzzling, weighing out all his options.
It did not take him long.
It was a sadistic twisted tradition but the only one that held truth.
In the terms of the Dark Lord, it was kill or be killed.
He had no choice.
Regulus sniffed, casting a gloomy look over the grey horizon. Distant trees swayed too and fro in the soft zephrs, their chalk-black silhouettes looking like spectactors as they bowed from side to side, as if part of a communal song. Melting sunlight trickled across the grass, dappling it in strands of ruby gold. Regulus stood, as if in a dream, watching the day race away from him. The Dark Mark was still pulsing. Disgusted, he tried not to look, but the more he tried not to, the more he did. It was as though there was an electrical, magnetic sustinence that drew him to its dangerous promises. Oh, how could he have ever done this? How could he? The world was seeming to encase, enclose, ensnare. The terrible cries in his mind reiterated. His head pounded, his heart yearning for the mistakes to be forgotten. Why was everything so difficult? Why?
The Mark continued to mock, and Regulus shoved his hands deeply into the pockets of his robes. He would try to forget. It was the only way. The sun was now more then half way, flooding blood-red rays across the spreading lands. Regulus looked up. Pale clouds flitted across the heavens, like strips of thin orange peels as he advanced closer to the castle. Every step he took, felt like another lump on his mind. Every way he turned, felt like a way to his grave. It was as though Death was guiding him, as though Death was his only answer. He could not though. He did not want to die- and that- was- it- why he had been branded, why he had taken that descision. The calling of death was tempting, but Regulus knew it was not right. He wanted to live, just not with this. He clenched and unclenched his fingers, coling and recoiling, almost able to see the blood pumping through them. The cool air clasped him like a snake's body, wrapping itself, and entangling him in its hissing breath.
Regulus stamped on, arriving at the entrance leading to Slytherin tower. Nothing was heard, except the soft pitter patter of his footsteps as he flung open the door, and strode through, every so often dodging a look behind in case someone had seen him. It was a really strange hour to be wandering around the grounds, as most students were engaged in the feast. In the other room, he could see his arrogant brother Sirius, evidently trapped in a fight with some older years. Regulus laughed, shaking his head. There was still the little things in life to laugh at. He deserved it. How could he have gone against the side of the dark? He knew he was contradicting himself, but despite how he felt about the Dark Lord, he still cherished with all his power, his family's blood- and the fascination with the dark arts. It was so much better to follow the Death Eaters, but Regulus squirmed with guilt. Being marked as one of the Dark Lord's servants was, and had been less pleasing then he thought it would be. Cringing at the thought of the Mark on his skin, Regulus tried to think of something else.
How could he live like this, being constantly pulled from one direction to the other? One opinion to the next. Nieve, and fickle that's what he was. How could he have done it? Self anger shone through, and he drew forth his wand. Regulus gritted his teeth, sticking to the shadows, a ghoul in the dimness of his suffocating surroundings. Vainly, he attempted to recollect what his potions homework was. The thoughts became a blur of meshed nothingness, and he shook his head. He couldn't remember. Suddenly, the door flew open. The fight having clearly ended, Sirius, his brother, stood there, with a suspicious expression, his eyes trailing down to the wand in Regulus's hand. Frown present, he cleared his throat. “Well?”
“Well, what?” Regulus shot back.
“Do I have to ask what you're doing, or am I going to have to get it out of you?” Sirius observed him, tilting his head to one side. “I am not leaving until I get a straight answer.” He stood there, adorned in a black teeshirt, frowning. His fringe was swept stylishly to one side, his attractive appearance blinding through. 'Show off', thought Regulus, revealing none of his jealousy. He traced his wand back to his pocket, careful to cover his wrist with the hem of his robes.
“You don't need to ask me anything, as I have nothing to say.” He sniggered. “Why do you always have to get on my case? You're not our father. You don't need to act like him. For the sake of the Dark Lord, why do you-” He stopped, fidgeting, the dreaded skull showing up again in his mind, a beacon of his destroyed fate. “Just- leave it,” snarled Regulus, stepping back.
Sirius paused. “So, there is something?”
“No. There isn't. There isn't, just, just leave me alone!” Regulus shouted.
“Calm down. You're behaving like Mother.”
Silence covered the two boys like an oppressive translucent blanket. The atmopshere seemed to choke, and Regulus suddenly wanted nothing more then to just be left alone. Without another explanation, he skulked down the corridor, wand by his side again. No passing students made comment. As before, he made sure to conceal his wrist. Had his brother suspected anything, or was he safe? He had no idea, and in all honesty, couldn't care at the minute. Dragged down by a dreary desperation, he frowned. Were there any more Death Eater meetings soon? He couldn't remember, not that he wanted to. Sluggishly, Regulus watched the caretaker cat, Mr. Dribbles make his slow and wary way down the corridor. Where were Severus, Bellatrix and Lucius when he needed them? How stupid he'd been! Sevy, Bella and Lucius would be proud, would understand. But then, would they comprehend why he suddenly didn't want what he had? He couldn't, so what was the liklihood that they would? Once again, he felt sodden, like a saturated sponge, drowning in a lake of water. Almost, as if by coincedence, Regulus spotted the blonde haired boy, Lucius and ran up to him.
“Lucius! Lucius! I have something to tell you!”
“Regulus,” the boy sniffed, shaking his hand. “Whatever is the matter?”
“I did it, he did it, I mean,” Regulus tripped over his explantions, hiding his wrist still. “We need to go somewhere else.”
“It's the Dark Lord,” Regulus whispered, leaning forward, “He marked me.”
As was predicted, Lucius gasped, patting his friend on the back. “That is truly amazing.”
“Yeah, amazing,” Regulus sniffed.
“You don't sound pleased,” commented Lucius, with a slight disapproving tone.
“Oh, I am,” he lied. “I really am. I just can't believe it.”
Tossing and turning, Regulus couldn't sleep, driven by a mad state of guilt. It rushed over him, a muddy pool of consuming sludge. Mind clogging with the thickness, he sat up. What was he going to do? How was he going to stick with this? Would the Dark Lord see through his thoughts? Of course he would. He was the master of Occulumency. Nothing passed him. Sweat rivered down Regulus's forehead, and he brushed it away, shaking. Terror gripped him like the steely jaws of a vice. There was nothing he could do. The only way out really felt like death. He knew there must be another option, but what that was was beyond him. Smoky blackness chugged all around, a train of midnight tracking the room. Pearly moon rays stroked the curtains, snaking its way towards his four poster bed. Regulus looked to his side. Lucius was fast asleep, and on his right, lay some new boy called Macnair. He hadn't spoken to him as of yet, but the time would come.
Anyway, anyway, that wasn't important, he, he, he- oh.
Regulus stared up at the cracked ceiling, thoughts mobbing his mind like midges. He was in the clutches of a cruel fate, and because he really could do nothing, especially at that minute in time, the Black brother took one last worried breath, thensurrended to the calming quilt of sleep.