I know you probably don’t want waste any time reading anything associated with me, much less a personally written letter. But please, I’m asking you to just give me one more chance – you can grant me at least that, can’t you?
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if one day your entire world changed, abruptly, utterly and irrevocably, without any warning? To be honest, I hadn’t thought much about it either. It was just one of those farfetched urban myths, I’d told myself. I was a Black; thus, I was both beyond and above such trivialities.
I’ve always admired you, Sirius. Aspired to be like you, depressed when I failed, hated you for having what I couldn’t attain. At school, perhaps the one place I was ever really happy, away from the influence of our parents, you were more popular than me, a better Quidditch player, better looking. In essence, better. I suppose that’s partially why, eventually, I tried to distance myself from your legacy. Why I followed along with our parents’ hairbrained ideals, why I pretended to believe what they did. I just wanted some acceptance. Perhaps that even led to my joining the Death Eaters in my sixth year.
We used to be close, Sirius. Do you remember when we were young, how we often got into those little tussles? But we always worked it out, didn’t we? I remember you giving me piggy backs, you comforting me when those scary people came to our manor. I remember our play duels – those were the ones that pleased Mother the most, weren’t they? Said we had fine dueling blood, strong magic running in our veins.
But the time for dwelling on the past is long gone. Much as I destest myself, and I’m sure you detest me as well, for saying so, the first year with the Death Eaters wasn’t bad. I found myself in a group, having a sort of superiority for once. It was an empowering feeling, even if it was for all the wrong reasons.
In my seventh year, after you graduated, things at Hogwarts got worse. It was underground, kept from the notice of that Muggle-loving lunatic Dumbledore, of course, but threats had escalated to action. It went much beyond the boundaries of pure bullying.
I’m quite ashamed to chronicle what happened next, but as this is my parting words of sorts, my last legacy being left behind, my atonement for my errors, I’ll not skim it over, but give you all the gory details to complete the picture.
We tortured numerous muggle-borns that year. I do admit that initially, I hadn’t thought much of it. But then it changed. This one night, some of the other boys got into the Firewhisky, became rowdier than usual. And of course we went muggle-born hunting. Well, we ran into this one little first year in the corridors, all alone. We started cursing and hexing him, laughing boisterously all the while as though it were a great deal of fun. Perhaps it was, for some of the others. Certainly they seemed to take pleasure in the pain of others.
It got physical, they started beating him. I think we may have broken some bones, there was blood everywhere. All the while, I remember thinking that it was wrong. Maybe because in terms of appearance, or some other factor, he seemed to remind me of myself. But no matter how bad it got, I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to stand up for him, to tell the others to stop.
But then these footsteps came pounding down the hall – we were in the Dungeons, I don’t even know how she got down there. Prefect duty perhaps. I think she was in my year, although she hardly looked it. She could’ve easily been mistaken for a second year. Everything about her seemed to be in minature. Her short stature, small heart shaped face, short messy hair. Almost like a little pixie. The one large thing about her was her huge, wire-rimmed glasses. They kind of gave her the appearance of an owl.
Anyway, that night, she did what I didn’t have the courage to do. She saved the little first year, despite the fact that the five of us towered over her, could’ve completely broken her by barely lifting a finger. She stood up to us, five Death Eaters in training.
She was in Hufflepuff. I think I’d probably bullied her as well before. She seemed to have the air of one not particularly well cared for, and I remember wondering whether she had any family that had shown her love growing up, or if she was cold like me. Her clothes and books all seemed old, passed through many hands. She was a Muggle-born.
We left her there in the Dungeon corridor that night, curled up on the floor in fetal position and bleeding. I went back for her three hours later, after I was sure that the others had passed out from the Firewhisky. She was gone; not even a trace of blood remained.
Throughout the next few weeks, I tried to work up the courage to go talk to her. But I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it, Sirius. For the life of me, for all the Black gold in Gringotts, for all the magic in the world, I just couldn’t do it. So I took to observing her whenever I could, in between classes, at meals, during class.
Despite her less priveledged background, she was always helping others, always giving. Always being so selfless, so brave. The others were really angry about the last episode, how she’d tried to stop them. She’d often show up bearing new scars—both mental and physical. She hid them well, of course, but I could tell. I could always tell, after the careful observations.
I think a really strange type of relationship was developing then, to tell you the truth. One sided, but a relationship nonetheless. It started something building in me, it started me on the path which I’m nearly at the end of now.
I know it might not have seemed so, but for the most part I was on your side, Sirius. Just like you, I disagreed with the Black legacy. But then… a sense of rebellion took over, I suppose. After being unable to best you in anything, I settled for becoming the very opposite. Yet all the while I knew that it wasn’t right.
This story seems almost similar to that Muggle fairy tale, Cinderella was it? Remember that masquerade ball they held your graduating year, Sirius? You danced three times with that one masked girl, the one that seemed small and fragile. The one that you never found out who it was. It’s all over now, so I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t know why I’m telling you this. Maybe for the selfish purpose of clearing my own conscience. I don’t know. But that girl and this; they’re one and the same. I just thought that you should know.
Seventh year passed pretty much surreally for me; I spent the rest of it always watching her. Then came graduation. The ceremony went realitively smoothly, all things considered. Not that you would know – you couldn’t be bothered to attend. But that’s all in the past now, and I’m not trying to bring up old wounds in this last tribute.
Things got wild afterwards though, more Firewhisky was involved, I’ll grant ourselves that. But then the we dressed up in the garb of the older Death Eaters, trying to be them in our own little way. We went out looking for trouble.
And we found her.
I remember thinking at the time, please, no, not her. Anyone but her. But then, even that’s a selfish thought, is it not? Thinking that it would be okay if it were anyone else. The sequence of events that took place that night are hazy in my mind – perhaps it was the Firewhisky. More likely, it’s because I don’t want to remember. I don’t want to remember what I’d done that night, what I’m responsible for.
It started out much the same way, the physical beatings, the magical hexes and curses. More brutal than usual, sure, but of the same sort. Then my hood fell back, and for one electrifying moment, our eyes met.
She looked me in the eyes, straight in the eyes.
And she saw.
I swear to you, Sirius, that she saw. She saw who I was, who I am, who I will be. She saw right into the soul of me, and for that moment, she knew me better than I knew myself, as cliché as that sounds. For that one instance, I knew myself, I was surer of myself than I’ve ever been, or ever will be, I’m sure.
She had the most beautiful eyes, Sirius, grey ones. Warm and inviting like a wool sweater, deep and strong like a castle wall, conflicted and complicated as stormy skies.
Despite my best efforts to remain surrepticious throughout the year, in that moment I was sure that she knew that I’d been observing her all year. She looked right at me, Sirius, and you know what she did next? She smiled at me, a small sad smile that conveyed so much. It seemed almost as though she were resigned to what was about to happen, yet at the same time, it spoke volumes that she would never give up, never back down.
And then you know what happened next, Sirius?
You know what horrific thing happened next that I didn’t stop?
That I should’ve stopped, that I should’ve tried harder to prevent, that I should’ve saved her from?
In that moment, while our brief, unspoken conversation took place, one of the others – it doesn’t matter which, they’re all the same to me, now – raised a wand, and did something that should’ve occurred to me.
The next thing I remember was a voice resounding loudly in my ears, blood rushing to my head and blocking out the sound. Know what he said, Sirius? “Avada Kedavra.”
Want to know why the lying bastard claimed he had killed her, later on? Because she’d seen me, seen my face. “She could turn you in,” he had claimed. Want to know his other pertrubed reason for kiling her? Because she smiled. Because she smiled, Sirius. Because she bloody damn smiled.
And that has become my rhyme and reason, my raison d’etre, so to speak.
I found out much later afterwards that it had been done on the direct orders of the Dark Lord himself. Why did he want her dead so badly, her in particular? Was she part of a prophecy of some sort as well? Did she hold some sort of key to his demise?
But you know what? It doesn’t really matter anymore. I have a reason now, a motivation for becoming that key to his demise. Because she smiled.
For the last year, on the cover I’ve been pretending to be a loyal supporter to the Dark Lord still. But inside, Sirius, my world has been flipped utterly inside out and upside down. My whole world seems to have come crashing down during that brief interlude, and I now have the courage to finally stand up and be myself.
The courage that you possessed, the courage to be different, to rebel. You couldn’t give me that, Sirius, but she could. And I’ve taken it. Because she smiled, a sort of courage was conveyed through that simple gesture.
A little bit of soul, I sometimes like to think. That perhaps she didn’t despise me so much as to really leave me alone in this bitter world with nothing.
And I think I’m really onto something here, Sirius. I can’t tell you about it completely – trust me, you’ll be safer not knowing. But Kreacher has proved invaluable in accomplishing this, and when the time is right, he’ll pass this letter onto you.
There’s an island, where the Dark Lord has managed to stow a piece of his soul. For safekeeping, he thinks. It’s not safe.
I’m going to destory it.
But at the same time, I know that I’m not going to make it out alive. There’s just no way – and maybe this is the better way. Because I’m tired of living, I’m tired of this world, I’m tired of feeling.
I just needed to breach our estrangement, Sirius. We’re still brothers, and I need you to understand that deep down, I tried to do the right thing. I’m trying now. But even this atonement may not be enough to keep me any longer – I know I’ve been very bad.
But please forgive me for all I’ve done, Sirius, and understand the reason why I did what I’ve done, why I’m going to do what I will.
Because she smiled at me, and that one little upward curving of the lips shifted my entire world, for better or for worse.
I’m thinking it’s for the former. Only knowing that you will one day have possession of this, that hopefully one day you’ll be able to forgive what I’ve done, am I able to go ahead with this path. You’ve given me so much courage, Sirius, and I want to help make the world a better place for all those I’ve hurt.
And for her, even though she won’t be able to enjoy it. For her memory, then. It doesn’t matter any more. Sirius – the locket – R.A.B. – Kreacher …
Soon, when the time is right.
Sirius, I love you. Brothers forever.
Goodbye … because she smiled.
Regulus Arcturus Black, 1979.
Note: This was probably a far cry darker than what I've previously written. It's for xdaanana's banner/title challenge. It was a further challenge to write from the POV of the opposite gender, especially one so intricate and deep as Regulus.
As for what'll come after this... I'm really on the fence about it, really. The options would be to either leave it as is, continue it as a Sirius/OC (my original intention) but then the story got away from me and I'm thinking that possibly continuing it as Regulus/OC might be better. That being said, any feed back, concrit, etc. would be greatly appreciated!
Edit: (August 2009) A few very slight changes here and there, typos fixed up, etc. At this point in time, I'm pretty sure that this will remain a one-shot. Thanks for reading!