Chapter 1 : My Hero
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Everything you recognize belongs to J.K. Rowling, the amazing creator of Regulus Black.
It’s sort of poetic that as I row towards my fate, my death, that I would reflect on my life, my experiences and all the moments I wish I could have changed.
I was 10 when my older brother went to Hogwarts without me. Back then he was my hero, my savior and my idol. The boy I believed was the complete representation of the Pureblood moral and customs our parents had drilled into our heads. He was the definition of the perfect example, the boy I wanted to be.
I remember crying when he went to catch the Hogwarts express - my idol was leaving me and I wouldn’t see him until Christmas. He told me to stay strong, to be the alpha male, the adult in the house. I told him that Father was the alpha male, he smiled and whispered in my ear words I never forgot, words that remain in my mind everyday and still make a smile appear on my face as I go to my death.
It was a surprise to everyone when he was sorted into Gryffindor, my hero, a blood traitor in my parents’ and friends’ eyes, they would continuously remind me that he was filthy and not worthy of my company, that I shouldn’t have anything to do with him. To act higher and privileged around him like he didn’t belong. But I couldn’t, not my hero, not the boy who brought happiness into our home. He still sent letters to me then, full of the love and care he had always shown me and no one else. To me he could never be a blood traitor, he was perfect; in my 10 year old mind it was not possible.
He came home for Christmas, they looked down on him, called him degrading names and placed him in the same category as the muggleborns they hated so much. They wouldn’t feed him or give him the praise they used to, he was now nothing in their pureblood eyes. I remember how, while in their presence I would follow their lead, not wanting to anger them and shift the insults onto myself. I was never proud of my fears, how impressionable I was. I only ever had my own thoughts with his encouragement. He made me brave.
On the nights that he was home and they refused to feed him I would always bring food up to him, I couldn’t let him starve, couldn’t let him go through the pain alone. Yet, I was always too scared to act. I would listen to his stories about Hogwarts. About the amazing classes quidditch and the sense of unity that came from 3 of the 4 houses. At the end of all his stories I couldn’t wait to be there with him. Even then he was still my idol, the boy I wanted to be. I couldn’t imagine him as anything else.
It was only a year later when I boarded the train with my brother. I was excited, it was new and I would finally see how true all those stories I was told were. But everything changed for the worst when I got to Hogwarts. It was as amazing as he said it would be but I didn’t get my wish. I was placed in Slytherin, all due to my fear of my parents. I asked for Slytherin, for the house I now regret ever joining. I can still see the disappointed look on my brothers’ face as the hat yelled out the house I would be accommodating for the next 7 years.
I lived up to my parents expectations from there, yet I still looked up to my brother and his friends as the people I wished I could have had as role models. But I was a Slytherin, the house he always said he hated, I would never get the same love he once gave me after that.
I made friends, just as my parents told me too. Only with Slytherins, I would follow my cousins around and they would teach me what they knew, they were training me for the worst mistake of my life. I didn’t know back then what they were training me for, why they taught me the spells they did. Spells that were far more complex then the first year spells I was learning in class. It never occurred to me to ask questions about why I was learning these spells, why they always told me it was so important to learn my charms and transfiguration spells long before we did them in class. I wish I had asked, maybe then I wouldn’t be in my current situation. The situation that will cost me my life, but will also be the bravest and most noble thing I have ever done.
I grew older and learnt more spells as time went on. By third year rumors of a dark wizard were rising and the news he was looking for recruits soon followed. By then I knew that my cousins were teaching me dark magic - I should have walked away then, while I still could. But my parents were proud and I didn’t want them to look down on me as well. My brother’s treatment had gotten worse over the years and every night I would go to him and heal him with the spells I had secretly learnt. I still had a chance then, to escape and live a relatively normal pureblood life.
He was always telling me too, to leave the people I called friends and get out before I got too deep. He didn’t want to see me hurt. I should have listened then. He was right, and for the first time I didn’t listen. That was my first real mistake. After that I spiraled into a dark hole that I would never return from.
By the time I turned 14, my cousins and all my friends had been recruited by whom they called the Dark Lord. That name, even then, spread fear though the hearts of everyone at Hogwarts. People were being murdered. Looks of terror always remained on their faces when found. The Dark Mark lingering over their homes or offices. Nowhere was safe and recruitment was in high form. I was pushed into joining; they encouraged me and convinced me with snide remarks, foul play and promises of my parents’ approval. Even then I was hesitant. Not wanting to step lightly into something that my brother didn’t look kindly on. It wasn’t until the summer before my 5th year that everything changed and I decided to join the Dark Lord. It was right after my brother ran away.
I had begged him not to, I told him that it wasn’t worth it, that he was better off here. I lied straight to his face, my selfish needs coming before his safety. The only true statement that came out of my mouth that night was when I told him I needed him, that he was the only thing that remained that gave me hope that there was something better out there. I told him he was my idol, my hero. He hugged me, and told me that he would always be here for me, that he believe that I could do great things for the right people at some point in my life. Then he walked out the door and out of my life.
A year later I became a Death Eater. With my cousins now gone from the school, the death eaters that remained looked to me for guidance, and I gave it to them. I never believed it myself but I was too far in to speak my mind and run away from the choice I had made. I couldn’t back out and every step I took away from my brother, so he would never find out brought me closer to the fate I wish I had never chose.
Another year passed and I had graduated from Hogwarts. It was new and at first exciting. I was free from the confines that Hogwarts had become. The once magnificent school had become my hell. Where I was forced to act different, and against the things I believed. I was free from there. But only for a month before the missions started flooding in. I would go along with them. Pleasing the Dark Lord’s whims and keeping in his good books and inner circle. I never intended to betray him. I wasn’t brave enough; the thought never crossed my mind when I aimed for the inner circle. I wanted privileges then, the respect the inner circle gave. Looking back now all I really wanted was the praise I never received at home. I only ever received it from him, but we stopped talking long before I left school.
Weeks passed, they felt like years. I don’t recall them much. It was the same thing over and over. He sent me out, I tortured and killed and through the constant routine of faces always full of fear and pain, I became numb. The victims of the Dark Lord’s games blurred into one and I forgot about the reasons why I had fought for so long. Until that fateful day I heard something I shouldn’t have, something that reminded me of why I hadn’t wanted to do this in the first place.
I overheard the Dark Lord while wandering the halls of the Headquarters and I found out something that I should never have known. The one thing that made me realize just how much I didn’t want to be there, how much I didn’t want the Dark Lord to succeed. I learnt just how far he would take his ideology to reach his ultimate goal. It was horrible; I still shiver now as I go to my death. The cruel things I overheard were beyond my waking thoughts. I couldn’t go along with them and back then I had no idea what to do. After he made my house elf accompany him on a task I found out about the horcrux. I had heard small snippets about them before that day. I would spend hours in bookstores trying to figure out what they were. The only place I found information on them was at Borgin and Burkes, and the information I found wasn’t anything good at all. That was when I decided to go on the self-imposed mission I was currently acting out. To destroy the horcrux and bring the Dark Lord closer to mortality and hopefully destruction.
I searched and searched, finding as much as I could about the horcrux I had learnt about. Salazar Slytherin’s locket. Kreacher had told me where it was and I was determined to finish this task, even if it was my last. I made a copy of the locket and placed my note for the Dark Lord in it. I knew I wouldn’t be alive when he got it, but I wanted him to know that he wasn’t as immortal as he thought.
“Master Regulus, we are here.” I was brought out of my past by Kreacher. I had made him promise to come, to break every rule a house elf was meant to aspire to. I had told him to bring me and above all else listen and obey anything I said. Even if it meant leaving me to die.
“Thank you Kreacher - now you remember what I told you to do?” I was not going to let anything go wrong. I was going to drink the entire potion and get Kreacher to take the Locket and leave. I knew before I came that I was here to die and I wasn’t going to back out now.
“Yes Master Regulus,” Kreacher agreed, his voice muffled as he bowed.
“Good, now I want you to feed me that potion, do not stop even if I beg you to stop. Make sure every drop has been drained, take the locket from the bottom and place the fake one inside. Got that?” I commanded him. I knew it would be painful but I didn’t care.
“Yes… Master Regulus.” I could tell it was hard for him but he had to agree. I lifted the cup to the basin and filled it with the glossy potion. Lifting it to my mouth I took a deep breath and whispered:
“This is it.”
The pain hit me straight away and I just wanted to curl up in a ball and make it go away. I could feel a boney hand making me drink more, mumbled words that I couldn’t make out even as I strained to hear. It was excruciating pain that I wanted to stop. I begged for it to stop. Yet it continued to come until finally it secede its assault on me, I was weak and out of breath but I was alive. For now.
That’s when I saw them, the Inferi crawling towards me. I looked up at Kreacher who was currently trying to fend them off. To save me. He was my one last chance to destroy the horcrux so I said something I never thought I would say. Something that determined my fate.
“Kreacher go! Leave here without me and destroy that horcrux, do not tell my parents what I have done,” I panted, my chest not being able to supply enough oxygen to allow me to talk in full sentences.
“But Master…” Kreacher was trying to reason with me. I smiled and chuckled, he was a very special house elf. “Go Kreacher, that is an order” I averted my eyes from him, I didn’t want to see the look he would have given me if I had been facing him. This was my choice and I was going to stick by it.
I heard him apparate, and I was alone with the Inferi crawling towards me. This was it, my last minute alive. I felt them grabbing my legs, dragging me closer to the murky water. I was going to die right here, killed by the dead.
Yet what I thought of, as my head was submerged underwater was not fear or will to live, it was acceptance. I had finally done the deed that my brother thought I was able to accomplish. I had redeemed my mistakes with my one last act.
I was relaxed, I had been set free, I had completed what I had come to do, proof that I was the boy my once hero thought I was. I was finally at peace.