Chapter 78 : Horcrux
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Betrayal! Regulus couldn't get the word out of his head. He hadn't the mind to speak to Bartemius at the station and by the time the three arrived back at Regulus' home, he didn't want to. Despite the blonde's pleas that he did it for Regulus' own good, the young Black wanted nothing to do with him any longer. Bartemius was escorted from number 12 Grimmauld Place by Kreacher; his protests carried all the way to Regulus' bedroom.
“He was just trying to help you,” Bellatrix cooed as she flicked her wand and sent Regulus' trunk slamming to his floor. “It's better this way. If you'd actually left the country, you would have been killed for your betrayal.”
“Are you saying I won't be now?” Regulus looked up at his cousin, their almost identical grey eyes mirroring a mutual hatred.
“No.” The words dropped from Bellatrix's tongue like a lead weight. She sneered at the boy and smoothed back her hair. “You'll be punished, but the Dark Lord seems to think that you are suffering from some kind of...delusions.”
Regulus scowled and put his hand on the edge of his bedroom door. “Get out.”
Bellatrix gasped at his audacity and swept from the room, her muttered cursing and threats following her all the way to the staircase and down into the entryway. The boy slammed his door closed and knelt before his trunk. He dug out his father's book, sat on the floor and leaned his back against the door in order to ensure there would be no unexpected interruptions.
Orion Black was not the type to keep a diary or journal, so Regulus had no misgivings that he'd find a day to day account of his father's life inside the pages. He quickly flipped through it for a general idea. His father's handwriting covered most of the pages; it was messy and frantic and in some parts the writing shimmered from alteration charms. Amidst his father's writing, were scraps of other books. Folded spells were shoved into the binding and ripped out portions of text were taped onto pages with annotations beside them.
Regulus was confused as to why his father would hand over the mess of a journal. But he knew that if the book was in the vault, then Orion wanted him to have it for a reason. So the boy turned to the first page and began reading. It was dated November 13, 1976.
Regulus has been chosen in place of his brother. When
Sirius left, I knew this would happen, but I held out hope
that my youngest would prove useless to the Dark Lord.
He came to our home this morning, treated us as though
we should be proud of our son's future. Naturally, I agreed.
It's too soon to make any waves.
I still don't have the answers I need.
Regulus widened his eyes at the words before him. He remembered that year. Bellatrix had given him the news over his Christmas Holiday. He was so excited then.... The boy shook away the memories and turned his attention back to his father's writing. Some of it was so boring, Regulus found his eyes growing heavy with the effort. It all seemed so useless. His father was looking for something, that much he was sure of, and scattered through his seemingly endless research were occasional mentions of his sons.
Regulus never realized before how his father felt about Sirius. He couldn't help but feel a disconnection, seeing the man's words claim love of his eldest while his actions had never once reflected such feelings. He tried not to dwell on it. Sirius was in the past and nothing could repair the rift that lay between him and their family. Especially after what Regulus had done.
Another entry was dated August 22, 1977.
Muggles don't know what treasures they hold.
It was mixed in with some historical journals in an
old bookshop. I could tell there were concealment
charms on it the moment I picked it up. The old teller
in the shop thought it rubbish. I paid two Galleons
worth of Muggle money for the journal and it's been
worth its weight in gold.[…]She gives details of watching
her neighbor sneak into the woods under a bright moon.
The ritual she described was horrific.
How a young woman ever stood by and watched
such disgusting acts of magic, I cannot imagine.
A stronger soul than I could ever hope to be.
There were torn out pages of another book attached to the back of the entry. The writing was delicate and frail. Regulus assumed it to be the pages in which his father had referenced. He did not read them. Anything that Orion would deem horrific and disgusting was not something he wanted added onto his already weighted mind.
The discovery of the journal brought a new fervor to his father's entries. The man was excited, but still frantically searching for answers. He chronicled accounts of others performing the same ritual, some of whom did not survive the process. But Regulus was still lost as to what the ritual was or why it was being used. Finally, an entry dated February 7, 1978 held his answers.
originally suspected. This ritual, in all its disgusting
and dangerous nature, is the answer to immortality.
The trinkets they carry for the ritual are the key
to it all. The Dark Lord's assertion that he could rule
for years beyond ours was not a false claim.
He has performed this ritual. I believe that with all I possess.
Regulus nearly dropped the journal when he read those words. He laid it down as carefully as he could, not wanting to lose his page, and put his hands over his face. Everything was starting to make sense and he felt stupid for not seeing it before. A quick glance at the clock sent his heart racing; he'd been lost in the book for over six hours without realizing it. His stomach growled on cue and as much as he wanted to ignore it, he needed a break before continuing on.
The boy wrapped and hid his father's journal at the bottom of his sock drawer, then crept downstairs for some food. The house was oddly silent considering the hour. He wondered where his parents were. Halfway to the kitchen, a sinking dread filled his stomach.
The house-elf scurried into the room, his eyes wide over Regulus' panicked tone.
“Where are my parents?” he demanded before Kreacher could speak.
“They have gone to dinner, Sir.”
“Y-yes, Sir.” Kreacher took a tentative step towards the boy and looked up at him with concern. “Are you alright, Master Regulus? Shall Kreacher get you some tea?”
“I'm fine. But I would like some tea,” Regulus answered. “And some dinner.” He followed the house-elf into the kitchen and took his proper place at the table. Kreacher provided a nice plate of chicken with rice and Regulus ate it with a ravishing hunger he didn't realize he had. He was offered a second plate, but the boy wisely declined. Eating too much would simply leave him feeling ill.
“Mister Crouch has been to the door twice since I removed him,” Kreacher told the boy as he cleared away his plate.
Regulus frowned. “If he comes back again, use your magic and throw him from the yard.”
“What if there are Muggles around?” the elf asked.
“Do it anyways. I don't want him near this house.”
The house-elf nodded dutifully and provided Regulus another cup of tea to take to his room.
“Call up when my parents get home,” the boy added before heading back upstairs to resume his reading.
He placed his tea on the desk and pulled the journal back out of his drawer. He felt nervous as he took a seat at his large desk and pulled the book back open to where he'd left off. The tone of Orion's writing changed drastically after his realization. Rather than spending his time looking for how, he was then focused on what. What had the Dark Lord used to seal his ritual? What would it take to undo the dark magic? It wasn't until June 21, 1978 that the trinket was given a name.
I've never seen such cruel acts in all my years.
To think that some wizards would do this to one another,
it's no wonder we are constantly finding ourselves in the
midst of wars. I almost could not finish the book[...]but I've
found it. The details of the immortality ritual.
It isn't so much a ritual as a severing of your soul.
I didn't realize that it was possible to tear your soul,
but after what I've read, it does not surprise me.[...]The
trinket is used to hold the shattered soul. It is called a Horcrux.
Now, I must find what the Dark Lord is using as his Horcrux.
Means of destruction still evade me, but I will not give up.
Regulus felt the blood drain from his face and his hands felt weak. He rubbed roughly at his eyes and drained his entire tea with one drink to calm his nerves. “I can't do this,” he whispered to himself. “Why would he give me this?” His voice was more shaky than he'd have liked. He hadn't felt that powerless in a long time. “I don't know what you want from me!” he shouted, pushing the book away from himself and looking away from it.
But that was a lie. Regulus understood exactly why his father had handed over the journal. He expected his son to carry on with the tasks he'd set for himself. What Regulus didn't understand was why now. Why hadn't his father come to him in person with all of the information? Why would the man pass it along in such a fashion? He vowed to confront the man about the journal when he arrived home from dinner that night. He would get his answers.
The young Black took a deep breath and pulled the book back over to himself. He was nearing the end and it was best to finish before the night was out. The rest of Orion's journal faded into hopelessness. As hard as he tried, the man could not find any mention of a Horcrux being destroyed. Nor could he fashion a guess at what the Dark Lord had used for his own.
On the final page of Orion's journal, Regulus got the exact answers he had wanted. It was dated December 31, 1978.
I have no confidence that I will ever discover how to
destroy a Horcrux. As for the Dark Lord's choice of
one, I shall never know. He's kept himself at such a
distance from the family as of late.
Perhaps he's sensing the disloyalty amongst us all.
Even Walburga has voiced her doubts on this very
afternoon. She will never change her views, but I
believe she is starting to see that the ends do not justify
the means.[...]It all lies with Regulus now.
My heart is too weak to continue this search.
Regulus closed the ended journal and sat back in his chair. He had been right; his father expected him to find and destroy the Dark Lord's Horcrux. He couldn't help but laugh at the very idea. He was a boy and his power would never come close to matching Voldemort's. Orion was a fool to think that Regulus could do anything of the sort. “How would I know what he's even using?” he asked the book.
“But you do know,” that familiar voice rang out inside his mind.
Regulus shivered at Anthony's words and shook his head. “I don't know.”
“Yes. You do,” the voice insisted. But this time, it was not just a distant voice in the back of Regulus' mind. It was louder than it had ever been and more solid. And it didn't come from inside his head, but rather...beside him.
Regulus slowly turned his face towards the source of the words and nearly fell out of his chair at the sight. There was a boy. He was sixteen-years old, had dirty blonde hair and a crooked smile; his glasses sat slightly askew in front of his deep blue eyes. A Ravenclaw tie sat properly around the boy's neck and his Hogwarts school uniform was neatly pressed. Regulus hadn't seen the boy in ages, but he was unmistakable.
It was Anthony Bonham.
A Note From the Author: This is where lots of guessing and possible anger starts to occur, I think. I encourage you to leave your theories. Is Regulus seeing things? Did he fall asleep at his desk? Is he seeing a ghost? Is Anthony really there? What do you think is going on? Anyways, thank you so much for reading and for all of the support so far! :) --Jenna
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