Chapter 1 : Memories are the Sharpest of Blades
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A young man, the age of eighteen, stood by a basin of shimmering light. His face was gaunt and his handsome features were shadowed by darkness and fear. A hunched house elf stood loyally at his master’s side, but there was reluctance illuminated in his irises as he croaked, tugging at the hem of his master’s shirt.
“Young Master Regulus, sir. This is where the Dark Lord asked me to drink.” The elf said; his pupils large and dilated as he looked to face his master. Regulus smiled crookedly at his house elf before he knelt to the ground, kneeling at the servant before him.
“Thank you Kreacher,” Regulus began. “You have served me well for these past 18 years. But I’m afraid soon this will be the last time you will ever serve me.” Kreacher stiffened like a rigid board, his eyes widening in shock, then twisted pain.
“But Master! Kreacher can’t, Kreacher won’t! Mistress would be very much disappointed if she finds out Kreacher left Master Black. Master Black will die!” Kreacher looked into Regulus’ eyes pleadingly. “We must go back sir! We must, we must!” But Regulus only waved his hand.
“Kreacher, the Dark Lord must be stopped. The killings, the torture—it isn’t worth the blood; but you Kreacher, when he left you for the Inferi—that was the last straw.” Regulus looked into the house elf’s eyes, looking for a trace of understanding from the elf, but he saw none.
“No, no, no.” Kreacher moaned to himself, shaking his head. “Kreacher won’t listen to what Master Black says. Kreacher won’t, Kreacher won’t Kreacher WON’T!” the house elf bellowed into the darkness, and Regulus felt a stabbing pain to his heart. It hurt for him to know that his final orders to his beloved elf were to leave him in this dark and evil cave.
“Please Kreacher,” Regulus addressed to the now sobbing elf. “You must listen to me, you must understand.” At the softness of his voice, the house elf sniffled and looked up into his young master’s face.
“This locket that I give you, you must replace it with the locket that is inside the basin. Do you understand?” Regulus asked, holding out a locket from his pocket. Kreacher nodded and Regulus continued.
“This potion, I’m afraid that I must drink it all, no matter how much I refuse. Promise me that you will make me drink, even if I cry for it to stop. Promise me that you will force me to continue drinking, even if it kills me.” The house elf squeaked in fear at the word ‘kill’, but as a house elf, he had no other choice to nod his head.
“And this is my final order as your master, Kreacher,” Regulus whispered, placing the palm of his hand onto the small house elf’s head. “Promise me that once I finished the potion, once you switched the lockets, that you will take the real locket and dissaperate. Promise me, that you will leave me and never come back.”
At this, the small house elf wailed a sobbing “NO, KREACHER WON’T!” but Regulus only smiled wryly before standing back up.
“Oh but you will, Kreacher. It’s you master’s orders.” Regulus kicked himself in his thoughts, how bitter and cold those words were, but it was too late to take them back. Approaching the basin, he gave his last long intake of breath and tried to steady his heart’s racing.
Conjuring a small silver glass, he dipped it into the basin and swigged down his first drink. As the liquid seared down his throat, it burned and stung more that of the typical bottle of Firewhiskey.
“How does master feel?” Kreacher asked in a high pitched voice. Regulus blinked from the burning in his insides.
“It’s—it burns.” Regulus whispered before he dunked the glass into the basin again, this time filling the glass to the brim. Gulping down the liquid, his eyes bulged in sudden pain and dropped the glass to the stony ground. The cup broke into shards, the shattering sounds echoing in the cave as Regulus fell to his knees, gasping for breath.
“I don’t want it anymore. It burns, it feels like fire.” He whimpered. “Kreacher, bring me water.” But Kreacher knew what his master said before, so he conjured another glass and dipped it unwillingly into the basin.
“M-master, here’s some water.” Kreacher squeaked, and Regulus snatched the cup, draining it to the last drop, giving an ear piercing scream.
“No more, please, it’s torturing me!” He cried, but Kreacher had another glass waiting.
“Here master, this shall make Master Regulus’ pain go away.”
Regulus desperately took the potion, and like a thirsty animal, frantically gulped it ‘til the glass was empty.
“FORGIVE ME!” Regulus shrieked as he threw the glass into the stone that held the basin high. He was sobbing now, his insides on flames, his throat scorching from the ironically cold liquid. He was on the ground now, spitting up saliva on all fours, and all Kreacher could do was shakily conjure another glass for his master’s agony.
“But my children, please don’t hurt them, please, I’ll do anything!” A woman pleaded as she was bounded to a chair, blood trickling from her hairline. She kicked and whimpered, thrashing about as a hooded Death Eater stood before her, cackling in heartless mirth.
“Oh, but why would we care about your filthy little children, you scum. When we’re finished with you, we will rid your children next. We have no sympathy for children of parents who haven’t got a drop of magic in their veins.” The Death Eater replied smoothly, her tone dripping with malevolence.
“You bitch.” The bounded woman spat. “You tie me up in a chair because you’re too scared to face me on your own. You brought two body guards with you to torture a woman who hasn’t got a single drop of magic in her veins.” The woman sneered, and the Death Eater before her threw off her mask, revealing a woman whose beauty and elegance was warped with a look thirsty of blood.
With her wand of walnut and dragon heartstring, she pointed the tip below the woman’s chin. “You’d make a good Gryffindor.” The dark woman breathed tauntingly in her victim’s face. “And nothing’s as bad as a Gryffindor.” Standing back up, she turned her back, an evil smile on her lips before she whipped around and shrieked a cold blooded, “CRUCIO!”
The woman shrieked with a hair-rising scream and Bellatrix laughed like a madman dancing in the rain. Turning around, she turned to face the shorter of the other two Death Eaters, licking her blood-red lips in pleasure.
“Why don’t you do the honors, dearest Regulus?” She crooned happily as the shortest Death Eater stepped forward, his mask disappearing from his face.
“Are you going to kill me now?” The bounded woman whispered, but she didn’t need an answer, for Regulus had already raised his wand in between her eyes. The woman’s blue eyes were the bluest he had ever seen, and never had he seen the eyes of a woman so filled with pain and misery, yet determine to fight for her children. But this was his job, to serve the Dark Lord. This was what he signed up for.
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” He cried, and a jet of green light hit the woman in between her eyes, and the curse sent the chair falling backwards, landing with a thud. She was dead and the proof behind it was the blue eyes that remained open without seeing.
“I’M SORRY! I’M SORRY. I’M SO FUCKING SORRY!” Regulus cried out into the darkness, the stalagmites dangerously shaking from above. But as he cried, he took the glass that Kreacher had presented him and drained it once again, letting out an ear-piercing cry for deliverance.
“I hate you!” the youngest of brothers screamed at the older one who sat on top of the apple tree branches smirking. “I HATE YOUR FILTHY GUTS!”
“As if I hadn’t heard that one before, Reggie. What are you going to do? Crucify me?” The eldest one chuckled at his joke as he plucked an apple nearby and bit into it. “You know, if you ate more apples in your life, you would probably be happier.” At this Regulus growled and grabbed a rock from the ground.
“You’re an arrogant toerag!” Regulus screamed. “And I thought we were brothers!”
“But you’re a Slytherin. That is where you and I are different.”
“I LOOKED UP TO YOU!” Regulus half screamed, half cried. “YOU WERE MY BEST FRIEND!”
“Yeah, until you decided you wanted to be one of them!” Sirius countered venomously, chucking his unfinished apple to the ground. “Do you feel even more special now? Was it not good enough that you hogged the spotlight for mummy and daddy?”
“You’re just jealous that you can’t do anything right!”
“Oh, but am I? Can you seriously say that I’m jealous when I wear my Gryffindor emblem with pride?” Sirius smirked when his brother just stood there with nothing much to say. Snorting, Sirius muttered, “I thought not.”
Blood boiling, Regulus raised the rock above his head and threw it the hardest he could, but Sirius deflected it with a lazy flick of his wand, the stone hitting Regulus in the chest instead.
Regulus swore out in pain. “THE DARK LORD REWARDS HIS MOST LOYALIST FOLLOWERS! WHEN I HIT THE RANKS, HE’LL COME AFTER YOU!” But Sirius let out a bark-like laugh.
“Is that so? And what are you gonna make him do to me?” Sirius cat called, as tears began to loom in his brother’s eyes.
“I’M GOING TO MAKE HIM KILL YOU!” Regulus screamed. “FOR EVERY PAIN YOU CAUSED MOTHER AND KREACHER AND FOR EVERY DAMNED THING YOU DONE TO ME!” At that Sirius’ eyes widened in shock, but Regulus wasn’t finished.
“AND WHEN YOU DIE, NO ONE WILL GIVE A RAT’S ARSE ABOUT SIRIUS ORION BLACK, THE BLOOD TRAITOR, THE DAMNED!”
Regulus closed his eyes, moaning desperately in despair. “I didn’t mean it.” He half whispered, half croaked. “I’m sorry Sirius; I didn’t mean a thing of what I said. You were my best friend.” Regulus began to roll around on the stone ground, his insides eating him alive, his memories taunting his living presence.
“Master, some more…?” Kreacher croaked, and Regulus gladly took the glass, forgetting that there was still much of the potion he needed to drink. It burned hotter than fire and Regulus let out a blood-curdling scream,
“MAKE THE PAIN GO AWAY!”
“You’re leaving huh?” Regulus asked at Sirius’ doorway, his arms folded. His eldest brother snorted sarcastically.
“No, Regulus. I like to pack up my trunk for no reason.” Sirius slammed the trunk lid shut and spun around to see his younger brother still at the doorway. They hadn’t spoken in a year, despite the fact they went to school together and lived under the same roof.
“What do you want Regulus?” Sirius asked, his patience ticking slowly by.
“I just wanted to talk to you.” Regulus whispered, looking down at his feet. But Sirius let out a cold-blooded laugh. Regulus noted how hollow his laugh was—it wasn’t the laugh that was full of warmth and joy. He missed that laugh…
“There’s nothing to talk about Regulus. I think we made it clear to each other that we aren’t brothers anymore.” Sirius stared at Regulus emotionlessly. “Now if you don’t mind, I’ll be making my way out the door now before mother dearest screams and father dearest whips me with his favorite belt.” Hauling the trunk behind him, Sirius violently shoved his way past Regulus, who remained staring at his feet.
“I didn’t mean it.” Regulus blurted out. “I don’t hate you, and I swear I didn’t mean it!” Sirius paused at his tracks and rounded to Regulus, Regulus staring right back at him.
“Sure you don’t, because you do. That day was probably the most honest you have ever been to me, and I’m not taking your bullshit lie.” Sirius whispered heartlessly, and Regulus could feel the tears in his eyes. He was losing his brother, his only brother. The brother he used to ride broomsticks with and laugh with all day. The brother who would read him stories when their mother and father were out all night.
“But I’m not lying. You still are my brother, and you’ll always be.” Regulus murmured. For a second, he caught a soft glint in his brother’s eyes, but it was gone in a flash, and Sirius’ briefly softened face returned to calloused and cold.
“Yes, I’ll always be your brother.” Sirius said, but it was flat and sadistic. “Your brother you now want dead. And to be honest, I’m probably dead to you right now.” And with that, he turned his back and lugged the trunk down the stairs. Regulus closed his eyes as he heard his mother’s shrill yells at her eldest son, and his father threatening Sirius with his thick leather belt. And he heard his brother’s maniac laugh and his footsteps that became absent as he slammed the front door. Gone and to never be spoke of again.
“I want it to end.” Regulus cried, shaking like a madman, shivering even though his insides were on fire. “Kreacher, please, make it all end!” He begged, his heart full of sorrow, and Kreacher stared back, shaking his head no.
“Master said he must finish the potion. Master said that Kreacher must force him to drink.” But Kreacher’s talk was being ignored by the convulsing man, screaming and shaking from the burning pain. Shrieking and crying from the mental trauma.
“Here, Kreacher gives master that will stop all pain!” cried the trembling house elf. With every drink, Kreacher witnessed his master begging in fits of hysteria. And Regulus drank like a dehydrated child, like a child who had gone days without water and comfort from loving arms.
“KILL ME! KILL ME NOW!” Regulus finally screamed in painstakingly. “KILL ME AND BE DONE WITH IT!” And as he screamed and cried, another flashback haunted his mind.
“Don’t touch him!” cried the eldest blonde boy. His wand arm was outstretched forward, threateningly, while his other hand was outstretched to the side protectively, a smaller boy peering from behind him.
“If you touch him, I’ll hex you! I’ll hex you all!” The eldest brother barked, yet he trembled with fear, shaking from head to toe. The Death Eaters that surrounded them cackled in mirth.
“Do you hear him?” screamed the woman whose laugh was the cruelest and distinguished from the rest. “He says he’ll hex us, as if he knows any spell that can do any damage!” The Death Eaters began to jeer and laugh again as the woman took off her mask, revealing herself to the two fearful children.
“Does ickle Calvin know his mummy and daddy are dead?” Bellatrix sweetly crooned, gracefully swaggering up to the two frozen boys. “Does he know we’ll kill his baby brother first, so he can see death by magic with his own eyes?” Bellatrix bent down and blew her sweet breath onto the elder boy’s face.
“You’re so brave for such a young boy of fourteen.” Bellatrix crooned, letting her finger nails graze over the boy’s pale and soft face. “A Gryffindor by what I sense.” She laid a soft kiss on top of the boy’s blond head, and withdrew; a dark smirk playing on her lips, delighted at the terror that was drawn on the fourteen-year-old face.
“Crucio,” She hissed sweetly, green fires dancing in her eyes as she watched Calvin buckle, screaming, to his knees.
“Good boy,” Bellatrix drawled suggestively before cat walking to the whimpering boy’s body. “Obey your queen,” and with the she whipped to the youngest and screeched “CRUCIO!” with all her might. The youngest boy cried out in pain, his face twisted in agony as the boy named Calvin cried out in anguish.
Regulus flinched. If it was Sirius and him being tortured…Regulus didn’t want to imagine it. The thought of his absent brother hadn’t lingered in his mind for a long time.
“Stay away from him, leave him alone! Take me instead!” The boy cried out, and Bellatrix threw her head back and laughed.
“Oh Calvin, you remind me so much of your mother when we paid her a visit.” And with that, Bellatrix flicked her wand out again, Calvin’s brother shrieking in pain once more.
“Make it stop.” Calvin pleaded, tears glistening down his face. “Stop it, he’s only seven, have mercy on my brother. Take me instead.” And Bellatrix laughed feverishly again, dancing in her spot, as if it was the best thing she had heard in the world.
“Oh, if you must insist!” She chanted joyously, her teeth shining maliciously in the moonlight, and with a hungry glint in her eyes, she lifted her wand and screamed, “AVADA KEDAVRA!” And the once tortured young boy fell spread-eagle on the ground, silent and not trembling. Regulus can hear the tormented cries of the fourteen year old, screaming at Bellatrix, slandering her name.
“Scourgify.” Bellatrix’s husband, Rodolphus, growled and Calvin choked as the lathery bubbles cascaded out of his mouth. Regulus can feel his eyes twitch from beneath his mask. Would Sirius act this way? Would Sirius cry if little Regulus was murdered in front of him?
No he wouldn’t, because Sirius probably wanted him dead as well...
“Regulus, dearest cousin, kill him.” Bellatrix motioned with her hand, eager to see blood spilled. “You did a wonderful job with his mother, for I am too messy with killing curses. I, myself prefer to torture and dueling.”
Bellatrix sappily grinned as she stepped aside, presenting Regulus a spot before the boy. Swallowing, Regulus slowly marched forward, eying the boy from behind his mask.
“Take your mask off!” The boy said through clenched teeth. “I want to die knowing who killed me. I want to die knowing who killed my mother.” Regulus stiffened. The boy purely was a Gryffindor; hell, he might’ve even known Sirius.
“I said take off the mask, you coward!” The boy cried out, still too weak to stand. The Death Eaters began to jeer and Bellatrix called out,
“Get over it, Regulus. Kill the Mudblood scum!”
Regulus felt his chest tighten as he drew the mask away from his face. He watched as the boy’s eyes widen at his unmasked identity.
“You,” The boy whispered. “I knew your brother.”
Raising his wand arm, Regulus aimed in between the boys’ eyes. He was sick of killing, sick of watching families being torn apart. Yet because he was weak, he still killed.
“AVADA KEDAVRA!” Regulus cried out loudly, feeling his voice crack, and with a flash of green light, the boy who was on his knees fell to his side, curled like a ball. His blue eyes were staring without seeing. He, like his brother and mother, and father, were dead.
“Another line of scum eliminated off the list!” Bellatrix declared triumphantly. “Tonight, we must celebrate our accomplishments. Two Mudblood families killed, another four pureblood lines saved—to the Malfoy Manor!” She cried out, and with a number of loud ‘pops’, the many Death Eaters dissaperated onto the night, leaving Regulus behind with the two bodies that lay helplessly on the grass.
Regulus knelt down beside the Calvin boy and swept his grazing fringe from his eyes. Calvin’s face was cold and stiff, his eyes reading shock, pain, sorrow. How many more killings can he take? This was the first child he had killed, the first out of many more to come…
“I didn’t mean to kill the boy!” Regulus panted, his chest rising up and down. “I didn’t mean to kill his mother, oh God, PLEASE FORGIVE ME!” Regulus began to moan, “Kreacher,” He croaked begging, “Make it stop.”
“Last glass master, Kreacher promises.” And Regulus took the glass, swallowing, forcing it down his throat. But the painful searing of fire burned his esophagus, and he couldn’t help but allow the potion to trickle down the corners of his mouth.
“Kill me,” he begged Kreacher. “Take my wand and just kill me.” Kreacher shook his head fervently.
“Kreacher can’t. Kreacher won’t.”
“I SAID KILL ME YOU SPINELESS GIT!” Regulus cried out angrily. “It burns Kreacher, can’t you see? I don’t want to drink anymore, I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE!” Regulus was sobbing, spitting out nothing but his saliva. “I don’t even want to remember anymore. No more memories,” he whispered. “Please, no more.”
“Master—that was the last glass, Master is okay. Kreacher needs locket. Remember?” Kreacher said, slowly approaching his Master in misery. Regulus, panting, sat up. His breathing was raspy, his eyes were bloodshot.
“Yes, Kreacher, the locket, I’ve forgotten. Now here, replace the lockets; c’mon, quickly now.” Regulus whispered, nearly incoherently as he tore the fake locket from his neck. “Go.” Regulus nodded frantically to the basin. His throat was now intensely dry from the potion and his insides were now stinging violently. He felt dizzy, and all his strength had abandoned him, tears still running from his face.
“Master Regulus!” Kreacher said, bouncing to his master’s side. “What does Master need, Master doesn’t look so well.”
“I need water.” Regulus moaned, struggling to sit up. Kreacher deeply bowed as he summoned another glass, for the last one was broken in Regulus’ craze.
“Please Kreacher, I didn’t think I’d come this far, but I might be coming home after all.” The house elf looked up to Regulus’ face, which was still strained and pained, but none-the-less, held a weak and wry smile.
And maybe I can see Sirius, and tell him how sorry I really am…
“Aguamenti,” Kreacher whispered, using his master’s wand to fill the glass. But as the glass became full to the rim, the water vanished, evaporated, faster than it appeared.
“Aguamenti!” Kreacher repeated, this time more firmly. Regulus watched the house elf struggle to fill the glass, a sinking feeling delving into his stomach.
“Kreacher,” Regulus whispered. “Kreacher, I’m afraid we can’t summon water here.” The house elf quit trying to beckon water and looked at his master with bulging eyes.
“But Master is thirsty. Master will be dehydrated if he doesn’t drink. Kreacher knows. Kreacher can relate.” The house elf said nodding knowingly, but Regulus only shook his head.
“I see how it must be, I must drink from the lake.”
“NO! Master, Kreacher won’t let you. Kreacher won’t, Kreacher won’t, KREACHER WON’T!” The house elf fibbed, stomping his foot down. “Kreacher has seen what’s in the lake. Kreacher saw a slimy, wet hand.”
Regulus swallowed painfully, the burning sensation still searing inside. If there was Inferi in the lake, there was a very slim chance he would make it alive. Apparition of a wizard wasn’t an answer; the only escape was by the boat.
“Master shouldn’t go to the lake.” Kreacher warned hoarsely, but Regulus shook his head no. He would fight to get out, and the locket was safe with Kreacher, that was all that mattered. Grimacing, Regulus forced himself to his feet.
“Kreacher,” Regulus said with the strongest voice he could muster. “I want you to leave when I tell you to. Don’t try to save me, and don’t you dare try to stay. Don’t ever come back, and you keep that locket safe, you hear me?” Regulus watched as the house elf nodded, and the young Black bit his lip, as if he was holding back something to say.
“Master has something to say, Kreacher can see it in young Master’s eyes.” Kreacher croaked, eying his master sharply and compassionately. Regulus gulped. This was probably the last time he could relay any words to his brother.
“Kreacher, listen to me. I have one last favor to ask of you.” Regulus whispered, kneeling down to the elf’s eye height. Kreacher watched intently with his round eyes.
“If you can, when you get home, tell Sirius that I love him. Tell him that he was right all along, and that I never meant a thing of what I said when we were younger. Tell him that he was the best brother anyone could ask for. Tell him that I died doing what was right, that I died in the hands of Voldemort’s work. Tell him everything, and please, Kreacher. I’m begging you, please, tell him I am sorry.”
Kreacher stiffened like a board, comprehending and processing what his master has asked of him.
“But the blood traitor—”
“Don’t call him that!” Regulus snapped. “Sirius had his priorities right all along.” Kreacher bowed deeply, yet it was clear the elf had much more to say.
“Please Kreacher, do it for me. As a last wish from your master.” Regulus croaked, his esophagus burning, feeling as if it was wearing thin. Kreacher bowed once again, but as he looked up, Regulus saw the tears formulating in his eyes.
“And Kreacher, one last thing.” Regulus said, standing back up. “Don’t cry for me.” And with that he stumbled to the lake, kneeling at the brink of where water met land. Closing his eyes, he prepared himself for the worst. His fingers were gripped tightly around his wand, yet he knew he didn’t have enough strength to defend himself. Lowering a cupped hand into the water, he took his first drink.
The water was cold, and had an old, bitter taste to it. Yet inside, he could feel the licking flames become slightly smoldered. As he lowered his hand again however, a pale, wet hand of grey grabbed him by the wrist.
“BLOODY HELL!” Regulus cried. He knew what they were, and he was expecting it, but the hand had just grabbed him out of the blue. With a sudden race of whatever adrenaline was left, he tugged hard, resisting the Inferi’s strength of pulling him in. He wasn’t about to go down under without a fight.
But the harder he tugged for his life, the stronger the Inferi’s will power to drag him in became. It wasn’t long until Regulus had broken free that he stumbled back up shore, panting, bewildered he was still alive.
“Kreacher!” Regulus screamed to the frantic, frozen house elf. “Go, get out of here!” With one eye at the rising hordes of Inferi, he laid the other on the loyal house elf that was desperately shaking his head no.
“I mean it Kreacher!” Regulus bellowed—his wand at the ready. “You have to go.” But Kreacher stubbornly set put.
“SECTUMSEPMRA!” Regulus screamed at an Inferius that was coming, crawling its way forward. Expecting blood to come splattering out, the Inferius just looked angrier and just as determined. Of course they wouldn’t bleed. They were already dead!
“KREACHER, GET OUT NOW!” Regulus screamed, surprised where all this adrenaline was coming from.
How could he be so stupid to not know? The Inferi hated light…
“KREACHER! THAT IS A DAMN ORDER!” Regulus cried out shrilly, sending jets of lights to the approaching Inferi. Regulus turned to look at the House Elf that had always served him well…
With one last fleeting look, Regulus watched the house elf bow deeply before snapping his fingers; his eyes told of a long, solemn, heart-wrenching good-bye.
The Inferi were closing in and Regulus knew his time was running out. Everywhere he looked, he saw the staggering and crawling bodies of the dead; their pale, clammy skin shining from his jets of useless light.
Sirius, I need you! A small, little boy frantically screamed in Regulus’ head. Regulus was familiar with this voice. It was his own when he was younger and his innocence wasn’t taken away.
Sirius, come quick! They’re closing in! They’re coming to get me! Regulus felt his back hit the stony wall, his vision swirling in confusing circles. The little boy in his head kept screaming. The determined Inferi kept coming. The lost brother was still miles away.
Sirius! Sirius! SIRIUS!
“Sirius…” Regulus gasped as his knees buckled under him. He was alone now, the only one of his kind to remain. There was no Kreacher, nor human in this cave. Only the dead that were coming too close for comfort.
“Stupefy!” Regulus bellowed repeatedly. “Stupefy, Stupefy, STUPEFY!” But as the bodies that were aimed at just casually fell over, they simply just got back up on their feet again, and the Inferi just kept coming.
Sweat now dribbled from Regulus’ forehead and dripped from the tip of his nose. His messy, black hair stuck to his face. His chest heaved violently, up and down. All around him, they were getting closer.
“Salazar’s Snake.” Regulus whispered to himself, bracing his muscles for the worst. He didn’t know why the hell he was going to pull the stunt he did, but perhaps it was his eldest brother’s trait that rubbed off on him after so many years now forgotten.
Closing his eyes, he tensed, and as he forced himself forward, time and the world itself slowed down. Opening his eyelids, he found himself sprinting towards the Inferi, like a warrior on the front line. His wand was drawn outward and he couldn’t remember when he started screaming all the spells he knew. Anything to get out alive.
But bravery itself had its consequences, and as he broke through the first rank of Inferi he could feel the many Inferius trying to take hold of him. Regulus lashed out from grips, screaming every bloody curse and jinx that flew from his mouth. Every sweat that dripped was an ounce of strength being taken away. Every scream he made just tore out what was left of his voice. And inside he could feel the flames ignite again.
Somewhere inside the hordes of desperate Inferi, Regulus lost his wand, and now he had to fight physically to get out alive. His eyesight was blurred with tears, tears for the longing to go home. Tears for the longing to live. Tears for the brother who would be proud to see his little brother fight. The brother he was 100% certain he could not see.
And somewhere along the way, Regulus gave up. The tears just cascaded down his cheeks, crying for every family member he loved and didn’t get the chance to say good-bye to. The Inferi began to drag him away, Regulus kicking and screaming agonizingly, still somewhat fighting for his life.
“MUM! DAD! SIRIUS! CISSA! ANDI! BELLA!” Regulus cried out from the top of his lungs. “KREACHER!”
He could feel his toes skim above water, and he knew he was going to drown, yet for all it was worth, he kept kicking and screeching. The water came up to his knees, sending goose-bumps up his body. And then the water level came up to his waist, then chest, then chin…
“SIRIUUUUUSSS!” Regulus wailed as his head was finally submerged. Underneath the water of black, Regulus kicked with his hardest might, his fingertips stretching, breaking surface. Wriggling and kicking free, he pushed his limbs back to the top, his face popping out of the unruly waters. Gasping for air, Regulus looked around for shore, but his vision was so clouded over, he could not see.
He could feel the slimy hands grip his ankles, suddenly pulling him down, but Regulus resisted. He was still alive; he wasn’t going to go down under yet. Though he wasn’t the best of swimmers, he had to try. And though he tried, the Inferi kept dragging him down. They began to hug at his legs, his knees, and his waist.
Lethargy was the enemy, and Regulus was seeing red. His head was barely bobbing above the water, the Inferi dragging him down. His chest cavity felt like it would explode from all the physical stress. His heart was pumping faster than it could properly pump blood, its rhythm greatly disoriented. Regulus’ lungs felt weak, tight, compressed, oxygen just merely pumping through.
And as his head sank underneath the surface, Regulus closed his eyes. He wasn’t going to fight a losing battle anymore. He was going to die, and perhaps to die was just what he needed. Just what he deserved.
When he was younger, he thought he had lived, but as the years past, the memories were painful. The killings and screaming blended together in Regulus’ thoughts, together forming a bitter cacophony.
No, back then he did not live.
It was ironic that in the last few moments of his life, he felt as if he had lived the most. It was as if it was his brother pushing him on. It wasn’t the quiet, mysterious Regulus that fought for his life; it was the brother that lived in him. The brother who was rotting in Azkaban right now...
Regulus could feel his senses leaving, his heart and lungs giving up. In a few seconds he would die. In a few moments he would be one of them. In a short snippet of time, everything that Regulus remembered in his short life would be gone, because Inferi could not remember. Inferi had no emotions. Inferi possessed no thoughts of their own.
And as he slipped deeper into the cold darkness, his life now slipping further away, he could hear the childhood voices in his head growing far more distant;
“Sirius!” A young boy said, “Promise me that when we grow up, we’ll still ride broomsticks like we always do?”
“’Course I promise, Reggie.” Said another young voice.
“And promise me we’ll never grow apart.”
“You know you’re my best friend right? You’ll always be my best friend!”