Chapter 3 : Regulus Black
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A young man sat at his desk, his long black hair falling into his face as he stared without seeing the small stack of papers resting in front of him. His leg tapped out his nervousness as he slowly shook his head. He glanced at his door, half-hidden by a large poster of Salazar Slytherin that had been a gift from one of his friends.
A calendar hung near his desk with most of the month crossed out in green marker. Only two days left before Christmas. But that day’s square had other writing in it.
2nd year Sirius left.
His head fell into his hands. He had trouble believing it had already been two years since Sirius had that tremendous row with their parents and walked out of their lives, leaving him behind. He had heard through the gossip that Sirius had moved in with James Potter’s family. Since then, his parents, who had placed all their hopes on Sirius, now had transferred that heavy burden to him.
He had sought sanctuary in his room, away from his arrogant parents when they had begun their nightly complaining. He was just able to hear his mother’s continued frenzied diatribe about blood traitors and ungrateful sons. Another low voice could only be heard when she stopped speaking. He sighed, wondering yet again why his father had to stir her anger by throwing fuel on her flames.
“Why can’t he prove our family proud?” his mother’s frantic shouting crashed through the closed door. “Why can’t we have a child we’re proud of – like Bellatrix or Narcissa? Druella’s been gloating about Bellatrix and Narcissa making respectable marriages and then asking me how Sirius is doing while looking sympathetic! And my other child doesn’t do anything that I can boast about. Where is the justice?” There was a short silence before his mother continued. “I know! I know Andromeda married that filth, why do you think she’s no longer on the tapestry? But how can I use that when Druella told me just the other day that Bellatrix has joined Lord Voldemort’s Pure-Blood campaign?”
The young man slumped at his desk, shaking his head in disbelief before finally getting up to pace around his room. Too many times he had felt her gimlet gaze watching him, waiting for the moment that he has brought honor to the family. Never mind that it was a skewed honor. He stretched out on his bed, the posters covered in vibrant green curtains with the deep green bedding edged with silver trim. He looked up at the green canopy, his hands behind his head.
“I am not brave,” he whispered, afraid his parents would hear him. “Sirius is so much braver than me. I’m too scared.” His stomach would twist into a tight ball, making him ill whenever he considered standing up to either of his parents. Sirius never seemed to be scared when he stood up to their parents.
He had idolized his older brother and was secretly thrilled when he discovered that Sirius had been Sorted into Gryffindor House. Not that his parents were happy about their eldest child becoming the very first Gryffindor in a family that prided themselves on being Slytherin. He had borne many lectures on the evils of Gryffindor students until his parents finally discovered another topic. He had looked forward to the many letters that Sirius had sent him, every one of them hidden under his bed. The only place he knew his parents wouldn’t look because it was beneath them.
Two years had passed and he had tagged along with his brother on the train. He had been more than a little surprised that Sirius and his three friends had allowed it. He watched James mess up his hair while playing with a Snitch, Remus read one of their school books while Sirius played with different spells until Peter found a reason to leave. He had followed Hagrid to the lake’s edge where he shared a boat with three other students. Professor McGonagall had greeted them with a stern lecture. Then she had taken them to the Great Hall where they stood in line waiting to be Sorted. His name was called and he sat on the stool as Professor McGonagall had placed the hat on his head.
Then it had happened.
He had been Sorted into Slytherin and he had lost his brother.
Tears welled in his eyes; he remembered that day far too clearly. The Sorting Hat had barely touched his head when it had made its decision. He hadn’t even had time to protest that he wanted to be in Gryffindor like his brother. Just after the Sorting Hat’s proclamation, he had looked to his brother who had met his eyes for the last time. Just another way to show he wasn’t brave because he’d been placed undoubtedly in Slytherin instead of Gryffindor.
In only one way he was glad that Sirius had ignored him. The four never hexed him like they did to the other Slytherins, especially Severus Snape. Only he was safe from their pranks. But he’d have given up that small comfort just to have his brother back. Of course, his parents were thrilled at the news and they had sent treats that he ended up giving to his dorm mates.
However, thinking about the past wasn’t helping him decide what to do. He knew there was a silent war happening. Not very many people knew, but everyone was affected. There had been rumors and gossip that could hardly be credited about Lord Voldemort gathering those with evil hearts to him. He had gathered information – the evidence sat neatly stacked on his desk at this very moment.
He had hidden in the shadows in the dead of night when others slept. He listened to their hushed conversations. He heard their whispers of those foolishly fighting the Dark Lord, laughing about the destruction they would soon bring. He desperately wanted news of his brother – did he still live? It was interesting that a select few called Lord Voldemort by a different name, the Dark Lord. He admitted that it sounded more ominous.
The memory of the last Quidditch match before Sirius and James’ graduation had been priceless. He, Regulus, was the Seeker for the Slytherin team, one of the best in many years. It was an undeniable fact that Slytherin had trounced Gryffindor that day and he had gotten to watch James turn an interesting shade of red with the realization they had lost.
Yet for everything Sirius knew, he didn’t know that his younger brother never spent time with those he hated. Or how Regulus went out of his way to study, determined to keep out of trouble.
His thoughts led him back to the papers sitting on his desk.
Professor Dumbledore might find these papers extremely useful if he believed a Slytherin. A sinking sensation spread through him. He wasn’t aware of any Slytherin who was fighting against Lord Voldemort or the Dark Lord. What if Professor Dumbledore didn’t believe him?
If he had to prove himself, then how was he supposed to do so? Did he follow Sirius and attempt to join the Professor Dumbledore ranks? Or follow Bellatrix in becoming Lord Voldemort’s supporter? He knew which he would prefer, but his stomach began to twist at the mere thought of going against his family. If they didn’t allow him to join, then where would he be? He would be completely alone.
He felt as if he’d been hit. All the information he collected since the beginning of the year was useless! These were only stories plainly created by bored classmates as they sat before the fire late at night. He couldn’t give that gossip to Professor Dumbledore.
An idea formed in his mind. He wanted to dismiss it as crazy but it stayed.
Why not become one of Lord Voldemort’s followers? He could gather the information to pass to Professor Dumbledore. It was possible that he could stay in the shadows to listen to conversations or plans. It still didn’t answer if Professor Dumbledore would believe him or the information. But wouldn’t he need the truth garnered directly from the meetings Lord Voldemort held?
His face fell and his hope sank, he had forgotten yet again that he wasn’t brave.
He certainly didn’t believe Lord Voldemort’s tripe, but too many people had been lost because of Lord Voldemort’s agenda. People had disappeared never to be found or they were discovered dead.
He certainly wasn’t brave, but it didn’t look like there was a real choice. Those who fought against Lord Voldemort needed the correct information so they could win the battle. With his name and family connections, he shouldn’t have trouble joining Lord Voldemort’s ranks.
He had one more task, to hide those papers with Sirius’ letters for safekeeping.
Regulus was more than a little nervous. He had finally managed to convince Severus to meet with him. He reminded himself once more that this was necessary to get the information that Professor Dumbledore needed. He was scared that Severus would see through him or Lord Voldemort would find him amusing before killing him. He really wished there was another way to get the information, but there wasn’t.
He had followed Severus’ last note to the letter. He didn’t want to give him any reason to leave without speaking to him, especially considering Sirius’ pranks. He knew of one in particular. He had been curious to know where Remus kept disappearing every month and had followed Severus at a distance. He had watched James keep Severus from entering the Whomping Willow, which was strange in of itself. Why would you walk into a tree?
That was why he was dressed completely in black standing just inside Knockturn Alley, wondering if more than one wizard or witch had chosen him to be their victim. Even given his family’s allegiance, he had never been in the alley himself. He had to force himself to not wring his hands or look about in fear.
“You wanted to see me?” Severus asked form behind him, causing him to jump. A small unsettling smile crossed Severus’ face for a brief moment. As if to pay him back for Sirius’ misdeeds.
“Yes, I want to join Lord Voldemort,” Regulus said quickly, hoping that Severus couldn’t read his mind. He had heard many things about Severus while he had been at school and since he had graduated. But as to whether those rumors were true, he didn’t know. And couldn’t find out without raising Severus’ guard and ruin any chance to help bring down Lord Voldemort.
Severus regarded him for a long moment as Regulus tried to think of mice. Severus raised his eyebrow. “Why?”
“Why?” Regulus didn’t understand the question. He felt a frisson of fear. He had been expecting questions that would require in-depth answers. And he was asked such a question?
“Why do you want to join? I had the distinct impression you wanted nothing to do with the Dark Lord or his agenda.” Severus clarified in a seemingly bored voice.
Regulus swallowed hard, fear blossoming. He had to force himself to breathe evenly. Severus was always his most dangerous when he was bored. “I heard my parents expressing their disappointment in me and I want to make them proud.” He watched Severus with what he hoped was an eager look instead of a sickened look.
Severus’ lips tightened as his black eyes pierced Regulus. Finally he nodded. “I will speak with the Dark Lord and contact you.” He nodded curtly before leaving abruptly.
Regulus sighed with relief. So far his pitiful plan was working. He wasn’t entirely certain if he had convinced Severus. Perhaps he should add that to his general plan. Convince Severus that he was truly interested in Lord Voldemort’s mission.
The wait was excruciating. Only the thought of dying kept him from writing a letter telling Severus that he had changed his mind. He knew Lord Voldemort’s followers were not an understanding lot. And if he was really unlucky, Severus himself would be the one to visit.
By the time Severus appeared from nowhere a few weeks later, Regulus had managed to work himself into a panic. “Come with me,” he took Regulus to an unlikely hideout where the Dark Lord was surrounded by his minions in their dark cloaks and masks. Regulus’ mouth went dry. He began having trouble breathing as he watched Severus walk confidently towards the Dark Lord to stand at his right.
“Come closer,” the Dark Lord stated. His red eyes didn’t blink as he watched Regulus.
Regulus moved forward as if in a trace, desperately thinking of mice. He really wanted to be anywhere except getting closer to the most fearsome wizard alive. A wizard who had red eyes and melted features, as if he had gotten stuck halfway through morphing shape. His feet stopped automatically a few paces away from the Dark Lord. He couldn’t bear looking at the glowing eyes any longer and looked at the ground. But he felt no relief. His skin crawled with danger. His mind refused to think.
“You want to join my ranks?” the Dark Lord asked, almost amused. He leaned slightly forward, waiting for the answer with anticipation.
“Yes,” Regulus had looked up to answer in a whisper then found he couldn’t look away from the red-tinged eyes. He suspected his own eyes were wide with fright and there was nothing he could do about it.
“You are aware that you must prove yourself to me?” the Dark Lord’s eyes bore into Regulus’ soul, as if looking for the answer that Regulus would not say.
“Yes,” Regulus whispered again as he fought his fear. It was the only reply he could give and expect to live a little longer.
The Dark Lord leaned back in his chair. “As you have done nothing outstanding in your school career except for schoolwork, I will allow you to join my ranks and do my bidding, but you are not yet worthy of a Dark Mark. That must be earned.”
“Yes, Master,” Regulus managed to whisper. He wanted to cry in relief that he would live, but that would have to wait until later.
The Dark Lord smiled wickedly.
A/N: As always, I hope you have enjoyed this next chapter. Please let me know what you thought about this chapter, especially if you have constructive criticism! I am always looking for ways to improve my writing! Thank you very much!