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The Marauders Kiss by sweetprofanities
Chapter 64 : Torn.
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 10

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December, 1967

Regulus had been lying awake in bed for some time already. He knew his big brother wasn’t the morning type, so he tried not to bother him too early. For a boy of six, it wouldn’t have been unheard of for him to be up and about, making noise around the house the moment his eyes were open. But Regulus knew that getting out of bed too early aggravated his father and mother and he didn’t like angering his parents. So he stayed in bed until he knew Sirius wouldn’t get cross with him for creeping into his room. Because Sirius was the only thing in their large house that comforted him.

As he lay in bed, he wiggled his feet around under the blankets and kept his arms by his sides. It was extremely cold, as it was Christmas Eve, so Regulus had the blankets up around his chin. He scanned the roof overhead and heard creaking of the floorboards outside his door. He knew it would have to have been either one of their house elves. It was more likely to be young Kreacher than his mother, who was getting along in her age and was barely much use anymore. Mostly she just muttered about her head being chopped off and mounted on the wall, which unnerved Regulus. He tended to steer clear of her as much as was possible.

Once Regulus was sure the sun was almost up, signalling it as an acceptable time to be up, he fumbled into a crawling position and shimmed over to the side of his bed. He slipped his little legs over the edge, stomach down, and dropped silently to the floor. It was freezing out of the covers. He grabbed his dressing gown and pulled his little arms through each sleeve before making his way towards his door.

He had to reach up to get the door knob properly and turned it as quietly as was possible. He barely opened it, slipping through the crack and decided against shutting it in case that caused too much noise. His bedroom was very close to his mother and father’s. He saw little Kreacher in the hall, dusting off a portrait and managed to dodge the elf. Not that Kreacher was scary, he just knew him to be a lot more loyal to his parents than anything else. And he didn’t want to get in any kind of trouble so close to Christmas.

When he got to Sirius’s door, he repeated his previous actions of reaching up, turning the knob and slipping inside the crack. Sirius’s door always creaked. No matter how hard you tried, or how slow you opened it. So Regulus figured that doing it as quickly as possible worked the best. It took a fair amount to rouse his brother from sleep and their parents’ bedroom was at the opposite end of the hall, so it didn’t matter much.

Once he was inside, he tiptoed over to Sirius’s bed and smiled, still not having spoken a word. He got down to his knees and sidled up to the head of Sirius’s bed, settling his chin on the mattress to watch his brother sleep. Sirius’s mouth was open and he was breathing heavily through it. Probably due to the cold and having a blocked nose. Regulus tried not to laugh, but a little giggle escaped when Sirius took a particularly deep breath which cracked into a snore.

His little boyish giggle disturbed Sirius, but not much. Sirius frowned and adjusted his head in the pillow. Regulus continued to watch him, growing colder and colder with only his thin black gown to cover his thin silk pyjamas. He reached out after a while and tickled the end of Sirius’s nose. Sirius frowned again, his hand launching up to swat away the nuisance. Regulus was too quick though and dodged it.

This continued on for as long as it entertained Regulus. Which was quite a while. The sun was high enough in the sky that it was creeping in through Sirius’s window and settling its reach over the foot of Sirius’s bed. Regulus watched the little dust particles floating in the beam of light, and when he looked back at Sirius, he decided he had waited long enough. He reached out and plucked a hair from his brother’s head and Sirius jolted awake.

‘Ouch! Reg!’ Sirius glared at him.

Regulus giggled, falling over onto his backside and letting go of the clutch he had on the front of his dressing gown. Sirius looked down at him, rubbing the slight pain of his damaged hair follicle. When Regulus stopped laughing, and looked back at his brother, Sirius was shaking his head.

‘Come on then,’ Sirius said, lifting up his blankets and Regulus scrambled to get in.

‘You didn’t notice for ages this time.’ Regulus explained, joining his big brother in his warm bed. Sirius just wrapped his arms around his little brother, pulling him in tight and settling his head back down on his pillow. He shut his eyes again and yawned.

‘You’re a master of stealth.’ Sirius commended him, only with a tiny smirk. He brought one hand up and started running it over Regulus’s well-kept hair. The boys both had the same haircuts. It was almost hard to tell the two apart, besides Regulus being so much smaller than Sirius.

‘Siri?’ Regulus spoke, snuggling further into his brother’s embrace while Sirius sporadically dragged a hand over his hair, lulling him into a premature sleepy haze.

‘Mm?’ Sirius hummed a quiet reply.

‘Do you think tomorrow will be fun?’ Regulus asked innocently. Holidays in the Black household had always been the same. The families would all unite and gather at their residence, but it was never much fun. Somehow Sirius always managed to aggravate their mother and their cousins knew just as well as they did that they should behave when guests were over, especially when they were the guests.

‘We’ll make it fun, Reg.’ Sirius whispered, eyes still shut, but a little grin creeping on his baby face.

‘Do you think, Bell, Dromeda, and Cissy will play with us?’ Regulus asked, having Sirius’s hand pull over his hair again in its soothing motion, causing him to yawn this time.

‘Dromeda, definitely. She’s the most fun. Bella, certainly not. Cissy, maybe.’ Sirius mumbled and Regulus listened happily. ‘Bella’s never much liked me since I accidently exploded a glass of pumpkin juice in her face.’

Regulus giggled at his brother’s words and that’s when Sirius stopped stroking his hair and let go of his little brother, so they could turn in to face one another, their foreheads almost touching on the pillow they were sharing.

‘She was saying all this nasty stuff about the kids at school and it made me so angry. I didn’t mean to blow it up, but she deserved it. And when she told Aunty Druella, mother smacked me.’ Sirius sighed, pulling his fists up under his chin to combat the cool air entering the confines of the blankets. Regulus mimicked his position, staring back at his brother.

‘Mother’s always smacking you.’ Regulus frowned. It wasn’t that Regulus had avoided their mother’s disciplines, he just received them much less frequently than his big brother seemed to.

‘That’s because I have fun. And she doesn’t like it. So don’t worry, Reg. We’ll have fun tomorrow. I promise you.’ Sirius opened his pale eyes blearily and smiled back at Regulus.

Regulus couldn’t explain it, but out of all the people he had in his life, his big brother made him feel the warmest. He was okay, as long as Sirius was around. Their mother and father never paid them too much attention, unless they were demanding things of them. But Sirius was different. He was always there. He was always causing some kind of trouble. He made Regulus giggle and laugh. Regulus treasured his big brother like no other.

‘Siri?’ Regulus asked, as Sirius started to slip back off to sleep.

‘Mm,’ Sirius hummed again.

‘Will you always protect me? Will you always be my big brother?’ Regulus wasn’t sure what to do without Sirius. Although he loved his mother and father, they failed in comparison to his big brother who gave off such a warm, loving aura. Their life around the house would be so dull without Sirius and for some reason that terrified Regulus. There weren’t very many happy things in their life and whenever they found someone entertaining or happy, their mother always took it away.

‘Of course I will, Reg. Don’t be silly.’ Sirius reached out, slotting one arm under Regulus and pulling the other over him and drawing the smaller boy into his body. He hugged his baby brother as tightly as he could, and in the embrace, the winter chill was almost forgotten.

Sirius drifted back to sleep and Regulus just enjoyed being in his brothers company for a while. He hummed and looked around the room, keeping still and quiet like he had always been told he should be. When he heard the floorboards creak outside Sirius’s door with someone heavier than a house elf, he tried to wake his brother back up.

‘Siri. Siri, I think mother’s awake. Siri, it’s time to wake up. You don’t want her to yell.’ Regulus shook his brother very softly.

‘Not now, Reg. I was having a dream about Bella’s hair catching on fire.’ Sirius chuckled to himself. Regulus just shook his head at his brother’s devious thought pattern.

‘There’s a reason Bell doesn’t like you, Siri.’ Regulus explained, trying not to smile. He knew his brother did a lot of bad things. But he couldn’t help but enjoy the laughter it brought. The laughter was the good part. It was the yelling that Regulus didn’t like.

‘Sirius! Regulus!’ A shrilling voice pierced the quiet halls and Regulus shot up, out of his brother’s arms.

‘Coming!’ Regulus called out instantly.

‘Immediately!’ Their mother’s voice made Regulus shiver. Regulus turned to look at Sirius, who was still battling to go back to sleep and watch their cousin running around with her head dancing in flames.

‘Come on, Siri!’ Regulus pulled at his brother. Sirius eventually got up, grumpily, and located his matching black dressing gown to pull over his silver, silk pyjamas, just the same as Regulus. They were always matching and always smartly dressed. Regulus tried his best to hurry him, but Sirius had always been terrible at following orders. Especially in the mornings.

The brothers hurried down the first flight of stairs, then the second, passing the drawing room and followed each other down the hall and over to the thin flight of stairs to the lowest level, entering the kitchen. Their mother stood in there, a picture of beauty despite it not yet being ten o’clock.

‘What took you so long?’ She snapped at them, eyeing off the sleepy looking Sirius. Regulus elbowed him to stand up straighter.

‘We were picking you flowers, mother.’ Sirius spoke, smiling at their mother in a shrewd sort of way. Regulus immediately frowned knowing what would come from this.

Walburga stepped forward, allowing her gown to fall open and struck Sirius across the face. No one spoke after that. Walburga collected up the fronts of her robes in her hands again, looking down her nose at her eldest son. Kreacher worked away in the background, getting breakfast together for them. There was a ringing of silence until their mother spoke again.

‘You will learn not to be smart, boy. There is no place for a smart-alec in the house of Black. Am I understood?’

‘Yes, mother.’ Both boys spoke in unison. Regulus kept his head down, but his eyes darted in Sirius’s direction. There was already a red mark forming on his cheek.

‘Sirius, you will take Regulus up stairs and continue with your piano practice. Your teacher will be over at noon. I want you both to play for most of the day tomorrow. I can’t have the family around, thinking all you two do is run around this house playing with sticks.’

‘Yes, mother.’ Both boys replied again, in unison.

Walburga continued on, relaying their day of duties. Calligraphy practice, piano lessons, their tutors for English and Maths would be around, even on Christmas Eve. After each demand, the boys replied in the same way. Walburga paced the kitchen with perfect posture, looking down her nose at them. It was a normal enough morning. As she turned her back to them, checking that Kreacher wasn’t burning their breakfast, Sirius turned to Regulus and made silly faces at their mothers back.

Regulus tried not to laugh, but a small giggle managed to escape. Their mother turned on her heel and stared at them. Thankfully the boys had managed to straighten themselves up just in time. Kreacher’s mother entered the kitchen slowly, muttering all the way and joined her son, to make the family their morning tea.

It was just as they were being excused from their mother’s presence that a loud noise came from behind her, of a silver tray clattering to the floor below and the contents of the tray smashing on the floor. Both Sirius and Regulus froze seeing who had dropped the tray.

‘We’ll clean it up, mother! We’ll help her!’ Sirius shouted, making a move towards where Kreacher was already bent down, trying to help his mother with her mistake.

‘No!’ Walburga snapped, grabbing a hold of Sirius and tossing him back towards Regulus, ‘you are the heir of the house of Black, Sirius. You will never help with breakfast preparations, am I clear?’

Regulus felt himself begin to shiver. He knew what this meant. There wasn’t a line of house elf heads along their staircase for no reason.

‘Yes, mother.’ Sirius spat through clenched teeth. The boys watched on as Walburga grabbed a hold of the tiny house-elves make-shift clothing and pulled her to her feet. Regulus watched on as helplessly as Kreacher, but suddenly a hand closed around his wrist and dragged him away, back up the narrow staircase and onto the ground floor, down the hall, up the first set of stairs passed the mounted, shrunken heads and back into the drawing room.

‘She’s not going to kill her, is she Siri? She can’t kill her? Surely clothes will be enough?’ Regulus pleaded, not enjoying the thought of how the heads were mounted on the walls of their home.

‘Come on, Reg. Up you climb. We have to be able to play more than lullabies before tomorrow and you still struggle with twinkle, twinkle.’ Sirius ushered him in further and offered him a hand, getting up onto the seat of the piano.

‘But, Siri-’

‘If you play really well, I’ll lose our English tutor this afternoon and we can find our sticks and play duelling again?’ Sirius smiled at him, climbing up on the seat beside him. The idea of being able to run around, pretending to hex one another like they had a few weeks ago was a nice incentive.

‘Okay.’ Regulus nodded, turning to the piano keys. He raised a hand out, about to press down when there was a cracking noise downstairs, followed by Kreacher’s high-pitched squeak. Regulus froze, knowing what that meant. His little bottom jaw began to chatter against his top, and Sirius’s arm closed in around him, pulling him in close.

‘How about I play first?’ He whispered, reaching his spare hand forward and playing the beginning keys of a song Regulus hadn’t heard him play before. Sirius had always been much better at piano than he was. Regulus felt tears forming in his eyes and that’s when Sirius stopped playing and drew him closer into a hug with both arms and kissed the top of his head.

Regulus couldn’t lose his big brother. Sirius was all he had. Holiday’s would be unbearable without him, let alone everyday living.

August, 1971

‘Kreacher!’ Sirius shouted out, laying front down on the rug in the drawing room close to where Regulus was taking up a spot on the lounge.

‘Yes, Master Sirius?’ Kreacher appeared between the boys, almost silently, wearing his mangy, tattered pillowcase and looking less than impressed with his summoning.

‘Can you make us dinner soon?’ Sirius requested, not looking up at the elf from his book on the floor.

‘Of course, Master Sirius. Will there be anything else, Master Sirius?’ Kreacher drawled, keeping his little hands behind his back. Regulus watched the exchange from behind his own book as the fire crackled beyond them.

‘No. If there was, wouldn’t I have asked?’ Sirius shook his head at the floor in annoyance at their house elves words.

‘You don’t have to be rude to him, Sirius.’ Regulus spoke softly, looking back to his book, as if avoiding eye contact with the recipients of his words would keep the attention off of him.

‘Well, he doesn’t seem to respond to any other type of requests.’ Sirius sat up and Kreacher took a few steps away from him, ‘what are you still doing here? Honestly…’

‘That will be all Kreacher, thank you.’ Regulus finalized, shutting his book and sitting up properly in the lounge.

‘Yes, of course, young Masters.’ Kreacher gave Regulus a little bow of the head, before vanishing.

‘So?’ Sirius looked over at Regulus with a great smile on his face. He was still nursing a small wound to his lip, an almost healed split, from where he had back chatted their father two weeks ago. But the punishments he received never seemed to discourage his rebellions. Regulus expected that was what he was currently getting at.

‘So, what?’ Regulus played dumb, placing their history book aside as Sirius got to his feet.

‘So what are the Black Brothers’ getting into tonight? A whole night alone, Reg. We can do whatever we want. Do you want to try and go outside? Have a walk around with the muggles?’ Sirius looked thoroughly entertained. Regulus sighed.

‘Sirius, mother gave us homework.’ Regulus tried to reason with him. He didn’t enjoy watching his brother being punished so frequently.

‘Screw the homework. I have a month left before I go to Hogwarts. I’ll have homework coming out my eyeballs when I get there. I want to have some fun.’ Sirius grabbed a hold of Regulus’s shoulders, giving him a slight shake, confirming his excitement.

Their mother and father were headed to a benefit tonight, to honour the Black family name for their contributions to some ministry department or library or something, neither of them were ever quite sure. It wasn’t very often that they were left alone without a tutor or a nanny to watch over them. But apparently at the ages of ten and eleven, Kreacher was enough of a caretaker now.

‘Mother will find out. You’ll get into trouble, Sirius.’ Regulus tried to reiterate, but it was never much use. From before Regulus could even remember, he had always tried to keep his big brother out of some kind of trouble. But Sirius was like a snapped wand. He refused to be controlled and left a trail of destruction in his path.

‘Mother can take-’

‘Sirius! Regulus!’ Their mother’s voice penetrated the drawing room and Regulus launched up out of his seat and both the boys stood side by side as the door slammed open and their mother strode in. She looked stunning, in robes of purple and black. Not far behind her was their father dressed just as impeccably. His presence even forced Sirius into a perfected posture.

‘You two are to be on your best behaviour tonight, am I understood?’ Walburga spoke as she approached the young boys. Orion stood by the door, clearly uninterested in the boring conversation. Regulus nodded his agreeance with his mother’s words, but Sirius kept his eyes on their father.

‘I’m trusting the two of you alone. Do not disappoint me. I expect you remember what happens when you disappoint your father and I?’ Walburga continued. Regulus nodded again, but Sirius was still surveying their father, ‘Sirius! Are you listening?’ Walburga bent down before Sirius, clutching his jaw and bringing his eyes to focus on her.

‘Yes, mother.’ Regulus watched Sirius reply out the corner of his eye. It was like a constant battle in their house. Sirius against Walburga. Sirius against Orion. Sirius against anyone with a pulse. That battle always ended in- Regulus flinched as Walburga struck Sirius, then straightened up and smoothed out her robes. This caught the attention of their father.

He walked in further towards them, his shoes connecting loudly with the wooden floor beneath them. Neither of the boys had ever spent much time with their father. Orion was a very busy man and worked more than any man should. He wasn’t involved with the ministry. He ran his own business of specialized charms for security against muggles. He was extraordinarily good at that kind of magic and wizards paid big money when it came to security. Orion was only ever home on Sunday. And Sunday was always Regulus and Sirius’s least favourite day of the week.

‘You will obey your mother, boy. Do not test me.’ Orion’s voice was firm, low and commanding. Sirius wasn’t stupid enough to disobey him for a second time in a month. Regulus heard him swallow as Orion drew up to his full height before him.

‘Yes, Sir.’ Sirius complied.

‘Regulus, I want you practicing more. You’re not nearly good enough.’ Walburga pointed to the piano, ‘And Sirius, I want your essay for Mr. Nott completed tonight. No funny business.’ Walburga demanded, striding from the room.

‘You heard your mother,’ Orion fixed his gaze on Sirius alone, ‘Get to it. No sons of mine will be illiterate or unpractised.’ Orion finished, following off to where Walburga had left the room. Once they were both gone, Sirius immediately left his position and sat down at the piano.

He began to play a beautiful tune, as Regulus joined him and they listened for the shutting of the front door to signal their parents’ departure. Once the door was slammed shut and the walls shook for the briefest of seconds, Sirius froze.

‘You shouldn’t do that. They’ll figure out I’m still rubbish at playing at some point.’ Regulus said as Sirius stopped playing.

‘Doesn’t have to be tonight.’ Sirius shrugged, ‘anyway. They’re gone. Kreacher is on dish duty. Come on, let’s make the most of this!’ Nothing seemed to damper Sirius’s mood. Or his lust for trouble, at the very least. A lump formed in Regulus’s throat at the expression of excitement painting his big brother’s face.

‘Sirius,’ Regulus attempted.

‘We can go out. We can have a walk around London. We could play tricks on Kreacher. We could get our brooms! We could-’

‘Sirius!’ Regulus had the makings of tears in his eyes. He was terrified. Terrified of what would happen if they really got up to all the things Sirius was listing off. Terrified of the ramification their parents would rain down on them. When Sirius stopped long enough to look down at his little brother, he realised how scared he was.

‘What’s wrong?’ Sirius asked, draping an arm over his shoulders.

‘Please, I don’t want to go out. I don’t want to leave the house. They’ve trusted us to be alone. You’ll just- you’re going to get in trouble again. I can’t- I can’t watch them hit you, again!’ Regulus admitted as a couple of the tears cascaded down his face, ‘I just want to stay here. I just want to enjoy being here with you. I want to do our homework. I want you to help me with the piano. I want to finish our essays. I just want to do what we were told.’ Regulus pleaded.

Sirius didn’t look overly thrilled, but he reached out and wiped the tears running down his brothers cheeks. Then he gave him a smile, ‘alright. We’ll be good little Blacks. But- only if we can draw moustaches on all the portraits on our dinner break?’

Regulus snorted out a snotty laugh and curled an arm around Sirius’s waist, hugging his brother tight.

‘I don’t want you to leave, Siri.’ Regulus admitted. He’d known it was coming for a long time now. Sirius was going off to school in just a month’s time, and Regulus would be left all alone. He felt Sirius wrap his arms around him and rub his hands over his back.

‘I’ll be back, Reg. I’m not gone for good.’

‘But what am I supposed to do here without you? Who will protect me when I play the wrong keys? Who will protect me when Father is angry on a Sunday, trampling around the house?’ Regulus drew back, looking up into his brothers eyes.

Sirius looked pained, ‘it’s only for a year. Think of it that way. Just one year, and then you’ll be there with me. We’ll be together after that. I’ll help you with your homework and there will be no Mother or Father breathing down our backs. You don’t have to worry about that year, either. With me gone, Mother won’t have anything to complain about. They like you.’

‘They’d like you more if you just listened to them, Siri.’ Regulus gave him the best stern look a ten year old boy with tears in his eyes could muster.

Sirius laughed, ‘Don’t worry, Reg. Just one year, then we’ll be together again, just like this. And I’ll protect you, I always will. I promise you. Forever.’ Sirius smiled and it eased Regulus’s irrational fear. Regulus loved his mother and father. He knew they’d never truly hurt him. Sure, they disciplined both of their sons. But only when they acted out and deserved it. Regulus was aware of how to escape most of their punishments. Sirius just provoked them.

‘Sirius?’ Regulus stared back at his big brother, with devotion and love. Sirius hummed a reply, ‘We’ll always be brothers, right?’ He asked, always finding comfort in Sirius’s answer to this question.

Sirius snorted, ‘Of course, Reg. Don’t be silly.’ He replied, pulling him forward and messing up his hair, ‘now, let’s get Fur Elise perfected tonight, shall we?’ Sirius said, guiding Regulus’s hands to the keys of the piano, once again coming to his baby brother’s aid and making sure to protect him from their mother’s irrational tirades.

July, 1975

As the years had fallen away, Regulus and Sirius had grown further and further apart. Once Sirius had come home, supporting the title of Gryffindor House, his mother had hit the roof. Sirius was a disgrace. Sirius had dishonoured their family. Sirius was a mar on their perfect record. The offhanded venomous remarks never stopped. It was draining to Regulus just as much as it was to Sirius. Because Regulus could never stop loving his brother.

A year spent with only his parents had brought Regulus somewhat closer to them. A year without his brother, who had forgotten to return home for the breaks, had scarred him.

In that first summer together when Sirius had returned home, at first the boys were distant. Even though they shared a profound bond, built though withstanding the house of Black together, Regulus felt betrayed. But of course, it didn’t take long before he had warmed back up to his favourite blood relative and dismissed the fact that they had spent so much time apart. That first summer, the boys had fallen back into their old ways. Back to being best friends. Back to being brothers.

When they headed back to school together once that first summer was over, Regulus refused to share a compartment with Sirius and his Gryffindor friends on the train ride to Scotland. He was petrified his mother would find out and treat him the same way she treated Sirius. Which was one hundred times worse than before he had been placed in Gryffindor. It was torturous to watch. Their father took any opportunity to put Sirius down. Regulus couldn’t suffer the same fate. He was never as strong as Sirius. He wouldn’t have lasted.

When he was sitting on that old stool, in front of the whole school, again Regulus was scared out of his wits. The sorting hat spoke to him. Told him he was a strange case. The old hat told him he was Slytherin material, but then he mentioned Gryffindor. He told him he could be with his brother, if that was what he wanted. That’s when Regulus cried out in his head and pleaded with the sorting hat. Please, no. Please, please place me in Slytherin. It’s where I belong. I belong where my family is. It felt like it took forever for the hat to decide. But when he called out Slytherin, Regulus looked down the table and saw the crestfallen look on Sirius’s face. He was so torn.

That was where their closeness started to fail. In the beginning Regulus and Sirius still spoke in the hallways. They still shared a few moments together throughout the school year. But more and more, his Slytherin friends made fun of him for it. They teased him for his blood traitor brother and it got to Regulus more than he let on. Not the teasing. That he could handle. But the way they made fun Sirius. The derogatory remarks they made about him. Regulus hated that. So their conversations became further and further in between. Instead Regulus watched his big brother from afar.

As the summers spent at home fell by, Regulus and Sirius’s closeness did to. Regulus still cherished his big brother. But it became harder and harder to watch him being abused by their parents and so Regulus began hiding away in his bedroom. Sirius started to leave and visit his friends. This made his relationship with their parents worse and worse. Eventually Sirius was barely home at all. Regulus spent most of his time with Kreacher, talking to the house elf as he cleaned and Regulus read the paper or did his homework.

It was summer again and now Regulus was fifteen and Sirius was sixteen. The shouting and arguments were getting to the point of unbearable. Striking Sirius didn’t seem to be working for his parents anymore and horrifically they had taken to magical resources to punish him for any kind of acting out. More than once Sirius had things seared into his skin. Most recently, he had been subjected to an unforgivable curse at the hands of their father. Regulus had never heard Sirius cry out in pain from any of their parent’s punishments, not even when they burnt things into his flesh. But that night, that night Sirius screamed.

Regulus felt that there was a war raging inside of his head. He was so conflicted. He couldn’t stand to see his brother tormented anymore. He wanted to save him, like Sirius had done for him so many times in the past. But he couldn’t defy his parents. He loved his parents, too. He knew that if Sirius was just less challenging towards their authority, they wouldn’t inflict so much pain onto him. He was so torn.

Regulus was up in his room, trying to figure out what to do. How he could keep his parents happy and help Sirius, too. He was scanning over a copy of the Daily Prophet when he caught a glimpse of the article on the war.

-The Dark Lord believes that muggles should be beneath us. And right he is, really. Why should we hide away from them, when we’re clearly superior? I’ve never much understood the need for secrecy! The Dark Lord’s side is the right one. We wizards deserve more than cowering in the shadows of non-magic folk.

It was just a quote from a civilian in an article on why some of the wizarding community was choosing to stand behind Voldemort. It struck a chord with Regulus. It made a lot of sense. As he read on a few sentences stood out to him. The Dark Lord seems to be gaining followers. The Dark Lord has a growing arsenal. The Dark Lord is offering his followers protection. Regulus tore the article out of the newspaper and put the clipping on the side of his bed when there was a knock at the door.

‘Come in,’ Regulus spoke, sitting up on his bed and bringing his feet to hang over the edge.

‘Master Regulus, your mother is requesting you downstairs.’ Kreacher entered, bowing lowly before gathering himself back up.

‘Thank you, Kreacher. I’ll be down shortly.’ He replied and the tiny house elf smiled back to him and turned to leave the room. Kreacher was becoming a large comfort of Regulus’s home life. Since Sirius and his parents brought so much anger and unnecessary rage, Regulus took solace in the fact that Kreacher was neutral to it. He didn’t want to admit it, but sometimes he would request the elf to come up and dust his room, simply so he would have someone to talk to. Or not talk to, but have a presence close by that wasn’t hell bent on arguing.

When Regulus made it down the stairs and joined his mother and father at the dinner table, there was already an argument brewing.

‘Why isn’t he down here? What is he doing Kreacher? I told you to fetch them both.’ Walburga spat at the elf as he loaded the table up with platters of food.

‘Yes, Mistress. Master Sirius said he was busy, Mistress. That he would be down when he could spare the time.’ Kreacher explained.

‘Did he now?’ Walburga straightened up in her chair, looking over at her husband.

‘Kreacher rephrased it for his Mistress, but yes, in fewer words.’ Kreacher continued, placing the Black family china down before Regulus first and moving on towards Orion and Walburga.

Regulus tried to focus on his breathing. Deep. In and out. He tried to ignore the foul names being slung around about his brother, from his mother. She was muttered to his father and Orion was nodding away. Regulus hated it. It was horrible. He knew his mother and father weren’t always like this. They were strict, but they weren’t like this. The house was much less tense when Sirius wasn’t around. Regulus hated that.

‘Sirius! SIRIUS!’ His mother screeched out, ‘Get down here this instant!’

As the shouting continued and the arguments swelled, Regulus lost himself in his own mind. He thought of the article. He thought of protection. Perhaps joining Voldemort’s side wasn’t as bad as everyone was making it out to be? Maybe there would be where Regulus would find the protection he always so desperately sought out? Maybe that way he could make his parents happy and they would stop hurting his brother. Would that work? Would that protect his parents and in turn his brother?

By the time Regulus tuned back into the dinner conversation, Sirius had come downstairs and joined them. Regulus watched him as he yanked out a chair and took a seat with them, sporting a Gryffindor jumper. This wasn’t going to be good.

‘You dirty little blood traitor! How dare you wear that in this house! Do you know who your ancestors are?’ Walburga stood from her chair and pointed a finger over at where Sirius sat, lazily gazing back at her.

‘I’m pretty sure they were all rich old tossers. Yeah.’ Sirius challenged and Regulus felt his heart rate increase and a knot form in his throat.

‘You will not disrespect the house of Black in my presence, Sirius!’ Orion stood, smashing a hand down on the table, ‘do I need to teach you another lesson?’

Regulus saw the fear that was written on his brother’s face from that statement. Sirius, who was usually so nonchalant. Sirius, who was never one for emotions. Sirius, who didn’t let forth a squeak when being struck. He was scared. Regulus hated this. He bit down on his lip so hard he was sure he could taste the metallic flavour of his own blood.

They were all screaming now. Sirius was screaming about how stupid their morals were. How the house of Black deserved to burn to the ground. Orion was screaming about honour. Walburga had taken to collecting up anything she could get her hands on to fling at Sirius. Plates were shattering and Regulus suddenly found himself upstairs, back in his bedroom.

‘Is Master Regulus okay?’ Kreacher looked up at him, clearly quite frightened.

‘Yes, thank you.’ Regulus knelt down placing a hand on the little elf’s shoulder. He had apparated him back upstairs to keep him safe from the renegade flying china. That’s when Regulus heard the sound of heavy footfalls, rushing up the stairs.

‘Fuck this! I’m fucking done with all of you!’ Sirius screamed, smashing his door open. Regulus walked to the doorway of his bedroom and looked out to see what was going on. When he walked down the hall, he could see Sirius inside of his room grabbing anything he could carry and tossing it into his trunk.

‘I hate this fucking house!’ Sirius screamed at no one in particular. Once he seemed to be done gathering his things, he slammed his trunk shut and dragged it behind him until he came face to face with Regulus.

‘You’re leaving then?’ Regulus asked, knowing it was blindingly obvious what was unfolding before him.

‘Reg,’ Sirius scanned over him and dropped his trunk to settle his hands down on each of Regulus’s shoulders, ‘come with me, Reg. We can get out of this hell-hole.’ Sirius had a bruise forming under his eye and blood blooming on a split in his lip.

Regulus felt himself frowning against his will, ‘I can’t leave, Sirius. I can’t leave them.’

‘This isn’t what life is supposed to be like, Reg. You’re not supposed to feel like this. Come with me. I’ll look after you.’

For a short moment, Regulus considered it. Maybe Sirius was right? Maybe this wasn’t what life was? But if he left with Sirius, he would be dead to his mother and father. And he just couldn’t accept that. As cruel as they could be, they were still his parents. He still loved them. And what would he do with Sirius? Become a blood traitor and hang around with mudbloods? It wasn’t right. He couldn’t lower himself to a life like that.

‘I can’t.’ Regulus shook his head. Sirius looked pained by his decision. Regulus reached up and brushed his brother hands off of his shoulders.

‘I have to go, Reg. I can’t stay here.’ Sirius spoke, wiping his lip up with his sleeve.

‘I know.’ Regulus nodded. Sirius stared at him for as long as he could, before their mother’s piercing voice got louder signalling she was making the move upstairs. Sirius looked away and turned towards the stairs, gathering up his trunk.

‘Siri!’ Regulus called out and Sirius turned to look at him, having gone down only two steps, ‘but we’ll always be brothers, right?’ Regulus almost found it hard to choke those words out.

Sirius smiled back at him, bruised and battered, ‘yeah, of course, Reg. Don’t be silly.’ The brother’s exchanged one last fleeting look at each other as Walburga made it to the topmost staircase.

Sirius barged passed her, dragging his trunk behind him. Regulus listened on as his parents threatened to disown their son. Orion was screaming on the first floor landing that Sirius would be nothing to them if he left their home. Regulus couldn’t listen to the rest and retreated to his bedroom.

This meant that Sirius was truly an outsider of their home now. And if Regulus wanted to keep his parents happy, he would have to follow their lead. He couldn’t talk to his brother anymore. He couldn’t associate with him, not if he wanted to keep his parents love for him intact. And his parents did love him.

He would just have to focus on making them happy, now that Sirius’s relationship with them was beyond repair.

But he couldn’t lose Sirius. He still loved his big brother, who taught him almost everything he knew. He loved his brother and he was torn now knowing he would have to act as if he didn’t. He would just have to find some other way to look after him. To make sure he was okay, without their parents finding out he was. Just like Sirius used to do for him. 

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