Characters/Pairings: Sirius/Regulus, Kreacher, Bellatrix Lestrange, Evan Rosier
Word Count: 2k /15k
Summary: "You and Sirius knew that it wouldn’t work, that you two had chosen two different paths, but you wouldn't give it up."
Part One. Part Two.
Regulus heard a click as Kreacher opened the cupboard where he lived in.
“Master Regulus could have called for Kreacher,” the elf said when he laid eyes upon him. “He would have come right away.
“I told you not to call me that,” Regulus said, then continued before Kreacher could argue as usual. “I need you to do something for me.”
“Anything,” Kreacher said, just as he always did.
He muttered a spell under his breath. He was certain that no one was here, but he wanted to make sure that no one would hear what he was going to say. He knelt down in front of Kreacher and took a deep breath.
“I need you to take me to the cave.”
Kreacher’s eyes widened. He took a step back. “No.” That was the first time that he heard that word from him.
“Kreacher, don’t argue.”
Kreacher shook his head, his big ears flapping around his small face. “It is dangerous there. Kreacher won’t let Regulus get in danger.”
“Kreacher, I told you about the Horcrux,” he said. “I need to stop him.”
“There is nothing Regulus can do.”
“There is,” he stated. “We just need to get the locket first. If there is something dark enough to create a Horcrux, then there must be something out there to destroy it.”
“It is better if Regulus stays away from it.” Kreacher paused, watching him for a moment. “Regulus hasn’t been sleeping well lately. He just needs some rest. Kreacher is going to make something for Regulus, to help with the nightmares.”
“I am fine,” he insisted.
“Regulus isn’t. He would think logically if he were,” Kreacher murmured. “He can’t defeat the Dark Lord."
“No, but I can make sure that there is a chance for someone out there to beat him,” he said. “We will get the locket and you will find a way to destroy it, Kreacher.”
Kreacher shook his head furiously.
“If you won’t help me, then I will find a way on my own,” he stated, starting to stand up.
“Kreacher will tell Mistress,” he said instantly.
He paused. “Really?”
He nodded firmly. “Whatever it takes to stop Regulus from hurting himself.”
Regulus went on his knees and looked at the eyes of the elf who had been serving him for as long as he could remember, the one who had slowly become his only friend as years passed. “No, you won’t,” he murmured. “You won’t betray me, Kreacher. You and I know that.”
“I will if it means that Regulus will be okay.”
“And you think I will be okay if they found out what I was going to do?” He asked. Kreacher stayed silent.
“I have to do this, Kreacher. I can’t - won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t do anything,” he continued. “You know what he is doing. Who knows who might be his new target? Order of Phoenix always opposed him.”
“Master Sirius will be fine. He can take care of himself,” Kreacher insisted.
“What about everyone else? I can’t risk it, Kreacher. I won’t,” he murmured.
“But Regulus might die!”
Regulus’ heart hammered inside his chest as though determined to escape his body. He didn’t answer.
Something must have shown on his face because Kreacher took a step back. “Regulus is planning to stay there,” he whispered, horrified.
“I can’t continue being a Death Eater anymore and I can’t leave alive, everyone knows that. I am…” He swallowed. He needed to say it. To get used to it. “I am dead either way.”
“Kreacher could hide Regulus or the Order could.”
“If I go into hiding, then he would go after my parents, after Sirius. He would fucking hunt us down, every single one of us, and he won’t rest until he finds us. You have seen what he had done to the others. I can’t let that happen,” he said. “If I die, then he would simply forget about me and leave them alone. It would give you time to destroy the locket.
He held Kreacher’s small hand in his. “You are a powerful elf. You will figure out how to destroy it. But we have to act fast before he calls for another meeting. If I don’t show up then one of the Death Eaters might come here and see you,” he continued. “You are going to make up an excuse to tell my parents, and the Dark Lord would continue thinking that he is immortal, until he meets his equal, and dies.”
He stood up and turned around. Taking a deep long breath, he prayed that Kreacher would just listen to him. The idea of what he was going to do was already suffocating, frightening. He ran a shaky hand through his hair, gripping it tightly until it hurt.
He thought about everything the Dark Lord had done, everything Regulus had turned a blind eye to, pretended not to see, and how it all might continue for eternity.
He doubted that the Order would ever find the man he had killed. He knew how the Dark Lord’s mind worked. What better way to torture them and the man’s family other than making them wait, wondering and hoping and praying, but never finding an answer? He wondered if Sirius would ever know about the man’s death, or that Regulus was involved in it.
Sirius. He wanted to say so many things to him, to apologise, to say that he was stupid and to kiss him senseless.
He thought about everything his brother was doing to defeat the Dark Lord, and everything Regulus had done to serve him, to help him. He felt sick.
He never thought they would end up like this.
He took another deep breath, trying to calm himself and failing.
He needed to leave now, before he changed his mind, before he lost control and whatever fragments of courage he still had.
He opened his eyes and walked toward where his owl stood, watching them the whole time. He attached a letter to her leg and watched at the bird flew through the sky, and wished he could do the same. He used to play Quidditch with Sirius in the summer. In that moment, he missed that more than anything.
He turned around. Kreacher was watching him.
"Promise me something."
"That you won't tell anyone where I went. No one can know. Someone might do something stupid and try to avenge me."
Kreacher didn’t answer.
Regulus took a locket out of his pocket. “I am going to buy you some time,” he said. “I will replace the locket with this one.”
Kreacher stared at him for a long time. Both of them were having a battle of will, trying to persuade the other.
“I can’t do this without you,” Regulus said. “Please, Kreacher.”
“Kreacher can’t leave Regulus to die."
“You can.” Regulus swallowed. “It is what I want.”
Moments passed, and then Kreacher let out a long, tired sigh and offered his hand. Regulus took it and felt the world shift around him as they Apparated.
* * *
Sirius’ scream was lost beneath the thunder that rolled overhead.
“What is it?” Remus demanded as he bolted awake, his voice still scratchy from sleeping. He heard shuffling and then light danced from Remus’ wand to the rest of the room.
“It is Regulus,” he said, his heart beating erratically. Cold beads of sweat ran down his face.
“Sirius, you were dreaming,” Remus mumbled, lying down again. “Go back to sleep.”
His eyes landed on his nightstand. A framed picture of two young boys was on it, wearing emerald and bright red robes, a matching grin forming on their faces as the picture captured the moment and repeated it over and over again.
They were young and happy, ignorant to what the future held for them.
“No,” Sirius said, as he watched his brother laugh. He gripped the dirty sheets beneath him tightly. “Something is wrong.”
The world twisted and moved around him. When Sirius opened his eyes, he found himself in front of 12 Grimmauld Place. He never thought he would ever come back here.
He took his wand out of his pocket and murmured a spell, making sure that his parents weren’t inside before he entered the house.
He called for Kreacher and the elf showed up a second later.
“Where is he?” He asked.
Sirius saw the look on the elf’s face and something twisted violently in his stomach.
He swallowed. “Where is he, Kreacher?”
Kreacher shook his head.
“I demand you tell me where he is.”
Kreacher shook his head again, furiously this time. There were scars all over his body, old and new. He recognised some from Kreacher’s methods of self-punishment.
The elf went on his knees, his hands leaning on the floor beneath him, ready to hit his head on it.
“Stand up,” he said hurriedly. Despite everything, he couldn’t bear to see the elf hurt himself.
Kreacher obeyed slowly. His bony limbs were shaking.
“Where are the rest?"
Kreacher shrugged. “Master Black doesn’t tell Kreacher or anyone where he goes anymore.”
Kreacher shook his head again. “Kreacher barely sees Mistress. The house has been abandoned for some time now. Kreacher has been keeping the place clean, waiting for Mistress to come back.”
“No one comes? Not even Bellatrix?”
“She came once, and asked Kreacher about Master Regulus,” he said.
“Kreacher.” Sirius went on one knee. “Just tell me. Is he…” He paused. The words were stuck in his mouth, unwilling to come out. He didn’t even want to consider it. “Is he dead?”
Kreacher looked at him and let out a heart-wrenching sob.
Sirius’ heart fell.
Kreacher started to shake violently, tears falling down his blotchy face.
“Kreacher,” he stopped, voice cracking. Pressure built up in his temples. He swallowed and tried again. “What happened?”
Kreacher stared at him for a long time. “A duel,” he said at last. “Master Regulus was having a duel with someone. He lost.” And with that, he disappeared.
Sirius stayed at home for weeks, waiting for anyone to come. He wondered if his mother was mourning Regulus. He wanted to scream till she heard him from across the world. He wanted to hit his father, to hurt him until all what was left of him was a bloody mess. He wanted to get back at him for everything he had to them. But most of all, he wanted all of this to end.
He never saw Kreacher. The only indication that he wasn’t alone in the house were the meals that he found around three times a day. He heard the regular footsteps and thumps coming from upstairs. Kreacher walked around the house like a ghost, always disappearing before Sirius could see him.
Sirius’ hands were loosely bandaged when he too tired to stay awake. Trickles of blood seeped through the thin material, covering the floor beneath him. Chairs, mirrors, and tables lay broken around. There was something satisfying about breaking things with his own hands.
He clenched his hands into fists, letting the physical pain take over his mind and every part of his soul.
In the bedroom, he found a damp letter on his bed. He read it over and over again until everything became dark and blurry around him; until he couldn’t stop the shaking of his limbs. There was a sadness caught in his throat like a cobweb, and he couldn’t cough it away.
Moonlight shone, breaking through the dirty window, illuminating the last lines of the letter in his hand, and Padfoot whined.
Believe me when I say that I didn't have much choice,
But now I do.
I intend to keep my word for you and die fighting.
I miss you more than I can ever say.