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Marwa

April 2017

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Fandom: Harry Potter
Characters/Pairings: Sirius/Regulus, Kreacher, Bellatrix Lestrange, Evan Rosier
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 4.5k / 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.”
Warning: References to domestic violence, character death.

V.

1977.

The wind was cold against Regulus' skin as he walked down the narrow alley. The houses around him were broken down and abandoned, visible marks of the ongoing war. His breath rose in visible puffs, joining the darkening night sky. He shoved his hands in his pockets and ducked his head a little.

"So, it is true?" The voice ran clear and loud in the quiet place around him.

Regulus stopped in his tracks. Turning around, he watched as a figure marched towards him.

"Sirius," he called. "It has been almost a year. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Don't play with me, Regulus," Sirius commanded as he stopped inches away from him. Regulus took a glance at his face and saw it covered with stubble.

"It is nice to see you too, brother."

"Is it true?"

"What is true?" Regulus knew that this was going to happen sooner or later, but that didn't mean that he wasn't going to stall as much as he could, just to enjoy the furious look on his face.

Sirius didn't answer. Instead, he grabbed Regulus roughly and removed the sleeve. Regulus flinched at a look of disgust that flickered upon Sirius' face.

"So, it is true," Sirius spat. "My little brother became a Death Eater."

Regulus tried to remove his arm from Sirius' grip, but it was too tight.

"You finally listened to them, didn't you? You blind little prat," Sirius snarled.

"At least, I didn't my abandon my own family," Regulus spat.

Sirius' eyes blazed with anger. He shoved Regulus. Regulus took a couple of steps back until he hit the wall behind him. He held his brother's gaze.

"After they all they have done to us, everything they put us through," Sirius gritted out. He grabbed Regulus' forearm so tightly it hurt as if he could remove the Mark on it by his sheer power of will. "You still obey them? They don't deserve your loyalty, they don't deserve anything!"

"They are my parents," Regulus said. "Just like you are my brother, and that will never change."

Sirius growled, reminding him briefly of his Animagus form. He wondered for how long he could push his brother before he snapped.

Sirius closed his eyes and suddenly, all of his anger evaporated from his face. "Then, just tell me you are only doing this for them," he murmured. "Tell me you don't really believe in anything he says."

Regulus didn't say anything. He could never lie to his brother.

Sirius sighed. He looked tired, far older than his age. Regulus wanted to comfort him. He was always gifted with words. He knew that. It was what saved him and Sirius more times than he could count. But he couldn't find the right thing to say.

Sirius rested his head on the wall beside Regulus. "I knew," he said. He could hear the ragged sound of his breathing, just tickling his ear. "Right when I heard the Order members whispering about it, thinking that I couldn't hear them. I knew that it was true. But I had to make sure. I had to…"

He looked at Regulus in the eye. "He is worse than you think," he continued. "You, Cissy, Bellatrix...You are all brainwashed by him."

"I could say the same thing about you and the rest of them, brainwashed by Dumbledore and the rest who think that they know everything," Regulus retorted.

Sirius' expression changed so fast that Regulus didn't have time to register it before the blow came, swift and unexpected. Regulus' face whipped to the side. He raised a hand and tentatively felt the bruise on his chin.

"You solve your problems with violence now?" He asked calmly, looking back at him. "Like father like son, I suppose."

Sirius flinched as if he were the one who took the blow. He grabbed Regulus' face and shoved it till it hit the wall.

Regulus didn't react, merely watched Sirius. "Are you going to hit me again, brother?"

Sirius didn't answer. They stared at each other for what seemed like a lifetime. Regulus could feel his harsh breath on his face, warm against his cold skin.

And then Sirius was kissing him, harsh and fierce and forceful, full of anger and desperation and a million unsaid things. Sirius grabbed his hair, and Regulus wrapped his arms around his neck tightly, afraid that he might disappear any second.

They separated reluctantly, gasping for breath. "Please don't do this, Regulus," he said, stroking his cheeks, a silent apology for the blow. Regulus leaned into the touch. "I know that you don't believe in the same things that I do, and I won't try to convince you. But please, don't go down this road. I don't want to be forced to…" He paused.

"Be my enemy?" He finished, saying what was both of their minds.

"He isn't the great wizard you think he is. Making the wizards rule everyone isn't what he wants," Sirius said. "He wants to rule us all, and he would do anything to achieve that. You are sixteen; too young to be a Death Eater."

"You are two years older than me, Sirius. Don't you think then that both of us are too young to enter a war?"

"I'm fighting for what I think is right. Age doesn't make a difference in this matter."

"So, it is right for you, and not for me?" Regulus asked. He shook his head and sighed. "I don't want to argue anymore, Sirius. It seems like all we ever do when we meet lately is argue."

"So you won't change your mind?" Sirius demanded.

Regulus didn't answer. He didn't have to. The silence was an enough answer for Sirius.

The hand that was grabbing his arm loosened and Sirius took a step back.

"Goodbye, brother."

Regulus swallowed and clenched his hands into fists, trying to stop himself from reaching out to him. Pain gathered in his belly, sending heat licking out just beneath his skin."Till next time." He listened to Sirius' footsteps until they were swallowed up by the sound of the wind.

He wanted to say many things; scream at his brother for being so stubborn, tell him about the times where he watched his mother look at his pictures when she thought that no one was watching, tell him about how much Narcissa missed him, how much he did, but it didn't matter. They both had chosen their paths, and none of them would change his mind.

* * *

VI.

The wind rushed around Regulus as he ran, shouts and curses trailing after him. His heart pounded in his chest and he forced himself not to turn around. He was close, only a couple of minutes and he would reach the portkey.

Pain flashed in his leg and ran through his body. He collapsed on the floor, the dirt digging into his skin, blinded by the pain for a moment. He clasped his left leg, looking at his rapidly darkening trousers.

Gritting his teeth, he tried to stand up but the pain intensified and he fell once more. He looked around quickly; trying to find any remaining Death Eaters but they were long gone.

"I got one! I got-" The figure suddenly stopped shouting. Regulus looked up and realised why.

"What the fuck are you doing here?" Sirius demanded, his wand still in hand.

Regulus smiled. "Just passing by. Thought it would be fun to join."

"Don't try to lighten up the situation, Regulus," he said, pointing his wand at him. "It doesn't suit you."

He and Evan were supposed to do a simple mission for the Dark Lord, but they were stupid. They thought it was going to be easy, but one small wrong step and they found themselves trapped, members of the Order surrounding the place.

Evan put everything they needed in his pocket and ran outside of the place before Regulus could figure out what the hell was happening.

Regulus tried to breathe through the pain, hoping that Evan was quick enough to get to the portkey. Screams tore through the night.

"Looks like they have found Rosier too," Sirius noted. He looked at Regulus. "What were you doing there? What were you trying to steal?"

Regulus didn't answer. Sirius gripped his wand tightly, his face darkening. "I don't even know why I still bother with you," he spat.

"Are you going to let them take me, brother?" Regulus asked.

Sirius hesitated for a second, his wand lowering.

"I leave you for a few hours and you already got yourself in trouble, Regulus," someone behind him tsked. Regulus struggled to turn around and look as Bellatrix strolled towards where they were.

"Long time no see, cousin," she greeted, her hand holding her wand casually. "I heard that there was a bit of trouble here, so I thought I'd join."

Regulus supported himself on his arms, trying to stand up, breathing heavily. They need to leave before this escalated. "Bella, did you see Evan?"

"Yes, he is already back home," she said, her eyes never leaving Sirius.

A shout erupted from somewhere near. Regulus gritted his teeth and got up, standing on one shaky leg. He needed to leave before anyone else from the Order came.

"So, what are you going to do, Sirius?" Bellatrix asked casually. She looked at Regulus's leg for a moment. "Send your brother to Azkaban?"

"Bella, don't-"

"I would much rather send you there, Bellatrix," Sirius said.

Bellatrix laughed. "Why don't you try, then?"

They both eyed each other.

Regulus watched them both. "Sirius-"

"Stay out of this."

They both knew he could never do that.

Regulus stood on his left leg, letting out a pained cry. It wasn't loud enough to draw attention towards them, but it was enough. Sirius' eyes snapped to his for just a second, concerned, and Bella waved her wand.

Sirius was thrown back from the impact of the spell. Regulus flinched.

"Is he going to be okay?" He asked, trying to stop himself from walking towards where Sirius lay, trying to remind himself of the task at hand, of what would happen if he failed.

"Should be fine," Bellatrix said. "It isn't even that powerful."

Regulus was familiar enough with the spell to know that Sirius should be up in just a couple of hours, but he couldn't look away from Sirius' body on the ground. An intense feeling of self-loathing bubbled inside of him, threatening to suffocate him.

Someone put his hand on Regulus' arm and he flinched, expecting a blow that never came.

Bellatrix tugged on his sleeve. "Let's go, Regulus. The Dark Lord is expecting us."

Another scream erupted from somewhere close. Regulus took one last look at his brother's form before he forced himself to turn around and leave.

* * *

VII.

1979.

Regulus paced the room back and forth, his hands gripped tightly behind his back, waiting.

The Dark Lord had called for him yesterday and told him that he needed a house-elf. Regulus called for Kreacher and asked him to go with him.

As they were leaving, he saw the look of fear in the elf's eyes and hated himself. But what else could he have done? They both knew he didn't have a choice.

He looked at the clock for the umpteenth time, praying that nothing had happened to Kreacher. Whatever the Dark Lord wanted, it shouldn't have taken so long.

Hours passed and his worry intensified. The butterflies that had taken permanent residence in his stomach seemed to have dull blades in their wings, scraping his insides with each flutter. Finally, having had enough, he called for Kreacher.

A crack echoed around the room. Kreacher stood at the door, leaning heavily against the wood.

"Kreacher," he breathed. He was just about to relax until he saw the look on his face. He ran and caught the elf just as his limbs gave way. Kreacher fell, a small thing in his arms.

"What the fuck happened?" He demanded. He stared at the black and red marks on the elf's arms, at his unblinking eyes, and did not know what to do. Kreacher didn't answer.

"It is okay. I'm here. You are going to be fine," he soothed, desperation tearing right through him. He stood and gingerly walked towards the bed.

"What happened?" He whispered, as he gingerly laid the elf on the bed.

The elf shook his head, muttering something incomprehensible.

He held the elf's small hands in his, careful not press too hard. "Kreacher, please, tell me."

Kreacher looked towards him and opened his mouth slowly. Suddenly, he whipped around, reached the end of the bed, and threw up on the floor. Regulus took a step back. Silver liquid came out of the elf's mouth, shining on the wooden floor. Regulus waved his hand, and the pile was gone.

Kreacher fell on the bed once more and closed his eyes, muttering something over and over again, too low for Regulus to hear.

"Kreacher?" He said, trying to stop his voice from shaking. "Please, tell me what I can do."

"There is nothing Master can do for Kreacher," he muttered. He had never heard the elf that tired, or that frightened.

"I can't leave you like this!"

"Yes, Master can," he said, opening one eye for a second before shutting it once again. "Kreacher is going to be fine. Kreacher can heal himself. There is no lasting physical damage."

Regulus sat on the bed. "Just tell me what happened."

Kreacher swallowed, his apple popping slowly. "Master, please," he muttered. "Don't make Kreacher talk anymore."

Regulus stared at his friend, torn between demanding to know what the Dark Lord had done and how he can fix it, and leaving the elf to rest. "Are you sure that you are going to be okay?"

"Kreacher is certain, Master," he said.

"Don't call me that," he chided lightly. "I told you to call me Regulus."

Kreacher's lips tugged to one side before he winced. "Mistress will never allow Kreacher."

"Well, she isn't here now," he said, laying gingerly on the bed next to the elf, careful not to accidentally hit him. "Sleep here tonight. We will talk tomorrow."

Kreacher opened his mouth, most likely to protest, but Regulus threw a blanket over them. Kreacher let out a sigh and closed his eyes.

Regulus did the same, but he couldn't sleep, his mind too focused on the shallow breath coming out of Kreacher.

After a while, he heard shuffling next to him. He wrapped his arms around Kreacher who clung to him, silently weeping, his head buried in Regulus' chest.

A few days had passed before Regulus finally managed to make Kreacher talk.

Kreacher sat in the middle of his bed, his bony legs crossed underneath his, his eyes cast downwards as he told Regulus about the trip towards the cave.

"And then Dark Lord asked Kreacher to drink the water," Kreacher said and shivered. "It made Kreacher see things…" He stopped, wrapping his small arms around himself.

"It is okay. You don't need to say anything else," Regulus said. He knew what kind of water Kreacher was talking about it; it was one of the things he was forced to study in the summer. He took a deep shaky breath, trying to stop himself from doing anything reckless.

"I'm going to leave to rest," he said after a moment. "And tell Mother that the Dark Lord had called for you again. It should give you some time."

Kreacher shook his head. "Mistress needs Kreacher."

Almost as if on cue, Regulus heard his mother shout from downstairs. He opened the door slightly, trying to detect if his name was being mentioned. His mother always seemed angry lately, and he grew too tired of trying to know what she was on about. Last time he tried to calm her down hadn't been really pleasant.

He heard a familiar click and immediately shut the door. His father was here.

"She is going to be fine," he said and turned around. He wasn't sure if he was trying to convince Kreacher or himself.

Kreacher shook his head once more. "Mistress has been getting sick lately. She needs Kreacher."

Regulus didn't know if Kreacher was turning a blind eye to everything that was happening in the house that had been his home for almost all of his life, or if he was just in denial about it.

A crashing sound of something echoed through the big hollow house.

Regulus flinched. He tried to focus on the matter at hand. "You need to rest," he stated.

His mother stopped shouting. Regulus wondered if his father had shut her up with his hand or his wand this time. Regulus clenched his hands into fists, trying to control his anger. Telling himself that he couldn't do anything, that he tried more times than he could count and failed, still didn't make it any easier.

He waited until he heard her reassuring slow footsteps walking towards her bedroom before he spoke once more. "It is my fault you are in this state. I should have made any excuse so he wouldn't take you."

"Regulus didn't know, and he couldn't lie to the Dark Lord. He would have found out. He wouldn't have been pleased." Kreacher shivered.

"You are going to stay here, Kreacher," he stated. "And that is final."

Kreacher stared at him. Regulus never ordered him to do anything, but he couldn't let the elf refuse this time.

"What if Mistress sees Kreacher?" He asked at last.

"I doubt it. No one ever comes here," he said. He was almost like an invisible ghost in the house, a faint reminder of a son that had betrayed them, and the Dark Lord's tool.


* * *

VIII.

"Why are you doing this?"

Bellatrix stood facing the small window, her back to him. "Doing what?"

"This." Regulus waved his hand vaguely around him as if being in that room could explain everything. "Choosing to be a Death Eater, to be on his side."

Bellatrix turned towards him, her wavy hair moving freely. "What do you mean? I thought you and I are on the same side."

"Oh, we are," he said immediately. "But I want to know your reasons."

"Because I want magic to rule the world," she said.

"You mean him."

"Is there a difference? He is the most powerful sorcerer." There was always a certain gleam in her eyes whenever she talked about the Dark Lord that unsettled him.

"That's it?" He asked. "Surely there is something else."

She tilted her head, like a curious bird. "What do you mean?"

"Bella, let's be honest here," Regulus said. "Everyone in this mansion has an ulterior motive. Lucius joined because he wanted power but now he is just too afraid to back out. Rosier is here because he is in love with the chaos and the power that comes with the Dark Lord. What are your motives? What do you want?"

She watched him for a long time without answering.

"I think it might be something related to the Dark Lord himself," Regulus prompted.

Her eyes flashed, warning him, just like every time he tried to bring up the subject.

"You never loved Rodolphus, Bella. You married him because it was expected of you. Because he was a pureblood," he said. "You and I know that."

She raised her head. "That has nothing to do with the Dark Lord. What are you trying to get to here?" She demanded. "Planning something, cousin?"

"I just want you to be honest with me," he said, his palms stretched outwards. "Nothing more."

A tense silence stretched between them as she stared at him.

"I just don't want you to get your hopes up," he murmured. He had seen things that he couldn't erase from his mind, no matter how desperately he wanted to. They haunted his dreams, looming on his every waking day. Someone like the Dark Lord was incapable of love, and he didn't know if Bellatrix didn't see that, or if she was turning a blind eye to it.

"Like you did?"

"What?"

"You were always easy to read, Regulus. I knew long before he did."

Regulus swallowed. He knew what she was talking about. There was no point in denying it. "Then you should learn from my experience and get away while you can. The Dark Lord isn't who you think he is, Bella."

"Oh, I know exactly who he is, Regulus," she replied slowly. "I do. And I don't care. Just like how you both knew that it wouldn't work, that you and Sirius had chosen two different paths, but you didn't give it up.”

***

Regulus slapped a book shut and threw it on the table in front of him. The fireplace warmed the room as he stared outside the window, his mind searching through every spell and potion he had ever learnt, every Dark magic and ritual, looking for something that would solve the mystery for him.

He knew the necklace that Kreacher described for him. It was the Slytherin locket. But why was it be so important that the Dark Lord would go through all those measures just to secure it? He had been searching for weeks, but nothing offered an explanation, and with each passing day, he grew more restless. Whatever it was that the Dark Lord wanted, it couldn't be anything good.

He turned around and started looking for his answer again among the hundreds of books in his family's library. His hand hovered over a familiar dusty book. He remembered that one. He had to hide it once when he was a child under his bed so that no one would know that he took it. He opened it, hoping it would give him the answer that he needed.

He flipped through the pages until one of the moving pictures caught his attention. A guy was lying on the floor, another stood next to him, holding something in his head. He read the text under the picture, and suddenly everything clicked into place.

***

Regulus watched as The Dark Lord entered the room. The Death Eaters bowed their heads slightly, avoiding his sharp gaze, and he did the same. When he turned around, Regulus stole a glance at him; he wore a long dark robe, his wand no doubt hiding somewhere in it. There was a certain calmness about him that made Regulus' hair stand on edge.

The Dark Lord dropped oblique hints about immortality; probably too arrogant to think that someone would understand him. Regulus watched him through the whole meeting and tried not to let anything show on his face.

"Have you brought him?" The Dark Lord asked, turning to face Evan Rosier.

Evan grinned and looked up. "Yes, my lord. It wasn't easy, I will admit. But it was a good chase." Evan always talked of other people as if they were animals that he enjoyed hunting.

The door opened and Regulus watched a servant dragging a man into the room. The man stumbled behind him until the servant released him in the middle of the circle of Death Eaters.

The Dark Lord stood in front of him, watching the man. "Well?" He asked. "Have you learnt your lesson yet?"

The man didn't answer, clenching his hands tightly. His eyes were wide with fear, but there was a certain gleam of stubbornness and determination.

The Dark Lord glanced at Bella, and she smiled. She whispered a spell and the man started screaming. Evan laughed. Regulus swallowed, forcing himself not to look away, not to make any sort of reaction. He could feel some of the Death Eaters stares on him every now and then, no doubt waiting for him to crack, just like the first time.

This wasn't the first person that the Dark Lord had interrogated lately, nor it would be the last, and yet it never became any easier for him. He kept his face neutral, his eyes on the muggleborn as he was expected to do, and said nothing.

Eventually, Bellatrix lifted her wand. The man lay on the floor, shaking helplessly as the waves of pain finally left his body.

"Regulus," he looked up as his name was suddenly called. The Dark Lord was looking at him.

"It seems that our guest hasn't learnt his lesson yet," he said. "I am no longer interested in whatever information he possesses. I found someone a much easier person to talk to."

The man snapped his eyes open at that. "You are lying!" He shouted, his voice hoarse. "No one has betrayed us!"

"You dare call your lord a liar?" Bellatrix demanded, her voice rising with each word, eyes wide with anger with a touch of madness. She raised her wand once more and a scream erupted from the man as he rolled on the floor. Regulus closed his eyes for a second against his better judgement.

He took a deep breath and opened his eyes again. Lucius was looking at him. When their eyes connected, Lucius turned around. Regulus noted that Lucius looked paler than normal.

Voldemort smiled. "It is okay, Bella." He looked at Regulus again. Regulus made himself hold the stare. "Kill him."

Regulus looked at the wizard, remembering the first time they met a few months ago, and the utter look of hatred and disgust that was shot towards him when he knew who he was and saw the Mark on him.

"No wonder Sirius never mentions you," he had spat. Regulus raised his wand then, a spell on the tip of his tongue, uncontrollable anger blinding him. But he couldn't do it. Ever since he got the Mark on his arm, he had done unimaginable things, but he couldn't hurt him then. He was a member of the Order. Sirius would know.

Instead, he didn't react at all, just left and claimed that he never found him. The Dark Lord wasn't pleased and was more than happy to illustrate that. Now, it was his time to redeem himself.

Bellatrix looked at him and smiled. Was she really that happy just to serve Voldemort, to do whatever he wanted? Was it just to make him happy, or had it become enjoyable for her as well?

"Do it," Rosier encouraged.

Regulus raised his wand, and considered what he would have done if the roles were reversed; if Sirius were a Dark Lord and he was one
of his followers. He wondered if he would have done the same for his brother.

An image of Sirius ran through his head, his smile turning into a disappointed frown.

His eyes landed on the man. He was on his knees, staring at him with so much strength that Regulus envied him. He wondered if the man ever mentioned him to Sirius, or how Sirius would react when he found out.

What would he do if Sirius or Kreacher was caught?

What had he gotten himself into?

"Are you waiting for something, Regulus?" Voldemort asked. Regulus could feel Nagini as it crawled around next to his leg, surrounding him. One small order and he would be gone.

Regulus gave one last look at the man, hoping to convey everything he wanted to say in that glance, and flicked his wand. The man was dead before his head had hit the ground.

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