We Were Brothers - A Harry Potter Fan Fic.
“Life, misfortunes, isolation, abandonment, poverty, are battlefields which have their heroes; obscure heroes, sometimes greater than the illustrious heroes.”
- Victor Hugo
Sirius Black walked the wide lane which edges were laced with what once had been a pearly white snow but now merely a forgotten grey mass of slush. His crystallised breath mingled with an unnerving fog that hung forebodingly heavy in the cold piercing air, and the wintry darkness of a characteristic December night hugged his neatly clothed body mercilessly, causing his numb frame to tremble as the Gryffindor forced himself to continue along the abandoned path.
He tucked one gloved hand into one of the pockets of his thick coat and gripped the piece of wood he kept there. It was those twelve inches Hawthorne reassurance that constituted his wand; and the man was utterly thankful for its presence at this moment. Being the proud Gryffindor he was, had Sirius never earlier regarded himself as one who feared the darkness. However, he had now bitterly experienced the horrid repercussions of foolhardy ignorance, and never would he forgive himself for the chill indifference that had been the cause, the blame, for the loss of his brother.
He had lost Regulus to Voldemort.
Mere words couldn’t describe how Sirius felt as he recalled his brother. If he only could go back, knowing what it had taken him so many years to learn, then perhaps the fate of the brothers of the noble House of Black would have been different. If he only had possessed more tolerance in his youth, more will to understand, to understand the path his brother had chosen to follow, understand why he had made the choice to follow it. But Sirius had been too blind to see, too blind to notice. He hadn’t bothered to care what had begun to intoxicate Regulus’ mind, not bothered to fight it more. Only once could Sirius remember questioning his brother’s beliefs and involvement within the Dark Arts.
* * *
“Sirius?” Regulus saids, standing by the foot of the majestic marble staircases in their parents' grand home. The other dark haired boytapped his foot impatiently against the neatly polished marble, gazing down at his brother. They were both home from Hogwarts to spend Christmas amongst their relatives, much to Sirius’ displeasure.
“Yes?” Sirius replied with a chill sneer, eager to return to his room. A scornful smirk spread over his features as he inspected his brother’s appearance; expensive dark robes over a crisp newly ironed shirt, his black hair tidily combed. “You’re all fancied up, pretty boy.”
His brother glared at him, and when he replied, his voice was equally spiteful and cold as Sirius’ had been. “It's for the Christmas dinner. You are going to come down for it, I expect?”
“Not unless it will be absolutely necessary.” Sirius stated, his voice bored.
“It's necessary,” scolded Regulus, his dark eyes narrowing. “Mother has invited some rather important people-”
Sirius laughed disdainfully, his bitter mirth echoing along the walls. “Has she, really?” he mocked. “Then why would you want me there, huh, Regulus? Unlike you, I have no interest in bonding with the most diisgusting bigots of the entire Dark Arts movement.”
“The whole family's coming,” snarled Regulus, ignoring his brother’s taunt. “It’s crucial for us to make a good impression. It will look bad if the heir to the House of Black isn’t present. When Father dies, you're the one who will take over, Sirius. And then you’ll have to deal with these people, whether you like them or not.”
Sirius twitched unwillingly. “Deal with these people how?” he scowled. “Keeping up absurd bribes to keep Mudbloods out of the Ministry? Stall laws that threaten my Pureblood integrity? Or, how about marrying my sodding cousin, as she is the only proper Pureblood around? Honestly Regulus, when Father dies, I'm giving this shit to you.”
“Well,” began Regulus, and with a lazy hand over his mouth to cover a feigned yawn, he started to climb the stairs, “that’s awfully generous of you, Sirius. But it doesn’t quite work that way.”
“Bet you’d love if it did though,” said Sirius nastily when his younger brother passed where he stood at the ledge of the stairs. “Then you could keep up the same disgusting image of our family that our dear parents are struggling so hard to preserve.”
Regulus came to an abrupt halt. When he turned to face the other boy, his teeth were bared and those eyes which resembled Sirius’ own were glinting with withheld venom.
“You know what, Sirius?” he started, his voice slow, quiet and dripping with contempt. “You're the one who's gotten it wrong. Not me.”
“You’re so fucking fooled,” Sirius sneered, shoving the shorter roughly in the chest.
Regulus threw him a dirty look. “Such a charming lad, aren’t you?” he hissed after regaining his balance. “You've gotten everything backwards, Sirius. You always said I was the silly one. Purebloods go anywhere they want, do anything they please, everyone gets out of out way! So who is the smart one now, big brother?”
“Are you even listening to yourself, you stupid, brainwashed git?!” snarled Sirius. “You sound exactly like them!” he said, waving his hand in an airy gesture towards the Dining Hall where the Blacks were gathered.
Regulus’ face was as carved in stone when he brushed off invisible dust from his robe, and when he finally met his brother’s gaze, his eyes were cold and indifferent. The faint smirk that was tainting his lips did not reach his eyes; he appeared eerily emotionless.
“Why wouldn’t I sound like them?” he asked dryly, raising a dark eyebrow as if to emphasise his lack of comprehending. “I am one of them, after all. Just like you.”
“I'm nothing like them,” hissed Sirius. “I'm not evil.”
Regulus shook his head and chuckled. “Evil, good. Black, white. Slytherin, Gryffindor. You are so narrowed in your views, Sirius. When will you understand that there is no such thing as evil? There is only power. We have power. You, me, our relatives. Why waste it?”
“There is no such thing as evil?” Sirius jeered in disbelief, “Oh Regulus, there is evil. And you're rapidly becoming a part of it.”
“Perhaps you already are a part of it,” said Sirius bluntly, staring at his brother with stern eyes. “What do I know? I don’t know you anymore.”
Regulus looked down on his feet, biting his lip. He seemed to realise that a different approach would be required if he was to persuade Sirius to come down for dinner. He let out a small sigh. “Sirius?” it fell from his lips like a plea. “Please. We are brothers.”
The taller of them swallowed, and regarded the younger with a suspicious gaze. “What did you say?”
“We are brothers.”
Regulus’ tone was silent and almost broken as he spoke. They had both forgotten how they had ended up having this discussion. It was more to it now.
“You stopped being my brother years ago, Regulus.”
* * *
As Sirius looked back upon those days, he wished he had done more. He wished so badly it hurt and ached, that he had made at least one proper attempt to save Regulus from the intoxicating, poisonous and demanding cult which had come to be his death. He hadn’t. In his rebellious youth, had he relinquished the beliefs of the family he so deeply loathed being a part of; and thereby, he detested his brother. As Sirius began his life journey at Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, he formed a powerful alliance along with a few other Gryffindors. It was him, and his friends, James Potter, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.
They ruled the academy in a dominating fashion with their loud mannerism and the fierce Gryffindor spirit they were in possession of. The friendship they developed over those years became the one thing he treasured; the only thing he treasured. During his late years at Hogwarts School, blood had meant so little to him, close to nothing. As he grew older, the Fire Whiskey he and James had shared late at night in the abandoned Gryffindor common room was thicker than the blood he shared with his brother. He felt no pride at the prospect of being a part of the noble House of Black, but amongst his friends, he felt like a winner; they all had. They were better then the rest of the poor lot; more clever than those sly Slytherins, brainier than the Ravenclaws. Hell, they even outsmarted the Professors.
Sirius lifted his gaze which had been stubbornly glued to the frozen path in front of him; his eyes greeted by the sight of a large iron gate that swung open at his touch. He stepped onto the unfamiliar grounds, his hands trembling slightly of insecurity as he reached for his wand within his pocket.
“Lumos,” he whispered, his voice hoarse from the lack of use. The soft glow of the tip of his wand lit up his nearest surrounding; revealing fine stretches of powdery snow which lay before his feet; untouched and achingly innocent. The fallen snow was still and peaceful; marred only in a few places where an animal had padded its way, and just then, Sirius felt as if he was the only person in the entire world. He sucked in a deep breath of the icy air, coughing, and reached up to pull his hat further down his over his frozen ears. The silence of the graveyard was deafening. It rested like a weighty, soaked blanket over the area, suffocating even the faintest howls of the heavy winter night.
Slowly, careful not to tarnish the soft and beautiful snow more than what was necessary, Sirius began to walk towards the gravestone he was there to visit. Upon making his way through the virgin snow, unwanted thoughts pervaded by grief and regret invaded his mind and pained his guilty soul, the realisation of what he had done crashing over him, tinkling like a wicked laughter in the back of his head. Angry tears of disappointment and hopelessness blurred his vision, and this time, unlike those times in his youth, he let them fall. They ran, silent yet inescapable, down his cheeks, the bitter and brackish taste of them in his mouth reminding him of what he had done. Or, maybe, what he had not done.
Sirius knew it was Regulus’ grave as soon as he set his eyes upon the grey piece of stone. It was everything his brother hadn’t been; plain and dull, yet he knew it was his. None of the other tombstones on the graveyard was as overgrown and neglected as this one; none was as tarnished and uncared for. Unlike the other graves, neither candles nor flowers were decorating the earth above were his brother lay. A thick layer of snow enclosed the forgotten memorial, and only if Sirius leant forward to look carefully could he see what once had been carved into the rough surface.
Regulus Arcturus Black
1961 – 1979
Sirius let shaky fingers trace the letters which had so sloppily been engraved, vainly attempting to remain composed. Swallowing hard, he reached inside his pocket and pulled out the photograph he had brought with him, the photograph he had found in Regulus’ house a short time after his death.
Sirius sank down in the deep snow by the grave, his eyes fixed on the small black and white photo. It was him and Regulus, standing on the Platform 9 and ¾. The fourteen year old Sirius’ arm draped over twelve year old Regulus’ shoulders in a protecting way, both the boys laughing and shoving playfully at each other. Sirius was as much beginning to become a man in the picture as Regulus still was an innocent child; Sirius’ body looked broad and muscular whereas Regulus, on the other hand, still remained young with his school robe hanging loosely over his tiny frame, and a faint blush adorning his fair skin. Tears escaped Sirius’ dark orbs, moistening the fragment he held in his hands, as he recalled that day.
* * *
“Will you be alright now? You can always sit in my compartment, you know.” Sirius assured, pulling both his and Regulus’ trolleys across the platform.
Regulus cast a nervous glance at the spot where James, Remus and Peter were standing a few yards away, waiting impatiently for Sirius to come along with them. “I'll be fine,” he stated, wishing he appeared more confident than what he in fact was.
Of course you will, you're my little brother,” grinned Sirius and slapped the back of his head, laughing slightly at the face Regulus made. “I do hope I'll see more of you this year though,” he continued, “it feels like I hardly ever see you during the terms, you little Slytherin, you,” he teased.
“I have a lot of studying to do you know,” explained Regulus loftily, putting his chin up.
Sirius rolled his eyes as he stopped by the entrance of the train and turned to his brother. “Honestly, Regulus. This is your second year.” Biting his lip, he admitted, “Truthfully, I don’t think I even knew what homework was when I was in my second year.”
When Regulus didn’t reply, Sirius pulled the other boy in for a hug. Regulus small arms flung around his neck, and Sirius frowned worriedly. “Has Mother been talking to you?” he asked, still enveloping his brother in a protective hug.
“What do you mean?” mumbled Regulus, “Talked to me about what?”
Sirius swallowed and let go of his little brother. “She will talk to you,” he said quietly. “She thinks I have a bad influence on you. They will try to tear us apart.”
Regulus looked up at him. “Then I will just tell them that you are my brother, and that I love you.”
“Regulus, promise me you won't listen?”
It was Regulus’ turn to frown. “I won't, I promise.”
Sirius sighed. “They are clever, Regulus, no matter how much I hate to admit it. They might find a way to-”
“To what, Sirius? Don’t you trust me?”
“I do trust you Regulus, you're my brother and my best friend. I just…”
Regulus voice was firm, much more firm than Sirius could remember it ever been. He met his younger brother’s dark gaze, which held an alien maturity. Sirius couldn’t comprehend why, but he felt small. “Yes,” he said quietly.
“You are my brother.”
“I know,” Sirius whispered.
So fucking small.
“No one will tear us apart.”
* * *
Two years later, Sirius had left home. He had run off to James’ family, he had left Regulus with their deranged, prejudiced parents, left him exposed to them and their twisted beliefs. He tried to tell himself that his brother already had been lost when he left, too far gone and unable to remember life as it used to be. But the photograph which Regulus had saved throughout all these years they had spent apart, now old and fragile in his hands, told him differently. Regulus had never forgotten their brotherhood, never forgotten what they used to have before they were cold advisories instead of brothers.
Gently, Sirius brushed away some snow from the top of the tombstone to make room for the small candle he had brought. As he fumbled with the matches, he wondered briefly why he didn’t use his wand. Soon, the candle was lit, its soft glow painting the glittery snow golden. After only a moment of hesitation, Sirius tenderly laid the photograph of him and Regulus on top of the golden snowdrift, leaning it so he could see their bright faces beaming up at him where he sat enveloped by the numbing coldness. Tears blurred his vision, and he let out a silent sob, before he whispered the words he wished his little brother could hear.
“I'm so sorry, Regulus.”
And he was. Sorry for all those things he never did.
Author's Note: This story is a dedication to Sirius and Regulus Black. I hope you like it, and if you read, please remember to leave me a review. Thanks.
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