Regulus Black sat in his kitchen; an empty bottle of Firewhiskey still clenched in his hand. His head was fuzzy from the copious amounts of alcohol he had just downed, yet his thoughts were never more clear than they were in that moment. It was an amazing thing, how you could go your whole life with a certain attitude - a firm set a beliefs, only for it all to change within minutes. And everything had changed. After tonight, everything would be different. It would be gone.

Regulus picked his head up off the cool wood of the kitchen table and snapped his fingers clumsily. "Kreacher," he called out, his voice rough from disuse.

A tiny elf with a bulging nose and puffs of white hair protruding from his bat-like ears appeared with a crack in front of him. He bowed down with his nose nearly touching the ground. "Kreacher is here, Master Regulus."

"Stand up straight, Kreacher. Please," he gently requested. He harbored a soft spot for the elf who had more or less raised him. His first friend. The first person – and yes, he thought of him as a person – that he could remember truly caring for.

As Kreacher stood up and seemed to get a good look at his favorite member of the Black family, his eyes widened ever so slightly, then narrowed. "Is Master Regulus hungry?" he probed. "Kreacher thinks Master looks like he needs to eat."

Regulus drew in a deep breath then stood up. The necklace, which was clenched tightly in his right hand, he dropped subtly into his pocket. He looked down at Kreacher. The elf's brow was furrowed; he looked concerned and worried for Regulus, who plastered a reassuring smile on his face.

"No Kreacher, I'm not hungry," he smiled, though he knew it must have looked strained. "I need you to bring me somewhere," he whispered.

ooo

"Well done, Regulus!" Bellatrix laughed as a member of The Order fell to the ground with a sickening thud.

Pride swelled inside him at the sight of the Mudblood's contorted body. The Dark Lord would be pleased, of that he was sure. Another one of those filthy, Dumbledore-loving fools was wiped from this world. And it had been because of him; a seventeen year old boy – as they had constantly reminded him, who had been mocked and told he was too young to make a difference. And now he'd shown them all. Regulus Black was a manwho deserved to be taken seriously.

Suddenly he heard the crackling of leaves on the ground, which suggested the rest of the members of that disgusting organization were on their way. He and Bellatrix kept their wands out and both of them peered through the dense trees of the forest, but it was no use. It was too dark to make out anything.

Not that he or his cousin were scared by any means, but they wereoutnumbered. Bellatrix grabbed Regulus by his wrist and pulled him in the opposite direction of the oncoming footsteps.

"Move!" she ordered.

He dawdled for a moment and weighed his options. A part of him knew he could fight them and take them all out. He was more than confident in his magical abilities. Regulus shook his head then ripped his arm out of Bellatrix's grasp; he pointed at himself, at his wand, then towards where he assumed his enemies were coming from.

Bellatrix rolled her eyes. "Don't be foolish, boy!" she hissed. "Now is not the time! But I promise you; you will have plenty of opportunities to take out the Mudbloods and the Bloodtraitors – like your insufferablebrother."

He flinched at the mention of his brother. For years he had pretended that he had no brother. With an annoyed sigh, he lowered his wand and slowly backed away. Bellatrix grabbed his arm once more and begun to pull him along.

"Now come!" she snapped her fingers.

They ran for a few moments then both took cover behind some trees. Silently, they peeked around them and watched the dead girl's friends finally arrive.

Regulus felt his heart thump madly in his chest when he recognized the long black hair of his brother and the short messy hair of his brother's best friend. A slight twinge of jealousy arose in Regulus as he watched Sirius and James together. The two of them had always seemed more like brothers than he and Sirius ever had.

ooo

Regulus stood on the edge of the cliff, the wind whipped through his hair and the small elf next to him shivered violently. He stared out across the raging sea and deep down he knew that this would be the last time he would see the sky, feel the breeze, or smell the salty aroma of the outdoors. Never again would his eyes take in the stars, the moon, the sun or the clouds. Although he felt much older; he would never reach his twenties.

Feeling as if he was moving in slow motion, he turned back to face the rocky archway and felt the corners of his eyes begin to prickle. He shook his head jerkily to rid himself of the feeling, as he could not afford to let himself succumb to such weakness.

He felt the warmth of Kreacher's small hand on his elbow; he looked at the elf and smiled.

"How do we get in, Kreacher?" he asked, almost as if asking how to get to friend's home.

A part of him was surprised by just how calm his voice sounded when his insides were screaming. Maybe he should have had one more drink before partaking in this final adventure.