Saving Regulus

"Bloody hell! I don't want to say goodbye!" Sirius watched Regulus look at him, finding himself unable to read the look on his brother's face, not to mention the fact there was the small inkling that his brother's words about saying goodbye were empty. "Throwing your life away isn't an act of courage Regulus."

"And what? You're going to…"

"Yeah. I could take it."

"I didn't want to say goodbye so you could throw your life away."

"Regulus…" Sirius sucked in his breath.

His brother turned back to the basin. "And don't try arguing that my life is more important than yours. I'm a dead man walking Sirius. I mean, you should know that nobody leaves the Death Eaters alive."

"I could…"

"Not if you're dead, so if we can stop joking," Regulus summoned an object so he could drink from it, dipping the cup into the basin. Sirius opened his mouth, only for his younger brother to say, "Remember what I said about obliviating your memory and sending you away?"

"Yes, but…" Sirius looked at his brother, wondering if he should try wrestling the goblet out of his younger brother's hands. He'd always been able to take his younger brother, yet his memory of such events made the idea of Regulus becoming a Death Eater sound even more like a joke, one created by his brother's need to please their parents.

"And anyway, it's not the potion I'm afraid of killing me."

"Not the potion?" Sirius let his eyebrows raise up, wishing his younger brother would actually give him some kind of details regarding what was going on.

"I told you that you don't want to touch the lake." Taking a deep breath, Regulus dipped the cup into the basin while Sirius watched his younger brother, almost believing for a brief moment his brother's facial features showed just a hint of trepidation.

There was still the thought of wrestling the goblet from his brother's hands, yet in the back of his mind, he knew what Regulus said actually made sense. There was no way his soft-headed younger brother would survive on the own, which only made the whole thing even more puzzling. "That said, if he thinks I'm going to just let him die here, he has another thing coming, the little twat."

"Kreacher, no matter what happens…" Regulus looked down at the object for drinking, possibly a goblet not that Sirius really cared. "No matter how bad things get, make sure the potion gets down my throat so you and Sirius can take the locket. Get Sirius to his safe place, but follow his orders."

"Master Regulus?"

"Don't worry about me." Regulus scooped up some of the potion into the goblet, then chugged it down before Sirius could even make another attempt to protest.

"It's useless, isn't it? When he gets a stubborn idea into that thick skull of his…" He took a deep breath, watching his brother cringe at the taste of the liquid going down his throat. "Regulus, are you sure. Perhaps I should drink…"

"No. Once someone starts, they've got to finish," Regulus chocked, an obvious shudder running through his body, dipping the goblet in, drinking some more.

Sirius swallowed, placing a hand on Regulus' shoulder only for his younger brother to pull away, flinching. He lifted his hands up. "Sorry, sorry, I just wanted to ask what the point of having a potion where the person has to drink it all?"

"It's to hide something, but there is the expectation that they can't drink it all on their own. Which is why Kreacher…"

"Kreacher's not going to force that down your throat." Sirius watched Regulus turn towards him, wanting to protest. "I'll do it because I didn't come along to have bloody nothing to do."

"It's going to be bad," Regulus looked him in the eye, but the emotionless façade was starting to crack. "And you can't stop. No matter what I say or do, you've got to continue pouring it down my throat. That locket needs to be destroyed, Sirius."

Sirius opened his mouth, wanting to ask how Regulus knew how bad it would be, yet he didn't ask. "I promise."

Keeping the promise didn't seem difficult at first. While Regulus seemed nervous, that seemed part of the course for someone planning on leaving the Death Eaters knowing that doing so was a death sentence. After a few more drinks, Regulus lost his balance, nearly dropping the goblet. Sirius moved forward, one hand grabbing onto Regulus' arm while the other grabbed his wrist. "Regulus?"

"You promised, but it's going to get worse."

"How do you know that?" Sirius swallowed.

"Kreacher. Kreacher came to me babbling, not making any sense at first."

"Kreacher?" Sirius glanced over, watching the House Elf rock back and forth, now wondering if the reason for the extra twitchiness from the House Elf didn't have anything to do with old age. "Bloody hell! You decided to change sides because of a filthy House Elf! Do you know how bloody childish that is?"

"Master Regulus isn't childish, you filthy…"

"No. Sirius is right, and I was wrong." Sirius watched his brother swallow.

"You mean about pureblood superiority?" Sirius wasn't sure how Regulus could have come to that conclusion based on a House Elf.

"No. I need to keep drinking the potion."

"That…" Reluctantly, Sirius filled the goblet and lifted it to Regulus' lips, letting his younger brother chug it down, but with each drink, his younger brother became even more unsteady. He found himself rubbing his brother's back while the House Elf kept telling Regulus everything would be okay, though he didn't once believe the House Elf believed it, given the fact Regulus already let it be known he didn't plan on making it out of this alive.

Regulus sucked in a deep breath, but then said. "Hey. Siri."

"Yes," Sirius felt his stomach lurch, having lost track of how many goblets of that stuff went down his brother's throat; each dip into the basin didn't seem to make a dent in the contents, which made him start to worry.

"Wanna know how childish I've been Siri?"

"Sure. Why not."

"I honestly believed they believed the same thing as me." Of course, Regulus wasn't making any sense at all. "See, I thought this was for the greater good."

"That sounds like you Reg."

"I thought…" Regulus closed his eyes, clamping his mouth shut.

"Come on. We need to get this done Reg. You told me that.

"It's the job of the superior to take care of the inferior, and I thought that's what everyone believed." Which of course didn't make sense as Sirius lifted the drink to Regulus' mouth. That was the last thing to sound sensible coming out of his younger brother's mouth; worse, that drink led to Regulus dropping to his knees whimpering, making those words the last words which made any sense coming out of his brother's mouth, though the fear was evident. He was also very thirsty, something he didn't pay much mind to.

So was hearing his brother telling him to just let him die and begging forgiveness for whatever he'd done. Sirius found himself grateful when the last goblet of potion poured down Regulus' mouth, but as he stood up he saw the locket Regulus mentioned – a locket with the mark of Slytherin on it. Reaching for t, he nearly pulled back at the feeling emanating from said object, but then slipped it into his pocket.

That was when he noticed his younger brother crawling towards the water, reaching for it. In the back of his mind, Sirius remembered Regulus telling him not to touch the water, let alone questioning whether he knew any fire spells. He quickly rushed forward, getting on his knees to pull his younger brother away from the water he crawled towards with one hand, while reaching for his want with the other.

As he pulled Regulus back, his younger brother's finger brushed across the surface of the water, feeling Sirius with dread. Even more dread filled him when a white hand reached out, latching onto his brother. He flung a quick spell – not a fire one - at the white hand, pulling his brother backward, wrapping one arm at his chest. While the spell did succeed in making the hand move back from the impact it still came.

They all came, out of the water, the corpses, the infiri, making Sirius wonder exactly what his now delirious brother got into. Taking a deep breath, he called out. "Kreacher! Get us to a safe place!"

He felt the House Elf grab onto him and then pulling at his stomach from disappearing from that dreadful cave.