It's sunny outside and Mother says I can go out to play. Sirius can't come because he is a bad boy for making too much noise, but I'm good. I can go anywhere I want to.
I don't want to leave Sirius behind inside in the house all by himself. Father says this is our summer cottage and we are to play all day. I never thought him to be so kind, and I don't want Sirius to miss this. He wouldn't have let me miss it if I was the bad boy.
'Come out for a minute,' I tell him. He is sitting against the kitchen wall, staring at the bright window; bright sunlight pours onto the countertops. He won't answer me. 'Only for a minute. You won't get in trouble, Sirius. I promise,' I beg.
He looks at me with his eyes, wide with fear. I know my brother wants to go outside, and I know he wants to play. I know what Father does to him when he is a bad boy; I know he is afraid Father will do it again. I don't want to get him in trouble either, because then Father will surely do the bad thing again. I don't want Sirius to come into our room tonight bleeding and crying after the bad thing. But, I want to go outside, and I need Sirius to play with me. He always has the best ideas.
'I'll give you my dinner tonight,' I tell him. I know Mother won't let him eat when he is a bad boy. 'I'll give it all to you. Right under the table --- they'll never even see, Siri.'
He shakes his head. Sirius doesn't want to take my dinner. He never wants to take anything from me because I'm younger. I wish I was the older brother. Then, I could be the bad boy and Sirius could be good and go outside to play. I don't know how to be a bad boy, though. Sirius does the same stuff I do, only he gets in loads of trouble for it.
He says things to Mother. All the time. He tells her he hates being a Black. I dunno what that means. We're all Blacks. Father says it is am honour to be a Black. I dunno what that means either. Maybe I'll ask Sirius. He always knows those sorts of things.
'I'll give you my dinner and I'll . . . I'll switch blankets with you! You like the blue one, Sirius. Oh, go on. Switch with me so we can go play.'
He shakes his head again.
'No, Regulus,' says Sirius. 'I can't go out. You go and have fun and when you get back, I promise you can tell me about everything.'
'But that's not fair!' I cry. 'No, no, no, NO!' I stomp my feet and hit him, but he won't listen to me. 'No fair! No fair! No fair!'
No matter what I do, Sirius won't say yes to me. I hate him and I hate Father and I hate Mother, because it's all their fault I can't go and play with my brother. I wish I was the biggest man in the world. Then, I could make Father stop doing the bad thing to Sirius, and Mother would have to let him eat. And then we could go outside to play. Sirius wouldn't have to be so scared.
'Aw, shut up, Reggie. You're being a baby,' Sirius says. I want to tell him that I am NOT being a baby. I'm a big boy. Mother says so.
'Not a baby,' I tell him, sticking out my tongue. 'I'm five.'
Five is a very big number. It's half of ten, and that's a bigger number. Older than Sirius, even.
'I'm eight,' he says. 'And, I'm telling you to shut up.'
'I shan't,' I say, and kick him. He doesn't do anything, so I kick him again. I want him to come outside now, but he won't budge. I'll kick him again and again until he does.
'You bloody ---- '
Before I know it, Sirius has jumped up and knocks me to the floor. We're rolling around and punching and kicking and screaming with laughter. I wish it could stay like this forever, my brother and me playing and not caring about anything. We're laughing so hard that we don't hear Mother and Father shouting upstairs, or Kreacher shouting to be quiet, or any kind of shouting at all.
Wen we finally stop, Sirius and me can't hardly breathe. We lay on the floor, leaning on our hands and not looking at each other so we can stop laughing.
'Reg,' Sirius says. He looks very serious, which means I can't laugh because this is important. 'You're only five now, and you don't understand it, but I'm not going to be here with you forever.'
I don't know what he means. He must be joking with me. Sirius loves to play pranks.That's all it is.
'You know we're Blacks, Regulus,' he tells me. I nod, because I do. 'Did you ever see that tapestry Mum's got? The one with the family tree on it?' I nod again. I don't understand family trees. Sirius told me babies come out of a mother's belly, so how come Mother's tapestry says we all grew on trees?
'Did you ever hear about Toujours Pur?' asks Sirius. I have. It's on Mother's tree.
'What's that mean, Sirius? Toojy Poor?'
He smiles at me, like I've said something funny. I don't think it's very funny. I want to know what Toujy --- Tujor --- the saying means.
'It means 'Always Pure', Regulus. Always pure blood.'
'We can't ever like Mudbloods or anything, Reggie. Because of that, we can't even say we don't want to be Pure,' whispers Sirius. I think I understand it now.
'Is that why you are a bad boy, Sirius?'
He looks at me and his eyes are scared. I don't like my brother being scared. He's the big one; he has to be brave. For me.
'Yeah, Reggie, that's why I'm a bad boy,' says Sirius slowly.
I decide I don't like Toojy Poor. It makes my brother a bad boy. It makes Father do the bad thing that gives Sirius bloody noses and teary eyes. I don't want to be Pure either.
'Let's not do that, okay, Sirius? We can just forget Toojy Poor,' I tell him. It's brilliant. If we just forget, Sirius won't have to be a bad boy again, and Father won't hurt him anymore. We just have to forget it forever and ever.
He looks sad.
'We can't forget it, Regulus. But, one day, I'm going away. I'm gone, and you can't come with me. I just want you to know that.'
'No! No, you can't, Sirius! You can't leave me,' I cry. I don't want my brother to leave me. He's my best mate. We always have fun, even when Sirius is in trouble. We always have fun together. 'No, no, no, no, no, no, no! NO! I shan't let you, I shan't! You can't go away, Sirius. You've got to stay with me and be my brother. Who's going to play with me, then? We can forget Toojy, Sirius.'
Sirius shakes his head. I know I can't make him forget. He's bigger than me and he knows more.
'I'm not going away for a long time, Reggie. Don't worry. Not for a very long time.'
That's better, then. He isn't leaving me yet.
'Do I have to be Toojy Poor forever?'
'Toujours doesn't have to be for always, Reg.'
I'm just about to answer him when the kitchen door opens. Mother and Father march in, glaring at us. Sirius is afraid. I can see it in his face. He's not by the wall like he was supposed to be. He's not allowed to be talking to me.
'What's this, boy, eh?' Fathers feet land in front of my face, and I can't see Sirius anymore. I can feel Mother's hands on me, pulling me up. I don't want to get up. I want to stay with my brother and hold him for always. I want to stop Father's hand hitting him. I want to stop Sirius crying. He never cries.
'Come, Regulus. It's time you took a nap.'
Mother is pulling me, but I don't want to go. I don't want her to take me away from Sirius. He needs me. He's my big brother and he needs me.
'Come on, now. Don't be a bad boy, like your brother.'
No. This is wrong. But, I'm only five and what can I do? Sirius is crying and Father is hitting and Mother is pulling and I can't even do anything. I'm calling to him. It's okay, Sirius and don't be afraid Sirius and Toojy doesn't have to be for always. He's lying by Father's boots, and he looks at me. He looks at me with his eyes wet from crying.
'Always,' he mouths to me. I nod. Always.
Mother pulls me around and we walk toward the black door. It's big and scratched and I'm only five and what can I do to stop this? It's getting bigger and bigger. It will swallow me whole if I walk through it. I'll never see Sirius again. I'll never see my brother.
The blackness is surrounding me, and I'm thinking of my brother's face. Toujours Pur, Sirius. Toujours, mon frère.. I can't breathe properly anymore. I know i'm walking away forever. I'm a Black. I'm Regulus Black. I am eighteen years old.
I am going to die.
Toujours, Sirius. Toujours, and I love you. Toujours, and I'm sorry.
The green light and the cackling voice I've been waiting to hear for days are here. I am Regulus Black. I am Sirius's brother. Sirius with his clever ideas and the jokes that he never seems to run out of. Sirius Black. The green light is blinding me. I am going to die.
You were right, Sirius. Toujours doesn't have to be for always.
It's green everywhere, and then it's Black. Somewhere very far away, Sirius is laughing and telling me I'm an idiot. I'm his idiot brother, but he loves me anyway.