Sorry for the disgustingly late update – only just got back from holiday and had a few things to sort out before I could get writing again! I didn't want you to be kept waiting for too long, so sorry if this chapter is a bit rubbish, but hopefully now I can start up again without a long break Please let me know what you think, and don't forget to give me your ideas I'd be happy to use any that I think would go with my story!
Lots of love, Maz x x x
Ron and Hermione didn't seem to notice that Harry had ran into Regulus' bedroom topless - they merely pointed towards the wall as he ran in. After what seemed like forever Harry finally spoke,
"Sirius" he muttered.
Ron and Hermione looked puzzled.
"No…no Harry that's his brother Reg-" Hermione replied only to be interrupted by a clearly stunned Harry who had now turned to look at his friends with a scared look on his face.
"Sirius…" he said, his voice shaking, "he threw out a locket two years ago remember? None of us could open it!"
Hermione clasped a hand to her mouth and Ron looked worried. It was true. They had helped clean Grimmauld Place two years ago while the Order was using it as their headquarters, and Sirius had disposed of many an item which reminded him of his family and which he did not wish to keep any longer. Nearly everyone they could think of had tried to open the locket, and Hermione had performed every charm possible to try and pry it open but nothing had worked, so Sirius just told them to throw it out.
"But…Harry it might not have been Slytherin's locket," spoke Ron with an air of false-hope in his voice, "maybe it was just a locket that the Black's had put a charm on to make sure that only they could open it"
"But what if it wasn't Ron? I don't think that anyone could have put such a strong unbreakable charm on a locket like that…except for Voldemort" replied Harry, feeling a horrible lurch in his stomach.
"Kreacher!" cried Hermione suddenly.
Both Ron and Harry swerved around, assuming that the house-elf had somehow turned up at the house but as Kreacher was nowhere to be seen, they turned to look at Hermione with puzzled looks on their faces.
Hermione rolled her eyes, "Oh for goodness sake! Sirius told us that Kreacher had tried to sneak some of the Black family heirlooms back didn't he? What if he found the locket and kept it!" she said very fast, with a bright, wide, hopeful look in her eyes.
"You're brilliant Hermione" complimented Ron, pulling her towards him and kissing her.
"Errr…hello? Do you mind?" uttered Harry.
Ron and Hermione broke apart immediately, Hermione looking slightly red, but Ron merely replied, "No not really Harry – you gonna summon him or what?"
"Summon who?" came a voice from the door.
Ginny was leaning against the door frame, looking slightly annoyed – this look turned to curiosity however when she noticed the painting of Regulus and the Slytherin crest plastered across the bedroom wall. She walked closer to take a gander, and the trio remained silent, as none of them really knew what they could tell her.
"Wow…Sirius' younger brother was pretty cute! Wouldn't have minded meeting him," she said with an impressed sort-of grin on her face.
Hermione scoffed, "Oh please Ginny! Sirius was sooo much better looking than that! He had that rugged, sexy, mysterious look; classic tall, dark and handsome – Regulus is ok, but a bit on the pretty-boy side if you ask me…"
"You can't say that Hermione! Just look at those cheekbones of his! And those lips are-"
"Er, excuse me?" interrupted Harry looking aghast.
"We're standing right here you know, yeah having the time of our lives we are, listening to our girlfriends discuss which Black was better looking" added Ron with his arms-crossed and frowning slightly.
"Yeah!" agreed Harry, "and Hermione, Sirius was my godfather come on, that's just disturbing hearing you talk about him like that it is"
"I never knew you thought Sirius was sexy" goaded Ron.
"Anyway forget that now, I need to call Kreacher" stated Harry, who then left the room and ran down the stairs with Hermione, Ron and Ginny in pursuit. On entering the living room, Harry suddenly realised that he had been topless all this time and turned a soft shade of pink, before grabbing his shirt off the floor and pulling it on over his head.
"What are you calling Kreacher for? He's a nasty little thing" asked Ginny.
Harry sighed. "Listen Ginny, I'm gonna let you stay in here while we talk to Kreacher – but you can't say anything or ask us anything more if you do…you know how much I care about you but you've got to understand that I can't tell you anything more, I have to keep the last promise that I made to Dumbledore, it's the least I can do for him"
Ginny looked as though she was exploding with the desire to protest, but on second thought decided to bite her tongue.
I guess if Dumbledore wanted it this way…it has to be this way.
"Fine…whatever" she replied, walking over and sitting down on the bed.
"Kreacher? I need you here now" said Harry, before hearing that familiar crack that told him the house-elf had just apparated right behind him.
Harry turned around to look at that sunken, ugly, long-eared face. That face which had played a part in selling his godfather to Voldemort. Harry had to close his eyes for a moment and take a deep breath to remind him that there were more important things to do then punch Kreacher for what he had done. Before Harry or any of the others could say anything however, Kreacher had burst into tears and was on all fours banging his fists on the floor.
"Master Regulus!" he wailed pathetically, "Kreacher has failed Master Regulus!"
"Kreacher stop crying and sit up" said Harry, kneeling down beside him.
Kreacher grudgingly obeyed at once and sat up, his nose dripping wet.
"Kreacher, I need you to tell me something and I need you to tell me the truth ok? Did you steal back the locket we threw out two years ago?"
"Kreacher took Master Regulus' most precious locket back he did Master Harry" he replied, "but Kreacher could not destroy it like Master Regulus asked him to! Kreacher failed his master!"
Harry, Ron and Hermione looked at eachother. Ginny remained seated on Regulus' bed looking puzzled.
"It is…isn't it Harry?" whispered Hermione, wide-eyed.
"Kreacher where is this locket now? Can I see it please?" he asked hopefully.
"Kreacher could not destroy the locket, Master Regulus asked Kreacher to do it before he died, but Kreacher could not, Kreacher tried everything he did! Everything I swears to you!" Kreacher wailed, big fat tears streaming down his face.
Harry spent the next twenty minutes half-questioning Kreacher and half trying to console him; Kreacher was truly in despair as he recounted what had happened all those years ago, when he had watched his master die and be dragged down by a hoard of Inferi while he, Kreacher, was sworn to secrecy from the rest of the Black family and was given the task of destroying Slytherin's locket. Everything the elf had tried had failed. Kreacher sobbed as he told Harry how he had tried even the harshest, most powerful elf magic and yet, even this did not seem to work. Even though Kreacher had given Sirius to Voldemort, Harry could not help but feel sorry for the elf as he lay there, nose dripping, eyes bloodshot, sobbing away. Hermione had tears in her eyes and looked as though she'd like nothing more than to hug Kreacher and even Ron, who despised the elf just as much as Harry had done, looked shocked and upset.
Harry remembered the vast portrait of Regulus he had seen upstairs, and how the Slytherin crest was plastered everywhere, and how even in his portrait Regulus was proudly wearing the Slytherin robes and scarf. He realised that at the last minute, Regulus had 'panicked' and decided that maybe Voldemort wasn't all he was cracked up to be, and wasn't the right path to follow. Even Regulus, a (from what he could see) a passionate, patriotic Slytherin had been disgusted at the idea of creating a horcrux, and was probably soon revolted by what he had seen that Voldemort was capable of. Even with a family who were so (bar Sirius) obsessed with being a pure-blood, Regulus had seen that the persecution of muggle-borns and muggles was revolting and he decided to take action in the hope that when Voldemort finally met his match, he would be 'mortal once more'. Perhaps even a Slytherin could redeem himself in some form or other. Harry wished that Sirius had been alive to hear this, and wondered whether he and his brother were close before Sirius had 'broke his mother's heart' and ran away at sixteen.
"Kreacher…" Ron's voice broke his thoughts, "where is the locket now?" he asked edging slightly closer toward the quivering elf.
"Answer him Kreacher, please – we can help you fulfill your old master's wishes. Regulus would have been on our side, we want to help finish the work that he started Kreacher. Please tell us where it is," Harry added, placing his hand on Kreacher's shoulder rather hesitantly.
The elf slowly stood up as Harry helped him. At first Kreacher just stood there, looking from Hermione to Harry to Ron and then to Ginny, his eyes bulging with tears that looked set to start falling again, then he clicked his fingers and with an echoing crack, the locket appeared in the hands before him. Harry was rooted to the spot as it dawned on him that they had found the first horcrux and an oddly eerie feeling creeped through his body as he realised that a part of Voldemort's soul was now in the same room as him and his friends. From the looks on Ron and Hermione's faces, they were thinking along the same lines and both of them stepped back – Ron's hand tightly closing over Hermione's.
"Master Harry must take it" whimpered Kreacher, pushing the locket towards him,
Harry's right hand twitched slightly, as if wondering whether it should reach forwards and take the locket or not. He didn't know why he was feeling so nervous. After all wasn't this what he wanted? This was part of the whole plan! Dumbledore had told him to retrieve each of the remaining horcruxes and destroy them, he knew what he had to do and he had been prepared to go to any lengths to do it. It was just that Harry hadn't fully realised that these objects contained a seventh of Voldemort's soul inside them until he had been faced with one of them, and this made the prospect all the more frightening. Harry took a deep breath.
Pull yourself together Harry, you can do this.
He slowly reached his hand forwards to take the locket,
"Be careful Harry…" whispered Hermione, who was now holding Ron tightly, as if frightened that the locket was about to jump out and attack them.
Harry looked at them both as if to say 'it'll be alright' and gulped as his fingers finally found the chain and he carefully lifted the locket from Kreacher's palm.
For a moment Harry just dangled the locket in front of him, examining it with his eyes – it looked exactly how he had expected it to, having seen it in the memory that Dumbledore had shown him the previous year. Then, as Harry finally braced himself into placing the locket into the palm of his own hand, it was as if he felt a sudden electric shock through his body and he felt a bout of fear, the locket began to shake and shiver and Ron, Hermione and Ginny gasped as metallic clinking sounds started to radiate from the locket, echoing around the room.
He didn't know how he knew, but Harry turned to Ron and Hermione and said,
"It knows. It knows we're here to kill it. This thing is gonna put up one hell of a fight"
"Kill it? What do you mean kill it? You can't kill a locket, its not even…its not alive!" cried Ginny who now looked fearful as she watched the others cast shivering looks at the locket which lay before them.
"But how are we supposed to kill it?" asked Ron, ignoring his sister's cry for an answer, "what do we do?"
The trio looked at eachother and it struck them all at that instant, that this…was only the beginning.