He didn't know what had gotten into him. He was so stupid, what was he thinking? Why, oh why would he ask out Lily Evans, and by the staircase where every student in the school would be? She was older than him, she was a Gryffindor, she was beautiful…she was everything he could never be.

Oh, how he wished he was his brother. Sirius was also everything he'd never be. He had friends, he had girlfriends, he was handsome, and he was brave. Bravery was something Regulus had always longed for. But he knew he wasn't brave. If he was, he'd give up on pleasing his parents and professors and tell them what he really thought.

"Er…Regulus?" her voice broke through his thoughts, though it brought on a whole round of new ones…

"Just leave him, Lils. There's no point talking to a mentally retarded Slytherin." sniggered her friend.

"No, I wanna know what he wants. And whether I need to hex him." she said.

"Um…ah…nevermind." he said in a rush.

"I told you so!" the loud friend said. Lily frowned.

"No, what did you want? Really. It's okay, I won't hex you." Lily said kindly. That was one of the things he loved about her…she was kind to anybody, even Slytherins like him.

"Well…I was wondering if you wanted to go to Hogsmeade this weekend? You know, hang out over butterbeers?" He was elated that he'd sounded intelligent, maybe even smooth. But his joy crashed down around his ears quickly.

"I'm sorry, Regulus, but I'm already going to Hogsmeade with James. Maybe some other time…" She sounded genuinely sorry, but he knew she wasn't. He was stupid. Why would any girl like him when they could have Potter or even Sirius?

"Uh, yeah. That's—of course. Well, see you around, Lily." he said, faking a grin. He heard them talking as they walked away, about him obviously, the Slytherin who asked out his brother's best friend's girl.

"You shouldn't've been so nice, Lily. He's just a little Slytherin. You ought to have hexed him."

"He didn't do anything. Anyway, he shouldn't have been expecting a yes. He's Black's brother. He should've known I was going with James, seeing as Sirius can't keep his mouth shut for five minutes."

"You're right. You're lucky you're so popular!" The two of them laughed as they headed towards the Great Hall, leaving Regulus behind, barely holding off the scream in his mouth. He rubbed the back of his neck, attempting to distract himself from the girl of his dreams as he thought about homework. His eyes burned ferociously, though, and he couldn't completely ignore his thoughts. He sighed after a moment and headed towards the Slytherin Common Room. No need to eat breakfast; he'd only have to see her red curls waving about, hear her laugh at some stupid crack Potter made…no need to break his heart again.

"Hey, look, it's the little snotrag." Regulus turned. It was Pettigrew, the stupid little tagalong of his brother's. He glared.

"Better watch it, Pettigrew. Don't wanna get cursed do you?" The words came from none other than Sirius. Pettigrew cowered and nodded, heading to the Great Hall quickly, but not before shooting a glare at Regulus. Regulus glared right back, then turned to thank his older brother.

"Don't bother, Black. It's only cause he's more of a coward than you are." Sirius said angrily, walking away. Regulus sat down heavily on the stairs. Though his brother had good reason to hate him, it still hurt. He put his head in his hands, wondering when they'd first started loathing each other.

"Hey, Reg, let's go bug Mum!" Sirius said, grinning. Regulus grinned back, but the smile slipped as soon as Sirius turned. The two had always loved bugging Mum, but now that he'd come back from his first year at Hogwarts, Sirius was different. Meaner. You'd think he'd be brave, kind, understanding and all that other crap about Gryffindor's, but he was worse than he'd ever been before.

"Come on, let's go!" Sirius urged. Regulus followed him to his parents' room and slid into the door behind his elder brother.

"Hey Mum, can we play with your wand?" Sirius begged.

"No. Go study. You at least have a chance of upholding family honor, Regulus."

"Mum, come on. We're booored." Sirius whined.

"No. Go on, study your family tree. We are Blacks and we must know our history."

"Pleeeease?" Regulus could see him restraining insults of the family tree.

"Fine. Here." His mother relinquished her wand and waved them away. Sirius grinned at Regulus, then began waving the wand around haphazardly.

"Not in here, stupid child!" shouted the thin woman angrily. But it was too late—a shower of red sparks had landed on her blanket, catching on fire.

"Give it here, give it here, you idiotic blood traitor!" screamed Mrs. Black. Sirius began to run off, clutching the wand, but Regulus snatched it out of his hand and threw it to his mother.

"Aguamente!" screeched Mrs. Black. Sirius glared as the two boys snuck away.

"What did you do that for? She could've used Dad's wand, it was nearby."

"Well that was dangerous!"

"You're a stupid Momma's boy and you're gonna be a Hufflepuff someday I bet, or even a Gryffindor!" shouted Sirius.

"Nuh-uh, I'm smart and you're just brave!" Sirius glared at him a moment, then walked away. Though it was the first fight they'd ever had, it wouldn't be the last.

"Hey. Regulus." Regulus looked up at Snape, staring at the Head Boy badge glinting on his chest.

"What, Severus?" he asked.

"Breakfast is almost over, so you better get in the Great Hall, the library, or your dorm. Otherwise I'll have to give you a detention."

Regulus sighed. "Yes, sir."

He walked into the Great Hall obediently, followed by the overconfident Head Boy, and sat down at the Slytherin table.

"Quidditch practice tonight, Black." Rookwood sneered at him. "Better be there. You missed last practice and no Seeker should. So don't skip off."

"Sure. But it's not like you'll be there."

The Beater looked confused. "Why?"

"Cause I'm gonna have to put you in the Hospital Wing if you don't stop messing with me." Rookwood still looked confused for a minute, then got it and glared.

"Why, you little…"


"Yes, Professor Dumbledore?"

"Get to class. Oh, Regulus, I'd like a word, please."


"Yes, professor." Rookwood headed towards the Greenhouses, and Regulus followed Dumbledore to his office.

"Regulus, you're a good boy. I know you think you are a coward, but you're not. You're a much better person than many adults I know, and you are only 16. Don't throw it away on the Dark Lord. You can go into hiding. I know you are recruited, but we can keep you safe."

"I'm sorry sir. I-I really don't know what you mean. I should go to class." Dumbledore sighed and waved his hand towards the door.

"Go ahead."

Regulus walked slowly towards the dungeon, thinking about his morning. All he'd wanted was Lily Evans to go out with him. All he'd wanted was for Sirius to say he'd forgiven all those years of hate. All he'd wanted was Dumbledore to send him away. So why didn't it work? Why did nothing go right?

Why bother asking. Regulus was a Slytherin, and a Death Eater, too. They didn't get good things.

That was when he decided. He was through with the Dark Lord. He was through with missions. With Kreacher's help he'd do it.

The feeling of hope that surged through him at his decision left him giddy and weak at the knees. This was it. Maybe, no, not maybe, definitely he would die for it, but still, he'd fix it first.

If this was bravery, than that was all he needed. Potter could have Evans. Sirius could have all those other girls in the school.

But Regulus, now he had something much better.

He had the knowledge that he was destroying the Dark Lord.

And that he could, would, die for it. That was all he needed to know.

Good-bye, childish dreams.

Good-bye, Slytherin.

Good-bye, life.

Regulus waved his wand, summoning his broomstick. He mounted it and flew away, off to Hogsmeade, and Apparated. This was it. He was saving the world.