Beta read by Anna, Katja and Pia. Thank you! :)

Disclaimer: I'd probably be nicer to them if they were mine.

***

Our shadows taller than our souls.

There's a lady who's sure

All that glitters is gold

And she's buying a stairway to heaven.

(Led Zeppelin: Stairway To Heaven)

Back then, it was easy. Walking through the corridors, laughing, fighting with friends, spending time in the library for homework. Autumn came and the October winds made the Forbidden Forest look even scarier; the lake turned colder and they began wearing their scarves. Sometimes they passed each other, green and silver meeting red and gold, a moment of perfection in which they didn't look at each other. Then the moment was gone and they had already turned into the next hallway.

It was easy, back then.

Sometimes he felt sad. And he would stare out the window, where the trees had turned gold and red, and maybe dawn would break on the morning of a Quidditch match. The green seeker and the red beater. He knew they'd stare at them. He knew they'd think they were so alike; Black, toujours pur, same hair, same skills. Sirius didn't know that Regulus was good at joking, too. And interested in motorbikes and music like Kiss and Led Zeppelin. He didn't know how many times he had listened to Stairway to Heaven and wished that things were different.

But still, it was easy.

Years later, when Sirius ran away, it was difficult, and Regulus thought he'd be strong, and they both chose the wrong ways. Back then, however, they didn't know what was to follow those childhood days, and maybe things would never have grown that difficult if they hadn't been easy in the beginning.

And they both wenttheirwrong ways. When they met one day that seemed like half an eternity later, they had stopped not liking each other - it had turned into something much worse, for Sirius had left the house of Black and never looked back; for Sirius had never cared about Regulus (or so it seemed to him); for Sirius had started fighting the Dark Lord, but most of all because Sirius was still arrogant and funny and daring. Nothing had touched him, nothing could move him.

Maybe he didn't feel anything at all. And that was why Regulus didn't know why Sirius hated him so much. And that was why he made one last attempt, before a fate he had chosen for himself would finally conquer him.

"Ah, the Death Eater's come to visit me", the man in the door frame sneered. It wasn't difficult to combine this stranger with the brother he had known for so long, except the bitterness. The bitterness in Sirius' voice Regulus couldn't construe.

"At the moment", he declared, "I'm not a Death Eater."

"Oh, right. You're a fool." Sirius' sarcasm made him feel small and unable to explain why. He refused answering.

"Why have you come here?"

"I... needed to see you."

"Why? You are not my family anymore, Death Eater. Leave. Now."

"You can't choose your family."

"You very well can. Aren't Orion and Walburga telling everyone they only had one son?"

"Sirius... I need to tell you something."

"Did you came to beg for forgiveness?"

"I - I don't know what I should be forgiven for, but, please, listen - "

"Ah, then maybe I am invited to join the family again - one last attempt to make me switch sides? Do they need a spy in the Order? Or do you intend to kill me, Death Eater?"

"I have a name!"

"A name I don't need to know." Short pause. "You're just not important enough."

Regulus tried to find the right words to answer. Sirius made an attempt to close the door, but Regulus bellowed, "You!", and stepped forward. For the first time, there was a kind of alarm reflected in Sirius' eyes.

"You!"

Sirius had never understood. Regulus tried to remember how to breathe; there was something that wasn't working in his brain. Spots appeared before his eyes, black and white, he turned cold suddenly; a noise rang through his ears. "How dare you", he whispered. "You never went my way. How dare you to claim you knew what I am and what I'm not!" Then, there was no air left in his lungs, and the pain made him cling to the door frame.

Something failed.

Something broke.

Sirius just stared at him with a look on his face like this was not his business at all. Regulus closed his eyes and turned away, knowing very well this would give Sirius the perfect opportunity to hex him from his back.

Actually, I came to say goodbye.

But there was only silence left.