I was never brave like you Sirius he says, eyes shining softly in the dim light, and Sirius knows-in a sickening jolt of horror- that he's losing his baby brother.
You were the strong one, the defiant one. Sirius steps forward in horror, blue-grey eyes pleading, begging. And I was the obedient one, the favored.
They had grown up together, Sirius chafing at the restrictions that were placed on him as the heir, and Regulus accepting it all quietly, absorbing it all as his grey-silver eyes watched the drama around him. Sirius had always been the leader, Regulus the follower. The courageous [to the point of stupidity] knight and the loyal [but smart enough to save his own skin] pawn. That was the way that it had always been.
You won't change, will you? Regulus had asked, right before Sirius had gone to Hogwarts, you'll stay in touch and nothing will change, right? And Sirius had laughed at him and his childish fears and ruffled his hair and promised. Promised that he wouldn't change, that nothing would ever come between them.
They were brothers, weren't they? He had sworn it in blood drawn from his thumb, a boy's oath, with no magic in it.
And then he had gone to Hogwarts and the Hat had put him in Gryffindor. The minute he had arrived in the common room, Sirius had been delighted, gazing around at the warm, homey colors that decorated everything in the Tower. 'It's so different than the Manor', he had thought suddenly. It was warm and cheery and filed with laughter.
And then the weeks had flown by and James had become his friend and they had picked up Remus and Peter not long after and they had spent the days down by the lake, lazing underneath the open blue sky with books and laughter. Or on the Quidditch field, racing against time with the world narrowed down to seven balls, two bats, and thirteen other blurs in the biting air, eyes watering slightly from the speed.
Sirius had quite forgotten about his sibling until he had received a slightly tearstained letter from his little brother, demanding to know why Sirius hadn't written to him immediately after his sorting and why Sirius hadn't owled him the whole, entire year.
Sirius was horrified, of course, and he had immediately turned to rush off to the dorms to write a whole long letter that would have explained everything to his baby brother, but then Snivellus had poked his big fat greasy nose into places where it hadn't belonged and it had all snowballed from there.
In the fray and the resulting detentions, Sirius forgot about his brother's letter, carefully tucked into the depths of his robes in an inside pocket.
Regulus hadn't written again, and by the time Sirius had remembered about the letter, the Hogwart's House Elves had cleaned his robes and the note had vanished. He couldn't even remember what it said, and so he decided that he'd put off the writing home a bit more. After all, another day wouldn't hurt anyone, would it? Regulus, he figured, would have to deal with it. Sirius was in Hogwarts now, not in the Manor with its echoing halls and stiff, formal, coldly beautiful elegance. He had things to do, places to be, people to see, pranks to pull with his fellow Marauders, classes to study for-life in general was calling to him, and for one of the first times in his life, Sirius Black felt free.
Of course, ignoring his brother had consequences later on.
Regulus refused to see Sirius the entire summer, rebuffing any friendly advances and leaving his brother to the mercy of the older Blacks. Sirius had been chastised again and again and criticized for everything that he did. He had been compared to his younger brother [perfect perfect Regulus, doesn't do anything wrong. A good Black, a credit to us. Why can't you be more like Regulus Sirius? If you keep up this nonsense of consorting with the Light Side, we won't be held accountable for what we do. 'Not that you ever are he'd muttered rebelliously to himself] until he was sick and tired of his family and their insane expectations of blind obedience.
He couldn't wait to go back to Hogwarts. Sirius fell asleep dreaming of the common room in Gryffindor Tower.
And when it came time for Reggie's sorting two years after Sirius's own and the Hat place him in Slytherin, icegrey eyes had shown no flicker of emotion as the boy they belonged to strode over to the table. Another boy, two tables down from him stared after him worriedly.
After the Sorting was over and the Feast was over, Sirius had hurried out to meet his brother, ignoring the calls of the prefect and his friends to follow them! Where're you going Siri?
What was that all about? he'd hissed. Livid.
What was what all about? Regulus had replied coolly. Sirius was in too much shock to care.
You didn't even say hi to me on the train! The older had exclaimed, slightly hurt.
And you didn't write me the entire bloody year. We're even.
Reggie'd had a point there. Sirius had backed down then, slipped away to rejoin his friends, and Regulus had hurried off to catch up with his Housemates.
And the brothers had drifted apart, Sirius ignoring his brother, except when they were planning pranks when the boy would decide if Regulus should be immune to it or not, depending on his mood.
Regulus had originally been preoccupied with his coursework, and then his brother had ignored him so he had given the elder the cold shoulder in return, getting pranked for his troubles.
The year passed with much left unsaid and stewing between the two brothers.
And during the summer, Regulus had summoned his elder brother to a Black meeting in the blue room, where his mother had given Sirius an envelope, which his brother opened to an invitation written in childish calligraphy on heavy creamy parchment.
And when the Matriarch had forbidden the heir to go to James's house, Sirius ran away, leaving Regulus to deal with the fallout. He had come back in the middle of the night, a week later.
Regulus had known that his sibling was back. So had his parents, and Sirius was cursed soundly for daring to leave without permission, in order to consort with a blood-traitor!
The young man didn't know what angered his parents more, that he had left without their explicit permission, or that he had left to meet up with James. He didn't really care.
Either way, Sirius had steadfastly ignored and avoided his brother's eyes, dark with anguish. Sirius had ducked his head and hurried past his sibling [former sibling, a evil voice hissed in his mind, you're disowned now, remember?] and tried to forget the way that Regulus held himself-slightly hunched with his down, as though he were afraid of something.
Sirius, very determinedly, didn't think of what might have caused his younger brother to act like that.
They didn't speak for the rest of Regulus' third year. Sirius didn't congratulate his brother for making straight O's on his report card. Regulus didn't congratulate his brother for getting 8 Outstanding O.. Neither inquired as to how they could contact their sibling over the summer. Or the rest of the year. Or any time whatsoever, really.
They had drifted apart even further, the merest memories fluttering between them, fragile as a butterfly.
Then in Regulus's fifth year, and Sirius's last, the boy had confronted his elder in a deserted hallway. He'd accused the older boy of breaking his promise.
Sirius didn't remember, and that was the last straw on their already badly frayed relationship. Regulus ranted. He yelled and screamed and bellowed and thoroughly cut his brother down to size until he was staring at his feet in shame.
And then Regulus had started to smile softly and sadly and cry gently and his voice had stopped yelling and was now but a whisper.
You broke your promise Brother he'd murmured.
Things change, Sirius had countered, confused. People change.
And Regulus had snorted, suddenly bitter. People change. He'd mocked, in a sing-song voice like a child. Bullshit Sirius! Utter BULLSHIT! His eyes had turned angry, tears drying up like dew in the sun, his words becoming poisonous. You were always like this, weren't you? He'd asked. You promised, Sirius. You swore in blood that we wouldn't change.
And Sirius had hung his head ashamed and chastised and feeling very small until a voice inside of him had prodded him enough to make him angry. And then it was Sirius's turn to yell and rant and rail against his sibling. He'd accused Regulus of consorting with the Dark Lord, of being a traitor, of being a horrible sibling, of putting too much stock in his boyhood words.
Weak is what you are, brother. He'd sneered, falling back on the ancient, formal style of courtly manners as a shield against his hurt. You don't stand up for what is right.
I bet you wanted me to be disowned.
And then Sirius had gone too far and he knew it and Regulus knew it.
You want it to be that way? Regulus had stalked away, ice-blue eyes freezing over. Fine.
That summer he joined the Dark lord.
That summer he had a skullandsnake tattooed onto his forearm and pledged his loyalty to Him and had been praised by his parents and had been instantly elevated to a position of power in the hierarchy of Slytherin alumni.
Sirius was Horrified and Outraged and Betrayed at Regulus [little Reggie Little Reggie, he was, Reggie, what happened to us?] and then Sirius had been disowned again [made the front page of the Daily Prophet it did], this time legally and in the Ministry logs, and Regulus named the heir-officially- and it had snowballed again.
Sirius ran away from home and went to live with his best friend, until he got a house [a small, empty looking flat that Sirius absolutely adored because it had room for every single piece of crap that he owned, including some old muggle contraption that he'd picked up because it 'looked cool', much to Remus' disapproval] all of his own, and moved there instead.
Regulus stayed in Black Manor and learned archaic curses and rituals that involved blood and pain, and the occasional virgin.
Years later, Sirius had become occupied with fighting Voldemort and spending time with James [who was working up the nerve to pop the question to Lily-who woulda thought it after seeing how much the girl had loathed him in their childhood] and Remus.
Sirius rather liked the quiet Marauder-which he was pretty sure his parents would not agree with and if they hadn't already blasted him off of the Black Tapestry he would have definitely been cut and burned out of it.
The two brothers hadn't made contact in years.
Years of stiff silence with an ever-widening gap between them.
And to think, but a few years ago, they couldn't have gone a day without contact.
Years of solitude.
Tension was building up between the brothers, even if they didn't know it themselves. Regulus wanted to do something to his brother, hopefully something that would hurt him and shock the sense back into his older sibling, while Sirius wanted to shake his little brother and scream furiously in his face that Voldemort was not the fucking answer, damnit, so why was he doing this to himself?
And then they had met in the alley and all their simmering feelings were given a vent and Sirius had spat curses at the young man across from him, blue-grey eyes burning as the man [not Reggie anymore, Black] took it without flinching.
Regulus looked at his brother calmly, wanting nothing more than to shake his sibling until his neck snapped, so furious were his emotions.
They roiled in him, had been stewing quietly in the back of his mind, popping up at the worst times [he had been cursed more than once by Voldemort because the memory of his brother had distracted him at precisely the wrong moment] and were now held in check by an ice-cold mind.
Then Black had asked Sirius: who, exactly are you?
And that had hurt Sirius. Hurt more than anything that he could have possibly said. Regulus smirked, satisfied outwardly, as he railed against the machinations and politics and pureblood laws that forced him to do this to his own flesh-and-blood inwardly.
His older brother's [because Sirius would always be Regulus's big brother, no matter what his parents decreed] aristocratic face was still in an agonized expression of sheer hurt.
A stiff nod from his regal features, and Regulus Black turned on his heel and apparated, the purposefully loud crack! echoing through the suddenly still alley.
Sirius was suddenly thrown back through the years, back to when the both of them were in Hogwarts and they had had another fight like this. That one had been fixed after a few months. This, this had been festering for a couple of bloody years.
Part of him wanted to hurl garbage at the grimy wall and fry the air with his blistering words. Part of him wanted to go off without making a scene, find a spot, and quietly break down in a corner. Another part wanted to find his estranged relative and beg his forgiveness. And yet another part of him wanted to die. Wanted to take his wand and press it to his throat and whisper the tangle of Latin syllables that would expel a precise jet of razor-sharp light into his jugular.
That would surely be better than having to deal with the piercing throb of agony in his chest. Nothingness sounded really good to Sirius right then, tempting him with oblivion. But he couldn't even take his wand out of his pocket, he was so damaged by his ex-brother's words.
James had found Sirius in the alley, frozen, blue-grey eyes fixed on the spot where Regulus Black had stood, hours before.
Where were you mate? He'd asked. We've been looking everywhere… and then Sirius had slowly shaken his head and left in a daze.
He'd lost his baby brother.
And there was nothing that he could do about it.
Far away, Regulus Black cried into his arms, hating himself, the expression on his brother's face embedded in his mind.
Alright, I officially published this on April 30th. This was originally (if you looked at my profile) going to be titled 'Toujours Pur', which is the Black Family Motto. The summary was originally going to be ' Toujours Pur. . .Sorry brother.'
This was beta'd by CheshireKitKat, formerly known as Harlequin9573. Thanks!
As usual, all reviews are welcome, and I try to respond! Traitorous is not dead yet-I'm currently working on the next chapter, but I just wanted to get this up. The next fic up will either be a One Piece plot bunny that might be expanded-eventually- or the 20 Truths fic I've been working on, Gaara-centric.