"Reg," said Sirius hesitantly, hovering awkwardly in my doorway, "can I talk to you?"
I looked up from my Potions homework. The end of summer holidays was growing worryingly closer and I hadn't done a speck of work. I needed to catch up, and rightfully I should've told Sirius to buzz right off.
"Sure," I said brightly, lying down my quill. "Come in..close the door behind you."
Sirius half-smiled. "Why?" he asked as he came in, shut the door, and sat on my bed.
"Mum's been yelling all day, hasn't she?" I pointed out. "Thanks to a proclaimed blood traitor.." I winked.
Sirius half-smiled again.
"Si, what's wrong?" It wasn't like my brother to be so reserved and absent.
"Reg..Reg, I have to tell you something," he said quietly.
"Shoot," I said, turning to face him. I swung my legs over the desk chair and leaned my shoulders back on the desk, letting half my body dangle in my midair.
"Reg.." Sirius took a deep breath. "I'm leaving," he said abruptly.
I fell painfully off the desk and onto the floor.
"You all right?" came an alarmed voice. He came to help me. I shoved him off, then stood facing him.
"You're – leaving?" I said, my voice catching in my throat.
Sirius sighed. "Reg," he said slowly, "I..I can't stay here, Reg. It's..it's not my home anymore. There's you, of course, Regulus, you'll always be my brother, you'll always be my best friend. But Mum and Dad..they hate me, Reg, they just don't want me here anymore. I have to go. I have to leave. I have to..to run away." He drew a breath. When I didn't say anything, he barreled on. "Tonight. I'm going to leave tonight. I'll write you – all the time, Reggie, I swear, nothing's going to change between us – "
I drew my fist away from his nose, heart pounding, absolutely, positively furious. He clutched his face and looked up at me with (metaphorically) wounded eyes (and a real wounded nose.)
"Don't – look – at – me – like – that," I said, in a slow and deadly voice. "Don't look at me at all. Don't ever look at me again. Don't ever talk to me. Oh, I forgot. YOU CAN'T. You're leaving, because this mansion, because your bloody home, isn't your home anymore. You're leaving, you're leaving your family, and your home, and me. You're leaving me alone in this – '' I mouthed wordlessly, unable to voice what I thought of my home. "You're leaving me – here, with psycho Bellatrix and soppy Narcissa and Mum who blows up and every ten seconds and Dad who just meekly follows Mum, you're leaving here, you're leaving, you're leaving, you're leaving – GET THE HELL OUT OF MY ROOM!"
"Reggie," whispered Sirius, desperation in his eyes, "Reggie, it doesn't have to be like that – you can come with me, Reggie, we can go together..we'll go to Meda's, she'll tell us what to do, she'll help us – we can run away together!"
I froze for a second, imagining leaving forever, never having to look back. For a moment I felt excitement rip through me. Leaving..leaving..the prospect was glorious, to leave and to never come back..
to get ripped off the family tree.
to be a disgrace to the good family name.
to be a blood traitor.
"GET OUT!" I screamed. "GET OUT! LIKE I'D EVER DO SOMETHING AS STUPID AS THAT! LEAVE! I'LL BE GLAD TO SEE YOUR SORRY BACK GO!"
"Reggie – '' whispered Sirius hoarsely, but I shook my head violently and shoved him out the door with force that surprised me. For just a moment he stood in the doorway.
"Goodbye, Reggie," he whispered.
"OUT!" I roared, and he scrambled away. I slammed the door shut so hard that dust fell from the ceiling, then collapsed into my desk chair and cried bitterly.
"Blacks don't cry!" barked Mum.
"But Mummy..I'm s-scared," I moaned as I clung to her miserably. I was six years old, and I hated thunder and nighttime and when one mixed those elements, a happy Regulus Black was not what was received.
"I don't care! You're a Black, Regulus! Go back to your room!"
I did, sobbing, expecting the ominous emptiness and only the sound of thunder coming to my comfort. Instead, there was Sirius, eight then, sitting calmly on my bed.
"Blacks can cry whenever they darn want to," he'd said cheerfully. "Blacks can do whatever they darn want to."
I'd run to him, and he'd hugged me fiercely, and he'd let me cry and cry. He'd stayed with me that night, hugging me in a very un-Sirius like fashion every time the thunder crashed, and whispering over and over one thing, just one thing:
"I'll always be here for you, Reggie. I'll never leave you."
"YOU LIAR!" I shouted to the empty room, hoping that Sirius could hear me and that he knew what I meant.
I stood up and punched the wall with my fist, because I wanted to break something. It didn't work, all I broke were my fingers. I swore under my breath before performing a clumsy healing spell.
I fell back into the chair, and despite my valiant efforts, tears kept rolling down my face. I pick up my quill again, determined not to think about Sirius anymore, because he doesn't matter anymore, he was leaving me, he was leaving his home. He didn't want to be a Black anymore, fine with me.
"I am a Black," I whispered fiercely. "Blacks don't cry."
"Blacks don't lie, either," a voice in the back of my head said. "Didn't he say that to you once? And look what he did."
"Blacks can do whatever they darn want to," I said loudly, then collapsed once more into tears. The quill in my hand found a piece of parchment, and I began to scribble something down, but not what I'd intended..
Wiping tears I didn't mean to shed from my face, I slung my bag over my shoulder. I was ready. Ready to leave, ready to go. I was done.
But not with Reggie..
Don't think about him, I thought sternly. He's not worth your tears.
Blacks can do whatever they darn want to.
That includes running away.
But as much as I tried to convince myself that this was the right thing, I couldn't. Indeed, it was the right thing for me, but for Regulus, it was horrible. I was abandoning him. I was betraying him.
Shamefully wiping tears from my eyes, I moved to leave my bedroom for the last time. I knew I didn't plan to look back, but that was metaphorical, wasn't it? I could look back if I wanted to, and I did. One last look at the Gryffindor flags and banners and the posters of the motorcycles and girls, one more look at that wonderful picture taken on that fantastically warm summer day with the Marauders. It hurt me to leave it, but there'd be many more taken. And I needed some way to annoy my parents.
My eyes caught a piece of a parchment on the desk. I picked it up and curiously unfolded it. It was smudged and stained with tears in some place, but overall readable. In Reggie's handwriting.
Dear Sirius, I'll never forgive you for what you've done but I do understand why you have to. You'll always be my brother and my best friend, and I hope you come back, and I hope I can someday forgive you. Love you forever,Regulus
It was all crammed onto one line, signature and all. Fresh tears popped into my eyes.
He wouldn't forgive me. I wouldn't forgive me. Even Remus, who forgave everyone, probably wouldn't forgive me for this.
But he understood. And that made all the difference.
I stuffed the shard of parchment in my pocket, and left.
Metaphorically or realistically, I did not look back.