Disclaimer : J.K Rowling owns all.
( They are corpses that have been bewitched to do a Dark wizard's bidding)
"I am not going there to die. I am going there to find out if I am really alive"~ Spike Spiegal, Real Folk Blues.
To the Dark Lord
His brother may call him an idiot for believing in their parent's spiel, but Regulus Black was never a fool. He understood what was going to happen when the Grimmauld Place went a week without fights, in deadly silence that he didn't have to keep to his room, or the basement (when things got uglier between his brother and parents) anymore. He understood the phrase calm before the storm better than anyone, and eyeing the ugly resentment on his brother's face during meal, Regulus decided to spend the rest of the day in the basement.
Kreacher was the one who came to him in the night with sandwiches after the muffled shouting from upstairs had stopped, and said, "Master Sirius ran away."
Regulus nodded, throat dry, "Good riddance" because he couldn't have said anything else, he knew where his brother was going to go. He knew what it meant, (he is going to be the heir, no longer the shadow, the spare) and yet, it curiously felt like a sting of betrayal and abandonment.
The night when he ordered Kreacher to come back after the elf's service to the Dark Lord, he had kept the elf in the basement within his own blankets as the elf tried to calm his violent shivering, a curious ringing in Regulus's ear and the phrase calm before the storm struck his mind again. He was scared, the same fear he felt when he had watched Sirius spit blood in the basin and asked his brother, furiously, "Why do you keep provoking them?"
"Because it feels good" Sirius had replied, wiping his mouth. The curious ringing in his ear happened then, and he knew what was going to happen before it did. He wasn't prepared then, for his brother leaving. He wasn't prepared for his instincts to be right. But he had to be prepared now, he owes it to this elf who had paid for his foolishness, for his trust in Dark Lord's ideologies and if he was right, because this time he was sure it was, because as they say, truth is bitter, betrayal burns and both of them are churning in his system, and what he was about to do never felt more right.
He is not the child who hides in his basement so that he cannot see the evidence of his parent's cruelty, he is not the child who will ignore Dark Lord's cryptic sentences about his immortality, he is not a child who does not feel the horror of what he has been asked to do in name of an ideology. So when Kreacher wakes up, Regulas asks him quietly, "What happened?"
This time, he was prepared for his instincts to be right.
I know I will be dead long before you read this
Mulciber had Regulus Black in a chokehold, he probably would have spit in that arrogant face that now, (how did he not see this? They could look like twins) that looked so much like Sirius Black's that he would have happily choked the younger boy to death. However, this boy looked much thinner and almost ghostly, as if he hadn't eaten or slept for days, and whatever his resemblence to his blood traitor brother, he liked the kid until, the kid, again, (looking so much like Sirius Black), chokes, "Fuck..", he struggled against the hold and decides to put on a sneer, "..you".
"You are rethinking your loyalties? Right bit of coward, aren't you,Regulus? Blood traitor like your brother to boot" Mulciber had gotten what he wanted when the offense at being compared to his brother, once again, registered in the boy's eyes. The kid seemed to want to protest his difference from his elder brother, but the moment had passed and Regulus Black said nothing.
With enormous satisfaction, Mulciber let him go, and Regulus massaged his throat and started to laugh, a hollow, desperate sound of a madman," Even half of my brother can take you, Mulciber. I'm really glad that before I die, at least I can tell you what little piece of gormless shit you are. Run along and pay the Dark Lord my bleeding respect!"
Mulciber snarled (what had gotten into these Blacks?)," You are marked for death Regulus. Our disloyalty would be paid for by our life. You knew that as soon as the mark had been branded to our skin."
The boy's grey's eyes narrowed and he seemed to spit with spite Mulciber didn't know he was capable of, "And yet, Mulciber, He wouldn't have any qualms treating you like a throwaway servant. Forgive me if I have bit more pride than that. I have had enough, tell the Dark Lord and he'll know where to find me."
Mulciber gnashed his teeth (did this kid want to die?), "Listen to me, he will kill you. Or he'll make one of us kill you. If this is the time you have chosen to worship your blood traitor brother's path, you are going to get yourself captured, tortured and killed, hopefully not in that order. You are the heir of the most influential pureblood family."
Regulus's eyes were cold, as if he was calculating something. Mulciber thought the kid looked rather like a corpse already, which is a pity because he has the potential.
When Regulus spoke, it was a whisper, "You don't understand. I didn't expect you to.", after which he promptly wrenched the door open and left. That was the last Mulciber saw of the young heir.
but I want you to know it was I who discovered your secret.
He was thirsty, so thirsty- he crawls to the edge, ignoring Kreacher's sobs. Why was he doing this? his tired brain demands an answer. Why?
This was a moment of glorius Gryffindor heroism, he would have thought. He is doing what his brother would have done, he had been born to replace his brother again,and again. To be an heir Sirius refused to be, to be a Death Eater because that is what is expected of him and that is what he believed in, he was the much better son and heir the Blacks deserved but not wanted.
So he cups water in his hand, because even in the tale of glorious heroism, he is playing the part his brother would have done, and now he was forever resigned to play his shadow. He could hear Kreacher sob harder when hands from the water grabbed him- but for one infinite, one brilliant moment, he realised. Sirius would have never been put in this position in the first place, because Sirius isn't foolish enough to join the Death Eaters. This strike against the Dark Lord, a covert strike of a follower who had been disillusioned, like a docile snake rising from the grass, so Slytherin, was completely his own. The thought made him smile as bodies dragged him underwater.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can.
Regulus's fingers broke the surface, he had been clawing ferociously at the water as if it was a wall he could climb, he opens his mouth to scream, to ask someone to help him and when his mouth form the words, water rushes in, choking him.
A little part of him is glad the water cuts off his scream, because he knew whose name he was about to scream to come and help. Because that was the name that had been screaming in his head for days since Kreacher's return, Help me, Sirius!
The dead hands were pulling him under and his life was dwindling out of him,the blackness covered his lids, he could feel the hands choke him, (to be one of them, to serve the Dark Lord by protecting the fake locket he had planted) and that little part of him is glad he is dying like this, and not by the Dark Lord's hand.
He didn't think he could have tolerated the fact that his last second of life would be spent staring at the end of the Dark Lord's wand, the man who was going to betray them all, for twisted sense of his own power.
Regulus had known his death was looming the moment he made up his mind, and yet, he struggles with Inferi as if he wants to live.
Help me, Sirius.
I face death in hope that when you meet your match,
If Mulciber thought he'd been in this position with the half breed pointing his wand between his eyes back during Hogwarts, he would have laughed himself hoarse. And yet, when he looked at the deranged face of Remus Lupin who looked more like a beast than a man at the moment, the fear of God was knocked into him. Remus Lupin's voice was both a desperate demand and a threat, "Where is Regulus Black?"
How the fuck should I know? Mulciber wanted to say. Did you ever see this coming? The Dark Lord gone because of -good lord- an infant (Jesus!), and Sirius Black thrown into Azkaban for betraying the Potters. For all Mulciber knows, the world had gone mad. He could hear Regulus's sneer in his head as he stared up at the half breed and started to speak. Remus Lupin looked like he wanted explanations as well, from him, from anyone, to understand how the world had gone bleeding mad.
"Tell me where he is"
you will be mortal once more.
No one knew where and what happened to Regulus Black, (except Kreacher but no one thinks to ask a house elf) and no one would recognise him if they did.
Not even the long awaited Dark Lord's equal, because all the bright green eyes saw was a grey, decayed dead body attacking him along with the mob (if Regulus Black were alive, he would smirk at the irony, oh the allegory of it all).
And briefly, briefly, within the ring of fire which the rest of the Inferi's collapsed against each other to move away from, Regulus Black's body recognised the light.
My Notes :
The cool thing for me, was when I decided on the title , I had to cross check whether Inferi was plural and Inferius was singular and I stumbled upon the derivation. Latin word Inferius means "underneath, below", and considering I had Regulus spend a lot of time in the basement, I had the excitement of a fanfic author who knew she could really hammer the metaphor. :P The word inferus, means 'dead, underworld'.
I want to write about Remus at the end of the First War but the despair of losing James and Lily, to Pettigrew's faked death, to understand how Sirius could be the traitor, proves a little too much for me to handle. So I included this bit with Mulciber, so as to Remus can rationalise with facts given to , from the OotP, it was clear Sirius got the information of Regulus's death second hand, which included the bit about Regulus "backing out". Plus Remus had said something along the lines of "Sirius's brother Regulus managed only a few days as far as I can remember" in HBP. - so it is what made more sense to me. :)
Reviews are equivalent to fan-girling over the Black brothers, they are both so damaged by their family, that my mothering instinct in me wants to give them both a hug.