By Regulus Arcturus Black
He was always the favorite when we were young. No matter what I did, no matter how hard I tried they never noticed me. He was eldest, the heir to their throne, so naturally they would prefer him. I know in some households, people claim the younger person is favored. Don't listen to them. It's not true. Anyone who's read up on their history would know it's not true.
The first-born son gets it all.
In our house, it was always him. Everything he did was absolutely perfect. I knew he didn't really believe the same way they did. They wanted mudbloods gone, Voldemort to rule, and Dumbledore dead. He wanted Death Eaters gone, everything safe, and Voldemort dead. So why did they prefer him?
I guess, as his brother, I was closer to him than our parents. Oh, we played together, talked to each other and had our fair share of arguments. We did like one another – yet another household myth where siblings are concerned – we were brothers, how could we not? Even though I loved him, I still hated him. I wished that he could just leave, and let mother and father see who the real Black was. He isn't a Black.
The only one in the house that seemed to be on my side was Kreacher, the family house-elf. When I was little, he loved my mother more than anything. He would follow her about the house like a little puppy, just waiting for her to ask him – no, order him – to do something. He taught me how to walk, Kreacher did; I would follow him around like a puppy, and we'd form a little line. Soon enough though, I realized that mother wasn't his favorite; I was. I have no idea why Kreacher liked me more than mother, but he did. He only followed mother around because he knew what would happen if he didn't. Maybe it was because I treated him like friend rather than a servant; if my brother and I fought, he would go sulk in his room, and I would find Kreacher. He always knew how to make me feel better. He still loved mother, of course. But I knew he liked me; whenever he did something for me, he did it happily. He never smiled or anything, I could just tell by looking in his eyes that… oh, I don't know. But it was different from when he did something for Sirius.
Sirius preferred to do things himself than let Kreacher do it. I always thought it was ridiculous; why do work when you have your very own elf to do it for you? But on the odd occasion Sirius did ask Kreacher for something, he would do it with anger, dislike and… disgust. Kreacher would always moan about Sirius; he seemed to think insulting him worth getting his fingers slammed in the cupboard door. But still my parents preferred Sirius. Kreacher and I seemed to be the only ones with half a brain in that house. Once I thought that maybe he had them under a spell or something, even if he was only eight at the time. I was wrong of course. The whole 'first born son' thing must have been clouding their judgment.
Don't get me wrong, he was – still is, I'm sure – a very nice person. He cared for me, he was kind to me when I needed help. Whenever we fought he apologized afterwards. Whenever I hurt myself and my parents told me to toughen up, he was the one that washed my grazed knee or skinned hands, and wrapped them in a bandage. He was the best big brother that anyone could ever have.
I wish I could have realized sooner.
Yes, I had wished I could be better than my brother. I wished that my parents loved me. Who wouldn't wish for that? No kid wants to be on the wrong end of a parent's favoritism. It didn't last long though. Just ten years. Ten years of my life I was thrown to the sidelines. It seems long, but really, it was nothing to what Sirius endured afterwards. When I was young, my parents never neglected me, they took very good care of me in fact; I was just never the favorite. Sirius, on the other hand… Well, it wasn't pretty.
It all started on the first of September, a couple of months before his twelfth birthday. He was off to Hogwarts, and my parents were very proud. How could they not be? Their eldest son was off to be sorted into Slytherin and was going to uphold the family name - or so they thought.
They sent him off in that bright red train, and I watched him go sadly. I would miss him, even if I would get my parents undivided attention.
When we got home, though, I found that wasn't true. All they could talk about was how proud Sirius was going to make them. But that night came a letter.
It was from cousin Bellatrix, who was in her fifth year, raving about how terrible the school system must be, and how mother should complain to the school, and how much of a disappointment and traitor Sirius was. At the bottom of the letter, almost as if she had forgotten to write it in her rage and remembered only at the last second were five words. Just five little words that would change my life forever.
He's been sorted into Gryffindor.
And from the moment mother finished that letter nothing was the same. I took up Sirius' place as favorite, and my parents doted on me. They still talked about Sirius a lot; but it wasn't about how great he was. It was about how much of a disappointment he was.
When Sirius came home for Christmas, my parents mistreated him terribly. But he wasn't the same either. He wouldn't run and hide in his room anymore; he would stand up for himself and yell. He still tried to talk to me, though. He would tell me about Hogwarts, and how great it was. When I asked him why he wasn't ashamed of being sorted into Gryffindor he scoffed:
"Ashamed? Why would I be ashamed? I'm proud to be in Gryffindor. Just you wait until you get to Hogwarts, Reg, you'll understand. Life isn't all about blood, wealth, status and power; it's about your friends, and having fun. Just you wait. You'll get put in Gryffindor with me, and then you'll see the real world!"
Oh, how I wish I had been put in Gryffindor with you, Sirius. You could have shown me the way. But I was too scared.
After I was put into Slytherin, I finally got what I had wanted my entire life. I was the center of my parent's lives. They loved me. They doted on me. But it wasn't what I had imagined it to be like. Nothing was the same without him.
Sirius still tried to talk to me, but the ways of my house didn't allow me to. I wanted to fit in. So I hated him like everyone else.
Then came the Death Eaters. They wanted me to join. I knew that it would be the ultimate blow to winning my parents affections, (for I may be the favorite son, but they still seemed to prefer my cousin Bellatrix) so I joined the first moment I could.
That was the first time I had spoken to Sirius in five years. And it was the last time that I ever would again.
He hated my decision. He wanted me to leave. He told me to speak to Dumbledore, to hide. No, actually, he didn't tell me anything. He begged.
And that was the moment I realized that he still cared for me.
But, being the selfish little brat I was, I shot him down, pulled out my wand and threatened to hex him. I couldn't let myself think he cared for me. He was a Gryffindor. I was a Slytherin.
That was all. Nothing more.
The next three years of my life were filled with horror and pain. You did what you were told and you got nightmares. Or, you didn't do what you were told and you were tortured. Simple as that.
I seemed to be the only one affected by what I did. The others did it gladly. The Dark Lord seemed to notice my uneasiness, and made me do the less important, yet much more gruesome jobs. I longed to be recognized, to become a favorite like Bellatrix seemed to be. So when the Dark Lord asked for something, I obliged.
I trailed people at school, followed teachers, gave up possessions and was always the first student at his side when he called. When he asked for a house elf, I offered up Kreacher without a second thought.
However, when I got back home that day, everything changed. I found Kreacher lying on the floor, half dead, mumbling my name. I took him in my arms and brought him to my room, and I healed him. I asked him what had happened, and he told me all he knew.
A big cave.
A terrible, terrible potion.
He saw me die. He saw my mother die. He saw the house burn. He saw so many terrible things that had scared him half to madness.
He saw a golden locket, marked with a 'S', and more potion.
He was thirsty, so he went for some water.
And a dead man pulled him under.
I felt a rage sweep through me, a rage like I'd never felt before. How could anybody do this?
Suddenly, it felt like a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I could see.
And from that moment on I knew that the Dark Lord could not be allowed prevail. He was evil beyond words. There was no way anything would ever be the same if he won, and it wouldn't be for the better like he said it would be. He had to be stopped.
For the next few months, I watched. I kept my eyes peeled. I heard things.
The Dark Lord had plans, plans to become immortal. He hinted as such. And that's when I realized the horrible truth.
I knew of only four ways to live forever.
The first was to become a ghost. Well, technically that isn't living forever, but you'd still exist. Clearly though, the Dark Lord is not a ghost, so that's out.
The next is unicorn blood. However, the only place you can find a unicorn in Britain is Hogwarts, which I know he daren't enter, for fear of Dumbledore. And as the Dark Lord does not leave the country, I have a feeling that one is out, too.
The third is the Philosopher's stone. Flitwick had mentioned it a few times in class, but there is only one in existence, and it's accounted for. Of course, the Dark Lord may have made one himself, but he seems to me to be incapable of creating; only destroying. Even when he does create something, its purpose is death and destruction. Also – and this is also another reason against unicorn blood – I don't think he would like to be dependent on anything. So those to options, while possible, are extremely unlikely.
The fourth is a Horcrux.
I wouldn't put it past… Voldemort… to be evil enough to rip in soul to tatters. We all know he has no qualms against killing people. He would be relying only on himself, and he would be impossible to kill…
And I knew that I was right. What else could that locket have been? A gift? An heirloom? I don't think so.
So now I have everything I need. Kreacher can lead me to the locket. I can get it, and have Kreacher destroy it. I will die, of course. The Dark Lord would kill me anyway, and I can't risk him finding out. He'd only make another.
So here I am. Preparing myself for my death.
I wish I could say I have no regrets, but I do.
I wish I had more time with my brother.
I wish I had been sorted into Gryffindor.
Yes, that's right. Sirius is such a better person than me. He knows what's right. He'd been trying to tell me all my life, and I'd just shoved him away.
But if I had been put in Gryffindor, no-one would have ever figured out this secret. So I am almost glad that this worked out how it has.
Almost, but not quite.
I'm doing this for him. Not because I want to be a favorite. But because I want to be like him.
I need to leave something behind. Something to let the world know what I did.
To the Dark Lord…
I could, of course, leave nothing. But why?
I know I shall be dead long before you read this…
I know it's stupid. But I just want to leave something of me behind. I want to prove myself a Gryffindor at heart. I want to be like my brother.
I want you to know it was I who discovered your secret…
Sirius. I am so, so, sorry.
I have stolen the real Horcrux…
I never meant all the things I said to you. I wish I could see you just once before I go. But I know that I can't. You'll yell. I'll yell. And I need to leave.
… as soon as I can.
Because I can't let anyone die…
…that when you reach your match, you will be mortal once more.
And so here I am. Ready to die. Ready to do the one good thing I have ever done in my stuffed up life. Yes, I wish I were in Gryffindor. But some one had to destroy him. Some one had to end this. I'm helping. I'm making it possible for Sirius, or that James Potter, or any one of my brother's brave friends to end this thing, and make the world a better place.
It has to be done.
Not everything happens the way you wish, but if you try, you can save it. I have. I left it so late that the only way out is death, but I've saved myself. I am making something good come of my existence.
I just wish I were never the favorite. Maybe, if I hadn't been so jealous, it wouldn't have happened. Who knows? Dumbledore may find out about the Horcrux one day. But that doesn't matter. I have helped.
Yet, no matter how many times I tell myself that, I wish it hadn't turned out this way.
I wish I were a Gryffindor.
I wish I were more like brother.
I wish I had loved him as he loved me.
He deserved so much better.
It's too late now though. It's time to go.
I better get Kreacher.