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❝ the task ! ❞
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─── REGULUS BLACK WAS the midsummer daydream everybody feared of falling asleep to, but loathed waking up from. Albeit, Regulus was a goddam, fucking mess. Anybody could tell you that. Even his parents, of course, you'd have to spike their fine, mulled wine with the strongest truth serum you could find in order for them to ever dare speak against the only son they were mildly proud of. Amongst their pompous friends, such as the ones they were chatting with that particular summer's evening, Walburga and Orion Black spoke of Regulus as if he was a saint worthy of worshipping. Regulus was nowhere near a saint. He was the finest of sinners. Lies poisoned his lips, serrated cigarette ashes coated his lungs and violet, crescent moons littered the skin under his eyes. Perhaps, once upon a very different time, Regulus was an angel. His wings were once graceful, as pure white as porcelain skin, and his intentions were once golden. But, now, he has been disgraced. The alcohol that was slowly shrivelling up his poor liver and the cigarettes in the pockets of his cast collection of leather jackets had all contributed to his excommunication from heaven, and now he was reigning as a dark, enigmatic demon, with raven black curls and shallow smirks.
But, Regulus wasn't smirking that day. Oh, no. His smirks had been washed away by the most fear-stricken expression he had worn since the day his name was called out for the Sorting Ceremony, trepidation creeping up to his throat and scratching at the octaves as he released an awkward cough, silently praying to whatever God lied beyond his mortal existence that he wouldn't be sorting into Gryffindor, like his disgraced brother, Sirius. Anything but Gryffindor, anything but Gryffindor. The words fell from his lips like a desperate, aching sonnet, lingering in the air like a song sung around campfires, falling from his mouth like a soft, intricate whisper. When the Sorting Hat exclaimed "Slytherin!", Regulus felt as though he dodged a metaphorical bullet that could've potentially left him bleeding out for the many melancholic years to come.
Though, this was much more worse than that fateful September 1st.
Regulus felt everyone's eyes in the room on his in pure anticipation, everyone of the edge of their seats as their awaited for a response, a determining motion, some kind of fatal absolution to the silence that had blanketed over the bleak, dull room. He recognised countless faces. His parents were sharing a foreign display of affection, their hands intertwined, Walburga clutching Orion's fingers for dear life, praying, praying that they wouldn't have another failure of a son. Bellatrix sat with her new husband, a sickly sweet smile on her lips, and beside her was Regulus' other cousin, Narcissa, with her husband, Lucius, both of whom were sitting in a dutiful silence, eyes scrutinising Regulus as if he was nothing but a complex blue-print. And then there was him. Oh, Merlin. His gaze was the worst of all.
Lord Voldemort was as intimidating as they all said. His eyes were penetrating every corner of Regulus' soul. The parts of inherited darkness, the small spurs of light that was still left, all of his vulnerabilities and secrets were on show for the grand Dark Lord to observe with his malicious, malevolent eyes of narrowed slits. He held up his Slytherin name well, and he wore the serpent brand with a worrying match. He resembled a snake with far more venom than any other python or viper to ever slither treacherously over the ground, lurking upon their prey. But, in this case, the snake's prey wasn't food. No, it was a new attribute, a new addition to the Dark Lord's army, the final piece of the perfect puzzle, and it all came down to a tattooed mark: a symbol.
Regulus gulped down the lump that had formed in his dry throat, scratching at the surface of his oesophagus. "What would... what would happen if I said no?" he stammered, not for once breaking eye-contact with the Dark Lord.
"Which you will not do," Regulus' Father seethed. His silver eyes snapped toward Orion Black and he swallowed hard. "Everything you've ever done has been building up to this, Regulus. You've proved your worth to the Dark Lord and you will not betray his trust by denying him!"
Regulus briefly caught sight of Walburga gripping his Father's hand even tighter, either to soothe his anger, or her nerves, before he tore his eyes away from his parents and diverting them toward Lord Voldemort, who smirked from his seat at the foot of the table. He was stroking one finger along the scales of his beloved snake, Nagini, all whilst he continued to pick apart Regulus with his eyes.
"The boy has the right to choose himself, Orion, but of course he understands the consequences of denying my request," his voice was scathing, and as low as a hiss, and it brought goosebumps up to the surface of Regulus' skin. "I need House Maine eradicates with his help or not, and he surely understands that I can't risk him infiltrating that school and revealing my intentions to that putrid girl. If he can't fulfil my wishes, I'll have to, well... kill him." Regulus' breath hitches in his throat at the mere though of him being murdered by the hands of the cruel man who sat opposite him at the long, ornate table. His eyes frantically flew toward his parents', wishing, hoping, praying they would protest in spite of their loyalty to the malevolent man, only to find them avoiding his helpless stare. "Which certainly would be a shame, to waste a Pureblood life filled with so much potential..."
Regulus could hear his own heartbeat thumping in his ears. He was breathing heavier than usual, and he felt dizzy, lethargic, nauseas. As he experienced one thousand different emotions all at once as his stomach summersaulted against his will, Regulus clenched his sweaty, shaking hands, engraving crescent-moon shapes into the palms of his hands. His leg was bouncing up and down, and he could barely concentrate.
"Son," Walburga addressed him. He met with her cold eyes, a small spark of hope brightening up his own. Please, please, please save me, Mother. I don't want to kill anybody. Nor do I want to die. "Remember who you are. You are a Black. You were born for this."
I was born to murder an innocent girl?
"The Dark Lord doesn't have all day, Boy," Orion snapped indignantly. "You're being rude."
Regulus shook his head urgently, as if trying to wake himself up from whatever hellish nightmare had consumed him. When he reopened his eyes, he still sat in the dingy, eerie drawing room, with everybody staring at him with unrealistic expectations for a seventeen-year-old boy who was nowhere near ready to kill somebody.
"How-how would I even do it? How would I k-kill her?" Regulus asked, biting back a hysterical sob.
"Poison her, manipulate her into getting close you, then slit her throat, I don't care what you do to the pathetic girl. Just kill her, Regulus, if you wish to live," replied to Dark Lord.
The whole world was weighing down of his shoulders. Regulus had saw this girl in the hallways of her school. She was the girl who had a group of friends who all loved her company, the girl who once punched his new cousin-in-law, Lucius, in the jaw, the girl who was his Potions partner for the entire duration of third year, her willingly completing every piece of homework Slughorn had ever assigned that Regulus never had the care to do. And he was being expected to kill her, in exchange for his life?
Regulus, hands shaking his trepidation, mind spiralling into an abyss that went nowhere but down, finally drew in a deep breath and looked Voldemort directly in the eye, a muscle twitching in his jaw. "Fine. I'll do it...
I'll kill Alaska Maine."
so much is going to happen in this story, and i'm already so in love with reg and alaska, i just hope you'll all love them, too!
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