Cast The Little Prince
1. A number of people or things of a similar kind following one after the other
2. (ecology) The gradual and orderly process of change in an ecosystem brought about by the progressive replacement of one community by another until a stable climax is established
3. The action of following in order
4. The right or sequence of inheriting a position, title, etc.
The Dursley family unit consisted of three components that came together to confirm everything Regulus had ever been taught about muggles.
Not that he paid much attention to them for the first week or so, deep in shock as he was. It took him a day to even accept the fact he was alive.
Because he distinctively remembered being hit with the Avada Kedavra curse. The killing curse. Which had hit him square in the forehead, he could still feel the sting even now. Only once had he dared to touch the site of impact, wincing from the fresh scar that rested atop his brow.
Even now, five years on from that night, he had never poked at the wound again, which looked as fresh as the day it was inflicted upon him. Sowilo. The rune for wholeness and success, carved into his skin.
He remembered blood runes all over the nursery, remembered Lily Evans activating them with a prick of her finger. It took him a few weeks to realize that Lily Evans had been the reason he survived the killing curse.
Never before had Regulus held so much respect for someone than in the moment he figured out just what Lily Evans had done. She had created a ritual that, with her willing sacrifice, had provided enough protection for him to survive a killing curse. He might never like mudbloods if they all turned out to be useless, but if he found even one that was like Lily Evans -doubtful, so very doubtful- then he would admit he was wrong.
He burned to look over those blood runes, to study each tier and see how they interacted with one another. He wanted to understand everything that Evans had done, how she'd managed to achieve what others had thought impossible. Sure, it'd come about as a result of her death, her willing sacrifice, but she had managed to counter the killing curse. Wizarding for hundreds of years had been attempting to do the same and yielded no results at all. Evans had been in her early twenties, with just over a decade in the magical world and she'd managed it.
Regardless, his sudden hero worship of Lily Evans had little to do with the Dursley family and their awful behaviour, though evoking her name certainly cause more than a few reactions.
Being Lily Evans' sister, Petunia Dursley née Evans was his closest living relative. Not that one would be able to tell if the two were stood side by side. Where Lily was beautiful, Petunia was plain. Where Lily had vibrant red hair, Petunia had dull blonde. Where Lily had brilliant green eyes, Petunia had dishwater blue. Where Lily had been kind, Petunia was cruel. At the very least, that's how she was to Regulus.
He'd awoken up exceedingly confused, laid out on the uncomfortable carpet that certainly hadn't been in the Potter household, with two people who certainly weren't the Potters stood over him. For a moment, the three of them had stared at one another in shock, Regulus' brain whirling, trying to produce an answer as to why he was laid out before two strangers, two people he'd never seen before in his life.
They'd stared at one another for several moments, two pairs of dull blue eyes clashing with brilliant, unnatural green, before the man had finally snarled something out to the woman, low enough that Regulus hadn't been able to catch the words that were said.
His mind was still tripping over itself, wondering why he was here, why it wasn't Potter and Lily Evans welcoming this small body to the afterlife. Or hell, even the father of his past body.
And why in heavens name was the carpet beneath his shoulder blades so damningly uncomfortable?
"We can't Vernon! They'll come for us if we do anything!"
"Then we'll just have to stamp the magic out of him then!"
The words caught Regulus' attention, and his eyes flickered over to look at the man, brow crinkling with confusion. Stamp the magic out of him? That didn't sound pleasant.
Had Regulus been of a sounder mind in that moment, instead of still reeling over his latest brush with death, he'd have realized those six words would set the tone for his new childhood.
After a week of lying around, of acting the baby and trying to muddle through just what was going on, Regulus found himself finally garnering enough mental focus to start figuring out just what was going on around him.
First and foremost on his list of mysteries, he was alive. Survived the killing curse. Already his brain throbbing with all the implications, all the potential pitfalls of exploring that little bit of information.
The killing curse could be beaten. It was the stuff of wizarding dreams. On a level with Nicholas Flamel and his famous stone.
Gritting his teeth, Regulus sat himself up, looking around the small living room where he'd been sat on the floor while attempting to locate a piece of paper and some form of drawing utensil. He needed to write everything down, before he forgot it. It was only once he'd managed to get his hands on a crayon that the former Death Eater realized he could do no such thing. If his notes were found, they'd know instantly that he wasn't a normal baby.
So, it looked like he'd be utilizing his Occlumency once again in order to remember anything and everything of importance. He had no delicate instruments with which to conduct his research, and though he'd have preferred to study the cursed scar as thoroughly as possible while when only a short amount of time had passed since he'd been hit, that clearly wasn't going to happen.
So he'd have to make do with what he had now -his hands, brain, magic and a reflective surface- it wasn't like the cursed scar was going anywhere after all. There'd always be time to look into it.
Shuffling closer to the perfectly buffered marble fireplace, Regulus stared into the surface, twisting his head this way and that to get a better look at his reflection. Bright green eyes, Lily Evans' eyes stared back at him framed by thick black lashes and dark wisps of overgrown baby hair. Potter's bird's nest. Wonderful. He'd have to grow it out a bit until it got to the point it'd be weighing itself down.
"…a good day at work; I'm going to bath Dudders. And maybe the boy."
The last part was grumbled, and Regulus slowly turned his head to look at the source. His new caretaker, it would appear, was this woman. Petunia Evans, or whatever surname she'd taken on upon marrying the fat muggle with obvious anger issues.
Regulus squared his jaw in thought, baby fine milk teeth pressing against the smooth flesh of his lips as he sucked in his cheeks.
He'd never have guessed Lily's sister was so uninspiring a person. Lily Evans had been an extraordinary woman, a clear academic that broke boundaries, and she had died a hero's death. Regulus felt honoured to be related to one such as her in this life.
To be related to Petunia though? Not so much.
She held such an obvious disdain for him too.
Jealously. She was jealous of her sister, the sister who'd gotten the looks, the brains, the magic. And now she was projecting that upon him.
Frowning, Regulus pursed his lips and got to his feet, toddling over to the living room door and watching the man Lily Evans' sister had married leave without so much of a backwards glance.
He didn't like the sound of a bath. The parents of this body had figured out that he could not stand baths in the least. But now, now, Potter and Lily Evans were dead.
It made his chest ache, his rib cage tighten to know they were both gone from this world. Evans could have had so much more to give, and well, Potter had made her happy. Somehow. He still wasn't quite sure how Potter had managed to land such a brilliant witch.
All Regulus knew was that he had clearly missed something in the world, hadn't been looking at it right. Can't have been looking at it right, if he'd missed the genius that was Lily Evans. Who knew what else had slipped by him? What else he'd missed? Was it possible that-
His thoughts were broken my a scream and Regulus' head snapped around to look at Petunia, who was staring down at him in thinly veiled disgust.
"What are you doing out of the living room!" Hands clamped down on his sides, lifting him into the air and Regulus squirmed in discomfort.
This was not going to be pleasant.
It only got worse from there. When Regulus spotted the full bath, he felt his body freeze, limbs clamping down beside his torso and his breath came in shallow, sharp gasps. If Petunia noticed, she didn't care.
The water was closing in around him now, lapping at his ribcage and around the sides of his skull and Regulus couldn't draw a breath in. His lungs seemed to be closing up, clenching shut and protesting, refusing to let him draw breath.
Because if he tried he'd inhale water and the cold, moulting hands were around his ankles again, wrapping around his waist and dragging him under, down further into the depths and he wasn't getting up.
He was barely aware of the scream that was echoing through the room, his scream. Didn't recognise the second one at all.
In his panic, Regulus failed not notice his magic lashing out, desperate to protect him from the perceived threat. The water began flowing free of the bath, passing right through the porcelain sides as if it weren't there at all. The sounds of rushing water only made Regulus' chest tighten up that much more, panicking thickening in his brain until he found himself passing out.
"…ridiculous. The kind of power levels that would take…"
"…not a normal boy…. too much of it…"
"…already wiped her memory…this is what's best…"
"…will protect him… worry…"
Regulus knew he'd had his memory wiped.
He knew instantly on waking up that someone had played about in his mind, as if it were their playground to mould and not his private sanctuary. He could catch brief, short glimpses of the conversation that'd been happening around him while they played about with his mind. But while he was unconscious, he'd been unable to defend against such an intrusion, and without a wand, he couldn't undo the damage.
The voices, they'd been familiar. But he couldn't identify them.
Clearly he had to have know them from a past life, because there were few he'd interacted with during this one.
Tiny hands pressed into the rough mattress beneath him and Regulus pushed himself up, looking around. Brilliant green eyes took in his surroundings with a nervous edge, before he finally managed to put together where he was.
Then, righteous fury burned through his limbs, powered him forwards.
They have gotten him a small crib. A small crib they had put in the under stairs cupboard.
Regulus was furious. And when he was furious, so was his magic. This wild, untrained magic -and there was so very much of it, why was there so much of it?- burst free from his body and he heard things crackle, pop and explode at the same time his consciousness waivered.
When had he last eaten? Had he been fed before that bath? After it? His sluggish and tampered brain struggled to provide the answer.
More importantly though; where was Sirius? Sirius was suppose to be the godfather of this body, he was suppose to take care of it in the case of his parents deaths. So where was he?
Regulus physically reached out, as if to catch his magic before it could begin lashing out again, begin tearing around the world around him in his distress. Had something happened to him? Something had to have happened to him, because there was no way Sirius, who had loved him as much as Lily Evans and Potter had, would ever leave him to this place. Not if he could say otherwise.
And there was only one thing that would stop Sirius.
A wail tore through Regulus' throat, and this time, he didn't bother to stop it. No matter how much he tried to believe otherwise, he knew Sirius wasn't coming. He'd have been here already otherwise.
His heart ached, because his brother was dead.
Sirius was dead, probably taken down by the panicked, leaderless Death Eaters. Sirius, his older brother who'd always looked out for him -notatHogwartsneveratHogwarts- was gone.
He didn't stop his crying, not as Petunia's brutish husband ranted, raved and roared for him to be silent. The burning, painful ache in his chest seemed as if it would never die, as if it had taken the place his beating heart should have rested.
The next four years passed by in a blur. Regulus was in no way content. It hurt, every breath he took, every step he made, every mile stone he passed was just another reminder he was alone here. Trapped in the muggle world, with relatives that missed no opportunity to verbally beat him down, to neglect him and attempt to constantly undermine his self worth.
It infuriated him on some days, but then there were days that passed and gained nothing more than a flicker of interest. He was finding it hard to believe there was anything worth fighting for, to drum up the willpower to keep pressing on with this life.
On some days, deep sated desire to lash out at the muggles he was forced to live with ripped through him, and his magic acted on impulse. He'd destroyed the under stairs cupboard -and consequently, the stairs and hallway around it- in a fit of rage, magic lashing out and blasting wood apart, burning walls and floor and leaving himself sat untouched in the centre of the wreckage.
He'd been awake this time when Albus Dumbledore, of all people, came and fixed up the damage. He'd been awake this time as Dumbledore memory charmed the Dursleys, as the man turned that wand on him as well. But this time he hadn't been defenceless. He might not have a wand, his untrained magic might not stand a chance, but his Occlumency still remained.
He deflected the memory charm into an untouched corner of his mind, letting his eyes slide shut and his face drop into confusion, praying that it'd be enough to fool Dumbledore. The man wouldn't be expecting a child to throw off his memory charm like it was nothing, and evidently he was quite right in that regard. The man left minutes later.
The next day, Regulus found himself in one of the bedrooms upstairs. At the very least the man had forced his relatives into giving him a real room.
Anger's flames still licked hot in his veins these days, unable to understand how Lily Evans had come to be related to such odious people. How he was related to them. Did Evans not have any decent relatives? Was this all she had?
Gritting his teeth from where he was stood by the school gates, Regulus stared into the depths of this muggle school and knew instinctively it would be nothing like Hogwarts. God he missed Hogwarts. He missed the Wizarding World. He wanted to go back. He didn't want to be here.
As Petunia gave his obese cousin a kiss, Regulus turned on his heels, walking away from the only blood relations that seemed to be capable of looking after him, however begrudgingly.
His hair hand grown since his days as a toddler, now coming down to rest at his shoulders with the slightest of curls to it. A mixture of Evans' influence and the Black heritage that Potter had. The grandmother of this body was a Black after all. He was finally starting to feel like himself again, now that he had something resembling his old hairstyle.
Petunia had tried cutting his hair, cutting it as close to the scalp as she could. But it'd grown back overnight, had refused to be beaten by the muggle. And for that, Regulus was thankful.
True he probably had the longest hair of all the males present at this educational institution, but he couldn't care less. Shoulder length hair, with the slightest curl, that was who he was. And he'd be damned to let anyone take that away from him, to let them make fun of him for it.
Tightening his hold on the ratty backpack -and didn't the pureblood part of him cringe, cringe to know that he was in second hand clothes. Not because his caretakers were poor but because he was nothing more than a burden- Regulus walked up to the soft looking muggle at the front of the school doors, coming to a stop before her.
It took her a second to notice him, and Regulus waited patiently as she assessed his form. No doubt coming to the conclusion that he was from a rough background by the cut of his clothes, even if his hair was carefully styled.
"And you are sweetie?"
Grimacing at the nickname, Regulus looking up at the woman, offering thanks to every god out there that his eyes weren't blocked by glasses, like he'd feared they would be as a baby. She seemed startled by his eyes, and he understood.
Every time he caught sight of his reflection, even now after spending five years in this body, he was caught by surprise. The green eyes were just that little bit too vibrant, just that little bit too bright. Even bright than what Lily's had been. He'd theorized it was left over energy from the killing curse, some undercurrent effect that'd been building over time.
There was no other way to explain the fact he'd not gotten Lily Evans' emerald eyes, but emeralds to looked as if they'd been dropped into a liquefied killing curse.
He really liked the new eyes, they would give anyone in the Wizarding World a pause.
It took him a moment to remember his new name. The Dursleys mostly referred to him as 'boy', so it really wasn't that a surprise that he'd not come to fully associate the name 'Harry Potter' with himself yet. In his mind, he was still Regulus, would forever be Regulus. He refused to drop that, to forget about the life he'd led before, about the life he'd had before. All that he'd learned, the sacrifices he'd made to help create a better Wizarding World.
Even if no one knew about what he'd done.
"Okay then Mr Potter, you're in class 1A with me, so if you'll join that line," the young woman pointed to the line just to the left of her and Regulus nodded, making his way over and observing the children as he went past.
Not one of them seemed to have a spark of intelligence in their eyes, he couldn't find it anywhere. They were just regular children, clumped together and clearly quite nervous about their first day of school. Tears gathered in eyes, some streaming down cheeks. One child was screaming that he didn't want to go-
Oh wait, that was Dudley.
Grimacing at his relation, Regulus slipped seamlessly into line, trying to mentally prepare himself for what was about to come.
It was as he feared. School was easy. Far too easy.
The only thing that could really hold his interest was the unidentifiable muggle objects he had yet to see, and their numbers were rapidly dipping as he went about through his second life.
He had finished the test in disguise in the first ten minutes; it had been nothing more than child's play. Then, he'd proceeded to flip the sheet over and being writing out his conclusions regarding the cursed scar upon his forehead in Latin.
Even if the muggles read Latin, they wouldn't be able to understand his words in the right context, being non magicals as they were. He was not looking forwards to spending the next six years of his life here. It was a terrifying prospect, having to remain here for that long, bored out of his mind. Maybe he'd just have to find something to entertain himself with.
Already he could speak Latin and French, having been taught from a young age as a member of the House of Black. Luckily, that wasn't a skill that had left him in the transition to this new body.
His motor skills were a different matter, he'd been slowly building them up, training himself to be ambidextrous. This body seemed naturally inclined to perform with its right hand, but his previous one had been left handed. So he would work both, and then when he felt like he was losing himself, he could reconnect with a past aspect of his previous life.
So far, he'd gotten to the point where he could write in his own handwriting, just that it was infinitely slower, seeing as he was determined to get the strokes of each letter right. He would not be reduced to the cave markings that passed as a child's handwriting.
Once he'd noted down the conclusions he'd made of regarding the killing curse's scar, Regulus was quick to scribble it all out, instead turning to spell creation, breaking down the components of the killing curse in an attempt to figure out how Lily Evans had found an in with which to link her blood runes.
All spells were made up of a collection of numbers, and the spells origins depended upon the meanings one used for the numbers. Luckily, Regulus had always had a bit of a fascination with the dark arts, had broken down the unforgivable before. Just, not with the intention of subverting them. His pencil flew across the page, breaking down Avada Kedavra into a small collection of numbers, some sectioned off from others. The amount of letters, the amount of vowels, the amount of milliseconds taken to pronounce the spell, the amount of inches a wand would need to move for the wand movements, everything was taken into consideration.
And still, he could only find the slightest openings in the otherwise tightly knit spell work, nothing big enough to slip protections into. That was how Protego worked, slipping into the spell network when it impacted against the physical barrier and either destroying it or reflecting it back. A genius, the creator of Protego. To manage to cover so many spells to defend against, the inventor had to be a different breed of genius.
Regulus had a sneaking suspicion that Lily Evans fell into such a category the more he looked over the killing curse and it's intricate network of numbers. She couldn't have slipped in a defence, not in the network he was seeing. So she had to have broken a piece of Avada Kedavra framework open in order to slot in her blood defence. Pure brilliant.
Regulus let out a surprised breath, looking down at the paper before him. He'd found the most obvious opening, the one Lily had to have taken advantage of. He'd found it. This was what Evans had done, this was how he had survived. Now he just needed to see the actual blood runes she'd used to create her defence, and maybe he'd be able to improve on it. To fully understand what had happened that night.
Startling when it registered that he was the one with that name, that he was the one being addressed, Regulus blinked doltishly, turning his gaze to his addressor.
"Are you finished?"
Looking back down at the paper, Regulus quickly stored the location of the opening in his head, giving a nod and flipping the paper back over.
The teacher, Miss Dance she'd introduced herself by, took the sheet from him, looking at the numbers on the back and clearly not making head or tails of them.
"Right then class, it's break time. I'll call you all back in when break's over."
Slowly, Regulus got to his feet, exiting the classroom at the same time as the other children. But, instead of following the masses out towards the blacktop that served as a playground, Regulus turned his attention inwards, walking further down the corridor and into the heart of the school.
A library was what he was looking for, and while he was pretty damn sure that he wouldn't be finding any books that provided some form of intellectual stimulus, he could hope.
He found something great. The library -if it could even be called such a thing- was a dismal waste of time.
The small room that was locked just a bit further down the corridor however, was not.
On his tiptoes, he'd been able to peek in through the glass, to see the musical instruments that lay littered around the room. He'd not had enough time during break to venture inside, but he planned to. He ate lunch quickly, a meal far from the standards of his previous life -Petunia had been forced to pay for his school dinners thankfully- but filling regardless.
And then, he'd slipped out the dinner hall, taking note of the amount of time he had. Fifty minutes until the next class began, fifty minutes to himself.
At long last, no Petunia hanging around his shoulder, snapping at him to weed the front yard. Regulus had let his magic kill the garden that day. Nothing was growing in it now. Vernon had been forced to pay a man to returf it and he'd never been asked to perform such a manual job again.
But now it was just him on his own. His magic reacted to his desire and the room was unlocked, allowing Regulus to pass through the threshold without any problems.
Musical instruments were scattered all over the place. A recorder, a flute, a piano and-
Regulus stopped, before reaching out for the instrument. A violin. His fingers ran across the worn wood, taking note of the little scratches on the surface, the strings that weren't as tight as they should be.
Immediately he went about fixing that, the sharp strings hard beneath his soft fingers. This body had never played before, hadn't built up the calluses that his old one had. Regardless, Regulus placed the instrument between his chin and shoulder, taking note that it was a child's version and still just an inch or so too big for him. But he would make do.
Even though he hadn't played much since joining the Death Eaters, hadn't played at all since he'd been born into this body, he could still remember everything he'd done before. Even if this body wasn't trained to move as fluidly as his old one did, with concentration, he could force it to perform the correct melody, a simple one from the Wizarding World. The first one he'd ever been taught. All the more dramatic ones, the advanced ones, would be out of his reach until he could relearn this skill. But he would.
He missed making music, missed the release it gave.
Drawing the bow across the strings, Regulus let his eyes drift shut. Only to snap them open when he missed a note, fingers not prepared to form the correct movements. It would appear that he needed to keep his eyes open for this then. How irritating.
As he played, Regulus let his mind wander, never far from making sure his fingers fell in the right place in this slow melody, but enough to consider his life as it was now.
He was the reborn Regulus Arcturus Black. He was Harry James Potter, orphaned son of James Potter and Lily Evans. Survivor of the killing curse. A wizard, and he would be attending Hogwarts come his eleventh birthday. He needed a game plan by then. He couldn't rely upon anybody but himself right now.
Voldemort had come after him, for what reason Regulus didn't know. Perhaps the man had found out that Harry Potter was the reborn soul of the traitor Regulus Black. The man who'd successfully stolen his Horcrux. It didn't matter if Voldemort knew or not, it was safest to work under the assumption that he did. If he didn't, then Regulus acting more careful than normal would have no adverse side effects.
He needed information, was Voldemort still around? As far as he knew, there had been no reported attacks on the muggle world like there had been before his death; the Dursleys liked to have the news on during the day, to keep up with current events. The muggle world was calm, calmer than anything he'd have been expecting while there was a war going on.
Why would Voldemort stop?
A terribly delicious idea occurred to him.
Was it possible that Lily Potter had not only managed to protect him from the killing curse, but to bounce it back on the originator of the curse? Like a Protego? Did he dare hope for such a thing?
Pleasure curled about in Regulus' stomach, but he forcefully pushed it down.
No, it was best to assume for now that Voldemort was alive. Even if he had been hit by his own killing curse -and oh, did he desperately hope that was so- he still didn't know if Kreacher had managed to destroy the Horcrux. That was something he needed to check up on, and soon. As soon as possible really.
Dear god he needed some information. And his usual sources were out.
Voldemort had identified him as an enemy, regardless of if he had discovered Harry Potter was in actuality Regulus Black. He didn't just shooting killing curses at anybody after all.
Which meant he was now an open enemy of the Death Eaters. None of them would speak to him, especially about the war. Not only was he the enemy now, but he was a five year old child. They'd probably dismiss him before he could even open his mouth.
That left him one credible source. Kreacher.
Kreacher, who would probably be working under his mother now. He had to find a way to speak to Kreacher. So he needed to find a way to get to London. To Grimmauld Place. He just needed to figure out a way to accomplish this task.
The bow screeched across the strings as Regulus jumped, turning to look at the source of the voice. Miss Dance -and really, she couldn't be any older than twenty five- was staring at him in shock. No, not just him, but him and the violin.
"Was that you playing, just now?"
Slowly, Regulus nodded, readjusting his stance and glancing at the clock from the corner of his eyes. He still have ten minutes until lesson started, ten more minutes to practice.
"Have you had lessons before?"
Regulus started playing again, focused on his fingers as he did so.
"No, I haven't."
At least, not in this body.
"Well next time you want to come into the music room, please come and get me first. Otherwise I'll have to give you a detention."
The afternoon passed by quickly. He could almost tell when the muggle teacher got to his answers, because her head snapped up to look at him in disbelief before returning to look over his words, mouthing his answers to herself with obvious shock across her face.
Currently, it was 'art time'. A pitiful excuse to just let the children roam free across the classroom with a variety of utensils within their grasps. While they went about making a mess of their paper, themselves and the surrounding area, Regulus sat, completely focused.
He was practicing his runes, though he didn't dare attempt to start on blood runes. Not without a reference book before him; he wasn't confident enough in blood runes to attempt it without one.
Slowly, he sketched the Sowilo onto the paper careful with each line he made. He could feel the void it created, begging for him to fill it up with just a little bit of magic, to pour just that little bit in. Then it would offer health and victory to whomever carried it around with them. Or rather, just a small boost. Nothing that would stop a person dying from a terminal disease, or stop a person from winning a battle against a far more skilled opponent. But something such as stop a small cold? That wasn't beyond the rune.
He didn't put any magic into it though, instead moving on to the next in the runic alphabet.
Slowly, he began to weave them together, into the basic scheme for a ward against ill intent. Possibly the easiest ward known to wizarding kind. It wouldn't stop the approach of one with ad intentions, but it would alert the one the wards were tied to. He was going to have to learn how to stitch at some point, so that he'd be able to add things like this to his clothing. The idea of being able to hold simple wards on his clothing had struck him when watching Petunia sew up one of Dudley's tops, the seams having given up on holding the boy's excess fat beneath its fabric covering.
Finishing off the final stroke to Othala, Regulus turned his gaze towards Miss Dance, who was looking down at his sheet with startled eyes. He knew what she was seeing, strange markings ordered together. Something that only made sense to him, an alphabet she no doubt believe unique to him.
"Your answers were very good," her voice cracked a bit, eyes drifting down to the sheet in question that rested in her hand, "would you like to take the violin home? We don't have anyone else using it in school, I could speak to your mother."
"My mother is dead. You'll have to speak to my aunt instead. She's the one that looks after me."
And he used the term 'look after' very loosely. Miss Dance's expression fell a bit, but she gave a sharp nod, indicating that she would in fact speak to Petunia when the day was over.
Internally, Regulus pondered over how such a meeting would go. He doubted his aunt would be happy to know that her nephew was so talented, so smart, in comparison to her own son. But if Regulus played this right, she wouldn't be able to get away without admitting it.
He just needed an audience.
Petunia's neurotic desire to be seen as perfection by those around her would play right into his game here. Drumming his fingers across the table, Regulus went back to practicing his runes absentmindedly, the rest of him finally starting to focus on what he was going to do with this life.
First and foremost, Voldemort needed to be dealt with. All those precious to him were dead now, so Regulus would take it upon himself to see the madman dead. James Potter and Lily Evans had given their lives to make sure he would live, and so, live Regulus would. He'd do their memory proud, he'd become the greatest wizard of the age, to honour the woman who could have been so much more had she been given the chance to grow, had she not been cut down . He'd succeed her.
The Sorting Hat had once said he was destined for greatness, and that was why he'd been placed within Slytherin. Years ago, he'd believed his great finally moment would be taking down the Horcrux of the Dark Lord.
But now he had a feeling he could do better.
He could take the Dark Lord down. He was the only one that knew of the Horcrux, he had the knowledge to do such a thing. And he would.
He'd avenge Potter and Lily.
Then he'd let himself chase after all those brilliant ideas that came to mind throughout the day. Once he was safe again. Goal set, Regulus ran his tongue across his lip as he finished off the final line of Uruz.
He would endure, and then, he would thrive.
As planned, he caught Petunia when she was surrounded by a gaggle of other mothers, fawning over the gaudy pearls that sat upon her collarbones. Her face tightened when she saw him approaching with a teacher in tow, eyes sharpening as she looked around for Dudley.
Regulus let out a low breath, allowing his mind to adjust to the part he had to play before all these other mothers.
"Aunt Petunia!" He called, making sure to add a bit of emotion into his voice, instead of the apathy he'd taken to using with the muggle members of his family.
Her hand twitched, but she nevertheless turned her full attention to both himself and Miss Dance, who to his surprise, was pulling the violin from the case.
"Miss Dance says I can take the violin home with me if that's okay?"
"Your nephew is incredibly talented Miss Dursley, not just at music, but his answers- I'm going to be speaking to the principle about moving him up a year or two. It's, well, will you play for us Harry?"
It was as he'd expected. Petunia didn't look happy at all about his 'genius', but the mothers all around her cooed, seemingly awed by his supposed brilliance already. Plucking up the instrument, Regulus carefully positioned it, fingers dancing across the bow before he brought that to place.
And then he began to play. The same melody as before, careful to keep it as perfect as this small, untrained body would allow him to get it.
But as he played, keeping half an eye on the gathering adults. They all seemed impressed, which was excellent news.
Because now Petunia couldn't deny him without appearing as if she was stifling his natural talent. She'd been bragging of the money Vernon brought home too, so she wouldn't be able to have Dudley break the violin and state they couldn't afford to get him a new one either. She'd trapped herself quite effectively and Regulus could feel vindictive pleasure curl around in his stomach as he ruthlessly took advantage of such a thing.
Well, he was a Slytherin after all.
Vernon was furious when the first report cards came home a month after term. He hit the roof when the end of the school year reports came home.
They had denied the schools request to move him up a grade, citing that they felt it was best that their nephew be able to still associate with children his own age. They had both been pretty smug over that, but their faces had fallen a bit when he'd return with a form from Miss Dance enquiring if she would be able to keep him an hour after school to practice piano.
Regulus had never learned how to play, but he was interested. And to get back at the Dursleys, who so hated to see him flourish, it was well worth the effort.
They couldn't deny him and they knew it, already he was known as a musical genius in the neighbourhood, the kind that had a natural talent. They thought he was going to be the next big thing in classical music, that he was going to put their tiny neighbourhood on the map.
None of them seemed inclined to help him when they saw the Dursleys obvious signs of neglect, so he felt no inclination to ever associate himself with this place. It was a temporary stop on his way to Hogwarts. A necessary one he couldn't get out of.
Regardless, that didn't change the fact his relatives were bubbling cesspools of anger upon noting his report card. Tests aimed for children were abysmally easy for his adult brain, and he was not only gaining 100% on every test, but getting extra credit as well. Slated as the most intelligent child they'd had at the school, and while Regulus knew he was in fact an adult, it didn't stop him from being smug.
Even if the teachers did seem confused over his blatant ignorance of simple muggle customs, simple facts all muggles seemed to know.
Apparently they had something called the 'Seven Wonders of the World', and while some were simple feats accomplished by the help of wizards, others caught Regulus' interest. He'd always wanted to visit the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which had been absorbed into the wizarding world when the muggles had been threatening to destroy them. He'd never quite gotten around to it, though perhaps this time he would get a chance to go and see them.
Someday he wanted to go and visit Atlantis too, if the Atlanteans who'd sealed the continent off ever decided to reopen it. The rumours of natural magic there made him shiver with anticipation. Merlin he wanted to have a look around there.
Regardless, he was getting off topic. There were plenty of places to explore, plenty of places he wanted to visit within the world.
"What about Mrs Figg?"
Regulus grimaced at the mention of the squib. Oh, he recognised a Kneazle when he saw one. And he saw dozens over there. His watcher perhaps, on Dumbledore's orders. Dumbledore had to know a bit about Lily's protection upon him, had to have guessed a little about the blood runes that shielded him from the killing curse. That didn't mean Regulus was pleased to have been left here.
But if it kept him safe from Voldemort, who was he to complain..
Who was he kidding, he wanted out. And today, there might be a chance today.
"No good, she's out of town on business."
"You mean we have to take the little brat with us?!" Vernon's tone incredulous as he stared at his wife, ignorant of Regulus, who was sat upon the stairs and watching all these proceedings with a vague, detached sort of interest.
"We don't have a choice Vernon!"
"All the way to London Pet?"
"Would you rather leave him with in the house? On his own?!"
And that was that.
He knew instantly when they were nearing Grimmauld Place, recognised the streets that had been his childhood. His father had apperated them from that block over there, beneath that lamp post.
His magic reacted instantly, the car's engine spluttering to a halt. Regulus could feel his heart beating wildly in his chest, because this was it.
This was his out.
He could finally be free of these people, because Grimmauld Place would never show itself for muggles. Grimmauld Place was safe. He could sneak in, could crank up the wards until they were higher than they'd ever been before. No one would be able to find him, no tracking charms would work, and while they may think to find out just where about the muggles had lost him, what kind of wizarding houses were around there, never would they be able to enter Grimmauld Place.
He would be free.
The car door was thrown open with little thought, Regulus all but ripping the seatbelt from his chest. While cars were comfortable for transportation, they were so slow compared to anything in the wizarding world. He was glad to be free of it.
"Get back here you little Freak!"
Regulus cocked his head back to look at the Dursleys for the last time, taking in the furious red that Vernon was turning, the way his meaty hands wrestled with the seat belt restraining him to the chair, attempting and failing to free himself.
And Regulus laughed as he fled pushing people from his path of flight and ignoring their cries of shock or outrage. His feet, clad in the ratty trainers that Petunia had begrudgingly given him, hit the pavement one after the other, each a step further from the lifestyle he'd been trapped in for so long.
He rounded the corner, eyes widening with brilliant hope as he saw Grimmauld Place Sat neatly between two clean muggle houses, it appeared darker, blacker, in every way possible. Tears sprang to the corner of his eyes as such a familiar sight, and while he'd never been particular attached to the place, right now, it was home. This before him was home.
Darting up the front steps, Regulus came to a stop before the large, dark door, hands shaking as his fingers curled into fists. This was it. Right here, right now, he was stood before the only magical place that offered nothing but safety. Sucking in a low breath and well aware of the way his heart was thrumming about in his ribcage, Regulus released the air in his lungs and tapped at the door.
Kreacher would be home.
Mother had moved out just after Regulus had left school, spending the last of his father's days with him in Black manor. He couldn't see her returning to this place without him. Which left it empty, nothing but Kreacher would be here. Kreacher was tied to the Black family, but Grimmauld Place was his domain.
Kreacher would be here.
The door creaked open and Regulus stepped inside.
It was as dark and gloomy as he remembered. What he wasn't expecting to hear was the oh so delicate tones of Walburga Black.
"Who is it Kreacher? Who dares come inside the house of my forefathers?"
Regulus blinked, staring into the corridor and noting the portrait hanging on the hallway. Had, had Walburga Black, the mother of his previous body, passed? Was she dead?
Turmoil whirled around him, because more and more people from his past life were dying. God, how could Voldemort ever wish to be immortal? How could he think to stand this? Wait, Voldemort!
"Kreacher, did you destroy the Horcrux! Did you destroy it?!" Regulus turned wild green eyes on the house elf, armed with an iron poker from the fireplace, and watched as he almost dropped the weapon in shock.
"Kreacher, it's me, Regulus. I, something happened, I didn't die right, but did you destroy the Horcrux?"
He'd fully entered the house now, kicking the door shut behind him and went about ignoring the snarling questions his mother's portrait was voicing. Instead, he dropped to his knees before Kreacher, taking the elf by the shoulders and looking into his eyes, praying that his friend would see the truth in his eyes. It was beyond thought, even in the wizarding world, it was no wonder Kreacher looked stunned.
"Ma-Master Regulus is dead," Kreacher spoke slowly, but Regulus could pick out the dawning hope, fragile and delicate as it was, that was beginning to rise within Kreacher's eyes.
Regulus swallowed around the sudden lump in his throat, shaking his head as he did so.
"It's a necklace, Salazar Slytherin's necklace. I ordered up to leave and destroy it. I swear on my magic I was once Regulus Arcturus Black." A slow, golden glow flickered to life around his body, and the next thing Regulus knew, he was on the floor, a bundle of sobbing house-elf in his arms.
His mother was still shrieking, demanding to know what a Horcrux was, if it was really Regulus, but the reborn son of the House of Black blocked it all out, focusing on comforting the one friend that'd been there till the end.
A half hour passed before Kreacher finally managed to pull himself together. Regulus didn't mind, sat on the floor as he was, Kreacher in his lap. The house elf felt unnaturally frail in his arms, all sharp ribs and thin limbs as he was. Regulus hadn't seen him for years, but it was clear that during that time Kreacher had suffered. He hoped it wasn't guilt that had dragged his most trusted friend down.
He had to move them to the drawing room to escape his mother's screeches, not quite able to look at her yet.
What would she think? Here he was, still the son she'd raised, but no longer the son she'd birthed. He was a Potter now, a half-blood. How would she react, knowing that his soul was the same, but the body he'd come to inhabit was 'lesser' in her eyes?
Not that Regulus believed it was.
Lily Evans, he couldn't have asked for a better mother really. She'd given her life to make sure he lived, and as much as it ate at his insides, Regulus wasn't too sure if Walburga would have done that. Could he really consider her his mother anymore, when in truth, that was really Lily Evans? While he would not really be capable of separating the red-head in Gryffindor from the lioness that'd protected him from Voldemort, maybe he could acknowledge her as such. The mother of this body.
Which meant Walburga was no longer his mother, not in that sense. She had been a woman who raised him in his first life, had been his biological mother in that life. But Lily Evans was his mother in this one.
Grimacing over the strange thoughts, Regulus pushed them back, instead focusing on the new source of information before him.
"Kreacher, what happened to the Dark Lord? I remember him casting the killing curse at me, but beyond that-"
Kreacher pulled back slightly, huge eyes wider than normal as he dared to reach out and brush the stray lock covering Regulus' forehead back. A sharp breath.
"Master Regulus is Harry Potter?" It came out more of a croak, disbelief, and Regulus was instantly on guard.
The scar was common knowledge? How? Dumbledore maybe, it'd explain why he always came to cover up his more exciting bouts of 'accidental magic'. But would that not just make him more of target in the dark community?
"Master does not know?" Kreacher seemed puzzled, cocking his head to a side before seemingly noticing that he was sat upon Regulus' lap, and hurried to stand.
"The killing curse bounced off of Master! Master is the Boy Who Lived, they say he killed Voldemort! But Kreacher failed, Kreacher could not destroy the locket!"
Then, he burst into tears.
Mind whirling, Regulus just pulled Kreacher into another hug. The killing curse had rebounded on Voldemort? The world thought he was dead? The Boy Who Lived? The Prophet was to blame for that one no doubt.
But still, Voldemort's body was destroyed, though his Horcrux was not. Which meant if he got the right resources, he would be able to come back, to return to the land of the living because his Horcrux was still tethering him to this world.
He needed a way to destroy it.
He needed to run some tests, he needed to study his scar and he needed to use a pensive before he forgot anything more regarding Lily Evans' blood runes.
"Kreacher, calm down. If Voldemort's curse backfired on him, that means he doesn't have a body right now. We've got time to figure this out."
Running a hand through his hair, the reborn Black relaxed, laying himself back down on the wooden flooring.
It wasn't as bad as he'd thought. Voldemort was gone, and with the Wizarding World believing he was dead, then the Death Eaters would have been hunted down.
Gritting his teeth, Regulus got to his feet, mentally cataloguing everything he needed to get done.
"Okay Kreacher, I need you to do three things. First, get that portrait of Mother off the wall and into the attic under a suspension charm. I can't deal with her right now, god knows how she'll react now that I'm a half blood."
At this, Kreacher's face fell slightly, before he shook his head furiously.
"Master Regulus is still Master Regulus."
"Well said. Second, I want the wards on this place cranked as high as we can get them. Finally, I need a big piece of paper, an inkwell, and a thickly pointed quill."
As Kreacher disappeared with a pop, Regulus got to his feet and began pushing the furniture around, the sofas up against the wall and leaving a large open space on the floor for him to work with. Enough space for a piece of paper enlarged to become bigger than him.
He had a mind map to create.
The paper was full of information. Between himself and Kreacher, who was much more up-to-date on public information than he was, they had all the notes they could on the Death Eaters.
Voldemort was dead.
Regulus had already put down all the information he remembered from Lily Evans' blood runes and what had happened that night, having used the Black Family pensive for reference. Kreacher had scribbled down all the Death Eaters that'd been acquitted or incarcerated, along with their most known worst crimes.
Regulus had wrote all he knew about the Horcrux, and Kreacher had noted all the magic he'd tried to destroy it with, but failed. It was a depressingly long list.
Stepping back from the map, Regulus let his eyes trail over all the information, already running through the privacy spells that he could use in order to hide all of this from prying eyes. He needed to learn the Fidelius Charm really, and quickly. Speaking of charms-
"Kreacher, my wand. You had my wand, can you get it?"
The elf nodded, apperating away and then appearing again a second later, holding what was certainly a sight for sore eyes. Laurel handle and Silver Lime body, phoenix feather core, it was wonderful to see his wand again.
It was just a shame it didn't appear to agree.
On one hand, he was a different person now, had experienced different things. Had a different name and a different bloodline. But he had been hopeful that his wand would still choose him again. It seemed it'd been an ill-fated idea. But still, while the wand didn't hum in his hand as it once had, it seemed agreeable. It'd work with him, though it would never be with the same ease as before.
Nonetheless, it'd have to do. It's not like could get another until he turned eleven anyway.
Scanning the labour of his and Kreacher's work, Regulus paused on one name, mouth popping open slightly as he reread the words for a second time. And then a third, just to be sure he was actually reading the right thing.
"Kreacher, why in Merlin's name is Sirius in prison?"
Sirius was alive. Thank Salazar. He was alive and still around and he hadn't died like he'd thought. He'd never been so pleased to see one of his assumptions proven wrong.
But on the other hand; Sirius was in Azkaban.
Kreacher blinked, bright eyes bulging before he disappeared. Before Regulus could even think to call him back, he reappeared, holding an aging newspaper in his arms. A newspaper with Sirius' screaming face on the front cover.
Not quite able to swallow around the lump in his throat, Regulus quietly asked for a cup of tea, sitting himself down to read.
There was something wrong with the Wizarding World. Sirius wouldn't, couldn't have betrayed the Potters. It wasn't in his character.
Shaking his head, Regulus threw the newspaper to the ground, curling in on himself where he sat upon the sofa. He needed time, he needed to think. Luckily, he had the first, with the wards of Grimmauld Place right up, no one would find him here No one would be able to find the house, never mind the residents within. So he had the time to think.
Sirius would not betray the Potters.
And even on the miniscule chance he had, if he had been Voldemort's right hand -Siriuswasn'tVoldemort'she'dneverjointheDeathEatersnever- then surely he'd have wanted to go and finish of his master's work, to kill the last living Potter.
No, something wasn't right here.
But he needed more information, he needed to find the flaws. He needed to know. His to-do list seemed to keep adding up, there always seemed to be a bit more to -do. The more he tried to get started on something, seven more issues appeared.
"Kreacher. I need the trial scripts, of all the Death Eater trials. They should be open to the public, right?"
The house elf nodded, popping away to go and for fill his request. Regulus meanwhile, finally summoned up the urge to get off of the sofa he'd been curled up on.
Straightening out, he stretched himself out, rotating his shoulders around in their sockets before setting off into the hallway.
If he remembered correctly, Mother had never thrown any of their old clothes out, all stored at the bottom of a magically enlarged trunk. For what, Regulus wasn't sure. But it sure was helpful now. Even if some of the styles may be two decades out of date, by Merlin did he want to wear some Wizarding clothing right now.
Brushing his hair back from his face, Regulus made his way up the stairs, stopping just before his open bedroom door. It seemed Kreacher had taken the time to prepare his old room for him while he'd been reading the newspaper. He needed to send Kreacher to get some of the most important issues of the past seven years, so that he didn't miss anything. Just another thing he would need to get done it appeared
Sighing, Regulus made his way over to the little collage of newspaper cuttings, grimacing at the sight. How he could have ever looked up to that monster, he didn't know. Though he was still careful as off the delicate paper as he pulled it down, he made a note to add these to the mind map.
It was always good to have as much information as possible on the enemy.
Scanning the room, Regulus observed that the violins from his previous life, both the child sized one and the adult one were resting against the southern wall.
Looking outside of the window Regulus let his eyes drift over the nights sky, stopping to look in the general location of his own star. Regulus would be visible tonight, if he could be bothered to fetch a telescope that was.
Sighing, Regulus shuffled out of his second hand muggle clothes, making a note to burn them the next day. If Kreacher didn't beat him to it, that was.
Crawling under the covers, Regulus was pleased to feel the warming charm on the sheets, like Kreacher had done every day during his childhood. Their beds had always been warm, a way to combat the seemingly constant chill of Grimmauld Place that their parents insisted on. Neither were around now though, so it'd be one of the first thing Regulus changed about his environment.
He spared a second's thought for the Dursleys, wondering if they were starting to panic now. Not that they'd lost him, but because the Wizards would be coming to ask where he was. He didn't doubt they'd soon notice he was gone, and Regulus planned to keep it that way.
He was not going back. Nothing on this earth return him to that house and make him stay here.
Unsurprisingly, his mind turned to Sirius next. He didn't believe that Sirius would betray the Potters, would kill all those muggles and Pettigrew too. Not that the last two things were hard to accomplish, Sirius had been a talented wizard, and Pettigrew hadn't been a useless wizard so much as he was an ordinary one, an ordinary one surrounded by the extraordinary.
Potter and Sirius had both been exceptionally magically talented. Not to the level that Dumbledore or Voldemort had been, but there had been a serious power gap between them and Pettigrew. Though Lupin hadn't been up to their level, he too had been pretty high above average, and the way he studied allowed him to keep on even footing with the other two Marauders.
No, something wasn't right here, that Regulus didn't doubt. And he would find out what it was.
He'd solve the mystery around Sirius, he'd find a way to destroy the Horcrux.
And then he'd figure out what the hell to do about this 'Boy-Who-Lived' rubbish.
Please remember that Regulus is a pureblood. Seeing as Grand Uncle Longbottom could get away with nearly drowning Neville, I doubt there's a child protection thing like we have. It wouldn't occur to Regulus that this is abuse and there was a way out.
As for Hermione, we'll see how that goes. I can't see Regulus liking her right away at all, but who knows how she'll develop with no Harry and Regulus being about instead. She's certainly not going to be top student any more, that's obvious.
Also, some of the Headcanons I like and am certainly accepting myself;
- Regulus spoke fluent French (as did the rest of the Blacks).
- He could cast a Patronus
- He was a complete gentleman
- He's sort like a mad scientist, he stands back and observes, collects data and likes to poke and prod something to figure out how it works.
- Smart, calculating, a great fighter and intensely proud
- He was friends with Barty Crouch Jr, and while he didn't liek Snape, he respected him for his potions knowledge (I can't see Snape liking Regulus simply because of his last name)
- He likes classical music, and plays violin
All my love,