A/N: I feel like this is obvious from the summary, but I will say it again: this is a Sirius/Regulus fic. There will be no explicit scenes in it, but if you aren't comfortable with it, then simply don't read it.
Aside from that, please feel free to leave constructive criticism! English isn't my first language, so if you notice any mistakes, I would really appreciate it if you let me know. :)
Regulus Black was huddled in one of the corners of his bed, holding one of his father's large books in his hands. It was slightly chilly despite the rising sun, as the summer slowly died and fall took its place.
He opened the book and started reading, trying to understand anything and failing. It talked about spells and potions that looked too complicated, and he was, as his father told him a few days ago when he asked for a wand, too young to use magic.
He eventually gave up and just started looking at the moving pictures instead. He frowned as he flipped through the pages; most of the pictures were of people jerking and moving wildly, their eyes wide, like the eyes of the animals his father hunted, right before he flicked his hand and they went still.
When Regulus asked him what he had done, his father had told him that he put them to sleep. He asked if he could teach him that spell. His father only shook his head. Regulus was familiar enough with his father's moods and he knew from the look in his eyes to not bring up the topic again. He never did.
As he flipped through more pages, he started to feel the familiar pain in stomach, the one that made him stay awake at night, forcing himself not to sleep in fear that he might have another bad dream. He always had trouble sleeping whenever he accompanied his father to one of his hunts.
He didn't know what the book was about, but he had a feeling that it wasn't anything good. He slapped the book shut, and for perhaps the thousandth time that morning, wished that Sirius was there. He would have grinned when he found out that he stole a book from his father's library and read it with him. He doubted he would have been able to understand it -he had a feeling that this book was one of the 'adult' books his father mentioned before- but at least, they would have tried together. But his older brother went away yesterday to Hogwarts for the first time, promising to write him regularly.
He wondered if he should ask his mother if Sirius sent anything, but he doubted he would receive any answer as his mother was usually busy reading the newspaper and answering her letters at this time. If Sirius had sent anything, then it is going to be a while before he found out.
As if on cue, he heard his mother shout his name from downstairs. He immediately bounced off his bed, his heart in his throat. Did she find out that he took the book? But his father wasn't home yet, and she never sat in the family's library at that time. He grabbed the book, shoved it under his beds, and ran downstairs. Whatever happened, he knew his mother would be angrier if he didn't come at once.
He jumped the last two stairs and turned around towards where his mother stood. His frantic heartbeat slowed down when he saw her standing next to the usual pile of letters, staring at a particular one as if she could burn it alive with just her stare. Her hand was clenched into a fist, fingers turning white from the pressure.
He crept towards her, wondering if he should ask what's wrong or just let her be for now.
"Mum?" He finally asked. "Are you okay?"
"Something must be wrong," his mother murmured. He wondered if she was talking to him or to herself. "The hat has finally lost its magic."
Regulus tried to guess what she meant, but all that came to his head was a funny hat he saw a muggle wear yesterday as they accompanied Sirius to platform nine and three quarters. It was so weird that he was tempted to ask his father for one like it, but they hurried along before he managed to pluck up his courage.
"Is something wrong, Mum?" He tried again, almost hoping that his mother wouldn't snap out of whatever state of mind she was in. He never liked her like that, as he was familiar with how she acted when she finally came to her senses. He suppressed a shiver at the memory.
She suddenly whipped around and faced him. "Go get your coat, Regulus," she ordered. "We are leaving." He quickly nodded and ran back up the stairs, only too happy to do whatever she wanted at that moment.
He snatched one of his coats out and hesitated for a second before leaving the room, debating whether it would be worth it or not to try and get the book back to its place. In the end, he decided that didn't have much time left and that any punishment for taking the book wouldn't be worse than keeping his mother waiting right then.
When he went downstairs, he found her mother had already worn her cloak and was standing in front of the fireplace, tapping her foot impatiently. She grabbed his hand in a tight grip when he was next to her, then threw green powder into the fireplace.
"Hogwarts," she said. Then, he found himself spinning around as flashes of different colours and sounds assaulted his senses.
He blinked as his vision started to become clear again and found himself in a large room. It was decorated with shelves and shelves of books, potions, and things he didn't recognise. A phoenix was perched on a stood nearby, watching them with round ruby eyes.
In front of him, sitting on a desk, was a man with a long beard. He looked up and Regulus was met with piercing blue eyes. He remembered his mother describing him to Sirius a few days before he left, but for some reason, Regulus had the image a cold slightly mad man in his head, not like the person in front of him.
"Ah, Walburga," he said. His voice was deep and warm. "I had a feeling I would see you soon."
"What is the meaning of this?" His mother demanded, raising her right hand, a crumpled letter in it.
"Please sit down, and let's talk," the man said. He looked the same age as his father, maybe a little older.
"I will not sit down until I know what kind of a game are you playing here, Dumbledore," she spat. Regulus flinched.
Dumbledore sighed. "I think you know very well that I have nothing to do with the hat's choices, Walburga."
His mother strode forward. He thought about following her then opted against it. It was better if he stayed out of it. "Then what?" She demanded. "What could have possibly happened to sort my own son into Gryffindor?"
Regulus searched in his memory for that familiar name and remembered a day where he and his brother sat next to each other as their father told them the tale of the Four Founders, and Godric Gryffindor's betrayal against his closest friend, Salazar Slytherin.
"What do you learn from it, boys?" He asked, as he always did, whenever he told them a story.
"That you shouldn't let stupid fights ruin your friendship," Sirius said simply. Their father gave him a disapproval glare.
"This wasn't just a stupid fight, Sirius," he said, then turned around and shifted his attention towards Regulus.
"What do you think?" Regulus hesitated for a moment before he answered. He was originally going to say something alongside what his brother said -It really wasn't a stupid simple fight, but the friendship between the four seemed too strong and deep to be broken apart after all that time.- But he knew his father wouldn't hear of it, so he thought of something else.
"That you shouldn't betray the one closest to you," he said at last. He didn't say who he meant exactly — in his opinion, both Godric and Salazar made a big mistake, but it was enough for his father. He smiled and clapped him on the back, then shot a look towards Sirius.
Regulus hated that look, because whenever he looked at Sirius like that, Sirius would shoot him a glare when his father wasn't looking, full of anger and something else he couldn't place. He didn't like it.
"Nothing," Dumbledore's answer brought him back from his thoughts. "The hat was given all its knowledge about the houses from the founders themselves, and it saw it best to sort your son into Godric Gryffindor's house. I know you aren't the biggest fan of that house, Walburga, but the hat believes that he will do great in it."
"Then, I want to speak to the hat."
"It wouldn't matter," he replied. "The hat made up its mind, and you know that it won't change it." Dumbledore suddenly looked towards him. "You are Regulus, aren't you?"
He blinked in surprise and quickly nodded. He didn't know that the Headmaster was paying attention to him at all, he rather hoped he didn't.
"Why are you standing so far away? Come here and have a seat," he said, gesturing to one of the chairs in front of his desk.
Regulus glanced at his mother but she wasn't looking at him, so he took it as a sign that she wouldn't say no. He shuffled towards where they were and sat on the chair. His legs dangled as he couldn't reach the floor yet, so he rocked them slowly back and forth while keeping an eye on his mother for the slightest sign of disapproval.
"How old are you, Regulus?" Dumbledore asked.
"Nine, sir," he answered. No matter what differences his mother and that man had, he was older than him, and he wouldn't show disrespect. His father taught him that.
"You shall be here in two years then." Regulus nodded. Dumbledore looked at his mother again. "Walburga, please, have a seat. Let's try to put our differences aside and talk about this."
His mother shook her head. "This isn't over, Dumbledore."
He sighed. "I'm afraid so."
"Regulus, come," she commanded. Regulus stood and hurried to catch up with her fast pace.
Just as she was about to put the green powder in the fireplace again, Regulus turned around. Dumbledore watched them as his phoenix stood on his shoulder and sang quietly.
Regulus opened the door of Sirius' room slowly and looked around at the mess on the floor.
"What are you doing?" He asked.
"Redecorating my room," Sirius spat, his back to him, as he waved his wand and another shred of the green wallpaper was thrown on the floor.
"You can't use magic outside of Hogwarts," he reminded him, remembering all the stories he had heard about people spending time in Azkaban.
"This is a magical house, isn't it?" He said, waving his wand for too long, creating a thin crack in the wall. "They can't pinpoint exactly who is using magic."
"But mum and dad will," Regulus said. "They are bound to find out. If they didn't come here because of all the noise you are making, then Kreacher will tell them."
"I don't fucking care!" Sirius shouted, turning around to face him.
That was the first time he had heard Sirius swear. He was about to ask him where did he learn that -language like this was forbidden in this house- but the words got stuck in his throat when he noticed Sirius' eyes, full of unshed tears and silent misery.
He took a step towards him and Sirius took a step back, staring at the wall, clenching his hands.
"They didn't mean it, you know," Regulus murmured. "What they said before. They just said it out of anger."
"Yes, they did," he spat.
Sirius stood with his shirt crumpled up and his cheeks blotchy and his eyes puffy with the effort of keeping in the tears.
Regulus took a step forward, unsure of what to do, of how to help his brother, but he needed to do something. Anything.
"Do you want me to help you with the rest of the wallpaper?"
Sirius blinked and huffed, and Regulus pretended that he didn't see him when he quickly wiped his eyes. "Yeah," he mumbled. "Okay."
When they were done, they sat on the bed. Regulus had glue on his fingers from trying to put on the scarlet and gold wallpaper — that was until Sirius got tired of it and they hunted down a spell that could help them. He knew that he was going to get in a lot of trouble, but right then, as he watched his brother toy with his wand, a grin plastered on his face, he didn't really care.
"You know what?" Sirius asked after they had spent a while in silence.
Regulus made a noise that he was listening, as he thought of how he was going to postpone his parents finding out about the new wallpaper until Sirius' vacation ended.
"They are right."
He looked at Sirius. "About what?"
"I did choose to be sorted into Gryffindor," he said. "The hat kept going and forth between Gryffindor and Slytherin. I told it to choose Gryffindor."
"But why?" He asked. They both knew how their parents reacted when something didn't go how they wanted it to. And they were certain that Sirius would be in Slytherin, just like the rest of the family. Regulus remembered his father's reaction when he had found out. He shuddered.
"Because I belong to Gryffindor," he stated. "I knew how they would react, but I also knew the right house for me."
Regulus looked around the room, at all the shredded silver and green wallpaper. The last day before Sirius went to Hogwarts, their parents spent a day to decorate his room with proper colours, as they had said then. They even went as far as buying new furniture to match.
"How did you learn that spell?" Regulus asked as he picked one of the pieces from the floor and played with it idly.
"I watched Dad as he used it, it isn't that hard." He shrugged.
"You almost cracked the wall, don't try to act humble," he said.
Sirius looked at the wall as if he just saw the crack for the first time. "Oh," he said. "Shit."
He then looked at Regulus and they both burst out laughing.
"I will ask Kreacher to fix it, and ask him not to tell anyone," Regulus said when they both stopped to catch their breath.
"He will tell them if he saw the new decoration. I still have a couple of ideas." Sirius grinned.
"He won't. He obeys me."
Sirius scoffed. "That ugly elf is a spy for our parents," he said, as he turned around to start collecting all the shreds of wallpaper off the floor
He sighed. "He isn't. He actually helped me with a lot of things, even though he knew they would be angry if they found out. You just have to be nice to him."
"Did you see how he looked at me when I came home with my Gryffindor cloak? It is like I betrayed the entire family!"
Regulus started to shred the silver piece in his hand. "He is…Well, he is loyal to Mother, and believes in everything she does." He shrugged. "But you can change his mind if you just treated him better."
Sirius snorted. "I doubt it," he said, as he placed his wand on the table. "Now, will you help me get rid of this mess? I need to finish up before dinner."
Regulus nodded and together they put all the pieces in one pile and Sirius muttered a spell, it disappeared.
As they walked down the stairs to have dinner, Regulus caught Sirius' hand in his and squeezed it lightly.
Sirius smiled briefly then it disappeared as their mother's voice rang clear in the house, ordering them to come.
Just a heads up that there will be age jumps in the next following chapters. Think of this story as a series of short fics that are related by a theme and these two characters, and not exactly a chaptered fic. I originally planned to post the whole fanfic all at once since it has an unusual structure, but then it got long and I couldn't do that.
I hope you enjoyed it. Let me know what you think! :)