Written For:

- Gift Giving Extravaganza: Written for DobbyRocksSocks

- Great Easter Egg hunt: B10 - Soulmate!AU

- 2017 Drabbles: Brilliant

Adopted this Soulmate!AU from Chapter 2 of NeonDomino's 'We're Simply Meant to Be'. I implore you to read all of them!

Word Count: 2,535


A Tale of Two Sides

Before Barty opened his eyes, he absorbed the strangely wonderful feeling that passed through him. He felt refreshed, as though he had just slept a solid nine hours, the sheets he slept in smelled of fresh linen, and he was the comfiest he had ever been in his life.

Then he opened his eyes.

Normally, his solitary apartment was filled with sunlight at seven thirty in the morning. Instead, he was met with the gloomy, hazy glow that heavy curtains over the window would cause. But I don't have any curtains…he wondered idly.

He sat up and stretched, and slowly became aware of his surroundings. He was laying in the middle of a vast, four-poster bed, with thick black curtains surrounding it and charcoal sheets and blankets. Looking down at his chest, he realised he was wearing button down pyjamas made from black silk.

Barty didn't own anything made from silk. And he certainly didn't go to bed wearing such restrictive clothing.

He jumped out of the bed and immediately became entangled in the heavy curtains. Once he had freed himself, he stumbled over to the window and pulled the coverings aside, letting sunlight stream into the bedroom. Now he knew that something was really wrong.

The bedroom alone was bigger than Barty's whole apartment, and it was filled with things that Barty could never dream to afford. Silver trophies gathered dust on the shelves, a huge walk-in closet had the door swung open to one side of the room, but the king-size bed was the main feature. Barty advanced on the closet, spotting the glimmer of a mirror on the door. He pushed the door closed and let his eyes adjust to his reflection.

Something was really wrong.

oOo

Before Regulus opened his eyes, he had cramp in his leg, and the beam of sunlight was hurting the backs of his eyelids. Also, his feet were cold. In fact, all of his body was cold. He swatted around the bed blindly for his comforter, but his hands only grabbed thin linen sheets.

His eyes sprang open, and he stared up at the white ceiling that didn't belong to him. There were no curtains around the small bed that he was laid in, and with a small gasp of horror, he realised that he was barely clothed underneath the thin linens. He sat up and rubbed the back of his aching head, feeling short, shaggy hair at the nape of his neck, quite unlike the thick locks he was used to.

He climbed out of the bed, feeling bare dressed only in boxer shorts. He hurried across the small room, looking around desperately for a mirror.

The room wasn't just a bedroom. It seemed to have many functions — the bed he had slept in was pushed up against the corner; a small row of counters was on a far wall with a refrigerator underneath one and a sink plumbed into another, and a two-seater couch with holey cushions was placed haphazardly in the centre of the room, close to a nearby bookshelf that was packed with books.

Regulus knew exactly what was happening. His brother had warned him all about the effects of the soulmate trigger when it had happened to him earlier in the year. When two people became mentally mature enough to start a relationship, something within the universe was triggered, causing two soulmates to swap bodies for twenty four hours. Usually, those twenty four hours were spent trying to find each other.

A surge of excitement passed through Regulus, as he realised that he would soon be met with the reflection of the man that Fate wanted him to spend the rest of his life with.

That was, when he could find a mirror in this tiny apartment.

oOo

"Reg?" came a voice from behind the oak door, startling Barty. "Reg, are you decent? I need to be quick, I don't want to be here when Mum gets back—" the door was thrown open rudely, leaving Barty to stand and stare awkwardly at the intruder. "Why are you still in your bedclothes?" The man in the doorway looked a lot like the person that Barty had seen in the mirror, except his hair was longer and a little more unruly, and he had a thick shadow of stubble on his chin and neck. He raised an eyebrow at Barty; it arched higher with each second that Barty remained silent. "What is wrong with you?"

"I…um…" It was the first time Barty had spoken with his new smooth, silky vocal chords, and it felt unnatural. He rubbed his throat, missing the normalcy of his own voice, which was a little raspy from a few years of light smoking.

The man snapped his fingers, and his dark eyes lit up suddenly. "I know. It's not you, is it?"

"...What?"

"What's you're name? I'm Sirius," he walked forwards and stuck out a hand, which Barty tentatively shook. "I'm Regulus's brother. As in, the guy whose body you're stuck in right now."

"Does that mean…" Barty paused, trying to process the information. "That you're brother is in my body?"

"Yep," Sirius grinned widely. "And he's probably in more shock than you right now, if he's in the body of a woman. He's always been super weird around girls…"

"I'm not a girl," Barty said quickly. "I'm sorry — I don't know why this has happened…"

Sirius looked shocked for a moment, but then another grin spread across his face. "This is brilliant. Our mother…she's going to lay an egg or something when she finds out about this! Poor Walburga, both of her sons have turned out gay!" Sirius laughed loudly, and slammed his palm into the door frame. "This is great, really."

"Could you explain to me what's going on?" Barty asked.

"You really don't know?" Barty shook his head, and Sirius patted him on the shoulder. "Look, mate…get dressed. Throw anything of Regulus's on. I don't live here anymore, and if my mum gets back and finds out that you're in her precious son's body…well, it's not going to be pretty. Come spend the day at my place, and I'll explain. It happened to me not long ago, so I'm pretty much the expert on Soulmate Day."

"Soulmate Day?"

Sirius sniggered. "Hurry up, we've got a lot to talk about."

oOo

Regulus had no luck in finding a mirror. He had resorted to digging out the most conservative clothes he could find — blue stonewash jeans and a plain white t-shirt — and briskly tidying up the apartment. He had made the bed, then unmade it when he got a good whiff of the sheets, and slung them in the washing machine; he entertained himself for half an hour by washing up the pile of pots and pans that were starting to grow spores on the worktop; and he dug an old rag out of a drawer and did his best to dust all the surfaces in the apartment. Cleaning the place gave him time to really get a good look around the apartment.

It didn't seem as though his soulmate had much. There was hardly any food in his fridge, and he didn't have many possessions in the apartment. A shabby cigarette case lay on the windowsill next to a lighter, but it was empty. The initials B.C were engraved into the silver, but that didn't offer Regulus much insight as to who his soulmate was.

He rifled through the drawers, looking for post or identification documents, anything that could give him a clue. But there was nothing, just old clothes, socks and dishcloths — which seemed to be the newest thing in the whole flat.

Resigned, Regulus sat on the end of the bed. He figured that whoever his soulmate was, he had gotten out of Grimmauld Place quickly. Judging from the state of his apartment, he was scruffy and poor — two things that Walburga Black hated.

oOo

"Twenty-four hours," Barty repeated. "I'll be stuck in this body for twenty-four hours?"

"Yep," Sirius replied, and he pulled a packet of cigarettes out of the pocket of his leather jacket and popped one into his mouth. After sparking a lighter to ignite it, he noticed Barty looking longingly at him. "I would offer you one mate, but Regulus is strictly anti-smoking. I'll get a wallop if he finds out I let you poison his body with even one drag."

"I can go a day," Barty muttered, but he knew he didn't sound sure. "So, we have to find each other in these twenty-four hours?"

Sirius shrugged. "I mean, you're not going to turn into a pumpkin if you don't. But it's what people usually do. Even if they don't want to conform to the soulmate thing, curiosity usually gets the better of them."

"How do I find him?"

Sirius smirked. "So you want to meet Regulus?"

Barty felt a blush spreading across his — Regulus's — cheeks. "I guess so. It would be nice to see whose in my body."

"Do you have a phone at your place? You can call your phone from here, and if he's still there, you can speak to him."

Barty cursed himself inwardly for not already thinking of the obvious. "S-sure. But…maybe it would be better if you spoke to him first. He's probably already in shock."

"You're shy, that's okay," Sirius teased, and grabbed the phone. "But of course. What's the number?"

oOo

The telephone rang shrilly, startling Regulus. He jumped up from his seat on the bed, looking around wildly for the source of the noise, and spotted the white plastic telephone hanging on the wall. He rushed over and grabbed it, holding to his ear. "Hello?"

"How's Soulmate Day treating you?"

"Sirius!" Regulus had never been more happy to hear his brother's voice. "How did you know to ring — wait, are you with…"

"Your soulmate? Of course. He's sat here with me now. I was just about to tell him that story from when Uncle Alphard took us to the swimming pool and you couldn't be bothered getting out so you just pulled your trunks down—"

"Don't you dare, I swear to God, I will tell Mum."

"Good point," Sirius replied. "Though, Mum is going to kill you when she finds out that your soulmate is a man! How long did you know it wouldn't be a girl? Why didn't you tell me?"

"Can I speak to him please?!" Regulus shouted over the top of Sirius's relentless questions. "I can listen to you waffle on any old time."

"Fine," sighed Sirius, and there was a brief sound of muffled voices and the rustling of the telephone being passed between hands.

"Hello?"

It was the strangest thing, to hear his own voice on the other side of the line. It was as though Regulus was listening to a recording of himself speak. "H-hi."

There was a pause, and Regulus wondered if his soulmate was having the same thought. "This is really weird, right?"

"Really weird," Regulus replied hastily. He was suddenly overwhelmed with a magnitude of questions. He didn't want either of them to stop speaking for a moment, for fear of an awkward silence creeping in. "I suppose that Sirius has told you all about me. But I don't know anything about you. What's your name?"

"Barty Crouch," his soulmate answered. "And you're Regulus Black."

"I am," murmured Regulus.

"Give me the phone back," a familiar voice demanded in the background, and suddenly Regulus was listening to his brother again. Before he could chastise Sirius for his rudeness, the older brother kept talking. "Remus just showed up. He says that you have to come over and have dinner with us."

"Whose cooking?" Regulus asked doubtfully. He had tasted Remus's cooking in the past, and he wasn't sure he was ready to risk food poisoning again.

"We'll order in," Sirius answered. "I would cook, but I don't to miss a minute of you making a fool of yourself. Come over at five," Sirius hung up before Regulus could snap back at him, and he was left listening to the dull beep of a dead line.

oOo

Barty paced around Sirius's flat as the minutes ticked closer to five. He didn't know what he was more worried about — seeing himself walk through the door, or actually getting to know the person inside his body. At exactly five on the dot, someone rapped on the door.

He hung back as Sirius opened it, hardly daring to breathe.

It was a surreal experience, as a version of himself stepped through the door. Even though it was like looking in a mirror, Barty could see the slight differences. His normally unruly sandy hair was combed — where had Regulus even found a comb in his apartment? When he spoke, even though Regulus used Barty's voice, there was a softer edge to it.

"Weird," Regulus said as he stepped in front of Barty. He raised an eyebrow suddenly, his expression reminiscent of his brother's. "What am I wearing?" He plucked at Barty's sleeve. "Is that a hoodie?"

"It was the least uppity thing I could find in your closet," Barty replied. "Do you live in fancy shirts and button-fly trousers?"

"It doesn't hurt to dress nicely."

"It does. Those trousers literally hurt."

Sirius ambled over suddenly, with his arm draped over Remus's shoulders. "Oh, you're bickering like an old married couple already." He looked pleasantly misty-eyed, and he leaned over to press a quick peck to his boyfriend's cheek. "Were we ever that cute?"

"Let's give them some space," Remus said with a smile, and Barty silently thanked him.

oOo

After dinner and several bottles of beer, Regulus and Barty sat back on Sirius's sofa. Sirius and Remus were in the kitchen cleaning up, and Remus had politely closed the door behind them, much to Sirius's distaste.

"Do you think…" Barty paused as Regulus looked at him. "Do you think you might want to get to know me better?"

A smile spread across Regulus's face. "Yeah. I think I'd like that."

"This is going to be really weird, especially seeing as I'm looking into my own face right now, but I kind of want to kiss you."

"That is kind of weird," Regulus sniggered. "But I kind of want to kiss you, too."

Slowly, they leaned towards each other, sliding their eyes closed as their noses touched. Just as they were meeting lips, they were startled by a blinding flash.

"I knew saving this disposable camera would be a brilliant idea!" Sirius exclaimed gleefully, holding a camera to his face. "This will be one to put on your wedding cake!" He bounced off into the kitchen, where Remus was already clicking his tongue at Sirius's behaviour.

"I think we should wait until tomorrow," Regulus muttered. "We're never going to get any privacy while we're at my brother's flat."

Barty grinned and nodded. "Until tomorrow."