Author's Note: The Black's grab hold of you and just don't let go.

I'm more than halfway done with chapter 36 of Rules!!! It'll be up very soon, I swear.

This exists in the same world as Thoughts on Blood, just a few years after.


I wanted to name him Regulus, but Lucius said No. There were times when Lucius just said no, and I could push him then. Then there were times when he said No, his tone forbidding and very cold. Very rarely did he outright forbid anything, because he wished to indulge me. That was the first time he ever outright forbid me something.

"No, Narcissa. We're not naming our firstborn son that."

I pouted at him—pouting had gotten me my way since I was three years old and first mastered the art. "But Lucius, it's a fine name for an heir. A little prince, isn't that what our son will be? Besides, it's not only Reggie's name. I have a Great Uncle Regulus too, I believe—"

"Narcissa, No."

"Well, why not?" I whined, and I cradled my baby close. This early in his life, I could fool myself that he even looked like Regulus a little—around the eyes, perhaps, and Draco's eyes were Black eyes, through and through. Reggie didn't even have gray eyes, though, he had brown. As he grew, though, I saw Draco took very little after that side of the Blacks, and his coloring was very similar to my own mothers—Rosier coloring, light and French, not like the dark, aristocratic features of the Black's.

Regulus was my favorite cousin. He wasn't like Sirius, who was always far too loud and boisterous and who often liked to play pranks and get my dresses dirty when I was a child, which made me always feel rather wary around him, like he was a ticking dung bomb. And he was, in a way, though I don't like to think of that now.

He wasn't like my cousins on my mothers side, either, Claudius and Cornelius Rosier twins, though I hardly ever spent time with them before Hogwarts, and even then it was little more than a nod in the hallways. Father always discouraged us associating with relatives without Black blood—not that Mama didn't have any Black blood, because I'm sure she had some, very far back, or Father wouldn't have been allowed to marry her. But it was buried very deep, and besides, Father despised the French, which was where the Rosier line originated from. I don't know why he married Mama, except that she was very beautiful and pure of blood and her father had left her with an extraordinary fortune. After she gave birth to us girls, all in a row, Father completely gave up on her completely and started to conduct a number of affairs, looking for at least a bastard he could call his boy. Not that we children were supposed to know—but loking back, you could piece it together.

So, I didn't really know Claudius and Cornelius, and Sirius was too unpredictable for me, so I settled on Regulus as my companion. At first he tried to shove me away, since he thought I was too bossy and too prissy and too much like myself, I suppose. But we grew closer, and by the time I married Lucius it was all he could do not to weep at the wedding.

But then, we were the youngest of the Black line, so we had always been shoved together from the start. There was talk, when I was very small, of marrying us off, like Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion. We were put together at every possible occasion—I came across a very darling picture of he and I when we were just old enough to start attending family dinners—just the dinners, mind, not the parties afterward. But it's quite a picture—it was before Mama had my hair cut practically, and she had tied it back only by two little braid, leaving the rest to flow down my back so I could sit on it. Reggie was the spit and image of my father, and Uncle Orion, except for his eyes, which were more like our cousins on the Rosier side. He always hated his eyes. He was in the stiffest, most formal robes and I was in a white dress, and he and I were posed like a couple. It's a very cute picture, and I've hidden it in the Lavender Sitting Room so Lucius doesn't burn it with Reggie's other things.

He had a home of his own, of course, but he did like to stay here, with me. Bella at that point was so sunk in to the Cause that she rarely left the Dark Manor, where they trained new recruits and tested potions and practiced spells. His mother and father were always at him about how he was the proper heir, the proper son, and it was driving him mad, he missed Sirius so much. Sirius was, of course, out of the question as a companion. So he would come and sometimes spend the weekend, talking softly to Lucius about politics and walking me around the gardens and, toward the end, bring various trinkets and gifts for the baby I was expecting. That was the thing about Regulus—he tried so hard to be the perfect Black heir, made of ice and stone and untouchable, but in some ways he was still just a little boy. It's like in the picture of us—we pretended to be grown up when we really had such a far way to go. For women, at least, they could always be that odd sort of mix, of child and adult. Bella never stood for it, but it suits me just fine, this state between no power and all the power you could dream of. For the men, there was no inbetween, and no matter how hard Reggie tried he never really got that down.

That's why he joined, really. Oh, not that he didn't believe in the Cause—of course he did. We were Blacks. But lots of people supported the cause without being Death Eaters. Aunt Walburga and Uncle Orion certainly did, and my father—at that point Mama was living in the Rosier estate in France. Bella was never one to support something words only, so off she went. But I do think, that if Sirius hadn't turned out the way he did, Reggie would have gone the same way I did, and his parents—quiet support, monetary support, but he wouldn't—

He was a very good dueller, in school, but in all the wrong ways to be a Death Eater. He had an almost antiquated style, helped along by the duelling lessons my uncle gave him, and he used a heavy handed style that relied on the other side using specific rules—rules he deliberately did not follow. He won a tournament or two, but that just isn't the sort of fighting you do in a war, because there aren't any rules, so there's no element of surprise when you break them. Sirius was much better equipped, in his style. He was a monkey, really, jumping and twisting and shooting spells over his shoulders as he dive rolled and sprinted and darted.

Lucius always thought Reggie was weak. Just because he didn't like killing. But who likes killing, other than Lucius and Bella? I mean, they're the most important people in my life now, the only ones left to rely on, so I understand why they kill and how they bring themselves to it and why it doesn't hurt them. But to me, both Bella and Lucius have always seemed so terribly grown up, while Reggie was always my youngest cousin, who used to keep his back pocket filled with bread crumbs to feed any stray owls, who had a gap in his teeth from the time he and Sirius slid down the bannister in our front hall and he slammed his mouth into the cherubim at the bottom and Sirius charmed them back crooked. He was just such a baby, to me.

I looked at my baby and I pouted at my husband again. "Lucius? Why not? Reggie was always—"

"He turned traitor, Narcissa! I will not have my son named after some sort of blood traitor and failure to the Cause! I will not have him tainted that way!" Lucius rarely lost his temper, and now it wasn't really lost, just put aside for a moment. His cheeks tinged the slightest pink—Lucius had some Rosier blood too, and some Rosier looks—and his eyes flashed dangerously. He reached out for the baby, ("We'll name him Draco. For Drakeo, my great grandfather.") and I let him take him.

People call Reggie a blood traitor now, but I know the truth. Reggie was just too little. He was too little and too sensitive and too scared. The night before he died, he came to the manor. Lucius was out, and I was starting to show rather blatantly with Draco. He came and he put his hand out toward my stomach, very hesitantly.

I laughed at him. "It won't bite you, silly," I said, and I took his hand and I placed it on my stomach. "It's your godson in there."

He smiled a little at that, but then his lower lip started to tremble like it always did when he was younger, and I laughed again and pulled him in to a hug.

"Oh, Reggie. Come here. What's wrong?"

He just cried. For hours. Never any words, really, just little choked sobs. I knew then, that it was getting to him. The next day I was going to ask Lucius to have Reggie transferred—to an intelligence unit, or something. He'd be much better at that then at fighting.

The only thing he said the whole night was as the stars started to fade away. "She was pregnant, too." His eyes caught mine and his hand desperately grabbed at me. "What if they kill you too? And the baby? Don't let them kill the baby, Narcissa, no matter what."

Paranoia, I thought, and I soothed him and stroked his hair and promised not to let them kill the baby.

I left as it became lighter and Reggie dozed off to catch some sleep of my own. When I came back, with a late breakfast on a tray, Reggie was gone. On the pillow he left me a note, which I have taped to the back of my baby's first picture.

It read:

To my dearest Narcissa,

You have always thought the best of me. I am so sorry.

I leave it all, what little I will have, to my godson. Do not tell him what a miserable coward his godfather was. Do not tell him of me at all.

I remain, in death and all things,

Your loving cousin,

Regulus Arcturus Black

Heir Apparent, The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black

I have never showed anyone the note. Someday, perhaps, I will show my Draco and tell him what Regulus had asked me not to. But perhaps not.

Lucius and the rest of the world thinks that Regulus tried to defect. And maybe he did. But that does not change who he is, and will always be, in death and all things.

My cousin. My friend. The godson to my child. And a little boy who had not yet reached twenty, who had tried and tried and could try no longer.

I am no longer permitted to speak his name. No one does, really. The baby was named Draco, and for years I have pretended to be no one but Narcissa Malfoy, who follows her husbands every wish and dotes on her child and thinks of nothing behind her, or anything ahead.

But deep down, as all members of my family are, I am a Black. And so is Draco.

So one day, maybe I will sit him down and tell him of his godfather. Not of the disappointment he became, but of the boy who held my hand when Andy ran off with that awful Muggle, who talked to me like he would to no one else. I will not tell him of politics or propaganda, I will tell him about my cousin Reggie, who is dead, but who meant so much.

I will tell him how much I miss him and hope that, where ever Reggie is, he hears me. And he understands.