Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling does not equal me.
Author's note: More Regulus! The inspiration just keeps coming. This actually wasn't even one of the ones I mentioned in the author's note for 'Broken Words,' although those are still coming. This oneshot was just me being distracted. Also, I really love writing young Regulus and Sirius. They're so cute.
"Oh! You got it!" Seven-year-old Regulus squealed with delight.
The Black brothers hunched over the toad clenched in Sirius' hands. They had recently found a book of muggle fairy tales and enjoyed it immensely. As a result, they now believed that all frogs were secretly princesses. They ignored the fact that in the story it was a frog prince the same way they ignored everything else that contradicted their ideas of how the world worked.
"Do you think it's really a princess?" Regulus asked.
"It has to be," Sirius reasoned. "Otherwise it wouldn't have let us catch it."
Regulus nodded in agreement. He didn't quite follow his older brother's logic, but Sirius sounded very sure. Besides, in Regulus' opinion, Sirius knew everything.
Sirius was studying the toad in his hands carefully.
"I dub thee Princess Silverymoon Fairywing Glimmer McSparkles!" he declared.
"Kiss her, Siri!" he said.
Sirius looked up at him.
"Me!" he stuttered. "You're gonna kiss her, Reg!"
"Why me?" he asked.
"Have you ever kissed a girl?" Sirius asked.
"Well, no," Regulus admitted. "Have you?"
Sirius nodded enthusiastically.
"I kissed Mimi Lovegood at the Christmas party last year," he announced proudly.
Now that he thought about it, Regulus could vaguely remember the incident. If he recalled correctly, Mimi had actually been the one who did the kissing, and it had been on the cheek. Still, it counted.
"But that means you know how to do it," Regulus pointed out. "You should kiss her."
"No, you should do it," Sirius insisted. "I can't hog all the fun."
"You're not afraid to do it, are you?" Sirius asked with an evil grin.
"Of course not!" Regulus insisted.
"Then kiss her," Sirius demanded.
"Fine! I will!" Regulus declared.
He hesitantly took the toad from his brother and pressed his lips to its slimy skin.
The brothers looked at each other.
"It didn't work," Regulus remarked.
"Maybe I should try?" Sirius wondered hesitantly.
Regulus held the toad out towards his brother.
Sirius reached out his hands to accept, but as the transfer took place, Princess Silverymoon Fairywing Glimmer McSparkles escaped the boys' hands and hopped away to freedom.
"After her!" Sirius called.
The two boys ran after the escaped toad, but it had already gotten out of their reach. After an hour, they conceded that it was truly gone and went to search for another frog.
Their father's voice summoned them back to the house. The boys looked at each other nervously. Had he somehow found out about that book? But they didn't dare disobey the call. As they returned to the house Sirius straightened his back and tried to look confident. Regulus kept close to his brother and hunched his shoulders, trying to escape notice. They succeeded only in looking incredibly guilty.
"Regulus, don't slouch," was their father's only comment. "Please come inside, boys."
Relieved that they seemed safe for the moment, Regulus and Sirius allowed themselves to relax slightly. They followed their father indoors, to where a tall, serious-looking man and a girl, several years older than Sirius and dressed in a completely unflattering shade of pink, were waiting.
"Regulus, Sirius, this is Mr. Umbridge and his daughter, Dolores," their father told them. "Mr. Umbridge and I are going to be discussing some business. I'd like you boys to entertain Dolores for a few hours."
"Yes, Father," the brothers chorused.
Secretly, both boys were already plotting millions of evil pranks to play on the girl. A shared glance cemented the deal. Dolores Umbridge would not leave the house unchanged.
After the parents had left the room, Dolores flounced over to the frilliest chair in the room, the one no one ever sat in, and perched on the edge. When she wasn't looking, Sirius made a gagging face. Regulus giggled.
"What are you two up to?" she asked. "Don't giggle, Sirius. It's rude and it makes you sound like a girl."
"It was Regulus!" Sirius protested.
Regulus was glaring daggers at her. He did not sound like a girl.
"I don't care," she replied.
She retrieved a thick book, entitled 'The Rise of the Ministry of Magic,' from her bag and began reading.
"Go get me some tea," she ordered. "Earl Grey, a teaspoon of cream and three tablespoons of sugar."
The boys obediently left the room. However, tea was the last thing on their minds.
"I hate her," Regulus declared.
"We have to do something," he decided.
"We could put something in her tea," Regulus suggested.
Sirius shook his head.
"No, we need something better," he said. "I've got it! We'll put something in her tea!"
Regulus rolled his eyes, but agreed eagerly.
"I bet we can find something in Dad's potions cabinet!" Sirius decided excitedly.
Regulus followed, grinning, as his brother ran towards their father's room. Father was busy with Mr. Umbridge, and Mother was out having tea with Aunt Lucretia, so they were safe from discovery.
The boys snuck into the room and opened the chest by the foot of the bed. They were confronted with row after row of carefully labeled bottles. Sirius pulled out a few bottles and Regulus did the same. He looked at the label of one.
"Veri-, Verita-," he attempted to read the label. "Sirius, what does that say?"
Sirius took the bottle and inspected the label, before casually tossing it back in the chest.
"It says it's a very boring potion that doesn't do anything interesting," Sirius decided.
"You're just making that up cause you can't read it either," Regulus accused.
"Of course not!" Sirius insisted. "That's what it said!"
Regulus didn't believe him, but he decided not to argue the point any further. Sirius was probably right about it being boring.
"Ooh! Let's use this one!" Sirius said.
Regulus looked at the bottle in his brother's hand.
"Polyjuice," he read. "What does it do?"
"I think it makes you look like other people," Sirius recalled.
Regulus' eyes widened.
"You can do that?"
Sirius nodded eagerly.
"Who should we make her look like?" he asked.
Regulus considered this for a second. It had to be someone really ugly. Suddenly, a brilliant idea struck him.
"We could make her look like a frog!" he announced. "Then someone will kiss her and get her instead of a princess."
Sirius' face lit up.
"That's brilliant!" he declared.
The brothers brought the potion to the kitchen, leaving the rest of potions strewn haphazardly around their father's room.
Regulus' job was to boil some water for tea as Sirius went out to catch another frog. Regulus found a large pot easily enough, and filled it with water. Of course, he hadn't considered the fact that the pot was now twice as heavy as it had been and quite impossible for him to lift.
"Kreacher!" he called.
The house elf appeared instantaneously.
"What can I do for you, Master Regulus?" he asked.
"Can you put this on the stove and start boiling it?" Regulus requested.
"Yes, Master Regulus," Kreacher agreed happily.
The tiny house elf picked up the huge cauldron and carried it over to the stove as if it weighed nothing.
Regulus, meanwhile, began rooting through the cabinets for some tea. It was then that he made an amazing discovery.
"Kreacher! Go get Sirius!" Regulus yelled as he attempted to get down from the countertop.
Moments later, the house elf reappeared with Sirius.
"I was just about to catch one!" the latter was complaining. "Couldn't you have waited three seconds?"
"Look what I found!" Regulus exclaimed.
He held up the jar of dried frogs' legs.
Sirius' eyes widened.
"Bloody hell!" he gasped.
It was a phrase he'd heard a muggle say once and he was very fond of it.
"You're not supposed to say that," Regulus reminded him. "Mother will get mad."
"Well Mother's not here," Sirius pointed out. "Anyway, you should try disobeying her every once in a while. A little rebellion is good for you."
"Disobey Mother?" Regulus repeated.
He couldn't do that! Mother was, well, Mother. Regulus worshipped and feared her in equal measures.
"Come on," Sirius encouraged him. "Just say 'bloody hell' once. It won't kill you."
Regulus swallowed nervously and fiddled with the locket around his neck.
"Bloody hell," he said finally, in a voice that was little more than a whisper.
Sirius cheered and Regulus grinned. Why did he feel so triumphant?
"Bloody hell," he repeated.
And again, louder this time.
"Shh!" Sirius warned him. "She might hear you."
Regulus understood immediately. It would be rather awkward if Dolores decided she needed to check on them.
"Master Sirius is being a bad influence on Master Regulus," Kreacher observed from where he was pouring the boiling water into a teapot.
"Please don't tell anyone, Kreacher," Regulus said. "I don't want Sirius to get in trouble."
"Yes, Master Regulus," Kreacher agreed halfheartedly.
"Bring over that teapot and a teacup," Sirius ordered.
"Yes, Master Sirius," Kreacher obeyed reluctantly.
Sirius snatched the tea items and filled the cup half full with tea.
"How much potion do you think we need?" he asked.
"I suppose we'd better just throw the whole thing in," Sirius decided, dumping the entire contents of the vial into the cup.
The liquid turned a strange shade of orange.
Regulus, following his example, upended the entire bottle of frog's legs into the the cup.
The liquid hissed and turned a nasty, greenish color.
"Some cream and sugar should cover it up," Sirius remarked.
Regulus poured a generous helping of cream into the cup while Sirius piled in the sugar. It didn't look exactly like tea, but it would pass. Regulus carefully carried the cup into the sitting room and handed it to Dolores. She didn't even look at it as she raised it to her lips and took a sip.
For a few seconds, nothing happened. Regulus and Sirius waited with bated breath for… something. Suddenly, Dolores dropped her book and screamed. Her skin began to turn green with brown splotches and wart-covered, her eyes grew bigger and her mouth, wider. Leaves sprouted from her head. Her limbs thickened and changed until there was a half-human, half-amphibian-cow-plant-thing seated on the chair. She croaked mournfully.
"Bloody hell," the Black brothers whispered in awe.
"What is going on here?" an aristocratic voice asked.
The boys whirled around to see their father and Mr. Umbridge standing in the door.
"She wanted some tea, so we asked Kreacher to get it," Sirius lied. "That house elf must have put something in it."
"Kreacher!" their father called.
The house elf appeared immediately.
"Did you put something in Miss Dolores' tea?"
Kreacher looked at Regulus and back at his master.
"Yes, Master," he said.
Regulus' father frowned.
"Do not lie," he ordered.
"I am not, Master," Kreacher said.
Regulus could see him digging his nails into his hand behind his back, as a punishment for disobeying his master.
"No!" Regulus shouted.
"I did it," he admitted. "I found some potion called Polyjuice and I put it in her tea. I thought it would be funny."
"It was my idea," Sirius insisted. "I made him help me."
Regulus looked at his big brother and smiled slightly. Sirius might not like getting caught for a prank, but he would never let Regulus take the full blame for anything. It was against his principles, he claimed. Regulus wasn't sure what 'principles' were, but he thought Sirius had good ones.
"Daddy!" Dolores croaked desperately.
"I think our deal no longer stands," Mr. Umbridge announced coldly.
"I do apologize for my offspring," Orion Black said. "They're young and they don't know better. I don't think we should cut off the deal just for a bit of childish fooling around."
"Sirius is nearly ten," Mr. Umbridge reminded him. "He, at least, should know better. I find it repulsive that you haven't taught them to behave by now."
"Sirius is a troublesome one," Orion remarked. "His mind is a bit…unstable. He's quite impossible to teach. And little Regulus just doesn't understand."
Regulus glared at his father. He didn't understand exactly what was going on, but he could tell that Father was insulting both him and Sirius. Sirius was just barely keeping his anger in check.
"Don't make excuses!" Mr. Umbridge said. "I need to get my daughter to St. Mungo's. You'd better hope she recovers."
Mr. Umbridge stepped forward and took his sobbing daughter in his arms. Within seconds, he was gone.
Orion Black turned his full attention to his children. Regulus cowered under his fierce glare, but Sirius stared back evenly, daring his father to punish him. Orion lashed out and slapped Sirius. Sirius kept his back straight and his face defiant. Only Regulus could see how much the blow hurt his brother.
"Father! Don't!" he begged.
His father now turned his attention to Regulus. He lashed out a second time, and this time it was Regulus who felt the blow. The pain assaulted him, but he was determined to be brave, like Sirius. He wouldn't cry. Caught up in his own pain, he almost didn't see Sirius, furious at his brother's mistreatment, shooting a burst of pure energy from his palms. Their father might have been sent flying if he hadn't put up a shield in time.
"That's enough foolishness," he warned. "Both of you are grounded until further notice."
He grabbed both of them by the wrist and dragged them upstairs. Sirius was deposited roughly in his room and the door was locked firmly behind him. Regulus received similar treatment.
For a few seconds, Regulus sat dejectedly on the floor, seconds away from crying. Then, he stiffened his resolve and stood up. He peered closely at his reflection in the mirror above his dresser. After a few seconds, his reflection was replaced by another face.
"Siri!" he whispered excitedly.
"Are you okay, Reg?" Sirius asked, looking worried.
Regulus nodded. His cheek still stung, but he didn't want to worry Sirius. It would surely be better soon.
"How long do you think we'll be stuck this time?" Sirius asked casually.
"A really long time," Regulus guessed. "I hope he lets us out before it's time for us to go to Hogwarts."
"If he doesn't, we'll break out," Sirius decided.
"Definitely," Regulus agreed.
Silence prevailed for a few moments.
"Can you read me the story?" Regulus asked quietly.
Sirius nodded. He disappeared for several seconds, then reappeared with a thick, red book. The words "Grimm's Fairy Tales" were embossed on the front and side in gold lettering. He opened the book to a page near the middle and began to read.
"Once upon a time…"
Author's Note02: Just in case anyone cares, Princess Silverymoon Fairywing Glimmer McSparkles went on to create a very large family and eventually became the grandfather(Sirius couldn't tell a boy toad from a girl toad) of a certain toad known as Trevor. And, yes, I took that name from one of the lists of 'Things I'm not allowed to do at Hogwarts.'
Thanks for reading
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