A/N: I wrote this quite a while ago, but decided I might as well finish and post it, so it's a bit disjointed and probably not my best work. More of a character piece, a little possibility, than anything serious or plot-driven.
Dean Thomas was a young boy with dark skin. His father's skin and mother's skin were both much darker than his own. Even his baby little sister, who his parents said would get still darker by the time she was his age, was a darker color. His hands were even pink instead of the light tan of his parents', pink like the hands of his even lighter-skinned neighbors. He didn't belong here, with these dark people, but he didn't belong next door, either, with the light people.
He was something in between, and he hated it. His eyes were grey but his hair was nappy, his nose was thin but his mouth was broad.
When Dean Thomas was eleven years and some months old, there was an owl waiting on the breakfast table. His mother shrieked. His father tried to shoo it away, but his mother shrieked at his father for it.
"No, you have to take the letter. Dean, take it," she insisted. He stepped forward and removed the letter from the table. "I had hoped…" She sighed. "Give it to me. Leroy, could you make breakfast today?"
"Pancakes for my babies?" Leroy smiled, a broad grin that didn't quite meet his eyes. Alicia, Malcolm, Penelope, and Simon swarmed him in a massive group hug. The three youngest hadn't even seen the drama. Alicia looked at Dean over her father's shoulder.
Dean wasn't a baby. Leroy had never called him one of "his" anything. His mother finished the letter and pulled him into a hug. Bewildered, he stared at her.
"Dean, honey, come in the den with me."
"What is it, Mom?"
"When I was a…a student at Oxford, I met a charming young man who worked in a local café. He was handsome, very handsome. Lovely dark brown hair, grey eyes, a sort of absentminded air about him. We dated. He said he loved me, so he would tell me something, but he didn't mean it to hurt me.
"He was a wizard. A real, magic-making, wand-wielding wizard. Not parlor trick illusions, but honest-to-God magic. He'd say honest-to-Merlin. I didn't believe him at first, but once he showed me, I remembered all the little oddness that I'd noticed subconsciously before. How he said M-something instead of God. How he just didn't know anything about normal sports. How he couldn't help me with chemistry or math or anything. How he had trouble remembering how to use the money. He was a very sweet man, but he didn't seem real.
"We were very…close. He was so romantic. But even though I loved him, even after he told me his secret, he had to leave. It wasn't because he didn't love me anymore. His people were in the middle of a civil war. He wanted to fight, wanted to help save lives. And his family…didn't approve of people like me, people without magic. He wouldn't explain it all, but I understood enough. They'll call you a half-blood, Dean, if they find out. I'm not sure if you're not better off being considered a Muggle-born, meaning someone with no magical parents at all. But that's your decision."
Dean stared at the letter with its heavy envelope and red wax seal and cornucopia of newly unearthed secrets. "What was his name?" Dean asked the letter, but it was his mother who answered.
Dean had been attending the strange magic school for two years, going on three, when he met Professor Remus J. Lupin. One day he surreptitiously took Dean aside.
"I never expected teaching would be so nostalgic…but I've managed to get the point where an alarming number of students are the children of old friends and classmates," Professor Lupin smiled gently.
"Oh? Like who?" Dean asked, only a little interested.
"Harry, for one…James Potter was one of my best friends at Hogwarts. Lily Evans – Harry's mum – absolutely despised James up until seventh year. We were prefects together. Lily and James would have grand fights. Around third year James started getting interested in her as more than a pranking subject, and it was no end of amusement for the rest of us, watching him ask her out to get violently turned down every time," Lupin chuckled. "Draco Malfoy is another, I suppose. Lucius was several years older than me, but he definitely made an impression, snobby git pureblood Slytherin that he was."
"Like Draco, then," Dean snorted.
"Quite. Neville…poor Neville. Poor Frank and Alice," Lupin shook his head. "They were very gentle souls. Alice was the kindest Hufflepuff in the world, and Frank one of the bravest Gryffindors I ever met. They were both a few years older, also. Frank was Head Boy as a seventh year. Not much of a Quidditch player – both of them were pretty useless on brooms – but a very nice guy. Hm, who else…Riley O'Connor, she was a spitfire…it surprised everyone when she married that milkman – sorry, Riley is Seamus Finnegan's mum. Then the Hufflepuff…Susan Bones' aunt, Amelia Bones, was a few years older also, a Ravenclaw, prefect at one point. And of course Severus Snape was in my year as well," he muttered.
"Oh yeah? What was Snape like in school?"
"Professor Snape, Mr. Thomas," Lupin smirked. "He was a git, really. Same greasy hair, same sour demeanor…he was teased rather unmercifully. Bullied, really. I'm not surprised much by his bitterness, even if I am sad about my own part in it. He was hardly defenseless, though. He knew some pretty dark curses, even as a first year. Almost as bad as the Black brothers." His expression darkened.
"The Black…brothers? I've only heard of Sirius Black."
"Yes, Sirius….Sirius was in my year. A Gryffindor. That was a surprise to his family. Most members of the 'Noble and Ancient House of Black' had been Slytherins, back for generations. Narcissa Black-Malfoy, Draco's mum. Bellatrix Black-Lestrange, she was a Death Eater and married one, but she, her husband, and her brother-in-law are all in Azkaban now. Narcissa and Bellatrix were sisters, awful girls, and Sirius' cousins. He hated them as much as any of us did, back then. I don't really know what happened to change him. Or maybe it was an act, the whole time. That would have been…very Slytherin of him.
"But yes, Sirius had a younger brother. Regulus. A little less than a year younger, but very much a sneaky Slytherin. Perhaps shy, mainly. He was quite meek as Slytherins went. He stayed reasonably close to Sirius, despite their different houses, even when Sirius ran away from home. And then, after Hogwarts, he disappeared. I didn't hear another thing about him until news went around that he'd been killed by a Death Eater, for attempting to betray 'Lord Voldemort.' It seemed Regulus had become a Death Eater at some point in the meantime. I don't think I'd ever seen Sirius so angry, though now I'm not entirely sure if he was angry his brother was killed, that he became a Death Eater, or that he betrayed their shared master."
"Regulus Black, hm?" Dean asked quietly.
"I've never understood how a pureblood supremacist can sneer at Muggles and Muggle-borns and Muggle-lovers all day long and then go fall for a Muggle woman. For most of his short life, Regulus was a decent man. You look a great deal like him, especially your eyes. Those eyes belong to Regulus or Sirius, and Sirius was accounted for when you would have been conceived. Regulus, on the other hand, avoided the Wizarding World between graduation and the peak of the war."
Dean shrugged. "My mum said he called himself Reggie and she'd long forgotten his real name. It doesn't surprise me he was a pureblood, or even a Slytherin – she told me enough about his family. Mum married a childhood friend, and he's been…decent, I suppose."
"If you'd like, you can see about petitioning Gringotts for your inheritance. They'll do a blood test, I'm sure, but Regulus had a sizable amount of gold."
Dean stared at the floor. "Maybe later. Not sure I want to deal with being related to Sirirus Black." He laughed. "Or Draco Malfoy, for that matter."
"Don't wait too long," Lupin said, smiling now. "After you turn seventeen it becomes a great deal more difficult to access an inheritance like that."
Dean nodded and left. He didn't even tell Seamus. The whole world got turned upside down in a second war and the time never seemed right, and he didn't really need the money. It was years before he wanted to know his father, years after Sirius Black had been posthumously pardoned and Regulus Black's name was cleared, at least partially, as having struggled against Voldemort in his final moments.
Because his own children deserved to know their grandfather wasn't a distant Muggle named Leroy. He kissed James and Penelope's cheeks and went to see a goblin about a blood test.