Author's Notes: Written for Cadid423's Brotherly Instinct Competition on the HPFC forum.

Write a oneshot featuring an older brother standing up for/protecting his younger siblings.

Also for the "Family" slice of thefirstservant's Chinese Moon Festival Competiton on the HPFC forum.

Write any story about family or a family reunion… As long as there are family members together in your story, I'll accept them.

Warning: homophobic (but period appropriate) attitudes and behaviours.

)O(

If Rodolphus had only gotten in a few minutes earlier, he would have been able to avoid all the fighting.

He and his parents had been out shopping on Diagon Alley and had left Rabastan at home, thinking that he would be fine. He had always been fine on his own before, after all – he was always so nice and quiet, never the sort to get into trouble.

Or rather, he had never been one to get into trouble before.

Rodolphus came in with his parents and headed immediately for the parlour, Rabastan's schoolbooks tucked under his arm, but he stopped dead when he opened the door.

Rabastan was lying on the sofa with his back to the door. His hips were undulating slowly, his shirt was tugged up beneath his arms, and there was a very distinctly masculine leg draped over his hips.

"Oh my God–"

Rabastan twisted immediately, sitting up, and Rodolphus stared at him. He was flushed and sweaty, his hair quite dishevelled, and most shockingly of all, sprawled across the couch with his shirt half off was Regulus Black, wearing an expression of profound guilt.

"Oh my God–" Rodolphus repeated, but the words had barely left his mouth before Maria fluttered into the room and let out a shriek.

"What are you doing?" she cried, then shook her head quickly, burying her face in her hands. "I- my son–"

"Mrs. Lestrange–" Regulus began, his voice small and tremulous, but Maria raised her head and she looked absolutely furious.

"Out," she ordered, pointing at the door. "Out. Now."

Regulus glanced guiltily at Rabastan, then stood up and hurried past Maria, quickly doing up the buttons of his shirt and leaving Rabastan to face his mother alone. Rodolphus wanted to say something – though whether it was to tell Regulus to never go near his brother again or to demand what Rabastan had been thinking, he wasn't sure.

"Mother, we didn't–" Rabastan began, but she held up her hand and he fell silent, shrinking away from her with a fearful expression.

"You are my son, Rabastan," Maria hissed through gritted teeth. "You are a Lestrange, and I expect you to behave accordingly – and yet, we step out for a few moments and I come back to find you practically making love to a boy–"

"We weren't making love!" Rabastan protested.

"Mother, don't–" Rodolphus began, but Maria silenced him with a glare.

"Don't interrupt me. This doesn't concern you," she said, her voice harsh. "This concerns your brother's shameful behaviour–"

"Shameful?" echoed Rabastan. There were tears in his eyes and Rodolphus resisted the urge to rush to his side and cling to him and tell him that everything was going to be all right.

"Yes, shameful!"

"Be quiet, Mother," Rodolphus interrupted quietly.

Maria ignored him. Her face was flushed and her breast heaving. "You're bringing shame upon us, Rabastan! How can you behave this way, how can you do this to your family?"

"I'm not doing anything to the family!"

"Oh, yes, you are! How are we going to find a suitable wife for you if people know that you- that you're- that you have such- impure desires–"

"Stop it, Mother!" Rodolphus snapped. He couldn't stand it, couldn't stand seeing his brother crumbling under Maria's sharp words. Rabastan looked as though he was about to cry.

"Don't you dare try to tell me to stop, Rodolphus! I've said that this does not concern you!"

"It concerns me if you're tormenting him!" Rodolphus pushed past her and sat on the sofa beside his brother, pulling him into a tight, protective embrace. "Just leave him alone, he's just confused…"

"I'm not confused!" Rabastan snapped, but Rodolphus gave him a sharp glare and he fell silent, his lip quivering.

"I'm getting your father!" Maria snapped. She turned on her heel and strode out, and Rabastan buried his face in Rodolphus's shoulder and let out a sob.

"What were you thinking, Rab?" Rodolphus asked quietly. He wanted to shake his brother but he couldn't bring himself to do anything to hurt him, so settled for squeezing his arm a little too hard for comfort. "You should have realized that someone was going to come home and catch you…"

"I lost track of time," Rabastan whispered. "Rod, I- I don't- I'm really not confused, I'm just… I was confused for a long time…"

"And now you're not confused anymore – you're completely sure that you fancy boys. Is that right?" Rodolphus kept his voice low and spoke swiftly, wanting to get everything out before their parents returned.

Rabastan nodded. "That's right – I know Mother and Father are furious- maybe they're right to be… I mean, I can't get married now, not if anyone finds out…" His voice cracked and a tear ran down his cheek.

"No one needs to find out," Rodolphus said. He glanced back over his shoulder towards the door. "Mother and Father won't exactly be eager to tell anyone – if you can just get Regulus to keep his mouth shut…"

"He will," said Rabastan immediately. "He wouldn't want to ruin his own marriage prospects…"

"Then no one's ever going to need to find out." Rodolphus squeezed his arm again, gently this time. "You can keep secrets like this, you know…"

"What would you know about it?" asked Rabastan quietly. His voice was thick and tearful and he lowered his head. "You're not like this. You can't- can't understand what it'll be like…"

"Really?" Rodolphus asked dryly, arching one eyebrow, and Rabastan looked back up, startled.

"You… do you fancy… I mean… are you…?" He stammered and searched for words and Rodolphus's lips twitched into a small, slightly sardonic smile.

"Yes," he said, inclining his head in a nod. "I am. And no one knows about me, so don't you worry about everyone finding out about you either. And if they do…" He narrowed his eyes dangerously. "I can take care of them for you."

)O(

Fin