This was written for an au challenge in a roleplay on tumblr some time ago. I just came across it on my laptop and decided to upload it here. -shrug- I hope you like it and, please please please, review!

He wakes up to muffled morning voices and the smell of cigarettes.

Of course, with all the stereotype-fitting people in his house that ignore any possible vices to stay focused on their studies, the ones who go to bed at a decent hour and don't wake him before he ought to be waken, he landed with the exceptions. Knowing his roommates, they didn't even touch their beds last night. He would have joined them, too, if it weren't for the letter. The ominous looking parchment that arrived the previous day attached to the foot of a very familiar owl — his mother's one.

Only three days into the school year and already he receives a letter from home; no matter what he tries to tell himself, he knows it can't be good, especially considering the way he parted with his parents.

Six years ago, he supposes, raising his voice at Walburga Black as much as one decibel would have been a scandalous matter, even in the form of a mere thought. Now it seems to be a perfectly normal occurence. Perhaps Regulus is still quieter, calmer, than Sirius ever was; it has nothing to do, however, with the amount of frustration and pure sheer hate either feels for the beliefs their "mother" always pushed down their throat — it is only a difference in their personalities, nothing more. Nonetheless, if opinions he had, or tried to have, six years ago still existed in his mind, his left forearm would have already been branded with a black skull by now.

With a sigh, he slowly sits up in his bed, admiring how easily he can stress himself out within seconds of opening his eyes.

His sigh, however, as quiet as he thinks it has been, seems to catch someone's attention. Less than a second after, the drapes covering his bed fly open and the bright, far too bright, room attacks his eyes. Automatically, Regulus burries his head in his pillow, shouting out incoherent words, guessed to be most violent curses by the other four boys in the room.

Instead of Regulus' wanted reaction, he gets laughter and he wants nothing but to punch someone; the brown-haired teenager, Mark O'Keffee grinning at him from beside his bed, he decides as he slowly turns around to face his roommates. As silence sets in the room, he mutters a sleepy "fuck you" and shuffles his feet, untangling them from the sheets so he can get up.

Suddenly shifting his focus from him (Regulus swears that the boy has the attention spam of a golden fish, if even that), Mark's expression changes to a slight frown and he spins around, shuffling trough his own things, most likely looking for a piece of parchament and a quill, blindly hoping that he will manage to do the homework he only remembered by the time class starts — no matter how many times those expectations failed him before.

The other boys in the room continue to chat among themselves and Regulus shakes his head — what a pleasant way to start a morning — and finally gets up, standing on his toes to stretch, yawning at the same time.

The rest of the morning, thankfully, goes on uneventfully: when he gets down to the Great Hall, he only receives a few glares from the Slytherin table (even after six years, they can't let go of the fact that his school tie isn't green); he gets ready on time, as always, and leaves the Ravenclaw common room even a couple of minutes earlier that he has to; and when a scared first year asks him for the directions to the DADA classroom, he sends the little boy to the Astronomy Tower, but not before he comforts him with the fact that the new professor won't even blink if he gets to class half an hour late (because, hey, he isn't all bad).

And then, then all of his classes are over and he is all alone, sitting on the top of the old Astronomy Tower with an unopened letter in his hands, staring at the Black family crest engraved on the seal. To be or not to be?, he remembers the line from one of those muggle books he has read. His fingers itch to tear the seal, to make the words toujours pur disappear, but there is somethings stopping him — and he knows it to be fear. There is a reason he isn't a Gryffindor, after all.

Thirty six minutes and seventeen second later, the parchment lies open in front of him.

Regulus, (he can't remember the last time his mother started a letter to him with the word 'dear')

Regulus Black. Your last name is what sets you out in a crowd, it is what ought to to make you prideful, something to hold above everyone else's heads to remind them that you are better.

Are you? The person that you called your brother for years is not, and I trust you to know why. Or should I say that I used to trust you to know why? I hear things that I do not want to hear about your activities in the castle and I feel as if history is repeating itself. Was being sorted into Ravenclaw not enough for you, do you have to keep the company of mudbloods, of filthy blood-traitors, as well?

Trust me, boy, if you are so eager to follow Sirius' footsteps — you will. One more person telling me of your disgraceful behaviour and there will be an another burn mark on our family tapestry. Do not make me do this, Regulus.

-Walburga Black

He hears the howling wind carrying the castle's laughter to his ears, he feels the coldness burning his face, and he thinks nothing.

The words of the letter cut into his mind, settling in and not showing any indication of leaving; he wants to be relieved, he wants to be worried, he wants to be scared — and yet he is…he is nothing.

He is still there when the sun starts to set, with his knees pulled up to his chin and his eyes closed.

Hours pass, the wind quiets down, lights in the castle burn out, and Regulus, Regulus smiles. Because he is nothing. Soon enough, he will be nothing. He will not be a Black, he will not be a disappointment to his parents (for he will have none), he will not be anything that he was so far.

A new start. He will get a new start. And the smile turns into laughter that the wind carries away into the night.