Pink Green Blue

Two Men to Make One Brother by jamesly

Rating: PG. Created: June 20th, 2007. Updated: June 20th, 2007. Read Reviews (13)
Disclaimer: Characters, the magical world, etc, is property of J. K. Rowling and Warner Bros, not the owner of this fic.

November 23rd, 1962

Regulus is born within an hour of Sirius, except that he comes three years, three months late. Unlike Sirius, he does not wail, cry, scream, shriek, yell, or howl - he doesn't make any sound, none at all, doesn't even let out a gurgle. He blinks up at his mother from the doula's hands, his eyes wide and dark as coffee beans.

Walburga Black stares at him, out from a veil of frizzy tendrils and a face flushed red with perspiration. The crinkle between her brow deepens for a moment before she smiles, a smile marred by her cracked lips, a smile that more often than not is hidden away and never shown.

She holds her hands out for Regulus and cradles him against her breast, curling his black hair between her fingers. Orion stands at her side, beaming proudly, gazing down at his youngest son. They both know they will love this son not because they must, but because they can - Sirius they must love, only for the fact that he carries the family name as heir to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. They don't love Sirius because they can.

Sirius is by the door, waiting and pouting. He had screamed bloody murder earlier, until Orion had smacked him upside the head and told him to be quiet, so that his mother could perform her birthing screams as a solo, not a duet shared with a three-year old brat.

The screaming has stopped slipping under the door, and Sirius presses his ear against the old wood. Footsteps pad his way and he throws himself back to the side, sitting still and silent, as though he has been patient and polite this entire time. The doula motions him in, whispering You have a baby brother, darling, and Sirius creeps in, hands balled in his sleeves.

In an uncharacteristically soft voice, Walburga whispers Sirius, Sirius, come see your brother, come see Regulus.

Sirius shuffles over to the side of the bed and peers into the blankets at the pink, wrinkled lump that is his little brother.

He's not very pretty, he says, finally. Sirius is not at all pleased to be sharing his mother and father, even if they aren't around much and are rotten when they are.

Instead of wailing, crying, screaming, shrieking, yelling, or howling, Walburga snatches Regulus away, folding down the blankets so Sirius can no longer even see a tuft of soft black hair.

Out, she says, I want him out. Now.

The doula looks nervous, rubbing her hands together. Right, Madam, she says briskly, saving Sirius from whatever was brewing, Out you are, son, your mother needs her rest. She gives Sirius a gentle nudge towards the door and clicks it shut quietly.
_

Later, Sirius is curled up in a window seat, tucked up under the eaves in the attic. Dust swarms up every time he shifts, sticking to the drying tearstains on his cheeks. A plush dog name Dog is crushed in his three-year old grip and he tries to sit so that his bottom isn't touching the cushion. He can still feel the heat from the switches, even though the attic is near freezing.

He can hear Mother yelling at Father, asking Why, why did you give me that child, why is that child the heir, why couldn't Regulus have been born first?

Sirius covers his ears and buries his face into Dog to keep warm.

November 23rd, 1966

Sirius pretends to hate Regulus, but he's terrible at it. It doesn't suit Sirius to hate - his eyes turn dark and lines draw up around his lips, where there shouldn't be any lines for at least twenty years.

He pretends to hate Regulus when Regulus asks if Sirius would like to play jacks or Exploding Snap or go looking for treasure in the basement. He pretends to hate Regulus when Regulus creaks open the door at midnight when the rain howls and the lightening snaps outside, and climbs into Sirius's bed because he's frightened. He pretends to hate Regulus when Regulus offers him a piece of crackling he's nicked from the kitchens especially for Sirius, since he knows it's Sirius's favorite.

He tries hard not to hate Regulus when Mother dotes on Regulus, because he, Sirius, he is supposed to be the heir, not Regulus. He, Sirius, he is the heir; he is the one to carry the name and the fortune and the status, not Regulus, with his runny nose, curling toes, and doughy cheeks.

Sirius pretends really hard not to hate him then.
_

Mother throws his plush dog, worn to the core, into the rubbish bin. Sirius wails and cries like Regulus has never seen, pleading, begging, please, Mother, please, don't through away Dog, please, Mother.

Sirius crumples to a heap on the staircase until Mother kicks his shin and tells him to head to his room - he won't be eating supper tonight. He may ask for a glass of warm milk before bed, if he so chooses, but nothing to eat until breakfast tomorrow.

Regulus watches Sirius climb the steps pitifully, sniffling and dragging his heels on the rich green carpet. Mother yells Hurry up or I'll have your father switch your backside! Sirius leaps up the rest of the stairs and disappears from sight, his door slam echoing throughout the halls.
_

Regulus steals Dog from the rubbish bin when Mother isn't looking. He already has a story in his head if she catches him - I just want to rub it in, Mother, show Sirius what I've got and what he's missing. He knows Mother will be pleased with his show of cruelty.

He doesn't pass Mother or Father on the stairs. Tiptoeing towards Sirius's door, he knocks softly. Sirius doesn't respond, so Regulus leans heavily on the handle and pushes the door open just far enough to allow him in.

Sirius glances up from his bed. Regulus holds up Dog, his lips pressed thin in a silent line. Sirius runs towards Regulus and pushes him over, whispering Thank you, thank you, Reggie, thank you, turning Dog over and over in his hands, as if he can't believe Dog is real.

He gives Regulus a tight hug, crushing Regulus's arms and mashing his face, laughing in little breaths. Regulus hugs him back, his skinny arms reaching all the way around Sirius, and he thinks I have the best brother in the whole world.

November 23rd, 1970

Sirius is at Hogwarts. Regulus sits alone by the fountain in the courtyard, tossing sickles into the glassy water. Mother and Father have each said Happy Birthday, and gave him fine gifts - a pocket watch of pure gold from Father, and a silver chess set from Mother.

He fishes for the pocket watch in his cloak pocket, clicking the clasp to open its face - two 'o' clock. He has been miserable since last Thursday, when the rain started and made everything damp in the gardens. Last Thursday was when Sirius's first letter came by owl post, with a letter bursting with praising adjectives and exclamation points stuffed inside the cream envelope. The letter is in his coat pocket now; he didn't show Mother or Father. Somehow, he knows things will be more manageable if they simply pretend he doesn't exist these few months.

Rain is starting to fall, the grey clouds squeezing out like sponges, grey clouds that remind Regulus of Sirius's eyes. He looks upwards, raindrops dripping into his eyes from the trees above, and he blinks. On the tree branch directly shading his face is a brown spotted owl - the same owl that delivered Sirius's first letter.

Regulus jumps up and the owl swoops down, flapping clumsily due to the large package tied to its talons. Regulus quickly unties the package, eliciting an indignant hoot from the owl. He strokes its head briefly before sending it off.

He tears open the brown paper and tears apart the box - inside is a bag of Honeyduke's finest chocolate, a copper telescope, and Dog.

I hope you like the chocolate, says the tag attached to the telescope, And I hope you like the telescope - my astronomy professor says it's the best one on the market, and I know you like looking at the stars.

Regulus peers through the lens of the telescope. He wishes he could see his favorite, black-haired, temperamental star.

I also sent you Dog - I know you're turning eight and all, but I think you should have him, since you're home alone and I've got loads of mates here. I will see you at Christmas.

- Sirius

The clouds rip apart and pour down sheets of water. Regulus holds Dog to his chest and lets the rain drown him as his lonely, happy birthday ebbs away.

November 23rd, 1973

At fourteen, Sirius is too good for Regulus - his hair falls gracefully in silky threads round his face, framing jaw bones that grow prominent with age and emphasize an aristocratic nose that juts out like a ship's rudder. Everyone knows his name, and not just on the account of being the white sheep of the Black family.

He kisses several girls on the cheek once they are on the platform; they all giggle and turn crimson and whisper behind their hands. Regulus wonders if he will be just as handsome when he turns fourteen.

Mother and Father deposited Sirius and gave their usual adorations to Regulus, making Sirius a little sour. Regulus has to push extra hard for Sirius's attention after their parents' spectacle and the platform entrance.

Sirius helps him with his trunk and gives him the instructions: A lunch cart will come around noon, loaded with sweets, and the lady will give you an extra licorice wand if you tell her you're my brother. Change into your robes around dusk and follow the other first years off the train.

But - says Regulus, Can't I sit with you? Sirius gives him a funny look, like he can't believe Regulus would even suggest such a thing.

Right, say Sirius, Like a fourth year would sit with a first year. Find some kids your own age, Reggie. He laughs and walks down the hall. Sit with me, ha!

Regulus shuffles the other way until he finds an empty compartment. He takes the right window seat and brings his knees to his chest. Sirius won't tell him what happens at the Sorting or how the first years even get to the castle.

His knees are knobby and stick into his chin when he leans forward. He doesn't know whether he likes this new Sirius or not, though he tries to convince himself that this new Sirius is confident and brave.

Regulus knows he's kidding himself and wishes he hadn't packed Dog away in his trunk.

November 23rd, 1974

Slowly, Sirius stops greeting Regulus in the hallways; at first, Regulus thinks it's because Sirius doesn't see him over the sea of heads crowding the corridors, but then he realizes that Sirius is too popular to see his pale, indistinguishable face.

Sirius has a certain power when he speaks, a skip to his step when he glides down the staircases - he, James, Remus, and Peter. Privately, Regulus tells himself stories about how he and James pulled a prank, or how he and Remus studied for a test in the library, or how he and Peter ate cakes in the kitchen after hours, as if they are his friends. But the boys love Sirius, not Regulus. Besides, Regulus is a mess; Sirius is gorgeous now, with his hair falling just right and his long-fingered hands tucking his bangs behind his ears.

Regulus sees Sirius alone, for the first time all year, fuming silently outside the Great Hall. In his hand is a crumpled red envelope; Regulus cringes - a Howler. He is about to work up the courage to talk to his older brother, but Sirius makes for the staircase and begins to climb.

Silently, Regulus follows, up curving steps and around angled corners. He doesn't manage to reach the landing Sirius has stepped on before the staircase starts to move.

Sirius! he yells.

Sirius doesn't flinch or turn. He keeps on walking.

Regulus pretends it's because Sirius didn't hear him - he knows it's really because Sirius didn't notice him at all.

November 23rd, 1975

Regulus is running to Potions, having overslept - if he doesn't catch the wall flashing its shortcut, he will be late for the third time in a row.

He skids to a stop when he rounds the last turn, because Sirius is in the alcove not four feet to his left, pressing someone into the dark shadows, his belt unbuckled and his shirttails hanging out. Regulus watches with a morbid fascination as pale, scarred hands creep up Sirius's back, dancing patterns up his spine.

There is an itch in his right shoulder; he's going to be late. Regulus shifts his weight and his quill falls out of the pocket, the nib striking the stone floor. Sirius whips around, his lips red and full, looking thoroughly debauched. Pressed against the wall is Remus Lupin, sandy brown hair sticking to his forehead and his mouth parted just slightly.

Get away, hisses Sirius, Get away from here, Regulus.

Regulus doesn't say anything, turning on his heel and running, Dirty fag, dirty fag, Sirius is a dirty fucking fag playing through his head.

November 23rd, 1976

Sirius doesn't wish Regulus happy birthday. Regulus doesn't mind, since he doesn't talk to Sirius anymore anyways; he doesn't like to associate himself with filth like that.

November 23rd, 1980

Slytherin's locket is in his palm, heavy and silver and seeping with Dark Magic, tearing him to bits. He sets it on the oak table, eyes darting around the Hog's Head to see if anyone notices him; no one does. There is a box in brown paper wrapped up in front of him, Sirius Black scrawled in his hand on the top.

He knows he won't see his brother again, so he signs the card Love for one last time.
_

An owl hoots outside Sirius's window. Remus goes to answer it and strokes the owl's head as he unties the package.

Sirius, says Remus, There's a package here for you.

Groaning, Sirius blinks his eyes open from the bed. Give it here, then. Remus tosses the box over and Sirius focuses on the handwriting.

Regulus, he says dismissively, I'm not up for this today. He hurls the box into the corner, where it lands on his dirty laundry with a thud. Remus wisely says nothing and heads down to the kitchen for some tea.

November 24th, 1980

Alastor Moody stops by early morning to tell Sirius that Regulus is dead. Their inside source confirmed it without doubt, and for once, Sirius Black believes Severus Snape.

Sirius sits at the edge of the bed, hands hanging between his knees, unsure of what to do or how to feel. Remus is hovering quietly, tucking in the sheets.

You still have his package, says Remus, Here. He picks the box from the laundry pile and sets it by Sirius's side. I'll leave you be.

Two hours pass and the box sits stationary, untouched. When the clock strikes twelve, Sirius finally gives in and tears open the brown paper. Taped to the top of the box is a letter. He opens it gently.

Sirius -

I never got rid of it, even after all these years.

This doesn't mean I forgive you; I'm not sorry.

Goodbye.

Love, Regulus

His hands tremble as he lifts the flap. Inside, worn and near unrecognizable, is Dog. Dog's ears are almost off and his black fur is worn thin. Sirius lifts Dog from the box, the dust from the plush toy rising in a cloud. Slowly, as though drawn in a trance, he hugs Dog to his chest, like he did all those years ago in the attic window seat and starts to hate Regulus for real.

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