evandar: (Bellatrix)
Title: Hope
Author: Evandar
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Pairing: One-sided Sirius Black/Regulus Black, brief mention of Remus/Sirius
Warnings: Timetravel, implied (desired) sibling incest
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and am making no profit from this story.
Summary: Regulus had a contingency plan going into the cave: if he died, his memories would be sent through time into his fourteen-year-old self. Now in the past, Regulus’ hopes for destroying the Dark Lord depend on persuading his estranged brother to help him.
Author's Notes: I paired Regulus with someone other than Barty AGAIN. WTF?! This was written for [livejournal.com profile] hptimetravel's 2016 fest. It may - may - one day be expanded upon, but no promises.

He wakes so suddenly that he falls out of bed, tangled in his sheets and curtains. He coughs and splutters violently, struggling against hands that are no longer tearing at his flesh. It takes him a moment to realise that he is no longer drowning – that he died - and that his spell must have worked because he’s not in a cave, but shivering on the floor of the Slytherin dormitories.

Rabastan is peering down at him from between his own curtains. He blinks, bleary eyed, and speaks. “Black. What the fuck?” His voice is rough from sleep, but higher than it was the last time Regulus heard it. Younger. His spell worked.

“Nightmare,” he says, and it’s not terribly far from the truth. He untangles himself carefully and throws his bedding back onto the bed. He knows he won’t sleep again tonight. He can still feel the hands of the Inferi, still taste the vile water of the lake and – under it – the potion that hid the Dark Lord’s Horcrux. He’s soaked in sweat and can’t stop shaking. He needs a shower; needs to brush his teeth. He needs to plan his next move.

Just because he had this spell in place in case everything went wrong, it doesn’t mean he knows what to do next.

Behind him, Rabastan grunts. “Whatever,” he mutters, and there’s a soft whump as he flops back into bed. It’s not long before soft snores fill the air, and Regulus can’t stop from smiling fondly even as he makes his way to the bathroom. Rabastan is still his friend. He’s one of the people Regulus is determined to save. Rabastan, Barty, and himself. Their families. Their way of life. For all the sweetness of the Dark Lord’s promises, Regulus knows now that they will bring nothing but ruin to everyone, not just the Mudbloods and blood traitors.

He strips from his pyjamas, leaving them in a heap on the tile floor. By the time he feels clean again, the sun has come up and the rest of his dorm is stirring. More awake, Rabastan shoots him a concerned look as they dress together in silence, but Regulus waves it off.

He has a plan, of sorts.

He has always done his best thinking in the shower. It’s nothing unusual for him to abandon an essay mid-paragraph and puzzle out his conclusion under a steady flow of water. He was in the shower when the exact runes and arithmantic equations needed for him to work he spell allowing him to send his memories through time upon his death crystalized in his mind. It’s something to do with relaxation, he thinks. This time, in a shower that must have lasted for hours, something has managed to form amid the jumbled memories of his future life and trauma. It’s tentative and a little risky, but…

His gaze drifts to Gryffindor table as he enters the Great Hall, Rabastan at his side. He spots Sirius easily. He’s laughing with his friends as he always is, bright and bold and achingly handsome.

(It’s not the first time Regulus has thought of his brother while in the shower.)

They’ve grown apart a lot, and in the future Regulus has left behind, they never became close again. It’s partly his fault, he knows, because of the decisions he made. Sirius is only ten months older than him: Regulus found out when he was sixteen (such an odd thing to think now that he’s fourteen again) that he had only been conceived in case Sirius – born weak and sickly and premature – had died in infancy. They had been close as children, and even though Sirius now seeks to escape his Dark heritage through his Gryffindor identity, he is still the person Regulus loves most in the world.

He is also his best chance at redemption. His best chance of getting the information he knows about the Dark Lord and his Horcrux to someone who can wield it more effectively.

Love hasn’t made Regulus any less of a Slytherin.

He excuses himself from Rabastan and crosses the hall, steeling his nerve on his way. He catches sight of the puzzled look on Barty’s face as he passes Hufflepuff table and makes his way to Gryffindor. To the ‘Marauders’ and their uproar.

The most brotherly thing Sirius has done for him since his Sorting is to exempt him from the casual torture that he and his friends call ‘pranking’. Regulus, in turn, has avoided him as much as possible; the hurt from Sirius’ rejection of him after the Hat proclaimed him a Slytherin still lingers. It lingered even in the cave, in the moments leading up to Regulus’ death, when his treacherous thoughts turned (as they always do) to his brother and the ‘what if’ that hangs over them. But now that he has lived once and failed - died - he knows that he cannot wait for his brother to save him. He can’t wait for an olive branch that will not come. He knows that if he is going to salvage anything from their strained relationship - anything that he can use to save himself and his friends – then he has to take charge and confront Sirius himself.

Sirius’ laughter fades when he spots him approaching. Suddenly grim, he bears a staggering resemblance to Grandfather Arcturus - another family member that Regulus plans to convince of the Dark Lord’s treachery – and the change in his demeanour gains the attention of his friends. They turn to stare. Regulus’ heart thuds in his chest. He’s not stupid. He knows what he’s inviting.

It’s a cruel twist of fate – of the headmaster’s benevolent blindness, more like – that allows the colour of a school tie to convince people that the ‘Marauders’ are good people. Potter, he knows, has learned a lot from his mother – a Black by birth, she’s a Dark witch to the core – and Pettigrew is a snivelling, conniving coward at heart; he also knows enough about Dark creatures to know what the amber-gold colour of Lupin’s eyes implies. He watches as Pettigrew leans over to whisper in Potter’s ear, a sick grin twisting his lips. Regulus is making himself a target for their ‘hijinks’ and he knows that he will have to depend on Sirius’ charity to go unmolested.

(If a Slytherin ever did half the things the ‘Marauders’ have done, they’d have been expelled in minutes.)

He takes a deep breath as he finally comes to a halt. He knows his brother well enough – has studied his mannerisms obsessively for his whole life – to know that Sirius is already on the defensive.

“Sirius,” he says. He swallows. “I was hoping I could borrow you for a moment.”

Sirius blinks, confused. They barely even talk at home, let alone in school, though Regulus still clings to the time when they were inseparable. “Now?” he asks.

“If it’s convenient,” Regulus replies with a shrug. He’s trying to be casual and hopes that it comes across convincingly.

Sirius’ eyes narrow. For a moment, Regulus thinks his brother might refuse him, but Sirius surprises him by standing. He hooks the strap of his schoolbag over one shoulder and indicates for Regulus to lead the way. Lupin catches his wrist, and Regulus has to smother a pang of jealousy as the creature peers up at his brother with concern and badly concealed devotion.

“It’ll be fine, Remus,” his brother says. “Won’t take long, right?”

Regulus nods, numb inside and sick. He knows that in the future, Sirius and Lupin will share a flat. Most of his classmates think that they’re dating (or on the way to), and his colleagues amongst the Death Eaters were convinced of the same. Regulus has professed again and again that he neither knows nor cares who Sirius takes to his bed, but he knows that it’s a lie. Sirius has never taken him, and Sirius and Lupin make for a fairly attractive couple.

Looking at them now, he wouldn’t be surprised if the rumours were true.

“See you in Charms,” Sirius says, and Regulus leads him out of the hall. From the corner of his eye, he catches Rabastan staring in disbelief. For the second time in a matter of hours, his best friend mouths “what the fuck” as if Regulus could ever hope of giving him a decent explanation.

The classroom Regulus picks is one in the dungeons. It’s never used anymore, and it smells faintly of damp and dust; not even the House Elves can stop the neglect from infecting it. It’s filled with broken and bespelled furniture. Regulus perches on an old potions bench. It’s still sturdy enough, but there’s a deep, charred groove in the top of it still filled with traces of purple ooze.

Sirius looks around. Regulus gets the impression that the room doesn’t interest him as much as the potential for ambush. As if he expects Regulus to have persuaded some of the older students to lurk in the corners with their wands at the ready.

Regulus hadn’t thought things were that bad between them already.

He watches quietly as his brother finishes his snooping. Eventually, Sirius turns to him. He looks confused and slightly surprised and it hurts. It hurts so badly that Regulus has to hold his breath to stop it from audibly shaking and grips the edge of the desk until his knuckles turn white.

“You wanted to talk?” Sirius asks him. He sounds…uncertain.

Regulus exhales slowly, fighting to keep it steady. This is it. “Yes,” he says. “I have concerns. I know we’re not close and I know you don’t like me, but I’m not sure who else to talk to.”

Sirius nods slowly. “Okay,” he says. He lets his bag drop to the floor and finds himself his own desk to perch on. He doesn’t deny the accusation, and Regulus’ heart clenches in his chest. He can’t help but wonder if he had died permanently - if he’d let those hands drag him down into dark water without any sort of contingency plan in place - would Sirius have missed him at all? Would he have even noticed his baby brother disappearing?

“I don’t know what you’ve heard already,” Regulus says, forcing himself back to the task at hand. “There’s some rumours going around. A Dark Lord.”

Sirius’ eyes narrow. “I’ve heard,” he says. “I’ve heard he’s into all that pureblood crap that mother and father like.”

“Yes,” Regulus says, though he’s not entirely sure that that’s true. The Dark Lord had given important gifts to his most faithful at the same meeting he had asked to borrow Kreacher, and while Bella had sequestered hers away without a word, Rodolphus had told him that it was an old, golden cup. Lucius’, Regulus had gotten to see in person during his final visit to Narcissa. A blank book bound in black leather, embossed with the name of T.M. Riddle. Not a pureblood name – just like Voldemort is not a pureblood name – and with so many pureblood servants taking his mark… It doesn’t quite add up.

He thinks of the diary and the cup and the locket from the cave and his blood runs cold. Surely even the Dark Lord – mad and twisted as he had become – wasn’t so insane as to have made more than one Horcrux.

“He’s recruiting,” he says quietly. “Or that’s what it seems like. Meetings and the like with the heirs of the old families. I’ve heard whispers and –“

“And what?”

Sirius sounds angry. He sounds the same way as he does whenever mother confronts him about consorting with halfbloods and blood traitors.

“I don’t like it,” Regulus says before he can work himself up into a complete overreaction. “There’s something wrong Sirius. I know it. The others are whispering about how incredible he is. How he’s going to restore pureblood supremacy. How he’s brilliant and powerful and somehow immortal.”

Sirius’ eyebrows raise at that last part, but Regulus continues before he can ask.

“He’s looking to Slytherin for his recruits. The Common Room’s flooded with gossip, and none of it - none - is good, Sirius. There are people talking about war.”

And Sirius, for once, seems to be taking him seriously. “Shit,” he breathes. Then, “this is exactly the sort of thing that mother would lap up.”

It is and she will – Regulus knows that from experience. “She has to know by now that she’ll get nowhere with you,” he says, “so Sirius, who do you think she’ll try and pressure into going along with it?”

His face hardens. “Reg, you can’t.”

Sirius hasn’t called him Reg in…since before Regulus’ first year. Regulus’ breath catches in his chest and his heart clenches and…

It’s almost possible to believe that Sirius hasn’t managed to entirely forget that they used to mean the world to each other.

“I don’t want to,” Regulus tells him. He doesn’t. He doesn’t want to have to watch his friends lose themselves to Dark magic. He doesn’t want to listen to hate speech and witness torture and receive orders to research the foulest of old curses for his Lord’s personal pleasure. Never, never again. He wants the Horcrux – Horcruxes? – destroyed and the Dark Lord gone and he wants his brother in his life instead of a distant figure who pretends they don’t know each other.

Sirius looks at him oddly. It takes Regulus a moment to realise that his expression is one of hope.

“I didn’t know who else to go to,” he says. There’s something wet on his face and he thinks he might be crying – in his defence, it’s been a long twenty-four hours.

Sirius hesitates. Then he pushes himself off his desk and approaches. He’s wary, Regulus can tell, but that hopeful look is still there and his arms are gentle as they loop around Regulus’ body. He trembles. Sirius hasn’t hugged him since the night before he started Hogwarts. It’s been so long – too long – and Regulus lets go of the desk to cling to his brother’s robes instead, burying his face in Sirius’ shoulder and inhaling deeply to breathe in his scent.

“I missed you,” he whispers, his voice muffled by Sirius’ robes.

Sirius’ arms tighten. “I missed you too,” he says. His breath is warm as it gusts over Regulus’ ear, and it makes goose-bumps rise on his skin, but he doesn’t pull away. He can’t pull away. “I’ll help you Reg, I promise.”

Regulus smiles, and for the first time since he realised that the Dark Lord had made a Horcrux, he feels himself relax.

“Thank you,” he whispers.

His plan is going to work this time. He just knows it.
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