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Title: The Brother I Have
Rating: PG-13
Characters/Pairings: Sirius, Regulus
Wordcount: 1864
Summary: Sirius got himself concussed by some bloke in a Muggle pub, and is mildly surprised that Regulus would rather cover for him than witness another Black family row.
Warnings/Notes: For werewolfsfan and the qldfloodauction . She asked for "a black brothers moment," and I'm sorry it took me this long to write. I aimed for a moment of solidarity in the middle of their school years.

 “You,” Regulus declared, with the air that thirteen years as Sirius’s brother was about thirteen years too many, “are an idiot.”

Sirius groaned. His head was killing him. Regulus, on the other hand, was not -- he’d even gotten Sirius home from the Cauldron and up three flights of stairs discretely, on no better explanation than “had a fight.” This seemed strange -- he would have thought it would be the other way round, since he was not Regulus’s favorite person at the best of times, and his head was a part of him. And he was more than a little drunk, if he was really thinking like that. “Yeah, all right, Reg, point taken,” he mumbled, leaning back into the pillows. Maybe if he contemplated the ache in his head for long enough, his brother would go away.

Regulus, on the other hand, was apparently just getting started. “I’m never saving your arse again.”

“I don’t need you to. I can handle m’self,” Sirius mumbled. Merlin, his head hurt. Maybe he’d been slammed into the wall too hard.

“Not even if it gets you killed. By Mum or by anyone else.”

“No, you won’t. If I get killed, you’re Dad’s heir. And since Cygnus’s just got daughters . . . heir to the whole Black family.”

Regulus visibly paled, because he’d always been honestly horrified of loosing Sirius and with him the security of being the “spare” instead of the “heir,” but he rallied admirably. “That’s not the point. And if you really did want to commit suicide-by-Mum, I don’t know that I could stop you. Or her. At least not without bringing doom and dishonor on the family name for at least three generations. Because when you go, you’re going to go bloody mental.”

Sirius’s mouth twitched, but he kept the grin off his face, because his head hurt and it was likely to come out as a grimace. And really, Regulus was trying. To keep him out of too much trouble, at least. That was something. Or at least, less of nothing than usual. “Am I?” he asked vaguely.

“I’m not certain you haven’t already,” Regulus grumbled. “Honestly, Sirius -- Muggle London? What the hell were you doing there?”

Sirius shrugged. He was still dressed in Muggle clothes -- ripped jeans, leather jacket, t-shirt and biker boots -- still smelling of Muggle whiskey, and still too comfortably out of it to consider their parents’ opinion, yet alone give a damn about it. “I happen to like that pub,” he grumbled.

“Liked, you mean? Before you got clobbered?”

“And after. Shut up.” He groped for a missile without actually taking his eyes off of his brother, both out of suspicion and because moving his head hurt. The only weapons in easy reach were pillows, which were hardly sufficient in the face of nosy little brothers. “Or even better, get out.”

“Not your place to tell me to leave, idiot. You’re on my bed.” Regulus shoved Sirius’s boot out of the way and sat down at the foot of it, crossing his arms over his chest. “Or haven’t you noticed?”

“Ah.” Sirius glanced at the nearest wall, and found it covered in quidditch paraphernalia rather than motorbikes and politics. So it was Reg’s room after all. “Yeah. You’ve still got that hideous snakey wallpaper, haven’t you?”

“I’m fairly certain you would have noticed me redecorating,” Regulus said. “You’re not that dense.”

“Not usually. What’m I doing here?”

“I took you here because I’m not convinced your room isn’t booby-trapped,” Regulus answered dryly. “Also, my door’s a bit closer to the steps and you’re heavy.”

Sirius chuckled and immediately regretted it. Damn, but his head was killing him. He almost couldn’t wait to wake up in the morning and have a hangover because it would distract him from the feeling of his brain throbbing against his skull.

“You are,” Regulus insisted, crossing his skinny arms over his chest.

“I know. ‘M tall.” Sirius reached up to trace the edge of what was going to be a pretty impressive black eye. Just the feel of his fingertips -- no pressure -- hurt, almost enough to make him nauseous.

“You also flail. Rather spectacularly when you’re drunk, I might add. And if Mum asks, I told Kreacher I thought you’d been with Potter, and that I threw the punch. So the story’s straight.”

“Like you could hit me that hard,” Sirius sniffed.

“I could if I put a spell behind it. And go with it, all right? I don’t need for the whole of wizarding London to hear Mum discuss your drinking habits with you.” He wrinkled his nose. “And I’m tempted to tell you to bathe in firewhiskey. It’ll get the smell off. Cheap Muggle shit’s truly horrible.”

“Like you’ve ever tried it. And Tom won’t give me firewhiskey, and neither will Alfie Prewett at the Hippogriff, so if you’re making out that I spent the evening at James’s or in the Cauldron. . . .”

“You think Mum cares enough to poke holes in it?” Regulus shook his head. “Spare me another fight, will you?” he asked quietly, and for a moment he looked lost and eleven and like there was some hope for him left again. Sirius hated that look, because he never managed to keep hating the wearer. “She won’t care if you don’t push it.”

“I don’t care enough to push it,” Sirius snapped. He instantly regretted it -- not just for the flicker of gratitude that crossed his brother’s face before Regulus rolled his eyes, but because he’d raised his voice just enough to send another stab of pain through his temple. Besides, uniting against Mum had always been one of the few things he and Regulus had always had in common. Keeping each other out of too much trouble, given her temper. Funny they still had that.

“Good.” Regulus leaned back against the foot of his bed. “I presume you’re getting back to your own room?”

“Mmm.” Sirius mumbled. That stab of pain and nausea wasn’t going away. “I think if I stand up I’m gonna be sick.”

“Not on my bed, you’re not.”

“I mean it.” he started to reach up to massage his temple, but thought better of it, and just let it drop.

“All right.” Regulus sat up and pulled his wand out of his pocket. “Lumos.” He leaned forward. “Sirius, look at me.”

“You’re not getting that light anywhere near m’ head.”

Regulus brandished it, like he’d just cast a curse and not a lighting spell. Sirius kicked out -- not hard enough to necessitate moving his upper body, and not hard enough to make Regulus do anything more than grunt, drop his wand, and scowl at his brother. “I think you might be mildly concussed.”

“I don’t need you shining a light in m’ eyes in that case, do I?”

Regulus sighed and leaned back again. “Fine. Feel like hell for the next couple of days. As long as you make it back to your own room eventually, I don’t care. But after I dragged you home from the Cauldron, lied to Kreacher, and told you the lie so you can keep it up, you owe me an explanation.”

“Bloke who threw the punch knocked me back into the wall.”

“What’d you do to him?”

Sirius groaned, and rubbed at his crown a little. He didn’t want to talk about that, because he’d been flirting with the bloke. He’d been only a few years older than Sirius, far more interesting than any of the girls at the bar, and had been perfectly willing to talk about Muggle rock music and motorbike parts, and once Sirius was a couple drinks past tipsy he tended to loose what subtlety he had. He’d probably been lucky that the guy had stopped with the one punch when Sirius’s head had cracked against the wall. At any rate he’d left the moment he was certain he could keep his feet and before anyone had really registered what had just happened. He’d managed not to be sick while stumbling the two or three blocks back to the Cauldron, and when he hadn’t vomited after a floo ride he’d thought he was fine.

He wasn’t sure Regulus wasn’t right about the concussion anymore, but he certainly wasn’t telling his brother all of that. He was already on shaky enough ground with his parents, he didn’t need to give her more ammunition. And taking that kind of interest in boys was more ammunition than he trusted anyone with, let alone Regulus. He didn’t trust it to James or Remus.

“Nothing,” he said finally, quietly so as not to hurt his head more than he had to. “I was just my usual charming self.”

“With your usual charmingly bloated opinion of yourself?” Regulus asked, raising an eyebrow. “You know, Sirius, the nice thing about wizarding pubs is that you usually know who’s courting who.”

“Shut up,” Sirius said. “The nice thing about Muggle pubs is that you can snog someone without half the country knowing within the week.”

Regulus made a face.

Sirius sighed, because what Muggles didn’t know about magic they made up for in being generally better at minding their own damn business, and then winced, because sighing made him feel dizzy. “There’s a bruise balm in my sock drawer, I think,” he said. “Might be in with my shirts.”

“If it’s a concussion, the bruise balm’s not going to do you much good.”

“Then I’ll steal the potion supplies from Mum and brew something up in the morning,” Sirius answered.

Regulus sighed. “And until then, I’m not getting my bed back, am I? I hate you.” He stood up. “You’re room’s not actually booby-trapped, is it?”

“Don’t open my trunk. Why?”

“Because apparently I’m sleeping there tonight.”

“You are?”

“I don’t want you sick all over my floor. Especially since I took credit for your concussion downstairs. Kreacher can be vindictive sometimes.” Regulus shrugged. “And because one of us is still capable of acting like we’re both Blacks here. You’re the only brother I have, right?”

“Unfortunately for you.”

“Lucky for you.”

“Lucky that I now owe you how many favors? All of which you’ll hold me to?”

Regulus reached for the door handle. “That’s the only perk of having a Gryffindor for a brother, though. Finding a way to weasel out of it would be the Slytherin thing to do.” He shot his brother a grin that was only a little brittle and slipped out the door.

Sirius groaned and sunk further into the pillows, trying to banish the memory of a time when that grin might have been genuine. He still vaguely remembered the feeling of being little, when it was him and Regulus and maybe their cousin Andromeda against the world. But that was before he’d actually been allowed to see the world, back before it had gotten complicated with so many secrets and too many lies. Now it was Sirius against everything the family stood for and Regulus against yet another family row.

Every once in awhile, when Sirius was tired and beat-up enough, it got them back on the same side.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Mar. 7th, 2011 07:37 pm (UTC)
...Awww, I really loved that.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )