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Summer in the Ancient and Most Honorable Etc, Etc, Etc - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Summer in the Ancient and Most Honorable Etc, Etc, Etc
I felt like writing some Sirius and Regulus. Just for the heck of it. I have no idea what I'm doing with it, but the whole AI thing last week has got show-charity on my brain.

"Tell me again why we can't use magic," Sirius said, twisting out a kink in the bandage he was rolling.

"Because it's summer, and we're both underage." Regulus finished the one he was working on, bound it, and put it on the shelf. "You'd get more done if you didn't stop every five minutes to complain about it."

"Well, why don't the Healers use magic? They'd do it a lot more quickly than we do."

"It's tradition. Volunteer work for the sick and poor."

"If it's a tradition, why are we the only ones here?"

"The girls used to do it. Narcissa may still be along."

"Oh, wonderful. A family tradition of the Ancient and Most Honorable, et cetera."

"It's a tradition for everyone. We're just the only ones left who care." Regulus sniffed. "At least some of us do."

"Yeah, well, some of us have figured out that rolling a handful of bandages doesn't get rid of all the garbage we've put out into the world."

"Others," someone said at the door, "don't use that as an excuse to avoid boring jobs."

Regulus froze at the voice, and looked up. His cousin Andromeda--who was no longer his cousin, and to whom he was not allowed to speak--was standing in the doorway.

"Don't worry," she said. "I won't stay, and someone else will pick up your bandages, Reg. I just wanted to peek in."

"You can have my bandages," Sirius said, grinning.

Regulus kicked his ankle and grimaced.


"Mum," Regulus hissed. "She said..."

Sirius rolled his eyes, then looked at Andromeda. "Don't mind my brother. See, we used to have a cousin who our mother says we're not supposed to talk to, only what she really said was that that person didn't exist, which means you can't be her, so we can talk to you all we like."

"Your logic never fails to astound me. Although, of course, I've never seen it in action before."

"How's your baby, if you have one?"

"Active," Andromeda said, shaking her head. "Really active. Tires me out."

Regulus went back to rolling bandages, turning his back on her.

"It's all right, Reg, I'm leaving."

"You don't have to!" Sirius said. "Come on. You could tell me all about things while I roll these bloody bandages."

"I'm actually just on a break. I'm still a trainee. I have a lot of work to do, and there's a an emergency and--"

"And Mum's on the way?"

There was silence, then Andromeda's voice was cool and bitter. "How would I know? I'm a stranger who doesn't exist. It was nice talking to you."

Regulus heard her shoes squeak as she turned and left.

"Nice meeting you!" Sirius called after her, then a hard shove sent Regulus's chair tipping.

He sprawled on the floor, his bandage unrolling over his face and shoulders. "Hey!"

Sirius glared down at him, then grabbed the bandage and started rolling it aggressively. "You're such a toad. Can't you even try to be a human being?"

"Right, because it's a really good thing that Andromeda's nineteen and has a brat and is married to some Muggle and living in his mother's house. We should all be happy and give her a party."

Sirius ground his teeth and finished the bandage, then picked up another. "First, Ted's Muggle-born, no matter what Mum says. Second, where she lives is her business. Third, the baby isn't a brat."

Regulus had been picking up a new bandage, but stopped. "You've seen it?"

"No," Sirius said too quickly. "I haven't seen her."

"Right." Regulus rolled his bandage and stacked it neatly with the others. "The, er... the baby is a girl?"

"Nymphadora. I know that from the newspaper. So would you, if you could read."

"She used a family name?"

"Twisted, isn't it?"

"I didn't think you'd think that."

"Why would she want anything to do with us? She's with decent people now."

Regulus recoiled. "God, Sirius, will you let it go?"

Sirius picked up a handful of bandages and threw them in Regulus's face. "Do you think this... shite... makes difference?" He kicked over the crate where the unrolled bandages were kept. "Do you think if you do enough stupid, tedious volunteer work that it makes up for treating Andi like she's not even there? Or telling Muggle-borns at school that they have no right to be there?"

Regulus righted the crate and started to separate out the bandages that had got contaminated. "I don't think the patients whose things are all ready for them, so they don't have to wait, give a tinker's damn whether or not I get along with Andromeda. Or you. And what about you, insulting your parents and your whole family every chance you get? Not to mention they way you and your mates treat--"

"You're not bringing Snivelly into this."

"--Severus and quite a lot of other people."

Sirius started to say something, then just shook his head and started to pick up bandages again. When he spoke, his voice was carefully even. "So... are you going to be a Healer or something? You were in a big hurry to get here this morning."

Regulus shrugged, trying to forget Sirius's temper tantrum. That was usually the best strategy. "I don't know. Maybe. I was talking to Great Aunt Cassiopeia, and she thought I might be good for it."

"Wow. No one seems to think I'll be good for much of anything."

"You don't need to be anything. You're the heir." Regulus tried a smile; it seemed to fit. "Besides, you'd be best at being an Auror, and you know what Mum would say if you tried that!"

Sirius grinned back, and everything was all right again. "Right. Interfering busybodies for hire."

"Minister Bagnold's snoops."

"Right." Sirius pulled over the crate of bandages and put it back between them. "Come on. Let's speed up. They're not going to roll themselves."

They worked more quickly (and possibly less carefully), laughing over silly girls at school and funny teachers and old Uncle Ignatius, who liked his mead. They moved on to caricaturing Narcissa, who was finding every opportunity to show off the very large diamond she was wearing, and when she arrived late in the afternoon and started complaining about how the dreadful bandages just kept getting caught on it--waving it around so it caught the strong sunlight with every word--they couldn't help laughing at her until she sniffed and took a pile of bandages to another room to work on her own. By the time Mum's car arrived to take them home, he'd forgotten entirely that they'd fought.
22 comments or Leave a comment
singingtopsy From: singingtopsy Date: May 2nd, 2007 04:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Ha! I like how Sirius is quick to defend Andi's open-mindedness by pointing out that Ted is a muggle-born, not a muggle. I suppose one can only dispense with one prejudice at a time...
Great story, I love your Regulus and Sirius characterizations!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think he was just thinking of it in terms of correcting Regulus, but yeah, sort of telling that the concept of an actual Muggle would, apparently, be more offensive. (Though it could in some way be supported on the idea that, as she's fresh out of Hogwarts, she'd actually have had a chance to get to know a Muggle-born, while an actual Muggle would have to have been a complete impulse decision, since she wouldn't have had much of an opportunity to know him ahead of time.)
petitecrivan From: petitecrivan Date: May 2nd, 2007 04:18 am (UTC) (Link)
I love fics about Regulus and Sirius, when they were boys and semi got along. I love Sirius's logic for being able to talk to Andi, who is, of course, no one he knows. I love Sirius, and you wrote him very well. Regulus is fun because he's practically a blank slate.

Great fic!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I have a feeling he's not going to be a blank slate much longer... ;P
beceh From: beceh Date: May 2nd, 2007 04:44 am (UTC) (Link)
That was good. Just what I needed :-). Really enjoy your characterisations of Sirius and Regulus, and their bantering.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! Sirius having a tendency to be a jerk, but picking the right side of the moral argument, is fun to contrast with writing a Reg who's basically a decent human being who just can't, for the life of him, see that he's being completely immoral in his beliefs.
purple_ladybug1 From: purple_ladybug1 Date: May 2nd, 2007 05:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Good work, good characterization.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
kiwi_kimi From: kiwi_kimi Date: May 2nd, 2007 05:44 am (UTC) (Link)
Nice. You've made a very believable Regulus. He's a bit more intense than Sirius; more determined to try and follow the rules. But he clearly has some doubts about the worst of the family's prejudices, almost despite himself.

Their relationship makes their fates all the more poignant. It's clear that they love each other, under all the grumbling and sparring.

One small typo (a fun one): "tempter tantrum".

Would Mrs B. have a car? It somehow seems a bit modern and Mugglish for a Black. Maybe not - just a thought.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
LOL, I'll get the typo. Not one a spell-checker would catch!

I used the Black family car in one other fic--basically, she has it until the boys are old enough to Apparate. It's charmed to drive itself from wherever they are back to 12GP without forcing an adult to get behind the wheel.
shiiki From: shiiki Date: May 2nd, 2007 12:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow, I loved this! I enjoyed the interaction between Sirius and Regulus - their fight, and the easy way they made up afterwards, which suggests a brotherly sort of camaraderie, and I think must have been the way they were before things went sour. Andromeda's appearance was great - as was both Sirius and Regulus's varied reaction to her.

Excellent work!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. I like writing siblings.
author_by_night From: author_by_night Date: May 2nd, 2007 01:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked it. :) I especially like your characterization of Sirius.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 2nd, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks. Sirius is a real chatterbox once he gets going. :)
cheddartrek From: cheddartrek Date: May 3rd, 2007 02:09 am (UTC) (Link)
"You don't need to be anything. You're the heir."

I really liked that line. It's so simple and straightforward, but it seems to imply a lot of things about the world they come from.

Have you written any fics that feature Sirius shortly after finding out that Regulus is dead? You always paint them as having a very interesting relationship; it's realistic and fun to read.

fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 3rd, 2007 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I've alluded to it a couple of times--Sirius is owled his brother's eyes the morning after a full moon--but I haven't actually written the story.
cheddartrek From: cheddartrek Date: May 3rd, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh! I remember that now. Something about Regulus just wanting to "see" his brother one last time wasn't it? You really are a great writer, to make things stick in my head like that with all the other junk I put in there every day. =)
springdove From: springdove Date: May 3rd, 2007 01:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I like this. I like seeing these stories of the past...lighter days before all the stuff that made Sirius so dark and haunted by the end. And I love how you protray Regulus as really just doing what he believes is right. It's obvious that he believes family honor to be very, very important, and that's part of why he does what he does. Just good stuff. Thanks for sharing!
matril From: matril Date: May 3rd, 2007 01:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
You write a very convincing Regulus. Somehow I expect that if we get more glimpses of his character in Book 7, your characterization won't be too far off. I hope so anyway. ;)
dalf From: dalf Date: May 12th, 2007 07:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Reg fics that re decent (like all the fics I have seen you write) are hard to find and are up there on my list of HP fan fiction I could find mroe of (right next to Colin Creevey). This bit was a fun start I think reading Regulus' story wodu be be amazing.

However I have to ask. Has Law and Aurors been canned? I was so loving that waiting and waiting for each new scene. Please say you have nto abndoned it! Or at least do one mroe segment as a request from a dieing man :P
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: May 14th, 2007 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
I haven't abandoned it, but the "Order" part turns out to be lots more complicated than the "Law" part. I have to make up some serious wizarding laws in New York, figure out how they broke them, and find a way for Jack to make it into a slam dunk of everyone in the general vicinity. I was actually thinking about that one a lot this week.
dalf From: dalf Date: May 16th, 2007 06:07 am (UTC) (Link)
Good I hope you finish it while I am still around, I have been down a bit latley as I figured out that half of the works in progress fan fiction I am reading are unlikley to be finished while I can still read them.

Though I guess I can think of better thigns to be depressed about.
22 comments or Leave a comment