Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Sirius feels the smooth ivory keys sliding beneath his fingertips as he practices under his mother’s watchful eye. His still inexpert hands strike the wrong notes too frequently for his father’s exacting tastes. Mr. Black winces every time Sirius’s slender fingers slip and Mrs. Black clicks her tongue in disapproval before making him start again from the beginning.
Sirius likes to go back to the drawing room after dinner and practice without his mother and father present. It is much easier to play, he thinks, when there is no one to expect perfection.
On the night before he is to go to Hogwarts, Sirius sits in the dim-lighted room aimlessly striking notes. The sound echoes horribly in the large room and suddenly, Sirius feels alone. He knows what is expected of him at Hogwarts, the reputation he must maintain, because his parents have drilled it into his head:
‘Don’t forget that you are a Black,’ his mother says with cold eyes and a stoic gaze. ‘We are like royalty. Act like you are from the most ancient and noble house of Black. Toujours Pur, Sirius. Remember that. Do not disappoint us.’
But it is at times like these, when he is alone and given the opportunity to think without his thoughts being censored by his parents, that he doesn’t feel like a Black. He looks like a Black and he acts like a Black because that is how he was raised, but inside, he feels as though maybe this isn’t where he belongs.
“Sirius?” The door swings open without a sound and Regulus’s shadow is thrown across the room.
“What do you want, Regulus?” Sirius asks with a sigh.
Regulus closes the door behind him and walks over to the piano. He sits down next to Sirius and begins to play with skill and ease.
“If you’ve come to show off the amazing talent mother keeps telling me about, I’d rather not listen, thanks,” Sirius says sourly.
Regulus stops playing and Sirius wants to wipe the look of surprise off his face. “I wasn’t trying to…” he starts, but quickly quiets at the look Sirius is giving him.
“What do you want?” Sirius asks again.
“You’re going to Hogwarts tomorrow. What’s it gonna be like, do you think?”
Sirius shrugs and slips off the bench, settling himself comfortably in his father’s chair. “You’ve heard Bella, Andy, and Cissy talk about it.”
“I know, but they probably make up stories to make it seem better than it really is. Do you think teachers torture you with spells and potions? Maybe your Potions professor will make you drink something poisonous!” Regulus says excitedly.
Sirius crosses his arms and narrows his eyes at his younger brother. “What books have you got yourself into, Reg?” he asks suspiciously.
“I haven’t been reading any books like that. But Bella told me that her Potions professor made some Gryffindor drink a potion that made his head swell and he had to go to the infirmary because the professor wouldn’t make it right again and he was too embarrassed to walk around with a big head.”
Sirius smirks. “And you don’t think that was a story Bella made up?”
Regulus’s eyes widen in shock. “You really think so?”
“I don’t know, Regulus. It could have happened,” Sirius says casually, leaning further back into the cool, comforting leather of the chair.
“Do you think it ever gets cold in the common room, in the dungeons?”
“Probably not,” Sirius replies. “They have big roaring fires that you can sit by.”
Regulus is quiet and gnaws on his bottom lip anxiously. “I’m gonna miss you, Sirius,” he blurts out unexpectedly, looking up at his older brother sadly.
Sirius doesn’t know what to say. They have never really shown affection towards one another and to be perfectly honest, he’s a bit surprised at Regulus’s outburst.
“You’ll come to Hogwarts in a few years,” Sirius says after a while, still unsure of how to respond.
“But you’ll be there first,” Regulus pouts.
It takes a few moments for everything to click into place, but Sirius suddenly realizes that Regulus is jealous of him. Ever since he was born, Regulus has always been compared to Sirius and has usually come out on top. Regulus does everything perfectly; he never questions anything, and he acts like a mother’s little pureblood prince should.
But tomorrow, it will be Sirius going off to Hogwarts, carrying the Black legacy in the stiffness of his back and the regal look upon his face. The face of a soon-to-be king. Sirius is heir to the throne and the crown but it is Regulus who wants it more.
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