Good Snake Bad Snake

Chapter 1

Tags: somebody lives/not everybody dies AU, Regulus Black lives, Regulus Black is a good brother, Society for Elf Welfare (SEW), free elves are happy elves, Regulus Black and creature rights, Detective Crookshanks on the prowl, Regulus Black goduncle, won't someone please teach Harry Potter correct broom safety, what happens when rich and powerful men use their power to help vulnerable kids and people, Filius Flitwick is a criminally underrated and underused character, Severus Snape is a grouch and blames Regulus every time he has an emotion, blood politics, Hermone Granger cannot be stopped, won't someone please give Theo Nott a hug, Percy Weasley treated right, Harry Potter just wants to be warm and not hungry anymore, when Poppy Pomfrey is allowed to do her job good things happen, BAMF! Minerva McGonagall, BAMF! Amelia Bones, chronically ill Sirius Black, healthcare elves, educated elves, house elves with specialised skills, employment for werewolves, thirsty Remus Lupin, mild Dumbledore bashing, because at this point it feels wrong not to, magical bonds, pureblood wix have weird ideas about what's normal, but Regulus Black isn't having any of their shit, pureblood customs and politics,

warnings for this fic: AU, non beta'd and published on a phone, slight Dumbledore bashing, references to child abuse (but not in detail), rated T for Amelia Bones has great legs and Regulus Black is an adult (I haven't written any sex scenes yet, but they have a tendency to pop up, so the rating may be subject to change) I think that's all.

I do not own Harry Potter etc etc

There was something that solidified September first into the brains of anyone lucky enough to go to Hogwarts as a child. Even as an adult, Regulus Black found himself waking up early and double checking that everything was ready in his classroom and office for the arrival of the children, and that was even after he had checked everything several times the night before. Regulus was known for never having one hair out of place and being prepared for everything; but that wasn't without its cost.

Thankfully only two people really knew about just how nervous the famous Lord Regulus Black's constitution was.

He washed and dressed carefully, giving himself a close shave and sitting down to break his fast alone for the last time for the year. His quarters were no longer in the Slytherin dungeons, deep below the lake, they hadn't been since he came back to teach.

The Black lake was however, still within view. The rooms were rather eccentric, their rather tall and thin, multi-levelled configuration was situated low in a tower which meant that the dining and lounge room spaces very much made it seem as though his quarters were a boat or boathouse on the water, the windows were positioned almost precisely over the surface, which was always active, rippling with the wind and brimming with activity of birds hunting fish and all kinds of life on the surface.

Then there was his bedchamber downstairs, which looked out into the topmost layer of the lake. Unlike the Slytherin dorms further down, the window on one curved wall of his bedroom fairly glittered as the sun played on the water, but the chamber was comfortingly dark and familiar at night, allowing him to sleep.

He was grateful for the quarters he had been given. They had once belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw, and he enjoyed their position and varied views, as well as the configuration of the rooms which allowed him his privacy, even when he entertained guests.

He was somewhat grateful that he was benefiting from the fact that while Filius Flitwick was the Ravenclaw head, he was very much part goblin and preferred rooms that were mountain bound, deeper within the castle, and had found the activity visible through the large windows the opposite of reassuring.

No it was solid stone walls for the Charms Professor, and Regulus had rooms that befitted his station as Lord Black; something that the Headmaster was surprisingly thingy about.

Regulus enjoyed this morning view of the bustling and busy surface of the lake as he ate his soft boiled eggs with soldiers and drank his coffee.

At twenty nine he was the youngest professor at Hogwarts by the two years that Severus Snape had on him; but he still felt too embarrassed to eat his childhood favourite in the great hall.

It was absolutely a comfort food for him, and Blacks simply didn't show these kinds of comforts or habits to others. Displaying one's more personal habits was to show one's vulnerabilities, no matter how trite.

Finishing his coffee he smiled his thanks to his beloved elf Kreature and stood to head to the staff room, where Professor Dumbledore and the other staff members would be gathering for their staff day.

As he reached the staircase he met with Severus who gave him a nod, "Good morning Lord Black," He greeted softly, and Regulus allowed himself a wry smile.

It was hard to be reminded that one was the last of their once massive family, "Good morrow Potions Master Snape," Severus' mouth twisted in a bitter smile at the reminder that his own honorific was rarely acknowledged, nor his true talent for the craft of potions. Regulus knew he hated being stuck there in this castle as much as he himself did.

More, probably, as at least Regulus had much to do outside of the castle while Severus was kept too busy within its walls to venture out too often. Not that either man's tendancy towards reclusiveity would let them venture too far, but it was the spirit of the thing.

While Regulus had always wished for a quiet life that living among and teaching raucous children did not engender, he had at least always looked forward to having children of his own, while Severus had been the youngest to earn a Potions Mastership in a good few centuries. He'd been destined for big things, and big things of his own choosing, until he was manipulated into pledging himself first to the Dark Lord, and then to Albus Dumbledore and his rather ominous cause of 'the greater good' --Another case for never letting people know one's weaknesses.

Or even better, not having them at all.

Regulus had been advised by his brother that he could trust the old man, and look where that had landed both of them. Regulus knew that Sirius would never have allowed James and Lily Potter to die if he could help it, let alone be the cause of it; and especially not their one year old child or so many muggles. Sirius loved muggles.

No, Regulus was quite aware he had run straight into a tangled spider's web just as thoroughly as everyone else had.

At least he wasn't alone.

James and Lily Potter, Sirius, Severus, Marlene, hell, even Minerva seemed to be under the old man's thumb; for all she was a brilliant educator, some of the 'decisions' she made concerning particular student seemed rather out of character. What a way to run a school.

The two young teachers walked in companionable silence together to the staff room where a far too chipper Pomona Sprout poured them each a coffee and pressed a plate of Regulus' favourite shortbread into his hands. He gave her a warm smile and sat next to her, letting her chatter about the state of the gardens to him and her plans for mandrake roots and wiggenbark crops roll over him. His father had adored herbology, and while Pomona was as far from Orion Black as the moon was from the sun it was a comfort, even if everyone in the room only thought he was being polite.

There was an air of expectation this morning, as the year to come would be punctuated by the attendance of a certain Boy-Who-Lived. Regulus had always been fascinated by the events of that night, the night that changed so much of the world they lived in...the night that had stolen his brother from him even more profoundly than the night his parents had forced him out into the cold.

Not many people knew the hand Regulus had all of it of course, horcruxes weren't the kind of thing one really talked about or ever really acknowledged the existence of; not even in Dark families; except in a whisper as an example of sacrilege and the line one must never cross, a crime against magic Herself. He had already destroyed two sacred artifacts that had been desecrated by the half-blood Tom Riddle's fractured soul parts, but they knew there were more.

That wasn't the only irregularity in the story as it was told by Dumbledore and his fanatics however--on top of sending an innocent idiot to Azkaban, the idea that a baby 'killed' Voldemort was especially unbelievable, and the idea that his 'mother's love' alone was what had caused the death of such a being, as Albus liked to suggest, was utterly ludicrous.

No. Lady Potter did something, something Dumbledore didn't approve of and so he had constructed a cover up, but Regulus would only ever give her the credit. It was unfortunate that she was no longer alive to defend her own name (nor to tell an intrigued Regulus Black how she saved her child from an avada), but Regulus at least would remember her brilliance as more than anpretty detail in the story of The-Boy-Who-Lived.

Regulus knew, as someone who was raised on blood purity and all the rest, that the reason everyone banged on about a heroic baby was that they didn't want to give a muggleborn credit. The credit was instead given to the Potter line. Prejudice was so thick within their society that it took more than simply looking at things head on to know what was truly going on. It made Regulus sick. Dumbledore, for all his talk, was just as much a snob as anyone else. In fact as Lord Black he could attest that Dumbledore was sometimes just as much a snob as his own mother, which was honestly saying something.

Nevertheless there was no doubt the child's presence in the castle for the next seven years heralded a great number of issues because so many people believed in the myth that had been created; not least the man who had invented the myth in the first place. Hopefully he favoured his mother, that was all Regulus thought on the matter.

The rest of the staff trickled in and chatted over cups of tea and coffee, and a little extra something for Sybill, because why wouldn't you drink alcohol on the job so blatantly when your permanency was ensured by the one true prophecy you'd ever given (even if it had lead to the deaths of so many babies). How anyone could look at her without any revulsion or loathing was rather a puzzle to Regulus. The rest of the staff were content to drink their tea or coffee and gossip or make various jokes about the position of Defence Against the Dark Arts, and who would be dragged out of the woodwork this year.

They didn't have to wait long. Apparently Dumbledore had seen fit to make the already useless muggle studies professor Quirrell the DADA professor this year, which was the worst one yet. Everyone in the room stared at Dumbledore when he beamed, making his announcement as Quirrell belatedly hurried into the room, along with his newly found speech impediment and sporting a massive turban obviously gained on his travels over the summer, and a whole range of talismans and safety charms, ninety five percent of which were useless, and one hundred percent of which were hideous and worst of all, smelling potently of garlic.

The fraud! Everyone knew vampires didn't care at all about garlic! And turbans weren't just a fancy accessory either. They currently had at least six families who were children of parents or grandparents who had immigrated from India in their school, one of which was a lovely muggleborn family who practiced their parents' religion of Sikhism. Rupinder, a fifth year in Ravenclaw that attended Regulus' supplementary lessons had started tying a full turban last year, and he and Regulus had had a few conversations about hair care over the years as Regulus had quite a length himself --though he did cut it every once in a while, while Rupinder and his siblings of course did not.

He felt that Quirrell's choice of headgear was rather gouache and insensitive, and the story he had invented about a prince and a zombie even worse, but though he always endeavoured to learn about the people around him --in particular the children-- it wasn't his place to say anything. He had no relationship with Quirrell to speak of as it was well known Regulus had never approved of the man. If the children showed any distress however, he'd be the first to take action on their behalf.

He knew rumour had it that Regulus didn't approve of muggles or muggleborns, but that simply wasn't true. After defecting from the Death Eaters, Regulus had made a point of learning as much about the world muggleborns came from as he could, and if he was honest he had begun his research sooner still, even if he'd had to hide it at the time.

No matter how hard they tried, his parents hadn't been able to smother all of Sirius' influence out of Regulus, and Sirius had told him about the muggles visiting the moon before everything fell apart and he ran away, and his imagination had been irretrievably caught.

When Regulus met his first muggleborns at Hogwarts it had been the first thing he'd asked about, not knowing if it had been true or not, and it was the most wondrous thing to a boy who was named after the stars.

One thing that he had noticed, the more he researched and discussed with the muggleborn students, was that Quirrell didn't seem to teach muggle studies accurately at all. Regulus had heard the muggleborns laughing or grouching about it enough that surely Dumbledore had heard it too.

But then his hiring had always been rather...eccentric. Most employers didn't use blackmail in their recruitment strategies after all.

In the end, the new appointment of the DADA Professor every year had little effect on Regulus' day to day life, and thus would affect him even less.

He would stick to his runes, secret scholarships and supplementary history lessons, and stay as far away from talking about all the unforgivables and other sordid magics that he had been forcefully taught about in practical lessons as a child. Severus of course came from a different perspective. An expert in the field of DADA, his dour friend was smothering his disgust at the new appointment rather well, just as he always did.

Dumbledore moved on to talk about the staff challenges he'd had the Heads and Hagrid working on over the summer. He wasn't sure that keeping them around in the school year was the best idea, as the Griffs never failed to see that kind of thing as an open invitation for mischief. Keeping things like a cerebus or a large devils snare in a school was asking for trouble.

Regulus respolved to be watchful. It never hurt to be careful when the headmaster didn't seem to find children's safety a priority. As someone who grew up in that kind of atmosphere, Regulus was rather keen to make sure no one else had to.

As the meeting ended and all of the staff began to drift off and prepare for the arrival of the children that night, Regulus braced himself for an eventful year.

Hi kittens!

This is a story I began writing before Raised by Giants. In fact it was one of the first HP fics I started and so it's good to finally begin to publish it!

as with most of my docs it started as a question. I saw a few fics where Regulus Black takes the place of Severus Snape as the Death eater spy at Hogwarts, but I hadn't yet seen any with them both at Hogwarts, and I wanted to explore that dynamic.

(Since then I have seen that LullabyKnell has a wonderful story called In The Name of the Brave, which has Regulus as an utter dreamboat of a potions professor. That whole fic is really lovely as far as my favourite docs always are, it's indulgent and dreamlike and a brilliant fic to read when you're feeling anxious.)

This fic started out with a different dynamic, but then it became a bit of a kid fic, and I'm not sorry. Little Hermione stole my heart, as did little Harry, and actually this is the first kid fic I've ever written, which is huge for me, but found family is powerful and lovely and so I'm happy where it lead.

As usual this is totally an AU and I know my writing is self indulgiant and inaccurate. I'm definitely the type of fic writer who writes to soothe my own soul and scratch certain brain itches rather than catering to the reader; but enough readers have told me that my imaginings are dreamlike and soothing to them too, and so I keep publishing.

I'll also note that I am disabled; my brain is an actual sandwhich and don't have a beta --and even worse I wrote this and published it on my phone, so sorry about mistakes but I've done my best.

Anyway I hope you enjoy this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'm not sure how many chapters there will be, so we'll just see how we go.

I've crossposted it to AO3 under the same name if that is your preferred place to read 3