Regulus woke with a start and looked around the unfamiliar room, panicking for a moment before remembering that he was in the new flat Liam and he had found a few weeks before. They had moved their few belongings into the house on the first of July, the day that their lease became effective, and then Liam went back to Ireland to spend a few days with his family.
It was now the fifth of July and he was due back sometime that day, though Regulus did not know exactly when his friend would arrive. Though Liam had passed his Apparition test with no problems whatsoever, he still preferred to travel using Muggle transportation. He always gave Regulus an estimate of when he would arrive back home, but more often than not he returned a couple hours past that time, a fact that Regulus was counting on to be true that day.
Regulus had managed to get through the last two weeks of June with ease. Neither Liam nor his parents noticed that he had been absent from the house for a good three hours in the middle of the night, and to his delight he discovered that the tattoo on his arm disappeared when he was not being called to the Dark Lord's side. That hadn't yet happened at all, to his surprise. He wondered, perhaps, if the Dark Lord may have forgotten about him, but then reasoned that he was probably just busy.
I mean, really, when you're trying to change the world, how much time do you have for eighteen-year-old recruits?
At that moment, Regulus noticed the buzzing of his new mechanical alarm clock, and realized that it was the source of his startled waking. Liam had given it to him as a present for his birthday a few months prior to their leaving school, almost as a joke. Regulus had a tendency to break the majority of Muggle objects that Liam gave him, but the clock, Liam figured, was something that he would not break. He might stuff it in a sock drawer in annoyance, but he probably would not break it.
Regulus was considering that very option when the numbers to which the hands were pointing on the face of the clock finally registered – six forty-five. In the morning. Meaning, he was up before dawn. Because he had an interview – the interview!
Regulus threw off the covers and scrambled out of bed. How could he have forgotten? He never would have set the alarm at such an early time unless he had to be somewhere important. He relaxed a little at the touch of a warm rug to his feet, a stark contrast to the flagstone floors of the Slytherin dungeon. It seemed as though the ticking of the clock was getting louder, just to taunt him as the time of the interview drew closer and closer.
He had sent an owl to the Department of Spells and Charms approximately three months prior to his leaving Hogwarts seeking a job which would allow him to develop his skills as a spell creator. At least, that's how he thought of himself. He was not sure exactly how spells were created, but he had been fascinated when Severus Snape taught him some of his self-created spells in his sixth year, right before Severus himself left school. He had always had a gift for language, though he knew that the words of a spell were more of a focusing tool than the magic itself. It was some combination of interconnecting forces, but what that combination was he had little idea.
But he was determined that he would figure out what it was. After all, he had to be able to serve the Dark Lord in some significant way in order to rise up in rank. Severus, surely, was already high among the comrades. Regulus had not yet been able to talk to his former friend, and had not even heard anything of him in over a year, but he figured that that was just Severus' way. He was very power-hungry and ambitious, but he was also subtle and not one to throw himself into the public eye for the sake of it. Regulus admired that about him and tried to emulate the example as much as he could, especially since Sirius seemed to be so much more of a show-off. That did not matter, though, especially since he was going to make his own fortunes in his own way. And he did not need the help of a now-illegitimate brother.
The hands ticked forward again, and Regulus groaned as he realized that he had not yet unpacked all of his robes. He generally wore Muggle clothing since his flat was in the middle of London and he had had little use for robes since the end of the school year, but he figured that he had better dress nicely for an interview at the Ministry of Magic. He glanced at the trunks in a corner of the room, trying to remember the contents of each. The interview was at eight o'clock, and he still had to take a shower and make himself presentable. He thought for a moment and decided that he would wear his dark sapphire robes, once he found the correct trunk. He remembered his cousin Andromeda telling him once that they brought out the colour of his eyes…
Forty-five minutes later he pulled the robes over his head and stepped back to look in the mirror. His smooth black hair was pulled back at the nape of his neck, with a few stray strands of hair hanging loose, which he quickly tucked behind his ears. He noticed that the robes really did make his eyes look blue, rather than steely grey – Sirius' eyes were bluer than his were. The robes fit him well, and made him look taller and more dignified. He was pleased to note that his skin tone was a bit darker with the blue robes than it had been when compared to his black school robes.
The clock hands ticked forward again, reminding him that it was just past seven-thirty. He stuck his wand inside a hidden pocket in his sleeve and picked up his room, trying to calm the butterflies in his stomach that seemed to multiply as he thought more and more about the fact that this interview could determine his worth to the Dark Lord. It was more than just a job. If he could rise in rank in the Ministry, he would be able to provide all kinds of valuable information. He would become a secret and trusted advisor, more than just a follower. Perhaps even the closest, the one who would be able to understand him the most. It was not that he did not believe what his cousin Bellatrix had said. It was that, at the same time, he knew that there was some way to draw closer to everyone. It was harder with some people, like Severus, but even Severus could be cracked.
"What are you all dressed up for?" Liam's voice made Regulus jump a foot. He turned around and saw the blonde man leaning against his doorframe. It was clear that Liam was attempting to appear energetic, but the dark circles under his eyes gave him away. He had obviously not slept at all on his trip back from Ireland. His relatively short hair was as tousled as it could possibly become, and he looked like he had just risen from bed.
"Liam! I wasn't expecting you so soon," Regulus said.
"Yes, well, I decided to travel through the night rather than wait for this morning. I thought I might be able to do some unpacking and get my room in proper order. Didn't catch a wink of sleep, unfortunately, so I think I may just go take a nap," Liam yawned. "But seriously, where are you going?"
"Oh, well, I have an interview at the Ministry of Magic at eight o'clock."
Liam raised an eyebrow. "The Ministry?"
"But you hate the Ministry."
Regulus knew that that question was bound to come at some point.
"Yes, well, hate is a very strong word. I dislike the Ministry, but you have to admit that they have a bit of a monopoly on jobs in the wizarding world."
Liam chuckled, "All right, fine. You win. You'd better hurry, though, or you're going to be late."
Regulus checked the ever-ticking clock and saw that Liam was right. He gave him a hasty good-bye, took one last look in the mirror to make sure he looked exactly the way he wanted to, and thought very hard about the telephone booth entrance to the Ministry. He felt the familiar tingling sensation of Apparition and seconds later found himself exactly where he hoped he would end up, inside the telephone booth. He hated being seen by Muggles when he was wearing robes. He dialled the number, and waited for the voice.
"Welcome to the Ministry of Magic. Please state your name and business."
"Regulus Black. I'm here to interview for a position in the Department of Spells and Charms"
"Thank you. Visitor, please take the badge and attach it to the front of your robes," said the cool female voice.
Regulus took the square badge and read, Regulus Black, Interview. He pinned it carefully and waited for the voice to come again as the telephone booth began to sink into the ground.
"Visitor to the Ministry, you are required to submit to a search and present your wand for registration at the security desk, which is located at the far end of the Atrium." The booth came to a slow halt and opened to the bright room. Regulus could hear the flow of the fountain even before he stepped into the room.
"The Ministry wishes you a pleasant day!"
He scanned the room and saw a window and desk counter opposite the telephone booth behind which a small, slight man was busting about. He strode over to the desk, wand in hand, unsure of how to get the man's attention. He could see tufts of curling white hair sticking up over the top of the desk and he could not quite figure out what it was that the man was doing. Finally, he reached that end of the room and peered over to see that the man was sifting through a file cabinet on the floor.
"Good morning," Regulus said smoothly, causing the man to leap up in surprise. He was taller than Regulus had supposed, but he still had to look slightly up to meet Regulus' blue-grey eyes. He was wearing the forest-green robes with gold stripes of a Security-Keeper, from the same department as the Auror officers, but not as prestigious a position. The Security-Keepers were generally posted at all Ministry offices around the United Kingdom and used to keep the peace at most Ministry events. Some special details were used in cases of emergency along with the Auror task forces. Many security personnel had other part-time jobs. Regulus noted a gold star on the sleeve of the man's robes, denoting his past service in the war against Grindelwald. He had probably been in one of the elite security details.
"Well, good morning to you, m'boy," the man said evenly with a hint of a Scottish accent. "How can I help you today?"
Regulus set his wand on the desk carefully and replied, "I'm here for an interview with the Department of Spells and Charms. I was told upon entry to submit my wand for checking here. Could you direct me toward the proper floor for my interview?"
The Scotchman nodded and picked up his wand, examining it carefully while muttering under his breath. The man turned it over and cast a few spells before handing it back.
"Well, apart from a few nicks and the usual wear and tear I usually see on the wands of young wizards such as yourself, you wand appears to be in perfect working condition." He returned it to the counter. "I was informed by the department of your imminent arrival when I came in this morning. You'll find a built man of about your height on the third floor. His name is Tobias Jackson, and he's an old mate of mine.
He smiled at Regulus. "Good luck with the interview."
Regulus thanked the man for his help as he tucked the wand back in the hidden sleeve pocket. He walked over to the bank of lifts to the right of the security booth and felt his stomach turning in knots as it rose four levels toward the fourth floor. This was not his first visit to the Ministry. His father had worked there for many years in the Department of Wizarding Business. The Black family had been built on trade and prestige, until it came to Sirius and Regulus. Sirius had thought about becoming an Auror, or a Security-Keeper. Regulus remembered him talking with his friend James Potter about possibly becoming a member of the Orion Force, the premier fighting force in the Department of Wizarding Security, just a step below an Auror. He had no idea whether his brother was meeting his dreams, or if he had changed them.
And what was Regulus doing? He did not fully know. He wanted to do something that would make him someone. He did not want to just be another Black carrying on the family business. Let Lucius and Narcissa do that. They seemed quite willing to be involved in commerce, and even in black market dealings. But Regulus was more interested in creating. He knew that no one knew the names of spell creators, but he wanted to create something much larger, some place that was magical. Like Diagon Alley, or Hogsmeade, but different. He did not know exactly, but he knew the desire. And he knew that this was the first way for him to get there.
The doors opened and he saw a man sipping a mug of steaming liquid and reading the morning paper on a bench in what looked to be a reception room. The man's hair was a silvery-grey with hints of red. He cleared his throat and the man looked up.
"Ah, Regulus Black, is it?" the man's deep voice echoed in the empty room.
Regulus nodded. "Yes, sir. I am here for an interview with the Department of Spells and Charms. Are you Mr. Jackson?"
"I am indeed, but call me Jacks, everyone else does." The man stood and extended his arm to shake Regulus' hand. "Please sit down, Mr. Black. Would you like a cup of tea?"
"I would appreciate it very much, thanks," Regulus replied. Jacks conjured a tea kettle and another cup out of thin air. Regulus saw that there were already leaves in the cup, and Jacks motioned for him to pour as much water as he wished. He did so and let it settle for a few moments to mix the contents and cool down.
"All right, now that you are settled, let's have a little talk, shall we?" Jacks asked. Regulus waited for the first question, trying to appear at ease, but so sure that he was failing miserably.
"Ah, of course."
Jacks chuckled deeply, "Relax, Mr. Black. This isn't life and death here. I noted on your application that you just recently left Hogwarts, with relatively high marks might I add, especially in those classes that require the use of a wand." Regulus nodded.
"Have you always been good at wand magic, Mr. Black?"
Regulus thought this an odd question. "Well, I suppose. I mean, I've always had an affinity for magic, but, don't most wizards?"
Jacks took a sip of tea and agreed, "Of course, yes. We all have an affinity for magic, but what I am asking is, were you always better at your wand specific classes, like Charms and Transfiguration, or Defence Against the Dark Arts, or were you also equally as good at potions and astronomy?"
Regulus cocked an eyebrow. "Don't my marks give an indication of what type of student I was?"
"Regulus, calm down. I'm just trying to get an idea of how excited you are about what you can do. I have full faith that you can do anything we ask of you, but the question is, do you want to do it? Why are you looking to do this job?" Jacks leaned back in his chair and stared him straight in the eye.
He noticed that all the muscles in his body had tensed up since he had sat down for tea with Jacks. He started to relax each of them and as he thought carefully about his answer. Why did he want this job? Was he excited about it?
"I apologize, sir. I suppose I'm used to my abilities being questioned, rather than my motives for doing them." Regulus took a sip of the cooling tea. He had nearly forgotten about it.
Jacks smiled, "It's all right. Now, what of my question?"
Regulus answered thoughtfully, "I guess I originally applied for the job because I've always wondered how magic works."
"Ah, I see. Go on, then."
"I know that there has to be some sort of relationship between the caster of a spell, the spell itself, meaning the words of the spell, the wand, and the object that the spell is working upon. But what that relationship is, I have no idea. I just know that it would be brilliant to be able to understand it and tap into it," finished Regulus, somewhat breathless.
He hadn't known that he had the ability to explain himself that plainly. He was so introverted that usually explaining himself to another person scared him immensely. What would Jacks think of his answer?
"Ah ha!" Jacks nearly shouted. Regulus nearly spilled his tea.
"You have hit on the crux of it!"
Jacks nodded emphatically, "Indeed. That relationship means everything about whether or not a spell will succeed, or fail, even to the point of how strong it is. But, you'll learn about that in time."
"So, you can teach me how to wield a power like that?" The excitement in Regulus' voice annoyed him slightly, but it was too important of a question to care. To be able to understand that relationship and use it for his purposes, well, that was exactly what he was looking to accomplish.
Jacks studied him for a moment and took another sip of tea before replying, "Is that what you're looking for? Power?"
The question made Regulus very uncomfortable. "Well, uh, I guess, no. Not power exactly. Understanding. Something I can use."
Jacks took another sip. "But you can use magic no matter what. You don't have to understand what makes it work."
"Yes, but understanding always increases one's ability to use something else, whether it is magic or mechanical," Regulus retorted. He was beginning to think that this "interview" was more of a way to test his brain power rather than a way to decide whether he was right for the job, and that was fine. As long as he got it.
"Very true," Jacks said. "To answer your question, no, I can't teach you how to wield that power because in reality, the power that you are thinking of doesn't exist. Any witch or wizard who thinks magic through to its completion would be able to wield its full potential power."
Regulus was confused. "Then why do I have greater magical ability than others? Why are my spells sometimes stronger?"
"It depends on a lot of factors, Regulus. For one thing, it depends on your intentions. Granted, I haven't known you very long, but I can already tell that when you want something, you work extremely hard to get it, is that right?"
"Well, of course."
"All right, then. I think it would be safe for me to assume that you work the same way when you cast spells. You know what you want, and you focus very hard to get it done," finished Jacks. He took another sip of tea.
"But, what does that have to do with anything?"
"Everything! Well, I'll give you an example."
Jacks set his tea cup on the table and stood, whipping out his wand so quickly that Regulus did not have a chance to see where it came from. He stood in the centre of the room, looking about himself critically until he seemed to settle on something.
He looked at Regulus, "You know the charm for lifting something in the air?"
"Of course, Wingardium Leviosa." Did the man think he was a first-year?
Jacks smiled. "Yes, that's how you were taught it in school. And even if you pointed to that pillow and said those words, with the intention of lifting that pillow in the air, it would work. But, you don't have to."
He pointed to the pillow and said clearly, "Leviosa!" And the pillow rose. He pointed the wand, and the pillow returned to the chair again.
Regulus was extremely confused. "But don't the words mean something? Why did the pillow rise with only half of the spell?"
"Because the first half of the spell relates to what you were lifting in class, feathers," said Jacks as he sat back down in his chair. "You see, the words of a spell don't matter as much as the intention behind them. They are used to focus your mind on what is to be done. You associate the word Leviosa with lifting, and so your intent and the proper expression of the word creates the result you want. But what of witches and wizards who speak other languages? Surely they do not all use the same words for every spell. Have you ever thought about that?"
Regulus was taken aback. "Not really, no. So are you saying the words don't matter?"
Jacks shook his head. "Of course they matter, just not as much as you think they do. They are there to focus your mind, and they do carry some weight in themselves. Words can be used to craft meanings, especially if you use magical languages. Part of a spell always has an element of a magical language, otherwise it wouldn't work. But in the end, if everyone understood how it worked, they would all be able to do it to the best of their ability. There isn't some hidden magical formula that only the strong can access.
"And besides, the Department isn't about making magic available to the few. It's about making it accessible to all witches and wizards. How much do you know about what we do here?"
Regulus shrugged. "Not much. Obviously, you deal with matters relating to spells and charms, and I assume that that encompasses transfiguration, fighting the dark arts, charms, all those sorts of things that I learned at school."
Jacks nodded. "It does. We do all sorts of things, from spell creation, including research, to textbook writing, to seminars for witches and wizards who are doing research and need our assistance, to aiding other witches and wizards practically who may not have the ability to do wand magic as well as others can. There are an almost unlimited number of options for you in the department, and we would love to have you among us, if that is what you want to do."
"I'd like that, I think," Regulus agreed. "When can I start? What is it that you'll have me doing?"
"You'll probably start out in a more research-based position until we can learn more about your abilities. Today is a Thursday morning, how would you like to come in on Monday?"
"Sure, that sounds fine to me," Regulus said. That would give him the entire weekend to prepare for his first day of work. The more prepared he was, the more the Dark Lord would be able to use him for his purposes. As Jacks finished off his cup of tea, Regulus remembered something.
"I have a question."
"Is Severus Snape a member of this Department?"
Jacks gave him an odd look, "Well, no, we never actually hired him. He did apply for a position, but some of my colleagues felt that he seemed to be a little off in character."
"Oh," Regulus replied. "I see. He's just an acquaintance of mine from school, that's all. I know he had extraordinary magical abilities. He used to show me things that he had created. I just figured that if he was here, it was one less person to get to know."
"Understandable," Jacks said. "Well, it was good to meet you, Regulus. Have a good weekend, and I'll see you here on Monday morning at nine o'clock. We only make interviewees come in early."
"Thank you, Jacks. Have a good weekend yourself."
Regulus Apparated back to his flat and sat down immediately to send an owl to his father about his job. He knew that he would be proud of his son for getting a job so quickly and for doing it largely on his own initiative. It may not be a business related job, but he was certainly using business skills, and that was what mattered.
Liam trudged into the kitchen as he was attaching the letter to the leg of his owl and sending her out the window to deliver the letter. He looked much more refreshed and awake than he had earlier that morning. He busied himself with getting a glass of juice and then sat down next to Regulus.
"So, how did it go?"
Regulus smiled. "I got the job!"
"Congratulations!" Liam clapped a hand on his shoulder. "When do you start?"
"On Monday, nine in the morning. Probably just doing research, nothing too big."
Liam shook his head. "But at least you have something. I'd be willing to bet that most of our classmates haven't found a job yet that they'd really like. Besides, this way you can learn more about the theory behind what you're doing before you have to go out and do it practically. I think it's a good position for you."
Regulus nodded. "Thanks, mate. How about you? Any job prospects yet? How was Ireland?"
"No job prospects yet, but Ireland was great. You should see Clare. She's the most adorable little girl I've ever seen. Silas and Alana are enamoured with her, as are Aislinn and Tara, of course," Liam had a far-off look in his eye as he talked about his young niece.
"It seems like you are, too," Regulus teased his friend lightly.
Liam grinned. "Well, of course I am. She's my little niece. I'm finally not the baby in the family!"
Both boys laughed and Liam drank some more juice.
"But she really is something."
"How old is she now?" Regulus questioned.
"About two and a half. She was born in February of 1977."
"And your brother and sisters are…?"
"Silas is twenty-nine, Alana is twenty-seven, but Alana is Silas' wife. They got married, I don't know, six years ago? Yeah, about six years ago. Then Aislinn is twenty-five, and Tara is twenty-one."
Regulus nodded. "I see. Yeah, I knew that they were all older than you, and I knew the order, but I was unsure of where exactly they all fit in to the formula. What did you lot do while you were there?"
"We live in a seaside town, you know. My dad's family have been involved in sea trade for centuries, that's why we never experienced hardship with the potato famines. In fact, we were really very fortunate. So many Irishmen wanted to leave that our business increased dramatically."
He grinned. "It's amazing what a little luck can do."
Regulus laughed, "Luck. You know better than to believe in luck. You make your future and your success."
Liam looked thoughtful. "It's true to some extent. You do make your own success, but you can't control it all, friend. Sometimes the future makes you. Sometimes there's just something bigger controlling it all."
"You believe that?"
"I'm Irish, of course I do."
"But you're also a Slytherin," Regulus pointed out.
Liam gave him a look. "But I was Irish first. In any case, my family loves the sea, and it's not just because we've built our lives upon it. There's just something about being by the ocean that reminds me of who I am and who I want to be.
"Like, I feel so small and insignificant next to it. When I see those waves crashing into the rocks and I feel the spray on my face, I'm just reminded of how I'm only one piece of the larger puzzle. There's something bigger at work here. And maybe I'm not going to solve it, but I can try."
It always amazed Regulus when Liam got like this. He seemed to go into his own world, exploring his own thoughts and dreams. Regulus did not know why, but he could never seem to get into the place that Liam went when he found something that he was really passionate about. Liam just seemed to get lost in it and pulled away by its current, but at the same time, he seemed to control the current. It was something that he couldn't figure out.
"So what's the puzzle?"
"The puzzle?" Liam finished off his juice and leaned back in the chair. "I don't know, Regulus. Maybe it's me, maybe it's what I'm supposed to be doing with my life. Maybe it's what I'm supposed to be doing for other people. Maybe it's just the whole purpose of all of this. I mean, don't you ever think about that? Don't you ever think about what you're doing here, why you are where you are? Why we're here together, you and me?"
Regulus shrugged. "I suppose, sometimes. I don't know. It's not something I think about all the time. Sure, I have my dreams, I know what I'd like to do with my life, and I believe that I can control my future, that if I just make the right decisions I'll get where I want to go. I guess I'm here because I want to be here."
"And you got the job because you made it happen?"
"Yeah. I worked hard for it, and I received a return for my labour."
"Hmm," Liam sighed. "I see what you're saying. I guess I just look at things differently, that's all."
Regulus grinned. "Well, we all have our opinions. Doesn't change our relationship, though, right?"
Liam shook his head. "Of course not, friend. I'd give my life for you, you know that. Well, back to your original question. Dad and Silas are still in the boat business, so I helped them a bit hauling and managing accounts. I spent some time with my sisters, and with Clare. I helped my mom around the house. I saw friends that I hadn't seen in quite a long time. Visited our parish priest and had a good conversation with him. Basically, I just caught up with people.
"I love being back there, you know. I'll always love Ireland, and the Burren especially. It's home. No where else will ever feel like that for me, not even here."
Liam looked far off again, and Regulus began to feel uncomfortable. He did not really have anywhere like that, and he knew it. He felt most at home when he was with his friend. Twelve Grimmauld Place was not exactly a place he felt he would be able to look on twenty years later with fond memories, and he did not even feel like he would be able to look at Hogwarts that way. Someday, maybe somewhere would feel like home. But he hadn't found it yet.
"Do you think you're going to go back there, or try to work here?" Regulus asked carefully.
Liam shook his head. "No, the work is better here. I love working on the docks, and my family could sure use my abilities to help out, but it would cause too many questions among the other crews. People are already asking where I've been for the past seven years. Silas and Aislinn never went away for school, and Tara only started going away for school because my parents did not want my disappearance to seem out of the ordinary. If they had two children away, maybe people wouldn't notice as much."
"But they did."
"Yeah, they did. How could they not? Our family is so close. Neither Tara nor Aislinn are working for my father, but they are still in the same town. I've never met anyone else who could do magic, and I'm scared to look. I'm scared of what I might find there."
"You mean in terms of blood battles?"
Liam answered affirmatively, "Basically. I want to keep my family away from all of that. I've never told them about it, so they have no idea. They don't need to know. It's my battle, not theirs."
"I understand, mate. I wish I had a family like that."
Liam smiled sympathetically at Regulus, and then his face lit up. "Oh! I forgot to tell you. Aislinn is going to come visit in a month or so."
"Really?" The thought of meeting one of the members of Liam's perfect family was very appealing to Regulus.
"Yeah. She has two weeks or so of vacation in August, so she's going to come see the flat, and I'm going to take her to Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley as well. Hopefully I'll have a job by then so I can show her around there, too," Liam said excitedly. "Oh, it'll be great. You'll like her a lot, I know you will."
Regulus replied, "I'm sure I will. I'm sure I'd love all of your family. Any job prospects, by the way?"
Liam waved a hand in the air, "I have some ideas, none too concrete. I didn't think about it too much at school, which is something that I'm regretting now. I'd like to get into something political, I think. There's just so much about the wizarding world that I'd like to change."
"Liam, you do realize that you're just one person," Regulus said, with what he hoped was a warning tone.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. I can't save the world. But maybe I'll be able to do some good. This blood battle business just kills me. I feel like maybe I'm in a position to do something about it. You know, the Muggleborn Slytherin. Maybe people will think that I have a good angle," Liam's voice trailed off and he started playing with his glass. Regulus hoped that he wouldn't drop it.
"I figure I'll look for a job in Diagon Alley just to make some money first. I'll be able to meet more people that way. Maybe look for a political action group, some group of people who are involved in trying to end all this stuff."
Regulus sighed, "Well, you know I wish you luck, even if I don't think it's going to work."
Liam chuckled. "I thought you didn't believe in luck."
Regulus grinned. "I don't."
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, buddy."
Toward the end of the day, Regulus looked about his room surveying the work he had accomplished. It was actually starting to look like a home. He glanced at the little clock and saw that it was eight in the evening. Liam had gone out after supper to look for job possibilities in Diagon Alley, and to meet up with some friends at The Leaky Cauldron. His father and mother had returned his owl with a congratulatory note. And there he sat, looking out over the London skyline.
He heard a tap at the window and saw a jet black owl staring at him expectantly. He shuffled over to let it in and stepped back as the bird swooped into the room, bearing a note attached to his small claw.
"Thanks," muttered Regulus as the bird held out its claw to allow him better access to the note and then swooped away as quickly as it had come. Regulus shut and bolted the window before taking a look at the note.
To: Regulus Black, London
From: Rodolphus Lestrange
Good evening. Be ready tomorrow at six. Find a reason to be away from absolutely everyone.
He stared at the note. Be ready. And he planned to be.
Author's Note: When I knew Regulus needed a job, I never figured that giving him one in the Department of Spells and Charms would require so much research into how JKR's spell theory really works. While it becomes much more important later, the issue did arise in this chapter, so I wanted to list the sources that I used in order to understand her unique theory better. The following articles can all be found at the Harry Potter Lexicon:
"Familiarity: The Key to Understanding Spellwork," by Paul Dionne
"Limits of Magic," by Caius Marcius
"A Magical Worldview," by Steve Vander Ark
"Spells and Charms: The Nature of Magic," by Amy Z