Regulus can’t stop the yelp that escapes him when the jinx hits. Nor can he stop himself from staggering into the wall as his shoes twist under his feet; heels shooting up as the toes pinch. Behind him, he can hear Potter and Pettigrew laughing like a pair of hyenas. Not Sirius, but then again, Sirius knows better. He especially knows better than to put Regulus in a skirt and high heels.
After all, he was forced into Cousin Bella’s Dress-Up Playtime as well.
He looks down at himself. Heels, check. A skirt that’s modelled on the school uniform, check. He tries to reverse the transfiguration only for it to shrink by a couple of inches instead and honestly, fuck the Marauders. It’s close enough to dinner that the entire school is out roaming the halls, so he’d have to walk past pretty much everyone in order to go and get changed, and the idea of scurrying down to the dungeons to hide himself makes him want to scream.
He’s not the usual victim. In fact, they’ve never pranked him at all. Sirius has clearly said something to keep them away from him so far, but none of the Marauders are known for their impulse control – Potter and Pettigrew least of all. Still. Regulus may not be their usual target – that dubious honour belongs to Snape – but he is firmly of the opinion that they’ve been allowed to get away with this nonsense for far too long.
He's tired of it.
He makes a show of squeaking in shame and embarrassment before heading to the nearest loo – it’s mercifully close, even if it means he can hear Potter and Pettigrew cackling as he locks himself inside and checks his appearance in the mirror. They’ve attempted make-up, ugh.
He knows better than to try and take it off. Like the skirt, it’ll probably just get worse. Instead…
The way he got Sirius to lay off at home was to lean in to the weird. To embrace it, utterly. Thanking Sirius for helping him with his French/Greek/Latin/Russian made him stop casting translation charms on all of Regulus’ books. The itching powder would have been interminable if Regulus hadn’t noticed it before putting his clothes on, and going without underwear for a week is far from the strangest thing he’s ever done. After the time Sirius hid a dead cat in his bed and Regulus made a show of learning taxidermy, a few days without pants was nothing. Besides, Sirius hasn’t been in his room ever since Madame Claudette started guarding his bedside, which is, in his opinion, an excellent trade-off.
He hadn’t thought he’d end up doing this at school, though.
He uses actual cosmetic charms to fix the mess the Marauders made of his face, turning ghastly panda-eyes and clumpy mascara to smoky eyeshadow and sharp-winged eyeliner. He evens out the attempt at foundation, blending it to match his pallor. The pink lipstick becomes a deep shade of plum, and a quick spell changes it from sticky gloss to matte. Another spell paints his nails the perfect shade to match.
Thanks to his attempt to remove it, the skirt is… short. Still within school regulation length, just, but far shorter than the frilly, gothic nightmares that Bella used to put him in. He spells away the hair on his legs, leaving them smooth and silky, and – after a moment – he takes the plunge and transfigures his own underwear to something that, er, fits the look. If he’s going to do this, he’s going to do this properly.
The shoes he leaves alone. They’re not actually that bad.
He spends a moment on his hair, wrestling his curls into a more effeminate updo than his usual ponytail before leaving the bathroom with his head held high.
Potter and Pettigrew are gone, no doubt to share their glee over a successful prank with Sirius and Lupin. The corridors are still crowded, however, and Regulus joins the flow of students down to the Great Hall. He’s… aware of his peers. Of the double-takes that he gets and the whispered comments, of the one Hufflepuff who wolf-whistles as he walks past. But Regulus is a Black and shame is for other people.
He reaches the Great Hall. A glance at the Gryffindor table shows Potter and Pettigrew already seated, talking with Sirius and Lupin. Their hands are waving with their excitement, and as Regulus watches, Pettigrew almost launches mashed potato into McKinnon’s hair.
He makes up his mind. He’d debated what to do, on his way down; how best to lean further into this little performance. He walks over. Sashays, really, putting extra sway into his hips. Potter spots him first. His wide eyes and sudden silence must make his brother take notice, because Sirius turns and…
Ah, yes. He’s missed that expression on Sirius’ face.
Pettigrew and Lupin have seen him now. They’re looking rather bug-eyed about it. Silence spreads from their place at the Gryffindor table as more and more students notice Regulus making his way over. Regulus doesn’t stop. He doesn’t stop until he’s right behind Sirius and Lupin, and even then, it’s more of a pause so that he can safely plant one knee onto Gryffindor table and lean across.
He reaches out and curls a painted fingernail under Potter’s chin. The other boy is so surprised that he lets Regulus pull him up and out of his seat.
Regulus smiles. Potter shudders. Somewhere around Regulus’ hip, Sirius makes a disgruntled sort of whine.
“You need to practise your cosmetic charms, Potter,” Regulus says, pulling him in closer. He can feel Potter’s breath on his cheek; feel the muscles in his jaw twitching. “That make-up you put me in? A girl could get offended by that.”
Potter’s eyes are wide. Startled. He looks a bit like a deer in wand-light. It’s really quite endearing. “Um, sorry?” he says. It comes out as a squeak.
Regulus lets his smile widen, showing teeth. “Oh, you will be,” he replies.
Potter swallows. “Please,” he says. His eyes widen further and he clears his throat. “I mean, um. I – “
Regulus leans closer, so that their lips are a scant millimetre apart. He shifts his hand, no longer pressing a finger to the underside of Potter’s jaw. He slides it up, over his cheek, grazing surprisingly soft hair with his fingertips. Potter’s breath hitches.
The kiss is barely there. It’s just a brush of his lips against Potter’s, just enough to make him relax and lean into Regulus’ hold slightly. Potter’s lips are soft too – unfair, really, but -
Potter’s yelp when Regulus pinches and twists the tip of his ear is immensely satisfying. So are the apologies and the whimpers of “ow, ow, ow, what the fuck,” before he uses his grip to plunge Potter’s face straight into the tureen of mashed potato.
Then, he lets him go. He straightens up, standing up properly and straightening his skirt before flashing Sirius his sweetest smile. “Remember Madame Claudette?” he asks, snagging Sirius’ goblet of pumpkin juice and taking a sip.
His brother’s face twists. He nods reluctantly – in fairness, Madame Claudette probably haunts his nightmares. She’s that sort of taxidermy.
“Now just think what I could do with a dog,” Regulus muses. He reaches up to pat Sirius’ cheek. “Remind your little friends that I’m off limits, brother dear.”
He takes Sirius’ goblet with him, all the way back to Slytherin. Behind him, in the rising cacophony, he hears snippets of phrases.
“Mr Black! Twenty points from Slytherin!”
“But… but I pranked him too!”
“Hey, Siri? Is your brother single?”