Notes: This is a gift for my dear friend Ell Roche.

Fandom(s): Harry Potter
Pairing(s): James Potter/Rigel Black, mentions of Charlus Potter/Dorea Black Potter, mentions of James Potter/Lily Evans, mentions of Ted Tonks/Andromeda Black, mentions of Lucius Malfoy/Bellatrix Black, and mentions of Narcissa Black/Franklin Longbottom
Warning(s): alternate universe; female!Regulus (Rigel); het; pureblood culture; evil Black family; good!Bellatrix and Narcissa (and Andromeda); and Sirius wants little to do with his family

Summary: Rigel Black needed help from one person and one person alone: her brother. Unfortunately, Sirius didn't show up, but James did. Fortunately, James was willing to help. James/Rigel.

A Chance at Happiness

Rigel Black did her best to remain calm and still. Her mother had ruthless taught her proper manners. A pureblood lady never showed any of her emotions, no matter the circumstances. A proper pureblood lady remained cool and aloof. A proper pureblood never gave into her emotions, in public.

Forcing herself to take a deep breath, Rigel cast yet another Tempus. Where was he? He was running late. Surely, he hadn't abandoned her.

Against her will, Rigel's mask started to slip. A few tears fell slid down her cheeks, and a sob escaped her lips. Wrapping her arms around herself, Rigel leaned against the nearby wall. She raised her head, staring up at the ceiling.

Where was he?

Her closed her eyes as she started to slid to the floor. This went against all the lessons her mother had taught her, but Rigel couldn't help it. She was terrified. She didn't know what to do, and Sirius was her only hope.

Her big brother had abandoned her. He truly wanted nothing to do with their family. It wasn't just her he failed – Andromeda, Bellatrix, and Narcissa also needed him. With Sirius gone, he left them all unprotected, and her parents knew it. Her parents went betrothal-crazy over the summer. When a pureblood created a betrothal contract, it had to be approved of by the Lord of the House and his Heir. Without Sirius around, Orion and Walburga wrote a betrothal contract for each of the four young daughters of the House of Black. There was still time for Sirius to reject each and every one, but he needed to act – to reject each and every one of those contract. He was still Heir Black, having never been disinherited.

A few sobs escaped Rigel. She was doomed. Her life was over. Discarding all thoughts on proper manners, she began to cry. She cried for herself, and all of her cousins. They were all doomed – but her most of all. Andromeda was eloping over the Yule Holidays, knowing she would be disinherited and shunned by everyone she knew. Bellatrix and Narcissa were looking at bleak futures. Bellatrix would be forced to halt her education in politics, and Narcissa would never marry the man she loved. Rigel, well she didn't want to think about herself. She knew her future would be horrible.

She buried her head in her knees as she continued to sob. Her dreams of love, and children were gone. There was no way he would never love her.

Unlike Sirius, Rigel couldn't run away. If she was disinherited, she would loose her family bonds and her magic would be unstabilized. She would slowly go insane until her mind gone and her empty shell of a body would remain to do as her betrothed wished. Bellatrix would likely face the same fate when she was forced to marry Rodolphus Lestrange. It was well known Rodolphus was a cheater, and he won't allow his future wife to have his family magic. But when Bellatrix changed her last name, she would loose her Black family bonds and there wouldn't be any new bonds to replace them. Her magic would know her husband wasn't faithful, which would increase the rate Bellatrix went insane. Honestly, Bellatrix would, probably, go insane within five years.

"Miss Black," a soft male voice said, pulling Rigel from her thoughts.

Her head snapped up to see James Potter kneeling in front of her. His hazel eyes were gentle, and he was holding out a silk handkerchief.

Rigel took the offered handkerchief. She dabbed away her tears, glancing around. James and her bother were best mates. They were rarely without one another.

Sirius was nowhere to be seen.

"Thank you, Heir Potter," Rigel said, speaking softly. She remained seated on the floor. She didn't have the energy to move, and she didn't care if she was acting improperly in front of a pureblood heir.

James didn't seem to care as he moved to sit next to her.

"Where's my brother?" Rigel whispered, glancing at James.

James didn't say anything, but he silence spoke volume to Rigel.

"He's not coming," she stated. A sob escaped her lips. There went any and all hope. Rigel rested her head against the wall as she stared up at the ceiling. "There goes the Ancient and Noble House of Black," she whispered.

James glanced at her, looking startled.

"Don't look so surprised," Rigel said. "We've been in decline for awhile, and we'll be gone by the next generation."

James' eyes narrowed. "What did you want to see Sirius about?" he asked.

Rigel turned her head to look at James, her gray eyes narrowed. Her betrothal would be public knowledge soon enough. "Walburga betrothed me – and my cousins," she answered.

James eyes widened.

"Everyone knows she's the real power of the Blacks," Rigel stated. "Andromeda's betrothed to Peter Yaxley, Narcissa to Lucius Malfoy, and Bellatrix to Rodolphus Lestrange."

James paled a little. It was well known both the Yaxley and Lestrange families supported the Dark Lord. It was rumored Lucius Malfoy was being forced to join by his father. Besides it was well known that Bellatrix and Lucius were in love. Bellatrix was going into politics to run the Malfoy family politics – the seat on the Board of Governors, the seat in the Wizengamot, and other affairs.

"You?" James asked.

Rigel let out a humorless laugh. "The Dark Lord," she stated.

James paled farther, and his hazel eyes widened. That sounded worse than a death sentence. Without a word, he leapt to his feet, dragging Rigel with him. He took off running, pulling Rigel behind him. James led her through secret passages she didn't know existed. He stopped in front of a portrait.

"Pride," he said.

The portrait opened. Rigel's eyes widened. This was the Gryffindor common room.

James pulled Rigel along as he entered the common room. He led her up a flight of stairs and into a room labeled Seventh Year Boys. The door blew up before James could touch. He was angry, and his magic was reacting accordingly.

Inside the dorm, the three occupants were shocked.

"Prongs, you okay?" Sirius Black yelled. His eyes narrowed when he spotted his sister.

James entered the room, pulling Rigel behind him.

"Out," he ordered, looking at Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.

The pair glanced at James before bolting from the room, closing the door behind them.

James pulled out his wand, silently casting several spells and charms to ward the room.

"What's going on, Prongs?" Sirius asked, glaring at his sister.

Instead of answering, James pulled Rigel in front of him. Sirius looked at her, taking in her wrinkled robes and her red eyes.

"You went," Sirius stated. "After I told you in was nothing important."

Rigel flinched, knowing her brother was talking about the meeting with her.

"It is," James hissed. "You have you duties to fulfill."

Sirius glared. "I've been disinherited," he stated, "so there are no duties."

"What are you talking about?" Rigel asked. "You're still the heir."

"I don't want to be the heir," Sirius said, his voice raising in volume.

"And Walburga's taking advantage of that," James stated. "Your sister's betrothed to the Dark Lord."

Sirius paled, his gray eyes darting over to his sister. He wasn't close to his sister, but he knew she didn't want anything to do with the Dark Lord or his Death Eaters. She wanted to fall in love, and have a family.

"Mother went crazy with the betrothal contracts this summer," Rigel stated. "There won't be any hope for the Black family next generation."

Sirius said nothing.

"You need to fix this," James stated. "As Heir Black, it's your responsibility to oversee all betrothal contract for your generation. You have the authority to reject or accept any contracts."

"Fine," Sirius stated.

"Good," James said, "we'll be leaving for Diagon Alley in the morning."

James didn't wait for a reply before leaving the dorm, taking Rigel with him. They descended the stairs, and James led her to a different door, this one labeled Head Boy.

"You can have the bed," James said, turning to Rigel.

Her eyes widened.


Surprisingly, Rigel slept soundly. She hadn't slept well since learning of her betrothal. She woke up feeling rather relaxed and refreshed.

"Miss Black," squeaked a house-elf, "Mitzy brings you's your clothes." The house-elf held out an outfit.

Rigel took the outfit before making her way to the private bathroom. The private bathroom was impressive with a full size tub, and a shower big enough for four people. Rigel quickly showered and dressed for the day.

When she returned to the main room, Rigel found James slowly awaking up on the couch. He stretched and stood up, giving Rigel a view of his chest. She blushed.

"Morning, Rigel," James greeted, sounding causal. He walked over to his wardrobe and pulled out a set of semi-formal robes. He went to the bathroom without a word.

Rigel glanced around James' dorm, uncertain of what to do. She felt rather awkward. Apart from Sirius' room, she had never been in a boy's room. Rigel turned a little pink. She decided to take a seat at James' desk while she waited. Remaining in James' room seemed safer than venturing out to the Gryffindor common room.

After several moments, James returned to his room. He smiled at Rigel, and he offered her his arm. With a blush, Rigel took James' arm.

It wasn't something she liked to admit, but Rigel was kind of crazy about James Potter. She might or might not have harbored a crush on him, for awhile.

James led Rigel out to the Gryffindor common room where he passed Lupin and Lily Evans without a glance or an acknowledgement. Rigel saw Evans' face fall a little. Could Evans like James, after all these years?

James escorted Rigel to the Great Hall via several secret passages.

"I never knew there were so many," Rigel said.

James smiled. "I know, pretty much, every passageway," he stated with pride.

Rigel smiled. She knew James and Sirius were notorious troublemakers. She was willing to bet they found the secret passages by running from professors and sneaking around. "What about The Come-and-Go Room?" she asked.

James looked confused.

"I'll show you sometime," she promised. "It's this weird room I found a few years ago."

When they entered the Great Hall, James took Rigel to the Gryffindor table. He sat a little closer than necessary, but Rigel didn't say anything. James and Rigel started to eat as other people stared at them. They were joined by Rigel two cousins, Andromeda and Narcissa.

"Did you get through to Sirius?" Narcissa asked, desperation in her voice.

"Kind of," Rigel answered.

"We're going to Gringotts today," James stated. "I'll make sure he straightens everything out."

Dual looks of relief passed over both Narcissa's and Andromeda's faces.

"Can you make sure he betroths Bellatrix to Lucius?" Narcissa asked.

Rigel nodded. "And Andromeda to Ted," she stated.

Andromeda smiled and nodded.

"What about you?" James asked, looking at Narcissa. For her own safety, Sirius should betrothal her to someone else today.

Narcissa blushed. "Franklin Longbottom, if he'll have me," she whispered.

A look of surprise passed over James' face, but he nodded and he didn't ask any questions.

A moment later, Sirius sat down at the table a few feet down with Lupin and Pettigrew. He glanced over at his best friend, his sister, and his cousins.

About twenty minutes later, Sirius walked over to the group.

"Ready to go?" he asked.

James nodded as he stood up.

Rigel, Andromeda, and Narcissa quickly followed.

"Are you two coming?" Sirius asked, looking at his cousins.

They shared a look before nodding.

"I'll send Bellatrix a message once we get to Diagon Alley," Andromeda said.

Sirius nodded.

The group left the Great Hall and walked out of the castle. As members of ancient and noble pureblood families, they were allowed numerous freedoms other students were not. They were allowed to leave the castle and campus as needed to deal with house business.

The group walked down to the Hogsmeade apporation point. Andromeda side-long apporated with Narcissa while James took Rigel. Sirius watched his best friend with narrowed eyes. While he wasn't close to his sister, he knew James and he knew that dopey look James was wearing.

The group apporated to main apporation point in Diagon Alley. As promised, Andromeda sent a message to her older sister before the group headed to Gringotts. Sirius met with a goblin teller, requesting a meeting with the Blacks' goblin.

As they waited, a winded Bellatrix Black ran into the bank. She located her sisters and ran over to join them. Sirius returned to the group and together they were led to Goldbloom, the goblin of the Black accounts and vaults.

"Heir Black," Goldbloom greeted as the group entered his office, "Misses Black, and Heir Potter. Please, sit."

The group took the offered seats with Sirius closed to the goblin.

"How can Gringotts be of service today?" Goldbloom asked, staring at the group.

"I would like to dissolve the existing betrothal contracts concerning my cousins and my sister," Sirius stated. "They were authorized without my permission."

Goldbloom withdrew several pieces of parchment from his desk. He looked over each one, making notes another piece of parchment.

"I can assist you, for a fee," the goblin stated.

A smirk grew on Sirius' face. "Any fee you insist on," he stated. "Please, take it from the main vault."

A smirk grew on Goldbloom's face. "Of course, Heir Black," he said. "With the termination of these contracts, am I correct in assuming you wish to draw up new ones?"

"Yes," Sirius answered.

Goldbloom grabbed several new pieces of parchment from his desk.

"I, Sirius Black, Heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Black, son of Orion and Walburga Black," began Sirius, "authorize a betrothal contract between Bellatrix Black, daughter of Cygnus and Druella Black, and Lucius Malfoy, Heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Malfoy, and son of Abraxas and Hera Malfoy."

Goldbloom wrote out the contract before sending it off to Ironfist, the account manager of the Malfoy vaults.

Sirius authorized a betrothal contract between Andromeda and her long-time boyfriend, Ted Tonks. Goldbloom held onto the contract since he would be contacting Mister Tonks. Of course, he would be billing the Black accounts for his services.

"Narcissa, anyone in particle?" Sirius asked.

"Franklin Longbottom, son of Augusta and Alexander," she replied, blushing. She hoped Frank would accept her offer. They had been dating the last year, but Narcissa was forced to end their relationship when she was betrothal to Lucius over the summer.

Another contract was written, and this one was sent off to Silverhammer, the Longbottoms' goblin.

With only his sister's remaining, Sirius looked over at his sister and James. Three days ago, James declared he was moving on from Evans. Sirius had been expecting that. James hadn't shown any interest in Lily Evans since last year.

How serious was James about Rigel?

James wore that dopey, love sick look. Sirius knew that look well. He'd seen it whenever James thought about Evans. While Sirius was close to James, he wanted to make sure Rigel got the marriage she dreamed of. She deserved love – so did his cousins – despite Sirius' negative feelings about his parents and his family. In his haste to leave the Black family, Sirius abandoned his responsibilities.

"I, Sirius Black, Heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Black, son of Orion and Walburga Black," began Sirius, "authorize a betrothal contract between Rigel Black, daughter of Orion and Walburga Black, and James Potter, Heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter, and son of Charlus and Dorea Potter."

Rigel's eyes widened. Why would Sirius do that? He knew better than anyone James was crazy about Evans.

"I, James Potter, Heir of the Ancient and Noble House of Potter, son of Charlus and Dorea Potter, hereby accept the betrothal contract with Rigel Black, daughter of the House of Black, as authorized by Heir Sirius Black," James said.

Rigel turned to look at James with her eyes even wider.

This was crazy!

"Take care of my sister, Prongs," Sirius said.

James nodded. He stood up, offering his hand to Rigel.

In a daze, Rigel took the offered hand.

"What ring do you want?" James asked, leading Rigel out of the room. He wanted to give her one from his family's vault. Rigel would understand the value and meaning behind it. Using an old ring strengthened the bonds between the witch and her new family.