Bend Me, Break Me.... Characters: Regulus, Etienne, Serafino, Serenus (briefly) Summary: In a fit of bravery or madness, Regulus volunteers to watch the twins all by himself. Hijinks ensue.
It had been an altruistic offer on Regulus' part. Altruistic and possibly insane as well. But he had wanted to repay Serenus and Tybalt for taking him in and letting him stay, and so he had offered to watch the twins for an evening so Tybalt and Serenus could have a night out alone together.
Serenus had given him a dubious look. "Are you sure?"
"If you had rather not..." Regulus said slowly, wondering if Serenus had doubts about leaving the children alone with him.
"It isn't you," Serenus had assured him. "Well, not in the sense that I don't want them left alone with you. I trust you, and I'd love to have a date night with Tybalt, but I have to wonder if you're ready for this. It's one thing to help take care of them when we're here; it's something else entirely to go solo."
"I believe I can handle it," Regulus had replied, and so Serenus had agreed, grinned, and wished him the best of luck.
At the moment, Regulus hoped he wouldn't need it. Tybalt and Serenus had been gone barely five minutes, and he and the twins were in the parlor, where there were plenty of toys and games to keep them occupied while he tidied up the room a bit. Not only would he watch the children and do a fine job of it, but he would make sure their parents returned to a clean house as well.
Etienne looked around the parlor, but he didn't see the toy he wanted. He wanted his ride-on dragon, and it was upstairs in the nursery! Daddy and Papa had told him and Serafino to be good and not bother Unca Weg'lus too much, and it looked like Unca Weg'lus was very busy. That was okay, though. He was a very big boy, Papa had said so, and he could get his dragon himself.
He glanced at Serafino, who was busy coloring a picture of a lion, and decided he didn't need his brother's help anyway. He turned and walked out of the parlor, heading to the stairs, and began to climb them one step at a time, holding on to the banister, his tongue sticking out from between his lips as he concentrated on moving quietly so Unca Weg'lus wouldn't be 'sturbed.
Serafino glanced up as his twin left the parlor, a little curious about where his brother was going. He stood up too, thinking about following, but at that moment, Wooster woke up from his nap, yawning and stretching in a cute way that made him giggle. Moving to Wooster's bed, Serafino petted the soft puppy, but apparently, Wooster wanted to play, because he jumped up and suddenly started running around the parlor, barking his head off. Serafino laughed in delight and gave chase, not noticing as he bumped into the sofa table and sent all the story books flying to the floor.
The sound startled Regulus, and he whirled, aghast when he saw the books tumbling to the floor. A flick of his wand sent them back up to the table, stacked neatly, but then there was the possibility of more carnage to avert. Wasn't there a rule about running in the house? He wracked his brain, trying to remember.
"Slow down!" he called out, trying to be heard over the barking. "You'll fall and hurt yourself!"
"I catch him!" Serafino shouted back to Unca Weg'lus, intent on the chase. He had to catch Wooster before the puppy bothered Unca Weg'lus!
Dashing around a bookcase, Wooster skittered into the foyer and then ran for the kitchen, with Serafino hot on his heels.
"Oh, damn," Regulus muttered, tempting to cast a binding spell on Wooster before he reached the kitchen. He resisted the urge and took off after boy and animal instead, hoping to reach them before they caused any disruption in the kitchen.
Wooster ran into the kitchen and dashed under the table, and Serafino went right along with him, knocking over two chairs as he tried to catch the crup by his back legs. The puppy was far too crafty, however, and he circled back under the table before heading toward his food dish. Serafino tried to get out from under the table, too, but he caught the table cloth, and it came off in his wake, pulling over the salt and pepper shakers and sending a pile of paper napkins fluttering through air. Wooster barked, and Serafino lunged for him, knocking into the food and water dishes and sending them flying, but managing to wrap his arms around the puppy at last.
"Got him!" he crowed happily, not caring that he and the puppy and most of the kitchen floor were covered in water and wet glops of crup food, while paper napkins floated down around them like big snowflakes.
Regulus stood frozen in the doorway, shocked and appalled that two small beings had managed to wreak such havoc in a matter of seconds. He pushed his fingers through his hair, barely able to process the pure carnage before his eyes, and he decided he needed to remove Serafino and Wooster from the room before anything else could be upended or spilled. He would just have to come back and clean this up later.
"Very good," he said weakly. "Now let's go back to the parlor with your brother."
He grew cold at the abrupt realization he had left Etienne alone in the parlor, and he had to resist the urge to sprint back to the parlor to make certain it hadn't suffered the same fate as the kitchen.
Serafino struggled to his feet with the wriggling puppy still held fast in his arms. "'Tienne not in the parwor," he said helpfully, since obviously Unca Weg'lus had been too busy to notice. "He go 'way!"
"What?" Regulus felt close to panic at that. One night alone with the twins, and he managed to lose one! Tybalt and Serenus would never forgive him! "Where did he go?"
"I not know," Serafino said, shrugging. He felt bad because Unca Weg'lus looked so scared, and he thought for a moment, wondering where 'Tienne might have wanted to go. His twin was close by, he could feel that much, and he suddenly smiled. "Maybe he go outside to pway?"
"Right..." Regulus took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Right, let's go look outside, then," he said, holding out his hand to Serafino. There was no way he was going to let this one out of his sight!
Serafino obligingly held out one crup-food covered hand and took Unca Weg'lus'. "We swing on swing outside?" he asked, looking up and widening his eyes hopefully.
Preoccupied with worry over Etienne, Regulus didn't even notice the gunk on Serafino's hand, and he grasped it firmly and led Serafino to the front door. "No, we aren't going to swing right now. We have to find Etienne first."
He flung open the front door and headed outside, glancing around not-quite-frantically for any sign of Etienne in the front of the house.
As soon as the front door opened, Wooster began to squirm and whine, and he easily worked himself out of Serafino's one-armed grip, hitting the porch and barrelling down the stairs as though the hounds of hell were at his heels. Serafino squealed and pulled his gooey hand out of Regulus' grasp, dashing off in the crup's wake.
"I catch him, Unca Weg'lus!" he yelled, trying to grab Wooster before he could upset Unca Weg'lus more. Wooster liked the game, though, and ran straight through Papa's freshly planted bed of orange flowers, his flying paws sending gobs of black mud flying in his wake. Serafino, undaunted, kept up with him, his bare feet squishing in the dirt and the hem of his jeans getting muddy, while the poor flowers were mashed flat.
Wooster barked happily, then turned and headed back toward the house, and Serafino went with him, dashing through the door and leaving a trail of black footprints in his wake.
"Stop!" Regulus called out, to no avail, and he broke into a run, following the muddy footprints back into the house with a rising sense of panic. At this rate, the entire house would fall down around his ears before Serenus and Tybalt had been gone an hour.
At the entrance to the parlor, he stopped, frozen in horror, and stared at the mud all over the floor, rugs - and sofa.
"Oh, dear Merlin..." he moaned.
Serafino looked up from the sofa, smiling in triumph. He was panting, and Wooster was panting, but he'd caught the puppy again. "I told you I dood it!" he said. "It okay, Unca Weg'lus, Wooster not get away!"
At that moment, there was a huge crash from the foyer, and the wail of a small child following in its wake.
"What the he--" Regulus managed to cut off the expletive just in time, and he whirled and dashed to the foyer, visions of broken limbs dancing in his head.
He skidded to a halt, arrested by the sight of a broken toy dragon at the foot of the stairs, but there was no mangled child's body in the wreckage, and he glanced around, trying to find Etienne.
When Etienne had reached the nursery, he'd stopped to look at the fish in their tank, then moved to the bookcase, wondering if he should take Fwankenstein downstairs and ask Unca Weg'lus to read more. Then his eyes fell on his initial purpose, and he nodded in satisfaction as he moved to his dragon, tugging the heavy toy toward the door.
The dragon was hard to roll by pulling it, and Etienne scowled, not liking this seeming roadblock to his plans. Then he smiled and mounted up on the dragon's back; he could ride it to the stairs, although he knew better than to try to ride it down them. Daddy and Papa had done magic to make sure the dragon couldn't go downstairs with someone on its back, which was too bad, because now Etienne didn't know if the dragon could fly.
Reaching the top of the stairs, he'd dismounted, then stood looking at the heavy dragon, and then down the stairs. It seemed like such a long way down, and the dragon was heavy. Frowning, he wondered how he was going to get his toy down where he wanted it to be, if he couldn't ride it and couldn't carry it, either.
Well, Daddy had said that the dragon couldn't fly with someone on its back... but maybe that meant it could fly if it was by itself!
Pleased with this logic, Etienne set his jaw, then moved behind the dragon and started to push. It resisted, almost as if it didn't want to go, but he gave it a mighty shove with all his strength, and finally it moved forward.
"Fly!" he commanded it, and he watched eagerly as the dragon headed off.
Unfortunately, the dragon didn't fly, and his eyes widened in horror as the toy rolled down the stairs, then suddenly crashed into the wall at the bottom. The wings fell off, and Etienne screamed. He'd killed it! He sobbed, distressed over the loss of his favorite toy, and sat down on the top step, not ever wanting to move again.
Unca Weg'lus appeared, and Etienne suddenly ran down the stairs, the anti-slip charms catching him. He barrelled into Regulus' legs, wrapping his arms around him and burying his tear-streaked face Unca Weg'lus' robes.
"I brokeded it!" he wailed. "I sowwy, I sowwy! I 'sturb you, and Daddy be mad!"
Regulus was momentarily bewildered, the events of the past few minutes too wild for him to keep up, but as his brain caught up to his body, he was awash in relief at having found Etienne safe and sound. Bending, he loosened Etienne's arms from around his legs and hefted Etienne into his arms, holding him close and rubbing his back soothingly.
"Don't worry, we will fix it," he said, tightening his arms around Etienne. Thank Merlin nothing had happened to him! The panic he'd felt followed by the relief left him drained, and all he could think about was comforting Etienne. The mess in the kitchen and parlor, not to mention the flower bed, was forgotten; there was something far more important to take care of at the moment. "It's all right. You didn't disturb me, and Daddy won't be angry. We don't even have to tell him. It can be our secret."
"Secret?" Etienne sobbed, his breath coming in little hitching gulps, but he looked at Regulus with hope on his tear-streaked face. "An' fix my dragon?" He threw his arms around Regulus' neck, laying his head on Regulus' shoulder. "I wuv you, Unca Weg'lus!"
Regulus' heart melted at that, and he pressed a kiss to the top of Etienne's head. "I love you too," he murmured. He gave Etienne a little squeeze and then lowered him to the floor. "Let's fix your dragon, all right?" He paused, then realized he'd lost track of half of them again. "Serafino!" he called. "Come here, and I will let you help your brother and me fix the dragon!"
Serafino came running out of the parlor, his eyes wide, and he ran up to Unca Weg'lus, catching his robes in his dirty hands and tugging. Behind him, there was the tinkle of breaking glass. "Quick, Unca Weg'lus! Wooster make a poop on the wug and step in it!"
Regulus stared at Serafino for a moment, and then he sat down on the first step and laughed. Of course Wooster had an accident and stepped in it! Things had gone from the bizarre to the surreal in the space of about ten minutes, and he had moved past horror and dismay and into amusement. In the face of fearing something terrible had happened to one of the twins, a little poop on the rug didn't seem like such a big deal anymore.
"We'll clean it up in a minute," he said. "We need to fix this first, all right?" He drew his wand and aimed it at the dragon. "Both of you put your hands on mine, and we'll fix it together."
The twins glanced at each other, then moved up to do as they were instructed. "Dat good?" Serafino asked.
"'Course it is," Etienne scoffed, feeling very reassured and grown up. Unca Weg'lus loved him, and they were going to fix his toy and not tell Daddy, so everything was right with the world.
"That's very good," Regulus said, giving Serafino an approving nod. He took a moment to teach them the simple mending charm, and on the count of three, they shouted the charm with him; a pale blue ribbon of energy hit the dragon and engulfed it, and in a matter of seconds, the wings were securely back in place, the paint was refreshed, and the toy was as good as new. "There." He smiled and put his wand away. "What do you think? Did we do a good job?"
"Yes!" the twins shouted in unison, and then, laughing, they wrapped their arms around Unca Weg'lus and hugged him tight.
"We dood good!" Serafino said.
"Very good!" Etienne agreed, then lifted his head and widened his eyes. "We do good enough for ice cream!"
Regulus paused, considering that idea. The house was a wreck, and giving the twins ice cream was just asking to add to the mess, but... what the hell. Tybalt and Serenus probably wouldn't be back until late, and Regulus would have time to clean up before they got home once the boys were in bed, and if not, then they could pitch in. Post-trauma ice cream was more important.
He realized there was wet dog food on his hand, and he wiped it off on his sleeve. Then he hooked one arm around each of the boys and rose to his feet, hefting them up along with him and carrying them to the kitchen, deliberately bouncing along the way.
"We definitely did good enough for ice cream," he said. "And maybe even a little chocolate sauce and a cherry on top."