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Fanfic / The Black Sheep Dog Series

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The Black Sheep Dog series by izzythehutt (or Ieyre on FanFiction.Net) is a Harry Potter fanfiction series focusing on Sirius Black and the Black family.

This series consists of In The Black and the ongoing sequel Black Mask. It also has a spin-off Prequel, titled The Black Sheep, which focuses on Alphard Black.

It is a Regulus Black Lives AU set in 1979 (during the first war with Voldemort) where, through a series of insanely improbable events, Sirius Black ends up managing his parents and little brother in witness protection and getting strong-armed back into the family.

The Black Sheep Dog series contains examples of:

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     In General 
  • Ambiguously Christian: Most of the characters seem to be, at least, culturally Christian. First names are still referred to "Christian name", God is mentioned here and there (and not just as an expletive), and the story occasionally alludes to Biblical events as similes to describe current happenings. Sirius once even quoted the Bible while arguing with his father, and Walburga seems to believe in fate/divine providence. However, other forms of religious devotions such as prayer and church-going are noticeably absent, and the characters' personal faiths, if they actually have any, are never mentioned.
  • Ancestral Name: The series takes the common Harry Potter fanon that a son (especially the first born) takes his middle name after his father's given name and turns this into a Black family tradition. Hence, Sirius' full name is Sirius Orion Black, while his father Orion is Orion Arcturus Black. This is played for drama as both men struggle with the burden of sharing names with a father "they could never live up to".
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Sirius doesn't get along with his family; neither do they seem to get along with each other. But even though the members of the clan are more likely to show animosity than affection towards one another, they do love each other in their own way (some of them, anyway).
    • Sirius's parents are autocratic and domineering, and their efforts to discipline their son can probably qualify as abuse. But they are also very concerned about his well-being and safety, and, despite their inability to honestly express themselves, they did miss him during the three years he was away, and long for him to return home. Sirius also finds himself, to his own mortification, wanting their approval, despite his wish to dissociate himself from the family entirely.
    • Andromeda, like Sirius, has abandoned the Black family and is disinherited for it. But although she claims to have washed herself clean of the family, it is implied that she also misses her parents and her younger sister. Narcissa herself seems to miss Andromeda, fondly recalling to Colette about how she and Andromeda used to slide down the staircase when they were children.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The Black family issues are depicted in great detail. Having a proud, narrow-minded and oppressive tradition that dates back to centuries, this mindset are so ingrained in the bloodline that even the most rebellious and disgraced members of the family can't cleanly wash themselves clean of the family's influence. Relationships within the family tends to be exceedingly complicated as a result.
  • Blackmail: Orion finds out that Sirius is an animagus and holds this over his head by threatening to tell Walburga unless he does as Orion says. Amusingly, he mostly seems to use it to get his son to behave and eat dinner with them.
  • Epigraph: Every chapter has one. They're all taken from the Harry Potter books (and the unnamed prequel) and are usually about the Black family and somehow relate to something in the chapter.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The moment of canon divergence is when Regulus survives his visit to the Cave and seeks out Sirius in his flat.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Choleric: Walburga—willful, scheming, and apparently rules the household with her domineering ways.
    • Sanguine: Sirius—gregarious, charming, popular and typically the center of attention.
    • Melancholic: Orion—reserved, calculating, and duty-bound to preserve the family honour.
    • Phlegmatic: Regulus—quiet, unassuming, eager to please his parents, hero-worships his brother, and tries his best to keep the peace between his family.
  • Generational Trauma: It explores how the Black clan's Big, Screwed-Up Family dynamics impact the members at various levels. Sirius hates their parents because they constantly disapprove of his views, his friendships, etc., which conflict with their closed-minded and bigoted view of social status and blood purity, and has a chip on his shoulder because of his repressed upbringing. However, Orion and Walburga do love their wayward son despite their borderline abusive behaviour towards him, but due to their own dysfunctional upbringing, they are unable to express their love properly. Even Arcturus, Sirius's paternal grandfather, who is shown to be by far the worst abuser of the lot, is implied to have been a victim of a similar cycle since Alphard described Arcturus's father (Orion's paternal grandfather) as someone with "ice in his veins in place of blood".
  • In the Blood: Natural charisma and stubborn pride is something that seems to characterize every member of the Black family, including those who have been disgraced and disinherited, such as Sirius and Andromeda.
  • Irony: Sirius notes with bitter irony how his parents waste a lot of time trying to mould him into accepting his familial duties even though that's the last thing he wants, while they treat Regulus—who desperately wants the attention—as little more than an afterthought.
  • Parents as People: Orion and Walburga are far from perfect parents, and Sirius loathes living with them and being constantly reminded of how much he fails to live up to the family's standards. One of the main point of the series is to show that, for all their snobbery and bigotry, the two do care very much about their children, even if their own issues prevent them from properly showing their affection.
  • Thicker Than Water: Despite their strained relationship, both Sirius and his parents care far more about each other than they'd care to admit. Orion risks his life to help Dumbledore with his missions if it would keep Sirius from launching himself head-first into danger for the Order's sake, and Sirius gets defensive when other people, such as Frank and Moody, accuse his family of being Death Eaters.
  • Your Tradition Is Not Mine: Sirius is the White Sheep in his family of blood purist bigots. Of course, because blood is thicker than water, Sirius still isn't totally indifferent to them.

     In The Black 
  • Beneath Notice: Walburga blatantly states a house-elf is this. She's completely befuddled by her sons granting Kreacher some attention - Sirius by antagonizing him, Regulus by doting on him.
  • "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word: Orion tells Sirius this in chapter 5.
  • Disinherited Child: Subverted. Sirius believed his father disinherited him the moment he ran away, and so does the rest of the world, but it turns out he's still legally the heir.
    Sirius: What—what is there to misunderstand? You were very, very clear—
    Orion: I wasn't, obviously. You see, when I said 'nothing has changed'—what I meant was nothing has ever changed.
  • Dramatic Drop: In chapter 5, Sirius drops his wand when he hears that Orion never actually disinherited him after he ran away.
  • Family Disunion: The story starts with Orion and Walburga Black being led to Sirius's flat where Regulus is by Kreacher, where they run into Sirius, and the unexpected family reunion sets the rest of the plot in motion.
  • In Medias Res: The story starts after Regulus has already gone to Sirius's flat after surviving the cave and collapsed.
  • Insult Backfire: Sirius's attempt to insult Orion fails when Orion is 'faintly amused' at being called a 'crafty, artful, deceiving old serpent'.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Walburga tricks Sirius into drinking water laced with sleeping draught. As Orion later points out, it really is one of The Oldest Tricks in the Book.
  • You Are Not Alone: In chapter 6, Sirius is feeling pretty down after being blackmailed by his father, scolded by his mentor, and because he fought with James, he doesn't even have his best friend to support him. Right as he's wondering who he might have left to turn to, however, Regulus comes in with some food and a hug, reminding him that he's not alone.

     Black Mask 
  • Armor-Piercing Question: While Lily is keeping an eye on Regulus, she tells the younger man to try and make amends with his estranged brother, saying that anyone can patch things up start over. Regulus immediately asks if she's willing to do the same with Snape, if he was in the same situation, and Lily finds herself unable to convince herself with the very words she just told Regulus.
  • Arranged Marriage: A common practice in the Black family.
    • Regulus's absence from England has been explained with cover story that he is finding a fiancée in France.
    • Walburga also fully intends to arrange marriages for both her sons, and has already started making plans for Sirius.
    • In chapter 11 Sirius says that his parents were an arranged marriage, although in chapter 18, Orion says that he proposed to Walburga.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Haughty good looks appear to be the norm in the Black family.
  • The Bet: Sirius suggests a wager to Colette that after showing her England and introducing her to all his friends in the next six days, he will be able to convince her to give up on making an arranged marriage.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: During the dinner in chapter 9 Sirius repeatedly kicks Regulus under the table to try to stop him from asking certain questions or bringing up something that will set off their already angry father. It doesn't really work as it's only during the conversation that Regulus realises what exactly happened at the party.
  • Black-Tie Infiltration: Sirius and Frank Longbottom have to infiltrate a gathering of pure-blood wizards which turns out to also be Arcturus' birthday party in order to intercept some information.
  • Blue Blood: The Blacks are basically wizarding aristocrats.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Sirius (while in disguise) can't resist telling Colette that he has heard Sirius Black described as 'sexy'.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: In chapter 6, Sirius gets to call his father out on being willfully ignorant when it comes to the Death Eater activity in his family, his seemingly lack of principles, and the way he can't stand up to his own father.
  • The Clan: The Black family. And the Battancourt family are a good example too.
  • Classified Information: Sirius attempts to use this as an excuse not to tell Orion what he's doing at Arcturus' birthday party after he gets caught by his father. Orion is less than impressed.
  • Country Mouse: Colette Battancourt comes from the French countryside, and appears naive and shy. Narcissa Malfoy takes it as her duty to befriend her and help her bloom.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Sirius enjoys implying he has relationships with Muggle women. Walburga does not appreciate.
  • Dinner and a Show: Happens multiple times in the fic, as Walburga insists on having daily five-course formal meals with her husband and children.
  • A Dog Named "Cat": Walburga mentions that her grandfather used to own a black dog named Magpie, which Sirius's animagus form greatly resembles.
  • Door Stopper: At 405,000 words, the fic is longer than the first three Harry Potter books combined, and doesn't seem anywhere near the end.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: Discussed, but ultimately defied. When Rodolphus marries Bellatrix, the family thought about having Rodolphus's younger brother, Rabastan, marry Bellatrix's sister, Andromeda. Of course, Andromeda ended up eloping with a Muggleborn, so this never happened.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Orion rarely consumes alcohol in excess, but when he shows up in Dumbledore's office in chapter 8, he's half-drunk from brandy, and then goes on to drink several more glasses when Dumbledore offers him mead. Considering how, at that moment, he's just spent the last couple of hours getting browbeaten by his father, arguing with his wife and having a screaming match with his son, it's not hard to see why he'd need the drink.
  • Exact Words: As part of a way to get Sirius out of a party he crashed, Orion has Sirius use his animagus form and says he's "removing an unwanted whelp from the house. It's not even a lie".
  • Exiled to the Couch:
    • Angry with her husband for not standing up to his father, Walburga in chapter 5 tells Orion to sleep in his dressing room when he finally returns home.
    • In chapter 10, Orion is the one annoyed with Walburga and he tells her he'll sleep in his dressing room again. By chapter 22, he's yet to return to the bed.
  • Expy: Gideon and Fabian Prewett (Molly Weasley's brothers) are depicted as rowdy Trickster Twins, and are clearly meant to evoke their nephews, Fred and George.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Despite the fic being longer than the original novels (the word count stands at 405,000 at the moment of this writing, while the longest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix has 257,000) only 5 days have passed in-story.
  • Fauxreigner: Sirius pretends to be Nicolaus Svensson, a Nord, in order to infiltrate a gathering of pure-blood wizards.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment: In chapter 5, Sirius tries to provoke Orion into beating him by mocking his father about the "drubbing" he got from the latter's own father, Acturus. Their argument was interrupted, however, before we get to see whether Orion would have lost control after that remark.
  • Flight of Romance: Sirius takes Colette out on Elvira, his enchanted flying motorbike, when he asks Colette to meet him at night.
  • Foil: Sirius and Colette Battancourt. Both are heirs to noble families who feels out-of-place among their clan due to their "unorthodox" views about the world, but while Sirius is openly rebellious and tries to reject everything his family stands for, Colette is still The Dutiful Daughter who tries to preserve her family's honour even though she doesn't necessarily enjoy what she must do to accomplish it. Personality-wise, Colette is also more similar to Regulus, being an introvert who is frequently overshadowed by the louder personalities around her, and this allows her to understand Regulus's jealousy towards Sirius, even though Sirius complains that he's often compared unfavourably to his brother.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: Orion (and Walburga too) wants Sirius to take his place as the rightful heir to the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.
  • Foreign Queasine: Walburga forces Sirius to eat pickled herring and brown cheese (a Norwegian-styled breakfast) as punishment after finding out that he had been at his grandfather's party as Svensson. Despite being appalled by its disgusting appearance, Sirius later admits that it's not that bad, though the clashing flavours weren't helping his hangover.
  • Gallows Humour: In chapter 31, Orion finally tells Sirius about his illness, and tries to lighten the sordid revelation by joking about it. Sirius is not amused.
    Sirius: What's wrong with you?
    Orion: A pain—here.
    Sirius: That's your heart.
    Orion: Surely not. I have been reliably informed I do not have one.
    Sirius: That's not—that's not fucking funny.
    Orion: I thought it was. I'm sorry you don't feel the same way.
  • Generation Xerox: The Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling dynamic between Sirius and Regulus is almost an exact mirror reflection of their father's dynamic with his older sister, Lucretia. Sirius and Lucretia are both brazen and headstrong troublemakers who remain frustratingly charming even as they drive their families up the wall. Regulus and Orion, on the other hand, are more passive, reserved and obedient. Also, Colette accuses Sirius of having bullied his brother as children, while Orion complains the same about Lucretia (and Walburga); but in both cases, the bullying is not malicious, and both pair of siblings deeply care for one another.
  • Heir Club for Men: Discussed as being a problem for Colette's parents, as their only child is a girl and she can't inherit. The Black family estate also passes down the male line, but with Sirius and Regulus as the heir and the spare that line seems secure.
  • Honor-Related Abuse: Discussed by Bellatrix when she remarks that her father should have killed Andromeda when she announced her desire to marry a Muggleborn than allow her to leave the family and breed with Ted, bringing shame to the family. She then expresses her distaste towards the rest of the family because they have grown "indolent and weak" and had fallen short of the warrior legacy established by the first Black, and believes that everyone else needs to be culled to restore the original family's honor.
  • Idle Rich: Although the story takes place during the first war with Voldemort, the Blacks and other pure-blood families seem wholly separate from it, simply going about their lives paying calls and attending parties like there isn't a war on. Except for the Death Eaters using the same parties as a cover to pass along coded messages. Being magical aristocrats, none of them actually have a job either.
  • I Have This Friend: Sirius lets Colette believe that he's a friend of Sirius Black while they are talking on the rooftop in chapter 11.
  • Impersonation Gambit: In order to infiltrate a gentlemen card-game at Malfoy Manor, Sirius uses polyjuice potion to pose as Nicolaus Svensson, a rich Norwegian wizard.
  • I Want Grandkids: In chapter 18, Walburga brings up the topic of grandchildren to Orion as a way to get him to agree to her plan to get Sirius married.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: invoked Briefly alluded to in Chapter 31 when Sirius claims he'd rather be compared to Bellatrix — a prominent Death Eater who has probably killed many people under Voldemort's orders — than Arcturus, who is rude, domineering and cantankerous, but likely isn't villainous.
  • Land Poor: The Battancourt family, or at least Colette's branch of it, according to Orion in chapter 9.
    Orion: It's well known that the Battancourts are land rich and cash poor. Acres of estate and no gold to keep it up.
  • Language Fluency Denial: Amusingly, both examples backfire rather quickly:
    • In Chapter 3, Sirius has to pretend not to speak English when he poses as the Norwegian Svensson. Colette finds him out pretty quickly when he fails her Impostor-Exposing Test by speaking French with an English accent.
    • In Chapter 22, Colette tries only speaking in French to McGonagall to avoid getting in trouble for trespassing. Unfortunately they quickly ran into Slughorn who knows Colette speaks English and doesn't realize she's trying to hide it.
  • Nominal Hero: Orion, Walburga and Regulus may be against Voldemort, but it's clear that they are still, at heart, the arrogant blood purists not unlike the ones found in the Dark Lord's ranks. They are starting to get out of this mindset though (especially Regulus and Orion).
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Orion actually points Walburga's constantly butting heads with Sirius because both have the same fiery, proud temper.
  • Oh, Crap!: Sirius has one of these in chapter 12 when he realises his mother knows he posed as Svensson at the party.
  • Old Money: The Blacks and Malfoys have had their family fortunes for centuries.
  • Original Character: There are a few, but the most prominent ones are Colette Battancourt, Belgravius Burke, Martin Bletchley, and Alan Rowle.
  • Parental Fashion Veto: Sirius is a Rare Male Example of this. Sirius' parents, especially Walburga, disapprove of his preference for Muggle clothing. Walburga even purges Sirius' closet, much to his chagrin.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: While in disguise, Sirius accidentally overhears his aunt talking about his parents trying so hard to bring him into the world, and he's still highly embarrassed thinking about it the following night.
    He suddenly remembered what Lucretia had implied the night before about his parents' bedroom habits—"Every night for four years—!"—and Sirius felt his face burn red hot at the very thought of it. It couldn't be true, I mean—this was them.
  • Parents Know Their Children:
    • In the prologue, Walburga recognises Sirius instantly when he makes an insolent remark.
    • When he catches Sirius at the party, Orion realises that the impostor he is about to throw out is actually Sirius the moment Sirius is unable to resist talking back to him.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A lot of the issues and strained relationships between the family stems from the fact that most of them are too stubborn and proud to really express their feelings towards one another. This is particularly true for Sirius and Orion — when Sirius ran away from home three years prior to the story, Orion refuses to come and take Sirius back despite his father's and wife's wishes because he's too proud to show that he needs his wayward son. Sirius is similarly too proud to admit that he still wants his parents' approval and stayed away because his father won't show.
  • Returning the Handkerchief: After their collision in Diagon Alley, Colette accidentally left her diary, which Sirius returned to her during later meeting.
  • The Reveal: In chapter 11, when Colette finds out Sirius's name. From his mother no less.
  • Reverse Psychology: Walburga tells Sirius not to contact and to stay away from Colette after she catches them returning after their date when really she wants him to pursue her. Lucretia even high-lights this trope in chapter 16:
    Lucretia: Your mother has a theory about him. She thinks he always has to do the opposite of what she tells him. She's currently trying to use this little theory of hers to her advantage.
  • Selective Obliviousness: Orion appears to have been willfully blind when it came to Regulus becoming a Death Eater, something that Dumbledore calls him out on.
  • Sitting on the Roof: During their talk in chapter 11, Sirius and Colette sit on the roof of Kenwood House watching out over London.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Orion and Walburga both realise the person they are confronting is their son when he can't help being insolent at them.
    Mrs. Black remained frozen—she had not taken her eyes off of him once since he'd uttered that pert remark, so brazenly impudent that it could only have come from one person.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: This attitude is shown to be so prevalent within pureblood culture that in Chapter 10 the normally astute Orion fails to comprehend and then refuses to believe Sirius' implications that Bellatrix is a Death Eater. Their discussion about it is then Played for Laughs:
    Sirius: Well—I guess Lord Voldemort is an equal-opportunity murderer, then. That's the part of all this that shocks you—Lord, that's rich! Don't worry, sir—I'm sure she doesn't forget what she owes her family when she's slitting throats, and that she's very ladylike when she mops up the blood, makes sure it doesn't get on her petticoats—
  • Take a Third Option: When Orion catches Sirius posing as Svensson, Sirius says Orion has two options: let Sirius drink more polyjuice to maintain the masquerade or let people know Sirius crashed. Orion destroys the potion and conjures a collar, suggesting Sirius uses his animagus form to avoid being caught.
  • Title Drop: Lucretia mentions the "Black mask" as the tendency for the members of the family to put up an inscrutable facade to mask all appearance of weaknesses and prevents other people from knowing their true intentions. Orion is apparently the best at employing this mask—often a little too well.
  • Through His Stomach: Walburga organises daily five-course formal family dinners for her husband and sons. When she also came up with a desert specifically tailored to Sirius's tastes, even he couldn't deny was delicious and that she knew his tastes well.
  • The Un Favourite: Ironically, both Regulus and Sirius seem to feel that the parents actually prefer the other son.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In chapter 24, Orion "confides" to a barmaid about the "trying period" he and his wife had endured when their misguided son ran away from home, but that the son had since returned to their fold in a joyous reunion. James, who had initially invited Orion out to confront him about his blackmail of Sirius, is horrified to hear this extremely skewed accounts of the events, especially when the barmaid found herself sympathizing with Sirius's parents.
  • You Just Told Me: In chapter 16, Lucretia tricks Sirius into revealing that Regulus is indeed in the flat too by claiming that Remus had already told her. Sirius confirms her suspicion by confronting Remus about this.
    Sirius: Shit, Remus—why would you tell her that?
    Remus: I didn't. You did.

     The Black Sheep 
  • Prequel: "The Black Sheep" is set 13 years before the main story starts.
  • Shout-Out: The story is full of references to A Christmas Carol, with the chapters being titled "Christmas Past", "Christmas Present" and "Christmas Yet To Come". Alphard himself explicitly quotes the Ghost of Christmas Present's first line when he visits Orion in his study.
  • Too Much Alike: Discussed. Alphard notes that Walburga and Cygnus are more similar to each other than they are to him, and that's why they can't stand each other.