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“You don’t have to do this, Harry. Believe me, it’s not something you want to just rush into.” Draco’s voice was tinny over the phone, more far away than usual. Harry knew his friend was just at his place of work, probably ducked outside to not be seen with something as muggle as a cell phone, but today it felt like another planet, Harry left staring at the old phone he had installed at his manor on Leviatheen Ave and feeling very alone.
“Are you there? If this thing has cut out again—”
“I’m here,” Harry muttered before Draco could start his rant about phones. “I just don’t have much to say. I have to do this. I have to make sure he dies.”
“The dementors will make sure enough,” Draco snapped, trying to get Harry to see reason. “Damn it—It’s terrible. It’s not just murder, it’s… god, like soul rape. You shouldn’t put yourself through that. You’ve done enough when you killed Voldemort. Why make yourself suffer over another terrible monster that doesn’t give a shit?”
Harry shook his head even though Draco couldn’t see it. “It doesn’t matter. This needs to be done.”
“Not by your hand, it doesn’t. Believe me, if I could take it back, I never would have gone to my Aunt’s execution. She didn’t mean anything to me besides being the equivalent to the twisted monster under my bed while growing up. Yet…” Draco trailed off, and Harry could almost see his friend, paler than normal, tearing at his one ragged fingernail as he relived a nightmare no one should have to see. “It’s not an easy thing,” Draco finished quietly.
“You should have let me go with you.” Harry said, remembering how messed up Draco had been, quiet and unresponsive for weeks after.
“And do what? Have you mope in a corner? Kill her yourself?” Draco sighed in exasperation. “What are you thinking, Harry? Going there won’t bring your parents back. It won’t change anything, except send you that final step back into the depression you only just managed to crawl out of. Stop torturing yourself. I’m still waiting for you to take me up on my offer to join me in Africa for the summer. You need to get out of the bloody house and get some sun. I’d have nightmares too if I was living in that tomb.”
Harry remained silent, letting Draco’s familiar voice tell him the many things he never liked to pay attention to. They both knew it would do no good. Harry did what he wanted to do, whether the Ministry, Hogwarts, or the laws of the universe disagreed. He defeated powerful wizards without raising a finger, heard voices and had visions that had no explanation, and still managed to find himself in the most miserable situations at every turn. Harry was the direct victim of Sirius Black’s terrible betrayal, his parents having been found and murdered because of the traitor, and for some reason in the wizarding world that made Harry responsible for what happened to him. They would not kill the man unless Harry was present, nor would they give him a trial, some antiquated bullshit on Harry basically owning the man’s life. It was twenty years since his parents had died and the Ministry wanted to get some space freed up in Azkaban, and Harry, once again, was stuck in the middle of it.
“Are you still there?” Draco’s voice flowed over the phone, calling Harry back to reality.
“Do you want me to go with you?”
“I, uh…” Harry shrugged, forgetting Draco wouldn’t be able to see. But Draco knew him well enough at this point.
“Is Lupin still going? I won’t let you go alone.”
“No, he’s uh… He’ll be there. I guess he has some unfinished business with him, after all.”
“I imagine so,” Draco said dryly. “I want you to summon up your patronus at least three times before you leave tomorrow. You’re horrible around those things, you know. Turns you back into a squeaky teenager.”
Harry just nodded, letting the silence stretch. Tomorrow would be the courthouse, not the prison. Harry had insisted on a questioning before he would agree to let the man be executed. Remus had protested but Harry was doing it for the man just as much as for himself. He had to know. Even if Sirius Black was the most evil, terrible person ever, Harry had to know. Because to hand your best friends and their small child over to be snuffed out didn’t make sense in a sane world. So Harry had to know Sirius Black was insane and that there was still some hope for the world that just seemed so bleak lately.
“Harry… Damn it.” Draco cursed softly, the sound of something being knocked over in the background following. “Fuck this—I’m coming over. God damn muggles and their goddamn phones… You better open those bloody curtains before I get there.” Harry stared blankly at the phone in his hand that had gone suddenly silent.
“Oh bugger.” Pulling himself from his seat by the phone in the kitchen, Harry took a quick look around and began spelling dirty dishes, forgotten books, and trash to their appropriate places. He quickly threw the curtains open in the living room, snagging his cartons of Chinese food from the couch and floor around his Xbox controller and smattering of video game cases. Draco gave Harry enough crap for playing video games all day and not going outside and getting a job and joining the real world. He did not need the blond to see the actual proof of his rant. Harry quickly nudged the games and controllers under the gap in the tv console with a few dvds of porn he had forgotten to put away, and hoped Draco wouldn’t actual come in the living room.
Harry quickly threw his handful of takeout food containers onto the already cluttered kitchen counter, needing to rinse them before recycling. The doorbell chimed a moment later, Harry having just enough time to realize he was an absolute mess in the hallway mirror before opening the door and being blinded by the dazzle that was Draco Malfoy. Harry recognized very quickly that it was Sunday, Draco dressed in casual, yet pristine designer clothes, short white-blond hair styled like some young gentleman model, and looking as if he had just been about to go yachting—Which, given the prat, he probably was.
“You look like shit,” Draco said abruptly, his eyes taking in Harry’s crumpled, dirty clothes, mussed hair, and unshaven face.
Harry shrugged in agreement and let Draco drag him into the hug he knew the blond was itching to give. He tried not to wince from the contact, not used to being touched much, even less so since having finished school and moving in to his parents’ old manor. They had never actual lived there, having bought the place while still on the run from Voldemort. Harry had found the deed in their vault and thought it was the perfect reprieve to being homeless, his Aunt refusing to even talk to him after he graduated. Harry didn’t care, just glad to finally be on his own and not having to be nagged to distraction. Draco was the only one he allowed to do that.
“Have you been bathing at all?” Draco asked, pulling away with his nose scrunched up.
“Hey, you know the potential dangers of hugging me, Malfoy,” Harry said, stepping out of the doorway so Draco could come in and he could finally close the outside world away again.
“Tell me you’re not going to look like this for the trial?” Draco pressed, pulling Harry’s t shirt down to get a better look at the soy sauce stain he had managed to get on his chest.
“I suppose I’ll wear a suit or some shit,” Harry said gruffly, glaring when Draco started spelling cleaning charms at him, like he was a damn five year old. “Malfoy, I can clean myself.”
“Clearly you can’t,” Draco muttered back, suddenly assaulting Harry’s face with a wet facecloth he had summoned. “You have dirt all over you—which is amazing, seeing as I’m pretty sure you never leave this house. Do you have potted plants I don’t know about? Is there a pile of mud in the basement? How do you manage—”
“Quit it!” Harry growled, grabbing Draco’s wrist before his neck could then be washed.
Draco stilled, a frown quirking his lips. “I’m worried about you. You’ve locked yourself up in this damn place, you’re not taking care of yourself, you—”
Harry rolled his eyes, releasing Draco. “There’s no one to pretty myself up for, that’s all. I’m not turning into some hermit.”
“No, that would require that you weren’t one to begin with,” Draco grumbled, dispelling the once white, currently dark gray cloth away with a puff of smoke. “You’re living here alone with your moods, Potter, and nothing good can come of it. I don’t even want to think how you’re going to be after this execution. I have work, you know. I can’t just be here all the time making sure you’re not losing your shit.”
Harry scowled, trying to figure out why the hell he was friends with Draco to begin with. “I do not need you fucking babysitting me, Malfoy. And I don’t have moods. Just because I remember shit, and like to drink so I don’t remember said shit, does not mean I have fucking moods!”
“Oh, right, that’s just fucking healthy shit right there,” Draco said with a snort. “Yell at me some more; show me just how pleasant a bloke you can be. No wonder no one calls on you anymore… Shit, Harry, you have to get out of this house. Granger’s talking about having a kid, and she tells me you haven’t spoken to her in nearly a year. Which is crazy, because you’re not doing anything besides brooding in this dark place.”
“I’m fine,” Harry growled, stomping into the kitchen. Draco followed after a moment, discreetly spelling cleaning spells on the cobwebs as he passed, repairing the crack in the mirror in the hall.
“When was the last time you went out? Had a date? Shit, got laid? I can only assume some muggle bloke with standards set to zero would accept the level of grime and ‘I don’t give a fuck’ you’re always covered in.”
Harry glared, deciding now was as good as time as any to rinse the food cartons. If he didn’t do something with his hands immediately, he was pretty sure he’d be strangling his very good friend. “I don’t remember,” he said flatly, ignoring Draco’s sigh at his answer.
“How about a party? Your old house is always throwing bashes, trying to sucker any damn fool in. They keep sending me invitations, like I’m going to somehow drag you along. I’m actually considering it, just to get you out of the house.” He looked expectantly at Harry, who only growled, sloshing water as he brutally scraped the last of the noodles from the cardboard container.
“There are always too many people at those things. Always loud—Everyone always fucking asking to see my scar, and did I really kill Voldemort when I was only fifteen, and oh my god, I must just be some really fucking terrible person for being able to do a killing curse while just a teenage!”
“Fuck them!” Draco suddenly shouted, Harry falling silent and glaring in return. “I told you to stop reading those fucking papers. It’s all trash, and no one really thinks that way. And if they do, who the fuck cares? They weren’t there. They couldn’t possibly understand. Stop carrying on like any of those close-minded, idiotic imbeciles mean a goddamn thing in the sway of your life, because they don’t. You are the reason you’re locked inside this house, not them.”
“…fucking… hate… you…” Harry muttered, slamming water and cardboard down on the kitchen counter, the sponge flying across the kitchen.
“I know, which is probably why I’m the only one you bother to talk to anymore. You love to punish yourself,” Draco snapped back, arms folded over his chest.
“I thought you came over here to help me with this trial shit?” Harry snarled, rounding and glaring. “All you do is yell at me when you come over.”
Eyes narrowing, Draco pursed his lips. He didn’t say anything for a moment, clearly trying to keep from saying something else angrily. “I’m worried about you,” he said tightly.
“So that makes it okay to yell every time you see me?” Harry shot back.
Draco nodded once, his gray eyes flashing in warning. Harry’s eyes widened, the boy clearly about to explode a retort when Draco held his hand up. “When you’re angry, I don’t worry that you’re fading away, Potter. So until I see that you’re actually a fully living human being again, I’m going to continue to piss you off, because—My god—I cannot keep leaving you here wondering if you’re just going to disappear into another mood and never return.”
Glare dimming slightly, Harry whirled back to the sink, scrubbing the basin with his soapy hand. “Hermione wants to have a baby?”
Staring at his shoes, Draco nodded. “Weasely is putting up a hell of a fight. Surprising, considering the way his family populates. They just got a new place. Told me they sent you numerous invites to the housewarming that you completely ignored.”
“I’m done with crowds,” Harry said gruffly.
“Then invite them down here. No one says you have to have a full house. They miss you, you git.”
Harry sighed, stilling all his movements to stare blankly out the kitchen windows. “I don’t want to have to clean.”
Draco rolled his eyes. “They won’t fucking care.”
“I’ll think about it,” Harry finally muttered, head bowed as he drained the last of the soap from the now sparkling sink.
Staring at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, Harry sighed. He had stayed up too late, his eyes bloodshot, skin too pale. He had resisted the urge to drink after Draco’s rant of yesterday, but it didn’t stop the nightmares. So he hadn’t slept besides stolen moments while playing a first person shooter video game. He preferred those at night. Complicated rpgs were good at times, but when he just needed to stay awake, the adrenaline was better than story.
Harry foamed up some shaving cream, quickly padding it on his face and carefully scraping his stubble away with a straight edge. He had to be around people today, and he didn’t want anyone taking pictures and saying shit about him falling apart. Everything he did was overly scrutinized, from the first time he kissed a boy and the papers had a huge exposé on gay rights for wizards, to when he had gotten his eyesight magically corrected and had to read about the boy-who-lived being a vain, self-centered snob, glasses sales plummeting and the industry about to go bankrupt. It was exhausting, never mind maddening to have so much written about you and no one knowing him at all.
Draco was one of the few Harry let in, and that was probably because the former Slytherin had been by his side when he had killed Voldemort while back in school. It hadn’t been a planned thing. The two of them had actually been fighting, Draco having tried to wrestle Harry for the snitch in midair, only to have a bludger smash into them, sending them both spiraling to the Forbidden Forest below. Draco had been seriously injured, his shoulder shattered and going into shock. Harry had been carrying the boy when the creature had slithered up on them, weak, twisted, and living off of unicorn blood and whatever poor soul that couldn’t escape in time. Harry had known it was something terrible, something evil that made his scar burn, but for some reason, Draco had known it was Voldemort and pleaded for Harry to kill it before it would kill them.
Harry later found out the blond’s father had warned him about the forest and the monster inside. Draco’s absolute terror was why Harry had been able to successfully use the killing curse his first and only time casting it, his need to protect fueling his determination to kill. They had started a rocky, strange friendship from that moment, one that managed to grow stronger than any of Harry’s other bonds. They had seen each other at their worst and best that day, and it just seemed like neither of them could shock the other into running off, no matter how much they fought at times. Which turned out to be a lot, especially when Harry had refused to move in with Draco in his new posh apartment and had instead holed himself up into his parents’ old house.
Glaring critically at his reflection, now free of beard, thoroughly showered of grime, and hair in some mild sense of order, Harry sighed in defeat. He could be as neat as Draco, and there would be an article about him cleaning up his act to start dating some socialite. He could go out how he looked yesterday, and there’d be something written on him needing rehab and being on drugs or some shit. He could go out how he looked now, and there would be a fantasy piece about him off to donate money to charity while secretly doing some back door deal to murder muggles in there sleep. It really didn’t matter what the fuck he looked like; the papers would still keep writing.
Harry gave up, going to his bedroom and kicking piles of dirty clothes out of his way as he made it to the closet. He had a small array of formal robes and suits—Draco’s insistence—and threw on the plainest, blackest suit he had. It felt like a funeral, and he wanted to dress appropriately. The suit barely fit, Harry having to adjust the length of the legs and width of the shoulders to accommodate his increase in muscle and height since the last time he had worn this particular suit. That he kept growing stronger while sitting around the house infuriated his slender friend, Draco having been trying to bulk up for years only to remain lightly toned at best. Harry had failed to mention the gym equipment he had set up in one of the many rooms of the manor, using it most days just to keep from going stir crazy. He probably should, but it was funny seeing Draco fume, so he knew he wouldn’t.
“Harry,” Remus’s voice called up the stairs. Harry poked his head out the bedroom door, shouting a quick reply back while fiddling with his tie. He rolled his eyes when he heard the man coming up the stairs. He wasn’t cleaning anymore that day!
Remus stopped in the doorway, looking solemn in his slightly rumpled black robes. He caught his breath when Harry turned, the boy raising a brow in reply. “Sorry. You just really look like James today,” Remus muttered, running a hand agitatedly through his honey colored locks.
Harry didn’t say anything, shrugging into his robe and letting it flow loose around his suit. James had died before even reaching Harry’s current age. His father had barely been out of school, already married with a newborn and being stalked by a psychotic murderer. It was like James had known he didn’t have any time left and had made sure to get as much living in as he could in the months left.
“You look good, kid,” Remus added, stepping back from the door. “I think I’m more shook up about this than you are.”
“It would be your right, Remi,” Harry said while following the man down the stairs. His shoes pinched a bit, not used to wearing the shiny black things, but he would suffer through. “Did you want to grab some food or anything before going there?”
“God no. I can’t eat—My stomach is a giant knot. The thought of seeing him after all these years…” Remus swallowed, hands again messing his hair in agitation.
“You were really good friends once,” Harry said quietly, hands shoved in his pockets. “I’m sure you’re feeling a lot.”
“I think it would have been easier if they just kept him locked away in the dark,” Remus said with a wry smile. “Didn’t have to think about him. Didn’t have to ask all these questions of why. James saved him from a really bad home life, Harry. Sirius’s parents used to beat that boy to the brink of death… I just can’t understand why he would have turned on us all like that.”
Harry nodded distractedly, scuffing the side of his shoe on the rug. “Well, we’re going to get to find out today. I think… I think it’s time you were allowed to let it all go, Remi. And well, even though I was just a baby and really didn’t remember anything that happened, my whole life was effected by that man. He was my godfather and… and he betrayed me and my parents. I want to know why he did it too.”
Remus slung an arm over Harry’s shoulder, walking him towards the front door. “No matter what happens today, Harry, I want you to know I’m here for you. James and Lily did so much for me, and you’re just a great kid in general. You’re not alone. Just… just don’t be too alarmed if I go a little mad today,” he added with a grim smile.
“Like I said, Remi, it’s your right.” He opened the front door, locking it behind them. It was a surprising bright, beautiful morning outside, Harry staring up at the sky in mild confusion. He rarely went outside anymore, and when he did it was nighttime. He felt exposed in the daylight, but also in this moment, warmed by the late spring air and light streaming onto his skin. He paused for a moment, absorbing the feeling, knowing that in minutes they’d be apparating into the courthouse holding Sirius Black and he’d would be feeling much colder.
Sirius Black and his lawyer were already in place behind an expansive wooden table, facing the judge and turned away from the entrance to the room. Harry noticed the guards inside the room, ten armed, stone-faced Aurors, two of them having originally helped capture Black on that fateful day. Harry was grateful no dementors were present. He did not know how Remus would handle reliving the past while also surrounded by the soul sucking monsters.
Remus grabbed Harry’s arm the moment he caught sight of his old friend, Harry letting him even though the werewolf’s grip was painful. He understood once they reached the side enough to see Black’s profile. The man did not look like the other prisoners that had been in this room after years spent in the horrible jail. No, Sirius Black was nearly healthy looking, form still full of muscle, posture nearly dignified even though his skin was too pale, grim frown lines etched on his ducked face.
“His lawyer must have cleaned him up,” Remus muttered under his breath. “To make us more sympathetic.”
Harry wasn’t so sure, knowing that dementors could waste a person just by being in their presence long enough. You couldn’t just glamor something like that away even by putting him in a nice suit and tie. Black’s lawyer took that moment to lean in to the man to say something, the criminal’s face rising and turning. Harry started, immediately closing his eyes and looking away from the exchange.
“He has that effect on people,” Remus whispered into his ear. “He never had to try to be charismatic, his face did it for him. Although, believe me, he was always smooth. He could charm the socks off of McGonagall.”
Harry nodded mutely, hating the flood of heat still tingling through his body. Not only had Sirius Black managed to not be a worn, weak sack of skin and bones, he had also managed to be beautiful as well. Heart stopping, breathtakingly beautiful. His dark features were sharp and aristocratic, long midnight black hair pulled in a sleek ponytail topped with a widow’s peak and making his cheekbones look even sharper. And his eyes… they were so stunningly blue, wild and mad as he stared intently at his lawyer.
Draco was right; he really needed to get laid. He had been cooped up in the house too long and had lost his fucking mind. Black had murdered his parents and Harry couldn’t stop seeing his damn eyes even though he had shut his own to block the sight.
Jaw gritted tensely, Harry took his seat, Remus beside him and blessfully blocking his view of the criminal with his powerful form. Remus usually liked to pretend to be meek and docile, but seeing his old friend turned traitor was bringing the beast out in him. The golden eyed man was puffing up, his muscles allowed to expand, his posture aggressive and ready for anything. Harry noticed some of the aurors looking Remus’s way, but didn’t comment. If this was how the man was able to cope, then he had a right to it.
Harry had chosen Remus to be his advocate, not wanting to get a lawyer involved in such a personal matter. The more people involved, the more likely reporters would start showing up, and Harry didn’t want this to be any worse than it already was. They waited patiently, the judge finally done sorting through the paperwork before her, ruffling the pages before placing them flat.
“Barrister Colms, I have read that your client has a request.”
“Yes, your honor. Mr. Black asks to be executed without trial or questioning. He concedes to all wrong doing, and wishes to spare the court the time and cost in continuing with these proceedings.”
Remus growled lowly under his breath, Harry meeting the man’s eye. “The coward,” was all Remus muttered, but Harry understood. Black was trying to get out from having to answer truthfully to his crimes under Veritaserum.
“Mr. Black, you cannot honestly sit here and tell me you are content to go to your death. I have read your file. You were very vocal about having been imprisoned wrongly. You demanded your day in court, and although granted, twenty years late, I cannot imagine you would not wish to have it.”
Sirius looked at his lawyer questioningly, his face a blank mask of emotion. Mr. Colms waved his hand, indicating the man stand when talking to the judge. He got to his feet only a little unsteadily, chains clinking, the man’s wrists bound together and connected to his ankles by metal shackles. “Your honor, there isn’t much point to it,” Sirius said lowly, his voice a gruff, harsh echo of humanity.
Harry watched, fascinated when Sirius suddenly fought back a smile. Was something funny about it all? Having to defend his want to just die? “It’ll be quieter, mam. No more screams to keep me up—I’m as good as dead anyways.” A grimace now, so deep, but his eyes were flashing even as he stood perfectly still. “I just want some peace… Years of their screaming in my head, years of their accusations… I just want it to stop. I’m so cold… just dead inside anyways… can hardly feel anything. So what’s the point?”
Remus suddenly stood, hands slamming down on the table, Harry jumping in his seat. “The point, you selfish asshole, is not for you! It’s for me and for the boy you orphaned. It’s for Peter’s dead parents, and every decent person that lost sleep as they relived nightmares from that horrible explosion you caused. Stop being such a coward and face the fucking truth!”
Sirius had fallen silent on seeing Remus, his eyes moving over the man slowly, confusion clear on his face. “Are you… Do I know you?” He asked hollowly, taking a step back when Remus growled at him.
“Lupin,” Remus snapped, looking for all the world like he was going to throttle the man.
Sirius bit his lip, eyes straying to the judge and then back again. “John?”
“Remus!” The werewolf roared.
Harry jumped up, grabbing Remus’s arm before the aurors decided to try to instead. “He’s confused, Remi. You know the dementors do that to a person.”
“Like hell—He’s just trying to piss me off!” Remus suddenly stilled, watching as Sirius’s eyes filled with tears, the criminal no longer looking at him but at Harry.
“J-James?” Sirius whispered weakly, slowly crumpling to his knees and speaking frantically. “Oh god, I’m so sorry, Jamie boy. He was too strong—I hadn’t known, hadn’t known someone was helping him—I tried to stop him, I swear. Had hoped to kill the little monster but he—He was too strong!” The man started gasping, huge, painful sobs shaking his entire form.
Remus tore away with a snarl of disgust. “Now you fucking cry? Now, after you got them all killed!” He paced away from Sirius before he started hitting. Harry stayed where he was, unable to look away as Black pleaded with him for forgiveness through desperate gasps for air.
“I wasn’t… wasn’t strong enough… Peter was smarter… someone… helping…” Sirius tore his face from his hands, wrenching at his ears and pulling his hair fitfully. “I let you down… got them killed… Lily—beautiful Lily and her sweet babe… Just… just finish it, Jamie… Just make it all stop…” he begged, eyes red rimmed and imploring as he stared up at Harry from the floor.
Stomach churning, Harry realized he just didn’t have any anger in him, not when faced with this raw mess of emotion. The man might have done horrible things, but he was human, and in pain, and clearly lost. Harry took a deep breath, edging closer to the broken man. “Mr. Black, you’re confused. My name is Harry. My father James died a very long time ago, but I didn’t. I’m Lily’s child. I’m twenty-one… You’ve been in prison for twenty years and a lot of things have changed.” He tried to keep his voice even and light, not wanting to upset the man more than he already was. “Mr. Black, I’m here to learn your story about what happened.”
Eyes full of confusion, Sirius began looking around the courtroom, finally finding Remus glaring from across the room. He stared at the man, eyes moving unceasingly, turning back to Harry again, taking in his green eyes and shorter stature. Then Sirius was looking at his own hands, large and rough, very different from the teenage hands he had gone into Azkaban with.
Sirius suddenly lurched to his feet, Harry stepping back quickly. “Remus, why would you bring this boy here?” He asked, voice harsh and full of disbelief. “Haven’t I hurt enough people? You need to have him watch me die?”
Remus gave a loud growl but kept himself from retorting, instead turning his back to Sirius.
“Please, your honor,” Sirius continued, returning to the judge. “You need to give me the Kiss. Just—Just stop this madness. Nothing they learn is going to fix it… Please. Just let it die with me.”
“Suck it up, Black!” Remus shouted from across the room. “For once in your wretched existence, do something for someone else, you arrogant, selfish ass!”
Sirius fell silent, chains clinking as he swayed on his feet. The judge didn’t say anything for a long while, fingers tapping as she looked the group over.
“We will have a recess so that each party can calm themselves. In ten minutes the Veritaserum will be administered, and the court official will ask Mr. Potter and Mr. Lupin’s prepared questions. You will not be capable of lying, Mr. Black. I suggested you come to terms with this now.”
Sirius slumped forward, looking all the world like a defeated man. Harry walked over to where Remus was vibrating with anger, grabbing his arm and leading him out of the room to collect himself.
“That selfish git. After all this time, he’d deny this one fucking thing.”
Harry just nodded, letting him vent.
“Pretending you were James. Acting like he couldn’t tell I’d aged.”
“Remi, he wasn’t acting and you bloody well know it,” Harry said sharply. “Even you thought I was James for a moment this morning.”
“I thought you looked like James. It’s totally different.” He glared at Harry’s challenging look, eventually huffing in defeat. “Fine… fine, he’s so fucked in the head he doesn’t even know he’s forty…” Remus suddenly choked on a sob, Harry grabbing the man around the shoulders and holding him tight. “He didn’t even know who I was… He’s going to die, not even knowing life went on.”
Harry rubbed the man’s back, eyes downcast. Remus had learned to cope. He had built a life after the tragic events that had led to the murder of the two Potters. Somehow to know Sirius was still frozen in that terrible moment, going to the grave twenty years later while still a young man in his mind was too much for Remus. Sirius had been his friend, had done so many things to help the young boy come out of his shell during school, and even though he had been a hotheaded, arrogant sod a lot of the times, Sirius had been a damn good friend too. The old wound was tearing open, and Harry wondered if maybe he shouldn’t have pushed for this. Maybe it would have been better to leave Black to rot in a cell in silence for another twenty years.
“Come on,” Harry urged once Remus had gained control of himself. “Let’s get this over with. We can visit their graves after, and we’ll tell them why he did it. Then we can all just let it go, Remi.”
Nodding weakly, Remus let Harry lead him back to the courtroom.
“What the hell do you mean, inculpatory evidence? He was under Veritaserum! If he had been put under Veritaserum and given a proper trial in the first place, none of this would have happened!”
“I understand you’re upset, Mr. Lupin, but it was before my time. Now if you will kindly stop roaring at me for five minutes, I will try to get this situated as quickly as possible.” Judge Malie was doing her best to stay reasonable, but was having difficulty, Remus being a two hundred and twenty pound werewolf of pure muscle loudly yelling from a foot away after hearing Sirius’s very innocent testimony. It did not help that the court was insisting Sirius be taken back to Azkaban until everything was straightened out.
“Remus, I need you to give me a moment with the judge,” Harry said, carefully pushing the man back. Remus’s face was red as were his eyes, having broken down on hearing Sirius’s answer to why he had given up the Potters’ location to Voldemort. Sirius’s simple, truth induced answer had been blunt; he hadn’t. Everything that followed was chaos. “How about you go talk with Mr. Black? He looks very confused again, and I’m sure he could use your company.”
The Veritaserum always left people confused after, even more so with prisoners because of the daily mind addling effects they dealt with from the dementors. Growling, Remus finally stepped away, instead talking briskly to Sirius’s lawyer, Barrister Colms looking just as surprised about the turn of events as everyone else. Harry was grateful it had been a private courtroom and no reporters allowed in. They had tried to keep everything as secret as possible, not wanting to deal with a crowd for something so solemn an occasion. Now it was even more important because Harry was going to have to convince this judge to let him take Sirius out of there instead of going back to prison, and he did not need reporters writing him up as a dark, manipulative wizard following in Voldemort’s footsteps.
“Judge Malie, as we have all today come to understand, Mr. Black has been wrongly imprisoned for twenty some years. Returning him there after such an injustice is just perpetuating the idea that he has done something wrong.” Harry spoke calmly and evenly, holding the woman’s eye. He didn’t use any magic, no compulsion or trickery. He just spoke the truth and hoped that she would be receptive. “He can be harmed in that prison. When the other inmates find out he’s innocent, he might be killed. He has been scheduled for execution by the Dementor’s Kiss. Who is to say the foul creatures are going to let him walk out of there now that they anticipate his death?”
“Mr. Potter, there is nothing I can do. I can hold him here until 4pm, but then he must return. There are procedure to follow, paperwork to fill, people to call. We will need a full inquiry into how he ended up in the prison in the first place, and then another to conclude that he should be released from it. Prisoners do not just get to walk free.”
“He never should have been imprisoned. He is an innocent man,” Harry reminded. “You will be putting an innocent man in with the dregs of society because of procedure. He was already begging for his own death. You people have destroyed that man, and now you wish to continue it. Give me an option, your honor. Because if I have to call up every malicious, bloodthirsty reporter I know and drag you and the entire court system through the mud, I will. Every murderous fiend will be back on the street while awaiting a trial they likely never got. Is that what you really want?”
Judge Malie lifted her chin, her eyes narrowed at the threat. Harry met her glare apathetically, not caring if she tried to call him on it. All it would take was three phone calls—He had called these particular reporters enough to slam them for writing outright lies about him in major publications. They would love to hear some actual truth for a change, although likely they would twist it into something even worse than reality.
“As the last living, direct victim of Mr. Black, you hold certain legal rights over his life that others do not,” Judge Malie finally said, her voice restrained with anger. “If you would be willing to sign the correct documents to that fact, we can hand him over into your custody to do with as you see fit.”
Harry remembered Draco briefly telling him about something along those lines. That if he really wanted to kill Sirius Black with his own two hands for what he had done to his parents, he would be allowed to. But Harry did not wish to kill the man, he wanted to keep him out of the weeks to months of prison while the court got their shit together and fixed their mistake.
“Will this incriminate him in any way?” Harry asked. “He is innocent and I do not wish to take that away from him with some legal exchange of power.”
“There is precedent to reverse the title, once the paperwork through our side is done,” the judge snapped. “I must warn you. If any harm comes to Mr. Black while under your care only to find that he is innocent, you will be held accountable.”
Harry titled his head, trying to read the woman’s face. “Are you suggesting that he might not be found innocent even after his testimony?”
“I am.” She waved a bailiff to her, requesting a set of forms. “You will be his guardian in all sense of the word. You will provide him food, shelter, clothing; all the amenities a human being needs to survive. His assets will become yours, all his money, property, and other inheritances. You will own Mr. Black. He will be listed among your possessions by the Goblins. He will not have rights to his own name—You must sign anything legal for him, even for things as simple as a job application. Do you understand how severe a power this is?”
Harry turned, finding Black slumped over in his chair, quiet and blank while Remus held him in a tight hug, the werewolf crying into his shoulder.
“Why, Siri? Why would you ask to die? Why wouldn’t you want to tell us?” Remus demanded hoarsely.
“I’m just a fuck up, Lupin… We all knew it.” He tried to pull away but Remus wouldn’t let him. “I… I treated you all so badly you thought I could have done something so terrible… Surely I deserved it…”
Remus started crying harder, hiding his face into the man’s suit jacket. Remus would not survive the guilt of sending Sirius back to Azkaban, Harry knew it deep in his heart. And if Sirius was still found guilty even after all this…?
Harry turned back, his resolved. “I’ll sign whatever I need to. Sirius Black will be my responsibility.”
Draco, sitting across from Harry at his kitchen table, didn’t say anything for a while, just looking him over worriedly. Harry had told him the entire story of Sirius Black’s questioning and rescue, aka ownership, by Harry. It was a lot to take in. Harry still hadn’t and it was Wednesday. Draco had popped over after work for a quick hello before going out to meet friends. He hadn’t bothered inviting Harry, knowing the boy would only say no.
Harry had managed to get Sirius home Monday, shortly after 3pm. Three aurors insisted on taking the man, still handcuffed and walking him into Harry’s house before finally releasing Black from his chains. Remus had come with, helping Harry spruce up the second large bedroom with full bath so Sirius could have a space of his own to relax in. Black had just stood there in the hallway the entire time, staring at the floor and his hands like he didn’t even know what to do with himself.
Harry had let Remus take the man away, trying to draw him into conversation and make sure Sirius understood what was happening. Then Remus had to leave, teaching at Hogwarts again as the DADA professor and having classes the next morning. Harry wasn’t sure if Remus had gotten through to the man. Black hadn’t eaten anything he had brought him. Harry had found him sleeping on the floor every time he checked in, the bed completely untouched. To the best of his knowledge, he hadn’t even left the bedroom—Although Harry was grateful to hear the toilet flush on occasion, one worry relieved.
“I’m having his things brought over from storage,” Harry said. “I guess they boxed up his entire life after he was imprisoned. Remus is hoping there will be something that will help ground him into reality. Right now… I think he still thinks he’s in prison.”
Draco nodded, having a long drink of his tea. “He was there for more than half his life. It’s going to take a while for him to adjust.”
“I know, I know—I just can’t handle seeing him like that. He practically huddles in the corner on the floor when he hears me come in. Like I’m going to fucking hurt him or something. Like I’m supposed to be angry at him because he thinks I’m my dad, or a ghost of my dad, or something.”
Draco held his hand up, Harry sighing and stopping. “You can’t take it personally. He’s not fucked up to upset you. He’s fucked up because he was wrongfully imprisoned for twenty years.”
Harry groaned, resting his head on the table. “I own him.”
“Pardon?” Draco asked, ducking his head to hear Harry’s muffled words.
“I own him. Like he’s my prisoner now instead of the Ministry’s. It’s so messed up. Maybe he thinks I’m angry at him and want to hurt him? Maybe he thinks I blame him for my parents even though he really had nothing to do with it—He blames himself. He thinks if he had been able to convince everyone that Pettigrew had been working for Voldemort, none of it would have happened. But I don’t blame him for that. That’s like—How can you just take on something like that? Like you’re responsible for what people believe? I can’t get people to stop thinking I’m some sort of elitist, dark wizard looking to take over the world. I’m not going to blame myself for—”
“Potter, shut up,” Draco snapped, pulling Harry up by his hair and holding him at eye level. “What the hell are you doing to yourself?”
Harry had no idea, having been a wreck since Monday and unable to stop. He hadn’t slept, had barely eaten, and was fighting waves of ridiculous guilt every time he knocked on the door to Black’s room with a meal. “It… it’s strange having someone in the house. I can’t seem to relax even though I know it’s not like he’s walking around. He hasn’t left that room. And that’s bad, I know it is, but I just… It’s really weird not being alone anymore and I don’t know how to deal with it.”
Sighing, Draco let Harry’s hair go, sitting back in his seat. The kitchen was suspiciously clean, signs that Harry was actually very agitated. The boy didn’t clean to have clean things, so much as to give him something to do with his hands. Which was why Harry also never used magic to clean when he did actually get so agitated as to attempt the chore.
“Alright, here’s the deal. This is a new thing for the both of you, and new things can be difficult,” Draco said, pointing his friend with a meaningful stare. “You need to give yourself time and him even more. I can come over every night, if you like—Not like I have anyone at home waiting for me. I’m happy to help you, even if you just need to talk, or want someone to go outside the damn house with. But for now, you should just keep doing the things you normally do every day, and just let him be. Don’t change your routine, and don’t expect anything from him.”
“I can’t just let him—”
“You can, and you will. You are not responsible for his happiness. Unless you find he’s dying from starvation or the plague, don’t bother the man. He probably needs all the time he can get just to comprehend this huge change—Also, not your responsibility.”
Harry scowled, nodding in agreement. “I’m still going to offer him food.”
“That’s very reasonable of you. Just don’t be upset if he doesn’t eat.” Draco stood, brushing his pants off lightly.
Harry studied his friend, standing as well. “How do you know all this stuff? Did you take in a wrongfully convicted prisoner of twenty years, and never tell me?”
Eyebrow raised, Draco did not return the smile. “I learned it from you, Potter. After you killed that bastard and saved both our lives, you sunk into such a deep depression I thought you were just going to sleep yourself to death. I spent many a week thinking I was responsible, that I was supposed to find a way to fix you. Then I got a wake up call and realized the only one that was going to fix you was you, and I just needed to be available when you were ready.” He shrugged. “You got there eventually, and I managed to not have a nervous breakdown.”
Biting his lip, Harry followed Draco to the front door. “Sorry I—”
“Quiet,” Draco snapped. “My suffering over your depression was my fault, not yours. Now it’s your turn to learn how to cope with a broken person. Just go about your day and try to live your life. And don’t pity him—You nearly shut me out completely when you thought I pitied you.”
Harry shoved his hands into his pockets, head bowed down. “Okay.”
Eying Harry, Draco wrapped an arm around his shoulders and squeezed briefly before opening the door. “You’ll be fine. Call me if you need anything.”
Harry nodded, waving goodbye halfheartedly. He walked back into the kitchen, staring blankly at Draco’s empty teacup. It was hard to remember back to when he had killed Voldemort. It seemed like a lifetime ago. Harry remembered blearily at the time thinking that nothing was ever going to be right with the world, that he would always be stuck with that terrible weight on his chest from having taken a life. Sure, he had done it for good reason. But part of why the papers calling him evil bothered him was because he had wondered it himself. He had murdered someone and it had not been without consequences.
Shaking his head, Harry cleaned up the table, rinsing the mugs and letting them dry on the rack. He glared at the fridge, having been in there too many times already. He wasn’t a terrible cook, just didn’t see much point when it was so easy to get better tasting stuff by dialing a phone or ordering online. Decided, he grabbed the menu to his favorite Chinese food restaurant, doubling his order in case the man living in his spare bedroom was hungry.
Sirius could hear when the unfamiliar voice faded, the front door opening and closing. His senses had been on high alert since arriving at the house, part of him waiting for the instant danger finally revealed itself, the strange calm to finally break. It didn’t help that his side was burning now that the numbness of Azkaban was wearing off.
He was not enjoying feeling again. He had been cold and numb a very long time and now everything just hurt. His body was too large, too tall, to lanky and pale. His joints were stiff, having been in the cold prison too long usually in the same position, curled up as Padfoot, nose to tail. He hadn’t dared transform here, almost afraid if he did he might never come back. Sirius knew his mind wasn’t quite right at the moment but it had been so long since it had been, he wasn’t sure if it would ever right itself fully anyways.
He had figured out that James wasn’t there. James would have never called him Mr. Black like this boy did. James would have called him Siri, or Padfoot, or Snuffles, or shithead or dungbreath, or arrogant crowing bastard. No, this glowing eyed, strangely formal boy was not Jamie. And Sirius had apparently become his father, Mr. Black.
Head turning slightly to hear the vibrations in the floor, he listened as the boy moved around downstairs. He had been flittering about all day, shuffling around one room, banging things about that were very reminiscent of pots and pans although Sirius had not heard either long enough to fully remember what they were supposed to sound like. He had not eaten anything the boy had brought yet, fairly certain that he was trying to poison him. He looked like James, called him Mr. Black very politely, and kept bringing him food. It was the only logical explanation.
The other one was gone, the man that kept insisting he was Remus. But Sirius still remembered Remus, the sweet-tempered, honey haired boy that was always telling him off for pulling pranks. Remus had rarely cried, but this man seemed to know nothing else, looking so worried at him, eyes full of guilt and pity. No, the man had left, leaving Sirius alone with the strange boy. There had been the other boy, the new one for a while that he had not seen yet, but he had gone too. The rest of the house was empty.
Sirius stilled, closing his eyes, slowing his breathing. Footsteps on the stairs. They were moving down the hall hesitantly. The boy was also terrible at sneaking, if you could even call it that. What was the point when he kept trying to poison him? You couldn’t surprise someone with poison, you had to actually make them eat it.
There was a knock on the door, faint as if afraid to startle him. “Mr. Black?”
Sirius didn’t answer, schooling his features to look asleep when the boy pushed the door open.
Harry sighed, once again finding the man on the floor sleeping. What a waste of a perfectly good bed. “Mr. Black… I ordered some takeout. I don’t know if you like Chinese food, but I do. And I got you some if you like.”
Sirius’s attention was peeked. It would be harder to poison something if they ate from the same containers. He’d just have to make sure the boy was eating the food too…
“Alright,” Sirius said, wincing from the sound of his own voice. It was too low, raspy, and very much a man’s voice. The boy seemed to be just as alarmed, jumping in surprise. Then Sirius remembered he was pretending to sleep so he opened his eyes. That only seemed to make things worse, the polite thing suddenly blushing and stepping away.
“Right, so it’s downstairs in the kitchen if you want some,” Harry mumbled, escaping out the door only to collapse once he got down the stairs, swearing under his breath. What the hell was wrong with him? He could still see those burning blue eyes, piercing into him, belonging more to a wild animal than a man. And his voice—God, what a damn husky, sensual voice. He had only said one word. One word and one look. Harry really needed to get the fuck out of the house and start socializing more.
Harry decided that part of going about his day was not actually bringing food to the man instead letting him come to the food. After twenty minutes of waiting, no Black in sight, Harry was rethinking that idea. The man could be too scared to leave the room. He had spent a lifetime in a cell; maybe he couldn’t handle doors. Sighing and ignoring the little Draco voice in his head telling him he was being too nice, Harry got up, grabbing the chopsticks and bags of takeout he had yet to open while waiting for the man—because he was an idiot, Draco’s voice chided. Harry agreed and started up the stairs.
Sirius was still on the floor stretched out on his stomach, head cradled on his arms. He was actually snoring this time and Harry had a feeling it was legit, not too loud or overdone to be faked. He settled on the floor a few feet in front of the man, unpacking the plastic bags, hoping the noise would be enough to wake the man.
Sirius didn’t wake, instead suddenly whimpering. It was a very small sound, like a child was making it even though it was a grown man before him. Harry stilled his movements, watching the man, his body twitching with each whimpering noise.
“Peter… why? why—No!” Sirius gave a sudden shout, then went very still. Watching him, Harry could see the man was awake now, muscles tense, fingers spreading ever so slightly to reveal the glint of eyes from his shadowed face. Harry stayed as still and calm as possible, feeling like he was dealing with a wild animal and not really interested in being mauled.
Sirius made no move to attack or speak, so Harry opened up the nearest box of food, grateful it was still steaming. Cross-legged on the floor, he pushed a set of chopsticks towards the man and began to eat.
It was extremely interesting to watch the thoughts on Sirius Black’s face when Harry put down his current box of food and picked up another box, popping the flaps open. The man was very interested in what he had just eaten, and as Sirius slowly unfurled his hand towards that box, Harry could see the little flashes of wariness sent in his direction. When Sirius caught him watching him while reaching for that box, he suddenly stopped, withdrawing his hand as if he’d been caught doing something wrong.
Frowning, Harry plucked the container up, leaned forward and placed it inches from the man’s face. “It’s fine, Mr. Black. I’m not going to bite you or whatever the hell people do in prison. Stab… shiv? Is that a thing, shivving?” Sirius didn’t answer, and Harry figured it was irrelevant.
“I have chicken, if you like. The orange sweet stuff. Oh, and vegetables… noodles…” Harry went through all the boxes, opening them up while Sirius very slowly tilted the one right next to him down with his long fingers and peered inside. “Beef and broccoli with mushrooms,” Harry supplied helpfully at the man’s uncertain expression.
Harry tried not to stare when Sirius completely ignored the chopsticks and even his fingers and instead licked at the corner of the box, tasting the sauce that had pooled there. He did it again, wide tongue drifting out, face pressing in as he licked a piece of beef into his mouth and began to chew. Harry nearly dropped his chopsticks, eyes wide, cheeks flushed.
“Er… do you like it?” Harry asked, feeling very flustered and hot all of a sudden. The man was messed up in the head, eating like some animal and Harry was getting aroused over it. There was really something wrong with him.
Sirius just looked at him, glaring slightly as he used his tongue to snag a piece of broccoli from the container and snap his teeth down shut. Maybe it was supposed to be a challenge; Harry didn’t know. All he did know was that it was ridiculously hot and he planned to see what else Mr. Black liked to eat with his tongue.
Harry placed his current box of boneless spare ribs next to the man, curious to see if he’d be able to eat them without getting any sauce on his mouth. He could not, Harry forced to now stare at Sirius’s bottom lip stained with the pinkish red sauce. There had to be something… Harry fished through the takeout boxes, smiling wickedly when he found the lo mein. This was possible cruel and just terrible but he really wanted to see the man try and eat fucking noodles with his tongue. Except, when he placed the box down, Sirius only glared at it, instead looking at the one that Harry had been eating from.
Crap. Maybe this was just a bit more terrible than he had first thought. “You’re only eating the food I eat.”
Huffing, Sirius turned back to the beef and broccoli, nibbling on a piece of green fluff.
“What, do you think I’m trying to kill you with Chinese food? That I’d give you a room in my house and then try to drug you?”
Glaring challengingly, Sirius shrugged. Harry glared back, suddenly really upset with this weird, crazy man. It was fine that Black was fucked up, but that he though Harry was some murderous fiend after just meeting him—What, did the man get the paper in Azkaban?
Methodically, Harry went through every box of food in front of him, eating a mouthful from each. He them pushed the cartons over to the man, glaring him down. Sure enough, suddenly lo mein was good enough for the bastard now that he knew Harry hadn’t dropped dead from it. Harry considered storming off, very much pissed about the whole thing. Then he saw Black actually attempting to eat the lo mein and he decided he deserved the very strange show for his trouble.
Watching Sirius try to tangle his tongue around the noodles, teeth snapping and pulling a clump into his mouth, sauce flinging wildly as the lo mein slipped down his chin and then was sucked up, Harry couldn’t help but wonder just what it was like to eat like that. Squinting down at his own container of orange chicken, he raised it to his face, peering in dubiously. He lapped his tongue out, realizing quickly that it was much harder than it looked, the container actually quite deep and his tongue not so long. He tipped the box towards him, tongue outstretched, laughing silently when flavor finally reached him, a piece of chicken falling on the tip. He wiggled, trying to get the damn thing closer, growling when it wouldn’t budge. He tipped the container more, suddenly half the contents trying to pour onto his face. He pulled back with a scowl, a piece of chicken tight between his teeth, nose from chin covered in sauce.
“You’re a weird kid,” Sirius muttered, having watched the whole thing.
Harry just glared at him, chewing his well earned prize slowly while riffling through the bags for a napkin. The man thought he was trying to poison him but he was the weird one? Harry really didn’t put much stock in Black’s judgment. Even if his voice was amazingly hot and raspy. “Shit, how are there no napkins?” Harry sighed, going back to the first bag to no avail.
Staring up at him, Sirius crooked his finger. Harry looked at him warily, leaning closer to see what he wanted. Suddenly the man’s large hand was on Harry’s face, wiping down in a slow, thorough movement. Harry squawked, not pulling away in time at all, his nose, lips and chin raw where he had been wiped clean. He just gaped at the wickedly smirking man who then licked his fucking hand like it was nothing at all.
“You’re weird,” Harry insisted, sitting back a foot just in case the man tried to do it again.
Sirius just snickered, Harry noticing for the first time that he had lost the orange chicken in the weird assault. The bastard was eating it, very much easily snagging a piece with his tongue from the container. Harry had a hot moment of wondering just how long the man’s tongue was compared to his. Not to mention the quickly following hot thought that the man was definitely licking where he had been licking… And every time Harry took a bite of food, he had half a chance of getting something that had been on the man’s long tongue.
Which then got Harry wondering if that was why the man was eating that way, as if hoping he would not be willing to eat anything he had licked. Well, he would totally lose that bet. Harry plucked up the lo mein, chopsticks at the ready, not willing to try to lick his food after the last time.
Sirius gave him a glare, Harry just shrugging. “Hey, you had plenty of chances to eat all today and yesterday. But, if you’re still hungry after all of this, I’m sure I can find us something else.” It was Chinese food, after all. Harry would be hungry soon enough, and likely so would the man.
Or maybe not. Harry watched warily, Sirius suddenly pushing all the cartons away, his blue eyes wide. He carefully scooped as many cartons as he could away from the lurching man, clearing a path as Sirius headed unsteadily to the bathroom. Harry sought out the remains of the broccoli while Sirius threw up his dinner. Glancing to the floor where the man had been lying the entire night and day, he couldn’t help but see the small streaks of blood.
Harry continued to eat while waiting for the man to stop his coughing. “Want some water?” Harry asked when Sirius finally stumbled back into the room. The man shook his head, groaning and holding it immediately afterwards. He was still in his suit, Harry studying it briefly, trying to find where he was bleeding. It wasn’t immediately apparent, making him think it must be closer to his side under his jacket.
Harry stood, pausing when the man jerked and glared in his direction, still not fully trusting him. “Mr. Black, you might feel more comfortable without your jacket.”
Eyes closing briefly, the man nodded, making no move to actually remove said jacket. “Sirius.”
“What?” Harry asked, taking a cautious step towards the man. Sirius was hovering near the foot of the bed, possibly considering it for the first time instead of the hard floor.
“My name,” Sirius muttered. “You make me sound so old, calling me that.”
Blinking, Harry made an effort not to point out that the man was nearly twice his age. “Alright, Sirius. I couldn’t help but notice you’re bleeding. I also can’t help but notice that you’re looking at me like I’m going to shiv you,” Harry added, hands in his pockets. “I’d like to heal you but I really don’t want to deal with whatever you’re going to do to keep me from doing that. So the option is yours.”
“Option?” Sirius asked, wincing as he held his side lightly.
“Yup,” Harry said lightly. “You can let me help you. I’ll patch you up, grab you something lighter to eat and drink that your stomach will be less likely to object to. Or… Well, stunning you seems the most humane thing in this situation. I’ll patch you up, leave you that same food and drink, and likely have you bitchy at me for many days after. Your choice.”
“That does seem like a Potter option, just with less cursing and yelling,” Sirius said under his breath, looking at Harry with an unreadable expression. He bent forward awkwardly, holding his side while bracing his hand on the mattress and turning, trying to sit without falling. He managed, barely, pulling at his suit jacket with little success, his face twisted in pain.
“Well?” Harry asked, unwilling to help unless the man agreed. He had a feeling Black was the type to lure a person in just to try and gain the upper hand. Being wounded would likely only make him more dangerous in that regard. He really was a weird, wounded animal.
“What, you think I’m going to choose the stunning?” Sirius asked gruffly, grunting as he sat further back.
“Until you actually say you’re going to let me touch you without you freaking out, I’m not going to go near you,” Harry replied reasonably.
“Aye… You might not be that dim after all.” He didn’t say anything else for a while, just staring at his knees while he breathed. Talking seemed to tire the man and Harry wondered if the prisoners talked much to each other. Given all the dementors and screaming the creatures caused, probably not. Twenty years not saying a word—or at least, not a word anyone else was listening to. It was pretty messed up. “Alright, kid that isn’t Jamie. I will do my best to be calm if you are willing to take this pain away.”
Eyes tight on the man and his body language, Harry still approached cautiously. Black was way too tense, and he had a feeling it wasn’t just from the pain. “Can you bend your arm?” Harry asked, pushing the suit jacket off a shoulder and helping to guide it off the man’s long arm. Sirius was actually a good head taller than Harry and even sitting, his limbs seemed long.
“There’s our problem,” Harry hummed, finding the large bloodstain on the man’s white dress shirt. It was his side and it had been bleeding for a while, possibly since the prison. “Let me guess. A shiv?”
Looking down at the large mark, Sirius looked confused. “Ah… maybe. I can’t remember… I might have done it myself…” He trailed off, flinching away when Harry reached for the buttons of his shirt. Harry stilled but didn’t retreat.
“Let me know when you’re ready,” he said simply, Sirius glancing towards him, then quickly away.
“Just be done with it,” Sirius whispered hoarsely. Which then made Harry wonder when was the last time the man had ever been touched. He quickly and efficiently undid the row of buttons, mind wandering. Harry wasn’t a fan of being touched either, having trust issues that went back to being an orphan living with a family that never even hugged him. It had been very hard to get over, and still Harry sometimes felt like he endured hugs instead of enjoyed them.
Sirius’s undershirt was even more bloodied, Harry sighing as he pulled the dress shirt away. He reached for the hem of the red soaked shirt, hesitating when he felt the man’s breathing speed up. “This is probably going to hurt,” Harry said apologetically, slowly rolling the hem, feeling the blood cling to the man’s pale skin. Harry had a feeling the wound must have reopened when Sirius had gone running for the bathroom, fresh blood seeping into the already wet shirt.
“I’ve got this thing… with blood,” Sirius mumbled, head turned to the side, eyes squeezed shut.
“Where you bleed it, right?” Harry teased, hoping to get the man to calm his racing pulse. “You’d be surprised how a lot of people have that problem. Me more than others. If you hang around me enough, you’ll notice. I’m always knocking into something… Fuck—Nope, don’t look. Nothing worth looking at, just might need a damn needle and thread to keep your insides inside.”
Harry slipped his wand from his back pocket, already knowing that a healing spell was not going to do the trick. Internally he was yelling at someone Ministry and Azkaban related in his head that he had never met but was sure he hated. How the fuck had no one noticed a fucking hole the width of two fingers in the man’s side? What the fuck was going on in that prison that shit like this could just happen?
“Mr. Bl—Sirius. I need you to hold this to your wound. Would you do that for me while I go get some first aid supplies?” Harry asked, balling up the ruined dress shirt and placing it firmly against the wound. Harry paused, eyes snapping to the man’s hand as it suddenly covered his to hold the shirt. It was a very surprising feeling, like sparks of energy tingling through his fingers from the simple touch. Harry carefully slipped his hand free, focus completely on the feel of that large hand as he pulled away.
Harry glanced up to Sirius’s face, quickly looking away when he found the intense blue eyes looking back at him. “I’ll be right back. Just keep pressure there.” Harry straightened, again hating just how fucking unbalanced he was feeling around this man. So what if he was absolutely gorgeous? Black was also bleeding out, fucked in the head, and partially terrified of him—As hilarious as that last one seemed.
Harry managed to patch Sirius up with a minimum of ten stitches, some healing spells, and a large bandage. It would take a while for the flesh to fully heal even with the spells, but as long as the man didn’t move around too much, it should be fine within a few days. Harry grabbed him a t shirt, one without blood, and helped him get it on, Sirius in pain every time he moved his arm too high.
“My room is right down the hall if you need me,” Harry said, pulling the covers down on the bed for Sirius, who was sitting and not saying much. Eyebrow raised, he grabbed the man’s nearest foot, pulling his shoes off before he could protest. “If I’m not there, I’m likely downstairs in the living room. I’ll try to keep the volume down, but I don’t always hear well over my games, so don’t be afraid to holler.”
He put his hands on his hips, looking at Sirius’s bowed head expectantly. “You want anything? Water, tea, hot chocolate… beer?”
Sirius glanced up at the last one, looking him over questioningly. “Are you even old enough to drink?”
Harry tilted his head, looked away and then rounded on the man. “Really? Do I look under eighteen to you? Shit man, I’m twenty-one. I know I’m not the tallest of blokes, but really?” Sighing in exasperation, Harry took a step back. “Food’s in the fridge. Don’t be afraid to walk around the house. I don’t keep anything nasty magic wise, so no surprises… Right.” He found himself at the door, the man still looking at him oddly.
“She… she named you Harry, right?” Sirius asked, looking far away all of a sudden.
Harry smiled grimly, realizing he was still trying to piece the world together. “Yeah. That’s my name.” Sirius didn’t seem interesting in asking anything else, so Harry slipped out and shut the door behind him.
God, what a weird, fucked up situation he had gotten himself into. Harry headed for his bedroom, throwing his bloodstained shirt in the by his bureau. Hell, could he even do this? What if Black never got his fucking mind back? Hell, what if the Ministry never found him innocent? Was he going to babysit him forever? Harry knew it was too early, and he was being an absolute dick, but still he had to wonder. He had signed those papers not really thinking of the long term, just thinking of Remus and the injustice that had been done. Black needed help, and Harry didn’t know if he was going to be enough.
“Keep it together, Potter,” he muttered to himself. Maybe it was time to get a house elf. He had put it off for ages, very much used to muggle living, never mind loving his isolation. Hermione might give him hell, but it seemed a fair compromise to getting a nurse. Hopefully Black wasn’t that bad off. He had already seemed a bit better today… But Harry needed to consider all the possibilities and be ready.
It didn’t help that the man was gorgeous. No, that was getting damn awkward really fucking fast. Harry was actually feeling a bit like a degenerate. He knew damn well that the man was messed up, hadn’t had human contact for nearly as long as Harry was alive. Yet he just couldn’t stop fucking looking at the man and feeling way too much lust to ever be appropriate for the situation. Hell, Black was literally old enough to be his father. There had to be some special place in hell for wanting to bone the traumatized friend of your dead parents.
Rolling his eyes at his own stupidity, Harry stripped, leaving his clothes with their many dirty friends on the floor. He padded into his connecting bathroom to shower off the blood from his chest, orange chicken sauce from his face, and fucked up thoughts from his mind. The first two goals were easy enough to achieve, the third, unfortunately, not even close to succeeding. Harry was pretty sure he was actually making things quite worse, his mind and hands wandering under the hot stream of water.
Fuck, he needed sex. Like hardcore, wild, crazy sex where you didn’t give a fuck who you were with just as long as the chemistry worked and their cocks did too. Harry had not had a good lay like that in over ten months, having grown tired of the noisy bar scene and frustrated with the lack of options. He had to keep things to muggles because of the whole boy-who-lived thing, and he tried to keep it to casual, which got difficult when you frequented the same places all the time. But maybe he didn’t mind that too much right now, if only he could get a hard, hot body against his for a while.
Black had a very hard body. Harry couldn’t avoid noticing, peeling the man’s shirt from his pale skin to get to his wound. Standing at his full height, the man was at least a head taller than him, body long and lithe with plenty of toned, compact muscle. Harry wasn’t sure what he looked like under his pants, but he could imagine, which he was doing at that very moment.
“Fuck…” he groaned, falling back against the tiled shower stall, eyes drifting down to his hand wrapped tight around his flushed cock. How fucking horny would someone get after twenty years of abstinence? It must be fucking hell. You’d probably start humping the damn dementors after a few years just to get some fucking contact. Harry smirked at the thought. They were apparently good kissers. If they sucked head as good as they did souls…
He really needed to get out of the house.
He had nice hands, Mr. Black. Big, strong palms, his fingers large and long, and Harry just bet they would reach really fucking deep. And if his dick was as long as his hands, well, that would just be fucking amazing. Groaning, Harry turned himself on the wall, tilting his head back to feel the cool tile on his neck, his nipples beading from the touch as he pressed up against the surface. He reached his hand down, pushing between his cheeks, moaning as he found his puckered entrance and pressed two fingers slowly inside.
It really didn’t matter if the man was wounded, old enough to be his dad, fucked in the head, and probably straight; Harry thought he was hot. In his mind’s eye, he could see the man walk into the shower, half dressed, sopping water through his clothes and long dark hair. He wouldn’t say anything, except maybe something gruff and low, then he’d tear his pants down and push Harry hard against the wall, maybe use that long tongue of his to lick his throat and then bite. The man would be rough, absolutely desperate after years of being alone, and he’d fuck him brutally against the shower wall.
Shuddering, Harry panted as he pushed himself harder against the tile, rocking his hips while fucking himself on his soap slick fingers. He really needed to get some sort of dildo in the shower. It just made fucking sense considering how much he liked touching himself in there. And although he couldn’t imagine why Mr. Black would ever be in his shower, if he happened to notice that Harry had a dildo in there, he might start wondering what it was there for. Even if the man was straight, after twenty years of prison, maybe cock didn’t suddenly look so bad…
He came with a groan, chest slamming into the wall, eyes shut, fingers squeezed tight deep inside his hole. God, he was a fucking mess. Masturbating while thinking of some poor, traumatized, wrongfully convicted man…
That fucking settled it. He was going to have to go out and get laid.
Harry still had nightmares even though Voldemort was long dead. Usually they were about the murderous creature in the Chamber of Secrets, sometimes a darker, smaller place where his fear burned cooler for the long wait of the cupboard being unlocked in the morning. Once in a while it was that day when Draco was nearly dying in his arms, Harry desperate to protect the boy while facing down the evil being that seemed so ready to crawl inside him and hollow him out, wanting to wear Harry like a suit. He had never told Draco about that part, had never told anyone how twisted and sick he had felt that creature to be in his head when face to face and how he had feared that Voldemort was connected still, and that he was terrible inside too.
Tonight it was that nightmare, except Voldemort had not died when Harry cast the killing curse. No, he had burrowed deep inside Harry’s flesh, the slithering, dry thing crawling down his throat, tearing his flesh from the inside out and hollowing him away. He could feel it all, his body refusing to die, feeling every bite and break of bones as the creature settled inside him and began moving him like a puppet.
Draco was there, so very pale and bleeding from his shoulder, breathing weakly. Voldemort would eat him first, drink down his pure, magic-soaked blood and grow stronger. Harry could not fight it, just watch in horror as his own hands reached for the slender boy, his own mouth widening while Draco screamed…
Harry awoke with a loud scream, heaving for air as he abruptly sat up in bed. “Fuck—FUCK!” He yelled into his hands. “Fucking Voldemort, sick, fucking sick, sick, twisted monster!” He whimpered, pulling his hands down his face, feeling the sweat and tears that usually went hand in hand with the fucked up nightmares.
Something shifted in the dark of his room and Harry jumped, wand summoned to his hand before he was even aware that he had called it. Harry breathed out unsteadily when he saw it was just Sirius, blue eyes watching him angrily from his doorway.
“Shit. Sorry, Mr. Black,” Harry growled, bringing the lights up to a very dim glow in his bedroom. “I should have warned you I get night terrors. I live alone so I forget just how fucking terrible it can be for someone else to hear.”
The man’s glare grew, as if Harry naming the issue made it worse. “I thought you were being murdered,” Sirius finally muttered, his body losing some of its tension of earlier.
Looking at him, Harry let out a hysterical laugh. “Yes, well, that was the gist of the nightmare.” Not interested in going back to bed and reliving said murder and murdering, Harry pushed his blankets down, trying to get his shaking limbs to move properly. “Sorry, really. I’ll put up silencing spells from now on. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing screaming…” he trailed off, remembering Sirius’s pleas to die because of the screaming. Harry toed through the clothing on his floor, finding a pair of loose pajama bottoms that he slipped on over his briefs and then quickly putting a semi clean t-shirt on.
Black was still standing in the doorway, eyes looking around the room curiously, lighting on Harry once in a while only to slip away. “You feeling okay, Mr. Black?” Harry asked, noticing for the first time that he was paler than normal and a little shaky. “Your wound didn’t open up again, did it?”
Sirius shook his head, stepping back into the hallway. “I, uh… forgot which door…” Following him, Harry raised his brows, realizing he didn’t know how to get back to his room. Early Friday morning, this was the first time he had seen Sirius outside of his room and he was likely confused by the size of the place. Harry stepped to the right, passing a bathroom, his gym, and office he never used, knocking on the door that Sirius was to be sleeping in.
“Here.” With a flourish, Harry waved his wand, spelling out Black in bold black letters over the door, his penmanship only a little crooked. “Now you’ll never wonder.” Sirius nodded mutely, eyes straying over the word, hand reaching up to brush the letters. Looking at the man and just how lost he still seemed, Harry added lightly. “You don’t have to go to bed, you know. I’m sure as hell not sleeping again tonight. Why don’t you come downstairs and have some tea?”
Turning his gaze to him, Sirius nodded again, not saying a word. Realizing he likely would not be talking much unless he had something to say, Harry just started walking, Sirius following slowly like some lost dog. It was almost funny. Harry had never had a pet, not wanting to deal with the responsibility of having his shit together enough to feed and entertain another living being. Yet, here he was trying to do it for this messed up man.
Stepping down the staircase, Harry started flicking lamps on, the windows that were open revealing it was pitch black outside, only 3 a.m. He went straight for the kettle, filling it with water and putting it on a burner. Harry then led Sirius into the living room, pointing towards the couch. Sirius continued to stand, staring at his large flat-screen tv with interest.
“You probably haven’t seen one of these,” Harry said with a small smile. Televisions had come a long way in twenty years, and as a wizard, Sirius may have never even owned one himself. Thinking quickly, Harry crouched to the floor, unwrapping another controller and hooked it up. He owned all the game consoles available along with the newest games, not caring that Draco thought it was a waste of his inheritance. Harry needed distractions from the terrible nightmares and thoughts that plagued him, and video games filled the void.
“Here, take this and sit,” Harry said, handing the controller to the man. Sirius sat slowly, his eyes staring at the black remote, fingers moving over the buttons as he turned it. Harry began rooting around under the tv console, looking for the game he had just been playing a week ago, throwing cases everywhere. “I really need some sort of organizer for all these things,” he commented to himself. They had some nice shelves, he just hadn’t felt like ordering anything, mostly because then it meant actually having to organize his stuff, which he would over analyze and turn into an annoying project leaving him with the need to have to put things back where they belonged, alphabetically, because he was a crazy person when being neat. It was better to be a slob and not obsess.
“Hardcore bondage boys…”
Then again, organizing might be a very smart thing to do now that he had a long term house guest. Harry whirled, snagged the very graphically imaged dvd case from Sirius’s fingers, and threw it under the tv console with perfect aim. “Ignore that… and that… and that…” Harry said, kicking another two under the console. “I live alone,” he reminded tightly, and knelt back on the floor to slide the game disk into the tray.
The kettle began to whistle, Harry turning towards the sound. “What kind of tea do you like?”
Staring at the television, racing cars zipping by as Mario Cart came on, it took Sirius a long time to answer. “Black,” he finally said, tearing his eyes from the bright graphics. “With milk… or was it sugar?”
“Hey, you’ll have a lifetime to figure it out,” Harry said casually, walking towards the kitchen. “I’ll bring the servers in and you can adjust how you like.” Once alone in the kitchen. Harry buried his face in his hands, growling lowly. Porn? Fucking porn? Shit, was he going to have to childproof his house or something? Could he unknowingly be traumatizing this already messed up man with exposure to his bondage fetish?
“Suck it up, Potter,” Harry muttered to himself, grabbing two mugs and rooting through his cabinets for the tea. He had a couple of black varieties, Draco’s favorite, so just put them on a tray with the mugs, filled a cup with milk and grabbed the sugar bowl. He left the tray on the couch next to Sirius, the man still staring quite fixedly on the graphics of racers zipping around a track. Which then made Harry wonder if he was somehow fucking up the man’s brain with flashing lights and colors—Could you get epilepsy from being in prison too long?
Cursing himself internally, Harry went back for the hot water, the steam as he filled the two mugs grabbing Sirius’s attention. “Pick your pois—er, tea,” Harry said, cutting off his very inappropriate joke considering Black had thought he was trying to poison him before. He returned the kettle to the stove and opened up a cinnamon tea for himself, throwing the bag in the hot water. Black ended up picking a vanilla chai, silently watching as the water slowly changed colors.
Harry sat on the floor in front of the tray, preferring the flatness of the floor, his back against the bottom of the couch. With his own controller, he started flicking through the options, sipping his hot tea.
“You ever play a video game?” Harry asked, glancing up to where the man was again staring, tea completely forgotten beside him.
“Tetris. It didn’t look like this.”
“No, it probably didn’t. This is a cart game… er, racing. You go a few laps trying to be first. You can sabotage other players, do jumps… It’s pretty fun.” Harry got up to his knees, leaning over Sirius and pointing at the different buttons. “Select the character with this—You unlock more options as you play. Then I’ll show you how to actually race. I’ll start on a slow level so you can get the hang of it.”
Sirius was again looking at his face silently, blue eyes very much intense and glaring into his. Harry sat back, doing his best not to blush. He should be considering that Sirius was dangerous and fucked in the head, thinking things like he was trying to kill him with his cooking. Instead, Harry was wondering if Black had ever fucked a guy and if he had glared like that when he had come. Very much inappropriate thoughts that he hoped the game would help him silence.
Harry waited patiently for Sirius to get the hang of moving through the screen, selecting with the cursor, finding a car he liked the look of. Harry didn’t even bother telling him about the stats, feeling like that was just a bit much for a first time player. Having another swig of his tea, Harry’s eyes strayed down to the man’s socked feet. Very much larger than his… How accurate was that old wives’ tale?
“Right, so now this is when you need to know how to accelerate and brake, and this button lets you jump and drag for the turns.” Harry got up again, indicating the buttons and then pointing to the screen. “See… that gets you moving… steer with this… brake, and jump… Got it?”
“I think…” Biting his tongue, Sirius glared up at the screen, glancing down at his hands from time to time to figure out where he was pressing. Harry watched him, eyes straying to the man’s stubble. He’d have to get him a razor… As long as he didn’t try to stab himself with it.
Harry sat back down, stretching his legs out and idly moving his character around while he waited for Sirius to get the hang of things. How had Black gotten that wound? Someone had cleaned him up for court. Had the wound been there before, or after? Had it been self inflicted or had someone attacked him? If Black was suicidal Harry would need to watch him twenty-four seven… Maybe a monitoring spell, like parents did for infants.
“Hey, that… What did that do?” Sirius asked, watching his character suddenly light up and grow small, moving painfully slow across the screen.
“It’s one of the things you can get to sabotage the other racers. Just, a character used it on you.” Harry quickly went through the list of items and how to use them, doubting he would remember it all. Except Sirius was already moving smoother around the track, starting to knock into other players aggressively to get ahead. He was catching on pretty fast. Putting his tea down, Harry decided it was time to join in.
Not only was Sirius Black a fast learner, he was also a terribly sore loser. Harry could not remember the last time he had heard such colorful swearing, and to such a passionate extent. Half of the time he was trying not to laugh at the man as he was sideswiped onto grass or off cliffs, slowed down by obstacles and turtle shells.
“Fucking chicken shit shells!”
Harry snickered sleepily, dragging into a turn and feeling Sirius behind him on the couch tilting his entire body in an attempt to do the same. He was vaguely aware that birds were chirping outside, the sun insisting on shining even though Harry was only now starting to feel ready to try and sleep again.
“Here, take this controller instead,” Harry said when the set of races was done. “There are other games if you want to play. Just make sure the box has this logo on it,” he said, pointing to the insignia on the game case. “There are plenty of dvd’s you can watch if you get tired of that… but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” Harry added with a smile, the man completely hooked on video games in a matter of hours.
Sirius took the large controller when handed to him, staring with interest at the miniature screen in the center of it. Harry leaned up a final time, pointing out buttons and how to navigate through the main menu, yawning halfway through. “I’m gonna go back to bed,” he mumbled, pulling himself to his feet and heading for the stairs.
Once the boy left, Sirius slowly slid down to the floor, resting his back in mirror to how Harry had been sitting earlier against the couch. He stretched his legs out, relaxing, eyes straying around the room as he debated on which character to race with. His focus kept going back to the space beneath the tv console, foot rocking back and forth idly.
That had been a lot of flesh colored people for one little case cover. But not just flesh, but flesh wrapped in leather and thin cords, metal rings, one young man with a very bright red ball gag… Jamie and Lily’s sweet little boy was a total perv. Leaning forward, Sirius sneaked his hand out, hooking the last case Harry had nudged under the console and pulling if free. A total, nasty little pervert that apparently had a thing for young men being tied up and dominated by much larger, stronger men.
Eyes scanning the front of the case, he flipped to the back, squinting at the text. Reading was a little difficult after all these years, words looking unfamiliar. He tried to sound some out, eyebrows rising the further he went. Decided, he clicked the case open, ejected the game disk he was playing and switched it for the sharp edged dvd.
He quickly fumbled for the volume, eyes glancing up towards the ceiling. Nothing. The kid was hardly a quiet walker. Shit, but what a perv… Sirius couldn’t help it, clamping his hand over his mouth as the screen filled with very nude, very moaning flesh. It was no use, his laughter breaking free.
Crap, he could never watch porn, always finding it ridiculously funny… Although… he had never seen gay porn before, just the weird stuff James had rustled up with a lot of bushy chicks, very hung, but not always attractive men, and some drug induced artsy themes. This was definitely less funny… once you got over the awkwardness of watching some guy get tied up and forced to suck cock… Which Sirius was adapting to rather quickly, head tilting and socked foot rocking back and forth on the floor.
“Holy crap,” he muttered, hand covering his eyes only to peek through his fingers. When did condoms start coming out in rainbow colors? And when did men start looking so smooth down there? How they managed not to shave their balls off… “Hell… How can he…?” Sirius tilted his head the other way, side of his thumb wedged between his teeth as the very smooth blond boy was folded beyond human capability—he was pretty sure people could not contort that way—and crammed full of the larger, muscular sandy blond man.
Sirius pulled his thumb from his mouth, hitting the skip forward button on the remote. Tongue slipping over his teeth, he stopped at one with a rather slim looking brunette with dark eyes, hands being bound behind his back roughly while he whimpered. His captor could hardly be seen, wearing some weird leather hat blocking most of his face. He could be heard though, saying some very nasty things into the boy’s ear as he pushed him down onto a sturdy workbench. Why they were nude and in a garage with grease and auto parts lying around was beyond Sirius, but it didn’t seem to really matter much. Well, except for when the boy was suddenly gagged with a dirty looking rag… Maybe they were in a garage just to put that filthy rag in that very pretty mouth? The boy didn’t seem to mind, his dark eyes hooded with lust as he was roughly slammed forward and, “Ohhh.” Sirius was starting to understand the point of the garage now, a thick screwdriver handle lubed and pushed into the boy’s tight hole, being driven in and out, wrenched to the sides in likely painful ways.
Gaping at the very graphic view of just how tight that hole was, Sirius had a worrying thought. Did that kid let men do that to him? Was little Lily’s sweet tot out letting men fuck him in garages with screwdrivers and… thick hammer handles? “Holy hell,” Sirius groaned, hand again covering his eyes but failing to actually block the view. Was this just normal sex for gay men now?
Sirius grabbed quickly for the dvd box, eyes moving through the text. Fetish… fantasy… virginal—that brunette was totally not a virgin—unique, naughty bondage fantasies. Oh, thank god. Not normal. Very much fetish. Just weird, kinky… Sirius’s eyes were drawn to the screen again, his breath caught in his throat. “That won’t fit with that…” he croaked out only to be proven very wrong as the boy was double penetrated by hammer and screwdriver together.
Sirius hit the pause button, closed his eyes at just what had been paused at, and hit the eject button. “That boy needs help.” With shaking fingers, he slipped the dvd back into its case and pushed it back under the console. Then, because he was there and he really needed to know, he started pulling everything out from under the tv console, sorting as he went.
James had spawned a gay, sex-crazed, totally deranged deviant of a son. Maybe it was Lily’s fault—She had always been wild, James once confessing that she wore him out on more than one occasion keeping him up all night. Sirius had tried to tune it out at the time, really not that interested in what his best friend and girlfriend were getting up to. If he had realized what the end result of their union would be, maybe he would have said something. This couldn’t be normal.
At least, he didn’t remember it to be… Sirius used to have a flock of girls following him around in school, quickly finding out that they just weren’t that interesting. He had thought maybe he was just really fucked up by his abusive family and couldn’t let anyone in sexually. Then he’d had a random encounter with a bold sixth year punk in the boy’s bathroom his graduating year, resulting in a phenomenal blow job that had proven that he should have been barking up trousers instead of skirts. And for a very short while, he had really enjoyed exploring that new knowledge. Quietly, because being gay could still get your ass beat although not nearly as dangerous as being hunted by Voldemort.
Nothing Sirius had ever seen looked like the stuff on these boxes. Actually, he was pretty sure there wasn’t even gay stuff on boxes back then—maybe some girl on girl stuff. But there were a shit ton of gay boxes here, the majority with young men tied up and on display. Sirius tried to think back to James’s porn collection of magazines… James had probably collected twice as many magazines than his son had dvds… Maybe Harry wasn’t that fucked up…
But there were a lot of people tied up. Sirius flipped through the cases, finding only one that didn’t have anyone bound and sometimes gagged on the cover. Bedroom, flesh, sex… Sirius clicked the case open, sliding the disk in the tray and waiting for it to turn on.
There we go; people in clothes. Just two very attractive young men in clothes, kissing, and touching, and not tying each other up. And yes, those clothes did eventually end up on the floor, which was very nice as well as was when they started rolling on the bed with a very ugly looking bedspread. And if they both stopped because someone was knocking on the door, that couldn’t be too terrible because the pizza guy showing up in their bedroom was actually quite attractive and didn’t seem interested in tying anyone up either, just taking his clothes off and rolling on the bed too.
Sirius had not had pizza in over twenty years. He was pretty sure that was what everyone kept saying—Twenty. He could really go for some pizza… Maybe with a delivery guy that looked like this one… or better yet, like the slender, dark eyed brunette from the other video that was totally not a virgin. Sirius was actually rather curious to know if anything else ended up in that deceptively tight looking hole.
Humming to himself, he switched the dvd’s, trying to think what topping of pizza he would want to try first after all this time.
“What? No, he’s fine… I don’t know. Video games, mostly…” Harry pulled the receiver away from his ear while trying to slip his sneaker on properly. “Stop yelling at me. Video games are a perfectly good way to pass time at any age—Shit, Draco, I have to get the door… No, for pizza.” Harry sighed, again pulling the phone away from his ear to dull the squawking of his friend. “I understand that you don’t think muggle junkfood is a good idea. And as you are well aware, I don’t care what you think. I’ll talk to you later. Yup, yup, up yours too, mate.” Harry hung up with a sigh, pushing his foot down until his sneaker finally crammed home.
He left the kitchen, finding Sirius waiting in the living room doorway, staring at the front door down the hall. “You can get the door if you want, Sirius. You’re not hiding here, and no one is trying to come after you.” Sirius didn’t say anything, just looking at him oddly and then at the door again. Harry sighed, walking to the door, feeling the man following slowly behind him.
Harry opened the door, smiling welcomingly. “Hey man, thanks for driving out here. I know its a ways off.” Harry lived in the middle of nowhere like most wizards and witches but that hadn’t stopped him from making sure he got muggle food delivered.
“Never a problem. You’re the best tipper I got.” Jamal smiled brightly, unwrapping the padded cover that held the first of Harry’s pizza boxes. “You throwing a party or something?”
“Nope, just wanted to try it all. Here, let me help you carry it from the car.” Harry stepped out, the late afternoon sun throwing long shadows over his hedges and expansive lawn. He had a landscaping company come by every other week to keep things tidy. He might be a slob, but he didn’t want his parents’ house to look like shit. Glancing into the backseat of the little delivery car, Harry wondered briefly if he had gone overboard, then brushed the thought away.
Mr. Black hadn’t had pizza in forever, and when he had asked Harry what kind of toppings they had, the man unable to remember, Harry decided to just get them all. It was his favorite pizza place with fresh ingredients and unique combinations. He had ordered all twenty-five different specialty pizzas they offered and figured whatever they didn’t eat they could eat tomorrow or the day after. Harry loved day old, cold pizza just as much as still warm, gooey pizza.
Hands full, Harry led Jamal into the hallway, Sirius edging away from the stranger and glaring suspiciously at him. Harry just raised an eyebrow at him, tilting his head for the man to follow. Jamal was his regular delivery guy, the only one willing to put his car through the extra millage to get to his house. He was a very friendly sort, full of quick smiles and stoner jokes and Harry did not want his new house guest upsetting him.
“Alright, I do believe that’s all of it, Harry. Twenty-five pizzas, two liters of soda; orange and root beer, and one order of garlic sticks and one of cinnamon sticks… with extra dipping sauce.” Jamal checked through the list while counting off boxes. He then handed Harry the bill, Harry exchanging with cash. “Shit, man, you’re going to be putting me through a doctorate if you’re not careful,” he said cheerfully, tucking the money away.
Harry just smiled, having heard that particular one before. “Hungry, Jamal? There’s no way we’re going to eat all of this.”
Jamal tilted his head back and forth, weighing propriety verse the long, hungry drive back. “I could steal a slice of the bourbon chicken,” he said eventually, taking a seat at the kitchen table when Harry offered it.
“Sirius, come on, stop hovering in the doorway,” Harry chided, holding a box of pizza out towards the man. “Where do you want to start? Roasted veggies in marinara, or maybe garlic potatoes with white sauce?”
“Oh, you should definitely try the potato if you haven’t yet,” Jamal said brightly, digging out the bourbon chicken and having a slice. “It’s one of our most popular pies.”
Staring warily at the young man, Sirius sized Jamal up. He couldn’t be much older than the weird kid, hardly anything much to look at. Maybe he was just really hung…? Sirius wasn’t sure, but he really didn’t like how Harry had just invited him in the house like that, feeding him and all. Course, Sirius had yet to see any pizza eaten in any of those movies Harry had stashed away, but then again, no one ever ordered more than one pizza, and Harry had paid the guy presumably a lot. Did you pay for the sex or for pizza…?
The phone rang, Sirius jumping from the unfamiliar sound. Harry slipped by him, pulling it off the hook and stepping outside the kitchen doorway. “Seriously, are you calling just to yell at me right now, Malfoy?”
Sirius edged further into the kitchen, pretending to look at the array of delicious smelling boxes and not the confusing delivery man. What the hell did Harry see in him? Pudgy, short, smiling… The brat could do better. Sirius growled, grabbing the nearest box and opening it.
“So how do you know Harry?” Jamal asked, eying the man curiously. He had only seen a few people at Harry’s, most of them characters. The one he was yelling on the phone with was about as yuppie, blue-blood as you could get.
“I’m his godfather,” Sirius growled, fairly certain it was the truth after he had said it. Annoyed, he tore into a slice of fresh mozzarella and spinach, only to freeze, eyes closing from the intense, amazing flavor hitting his senses.
“It’s good, huh?” Jamal said brightly, completely oblivious to the sudden glare sent his way.
“You’re pissing me off—Unless you want to come down here and cook us a fucking meal… No, no, of course you’re not going to do that, you arrogant… Right, right, I’m hanging up now… Son of a—” Harry returned to the kitchen and slammed the phone down. “My god, that boy nags,” he muttered, moving around Sirius to grab a slice of pizza. He paused, catching how Sirius was blatantly glaring at poor Jamal. “What are you guys talking about?”
Jamal stood, folding his slice of pizza in half. “Just meeting your godfather. I gotta get going. Thanks for the slice, Harry.” He held his non-pizza holding hand out, reaching for Sirius’s. “Nice to meet you, Sir.” Sirius just stared at his hand, making no move to shake it.
“Excuse him,” Harry said with a sigh. “Sirius hasn’t been around people for a long time.”
“Oh, like a mountain man,” Jamal said, not looking at all upset that Sirius was still glaring at him. Harry, on the other hand, was starting to get annoyed.
“Yeah, just like that,” Harry said, slapping Jamal on the back and leading him towards the front door. He glanced over his shoulder at Sirius, returning the glare sent their way. “Thanks for the pizza, man.”
“As always.” Harry waited till the man was in his car before shutting the door. Turning, he found Sirius standing in the hall.
“What? What’s your problem, Black?” Harry asked, striding down the hall and glaring up at the man. “Jamal is a very nice guy who drives over forty-five minutes to deliver me food. Believe me, it is really hard to find restaurants that deliver all the way up here.”
Sirius didn’t say anything, just stepped into the kitchen and started flipping open pizza boxes. Harry narrowed his eyes, debating if he really wanted to argue with the man. He hadn’t actually heard Sirius say anything to the delivery boy, and Jamal had seemed perfectly fine on leaving. It was actually odd to know Sirius had told him he was his godfather. Harry hadn’t thought much of it, having tried to separate from that fact when learning that Black had betrayed his parents. But that wasn’t true, and now Harry had a godfather. A godfather that was glaring at his only pizza delivery man.
Maybe Sirius was just feeling territorial of the house, not wanting people coming in. Harry decided to let it go for now, but would make a point to watch Sirius like a hawk when anyone was in the house.
“How’d you do on that game?” Harry asked, watching with interest as Sirius took two different types of pizza and smooshed them together like a sandwich, then took a bite out of it. The man just could not eat properly.
Sirius shrugged, throwing himself in a chair, legs wide as he lounged carelessly. “Wasn’t as fun alone.”
“Hmm… yeah, I guess not.” Staring at the pizza, Harry decided to try the sandwich move, throwing potato and barbecue chicken together. It was definitely a win. “Sweet,” he chirped, tearing off a bite and chewing as he got them some glasses and picked the soda off the ground. “So, we’re probably going to have to eat and hide the rest of this before 6 p.m. Which is when Draco gets out of work, and is going to come down here and throw a tantrum about me feeding you junk food. If you could not mention the throwing up of the other day, I would really appreciate it. You do not want to encourage his nagging.”
Sirius huffed, crushing pizza boxes down as he leaned on the table with his elbows and finished chewing. “Your boyfriend?”
Harry blinked, nearly spilling the soda he was pouring. “Fuck, no. Draco is a very dear friend, I love him to death, and I would likely kill him if we ever spent more than an hour together. And if I didn’t kill him, he’d kill me. When you meet him, you’ll see. He’s way too spic and span for my taste. Prat wastes half his day in the mirror.” Harry held up the soda, Sirius nodding towards the root beer.
Sirius again didn’t say anything, just gulping down the drink as it was handed to him. Harry had never felt talkative before, but next to this man he was a goddamn chatterbox. He glanced over his glass, watching Sirius discreetly. He was still favoring his side, hunched slightly. Not to mention, the man’s hair was a tangle, probably not brushed since the courthouse, and he was getting very bristly jawed. As nice a look as it was, Harry figured it couldn’t go on too long. Hell, he was still in the same clothes.
“Your stuff is going to be delivered to the house hopefully within the week, but until then I think we’re going to have to get you some things before then,” Harry said when the man looked his way again. “Off the top of my head, I’m going to say brush, toothbrush, razor, couple changes of clothes… Was there soap in your bathroom? If you can think of anything, I’ll write a list and go shopping this evening.”
Looking at Harry a long moment, Sirius said gruffly, “Flea shampoo.”
Gaping, Harry put his pizza down and wiped his hands on his jeans. He stepped up behind the man, Sirius bristling slightly when Harry carefully examined his locks. “You sure? I don’t see any…”
“I’m sure,” Sirius muttered, ducking his head down.
“Well, I’ll add it to the list,” Harry said, absentmindedly combing the man’s ponytail into some sort of order. “How’s your side feel? Anymore blood?”
Glancing back his way, Sirius sighed and lifted his shirt, leaning to the side and revealing the stitched up wound. It looked fine enough, no red around the edges or anything. “I’ll have to take those stitches out tomorrow or they’re not going to want to come up after that. You don’t happen to remember yet how you got hurt, do you?”
“I remember,” Sirius said flatly, stuffing another bite of pizza in his mouth right afterwards. Harry waited patiently, rolling his eyes when Sirius glared again at him.
“Well? What happened?”
Harry sighed, about ready to throttle the man. “Who stabbed you?” He pressed, trying to keep the frustration from his voice.
Sirius shrugged, looking for all the world like he was going to take another bite of pizza and refuse to answer. He paused, instead replying, “Red bearded fellow. Had glasses.”
Harry started, eyes widening as he recalled the people in the courtroom the other day. “You mean the auror?”
“Maybe… I didn’t really ask him his life story.” Sirius bit into his pizza, done with the conversation. Frowning, Harry sat in a chair, glaring at the pizza that suddenly did not seem so appetizing.
“When? When did he stab you?” Harry asked, knowing the answer was going to decide how he handled the matter.
Sirius pointed to the hallway and Harry remembered that the bearded auror had been one of the three to bring Sirius into the house the other night. “Well, fuck,” Harry hissed, standing abruptly and grabbing the phone. He left a brief message on Remus’s cell, having demanded the man join the modern world already. That someone had stepped into his house, stabbed his already terribly wronged godfather, and then walked away as if there would be no consequences infuriated Harry beyond belief.
“In my fucking home?” Harry muttered, hanging up the phone and pacing. “He came into my fucking home and stabbed you? Let me guess, while you were still chained up, right?” Sirius gave a brief nod, not looking disturbed at all about it. That was okay, Harry had enough anger for ten people. “I’m going to fucking ruin that shit. Walking into my home, committing an act of violence against a bound and innocent man—Fucking hell!”
Sirius looked around curiously as the room began to shake, eventually putting his pizza down when glasses started falling out of the cupboard and shattering to the floor. Harry just growled, spelling things clean while muttering under his breath. “Fucking goddamn piece of shit auror walking into my house—even after I told them to stay the fuck away, they weren’t needed—and then stabbing my godfather, like some fucking crazy vigilante instead of an officer of the fucking law. Fucking—Motherfucking—I need a walk. I definitely need to get the fuck out of here and go for a walk.”
He got to the front door when he suddenly turned, returning to the kitchen in a huff. “Can I leave you alone?” Harry asked, looking for all the world as if he didn’t know the answer. Sirius shrugged, not really knowing himself. So far he’d been much more calm than the weird kid had been.
Harry fidgeted from foot to foot, torn on what to do. “Fine, I’ll be upstairs. Try not to—If you throw up, just aim for something easy to clean,” he muttered, whirling and stomping up the stairs. Sirius just unburied another box, trying the Hawaiian style pizza and smiling from the taste.
Sirius had a box of pizza in his lap and the game controller on top of it, playing the racing game when someone suddenly came into the house yelling for Harry. Not really sure what to do in such a situation, Sirius continued to play the game, assuming if the person was a threat they probably would not be calling for the owner of the place.
Draco stepped by, stopping in the doorway of the living room. “For real?” He commented, taking in the sight of Sirius playing video games while holding the pizza box possessively. “You’ve been here how long? He’s turned you into a damn slacker overnight.”
Sirius paused his game, realizing the kid was just going to keep talking at him. He glanced over, blinking dumbly. The kid was a damn veela… except… not. Just really pale, blond, and haughty. It was kind of annoying just how squeaky clean and pristine the blond looked.
Draco stepped into the room, rolling his eyes as he took in the mess. “Shit, how does he find anything in here? Hi, there. I’m Draco Malfoy, Narcissa’s son. We’re cousins, although I don’t expect you to remember me… I was probably like one when you were imprisoned.”
Sirius frowned, looking at the boy again. “Narcissa was a bitch.”
“Probably,” Draco said, hardly phased since he had called his mother worse on many an appropriate occasion. “So, beyond the terrible food, how are you faring? He’s a bit backwards but Harry does mean well. He’s just a bit… antisocial at times.”
Draco Malfoy was very bright to look at and completely blocking the television, both facts rather annoying to Sirius’s senses. While he waited for the boy to get the hint and leave, he pulled open the pizza box, grabbing another slice. Draco gave a sigh at the pizza, shaking his head. “Tell me he at least offered you vegetables or something more than just… junk.”
Eyebrows raised, Sirius pointed out the obvious array of vegetables covering his pizza, really not seeing what the problem was. He hadn’t eaten anything so goddamn wonderful in years and really hoped the blond wasn’t going to ruin things for him.
Seeing that Sirius was not going to answer him, Draco headed to the door, finally unblocking Sirius’s view of the tv.
“Potter!” Draco shouted, heading for the stairs. “Shit—Why is this mirror broken again? Have you been throwing another tantrum?” The blond muttered, sounds of glass being repaired echoing down the hall. Sirius was pretty sure whatever the hell the weird kid had been doing with the house-shaking magic was a bit more than a tantrum. Raw magical outbursts like that usually meant a powerful person in a powerful mood.
Sirius was not sure why he hadn’t unpaused the game, but he found himself eavesdropping instead, the blond having found Harry doing whatever it was the boy was doing to quiet himself and the two of them arguing quite heatedly. At least, it sounded like arguing but as they came down the stairs, the words didn’t match the tone of voice.
“Stop getting worked up. We’ll deal with it through the proper channels!”
“In my fucking house! What would your father have done if someone came into his house and fucking stabbed you?”
Draco laughed without mirth. “You really want to compare my fucking psychotic ex Death Eater father to you? He would have tortured the fucker for days on end and then, if he was feeling generous, let him die.”
“See! After all the fucking shit in the papers about me, that guy just walks into my house and expects me to not do something bloody insane in retribution?”
“I really don’t get what you’re saying here,” Draco snapped, stopping in the doorway. Sirius glanced over but Harry could not be seen, just heard. “You’re upset because you’re not going to torture him?”
“No, I’m upset that the one fucker that doesn’t think I’m a crazy dark wizard thought it was okay to walk into my house and attack my guest! I’m upset because every fucking person thinks I’m this crazy, evil bastard and I can’t even fuck that guy up as bad as I really fucking want to. No—I’m fucking nice, and proper, and am going to hire the most cutthroat asshole of a lawyer to ruin this dick the only way I can—because I’m just too fucking nice!”
The house started shaking again, Sirius glancing around the living room warily.
“Will you chill the fuck out?” Draco growled. “You’re going to bury us all in your goddamn temper. Go lift some more weights—You’re a total prat, by the way, for not telling me you have a gym! I fucking knew you couldn’t have been just sitting on your ass all day.”
Harry chuckled, the rumbling again ceasing. “It was fucking funny for the longest time—Hell, nope, it’s still pretty damn funny. Come on, I’ll show you the wound and you tell me if I’m overreacting.” Harry pushed his way into the room a moment after Sirius reached for another slice of pizza. “Siri, do you mind?”
Sirius stilled at the nickname he hadn’t heard in years. Head ducked down, Sirius glanced to the side, taking in Harry’s topless, sweaty, very toned form. He might have been short and slender, but the kid had muscle, his pecs and abs well defined, shoulders and biceps particularly nice, not to mention the dark trail of hair starting below his bellybutton and disappearing beneath the waistband of his shorts. His calves were also rather nice, built but not overly so.
Sirius decided not speaking was again the correct response, finally finding Harry’s face, cheeks flushed from anger and exercise, green eyes bright, hair sweaty, half sticking to his forehead while the other half managed still to defy gravity. Harry looked very much like one of those tied up young men after a round with their older man friend and Sirius was finding it rather distracting.
“Draco’s better at healing charms than I am,” Harry admitted, oblivious to Sirius’s straying thoughts. He reached past the pizza box to tug up the hem of the man’s shirt. Sirius let him, raising his arms slightly while overly aware of just how close Harry’s face was to his chest. He could smell Harry’s sweat, but not in a bad way. More in a wanting to move closer and smell more way…
“Crap, that’s a pretty nasty wound,” Draco said, kneeling down to get a better look. Sirius held still, trying not to react to the fingers suddenly probing the still painful flesh. “Although, you did a fine job healing it. For all your recklessness, you always could manage to slow down enough to stitch properly. I don’t think he’ll even scar.”
Draco pulled back, folding Sirius’s shirt down. “You got lucky. No vitals were hit but it was damn close to nicking your lung. Were you planning on pressing charges against the man?”
Mind whirring at the very odd notion, Sirius shook his head.
Harry sighed in frustration. “Mr. Black, you have to! You can’t just let something like that go unpunished.”
Draco stood, grabbing Harry’s shoulder. “Chill. Mr. Black, you do know that you were attacked, right? That what happened to you was illegal?”
Sirius was not really liking the blond’s tone as if he were some slow idiot. “I’m a prisoner. It’s not illegal to hurt prisoners,” he said gruffly.
Harry looked like he was going to say something, but again the blond kept him quiet. “True. But you are no longer in prison. The moment Harry took you into his custody, he became responsible for you. Meaning, if someone hurts you while he’s caring for you, it is not only a crime committed on you, but also on him.”
Eyes straying to Harry’s, Sirius eventually nodded. “Alright. Why is he… Why am I here?”
Draco turned to Harry, glaring at the boy. “Didn’t you tell him anything?”
Harry held his hands up helplessly. “I thought he figured it out. I mean, my house is hardly fucking Azkaban!” Draco just sighed, shoving Harry back in annoyance.
“Mr. Black, Harry has taken you in after hearing your testimony under Veritaserum. He understands that it was Pettigrew, not you, that betrayed his parents. The court is going through the arduous task of trying to fix their mistake, and while they are doing that, Harry has chosen to become your guardian to keep you from having to return to prison.”
“So… I won’t be going back?” Sirius asked, again looking at Harry.
Harry bit his lip, stepping forward and holding his hand out. Sirius stared at it a moment, then raised his own, letting the boy hold his fingers lightly. “Sirius, you are never going back to prison again. Never. On my life, you will never go back there again.”
Staring at the boy’s watery green eyes, Sirius nodded mutely, not sure what the strange feeling was as it tried to unfurl within the numbness inside him. He had been numb for a very long time, as long as since failing his friends and being convicted for a crime he hadn’t committed. The feeling must be something sad though because he could feel warm tears sliding down his face. It must have been very sad because suddenly the weird boy was hugging him, bare sweaty arms wrapped around him so tight, Sirius could actually feel them too. Harry was very warm, an actual live presence and not the echoes he had been surrounded by for so long.
Sirius awkwardly placed his hand on Harry’s back, staring down at the boy’s dark bowed head. He actually smelled very nice, very real with his sweat, and very warm. In that moment, Sirius missed James. He had used to hug him, as had Remus after very difficult letters from his parents and waking up from nightmares. James had always listened when Sirius talked shit about someone, not caring that it was biased and him just ranting angrily. And James was very good at passing time, knowing how to distract with pranks and tricks. James had been Sirius’s best friend, and he really felt lonely without the boy.
“Come on, Potter, don’t tear those stitches,” Draco chided when Harry seemed ready to hug the man forever.
Harry pulled away with a sigh, looking Sirius over for a moment, hands lighting on the man’s face. His hands felt very warm, and Sirius wondered if the prison had just permanently chilled him inside. This boy really looked nothing like James. Not just the stunning green eyes. He didn’t have the anger James used to have. Harry’s lips were red and pouty, not thin from frowning all the time. There was a sweetness to this kid’s face that James had never had and he found it very interesting.
Harry straightened, turning to Draco. “I need to go pick up a few things for Sirius like a razor and toothpaste and stuff. Would you mind just hanging around and making sure he’s set?”
“Sure, as long as you don’t expect me to play any of those stupid muggle games,” Draco said, following Harry down the hall. “He seems comfortable, although still somewhat confused. I almost wonder if hanging out with you is just going to make him think he’s still a teenager.”
“Who cares how old he thinks he is? I mean, really. What the fuck does it matter if he spends the rest of his life thinking he’s twenty years younger than he really is?” Harry said, stopping on the stairs. “After what he’s been through, losing so much time, hell, maybe it would be a gift.”
Draco glanced back down the hall, hearing the game resume. “He’s going to have to join the real world some day, Harry. Get a job, learn how to be around people…”
Harry snorted, making his way upstairs to change. “Not everyone needs to live your life, Malfoy. This is the real world too, and it can be a nice, fulfilling place.”
Draco, who was pretty sure Harry was hiding away in some self inflicted prison of loneliness, wisely didn’t comment. Maybe Sirius Black getting better and moving on with his life might help wake Harry up to the reality of his very lonely, unsatisfying existence. Or, considering how stubborn Harry was, maybe not. Draco didn’t know but seeing how readily Harry had hugged the man, he was growing on the idea of Black staying there.
At least Harry wasn’t alone. At least he was being forced to think about something other than nightmares and the distractions he used to hide from them. It was a change and Harry needed change.
Remus did not want to wait for Sirius to wake up, very much vibrating with both anxiety and anger. Harry was trying to soothe the man, but the reality was he was still just as angry. Draco had left hours ago. Remus, after finally getting Harry’s message, had apparated down at eleven in the evening, desperate to make sure Sirius wasn’t dying.
“We brought him here to avoid this sort of thing!” Remus hissed. “What happens when the papers get a hold of it? Him being released and living with ‘The Dark Lord’s Successor’—They won’t care that he’s innocent and wrongly convicted. Those fucking people are going to hound him for the rest of his days because they don’t want to believe the Ministry makes mistakes!”
“Remi, you’re jumping to conclusions. Bardly was one of the aurors that brought Sirius in. He had a personal vendetta that ignored the reality of the situation. No one else is going to be so blinded by hate,” Harry said calmly, not sure he truly believed his own words. The public had proven time and again that they didn’t care about the truth, they just loved a fucking scandal.
“We need to get ahead of this Harry. Before they’re at your door, looking to lynch him.”
Harry grabbed the man’s arm, pushing him back down in the kitchen chair. “Calm down. I’ll talk to Emilee, and her people can start on the PR. But Black’s not ready for this.”
“He’s going to have to be,” Remus muttered. “Someone stabbed him, Harry. A law abiding auror was in the courtroom, heard Sirius was innocent, and still stabbed him. You know what those reporters will say. Black tricked his way out of it. Harry Potter cursed the judge, made a false memory that everyone experienced—These people are ruthless. And if one person was crazy enough to try to kill him, there will be more. People died in that explosion—Innocent, well-loved people with very angry families. They are going to want vengeance and it doesn’t matter on who, just as long as they have their day.”
Harry sighed heavily, knowing Remus was right and hating it. He had gotten used to the threats on his own life. Usually just by crazy, obsessed kooks that thought they were saving the world from the next Voldemort. The people that would come after Sirius would be more than crazy, they would think they were right. Righteous people didn’t stop and were somehow even harder to rationalize with.
“I need to see him. He needs to understand the situation—He can’t go outside. If someone recognizes him—”
“Remi, you really need to calm down. You’ll only upset him like this,” Harry said as soothingly as possible. Remus naturally ignored him, ducking around the boy and heading for the living room. Sirius had fallen asleep on the couch, not interested in returning to his room anytime soon. Harry hadn’t minded, throwing a blanket over the man after returning with the toiletries and clothes. “Remi…” Harry trailed off, Sirius peeking his eye open from the couch, peering warily at the werewolf.
“Pads, I need to talk to you,” Remus said, crouching in front of the couch. “I need you to be really careful.”
Sirius stared at the man a while, then turned his gaze to Harry, eyes full of question. Harry bit his lip. “Remus just wants to know you’re okay. He’s really upset that you were hurt.”
“I want to talk to him alone, Harry,” Remus said, his voice hard. “Can you give us some space?”
Scratching the back of his head, Harry nodded. Sirius was looking at him, eyes so full of something he could not identify but begged for him to stay. “I’ll be in the kitchen. Right across the hall. If you need anything, just ask and I’ll be here.” He said it to Sirius, the man still looking very lost. Then he slipped away to sit in the kitchen and wait.
“Padfoot… Come on, Pads. I need you to focus on me,” Remus pleaded, pulling the man’s gaze back to him. “Do you remember me yet?”
Sirius did not like how the man was nearly eye level with him, feeling very vulnerable lying on the couch. He slowly sat up, wrapping the blanket that was on him closer to his body. “You’re Remus… but you’re old.”
Remus snorted without humor. “Nearly forty is not old—Have you looked in the damn mirror?”
Sirius gazed down at his hands. “I try not to. I don’t recognize myself,” he said gruffly.
“Siri, I spoke with your lawyer, Mr. Colms. He said that when he first met you, it was as Padfoot.” Remus sat back on the floor, looking up at the man. “Is that how you did it? Is that why you’re so healthy? Did you spend all your time as the dog?”
Eyes straying towards Remus, Sirius nodded. “It was easier. Less memories to hear… they hardly noticed me.”
Remus seemed almost relieved. “Good, that’s good, Siri. Can you still turn into Padfoot?” He sighed when Sirius nodded in reply. “Sirius, whenever you go outside, you need to do it as Padfoot. You should keep the curtains drawn so no one can see you in the house. Don’t let anyone in that Harry doesn’t know.”
Sirius leaned forward, elbows resting on his knees. “Am I… not supposed to be here?”
“No, no, you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” Remus assured. “Harry will fight anyone that tries to take you away—You belong here, Siri. But there are ignorant individuals that think you hurt those people instead of Peter. For your own protection, you need to stay hidden. Just keep the curtains closed and go outside as Padfoot. That’s all you have to do.”
“Alright… Moony,” Sirius said, hesitating on the nickname. But Remus smiled to hear it, as if it were truly familiar to him.
“Pads, you believe me?” Remus asked softly, gnawing at his lip. Sirius could see the boy in the man’s face, very much still Remus’s honey eyes and hair with familiar expressions even if his body had grown much stronger.
“Do you remember that time in the shack… when Jamie tried to wake you up with that mask on?” Sirius asked, watching Remus’s face carefully.
“The gorilla one? After the full moon and I was so tired from the change and the stupid ass thought it would be funny to pretend it was the damn planet of the apes? Yeah, I remember,” Remus said with a small smile.
Sirius ran a hand through his hair, pausing to stare at his fingers. “I keep waiting for someone to pull the masks off. Off my face, off yours—Off that weird kid that makes me think of James even though I know damn well he’s his son. My god—The boy lived, Remi. How did he live?”
“No one is really sure,” Remus said honestly, relaxing the more comfortable and familiar Sirius became with him. “Dumbledore thinks Lily might have saved him. She was such a natural witch. We think her love for her son protected Harry against the killing curse. Siri… you’re going to be okay here. He’s a good kid.”
Sirius nodded, eyes straying to the door. “Why is he… He’s all alone here. He lives in the huge place all alone. What’s wrong with him?”
“Nothing… not really,” Remus said, wrapping his arms around his knees. “He was hunted most of his childhood. You-Know-Who and his followers tried to get the kid killed. Then there was an incident when he was about sixteen and Harry ended up face to face with what was left of the Dark Lord. Harry killed him and everything changed.”
Sirius started at that, eyes widening, mouth going slack. “That can’t—Sixteen?” He shook his head in disbelief.
“Voldemort was weak. He never recovered from his failed attack on Harry as a toddler. And Harry… He’s an extremely powerful wizard. He doesn’t do a lot of magic; I think he’s a bit afraid of himself. But he is one of the most powerful people that exists. And because of it, he is treated very poorly by the wizarding community. He’s feared—”
“But you just said he destroyed that monster,” Sirius rasped, glancing at the door and then sliding down to the carpet so he could whisper easily to Remus. “If he killed You-Know-Who, why aren’t they dancing in the goddamn streets?”
A wave of nostalgia hit Remus, having Sirius hunched over while the two of them whispered. It was so much like sitting in the shack trying not to wake Peter and James early mornings, talking about random school things and life. Remus scooted over to Sirius’s side, head ducked, shoulder brushing shoulder. “You know how those sorts of people get, Pads. They called the kid a monster for being able to do it in the first place. They’re afraid of him. And Harry, sweet kid that he is, sometimes thinks they should be afraid. So he’s hid himself away.”
“That’s crazy, Moony. Fucking messed up—Remember when Prongs went and scared Pete…” he stopped, hunching in on himself.
“Was it after the Yule ball?” Remus asked quietly. “When Peter got so scared he said he’d get even? And we all laughed.”
Sirius nodded, leaning towards the man until Remus was holding him up with his shoulder. “I fucked up so bad, Moony. I taunted that kid every fucking chance I got… How many times did I nearly eat Wormtail when I was Padfoot? Just to fucking scare him… Maybe he wouldn’t have done it, if I hadn’t been such a terrible friend.”
Remus sighed, having spent the last days wondering why Peter had betrayed them. “It was a long time ago, Pads. No one’s heard from him in ages. Sometimes you need to let things go, just so you can have a chance at a future. What happened with you and Pete is just one of them.”
Sirius nodded, relaxing into the oddly familiar scent of Remus Lupin. “You smell like chocolate.”
Smirking, Remus snaked a hand into his back pocket, pulling out a chocolate bar. “You still have Padfoot’s nose, I see.” He unwrapped the bar, breaking off a piece and giving it to the man.
Sirius closed his eyes and let the candy melt on his tongue, humming softly. “Holy hell… I forgot how good that was. I forgot how good things taste.” Warmth began to flood him, his limbs suddenly stronger, mind clearing a lot of the cold haze away.
“Side effect of the dementors. Usually takes a week for long term exposure to completely wear off. Same with your confusion.” Remus handed the man another piece of chocolate, taking in Sirius’s expression and mussed hair. “You seem better than the last time I was here.”
“Moony… you ever hear of bondage?”
Coughing on his piece of chocolate, Remus turned wide eyes to his whispering friend. “What?”
“Bondage.” Sirius pointed to the tv console, reaching his foot out and catching the corner of a dvd. Remus slipped his hand forward and snagged the box, coughing again once seeing the cover.
“I forgot Harry was…”
“Weird,” Sirius supplied. He glanced sideways at his friend, Remus having finished reading the back of the box. He wagged his eyebrows suggestively, the werewolf bursting out in laughter in response.
“No, gay,” Remus whispered after he had gotten his laughter under control. “He’s not weird. He’s just a little… kinky.”
“I’m pretty sure he’s weird,” Sirius said, eyes straying to beneath the console. “Do you think he lets men tie him up?”
Remus pursed his lips, tossing the dvd back in its pile beneath the tv. “Maybe. I don’t think the boy really gets out much, to be honest.”
Sirius hunched closer, tilting until he was right in Remus’s ear. “Think he’d let me tie him up?”
Remus gaped, scandalized. “Pads!” He turned, trying to read if he was joking. No, Sirius had that damn wicked smirk and naughty glint to his eye that very much said he was not joking. After all these years, it was still the same fucking expression. “No!”
“No to the question, or just you’d really prefer I didn’t?” Sirius asked, laughing when Remus shoved him sideways.
“I… I don’t know… but I’m sticking with that answer,” Remus said, shaking his head in disbelief. “You do realize he’s, well, young, right? James’s son, young. Lily’s son, young.”
Sirius shrugged. “He doesn’t look like the tot, that’s for damn sure. What he does look like is very nice… especially after working out.” Sirius’s grin grew, and he ducked his head again to whisper into Remus’s side. “Did I ever tell you about Hurley?”
“The Ravenclaw that sucked you off in the bathroom? Yes, a million fucking times,” Remus said lightly while trying to fight a smirk of his own.
“Right… So I think the weird kid has a mouth even nicer looking than Hurley’s. And he had a very fine mouth.”
“Sirius Black, you are incorrigible,” Remus chuckled while shaking his head. “Don’t you dare say any of this to Harry. He’s a good kid—Nothing like you at that age, for damn sure.”
“Ah, I’m not going to say anything,” Sirius said, bumping his shoulder to Remus’s. “I’m an old man now—”
“Forty is not old!” Remus growled, bumping his shoulder right back.
“Is too. It’s fucking ancient. I’m going to have to go coffin shopping soon.”
“You’re a bastard, Black. A thirty-nine year old, not ancient bastard.”
Harry, who had been in the kitchen trying to figure out where he was going to store twenty-five half eaten pizzas, heard a crash from the living room. “Remi?” He shouted, only to hear a loud thud. Worried someone was killing someone, he ran to the living room, stumbling to a halt two feet in the door and nearly falling into the tangle of limbs wrestling on the ground. “Remus!”
“Do you concede?” Remus demand, ignoring Harry and pinning the laughing Sirius to the floor.
“Only because… I’m so old,” Sirius choked out between gasps of mirth.
“You fucking sod,” Remus said, about ready to throw his full weight on his friend, only to fall back wide eyed when Harry suddenly shoved him with magically enhanced strength.
“Remus Lupin, if you have pulled out any of his stitches, I’m going to hang you out on the rooftop!” Harry growled in exasperation.
“He keeps calling me old!” Remus said, chuckling at Sirius shocked expression to see Remus lose so easily to a kid smaller than him. “Tell him, Harry. Forty isn’t old!”
“I’m pretty sure forty is when idiotic men start losing their fucking minds,” Harry snapped, kneeling beside the still laughing Sirius. “Remus, you could have seriously injured him! Mr. Black, let me see your side. Come on… stop giggling.” Sighing, he pushed Sirius’s shirt up, bending over to see the stitches that he had sewn in the dim light.
Eyes caught on Harry’s bowed head, the boy practically sprawled atop him and holding him down to see his wound, Sirius grinned wickedly. He glanced over to Remus, wagging his eyebrows. Remus burst out laughing, never able to resist that particular look from his friend.
“Bloody… childish… idiots,” Harry muttered under his breath, completely missing the exchange between Remus and Sirius.
“Hey, Harry,” Remus sat up, resting back on his hands while smiling lazily at Sirius. “What do you think of older men?”
“I’m afraid I don’t fucking know any at the moment.” Harry didn’t bother looking up, clucking over the blood that was dripping from Sirius’s once perfectly fine side. “He’s bleeding!”
“Uh oh, I think the kid is going to murder you, Moony. He sounds just like Lils,” Sirius remarked brightly.
“Oh my god—Remember when James ended up ass end stuck in that tree!” Remus cheered, “And Lily insisted on nearly dismembering him to preserve the bloody willow!”
Sirius nodded mutely, laughing so hard from the memory a tear escaped. “She yelled… for… hours… while he was… bleeding out.”
“Mr. Black!” Harry growled, leaning forward to catch Sirius’s eye and grabbing the man’s shoulder to keep him from moving. “This is delicate work. Please stop laughing.”
Sirius abruptly fell silent with a gasp, Harry’s eyes widening in response. “Shit, did I hurt you?” He quickly looked back to the man’s side, worried he had hurt him by accident. Harry’s hands weren’t even near the wound.
“I’m fine,” Sirius mumbled when Harry looked his way again questioningly. Not fully convinced, Harry shrugged and went back to charming Sirius’s wound healed. Sirius again glanced over to Remus, tilting his head to how Harry was now holding him down, hips very much pinning hips, a knee pressed between Sirius’s long legs. Remus gave him a warning glare back, one that grew in strength when Sirius stuck his tongue out and wiggled it back and forth.
Remus suddenly slammed his foot down, glaring spectacularly. Sirius only grinned wider, Harry turning Remus’s way for a moment with narrowed eyes.
“For real, Harry. Ever date anyone older than you?” Remus asked, returning Sirius’s wicked grin.
“Date? Not really,” Harry muttered, leaning closer into Sirius’s side as he spelled up a needle and began replacing the ruined stitches.
“But you’ve been with older men, right?” Remus pressed.
“Well, yeah… all the time… You know I don’t date, Remi,” Harry said with a huff. “The last wizard that wanted to date me was hoping I was really some dark lord recruiting to take over the world. And I can’t date muggles. Eventually the guy would figure out I do magic, and that would be the end of that.”
“Would you go so far as to say you prefer older men?” Remus continued, this time wagging his eyebrows at Sirius, who had gone completely still in his wish to hear the answer.
Harry, tongue half sticking out as he carefully tied the last stitch into Sirius’s flesh, took a moment to answer. “Depends how confident he is.”
“Yeah… I like forceful… confident… strong men that aren’t afraid to take control in the bedroom… Why are we talking about this?” Harry asked abruptly, head turning to glare at the suddenly innocent looking werewolf. “I don’t do setups. I don’t care how bloody ‘perfect’ you think he is for me. They all think I’m the next Voldemort.”
“Ow, ow, ow, owww,” Sirius whimpered, Harry’s fingers digging in too hard.
“Shit, sorry.” Harry immediately turned back, missing Remus’s smug look in Sirius’s direction. “Did I hurt you, Mr. Black?”
Sirius gave his best shaky smile, Remus rolling his eyes. “I’ll be fine, Harry… And really, call me Sirius. Or Siri… or Padfoot.”
“Padfoot?” Harry asked, eyebrows raised.
“He’s a dog,” Remus said flatly.
“He means I turn into a dog,” Sirius said quickly. “That’s why I needed the shampoo.”
“Nope, he’s just a dog,” Remus retorted.
Harry, looking between the two of them warily, decided he was done. “Sirius, I got you a few changes of clothes and some pajamas along with a shaving kit and other basic essentials. I left them in your room. Hope you don’t mind jeans.” He stood, glaring warningly at Remus. “No more wrestling.”
“Yes, mum,” Remus said with a teasing grin, ducking away before Harry could smack him off the head.
Shaking his head in mild amusement, Harry headed for the kitchen. “Remi, there’s pizza. Feel free to take half with you back to the school.” He turned, peeking his head back in. “Don’t be afraid to wake me up if you need anything, Sirius.”
Sirius grinned as Harry disappeared, Remus snorting. “You are such a dog.”
“Coming from the werewolf.”
“Just shows I’m an expert.”
Sirius glanced at the door, scooting over the floor until he was side by side with Remus and whispering. “He prefers older men.”
“Yes, men, not dogs,” Remus whispered right back. “And that boy can tell the difference.”
Sirius pouted. His eyes fell to beneath the tv console and he smiled wickedly. “Watch porn with me.”
“Like fuck,” Remus laughed.
Sirius leaned in closer. “You used to watch that shit James brought over.”
“And it was horrible and I swore it off since,” Remus said, foot twitching as he also peered under the tv console.
“Yeah… well this stuff is not horrible. It’s weird, but it’s definitely not horrible.”
“It’s gay,” Remus reminded, fixing Sirius with a stern look.
Sirius mirrored it. “You’re Bi, you jackass. Unless you finally picked a fucking side.”
“How many times do I have to tell you that being Bi is a real fucking thing and not just sitting on the fence?”
“Until I fucking believe you can suck cock and then go home to pussy—”
“You two better not be fighting!” Harry yelled from the kitchen. Sirius and Remus fell silent, staring at the doorway.
“That kid would eat you alive, Pads,” Remus said honestly, glancing back at his friend.
Sirius just grinned, leaning in to whisper again. “Given the shit in these films, I’m pretty sure he would rather be the one getting eaten.”
Remus was saved from answering, Harry suddenly appearing in the doorway. “Night guys. Remi, are you staying the weekend? I can get a room fixed up.”
Glancing at Sirius, Remus nodded. “I can share Siri’s room. We’ll try to keep it down.”
Harry shrugged. “Whatever. I sleep like the dead—Except for my night terrors. Sorry again about that, Sirius.”
“No worries.” Sirius glanced his way, then back to the floor.
“That’ll be interesting,” Remus said suddenly. “Siri used to wake us all up screaming in the middle of the night. Between the two of you, no one will be sleeping in this house.”
Eyes wide, Sirius knocked his shoulder into Remus. “Ass,” he mumbled under his breath. Harry didn’t notice, seemingly more worried about keeping Sirius awake at night.
“I’ll set up silencing charms,” Harry assured. “I’d hate to keep Mr—Sirius up with my screams. Night guys.” He disappeared towards the stairs, Sirius and Remus staring at each other until breaking down into giggles.
“You bring out the worst in me, Black,” Remus chuckled, shaking his head.
Sirius nodded, swiping a hand under the tv console and snagging the first fleshy colored cover he could find. “Thank god. You were always too much of a goody goody on your own.”
“Hey, I never agreed to watch that,” Remus said, staring at the box with a mix of wariness and curiosity.
“Oh, you’re watching it. I need someone else to comprehend the mental scarring. But first, pizza. For some reason it is required for most porn.” Sirius stood, heading for the kitchen.
“You know that’s just a cliché set up, right? Delivery men don’t just stop in to have sex.”
Sirius tilted his head, remembering Jamal. “Figured it out eventually. Was very disappointed earlier today… although, the pizza was amazing.”
Remus shook his head, laughing under his breath.
“Nope, this is when he…”
“Holy crap… why? Why?” Remus whimpered, slouching down, back flat against the bottom of the couch. Sirius just snickered beside him, nudging his shoulder.
“The funny thing? They’re all muggles. No magic involved. That he can stretch… that… wide…”
Remus covered his eyes with both hands, peeking through his fingers. “For fuck sake—How did they manage to make this worse than James’s artsy crap?”
“Oh, this is totally better.” Sirius had another bite of pizza, noticing that Remus had given up on his own about five minutes into the dvd. “Oh look, this is when he—”
Remus groaned, hands back over his eyes. “Why did it have to be the kitchen? I’m never looking at food the same way again.”
“I’m never looking at the weird kid the same way again.” Sirius smirked. “I wonder if he’s ever put a cucumber…?”
“I’m not listening to this,” Remus said abruptly, hands over his ears, eyes squinting with one peeked open to watch the screen. “My god…”
“I know,” Sirius said gleefully. “You ever do that to a bloke?”
“I’m not sure that’s even legal,” Remus muttered, second eye peeking open. “But he really, really seems to like it.”
Sirius nodded. “Can you believe they want you to believe he’s a virgin?”
“No fucking way he’s a virgin,” Remus said, grabbing the dvd box and reading the back.
“I know. Bloody liars. Not that I care; it just seems really beyond believable.”
“Why do they keep… oh… oh hell.” Remus bit his hand, smirking around his flesh. “I want to do that with a bloke… Very, very much that.”
“And that?” Sirius asked, eyebrows raising.
“My god, yes. Rope and everything… No gag. He could totally be sucking something else.”
“Moony, you deviant,” Sirius teased. “What would Abigail Jordan think of you now?”
“Abigail married that dimwit, Kent, and has a brood of halfwits out in France,” Remus said distractedly, eyes tight on the screen. “Why do they keep gagging him? It really does seem like a waste of a perfectly nice mouth.”
“I think he likes it… goes with the theme of being tied up… and ruined in a kitchen.” Head tilting, Sirius pointed to the side of the screen. “Foreshadowing.”
“Carrots don’t grow that big.”
“I bet they grew them just for this movie.”
Remus nodded, having to agree. “Where do you find a bloke that lets you just… tie him up?”
“Dunno… But it looks like a lot of fun.”
Remus pulled his phone from his back pocket, keying in the web address on the back of the dvd box. “Huh… holy crap, the kid might have actually have been a virgin when filming this.”
“Fucking bullshit. What are you looking at?” Sirius leaned over, glaring disbelieving at Remus’s phone screen.
“Internet—Shit, you need to learn how to use a computer,” Remus said suddenly, smiling. “And I don’t just mean for porn. You can order pretty much anything and have it delivered to the front door. Can talk to people all over the world without leaving the house. If you want to find a bloke to tie up, you could easily do that… Although, you might end up with an ax murderer, so there are risks.”
Sirius tilted his head, humming under his breath as he leaned back. “I already know who I want to tie up. The weird kid.”
“Stop calling him that,” Remus grumbled. “Harry’s a good kid and you shouldn’t be thinking about him like… like that,” he said, pointing to the screen.
“Hey, it’s his porn. I think he wants to be thought of like that.”
“How do you know he doesn’t want to be the one tying someone up, huh?”
“Because he prefers older men,” Sirius said, grinning wickedly. “Confident, strong, take charge men. A man that would tie him up and do very terrible, nasty things to him—”
“He didn’t say any of that last part, you dog. That’s James’s son, you’re talking about.”
Sirius shrugged. “James was a perv too. Must run in the family.”
“James was not…” Remus trailed off, eyes losing focus. “He did let Lily gag him a lot, didn’t he?”
“Supposedly ‘cus he was just that loud while in bed. Remember that time we found them in the shack?”
Remus nodded mutely, eyes widening. “Maybe it is genetic.”
Sirius grinned widely, having another bite of pizza. “You ever play a video game, Remi?”
It was four a.m. when Harry came stumbling down the stairs in pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, stopping in the kitchen to brew some tea. He peeked in the living room, finding Remus sprawled asleep on the couch, Sirius beneath him on the floor quietly cursing at a war game he kept getting killed in. “Tea?” Harry asked, Sirius glancing his way and then nodding.
Harry brought two mugs in, making Sirius his tea of last time and setting it on the floor in front of the man. He padded around, sitting on the other side of the man when there was a pause in the game, stretching his legs out. Above him, Remus was snoring softly. Harry reached over, throwing the blanket on top of the blond that was crumpled on the floor.
“Want to play the racing one?” Sirius asked softly. “It’s better two player.”
“Sure.” Harry glanced at the pizza box, trying to figure out if he was hungry. He had a sip of his tea instead, waiting for the man to switch the games out.
“Another nightmare?” Sirius handed a controller over, Harry placing his mug aside.
“Of course. I don’t even know how I manage to sleep half the time.” Harry kept his voice low, not wanting to wake Remus.
“Moony told me you had some heavy shit happen to you as a kid… Stuff that gives you nightmares.”
Harry shrugged. “I guess.”
“I know I used to feel better when I spoke my nightmares aloud,” Sirius said offhandedly. “Usually wouldn’t have another one for a while after.”
“Er… I guess I’d be afraid to give you a nightmare, if you heard the stuff I dream about.” Harry glanced the man’s way, smiling tightly.
“Honestly, kid? I doubt you can top living a nightmare for the last twenty years.”
Harry sighed, leaning back on the couch, Remus’s arm hanging down next to his shoulder. “Alright, I’ll take that challenge… So, picture a really big snake, like a boa constrictor. But imagine it’s also a person, this really old skull like face with thin, straggly hair, shoulders flaring out but arms melding into its sides. And it’s dry, like huge, thick layers of peeling snake skin, but it’s on his face and body. And his eyes even have a layer of it, this milky dry skin covering dark, blood red eyes.” He paused, sipping his tea and staring at the cup blankly.
“Now imagine that this huge, disgusting thing can talk to you in parseltongue—because I just happen to be one of the few people that can understand snakes. And it says it recognizes you… that you were the terrible boy that nearly killed him the first time… And that it wants to climb down your throat, crawl inside you, and eat away your insides. Destroy the world while tucked up nice and warm where your organs fit.” Harry grit his teeth, sighing softly. “And then, in my dream, it does. I don’t beat him, I just become cannibalized, walking around like some grotesque puppet while I kill everyone I love.” Harry placed his controller down, not even attempting to play the game. He took a huge swig of his tea, burning his mouth and glad for it.
“That’s fucking sick,” Sirius said after a long moment, also placing his controller down. “Is that… is that what happened to you?”
Harry snorted. “Not the last part… Although, sometimes I wake up really not sure. Because it’s the same fucking dream and it feels so real. I sometimes end up calling Draco because he was with me when it happened, just to make sure he’s still alive and I didn’t really kill him and become some sort of meat puppet for Voldemort. It tends to piss him off though, so I haven’t been doing that much anymore… I need more tea.”
Harry stood, stepping over the controller cords and walking to the kitchen. Sirius got up slowly and followed, leaning in the doorway and drinking his tea while Harry put the kettle of water back on. “C’mere, kid,” Sirius said, crooking his finger.
Harry took a hesitant step forward, remembering the last time Sirius had made that gesture. “You’re not going to wipe my face, are you?” He asked, looking at the man warily.
Sirius shook his head no. “Open your mouth. Really wide.”
Looking dubious, Harry did, forcing himself to stay still when the man suddenly leaned in close to peer into his mouth. “You’re good. No monsters in here,” Sirius said with mock gravity. “Maybe a fingernail or two, but hardly a whole creepy snake person.”
Harry clicked his mouth shut, rolling his eyes and smiling. “Thanks—Damn it!” He sighed, Sirius suddenly grabbing him one handed by the face, large palm covering Harry’s mouth.
“Told you. Nothing there to wipe,” Sirius said, smiling at the exasperated growl he got in return.
Harry carefully pried the man’s fingers off his face, resisting the urge to lick his hand. “You really don’t want to do that,” he warned.
“Why? Do you breathe fire as well as defeat monstrous wizards?” Sirius teased, voice gruff as he stared at Harry’s mouth.
“Nope, just bite.” Harry turned back to the cabinets to hide his blush. He blinked a few times, trying to get the man’s eyes to fade from his mind but it was useless. “So… you seem to be better,” he said, trying to fill the growing silence.
“Moony and his magic chocolate,” Sirius said, sipping his drink.
Harry suddenly smiled, reaching for the top shelf of the corner cabinet and pulling down a tin. “Hot chocolate! Totally should have started with that. Then again, you probably wouldn’t have drunk it because you thought I was poisoning you,” he added, glaring over his shoulder at the man.
Sirius smiled sheepishly, combing his hair with his fingers. “Yeah, well… I was crazy.” He looked at his tangle of dark hair, frowning at it. “My god, I need a brush.”
“I put one upstairs for you,” Harry said. “With your, um, flea shampoo in the bathroom.”
Sirius nodded absentmindedly, still looking at his hair. “I might need your help with that. I really can’t give Padfoot a bath by myself.”
Harry looked at the man dubiously. “You want me to give your animagus form a bath?”
“If you don’t mind… or I could have Remi do it. No biggie. Padfoot’s about as nice a mutt as you can find. I’m just really itchy and it’s not going to stop until I get the dog taken care of,” he added with a small twitch and lazy grin.
Turning, Harry switched the stove off. “Well, I can do it now, if you want. I’ll just have to get a ton of towels from the linen closet.” He led the way up the stairs, Sirius following with a calculating glint in his eye. “Think this will be enough?” Harry asked, holding up a pile of towels.
“Couple more. I’m afraid Pads has been twenty years due for a bath,” Sirius said, helping Harry carry the towels.
Harry, who had never given a dog a bath before, began filling Sirius’s bathroom tub with warm water while reading the back of the flea shampoo label. “Can the dog get in the tub safely?” He asked Sirius, the man spreading the towels on the floor around the tub.
“Normally, but I feel like Pads is a bit stiff after all we’ve been through. I’ll change in the tub and that should do it.”
“He’s not going to bite me, right?” Harry asked, a little concerned. “I never had a dog, and never knew anyone who had one…”
“Pads is a saint… Although, he might lick you,” Sirius added, shrugging as he took his socks off. Blushing, Harry turned, Sirius unbuttoning his pants so as not to get his clothes wet. Harry couldn’t help but peak at the man’s legs, taking in the long, strong calves, sneaking a little higher to see his thighs and then glancing away as the man turned and tossed his shirt to the floor. Crap. Harry ducked his head further, counting in his head as he waited for Sirius to stop brushing out the knots in his long hair. It was no use and he glanced over again, the man clad in black boxers and nothing else while he fought with a knot the size of his fist.
“For fuck—I need a haircut,” Sirius muttered, the elastic band holding his hair in place having caught and just making things worse.
“Here, let me.” Harry stood, reaching up, nimble fingers easily finding the band and snapping it so he could slip it free. He tried to ignore just how tall Sirius was, or the way his shoulders were so broad, the muscles on the man’s back flexing lightly as he stood still. “Brush,” Harry demanded, smoothing the hair around the knot first and then working on the tangle, eventually getting everything in order without the need of cutting anything loose. He liked that Sirius was rough around the edges. He wasn’t perfectly prim, instead smelling of sweat, hair washed only in water and not frilly soaps. He was very much a rough sort of man… The kind he really liked to kiss.
Harry pulled away silently, placing the brush on the sink, having caught Sirius glancing back at him in the mirror. He was being stupid again, getting caught up in his head instead of the reality of the situation. Maybe Draco was right and he played too many video games and was stuck in a fantasy world. “Right, so the flea shampoo needs to sit for fifteen minutes once on. Do you think Padfoot will be able to…?”
“Believe me, kid, this is not the first flea bath the mutt has gotten,” Sirius said with a smirk. He slipped into the tub, staring at the water around his legs. “Just try not to let him jump on you too much. He gets excited.” Glancing at Harry a final time, eyes sparkling mischief, Sirius suddenly shifted, condensing smoothly into a large, black dog.
Harry blinked, staring at the dog that had quickly become soaked, its long whipping tail suddenly sending water flicking as it wagged in greeting. “Wow—Wow, you are really a genuine dog. Holy crap.” He knelt down, petting the dog’s head and scratching behind its ears. Padfoot had bright blue eyes just like Sirius and a tongue probably longer as it began to wash Harry’s face with eager licks. “Ew, and that would be dog breath too; very genuine, that.”
Glancing down into the water, Harry gave a surprised yelp. “My god, it’s already grey. You poor, poor pup, you’re a mess. Alright, I’m gonna clean you up and get all this dirt off of you. And fleas, apparently…” He began splashing water up on the dog, Padfoot immediately thinking it was a game and jumping with. Harry yelped back, absolutely soaked by one large bound of dog. “Arg! No, no, no—Don’t come over to jump on me!”
Harry should have let Remus do this. Sighing, he stripped his soaking wet t-shirt off, glaring at the dog when it made to jump as he got close. “Stay. Down. No more jumping.” His hand licked in apology, Harry sighed again, petting the sopping wet thing. “Okay boy, I’m just going to put some of this really terrible smelling soap on you… Yup, flea shampoo smells terrible, nice to see you agree. Don’t whine at me; I had no say in the matter. It was all they had.”
Harry began sudsing the whimpering dog, Padfoot suddenly using his proximity as an excuse to lick every spot on the boy he could reach while Harry was too busy to defend himself. “Paddy… stop that… Ugh, that’s not as pleasant as you seem to think it is… Close your eyes. Can you close your eyes so I don’t get soap in them?” Harry asked the dog, the beast just licking his tongue out to get his nose. Chuckling, Harry watched as the blue eyes suddenly disappeared, Padfoot actually obeying. He lathered the dog’s face carefully, wondering just how much of Sirius was in there watching what was happening. Enough to make a dog close its eyes…
The creature’s fur was an absolute mess, Harry ending up having to use the entire bottle of shampoo just to wash all the dirt out. He drained and filled the tub two more times until he was satisfied Padfoot was free of prison dirt and fleas. He then gave the dog a final rinse, looking around for a dry towel. He glanced down, realizing all the ones on the floor were soaked with tub water, as were his thin pajama pants.
“Geez, I think we got more water out of the tub than in it.” Harry did not have enough time to dodge the tongue licking agreement to his statement. He glared at the dog, then got up, pants clinging in annoying ways as he grabbed one of the multipack of toothbrushes he had bought for Sirius. “I’m brushing your teeth, Padfoot. No dog should have breath like that. Nope, don’t bother whining, you’re going to sit and be behaved… And not eat the toothpaste, either,” he added when Padfoot went to do just that.
Harry was pretty sure he hadn’t had so much fun in a long time. The dog seemed to agree, nails clicking on the tub floor each time he tried to leap into Harry’s arms. Harry dried the dripping thing off with his wand, using the brush he had gotten for Sirius to smooth Padfoot’s soft, black fur into a nice order, no more tangles to make him look grimy and unloved. “There you go, boy. Now you’re perfect.” He pet the dog on the head, Padfoot panting at him happily.
“Oh, but I don’t know how to get you out of the tub,” he added, biting his lip as he looked at the high side of the wall and Padfoot’s legs. “Umm… How about I lift you? Or help you jump?” He reached forward, wrapping his arms around the licking dog, only to gasp, the furry things shifting suddenly, soft fluff replaced with firm skin and lots of it.
“Sorry, sorry,” Harry mumbled, backing away and nearly falling. Sirius quickly grabbed him before he slipped on the wet floor.
“Careful, Potter. You nearly knocked your teeth out…” Sirius trailed off, looking around the bathroom, the towels soaked on the floor, Harry now shirtless and pants clinging to his legs with water. “That bad, huh?”
“It was fun,” Harry admitted, blushing as the man looked at him disbelieving. “I like your dog… um… form? Are you the dog? Or is it your ‘inner dog’ or something? I’ve never met an animagus before.”
Eyes caught on Harry’s bare chest, Sirius took a moment to answer. “Think of Padfoot as a very sweet tempered, brain damaged part of me that I’m aware of but can’t always control. And I’m sorry he scratched you. A lot.”
Harry looked down, noticing all the pink lines on his skin for the first time. “Eh, I barely felt it. Just looks bad… although we might have to clip his nails.” Realizing Sirius was still holding his shoulder and the man was nearly nude, Harry blushed brighter, pulling away. “I’ll just clean this mess up and you can, er, shave or something… Oh, don’t use that toothbrush. That one is the dog’s.”
Sirius, having been staring at the way Harry’s pants were clinging to the boy’s ass while hanging low from the water pulling them down, suddenly blinked. “You brushed his teeth?”
“Yup. If he was going to insist on licking me, he needed to do it with nice breath. It seemed like a fair compromise.” Harry began spelling towels to the laundry room, Sirius licking his teeth and carefully stepping out of the tub to immediately brush his teeth. Harry lingered, tidying thing restlessly, unwilling to leave the man just yet when he could steal peeks at him in only boxers. Sirius in boxers was about the most interesting thing he had seen in his house in, well, ever.