Title: Run to the Water

Author: Richan

Pairing: SB/HP

Warnings: Drama. Hurt/Comfort.

Rating: PG-13/borderline R

Disclaimers: You really think I own these beautiful men? I hardly think so. Now, if I could own them, the Harry Potter books wouldn't be for children.

Spoilers: If you haven't read the books, why are you reading this? I like to be spoiled if that's why you're here. ::cheekily, demented grin::

AN: I was hoping to write something fluffy when I asked for a plot bunny. This is what it turned out to be. Title is from Live off 'The Distance to Here' album.

This fic is part of the 'Canis Major' Harry/Sirius Fuh-Q-Fest  (). Challenge: 27. Dumbledore hires Sirius as assistant DADA instructor. His job is to tutor those who need help, but the private one-on-one sessions are driving Harry mad with jealousy -- especially since he's passing the course and doesn't need extra lessons! How far will Harry go to keep the love-struck students away from his godfather? (Nimori)

Harry stared at the back of Sirius' head. What had just happened here?

He had gone down to his godfather's office, hoping that they would be able to spend a little time together, since they hadn't been able to talk to each other for a while and now that the older man was now a professor that they should take advantage of it. Harry had brought along the album that Hagrid had given him at the end of his first year, hoping that Sirius would be able to point out some of the people in the pictures, and tell some of the stories behind the photos. Sirius had promised to do so the next time he had seen Harry when they had parted at Kings Cross as Harry boarded the train after the Christmas holidays.

Now he was brushing him off? No, that couldn't be right.

Quickly making up his mind, Harry sped off after Sirius, making sure that no one noticed him. Skirting around the corner, he held back a gasp as the older man ushered Seamus Finnegan into his office.

He had been brushed off for Seamus? Why? He snuck a little closer and listened as the two sat down at Sirius' desk. The same desk that Harry had been hoping to sit at tonight.

"Thanks for helping me, Professor Black," Seamus was saying.

"That's all right, Seamus," Sirius replied. "It's what I'm here for. And you might as well call me Sirius if you're going to be coming to me for a while."

Harry could see the just smirk his roommate was hiding. The Irish man was known to be on the prowl for fresh man meat after the break up with Justin from Hufflepuff. "Sure, Sirius." There was a slight giggle in those two words.

"Okay, where did you leave off reading?" Sirius was asking as Harry slunk away. The voices faded the farther he got until he could no longer hear the lovely voice his godfather had.

Seamus was who Sirius was ignoring Harry for? It couldn't be.... Still, he knew that the other boy would use anything to get the person he had set his sights on, and this time it was the new Associate DADA Professor. Why couldn't the horny-since-his-break-up Seamus had gone for Remus? While he wasn't 'attractive' to Harry, he still was handsome and worthy of anybody. It was just that Harry couldn't see his Professor like that, knowing that he would always see him as a friend and nothing more. But no. Seamus had Sirius centered in his sights and Harry wasn't happy about it. Sirius had been the only thing that Harry had centered all of his worry during the war on, and now, with this situation, he most certainly wasn't going to let some idiot like his roommate cause trouble.

He stopped in the middle of the hall when another thought popped up. Just how many other students were doing the same thing? Trudging up to his room, Harry pulled the curtains around the bed and began to plot. Sirius was Harry's only family, and he wanted to spend some time with him. He'd just have to make sure that nobody else was going to steal him away. He was all that Harry had left, and he was going to make sure that Sirius wouldn't be torn from him.

It looked like time he pulled out the single book left in his vault at Gringotts. The ultimate in the art of pulling a prank, James had faithfully written down every single thing that he and he friends had done when in school, as well as some things that he had thought of after it, but had never had the chance to do. Including a very interesting twist to a hex Harry and George had tossed at Malfoy at the end of fourth year.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Sirius wasn't sure what was going on, but was caught between worrying and laughing. Two of the older students he tutored at night had mysteriously shown up for breakfast this morning hexed to the max. Frankly, he hadn't known that a person could be hexed that much and still walk. Well, not comfortably judging by the way Blaise Zabini was walking. Of course, there were a couple others that Sirius only saw in class that were in kind of the same condition, but these two were the most frequent targets. This had been happening more and more often over the last couple of weeks, but no one was sure who was actually doing all of this.

Well, whoever was doing this Sirius would gladly tip his hat - if he wore one - to them. He had always wondered if a person could actually be cursed with both the Furnunculus Curse with what looked like the Jelly-Legs. Interesting. He liked the tentacles Seamus Finnegan seemed to be sprouting. Which none of the other Gryffindors were able to remove when they tried.

They all seemed to be familiar, but with his shoddy memory, Sirius couldn't be sure that he had never seen them before. But, the person who was pulling such pranks was worthy of being an honorary Marauder. Much like Harry was, just because he was the son of Prongs.

Then Sirius noticed that Harry wasn't at breakfast. He hadn't been to dinner last night earlier, but he hadn't really thought it that big of a deal since the rest of the Quidditch team had been missing as well. Now, though, worry really was starting to set in. He hadn't seen his godson in the past week other than in the one class he had taught for Moony on Monday when he was still recovering from the full moon over the weekend. He had tried speaking with the boy, but hadn't gotten the chance as Harry had bolted from the room saying something about meeting someone to Ron as he rushed by his best friend.

Sirius was happy, though, that he had the chance to even see Harry more than he had over the past couple of years. He had spent most of Harry's fifth year running from place to place to stay ahead of the Ministry. Even after having been cleared when Wormtail had been captured at the beginning of summer before Harry's sixth year, he hadn't been able to spend more than a day with his godson at a time. Then Sirius had been helping out in front, risking his life trying to stop Voldemort's Death Eaters from accomplishing whatever goal they had been given.

Then, finally, Harry had taken down Voldemort in a fight at Halloween. Sirius still felt a little queasy whenever he thought about it. He had been so close to losing Harry, but he knew that his godson was made of 100% pure stubbornness and wouldn't concede to anyone. So Sirius had sat back and watched the almost-man recover from a distance even as he recovered from his own wounds. Only after Christmas, when Dumbledore had offered him the chance to work at the school, did Sirius finally get to see Harry more often.

Of course, the Christmas holidays had helped. The two of them had spent most of their days talking about everything under the sun, yet avoiding some of the touchier subjects. Those Sirius was planning on leaving alone until Harry was done with this year in six months. Until then, he was content to leave things as they were, with the exception of talking about the little things with him.

******

Life had continued as it had before the Tri-Wizard Tournament for most of the school. Quidditch was still popular, with Gryffindor in the lead for the House Cup and Professor Black's tutoring sessions were gaining popularity. The only thing strange was when the hexing suddenly stopped almost three months after they started. Nobody had noticed it at first, and it was only when Seamus had gone un-hexed for a week straight had anyone really paid attention. Three months had passed since then, and most of the students were sighing in relief, glad that they were no longer targets.

Throughout all of this, Sirius kept an eye out for his godson, even though he got to see him less and less. He was glad that Harry didn't have to see him for tutoring, since his grades in DADA kept on getting better and better, until he had passed Hermione as top of the class. It was all for the better, as the sessions he spent with each of the students studying under him were getting shorter and shorter due to the demand. He was a little surprised that even with all of this, more and more students were having problems in the subject.

It wasn't until the Gryffindor vs. Ravenclaw Quidditch game for the House Cup just after the N E W Ts that his old house won that Sirius knew something was wrong. He couldn't put his finger on it, but figured that he would try to find out what was going on the next time he saw his godson.

Two days later, he finally saw Harry up close. Once again teaching for Moony, who had unfortunately gotten in the way of a hex gone wrong in the previous class, Sirius saw that his godson looked extremely tired. Black rings were around the green eyes that were no longer like his mother's, and his face was pale with a tired frown upon his lips.

Impatiently waiting for class to end, Sirius rushed through his closing remarks and called for Harry to stay behind before he could leave.

"Yes, Professor Black?"

Sirius frowned. "You know you can call me Sirius, Harry."

Harry scowled, looking most frighteningly like Snape for a brief second. "You said that we were to call you Professor when we were in class. Remember when you said that when I called you Sirius the first time you taught?"

Sirius paused. He vaguely recalled saying something like this, but he hadn't really thought about it. He was pretty sure that Harry would have known that he would always be able to call him Sirius when they weren't in class. "Harry, you're not in class right now."

The younger man looked away, and Sirius wasn't sure why. But he did take the opportunity to study the man across from him. And Harry was indeed a man. Now that he was older, he no longer looked like a miniature replica of James. His face was a delicate blend of both his parents – from the way his chin was stubbornly set like Lily's when she was onto something, to the intense gaze James had often wore when he was in a mood not to be messed with. The green eyes just made him look all the more beautiful.

Beautiful? No, he couldn't be thinking that about his godson.

Pushing such thoughts away, Sirius focused on the drawn face opposite his. "Are you all right, Harry?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah. I guess I've just been studying a little too hard. Nothing major, Sirius."

"Still..."

"Sirius." Harry's voice was faintly pleading for him to drop it.

Sirius looked at the younger man for a couple more seconds before deciding to drop the subject for now. "How about you swing by my office later tonight and we can talk?" he asked.

Harry shrugged. "I guess. But don't you have tutoring sessions?"

Sirius started, realizing that he had forgotten about the students that were depending on him passing the subject he helped teach. "Bugger it. I'm sorry, Harry. I'd forgotten all about that. How about Saturday, then?"

He could have sworn there was a flash of disappointment and rejection in Harry's eyes before he turned and headed for the door.

"I guess that's fine. See you then."

******

Sirius stared at the seventh year that was panting heavily as if he'd just run the entire length of the castle. The red head's face was flushed almost to the same shade as his hair, and his eyes looked slightly wild.

"Ron, what is going on?" he finally asked when it looked like his godson's best friend was finally able to breathe.

"Pro - Professor Dumbledore.... Emergency.... Harry.... Hosp – "

Sirius didn't hear anything more as he headed to the infirmary. He was halfway there when he remembered he had left one of the younger students he was tutoring for the end-of-year exams in his office. This was more important, though. Harry would always be.

*Then why haven't you spent any time with him since you started teaching?* asked a little voice.

He ignored it as he skidded to a stop at the door to the hospital wing. On the other side of it, he could hear shouting. Frantic, Sirius burst through the door to find Poppy and Dumbledore arguing quite volubly over Harry's prone body. The shadows beneath his eyes were even more pronounced, and now that his robes had been removed, Sirius was shocked to see that his godson looked emaciated. Almost a mirror of how he himself had looked a year after his escape from Azkaban.

"What...?"

The two on each side of the bed halted mid-sentence to stare at him.

Poppy shook her head slightly, as if to clear her thoughts. "Sirius, do you have any idea how Harry could have such low magical reserves?"

Sirius shook his head, even as the little voice popped back into his head. *You should have done something this morning. You knew he looked ill.*

"He's malnourished," Poppy continued, running her wand over Harry in a medical scan. "He's also suffering from lack of sleep. The only reason why he is sleeping now is because he collapsed after Quidditch practice."

The Animagus could only stare at Harry as he lay on the bed, his chest barely rising and falling with each breath. Guilt rose in him as he realized that he hadn't been behaving as the world's best godfather. Ignoring the other two people in the room, he sank heavily into the chair next to Harry's bed and picked up the frail hand that lay on the outside of the covers, holding the chilly hand between both of his.

He was going to find out what was wrong and try his best to fix it.

******

The leather-covered journal was taunting him. The more that Sirius tried to ignore it, the more it called to him to read it.

He had been sitting by Harry's bedside for the past two days, letting everything else slide to the side. Guilty feelings aside, he knew he wanted to be here. Still, the temptation to read the journal was huge. It was Harry's journal, and this little part of Sirius knew that the answer to his godson's condition lay within it.

Curiosity aside, Sirius also wanted to understand what drove the younger man. Since arriving at the hospital wing, he had found himself wondering just what it was that made him Harry. He was different from what Sirius remembered of Lily and James, and he knew for a fact that he was different from the Dursleys – a fact that he was very happy for.

Sirius knew that the answers to his questions were inside the covers of that dark-blue covered book. It was also the journal that Sirius had given Harry for Christmas, hoping that Harry would be able to write down his thoughts so he 'wouldn't keep stewing in them' like Remus thought he was.

He held out until the early hours of the morning, when he was half-awake and ready to crawl into the bed with Harry to get some rest. Curiosity won out over common sense and decency.

Two entries had caught his eye the most. Together, they made the guilt rise to the highest levels he had felt since he had come across the rubble in Godric's Hollow to find his best friend sprawled out in a grotesque fashion, eyes glassy with death. The first was right before the end of the hexing, which Sirius had found out Harry had been behind. Some of the hexes had been quite inventive, and he had been intrigued, but had figured that someone was trying to become the next Gred and Forge.

27-Mar

Why doesn't Sirius want to spend any time with me anymore? Am I not good enough for him? I

stopped trying to stop the other students from spending time with him, but that never seemed to

work. In fact, I think it started to drive them to him.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Instead, I think that I'll try to do my best with school. That way, he'll be proud of me and he'll

want to spend time with me. He's been spending so much time with the rest of the students

trying to improve their grades; that must be what he wants me to do. It's probably just a

subconscious thing.

The second entry had been the worse, and had been written the night before Harry had collapsed. He felt the lowest heel in the world for creating such strife in a beautiful soul like Harry's was.

17-Jun

I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I know I've improved in all of my subjects, and I think that

I have a pretty good shot at getting decent N E W Ts scores. And I was hoping that he would

congratulate me on winning the House Cup, too, because I know that he used to be a beater for

the team when he was in school. So why is Sirius still ignoring me? I've tried to think of all the

things I've said since Christmas that could have made him mad, but I'm not sure if I said anything

that could do that.

I thought that making Sirius proud would make him love me, but I think he doesn't even know I'm

alive anymore.

To top it all off, I've realized that been in love with him for the longest time. I want to spend days

talking with him like we did at Christmas, when it seemed as if we were two parts of a whole and

the rest of the world faded from view. I wish that I could spend all my days in bed with him, not

even doing anything but lying wrapped in his arms.

Is the world out to get me like I used to think it was? I thought my life was starting to be better

than it was, but then everything just started to fall apart.

I feel so alone. I don't think that Ron and Hermione can separate now, and everyone else /has/

someone else. Well, except most of the older students that get tutoring from Sirius.

What was the worse was today. Seamus came back from his session (who doesn't really need it

and is faking the entire thing) and was talking about Sirius – he was pleased with Seamus' progress,

etc. Then he turned to me and asked what I thought of the chances he had with Sirius when we

graduated. I just glared at him and pulled the curtains around my bed. Even then, I could hear

Seamus telling the others that I was probably worrying over whether I should call him Seamus

or 'Dad' when he would marry Sirius.

I can't stand it anymore. The one person in the world I love and he doesn't see me anymore.

Maybe when school is over....

Will Sirius see me even then? Will he be cheering for me when I get my license? Or will he say

'good riddance to the one thing that was tying me to my past?'

I'll probably be sent off into the world with a pat on the back and something about how proud

my parents would be of me.

I just... I just want Sirius to love me like I love him.

******

Sirius couldn't find it within him to smile. Dumbledore had brought him the scores for the N E W Ts, happy to announce that Harry had topped even his own score from a hundred twenty years ago. He didn't care that it was the highest score in the past four hundred years.

All he wanted was for Harry to wake up.

A week had passed by since he had read the journal the first time. In that time, he had learned what made him tick. He had also learned what made himself tick, as well.

Sirius had spent the last couple of years trying to run from his past. First from the Ministry, then from what had happened to him in Azkaban when the first had been cleared up. From there, he had tried to fill up his days with all the activities he could to avoid thinking about things. That was why he had welcomed the opportunity to tutor the students who needed help in Defense Against the Dark Arts. He would be in a place that was safe and dry – while being fed – and in return he would actually be contributing while still able to avoid the soul searching he had been in desperate need of doing.

Instead, all of his actions had put the one person in life that was important enough to worry about in danger.

The past week had taught him that he didn't want to be a godfather to Harry. Rather, he wanted to be a friend, a companion; someone who would take care of and love one person in his life that he held so close to his heart that it couldn't be distinguished from any other part. Yes, he did love the younger man, but it wasn't like he would love a son, should he have had one. That was when he had come to the realization that he had subconsciously pushed Harry from his life so he wouldn't have to deal with such emotions. Instead, he had filled up that spot with unnecessary things. The things he really should have been sharing with Harry.

Harry's journal had forced him to think about someone other than himself. Snape had actually been right – not that Sirius would ever admit it to anyone – in that he was self-centered. Sirius had always been the number one thing to worry about in Sirius' life. There was no room for any one else. Even when Harry had been born, and Sirius had been made his godfather, it had still been a game. Running from the Ministry was to keep the Dementors off his back, and to keep Harry's concern on him. It had made him feel alive, to know that someone was worried about him. Sure, he had worried over Harry, but never in the amounts he should have spent.

Now here he was. Sirius couldn't remember the last time he hadn't thought about how he and Harry interacted. Every single thing he found out about himself was somehow turned into how could he make it better for when Harry woke up? It was a refreshing feeling, one he was eager to share with the younger man.

Still, he was tired. A quick nap never hurt.

He wasn't sure what had made him crawl into the small hospital bed with Harry this time. Maybe it had been the desire to just be close to the younger man, but there was also the chance that he didn't want to physically disconnect from the one thing that had made him /feel/ again. Sirius didn't know what it was, but he definitely knew that he hadn't moved the hand that now lay across his shoulders. He also knew that the only time Harry had moved was when he or Poppy turned him so he wouldn't get bedsores.

Bracing himself for the disappointment that would greet him when he opened his eyes, Sirius took a deep breath. Opening his eyes, he was greeted by confused green eyes.

"Ha... Harry?"

The younger man's eyes wandered over his face briefly before looking into Sirius' eyes. "Wha...?" His voice was cracked from disuse, but Sirius found it to be one of the most beautiful sounds he had ever heard.

"Oh, Harry." Sirius wrapped his arms tighter than they already were around Harry. He wanted to reassure himself that it wasn't a dream and that Harry had finally woken up. "I'm so sorry, Harry. I never meant..."

"It's okay, Sirius," Harry said in a choked voice.

Sirius knew that it wasn't all 'okay,' but he wasn't going to argue with the younger man at this point. He was just going to leave it alone in favor of waking Poppy, who, even though she wouldn't be all that pleased with Sirius waking her, would still be happy that her most frequent patient had finally woken up.

******

Sirius was ready to throw something in frustration. A week had passed since Harry had woken up, and in that week, Sirius had truly learned that the younger man was as stubborn as a hippogriff when they were peeved. Harry had spent most of his time arguing with anybody who dared set into the infirmary with the exception of Sirius, who the older man could tell Harry was still wary of interacting with. The younger man was always throwing things at people when they tried to get near, until it reached the point where even his best friends no longer attempted to even enter the wing, let alone the infirmary. Even Poppy was having a hard time getting Harry to follow the diet plan she had set up, so that he could gain back the weight he most desperately needed to bring him back to health. Then Dumbledore had come walking in with his damn eyes twinkling, and Harry had done the one thing that Sirius had always wished he could do when the headmaster was in that mood: he curse the old man with even power that Poppy had to give him his own room in the hospital wing.

He knew that he had screwed up big time, but with all of this, Sirius knew that it would take a lot of work to get back to the relationship they had been beginning to form at Christmas.

The first thing he had done when Harry had drifted into a natural sleep was to talk to Remus about the end of classes. The end-of-year exams had been given, and Sirius had promised to help Moony grading them so that he wouldn't have to worry about them with the full moon rapidly growing in the sky. They had both decided that Sirius would do all that he could while staying in the infirmary, to give him something to do when Harry was sleeping. The rest of the time, when Harry was awake, would be spent trying to reach the younger man and help him through this.

Sirius had confronted Harry about what he had written in his journal yesterday, and he was lucky that the younger man was confined to the infirmary. Otherwise, he figured that he probably would have been hexed from here to London and back. As it was, Harry had ignored all of his pleading until he fell asleep. But, as soon as Harry had woken up, he had acted as if it had never happened until Sirius had brought up the subject once more. Only this morning the two of them had been arguing over Sirius' right to read the book, and the Sirius' right to help Harry with what he found in the journal.

"What are you thinking about?"

Sirius was startled as he looked up from his hands to find Harry watching him very carefully. It was the first time that the younger man had voluntarily started a conversation. And while it seemed to be a light topic, Sirius knew that he had to get... well, serious.

"I'm trying to figure out where I went wrong."

He knew it was the wrong thing to say when he heard Harry try to hold back a gasp of hurt. "No! Not about you at all. About how I treated you and didn't see what I was doing!" He leaned over and grabbed the hand that was trembling in front of him. "It's never about how you acted. I just wish that I could take away all the pain that you felt."

They were both silent for a while until Harry spoke so softly that Sirius didn't almost catch was he was saying. "I should have told you what was going on."

Sirius nodded. Yes, they were both at fault, but he should have known that the emotional separation that Sirius had forced Harry into would be damaging to his already fragile heart. It was definitely going to take some time.

******

Of course, it would have been Seamus to almost ruin everything that Sirius and Harry had tried to work through. The students were readying themselves for leaving, and the seventh years were making the rounds through the teachers to give them their farewells individually. Harry had finally left the infirmary to talk to McGonagall and Flitwick, who had, both of them, helped Sirius with his efforts in getting Harry physically well while he worked with his mental and emotional stability. Things were still strained between them, but it was no longer of a lot of concern anymore. There were times when Sirius could feel the tension flowing through Harry when they talked about certain things, but he felt they were making fast progress back to the point they had been at during the Christmas holidays.

Sirius was sitting in his office, wishing that Harry were there, the two of them sitting side by side on the small sofa with him while they talked. He was waiting for the younger man to join him, so that they could so such a thing. Today he had been planning to talk to Harry about all the curses and hexes he had thrown at people the first part of the year. Harry had admitted to being jealous that Sirius would spend some time with the other students, but had never given any time with him. The first time that Harry had tried to get to talk with Sirius, he had been planning on bringing the pictures of his parents, hoping that it would close one of the chapters in both Harry and Sirius' lives that they shared, to resolve the unfinished emotions they had regarding James and Lily Potter. Sirius had felt like crying when he heard Harry's anger at being passed over for /Seamus/ of all people.

A knock disturbed him from his morose thoughts. "Come in!" he called as he looked through some of the essays Remus had copied to show him about the progress he had helped the students. He was surprised when Seamus stepped over the threshold. Sirius knew what Harry thought of the Irishman, and was a little wary from the bright gleam in the younger man's hazel eyes. "What can I do for you, Seamus?" he asked, trying to keep the sudden worry he felt from running over into his voice.

"I'm glad that you're back. It must have been pretty awful at the Ministry trying to get everything straightened out if it took you so long." Sirius was confused for a second before he remembered that Dumbledore had said something to that effect to help protect Harry from well wishers who weren't close to him while he was in hospital. "I had been hoping that we could have had a couple more sessions to help with the exams."

Now Sirius knew that he was up to something. He had thought that with all his help, the Gryffindor would have done much better as the year had stove towards completion, but Remus had shown him that he had done about the same for most of the term. That, coupled with what he had read in Harry's journals, had seemed to confirm his suspicions. Even if he hadn't been confused about his feelings for Harry for most of the year, he still would never go for someone like Seamus. He was too much like Sirius had been when he was in school. Not the pranks, but the way he stepped over other people's feelings to get what he wanted, never noticing what he was doing, but thinking that it was all right anyway if somebody else did get hurt. If he hadn't been stuck in Azkaban all those years, he may have gone for some one like him, but that dark and damp prison had harshly taught him some lessons he had been in need of learning. Then the years on the run had re-enforced those lessons with the idea that life can be cut short, so he better make the most out of it. It wasn't until he had picked up Harry's journal that he just /knew/ that his life would always revolve around Harry and no one else would ever be as close. Not even Remus, who was still his best friend after everything they had gone through.

"You did pretty well on your N E W Ts, Seamus," Sirius made himself reply when he would rather just toss the boy out on his ear. That was the difference between Seamus and Harry. The first was still a boy in the way he thought and acted, while Harry had always been an adult trapped in the body of a child, for the most part. Seamus would never learn just how to be an adult if he kept on acting the way he did.

"I can't take all the credit, then, Sirius," the younger of the two practically breathed. "You really helped me when I had no clue to what was going on."

Sirius eyed him. He knew that Seamus hadn't seemed all that clueless when he had first started coming to the tutoring sessions he had arranged for the boy. He had only needed help in learning to focus on the spell, but he had seemed to forget that particular lesson each time they learned a new spell, now that Sirius thought about it. He quickly glanced at the sandy-haired Gryffindor and caught a smirk before the boy could erase it off his face. Standing up, he moved towards the door. "I congratulate you on your score, Seamus, but don't you have other teachers you'd like to talk to?"

Seamus didn't take the hint, but rather prowled towards Sirius rather than the door. "I think I'd like to stay right here and talk to you. Actually, how about we talk over dinner tomorrow? I can always skip getting on the train and we can go down to Hogsmeade. There's this fabulous little inn that serves a wonderful bed and breakfast."

Sirius narrowed his eyes and glared. He should have kept the tosser out of his office in the first place. Pulling open the door, he shoved the boy out of his office.

"But I love you, Sirius!"

"You don't love me, boy," Sirius said harshly. "You don't see me as who I am. All you see is the wrongly convicted murderer, etcetera, etcetera. If you would look beyond yourself every once in a while, you would see that I love, and will always love, Harry. Not you."

A gasp startled the two of them. Sirius' head whipped around to find Remus standing at the bottom of the nearby stairs. Next to him stood McGonagall, whose shock was rapidly turning into a disapproving frown.

"What is this?" the Transfiguration teacher demanded.

Sirius could feel the boy next to him start to step away from him. Oh no, he wasn't going to go through one of the McGonagall's interrogations by himself. "Seamus was only trying to throw himself at me."

It got complicated from there. Everyone started talking at once, and it was just starting to give Sirius a headache when he noticed someone else coming down the stairs. He perked up when he saw that it was Harry. Then it settled into an uneasy feeling in his stomach when he saw the expression on the younger man's face. Ignoring the other three still engaged in whatever they were now talking about, he moved towards Harry.

"What's the matter, Harry?" The other man shook his head, closing his eyes briefly to reopen the green orbs that were shining in distress. Sirius pulled Harry closer, wrapping his arms around him and rubbing his back in a soothing pattern. "It's okay. Whatever it is, it'll be okay."

Harry's arms slowly wrapped themselves around Sirius' waist as he buried his face in the older man's neck. Sirius could feel Harry's breath was uneven, the younger man taking shuddering deep breaths as he tried to hold something in. He figured it was because he had an audience. The Animagus looked over to find the three still in the hallway watching them intently, although he did /not/ like the intense look on Seamus' face. It didn't bode well at all.

His attention was brought back to Harry when he felt something wet against the skin that lay uncovered at the top of his robe where he didn't like to button it. He was just about to ask what it was when he realized that it was a tear. Sirius was surprised, but didn't want to say anything until they were alone.

Then Seamus spoke up. "He's probably crying because Ron and Hermione won't give him the time of day. He knows that all they wanted was a little bit of his fame and nothing more." The boy's voice was full of hate all of a sudden. "Everyone in Gryffindor liked not having him around for the last couple of weeks. There was no life-threatening dangers, no chance of someone entering the tower uninvited, and there was no one to compete with for the top place in the year."

Sirius had felt Harry tense up when his roommate had started talking. Now the younger man was stiff as a board and trying to pull away. He knew that he couldn't let go of him or he would have to track Harry down through the castle for the rest of the day, because it would be like Harry to run and hide so that he could tend to his wounds in private. But Sirius had a different idea about that, and he would make sure that those same wounds wouldn't fester, because they were going to talk about this as soon as they were alone.

"Finnegan! You just lost your house twenty points!" McGonagall's voice was raised even higher than Sirius remembered it from when he had gotten into trouble at school. "Gryffindors are to stick to one another, not push them away with such taunts!" As the Head of Gryffindor house started lecturing a rapidly wilting Seamus, Sirius directed a look at Remus. He knew that the other man understood what Sirius wanted to do, and helped direct Seamus and McGonagall towards the latter's office so that the chastising could continue in a more private place.

Harry still stood in his arms, and Sirius held him a little tighter before relaxing his arms enough for him to pull the younger man's face back from where it lay on his neck to look at him. "What is the matter? And don't say anything about Seamus for the moment."

The younger man shook his head briefly as if refusing to answer. Sirius just looked at him before leading him into his office. He sat Harry down on the sofa like Sirius had wanted only ten minutes ago before taking the seat next to him and wrapping an arm around his shoulders.

Harry rubbed his hands together as he stared at the fire that Sirius always had going in his office. "I went to talk to Ron and Hermione after I talked to the Professors. They were talking with a couple Ravenclaws when I went to talk to them. All of them stopped talking, and Ron and Hermione gave me the coldest looks. And the Ravenclaws just ignored me. I don't understand. Why? Is what Seamus said all true?"

Sirius gently cupped Harry's face in both his hands, silently willing the younger man to lift his eyes up to his. "Harry, no matter what anyone will ever say you will always have me." He laid a soft kiss on Harry's brow, and brushed his thumbs across the younger man's cheeks. "I will always be around."

******

Sirius pried open his eyes, then instantly shut them again when the bright morning sunshine hit them. He and Harry had spent most of the night talking, and it was now that he realized that the two of them had fallen asleep on the couch in Sirius' rooms. It certainly wasn't one of the more comfortable spots to sleep on, but it beat some of the places where Sirius had had to sleep while still on the run. Of course, Harry wasn't still recovering from his self-neglect.

He brushed his fingers over the dried tear tracks that ran down Harry's cheeks. Last night had been very emotionally charged, and they had both ended up crying at one point or another. It had been the first time that Sirius had cried since he had stood over his best friend's body until the rage over what Wormtail had done had filled him, and then once in Azkaban there hadn't been any tears in the midst of the Dementors and their feeding frenzies. It was only when he had let the tears flow that Harry had as well. Up until that point, the younger man had never cried, although he had come close several times.

In the bright, morning light, Sirius found he could actually smile as he thought over what had happened the past night. It wasn't every day that you learned just what made the one you loved tick.

And they had certainly talked over that subject.

It was when they had talked about the tricks that Harry had played on the students who Sirius had been tutoring. Sirius had held back from laughing several times when the younger man had described just what James had thought up over the three years that he had been out of school until his death. Sirius had been able to picture his best friend doing them, but after a while, the picture had morphed to show Harry doing many of the same things.

Sirius had been amazed at the change in his thinking, until he remembered that James was dead, and Harry was sitting right next to him, his body warming one side of his own. It was Harry's scent that had drifted under his nose, the smell of sandalwood and autumn leaves that was so uniquely Harry that it couldn't be anyone else.

"Siri?" He looked down to find Harry blinking those green eyes at him, trying to clear them of sleep.

"Morning, Harry," he responded. As he did so, Sirius wrapped his arms tighter around the younger man and rubbing one hand up and down his back. He was comfortable like this, even if his neck was protesting the odd angle his head lay on the sofa arm.

The two of them lay there for a long time, content to just be close to one another. No one would bother them now that the students would have all left, and Dumbledore didn't require the teachers to gather until the next day, when he held a small party for them before they all left for the summer as well. The only time they would actually have to move for the day would be for food, which neither wished for at the moment. Finally, Sirius' body mutinied over the excess amount of time on the couch, forcing them to move to the bed, where they lay stretched out next to one another.

Sirius turned on his side, propping his head up on one hand and using the other to brush some hair off Harry's face. From there, he let his fingers drift down his cheek, rounding slightly against his ear before traveling to his lips. A slight pressure against his fingertips as they traced the luscious lips seemed to be a signal for Sirius to bend down enough to replace the fingers with his own lips.

The kiss was soft, yet seemed to say a million things at once. This is what I want. Don't go too fast. I love you. Keep me safe. All of it with a barely there communion of mouths.

Sirius pulled back just enough to see all of Harry's face. The ache in his chest deepened as he saw the look of joy in the green eyes that slowly opened. It eased slightly as Harry's mouth widened into the biggest smile he had ever seen. It was a smile that made him want to conquer mountains. It was a smile that shone with an inner light that he had come to associate with Harry, a strength that would get them both through the difficult times that each of them knew lay ahead of them.

******

Beautiful. That was the only word that was anywhere near coherency in Sirius' mind.

He was watching as Harry walked towards him, closing the door to their suite of rooms softly, the younger man's smile one of pure happiness. It was enough for Sirius to want to take him into their bedroom and ravish him. Hm. That didn't sound like a half bad idea. At least he'd wait for Harry to tell him his big news before suggesting they hid themselves from the rest of their small world for the rest of the day.

"What is it?" he finally asked as Harry stopped a foot in front of him.

Harry just grinned. "You happen to be looking at the new Flying Instructor!"

Sirius grabbed Harry and wrapped his arms around the slightly shorter man. He pressed his lips along one cheek in a brief kiss before pulling back and returning Harry's grin. "Congratulations! I know that Hooch was hoping you would take it."

The other man nodded. "Dumbledore said that she recommended me for the job, and with that he really didn't look at the other candidates. And it has nothing to do with the war at all."

Sirius was happy about that. Over the last couple of months, Harry had been plagued by job offers sent by people impressed by what he'd done during the war. Instead of taking them up on it, Harry had insisted that he be allowed to search for a job like the rest of his classmates. His friends had wanted him to take the easy road, but Sirius knew that it hurt Harry to get job offers like he was. He, along with Remus and Minerva, had supported the younger man in his quest, eventually coming upon the idea of Harry joining the staff at Hogwarts.

Sirius had done this for two reasons. He knew that flying was one of the few things that gave Harry complete joy. The other was his own selfish reason to keep him here were Sirius could have him near.

Speaking of near, he brushed his lips against the shell of Harry's ear, feeling the shivers Harry's body made when he did so. "Let's celebrate."

An hour later, Sirius finally pulled the covers over the two of them as Harry started to shiver from the cold, rather than Sirius' hands running themselves over the planes of his body. Tucking the sheets around their body, Sirius gathered Harry into his arms and bussed him lightly on the lips.

An hour after that, Harry was the one scrounging on the floor for the blankets that had been kicked off the bed. Sirius took the opportunity to place kisses along the younger man's sweaty back, tasting the salt and the scent that was Harry's. But, he didn't think he'd been able to do much more than that, so he snuggled up with Harry under the covers and feel asleep to the soft cadence of Harry's breathing.

When he woke up late the next morning, Sirius nuzzled the forehead that lay under his cheek, taking care not to disturb Harry. He knew that the younger man was still asleep by the way he was breathing, and, unless Sirius made a lot of noise and movement, and he wasn't planning to because they both were worn out from last night. Harry wouldn't be waking up anytime soon. So, to entertain himself, he went through all of the hexes that Harry had played on the students, wondering just how many Snape could handle at once.

******

Fin.