Sirius felt his heart beat more prominently within his chest.
"Let's take this somewhere else. Perhaps, outside?" Harry suggested in a voice practically as soft as a whisper and almost as cold as the snow that Sirius imagined falling outdoors.
The two teens were the only ones visible in what seemed an endless horizon of winter in all of its glory. Their tall, dark silhouettes comfortably walking amidst the constant snowfall could be described as a beautiful contrast. The heat emanating between the boys should have been enough to melt all of the grounds of Hogwarts, yet what should be often never comes to pass. Therefore, when the first words to break the silence were spoken, it left much to be desired.
"Don't you think the pumpkin juice at lunch tasted a bit off? I swear the house elves are plotting a full scale poison rebellion." Sirius rambled with a small laugh in order to stave off the nervousness that threatened his composure. He was not one to really let another affect his cool in such a way…it had never really posed as an issue.
He is Sirius Black. Society is wary of his family status and most of his peers admire him from a safe distance. Not to wave his own wand, but he can make most girls and a good number of blokes swoon without even trying. It isn't a crime to be aware of the effect that he has on others—Sirius often resents the fact that no one takes the time to look past the first impression and see him for what he really is.
Sirius Black is more than old money, stunning looks, and mischievous charm.
Most people don't get past these factors and therefore Sirius doesn't bother to let them see anything else. But…with Harry…it's different.
Harry can see past his front and through his thoughts and down into the deepest core of his soul. His jaded emerald eyes seemed to hold every shred of knowledge known to man, every shred of knowledge that man will ever know, every shred of Sirius's being.
Sirius loves those eyes.
It is because of Sirius's mild obsession with Harry's green orbs that he notices.
The innocent flame that burned behind the threatening darkness was completely gone. Memories of the softness of Harry's gaze as they tentatively kissed for the first time…the passion that emblazoned his irises in the Infirmary…everything was gone.
"Indeed?" Harry let the corner of his lips turn upwards, "I would actually put my money on Severus. I feel that he would go to great lengths to get back at you and your crowd," Harry paused with a far away look before continuing, "despite the hundreds of other retching students."
Sirius felt another nervous laugh escape his lips, "I'll have to inform James and Remus of your theory. Although, I hardly think that you invited me out into this blizzard to indulge my erratic theories of conspiracy."
"Not quite," Harry smirked, "but not many subjects are as stimulating."
"I can think of a few," Sirius smirked, in turn.
"Intellectually stimulating," Harry corrected with a laugh.
"Even so, what is it that you wanted to talk about, Harry?" Sirius prompted.
"I didn't really have anything specific in mind; I just think that there are unresolved matters between us." Harry let his previous smirk tug at his lips.
Sirius found himself repeating Harry's previous inquiry, "Indeed?"
Harry slowed his pace to a stop when they reached one of the stone walls of the colossal castle which sheltered them from the increasing downfall of snow. Harry shifted towards Sirius—it was almost unnoticeable, but Sirius was very aware—which made him slowly close the distance between his back and the castle wall. Harry stepped forward; he was mere inches away from Sirius's face.
Time stood still as Sirius watched the smugness slide off of Harry's face into an expression of stone. He didn't know which he preferred, for both produced a sick feeling in his gut. Harry wasn't supposed to be this way.
Something was wrong.
Harry reached out to tuck a wind blown strand of hair behind Sirius's ear. Almost simultaneously he leaned forward and breathed shivers down Sirius's spine from the sizzling caress of words against the sensitive lobe, "I know how you feel about me, Sirius," Harry whispered as he let his palm run the length of the shell and down the side of his neck.
Sirius arched away and into that searing hand within a single breath. Harry moved his gentle caress to Sirius's jaw and pulled their gazes into an irreproachable lock. "I see it in your eyes…" Harry murmured as he brought his other hand to roam down the length of Sirius's chest only to dip it under his layers and travel over bare skin back up to rest over his heart.
"I feel it in your racing pulse," Harry continued as he lowered his hands to run down the smooth muscles of Sirius's back. He suddenly gripped his godfather's hips, pulling them forward as he hitched his own thigh to rest against the awakening hardness in between.
At this, the small tug at Harry's lips formed once more. "Unresolved matters between us, wouldn't you say?"
Sirius felt himself let out a hiss at the contact. He couldn't shake the feeling that something had shifted—something had changed, but Harry was pressing harder against him and Merlin he was getting turned on by this. Why had Harry ignored him for so many months, only to come on to him like this at random?
Moreover, why did Sirius care? There was a gorgeous boy pinning him to a wall and sliding his hand into Sirius's now unzipped trousers. He bucked his hips into the strong palm as he leaned his head back against the stone wall. This boy that he had so recently met, so recently looked after, so recently let go of was now holding onto him for dear life as they rocked together and as Sirius completely gave into the pleasure.
When Sirius came down from his high, he stared into the face that so resembled his best friend it made the shivers racking his body intensify, not from the cold, but from the feeling that he had just betrayed him. He felt something wrong in the way Harry's icy gaze of fire and knowledge roamed over his face in return.
What was the matter with him? How could he feel that something so right could be so wrong? Why did he feel that he had just betrayed the trust of not only the gorgeous boy slowly walking away from him, but that he had betrayed himself?
Why could he only bring himself to stare at the fading silhouette of the only source of warmth out here in this endless falling snow?
Hermione was a little miffed at the fact that Harry had just brushed her off after Potions, telling her to go do whatever she had to do because he was currently busy. Honestly, could he be any more of an arse about it? She knew that they had been spending most of their time together as a result of Harry's coping with recent events, but if he was feeling stifled by her presence, did he have to be so rude?
Initially she was excited about Harry's newfound interest to live up to his potential. Hadn't she nagged him long enough? When Harry set his mind to it, he was able to match—if not top her marks in class. Hermione's "I told you so" was lost on the tip of her tongue and smothered in pride for how far he was coming along.
The fact that she had been losing her brother and gaining a perfected acquaintance had gone unnoticed until as of late. She hadn't realized that the Harry Potter she had entered this crazy time frame with was not the person that she sat next to in classes or exchanged smiles with anymore.
How long had it been since she was graced with his genuine lop-sided grin and not a forced baring of teeth for her sake? Hermione knew that Harry still cared for her and Ron, but not in the way that they cared for him. Hermione held true to a now long ago memory of an oath given in Dumbledore's office.
She would die for Harry.
She felt as if he had already died for not only her sake, but for the sake of many others. His mechanical countenance was unnatural and cut her to the bone, yet she felt helpless to find out how to reverse the damage.
With a frustrated sigh, Hermione shook off her downward spiraling train of thought and took the corridor that would undoubtedly lead her to the Library.
Albus Dumbledore was considered to be a very wise man, and he fully appreciated the praise. Many a wizard and witch had taken it upon their wandering thoughts to question any involvement of divinity in relation to his knowledge.
Albus Dumbledore was many things, but the Sight he sadly did not possess. He might take the time to work on that in the future for amusements sake of fulfilling such wandering thoughts, but for the time being, he owed his inexplicable knowledge to sharp wit and his friends in high and low places.
He had also had an inclination to watch over new students. Call it his maternal streak.
It is because of all of this that Albus Dumbledore had come to the realization that there was something amiss between his three newest transfer students along with a select few of their House peers.
The fact that his three newest transfer students were illegal aliens that had time traveled from twenty years into the future was but a minor detail.
The letter from himself had taken care of the general inquiries.
Apparently, Albus Dumbledore had confidants in more places than one could even imagine.
Anyway, his three newest transfer students did not seem to be basking in the presence of their select few House peers, nor did they seem to be interacting at all at this point. Albus Dumbledore had made it very clear to Albus Dumbledore that he was to make sure this preparation period went according to plan.
His older self had most definitely overlooked this possibility, and so his younger self had devised a sub-plan of The Plan.
A slightly meddlesome plan.
Albus Dumbledore snickered as he popped a lemon drop into his mouth.
'I. Hate. Bloody. Runes!' James screamed inside his head as he banged the aforementioned head against his Arithmancy book that rested on the table in which he sat. With a groan he let his head roll off of the cursed book and onto the cool surface of the wood. He stayed like that in defeat until a small cough seeking his attention gave him reason to lift his head.
It was Johnson's girl side kick. Interesting.
James slowly sat up to give her an appraising smile. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"
Hermione warily returned the smile and replied, "I came here to get an early start on my Arithmancy mid-term project, but it seems as if you had the same idea. Anyone sitting here?" she glanced at the empty seat beside him and the slightly intimidating stack of Arithmancy reference books.
James followed her gaze and gave a small laugh, "Not at all. In fact I'd love to put this off for a few moments, to be honest," he gestured towards the empty seat in an unspoken invitation.
"I didn't think that you had trouble with Arithmancy, in fact, I was under the impression that you were some kind of rune genius," Hermione commented as she sat down next to him, leafing through the book he had previously abused with his forehead.
"I wasn't aware that you thought so highly of me, Hermione, but thank you," James replied, his hazel eyes nearing amusement.
"As long as we're being honest, James, I wasn't aware that you were capable of being amiable," Hermione smiled.
"Fair enough. I know it probably doesn't matter at this point, but for what it's worth I am embarrassed of how I acted towards your friend. I guess I can be a little unreasonable when it comes to my friends and…Lily…" James said softly as he gazed down at a new book that he held within his grasp.
Hermione felt her gaze soften as she gazed at the spitting image of her best friend. He had no reason to let her know this, or to let her see a glimpse of something that she recently had lost, but it was nice nonetheless.
"I can relate. The people most important to me can sometimes make me do crazy things," she thought of the first night at Hogwarts…Harry's carefree provoking that led to her snogging Paul Ackerly. Her unjust anger with Ron. Her decision to give up her life as she knew it to see Harry through his rehabilitation. "But they are worth it," she smiled almost bitterly.
"Of course. But I seemed to have screwed things up in the process," James admitted.
"Tell me about it. No matter what I do, it seems to add to the distance," Hermione interjected.
"And you can't help but just sit back and kick yourself for it," James sighed as he ran a hand through his dark hair, "Harry or Ron?"
"Mostly Harry. Lily?"
"She won't even look at me."
"He doesn't really talk to me anymore, even though I'm always with him."
James cracked a small genuine lopsided smile that pulled on the nostalgic strings of Hermione's heart, "Aren't we being a pair of sour pusses?"
The now faded image of Harry, Ron, and herself laughing carelessly came to the surface of her thoughts and the pure innocence and youth within that image brought a smile to her face. She would have that again. She had to.
"In fact, we are. You know, this mid-term project might not be so daunting if we worked together," Hermione eyed the imposing stack of books once more. She needed time to focus on her friends.
"It would be cruel to battle this stack of books alone over the holidays. I suppose that I could help you out." James teased.
"Oh really? You haven't damaged your rune knowledge from slamming your head into it, literally?" Hermione raised an eyebrow.
"If anything I only increased my level of genius through the direct contact," James countered as he began to stand up, "Let's not worry about this tonight," he gestured at the textbooks, "Want to go find some mischief to take our minds off of this pity party?"
Hermione considered it for a few moments, "Actually, yes. What do you have in mind?"
Harry couldn't believe that he had let himself act on his feelings toward Sirius. After everything he had accomplished, and after all that he had put behind him, what did he honestly expect to happen? Small talk? A snowball fight?
Harry had gotten Sirius off and had left him standing there alone and confused. That in itself was bad enough, let alone the fact that Harry had gotten off as well.
He didn't have time for these feelings. There was so much he needed to do and to learn so that he could kill the son of a bitch that took his real family away from him. The teenagers that he had spent the past few months with weren't his parents, not yet. Wasn't his godfather, not yet. They weren't really his. The people that had loved him were long dead and these younger versions had no ties to him.
They were simply reminders of his loss.
The gaping hole in his heart where his Sirius had been, Harry realized, would never go away. He would just have to make himself strong enough to bear the pain.
Why couldn't he let himself act on his attraction to this Sirius? If Harry was going to save the entire world, then why couldn't he take a little in the process of giving?
Harry straightened his shoulders and embraced the cold tendrils that snaked their way around his damaged heart.
They began to soothe his wounds.
And on my way
I'll take the sunshine
On my way I'll take your dreams
On my way I'll say I'm sorry to no one but me
On my way I'll be my own man
And I'll only please myself
On my way my pride's the only feeling I've got left
Review and tell me what you think! I have some lovely ideas for the next chapter ;)