Sirius awoke the way that he had for the last few days – curled around Harry. He smiled into his lover's messy black hair, and breathed in his scent. Even as a human, the influences of Padfoot were still present. He began to plan what to do that day with Harry, memories of the previous day floating through his mind. When his thoughts returned to his and Harry's bathroom adventures, he felt his body begin to heat up, and he held Harry closer to him. They'd spent a couple of hours in laughter and a heated exploration of each other in the bathtub, and Sirius had most definitely enjoyed this brief insight into life with Harry. Except…
Except that none of this was real.
He closed his eyes. All he could see before him was Harry changing back into his eighteen year old self. No, twenty-two year old, with whom he'd shared the last few years in a passionate relationship. Just Harry, as he'd always been, with a penchant for ludicrous schemes.
He felt physically sick, and the misery was engulfing him entirely. Why had Harry done this? Oh, he was sure that he deserved some kind of revenge. He supposed that he had irritated a couple of the Order's live-in members. Perhaps more than a few. He could understand why they'd go along with any of Harry's schemes, easily. He would have done so himself, had it been directed at anyone else. But why this?
The Harry's eyes in his mind were suddenly open, and they were sitting together with Remus downstairs… Sirius frowned. This was getting pretty weird, now that Remus was joining them in his daydreaming, though he had to concede that things were already quite insane.
"Seriously, what's the worst your future can turn out?" Harry had asked, smiling charmingly, his gaze a little too intense.
Remus smiled. "You could be dating Harry."
"What! Are you mad!"
"Well at least you two love each other!" Remus snapped at them. He took a sip of his hot chocolate, but he too had seemed particularly focused upon him.
"I love him – I'm not in love with him!" Sirius retorted.
"Fine, so your oh-so-awful future involves a world friendly towards Severus and you dating Harry," Remus summarised.
"I know, life has never looked so grim," Harry had laughed. The sound seemed warmer, and far more beautiful than it probably had at the time.
"Oh, God," Sirius moaned aloud. This bloody mess was all Remus' fault! And it was doing far more damage to him than either of them probably ever considered that it would. He smiled grimly, after all, who would have guessed that Sirius Black would find himself falling in love with his own godson.
It was perfectly true, he realised, as the thought flitted through his mind. There was no going back for him now. His waking moments had been filled with thoughts of Harry, almost non-stop since his apparent memory loss.
But it was natural, he tried to reason. Everyone tells you that you're together with someone young and beautiful, and you've just forgotten. Well, you believe them! And when you awake with that gorgeous young thing naked in your bed, and said gorgeousness straddles your thighs without a thought in the world… Well, things were only more believable for him then.
If only it hadn't been Harry, he mused.
And a strange feeling of betrayal flitted over him. Because how could he think that? How could be want anyone else? Harry was everything he wanted in a partner; he was strong, and sweet, he knew how to shut him up when he went too far, and Merlin knew he was sexy as hell.
There was just the small fact that said perfect partner had one small flaw: Harry didn't want him, too.
He moaned again, and wrapped himself more tightly around Harry. It was only a matter of time before this was all taken from him. Harry would reveal the joke, and he would be forced to be both irritated and slightly amused at the same time, and hopefully keep his heartbreak to himself. Harry could never know how much he wanted to be with him. Could never know how his heart sped up when he walked unexpectedly around the corner, or when he shot him that dazzling smile.
Harry moved beside him. "Sirius? Are you all right? You sounded like you were in pain there."
Sirius opened a bleary eye, and the familiar sight of twenty-two year old Harry stared back at him, concern written over his features. "I'm fine. Just not a morning person, as well you know."
Harry smiled charmingly back at him, though there was a strange note of confusion to his features.
Sirius eyed Harry critically. "Do you know, I had the strangest dream last night."
Harry's smile faltered slightly. "Oh?"
"Yeah, I dreamt that we woke up in the middle of the night, and we were four years older. It was very strange."
Something strange moved across Harry's features then, but it was too quick for Sirius to catch whatever it was and interpret it. "And how will I look in four years' time?"
"Oh, you know, ravaged by the sands of time…" Sirius said, grinning. He traced a finger along Harry's temple. "Going grey around the edges, you know."
Harry gasped. "The hell I will be!"
Sirius laughed warmly, and pressed a kiss to his forehead. "Just kidding, love. You were more gorgeous than ever. Aging well, and all that."
Harry smiled. Sirius loved that smile, loved those lips and the way they curved in such obvious delight.
Before he realised what he was doing, he was leaning towards them. His hand slipped around the back of Harry's head, gently urging him closer. Harry's eyes widened slightly in surprise, when he realised what was going on. An odd look creased Harry's features, and he turned to the side. Sirius' lips brushed his cheek.
Sirius frowned, and Harry laughed. Something twisted painfully in him stomach, at the apparent mockery. "Don't fancy your morning breath today," Harry said quietly, and pressed a kiss to his nose. In another moment, he'd risen from their bed, clothed himself with a swish of his wand and was leaving the room. "Breakfast?"
"I'll see you down there."
It had been revulsion, he was sure of it. Nothing else seemed to fit the look in Harry's eyes at that exact moment. He curled up on the bed, his face pressed to Harry's pillow. So he couldn't even bear to act as his lover anymore. It appeared that their strange time-changing farce was coming to an end then, if their star actor could no longer play his role.
He'd hoped… he laughed internally to himself, even as he thought it. He'd hoped that Harry might harbour some kind of attraction for him, if nothing else, after the last few days. That maybe, maybe a few days as his lover had changed something in him, and he'd realised that what he really wanted was Sirius Black. A used-up, old man, who'd never done anything with himself, but fool around and irritate everyone around him. [Sharp memories of Tonk's face twisted in annoyance … Remus looking worn out and exasperated.] Who hadn't even been able to keep those he loved safe during the war. [Harry writhing in pain under the cruciatus, helpless … Harry's eyes begging him for help.] Who couldn't even get a job and prove his use to society. [Mockery from the Ministry official … "We're sorry, Mr Black, but we're going to have to turn you down."]
How could he ever have thought that Harry would want him? Harry who was everything he wasn't. Bright, young, brave… he'd saved them all during the war. More ways than he cared to think of. He was gorgeous, and the wizarding world loved him. Harry was taking a short break from his Healer training over the festive period so that he could spend more time with his 'family', and the department had happily allowed him to leave. He could have anyone he wanted… well, he certainly wasn't going to choose his own godfather, was he?
With a heavy heart, Sirius slipped his clothes on, and went downstairs for breakfast. The house seemed gloomier to him today, and the festivities weren't giving him the usual burst of Christmas cheer.
He was walking silently through the house towards the kitchen, until he stopped up short. He could hear voices coming from the small sittingroom, and he was sure he'd heard his own name mentioned. Knowing that the end of this farce was coming soon, Sirius pressed his ear to the door, hoping to hear that he had at least a few days left with Harry.
"How did you do it?" Harry asked. "We woke up in the middle of the night, and we were another four years older!"
"I'm not entirely sure what happened," Remus admitted. "We did sneak in to give you the potion, but we didn't realise it would overage you so much. Severus had to brew the antidote and administer it this morning, and he certainly isn't very impressed about it either." Oh yes, that was Moony, all right. Once this whole mess was over, Sirius was going to make his long-time friend regret his part in this whole scheme.
"It's a good job that he thinks it was just some strange dream," Harry said darkly.
"Never mind," Remus said, in what Sirius thought of as his 'comforting' voice. "In a few days this will all be over."
This appeared to have been the wrong thing to say to Harry, who moaned as if he were in physical pain.
"I just don't know what to do, Remus," Harry said softly.
"What do you mean?"
"He tried to kiss me this morning, and… I just couldn't do it," Harry explained. "And he looked so hurt when I turned away. I don't want to hurt him."
"I'm not sure how much choice you have at this point, Harry," Remus said quietly. "Within the next couple of days, you have to tell him that this was all a dreadful joke, and he's going to find out that you're not a couple, and he is going to be angry with you."
"I know." Harry sounded so forlorn. Sirius would have done anything to take the pain away from him.
"I think that he really does care for you…"
"Of course he cares for me," Harry snapped. "He's my godfather."
Remus sighed heavily. "That's not what I meant. I think that he may have been developing romantic feelings for you, and I don't think that's going to make what you have to tell him any easier."
"I'll tell him tomorrow," Harry sighed softly, and Sirius felt that same painful twisting. He only had one more day with Harry! "At least it's Christmas Eve. Maybe some of his rage will have worn off by Christmas Day."
"Oh, Harry," Remus said, and there was the sound of rustling. Sirius could easily imagine that Remus had pulled Harry into his arms. "Well you should make the most of today with him then."
"I will," Harry said quietly. "We'll have the most romantic day that Sirius Black has ever had, and that way… well, maybe when he finds out the truth… he won't hate me quite so much."
"Sirius could never hate you," Remus replied. Behind the door, Sirius himself was shaking his head.
Realising that he was in no way prepared for whatever Harry's romantic day involved, Sirius left his post at the door, and ran upstairs to get showered and into some more respectable clothes.
"It truly was awful this morning though, Rem," Harry said, sighing. "I just wanted to kiss him so badly, but how can I? How dare I take such advantage of him? When he finds out that he was never meant to love me, he's going to be disgusted by the things we've done. How can I kiss him knowing that?"
"The things you've done?" Remus asked, his eyebrows raising dramatically.
Harry blushed. "I don't think you really want all the details. Suffice to say that I had a temporary lapse in judgement, and decided that a bath was a great idea."
Remus rolled his eyes. "I think that if he's willing to do this kind of thing with you, you've not got all that much to worry about. I just hope that after today, he realises that he'll really be missing something without you in this role in his life."
"Yeah… me, too."
"Now go upstairs, and get ready for your day out with Sirius. He'll be wondering where you've got to, and Merlin help me if he decides that I'm trying to steal you away. He can be a little on the possessive side," Remus told him.
Harry smiled. "I know. It'll be fine. We'll be fine, if we can just get through Christmas without killing each other."
Uh, so would you believe that real life got in the way? For five years? No, thought not... I just went off this story, onto another pairing (Severus/Harry, adore them) and stopped writing, really. But I kept getting reviews and requests for this story to be continued, and I told a few people recently that if they didn't get an update by Christmas then that was it, and they weren't getting any more of the story, full stop. I thought it was a shame to leave it, so I spent a while re-reading my own work, and now I'm back in action. THis is a short chapter, but that's because I just want something out there so that people know I'm still writing this. There might not be another one until after Christmas, but I am writing.
I'm also in the strange position that I no longer know what I wanted to happen any more. I'm irritated with the whole thing, too. I don't like my five-years-ago writing, and I'm not happy that I let them go fool around in the bath. Regret that part quite a lot. And the timeline's gone wrong. And Sirius allowed himself to fall in with HArry too quickly... I'll rewrite it one day. What I'm getting at, is that this story is no longer fixed in place. Anything could happen, and though I have my own ideas, if anyone thinks "Oh my god, it would be amazing for this to happen" then you should tell me, and if it fits, then I'll write it in.
I hope everyone's happy and well, and excited for Christmas! It's snowing here at this very moment in time, so I'm going to slink off and enjoy the festive weather :)