It was the Christmas holidays of Harry's fifth year, and Harry and the Weasleys had arrived at Grimmauld Place several days ago. After that first night back, which was spent in worry for Mr. Weasley, everyone had been in good spirits. Sirius in particular. Harry didn't think he'd ever seen his godfather so happy in his life. Personally, Harry was confused by the sudden change in the usually somber man. When he confided in his friends about this, Hermione simply smiled at him knowingly and told him 'Its because you're here, Harry'. Harry wasn't so sure.
It was true that earlier that summer Sirius and he had gotten along greatly, and Sirius always did seem to be in a better mood when Harry was with him. In fact, several people had commented on the change in the convicts behavior. When he had first heard this, he was glad. He thought that maybe, just maybe, he had finally found someone who cared for him, for Harry, not for the boy-who-lived. But after that conversation he'd had with the man through the fire in September, Harry had to wonder if it was him Sirius was seeing or if it was James.
"You're less like your father than I thought,", "The risk would've been what made it fun for James.". You're less like your father than I thought. Less like your father than I thought. Why did he have to say that? Didn't he realize how much that one statement affected him? How often it plagued his thoughts? How often he now would wonder if there was something wrong with him? The Dursleys obviously never could see past his magic, the majority of the wizarding world couldn't see past his scar, Snape couldn't see past his parentage, and now Sirius couldn't see past his appearence. Not that Harry could really blame him. After all, he had seen pictures of his father and the similarities between the two were uncanny. Still though, after he met Sirius in the Shreiking Shack when he was thirteen, he had harbored a small thread of hope that he would finally have the family he had been deprived of all his life.
Harry sighed despondently. He hated feeling like this, and to make matters worse, he also hated feeling guilty for thinking these thoughts in the first place. Even if Sirius did see Harry as a replacement for his father, was that really so bad? Sirius had been nothing but helpful and caring towards him. He had looked out for him and given him advice when he needed it. Was it really so terrible that this man, a man who had spent twelve years in Azkaban, who had broken him out to protect him, occasionally got him confused with his dead father? Argghhh! Ok. He was really bad at the whole consoling himself thing. No matter how hard he tried, it didn't matter how many excuses he came up with, it didn't matter what logic he thought up, the thing was that if Sirius saw him as a replacement for his best friend, it hurt. He could still remember the sharp stab of pain in his chest when Sirius had said what he had over three months ago.
'Stop it", he told himself, 'you still don't even know if he feels that way or not. You could be completely wrong about this,' but a nagging little voice in the back of his head (which oddly enough sounded like Snape) just wouldn't let it go. 'Why else would he have said you're less like your father than I thought, unless he was disappointed? Face it. You're just not good enough for him. But James was.
"Harry?" a concerned voice pulled him out of his thoughts. He looked up into the slightly worried grey eyes of his godfather. Harry sighed. He really hoped that Sirius wouldn't pry, and just leave him be. "Are you alright? You were thinking pretty hard about something." Well, so much for not prying. Harry answered him, in what he hoped was a convincing tone,
"I'm fine, Sirius." Unfortunately for him, Sirius didn't look convinced. He just frowned and sat down beside him on the couch. Harry looked away, concentrating on a burning log in the fireplace. He could feel Sirius' gaze on him, but he stubbornly remained silent. Vaguely he wondered where all that Gryffindor bravery had gone. He had never been one to cower from his problems, and here he was trying to avoid them. After a moment Sirius broke the silence.
"I couldn't help but notice you've been avoiding me lately." He said quietly. Harry opened his mouth to protest, but closed it again immediately after. There was really no point in denying it. It wasn't like he had been very subtle about the whole thing, making excuses to leave whenever Sirius came into a room, and there was no reason to insult his godfathers intelligence by saying he must be mistaken. So he just remained quiet.
"Was it something I did? Something I said? Why are you ignoring me?" Sirius asked him. He didn't sound angry, just...sad. Harry immediately shook his head, not wanting Sirius to feel bad because of him.
"No, of course not. Don't be ridiculous. I've just had alot on my mind lately, that's all. I didn't mean to ignore you. I'm sorry." Harry really hoped Sirius would just accept that little lie and leave. However Sirius wasn't finished yet.
"Then why wont you look at me?" Harry cursed silently. Since when was Sirius so observant? He looked over at Sirius but quickly looked away again. He couldn't even look at him without feeling guilty. This was all Sirius' fault. Everything would have just been fine and dandy if Sirius hadn't compared him to his father. They wouldn't be in this situation, with Sirius feeling guilty and Harry not even being able to look at him. Their relationship was really messed up now, and Harry wished desperately that they could go back to how they were this summer, before Sirius had put all these doubts in his mind. Before he said that.
"It's nothing Sirius. Honest." He knew that was a pathetic attempt at a lie, and obviously Sirius did too.
"Come on Harry, if you're going to lie to me at least make it a good one." Sirius didn't sound mad, only slightly annoyed. This surprised Harry. Sirius wasn't usually a patient man. Rash, yes, patient, no. But Harry remained quiet.
"Harry, please. Tell me what I did wrong." Was he just...? Once again Harry was surprised. Sirius sounded so desperate, he was practically begging Harry to talk to him, and begging was something he had never seen his hardened godfather do. Not once had Harry considered how his silence had affected his godfather, but it obviously had affected him a great deal. But Harry still didn't look at him. He couldn't imagine what his face would look like if he was begging, and he really didn't think he could take it. However Harry's resolve to ignore the situation suddenly broke. He was tired of sitting around wondering if while the answer was right beside him. He wanted, no, he needed to know if these doubts were real or if he'd blown the entire thing way out of proportion. Maybe they could talk this out. Sirius had suffered alot of pain in his life already, and no matter how Sirius thought of him he didn't want to be the cause of anymore. He gathered his nerve, took a deep breath and said softly,
"You're less like your father than I thought. When you said that you sounded disappointed. Were you?" He heard a sharp intake of breath from his side, and he knew that Sirus had not been expecting that.
"I'm such an idiot," he heard him mutter to himself before saying to Harry "Harry. Harry look at me." Harry didn't look up at him but instead kept his gaze locked on the fire. He felt a firm hand under his chin pulling his face up until he was staring face to face with his godfather. Sirius' eyes were clouded with emotion as he stared determinedly into Harry's.
"No Harry," he said with strong conviction. "No, I wasn't disappointed at you. I have never been disappointed in you. Never. I had absolutely no right to say that. I know you are not like your father. You may look like him, but you two have completely different personalities. When I said that, I wasn't thinking. I was surprised about how mature you were acting." Sirius grimaced. "When I was your age, I wouldn't have given a second thought to doing something as dangerous and stupid as that. James wouldn't have either. I was just stating the difference in you two. And I was not disappointed in you. I was disappointed in myself for even suggesting doing something like that. It was incredibly irresponsible of me, and I am so sorry for not being clear Harry. I didn't realize until just now how it must have sounded. Please forgive me for being so careless." He sounded desperate again, and his eyes were wide with sincerity.
"You really don't see me as a replacement for my father?" Harry hated how lost and shy he sounded then, but he really needed to know for sure.
"No, no of course not. I feel terrible. I must be the worst godfather in the..." but whatever he was going to say was cut off as Harry spontaneously threw himself into Sirius' arms, arms that immediately wrapped around him and pulled him closer. After realizing what he had just done, and how childish it must have been, he quickly tried to pull back only to be stopped by Sirius. He felt one of Sirius' hands on the back of his neck, pulling his head close to him again and tucking it securely into the crook of his neck. Felling only a little bit awkward at first, Harry relaxed after a minute. At any other time and with just about any other person he would have been incredibly embaressed about this situation, but for some reason that he couldn't comprehend at the moment, he was completely comfortable. Maybe it was because this was the kind of affection he had been craving for his entire life, or because he was just so relieved that he didn't care. Either was he still felt like he needed to apologize for bringing it up.
"I'm sorry for bringing it up Sirius, I shouldn't of..." came Harry's muffled voice from Sirius' neck, but he was cut off by Sirius saying,
"Don't apologize. I understand." They sat like that for a couple of minutes, before Sirius said softly "Harry, I know I haven't said this to you in a very long time, but I love you pup, like you were my own son." Harry didn't waste any time before he replied just as softly,
"I love you too, Sirius." Never before had he said those words to anybody, and he couldn't remember anyone ever saying them to him. The only response Sirius gave him was a tightening of his grip. Despite its rocky start, Harry had a feeling that this would be his best Christmas yet.
Note: Well, what did you think? It was my first story. Please review!