A.N. *coughs* Three and a half years. Blimey. I certainly dragged this one on, didn't I, darlings?
Sirius wanted to have the final say, and you can thank Lady GaGa's Applause that he got it.
8. Fall deeper
'Sirius! Where the heck have you been?!'
I start, for I was so deep in thought that I have forgotten that there are other people still in this world, too. I look up, and the door closes behind me with a series of clicks and bangs. As the sounds fade, I hear an unusual chatter and high-pitched clatter going on in the floor above.
And I must ask, because I see it in the way my life-long friend is looking at me that I need to try and show some interest in the happenings of this house despite my muddy and overall dirty appearance and the fact that I have only now returned from a four days long private odyssey.
So, 'What's up?' I ask, as innocently as I can, and though his eyes narrow dangerously, Remus voices none of the thoughts I can see boiling at the very tip of his tongue. Instead, he hoists the thing I don't even remember seeing him lay down on the floor back to his shoulder and turns towards the stairs. His answer is simple enough and I would be lying if I said I hadn't seen it coming.
His reply should have soothed me because I had been right but instead, my stomach twists and my heart lurches. I should have been satisfied with just that one word but instead I feel a sickening, mad curiosity raising its head within me. And although I think I already know the answer (again) I must ask.
'What's with him?'
I follow Remus up the stairs and am almost terrified at how normal and easygoing I manage to sound, as if it's every day that I first pretty much sexually assault a minor (who also happens to be my godson), then flee, and then come back to hear that-
'He's locked himself up with Buckbeak and we can't get him out. An hour or two ago we heard a cry but at least we think it was Buckbeak's. And I- I can't smell any blood from there either so...'
Remus's anxious, worried voice fades and then we have already reached the hassle. Mrs Weasley is softly knocking on the door with sweet words and psychological warfare as her weapons as half-a-dozen people stand around her looking very indecisive.
'How's it going?' Remus asks as he joins the others and I dwindle behind in hopes of not getting noticed. In truth, I wanted nothing to do with all this, not the least because I was exhausted and pretty much knew why Harry had locked himself up with a beast in the first place. And though it should have made me feel very pleased with myself- for my sick plan had obviously borne fruit spectacularly- the sight of the closed door, the dimly lit landing and all the worried faces just made me feel exceedingly nauseous and guilty.
'Sirius!' someone exclaims, and I nearly grimace. At once, seven heads turn towards me and Molly Weasley has the nerve to look a tad annoyed as her hand falls from the door.
'Where have you been?' she asks rather loudly, her eyes blazing. 'You-'
'Never mind that,' I say quickly, because I really don't feel like arguing with her at the moment. 'What's up?' I repeat and nod towards the door.
'You'd know if you'd been around instead of irresponsibly running off, endangering this entire household to-'
'Molly,' Arthur Weasley says, and places a quieting hand on her shoulder. 'Later,' he almost orders, and suddenly I fancy he's not as completely under her thumb as I'd always thought when she doesn't continue. 'Harry locked himself in there almost four days ago and refuses to come out. We don't think- we know he hasn't eaten anything. And he's not responding to anything we say.'
I swallow tightly and a small 'Oh' is all I can manage, while wishing I don't appear too guilty. My eyes flicker over their faces, desperate to focus on something else than the door, and finally my gaze lands on the thing Remus had lowered to the floor again. My lips quirk and before I can help it, a light grin has slipped to my face; amusement that it totally inappropriate for this moment is suddenly warming up my stomach.
'Are you going to break in?' I ask and can't keep the laughter from my voice despite the looks I gather.
'We don't have much of a choice,' Remus says, and I can see the suspicion in his eyes. 'The door can't be charmed open. It's locked. We think Harry might have fainted. What would you do?'
Me? I should wallow in throat-deep guilt because this was all my fault. It's because of what I did to him that Harry cooped himself up with Buckbeak and refused to eat for half a week. I should have squirming insides and a body burning with shame but instead, I can feel the light grin still on my face, even when more and more of the looks I receive turn suspicious.
'I can try and go in,' I suggest before my mind gets to double-check my words and take them back, and then wonder what in the name of Merlin I'm doing when I cut through the small crowd to the door. I know it's me who should be blamed for all this and I should have no desire to see someone I have humiliated in one of the worst ways possible, but as I knock softly on the door before turning the handle and easily letting myself in, I understand that, that is exactly the reason why I am going in. I wanted to see the mess I had created four days ago. I wanted to marvel on the job well done.
I nudge the door shut behind me and stand in the dark. Only because I know he's there, can I make out the enormous shadow of Buckbeak the Hippogriff. But that's all. I see no traces of a broken, humiliated boy laying out cold on the floor. And as I switch on the light, I realize why. The outraged cry Buckbeak lets out fades from my ears as I stare at the lump sagged against the corner furthest from the door. The old, moth-eaten bedcover from my late hag of a mother's bed is wrapped around the tiny figure so tightly I would've thought it was a shroud and the one in it dead, had I not- after a moment of intense staring- seen that the lump was moving rhythmically as Harry breathed.
A vicious knock sounds through the silence and makes both Buckbeak and me jump. Buckbeak cries out again, unsettled by the noise. His big wings spread and they cut through the air, and I see the sharp claw at the tip fly dangerously close to Harry's head- or, where I think Harry's head is.
'Shut up!' I snap through the door, my eyes fixated on the animal. 'Don't make so much noise, you're scaring Buckbeack!'
I wonder, with a quite unstable set of mind, how wrong things must be in this world because my orders are promptly followed and silence returns, until there's a light scratching noise on the door.
'How's Harry?' Remus asks, his voice muffled.
'Dunno yet,' I say. 'I'll go and check.'
I had hoped Harry would react to that, but the huddled lump of bed-covers stays quite still as I slowly begin to approach it. When I'm half-across the room, Buckbeack suddenly throws his head up and charges at me, wings spread and claws vicious in the candlelight. I stop dead on my tracks and so does he, but he tosses his head again in warning and stares me down with his piercing orange eyes.
I glance at the bed on my right, but am not foolish enough to try that route out. The way the Hippogriff is still tossing his head and flapping with his wings suddenly makes me realize that Harry must have asked him to protect him.
Belatedly, I catch Buckbeak's stare and bow to him. Revealing my neck when he's tossing his head about that viciously goes against about every survival instinct I have, but still I do it. The humble act also makes a bad taste rise in my mouth, like always.
The magnificent head tosses again, the sharp beak snaps and the current from his wings as he flaps them hits my face like a slap. Before I even know it, I'm talking. To him, and the lonely lump in the corner.
'I just need to check that he's alright,' I say quietly, certain that Buckbeak has been on the receiving end of many a teary confession of horrible events. And now, as Buckbeak tosses his head once more, the guilt decides to attack me, as we hold our staring-contest. It makes my stomach twist and heart lurch and I barely even notice as the Hippogriff bows to me curtly. It takes my brains several moments to understand he has granted me access, as I struggle to tell myself I will not be sorry. Guilty, yes- maybe... but sorry? Never. I would never be sorry for what I did because it was for Harry's own good.
I push back the sneering, tiny voice laughing at me at the recesses of my mind as I take a step forth. 'Can I go and check him?' I ask from Buckbeak, that apt bodyguard.
Buckbeak tosses his head again and interpret that as a yes. I round the bed and halt by his side long enough to give him a light caress. The orange eyes close briefly before Buckbeak walks away to the other side of the room after a final look over his shoulder. That look says 'Be nice, or...'
I turn back towards Harry, and suddenly wish I hadn't returned as I go to the lump and crouch down.
'Harry?' I try tentatively.
Nothing happens, and I resist the urge to just get up and escape as I study the folds of moth-eaten velvet. Trying to figure out where his shoulder is and hoping I was right as I give it a gentle shake, I repeat his name.
This time he stirs, and the bed-covers slip down to reveal bleary, blood-shot and shadowed eyes. His gaze wanders about until I say his name for the third time and the green eyes jump to me.
His reaction is natural after what happened, but instead of feeling victorious because this had, after all, been by aim all along, the forcible jolt back he makes before swatting my hand away just freezes my heart and turns my stomach into coiling snakes.
'They wanted me to come and check up on you,' I say fast, quickly removing all blame from myself. It was a simple enough statement but it spoke volumes, and I was glad about what all it conveyed silently.
I didn't come here by my own free will; they made me. Nothing's changed.
Please, understand I did it for your own good.
'Oh,' he says, and then he's already retreated back into the corner.
'You shouldn't lock yourself up like this,' I say as I stand up, though I know I'm not one to talk. 'At least eat something every now and then.'
I turn to leave and a hand catches the leg of my jeans. Startled, I turn back, knowing I should just shrug the touch off, but one look into his eyes renders me immobile.
I have no idea what I was expecting to happen when I came back. Maybe I had secretly harbored some twisted hope that this was all just a bad dream I would soon wake up from. Maybe I had thought that when I returned, Harry would come and greet me with a smile, what I had done to him forgotten under laughter and flowers and sunlight, and we could have run off into the proverbial sunset together.
What my imagination wasn't able to produce under that cold, dead tree I had called 'home' and 'shelter' for the past three nights, was the mixture of hatred, pain and fear in his eyes as he looks up to me. His hand tightens its hold and I can see his throat twitching as he tries to force the words out of his mouth. I reckon I owe him at least that much, so instead of yanking my leg free, I stand very still and give him the time he needs.
Finally, his dry lips part and he swallows, his eyes so intense it hurts just to look into them.
'Why?' he sputters.
I wasn't expecting that. I wasn't expecting anything, and still I'd rather have him screaming and punching me in the face instead of that small, defeated tone and too bright eyes.
And I know, with so much certainty that it's almost terrifying, that I must be truthful with him. Just this once, because I feel like I owe it to him, and I know he will leave for Hogwarts soon. So I reckon, I can give him honesty.
'I'm not a good guy, Harry,' I say, so quietly I barely hear my own words. 'Ask anyone. I've never done an honorable, decent thing in my life.'
I turn around to face him fully and he holds onto my ankle. The bedcovers have slipped from his shoulders to reveal naked skin and I briefly wonder if he's totally naked 'neath the velvet before forcing my wrecked mind to concentrate on my words lest they become a mad rant for intoxication. I repeat to him what I repeated to myself on those three long nights.
'I thought that just this once, I'd do the right thing,' I say softly. 'Just for this once, I'd think before I act. For once, I'd be the responsible adult no-one thinks I am and for good reason.'
My hands rise to rub my temples and I close my eyes. 'I thought that for once, I could control what I did,' I murmur to the darkness. 'That because of James, of Lily, of this- this fucking pretense of being a godfather and- and everything it was supposed to include, that for once I could be selfless and think about someone else.
'I just wanted you to be okay,' I almost groan. 'Not happy. Not by me because I just... can't. I can't give you anything, Harry. Nothing at all. And still you-' My fists clench and I scowl as I open my eyes and look down to him. 'Still you claim you love me. That I'm perfect the way I am even though you don't know shit about me.'
'I know enough,' he says, so suddenly he must have surprised himself as well. His hand tightens its hold around my ankle. 'You hurt me,' he continues, frowning, looking almost disbelieving. 'Why?' he asks again, and I briefly wonder if the first 'why?' had been to voice another question.
'I told you to leave me alone,' I say, regardless of how utterly childish such a statement sounded of. 'I wanted you to leave me alone.'
'Why?' he asks once more, and I can see the ghost of tears and humiliation in his eyes, undoubtedly called by the memories of that night. 'Don't lie,' he continues tightly when I open my mouth. 'Please,' he whispers.
Sometimes lies are better than the iron cold truth, I think, but keep silent. He's asking too much of me once again, and had I not already promised myself to be totally truthful with him just this once, I would have bent the truth as much as my nearly nonexistent soul and conscience allowed. But now, I was forced to confess to a fifteen-year-old boy who hadn't been a child in years.
What held my tongue for so long was the knowledge that he would understand when I told him, because such things were far from being unfamiliar to him. It was knowing that he wouldn't pity me that tried to hold back the words.
'Because I was scared,' I finally say, and the famous proverbial stone upon my heart got heavier. 'I was scared, alright?'
'Of what?' he asks, with an amount of inconciderance only a boy his age can have in his tone.
'Of you!' I almost exclaim. 'Of this!' I continue and vaguely gesture at my head. 'I was afraid that I might actually fall for a fucking teenager bad enough to jump off a cliff if anything ever happened to you!'
My chest heaves in a heavy breath and he looks up at me, astounded. I wish I could take back my words with every cell in my body. I said too much and I'm furious at myself. I shrug his hold off and all but flee from the room, halting only briefly in the doorway to comment that the boy is okay before escaping upstairs.
As my bedroom door clicks shut behind me, I lean against it heavily and dearly wish- not for the first, and probably not for the last time- that this had never happened.
Despite it being early January, it rains the following day. I lie in my bed for the entire day, just staring at the ceiling and trying to pinpoint the moment in my past when everything went to hell.
I know I will have to go downstairs eventually, but dread what I will find there. Has Harry told everyone what I did? Although, I suspect that if he has, I wouldn't have been able to spend that quiet, sullen day alone.
Finally, I give in to the roars of my stomach. It is well past midnight as I push open the door into the kitchen, my heart in my throat, but the long rectangular room is vacant and shadowy. The fire in the hearth has turned into gleaming embers that cast little light and even less warmth.
I all but sneak into the pantry, trying my best to ignore the flood of memories. I pick some meat and bread from the shelves and as I turn around, he's standing there in front of me.
I start. Guilt is undoubtedly written all over me. Harry offers me half a smile, and then squints like it's bright in the room and he can't see my face from the sun. Belatedly, I realize he's swaying on the spot ever so slightly, and when my eyes lower to his left hand I see a bottle there. Firewhiskey, with a good half of it gone.
'Molly will kill you if she finds out,' I say automatically, and he laughs quietly.
'More like she'll kill you for leaving this where I could find it,' he says. His words are clear but soft, and I can hear the effort he puts into pronouncing each of them clearly.
'Did you really mean it?' he asks, still squinting up at me, and it gives him a sort of a cat-like quality. All that's missing is the lazily twitching tail behind his back.
I can guess why he has drank. Since ages unknown, if you wanted to talk about something serious with someone but didn't have the guts, alcohol was the first help you turned to.
'What?' I ask in turn and brush past him.
His hand clamps around my forearm but quickly lets go like the touch burned. It doesn't matter, I stopped dead on my tracks the second his fingers touched my skin.
'You know what.'
'It doesn't matter,' I say and try to walk away again. I will not have this turning into a repetition of before.
He's fast; he blocks the doorway and leans onto the frame with the bottle in his hand. 'Answer me,' he demands.
'No. For fuck's sake, let it go.'
'Not until you answer me!' Now he sways, gripping the bottle tight as he takes a step towards me. 'You can't just do- do that to me and- walk away!'
'Yes, I can,' I say, trying to sound cruel so he would stop, because seeing him like this breaks my heart. Knowing I'd made him be like this.
'What's wrong with me so you won't love me?' he asks desperately. 'What? Tell me! I'll fix it, I promise I will!'
'Harry, it's not- You're just not-' I stumble upon my own words, trying to make sense of my thoughts so I would know what to say.
'I hate you,' Harry gasps, and sways, and takes an unintended sidestep which brings him all but leaning against my chest. I try to cringe away but he grabs hold of my shirt, the bottle dropping onto the floor. 'I hate you,' Harry whispers to my chest, and though that is precisely what I wanted him to feel, his words cut through me like a scythe. 'Why did you- Why- I love you- I just- Why did you have to do that?!' he suddenly shouts and hits my chest weakly with his fist.
'I never said you have to force me!' He hits me again, but it doesn't hurt much. 'I'd do it willingly! I would! I hate you for making me feel embarrassed and guilty for loving what you did to me!'
He sways again, and nearly drops down to his knees. I catch him before he falls with a curse.
He's drank too much. Even as he stands half-supported by me, I can see the tremors running through his body.
My meal is left forgotten on the table as I quickly Apparate us into a bathroom- that it is my own bathroom doesn't bother me at the moment, because I'm too busy trying to maneuver Harry onto his knees in front of the toilet before he throws up on the floor.
Harry is violently sick for good five minutes. Afterwards, he sinks back against me, shivering and pale, pursing his lips and squeezing his eyes shut.
'You done?' I ask.
'I think so,' Harry murmurs. Then he shivers again and quickly leans back over the toilet.
Harry is sick for some minutes more. Finally, he rests his head against the cool porcelain and I conjure up a goblet of water for him. He thanks me weakly, drinks the water, and I absently rub his back.
I know I can't make him go back into the room he shares with Ron. And I know I can't really have him sleep by himself, either. I know that, but that doesn't mean I want him in my bed in the slightest.
When Harry stands up shakily, I realize I have no other choice. A part of me is cheering and a part of me is closing its eyes in exasperation when I say 'Sleep here,' to Harry.
Harry looks startled, but he is still drunk. No doubt he isn't even fully aware what is going on anymore, if judged by how easily he smiles and says 'Okay.'
With easiness borne out of the alcohol still in his system, Harry strips down to his underwear and flops onto my bed. By the looks of it, he falls asleep the second his head hits the pillows. I lean over to tuck him in while wondering exactly when my life went to hell this bad.
I cannot help it. As I draw the blankets up over Harry, my fingers escape into his hair. Into his unruly, black hair that sometimes reminded me so of James's hair.
Harry turns his head into my touch and a light smile briefly lights up his face.
I cannot help it. I place a small kiss on that smile before shifting into a dog and hopping onto the bed as well. I try to tell myself not to sleep, but dogs always do. They do not have guilty conscience to keep them awake.
The night goes quietly. I stay alert while sleeping like only dogs can in case Harry gets sick again, but he sleeps heavily until the first rays of the sun begin filtering into the room. When the rectangle of light shining in from the window reaches the opposite wall, I shift back to human and lean back against the headboard to watch over Harry's sleep.
When I look at him, I begin to think about his question- the one he had asked what felt like years ago. If he wasn't my godson, would I look at him differently? Or rather, would I stop pretending that I wasn't looking at him?
The answer is immediate and, although it was a slight shock, I know it was true. Yes. Of course I would stop pretending. But it wasn't just about him being my godson. It was about me being old enough to be his father. It was about me remembering when he had been just a bundle in Lily's arms, before everything had gone to hell.
But the most shocking thing is that I don't care. I try to make myself care, as I sit there and watch Harry sleep. As I sit there, I remember crystal clear what happened the last time Harry was in this room. I remember my rage and his humiliation.
I remember what his skin felt like against my hands and what sort of noises he made. I think I can still smell him in my nose. And I know it is wrong, about as wrong as it can be, because he is fifteen and my godson, and for all I know I've traumatized him for good.
I know I should be damned, because I want to feel that again. I want to feel his body press up against me, his hot, heavy heat against my hand; his tentative and at the same time arrogant kisses.
I close my eyes, lean my head against the headboard, and curse the human mind for its fickleness. Just a week ago I could have wrung Harry's neck for being the way he was: pushy, selfish... arrogant. Now as I look at him sleeping beside me, I feel like I can forgive him for that, and just about everything else he's ever done or will do.
And when I realize I feel that way, I also realize I can never, ever allow for anything to happen between us. Even as I look at him, and the need to touch him, to run my fingers across his cheek, into his hair, down his spine; everywhere on his body, engulfs me, I realize that I would be destroying not only myself but Harry as well.
I suddenly know what must be done, but there has never been a thing in this world that I would have been more unwilling to do.
Harry wakes up, finally. I have taken out an old Daily Prophet to solve its crossword and see from the corner of my eye as he lifts his head from the pillows. I then watch him gently lie back down and clutch his temple in his hand.
'Want some water?' I ask softly, and he starts. His eyes shoot to me before he frowns.
Harry nods slowly, and I conjure a goblet full of water. As he accepts it and drinks, I know I should do it now. If I don't, I know I can be expecting more of these kind of nights. More of his drunken confessions that will break my heart. But still I am held back by the thought that maybe I am wrong, maybe it doesn't have to be that way.
'What happened?' Harry asks after finishing his water.
'You don't remember?' I glance at him and he shakes his head carefully. 'You drank too much and threw up. I thought it best if you sleep here.'
Harry rubs his eyes. He seems to be in no hurry to get up and I don't really blame him. Drinking half a bottle of Firewhiskey when not used to it usually resulted in a killer headache.
'I feel like I'm still drunk.'
'Well, that's not impossible,' I say, trying to concentrate on my crossword-puzzle rather than the patch of naked skin I can see. I'd never actually seen Harry without a shirt on. It was obvious that those hours spent on a broomstick chasing a tiny golden ball hadn't gone to waste. 'You hungry?'
'You can sleep more if you like.'
The human mind truly is a twisted thing. In the same bed that Harry was pretty much humiliated and sexually assaulted in not even a week ago, he easily closes his eyes and turns to the side. Moments later, he is asleep again.
I'm certain that there is something wrong with the world.
Harry wakes up sometime in the afternoon. He looks groggy and disoriented, but otherwise fine. He seems surprised to see me still sitting there beside him, but doesn't say a word. In fact, we don't say anything to each other as he gets up, dresses quietly, and then leaves.
As I watch him close the door behind him, I sincerely hope I will never have to see him like that ever again, while knowing that it's only a matter of time.
The conclusion I came to during the long hours I sat there on the bed watching his sleep weighs like an iron-cloak in my mind.
It didn't happen again the next night, or even the night after that.
After a week of trying to act normal around each other, I find him in the kitchen after midnight, in the pantry, trying to reach for the bottle on the highest shelf. From the way he is swaying and taking correcting steps as he stands on his toes, I know he has been drinking already. Some parent I am for not stopping him in the first place, right?
'You shouldn't,' I say to him, leaning to the doorframe and he swirls around to face me so fast he almost loses his balance.
'Sod off,' Harry splutters, taking light support from the shelf next to him. 'You're not one to talk. Before, you were drinking every goddamn night.'
He is very careful with his pronouncing, like he had a thick sponge in his mouth through which he had to speak.
'Why're you doing this?' I ask, even though I think I know why. It's the same reason I had before, I just don't remember when it was that our roles changed.
He just snorts and turns around again to reach for the bottle. Finally he catches a hold of it with the tips of his fingers.
Before the bottle falls to the floor, I reach up to take it and drink it all in one go.
'Hey!' Harry exclaims and tries to take the bottle from me. 'Whatcha do that for?'
'You've had enough, Harry,' I say, my voice just a tad strangled as the after taste of the whiskey hits me.
'Says who,' Harry says and still tries to grip the bottle. I yank it out of his reach and he stumbles against my chest again- the pantry isn't that big, after all. 'Stop it, you git.'
'Go and get some sleep,' I say, but as gently as I can as I place the empty bottle back on the shelf. 'You're leaving tomorrow, aren't you? You don't want a headache.'
'Don't tell me what I want,' Harry says sharply against my chest. 'Everyone's always telling me what I want. Don't do that.'
'Alright, I won't,' I say. I feel the lightheadedness starting to trickle over me and realize it may not have been such a good idea to drink all that whiskey in one go. I'm starting to feel Harry's close proximity more than is healthy for either of us.
I take a step back to get some distance between us but Harry follows me drunkenly, almost draping himself around me.
'Harry-,' I begin, then stop and swallow when I realize how tense my voice is. I take a deep breath and try again. 'Let's get you to bed.'
'Can I sleep in yours?' Harry asks. 'Otherwise Ron will know.'
And my tipsy mind sees nothing wrong in that, because after all Harry has already spent one night in my bed.
So, 'Alright,' I say, because I'm selfish and I want to have this boy I love against my better judgment by my side before he has to leave again.
My bedroom is only lit by distant moonlight but Harry heads straight for the bed, stripping from his clothes as he goes. He finally flops down onto the bed wearing only his boxers and digs himself under the blankets.
I shift into a dog and accompany him, just like last time. Harry wraps an arm around me, nuzzles my fur and then sighs.
'You're so soft, Paddy,' he says, and then he's out like a candle. I follow soon after.
I wake up at some point during the night and it takes me a while to realize that I'm human again. It takes me a while longer to realize exactly why I have woken up in the first place.
The touch, tentative and feather-light, runs over my chest again. My breathing hitches and my heart jumps to hammer in my throat. No.
The fingers run across my chest and up to my shoulder. The touch is so light I barely even feel it but at the same time it feels like Harry's dragging burning rocks over my skin, if judged by the burn it leaves at it's wake. No.
I want to make him stop. I know he's just drunk, and impulsive. I know he'll regret it in the morning. But even as I lift my hand to take a hold of his, that voice at the recesses of my mind asks if I'm certain about that. And this time that voice isn't sneering and doubtful, but genuinely curious. That part of me would have wanted to just lay still and see how far Harry would take his tentative exploration of my body.
'Don't do this,' I say and pick his hand up and away from my chest.
His fist clenches. 'Why?'
He is still drunk, I can hear it, and that should have been enough reason all by itself.
'Just go back to sleep.'
I hear him move, turn to his back, and the wrist slips from my hold. A second later he's turned back to the side, only this time he's so close to me I can feel his warm breath sweep past my arm.
'Why not?' he asks, his voice quiet.
'I told you why,' I say, while trying to rid the warm hum that his small touches awakened in my muscles. I'm not stupid; I'm still drunk as well. I know where this will end if I let him talk too much. 'Just sleep.'
'I'm leaving tomorrow,' he points out quietly.
'That's why you should sleep.'
I know I should turn away from him but I can't. I can't turn away from the soft, warm breaths he puffs against my skin and the feel of his close proximity, and I know I'll be damned because of that.
He slides a hand up my bare arm and I take his wrist again as I turn to face him. Face him, note, and not away from him, and that just about sums up my entire problem, doesn't it? I know I should have put an end to this- whatever this was- the second it began, but my sickly curiosity has always stopped me from doing that. I was sullen and alone in this house, and Harry's infatuation with me was a twisted way to pass the time.
'Don't,' I say softly.
His fist clenches again and I can feel the tendons in his wrist pop up against my palm. He feels so... fragile.
I shouldn't get turned on by that thought but I do.
'Don't do this to yourself, Harry,' I say, and momentarily tighten my hold on his wrist before letting go. 'Go back to school and forget.'
'I don't want to forget!'
'What's there to even remember?' I ask, suddenly aggravated by his sullen, stubborn tone, and oh, this is very bad. Last time I got angry with him I forcibly held him halfway through and then fled. I have a feeling that it won't stop there tonight if I let it happen again.
I try to feel terrified and reproachful, but all I manage is twisted, exited anticipation.
There is something wrong with me and I know it; it has never been as clear to me as it is now when I feel his fingers seeking out my shoulder and trickle up to my neck. There's something wrong with me because I don't stop him. I don't want to stop him. I never have. Yes, he is fifteen. Yes, he is my godson, I'm old enough to be his father, and his parents were my best friends. Yes, Azkaban threw me off my rocker for good, because even though I'm trying to tell myself how wrong this is in every way imaginable, I let him move closer and press his lips against mine.
Its unlike the other kisses he has given me. Those were selfish and arrogant, but this one is soft and tentative. I somehow manage to stay impassive even though everything of me behind my mouth from head to toe is ordering me to roll him over and ravish him.
He retreats. 'Please,' he says, his voice tight and almost pleading.
His tone sparks a firework of emotions in me, the topmost being red-hot irritation, and that manages to scare me. I turn away and sit up fast, and would have fled the bed and the entire house in an instant if it hadn't been for his hand that had caught a hold of my forearm. All hail the lightning fast reflexes of a Seeker.
'Don't,' he says in turn, and I try to resist the irritation as it leaks into me like black smoke.
No. No, I don't want to feel irritated. I know where it will lead. I want to feel sorry for him, because sympathy was such a soft emotion. The irritation, which turns into anger as easily as the day fades into the night, grows as his hand tightens its hold and he sits up as well.
Dear Merlin, I know I shouldn't have drank that whiskey. I am still drunk enough to know my control over my impulses isn't there.
And then, suddenly, a calm falls upon me and quiets my mind and its berating voices. Was it him taking that short, sharp intake of air that pushed me over to the arms of the red-hot anger without me even noticing? Or was it him moving closer, placing my hand on his thigh, and leaning in close enough for his lips to brush past the shell of my ear as he whispers 'I know you want me.'?
The world becomes mute and distant and echoing, like I'm suddenly tossed to the wrong end of the kaleidoscope to observe my life and doings.
I know I grab his wrist and fling him over to his back. I know I pin him into the blankets and say 'Don't fucking tell me what I want!'. I'm not sure if I whisper it or shout it at his face.
It's happening again, and I can't stop myself. I don't want to stop myself, because suddenly I hate him again. Hate him for being so ignorant and pushy and beautiful and not mine, never mine.
I think I yank down his boxers, and from there it's just a repetition of before. I have his wrists in one hand, holding them against the pillows, and his body thrashes under me. He makes the same noises as before.
I'm still thinking I'll stop at some point. But everything sort of becomes a blur, and the next thing I know I have him on his stomach with one hand on his neck to keep him down and the other on his hip to steady him. I'm already halfway into him and he's groaning his pain into the pillows.
That's when my senses return to me. I'm sweating, and so is he, and I'm feeling the most lovable of burns at the very base of my spine, from where it sends waves of warmth through my body that make my muscles tighten and feel feverish.
I can see his face; dawn is approaching, so the room is filled with dim gray light. He's breathing heavily and his eyes are screwed shut. There's a scowl of discomfort on his face.
I'm terrified. What exactly am I doing?
But then. I feel his fingers, those damned fingers, glide up the back of my thigh.
'Please,' Harry breathes quietly.
And for the life of me, I can't refuse. Not anymore. Suddenly I think that if I'm going to hell, I might as well do something totally worth going there for.
So, I make love to him.
It hurts him, at first. But then it doesn't anymore, and not before long he's clutching onto my hands and moaning into the pillows and eagerly accepting the kisses I place upon his skin. Near the end, he makes a few tentative moves against me and that does it for him; I can feel and hear him climaxing and that tight, aroused, choked moan that stumbles from his lips pushes me over the edge.
For a moment, we are both perfectly still. Harry's sprawled on the bed on his stomach, his breathing ragged, and it's all I can manage to stay perched on my hands above him as I struggle to understand what just happened.
I pull out and he moans in discomfort. That sound is like a slap in the face. I retreat quickly, and seconds later I find myself sitting on the down turned toilet-seat in my bathroom with my head in my hands.
I want to ask myself what the hell just happened, but it's not necessary. I know perfectly well what happened. I did something that would make me hang if anyone found out. Touching a minor was one of the worst crimes you could commit in the Wizadring World. It didn't matter if said minor gave his consent or not.
Panic flares in my gut and mingles with the sated hum of my muscles. All my body wants to do is go back there and do it again. And again. And again. No matter if I'll go to hell or serve ten life-sentences in Azkaban, all my body wants to feel is Harry against it, in heat, wriggling, moaning.
I have no idea how long I sit there on the toilet seat. When I finally stand up, my muscles are stiff from the cold and my mind is a mess. At the same time, I hope that Harry has sneaked away and that he's still there, and I don't know which possibility scares me more.
He's still laying on the bed, in the exact same position I left him in. The only difference is that he's drawn the blankets over his legs.
I gingerly sit on the edge of my side of the bed. When he feels my weight dip the mattress, he turns his head to look at me.
I have no idea what I was expecting to see in his eyes. But the satisfied (almost self-satisfied) look clearly wasn't on my list. He stretches, and reaches out for my hand. I shrug the touch off and he frowns.
'What's wrong?' he asks, and I don't believe my ears. He shouldn't be the one to ask that. He shouldn't be the one looking like a cat who has just gotten his Sunday-share of milk.
I know that there's something wrong with the world for letting this happen, for making Harry this way. For making me this way because all I want to do is lean in and ravish him again.
'I won't tell anyone,' Harry says quietly, moving closer. 'If that's what you're worried about.'
The dim morning light is painting his face and making his eyes shine unnaturally bright. There's no mistaking the self-satisfied look on his face and suddenly I'm furious at him again.
'You got what you wanted, didn't you?' I ask coolly and push away the hand that has sneaked to brush past my thigh.
'Don't be like that,' Harry says and comes closer still. 'I'm not mad at you.' He chuckles.
'You should be.'
I look at Harry, disbelieving, and wonder since when he's been so detached from reality. But as I look at him more closely, I see the almost feverish gleam in his eyes.
'You need to forget this ever happened,' I say, and as I say it I remember my decision. Well, remember is the wrong word. I have done nothing but thought about it since last week when the thought presented itself. I did nothing but think about it as I sat there on the cold toilet-seat, with the sated hum of sex lingering onto my muscles and the cold weight of panic in my stomach.
And when Harry frowns and looks displeased like a child, I know that that is what I must do. Now. Not tomorrow, because he won't be here tomorrow. Not next summer when we meet again. Not next Christmas. Right now.
'I don't want to forget,' Harry says, his tone sullen and stubborn again. 'I love you.'
'You don't have a clue about love,' I snap.
'No, you don't.'
The ridiculousness of our debate makes me feel irritated again. This whole situation is so ridiculous it makes it feel surreal. Have I really just slept with this child? Was this child honestly still in my bed with that self-satisfied look on his face, like he had finally won his price?
How can we sit here and argue over something so casually in the first place, when everything in the room is screaming out the crime in what we have just done? How can Harry just lie there and look like it is no big deal his virginity and a whole lot of other things has just been taken from him without his full consent?
I choose to think that it doesn't matter.
I take my jeans from the floor, stand up, and put them on. The floorboards are cold underneath my feet.
My wand is in my pocket. I know that I must- I must do this, but knowing it doesn't make it any easier. My heart leaps into a frantic gallop in my chest and I feel dizzy. Am I really going to do this? I ask myself as I wrap my fingers around my wand and bring it out. Somehow this feels too sudden, too soon after I just got a taste of what it felt like to be in heaven.
'Sirius?' Harry asks, still with that tone of self-satisfaction, but now there's a slight carefulness to it, too. 'Sirius, what're you doing?' he asks, sounding alarmed now, as I turn and point my wand at him.
'I need to do this,' I say, and I feel like crying. 'It's too late, Harry.'
He rises up to sit fast, his eyes alarmed and worried and never leaving the tip of my wand. 'Wait,' he says hastily. 'Wait, don't-'
'Obliviate,' I all but sob, and Harry gets cut off mid-sentence. A trace of utter amazement briefly visits his face before his eyes become staring.
I take away everything. Everything that's happened and everything he feels. His infatuation, which he dubbed as love. The three times we kissed, that one time I tried to do the right thing, the two times he got himself pissed drunk because of it, and finally, this. This beautiful period of time right here. I can almost see it all leaking out of him like mist.
When it's over, I make sure he gets dressed properly. I put on a shirt, and escort him out to the landing. He looks absent-minded as we walk down the flights of stairs, but by the time we reach the front hall he's already smiling to me.
'Thanks for listening,' he says.
I smile, even though I have no idea what he's talking about, and it breaks my heart once more. 'Anytime, kiddo,' I say.
I watch him go to the kitchen and search for Ron and Hermione. It's very easy to erase from their memories that one time they saw me and Harry kiss.
They all leave that same afternoon, and I'm left alone in the house. The walls seem to breathe and collapse upon me, and I feel like I'm suffocating.
That night, I sit in the living room for a long time with the tip of my wand aimed at my own temple. I stare into the flames as I try to decide if I should do it or not. There are as many reasons to do it as there are not to.
Finally, I realize I can't, and my hand falls heavily onto my lap. I promise myself to reconsider this later, after time has passed, even though I know that if I don't do it now, I will never be able to erase the memory of how Harry's skin felt against mine; the way his hair smelled; the way his body moved; the way my name stumbled from his lips.
I know I will go to hell for what I did to him, but the little consolation I get as I put my wand into my pocket and take a bottle of whiskey in my hand instead is that, at least while in hell I'll still have my memories.