AN: A little NfA one-shot that was nagging at me. I've got a couple more floating around in my head somewhere. Updates for TT and MT in the works, but I needed a little cuteness tonight.
Disclaimer: If it were mine, Sirius would have lived. Just sayin'.
"Harry, what are you doing?" Sirius asked, peeking into the kitchen.
"Making hot chocolate," Harry replied. At least, Sirius was relatively sure that was what he had said. It came out sounding more like "maycotchakee".
Sirius scratched his head as he looked around the kitchen. Every surface was covered in cocoa powder. An entire bottle of milk had been poured onto the floor. The sink was overflowing, and Harry was now standing on the counter happily pouring sugar into a mug. Most of it wasn't making it in. "Here," he said, offering it to Sirius. Sirius looked inside. He supposed it looked a little like hot chocolate. It was brown, at least. He didn't dare taste it, but he raised it to his lips and pretended, happy to put on a show for the Pronglet.
"Mmm," he told Harry before putting the mug down.
Sirius grabbed Harry off the counter before he could do any more damage. "Harry," he said, trying his best to be stern. "Are you supposed to make hot chocolate?"
Harry's only response was to squirm in hopes of being let down. Sirius was having none of it. Stern wasn't his forte. Remus did it better. Even James did it better, but Sirius was the only one here at the moment, so he'd have to do his best. He doubted he'd get far; he could already feel his resolve liquefying as his heart turned to goo. Any moment now, it would begin to drip toward his toes.
Harry reached up and put a tiny palm on Sirius' cheek. "I love you, my Sirius," he said, grinning. This time, Sirius was sure that was what he had said.
He hugged Harry tightly. He never tired of hearing those words come out of his godson's mouth. "I love you back, Little Proglet, but no more making hot chocolate, got it?"
Harry nodded, beginning to squirm again. He was usually only interested in being cuddly when he was sleepy or hurt. Sirius suspected it was because he just couldn't bear to be still that long. Sirius almost hated to think of the handful he was going to be when he got older.
Sirius took the boy's chin gently, forcing Harry's emerald eyes to fall upon his own. He was hit suddenly with a familiar dull ache somewhere in the vicinity of his chest. In moments like this, it almost seemed like they still had Lily. Almost.
"And no more climbing on the counters. It's too high."
"Put me down!" Harry ordered, struggling.
Sirius sighed. He was sure that Harry understood him, but sometimes he had to wonder if there was any use in trying to talk to a two-year-old. "Not so fast. We have to change your clothes."
That had recently become one of Harry's favorite words, seemingly overnight. Molly Weasley said he was attempting to assert his independence.
"Little young for that, isn't he?" James had asked. Molly replied with a look that spoke as loudly as any words.
"She sort of makes me feel like a parenting amateur," James had confessed to Sirius when they arrived home that night.
"Compared to her, you are a parenting amateur," Sirius had replied.
"Compared to her, the woman in the shoe is a parenting amateur."
The moment Harry was in clean clothes, the boy charged off. Moments later, he was back, broomstick in hand.
"Outside, my Sirius!" He took a handful of Sirius' robes and dragged him through the destroyed kitchen and out the back door. Sirius cleaned as much of the mess as he could along the way. Wouldn't do to have James coming home and seeing it. Though in all fairness, James would probably be every bit as amused as Sirius had been. Hot chocolate. Honestly.
Sirius spent the better part of the next hour watching Harry zoom around the backyard on his toy broomstick. It was already clear that he was quite talented. Sirius was sure he'd be a quidditch star someday. One of his favorite activities, next to terrorizing the neighborhood with his broomstick, was rolling a quaffle across the kitchen floor. He still couldn't catch it out of the air, but Sirius was convinced that that little flaw was only because the quaffle was too big for him to get his fingers around. Suddenly, Sirius had an idea. He disappeared inside and reappeared moments later with a shrunken quaffle in his hand.
"Harry," he called. Harry zoomed toward him obediently. Aiming straight for his godfather, Harry veered to the left at the last moment to avoid crashing into him. He giggled at Sirius' attempts to jump out of the way. Brat, Sirius thought affectionately.
"Pronglet, come play catch with me."
"Please?" Sirius asked.
Sirius affected a large frown, sticking out his bottom lip so far he was afraid birds might come perch on it. Harry was off the broom in a second, wrapping his arms around Sirius' thigh.
"Don't be sad," he told Sirius, looking up with horror on his face.
Sirius lifted him up. "How can I be sad when I'm with you?"
Harry lost interested in the game of catch very quickly. He still couldn't quite manage it. Oh well, there was still time. Still, Sirius wondered...
"You caught it!" Sirius cried. Harry held the struggling snitch proudly in his fist. After crashing all over the house chasing it, Harry had finally climbed onto his father's bed and jumped to capture the flitting snitch. James was going to be beside himself.
"You deserve a biscuit for that," Sirius decreed. Harry followed him down the stairs for his reward.
"I want milk," Harry announced.
"Sorry, kid, you spilled it all," Sirius told him. "We'll get some more tomorrow."
Harry accepted that answer, munching on the chocolate chip biscuit Sirius gave him. "More, please," he requested when it was gone.
"No, that's enough," Sirius decided. "Dinner's a few hours away. We don't want to spoil it." Sirius wasn't entirely sure he understood the concept of spoiling one's dinner, but it was something Mrs. Potter always used to say, so he reckoned there had to be something to it. James' parents never made superfluous rules.
"Please," Harry repeated.
Sirius shook his head. "No, that's enough. You want to catch the snitch again?"
That did the trick. Harry nodded, his eyes wide with excitement. Sirius released the snitch from his pocket and Harry zoomed off after it. Sirius took the opportunity to avail himself of the nearest loo. When he emerged, the snitch flitted past his head. He waited for Harry to come running after it, but he never did. Sirius listened for him, but couldn't find him. "Harry?"
There was no answer. "Harry?" Sirius called again. Still no answer. Sirius began his search. Harry wasn't in the parlor. He wasn't in his bedroom, or in Sirius', or his dad's. He wasn't in the loo. He wasn't in the dining room. Sirius finally found him in the kitchen. He had pulled a chair out of the breakfast nook and climbed onto the counter. His fist was full of biscuits.
"What are you doing?" Sirius asked.
"Eating biscuits," Harry replied. Sirius suppressed a smile. At least the child was honest.
"I said no, Harry, and you aren't supposed to be climbing on the counters," Sirius said firmly. It wasn't quite so difficult to maintain his stern demeanor this time. He pried the biscuits from Harry's fist and left them sitting on the countertop as he took Harry in one hand and the breakfast nook's chair in the other. He carried them both to the dining room and placed the chair in the corner. He had seen James do the same thing many times, but Sirius himself had never needed to. James made it look so easy, but Sirius found his stomach was tied into knots, as though he were the one being made to sit in the corner instead of the tiny child in his arms.
Sirius put Harry in the chair. Harry stood immediately, twisting around to grin at Sirius.
Sirius narrowed his eyes at Harry. "Sit down," he ordered. Harry's grin faltered. He held his arms up to be held, leaning toward Sirius. The chair began to tip. Sirius almost made it in time, but he wasn't quite fast enough. Chair and baby both fell to the floor with a crash that sounded much louder to Sirius' ears than it actually was. Sirius braced himself for Harry's scream, but it never came. He looked shaken when he rose, but he didn't appear hurt. Sirius didn't realize until that moment that he had been holding his breath. He let it out loudly.
"That's why we don't stand in chairs," he told Harry in what he hoped was an appropriately firm voice. He lifted the chair, placing it back in the corner and plopped Harry down in it once more. Harry came out of it almost immediately.
Sirius put him back in. "You don't steal biscuits."
Harry stayed seated, but turned to peek over his shoulder, a silent plea in his innocent eyes.
Sirius lifted his finger and drew a circle in the air, ordering Harry to turn back to the corner.
Harry looked as though his heart was going to break. He pouted, tears springing to his eyes. "Meanie," he accused. He faced the wall just as a pitiful sob came out of his mouth.
Sirius bit his own lip, surprised by how much a silly word from a toddler could sting. Why should Sirius care so much about the opinion of a person who couldn't even wipe his own bum. He shouldn't, that's what. But he did.
"You can get up, Harry."
Harry came out of the chair like a bolt of lightning finally escaping its cloud. He looked up at Sirius, pouting, his eyes filled with tears. Sirius sighed. The kid hadn't had his nose in the corner for more than half a minute.
"Come on, Little Pronglet, it's not that bad." Sirius had spent more than his share of time in the corner when he was younger. It was one of his private tutor's favorite punishments, and it certainly wasn't worth crying over. Harry was just being theatrical. Still, he couldn't bear to hear Little Pronglet cry. The biscuits were still on the counter. Just one wouldn't hurt anything...
Four biscuits later, Harry was all smiles. "Only don't tell your dad," Sirius warned, putting a finger over his mouth. "And you have to eat your vegetables at dinner. Pinky promise?"
Harry agreed as he put the final bite of biscuit in his mouth. At that moment, they heard James stepping through the floo. Harry lit up like a Christmas tree.
"Yoda!" he called happily, running toward James as fast as his legs would carry him. Sirius suppressed a smile. Ever since they moved here, Sirius had been referring to James almost exclusively as "your dad". Harry had picked it up.
"Dad," James corrected. Harry didn't seem to notice. James lifted him up, pretending to struggle under his weight. "I think you're bigger since this morning," James told him.
Harry smiled proudly. The smile turned to squeals of delight when James tossed him into the air, catching him deftly.
"So, what did you two do today?" James asked.
Sirius hoped he didn't look as guilty as he felt. "Harry caught a snitch."
It was James' turn to light up. "You did?"
"Still not too good with quaffles, though."
"Maybe he'll be a seeker," James suggested. "I think I could live with that. Harry Potter, seeker for England. Has a nice ring to it, don't you think?"
Sirius couldn't argue with that.
"I made hot chocolate!" Harry told his father.
James turned to Sirius, quirking his eyebrows. "He made what?"
"Hot chocolate. Well, sort of. He mostly just poured all the ingredients on the floor."
"That sounds familiar. Last week I caught him trying to make crumpets. Weren't you?" James poked Harry's ribs. Harry laughed and squirmed.
"So that's where all the flour went."
"That's where. All over the floor." James put Harry down and the boy scampered off. "So, why was he crying?"
"Oh, that, well, I sort of made him sit in the corner," Sirius admitted.
"And then you gave him biscuits to cheer him up?"
"How did you know?"
"He still had crumbs in the corners of his mouth." James was barely holding back his smile.
"He called me mean," Sirius explained, sounding for all the world like a tattling schoolboy.
James actually had the nerve to laugh. "Yes, the first time he called me mean, I thought the world was going to end. He gets over it quickly, though. Even without biscuits."
Sirius nodded, not sure what to say.
"How many did you give him?"
James' disbelief was etched clearly on his face.
"Four," Sirius admitted. "But he's still going to eat his vegetables. We have an understanding."
"Right. Because understandings with two-year olds are so successful."
"He pinky promised," Sirius explained...
"I thought he pinky promised?" James teased after dinner as he tossed Harry vegetables into a bowl and put them in the ice box.
"It's not my fault he scammed me," Sirius said defensively. "I can't help it if he's too adorable to say no to."
"He's going to end up spoiled rotten," James replied with a shake of his head.
"Like you're any better," Sirius shot back. "What about last week?"
"No fair, bringing that up," James retorted. Last week, Harry had bitten James and James swatted him. It hadn't been hard; Harry didn't even cry, but still James felt so bad he gave the kid ice cream.
"Besides," Sirius continued. "I'm of the opinion that it's his god-given right as my godson to be as spoiled as ever a child can be."
James was distracted from the response on his tongue by Harry's sudden appearance. "Look, Yoda!" he called. He held up his fist, and James clearly saw the snitch in his fingers.
James looked as though the pride was going to burst right out of him. "You caught the snitch!" he beamed.
Harry squirmed to be put down. The second his feet touched the tiled floor, he let the snitch go and charged after it, giggling. James and Sirius charged after him, laughing along. There was just something inherently contagious about that baby's laugh. Sirius could never resist joining in...
Sirius awoke in the middle of the night and stumbled down the hall for a glass of water. He peeked into Harry's room on the way and was not surprised to see the bed empty. Cribs had stopped holding his escape artist of a godson months ago, and so James and Sirius had made the decision recently to graduate him to a big boy bed. He had never once spent the entire night in it, choosing instead to climb into bed with his father.
Sirius stopped by James' room on the way back to his own and saw them both in there, James snoring softly and Harry asleep in the crook of his arms. He had flung one hand out across the bed and there, still struggling in his fist, was the snitch. Sirius stepped in and released it gently. It paused in front of his face for a moment as though thanking him before zooming out of sight. Catching it would be tomorrow's work.