For the True Colours Challenge from the forums. I had Sirius and the colour grey which means sorrow, security, and maturity and I've focused on the first two.
Sirius set the glass and half empty bottle of firewhiskey down on the table with a clunk that echoed around the empty kitchen and dropped into the chair. The dying fire glinted off of the amber liquid as he poured himself a drink and gulped it down in one shuddering breath. As he poured himself another glass and settled back into the chair the door opened and Remus entered.
"Drinking alone eh? That's never a good sign," Remus said, sitting down opposite Sirius. "I don't think Molly would be too impressed if she found you like this either."
Sirius scowled. "Well last time I checked this was still my house." He summoned another glass over to the table. "And if you have a drink too I won't be alone."
At Remus' nod he filled the glass and slid it across the table to him.
"Cheers." Remus raised his glass and took a sip.
Sirius didn't respond, in fact he didn't even move, just continued to stare down at the fire, lost in thought, so Remus took the moment to study his old friend. The ravages that Azkaban had wrought on Sirius were clear to see and of all of the differences it was those to his eyes that frightened Remus the most.
When they were younger Sirius' eyes were always alight with the fire of excitement and mischief whether they were planning their next prank or something bigger like their Map or animagus transformations.
Nothing was too much of a challenge for him and nothing could quench that fire, not even being cursed and disowned by his own family.
Nothing was too much to deal with or too much of a challenge for him, not even being cursed and then disowned by his own family. The fire shone on, until Azkaban. And now most of the time they were dull, flat and he a shadow of the person he once was.
"I thought you'd be happier with Harry here."
It seemed to take Sirius a great deal of effort to draw himself out of the dark, brooding thoughts he'd fallen into and turn to Remus.
"What exactly is there to be happy about?" He said, raking a hand through his hair. "Of course I'm glad to have Harry here but that's the only vaguely positive aspect of this situation. Harry's just spent the last month locked away with those miserable muggles instead of the loving family he deserves; he's got a deranged madman and his followers out to kill him; and he's got the threat of expulsion hanging over him because Fudge is too blind to see past his own nose. And what help have I been throughout all this, cosseted away here? Absolutely none. I might as well still be in Azkaban." He drained his glass with a scowl.
"Sirius-" Remus began but Sirius interrupted him.
"No, don't. We both know it's true. Snivellus was right, I'm useless."
"I don't-" Remus started to speak and was again interrupted, this time by the kitchen door creaking open. It took their eyes a moment to pierce the darkness and see that it was in fact Harry who had walked in.
On seeing the two men at the table he froze in surprise, obviously not expecting anybody else to still be up at this hour. Muttering a quick apology he turned on his heel and was half way out the door before Sirius had the wits to call him back, pulling out the chair next to him in invitation.
"Well," said Remus, with a false cheerfulness as he stood up. "You're just in time. I'm just about to make some cocoa." He moved over to the stove where the necessary equipment had suddenly appeared, banishing the firewhiskey to the cupboard on his way.
Harry crossed his arms on the table and dropped his head on them with a sigh.
"Had a nightmare?" asked Sirius, although he'd had enough of his own night terrors to recognise the red eyes and blotchy face, shaking hands and slight air of panic that still surrounded Harry.
Harry shifted slightly to look up at Sirius and nodded.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Harry shrugged and so for the next few minutes the only sounds to be heard were from Remus finishing the drinks and then sitting back down at the table with three steaming mugs of cocoa.
Harry sat up. "Thanks." He brought his mug up to his face and inhaled deeply, letting the sweet, comforting smell calm his nerves. Rubbing the back of his neck awkwardly he spoke again. "I dreamt about the graveyard. I saw it all happen again, Voldemort, my parents-" he paused for a moment, "-Cedric."
"Oh Harry, I'm sorry," sighed Sirius.
Harry gave him a small smile that didn't quite reach his eyes. "It's fine. It's not like it's your fault anyway."
Harry was small for his age anyway but at that moment he looked far younger than his fifteen years sat there in his too big pyjamas, clutching his mug, and it made Sirius' heart ache.
"It's not your fault either," he said, watching Harry intently.
"Isn't it?" Harry shrugged. "I don't know. Cedric was willing to walk away and let me win. It was only because I persuaded him that we both took the cup. If I hadn't done that he'd still be alive. And I helped Wormtail resurrect Voldemort."
"Listen to me," said Sirius, so fiercely that Harry jumped. "You are entirely blameless for what happened that night. You persuaded Diggory to take the cup with you because you're generous and selfless. There was no way you could have predicted what would happen next. And as far as Voldemort goes, Wormtail tied you down and took some of your blood. You were hardly a willing participant."
Sirius' voice rose as he spoke until it seemed to ring through the dark kitchen but he could tell that Harry, who had now put his mug down and was staring at his tightly clasped hands, didn't believe him. For a moment he was at a loss as to what to say next and then very quietly he said, "Harry look at me please."
Green eyes met his own stormy grey eyes.
"Tell me honestly, do you blame me for what happened to your parents?"
"Of course not," replied Harry immediately, confused at the change of the topic.
"You persuaded Diggory to take the cup with you because you wanted to do the right thing. You had no idea what was to follow but you blame yourself for his death. I persuaded your mum and dad to change secret keepers because I thought it was the right thing to do. Obviously it wasn't but you don't blame me for what happened."
Harry seemed to hesitate, looking between the two men, and then said, "That's different."
"Why?" replied Sirius instantly.
Harry opened his mouth but then closed it again with a sigh. He had no answer to that.
"Hey," said Sirius, clasping his shoulder. "I know how easy it is to blame yourself when things outside of your control start going wrong." He glanced over at Remus. "Believe me I know. I'm afraid there's not much I can do about your nightmares but what happened was not your fault and I will remind you of that as often as it takes for you to believe it yourself and I'm always around if you need to talk, whatever time of day."
Harry seemed overwhelmed into silence as Sirius pulled him into a hug and said softly, "Don't you forget that. I'm here no matter what."
Harry nodded, allowing himself to feel the love and security that radiated from Sirius. After a few pats on the back they separated both smiling softly.
"Go on." Sirius nodded towards the door. "Try and go back to sleep. You'll need all the energy you can get for all the jobs Molly's got for you lot to do."
Wishing them both good night Harry stood up and had made it as far as the door before he turned around.
"What happened to mum and dad wasn't your fault," he said, before disappearing through the doorway.
Sirius' gaze remained fixed on the spot where Harry had stood, a bittersweet smile on his face.
"Well I think that showed you just how much of an important role you have to play, and far more eloquently then I ever could have," said Remus.
Sirius turned to him, looking puzzled. "I just told him the truth. If it had been anybody else down here instead of me they'd have said the same thing."
"But do you really think he'd have accepted it from anybody else?" asked Remus. "You're his strength, his security, the closest thing he's got to a father."
Sirius seemed about to disagree but Remus didn't give him a chance to speak.
"Think about, he's asked if he can live with you if he gets expelled. And last summer he wrote to you after having that vision even though he'd spent all of a couple of hours with you a few weeks before. He could have written to Albus or Hagrid or the Weasleys but he turned to you, and then tried to play it down when he thought there was a danger of you getting caught again."
Sirius nodded but didn't say anything.
"After everything he's been through and, I fear, will go through he needs all the strength and safety that he can get from you, his family. So don't underestimate yourself. You do far more than you realise just by being there for him."
With a wave of Remus' wand the mugs flew into the sink and then out a moment later sparkling clean.
"I'm off to bed. Night Padfoot."
"Goodnight. And thank you Moony," replied Sirius.
Remus nodded. "Anytime," and headed up stairs leaving a much more positive Sirius staring into the flames.