Content Harry Potter Crossovers/Multiple Fandoms Metafandom
  • Previous
  • Next

It was amazing how quickly one got used to animagery, really. In a matter of a year, or even a little under, Sirius had become so comfortable with his other, mute, colourblind self that it was hard to remember that once he hadn't been able to shift effortlessly from man to beast. Hadn't it always been so? He felt it had, as though he'd known secretly that Padfoot was always a part of his destiny. The various uses of the dog-form were not lost on him, and neither was the sensory shift; he paid for it in eyesight when the world became a mess of greys and whites, but the smells...

To say that Remus was a cloud of inkpaperclothanimal was accurate, but it failed to bring the full force of scent to bear -- it would be like saying Remus in man-sight was brown, pink, and grey instead of being a brown-eyed man with pale skin and greying hair. The scent was such a given that it defied definition. Remus was RemusRemusRemus, that was all. The scents that made up people were just one small part of the world of a dog.

And the dreams. Dreams were so simple as a dog. People very rarely even got involved, except as the occasional dispensers of treats.

Sirius was having a splendid dog-dream. For days he had fallen asleep in a new bed that smelled only of dust and his own skin, which was gratifying to the ego but somewhat dull after a while. In this bed, on the other hand, the smell of Harry was an all-encompassing experience.

It was a lovely dream about Harry and the sunlit garden and having the ridge of his spine scratched just above his tail, which was sheer bliss.

And suddenly he realised it was in colour.

Sirius woke to the dark and actually rather cold bedroom with a slight start, fingers of his left hand twitching where they hung in the air. Harry's bedroom in Fourteen Back, the rafters rising up above them with a high, airy openness that Harry had, in a sleepy moment, confessed to loving because they aren't the cupboard. Sirius wasn't sure which cupboard, but he hadn't been brave enough to ask.

Harry was sleeping on his right side, legs curled slightly like always; Sirius found himself slumped sideways over Harry's hip and using it like a pillow. His left elbow was propped on Harry's thigh, left cheek resting on the blanket and right palm spread across Harry's skin just where his ribcage ended. His knees were pulled up almost against his chest and pressed into Harry's back between his shoulderblades. Sometime in the night, probably recently, he'd pushed himself out of Padfoot and back into his proper body, and it was terrifically awkward.

The blankets only came up as far as the point where Sirius' cheek rested on Harry's body; his right hand lay on warm, smooth flesh below the hiked-up hem of Harry's shirt, and it was hardly a movement at all to tilt his head and inhale. That was the scent, fading as his brain adjusted to being human again. HarryHarryHarry.

He was, however, not only going to give himself a chill but also a cramp if he stayed in this position. He tried to move slowly; the last thing in the world he wanted was to wake Harry. If he could get enough distance to Change again, all would be well, but in order to move he had to bring his left arm down across Harry's body and --

Harry shifted without warning, rolling onto his back, and Sirius found himself propped over Harry's chest, left thigh against Harry's right hip, looking down at the sharp curve of Harry's jaw, so like James'.

Harry's eyes opened and Sirius felt his pulse thud in his ears, along with a not-entirely-unpleasant throb in his groin even as his sleep-addled brain said oh bugger. Harry's eyes didn't precisely focus, but they did find Sirius' flushed face.

"Mmh," Harry mumbled sleepily. "Awright Sir'us?"

Sirius opened his mouth to answer, to give an apology, but Harry's eyes had closed again already. Harry gave a soft groan and stretched a little, back arching, head tilting back and oh, this was bad.

"Sirius," Harry sighed, lapsing back into deeper, more even breaths. Sirius counted to fifty before trying to move; he leaned away slowly, eventually ending up on his back about a foot from Harry. The cold air was not unwelcome, now; in fact it was distinctly helping matters.

Sodding teenage urges. Sodding unnatural tastes. He couldn't be some normal little Black clone, vaguely inbred and looking for a tolerant pureblood wife who would pop out heirs while ignoring his piece on the side. He had to be a Gryffindor and like to read books and like boys.

It's different now, Remus had told him, and Harry's easy acceptance of Helga Hufflepuff's implied deviance told Sirius just how different it was. No matter how casual it had been, however, Sirius was fairly sure that Harry would clock him in disgust if he tried anything.

He pressed the heels of his hands to his eyes, rubbing gently.

Oh, sod, this was bad. He'd come to spend the night because he had missed Harry fiercely, especially after they found Fenrir's note and Remus went all weird and quiet. He'd just wanted to curl up with a warm body -- with Harry's warm body -- and spend the night safely surrounded by a familiar scent.

And he was freezing bloody hell this loft was cold.

He really had two options: he could change over to Padfoot and stay here, or he could steal the quilt and go downstairs to sleep on the sofa. The idea did not appeal.

Padfoot, as sullenly as it was possible for a dog to do, curled up to sleep on top of the blankets with his back pointedly turned to Harry.

Even if it was also pressed up against Harry's shoulders.


Tonks had shared a bed with Remus since long before the end of the last school year -- indeed, they'd begun not long after Sirius died. At first she'd cherished no illusions at all that what they were doing was anything more than comfort because Remus had lost his best friend again and Tonks had blamed herself for the loss of a man who'd once been a surrogate brother to her.

But Remus had been decent to her and was a kind man and one could do far worse, and from that to love was a short step. A short step Remus had fought her on, every inch of the way, though in the end youth and determination had triumphed over his born-in stubborn pride.

She'd had time to get used to his sleeping patterns, and in truth they'd probably done her good. He rose early, which got her out of bed and in to work on time anyway.

He also tended not to insomnia but to a peculiar sort of nighttime restlessness. Sometimes she would wake up because a light somewhere had gone on, only to find him sitting next to her in bed, the barest flicker of cold fire dancing across the top of his book so that he could read without lighting candles (or, in her more modern flat, turning on a lamp). It was never for more than ten or fifteen minutes, and then she would feel him slide down in the bed and sometimes curl his arm around her waist again. He told her he simply woke up in the night and sometimes needed to read for a while in order to get back to sleep. She accepted it as a natural human quirk.

It was, technically, light when she woke; the sun was just barely inching through the northern windows of the little room, slanting across the bed. Remus was sitting up, a shirt hanging off his shoulders, book propped open on the blanket covering his thighs.

"Good morning," he said, when she stretched and yawned. "Did I wake you?"

"Dun thin' so," she answered. "Wha time issit?"

"About half-past six."

She rolled over and placed her head in his lap, looking up at him, hair blocking the book. He smiled, brushed her hair off her face, then flattened it and pretended to go on reading.

"Do you want breakfast?" she asked, crooking her neck to block his book again. He rested his bookmark across the bridge of her nose.

"It's Sunday -- we should have a lie-in," he said.

"Okay," she agreed, rolling over and pushing herself up until she sat nose-to-nose with him. She took the book out of his hands and set it on the side-table, kissing him.

"Stop thinking about Fenrir," she said. "Stop thinking about the horcruxes. Stop thinking about Harry and come have a lie-in with me."

Once you had him trained, he was really surprisingly docile, she decided. Perhaps it was simply too many years of having been lonely, or an inherent desire to make people happy. She had found it nearly impossible to work her way past his defences, but once they had reached their understanding...

Well, even impossibly polite, impossibly English, impossibly stubborn Remus was passionate and affectionate and not afraid of her, and those were rare things in her life. It wasn't like for him, where people crossed the street to avoid him, but in some ways it was worse. People liked Tonks and were happy to have a butterbeer with her at the pub or crack jokes with her in the canteen at Auror headquarters, but when it came to relationships, well. Either you got the perverts who wanted you to look like someone else or you got the nice people who didn' you that far.

Remus understood, and he was so starved for this himself that when he did give in, it was complete. There was no hesitation as he followed her down into the nest of blankets and twined his fingers in her pink hair, kissing a line down her neck.

Perhaps he was more desperate than usual, his hands rougher and his movements more forceful, but then she knew the feeling of looking for something to cling to in uncertainty. And the moon was coming, after all. She hated the full moon and with good reason, but she had to admit the handful of days leading up to it were often quite...pleasurable. She could see why other (lesser, to her mind) women would have kept their distance, but they clearly didn't know what they were missing.

Didn't matter. She had him all to herself and she wasn't planning that anyone else should ever find out. Not when he made such delightful noises and did such delightful things and always, afterwards, he always stayed and touched her. Hands on shoulder or neck or breast, reassuring and real.

"Is that the boys?" he asked, lazily stroking her hair where her head rested on his shoulder. She listened; yes, there was the dull thud of Harry's feet on the living-room floor where he always jumped the last two steps of the staircase. Voices, too; bickering, by the sound of it. Probably about what to eat for breakfast.

"Shh," she said. "We're having a lie-in."

There was a crash as several cast-iron pots and pans fell out of the cupboard next to the stove.

"They're going to set the place on fire, you realise this."

"Not our problem! Lie-in!"

Remus shook his head and pushed himself to his elbows, eyes scanning the room, probably to figure out where she'd thrown his pyjama trousers. She groaned as he climbed out of bed and went questing for proper clothing. In the morning half-light his skin was pale, almost as pale as hers but more weathered, pocked with scars. By far the worst was the sharp crescent on his thigh where Fenrir had nearly torn his leg off when he was a child. That one never faded.

He bent to kiss her even as he was buckling the belt on his trousers, and she wished he'd put on a shirt so she could have grabbed him by it.

"He's a man now. You said it yourself," she said, against his mouth.

"He's still young. A young man."

"And he needs you?" Tonks asked, shrewdly. Remus looked away.

"They both do. I'm no kind of father, but they need someone," he said quietly.

"You're every kind of father," she answered. "Go on. I'll be out in a bit."

She lay in bed for a while, listening to their voices through the half-open door. Harry and Sirius were arguing about Quidditch good-naturedly, pouring milk, heating water for tea, breaking eggs, rummaging around for the bacon, chopping something up to go into what were apparently going to be the best scrambled eggs ever according to Sirius.

By the time she gathered enough energy to wash and dress, they were sitting around the table, Sirius frowning over a sheet of parchment, Harry and Remus discussing their plans for the Great Horcrux Hunt. She poured some tea and uncovered a charm-warmed plate of eggs and bacon, joining them.

"I'd rather go to the Gaunt crypt myself," Harry was saying, devouring a bowl of cereal in addition to the evidence of ravaged scrambled eggs on a nearby plate. "They were parselmouths...I'm the only one going who speaks parseltongue."

"That's fine, but be careful. I don't think they were above booby traps," Remus answered.

"Sure. Which do you want? Hermione wants to go see the Grindelwald site."

"Gryffindor's mine," Sirius said, not looking up from his parchment.

"Oh, I'll take Hufflepuff," Tonks said. "Unless you want it," she added to Remus.

"No, that's fine. I'd rather see Ravenclaw's grave, in that case, it's interesting anyway. Slytherin's monument is up the top of an enormous and tediously steep hill," Remus said.

"Have you been there?" Harry asked, curiously.

"I've seen photographs. Never felt the urge to actually go and see it," Remus said. Sirius looked down at his parchment in frustration, screwed it up into a ball, and threw it at the garbage bin nearby. Remus noticed there were several similar paper balls lying in and around it.

"What's got you all knotted up?" Tonks asked. "Can't you just whisk stuff away?"

"I like throwing them," Sirius said, unrolling another sheet and tearing off a portion. "It's cathartic."

"He's writing to Pye to set up a time to go see Gryffindor's Stones," Harry said. Tonks turned a laugh into a cough.

"It's not funny," Sirius said.

"No, not that -- Gryffindor's Stones," she said.

"Coming from a woman called Tonks..."

"All right, point taken, but still it is a bit funny. Didn't you think it was funny in school? The lecture about the mighty stones of Gryffindor. And then you see the pictures..." she snickered. "Two big oblong stones and that mound of dirt between them where our dear departed Gryffindor is supposedly interr'd..."

"I'm sure Godric Gryffindor wouldn't like you thinking that," Remus said with mock-seriousness.

"I think Godric Gryffindor was the sort to enjoy fart jokes and probably would think it was hugely funny," Tonks answered. "Anyway, what's so difficult about a letter?"

"Sirius wants to impress him, I think," Harry teased.

"I just don't want to sound like an idiot," Sirius answered.

"Too late."

"Oi, you!" Sirius flicked ink off the quill's nib at Harry. "Don't make me come over there!"

"Gentlemen," Remus murmured, remonstratively. Harry dabbed the ink off his cheeks.

"So are you going to spend all day writing letters and boring things like that?" Tonks asked, sipping her tea.

"Well, we were going to listen to a match on the Floo Broadcast," Harry said. "And I though I'd do a good bit of laying about uselessly. I think I've been more than useful in the past few days. I feel I'm rather entitled. Sirius definitely is."

Sirius, still bent over his letter, grunted in agreement. Remus raised his eyebrows at Tonks, amused, as he sipped his tea.


Nigel Padfoot
c/o Hogwarts School

Healer Pye,

I am writing to you Incognito in case this letter falls into the wrong hands. I hope you do not mind.

I have spoken with Harry and he has asked me to do a study of the area around Godric's Stones east of Hogsmeade to determine if there are any inscriptions or engravings which might be of use to us in defeating You Know Who.

I think it would be wise to investigate as soon as possible and would like to know when your work allows you to accompany me. As you know I am Tutor at Hogwarts, so I am free mostly in the late afternoons and on Thursday evenings.

I also have some business with you of a more private nature if you have the time and inclination, which I will discuss with you when we meet if you are agreeable.


Nigel Padfoot

Sirius looked down at the letter, thoughtfully. As the result of several hours' work it wasn't very impressive, but it was eager without being childish. That last paragraph made it seem like he had an embarrassing skin condition, but that simply couldn't be helped.

It needed one more thing, however...

The others were already in the living room, listening to the Quidditch pre-game announcements; he had the time and he was alone at the moment. He wasn't ashamed of this, exactly, but he didn't care to have anyone asking him questions about it.

There was sealing wax on the desk in Remus' room, and Sirius lit it with the tip of his wand, dribbling several blobs of the scarlet wax below his name on the parchment before reaching into his pocket.

He put the ring on the forefinger of his left hand and pressed it deeply into the wax. The residual heat bled through the metal and warmed his knuckle. When he pulled the ring away it came cleanly, leaving a perfect signature-seal below his false name.

He rolled the parchment, addressed it, sealed it with a plain glob of wax and took it to Hedwig, who was preening on her perch in the corner sleepily.

"Now lovely," he said wheedlingly, "Take this for me?"

Hedwig clicked her beak at him and held out one clawed foot for the letter. Sirius gave it to her with relief, carried her into Bowman's garden and watched her fly away, then went to join the others in the living room.


Unlike the past week, on Monday there was no schedule of classes sitting next to Sirius' plate at breakfast. Instead there was a letter from Pye, stating that Thursday would be fine, and a note from McGonagall.

Now that you are familiar with the various classes and years, you may exercise your own discretion in choosing what you are to attend. Please see me during your final class of the day for a discussion of your continuing education. M. McGonagall, Headmistress.

There was also a note from Harry, passed to him by Remus as breakfast ended: Fancy entertaining a guest Friday afternoon?

Sirius grinned and scribbled back I'll nick some finger sandwiches from the kitchens before returning it to Remus, who raised his eyebrows but tucked it into his pocket without reading it.

Slughorn was working on a tedious three-day project with the NEWTs students which made the whole dungeon smell, so Sirius avoided the lower levels. He went instead to Divinations, the class Firenze the centaur taught, because he still hadn't met him -- he didn't dine with the other professors and was rarely to be found, so Sirius was told, outside of his classroom. Colin Creevey was one of the Gryffindor sixths who'd drawn Firenze this year, and Sirius walked with him to class, ambling along after a large hot breakfast.

"What's he like?" he asked Colin, as they walked. "I met a centaur once, but we didn't really spend much time talking."

"He's great," Colin said enthusiastically. "I mean, you don't feel like you learn much, really, cos he says only people with a real talent can do much, but you sort of to think about stuff. He beats Trelawney, I had her two years ago."

He made a face. Sirius grinned.

"So what does he teach, then, if he says only really talented people can learn anything?"

"Oh, we learn how to do it anyway, we just never succeed," Colin said philosophically. "He almost never assigns outside work, which is something."

They entered the classroom then and Sirius looked around in amazement at the false forest inside. It was a perfect replica of the Forbidden Forest -- he almost thought he knew the location it had been lifted from. There were trees and grass, boulders, sunlight dappling through the leaves, and a clearing which most of the students were expectantly facing, finding seats on the mossy turf.

In the middle of the clearing stood Firenze the centaur, a pale palomino with likewise white-blond hair and startling blue eyes. Sirius had encountered a centaur once before, on a midnight jaunt in the Forest during a full moon, but it hadn't been Firenze -- even Padfoot would have noticed colouration that light. That centaur had been darker and less solidly built; they'd been running at full bay after a rabbit, or at least he and Moony had, and for several minutes the other centaur had gracefully run alongside Prongs, who was crashing with more difficulty through the undergrowth. Sirius couldn't be sure, but he'd had the idea at the time that possibly there were foals in a nearby clearing, and the centaur was not so much joining in as ensuring they kept out.

When Firenze saw him, one front hoof pawed at the grass, almost thoughtfully.

"You are the Tutor," he said.

"Yes -- Nigel Padfoot," Sirius said, coming forward. He wasn't sure if he ought to offer his hand, so instead he bowed. Firenze bowed back with a slight smile on his face.

"Yes...Nigel Padfoot," the centaur drawled.

"Ah...I was thinking of sitting in, today," Sirius continued, unnerved slightly by the centaur's knowing look. Firenze's tail slapped against his flank.

"I have been awaiting you," he said. "As have others."

Sirius looked around. The rest of the class was watching him, but there were still people coming through the doorway, so he wasn't late...

"Mars grows ever brighter -- but look to the southeast and you will see a new star," Firenze said gravely. "The Nile Star's twin is ascendant."

Sirius waited for an explanation, but Firenze was continuing.

"I am surprised to see you in red robes," he said gravely. "I had presumed they would be green. It is of no matter; you are young yet. Please, be seated."

Sirius, thus confused and dismissed, found an empty patch near the back and sat down. Green? If he knew Sirius' name, as he seemed to, perhaps he assumed that, like all Blacks, Sirius was Slytherin material...

But it wasn't as though Slytherin students wore green robes, and Tutors wore red regardless.

He continued to prod at Firenze's words all through the lesson and well into the next, which was History of Magic with the first-year Gryffindors and Slytherins.

At least Alexander seemed to be settling in; Sirius was so distracted that he almost didn't catch the boy setting hotfeet to a couple of his Slytherin classmates across the aisle.


By the end of the day Sirius had given up on the centaur's cryptic observations and concentrated instead on what he was going to say in his meeting with McGonagall. He remembered intentionally misdirecting her last year, and from the sound of it so did she, though it was far futher in her past. He doubted she'd let him get away with it again.

The whole point of it had been so that she would leave him alone and let him take the classes he pleased -- the classes that James was taking, primarily, but also the classes that were just...well, interesting. Sirius wasn't interested in Divs or History of Magic, easy as the former might be. He didn't care for Slughorn but he didn't mind Potions; he liked Care of Magical Creatures and Charms and of course Transfiguration. He was good at Arithmancy.

And he had a plan of his own that nobody needed to know about. If he failed, nobody would make fun of him; if he made it in, nobody would dare.

"Now then, Mr....Padfoot," McGonagall said, seated behind the big desk in her office with Sirius, plucking nervously at his robes, on he other side. "You seem to be settling into your new post nicely."

"I am, thanks," Sirius replied. "I met Firenze today."

"And what did he make of you?"

Sirius grinned. "He said something about ascendant stars and red robes."

"That sounds like Firenze, I'm afraid. I don't suppose he was kind enough to provide you any insights into your future career?"

Sirius shrugged. "Do I really need to set one yet? I don't know if I'll survive the war. I didn't last time."

"I would hope you would at least find the goal of taking your NEWTs worthwhile," she replied sharply.

"Did I?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"The other Sirius -- did I take my NEWTs?"

She sighed. "Yes. I have no idea, to this day, why you did, but yes -- you did take your NEWTs. You did very well on them, actually."

"Really? What'd I take?" he asked, leaning forward to reach for his file, sitting near her elbow. She rested a hand on it possessively.

"I think it would be...unwise to determine your future based on the past of a man who spent twelve years in prison and died rather tragically and unnecessarily at the hands of a piece of architecture," she said quietly. Sirius ducked his head, chastised.

"But he was me," he said, after a silent moment. "At least tell me what I did with my life."

"From what I could tell, as little as possible," she answered. "You may wish to ask Professor Lupin -- he knew you rather better than I did. You spent much of your time working for the Order, in the later days of the war. You may recall that you had some little inheritance on graduation."

"Uncle Alphard."


"Good old bastard," Sirius said with a grin. McGonagall looked reproving.

"As I said, it is not wise to base current decisions on past history," she repeated. "What is it you wish to do with your life, Sirius? Surely there must be something worthwhile. As much as it pains me to admit it, you would be utterly wasted if you did not at least attempt your NEWTs."

"When would I have to register for them?"

"Within the next three weeks, to sit this year's."

Sirius gave her an indecisive look. "Can I have a few more days?"

"Do you imagine your wishes and desires will change within a few days?"

"I think they might, yeah," he answered. "I mean, I think maybe I'll have some."

She regarded him gravely across the desk.

"I have made many exceptions for you already, young man," she said. "I understand your abilities, believe it or not, possibly better than you yourself do. You have done great things, and great things will be expected of you."

He glanced at her sharply.

"Now that your potential is fully understood, you will be weighed against that and not against your fellow students," she continued. "A young man who can complete the Animagus transformation at the age of fifteen does not belong in a sixth-year Transfigurations class, as I think you well know."

"Reckon I wouldn't need to swot that much for Transfigs," he said with a cocky grin.

"You have two weeks in which to make your decisions, Mr. Padfoot," she said firmly. "I cannot give you more time than that. I would suggest you consult those who know you best -- Professor Lupin, and perhaps, though I dread to say it, Mr. Potter." She shuffled some papers on her desk and set them aside. "Off you go to dinner, then."

"Thank you, Headmistress," he said, rising to leave. "I'll give it every consideration."

"Two weeks, no more!" she called after him as the door closed behind him.

  • Previous
  • Next