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Author Notes:

Warning: This chapter includes a slash sex scene and an implied het sex scene.

Sirius had changed back into himself before Harry finished climbing the stairs, feeling oddly dizzy as he did so -- probably an aftereffect of whatever had happened to him in the Forest. When he tried to think about it, his eyes hurt and there was a buzzing in his ears, so he stopped trying. Sirius turned down the bed while Harry fiddled with the buttons on his shirt, feeling a bit strange to be back in a Hogwarts uniform.

"I don't feel that tired," he offered.

"Well, I'm knackered," Sirius said. "And you've got to at least pretend you're resting, so you might as well be thorough about it. I'll go change in the other room if you like."

"No, that's all right..." Harry said. Sirius had seen him next-to-naked once that day already; what did it matter?

He took off his shoes and socks, arranging them neatly next to the bed while Sirius pulled his shirt off over his head and rummaged in a pile of mostly-clean clothing for a t-shirt and some boxers to serve as pyjamas. He tossed a pair of actual pyjama trousers to Harry, who set them on the bed and began to undress. Sirius politely turned away, but that did Harry little good; Sirius was unbuckling his belt, and Harry watched the movements of his shoulderblades in fascination. There was a slight twist to his spine, his right hand drawn back further than his left hand.

Sirius shoved his trousers down and stepped out of them carelessly; Harry looked away and undressed quickly, trousers-first so that by the time Sirius turned around he had already pulled the pyjamas over his hips.

"Do you mind if I'm human for a bit?" Sirius asked. "I don't mind being Padfoot, but I feel like I really want to stretch out."

"No, s'fine," Harry said. Sirius slid between the bedsheets easily, turning his back to Harry and sighing a very Padfoot-like sigh of satisfaction. Harry hesitantly got into the bed also, curling up and wondering if he ought to turn his back too, instead of facing Sirius' back.

He had almost decided to turn when Sirius rolled over and lay on his back, stretching his arms above his head. He wriggled happily and glanced at Harry before Harry could look away.

"It's nice, isn't it?" he asked. "We don't have to think for a full day and a half. No responsibilities until Monday...we can do just as we please."

"Do you think all the Dementors are really gone?" Harry asked. Sirius sighed.

"Does it matter, right here, right now?" he asked.

"It matters to me. I can't stop thinking about things. I wish I could, but just because we say we deserve a few days off doesn't mean we get them. I gave up Hogwarts for this -- I feel like I'm wasting time if I'm not doing something."

"Voldemort is licking his wounds somewhere, you're a hero twice over, we've hit a brick wall with the horcruxes for the moment -- for the moment," Sirius insisted, when Harry opened his mouth to protest. "Remus is working on it, Tonks is making sure nobody else is going to get hurt, and everyone at Hogwarts is more than safe."

"I can't explain it, Sirius," Harry said, the weight and frustration growing more crushing with every reason Sirius gave for him to relax. "It's just so much."

Sirius hadn't turned his head away, his eyes still scanning Harry's face with what Harry realised was true worry. He reached across his own body with his left hand and took Harry's right, pulling the arm out straight and pressing Harry's hand over his chest, covering it with his own.

"We're still alive, Harry," he said softly. "Feel my heart beating? Feel my chest move?"

Harry did feel the steady, calm beat -- calmer than his own, to be sure.

"You don't have to be the leader or the great wizard here. Not here. All you have to be is a living, breathing Harry," Sirius said. Harry closed his eyes, trying to match the rhythm of Sirius' breathing, slow and even. He could feel the other man's thumb stroking the back of his hand soothingly.

"If I stop being him I don't know if I could start again," Harry whispered. Sirius was silent, but Harry felt him shift slightly; he was still holding tight to Harry's hand, and now he began to move it -- over the soft cotton t-shirt, the flaking remains of whatever logo had once been printed on it, up past the collar and over Sirius' throat. Sirius pressed his fingers over his pulse.

"It's all right, Harry," he said. His voicebox vibrated against Harry's palm. He slid his hand further, curving Harry's fingers around his jaw and up across his stubble-rough cheek. Of his own accord, Harry tangled his fingers in Sirius' hair.

Sirius pushed himself up on one elbow and then sat up, turning to face him; Harry curled his hand around the back of Sirius' head and used his body as a prop to lever himself up. Sirius had released his hand and instead run his fingers down Harry's arm, gripping him just below the elbow.

"What did we do?" Harry asked, even as Sirius' other hand raised and he stroked the pad of his thumb across Harry's lips.

"My theory is," Sirius said, "that you overloaded a patronus spell. I think it backlashed," he continued, tilting his head. He kissed the inside of Harry's arm, just below where his hand held Harry's elbow. "I caught you...I said I had you and you shouldn't worry. Then the whole world went white."

Harry was beginning to be glad he hadn't worn a shirt.

"You need to sleep, Harry. I do too. If you're going to fret yourself awake, drastic measures will have to be taken," Sirius said. He smiled in a way that made Harry anxious, but he trusted Sirius -- probably more than he trusted anyone in the world, even Ron and Hermione.

Sirius pushed him down onto his back, releasing his hold on Harry's arm and instead running his hand over Harry's hip, tugging on the waistband of the pyjamas. He bent over Harry and kissed him, almost chastely -- except that as he did it he was also doing his level best to undress Harry.

"As a Healer's technique this is a little unorthodox," Sirius continued, kissing him tantalisingly every few words, just hinting at what was to come with quick strokes of his tongue against Harry's lips. "On the other hand, it should do nicely."

He had already pushed the pyjamas down to Harry's thighs and now his hand moved lightly over the tight, hard erection that made Harry's cheeks flush bright red. Even Ginny hadn't -- well, no-one had ever --

"I like you, Harry," Sirius said, fingers tightening slightly as he stroked. He bent his mouth to Harry's ear and nibbled on his earlobe before he continued. "I like your body -- I want to make you feel good."

Harry had only meant to breathe deeply, but it came out more like a moan, and Sirius laughed a little.

"You need to sleep," he continued, releasing Harry and pushing his pyjamas down until Harry could kick them away. Harry pushed himself up to his elbows, wondering how he must look to Sirius -- naked, clearly aroused and not a little lost, unsure what he ought to do next. Sirius gazed down at him, a small smile on his face.

"All right?" he asked. Harry nodded. Sirius wriggled out of his own clothes with remarkable efficiency and pushed Harry down again, sliding forward under the blankets until he was lying almost-on-top, but not quite, and then he moved a little and Harry moaned so loud that he became suddenly very worried that Remus could hear them down the stairs and through a wall.

"Fuck," Sirius said, and Harry felt his hips jerk once. "Merlin, I -- celosecus -- "

"What -- " Harry managed, before Sirius' hips jerked again and he grunted with the effort of keeping quiet.

"S'all right," Sirius gasped, bending to kiss him more fiercely now than he had. Harry drew one leg up against Sirius' thigh and rocked his hips, which made Sirius gasp again. "Silencing spell -- for this kind of thing -- "

"Right," Harry replied, head spinning. It felt as though Sirius was touching every inch of his body and he still didn't have enough touch, enough -- hot fast slide of bodies, sweat-slick, Sirius' tongue in his mouth, Sirius arching against him. Their cocks rubbing together, a point-counterpoint rhythm created when Sirius bucked and touched just there which made Harry rock his hips again. It was difficult, almost jarring -- just when he thought he'd die if Sirius touched him again, Sirius touched him again and it got better.

"Harry," Sirius moaned, pressing his face to Harry's neck. "Feels -- fuck -- good. Want you, want you to -- "

"Yeah," Harry answered, breathlessly. Sirius was using his arms for an extra bit of leverage, so Harry curled his own arms around Sirius' sides and up over his back, gripping his shoulders. Sirius, feeling his fingers dig in, bit Harry's neck and jerked again and Harry felt his whole body arch as he came, crying out.

Sirius licked at the bite he'd inflicted and said "Yes," in a deep, rough voice even before Harry had settled back in the bed. Harry hoped like all fuck that it meant Sirius had come too, because he wasn't sure he could breathe, let alone move. It seemed like it; Sirius had collapsed on top of him, kissing and nuzzling Harry's throat. Harry slid one hand up through Sirius' damp hair, stroking it gently.

"Hells, Harry," Sirius said against his skin, and Harry laughed a little. "If I'd known you were that good a fuck I'd have pinned you down and fucked you senseless a month ago."

"You haven't lost the chance," Harry pointed out.

"Mm. Warm Harry," Sirius said, shifting his weight a little to get, if it were possible, closer still. "Sleepy now?"

"Sticky," Harry said.

"I did my part keeping Remus from coming up to investigate," Sirius said. Harry rolled his eyes and cleaned them off with a scourgify, which he quickly discovered was a rather ticklish spell to use on one's nether regions. "Ta, you're a mate," Sirius said, nipping the skin on his throat more gently than he had. He murmured a charm and Harry felt the sting of the bitemark fade.

"I didn't think it would be..." Harry swallowed. "Like that."

Sirius tilted his head to look up at him. "You didn't hate it, did you?"

"No! No, the other way," Harry said quickly. "Um. That was a lot better than. Well, anything really."

"Better than Ginny Weasley?" Sirius asked with a wicked grin.

"We never got that far," Harry answered, enjoying the way Sirius' breath puffed against his skin when he talked. He stifled a yawn, badly.

"Well, you may now consider yourself debauched by a man of extremely easy virtue," Sirius said. "Feeling a bit less tense?"

"A bit," Harry admitted, not bothering to hide the yawn this time. He closed his eyes, grateful now for the bed, the blankets and soft pillows that really were quite comfortable.

"Just think," Sirius mumbled sleepily, settling down against Harry with one arm flung over his chest. "When you wake up we can do it all over again."


Harry did not, in fact, wake up to sex. This would have been nice, but it was really all right that it was postponed. Instead he woke to Sirius, face smashed against his ribcage, fingers curled around his side, his body a reassuring heavy weight on Harry's hips like an anchor. Clearly, while Sirius had missed the buzz that came with being literally thrown out of one's own shoes, he'd missed the several hours of involuntary sleep as well. Harry wondered if Sirius had slept at all between the battle in the Forest and the point at which they'd returned to Fourteen Back.

He also wondered what time it was, since the grey light in the loft didn't seem to indicate day or night. For all he knew they could have slept through most of Saturday and it could already be Sunday. He turned his head and squinted at the clock on the wall -- half-seven. Well, that was no help at all.

Harry gently removed Sirius' hand from his waist and slid out from under him, trying not to wake him. Sirius let out a doglike whine at the loss of heat and touch, but he curled up against a twist in the blanket and slept on while Harry located enough clothing to make himself respectable and descended to the living room. It was empty, but he heard voices in the kitchen; it sounded like Remus and Tonks, and it smelled vaguely like dinner.

He put his head through the doorway and was confronted with the sight of Tonks, her back pressed up against the kitchen wall, one leg hooked over Remus' hip and both hands on his shoulders while he kissed her in ways Harry had been perfectly happy not knowing his former professor was even aware of. Oh god, he had his hand up her shirt --

"Christ! Harry!" Tonks said, shoving Remus away so suddenly that he stumbled. "Don't you knock?"

"What would I knock on?" Harry asked, blinking. She straightened her clothes and glared at him; Remus smoothed his hair back (which only resulted in it standing even more on end than it had been) and coughed.

"Sorry, Harry," he said awkwardly. "We thought you were still asleep."

"You might have made more noise on the stairs," Tonks said sulkily.

"Believe me, I would have if I'd known," Harry answered.

"Ah, well, at any rate..." Remus said, clearing his throat, "'re awake now, and clearly feeling better, yes? Sirius up as well?"

"He's still asleep," Harry answered. "I wasn't sure how long we'd been out."

"It's just about time for dinner -- I was going to wake you when it was ready," Remus said, gesturing vaguely at the oven. "Did you sleep well?"

Harry smiled to himself. "Yeah, I did. How are things in Hogsmeade?" he asked Tonks, who was still looking annoyed at being interrupted.

"Safe as houses, I suppose," she said, sitting down at the kitchen table. Remus went to the oven to check on whatever it was that smelled so good. "We think they were going to send in the Dementors first, then follow after -- not through the forest, but down the Hogsmeade road. Most of them scattered when they saw what was happening, I think. We got four," she said with satisfaction. "Can't prove they were involved, of course, but we're bound to find something that'll give them a few months in Azkaban, anyway."

"No-one important?" Harry asked.

"Afraid not. Still, it was a good day's work. Humans are a lot less durable and annoying than Dementors," she said. "And we've probably earned ourselves a week's grace while they regroup. We can press that advantage -- sweeps in Knockturn, raids, that kind of thing."

"She's forgetting important news," Remus said, leaning against the counter next to the oven and beaming. "Go on, Tonks, tell him."

She laughed. "It's nothing, really."

"It's not nothing! It's a lot," he insisted.

"I've been promoted," she told Harry. "But! It doesn't mean anything! I'll still be out in the field."

"But that's great! What to?" Harry asked.

"Supervisory field agent for special missions," she said. "It just means that they think I should be able to give orders when we're doing this kind of thing."

"It's huge, Tonks," Remus said. "It means they know that you're competent and you keep your head in a crisis and that they see what good work you're doing. It's good for the Order, too -- word will get round that Order-trained Aurors make promotion faster."

"And it pays more," Tonks said. "Which'll make dad happy, he's always griping about them underpaying me."

She did look happy; her hair was bright, electric pink and she was smiling even as she denied it was anything special. Harry glanced at Remus, who looked as if he was about to burst with pride.

"A Head of House and a Supervisory Field Agent," Harry said. "The school drop-out had better start keeping up soon or you'll be embarrassed to be seen in public with me."

"Oh! Never, Harry," Tonks said, suddenly concerned. "You don't think that, do you?"

"You oughtn't," Remus said. "You're doing a brilliant job, Harry. We just destroyed nearly half of Voldemort's army -- with the werewolves still sorting themselves out, the only nonhumans he has left are the giants, and he can't use those for close-fighting. Once we destroy the horcruxes, the way is clear."

"Any news about that?" Harry asked. "Hermione's notes help?"

"Some," Remus said thoughtfully. "I can see now we have been going about it wrong. There's just nothing about horcruxes anywhere so that won't help. We have to discover how the spell works, how the soul works, then go back from there. We're making progress on that. It's too bad you destroyed the diary -- that would have been really useful."

"I don't think Tom would have been very cooperative," Harry murmured.

"No, probably not," Remus agreed. "But it's the only horcrux where we know that the fragment of soul could interact with people as an autonomous being. We don't know if that's an enchantment he put on the diary or if it's just a byproduct of a diary full of memories being made into a horcrux. You have to destroy them, at least in part -- you stabbed the diary, didn't you?"

Harry nodded. "It bled ink."

"Weird!" Tonks said, interestedly.

"And Dumbledore's ring -- the stone itself was cracked," Remus said. "There's no obvious way with the cup, but perhaps if we could open the locket, that would be enough. We're reaching a stage where we may have to start experimenting -- "

"No," Harry said flatly.

"Harry, we might not have a choice."

"No," Harry repeated. "Dumbledore died breaking the stone -- he might as well have, I mean," he said. "Nobody else is going to die for some stupid trinket. Definitely not you or Hermione."

Remus glanced at the cupboard where the horcruxes lay under lock and key. "There's no reward without risk, Harry."

"This isn't a risk I'm willing to take. Too many people have died because of them -- Sirius' brother, Dumbledore, everyone who had to die to make one or because they had a....a thing he wanted," Harry said. "They stink like death and nobody touches them until we know how to destroy them."

Tonks looked surprised, but not defiant; Remus bent his head and sighed.

"I can't say I agree with that stance, Harry, but it's not my place to order you to do anything. We still have a few avenues of exploration," he said resignedly.

"Sorry, Remus," Harry said. Remus shook his head.

"I can understand, believe me." And to cover for whatever else he might have said, he bent and checked the oven. "It looks like being done -- should we wake Sirius?"

"I'll do it," Harry said, as Remus removed an entire roasted chicken from the oven and began spooning the vegetables around it into a dish.

Upstairs, Sirius was still asleep, leg kicking once in a while; he slept like a dog, Harry decided, restless and reactive. He shook Sirius' shoulder, enjoying the smooth feel of his skin -- Sirius hadn't dressed before falling asleep and only a fold of the blankets was really preserving his dignity.

"Huz?" Sirius asked, eyes opening. "Whuz?"

"It's dinner," Harry said. Sirius rubbed his eyes and blinked at him as he sat up. "Food's ready, if you want to come down. You can sleep through if you like, we'll save you something."


"Dinner," Harry repeated, amused. Sirius shook his head to clear it. "Dinner's ready."

"Oh! Fine," Sirius said, and then something seemed to occur to him. "Did we shag last night?"

"Not last night," Harry said. "This morning."

"But we did?"

Harry nodded. Sirius grinned and kissed him, which was unexpected but not unwelcome.

"Good," he said against Harry's lips. "That's very good. And now there's food?"

Harry laughed. "Get dressed and come down. Tonks has news."

Sirius slid out of bed and reached blindly for clothing while Harry cleaned out the pockets of the cleaned and folded clothing he'd been wearing yesterday, before the explosion (they had a note pinned to the top, from Dobby, expressing his great pleasure at being allowed to mend several holes in Harry Potter's trousers). He transferred his wand and a handful of coins from one pocket, throwing out some carefully-folded up toffee wrappers from another. In the left-front he found his pocket-watchdog, one leg badly dented -- well, that explained the strangely-shaped bruise on his left leg. He rubbed his thumb in the dent, thoughtfully, then flicked open the watch-side. Miraculously, it looked like it was still keeping time.

Bring sweets made perfect sense now, actually; if he hadn't had those chocolate toffees in his pocket, he might have died there in the forest. He regarded the little pewter bulldog with renewed affection. He flicked the watch-cover shut and turned it over, shaking it and opening the divination side.

"Telling your fortune?" Sirius asked, not bothering with a real shave but pointing his wand at his chin and muttering.

"Just glad it's still working," Harry replied, showing him the dent. Wispy pale words were appearing against the black.

Trust not in trinkets but in men;
Trust not in heat but in flame.

"That's about the most cryptic I've ever heard it," Sirius said when Harry read it aloud.

"Well, it hasn't exactly been wrong yet," Harry replied.

"Yeah, but it hasn't been helpful, has it?"

"It's pretty clear. Voldemort doesn't trust not in trinkets but in men. I just called the horcruxes trinkets when I was talking with Remus."

"Yeah? What's he say about 'em?"

"He wants to start experimenting on them. I told him no."

"Yours to dispose of as you please, eh?" Sirius asked.

"What's that mean?" Harry demanded.

"Well, they don't belong to you."

"They don't belong to Voldemort, either!"

"Quite right -- my brother stole them. And entrusted them to my care," Sirius pointed out. Harry scowled, and Sirius grinned and kissed him before walking away to fetch his red robes off the chair, settling them around his shoulders.

"I'm only teasing, Potter. I don't want the blasted things. Now, if it turns out number six was some artefact of the Blacks, then I'll claim it after we purge it -- hey, there's a thought. Do you suppose Regulus found out about them because Voldemort asked him for something the family owned?"

"Most of it's accounted for," Harry replied. "Tonks even tracked down the stuff Dung sold off. We went through the rest of it."

"Might've asked him to procure something, still. Clearly Reg was holding out on me, I never knew he was such a good thief," Sirius said, looking down at the seal-ring on his finger. "Wish he was still around to ask."

Harry wasn't sure what to reply. Other than Sirius himself, he'd never lost someone he remembered with any clarity -- except Dumbledore, and that wound was too raw still. He wasn't sure he'd be comfortable telling the man who'd shared his bed last night that he missed the man who'd been his godfather -- not when they were one and the same person.

Fortunately, he was interrupted by a soft warble and the rustling of feathers; he turned and found Glastonbury perched on the banister-railing behind him, cocking his bright red head curiously. Sirius whistled and held up his arm. Glastonbury flapped across the room, landing on his forearm and disarraying his hair with his beak.

"Ooer, stop it!" Sirius laughed. Glastonbury looked contented and rubbed his head against Sirius' cheek. "Maybe it's about Glas," he said to Harry. "Not heat but flame, right?"

"Maybe," Harry said, grinning. Glastonbury flapped his wings, tugging Sirius' sleeve towards the stairs, and both boys took the hint. By the time they had descended the table was set and Remus and Tonks were already divvying up the chicken. Sirius took his seat at Harry's right; Harry felt Sirius' left hand under the table, sliding quickly over his thigh before releasing it.

He shot a sidelong grin at Sirius and turned his attention to dinner. After all, he was supposed to be in bed from now until Sunday night, and he could forsee that this might end up taking a great deal of energy to accomplish.

After dinner, however, he found himself exhausted by the effort of eating and listening to conversation -- apparently he wasn't as well as he thought, and he was grateful to let Sirius prop him up on his shoulder and help him upstairs, as much for the support of his body as for the warm fingers that rubbed his hip reassuringly while they climbed the stairs. Sirius wouldn't even let him speak; before he could make his excuses, Padfoot had leapt up on the bed and was burrowing under the blankets, rolling them back. Harry grinned and took off his trousers, too tired to do more than climb into bed and let Padfoot curl up against him.

"Morning, maybe?" he asked, and Padfoot panted cheerfully before nuzzling close and closing his eyes.


"Aren't you glad you bought new clothes now?" Tonks asked, straightening the edges of Remus' best robe. It was deep red and brown, and he was quite fond of it in the way people are fond of art; he liked to see it hanging in his wardrobe and was terrified of wearing it. It had been years since he'd worn something so nice; something about which he would be truly upset if it were torn or stained.

"This isn't what I had in mind when I picked it out," Remus said. "Are my cuffs straight? They aren't, are they. I should have had it tailored."

She examined his sleeves critically. "Well, dad won't care if they are or not, and mum's going to find fault with you no matter what your cuffs look like, so I wouldn't worry."

"You're not reassuring me, Tonks."

"I thought you liked it when I pretended to be a realist," she said, kissing him. Sirius and Harry made gagging noises from the couch near the hearth where Remus stood stalling for time, hoping that if he didn't acknowledge that it was five-forty on Sunday, it would never be five forty-five and time for them to leave.

"Well, I don't mind that," he said, wrapping one arm very carefully (wrinkles! the sleeves would wrinkle!) around her waist and kissing her again, just to annoy the boys.

"Get a room!" Sirius hooted.

"Ignore him. He's only being obnoxious because he's glad he doesn't have to pass muster with mum," she said.

"Still not reassuring," Remus said with a sigh.

"Come on, you know her, you've met her loads of times."

"Loads of times twenty years ago, when incidentally she was completely unaware that I was a werewolf. And when she was just Padfoot's interesting older cousin," he protested.

"Yes, back when I was just his gawky cousin once removed," she said.

"Don't remind me, I'm sure your mum already thinks I'm some kind of -- "

" -- if you say cradle robber I shall shriek and send you through all alone," Tonks threatened. Remus sighed. "Don't worry so much. If it's any consolation, dad'll go easy on you to make up for mum. Besides, you're a Gryffindor. Up house and all."

"But your mum's a Slytherin!"

"She'll love you," Tonks said, taking his hand. "I promise. She'll show you her library and you'll be you and she'll think you're a delightful gentleman."

"She's going to see through me. She'll see that I'm just an old -- "

" -- distinguished -- "

" -- dangerous -- "

" -- exciting -- "

" -- impoverished -- "

" -- Head of House!"

"Werewolf," he finished. She grinned at him, then looked past him at Harry and Sirius.

"Don't get into trouble, boys," she said.

"We're just going to sit here and play chess," Sirius said innocently.

"My eye you are," she replied, tossing a handful of floo powder into the fireplace and stepping inside. She pulled Remus after her and wrapped her arms around him. "The Eagles, London!" she called, and they vanished from view. There was a moment of silence as the fire died down, and then Sirius glanced at Harry.

"Chess," Harry said distantly.


"That was a euphemism for the two of us desecrating this couch beyond reasonable repair?"

"Oh, yes," Sirius said, grinning evilly. "And possibly at least one of the wing chairs."

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