Author's Notes: Beta credits: Without my betas Saj and Silver Rising I would have been lost. I'm ever so grateful to them for pointing out all these mistakes I have not realised.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the character that appear in this story. They belong to JK Rowling, Bloomsbury, Warner Bros. and Scholastic. I don't make or intend to make money of them.
It's A long Way Home
By Donna Immaculata
Buying a house in Hogsmeade was a temporary solution, for Harry's sake. Having wasted fourteen years, Sirius was not willing to waste any more and decided that he wanted to see his godson as often as possible, meaning on every Hogsmeade weekend, and at Hagrid's or Dumbledore's tea parties, whenever the occasion might occur.
In three years time, after Harry's leaving Hogwarts, they would move away. The boy would have to find a profession which suited him, and he himself did not fancy staying in a tiny village, where Muggle-phobic, traditionalistic witches and wizards have lived generation for inbred generation and for whom a pardoned ex-convict was nothing else than a welcome gossip object - an object of pity in the best, one of mistrust in the worst case. He was so, so tired of the gazes following him wherever he went, so tired of the half-compassionate, half-fearful looks he received. It was time to move to a place where it would be easier to augment the anonymity he so longed for. With the money he was finally able to retrieve from his Gringotts account, he would be able to settle down anywhere he wished, and maybe eventually, he could make his dream come true to go and live in the bustling centre of London; Diagon Alley. That is where the real life was.
His dream. Remus' dream. James' dream. He wondered whether it would be James' son's dream as well, or whether, after his highly eventful school years, Harry would prefer some quiet place to live. On the other hand, Harry might hunger for the real world, seeing as Hogwarts has been the only place Harry has ever had experience with as a home - Hogwarts, and that damn cupboard under the stairs.
The shatter of the glass in his hand brought him back to his senses. As though awaking from a bad dream, Sirius stared at his palm, where shallow cuts criss-crossed the pale skin.
Not good. These lapses, moments of lack of control - they were not exactly decreasing. At first, he had attributed them to the fact that after many years in Azkaban, on the run, and as a dog, he was not exactly himself. But he had time to recover for a couple of months now. Ever since Snape -
No! He would certainly not think of Snape, not at his own party. He was supposed to be enjoying himself, wasn't he?
Dumbledore had tried to comfort him by saying that after what he had been through, it was only normal that he had to readjust to return to his normal self. The problem was, Sirius was not sure what his normal self had been.
Snape, on the other hand, had said that one or five or twenty years in St. Mungo's should serve to make Sirius a functioning human being. He had not said "again."
Sirius sighed. The alcohol did not exactly help in getting his thoughts straight, but it was a good party, and he certainly deserved some fun. He was only roaming the garden, because after two years on the run, two years during which he had almost exclusively slept under the open air, the crowded room had simply become too sticky, too oppressive after a while. He would go back in a minute - if only to get some more booze.
"The Dog Star's bright tonight," said a slurry voice behind him, and in turning around, Sirius saw a very drunk Bill Weasley, giggling at his own very silly joke. Sirius grinned in response. He liked Bill. He liked Bill for being Ron's brother as well as for being himself. Hell, he liked the whole damn family, for being the way they were and for what they were to Harry. Bill was holding two glasses filled with a liquid Sirius did not care to examine any closer at the moment. He might rethink his attitude in the morning, but now, he just wanted to get truly and thoroughly pissed. And Bill's company promised exactly that.
He grabbed the glass Bill handed him with an unsteady hand (that is to say, the hands of both of them were unsteady, all four, if it came to this, and if he continued to drink like that, Sirius was surely likely to see four hands on each one of them, four hands belonging to one and the same person... No, his mind certainly did not cooperate in the right way, either... Damn!) Sirius shook his head to get rid of the fog right behind his eyes and realised that far from being straight and ordered at all, his thoughts strayed to the vision of Bill Weasley's having - and using - four slender, deft hands, and he could not remember how the fuck he had gotten there. Nice image, though. Disturbing, but nice nevertheless. A thought struck him, and he decided to share it with his drinking companion. His friend.
"I used to have four hands at one time, too. Legs, that is. Paws," he said seriously, annoyed about the way his words were coming out slightly slurred. Bill seemed not to notice.
"Yeah. I know. That's so weird. I mean, you being ananima... animagus and all. Jus' like McGonna'all. Imagin' wearing this tartan dress robe of hers... in bed," Bill seemed highly amused by the image he had conjured before his mind's eye.
"Cannot. Too short," said Sirius curtly, taking a good sip from his glass. Strange mix. Must ask Bill whether he mixed it himself - with these four hands of his, he was surely a good bartender. Deft. Sirius felt a silly grin spread over his face.
"You know, Sirius, that's good of you bringing it forward," said Bill, seating himself on a low stone wall and beckoning Sirius to join him. "You know, you animagi ... you see the world different, right?" He seemed a bit more sober now, but this might be due to the fact that while sitting, he did not have to concentrate on keeping his balance so much, and could put all his effort into bringing out the words in a comprehensible manner. Sirius sat.
"Different, yeah! We understand animals, we do. And tell you what, Bill," he leaned towards the other man confidentially. "You know I'm almost a vegetarian. Almost! Must only stop eating meat."
"You're kidding!," said Bill. "And it's not even remotely funny, it isn't," he observed as an afterthought, while Sirius was shaken by silent giggles.
"Actually, I'm not," replied Sirius, suddenly very clearly. "Remus' vegetarian, you know? He hopes he can quench his lust for blood, asa wolf, if he does not stimulate the ... blood taste buds, or something, I don't know..."
"What's it like?" asked Bill eagerly after an awkward pause. "Being in another body, I mean?"
"Weird," Sirius said. "Strange. Asin - foreign. Alien, you know? The world around you changes. And I don't mean that it's only the pers... pe'spective that changes - that too, granted - but the actual world. Fucking reality changes. Things don't seem different, they are different. Completely. I'm not explaining this well, not in my state at any rate. Listen, I can tell you everything about animagi trans...formation when I'm... I mean when we both... not quite as rat-arsed as we are now," he finished vehemently, taking another sip of his drink.
"No, that's fine, I want you drunk." Bill frowned. "This came out wrong, somehow. Infact," he continued, "I'm glad we're both in this sorry state, cause it's easier to ask you about how much animals notice of human sex. Humans havin' sex, I mean."
Bill paused and emptied his glass in one huge gulp. Sirius stared at him.
"I don't know," he said finally.
"C'mon, Sirius, you must know. I mean, you've beena dog some time or other."
"Yes, but... Look, during the last two years, right, I hardly met humans at all, and certainly not when they were shagging or something, and anyway, when I'm a dog, I'm not a dog, right? I mean, I'm me. Human. I know what humans are doing when they're doing it. Right?"
"Yeah but... wha' it's like for you? Asa dog, I mean. I mean, isit somehow... real? You say reality's different, and so do you, asa dog, consider shagging people shagging? Or are they just a couple of weirdos making funny noises?"
"Is the scent." Sirius voice sounded almost firm, were it not for the tell-tale slurring of the sibilants. Oh sweet Merlin, he was so pissed, and this gorgeous man next to him asked him about what it felt like to smell human sex. He was so fucked.
"Good scent, is it?" grinned Bill. "Does it affect you, asa dog?"
"Supposeso. Can't remember. Why you wanna know, anyway? Consider getting yourself a pet?"
"I had a pet. Percy, that is. I mean, Percy had a pet. And Ron, too. Had a pet, I mean," Bill said.
Sirius turned pale. And sober.
Merlin's beard! This boy's family had been playing host to that worthless ... rat! That scum! How could he have forgotten?!
"And so, you see, the rat was infact human, and so, he was hangin' around our place all the time, and I dunno how much he noticed, I mean, we were teenagers, right, and a house full with teenage boys, you know what it's like, right?" Bill uttered the words without catching breath.
"And I mean, I know you don't wanna talk about him, and you will hate me tomorrow, but I reckon I wanna know, what sorta man he was, because... fucking hell! He watched me wank off, goddammit, and it sorta... freaks me out, I guess."
"Often?" asked Sirius, not able to stop himself.
"Often? Did he watch you, I mean?"
Merlin, Sirius, you're a fucking freak. Pathetic.
"Dunno. Often, I suppose. I mean, if you don't wanna talk about it, it's fine, it's not as horrible as what happened to... others, but I sorta feel..." he trailed off, helplessly.
"I don't know what sort of man he was," admitted Sirius in a low voice, shifting nervously on his stony seat. He felt entirely sober now. "I thought I knew him. I was wrong. We all were."
Through the fog in his head, Bill must have realised the sudden change in Sirius. He looked at the other man closely, forcing his eyes to focus properly.
"You're sobering up," he said.
"Quite literally so."
"Don't be. I'm sorry I can't tell you more. But... I can't."
"He wasn't a pervert, was he? Fancying younger boys? Percy was only five when this fucking rat turned up, bloody hell!"
"I don't know. I've always thought he fancied Remus. But they were the same age." Even in his drunken state, Bill realised that Sirius spoke about Pettigrew as though he were dead. Which he probably was, one way or another.
"And everyone fancied Remus, anyway," Sirius said, smiling fondly at the memory.
"He was... a mystery inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma," said Sirius, still smiling at his memories. "Had cute freckles, too."
"That doesn't answer my question."
"I like freckles."
Sirius, you utter prat! He thought, panic-stricken, in the ringing silence. You could just as well get down on your hands and knees and shout 'Come on, Bill, fuck me already!'
"Did Pettigrew like freckles?" came Bill's quiet voice. "Because he certainly liked watching my hands when I was wanking off. They're freckled, see?" To emphasise his point, he turned his right hand palm-downwards, hovering it inches above Sirius' thigh.
Sirius' breath caught.
"Maybe it wasn't your hands he was watching," he risked.
"I'm glad you like freckles," says Bill later that night. "I can almost forgive Scabbers for having liked them, too."
"Maybe it wasn't your freckles he liked."
Sirius turns over on the bed, sighs happily, and lays one arm across the other man's chest. Bill's freckled hand comes up and starts caressing his arm in slow, lazy circles.
"You've got nice fingers, too, you know," says Sirius.
"And a nice cock. Very firm."
"You don't want to talk about it?"
"What? My cock?"
"The rat. What he did. You were quite freaked out before."
"I was. And I am, I suppose. It was... the realisation suddenly dawned. I had known it for quite a while now, but tonight, meeting you and Remus, and Ron and Harry, brought up the memory of the rat up, too, and I suddenly remembered this one night, when I came back from school for the Christmas holidays, and it was the first time in months I had some privacy, not having to use the common showers, and so I had all the time in the world to indulge in my fantasy. And I did," Bill grins at the memory.
"Good fantasy, was it?" Sirius observes, grinning also.
"Yes. Yes, pretty good. Well, it worked for me.
"Anyway, the rat was perched on top of Mum's freshly laundered towels, and I didn't consider it twice to -"
"- indulge in your fantasy -"
"- indulge in my fantasy, yes." Bill's tone becomes serious again. "I was thinking about it tonight. Couldn't get it out of my mind, somehow. I even remember the expression on his face, all screwed up and... horny, I suppose. But that's nonsense. A rat doesn't look horny."
Sirius isn't too sure about it. The sight of an adolescent Bill Weasley masturbating at his leisure in the shower would definitely make Padfoot look horny. He voices his opinion.
"Oh, but Padfoot's you. And you're allowed. Even welcome. In fact," Bill turns around and on his side, facing Sirius and traces the curve of his temple, cheekbone, down to the stubbly chin with one long, freckled finger, "I like this expression."
Sirius' hand comes to rest between Bill's shoulder blades, where it starts to stroke the soft skin on its own accord. Lovely. Bill is simply lovely. All milky white, unblemished skin covered with hundreds of lovely freckles. Adorable. He tilts his head, brushing his lips against the other man's. Bill opens his mouth invitingly, his slim tongue snaking between Sirius' lips. Their kiss intensifies and Bill moans, but before Sirius can roll on top of the other and claim this beautiful slender body once again, a vision flashes up before his inner eye, and he rolls on his back instead, swearing under his breath.
"What's the matter?" Bill raises his head, bemused.
"Nothing," lies Sirius. His right arm comes up to cover his face, his eyes. His left hand is still resting on Bill's right, their fingers loosely entwined.
Bill does not say anything, but Sirius can feel the intensity of his stare. He gives up his attempt to hide and moves his arm away. Opens his eyes.
"I'm sorry," he offers lamely. He cannot say more. He cannot tell Bill that he has just seen Remus. Remus, with his grey, tired face. Remus, with his serious gaze. His warm smile. Fond. Seeing other men while in bed with one's lover is a big Don't, Sirius knows. And so he remains silent.
"It's okay. If you don't want to," says Bill. "I mean - we don't have to, really. Just lying in your arms is enjoyable enough." His words are accompanied by a broad grin. Too broad. Too bright. Sirius feels the intensity of the emotion Bill tries to mask pouring over him, drowning him in its depth. He swallows hard.
"It's not..." Sirius begins, trailing off. "I don't..." He pauses again. Bill waits, staring up at the ceiling, his breathing shallow. "I do find you attractive, but - it's a bit too quick, I suppose. I wasn't prepared for it to happen, and now I'm a little overwhelmed." He feels Bill withdraw his hand gently and is forcefully hit by the immediate sensation of a great loss.
Bill raises from the bed and starts getting dressed in silence. Sirius does not make any attempt to stop him.
"I'm sorry," he repeats. He is. Sorry and sad and very, very confused. His hand feels cold where Bill's fingers have been touching it.
"It's okay," repeats Bill. He is dressed now. He does not meet Sirius' gaze.
"Bill," says Sirius earnestly, propping himself up at his elbow. "I am no longer used to. Closeness. Intimacy. I can't handle it."
He feels immensely relieved when Bill looks back at him. "You're still on the run," says the younger man, and his voice is void of any reproach. "I hope you'll find your destination soon."
"So do I." Sirius is not surprised about the image of Remus' face his brain conjures up at these words. "So do I."
Bill smiles sadly. He bends down and cups Sirius' face gently in his right hand. "Goodbye," he whispers, placing one last, soft kiss on the other man's lips.
The kiss did not come unexpected, but still came as a shock, if not to his mind yet to his senses. Sirius had not exactly been in the position to indulge in intimate contact with other humans for a long time, and although he had tried to improve his situation since he was a free man, the opportunities were fairly rare. Most people seemed to shy away from him, suffering from a burden of collective guilt, and treated him with an annoyingly distant politeness, and he himself was not the most trusting person in the world. In fact, in spite of his dramatic craving for human touch, he most often flinched back from it when it was actually applied.
Bill's kiss took him by surprise. In his wildest dreams, Sirius had not expected to get off with any of his guests that night; some former teachers, Harry and his friends, the Weasleys. Remus, of course. Snape had been invited - politely - and had just as politely declined. Both felt that the truce was too fresh and too shaky to be tried under difficult conditions.
The moment Sirius realised Bill was pulling him, the pull had already been too forceful to resist. He fell.
The slim hand hovering over his thigh lowered slowly, until he could feel the gentle pressure applied by Bill's fingers just above his knee cap. He kept staring down at the hand, unable to raise his eyes and to look the other man in the face. Damn these Dementors, the wasted years! He felt like a fucking virgin. He had never felt so much a virgin, even at the time he had been one.
The pressure increased almost imperceptibly, and Sirius decided that, in case he did not want this to end before it even began, he had to offer some response.
His own hand came up and he began to slowly trace a track from Bill's wrist all the length up to the tip of his index finger. There he flattened his palm, pressing it on the back of Bill's hand. Gripping around.
Bill spread his fingers.
Invitation! thought Sirius dizzily, as he entwined his fingers with the other man's, increasingly confident. Pressed Bill's hand hard on his thigh. Lifted his head.
Bill was staring at him wide-eyed, dead focused and unblinking. The familiar sensation of seconds stretching into eternity had just returned to Sirius, and the sheer joy about being able to experience this precious feeling again boosted his courage in an instant, and he let himself be pulled towards Bill, meeting the other's mouth with hungry eagerness.
After this, his memory became rather blurred. Later, he remembered feeling Bill's lips part under his and feeling the other man moaning under his kisses. Judging from Bill's reactions, Sirius' mouth seemed to remember exactly what to do. While his tongue and lips were happily practising their old skills, he felt Bill's hand sliding up his thigh to cup his hard cock through his trousers. Sirius gasped.
Bill tilted his head back. "Alright? You wanna?"
"Mmh," Sirius moaned, giving his consent. He had not realised he was so hard it hurt.
He had to see his guests off. Sirius almost snorted with laughter. He was spread on top of the - rather cold and hard - stone wall and covered with Bill Weasley's long body, their respective thighs pressed tightly between each other's legs, and was thinking about his duties as a host.
Bill raised his head slightly, red hair falling into his face, obscuring it from view.
"Your parents," gasped Sirius. Bill tensed and jerked up his head, looking around frantically.
"No, you prat. I've got to say goodbye. And your brothers. Don't want little to Ron catch you like this, do you?" He grinned. "And little Fred and George, for that matter."
"Do they want to go?"
"They do. Now."
He entered his living room unsteadily, looking around in a haze. They all seemed to be chatting rather happily, with the exception of Ginny, who looked rather sleepy, and Harry and Ron, who looked completely wasted. He caught Remus' eye. Remus smiled. He had always been able to tell what Sirius had been up to. Could probably smell it, fucking werewolf.
"Sirius, dear, I'm afraid we must go," he heard Mrs. Weasley's voice. "Ginny's falling asleep, and as for these young men here..." her voice quivered with indignation as she pointed to Harry and Ron, who were sucking happily on their glasses filled with what bore strong resemblance to the stuff that had catapulted Bill Weasley into that happy mood of his. "They are certainly not fit to use the floo! I've got no idea how we are supposed to get them back home!"
"Molly, you forget that the whole point of our little gathering here was the fact that we celebrate Sirius' finally being able to offer Harry a home," joined in Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling. "I dare say, Ron can safely stay here with Harry."
"Oh, all right then," said Mrs. Weasley impatiently. "Arthur, you get Ginny. Fred, George - where have they got to - ah, there you are, boys. Come on, we're flooing back home!"
"Where's Bill?" asked George - or Fred - looking around.
"And you too, Hermione. I'm not letting you stay here to witness the undignified behaviour of three drunken men in the morning," continued Mrs. Weasley, prodding her children towards the fireplace.
"Bill's in the garden. He's quite drunk. I'm afraid he's not quite up to flooing either. Or Apparating," explained Sirius, painfully aware of the twitching in his pants as well as of Remus' mild gaze resting on him. But when he looked up to his friend, he saw Remus sitting in his chair with his head slightly bent, apparently watching his own hands intently. His eyes were obscured from view, and Sirius was unable to tell what he was thinking merely from the way his mouth was curving up.
"Thank you so much, Sirius, for taking care of our irresponsible boys," Mr. Weasley was saying now. "I'm sure Bill can bring Ron home safely tomorrow."
"I'm sure he can." Sirius flinched. He had not heard his friend approach. "Bill is certainly a very responsible young man." Remus looked tired again, Sirius noticed. The greyish hue on his face had vanished, but he did not look entirely healthy, either. The realisation that he should rather invite his old friend to stay over night instead of following his own carnal urges hit him forcefully. His throat tightened and he swallowed spasmodically, a bitter taste in his mouth.
In the next instant, it was gone. Remus looked up at him, and the look in his friend's eyes was as mild and open as ever. Open, but not revealing anything, thought Sirius. If that's not a contradiction.
"Take care." Remus voice was even, and he smiled amiably, before he stepped into the floo that carried him away from Sirius' life.
At least this was how Sirius felt when he slowly walked back into the garden, after everyone but Harry and Ron had left, and the latter ones were snoring heartily in Harry's room, happily oblivious of the massive hangover that awaited them in a few hours time.
"They're gone," said Sirius seating himself next to Bill and handing the other man a glass of water. He felt strangely sober now, and not in a pleasant way. The feeling he had missed something important, something that regarded Remus, was nagging at him, and he found it difficult to find it back into the happy horny haze of his previous drunkenness.
"Having second thoughts?" asked Bill, his gaze averted and his voice pointedly unconcerned, sipping on his water.
Sirius pondered the question. Was he? Not as far as Bill was concerned, no.
He shook his head.
"Wanna go inside, then?" asked Bill, now sounding a bit uncertain.
Sirius took a deep breath. He wanted to. He wanted Bill. Everything else could wait.
The happy horny haze might have left him for good, but Sirius was happy to realise that his focus had returned to normal and that he could concentrate better on... well, everything, really. He took in the way Bill's hair danced around his face while the other man pushed him gently onto the bed and leaned over him with a hungry look in his eyes. He admired the smooth curve of Bill's collarbone just visible above his shirt collar. He savoured the feeling of Bill's slender hand wrapped around his cock and stroking slowly yet firmly. Sirius felt his head fall back while his hips arched up pushing his cock into this delightful friction. Bill's unoccupied hand sneaked around Sirius' hip and urged him to lift up a fraction. Sirius gasped. Bill's thumb caressed the sensitive hollow underneath his hipbone, his other hand still pumping forcefully.
"I want to feel you." Sirius' voice was thick, raspy. "Come here."
Later, he tasted Bill. He had always enjoyed giving head, and Bill had proved a highly appreciative partner - he had writhed his way up the bed under constant moaning and swearing until he met the headboard and got stuck with his head pressed against the wood in an awkward angle. Bill's hands continued fisting the sheets until he came forcefully, shooting hot semen all over his own stomach.
Sirius stretched out next to his lover. "All right?"
"Mmh," sighed Bill lazily. He pulled Sirius towards himself without opening his eyes.
Sirius curled around Bill, pressing his lips to the other man's neck, licking the strong pulse there. He had missed the sensation of sharing such closeness with another human being. Bill smelled nice. The scent of his sex was strong enough to drive every man -or dog - insane. Sirius smiled, sighed happily and was asleep in an instant. Safe. For now.
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