May 20, 2004

Disclaimer: I'm sure nothing untoward went on in the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix. Many thanks to C, Kest, and Merry. Do not archive this story without permission.

Not a breath of air

"No, Harry," Molly Weasley said firmly. "There's no need for you to come with us." She shook out her robes and took Arthur's hand. "We'll be back in plenty of time for dinner. Mind the portrait, and try to see if you can get Sirius to stop sulking and do some work on the cellar."

"He doesn't like being shut up here," Harry said. "Nobody likes being shut up and not being allowed to go anywhere and—"

"I could stay with Harry," Ron offered. "I don't really need to go to the Burrow, mum."

"You most certainly do. I'm not going to tidy that mess you call a room for you and find all your school things, and you can't try on Bill's old robes from here."

"Mum," Ron said, his ears reddening.

"We'll be back in a couple of hours, Harry." Arthur Weasley picked up his briefcase, marked with a London Underground symbol, and he and Molly walked out of the house. Ron threw Harry an apologetic look over his shoulder and followed them.

Harry considered kicking the wall, but that would probably wake Mrs. Black, and though he felt he wanted to yell at someone, she wasn't his first choice. Hermione had gone to the magical section of the British Library with Professor Lupin to look up the markings on a set of knitting needles they'd found in a basket in a corner of Mrs. Black's old sitting room. The needles were made of human bone, and Harry didn't like to think what had been knitted with them, but he didn't see why they couldn't just be destroyed. But no, Professor Lupin and Hermione got to go out, and Ron got to go home, and he was stuck here.

He walked slowly up the stairs, and then the next flight, and the next. The Black house was narrow for such a fancy place, but quite deep and very tall. Harry hadn't been to half the rooms. Some doors were posted with a little warning sigil, where something dangerous had been discovered but not yet taken care of. Some doors were simply locked.

One door, at the end of a corridor that wasn't as dusty as many of the others, stood ajar. Harry went over and slouched against the doorjamb. This room was at the back of the house, and had very large windows. Harry wasn't sure Buckbeak could have come in through the front door, but he was quite sure the hippogriff would never have made it up the stairs. Now Buckbeak stood at one window, looking out, and Sirius stood next to him with an arm about his neck, scratching Buckbeak's eye ridges. "Hullo, Harry," he said without turning his head. "You didn't go to the Burrow?"

"No." Harry went into the room. "It might not be a good idea, Harry dear, we can't be too careful." He felt bad about mimicking Mrs. Weasley, who was one of the kindest people he'd ever met, but frustration and anger were eating him up from the inside.

Buckbeak hissed warningly, and Harry stopped and bowed. At least Buckbeak had never forbidden him to do something because there was his safety to consider, and Buckbeak and Sirius were as trapped as he was.

Sirius snorted. "As though she'd take her son if she thought Death Eaters were lurking in the kitchen garden." He shifted over, making room for Harry to pat Buckbeak and groom the feathers at the back of his head. "But you'll be getting back to school soon, Harry. You'll get out of here."

"Yeah." Harry looked at Sirius, who seemed unusually glum. "At least people tell me things now."

"At least you know you'll get out of here before you go crazy," Sirius said, showing his teeth in a humorless smile.

"You'll get out of here," Harry said. "And when you do, you'd better have washed your hair, or people will think you're Snape."

"Harry!" Sirius lunged for Harry, Buckbeak snapped his beak disapprovingly, and Harry fled towards the door, dodging what felt like a Jellylegs jinx. He ran down the corridor, and Sirius ran after him; then the sound of Sirius's footfalls changed and a large black dog bounded after Harry and crashed into him, seizing his robes between its teeth and growling.

Harry laughed, wrestling to either get the dog off, or slip out of the robes. He won free long enough to crawl into the next room, and his robes tore with a slow ripping sound. The dog came after him and pinned him down again on a thick, dusty carpet. Harry struggled, and got his mouth full of black fur, but he couldn't win free. "All right," he said finally, breathlessly, "you win."

Padfoot shifted back into Sirius, crouching over Harry and pinning him to the carpet with strong hands. "You surrender?" he said with a grin.

"Well." Harry dug his fingers in right under his godfather's ribs. Sirius yipped, and they rolled over once, twice, raising a cloud of dust that made Harry sneeze and bang his head into Sirius's shoulder. Harry ended up on top this time, and now he had Sirius's long black hair in his mouth, and his face pressed into Sirius's neck.

Sirius was holding him quite hard, trying to hold him off, but then the grip shifted. "Harry?" Sirius's voice was a little rough.

"I hate this house," Harry said against Sirius's jaw. "It makes me feel like I'm crazy."

"Harry," Sirius said helplessly, sliding a hand into Harry's hair.

"Makes me feel like I don't know what to do but I have to do something." Harry pressed closer.

Sirius rolled them over. "I hate this house," he whispered, hot breath against Harry's ear, lips moving down his throat. "Everything feels wrong here. But not you, Harry, never you."

Harry pushed up, but he wasn't strong enough to roll them over when Sirius was holding him so close. "I hate this house." He wriggled against the weight and strength pressing him down. "I hate it." He grasped Sirius's shirt and dug his nails into the cloth. "I hate it."

"I know," Sirius growled, and then he licked the hollow of Harry's throat and began to unbutton his shirt, breathing on his skin. Dog or human, Sirius had a rough, clever tongue. He licked and sucked at Harry's nipples while he worked a hand in between them and began to unfasten Harry's trousers.

The carpet was itchy against bare skin. When his trousers slid down over his hips, Harry squirmed until he could roll over, rubbing against Sirius to get another growl. Sirius whispered a spell, and Harry set his jaw against the slickness and the pressure, and then Sirius was inside him, thick and hard, pushing in deep. Harry gasped for breath. "Do it," he said into the carpet, "do it hard," and he whimpered with the first thrust.

He dug his fingers into the dusty wool pile and panted, open-mouthed, taking it and taking it. Sirius grunted against his ear, a harsh breath with every other thrust. The hard grip of Sirius's hand around his arm made him buck, knowing that he couldn't get away. Sirius drove into him at a slightly different angle, and Harry whined between his teeth, ripping loose a handful of carpet pile that burned his fingers. He squeezed his eyes shut and saw black sparkles. Deep thrusts hammered into him, fast as his own wild heartbeat, and his whole body jerked and twisted as the tension built too high, rushed over him, through him, out of him.

"God, Harry," Sirius panted, desperately fast and hard, biting and clawing as he came.

Carpet pile tickled Harry's nose. It was moving, he saw, swaying a little, like seaweed. Sirius shifted over him, a slow change in pressure that rippled all the way up his spine, and for a moment Harry thought that he meant to go again, but instead he pulled back and spoke the cleanup charm that Harry could never get to work for him. Harry had a scratch on his shoulder so deep it was bleeding, but he said nothing about it, just rolled over on his back and fumbled for the waistband of his trousers, pushed halfway down his thighs.

Fully dressed and standing up again, Harry had to lean against Sirius for a moment, because his legs were shaky. He scrubbed at his hair, which stuck up in all directions, as always. "They'll be back in a little while," he said. "Did you feed Buckbeak?"

"Yes, I did." Sirius put a hand on the back of Harry's neck and squeezed, rubbing his thumb behind Harry's ear. "I hate everything about this house, always have. I'd go crazy if it weren't for you, Harry."

"I know," Harry said, shifting his feet until he was standing straight again, bearing his own weight. "I know."

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