Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Aphasia
Feedback appreciated - Enjoy!
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine!
Clearly exhausted, Harry slept straight through to ten the next morning, curled next to Padfoot, fully clothed on top of his duvet. He wasn't expecting the thin curtains to be drawn over the light and a blanket to be carefully draped around his shoulders, but he was grateful. He lay for a while, frozen in time, gently stroking the canine head, too absorbed in his thoughts to move. For once, he felt warm, his mind enjoying the alien experience.
Peace never lasts, of course, especially not in the household of the Dursley's and Aunt Petunia'woke' him half an hour later with an irritable tapping on his door. With agrumbling moan, he confirmed he was awake and swung his legs out of bed, grabbing some clothes and crossing the hall for a shower. Padfoot sleepily followed, pushing the bathroom door open with his muzzle as Harry disappeared behind the shower curtain. The door shut behind them, and Sirius, the man inside Padfoot's mind, blushed. He was certainly awake now. He sighed, the thought becoming a puff of dog breath. Day One, and he'd already walked in to acompletely awkward situation. Way to fuck things up, he thought to himself, sitting down with a canine eyeroll, pointedly facing away from Harry.
But then he was facing the toilet, which reminded him of the weight of his bladder. The sound of the running water teased his ears... He hadn't been let out to use the lawn since he'd arrived. An involuntary whimper escaped him.
"Padfoot?" Harry poked his head around the curtain, and blushed. There were shampoo bubbles in his unruly hair, his guilty look a mixture of 'I didn't do it' and 'Oh shit, sorry.' "Um...do you want to...?" His croaky voice trailed off quickly.
Padfoot changed into Sirius in one fluid mesmerising movement, grinning apologetically. He was wearing aloose grey t-shirt and faded blue jeans; bare feet. For just a moment Harry was shocked. Had his godfather always been so...
"I'm supposed to be Snuffles, remember?" Harry blushed and disappeared behind the shower curtain thinking. There was a very tense moment of silence until the flush of the loo sounded in the quiet room. After a while, Harry turned off the water and grabbed a towel, and Sirius, facing the door, asked what was for breakfast, talking quietly, just in case. He didn't get a spoken answer, but caught the shaken head and careless jerk of one shoulder in the steamy mirror. He scowled translating the gesture and hoping his stomach wouldn't growl.
Once downstairs, the teenager and his dog stood in the hallway accepting a shopping list and a purse of pointedly counted money. Among the normal groceries on the list was the ambiguous title of 'Dog stuff'.
Seeing where he was reading, Petunia dropped the purse into his hand and snapped, "You're to buy him a lead and a collar. I don't want the neighbours thinking we're poor. You're to keep your dog under control, and tell people he was a gift from...us. You did well at St. Brutus' or something. And buy some dog food too. I have an old casserole dish he can eat from so there's no need to waste good money on a bowl, but I won't have him getting ill from eating scraps."
Harry nodded, stepping through the door, wondering if Aunt Petunia knew about Animagi. If she did maybe the knowledge was tainted by denial. It would explain her odd, nervy behaviour. Maybe she thought the dog was some kind of wizard spy, sent to check for any mistreatment. They walked to the pet store first, Harry knowing he needn't leave Pad- no, Snuffles outside the shop. Inside, he was shocked to find such an array of collars and leads, all designed for the entertainment of the doting owner. Harry looked down at the dog.
"I'm sorry." Harry murmured looking down at him. It's demeaning for you. Snuffles shook his head ruffling up his fur, and nudged Harry's hand with his muzzle. He was trying not to think of the times Remus and he had played with collars, and the one that hiding the top draw of there bedroom at Grimmauld Place, along with various other unmentionable things. The dog stood, nervous of his canine body's uncontrollable reactions.
It's ok, the amber brown eyes tried to communicate. He hadn't heard Harry over the noise of the shop, but he'd seen the lips move in the whisper. Just pick something with attitude. Snuffles nodded to a plain black collar with silver spikes. Harry looked at it and snickered.
"Because my Uncle wouldn't kill me for buying that...How about this one?"
Eventually they decided on a dark, almost faded, red leather one with a gold tag, with a matching lead. Harry made sure it was big enough, checked a third and then fourth time that it was the right decision and that Sirius honestly didn't mind, before eventually paying.
The walk to get the groceries was pleasant enough, except Sirius point blank refused to be left outside, especially tied up. Harry didn't blame him and didn't really try, but wouldn't allow him to risk being seen as a human and reported. He wasn't sure if Sirius knew the muggles had been told when he was 'at large'. Eventually, after coming to the conclusion that today would not be the day a suitable compromise would be found, Snuffles sat outside the large glass windows and avidly watched Harry's every step, growling at anyone that came to close, but never removing his eyes from Harry. For his part, the younger Gryffindor stayed determinedly in his sight, which took quite a bit of careful manoeuvring and apologies due to all the people swarming and barging around. He also kept his promise of only taking ten minutes, and sat on the bench for a moment afterwards allowing the hound to thoroughly sniff through the bag of readymade meals and junk food he'd hoped would be to Sirius' taste, knowing that if nothing else, it would appeal to his sweet tooth.
Then it started to rain, the moody grey sky dappled with sunlight and dark clouds. They walked back at a leisurely pace, Harry choosing a route through the park to let Sirius off the lead to play at. He had to laugh; the dog certainly seemed overjoyed to be out in the rain. Vaguely Harry wondered whether Sirius had been out in the rain since Azkaban, but he pushed the thought away, preferring to watch the large black mutt tear about after rabbits, veering off seconds before he caught them.
When they got home they were both drenched, Sirius was muddy, and, he thought, with a gulp looking at the clock above the kitchen door, they were about an hour late. Shit.
"So, boy. Decided to come home?" Uncle Vernon's voice was soft and menacing.
Sirius growled at the tone.
"You've ruined Duddy's dinner!" Aunt Petunia's voice was shrill and overruled his Uncle's. What, in his head, Harry called her tantrum voice. "Vernon brings him home, and because of your incompetence, he has no celebration! No even a cake because you had to buy the eggs! He's probably in his room, crying his eyes out! How would it make you feel, to be unloved?" Her voice rose an octave with every word, and Harry winced. She sounded genuinely upset, something he never heard before. "Take your vile dog upstairs, put the shopping away, and then clean those muddy foot prints off my nice clean carpet! I expect to hear you apologizing to Dudley as well! Imagine how he feels, going without his favourite dinner." Harry just nodded, kicked of his trainers and put down most of the shopping bags, nudging the dog upstairs, ignoring the canine's look. Padfoot moved, but not willingly. He'd been growling at Petunia, moving between them and soon as Harry shut the door he was human, his mouth open to speak.
"Let me -"
"No." Harry said flatly, walking across the room and pulling off his damp shirt. "If they knew, they'd make you go. They'd make me go, and Dumbledore would be pissed." The crossed the room again, shutting the door behind him as he left. "That... That was nothing unusual, you shouldn't let it bother you."
Sirius looked into the mirror of the still open wardrobe door, and sighed heavily, his hair hanging forward into his face.
I'm supposed to protect you, Harry, he thought staring at his reflection before forming into the dog. I'm not supposed to be something they can blackmail you with. Something you can be blamed for. He sighed again and sat down, curling up by the wall. From her cage, Hedwig cooed softly. There were two bags on the end of Harry's bed. His stomach growled, but he didn't feel hungry anymore. The black haired dog sighed again, becoming human. His godson's voice should not have sounded so defeated and beaten. He was only sixteen, and yet he...he sounded like he was ready to give up, even before the fighting had really begun. Sirius frowned, drawing his knees to his chest, and hugging them. As much as he'd be wishing for Harry to speak, that wasn't the voice he wanted to hear, and it was one he never cared to hear ever again.
Harry's feet were ten ton weights by the time he'd done all the tasks Aunt Petunia had set, and then made pancakes for them all at Dudley's request. Of course, being late, he didn't get any, and although that punishment was expected, t didn't stop the smell taunting him, and making his mouth water. He hadn't eaten all day. He sighed heavily; the smell was probably taunting Sirius a lot more than him. He was used to being hungry. The man always seemed to really enjoy his food. He'd just moved out into the hall after washing up, to clean away the footprints left by Padfoot's muddy feet when Uncle Vernon stepped out of the living room. He had the grin that said Harry was about to be yelled at. His face was already turning red with what Harry knew to be repressed rage.
"If Ihear one sound out of you or that dog," The man advanced, once single, fat stubby finger was jabbing Harry in the chest. "One bark" Poke."One whimper" Poke. "One" Poke "Goddamn" Poke"Squeak" Poke "out of place and you'll be out do you hear? You'll both be out." That sentence snarled, accompanied by a barrage of random pokes.
"I don't care what that crackpot-old-fool says, this is my house and what I say goes. Alright?" All of this was hissed in the same poisonous tone, through clenched, yellowing teeth with splattering of spit. His face was too close to Harry's, so the boy could barely nod without a collision, and Harry bit his tongue to avoid any witty remarks that burned to escape. "Remember that boy." A glare, slapped pat to the face, and then the sweaty stench of the man was gone. The living room door slammed as he departed, and he heard his aunt remonstrating him from within.
Harry let out a breath, and looked for the first footprint. There were none. Confused, Harry looked up the stairs, none there either. He frowned, then took the stairs three at a time to his room. Snuffles was curled in a corner, seemingly asleep, but jumped up when the door slammed open, eyes alert.
"Tell me you didn't use magic!"
Sirius stood in one fluid motion and walked rounded the bed, nosing the door shut, before allowing his human form to rise next to Harry.
"There's no need to worry Harry, I wore James' cloak, and got out the way when fat-boy came rumbling past." Harry still glared. Sirius sighed, and took a dramatic, wounded stance. "No, I didn't use magic." He smiled rolled his eyes innocently at Harry's look, and Harry felt his annoyance melt away. "So, what do they find to feed lardie on if they can't give you breakfast?" Harry shrugged, and Sirius reached for the bags. "Shall we eat? I was waiting for you." There was a moment's pause. Harry's impassive look didn't shift. "Oh yeah, and you have mail. It came about half an hour ago. Ithink it's from Remus."
Harry raised an eyebrow, interested. "Why?"
Sirius'grin grew mysterious. "I tried to get them for you but the thing keeps attacking me. "
He pointed to a smallish tawny owl sitting at the open window and Harry moved to detach its stack of letters - all carefully collected and checked by the Order. Harry sighed, and placed them on the corner of his desk, not bothering to flick through them to see who had written.
"Tomorrow." He murmured, sitting down on his bed and kicking off his trainers. I /need sleep./His stomach growled loudly.
"Didn't you just eat?" Sirius asked, sniffing the air.
Harry jerked his head; neither a nod or a shake and Sirius passed him a couple of mars bars from the bag.
"You know, I became addicted to these things when I moved out. You really should have brought coffee, though. I'm really sleepy in the mornings, I never know what I'm doing."
Harry nodded, getting up to find his pyjamas, briefly reminded of the morning's incident. Next time, I'll remember.
The silence began to drag and Harry glanced over his shoulder at Sirius. There was something dreadfully endearing about Sirius black sprawled across his bed eating chocolate, and he felt something stir in his stomach. It was nice to have company.
"Why don't you talk to me about this place?" Sirius asked, noticing the glance as Harry sat pushed back the covers and swung his legs up.
Harry's only reply was a non-committal shrug. Sirius let out a sigh, and noticed with ascowl that none of the food he'd given the boy was eaten. He scowled, and poked Harry who squirmed.
"Eat something." Harry stomach growled again, but he didn't bother to respond. Soon after, Sirius realized he was asleep and scowled.
Sign up to rate and review this story