Title: This Time
Author's Notes: Written for the sirry_slash 2006 Sirry Santa fic exchange, for summerborn, who requested, "Harry goes back in time to when the Marauders were still in school. Young Sirius is delighted to meet this stranger, who looks so much like his friend James - but James is straight and the new kid is not, which makes Sirius happy. Or something. Anyway, they get together, at least until Harry goes back to his own time (or does he?). Partially-clothed sex, almost-public sex, anything that has to be kept secret. MWPP-era (time travelin' Harry). James is straight, Sirius is frustrated, who's the stranger? Bonus for Quidditch!"
I made it. Everything's okay so far.
He doesn't sign it.
He'd made Hermione help him search for a fixture that had been in the library for at least thirty years (not so easy; they had to rely on sketches in Hogwarts's archives) in which he could leave messages. "I'll write them as I go," he'd said. "And I'll leave them in the urn for you. So that I can let you know what's happening. You think that'll work?"
"No," she'd said. "I don't think it'll work. I think it's a useless idea. Because they aren't going to appear one at a time. If you'd written them, if you'd done this, they'd already be there, a whole stack of them, waiting for us. Even if you do this, Harry, I don't get any letters this way, don't you see?"
He'd looked at the urn. "Maybe it doesn't work that way. Maybe it won't be that way until after I go."
She'd looked at him with bitten lips, arms folded. "Maybe."
It's impossible not to remember the doubt in her Maybe as he drops the unsigned note into the urn, hears it settle against the ceramic bottom. It's too high up for him to see into; maybe he can drag a chair over here after everyone's left and look in.
I told Dumbledore the story you and I worked out. Take a look at the school records--has anything changed? That might let you know how long I'm here, I dunno.
Dumbledore steeples his fingers, elbows on his desk. "Yes, that is indeed a Ministry-marked Time Turner about your neck, young man. That you're from the future is something I'm not reluctant to believe. I suspect you anticipated more doubt from me, didn't you." He had those half-moon glasses even then--now--it's hard for Harry to sort out the tenses--and looks at Harry through them. "But you will not share your mission with me."
Harry doesn't look away. "Not yet."
"And your price, you say, to reveal all is that I let you remain here at the school. Until you've completed what you've come here to do." Dumbledore stands, moves several paces to the window. "While I sense no malice in you, Harry, I fear I might not be so sensitive to simple misguidedness on your part. Nevertheless I am inclined to allow what you ask. Stranger petitions have come my way and I feel yours should be taken seriously. I do not try to explain why to myself; I prefer to rely on feelings." His lips quirk. "No one ever tries to write books on feelings, you see, only on facts. I think they deserve a little favor once in a while."
"That's--thank you, sir."
Dumbledore strokes his beard. "From your dress, I assume we should assign you to Gryffindor? And if you will not give me your real last name we must come up with one, then."
And because Harry can't call himself Potter, can't use James or Evans, won't even risk Dursley, he lets Dumbledore choose. Dumbledore says they will call him Foster, after a pup he'd owned as a boy. And that he likes the pun.
I barely remember my parents; Remus I just left, back where you are, whole and alive. But Sirius. Seeing him again.
No huge announcement in the Great Hall; instead, Dumbledore informs Professor McGonagall who informs the Gryffindor prefects who inform the rest of Gryffindor house. Harry gets the curious eyes of his yearmates at the first mealtime and somehow maintains his composure, which he counts as no small victory because he's that close to falling all over them--Sirius in particular--like some big girl's blouse.
Remus, being prefect, welcomes him out loud; Sirius says, "Hullo," and there's a bit of a smile with it, and James and Peter grant him a nod of acknowledgement--which, for seventeen-year-old boys, is good enough to be going on with.
They're so young. These are my parents and Sirius and Remus and they're so young and carefree and stupid happy it hurts.
"Got a quill?" says James to Remus, who rolls his eyes and hands him a spare. "Ta, Moony."
There's a little movement and cough from Remus at that, and James shifts along with the movement. Remus has nudged him under the table.
"Ah, don't worry about it, Moony." He's looking over at Harry. "Foster's all right."
Harry doesn't quite know where to look. Peter is looking over at him, blinking.
"Yeah. He's all right." Sirius throws a balled-up clod of parchment at Harry. He catches it automatically, tosses it back. Sirius grins. "That's Moony, Foster. I'm Padfoot. Only not where everyone else can hear, yeah? Just you."
Harry nods. "Yeah."
"Told you he was all right," James says, returning to his scroll.
I haven't told them yet. They like me. That's a start. I'm worried about telling them too soon.
"I've figured it out," Sirius says, flinging himself into the chair at Harry's side. "Why you look so much like Prongs. Not that you've got a thing to worry about, mate." His grin is manic. "I'm aces at keeping secrets."
Harry's mouth is dry. "What?"
Sirius leans in. "James's dad," he whispers in the mother of all conspiratorial hushes. "Sowing his oats in some other field, eh? And Prongs doesn't know. Mustn't know. Which is stupid. He'd love to have a brother. One like you, that is. If he knew. Because all he knows is brothers like mine, and no one would want one like Reg. You should tell him. Doesn't matter if--"
"Stop," says Harry, nearly raising his hands to halt this flood. "Stop, stop. No. It's not--not that at all."
"Has to be." Sirius actually pouts. Sirius actually doesn't look stupid when he pouts. Lower lip protruding and brows pulled down like a much younger boy, and on Sirius it looks cute and not moronic. At least all the girls seem to think so. "My version's too good. Come on, admit it."
"Look." Harry inhales. "My mum's never said anything about James's dad, not to me. We--don't live anywhere near James's family." It's probably better, he realizes, to leave it open-ended than continue protesting. "If it's true I don't know anything about it. I can ask her when I go home at the end of term, about James looking so much like me."
"Oh, that's good." Sirius beams. "Sounds all innocent that way. And you can watch her face and see if I'm right. Which of course I am because I'm always right." He pounces, coils his arm about Harry's throat and digs the knuckles of his other hand into Harry's scalp until Harry yelps.
The door to the common room opens and Peter enters. "Get off him, Padfoot. You look like such a poof." Harry hopes Sirius won't notice how Peter's presence always leaves Harry chilled. Maybe he'll chalk it up to Peter's remark.
"You wish. Don't think you're getting any!" Sirius says cheerfully.
Peter's so normal. I don't think he was ever bad to begin with. He just wasn't as strong as the other three. Ended up on the side he did just because he was a coward, that's all.
I wish it had been that easy, that I could just tell J and S and R he's not to be trusted, but I think I need more time. Or they might not believe me, not yet.
He hears the note fall to the bottom of the urn, hears how it rustles against the other notes.
He expected it would be Sirius and Remus and James that he'd have the most luck warning. And Dumbledore, of course--he'll tell Dumbledore at the end, but not yet. It's not that he doesn't trust Dumbledore to do it right, but that he owes the others to warn them directly. Because it's what he'd want if it were him, after all.
He didn't expect he'd be able to get close to his own mother at all. But there she is, partnering him in Potions, Snape glaring at the both of them (Snape and his mother? Snape? Can't be. He called her a Mudblood. Can't be). Lily Evans is a serious student but has a mischievous streak that rivals even James's. He owes it to her no less, after all. Shouldn't have thought he could leave her out just because it was harder.
"Foster. Want to meet me later, go over these notes for the exam?"
"I--" A dozen eyes are on them, catcalls hovering on the verge of utterance. James looks like a kneazle has its claws in his groin under the table.
He needs to try. He can explain it to James later. "Yeah, okay."
Still working on it.
"They're looking for Quidditch alternates, after Thorne and Choudhury's injuries. You trying out?"
What? She hasn't seen him on a broom. "You like Quidditch?"
"Some. I know you do, though, you've said." Lily reaches for the book at his elbow. "You should go. I'd come watch you play."
Something panicky rises in his chest. "Do you watch James play? He'd like that."
She screws up her mouth. "I wouldn't give him the satisfaction. I hate anyone who struts around like he does, like he expects everyone to fall over themselves for him just because he's good-looking." She puts down the book and Harry realizes how much closer to him she got in reaching for it. "You're like James could be if he weren't such a twit."
She's about to kiss me, he realizes.
"Evans--" He jumps up. "I've got to go. I'll--I'll get you my notes later. I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."
What'll I do if they don't believe me? What'll I do if they hate me for not telling them right away?
"Foster! You dog, you. Tell me all about it."
"No, I--" He doesn't want to talk about this in a hallway, of all places. He doesn't want to talk about it at all.
"Come on," Sirius says. "Where'd she get you? Behind the statue of the humpbacked witch? That one's classic. Who snogged who first?"
"Sirius, stop it."
"Oh, don't pull that no kissing and telling rot on me, Foster. What'd you get? You touch her tits? James is ready to bite something, he's so jealous. Don't worry, he'll get over it. She was never--"
"Sirius, I bloody mean it, stop it!"
He's shaking. Sirius does shut up. "What? What happened?" He steps closer. "Merlin, you look as if you're going to be sick. Someone see you?"
Harry wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, aware too late that it does look as if he's wiping away a kiss, but he can't help that now. "Look. I'm not...interested in Evans. Tell James that, okay? I'll tell him myself but I want him to know that."
Sirius's mouth Os. "You...don't like Evans?"
"I'm not interested in her," he repeats.
Sirius shoves hands deep in his pockets. There's something odd in his posture as he does. "Oh. Well." He shakes his hair out of his eyes and that looks odd on him too, none of his usual grace. "Is...is it because there's someone else, then?"
Harry realizes that's a much easier explanation for the moment. "Yeah. Someone else."
"Oh. Well, that, then. Who is it?"
Damn. Of course that would be the next question. "I don't really want to talk about it right now."
"You can talk about it with me, can't you? Harry--" Sirius does that shake-hair-out-of-his-eyes thing again. "--it's us. I mean, it's me. We're tight, aren't we? I mean, if it's the nickname thing--why we have them and you don't, I can explain--really I can, Moony'll be okay with it, because it's you--"
Sirius is about to tell him that. If Harry needed any other sign that they're ready to believe him--Sirius at least--he should recognize this one. They trust him. They do.
Sirius says in a rush, "Is it that you're not all that keen on birds?"
No, it's just that she's my moth--what? his brain whiplashes. "What?" he says stupidly.
"I mean you can tell me. If that's it. If you aren't. I don't think there's anything wrong with it." Sirius still has that strange posture and the words are rushing out of him in a voice that cracks on every other syllable. "Really. Lots of blokes are like that. I mean, this is a bloody boarding school. Practically everyone's at least tried it. You know. Some of us like both. That's okay too. Are you? I mean. You can tell me. I won't tell. Honest. I keep secrets. Told you." Sirius has moved closer to him and Harry can't think of a bloody thing to say. Not a thing. "Because I wouldn't tell. I like you, Harry, honest--"
And Sirius--cocky, clever young Sirius Black--is stammering like a firstie who's just crossed the lake; he's reaching out to touch Harry's shoulder and it's the most awkward of fumbles; Harry can't tell which of them is more startled at this moment. Sirius leans in and shoves his mouth at Harry's, pushes at him with lips and tongue at what has to be the worst kiss technique in all history, and Harry's mouth is open for it and realizes he's judging the kiss in the way a girl would, because this kiss is hard, it's biting and it invades and there's nothing the least bit sweet about it and Sirius tastes of coffee and the aftertaste of whatever he ate for pudding, and Harry thinks Oh, fuck and pushes back with his own mouth and he reaches out for Sirius and thinks Oh, fuck, yes.
And Sirius laughs against his mouth, breaks off and that laughter is the old Sirius again, it is, great wads of relief in that laughter as he says, "Thought so. Hoped so, Merlin--" He licks the side of Harry's face. "Wanted it to be me. That you liked. Come on--" He's tugging on Harry's hand, pulling him deeper into the corridor's shadows. "Told Prongs," Sirius says, still laughing, still breathless. "Told him I was fucking queer for you if I was queer for anyone. He said good, maybe I'd leave him alone now. As if. As if I'd threaten his straight arse ever. C'mere--"
Sirius drops to his knees in front of Harry. "I can, yeah?" he asks, eyes on Harry's face, and Sirius's look is so hopeful that Harry wonders if he'd stop him even if he weren't, as it turns out, queer for him. Sirius takes silence for yes and reaches for the buttons of Harry's trousers. "Use the wall," he murmurs, directing Harry to stand with his back against it, pushing Harry's ankles a bit further apart so that he can kneel between them.
And that's the last thing Sirius says for some time. Harry's leaning back against the wall and Sirius is pushing his shirttail up, ducking beneath it to pull Harry's exposed erection into his mouth, God. Sirius's mouth is wet and warm and not too gentle and Harry sucks in breath and puts his hands on the top of Sirius's head and gathers his hair in fistfuls, hearing Sirius chuckle around his cock. He leans his head back against the wall, gasping, and when Sirius reaches up to cup his balls into his hand Harry has to put his own hand against his mouth, biting, to keep from yelling out in that alcove.
He doesn't last long and yet there's the distinct knowledge that the best part of it all--the part that drives him over the edge--is when he looks down again and sees Sirius's eyes looking up from under his lashes at Harry's face. Eyes black as Padfoot's, the pupils huge and obscuring all but the smallest rim of blue. Harry bites harder on his hand, muffling his moan as he shoots into Sirius's mouth, thighs shaking and belly twitching under the flat of Sirius's palm, Sirius's throat contracting around him as he swallows.
At last Sirius leans back, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand in an echo of Harry's earlier gesture. He tucks Harry's wilting cock back into his trousers and does them up with unmistakably tender movements of his hands, then stands. "Can I show you something?" he asks, leaning in.
Harry nods, speech almost beyond him. "Yeah. 'Course."
Sirius takes Harry's right hand in his left, undoes his own trouser buttons and brings Harry's hand to his groin. "Just--like you'd do you. Here, let me--" He lifts Harry's hand of a sudden and licks the palm from base to fingertips. "Now." He directs Harry's hand back; Harry lets his fingers brush against the hair at Sirius's belly as he touches the cock, hard and leaping in his hand. As instructed, he pulls at it with the same degree of force he himself likes.
Sirius's eyes close. "Good. Fuck, Harry--"
It takes a little longer, but Harry has Sirius gasping and bucking his hips into Harry's fist and gripping Harry by the shoulders, pushing against him and heedless of the drips of come staining Harry's clothing. Sirius presses his mouth against the side of Harry's neck to muffle his shout as he comes; Harry feels it thrum all the way through his chest and holds onto Sirius's pulsing cock and balls in twin handfuls, grinning absurdly into the dim surroundings.
It's just going to take me a little longer, is all.
They're careful. Never acting too fond of each other where others can see. Even in front of the other Marauders, because that just leads to gagging and Moony, Prongs and Wormtail shouting, "Get a room," and the two of them responding, "We have; it's yours." Sometimes they pretend there's a bit of a rivalry between them, and Harry even makes a point of taking Lily out once or twice, though not before he sits down with James and explains exactly what James has to do to before he's going to get Lily to like him. Soon Lily is noticing, so when she calls it off with Harry to start dating James Harry can lament loudly about having been dumped. It works out beautifully.
"Harry. We want to ask you something. Do you...do you know what an animagus is?"
Except for the way Dumbledore watches him. Except for the way Harry avoids him, makes excuses when a meeting with him can't be put off. Not yet, he repeats. Not yet.
He can't lose this. Not yet.
"Well...Harry, we want to teach you how to become one."
Maybe not ever.
Late at night, he goes to the library. Finds a chair, stands over the urn. Sees the collection of notes piled within.
And stands there, his most recent note to Hermione in hand. Waiting. Waiting to see if he's about to drop it in...
Or take all of the others out.