A little ficlet I wrote for 's birthday, partly as thanks for tracking down the song that gave this story its title when I was whining about how much I missed my old John Denver albums.

A/N: Let's assume that somehow Sirius came back.

Follow Me
by Beth H.
(c) March 2006

"Were you going to tell me you were leaving, or were you just planning on sending me an owl once you reached...Maui or Istanbul or wherever the hell you decided you were going?"

Harry started at the sound of the man's voice, then smacked his head on the underside of the table as he scrambled to stand up.

"Sirius," he said, taking a step backward and rubbing at the bump on the back of his head. "You're home! I was, um...my wand rolled under the table."

"Your what?" Sirius said in disbelief.

"My wand. It...I dropped it, and..."

"Do you really think I give a damn about your...why did I have to hear about it from Remus?" Sirius glared at Harry. "No, it wasn't even Remus; it was Nymphadora. My damned cousin knows more about your plans than I do."

Harry put up his hands in a placating manner and took a step in Sirius's direction. "Hey, calm down, okay?"

"Calm down?" Sirius shouted. "Don't tell me to calm the fuck down."

"God," Harry said, shaking his head. "I knew you'd react like this. That's why I wasn't going to tell you until I'd made all the arrangements and everything."

"And then what?"

"Well, I hadn't actually thought that far in advance," Harry admitted. "Maybe there'd be a big going-away dinner, and I could have told you there...somewhere public so that you couldn't scream."

"If you think that being in front of people would keep me from screaming, you really don't know me very well, do you?"

"What else could I do?" Harry asked. "I'm twenty-four, for god's sake. I can't just keep living here in your family's house, letting you think you have to take care of me."

"Me take care of you? That's not how it's been, and you know it! You've been taking care of me ever since I came back from...there." Sirius shuddered involuntarily, then sat down heavily in one of the old kitchen chairs. "But Harry...don't you understand? I'd never have forced you to stay here. I can take care of myself."

"What?" Harry sat down across the table from Sirius and frowned. "What are you talking about?"

Sirius sighed. "I know you've never really had a chance to have a life of your own. You must be fed up with it all by now. First with Lily's sister, then with...well, the whole Voldemort thing, and now babysitting me."

"But...that's just crazy."

"That's right," Sirius said bitterly. "Mad Sirius and his crazy ideas. I don't blame you, you know. I wouldn't want to stay here in this mausoleum with me either, but you don't have to run away from England to get your freedom."

"No, you don't understand," said Harry, leaning across the table and laying his hands over Sirius's suddenly clenched fists.

"What don't I understand?" Sirius said, trying to pull his hands away from Harry's, but Harry held him in place.

"It's not that I want to...oh, come on, Sirius. You know that the only reason you haven't tossed me out to find my own place like all my friends' families have done is because you feel guilty that you weren't around when I was a boy. I know you haven't noticed that I'm a man now, but..."

"Oh, I've noticed," Sirius muttered.



Harry frowned. "You don't think of me as a boy?"

Sirius yanked his hands away from Harry and rubbed his eyes with his fingertips, murmuring something into his palms that Harry couldn't hear.

"Before what? Tell me what you just said, Sirius."

"I said...I said that I had stopped thinking of you as a boy even before I...disappeared."

"In what way?" Harry asked quietly

"In every way." Sirius shook his head, looking inexplicably disgusted with himself. "You were fifteen - barely more than a baby - and, never mind. You're leaving. Probably just as well."

"And you don't think of me as a boy now?"

"Of course not, you prat. If I didn't think of you that way when you were a boy, how in the world could you believe that I'd think of you that way now that you're twenty-four?"

Harry shrugged. "Yeah, well...I just thought you'd never...."

Sirius narrowed his eyes and stared at Harry. "Okay, my turn. You thought I'd never what?"

"It's not important."

"The fuck it isn't. Talk to me."

Harry took a deep breath. "I thought you'd never see me as a man. That you'd feel you were my father or something, and I'd never get a chance to...oh, never mind."

"When James and Lily asked me to be your godfather, I was honored, and I tried to be there for you like James would have been - no matter what a dog's dinner I made of it in the end - but...my feelings for you, Harry, they've never been...paternal."

"No, huh?"

Sirius shook his head. "No. And they certainly aren't now. So...tell me, Harry...what did you think you'd never get a chance to say?"

Harry could feel himself flush as he stood up. "It wasn't something I wanted to say, precisely. It was...something I wanted to do."

"And...what did you want to do?" Sirius asked slowly, leaning back in his chair.

It was the longest five seconds of Harry's life, the time it took him to walk around the kitchen table and place his hands on Sirius's shoulders.

"This," Harry said, before leaning down and kissing Sirius softly on the mouth.

For a moment, Harry thought this was the worst idea he'd ever had in his life. Sirius didn't push him away, but neither did he respond...he just sat there in the chair, as still as if somebody had crept into the kitchen and cast Petrificus against him. However, just as Harry started to draw back, he felt Sirius's hands sliding up his back, then over his shoulders, until they came to rest on either side of his face.

"I know you're a man," Sirius said quietly, stroking Harry's cheeks with his thumbs.

Harry took a single shuddering breath, then leaned in and kissed Sirius once again.

"And I know that you don't need a minder," Harry said softly, his lips brushing against Sirius's mouth.

Sirius's eyes closed.

"Thank you," he said, as he tangled his fingers in Harry's hair and pulled him closer. "But...you know, that doesn't mean I want to be alone."

"Good," Harry said. "Because I didn't really want to be alone either."

"So...what about Maui or Istanbul or...wherever?"

"Rio de Janeiro, actually. And...I'd still like to go." Harry took one of Sirius's hands in his own. "Will you come with me?"

Sirius looked around the dark and damp kitchen. "And give up all this?" he said, sighing theatrically. Then he grinned and squeezed Harry's hand tightly. "Yeah, I'd love to go to Rio...with you."

Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org

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