Delphi (atdelphi) wrote in hp_beholder,

FIC: "Run With the Pack" for torino10154

Recipient: torino10154
Author: ???
Title: Run With the Pack
Rating: R
Pairings: Sirius Black/Aberforth Dumbledore
Word Count: 5757
Contents or warnings (highlight to view): *None*
Summary: When Albus said he had seen a stray dog around the village and to leave him out scraps, Aberforth knew right away that there was no way that dog was simply a stray.
Author's Note: torino10154 you gave a lot of ideas in your sign up. You mentioned Madam Rosmerta and Sirius and or James, but you also mentioned Aberforth. I thought it would be interesting to take Sirius into the Hog's Head rather than the Three Broomsticks for this story. I hope you enjoy. Thank you to D for the help and my betas A.

Albus had a way of completely altering one's quiet day-to-day existence with the slightest casual comment. Aberforth had long years of experience with this. When Albus said he had seen a stray dog around the village and to leave him out scraps, Aberforth knew right away that there was no way that dog was simply a stray.

He did exactly as he was told though. He left kipper bones, stale, occasionally mouldy bread, water that should have been boiled before it was drunk, meat that he wouldn't touch, and the occasional bad piece of fruit. No matter what he left it was always taken, every night.

After the last patron staggered out, Aberforth locked up, gathered the scraps and walked to the back door. Behind his pub and out past the sooty, trampled snow he saw the "stray" for the first time. The dog was black as the shadows of the Forbidden Forest, but the night was clear, and the dog sat out in the bright light of the almost full moon. It unnerved Aberforth slightly to imagine that the huge, massive dog had lurked in the shadows of the alleyway every night, studying him. He looked directly at the dog, showing he was not intimidated. That's how it was with animals; had to show who was in charge. The dog stood and wagged his tail, and even though the animal was a good ten yards away Aberforth could see quite clearly it had very light eyes and there was something distinctly human about them.

From the languid friendliness of the swish, swish, swish of the tail and the light in the eyes Aberforth felt a pang of guilt for leaving food that was truly only good for the rubbish bin, but then he brushed it away. He sensed humanity and personality in animals when no one else would. Besides, there were so few Anamagi. The dog had to be magic of a different sort.

The guilt had lingered though, and the next night Aberforth left a piece of bread and butter that he would have eaten himself. In the morning when he opened the back door there was a paw print in the muddy snow. By its positioning and definition he had the feeling it was just for him.

That evening he left a bit of sausage. The next morning there was a bone waiting for him. As he picked it up he heard as loud, booming bark. He looked up, and the dog saw him and began to wag his tale and run in circles. "Get out of here! Ya, daft bugger," Aberforth said, and the dog barked loud and booming again. Aberforth walked back into his pub. It wasn't so bad having that dog around.

A week later the dog was waiting by the back door for him. It was so silent and dark he hadn't expected it. He jumped in fright when it emerged from the shadows towards him. For a moment he thought it was the Grim. The dog pressed his head to Aberforth's hand. Aberforth scratched the dogs ears automatically. He had a big head that could have belonged to a bear it was so huge. Aberforth looked at his pale, grey – they were a very particular grey – eyes, and once again thought how human they looked.

"Wait here," Aberforth said. He went back into the pub and came out again. He laid down a plate, put the ham and potatoes he'd held aside for the dog on it, put down a fork and knife, and lastly an unopened bottle of ale.

"There you go," Aberforth said. He scratched the dogs ears one more time and went back inside. If that beast was truly only a dog, then the bottle would still be there the next morning.

Not only was the bottle empty the next morning, but the plate and utensils were clean. "I'll be damned," Aberforth muttered as he picked up the items. It was an Animagus. He looked out but saw no sign of the dog that morning.

That night at the time he would normally take the food out, he left it sitting on the bar. He walked to the back door and saw the dog sitting a few yards off. Aberforth had his suspicions about who the dog really was. One guess seemed as unlikely as the next.

Aberforth knew plenty of witches and wizards whose bodies had never been found or of whom only pieces had been eventually recovered. These cases were not true evidence of a death, if you asked him. Seeing a corpse, or at the very least a head, was the only sure way of knowing someone was gone, and sometimes not even then. Aberforth didn't consider any dead wizards. He considered the ones he knew were alive and had a reason to be close to Hogwarts. Sirius Black was the only logical answer, and even that notion seemed slightly mad. Becoming an Animagus was a feat in itself, but becoming one undetected was another all together.

He remembered Sirius as a kid. He would strut into his pub almost every Hogsmeade weekend and sometimes on days when he should have been at school. He always acted with complete confidence, as if there wasn't a place in the world he didn't belong, even Aberforth's dodgy pub. Aberforth didn't know if Sirius felt that way because of his birth, his handsome looks, or because he was naturally that way. The world was his oyster and damn to anyone else.

Sirius would sit at the bar every time. Sometimes in silence as he looked about the place, and other times he'd make conversation with other patrons. He even attempted to talk to Aberforth on occasion. Aberforth had always ignored him. It wasn't until Sirius would order something ridiculous like a martini, or a gin sling, that Aberforth would speak. And that was only to kick him out.

Aberforth thought he was an amusing kid, but he didn't want him hanging about his pub. If he stayed, then others might follow. Aberforth had no interest in catering to students.

Later Aberforth knew him in the Order. He still had an air of cockiness about him, but there was also a smouldering anger. Aberforth could see it in him. He saw it in himself when he looked in the mirror. He'd especially liked Sirius then because he hadn't seemed as anxious to kiss Aberforth's brother's arse like the rest of them.

After Voldemort vanished, Aberforth had a hard time believing Sirius was responsible for those murders. But then he remembered that anger. Anger could drive you to complete madness.

Albus claimed now Sirius was innocent. Albus claimed whatever was convenient for him to claim, and so Aberforth hadn't thought much about it.

Aberforth looked down the corridor leading to the back expectantly, and suddenly there he was. Emerging from the shadows once again but as a man, not a dog, and still acting as if he owned the place. He smirked at Aberforth as he strode to the bar. Aberforth was careful to watch him with an expressionless face.

His robes were filthy but his hair was not the matted mess from his wanted posters. It was short, as it had been when he was a boy, and he was still handsome, but something in his looks had changed. Like a person trying to regain health after a long illness.

He sat down on the stool right on the other side of the bar from where Aberforth stood. There was no longer anger in his eyes; it had been replaced with sadness. Aberforth knew a lot about sadness as well.

Sirius clasped his hands and rested them on the bar. Aberforth noted they were large like his paws were large when he was a dog. He licked his chapped lips and said, "A vodka martini or are you going to kick me out for asking?"

Hearing his voice, his cut glass accent, Aberforth felt like he was transported back in time. He had to fight the urge to laugh. He gave an amused snort instead, put two of the clean shot glasses on the bar, reached far down and pulled up a dusty bottle of firewhisky. "No martinis here," he said pouring a serving for each of them.

Sirius lifted the glass to his nose and sniffed. "Knew this place had something other than brown piss."

"That is brown piss. I'm not sharing the good stuff with you," Aberforth countered.

Sirius barked a laugh as he held his glass up in silent toast to Aberforth then threw the shot back in one smooth action. He swallowed, and to his credit, he didn't wince. It had to be some time since he had a drink like that.

Sirius put the glass on the bar and Aberforth would have never refilled the glass of anyone else who hadn't savoured their fine whisky. But Aberforth always had a fondness for animals, and so he refilled the glass.

* *

"No," Sirius said with a shake of his head. "The Tinwitty-Peppercorns moved in, what was it –" He paused, cocking his head to the side as he thought. "It had to be seventy six. Mr Tinwitty-Peppercorn found out that the Eucharist wasn't the only thing the Muggle vicar was putting in his wife's mouth. He cursed her lips together and was on his way to Vanishing the other bloke's plonker when James's dad stopped him. It was rather a mess, so they left town. Shame, really. Mrs Tinwitty-Peppercorn used to water her vegetable patch only in her dressing gown and the front would always come open." Sirius's eyes flicked with amusement and he took another bite of his food.

"I remember her grandfather was the same way," Aberforth replied. "He didn't bother with the dressing gown though. Watered the vegetable patch with his willy. Mum always tossed the cabbages he gave us straight into the rubbish."

Sirius laughed, a low soft chuckle, and Aberforth hid his amusement behind his beard.

Aberforth busied himself refilling each of their drinks and studied Sirius from under his lowered eyes. It had to be almost twenty years since he lived in his parent's home, but he still sat and ate like a gentleman. It was in complete opposition to how he normally sat, like his frame was nothing but joints and he had to lean or lounge on everything to sit somewhat upright. But watching Sirius eat reminded Aberforth strongly of his father. The straight back, the deft and precise cuts with the knife. Aberforth wondered if his father ever got out of Azkaban, like Sirius did, if he would have retained himself like Sirius had. Aberforth quickly banished the thought from his mind. He didn't like to think of his father dying alone, and likely mad, in Azkaban.

Aberforth liked his easy life. He was too old to care for any change. Feeding Sirius in his pub a few nights a week after closing was a change he could deal with, though. Sirius wasn't from Godric's Hollow, but he knew everyone there that Aberforth had once known. He was so much younger than Aberforth, he knew their children or grandchildren. But it was close, and having Sirius around was like having an old friend back.

They had shared experiences. While Sirius was not from Godric's Hollow – his accent would always betray that – he knew the village as well as if it were his home. They had the Order, and they had this village. Sirius seemed to know Hogsmeade and the surrounding area better than anyone Aberforth had ever met.

Sirius also needed someone to talk to. You couldn't spend your life talking to animals; you'd go mad. If anyone knew that it was Aberforth. When Sirius was quiet, something in his eyes would change. Instead of the gleam of humour or interest in a subject his eyes became blank, and he would seem to be looking at something no one else could see. What he saw could only be awful. He was bruised and broken on the inside; any fool could see that.

Aberforth had to resist the urge to give him a room and tuck him in. He cared for him the best way he could. He gave him food and company, and that was safely enough.

Aberforth finished up his work, went around the bar and took the stool next to Sirius. He Summoned the tea tray and it landed softly right in front of him.

Aberforth nodded at the discarded bones on Sirius's plate and said, "You want to take those back for the Hippogriff?"

"Reckon I should," Sirius said. "Have a sleeping draught I could put with it? He's been more restless than usual. Think he smells something in the air; spring is coming maybe. Woke up last night and had something jabbing in my side. Ever had a randy Hippogriff try to mount you? I was Padfoot, so I was able to get away but Merlin, that was a big knob." Aberforth grinned and poured each of them a measure of tea. "Not that I particularly mind big knobs, just not ones the size of my thigh. Much bigger than any other creature I'd seen. Maybe not dragons, definitely centaurs."

"What do you know about centaur pricks?" Aberforth asked, even though he could guess Sirius knew a lot about a wide variety of pricks.

Sirius shrugged and winked at Aberforth in a way that made Aberforth's insides tighten. He picked up his tea and drank deeply even though it was still far too hot. He didn't want to look over at Sirius. Aberforth liked his easy, quiet life. He only provided food for Sirius because he felt sorry for him and he was a good kid. That's right, a kid, because Aberforth was much too old to think of him as anything else.

They drank their tea in companionable silence. When Sirius was done, he stood and thanked Aberforth. He reached and touched Aberforth on the shoulder. Aberforth looked up into his eyes, they softened at the corners as he gave a small, easy smile. "It's nice having someone to talk to. Makes me feel more like myself."

"It's only food," Aberforth said, but his quiet tone did not echo the gruffness of the words.

"Right. Grumpy, bastard." He squeezed Aberforth's arm and then quietly left the pub.

* *

Aberforth felt a bit like an idiot as he hurried to the back door. It could not be helped, though. It had been days since he had seen Sirius. There had been a burst of activity in the village, and they couldn't risk Sirius sneaking in every night with people renting out rooms upstairs. He was anxious to see Sirius. Aberforth told himself he was only worried that Sirius could get caught if he got too hungry and took too big of a risk to get something to eat.

It had nothing to do with providing Sirius a warm meal, good conversation, and certainly not companionship. But it was easy to forget he was only doing Albus a favour when they shared a drink or as the weather warmed, they sat out back and smoked, silently studying the twinkling stars: the mysterious swirls of the Milky Way against the inky black void that was the backdrop to all beauty of the sky. They would sit with their thighs often pressed together, and Sirius would touch him without hesitation if he was about to say something.

Aberforth went back behind his bar, trying not to seem to eager, but it was always hard for him to pretend he didn't care. Sirius emerged from the shadows of the back within in minutes. Before he could say anything, Aberforth said, "Those robes have been sitting in the lost and found for a month. They might not be the best, but they're better than what you got." He pointed to the robes he'd draped over the back of a chair.

"Thanks," Sirius said, sounding surprised. Aberforth was not going to watch as Sirius changed – he had told himself that already – but Sirius spoke to him. "You want me to go ahead and burn these?" He held his old robes in a bundle in his hand.

"Aren't good for anything else," Aberforth said, careful to make eye contact with Sirius. He dropped them on the floor and Aberforth's eyes naturally followed the falling rags. As he looked back up again, he noticed Sirius had a good pair of trousers on. "Where'd you get those?"

"Nicked them," Sirius replied. "They're a bit big in the waist –" Sirius grabbed the front of the trousers and shook them to illustrate the looseness. Aberforth looked and noticed instantly that Sirius didn't wear pants. Of course he didn't. His eyes followed the dark hairs up to Sirius's navel and back down again. They were black as the hairs on his head. His stomach was flat and his ribs stuck out a bit. "Keep feeding me like you have and I'll fill them out soon enough. Won't be such a bony bastard eventually." Aberforth could see that, yes, Sirius could do with a little more flesh on his bones, but he looked good nonetheless.

Sirius turned and grabbed the new robes from the back of the chair. Aberforth looked at his broad, pale back. There was a jagged scar across his right shoulder blade, and Aberforth couldn't help but wonder where he'd got such a thing. Sirius had a lifetime worth of adventures, Aberforth knew. But he always got the impression Sirius was never telling the whole story or the best parts.

Sirius lifted the robes over his head, and Aberforth could see the graceful move and flex of his muscles as he pulled the robes on. He was perfect. Gorgeous.

And he was only making sure Sirius didn’t starve, he reminded himself sharply as he forced his eyes away. He only looked up as Sirius scooped his discarded robes from the floor and tossed them in the hearth then incinerated them with flames from his wand. They went up in seconds, and then quickly burned away. No trace of the fire was left. No smoke, no heat, no burned robe scent.

As Sirius turned back, Aberforth reached for the plate of food he had prepared. Sirius held up a hand to stop him. "Mind if I have a smoke first? Think I need that more than anything. Come sit with me." Sirius pulled out a chair and then another for Aberforth.

" 'Course," Aberforth said, putting the food back down. He Summoned his pipe and the pack of fags he happened to have lying around.

Sirius groaned as he sat and stretched out his legs in front of him. He closed his eyes and didn't open them until Aberforth's shadow crossed his face as he took the seat next to him. Aberforth handed the pack to Sirius as he put his pipe between his teeth. Sirius touched the fag with the tip of his wand and then silently offered to light Aberforth's pipe. Aberforth waved him off. He'd light his own pipe, thank you very much. The frisson that had passed between them when he'd let Sirius do that once before had not been easily forgot.

They smoked in silence. Aberforth never spoke first; he always waited for Sirius to come to him. Usually it didn't take long, but tonight Sirius seemed distracted. There were dark circles under his eyes, his mouth was tight and he made circles with his thumb on his thigh. He looked closed off to the world, like his thoughts could pull him completely away forever.

Sirius finished one cigarette, looked up at Aberforth and blinked a few times as if coming out of a trance. Aberforth returned the look but kept his face blank.

"Pipe reminds me of my uncle Alphard. Always smoked one when he had tea. Wasn't tobacco he put in it," Sirius said.

"Knew Alphard. Pain in the arse, like you," Aberforth said, and Sirius's cheek plumped. "Bit different though. He didn't walk into the pub as boldly as you. Tried to be sneakier about it. Had to kick him out anyway. He was only a first year."

Sirius gave a small smile as he reached for another cigarette. "James and I sneaked into Hogsmeade more times than I can count. I can hardly remember why now. Probably for a laugh. Everything was a laugh then. Everything isn't so funny now."

"Things weren't funny then, you were too young to realize it."

Sirius leaned back in his chair and let out a slow exhale of smoke. "We were idiots. I was an idiot."

"Everyone's an idiot when they're a kid."

"True." Sirius exhaled slowly and then said in a burst, "Everything is getting strange, like it was then. Part of me wants to take Harry and run. It's what I should have done fifteen years ago. Taken James, Lily and gone. If –"

"If you're going to sit around and talk about 'ifs', then I'd prefer you get out. Can't bloody change the past and missing it will eat your insides. I know." Aberforth had lived a lot of years feeling completely hollow. When he thought about his parents and his sister, wondering what he could have, would have, should have…if – it never made him feel better. It made everything worse. "Regret will drive you mad exactly like a Dementor would."

Sirius put his cigarette in the ashtray and leaned close to Aberforth. "Know a lot about this?" he asked quietly. Aberforth looked him squarely in the eyes. He could see the fire building in them – the dangerous fuse about to go off without warning. Sirius's pain consumed him, and there was not a single damn soul who could have pain like his.

Aberforth, though, he knew. He knew just as well as Sirius. He didn't pick his words carefully. Sirius would get angry whenever he decided to be angry, so Aberforth spoke honestly because that was what he would have wanted himself. "I know everything about this. We're the same."

"I seem to recall you've got a brother sitting up in the castle."

"I seem to recall your brother wasn't all that important to you."

Sirius startled as if he'd been hit but then he said, "He was –"

"Not your parents though."

"Right. Never them. But James..."

"I know. I remember. You've got his boy though, and Lupin." He didn't include any one else. He knew Sirius loved deeply, but those he gave his love to were few and far between. Aberforth wouldn't be shocked if Sirius up and left Hogsmeade one day without so much as a goodbye. But Aberforth liked Sirius because of that. He wasn't needlessly affectionate.

"No matter who else there is, they don't fill the hole that was left," Sirius said in words so quiet they weren't even a whisper. Aberforth felt a lump rise in his throat. Sirius was absolutely right. The heart didn't heal like the body. It could still feel like the shredded, bloody mess it became decades ago.

Aberforth put down his pipe and leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his face inches from Sirius. He resisted the urge to cup his jaw, run his fingers behind Sirius's ears as if he were in dog form, not human. "Be careful not to think about the holes too much. You'll end up some pathetic old bugger running a pub that you can't get the goat smell out of no matter what you do."

Sirius put one hand firmly on top of Aberforth's. Something flashed in his eyes, and then he said, "I always wondered about the goat smell, if it came with the place or you liked it."

"You're not funny."

"And you're not pathetic," Sirius said, sliding to the edge of his chair. He got closer to Aberforth. So close, almost too close. Aberforth could see the shadows on his cheeks thrown off by his long lashes.

"The hell I'm not," Aberforth said with a halfhearted attempt to pull away, but Sirius gripped his hand tightly. "I'm sitting here with a man much too young –"

"Too young for what?" Sirius asked, and that over-confidant smirk slid across his face. "Been a long time since I was school boy." He closed the distance between them and his mouth pressed against Aberforth's. Aberforth kissed him back without thought, without hesitation.

The world shifted beneath him, and Aberforth opened his mouth, allowing Sirius to slip his tongue inside. He couldn't think straight. He couldn't remember why he had forced his eyes away from Sirius' body or chided himself for his anxiousness to have Sirius in his pub. All he could think of now was what was happening between them.

Sirius crawled in his lap and the chair cracked precariously under their combined weight. That didn't stop them. Aberforth bunched up Sirius's robes around his waist and touched the pads of his fingers to his warm, soft skin. A sob threatened to choke him. It had been far too long since he had someone close like this. It wasn't just the heat and weight of another body. It was that everything Sirius felt Aberforth understood perfectly well, and that meant Sirius could understand him completely. That was a beautiful rarity.

Sirius ground himself against Aberforth. Pressing his arse to Aberforth's crotch and his stiff cock to his stomach. Sirius reached for his trousers and quickly pulled them open. He looked down and began stroking himself as Aberforth felt his own cock stiffen and press to Sirius's arse. Without a word Aberforth pushed Sirius's hand away and wrapped his own around Sirius's cock. It was thick and heavy in his hand. Sirius rocked into his fist with slow fluid movement as Aberforth stroked in time with the thrust of his hips.

Aberforth touched him with long firm strokes until Sirius face was buried in the crook of his neck and his hands tangled in his robes. He came with a mumbled curse words on his lips.

He lifted his head and their eyes met. Before any words were spoken, Sirius slid from Aberforth's lap to the floor. He pushed Aberforth's knees apart and settled between them.

Aberforth almost stopped Sirius as he pushed his robes aside and undid his trousers, but he couldn't. He wanted it too much.

Sirius wrapped his mouth around Aberforth and sucked him almost to the root. Aberforth placed one hand lightly on the back of Sirius's head and dropped his own head back. He'd let Sirius do this. Sirius sucked him like he did everything else, with confidence. Soon the only thoughts Aberforth had were of the hot, wet mouth wrapped around his cock and the firm touch on his balls. When he came he moaned softly and Sirius swallowed around him.

Sirius rested his head on Aberforth's knee and they stayed there in silence.

Aberforth hadn't ever considered that someone like Sirius, all bravado, would be so eager to drop to his knees and wrap his mouth around a cock. But as he idly slid his fingers through the silky, thick hair of Sirius's head, he was reminded of exactly how Sirius's fur felt when he was a dog.

Animagi are particularly like their own human selves. Dogs needed to be a part of a pack, they needed to be a part of something. Aberforth provided that for Sirius right now. Sitting too close, lingering touches, fucking – that was how Sirius operated with those he wanted close. Aberforth's thoughts suddenly rearranged themselves surrounding Sirius's friendships with James Potter and Remus Lupin. He could picture them, not as the animals they could be, – and the other one too, Pettigrew – but as the boys they had been, running like mad through the Forbidden Forest. There was a wild, feral feeling, but there was also sense to it. This was the world in Sirius's mind. Maybe just now after Azkaban or maybe he was always that way. The pack was broken now and Sirius needed it, needed that group. They weren't here and Aberforth was. Aberforth would give Sirius all that he could, because as selfish as he knew it was, Aberforth needed to be needed too.

* *

"Aberforth!" His name was said so sharply that panic immediately set off through his body.

The village was empty and everyone was up at the school, but he was still shocked that Sirius didn't wait till he was safely in the pub before he transformed. He looked shaken, sick and scared. This did nothing to allay Aberforth's panic.

"He's back," Sirius said striding over to him. "Voldemort is back. Harry saw it all. It's happening. The war the is happening."

Aberforth knew the pub was empty, but quickly looked around to be safe. He flicked his wand to the door, closing and locking it. He automatically reached for a bottle and two glasses. He owned a pub; it's what you did when someone came in with a problem. He poured them each a measure of the drink – he hadn't any idea what he'd pulled up, he'd just grabbed the first thing to hand – and said to Sirius, "Have a drink. Start over."

Sirius didn't touch his drink, but dove immediately into a story that Aberforth would have called rubbish had the details not been so repulsive and remarkable. A fourteen-year-old boy couldn't possibly make up such a tale. "The war has started. Dumbledore wants the Order back together," Sirius said.

Aberforth took a sip of his drink, gin as it turned out. "I think the Order can get on without me."

Sirius looked at him incredulously. "What? You can't be serious." Sirius put his hands flat on the bar and clenched his jaw, his eyes blazing at Aberforth.

"The Order doesn't need me." Aberforth had thought long and hard about it. He didn't want to be a part of anymore of Albus's plans or wars. He'd had enough for a lifetime.

"Like bloody hell the Order doesn't need you! What, do you think you can stay in your pub and pretend this won't affect you? That because you're a pureblood they won't come after you? You're Dumbledore's sodding brother. You might as well kiss your arse goodbye!"

"I know exactly who I am. I know exactly what will happen. I know witches and wizards are going to drop like flies around me, and maybe me too. I'm not doing it! I'm not being apart of his grand scheme to defeat Voldemort."

"You can't decide to look the other way!"

"This is your brilliant plan to re-gather the Order? Shouting at us till we do what you want?" Aberforth spoke evenly, though he felt anger clawing at his throat.

"He's your brother. Harry is my godson. You can't turn your back on them!"

"You didn't turn your back on your brother?"

"This isn't about Regulus! James was my brother," Sirius growled dangerously low and quiet.

"And yet you trusted his life with another person and look where that got you."

Aberforth had never been intimidated by Sirius. Not one bit, until this moment. He thought Sirius was going to reach across the bar and pummel him to death. Aberforth thought maybe he deserved it. It was a low blow, but Aberforth wanted no part in more death and loss. He was done.

In what might have been the greatest Herculean effort of Sirius's life, he didn't hit Aberforth or draw his wand. He balled his hands into fists and said through gritted teeth, "I know what I did but I also know what I can do." He took a steadying breath and continued. "We are not powerless. We have to fight. For us, for Harry. He's my family; he's what I have left. And I don't want to fight a war with a bunch of people who don't understand, who don't get it. We don't have any Aurors left, because Longbottom isn't going to suddenly snap out of it, which means Dumbledore will bring in new Aurors. Sure they hunt dark wizards, but Voldemort isn't a stupid criminal. Half the Order is dead, which means there will be fresh bodies. People who were kids and still shitting themselves during the first war. They won't have a fucking clue. They don't know, but you do."

What? What did Aberforth know exactly, he wondered. He knew about death, and loss, and sadness? Is that all war was? To Sirius, yes, probably. He was clinging to the one person he had left: the Potter boy. Clinging to him meant clinging to Albus, and Sirius was obviously willing to do that because he had no other choice. Aberforth had choices though. "Go. Get," Aberforth said, just like he would to a dog who was in the way.

Sirius glared at him, and Aberforth turned and walked to the back door to let Sirius out. He heard the click, click of paws on the floor as Sirius, in dog form now, followed him. Before he could reach to unlock it Sirius pressed his heavy, furry body to Aberforth's leg, the fur on his back tickling the tips of Aberforth's fingers.

Aberforth unlocked the door and knelt down, blocking Sirius from exiting. He cupped his hand under Sirius's long jaw and stroked his soft, silky ears. He looked into Sirius's pale eyes and thought about the first time he really noticed those eyes and everything he saw in them. Damn, stupid animal. Aberforth had been weak for Sirius the moment that happened. And Sirius had pulled him in further, made him a part of his world. These past few months he was the only other human in Sirius's world.

Aberforth couldn't send Sirius out with just the boy and Lupin and have Albus there to call every shot without question. He was a part of this group.

"If you make me regret it, I'll curse your bollocks off," Aberforth said and Sirius pushed into his touch with his monstrous head.

Aberforth stood and Sirius loped out. Before he disappeared into the shadows he turned and barked at Aberforth.

Aberforth sighed. He, like his brother unfortunately, could never leave well enough alone. And damn Albus knew that, especially when it came to animals.

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Tags: aberforth dumbledore, beholder 2013, fic, rating:r, sirius black, sirius black/aberforth dumbledore, slash
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