If one discounted the most obvious disadvantages of being dead, it wasn't such a bad lot. The thing Sirius missed the most was, of course, sex. It just wasn't the same, he found, when one couldn't enjoy the slide of one hard, sweaty body against another. And this spiritual joining shite, which Remus insisted was just as fulfilling as the real thing, just didn't possess the curative properties that a good fucking did.
Sex made it better.
"Makes what better?"
"Everything. Life," Sirius said.
Remus gave him a blank stare. "Sirius, it's been five years."
"Ten years, Remus. You've been dead five years. I've been dead ten years."
Remus moved to scratch his temple, but scowled when his finger stabbed right through his head. "Right," he said, choosing instead to point the ghostly finger at Sirius. "Ten years, then. Makes an even stronger point for my argument. When, by all the hells, are you going to let it go?"
Sirius scowled. "I miss it, Remus. I'm allowed to miss things, aren't I?"
"Yes, of course. But most of us who have passed on miss other things, like…say…Harry."
Sirius scowled. "I miss Harry."
"I didn't mean to imply that you didn't."
Sirius placed his hands on his hips and looked around the flat. Remus, who sensed a spectacular temper tantrum in the works, sighed and sat in one of Harry's armchairs. It took some effort not to sink through the seat or float comically above it, but Remus liked to think he had learned something useful in the five years since his death. At least he hadn't spent the time pining away for his prick.
"We can't even be proper ghosts!" Sirius yelled. "No one sees us. We can't even haunt things! I wanted to be able to haunt things!"
Remus sniffed. "You just want to hang about the Cannons' locker room after Quidditch matches." He crossed his legs. "Which you can still do, of course."
"But I can't touch anything," Sirius whined.
Remus took pity on his friend. "Look. If it's a sexual thrill you want, why not…." he waved his transparent hand in the air, "watch Harry and Draco occasionally."
"That makes it worse," Sirius said with a pout. "Then I end up missing him more."
"My dick!" Sirius yelled. He flew over to Remus. "Aren't you listening?"
Remus floated to a standing position. "This discussion is beyond ludicrous. You're never going to have sex again, Sirius. Never. There's no getting out of this one, my friend. No amount of whining or crying or yelling or screaming is going to change it. You're dead. Your cock is dead."
Sirius gasped and placed a hand over his chest. "There's no need to be so cruel. Are you trying to make me cry?"
The front door opened, which saved Remus from answering. Both Sirius and Remus turned to watch as Harry and Draco entered the flat. Harry hung his coat on the hook by the door and made for the kitchen without so much as a backward glance at Draco.
"What are they doing home so early?" Sirius wondered out loud.
Draco, mouth set in a firm line, watched him go before slamming the front door and stalking off in the opposite direction toward the bedroom.
"Oh dear," Remus said.
A moment later, Severus floated through the front door. Sirius met him halfway across the room. "What happened? Why are they fighting?"
"What's going on, Severus?" Remus chimed in. "I thought this was supposed to be a romantic evening. They shouldn't have been home for hours."
"They've barely had time for each other this past month," Sirius added. "They needed this night alone together."
Severus sank into a chair and dropped his head into his hands. Sirius raised an eyebrow, jealous that the man could pull off the gesture with so little effort. It irked him to no end that Severus, dead only two years this month, could sit in a chair. Sirius always sank through the cushion.
Remus floated over and hovered close, a worried look on his face. "Well, Severus?" Concern made his body even more wispy and transparent. "What is it?"
Severus sighed and looked up. "Harry's an idiot."
"Now see here!" Sirius cut in.
"Oh please, Black," Severus spat. "You know it's true."
Sirius fidgeted. "All right. Fine. He's an idiot." When Severus hummed his agreement, he continued. "But it's only because of what he's been through. Who wouldn't be emotionally challenged after a life like his?"
"Like Draco's any better," Remus muttered.
"Oh, very well," Severus said. "They both have issues with trust and intimacy. However – Potter's behavior this evening was uncalled for."
"What on earth did he do?"
Severus looked up at Remus. "I – I'm not sure. But Draco seemed quite put out by it."
Sirius crossed his arms. "You mean you weren't paying attention when things started to go pear-shaped."
Severus squared his shoulders. "I most certainly was." His lip curled. "It's just that so much of what they talk about is…."
"Sweet?" Remus offered.
"Boring," Severus supplied instead. "Anyway, by the time I had tuned back into the conversation, Harry was telling Draco that the evening was a waste of their time. He insisted they Apparate home." He stroked his chin. "Though, in Harry's defense, he seemed extremely upset."
As if cued, cupboards began slamming in the kitchen. Remus floated over and hovered in the doorway. Severus followed, crowding the small opening and forcing Sirius to float close to the ceiling in order to get a proper peek inside.
Harry was sitting at the kitchen table, hands fisted around a glass of water. His face was twisted into a mask of misery and his eyes stared ahead, unfocused. Behind him, cupboard doors and drawers alike slammed open and closed, over and over. Remus shook his head.
"You see that?" Sirius asked.
"The boy never could control his temper," Severus remarked. He pinched the bridge of his nose.
"No," Sirius said. He tried to poke Severus, but only succeeded in shoving his fingers through Severus's back and into his chest.
"Do you mind?" Severus sputtered.
"Sorry, sorry. But did you see that?"
When Severus merely looked at Sirius with mounting exasperation, Sirius threw his hands in the air. "That's what I want to do. I want to be able to bang things."
"Yes," Severus said in a dry voice. "So you've said."
Remus groaned and floated back into the living room. He turned to face the others, who had followed. "There must be something we can do."
"Like what?" Sirius exclaimed. "We're dead, Remus. They can't see or hear us. They have no idea we've been watching over them all this time."
"Lucky for you," Severus mumbled.
Sirius opened his mouth to continue before closing it again and turning to Severus. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Severus rolled his eyes. "Only that watching them fuck each other into oblivion goes a bit beyond the call of duty, wouldn't you say, Black? Must you linger in their bedroom night after night?"
"So I'm a bit overprotective."
"You're a bit perverted."
"Enough," Remus cut in, shooting the other two scathing looks. "We have to get them to talk to each other."
"How do you suggest we do that?" Sirius asked. He shot Severus a sideways look before lowering himself gingerly into an armchair. He focused all his energy on remaining perched on the cushion, but inevitably sank several inches in before he could stop himself.
Severus gave a bark of laughter. "I never tire of watching that."
"I'll get it eventually, you bastard."
Severus smirked. "I highly doubt that." He tapped his finger against his lips. "The boys can't hear us, per se – that much is true – but we still have some ability to influence them. We can nudge them in the right direction."
"Really?" Sirius scoffed. "And how would you know that?"
Severus snorted in disgust. "Honestly, Black. Do you think I'd agree to look after these two if I couldn't guide their actions in some small way? When I arrived, Harry's life was a train wreck. I daresay Draco's wasn't much better. How they avoided a hideous death for the eight years you were taking care of them is life's greatest mystery."
"I was looking after Harry," Sirius snarled. "Draco wasn't even in the picture until a couple of years ago."
Severus waved him off. "Regardless. They needed guidance. I guided them. And see? Are they not better off now?"
Sirius gave Severus an incredulous look. Having Harry destroy the kitchen while Draco sulked in the bedroom was hardly what he would call better off. "So you think getting them to talk about what's bothering them will help." He shook his head. "They're not big talkers, you know."
"But it will help, Sirius," Remus said. "It always helps to talk about your feelings." He turned to Severus. "What can we do?"
Sirius bit back his retort. It had never helped him to talk about his feelings. And frankly, history had shown that Harry and Draco preferred to fuck their problems away. Severus called it twisted and Remus called it tragic, but Sirius called it practical. It worked. Why mess with a good thing?
"It is quite easy, Remus. Watch and learn." Severus floated into the kitchen and up to Harry. Remus and Sirius followed close behind. Severus drew close to Harry's ear. "Potter," he said. "Because of all your idiotic arguing, you both missed dinner. Make Draco something to eat. As a peace offering."
Harry sighed, scrubbed a hand over his face, and bent to get a saucepan out of the cupboard.
Severus straightened and faced Sirius with a rare grin. "See?"
"Hmmmm." Sirius leaned close to Harry's ear. "Harry. It's a bit hot in here. Take off your clothes."
When Harry gave another sigh and fingered the topmost button of his shirt, Sirius let out a loud cheer and flew around the kitchen, laughing as he went.
Remus groaned and frowned at Severus. "Whatever possessed you to show him that? The world may never be the same."
"The Cannons' locker room won't be, at any rate," Severus replied in a bland voice.
Remus gestured for Severus to follow him out of the kitchen. "Come on. Let's work on Draco while Harry's cooking." He glanced over his shoulder to see Sirius drifting close to Harry's ear, evil grin in place. "Sirius!" Remus yelled. "Don't!"
"Don't what?" Sirius asked, plastering an innocent look on his face. He floated out of the kitchen and followed Remus down the hall. "Don't what?" he asked more insistently when both Severus and Remus glowered at him.
They entered the bedroom. Draco was sitting slumped in his chair, twirling a quill between his fingers, and staring at the desk. Severus wasted no time; he approached him immediately. "Draco," he said in an authoritative voice, "pouting is unbecoming. Go tell Harry exactly how you feel about him."
Draco looked up from the desk and stared at the wall, as though contemplating something of great import. After a few seconds of thoughtful silence, he bit his lip, threw down the quill he'd been holding, and left the room.
"You just had to insult him," Sirius harped. "You couldn't just ask him to go talk to Harry."
"Insults motivate him."
Sirius snorted, but Remus clapped his hands together in delight. "Oh, thank goodness," he said with a sigh. "This is just what they need. They are always brutally honest with each other. As soon as Draco tells Harry that he loves him, this whole unpleasant mess will be over."
The three followed Draco down the short hall, through the living room, and into the kitchen. Harry was standing at the stove, arms crossed over his chest. Sirius knew he must have heard Draco come into the room, but he didn't turn, choosing instead to bite his lip and remain staring at the water simmering in the pan.
Draco planted his feet, placed his hands on his hips, and opened his mouth. Sirius, Severus and Remus leaned forward
"You're a bloody insensitive, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bastard, Harry."
The three ghosts were struck dumb. "Well," Sirius finally said. "Well." He shot a sidelong glance at Severus. "Doesn't mince his words, does he?"
Harry stiffened but didn't reply. Instead, he lifted the pan off the burner and threw it into the sink. Draco jumped. "What the hell was that?" he yelled.
Harry spun around. "That, Draco, was your dinner." He pushed past Draco and stormed out of the kitchen without another word. Sirius watched Harry go before turning back to Draco.
Remus was hovering next to him, compassion shining in his eyes. "It's all right, Draco," he said in a gentle voice. "Everything will be all right."
Draco bit his lip. He wrapped his arms around himself and stared at the sink, where steam was still rising from the pan.
Sirius gave Severus a dirty look. "Excellent plan, Severus. Got any more gems up your sleeve?"
Severus had the good grace not to reply. Sirius snorted and floated into the living room, leaving the other two to their scheming. There, he found Harry, who was trying – and obviously failing – to feign nonchalance by reading a magazine.
Sirius hovered close and caught a glimpse of the magazine over Harry's shoulder. It was the newest issue of Quidditch Weekly. Harry was reading a story about the World Cup playoffs.
"Huh," Sirius said. He quickly became immersed in the article and settled in to read over Harry's shoulder. A few minutes later, Severus and Remus returned, whispering amongst themselves. Sirius ignored them.
"I'm through with this section, Harry. Turn the page," Sirius instructed.
Obediently, Harry turned the page. For a long moment, he hesitated, hand hovering over the magazine, brows furrowed. Then, shaking his head, he turned back a page and continued reading.
Sirius frowned. "I said I was through, Harry. Turn. The. Page."
Immediately, Harry turned the page, and Sirius gave a happy sigh.
"Black!" Severus thundered. "What the hell do you think you're doing?"
Without waiting for Sirius's excuse, he floated close to Harry. "Harry," he said into Harry's ear, "Turn the page back and finish your article."
Harry closed his eyes and gave a quiet, rueful laugh before turning back to his original page. "Going effin' crazy," he muttered.
Severus faced off against Sirius, Harry and the sofa between them. "You see, Black? What your casual meddling will do?" He gestured at Harry.
Sirius gave a hearty laugh. "You're one to talk! Things are worse between them instead of better!" he yelled.
"And I suppose you feel your solution would have had better success," Severus spat. "Oh, that's right," he drawled. "You didn't have a solution."
"The fuck I didn't," Sirius said, snarling at Severus. "Harry!" he barked, leaning in close to his ear. "Get up and go in the kitchen. Now!"
Harry let out a small gasp, jumped off the sofa, and practically ran into the kitchen.
Remus started forward. "What—"
"Stay out of it, Remus," Sirius thundered. "It's my turn."
He gave Severus a warning look as he floated past. Severus sneered at him, but didn't interfere.
Sirius entered the kitchen to find Harry standing in the middle of the floor, looking awkward. Draco stood three paces away, backed up against the sink. They stared at each other. When Harry opened his mouth to speak, Sirius jumped forward. "Don't you dare," he growled. "Don't say a word, you bloody fool. Just go over there and kiss him."
Harry took a deep breath and started forward. Draco saw him coming and his eyes widened. He opened his mouth. To say what, Sirius had no idea – and frankly it didn't matter. "Shut it, Draco," Sirius bellowed.
Draco's mouth snapped shut.
Harry took Sirius's suggestion to heart. He swept Draco into his arms, earning himself a surprised gasp for his trouble, and molded their lips together.
"Go ahead, Draco," he said. "Fight him a little bit. Have to make him think you're still angry, don't you?"
As predicted, Draco gave a token struggle before giving up and melting into the embrace. His arms snuck around Harry's back and his hands kneaded the material of Harry's jumper. From his vantage point, Sirius couldn't see much of the kiss. But if the contented sighs and needy moans were any indication, things were definitely looking up.
He gave his own contented sigh. "That's right. Now. Isn't your next step normally to apologize, Harry? Before you drag him off to the bedroom?"
Harry ended the kiss, smirking at Draco's moan of disapproval. He leaned their foreheads together and twisted Draco's hair around his fingers as he stroked the nape of his neck. "Sorry," he whispered.
Draco sniffed and didn't answer at first. Sirius rolled his eyes. "Don't be cruel, Draco," he mumbled.
"Me too," Draco said. He nuzzled Harry's neck.
Harry grinned and tugged on Draco's hand. Sirius moved aside as they left the kitchen and headed down the hall. Not surprisingly, Severus and Remus drifted in a moment later.
"Where are they going?" Severus demanded.
Sirius tried but failed to hold back a snort. "And you call me an idiot."
"What did you do?" Remus asked.
Sirius shrugged. "Helped them remember what works for them. And behold, no emotional vomiting was required." He curled his lip at Severus as he floated out of the kitchen. "Just old-fashioned, time-tested, tried and true fucking."
As he entered the living room, he heard the door to the bedroom slam shut. Sirius dropped into a chair and, for once, perched perfectly on top of the cushion. "Just like I always said."
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