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Paint Me Up (You're my favorite color)

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It begins with a box on his bed. 

Only, this isn’t entirely true. It really began four months earlier, when Harry returned from his travels abroad and settled into Sirius’ home as easily as breathing, as if he’d never left.

Or maybe it began even earlier, when Harry first realized what it meant that just the sight of his godfather could set his stomach fluttering, that one touch could leave him speechless and blushing for hours—when he spent a drunken weekend at Ron and Hermione’s flat and then promptly left the country for three long years. 

Regardless of where it started, Harry is determined to finish it before it gets out of hand. 

Then again, with Sirius involved, it’s probably far too late for that.

He’s still going to try.

He opens the box and sighs. Inside, folded neatly, is a deep green button-up. When he touches it, the fabric slides like silk beneath his fingers. It’s perfect. 

It’s awful.

“Sirius!” Only moments later, he hears Sirius’ footsteps on the stairs. 

“What is it?” his godfather asks as he appears in the doorway to Harry’s room.

Harry turns, holding up the shirt Sirius has evidently just bought for him. “What is this?”

“Well, my darling,” Sirius says as he walks closer. Harry rolls his eyes at the pet name. “I believe this is a shirt.”

He takes the shirt and holds it up to Harry’s chest, as if to check the fit, and Harry doesn’t believe it for a second. He knows for a fact that Sirius enlisted Kreacher to get his measurements weeks ago. Instead of saying so, he lets his eyes track the way Sirius’ throat moves as he swallows, the way he bites at his lip.

“You know,” he says, “I can buy things for myself.”

Sirius groans before he’s even finished saying it. “I know you can, but—”

“But what, Sirius!”

“I have more money than I can spend in three lifetimes,” Sirius tells him, taking him by the shoulders and shaking him, just a little. Harry lets him. “Please. Help me squander the fortune of my terrible family.”

“By letting you buy me things?”

“Yes,” Sirius says, letting go of his shoulders to cradle Harry’s face in his hands, “By letting me buy things for my favorite person in the whole world.”

Harry sighs, leaning forward and pulling Sirius into a hug, pressing his face in his shoulder to hide the way his cheeks heat at the description. He says, his voice muffled by the robe Sirius is wearing, “Fine.” 

 

Now that he has Harry’s permission, the gifts come more often.

Sometimes they’re practical. 

Other times, like when Sirius buys him an entire set of tailored dress robes with boots to match, Harry wants to strangle the man, to pin him down and force him to explain what all of the gifts really mean. 

But he doesn’t. 

Because no matter how skeptical Ron and Hermione look whenever he meets up with them to gossip about his non-existent love life, he’s an adult. 

And because he’s an adult, he decides to do the mature thing and express his feelings. Well, sort of.

“You should go to the Ministry ball with me,” Harry says one day, his feet planted firmly in Sirius’ lap to keep him from running. 

Sirius lets out a bark of laughter. 

Harry tries not to feel discouraged. 

“I mean it,” he says, digging his toes into Sirius’ thigh until he squirms, “They’ve been pestering me to come for months. I don’t want to go, but I figure if I need to, I might as well make it bearable.”

“And taking me would make it bearable?” Sirius asks, disbelieving. 

“It would,” Harry tells him. 

“Well, you’re out of luck.” Harry tries very hard not to ask why, because Sirius doesn’t owe him anything, not even an explanation. But Sirius reads his desire to know anyway. “I refuse to step foot in the Ministry, not when it’s full of the same simpering idiots who decided they’d rather kiss Voldemort’s arse than help you get rid of him.”

“Love the imagery,” Harry says faintly. 

Well, fine.

Maybe he has a good reason. 

“You shouldn’t go either,” Sirius tells him. 

Harry sighs, because he’d love to stay home instead, but Kingsley asked him personally. He likes Kingsley. He’s actually getting shit done in the cesspit known as the Ministry of Magic. 

“Are you sure you won’t step foot in the Ministry?” Harry asks instead of explaining himself, “Not even to go to a ball with your favorite person in the whole world?”

Sirius laughs, but it’s happier this time.

“My favorite person— Oh, did you think I meant you?” Sirius asks, one hand pressed over his heart, an entirely false pitying look on his face. Harry huffs and stands from the couch, pulling his feet out of reach when Sirius attempts to grab them and hold him down. “How embarrassing for you.”

“You’re the worst,” Harry says over his shoulder.

Sirius laughs, then calls after him, “Wear the robes I bought you!”

 

Three months pass, and Sirius is still buying him presents. Worse, he still won’t talk about anything remotely close to feelings, romantic or otherwise.

Something must be done. 

And if that something just so happens to be a little bit cruel, well. 

Harry wasn’t almost sorted into Slytherin for nothing.

When he comes down the stairs late one evening, dressed in a pair of black jeans Ginny helped him pick out and the deep green button-up Sirius bought for him, he hears Sirius’s breath catch and grins.

“You’re wearing the shirt I gave you,” Sirius says, just a little bit breathless. He sounds pleased, like he always does when Harry puts his gifts to use. 

Harry looks down at himself, as if he’s only just noticed. “Oh, yeah.”

When Harry heads for the door instead of the couch to sit beside him, Sirius sits up straighter, the beginnings of a frown pulling at his lips. “Going somewhere?”

“Mhm,” Harry says as he bends over to pull on his dragon hide boots, also supplied by Sirius, “I have a date.”

“A date?” Sirius leans over the back of the couch, watching him get ready with wide eyes. “You mean, a date date?”

Harry laughs. “I certainly hope so.” 

“Oh, well.” Sirius looks as if he doesn’t know what to do with himself. Harry almost feels bad. “Good luck.”

He wonders how much those words hurt. By the sound of them, quite a bit. 

And, well, if he’s going to be cruel tonight, he might as well go all the way. “He told me he likes my eyes,” Harry says. He gestures to the shirt Sirius bought for him, the one that started it all. “That’s why you got it for me, right? Because it brings out my eyes?”

Sirius only nods, as if he doesn’t trust himself to speak. 

Harry grins and strides over to the couch, leaning down to press a kiss to Sirius’ cheek, prompting the man to take a startled breath and notice that Harry is also using the aftershave Sirius gave him just last week. 

Before Sirius can attempt to say anything more, Harry sweeps out the door, waving over his shoulder. 

“Later, Sirius,” he says, trying not to laugh, “Don’t wait up.”

 

Later that night, when Harry arrives back home after a nice night out with Ron and Hermione, who’d looked equal parts amused and exasperated when he told them his plan for Sirius, he finds Sirius asleep on the couch, his head turned to face the entryway. 

On the nearby table, there’s a half-full glass of what might be water but is probably gin.

“Oh, Sirius,” he says, before he can stop himself, his voice almost embarrassingly soft. Sirius doesn't wake.

He shrugs out of his coat and hangs it on the hook, shedding his boots as well. On near-silent feet, he heads for the couch, kneeling on the floor beside Sirius’s head. For a moment, he only looks at the man, tracing the way the years have changed him. He’s starting to go grey, Harry notices, and he vows to never tell the man lest he dye it dark again. 

“Sirius,” Harry says, nudging at his shoulder. 

While he’d prefer to let his godfather sleep, he knows the couch won’t do any favors for his back. 

Sirius groans, but his eyes stay shut.

“Sirius, wake up.” 

Finally, Sirius wakes, staring up at him with bleary eyes, and Harry thinks his heart melts when he smiles. “Hey, Harry.”

“Why didn’t you go to bed?” Harry asks, helping him sit up.

Sirius yawns, stretches his arms over his head, and says, “Wanted to make sure you got home safe.”

“Oh.” Harry rises to his feet when Sirius stands from the couch, offering a steadying arm. “Thank you.” 

Sirius sighs happily and rests his cheek against Harry’s head, nuzzling into his hair. Harry holds him just a little bit closer. It’s not fair, he thinks. He wants this when Sirius is awake, when Sirius knows what he’s doing and does it anyway. 

But if this is all he gets, maybe…

Maybe it isn’t enough.

Maybe he should—

“Did you have fun?” Sirius asks, unknowingly cutting into Harry’s spiraling thoughts. 

“What?”

“On your date,” Sirius says, and even half-asleep, he manages to make the word date sound like a curse.

Harry grins. “I did.”

“Ugh.”

And now he’s feeling hopeful again. “Right,” Harry says, “Time to stop talking about this.”

Sirius mutters something under his breath that Harry doesn’t even try to understand. 

He drags Sirius up the stairs and, with little trouble, deposits him in his bed on his side, leaving a glass of water and a hangover cure on the nightstand. He doesn’t actually know how much Sirius drank last night, but he figures he can just put it back if it isn’t needed. 

 

The next morning, Sirius hovers in the kitchen as Harry makes them breakfast. When Harry glances at him out of the corner of his eye, he’s grimacing down at his coffee, looking truly pained. 

“You can ask how my night went, you know,” Harry says, turning back to the stove. He smiles when he hears Sirius fumble to set his mug down, almost dropping it instead. “If you want.”

And Sirius has never been a coward. 

He takes a deep, fortifying breath, then asks, “How was your night?”

“It was great,” Harry tells him. He grabs two plates and turns off the stove, separating the eggs and sausage into two servings. “Ron and Hermione say hello, by the way.”

“They— What?” Harry only smiles at his godfather, offering him a plate. Sirius takes it, then says, slowly, “You’re... dating Ron and Hermione?” 

Harry feels his mouth drop open. “No!” 

“Then why—”

“It wasn’t a date.”

“But you said—”

“I know what I said.” 

Sirius looks at him, processing. “Harry,” he says slowly, “I’m going to need you to spell this out for me, because I don’t…” 

When he trails off, Harry sighs, ducking his head. 

Right. Time to be an adult. 

“I never planned to go on a date last night,” Harry says. He looks up, meets Sirius’ gaze head on. “I only told you I was because I wanted you to be jealous.”

For a long moment, Sirius only stands there, staring at him. Then, a startled blush blooms high on his cheeks. “Oh,” he says, voice faint. He clears his throat, looks away. “I was.”

“I know.”

Sirius sets his plate on the counter. He steps closer, taking Harry’s hands in his. “You could have just told me,” he says.

“Oh, really?” Harry asks. He squeezes Sirius’ hands. “So you’re telling me that if I’d come to you four years ago, asking for this, you wouldn’t have run screaming?” Sirius doesn’t respond. He looks as if his whole world has just shifted out of place beneath his feet. Harry huffs. “That’s what I thought.” 

When Sirius finally speaks, there’s a hint of a smirk on his face. He asks, “Four years ago?” 

Harry sputters. When Sirius grins, looking as if he might start laughing, Harry crosses his arms over his chest. “It’s not as if you were any better,” he says, his cheeks hot, “What with you buying me all those gifts all the time. I know how much you like it when I use them.”

“I— Oh, Merlin.” Sirius looks distressed, suddenly. “Am I your sugar daddy?”

Harry can’t help it; he laughs. “That’s what I wanted to know!”

“I think I am,” Sirius says. For a man who’s over forty, his puppy dog eyes are remarkably effective. “Do you mind?”

“Well, that depends,” Harry says. He steps closer, putting himself entirely in Sirius’ space. “Does it mean I get to kiss you?”

Sirius swallows, and Harry sees it when his gaze drops to his lips. “Can it?” Sirius asks, voice hoarse.

Harry grins. In answer, he wraps his arms around Sirius’ neck and kisses him, pulling away only when the need to breathe becomes too difficult to ignore. He asks, breathless, “Does that answer your question?”

Sirius nods, looking stunned. Then, he grins. “You know, if I’m your sugar daddy, I think that means you have to accept the things I give you.”

“Hold on—”

“Which means no more complaining when I spend my money on you,” Sirius finishes, and he looks so pleased with himself that Harry can’t bring himself to protest. 

“Fine,” he says, resigning himself to being spoiled, “I’ll wear the clothes you give me, and I won’t complain.”

Sirius laughs and presses a kiss against his cheek, running one hand up Harry’s back, under his shirt. “And eat the food I buy for you,” he says, “and live in the house I own, and—”

“Okay!”  Harry interrupts, laughing.  “You’ve made your point.”

“Good,” Sirius says before pulling him into another filthy kiss. 

The moment Sirius releases him, Harry pokes him firmly in the chest. “But I will not call you daddy.” He pokes him again for emphasis. “Ever.”

Sirius lets out a barking laugh. “Fair enough.”