|Aug. 17th, 2007 @ 10:31 pm Memento Vitae, 1/2 NC-17|
Title: Memento Vitae
Word Count: 15,838
Summary: Albus finally resorts to non-traditional means to improve Snape/Black relations.
Beta: The incomparable imkalena. She is responsible for making this far better than it originally was. Eventually she may break me of my overly liberal use of commas. She has my praise, thanks and blessings. Any mistakes you find are mine, not hers.
Warnings: slash, dub con, 16 yo boy-snogging, and OMG, a plot! Sort of. (If you just want the smut, it starts about halfway down.)
Authors Notes: Directly inspired by two wonderful fics, “Cordelictus” and “Repechage”, by fabularasa, the High Priestess of Snack, and therefore dedicated to her. Inspiration and specific text taken from her work is end-noted. Comments alway welcome. Con crit too.
Perhaps, after all, it was not quite enough to be going on with. This had been a recurring thought of Dumbledore’s ever since he had made Severus Snape and Sirius Black grit their teeth and clasp hands under his watchful gaze. Certainly, both men had changed over the past twenty years, Albus reflected. Alas, neither of them seemed to have grown up.
The months since then had been punctuated by behavior that Dumbledore could only classify as childish in the extreme. Taunts. Bullying. Each of them appearing in Dumbledore’s office to rail about the other. Order meetings had become particularly uncomfortable. There was a tacit understanding that Sirius and Snape sat at opposite ends of the table, since this arrangement endangered fewer bystanders if wands were drawn; as they all too regularly were. While it was a good look on him, Kingsley Shacklebolt had not been bald until the meeting when he sat down between Sirius Black and Severus Snape.
No, it definitely wasn’t enough; which was why both men now sat before his desk, holding identical teacups, sitting in identical chairs, leaning as far away from each other as was possible without tipping the chairs over, and glaring at each other with ill-disguised loathing. They looked, Albus mused, like magnetically opposed bookends.
“Biscuit?” Albus held out a china plate. Both men reached forward at the same time. Their fingers touched – barely grazed each other, actually – and it was like a charge of static went off between them. Sirius snarled and bared his teeth, Severus hissed and snatched his hand back as if he’d touched something foul. He retreated to his chair, lip curling, as Sirius snagged a shortbread, bit half of it off with a meaningful glare, and leaned back, grinding the biscuit between his teeth as if he were snapping bones. Albus sighed.
“No thank you, Headmaster,” the Potions Master sniffed, looking pointedly away, as if the very idea of baked goods was quite beneath him.
Dumbledore was still holding out the plate patiently.
“It’s your favorite kind,” he offered mildly. “The ones made by monks in Moravia.”
Snape pursed his lips, but refused to look.
“I had to order them, you know. They only make them for three months out of the year.” A pause. “I knew you liked them.”
“Oh, for Merlin’s sake!” Snape snaked a long arm out, swiped a biscuit off the plate with a defeated snarl, and curled back into his chair. Albus continued to watch him, politely expectant, until Snape rolled his eyes and bit into the biscuit, giving Dumbledore his best are-you-quite-happy-now scowl while he chewed.
Albus set the plate down and sat back with a sigh, folding his hands in front of him. He was, in fact, quite pleased.
“Gentlemen,” he announced, “enjoyable as your company is, you must know that I did not ask you here merely for tea and pleasant chatter.”
Sirius said something that might have been “No shit, really?” had his mouth not been full of a half-chewed Dundee’s Finest Butter Biscuit.
“You keep a civil tongue in your head!” Snape, who had interpreted Sirius correctly, snapped.
Albus paused, blinking at them charitably until he had their attention once more.
“I have a mission for the two of you.”
They looked at Albus, then regarded each other suspiciously.
“The two of us?” Sirius repeated. “You don’t mean the two of us together, surely.”
“You grasp my meaning exactly, Sirius,” Albus said serenely. “I do in fact mean the two of you. Together.”
“On a mission.” Snape echoed.
“Me and him?”
“Yes, Sirius. You and Severus.”
“Albus, surely you can’t think this is a good idea,” Snape snapped, obviously trying to curb his frustration. “Even if Black and I didn’t despise each other, our… methods are very different. He..." Severus paused, his mouth twisting as if working around a bitter lozenge. "We would be a liability... to each other."
“Yes,” Sirius nodded enthusiastically. “Entirely different methods. Snape’s right.”
“I’m glad to see the two of you finally agreeing on something,” Albus beamed. “I must say, it’s refreshing. Now, about this mission…”
“What if we refuse?” Sirius asked, an edge of challenge in his voice, and a bit more of desperation.
“Ah, as to that,” Dumbledore sighed, “I’m afraid you have already committed yourselves to this venture.”
“What?” A look of panic crossed Sirius’s face. “When? When did we do that?”
“When you agreed to meet me for tea and biscuits.” Dumbledore’s eyes twinkled.
“Tea and….” Snape stared at the Headmaster, then at his empty tea cup, and then back at Dumbledore, a look of horror welling in his eyes. Dumbledore smiled. Black just looked bewildered. Had he been in his canine form, no doubt his head would have been cocked, and one ear lifted.
“You put something in our tea, didn’t you?” Snape’s voice was tight.
“In your tea?” Dumbledore peered at Snape over his spectacles. “Oh no, Severus. This is common Darjeeling.” Snape relaxed visibly, until Dumbledore cleared his throat.
“The biscuits, on the other hand….”
Snape abruptly lost what little color his face had.
“Albus, what did you put in the biscuits?”
“Memento vitae,” Albus smiled serenely, not bothering to hide the satisfaction in either his expression or tone. “Oh, and a couple of drops of calming potion,” he added. “Just enough to prevent the two of you becoming violent until the Memento Vitae takes effect.”
It should have been impossible for Snape to look any paler, yet somehow, he managed. He bowed his head and pinched the bridge of his nose.
“I can’t believe…” Snape muttered to himself. “Memento vitae… without our knowledge… even you, Albus!”
Sirius was looking from Dumbledore to Snape with mounting confusion.
“What in Merlin’s name are you two on about? Albus? Snape? What the hell is going on?”
Snape lifted his face from his hand and glowered at Sirius.
“Albus has drugged us, Black,” he snapped. “Do try to keep up.”
“Drugged us? Drugged us?” Sirius gaped at Albus, then looked down at the shortbread crumbs on his saucer, and dropped the teacup as if it was on fire. “What the… Albus, tell me Snape’s lying. He’s having me on. You didn’t really…. Albus?”
“Desperate times call for desperate measures,” Dumbledore sighed. “I desperately need both of you, and I need you to get along; or at least not to actively despise each other. Your behavior on this account has so far been less than stellar.”
Sirius was still staring, slack-jawed and blinking, at Dumbledore. Snape glanced at him and rolled his eyes.
“For Merlin’s sake, Black, close your mouth. You look like a grouper.”
Sirius seemed surprised to realize that his mouth was indeed hanging open, and shut it abruptly. He glared briefly at Snape, and then refocused on Dumbledore.
“The Memento Vitae will allow both of you to relive shared memories,” Albus explained. “My hope is that, with age and experience, you will view these events in a new light. I believe you may find you could have made different choices in how you behaved toward each other. Different choices that might have lead to different paths. Who knows but that your… relationship…could have been quite a different thing as well.”
The two wizards traded glances that, for once, were in complete accord: Albus Dumbledore had finally gone completely insane.
“This is crazy, Albus,” Sirius said, looking unnerved. “You’re playing with time here. Worse yet, you’re letting me and Snape play with time!”
“No, he isn’t,” Snape sighed bitterly. “Memento Vitae is a hallucinogen – a very specific and targeted hallucinogen. Whatever we see or do, the past won’t be altered.” He looked pointedly at the old wizard. “You know this will change nothing, Albus.”
“That remains to be seen,” said Albus, smiling a small, infuriating smile. “I think the two of you should retire somewhere peaceful. Somewhere you won’t be interrupted or disturbed. Your rooms, perhaps, Severus?” Snape bristled at that.
“I won’t have Black invading my private lodgings,” he snarled.
“If you can think of another appropriate location, Severus, you are welcome to go there,” Dumbledore shrugged. “I should point out, however, that you have only about ten minutes until the Memento Vitae starts to take effect. Just enough time for the two of you to Floo to whatever destination you choose.”
Albus heard the all too familiar sound of Snape’s teeth grinding together. Sirius, for his part, appeared fascinated by the Potion Master’s eye twitch..
“Fine!” Snape was on his feet in one swift motion. Swirling his robes about him, he stalked to the fireplace, and plucked a large pinch of Floo powder from the container on the mantel. He had schooled his features into a stern mask, but he radiated resentment and distaste as surely as the fire radiated heat and light.
“We’ll go to my quarters. And you’ll behave yourself, Black, if you know what’s good for you. No chewing,” he sneered, “no shedding, and especially no marking of territory.”
With that, he gave Dumbledore a sharp nod, tossed in the powder, and said “Severus Snape’s quarters.” He stepped into the fire and was whirled away with a whoosh.
Sirius gave Dumbledore a last, desperate look, but found no mercy in the Headmaster’s expression. He bowed his head, and went to the fireplace.
“I hope you know what you’re doing here, Albus.” He took some Floo powder, looked dubiously at the flickering hearth, then glanced back at Dumbledore.
“If you don’t hear from me by tomorrow, you will come try to find my body, won’t you?”
“I sincerely hope that will not be necessary, Sirius,” Dumbledore said placidly.
“You and me both,” Sirius said darkly. “If I end up in a potion, I want you to remember this was all your fault.” He tossed in the powder, announced his destination, closed his eyes and vanished into the whirling green fire.
Albus heaved a great sigh once they were both gone. He picked up one of the biscuits and regarded it thoughtfully.
“Now that I think of it,” the old wizard reflected, “I suppose I should have used madeleines.”
The biscuits vanished with a wave of his hand, and he sat back in his high-backed chair, stroking his beard and smiling.
Snape was standing there like the grim figure of Death, waiting for Sirius when he stumbled from the fireplace.
“Sit there,” he commanded, pointing to one of two slightly battered leather armchairs. Since Snape was effectively blocking any other path, Sirius shrugged and threw himself down in the chair, propped his ankle on his knee, and looked around with some interest.
“Nice place you’ve got here,” he said, taking in the dried herbs hanging from the beams, and the shelves of jars with unnamable things floating in them. “Like the décor. Early Dead Stuff is one of my favorite styles.”
“Don’t touch anything,” Snape warned, ignoring Black’s verbal sallies and sweeping away toward a set of cabinets through which he began to rummage. “Do not wander into any other rooms,” he added, pulling down handfuls of bottles and examining them. “In fact, remaining in your chair would be best all around.”
“May I breathe?” Sirius asked sarcastically.
“I would prefer not, of course,” Snape tossed back, uncorking a bottle and taking a whiff, “but I’m sure Albus would overrule me.”
“What are you doing over there, Snape?”
“I’m looking for an antidote to the Memento Vitae, you imbecile, what does it look like I’m doing?”
“Tsk tsk,” Sirius smirked, folding his hands behind his head. “Ignoring Albus’s wishes, are we? How unsurprisingly disloyal. I doubt he’ll be pleased.”
“If he had asked my consent,” Snape fumed, “rather than forcing this upon me without my knowledge, I would not be looking for the antidote.”
“Of course you wouldn’t,” Sirius agreed. “Because you’d never have agreed to it in the first place. Albus knows you too well, Snape. He knows both of us too well, for that matter.”
“Bloody hell!” Snape cursed, knocking over the small herd of bottles with a quick backhand, stalking back to his chair, flinging himself down and crossing his arms like a petulant child.
“No luck, huh, Snape?” Sirius wasn’t too happy with their predicament himself at that moment, but anything that caused Snape this much grief and frustration couldn’t be all bad. “Well, I guess you’ll just have to sit back and enjoy our little enforced stroll down Memory Lane.”
Encouraged by Snape’s glare, Sirius stroked his trim beard and considered.
“Now that I think of it, this might not be so bad. I wonder if I can get a 360 degree replay of the Gryffindor-Slytherin match where I brained you with a Bludger.” *
“Yes, I have no doubt that this exercise in futility will be far more enjoyable for you than for me,” the Potion Master sneered. “Do forgive me if I am not particularly sanguine about reliving all of the humiliations I suffered at your hands.”
“Oh yes, poor Snivellus,” Sirius mocked. “More sinned against than sinning, isn’t that right? Don’t act like you never started anything, Snape. You threw hexes around like rice at a wedding. You’re just as guilty as I am.”
Snape scowled at Sirius from over his tightly crossed arms.
“We’ll just have to see about that, won’t we, Black?”
With that, he unfolded from his chair, straightened his robes, and then swept toward the door and out of his office.
“Snape, where the hell…. Snape!” Sirius sprang up and scrambled after the Potions Master. “Goddamnit!” Grabbing the door that had slammed shut behind Snape, Sirius wrenched it open and followed Snape out into the corridor.
Except he wasn’t in the corridor of the Hogwarts dungeons. He was standing in the corridor of the Hogwarts Express, feeling the pleasant shudder of the wheels on the track, and watching as the refreshment cart bore down upon him.
“Coming through!” the witch pushing the cart sang out sweetly. “You boys had better take a seat now, hadn’t you?”
Boys? He looked beside him. Mussed up black hair. Round glasses. Mischievous grin.
It hit him like a hammer. Sirius hadn’t thought about the details when Albus said “relive shared memories”. He hadn’t grasped that most of their shared memories would be from their school days. Or that other people from those memories were dead.
But here, James was still alive. And staring at Sirius quizzically. He and James had known each other before they started school; had arrived at Hogwarts already as fast friends.
Sirius blinked at James, then looked down at himself. How long had it been since he’d worn a Hogwarts’ uniform? He didn’t have a tie, and wondered why there was no trim on his jumper. First year! Of course. We hadn’t even been Sorted yet. He and James didn’t even know they would end up in the same House.
“Boys?” said the witch with the cart again.
“C’mon, Sirius. In here,” James said, indicating an empty compartment with a nod.
Well, almost empty. Sirius only noticed the scrawny boy in the corner once he’d slid shut the door. Small as well as skinny, he was wedged into the corner of the farthest seat, a large book open in front of him like a shield. Black hair worn too long for that long face, bony wrists, skin that had never seen the sun, and a nose he would never, ever fully grow into. Snape, of course. Couldn’t be anyone else.
James and Sirius looked at him, but when he didn’t look up from his book or acknowledge their presence, they shrugged at each other, and sat down. James immediately started in about his holiday in Gibraltar. Sirius just sat there, taking it all in. He looked down at himself again in bewilderment. He looked so…fresh. His sleeves were rolled up, and there were no scars on his arms. Struck by a thought, he opened his collar and peered down inside his shirt. No tattoos.
“Sirius?” James was looking at him strangely again.
“I was telling you about hols, right? We went to Gibraltar.”
Sirius stopped caring about the boy he’d been at eleven, untouched, and as innocent as he would ever be. Because his best friend James was right there before him.
James, alive, eleven years old, and telling him about the beaches, the rock and the monkeys. Sirius felt his chest tighten. It could have been the giddy delight of being eleven, and on a train with his best friend, who was alive, and talking. Or it could have been all things he still wanted to tell James, but couldn’t, because he was dead. And this James, well, he wouldn’t understand. Except maybe one thing.
“I really miss you. Missed you, I mean. This summer.”
“Do you mind?”
James stopped abruptly, surprised, as if he’d forgotten there was anyone else there. Snape was peering at them over the top of the heavy book.
“Some of us,” he sniffed, “are trying to study.”
“We’re not even at Hogwarts yet.” James stared at him in disbelief. “How can you be studying? You don’t even have any assignments.”
Snape considered him. “One can learn things without being told to do so, you know.”
James and Sirius both looked at Snape blankly. The boy frowned.
“You’re unfamiliar with the idea of reading for pleasure, I take it?”
“But that’s a text book!” It was, appropriately enough, their first-year Defense Against The Dark Arts textbook. It was clear from James’ expression – astonishment mixed with revulsion – that the concept of voluntarily reading a school book was entirely beyond him. Truth be told, it was beyond Sirius, too.
“Yes. Obviously.” Even at age eleven, Snape’s voice had that haughty timbre, the tone that indicated he was looking down his impressive nose at you, even if you were bigger and taller. It automatically raised Sirius’s hackles.
“Snooty little git,” he muttered under his breath, feeling the first threads of antipathy winding around his heart. Sirius threw Snape a disdainful glance, then stopped. He hadn’t seen it at eleven, but now he noticed Snape’s fingers gripping the book so hard they were white. Not snooty. Scared. Terrified, in fact, and hiding it behind contempt.
He glanced at James, and saw that his friend’s hazel eyes had narrowed like a predator sensing prey.
“Awfully high and mighty, aren’t you,” James drawled, “for someone reading a used book, and wearing second-hand robes.”
Sirius winced. Had James really said that? He’d thought it funny enough at eleven, though, because he laughed when James flashed him a triumphant smile.
Snape had tipped the book down a bit, and Sirius saw anger replacing the fear in those black eyes.
“Yes, it’s nice to have money,” Snape agreed smoothly, looking pointedly at James new robes. “Pity it can’t buy manners,” he sneered. It was no beginner’s sneer, either. That was vintage Snape. Sirius found it remarkable that after all this time, the expression was exactly the same. Snape had obviously been as precocious in contempt as in the Dark Arts.
Snape ended any further discussion by tipping his book back up and disappearing behind it. James stared at Snape, mouth open, looking a bit stung. His face creased with in a scowl.
“C’mon, Sirius. Let’s go find a different compartment. They forgot to clean the trash out of this one.” Then James was up, and Sirius was following him, out the sliding door and into the corridor, where he watched his best friend and his own back walk away from him and turn into a different compartment.
“Well, that was illuminating.”
Sirius wheeled around to see Snape standing behind him in the corridor, a sour expression on his face, black robes wrapped tight around him.
“I don’t know about you, Black,” he sneered – oh yes, the same sneer; some things could not be improved upon -- “but I saw exactly what I remembered: me, minding my own business, when you two louts enter without a by-your-leave, offer no introductions, and exit the same way. Hmm. Let me see if this changes my assessment of you.” He stood back, and looked at Sirius, black eyes flicking up and down. “No. Still an ill-mannered lout.”
With that, Snape did an about face and stalked down the train’s corridor.
“Damnit, Snape, will you wait a minute?” Sirius took off after him, saw him duck into a compartment on the right, and followed him -- right back to the dungeons.
They were in the Potions classroom. He and James were staring into a cauldron. A dull purple goo was simmering sluggishly. Large bubbles appeared with frustrating slowness, then popped, releasing steam that smelled suspiciously like the cologne James had taken to wearing recently. When was that? Third year?
“It’s not supposed to be doing that, James,” Sirius frowned. “It’s supposed to be “shimmering lavender,” says so up on the board. And it’s supposed to smell like pumpkin and roses not….” he wrinkled his nose, “Mage Mist. I think you contaminated the shrivelfigs.”
“It’s Merlin’s Secret,” James whispered. “And shut up, I’m trying to hear what Evans is saying.”
Sirius glanced over. Lily Evans was partnered with Snape, as usual, a fact that annoyed James to no end. They seemed to get along with each other fairly well, too, which, considering that Evans wouldn’t give James the time of day, annoyed him even more.
Sirius prodded the gelatinous mass in the cauldron. It looked like a hopeless case.
“What’re they talking about?” he whispered to James.
“Just potion stuff, sounds like.”
“Why so interested?” Sirius had tired of prodding the failed potion, and now felt like prodding James. “Afraid he’ll ask her to go to Hogsmeade with him?”
“He better not,” James grumbled, adjusting his glasses and finally paying attention to their potion. “And she wouldn’t, anyway. Not with Snivellus. She’s got more class than that.”
“Yeah, that would explain why she’s not too keen on you then, wouldn’t it?”
“Shut it, Sirius.” Sirius sneaked a peak over to Evans’ table. She and Snape were both bent over their cauldron. Lily waved her hand over it, wafting the scent. They breathed it in together, paused. Lily smiled. Perfect. Snape didn’t smile, but he looked pleased, nonetheless.
“Slimy little git,” James was grumbling under his breath, looking from Evans and Snape, then into the sludgy depths of their obviously failed potion. “Why’d he have to be so bloody good at potions? Why’d she have to be so bloody good at potions? Not fair.” Sirius watched James cast another seething look at the Evans/Snape table.
“You’re not thinking about doing anything, are you? To them? Or him?”
James pursed his lips.
“No. Evans was so mad at me after the last time, I couldn’t even walk through the common room without my hair catching fire. Not worth it. Not in here, at any rate.”
“Well,” shrugged Sirius, “if you’re good for a bit, maybe she’ll come around.”
“One can hope,” James muttered, not sounding very hopeful at all. Both of them watched Evans and Snape decanting their obviously perfect potion into bottles. Sirius had turned back to frown at their own potion, which was now a hardening lump in the cauldron, when he smelled a whiff of something that was neither pumpkins, nor roses, nor cheap cologne. More like a dung bomb, actually. He looked around. Wilkes and Rosier, at the table right behind them, were crouched over something. Periodically, one of them would raise his head and glance at the Evans/Snape table. As they lifted their heads to nod at each other, Sirius saw an odd construction of dung bombs, Exploding Snap cards, and something… sticky.
Sirius watched, at first fascinated, then horrified, as they silently levitated their little project up to the ceiling. It halted precisely over the Evans/Snape cauldron.
Oh fuck! Sirius remembered this now. Both Snape and Evans had thought he and James had been the culprits. It took three days to get the boils off James and him, and over three months for Lily to even give James a chilly hello.
“Hey Snape,” Sirius hissed. “Snape. Snape. Hey, Snivellus.” The hated nickname got his attention, and he glared over at them. Once he had Snape’s eye, he hissed “Rosier! Wilkes and Rosier!” and pointed up to the ceiling with his wand.
Snape looked up, frowned, and then widened his eyes as the dung bomb construct came down.
“Back!” he hissed, grabbing Lily by the arm and yanking her away as the dung bomb plummeted into their cauldron. There was, of course, an explosion. There was also, of course, a terrible stench. Added to that were the strange fireworks, which looked like lips with batwings and fluttered around making rude noises before going up in little gouts of putrid fire. The perfect Evans/Snape potion was, of course, ruined, as was Snape’s cauldron and rather a lot of other equipment. Worse yet, as the smoke cleared, Evans and Snape came out of their corner with wands drawn in a righteous fury. They were looking right at James and Sirius.
James assessed the situation instantly, loudly denied culpability, and dove under the table. Sirius just stood there, shouting “Rosier! It was Rosier and Wilkes, you idiots! Don’t hex us, hex them!”
They didn’t listen. Lily was too enraged to listen. Snape just gave him a cold smile, as he and Lily pointed their wands together and shouted “Furnunculus!”
The memory of the spell was just as bad as the spell itself, and Sirius found himself under the table, cursing and yanking his robes off as huge boils erupted on his skin.
“You bloody bastard!” he screamed at Snape, who was leaning on his own table, watching him and James with evident satisfaction. “I told you it was Wilkes and Rosier! I even warned you! What the hell did you hex us for?”
Snape put his wand away, ignoring the class stampede to flee the fetid classroom.
“Yes, I know it was Wilkes and Rosier,” he said agreeably. “I knew the first time around, too.”
“Then why, you stupid git!”
Snape looked offended.
“Really, Black. You can’t expect me to hex people in my own House, can you? Not in public, at least. Besides,” he added in a conspiratorial tone, “I enjoyed it.”
Snape pushed away from the table, straightened his robes and adjusted his cuffs. He bent down to peer at Sirius.
“I’m off for a pint of something, I think. Once you stop stammering and scratching, I expect you might want one, too.” With that he swept out of the classroom.
Still cursing, Sirius crawled out from under the table, picked up a glass beaker and threw it against the door after Snape.
Sirius picked up another beaker to hurl, and found it cold and heavy in his hand. When he looked down at it, he found his fingers curled around a chilled bottle of butterbeer, and realized he was sitting at the bar in The Three Broomsticks.
Check that. He was displaying himself at the bar in the Three Broomsticks. He winced, but there wasn’t any other word for it. Sirius had twisted around on his bar stool, and was leaned oh so casually back against the bar, so that he could survey his domain, and his domain – lucky people -- could survey him. He was, Sirius had to admit with a pang, eminently surveyable; or at least he had been at fifteen. He looked down at himself and grinned. Fifteen again. He was tall, fit and gorgeous. He thrummed with energy and hormones. And it felt wonderful.
He was balanced on the very edge of his barstool, one foot on the chair rail, the other on the floor, his elbows propped on the bar. This was mostly to show off his long legs encased in their fashionably tight jeans, and only partly because those same jeans were tight enough that he couldn’t quite sit down. The top three buttons of his shirt were open – just enough to show a bit of chest hair, not enough to be gauche – and his shirt sleeves were rolled up.
The dark, shining sheaf of his hair was just long enough to toss over his shoulder, or out of his eyes, and he did this periodically, whether he needed to or not. He felt something on his neck, and reached up. Dear God, don’t let it be a gold medallion! he pleaded with a sudden rush of horror, but found at his throat the puka shell necklace he’d gotten on holiday that summer. Still worth a cringe, perhaps, but nothing as bad as a medallion.
James was sprawled on his own barstool to his right, Remus was perched on his left, and Peter next to him. Hogsmeade weekend, and the Marauders were on the prowl. Or so they liked to tell themselves.
Sirius took stock of the tavern-goers. No professors just now, thankfully. A table full of Hufflepuff girls, one of them looking at him, whispering to a friend, then the lot of them giggling. A mixed bag at a larger table, mostly boys, comparing Quidditch equipment they’d just bought. Two of them gave him appraising glances when they thought he wasn’t looking. A Sixth-Year Slytherin gave his Ravenclaw girlfriend a nudge and a cross look when he caught her staring at Sirius, but when she ducked her head, looking sheepish, Sirius saw the Slytherin give him an appreciative, calculating look. Sirius smirked. The guy wasn’t bad looking, but Sirius didn’t put out for Slytherins. Well, there were one or two he might make exceptions for, but that Sixth Year wasn’t one of them.
He grinned and winked at Rosmerta as she went by with a tray of butterbeers. She raised her eyebrows and gave him the smile she always gave him: the one that said Yes, Trouble, I see you, but don’t even ask til you’re older. She delivered the butterbeers to a table of three witches. As he watched them pay for their drinks, he realized he’d never seen them before. How could that be?
The one on the left had a spill of chestnut curls, very red lips and looked vaguely familiar. He knew she wasn’t in his House or his year, but otherwise couldn’t place her. The girl to the right was sandy-haired and smiled a lot -- it looked like she had a nice set, though her robe was concealing -- but it was the one with her back to him that caught his eye.
She had long, black hair and wore it in a casual upsweep, the mass of it twisted and negligently pinned as if it were an afterthought, revealing the white curve of a graceful neck. A small lock of hair at the very back of her head had escaped, and was curling at the nape of her neck. Sirius thought it was the most erotic thing he’d ever seen. He wasn’t sure why. There was nothing overtly sexual about the lock of hair, but it made him want to reach out, curl it around his fingers, and then kiss his way down her elegant spine. The fact that her robes dipped low in the back, revealing sleek, creamy skin and the hint of shoulder blades, only made it more distracting.
As if the slender witch was reading his thoughts, a narrow, white-fingered hand came up to feel at the back of her neck and twisted the lock of hair. Her other hand reached up, plucked out the long pins, and her hair spilled down, causing a catch in Sirius’s breath, and a sudden tightening in his groin. The witch raked slim hands once, twice through her hair, then she was twisting it up, sliding in the long, jeweled pins, and all was as it had been, except now there was no stray lock of hair. Sirius felt an unaccountable pang at this loss, then a sharp boot in the ankle.
“You’re staring,” Remus said, under his breath.
“So?” Sirius shrugged, not taking his eyes off the back of that pale neck. The knot of hair looked precariously fastened, and he nursed the hope that it might fall at any moment.
“Well,” Remus considered, “it’s not very ‘cool’, is it?”
Remus raised his eyebrows as he took a pull from his butterbeer.
“Which one of them has got your head turned so?”
“That one,” Sirius nodded slightly. “I’m going to keep looking at her until she turns around. She will, you know. They always do.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes, that’s so. Just wait.”
“I’m not sure that one is… quite your type, Paddy.” There was a hint of amusement in his voice that bothered Sirius for some reason.
“Why not?” He spared Remus a sidelong glance. “Jealous?”
Remus looked momentarily surprised at that, glanced at the black-haired witch, then back to Sirius.
“Maybe just a little,” he allowed with a soft smile, “but that wasn’t what I was talking about.”
“Do you know her?”
That seemed to confound Remus momentarily.
“Not really. But I know she’s in Slytherin.”
The chestnut-haired witch was whispering something to the other two, and Sirius caught her blue eyes flicking to him. She touched the arm of the dark-haired witch, who turned her head enough to glance over her shoulder toward the bar. He caught only a glimpse of a high, pale cheekbone, the flash of a dark eye fringed with long lashes, and then she turned back, abruptly.
“Slytherin, huh. That one looks like she might be worth a bit of House disloyalty.” He shifted his seat, suddenly uncomfortable, and glanced down. The very tight jeans had, perhaps, not been such a good idea. There wasn’t much room for expansion.
“Yes, I’d have to agree with you on that,” Remus sighed.
Sirius tore his eyes off the witch and stared at Remus.
“Moony, you dog. You like her, don’t you? Why didn’t you say something?”
“Ah, well…” Remus stammered, his eyes going dodgy. “No, not… it’s nothing, really. She’s just… attractive, that’s all.” He gave an apologetic shrug. “I mean… I like to look as much as you do.”
“Did you see her face?” Sirius asked eagerly. “Is she as good from the front as the back?”
“Uhm…” Remus looked like he didn’t know quite how to answer that. “I’d have to say she’s… striking. Not… pretty, you know, but… yes, striking.”
“Striking, huh? Next you’re going to tell me she has a great personality.”
Remus nearly choked on the mouthful of butterbeer he’d just swigged, and went into a coughing spasm.
“Shit, Mooney!” Sirius and Peter both started clapping him on the back, until he shook them off. He was laughing, not coughing, and tears were rolling from his eyes.
“No, Paddy,” he giggled helplessly. “I am definitely not going to tell you she has a ‘great personality’.”
“No?” Sirius looked back at the witch. She was gone. The table was empty, and the tavern door was swinging shut.
“Shit!” Sirius jumped off his barstool and made for the door as fast as his tight jeans would allow. “Hey! Wait!” he yelled as he pushed through the door, blinking in the spring sunlight and scanning the street. “Hey, where’d you…go?”
The three witches had vanished. Sirius trotted out into the middle of the street, scanning up and down. Shoppers, strollers and other students looked at him strangely as he stood there.
“Fuck. How the hell…” Something caught Sirius’s eye, a flash of black. He turned to find Snape standing a little ways away. He looked strangely uncomfortable.
“Snape,” Sirius announced, as if just now remembering his existence. “Where’d you… Hey!” He rounded on the black-haired wizard. “Where the hell were you? Aren’t these supposed to be shared memories? I mean, not that I care, hell, fine with me if you’re not there, but….” He trailed off. Snape still looked uncomfortable, but was now staring at him sharply.
“What?” Sirius demanded.
“Are you really that obtuse, Black?”
“What the hell are you talking about? Stop being so fucking mysterious, you…” He stopped, a horrifying notion slowly taking shape in his brain. “No… No way… That wasn’t….”
Snape rolled his eyes, tapped his chest with his wand, and pulled open his coat and shirt as they came unfastened. Sirius stared dumbly as Snape turned around, shrugged his coat and shirt down off his shoulders, twisted his hair up in one hand, and flashed Sirius the edge of a look over his shoulder.
Sirius Black fell flat on his arse in the middle of the street, as if hit full on by the proverbial ton of bricks. He couldn’t breathe. He could barely even see. Snape. The black-haired witch had been Snape. Severus Fucking Snape. Snivellus.
No. No no no no no no no no no. Just… no. He refused to believe it. It hadn’t really happened. It was some trick of the potion. Except, it had happened, because he remembered that day. He remembered that witch, the one he kept looking for in school, but never could find again.
He couldn’t accept it. He had not been hot for Severus Snape. Severus Snape had not made him hard. No.
Except he had.
Sirius didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or bring up the contents of his stomach. He felt like doing all three. Instead, he glared up at Snape.
“What the hell did you think you were doing in there?”
“It was a dare,” Snape shrugged, refastening his clothes. “By the way, that was your own brother, Regulus, whom you also didn’t recognize. Your level of self-absorption really is phenomenal.”
Since it was impossible for Sirius to be any more gobsmacked than he already was, he just continued to stare at Snape.
“You had a glamour on, right? You had to have.”
“No glamour.” Snape fastened up his collar and shook his hair back into place. “That was part of the dare.”
“Remus. Remus knew who you were, didn’t he?”
Snape just raised an eyebrow, and turned aside. Sirius reviewed the interchange in the tavern once again.
“He knew that was you. He knew it, and….” Sirius went cold again, remembering the way Remus had looked, how he’d sounded.
“You and Remus!” Sirius howled, climbing to his feet and advancing on Snape. Snape remained silent, but something had kindled in his eyes at the mention of the werewolf.
“Oh God!” Sirius turned away and bent over, hands tearing at his hair, feeling dizzy, feeling sick. “God, Moony, how could you! How could he? How….” He raised his head and glared at Snape again. “You did something to him, didn’t you? Some spell, no, some potion. You must have hexed him.”
Snape didn’t answer, but surveyed him coldly.
“Desperate rationalization suits you, Black. It must be your natural element.”
Sirius couldn’t seem to catch his breath. Moony. Snivellus. Greasy little git. Ugly, foul-mouthed, curse-flinging, snarling, little freak. No. Moony couldn’t have looked that way at him. Moony couldn’t have… not with Snivellus. Not while he and Mooney… No. But he had looked at Snivellus that way. He wouldn’t have if he’d known, but he didn’t and he had.
“Fuck!” Sirius shrieked, going to his knees and pounding the ground with his fists, denial turning into rage. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck! God damn you, Snape! You…” Sirius threw up his head, glaring around for the Potions Master.
Instead, he saw James grinning at him.
He was on one knee in the Gryffindor locker room, unbuckling his shin guard, peeling the sweaty armor off and tossing it aside.
“That was beautiful, Padfoot. Just beautiful,” James sighed, a far-off look in his eyes. Sirius grinned and started pulling off his other shin guard as James rhapsodized. “I mean, what a hit! You were like a god! I can still see it, the Bludger sailing toward you, your arm swinging back, and that light in your eyes when you saw Sniv. Merlin! I could see you calculating, the way your shoulder shifted, the way you sighted on him, all in an instant, and then POW!” James swung his fist, whirling once around and flopping back down on the bench. “I thought you’d taken his head off,” he continued dreamily. “I really did.”
“I’d like to know how he still made that goal,” Sirius shook his head. “Was he using a spell do you think?”**
“Ah, well no, as to that,” James grimaced, scrubbing at his hair, “Sniv was just throwing the Quaffle when your Bludger hit him and spun him around, and, well, seems that gave it enough of a kick to put it through the goal.”
“Tell me you’re joking,” Sirius said, standing up only to collapse onto the bench.
“No, sorry, not joking. But oh, it was worth it, Paddy, it really was, and the rest of the team won’t tell you otherwise either.”
“Merlin,” he moaned. “I need a shower.”
“Should have been faster,” James smirked. “All the hot water’s gone.”
“Oh hell. Guess I can just use a Scourgify til I make it back to the tower.”
“Be quick about it, won’t you? The match ran over and it’s nearly dinner.”
“And you’re starving, of course.”
“Not really,” Sirius shrugged. “You go on, I’ll be round in a bit.”
“I’ll wait for you down by the stands.” James spelled his locker shut, slapped Sirius on the shoulder, and left him there. The rest of the team were already gone, and he didn’t hear any noise from the Slytherin locker room. Sirius massaged his neck with one hand. He couldn’t say why he felt so keyed up.
“Can’t believe I helped Slytherin win the match,” he muttered to himself. “Can’t believe I helped Snivellus make a goal.” Even if that was a bloody good slam.
Sirius left his gear in a heap for the house-elves to clean, pulled his wand and chanted a couple of cleansing spells. Didn’t feel as good as a hot shower, but it got the job done. Still in his Quidditch robe, Sirius headed out the Gryffindor locker room and into the shared hall. And smacked right into Severus Bloody Snape.
“Don’t you touch me, Black,” the Slytherin snarled, wheeling around. Snape had certainly grown taller, but he was still scrawny, still slimy, and definitely still foul-tempered. There was a large bruise, just about the size of a Bludger, on the side of his face. “You lay a fucking hand on me again, I’ll kill you, Gryff.”***
“Big words, Snivellus,” Sirius growled, and before he even realized he was going to do it, he had taken the Slytherin by his bony shoulders, hauled him off his feet, and slammed him up against the wall. Snape’s head hit the stone with a solid thunk, but if it dazed him, Sirius couldn’t tell.
“You fucking piece of… Let me go!”
“Tsk tsk, Snivy,” Sirius smiled unpleasantly. “Where are your manners? You haven’t yet thanked me for winning you the match.”
“You didn’t, you fucking narcissist. I made that goal. Now, put me the fuck down, or I swear I’ll kill you!”
“Fuck off, Sniv. I could snap your bones before you could even try,” Sirius snarled at him, squeezing Snape’s shoulders until he heard the bones grinding against each other.
Pain lanced through the outrage in Snape’s dark eyes, the curved lips twisted in a cry, and to Sirius, it was like balm on an open wound. When he eased his grip, Snape was panting with the pain, and there was real fear in his eyes.
“You’re fucking crazy,” Snape gasped, then grabbed Sirius’s arms for leverage and started twisting out of his grip, thrashing and straining to get away. When he couldn’t loosen Sirius’ grip, he kicked out savagely, striking his attacker above one knee, and narrowly missing his groin.
“Oh no you don’t, little snake; none of that,” Sirius grunted, body-slamming him so hard that all the air whooshed out of Snape’s lungs, leaving him breathless. Sirius leaned all his weight onto him, immobilizing his legs and most of his torso, but this only made Snape fight harder, desperate to escape.
“Goddamnit, Black,” Snape was panting, fast and shallow. “I can’t fucking breathe!” His hair, still damp from the showers, was tangled across his narrow face, and his eyes had gone wild. With a thin growl of sheer frustration, he dug his nails into the only unprotected flesh he could reach, and scored Sirius’s arms hard enough to draw blood.
“Fucking hell!” Sirius howled at the unexpected pain. He eased off Snape just enough to slam him into the wall a second time.
The pain galvanized all of Sirius’s rage and scorn at Snape; this scrawny, pallid, bony thing with his too big nose, his too long hair, his curved, pink mouth that was always snarling and cursing, and his eyes like pits filled with shadows and angry fire; this greasy, gawky, graceless collection of sharp edges and sharp angles who wouldn’t back down, wouldn’t roll over and show throat, who would sneer at you from the mud he’d been stomped into, no matter how hard or how long you beat him down. His fury at Snape was pure, raw and undeniable: demanding that he raise his fist and strike; strike until those black eyes knew their master; until Snape was reduced to a gasping, moaning lump; until he fell back weeping, begging him to stop.
Until Sirius realized that he was hard.
Bursting out of his Quidditch breeches hard.
Fuck. Fucking hell. I don’t want to hit the bloody little prat. I want to shag him! I wanted to see him break apart when he comes. I wanted to hear him gasping and moaning my name. I wanted to hear him begging, but not to stop, to keep going
The realization stunned him completely. But there it was.
Sirius stood frozen for a long moment, considering this. Snape hung there, his breath ragged, his heart racing, his eyes filled with equal measures of outrage and panic, waiting for Sirius to do something. Sirius just stared at him. Held him against the wall, and stared at him. Snape’s breathing slowed, and his expression slid from rage to confusion.
“Black?” he hazarded.
Sirius struck when he spoke, claiming Snape’s mouth, and kissing him long and hard. Snape squawked in protest, eyes wide with alarm, trying to curse or scream, but Sirius slid his tongue past his lips, seizing as much territory as he could in this first assault.
If Snape had fought before, it was nothing like his panicked thrashings now, as he tried to writhe out of Sirius’s grasp, screaming “Leth me go!” and “Geh awwth me!”, his mouth trying to work and form words around Black’s probing tongue.
Sirius pulled his mouth away and glared at Snape.
“Merlin’s balls, Snape, for once in your life, will you just shut it? I’m trying to kiss you.”
This stunned Snape into momentary silence, and when Sirius pressed him to the wall this time, the force was firm but gentle. He wrapped one hand around the back of Snape’s neck, pulling him into another kiss, and wrapped his other arm around his waist, drawing him close. Sirius could feel Snape’s heart racing against his own, feel him panting around the kiss, feel the tension throbbing in him; a bird about to take flight.
Sirius deepened the kiss and shifted a little, just enough to slide his knee between Snape’s legs and rock his hip into him. Snape made a noise that was part curse, part moan, and Sirius felt the tension go out of him, as if bonds he had long been straining against were cut or loosed. Sirius heard himself moan as Snape relaxed into his embrace, and wondered at it. Slim fingers slid hesitantly up his arms to his shoulders, and Sirius felt both his chest and groin tighten when Snape’s tongue parted his lips and sought his own.
Groaning with the pleasure of it, Sirius divided the Slytherin’s long legs with his thigh, and pressed his throbbing erection against Snape’s groin. Snape’s eyes went wide, and his breath shuddered into Sirius’s kiss at this collision of their flesh.
Snape was hard. As hard as Sirius, who moaned and pressed his own rigid length against him, moving his hips in small, slow circles. At this, Snape quivered, and made a small sound of surrender – yes, oh God yes, that’s it, that’s what I always wanted to hear – and suddenly it felt like fever and ice inside him. The blood was humming in his veins, and he was hard, god so hard, and whimpering as he rocked their hips together, and trembling at Snape’s answering moan. Different blood was pounding against him, fierce and hard and suddenly hungry, and oh, it had never felt like this, never, not once, not with girls, not even with…
“Sirius! Sirius, c’mon! What’s keeping you?”
James’ voice, distant but coming closer. Snape went still as a rabbit under the shadow of a hawk. That wild look was back in his eyes. Sirius leaned forward to kiss him again, but Snape laid his fingers over Sirius’s mouth, and looked at him, black eyes full of lust and dread, and something else besides. He pushed against Sirius, twisting to get down, and oh God Sirius didn’t want to let him go, didn’t think he could.
“Black,” Snape said softly, for the first time, not an insult, and Sirius lowered him to the ground, where he sagged against the wall. They stared at each other, breath still harsh, their cheeks flushed, mouths moist and red from kissing. Snape swallowed – Sirius watched the tendons in that white throat work, wanting to feel them with his lips, his tongue – then cut his eyes over Sirius’s shoulder. Sirius released his grip on Snape’s arms just before he could twist away, and then stood there, staring at him. Sirius’s mouth worked like a landed fish. He knew he looked stupid. He didn’t care. He wanted to say something, but he didn’t know what. I have to go? I have to go because my best friend’s a prat, and so am I? I’m sorry? I’m sorry for everything? I’m sorry for everything except kissing you, and I want you so bad my cock hurts?
Instead he reached out to push a stray lock of hair from Snape’s white face. His dark eyes were wary, but he didn’t shy away, didn’t even move as Sirius’ fingers grazed his cheek, as if afraid that any movement would break whatever spell they were under.
“Sirius! What the devil is keeping you? Where….”
“On my way!” Sirius yelled, tearing his eyes from Snape, turning and bolting away now that the spell -- it had to have been a spell, hadn’t it? -- was broken, and running toward James Potter’s voice.
Sirius wasn’t sure just when he outran himself. One instant his legs were pumping across the field, faster, faster, trying to outrun what had happened; the next instant he was standing in the middle of the field, watching his younger self dwindle into the distance, red robes and black hair flying. He was still panting, and wondering how in Merlin’s name his fifteen year-old self could run with an erection like a length of steel pipe in his breeches, when he realized that his younger self didn’t have that erection; he did.
“Fuck, not again!” he groaned, turning around to look for Snape, but he wasn’t there. And it was snowing.
Continue to Part 2