Title: Inventory
Author: Busaikko Baby
E-Mail: busaikkobaby at yahoo.com
Beta-Reader: Once again, the brilliant Vaughn
Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything else
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: SS and RL and SB
Spoilers: Yes! Don't even read the summary if you haven't finished reading through end of OotP. Go and do it now.
Rating: R (for language and off-camera action)
Genre/s: Humour
Warning/s: none
Summary: For Master and the Wolf Fourth Wave, Challenge 33: Severus is devastated by Sirius' death. Why? How can Remus help?
A/N: This story would have been much better with illustrations. I can't draw. We shall have to proceed with only our imaginations...


Sirius Black had been dead for two weeks. Two weeks of frantic, secretive searching. Nothing. Severus Snape paced in front of the library fire, feeling his doom ticking away ominously.

"Goddamned mangy flea-ridden cur--never could do what's considerate for other people."

Remus looked up from his book, his face carefully neutral. "When I die I shall try to do it in the manner most convenient for you."

"You're not... It's not the same. How could he do this to me?"

"Perhaps," Remus suggested, stretching out his legs and crossing them at the ankles, "you might begin by telling me what Sirius did."

Severus stared. "No." Then he thought. Never Dumbledore. Never anyone from Hogwarts. Merely hearing the words 'faculty' or 'Board of Governors' made him nauseous. The Order? Moody hated him. The Weasleys were parents. Tonks was unthinkable. But Lupin--Lupin knew Sirius, knew Severus, and was generally thought to be kind. And discreet. He glowered at the werewolf. "Perhaps."

Remus leaned forward, his eyes bright. "Spill it, Severus."

Severus narrowed his eyes. "You weren't sleeping with him, were you?"

Remus' mouth thinned as if with pain, and his eyes shadowed. "Not recently. Not since Azkaban. I don't think he could have, you know, had a relationship."

"Good." He ignored Remus' snort. Dead former lover, not a problem. Dead present lover, that would have made it harder to explain. "Sirius had something. Of mine. About me. I want it back."

Remus studied his face, a slow smile blooming. "Blackmailing you, was he?"

"No!" Severus paused, glancing over at Remus almost furitively. "At least, he hadn't yet. I'm sure it would have led to that, in time. But since he was graceless enough to die without returning what is mine, anyone could... destroy me."

"I'm sorry, Severus. It's not funny. Tell me?"

"Albus wanted a thorough, painstakingly tedious inventory of the attic, so naturally he sent me to do it. Black, of course, followed me around. He was very depressed. Very drunk. We were both, ah, drinking a lot. It helped to dull the pain of having to be in each other's company. And Black was so starved for attention that he even forgave my drinking his whiskey. And gin. And probably vodka, too." Severus paused. Odd, how he remembered some things clearly, while others--like where his self-control and reserve had been--eluded him.

"So there we were, pissed in the attic, when suddenly Black shouts and heaves over a good-sized trunk. Look, he said, Bella's things, and before I could stop him he had out the most amazing clothes." Severus paused. "Girl things, you know."

"I guessed." Remus' expression has gone blander than bland. "Sirius liked that back in school, too."

Severus turned a dull mottled red. "I wish you'd told me that before." Remus' face went the full spectrum from incredulity to contemplation. Severus didn't miss the flick of Remus' eyes, looking at him from his toes up in an unnervingly thoughtful way. He made a gesture that was part shrug, part shiver. "Did I mention that we were falling-down drunk?"

"Verily, without inhibitions."

"This is hard enough as it is without you making fun of me."

"I'm not. But it is amusing. Someday I'll tell you the story of the Great Hogwarts Panty Raid of 1975. If you're good. So. You both ended up in Bella's clothes, did you?"

"It started with a hat." And Severus still wasn't sure how one hat had multiplied itself into an entire ensemble, complete with those net stockings that clipped onto the belt and a dress of all things, green ("Look! Your House colours!") and strapless and clinging. He had even fancied himself better looking than Black, who did not do justice to Bella's school uniform: too broad in the shoulders, and the front buttons strained across his chest. Not to mention the skirt that kept slipping down his narrow hips. ""We had to go downstairs to piss. We had the house to ourselves. We could have walked around naked. And then Black pulled me into his room. He, ah, he had a camera."

"Oh, no."

"Oh, yes."

"Oh, dear." Severus decided not to hex Remus, because he really was trying very hard to swallow his smile. Trying, but not succeeding. "And you can't find the pictures. Is it just you dressed up, or...?"

"Dressed up," Severus enunciated carefully. "In a dress. And taking it off. And taking other things off."

"Just out of curiosity, did you and he...?"

"What do you think, Lupin?" The look and the delivery said, 'do not be a fucking idiot, and perhaps I should see you for a spot of detention in my dungeon.' The bleakness of the eyes said something quite different.

"I see." Remus got up. "I'm just going to check something. I'll be right back."

Severus stared into the fireplace. If I could Floo out of this humiliation I would, he thought. Why had he thought that Lupin would be able to help?

The library door opened and shut. Severus' eyes fixed on the envelope in Remus' hand.

"Is that--?" He reached out for it. "I've been looking for two bloody weeks. How did you find them?"

Remus handed the packet over. "I didn't peek. Though I'd love it if you'd share them with me. And because I know that as soon as whatever gratitude you feel towards me burns off you'll try and avoid me forever, this one's for you." He handed Severus a picture, face down. "I found them because I know where Sirius kept all his dirty pictures."

Severus turned the picture over and stared. Oddly enough, the hesitantly smiling teenaged Remus who knelt on the dormitory bed looked remarkably good dressed only in low, lace-edged tartan bikini briefs.

Remus looked back at him from the doorway. "McGonagall's," he said quietly. "You and I may have more in common than you think." Then he was gone, and the door shut softly behind him.