Title: The Werewolf, The Slytherin, And The Animagus (or How I Spent My Summer Vacation)
By: Vaughn (Vaughn72000@aol.com)
Genre: Humour, Romance, Now AU*
Summary: An answer to Challenge #34) Remus, with Severus' help, tried to resurrect Sirius with a surprising consequences: the three of them are bonded for eternity. How do they get along and eventually work out their uncommon relationship?
*This was started pre-HBP, and as much as I initially tried to revise it for canon compliancy, it just didn't work for what I had planned. Therefore, I apologise, as it is not canon compliant.
I must thank my brilliant beta: JackieJLH, who has finally come over to the dark side.
"Look, Severus, I know that you two never got on well, but you have to admit--"
"I do not have to admit anything, let alone to you."
"I'm willing to do anything you ask of me in exchange, Severus! Think about it, won't you? I'll give you everything I own; I'll admit it isn't much, but--please try not to snort while I'm speaking!"
Remus sighed as his shoulders drooped into a defeated slump. He had been trying to get the Potions master to help him for weeks to no avail. Each tactic was met with more resistance than the last, and Remus was running out of options.
More importantly, Padfoot was running out of time.
It had been eleven months since Sirius had fallen through the Veil, and Remus hadn't wasted a single moment. All of his leisure time was spent pouring over ancient tomes, archived diaries, and any other resource he could get his hands on. He supposed had he asked for help, he may have found the answer sooner, but the only other person suited to that sort of thing was Hermione, and she was too risky. The last thing Remus wanted was for Harry to find out, have his hopes raised and then cruelly dashed if everything the werewolf attempted only ended in failure.
Then, just when the Remus was about to give up, he found the answer he was looking for: The Mens Mentis Lunctio Potion.
For once, Remus could appreciate the Potions master's devotion to researching archaic potions literature. The answer to his prayers was, in fact, located in a long forgotten diary of a wizard named Theis Rauion. The problem with Theis was that he had gone mad early on in his life, and most of his writings were subsequently discredited as a result. Yet with madness comes brilliance, generally speaking, so he requested the material from the library anyway.
"Theis was nothing but a raving lunatic, Lupin, and you are an even bigger fool than I thought for believing he created anything of value."
The Slytherin's condescending tone forced Remus back to reality. He hesitated for a moment before holding up the battered book he was currently clutching in his hands.
"I do have a basic knowledge of potions, you know, and I wouldn't waste your time if I didn't think this was feasible. This is his diary," the werewolf shook the book for emphasis, "and although not everything in here makes sense, this particular potion seems like a viable option!"
Severus stared at him for a moment, muttering what sounded suspiciously like "waste of my time", and then rudely snatched the diary out of Remus' hands. As the Potions master flipped through the passages, skimming a few, he began shaking his head.
"Have you actually read this drivel, Lupin?"
"I told you, not all of it..." Remus trailed off as Severus held up his hand.
With a look that vaguely resembled a cross between amusement and annoyance, he began to read aloud.
"'Today I learned that my knickers hate me. I suspect that they are trying to cause my untimely demise, as they fall down every time I go out into public. Soon I will not be able to leave my home to obtain the basic necessities of life for fear of yet another incident. I know now what I failed to realise before: I should have procured the brown ones instead.'"
The Slytherin snapped the book shut with the distinctly haughty air of someone who has irrevocably proven their point.
Remus, who refused to be treated like a child if he could help it, tried to grab the diary back.
Severus raised an eyebrow at this, and as Remus made another attempt, the Potions master tossed it unceremoniously onto the floor.
It landed at Remus' feet, and he picked it back up, quickly locating the passage he was looking for. Over Severus' protests, he began to recite the passage that contained the potion.
"'Everything that I have ever done has been dismissed as the work of a depraved human being, but I will have the last laugh...I have finally completed my life's work; I have defeated death as we know it.'"
Here Remus paused dramatically, waiting to see if he now had the Slytherin's full attention. Deciding that Severus' continued presence was as close as he was going to get to a sign, he continued.
"'The fools! Unicorn blood...not actually dark...not light...can be refined...calls to the dead...forces answer....'"
"Let me see that," the Potions master snapped, snatching the diary out of Remus' hands.
After a few tense minutes of silent reading, Snape looked at Lupin and sighed. "It is a brilliant theory, but it cannot be done."
Remus was crestfallen, wondering what he had missed. "What's the problem with it?"
"For one thing, unicorn blood is expensive and hard to come by. Secondly, there is no time for trial and error -- this takes three weeks to brew, and must be done within one year of the victim's death. Three, what this entails borders dangerously close to Dark Magic, and although the Ministry may not notice, Albus will never allow us--"
"I haven't told him," Remus interrupted.
Snape was now looking at him as if he has suddenly sprouted a third head.
"Being in Gryffindor doesn't automatically make me a fool, regardless of what you may think. I knew that already, and figured once it was done, Albus couldn't do anything about it, anyway."
"How very...unGryffindor of you, Remus," Snape said, clearly amused. "Rest assured that once I inform the headmaster of your proposed venture--"
"No!" Remus cried. "If you don't want to help me, I understand, Severus. But at least let me try to do it on my own then."
"On your own?" Snape said, snorting. "This potion is way too complex for you, werewolf, and you'll never find another Potions master that you can afford. Nor will you be able to find another one who just happens to have some unicorn blood at his disposal."
"But I thought--"
"No, I said it was hard to come by," Snape interjected. "I never said that I did not possess any." <>P> Remus had grown weary of Snape's evasive answers and attitude. Clearly, he had no interest in helping, so Remus decided it was best to leave it alone. Without another word, he turned on his heels and left, forgetting all about the diary that was still in Snape's hands.
On the morning of the one year anniversary of Sirius's passing, Remus was in the cemetery, saying good-bye to Padfoot one final time. As he stood in front of the blank tombstone that Albus had instilled for Sirius, he noticed a small tawny owl flying low over the cemetery. After circling a few times, it flew directly over his head, dropping a piece of parchment directly in front of him. Remus picked it up off the ground and read it, the brief message causing his face to light up with a wide grin.
'My quarters, eleven p.m. sharp. If this works, all of the credit goes to me.
At five minutes to eleven, Remus was eagerly knocking at Severus's door. As soon as it opened, he literally ran in without an invitation, babbling his gratitude nonstop the entire time.
Snape silenced him with a stern glare. "Spare me your platitudes, werewolf; I am only doing this for my benefit alone. If this succeeds, I will be able to get into the more exclusive circles in my field, so to speak."
Remus was about to reply when he realised that he was not sure what to do, and that they had precious little time. "What are we going to do exactly?"
"Simply put, which is all you can understand, anyway, you will take the potion. Once you do, you should become mentally connected with the plane of the dead. You will then call to Black; he should be compelled to answer and follow your voice. I will use Legilimency to guide you and the mutt back out through the portal, but it will be a tenuous connection at best, given its limitations."
"Um...what is the portal, Severus? I mean, we're here, and he's..."
"Nowhere," Snape supplied by way of explanation. Upon seeing Remus's obvious confusion, he continued. "Technically, he is neither in the land of the living nor the final resting place of the dead, and according to your friend's scribbles, neither are ghosts."
Snape waved his wand, and an indistinct figure drifted into the room through the wall.
"Peeves! We're going to use Peeves?" Remus said incredulously.
"I have the assurance of his cooperation from the Bloody Baron, Lupin, and he was the most obvious choice. Poltergeists are a corruption of normal ghosts, and chained more to this world than the next. How else did you think Peeves was able to cause disturbances? We'll have a better chance of pulling Black through with a body this way."
Peeves said nothing, and just looked at Snape nervously.
"I also have the Baron's guarantee that Peeves will remain silent," Snape said with a smirk.
The clock chimed half past eleven, and Snape quickly retrieved a phial of purple liquid from his desk, shoving it into Lupin's hand.
"Drink," he commanded, and Remus complied without hesitation.
It was odourless and tasteless, and Remus was grateful until he had the strange sensation of being in two places at once: in the room and floating in a greyish abyss.
An image of James in the Shrieking Shack, calling out to Severus, flashed through his mind.
Legilimency. Of course, he had to use that memory...
Taking the hint, he began to call out to his friend. "Sir...Siri..." Remus heard the words in his head and out loud at the same time, which was quite distracting. He concentrated harder and finally managed to yell, "Padfoot!"
"Snape!" James's urgent echo prodded Remus once again.
Although he did not hear Sirius respond, he could feel Sirius coming toward him. As he continued to call, he could almost make an outline in the shadows...
"Ennervate!" Snape's voice shouted, tinny and sounding far away.
Remus felt himself being jerked back out of the misty haze, and there was nothing save a brief roaring in his ears before he lost consciousness...
As he came to, he was dimly aware of a body laying across his own...
Sirius! I thought you were lost forever! he thought happily.
So did I, Moony...but you found me, a hoarse voice echoed through his head.
Will you two dolts cease the shouting, please! I've got a bloody headache! a third voice chimed in irritably.
As a slow realisation dawned on the three men, Peeves, unhappy about being used, took his chances and fled the room, heading straight for the headmaster's office.
When Albus arrived at the room and took in the scene, he couldn't help but sigh at the three unconscious forms currently on the floor. As he levitated them to the hospital wing, he admonished them the entire way.
"Now, boys, you would think that, by now, you would have learned to never trust a man who is afraid of knickers. Take Tom, for instance; he never wore a stitch of clothing under his robes if he could get away with it..."
As Remus awoke for a second time, he couldn't help but be relieved that it wasn't all a dream. Sirius was lying partially on top of him, snoring in his ear. Once he had got past his initial fear that it was all a ploy courtesy of his subconscious mind, he began to take in his surroundings...he was alive and in the hospital wing, but why was he in the same bed as Sirius...? That couldn't be Sirius's other arm across his chest, either, unless he'd grown three...
He turned to find himself face to face with Snape, who was sound asleep. Just as he was about to panic, a voice whispered and stopped him cold.
"Remus, please do not wake the others. They used more energy than you and need the rest."
He looked up into the eyes of Albus Dumbledore and cringed. Before he could stammer out an apology, however, the headmaster put a gentle hand on his arm.
"While I do not condone what you did, Remus, I cannot say I do not understand your reasons. And Sirius certainly deserved another chance at life...I am surprised that Severus agreed to this, though, given the possibility of permanent aftereffects."
"What effects?" Remus croaked.
"I was afraid of that," Albus said with a sigh. "Although you three did not forfeit any part of your life, thanks to Severus's meticulous modification of the unicorn blood, you did enter into a contract of sorts when you brought Sirius back. I've cast a spell to limit the severity of its effects to your proximity, but it will not last more than twenty-four hours, and then it cannot be used again."
Remus closed his eyes, fearing that he had an idea of what that contract was.
"I hate to have to tell you this, but you are now share a complex bond with one another. In mind, body, and spirit. Remus...Remus? Dear me, you must have needed more rest than I had thought."
Remus awoke to the sound of a loud crunching. Reluctantly opening his eyes, he was greeted by a sight he couldn't help but smile at.
Sirius was sitting upright in bed, with an obscene amount of sweets piled on his lap. As he viciously tore into a Chocolate Frog, he must have sensed that Remus was awake, because the Animagus shot an ear-to-ear grin in his direction, complete with melted chocolate smeared all over his lips.
"Remus!" he exclaimed around his mouthful.
"Sirius," Remus said, happiness colouring his tone despite the fact he was shaking his head at the mess before him.
"Chocolate Frog?" he asked. "Or how about some Bertie Bott's? I've got loads of stuff; Albus bought me a bag from Honeydukes this morning!"
As the mention of the headmaster, Remus's mood turned sombre. "Did he tell you...?"
"About the fact that you lot are with me for life? Yes," Sirius said, appearing unaffected by the news.
"Sirius...I don't have any regrets; to me, this is a small price to pay. But how are you going to deal with being attached to Snape for...well, ever?"
The Animagus's cheeky grin vanished, and he was serious as he answered, "Just like you said, Remus, it's a small price to pay." Upon seeing the shocked expression on the werewolf's face, he launched into an explanation. "Where I was, Remus, was...well, awful. Worse than Azkaban, if you can believe it. At least there were other people in that hell hole...behind the Veil, there was nothing...no sounds, no sights; it was like being buried alive." Sirius shuddered, taking a moment to compose himself before he continued. "Besides, according to Albus, it's not that bad. The bond was weakened because it was shared between three people instead of the normal two. We shouldn't be hearing each other's thoughts unless we direct them on purpose, and as for the required physical contact, we only need about seven hours a day. Albus reckons us sleeping in the same bed should take care of that."
Remus blanched at his words. Sleeping in the same bed with them every night. He was going to waste his life trying to keep those two from killing each other while he slept!
"Whoa! Not so negative there, old friend, you're ruining my good mood here!" Sirius teased.
"Oh," said Sirius dismissively, "that's the other thing. We can feel each other's emotions right now. Albus said that we should be able to learn how to control that, though. It's kind of fun sometimes; whatever you were dreaming about really put a smile on my face."
"Really? I was dreaming about..." Remus trailed off, feeling very embarrassed about the subject of his nocturnal wanderings.
"Um...that's okay, Remus. I don't think I want to know," Sirius said with a snort, turning red.
An awkward silence descended on the room for a few minutes; Sirius's sweet tooth seemingly forgotten as the remainder of the candy lay unopened in his lap.
Then it struck him. Snape, Remus thought, almost urgently.
He looked over to see the Slytherin was still asleep, but the sight was not comforting. Snape had gotten even paler, and his breathing seemed to be a bit laboured.
"What about Severus?" Remus asked.
"We don't know," Sirius said with a sigh. "He should have woken up at least once by now, according to Albus, but he hasn't."
A wave of concern washed over Remus, and although his heart had sank at Sirius's words, he knew that he was feeling some of the very same emotions coming off of Sirius.
He couldn't even form a response, and just stared at Sirius in wonder, mouth agape.
"What?'" Sirius said. "I'm worried, is all." Shaking his head at Remus's disbelieving expression, he paused for a moment. "Look, Albus told me that he was the reason we won, and that I'm a free man..."
Remus mentally smacked himself. Of course! Snape had been part of the group who had stayed at Harry's side the longest, deflecting the curses and hexes hurtling by long enough to get Harry near Voldemort.
Not only that, but Severus had been the one to Transfigure Peter's body into a rock on the battlefield, making sure the Ministry received evidence of its mistake. It also ensured that the bureaucracy wouldn't be able to cover it up, either, which was Snape's main goal, given his disdain for the Ministry in general. The fact that they had officially cleared Sirius's name, and even awarded him a posthumous Order of Merlin, First Class, didn't seem to rankle the Slytherin as much as Remus had believed it would.
"Remus?" Sirius inquired. "Are you still with me?"
"What? Oh, sorry. I got lost in thought for a moment. Please continue."
"Besides, from the way Albus explained it to me, I can still mess with Sn...um, Severus...and he'll actually like it!" Sirius exclaimed, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"I don't think that's what Albus meant..." Remus began, but a sharp intake of breath cut his words short.
I am going to kill you with my bare hands, werewolf. I cannot believe I am bound to you two gits for the rest of my bloody existence. The unmistakable voice resounded in both their heads.
Curiously, a mixture of irritation, anger, and meager acceptance flowed though Remus, presumably from Severus. While he had certainly expected the first two, the latter made no sense to the lycanthrope.
"You knew!" Remus nearly shouted. "You knew that this would happen!"
Severus struggled to get himself upright for a few minutes, literally hissing at Sirius when he tried to help. When he finally managed to get himself into a sitting position, he continued.
"Knew? No," he said bleakly. "I saw it as an impossibility, but it was noted as a side effect of this particular potion."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Remus asked.
Sirius was just grinning from ear to ear, and looking at the both of them with amusement. It was rather annoying. As much as he missed Sirius's carefree ways, Remus was now struggling against the urge to break out into a fit of laughter.
"I did not see any reason to. I did not think it was possible! It should not be possible!" Severus uttered, as much to himself as everyone else in the room.
"Why did you think it was impossible, Sna..er...?" asked Sirius, curiosity in his voice.
"In order for a bond to be created, both of the parties involved must feel an...attachment to each other, and one that is more profound than platonic friendship. Peeves must have caused a variance, and I believe that only two out of the three of us needed to have this kinds of...feelings towards one another to doom us all. Had I known you two deviants were--"
"Hang on there! I don't fancy Remus, and he doesn't fancy me, if that's what you're implying. I like girls!" Sirius proclaimed, puffing up his chest at the same time.
"While I, myself, prefer the company of wizards," Remus's face was now a bright shade of red, "Sirius never has. Besides, he's always been like a brother to me."
A huge grin spread across Sirius's face. "Then, from what you explained earlier, Sniv...sorry...Sev...that would mean that--"
Shut up! both Snape's and Remus's voices chorused in his head at once.
Sirius winced, and the room stayed silent for several moments. "Chocolate Frog, anyone?" he said weakly.
Luckily for Sirius, he was spared yet another awkward moment by the impeccable timing of Madam Pomfrey. Hovering over them like a mother hen--well, "vulture" was actually Severus' muttered label for it--she ran numerous scans and soon pronounced the three as "as healthy as could be expected".
The matron smiled a little at their immediate flurry of questions, most of which centred on when they could leave the hospital wing, and replied, "Now, but--"
"Where is Harry? Can I go see him?" Sirius interrupted eagerly.
"I can do better than that, Mr Black. I can bring him to you."
With a stern order for them to "stay put", she hurried off to her office. Both Remus and Severus, now ignoring each other as much as possible, were preparing to flee whilst Sirius continued to eat any and all candy that was in reach. Just as the Potions master was starting to rise from the bed, the matron reappeared and put a restraining hand on his arm.
"You, Severus, are still very fatigued. I'd like you to remain here for a few more hours under my observation; you can get some much needed rest."
"I assure you, Madam Pomfrey, that I would be able to be more at ease in my own quarters than here," he responded briskly, hastily adding, "with all due respect, of course," upon seeing the frown darken her face.
"And with all due respect, Professor, I would not be, especially when I am summoned to your rooms to piece together what is left of your thick skull because you lost consciousness and fell!"
Oh oh, hands are on her hips now, old boy. Better give in now, before she drugs you with one of your own potions.
Severus' eyes instinctively travelled over to Sirius, who was grinning cheekily.
Remus had managed to keep out of it up until now, but he could feel the Slytherin's growing annoyance with the oblivious Animagus, and he was just about to try and diffuse the potentially explosive situation when a familiar voice did it for him.
"Sirius!" cried a voice from the doorway. Looking up, Remus' face lit up as Harry and Ron Weasley entered the room. Harry wasted no time, running over to his godfather as fast as his legs would allow and hugging Sirius with all his might while Ron trailed in his wake.
Remus knew it had been worth it as soon as he saw his old friend this morning, but seeing Harry's sheer joy at having Sirius back in his life cemented it entirely. Intending to slip away and let them have their moment, he found himself being yanked into a group hug, except one person was missing from the group.
Disentangling himself before he was accidentally strangled by someone, he glanced over to the bed as feelings of irritation washed over him. The irritation he had expected, but the small wave of melancholy that was trying to hide behind it worried him. Meeting Sirius' gaze, he knew he was not alone as both men turned their attention to Severus, who now had a pillow over his head.
Feeling their mutual concern, Severus glared at them and snapped, "I'm trying to get some bloody rest here!"
Remus opened his mouth to respond, but promptly snapped it shut when Harry stepped forward, obviously uneasy and doing a terrible job of concealing it.
"Professor Snape, I just wanted to say I know what you did, and...um...hell, thank you!"
"Watch your language, Potter," Severus snapped. "And if you want to show your gratitude properly, you might ask if I need anything."
"Er...do you need anything, sir?" Harry asked meekly.
"Yes. Please take these two far, far away from me."
Harry was silent for a moment, but then piped up with, "Sirius, Remus, would you like to go to Hogsmeade with Ron and me? Hermione is going to meet us there later; she can't wait to see you!"
Remus was going to protest, but Sirius' enthusiasm--and repeated chants of "Honeydukes!"--finally won him over. As they left, Remus took one last glance back at the bed to see--and feel--how Severus was.
Although he was ashamed of himself for feeling thankful that Albus was able to give them a day's reprieve from the bond's more intense effects, he could not help but wonder what it must be like to feel that isolated all the time, and with a repressed shudder, realised he was soon going to find out.
After turning fitfully for an hour, Severus finally settled on lying on his back and staring at the immaculately white ceiling. Hopefully, Nurse Ratchet would return soon and allow her only prisoner to leave.
"Severus! You are finally awake, I see."
Albus's face came into view, and Severus had to sit up in order to avoid a mouthful of white beard.
"How are you feeling? Do you need anything?" the headmaster inquired.
"What I would like is--" Severus trailed off, overcome with a sudden and alien urge to consume sweets, "a Sherbet Lemon!"
The headmaster chuckled and produced one of the ever present candies from his pocket, dropping it into Severus' outstretched hand and watching with amusement as he tore it open and promptly stuffed it into his mouth.
Struggling with the conflicting desire to spit it out and crunch it at the same time, undoubtedly due to Black's sweet tooth, Severus settled for the latter, addressing the headmaster in between chews. "Albus, I know there is a way for us to shield ourselves from each other's emotions that is less taxing than Occlumency."
"Correct, Severus. In fact, that is what I came here to speak to you about. In light of the situation, I think we should begin practise sessions as soon as possible. This way you will all quickly master the technique."
Severus snorted in response, but the headmaster carried on as if he hadn't heard. "Of course, you have the natural advantage; still, I am certain Remus and Sirius will be fast learners. There are limitations to this sort of mind shielding, however."
"Like what? And do not try to sugarcoat it, Albus."
"Well...while this will negate many of the bond's effects, you will still need the physical contact, and moreover, if one of you is experiencing a very strong emotion, some of it may bleed through to the other two, defences up or not.
"However, the important thing to remember here is that you were successful in your original goal. I am very proud of you, Severus; regardless of what you claim your motivations were, you have given Sirius another chance, and I think you have lifted an enormous burden off Remus' shoulders as well; I believe he may have been blaming himself for Sirius unjustly being imprisoned in Azkaban for so long."
"I could care less about the mangy mutt and his...wait, Lupin actually blamed himself for that? Why?" Severus asked, more out of curiosity than genuine interest.
"Unfortunately, he did--and I venture to say that he still does--maintain that he should have known better, that Sirius would never have betrayed James and Lily like that, and he should not have just assumed he was guilty due to his family's past...really, you know, the latter is remarkably similar to what he used to say to some of the other Order members in regards to you."
"Really," Severus mumbled, trying to conceal his growing interest in the headmaster's words.
"Indeed. He would get very defensive of you when your youth was brought up as an example of why you couldn't be trusted," he gave Severus a grin, "but that is water under the bridge now. I'll leave you to your rest before Poppy comes to throw me out for disturbing her patients. Good day, Severus."
Now more confused than anything else, Severus was dimly aware of himself muttering a goodbye to Albus, and before he knew what happened, he was alone once again.
Well, sort of, he thought bitterly as he grabbed the pile of Sherbet Lemons Albus had the foresight to leave on the bedside table.
Six months had passed since Sirius's resurrection, and the transition had gone better than Remus had expected. The biggest obstacle, surprisingly, had been Sirius himself. Too many years with the dementors, minimised effects or not, coupled with the time behind the Veil had left Sirius with some permanent damage to his memory--this manifested itself in his short term recall--and a decreased ability to focus. Consequently, he'd had a more difficult time learning how to shield himself from the thoughts and emotions of Remus and Severus; even now, with having mastered the process as well as he would probably ever be able to, he still was lacking in his mental defences, especially if emotions were running high.
Then there was the expected difficulties, like Severus trying to impose limits on the amount of sugar Sirius ingested a day--he was tired, as the Potions master put it, 'Of racing about like a Knockturn Alley whore on drugs all day'.
Sirius, for his part, acquiesced. Remus was shocked that Sirius agreed so easily, but he later told Remus that "It won't last long, so why bother arguing with the git over it?"
It turned out that Sirius' observation was correct, when, three days later, Remus found them both stuffing themselves full of Honeyduke's finest in their shared quarters after dinner. Contrary to what the werewolf assumed would happen, Severus gracefully admitted defeat in between bites, stating he had 'woefully underestimated Black's love for chocolate', and after nearly drooling on a student from whom he had confiscated a bar of Velvet Dark, the Hogsmeade shop's most expensive semi-sweet chocolate, he knew the battle was lost.
Thrilled that his best friend and...hell, the object of his lust appeared to be getting on for the moment, Remus had been standing there awkwardly, unsure of what to do, when Sirius had gestured to the chair next to him. He hesitated for a moment, but was secretly delighted when Severus silently pushed a box of assorted chocolates in front of the empty chair.
The rest the of night went better than Remus dared to hope, with the three passing the time pleasantly in conversation that had mainly stayed on the safe topics, like the fools at the Ministry and the latest Quidditch matches.
Bedtime soon arrived, Remus' good mood dissipating with it. Since they had to get seven hours of physical contact in, they had established a curfew for themselves, as Severus needed to be up in the morning to teach. They had learned two important things whilst experimenting with the sleeping arrangements: One, they absolutely had to have a full seven hours of contact, or an excruciating headache would plague all three of them until the next day; two, while all three had to be in the bed together, they did not all have to touch. As it happened, they were able to sleep side-by-side as long as the two on the outside were both touching the middle person, who acted as some sort of conduit.
Almost immediately after discovering this, Sirius became the undeclared middle person. Remus could not tolerate having to touch Severus without being able to do anything else--he had spent a few embarrassing nights wide awake and with a throbbing erection before Sirius became "the meat in a repressed love sandwich", as the Animagus referred to it when Severus wasn't around--and Severus knew it.
Quite frankly, Remus no longer knew what was worse--his growing feelings or Severus constantly feigning ignorance of them. It was starting to affect his moods; he found himself more grouchy and irritable than he had ever been in his entire life, and when Sirius had made plans to go and visit Harry one warm September night, Remus decided that enough was enough. He was going to tell Severus exactly how he felt about him, pride be damned.
Unbeknownst to him, as he anxiously awaited Severus' return from a late staff meeting, Padfoot had made some decisions of his own.
After all Moony had done for him, Sirius couldn't bear to see his friend so downtrodden. If it took Snape to make him happy, then to hell with what he personally thought of it. Besides, Snape turned out to be not so bad in the rare instances when he wasn't being a total prick, and Sirius had begun to believe that if he would just stop being so bloody stubborn and allow Remus into his life, he'd be a much happier--well, at least a much less sour--person.
Essentially, to Sirius, it was a win-win situation. The only problem he had encountered was forming an actual plan to bring them together. He'd had his share of brilliant plans in his lifetime, but as matchmaking was something he always thought was best left to bored house-wives, he found he had precious little experience in these matters.
Lucky for him, Harry had dealt with it within his circle of friends, and Sirius hoped to benefit from his hindsight, which was why he was meeting him in the guest room two doors down.
Whistling as he approached, he entered to find Harry already sitting at a small oak table situated in front of the fire.
Grinning, Harry produced two Butterbeers from under his cloak, handing one to Sirius as he took the seat opposite of his godson. "So, what is it that you need my help with?"
After taking a long swig of the warm liquid, Sirius put the bottle on the table and leaned forward a bit; he spoke in a hushed, conspiratorial tone. "Well, you see, it's like this..."
"You heard me, Severus. Do I need to be more specific? Fine, I want to throw you down on that fur rug in front of the fireplace and..."
Severus raised a hand, and Remus halted in mid-sentence.
When Severus entered the rooms, already grumpy from a two hour meeting that mainly consisted of Albus' long winded speeches about 'morale'--as if Severus could have missed the pointed looks from everyone every bloody time the word was mentioned--the last thing he expected to find was the werewolf nervously waiting for him, only to blather on about "feelings" or some other such nonsense.
"You don't believe me, see for yourself. I know you are a Legilimens; go ahead, I am giving you my permission."
The Slytherin was brought out of his musing by the unbelievable request. "I hardly think--"
"I don't care what you think! That's the fucking problem, isn't it? You're always thinking; try bloody feeling for a change!"
The force of the werewolf's words shocked Severus, not an easy feat. Waves of anger, anxiety, and repressed...something...alerted him to the seriousness of the situation.
"Fine!" he spat. "If that is what it takes to prove you are obviously misdirecting your," Severus paused before continuing, "lust, I will be happy to." He locked eyes with Remus, and a brief battle of wills ensued, with Remus not backing down. Finally sick of it, Severus concentrated and entered Remus' mind, expecting to see anything but what he actually did.
Images and thoughts passed before Severus' mind's eye in a dizzying succession. Visions of himself fast asleep, being watched by Remus in what he could only describe as adoration flashed, made the biggest impression. It was almost frightening to the solitary man to feel emotions such as admiration, tenderness, and...something. Whatever it was, it was there, an undercurrent, in each and every scene that played out in his mind.
The influx of different sorts of memories in an apparently random order drew Severus away from his current train of thought. He saw himself in Potter's third year again; felt the wave of joy Remus experienced at seeing him in the Great Hall at the start of term; worry and concern when Potter Stunned him, knocking him unconsciousness; the bitter hurt and resignation when his secret was revealed over breakfast; the longing directed toward his adolescent self in their years together at Hogwarts; it went on and on until Severus found himself frantically withdrawing, unable to take the pain that tainted the years of fruitless pining over an unrequited...
"Love," Severus whispered in disbelief, "you love me." Never had the stoic Potions master understood the expression 'having the rug pulled out from under you'; if you were in control and paid strict attention to details, that simply did not happen. But now...now he found himself completely thrown for a loop. He had always pointed out the pitfalls and follies of love, but after experiencing it firsthand, he wasn't sure what to do.
Remus tried waiting impatiently for Severus to sort out his emotions, but he had waited much too long to begin with. Boldly approaching Severus, he reached out and cupped his pale face with his hands.
"Yes, I do. If you are not interested--even in the slightest--tell me now and I will pretend this never happened."
"I--I--" Merlin, I sound like a stuttering fool!
"I will take that as a yes," Remus whispered before leaning forward and gently kissing the Potions master on his still slightly parted lips.
I better cut down on those sweets, I don't recall these trousers being so tight...oh...
Sirius looked down to find himself being saluted.
"Sirius? Sirius, are you okay?" asked his godson in a worried voice.
"What? Oh, yes, Harry. I'm fine...just need a few more minutes."
The heat rising up the back of his neck was nearly impossible to ignore, but he didn't want to worry Harry any further than he probably already had at this point. Earlier, before he was able to get into the specifics of his problem, Sirius had found himself inexplicably angry, frustrated, and confused all at the same time. Realising where it was coming from, he informed Harry that Severus tended to get very riled up after a staff meeting, and asked if Harry wouldn't mind halting their conversation until the foreign emotions toned down a bit. Harry had kindly agreed, and the two sat in silence while Sirius rode it out. Instead of lessening, however, it grew more intense and rapidly morphed in myriad of emotions which flooded him at an alarming rate.
With Harry watching him like a hawk the entire time, Sirius found himself struggling to maintain his defences under the onslaught. He'd thought he'd finally succeeded, but now he was...well, randy, and immensely so.
I need a cold shower! he thought in alarm.
"Harry," he began, wincing as his voice raised several octaves, "I think the p-problem...oh, gods...sorry, just ignore that...may have s-solved itself...thanks..a-a-anyways."
"Sure, Sirius, anytime," Harry replied, confused. "Are you sure you're all right?"
"I'll b-be fine, Harry, thank...yes, that's it!...sorry...f--fine," Sirius stammered, positive his throbbing cock was going to explode at any moment.
He's going to think I'm a bloody pervert!
With that thought, Sirius jumped up and ushered Harry up and out the door, nearly shouting, "I'm coming--COME AGAIN!" as he slammed the door behind him.
Mortified yet relieved that Harry had left before seeing anything that would have been hard to explain, Sirius sagged against the wall and waited for his breathing to slow down. Once he was sure they were "finished", he left the room for his own.
His hand was on the brass doorknob before he thought better of it and knocked instead. Seeing them starkers was not on his list of things he wished to experience.
"Yes?" Remus called.
"It's me, Sirius! I just wanted to, um, congratulate you two."
With a huge grin on his face, he turned and made to leave before thinking better of it and putting his mouth right up to the keyhole. A Scouring Charm certainly isn't enough to make up for what I was forced to endure!
"And somebody in there is buying me a new pair of bloody trousers!"
A/N : My gratitude to anyone who took their time to read my work. If you are wondering, Mens Mentis Lunctio roughly means "connection of mind" in Latin.