Date of completion: 2nd September 2005.
Genre: Slash, Angst.
Word count: 4540
Characters: SNAPE, Remus, Sirius, James, Peter.
Warnings/Spoilers: Some strong language.
Disclaimer: The characters and the place all belong to J.K. Rowling, and I am making no profit from this at all. Sadly.
Summary: Snape wages war with his demons and tries to settle his confusion.
It was a chilly morning at the start of December, and the sixth years were pouring out of the potions classroom, eagerly making their way to the Charms classroom on the (much warmer) third floor. The sound of chattering teeth, en masse, could be heard quite clearly, and all the Gryffindors were whining.
"It's like a fucking fridge down here!"
Severus scowled as he heard a too-familiar voice behind him. James bloody Potter. Why did he always have to get so close to him when there was a class of nearly 30 people to choose from? He did it on purpose.
"'Mind your language, Mr Potter!" Professor Slughorn rebuked from the classroom door.
"I didn't say anything, Sir!" Potter protested, then Severus heard him mutter under his breath. "Fucking tosser..."
"Five points from Gryffindor, for answering back," Slughorn said. "Do we want to round it up to ten? Fifteen? Twenty? No? Then be on your way! ... Ah, Miss Evans, can I please see you for a moment? Come in..." The classroom door shut again with a creak and a click.
"There's no way he could've heard what I said!" Potter whispered.
Severus smirked. He still hadn't got his own back for Potter turning his robes pink two days before, Potter was no doubt subtly taunting him to try and do something so close to a teacher so he could get him in trouble. Severus had no intention of doing anything for a while; it could wait until he was off-guard. He glanced back at Potter and offered him a twisted little smirk, just to show him that he hadn't forgotten about it.
"It is like a fucking fridge, though," Potter continued, more quietly this time, as he was being fixed with dark looks from his fellow Gryffindors. "It's not my fault if I'm not used to surviving in near-polar conditions! He is a bloody Walrus, I'll swear it!"
Normally that would have been a cue for Sirius Black to break into three choruses of 'I am the Walrus', but apparently he'd thought of something more witty and original to come out with today.
"It's enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey down here," Black chuckled. "Makes you wonder how the Slytherins cope so well. Unless of course, they don't have any balls."
Severus heard a snort of laughter and felt something that felt like a screwed up piece of paper hit the back of his neck. He ignored it. He wouldn't waste his time on something so infantile. Though perhaps...
He took his wand out of his pocket and pulled it up his sleeve, craftily aiming it behind himself in a movement that looked like he was merely stretching his arm. He grinned broadly as a second later he heard someone trip over.
"Oww! Shit!" Black cried out, and Severus glanced back to see him scrambling to his feet again, aided by Potter, scowling as the rest of the class giggled.
Sirius Black was being laughed at?! That was new. Severus was sure it must have been a horribly refreshing experience for him.
They were right about the cold, though he wasn't about to tell them. It might not have been enough to freeze off any appendages but it didn't do anything for the bladder, especially after drinking a large mug of tea at breaktime.
He tucked his wand back into his pocket and checked his watch. He did have time to quickly go to the toilet before Charms without being late. Leaving the rest of the class behind, he ducked off down the corridor to the washroom.
"What's the matter, Snivellus?" he heard a voice laughing after him. "Going to check your nuts haven't dropped off?"
He span around to face the taunt and glared. "Fuck off, Potter!" he shouted back, then turned on his heel and continued towards the toilets, ignoring the hooting laughter that followed after him. So bloody childish. Black and Potter were like a pair of silly thirteen year old girls! It was high time they grew up.
Severus stalked into the empty room, which was always cold and damp due to being underground. The smell of mildew always hung heavily in the air, and the room was only lit by a few dim lamps. It really wasn't the nicest place to be, but it was the closest to get to. He entered the furthest cubicle, slamming the door shut behind him, and did his business, still seething about the comments that had been made outside the classroom. He had more balls than they did, any day! And he'd show them! Metaphorically speaking, of course.
He scowled and flushed the toilet with a rather violent yank on the chain. Pink robes aside, it was definitely time for him to think up a new hex... A particularly nasty one to rather turn the tables on whose masculinity was being questioned. A smile spread across his lips. He'd work on that later, when everyone else was in bed. He had a few ideas cooking up in his head already. He wondered how Potter would look with D-cup breasts...
Just as he was about to go out and wash his hands, Severus heard the door to the washroom creak open and the high-pitched voice of Peter Pettigrew followed. Right on the subject of having no balls, indeed. Peter still squeaked like a twelve-year-old!
"Why didn't you tell Slughorn, you idiot?"
Severus expected Potter and Black to be not far behind, but only the voice of Remus Lupin came after, and he sounded exasperated.
"Because I'm getting a crappy enough mark already!"
What were they up to? Severus decided to hold back and listen. They hadn't been walking along with Potter and Black, so they probably didn't know he was there.
"Well, soap isn't going to get it off!" Peter was laughing. "Here, let me try... Scourgify! ... Huh?! Scourgify!"
"It's not going to work, I've tried it!" Remus said with a sigh. "This is worse than everlasting ink! Look, you go ahead, there's no point in both of us being late."
"Ok," Peter said, still laughing. "I'll tell Flit-prick you've got the shits."
"You'll do no such thing!" Remus cried.
"See you later, Moony."
Severus heard the door close again, as Peter left, still laughing. Remus was still there, he could hear him muttering and he could hear water running at one of the sinks. He smirked and shook his head. He had an idea what had happened. Stupid!
As amused and smug as he was, Severus was also rather ashamed with himself to find that he was quite happy for this chance to have Remus all alone for once. Remus was a very different person without the company of his friends, much more mature. But Severus had to remind himself that Remus was really no better than they were. Remus never joined in with his friends' childish games, but he always stood by and let it happen, silently encouraging them, which probably made him worse.
It seemed like he'd spent the last few years warring with himself about whether he liked Remus or hated him more than Potter and Black put together. He often thought - if only Remus had never fallen in with them. It didn't seem right for him to be hanging around with them; he wasn't enough of a complete arsehole.
They maybe could have been friends. Wasn't Remus as quiet and tormented and as much of a freak as Severus was? Just why in the world were they friends with Remus to start with? Surely Remus was the type of person they would pick on - quiet and rather feeble, a bookworm, a werewolf. Up against Remus, Severus thought he was quite normal, so why did they always get at him? What was a slightly oily complexion up against amber coloured eyes? What was an interest in the Dark Arts up against the tendency to turn in a mindless, bloodthirsty monster every month?
For a moment, he found himself shivering quite violently at the memory of the werewolf at the end of the tunnel, lifting it's head and sniffing the air, then snarling and turning about in one great bound before it came tearing towards him, rough grey-brown fur and long limbs and huge teeth and eyes that had been instantly recognisable...
He sighed softly and shook his head at himself. He had to stop being so disturbed by that incident, it's what they would have wanted. There was no need to flinch about it now, he was quite safe, it was daytime, and Remus was quite 'normal'.
And he was alone with him. All by himself in the dark, secluded toilets in the dungeon...
He felt his heart flutter stupidly and he cringed. He wanted to beat himself for the way these notions and desires kept popping up at random. Some days he was fine, and other days he only had to be in the same room as Remus when this great feeling of longing came over him. It didn't make any sense at all. His object of desire for the past six years had been a very attractive girl, he certainly wasn't like ... that!
So what was this thing he kept feeling for Remus? It frightened him. It was like nothing he'd ever felt before, and he didn't understand it. He only knew it was wrong.
He wondered if he really was as sick as people made him out to be, so obsessed with darkness, a potential masochist, because these odd feelings had only begun to develop after he had seen the other side of Remus that horrible night beneath the Whomping Willow.
Maybe that wasn't wholly true; for some time before that he'd been fascinated with Remus in a way a quiet teenage boy couldn't understand. For some time before that he'd found himself staring too intently at Remus in class, he'd found himself listening too carefully to his quiet, husky voice, found himself studying the slightly tense way Remus always carried his frail-looking frame. He had grown far too enamoured with that one little strand of Remus' hair that curled around his ear like a baby dragon's tail.
He'd never thought much of these feelings before. After all, you couldn't fancy someone you loathed that much, could you? Especially if you were straight. It was preposterous. It was nothing like the blatant, enrapturing lust he'd felt for Narcissa Black since the very first time he'd seen her, not once in Remus' presence had his body got in such an embarrassing state of abandon as it frequently had over her. So it couldn't be that.
He had honestly believed - and still wanted to believe now - that he had tried to find out where Remus disappeared to all the time only to get him into trouble. He'd only been so fascinated with him because he was curious what was wrong with him, and he should have worked that out much sooner than he had!
The werewolf incident had always been a touchy subject between them, one that they had never spoken about (of course he was forbidden by Dumbledore to so much as mention it), apart from the day when Remus had come out of the Shrieking Shack and returned to school. He had apologised profusely, in tears no less, pleading that he'd had nothing to do with it. Severus had walked away from him and had never said a word to him since. Not that they'd ever spoken very much before, only on a few occassions in the library.
So why the hell was he feeling this way for him?! These thoughts were coming from some sick core of darkness within himself, just to torment him. He knew he wasn't bent, to be so was more than his life was worth, though he had suffered a few slightly-less-than-straight dreams recently.
It had begun the night he'd seen Remus in his true form, after he'd spoken to Dumbledore and returned to bed. He'd had the most disturbing dream, of Remus in wolf-form dragging him to the Shrieking Shack, tying him to the bed and raping him, then once that was over, he'd dreamed of Remus turning back into human-form and doing it again. He'd woken up with a start in a cold sweat, and had been very ashamed to realise that sweat wasn't the only thing that had made his pyjamas damp.
The nightmares had never really left him, but he'd managed to ignore his peculiar feelings for many months. So, he could ignore it now. He couldn't skulk in the toilet any longer, he'd be late for Charms. And he wouldn't skulk in the toilet, he had nothing to be ashamed of, he wasn't a coward.
He unlocked the door and silently walked to the sinks to wash his hands. Remus looked decidedly uncomfortable when he glanced to his left and saw Severus at his side, and Severus shared the feeling. He couldn't avoid looking at Remus, though, he wasn't exactly easy to ignore.
Remus' fingers were stained with a rather violent shade of bright green. He'd obviously neglected Professor Slughorn's advice to always wear gloves when handling colour-changing potions in the early stages of brewing. How stupid! That would take months to wear off.
It should have been blue anyway, not green. Remus must have put too much snake bile in it. Ten times too much, judging by the look of his hands. Idiot.
Severus had every intention of just drying his hands and walking out of there, but he had to make a comment. He couldn't help himself. He'd suffered too many comments to pass up the chance of giving one back. And maybe insulting Remus would make him feel better.
It could be that he just needed to face him again. The fear of that night had festered inside him for too long, and it had manifested itself into something else. He didn't feel fear anymore, or pain, both emotions always twisted into something else. That was what this was all about. He had to speak to Remus and prove to himself that Remus was nothing more than a weak boy, and he'd be all right again. The dreams would stop, the strange thoughts would cease, and he'd be back to his old self again. The dreams were just punishment, he thought, trying to confuse him.
"Soap isn't going to do any good, you know," he told Remus smugly, instantly feeling a little better.
"I can see that, thank you," Remus replied shortly, as he turned off the tap. He seemed a little surprised that Severus had spoken to him. He scowled down at his hands, and shook the water from them, then turned to walk out.
Severus could have so easily let him walk away with stained hands, but before he'd properly considered his options he'd reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out a bottle of something he'd made himself. "This will remove it," he said quietly, cursing himself inside. He really had to be a masochist! He could have let it all go! The last thing he wanted was to be friendly towards Remus!
"What is it?" Remus turned back to him looking suspicious, the light from the oil-lamps giving his eyes a strange glow as the shadows darkened his face.
Severus shivered. He still looked like a wolf. Even standing there fully human in his school uniform, the dark side of him was shining through...
Coward! Pull yourself together! he told himself. You can get over this!
He held up the bottle to show Remus. "I call it Scourgifying Soap," he said, in a voice that was much more steady than his heartbeat. "It will clean anything."
Remus walked back to him slowly, looking even more tense than usual. "All right," he said, holding his slender hand out cautiously. "Thank you."
"You only need a little bit of it," Severus said, pulling the stopper out of the bottle and placing it on the shelf. This was making him feel better. It was like closing the gate on something evil.
He took hold of Remus' hands and put them under the cold tap then poured a drop of the pearly white fluid into his palms. He was in control now, Remus had something to thank him for, Remus owed him one. He had Remus' hands within his own and it wasn't making him feel odd. That was a relief. The dreams meant nothing.
He kept rubbing the soap in until the water ran clear and Remus' hands were white again. "There, you're clean again," he said, as he absently stared at all the scratch marks on the pale skin of Remus' hands and wrists. He must have done all those to himself while contained in the Shrieking Shack. They reminded him of the self-inflicted slash marks beneath his own sleeves, caused in moments of great anger and distress when he had not been able to release his pain in any other way.
Remus took a sharp intake of breath and pulled his hands away quickly, rolling his sleeves down again. He looked ashamed. "Thank you for that," he muttered, and quickly turned to leave again.
Severus had never considered how much Remus had suffered, the pain he'd felt, the darkness he'd warred with. He must have felt so alone with it, there was no one to understand... Severus had never felt such pity for anyone, and it sickened him. No one understood what he had been through, they didn't even care, so why should he care about anyone else?!
He forced a smile for show and put the bottle back in his pocket. Rather than going away, that feeling had just got much worse. They were so alike, himself and Remus, but they could never be... be friends! There was nothing more he wanted, and he didn't even want that! What was wrong with him?! He rinsed his hands again and dried them, expecting Remus to have gone in that time, and he was surprised when he turned around to find him still standing there.
"Severus, I wanted to talk to you, actually," Remus said quietly. "I wanted to say sorry for... well, you know what." He fidgeted from one foot to the other, biting his lip, the perfect picture of remorse. "I know you don't believe me, but really I didn't know and..."
"It doesn't matter," Severus replied quickly, wanting to get away from Remus before he started to feel even more confused. He thought he'd just buried that feeling. "Forget about it, I don't want to discuss it." He started to walk out, and was absolutely stunned when Remus caught him by the shoulders and pulled him back. "Get your hands off me!" he demanded, feeling a shameful flash of fear inside himself.
"Severus, please!" Remus stared imploringly at him, holding him tightly so he couldn't pull away. "I can't forget about it! I know we aren't friends, but I don't want you to believe that I had anything to do with it, that I could do something like that! I've had nightmares about that night! I've never been able to stop thinking about what I could have done to you! Please believe me, believe how sorry I am, if there's any way I could make it up to you..."
It was all about his own conscience, he didn't care at all. Remus couldn't know anything about nightmares, not of the type that Severus had had since that night.
"There isn't anything you can do," Severus said sharply, squirming in Remus' hands. He was trapped in the hands of the monster that had violated him in his dreams. It was all coming back to him now, the filthy desire to be held against his will and hurt. He couldn't like it. He had to make it stop. "Let me go!" He pulled out of the hands clutching him and looked at Remus angrily. "What's this all about? Are you afraid I'll tell someone? I won't. I've already promised that."
Remus stepped back a little but still didn't allow Severus a path out of the room. "If you don't believe me, why haven't you told everyone?"
"Because..." He would not allow himself to feel pity for someone who had wanted to kill him. "Because Dumbledore asked me not to."
"That's not a good enough reason. Why, Severus?" Remus' eyes flashed wetly in the lamplight and his voice quavered. "Do you believe me, and you're just pretending you don't? If you are, that's beyond cruel!"
"You don't know the meaning of the word 'cruel'!" Severus snapped at him, shoving him in the chest with both hands to knock him out of his personal space. He was starting to feel claustrophobic. "You don't spend every day being taunted and hurt, you're existence isn't just to satisfy someone's temper or amusement!" He glared at him, feeling his own eyes sting with tears that he was not prepared to let out. "You don't know anything about cruelty! I think it was about time you learned!" Having no idea what he intended to do, he whipped his wand out of his pocket and aimed it at Remus. He was afraid, and that was making him feel angry. "Now get away from me!"
Remus gasped and stepped backwards, his hands raised. "I don't..." he began, sounding unsettled. "Severus, please! I'm not..."
"No, you're not like them, are you?" Severus said quietly, advancing towards him furiously, his wand raised and aimed at his heart. "You don't do anything, do you? If you cared one bit then you'd tell them to stop!" He backed Remus up against the wall and put the tip of his wand under his chin. "But it's too much entertainment for you, isn't it?"
"No!" Remus cried, his breath coming in unsteady little gasps. All the colour had drained from his face and he was cringing. "I'm trying to apologise to you, I don't think I deserve this!"
"You deserve everything!" Severus smirked to see his discomfort. He'd never felt this powerful before, and it was filling his cold heart with burning heat. He was better than Remus, he was better than any of them! "Not so confident without your friends, are you, Moony?"
Remus visibly shivered and pressed himself tighter against the wall. "Hell, Severus, were you born completely insane?!" He might have been speaking boldly, but his voice trembled with fear and Severus could feel him shaking.
"No, people like you have made me that way," Severus said, stepping back and raising his wand. "And don't look innocent, you're no better than the rest of them!" He didn't really believe it, even as the words came out of his mouth his heart doubted them. Remus was better. Remus could be better if only he had him instead of them. Remus was like him, and Severus was trying with all his might not to allow it.
He should not have hesitated. Almost faster than he could comprehend, Remus grabbed for his own wand and aimed it back at him. "Expelliarmus!"
Severus flinched as his wand flew out of his hand and clattered to the floor. But he didn't need a wand to defend himself. He grabbed Remus by the throat and slammed him back against the wall, pinning him there with his body, strengthened by rage and determination. He had to make this stop right now, he was strong enough to make it stop. He couldn't keep feeling this way, it was Remus' fault, and Remus would pay for it. He would make himself hate Remus.
There was so much that he wanted to say, but only his heart's true thoughts came out, washing away his fury in a wave of crushing loneliness and yearning. He felt his anger drowning, and he reached for it desperately, but it had already gone.
"You never should have been friends with them," he said, trying to stop himself speaking, but his voice was far away from himself. "We could have been friends. We could have got on so well, you know." He looked into Remus' frightened eyes as they widened with fear. He could feel Remus' pulse fluttering against his hand. He could feel Remus' breath steaming in the cold, right against his cheek, and it made him shudder pleasantly. "You could have been mine..."
Remus struggled in his grasp. "You're completely fucking mad!" he whispered.
Severus stared at him, tightening his fingers around Remus' neck to stop him escaping. He did want him. None of the thoughts could be explained any other way, there were no excuses, he wanted him, and even though he should have been perfectly in control, Severus only felt weak and small as he looked into Remus' terrified eyes. He wanted Remus because Remus was like him, no one else could understand what it was like to be dark inside, to be terrified of oneself, to hurt oneself, to be without control, to stand no hope of ever being loved.
As furious as Severus had been only a moment before, he was now terrified and he wanted comfort. He was looking into Remus' eyes and seeing himself staring back. He wanted to touch Remus' pale, scarred skin, he wanted to hold him and share his suffering, he wanted to kiss those trembling lips. He was kissing those trembling lips, and they felt warm and soft...
He'd barely realised what had happened before Remus had clouted him backwards several paces, knocking him to the floor.
"I... I'm not like that!" Remus cried, staring aghast at Severus, as he reached up with a shaky hand to touch his lips. "God, you're sick!" And he turned quickly on his heel and ran out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
Severus stared at the space where they had just been standing and shivered. What had he done?! He hadn't seriously just kissed him! He couldn't have! He must have imagined it.
But he hadn't, the heat of Remus still burned against his lips like a brand. How could he have done that?! He felt sick to think of what would happen now. Remus would tell his friends right away, and who knows what they'd do to him for it?
He picked up his wand and stood up, trembling. What had come over him?! Why had he acted like that? What had come out of his soul and made him so violent? He'd lost control.
He closed his eyes tightly against the shadowy vision of his own reflection in the mirrors.
He wasn't sure what scared him the most - the strength he'd summoned for the scarcest moment, or the weakness that had followed with his fear.
He wanted Remus. Was this love he was feeling? He didn't understand it. Why did wanting to be loved feel like it was something so very wrong? It felt like poison. He had to punish himself for it. It was something evil, and it was hurting him. That wasn't love.
Though perhaps it was.
After all, love was something he was not allowed to know. Not even the resident monster wanted him.