you know its not real (kissmekillme) wrote in restrictsection,
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Fic- Taunts in a Tent - Sirius/Remus, implied Severus/Remus, R

Title: Taunts in a Tent (1/1)
Author: katrinavt
Date of completion: 4th September 2005.
Genre: Slash, Angst, Unrequited love, Voyeurism.
Time: 1977.
Rating: R
Word count: 8296
Pairing(s): Sirius/Remus, implied Severus/Remus
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: On a school trip, Snape's feelings for Remus come back to haunt him, and Sirius can't resist the chance to show him who Remus belongs to.

Something of a sequel to "Momentary Recognition" (http://www.livejournal.com/community/souls_bound/7526.html) , but I suppose it can stand alone.





Having only even vaguely considered going on this camping trip was nearly the most stupid idea he'd had in months, Severus decided, concluding that the most stupid idea was actually resolving to go on it.

Professor Sprout had quite randomly the week before come up with the idea of taking fifteen sixth years (accompanied by Professor Flitwick, as over half of the group were boys and she wanted help in controlling them) on a little excursion into the hills to camp out for two nights to help her harvest some Madrella Nocturnis, a small plant with blue-green leaves that grew at the foot of the hills and budded in small purple blooms for one week at the end of June, but only in the last hour before dawn, difficult little thing. The foul smelling nectar from the flowers could be used for medicinal purposes, but the plant was very delicate and could shrivel up and instantly die if handled roughly.

It was a completely voluntary operation, and Severus suspected that most of the pupils had put their names down merely to get out of classes for a couple of days. There were only a few, like himself, who saw it as a learning exercise. Well, to be honest, he just wanted to learn about it's potential properties when mixed in potions, but he could pretend to be interested in getting a better mark for Herbology.

So far, the trip was proving to be rather uneventful, and quite the waste of time. They had trekked up into the hills in the late afternoon the day before, set up camp, had dinner, and had then been left to amuse themselves until the 3.30am wake up call. Flowers had indeed been picked, in the pouring rain no less, then they had been allowed to go back to bed to doze for as long as they wanted, so long as they found some time during the day to apply themselves to any assignments that had been set by other teachers whose classes they were missing.

Needless to say, this was ignored by most students, who had spent the afternoon walking in the wood, or lazing about in the sun that had rather unexpectedly decided to grace them with its warmth. As none of his friends had come along, Severus had found himself quite alone, and as Sprout and Flitwick had been guarding the jars of flowers like two grim little gnomes on sentry duty, he hadn't even been able to fiddle with that. He had spent the whole day in his tent reading. And now it was night, and he had four hours to sleep before having to go and pick flowers again.

But that wasn't really the crux of his problems. It wasn't a problem at all, he didn't mind getting up early, he quite liked it actually (provided it wasn't raining), and he rather liked camping, and the trip should have been a nice, relaxing affair. His problem was the fact that he had landed himself in a tent with Peter Pettigrew, Remus Lupin, Sirius Black, and James bloody Potter. The class had been split into three groups of five, Professor Sprout sleeping in the tent with the girls, Professor Flitwick supervising the other tent of boys, who had grouped together very quickly, leaving him as the odd one out. Professor Sprout had ignored his protests and commented gaily that it was high time he and Potter and Black settled their differences, and this might be a really good opportunity to do so, sternly adding that if anything happened she would know. Of course, their tent was unsupervised by a member of staff, as nothing could possibly happen with Saint Lupin the Prefect there. Huh.

So far, Severus had had little trouble, much to his surprise. They'd been quite charming to him, which was in fact far worse than them being horrible to him. Remus had been quiet and tense, Peter had looked uncomfortable but amused, and the gruesome twosome themselves had either totally ignored him, or tried to involve him in inane conversations in a too-friendly way which somehow carried much more malice than open taunts.

"And this years' Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher is a heck of a fright, isn't she James? Don't you think so, Snivellus?" said with a broad smile like he was their best friend.

And sometime later... "Y'know, Sirius, I was reading this article in the paper saying about how the Madrella pollen can be mixed into lotions to improve the condition of one's hair and skin. Could be useful for some people, hm?"

"Oh, indeed, Prongs, we'll have to let that be known. I'm sure I can think of someone who could benefit from it."

"Yeah? Who?"

"Can't think right now. Damn. Shame to have them miss out on improving their appearance from completely greasy to just a little bit slimy."

"Awful shame, yeah. Wish I could think who you mean."

He'd ignored them as much as he could, replying in as few words as physically possible, and letting them know that if they looked on page 480 of their Advanced Herbology books they would discover that the raw pollen was rather irritant and should by no means be applied to skin or hair. Meaning he knew very well what they were getting at and he wasn't so stupid to fall for it and end up with a hideous rash.

Potter had started to glare then, the very unattractive look he got when plotting to do something nasty, before Remus had got up to pour lemonade for everyone, with a great amount of crashing about in the kitchen area of the tent to cause a suitable distraction. Probably afraid of getting his Prefect badge taken away. Severus knew he didn't care one bit about his feelings in order to stop his playmates' jibes.

At least now Severus was being offered some respite from the bullying, as half an hour earlier, Potter, Black and Pettigrew had snuck out of the back window of the tent for 'another adventure' that they promised Remus they'd tell him all about tomorrow when they were alone. Remus had told them to have fun and had looked a little sadly after them as they had clambered through the window.

Remus had been silent ever since, lying on his front on the bunk next to Severus, wearing faded jeans and an oversized blue jumper that hung loosely on his lanky frame, chewing the end of his pencil and staring worriedly at the book and the half-bare parchment resting on the pillow in front of him. He had a paper bag abandoned beside him containing strawberry fudge that Severus thought would be rather more appetising than the end of a pencil, but Remus didn't appear to agree. Even so, there was no chance of Remus offering any to him, so Severus tried to be content with his own mint humbugs.

He stretched out in his sleeping bag with his book in front of him, keeping close to the far edge of his bunk, as there was barely 6 inches between the beds, and he didn't think it would be very prudent to invade Remus' personal space. Even though Remus had apparently chosen to pretend that Severus wasn't even there. Rather rude, but certainly better than Potter and Black's constant goading.

However, he did have to wonder why Remus had been left behind tonight. Left behind with him, of all people.

He looked down at his book again only to be distracted by the shadow of the soft waves of Remus' hair flickering on the back wall as he shifted into a more comfortable position. He looked too pretty in the candlelight.

Severus sighed at himself.

At least, in the space of time they'd been stuck in this tent together, no one had mentioned his stupid attempt to kiss Remus half a year before. He didn't want anyone to mention it, he was still punishing himself for it. He had rather opened Pandora's Box that morning. The strange feelings he had been experiencing had certainly been explained, but they had not been expelled. Rather, they'd got worse. He kept trying to show himself how different he and Remus were, but he still kept seeing the deep darkness they shared, only now he was being wholly sucked into it. He still found himself wanting Remus, even though he hated him more than ever for what had happened to him.

Of course Remus had told his friends about Severus kissing him, and Potter had come after him the very next day, calling him a fag, and asking why he thought he stood a chance with someone as nice as Remus. Then the worst had come. Obviously having got hold of Severus' own notebook somehow, Potter had asked him if he would like him to heighten his chances with Remus, and with one swish of a wand Severus had found himself with breasts. It had been the spell he'd been working on to use on Potter. It had taken him the rest of the day in hiding to get rid of them. Fortunately, there had been no other audience than Black and Pettigrew, but that had been bad enough.

It hadn't ended there either. The biggest blow had come in the evening, when he had been alone in his dormitory while his friends were in the common room. Sirius Black had appeared in his room, quite randomly (under some invisibility charm, he thought). Black had taunted him even worse than Potter had, and he'd been furious. Severus had laid a hand on his property. Yes, Sirius and Remus were secret lovers. Remus had lied to Severus about not being like that, but Black had taken great joy in informing him otherwise.

Black had warned him that if he so much as looked at Remus again it'd be the last thing he'd do. And after telling him that no one would ever love him, he had left.

He didn't know whether Remus had any idea about Black's visit, Severus had never spoken to him since that day, and Remus had done his best to avoid him. None of them had said anything to him about it since, actually; he was surprised it hadn't got around the school in a flash. Ah, but then Black's secret would be out too. His popularity would lessen considerably if everyone knew he was what Potter had called a 'fag', and Severus had told him this that night. He'd threatened to tell everybody, but he could no more reveal the truth without incriminating himself than Black could. So they were locked together in this secret.

Severus couldn't even spill the truth to the one that had used that unfortunate word, because Potter and Pettigrew obviously knew the secret by now and were quite all right about it. Severus had spied Remus and Black looking very cosy together in their friends' presence on more than one occasion.

He wasn't sure what had hurt the most - the idea of Remus with that brute, or hearing that he could never be loved, not by Remus or by anyone else. He had got over the rejection of Narcissa Black when he was thirteen, but the rejection of Remus still twisted in his heart like an icy knife. It cut deeper than Narcissa had, and he couldn't stop it hurting, no matter how he tried.

He could, however, avoid doing anything remotely stupid while he was alone here with Remus. He wouldn't make a fool of himself again. He didn't have the strength or the desperation to do something as stupid and spontaneous as try to kiss Remus again. He knew now that there was no point, and as much as it stung, it was quite a relief.

He kept watching from above his book as Remus stretched to loosen the tension from his shoulders and glanced warily in his direction before looking back at his book.

"What?" Remus asked softly with a slight air of indignation, shifting his eyes towards Severus again for a second. "Why d'you keep staring at me? It's creepy." He quickly sat up and scrambled into his sleeping bag, pulling it up under his arms and zipping it all the way as if it would serve as a shield to protect him from Severus' eyes. He remained sitting up, leaning his back against the wall and resting his book against his drawn up legs.

What indeed? Well, he couldn't tell him what he'd been really thinking, so he settled for answering with the first thought he'd had. "Why didn't you go out with your friends?" he asked, trying not to sound nasty. He hadn't been staring.

Remus tensed and fidgeted a little more, then shrugged. "I didn't feel like it. I have this essay to finish before we get back." He gestured to the parchment now lying at his side.

"They didn't even invite you along, did they?" Severus sat up to look at him more closely, trying to discern his mood through his body language. So what if he was being 'creepy'? This was too interesting. "It's not like them to go somewhere and leave you behind." The question had slipped off the end of his tongue before he could catch it, and he nearly cringed at how eager he sounded to know: "Are you and Black not together anymore?"

"We are," Remus replied sharply, glaring at him with a sharp turn of the head that threw his fringe into his eyes. Hm, so he obviously knew that Severus knew about it. "Not that it's got anything to do with you." He frowned at him for a few more seconds before he brushed his hair back with his long, pale fingers. "I just didn't feel like going out, that's all," he said more softly. He tugged at a bit of hair that wouldn't stay behind his ear and looked a bit exasperated.

Remus had been growing his hair since the start of the school year, copying Black no doubt, who had returned after the summer holidays with his hair in a messy style that flopped in his eyes, that he no doubt thought was immensely stylish, and that all the girls seemed to find very attractive. Amusing, really.

"But don't you always lope around the grounds with them at night?" Severus asked. "You're not ill are you?"

If they had fallen out, Severus wanted to learn all about it. He might be able to use it to his advantage. There was no threat to him if Remus didn't belong to Black anymore. Remus 'not feeling like it' didn't seem to be a very good reason to him. Maybe things weren't so rosy between Remus and the other three anymore. He tried not to think about it, or hope for it. They were inseparable, and he had long ago resigned himself to the fact that he would never get Remus away from them. He had stopped thinking about what Remus might be like without them. It was not going to happen, however much he dreamed about it.

And what good were dreams to anyone, he asked himself angrily.

"Don't pretend you're concerned." Remus smiled a little without looking up at him. "They did invite me, actually, but I said no. I am not ill, and nothing is wrong between Sirius and I. Sorry to disappoint you." The smile turned into a nasty smug little smirk for a second, that looked far too much like Black for Severus' liking. "I told you, I have this essay to finish," he sighed. "So if you would kindly leave me to it, I'd be most grateful. Thank you."

Severus watched as Remus turned away from him a little and fixed his concentration on his homework again. After a few moments of staring at him, creepily perhaps, and receiving no further response, he tried to continue with his own book but he was too distracted. So Remus wasn't ill, and they had invited him, but he'd chosen to stay behind and do his homework and be a good boy.

Right...

It had to be some sort of set-up, he thought. Remus had been left behind to see if Severus would do anything to him while he was alone. Black wanted another excuse to act like a territorial dog. If that were the case, then there certainly wasn't any trouble between the secret couple. He was surprised just how bitterly disappointed he felt about that.

"Look," Remus' eyes flickered over to him quickly. "What do you want? If there's something you want to say, or something you want to do, just have done with it, OK? Because... well, you're really creeping me out now."

"I was just thinking," Severus began again carefully, picking up a neutral train of thought, "that as a prefect, you were required to keep your fellow classmates in check. Or does that not apply to your best friends sneaking off for midnight excursions? You're meant to be responsible for all of us in this tent, Lupin. Don't you think it's a little dangerous allowing them to go off alone at such an hour?" He folded the corner of the page to mark his place in his book and put it down on the mattress to turn his full attention to Remus.

Remus' back stiffened some more. "They're fine," he said softly. "Nothing will happen to them, they can look after themselves." He chewed on his pencil. "Anyway," he said after a short pause. "It's not midnight, it's only just turned eleven."

That was beside the point and Remus knew it. Severus found that he no longer cared about what he might get from Black for this - he'd surely get something sooner or later anyway, so he had nothing to lose. He had felt better that day in the washroom when he had taken the upper hand. Only this time he wouldn't lose his temper or his wits.

And it was a fair point, after all - a supposedly responsible prefect, who a teacher had placed complete trust in, was putting three members of the group in peril. That was surely a just cause for losing points, or detention, or - if something bad happened - expulsion. If Remus was kicked out of Hogwarts then Severus would never have to see him again and would never have to have his heartache forced down his own throat again. And how would Black and Potter get away with everything then, without their pet prefect to cover for them?

"So it's a special rule for them, then?" he said. "What would you do if I were to sneak out of the window and into the night? Would you run and tell Professor Sprout right away?"

"No," Remus looked up at him with his eyes narrowed and his lips tight. "I would let you go and hope you ran into the nearest dangerous creature, that way I might get my homework finished."

Severus found himself a little stunned. Despite the words about his mental state while in the washroom six months earlier, Remus had never spoken to him like that before. The knife stuck a little bit deeper in his heart, and to cover up his pain he angrily retorted. "But I don't have to go out of the tent to find the nearest dangerous creature, do I?"

Remus cringed but otherwise ignored the comment and frowned at his paper again before shoving it aside with a sigh. He looked like he wanted to say something, but just quietly muttered "Whatever," before lying down on his side with his back to Severus.

Severus swallowed the lump of guilt in his throat. He'd upset Remus, and somehow it didn't feel all that good. He'd thought it would. Again he tried to tell himself that Remus was awful, but the softer side of him that had been torturing him since that day in the washroom was winning. He felt guilty for saying that, and again the mirror of his own torment that he had seen in Remus shone through.

He reached for the parchment Remus had abandoned and looked at it. It was the potions assignment they'd been set last week. "Cutting it a bit short, aren't you?" he said. "I finished that days ago."

Remus shrugged, not turning to answer him. "Well, not everyone is as brilliant as you are at potions."

"No, they're not, are they?" he smirked. He could be proud of that, at least. He might not have looks or popularity, but he was very clever. People were beginning to fear him for that, and he was finding that fear was not at all as bad as hatred. He rather liked it, in fact. It kept him safer.

Remus slowly rolled onto his back and inclined his eyes towards Severus. "And of course you would never think to help me with it."

He hadn't thought of it, actually. But it could be a way of settling things. That morning in the washroom flashed back to him. That had happened because he'd wanted to prove to himself that he had no worry with Remus... But he'd learned from that. It would not happen again. He had to smooth things out somehow, and that other side of him was pushing him to be friendly towards Remus.

Why? the darker side of him asked. Do you think it would give you a chance?

He ignored it. It wasn't about chances, he didn't hope for a chance anymore, therefore he had stopped wanting one or looking for one.

"I could help, if you wanted me to," he answered, before he could think more of it.

Remus raised an eyebrow. "And what would it cost me?"

Severus was offended. "Do you really think that I've sunk so low to want something in return for offering a bit of help? I'm not that desperate! Besides, your boyfriend made it quite clear to me what would happen if I tried anything. I'm not even supposed to look at you, do you know?"

Remus swallowed tightly and looked guilty. "Look, that night he threatened you..."

"Oh, don't tell me you had nothing to do with it!" Severus snorted. It felt like he'd heard such protests from Remus a thousand times. He never knew whether to believe it, even though he didn't want to believe it. He didn't want another mental battle with himself.

"I didn't!" Remus insisted. "I only found out about it when I overheard him talking to James about it. I told Sirius not to make a fuss. I didn't want him to do anything to you, it was entirely between you and me."

Empty words and, for once, Severus was certain that they were false. "But you still told him, didn't you?"

"I had to tell him, he's my lover and someone else hit on me, it wasn't an option not to tell him! But I told him not to do anything. I didn't even want James to know, I thought he was asleep when I was telling Sirius but he wasn't. He only found out because he overheard."

"I don't believe you," Severus said, and it felt good to say it so assuredly.

"Do you honestly think I'd want attention drawn to the fact that you kissed me!?" Remus stared at him, looking disgusted, then he sighed. "Severus, I don't have a quarrel with you, really. I don't like you, and nothing's ever going to happen between us, but I don't want us to argue."

Severus looked back at him for a long moment, feeling his certainty waver. If Remus was telling the truth ... If he was, then it was just the same as what had happened under the Whomping Willow last year. It was easier on his heart to believe that Remus was as guilty as sin for everything that had happened, that he had encouraged and been a part of it, but if he wasn't then it meant...

"The way Sirius uses you as a weapon against me, Remus," he shook his head softly, feeling a smirk tugging at his lips. "It's hardly evident of undying, selfless love, is it?"

"You don't know him! He loves me!" Remus stared at him for a few more seconds, biting his lower lip as his eyes glistened, before he blinked and cleared his throat to speak steadily again. Severus had apparently touched a raw nerve. "I don't have the energy for arguing and I'm not about to sit here and listen while you bitch about the person I love. So if you have nothing nice to say, and you're not going to help me with this essay then please just... shut up."

Severus contained the smirk and held it inside himself where it warmed him. Black didn't deserve Remus, and Remus was a fool to give his heart to someone so selfish. Severus knew that although he was nowhere near as good-looking as Black, he would have been better for Remus. He never would have treated him in such a way.

But Remus had made his choice, it wasn't Severus' problem if he was unhappy with that.

Still, he didn't want to have this atmosphere in the tent when the others came back, so he looked at Remus' pencilled notes to try and make out what he was struggling with. Easy, really. Apart from anything else, it would be one over Black if he helped Remus in some way Black couldn't.

He reached for his own copy of Advanced Potions lying on the floor beside his bunk and flicked it open to chapter eleven. "You'll find everything you need to know there," he said, shoving it towards Remus. "Read my notes if they help you."

"Why?" Remus said as he nervously took the book.

Severus shrugged. "Call this my apology for being stupid," he said quietly, in an attempt to give that awful morning some finality that might save his pride. "I don't know what came over me that day. I just had a strange mood across me. I'm not even bent. I never thought about it before, and I have never understood why I did it." It was all true, really.

"OK," Remus murmured, not looking like he really believed it. "Thank you, then. Um... would you like some fudge?" He picked up the bag and held it out towards Severus.

"Thank you," Severus said, and picked a piece out, then lay back and returned to his book while Remus studied, pleased that he had managed to salvage some of his pride. He tried not to feel warm inside over the fact that Remus was being friendly to him. It didn't mean anything. But for now, it was nice.

They remained as such, in amicable silence for a further half an hour before a clatter at the window made them both jump. Remus gasped and sat up quickly; Severus merely inclined his eyes towards the back of the tent. They were back, and the peace was at an end.

Peter fell through first, with a scratch on his face and leaves in his hair. Black and Potter clambered in after him, snickering as Peter stomped to his bed and threw himself down on it.

"What happened?" Remus put his books down and looked at Peter with concern barely covering the smirk on his face. "Peter, are you OK?"

"He had a little fall," Potter laughed as he shut the window and pulled the curtain across it. "Moony, you should've come, it was great fun!" He inclined his head towards Severus, looking suspicious. "All right, Snivellus?"

Severus put his book down and gave him a withering smile. "Quite well," he replied.

Black took his shoes off and flopped down on his bunk next to Remus, who was starting to fidget and look uneasy. What was wrong with him? Didn't he want his friends and lover to see that he and Snivellus had been talking while they'd been gone?

"Did you get your essay done?" Black reached across Remus and picked up the parchment and the book, even as Remus was reaching for them himself. "Oh, you did... with a little bit of help." He glared at Severus.

"Don't start!" Remus said firmly, snatching them back off Black.

Severus watched him curiously. What was this? Remus intervening? But it was obviously just to save himself, so he didn't have to explain what had been going on. He found himself disgusted at Remus' cowardice and falseness. Just minute ago he'd been helping him with his homework, now Remus couldn't look at him.

Black shut up but kept glaring at Severus while he climbed into his sleeping bag and scrambled out of his trousers, throwing them at the sulking form of Peter, who appeared to be at least pretending to be asleep already.

"You should have asked Lily Evans," Potter said as he stripped of his shirt and jeans and climbed into bed, taking a drink from a carton of apple juice, then throwing it at Peter's back once it was empty. "She'd have helped you with it."

Severus watched as Peter shoved Black's trousers and the juice carton onto the floor then pulled off his shoes and climbed into his sleeping bag, pulling it up over his head. He would have felt sorry for him, if he hadn't been so stupid. He knew he would never have the indignity to hang around with people who so obviously did not want him.

Though hadn't he been doing something similar all evening, being nice to Remus in the hope that they could be friends for once, while knowing deep down that Remus would turn like this once the others came back? He refused to let it hurt. It was his own fault.

"Well, I've done it now," Remus said to Potter, getting up to put his essay and the books on the table. "Let's go to sleep, it's really late."

Before anyone could argue, Remus had blown out the candles, and Severus felt him clamber onto the neighbouring bed. He heard a small amount of rustling of clothing and the creak of mattress springs before everything fell silent.

Severus snuggled into his own sleeping bag, fully clothed, and closed his eyes. Sleep didn't find him at all, though, he was too confused. It didn't appear to make any difference whether he spoke to Remus or totally avoided him - he still felt just as bad, and he still hated himself for it just as much. He hated Remus, for being so false and for making him feel so bad. He hated himself for letting his heart think instead of his brain. He hated himself for still coveting that which he knew he could not have.

His life would be so much simpler if only he could turn his emotions off. He normally could, but Remus made him feel in a way that was very unpleasant. Even the way he loathed him was intensely laced with longing for him. How could he make it stop? It was driving him mad!

He'd been brought up not to want things that he could not have. He'd been taught to accept it, forget about it and move on. It had worked over the train set he had wanted for his twelfth birthday and had never got. It had worked over Narcissa Black, who he had fancied with all his heart and soul and hormones. So why didn't it work with Remus?

Why, even now, even as his anger at Remus boiled in his heart, was he thinking of what it would be like to hold him while he slept? He didn't particularly want Remus, not like this, not how Black had tainted him, so why did he keep thinking all these foolish thoughts of what he and Remus could have been like in a world without Black and Potter?

He must have lay there like that for an hour or more, listening to the sounds of the night, and the slow, steady breathing of the others. He hardly dared to go to sleep, in case any inappropriate dreams came to him, but after some time sleep started to tug at his eyelids and he felt himself drifting off.

"Oww!"

Then he heard a yelp from beside him and he jerked awake again. He was totally disoriented for a second, thinking himself to be in his bed at Hogwarts, then it came back to him where he was, and who he was with, and what had happened.

"Shhh!" he heard Black hiss.

"Then don't bite!" Remus whispered with a giggle. "Sirius, cut it out."

Severus tensed as he heard the springs of Remus' bunk creak and clunk, then he heard the zipper of a sleeping bag being pulled down. Did they have to?! As if he wasn't feeling awful enough already.

"Sirius!" Remus giggled again, and the sound of a light slap rang out. "Stop it!"

"Shh, no one's going to hear," Black whispered above the sound of rustling and creaking. "Unless you keep making a noise ... Come here, I've missed you."

Severus heard the sound of a wet kiss, and Remus sighed softly. "Mmh... I've missed you too."

"Did he try anything while we were gone?" Black asked in a nasty tone of voice that made Severus want to roll over and smack him, but he lay still and listened.

"No," Remus replied, but refrained from telling Black anything that had happened, that they'd argued, that Severus had apologised, that he had shared his fudge with him. Coward.

"Hm," Black gave a suspicious and disapproving little grunt.

Severus smirked bitterly. So Black had expected him to do something. He must be awfully disappointed now.

"He's still after you, Remus, I can tell by the way he looks at you."

Severus swallowed. Was it that obvious?

"Oh, I know, but if I can get help with a potions essay out of him it's no bad thing," Remus whispered quietly, and Severus could hear a smug smile in his voice.

That was the only reason Remus had been nice to him? Because of the essay? He had seen it coming but it cut him to the core. He hadn't expected Remus to be so blunt about it. Did he always talk about him like that when he was with his friends?

"Did he ask you for a kiss as thanks?" Black snickered.

"No!" Remus whispered. "Look, I'd rather not think about it, it's fucking creepy."

Severus felt his stomach knot up further and he bit his teeth together as anger welled inside him. Not just anger at Remus, anger at himself, for being so soft and for letting himself get used. He could have beat himself for fooling himself so stupidly. He would never stand a chance with Remus, and Remus would never change, so why did he keep making such a prat of himself?! Just for what he dreamed could have been?!

"I'm only concerned about you," Black whispered.

"Well you don't need to be," Remus replied. "I wouldn't go with him if he was the last person alive."

"Yeah?" Black chuckled. "And why's that?"

Another kiss. "Because I'm with the most beautiful, clever, witty person in the world, of course."

Even as his stomach churned, Severus silently sneered as Black spoke his very thoughts.

"Oh really? And I thought you were screwing some idiot called Sirius Black."

Remus laughed quietly. "I love you, you know that don't you?"

"I know." Another kiss, longer this time.

"Do you love me?" Remus asked softly, as if he was uncertain of the fact. So he obviously hadn't easily brushed off what Severus had said to him.

"Of course I love you!" Sirius said, kissing him again. "And I'm not about to let Snivellus get his greasy hands on you for one second."

"Shh, it's not going to happen. Silly Padfoot ... Hm, what's that poking in my leg?"

Oh for goodness' sake!

"Can't possibly think what you mean."

The mattress creaked again and Black moaned softly. "Moony!"

Remus giggled. "I didn't do anything, I was just getting more comfortable."

"Yeah, by shoving your thigh right between my legs... oohh..."

"You started it! Stop humping me! You're like a horny dog!"

"Surprising, that..."

The springs creaked some more, and Severus cringed, trying not to imagine what was happening, and trying not to let his jealousy suffocate him. That would never happen for him, not with anyone, and especially not with Remus. His own left hand would always be his only lover. Just like Black had said.

"Hey, what're you doing?! Sirius! You can't do that!"

"Course I can... And I can do it very well..." The bed kept creaking and there was more rustling of fabric. "Where are you?"

Remus whimpered.

"Ah! There you are!"

"Ohh..." Remus gave a low moan. "Stop it! We can't do that here!"

"Why? Everyone's asleep, and.." Black's words became muffled, "..mm, you smell good."

"Sirius!"

"Where's your sense of adventure? ...Mmmh..."

"Ohh fuck!" Remus gasped. "Sirius!"

"Mnh?"

Severus heard a wet slurp and fidgeted as carefully as he could, in half a mind to tell them that he was awake, thank you, while the other half of his mind demanded that his body did not respond to those noises. There was nothing arousing about the idea of Sirius Black sucking cock. Even if said cock belonged to Remus Lupin... Who he was furious with, he reminded himself.

He was ashamed to realise that this was turning into a physical attraction as well. Oh but hadn't it always been? He'd always found Remus beautiful, if he was in the mood for admitting things to himself. It had just never been anything sexual. That had always calmed him, had made him think that he only wanted Remus for a deep, platonic friendship. He wasn't bent, and he didn't want to be.

Remus gasped. "You can't do tha--- Ohh God..."

Black chuckled, apparently with his mouth rather full, then with another slurp he muttered: "Shaddup."

"Easier said than done with you doing that!" Remus whispered. "Oh bloody hell... Stop it, Severus is right next to me! I don't want him hearing this!"

"He's asleep."

"Are you sure?"

"Poke him."

Severus tensed and held his breath.

"I'm not poking him!"

"Well, then..." Another slurp. "Can I get on with what I was trying to do?"

"Mhm."

"Good lad, you know it makes sense."

Remus pulled in a shaky breath and whimpered. "You're evil..."

Black laughed softly. "I know."

Severus lay stiffly on his side and stared into the darkness ahead of him. He could hear the increasingly unsteady sound of Remus' breathing only inches away from him and it was making him feel most peculiar. He couldn't believe they were doing that, did they have no shame?!

"Bet he'd love to see this..." Black stopped to whisper. "Wish I could see. I bet you look beautiful."

"Shut up," Remus murmured. "Get on with it."

Did Remus find himself beautiful, Severus wondered, or was he ashamed of his mutilated appearance? Did Black love the scars too? Or did he turn his eyes away from them? Severus never would. He'd kiss every one of them, if he had the chance, to feel the pain and take it away and heal his own. His fantasies were built on thoughts like that, not on anything base and lustful. Only the dreams were like that, but dreams didn't mean anything. The dreams were his fears, not his reality.

"Impatient, Moony," Black snickered. "Tart."

"Am not... oohh!"

"Shh!"

Severus shuddered as Remus whimpered again and the wet sucking noise was resumed. He could feel his arousal stirring as the most sinful thoughts ran through his mind. He could picture Remus looked flushed and damp with sweat, his amber eyes darkened with lust, his head thrown back and his pale hands clutching at the sheets.

He cringed as his cock gave a demanding twitch against the confines of his trousers. He wanted to touch himself. His hand was moving towards his crotch apparently of it's own will, but he stopped it quickly. He would not give in to this!

What was a physical image up against the way Remus had treated him that evening? He was a little too old now to let his cock rule his brain.

He closed his eyes again and pressed his right ear tightly into the pillow, covering the left one with his hand. If he couldn't hear them, he could pretend it wasn't happening and he could go to sleep.

Blocking his ears didn't block out the movement going on a foot away from him, though. Remus was probably squirming; Black was probably shifting to find a more comfortable position. Was he enjoying himself pleasuring Remus, or was it just for the selfish gratification of his own ego?

Severus couldn't move any further away from them, or they'd know he was awake. Maybe now was the time to inform them that he was. But no, they'd just call him a pervert for not saying so sooner. Black would accuse him of deliberately listening, and Remus would think awfully of him. Though didn't he already?

He tried to relax and ignore the movement. It had stopped somewhat now, anyway. He shifted to get a little more comfortable and took a deep breath. Sleep. He would not think of what was happening next to him. He would not imagine what Remus looked like, or sounded like, or what he might feel like in his mouth...

A shudder ran all the way down his spine.

He could almost taste it on his tongue...

His cock throbbed again and dared him to listen in on the couple, taunted him to hear what he could never know for himself.

He wanted to hear, and he wanted to hate them, and he wanted to soak up the anger so that he stopped hurting. He wanted to show himself every reason why he should stop wanting Remus. He wanted it to go away!

He slowly peeled his hand away from his ear and listened into the dark. Remus was still panting, sounding more strained than he had a moment before.

A thousand filthy images rushed through Severus' mind and then through his body in a warm flush. His cock throbbed and nudged against his zipper. Every time Remus gasped or whimpered he got harder. He was not getting to sleep until he'd done something about that, it couldn't be ignored any longer.

Feeling totally mortified at himself for doing so, Severus gave in and slipped his hand silently into his sleeping bag and unzipped his trousers, cringing with fear of making any noise. It was only the fact that it was something sexual, he told himself. He was a desperate, perverted teenage boy, who never got any sex for himself. It was nothing to do with the fact it was Remus. It could have been anyone.

He took himself in his hand and started slowly jerking himself, closing his eyes and listening to Remus' breathing, trying to keep his own breathing slow and steady to give the illusion that he was asleep as the desperate minutes ticked by. Black was drawing it out, and Remus was apparently enjoying himself very much. Severus could hear the bed creaking as he shuddered.

Black suddenly gave a little choking noise. "Guh! Steady!"

"Sorry!" Remus panted. "Ooh, don't stop, please don't stop. Mmh!"

Severus wondered what it would be like to be choked like that. He'd never imagined what it would feel like to have a cock in one's mouth, he'd always been rather disgusted at the thought, but he wanted to do that to Remus. He wanted to feel him in his mouth, his throat... The old dream came back to him, the werewolf forcing itself upon him in the dark, shapeless room.

He couldn't think of that! He could not get aroused by that, not when he was conscious!

But another idea had taken hold of his mind, and it was worse. He tried to shake it off, but he couldn't, and it seemed finely entwined with the motion of his hand on his cock.

In his mind he saw Remus leaning over him in this very bed, forcing himself into his mouth, telling him he was vile and pathetic, and that no one would love him; but didn't he love doing this? Didn't he get off on it? It was his only chance after all. He'd never be loved, but he might be good for service.

Severus screwed his eyes up against the tears that were welling up in them. He didn't know where that thought had come from and he knew he would never lower himself to that level, but he could not stop the idea arousing him.

He felt tears flood his eyes and tried to blink them away, but they were already running down his cheeks. He hadn't cried in a very long time but the tears were coming all too easily.

The sound of Remus' gasping suddenly stopped and Severus joined him in holding his breath, biting into his fist and holding himself totally rigid to stop his body shaking as he ejaculated over his hand. He heard Remus whimper softly before he started breathing again, slowly and deeply.

"Mm, yummy." Black laughed softly and the bed creaked again before Severus heard them kiss. "Sleep now, beautiful. I love you."

Severus tried to catch his breath without making a sound. He felt frozen suddenly, like all the heat had been sucked out of him. It was now pooled in his underpants in a sticky mess that would have to stay there until he was alone. His heart was pounding and his eyes were stinging with tears.

Disgusting.

He was disgusting.

"Mn.. love you too," Remus murmured tiredly.

Severus heard the zipper of the sleeping bag pull up and then Remus' breathing grew slow and steady as he fell asleep.

"He's mine, Snivellus," Black said quietly as he settled back into his own bed. "Remember that."

Severus didn't move or respond. He might be asleep after all, Black couldn't know that he was awake. He wouldn't lose any more of his pride.

He had no doubts about what Black said. He would never ever, ever have Remus. Black had him, and owned him, and he'd changed him. And if Remus allowed that, then why was Severus shedding tears over the fact? If Remus wanted to be treated like a trophy, like a weapon, it was his own problem.

He hated them both! He hated them for mocking him, and he hated them for making him feel so terrible about himself. He hated them for what he'd just done. He hated them for being together, for giving each other company and affection.

He hated Black for having something that should have been his. He hated Black for not appreciating Remus. He hated Remus for rejecting him. He hated Remus for feeling loved and wanted and attractive.

He hated them for having everything that he craved, everything that he could never ever have, just because he wasn't sweet or funny or handsome. He hated them for having warm hearts that beat for each other, rather than thudding coldly on and on merely to pump blood around the body.

He hated himself for not being like them. He hated himself for wanting to be like them. He hated himself for being weak, and for hurting. He hated himself for not accepting the punishment of a cut or a belt every time he thought this way. He hated himself for what he had done to himself to try to get rid of these feelings.

No matter how many clever spells he knew or made up, no matter how well he could use them to defend himself, inside, in his human heart and soul, he was still weak. It couldn't go on this way, he had to change. He had to make himself stronger.

And it was starting now. He was not surrendering, he was fighting. He would beat his lust into submission now. He would get rid of the disgusting thoughts that had been brewing inside him for months. There would be no more dreams after this. He had let it come, and now he would let it go.

He never should have fallen for Remus. It had been a ridiculous mistake, one he would not make again, not with anyone. He couldn't pretend it hadn't happened, he couldn't avoid the consequences, but he would not let himself keep feeling this way. He'd stop giving himself reasons to punish himself. He'd let the hatred for Remus consume him, rather than have the love for him crush him. They didn't share the darkness, Severus alone had it now, Remus was too light.

He swore to himself that he wasn't going to let anything hurt him anymore. He'd find some strength in himself to stop it, once and for all. The anger that he'd felt in the washroom that morning was filling him again, and he clung to it and cleaved his soul to it. It had to save him from this madness, it had to stop all these stupid sappy thoughts about love and longing. He had been alone all his life and it had never killed him.

He wasn't going to bow down to fear or confusion or pain anymore. The future would be very different indeed.

One day, Remus might find himself alone and unloved.

One day, Black might not be so smug.

One day, Severus would be better than all of them.


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