Close Only Counts in Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
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Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: New Moon 18 - The typical cliché of Gryffinwhore!Sirius. In an effort to convince Remus that Sirius will never be loyal to him exclusively, Snape hexes or gives Sirius a potion that releases ALL his inhibitions. (Extra points if told from Snape's Point of View). There are certain things Severus saw coming, certain things he didn't, and certain things he wishes he didn't.
Author Notes: Thanks to everyone who writes HP fanfic and inspired me to get off my lazy ass and contribute some for a change.
In retrospect, Severus thought he probably should have seen a lot of things coming.
It was easy to repeatedly chastise himself, especially these days, considering how it had all turned out.
How very wrong it had all turned out.
It had started a week ago today, when he was again sitting in Potions class, getting a headache. And while he told himself it was very probable that the fumes from the cauldron were getting to him, it was much more likely the snippets of conversation he kept overhearing from the pairs not more than three feet away from him.
He could have almost tolerated Pettigrew's idiocy and Lupin's coddling ("Here, no, you'll need to add more... just let me...") had it not been for the other conversation he kept overhearing.
"Really, you'd think you could at least try harder when you cast whatever it is you call a Silencing Charm. You and what's-her-name kept the entire room up all night! Even from the common room!" Potter grumbled, stirring too quickly. Severus smirked. At least he would have Potter's failure in class to cheer him up today.
Black shrugged. "Don't blame me, blame her. She's the one who cast it."
Potter sighed huffily. "Well, what is her name? I have half a mind to owl her and tell her to practice harder."
Black shrugged again. "Don't know," he replied with that grin, that cocky grin that made Snape want to twist Black into a pretzel just to wipe it off his face.
Potter kept up the pretense of being annoyed just a moment more and then chuckled, clapping Sirius on the back. "But what about Moony?" Potter asked quietly, chopping carelessly.
Black shrugged and shifted a little. "I don't know. Doesn't really seem to care, does he?"
Snape glared. Glared because Sirius was such a bastard, because everything always worked out for him and the rest of his little group, because he was tired of listening to Black brag about his latest conquest, because he himself was lonely and miserable, and last but not least, because Black's conversations continually interrupted the one part of his day that he enjoyed: Potions.
"One of these days," Potter was saying, "Remus'll snap and get sick of you and your little trysts and toss you out on your arse faster than you can blink."
And that's when Severus got his idea.
Making the potion itself was the easy part. Potion making was one of many things Severus found fascinating, and though the easier potions didn't tax his mind much, he still found the repetition and the order of it all soothing.
Making the Veritinhibitus was easy. Slipping it to someone was even easier. The potion itself was clear, and smelled only vaguely of ginger if one were to really concentrate on sniffing it out. It was supposed to last for a few days, 72 hours at most, before wearing off gradually, and, probably Severus' favorite aspect of the potion, there was no known antidote, save locking the person up until the potion ran its course.
Intended not to just lower the recipient's inhibitions but get rid of them altogether, at least when it came to doing something the victim simply could not resist, Snape could only imagine what deranged and twisted things Black would suddenly do. It was no great secret that Lupin and Black were more than friends, no matter how well they thought they hid it. Not exclusive by any stretch of the imagination, but involved. And as Snape's plan had formed in his mind, he thought about the repercussions. Not only would Lupin finally snap when Sirius started shagging everything in sight (and that on its own would be satisfying enough, to tear the two apart and destroy their little clique) but Snape had also realized that an inhibition-less Black would run rampant.
It wouldn't just be Lupin kicking Black's arse out, Snape thought cruelly.
If all went well, Hogwarts itself would be kicking Black's arse out.
But figuring out how he was going to give it to Black... well, that was looking to be nearly impossible. There were very few occasions where he found himself near enough to Black to shake his hand, let alone slip him Veritinhibitus.
As luck would have it, Potions class was once again Severus' savior.
"Oh, c'mon, Moony, you've got to be partners with me!"
Lupin shook his head. "It's your fault for telling James to skive off. You know, you shouldn't encourage him like that."
Black glared at his friend. "Ever since you became a Prefect, you've really started losing your sense of adventure."
"And you've started losing your sense of decorum," Lupin shot back with what looked to Snape to be a rather hurt glare. "I thought James told you to keep it down."
"You know that doesn't--"
But it was at that moment that class began, and Black had no other recourse. He gave one last desperate plea, glancing sourly over his shoulder at Snape, the one un-partnered student left in the class. "Puh-LEEZE don't make me be partners with that," he begged, jerking his head backward toward Snape.
But Lupin only shrugged. "Peter's already asked."
"Merlin's fucking owl," Sirius muttered to himself and then turned toward Snape. "Don't talk to me."
Snape merely raised an eyebrow and moved to his left a little, making room for Black, and said nothing to him the duration of the class, right up until the last half hour, when the class received just one more instruction.
"Now that you've all made your Wit-Sharpening Potions, pour a small amount -- half a vial should be plenty -- and trade with your partner. If I understand correctly, many of you are heading toward an exam in Herbology, so I should think you'd all want a sip or two."
Snape's eyes widened and gleamed. His happy thoughts, however, were interrupted by a murmur of discontent.
"Now, now, I've gone around and ensured that all the potions are of the proper color... or rather lack thereof, so I suppose that should be proper clearness... yes, proper clearness, consistency, and odor. No need to fear poisoning from your partner."
Black glared at Snape. "Wouldn't put it past you," he muttered. Snape narrowed his eyes.
"I'm not any happier with the idea of ingesting something that still looks so..." he peered into Black's cauldron "... questionable."
Angrily, Sirius poured a ladleful into a small glass vial and thrust it at Snape. "It's fine. Drink it."
Snape cautiously swirled the vial's contents, sniffed, and then braced himself as he sipped. He half-expected something awful to happen, but he felt nothing more than a vague feeling of clarity and a sudden need to study.
"Well?" Black demanded.
"It's fine," Snape replied, a little distracted, as he fished out his vial from his pocket while Black was cleaning up his things and looking the other way. "Here," he said curtly to Sirius.
It was as if it were meant to be. Sirius, distracted no doubt by Remus and Peter who were suddenly debating the latest theories in Magical Innovation, didn't even give the vial a second glance. He unstopped the cork, tipped his head back, and swallowed.
Immediately, Black's eyes sharpened. "I feel strange." Lupin glanced over at them at that, a shrewd look in his eye, but said nothing.
Snape feigned innocence. "I'm sure being in possession of a clear mind for a change is a feeling with which you are not familiar, but I assure you, there's no cause for alarm, Black."
The punch caught Severus so off-guard that he didn't even have time to brace himself. He was on the floor of the classroom, one hand clapped over his nose, tears prickling his eyes from the bright pain, before he could even put together what had happened.
And that was the first thing that Snape supposed he should have seen coming.
Acquitted of any wrong-doing -- Severus had always been an ideal student in Potions and having just received a right hook to the nose, had the sympathies of the professor -- Snape was now sitting under one of the large trees down by the greenhouses, a charmed ice-pack hovering in front of his eyes to keep the swelling of his nose to a bare minimum. Sirius had gone on to his Herbology exam, of course, but Snape couldn't bring himself not to watch Black unravel in front of everyone's eyes.
When a horrified shriek echoed across the grounds, Snape smirked and twisted to try and peer through the foggy glass. And even though he couldn't quite see what had just happened, he felt warm, happy vengeance.
Then suddenly, the shriek's owner came bursting out of the greenhouse, covered in what looked like rapidly-growing kudzu. Snape later found out it was actually Pettigrew -- he had a feeling the dolt would sound like a woman when he screamed -- who had been Black's second victim of the day.
And things just unraveled from there.
Word always traveled fast at Hogwarts, and in a case like this, the speed of gossip multiplied by at least a factor of one hundred. Sitting at the Slytherin table at dinner that night, Snape felt positively jubilant as he heard the stories float around.
"He's got detention with Dumbledore for two weeks!" cried Evan Rosier. "And the best part is, when they asked him why he'd done it, he just kept saying, 'I don't know!' until he... until he..." The boy dissolved into guffaws, but Snape was fairly sure he caught the words "started crying" somewhere in there. Snape wasn't sure he believed that part, though he supposed he could always hope.
The tales were absolutely beautiful, and though Severus had been present to witness the aftermath of the first incident, he thought he would never grow tired of hearing others' retellings of the rest.
In Herbology, Black had been in the midst of taking his exam when the idea to hex Pettigrew and turn him into a living, breathing trellis struck him. Black's exam had been torn up ("Sirius Black! Give me that parchment at once! You'll get no credit for this!"), not that that had been particularly bad, as it mostly contained some lewd, if not creative and well-detailed, art and a few mildly witty couplets wherein Black came up with some interesting rhymes for various body parts. Hauled out of class at once, he was dragged straight to the Headmaster's office.
Nobody saw Black for lunch, but he reappeared in Divination that afternoon and made some startling predictions that had the class in tears of laughter. When he'd grown tired of this and settled down, merely levitating his crystal ball up and down (distracting, yes, but at least the lecture could continue), he'd remained relatively silent until they'd gotten to charting the paths of planets.
"Now, who can tell me where Uranus will be tonight?"
"In bed!" Sirius called out gleefully and then clapped a hand over his mouth. "I'm sorry!" he apologized immediately. "It was just such a good opening." And of course the class burst into laughter again, though it took Sirius a second to realize that his apology hadn't really sounded like one at all.
This had earned him another detention and cost Gryffindor thirty points.
Someone said after class that Black had been cartwheeling down the hall, but Snape rather doubted that. He definitely did not doubt, however, that Black had spelled Maureen Mackenzie's skirt to lift every time she sneezed (Maureen having a terrible case of hay fever that day), had, for the better part of half an hour, had a shouting match with Peeves, and had affixed a piece of parchment to Filch's back reading, "Ask me about my pussy".
By the time Severus had arrived in the Great Hall, Black had single-handedly cost Gryffindor more than a hundred and fifty points and was looking at two weeks' worth of detentions.
The stories he heard from the Gryffindor table were nearly identical, but told not with humor and glee, but with anger.
"He'll cost us the House Cup!" Lily Evans was shouting at Potter. "He's your friend; do something about him!"
James looked lost. "I don't know what's got into him!" he shouted back. "But as soon as I find him, I'll be the first to strangle him."
Severus sighed happily.
It was, without a doubt, his happiest day at Hogwarts.
On his way back to the common room after dinner, Snape reflected on the day's events with a cozy glow about him, something that, had anyone else seen him, would have looked about as fitting as a snake wearing mittens. In just under twelve hours, he had successfully turned every Gryffindor against Black and made him the laughing stock of the other three houses. No longer was Black thought of as a gallant mischief-maker. He was in Gryffindor exile.
Snape was pondering just how he should go about celebrating his success when he heard voices from down the hall.
Quickly stepping behind one of the heavy velvet draperies, he listened carefully and tried very hard not to laugh.
"I don't know why, Moony!" Black said, a plaintive note in his voice. "I just can't stop myself!"
Lupin made a noise of disgust. "Really, Sirius, I always knew you had trouble controlling yourself, but I never thought you'd stoop to this."
They were closer now, standing just a few meters away from the curtain. Cautiously, Severus moved just enough to peer through the separation in the drapes. Black looked terrible and Lupin looked furious. And Snape looked thrilled.
"You've got to believe me, it... someone must have done something to me!" Black replied desperately. Lupin's eyes were cold when he responded.
"That's it, come up with another excuse, Sirius. Screwing all those girls, saying whatever comes to mind, doing whatever the bloody hell you want, just keep making excuses and it's all fine, is it?" Lupin sighed. "D'you have any idea how many points you've cost Gryffindor today alone?!"
Black looked pained when he answered. "A hundred and fifty-four, and you're absolutely adorable when you're mad," he replied.
That, Snape thought later, might have been the second thing he should have seen coming.
Lupin, on the other hand, looked like he never expected that in a million years and stepped backward a pace as if that would help him make more sense of the situation. "What?!"
Black looked equally surprised that he'd said it. "See, this is what I mean! I do and say whatever I want to do or say and I can't stop myself!"
Now Lupin looked hurt. "So you didn't mean it, you just said it," he snapped.
Black shook his head violently. "No! But it's like... I can't stop myself from forgetting the consequences and doing it anyway! In Herbology today? When I hexed Peter? I knew it was wrong --"
"Well, at least you knew," Lupin muttered with a roll of his eyes.
"-- but I was so bloody angry with him because it was all his fault that I had to be partners with Snivellus in Potions, and I couldn't stop myself!"
Lupin looked ragingly incredulous and, completely forgetting that he was trying to be angry, he simply said, "You... what?"
"And I couldn't bring myself to take that stupid exam, so I didn't! And in Divination, I mean, come on... I just can't stop admitting things or doing things or saying things! It's like I've got no control anymore, and whatever I'm thinking about just... just pops out and happens!" Sirius looked a little panicky now.
Lupin blinked. "Did you bother explaining this to anyone?"
Sirius shook his head miserably. "I couldn't get it out. I kept getting these great ideas of other things to say and... well..."
Lupin chuckled. "It was too good of an opening?"
Black put a hand over his eyes. "Merlin, everyone must hate me by now." He leaned against the far wall of the hall, looking wretched. Snape's mouth twisted into a smirk. Exactly, Black, exactly, he thought.
"Sirius," Lupin began, looking down at the floor for a moment. "If I--"
"Remus, I love you."
And that? That was the third thing Snape figured he should have seen coming.
Lupin's eyes shot upward and he studied Sirius intently. Sirius, who was already blushing to his toes and belatedly clapping a hand over his mouth. Lupin narrowed his eyes. "What are you--"
But Sirius was talking again already. Or rather, trying to talk. Lupin reached out and pulled Black's hand away from his mouth. "Oh, for Merlin's sake, just say it," he muttered, dropping Sirius' wrist but not meeting his eyes just yet.
"I didn't want to tell you because I thought you didn't want that. I didn't think you'd... I mean I thought it was just a... thing. Y'know, just... something we did, and not... I love you, Remus. Dammit!" he swore at himself. "I'm sorry, I can't stop talking!" His voice cracked.
Slowly, Lupin cocked his head to one side and studied Black. "Are you serious?"
Black snickered. "Surely you know my name by now, Moony."
Lupin made a noise of impatience. "Sirius..." he began warningly, and Sirius was immediately contrite.
"I'm telling you, I can't stop!"
"You know what I meant. Did you mean what you said?"
Sirius groaned. "Over the past day, there hasn't been anything I've said that I didn't mean."
Lupin thought about this for a moment. "Then tell me something. If you feel... that way, about me, why in the world do you keep sleeping with anything that comes within ten feet of you?"
Black looked away. "I knew you didn't feel the same way about me and... I thought I could forget, or... y'know... something," he finished vaguely.
Lupin chuckled at that. "Sirius, y'know something? You're terrible at reading people."
Sirius had just enough time to get to "Wha-" before Lupin leaned forward, putting one hand behind Sirius' head and kissing him lightly. They stayed that way for a long moment, lips brushing, until finally, Lupin let Sirius go and straightened up, smiling.
"You may be a git sometimes, Sirius. You may be stubborn, and you may be absolutely awful at reading signs, but Merlin help me, you're all that I want."
Snape's jaw dropped. What was this! This wasn't at all the way things were supposed to go! But you're supposed to hate him! Severus thought frantically at Lupin.
Then suddenly, they were standing there, mere feet from Snape, snogging like idiots in the hallway.
Severus could have cried.
"Sirius..." Lupin panted, trying to pull Black off of him. "Sirius, stop, we can't do this here."
Sirius kissed the line of Remus' jaw and then moved lower, running his tongue across the spot where Lupin's neck met his shoulder and which always made Lupin shiver. "I can't," he whispered against Lupin's skin.
Remus closed his eyes and tipped his head back, giving Sirius more room, but kept protesting despite this. "Please... anyone could see us."
Sirius dropped one hand to the front of Lupin's robes, seeking out the clasps and unhooking them. "Doesn't that make it more exciting?" he asked softly, slipping his hand inside the folds of cloth and pressing his palm against Lupin's rapidly growing erection.
Snape wasn't sure if he wanted to keep watching or look away. It was rather like a train-wreck, not something you ever wanted to see but when it was right in front of you, it was nearly impossible not to look.
Remus' head dropped to Sirius shoulder. "Please... don't... stop..."
Sirius grinned as he pushed Remus backward, propping him up against the stone wall of the hallway and moving to slide his hand down the front of Remus' trousers. "Don't stop?" he asked teasingly.
"I'm serious!" Remus exclaimed in a strangled voice, one hand feebly trying to fend off Sirius, the other hand tangled in Sirius' hair as Lupin's hips surged forward rhythmically.
Sirius chuckled low in his throat. "So am I, what a coincidence!"
"Oh, gods, don't make stupid puns while you're getting me off," Lupin begged and Snape fought very hard to keep his dinner where it was.
"Tell me," Sirius whispered against Remus' ear. Lupin made a choked noise.
"Please, Sirius..." Lupin begged, desperately trying to grind his hips forward, having finally given up on trying to stop Sirius. "Please, faster..."
But Black just grinned and whispered once more, "Tell me first."
"I..." panted Lupin. "I love you, oh gods, yes, just like that, don't stop, please don't stop!"
"That's it," Sirius said, grinning and coaxing while Remus thrust helplessly into his hand.
"So... so close," Remus managed, his voice muffled by Sirius' robes, and Sirius doubled his efforts, leaning in close.
"That's it, Remus," Sirius said again. "You look so fucking hot like this. I want you. I want to watch you come, want to feel it in my hand. Are you gonna come for me?"
"Yes! Oh, gods, please, keep talking to me," Lupin pleaded.
"I love you," Sirius murmured against Remus' neck and that was all it took. Lupin's body jerked once and then he went rigid, back arched against the wall, eyes shut tightly, biting his lip to keep from crying out.
"Still all you want?" Sirius asked quietly. Remus, still leaning against the wall, didn't open his eyes but nodded with a sleepy smile.
"And then some."
And all Severus wanted in that particular moment was to hear the word "Obliviate!"
Now, sitting in Potions once more and trying very hard not to look in either Lupin's or Black's direction, Severus tried to console himself with the fact that it would take ages for Gryffindor to earn back all the points Black had lost. But somehow, that didn't even come close to pulling him out of his sour mood. He hadn't broken up their little clique at all. He hadn't gotten Black expelled. If anything, he'd made the bastard happy.
Then Lupin casually dropped a piece of parchment on Snape's desk as he passed by on his way to the supply cabinet.
It was just one word, scrawled in Remus' looping handwriting.
Snape's mood worsened tenfold.