He wonders how Snape's potion book came to be filled with so many corrections, addendums and additional markings - it is a dictionary of red ink psychosis and obsessive compulsive behavior toward doing one's best
. Or, toward being really gifted at something. Remus supposes trial and error - he can picture Snape sitting over a cauldron, night ater night, weighing the pros and cons of mashing or dicing, stir motions, Ragnus root that has been aged two weeks over one week, nickle or silver ladle stirring, one minute or one and one-half minute of heavy boiling..
Snape's eyes cut in his direction, then, as though he knows he is being supposed about and he sneers through the steady stream of pale tangerine steam rising between them. Remus shifts his eyes back toward the cauldron and in his peripheral he can tell that the Slytherin's sneer wavers with satisfaction before melting back to stoic nothingness as he continues to add ingredients. Remus flounders with the unicorn hair and barley husk, aware of Snape's jaw locking toward the right in annoyance. He supposes, too, that maybe it's just a case that Snape is brilliant at potions; Remus doesn't really understand brilliance as it gifts some people, he isn't familiar with it's dynamics, whether or not things just snap naturally for some people, if it just makes sense
. He can't imagine seeing anything that clearly. Then, he has always felt more like a creature than a wizard, courtesy of the world.
"If you keep twisting the husk we can't add it to the cauldron," Snape finally drawls. His jaw is still locked. Remus drops it immediatly, feeling useless and sorry and awkward. He hates that Snape makes him feel this way. Being a marauder, such as he was, James, Sirius and Peter were easy. They didn't really ask much out of Remus (or one another) besides that he stay quiet when they raged and that he laugh at their jokes and that he follow behind them with unwavering loyalty - not in dismal, dark ways but in innocent boy ways that none of them had grown out of from first year to fifth. It was only a matter of pepetual childhood.
Snape was not a child, though.
Remus can't reason that he was ever one.
He wonders if that is part of the reason Snape so thoroughly hates the lott of them, because they exist in naivity towards life and Snape has, apparently, so seldom had the luxery of being naive. Remus gives him a meaningful look in his comptemplations because he can sympathize.
Behind them Sirius and James are laughing together, despite having been seperated the room's width in the first week - there was no shortage of charms to convey a joke, one to the other and to the rest of the gang. Remus prays to his quiet gods that a note doesn't transfigure out of a sailing paper plane over his head, or that Snape's potion book doesn't begin to howl insults towards it's owner, or that their potion doesn't suddenly belch out a dungbomb (such things have a way of happening when those two are laughing back there...)
"Shave the husk into the cauldron, now, Lupin," Snape idles, bending to quill in a note under the simmer time directions; he crosses out the black type that reads five minutes
and in his cramped scrawl writes, four minutes, ten seconds
. Remus nods and begins to carefully drag the knife down the length of the husks, watching the waxy-brown bark peel off in lops. He had read enough to know the directions called for four long draws of his knife and as he shaves off the fourth he pauses in small satisfaction at the appropriate colorturn of their draught.
It is appropriate, then, that at the moment Remus turns to give a shy smile to Snape who for the first time the entire lab doesn't look overly suffered, Sirius flicks his wand underneath his table (his own potion long ago browned and ruined and given up on). The husk in Remus's hands developes a wide, frightful face that wails loudly and, caught off guard, he drops the entire missive into the pott.
Snape looks at Remus in a slow-motion of disgust and disappointment before reeling back, his curtain of black hair slapping across his cheek as he fixes Black with a deathglare and begins to point.
"You, you were giggling, you and your bloody-" The cauldron, however, takes precedence over Snape's sputtering, overflowing so alarmingly fast that Snape and Remus's feet are already toe deep in hot sludge that would have been bettered by a dozen dungbombs. Their classmates begin to cough and cover their noses and Remus steps back, out of the worst of it. Snape, however, just glowers - first at Black and then reeling around on Remus.
"Nonsense, stupid nonsense," he spits, his eyes steady on the slouching gryffindor.
"Msorry," Remus struggles, trying not to gag from the smell and his face going redder as Black and Potter laugh louder.
"Pathetic," Snape cuts, grabbing his book and wading through the hardening mess. His shoulder skirts the professor, who is trying to wedge himself behind the cauldron to make right of what had gone wrong, then slams pointedly into Remus. "Pathetic," he hears Snape mutter again as he storms out of the classroom, treading ruined draught of concentration with each step to the chorus of the marauder's laughter.
Sirius is yelling at someone and his arm glides around Remus's shoulder seamlessly. James is on his other side, and somewhere Peter lags behind them, digging in his pocket. Remus never knows what to say when he is mad - he had never even realized how mad his friends made him (sometimes) until this year, so dealing with it was new, too. Remus feels unnerved by the way Sirius is always holding onto him like he is a girl, always touching him; he doesn't do it with James. Remus is very aware, though, that a different dynamic exists between he and Sirius and James and Sirius.
, they never apologize. Their antics are a kind of take-no-prisoner mentality and Remus being paired up with Snape all year, he had learned they weren't going to take it easy just because it was Remus's grade getting ruined, too. Sirius had already drawled earlier in the year, 'marks don't mean everything, Moons'
Remus wonders if his mom will mail him a new pair of shoes. The soles on his current pair are awkwardly melted from the potion eruption & she has already had to mail him two new robes and six new ties and the year was only a few months in.
He wishes Sirius would ever just apologize, or show some sign that he realized this wasn't the way life could be forever.
Sirius turns to Remus and flashes a smile, his black hair shaggy over his eyes and his teeth whiter than white and his canines painfully sharp and his hand grips around a little tighter and Remus smiles back, weakly. He supposes Sirius never has to apologize for much.
Remus knows where Snape will be after third period potions. It was lunch, but Snape never took lunch. Remus doesn't stop to ponder how or why he knows these things. He disentangles himself from the group, Peter shuffling forward, having found what he was looking for in his pocket, seeming rather oblivious and happy.
"Moony, where are you going?" Sirius asks, his arm pulling off of Remus's shoulder and his fingers trailing all the way until Remus is out of arms length and Sirius's fingers touch air.
"Back to the dorm, have to change shoes," Remus offers.
Their group barrels forward with the throngs of other students and Remus turns to watch them move past like a barely missed bus, Sirius twisting his head around to give Remus a strange look. He doesn't put his arm around Peter, who'd taken Remus's place in the middle. Instead he puts it down at his side, his face looking confused and lost.
Severus throws his books on the long oak-finish table and collapses onto the matching bench. The library is always deserted at lunchtime and, frankly, good riddance. Snape hates having his concentration on Magic and Might
interuppted by the blowfish sounds of third year Hufflepuffs snogging or some cackling chorus of girls devising ways to sneak love potions into pumpkin juice and whatever else the student body tended to use the library as a safe haven for, as opposed to actual studying or self improvement.
There is a hole in his robe and he knows he should have backed away from the cauldron when Lupin had but merlin damnit all
those idiots. Idiots
. Sometimes his face goes red with anger just thinking about them.
Severus Snape hates Sirius Black because, rumors not withstanding, he didn't give effort on anything and he still seemed to have everything
and it was a hollow victory, to Snape, to have the entire world at your feet without trying. Lazy
, and all the other traits Snape most loathes. It isn't jealousy
A warm, lithe hand snakes into the back of Severus's collar and rubs his neck and if he hadn't already smelled that godawful Dragonheart cologne musk he might have turned around with wand in hand, hexing first and asking questions later. But the smell persists and, instead, Snape's shoulders slump a little and he idly flicks his hand around, trying to brush away the contact. Mulciber slides in next to him, so close that their shoulders mash together.
"I wish you woulnd't," Severus languishes in bored disinterest, pulling one of his books in front of him and trying to find his page. Mulciber ignores the request and his hand is under the table, stroking up Snape's thigh.
"You know, I hate it when the Hufflepuffs use the library for this sort of thing," Severus manages.
Remus isn't a pervert. Mostly talk about sex or girls or the way Sirius likes to share a bed some nights makes him feel nauseous. Most things do, though; his father had once told Remus that he had inherited shoddy nerves and demonstrated by holding out a shaking hand. Remus's hands don't shake, but still, most things make him nauseous.
He had, the first time he saw it, been trying to rush through thumbing in the muggle studies section, a five quid bet with James depending upon whether or not there were muggle TVshows about witches and wizards and Remus knew he remembered a program called bewitched
being an essay point in the second year of muggle studies - he just needed the book to prove it. He had found it and was going to take it back to the gryffindor table when he had heard the first growling moan. Hufflepuffs
, he had thought. But the noises were dark and jerky and mean, there was the distinct sound of books knocking off shelves and some semblance of pain in the noise. Remus had paused and lowered his eyes to the restricted section. He might have just left with his book, won his bet, lived his life just as he had every day before. But there was a smell
. Not the overpowering cologne that most noses might have picked up but another smell, the smell Remus had worked alongside in potions every day, one that even form where he was standing he caught because he had a rather enhanced
sense of things - animalistic, even. Snape had a very distinct smell, smoky from the black cloves he snuck between classes.
Remus had had his reservations but his feet brought him to the shelf opposite the restricted section, close enough that he could hear the rustle of clothes and the movement of bodies together. 'Do you want me to fuck you harder?'
Snape. Snape's voice. Snape's voice rasping and strained and totally unlike anything Remus has ever heard it take on, before.
Remus had run out of the library that day, and had spent many subsequent days groping with the inner turmoil the entire thing had caused in him with no shortage on nauseous stomach cramps.
In the end he had found himself spending his monday lunches stealing away to the dorm to grab Jame's cloak & slinking back to the restricted section, hidden away, to watch Severus Snape fuck.
Mulciber is already on his knees in front of Snape when Remus arrives that particular afternoon. In the past few months Remus has seen varying positions and displays but this is always his favorite - it seems the least graphic, the least dirty. Remus likes watching Snape's face change and contort and fill with color and emotion and feeling. Some nights, in bed, Remus likes to imagine that he can make Severus's black eyes lid over and his lips part in ragged breaths.
He doesn't touch himself when he watches.
but he does wonder what makes Mulciber so special.
Remus is so focused on the two of them that he doesn't notice the shift in scents, bitter clove overtaken by a sweet, sweaty dog smell. He doesn't even notice the edges of the cloak wavering by a close presence, in his own world of Snape's labored breathing while white knuckles shake in anger behind him.
Sirius walks past Remus a few steps to announce himself, closer to the shelf than Remus is, peering through the slitted books and watching the scene with an unreadable expression of disgust and betrayal before sliding his eyes back to exactly where Remus is standing because he is Sirius Black and he knows all about invisibility cloaks and their little shimmer in the ether. Beyond them is the sound of Snape's fingers clasping into Mulciber's hair, 'I'm going to come'
he begins to warn, and Sirius grabs the cloak and slides it off of Remus quietly as Snape grunts and moans and Mulciber makes pleased noises and swallowing sounds and Snape is cussing, 'fuck'
. Sirius stares into Remus's face, tears swimming in his eyes and his face never wavering from unbridled disgust, 'I'm coming, look up at me, fuck I am coming'
, before flinging the cloak back at Remus and turning away.
Three days and not a word out of Sirius.
Remus can feel the matter coming to critical mass in every potion's class, Sirius's eyes on the two of their backs. Remus, to his credit, stays out of Snape's way and manages not to blow anything up, despite his shot nerves.
He doesn't really know why it is Snape he thinks of at night. They never really talk and Snape hates him by association - Snape would probably hate Remus even if he wasn't friends with James and Sirius because there is something about Remus, something that he is at his very core, that disgusts Snape. A mixture of shy cowardess and apathetic acceptance to his life's plotted course. But Sirius and James certainly don't help
the cause. Maybe it is because Snape hates everything, and everyone, and that automatically makes him different from everyone in Remus's life, makes him mysterious. Remus thinks about Snape liking someone and he figures it must take something really spectacular - sometimes it feels erotic to imagine that Snape could see something special in him, something worthwhile.
Remus has accepted it. He doesn't fight the fates. He knows he is never going to tell Snape how he feels and he knows Snape would never return it, anyway. But he had really liked.. he had really liked having someone to think of
. Now all he can feel is guilt in that warmth's place.
In some moments Remus can feel himself start to get mad about it, about Sirius following him into the library and dragging the cloak off of him and looking at him like that
. In some moments Remus doesn't know who Sirius Black thinks he is. His eyes are daggers on Remus's back. In some moments he wants to turn around and say WHAT?
because Remus doesn't have much he can call his own but he had had that crush, and it had been his
Remus clenches his hand and sends half a cup of minced tailworts scattering across the tabletop by accident, and Snape tenses.
"You've been weirder than usual, Lupin," he drawls, pushing his hand across the surface to gather the spilt material into a heap before brushing it down into his other upturned hand. Remus doesn't respond, although he stiffins as Snape leans over him to pour the contents back into the cup.
Snape smells heavy with cloves and sweat and Remus swallows. The gryffindor casts a shadowed glance over his shoulder and sees Sirius has stood up out of his chair in the back far left. Both of his hands are splayed out on the tabletop in strained action. He watches the two of them with a wild look and his hair looks messy and his eyes look a bit like he hasn't slept.
Remus swallows and turns back around, praying to his oft-ignoring gods that nothing bad happens.
"Msorry.." he manages to murmer, several minutes late in response to Snape's original comment which just makes his potion's partner quirk an eyebrow. Then Snape tosses a look back at Sirius, out of sheer curiosity.
"Oh god, don't look back at him," Remus sputters, digging his hands through his hair and starring in despair at the top of the table.
"Black looks particularly disturbed today," Snape reasons, an inflected question in the tone.
"He thinks - Oh god
- he thinks that I.."
Snape turns towards Remus. "Yes?"
Remus swallows. "Nothing."
Snape doesn't push. Probably because he doesn't care.
Suddenly there is a badly folded charmed note poking Remus's cheek. It both surprises and hurts so that his hands fly out, gangley and awkward, and knock over an entire half-cup of melted mints oil. The majority of it sloshes over onto Snape who springs up immediatly. Remus joins him, polite instinct causing him to reach out and start pulling against the wet chest of Snape's vest in futility.
"THATS IT," a voice roars from the back of the class.
"THATS FUCKING IT," and Sirius is climbing over his own table like a wild animal and springing out into the aisle.
Slughorn looks confused at the sudden yelling, leaning forward in his reclined chair and dropping the book he'd been reading, but Sirius is already rounding on the two and Snape draws his wand on instinct but Sirius isn't fighting with wands. He slams into Snape with an ooof
and they both roll over the table, Sirius's foot knocking over the cauldron, and they hit the hard floor.
"You fucking-" Snape sputters, his hands trying to grab hold of Sirius's hair, his shirt, coming up to cover his own face from the blows that begin to rain down on him.
"MR BLACK!" Slughorn yells, taking his time to roll out of the chair, oblivious to what was happening.
Sirius hits Snape three times in the face, his knuckles red with the Slytherin's blood when he finally stops punching and just breathes hard over him. The entire class is up out of their seats, watching, and Remus is pale.
"MR BLACK!" Slughorn yells again, trying to move through the body of gasping students.
Snape is half conscious and still cussing under his breath is a daze when Sirius drags himself up. He turns to Remus who is pale and shaking slightly, and grasps the back of Remus's head to hold him still. His nails dig into Remus's scalp. He takes his other hand, coated in Snape's blood, and wipes it across Remus's face, over one cheek and pooling against Remus's trembling bottom lip.
"You fucking faggot," Sirius breathes, just loud enough for Remus to hear. Sirius holds his head there, daring Remus to wipe the blood away or to move. Remus just stares forward, not meeting Black's eyes, tears welling, until Sirius sneers and yanks his hand away.
Snape groans from the ground.
Slughorn fumbles into the mess and he yells detentions and punshishments at Sirius's back as he stalks away, the class parting a line for him.