I wrote this fanfic several years ago and it was the first full length story I'd ever written that wasn't a satire (!). I was surprised by how people responded to the original story but even more surprised that, even now, I still get reviews and people still favourite this fanfic.
This is mostly for you guys, as melodramatic as it may seem. I was quite young when I started Beneath the Silk, and I think we'd all agree that it shows! There are certain characterizations that don't make much sense and some fairly embarrassing typos. So, for the readers who have been incredibly patient, honest and very encouraging, I am now posting an edited and (beta'd) Beneath the Silk.
There was something about the way Snape reacted that caused Remus to frown slightly.
He was used to the rather empty look in Snape's eye: he'd always put that down to the man being something of a natural Occlumens. The Potions Master had plenty to be morose about, Remus knew, but for the first time, he saw something like fear in those eyes.
If he was honest - and the werewolf usually was - he would admit that he had never known Snape well enough to tell what his usual reaction would be to Dumbledore giving him an order. He wouldn't know if this was how he always reacted around the Headmaster, or if it were just a pressing consideration in his mind at the present time. That would have been understandable. But then, when the elderly wizard laid a hand on Snape's left shoulder, the dark haired man flinched.
And this sent something of a warning down Remus' spine.
In truth, you wouldn't have noticed it. There wouldn't have been a reason to. Everyone was too busy sunk in their own private miseries or worries, mulling over their assigned missions, the overwhelming odds they faced. It wasn't as if they were being sent to go on camp like little scouts either: this was a war they were fighting. Remus didn't have to guess that Snape's role was one of the most dangerous out of all of them.
But Remus swore to himself that the sullen Potions Master did not flinch when somebody laid a hand on his shoulder.
On a normal occasion, Remus would have smiled at that but for some reason, perhaps because the meeting had already plunged him into glooom, he frowned instead. Was Snape scared of Dumbledore?
"Yes, Headmaster," the Head of Slytherin muttered, his black eyes fixed onto the floor. "Of course."
The werewolf hadn't noticed Dumbledore look up at he and Sirius, neither had he noticed Sirius' smiling in agreement. It was only when Sirius nudged him that he was able to stutter, "Er... of course, He- Professor," and a tiny fraction of a smile that disappeared far quicker than it had come.
Sharp blue eyes bore into Remus. "Are you alright, Mr. Lupin?"
The werewolf blinked.
"Er, yes, I'm fine... really," he insisted, ignoring the fact that two pairs of eyes - one pair black, the other brown and both as intense as the other - were staring at him. "Really... just a bit of a headache..."
"Well, in that case," Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. "Severus would be able to help you there..."
"It's not that bad," Remus protested. He could feel Sirius tense beside him. Sirius' regard for Dumbledore knew almost no bounds, apart from when it came to the older wizard's almost absurd insistence that the three former schoolmates (and former rivals) make an effort to get along. In regards to that, more often than not, Remus privately agreed with his friend. There were some things that couldn't be changed. "I'll be able to manage."
"I'm sure he will," Sirius intervened. "Remus never has them for long." The polite smile on the man's face did not reach his eyes.
Dumbledore turned to Sirius and was about to say something, but gave a small smile instead. Not for the first time, Remus wondered if Dumbledore found Sirius as exasperating as Sirius occasionally found him. Snape remained quiet, but with a sour expression on his face.
"Remus," Sirius whispered. "Move, you oaf... "
"I'm suffering from a particularly bad headache," Remus replied. Sirius shook his head, amused. They both walked out of the office, leaving Snape alone with Dumbledore.
They walked a few steps down the corridor, before Sirius said, "So what actually is the matter now?"
"Nothing... I was just thinking... I didn't think anyone would notice..."
Sirius laughed. "Well he did! You of all people should know that Dumbledore always notices. You've warned me about that yourself," he clapped his friend on the back. "You could at least follow your own advice!"
Remus chuckled. It was times like these that he really did feel relieved that Sirius was back.
"Oh, thanks..." the werewolf grinned. "You'll be going back to Grimmauld Place, I take it?"
"Yes," Sirius replied, now grim. "Back to mother dearest. And the mad house-elf..." He sighed, and his eyes flashed. He was at his most unpredictable when he got like this. At such moments, Remus would become all the more aware that the friend he had known those years ago was no longer there. It was a miserable fact of their adult lives. "Back to doing nothing but getting myself drunk, letting the rest of you do the work..."
Remus almost winced at the bitterness to Sirius' voice. Part of him wanted to say that he'd gladly let Sirius take his place, if only that wouldn't have sounded cowardly. And it wouldn't have helped Sirius' temper. The person Sirius was really angry with, after all, was Dumbledore.
Dumbledore had received information concerning the meeting locales of the Death Eaters. In order to verify this, Links had to be placed in their homes and wherever the Death Eaters would meet: this was difficult because if the Links weren't placed secretly enough, they could be discovered. The Links had to be seen directly at Hogwarts, so the bonding between any pair had to be finished at one of the opposite points. Though they had few talented enough wizards to spare, Dumbledore had been insistent that Sirius stay put and out of sight at Grimmauld Place. Perhaps he thought Sirius was too big a risk – Remus certainly did, for all they were friends, and not just because he was still a murderous outlaw to most of wizarding society. Like all powerful wizards, Voldemort would be able to sense the Links if they weren't placed carefully enough. They needed quiet magics – none of the apparation and disillusionment spells that they – like true Gryffindors – excelled at. Subtlety was the order of the game.
He couldn't be sure, but Remus got the feeling that Snape had had a large part in telling Dumbledore where to the Links should be located. Sometimes he also wondered if it was because of Snape that Dumbledore had been so insistent on keeping Sirius under the proverbial lock and key. Dumbledore seemed to listen to what Snape had to say, or at least, more so than he did with the other members of the Order.
But then, Dumbledore had no time for their grudges and would probably dismiss any such suggestion from Snape if it had been made out of spite. Likewise, Remus dismissed his mutinous musings. He would remind himself that they didn't have to time for petty suspicion, such as what ripped their Order apart those fourteen years ago, but a traitorous voice could always be heard in the back of his head, wondering whether Dumbledore realised he was not dealing with Sirius in the wisest way.
Sirius glanced at Remus, worried, and tapped his shoulder. "Sure you're alright?"
"I'm fine Sirius."
His friend nodded. "If you say so: I thought you were alright anyway, but you seemed rather distant... I'd hate to be the one to suggest it, but...- "
"I ought to go to Snape for some magic potion?" Sirius gave him a look. "Thought not. It's fine, Sirius, forget it. I've suffered worse."
The animagus sniffed.
Then, Remus spoke.
"Did you notice anything different about Snape tonight?" He asked. He blinked. It was as if someone had imperioed him to say it. He'd never normally mention Snape to Sirius, certainly not a conversation starter.
"Is that what you're thinking about, then?" Sirius' face bore no expression. Remus inwardly sighed with relief.
"No, I'm just changing the subject: Talk about the war always gets me sad... and rather tired."
"Well, in answer to your first question, no. There wasn't anything odd about him, unless you count him himself. But we get that every time." His lips curved into a brief forced smile.
"You see, I'd swear there was something -"
"There probably was," Sirius waved a hand in a dismissal. "But I'm too thick to notice those subtle things. I'm only human after all."
Remus thought that was a good place to stop. There was that bitterness again. Why push it?
The two men continued to walk in silence, up to the rooms the School had provided. It was really only for the night, but they had already taken advantage of the internal floo network. Harry had been working harder, already tipped by the teachers - all except Snape - to be one of the students to do VERY well in his OWLS. Not that you could expect any less from the son of James Potter and Lily Evans. Dumbledore had decided it prudent to let a few of the senior staff members know the truth behind Sirius' incarceration, and their almost overhwleming response had taken off years' worth of damage from the broken Black in the course of a day.
They separated with a good night and went off into their respective bedrooms, Remus still thoughtful. It was most perplexing. He didn't know why he would feel so concerned for someone like Snape. It was a flinch, that was all. It was nothing to him. Should be nothing to him.
He didn't answer. He didn't want to. He couldn't find anything to say. He simply lay there, trying not to shiver. All he wanted was to be left alone. To be told that he could go. That it was all over.
"You know, I am one of the only people in the world who cares about you," the whispering voice said. The body form behind him dragged itself closer to him laborously, breath heavy. "Even your mother," the fingers were stroking his buttocks now. "Even your mother is too sad about your father... too busy with the others to care much for you. And you know it's true."
...Yes... I know it's true... but I hate this... I hate it...
"And you came to me last night."
"I didn't -" he gulped. "I didn't mean to..."
"Ah... I'm not angry with you, my boy... on the contrary..." The fingers gripped and tightened and pulled, teasing the entrance systematically.
Let him have this fun, He thought, black fury gnawing at his guts. Let him take whatever he wants... only he won't get it... he can try... but it won't work...
His heart beat faster. He wanted to get out of here... get out of the bed...
"Yes, my boy," the figure behind him went on, a hand cusped over the boy's nipple and squeezing the surrounding flesh: he had mistaken the boy's quickened heart pace for arousal. "You feel it too..." he straddled the student slowly, sickening the second year so, that he shivered in disgust. The older man pressed more tightly against him.
He screwed his eyes tight.
"Say it," the harsh raps sounded again, this time by the boy's ear. "Say it."
"Stop?" And he did. "But you like it." An enlarged penis forced into the round of flesh above the small of the boy's back. It slid over the buttocks, clumsily missing the entrance. "That's why you came to me yesterday."
Was it? Why had he come here yesterday? He had come here yesterday, hadn't he. For...?
A strangled sound escaped the boy. "No... I don't want to... I'd be lying to you..."
"Say it: You love me..."
"Say it!" the man moaned, struggling to keep a grip on the boys hands; one was now grasping his penis, wet with semen, trying to guide it inside.
"...!" He began to struggle, as he always did. If he thought about it, it didn't make that much sense. He had come here of his own accord, after all. But something about the man speaking, just listening to his pathetic pleas made the boy want to leave. It made him hate the feeling of having something put into him like this. It made him hate... him.
He did and for a brief flash of glory, he was in something like heaven. But then it was over, gone and without a moment's hesitation the darkness took him.