Smile of a Snake

By Darkangel Rose

A/N: This chapter is by me, as are all the odd chapters. The even ones are written by my good friend, Madmax. I hope this doesn't cause confusion with the shifting styles. The lyrics included are from Sarah McLachlan's 'You Do What You Have To Do' . THEY DON'T BELONG TO ME, PLEASE DON'T SUE!!!! Please enjoy, and leave a review if possible.

~*~*~*~

The shiver tore through James' body unexpectedly, and he wheeled around, sensing a presence behind him. The worried look on his features melted away at the familiar face.

'Hey, Remus...' he sighed, letting the tension in his muscles dissipate. He rumpled his hair out of habit, though it was still disheveled from his encounter with Sirius minutes ago. Remembering the nature of their meeting, James blushed furiously and buttoned up his shirt in much haste.

'Oh, don't bother,' Remus murmured dismissively, 'You know, it's later than you think. Peter's getting rather irritating worrying about you, so I figured I'd best go find you.'

'Oh - right.' James answered, slipping his shoes back on, 'Sorry, mate.' he apologized.

'For what?' Remus inquired, quirking an eyebrow.

'Dunno...' James replied, shrugging it off, 'Everything.'

Remus shot a glance at his dark-haired friend, wondering briefly if James had ever guessed that he had unrequited affections for Sirius.

'So ...er...what happened?'

James eyed the werewolf curiously, 'How much do you know?' his voice was more resigned and exhausted than Remus had ever heard it.

'Not much. Sev- uh ...someone... told me earlier you were quarreling with Sirius, but that's all.' Remus smiled indulgently, a hollow note of anguish tingeing his voice with grief, 'Guess they were wrong, from the looks of you.'

The black-haired Gryffindor's brow furrowed at the peculiar shade of sorrow in his close friend's voice, 'actually, we did have a fight...' James decided that it would be best if he were the one to tell Remus about his infidelity. 'I - er - for the past few months - I've sort of been.'

'...shagging Malfoy?' Remus guessed, completely out of the blue.

James' hazel eyes widened to three times their normal size, 'How the hell did you - '

'Psychic, I guess.'

'Sirius told you?'

'When he got back to the common room. Sorry, mate.' Remus remembered the shock he had felt when he saw Sirius returning, looking defeated and hopeless. And then the initial anger and sense of betrayal when he learned of James' exploits.

'You probably hate me now.' James whispered, disrupting Remus' reverie.

'Course not.' the teenaged werewolf responded, 'I just think...' he trailed off.

'What?' James prompted expectantly, 'Remus, mate, go ahead, whatever it is I deserve it.'

'Well...I just thought it was kind of pathetic of you really.' Remus confided, laughing mirthlessly, 'I mean, I know I would do anything to have someone love me as much as Sirius loves you. And come on James, he's your best friend. How can you not be the happiest person in the world just knowing someone as amazing...' Remus swallowed, voice shaky, '- someone as amazing as Sirius is so devoted to you?'

The silence twisted between them, laced with taciturn questions and immense longing.

'You love him, don't you?' James asked in a strained, barely audible whisper.

Remus nodded, a single crystalline tear sliding unsolicited down his youthful cheek. **This whole part is good, but I think maybe Remus should hesitate for a moment, you know. He's about to tell his best friend that he's in love with his OTHER best friend, which happens to be his first best friends boyfriend. So If he were to hesitate before he answered.** To James, he looked like the portrait of a tragic lover, who could never know completion or relief. Bitter shame unlike anything he had ever felt crept into James, a darkness eating away at his heart. He had used Sirius so thoughtlessly, and Remus had gone unnoticed, loving Sirius silently from outside the tangled web of lovers.

'I'm sorry,' James repeated fervently, taking Remus' shaking hand into his own. Remus jerked away, but James swiftly grabbed his wrist and nuzzled his cheek against Remus' palm. Hot, salty tears overflowed from his hazel eyes onto Remus' skin, and the boy did not pull away again.

'What now?' the honey-eyed werewolf asked in an awkward undertone.

'I don't know,' James answered honestly, 'I just don't know anything anymore.'

~*~*~*~

Severus glanced over to Lucius, a sick anticipation seemed to be mounting in the blonde boy, who was fidgeting as much as that damn Pettigrew usually did. **Heh.**

'Are you sure about this?' Severus dared quietly. It had been days and they had not spoken of the surreal encounter they had had with Voldemort that fateful night. Severus was beginning to suspect that it had all been a figment of his imagination.

'What do you mean, exactly?' Lucius retorted in a cold whisper. He had become extremely detached to the rest of the world since he shook hands with the Dark Lord, and Severus was worried for him. The black-haired Slytherin still did not understand how the Dark Lord would have appeared in the middle of their school without having Apparated or entered in some tangible way, but Lucius would tell him nothing.

'This whole ... 'initiation' thing next Saturday. Do you even know how we are getting there?'

'He will provide,' Lucius assured softly, sounding almost like a preacher talking about God when he spoke of Lord Voldemort.

'Yes, but - '

'Severus,' Lucius sighed impatiently and silenced the boy by kissing him firmly. Severus squirmed away, looking scandalized.

'LUCIUS!' he hissed as loudly as he dared, 'For God's sake, we're in the Great Hall, do you think no one's going to *see* us?!' Severus' gaze darted around, paranoid that someone had noticed them.

'Severus, you idiot, do you really think it matters what *they* think anymore?' Lucius sounded impatient as if he were explaining something very rudimentary.

'Aren't you worried about what your little boyfriend's gonna think?' Severus accused, regretting his words the second they slipped from his lips.

'What are you talking about?' Lucius growled, voice dropping to a deadly murmur. He sounded more alert than he had in days.

'I know about you James, Lucius,' Severus informed, 'I have since Black caught you snogging like fucking ...'

'Black told *you*?' Lucius interrupted suspiciously.

'No, I was fucking there!'

Lucius adjusted himself in his seat, eyes going distant again, 'So that's why you were crying when I met you in the common room,' he noted, 'Right before I took you to Him.'

'Yeah, you noticed.' Severus finished venomously, simmering with barely suppressed fury.

Lucius sat unmoved for many moments, until Severus tore his eyes away, 'Forget it.' he allowed, knowing that Lucius' mind had now returned to it's thoughts of their new 'Master'. Severus wanted to shake him; to hit him and hurt him and bring him back to reality. He wanted a fight, or at least a response, from the demonic angel he had once dared to think his own.

'Midnight, Saturday.' Lucius reminded distantly, 'Don't forget'

Severus couldn't bring himself to look at the statuesque beauty that was Lucius. Instead, he turned his eyes towards the Gryffindor table, where he saw Remus ruffling Peter's hair**comma** playful,**no comma** laughter in his eyes. James and Sirius were smiling, and Severus felt uncomfortable, an outsider intruding upon their happiness. He locked his gaze onto the floor, melancholy filtering into his very soul.

'I won't.'

~*~*~*~

James had made no promises, Sirius knew this. They hadn't mentioned their fight, or the cause of it, since it had happened. Sirius had hoped if he didn't bring it up, the whole issue would just go away, even though he knew better. But he still felt shocked when James openly announced he was leaving to go to Lucius one night. Sirius found that words had left him completely. Peter was snoring softly, his babyish face rested on an open textbook. Remus looked up at the black-haired youth sharply, and James turned away. The silence seemed to last forever, unbroken except by the incongruous, cheerful crackling of the flames.

'I'm breaking it off with him,' James' voice was dead with a pain none of them could fathom.

'You don't have to.' Sirius whispered just as the boy had reached the portrait. Remus remained silent, though he felt James' gaze flicker over to him.

'Yes, I do,' the boy persisted.

'Do you love him?' Remus suddenly asked. Sirius' head snapped around, for he had forgotten Remus was even there. This fact was excruciatingly obvious to the werewolf, and James noticed the agony flare in his expressive russet eyes before being hidden by a steely wall of control.

'I - yes,' James spluttered, 'I love Sirius.' **spluttered...did you mean sputtered?**

'I meant Lucius,' Remus corrected, 'Do you love Lucius?'

James' silence answered the question better than words ever could. After innumerable moments of tense, expectant stillness, Sirius stood carefully and disappeared up the stairs to the dorms. James slipped quietly away, and Remus was left to contemplate the perverse tranquility of solitude. Finally, Peter stirred beside him, looking around groggily.

'Where'd everyone go?' he asked, rubbing sleep away from his wide eyes.

'To bed...'

'I had the most terrible dream,' Peter whispered, looking slightly disoriented, 'I was in a room with black walls and no doors or windows. And there was this little boy in a glass box ... and I swear he looked just like James. And he was crying for his daddy, and his face was covered in blood. And I reached out to touch him, but my hand wasn't - wasn't human . it was sort of a silver colour. When I reached out and touched the glass, he hid his face, like - like he was scared of me.'**WHOOHOO! I LOVE YOU! Great foreshadowing, and that Peter is scared of that happening..**

Remus looked hard at his best friend, unable to interpret the bizarre vision, 'Er...'

Peter looked away, something unreadable in his eyes, 'Never mind, Remus. I'm going to bed.' he spoke quickly, looking everywhere but his friend's confused face.

'Night.' Remus called half-heartedly after the boy. He looked up through the window at the shining crescent moon, a bitter resigned hatred settling into him.

'I hate the night.' he murmured to himself, collecting his books and trudging up to the noiseless dorm. He could tell by the sheer silence that neither Sirius nor Peter were asleep. For a second he entertained the thought of simply walking over, slipping his head inside the hangings of Sirius' bed and kissing him like he had dreamed of doing so many nights.

But he knew it was just a hopeless fantasy.

~*~*~*~

Severus awoke with a start, eyes fever-wide and glistening. He had not made a sound, for the screams were inside him, tormenting his sanity until he thought he would snap.

The laughter and shrieks that were inside him were not produced by his mind. They were different somehow - as though they entered his consciousness from an outside source. On image that remained particularly vivid showed Lucius and himself splayed across twin tabletops, strapped down by cold steel chains and covered in scars in the shape of snakes. They were both naked and sobbing - Severus in torture, and Lucius in joy. **I love this, because it shows Severus' want but fear of Voldie..and it's so S&M**

And now he was overwhelmed by a feeling of dirtiness, and a disturbing, tainted sort of satisfaction. He slipped out of the dorm and then out of the common room as though he were a shadow, soundless and hidden by the darkness. His voice was raspy with barely contained fright as he whispered the password to the Prefect's bathroom - Lucius had told it to him ages ago, before this whole mess had started. He eased his way inside, slipping the door closed.

And froze.

Remus was perched at the side of the large tub, dipping his toes into the steaming water. He was naked and his pale skin shone ethereally in stark contrast to his damp, wavy auburn hair. There was something sinfully beautiful about the exact way his back arched and how innocently seductive he looked with one knee curled up against his chest while the other stretched out over the marble. The Gryffindor didn't appear to notice that someone else had entered the room, for he made no move to turn around, but Severus had the feeling that Remus knew.

Then Severus heard a sweet, unearthly sound fill the space, and after a moment he realized that Remus was singing.

'What ravages of spirit conjured this temptuous rage? Created you a monster, broken by the rules of love

And fate has led you through it, You do what you have to do And fate has led you through it, You do what you have to do

But I have a sense to recognize That I don't know how to let you go

Every moment marked with apparitions of your soul I'm ever swiftly moving Trying to escape this desire

The yearning to be near you I do what I have to do The yearning to be near you I do what I have to do

But I have a sense to recognize That I don't know how to let you go That I don't know how to let you go

A glowing ember, burning hot and burning slow And deep within I'm shaken by the violence of existing For only you

I know I can't be with you I do what I have to do I know I can't be with you I do what I have to do

But I have a sense to recognize That I don't know how to let you go Don't know how to let you go Don't know how - To let you go And I don't know how to let you go."

Severus brought his hands up to his face and was surprised to find tears streaking down his cheeks, but he did not care. The feelings inside him -of mixed empathy, understanding, hatred, attraction, and something deeper - something that scared him more than any of the others.

Love.

~*~*~*~

**Wow...this chapter was so good, I reread it like four times, and can't find much else to correct. You wrote it very well, and I love it. I love how you interpret Severus, and the other Marauders. (I am also very happy that you are bringing my Peter up often..it makes me happy!!) All in all, no less than I would expect for you! Bravo!**