A/N: Edited version up as of 23 July, 2009.
He didn't look up immediately, trying to keep the pretence of a distance that wouldn't last.
"Black," he said finally, making pointed use of the man's surname. Early summer sunlight was peeking from between the drapes as Snape finished buttoning his shirt to the top. His robes from the day before were neatly washed and pressed, draped over the footboard of the bed where he had spent the night. He collected his effects from the dressing table, moving slowly because he could feel Black seething in the doorway.
"When are you going to get the fuck out of my house?"
Snape sneered, an expression that was familiar to his features.
"It's not just your house anymore. I could stay the whole summer if I liked."
"If you're not gone in an hour you'll be feeling pain in places you didn't know had nerve endings."
Pain was so much a part of their relationship. Their mutual hatred had brought them together to fight with words and wands and fists, and when there was nothing else left, they had found a new way to fight. But that day Black was just sending out idle threats. Snape answered with and eerily prophetic comment of his own.
"Maybe you should get out too. After all, it doesn't matter if you get caught. You'd be just as useless dead as sitting around here."
Just by his presence Snape had been slowly edging under Black's skin. That little suggestion made him snap. He slammed Snape against the wall and growled.
And he did, his last completely coherent thought being that Black seldom made idle threats. And that he really needn't have bothered about his shirt or robes.
It was months later that Snape had found Potter staring in to his Pensieve. His first thoughts had been of fear -- angry fear, but no less terrifying than the normal sort.
As he yanked Potter back and saw flashes of his own memory, he felt a surge mostly unwarranted rage toward a man whom he had not seen in weeks, who teased him and fucked him and nearly sent him to his death.
The Potter boy had barely scratched the surface of it. He could be perceptive at times, but Snape found that more often he was naïve and stupid. He doubted if the boy could conceive of unmarried adults who weren't virgins or of the sexual draw between two enemies. He wouldn't let his own life become an educational model; he ended all possibility of that.
It was, in an indirect way, that decision which left him feeling so lonely the next summer. It had always been easy to hate Harry for who his father was, but in the same way he had found it hard to hate James any longer, it was getting harder to hate Black, or indeed any dead man. And after so much time hating, it felt as though a piece of his identity had fallen away.
"It's just sex," Sirius would say. "It's just fucking."
And Snape was tempted to agree back when they were young. Like their fighting was just fighting. It accomplished nothing but to feed their enmity.
Except that when it was gone it seemed like so much more. He'd had 'just sex' -- it was dispassionate and mechanical. But what they did certainly wasn't making love. They had outgrown duels and fist-fights, mostly for fear of scoldings that made them feel as if they hadn't grown at all. They were pushing forty and had out grown name calling and practical jokes and "just sex". What they did was rough and impassioned and spiteful.
It was making hate.