Chapter One, this being the epic part.
It had been nearly two heart-wrenching months since his godfather died and Harry still couldn't sleep. The second he closed his eyes he had to relive one of the most painful times in his life. Without Sirius, Harry had no one. He knew that the Weasleys loved him like a son, and that the Order of the Phoenix would never abandon him, but it wasn't the same.
Even with Sirius on the run, Cedric dead and Voldemort returned, Harry had always held a secret desire that he would one day wake up to a Voldie free world and a new life with his godfather. That would never happen now, and stomach twisting at the thought, Harry focused his mind, his pain and all his hatred onto the man he held responsible – Severus Snape. Snape was Harry's potions master at school and had always treated Harry badly (that he treated everyone except the Slytherin's badly didn't occur to Harry at this point). As the adage went, like father like son, and Harry was proof of that. Snape had hated James Potter at school, and Harry was an unpleasant reminder to the potions master of his less than happy school days.
Harry never wanted anything to do with Snape again, unfortunately, since he was staying at the headquarters of the Order and Snape was a member, this wasn't very likely, so Harry had to content himself with ignoring the man, and refusing to drink a dreamless sleep potion, even with Mrs Weasley fretting anxiously in the background.
The two months since the climatic battle at the Ministry of Magic hadn't exactly been fun for anyone, but there was one person who was feeling even less cheerful than Harry – Sirius Black. Dying was the last in a long line of crappy things to happen to him. Being framed as a traitor responsible for the death of your best friend, an inept wizard (the real traitor) and many innocent bystanders, spending twelve years in wizard prison, watching the treacherous Pettigrew get away and having to go into hiding was one thing, well a set of things.
But death? What an anticlimax.
Black had always harboured a certain fondness towards the Norse pantheon, and when his time came was looking forward to shield maidens and an excess of quaffing. What he got was – nothing. Almost as if he had never died, except for the lack of body, which, when you get down to it is kind of crucial to most things.
Sirius Black was not one to take things lying down. He'd get his body back or die trying. Or something. //First things first// thought Black //Where's the nearest ladies locker room…//
Once the novelty of being invisible and incorporeal had worn off (which for a man of Sirius's imagination took a while) the serious business of what to do next hit him. Dumbledore was the next obvious port of call, so Sirius set off towards the place he'd spent all summer trying to escape- 12 Grimauld Place.
Protected by powerful wards, the house was inaccessible to everyone who didn't belong there, but there was no objection from the house as Sirius entered. After all, it did belong to him. Nevertheless, he had felt a little worried as he stood outside that the house wouldn't recognise him dead or Dumbledore had enchanted it to let only the living in.
Once inside, Sirius faced his next problem. He strode purposefully up the hall, into the kitchen and plonked himself at the table next to Remus Lupin who was pouring over a map of Hogsmeade. Mischievously, Sirius lent over and yelled in his old friend's ear "POMEGRANATES". The fruit had been a long-standing joke between the school friends and usually caused Lupin to double up in hysterical laughter. On this occasion however, nothing happened. "Moony, are you deaf?" "Moony this is not funny – I'm not dead. Well, I'm still here. I need to talk to you" his confidence swiftly fading Sirius whispered "Moony…"
He watched in despair as the kitchen door creaked open and Lupin lifted his head out of the shadows. The man that greeted Molly Weasley looked twice the age Sirius knew him to be. Things went from bad to worse. The chaotic breakfast routine he'd come to know so well last year was muted, and even when a clatter in the hall woke the portrait of Mrs Black, her screaming seemed a little empty. But what broke his heart was the other thing that had brought him back to this place – Harry.
No longer making any pretence at a good night's sleep and looking almost as dishevelled as Sirius did at their first meeting, the changes in Harry were obvious. Never the loudest of children, Harry no longer spoke unless he had to, and his eyes had taken on a dull pained look. Sirius reached out to touch him and screamed in frustration as his hand groped in nothing but thin air (A/N no this is not a Sirius slash Harry fic you little sickos ;-)).
Ron, ever receptive to Harry's mood was next to arrive, sitting in companiable silence as ate. He had unfortunately chosen the seat that Sirius was currently occupying. If being walked through by a ghost was unpleasant for the person, it was nothing to how Sirius felt right now. He could see everything from the inside. Ron's heartbeat was like thunder and the blood was a whirling vortex.
//Don't look down// he silently willed // just get up and walk right through him// He was trapped //for the love of all things sacred Ron get a bloody move on…// There was no way out. Stuck inside the body of a hormonal teenage ginger git was more than Sirius could bear, and was remarkably close to the way Boggarts appeared to him.
Panic welled up in him and he struggled to pull himself together. // Could be worse// the inevitable Gryfindor optimism rose in him //at least he isn't thinking about sex//. All of a sudden, Ron's heart rate rose, and signs that were all to familiar to the wizard formally known as Sirius began to appear.
// Holy guacamole – I can influence his thoughts!! Or, maybe he's just a boy… I have to stop this... Um, herbology, cold showers, Severus Snape naked on a cold day. Herbology, cold showers, SEVERUS SNAPE NAKED ON A COLD DAY//. To his relief, Ron's heart rate slowed, but Sirius felt a twinge of guilt. He had now forever imprinted the image of naked Snape into the poor boy's mind and associated it with sex. His resolve hardened (if you'll pardon the expression). He had to get his body back so he could pay for the counselling Ron would need.
"I'm not feeling very well," croaked Ron "I think I'll go and have a shower…" he left, muttering what sounded very much like "unclean, unclean" to Harry. To his delight, and Ron's ultimate relief, Sirius remained in the chair. He could be trapped by the magic in a witch or wizard's body, bound to them for a short time, but it appeared there were no lasting connections forged with Ron. For the first time in his life Sirius was glad that James was dead. The bond shared between James and Sirius was so great that he was sure the linkage could not have broken, and that would have lead to all sorts of embarrassment. The pair of friends had shared almost everything, but there were some things in this world that nobody should do, and sleeping with your best friend's wife is one of them. Especially when he's there too.
What he needed, Sirius soon realised was a body he could inhabit, whose previous occupant he didn't greatly care for. Someone who was well placed within the world he desired to be in – someone at Hogwarts, someone in the Order, and preferably someone who had the slightest bit of control over their own hormones. The being at Hogwarts and the Order headquarters narrowed it down quite a bit and he began to mull over his choices, as Harry moped on in silence next to him.
There was Remus, who was returning to Hogwarts this year, come what may, even though they already had a DADA teacher. He was sure Dumbledore would find him something useful to do, even if it only was growling at Mrs Norris one night a month. But Remus didn't entirely fit into the someone whose life I wouldn't mind screwing up category. Then there was Dumbledore, but that idea was soon scrapped on the grounds that he was sure he couldn't relate such clichés and inanities as Dumbledore was known to favour without cracking up entirely. It would be like the pomegranate issue all over again, and there was now way he was getting himself back into that state. For a moment he thought he had it with McGonagall – she was a Gryffindor, and had been like a second mother to him when his had turned out to be so blatantly lacking – well, everything. Surely she would welcome him back, gladly share her body with him to give him a second chance after all he had suffered (down boy! Not going there either. Uggh wrinkles.) But then it hit him like a stone – periods. He's seen Moony when he knew he only had to suffer one night a month, and that train of thought was rapidly abandoned. His thoughts flowed on in this incoherent and whimsical fashion for a good while longer until he was getting to the end of his remarkable short list, given all the caveats he put on it.
But wait – SNAPE! That was the answer – he was a bastard and the thought of getting him to do ridiculous things – the kind that were never forgotten by your associates and brought up routinely at inappropriate moments – was totally appealing. Furthermore he was generally awful to Harry (and all the Gryffindors, except Hermione Granger since she'd died her hair black and taken to wearing pink hoodies, and talking about big ships. For some reason he felt this was a vast improvement. But then there's just something about black hair) so getting him to be a bit nicer to them could only represent an improvement. That settled it, he decided, getting up from his chair and abandoning Harry in his quest for mischief and a willing body (oh, we're back to this aren't we?)
Snape wasn't all that hard to find. Considering he had no social life, no pastimes and no friends to visit, he was either at the Order headquarters or Hogwarts for most of his time. Such was Sirius' reasoning, and hence it was in Snape's dungeon lair that we now find a somewhat incorporeal Sirius Black and a certain Mr Snape, revelling in even lower standards of personal hygiene now that the holidays had come, the castle was mostly empty and no-one could smell him. Yes he is a big minger. No his hair isn't just silky. It's grease, pure and simple. Having found his resolve to possess the body of his worst enemy (excepting possibly the person who told him the conclusion to Matrix: Revolutions, but that's another story entirely), Sirius found himself strangely reluctant to get on with it. Which is possibly why this narrative is going on quite so long as it is.
Get on with it! I hear you cry? Oh well, fine then. But no pomegranates for your rudeness.
Taking a deep breath, Sirius placed himself in the path of Snape's rather uncertain gait, since Snape had just been enjoying rather more fire whisky than was good for him, and waited for doom to come to him. Quite literally. And not just any kind of doom, but DOOM in a Hugo Weaving - Elrond kind of way.
In hindsight, the fact that Snape was quite as drunk – nay inebriated – as he was, was probably the only saving grace in this foolish plan for Sirius, as it was the reason that Snape's occulementic barriers didn't shred his feeble mind like a…. Don't mock me; midnight growlers can't similize at will.
Snape's body covered Sirius, pressing against him, and then, almost as if by magic they became one (fine then, it was magic, but that's nowhere near as good an innuendo) until Sirius was pressing deep into the hot tightness that was Snape's body, Snape being somewhat skinnier that Sirius had become in his non-corporeal existence. [A/N: stop salivating now, that's all you're going to get. Not least because NEITHER OF THEM IS GAY!] Slowly, carefully, sneakily, slyly and in fact with all the skill, tact and subtlety of a baby rhinoceros, Sirius edged his way into Snape's mind, and their two spirits and beings became one in that moment. [Okay, really done now]
This feeling was much more than Sirius had experienced when he was inside Ron – there he had been totally detached, aware they were sharing the same space, but also that it was a transient thing. With Snape it was different, maybe because of his desire to control him, or maybe just because Snape was weak-willed, desperate and lonely under his sneering and offensive exterior. Whatever it was – Sirius had now achieved his first goal – he had a body, and he wasn't afraid to use it. And at this point in the epic chapter one, that being the first part of the shameless parody, that being the first part of an even longer and even more shameless set of parodies, Sirius felt compelled to shout:Victory is mine!
Victory is mine!
I drink from the Keg of Glory!
Victory is mine!
Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land!
The words came unbidden, half remembered from some forgotten time or place, but fortunately for the reader, he felt no urge to branch into Elfish or to sing.
When this small scene of jubilation had passed, Sirius took a moment to sit down and think about what he was going to do no he had achieved his quest. The previous possibilities of passing through walls, sneaking and spying on unclothed females were now lost to him, and he found himself in something of a quandary. The first thing he wanted to do was speak to Harry, and tell him he was alright.
However this presented several problems, not least of which that Harry refused to speak with Snape, holding him solely responsible for driving them to the Ministry of Magic on the back of a thestral of all things, instead of providing guidance. Because that wouldn't have looked at all suss, Harry and Snape talking privately, or even just talking. Rationally, Sirius could see that (even though the train of events had lead to his own death, and he really hated Snape anyway) that this was not entirely logical on Harry's part, but then Harry had never been logical. Or all that bright.
Whoa! Where did that come from Sirius wondered? //from me you imbecile// came Snape's reply //after all, you're in my body//. Feeling slightly better and validated in still being the loving godfather, Sirius relaxed somewhat perplexed by the new turn of events.
//You've never been that bright either. Now get out of my body.//
"Or what?" spoke Sirius aloud feeling some what cracked for speaking to himself. Even though he wasn't and no one could see him. "You'll repeatedly beat yourself around the head?"
//I will taunt you mercilessly. In an *outrageous* French accent.//
//oh really – are you so uneducated? 'Your mother was an hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.' Any of this firing any neurones in your miniscule size brain?//
"Hey don't comment on size; a hamster couldn't make anywhere near as much noise as my mother does; what's wrong with elderberries, and again, huh?"
//Now I've got the feel of all your attributes (so to speak), I'll comment as I like. And if you can't figure it out for yourself, tough. I'll have you know I once ran a film society for Muggle films in this school. They were somewhat lacking, but then mindless trash never hurt anyone.//
//Mature. Gladly, just as soon as you get out of my head// Severus slurred back.
"Not a chance, Sevikkins, you may have notice that only you get drunk, not me." Which said, Sirius sat back and proceeded to empty the bottle of old Ogden's and eventually fell asleep in his newfound symbiotic state.
When Sirius/Snape (a/n still not going there, but what else do we call them?) awoke his head was pounding with a dull ache and he felt, all told, more than a little nauseous. Standing up and fumbling along various shelves of neatly labelled potion bottles he finally located the desired 'hangover potion'. Unclasping the vial, he downed the contents in one. It was only as the dull pounding increased and his stomach roiled that he realised that it was the anti-hangover potion that was needed. He had a feeling that Snape had let him walk right into that one for the kicks. Which just proved that he was a masochist as well as a git.
After a few minutes, his vision finally returned and he managed to locate, uncap and drink the correct bottle with trembling hands. Recovery soon followed, and with it the realisation that he needed to urinate. Which as you can imagine, or many people try not to at all costs, raises some issues to do with a naked Snape that should never have been raised.
And believe me, though the words 'and some things were lost to the minds of men, for none now live that remember them' tend to conjure up images of doom, gloom and hairy feet, in this case they're just a blessing. Not in disguise, a total blessing to HP purists, and a curse to Alan Rickman fans.
Two hours later it was getting impossibly painful. Sirius was gratified to find that Severus shared the sensations he was feeling, as he was less likely to hit himself upside the head. The pain.
//OH just get ON with it// Snape screamed internally. //You'll ruin my kidneys you evil sadistic nutcase//.
Biting back the throbbing, Sirius replied "There is no way on this or any other Earth or reality that that is ever going to happen. No way. Azkaban was one thing, but that is quite another."
//We could try the library, I seem to recall a book in the Restricted Section called "101 Magical Ways to Take a Leak Without Looking"//
"Really??" asked Sirius hopefully.
//No not really you cretinous oaf. Nobody in the magical world is that unhinged//
"You never met any of my family did you?"
//True, and hell, I can't talk, my Dad liked Barry Manilow//
"That's a tough break man" Sirius sympathised, then Sirius/Severus flinched. Their mutual distress had caused the unthinkable. They were sharing. Almost bonding.
//You could let me have my eyes back… just for the duration… then I'll have a foothold and soon my body will be mine MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA//
"Um, Severus, I heard that. Your inner monologue is my inner monologue. Sharing body remember"
//Crap// later. //Eureka!! They don't call me an evil genius for nothing. We could just sit down//
"Alright. But I'm not happy about this"
Gingerly they made for the bathroom. Five minutes later, any observer would have seen a pale faced but thoroughly relieved potions master emerge from his private bathroom.
//We have to do something about that. To the library!!// Snape gestured.
"You. Are. So. Weird. This has been the worse day of my… whatever. Come on. The sooner we get there the sooner we can leave."
Three hours later Sirius was banging Snape's head against the table. //Stop it. You're causing a scene//
"I'm not going to stop until we pass out or leave." /
/Fine. The potion to turn all our bodily waste to vapour (odourless and colourless) that can just diffuse away will take 2 days to mature anyway, so we should get going//
"Two days! But I can't wait that long"
//Well, to be honest, most of it's for show. Gimme twenty minutes and I can knock something up. Two heads are better than one and all that//
Potion brewed and problem solved, the holidays loomed ahead of them and therein lay a problem. They had nothing in common. Severus's desire to do something quiet and soothing was as dull as ditchwater to Sirius, and Sirius's love of Muggle technology, Quidditch and loud explosions was making Severus suicidal. An uneasy peace lasted for 48 hours and then…
//I'm *so* bored. Entertain me with the sparkling personality your house is famed for//
"OK - What's the difference between a Slytherin and a pomegranate?
One's a diabolically cunning, scheming, manipulative, arrogant, self centred, sadistic social climbing bastard, and the other's a harmless fruit"
//And this is Gryfindor wit? I unclog my nostrils at you and call your joke telling ability a silly thing//
"From the house that's supposed to practice the Dark Art of satire you aren't very good"
//I can't help it if you are badly educated in the world of Muggle films and my humour is above you.//
"Bored now too"
//Right, well we could relocate to somewhere less magical and watch some dvds//
"What's a dvd?"
//Your ignorance astounds me sometimes. Let's go//
Three days and several tonnes of popcorn later we find our, well for want of a better word, hero? heroes? in Snape's modest gite in the South of France. Tears of appreciation welling in their eyes, Sirius turned to his cohabitant and sobbed, "I've wasted so much of my life. Why did no one tell me of these moving pictures?? Why??" //There there, we still have a week of holidays left, that's enough time for most of the important films// "What's next?? //There's this crazy film I have a feeling you'll just *love*//
//What have I done…//
"Demi Moore?!" //She's playing an evil dark haired minx. And don't even pretend you didn't love the fur coat high heels bikini combo. Your body is my body, I can read the signs// "Alright, I'll give you that, dark haired girls can be hot, but for casual shags, it has to be a blonde. Mmmm Cameron Diaz" //Oh please…//
They collapsed on day five, lack of sleep and a ridiculously low energy intake finally catching up with them. Apparently, popcorn can't sustain a grown man for all that long.
An unpleasantly short time later they awoke to a fierce burning in their left forearm. "OW OW OW OW OW OW OW OW. What the hell's going on"
//Don't be such a big wuss. We're being summoned//
"Now?? Want go to sleep now"
//It will get worse. We have to go//
"Bugger that for a game of soldiers."
//My sentiments exactly. It seemed like a good idea at the time. It's the last time I trust a half-price tattooist//
A quick cleansing charm and rejuvenation potion later (Sirius refusing to leave until they were almost presentable), they arrived at chateau Malfoy. The location of Dark Revels (not the coffee ones [A/N: I Happen to like the coffee ones, but my other half was in charge for this bit], which are truly evil, just a Death Eater meeting) alternated between the Malfoy home and the Jesus Lane Pizza Express in Cambridge. Narcissa Malfoy might be an excellent hostess, but even Death Eaters need to relax sometimes, and quite frankly, given the clientele of the restaurant, a few slightly odd but distinguished looking men would fit right in.
Walking towards the imposing gothic gates, a thought hit Snape //Sirius?? // Sharing bodies has the remarkable effect of getting even enemies onto first name terms fairly quickly //I need to be in charge when we go in there. I am needed as a spy, and I'm pretty sure you don't want to die again, so please take a back seat. As soon as Voldemort is gone, I promise I won't attempt to override you for a whole hour//
Since this not only made sense to Sirius, who was going to suggest it anyway, but he got free reign for an hour, the Gryfindor, his thoughts tuned to rather a Slytherin frequency grinned his assent. He then realised Severus couldn't see this so offered a rather lame "yes".
As they entered the Malfoy house, Snape abandoned the odd somewhat bow-legged shuffling motion which Sirius called walking, and began his characteristic purposeful and really rather elegant strides. Not everything a person does can be physically repulsive, and dammit that man can walk.
The doors magically opened before him, and head held high he swept into the room. He nodded his acknowledgement of the quiet and very very very respectful bows from the other Death Eaters. "Now that we're all here" Malfoy shot a loaded glance at Snape who had always been Voldemort's favourite Death Eater "Let us begin…"
REFERENCES:Austin Powers International Man of Mystery Mr Terry Pratchett (probably) Robert Rankin (most definitely) Lord of the Rings Josh, the West Wing Muggle Film Fanatics Society by Veresna Ussep Monty Python and the Holy Grail The Fifth Element Charlie's Angels Two