Title: Sanity and Insanity
Disclaimer: Belongs to Rowling. Characters and all.
Notes: Never having gone much into Sirius Black's character, I got a little curious, and wanted to write a story from his point of view.
I never saw it coming: a fist collided with my chin and I went straight into the wall behind me. I was seeing stars. Not even a second after I was being pummeled by fist after fist. I think a foot managed to collide with my ribs at some point. Blood seeped down from my nose and into my mouth. It all happened so fast I hadn't the time to do much but crouch into a fetal position. Screams echoed around me and I hoped through my confused haze that help was on its way. Thankfully the creature attacking me was forcefully pulled away not moments after.
'Mr. Snape!' a stern voice nearly hollered, 'I never thought I would see such behaviour from you!' Daring to roll around I looked up at my offender. Snivellus was being held in place by two seventh years, his mouth near foaming and his clenched fists bloodied. Yes, who would have thought little Snape able to cause such harm without magic? Not me I had to admit. McGonagall turned back to me and pinned me to the floor with her eyes.
'Are you alright Mr. Black?' she asked without a trace of concern in her voice. She knew what had occurred between me, Snape, Remus and James during the last full moon not more than a week ago, and she was certainly not happy with me. That incident had taken the dispute between me and Snape to an entirely different level. I hadn't seen him since that night, and truth be told; he didn't look good.
Despite all that Remus was still my greatest concern; he hadn't taken the news very well. He still only answered me with one word sentences, but I supposed I should have been grateful he answered at all. James and Peter had been quite surprised by it all, never having been excluded from a prank before. But they had taken it quite well all things considering.
'Very well, if you feel up to it, I'm taking you to the Headmaster's office.' McGonagall informed, 'come now.' Letting go of their grip, the seventh years stepped away from Snape who threw both of them a dirty look.
'Be careful of what you drink later,' I whispered to them when we left. They both nodded seriously.
My ribs ached, but my nose had stopped bleeding and I didn't feel all that worse for wear. The bruises, however, soon appeared, and I would rather have died than to admit that Snape had a rather mean right hook.
He stared at me with a look that clearly told me this was not over while we walked. I sneered at him, but he didn't even blink. Creepy boy.
'What's your problem?' I hissed when he showed no signs of looking in any other direction. He raised an eyebrow.
'You,' he stated simply.
The Headmaster had a look of disappointment on his face when he saw us entering his office. His eyes widened just a fraction at my bloodied state, but he gathered himself quickly.
'I had hoped what happened last time between you two would have made you realize that nothing can be solved by hate.' He folded his hands on the desk in front of him and looked at us with bright, blue eyes.
The silver objects clicking and ticking all around in his office shone bright in the candlelight. The Headmasters and Headmistresses through the centuries slept contently in their portraits. It all fit, except the dark, skinny boy beside me. Like a wrongly tuned violin in an otherwise perfect orchestra.
'In these days it is nothing but foolishness that drives us to fight amongst ourselves,' continued the Headmaster looking very serious, 'we fight against a greater enemy, as I am sure you are all aware. And we cannot win if you insist on striving between each other.'
'Who ever said I will fight for you?' asked Snape coldly standing stiff as a pole. Dumbledore stroked his beard and gazed at him sadly.
'No, of course you will have to choose your own path. But I will grieve if you do indeed wish to follow Riddle.'
I was agape. How could Dumbledore be so calm when Snape practically admitted to a future career as a Death Eater? Not that I was shocked at that revelation no, but who would be so stupid as to admit it in the first place?
'You can't be that thick?' I burst out before realizing it.
'It seems like you both take it for granted that just because I won't fight for you, I will fight against you.' He looked back at me and raised an eyebrow, he did that a lot. 'No wonder so many Slytherins do, when it's already given that they will. Instead of persuading me otherwise, the Headmaster accepts it as my choice. Would he if it was you who decided to "turn"?'
'I have had a long history with Slytherins,' stated Dumbledore, 'and even if you only want the best for them, in the end they will only follow their own hearts and ambitions.'
'I suppose we will have to agree to disagree on that statement, Headmaster,' answered Snape and crossed his arms.
'Well, why don't you two take a seat then,' the Headmaster gestured towards the two chairs behind us, and we did as bidden. Of course I couldn't help but make a fuss of moving my chair further away from Snape's, but to my surprise it didn't seem like he cared. Neither by expressing relief at my decision, or in tossing me one of his glares. He was busy studying a little silver sphere trapped inside an invisible box.
'Tell me Mr. Snape, what happened?'
'I hit him,' shrugged Snape, as if that was the most natural thing in the world.
'Yes, I can see that, but was there any provocation that led you to do such a thing?'
'Only a murder attempt,' he sneered.
'I doubt that Mr. Black tried to kill you,' said the Headmaster calmly, 'the-' but he was cut short by Snape.
'How many times have you stared a werewolf in the eyes Headmaster?' he hissed, 'do you know I will have these scars for the rest of my life? Werewolf wounds can't be healed by magic!'
'I can understand your hatred and anger, Severus,' nodded Dumbledore sadly, 'I really can. What Black did to you is unforgivable, and I think he knows that. But it cannot be undone, and even though it was a despicable action, I doubt very much it was meant to take your life. It was Gryffindor stupidity, if that is easier for you to understand.' Snape leaned back in his chair and looked at me.
'So if I by "accident" poured poison in Black's goblet, will it be excused as Slytherin cunning?' He smiled. Never having seen him smile before, I found I wished I would never have to see it again. It was disturbing. A smile without any joy, only Snape would be able to do that.
'No it won't Severus. I expect more intelligence from you,' Dumbledore winked at Snape who hid his smile behind a hand. My eyes grew bigger; the Headmaster insulted me in front of a Slytherin. For the second time that day I was speechless. And hurt.
'But though your actions today are understandable Mr. Snape,' continued the Headmaster in a sterner note, 'fighting is against the school rules, and I will have to punish you. Mr. Black here is already serving detention for what happened by the Whomping Willow, and I suggest you will share it with him the next couple of weeks. And twenty points from Slytherin.' Snape looked at him in slight disbelief.
'I suppose that is for us to learn to get along and understand more of each other?' he asked, his lip twitching in disgust. Dumbledore laughed and nodded.
'It is indeed. Forgive an old man his naivety for a while Mr. Snape and humour me. Now you can leave, but I want a few more words with you Mr. Black.' I sank back in my chair, my stomach growling loudly. If this kept on I would never be able to reach down in time for dinner. Snape got up from his chair and gave me a last glare of promising death before he closed the door behind him. 'Headmaster,' I pleaded at once, 'he will kill me! Didn't you see the look he gave me?'
'There will be teachers there making sure that won't happen,' the Headmaster said as if it were of no concern at all that a crazed Slytherin with a grudge was after me.
'I don't think you understand,' I said seriously, 'he isn't sane. There is something wrong in here.' I tapped the side of my head meaningfully.
'He has had a difficult life,' said Dumbledore sadly, 'it can make a person react in incomprehensible ways for us others.'
'Remus has had no easy life either; still he doesn't go around inventing curses and poison people.'
'Remus is another kind of person and you know that Sirius,' said Dumbledore patiently, adjusting the ribbon in his long silver beard.
'Why did you insult me like that Professor, in front of Snape?' I asked quietly, he must have known how much that had stung.
'You see Sirius, as I already said; Snape is a very difficult person to handle. To get an idea through to him you have to think like he does. You are certainly not stupid,' the Headmaster smiled kindly, 'but sometimes you do quite stupid things and you can't deny that.'
Well, I couldn't to be honest. Sometimes I just got too carried away, and teasing Snape was just too much fun to miss out on.
'I expect you to stay away from Mr. Snape, and to not anger him during your detentions, please. I ask this of you because I have a feeling that as long as Mr. Snape is left in peace, there will be no confrontations, and you are adult enough to manage that task, are you not?'
I nodded, a bit uncertain about that myself, but taking my stunt last full moon into consideration, I really didn't want to disappoint the Headmaster again. It would make Remus happy too, to hear I was burying the hatchet with Snape. He never liked the pranks much.
'Very well then,' said Dumbledore smiling as he got up from his chair, 'that was all I wanted to say. Now go down to the hospital wing, I am sure Madame Pomfrey has something for those bruises.'
I managed to reach the Great Hall just a few minutes before the food disappeared and grabbed all that I could in a napkin before heading up to the Gryffindor tower. I didn't really have much time for dinner anyway, seeing as the homework just kept on growing every day and a wonderful evening of detention was awaiting me. Two weeks of being stuck in the same room as Snape, cleaning cauldrons and trophies, washing toilets and stone floors... It would be a nightmare no matter how I looked at it
'Hey, Sirius, we heard Snivellus beat you up today. That true?' was the cheery greeting I received from James the second I entered the Gryffindor common room. There they sat, all three of them around their usual table by the fire, all engaged in homework except James, who thought himself above such things. I shrugged and fell down in my chair, chewing on an apple.
'He got detention, and lost twenty points,' I informed them.
'So it's true, Snivellus, Snivellus, beat you up?' Peter looked scandalized at this, and James couldn't keep back his laughter.
'Well, I didn't see him, ok?' I defended myself feebly, 'I was just standing there talking to Alice when suddenly he hits me into the wall and starts beating me. If it had been an honest fight I could have taken him without any problems. Besides, he didn't beat me up, per say.'
'But at least he got detention for it,' said James reasonably, 'to be so stupid as to actually attack you in the middle of a crowded corridor?'
'Hah, he getting detention would all have been nice and dandy, if Dumbledore hadn't decided he should serve it with me.' I gave them my best martyred look.
'But he will kill you!' gasped Peter, elbowing a laughing James in the side.
'You deserve it,' muttered Remus from the other side of the table. I felt like rolling my eyes at him, but refrained from it. I had expected as much.
'I told Dumbledore just that, Peter,' I said instead, 'believe it or not, Snivellus as much as said that he would become a Death Eater. In front of Dumbledore! Can you believe it?'
'He always was one for dramatics, Snape,' said James after having calmed down from his untimely giggling fit. 'I'm sure not even you-know-who would have him on his side.'
'Oh, I dunno,' objected Remus quietly, 'Snape is excellent in potions, and quite clever in the Dark Arts.'
'He would just grease all over the place,' I said, taking a bite of the apple. 'It wouldn't be worth it.'
'You're an idiot, Sirius,' huffed Remus and closed his books. 'Just leave him alone would you?'
And with those parting words he got up from his chair and headed for the dorms. He had done that a lot lately, whenever I was around.
I shrugged and leaned back in my chair, finishing off the rest of my food. I didn't really have much time for homework before the dreaded detention. Having threatened with leaving me like I was as a lesson, Madame Pomfrey had only grudgingly healed me up when I gave her my best puppy dog eyes. My cheeks reddened at the thought of so many people having seen me being physically attacked by Snape, and without even defending myself. I had just lien there like a drunkard. Normally I would have sworn bitter revenge against Snivellus, but not this time. It was getting too serious, more violent and with less play. No one thought it funny anymore.
'Isn't it typical of Dumbledore though, to give you detention together and all,' mused James, organizing his exploding snap cards.
'He always finds the best in everyone, even Snape,' commented Peter between his piles of books. 'Dumbledore probably thinks a few hours together will make Sirius and Snape realize how similar they really are or something just as silly.'
'Yeah,' I shrugged, ''s not going to happen though. He's an arse, no matter how much you try to understand his ''dark and misunderstood past". I'm just going to do my task, and he will do his, and that's that. Dumbledore said I was to ignore him so that's what I'll do.'
'Such a good time for pranks too,' said James with mock sadness, 'such opportunities. You're not going to take them?' I squirmed uncomfortably.
'No I don't think it's the right time for anymore pranks just now.' Both Peter and James nodded seriously at this. The atmosphere between us and Remus had been quite uncomfortable as of late.
'Good choice mate,' said James, 'as long as Snape manages to stay clean of you that is.'
I headed for McGonagall's office five to eight and had to run most of the way. I had always been bad at keeping track of time, and with McGonagall's temper being as it was, I didn't dare to challenge her. Just as I ran down the last corridor before my destination someone yelled my name. Stopping and turning I found it to be none other than Snape. My mouth automatically pulled into a predatory grin, but it didn't seem like he noticed.
'Dumbledore didn't tell me where to meet. I presumed it to be Professor McGonagall's office,' he didn't look at me while he talked, but fumbled with his bag.
'Yeah, it's her office. How did you know?'
'Seeing as you originally had the detentions it's obviously your Head of House that keeps them,' sneered Snape. 'Idiot.'
Before I was able to give some sort of comeback on the insult, the office door opened and an angsty looking first years came out. He looked at us with huge eyes, making sure to keep as great a distance as possible while walking past us.
'Boo!' hissed Snape, startling the child so much that he began to run down the corridor.
'Mr. Snape!' A recognizable voice reprimanded from the open door. 'I would like you to stop scaring my first years. Ten points from Slytherin.'
'I thought Gryffindors were supposed to be brave Professor, forgive me.'
'Ten more points for your cheek Mr. Snape. Now you two get inside my office.'
It didn't take long before we found out that our next couple of hours would be spent in the hospital wing counting healing salves and writing them down. Tedious work, but it could be done in silence, and that was all I wanted. Dumbledore's promises of protection were not kept, however, since McGonagall made her excuses not moments after and disappeared out the door. Madame Pomfrey was nowhere to be seen.
And with Snape, things rarely go as you plan. Not even ten minutes had passed before I found him stealing glances at me. Humoured glances, even.
'What?' I barked at him. He put on an innocent face, or at least what I presumed he thought to be innocent.
'I'm just surprised you could count, that is all,' he answered with a shrug, returning to his own boxes of salves.
'Do you want to anger me?' I asked him, sitting back on my heels and glaring.
'Do you want to kill me?' he asked in return, looking up at me with a serious and scrutinizing gaze. I didn't quite know what to answer, but he continued, ''because I suppose I could understand that.'
'No,' I answered at last, ''I don't want to kill you.'
'Then why...' Snape looked down at his boxes, 'why did you do that then? Why did you let me see Lupin?'
'I don't know,' I answered truthfully, not able to make up any descent or indecent excuses. I honestly did not know why I had acted as I had. Perhaps I knew then, at the time, but that reasoning was gone from my mind now. All that was left was hurt of having done something like that to Remus.
'I always knew you were cruel,' said Snape after awhile, 'but never evil. Next time you try to kill me, please do it properly.' His piercing black eyes looked at me through a curtain of dark hair as he said this. But there were no venom or spite in them.
He couldn't possibly be angry at me for not having been able to kill him? My jaw hit the floor when the realization struck me like a thunderbolt.
'You're insane,' I whispered mortified. He only shrugged at me and returned to his work. No more was said that evening.