Rating: T – Romance/Drama
Pairings: Severus/Sirius, Severus/Remus
Summary: Marauder's Era, fifth year. Remus has a crush on Severus and asks Sirius to play matchmaker. But when Sirius and Severus become partners in Potions class, Sirius develops a crush of his own.
Warnings: Slash, mild language, werewolf attacks, adult content and situations
Disclaimer: All character created by JKR. I do not own them.
A/N: AU. In this version, Severus never got involved with the dark wizards in Slytherin. He remains best friends with Lily Evans. Although there was no worst memory incident, two certain Marauder did enjoy picking on Severus throughout the early years. I know that the Wolfsbane Potion was invented by Damocles Belby, but I'm going to let my boy Snape have that honor; you'll understand why in later chapters. Sorry, Sir Belby.
This is my first attempt at Snack. It is, and probably will be the sappiest thing I ever write. I hope.
Song title by Paramore.
Chapter 1: A Change of Partners
"Will you watch it, Moony!" exclaimed James. "You're spilling pumpkin juice all over my robes!"
"Sorry, mate!" Remus came out of his daydream, jerked the pitcher back too suddenly and received a face full of the orange liquid. The Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws began to laugh and point at the spectacle.
Remus did his best to tidy up while continuing to steal glances over at the Slytherin table. More specifically at the dark haired boy with a prominent nose, who was at the moment busy reading a book over a platter of toast and poached eggs. Remus grinned sheepishly and sighed. The jug began to tip over again. James and Sirius snickered and each dug an elbow into Remus' sides while Peter continued to stuff his face.
"You're a bloody train wreck!" Sirius laughed through a mouthful of bangers and mash.
"Sorry about that, but Severus looked this way and I got all flustered. Do you think he saw that?"
"Don't see how since he never takes his over-large nose out of his book. His housemates are all pissing themselves, though. I can't believe you let yourself get all silly over that grotty git. If you must crush over a Slytherin, why Snivellus? At least Lestange is good-looking."
"Severus is not that bad. Besides, Lestrange has the brains of a dustbin. And Severus… well, he's a bloody genius!" Remus sighed again. "The most brilliant student in Hogwarts. And everyone knows that smart is sexy."
"Uh, yeah," said James, sarcastically. "And Snape likes to let everyone know just how 'brilliant' he is. Honestly, how anyone can stand to be in the same room with him, I'll never understand."
"He's just one of those silent, brooding genius types. I find him very attractive. Besides, Lily is friends with him and she's no fool."
"Mental." Sirius shook his head. "Evans, too. So, why don't you finally go over and chat him up? Maybe he needs a wolf-skin rug."
"I can't just go and talk to him!" Remus looked aghast. "I'll get all nervous and make a fool of myself, again. Wait a tick…. You! You could do it for me!"
"Are you mental?" Sirius said.
"No, I mean it. You could ask him to tutor you in Potions."
"You are mental. Why the bloody hell would I do that?"
"Because you're failing. And McGonagall is about to chuck you off the Quidditch team if your grades slip any lower this semester."
Sirius frowned. "You're rubbish at Potions, too! Get him to tutor you."
"I'd be too jumpy. Please, Padfoot! You could talk to him and start to work me into the conversation. You know, how smart and funny I am."
"S'cuse me, but when did you become either of those things? Besides, you like a Slytherin. And not just any Slytherin. A great stone-faced pillock. Never says two words together less he's showing off in class. I believe that you're judgment has become impaired, Moony"
"Oh, please, Paddy. Please!"
Sirius scowled. "Damn you and your big puppy dog eyes! No good will come of this, make no mistake."
Double Potions with the Slytherins. Sirius strutted into the dungeon classroom and located his quarry immediately. Snape and Lily Evans always took the desk right in front of Professor Slughorn's desk. So much easier for answering questions and showing off their considerable prowess. Insufferable know-it-alls, the pair of them. Two bowtruckles in a tree, Sirius decided. Lily's saving grace was that she was a fellow Gryffindor. That and she was uncommonly pretty which helped make up for her unflattering brilliance. Snape on the other hand had no appeal to recommend him. He was simply a greasy, snarky git who provided the Marauders with an endless source of amusement, as a target.
Lily had yet to arrive. Snape was already prepared with his usual vials and ingredients. While other students were laughing or chatting away, he was bent low over a book, writing notes that were so miniscule they were impossible for anyone else to make out.
Sirius regarded him for a moment. Merlin, but when Sirius thought of all the Slytherins who were at least half way decent looking. Some more than others. He recalled the old prefect Lucius Malfoy and his shock of corn silk hair that used to make Sirius' nether region tingle. Snape would never be what one considered handsome, but it did not matter. It was his eyes that grabbed you. Two endless pools of inky black that seemed to seize hold of you as fierce as any Summoning charm, and once they had you it was impossible not to look away first. Sirius often felt that Snape had the ability to just reach out into his mind and pluck out thoughts, like a fox catching tiny fish from a pond. It was unnerving.
And yet, for some unexplainable reason Remus fancied the git. But then again, Remus sprouted fur and a tail three nights a month, so freaks couldn't exactly be choosey, could they?
He strutted over and dropped his bag on the table right in front of the Slytherin. "Alright, Snape? Had a good Christmas? Good to be back at Hogwarts, eh?" He flashed his famous golden smile, the one that never failed to get him whatever he wanted.
Not that Snape noticed. Black's presence did not stop his scribbling in the least. "What do you want, Black?"
"Well, um, this is kind of embarrassing. See, I'm not too keen at Potions—"
"Fancy that," he mocked
Snape lifted his ebony eyes and stared fiercely at the other boy. His shoulder length black hair was untidy and hung in greasy strands around his pale face. He was no beauty, that was true, and yet there was an undeniable sense of calculated intelligence to the Slytherin. Sirius was sure that if he was very quiet he could hear the wheels of Snape's mind turning in precision, working out whatever he, Sirius, was planning.
Sirius decided to ignore the comment and not hex the git into the floor. "Right. So, I was wondering if you would maybe… you know, tutor me."
"Not interested." Snape returned to his book.
"I'd pay you. A galleon per lesson."
"Alright, three. Merlin knows you look like you could use the gold. Buy yourself a robe that's not been patched-up. Maybe a bottle of shampoo…."
"Sounds like you should hold onto that gold. Get yourself some lessons in manners."
"Look." Sirius didn't care if Remus was his best friend, his patience could only run so thin. "I already admitted that I need help. Why do you have to be a prat about it?"
"Anything that points out your shortcomings and annoys you at the same time is the highest form of entertainment for me." Snape grinned at him and it was all Sirius could do not to punch the smarmy bastard right in the conk. "What do you really want, Black?"
"I told you, I need—"
"Someone like you would rather take a steel bludger to the knackers before admitting to someone like me that you needed help. There are plenty of Gryffindors who are sufficient at Potions. Lily, for example, is top marks, and a shade fairer on the eyes than myself, I daresay. And yet you turn to someone you obviously hate. Why is that? Could it be that you and your Marauder pals are plotting to do something to me? If that's the case you need to work on your subtly. Now go away."
He has a mind like an Ever-sharp blade, Sirius grudgingly had to admit to himself. "I'm not trying to trick you. Honest. Well, not this time, at any rate." Sirius looked over at Remus and James for support. Remus was setting up their ingredients while James put their cauldron over a low flame.
And then Sirius had it. "It's just that I need to pass this class or I'm off the Quidditch team, you see. Like I said, I'm pits when it comes to Potions, and my mate Remus is always going on about how you're the most brilliant student in Hogwarts." An eyebrow quirked and Sirius knew that he had chipped a bit off the iceberg. "You know Remus Lupin. Gryffindor prefect. Nice bloke. Great at Defense Against the Dark Arts."
Snape followed Sirius' gesture towards the desk in the last row, which caused Remus to knock his rucksack into his cauldron and set it on fire. The thin boy yelped and tried to perform an Augamenti spell, but only ended up conjuring more parchment that also went up in seconds.
"Is he accident prone or just a bloody lunatic?" Snape shook his head as he watched James and Remus beat on the flames with their robes.
Sirius hid his face in his hands. This was going to be harder than he thought.
"Ah, Messers Black and Snape. Well, well, well." Professor Slughorn waddled into the classroom, his bulging stomach a couple of inches ahead of him. "Isn't this a surprise? The heir to the Black family estate and one of my brightest pupils partnering up for my next big assignment."
Snape's jaw hit the ground. "What? No, Professor, we were not—"
Slughorn prattled on as if he had not heard. "A Gryffindor and a Slytherin working side by side. Excellent. Excellent. The Headmaster would approve. Inter-house cooperation, and all that, you know."
"Professor, may I remind you that Lily has always my partner." He pointed to the pretty redhead who had just entered the room. "And she's in Gryffindor as well. So, there's no need for me to change partners."
Lily approached the table and gave Sirius a curious look as to why he was in her seat. "You lost, Black? Best slink back to your mates before they send out a rescue party."
Sirius decided that he would have to be bolder. "Professor Slughorn, forgive me but this is hardly fair."
"My boy?" said the pot-bellied man. "What's not fair?"
"This arrangement. It's bollocks, is what is really is! Pardon my language, sir," Sirius said quickly. "Pairing up the two best Potion brewers in class is all very well for them. They make it look easy because they know they're sure to get solid O's. Am I right? Meanwhile the rest of us are left to struggle to keep up and that is bollocks! Sorry, sir. Wouldn't it be more prudent to even out the playing field? That way someone else will maybe learn something in this sodding class. No offense, sir. It's only fair is what I'm saying, Professor."
"An admirable thought," Slughorn said as he stroked his walrus moustache, ignoring all the rest. After all, heirs to considerable fortunes did not curse in front of their professors. They grew moody and belligerent on occasion, but things like that were best to be forgotten. "Admirable indeed. Yes, it does make sense to join my star pupils with less, ah, acclimated students. Yes, yes. Quite right. Mr. Snape, you will be partnered with Mr. Black."
Lily gaped at her friend. "What did I miss? Since when does Black want to work with you, Sev?"
"No idea," Snape answered and shot Sirius a nasty look. "He's having a laugh, or something."
"And Ms. Evans," said Slughorn. "Why don't you go and help out Mr. Potter back there? Merlin's beard! It looks like he's trying to set fire to the classroom. Again." He smiled and flopped his huge behind down in his chair.
"What about our project?" She looked from Slughorn to Snape with pleading eyes. "We've researched this all during holiday only now to let it go to seed?"
Snape patted her arm and handed her his notebook. "You take this one, Lily."
"Sev, no! This was your creation. You thought it up. You did the preparations."
"I only thought of it because you first gave me the idea. And you did all the research wth me." He closed her fingers tighter around the book. "It's as much yours as mine. You take it. You can handle this."
"Says you." She curled her lip and sent Sirius a scathing look. "You just have to tolerate Big Mouth. I have to deal with Big Head!"
He gave her a very sympathetic look. "You're right. That is worse. Good news is if something were to explode in his face, no one would blame you."
Lily smirked and then groaned as she made her way to the back of the room. James was positively beaming, like he had just won the House Cup for the next three years at once.
Snape raised his hand to get Slughorn's attention. "Sir, I absolutely refuse to work with this… person."
"I can't tell you how I'm looking forward to this new potion you've been working on, Mr. Snape." Slughorn said as if he hadn't been listening at all. "And with Mr. Black's formidable knowledge—"
Snape make a loud "tuh" noise.
"If your potion is as impressive as I believe it will be, then you boys will be the highlight of my Easter soiree. Alalbert Waffling shall be attending, did you know?"
Snape's eyes went wide. "The famous magical theoretician? The author of Magical Theory?"
"The very same, my boy. The very same. Everyone's always dead chuffed to discover that he and I are old chess partners. And, if you two impress him, well… there's no limit to the ladders you may climb in this world, now is there? So best press on. Time is galleons, lads. Remember that."
Snape fumed. Sirius gloated. "So, I guess we're partners. What's our project?"
"Our project, Lily's and mine, I mean," Snape said coldly, "was one that we were working by ourselves for weeks. Now I'm going to have to come up with an entirely new potion good enough to present to Slughorn. An ape like you would only get in the way and ruin everything, and you are not going to ruin my chance to meet Sir Waffling!"
"Relax. I won't cockblock your pervy old man date."
Snape rubbed the bridge of his nose. "You're such an idiot. Fine, but don't act like yourself and try to use your brains for once! It's those things all that poofy hair of yours keeps warm."
"Very amusing." Sirius unpacked his books. "So anyway, Remus Lupin is a great bloke, don't you think? Real smooth guy."
"He is so odd."
"Exactly!" said Sirius cheerfully. "He's odd, you're odd. A couple of oddballs in one class. What are the odds of that, eh?"
Snape glared at him. "You're a real git, Black!"
Sirius blinked. "What? What did I say?"
"You just insulted me."
"No I didn't. It's no secret that you're odd. Always sulking around like a vampire, and you don't seem to have any friends, other than Evans."
"Tactless! Leave room in your mouth for that other foot, won't you? In case you get peckish."
"Alright, alright." Sirius held up his hands in surrender. "I'm sorry, okay? You're not an oddball. You're a silent, brooding genius type."
"Enough with the insults already, Black. I know I'm an oddball, okay? I don't need the popular rich boy rubbing it in my face because he wants a laugh! Now shut it so I can decide which potion to work on." He waved Sirius away as he flipped through reams of old notes. From the look of it, the Slytherin had been inventing quite a bit in his spare time.
Sirius did not know what he was doing wrong. If he had used half this amount of charm on anyone else in class they'd have been practically sitting in his lap by now. Yet Snape wasn't responding and that irritated him to no end. He glanced back at Remus, hoping for some sort of assistance.
"Hey, Snape," Sirius nudged the other boy. "Think a delicate genius like you could come up with a potion for, you know, werewolves?"
"What sort of potion would the beasts require? Something to remove the blood stains from their teeth after they've ripped a child to pieces?" he said, sarcastically.
Sirius blanched. "No, and that's not funny. But you do have a fair point there. Don't you think that maybe they'd appreciate it if someone would invent a cure for their hairy problem?"
"A cure for lycanthropy? What are you going on about, Black? Even if I wanted to do such a thing, where do you propose that I find my research? There aren't a lot of books on the medical aspect of the condition. And how could I run any tests anyway? Unless you happen to have a pet werewolf at home."
No, he's at the back table, you git, Sirius wanted to say. "What… what would you say if I told you that I could get you samples from a real live werewolf? Whatever you needed for your experiments."
"You're taking the mickey? Where would you find—"
"Uh, my family has connections to certain… people, you know." Sirius lied. "I can't reveal the identity of the afflicted person, but I'm certain that he would be grateful. And who knows? My mum's on good terms with the Board of Directors at St. Mungo's. Could mean an Order of Merlin––"
"What would the point of all this be? Nobody cares about such matters."
"Nobody but the people afflicted by it!" Sirius nearly shouted but managed to reign in his anger, less James or Remus overheard. "Honestly, have you ever read about werewolves? About how much pain they endure from the transformation every month? How they tend to become ill and weak as the full moon approaches until they're practically bed-stricken? And how about when the change happens and they forget everything, even who they are, until only a mindless killing machine remains? Is that fair that they go through life that way? Or that their families have to go through it with them? So don't bloody well sit there and act like nobody cares!"
For the first time that day, Snape was staring fully into Sirius' face. "You are being sincere for once, aren't you?"
Sirius nodded. Snape reverted to his scowling expression. "I didn't think you were capable of having meaningful thoughts, Black. Can't understand why a selfish, straw-head like you would care, but I'll not argue. Well, even I must admit that it's a challenge, and I do enjoy a proper challenge. Very well. We'll begin by meeting at the library at least twice a week, or whenever I say so."
"To research everything we can about lycanthropy, of course. You know, big quite place, full of books. Most people do their homework there."
"I know what a library is! But why do we have to meet so often? I have Quidditch practice, and besides, you're the one who is actually into this stuff."
Snape fixed him with his ice-cold glare. "A minute ago you were offering to pay me to teach you potions. Are you giving up your ruse already? Doesn't matter. We are stuck together now so you will do your share of the assignment. No more cheating off of your mates or pushing around the family name."
Sirius was about to say something but Snape cut him off. "Just shut up and pay attention because if you mess this up for me, I swear I'll use the Bat Bogey Hex on you! I'm extraordinarily proficient at it, too. And I shall be accepting that galleon a lesson."
Sirius shrugged. Remus had better appreciate all this.
A/N: In case anyone noticed, Sirius was channeling Seth's Home Ec rant from "Super Bad" in Potions class. Severus is channeling a bit of Dr. House; his intelligence and bad-ass attitude that goes with it. All my rough slang is from a glossary of British sayings so I hope that I'm using them correctly. I only recently became a Severus/Sirius fan, thanks mainly to Huldra's "Sanity and Insanity."