Severus the Barman
'I was a barman.'
'Oh really. You were a barman?'
'Yes. A barman. For a whole summer.'
'You were a barman for a whole summer?'
'Yes a whole summer. I was 16, left home to make it on my own. Stayed in a flat all on my own.'
'A flat eh?'
'Yes a flat. A flat all of my own, with yellow curtains and rugs and mats and...and a bed!'
'Stop asking him fucking questions!' Snapped Sirius.
Sirius was leant up against the closed bedroom door, arms crossed, sulky expression on his face.
Remus flung him a dirty look. 'I'm not asking him questions. 'He whispered through gritted teeth.
Sirius rolled his eyes. 'Alright, stop phrasing your sentences as questions.' He smirked and watched on as Remus continued to wrestle with the uncooperative, flailing figure of Severus Snape, on the room's small bed.
Remus had managed to divest Severus of his cloak, which now lay strewn on the floor along with Severus's boots, one black sock and a single button from the left cuff of Remus's shirt. To be honest Severus wasn't putting up a huge fight but he was quite wriggly. And he kept trying to tell Remus things, in this really earnest voice that Remus just couldn't ignore.
Bright, ridiculously wide eyes gazed up at Remus and they seemed to implore him to take in the truth of the babbled words. Severus wasn't a barman, was never a barman, Remus reasoned to himself. He didn't spend a whole summer working behind the bar in the Leaky Cauldron. There's no way that one would have escaped the Hogwarts gossip radar. He would have had to have been 17, at least and Hogwarts students were in and out of the pub all the time. Remus remembers sitting in a booth with Sirius sipping at firewhisky, because they could, trying not to gag on the harsh taste as it burnt down their throats. Sirius got tipsy, Remus remembers, but he didn't. Werewolf metabolism Sirius suggested. But Remus liked to think it was just his metabolism, but he never became a big drinker, he never tested that theory.
Severus now had one hand twisted in Remus's cardigan and the fingers of his other hand had somehow hooked and stuck themselves in Remus's right shirt cuff, his only remaining in-tact shirt cuff.
'Sirius.' Remus growled out. And he mentally thought to himself, 'Please just help. For once in your life just help.' And suddenly Sirius's shoulder bumped up against Remus's and another pair of hands were untangling Severus from Remus's clothing.
Remus took a step back as Sirius firmly pushed against Severus's shoulders, and watched as he leant over Severus and pressed him back against the mattress.
'Lie back Severus. On your back. Don't talk. Don't speak. You don't need to talk anymore. It's finished.' Sirius spoke in hushed soft tones. Severus's eyes rolled around the room, finding Remus but then sliding away again. His hips bucked off the bed slightly, his legs tangled in the ratty blue-striped blanket which had slipped down from where Remus had valiantly, earlier tried to cover him with it. Severus eyes rolled to the ceiling, sweeping past Sirius, the window and then once more finding Remus. This time there was a spark of recognition. 'Remus' hissed Severus, reaching out his arms, and his efforts to leave the bed increased.
But Sirius pushed down harder and moved to block Remus from Severus's gaze.
'Come on you slimy old bustard. Lie the fuck down, keep your fucking arms to yourself. And go the fuck to sleep.' Sirius voice continued in a singsong pattern, belying the vitriol of his words.
Remus suddenly had a burst of memory. James cooing to a wailing Harry.
'Please shut the hell up Harry. Your mother is bloody tired, and she'd like some fucking sleep tonight. And your Daddy wants to have fun with his friends. Don't mess it up for your Dad. Go to sleep you little bugger, go to sleep...you little bugger.'
Of course Lily had walked in as James was on the third verse of his improvised 'Go to Sleep You Little Bugger' lullaby.
Severus's movements had slowed, and Remus couldn't see his face but he imagined that Severus's eyes were locked on Sirius's.
'Veritaserum overdose.' Said Sirius, looking back over his shoulder to Remus. He cocked an eyebrow, and Remus felt that old lurch in his stomach. An old ember of desire. 'Surely you recognise a Veritaserum overdose when you see one?'
Remus stared at Sirius for a beat. 'Of course I don't fuckin' recognise a Veritaserum overdose.' He angrily whispered.
Sirius dislodged one of Snape's hands from his shirt, placing it almost tenderly across Severus's chest.
'No more touching now Snape. No more moving. Close your eyes and go to sleep.'
Severus's eyes screwed shut, only to flick open again. 'Shut your eyes.' Sirius said. His voice soft but containing a slight edge to.
He moved a few steps back from the bed, 'Good Snape.' He said softly. ' That's good. Well done. It's all finished now.'
He turned away from the bed and Remus had to suppress a snort at the absolutely stricken expression on Sirius face. Sirius turned back to look at the bed and they watched Severus together. Watched the change in Severus's chest movements as h is breathing deepened and slowed. They could see Severus's eyeballs flicking about under his eyelids. Which Remus thought meant he's still awake, and then remembered that it meant that he's dreaming. And then that maybe you don't dream when drugged. Remus then realised he didn't know what flickering eyeballs signify. And instead chose to breathe a sigh of relief as Severus's hand slid off his chest, flopping bonelessly onto the bed and as his head slowly tilted to one side.
He heard Sirius take in a deep breath. 'You don't want to know why I know what a Veritaserum overdose looks like.'
Remus didn't say anything, he didn't think he could take another emotional conversation, especially not with Sirius.
'He would have just kept going. His internal monologue has no censorship.' Sirius said blandly.
'But he didn't say anything that was true...' Remus murmured. 'Did he?'
'There's a reason Snape is Dumbledore's top spy.' Sirius replied, a wry smile tipping up one side of his face.
'His brain is short-circuiting and going through all the information he can say, all the half truths and half lies he's built up to protect himself.' Sirius moved across the room to join Remus.
'If we hadn't stopped him, he'd probably be waxing lyrical about muggle bashing or murdering babies by now.'
'Sirius!' Hissed Remus.
'I'm saying, if he's saying it it's not true aren't I?' Said Sirius nudging Remus with a shoulder.
'I believe what you are actually implying is that those would be half truths or half lies.' Remus replied dryly.
'Maybe he only thought about bashing a muggle. Maybe he only read about murdering a baby.'
Severus shifted on the bed and they both left the room.
Later, they drink tea and eat slices of crumbly rich fruit cake. The cake is covered in marzipan and icing, and Remus finds it strange to be reminded of Christmas so late in February. Sirius seems unperturbed and is already devouring a second slice, licking sticky marzipan and the apricot glaze that holds it to the fruit cake off of his fingers. Long tongue lapping at his finger tips. Remus can almost hear him panting, and wants to be disgusted.
Remus is picking half a cherry from the remains of his cake, pedantically flicking pieces of current and brown cake mix from its surface with one finger nail, when he realises Sirius is staring at him.
'What?' he says.
'Moony.' Singsongs Sirius. 'Always thinking. What are you thinking about?'
'Half truths and half lies.' Admits Remus.
'Snape.' Grumbles Sirius. 'Should've guessed.' He props an elbow on the table and leans his chin onto his cupped head.
Remus's brow creases. 'And what is that supposed to mean?'
'It means.' Sirius says around a mouthful of cake. 'That you've become obsessed with Professor Snape.'
'I have not.' Retorts Remus.
Sirius shrugs and flashes a wolfish grin at Remus. 'Of course not Moony.'
Remus holds his gaze for a moment. And then.
'You've got half a sultana stuck to your chin.'
Sirius barks out a laugh. Before leaning across the table at Remus with a leer plastered across his face, 'Wanna lick it off Rem?'
Remus snorts out a laugh, and like that they're both giggling and then shaking with laughter. It feels good.
'There's a time you'd have said yes to that.' Sirius says.
'There's a time when you wouldn't have had to ask.' Says Remus.
'There's a time when you would have done anything for me.' And the conversation has slipped into something Remus is not quite sure of.
'I'd still do anything for you.' He replies softly. ' 'Cept lick half eaten sultanas off your beard.'
Sirius sniggers, and plucks the sultana off his cheek before plopping it in his mouth.
Remus gets up to make more tea, he rests a hand on Sirius' shoulder as he passes, and smiles as he feels Sirius reach up to pat it. And suddenly everything feels like it's moving towards something normal, towards something settled. Remus is flicking the gas on under the old metal kettle, the cooker clicking again and again before the spark catches, when there's a loud crash from somewhere in the house. Remus spins around fumbling for his wand, whilst Sirius stands up abruptly, and as he pushes back from the kitchen table his chair clatters to the floor.
Remus's wand has got, ridiculously caught in the sleeve of his cardigan. 'Oh for fucks sake!' he snarls under his breath, as he finally manages to wrestle it free. He looks up just as the kitchen door creaks open. And then there's a soft 'Snape?' from Sirius.
He takes a sharp breath. Sirius is standing wand held out and one hand out stretched. Remus looks past him to the doorway.
Snape, Severus is standing there in the doorway. Remus lets out a shaky breath and lowers his wand. Sirius has done the same. They both stare dumbly at Snape for a moment. Then Remus becomes suddenly aware that Severus is crying. Remus starts towards him, but he's held back as Sirius thrusts out one arm blocking Remus's path. 'Don't.' He says sharply to Remus.
'Hello Snape.' He looks to Snape, face sharp. 'Answer me.'
'Hello Sirius.' Is the quiet reply. And Remus feels Sirius flinch at hearing his first name.
'What just happened? Did you cause that noise?'
'Yes.' Snape voice sounds ragged.
'How?' Sirius demands, one arm still pressing against Remus's chest.
'What did you do?'
'I fell off the bed.'
'Why are you crying?'
Snape raised a hand to his cheek as if to confirm the fact.
'I don't...', he swallows. ' I don't...I think...I'm hurt.'
'My...' Snape swallows and stutters. And for the first time his eyes flick from Severus to Remus.
'Sirius...' Remus says in warning. 'Sirius...'
'I'm hurt.' Seveurs says dully at first. 'I'm hurt. I'm hurt. I'm hurt.' His voice starts to take on a slightly hysterical edge with the repetitions, and he reaches out a hand towards Sirius and Remus, it's covered in dark sticky blood. 'I'm hurt.'
Sirius starts forward as Remus does the same. Sirius closes a hand around Snape's wrist as Snape repeats start to increase in volume. 'I'm hurt. I'm hurt. See! I'm hurt!'
'Quiet.' Snaps Sirius and the chant stops. Severus sways forward as Sirius examines his hand with quick precise glances.
'Your hand isn't hurt Snape. Where's the blood from?'
Snape's face takes on a panicked look, and he shakes his head from side to side in jerky movements.
'Where's this blood from?' Hisses Sirius as he shakes the bloodied hand in Snape's face. 'Where?'
Snape yanks his hand away. And still shaking his head he reaches behind to the seat of his trousers.
'I'm hurt. I'm bleeding.' He hisses back at Sirius his voice nearly whining. 'Here. Here. Here.'
His hand is outstretched again, thrust out at Sirius. And there's fresh blood coating it. Dark red in colour. And Remus knows that's not good.
And then things start to move quickly. Sirius lurches forward towards Snape, and grasps him around the wrists. Remus rushes forward to help as Sirius is tugging Snape forward towards the kitchen table.
'Sit down Snape. Sit down.' Commands Sirius pushing Snape into a chair.
Remus halts him, 'No don't make him sit down...he's bleeding there..'
'Well what then, I don't fuckin' know !' Sirius snarls back.
'We need to see where's he's bleeding from.'
'You mean look at his...'
'He's bleeding Sirius.'
'No Snape don't sit on the floor.'
'Lean him on me.'
'Stay awake Snape'
'We've got to do something. He could be bleeding out.'
'You think I don't know that!'
'We need help.'
'Stay awake Snape! Stay the fuck awake!'
'Remus! Firecall Poppy'
'Oh for Merlin's sake Sirius. We're not at Hogwarts anymore she is not our only bloody medical option.'
'Whose the medical contact tonight?'
'The order's fucking medical contact Sirius. Who is it?'
'Molly...Molly! It's Molly.'
'Help me get him in the chair, you can fire call the Weasleys.'
'Merlin. It's everywhere the blood. I don't think it's all from one place...Merlin...'
And suddenly Severus's body went rigid in Remus arms. Remus grappled to hold him upright before Sirius is back besides him and they get him to floor before the spasms hit.
Cradling Snape's head on his lap Remus only had to look at Sirius before he was lurching away towards the fireplace.
The fit didn't last long.
Later Remus will remember the smell. Blood. Urine. Shit. A thin trickle of vomit from the corner of Snape's mouth. Thinking about whether Severus did any real damage to his wrist when it thumped against the kitchen table leg. The feel of Severus's lank hair beneath his fingers. Sirius's wide gaze. The flair of the fire. Arthur's not Molly's soft voice. And then the quick commands, orders, which he can't remember the content of but he can remember the tone.
Remus had eventually found himself sat back on his haunches watching with a strange detachment as Arthur efficiently rolled Severus onto his side.
'Did he have a fit?' was Arthur's first question, and, after Sirius's affirmation 'How long did it last?'
'Longer than 5 minutes?' Arthur asked sharply after blank looks from Sirius and Remus.
'No. No. 2 maybe 3 minutes.' Stuttered Sirius.
'Good. He'll come around in a bit.'
'He's bleeding.' Whispered Remus. 'Before he collapsed . Blood on his hands and on his trousers.'
'Ok..ok.' Says Arthur calmly, though his eyes looked panicked. 'Let's take a look before he wakes up.'
Remus couldn't look as Arthur and Sirius, of all people rolled Severus onto his side. There's the rustling of cloth and the sound of a belt buckle being undone, and then 'It's alright for now. He's not bleeding anymore. This can be fixed.' Says Arthur, the relief evident in his voice.
When Remus had looked back, Snape's trousers were back in place but his belt was undone, hanging loosely around his waist and the smell of blood and shit is worse. Remus swallowed. Arthur efficiently rolled up Snape's sleeves and Sirius had glanced up at Remus his eyes wide and unguarded for a moment when they saw Snape's forearms; angry red marks had littered them both. 'Blood –but nothing recent.' Muttered Arthur.
Then a low, pained moan came from Snape and his eyelids started to flicker.
Arthur leant over and placed a hand on the centre of Snape's chest.
'Severus – it's Arthur.' Severus groaned again, a low protracted sound and Arthur glanced at Sirius and Remus and then at the door and Sirius was already on his feet as he grabbed Remus and hauled him to his feet. One hand on the neck of his cardigan the other awkwardly under one armpit, he shuffled them both to the door – Remus glanced back as they stumbled into the hall, Arthur is bent low over Snape speaking softly and then the door clicks shut.
They trade wide eyes for a moment.
'What the fuck was that?'
Remus wordlessly shook his head, he tugged restlessly at his cardigan till Sirius let go with a muttered 'sorry' and stumbled back to sit on the stairs that led up to the first floor. Sirius sank to the floor and lent so his back and shoulders lent uneasily against the bottom two stairs. He tilted his head back slightly so it rested against one of Remus's feet and together they waited.
'What's the truth in those words?'
'Was Severus a barman?'
This took even longer than the last one! zx