The Burden of a Memory

Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe, as well as all the characters in it, belong to J.K. Rowling.


Severus Snape stiffened at the sound of the all too familiar voice, turning around slowly against his will. "What?" he asked curtly. Behind him, Sirius seemed to hesitate, as if the words were difficult to find.

"I want to talk to you," he said finally. "About…Regulus." At the mention of Sirius' younger brother's name, the potions master's face settled into a careful hostile blankness.

"Indeed? I don't want to talk to you, about him or otherwise," Severus said pointedly. He turned around, ready to make a rapid exit, but Sirius, having finally worked himself up to this moment was not about to let his quarry escape.

"Maybe not, but you'll listen," the Animagus said, leaning back against the wall. "Unless you want me to bring it up where others can eavesdrop, next time. I'm sure they'd have a great time finding out that…"

"Black!" Severus snarled, swinging back around to face Sirius again. "Don't go dragging up what's long past if you know what's good for you!"

"Good for me or not," Sirius said, his intense grey eyes like swirling mists trapped inside small orbs, "you're going to have to suffer through it. One way or another."

"Fine!" snapped Severus finally after a few minutes, jerking involuntarily, irritation only increasing at the calmly determined expression on the other man's face. "I will give you ten minutes, and then this is all over, and you will never, do you hear me, never mention this again. Clear?"

Sirius nodded. "Good enough for me," he said, indicating the Potions master should follow him. He led the way to one of the unused rooms of the house. It was dusty, its old furniture left untouched. Sunlight filtered in through grimy windows, their once clear surface mottled with years of disuse. Old dirty green curtains matched the bed covers and the worn carpet. Snake motifs were evident everywhere – clearly, the room had belonged to an avid Slytherin.

Severus entered behind Sirius and closed the door behind him, clearly not enjoying this ordeal. Sirius nodded towards a moldy armchair as invitation, but Severus stayed rigidly angry right next to the door. After a moment, the animagus shrugged and let it go.

"I wanted to explain," Sirius said hesitantly after a while, opting to remain standing as well. He looked down at his hands – this was not going to be easy. "Why…it happened."

"And what do you hope to accomplish?" Severus asked curtly, dark eyes blazing. "I don't care what excuses you made up to assuage your blame and appease your conscience. If you're after forgiveness, I assure you you're wasting your time."

"I'm not after forgiveness as such," Sirius said, shaking his head, looking thoughtful. "I just…want you to know the truth. I've had a lot of time to think of things, and…"

"Oh please," Snape snorted, unable to resist rolling his eyes. "If this is going to be an Azkaban rant, go cry on your precious werewolf's shoulder. Preferably during the full moon. You'll get no sympathy from me."

"…I think I should at least explain, whether you believe me or not," Sirius said, ignoring the interruption aside from returning the glare with interest. Snape snorted, but fell silent, waiting for Sirius to continue. He had promised – or rather, been bullied into promising – Sirius ten minutes.

"When I first found out about you and Regulus…" Sirius started awkwardly. Snape kept glaring at him, as if hoping to scare him into silence. "I was…well, shocked, obviously. Regulus and I didn't get along, but I still didn't think he'd keep something like that hidden so well." Unspoken words hung in the air between them – and I didn't think he'd be dating you, of all people.

"How did you find out?" Severus asked after a moment, despite himself. He'd promised himself to listen, say nothing and get the conversation over with as fast as possible, but the question had nagged at him. For years, despite his denial. They had been so careful…

Sirius smiled slightly, a pleasant memory returning to him. "It was a mistake," he said, closing his eyes for a moment. "We were in the girls' abandoned bathroom…"

They were in the girls' abandoned bathroom, the four of them. Peter, plump, trying to be helpful but not doing very well. Remus, poring over a book, in good shape as the full moon was still a way off. James, as dashing as he ever was, giving the potion his full attention as Lily wasn't around. And him, of course, still young and harebrained, his head full of fluff, as Dumbledore was fond of saying.

Remus peered at the bubbling potion in the small cauldron and nodded, shutting his book with a satisfied snap. "It looks just right," he pronounced.

"Of course," Sirius said, sniffing it appreciatively. "When has any potion that I made…"

"Along with my help…" a grinning James offered.

"My instructions…" Remus supplied.

"And ingredients I stole!" Peter broke in, looking proud.

"…ever turned out wrong, eh?" Sirius finished, grinning just as widely as all of them.

"So…now what?" Peter asked, looking at Remus again for orders.

"Now we put in the most important ingredient," James said, settling his glasses on his nose, looking mock serious. "You got it, right, Padfoot?"

"What is it?" Peter asked, opening his mouth wide.

In answer, Sirius pulled out his transfiguration book. Opening it up, he pulled out a strand of hair with a flourish. "Regulus' hair, as promised," he announced. "Pinched it off his robes yesterday."

Peter's plump face screwed itself into a perplexed frown. "Why are we doing this again?"

"Oh Wormy, do pay attention," James sighed, reaching over and plucking the strand of hair from Sirius' fingers. "Allow me. Sirius will become Regulus for a while, to discover the slimy Slytherins' password. Can you imagine what we'll be able to do with that once we can get into their lair?"

"We really do need something to liven things up," Remus agreed, looking mischievous.

"And since I know Reggie best, I'll be drinking it," Sirius continued, watching James drop the hair into the potion, which immediately turned a hissing, inky black. "Ugh, that does not look tempting."

"It can't kill you," James' green eyes sparkled with anticipation, and Remus nodded in agreement. "Go on Padfoot. Not getting cold feet, are you?"

"Never! I'm not a Gryffindor by chance," the handsome young man replied, picking up the ladle and brandishing it impressively. "Here goes nothing!"

As soon as he gulped down a mouthful, the pains started, and for a few moments he was occupied with the painful contractions as his body stretched and shrank, morphing into a different figure.

When the transformation pains had faded, Sirius climbed awkwardly to his feet. Three pairs of shocked eyes stared at him. He grinned at them. "It worked," he announced, stretching out his hands in front of him, looking down at himself and confirming that he was indeed different. He was shorter, skinnier, and that wasn't his voice. But…it wasn't Regulus' either.

Sirius whirled around, and stared at the mirror in horrified silence. Staring back at himself was none other than Severus Snape, dark haired, dark eyed and sallow skinned, looking aghast.

"Well, now you've gone and done it, mate," James was the first to break the silence, a smile spreading over his face.

"You've turned into Snivellus!" Peter exclaimed in tones of shocked glee.

"Why was Snivellus' hair on Regulus' robe?" Sirius moaned, and shuddered at the voice coming from his own mouth.

"Well, at least we know the Polyjuice worked," Remus said, eyes full of mirth, trying to stop himself from laughing.

"Shut up, you guys, this isn't funny," Sirius glared, looking fierce. "I feel…dirty. I'm…inside Snivellus! Much much closer than I ever wanted to be! This is sick!"

James laughed, clapping Sirius on the back, surreptitiously wiping his hand on his robe afterwards. "Well, you can still try out the plan…we all know what Snivellus is like. Just glare at everyone and suck up to the other slimies and no one will be able to tell."

"Yuck, his hair is really greasy," Sirius grumbled. "I need a real good scrubbing. How long till this wears off, Moony?" Despite himself, he was starting to find the humour in his situation, although it was still supremely disgusting.

"Around an hour or so," Moony shrugged, grinning openly now. "I think we should…" The slender boy paused mid sentence, as four pairs of eyes moved to the door. Their alarm spell had gone off – someone was coming in.

With reflexes honed from both playing Quidditch and being the forerunner of a group of pranksters, James whipped out his wand. A second later, the small cauldron sailed out the window while Remus cleaned up the mess of their little fire. As the door opened, Sirius waved his own wand frantically – the rest of their ingredients shot into one of the stalls to hide, and the door slammed shut and locked itself.

Professor Barbage opened the bathroom door to find three Gryffindors facing one Slytherin, all except Peter with his wand drawn. As all teachers saw this at least once a week, it didn't much surprise her…but it did annoy her. "What's going on here?" she demanded, stepping inside angrily. "Fighting again! And in the girls' bathroom too!"

The Marauders sheepishly exchanged looks, and meekly bore the lecture she gave them. At the end she finally dismissed the boy she thought Severus, and after he left continued to lecture the Gryffindors, berating them on ganging up on one student on his own – even if he knew more than enough hexes for three people.

Sirius escaped gratefully, and snuck through the corridor, heading for one of the most deserted parts of the castle. He needed to hide until the potion wore off. Despite their couldn't-care-less attitude, it really wouldn't do to be discovered making and drinking polyjuice potion, and he had no idea where Severus might be. It would be disastrous if he ran into him by mistake. And it would be more than just embarrassing if it became public knowledge that he'd turned into Snivellus.

He was congratulating himself on his hitherto unnoticed progress when an arm shot out from a dark corridor and pulled him inside. "Hey!" he exclaimed, annoyed and startled at this unexpected breach of privacy, and turned – to find a grinning Regulus.

"What are you doing sneaking around, hmm?" his own younger brother asked, as Sirius stared at him blankly.

"Weren't you supposed to be in a detention?" he finally blurted out. They had checked that Regulus would be tied up in the morning – they weren't crazy enough to want his double to meet him.

"Postponed to next week," Regulus shrugged. Relief flooded Sirius at the thought that their plan had failed. It would have been a disaster – weeks of detention for all of them, at least – but he hadn't time to reflect on this as his brother just then moved closer – uncomfortably closer – and pulled him into a kiss.

Sirius' eyes opened wide and his hands moved lightning fast, shoving Regulus back as hard as he could. "What's the big idea?" he ground out, looking at his brother in horror. Regulus thought he was kissing Snape

"Not again," Regulus grumbled, staggering backwards at the shove. He straightened, folding his arms across his chest, looking annoyed.

"We've been through this. No one's around to see us! You don't need to be so jumpy!"

"I…you…" Sirius took a deep breath, trying to decide which was more disgusting – that his own brother had just kissed him, or that his brother regularly made out with Snivellus. On the whole he thought it was the latter. "The others…I mean…Potter and Black are around…" He picked the first excuse he could think of, never mind the words sounded lame coming out of his mouth. In Severus' voice.

"Them again!" Regulus frowned, and glared at the shorter student. "Merlin's Beard, Sev, do you have to go looking for them every time? I swear sometimes I think you're more interested in my brother than you are in me."

"What? Are you crazy?" Sirius spluttered, thinking this conversation was turning too weird for words. Snape, interested in him? That was not only unbelievable, but also too creepy for words. Then he remembered the real Snape could walk around the corner any time. "Look, I…have to go…"

Regulus looked surprised. "Where? Oh, you have that project to work on with Slughorn, right?" he sighed, irritated. "Do it next week…prove to me you like me more. Come on, let's see how fast I can get those robes off your back," he winked, leaning in closer and leering at Sirius.

"I'm going to be late!" Sirius squeaked, and fled, mortified and horrified. This had to be the worst idea he'd ever come up with.

"You made Polyjuice potion and turned into me?" Snape asked angrily, folding his arms tightly across his chest. Never mind that it had happened years ago, it still felt wrong. "Of all the…"

"Well, it wasn't meant to be you," Sirius pointed out pacifically. "It was meant to be Regulus. It was just bad luck that your hair was on his robes."

Severus' glare turned even icier, something that Sirius had not thought possible. "Fine. You found out. Get to the point. Your time is almost up."

Sirius sighed. Severus had obviously decided to make this as hard as possible for him. Well, he had expected that. And he expected the Potions master did have a right to – he had certainly not made things easy for him in the past. "Well, when I found out, the idea of you two together kept going round and round in my head…"

Sirius found himself staring at Severus Snape, once again. Completely ignoring Slughorn, he focused on Severus, watching him scribbling on his book. What did his brother see in him? He was scrawny, badly dressed most of the time, with ill fitting robes, with greasy hair and a nose which was too big for the rest of him. His skin was sallow, and his expression was a permanent glower, if not an outright glare. He wouldn't have won a beauty contest nor a charisma one. There were few people in their year who didn't compare favourably to Snape, let alone from Regulus' own year. Why had the boy fixated on this particular oddball?

The Slytherin looked up, noticing Sirius looking at him, and met his look with a glare of his own. Sirius stiffened slightly. Those eyes – they were the only special thing about Severus Snape. Black as coal, and smoldering with an inner fire – they were not something you could call attractive, but certainly…magnetic, when fixed upon you like that.

Severus scowled, and looked away, breaking their gaze. Sirius took a deep breath, heart unexpectedly skipping a beat. It was certainly…interesting, having those eyes' complete and utter attention, even for a second. Maybe he did understand Regulus' attraction to that particular element…although he couldn't really see how his brother could take the rest of the package – slimy, greasy git that Snivellus was.

A week later found Sirius once more locked in the girls' bathroom, stirring a small cauldron. This time he was alone, not having told the rest of the Marauders' his plans. He wasn't sure he knew exactly what his plans were. He knew just one thing – he had to find out exactly what Snape was like to his brother, why his brother was so interested in Severus. It had grown to an obsession with him, and he hadn't done anything but watch the Slytherin ever since he'd found out. He needed to find out, for his own sanity.

Disturbingly, he'd started enjoying tormenting Snivellus more. Having those dark, burning eyes fixed on him and only him – he'd made James take a back seat recently – gave him a thrill he hadn't felt before. But it wasn't enough. And this was going to give him – answers, he supposed, although he wasn't sure as to what his questions were.

The potion looked paler than it had last time, but on adding the hair – he was certain it was Regulus' this time – it turned a bubbly swirling blue. His brother made an attractive potion, he thought, before throwing caution to the winds and taking a dose.

A few minutes later, he was looking at his younger brother in the mirror. As opposed to the last time with Severus, he didn't feel so out of place in this new body. Regulus was almost his height, and they shared a lot of physical similarities (although he was of course smarter).

This time he'd ensured that Regulus would be occupied by the simple method of hexing him to sleep and hiding him in a closet. There was little love lost between the brothers since Regulus had become a Slytherin, and he felt no qualms about this. Then it would just take a simple Obliviate spell to make him forget.

By now he knew a few of Severus' favourite locations, even though the Slytherin kept having to change them when the Marauders started going there too often to play with him. Sirius went out to the grounds, where he found his target – Snape, in the shadow of a large tree, reading. He flung himself down on the ground next to him. Snape had looked up, scowling, but his face had cleared when he'd seen Regulus.

"What's up?"

Severus gave him a look at the choice of language, but answered readily enough. "Potions," he said, settling down more comfortably with his back against the tree. "They should really update this book – it's not bad but the little details…" he waved a hand vaguely. "They're all wrong."

"Mm-hmm," Sirius watched Severus, surprised at how relaxed the boy seemed. He wasn't exactly bouncy or wearing a beaming smile, but the hunted, tense, angry look he seemed to wear all the time was gone. Instead he simply seemed – focused. Maybe that fault was partly theirs, considering that they made his life miserable when they were in the vicinity. Whatever the reason, it was enough to make him look completely different. A different boy. This was not Snivellus, this was Severus Snape.

Sirius simply stared, as Severus brushed his hair out of his eyes without realizing he was doing so. He studied the other boy as intently as if he was a different species, the closest he'd ever gotten to Snape without both their wands being drawn, without the fear of being thought odd by anyone else for staring at the Slytherin. His nose was still oversized, his hair was still unwashed, his face was still unremarkable, but he wasn't repulsive, as he'd always thought.

"What?" This new Severus asked him, looking up and catching him staring. "Do I have something on my face?"

Your nose would have been his normal answer, but Sirius no longer even thought of it. "I like looking at you," he said instead, truthfully. It was easy to say, with Severus so relaxed, and him not inside his normal body. Severus simply looked at him for a moment longer, and then, as if having ascertained he wasn't being made fun of, a ghost of a smile appeared on his lips for a second.

Sirius felt his breath leave him in that second. It transformed Severus' face – and he felt as if he was seeing him again for the first time – in a wholly different light. This Severus was actually…attractive. Sirius swallowed, finding his mouth suddenly very dry. Something in his face or eyes must have shown his feelings, because Severus closed his book, and looked at him intently, still looking disturbingly – pleasant.

"Want to go to our rooms?" he suggested, and Sirius instantly felt his heart speed up, the intention clear to him – and he did not even need to think about whether to accept or not. He simply nodded, not trusting himself to speak, and mechanically got to his feet. He wasn't thinking anymore – something inside him, some instinct he'd never known seemed to have taken over. He'd gotten his curiosity satisfied, but he needed – no, wanted – to find out more…

Severus led the way to the dungeon, and, for the first time, Sirius found himself inside the Slytherin common room. The password, which they'd been planning so deviously to obtain a week ago, he didn't even bother to remember. It seemed a trivial, unimportant, even silly matter now.

No one was inside the dungeons – the sun seemed to lure outside even the darkness loving snakes – but he barely glanced around, his attention solely on the boy with him. Severus led the way into one of the dorm rooms, and closed the door behind them, muttering a locking spell. Then he turned to Sirius.

For a moment they simply looked at each other. Sirius should have been nervous, should have been screaming inside at himself for doing something this crazy – Severus thought he was his brother, and this was Severus, the boy he regularly humiliated in front of the entire school for kicks – but he had stopped thinking long ago, and his instincts had completely taken over. There were no worries about what Regulus or Severus or indeed anyone would feel or think if they found out. Instead, when Severus took a tentative step towards him, he reached out, and pulled him to his chest willingly, pressing his lips to surprisingly soft ones, which yielded to the kiss, allowing him entrance.

The Slytherin was good at kissing, Sirius thought vaguely, his hands moving of their own accord through the hair he'd called greasy, not feeling at all repulsed. He himself was experienced enough to make partners want more, but he'd never expected Severus to know how to nibble on lips so enticingly, or to run his fingers down Sirius' cheeks so seductively…

Not breaking the kiss, Severus led him slowly to a bed he presumed was his, and pulled him down on top of it. Sirius followed willingly, finding he enjoyed the feeling of the slightly smaller male beneath him. But those lips, seductive and appealing as they were, were not enough. He kissed along the side of Severus' face, down his neck, impatiently tugging at the Slytherin's robes. Severus himself was breathing faster now, and as soon as he reached his collarbones, he bit his lip, arching his back in pleasure. Gratified at this reaction, Sirius continued.

Lifting his head, he caught a glimpse of them in a mirror, and was momentarily shocked to see Regulus bent on a disheveled Snape. He'd almost forgotten…but it didn't matter. The time for thinking things through was past, and right now – he couldn't stop even if he wanted to.

It was anything but sophisticated, they way they rubbed against each other, kissing and gasping when the other's fingers found a particularly sensitive spot. Climax wasn't long away, and they came very close together, entwined around each other, still half clothed, their robes messy and crumpled, breathing hard.

Snape had turned white as Sirius brought back memories that he remembered all too well with halting words. "I remember," he said through gritted teeth, avoiding the animagus' eyes by resolutely glaring at the bedpost instead of the other man.

So that had been Sirius. He'd suspected it, afterwards, when the events that unfolded indicated very strongly that he'd been deceived more than once. But only too late. He clenched his fists. Time had not dulled the feeling of being very easily wrapped around Sirius' little finger. Why was it that the other man got everything he wanted with ease, and no one did anything but smile indulgently, whatever means he'd used?

He transferred his glare back to Sirius, but the other man didn't even flinch, having expected Snape to resist the return of these memories.

"How many times?" Severus asked softly after a moment, and Sirius understood instantly. "Twice," he said softly. "Once with Polyjuice," he added.

Sirius lay on his back, breathing hard. Severus lay next to him, an arm thrown over him. He was smiling contentedly. "You were different today," he sighed, looking up at Sirius. Sirius tensed slightly, but Severus didn't seem to notice, as he fished for his wand and cleaned them both up.

"Different how?" the animagus asked, not sure if he'd done anything wrong or that could give him away.

"Well, more…" Severus frowned, trying to put it into words. "You were more…attentive," he said, smiling once more, and kissed Sirius' cheek, before stretching like a lazy cat. "I liked it," he added.

"I want you to enjoy it as much as possible," Sirius said, grinning. So he was a better lover than Regulus – something he'd known, of course. He was the undisputedbest.

A thought occurred to him – a very, very horrible thought, but one that appealed to him instantly. Before thinking it through, he spoke up."I was thinking…I want to try something out, sometime."

"What?" Severus asked, rolling onto his stomach and fixing his gaze on him intently. Even more of his clothes were on the floor, compared with Sirius', despite the fact that they hadn't actually gone all the way.

"How about we try roleplaying sometimes?"

"Roleplaying?" Severus asked, bemused. "You mean play dress up?"

Sirius rolled his eyes at the Slytherin's sardonic tone. "Not exactly. Pretend we're other people and stuff. Although the dressing up does help. Although I'm sure you won't be wearing anything for long," Sirius grinned wolfishly, making Severus blush slightly. Sirius watched this new development with even more delight. This day could hardly get any better. "Keep things spicy."

"You already need spicing things up?" Severus asked, lifting an eyebrow.

"No, but well, your obsession with my brother got me thinking…" Sirius lifted a hand to stall the forthcoming protests. "Listen, first. I want to try out using Polyjuice potion sometimes – turn into Sirius."

"Polyjuice?" Severus blinked before frowning. "Why would you want to turn into that…him?"

"Well, then we're going to try doing this while I'm dressed as him," Sirius said, running his fingers along Severus' back. The Slytherin gaped at him.

"What are you…?" he asked, confused. "You want to do me as your brother?"

Sirius thought his words over and shrugged. There was no nicer way to put it. "Yeah," he said, smiling.

Severus continued staring at him, before shaking his head. "As if! Give me a good reason to do that," he told him, crossing his arms across his chest.

"Because you want to," Sirius answered simply. Severus simply raised an eyebrow at him, and turned away.

"Black, if there's a point to this, get to it," Snape said roughly, fists clenched. "My memory is good enough that I can remember all this if I want to. And I don't. I could have gone for the rest of my life with it gratefully forgotten."

"I guess I don't need to remind you of the second, and last time then," Sirius said, his own memory floodgates opened wide, seeing Severus as the young man he'd been back then as clear as if he had a pensieve, instead of the irrevocably bitter figure that he was now.

Severus froze on opening the door, seeing Sirius standing inside. He eyes darted around the small tower in fear, looking for the other Marauders as he fumbled clumsily for his wand.

"Relax, it's me, Regulus," Sirius said, sitting on a small box next to a bubbling cauldron with a dark violet sheen, lazy colorful spirals rising next to it. "Roleplaying. We talked about it last time, remember?"

Severus stayed near the door, still suspicious. "Regulus had Quidditch practice," he stated, narrowing his eyes.

"I did," Sirius lied through his teeth. "It was canceled. You don't believe me?" he asked, standing up. He had discarded his robes for a dark blue shirt and black pants. A pleasant whiff of cologne made its way to Severus as soon as he moved. "And I went to all the trouble of getting his clothes and everything."

"Prove you're Regulus," Severus said, still tense and on his guard.

In answer, Sirius walked slowly to Severus, who stiffened and held up his wand defensively, but didn't use it. "Would the real Sirius do this?" he whispered, before grabbing Severus' robe and pulling him in for a kiss.

When they finally parted, Severus was already breathing hard. Sirius was going to make this a night he would forever remember, but he was just getting started. "And would the real Sirius know how sensitive you are you here?" he whispered, running his tongue over Severus' collarbone. Severus let out a soft sound and finally lowered his wand, wrapping his arms around 'Regulus' with a sigh.

"I said no," he murmured, but there was no protest in his tone, and his fingers were already running through Sirius' hair. The Gryffindor smiled, knowing he'd won, and he'd been right – Severus did want him. Which was gratifying, knowing just how much the smaller boy hated him.

"There are rules to this," he warned him, drawing him inside the room. He waved his own wand and the cauldron – which was just for show, although it had been real – was cleared away. All that remained now was a soft, thick carpet covering most of the floor.

"Rules?" Severus asked, obviously having difficulty tearing himself from Sirius' skin to focus on something as trivial as rules. "What rules?"

"Yes," Sirius said with a laugh, pulling Severus down onto the carpet and nuzzling his neck. "Tonight, you will not call me Regulus – you will pretend that I'm the real Sirius Black."

This got Severus' attention. For a moment he broke away to look at Sirius properly, but it lasted no more than a second, and he was back at playing with the buttons on Sirius' best shirt. "I'm still not sure why I'm doing this," Severus muttered, but Sirius paid no attention, knowing it was just a token protest to make Severus feel better about giving in.

"We don't need to do this again if you don't enjoy it," he said. But he was going to make damn well sure that Severus was completely his by the end of the day. Regulus could go find himself a new boyfriend. "I myself will pretend I'm my brother. So…?"

"Fine…Black," Severus said, sending a shiver down Sirius' spine, despite the somewhat grudging way the name was spoken. The way the Slytherin was touching him was starting to give him problems focusing.

"Snape," Sirius countered, and drew him into another kiss. They fell back onto the carpet, and then Sirius rolled on top of the smaller male. For a few moments, he just looked at him. When Severus opened his mouth to ask, Sirius shook his head.

"I never thought you were this…appetizing," he said softly. Severus took a deep breath, closing his eyes for a second.

"There's a lot you don't know about me…Black," he murmured, and Sirius delighted again in the absolutely delicious way he said his name.

"I intend to find all that out," he said, bending down to press a soft kiss to Severus' lips. Severus responded in kind, and soon there was little need for words, as they got lost in each other.

Sirius drew it out for as long as he could, enjoying every little moan that the other boy made, but especially every time he gasped his name. It was funny how the same lips that had uttered 'Black' like a curse could make the same name sound honey sweet.
But he could draw it out for only so much longer when he found out that he was going to be Snape's first. A jealous, possessive rush overcame him, and he renewed his attack on Severus with even more fervor, leaving the Slytherin hard pressed to return the favours and not lose himself in the pleasure freely given.

When they were finally both satisfied and exhausted, Sirius reached out to wrap both arms around the Slytherin, feeling totally satisfied and also utterly worn out. Severus snuggled up to him, sighing. He quickly fell asleep, tired out. Luckily, Sirius had cast a spell to make it much less painful than it had to be, so Snape would only feel a bit of discomfort later on.

He lay back, stroking Severus' hair dreamily. Severus' face as he came had been the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen, and to think that he had caused it…lost in pleasurable memories, Sirius fell asleep as well.

He woke up to a featherlight touch of fingers upon his skin. Severus was touching him gently, tracing his face in wonder. "Well, Snape," the animagus said lazily, feeling thoroughly content, pressing a kiss to the neck that had become so tempting to him. "I never thought you had it in you."

"I never thought a Gryffindor could do that," Severus smiled, still completely oblivious to the fact that it was the real Sirius holding him close, and not his brother. "I suppose we should stop this soon," he added, stretching.

"You enjoyed it," Sirius said, this having ended all too fast for him. "I knew you liked Sirius more."

"Don't start that again," Severus warned him. "I didn't agree to this to have you complaining all the time now. You know I hate your brother."

"Mm, yes," Sirius agreed, unable to deny the truth of this. He'd never hated Snape, he realized, he'd just been disgusted by him – for reasons he couldn't fathom now. "But you still want him more."

Severus made an annoyed sound, and stalked to the tower window, resting his arms on the windowsill and leaning out. He was still feeling too contented to let the comment get under his skin though, and he relaxed almost immediately. The window was too high up for anyone to see him, let alone realize he was undressed, so he wasn't worried. And the sun warmed his skin pleasantly. "What a view."

"It is," Sirius agreed, reluctantly starting to put his clothes back on, but smiling at the sight of Severus basking in the sun.

"You can see the Quidditch pitch from here," Severus remarked after a while, shading his eyes and peering into the distance. "Hey, didn't you say they'd canceled practice? That's the Slytherin team, I'm sure of it."

"Not canceled," Sirius said, cursing himself for not thinking of this before. "They went ahead without me."

"Really?" Severus asked, and his voice suddenly sounded strained. "Then why can I see Regulus out there?" Sirius froze as Severus turned to look at him. Their gazes met, and for a moment neither moved, Sirius' grey eyes inscrutable, Severus' eyes dark like a bird entranced watching a snake.

"Well," Sirius said finally, as nonchalantly as he could. "Maybe that's because I'm the real Sirius Black," he said and left, leaving Severus Snape alone in the tower room.

"You must have thought it a great joke," Severus said, as if something had suddenly snapped, years of hate suddenly boiling to the surface. "You and your friends must have had a great laugh about it…and then you decided to top it off with that joke…that hilarious prank about sending me to the Shrieking Shack…"

"It wasn't like that…"

"Did you laugh while writing that note, Black? Was it your idea, or Potter's?" Snape spat, white, and feeling sixteen again, humiliated repeatedly in front of everyone he knew by the man standing in front of him – Sirius Black.

"It wasn't meant to be a prank!" Sirius said, holding his head in his hands. "The note…was real."

Sirius entered the portrait hole, humming to himself. He'd had late night detention on his own with Barbage, and was just finished. Even more importantly, he was going to meet Snape tonight.

There was no doubt that the Slytherin would show up, although he'd received no answer to his invitation note. Snape had been constantly watching him ever since that day…looking like a cross between a terrified rabbit or a murderous snake. He'd become good at avoiding them – real good. But Sirius was sure he'd come tonight. He wouldn't be able to resist. And tonight he'd make him his own once and for all.

He had to hurry though. The detention had taken longer than he'd thought, and he was going to be late already. Still, a quick change of robes wouldn't take long, and he didn't want to go meet Snape with slime all over his front.

"Hey mate, hurry it up," James said, looking up from the near the fireplace. "Moony's gone already. I think it's just about time now. I'll call Wormtail – he went for a short nap."

"Time?" Sirius asked blankly, trying to remember what James was talking about. He'd had nothing but Snape on his mind recently. "Time for what?"

"Padfoot, mate, get your head out of the clouds. What's up with you recently? It's full moon tonight, remember? Moony'll be waiting for us in the shack."

Sirius stopped, the blood suddenly pounding in his ears, his mouth dry, staring at James in horror. "The full moon… "Merlin's Beard!" he whispered, gripping the back of an armchair for support.

"What's the matter?" James asked instantly, seeing his best friend's ashen face. "What's wrong?"

"Prongs… Snape…he had to meet me at the Shrieking Shack tonight…"

"What?" James shot to his feet, instantly as horrified as Sirius. "When?"

"Midnight?" Sirius whispered, and two pairs of eyes sought out the large clock in the room. It was ten past already. As one, they rushed to the portrait.

If there was one memory Snape would never forget, that was finding the werewolf in the tunnel leading to the shrieking shack. The huge wolf – and the large dog that had saved his life when it had distracted the monster long enough for Potter to drag him to safety. He had only realized that it was Sirius after his escape from Azkaban, and that had only made him hate the man more. He too, along with Potter, had saved his life – despite being the one who had risked it in the first place.

"I suppose you expect congratulations on your entrance in the nick of time," he sneered, finding that this was an easier memory to deal with than having found out that he'd slept with Sirius without knowing it.

"I wanted you to know that I didn't intend you to meet Remus," Sirius said, very quietly. "It was a mistake. I had…forgotten it was the full moon."

"That's your excuse? That you'd forgotten? That's pathetic, even for you."

"I had forgotten," Sirius said, finding that he couldn't get angry at the Slytherin's words. He deserved all the rage, all the bitterness and hate – and more. He had no right to complain. "I would never have sent you there – I just wanted to meet you because I…I liked you."

"Liked me? Nice way of showing it," Snape said bitterly, and Sirius winced.

"I know it can't make up for things…" he started, but Severus never let him finish.

"You're right it can't," he said sharply. "Even in the utterly unlikely event of it being true, what did you expect, Black? That I forgive and forget and I fall into your arms, crying about how I've always loved you? What you did – all of it – was inexcusable, whatever your reasons."

"I know," Sirius sighed, leaning back against the wall and closing his eyes. "I just…wanted you to know. That's all. You…can go now. I'll never bring it up again." He waited. After a few seconds, the door opened, and Severus left, slamming the door behind him, leaving Sirius, this time, alone.

Severus stood at the window, staring out in the darkness from the Headmaster's room. Remus' words kept running through his head but made no sense. Sirius is dead, it went, on and on and on. But that couldn't be. How could that idiot – that bloody idiot who hadn't been extinguished even by Azkaban – be dead?

Snippets of memories danced in his head. Black, watching Potter taunt him, simply looking handsome. Black, hexing him simply because he'd won Slytherin points for knowing the books inside out. Black, tall and handsome, surrounded by girls in every school dance they'd had, passing snide comments about how maybe he should spare a couple of them for greasy Snape. Black, proud and fierce, defying his family fearlessly. Black, the pure blood 'prince' who associated with everyone – except him. Black, tall and strong and holding him in his arms. Black, tall and gaunt, on the run from Azkaban, his life ruined but still looking down on him. Black, confessing that he'd liked him, that the prank was just a horrible mistake

Black, the unmutable, the mongrel, the handsome, magnetic, charismatic, heroic Gryffindor – was dead.

He clutched the windowsill with his hand until his knuckles turned white. The room seemed to spin. He heard Remus describe the veil, and the whispered voices, and bile rose in his throat. For what seemed like an eternity, he stood there, until the room settled and he trusted himself enough to remain calm. He turned to survey the room. The exclamations of pain and sadness from the other members of the Order who hadn't known Black was dead was too much for him. He left.

Black was dead – and with him, so felt he.