Severus Verses Sirius.

Severus Snape smiled evilly. He was really looking forward to seeing that mangy mongrel of a mutt Black. For once. Although it was so amusing watching Black fidget, having nothing to do but clean his decrepit house while he Severus was out doing real work. Sure it was dangerous, sure he could end up dying in the name of a noble cause like some sentimental Gryffindor. It could also mean sacrificing himself for others which was very un-Slytherin. But anything he was doing that Black WANTED to do and COULDN'T made it all worthwhile.

Besides he did have some Slytherin motivation for what he did and that was revenge. Revenge for what could have been his and was taken from him. It was just as well he had Potter's face to refuel his purpose. Her eyes on his face to remind him why he desired the dark lord's destruction. But enough morbid dwelling on the past thought Severus as he made his way through Headquarters. Christmas had done nothing overall to change the bleakness of Grimmund Place although Severus enjoyed the feeling of Slytherin about the house, although Black of course had tried to ruin it with his Gryffindorishness. Utterly tacky Severus silently sneered as he spotted the house elves heads decorated with Father Christmas hats. Now where was the moth-eaten cur? Hmm, he'd try the sitting room first as they were unlikely to be in the dining room.

Severus suddenly scowled. Last week when he had come over for an Order meeting, Black had conveniently forgotten to mention that the dining room was covered in slime. This had been a result of those Weasley twin brats experimenting, meaning the meeting was taking place in Black's sitting room. Remembering Black's bark-like laughter made him fume silently. Black of course had treated it like a harmless joke and had congratulated Severus on cheering up the brats with his impression of a slime monster. After he had scourgeifyed himself of the gunk, he had asked, with a deadly glare, how potions revision was going. This had had the delightful effect of making them all squirm, except of course for miss know-it-all, who had been thrilled with the question. But none of that mattered, today Padfoot was the one going to be humiliated.

As Severus was hatching his nefarious scheme, Sirius was relaxing in an arm chair watching his godson having fun with his friends. It was good to see Harry so happy as he played chess with Ron while Hermione read them interesting defence facts. The twins were concocting mischief in a corner (it gladdened his heart to know that the Marauder legacy lived on) and Ginny was charming paper birds, bats and planes to fly around the living room. Sirius inwardly smiled at the sight of the talented red-head who sometimes reminded him so much of Lily that clever, pretty no-nonsense witch who had stolen his best friend's heart. Lily had charmed nearly everyone who knew her, hell she had even gotten past Snape's greasy exterior and been his friend. Speaking of Snape, Sirius's focus was turned towards the pile of books and parchment on the sitting room table.

Sirius scowled. It was all very well to be a strict teacher who wanted to ensure work was being done but the grease ball took it too far. He had sneered at Harry and the others for not doing enough revision then had sneered at Hermione for doing too much. Thankfully Sirius had managed to lighten up the situation. Molly had come into the room as the kids were scowling at the interrogation and had asked how Snape was. Sirius had slung a friendly arm around Snape (tightening his bicep against Snape's shoulder) and had replied that they were "Slime" thank-you. The kids had hid their giggles, Molly had murmured something about Sirius's odd sense of humour and Snape had glared (painfully) at Sirius.

Molly had then chivvied the kids from the room so that when the other Order members arrived the meeting could begin. Of course once the meeting was over and people were leaving, Snape had got a few shots in about cleaning and hiding out while others were risking their lives. Sirius however hadn't cared as he had then recommended a good cleaning agent, 'perfect' for getting rid of 'grease' and 'slime.' Snape of course had simply sneered but judging but his flashing black eyes, Sirius had scored a hit.

Remembering this cheered Sirius up again and he was able to enjoy the sight of the kids having fun once again. Just then Remus came into the room, smiling at the sight of the kid's fun as well. Since the full moon had already passed this month Remus was looking well. His friend sat down in an arm chair opposite Sirius, both content to watch James's son and his friends. There was nothing to spoil the moment. Nothing.

Severus paused outside the sitting room door, savouring the moment of anticipation. He could hear the brats being noisy, childish and generally not doing anything constructive. But their presence would make the meeting with Black just that bit sweeter. Drawing himself up to his full height, he opened the door and swept into the room, his black robes billowing behind him nicely. The entire room instantly went still at the sight of him. After sneering at his students, he moved towards the mutt and wolf. Black was glaring at him while Lupin looked wary.

"Lupin" he greeted inclining his head towards the now astonished man. Black was now eyeing him suspicion, because Severus was never voluntary polite to Lupin. Severus turned towards Black with a cold smile.

"Has something happened" Black asked getting to his feet. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Potter jump to his feet at Black's words. Always thinking the world revolved around him.

"No, nothing has happened, this is.... a social call" replied Severus his smile widening.

"A social call" echoed Black his eyes narrowing. "And who are you... calling on."

"Why, one of my oldest and dearest school mates, namely you Sirius" replied Severus.

"Since when have you ever called me Sirius, Severus" said Black.

"Well I believe it is appropriate to use first names when giving a Christmas gift" said Severus amiably.

"You've got me a Christmas present" Black said incredulously. He stared for a moment before saying gruffly "I'm afraid I haven't gotten you anything."

Severus could see Black was waiting for the "cooped up inside your mother's house comment" but instead Severus smiled genially and waved Black's comment away.

"I wasn't expecting anything, besides I suppose this is more a peace offering than anything else. After all" he continued inwardly smirking at the looks of disbelief on all the brats, Lupin's and Black's face. "We've allowed certain rivalries to bog us down for so long and since we're known adults and on the same side, we should make an effort to get along better."

They all stared at Severus for a few moment, then Lupin smiled nervously and said. "That is excellence news, Severus. I'm glad you're putting this silly school boy grudge behind you and I'm sure Sirius will resituate your gesture." He looked expectedly at Black who set his jaw and said "I'm sure I will."

Severus fixed Black with a truly sinister smile, the one he generally saved for his students when they had been particularly idiotic in potions. Potter, Granger and the Weasley's recognized this look and tensed, wondering what their least favourite professor was up to. Severus reached into an inside pocket of his robes causally although his other hand was near his wand just in case.

"Here we are" he said pulling the gift from his pocket. "Merry Christmas Sirius."

In his hand was a large rubber ball wrapped with a bright green bow. As everyone stared at it, he flicked his wrist and the ball flew into the air and towards Black. It bounced on the ground and gently thudded to a stop against Black's foot. As the brats looks of shock turned to anger and Lupin stared in disappointed horror at him, he had only eyes for Black. Black wasn't looking at him, he was staring at the ball at his feet. Severus knew Black's likely reaction would be loud and violent, so predictable. And this would give Severus a good excuse to either hex or curse him. Or both if he felt like it. Black' humiliation would be complete because the stupid Gryffindor could never be sneaky enough to find away gracefully out of the situation. And just to heap more coals on the fire.

"Fetch."

Sirius stared at the ball at his feet, flabbergasted. He actually couldn't believe the pettiness of the gesture, Slytherins were usually much more cunning in their revenge and after all he should know, his whole entire family were scheming Slytherins. But no it was subtle, after all his godson, his godson's friends and his own best friend were here to witness his reaction and his likely getting hexed by Snape. Snape expected him to react, to prove Snape could still get to him. Well, he might be a bold and brash Gryffindor through and through, but that didn't mean he couldn't be...sneaky.

He took his eyes from the ball and looked up. Harry was being prevented by Ron and Hermione from striding over to Snape to yell at him, although had equally angry looks on their faces. The twins had warily drawn their wands in case things got nasty and Ginny looked furious forcibly reminding Sirius of Molly. As Remus starting to remonstrate with Snape, Sirius knew that for once he needed to call on his hidden inner-Slytherin and diffuse the situation.

This house must be having an effect on me after all he mused as he called out "Hey, what's everyone getting so upset about?"

Everyone stared in shock at him. Snape face had frozen, and then his eyes narrowed, wondering what the mutt was up to. Sirius inwardly chuckled as he grinned at them all, they couldn't believe he wasn't blowing a fuse. Harry was the first to speak.

"Sirius, he just gave you a dog's ball"

Grinning Sirius bent down and scooped the ball into his hand. Straightening he replied "Not to mention with a lovely green bow." He winked at Snape. "Very appropriate."

"You're not upset Sirius" asked Remus bemused.

"Upset. Why should I be upset? It's a great present, I love it" Laughing Sirius tossed it into the air and caught it. "It's in my favourite colours of red and gold, it's got a very tempting smell of bacon and." He paused letting the ball fall and bounce straight into his hand again. "It bounce's" Sirius said this as though this was the most wonderful thing in the world. Snape was now looking as surprised as the kids and Remus. His eyes however, did still held an expected glint of anticipation for the expected outburst.

"And knowing how practical my dear old buddy Severus is, I bet this thing's made to last."

Sirius paused to grin evilly at Snape who smirked even more evilly back.

"All that's left for me to do now is to thank you Severus."

"Thanks is unnecessary, Sirius" Snape was looking confident again, certain he was about to get a bad reaction at last from him. Sirius smiled warmly at Snape and causally drew out his wand. Snape stiffened, ready for action as his hand causally reached into his own pocket. But Sirius simply popped his new ball and wand onto the mantelpiece which left everyone wondering 'was Sirius about to use his fists?'

Sirius turned back to face everyone stretching his back and loosening the muscle in his arms. Remus suddenly gave him an odd look as though he knew something the rest did not. A moment later Severus and the kids knew what that look had been about as Sirius transformed into a large black shaggy dog. Padfoot bounded joyfully straight at Severus who was too shocked to react in time. Padfoot's weight as he jumped up at Severus caused the man to fall back into a chair. Remus, Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and the twins all laughed as Padfoot licked, nuzzled and generally slobbered all over Severus as he tried in vain to push the dog off.

"Get off me, you horrible mutt, get off" Severus yelled unable to curse Padfoot as his wand had flown from his hand when he had fallen. Padfoot merely barked happily and continued thanking Severus.

"Sirius you never cease to amaze me" Remus chuckled cheerfully as one of the Weasley twins summoned a camera and started taking pictures. Severus was still demanding that the flea bitten mongrel to get off him when Mrs Weasley came into the room. Everyone stopped what they were doing as she exclaimed "What's going on here? Sirius, get off Severus this instant."

Padfoot didn't jump down, however he did transform back into Sirius meaning instead of a black dog on his knee, Severus simply had a Black. In a very dog like way Sirius flopped against Severus, as the kids continued to giggle. Ignoring Severus's dark mutterings Sirius beamed at Mrs Weasley.

"Hello Molly, how are you doing?"

"Sirius, what on earth are you up to?" Molly asked sternly, hands on hips.

"Just thanking dear old Severus for a wonderful Christmas present, Molly. Look" Sirius said gleefully pointing at his ball on the mantelpiece. "He got me a great ball to play with."

Slinging an arm around Severus's shoulders and giving a friendly squeeze said "Thanks Severus, you've made my day."

Severus shoved Sirius as hard as he could off him. Sirius landed ungracefully on his ass but continued to grin up at Severus. Severus had jumped to his feet, wiping drool from his face, his face set in a dark scowl. Remus was now looking concerned about the kind of reaction Severus was now likely to have. Harry and Hermione had equal expressions of worry while the Weasley kids still looked like they were enjoying the situation. Molly looked resigned to having to deal with a tantrum.

But all of a sudden Severus threw back his head and burst out laughing and offered his hand to Sirius and pulled him to his feet. Fred just had enough wit left to snap a few more photos.

"I never knew you had such... Slytherin qualities, your dearly departed mother would be so proud of you, Black. Instead of losing your temper and attacking without thinking, (like a typical Gryffindor) you reacted with cunning simplicity." Severus said smiling at Sirius in a way that was genuinely friendly.

"And I didn't think you could take a joke Snape, very Gryfinddor." Replied Sirius grinning.

"Perhaps I have spent too long in Albus's and Minerva's company" Severus mused.

"You need a break" Agreed Sirius. "Otherwise, you could turn into a boring old teacher."

"Indeed" said Severus rolling his eyes as Molly announced that dinner was ready and would Severus like to join them. Sirius replied of course he would, causing Severus to raise an eyebrow. Molly shook her head saying "Boys" and the kids laughed.

Remus surveyed the scene with a smile. Maybe, just maybe there was a chance that Severus and Sirius could learn to get along. And that any future Severus versus Sirius incidents would end like this with everyone laughing.

The End.