Notes: Well, I'm back! I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2, and it got me back in an HP mood! Sorry to keep you all waiting! It took me a while to write this chapter, but I hope it's OK.
Oh, and to me-me: I hope I don't disappoint you! I'm not very good at long stories, actually… ^^; Whenever I've tried to keep a story going, I end up branching off and then not knowing how to end it. I'll keep this one going for as long as I can, but ultimately I think it'll end very soon… Sorry… -_-
Chapter 8: All Hell Breaks Loose… Again
Sirius didn't think it could actually get worse, but he had been terribly wrong. Groaning to himself, his knees nearly knocking together, he watched as Severus' hands slowly rose to grab the green and silver scarf around his neck. It had been Regulus', sitting in a dusty closet for years, and it had been the only thing Sirius could think of that could stand between him and certain doom. Now it was held in Severus' slender hands as the amnesiac looked towards his "master" with an inquiring look.
"Wait!" Sirius leapt from the couch and went back to stand beside Severus, "He, uh, just got over a little cold! He needs this!"
All was silent in the room. Ron snorted a bit, muttering something about the world going mad. Remus could barely repress a face-palm gesture. Severus, on the other hand, beamed. His smile surprised everyone else as much as Sirius' outburst had.
"You… you do care…" Severus whispered, though everyone heard him clearly in the gravely silent room.
"Yeah, well, I don't want you coughing all over my stuff!" Sirius said desperately.
"Oh, Sirius…" Severus sighed, dreamy-eyed, and before Sirius could say anything else he leaned over and nuzzled his chest.
In Sirius' mind, everything had just gone to pot. He couldn't move, yet his mental processes were racing, grasping at what to do next. All of the strain of the day had caught up to him, and now something that would have been easily brushed off seemed to him a gigantic deal. He felt as if he'd been hit dead-on by an atomic bomb. He felt like everything was utter chaos, though nobody in the room moved. From his point of view, he was looking pretty screwed right now.
"Well, you two seem to have gotten friendlier," Dumbledore remarked a bit cheerfully as everyone else stared with their mouths hanging open. Even Remus, who was in on the plan, couldn't quite believe what he was seeing. Severus just kept nuzzling, tears in his eyes and a blush on his cheeks, hands clasped together and brought up to his chest in a gesture of reverent happiness; and Sirius just stood there with his mouth opening and closing, obviously unsure of what to do.
Finally, Sirius seemed to get himself in order again. He slapped Severus away suddenly, stepping back with a glare. "The git just keeps doing things like this!" he shouted, "He's gone funny in the head; I dunno why! I certainly didn't do it!"
Severus was determined to override Sirius' outburst with one of his own. "B- but… But Master!" he suddenly cried, falling to his knees and rocking back and forth, clutching himself around the shoulders, "Why did you hit me? WHY? I- I'll be good, I promise!"
"Shh! Don't-" Sirius' plea couldn't come out all the way.
"You said you liked it when I hugged you!" Severus wailed.
That sinking feeling in Sirius' gut started feeling more like a ton of bricks.
Dumbledore was instantly kneeling beside Severus, trying to soothe him with a comforting hand around the shaking shoulders. Sirius stood there stuttering, obviously going into panic mode. Remus couldn't hold it in any longer, and he cracked up, leaning over the arm of the couch and laughing helplessly. His gasping, choking laughter filled the room. Harry's face scrunched up in a confused look, and he kept saying "Master?" to himself, unbelieving what he had just heard. Hermione crossed her arms and gave her best "I told you so" look to Harry, while eyeing Remus suspiciously.
"Well, that's it," Ron said finally, glancing at the hysterical werewolf, "The world has gone mad."
"Perhaps it would be best if I spoke with him alone," Dumbledore said after a long silence, looking directly at Sirius. The Gryffindor continued to stutter for a bit, and then hung his head in resignation and walked out of the room. The others followed, and on his way out Remus gave Severus an appraising look. The man was a damned good actor, he thought.
With the others out of the room, Dumbledore gently led Severus to one of the couches. "Dear boy, what is the matter?" he asked, "Just who were you calling 'Master'?"
"I- I believe I was having a flash-back…" Severus said, shaking for dramatic effect but trying to give the impression that he was beginning to calm down, "There was a man, kicking me…" A flash of anger went through him as he recalled that particular memory; drawing on it was risky, and perhaps foolish, but damned if it wasn't worth it to hear the panic in Sirius' voice.
"You must have been thinking of Voldemort…" Dumbledore said somberly, "It's all right, Severus. Your memories are returning—the good and the bad. This means that you should be able to receive treatment for your amnesia now. What damage was done is now mending itself, and your mind is now stable enough for treatment. So you'll be able to go back to your life in no time." "I won't even ask about the snuggling..." Dumbledore thought.
"I will?" Severus looked up at the old man hopefully, feeling a little guilty for lying to the one person he truly respected, "Th- that would be… nice, I think…"
"It's all right now," Dumbledore stood with a pat to Severus' head and a smile, "I'll inform Madame Pomfrey right away."
The two exited the room, and found everyone else in the kitchen. Severus went to sit beside Sirius, who had his head clutched in his hands. The others surrounded him, seemingly in the middle of interrogating him. Dumbledore took a seat opposite Sirius.
"Well, he's all right now," the old wizard said, "Just a bit of a bad memory popping up. You do recall that he was once a Death Eater…"
Sirius' hands hit the table as his head snapped up. He hadn't thought of that before. "Why did I allow myself to get so flustered?" he thought, glancing at Severus, who was looking at Dumbledore calmly.
"I shall meet with Madame Pomfrey as soon as I return to Hogwarts," Dumbledore continued, "and we will bring a potion along shortly to bring Severus' memories back."
"Thank God!" Sirius cried in obvious relief, "Then he'll be out of my hair!"
"Quite so," Dumbledore smiled, "Though from the display earlier, I'd say you two are getting along just fine."
"Uh, yeah, well…" Sirius withdrew, not sure of what to say. It was true that he hadn't tried to do anything to hurt or humiliate Severus in quite a while, though in hindsight he supposed that the whole mess was his fault in the first place. The prank had been hilarious, but now Sirius felt that if he pulled any more elaborate jokes like this his heart wouldn't be able to take it. "Talk about stress," he thought, leaning back in his chair and sighing, "With humor like this, who needs drama?"
The rest of the conversation turned towards other things; the kids talked excitedly of school, of Quiddich, of social dramas and everyday little scuffles and gossip. Sirius began to relax; he was enjoying the visit, and for a while he put earlier events out of his mind. The day ended with an amusing demonstration on various prank potions, presented by Remus and Severus, who seemed to remember how to brew such potions. Remus was surprised that Severus would even participate, though; he didn't think anything in the world, not even revenge, could goad Severus into having a good time with other people.
As the sun set on a rain-soaked city, Dumbledore bid farewell to everyone else, promising to return the following day to collect the teenagers and bring the memory potion to Severus. "I trust you can handle things until then?" the headmaster said, his eyes twinkling mysteriously as he nearly grinned at Sirius.
"Oh, yeah, why not?" Sirius said, "I'll have Harry and the others to keep me company, so I can ignore Sev- er, Snivellus."
"Quite so, quite so…" with a final wave to the others, Dumbledore was out the door with his umbrella, and he vanished as soon as he got to the bottom of the porch stairs.
Sirius closed the door with an obvious sigh of relief. He re-entered the living room with a bounce in his step, grinning. He even smiled at Severus, who sat placidly next to Remus on one of the couches. Harry and Ron were sitting opposite them, on another couch. Hermione stood by the wall of bookshelves, giving Sirius a sideways glance. He ignored her and plopped into his favorite armchair.
It looked as if things would be all right after all. The danger that was Dumbledore was gone now, and he only had to wait one night before getting Severus cured and shipped back off to Hogwarts, where he would be safely out of the way to allow Sirius some time to gloat to himself. He tilted his head back, closing his eyes calmly.
"You seem tired," Hermione said from across the room, "Surely our visit can't have exhausted you that much?"
"No, I'm just relaxing," Sirius said smoothly. Of course Hermione would be suspicious. She was very much like Remus; always poking her nose into other people's business. Sirius rather liked her for the same reasons that he had liked Remus before they became such good friends. What fun was being such a mischievous devil when there was nobody around to protest?
Sirius didn't consider the problems posed by Harry, Ron, and Hermione, though. He hadn't thought they would be a problem, but unfortunately he had neglected to tell Severus to act the same around them as he did around Dumbledore. Sirius' eyes shot open when he felt someone come close, and looked down to see Severus kneeling in front of him.
"Master, I'm so happy that the bad man is gone!" Severus said with a little sigh, "He told me all sorts of lies! How could I be a full-time potions teacher when I serve you? And he wants to take me away from you, as well! Oh, Master, you were right about him!"
The self-proclaimed mischievous devil groaned loudly and let his head flop back against the back of the chair as Severus hugged his knees. He didn't need to look to see that the kids were staring at him. Their eyebrows were probably getting stuck in the cobwebs on the ceiling, and their lower jaws were bound to be sweeping the floor. He heard Hermione clear her throat, an obvious invitation to explain himself. Remus' silence spoke volumes; not that Sirius expected him to stick up for him, but it would have been nice.
With another heavy sigh, he lifted his head back up and began yet another explanation.
Yay! Another chapter done, and it looks like there might be a few more to go yet. I keep dithering on the ending; I know how I want to end it, but I'm still not sure on what route I want to take to get there. Anyway, as always, I appreciate that you've read this far! Drop me a review to tell me what you think, K? ^_^