Title: Never Mind (the bollocks)
Summary: It's the summer holidays and Severus is at his wit's end with boredom until he unexpectedly meets Remus at Lily's house. A war is brewing, sides has to be chosen, but responsibility is thrown to the winds in favour of just being young and restless. Marauder era, SS/RL with platonic PE/SS/RL
Disclaimer: Not mine, not entierly anyway.
A/N: Read this while listening to Sex Pistols and Joy Division xD
Holidays In The Sun
The sheets are clinging to Severus' damp body. The air is hot and stuffed and burn on the way down to his lungs. While attempting to stretch out the long, aching limbs his feet hit the wall with a thud. Blearily he opens one eye, though he need not look to remember where he is. With a groan he rolls around, fighting listlessly with the graying sheets. Spinner's End.
Its summer and Severus is a long way from Hogwarts, magic, books or anything he cares for. The sun is burning through the attic window, bathing him in golden light. Baking. It feels like he's fallen asleep in a greenhouse. Head throbbing and stomach growling Severus finally gets out of bed. The torn pair of jeans are exactly where he left them late the night before; hanging on the door handle. They are supposed to sit tight, but pulling them on there's no denying the sagging in the seat area. He can fit two fingers between his sweaty skin and the waistband. The little winterweight he had gained at Hogwarts have already wasted away. T-shirt on. Hair is of no importance. It grows in long tresses past his shoulders and does what it is meant to do; antagonize and repulse.
The stairs creak. Even the old wood has gotten warmed up by the summer heat. For once the smell of fungus and rot is absent from the walls. In the kitchen Eileen Snape sits by the table chewing thoughtfully on a pencil while trying to solve the day's crossword. She doesn't look up when Severus enters the room. He hesitate only a couple of seconds, feeling the rebellious dislike choke in his throat as he looks at her. The door of the refrigerator squeak alarmingly and the smell of rot hits him in the face. Scrunching up his face in distaste Severus lets out a disappointed huff of air. There hadn't been anything to eat last night either, believing the situation changed the next morning is naive. Leaning down with his arm on the dying fridge door Severus picks up the only thing found to be edible: the morning's milk bottle. The lid has already been removed, probably Eileen used a bit in her coffee, but otherwise the treasure is entirely his.
'Don't drink from the bottle- for Merlin's sake use a glass!' hisses Eileen at him when he walks past her, tip of the bottle already at his dry lips. The magical name in her mouth makes him flinch. The door to the living room is ajar and the television set is on full blast. His father is awake.
'Eileen, you damn bitch, what have I said about talkin' like that in my house!' Tobias Snape's yelling is gruff and guttural, the sound of a vocal cord having been abused by cigarettes and alcohol for far too long. 'Do you hear me? Eileen-' he is cut short by a timely coughing fit. The cols-like hacking and wheezing seeming to never end. Severus shuts the door harshly behind himself when stepping into the living room. Tobias tries to turn around to look at him, but the movement strain too much on his broken back.
'Eileen!' he screams instead, spittle shooting out of his mouth and down upon his soiled shirt. 'Eileen, you tramp!'
'Calm down Tobias, it's me,' growls Severus, moving past him to fall down on the threadbare sofa with the psychedelic flower patterns. Far outdated, like everything in the house.
Tobias grunts as he returns to stare at the television in front of him.
'I don't like it; tell her that I don't like it.'
'I'm quite certain Eileen knows you don't like it.'
'Then why does she do it? Why does the bitch keep defying me?'
Tobias is shouting again, knuckles whitening, a vein throbbing on his forehead that's spotted with dark blotches. Seven years ago Tobias had gotten his back broken in an accident at the factory. Bound to the sofa day in and day out, drinking and wasting away. Rotting like the floorboards under his feet. Smelling too much like the remains in the refrigerator.
An old dog barking, but finally harmless.
Severus gets up from the sofa and hunches down in front of the old television. The antennas are crooked in every which way and the volumebutton has fallen off. Without any concern for his father Severus begin switching between channels, not really knowing what he's looking for.
'Stop! Stop that!' his father barks. But the louder he yells the broader Severus smile. 'Why do you do this to me?'
The final plea makes Severus stop and he turns around to look at his father.
'Because I hate you.'
The game has gotten tiresome. Staying inside has gotten unbearable. Clunking the empty bottle of milk on the kitchentable, waking his slumbering mother with the noise, Severus forces his bare feet into his boots and walks out. The sun is too strong, and Severus has to shield his eyes with both hands. Down the street the children are playing, oblivious to any future that may or may not leave them empty handed. A feeling of resentment starts to wash over him, but he bites it in, not wanting to let self-pity be the main course of the day. Hands deep in his pockets, hair shading his watering eyes, he starts walking down the street. The banks of the river are not far away, the water dead and stagnant. There is a green layer of algae on top, the reason why the mill had to shut down. The toxic wastes from the factories further up killed it. Ridiculous how stupid muggles can be.
There is an old, half-rotten boat with its hull up and the remains of an exciting, and not to forget very secret, club hidden under it. Severus stops for a bit and looks at it. There is a rusty can in the dirt somewhere, holding treasures of the likes not even the gnomes at Gringotts has seen before. A penny, stolen from his mother's purse, a hairpin with a ladybug, and uncountable notes written in Sely. Sely; a terribly intricate pirate language only understandable by the creators: Severus and Lily.
With those memories in mind Severus continues to walk, and he is not at all surprised when he finally looks up to find her house looming in front of him. It's large, much larger than his own, and Mr. Evans has just finished painting it in a refreshing new coat of white. The garden is well groomed, the tiles on the roof a glittering grey. In the driveway shines a brand new Leyland Jaguar, the pride and envy of the entire neighbourhood. It all looks silent and peaceful from the sidewalk. Maybe Lily's still in bed; she's always been one to sleep in. With a heavy booted foot Severus kick the low brick wall. The carvings they made one summer is still faintly there, if you know where to look. She must have forgotten them. Or perhaps she takes a quick little peak every time she hurries past. Wistfully, or just regretfully? It's impossible to know.
'She's busy, you know. She's got visitors.'
The voice is slightly shrill, and Severus is abruptly startled out of his own hazy thoughts. Looking up he stares right into a pair of beady eyes. Petunia Evans. She's wearing a white summer dress with small lilac flowers. Her blonde hair frames her angular face with obviously fake locks, but it still ads a bit of glamour to her otherwise mousy look.
'Guests,' she stresses again. 'Inside. Your sort apparently. From that school of yours. I have never seen her hang with anyone but you. For a while there I thought you two had just made it all up.'
Severus raises an eyebrow in surprise.
'Who?' he asks, though he already knows. Even so, the answer comes as a physical fist in his face.
'Potter or something or another. Him and his friend. What a despicable boy, Potter that is- Unless… is he a friend of yours too?'
Apparently Lily has yet to inform Petunia that they are no longer on speaking terms. Whatever that might mean. Severus was so certain girls talked about that kind of thing.
'No, James Potter is certainly a man worthy of hatred,' agrees Severus. His teeth clench together, his entire body becoming rigid with the suppressed feelings. A peculiar coldness wash over him and despite the inferno roiling inside him, nothing is allowed to reach the surface. Petunia Evans is staring at him with a mixed look of apprehension and interest. Her long neck has gotten slightly burned in the sun and she's wearing dirty gardening gloves. She tugs at them self-consciously, perhaps contemplating whether to take them off.
'I just can't stand being inside while they are there,' she says to excuse herself. There is a short moment of uneasy silence before she straightens her back. 'You know-' Petunia begins, but cuts herself short. Takes another breath. 'You know, she doesn't deserve you.'
Severus' black eyes meet Petunias' green, or perhaps they are more green-grey, but she looks down almost instantly. Her golden lashes are long and catch the bright sunshine.
'I might come back later this evening,' Severus lies, turning on his heel and walking away. He can practically feel her gaze burning a hole in his back.
Severus is not even at the end of the street before he hears his name called out and he stops dead in his tracks. The voice is too masculine to be Petunias'. The bass too pleasant to be her shrill gull cries. It's also discomfortingly familiar. Severus does not turn, though his skin is itching with the sensation of fear. Instincts tug at him to make ready, to draw his wand and turn around. Yet, reason and pride wins and he remain with his back to his nemesis.
'Snape!' calls the manly voice again, followed by the sound of sneakers hitting concrete. 'I- I saw you through the window, figured I'd talk to you. … I suppose I was so surprised to see you here. I had no idea.'
'What about my presence surprised you, Lupin?' asks Severus, his voice only waver at the pronunciation of the name. He didn't ask his body to, but now he finds himself turning, looking at the other young man. 'You couldn't imagine me living here?'
'No!' barks Remus, his lips pulling away from his teeth in what Severus' interpret as a smile. 'Though I suppose, if I had just thought it through it would have been pretty obvious.'
Remus is dressed in an outdated pair of grey trousers, looking slightly quirky with a short-sleeved shirt. It's not tucked in, top buttons undone because of the murdering heat. Wizarding interpretation of muggle clothing is always an interesting sight. But Remus has managed it well enough, Severus has to concede.
'Y-you look so muggle,' Remus finally bursts out. Severus looks down on himself; skinny legs, heavy boots (he had forgotten to do the laces he notices) and there are some unidentified spots on his t-shirt. 'Sex… Sex Pistols? What is that?' Remus is peering at his t-shirt, trying to read the cut-out lettering.
'It's a band from London,' Severus smirks, divided between irritation at the ignorance and pride for being allowed to educate. 'They claim themselves to be anarchists and are against the royal house- …it's a muggle thing.'
Standing on the sidewalk a street away from Lily's house talking about the Sex Pistols with Remus is really not something Severus had ever imagined himself doing. Remus is still staring at him with wide eyes framed with thick, black lashes. His light brown hair is growing in every which direction without any restrains. In this setting Severus likes it. The messy and quirky clothes work, Remus' hesitant smile fits, the doelike wonder in his eyes as he stares at Severus is enticing. In the background Severus can see the perfect muggle homes, the immaculate lawns; in the far distance is a city skyline. No dark and magical forest, no thousand year old castle, but most importantly, no Gryffindors.
Severus knows this world but Remus doesn't.
'Was there something in particular you wanted?' asks Severus after a bit of awkward silence. 'I gather you're visiting Lil- Evans?'
'Yeah!' agrees Remus with a huff and a roll of his eyes. 'With James. It's utterly and completely boring. I've been trying to hang with them for a couple of days now and I was just contemplating faking my own death when I saw you chatting up her sister.'
Remus ducks his head embarrassed and shrugs one shoulder. 'Sure looked like it from where I was standing.'
'You need glasses.'
'She isn't that bad!' laughs Remus quietly, looking behind himself just to make sure she's not anywhere near hearing shot. Severus doesn't deign the argument worthy of reply. The prolonged silence and Severus' level stare is enough to make Remus capitulate and he flaps his arms helplessly. 'Fine! She is that bad, satisfied?'
'Not really,' answer Severus in a manner that makes it perfectly clear that he is. A victory is a victory, never mind how pitiful. Any further conversation regarding Lily's sister is interrupted by a low grumbling. It's emitted from his stomach. It roils and whines, and just as he thinks it finished, it starts all over again. They are both staring at his abdomen, Remus with humour and Severus with annoyance.
'Sounds like you're suffering some sort of hunger desperation,' comments Remus, cocking his head to one side. 'And looks like it too, to be perfectly honest.'
'Shut your trap,' growls Severus. He's grown tired of the strange circumstances. Standing wasting time on the sidewalk with someone who had once tried to eat him wasn't all that fun anymore. 'I'm heading home.'
'Wait! Why?' Remus' reaction is lightening fast and startling. He darts out a hand and grabs a hold of Severus' slim wrist. His hand is sweaty and he has to tighten his grip for Severus not to just slip his arm free. The violent action is so surprising Severus doesn't quite know how to react at first. For a long while his gaze switches between staring at the hand holding him in the bruising grip, and the face of the man who is doing it. There is nothing benevolent in Remus' expression. Suddenly he seems to realize what he is doing and let's go with a low hiss. 'I'm sorry,' he says. 'I… Err… I'd just really like some company.' Eyes round, his lips draw back in that peculiar smile again, he starts rummaging around in his pocket. 'Here!' he crows with pride and holds out a fistful of crumbly notes, 'Lily gave me some muggle money.'
'She gave you pity-money?' asks Severus and can't keep back a bark of laughter. 'That's just too like her.' The wonder in Remus' face shuts him up again, Sely codex obligates him to not reveal any hidden meanings in actions done by the other partner. But… he can't deny that the money is awfully tempting. His stomach churns in agreement.
'It isn't that difficult to figure out,' says Remus, crumbling the notes in his hand further. 'You're hungry, I am bored. You know where there's food, I have money.' The logic is immaculate, and Severus recognizes the cunning glint in Remus' eyes. There are many reasons not to trust this man, but the basic need for food overrides caution. Severus considers it for perhaps two or three seconds before coming to the inevitable conclusion.
'Fine,' he capitulates, 'come along then. And don't try anything; this place doesn't play by wizarding rules.' Remus nods dumbly and picks up Severus quick gait. There is a local grocery store just a couple of blocks away. Severus' aunt, on his father's side, is the daily manager. She has a habit of taking a bit off of the price, whenever Severus comes around. He stuffs his hands into his pockets. There's a hole in the right one that he starts plucking at. Remus is wisely keeping his mouth shut.
Down the street Severus recognizes Tom Russel from primary school. He is busy waxing his father's car on the sidewalk. They step around it, but he follows them with a hard gaze and a scowl. The fuck used to have fun watching Severus get his head stuffed down into the toilet. Almost as an afterthought Severus gives the red wash bucket a hard kick, splashing the dirty water all over the shining car.
'HEY!' roars Russel at the top of his voice, shooting up from his hunched position with clenched fists. 'SNAPE!'
But Severus has already turned away, knowing Russel won't be following them. There are things a wizard can do without the Ministry registering it. Russel would know from previous experience.
The heat of Remus' body is coming off him in waves and is nearly like a physical attack. Throwing a quick glance over his left shoulder Severus is certain he'll find the man right behind him, but he keeps his distance. At least four paces behind. Their eyes meet for half a second before Severus' breaks the contact, a faint blush creeping over his cheekbones. Must be the heat. Around the corner they can see the grocery. The building lies nestled between an all night pharmacy with its gaudy neon lights and a bakery slash ice cream bar. Suburban necessaries. Run more by people's goodwill than actual profit.
'I have never really been out in a muggle town like this before,' says Remus, eventually breaking the silence between them. 'My parents never really let me, you know… because of stuff.'
'Yeah,' concedes Severus distractedly, only vaguely chiding himself for the stumped language. At the moment he is too concerned with the prospect of food. It's hot even inside the grocery store and both doors are wide open, held in place respectively by a potted plant and a large brick. The store is by no means large, yet Severus finds himself undecided; not knowing whether to get something wholesome or just stuff his mouth full of chocolate. Remus wanders off and disappears behind the toiletry shelf, muted exclamation marks following him. The apples smell delicious, ripe and fresh. Water instantly pools inside Severus' mouth, and without really thinking he takes the reddest he can find and bites off a huge chunk. The juices spills and drips down his chin, he doesn't even bother to wipe it away before taking another bite.
'Snape?' Remus' voice is soft. Snapping his eyes away from the already half eaten apple, Severus has to still himself from not startling; somehow Remus is only inches away from him. His bright eyes rests on the stained t-shirt and wet face for only a second before returning Severus' glare. 'The lady behind the counter, who is she?'
Chewing, much more slowly now, Severus peeks around the corner of the shelf. A middle aged woman with short black hair, sharp nose and what seems to be a permanent scowl, shuffles irritably through a magazine. She's not wearing the standard uniform she forces the part time helpers to wear, but it's obvious she works there.
'That's my aunt,' confirms Severus. He can't deny the family likeness no matter how much he wants to.
'Wow,' is Remus' whispered and awestruck reply. He, too, peeks around the corner and they both watch the woman nearly rip the pages out of the magazine for each turn. The intensity of their scrutiny must be enough to alert her for she suddenly looks up. Her recognition isn't instant, but when she finally places Severus' in her own gene pool her features softens somewhat. Then she sees the apple in Severus' hands and any mercy is erased.
'I'll pay for it,' Severus promises, giving Remus' a soft shove to prove that he's good for it. Remus obediently nods and smiles his polite smile. The boyish curls bounce around his face and he could have stood there waving a gun for all Severus' aunt would have cared. She takes in his shirt and old-fashioned trousers, his innocence and purity and probably can't help wondering what such a decent young man is doing together with Severus. He's wondering the same, but isn't about to ask any more questions. Walking away, Severus busies himself snapping up random chocolate bars. He isn't picky. Raisin, nuts, caramel, toffee, nougat. Any type of chocolate that catches his eye.
'That's a lot of candy,' Remus comments, peering over his shoulder. 'You'll get sick!' Severus raises an eyebrow disdainfully and picks up the largest, most gaudy looking chocolate he can find on the shelf. Remus exclaims in disgust, but laughs and picks up something not even Severus would touch with a ten foot pole. 'Marzipan coated with nougat, strawberry sauce and sprinkled with hazelnuts. Yum!' he reads with sarcasm. 'I have no idea how they do it, but these muggle sweets sounds worse than the sickest stuff you get from Bertie Bott.' He carefully puts it down, turns to see if there's something else he hasn't yet discovered. As his attention is diverted Severus picks it up and stuffs it in his pocket.
At the counter Aunt Abigail rings them up and is as closed lip as only a Snape can be, until she has the last item in her hand. Black eyes prowl around the counter, looking for whatever they must have forgotten.
'You aren't picking up beer for Tobias?' she questions, voice low and collected, but Severus knows it well and has already turned to do her bidding. Baby brother Tobias needs his beer, she would know. She isn't the one who has to wash him, care for him or empty his catheter. So of course she would know what her baby brother Tobias needs. They get the beer on a discount.
Walking down the streets again Severus feels the weight of the bottles in the bag. Beside him Remus contemplatively tastes a chocolate, while he himself is slowing down on his third. The horizon is nearly black with heavy clouds. Perhaps the heat will finally ease off.
'So, what does muggle beer taste like?' asks Remus in an obviously fake off-handed way. 'Like butterbeer or?'
Severus feels a smile creep across his face. 'A bit like butterbeer, yes,' he lies smoothly. 'Would you like to taste it?'
'I-is that alright, then?' worries Remus, throwing glances around as if he's going to be busted any minute. 'I always got the impression you have to be of age to drink that stuff.'
'I'm of age,' replies Severus, neglecting to mention that "of age" in the muggle world is eighteen, and not seventeen. Remus' look of elation confirms that he is unaware of the law, but a shadow passes across his face again almost instantly. 'Come on, this bag is heavy,' continues Severus to tempt. 'There's two six packs in here. You'd do my father a favour to taste a bit of it. And you said you were bored. Gryffindors never seems to be worthy of their name or word.'
'Yes we are!' insists Remus hotly. Severus' arched eyebrow is enough to agitate him further. 'Fine,' Remus says, 'let's drink some beer. It's just some beer, after all.'