A/N: Just a short one, that I worked on last night when I couldn't sleep. Please review and tell me what you think of the end, because I must have rewritten that like eight times, and I'm still not completely satisfied.
Hm, what else? Warnings… It is slash, and, maybe I should warn about bullying, but it's not anything serious. Nothing too graphic, but rated M for safety. And I of course don't own Harry Potter or anything else, just this plot.
This isn't the night it starts, it's not the night it ends either. It's just one night of many.
This particular night, James is in a rage. Lily (the centre of his universe nowadays) has been more interested in studying than him for weeks now. He gets like that sometimes, when he doesn't get the attention he's used to. Sirius can see that now, he didn't before, before he worshipped James like everyone else. He still does, but now he can see it himself.
Sirius looks over at Remus and rolls his eyes and the other boy smiles before he looks up at James again. Everyone is affected by James' moods and right now the boys' dorm is thick with anger and frustration and self pity. Sirius can already tell where the night is heading. They are going to go on a bender, probably dig into Sirius' stash of alcohol and pot and then find something to trash. James has already pulled the firewhiskey out and is sipping from it in between small angry bursts of foul language.
They end up roaming the empty, echoing halls, James screaming his lungs out to some old song his uncle's taught him. Peter drinks too much, like he always does, and he's already beginning to slur, while Sirius suspects that Remus only pretends to sip from the bottle.
With a little help from his friends and some alcohol, James lightens up a little, but there's still that aggression to it. It's not like he has fun because he wants to, it's more that he wants to throw it in someone's face (Lily's) and they all know that he could burst at any moment.
It all adds up to an exciting evening, the slight buzz from the alcohol, the tension in James' uncontrolled and restless singing, the knowledge that they could get detention for life if a teacher found them out walking in the middle of the night, drunk. And still it isn't enough for Sirius. He finds himself leading them further down, to the places where he usually finds him when he feels bored, down in the outskirts of the dungeons. It's never enough for Sirius, that's what he thinks afterwards, long after. He can never just have a nice night and then go back to the dorm, he has to push it that tiny bit too far.
James gives a small excited shout when he sees him, sitting crouched up in a corner, his nose in a book as usual. That's almost always how Sirius thinks of him, his knees pulled up, his hair in his eyes - and his nose in a book.
He looks up and is extremely quick to assess the situation. He senses danger and is immediately up and about to draw his wand.
Sirius laughs an 'Expelliarmus' and Snape's hand snaps to the left, his wand hitting the stone floor with a an empty crack.
"Snivellus!" James shouts and Sirius laughs. He hears Peter's laughter in the back of his mind, but his head is pounding with the thrill of it all. It's wrong, he knows that. He shouldn't be this excited at the sight of Snape's eyes darting suspiciously from face to face.
"Lovely evening, no?" James asks, playing with him.
"Give me my wand back", he hisses quietly and Sirius grins.
"Oh, go ahead. Take it", James says with a smile and Snape looks at the wand on the floor, like he's wondering whether it's worth it or not.
He's just about to move to take it when James steps in front of him. "Go ahead", he says and Snape glares at him darkly.
He moves to walk around him and James moves to stand in the way again.
Something has changed, they can all sense it. The undercurrent of rage has gone up to the surface and they can all feel it. It's starting to get dangerous.
"Move", Snape grumbles, and James turns to them.
"Am I in the way?" he asks and Snape doesn't answer, he just keeps his eyes on his wand, and then James finally moves he darts off to pick it up almost too quickly for Sirius to kick it away. Almost.
Snape looks up at him, just stares with a hard look on his face, and it makes Sirius' smile widen. There's a whirlwind of anger, excitement, guilt and something more, inside his chest that tears at everything around it. But most of all there's joy. This is when he's happiest.
Sirius looks behind him to where Remus is leaned against the wall, a pale expression on his face. He doesn't understand how good it feels, he's never understood the thrill of it. But he won't say anything, he won't argue, he never does and never will, and they all know it.
Peter is jumping around and eagerly peeking at them, like he's at the edge of a group, looking in. He is, he's always the one left out. By his own fault, Sirius likes to think, because Sirius is blamed for enough shit already.
"Come on, Snivellus", Sirius taunts and watches the blush form on Snape's cheeks. He never blushes when the others tease him, just Sirius. He doesn't think Snape knows that he's noticed that, he probably doesn't even know he's doing it himself.
He does though, he blushes, and Sirius smiles a breathless smile for a second. He doesn't deny that he's pretty like this, he doesn't deny anything in his own head, not anymore.
Snape stumbles backwards, and hits James' chest with a thump. He doesn't even turn around, he just glares at Sirius when James grabs ahold of his wrists.
"Why are you roaming the halls at this time of night then?" James asks, still playful, even though he's fighting to hold him still. Snape doesn't answer, he just thrashes against his grip. He doesn't talk much now, he's stopped complaining and protesting lately. It seems like he's finally figured out that it doesn't matter what he says, they'll rip every last shred of dignity from him anyway.
"Hey", Sirius says. "Answer!"
Because he still wants him to argue. He loves it when he fights, it doesn't matter how pathetic it may seem, how futile. He loves to push and have someone who always pushes back, fiercely, without regret or care.
"Let me go", Snape says and Sirius can sense in the corner of his eye how Remus moves slightly, twitches. If he wants to stop them he'll have to try harder.
It's satisfying to hear it, how his voice breaks just the tiniest bit, it's almost impossible to hear unless you know it's there, or really, really want it to be there.
"Guys, let's go back to the dorms" Remus says suddenly and they all look at him, except Snape, who's just trying to get away.
"We're just having fun, Moony", Sirius says and Remus darts his eyes over to Snape when he utters the nickname.
He looks like he wants to say something else, but then he looks down at the floor and mumbles that he at least is leaving, and then he's gone. He makes Sirius uncomfortable sometimes, with his wimping out. You should either go all the way out, or not do anything at all. He hates him sometimes, for not trying harder to stop them, for just implying that they're doing something wrong and not actually doing something about it.
Peter stares at them two of them, and it seems like he's getting uncomfortable too, but then he breaks into a nervous smile, and they're on the free again. No one to tell them where the lines are drawn, no one to tell them there are lines at all.
James shoves Snape away from him, to Sirius, and Sirius gets his arm around his waist. Sirius grabs his hip rough enough to bruise and holds him hard against him. Snape lets out an angry gasp and Sirius fights hard not to give in to the reflex to clutch him closer.
"Creeping around in the middle of the night?" James asks, like there wasn't any interruption at all. "What could you be up to, Snivellus?"
Snape pushes his elbow into Sirius' side and the sharp pain shoots up his side for a moment before settling into a dull throb. Sirius hits him in the small of his back, and he can feel his ribs under his knuckles and it feels like he could break one of them if he wanted to. He really, really wants to. He wants to go too far, at least in that moment. He'll regret it later, but right now he wants to break him. Should a person feel like this, Sirius wonders. Is it alright to want to kiss someone and hold them and make them happy when you want to hurt them so badly at the same time?
Snape slumps together in pain and stops fighting him. "I was studying", he spits out.
Sirius loosens his hard grip a little and lets Snape shake him off. James is bored now, Sirius can tell, and they slowly move off to another place in the castle, to scribble dirty words on the walls or something as stupid and juvenile. Sirius lets his eyes meet Snape's for a second and the hate he sees there makes his stomach turn and twirl with glee.
It's the same look he has later, when the others have passed out in the dorm and Sirius has wandered off. The same fire is in his eyes when Sirius pushes him up against the wall, and that same mouth that shoots insults at him now kisses him fiercely.
Snape tells him that he hates him that night, not for the first or the last time, and Sirius smiles. It's driven with hate, what they have, and that's what Sirius loves about it. The fact that Snape hates him and always will, comforts him, and even when it makes him feel terrible, he never wants to quit whatever they're doing.
Sirius doesn't kid himself and say that he loves the person, but he does love the burning bite marks that he will have when he wakes up alone in the dungeons the day after, and right now he loves that familiar fire in Snape's eyes as he spits out the words, "I hate you."