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Complications (Severus)
February – March 1977


But it wasn’t over in three days.

By all rights, it should have been. Whatever poisonous chemistry they generated should have been no match, in the long run, for their hate; whatever twisted passion burned between them should have sputtered out weeks ago, doused by boredom or reason or just plain inconvenience. But it hadn’t. When they exchanged furtive, smoking looks across the Hall or in class, the last thing either of them felt was bored, and when they were naked together, reason went right out the window.

As for inconvenience…well, there was none. Not really. It was more difficult to find times and places to meet than it had been over the holidays, true, but it wasn’t nearly as difficult as Severus would have guessed. He hated to admit it, but Black was one resourceful son of a bitch. He knew, like the back of his hand, corners and rooms and entire wings of the school that Severus hadn’t even known existed, and he never seemed to get caught. Whether it was skill, or magic, or plain dumb Gryffie luck, Severus didn’t really care — it was the not-knowing that drove him crazy.

Of course, Severus never got caught, either…but that was just good old-fashioned Slytherin stealth.

So it wasn’t over yet, whatever “it” was, but it was going to be, soon; Severus was going to tell Black tonight. He didn’t want to do it, but he had to. Lucius knew — and Lucius wasn’t pleased.

Severus scowled at the note crushed in his fist, as bewildered as he was upset. He couldn’t fathom why Lucius was doing this. Lucius knew Severus had no feelings for Black, knew he was just using the bastard for release and revenge. And Lucius wasn’t the jealous type anyway; he certainly had no qualms about sharing Severus’s favors when it suited his purposes. Since taking up with Lucius in the fall, Severus had attended several of his “private parties” — read: high-brow kinkfests — and Lucius had passed him around like a tray of fancy canapés at every one of them, beaming smugly the entire time. Severus had even had a few rounds with Lucius’s fiancée, Narcissa, and Lucius hadn’t raised a hair. Other things, yes — but not a hair.

Yet Lucius didn’t want Black anywhere near Severus. And he didn’t want Severus anywhere near Black. And at this point in Severus’s life, Lucius was God. So that, as they said, was that.

Severus sighed.

The truth of it was, he didn’t want to give Black up. He hated the thought of giving him up. No — not him. It. The game. The dance. The mind-fuck. Watching Black’s clumsy attempts to court him, to break him down, to win him over. Watching Black jump through hoops he didn’t even know were there, trying to get something from Severus that Severus was neither willing nor able to give. Even more than the sex — and the sex was truly out of this world — he would miss the sheer vindictive pleasure of playing with Black’s head.

And Black made it so easy to manipulate him! It was almost insulting. Since the night he had left his scent and warmth (and hair) in Severus’s bed, Severus had suspected Black’s truest desires; since the morning he had slipped Severus the blackmail note and confirmed those suspicions, Black had been dancing to Snape’s careful tune.

And the best part was the cocky asshole was too thick to even realize it.

It was so simple, really. If Black came to him in the old way, rough and demanding, wanting to play the hard-edged dom, Severus played passive-aggressive, responding as little as possible, invariably dropping some not-so-subtle hint that Lucius Malfoy certainly didn’t treat his lovers this way. If Black tried to change tactics, tried to be gentle or considerate or playful or patient, Severus deliberately provoked him, spraying him with insults, mockery, even physical violence, until he snapped. Severus would spew the most caustic put-downs in his arsenal, slap Black’s face, scratch and bite like a wild animal — and when Black finally, inevitably lost his temper and responded in kind, Severus would withdraw back into his chilly shell and play the Lucius card again. Sometimes the frustration turned Black such a delicious purple, Severus thought his head might actually explode.

It was the most fun Severus had had in years.

Of course, he didn’t do it every time; that would be too obvious, and even Black wasn’t so dumb he wouldn’t pick up on the pattern. Besides, the physical price was just too high. Black always punished him, Black frequently hurt him, and sometimes, Black went over the line. The last time he’d goaded Black into an explosion, Black had strapped him so hard and so long it made the Boxing Day spanking feel like a swat with Mummy’s broom and fucked him with a dildo the size of one of the mutant cucumbers in Hagrid’s garden. Severus could only thank the gods it had been the weekend; he hadn’t been able to sit, at all, for three straight days.

Just imagine what he’ll do to you when you dump him.

Well, there was a pleasant thought. Severus was dead certain Sirius Black had never been dumped in his life, and for “Snivellus,” of all people, to give him his first taste of the boot…what would he do? A shiver rippled through Severus at the possibilities. It was, he told himself, a shiver of fear and loathing and utter revulsion. He told himself this quite firmly; his own rather disturbing predilection for pain and submissiveness was an aspect of his developing sexuality he didn’t care to examine too closely.

And then he told himself it didn’t matter. Didn’t matter what Black did to him, didn’t matter how Severus found himself responding. He would still have the satisfaction of shattering Black’s hopes one last time. Not exactly a silver lining, perhaps, but it was a start.

He still didn’t want to do it.

He looked back at the note in his hand: Tell him, Severus. I mean it. I don’t want to say, “It’s him or me ”— but I will.

It was so Lucius. Politic and proper, a trifle hurt in tone, so reasonable-sounding on its face. I don’t want to say, “It’s him or me” — but I will. And, of course, that was exactly what the mealy-mouthed prick was saying the entire time.

The frustration welled in him once more. Perhaps he could talk to Lucius again. Perhaps over the holidays, when they had some time alone, face-to-face. Perhaps he could set Luc straight, tell him he had no reason to feel this way, make him understand—

He pushed the thoughts away. Even if Lucius wanted to understand, he wasn’t capable of it. Lucius was a golden child, privileged and pampered, sheltered and adored. Lucius had never been the butt of the joke, the nobody, the outsider, the freak; Lucius had no way of understanding what even the smallest triumphs meant to a loser like Severus Snape.

Nor, in all likelihood, would he care.

Severus straightened in his chair. Enough of this, enough. He’d do what he had to do; he always did. He was a Slytherin. He was practical, savvy, and hard-headed. He needed Lucius Malfoy, and he didn’t need Sirius Black. It was as simple as that.

“Incendio,” he muttered. The note went up in flames.

***

He waited for Black in the little room off the old Potions lab, one of their more frequent trysting spots. Black was late, as usual, and Severus sat at the teacher’s desk, doodling aimless formulas and figures in the thick dust, letting his thoughts drift around him like troubled ghosts.

He wondered which Black he’d get tonight — the lover, or the fighter? Usually, he much preferred the fighter: the nasty, strong-arm bully who would tie him up, down, and sideways, who would insult and demean him at every opportunity, who would take a paddle or a calloused hand to his ass as readily as Lucius would kiss his cheek. The rich, pretty Gryffindor punk whose every word and action reminded Severus — and these days, gods help him, Severus sometimes needed reminding — of all the reasons he despised rich, pretty Gryffindor punks in the first place.

Severus felt comfortable with that Black. He understood that Black. He could even relate to that Black — after all, the Gryffindor loathed Severus just as much as Severus loathed him. But the other Black? He made Severus uneasy. Oh, Severus enjoyed him as a game, took great pleasure and even pride in provoking him, though sometimes it was difficult to keep a straight face; Black’s sporadic attempts at affection were as laughable as they were obvious.

But when they weren’t laughable, they were…troubling. Rather creepy, actually. The way Black looked at him sometimes, when he thought Severus wasn’t looking back, made Severus uncomfortable.

When Severus was ten, he had seen a cauldron in the window of The Daily Grind in Diagon Alley. It was made entirely of black glass, the surface faceted like the finest gemstone, and it was rimmed with real gold. It was, without a doubt, the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. It was also completely beyond his means, of course, and he accepted that, but it didn’t stop him from wanting it until he hurt with wanting it. For years, every time he was in Diagon Alley, he would find himself drawn to the cauldron on display, and every time he had to fight the crazy compulsion to break the window and snatch it, stuff its bulk under his cloak and clutch it to his breast and just run, run off to some dark corner where he could hide it, never let anyone else use it or touch it, or even see it. Ever. Because by then he hated the cauldron as much as he loved it, hated it for making him want it so.

That was how Black looked at him. The way a dumb little kid with no money had looked at a fancy chamber pot on a dusty velvet pillow. As if he wanted to grab Severus and tuck him under his arm and run, lock him away someplace where he could take him out in secret and gloat over him and never let him go.

Ever.

My, aren’t you a melodramatic little arsehole tonight.

He sighed and doodled a heart in the dust.

It never occurred to him that Black might actually be in love with him; even now, that thought would have made him choke with horrified laughter and then look for a special mother-son rate at St. Mungo’s. But it wouldn’t have made any difference to him even if it had. Black and his cronies had been abusing, mocking, and bullying Severus since the day they met, most of the time for no better reason than their own puerile entertainment — and had he thought for even a second that he was causing Black any real emotional pain, his only response would have been a gleeful, heartfelt Yes!

He drew a jagged crack down the middle of the heart. He frowned at it for a moment, then added a knife plunging into the crack.

He wondered if he should say it straight out or let Black fuck him first. He supposed it would depend on what Black had in mind for the evening’s entertainment. Another little thrill of anticipation coursed through him. Black was a nutter, but he was an imaginative nutter. A bit too imaginative, sometimes; Severus had already had to censure several of Black’s wilder brainstorms. Just last week, the idiot had actually suggested a midnight shag in the Forbidden Forest. Severus had demurred; it was too cold, he had said, and his winter cloak wasn’t up to it. Black had sneered — “Why don’t you have your rich boyfriend buy you a new one?” — and he had sulked, but in the end he had settled for a semi-al fresco encounter in the Astronomy Tower.

All things considered, though, Severus appreciated Black’s sense of adventure.

Not that it matters what you appreciate after tonight, he thought morosely, and he erased his dusty heart with a vicious swipe of his sleeve.

“Well, well, well. Aren’t we grand. Shall I call you Professor Sweetcheeks now?”

Black. Right in front of him. Appearing out of nowhere — again; how did he do that? — carrying his little bag of tricks and grinning like a deranged monkey. Brilliant, Severus thought; it looked like he was getting the lover and the fighter tonight, and he never knew how to handle that.

“You were late,” Severus said, finally opting for cool neutrality. “I needed a place to sit down.”

“I’m amazed you can sit down,” Black snickered. “It’s only been three weeks.”

Severus flushed. “Proud of yourself, are you?”

“Oh, stop whining.” Black’s grin soured at the edges. “As if you didn’t deserve every stripe! I was wearing your teeth marks on my cock for a week, you little animal; you’re lucky you didn’t get worse.”

Black’s yelp. The give of his firm flesh, the taste of his blood. Severus felt a grin of his own threaten at the memory, and he quashed it, though just barely. “You’re lucky you’re not a eunuch.” He stood and walked around the desk, perching on the edge in front of Black and offering his very best sneer. “Though I daresay I’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference.”

To his disappointment, Black didn’t take the bait.

“You’re fucking Malfoy, and he’s hung like a cashew,” he shrugged. “But if you’re really such a size queen, Snivvy, I’m sure I can lay my hands on another Arse-Ripper Deluxe and give you a proper stuffing.”

The flush went from pink to scarlet; Black’s eyes went from grey to silver, arousal flaring in their depths.

“Merlin, I love the way you blush,” he murmured. He framed Severus’s face in both hands and lifted it, holding him still and staring hard into his eyes. “Blush and squirm and scowl and pretend you don’t love every nasty thing I do to you. Sometimes, Severus, I think you deliberately provoke me, just so I’ll put you across my knee.”

Severus had time for a single, scorching thought — Sometimes, Black? Gods, you really are dumber than mud — before Black hauled him to his feet and took his mouth in a deep kiss.

Damn, but he was a good kisser. Severus was dizzy and panting and hard as a diamond when Black finally pressed him to the desk top and began to undress him. He could feel Black’s erection nuzzling his thigh, could hear the ragged edge to his breathing, and he spread his legs without even thinking about it, expecting a nice long shag. He was surprised — and irritated — when Black suddenly pulled away.

“Wait a tick. Before I forget…” Black reached down under the desk; Severus could hear him rummaging around in his bag. Then he straightened and thrust a bundle of something soft into Severus’s startled hands. “Here. I don’t wear this any more, it’s too small for me, but it should fit your skinny arse just fine.”

It was a traveling cloak, heavy black wool lined with exquisitely soft grey flannel. It was a handsome, well-made garment, and it certainly looked harmless enough, but Severus barely had it in his grasp before he was trying to give it back.

“Oh, no, you don’t! I told you, you bloody fool, I’m not going out to the Forest with you!”

“So who asked you to?” Black flared.

Severus raised an eyebrow.

“Oh. That.” Black waved a hand. “Well, I changed my mind about that. Last weekend John Lovegood and Dharma Patil went snogging in the Forest and ended up with scratch-me-not all over their arses. I reckon I don’t need any of that shit, do you?”

He pushed the cloak back into Severus’s hands. Severus stared at it. Black sighed.

“For Merlin’s sake, Snape, it’s not going to bite you. Now take the bloody thing. Before I strangle you with it.”

Severus took it reluctantly and examined it thoroughly, checking for poison fibers, Muggle explosive devices, maybe a big old HEX ME sign flashing on the back. Beware of Gryffindors bearing gifts, his grandmother had liked to say — and had she known this particular Gryffindor, she’d have likely said it more often.

“I don’t understand,” he said finally. “If you’re not taking me into the Forest, why do I need this?”

“Because your cloak’s a tatty old piece of shit that wouldn’t keep you warm if you set it on fire.” He rolled his eyes. “Jesus! What’s to understand? It’s a cloak, stupid. You don’t solve it, you wear it.”

“You’re… you’re giving me this?”

Severus’s obvious astonishment seemed to take Black by surprise; he cleared his throat and glanced down at his shoes, looking gruff and sheepish at the same time. “Yeah, well. Don’t get any ideas. I just didn’t want to listen to you snivel about the cold any more.”

“It’s mine?”

Black nodded.

“To keep?”

“Bloody hell! Yes!” Black snapped. He was a trifle red himself at this point. “Now shut up and stop making such a fuss about it, or I’ll change my mind. And put it on; I want to see how it looks.”

Severus complied. He ran his hands over it again, marveling at the quality; even the shell was impossibly soft, more like rich, thick fur than wool. Merlin! Lucius didn’t have a cloak this nice. And it was no hand-me-down, either. It was obviously new, and it fit him as if it had been tailored to every quirk of his growing teenager’s body, his too-long legs, his wiry, slightly sloping shoulders. Even the sleeves came about an inch past his wrists, draping over his hands in that particular way he liked—a way that Black had once flatly declared “would drive me mental in about two minutes flat.”

"Too small for me,” my arse, he thought. And then he was so confused, he didn’t know what to think at all.

He didn’t even know what to feel. He was amused and disconcerted and suspicious and pleased, all at once; he was also, for a dangerous moment or two, genuinely touched. And, strangely enough, it was the lie that impressed him much more than the gift. Lucius gave him gifts all the time, but Severus recognized them for what they actually were. Down payments. Investments. Bribes. Severus liked Lucius as genuinely as Severus could like anyone, but he was smart enough to know that Lucius didn’t give him the time of day without something in it for Lucius.

And Lucius always made such a big production of it, always managed to let Severus know the great lengths and great expense he’d gone to for him. Gifts from Lucius were events, and sometimes when Severus dropped to his knees before him, he didn’t know whether Lucius wanted a blow-job or Severus’s actual head. On a platter. Still murmuring rapturous endearments.

But Black, who had a nature every bit as selfish as Malfoy’s, and an ego every bit as bloated and greedy, didn’t seem to want anything at all. No thanks, no credit, no fuss or fanfare — and this for a gift with no apparent strings attached, a gift given only because he had the means to give it and because it was honestly needed. The fact that it was needed by Severus Snape did not seem to have entered Black’s equation at all, and Severus couldn’t even begin to wrap his brain around that. For once, Black had him completely flummoxed.

Thank the gods Black was too thick to notice.

“You know, you don’t look half-bad in decent clothes.” He reached out and straightened Severus’s collar. It was an oddly fraternal gesture; for a moment, Severus thought the Gryffindor was going to ruffle his hair. “How does it feel?”

It felt perfect. Warm. Luxurious. Sensual, even. The flannel brushed velvety fingers over his bare skin with the slightest movement, tickling his thighs, caressing his ass, teasing his nipples with whispery little—

His eyes and mouth flew open at the same time. “Black! Where the hell are my robes?”

“Never mind your robes.” Black was smirking, that hot, avid light back in his eyes. That look again, that cauldron-in-the-window look. “Answer the question. How does it feel?

“Nice,” was all Severus could manage, but that seemed to be enough for Black. He pulled Severus’s body against his and began to fondle him through the cloak, rubbing the softness into his naked cock and balls and thighs and ass. Severus closed his eyes and moaned. He felt utterly decadent, dressed but undressed, all starched and prim and proper in his surface finery, all flushed, leaking prick and bollocks tight as drums underneath. The contrast was wickedly arousing.

“Feels good, doesn’t it,” Black murmured, his mouth on Severus’s ear. He gave the flannel-draped cock a slow squeeze and Severus ground hard into his hand, panting softly. “You like being starkers under that thing?”

“Yes.”

Black’s other hand re-joined the party, massaging his buttocks. “You like me touching you through it?”

“Yes.”

“You want to wear it while I fuck you?”

A flannel fingertip slipped between his cheeks, pressing and probing. “Y-yes!” he gasped, going up on his toes to avoid the intrusion. “Shit! Yes!”

The light in Black’s eyes flamed. “Turn around,” he growled.

Black took him right there on the desk. Over the next several hours, he also took him over the worktable, on the floor, against the blackboard, and on the floor again. By the time they finished, with Severus straddling Black in the teacher’s chair and Black’s hands clamped on the Slytherin’s frantically-pumping ass, the room was a shambles, the handsome new cloak was a dusty, sweaty, come-streaked mess, and Severus was shooting air.

And he had forgotten all about dumping Sirius Black.

Next time, he told himself fuzzily, writhing in the grip of another dry, explosive orgasm. Wizard’s honor, I swear…do it… next time.

***

But he didn’t do it next time.

He didn’t do it the next time, or the time after that, or the time after that. He didn’t say a word about it three days later, or five days later, or on the following weekend. Nor did he mention the matter on St. Valentine’s Day (14th), All Creatures’ Day (18th), Muggle Appreciation Day (20th), or even Ravenclaw’s Birthday (23rd).

It wasn’t as if he hadn’t tried. Or wanted to try. It was just that Black kept… distracting him. The Gryffindor had reached dazzling levels of invention over the last few weeks, and every time Severus prepared himself to break off the affair, he found himself wooed back by some new and previously unimagined sexual delight. Plus, there were all those holidays in February — and Sirius Black, Severus had discovered, was an absolute bugger for holidays.

He had discovered it on Valentine’s Day, when Black covered him in what must have been half the inventory of Honeydukes and licked every inch of him clean. He had discovered it again on All Creatures’ Day, when Black used a lush phoenix feather and a supple, surprisingly delicate dragon-hide whip in an expert pleasure-pain tandem Severus was fairly sure he had never learned in Professor Kettleburn’s class. He had discovered it on Muggle Appreciation Day (a “holiday” exclusive to Hogwarts, and one which he suspected Dumbledore had invented solely to torture Slytherins), when Black had vowed to cure Severus of his pureblood bigotry once and for all. “The only reason you hate Muggles, Snape, is that you’re ignorant about them,” Black had said. “You haven’t seen any of the good they’ve done for mankind.” Perhaps he had a point; an evening of nipple clamps, cock rings, and something called a “French Tickler” had Severus singing paeans to Muggle ingenuity. With his body, if not with his voice.

Then came Ravenclaw’s Birthday, and to honor the intellectual member of the Hogwarts founding four, Black wanted to take a more cerebral approach. So he bound Severus to the bed, blindfolded him, and made him describe, in the most precise and detached terms possible, everything Black did to his body. It had turned out to be quite the learning experience. Severus, at least, had learned several lessons, not least among them the fact that even the most clinical analysis — “Your tongue is penetrating my anus, forcing my sphincter to spasm” — could be incredibly arousing when there was a tongue actually penetrating one’s anus, forcing one’s sphincter to spasm.

He judged old Rowena would have been proud.

So there were all those holidays, and all their accompanying merriment, and scattered in amongst all of that was the usual array of exotic positions and exciting games, and by the 25th, exactly three weeks after Lucius’s terse ultimatum, Severus still hadn’t told Black they were through.

And Severus was getting nervous.

He knew he was pushing his luck. Lucius was going to find out, and when he did, he wasn’t going to bother with vague owled threats. No, Lucius these days had a higher power in his corner, and, combined with his latent sadistic tendencies, he’d probably use it to put Severus in a chastity belt for the rest of his life. Probably a very large, metal chastity belt. With many teeth.

And Lucius would find out. Lucius had excellent sources inside Hogwarts, all of whom were watching Severus like hawks, none of whom would give Severus a pat on the back without looking for a good place to stick a knife. Bellatrix Black, in particular, seemed terribly interested in what Severus was getting up to with her cousin Sirius (Severus suspected it was she who had tipped Lucius off in the first place, and he had suspected it long before she’d shot off her mouth in Potions class) and Bellatrix Black was dangerous. Gorgeous, brilliant, an exquisite lay, but dangerous.

Genuinely dangerous. Like…like him.

As always, the thought of him sobered Severus like a slap. Severus didn’t know for certain that he was the one behind Lucius’s sudden stand, but…but what if he was? No amount of pleasure, no matter how novel or thrilling or dark, was worth crossing him. Severus needed him. He didn’t like him, even feared him a little, but he needed him desperately. Men like Voldemort opened doors, doors that even Lucius couldn’t open. Doors that boys like Severus Snape didn’t even know were there.

He had to tell Black. He would tell Black.

Tonight.

Tonight, for sure.

***

Black wanted to meet in the nook behind the Great Hall. It was probably not the most discreet place to tell him — the acoustics were phenomenal, and if Black went as mental as Severus feared he would, he’d probably wake the whole bloody castle — but he couldn’t put it off any longer.

Black was waiting for him, lounging on the sofa before the fire. Severus caught sight of the paddle already in his hand, and the skin on his ass tightened longingly. Gods, he loved the paddle. It hurt just right, just enough, and it felt so good when Black rubbed Mum’s salve into the stinging flesh afterward. Such cool, gentle hands. Such soft, easy strokes. Black just about worshipped his ass, and Severus could feel that every time Black touched him there. He’d rub and he’d stroke and he’d spread him carefully, so carefully, like a breathless child opening a much-anticipated present, and then he’d—

No. Stop it. Tell him. Tell him now.

Ten minutes later, as he was bent over the back of the sofa, long thighs stretched taut and bottom raised high for the first hot smack, he thought: Later. I’ll tell him later. It’s been this long; another few days won’t hurt.

Whack!


Severus shuddered under the blow, grinding himself into the sofa. Yes. Yes, later would be just fine.

***

By the first week of March, Severus was getting desperate.

At breakfast each day he was a wreck, casting nervous looks at the ceiling of the Great Hall during the morning post, waiting for the inevitable query from Lucius. It never came, and far from easing his mind, this only increased his anxiety. What was Lucius playing at? What was he waiting for? What was he planning next, now that threats had failed?

Worst of all, spring holiday was just a few weeks away, and if Severus hadn’t ended it with Black by then—

He couldn’t go on like this. He had to tell Black. Had to.

He would. Tonight. Tonight, for certain.

He would.

He didn’t.

***

Continued

Comments

( 1 Thing We Said Today — Dear Sir or Madam )
dphearson
Oct. 19th, 2005 10:58 am (UTC)
Poor Severus. a nervous, giddy teenager, and there is Sirius, trying to henuinely court him, and yet not able to really have Severus' affection that way that he wants.

And then there is Lucius, who is rather jelaous tat he not controlling Severus' actions. Hmmmm.
( 1 Thing We Said Today — Dear Sir or Madam )