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Severus lay still until he heard the door shut quietly behind her. As soon as she was gone, he sat up and spat the mouthful of potion into the basin on the bed stand. Like as not, it wouldn’t have worked any better than the previous dose had, but he couldn’t afford to take that chance. Indeed, he would have liked to go back to sleep — he was still unutterably exhausted — but he couldn’t afford that, either. Right now, he needed his wits about him. He needed to be as alert and focused as possible. He needed to think.

Pomfrey was right about one thing: he was scared to death. Stories his father had told him of Azkaban, the wizard prison, ran through his mind. Stories of the terrible guards, inhuman creatures called Dementors, grey and twisted beneath their dark robes, who drained the will to live from all who came near them. Stories of inmates driven mad, screaming and laughing hysterically, clawing their own eyes out, banging their heads against the walls, or sitting, senseless and silent, hour after hour after hour. Oh, yes, Severus knew all about Azkaban. Hadn’t his father told him often enough that his Dark ways would land him at the prison’s door one day, that it was somehow his destiny to die raving in one of its dank and stinking cells?

He told himself not to be ridiculous. Even if they did discover that he had joined the Dark Lord, they couldn’t put him in prison. They couldn’t do anything to him. It wasn’t against the law to be a Death Eater, after all, not when Lord Voldemort still had a facade of respectability, not when only a handful of magic folk even knew what a Death Eater was. Still, his fear persisted, gut-deep and irrational. His mind was the one thing he could not afford to lose; his mind was all he had.

He lay back again, slowly, throwing an arm across his eyes. He closed them and forced himself to breathe deeply and evenly, willing himself to relax, willing his racing heart to slow and his frantic mind to stop darting from one panicky thought to the next. Be logical. Calm and logical. That was how he had to approach this. It was a problem, just another problem, and any problem could be solved. If he thought about it rationally, if he took his time, he’d figure out what the hell he was going to do.

But what the hell could he do? As far as he could tell, he had only two options, and he didn’t care for either of them. If he destroyed the evidence and cleaned himself up before Pomfrey could examine him, it would be akin to signing a confession — Pomfrey already knew he’d been raped, after all, and both she and McGonagall believed he might be protecting somebody. There would be questions. An investigation. They might discover that he had lied. If they really wanted to get tough with him, they could formally charge him with evidence tampering, possibly even interfering with a criminal investigation. But if he didn’t destroy it…

If I don’t destroy it, I’m dead.

Evidence. Physical evidence — or trace evidence, as Augustus called it — was another of the old man’s pet subjects, and Severus knew a great deal about it, much more than most wizards even twice his age. He knew, for instance, that every magical human being had a chemical signature, recorded at birth, which was as unique to that witch or wizard as a fingerprint and as tangible, to the proper testing, as a drop of blood. According to Augustus, this signature was present in every physical aspect of a magical human: skin, hair, bone, blood, saliva, sweat, and semen. Trace evidence was extremely rare in their world — most wizards who committed crimes did so from a distance, with wands or potions — but when it was present, it was foolproof. And it was durable: its components would not degrade over time or under adverse conditions, as those in a blood sample would. As long as the host material survived, so, too, would the signature.

Severus wondered whose signatures they would find on him. In him. Malfoy’s? Avery’s? The Dark Lord’s? A violent shudder ripped through him at that thought. The Ministry was positively aching to find some crime, any crime, with which to bring down Lord Voldemort, and child-rape would no doubt do the trick. Were he to hand them the Dark Lord’s downfall on such a platter, Severus knew, Azkaban would be the least of his worries.

So those were his options. Destroy the evidence, or let it speak. Choose Azkaban, or choose death. Even to a boy well-accustomed to hard choices, it was an overwhelming dilemma. He had never felt so helpless in his life.

So change the evidence.

The thought came clearly and suddenly, like a little voice whispering in his ear. Except it didn’t sound like his usual inner voice. It didn’t sound like his own voice at all. It sounded like His Lord’s voice — and what it was suggesting was impossible.

Is it? I think not. Clever, clever little one — certainly this is not beyond you?

His Mark was twitching, burning faintly beneath his skin. An observer looking at him would have believed him to be in a trance: his face was a still white mask, his eyes wide but blank, fixed on nothing. He was concentrating every muscle and fiber and inch of him on that voice.

False evidence would do the trick nicely, he thought — but how? He didn’t even have his wand, and he certainly didn’t have anyone available to give him a sperm sample. Unless he could find someone to fuck in the next twenty minutes or so, the whole argument was moot.

Not just “someone.” Not just anyone. You know who it must be.

Of course he did. Hadn’t Prozac supplied the name not ten minutes ago? Black. Black would be perfect. Indeed, if not for the small fact that Black now hated his guts more than ever and wouldn’t come within fifty feet of him under threat of torture, Black would be ideal.

He’ll come. Send for him, Severus. Send. Reach.

Could he? Could he Reach Black, could he Reach out, sending his thoughts to another mind instead of pulling them from someone else? He had never attempted such a thing before; he had never considered the possibility, even. And he didn’t have his wand. But if he could do it…if he could…that would be brilliant.

He closed his eyes. He concentrated all his will on picturing Black’s face in his mind, that perfect, beautiful, hated face, and he narrowed his focus to a single, simple thought. Come to me. Come to me, please. I need you.

The room grew very still around him. His trance deepened, became a light doze. He let himself drift in and out, keeping Black’s face in his mind’s eye, murmuring the words softly aloud, as if in prayer. At some point, his exhaustion took over and he fell asleep. His last conscious thought was It’s working, and it was; he could actually feel the subtle brush of Black’s mind against his.

He slept for no more than twenty minutes or so, but awoke remarkably refreshed. His head felt clearer, his body, stronger; his resolve was restored, vigorous and unshakable. He propped himself up on his elbows and looked around, and he felt no surprise whatsoever when he saw Sirius Black standing in the doorway.

His Mark burning, Severus Snape smiled.


It was the smile, Sirius would think much later, that should have tipped him off.

At the time, it merely caught him off-guard. It should not have done, perhaps; foreign as such an expression was on Severus Snape’s sharp, brooding countenance, it was not a false smile. It was not sly or mocking or wicked or remotely threatening, but Sirius felt vaguely threatened by it nonetheless.

He took a hesitant step forward, letting the door close behind him, then stepped back and pressed himself against it, confused and disoriented.

He had only the fuzziest idea how he had come to be here. After leaving Potions, he had gone back to his room. He had gone to bed and he had remained there through lunch, replaying Bella’s confession again and again. His initial shock at her revelations had passed quickly — hadn’t he known all along, known somewhere deep inside him, that Snape was innocent? — but the guilt and shame that followed had been a torture he couldn’t have imagined. For the first time in his life, Sirius had found himself truly sorry for something he had done. Not sorry he had been caught, or sorry that he would be punished, but simply sorry for the deed itself, for hurting someone so badly, someone who had done nothing to deserve it. Someone, he realized, that he loved.

And even in his remorse, he had been selfish, for the words that had haunted him most were Severus was falling in love with you.

He remembered lying on his bed, wrestling with his bleeding conscience, trying to find some way to live with what he had done, trying not to think about what he had destroyed. He remembered falling asleep, and he remembered having a terrible dream.

He was in Potions class. The teacher was not Pavel Prozac, but the man Sirius had seen with Malfoy and Snape in Hogsmeade, the dark, handsome stranger with the frightening red eyes. All of the Slytherins were in dark robes, with odd white masks over their faces; all of the Gryffindors were in chains. Snape was chained as well, and gagged. He lay naked and splayed on the teacher’s desk at the head of the room, like a sacrifice on an ancient altar. He struggled, his eyes wild with terror as they fixed on the dark man disrobing between his widespread legs.

The dark man slid from his robes like a snake shedding its skin, revealing a long, pale, smooth body and a hideous cock, a monstrously deformed appendage covered with sharp thorn-like spikes. The head of his member was that of a snake, and Sirius’s stomach turned over as a forked tongue flicked from the slit, tasting Snape’s thigh.

The dark man bent over Snape’s writhing form; the tip of his inhuman phallus touched Snape’s entrance, and the Slytherin’s struggles became frenzied, his eyes nearly insane. Sirius thought,
Jesus, Jesus, no, you can’t fuck him with that thing, you can’t, sweet fucking Merlin, you’ll kill him. Snape turned toward Sirius, begging with his desperate eyes. Come to me, he begged. Come to me, please. I need you.

Sirius strained against the chains holding him, but he couldn’t move. He tried to look away as the enormous barbed shaft plunged forward, driving deep into Snape’s body, but he could not. Snape screamed — Sirius could hear him clearly, gag or no gag, terrible screams of agony pealing one right after another as flesh ripped and blood poured. Gods, gods, stop, stop, you’re killing him, stop, for God’s sake—

The dark man, still thrusting, looked at him with bland curiosity. “Why would you spare this child?” he asked the staring Sirius. “He has hurt you. He will destroy you. He will kill all that you have ever loved.”

The man’s face melted, seeming to run like water before it reformed itself into something else. Something heavy and coarse and furry. A dog, Sirius realized dismally. It was a dog fucking Snape now, a huge black dog. Sirius cringed in his bed; even in sleep, his shame was almost physically painful. And then the dog morphed again; the black fur turned grey, the grey eyes turned amber. It became a wolf. It became Moony, and it allowed Snape one final agonized shriek before it bent its foamy jaws and ripped out his throat.

Sirius had awakened with his pillow stuffed in his mouth and the blankets a sweaty, twisted tangle about his thrashing legs. He was weeping, and a single thought was running through his head: Go to him. Go to him now, and set this right.

His feet had carried him here. He had come blindly, obeying instinct, with no idea where he was going or what he would find. He had expected Snape to be in trouble, hurt, sick, injured. But, at first glance, Snape seemed fine. He was in one of the infirmary beds, true, but, except for his pallor and the heavy black circles under his eyes, he looked largely unharmed.

And he was smiling.

“I…I need to talk to you,” Sirius heard himself say. He took a hesitant step forward, then another. Snape watched him, his smile fading, his expression growing very still. Watchful, and almost sad.

“Where’s Pomfrey?” he asked.

“Emergency. She got a note a few minutes ago. Supposedly from Hagrid. Said some first-years wandered too deep into the Forest and got themselves hurt.”

“Did they?”

Sirius smiled faintly. “I’ll never tell.” He moved another few steps closer to Snape and paused again. The look on Snape’s face was a bit wary now. Sirius licked his lips. He needed to tell Snape everything, wanted to tell him, but he didn’t know where to begin. He cleared his throat, waved a hand at the bed. “Why are you in here?”

“That’s none of your business.” Calm. Even. Cautious.

Sirius shrugged. “True enough,” he replied, just as evenly. “I just wondered if it was — if Malfoy — if Malfoy hurt you.”

“That’s definitely none of your business.” More fire in the words this time, but Sirius caught the slight flush, the brief drop of his eyes. Sirius moved closer still, close enough now to see the bruises and bites and other marks on Snape’s body, and a furious hiss escaped him, his fists clenching at his sides. Snape gave him a defiant glare.

“Oh, what are you sniffing about?” he flared. “You’ve no right to say anything about what I do.”

“Malfoy has no right to abuse you,” Sirius said. Dull rage pounded behind his eyes. That beautiful, beautiful skin, like luscious cream to the taste, breathing silk to the touch. He had been aching for that skin for weeks, dreaming of it, hungry for it, and Malfoy and his sick clan had torn into it like a pack of wild animals. “I never marked you up like that.”

“No. And Lucius never let a dog fuck me up my arse.”

The tremble in his tone belied his angry face, his flippant words. That little-boy tremble, the sound of a child holding back explosive tears, broke Sirius’s heart; it released something wound tight within him and unlocked his tongue, and the whole story came tumbling out in a tangled rush.

“I wanted to punish you,” he said. He crossed the rest of the space between them in three quick strides and sat on the bed, grabbing Snape’s hands in his before Snape could pull them away, looking earnestly into his eyes. “I thought you were tricking me, Bellatrix and Lucius cooked up this fake letter and made me think you were setting me up, and I wanted to punish you, I did. I wanted to hurt you, so I set the whole thing up. But it wasn’t real, Severus. You have to understand that, it wasn’t real, not any of it. Even James and the others, they weren’t there, Severus. They weren’t. It was just an illusion.” He saw Snape’s confusion and rushed on. “That room — where I took you — it’s special — it’s magical, and it made everything seem real, but it wasn’t, none of it, I swear.”

Snape shook his head fiercely. There were tears in his eyes. “The dog was real.”

“No. Yes. Yes, but not — not the way you think.” Sirius hesitated. He couldn’t confess that, he knew; there was no guessing what Snape could do to him if armed with the knowledge that Sirius was an Animagus. “You just have to believe me. It wasn’t what you thought it was. It felt real, I know—”

“No, you don’t.”

“No.” Shame tightened his chest again. “But it was all a trick. And I’m sorry for it, Severus. I’m sorrier for that than I’ve ever been for anything. You have to believe that.”

Snape opened his mouth — it was already sneering around an undoubtedly ugly retort — and Sirius leaned forward and kissed him. Oh, and it was a good kiss, unlike any they’d ever shared, soft and warm and deep, building and building. He brought one hand up to hold Snape’s head and felt Snape lean into the touch; he shifted closer, both of them kissing harder, melting into the embrace. He heard himself moan into Snape’s mouth — then Snape stiffened and pulled away with a gasp.

“I don’t trust you,” he said.

“You smiled at me when I came in.”

“I — what?”

“You looked happy to see me. You looked like you missed me.” Sirius ran his thumb over Snape’s mouth, tracing the delicate curve of it. Snape shivered. “I missed you. You’re a horrid, crazy, fucked-up little git, but I missed the hell out of you.” He drew a deep breath. “There. I’ve said it. Now you can have a good laugh at me, take the mickey and send me crawling away, humiliated and rejected. I know you want to. Maybe I even deserve it. But I had to tell you the truth.”

Something flashed low in Snape’s dark eyes, too quickly for Sirius to place. The rest of his face remained somber and still. He held out his hand.

“Give me your wand,” he said.

Sirius raised his eyebrows, a tiny smile tugging at his lips. “I don’t think so, Severus,” he demurred.

Snape did not smile. “You want me to trust you? Give me your wand…and close your eyes.”

Sirius’s amusement faded. He gave Snape a long, speculative stare. His wand. His wand? So this was the price of Snape’s faith, then — and the ultimate test of his own.

Which was exactly why he had to do it.

He handed it over, closed his eyes, and braced himself for the worst.

He heard some murmurs, barely audible, indistinct; he felt the unmistakable tingle of magic shimmering all around them, but nothing directed at him. He was tense, expecting a curse to hit him at any moment, certain he was going to be hexed. He was fairly sure Snape wouldn’t actually kill him — too public a venue, no chance to tidy up after — but anything short of that was likely fair game.

The warm crush of Snape’s mouth on his made him jump, eyes flying open wide.

“Mmph!” he gasped, and Snape seized the opportunity to slip in his tongue. Snape’s hands were everywhere, sliding under Sirius’s shirt, running through his hair, and, when Sirius responded and took the Slytherin in his arms, he felt nothing but smooth naked skin under his palms.

“Fuck me,” Snape whispered, and Sirius pulled back in astonishment to look at his face. What he saw there made him shiver. Snape was smiling at him again, a lazy, inviting smile, eyes adoring, body eager and pliant. It was so like his dreams of Snape it scarcely seemed real.

Still, Sirius tried to be noble. “No…no, you’re…you’re hurt, you’re sick…”

But Snape would not be denied. The drowsy, hot voice caressed his ear again — “Fuck me, please” — and Sirius Black was lost.


I shouldn’t have smiled at him, Severus fretted.

He realized his mistake almost immediately, even before Black confronted him with it. It was a forgivable response — he was delighted by the discovery that he had brought Black to him with just the force of his mind, enthralled by this newfound dimension to his powers — but it was not a believable one. Black reacted with wariness, if not outright suspicion, and Severus held his breath, certain he had overplayed his hand and scared the Gryffindor away.

He searched for the proper tone and expression. Play it wounded, he decided. Sad and wounded, and a bit afraid. He sensed that Black was feeling terribly guilty about something; there was a haunted, shadowed look in his eyes. Let him feel guilty. Let him know how badly he hurt you. Make him feel guilty.

It seemed to work. Concentrating on his performance, and with one surreptitious eye on the clock, Severus barely absorbed Black’s blather about Bella and Lucius, pranks and letters, fake Marauders and magical rooms, but he got the gist of it: he and Black had been set up, and broken up, by Lucius and his friends. And, yes, Black seemed genuinely remorseful for what he had done — but that was none of Severus’s concern. Black was just a tool now, a tool he needed to help him fix this mess; even if Severus had had the inclination, there was no room for sentiment in his plans.

Besides, Black deserved to hang for something. Black had raped him all those months ago, and on several occasions since — and then there was the small matter of the dog. No matter what crazy fictions Bella and Lucius had planted in Black’s mind, no matter what Black believed Severus had done, it couldn’t justify that cruelty, that abomination. Black could apologize until the stars winked out and the heavens fell, but as far as Severus was concerned, he was a day late and a sickle short. Some things were simply unforgivable.

Then Black handed over his wand, and Severus, shocked to his core, felt his resolve falter. Relinquishing one’s wand to another wizard was an enormous gesture, the ultimate expression of trust, and Severus had asked for it on an impulse — he certainly hadn’t believed Black would actually comply. Yet he had, and as Severus looked at the slender length of maple in his hand, he wondered how deep Black’s guilt truly went.

He glanced up at Black’s face. Black’s eyes were closed, his expression tense and expectant, as if anticipating a lengthy and painful curse to hit him at any moment. Severus was tempted to oblige him — but he did not. Black needed to believe that Severus was touched by the gesture, needed to believe that he had earned Severus’s trust; now was the time to reciprocate, to earn Black’s trust in return, and the best way to do that was to do nothing to Black at all.

Instead, he turned the wand on himself. He cleaned his injuries carefully, without healing them. He cast a mild anesthetic charm on the worst of them and a comfort spell all over his body, to ease the aches and pains Prozac’s inferior potions hadn’t touched. Lastly, he conjured a glamour around the bed, which would make it appear that he was alone and still sleeping. He had no idea how long Black’s ruse would keep Pomfrey away — and, hopefully, she would not check on him straight off once she returned — and they would need privacy for the next part of his plan.

He stripped out of his robes and launched himself at Black, kissing him, whispering “Fuck me” in the Gryffindor’s ear. He told himself he was only doing what he had to do, what he must. He certainly didn’t intend to get any pleasure from it.

But when Black began making love to him, it was with a tenderness that Severus never would have credited, and Severus’s body reacted as if starved. Black moved along the bruised and battered length of him, kissing and caressing his small hurts and murmuring angrily at each. Severus trembled like a wide-eyed virgin in his arms, and when Black whispered in his ear, “I’ve missed you,” and Severus responded in kind, he was shocked to find it was the truth: he had missed Black terribly.

There was still a great deal of pain when Black entered him, pain his makeshift charms couldn’t begin to ease, but he hid it, wrapping his arms around Black, pulling him close, burying his face in Black’s shoulder so the Gryffindor would not see him flinch and bite his lip.

What hurt even worse was Black’s gentleness. He clearly did not know the level of Severus’s pain, and he did not know the extent of his injuries, but he showed remarkable restraint just the same. He entered Severus as slowly as he had on their first night together — so long ago, it seemed now! — but with a concern that Severus had never seen before, his eyes fixed on Severus’s the entire time, watching for any sign of pain or hesitation. His thrusts were slow, too, easy and gliding; each stroke was like being filled with warm, rich oils and then gently emptied again, soothing as well as exciting.

Severus closed his eyes against sudden tears. Oh you stupid, stupid bastard! he thought, his chest swelling with heartsick fury. If you had been like this with me before, even once, we wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t be in this mess.

He opened his mouth to say the words, needing to say them, needing Black to know — and his Mark flared again, a burst of glassy pain that made him gasp.

Black hesitated in his rhythm, started to pull away, but Severus clutched him tight and pulled him right back. Black had to finish. The pain had cleared his head, firmed his grim resolve: the plan was what mattered, was all that mattered, and sentiment and foolish regrets be damned. Black had to finish.

His Mark burned. His eyes burned. Severus pressed his face to Black’s smooth shoulder and shuddered, waiting for it to be over.


It was just like his dreams. It was tender and passionate and superbly right, and not even the daunting possibility that Madam Pomfrey could walk in at any moment could stop him now. This was Severus Snape as Sirius had wanted him for so long, wanting him, urging him on, offering himself completely, and Sirius couldn’t get enough.

He was ravenous for Snape after all these weeks, but he forced himself to go slowly, to be gentle. He saw the marks Malfoy and his merry band had left on Snape’s body, and he suspected there were other injuries he could not see. He had even tried to look, under the pretense of kissing and licking Snape where he so loved to be kissed and licked, but Snape had pulled his head up and said again, “Never mind that, just fuck me,” and Sirius had been overwhelmed. He knew Snape was hurting, and the fact that he would offer his body, sore and sex-weary as it was, touched Sirius as much as it aroused him.

“I’m going to make you come harder than you’ve ever come in your life,” he whispered in Snape’s ear, and then set out to do just that.


Severus knew he was going to come. Despite the pain still radiating from the torn, bruised entrance to his body, Black’s gentle rhythm and urgent kisses and soft, stroking hands had him writhing and moaning with the same old abandon. Pleasure was building, uncoiling in his belly like a snake; soon it would explode, and he would be gasping out his climax as he had with this man so many times before. Just as well, he thought, in the corner of his mind that could still think at all. At least you won’t have to fake it.

But he didn’t anticipate the force of his climax. It hit him out of nowhere and washed over him in hard, fast waves, crushing the breath out of him; it made even the most powerful orgasms he had had at the Dark Lord’s hands feel like kisses from a spinster aunt.

Like flying, he thought incoherently, it is just…just like…like flying…

He arched against Black’s straining body and froze, Black’s arms strong around his back, Black’s breath warm and broken in his ear. He felt a wetness against his neck and realized that Black was crying.

“I’m sorry,” Black muttered. “So sorry, so sorry,” and these were the words Severus carried with him into the dark.


It was even better than his dreams, Sirius realized. Snape was wild, absolutely wild; his hands were all over Sirius, running through his hair, stroking his back, kneading his ass; his mouth bit and sucked every inch of flesh it could find. Sirius shared his hunger — after all this time, he wanted nothing more than to bury himself in that lovely white ass and fuck himself dry — but he refused to indulge it. Snape had been hurt, Snape had been abused, and Sirius needed to atone for his part in all of that the only way he knew how.

So he took his time. He coaxed and teased, nuzzled and nibbled, drawing out every scrap of sensation from the other boy’s body until the hands clutching at him turned to claws, until Snape was cursing him between frantic gasps and throaty groans. Sirius was entranced. He had used this approach on Snape before, but it had never thrilled him like this. This was the first time his efforts were unhindered by selfishness or conceit, it was the only time he put Snape’s pleasure ahead of his own, and the satisfaction that brought him amazed him.

Snape’s orgasm took Sirius by surprise. It came fast, without warning, and with a force that shook them both. The look on Snape’s face was almost frightened, and Sirius pulled him close even as his own control shattered. Overwhelmed by emotion, he hid his face in Snape’s neck to hide his tears.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered. “So sorry, so sorry,” and he came in a lazy sweet spiral as Snape went limp in his arms.


That wasn’t an orgasm, Severus thought when he regained consciousness. That was a fucking tsunami.

Black was still holding him, and Severus began to settle deeper into the embrace, relishing the warmth and security of strong arms about him, before he remembered. Pomfrey! Pomfrey could walk in at any moment, and if she did, if she saw him curled up in Sirius Black’s arms, his plans were ruined.

Adrenaline flooded him in a panicky burst and he struggled beneath Black’s weight, pushing at him, whispering frantically in his ear. “Black! Black, get up, get up now! You’ve got to go!”

Black sighed and stretched, lifted his head, and smiled broadly down at him. He looked remarkably idiotic, and dislike joined the alarm surging through Severus, but he suppressed it as well as he could and forced a smile of his own.

“Please, you’ve got to go,” he urged. “You can’t be caught here, not with me, not like this—”

Black leaned down and kissed him thoroughly, cutting off his words. Severus fought the urge to bite down on the roving tongue and pulled away instead. “Lovely,” he lied, “but dangerous.”

Black smiled. “I live for dangerous,” he said, and kissed him again.


Sirius could have kissed him forever.

He knew Snape was right, of course, knew he had to leave — and now; they had already pushed their luck as far as it was likely to go. But it was just so hard, to finally have Severus back in his arms again after all the restless nights without him, after coming so close to losing him for good, to have to let him go all over again, even for a brief spell. He wished he could stay. He wished he could lie with Snape, hold him and pet him and touch him, perhaps, to make sure he was real. Hell, he’d even watch the little prat sleep, if that was what Snape wanted.

Most of all, he wished they could talk. He had so much to say to Severus that it was choking him, aching heavy and tight in his chest and throat, like a brick wall of words. It wasn’t enough to say he was sorry, or even to show it, he thought; he needed to make Snape understand. He had come here for that purpose, had gotten blissfully misdirected, and now it was too late.

No. Not too late. You can tell him tomorrow. And just knowing there would be a tomorrow for them, after all the mess and fuss, was enough to buoy his spirits.

Please, Bl — Sirius,” Snape said again, when Sirius finally let him talk. He was nearly begging now, his face desperate. “Please, you absolutely must—”

“Go,” Sirius finished for him. “Yes, dear, I know. There’s no need to nag.”

He rose from the bed, careful of Snape’s mending body tangled with his, and retrieved his wand from the twist of sheet and blanket beneath him. He removed Snape’s glamour with an easy flick of his wrist — he couldn’t conjure one for shit, gods knew, but he was most adept at taking them down — and leaned down for a last kiss.

“Here,” he teased, tugging Snape’s hospital gown back around his shoulders, “button up. Don’t want you giving old Pomfrey any thrills, do we?”

“Will you just GO?” Snape hissed. He yanked the gown out of Sirius’s hands, fingers stabbing buttons frantically through the holes.

“Well, I don’t need a cauldron dropped on my head.” Sirius straightened with a chuckle and a sigh. He crossed to the door, opened it a crack, and peered cautiously out. The hall was empty and quiet. He turned back to look at Snape and hesitated, suddenly uncertain. “I’ll…I’ll see you tomorrow, maybe.”

Snape waved an impatient hand, still buttoning, one cold eye on the wedge of hallway visible beyond Sirius’s head. Fine, alright, whatever, the gesture said. With another chuckle, Sirius slipped from the room.

Tomorrow it would be, then. If he could wait that long. Already, he wanted another go at Snape (and another, and another), his heart far hungrier than his flesh. Walking back to Gryffindor Tower to lie on his bed and replay the last hour in his head again and again, he wondered how he could possibly get through the next twenty-four hours without going completely mental.

He needn’t have worried. As it turned out, it wasn’t twenty-four hours before he saw Snape again, but less than six. A little after ten that evening, Sirius found himself back in the hospital wing, with Snape and an unwelcome host of others -- and he was being accused of rape.

Chapter 9