Description: After a war that claimed his accidental lover, Sirius Black’s life and almost his own, Severus Snape, having missed out on a reservation to Hotel Azkaban by a nose hair, tries to get his life together. He’s never been able to before but hey, stranger things have happened. He’ll just keep his nose down and firmly out of trouble…
Characters: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive WarningsSirius Black/Severus Snape Draco Malfoy/Harry PotterSirius Black Severus Snape Harry Potter Draco MalfoyPost-War Post-Battle of Hogwarts Internalized Homophobia Homophobic Language Homophobic language used in sex sorry about that Closeted Character Getting Back Together Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms Unhealthy Relationships Healthy Coping Mechanisms Too Therapy Boxing & Fisticuffs Boxer!Sirius Black Somebody Lives/Not Everyone Dies Drarry not main pairing Bottom Severus Snape Top Sirius Black Angst and Romance Gay Panic
After a war that claimed his accidental lover, Sirius Black’s life and almost his own, Severus Snape, having missed out on a reservation to Hotel Azkaban by a nose hair, tries to get his life together. He’s never been able to before but hey, stranger things have happened. He’ll just keep his nose down and firmly out of trouble…
As promised, the sequel to One More Kiss, Dear. Without giving too much away, there’s a lot less death in this one but probably the same amount of sad old men fucking.(Can be read on its own without reading part 1, though I do recommend reading that first; it¡¯s not too long.)Tirelessly beta’d by the ever-wonderful Vanisher, any mistakes or idiosyncrasies are due to my insistence ?
Chapter 1: Alone, alone, all, all alone
?Severus looks into the mirror of his tiny bathroom and squints at the crow¡¯s feet around his eyes. He¡¯d never been a vain man but these small signs of ageing he noticed now from time to time did take him by surprise. It seemed to have happened while he was busy doing other things.?
Kiss me again, then you can go.
Don¡¯t be daft.
Go on, humour me.?
An eye roll, a chaste kiss that slows and lingers.
Off with you then.
That warm, crooked smile.
He hits the mirror with the flat of his palm to scatter the old memories. They wouldn¡¯t do him any good. Breathing hard he runs a not quite steady hand through his hair. It wasn¡¯t a face that was winning any beauty contests but it would have to do.¡°You can do this.¡± He mutters to himself. He takes another steadying breath and walks out the door.??He takes the Ministry¡¯s visitor entrance and at the front desk he speaks to a bored-looking young woman with an eyebrow piercing. She raises said eyebrow, perhaps she knows who he is, most likely she does, but she scribbles on a bit of paper and sends a memo without mention.Soon Potter emerges and grins at him eagerly looking like he wants to envelop him in a hug or something equally as frightening. Luckily he appears to have his wits about him today and manages not to. He follows Potter to the lifts and they ascend.?¡°I see they¡¯ve got rid of that ghastly water feature.¡± Severus observes.¡°One of the first things to go. They¡¯re supposed to be replacing it but no-one can agree on what with. Hermione has opinions of course.¡± He grins, and gestures. ¡°Here we are, after you.¡±They get off at the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and Harry leads them through a set of double doors. On the other side, it¡¯s darkly lit and messy, consisting of a series of open plan cubicles and there¡¯s a small sign that says, ¡®Auror Headquarters¡¯. It¡¯s busy and noisy, which he hates, and people stare, which he hates even more. No-one tries to talk to them though which is a small mercy, and Severus wonders if Harry had warned them not to. Smart boy, he thinks.?He takes a mental catalog of the people he sees, the wanted pictures he can glimpse pinned to various desks. A habit he had not yet been able to rid himself of. His physical wounds had healed but the constant hypervigilance still lingered. He thinks he sees a picture of himself tacked to one of the walls. About right, he thinks. At Harry¡¯s cubicle, Harry apologises for the mess and shifts around stacks of papers before gesturing to a chair.Severus looks around at the mess and raises an eyebrow pointedly.¡°I know you don¡¯t want to be here.¡±?¡°Correct.¡±¡°Thank you for coming, regardless.¡±¡°Potter, I had no choice. I have you to thank for that.¡±¡°Yeah, but..!¡± Potter appears to control himself, he takes a breath. ¡°I still think this was a good idea.¡±¡°My freedom in exchange for becoming a Ministry whore.¡±¡°We prefer the term ¡®consultant.¡¯¡±¡°I bet you do.¡±¡°Look, we could really use you. There¡¯s lots we can learn from you.¡±Severus rolls his eyes.¡°The pay¡¯s good.¡± Potter offers.¡°Potter, not enough money in the world.¡±He grins. ¡°Right. Well good, ¡®cause the pay¡¯s rubbish. I¡¯ve organised a cubicle for you.¡±¡°I¡¯ll be needing an office.¡±¡°Right. That¡¯s¡ fine¡ I¡¯ll just¡¡± He scratches his head. ¡°I¡¯ll sort that for next time. Well, today we¡¯ll just get orientated; I¡¯ll take you through a few things you need to know, then tomorrow we can get started, sound good?¡±¡°No.¡±¡°Great!¡±Potter drones on for a while and Severus takes the time to contemplate how his life ended up like this. At some point, a contract is produced and Severus signs something. He supposed it didn¡¯t matter what it was, it was preferable to Azkaban. Marginally.Potter sees him out. ¡°A few of us are meeting for drinks tonight, just me, Ron, Hermione, and a few others. Join us?¡±Severus suddenly feels very, very tired. He sighs deeply then turns on his heels and leaves.¡°Next time!¡± Potter calls after cheerily.Severus shakes his head. Fuck his life.?***?After the war, after he¡¯d been released from St. Mungos, dazed and shell shocked, he¡¯d boarded up the house at Spinners End and found himself a small flat near central London. There had been months of trials then and though he¡¯d hated every moment of it, the intrusion, the long pointless rehashing of events he had intended to leave in the past right where they belonged, it had been something to focus on. Now there was only himself and the memories and the sleepless nights that were too long and too dark.He wasn¡¯t meant to survive this war, at any rate, he never thought he would. Peacetime didn¡¯t suit him. He was at a loose end, there was nowhere he fit. This blasted ministry job sure wasn¡¯t it.He goes in the next day as instructed and sticks out like a sore thumb. Scowls so that people don¡¯t think they can talk to him. No one does except when they have to. They ask questions about working under cover and he tells them. No reason not to. He¡¯s not sure it¡¯s something you can teach, though they seem to think so, they scribble in their little pads and murmur excitedly. ¡°The basics of occlumency, do you think it can be taught to anyone?¡± They ask. He looks at Potter, who colours, ¡°No,¡± he says.?And that¡¯s how he comes to be teaching a roomful of tired-looking, jaded under cover agents to conceal their minds and occlude their true feelings, a skill that will surely fuck them up good and proper for many years to come. Admittedly they were better students than Harry I-show-every-bloody-thing-I¡¯m-feeling-right-on-my-face Potter.He doesn¡¯t have to come in everyday, just when they need him. They bring him in to question some of the weirder suspects, those they aren¡¯t getting anywhere with. Severus slices through their minds easily and with relish. That job suits him a bit too much.?But mostly, he¡¯s left alone in his small flat, with nothing but time on his hands for the first time in his life. He smokes too many cigarettes and thinks about going out and getting laid, or maybe even paying someone, but he can¡¯t trust himself not to freak out on them, not to have one of the handy dandy flashbacks he¡¯s prone to getting. And he still finds it hard to admit to himself what gender he thinks of when he thinks of doing that.?One day, at the Ministry, Potter brings him down through a dark set of corridors to the Death Chamber in the Department of Mysteries. Both of them stand silently looking at the large, crumbling archway, with its tattered black curtain swirling and shifting before them.¡°They want to get rid of it,¡± he says.Severus nods. Doesn¡¯t ask why. Perhaps a physical manifestation of death in the workplace didn¡¯t fit well with the Ministry¡¯s shiny new post-Voldemort image.¡°No one knows how to do it.¡±Severus doesn¡¯t say anything.¡°I come down here sometimes. Sometimes I think I can hear him talking to me. You know, from inside.¡±Severus smiles at him wryly. They both knew that wasn¡¯t real. It¡¯s easy to imagine things you really, really wanted to be true.?Potter gestures with his hand. ¡°So this is our new assignment.¡± He says in a flat voice.He nods. They both stare silently ahead, unseeing into the gently fluttering curtain before them.¡°And why us?¡±¡°Killed Voldemort.¡±¡°Right, right.¡±Severus thought they couldn¡¯t have picked two people who hated this thing – or who didn¡¯t want to see it destroyed – more than either of them did.?That evening at home he heats up soup on the stove in his small kitchen and tries to concentrate on the soft glugging of the soup around his spoon.
Black, Albus. Where is he??
They¡¯ll be expecting you.
Yes I¡ªI ¡ª
My dear boy, the time has come ¡ª can you do it?
He closes his eyes, breathes; inhale, exhale. When he opens them his hands no longer shake.
Yes, he says.
They laughed you know, that night, Black. They laughed and I joined them. I suppose you can¡¯t forgive me for that.¡°¡ªFuck!¡± he shouts as the soup pot boils over, burning his hand in the process. He shoves the scalded hand into his mouth instinctively then in a fit of rage, he grabs the saucepan by its handle and heaves it against the wall where the soup slides thickly down wallpaper. He leaves it where it is and goes to bed hungry.?***?¡°What happened to your hand?¡±¡°I had a fight with a pot of soup.¡±¡°Oh. Who won?¡±¡°I did as a matter of fact.¡±Potter lifts his eyebrows at him like he understands, which of course he doesn¡¯t. ¡°Wanna take a break?¡±From what? He thinks. They had been getting nowhere with Project Veil-Be-Gone as Potter had cleverly termed it, though they had been doing no more than standing around looking, throwing the odd diagnostic spell at it and scouring the archives for anything they could find that could help them.?¡°Why not?¡± he concedes.¡°Are you going outside?¡±¡°Yes.¡±¡°Can I join you?¡±¡°I wasn¡¯t aware you smoked, Potter?¡±¡°Sure I do.¡±He raises an eyebrow. ¡°Very well.¡±They stand at his usual spot on the street corner outside the employee entryway. Fucking toilets. Couldn¡¯t find a more apt metaphor for the Ministry than that. Hadn¡¯t anyone questioned it before??Usually when he came out here he was alone. Cigarette smoking was a very muggle habit that wasn¡¯t shared by many of his coworkers. Even in the muggle world he was a dying breed. Quite literally. He¡¯d read the science. He should really quit these fucking things. He would. After this one.He holds one out for Potter, who takes it hesitantly. He lights the end of his own with a snap of the fingers.¡°I¡¯m afraid I don¡¯t know that one Professor.¡± Potter says, he tilts his cigarette toward Severus expectantly. He lit Potter¡¯s for him the same way.Potter colours and looked more impressed than anything he¡¯d ever showed him before in class. ¡°I think I¡¯m going to have to get you to show me that.¡±Severus hums noncommittally, sighing inwardly. It would be just typical if the only thing he was ever able to teach that boy was wandless fucking cigarette lighting.He takes a deep drag. Potter splutters next to him and is already looking a little green in colour. Severus wonders how long he will keep this up.¡°You know, you remind me of him, sometimes.¡±¡°Dear god, who?¡±¡°Sirius,¡± Potter said and Severus blanches.?¡°Excuse me?¡±¡°I once asked Sirius what happened to him, he had this black eye, you know, and this swollen red check, it was obvious he had been fighting but he didn¡¯t want me to know, so he said ¡®I had a fight with a ladder,¡¯ or something like that, it was believable I guess, you know he had all that painting and tinkering he liked to do at Number 12. Anyway, you reminded me of him before, with your soup pot.¡±Was that a Black-ism? It did sound like him. He was always using those inane, infantile turns of phrase, he did think himself oh so hilarious. ¡°A common expression,¡± he offers.Potter coughs and peers at the cigarette, wrinkling his nose. ¡°You didn¡¯t ask how I knew he was lying.¡±¡°What?¡±¡°The ladder story was believable enough, you didn¡¯t ask how I knew it wasn¡¯t true.¡±Severus says nothing and looks at him carefully. He wills himself not to remember.?¡°It was you, you see. I¡¯d had several classes with you that week, one on one some of them, you remember those I bet. You had this busted lip and your right hand was all banged up and as soon as I saw him I knew you two had been fighting.¡±¡°Potter¡¡±¡°Professor, how come you don¡¯t want to destroy that thing either?¡±Severus pinches his temples. ¡°Can you stop calling me Professor, Potter?¡±¡°It¡¯s obvious you don¡¯t. How come?¡±Severus pauses in order to construct a palatable lie for the boy. He could be surprised he supposed but he knew by now that old Expeliarmus Potter was smarter than he looked. The last person that had underestimated him had died by his hand. ¡°It¡¯s an interesting artefact, there¡¯s a lot we could learn from it, if we cared to look.¡±¡°Mmhm. Believable enough I guess.¡± Potter says and quirks his lip at him.Severus purses his lips to keep the smile from his face. ¡°Give that bloody thing here before I have to take you to St. Mungos.¡±¡°Thank God. How the hell do you smoke these things? They¡¯re bloody awful.¡±¡°It gets better. You have to push through the pain,¡± he tells him.¡°That sounds more like your sort of thing than mine.¡±Touch¨¦, Severus thought.¡°Well, we¡¯ve got two weeks to do something with it.¡±¡°And then?¡±Potter looks at him pointedly. He makes an explosion sound, mimicking the action with his hands.Severus took another drag of his cigarette and they both stood and watched cars go by until he¡¯d smoked it down to its filter.?***?¡°A sharp snap, like that. Firm but loose.¡±¡°Like this?¡±¡°Yes but try tilting your fingers closer… Yes, try that.¡±?He watches as Potter sends the entire length of his cigarette up in flames.?¡°Better.¡±¡°I¡¯ve almost got it I reckon.¡±¡°I have to wonder where all this enthusiasm was when you were in my classroom.¡±¡°With all due respect Professor, potion making was never going to help me to get … er, a date.¡±He raises his eyebrows in acknowledgment. Wasn¡¯t that the truth though. The light trick, on the other hand, had a hundred percent success rate, though he only had tried it on one person. Not that he would be telling Potter that; he probably wouldn¡¯t recover.¡°We¡¯re not getting anywhere are we?¡±¡°Not as such, no.¡±¡°I still think moving it is a good idea.¡±¡°Oh yes, fantastic, Potter, we¡¯ll just pick up the physical manifestation of the barrier between the living and the dead like we¡¯re moving a bookcase. Perhaps we could put it in my living room, next to the china cabinet. It would be quite the conversation piece at my next dinner party, let me tell you.¡±¡°You don¡¯t have a china cabinet, do you?¡±¡°No Potter, of course I don¡¯t have a fucking china cabinet. I don¡¯t host dinner parties either but that was hardly my point.¡±¡°Oh. Pity. I was hoping you¡¯d invite me to one.¡±Severus closes his eyes in frustration. ¡°How does anyone spend more than five minutes around you and not succumb to a blinding tension headache?¡±Potter shrugs as if to say, not my problem. ¡°Levitating it was worth a shot though.¡±¡°Oh yes.¡±¡°And now we know, like, 50 different ways not to do it.¡±¡°There is that. We¡¯ll make a scientist out of you yet Potter.¡±¡°It¡¯s not moveable is it.¡±¡°Not by any means that I know of, no.¡±¡°You¡¯re pretty much the best wizard living so that¡¯s a no then.¡±He didn¡¯t bother to correct him. ¡°Even if we did, where on earth would we put it?¡± He doesn¡¯t want to say the obvious; perhaps it would be better if the thing were destroyed. No one else should have to suffer the same fate that Potter¡¯s godfather had.?¡°There is something else. I know we¡¯ve both been thinking it.¡±¡°Potter, you have no idea what I¡¯ve been thinking.¡±¡°We could try, Professor. What have we got to lose?¡±¡°No. Absolutely not.¡±¡°You want to, I know you do.¡±¡°You know no such thing. It is frankly, not possible. The man is dead, Potter. Dead. As in not fucking coming back. Do you understand that? Don’t speak to me of this again. Waste of my fucking time.¡±?
That was a good show Sniv, you trying to convince him or yourself?
Oh shut up, he mumbles to him.That night he lingers deliberately after Potter left. He shivers and pulls his cloak around himself against the ever present chill in the room. He¡¯d been careful not to be alone with the thing thus far, nor to get too close.He approaches the crumbling dais cautiously and its black curtain flutters like a strong wind had just blown through. He stills and listens carefully to the faint whispers that had become so familiar these past weeks. He takes a deep breath and puts his hand out, his fingers outstretched, though he¡¯s careful not to touch the thing. The whispers become louder, they morph into something deeper, hoarser. Yes, he supposed it did sound like him after all, he could almost believe it was. He inches his fingers closer, he can feel it calling him, urging him on – could he do it? Could he simply step through and join him there? Would certainly solve a few problems. All of them in fact.Sweet Merlin¡¯s saggy tits, what in the H-E-double fuck makes you think I want you here Snivelly? ?He stops, suddenly and grins. Wouldn¡¯t that be a laugh. There wouldn¡¯t be a thing in the world Sirius Black would have hated more than to be stuck with him for eternity. He ought to do it just to see the look on his face.He will let them destroy the thing, he decides. Perhaps then the idiot could rest.?He goes home and pours himself a scotch into the largest glass he can find and downs half of it in one go. ¡°You can fuck right off and all,¡± he tells him. ¡°I¡¯m not doing it.¡±