There is no rain yet, only powerful gusts of wind threatening to throw Severus off his bike. His thighs strain from pedalling against the onslaught, but the storm can't touch him.
He can't stop smiling, even though the cold night air hurts his teeth. He has been thinking of little else all day, has been so distracted that Evan asked what was up with him. He's been thinking about it since sending the text last night, but he still hasn't decided, can't possibly decide. He hopes he will know when he gets there.
He wants to do things to them, painful things. He wants to make Black's knees hurt and his throat, but he can't trust Black not to bite him. He should hurt Lupin instead, somehow, and make Black watch. Or even better, make them hurt each other. He wants to find something that makes Lupin's control snap, so he stops watching with his calm eyes and starts using his fists on Severus until his knuckles are bloody and swollen. And when Severus is down with broken skin and broken bones, he will be able to tell the world: See, this is what they do. This is what they're really like.
He does not look at the pictures and videos, because he wants to see them. He is only using them as a reminder, like poking a wound, because they deserve it. They deserve what he will do.
He followed them around for weeks before he got anything on camera. But even then, nothing was as it should be. Blurry images and a shaky video of them holding hands or making out in an empty classroom during lunch break are all he got from wasting time at school.
He had to sneak on the Potter property one early Saturday morning, tired and hung-over, to get real proof. It's through a window and the lighting is not great, and they are under the covers. But the way Black is lying on top of Lupin and thrusting his hips is unmistakable.
Severus kept watching the whole time, until they were done, until there were tissues and a tied up condom, until they went back to sleep curled up together. It was all wrong. There was too much smiling, laughing, kissing. Their happiness surged against the closed window like a physical presence. It made him so angry.
Neither of them showed up to school today. Severus knows it's because of him, even though he overheard Potter telling Pettigrew that Black had to go see his parents last night.
The Potters are rich. Not like the complacent comfort of the streets with the neat detached and semi-detached houses Severus passes on his way to school, but real rich. They have a big house by the lake, and there is a flat modern annex behind it, which Mrs Potter used for her work, before her son and his friend took it over when Black moved in with them.
The main house is mostly dark. Severus knows the Potters are travelling. Yet his destination is ablaze with light. He has been moving closer and closer for the last leg of the journey, going faster than he should, almost falling from the uneven ground around the lake.
He leaves his bike behind, walks around to the lakeside of the bungalow and lets himself into the main room through the large French window, which is unlocked. There is too much open space and too much white. Severus feels grubby and misplaced the moment he sets foot in it. Music is playing too softly to make it out and he can't tell where the speakers are hidden.
Black looks different in t-shirt and sweatpants, unpolished, and his hair is messy, as if someone has been running their hands through it. His feet are bare. Severus tries not to look. Lupin looks as he always does outside of school, dressed to blend into the background. He reclines in some kind of designer settee, his eyes glued to his phone, while Black sits on the floor, leaning back against the seat.
There is a blow up doll in a green dress to Severus' left. His phone buzzes in his pocket. He ignores it. He approaches them as far he dares. He gets two more texts in quick succession.
"Aren't you going to check?" Black says.
Severus doesn't know how to start, so he takes out is phone. There are three texts from an unknown number, all images. His pulse slows down for a moment, then accelerates. It's not a problem, really. He is barely recognisable in the first. The second one is clearly him, but it's no secret that he hangs out with these people, it could have been taken anywhere, at any time. The third picture, however, is tricky. It's definitely him and it's definitely the place, but without the thing just outside the camera's range, it's practically worthless, has to be.
Black sighs. "You're messing with the wrong people." He says it like Severus is a naughty child and he is disappointed but not really surprised. "Come on, we're almost done with school. The day that any of us will have to see your ugly mug for the last time is just around the corner, but it's like you can't help yourself. It's like you want to be a fuck-up on purpose. Who do you think would be most interested in those photos, hmm? The police or the people responsible for all the nice scholarships you've got lined up?"
There is a future in which Severus doesn't get out of this house, out of this town, out of this life.
"Nothing to say?"
The room is too warm. Lupin is not even looking at him.
"That's what I thought. I believe this warrants a warning – or, no, let's call it a lesson – wouldn't you agree?" Lupin hums without looking up from his phone. "You all right, Snape? You're looking a bit green there. So why don't you take off your little bomber jacket and make yourself more comfortable."
Severus swallows. His fingers feel numb, so it takes a few tries to pull the zipper down and take it off. Black pushes himself up with one hand on Lupin's knee and comes over.
"We got you a present."
He takes the doll, brushes her off, smoothes down the dress, and puts her down in front of Severus.
The hair printed on the head is red. She has the big fleshy mouth, like a grotesque O. Her arms are bent and raised, as though she is waiting for someone to hold her. Severus thinks the placement of the hole for the pussy must be anatomically incorrect. How would he know? No biology lesson, internet research or porn would mean knowing for real.
"Go on. It's as close as you're ever gonna get."
It stings, because it's true. Not even the ugly girls at school want to fuck him. It's like they all know, like they can sense that he is even worse on the inside. They can feel that he doesn't care about any of them, just like he doesn't care about the bloody pulp of dark flesh he sometimes sees behind his closed eyes.
Lily was slower to detect the wrongness in him, and he had to watch the look in her green, green eyes go from excited and fond to angry and sad. Just like Lupin's went from interest to helpless compassion to embarrassment, before settling on abstract pity.
Lube bouncing off the inflated body of the doll distracts him from his train of thought. Severus stares. He doesn't have to do it. He doesn't have to do anything. This is not what he wanted.
"Don't pretend you don't want to. We all know what a sick little boy you are."
It's as if his limbs belong to someone else, as if he is standing next to someone who looks exactly like him. He wants to say Don't do it. You can't take it back. Don't start what you can't finish. But the boy with his face doesn't listen.
It happens so fast. Belt, button, zipper undone and his hand going into his trousers to get himself hard. It doesn't take much. Severus looks over to them to see, if it's all a joke, if they're going to take it back now and laugh it off. But Black doesn't look like he is about to back down and Lupin is only watching him through the screen of his phone.
Severus crouches down, his shoulders curling in. He doesn't think about Lily, doesn't wonder how they got her so quickly. He lubes himself up, trying to hide how hard he is. The dress is nice, oddly modest for its purpose. He pushes it up with shaking hands. He doesn't know how to do this. Figuring it out turns into a mess. Severus winces every time the doll slides away or makes some squeaky farting noise. Black's chuckles feel like slaps on his skin. He has to hold her down with his body to make it work and shudders to think how he must look clinging to that thing.
When he finally gets inside her, it feels so good, and he knows he's going to come and that it will be quick, even though he tells them that he can't. But they all know he's lying. If he wasn't so pathetic, his dick would be limp. If he wasn't so pathetic, he wouldn't have these dreams and fantasies that leave him so hard and aching.
"Couldn't you at least put on a fresh pair of pants? This one's got holes in it."
It's not true. The cotton is greyish and thin from being worn and washed too many times, but it's not as bad as Black says.
"Or maybe you like that. Flimsy panties that tear easily, for whenever one of your posh Nazi friends asks you to click your heels and bend over. I've heard you guys are really into fisting and scat and shit like that. Pun intended. Sitting on those hard chairs at school must be really painful on Monday mornings. Or are you so used to it that all the nerves down there are dead?"
"You snog your crazy mother with that mouth?" Severus snaps.
Though even now he doesn't stop fucking the doll, and sweating, and cringing with that rubbery sucking noise the doll produces whenever he pulls back after thrusting in.
"Aren't you going to kiss her?"
Lupin doesn't say it meanly. He sounds like he is actually concerned how Severus would treat Lily, if they ever had sex. He is looking at Severus directly, his face as serene as an unmoved lake.
"Are you really that much of a fuckboy that you would stick your dick into her without kissing her or touching her, without taking your clothes off, or even telling her how pretty she looks? I don't think you are. You would never treat her like that."
Severus flinches and Black makes a deep, throaty sound of delight and pushes his face against Lupin's knee with a smile full of teeth. Severus wants to look away. He doesn't want to feel the battalion of shivers marching down his spine, and prays that they can't see his dick twitching.
He looks back and forth between the doll's face and Lupin's, then slowly, haltingly bends down and puts his mouth on hers. At first, he only holds it there, surprised that his burning face doesn't scorch the material, then he starts moving his lips, really kissing her, and pushes his tongue into the bitter tasting cavern.
There is a long high-pitched whistling sound in his ears that muffles everything else. He sees Black gaping and laughing out of the corner of his eye, but the sound doesn't make it through the fog of his surroundings to his consciousness. He looks back to Lupin, the most twisted part of him hoping for approval.
Time doesn't flow anymore. It moves in jumps and jerks. One moment he hides his face in the doll's neck, then he is reaching into the dress to touch oddly shaped breasts the next. He pulls one tit out, blindly finds the tip with his lips and sucks. There is only one thing on his mind. If I play along now, will you touch me later? Will you touch me?
He wants their hands on him, and their dicks. He wants them to take him without asking. He wants Black to take off his belt and whip him with it, and he wants Lupin to push him down by the neck until there is nothing left to do but clean the shoes in front of him with his tongue. He wants them to touch him. Because no one touches him anymore. Not his mother, since she became afraid of embarrassing him; not his father, since Severus was able to fight back, not his so-called friends, who never touched him in the first place without at least three layers of clothes between their hands and his skin.
He has never felt better, when he comes.
It doesn't last. The world comes back like a punch. The wind is battering the windows with enough force to make them rattle, almost drowning out the amorphous music and Severus' own pulse drumming through his body. He feels cold and wretched with his wet dick hanging out as he watches his spunk dribble out of the doll. There is more on his face than sweat. He didn't realise he's been crying. Giddy panic is running through his veins, carrying images of him, of what he did, to all and even the furthest corners of his mind.
"You didn't have to - I wouldn't have told anyone. You're so fucking obvious. I bet everyone already knows you're buggering each other."
Black blinks, then laughs in disbelief. "Christ! That's what this is about? You're so full of shit."
"I'm gonna go to your room." Lupin's words break up the moment. His shoulder brushes Black's briefly and then he's gone.
"Get the fuck out." Black says, no longer amused.
Severus gets his trousers back up and scrambles across the room with Black behind him. His hands are not steady enough to slide the French window open on the first try. Outside the wind makes it hard to breathe and he has to suck in the air through his mouth.
There is a future in which Severus walks straight to his bike, rides home and doesn't tempt fate.
He turns back. "I know." He waits for the contempt on Black's face to grow, waits for the eyeroll. "What you thought I knew, in there. I know."
"You ever heard of Greyback? Interesting place."
He can practically see Black turn into stone before his eyes.
"Would be a shame, if someone connected that to Lupin. People would hound him. You know they would stare and whisper and ask stupid questions. What did he know? Did he see anything, or hear anything? Oh dear, maybe he was even involved. Maybe he shouldn't go to school with all the normal children. Ludicrous, yes, but people are stupid. They either won't stop to think how young he must have been or they simply won't care."
Severus realises he is babbling, but he doesn't have it in him to stop. "He'll have to leave and move far away where no one knows and leave you behind. You know he'd never let you throw away your life to go with him. And doesn't he want to be a teacher or something? That's not gonna happen. And he'll have to get a new name again. Which do you prefer, by the way, Remus Lupin or the old one?"
The image of Black punching him is so clear in his mind that he can barely stop himself flinching, although the other boy doesn't move.
"And then there's you. What are your parents going to do to him, and to you, when they find out that not only is their firstborn a cocksucker, but with someone like that? What are you going to do, when your little band of marauders breaks apart? Just one more broken family for you, how sad. And all you've got is a few pics that don't actually prove anything."
"That would be true, if the pics we sent you were the only ones we have."
Severus rolls his shoulders. He knows Black would not make empty threats.
"Looks like a stalemate."
"Not really," Severus says, smiling – or at least that's what he thinks his face is doing. "It's still only one ruined life on my side against two on yours."
"You really are a glutton for punishment, aren't you, Snivellus?" He says it like it's just an observation, like he is genuinely curious, and he says it to his bare feet, to his curling toes, because he is looking down and not at Severus.
Severus leaves him there without another word. He gets his bike and makes for home. Halfway there the wind presses his bike against a streetlight and he falls, scraping his left side, but not too badly.
* * *
It's not his father waiting behind the door, it's Lupin. He's sitting at their shabby little kitchen table and he's got one of their good cups still half-filled with tea, while he chats with Severus' mother about the storm. She smiles at him and wishes him a good morning, but Severus is unable to do more than grunt in reply.
"Sorry for coming so early," Lupin says, smiling at him too. "But your place was on the way and I thought you probably need your jacket."
He pushes a folded plastic bag lying on the table in Severus' direction. Severus takes it and thanks him, because there is nothing else to do and he doesn't want his mother to see him being rude. Because Lupin looks like a nice boy, all ridiculous pink cheeks and windswept hair, and Severus doesn't have nice friends, hasn't brought a nice friend home since Lily.
"I hope you weren't drinking and then hanging around outside," his mother says. "They said in the news that a man was killed by an uprooted tree falling on his car."
"Oh, there was no drinking, actually. We didn't even leave the house. We just played Call of Duty and had too much snack food. He's probably feeling all the salt and preservatives though."
Lupin looks at him like a friend, and if Severus didn't know better, he'd buy it.
"Why don't you two go upstairs and let me get on here."
"Yeah, sure. I can't stay long though, I said I'd be home for lunch."
Lupin finishes his tea quickly and places the empty cup in the sink.
"Thanks for the tea, Mrs Snape."
Severus follows Lupin up the stairs and into his room, though he leaves the door ajar and then backs up against it. He doesn't know what to do or what's going to happen. He is not afraid exactly, even if his heart is beating fast and his mouth dry. He tries to imagine how his room must look to Lupin, dark and narrow as it is, and what he might think seeing Severus' unmade bed.
He wonders where Black is, and if he knows that Lupin is here or if Lupin left him sleeping, warm and safe, in the bed they shared last night; and if Lupin is going to take his clothes off the moment he returns and just crawl back under the covers. He wonders, if Lupin will be hurting by the time he is back in Black's arms, or if he himself will be the one suffering, right here, alone.
Even now Severus thinks they could have understood each other, if Lupin hadn't hit the friend jackpot on the first day of school. He looks so friendly and open and focussed that Severus feels like the most interesting thing in the world.
Lupin comes close, reaches through the gap between Severus' arm and his side and closes the door gently.
"You wanna play?" Lupin says, his smile dissolving. "Let's play."