A Legacy So Rich
"Do you mean to tell me that the werewolf hasn't been destroyed? It should be put down
Tension snapped through the room.
"Shut up, Mother."
Sirius' mother ignored him. "Benchbottom will soon set Dumbledore right – the law's quite
clear." She smiled, her eyes narrowed. "I'll quite enjoy watching. It's been ages since I've seen
a properly done werewolf disposal. Silver chains and aconite, then a silver sword to the heart
and a clean slice through the neck. Perhaps they'll let us mount the head."
"You fucking bitch," Sirius snarled as he lunged. Mr Potter grasped his arm to keep him from
striking out at his mother, while James threw an arm across his chest to hold him.
A noise made him turn. Remus stood in the doorway, pale and obviously terrified, his parents
slightly behind him. He glanced at Sirius before looking at the floor. His father gently urged
him forward and laid a hand on his shoulder, glaring at Sirius and his mother.
A snort drew his attention back to his mother.
Walburga Black's eyes sliced through Sirius with cold approval. “You finally showed that you
have some backbone. Exposing both a Dark Creature and a Mudblood pretender at the same
time. It's a pity that circumstances haven't disposed of them both – I suppose the worst the
Mudblood will get is expulsion." She sniffed. "Still, the werewolf will be taken care of
momentarily. I'm actually proud of you, regardless of your past indiscretions. Perhaps
circumstances could change in your favour, if you play your cards right."
Sirius glared at his mother and her solicitor but allowed the Potters to pull him back.
He turned his attention to Remus. His friend's parents hadn’t let him visit when Remus was in
hospital – the first time in years that he hadn’t been there for him when he woke up. He hoped
that Remus wasn’t too upset about it.
"Of course, your great-aunt Lycoris went through a similar period of rebellion. Thankfully,
she learned to put family first."
"Shut up!" Sirius repeated. Remus wouldn’t look at him. "I’m not like you."
"Don’t use that tone with me." She glanced at the closed door. "Dumbledore seems to think that
it’s acceptable to keep us waiting. Benchbottom, see where he is. I have better things to do than
to be at that man’s beck and call for such a minor incident."
Benchbottom walked to the door and knocked, every line of his body betraying that he thought
the action far beneath his dignity.
"Minor?" Mr Lupin cried. "Your son nearly killed a child!"
Walburga looked disgusted. She inclined her head. "It seems to me that the werewolf was the
one who nearly killed someone." She waved a hand. "Not that it matters. The boy’s only a
While Sirius privately agreed about Snape’s relative worth, Remus was another matter. "Remus
didn't do anything." He continued to stare at Remus, but couldn’t catch his eye.
"Mrs Black holds no responsibility for your actions," Benchbottom intoned, his voice nasal and
grating. "She can hardly be held accountable for a member of the family already disowned and
Sirius ignored him. He knew who was responsible for all of this, the greasy little snivelling git.
He glanced around at the Potters. James and his parents didn't look at him; in fact, James
seemed to deliberately avoid looking at him. Sirius paused and looked more closely at James'
parents. He’d never noticed, but Mr and Mrs Potter looked – old. Old and sad. How strange.
He and James had just left the house a few weeks ago and they’d looked their normal, cheerful
Fuck. Of course. James had grabbed Snape last night. Not the safest thing in the world, the
idiot, Sirius thought with exasperated affection. Of course the Potters worried. But it wasn't
The door to the headmaster’s office opened and Dumbledore motioned for them to enter. The
headmaster looked grey and drawn, his normally benign expression dragged downward into
mournful lines, like a charcoal sketch smeared by an artist’s careless hand.
"Please. Come in."
Sirius followed his mother into the room, the Potters following him. Fawkes’ stand stood empty;
the huge desk was cleared of papers for the first time in Sirius’ memory. Portraits looked down
from the walls, all avidly watching, some fearful, some stern, some sad. The spindly legged
tables that usually filled the office were missing, and a large circular table had taken their place.
As they approached it, chairs politely slid from the table and slid snugly back once each person
He looked at his great-great-grandfather’s portrait. Phineus Nigellus snorted when Sirius glared.
Walburga nodded her head towards her great-grandfather as she swept to her seat.
He found himself ensconced in a chair by his mother’s side. James sat next to him. Strange,
how much he looked like his father – Sirius had never noticed. Both wore identical frowns, the
lines in Mr Potter’s face deep and stark.
Professor Slughorn entered the room, followed by a clearly reluctant Snape.
Snape. The arsehole. He kept his head down, but Sirius could see him glaring at them through
the greasy strands of hair covering his face. He glared back.
"Thank you all for coming," Dumbledore said. "I know I’ve given each of you details of last
night’s events, but I felt that we needed to meet together in order to explore what should be done
under these unfortunate circumstances."
"Why am I even here, Dumbledore? This boy is no longer my responsibility," Walburga said.
"There’s no possible reason for my presence."
The headmaster answered gravely. "You are still the family of record, Mrs Black. I believe that
young Sirius needs his family here, under the circumstances. I’m sorry that his father was unable
Sirius’ mother sat as if she had a broomstick up her arse. She always did. He hated that. "Orion
could hardly be bothered with such a trivial matter. Benchbottom assures me, however, that
attending this meeting does not constitute admission or assumption of responsibility on the Black
family’s part, since the boy in question no longer belongs to it."
"Section nine hundred thirty-eight sub one sub A sub three thousand ninety-six of the
Wizengamot declaration of May the third, fourteen hundred eleven clearly states…"
Dumbledore interrupted, raising his hand to halt Benchbottom's words. "As there were no deaths
or injuries, there is no liability. However," he lowered his hand, "responsibility must be
Sirius glanced around the table. Snape continued to glare at him, but everyone else seemed
focused on Dumbledore. Sirius looked back at Dumbledore to find the headmaster's eyes fixed
"Mr Black, under any other circumstances you would be expelled for the actions that you took
last night. You not only deliberately endangered a student's life by exposing him to a potentially
fatal situation, you endangered another student's life by potentially making him culpable of
"My mother is exaggerating, sir," Sirius protested. "Remus didn't do anything. He's not
responsible for what happened."
Before anyone else could reply, James hissed in his ear, "You idiot! It doesn't matter if Remus is
responsible or not! Do you know what they'd do to him if he attacked someone?"
Remus was white and shaking, his mother crying quietly beside him.
Sirius' heart plummeted; he felt dizzy. Oh fucking God. He'd never thought – Remus should
have been completely safe. Snape screwed everything up. And now his stupidity had put Remus
in danger. That greasy little bastard!
"But Snape wasn't supposed to get that close!" he blurted. "He was just supposed to get
whomped by the Willow! If he'd done what I told him to do, nothing would have happened!"
"Severus' actions have nothing to do with the situation, Mr Black." Dumbledore was grave. "The
facts of the case stand for themselves: a werewolf is always held responsible for injuring or
killing another person, regardless of the circumstances."
That meant – his mother. She'd make sure Remus was –"No! You can't let her do this!" He
leapt to his feet and shouted at his mother. "You fucking bitch! Remus didn't do anything
wrong. I won't let you hurt him!"
"There's not anything that you can do to stop it," she replied triumphantly. "Benchbottom has
the complaint warrant to hand – he'll fill it out after we learn the details. I doubt the werewolf
will see the sun set."
Mrs Lupin began to sob. Remus closed his eyes and looked sick. His father wrapped protective
arms around them both.
Sirius looked around. Nobody met his eyes except his mother and Snape, both with twisted,
vindictive faces. Blaming him. Remus would blame him, too. He would die thinking it was
his fault, when all along it was Snape –
Remus was going to die. Today. Thinking that Sirius had betrayed him.
His stomach rebelled. His chair skittered across the floor as he bolted towards the door.
It wouldn't open.
Sirius vomited all over the floor of Dumbledore's office, retching long past anything was left to
bring up. Exhausted, he huddled against the door, lost in horrified misery and listening to the
sound of a voice droning elsewhere in the room.
He felt a gentle hand on his shoulder. "We know you're sorry, Mr Black. Please, come back to
"…sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry…" Sirius suddenly realised that he was the one speaking. He
looked up at Dumbledore, who knelt by his side. "Sir, I'm sorry, sir, I'm so sorry! Snape was
just supposed to get scared by the tree! Please…."
"Come back to the table," Dumbledore repeated, and helped Sirius to his feet. Sirius stumbled
forward, and then slowly made his way back to the table. Behind him, Dumbledore banished the
vomit and followed.
He couldn't meet anyone's eyes as he sat. Dimly, he heard several voices, loud with anger, but
really, right then, not much made sense except that Remus (oh God) thought he'd nearly
made him a (murderer, werewolf, put him down!) criminal – he'd nearly made him
(doesn't deserve to live!) kill someone, he was so (stupid, idiotic boy!) sorry,
would Remus (what about him? He can't stay here, around students! My son attends this
school!) ever listen to him long enough to forgive him?
He couldn't raise his eyes; he let the noise wash over him.
A sharp elbow in his ribs brought him back to the discussion. He glanced over at James, who
nodded towards Dumbledore.
The headmaster had a grim look on his face. "I'm afraid that I must insist on it."
Benchbottom started to say something, but Walburga cut him off. "You mean that you'll force us
to be subjected to Fidelius? Just to protect an animal? I refuse!"
Snape spoke, his voice harsh between gritted teeth. "I insist on my right to press attempted
murder charges against Black, Headmaster."
"So you would both take actions that condemn an innocent child to imprisonment, possibly
worse?" Dumbledore shook his head. "I can't allow that. Mr Lupin's life is more important than
revenge or prejudice. He has proved himself to be a caring and responsible young man; I will
not allow an unfortunate accident to endanger his life."
"You can't do this!" Walburga's shrill voice scratched down Sirius' spine and he shivered.
"You're saying that an animal and a Mudblood are more important than me?
Than ME?" She stood, her chair clattering to the floor. "If his actions had been successful,
Sirius would have done the wizarding world a favour! You've corrupted him, stealing him from
his family and filling his head with dangerous thoughts! You've made him a blood
traitor! And now you would endanger my only remaining child, my son, my
Regulus, the only heir left to the Blacks, as well as the children of many other upstanding
pure-blood families, just to save the life of an animal that should have been destroyed
Benchbottom spoke in a low voice. "Madame, please…your health."
Mrs Black stopped screaming, her eyes wild and her face puce-coloured. She bared her teeth at
Dumbledore, her expression twisted into a horrific grimace of anger and hatred.
Mrs Lupin looked as if she would faint, her eyes wide with horror, her hands clutching Remus'
arm so tightly that her knuckles shone white. Remus looked like he was hyperventilating, his
Sirius' heart bled for him. "It'll be alright, Remus. You'll see," Sirius promised helplessly,
speaking softly across the table.
Remus looked at him in disbelief and grief, shaking his head, then looked away.
"That's enough." Power flared through the room and everyone shrunk, fearful, as Dumbledore
stood and leaned on the table. He began to chant, and a bright light flared and disappeared. He
"It is done."
The room was silent. Sirius, his head down, looked around the table out of the corner of his
eyes. People's expressions ranged from outrage to grief to a terrible relief on Mrs Lupin's face.
He glanced over at James and caught his eye. With a serious expression on his face, James
shook his head. Sirius dropped his eyes and remained silent.
"I presume that we're allowed to leave now?" Walburga demanded.
Dumbledore inclined his head. Her nostrils flared, her mouth pinched shut in a tight white line,
Walburga swept toward the door, Benchbottom in her wake.
Professor Slughorn heaved to his feet, wiping his forehead with a fine linen handkerchief.
"Please excuse me, Headmaster. I must speak with Mrs Black about young Regulus." Without
waiting for a reply, he hurried out the door after her.
Snape looked at Dumbledore with a strange mixture of hatred and heartbreak. "I don't believe
you did that," he whispered.
"Please wait for me in the antechamber, Severus," Dumbledore replied. Slowly, as if barely able
to move, Snape stood and walked to the door. It closed behind him with a quiet click.
Everyone, Sirius included, stood to leave. Dumbledore returned quiet leave-takings, but as
Sirius was about to follow James out the door, he said, "I would like you to remain behind, Mr
Sirius swallowed, his heart sinking, and obediently turned back to the headmaster.
Sirius sat as the headmaster took a seat next to him. Dumbledore's eyes were grave, yet
strangely kind. "I think you realise the potential consequences of your actions now, don't you?"
Sirius nodded; right now, he didn't dare to contradict the headmaster about where the
responsibility truly lay. "Will he ever trust me again?" he whispered.
Dumbledore sighed. "I truly don't know. But I do have hope that he will, one day. Mr Lupin is
a particularly loyal friend."
One day. Sirius pledged to himself to do whatever it took to make that day come as quickly as
"As to the matter of your punishment," Dumbledore continued. "I confess, I'm not sure what
would suffice under the circumstances. I can't expel you – that would make Mr Lupin's
condition a matter of public record."
"You could make up some other reason for my expulsion, sir," Sirius offered.
"I think we had best avoid that path," the headmaster replied. He looked at Sirius over his
glasses. "I think I can safely assume that the situation will never rise again."
"I would never hurt Remus! If I'd ever thought about what it could do to him…please,
sir," he begged. "You've got to believe me."
Dumbledore nodded. "I believe that you truly regret the danger into which you placed Mr Lupin.
But you endangered Severus' life, too."
Anger flared; Sirius forgot his vow not to allot responsibility. "Snape did that to himself." He
clenched his fists. "I'd told him to make sure he was at the Whomping Willow at half eight. The
tunnel would have been sealed by then, and the Willow would have been just waking up. The
worst that would have happened to him was a few bruises."
"This isn't Severus' fault." Dumbledore looked disappointed. "You betrayed a friend's
confidence. Severus would never have followed if he hadn't been directed in the first place."
"Yes, he would," Sirius argued. "He's always following us around, sticking his greasy nose in
our business. I thought that if he got whomped by the Willow, he'd never follow us there. I was
doing it for Remus!"
Dumbledore didn't say anything, but the disappointed look etched deeper into his face.
Sirius looked away, realising it was stupid to try to argue with the headmaster about Snape. He
obviously treated him as if he were special – meeting with him before the parents were brought
in, and undoubtedly going back to him after he left. Taking a deep breath and reining in his
anger, he told himself that Dumbledore wouldn't listen to him.
"I'm sorry, sir," he finally said. "I didn't mean to contradict you. It won't happen again."
Silence met his words. Sirius looked back. Faded blue eyes met his and seemed to look through
him and into his soul; Sirius shivered involuntarily. A deep sadness crossed Dumbledore's face
and his lips tightened for a moment before relaxing.
"You will be on detention every night and every weekend for the rest of the term. I will speak to
the professors – I think it best that you rotate through them, serving each in turn. If you like," he
added, "I can place you in a room of your own for the duration of your stay at Hogwarts."
"What?" Sirius couldn't believe what he'd just heard. "Why would I want a room of my own?
The Tower is my…" he choked, "my home, sir. I couldn't leave the rest of them, not now."
Dumbledore looked at him for a moment longer and then nodded. "I'll talk with you again at the
end of term, Mr Black."
"Thank you, sir." Relieved that Dumbledore allowed him to stay in the Tower, he could barely
wait to leave the office and see if he could find Remus, or at least James. He really needed to
talk to them. He stood up.
"You shall start your detentions with Mr Filch, I think." The headmaster led the way to the door.
As Sirius left, he said, "I do not want to hear that you've given less than your best work to any of
"I'll do my best, sir. Thank you!" Safely out, Sirius hurried down the twisting staircase and
immediately ran towards Gryffindor Tower.
He'd reached the third floor when he saw a familiar figure ahead of him.
Remus froze and then slowly half-turned as Sirius ran up to him.
Ignoring the portraits avidly watching, Sirius blurted out his apology. "I'm so sorry…"
"Don't! Just – don't, Sirius."
"Won't you even listen to me?"
"I don't know. Not right now."
"I didn't mean it!"
Remus whirled to fully face him. "Yes, you did!" His face twisted with grief and anger. "You
meant every second of it! Your mother was right – you are a Black! You can't break
generations of tradition, or years of living with bastards for parents!"
Sirius swallowed back bile and shook his head, but Remus continued, white and shaking. "Don't
you get it? It's not all about you, you selfish prat! She's right about me, too, you know. Some
day, I'll kill, no matter how much I try not to."
The next thing Sirius knew, he was lying on the floor, pain exploding through his head, unable to
think or move. He finally managed a shuddering breath and forced his eyes open.
Remus stood over him, hands clenched, his right fist scraped and bloody, a murderous look on
his normally calm face. "You nearly made me kill someone last night!" His voice
cracked; he shook so badly that his teeth were chattering. "You goddamn, selfish
bastard!" A laugh, desperate and bitter, barked out. “You've told me and told me about
your family. I just never put it all together before. Seems that I'm stupid as well as a
Remus whirled and ran down the hall. Sirius tried to call out to him, but fresh pain exploded
through his head, a grinding pain that seemed to shoot from his lip back down through the centre
of his chest. He put his hand up to his jaw, gingerly pushing at it. Something moved. He
lowered his hand and looked down to see it bloodied.
Surprise flooded him. Remus had broken his jaw. Gentle, bookish, shy Remus.
Fuck. How was he going to get to the hospital wing like this? He didn't know many healing
charms, and even if he managed to remember one, he was still pants at wordless spells.
"You arsehole. No, don’t move. I’ll help you."
Relief flooded Sirius at the sound of James’ voice, but all he could do was moan.
"Shut up," James ordered. "In fact, at the risk of having to repeat this later because you're too
thick to be able to listen with a broken jaw, I'm taking the opportunity to inform you of what a
complete and utter wanker you are." Sirius rolled agonised eyes at him, but James shook his
head and crouched next to him, dragging his arm around his shoulders.
"I know you understand now what could have happened to Remus. But it's Snape, too. If you
wanted him to get whomped by the Willow, you could have sent him down there any time."
Sirius moaned as James stood, pulling him to his feet. His jaw was going to drop off, he knew it.
Either that or his brains would leak out through his ears. Something particularly dire and
irreversible. His knees buckled.
James muttered a charm, and blessed numbness blanketed the pain. Holding James in a death
grip, Sirius took several deep breaths before trusting his legs to hold him.
They slowly started towards the hospital wing.
"You sent him there when Remus was already at the Shack," James continued, somewhat
breathlessly. "Either that was incredibly, unbelievably stupid of you, or…" Sirius closed his
eyes, "…you wanted him dead."
Sirius wished he could shake his head and vehemently deny James' words. It was just a stupid
prank gone wrong. But even James sounded like he might not believe him.
"Look, Sirius," James panted, his voice grim. "We're not kids any more. Next year is our last
year at Hogwarts, and there's a war going on out there. We've got to grow up. Otherwise people
we love could die."
They reached the hospital wing doors. James lowered his voice. "Think on it. You're going to
have to start making real decisions soon. Don't make the wrong ones."
A shattered jaw and the professional bustle of Madam Pomfrey's deft care prevented Sirius from
retorting that James was a stupid prick.
Sirius hovered between wake and sleep, the dull ache in his jaw both annoying and strangely
"…didn't have to come, you know."
"I know." Remus replied to James' quiet greeting in a low voice. "But I'm responsible for him
being here. I reckoned I'd better look in on him to see how badly I hurt him."
"His own stupidity put him here. You just broke his jaw." The amusement in James' voice faded
and Sirius heard a sigh. "I think I finally get it, Remus. What you've been doing all these years.
You couldn't keep us in line, but you did keep us from crossing the line too far." A pause; Sirius
dreamily imagined Remus' reproachful look. "Well, mostly."
Silence followed. Sirius drowsed.
On the verge of sleep, he heard James speak again.
"You won't ever have to be responsible for either me or Sirius again. I'm ready to take
responsibility for us both. I'll watch him."
"I can't forgive him."
"Nobody expects you to. Well, except maybe Sirius." Another pause. "I always thought that he
and I were like brothers. Pretty stupid of me, I suppose. But it's not his fault he's the way he is.
I think – it's just that something inside of him is – is wrong. I don't think that it can be fixed, but
maybe if I watch over him, I can keep him from doing something this…stupid…again."
"Stupidity has nothing to do with it."
"I know. I know. But it's not your problem any more, Moony. I'll take over from here."
Sirius couldn't remember ever feeling so safe in his life. James would take care of him. The
relief was overwhelming. He hadn't lost everything.
Sirius silently made a pledge to himself. He would die for James and Remus if he had to. And
maybe he could take a Black or two with him. They'd see he wasn't like his family.
But first, he'd take care of Snape.
He fell asleep, plotting.
Pausing outside his dorm door, Sirius felt nothing but relief at being out of the hospital wing. A
quick apology and everything would be fine. Hearing voices, he took a deep breath, tried to look
simultaneously contrite and sincere, and walked into the dorm.
James and Peter looked at him; Remus blanched and immediately stood, keeping his eyes firmly
on the ground.
"I'm going to the library." He gathered up a few books and walked out, giving Sirius a wide
Sirius watched him, rooted in place, his contrite expression fading.
As the door closed behind him, Sirius turned to James, who shrugged and said, "You shouldn't
expect anything different."
Sirius walked over to his bed and sat. He ran his hand through his hair.
"What? What's going on?"
"Nothing, Wormtail. Forget it. Moony and I've already told you, we can't say anything." James
gave Sirius a pile of books. "Here are the assignments you missed. If you need any help, I'll be
down in the common room." He left.
"Christ, nobody tells me anything!" Peter slammed the book he was reading onto his bed.
Sirius stared at the closed door.
Peter cautiously approached. "What's going on? Why's Remus so mad at you?"
"I can't tell you. Sorry."
"Well something must have happened." Peter got a crafty look in his eyes. "Was it
something to do with Moony? You've all been strange since the full moon the other night."
"I said I can't tell you! Leave it, will you?" Sirius abruptly stood and gathered up the books that
James had given him. "I need to catch up on my homework. I'll see you later."
"But you never study!" Peter snapped. "You're just using that as an excuse!"
"Brilliant, aren't you, Wormtail? Worked that out on your own, did you?" It felt good to be able
to vent his frustration. "Sneaking around and bugging each of us in turn, just trying to get one of
us to say something about the others. Well, we can't, so just leave it!"
He stumbled out of the room, ignoring Peter's angry retort. Barely glancing at James as he
stormed through the common room, Sirius stalked through the castle until he reached a small
storeroom. He slipped through the doorway.
Padfoot's favourite den. Dropping the books and throwing a reckless Locking Charm at the door,
he Transformed and curled into a furry ball on a discarded tapestry that lay on the floor, growling
softly to himself.
He'd done worse, he was sure of it. Why were they all turning on him this time? He'd told
Remus that he was sorry. Besides, James was supposed to be watching out for him.
The next night, he slept in the storeroom again. And the next.
It became habit.
Sirius had an epiphany one night while scraping dried, caked flobberworm slime from the
seventh cauldron in a pile of thirty-nine.
Every plan he ran through his head – get Snape to take responsibility by subjecting him to some
spell, get Snape expelled, kill Snape and make it look like an accident – failed when he
considered Remus' stubborn refusal to believe Snape was the one at fault.
Remus held him responsible for the situation. Well, what would happen if he went along with
that? Then Remus would get what he wanted.
The more he thought about it, the better it seemed. If he apologised to Snape, then maybe
Remus would see that everything was alright, and would start liking him again. After all, Remus
knew just how deeply he hated Snape. Remus would realise just what a sacrifice he was making
for him. Remus would come around.
If Snape would forgive him, then the other Marauders would have to. Sirius absently wiped his
forehead of sweat, leaving a crusty trail of dried slime behind.
It wouldn’t be easy. Snape was a suspicious bastard. But he was also an isolated freak, even in
his own house. That might leave him vulnerable enough, that and his pathetic need to be
recognised by his pure-blood peers.
Yes, Snape would be tough to win over. But an opportunity should be fairly easy to arrange.
He looked at Slughorn, considering the best approach.
Slughorn sighed heavily. "What is it now, Mr Black?"
"I was just thinking," Sirius said, his voice contrite – this seemed to work best with Slughorn and
Flitwick, while sheepish worked well with McGonagall. "I really need to turn over a new leaf,
"My dear boy, you’re just realising that now?" Slughorn tutted and shook his head with
exaggerated gloom. "The son of such a prominent family, though – I suppose you’re simply too
used to getting your own way."
"I want to do better, really I do," Sirius said. "It’s just…well, I don’t quite know where
"Well, good manners would dictate that an apology would be in order at the very least,"
Slughorn said, sounding interested.
"Snape wouldn't ever accept an apology from me." Sirius didn't have to act in order to sound
"The manner of the apology could take many different forms. If this were a lesser circumstance
a simple note might suffice. Under the circumstances, however, I believe that something more
substantial would be in order. Something of value."
Buy Snape off? He hadn't thought of that. Better and better.
"What would you suggest, sir?"
Slughorn looked at Sirius with unexpectedly shrewd eyes. "Young Snape will try to get all he
can from you, you know. He won't settle for something simple, like money. He's ambitious."
Sirius shrugged. "I doubt there's much of anything that he could want that Black money or
influence couldn't give him."
"Perhaps." Slughorn looked intrigued. "If you like, I would be willing to be an intermediary."
Weighing the value of Slughorn's assistance, Sirius tilted his head. "Fine," he finally said. "What
are you planning to do?"
"I imagine that you would like to approach Mr Snape soon."
"Sooner the better," Sirius nodded. "I want to resolve this as quickly as possible."
Again, Slughorn's eyes were shrewd. "I'm sure you do."
Damn. Faking nonchalance, Sirius said, "I know I'm not much good at this apology business, sir,
but I'm really tired of getting the cold shoulder from my friends, and I've finally realised that
they're right. I was wrong. I've just got to figure out what to do about it to make things right
There. Just honest enough to satisfy the old sod as to his sincerity without raising any more
His answer seemed to satisfy Slughorn, who nodded. "A prank with potentially tragic
consequences can be a valuable lesson. I would be pleased to help you and your family, Mr
Maybe he could force some favour or piece of business information out of Reggie that would
satisfy the old bastard, Sirius thought. He didn't doubt that he would need to provide something
for Slughorn's intervention, and the man had made no secret about his interest in Black family
A few hours later he cornered Regulus in the corridor outside of the Slytherin common room and
blackmailed him into revealing the name of his father's latest investment venture. Pleased with
himself, he retired to his storeroom nest and fell into a dreamless sleep.
Two nights later, Slughorn left a resentful Snape supervising Sirius as he prepared bubotubers
for Slughorn to use to brew supplies of Acne Potion for Madam Pomfrey. The acrid stench and
the burn of the caustic pus had Sirius in a foul mood, but he was determined to find out what
Snape wanted in exchange for a public declaration of forgiveness (at least to Remus, he amended
to himself) and get the whole unpleasant business resolved.
"So, Snape," he began.
Snape looked up but didn’t respond.
Sirius shrugged. "I was just going to tell you that I'm sorry I sent you to the Whomping
Snape narrowed his eyes and sneered. "Do you really expect me to believe that?"
"I suppose not," Sirius said. "But it's true."
Snape snorted and continued writing something on a parchment. The swot – the parchment had
to be twenty inches already. Always trying to prove how smart he was.
Sirius stripped some more bubotubers.
"Most people accept apologies," he noted after a few minutes had passed.
"I'm not most people," Snape replied without looking up from his parchment.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Snape put his quill down and glared at Sirius.
Snape stood and leaned forward on the table. "Don't tell me 'nothing'," he spat. "You mean
something by it."
"You're such a paranoid bastard!"
"I've good reason to be!" Snape shouted.
"And I've said I'm sorry!" Sirius shouted back. "What the fuck else can I do to prove I'm telling
the truth, you greasy little git?"
Snape paused, and a calculating look crossed his face. Sirius could barely keep his glee in check.
So, so easy. Now to hear the price. Slughorn was pleased with the financial information that
he'd been given, after all. Snape should be affordable, too.
Slytherins were so predictable.
"What would be most precious to you?" Snape mused. "I think that's fair, since my life is my
most precious possession, and you tried to take it from me."
Sirius rolled his eyes. "Drop the melodrama, will you? Just name your price."
Snape smiled. Sirius had never seen Snape smile before – it wasn't pretty.
"My…What?" Sirius put down the bubotuber he was holding. "My arse? What the hell would
you want with my arse?"
"Don't be so naïve, you idiot."
"You want to fuck me?" The worst he'd imagined was one of his father's rare books about the
Dark Arts from the family library. He'd have had to sell his soul to Reggie for one of those, but
it would have been worth it. But his arse? The total bastard! "No! Absolutely not!"
Snape sat back down and took up his quill. "Fine."
"Fuck – you – fuck," Sirius sputtered. "I'll be damned if I bend over for you, you greasy
Snape shrugged and began to write. "It sounds to me as if there's a limit to what you'll do for
your friends, isn't there? Such a shallow definition – but one I'd expect from a Black."
Stung, Sirius snapped. "Fine. When and where?"
His arse clenched at the thought – he wasn't a shirt lifter! – but he knew what loyalty meant. He
wasn't a fucking Black. He'd pay the price, gladly, if it made Remus forgive him.
Snape continued to write. "I'll let you know," he said eventually. "No reason to hurry now, is
Snape paused and met his eyes. "Yes. I am. Did you expect anything else?"
They stared at each other, hatred written across each face. Sirius finally looked down.
Snape began writing again, and Sirius eventually resumed stripping bubotubers. Neither spoke
again until Slughorn appeared and released them for the evening.
The waiting began.
Snape appeared everywhere Sirius went.
He raked his eyes over Sirius before bending to harvest Wartcaps while Gryffindor and
Hufflepuff had Herbology lessons in Greenhouse Four.
He brushed against Sirius as he left History of Magic.
He stared at Sirius during meals in the Great Hall.
Sirius' irritation grew. Every time he saw Snape, he tensed and his stomach roiled.
James relented, and he and Sirius spent more time together, though they didn't plan any pranks.
Relieved to find that they had enough in common to be friends even without the pranking, Sirius
did his best to prove that he was reformed.
Sirius moved back into the dorm. In fact, everything was almost normal.
"Who would ever think that a ghost could be so fucking boring?" James asked through a yawn
Peter rubbed his eyes. "I can't keep Toobold the Elder straight from Toobold the Younger," he
"The Younger raped and pillaged most of Cornwall, while the Older raped and pillaged Wales,"
Sirius replied. "It's not that effing hard, Wormtail."
The hair at the back of Sirius' neck suddenly prickled. He surreptitiously glanced around the
"For you, maybe," Peter said. "Who gives a fuck about either Cornwall or Wales, though?"
"We've got a manor near Tintagel," Sirius replied vaguely. There.
Snape stared hungrily at him from the Potion stacks.
"Cold?" James asked. "Why don't you go up to the Tower and get your scarf?"
"Good idea," Sirius mumbled. "I'll be right back."
"Take your time."
"Bring back some chocolate frogs," Peter hissed. "Pince'll never know."
Snape had disappeared again. "Yeah, maybe," Sirius said. He ignored Peter and left.
Once in the corridor, he peered around. At the other end, a patch of black wavered and stilled.
Swallowing hard, Sirius followed. His stomach hurt again.
When he reached the end of the corridor, he cautiously pushed aside a tapestry. He found a
small alcove behind it.
Snape stood there, his face a pale slash floating in the darkness. Sirius slipped in.
He had to press against Snape to fit into the space. Snape's breath was rank.
"Here?" he whispered.
"Fool," Snape breathed into his ear and pulled him closer. Sirius jumped and hissed as Snape
grabbed his cock through his clothing. "Touch me."
Hesitantly, Sirius slid his hand between them to palm Snape's groin.
Snape was hard. He thrust into Sirius' hand at the same time he pulled on Sirius' cock.
Sirius gasped. Fuck. Snape's grip felt good. He felt himself begin to harden.
Ignoring Snape's bad breath and the greasy feel of his hair against his face and neck, he began to
rub his hand against Snape's clothed cock. Strange, but exciting, feeling another man's prick.
A twist of Snape's wrist made him gasp. Fuck. Who cared if this was Snape? He bucked his
hips, biting his lower lip at the responding pressure from Snape's hand.
He traced Snape's cock with his fingers, keeping the pressure firm and feeling Snape do the
same. As well as he could, he grabbed Snape's cock and pressed his thigh into Snape's groin. He
began to rock.
He liked the sound Snape made.
They pressed together and rocked, hard thighs braced against each other's erection, silent and hot
and painful and so, so good. Sirius had never felt so dirty – or so alive.
He was nearly frantic with the need to come.
Teeth sank into his neck. Sobbing, he came, pushing into Snape's hand with punishing thrusts,
his bollocks emptying until they burned. He was vaguely aware of Snape doing the same.
His knees buckled, and he pushed Snape into the wall of the alcove, leaning his weight against
him. They stood, panting.
Finally, Snape pushed him off and performed a Cleaning Charm on himself. Sirius did the same,
disturbed by the realisation that he'd really liked what had happened.
"That's it, then," he said in a low voice, feeling both shame and a strange wistfulness. The sex
had been brilliant. "We're even."
"I'd think even you would know the difference between a cock and an arse," Snape sneered.
Sirius peered around the tapestry. The corridor was empty. He ducked back in.
"We fucked. That was the deal."
"We frotted," Snape argued. "No fucking involved."
Sirius was furious. "We had a deal, Snape! Sex in exchange for you telling Remus that you've
"We said nothing about Lupin," Snape snarled. "You wanted me to forgive you. The price was
your arse. If you want to add anything else to the deal, we negotiate."
"Shut up, you fool!" Snape twitched the tapestry aside, but the corridor was still empty. He
dropped it back into place. "This is neither the time nor the place to discuss this. Meet me
tomorrow night, Quidditch pitch. We'll resume negotiations then." He slipped out before Sirius
Sirius stalked to the Tower to get his scarf, furious. Damn the greasy bastard!
He ignored the flicker of anticipation he felt for tomorrow's negotiations.
He'd meant to get Snape's concession.
Instead, the next night, knees bloodied from the gravel behind the equipment shed, his arms
wrapped around Snape's hips for support, mouth full and throat sore from Snape's repeated
thrusts, Sirius suddenly realised that he really, really liked the taste of cock.
He didn't change his mind, even when he had to swallow Snape's bitter come in order to breathe
as the other boy panted and thrust through his climax. While Snape recovered his breath, Sirius
frantically yanked on his cock, coming harder than he remembered ever coming before.
But after both recovered, argued and Snape had disappeared, he fumed that he still hadn't paid
He was disturbed to realise he didn't mind as much as he thought he should.
Sirius thanked all the gods of every earthly pantheon that he still served detentions. His dorm
mates didn't seem to notice that he was getting back to the room later and later each succeeding
night. Each time he saw Snape around the school – each frustrating, furious, anger-filled time –
his mouth watered and his cock hardened.
If anything, detentions became even more tedious as he counted the minutes until he could
escape and drop to his knees in front of Snape.
This was better than – chocolate. Flying. Melinda Lindstrom's mouth. Or cunt. Or tits.
Sirius clutched the sides of the desk as Snape drove into him over and over. The edge of the
desk ground sharply into his cock with each of Snape's thrusts.
He'd never known that pain could feel so fucking good. Helplessly, he began to keen as he
came, strings of come clinging to his stomach and dripping on the desk.
Behind him, Snape pounded harder, his fingers digging deep into Sirius' hips. With a grunt, he
pushed in until Sirius thought Snape's cock would come out his navel, shallow thrusts knocking
painfully against his sensitive prostate. Snape suddenly collapsed, his weight driving the breath
from Sirius' lungs.
He pushed Snape off and gulped air. His arse burned.
He could hardly wait to do it again.
Snape started to collect his clothing and dress.
"Right," Sirius said. "You've had my arse. Now what?"
"Nothing," Snape replied coolly, pulling on a sock.
Sirius swallowed his disappointment. He'd miss the brilliant sex. But now that he knew what to
do, he figured he could probably find it elsewhere. He supposed he owed Snape for teaching
him, even if he'd never admit to it. What he mostly felt was relief. "Then you'll tell Remus?"
"I don't think so." Snape tied a shoe and started on the other.
"You don't – think so," Sirius repeated. "And what does that mean, exactly?"
Snape looked up, his eyes glittering with malice. "It means, I'm not telling Lupin anything."
"But – we had a deal!" Sirius grabbed Snape by the neck of his robe. "You bastard! I bent over
for you! You have to tell Remus!"
"You fool," Snape said through gritted teeth. "Did you actually think I'd ever say a thing to that
–" his lip curled, "that – abomination! Your mother was right! He should be destroyed!"
"You bastard!" Sirius pushed Snape to the floor and stood over him, naked and furious. "Shut
the fuck up!"
"You think he's your friend!" Snape taunted. "You blind fool! He pities you! They all pity you!
A Black pretending to be a Gryffindor!"
Sirius snarled and lunged.
Snape fought dirty. Within seconds, Sirius found himself pinned underneath the other boy, his
nose bloodied and his balls threatening to crawl up his throat. He tried to curl protectively
around his vulnerable middle, but Snape kept hitting him in ways that paralysed him with pain.
Suddenly, Snape jerked and fell away from him. Sirius tried to focus his bleary eyes.
Remus stood over them, holding onto Snape's robes with white-knuckled fists. "What the fuck is
going on here?"
"Are you truly so stupid?" Snape shouted. "Get your fucking hands off me, animal!"
Remus dropped Snape's robes, and Snape scrambled away from him.
"Sirius, what's going on?" he demanded.
"Nothing," Sirius gasped. He tried to sit up and felt something grind in his ribs. Pain flashed
through him, and a groan escaped.
"You're hurt." Remus looked over at Snape. "What the hell were you doing to him?" He knelt
by Sirius' side.
Through his pain, hope flared. He revelled in Remus' gentle touch as he searched for the worst
of his injuries.
"Fucking," Snape said in a dry voice. "What do you think?"
Remus shot a disbelieving glance at Sirius, and then looked back at Snape. "You expect me to
"He was begging for it," Snape jeered. "Panting for it. He loves my cock – nothing better than
sucking me 'til I come, is there, Black?"
Sirius looked away.
Remus looked sick. "I don't believe it."
"Believe it, wolf." Snape pulled himself to his feet. "He likes to spread his legs for cock. My
cock. Don't you, Black?"
Sirius refused to speak.
Unable to ignore the direct plea, Sirius shrugged. He looked at Snape.
"You weren't even that good." Snape straightened and reached into his robes. "Here. For your
trouble." He tossed something that glittered and spun as it flew through the air.
A Knut rolled to stop at Sirius' feet.
"I was feeling generous," Snape said dismissively. "Excuse me, gentlemen." He turned
and left the classroom.
Remus turned to Sirius, who forced himself to meet his friend's eyes. "He was fucking you."
"Did he force you? Was it rape?"
He looked away. "Not really." Hesitantly, he looked back at Remus. "I'm not like my mother,
you know. I don't hate just to hate."
"Was that what this was about?"
Sirius shrugged again.
He sighed. "I thought if I could get Snape to tell you that he forgave me, that…well, that maybe
you'd forgive me, too."
"So you let him fuck you?"
"It was part of the deal," he mumbled.
"You traded sex for – what? On the off-chance that Snape could make me forgive you?" Sirius
winced as he struggled to sit up; Remus put out a hand to stop him. "Something's wrong. Your
ribs?" When he nodded, Remus took out his wand and muttered a spell.
He took a deep breath, giddy with relief at the lack of pain, and looked at Remus. "Snape is a
bastard. He's fucked up our friendship. He needs to make it right."
"Yeah, I know." Resigned to Remus' disbelief, he decided to be frank. "You think I'm the one in
the wrong. I'm not going to argue with you." He met Remus' eyes. "I'd do anything for you. If
you want me to take responsibility for Snape's actions, I will."
"You don't think you're responsible, though, do you?"
Sirius shook his head. He was tired of trying to convince people that they were wrong. He knew
better. That would have to be enough.
Amber eyes bored into his. Sirius waited for judgement.
Remus sighed, his face resigned.
"Come on," he said. "Let's get you cleaned up before a teacher comes along."
Relief flooded Sirius, and he scrambled to his feet.
Later, clean and healed and lying on his stomach, watching James and Remus study and basking
in the knowledge that he was forgiven, he realised that he'd learned an important lesson during
his exile. I don't hate Snape because he's a half-blood. I hate Snape because he deserves to
He wasn't like the other Blacks, with their blind, irrational, hate-filled prejudices. He was
different. He was better. Joy filled him.
I'm not like Snape. And I'm not like my mother. Drowsy in the warm firelight of the
common room, he smiled. He would pay Snape back.
Next time, it wouldn't be a prank.
Next time, it would be for real.