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Rise and Fall

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Sirius sauntered down his stairs, week-old empty bottles of whiskey clinking in his arms. He mumbled something to himself, laughed out loud, and continued on his way. 

The night had started off well enough. He’d managed not to drink anything all day, so he felt fully alert at the Order meeting, if not slightly bothered by a headache. That, he could ignore. By now, he was so used to something troubling him, the throbbing pain in his temple almost went unnoticed. 

His attention strayed more and more these days. He’d listened to most of what had been said at the meeting, but all the plans started to mull together in his head, the mentions of Voldemort and the danger he posed softly merging together in his mind. But he could recall enough, he assured himself. It wasn’t as if he was needed for their execution. 

Of course everything had gone downhill. As soon as the meeting ended and everyone began to file out, Dumbledore indicated that he too should return to his rooms so that he might speak with Remus alone, Sirius had felt the weight of his loneliness return. He climbed the stairs without hurry, hoping someone might call him back down and offer to stay and have a drink with him. But no, he was destined to drink alone.

Sirius sighed, pausing in the hallway that led to the kitchen. He set his bottles down, looking at the ceiling, leaning his head toward each of his shoulders, trying to relieve the tension that crawled from his back into the base of his neck. The stretch didn’t seem to help anything, so he picked up the bottles and continued on his way.

He swung open the door, grunting as he saw Snape sitting in a chair, asleep on his table. 

Had Sirius been a little less intoxicated, he might have gone back upstairs. He might have even forgotten Snape was ever there by the time he woke up in the morning. The whiskey tended to have that effect, blurring what was real with his delusions. Erasing entire nights. 

Instead, Sirius took a seat across from Snape. “Bloody hell,” he slurred, “whatter you doing here still? Shouldn’t you be…” he continued, but then lost the direction of his sentiment. “Anyways.”

Snape didn’t budge. “You’re really conked out, huh?” Sirius laughed, and stood from the chair, making his way to the other side of the table. He shook Snape’s arm, jerking him out of his sleep. 

Snape gave a start, looking up at Sirius in confusion before remembering where he was, how he got there. “Black.” He said as if Sirius finding him asleep on his table was a regular occurrence. Something that happened to people often, nothing to make a fuss about.

“Whatter you doing on... my table?” Sirius asked, too out of it to think of an appropriate insult to string along with the comment. 

“That is precisely of no interest to you. I shall be going now,” Severus replied stiffly. There was no need to make such a fuss about it. People fell asleep against their will now and then, didn’t they?

Nevertheless, Severus found himself looking around the room anxiously, as if expecting someone to scold him. All he saw was Black, one eyebrow raised, a crooked smile smacked upon his lips.

“I’ll be going now,” Severus repeated, and brought his hands up to smooth his hair. 

Sirius tilted his head to the side, squinted to peer at Snape a little closer. The room swayed, just for a moment, then returned to focus. 

“You look… sad.” Sirius said, and nodded. Snape looked terribly sad, he thought to himself, and let out a small chortle. Sirius bit his tongue, turning away from Snape and giving the wall a look similar to those that two friends that have just stolen candy from a shop might give one another. 

Snape cleared his throat, feeling like he ought to defend himself before leaving. It’s not everyday the people you hate point out that you look, well, sad, then guffaw about it. 

“I’m perfectly alright, thank you.”

“You’re very welcome!” Sirius replied, very much so enthusiastically. “What for?”

“For-” Severus started, then decided against it. “Black are you quite alright?” He found himself asking, against his best wishes. “How drunk have you gotten yourself now, fool?”

“Very… very… yes.” Sirius replied solemnly, nodding between each word and taking in a deep breath of air. He nodded again, for emphasis. 

“Are you going to be okay, then?” Severus sighed, annoyed that he was stuck here, alone, with this drunk halfwit. 

“Certainly!” Sirius bubbled, and swayed so much he had to grab onto the table to keep himself standing. It seemed the last cups of whiskey were hitting him.

Sirius giggled to himself, and Severus straightened, looking around the room quickly before focusing on Sirius again. 

“What?” he demanded. 

“What! What?” Sirius said, terribly curious.

Severus groaned. He couldn’t very well leave now, could he? Better to wait the night out with the bastard and hope someone would show up in the morning that could watch over him. 

“For fuck’s sake, Black, do you ever think about how your actions might affect the others in your life?”

Sirius laughed again, sliding down onto the floor, having forgotten to will his legs to support him. “Grab a cup, Snively! Help yourself, I think there’s some more in the cupboard.”

Severus sighed. It wouldn’t do much good for him to get himself intoxicated too, but he wasn’t sure how he was supposed to spend a night with Black and remain both sober and sane. 

He opened the cupboard Sirius had pointed at, found nothing, and made his way into the other ones, searching for the whiskey. 

“There’s nothing here,” he said, annoyed now more than before. 

“Must’ve drank it!” Sirius laughed, “There’s some in my room, I’m sure of it.”

Severus groaned. He debated leaving again, refusing to enter Sirius’s room, pretending he hadn’t fallen asleep or found Black this way at all. 

“Up we go!” Sirius cried, before Severus could make a decision. Sirius pulled himself to his feet, swaying dangerously as he made his way through the kitchen, down the hall, and finally up the stairs, Severus trailing behind him and making sure he didn’t fall. 

Once in his bedroom, Sirius hummed about, looking for the promised alcohol, belching and laughing as he did so. Severus’s eyes flitted about, taking in Black’s room. Clothes strewn about, torn bits of parchment around the desk on the far wall, a large oak bed in the corner opposite the door. 

Sirius looked up, grinning at Snape as if he’d forgotten he loathed the man. He wobbled across the room, clutching the bed post as he stopped to hand Severus a half filled bottle of whiskey.

Severus reached out to grab it, but before his fingers reached the edge of the bottle, Sirius pulled it back, uncapped it, and took a long swig. When he pulled the bottle from his lips, he blinked a few times, and offered it out to Severus. 

“Excuse me?” Severus exclaimed, disgusted. 

“Yes!”

“You just put your filthy mouth on that, and you expect me to drink from it?”

“No different than kissing me!” Sirius defended.

“Well you don’t see me doing that, now, do you?”

Sirius laughed again, moving himself around the corner of the bed and throwing himself down on it, his back bouncing a tad as he landed. “Have a drink!” He yelled to Snape, or perhaps to the ceiling. He stretched the bottle up, squeezing his eyes open and shut.

Severus grabbed the bottle. If nothing else, at least Sirius wouldn’t be able to drink any more of it. He peered down into its contents. 

“Shit,” he said, and took a swig. The whiskey burned his throat, kindle that started a fire in his organs. He took a long draw, then another, feeling the liquid course down through him. 

“Sit,” Sirius commanded. When Severus didn’t move, only glanced around uncertainly, he repeated himself more forcefully. “Sit!” 

The night was already too strange, Severus thought. Better to do as Black wished than to have to listen to him ask for it repeatedly. He sat on the bed, just the tip, as if ready to spring up at any moment. Sirius sat up, grabbing Severus’s shoulder roughly, and pulling him so that Severus’s back collided with the mattress. 

Sirius returned to how he’d been before, leaving Snape breathing heavily beside him. They both looked up at the ceiling, Sirius grinning madly and Severus clenching his teeth in nervous uncertainty. How had he ended up here?

After a long moment, Severus turned his head to the side, his ear to the bed, intending to ask Sirius just what he thought he was doing there. But he stopped the words from flowing between his lips, noticing that Black had fallen asleep. He focused on the ceiling again, breathing in and out, in and out.

At least Black’s incessant laughter had stopped. Good, he thought, though as the silence bore down on him, broken only by the sounds of scattered breathing, he wasn’t so sure. 

He laid there, as still as he could be, thinking about this other side of Black he’d unintentionally witnessed. He nearly drifted into sleep himself, then felt Black’s hand weighting on his stomach. 

For a moment, Severus tensed in fear, sure that Black would try to hurt him, but as Black’s face pressed into his shoulder, his cheek rubbing against him, he calmed down. Sirius pulled his body closer to Snape. The closeness felt good, his rugged form nestled up against Snape’s.

Severus remained frozen as Sirius wrapped an arm around his middle, pulling his body as close as it would get. He wasn’t sure how conscious Sirius was of his actions. He hesitated, feeling Sirius’s chest rise and fall against him, before pulling his arm out and letting Sirius settle into the space between his inner arm and the side of his body. He rested his hand against Sirius’s back gently, sure the other man would pull away. When he didn’t, Severus exhaled shakely. 

It had been a long few months. He could let himself enjoy this.