Note, the first: This story was written as part of We Invented the Remix...Redux (Redux II). My scary mission? To remix one of Ellen Fremedon's wonderful stories. Certain that I wouldn't be able to do real justice to any of them, I took one of her longest and most plot-driven fics ("Slowly, But Exceeding Fine") and . . . okay, I turned it into a drunken prelude to a one night stand: the "Any Port in a Storm" remix.

Note, the second: This story - not the original - is set just after Goblet of Fire, but there are spoilers for Order of the Phoenix as well.

Note, the third: Many thanks to Luthien for beta!


Briefly, But Exceedingly Drunk
by Beth H.
(c) May 2004

Severus had not had an opportunity to look in the Mirror of Erised for years, not since acceding to one of the headmaster's typically inexplicable requests that the mirror be moved to an unused - but also unwarded - section of the Castle where any of the more disobedient Hogwarts students might inadvertently come across it. However, Severus didn't need to look into its murky depths to know what he'd find there; he was certain if he did have occasion to look in the mirror, he'd see only an image of himself, answerable to no one for once in his life and blissfully alone.

Ordinarily, the closest he came to getting what he most desired was during the summer holidays when all the students and most of his colleagues, such as they were, departed for points unknown. The castle ghosts continued to haunt the halls, but all in all, summer was the one time of year when Severus could be certain he'd be allowed some much needed time to himself.

Or so it had been until this summer.

With the return to corporeality of the Dark Lord, the need for Severus to gather information about Death Eater activities - to spy - had returned with a vengeance. And quite apart from endless hours spent in the company of the mostly loathsome supporters of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, Severus had also to suffer through interminable meetings at Number 12, Grimmauld Place, providing reports about the Dark Lordís plans and discussing strategy with the members of the Order of the Phoenix, many of whom he despised.

One thing Severus knew for certain was that the Mirror of Erised would never show him forced to spend his holidays in the company of Mad-Eye Moody, Remus Lupin, Mundungus Fletcher, or that endless supply of Weasley brats, whose loud and annoying presence in the old Black House made it seem as if the school term had never actually ended.

And not even in his worst nightmare would the mirror show him any scene in which Sirius Black appeared.

Until three days ago, Severus had been able, for the most part, to avoid the growling presence of that mongrel, until Dumbledore announced that he was required elsewhere for a time, and then, for some unfathomable reason, took Severus aside and told him that he was putting the Secret Keeper responsibilities for the Order into his begrudging hands. Dumbledore assured him that this was only a temporary measure, but it was still an unwelcome one, made even less palatable with the further request that Severus stay at the House until such time as the headmaster was able to return to England.

Severus agreed, of course. There was no way for him to refuse. However, at no point had he agreed to emerge from his room until at least such time as the last of the Weasley whelps had retired each night. He refused to play 'Happy Families' even for Albus Dumbledore.

The continued presence of Black was a further complication. As far as Severus could tell, Black never slept; his irritating presence haunted Number 12, Grimmauld Place no matter the hour. Nor, of course, did Black ever leave the house, having finally given in to the admonishments of Dumbledore, the cajoling of Lupin, and the outright threats of Moody. Black was still wanted by the Ministry, they reminded him, and for him to appear in public, even for a brief time, would put not only himself, but all the other members of the Order in jeopardy.

Determining exactly which room Black was most likely to be in at any given time was the chief difficulty. Apart from the six dismal bedrooms which had been made relatively habitable, the House had few rooms which were not, at the very least, uncomfortable - or, at worst, potentially lethal to the unwary. To Severus's mind, only one room - the kitchen (dark and dank though it was) - could be described as even slightly welcoming, and then only when it was devoid of any other life forms. Needless to say, that was the very room in which Black was most often to be found.

The first night that Severus was forced to remain in residence at the House, he stayed in his own room until midnight. He then went down to the kitchen, only to find Black and the others engrossed in some sort of ridiculous Muggle game of chance involving playing cards. Severus had no interest, of course, in spending any more time than necessary in their company, and he responded to that little twit Tonks' invitation that he join the game with the disdain it deserved. However, he refused to let it appear as if he were cowed by their presence, so he sat down at the far end of the table, arms crossed tightly against his chest, and scowled at the proceedings until one by one, everyone found excuses to leave the room.

Everyone except Sirius Black.

Had an owl not arrived with an urgent communication from Minerva, Severus might very well have sat at the table all night, silent and unmoving, but oddly satisfied, in the face of Black's increasingly apparent agitation.

The second night at the House, no card game was in progress when Severus walked into the kitchen. Once again, he took a seat far from the others, stubbornly refusing to depart until after Lupin came downstairs at 1:00 a.m. to see if Black could help reverse the spell on the third floor cupboard door, as the Weasley twins (who were missing from their bedroom) appeared to have been turned into a pair of newts.

The third night, however, no missives requiring Severus's attention arrived to call him from the kitchen. The Weasley tribe had departed en masse earlier that afternoon with the Granger girl in tow for a short holiday in a wizarding enclave just outside Weston-super-Mare. And Lupin had likewise left to meet with a small group of werewolves in Bavaria.

The thought of willingly entering any room which housed only Black was slightly odious, but Severus was not about to let the presence of that cur keep him out of any place he chose to go. He took his usual chair, summoned the one remaining bottle of Ogdens Old Firewhisky from the counter, and dedicated his energies to emptying the bottle before retiring to his room.

After the first three drinks, enough of his irritation had dissolved that he was able to glance over to where Black sat at the other end of the table without feeling the urge to draw his wand and hex the man out of existence. If Severus had been the sort of man to appreciate irony, he might have been amused to see that Black, silent and glowering, was engaged in exactly the same pursuit that he was: that of drinking himself into oblivion.

Two drinks later, Severus looked up once again. However this time Black was no longer glowering; he was leaning back in his chair and watching him, an assessing look on his face.

Severus frowned. In his experience, that particular expression was never a good sign. What plot was being hatched in what passed for that creature's mind?

The last thing he wanted was to give Black the satisfaction of a reaction, but then Black, now grinning fatuously, poured another drink and raised his glass to Severus in the manner of a toast.

"What is it?" Severus snapped. "If you have something you wish to say, be quick about it."

"Hmm?" Black frowned for a moment, his eyes glassy and a little unfocused. "Oh, yeah . . . just wondering what it would take."

"What it would take to do what?" Severus asked, against his better judgement.

With exaggerated care, Black placed his glass on the table, then he leaned forward. "To get you to blow me."

Of all the things he might have said, that was the last . . . no, it wasn't even on his list of possibilities.

Severus poured himself another drink from the Ogdens bottle, then fixed a sneer on his face. "It would take a life debt at the very least, and even then I suspect I'd rather be burnt to ash by a Blast-Ended Skrewt."

Black shook his head. "No, I don't think so." He rubbed his face and narrowed his eyes. "At least, not the burnt to death part. No, I know what it would take."

Severus waited impatiently for him to continue, but Black just leaned back in his seat with that asinine grin back on his face. Smug bastard. What made him think his idiotic flight of fancy was so damned irresistible? Severus had waited out far better men than Sirius Black.

He raised the glass to his lips, but found it empty. Surely there had been some left in there. Severus reached for the bottle and poured himself another glass.

"Tell me, Black," he said carefully. "What improp . . . improbable sequence of . . .of events do you believe would be sufficient to get me to do that?"

"Interested?" Black said, grinning wickedly.

"Hardly," he replied, "except inasmuch as your answer might furnish conclush . . .conclusive proof that you're mad enough to warrant a long stay at St. Mungo's."

"Ah. Wouldn't want to disappoint. It would take . . . a fight."

"A fight? That's the best your limited imagination can come up with?"

Black glared at him. "Not just a fight, you greasy git. A fight after . . . after I save your life!"

Severus looked around the kitchen, then snorted. "And what, precisely, would you be saving my life from in this fantasy of yours? One of Molly Weasley's culinary experiments?"

For a moment Black didn't answer, just stared off into the distance, tapping at his chin with the edge of his thumb. Then he smacked the flat of his palm on the table and looked straight at Severus.

"You're in some village, surrounded by Dementors. They've worked their way through all the Muggles who didn't get away in time, but they're still hungry and they're closing in on you. So you take out your wand and cast a Patronus, but it's . . . " Black paused and closed his eyes. "Okay, it's the Gryffindor lion, and Voldemort sees . . . ."

"That's the most ludicrous thing I've ever heard," Severus said. "Try to keep the story at least somewhat believable, Black."

"Fine, not a lion then. It's Harry."

Severus snorted.

"Then it's Dumbledore, and . . . ."

He looked away as soon as he heard the name, but he could feel Black's eyes on him.

"Bloody hell, it is him!" Black crowed triumphantly. "Your fucking Patronus is Albus Dumbledore, isn't it."

"Shut up," he snarled, glaring at the other man.

Black leaned forward, the excessively sincere expression he'd plastered on his face entirely unconvincing.

"No, really Snape, I think it's sweet," he cooed.

"I'm warning you, Black, shut the hell up unless you want your bollocks handed to you on a platter."

Black poured himself another drink and leaned back again in his chair. Severus longed to knock the smug smile off his face, but somewhere along the line, his curiosity had been piqued.

"Well?"

"I thought you wanted me to shut up."

"Finish your idiotic tale, you cretin."

Black grinned. "I will, since you asked so nicely. I swoop down on Buckbeak and rescue you, but Voldemort casts some nasty spell on you - Cruciatus or something - and when we get back to Hogwarts . . . ."

"Not Cruciatus," Severus muttered.

"What?"

"He wouldn't bother with Cruciatus. The pain associated with that curse lasts for too short a duration, relatively speaking. The Hamatus curse would be more in keeping with the Dark Lord's usual modus operandi."

Black glanced at Severus's left arm. "Keyed to the Dark Mark?"

Severus nodded.

"Hmm. Yes, well . . . we get back to the castle, make our report, then get into some argument in one of the stairwells, and there you have it."

"And thish . . . this, you think, would provide enough incentive for me to perform fellatio on you?" Severus sneered. "Your story, as it stands, is worth no more than a hand job - or perhaps a bit of frottage, at best."

"I saved your life, you ungrateful bastard," Black snapped.

Severus raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. The more agitated Black became, the more entertaining he usually was, and Severus hadn't been . . . entertained in far too long. So long, in fact, that he didn't actually find the idea of sucking Black's cock altogether repellent - quite the opposite, if truth be told. Perhaps if they were down in his workroom, arguing about a way to get rid of the Dementors, he'd . . .

Bloody firewhisky. He'd definitely had too much to drink.

No, if Black thought he was going to hear anything even vaguely like agreement from Severus, he was going to have to work a damned sight harder at spinning this tale.

Black got up from his chair, holding his own bottle of Ogdens so tightly in his hand that his knuckles were white. He circled the table twice, glaring at Severus occasionally from under his fringe, but the effect was something less than threatening. He really shouldn't have cut his hair if he wanted to continue to look the part of a deranged and dangerous Azkaban escapee.

The pacing stopped. Severus took another swallow of firewhisky and, through sheer force of will, kept himself from turning around to see where Black was standing.

"Or perhaps you'd find the story more believable if we skipped the preliminaries entirely and cut directly to the chase." Black's voice was low in Severus's ear. "Maybe I'd just show up in your workroom one night, bend you over your worktable, and fuck you senseless."

"And why would I . . . agree to this?" Severus asked hoarsely, speaking the words with greater difficulty than the question warranted. As inconspicuously as possible, he shifted uncomfortably in his chair. When he realized he was automatically scanning the kitchen shelves for the presence of olive oil, he shut his eyes and groaned.

Surely it was not Black whom he wanted.

It was not Black's whisky-soaked breath hot against his neck that had led to his current state of arousal. It was not Black's long fingers he wanted wrapped around his stiffening prick. It was not the thought of Black's cock thrusting into him, hard and rough and fast, that was causing his breath to come quick and shallow.

Surely not.

He scowled. Clearly he'd lost his mind if he was entertaining thoughts of letting Black, of all people, fuck him. It hadn't been that long since . . . well, perhaps it had, but nevertheless, it should be a simple matter to think of something - anything - else.

The Hamatus curse. What could be used as an antidote to that? Severus began a mental inventory of the items that would be necessary to brew a variant of the Vivificus Draught.

". . . with something."

What was Black saying? And when did he sit down in the chair beside him? Severus licked his dry lips, all thoughts of potions ingredients or anything else but Black's proximity to him wiped from his mind as if he'd been obliviated.

"Did you . . . bark?"

"I said," Black answered with a smirk, "that maybe you'd like to come up with something instead. Come on, Snape. Let's hear what you've got. Start with . . . hmm . . . okay, how about if we're on an intelligence gathering mission to Kollekaina to ask a giant named Ulfgar about a sampo? And you're in pain, so . . . ."

Severus reached out and put his hand over Black's mouth.

"Who's supposed to be telling this story anyway? Just sit there and finish your drink like a good dog, while . . . "

"That will be a problem."

"What will?"

"Finishing my drink." Black looked woefully into the bottom of his bottle. "It's already finished." He tipped the empty bottle upside down and shook it. "See? All gone."

Severus shook his head. "And what would you like me to do about it? I can't make more appear from thin air."

"Minerva could."

"In case you haven't noticed, I'm not Minerva."

"No . . . no, you're not," Black said after a moment's thought. "She's prettier."

Severus watched as Black licked the rim of his bottle of Ogdens. He'd never noticed how very long and . . . agile Black's tongue was.

Black looked up, then leaned toward Severus. "You could give me some of yours, you know," he whispered.

Severus clutched his own almost empty bottle against his chest. "I refuse to share the last few remaining drops with anyone who's going to cast aspersions against my appearance."

Black sighed. "Fine. You're prettier than Minerva."

"Too late. I don't trush . . . trust you. What a pity that this is the last bottle of Ogdens in your cursed family's house."

Black slumped down in his chair. "It's not the last, last bottle. The last, last bottle's in the other room, hidden behind my father's desk."

"Get off your arse and fetch it, then."

"I would, but . . . I think I'd fall down."

Severus smirked at the all-too-satisfying image.

"You're still a wizard, aren't you? Do that . . . ack-thingy. Whatsit. You know, the thing you do when you want something to come to you."

"Ack-thingy?" Black laughed. "Are you sure you're a wizard?"

Severus scowled. He had the word on the tip of his tongue just moments ago. Maybe the firewhisky had washed it away?

Black was still laughing as he called out "Accio Ogdens Old Firewhisky!" - but then the bottle flew into the room and hit him in the face, and Severus found a reason of his own to laugh.

"Very funny, you bastard," Black said, rubbing at his cheek. "Let's see if you're still laughing when your bottle's empty and you have to come crawling to me for more."

"Snapes do not crawl," Severus said, sounding far more certain of that than he felt, having just swallowed the last drop of firewhisky.

Black stared at him, then shrugged and slid the new bottle toward Severus. "All right, then. But don't think I've forgotten that it's your turn."

Severus nodded, then reached for the bottle. He felt an unfamiliar, aching sensation in his chest as his fingers brushed against Black's fingers.

"Do I have to start with the sampo?" His voice sounded strange to his ears, with a note of anxiety that hadn't been there before.

Black shook his head. "Start wherever you want," he said quietly.

For a moment, the two men just looked at each other, then Severus pushed his glass to the side.

"We're in my rooms at Hogwarts. In my bed. It's wide enough for two, just barely." Or so Severus imagined; he'd never had an opportunity to test this particular hypothesis. "We have removed our clothes. You kneel on the bed beneath my knees and bend your head, then you take my cock between your lips. My seed spills into your mouth . . . "

The minutes ticked by, one after another. The nearly full bottle of Ogdens sat, untouched, between them on the table.

" . . . your godson tells us that the Muggles have developed a technique they call 'cloud-seeding.' With the salts produced by the giants' sampo, the Dementors will be . . . ."

Severus could hear his voice growing increasingly hoarse, the longer he talked. Black pulled his chair closer so that Severus no longer had to raise his voice above a whisper. It felt oddly . . . intimate.

". . . we work together each day and sleep together each night. I still wake when the last dose of Vivificus wears off, but I no longer have the sensation of falling. Then finally, for the first time, we kiss."

If Severus had been able to take back the last sentence - swallow the words down deep in his throat so that neither he nor Black remembered they'd ever been spoken - he would have done so. He began to rise from his seat, but Black reached out and pulled him back down, then leaned even closer than he'd been before - close enough so that Severus could feel the heat of Black's face against his own skin.

"Don't," Black murmured. "The story's just getting to the good part."

"I believe," Severus said quietly, "that you shall have to finish the story. I don't know how it ends."

Black smiled, then kissed Severus on the mouth. The kiss was hot and hard and a little messy, and Severus wanted more. Much more.

"We win, of course," Black said simply. "We wipe out the Dementors, Harry and . . . Harry kills Voldemort, you become a junkie because you've been taking too much of the Vivificus, but I help save your life again, and we live happily ever after."

Severus scowled. "A junkie?"

"It's a Muggle word," Black said.

"I know what the blasted word means, you dunderhead. What I want to know is why it's always my life that needs saving."

"Because that's the way I told the damned story! Would it make you feel better if I were the one who'd been tortured and cursed and on the verge of dying?"

An involuntary smile came to Severus's lips.

"Much better, yes."

Black rolled his eyes, but he returned Severus's smile with one of his own.

"So . . . now what?"

"Perhaps," Severus said, rising unsteadily from his chair and tucking the bottle of Ogdens under his arm, "we should go up to my room and re-enact a few of the more intriguing moments from the story. Does that plan meet with your approval?"

"Yeah. My bedroom, though, I think. It's the only one warded against that damned house-elf."

Together, they walked out of the kitchen and down the hall toward the stairs. As they passed the portrait of Black's mother, still shoulder to shoulder, Mrs. Black's enraged voice could be heard shrieking from behind the curtain.

"Abominations! Blood traitors! Perversions of nature!"

Black shrugged and started to climb the stairs, but Severus yanked the curtain back from the portrait and leaned so close that his nose touched the canvas.

"For the love of Circe, shut the hell up, you bloody harridan!" he screamed, spit flying from his mouth. "One more word out of you tonight, and by Merlin's balls, I'll paint over you with a potion that will have you coughing up Hippogriff dung for the rest of your unnatural existence!"

Severus stepped back from the portrait and let the curtain drop. Apart from the sound of his harsh breathing, the hall was silent.

Black looked at the curtained portrait, then at Severus.

"Why didn't I think of that?"

Severus joined Black, but he paused before starting up the stairs

"What you said . . . something about 'happily ever after?'"

Black grinned. "It's just a story, Snape. Don't worry . . . I'm pretty sure we'll be back to hating each other in the morning."

Unaccountably reassured, Severus nodded, then followed Black up the stairs.

END

********

Chit chat, Critiques, Gratuitous Praise: beth-h @ mrks.org

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