WARNING: This is a slash story, which means it contains male/male erotic content involving consenting adults. If you're not of legal age or are offended by such material, please go find something else to read.

TITLE: "In Academia"


EMAIL: sushi@societyhappens.com

PAIRINGS: SS/LM, SS/SB, SS/PP, SS/TR, SS/LV, SS/RL; hints of SS/JP; implied SS/OMC, SS/LE (het).

RATING: NC-17 like you wouldn't believe

DISCLAIMER: I don't owns 'em. That's J.K. Rowling, don'chaknow. I just slips 'em out in the dead of night and makes 'em have little tea parties. Don't sue me. It'll all done in fun, I don't make a penny from my efforts (as the world at large seems so intent to remind me), and the most valuable thing I have is a kitten. If you sue me, she'll be sad. Do you hate kittens?

SUMMARY: Prefect. Quidditch captain. Student lord of Slytherin. Severus Snape's seventh year promises to be glorious beyond the dreams of avarice. Some people, however, have other ideas.

NOTES: Part of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest (response to: Scenario #32: Hogwarts holds some sort of quiz/comp/gameshow. How competitive is Snape, and who is his rival? What will he do to make sure he wins?; and Easy Pairing #23: Snape/Avery.) I have taken Certain Liberties with the canon timeline. Specifically, Rita Skeeter is now a year younger than Our Boys. I don't hear her complaining.

WARNINGS: Not, I repeat, NOT a fluffy story. Rape, graphic torture, mind control, manipulation, student death, gore, bigotry, dubious mental stability, a genuinely cruel and dangerous Snape; in other words, something to make just about anyone's stomach squirm.

Major, major thanks to Karen (Grammar Whiz), and to Seera Kosumosu (Plot Whiz), for beta reading this monster. You both get much, much, much chocolate. Also, thanks to Word AnyWhere, without whom I wouldn't have managed a speck of Hindi. I apologise in advance for any linguistic butchery I may have performed.

The King of Serpents

He'd gotten bored with the staring contest three first years into the Sorting. There was no chance in HELL he was going to let Sirius Black win, though. Severus narrowed his eyes. Black returned the favour. Severus straightened his spine - even sitting, he towered three inches over any other Slytherin. A small smirk turned his mouth; he'd always win.

A blink threatened. Five minutes of holding his eyes open had taken its toll in the tears that had long since stopped flowing. Only a little more. Sirius couldn't hold out forever. Suddenly, he saw it; the dark blue flickered pink, and Sirius cursed to himself. Severus grinned and savoured several seconds of moist tears behind soothing eyelids. Lucius chuckled.

"That's, what, five hundred and four to a hundred and sixty-seven?"

"How the fuck should I know? It's not like I keep count. Besides," he ran a single long finger up Lucius' thigh under the table, "It's five hundred and five to a hundred and sixty-six." His wicked, knowing smile was quickly mirrored by Lucius, Evan, and Emeric Avery. It reminded him just how much all the little Slytherins needed him to keep them whole. Severus felt a little guilty - after this year there would be no shining dark star for them to look up to. The first young viper of the year, a boy named Anthony Flint, was sent into the clutch; Snape clapped and whistled with the rest.

It gave Severus no small pleasure to see the second years pointing towards him soon after Anthony sat down. Walden Macnair in fifth year kept stabbing at the air, describing something or other. Flint's eyes grew wider and wider, darting over the seventh years but always, always flickering back to Snape. That's right, you know who I am: your lord and master. He caught the boy's eye, held it just long enough to make him shrink, then broke his stony gaze with a smile. Anthony drooped, grinning back. Oh, too bad, mate. What happened? Densaugeo gone wrong or did your mummy shag a horse? Not that Severus' teeth were utterly perfect - they were just uneven enough to be interesting, just odd enough to give him the impression of fangs - but all told it was a minor flaw.

Anthony was quickly followed by Polly Grune, Alexander Holyfield, and a rather pretty black-haired boy named Leo Lender. He greeted them as he had Flint. They melted.

"Lupin, Romulus," called McGonagall. Lucius groaned. Adam - Wilkes - snorted.

"Another fucking Gryffindor."

Another fucking werewolf, more like. Not that Snape would say it. He didn't fancy expulsion, not after six years of fighting tooth and nail to become the King of Serpents. He glanced at Remus, who jumped up to hug the simpering little cur. "Yup, another fucking Gryffindor."

Severus fidgeted testily through the rest of the Sorting. The concept of two lycanthropic monsters running freely about the school turned his normally lush, tea-coloured skin rust with caged rage.

The last Sorted, an odd, pale young Slytherin named Boniface Zabini, left Severus strangely dissatisfied. His pleasant mood had been gutted and, whenever that happened, it took rather a lot to prevent him from finding someone on whom to vent his rage. He did so verbally, of course - he'd never stoop to the level of violence like Lucius' little sixth year pets. Crabbe and Goyle were squinty, ugly, and better suited to grunt and punch than to tie their shoes. Severus avoided them like vermin. Lucius glanced at him and immediately put his hand on Snape's leg, stroking it slowly and soothingly. It was either that or risk being the chosen target.

"I have a few words that may be of interest," Dumbledore said calmly. The room quieted down. Severus scowled at the headmaster. What? Are vampires going to be admitted along with the rest of the abominations now? "I'm pleased to announce the first ever Hogwarts Academic Bowl. This will be a year-long competition to challenge the best and brightest." Snape perked up - best and brightest? A low murmur ran through the Hall; Dumbledore held up his hand for silence. "I'm afraid it shall only be open to seventh year students." A few cries of "No fair!" and "Why?" rose up. The headmaster smirked wryly.

"I assure you, once you hear some of the questions you won't be so eager to join." He waited a moment for any dissent. There was a tense, unspoken grumble, but nothing more. "Good, good. Any seventh year who wishes to try his or her brain should report to the Charms classroom this Saturday at one in the afternoon for the tryout exam. Results will be posted the following Friday, with up to five competitors chosen from each House. The first round will take place the second of November, with subsequent rounds announced through the year."

McGonagall tugged on Dumbledore's sleeve and whispered something conspiratorially under the murmur of semi-interested students. His eyes twinkled knowingly. "Ah, Professor McGonagall has reminded me," he said in a way that made clear to Severus that he'd not needed reminding at all, "that there might be some advantage to giving prizes for this sort of thing. Well, while the glory and prestige of winning should be enough for most, there may be one or two of you who would like some other form of reward. So... hmm, let me think." He tapped his fingers against a wrinkled cheek. Snape yawned. The Slytherins around him chuckled; they stopped when the bright sky eyes caught them playfully. "Perhaps... a House-only Hogsmeade weekend for all permitted students, a special end-of-year whole-House celebration, and a five-hundred Galleon gift certificate to the Diagon Alley shop of choice for the winner would entice you?"

A hush fell over the room, followed half a second later by a roar of chatter and excitement. Severus raised his eyebrows smugly. Despite James Potter stealing his rightful spot as Head Boy (through Gryffindor bias, no doubt, their marks being virtually identical), there wasn't a student in the school who could out-think, out-test, or out-do Severus Snape. The victory was as good as his. While Lucius patted him on the back, and the rest of the table spat saccharine words of confidence, he pondered vaguely how he could get the money transferred to the apothecary in Knockturn Alley.

No time for that now, though. It would be just like a Gryffindor for him to focus purely on that. There were far more interesting things at stake, like the look on Potter's face when he lost. Or the twitch in Black's temple when it was proven, once and for all, that Slytherins were better. Or winning in the first place. His brain smoothly processed his tactics: refresh his intimidating knowledge of things outside the Hogwarts curriculum; spend as much time as possible in the library, gathering information well beyond the call of NEWTs; perhaps conceive a charm or two to help set his thinking into neat, easy rows. Anything more would require knowing the enemy.

Black's indigo eyes, and Potter's brown ones, settled on him. Snape stared back. Oh, he knew his enemy, all right.

They blinked first.

Air kissed his arms and he sighed. Severus had worn that bloody robe since his parents saw him onto the Hogwarts Express for the last time. Coolness teased his dark skin, tickled the patches of black hair under his arms as he folded his hands behind his head. He wriggled contentedly in his cocoon of a bed. "S'good to be back."

"Y'reckon?" Lucius had his robe off, too. His green-and-silver rugby shirt and faded Muggle jeans made an affectedly sloppy contrast to Severus' sleeveless white vest and pleated black trousers. He'd slipped his leather braces off his shoulders and they spread over the bed around his hips. With a quick flick of the wand his shoes untied and he kicked the polished black wingtips to the floor.

"Sure. You try living with Pescennius and Gita Snape all summer and see how glad you are to get back."

"I asked if you wanted to go with us."

Severus turned his head to look coolly at Lucius. "Luc, do you honestly think my dad is going to let me stay away from home all summer, especially out of the country? It was hard enough to talk him into Christmas."

"He's going to have to get used to it pretty soon," Evan piped up, rummaging through his trunk. "I mean, you're not moving back home after school, right?"

"Don't know, I hadn't really thought about it," Severus said casually, stretching. Of course he'd thought about it. He had no intention of going back to the World's Greatest Prat. Honestly, just because there's a big nasty Dark wizard running loose doesn't mean I'm going to flounce off and join him. His father was so bloody paranoid sometimes. It was probably to be expected, being an Auror and all. But, really, why would Severus Snape, the student lord of Slytherin, need to follow someone else to get his laurels?

Lucius snorted. "Right. And I'm a Muggle. You've probably got your whole life planned out."

"Yup, and if you're nice I might even keep speaking to you after I take over the world."

Lucius smirked; the rest of the boys, Evan, Adam, Emeric, and Nagendra, laughed nervously. It took balls to say something like that when Lord Voldemort was grinding his terrorist swathe through the middle of their society. Rosier stuck his head back in his trunk.

"Hey, Lucius, catch." A flat box flew through the air and landed soundly on Malfoy's bed. Lucius snatched it. "Sorry, I was going to give it back on the train."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot! Got you something, Sev." He threw the box at Snape, who stopped it and let it land on his hard stomach. "Wouldn't fit in my trunk. I found it in Texas."

"What, a rattlesnake?" Snape ran his fingers under the tape holding the brown paper closed. The box was rectangular, fairly large but not heavy.

"Ha, ha. D'you think if I had a rattlesnake I'd give it to you?"

"Fair point. You'd probably give it to Potter. In his bed, if we're lucky."

Malfoy snorted and covered his mouth with the back of his hand. "Wonder if it's too late to get one sent over."

Severus had finally gotten the paper peeled off the box. The lid said "Stetson", and when he lifted it off and noisily folded back several layers of tissue, found, "A hat?"

"Yup." Lucius grinned.

"Why the fuck did you get me a hat?" Snape grinned a little, highly amused as he lifted the thing out of the box. To be specific, it was a cowboy hat, solid black, with a narrow tasseled band around the brim. He dropped it on his head; it settled comically above his ears. Lucius yanked it off, tapped it with his wand, murmuring, and set the somewhat larger hat back on Severus' head.

"Yeehaw, ride 'em cowboy," Lucius drawled with a glint in his eye. Snape smirked wickedly.

"Is that a request?"

"Maybe." Malfoy grinned. The others were carefully quiet. They knew better than to complain. Snape plucked the hat off for a moment to inspect it. It was wide and curved, with a triangular indentation in the top. The inner band said, "Carson", and a small brass clasp held together the tasseled outer band. He dropped it over his face and lay back, hands folded on his chest.


"Don't mention it."


"Budge up, you're hogging the bed."

Severus opened one eye, then the other. Lucius was leaning over him. All around he heard the soft breathing of most of their roommates, Evan's measured snores and snorts and Emeric's soft wheezes breaking the semi-silence. "You took your sweet time."

"Shut up, Sev." Severus squirmed over. The curtains closed, leaving them in perfect darkness. Lucius, dropping his blue dressing gown, slid under the covers and immediately planted his chilly feet on Snape's legs. "Shit. I forgot this place gets so cold."

"That's what you get for running around a desert all summer."

"Hmm." The pale, sleek body pressed against Severus. Lucius was pleasantly cool against his skin. "Speaking of summer, you have turned into a big boy." He prodded one of Snape's upper arms. "Goddamn, Severus, what've you been doing? Lifting elephants?"

Snape slapped a hand over his face. "Cauldrons," he groaned. "Mum made me help out in the shop. Spent the whole time screaming at me. 'Naa! Naa!'" he imitated his mother's high voice, waving his hands in the darkness. Lucius laughed.

"Your mum is such a freak."


"In a good way! Wish my mum ran an apothecary. I mean, you've got all those ingredients to mess with, and with your dad's library... you could cook up some serious shit, y'know? Seriously, you must have the coolest parents in the world."

"You're talking out your arse. Dad's the biggest prat in the world."

"Well... yeah. But at least they don't make you act like you live in some fucking museum."

"Did you only come over here to talk?"

"Mm, no." Severus felt soft lips against his. Lucius murmured, "How d'you say 'shut up' in Hindi?"

"Chup raho."

"Then I'd better chup raho." He kissed Snape again, harshly, limber tongue pressing deep, drawn in further when Severus wrapped his own around it. Lucius crawled on top of him, letting his hardening cock press against a washboard stomach and inciting a similar reaction by pressing his thigh between Severus'. His smooth back was still cool, but tacky with the finest layer of sweat. It slid from beneath Severus' fingertips as Malfoy crawled under the covers. Short, silky strands of white hair tangled in his callused fist, and he moaned as smooth wetness entrenched his shaft.

"Fuck, Luc, you've been practising." He gasped when Lucius hummed in response. "Oh, god, yes." A nudge of his hips drove him against a velvety throat. Lucius responded by shifting to let the last significant inch slide deep. Severus arched and groped for his bedside table. He caught the drawer, rummaged inside, and found the small jar of lotion he'd brewed long after his parents were asleep. He tapped Lucius with it.

Lucius chuckled, which only inspired another writhing moan. He pulled back to a small protest. "Did you fix the taste?"

"Yeah. Tastes like kulfi now."


"Ice cream."

"Ice cream, yay," Lucius drawled with an audible smirk.

"Just get to work, you cocksucker." The sound of a lid unscrewing was followed by a gentle lapping noise and a soft purr of approval. Lucius pushed Severus' legs apart and, earning a low "ungh!", pressed his lubricant-laden tongue against the puckered bit of flesh. The lotion's effect was immediate, taking sensations and drawing them out fivefold. "Ohhh... goddammit, Lucius, if you stop I swear I'm going to cut your dick off and mount it on the wall."

The practised pink tongue ran a thoughtful circle before delving further. Severus reached down with his free hand and held his testicles out of the way, massaging them gently against his hard cock. He shuddered at the teasing tickle in his arse. Lucius stretched the fleshy crinkles as well as he could. A squishy skin of lubricant was left to ooze around the gaping hole.

"Suck me again."

Lucius obeyed, at the same time taking two fingers full of lotion and sliding it over himself. He groaned around his mouthful, and Severus choked and grabbed his hair. His body echoed. Everything, every tiny clench of nerve or muscle, every tiny tug of coarse hair kept on and on and on. A sharp tooth scraped, and Snape gritted his teeth, silently trying to control his wince until the pain finally dissipated. The Dark Arts, while probably not originally created as a sex aid, certainly were flexible in their application.

"Lean against the wall," he croaked. Lucius immediately stopped sucking and crawled over Severus' long, lean body. Playfully, Snape snapped at Malfoy's cock as it brushed his cheek, receiving a giggle and a gasp when his lips caught foreskin. Lucius shuddered, and a moment later made his slightly weak way to the head of the bed. Severus rolled over, flicking his shoulder-length hair off his face. On hands and knees he groped until he found Lucius in the dark and licked a long trail up his body to his mouth. The lotion did, indeed, taste like kulfi, creamy and sweet and tinged with pistachio, still cool inside a warm mouth.

Deliberately, he moved to lean back against Lucius. Hands wrapped around his chest to stroke his hard nipples. A pinch of slick fingers, and he growled low in his throat. Roughly, he grasped the cock beneath him and held it still. They both groaned when it slid deep, stretching and burrowing and, with the right twitch of hips, coming to rest against Severus' prostate. He dug two fingers behind his scrotum and whimpered at the pressure from both sides.

"You feel so good," Lucius whispered hoarsely, his hips twitching.

"Tell me," Severus hissed. He flexed his thighs, lifting a few slick inches and sliding back slowly.

"Tight, especially when you lift up... like that, yes... oh, god, you're hot. Keep moving... oh, yesss-s-s..." the palms pressed against his nipples contracted, drawing heavy sensation out through tortured nerves. The hand not behind Severus' balls wrapped around his cock. He squeezed and pulled in counter-rhythm to his gradually faster rocking. One leg tensed, pushing him up at an angle, then the other, forcing a figure eight of his hips. "Oh, fuck, yes. Ride 'em, cowboy."

"Say that one more time and I'll make sure you never get laid again," Severus muttered, moving faster, clenching tightly around the hardness he repeatedly impaled himself upon. The echo of one jolt rang long into the next, and the next, and the next, building fast and hard. His head tipped back and lolled on Lucius' shoulder. Harder, faster, he ground himself against slender hips, moaning with every breath. Lucius wasn't in any better shape, releasing each laboured breath with a pppf sound of lips. The echo of sensation built exponentially. Weakness started to take him, and all he could do was squeeze his cock and shift his hips rapidly back and forth.

Suddenly, Lucius grunted, bit Severus' shoulder, and bucked. His teeth sank deeper as he throbbed inside, a muffled roar like an angry bull pouring from his nose. Snape's eyes rolled back. He bucked his hips as fast as he could, hand squeezing and yanking mercilessly, until an avalanche hit him and he moaned, long and loud, hot liquid spurting over his hand and spattering on his belly and parted thighs. It went on forever, pound after pound of pleasure-borne heat reacting at his pulse points and leaving him utterly deaf.

Several minutes later, when he'd recovered both his hearing and his limbs, he slid off, collapsing on the damp bedspread. "I want a fucking cigarette," he mumbled.

"You don't smoke."

"Started in July."

"What about Quidditch?"

"Two cigarettes a day isn't going to hurt me." He yawned. "Bugger off, I'm tired."

"Got something to show you first."

Severus sighed. "Can it wait?"

"Trust me, you'll like it. Where's your wand?"

"Floor by the table. Clean me up first, will you?" He heard Lucius grope bonelessly. In a moment, the stickiness vanished and low light filled the curtained area. Lucius was pink and shiny, and grinning. He held out his left arm. There was a silly little tattoo on it, a skull with a snake coming out of its mouth. It looked washed-out, the sickly grey of old dishwater. "Well done. You finally learned how to use a quill."

"It's a Dark Mark, Severus. I'm one of Lord Voldemort's followers." His voice was suitably hushed. Snape stared at him, scowling.

"What the fuck are you talking about? You don't have the sac."

"Careful, Sev, he might hear you." Lucius winked. "Y'know, he could use a good Potions wizard-"

Snape dropped his head on the bed, sighing loudly. "Please. Like I'm going to turn into some old warlock's slave boy."

"You'd like him."

"Oh?" Severus yawned again, more to make a point than out of fatigue.

"Yeah, he's got vision. Real vision." Lucius' pupils dilated in their silver shells. "Imagine walking down a busy street, anywhere in the world, and instead of having to hide what you are and where you come from you're allowed to use magic any way you want. He's going to right things, Sev. We don't need to be afraid of Muggles anymore."

"I'm not afraid of any fucking Muggles."

"Then why didn't you put your robes on before you got on the train this morning?"

Snape stared at Malfoy. The silver in his eyes was almost completely gone. Severus had a horrible squirming feeling in his stomach. No single Muggle scared him, but all of them, together, was enough to give any decent wizard the shakes. They were weak and stupid and ignorant, but when the odds were ten thousand to one... "'Cause my dad would've killed me. And you know I can't stand those things. Bugger off, I'm tired."

Lucius smirked his infuriating little smirk. "That's what I thought. G'night." He extinguished the wand, groped for his dressing gown, and stumbled back to his own bed.

Severus dropped his wand in its spot and yanked back the tangled covers. Lost in thought, he settled down. He didn't need some self-proclaimed Dark Lord to tell him what to think or do, but a tiny part of him dwelled on the concept just the same.

Hindi As Far As I Can Tell

Naa: hurry

English For Americans And Other Deviants

vest: undershirt
braces: suspenders

Once And Future

All the seventh years tested as per Severus' decree, but, as with all the Houses, only five made it to the running. Snape, of course, received higher marks on the test than anyone - a point higher than even Golden Boy James Potter. Just below "Snape, Severus A." on the green sheet of parchment was "Malfoy, Lucius B.," "Rosier, Evan S.," "DuMarche, Narcissa Y.," and "Patil, Nagendra".

Emeric looked at the list and sighed while Snape leaned against the wall, ubiquitous hat sitting at a jaunty angle over his face. He said sadly, "I really thought I had a chance."

A hand clapped suddenly on his shoulder. "Cheer up, Avery," Potter chuckled. "At least you won't get your bollocks ripped off and handed to you." He leered at Snape.

"What're you doing with your hands all over my friend, Potter?" Severus looked down his nose through lidded eyes. He twirled his wand before letting it rest again on his folded arm. "If you're looking for a good time I'm sure Black would be more than happy to comply."

"Why, Severus, are you implying I'm good in bed?" Black grinned impishly.

"No, merely that Potter has low standards."

James snarled and took a step. Sirius held him back. "He's not worth it."

Severus' face broke into a wide smile. "I didn't know you cared."

Neither Potter nor the rest of his little clot wasted any more breath. Rather, they looked over the red parchment, which, surprise, surprise, went: "Potter, James T.," "Black, Sirius C.," "Evans, Lily I.," "Lupin, Remus J.," "Sharma, Devi J." Potter and Black turned to the Slytherin sheet for a moment. They snickered conspiratorially.

"Wow, Snape, you really are an Arsehole. See?" Black pointed to Severus' middle initial.

"Actually," Snape pushed himself off the wall and swaggered to tower over Sirius, "it stands for Ajit. It means 'invincible', Sirius Caleb."

"It stands for what? 'A git'?"

"I wouldn't laugh if I were you, Dog Boy."

Sirius blanched. Severus arched an eyebrow. Are you that upset over being named Dog-Star Dog? Seizing the moment, he backed Sirius against the wall. He leaned close to Black's pretty boy face and whispered, "Woof."

Severus' skull smacked against the opposite wall. A flash of light and a ringing sensation threatened to send him to his knees, but he fought. Black, breathing heavily, fingers clenching and eyes narrow, advanced. Snape had just fixed his vicious black gaze on Sirius when a sharp voice called, "Snape, Black, in my office!"

Severus mentally breathed a sigh of relief. He hadn't been glad to see Professor Dram since their first Potions lesson, and he'd have sworn on his grandfather's grave that he never would again. This time, though, the gods were in his favour. Smiling inwardly, he followed Black, who kept glancing over his shoulder.

Dram was an annoying little witch with close-cropped white hair. She constantly pulled herself straight, as if it would make her equal to even Severus, the tallest person in the school save Hagrid. He stared down his nose at her. She could barely brew a Photograph Potion without checking the manual. "Detention, both of you, separately. Won't have you helping each other."

Snape snorted; Black made a noise of disgust. "You think I'm going to help that greasy, slimy, arrogant, big-nosed son of a-"

"That'll be a week, then, Black. Who started it?"

In unison they said, "He did." Black glared.

Snape played blankly smug. "If you'll pardon me, Professor," he said with all the politeness he could muster in her damnable presence, "I was merely correcting Black, here, on the pronunciation of my middle name. He seems to have trouble distinguishing certain sounds - it's dreadfully worrying. Perhaps he ought to see Madam Pomfrey?"

"Maybe you ought to, y'greaseball," Sirius hissed softly. "You need your head examined. S'not my fault your parents never loved you."

"At least I wasn't pupped," Snape muttered too low for Dram to hear. One advantage of a teacher older than God was that she was more than a little deaf. Black growled and took a menacing step closer. From six inches up, it was almost cute.

"Two weeks, Black. One week for you, Snape." Sirius giggled as Severus closed his eyes in effort not to earn a solid month. "Snape, you start Monday, and if I catch either of you causing a ruckus again I'll have your hides for cauldron covers."

You couldn't cover a cauldron if you were on it, you daft cow. "Yes, ma'am." Severus gave a short bow. Dram scowled at him and shooed him to the door with her head. Black started to follow.

"Not you, Sirius. I'm not done with you yet."

Severus smiled to himself. He found Lucius waiting outside with a look of annoyance. "Fucking Gryffs. One of these days..." he narrowed his eyes. "Gryffs and Mudbloods, Sev. Gryffs and fucking Mudbloods."

Snape pulled him by the arm. "Let's get out of here. I swear, once I've got my certificate I never want to see these dungeons again in my life..."

The squid caught a bird in midair and dragged it down to beaked doom. Severus watched calmly and went back to rolling his cigarette. The papers and tobacco were in his robe. The robe was neatly folded next to him on the grass. He lit the fag with his wand, leaning forward with his bare elbows on his knees. As usual, he was dressed in a white vest and black braced trousers, with the Stetson perched on his head. Absently, keeping the lit end of the cigarette out of harm's way, he tucked a piece of hair behind his ear. It was sleek, and silky, and very, very shiny from the protective coat of oil he gave it each day. Snape snorted. Greasy, indeed.

"Bunny eating a human head," Lucius said out of nowhere. He was stretched out, hands behind his head, watching the evening sky. Snape peered at him.


"Bunny eating a human head." He squinted. "Looks more like a duck now."

Oh. Clouds. "Are all rich gits as easily amused as you, or are you just special?"

"You know I'm special, baby." Lucius wriggled his tongue at Snape, who snorted wearily and took a long drag.

"Yup, I'll bet Saint Mungo's has a special ward just for you."

Lucius sighed and went back to cloud watching. He hadn't moved much since supper - no great shock, considering how much he ate. Severus, as always, hadn't had much of an appetite. A bit odd, that, considering his size. He supposed he lived off knowledge; a good day in the library or over a cauldron did just as much as a meal. He glanced up out of sheer curiosity and saw the moon hanging ghostly and near term in the rich blue sky. Two more days and Hogwarts would be under attack of, not just one, but two werewolves. Probably. He made a mental note to stay in Slytherin that night.

Suddenly, Lucius winced and rubbed his left arm. "Dammit," he muttered under his breath.


"Nothing." He got to his feet. "I'll meet you back at the common room later, okay? I'm going for a walk."

Severus peered at him oddly. Something wasn't right. "What's wrong with your arm?"

Lucius stopped rubbing it abruptly. "It's fine. I'll see you later."

Snape almost followed. He'd lost some of his taste for reckless curiosity when a werewolf had nearly eaten him, though. Lucius wandered towards the other side of the lake and was quickly out of sight.

Severus lay back with his head resting on his hand. The grass felt pleasantly cool and real beneath his shoulders. A cloud caught his eye through a smaller cloud of smoke. It looked eerily like the skull on Malfoy's arm.

In the distance he heard shouts as the Gryffindor team practised; it should have been Slytherin, they'd had fewer chances that week than any other House. Madam Hooch, the new coach, had promised them the pitch for the whole of Saturday. Snape planned to work them to the quick.

He spent the rest of the evening in the common room, dividing his attention between homework and a scale model of the pitch on which he devised fresh strategies. Lucius didn't show. Around midnight, not so much worried as suspicious, he left the Quidditch model, dragged himself upstairs, left his clothes in a messy pile, and went to bed.


A noise pulled him from a light stage of sleep. Severus pushed his curtain open. A blonde figure, staggering with fatigue, was pulling its clothes off. "Luc?"

"Go to sleep, Sev." He sounded half dead.

"Where've y'been?"

"Nowhere. Go to sleep." Lucius rolled gingerly into bed. Evan's head popped out from his sanctum.

"Where've you been?" he hissed.

"Where d'you think?" Evan sniffed and ducked back inside. Lucius' eyes glittered in the near-darkness. "I know you're still awake, Severus. You can stop staring at me now."

"Why the fuck does Evan know where you've been and I don't? I thought I was supposed to be your best friend."

Lucius shrugged, and tugged at his curtains. "Use that brain you're supposed to have, dimwit. I'll be up for practise." He vanished behind the green velvet hangings. Severus blinked.

Still staring, he settled on his side. It wasn't long before his eyes drooped and dreams overtook him. They were pleasant, and when he won the Quidditch Cup, he was given James Potter's skull, green serpent poking its head out curiously.


It wouldn't have been so bad if Dram didn't sit there, watching him like a bloody hawk. "Those are in order, right?"

"Yes, ma'am," Severus said loudly. He ruffled the sheaf of parchment in his hands, double-checking that all the formulae were in alphabetical order, before going to the next stack.

"Get it right and I'll let you go at midnight."

Severus nearly dropped them. He ground his teeth, flashing two fingers at her from behind the safety of the pages. And, to think, he had four more days of this to look forward to. He was a fucking prefect! For all the good it did him - if he ever became headmaster (ha, ha, not bloody likely, he'd sooner become an Auror than teach) prefects were going to be exempt from this sort of humiliation. Except the Gryffindors. For them, it'd be mandatory.

The weekend hadn't gone well, not well at all. Lucius arrived at practise an hour late, acting like he had the world's worst hangover (something they'd become familiar with in fifth year), which effectively left them a Beater short. He kept dozing off and tipping forward. Severus finally left the scoring area, grabbed Malfoy's broom, dragged him to the ground, and ordered him to the showers. Luc had refused to speak to him since.

To rub ground glass in the wound, Lucius hadn't done his share in Potions that day. While, normally, Snape was perfectly happy to work by himself, he was still more than a little stung over his supposed "best friend" acting like such a stubborn prick. Again. That led to sniping, and sniping led to shouting, and shouting led to Professor Dram separating them and pairing them with Gryffindors. At least it wasn't Black and Potter.

Almost as bad, though. Possibly worse. Snape was stuck with Peter Pettigrew for the rest of the year. Short, fat, rat-faced, and whiny, Peter spent most of the class cowering and whinging on that he couldn't cut his rhizome correctly. Severus did it in the end. All told, it wasn't that different to being paired with Malfoy. A small mercy was that Lucius got stuck with Remus J. Lupin, Werewolf At Large. Well, he would be tomorrow, the Lupin brothers being "poorly" that day.

Severus squirmed. The robe he was stuck wearing for the duration of detention itched horribly. He'd never get used to wearing them. Muggles didn't know how well they had it. No stupid formulae to organise for a teacher too lazy to do it, no robes, no bloody werewolves... He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, stacking the last of his sheets and looking up in hopes that Dram had died so he could leave.

No such luck. Her brown eyes glittered at him. Snape sulked, glaring coldly, before going to the disorganised file cabinet to clear out another drawer.

He yanked it open and pulled out an armful of parchment, which he dumped unceremoniously on a desk. A moment later it was sent skidding over the black surface by a second load. Severus started to gather the rest of the papers at the bottom of the drawer. One had gotten stuck behind it. He sighed and tugged the corner. It wouldn't budge. With a tired, dusty sigh, he tapped it with his wand. "Extraho charta!"

There was a soft crack, and a cloud of dust that set him coughing and his eyes burning, and the back panel of the drawer tipped forward. It seemed to be on some sort of hidden hinge. A small stack of parchments sat there, brown and old and mostly covered in fading green ink. With a careful sidelong glance at Dram, who still watched him suspiciously, Severus removed a single sheet (mysteriously blank) and put it with the rest.

At half-past eleven he looked up again. Dram's eyes were closed, and every few seconds a puffing breath came out of her nose in lieu of a snore. Severus screwed up his lips, thinking. He could shove the parchments in a drawer and run, but that would earn him a later detention the next night and, possibly, an extra week. Or he could file them carefully and slip out, leaving a note on the board that he'd stayed until midnight and didn't want to wake her. Yes, that was a much better idea.

But the drawer still called to him.

Quietly, one eye on the sleeping Potions bitch, he reached back into the drawer, withdrew the rest of the parchments, and slid the compartment closed. It made a soft click and refused to budge when he poked it with his wand. Odd. Severus noted it for future reference, stacked his carefully alphabetised formulae in the drawers, and hid the old pages in his robe. He pulled on his hat, left a short note, and slipped out, careful not to let the door squeal.

The common room was empty. Not a great surprise, going on midnight after a Monday load of classes. He made his way up to the dorm room. Fortunately, he'd finished what homework was due the next day - a paper for Binns (wasn't that boring old sod ever just going to die?), a chart for Trelawney, and a report for Professor Fellus on the rise of Grindelwald - and had no pressing responsibilities.

He went up to the dorm to find Lucius stretched out with his nose in his Herbology book. The others were asleep, although the muffled noises from Emeric's bed indicated that he was still busy with, erm, sedative measures. "Luc."

Lucius didn't so much as grunt.

Severus sighed, retrieved the parchments, tugged off his robe, and flopped down. The hat landed precisely on the knob of his bedpost. "If I'd let you stay up there you'd've broken your neck, and where would we have been then? You know we're short on good Beaters."

No response.

"You can't keep ignoring me forever, y'know."

Lucius licked his thumb and turned a page. "I can try."

Snape rolled his eyes. "Fine, be a prick." He turned his attention to the parchments. Potions notes, Potions notes, something about imbuing ingredients, indications for use of certain advanced spells in ingredients, all fairly vague. It was like a general instruction manual for spell-potion hybrids. Snape had never seen anything like it, and, hence, wanted nothing more at that moment than to absorb everything about it he could.

Lucius was tapping his quill between his teeth. The clicking sound grated on Snape's nerves. "Stop it."

"Stop what?"

"Making that noise."

"I'm not making any noise." He went back to gnawing the feather.

"Stop it, Lucius. You're giving me a headache."

"So wank. That usually helps."

"You're so fucking couth."

"I aim to please."

"Just stop chewing on your quill." He did. A moment later, however, he started tapping on his book with his fingers. "Goddammit, Malfoy, give it up!"

"Make me."

Severus pointed his wand across the room. "Accio codex!" The textbook shot from Malfoy's bed. Snape caught it easily, giving Lucius an annoyed frown. Lucius glared.

"Give it back, Severus."

"Are you going to give me a little peace and quiet? I've just spent four hours doing Dram's bidding and I'm not in a mood to take shit from anyone."

"Whatever. Just give it back." The book flew with an easy flick of the wrist and Malfoy caught it just before it hit him in the face. He glared quietly and settled back in to study.

Severus watched for a moment, then closed his curtains, and set up a short soundproofing charm as an afterthought. He picked up the parchments again. The blank one had slipped out a bit.

It wasn't blank anymore.

You can, you know.

He scowled. "What the fuck?"

The neat, angular green text vanished, more taking its place. Make him stop.

Severus stared silently. He was calm. It wasn't the first time he'd come across the Dark Arts, and it certainly wouldn't be the last. It wasn't as if he were unfamiliar with them. "Who created you, and what is your purpose?"

Who are you?

He narrowed his eyes. "What does it matter?"

Quite a lot.

This was getting nowhere. Severus rubbed his eyes; clumps of dust had settled in the corners, making them itch something feral. "I don't have time for this," he muttered.

I think you do. If you're the right sort of person, I'm willing to make it worth your while.

"And what, pray tell," he asked with all the sarcasm he could muster, "would the right sort of person be?"

That all depends on who you are.

Severus sneered. A bud of anger in his chest was blooming quickly. "My name is Severus Snape. I'm a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Is that any better?"

What House?

His eyes narrowed. With no small trace of annoyance, he said, "Slytherin."

Ahh. Tell me, Severus Snape of Slytherin House, are you a good little wizard? You've never studied the Dark Arts, have you, Severus?

He cocked an eyebrow. "That's a very personal question."

I'm a very personal fellow.

Snape snorted, and was a bit surprised to see Ha ha ha appear on the sheet in his hand. "Who are you?" he muttered.

I am no longer a who, I am a what. This is a recording of a small piece of research I performed during my seventh year at Hogwarts, in 1944 and 1945. My name is Tom Riddle, and I, too, am a member of Slytherin House.

"Why should I believe you?"

Ah, cunning, skeptical, with a keen mind. I expect you're quite ambitious, too, aren't you? Perhaps a Quidditch player?

"Keeper. Captain. Why?"

Oh, excellent! I was a Keeper myself, although I never achieved captain. You must be very good.

A small rush of warmth went through Severus' chest. He refused to let himself preen, though. "What do you want?"

Merely to share my knowledge with a like-minded individual. There are so few of us who can truly understand the fragile beauty of a potion as it shifts and sharpens and casts its flickering light.

Snape stared. He touched the words, unconsciously traced them with a long, loving finger. They vanished, and were replaced with more. Ah, yes, Severus Snape of Slytherin House, you understand. I've waited so long for someone to understand. Not one of these rich, spoiled twits with brains like suet and spines to match, but someone... intelligent. Gifted. Charming rather than charmed.

Severus swallowed. Glancing from side to side to make sure his curtains were shut, he asked in a slightly hoarse voice, "What sort of knowledge?"

A special potion, the formula for which I began to piece together in the summer of 1944. I'm an orphan, you know, and chose to stay here rather than return to the orphanage I call Hell. There are wonders hidden at Hogwarts the likes of which mere mortals can only dream. Only the most powerful of wizards could hope to understand them, much less achieve them. You understand, Severus. We are not mere mortals, you and I. The images that float within your skull can no more be placed within your peers' limited scopes than the sun might fit within the moon. You, Severus Snape of Slytherin House, are like me.

"What are you?" Severus rasped. He had the distant urge to reach through the paper and bring Tom Riddle's lips to his.

The King of Serpents.

Some invisible energy smacked Severus in the chest. It took him a moment to realise it was the pounding of his own heart. Air shuddered hard through his open mouth, and he trembled. It wasn't a submissive tremble, or a frightened tremble; it was torn between the tremors he felt in the middle of sex, and the innocent shivers that took his back when the search for some obscure datum bore fruit. He licked his dry lips and asked, "What's the formula?"

He would have sworn the parchment smiled.

English For Americans And Other Deviants

poorly: ill

The School Of Hard Knocks

Professor McGonagall gave him a curt smile as he handed in his exam and left. Bag hanging off one shoulder, Severus undid the long row of buttons down his body as he trotted away from the classroom and away from another week of dealing with inferiors. Most of the professors were tolerable, he supposed - McGonagall certainly knew Transfigurations, and Flitwick could be far worse where Charms went - but, if he wanted, he could teach any of his classes and then some.

It was a warm, brilliant afternoon, and he considered going outside to consult with the parchment. Its information was... enthralling. Riddle had reconstructed an archaic way to imbue a potion with a spell so that its effects were virtually untraceable. Snape had spent many an hour poring over magical theory in effort to do the same thing. It was more of a hobby than a serious effort or else he long ago would have come to the same conclusions as Riddle. At least, he was able to finish sentences before the parchment could.

It seemed highly amused by this.

Slytherin was empty, and very likely would be for a good half an hour. Before they got to know him, the other students in his House laughed at the amount of effort he put into everything he did. When he casually placed a Cruciatus Curse on Edwin Nott's toad, they stopped laughing. The fact that his effort also got him out of exams earlier than anyone in the school wasn't lost on them. Thankfully, they were too lazy to imitate him, which left Severus with wonderful moments of isolation.

Reluctantly, he decided he ought to get ready for practise instead. He still had four nights with Dram ahead of him, and with the way Lucius was acting he'd have a nightmare going into it, too. It had happened before, and it would happen again; every time Luc got into one of his catty moods, Severus was the one to take the brunt.

The dormitory was unusually warm, and a little sticky. Emeric must have left that damned Humidifier Spell running instead of breaking it like he was supposed to. Sure enough, the curtains on his bed were wide open. Do I really have to live in a swamp just because some people's lungs don't work? There was nothing to break this late - the spell only lasted eighteen hours at most. Emeric hadn't managed to make it go past fourteen and a half. Snape found little comfort in peeling off his dank robe. Hair stuck to the thin layer of moisture settling on his face. He felt sticky, and filthy, and greasy, and the only thing that would right it was a shower.

It only took a minute to skin down and pull on his heavy green dressing gown. The thing was miserable in summer, but once the first fingers of winter cold crept into the dungeon he'd be plenty glad to have it. He padded down the hall, barefoot, to the boys' shower room. It was closer than the prefects' bathroom, and he wouldn't have to leave the House. On the other hand, it was also a large, ugly stone room, one wall covered with hooks and mirrors, and the other lined with nauseating turquoise doors. Wrinkling his nose at the faint smell of mildew, Severus hung up his robe and locked himself in a stall.

The water that hit his skin was hot, but not in the same way as the room. It felt clean, and it took some of the grimy sensation down into the communal drain. A fresh bar of soap sat handy and, giving it a quick rinse just to be sure, Severus rubbed it first on his face, then down the rest of his long body. He had to duck to rinse it out of his eyes. Tiny droplets clung to his eyelashes. A strong, red flush rose on his dark skin. He grabbed the shampoo and let his mind wander.

It got stuck on the image of Sirius Black sniggering in Potions that morning, when Pettigrew had added the nettle leaf to their Infernal Inferno Concoction three steps early and sent a sheet of acidic foam bubbling out of the cauldron and to the floor where it started to eat through Severus' shoes. Severus managed to douse it in bicarbonate of soda, but not before emitting an exceedingly unwanted and embarrassing yelp. The little prick spent the whole of lunch pointing at Severus from across the Great Hall, laughing into Potter's shoulder.

A maverick thought regarding the size of Black's prick came to mind, and he quickly squelched it. It was a favourite thought after a day of dealing with that little pack of hyenas, but one he preferred to savour in his own vengeful way. Severus' brain didn't quite want to obey, though. Black's dark, mocking eyes widened in surprise, his ridiculing smirk drooped, when Severus imagined knotting his fingers through that shaggy black hair. His real fingers brought the bar of soap between his legs and moved it in circles around his hardening cock. Severus gave in, and leaned his shoulders against the wall, a wicked smirk crinkling the skin around his closed eyes.

He pulled up Black's struggling head so their faces were an inch apart. Strong fists beat against him. They abruptly stopped at the first breath against red lips. Yes, despite being the most vicious, sadistic, murderous bastard ever to grace the Earth, Black was unconventionally pretty. In a loathsome sort of way, of course. Closer, closer, Severus allowed more moist, warm tendrils of air to reach out and tease skin turning redder by the second. The surfaces of their lips brushed. Black gasped.

"You want me, don't you?" Severus murmured just short of Black's mouth.

Black swallowed. His eyes had dilated, and rigidity sat beneath his skin like a mask. The tip of his blunt nose twitched. He didn't nod, didn't speak, but the gasp and the body pressing against Snape when he sank his illusory fangs into Black's soft throat were answer enough.

Part of Severus registered the thud of soap hitting the floor as his slick fingers wrapped around his cock. Most of him had better things to think about, though.

"On your knees," he whispered to the cur wheezing softly in his grip.

Eagerly, Black obeyed. He looked up at Severus with something that could only be described as awe. Rightly so - the foreskin Severus oh-so-gently ran over Black's soft mouth was attached to an object of considerable size. It didn't seem much more than average until one remembered that its owner was six-and-a-half feet tall. As Lucius had commented since they were thirteen and comparing masturbation techniques, only up-close did anyone get the full effect.

One hand still dragging hairs out by the root, Snape pushed himself against Black's mouth. It opened, and a shudder went through Snape at the feel of wet, clinging membranes and twitching tongue. "Oh, yes, suck me," he hissed.

Black obliged, gagging softly when Severus hit the back of his throat. A wry smirk took Severus' mouth. He thrust, and Black's choking throat kneaded the bared tip of his prick. Neither made any move to pull back until Black started to pale.

Abruptly, Snape yanked his hips away. The rush from Black's short nose chilled the layer of saliva on his cock. He bit back a moan. Stay in control. Don't let him think he's got any power over you. Snape thrust in deeper as soon as Black had his breath. Testicles bumped Black's prickly chin, and coarse hairs parted for his nose. Snape had two choices: he could break down and moan and give himself away, or he could punch a hole through the back of Black's neck.

Holding the cur's head tightly, he pounded. Frantic, breathless suction caught him every thrust. Severus gritted his teeth. His knees started to shake, and his bollocks hugged his body. "Suck... me..." he hissed between his teeth. "Harder... hard... er..." he dropped his head and growled.

Suddenly, the tingle in his pelvis twisted, tightened, and exploded. The struggle not to scream only magnified the burning pleasure firing through his nerves. Tiny spurts of white came from Black's nostrils and trickled down over his lip. Severus smirked; what came around came around.

Hot water pounded mercilessly against his back and Severus' fist slid blindingly over his cock. He bit his lip, hard, tilting his head against the shower wall. He pressed a finger of his free hand between his balls and grunted sharply at the electric jolt. Faster, harder he moved. The sound of the shower barely concealed the sound of slapping skin. Clear liquid mixed with the water and dripped from the tip.

His hips bucked. He started, seized, and had to thump his skull against the stone to keep from screaming as spurts of white were driven to the floor by rushing water. Cock still caught in his grip, he slid to the floor, panting, not entirely aware of the cold granite against his slightly spread buttocks. Very gently, he stroked a few more times and shuddered when the last of his semen dribbled out with a subversive wave of sensation.

"How'd you like that, Dog Boy?" he muttered under his breath. Someday, he'd do that, or do that to Potter, or to any of their little clan, and he'd rent the two apart forever. Yes. Someday.

"You call that flying, Pucey?" Severus shouted at his third year Chaser. "Xavier, send Pucey a Bludger, see if that knocks some sense into her!"

"Lay off me!" Emerald Pucey hung her head, clearly terrified that she'd dared snap back.

Severus narrowed his eyes. Dodging Xavier Xavier's well-aimed Bludger, he pulled up alongside Pucey. "Don't talk back to me. There are plenty of people who'd be happy to take your spot."

Pucey mumbled something.

Severus cupped his ear sarcastically. "What's that? I can't hear you."

"Go'acruh..." she trailed off.

"If you want to play Quidditch, Pucey, you'd damned well better tell me right now what the fuck is going on, or I'll have you off this team faster than you can say 'Bob's your uncle'."

"I've got a cramp!" she yelled a little too loudly. Her entire face turned bright red.

Severus circled her, sneering. She was hunched over her broom, legs wrapped around it, her mouth twisted in humiliation. "Then," he said tersely, "I suggest you go home right now. Or are you going to get your mind off the rag and on the pitch where it belongs?"

"Yes, sir," she whispered, twin tears dribbling down her cheeks. With a sniffle and a timid glare, Emerald swooped down to regroup with her fellow Chasers. Lucius made some comment at her and she sped up.

Snape growled softly through his nose and returned to the scoring area. There were only about ten minutes left before they had to give it up for supper. Lucius had been a prick all practise and it was rubbing off on the rest of the players. They'd been willful. That was a failing Snape would have to beat out of them - verbally, of course. He'd not clawed his way through the ranks for five years to have his team disrespect their captain.

He pushed them through a few more tactics and, finally, set off silently towards the ground. He'd already started the first of two mandatory cool-down laps of the pitch when Patil, their Seeker and one of the best fliers Snape ever hoped to see, touched down and jogged behind him. Severus ignored them all, outwardly, as he ran, although he made mental notes on their speed, attitudes, physical condition, and anything that struck him as unusual.

When he finished, he stood by the bleachers, arms folded, watching with narrowed eyes. Pucey was only halfway through her second lap when Xavier finished and headed for the showers. She kept wincing. Severus ran up beside her. "Do you need to see Madam Pomfrey?"

Emerald shook her head. Her eyes were fixed straight ahead.

"First month?"

Pucey turned red as a beet and looked away. She shrugged. "Third," she mumbled.

"Look at me, Pucey. Don't be such a coward. I'll not have any cowards on my team. It's a simple matter of biology, and if it's going to be an issue I need to know."

"Yes, sir." She still wouldn't look him in the eye.

"If you want, I can mix something up to ease the cramps."

Pucey's head snapped up. She gaped at him, wide-eyed, and dropped her face back towards the ground. "Yes, sir. Thank you, sir."

"I have a name, you know."

She didn't respond. He patted her gently on the back. Emerald's spine stiffened, then went back to its normal curve. She glanced up at him. Severus smiled. A slight flush went through her cheeks.

"I only get angry because I want you to succeed," he lied. He got angry because the dunderheads acted like the cup was going to be handed to them just for showing up! His smile softened in a calculated way.

The flush in Pucey's cheeks deepened. "I know, Severus," she said meekly. "I'll try harder."

"Good woman." He winked and grinned. "You'll do us proud."

Emerald didn't say another word. Her cheeks retained their shocking pink shade until she disappeared into the girls' showers, casting a quick glance back at him and hurriedly dropping her eyes.

Severus waited until she was out of sight before he snorted and rolled his eyes. It was too easy. Forget the Imperius Curse, raging hormones were the best mind-control tool around.

Only Lucius was still washing his hair when Severus stepped into the showers. He'd taken to dawdling until the rest of the team had finished before taking off his shirt. The white foam was barely lighter than his hair. "Nice job on Pucey," he said.

"Oh? Speaking to me again, are we?" Snape scowled at Malfoy and smeared spicy yellow soap on a flannel.

"You didn't ground me again."

"You weren't falling asleep sixty feet up."

Lucius shrugged and ducked his head under the tap. Rivulets of soap ran over his screwed-shut eyes. "Come up with any plans for the Academic Bowl yet?"

"Plans?" Severus asked innocently. He scrubbed his face quickly, then proceeded to grind the cloth under his arms. It wouldn't do well for the King of Serpents to reek like the King of Polecats.

"To win, you halfwit."

Severus glared coldly at Lucius. "I know perfectly well what you meant, you spineless excuse for an upper-class twit. And, for your information, I have several plans in mind. Not that you'd get any use out of them. You won't see past round one."

Lucius sniffed. "We'll see about that. What sort of plans?"

"Private ones."

"Like what?" Malfoy turned off his shower and wrapped a towel around his waist. He leaned against the wall, arms folded and snobbish smirk driving Snape's temper closer to the breaking point.

"Imperius Curse, Lucius. I'm going to Imperius everyone into deferring to my superior cunning."

"You don't have to be sarcastic."

"Did it never occur to you," Severus dumped shampoo in his palm, "that perhaps I'm just going to use my wits?"

Lucius snorted. "You?"


"That'll be the day."

"Are you implying that I'm as dense as you?" Snape turned towards Lucius, giving him not only a blistering glare, but an eyeful as well.

"Severus, Severus, Severus," Lucius shook his head, smiling. He dropped his towel and stepped into the small cubicle. Slender, white hands glided over Severus' chest. "All I'm saying is that it wouldn't be very Slytherin of you not to do something."

Snape gave him a bored look. "Neither would it be very Slytherin of me to tell everyone I know what I'm going to do."

"At least use an Osmosis Charm."

Severus arched an eyebrow. "Since when have I needed an Osmosis Charm?"

"Since I said so."

In truth, Snape had planned to use an Osmosis Charm. To absorb (if not regurgitate) information at almost double the normal rate was an intoxicating thought, especially when he could use that knowledge to prove himself better than those fucking Gryffindors. It wasn't a commonly used charm, since had rather nasty side effects if not removed within a day: insomnia, violent behaviour, and, in extreme cases, physical changes. He'd never found any clear documentation of the physical changes. The charms were expressly forbidden for schoolwork, but the rule never said anything about an academic contest.

"I'll think about it."

Lucius bit Severus' shoulder. "What else do you have in mind?" he purred.

Snape looked down at his friend. After the last few days, he wasn't eager to jump straight into bed with Lucius. Punishment was in order and, besides, there was too much left to do before that night's detention. He took a step back and turned to rinse his hair. "Like I said, it's private."

"Does that mean you're using the Imperius Curse?"

"Do I look dim? I'm not going to Azkaban over some stupid contest. Anyway, forget Azkaban, my dad would kill me! Literally!"

A thin finger traced a long line from Snape's neck to the top of his arse. "You used the Cruciatus Curse on Nott's toad."

"Yeah, and you don't get sent to Azkaban for using it on a toad. We're talking about people, here."

"So don't get caught."

Severus glanced back. Silver eyes twinkled at him mercilessly. As quickly as he could he finished rinsing and shut off the tap. "How'm I supposed to do that? Make an untraceable Unforgivable potion?" He could. The parchment's Imperius Salve would be exceedingly, exceedingly difficult to trace. He needed a test subject, though, and had yet to determine who to use.

"You can do that?"

Snape looked and sounded as neutral as he possibly could. "Maybe."

Lucius' smirk grew from a tiny, ominous twitch of lips to a thing of outright terror. Severus suddenly wondered how much that skull tattoo had affected his friend and lackey. "This," Lucius whispered, "I have to see." He put his arms around Severus and kissed him.

Severus pushed him away. "I said 'maybe', Luc."

Lucius' eyes narrowed pleasantly. Snape stifled a shudder. Lucius said quietly, "I know."

Go on to the second part of the story