Warnings: Teenagers doing wildly inappropriate things in inappropriate places
The Best Christmas Ever
A/N: Gift fic for karasu_hime, written for the Secret Santa Exchange on lupin_snape. Story and characterizations of Snape and Lupin inspired by Karasu's artwork in general, with scenes based on specific pieces.
Disclaimer: Characters aren't mine, but I'll take the liberty of giving them away anyway ;)
III: Weakened Defenses
(A/N: Based on Daydream, artwork by karasu_hime)</i>
The following Wednesday, Severus took his seat on the back row of the Defense Against the Dark Arts and opened his book, pretending to be busy reading. His mind was still a turmoil from the previous Saturday, and the unexpected kindness from Remus Lupin. The Stinging Hex had come from Sirius Black's wand for no good reason—so far, Severus hadn't so much as looked at James and Sirius this term.
It was no altruistic streak that assured his good behavior, but a fearsome warning from his mother. If I get one more letter from that school, Severus Snape, I swear to God I will take you out myself and put you in that factory down the street. Is that what you want? she'd shouted. That had been his greeting when he went home for the summer—being shoved into a chair by his angry mother, a stack of letters dropped unceremoniously into his lap. You'd better pray to whatever gods you believe in that you scraped OWLs in all your classes, or you won't be going back. Is that clear? I am not paying good money to have you scrapping around with other boys!
It had been a miserable summer of being grounded preemptively, and the imposed house arrest had not lifted when his OWL results came in. Acceptable! she'd shouted, throwing the parchment on the table. Acceptable in Charms! Acceptable in Transfiguration! Acceptable in Care of Magical Creatures! If you have time to be causing Slughorn to send me three owls a month about your behavior, then I would expect your marks to be perfect O's all the way down this page!
That was all she'd commented about. Three A's. Not a word about the three E's, and not a word about the five O's he'd earned. Just the three A's. It was impossible to live in the shadow of a woman who had gotten O's on all twelve of her OWLs. He was trying, though, and he was determined that there would be no letters home this year, and there would be Outstanding marks in all seven of his NEWT-level classes. Even his mother had only earned seven NEWTs.
Keeping his wand in his pocket was turning out to be a bloody difficult undertaking, but where his temper threatened to be his undoing, his stubbornness was his savior, and avoidance tactics his best friends. Of course, avoiding the four banes of his existence also prevented him from returning the cloak one of those banes had lent him. He was beginning to consider sending it back in pieces by owl, just to be contrary.
The bane in question came into the classroom and began setting out his supplies for the lesson, and Severus averted his eyes, taking a renewed interest in his text. If it weren't for Black and Potter entering the classroom close on Lupin's heels, Severus might have returned the cloak then, but he was going to be damned before he got any closer to those two than was necessary.
"Say, Peter, have you started on that Charms essay yet?" Black asked loudly.
"No, I haven't," Pettigrew replied, just as loudly. "Have you?"
"We were talking about getting together in the library tonight," Potter said. "You in, Remus?"
Lupin gave his three companions a tired look. "Yeah, I'm in," he said, though he didn't raise his voice like they were.
Black turned around in his chair. "What about you, Snivellus? Oh. I forgot. You didn't get into Charms this year, did you?"
Black, Potter and Pettigrew erupted into a chorus of laughter at their own pathetic joke. This was becoming a ritual with them—a constant string of reminders that Severus hadn't gotten the necessary marks to be accepted into advanced Charms. Peter Pettigrew had done better on his Charms OWL than Severus had. That one was going to sting for the rest of his life, he was sure.
"So," Potter said, folding his arms over the back of his chair and resting his chin on his wrists, looking at Severus with a cocky expression, "just how bad did you do, anyway?"
"Yeah," Black joined in, "I heard you actually got a T. Do they really give out T's on OWLs, James?"
"What are you asking me for? I sure wouldn't know," Potter replied. The entire conversation was carefully orchestrated, and Severus was doing everything in his power to ignore it, but he could feel his lip twitching.
"So, come on. You can tell us. What's it like to get a T?" Black asked.
Severus said nothing, but turned the page and continued to pretend he was enthralled with the theory behind the nonverbal counter-jinx.
"Hey, Snivelly! I'm talking to you!"
"I hope you're benefiting from the monologue then, because I'm not talking to you," Severus replied.
Black reached out and jerked the book off Severus' desk, holding it up by the cover. "How old is this book, anyway? You know, if you bought current texts, you might stand a better chance of passing."
"You know, if he had the money for decent texts, he might have the money for decent underpants too," Potter speculated.
Severus reached for the book, but Black held it just out of his reach. "Say, I'd almost forgotten that." Black shut the book again and let it dangle between two fingers as he grinned a malicious grin. "So, Snivelly, you washed your pants yet?"
"Back off," Lupin said suddenly, sounding tired. He grabbed the book out of Black's hands and dropped it on Severus' desk again. "We've already had one detention this week and we've got another this evening. Don't you think that's one school record you don't want to break?"
"Since when do you defend slimeballs?" Black asked, sounding put out.
Severus shifted his book and parchment, hoping he'd moved them out of Black's reach. Of course, that only meant putting them within Potter's reach, but Potter wasn't as likely as Black to snatch them away again.
"Since when do you pick fights with people who aren't bothering you?" Lupin asked, meeting Black's glare with one of his own.
"He bothers me by being here."
"Then get out. He's not doing anything to you and he hasn't been all year."
"Why are you defending him?" Potter asked, echoing Black's question.
"Because," Lupin replied, turning back to his own book, "I'd like to have a free evening every now and then when I don't have to serve a detention. I'm serious, guys. If you don't cut it out, I'm going to wave my Prefect badge under your noses."
Black and Potter looked at each other and sighed, but they turned around. It was only a minute later before Professor McGludgen came into the room and told them to bring their homework to her desk.
The lesson was boring. Severus had read the material, and McGludgen didn't seem terribly keen on deviating from the text in the slightest, so it wasn't long before Severus' mind began to wander, and the first detour it took was to the back of Remus Lupin's head. Lupin's excuse had been that he didn't want to get into any more trouble than he was already in, and Severus could understand that—it was the same motivation that had kept him from hurling hexes in the hallways so far this year.
It wasn't a very entertaining explanation, though. He found much more enjoyment in imagining that Remus Lupin was making an awkward attempt to flirt with him, and he wasn't sure which part of that scenario he enjoyed more—the thought of Lupin flirting with him, or that Lupin might feel the same awkwardness that he, Severus, always felt when he attempted such an endeavor.
His eyes roamed freely over the back of Lupin's head, taking in the golden color of his hair and the way it was streaked with darker and lighter shades that gave it a shimmering depth. He had the most unsettling urge to reach out and touch that hair, to sift it through his fingers just to see how it would feel.
An intense study of Lupin's hair evolved into concentrating on the curve of Lupin's neck, which was arched tantalizingly as the most mild-mannered of the Gryffindor berks leaned his head into his hand, apparently as bored with the lesson as Severus was. Severus' mouth went dry as Lupin rolled his head one way, then the other, sighing silently as the lecture droned on.
There was a tiny scar on Lupin's exposed neck—a small, jagged line of pale white that begged to be traced with a fingertip. Or perhaps with a tongue. Severus ran his tongue along the inside of his lips, his eyes transfixed on that scar, wondering where it had come from. The possibilities were tantalizing.
He concentrated on the lecture again for a moment, but McGludgen might as well have been reading directly out of the text. His eyes returned to that scar. Probably a bite of some sort. A lover's bite, perhaps. Severus shifted in his chair as he imagined Lupin lying on a bed, his neck arched, a faceless lover nipping at the tender flesh. It was an image so strong that it made him draw his breath sharply, then look around to see if anyone had noticed. If they had, they gave no indication of it. Severus shifted again, acutely aware that the thought of Remus Lupin's naked body was responsible for the embarrassing condition making itself known under the desk. Maybe it was a good thing that the class was going to continue for more than half an hour more.
He attempted to focus on taking notes on the chapter he'd already taken notes on, but again and again, his eyes thwarted his attempts at concentration, and again and again, he found himself watching as Lupin shifted one way, then another. Twice, Severus snapped his eyes back to his parchment as Lupin turned around in his seat, and twice, he stole longing glances from behind the curtain of his hair as Lupin pursed his lips and rolled his shoulders.
Those shoulders shifting was going to be his undoing. He did a little shifting of his own, attempting to find a position that didn't put unnecessary additional pressure on his already aching cock—the erections that came from nowhere were among the best and worst things about being sixteen.
He swallowed hard, his breath catching in his throat as Lupin clasped his hands behind his head and stretched his arms one way, then another, then dropped his hands back to his desk again.
"Did you have a question, Mr. Lupin?" McGludgen asked, and Severus sat up straight again.
"No, ma'am. Just stretching," Lupin replied.
"I've got a question," Black muttered under his breath as McGludgen turned back to the blackboard. "How many years of special training did you have to go through to reach that level of monotone?"
Lupin's shoulders shook, and Potter smirked. Pettigrew giggled, but clamped a hand over his mouth as Black kicked him under the desk. McGludgen spun around again.
"Something you boys would like to share with the class?" she asked, affixing everyone in the corner with a stern stare. Severus' eyes narrowed at the back of Black's head. If he got in trouble because Black was making snide remarks and Pettigrew couldn't keep his mouth shut, he was going to forget that he was trying not to get in trouble this year.
"No, ma'am," Black said loudly. "I was just wondering if you'd mind talking about Mickle's Theory of Diverted Concentration."
McGludgen rearranged her spectacles so she could peer over the top of them, though the effect was far less intimidating than it was when McGonagall did it. "That's a topic for chapter eleven, Mr. Black. We're working on chapter six. If there are no more questions...?"
No one had any questions, so she turned back to the blackboard again and continued to drone away while Black gave Pettigrew an evil look.
Severus returned his attention to the enticing curve of Lupin's ear, which was visible now that his hair had shifted. Severus' cock, apparently unaware that it wasn't supposed to respond to curves of ears that belonged to enemies, stirred hopefully and Severus glanced at the clock on the wall, diverting a small part of his concentration to the most effective way to get out of the classroom without anyone noticing his predicament. He leaned his head into his hand, watching Lupin, his dry mouth now salivating.
Without warning, Lupin turned around, and their eyes met for a moment. Severus sat frozen, unable to look away, a faint flush creeping into his cheeks as a smile raised one corner of Lupin's mouth. Those golden brown eyes lingered on his for a moment, then, to Severus' horror, began to drop. Lupin's frankly considering gaze swept Severus from the top of his head to his arms folded atop his desk, then down to his feet under the table. He told himself firmly that Lupin couldn't see how his cock was playing at being a tent-pole in his trousers.
As Lupin's eyes returned to Severus', his expression was amused and knowing, and if Severus had any doubts, a wink erased them. Whether or not Remus Lupin had seen anything worth seeing, he knew, and that was simultaneously intriguing and humiliating.
Severus forced his eyes away from the back of Lupin's head and turned all his concentration to finding a way to leave the room without humiliating himself further.