Chapter IV- No Exit

"Hell is Other People" (J. P. Sartre)

Remus was arranging things in his house, in a small village in Cornwall, to prepare for the imminent arrival of their guests. He was glad that Sirius and Harry could be together again; that was essential for Sirius's psychological welfare. But having Severus and Sirius in the same house would be a nightmare. To make things worse, Dumbledore had told them that there was a Magical Empathy between Severus and Harry, clearly implying that there was also a deep emotional involvement between them. From what Remus had witnessed in the mirror, that involvement had also a sexual component. Remus found that very disturbing. After all, Severus belonged to his generation, and Harry was young enough to be his son. And if that weren't enough, there was also the fact that Severus Snape was one of the last partners with whom Remus would like to see Harry.

Sirius didn't want even to hear about it, and made his opposition very clear. For the first time, he had refused even to consider a request by Dumbledore. Remus could understand his feelings very well, and yet he found himself in the position of having to ask Sirius to keep calm - which he did without conviction. Sirius had agreed to Snape's presence in their house only under Dumbledore's implicit threat that Harry wouldn't come without Severus, and under the condition that Snape wouldn't touch Harry while they were there. Dumbledore had insisted that Severus and Harry should have at least one hour per day to practice together, alone and without any interruptions, and Sirius had had to agree to that too.

It was for Harry's benefit, Dumbledore had said. The bond between Severus and Harry was very strong and their magic would be infinitely more powerful if they learned to work together.

Remus sighed and plumped the cushions on the sofa. Sirius was coming down the staircase with an anxious look. "Is it time, yet?"

"Calm down. They won't be here for another half-hour. Oh, and they have already sent their trunks. I'll put Severus's under the sofa. Can you take Harry's upstairs?"


With a knot in his throat, Harry said goodbye to Hagrid, Buckbeak and Ceci - Ceci would have to stay with Hagrid while the school was closed. Harry tried to cheer her up by telling her she would have fun with Buckbeak and all the weird beasts Hagrid used to keep in his cupboards. Ceci asked Harry to take care of Severus, and Harry promised he would.

Hedwig would stay with Hermione, who didn't have an owl.

When he finished packing, Harry said goodbye to Ron and Hermione. It was hard not to tell them the whole truth, but Dumbledore had insisted on the importance of keeping the fact that Sirius was alive a secret. Harry told his friends only that Dumbledore would send him to a house under the Fidelius Charm. The three friends departed promising to meet again as soon as possible.

Harry put on his Invisibility Cloak and walked to the Hogwarts' gates, where Severus was waiting for him. As he arrived, still under the Cloak, Harry embraced and kissed Severus. He knew he wouldn't startle Severus because their bond allowed them to feel each other's presence even when they couldn't see each other, and Severus had surely felt his arrival.

"Harry," said Severus, as soon as the kiss ended, "you know we won't be able to do this when we are in your godfather and his werewolf's house."

"Yeah. That's why I'm doing it now," said Harry, pulling Severus into another kiss.


Remus felt a chill in his stomach when he heard a knock on the door. He braced himself to open it, but Sirius was quicker and passed him by. The expected moment had arrived: Harry and Severus were in front of Sirius and Remus.

Everything happened fast; Sirius embraced Harry and Remus greeted Severus with a nod. "Good afternoon, Severus."

"Lupin," Severus replied dryly.

"Come in!"

Sirius had already pulled Harry inside. Severus entered with a suspicious look, as if expecting an ambush. Remus couldn't help smiling inside: the same man who would bravely fight against the most dangerous wizards behaved like an eleven-year-old child when facing Sirius. The fact that Severus was the most paranoid wizard he knew - surpassed only by Mad-Eye Moody, perhaps - didn't help the situation at all.

Only then did Harry come and greet Remus - a bit formally, but that was normal; Remus himself had always been formal with Harry. Remus shook Harry's hand. "I'm very glad to have you here, Harry."

"Thank you, professor."

"You don't need to be so formal. After all, I'm not your teacher any more, and we all will live here together. Call me Remus."

"Okay, Remus."

"Have a seat." Remus pointed to a sofa and two armchairs in the sitting room.

Severus stood up, like Sirius. They hadn't even greeted each other, and now their eyes locked. Remus could almost see the wrathful sparks crossing the room. Remus approached Severus and pointed him to an armchair, but Severus didn't look willing to sit before Sirius.

Luckily, Sirius turned to Harry and pulled him down to sit on the sofa, and Severus sat in the armchair Remus had pointed out to him.

"Harry... Dumbledore told me you were angry with me, and I completely understand. But you must know that... I didn't have any other way to help you. Will you forgive me?" asked Sirius, his voice wavering.

"I... I don't know."

Remus would have liked to pay attention to what they were saying, but he had to play the host. "Do you want a drink? Juice? Butterbeer?"

Harry asked for a pumpkin juice; Sirius too. Severus said he didn't want anything. Remus sighed.

When Remus returned from the kitchen with the glasses, Harry and Sirius were talking amicably, and Severus was looking miserable.

Remus poured a glass of Firewhisky for himself, and had an idea. "Would you like a glass of Ogden's Old, Severus?"

"Thank you, Lupin, but I don't usually drink in unsuitable places."

Remus wasn't sure whether that was an insult or if Severus meant he wouldn't be comfortable drinking in front of Harry.

But Sirius didn't seem to have any doubts about it, and jumped up. "Listen here, you..."

"Sirius, please," said Harry, holding Sirius's arm to stop him. Harry then stood up and approached Severus, who was already standing, and was pointing his wand at Sirius. "Severus, let's sit down and talk, please."

Harry touched Severus's arm and Severus's face changed immediately, softening a little.

Sirius, on the other hand, clenched his fists on seeing the interaction between his godson and his nemesis. "Snape, take your hands off my godson."

Seeing black clouds gathering on the horizon, Remus set his glass on the table and hurried to prevent a disaster. "Please, gentlemen, let's just try and be civilised."

"The presence of this animal here," Severus replied, nodding to Sirius, "prevents that possibility."

"I may be an animal, but at least I'm not a paedophile like you."

Severus and Sirius were ready to engage in a physical fight. Harry screamed, "Stop it, now! Can't you see that by insulting each other you are insulting me? Can't you be a little bit more mature than that?" Harry sank into the armchair opposite to Severus's.

Severus and Sirius stood up, glaring daggers at each other.

"Let's make a truce, all right? We're here because we've decided to work together. We have a common purpose," said Remus.

"So why don't you get straight to the point and start with your report? The sooner you finish it, the sooner we can develop a plan of action," Severus snapped.

"Yes, we could do that. But please, sit down, everybody," Remus asked.

Reluctantly, Sirius sat on the sofa again, and Severus, in his armchair - both very slowly, studying each other's movements.

Remus gave up on his glass of Firewhisky for a while and sat beside Sirius on the sofa.

Sirius turned to him. "Would you like to make the report?"

"You're the one who knows all the details, Sirius," Remus replied, trying to infuse confidence into his partner.

Sirius lowered his head to concentrate, as he used to do sometimes. When he lifted his head there was a determined look on his face, and he turned to Harry. "Dumbledore told us he had talked to you about the Horcruxes. As he told you, you have already destroyed one of them, the Diary, and Dumbledore has destroyed the ring. So there are four Horcruxes left." Sirius took a deep breath. "Dumbledore supposes Voldemort wanted to make a Horcrux with an object that belonged to each one of the four Hogwarts' founders, and I believe Dumbledore is on the right track. Two of these Horcruxes we have already identified. We have obtained the memory of a house-elf belonging to Hepzibah Smith, one of Helga Hufflepuff's descendants. We saw this memory in Dumbledore's Pensieve; it shows Tom Riddle talking to Hepzibah, and it's very clear that he killed her to steal Hufflepuff's cup and Slytherin's locket."

"What was this Hufflepuff doing with Slytherin's locket?" asked Snape.

Oh, there was Severus Snape, always jealous and protective of his Slytherins, thought Remus.

"Hepzibah was an antique collector. She bought it from Borgin & Burkes," Remus replied, seeing that Sirius didn't look inclined to do it.

Severus made a repulsed face.

"And where are those things now?" asked Harry.

"I've seen the locket in the house-elf's memory Dumbledore showed me, and I recognised it. I suspect, Harry, that the locket was in 12 Grimmauld Place when we were decontaminating the house. Don't you remember having seen a heavy golden locket that no one could open?" Sirius asked Harry.

"In Grimmauld Place?" Harry widened his eyes. "Yeah! I do remember!"

"There you are!"

"We threw it into the rubbish sack," Harry whimpered. "But... perhaps Kreacher hid it?"

"It's a possibility. But there is another one: Mundungus Fletcher has been arrested carrying objects stolen from 12 Grimmauld Place," said Sirius.

Harry grimaced. "That thieving bastard! Did he have the locket?"

"No. But he could have sold it beforehand," Sirius answered.

"So we're back to square one?" asked Harry.

"Kreacher is at Hogwarts now, isn't he?"

"Yeah. Dumbledore asked me to order him to stay there," said Harry.

"We can interrogate him, and also look for clues Mundungus might have left," Remus suggested.

Harry looked contemplative. "What about Hufflepuff's cup?"

Sirius looked at Remus as if asking for his help.

"Thanks to the information passed by Severus to Dumbledore a few days ago," said Remus, making Harry and Severus turn to look at him, "we have a solid clue about the possible whereabouts of the cup. Severus reported to Dumbledore that Bellatrix let it slip that Voldemort had entrusted her with something very precious in the past."

Harry looked at Severus, who nodded at him.

"Dumbledore thinks it's the cup that's with Bellatrix. It could be the locket, but if the locket was in Grimmauld Place, it seems unlikely that Voldemort has recovered it and given it to Bellatrix. And Dumbledore doesn't believe Voldemort has managed to create a Horcrux from something of Gryffindor's..."

"Why?" asked Harry.

"Because Gryffindor's sword, his only known relic, remains safe, protected by Dumbledore," Sirius answered. "As for Ravenclaw's object, Dumbledore suspects the recent disappearances of Florean Fortescue and Ollivander have something to do with it. Dumbledore hasn't explained this theory to me yet; he said he'll call us in a day or two."

"Fortescue and Ollivander disappeared?" Harry looked distressed.

"They did," said Sirius.

"If the Dark Lord didn't manage to create a Horcrux from a Gryffindor artefact, why do you infer we have to find four Horcruxes?" asked Severus, with an impatient gesture.

"Dumbledore thinks Voldemort has used Nagini instead," Remus replied.

"Nagini, a Horcrux? A living Horcrux?" Severus arched an eyebrow. "Is that possible?"

"Apparently, it is," Remus answered.

"And how did the Headmaster arrive at such a conclusion?" asked Severus.

"The Headmaster said he used a very sensitive instrument to analyse Harry's thoughts while Harry was seeing through the snake's eyes, when Arthur Weasley was bitten by Nagini, two years ago," Remus explained.

"Oh, right. I remember that. Two smoke serpents issued from the instrument, and Dumbledore looked very intrigued," said Harry.

Severus shook his head, looking incredulous. There were a few moments of silence. "How are we going to work?" Severus finally asked, crossing his arms. "Each of us will take charge of a Horcrux?"

"Of course not," Sirius snapped. "If you expect us to leave Harry alone and put his life at risk, you are more wrong than ever, because we are not like you."

Severus seemed ready to jump on Sirius's neck and strangle him.

As Remus loved that neck, he tried to distract them by presenting a real plan. "I believe we should start with the cup. Sirius has a clue about where Bellatrix might have hidden it." Remus ignored Severus's snort. "We have to find a way of taking her out of her house or distracting her."

"I can do that," said Severus. "But I hope this cup is where you expect to find it, otherwise I shall be uselessly risking my cover."

"Listen, Snape, there's no way to be sure of anything. We're investigating, okay? If you're too much of a chicken to try..."

"Black, I am sick and tired of your useless and nonsensical comments." Severus turned to Remus. "Tomorrow night there will be a Death Eater meeting. The Lestranges will be there, without a doubt. You can take advantage of the opportunity. Tomorrow evening you shall have to be prepared. A few minutes after my departing, you can go to Bellatrix's house."


The atmosphere remained tense for the rest of the afternoon, and in the evening Remus called Severus aside to try and convince him to have dinner with the others. Remus remarked that he trusted Severus to the point of drinking the Wolfsbane he prepared him every month, and that he expected Severus to place the same trust in him. Severus replied that he wasn't so reckless as Remus. Remus almost lost his patience, but Severus ended up joining them at the table.

After dinner, Sirius took Harry upstairs, and the two of them stayed there for a long time. Severus paced the room nervously. Remus offered him tea, and he accepted. Severus cast a disdainful look at Remus's Muggle tea-bag tea, but looked pleased to find a bag of Earl Grey.


Sirius took Harry to the office he and Remus had transfigured into a bedroom for Harry. The walls were lined with bookshelves, and Sirius spent a long time showing the books to Harry. Among them, there were a collection of three volumes that were Sirius's favourites when he was Harry's age, and that Sirius had given to Remus a few days before Harry's birthday.

"The Han Solo Adventure. Star Wars?" asked Harry, intrigued. "Did you like Star Wars?"

"Of course I liked it! Have you watched the films?"

"You mean the original trilogy?"

"Well, I've only watched the first two films. Remus told me Lucas filmed a third one, which is the sixth in the series, and that the first episode will be released this year," Sirius explained.

"Yeah, that's it. I saw the films on TV. I used to hide behind the sofa so that Dudley wouldn't see me."

Sirius felt his heart contract, but didn't want to go deep into the subject because Harry looked embarrassed. "My father became very angry at me when he knew I had gone to a Muggle theatre," said Sirius, turning the subject to his own familial problems. "James used to say I wanted to be a Muggle just to annoy my parents. But it wasn't true. I mean, I really hated my parents, but there were many interesting things in the Muggle culture."

"Like motorcycles and films?"


Suddenly Sirius looked at Harry solemnly. "Harry, there's something I have to tell you..."

"What is it?"

"Do you know... that we and Remus..."

"Oh, that. I, er, I think I guessed you were together, you know, after I saw you in the mirror. And, well, Severus made a few nasty jokes about you. As if he wasn't as gay as a tree of parrots..."

"What? As gay as a tree of parrots? I haven't heard that one!" Sirius laughed; somewhere between relief at not having to worry about Harry's reaction to his relationship with Remus and concern about the intimate way Harry referred to Snape.

And Sirius continued showing Remus's books to Harry, and telling him stories of the Marauders. Harry listened attentively, eyes sparkling.


When they finished tea, Remus told Severus he would have to sleep in the sitting room, because they had only a bedroom and an office in the house. Severus shrugged, and Remus started to make the sofa up. But Severus dismissed him, saying he could very well do that himself.

As it was late and Remus was tired, Remus went to Harry's bedroom upstairs. Remus and Sirius said goodnight to Harry and went to his own bedroom.


"How did things go with Harry?" asked Remus, as soon as the two of them had undressed and lain down.

"He's angry, and I don't blame him, but he's a wonderful boy."

"And he likes you."

Sirius smiled. "Do you think so?"

"It's obvious."

"He already knew about us, Moony."

"Oh? And what's his opinion about it?

"He seems to accept it naturally. Perhaps too naturally for his own good," said Sirius.

"Why are you saying that? Because of Severus?"

"Yeah. They seem very, very close, don't you think?" Sirius sighed. "Do you reckon you'll be able to sleep, with that greasy bat downstairs?"

"Sirius, let's try not to antagonise him and maybe he'll get less prickly. We'll get used to him."

Sirius sighed. "Yes, and Kappas are more commonly found in Mongolia."

That was a private joke between them; when Remus had taught in Hogwarts, one of his students had told him that when Severus substituted for him for one class, he had corrected Remus's information that the Kappas were originally from Japan, wrongly insisting that they were mostly found in Mongolia.

In spite of the joke, Remus felt that Sirius was too tense. "Do you want a massage?"

"Ah... If you're offering, yes, please!"

Remus smiled and got up. "I'm going to fetch the oil."

Remus opened the chest of drawers and produced a phial. When he came back to bed, Sirius was already facedown. Remus straddled him, squirted some oil into his hands and spread it over Sirius's back in firm, long strokes, rubbing and kneading oil into his muscles.

"Hmm, that feels nice," Sirius murmured.

Remus leant to kiss Sirius's back and continued massaging him. The way Sirius responded to his touch, wriggling and moaning softly, was intensely arousing. Remus leant further to kiss his neck. Sirius turned his head to kiss him, and Remus rolled down to Sirius's side to give him more access.

Remus lowered his head to spread nipping kisses along Sirius's neck and jaw line. Sirius's hands roamed Remus's chest until two wicked fingers found a nipple and pinched it.

"Oooh... I like that," hissed Remus.

"Of course you do," said Sirius, mockingly.

"Smug, are we?"

Sirius bent to suck Remus's nipple and cupped Remus's buttocks in his hands. Remus twined his fingers in Sirius's hair and pressed Sirius's head against his nipple.

"You're making me crazy, Padfoot."

"I know. It's not what I always do?"

Remus couldn't help laughing. He held his lover against himself, tenderly stroking his back.

Sirius was rocking against him. "Moony, please..."

"More massage?"

"Moony, you know very well what I want!"

"Right... So I reckon we'll need the other oil..."

Remus reached for the phial of lube in the bedside table drawer, covered his fingers with the oil and slowly stroked the area around Sirius's entrance in circular movements before slipping a finger inside it.

Sirius gasped, and then started to thrust onto Remus's finger. Remus continued sliding his finger in and out, then inserted another finger and rolled Sirius's balls in his other hand.

"Oh... I want you inside me now," said Sirius, possessively curling his fingers around Remus's cock.

That was nearly too much. Remus let a growl escape from his throat, removed his fingers from Sirius's hole and grabbed the phial of lube to coat his cock thoroughly. Remus rolled Sirius facedown again and stuffed two pillows beneath him. Then he ran a gentle hand over the smooth curve of Sirius's arse, separated his cheeks and inserted just the tip of his cock.

"Say it again," Remus asked hoarsely.

"I want you inside me," Sirius panted. "Please."

Remus sank into Sirius, stretching him, filling him inch by inch. When he was all inside, Remus stopped and leant to lick and nibble the curve of Sirius's neck.

"Remus.." Sirius's husky voice connected directly to Remus's cock.

"Say you are mine," he whispered in Sirius's ear.

"I'm all yours, Moony."

Remus bit him hard in the neck and held his cock.

"Ah!" Sirius shoved back towards Remus's hand. "It feels so good."

The pace of Remus's thrusts grew faster, and both started to move in synch.


"I'm here, love," Remus whispered, closing his eyes and feeling Sirius's body tense and shudder. The mere sensation of Sirius coming over his hand was enough to send him over the edge, and he came too, convulsing and shaking uncontrollably.


Harry hadn't even come to say goodnight. Severus was there, in the dark, lying on the sofa, wrapping himself in jealousy and wallowing in self-pity.

Severus was too tense. He wouldn't be able to sleep here, in the house of his arch-enemies. He turned to one side, then to the other. How would he be able to stand it?

Gradually, a familiar sensation began to overcome him: Harry's presence.


"Shh," Harry whispered, lying on top of Severus.

"There's no room for two here," Severus grumbled.

"Why don't we transfigure the sofa into a bigger one?"

"Because you shouldn't be here, brat!"

"Shh." Harry took out his wand and turned the sofa into a larger one. Then he snuggled up to Severus's chest and put his Invisibility Cloak over his head.

Severus embraced him and felt the tension dissipating. "Why are you here?"

"I was going mad. I wanted to be in your arms, to sleep next to you."

"Such romantic nonsense," purred Severus contentedly.

"Yeah, but... you like it."

Severus would like to pinch the brat's buttocks or spank him for his cheek, but that would be too dangerous. Besides, now that he wasn't tense any more, Severus was feeling sleepy.

"Good night, Severus."

"Good night, brat."

(Story Index)

Review here please!

Ptyx, October 2005