Sirius Black stared down at the quivering first year before him, dressed as a ghost, and holding a bag out in front of him.
"All your candy," Sirius spoke smoothly, with a grin on his face, the fedora on his head tipped forward slightly. His suit was impeccable, the tie perfect, and pure determination shining in his eyes. "Quickly. If it's quick enough, maybe we won't even hex you." James stood by, twirling his wand between his fingers slowly.
"It's eleven inches," James spoke slowly, threateningly, and Peter snorted with laughter behind them. "Mahogany. And it can transfigure you into a slug in about two seconds."
"Mister Potter," the familiar, disapproving voice echoed behind them, and James straightened so quickly that he dropped the eleven inches of Mahogany straight onto the floor. It rolled down the hall slowly, Peter running after it to catch it. "And Mister Black. I would say this was a surprise, but I don't condone lying. This way."
James shared a look with Sirius, but Sirius simply shrugged, smirked in a way that said, simply, I've got this.
McGonagall showed them to Professor Dumbledore's office; she'd long since given up trying to prosecute the three of them. Remus, much to Sirius' chagrin, was not with them. He wasn't, as he said, "about to get detention for the rest of my natural life, thank you very much, mates." The Headmaster seemed thoroughly unsurprised at seeing them in his office, all clothed in impeccable suits and ties. Sirius and James were wearing hats, Peter's had long since fallen off.
"Headmaster," Sirius spoke graciously, spreading his arms a bit. "Lovely to see you. I do hope you're enjoying your Halloween." Dumbledore raised his eyebrows slowly over the half-moon spectacles, and Sirius went on. "Would you fancy a bit of this candy? We've been collecting it for you."
"Yes, collecting!" James spurted, jumping forward, offering the bag. "We said to ourselves, 'You know, our wonderful Headmaster could probably do with a bit of candy.' We were just asking a few First Years' for donations when.."
"When McGonagall intervened," Sirius said solemnly. "Terribly rude of us not to offer her candy, though. She just caught me by surprise."
Dumbledore's smile was infectious, and he reached out to take the candy, collecting the bags from Sirius and James. "I thank you boys," he said dryly, "But I needn't remind you that I'm a Headmaster at a school and quite capable of collecting my own candy."
Sirius gave a helpless shrug, and Dumbledore waved him off a bit. "Oh, and do try not to cause too much trouble, boys," he told them (quite futilely) as they descended the steps once more.
"Halloween wouldn't be complete," James said, grinning and adjusting his hat, "Without a trip to Dumbledore's office."
Severus sighed, looking at the package that'd just come by owl. It verged, even, on a happy sigh; he looked at it almost fondly, a much softer look than he'd ever given an actual human being. He unwrapped it slowly, uncapping it and smelling gently. Ogden's Olde Firewhiskey, a much more preferable way to spend Halloween than daring to venture to the Halloween Feast; he'd had this plan for a year now, since last year when Black and Potter felt the need to fill the jack-o-lanterns with dungbombs and set them off right at dessert.
Halloween was best spent inside the Slytherin Common Room, far away from any pranking Gryffindors. He relaxed on the couch, sitting back and staring at the Firewhiskey. He didn't drink often - a bit of wine at family get-togethers to dull the pain of listening to the shouting and bickering - and he'd obviously never been as thoroughly pissed as he hoped to be getting that night.
"Naughty," Narcissa spoke from the doorway, with a little giggle; her hair was down, blonde strands brushing her bare shoulders. Bellatrix stood by her side, a bottle in her own hand.
"Where did you get that?" Severus spoke to the darker-haired Black sister first, raising his eyebrows.
"You aren't the only one with connections, love," she spoke in a purr - obviously entirely in costume, in both appearance and attitude. Narcissa and Bellatrix were in corsets, in skirts and boots and Salazar-Knows-What-Else, and were moving toward the couch, sitting beside him. "Come along, then. To health and happiness and all that other rubbish," She took a long drink.
Severus raised his eyebrows a bit, and then took a sip of his own bottle. It burned going down, and he found that he liked the sensation.
"It's eyeballs," Sirius spoke into the girl's ear, with a smirk, guiding her hand into a bowl of peeled grapes. "Eyeballs from dead bodies." He was speaking in a breathy voice, lifting her hand out; the girl, who was a third year, shivered a bit. "Blindfold still on tight? Brilliant. Now these," He guided her hand into a bowl of spaghetti, "are intestines. From a banshee." She squirmed a bit, squeaking. On the couch, James rolled his eyes. Peter stared in awe, and Remus sighed, turning a page in the book he was reading.
"And these," he moved her hand to a plate, on which sat several wet, warm tea bags - he'd looked all over Hogsmeade for them, as most wizards preferred leaves. "Are hearts from babies." She squealed and turned to face him, pulling the blindfold off. "Don't worry, darling. Sirius is here. Shh, I'll make it all better."
"Oh, please," James muttered, looking back to Remus and Peter. "He's laying it on really thick." Remus nodded in agreement, though still deeply into the book he was reading. And Peter continued to watch on, almost amazed.
"How does he do that?" Peter breathed, and James kicked him.
"What're you reading?" James spoke to Remus after a few moments, and it took a full minute for it to register to Remus that he was being spoken to.
"No, the other boring git reading during the Gryffindor Halloween Party. Of course you."
"Macbeth," Remus said, then looked back down. "It's Shakespeare."
"Berk," James said fondly. "What kind of a berk reads during a party?"
"You know what I like about you," Narcissa slurred, half on Severus' lap. "You don't talk too much." Bellatrix rolled her eyes a bit, eyeing the rest of Severus' Firewhiskey, and then cleared her throat.
"I am going to bed," she said, with an air of dignity that her sister had lost completely in the past hour. "Good night Severus, good night Narcissa."
Severus wanted to strangle Bellatrix Black for leaving him alone with her very much inebriated blonde sister. "Hmm," she hummed quietly.
"Well, I think I'll be off to sleep as well," Severus said, delicately removing her from where she was draped across him as though he were part of the couch.
"No, don't go," she said, shaking her head so fast that she nearly fell off the couch from the strength of it. "Stay." Severus stared at her a bit. She was looking at his mouth, and then she was touching his mouth with her fingers and he wrinkled his eyebrows a bit. Narcissa was leaning forward a bit, when he spoke.
"What in the world are you doing?"
She looked startled; stared up at him, then squinted and pushed at his shoulders. "You're a git!" She muttered, shaking her head. "A big, greasy git and it's no wonder you're such a git because you're such a git." That said - quite confusingly, Severus thought - she stood up and exited, stage left. He stared after her, completely at a loss.
He did the only thing he could do.
He took another drink.
Remus was the only boy in the bedroom when the owl flew in. Sirius, James, and Peter had all fallen asleep in the common room in various states of sprawl; Remus had taken his book to bed and kept reading until well after the others had become quiet. The sharp prick of claws and a heavy, feathery weight on his back made him startle and flip over.
"Oh..." The owl dropped the letter on his lap and preened itself. He idly stroked its feathers while he read the blotchy note it had borne to him.
He read it again, and once more to clearly define the anger in his mind. This was what he got out of the day? His friends acting like fools and a drunken scrawl from a sexually-confused Slytherin? One finger traced the blotchiness on the paper. Severus wanted to kiss him and had to be drunk to say so. He, at least, wasn't lying to himself about it. He knew that, for some reason, he was fascinated by Severus. But if the Slytherin wouldn't admit it, he'd be damned to be the only one who would.
Remus found a scrap of parchment and a pencil stub, and sent the owl back with a seriously disgusted note. Then he put his book down, turned off the lights, and didn't sleep until the sun rose.
Severus stared at the letter awaiting him, blinking. He was groggy, he was on the couch lacking several articles of clothing. At least it was comfortable. He stared at the folded piece of parchment, then opened it slowly. He almost winced at the angry words, searching his memory for any indication of what'd happened the night before. And then?
"Bugger," he groaned, reaching for the nearest thing to write with - it happened to be a pen, and he didn't care. He felt horrible, uncomfortable and - worst of all - guilty. And all of that was in addition to the headache and nausea. He blinked a few times, and then groaned again, scribbling a quick - almost too nice note, but he was in too wretched a state to even remember that he supposedly hated Remus Lupin.
Sheepishly, he sent the note back off.
A Post-It Illustration of Severus Snape, at 2:34 am, November the first.
Narcissa and Bellatrix.
Gilderoy Lockhart, for those of you who wondered. (By kikkirhodes)