Pairings: JP/SS, SB/RL.
Rating: PG13 for slash, but nothing really graphic.
Disclaimer: You know I don’t own them, I just play a little with them…^^
‘I’m glad to announce that this year Hogwarts will celebrate St. Valentine’s Day in a special way, mostly because tomorrow February 14th is Sunday and the lack of classes will enable the activity to be developed’.
Some of the girls in the Great Hall giggled, but definitely most of students looked nearly terrified at the idea of sickly romantic Valentine’s celebrations. The Marauders looked at each other, as if waiting to hear something really funny from the Headmaster’s seat.
‘Since most of you-as it always happens at your age-feel confused about matters of love, Professor Flitwick and I have taken the liberty of making up a magic game to let you find out who the person is that you should be with’, Dumbledore went on, despite the comments that rose from the students’ tables.
‘Oh, no. He’s not going to do that’, Remus Lupin said, looking at his friend Sirius in amazement.
‘Don’t worry, let’s hear what this is about’, muttered Black.
‘I’m going to explain the activity carefully’, the Headmaster said, raising his voice. ‘When you come down to breakfast tomorrow morning-and we’ll check everyone to make sure no one’s missing-, you’ll be given a little bundle with three metallic arrows within. As soon as you’ve finished your meal, you may head towards the place in the castle of your choice, to give the whole thing a bit of suspense. The arrow in the middle will probably lead you to the appropriate person. And… I can’t tell you any more. We only hope it will be fun and positive for you’.
James Potter suppressed a laugh; he had just imagined what kind of misunderstandings would take place the following day.
‘And what if we end up headed towards someone horrible?’ Peter asked, confused.
‘I hope one can run away if that happens,’ said Sirius, also grinning.
‘The castle will be a mess tomorrow,’ Lupin remarked, looking slightly worried.
‘Well isn’t that what we like?’ Sirius put a hand on his shoulder.
‘I guess so’.
(At the Slytherin table...)
‘If I get paired with a mudblood I won’t stand for it.’
Lucius Malfoy looked at his fellows and sneered. Some of the boys agreed with him, while the girls-of course-were immersed in a discussion of whom they would like to meet the following day. Severus Snape was disgusted with the news. “So I take the bundle and run away from the castle”, he thought. He didn’t want to have anything to do with St. Valentine’s romantic stupidities. Moreover, he didn’t like anybody…
The Gryffindor gang went up to their common room, also talking excitedly about what was to come.
‘Can you imagine a poor girl ending up with Goyle?’ Sirius laughed.
‘They must be terrified’ said James.
‘And aren’t you two terrified?’ Remus shook his head.
‘Don’t worry too much, Moony. If you don’t like your Valentine, you just get out of sight for the whole day’.
‘Awww, it’ll be fun’, Sirius yawn, putting on his nightclothes.
* * *
At last the morning came, and all the students sat in the Great Hall, some of them scared, some anxious, but all of them excited. Dumbledore and the Charms Professor had prepared a big open trunk full of little arrows, and they distributed them among the students who slowly headed out of that place. Every bunch of arrows looked like a trident and was short enough to fit in the palm. The arrows were silver-coloured and made of a kind of flexible metal. James Potter and his friends took their respective bundles and held them in their hands, amused. All around the girls were giggling noisily and they walked outside the Hall in a rush.
‘I think we’d better part now’, Remus suggested, when he noticed that the arrow in his hand had started to waver.
‘Ok, we’ll meet later to see how things have gone’, James winked.
‘See you later’, his three friends echoed.
James tried to follow the middle arrow as if it were a muggle compass. The other two arrows remained strangely still. He was led to the dungeons, catching sight along the way of some students who had just met and were staring in astonishment at each other. “I wonder who I’m going to find…” he thought, and realized that he felt a little nervous.
He went round the corner of a barely illuminated, damp corridor, and bumped into someone.
‘Watch were you’re going, Potter’, a familiar voice said.
‘Snape, what are you doing down here? Running away?’, James set his glasses straight.
‘Just following this foolish thing’, he said, looking at his hand in anger.
James looked at his bundle of arrows as well, and noticed the change that had taken place on it. The arrow in the middle was whirling like mad on his open palm.
‘But what does that mean?’
Snape’s arrow was doing exactly the same; it had separated from the ones on the sides and didn’t stop twisting.
‘No’, said Severus in realization. ‘It can’t be’.
‘So this is what it does when one finds their…Ew! No! Wait a moment! It was YOU whom the arrow was seeking??’ James said, stunned.
Snape blushed slightly, utterly embarrassed.
‘Well this can only be a prank of Dumbledore’s. He knows you hate me’, he uttered.
‘This is weird’, James’ blue eyes opened wide, his expression quite serious.
‘What if we forget about this stupidity and go on our ways?’.
‘Yeah, it will be the best thing to…WHAT??!’.
The whole process lasted no more than three seconds. The motionless arrows turned themselves into silver-coloured ropes that fastened themselves about Snape’s right hand and James’ left one, binding them to each other.
‘Is this *another* prank? Oh well I can solve it’, James grinned.
He took out his wand and cast a shattering spell upon the ropes, but it didn’t work. Severus tried another one, which also failed.
‘Is this the professors’ method of preventing the chosen-by-arrow pairings parting for the whole day?’ James said, still trying to break the magical cords.
‘This is bad’, Snape muttered.
‘I don’t want to spend all day with you, either. But if we don’t do something…I wonder why the result of the arrow’s choice is this…It’s so strange…’
Snape regained his composure and his natural temper, and frowned.
‘I don’t like you either. But now what shall we do?’
James looked around them but fortunately there seemed to be no one near.
‘Well, first of all, I personally don’t want anyone to see us, if possible’, he said.
‘I’m not eager to be seen, either. Though in your case the consequences would be funnier. What would the proud Gryffindors say if they saw *you*, their popular good-looking chaser, bound to *me*?’ Severus replied, a note of sarcasm in his voice.
The blue-eyed boy pierced him with a look, but didn’t answer. The Invisibility Cloak was their only salvation, but it was in the Gryffindor sixth-years’ bedroom. And Snape wasn’t supposed to know anything about its existence; otherwise he and his gang would be in trouble.
‘OK. Let’s try it’, he eventually said.
‘I have something that may help us not be seen’.
‘The Cloak?’ Snape sneered a little.
‘How the Hell do you know about…?’
‘Oh, you’re right. I spend too much time following your footsteps. Nothing personal, but then I do have good stories to tell…’.
‘Damn you, Snape. Well, as I said I have no choice’.
He took his wand and concentrated for a while.
‘Accio Invisibility Cloak!’, he said with a firm movement of his free wrist.
‘Summoning spells don’t usually work at such a distance. How is it going to get through your House common room?’, the other boy stated.
‘I don’t know. Let’s see’, James smiled.
About three minutes later, when Snape was about to start mocking his rival, the piece of bright clothing did arrive, landing on James’ right arm, perfectly folded.
‘You were saying?’
His current partner was impressed, though he didn’t speak. The boy must be really powerful to do that without any real effort, he thought. Snape had never been very good at Charms.
‘Now stay still and the Cloak will hide both of us, so we can move freely.’
‘Freely? Honestly, Potter, you don’t understand the seriousness of our situation.’
‘Perhaps we can convince Dumbledore to break the spell…’ James started.
‘Forget that, the old man would enjoy seeing us this way immensely.’
‘Let’s start walking, my legs are getting stiff.’
He walked silently out of the dungeons and up to the first floor, where a lot of chained pairings were trying to get used to each other. They saw Lucius Malfoy, for instance, talking to a very pretty, blonde Slytherin called Narcissa Lange, who really seemed to be enjoying it. There were some people who didn’t have a partner, perhaps because their beloveds weren’t at Hogwarts. Lily Evans was one of the ones alone.
‘I guess she’s wondering where I am’, James whispered under the Cloak. ‘I took for granted we would end up together today’.
‘Oh so you’ve left your girlfriend for me…’ said Severus ironically.
‘Shut up, will you? Oh, I forgot. I need to go to my bedroom for a minute’.
Severus grunted but said nothing. So he would be able to enter the Gryffindor common room, he thought.
* * *
They passed through the portrait of the Fat Lady silently and took a brief look around the common room. There were some pairings here and there, some of them integrated a Gryffindor and a member of another House, who obviously didn’t know where else to go.
‘Please stay silent’, James muttered, as he opened the sixth-year boys’ room as quietly as he could.
There seemed to be no one else in there, but when the door closed after them, someone emerged from behind the red curtains of one of the beds.
‘OK, James, I know you’re in here’.
Sirius Black was staring directly at the spot they stood. His hair was a mess, and he wore a completely unbuttoned white shirt and equally disarranged black jeans. His cheeks were slightly flushed. He walked towards them and grabbed a corner of the Cloak, which slid off revealing a quite embarrassed Snape first.
‘SNAPE??!!!’, he shouted in astonishment.
Remus’ face poked out of the curtains of that same bed and blushed at the picture.
James was trying to make Sirius calm down, but it was impossible.
‘WHAT!? YOU’RE-BOUND-TO SNAPE?!!’, he cried.
‘Don’t ask me why, that’s exactly what I want to know. And er…sorry to disturb you,’ James said.
‘Heh, Black, I knew it. You-Hogwarts number one heartbreaker-and the little wolf are together’, Snape said with a scornful look.
Sirius clenched his fists and felt quite eager to leave their mark in the Slytherin’s sallow face, but James stopped him.
‘Do you have a problem with it?’ Lupin got off the bed too and approached them, only wearing his dark grey boxers.
‘You see, Rem, I told you you needn’t worry about today’, James uttered, trying to make them forget about Snape’s comments.
‘But you *do* have a problem, Jamie’, Remus said, quite concerned. ‘How did you two bump into to each other in the first place? It doesn’t make much sense’.
‘It must be a nightmare being tied to a greasy git’, Sirius added.
‘Oh and you think I’m having fun?!’, Snape retorted.
‘Who knows…perhaps you’re thinking about raping my poor friend…’.
‘Alright, stop this!’, James said. ‘It’s not the best time to quarrel. Wait a second, why aren’t you and Remus bound to each other?’.
‘We were…at the beginning’, Lupin answered. ‘But when Sirius said he loved me back the spell just disappeared. I think it does so when the feeling is mutual’.
Snape and James gaped at this.
‘So it seems we’ll be bound till the end of the day’.
‘Well we must be leaving…’, James said, winking at his friends.
‘What did you have to come here for?’, Snape asked, irritated.
‘Oh, I almost forgot’.
He dragged his partner towards his trunk and took out a blue bottle from the inside.
‘It’s just some energetic potion I should drink everyday’, he uttered, putting the bottle to his lips.
‘So even *you* aren’t perfect’.
‘He’s quite perfect at least in comparison with you’, Sirius said, folding his arms.
‘See you later, Siri, Rem’, said James, smiling and driving Severus to the door again.
‘You could hide here, you know’, Lupin said. ‘It would be safer’.
‘Nay, have fun’.
When the door closed behind the weirdest pairing of all, the two lovers looked at each other, not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
‘I still can’t believe it’, Sirius said, quite puzzled. ‘Do you think James is safe with the git?’
‘First we have to wonder why he *has to be* with the git all day. I didn’t know Snape was the one in his dreams’.
‘No, that’s impossible. Perhaps someone has cursed them or something’.
Remus fixed his bright brown eyes in his mate’s and smiled a bit.
‘Do you think something will happen…?’
‘…Between them??! Stop raving, Moony, it’s Snape and James we’re talking about. That can’t be…’, Sirius replied.
‘What’s your bet?’, Remus said, taking Sirius’ arm and going back to bed.
* * *
‘It’s almost lunchtime’, James said, as they went downstairs, hidden under the Cloak.
‘You don’t expect me to go into the Great Hall like this, do you?’, Severus snapped.
‘No, but I’m hungry. We can go to the kitchens to get something to eat. Anyway, we may not be the only ones missing at lunch’.
‘To the kitchens? That is forbidden’, Snape frowned.
‘Ah, the day has come in which you’ll break the rules’.
‘I’m not like you. Rules are rules’.
James smiled naively.
‘You really prefer to be hungry, when those lovely elves are eager to feed students?’
At last Snape agreed and they managed to get some pumpkin juice and a lot of food, then sat by the lake to eat, as no one seemed to be around. It was difficult, however, to move their hands as usual, because they had one of them tied tightly.
‘Now that you can’t escape I want to ask you a favour’, James said when they had almost finished their meal.
Snape looked at him in shock.
‘I’m having some troubles with the Veritaserum Potion. I believe you’re pretty good at Potions, would you help me with it?’
‘Are you actually asking *me* for help?’, Snape blinked.
‘I am…I’m really having a hard time with that potion’.
‘We can go to the potions dungeon, then. Though I doubt whether your feeble mind will understand the complex procedure…’.
‘I can try’, he smiled.
‘This seems to me like a truce’.
‘It’s the least we can do in the current situation. You didn’t expect I’d hit you all day, did you?’.
* * *
‘Don’t be silly. Octopus tentacles come after snake’s fangs, not before. Everybody knows that!’, Severus said, irritated.
James pulled on their bindings in protest, and Snape gave him a hard look.
‘Well do it yourself Mr. Know-it-all’.
‘I know how to do it. It’s you who must learn. Don’t be stubborn’.
‘You’re giving me a hard time, Snape’.
‘Because you don’t pay attention. You see? It’s already finished’.
The yellow-coloured potion stood on the table in front of them, ready to be tried. They had spent almost three hours at it, praying no one would enter the Potions classroom.
‘I hope it works. At least this may have been of some value’.
‘And how can we try it?’
‘By drinking some’.
‘No, forget it. I’m not eager to tell the story of my life to you of all people…’.
‘Perhaps you could try it in some enemy’s pumpkin juice? Not mine, of course’.
‘Why not? I would find out what that ill-tempered mind of yours hides’.
‘Don’t you even dare…’, the Slytherin boy grunted.
* * *
James Potter was fascinating. He never lost that innocent, almost *cute* smile no matter what he did or to whom he spoke. He was popular and intelligent, but also deeply humble, and was doing his best to impress the tiniest sense of humour on Snape’s unfriendly, stubborn character. Severus just caught himself having these thoughts…
‘Say it already’, the Gryffindor ordered, while they walked through the grounds of the castle.
‘Come on, you have a big question mark drawn just above your head’.
Snape turned his head and met those sparkling blue eyes again, and decided to speak.
‘You’ve always hated me…Then why did you save my life last year? I only want to know…’.
‘So that was it! Don’t torment yourself about that anymore. I would have done it for anyone, you know. And also…I don’t hate you. I thought you were the one who couldn’t stand my presence, and I’ve played some tricks on you…but I don’t hate you’.
‘It’s been proved today that I can stand it. I didn’t know’.
They sat at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, taking off the Invisibility Cloak.
‘But when a wizard saves another wizard’s life…a bond is created between them. That’s what the Headmaster said’, Snape went on, leaning his back against a rock.
‘Here you have it’, James smiled again, pointing at the silvery cord that bound them by the wrists. ‘What a good metaphor…’.
Severus closed his eyes for a second, as if thinking.
‘I guess you’d rather be with your friends. I’m not a good company’.
‘Oh no, they’re too busy. I’d only be a nuisance; I think it’s been better this way. Though I’ll have to give Lily some explanations…You wouldn’t be good company to anyone who wasn’t used to you, but I’m getting on with your temper’.
A disturbing feeling settled itself at Severus’ stomach, jumping up and down and telling him to do weird things. He must have blanched, for James grabbed his right shoulder and shook it, waiting for a reaction. Snape’s dark eyes glittered for a second, then deepened again as if they were bottomless wells, meeting James’ blue orbs. The Gryffindor boy put his right hand through his own messy, raven hair, then smiled a little.
‘You can…’, he said, but it was too late.
His lips were sealed by Snape’s craving mouth, which didn’t wait for his permission. James could do nothing but give into the kiss. Severus broke it after a while, as if having become aware of what he was doing. His partner gasped, his cheeks blushing a little.
‘So…sorry’, Snape muttered quietly, looking at the ground.
‘It’s fine. I was trying to say you…could’, the Gryffindor said, grazing his lips again.
‘I don’t understand what I feel’, Severus looked straight into his sky-blue eyes.
‘You’ve never felt it before? Well I’m flattered…’, he smiled.
‘I want more…’.
Snape managed to pull his rival over the grass, and kissed him once and over again with a passion the other boy hadn’t imagined he had. They were so busy that they didn’t notice their magic bindings breaking and disappearing into the air.
‘Oh my, you’ve called me by my name, *Severus*’, he replied in a seductive tone.
‘I know’, Snape said huskily. ‘What do you think it means?’.
‘Join-me-tonight or something like that, if I’m not wrong…’.
* * *
‘I win!!’, said Remus happily.
‘No, tell me they’re not kissing’, Sirius muttered in astonishment.
The couple had looked for his friend and hidden behind a tree when they found him, though Sirius only wanted to kill Snape…
‘I can’t tell you. They are. That was my bet’, Remus held his trembling hand.
‘But why? Snape is just ugly…and poor Lily…’, he started.
‘I’m sorry for Lily but I knew this would happen, and we can do nothing about it. James likes him out of his own free will, the Valentine’s bindings have just helped’.
‘Ok, let’s go. I’ll talk to him later…’.
‘Do you remember? If I’ve win, that means…’.
‘Oh, er…Moony…’, Sirius looked at him with pleading eyes. ‘Have mercy on me…’.
‘Nay, I won’t be very evil tonight. And you won’t be able to move much…’, he grinned.
‘Are you really going to tie me up?’.
‘No…I’ve only got the chains prepared…’.
‘You *are* evil, my wolf’, Sirius whispered, his dark eyes glinting.
‘And you don’t want to resist…’.
‘Well…no’, he smiled, and they walked back into the castle.
* * *
‘That’s right’, Snape said, with a little twisted smile on his lips. ‘Join me tonight’.