Fire In The Hole
Severus looked up from his notebook for a moment. Harry was still crushed against his side, feet propped up on the arm of the couch, that copy of He Flew Like A Madman too close to be good for his eyes. He seemed quite pleasantly comfortable with his maritus' long, slender arm draped around his chest. Severus leaned down and pressed his lips against the silky mess of hair.
"Oh, for god's sake, can't you two keep your hands off each other for five minutes?"
"Would you rather I ripped his robe off and took him roughly from behind, Black?"
The nauseated squeak from Black's throat was quite satisfying.
"Would you two shut up? I'm trying to read." Harry licked his thumb in that way and turned the page.
Severus blinked. That "roughly from behind" idea didn't sound so bad. He shook it off. As lovely as the thought was to make Sirius Black flee in disgust, he had work to do. And besides, there would be plenty of time for buggery later. One would think that after six years some of the brat's hormones would calm down. Or his, for that matter.
He turned back to his notes and scribbled something. The addition of silver nitrate to boost the effectiveness of phoenix tears in his last batch of serum did nothing but cause a slight headache and give him a lingering metallic tinge.
Lupin, who had been sitting quietly (in Severus' chair - how had the bloody werewolf managed to worm his way into Snape's heart thoroughly enough to do that and live?), stretched suddenly and dropped Cujo next to Black. "I'm hungry."
The rest of them froze. Snape dropped his quill.
"Um, did he just say what I think he said?" Harry whispered. His voice had a distinctly strained edge.
"I think I'll go get a bite to eat," Lupin piped cheerfully as he got up. "Does anyone else want anything?"
"NO!" All three of them shouted and moved in unison. Severus and Harry ended up on the floor in a hopeless tangle of limbs; Black, however, launched himself at Remus, transforming in mid-air. Lupin crashed to the floor with a yelp.
"Get off me, Paddy!" He pushed at the growling dog. "I was going to make a sandwich!"
Black melted back into himself, but looked no less feral. "Not after last time, mate!"
"A peanut butter sandwich!" Lupin put his fists on his hips and glared up at his friend. "I'm not going to inconvenience Severus every time I get peckish."
"Oh, I think you'll find that you will, Lupin." Snape finally managed to free himself (somewhat reluctantly, he might add) and stood up, brushing off his robe. "That sign is there for a reason." He swished through the sitting room, panting slightly in fading panic, and a few moments later pushed open the swinging kitchen door. WEREWOLF-FREE ZONE, a small metal rectangle on it announced, the silhouette of a wolf in a crossed-out circle making sure the point was clear to one and all. Honestly, how had the man survived on his own for nearly thirty years? Severus suspected the ever-present supply of peanut butter had something to do with it. Sighing, he pulled down one of the jars. He ignored the scorch mark across the cabinet face.
Fuzzbutt wants peanut butter, fuzzbutt's going to get peanut butter. Waving his wand at the stove, he set the fire going under the kettle. Plucking a few leaves of fresh coriander from a plant on the windowsill (there were at least a dozen, each with its own use, and only Severus could keep them straight), he waved it again and, in a moment, a pan of salted water started to bubble over a small flame. A small flame. Not a large one, a small one. One of these days he really must repaint the ceiling.
The door creaked open. "Need any help?"
Severus sighed. "I think I can manage. Unless you'd finally like to learn to cook."
"I can cook. Did it for the Dursleys long enough."
"Simply because you can bung semi-edible excuses for sausage in a pan," he snipped, mincing the leaves with a rather large knife, "doesn't mean you can cook. Really, Harry, is there any sort of seasoning in your repertoire beyond salt?"
"Yes, there is, as a matter of fact. Pepper, garlic... um..." Harry furrowed his brow. "Um... sage, I think--"
"Which, incidentally, tasted like soap the last time you used it. You're supposed to rub the leaves before you add them. You should have remembered that from class. Oh, wait, wait, forgot who I'm talking to."
A sharp raspberry broke the air. "Greasy bastard."
"Obnoxious brat. Are you coming in or not?"
Severus sighed and shook his head. The man was impossible. Hopelessly, irrefutably impossible. "No, we don't have time for a quick shag on the floor. That would give him time to come in and incinerate us all."
"Emily's right. You are a letch."
"Do shut up." Severus shot Harry a weary sneer as he snapped on rubber gloves. In a moment he plucked a single vivid pepper from the pot on the sill. It suffered under his knife. "If you're not going anywhere, you could at least find me two large cloves of garlic and a knob of ginger."
A second later two arms slipped around his chest. Lazy fingers trailed up and down. "I've got two large cloves and a knob for you."
Severus swallowed. This wasn't the time. He looked at the clock, hoping it would arrive soon. Harry went on tiptoe to push aside his hair and kissed the back of his neck. Severus put down the knife. It wouldn't be the first time Harry'd made him lose some skin.
"Just get the ingredients, you wretched catamite." He shivered at the quick, slick lick down his spine and silently cursed when Harry did as he was told. His maritus stood next to him, close enough for Severus' hip to brush against that slender waist, and squeezed the skin off the garlic.
"Can I have some?"
"Do you deserve it?"
Harry leaned up and whispered something in his ear. Severus went slightly pink and swallowed hard.
"Perhaps a small sample can be arranged." Dear, dear, those burners do put out an awful lot of heat.
Harry purred softly and settled a little closer. Well, perhaps there was time for a quick one-on-one while the noodles boiled--
"Since when does it take an hour to make a sandwich?"
Snape bristled. "Don't you have an appointment to be put down?"
Black pushed his way into the kitchen. He took a look at Harry's hand walking its way up Snape's back and groaned. "Harry, don't touch that thing. Who knows where it's been?"
THUNKWAKWAKWAKWAKWAKWAK! Severus smirked, quite pleased with himself, as the knife reverberated next to Sirius' head. Banishing charms were a wonderful thing. Black opened his mouth but all that came out was a small squeak.
"So that's where you get it from," Severus muttered to Harry.
Harry flushed bright red.
"Accio knife!" Severus caught the handle deftly. He rinsed plaster dust from the tip and set to mincing garlic. Between cloves he summoned the ginger grater and the root pulped itself on the porcelain teeth. He'd do it by hand but magic was safer on the knuckles. "Don't just stand there, Black. Bugger off, or help." He mumbled something about too many cooks as Sirius suspiciously handed over a large bowl. Snape growled. He'd rather hoped Black would get the wrong thing. Mangy cur, lucky guess.
"What're you poisoning us with this time?"
"Funny you should say that. Harry, would you fetch the tamari?"
Harry stiffened. Black went pale.
"Uh, Sev? I, um, don't want to tell you how to cook, but..."
"You are not putting that stuff in Remus' dinner." Sirius had a sharp gleam in his eye.
Severus smirked. "Oh, yes, I do believe I am."
Severus yelped. Hauling himself up to lean on the counter, he snarled at Black. "How dare you jelly-legs me! You immature, ungrateful, arrogant--"
"How do you get off trying to poison us? Tamari, that's one of the main ingredients in Nefarious Nightshade, isn't it? Death in minutes? I'm getting the Aurors right now--"
"Don't you think that nightshade alone is toxic enough?" Severus dragged himself to the refrigerator. It was somewhat more dignified than wobbling his way around. He yanked the door open and pulled out a small bottle of midnight brown liquid.
Harry gasped. "What was that doing in there?" He ran and swiped at the bottle. "Oh, god, Sev, you could have killed us--OH, MY GOD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
Severus made a face as he pulled the bottle from his lips. The stuff was too damned salty for his tastes. Well, his tastes outside the bedroom, anyway. Raising an eyebrow at Harry's look of horror he calmly said, "Tamari, my daft cretin, is soy sauce." He gave it a moment to sink in.
"That stuff Remus slathers all over his rice at the Happy Dumpling."
Severus shuddered. "Yes. I really must make a point of breaking him of that little habit." He handed the bottle to Harry and dragged himself back to the cutting board. "Are the two of you satisfied?"
They looked sheepish.
"Do I really have to explain to you that the sodium in tamari acts as a catalyst, thus enhancing the toxic properties of belladonna?" He sighed and muttered something about living amongst infidels.
"Sorry, Sev." Harry handed the bottle over and stroked his back. Sirius just muttered under his breath. Severus was greatly relieved when the looseness in his knees vanished.
"If I were going to poison anyone in this house it wouldn't be Lupin." He shot a glare at Sirius, who looked bored.
"As if I'd let you get that far."
"How's it coming?" A silver head poked in through the door.
"GET OUT OF HERE!" Severus bellowed. Black tried to push Lupin out of the room.
"I'm not even in there! I got lonely."
"Can't you read? You do not come in here, Lupin!"
"Go sit down, Moony. I'll be there in a minute."
Remus sniffed the air. "Do I smell something burning?"
"Sev, the stove is on fire."
Severus whirled around to see most of the stovetop engulfed in flames. "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!" He pulled his wand and "DELEO IGNUS!" was out of his mouth before he heard Harry's Aqueus Charm or Black's Suffocatus Spell. There was a splash, a sizzle, and a poof of choking white.
Made all the worse by the fact that Severus was standing between the two of them and the stove.
Dripping, smoke-stained, and covered with white powder quickly becoming mud, Severus turned his head by degrees to give Lupin the most scathing "I-am-Potions-master-hear-me-roar" glare he was capable of. In his silkiest, softest, most trouser-staining voice he whispered, "I will not ask how you did that, or why you're here, Remus. Would you please, before I'm forced to dice you up and serve you as a stew, get out of my kitchen?"
Remus stared like a deer in the wandlights. He didn't move.
"Sev..." Harry put a hand on his arm.
"EVERYBODY GET OUT OF MY KITCHEN RIGHT NOW!! ANYONE STILL HERE BY THE TIME I COUNT TO THREE WILL BE USED TO TEST A CASTRATION DRAUGHT! ONE--"
Severus' mouth was a hard, harsh line and he knew it. That vein was throbbing again. With a growl he waved his wand a few times and the hardening muck evaporated.
Carefully making sure his prepared ingredients were still good, Snape scraped them into a clean bowl (hopefully this one wouldn't have dog drool all over it), added some sugar, some rice vinegar from his wide array of vinegars, the tamari, and a very large dollop of peanut butter. Ideally, he'd grind his own. After the show that lot just gave, though, fat chance. At least it was the expensive kind - only peanuts. (Why adding loads of other things drove down the price he would never understand.) He whisked in some boiling water, squashing lumps of peanut butter with great satisfaction. A large package of curly wheat noodles went into the (fresh) pot of boiling water while he waited for the sauce to set. Severus grumbled to himself the whole time.
Several minutes later, with four large plates following him like flying saucers, he whisked into the sitting room. Silently, tersely, still so stern it was painful, he handed out forks and bottles of lager. His was exceptionally large. "If you don't like it, you can make something yourself." He crossed his arms and waited for Black's sarcastic reply.
It never came. Severus allowed a small smirk to creep over his face. All things told, as long as Sirius' scrambled eggs came out crunchy the mongrel didn't have a soapbox to stand on. Black stuffed a large forkful in his face and munched quietly. He glared. In a moment a larger bite followed. Severus smiled sweetly, earning a sharper glare.
Lupin inhaled deeply. "Smells heavenly, Severus, thank you. You really didn't have to go to all that trouble. A sandwich would have been plenty." He gave Snape a brilliant, shy smile.
Some of Snape's cold countenance melted. "You've been looking a bit thin," he grumbled. The last full moon had been exceptionally unkind. Lupin's smile widened. Severus sighed. As much as he hated to admit it, he'd grown to like the fuzzbutt. Must be something to do with that whole "difficult-to-control chronic condition" thing they had in common. Lupin took a small bite and closed his eyes.
Snape rolled his eyes. "You mean 'mei wei', don't you?"
Remus shrugged and stuffed his mouth again. "I don't speak Chinese. Didn't know you did, though, I'm impressed." He swallowed after giving Severus a glance at the aftermath of noodles in spicy peanut sauce and molars. Snape fought a gag and sat down next to Harry on the couch.
"It's your fault. If you didn't insist on going to that bloody restaurant every week--"
"If you keep cooking like this we won't have to. Sheng's going to have kittens when he hears about it."
"You're not telling Sheng anything! I've got enough trouble with him interrogating me on potions every five minutes. What are you looking at?" He shot Harry a frown.
Harry swallowed his mouthful. "You. Y've got peanut sauce on your robe."
Severus looked down. A pale brown drop had crusted along the front. Growling, he licked his finger and tried to rub it off. It smeared horribly.
Severus' eyes narrowed. "Do you want to clean the kitchen?"
"I'll do it."
Remus held up his hands at the chorus. "Okay, okay, I get the point."
Severus rubbed his eyes. How he'd gotten himself into this mess...
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