Disclaimer: I still don’t own them. I just borrows ‘em from Jo and takes ‘em for walkies. I own neither the rights nor the lyrics to “Hell Is Living Without You” by Alice Cooper, “Sweet Transvestite” by Richard O’Brien, or “All By Myself” by someone too saccharine to live.
Avast, ye mateys: Slash. Again. Harry/Sev, with elements of Sirius/Remus, and some Hermione/Ron for the rest of the world.
Welcome To My Nightmare
“No. I refuse. Not a sodding chance in Hell. You’ll be on the couch for a month if you try to make me.” Snape crossed his arms defencively and snarled.
“It was your idea, Sev. Come on, I’m wearing what you wanted, just put it on. It’s just for a few—“
“That was not my idea!” He whirled and prodded it with his wand. Snape bared his teeth and looked like he was considering his vast knowledge of hexes. Harry turned on the sad-puppy-eyes charm.
“Pwease?” He pressed close to his raven-haired hunka hunka burnin’ professor, pouting. He ran his fingers along Sev’s hairline; Sev scowled, uncomfortably close to turning to jelly. “I thought you’d like it. If you don’t wear it I’ll be so sad…”
Snape growled. “That was given to me by—“ Harry sniffled. He melted. When it all came down in the end, he really was just an old softie for those eyes. Squinting, he stuck a finger in Harry’s chest. “You’d better make this worth my while.” His other half smiled coyly and slid to his knees. “Oh. Oh my. Yes, yes, this is definitely a—oh, yes, do that again…”
“I still don’t know how you talked me into this,” Sev grumbled, and wrapped his cloak tighter. The hood stood up in a decidedly odd way before falling back over his face.
“I can do it again if you’d like.” Severus blanched. He whimpered. Frankly, Harry was a bit surprised the man could walk after all the times he’d kicked up a fuss. He belched demurely. “’Scuse me.” He rang the doorbell. Hermione answered, dressed in a rather convincing Raggedy Ann outfit.
“I’m so glad you two could make it!” She threw her arms around Harry in a huge hug, then moved for Severus. He flinched and made a warning sound. She stuck her tongue out at him. “Come in! It’s freezing out here! Give me your cloaks!” Harry leaned his Firebolt against the wall in the entry hall and peeled his cloak off. Hermione whistled as he turned.
“Yeah! Wow! You look just like the book described.” He blushed.
“Sev designed the spells. He’s a big Mary Shelley fan.”
“I’m really impressed!” Severus fumed. He still held his broom and looked like he might start brandishing it as a weapon.
“Can we go home now?” he muttered to Harry through clenched teeth.
“Come on, it’s just one night. I haven’t seen Ron and Herm in ages! Anyway, you wanted to go out for New Year’s.”
“I didn’t mean to a—“ Harry pouted. “Oh, fine.” Harry broke into a huge grin and smooched his cheek. Not even Snape could scowl through that.
“I’ll thank you later,” he whispered. Severus whimpered again.
“Give me your cloak, Prof—I mean Severus.” Hermione blushed a little under her reddened cheeks. “It’s still a little weird to call you something besides ‘slimy gi—‘”
“That’s Granger-Weasley.” She beamed proudly and tugged at his cloak. “Come on. I want a look.”
“But Harry’s costume is so good. I want to see yours.”
“This is my costume.”
“Sev…” he glared at Harry. There was no way he could keep it up, though; that little sulk was too adorable. He sighed and fumbled with the clasp.
“The things I do for you…” he swept the cloak off, letting it billow dramatically before dropping it into Hermione’s outstretched hands. She stared.
“I… erm… didn’t expect you to come as The Crow.”
Severus turned crimson. He fixed her with a look more scathing than anything he had ever given in Potions class. “Miss Granger-Weasley, or whatever you’re calling yourself these days, I can most decidedly assure you that I am not The Crow. I would have expected someone as… infuriatingly precise as you to at least know your own Muggle musical history!” Harry and Hermione watched him storm off to the punchbowl, black coat billowing behind him, top hat nearly falling off, and only slightly hindered by his dipped-on leather trousers. Harry sighed.
“I think he had too much coffee this morning.”
“Y’think? What’s he supposed to be?”
Harry crossed his arms, quite enjoying the way Severus looked in those trousers. The lack of a shirt under that coat wasn’t a bad touch, either. “He worked as a roadie on the ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ tour right after he graduated. Y’know, setting up the stage, testing equipment, mixing potions, that sort of thing. He’s a huge fan of the guy. I’ve never understood it myself.”
“Snape?” Hermione gave him a thoroughly disbelieving look. Harry nodded. “Wow. I don’t know if I should be impressed or scared.”
“Just hope nobody else asks him if he’s The Crow.”
Ron hid behind the punchbowl. He grumbled to himself, wishing Hermione was a Star Wars fan. Han Solo and Leia was a good costume idea – especially Slave Leia. Raggedy Ann and Andy, on the other hand… He cursed the Weasley red hair that had gotten him into this mess. Why did couples’ costumes have to coincide, anyway? He grabbed a chocolate Father Christmas and bit the head off.
Professor Dumbledore, one of the first to arrive, was still taking advantage of the karaoke system, now with a slightly off-key take on “Born To Be Wild”. He wore sunglasses and what looked like a pointed biker’s cap. The back of his robe said HELL’S WIZARDS. McGonagall was away from the teeming herd, inspecting the contents of the liquor cabinet. She wore a Great Kilt and rather a lot of blue paint. Why, why, why did we have to invite the teachers? It was bad enough that his friends had to see him dressed like this.
He looked up from the now melted Santa. He yelped. “Ah. Weasley. I see you, too, are subject to a costumed fate worse than death.” Snape, whose eyeliner seemed to have smudged something catastrophic, dipped into the punchbowl. He took a long drink of the red liquid. “Gah. I shall have to remedy this,” he muttered. His expression wasn’t softened at all by the frowning black lines extending from his mouth.
“Uh… S-Severus. Didn’t expect to see you here this early.” Like, at all.
“Eh?” One chilling black eye fixed on him. It glowered. “That insufferable friend of yours insisted we arrive at a ‘reasonable hour’.” My insufferable friend? I’m not the one who’s boinking him, mate. He stared at Snape’s costume while the man muttered something about vodka and lots of it.
“Uh, I didn’t know The Crow had a hat.”
Snape’s gaze caught him. Ron could nearly feel the crosshairs centreing between his eyes. In a voice so soft and lethal Ron nearly wet himself, Severus said, “He didn’t.” Punch glass gripped firmly in his gloved, shaking hand, Snape stormed off for the liquor cabinet.
Suddenly, a jolt of freezing cold water hit him full in the side of the face. “Tahget annihilated.”
“FRED!” He furiously looked around for his brothers. Somehow, they had already vanished into the crowd. Uugh, it wasn’t water. Ron’s nice, clean sailor suit turned fuchsia as Weasley’s Wicked Warming Water met his body heat. His costume was ruined.
Wait a minute.
Looking around to make sure Hermione wasn’t handy with any of her cleaning charms, Ron sidled out of the room. Just because she wasn’t one with the Force didn’t mean he couldn’t be.
Harry frowned. Somehow, he’d lost Severus. It didn’t help that Dean, Lee, and Justin had all come as various incarnations of The Crow. Still, one would think that hat would stand out. Nope, nope. A giggling group including the Patil sisters wandered past in Sailor Moon costumes, a rather annoyed-looking Oliver “Tuxedo Mask” Wood in tow. Great.
“Hi, Harry.” He jumped.
“Oh! Hi, Cho. Um, long time no see.” He flushed. Yes, he was with Sev. Yes, he was perfectly happy with the greasy Potions Master. No, he wasn’t about to run off with an old crush. She was still, however, extremely pretty. And dressed like a pirate wench.
She smiled. That didn’t help. “How’ve you been?”
“Oh. Okay. I’m just looking for S… my significant other. How’re you?”
“Not that great. My boyfriend dumped me this afternoon.”
“That sucks.” Uh-oh. She had a look in her eyes.
She shrugged. “Well, you know, he wasn’t that great anyway. I can always do better.” Yes, yes, definitely a look in her eyes. Harry looked around nervously. No Sev in sight. Ah, Ron. Ron would help him.
“Uhh, I think I see my sweetie now. Nice talking to you, Cho, hope we can chat more soon.” He hadn’t even finished speaking before sprinting across the room to Ron Solo. “Ron, you gotta save me. Cho’s trying to get in my pants.”
Ron blinked. “And this is a bad thing how?”
Harry gave him a look of desperation. “Just say something, or do something. Something!”
“Uhhh… okay.” Ron put an awkward arm around Harry’s shoulders. In a loud voice he said, “Well, snookums, let’s go get some, um, sandwiches—“
“HOW DARE YOU FEED MY FRANKENSTEIN, WEASLEY! FIFTY POINTS FROM GRYFFINDOR!”
Every single person in the room turned and stared at Severus Cooper.
The teacher in question promptly slapped a hand over his eyes. A soft, pink tinge ran from his hairline to the waistband of his skintight trousers.
“Um… Severus, you can’t deduct points. He’s graduated.” Professor McGonagall lay a hand on his arm. “I think you need to sit down.”
“Oh, god,” Harry muttered, hiding his face. “Ron, can I borrow your wand?”
“I have to kill my boyfriend.”
Snape cleared his throat. In a moment he wore his familiar glower. “Well? What are you lot looking at?” He stormed out of his little spot in the corner and promptly into the corner by the refreshment table.
Harry caught sight of Cho looking rapidly back and forth between himself and Sev. She mouthed to him, “He’s kidding, right?”
Harry shook his head. Cho winced. “I’m going to kill my boyfriend, and then I’m going to kill myself.” Ron patted him on the back.
“Hey, at least Cho’s not trying to get in your pants now.”
Severus looked up from hacking a cheese ball into very tiny bits. “Can I help you?”
“Sev, sweetums, can you hand me one of those little sausage rolls? Yeah, the swirly ones.”
He peered at the mysterious cloaked figure. There was something familiar about him. “Voldie?”
“Yeah! How’ve you been?”
“Better. You’re dead.”
Voldemort shrugged. “Eh.”
“Harry killed you. I was there, remember? I helped?” The cheese ball was quite forgotten.
“Whatever. I’ve got a little Head Shop in southern California now. Y’know, Tom Cruise was just in last week, and y’know what he said?” Voldemort shoved a canapé into his mouth. Snape cringed. “He said, ‘Voldie, you’ve got the most awesome—‘”.
The tall figure sagged. He looked at Severus with hurt in his serpentine eyes. “You never liked me.” Snape watched him skulk off into the crowd. Now, there was a Dark Lord with some issues.
“Oh, oh, everybody!” Hermione clapped her hands. The rumble of conversation and the wail of Albus still on the karaoke machine died down. “Neville’s just arrived – you remember Neville Longbottom – and he’s got something I just know you’re all going to want to see. Now, for a real blast from the past for Gryffindor Class of Ninety-Eight…”
Neville threw off his cloak. The room exploded in howls. He posed proudly in his grandmother’s green dress and vulture-topped hat, long dark greasy wig dangling to his shoulders and putty nose obscuring his grin. Severus tried to melt between the floorboards. He was going to kill Harry for making him come tonight. He loved the man to death, and he was going to prove it.
Two hours later, Sev was still locked in the bathroom. Harry was hiding in the kitchen under the pretense of cutting up crudités. Fred and George were still stalking around in sunglasses and leather jackets, dyeing people pink left and right. Voldemort had wrestled the microphone away from Dumbledore and was crooning “I Put A Spell On You” to a growing number of devoted (mainly female) followers. For a dead evil overlord with no lips, the guy had sex appeal. And Hermione had discovered Ron’s little switch.
“I could have gotten those stains out! I can’t believe you would embarrass me like this in front of all our friends.”
“I’m embarrassing you? It was your idea to dress up like stupid dolls! I wanted to dress like Han Solo!” Hermione screwed up her mouth.
“Well, Han, you’ll be going solo for quite a while, if you get my drift.” She sulked off. Ron sighed. He’d quite been looking forward to, ahem, “ringing in the New Year” that night.
“Hey, Sirius. Women, huh?”
“Sometimes I really envy guys like you and Harry.” Sirius whined softly, looking from Ron to Remus, who’d decided to follow the Dark Performing Arts.
“Ouch. Man.” He sighed. “Y’know, I could really go for a pint about now. Want one?” Sirius wagged his tail and followed Ron into the kitchen for a bowl of something with as high a proof as possible.
Voldemort’s song came to a final, quivering note. The crowd around him screamed and dragged him off the stage, fighting for pieces of his cloak. “Get your hands off him, Padma! He’s mine!”
“I saw him first, Parvati!”
“Ladies, ladies, and gentleman, please. There’s enough of me to—OH, MY GOD, THAT’S GOING TO HURT IN THE MORNING!” He disappeared, shrieking, small shreds of black cloth occasionally bubbling into sight. Another cloaked figure took the advantage to get the mic. This was his chance.
“How d’you do? I see you’ve met my faithful HANdyman. He’s just a little brought down because, when you knocked, he thought you were the CANdyman!” Draco ripped his cape off to reveal a glittery basque, fishnets, and platform heels. The crowd dropped Voldemort and shrieked. “Don’t get strung out by the way I look!” Too late. “Don’t judge a book by its co-vuh-hah.” Bump, grind. “I’m not much of a man by the light of day, but by night I’m one Hell of a lover…”
From the crowd’s reaction, he was going to get the chance to prove it.
Eleven-thirty. A long line threatening to cast twenty “Alohomora!” at once finally drove Severus out of the bathroom. He’d leafed through the same copy of Warlock Today for nearly three hours. So far, he knew that dragon’s blood prices were high, The Weird Sisters were departing on their next world tour on January twelfth, and a falling house had recently killed a witch somewhere in Kansas. What he didn’t know was how he was supposed to face Harry after making such a complete tit of himself earlier. The urge to kill had long passed. He just hoped Harry had come as far.
Dumbledore was back on the mic, this time doing Tony Bennett covers. Voldemort was in the corner making out with Cho Chang. Draco was in another corner with a Patil sister on each leg, and Lavender Brown messing up his carefully teased hair. Ron and Hermione were in separate corners, not speaking to each other. Harry was nowhere to be seen, although his godfather had returned to human form and was on the couch with Lupin bawling his eyes out. “I’m sorry! I don’t know what came over me!” Severus cringed as Remus put his head on a very red Black’s shoulder.
God. This was the last time he and Harry went anywhere.
Suddenly, two streams of something very, very cold and equally wet hit him from opposite sides. “Oh, yes! Ten points for Snape!” The Weasley twins high-fived each other, enormous weaponry dripping clear liquid. George looked at him and deadpanned, “We’ll be back.”
Severus’ mood was certainly not improved. And then he turned pink.
Including the coat given to him by none other than Alice Cooper.
With gloved, clawed hands he grabbed them by their leather jackets and pulled them close enough to whisper. “No, you won’t. You’re not going anywhere to begin with.” They tried to squirm out of their jackets. Sev made sure he had their necks, too. “I’m very disappointed. Very, very disappointed.”
“In fact,” he continued, “you might even say I am infuriated with you.”
“Oh, god. We’re gonna die. Hail, Mary, full of grace…”
His eyes narrowed pleasantly. This silky, calm, smooth demeanor came naturally to him, and had yet to fail to scare the living shite out of anyone on whom he unleashed it. “No, you’re not going to die. You should know by now I don’t have mercy.” With that, he dragged a very stiff Fred and a very limp George into the cloakroom.
The night was looking up.
Eleven forty-seven. Harry sent the tip of a carrot flying with the THWACK! of his cleaver. Neville, rifling the fridge, winced. “Uh… maybe I should leave you alone.”
Harry sent the cleaver through the carrot again. It stuck in the heavy wooden board. “What do you do when someone embarrasses you in front of everyone you know, Neville?”
“Uh… I usually just tell Uncle Algie that I’m not a Squib and ask him to stop holding me out the window. He’s going a little senile.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Harry sighed, oblivious to every word Neville had said. “It was kind of cute, I guess—“
“—but it hurts to have someone you love just do something like that without thinking.”
“No, he’s only dropped me a few times. I usually bounce.”
“Y’know, he probably spent the whole night locked in the bathroom or something. He hates parties.”
“Oh, no, Uncle Algie loves parties. It’s the only time Gran lets him have anything to drink.”
“I really shouldn’t have made him come if he didn’t want to. But we never get out anywhere. It’s always stay in, read, maybe do a little cooking—“
“Then again, last time he drank two bottles of vodka before Gran could stop him and streaked the Ministry. I don’t think she’ll let him have any more.”
“—or sometimes he’ll just jump me out of nowhere and I won’t be able to walk straight for a week.”
“That would have been a nice New Year’s party.”
“Harry, what have you been doing to my Uncle Algie?!?”
“He really is just a sweetheart. Not that he would ever have let us know when we were students, but he’s got bunny slippers.”
“OH, MY GOD! Harry, what have you done to my Uncle Algie???”
“Don’t tell him I said that, though.”
“I already know about the bunny slippers. What are you doing with my family?? I don’t want a Great Uncle Harry!”
“Nobody would ever believe me, really. I mean, greasy slimy evil nasty horrible monstrous disgusting manipulative biased Slytherin git of a Potions Master by day, cuddlebunny by night.”
“But Uncle Algie was in Hufflepuff! He—” something dawned on Neville. He looked down at his dress. “Harry, it’s a costume. I don’t know what you’re doing with Snape, but I’m still Neville and I plan to stay that way.”
“And he’s adorable when he gets mad, because I know he’s just trying to keep up appearances for me.”
“Um, Harry, you’re scaring me. Snape should never be the subject of a sentence with the word ‘adorable’.”
“Y’know, he even mentioned changing his name to Snape-Potter once…”
“EWWWWWW! I can’t take it any more!” Neville covered his innocent ears and fled, skirt flapping, sandwich forgotten.
Harry sighed, looking down at the vegetable carnage on the draining board before him. “I’m just going to find him and give him a big, wet kiss, I think. You’re a good friend, Neville.” He looked around. “Neville?”
Eleven forty-five. Severus smirked as he strolled out of the cloakroom. He admired the crisp blackness of his coat. The Weasley twins were more adept at reversing their own spells than they’d thought, and they should return to their normal colour in a few weeks. Until then, he rather thought the paisley suited them.
He thought back to his days on tour with Alice and the band. It was just one wild streak of sex, potions, and rock and roll. Sure, the music was great, and when he left to start his own project, The Death Eaters (don’t even ask me what went wrong – blame that damn manager of ours; really, one minor hit and Voldie thought he could rule the world), Alice gave him the coat for good luck. But there had always been something missing.
That karaoke machine looked awfully tempting.
He didn’t want to go back to feeling like something was missing.
Albus was crooning away. “All by myself… don’t wanna be… all by myself…”
He raised an eyebrow at Dumbledore. When that got no reaction he raised his wand. “Expelliarmus!” A cheer went up when he caught the microphone.
“Severus! I was in the middle of a song!”
“You can have it back when I’m finished.” A disappointed murmur went through the room. “You know I’m the only member of the faculty who can carry a tune.”
Dumbledore sulked but wandered out of the small stage area. “That was my big number.” Snape looked at him.
“I suggest you take notes, then.” Albus stuck his tongue out.
The microphone felt warm and familiar in his hand. True, he’d been used to slightly larger venues and better equipment but this would have to do. He flicked through the play list. “No… no… ew, no… that wasn’t Alice, it was Motley Crue… Ah, ‘School’s Out’.” Severus started to tap his wand to select it. He glanced up. Harry was nowhere to be seen. His Firebolt still leaned against the wall so he was still around. Everywhere were his colleagues and former students, heavily costumed. There had to be a hundred of them, all packed into the place. It reminded him too clearly of one of Alice’s later pieces. He’d never paid that much attention to it because it was emotional schlock, but he’d memorized it along with everything else. Maybe this was a situation that called for a little schlock.
A tap of his wand and the slow hum of the intro rose and fell. “I can’t find your face in a thousand masqueraders… You’re hidden in the colours of a million other lost charaders…” the tumult of voices around him faded. The old charisma was coming back. “In life’s big parade… I’m the loneliest spectator… Because you’re gone without a trace in a sea of faceless imitators…”
Alice had never really had anything on him in the vocals department. Anyway, he was English. That accent counted for something.
“I can’t take another night… burning inside this…” go all out, Severus, just like the old days, “Hell is living without your love… Ain’t nothing without your… touch me… Heaven would be like Hell… is living without your love…”
He was vaguely aware of a soft chorus of “Lumos!” and the sudden soft light of a dozen wands raised in the air. Ron and Hermione were gazing at each other across the room. Sirius and Lupin were lost in eyes and fingertips. But, still, no sign of Harry.
“Try to walk away… when I see the time I’ve wasted… starving at a feast… and all this wine I’ve never tasted… on my lips your memory has been stained… is it all in vain… tell me who’s to blame?” Where is he? He ran one hand through his wiry hair and sent his hat rolling across the floor. A “WOOO!” went through the audience. “I can’t take another night… living inside this…
“Hell is living without your love…” a chorus of voices rose up to join him. “Ain’t nothing without your… touch me… Heaven would be like Hell… is living without you…” A familiar glint of glasses and a dark head pushed through the crowd. Late as usual, Mister Potter.
“Nights get longer and colder… I’m down and begging to hold you…” he fell to his knees as Harry forced his way through the last of the crowd. “On my own and I feel like Hell… is living without you.” Severus held the last note for a long, long time as the guitar solo picked up.
“Silly git.” Harry nuzzled his nose. “You’ve lost your hat.”
“Shut up and kiss me. I’m not planning any encores.” The crowd whooped and whistled as Harry did what he was told.
“We want tongues! We want tongues!”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “I may not be able to deduct points, Misters Weasley, but if you’d like I can arrange for you to scrub out some cauldrons.” The twins, having taken their fill of Snape’s wrath for the time being, shut up but stuck their tongues out. He kissed Harry one last time before twisting up on his feet, grinning. His voice rang out pure and clear, “Ohhhhhh… Hell is living without your love… ain’t nothing without your… touch me… Heaven would be like Hell… is living without you. Nights get longer and colder… I’m down and begging to hold you… on my own and I feel like Hell… is living without you.” The closing instrumental was marred by the horrible whine of feedback as Harry dragged him away and the microphone fell, forgotten.
“Wow. Y’know, I always thought he was just a greasy freak, but Snape is hot.”
It was faint praise compared to those warm pink lips, and those familiar hands running over his back under Alice’s coat.
“You didn’t have to do that, Sev.” Harry blushed a little, “But I’m kinda glad you did.”
“You continue subject me to the most extreme of tribulations, Mister Potter.” He tapped Harry’s nose affectionately with his wand and smiled even more as Frankenstein’s monster dissolved into Harry. Ah, to leave the maddening crowd, to return home (possibly after locking themselves in the bathroom for a few minutes first – it was quite cozy in there), to find their own way to celebrate the New Year—
“Severus! Wow, great show. I really liked the dancing.” Dancing? There’d been dancing? Voldemort rubbed his hands together. “So, how would you feel about maybe starting the band up again? I mean, we’d have the change the name and all, but—“
“Didn’t I kill you?”
Severus wrapped his arms around Harry from behind and kissed his ear. “He’s a record executive. They don’t stay dead very easily.”
“I can try again.”
Voldemort hissed. “Damn you, Potter! This is exactly why I had to get rid of you. You’re depriving the world of that voice.”
“Voldemort, do I have to show you exactly what my voice is good for?” Snape twirled his wand between his fingers.
“Sev! Sevvie, baby, come on. Just one little short-term contract—erm.” Voldemort looked a bit nervous as two wands pointed at his face. Snape narrowed his eyes. “Erm… well, if you’re not interested…” he slipped quietly into the crowd.
Sev and Harry followed his lead. By the time everyone else got onto the New Year’s kissing they’d been at it a good, solid five minutes.
* * *
Author’s note: I know, I know, it’s fluff. This story contains quite a bit of “I made up the hypothetical plot at three in the morning by the seat of my pants”. Can’t help it. After what I put those two through last time, and what’s probably going to happen next, I figured I’d better make them a little bit happy for a while. Anyway, it’s cute. And Sev is in leather trousers. Many, maaaaaany Snape-flavoured Bott’s Beans to Telanu and Mother Mercury for their unwitting inspiration in this little bit of schlock.
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