TITLE: When I Reach the Other Side
PAIRING: Severus Snape/Sirius Black
SUMMARY: Snape must retrieve Sirius from Beyond the veil. But the magic needed to return Sirius to the world of the living isn't exactly Snape's idea of fun.
WARNINGS: Slash, frottage, and vaguely applied and completely fabricated magical theory.
DISCLAIMER: Everything recognizable is property of J.K. Rowling and company. I've just got a computer.
AUTHOR NOTES: Set sometime after Book 6, but before the fall of Voldemort. Hope you enjoy your gift!
Snape knew that being summoned by Minerva for a mission couldn't possibly end well. It just couldn't.
"You need to retrieve Sirius Black," Minerva said plainly, staring Snape down from across the long table.
"He's dead," Snape said, equally monotone. "You do know that the stopper death speech I give is by and large an exercise in dramatics and hyperbole, correct?" He arched an eyebrow at her in question; she merely stared back at him, unblinking. "You're mad," he said after she declined to respond. "You've gone and proven it now." Snape pushed his chair away from the table and rose, shaking his head.
"Severus," she said coolly, and he paused, fingers twitching around the top of the chair. "When we took you back after your... flight, your acceptance was conditional. Do you recall?"
"My acceptance here has always been conditional," he retorted, "and I'm reminded of it every single day. What's the next condition you'll place on my continued so-called freedom, Minerva? Am I to scrub the floors and repair the roofing and reupholster the sofa? If you wanted a house elf, I suggest you advise Miss Granger to cease in liberating the creatures."
She ignored his tirade, just the way that she always did. "Remus has been doing some reading, and has discovered some interesting information regarding the veil." She swished her wand and a thick stack of parchment zoomed into the room, stopping right in front of Snape. "As it turns out, those who go through may be able to be recovered."
He wanted to ignore the papers, but his curiosity got the better of him. "Then send Lupin in after his mangy friend," Snape said, plucking the papers from the air and rifling through them. "It's not as though he's been of much use lately anyhow."
"He's not a strong enough wizard," she said, rather matter-of-factly. "The spell-work, the potions needed to return from the trip Beyond, require someone much more powerful than Remus." She paused, then sighed. "And some sources speculate that Beyond makes your worst nightmares come true. For Remus, it would mean the moon would always be full."
"Tch." Snape snorted, glancing up from the papers for just a brief second. "So because my worst nightmares have already come to fruition, you send me."
Minerva rose gracefully from her own chair, seemingly gliding across the room. She stopped next to Snape, resting her hand lightly on his shoulder. "Yes," she said wearily. "That is why." She patted his shoulder gently, ignoring the glare he shot her. "Read up. We'd like to send you soon."
In Minerva's world, soon meant next weekend, and so it was that Snape, packet of parchment in hand, found himself facing the veil.
He'd read the research a hundred times over, hunted down his own set of ancient documents and primary texts to supplement Lupin's own research. He had the incantations and wand movements memorized. And yet somehow, when actually faced with the prospect of going through, he found himself hesitating. After all, it was one thing to walk into certain death for your own reasons. It was entirely another to do the same because of the ravings of a lunatic tabby-cat.
But Snape was not afraid. He'd stared death in the face a thousand times over. This time, however, he was walking into certain death to retrieve a madman that he didn't even like.
He only had a short window of time to step through the veil; the other members of the Order could only hold off curious Ministry minions for so long. Even though he was certain that he hadn't been seen, the spellwork he had to do to bring down the wards around the room to gain access to the veil would alert the Ministry to his presence rather quickly.
With a tiny flick of his wand, the tattered black drapes suspended from the stone arch fluttered to life, whipping themselves into a frenzy. He didn't blink as the drapery swirled around him, daring him to come closer, to step over the threshold. His robes tangled with the drapes, and he held on tight to the sheaf of parchment, lest any be ripped from his fingers.
He twitched his wand again, casting another wordless incantation, and the drapery stopped moving, hanging dead still from the arch. The corners of his lips tugged up in a hint of a smile -- at least the spells were working, so far.
With a deep breath, Snape held his wand aloft and clutched the parchment to his chest, and then took one bold step through the still drapes.
They fluttered around him, seeming to swallow him whole, and then he was gone.
Somehow, he'd thought that Lupin's complaints about Beyond being comparable to your worst nightmare were just wholly fabricated, a stupid, manipulative tactic to get him off the hook with Minerva.
Besides, as he told Minerva, his worst nightmare had already come true. He had been pressed into service on two sides of a war that he thought was utterly worthless, but worst of all, he'd been forced to murder the only person left on earth who trusted him without hesitation. His life was a complete mess, his name would be more tarnished than ever before, and the probability of meeting an untimely death rose with every day he still breathed.
So he was already living a nightmare. Beyond, he thought, couldn't possibly be much worse.
Unfortunately, he was very wrong.
Stepping through the veil, Severus decided, was much like going through the Floo, only about a thousand times more disorienting. When he finally opened his eyes, he thought two things: first, that it was terribly bright and sunny Beyond, and that wasn't at all what he expected; second, that he was actually rather looking forward to finding Sirius Black.
That should have been the first sign that things weren't quite right.
The landscape seemed very empty to Snape. If he didn't know any better, he'd say that Beyond almost didn't exist at all, and that he was just in a vast land of nothing. "Hello?" he called out, wand raised high. There seemed to be nothing on the horizon: no buildings, no people, no trees. Nothing. Just red brick cobblestones and cool grey concrete.
He didn't like the looks of this.
"Hello?" Snape called out again, taking a few more steps into the nothingness, the click-click of his boot-heels echoing off the unforgiving landscape. "Sirius Black, show yourself so I can retrieve you and get the hell out of this wasteland."
From behind Snape, someone laughed, high pitched and a little crazy.
Snape whirled around to come nose to nose with Sirius Black, who looked... well, just as deranged as always.
"Black," he said flatly, putting his wand away. "Come along, we've got to set the spells to release you from here."
Sirius grinned smugly at Snape. "Been working on that myself for a long while now, Snivellus," he said, "so I don't really need your help."
"On the contrary, Black," Snape said, less annoyed by the other man's presence than he rightfully should be, "if you didn't need my help, you would've found your way out of here already."
Sirius laughed. "Right, whatever," he said. He looked at Snape then, examining him. "Why are you here?" It was a good question, one that definitely deserved to be asked.
"Minerva," Snape said, folding his arms across his chest. "I'd ask why you're here, but I already know that answer. Your own charming incompetence did you in, from what I recall."
"Actually, it was Bellatrix, you know. Didn't have anything to do with me," Sirius countered.
"I'd beg to differ," Snape retorted, "but, of course, I wasn't there to see your enchanting demise. It's a fitting punishment for me that I'm to raise you from the dead now."
"Ah. I'd hoped you'd kicked the bucket, too." Sirius scowled, before walking away from Snape, heading to the horizon. "Come on, Snape, I'll give you the tour before you work your stupid Dark magic to get me out of here."
After a short walk, a squat little cottage appeared, and Snape was fairly certain that they hadn't walked so far yet that he wouldn't have been able to see the cottage from his arrival point.
"Chez Black," Sirius said, shouldering the door open. He gestured broadly, allowing Snape to pass through the entrance. Snape glared at Sirius as he passed, and promptly seated himself in one of two empty chairs. "Make yourself at home," Sirius muttered under his breath, closing the door and locking it before crossing the room and sitting down next to Snape.
"So," he said, hands folded in his lap.
Snape didn't respond, merely pulled out his wand and attempted to transfigure the chair into something less lumpy. Instead, the chair simply shot out from underneath him, and Snape fell flat on the ground, arms and legs akimbo, sputtering madly.
Much to his surprise, Sirius Black only snickered, rather than the all-out manic laughter that Snape had expected. "A lot of spells won't work here," Sirius said, getting up and extending his hand to Snape, who took it warily after gathering the papers that he dropped. With Sirius' help, he hauled himself up off of the floor. "I found that out right quick when I tried to Apparate back to the Ministry and nearly got myself stuck inside the wall of the damned cottage."
Snape snorted and pulled the chair back over to its original spot, settling himself back down onto it. He didn't say anything in response, merely shuffled through the papers, looking for the one that detailed the final spell they would need to complete to get out of their own little purgatory. He looked at it, disgust written on his face as he re-read the text, then handed the sheet to Sirius.
"Here," he said, wiping his hand disdainfully on his trousers, as though the paper itself was covered in filth. "This is what is needed to return the both of us to the living. You can thank your werewolf friend for the initial research."
Sirius skimmed through the text, then looked back up at Snape. He looked just as disgusted than Snape did. "And you think this rubbish is really going to get us out of here?"
Snape shrugged. "This is the only solution anyone has discovered. I must believe it will return us. I do not like to think of the alternatives."
"Hm." Sirius handed the paper back to Snape, then slumped in the chair, face in his hands. "It's late," he said, standing abruptly and walking over to a window that Snape was sure hadn't been there moments before. "Get some sleep. We'll start tomorrow."
Sirius pulled out his own wand and waved it at the chair he'd just vacated, transfiguring it into a rickety cot. "You can sleep here," he said, then walked from the room, leaving Snape from his own devices.
Snape made a few adjustments to Sirius' transfigurations, then settled down on the bed, unlacing his boots and shrugging out of his cloak and heavy topcoat. As he drifted off into sleep, Snape realised that he rather enjoyed talking to Sirius Black here.
When Snape woke the next morning, Sirius was already up, sitting in the empty armchair and reading through the stack of research Snape had brought with him. Upon noticing Sirius, Snape sat up abruptly, straightening his sleep-wrinkled clothes and clearing his throat.
"I didn't know this place meant walking into a nightmare," Sirius said quietly, flipping another page. In the eerie morning light of the cottage, Sirius looked especially haggard, and Snape knew that he didn't look much better. "I wondered why it was so... so..." Sirius waved his hand at the bleak-looking cottage. "So like this."
Snape peered curiously at Sirius from behind his ever-present curtain of hair. "And what, pray tell, is the worst nightmare of the invincible Sirius Black?"
Sirius stared at Snape in silence for some time, before grinning broadly. "It's a secret," he said, standing up and handing the papers back to the other man. "Let's just get started on the wards, yeah?"
Setting a series of protective spells took the better part of that day. Everything needed to be set to very particular coordinates, which was difficult when there were very few landmarks outside with which to use to get one's bearings.
Snape found, despite every rational thought he ever had, that he didn't entirely detest working alongside Sirius to set the needed wards and etch the appropriate sigils in the ground. The other man was surprisingly tolerable, and quite knowledgeable about life Beyond.
"What did you think?" Sirius asked, pausing in his exploration of a small group of shrubberies that most certainly weren't growing outside of the cottage the prior evening. "That I spent the past year and some rolling around and licking myself?"
"Well, yes," Snape said without hesitation. "Something like that."
"Tough luck, Snape," he responded, drawing a sigil in the dirt between two shrubs. "Can't even transfigure here."
"Pity, that. I was rather hoping to not have to speak with you unless strictly necessary," Snape retorted, though it was fairly obvious that his heart really wasn't in it this time around.
It took four days to set all of the spells outside. There were thousands of them, it seemed: spells for safety and transportation, spells to keep anyone else from crossing through the veil while they were performing the ritual, spells for protection and courage, spells to keep all the other dead souls where they belonged, just in case something went awry. Snape didn't know why he and Sirius were the only ones to be found in their little world, but he had a sneaking suspicion that it had something to do with that whole worst nightmare bit.
"Almost done, then?" Sirius asked, standing just outside the door to the cottage.
"Yes," Snape replied. "All that's left is the cottage proper. Everything else is ready."
Sirius was quiet for a while, turning slowly in a circle to look at the ever-changing landscape. Where nothing but sterile, lifeless concrete sat just a few days ago, trees and flowers and grass now sprouted. "What if it doesn't work, this stupid ritual of yours?"
"Don't call it stupid, Black," Snape snapped, corners of his mouth tugged down into a frown. "It may just be what sends you back to all of your adoring fans."
"Fine," Sirius sighed. "What if this terribly well thought-out, ingenious, creative, and not at all repulsive ritual of yours fails?"
"Firstly, I must remind you that Lupin found it, so you can blame this atrocity partially on him. Secondly--" He stopped, lips pressed into a thin line. "Secondly, if we fail, well. We only have one chance to complete the ritual. Failure dooms us both to be sealed within the walls of the cottage, for eternity."
"Ah," Sirius said. "Then I suppose we'd best not fail."
Snape snorted. "To put it mildly, yes." He stepped forward, hand extended and hovering just over the doorknob. "Once we go in," he said, turning to look back at Sirius, "we cannot leave. If the ritual works, the final spell will return us both to Grimmauld Place. If it fails..." He sighed, then nodded grimly. "It will not fail."
"Go on, then," Sirius said, stepping up to the door as well, hand poised next to Snape's. "Let's get this over with, shall we?"
It took another two days to finish setting all of the spells in the cottage; by the time they were done, the small structure only barely resembled its prior self. The interior was a dark, dusky brown, rather than the clinical grey and white it had been upon his arrival. The furniture was gone, banished to who knows where. Small candles provided the only illumination, their dull yellow light casting eerie shadows across the cottage and its inhabitants.
With the few potions supplies that Snape had brought with him from home, combined with what he was able to collect from the plants that suddenly began growing outside, he'd been able to brew the required potions for the ritual.
On the last morning, Snape woke first, setting about the task of warming the potions that had already been created, and reinforcing the wards that kept them in, and kept everything else out. He didn't know when Sirius would awake, and he was in no hurry to wake the other man at any rate.
He still wasn't entirely sure where Sirius slept, as Snape swore that every time he looked around the cottage for a second room, he found nothing. But every day, he'd blink, or turn around, or pause to rest his eyes for just a moment, and then there Sirius would be, strolling around like he'd just rolled out of bed.
The same held true this morning. Snape crouched over the cauldron in the centre of the room, stirring it carefully; when he stood and turned around to check the cauldron in the east corner, Sirius was already there, staring at the runes drawn on the floor.
Snape didn't say anything, merely regarded Sirius with a quiet curiosity, as though he were truly seeing him for the first time. Working alongside Sirius the past week had been a strange experience; it wasn't fraught with arguments and threats and accusations. They were just like two colleagues, for the most part, working together for a common goal.
Of course, the common goal -- raising the semi-dead -- did happen to be very important to the both of them.
"We start soon?" Sirius asked, interrupting Snape's train of thought. The other man nodded sullenly, staring down at the potion that bubbled at his feet.
"It needs ten more minutes to warm," Snape said, inclining his head at the cauldron, "and then all is prepared."
"Yes, there is that." Snape folded his arms awkwardly across his chest, not quite meeting Sirius' eyes.
"You know, we don't have to go through--"
Snape cut him off, finally staring at him, an angry red flush rising in his cheeks as he spoke. "Are you insane, or just stupid? I don't care what I have to do to finish this gods-forsaken ritual, we're doing it and getting the goddamn hell out of here. So yes, yes we do have to go through with it, no matter how much of a nightmare it's going to--"
Snape stopped speaking abruptly, a look of horror on his face. He had finally, finally figured it out. All of the pieces of the puzzle clicked together in his head, and his entire experience Beyond finally made sense.
"Your worst nightmare," he said slowly, pointing a shaking finger at Sirius, "is being alone for eternity with little magic, particularly without the ability to transfigure yourself, I believe."
"I never said that--"
"Am I correct, Black? Just answer the question." Snape pinched the bridge of his nose, not liking how everything was coming together.
"Well, I guess once I think about it, you are kind of correct, but--"
"Shh!" Snape shushed the other man with a violent hand gesture. "Before I came through, everything here was blank and empty save the cottage, correct? Much as it was when I first walked through the veil. Yes?" Sirius nodded and opened his mouth to respond, but Snape stopped him again. "Don't speak, Black, it's a distraction. The more time I've spent here, everything has become more hospitable, has it not?" Sirius nodded again. "And magic has been completed successfully more often than not, correct?" Sirius nodded a third time, and thankfully didn't try to speak. Snape drew his arm back in, cupping his chin in his hand instead.
"Try to transfigure now," Snape said suddenly.
"I don't want to-- I mean, that is-- What if I--"
Snape made a threatening growl, throwing his hands in the air. "Just do it, Black!" he shouted.
Sirius hastily complied, pulling his wand from the pocket of his robes. He closed his eyes, then flicked the wand, and before Snape's eyes, he shifted forms, changing into a large black dog. The dog barked happily, immediately rolling on the floor, legs wiggling in the air.
"Get up, get up," Snape said, nudging the dog with his toe. "If you knock over the cauldrons I'll kill you and find a way back on my own."
The dog righted himself with a whine, and without further ado, shifted back into his human form. Sirius, seated on the floor, gazed up at Snape curiously.
"What does this mean, then?" he asked, scratching absently behind his ear.
"First, it means that there should be no obstacles to the final spells working. Second, it means that your worst nightmare is no longer relevant to the Beyond. That particular conflict, for some reason or another, has been resolved, and now, the place needs to feed off of something else to create its nightmarish scenario."
"Ah." Sirius pushed himself up off of the ground and walked in a small circle around the room. "And what's your worst nightmare, then?"
Snape stared at Sirius, almost determined not to answer, but then he crouched to the ground, looking through the stack of notes next to the cauldron. "This," he said, standing back up and handing the sheet he'd selected to Sirius.
Sirius took the sheet, reading it quickly. It detailed the last stage of the ritual, the one that Snape was trying to avoid at all costs. "Oh," Sirius whispered, handing the page back to Snape. "Oh. So this place has shifted to your nightmare rather than mine."
Snape nodded slowly. "And like any proper nightmare, I suggest that we finish as soon as possible. I do not wish to be trapped here."
Sirius shifted uncomfortably from foot to foot. "We can... maybe... talk about it, if you want. To make it easier. Less..."
"Disgusting? Unsavoury? Less against every sane thought I have ever had?"
"Look, Snape, it's not like it's permanent, it's not like you've got to stick with it once we cross back through. The idea's not any more appealing to me than it is to you, you know, but I'm a lot more interested in being alive again than I am in worrying about what offends your tender sensibilities. So let's just... forget we ever had this conversation, follow the ritual like the damn research says, and see what happens."
Snape's upper lip curled into something approaching a parody of a smile. "Such a fine idea, Black," he drawled. "East corner of the cottage. Go. We begin."
The first stage of the ritual was fairly simple, as archaic rituals go. Snape and Sirius stood over the cauldron, chanting complex phrases over and over, until the candles snuffed themselves out and the cauldron bubbled on its own. They spoke in unison, stopping only when the potion shot up bright gold sparks into the air.
Snape and Sirius stopped chanting, and Snape nodded at the small cauldron. Sirius picked it up at once, as they'd discussed, wincing when his skin touched the still hot metal. With only a moment's hesitation, Sirius brought the cauldron to his mouth, drinking deeply until he had swallowed every drop.
Snape nodded, not daring to speak lest it interfere with the ritual, and stepped forward, taking the empty cauldron from Sirius' hands and placing it upside down atop the sigil etched on the floor.
First task completed, Snape and Sirius crossed the room in step, halting in front of the cauldron facing to the west. They repeated the same chant, only this time, the potion shot silver sparks. When the sparks cleared, they stopped chanting. However, this time, Snape was the one to crouch down and lift the cauldron to his lips. Unlike Sirius, however, he didn't even blink when the hot metal touched his skin. Potion gone, Snape deftly flipped the cauldron upside down, handing it to Sirius, who took it and placed it over top of the western sigil.
Silently, Sirius turned to face the eastern side of the cottage, while Snape remained facing the west. With a sharp inhalation of breath, Snape raised his wand; Sirius did the same, and they began their chant anew. The candles flared to life once more, then died.
Snape lowered his wand and turned crisply to walk to the centre of the room, where he met Sirius, who looked at him questioningly.
"The first part of the ritual is complete," Snape said, breaking the silence. "When the candles light again, the imbibed potions will have reached their full potency, and then we must continue."
"Do you want to--"
"No," Snape interrupted. "I merely wish to sit in silence and wait. I suggest you do the same."
After fifteen minutes of silence, Sirius stretched out on the floor, lacing his fingers behind his head. He yawned loudly and closed his eyes; Snape ignored him, preferring to stare intently at the candles across the room.
After forty-five minutes of silence, Sirius was fast asleep, and Snape had barely even budged from his spot on the floor.
After an hour and a half, however, Sirius sat up abruptly, one hand clutched to his stomach. "Snape, I think--"
"Shh!" Snape's head swung around to shoot an angry glare at the other man. "Look at the candles," he whispered. The candlewicks slowly caught fire of their own accord. The next phase of the ritual had begun.
Snape stood slowly, not bothering to look back at Sirius, and walked to the cauldron pointing towards the south. Across the room, Sirius trudged northwards. This time, neither man chanted, but both wands were unsheathed in unison. Wordlessly, Sirius and Snape both cast small cutting spells, pricking their own index fingers.
Sirius looked at the bead of blood welling on his fingertip curiously for a second before shaking his hand, letting the blood drop into the cauldron at his feet. Snape did the same, and both potions hissed and bubbled with the introduction of the final ingredient. When the bubbling ceased, Snape lifted up the cauldron and walked to the centre of the room where he met Sirius, who was holding his own cauldron.
Snape nodded, just a tiny little shake of the head, and then both men tipped their potions into the final cauldron, the contents of which began to smoke and sputter.
"And for the final stage," Snape said, breaking the silence after the potion ceased its turmoil.
"Yeah." Sirius didn't sound nearly as excited about the prospect of returning from the dead as he should be. "Look, Snape, I'm--"
"Think carefully about the next words that come out of your mouth," Snape cautioned quickly.
Sirius barely even paused at Snape's admonition. "Snape, I'm glad you're here," he said slowly, deliberately. The other man raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I'm glad that you're doing this for me, even though you don't want to. I-- I've been gone a long time, I have no clue what I've missed." Snape snorted there, disrupting Sirius' little speech. "The Order didn't have to send anyone after me, but they did, and here we are, and so let's just finish and get the hell out of here and pretend it never happened," he finished.
Snape nodded, then looked at the potion bubbling in the cauldron, seemingly ignoring Sirius. "When it turns yellow, we may begin." He stretched his legs out in front of him, his one concession to his own comfort, while Sirius rolled over onto his stomach, then pushed himself up onto his knees.
He crawled over to the cauldron, peering in. "Almost there, Snape. It's orange."
Snape grunted, holding up one hand. When the potion suddenly turned a brilliant shade of yellow, he swallowed heavily, then closed his eyes and dropped his hand back to his lap. "Begin."
Sirius nodded, then scooted over to sit in front of Snape. He looked at the other man briefly, then, in the blink of an eye, wrapped his fingers around Snape's shoulders and pulled the other man close, pressing their lips together in an awkward kiss.
Snape's eyes widened; though he expected it, he wasn't quite expecting it, and it took a while for him to respond to the kiss. When he did, though, he felt the very blood in his veins heat up, and felt driven to wrap his arms around Sirius' waist, pressing their bodies together.
He knew the potions were driving them together: the ritual needed to be completed, and if they weren't interested in completing the rites on their own, the potions would force them to. And Snape knew it was the potions that made him open his lips to the kiss, that made him slide his hands up Sirius' torso, pulling at the buttons of the other man's robes. The potions, he told himself firmly, were what made the sheer feeling of it all -- the feeling of Sirius' hands on him, the feeling of Sirius' lips on his -- go straight to his cock, what made everything so exquisite.
But somewhere in the back of his mind, he wondered how exactly this was supposed to be his nightmare whenever the kissing felt so good.
Sirius broke the kiss, lips lingering at Snape's ear. "I can't hate you right now," he whispered, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips. With that, he tugged on Snape's arm, pulling them both down to the floor, Sirius settling himself on top of Snape. They were still for a while, and the magic flowing between them was strong, electric.
"The spells," Snape whispered, coming back down to reality for a just a second. Involuntarily, he pushed his hips up to meet Sirius' as he wordlessly called his wand back into his hand. "Whatever you do, Black, don't stop what you're doing."
Sirius nodded, lowering his lips to Snape's neck and sucking as Snape positioned his wand, tip resting just over Sirius' heart.
"Now," he said, squeezing his eyes shut and immediately shifting into the chant. An ancient and forgotten language flowed effortlessly from Snape's lips, words eventually taking the same pace as Sirius' thrusts against him.
There was something sinister about the entire thing, rutting there on the floor of a mystic cottage like a pair of impatient teenagers, Snape thought, but the magic was rather Dark and sinister in the first place. He couldn't possibly expect any less. As he recited the spell, wand flashing in complicated patterns around them, he felt his last bit of reserve give way.
Snape groaned and used his free hand to clutch Sirius' arse, pushing him downwards. Through the rough fabric of their robes, their cocks brushed together, and Sirius whimpered. Sirius closed his eyes, resting his forehead against Snape's shoulder as he reached between the two, parting their robes and fumbling with trousers and buttons and pants. Necessary clothing pushed a side Sirius pressed down against Snape with a groan and wrapped his hands around both of their cocks. Snape barely managed to spit out the next phrase of the spell as Sirius roughly pumped his hand around both of their erections.
"Almost," Sirius whispered into Snape's ear, and Snape gave a tiny nod, bucking up as Sirius' warm hands caressed his cock. Snape shifted into the final refrain of the chant, wand pointing down now towards their erections. "Almost, almost," Sirius repeated, nearly a chant of his own.
All of Snape's energy went into not breaking the spell, not breaking the contact between them. He could feel the potion racing through his body, through his veins and his organs and his very being, and he could feel it all pooling, (fiery, hot, electric), at his cock. Based on the surprised expression on Sirius' face, Snape surmised that the other man was feeling the same way.
"Are you--?" Sirius barely was able to ask his question, and Snape could only respond with a small nod of the head. Sirius closed his eyes and thrust one last, desperate time, into his hand; he sank his teeth down into Snape's shoulder as he came, stifling a feral growl. Snape ground his teeth together, barely managing to spit out the archaic words as he felt his entire world explode, as he came, harder than he'd remembered doing in such a long, long time.
With an exhausted moan, Snape let his body relax and dropped his wand, spell finally, mercifully completed. "Go, go now, you idiot," Snape growled, lifting his head just enough to watch Sirius crawl to the final cauldron and plunge his hands into the concoction. The potion quickly reacted, a thick, green smoke billowing out over the sides.
Snape collected his wand and slowly dragged himself over to the cauldron, peering into it with Sirius. The other man withdrew his hands from the cauldron and groped on the floor for his forgotten wand.
"Last spell. On my signal," Snape whispered, watching the potion carefully.
"Snape, listen. If we don't get back, if this didn't work--" Snape shot Sirius a practically murderous glare, but the other man continued. "If this didn't work, thanks anyway. I never thought I'd be grateful to you for anything. You could have said no, knowing what they wanted you to do to save me, but you didn't and..." He shrugged, glancing down at the potion for a second, then back up to meet Snape's eyes. "It means a lot to me. I just want you to know that."
Snape opened his mouth to respond, pithy retort on the tip of his (exhausted) tongue, but Sirius cut him off, leaning forward to kiss him -- just once, this time gentle and slow.
"The potion," Snape said, breaking away. The potion was slowly turning to a shimmering blue, the smoke nearly all dissipated. "On the count of three. You remember the incantation?"
Sirius nodded, wand raised.
"Good. One," Snape said, eyes trained on the potion.
"Two," he continued, wand trembling slightly in his hand as he made eye contact with Sirius for the briefest of seconds.
"Three," he said resolutely, closing his eyes and beginning to chant.