“Good morning, Sev’rus,” Harry said tiredly. He rubbed his eyes. “Sirius,” he greeted when he noticed the other man sitting across from Severus at the kitchen table. They each held different sections of the newspaper and a cup of coffee sat in front of them. Harry looked between the two for a moment, suddenly struck by how odd this was. No fighting.
“Good morning, Harry,” Severus said, lowering his paper. In a moment, Sirius did the same.
“Morning, Harry!” he said, bright tone seeming the slightest bit forced.
Harry sat down and grabbed a piece of bacon off the tray. “What’s up for today?”
“We have to finish the insect bite ointment,” Severus said, raising his sup of coffee to his lips. “The final stage will take about an hour. Then, we must put it in tins.”
Harry nodded. “Do we have any left after all that burn cream we made the other day?”
Severus nodded. “I expect so. If not, the potions lab is only one Floo away.”
Sirius rolled his eyes at their serious potion talk. “Blah, blah. Dispense with all the serious stuff-”
“I would like to,” Severus inserted snidely.
Sirius stopped in the middle of his sentence and looked at him. “Ha. Very funny. Like I haven’t heard a thousand puns about my name.”
Harry snickered. Sirius gave him an outraged look. “Half of them were from him!” he said indignantly, gesturing with his coffee cup at Severus and splashing coffee all over the newspaper that lay on the table. “Oh, crap.”
Severus was giving him a flat stare that implied he was far too used to accidents such as these. Midgy appeared in a sparkle to clean it up. Once she was finished, Harry surveyed the soggy newspaper. It was still readable but the dark stains had caused the letters to bleed into each other. He supposed he wouldn’t be learning what the public’s predictions for the World Cup were. Oh well.
“Anyway, what was it that I was saying?” Sirius asked himself with a frown. “Oh, right, I thought we could do something fun today.”
“Isn’t that what we’ve been doing all summer?” Harry asked with a light grin.
“Of course!” Sirius said, absurdly awake given the early time. He generally slept fairly late. “But given it’s the last day and all...”
“The last day?” Harry asked. “You mean the trial’s tomorrow?”
“Yeah,” Sirius admitted. “I got an owl a few days ago reminding me. As if I could forget.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Harry demanded with a frown.
Sirius shrugged. “I didn’t want to ruin our last days.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Harry scolded him. “You’ll get off and then we’ll have all the time in the world.”
Harry did not see Severus frown behind his newspaper.
“You’re right, Harry,” Sirius said. “Anyway, I thought maybe we could take my old motorcycle for a spin.”
Severus put down his paper. “Excuse me?”
Sirius looked around dodgily. “Just a short ride.”
“Did you completely disregard the terms under which I agreed you could spend these last few months here?”
“Not completely...” Sirius said.
Severus gave him a look. “And I suppose riding a flying motorcycle does not qualify as ‘endangering Harry’?”
“But you said I was allowed to endanger myself,” Sirius protested. “Harry just may want to come along.”
“Yeah,” Harry said, backing Sirius up as he munched on a piece of toast.
“That is still putting him in danger.”
“Not really,” Sirius said. “It’s perfectly safe.”
Severus rolled his eyes.
“How would we get it anyway?” Harry asked. “Isn’t it at Hagrid’s?”
Sirius gave a sly grin. “We could always use the Floo. Isn’t Snape’s office tied into the fireplace here?”
“Yeah,” Harry said, grin spreading across his face.
Severus looked between the two of them as they laughed conspiratorially. “You propose wheeling that thing through the castle and into the fireplace?”
They nodded. Harry looked at him hopefully. He folded up his newspaper.
“I honestly do not believe I am agreeing to this, but fine,” he said, then held up a hand to stop Harry’s exclamation. “Provided I come along to supervise.”
He eyed Sirius suspiciously. Sirius donned his best puppy dog look and tried to seem innocent. Severus shook his head in exasperation.
“When should we go?” Harry asked.
“How about after lunch?” Sirius suggested. “By the time we get back it will be almost evening and hopefully a little cooler.”
“Agreed,” Harry said. He could feel the day hearing up already. Though it was comfortable inside the house, he did not relish the idea of flying beneath the hot midday sun. “Do you have to do anything to prepare for tomorrow?”
“I don’t think so,” Sirius responded. “Would you- would you come?” he asked a little sheepishly.
“Of course!” Harry replied. “I’ll be a witness if you need it.”
“Thanks,” Sirius said. He paused for a long moment. “And you?”
There was a moment of confusion where Severus didn’t realize he was being spoken to.
“What?” he asked, genuinely shocked. “Me?”
Sirius nodded. “You know me pretty well by now-”
“Far too well.”
“-and I thought maybe you could vouch for me. You know, if you’re okay with that. If you want to,” Sirius finished awkwardly.
Severus looked at him for a long minute. “What makes you think I would not ruin it for you?”
“I know you better now, too,” Sirius said candidly.
Severus frowned. “Alright. I will go. Though why you expect them to believe one such as myself, I have no idea.”
“They don’t know you are a Death Eater, do they?” Sirius asked.
“Was a Death Eater,” Severus corrected.
Snape made a noncommittal noise. “No they do not but they have their suspicions.”
“Wouldn’t they just use veritaserum and find out one way or another?” Harry asked curiously.
Severus shrugged. “They ought to have. But they didn’t. Either way, it would not matter.”
“It wouldn’t matter?” Sirius asked incredulously.
“I can lie through veritaserum,” he said casually.
Two pairs of wide eyes stared at Severus as he stirred his coffee nonchalantly.
“Wha- How?” Sirius stammered. “I’ve never heard of that.”
Severus gave a small, sly smile. “You do not honestly think I turned spy before taking proper precautions?” He savored their rapt faces. “I brewed myself a large batch and built up my tolerance. I am not completely unaffected but I can still retain some of my will when under the influence of the potion.”
“How long’d that take?” Sirius asked.
“A few hours to build up the tolerance,” Severus said. “Longer to brew the potion. Why? Do you have something to hide?”
“I thought that it would be useful if no one knew I was an animagus,” Sirius admitted. “Do you have any of that on hand?”
“You think I would waste it on you?” Severus asked, brows raised.
“Please?” Sirius tried.
“Perhaps,” he replied. “But it is doubtful.”
“Can you do that to me sometime?” Harry asked, thinking of the situations in which that could come in handy.
“Certainly. Right now?”
“Oh, you’ll give it to Harry!” Sirius pointed out, offended.
The corner of Severus’s lip pulled up. He was “smiling” more often these days. Maybe Sirius was having a good effect on him. “Yes, I will.”
Harry grinned. “Sirius can have it first.”
“As you wish,” Severus said. He turned to Black. “Do you really trust me to put you under veritaserum? I could ask you anything.”
Sirius’s face twisted. “Hadn’t thought of that.”
“Harry, you’ll be there, right?” Sirius asked.
“Of course,” Harry said immediately.
Severus raised a brow. “Who is to say he will not be just as interested in your replies?”
Sirius pursed his lips. “It all comes down to trust, doesn’t it?”
“That it does,” Severus agreed.
Sirius sighed. “Is keeping my secret worth trusting a Slytherin?” he mused. “I’ll think on that. Why don’t we go get the bike a little early so we have time in case I decide to go through with it?”
“Okay,” Harry agreed.
After breakfast, they departed for Hogwarts. Luckily, the school was very near empty, for even the teachers had gone home for the summer. Only Filch, Hagrid and Professor Sprout remained for they had things to tend to that could not be left unattended for such a period of time. Less people would see them wheeling a large motorcycle through the castle this way.
“Hey, Hagrid!” Harry called as they neared Hagrid’s hut. The large man straightened up from where he was prodding the dirt with his oversized fingers.
“Harry! Good ter see ya,” he said. “An’ ‘fessor Snape and Sir’us Black! Well color me surprised.”
Harry grinned, glad that Hagrid had been told that Sirius was innocent. It saved an awkward exchange. “How are you?”
“Good, good,” he said, wiping his hands off on his shirt. “What can I help yer with?”
“We came to see if you would mind terribly parting with your motorcycle,” Sirius said politely.
“My motorcycle? Nah, it’s yers! Always was,” Hagrid said. “I was just keepin’ it fer you.”
Sirius smiled. “Thanks Hagrid.”
“Come on,” he said. “It’s ‘round back.”
They followed Hagrid to the back of his hut where he pulled a large sheet off the gleaming motorcycle.
A look of wonder sprang into Sirius’s eyes. “Gosh I’ve missed this. You’ve kept it nice.”
Hagrid stuck his hands in his pockets. “I tried.”
“Thank you,” Sirius said earnestly. Hagrid merely nodded. Sirius pushed it over to the path that led from the hut to the school. He straddled the large bike and fired it up. It roared to life, a pleasant rumble causing it to shudder. Twisting the handle, Sirius revved the engine. He grinned. Smoke came out in puffs from the shiny chrome exhaust pipe.
Harry found himself grinning as well.
“Want a ride?” Sirius asked Harry.
“Sure!” he said with a glance at Severus. He nodded once, albeit warily. Hopping on the back, Harry held on tight as Sirius gunned the bike forward, flying over the stone path that wound its way up to the castle. Harry could imagine the horror that had to be coating Severus’s face. The whole experience was utterly exhilarating.
Coming to a stop at the doors of the school, Harry hopped off. Both he and Sirius noticed Severus a long ways down the path, walking slowly up to the top. With a wink, Sirius turned the bike and shot back down towards him. Harry shook his head, imagining the argument that would break out if Sirius tried to get Severus on the bike. He smiled.
“I’m not getting on that thing,” Severus said adamantly, walking at a leisurely pace up the path. Sirius paralleled him on the bike.
“Come on, Severus,” Sirius said.
“Since when have you called me ‘Severus’?” Severus demanded.
Sirius shrugged. “I guess Harry’s rubbing off on me.”
“Not enough, I daresay,” Severus replied smartly.
“At this pace we won’t get back until nightfall,” Sirius complained. “Hop on.”
“Don’t make me force you,” Sirius said threateningly.
Severus stopped and gave him a look. “I hope you are not forgetting that I am the one with a wand.”
“I’m not,” Sirius promised. “Get on or I will pester you all the way to the top.”
Severus groaned. That was worse than the threat of a spell. With a look of deepest loathing, Severus climbed on the back, at first refusing to touch Sirius, even to hold on. He leaned back at an awkward angle.
Sirius let the bike shoot forward and Severus almost tumbled off the back. Though he had absolutely no desire to get closer to Black, he was forced to lean farther forward at risk of truly falling off. He gripped the seat tightly. Sirius wheeled the bike to a stop in front of Harry’s grinning face. Severus got off with a sigh of relief.
“Was that intended to convince me that it is safe for Harry?” Severus asked with a scowl.
“I’m smaller than you,” Harry pointed out. “It’s more comfortable for me.”
“That and the fact that you don’t loathe him,” Severus pointed out.
“You know he’s grown on you,” Harry said challengingly.
“I know nothing of the sort,” Severus replied firmly.
Sirius and Harry shared an exasperated look. “So stubborn,” Harry said. “You don’t loathe him anymore, do you, Sirius?”
“I decline to answer that until after the veritaserum,” Sirius replied uncomfortably.
“Wise,” Severus commented.
“Come on,” Harry said. “Let’s get back so that we can go for a ride.”