Title: How The Dead Celebrate Birthdays
Category: Five (41- to 50-years-old and beyond)
Characters: Severus, Sirius, and Remus
Beta Reader: leela_cat
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): Canon characters who are dead through no fault of mine (or theirs, for that matter). Also, disembodied mammaries and clowns. Eventual threesome.
Word Count: +/- 1700
Author's Note: Happy Birthday, dear Severus. Thanks to iulia_linnea for her support and modly awesomeness, to leela_cat for the marvelous beta and help with the ust insertion, and to alisanne for cheerleading and hand-holding.
Summary: Severus has a very firm opinion on the dead celebrating birthdays: They don't.
Streamers hung from Severus' hair as he glared at the idiots responsible.
"Happy Birthday, Snivellus!" Black shouted, blowing a paper horn.
Severus grabbed the bastard by the throat, hauled him in close, and hissed, "I don't have birthdays. I'm dead. Lack of life is a clear indication. Being stuck in my own personal version of hell with you and the wolf? Even more so. Clear this mess and go away."
"Now, Severus," Lupin said, his voice and manner, as always, absurdly gentle. "Just because we're dead doesn't mean we can't celebrate the day of your birth! We have eternity, after all. Imagine that!"
When Black started rubbing lasciviously against him, Severus flung him away and snarled at them both.
Smoothing his hands down his robes to erase the feel of Black's body against his own—and wishing that damnably inappropriate erections had died with his corporeal self—Severus said, "Yes, thank you. Rub it in that I have an eternity to spend in this... place."
Knocking the candle-bedecked cake—chocolate, of course—from Lupin's hands, Severus stomped away.
They'd eventually find him again—the afterlife they shared seemed smaller each day—but that couldn't stop Severus from fantasizing.
Even if he was deader than a doornail.
The garishly coloured candles on the cake, a four and a zero, were lit with sparkling fire. The candles were the only thing bright about the entire, horrid production.
"There's a plastic Dementor on that cake," he said flatly. "Disregarding for the moment my stance on the dead celebrating birth... Why did you put a Dementor on my cake?!"
Black leaned over, his face temptingly close to the cake, so tempting that Severus was just about to give the back of his head a firm push when Lupin said, "Oh, no! That's not a Dementor."
Lupin, that bastard, managed to distract Black from his perusal of the cake and the mutt straightened as he said, "It's clearly the Grim Reaper! You're forty! This is an over-the-hill party!"
Severus rubbed at the spot on his forehead where an ache would have formed—had he been alive and capable of feeling various aches and pains—and said, "The Grim Reaper. The personification of Death. Were you attempting irony, or is this just an unhappy coincidence?"
"Oh, dear." Lupin looked at Black, then back down at the cake before murmuring, "I'm afraid I didn't think of that. So sorry, Severus. I know how our... circumstance... pains you." His eyes went big and round as he looked at Severus, obviously attempting to soften Severus with his 'puppy dog eyes' even as he began worrying his lip with his teeth.
Severus snorted, dragging his eyes from Lupin's mouth, and lifted the cake, taking advantage of the fact that Black's attention was absorbed by Lupin's gnawing of his lip to smash it into the idiot's face.
If he still celebrated birthdays, this would have been the most satisfying one yet.
Severus felt his stomach turn, which was absolutely peculiar considering the fact that he continued to be dead and thus incapable of food poisoning.
"They're gorgeous, aren't they? I was surprised that Remus was able to make them, considering his rather singular preferences, but God, they're enough to turn a gay man straight."
Severus closed his eyes, but the image wouldn't go away. "Breasts. You... baked a cake in the shape of breasts."
"Huge breasts," Lupin said, his voice mild enough that Severus was instantly suspicious. He narrowed his eyes on the man only to receive a sheepish shrug and a mouthed 'sorry' in return.
"Yeah, I got to pick this year's cake. You know. After last year's blooper. 'Sides, if I'm going to be cleaning cake out of my hair for a month again, I'd rather it be this one." Black rocked back on his heels, a self-satisfied smirk on his lips.
Black blinked and tilted his head to the side. "Well, because I've always enjoyed a face-full of tits."
Severus shook his head. "I don't know why I bother to engage you in conversation." Unable to bear touching the horrifyingly large, disembodied mammaries, Severus used a bit of magic to fling the cake at Lupin. He didn't want to give Black the pleasure.
"Oi! I get Death and Remus gets tits? That's bloody unfair."
"Life is unf—" Severus bit his lips closed and rethought his statement. "Whoever told you that death was fair was lying to you."
"Careful, Snapey, or I'll begin to think you like Remus more than me." Black's voice was slightly huskier than normal and Severus rolled his eyes when he saw that Black's gaze was focused on his mouth this time.
"No. I simply detest him less."
The cake with the clowns was Vanished as quickly as it appeared.
Severus might be dead, but that was no reason to take chances.
Black and Lupin, party hats set at jaunty angles, were smart enough to remain silent as Severus, twitchy, slid from the room, back pressed to the wall the whole way.
Nothing was going to stop from him getting away from those... things. Not even Sirius Black in leather trousers.
The two idiots had their heads together again, which could not bode well for Severus.
"What are you up to?"
"Surprise!" they shouted, each pulling trifle from behind their backs.
He allowed his eyebrow to speak for him.
"Well, we thought, since you don't like cake..."
"I have no objection to cake," Severus said, crossing his arms over his chest and allowing his gaze to travel insolently up and down Lupin's thin frame.
"But you continue to destroy them!" Black said, exasperation obvious in his tone.
"Only because I cannot destroy you."
"How do you continue to find me when I don't want to be found?" Severus asked, seated beneath a tree with a book over his lap. He looked up at the two of them where they blocked out his light and had to adjust the book on his lap when he noticed Black's hand smoothing over the lowest part of Lupin's back.
Lupin smiled, oblivious, and said, "It's easy. All we have to do is concentrate."
"And I repeat... how do you continue to—"
"Be nice, Severus."
Severus stared at Lupin blankly. "But why?"
"There's the snarky git we've come to love."
There were times when a sneer just wasn't insulting enough, but Severus refused to dignify Black's remark with a verbal rejoinder.
"Happy Birthday, Severus," Remus said, placing a butterfly cake atop his book.
Severus growled and batted it away, brushing at the book to remove any crumbs that might have fallen to the pages. "Idiot! Do you know how rare these are here?"
"Come on, Remus. There must be better things for us to do than this."
"You could try dying again," Severus suggested, only to receive a two fingered salute for his trouble.
Severus looked up from his cauldron—not that he could actually brew anything, but the motions themselves soothed him—at the fairy cake that hovered in the air.
"A fairy cake? What, did you believe me unaware of your proclivities?" Severus turned to leer at Lupin, craning his neck to allow him an unimpeded view of Lupin's arse.
Lupin, the bloody queen, sighed as if his whole year had been ruined, and dragged his feet toward the door. "Happy Birthday, Severus," he murmured.
Severus waited until the door closed behind him and then waited even longer—to be sure—before he snatched the cake out of the air and bit into it.
Severus straightened with a snap of his spine when Black whispered those words into his ear with the tiniest brush of lips. "How many times must I—?"
Lupin's finger over his lips stopped him, and he began to panic when they crowded against him, sandwiching him between them.
"Cherries, Severus," Lupin murmured, wriggling his finger between Severus' lips to deposit a bit of sweet on his teeth. Severus drew a deep breath, eyes flaring at their presumption, but then he inadvertently licked his lips, and the flavour rolled across his tongue. He couldn't hold back a small sound of appreciation at the taste of the topping that ran over his cake and dripped down the sides.
"Mmm, think I'll have a taste," Black said, and just like that his tongue was in Severus' mouth, chasing the lingering flavour. Severus stiffened, wide eyes locked on Black's. What... what? What was going on? Severus pushed away from Black, stumbling backward into Lupin, whose arms wrapped around him from behind.
"Shh, relax," Lupin said, and Severus could feel Lupin's lips against his neck. Shock, finally catching up to him, propelled Severus out of Lupin's arms and away from his two tormentors.
"Leave," he bit out, wand shaking in his grip. Apparently reading Severus' intention to hex them both, Lupin and Black finally took the hint and left.
Unfortunately, Black took the cake with him.
Severus nearly whimpered.
Victoria sandwich. Oh, they were cruel. Sternly ordering his taste buds to stop salivating, Severus turned toward Lupin and, with a nasty little smirk, made the cake disappear.
For the first time in years, Severus felt the impact of Black's fist. Apparently, he could still feel pain. Christ, he'd forgotten how badly that hurt.
Though not, apparently, as much as it hurt Lupin that he'd Banished the cake.
"Well," Lupin said, holding himself stiffly. "Happy Birthday."
"That's it, Snivellus! I thought you were finally—" He cut himself off and drew a deep breath. "We're done with you. Enjoy your afterlife." Black put one arm around Lupin, drawing a sneer from Severus.
"Indeed I shall."
The door had barely closed before Severus Summoned the cake back.
With the first bite, he knew he'd discovered heaven.
"Best birthday ever," Severus sighed, eyeing the buttery soft Madeira cake with glee. The cake had appeared by itself, no Lupin or Black to accompany it.
As he gorged himself, he refused to acknowledge the niggling sense of loneliness that turned the lemony goodness to dust in his mouth.
"Tempus!" Severus glowered at the numbers that appeared, then glowered even more as he stared around the room.
No annoying prats.
But also, no cake.
"Where has all the cake gone?" he murmured mournfully.
Admitting defeat, he concentrated on Lupin and Black. Refusing to acknowledge his birthday didn't mean he had to refuse cake.
Severus sighed as Remus drew numbers on his chest with chocolate icing.
"Only if you expect me to blow out the candle," Sirius said from between his legs.
"Ah, well then. Happy birthday to me."