Title: Before; During; and After
Warning: fluff and sex.
Beta and Brit-pick: aunty_marion
Summary: Fifteen years after R & D (and three years after The Bad Year), Remus and Severus take drastic steps. (3000 words, more or less)
Notes: Written for karasu_hime's birthday *throws confetti*
"Before, During, and After" by almost_clara (comment on the art here)
Their house had developed a major infestation of Weasleys and Moodys, so Severus was not very surprised when Remus grabbed him as he came down from the shower Ginny had insisted he take. It was rather surprising to be pulled into the broom cupboard, but even their bedroom was no longer safe (Remus had been fined by the elf union when an elf darning in his wardrobe took him by surprise–a very dangerous thing to do).
"Let's elope," Remus said, the cramped space forcing him into Severus. Severus was wearing only one of the new cream-coloured towels that had suddenly replaced the old ones. It was a lovely thick towel, but it didn't do much to lessen Severus' reaction to the press of Remus' body.
"One more day," Severus said, and Remus groaned into his shoulder.
"One more day of fittings and placating the canapé people. Ginny tried to make Percy's Nell wear some ghastly orange dress, did you hear the row?"
"I make it a point not to hear," Severus said. "Is that why the girl's got lime-coloured hair now?"
"We were trying for a dignified green," Remus said.
"It's the blind leading the fashion impaired," Severus said, and Remus bit him. "Are you having… jitters, by any chance? Second thoughts? Cold feet?"
"Cold feet, warm arse, as my gran always used to say," Remus murmured, mouth still against Severus' neck, warm and distracting. He slid his hands down the back of Severus' towel and began to knead his fingers gently.
"I'll ask her about that when she arrives tomorrow," Severus said, undoing Remus' robes. Remus seemed to be wearing nothing underneath but his loose pyjama bottoms.
"My dead gran," Remus said, grinding forward against Severus in a way that made Severus' hands tighten on Remus' hips. "I'm too clever to lie about the living." He slid one hand around to the front, one finger trailing absently across Severus' erection before he unknotted the towel and let it fall.
"You're trying to ravish me in a broom cupboard," Severus said, his head tipping back as Remus took the weight of his cock in hand, rubbing him against his own flannel-covered erection. "That doesn't strike me as clever."
Remus stopped mapping the erotic spots of Severus' neck with his tongue. The second thing Severus became aware of was that Remus' mouth was moving downwards, teasing his nipples, swirling around and then sharply thrusting into his navel, and finally arriving at his cock. Remus' hand was stroking lazily, and as he spoke the only thing hotter than his breath were the small flickers of his tongue across Severus' cock head.
"God, you're beautiful," Remus said, and Severus braced one hand against the wall and curled the other at the base of Remus' skull, under his newly-cut hair. "Do you have any idea how it makes me feel that you're this hard for me? Your cock is beautiful," he said, trailing his tongue down to the tangle of Severus' pubic hair and then lapping slowly back up. Severus felt Remus' lips circle him with light breathy kisses and a groan escaped before he could clamp his teeth shut. Remus swallowed Severus' cock as far as he could, his tongue dancing along the shaft like laughter.
Stamina increased with age, or so Severus was told, but with Remus he had nothing but desperate, immediate need. Remus knew this and would often hold back until Severus was nearly mad; but this was the broom cupboard, and bustling about on the other side of the door were three generations of Moodys and Weasleys. Remus worked Severus' cock with his strong fingers and sinful mouth, and Severus felt the wave building. Remus shifted awkwardly, and Severus realised that he was pulling his own cock with the same frantic impatience. Severus wished he could see clearly. He could feel how close Remus was, in the heat of Remus' broken panting and the frantic licking and wet kisses that replaced suction.
Severus clawed at Remus' neck, peaked, and soared, his knees sagging alarmingly. Remus swallowed down his come, making small desperate gasps, and then pulled back. Remus' head cracked hard into the shelf with the floor wax and ant-killing potions; Severus grabbed for the bottles and completely missed Remus' orgasm. He hauled Remus up and kissed him even as Remus rubbed the back of his head.
"That was not romantic," Severus said, tasting himself on Remus' lips.
"But it was pretty hot," Remus said. "Am I bleeding?"
"Give me a light," Severus said, and Remus lit his wand. His lumos was unreliable these days: today, it was too bright. Severus checked for blood (just a little) and then for embarrassing stains or other signs of vigorous cupboard sex. They fixed each other up and tried to look innocent. Severus wished he had a shirt, but at least he wasn't wearing wet trousers. "Go out separately or together?"
"Together, and damn the torpedoes," Remus said, and threw the door open. Severus stepped out one pace after him and thought that they might be safe.
"Remus! There you are," Ginny said, just as Severus had his feet on the bottom steps. "Your father's here, he came early to help set up, wasn't that sweet?"
Severus was genuinely torn between abandoning Remus to his fate and going back down to face his father-in-law-as-of-tomorrow whilst half-naked and ravaged.
"Are you bleeding?" Ginny asked suspiciously, and Severus fled. He did not think that Remus would blame him too much.
The labyrinth of rules and regulations surrounding Wizarding matrimony were enough to drive anyone to desperate cupboard sex, Severus thought; and Remus, the steadily-employed and revenue-paying owner of their new house, had been running the Ministry gauntlet since he said yes to Severus' proposal.
There had been the kerfuffle when an officious clerk insisted that lycanthropy had to be declared and that Remus needed to obtain permission to marry from the Werewolf Registry before his Notice of Marriage would be accepted. The Werewolf Registry apparently had never heard that gay marriages were legal; they then refused on the grounds that there were no gay werewolves; and Remus had, after a long, considering pause, offered to demonstrate his sexual orientation for them.
After that, Remus had become devious. He called in favours and paid discreet bribes. Within two weeks he was in possession of a Certificate of Eligibility to Marry.
The clerk next challenged the wedding venue, which laws dating from the Middle Ages stated must be ye garden of ye Bride's family home; betwixt nae walls nor under nae roof save ye skye.
"We're not going to go live with my father," Remus said, shocked. The clerk reluctantly admitted that the law had been amended in 1969 to … or in the garden of the house the Groom so provides for the Bride.
"That's fine, then," Remus said. "I already provide Severus with a house to live in."
At which point the clerk had thrown down his quill and asked, in a voice heard all the way down to Floo Licensing, just which one of them was the ruddy bride?
Remus had very quietly and without a moment's pause sacrificed Severus's masculinity on the altar of sexual stereotyping.
When their Notices were finally posted, he had come home with a bottle of Onigoroshi sake and celebrated with Severus by getting very, very drunk. The next day they had both crept about avoiding loud noises (and bright lights, in Severus' case). But the day after that Remus sent an owl to Ginny Moody, who had been thrilled to be put in charge. "There now," Remus had said smugly. "We won't need to do a thing."
Except, of course, to lose all privacy and sanity for several months, Severus thought, although he had to admit that the final effect was rather pleasing.
Ginny had had the wedding circle built to the side of the house, far from any complications arising from the chupacabras. She decorated the circle with willow arches and garlands of flowers (Severus' rosebushes were naked and forlorn). Chairs were set around the circle with no divisions separating family from friends. It would have been impossible to do so. Stan and Nazgol's children, and Percy's Nell, all called them variations of granddad, which frequently gave Severus the shivers.
For the actual ceremony, they were only subverting Wizarding customs a little, Remus insisted. Heirs were led to the wedding circle by their fathers, traditionally, but Remus said he'd not allow Severus to be unescorted, so Percy was drafted.
They chose Kingsley as their officiant: he had the Ministry qualification, but, more importantly, he was happily and romantically married even after 20 years. He wore brilliant yellow robes (which Remus did not need to know, Severus decided) and was impressively fierce as he gave the challenge:
"Remus John Lupin, are you here of your own free will and accord?"
Remus straightened to mask a nervous jump. "I am."
"Who gives their blessing as you enter the wedding circle?"
Remus' father covered Remus' hand on his arm with his own. "I, John Amaias Lupin, his father, bring the blessing of our family."
"Then come," Kingsley said, and Remus took his well-practiced steps into the circle, stopping by Kingsley's right hand.
"Severus Snape, are you here of your own free will and accord?"
"I am," Severus said, and Remus turned, very slightly, to face him.
"Who gives their blessing as you enter the wedding circle?"
"I, Percy Ignatius Weasley, bring the blessing of our family and friends."
"Then come." Severus stepped into the circle and felt the sudden damping of all magic. He felt naked. This is who we are, he thought. Men, no more and no less. He crossed to stand next to Remus, letting his sleeve brush past Remus'. Kingsley cleared his throat, and Severus stood straight.
They had agreed that the traditional vows said it the best, so they swore to have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, from this day forward until death do us part. Severus had been half afraid that Remus would start laughing halfway through; instead, Remus' voice grew rougher and lower, until Severus wanted to reach out to him. Which of course he wouldn't.
Kingsley spoke about the nature of love, very briefly, and Severus was thankful that he kept the ornithological metaphors to a minimum. There had been a brief bit about lovebirds where it had been hard going to keep a straight face, but Severus mastered himself. Remus shifted his weight from one foot to the other surreptitiously.
Then it was time for the rings.
We don't need rings, Severus had said, because Remus hated being confined by anything from jumper cuffs to shirt collars, and even certain tight hats and socks. That's what happened, Severus supposed, when you were locked up in chains that burned. Not all the scars were visible.
I want to wear your ring, Remus said, and practiced with his therapist. Whatever she had done with him had worked; Remus' wardrobe improved remarkably, and he took Severus out shopping for plain gold bands.
Percy's Nell toddled in clinging to her papa's hand, and Remus knelt, fishing out the lollies he had tucked up his sleeve. He managed to exchange the rings for one strawberry and two loquat-flavoured sweets. Remus stood and handed the rings to Kingsley, who very politely did not mention the stickiness of the box.
The rings were traditionally the gift of the bride to the groom, so Severus got to go first. He took Remus' hand and slid the ring on. "Receive and wear this ring as a symbol of my trust, my respect, and my love for you." Remus smiled, very faintly, and then it was his turn.
"Receive and wear this ring as a symbol of my trust, my respect, and my love for you," Remus said, and had to hold Severus' hand firmly because for some reason Severus was shaking rather badly, all of a sudden. Remus' fingers lingered for a moment, and then he let his hand fall away.
Kingsley cleared his throat, and Severus frowned. He'd thought that it had been agreed to skip the next bit of the ceremony.
"You may kiss each other," Kingsley said, and Severus tried to escape with a brush of his mouth over Remus'. Remus, of course, would have nothing of it, the hand at the back of Severus' neck holding him still until he was entirely breathless and feeling ravished, despite Remus' aged gran sitting not four metres away watching them through her Omnioculars.
"If you're done, gentlemen," Kingsley said, and Remus took a step back, looking like a naughty child caught nicking sweets. "I now pronounce you legally married according to the laws of Wizarding Britain. Congratulations," he added, and shook both their hands solemnly.
Remus dug into his robes again for the traditional galleon inscribed with their names. Kingsley accepted it as well as a selection of slightly-melted lollipops, and then escorted them out of the circle. There were cheers, and confetti was thrown; the Hogsmeade Partial Sobriety Chorus and Bagpipe Ensemble struck up an enthusiastic rendition of You Charmed Me from the Start. There was intensive mingling.
Severus found himself, finally, having his arm pumped by Remus' father, who was thanking him for making an honest man of his son. Severus suspected that he meant it in more than one way. He was not sure whether John Lupin had twigged to the broom cupboard incident, so he was relieved when Ginny announced that the Knight Bus had arrived to take them to the reception venue.
Squashed beneath the bus's staircase and boxed in by inebriated bagpipe enthusiasts, Severus found himself unable to avoid Remus' embrace.
"Well, that went very well, don't you think?" Remus said, and gave Severus another of his devastating kisses. "Mine," Remus murmured, and rested his forehead against Severus'.
"Yours," Severus said.
"Can't you keep your hands off your boyfriend in public? People like you make me sick."
Remus stiffened and very carefully removed his hand from Severus' arm, reaching inside his coat for a moment. He took out a white stick that extended quickly into a walking cane.
"Oh, you ass, he's blind," someone female behind him said in a carrying whisper.
Remus resisted the urge to turn and glare; he suspected that Severus already had, and Severus was master of the fine art of glaring.
"I'll go wait outside," Remus said. The truth was that the shop was piled high with fragile, rare, expensive, and dangerous potions ingredients; Remus had no interest in browsing, not when the things on the shelves could bite. He had been interested in trying to distract Severus, before they were interrupted.
"I just need five minutes more," Severus said. Remus made his way outside and leant against the wall, trying to look as though he belonged in Knockturn Alley and listening to the ebb and flow of dodgy wizarding life.
"Buy me lunch," Severus said, the door banging shut behind him. "You're exuding an aura of dangerous contempt. It's sexy. People are watching you."
"It's the sunglasses," Remus said. "Makes 'em think I'm undressing them with my eyes."
"I only have eyes for you," Remus said seriously; his mouth was taut with the effort of not smiling. "Where am I taking you to lunch?"
"There's a pub Percy told me about."
"A gay pub?" Remus asked, definitely amused now.
"A pub where they leave you the fuck alone. Or we could go home."
"No, no, I've asked you out, that makes this a date."
"Shall I Apparate us there?" Severus asked. Remus wrinkled his nose: he still felt that the Ministry had been wrong to rescind his Apparation license. "We could take the Underground, if you're feeling nostalgic."
Remus shook his head and reached out for Severus' arm. A moment later they stood in the entranceway. There were quiet voices: the pub was not bustling or boisterous. The wireless was tuned low to This Week in Quidditch. The overall ambience was that of minding our own business. Severus sent Remus off to find seats and headed to the bar to order.
"So, how gay is this pub?" Remus asked when Severus found his way to the table.
"The framed photographs of naked men are very tasteful," Severus said. "Here, have a chip."
Remus caught Severus' hand and brought it to his mouth. "You're cruel."
"I'm not the one fellating a chip in public."
Remus licked the salt from the chip and then ate it with three smart snaps of his teeth. Severus repressed a wince. Remus licked his lips.
"What kind of people are here?"
"It's mostly an older crowd," Severus said. "Percy was disappointed, I think–it's a bit quiet for him. There are a few couples–"
"Holding hands? Touching?" Remus said, raising an eyebrow because he knew that Severus was nervous that he was still holding his hand, even without the pretext of the chip. Remus relented: much as he loved tormenting Severus, he really was hungry after several hours of comparison shopping and haggling. He occupied his hands with knife and fork for the time being, and let the conversation turn naturally towards venomous centipedes and their predators in the wild. Finally, Severus leant back with a sigh.
"Another beer?" Remus asked, standing and collecting their glasses.
"And pie," Severus said. "They've got cherry."
"How long have you been together?" the barman asked.
"Twelve years," Remus said, "and legally married five months." Against the polished dark wood of the bar, the ring on his finger shone.
"So, are you old-marrieds or newlyweds?" the barman asked, taking the money and accepting a drink.
Remus shrugged. "Who knows?" he said, but he was still grinning when he returned to the table and handed Severus his beer and pie (sans snide comments about the dreadful combination: Remus had plans for Severus' cherries).
"Any chips left?" Remus asked hopefully, sitting down so that his knees brushed against Severus'. Severus pushed the plate over.
"So what are we?" Severus asked, his voice betraying the effect Remus' chip-eating technique was having. "Old marrieds or newlyweds?"
Remus finished the chip he had been savouring. "Newlyweds every time you take me to bed, and old marrieds when you hold me the next morning," Remus said, and held out his hand. Severus took it, salt and ring and all.
Love You Madly (Cake), Do You Love Meh? (The Mighty Boosh), To Love and Be Loved (David Brown), The Book of Love (The Magnetic Fields), Such Great Heights (Iron&Wine), Love Changes Everything (Andrew Lloyd Webber), The Waltz Continues (Fairground Attraction)