Category Archives: pairing…Snape/Lupin

the room of requirement

Author: busaikko
Disclaimer: JKR owns all, I own nothing
Rating: NC17
Genre: Cliché, Humour
Pairing: RL/SS
Summary: For the Lupin-Snape Cliché-o-rama! “Trapped together on the night of the full moon, mate or die”; scarred!Remus, growling!Remus, “the two get very, very drunk”
Dedication: to ebonlock for providing me with the inspirational music for this story (Judas by Depeche Mode) and to MajinSakuko for making me laugh.


Severus came to his senses in slow, painful steps. There was the step of pain in his head, and the step of the throb in his ankle. He stepped up from the ringing in his ears to the far worse step of the churning of his stomach. He tried groaning, just for effect.

“Shut it. This is all your fault.”

He managed to force one eye open–it was gummed together with some kind of sticky goo–and blinked at the very blurry person sitting on the bed.

“Lupin–you–why am I on the floor?“

“Because I was afraid that if I tipped you you’d spew. You do remember the soirée you threw in your rooms last night? I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t. Trying to out-drink kids half your age….”

“Stop.” Severus waved his hand. “I need a wand.”

“You’ll have to live through the old-fashioned hangover remedy. We haven’t got wands.”

Severus sat up abruptly, and then collapsed back on the floor from the strain. “Where are we, Lupin? It looks like….” He turned his head very carefully and took in the room. “It looks like a tawdry honeymoon suite,” he said finally.

“There’s a whirlpool bath,” Remus confirmed.

“Are we on a honeymoon, Lupin?”

Remus snorted. “No, you bastard, I think we’re in the Room of Requirement.”

“Oh. Well, that’s all right, then.”

“Have you noticed what this room doesn’t have?” Remus pointed at the walls. “No door.” Severus blinked at him to go on, and Remus sighed. “Do you remember anything about last night, say, after you took your shirt off?”

“Ah, wah… hah?”

That was a definite snicker. “Do you remember Moody and Potter singing ‘I Got You, Babe’ a capella?”

“Ack..”

“Do you remember throwing your shirtless self over the worktable, knocking me backwards into a stack of unwashed cauldrons? Which fell on top of us, while you were trying to choke me? So that my only escape was to shove you off, except that you dragged me with you under the table? Where several people, including Moody’s clawed foot, kicked us until we were hexed into submission? That’s the last thing I remember,” he added darkly, glaring down at Severus. “So it’s all your fault.” He waved a long roll of parchment dramatically in the air. “Our friends left us a message. Shall I read it to you?”

“No.”

“’Dear Thick-Headed Idiot and Offensive Prat’–I think Offensive Prat is you–‘Having been exposed once too often to the–'” Remus choked on the words–“’suppressed, smoldering sexual passions that you both deny, have decided that I cannot take it anymore. I capital-R-Require you to release these demons of ravening lust. You have enough food for 5 days. Only love will set you free. Signed, NT.’”

Severus pulled himself into a dignified crawl. “Where’s the toilet, Lupin?”

“Hah. That was my reaction, too.”

XXXXX

“Another glass of water, Severus?”

“I suppose so, if I’m not dead yet.”

XXXXX

“I’m going to run you a bath. For both our sakes.” Remus studied the bath dubiously, but finally managed to get the hot water running. “You’ll feel worlds better.”

Severus gave him a long, unreadable look, then nodded sharply. “I wouldn’t mind a bath,” he conceded reluctantly. Remus left him in the semi-privacy of the bathroom (the door was entirely glass, covered in little frosted hearts) and he stripped off his trousers and sank in the water up to his chin. The heat eased muscle aches and the pain from his bruises. His thoughts all turned into a thick pudding-like mess. Remus had laid out a flannel with some flowery-smelling bar soap. He took it as an unsubtle hint and insult, but gods didn’t it feel good to be clean. He found the perfect angle for lying back, assisted by several thick terry bath sheets, and was just dozing off when Remus knocked and poked his head in.

“All right?”

Severus didn’t bother opening his eyes. “I’m having delusions of heaven, don’t remind me that I’m in hell.”

“I found some water biscuits and cheese, if you’re hungry instead of drowned.”

Severus turned his head slightly enough that he could see Remus through one half-opened eye. “Biscuits might be good. But I find myself incapable of moving.”

“Well.” Remus moved in, turning the dustbin over and sitting on it. “If I put the food near your mouth, do you think you could chew?”

It turned out that Severus not only had to deal with the indignity of being fed crackers in the bath, but also the humiliation of being dried off, dressed in a pair of midnight-blue satin-y pajamas, and being half-carried to bed, where he was tucked in efficiently. He tried to work himself into a rage at the unfairness of life, but he was asleep before he could work himself past mild annoyance.

XXXXX

Severus woke feeling dislocated. Strange bed, strange pajamas, strange noises. He reached for his wand, his hand hitting the table before he remembered.

“Lupin?”

There was a hiss and a smell of sulfur, and Remus’ face appeared, eerily, over a candle flame.

“What are you doing, Lupin?”

Remus set the candle down on the bedside table next to some luridly illustrated boxes and potions bottles. “I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been pacing up… and down… and up again, if you must know.”

“Well, stop it. You look like–“ The words suddenly stuck in Severus’ throat.

“Unlike you to leave a malicious thought unsaid. Like a wolf in a cage, perhaps?” Remus was wearing only a pair of pajama trousers (identical to Severus’) that hung precariously on his narrow hips, and the candlelight caught the silver lines of old scars. Too many old scars.

“The full moon is tonight.”

“Tell me something I don’t know, Snape.” Remus was pacing again, his hands opening and closing. “Tell me, do you think Nymphadora Tonks will remember before tonight?” He mimed dropping something breakable and put a hand to his mouth in mock horror. “Oops.”

“I’d rather not be an oops.”

“Well, Moody’s off to Dublin and Potter’s training for the big game against Belize, so, help me, Nymphadora, you’re our only hope.”

“I’m screwed, aren’t I?”

“Funny you should mention that.”

Severus pulled the sheets up under his chin. “I don’t want to hear it, Lupin. I’m still sick.”

“Alive. You’re still alive. And I’d rather not eat you. You’d be stringy and tough. I don’t suppose you have any Wolfsbane with you? Or even aconite?” Remus asked with studied nonchalance.

“I don’t even have a shirt.”

“Well.” Remus paced. It was not, Severus thought, unlike trying to keep an eye on a Beater in a Quidditch game. “I’ve been thinking. That parchment seems pretty straightforward. ‘Love will set you free, demons of lust, sexual passion.’ Capital-R-Required. That’s the key to getting out of here. Before moonset.” Remus swung round, came back. “I suggest we experiment.”

“I suggest you go fuck yourself.”

“Tried that. Didn’t work. I suspect it has to be, ah, mutual. I also tried verbal triggers, while you were sleeping. Didn’t work either.”

Severus’ mouth twitched in what might have been a smirk, or perhaps a snarl. “You professed your undying lust for me while I was collapsed in nervous exhaustion?”

“Well, yes. It seemed safest. Although I’m sure it has to be mutual.”

“Die in agony, Lupin.”

“Well.” He looked hopefully at Severus. “I love you madly, you adorable man you.” He made a go-on gesture with one hand, coaching.

Severus stared intensely at the ceiling. “You are a thick-headed idiot, but I love you.”

They both looked for a door.

“I think Tonks would be asking for a bit much if she expected us to be sincere,” Remus offered, after a mutually humiliated pause.

“So.” Severus avoided looking at Remus. “What is your next clever plan for experimentation?”

“Well, verbal didn’t work, so then there’s kissing, and groping, removal of all clothing, and, ah, sex, of which there are several positions we could try…. You’re looking nauseous again, Severus.”

“I’m feeling nauseous again.” Severus forced himself to look in the direction of Remus, who had collapsed onto one of the overstuffed chairs. He focused on Remus’ feet. Fairly innocuous things, feet. “If it’s all the same to you, I’d rather skip over all the leading-up-to nonsense and just proceed to violent, loveless sex.”

“Um.”

“It’s not as if we have sexual whatever between us. We don’t.”

“Not sexual frustration. I’ve never thought of you that way. You look good shirtless, though, when you’re not throwing up.”

“Looked, did you?”

“Asked me to look, didn’t you, when you took the damned thing off?” Remus sighed, his head sliding sideways to rest in the corner of the chair. He shut his eyes.

“What happened to all your energy? I thought we were going to get this resolved.”

“Moonset, Severus,” Remus yawned, shifting in the chair. “I’ve been up all night.”

“Well, come and sleep on the bed, you daft bugger. Of all the ridiculous….” Severus pushed himself up and out of bed, padded over to Remus, and yanked him up. “Get over there. Under the sheets. Merlin knows why I put up with you.”

Remus made some reply, but it was lost in the pillow.


“Aren’t you awake yet? You’ve been sleeping for hours.” Severus sat down on the bed and rapped the pillow.

There was a humping of shoulders as Remus rearranged the pillow over his head. “Only three or four hours, tops. Go away.”

“I would if I could.”

The Remus-shape curled up on itself defensively. A certain amount of gold and silver hair stuck out from under the pillow, matching the fine hairs on his arms. Severus shuddered. I am thinking about Remus Lupin’s body hair, he thought. He made himself think of all the ways he would make Nymphadora Tonks suffer, instead.

“Get up, Remus,” he said, yanking the sheet down in one snap. “I want to get out of here now.”

Remus lifted a corner of the pillow to peer out, much as a mouse might watch an owl from its nest. “I hardly think I need to get up, then, do I? I’ll just lie here, and you go to it.”

“I thought you were supposed to be such a romantic,” Severus sneered.

The coil of Remus unrolled slowly as he pulled himself up to sitting, not stopping until his nose was nearly touching Severus’. When he spoke, the calm of his voice made the anger in it all the more alarming. “I just wasted an entire day waiting for you to recover from self-inflicted alcohol poisoning. You might have the courtesy of letting me sleep until noon. I feel like hell.”

On close inspection, there were dark circles under Remus’ eyes, and the lines on his face were sharp, as if drawn by a knife.

Severus looked away. “Do you want me to run you a bath?”

Remus snorted and shook his head. “I’m just dead tired, that’s all.”

“But you do this every month.”

Remus tilted his head to the left, as if Severus might make more sense sideways. “That doesn’t make it easier.” He lay down again, knees pulled almost to his stomach and one arm thrown over his eyes. The curve of his back looked vulnerable, somehow, so Severus replaced the sheet. Remus made a small noise and pulled the sheet up over his head, like a child afraid of the dark.

Severus sighed and took the candle over to the table. He studied the books stacked there woefully, and then settled into a chair with Our Bodies, Our Selves.

He was desultorily flipping through Doing It on Broomsticks and wondering if the text’s photographs had been doctored as some things didn’t seem anatomically possible, when Remus stretched and rolled out of bed.

“Morning, Snape,” he muttered, heading into the loo. Severus got up and put a breakfast of sorts on the table. Tonks’ selection of food was… imaginative.

“Brilliant, I’m starved.” Remus sprawled into the other chair and popped a chocolate digestive biscuit into his mouth.

They managed to get through the meal without talking about anything deeper than whether the jam was raspberry, and who got the last strawberry, and the translation for the Aztec word for avocado tree (Ahuacuatl), which is how Remus got to eat the entire avocado all by himself. There were bottles of wine, but they settled for tap water. And then the meal was done, and there was nothing else to do, really, but cross the room to the bed.

Remus stretched out flat, looking at the ceiling. Severus sat gingerly on the edge.

“So what do we do–go directly to buggery, do not pass go, do not collect two hundred golden galleons?”

“That seems most expedient.”

Remus grimaced. “It’s hard to get excited about what will undoubtedly be one of the worst sexual experiences of my life.”

Severus’ eyes narrowed. “Is it so hard to think that sex with me might be enjoyable in the least?”

Remus dropped an arm over his eyes. “Oh, Merlin. No, it’s not you. It’s just that you were right, I guess, about me being a romantic, if by that you mean having a relationship before having sex. It’s just strange to think about doing it without love,” he added lowly. “But it’s OK.”

“First time for everything?”

“I’ve never killed, and that’s a far worse first to consider.”

Damn Nymphadora Tonks.”

Remus lowered his arm and looked at Severus in surprise. Then he reached up one hand to the back of Severus’ neck and pulled him down.

“Kiss me.”

“I don't kiss.”

“Indulge me.” Remus’ breath was warm and smelt of strawberries. It was an awkward kiss, and Severus was glad when Remus’ grip relaxed and he could pull back. He decided it would be a bad idea to wipe his mouth off. They hadn’t banged teeth or bitten tongues or bruised lips: as a kiss it had been… average. But the earth hadn’t moved, either. He glanced down at Remus, who looked dubious, too.

Severus sat up, stripping off his pajama shirt. “Take off your trousers,” he said abruptly, shoving his own off and letting them fall to the floor.

Remus did so, slowly.

“Do you have to watch me like that? And don’t be so fucking passive.”

Remus snarled–now that’s a cliché, Severus thought, amused–and launched himself up off the bed, throwing Severus back onto the mattress and straddling his hips. He leaned forward and Severus braced himself for another kiss, but instead Remus bit him, not hard, but right at a very sensitive spot along his jawline. Remus shifted, slightly, so that his mouth could move down Severus’ neck, licking and nipping. He had a trick of sliding his teeth sideways along a pinch of skin, bruising and then soothing it with his tongue, that made Severus arch his head backwards to give him more neck to work with. Remus’ teeth met over his carotid. Severus was very aware of the sharpness of his canines and found he was breathing rapidly, but not in fear.

He was feeling desire for Remus Lupin.

He reached up, tentatively, to brush back Remus’ hair where it fell over his face and felt rather than heard the sharp intake of breath. Remus moved lower, licking the base of his neck, sliding down to suck a nipple into his mouth. Severus’ fingers convulsed, tangling in Remus’ hair, and he rocked his hips, tentatively, against him. Remus moaned and moved to torment the other nipple, one hand sliding down over Severus’ stomach and wrapping with an absurd familiarity around his cock. Severus thrust up into Remus’ hand, which tightened and moved ever-so-slowly up and down.

Severus nudged Remus’ chin. “What are we doing?”

Remus removed his mouth and looked up, amused. “Why don't you tell me what you don't understand?”

“What are we going to do?”

“Ah.” The amusement grew exponentially. “Top or bottom, Severus? Your call.” He bent to lap at the nipple like a cat with cream. “Or we could do something else.”

“I’m not sure that 'something else' would open the door–ah!” Severus shivered at a judicious application of teeth. “Tempting as it is, damn it.” He looked down, meeting Remus’ eyes. “Top.”

Remus nodded and slid to the side, grabbing a pile from the bedside table. “Right.” He handed Severus a foil package. “Condom.” Severus made a face, and Remus looked at him. “This close to the full moon, you want to have unprotected sex with a werewolf?” He lay back, taking the lid off a small jar. Severus took the jar from him firmly.

“I'll do that.” Remus nodded again, as Severus moved his legs apart. “You can think about… him, if you want to,” Severus offered. Remus’ hand on his arm clenched painfully.

“No. That would be infinitely worse.”

“Ah.” Severus shifted. “I’ve never been in a relationship. So I don’t know….”

“Intellectually I appreciate the sentiment, but emotionally I want to hurt you.”

Severus looked at Remus shrewdly, then leaned down and kissed him. It wasn’t quite so bad the second time, and Remus’ hands came up to span his back, pulling him close with more than a little desperation. Severus let himself touch Remus’ hair, his arms, his chest, his arse, his legs. God, but he hated sleeping with people he knew. Afterwards, nothing ever seemed right again.

He turned on his side and pulled Remus with him, hooking Remus’ leg over his own. He scooped up a good-sized amount of the lube—proper Wizarding lube, at any rate, the kind that lasted–and pushed one finger inside Remus’ arse. Remus stiffened, and Severus kissed him again, moving his tongue roughly in rhythm with his finger. Remus writhed against him and relaxed around him. He slipped a second finger in and smirked as Remus pushed back.

There was a crinkle of foil, and Severus felt the annoyingly familiar tightness of the condom being unrolled down his cock. Remus smirked and dipped into the lube. He reached down, spiraling a slippery trail around the head of Severus’ cock with one finger, then letting his fingers trail downwards as gently as silk before wrapping around him. His hand was hot, or maybe it was the condom. Amazing the products that one could buy these days. He thrust into Remus’ hand, his eyes shivering closed at the sensation.

“Now?”

“Gods yes, now.” Severus rolled over Remus, holding his legs up and impatiently waiting as Remus positioned him. He pushed in hard, loving the tightness and the heat and the sound that was torn from Remus’ throat. He pulled back and thrust deeper, turning his hips and smiling triumphantly as this wrung a cry from Remus.

He could not have been gentle even if he had wanted to. He did not want to, so that was fine. Beneath his fierce pounding Remus was coming undone, arms outflung and scrabbling for purchase on the mattress, head rolling from side to side, and –yes–growling in a way that was somehow primally gratifying.

He was barely aware of Remus’ orgasm when it came; wouldn't have noticed it at all except that Remus shouted and bore down with a terrible, wonderful pressure on Severus’ cock. Severus thrust into that tightness desperately, until light exploded behind his eyes, time slowed and stopped, and he was rising above it all. Almost enough to make it worth it.

The sound of his own harsh breathing brought him back to himself, and he collapsed on Remus inelegantly, taking his hands from Remus’ shoulders where they had grasped hard enough to bruise. They were both sweat-slick and sticky with cum, but Remus put his arms around him anyway, one hand straying up to push away the hair that clung to his face.

“Thank you, Severus.”

He discovered that he could raise his head, and he did so, looking at Remus with frank confusion. “For what?”

Remus’ mouth twitched. “For–just now. For making it good.”

Severus snorted. “I’ll just take all the responsibility then, shall I? Did it work?”

Remus shook his head. “No door.”

“Damn.” Severus pulled out slowly, Remus taking charge of the condom and putting it who-knows-where. He lay on his back and looked at the ceiling. “I don’t suppose that old wives’ tale about werewolves not attacking their mates has any truth to it?”

“How would I know?” Remus stretched and stood. “Might be true. But I've never been fool enough to get into this kind of situation before. Come and take a shower.”

“And then what?”

“And then I’m going to take a nap. And then… we’ll see.”


Severus had lost all sense of time, but when Remus said it was teatime he trusted him. As moonrise approached Remus resumed his restless pacing. Finally, with a last vicious look around, as if a door might suddenly appear and save them, he stripped off his clothes and stood still in the corner of the room.

“I’d lie down in the bed, if I were you,” he said, glancing at Severus with eyes that were already starting to shine. “Take the candle and some books. I had five doses of Wolfsbane, that should have some effect.” His mouth worked soundlessly, and he crouched as if forced down by an invisible hand. Severus retreated quickly.

Remus must have chosen the spot for transformation purposely, so that the edge of the bed obscured Severus’ view of the change. The sounds were terrible, human cries of agony that went suddenly silent, and then became animal whimpers of pain. This was followed by harsh breathing for what seemed like an eternity. If only they had a floo, Severus pondered, he could have made some very obscene fire calls.

Finally, the wolf staggered upright, whining, and made its way to the bathroom. There was the sound of water lapping, and Severus thought hysterically, he’s drinking out of the toilet.

The wolf re-emerged and headed for the bed.

“Hullo, Lupin,” Severus said cautiously. “I really would appreciate it if you’d just walk up and down the way you usually do. You left yourself a nice dinner on the dish under the table.”

The wolf reared up and put its front paws on the bed. Seventy kilos of Lupin was still too bony for Severus’ taste; seventy kilos of wolf was heart-stopping.

“Go eat your wolf dinner and then we’ll talk about bed rights,” Severus said firmly.


Severus was woken by two things. The first was the wolf falling out of the bed as the change hit. The pained cries were just as agonized as before. He forced himself to watch as the snarling jaws bit down again and again in an attempt to gnaw away the pain, until at last the wolf receded and only Remus was left, sobbing and shivering on the floor.

Severus put Remus back to bed, washed out the bites with a wet flannel and wrapped the worst of them in strips torn from the pillowcases. He lay down again, one hand on Remus’ shoulder, and shut his eyes.

The candle had guttered out when he was awoken again by a loud bang and light pouring in, blindingly, from the open door.

Remus, wrapped in his arms, pressed his face against Severus’ chest, his breath warm. “Well, fuck me,” he whispered, so that only Severus could hear, “the cavalry’s here.”

Severus glared over an armful of naked, injured werewolf at Nymphadora Tonks.

“Where the hell have you been?” he asked, sliding out of the bed and stalking over to the door. Tonks handed him his wand wordlessly.

“You’re covered in blood,” she said incongruously. “Did he–are you–?”

“No,” Severus said curtly. “I’m fine. No thanks to you.”

“I forgot,” she whispered, staring at the floor as if something interesting had just appeared at her feet. “I remembered last night, but the moon was already up. So I just had to wait until morning….”

“That would make me Schrödinger’s werewolf and Severus the cat in the box, wouldn’t it, Nymphadora?” Remus had pulled on his pajama pants. “Alive? Dead? Turned? Who knows?” He yanked his wand out of her hand, and sighed in relief as he cast a series of healing spells. Tonks looked in horror at the makeshift bandages that covered his arms.

“Remus–I–“

“I don’t want to hear it.”

Tonks watched as Remus limped away, her eyes huge. “I didn’t think–“

“No, well, that’s only the second time a friend of his tried to get him to eat me,” Severus said in a tinder-dry voice.

“But why didn’t you just open the door?” she wailed.

“We’ll see, won’t we?” Severus put an official seal on the door to the room and turned. “To the Headmaster’s Office, Miss Tonks. We’ll see what he thinks about this piece of criminal mischief.”

“I need to go apologize to Remus.”

“Write him a damned note. Your writing style is very… persuasive.” Severus poked her with his wand. “Headmaster’s Office. Now.”


“Open the damn door, Lupin.”

The door opened just wide enough to show half of Remus’ face. He looked worn to the bone, but his expression was impassive.

“Severus.”

“Let me in.”

Remus stared at him blankly, then shrugged and held the door open. Severus walked over to the rumpled bed and set the basket he carried down. Two traveling cases stood at the foot of the bed, and the wardrobe door hung open.

“You weren’t at dinner–are you going somewhere?”

“Anywhere but here.”

Severus fixed him with a sharp black look. “Stay.” He took a stone pot of salve and a roll of bandages from the basket. “Sit down.” Remus sank down on the bed with a sigh. “If you don’t scratch this off it’ll stop the scarring.” He smeared a thick layer of salve over the ragged wounds and wrapped them tightly. “Other arm. Why should you go?”

Remus’ mouth twisted. “Because I have been humiliated beyond endurance and would prefer to slink off into the night?… Thank you.”

“Nymphadora Tonks has had strips ripped out of her by both Dumbledore and Moody. No one knows what went on between us. None of their damn business. Dumbledore seems to be under the impression that I had a flask of Wolfsbane on me.”

Remus ducked his head. “That was… kind of you.”

“Do you want to know why we couldn’t get the damned door to open?”

“Even in the depths of my depression, I must confess to being curious.”

Severus put the salve and bandages away and set the basket on the floor. “Miss Tonks did make sex the trigger to open the door. But, ah, in her drunken state she specified a kind of sex neither you nor I could have had. Specifically, that involving a vagina.”

Remus’ shoulders shook with laughter, quietly. “Oh, god.” He looked up, grinning slyly. “Did you have to listen to Albus say the word ‘vagina’?”

“No less than seven times. It seemed to have a most satisfactory effect on Miss Tonks.”

“I really don’t want to think about her right now. Or Albus. Why are you here, Severus?”

Severus reached out and pulled Remus in to a kiss, a slow and sweet kiss, the incongruity of which made Remus smile. Severus pulled back and traced Remus’ lips with a finger. “Because I don’t want you to go.”

“What, are we in a relationship now?”

“I don’t know. But a relationship… seems to have become possible. Not just because the sex was good. I would like the chance to try, for this once in my life.”

“It seems incongruous to say I’d like to take it slowly.”

“There’s all the time in the world, these days.”

Remus nodded. “Will you stay here tonight? I mean–it’ll mostly be unpacking, and I’ll probably be up all night pacing the floor, but. You’re welcome to stay.”

“There’s nothing I’d like better,” Severus said, and somehow it was true.

allergy

Title: Allergy (for Lupin_Snape June 05 Cliche Month)
Author: busaikko
Category: Cliche (Lupin is in mourning in Grimmauld Place; Snape must draw him out for the good of the Order AND eat this, it makes it better)
Pairing: Snape/Lupin kind of
Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything
Rating: PG-13 for innuendo

"Lupin. I know you're in there. Molly Weasley says she hasn't seen you in days. Not since you came home from… well. Starving yourself will accomplish nothing and deprive the Order of a valuable member. Are you listening, Lupin? I cannot permit this to go on. I only hope that you find me an acceptable substitute.

"Chocolate, Lupin.

"Chocolate.

"Chocolate is dark. I am a dark wizard.

"The best chocolate is also bitter. Have I mentioned my personality?

"Chocolate must be unwrapped to be enjoyed… likewise.

"Chocolate goes all gooey when exposed to your hands or mouth too long. Under certain circumstances, I'm sure the same could be said to apply to me.

"Chocolate is addictive. I certainly have no objections to becoming your next bad habit. And you wouldn't want to take up a good habit, would you? I daresay I would be more decadent than, say, jogging.

"And did I mention that orgasm causes nearly the same chemical reaction in the body as chocolate does? Strange but true. I don't know how many orgasms you would need to replace one bar of chocolate.

"But it certainly is an area open to further research.

"So if you don't mind, Lupin, open this damned door. It's time you returned to the world of the living.

"Chocolate, Lupin. Why would you need chocolate when you can have me?"

affinity

Title: Affinity (for Lupin_Snape June 05 Cliche Month)  159 words
Author: busaikko
Category: Cliche
Pairing: Snape/Lupin kind of
Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything
Rating: R for…
Warning: Character Death

They were pinned down, trapped in the old barn after everything had gone to hell. There was no sound, but something behind them made Lupin start, and turn. He threw himself forward fluently. The green haze of the curse enveloped him, and he was dead before he hit the ground. But Snape had enough time to seek cover behind a bale and fumble out the portkey.

He appeared on the remote hill just as the sun was rising. He was exhausted, bloody, and scared sick. As he stood panting and chilled, something welled up inside him, something warm and comforting, something intangible and bittersweet and redolent of Lupin. Something that felt like love.

Bloody hell. Is this how Potter feels?

The something was all throughout him, and suddenly it was an addiction, a thirst for completeness. But Lupin was dead. And the realization hit him like a star going nova.

This is how Potter feels all the time.

even the moon

Title: Even the Moon
Author: busaikko
Beta-Reader: none. sorry. evil of me, but this is just a "testing testing" post to see if I can work LJ
Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything else
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: SS/RL
Rating: hard R for a few naughty bits in the last few paragraphs
Genre/s: Angst, Slash
Warning/s: verbal repression
Summary and Author's Note: I started a story which divorced. The humorous beginning I took out and tweaked into the story R&D (Master and the Wolf Fourth Wave, Challenge #78). I realized that the Snape/Lupin pair I had in the remainder were not the same guys but hating to kill all that typing, I tried making a story out of the angsty ending. The plot bunnies here were extrapolating "pity sugar makes it ineffective" and getting in the head of a character whose verbal expression and thoughts are at a terrible angle to each other. This is not beta'd: I'd love concrit.


Nani mo kamo sutete oide
Anata dake tsurete oide
Tsuki sae mo nemuru yoru ni

(Throw it all away and come to me
Bring only yourself and come to me
On the night when even the moon sleeps)

The Boom "Tsuki sae mo nemuru yoru ni"


Everyone, it seems, has an opinion about my relationship with the werewolf. What is howlingly funny to me is how wrong they all are. Most everybody makes the mistake of assuming that because Remus is a pleasant and gentle person to be around he is emotionally vulnerable and in need of protection.

And that because I am not….

Our new Professor Potter even cornered me in the hallway and threatened me with violence if I hurt him. I must confess to missing being able to take points from Gryffindor for his damned cheek.

What they don’t know is that it is his strength that makes me love him best.

When we moved into this house, for example. I brought with me my private library, enough equipment to set up a working laboratory, and the private effects one does tend to collect in a lifetime. He brought a box of pots and dishes and one suitcase. When I remarked that, for 40 years of life, this was very little to show, he replied that with the possessions he had and his own resources he had the means to obtain anything he wanted. (And then, of course, proceeded to read through my books.)

It has always been unspoken between us that our relationship is a day-by-day affair of convenience. During the war that was sensible. Now I sometimes find myself, when out shopping, half-unconsciously looking for the perfect gift, something with the presence and weight to hold him down, to keep him here. With me. Yes, I do know how pathetic that sounds, and I restrain myself admirably. The amusement in his eyes when I have given him things in the past was painful enough. Sometimes I think I should never have given him my heart. I know, that like all my other gifts, he will leave it when he goes.

He is very secretive. I say this, who spied for both sides in the war, who wore the Dark Mark until that day when it burned itself out under my skin (leaving the Large Charred Mark, which faded to the Horrible Scar Mark). I do not know what he does for work. Or perhaps I should say, for money. He made it clear that he would not be supported by me (considering my salary, a good thing). He does something out in the Muggle world somewhere, and every month a new pile of money, lots of pretty Muggle paper, appears in our bank vault. I have asked him point-blank what he does; he gave me a raised-eyebrow look of surprise. “Why ever would that interest you?” I have my pride as well; I do not beg. I suppose I should feel guilty for driving him out of his last paying job in the wizarding world, but he does not blame and I do not apologize. We have both done unforgivable things which we do not acknowledge (we do not acknowledge the past, in principle), and daily we practice an elaborate dance of avoidance.

Remus’ biggest secret is his transformation into the werewolf. The popular theory (and why do people have such curiosity about the details of our lives?) is that I am there to hold his hand (or paw), ease the troubled brow with sweet balm, and generally make a fuss. Some think that he becomes no more than a giant lapdog to curl up at my feet. Well. I wouldn’t know.

He has a room. For most of the month it is spotlessly empty. Once a month he enters: a day later he exits. The room is spelled so that no sound escapes. No werewolf could, either. He made it clear to me that there would be no compromises. He would take no chances with the lives of others. I admit to finding his caution to demonstrate a touching concern for my safety, although it could be purely selfishness on his part. Waking up to find that you have consumed your lover would most likely be traumatic. I make him his potion every month. I like to fancy that he curls up on the floor, in the moonlight, and sleeps. What the truth is, I do not know.

Which is why I stand here, now, before his door, with trepidation. I know he may be most unforgiving of a breach of his privacy. Would it be enough to make him take his suitcase and move on? I don’t know that, either. But he has never been in his room for longer than 18 hours (my sense of time being accurate to the second) and it is now midnight of the second evening.

Over the years I have had much time to study the defenses he built to keep the wolf in. (And he was a good DADA teacher: of course he knows full well how to hold a Dark creature.) The spells are similar to those we maintained around Hogwarts. Anti-Apparition spells prevent entry. Yet portkeys may be used, I think, and I take out the unregistered one I keep prepared. There is a lurch and a spin and I am in the dark.

“Lumos,” I say. In the thin yellow wand-light, I see him lying on the floor, which is sticky and dark with blood. I don’t have his finely developed sense of smell, but it makes my nose twitch anyway. I have a fair idea of how much blood a person can lose and still live. This is cutting it close. I can feel his pulse; he is breathing. His admirably inhuman metabolism at work. I open the door, easier than the tedious undoing of the room’s wards, and send for the St. Mungo’s Emergency Apparation Unit. I cast the spells to make the room warm and clean (after 15 years of teaching elementary potions, cleaning up disasters is now second nature. First nature, of course, being the urge to knock thick heads together.)

I have some experience as a healer (elementary potions again) but this is beyond me. He appears to have tried to gut himself, his chest cavity a mass of ragged claw marks. His arms have been gnawed down to the bone in places. Even unconscious, his face is twisted in agony. I stroke his hair while I wait. It seems ages before they come, though the clock in my head tells me that it is barely 3 minutes. They show up all efficiency and take him out of my hands. They give me the coordinates and are gone.


In the hospital I have the dubious honor of representing Remus at the receiving desk. The helpful girl there gives me the forms to fill out and asks me what my relationship is to him: relative? colleague? I am not ashamed of what we are, but I protect my privacy too, largely centered on keeping my profession of teaching children. Dumbledore has always maintained a solid ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. But I am asked, so I lean across the desk and tell her, with the glare I reserve especially for my NEWT-level students.

“He is my lover.”

She looks down and speaks to the forms on her desk. It seems ‘friends’ are not allowed in as visitors. I keep my hand on the quill steady and keep writing. It is easier than thinking. And if I think I will do something that will get me forcibly removed from the hospital. So: name, address, prior medical conditions, insurance, family history. Height and weight. I write and wait. I am on the fourth page (history of lycanthropy) when Dumbledore appears.

The front of his robe is buttoned wrong: I can see his pajamas underneath. He is, mercifully, unaccompanied by Potter. He hugs me, briefly, and releases me when I do not respond. I never do; but he will insist on the contact anyway; that is why I sent for him tonight. That perhaps I have a right to assume that he is the other person who can love me.

I have not seen Remus now for an hour. As I hand over the forms and explain to Dumbledore it becomes harder to ignore the passing of time. Dumbledore disappears into the office, and I try to avoid looking around at all the other people in their various stages of waiting, pacing, or slumping hopelessly on the hard benches. Dumbledore reappears and steers me to the stairs. Apparently I ought to have said Remus was my test subject; researchers will certainly be allowed access. I’ve no idea how the world came to be run by fools.

Remus is not dead. Two healers still work over him, but the gaping ruin of his chest now has a nice medical order to it. More scars to add to his collection. His arms are swathed in bandages. The blood has been washed off his face and hands. One of the healers, a thin fellow with dark shadows under his eyes, breaks away to talk to me.

There is not much to tell him that is not on Form 4. I promise him a sample of the Wolfsbane potion. Remus takes a potion stronger than average. He avoids asking the glaring questions, but I won’t make it easier for him. I make him ask.

Why had Remus lain on that floor, fighting exsanguination, in pain, for nearly a day?

I explain about our arrangement, about his need for privacy.

I can’t prove that self-injury hasn’t occurred recently. He heals fast. And some damage doesn’t scar.
Perhaps the potion has worn off early before and he just never told me.

We go over it all once, twice, and then a third time. My sloppy research method disappoints. False pretenses, I think, but I have no desire to be thrown out of the room.

The sun is coming up.

Dumbledore is talking; I watch his mouth move, but the words escape me. He waves his wand and the dreadful chintz sofa from his office appears. He makes me lie down and tucks a blanket around me. I want to tell him that there is no way I will sleep, but my eyes are already closing.

I snap awake. Despite the curtains being pulled the room is bright and cheery, albeit in an institutional way. On the bed Remus is shifting. As a Legilimens I can sometimes feel his mind, although I would never violate it. He is there now, at the edge of my consciousness. I sit up, creaking. I am too old to sleep comfortably on a short, overstuffed sofa—what was Dumbledore thinking?

“Remus?” I touch his hair. Brown has lost to silver. He sometimes threatens to change it back, and I always reply that he is more than welcome, as a middle-aged man, to make a pathetic and laughable grasp for lost youth. Silver looks… good on him. Look at Dumbledore. Would he be so well-respected if he’d kept his hair its original Weasley red?

After a minute or so Remus opens his eyes, squinting against the light. I imagine it is the painkiller potion that has dilated his pupils.

“Severus?” He speaks with hardly enough breath to make a whisper.

“You’re in the hospital. There was an accident.”

He makes an effort to focus on me. A survey: head, 2 arms, 2 legs….

“No, you idiot, you attacked yourself.”

“Oh.”

I kneel down on the floor so we are at eye level. I don’t want to intimidate him, and I have made an art of menacing intimidation too long not to menace unconsciously when looking down on someone. I don’t know where I can touch without hurting, so I go back to stroking his hair. “You lost a lot of blood. And you’re going to have some new scars. The healers are going to make you lie there for a while, until you’re better.”

“Severus.” He looks up at the ceiling. “Monster in me, Severus. I want it out.” He lets out a breath that might be a sigh and his eyes close. I rest my forehead against his shoulder, feeling his warmth and the hardness of bone. The monster is woven into these bones and this flesh, Remus, and only your death will set it free. I’d rather have the monster.


He is alive and conscious, and I have classes that must be taught, students who must be prepared for OWLs and NEWTs, Quidditch games to referee. I am sure it would be petty to mention that other staff get at least a full week off for honeymoons or to see their babies being born. Dumbledore lets me move back into the dungeon, although I spend most nights at the hospital, returning in time for the first classes. Of the staff, no-one knows what to say so they say nothing. The students are unnerved that my temper is never curbed; it will be good for them. Life is not easy, and there’s no sense pretending otherwise.

Two weeks pass. I arrive at the hospital hungry and late after extra-long Quidditch practice for the important game on Saturday. He is gone, checked out, and I must waste time talking to his healer, who thinks it is dangerous for him to undergo the transformation this month outside of the hospital. I agree; we discussed it, Remus and I had an understanding, and now I have nothing. I escape and go home, for the first time in days. Everything is horribly dusty. He is not there. His suitcase is, but that is no comfort at all. I always thought he would take nothing. Next I check the dungeon. No.

I go and wait for Dumbledore to finish a meeting with the House heads, avoiding the chintz sofa. When I am finally admitted to his office, after receiving odd glances from Sinistra and Potter, Dumbledore’s expectant look is the last straw. So. Remus hasn’t told him, either. I have to put my head down on his desk to get myself under control. Dumbledore at least has the good sense not to touch me. I would have gone into hysterics. He instead rattles around, making tea. When I finally look up he is busy crocheting a lace border around a red silk handkerchief. Or perhaps it is a thong.

“Remus is gone.”

He sets his crochet aside. “Gone, Severus?”

“He left the hospital. He is not at home, or at Hogwarts. I do not know—“ I have to stop and force my voice under control—“I do not know where he is.”

Dumbledore picks up his tea, warming his hands on the cup. He looks his age tonight. I wonder how many crises have paraded past him in this room over the years. “I am glad that you and Remus are happy together. It is about time, for both of you.” He sighs, drinks, sets the cup down. “But I think… if you will allow me a Granger moment… he has defined himself for most of his life by the denial and control of his compulsions, both human and wolf. I am not sure even he knows where to make that distinction. If he now thinks he cannot control the transformation, he may feel the need to sacrifice much to regain what he has lost. In short, he is being a Gryffindor idiot. I can find out where he has gone, but if I betray his confidence to you he will trust neither of us. Will you wait for him to contact you? Or have you a message?”

I study the tips of my boots. “No. No message.” Amazing, really, that five minutes in Dumbledore’s office can reduce me to a sulking adolescent all over again.


The days line up and pass by; one month, then another, then exams are upon us and summer vacation stretches, vast and empty. Remus’ third transformation since he injured himself so badly. I make the Wolfsbane potion each time and have it delivered to Dumbledore. I keep busy: I say yes to any request, even chaperoning dance parties, and have been able to collapse into sleep each night, sometimes even making it as far as the bed, and rise before the dawn, and repeat the pattern the next day.

Tonight I walk back up the hill from the cottage I still think of as Hagrid’s, despite the fact that Harry has lived there long enough to father 2 children. Luna is a very restful woman: where others are solicitously nervous around me, she carries on as always, as if she sees another world through her pale eyes. It feels good to relax, although I have trouble thinking of former students as friends or confidants, and I imagine that it is hard, and awkward, for them to imagine their teachers having human lives. My mind always slips away from the idea of Dumbledore in a passionate embrace; I can see that Harry feels the same about me (and doubly so, considering how close he is to Remus). But with the release of tension I have lost the impetus to ignore my exhaustion. My feet are not steady on the hill. I find that I cannot recall the names of the students who will be meeting me before breakfast to review for their NEWTs, much less prepare my materials. I give up; I will wake an hour earlier instead. I drop my robes on the floor and fall into bed. There is something odd about the headboard. It takes me a minute of staring to realize that there is an owl perched there. I drag myself up again, and take the message tied to its leg.

I light the nightstand candles and unroll the parchment there on the bed. It is not a long letter; it does not say anything by way of explanation. Instead he just gives a time and apparition co-ordinates. Come to me, he writes. No part of me even considers ignoring the summons. When I wake the next morning, the owl is gone, and my face is lined from sleeping on Remus’ letter. I scare my students in new and different ways with the manic energy that courses through me. I tell Dumbledore I am going; he does me the courtesy of not asking who will teach the last week of my classes. I don’t really care. I pack my bag, carefully, for I do not know where I am going, nor for how long. I put on Muggle clothes, for Remus says that he is living as a Muggle. And I wait. Remus knows I hate Apparating blind: it was a tool and technique of Voldemort. But when the time comes I fix on him in my mind and take the step of faith.


“Hello, Severus.” The look Remus gives me is critical. Personal appearance has always been a non-issue with me, so long as I am upright and dressed. One would think that Remus, who spent years wearing near-rags, would be lenient. But as he looks at me in the odd and exposing Muggle clothes, he seems to be quietly amused.

“You look like a starving poet,” he says finally. One hand pulls the waist of my jeans out, revealing a sizeable gap. “If you want to complete the ensemble, I could get you some string to hold these up.”

Somehow, I suspect that it would be damning to reveal that I needed to charm the jeans to keep them from slipping over my hips. Remus’ hand moves to my waist, and I know that this silence is where I should make some response; but I can’t talk; the words are literally not there. I know that Remus is aware, to some degree, of my frustration. What it says to him, my silence, I don’t know. What he imagines in the privacy of his head has always been a rich source of terror for me.

I raise one hand to touch the side of his face: it is an apology and as close as I ever come to a prayer. How can this be me, I wonder, that reaching out for comfort comes easier than words? But I know the answer: words that are not weapons are a threat. I lean in to kiss him.

The physical memory of him is overwhelming: these teeth, lips, this tongue; this taste and smell; the roughness of stubble and the softness of hair. There is still an awkward distance between us. I wonder if he can sense my fear that I will drive him away with my too-naked need. Or by its denial. Or, really, that he has come to his senses about me and this relationship, whatever that relationship is now.

Whatever it is, I will take what I can get for as long as I can.

Sad, really.

He pulls back. “Truly, you must not be eating, Severus. I wouldn’t have thought you could get any skinnier.”

“I’ve been busy.”

“Well, you’re cooking dinner tonight, so no excuses.”

I smile; I can’t help myself. “Is that what I came halfway around the world for, to make you dinner?”

“Among other things.” He gestures around the room with his free hand. “Thought you might like to see how your other half lives.”

“Can’t go native much more than a furnished bachelor flat,” I agree. It is the kind of unfortunate room that results from the partitioning of an old house into four or five bed-sitters. The front bay window faces out onto a wide porch, screened from the road by a fierce hedgerow. Perhaps in former days it was a parlor or dining room: the ceiling is high and the wallpaper a faded floral velvet. Next to the door is an efficiency kitchenette: sink, gas ring, and miniature refrigerator. The furnishings are pure jumble sale. A folding table with two chairs, a chest of drawers faced with orange plastic, and a dingy blue sofa, probably the uncomfortable sort that folds out into a bed made entirely of springs. There are a few books and a laptop computer that I recognize as Remus’. “A bit dismal, don’t you think?”

He shrugs. “It’s not permanent.” He tightens the arm around my waist and leans in for another kiss. Almost immediately his phone rings. He pulls back, his face apologetic, but he is already yanking the phone from his pocket and grabbing pen and paper as he answers. I cross to his bookshelf, but no matter how hard I try to distract myself I can’t help listening to his conversation. I envy him for being able to use a cell phone; the things cannot operate in Hogwarts. I would have liked to hear his voice these past few months.

“Severus.” He rakes a hand through his hair, looking at me with frustration. “I’ve got to go—someone I need to talk to is leaving the country tomorrow.” He is throwing things into a bag as he speaks. “Talk about bad timing.”

“Give me the keys and I’ll do the shopping for dinner. You will be back for dinner?”

Because I know him well I can see the subtle release of tension. “It shouldn’t take more than a few hours. We can walk down to the high street together, I have to get the bus.…” He throws the bag over his shoulder and crosses to me, puts his hands on my cheeks and kisses me very sweetly. He rests his forehead against mine. “I’ve missed you.” He looks as if there is more he wants to say, but he steps back and away, and then we are out the door and down the steps; by the time we reach the sidewalk we are walking companionably with an arms-length of distance between us.

“This is the front door key, this to my room. Here’s 50 dollars, for shopping.” Ah, we are in Canada, then. Nice to know that English will get me by. He gestures down the road with one hand. “Shops are that way. Bank, library.” A bus bound for the university is waiting at the light; Remus heads up the opposite way, half-running to the bus stop. The light changes; the bus turns, stops; he boards and is gone.

I turn down the high street. Far off in the distance mountains rise high and jagged. Here on the plain it is flat, with roads set out like a grid. The town is small: a university town, perhaps a satellite of a larger city.

I put the keys and money into my wallet. I have no idea how much 50 dollars will buy. Perversely, I am warm and amused. The sun is still high—this is, after all, summer in the north—and it is a beautiful day. I have no classes. I go shopping.


I am finishing the shrimp curry and rolling out the chapaati (Remus has no rolling pin, of course, but a tin of soup doubles in a pinch) when there is a knock at the window. The room is Silenced and Remus has fixed the window so that outsiders can’t see in, but he gives me a cheery wave anyhow. I go out to let him in, nodding to the two elderly ladies who sit primly on the sofa in the front hall. I am sure that they play a wicked gossip game.

“How’d the meeting go?”

Remus sighs. “Like pulling teeth.” He pushes the door open and pauses. “This is my room, isn’t it?”

“You may enjoy squalor. I do not.” I rescue my curry, set it on the table, and begin frying the chapaatis in Remus’ skillet. Remus shuts the door, smiling that smile of his that could mean amusement, or impending attack. “There’s wine in the fridge.” I haven’t made that many changes: two cheap pieces of cloth to cover the table and the unfortunate chest of drawers, candles instead of the dreadful fluorescent strip on the ceiling. I found my music still on Remus’ hard drive, and I have The Boom on.

“Are you sure that J-pop goes with Indian food?… Ah, and a Californian wine.”

“Of course it goes. Or are you so enamored of the Muggle lifestyle that you’d prefer Britney Spears and Chicken McNuggets?” When Remus undertook to educate me in Muggle ways, there was an unfortunate incident involving McNuggets that he would do well to remember.

“Gods forbid.” He rinses out two plastic cups and pours for both of us. “This is nice. I gather you had no problems getting around town.”

I turn the last chapaati over the gas flame so that it puffs. “Your grocery is an atrocity. Like a convenience store with cheap clothing for tourists. But there’s an ethnic market down past the bakery that’s quite reasonable. Mrs. Basu made that chutney herself. She enjoyed being able to speak Bengali. She told me how to find the farmer’s market, and thus, vegetables.” This is perhaps not the time to mention that we will be having zucchini for every meal over the next few days. Providing I am here for the next few days. Chapaatis done, I reheat the dhal. If one must live as a Muggle, three burners on a range should be the minimum.

Remus gives me an odd look from his seat at the table, where he has been uncovering dishes. “Indulge me. I don’t recall that you speak Bengali.”

“Not since my gran died. My father did not approve.” He had lived in fear of being different from his mates. The one time I slipped up and called him “baba” in public instead of “dad” he hexed me down a flight of stairs and refused to let my mother mend the broken bones for 3 days. “My gran taught me to cook. And how to look out for myself.” Most Muggles would have known her for a witch on sight: she’d as soon curse you as look at you. My father killed her years before Voldemort rose to power. If she’d still been alive I might not have needed him.

“Is that why you cook curries as a comfort food? I always thought it was because it was as potion-like as food gets.” He waves a hand at the collection of spices and herbs I have amassed. “At least the way you do it.”

I hadn’t realized I had a comfort food. “I think you’ve got that backwards. The curries came before the potions.” But it was gran who, after I’d mastered the cuisine at age seven, proceeded to teach me how to brew pain, death, and destruction. And I loved every minute of it, loved the challenge of never knowing when the poison would turn up in my supper. Well. Dhal into two bowls. “Voila.” I turn down the music.

Remus waits for me to sit, then raises his cup to me. “Cheers.”

“Cheers.” The horrid clunk of plastic makes me smile. “Your grocery did have a wide selection of alcohol. I assume it’s a local form of entertainment?”

“But by no means the only one. I shall take you out bowling sometime.”

“You needn’t.”

I help myself to rice, curry, raita, and chutney; Remus follows suit. The dishes surely came from some thrift-shop box: while they match, the floral motif is unpleasant. I don’t know why all these little things grate on me so much, except that they add up to Remus making a life in which I play no part. Remove one Potions Master; replace with orange furniture and chipped dishes and plastic wine glasses? Not without a fight.

We eat in silence for a while. I am hungry, ravenous, for the first time in months (admittedly, it is the first time in months that I have sat before anything appetizing). We can be comfortable together, saying nothing, until our plates are clean. I sit back, satiated.

Remus pours more wine for both of us. “That was brilliant.”

“There is no excuse for cooking bad food.” Or for eating off these dishes.

He snorts and leans forward, putting his elbows on the table and resting his chin on his hands. “I am sorry I ran away from you the way I did.”

“You’d have preferred a different way of running away?” We flinch together. Sometimes I honestly have no control over the malicious things that I say. “Sorry.”

He nods. “I needed to find out what was wrong with me, and what it meant for the future.” His look is challenging. “I did not plan on living this long, after all.”

“Nor did I.” Funny to think that we made it through that fire, more or less intact. It was never love that brought us together in the dark days of war. When we had sex it was a reflection of the war, full of the hurt and anger and rage we felt for each other, for everything spiraling down into nightmare; an attempt to grab control in a world that killed friends, burned cities, crippled children, that made us helpless. And now here we sit, opposite each other, we two who have hated each other so well, when others who seemed more worthy of the happily-ever-after lie rotting in their graves. We still cannot talk about the important things with each other. Having reached a truce, having agreed tacitly not to insult and attack each other, we have not yet figured out how to share our thoughts, how to trust. How to breach the walls. I’m sure that to an outsider our conversations must sound like the social equivalent of a baby’s first toddling steps.

“The university here is conducting research on—or rather, with—the local werewolf population.” His eyes are intent on my face. “Research on Wolfsbane. I know you’re aware of their work. Verboten and Faxx.” I am slow on the uptake. Of course—Faxx the Canadian.

“Neither of them is a werewolf. I’m sure you would be able to give… valuable insight.”

“Faxx’s wife is a werewolf.” His smile flickers on, off. “I have been in contact with them for several years. They had been keen to meet me—it seems I am one of the oldest beneficiaries of the potion.”
“There are only three other subjects under continuous study for Wolfsbane potion, and the difference in terms of time treated is negligible.”

His eyebrows climb as he looks at me. “I’m a subject under continuous study?”

“Of course you are. When I publish I shall be famous.”

“What a frightening thought…. I shall do a Lockhart and autograph all your journals.”

“Devil.”

He looks indecisive for a moment; or just reluctant to pull the conversation back. “The Wolfsbane… wore off. I couldn’t say when it started, but I noticed that I was injuring myself again. But there is no data. Perhaps that happens, I thought. And then I nearly died. Killed myself. It scared me.”

I make one of those small social-lubricant noises that mean nothing. I certainly cannot bring myself to say something. Remus looks at me sharply.

“Yes, I’m sure it scared you, too.” He sighs. “I contacted Faxx and he said, ‘I think I know what it is, how soon can you get here?’ I was in his office ten minutes later. I honestly didn’t think about what I had done until a few days later when I was signing the lease for this place.” He waves his hand vaguely. “By then I’d been told that testing and treatment would take a few months. I thought, it’s only a few months.”

Only a few months of silence and worry. I decide not to say anything snide. “So what have you and Faxx discovered?”

“The university is a Muggle one, so most of his equipment is, too. It gives a different… perspective. But basically, you know the line, ‘pity sugar makes it useless’. Well, that includes +all+ sugars. Including blood sugar. Faxx calls it lycanthropic diabetes. His wife has it too.”

“It only affects those taking Wolfsbane?”

“Possibly. Or it might just be that we are longer-lived. Most werewolves don’t die of age-related disease, after all.” Most werewolves are dead within ten years of being turned. A fact which Remus never discusses but which must bother him as it does me.

“How long has Faxx been treating his wife?”

Remus smiles. “Four years now. He caught her at a very early stage of the disease.”

“And she is stable?”

“A charming woman. You will have to meet her. They have four children,” he adds as an afterthought. Adopted, of course, unless she gave birth before she was turned. Female werewolves cannot carry a child through the change. And I think Remus is bitter….

“And you are the second werewolf taking Wolfsbane to develop this… complication?”

“Third.” Remus shrugs. “There was a man who died.”

I echo his shrug. “So, assuming you fall somewhere between ‘early stages’ and death, what does this mean for you? Secondary complications?” I try to recall what I know about ordinary diabetes.

“Mostly just watching my blood sugar.”

“You probably shouldn’t be drinking wine, then.”

“Only before the full moon. The wolfsbane works best if I have low blood sugar. Preferably a hypoglycemic coma, it seems.” He pauses. “You’re not telling me that I’m being an idiot.”

“You know you’re an idiot. But it’s perfectly normal human reaction.”

Remus bites back the retort on the tip of his tongue. He knows I resent very strongly the idea that Remus is not human. I reserve judgment on ‘perfect’ and ‘normal’.

“Well, this all seems very optimistic.” I finish my wine.

“As far as having another chronic debilitating disease, one with potential neurological and brain damage, yes, I for one am feeling very optimistic.”

“Don’t limit yourself. Don’t define yourself as the sum of your problems.”

“Is that what you think I’m doing?”

Well, that’s an explosive question. Reading between the lines, yes, you were bitten and clawed by your own mortality, crossed the world hoping for a miracle, and are now stuck in a situation you hate, and will hate for the rest of your life. I should stop talking now, but my words have already left. “I’m not going to love you less, and you can’t make me.” Not what I meant to say, and not exactly sober, but true enough. “I’m glad for every day we have together. I want to know that every day to come will be like that. Together.”

Remus is resting his chin in his hand, his fingers barely covering an amused smirk. “Too much wine, Severus. You just propositioned me.”

Burning bridges give off such a romantic glow. “It’s not a proposition, it’s a proposal.”

Remus stills. He lowers his hands to his lap and looks at me, his face falling into shadow. “Are you serious?”

I shrug. “I love you. I want to make a future with you…. We’ve been living together for 3 years now, don’t act surprised.”

“Why?”

“Why do I want to be with you?” He nods, once, his eyes not leaving my face. “Because of the sum total of who you are. Because you know who I am. Because I love the way your mind works. Because you can make me laugh. Because you are fiercely independent. Because of your eyes—“ Remus’ mouth closes on my words, hungrily.

When he pulls away it is to give me a searching look. “If I said no….”

“No desperate unhappiness, Remus, we would go on. Or not.”

“If I said yes—“

“We would go on. With joy. Make something more.” Remus cannot abide the thought of being caged, tagged, owned. I, whose skin and soul are Marked for life by one whom I called master, understand far too well. Remus is breathing out his fear; in the candlelight, his eyes are wide and vulnerable. His hair shines silver: did I mention that I love the way it curls and catches the light?

His lips brush against mine; not a kiss, but a word: “Yes.”

“Truly?”

I feel rather than see the smile. “Saying it once is hard enough, you want I should say it again?”

There is no answer to that. I raise my head and we kiss, deep and long and longing. The table is abandoned; a word from Remus and a flick of his wand and the sofa is replaced by a very comfortable bed (“My one luxury—who could sleep on all those springs?”). Our clothing is rapidly shed: we are well practiced. Remus pushes himself up on his hands over me and looks down with a cat-canary smile.

“To have and to hold, Severus?”

“In sickness and in health, till death do us part.” How could we not know the words? For a while it seemed all we did was attend weddings. Harry and Luna, Neville and Ginny, Ron and Hermione, all those other students whose naturally excited hormonal state coupled with the euphoria at the end of the war led to the present baby boom.

“What about for better or for worse? Richer and poorer?” His mouth is moving on me, familiar with my body in a way that is both terrifying and thrilling.

“That too. Not unfamiliar territory.”

He looks up. “So what are we going to do? Have people round for some ceremony?”

“Right now?” I feel his teeth in a delicate place, and I shiver. “What do you want?”

“I want you. In my bed, in my life, in my hands. And I want our friends… to be happy for us.”

“Ambitious,” I say, and regret it immediately. He knows where I am ticklish (what my students would do with that information, may I live never to find out), and that at a time like this a whisper of a touch can make me lose all rationality. But my knowledge of him is just as complete. I can make him forget that he loathes the animal inside—I can bring the two of them together, the man and the wolf. I can induce howls and growls with my hands and tongue. I can bear the fierceness of being claimed, the hard thrusting within me, and the teeth that clamp down hard. That is my talent, and for the space of orgasm and the breathless softness after, we are not three but one, and the words that fail or hide or lie are unnecessary. He is circled in me; I am circled in him.

It is enough. It will be enough. It will suffice.