dazzleberry (dazzleberry) wrote,
dazzleberry
dazzleberry

Happiness Is Where You Find It: Chapter 6

Title: Happiness Is Where You Find It
Updated: 6 November 2005
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Snape/Lupin
Warnings: slash
disclaimer: Books, fortune and empire belong to JK Rowling. I only dally with her characters.


Chapter 6: Uncontrollable


At exactly four o'clock, there was a knock at Severus' front door. He sneered in disgust at the way his heart leapt, and when he opened the door, he greeted Lupin with a scowl. They stood looking at each other for a moment before Lupin cleared his throat.

"Are you going to invite me in?"

With a raised eyebrow, Severus opened the door wider and took a step back to allow Lupin inside. He'd managed a few hours of sleep, with the help of a mild sleeping draught that he hated having to use, and he felt a bit less raw and vulnerable, a bit more in control of his emotions.

"I trust you didn't have any difficulty finding it?" Severus asked as he shut the door behind Lupin.

"No. Your map was very clear." Lupin was looking around as he spoke, his eyes drifting over shelves of old books and lingering on the battered sofa, his expression one of frank curiosity.

It was awkward, standing in the cramped sitting room, and Severus had the impression that he was being scrutinized along with his bookshelves. He was at a loss for what to say, though. "Do you want tea?" he asked at last.

Lupin looked at him again and nodded. "Tea would be good."

Severus jerked his head towards the back of the room and led Lupin through a door that was camouflaged as another bookshelf. It wasn't hidden for the sake of hiding it, but it had been a spare bit of wall put to good use. Beyond the sitting room was an over-wide hallway. The pantry that had once been there had long since been ripped out, but it was easy to see where the original pantry had been because the flooring had never been replaced to match the rest of the hall. That was one of a million things Severus swore he'd do every summer and never got around to doing.

As he pulled a kettle out of the cabinet and filled it with water, he looked over his shoulder. Lupin was still standing in the doorway, looking around.

"This is your house?"

"No," Severus muttered. "It's actually a brothel. I rented it for the purpose of meeting you this afternoon because I didn't want you to see where I lived. Of course it's my house." He was beginning to feel self-conscious, as though Lupin were judging him for the mismatched floor in the hall and the tattered old sofa in the sitting room and the dingy-looking stove that didn't match the cabinets. "What were you expecting?"

"I don't know," Lupin said. "Somehow I wouldn't have pegged you for floral wallpaper."

Severus looked up at the walls, which were, indeed, hung with a floral wallpaper. Tiny pink and yellow roses on a background that had once been white, separated by finger-wide tan stripes. "Why do I care what's on the walls?" he asked, tapping his wand against the tea kettle. It started to whistle immediately, and he opened the cupboard to take down teacups and saucers. His hand hovered over them for a moment, until he realized that he was hesitating on the point of deciding which ones to pull out. Remus bloody Lupin can drink tea out of whatever you give it to him in, a stubborn voice insisted. Severus scowled as he removed two cups and two saucers. They were clean, unstained, without chips or cracks, but mismatched. He had pieces of half a dozen sets of dishes in his cupboard.

Lupin was at his elbow, reaching for the cups and leaving Severus to the water and the canister of tea leaves. "I didn't say you cared what was on the walls," he said. "But if you have walls, something has to be on them, and I wouldn't have guessed you'd choose roses."

"I didn't choose them," Severus replied, setting the kettle and canister on the table and gesturing at Lupin to help himself. "It was my parents' house, and my mother chose the wallpaper twenty years ago. She also chose the paint on the trim, and the tiles in the bathroom before you ask and I simply don't care enough to change any of it." He retrieved two mismatched spoons and a ceramic bowl of sugar, frowning at the peeling paint on the cabinet door.

"Don't care or don't want to?" Lupin asked.

"Don't care."

"Not a trace of sentimentality?"

"Why does it matter what kind of wallpaper is in my kitchen, Lupin?" He didn't want to discuss the wallpaper, and he certainly didn't want to discuss it in conjunction with his mother. Lupin was close to the truth again, and Severus would have given half of China to know whether it was an uncanny ability to guess or if Lupin knew something Severus hadn't told him.

"I'm just making conversation."

Severus sat, ignoring the creaking of the chair. "Ah, of course. Let's see, the history of the wallpaper. When I was growing up, it was badly stained and dingy yellow as I recall," he said, feigning an expression of deep interest in the subject. "My mother hated it, and when I came home from Hogwarts after fourth year, she had hung this paper instead. Painted the cabinets white," he said, gesturing at the counter. "Had the sense not to try to paint the sink, though you'll notice that it's a different color—"

"Severus?"

"What?"

"I was just making conversation."

"As am I," Severus replied. "Shall I tell you about the carpet in the sitting room? Or perhaps you'd be interested in the fixtures in the bathroom."

"I'm sorry I asked."

They stirred and sipped their tea for a moment before Severus cleared his throat. "What about you?" he asked. "What kind of wallpaper is in your kitchen?"

Lupin smiled a smile that was too bright for such a ridiculous question. "You've seen the kitchen where I live," he said. Severus frowned a bit, and Lupin's smile faded. "Sirius has been kind enough to allow me to live with him. I'm afraid that it's a bit difficult to make monthly rent payments when I can't find a job."

"Oh." That seemed obvious now that Lupin had pointed it out.

"Are you close to your family?" Lupin asked.

Given the choice between talking about what had happened between them so far and talking about his family, Severus wasn't sure he wouldn't choose to jump off a bridge. "Not particularly, no," he replied. "Are you?"

Lupin was quiet for a moment, for so long that Severus was afraid he wasn't going to answer. Not that Severus gave a damn about Lupin's family, but he didn't want him angry over something so trite. At last, though, Lupin said, "I suppose I was close to them. Both my parents died a couple of years ago—Dad had a heart attack, and I think Mum died of a broken heart. She was never the same after he died."

"I'm sorry," Severus said, avoiding Lupin's eyes.

"Don't be," Lupin replied. "They had good lives. Got to know their grandchildren and everything."

"Grandchildren?" Severus asked, alarmed.

Lupin grinned. "I have a sister," he said, and Severus scowled. "And a brother-in-law, a and two nieces."

"Oh."

"In fact, I think my oldest niece should get her Hogwarts letter this year if she hasn't already."

"She hasn't," Severus replied. "They won't go out until next week."

"Right."

The silence settled around them like dust motes coming to rest on a freshly polished surface, marring the sense of companionship their brief conversation had brought. It was beginning to feel awkward again.

After a few minutes, Severus cleared his throat. "I suppose I was close to my parents when I was younger," he said. It only seemed fair to offer that much after Lupin had told his story. "They worked a lot, and I was usually in school. It probably doesn't take a genius to guess that I grew up a far cry from the likes of the Blacks and the Malfoys."

"I see."

Severus took a sip of his tea. "I think they wanted something better for me than what they had," he said, not meeting Lupin's eyes. "I don't think they could really afford to send me to Hogwarts, but my mother was too proud to admit it. They scraped together what I needed. Then my father died when I was thirteen, and I suppose it was harder for her to make ends meet." That was the reason Eileen Snape had never done anything about the floor in the hallway; it certainly wasn't because she liked the effect of dingy carpet and torn vinyl.

"Now I'm sorry," Lupin said.

Severus shrugged, wondering why he'd revealed all that. "Don't be," he said.

"Is your mother still alive?"

"She was last week." His tone was callous, but it was because Lupin was getting too close to subjects he did not want to talk about, reciprocation or not.

"Do you visit her often?"

"Every other Saturday."

"You are close then?"

"I'd rather not talk about this."

"All right."

Silence again. Severus cast about for something else to talk about, something as insignificant and as safe as the wallpaper. If he didn't find a topic, he had a feeling that he knew what would be the next words from Lupin's mouth.

"So, what do you normally do during the summer holidays?" Lupin asked.

Again, Severus was caught unprepared for a personal question and he faltered before he answered. "I usually try to catch up on my reading," he said. "Most years, I have a standing invitation to the headmaster's house, and I usually take him up on it for a few days in July."

"No exciting trips abroad? Traveling to exotic locales for rare potion ingredients?" Lupin asked.

"My life does not hover around a cauldron," Severus began before it sank in that Lupin was smiling. Teasing. This business of being teased without being taunted was new to him. He cleared his throat and neutralized his tone. "I seldom go very far from the house most years," he said. "It's been an unusual year."

"It has been," Lupin agreed. "You haven't had much time to yourself this year, have you?" Severus shook his head, and Lupin made a noise that Severus could only describe as sympathetic. "Neither have I," he said.

"Do you normally?"

Lupin's smile returned. It seemed he had a hundred smiles—one for every occasion. "It's been an unusual year," he said, repeating what Severus had said just seconds before. "Normally, I go months without really seeing anybody."

"There are times when I think I would envy you in that respect," Severus muttered.

"There are times when I enjoy the solitude," Lupin said. He finished his tea and leaned back in his chair. "Gets lonely at times, though."

Severus nodded. "That's why I usually take Dumbledore up on his offer in July." He stood and gathered their dishes, taking them to the sink. As he was rinsing the cups, he felt a presence behind him and stiffened just as Lupin's arms circled his waist.

"Has it been less lonely this year?" Lupin asked.

Swallowing the rising bubble of panic, Severus continued rinsing the cups as though there was nothing at all out of the ordinary about Lupin holding him from behind. "I've hardly had an hour to myself this year," he said.

"That isn't what I asked, is it?" Lupin reached in front of him and turned off the water. "There's a difference between being lonely and being alone."

"Is that what's brought this on?" Severus asked, struggling to keep his voice steady as he dried his hands. "Loneliness?"

"Probably helped a bit," Lupin replied.

"One part loneliness, then," Severus said, twisting his way out of Lupin's arms. "What else? Desperation, I'd assume."

"You'd be wrong."

"Ah, of course," Severus said as he swiped a cloth over the countertop. "Forgive me if I forget the hordes of nubile young women who queue up for the chance of a glimpse at the sex god who is Remus Lupin."

"I am not desperate."

Severus turned to look at him, letting his eyes drift from Lupin's shoes to his head. When Lupin shifted his weight, Severus considered it a victory and returned to the counter. "You said yourself that it is perfectly normal for a human to crave the touch of another. Or perhaps werewolves are immune to such weaknesses?"

Lupin was quiet again. "Are you trying to hurt me, Severus?"

Severus gave that a moment's thought. "No," he said at last. "Just trying to understand." He dropped the rag back into the sink and turned to lean against the counter, his arms folded across his chest as he watched Lupin straighten the chairs.

"Are you going to use this against me?" Lupin asked.

"I'd never rule out the possibility," Severus replied. "Don't hand weapons to anyone you think might be an enemy."

"I don't want to think of you as an enemy."

"Then, by all means, empty your heart and soul onto my kitchen table and trust me, but don't ask asinine questions."

Lupin sighed. "Yes, I want the intimacy. That doesn't make me desperate, though. I could find it elsewhere if I wanted to."

"When's the last time you had sex, Lupin?" Severus asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Three years," Lupin answered after a brief hesitation. "You?"

Severus smirked to himself. "I don't know," he said, stalling. "May?"

"May? Who--?"

"Who would sleep with an ugly git like me?" Severus asked. "A lovely young woman by the name of Gillianne." Lupin stared at him in disbelief, and Severus waited a few beats for dramatic pause. "One of the young women from Beauxbatons," he said, allowing himself a fond smile. "A particularly refined young lady who was quite keen to know all about English culture. I felt it my duty, of course, to oblige her inquisitive mind."

"A student?" Lupin managed at last.

"Not my student," Severus replied with a shrug. "And therefore, not my responsibility. I did see to it that she drank a contraceptive potion, but that was the beginning and end of my obligation."

Lupin looked horrified, and that turned up a corner of Severus' mouth. "You actually slept with one of the Beauxbatons students?"

"I actually slept with three of them," Severus said with a frown. "Actually, I didn't sleep with any of them. I took them up on their offers and sent them bundling back to their own beds. I'm not quite stupid enough to actually allow a student to stay in my rooms, even if she isn't one of mine."

"You had sexual intercourse with—"

"Give over, Lupin. They were all of age and none were Hogwarts students. There was no reason to abstain. When's the last time you were with a seventeen-year-old girl?"

Lupin still looked horrified.

"Let me tell you, they're a different breed than older women. Tireless and exuberant, full of curiosity. A little clumsy, perhaps, but eager to learn and to explore their newfound sexuality. Bliss is a slender young goddess who hasn't learned that hair to her waist isn't sensible, and whose breasts are still pert and firm, straddling your hips and reveling in new feelings. Give her free reign, and she'll try anything. Suggest that it arouses you, and she'll please herself and save you the trouble."

"You're disgusting."

"Why? Because I enjoyed myself? So did she. Because I'm old enough to be her father? Part of the thrill, and I'll point out that it was she who suggested it."

"As a responsible adult, you should have said no."

"I'm responsible for enough students of my own without worrying about everyone else's," Severus replied. "I did not force her into anything, and I did not coerce her. I only took what she offered."

"And then what?" Lupin asked.

"And then I sent her back to her own bed, and when she suggested that she would stay here forever, I sent her back to France."

"You broke her heart, didn't you?"

Severus shrugged. "If I did, it was an unfortunate circumstance. I didn't set out to."

"You don't even care, do you?"

"She's young. She'll forget me when she meets her Prince Charming, perhaps even cry in his arms and tell him what a bastard I was. And he will dry her tears and promise never to hurt her, and the two of them will live happily ever after. Everyone's heart gets broken, Lupin. If I hadn't done it, someone else would have."

Lupin stared at him. "How many hearts have you broken, Severus?"

"I wouldn't know," Severus replied. His expression turned serious and he caught Lupin's gaze. "When I walk away, I don't look back."

"How many lovers have you walked away from?"

"Every one I've ever had."

"And how many is that?"

Severus sighed. "I don't know."

"Five? Fifty? Five hundred?"

"Five hundred?" Severus repeated. "That would be quite an accomplishment, wouldn't it? Did Don Juan even seduce that many—"

"I'm serious, Severus."

"And so am I. I don't keep count with notches in my headboard."

Lupin's expression was closed, though a bit of horror crept through it. "More than a few, then. Make a guess."

Severus rolled his eyes and thought for a minute, his mind running through names, faces where he couldn't remember names, ticks where he couldn't even remember faces. "I don't know. Fifty might not be terribly far off the mark."

"Fifty."

"Let me guess. I've outscored you by a fair margin?"

"It isn't a game! Are you joking with me? If you are, it isn't funny."

"No, I'm not. When I was younger, I thought nothing of picking up another girl every weekend and I learned that if I haunted the right places, it wasn't so hard to do, even for an ugly bastard like me. Don't give me that look, Lupin. It was a different world in 1978."

"You did all this in 1978? All but the three from last year, of course."

Severus propped his feet on one of the unoccupied chairs. "Of course I didn't do all this in 1978," he said. "But I won't pretend to have been a monk. The years between leaving Hogwarts and returning to teach there were marked by a certain licentiousness. Probably half the fifty were before I turned twenty-one."

"But that still leaves twenty-five."

"Twenty-five in the last fifteen years," Severus pointed out. "That's less than two a year on average."

Lupin shook his head, staring at the table. "I could count my lovers on one hand," he said. "I can tell you their names, and what happened to them and how many children they have and where they are now."

"Is that my cue to smirk at having a better score or to look remorseful for not keeping up with all the women in my past?"

Lupin scowled at him. "Fifty?"

"I told you that I don't have an actual number, and I doubt I could even count them with any accuracy."

"How the hell did you do that?"

"What do you mean?" It was getting harder and harder to read Lupin's tone.

"Two a year I can understand," Lupin said. "But twenty-five in the three years? Where did you find them?"

Severus shrugged. "Bars," he said. "Libraries, shops, parks. Old classmates, sisters of old classmates, friends of old classmates. Mostly bars." Lupin was quiet again. "What?" Severus asked.

"I was just thinking how much time and effort I put into finding a woman, and they seem to have been falling at your feet."

"The answer is in the question," Severus said. "You were looking for a woman—a specific type of woman, no doubt. A partner, a potential wife? You seem to be the marrying kind."

"And you weren't."

Severus shook his head. "I was looking for a fuck, and if that's all you're looking for, it isn't hard to find. No commitments, no expectations, no promises, no games, no—"

"No nonsense," Remus finished for him.

Severus met his eyes. "That's right. No nonsense."

"Why did you tell me all this?"

"You asked."

"I asked when the last time you'd had sex was. I didn't ask for all the details."

"You asked how many women I'd been with."

"You led me right into that. Why? Was this your way of bragging? Telling me how desirable you are?"

Severus snorted. "You're learning, Lupin. You're definitely learning. Actually, two reasons—first, to illustrate that I am not so desperate that I can't walk away from you."

"You're the one who's been accusing me of desperation," Lupin pointed out.

"I haven't ruled that out yet."

Lupin scowled. "What's the second reason?"

Severus stood and walked around the table, placing his hands on Lupin's shoulders. He bent until his cheek was brushing against Lupin's cheek, and he whispered, "To illustrate that I have never met the person I couldn't walk away from." Lupin stiffened and started to turn around, but Severus held him in place. "I meant what I said," he continued in a low purr. "Do not fuck with me, Remus Lupin, or I will turn around and walk away. And leaving gracefully is only my style if I bear no ill will towards the person I'm walking away from. You're here by choice, and I'm allowing it for the moment. You keep me interested, and take what I give you without pestering me for more, and this arrangement may suit. The rules are very simple. No commitments, no expectations, no promises, no games, no nonsense. Not spoken, and not implied. Do we understand each other?"

Lupin stood, and Severus let go of him, watching him as he folded his arms and paced for a moment. When he stopped in front of Severus, he lifted his gaze to stare into Severus' eyes. "I must be mad for even considering those terms."

"Mad or desperate," Severus agreed. Lupin scowled again, and Severus lifted a hand to his face, brushing a lock of gray-streaked hair from his temple. "Then again, you might enjoy it."

"Enjoy kissing your arse?"

"Actually, I'll thank you to leave my arse alone for the moment," Severus replied, curling his fingers against Lupin's cheek and tilting his face upward. "But you've got the wrong idea. If I wanted a whore, I'd go find one. There is nothing degrading to my conditions—it's just simple honesty. Would it make you feel better if I professed my undying love and promised to sweep you off to the south of France, even if I didn't mean it and had no intention of keeping the promise?"

"Don't be ridiculous."

"Precisely," Severus said. "I'm proposing something far more sensible. We both win, and no one gets hurt because no one has unrealistic expectations."

"You're serious about this, aren't you?" Lupin asked.

Severus answered by taking another step forward and circling his arms around Lupin, drawing him nearer. This time, he was in control as he tilted his head to one side. There was no hesitant questioning as he crushed his mouth against Lupin's, as though he could pull Lupin's soul into his own mouth and taste, just for a moment, another man's life. Lupin moved his hands to Severus' back, pulling him closer.

Somehow, Lupin wrestled control of the kiss away from Severus, and Severus couldn't keep his eyes open as he found his mouth being ravaged by Lupin's tongue. His heart was pounding, his knees weak as though they had liquefied; Severus found himself wishing for something behind him. Something to lean against. A wall, a cabinet, an unsteady chair—anything would have been more supportive than his rebellious muscles.

The kiss did not end, but after a moment that threatened never to cease, the kiss moved. Rather than his entire mouth being at the mercy of Lupin's hungry kiss, it was now his lower lip that was under attack. Lupin trailed a series of soft, nibbling kisses along the edge of Severus' lip, and despite a desire to maintain his composure, Severus found himself moaning and twining his hands into Lupin's hair.

The exquisite agony moved again, following Lupin's mouth and tongue as he traced a line from the corner of Severus' mouth to his left ear. For a moment, the trail of soft and warm moistness paused and Severus felt a puff of air against his face.

"You need a shave," Lupin said, amusement etching his whisper.

For a split second, Severus was tempted to jerk away from him and tell him to go to hell, but the remark was followed by a nuzzle and Severus sighed, forgetting why he'd want to take offense at anything Remus Lupin did or said.

At length, Lupin drew his mouth along Severus' jaw and placed a final teasing kiss at the base of his throat, then stopped, straightening again.

"I think we understand each other," Lupin said as Severus straightened as well, the molten lead that seemed to have replaced all the blood in his veins making him feel enjoyably sluggish.

"I think you may be right," Severus murmured, his eyes still closed.

Warm fingers wrapped around his hand, and it wasn't until he felt his fingers curl against a warm bulge that Severus' eyes flew open. For a moment, he stared without comprehending, but as he looked down, his mouth went dry.

Hesitantly-- his self-assurance had departed since the novelty of making his pact with another man instead of a woman-- Severus moved his fingers against the front of Lupin's robes, tracing the contour of his growing erection. Lupin drew a sharp breath, and Severus rubbed a fingertip against the curve. It was a familiar and a foreign sensation, and as his fingers stretched and strained against the growing hardness, Severus felt his own cock stirring.

At last he was back in familiar territory—lust was a road he had traveled many times, most often alone. He shifted his hand, cupping Lupin's cock through his robes, and Lupin made a sound that crossed a strangled cry with an ecstatic moan. Severus considered it a triumph.

"If I didn't know better, I might swear you were enjoying this," Severus murmured.

"If I didn't know better, I might swear you'd done this before," Lupin replied, his voice straining. Any reply Severus might have intended was cut short by the electrifying feel of Lupin's hand against his own straining cock.

Severus was vaguely aware of a voice of protest at the back of what was left of his rational mind, but he was too caught up in the moment of pleasure to pay it any heed as Lupin flattened his palm and rubbed his hand against Severus' erection. Severus leaned his head back and breathed heavily.

Lupin drew a sharp breath as Severus' thumb came into contact with the tip of his cock, which quivered and strained against his robe. His heart was pounding as he felt himself being guided backward until his thighs came into contact with something hard. At a little urging from Lupin, he leaned back, the table hard and unforgiving against his back. Severus was bending over him, hands braced on either side of his head, their lips crushed against each other. Lupin wrapped his arms around Severus and pulled him down on top of him.

Severus ran his hand over Lupin's chest and drew his fingers downward until Lupin closed his eyes, lifting his hips in anticipation. There was another brief hesitation, and Lupin felt a hand against his straining cock. He moaned, lifting his hips to thrust against Severus' palm.

"This wasn't part of the plan, you know," Remus whispered, a searing shaft of desire ripping down his spine.

Severus nudged him, and Remus shifted, allowing his robe to be shoved over his head and tossed onto the floor. A flicker of apprehension tickled at the base of his throat as he lay beneath Severus' scrutinizing gaze. At the best of times, Remus was lean with a network of scars crisscrossing his arms and chest and his hair silver-frosted from premature graying. Now, barely a week before the full moon, he was far from his best.

His concerns were unjustified, though, as Severus leaned forward and placed a soft, suckling kiss against the base of his throat. "What wasn't part of the plan?" He asked, his voice rich and silken. Remus groaned as Severus' hand coursed over his stomach, fingers inching lower.

"This," Remus replied, tugging at Severus' robe. He felt an inexplicable need to keep them on common ground, and he did not feel their playing field was level if one of them was still dressed while the other lay almost naked.

Severus paused, his hand stopping mid-stroke. "You don't want this." It was a bland statement, and for a moment, a shaft of panic impaled Remus' heart.

"No! I mean, yes. That's not what I mean. I mean—"

Severus was already moving away from him, and Remus wound his arms around him, holding him against his chest.

"I meant that this is sooner than I had anticipated," Remus whispered, raising his head to Severus' again. "I had anticipated there being time to discuss this." He moved his hand under Severus' robe, pushing it upward. "To set parameters."

Severus' lips hovered above Remus' mouth as he hissed, "Then set them now."

Remus groaned as he felt Severus' mouth against his throat, and he wound his hands into Severus' hair, forgetting for the moment his conviction to disrobe Severus. He tilted his head back, laying his throat bare to Severus' mouth.

"None," he whispered. "No boundaries."

"Then shut up," Severus whispered back, and Remus was happy to comply.

Instead of talking, Remus turned his attention back to Severus' robe, pulling it upward. At first, it seemed that Severus was thwarting his efforts on purpose, but he finally cooperated and the robe joined Remus' on the floor.

Remus turned, pushing Severus onto his back, and Severus leaned back, closing his eyes. Resting a hand on his stomach, Remus looked at him. Remus felt a jolt of surprise as his eyes swept Severus' body. He'd been prepared for revulsion, had hoped to be instantly entranced and attracted. He was stunned, instead, by the unsurprising revelation that Severus Snape had a bulge in his underpants and no breasts. It took a moment for Remus to move past that and to notice that Severus was not so ugly as he might have imagined.

He was pale, with that sallow cast to his skin, but Remus imagined that a little sunlight every day for a month would gift him with a golden glow that would go a long way towards dispelling the unhealthy pallor. Aside from that paleness and being on the thin side, he was pleasing enough to look at. His collarbone was sharp, protruding at odd angles and leaving intriguing crevices that Remus' tongue longed to explore. There was the faintest definition to Severus' muscles, an outward curve to his chest and on his arms, lean lines on his thighs. And despite his overall wiry and thin frame, there was the barest hint of softness at his stomach. A light dusting of fine black hair covered his chest and coursed down his stomach and disappeared into his underpants.

Remus traced the line of hair with a soft touch, acquainting himself with Severus' body. Severus stiffened, and Remus could feel him blocking exploring fingertips from his mind. Remus forced himself to put some space between them, and settled beside him again, one hand resting on Severus' thin chest, rising and falling as Severus breathed.

"If you don't want this, I understand," Remus whispered, moving his hand back up to Severus' face. "I don't want to press you further than you want to go."

Severus jerked away from him. "I am not some blushing virgin that you have to coax into submission," he snapped, and Remus winced.

He had been treating Severus more like a reluctant woman than a man whose arousal was as visible as Remus' own was. "Sorry," Remus replied, reaching an arm around Severus' waist again. "I did mean it, though. If you want me to stop, I will."

"Do you have any idea what you're doing?" Severus asked as Remus rested a hand on his stomach.

"None, but that didn't stop me the first time I was with a woman, either."

Severus stared at him for a moment, then chuckled.

"At least this time I'm not terribly worried that my cock's going to betray me," Remus said with a lascivious grin. "I think that might be a benefit to this, don't you?" he asked, flicking his tongue against Severus' right nipple. An odd sensation, that. He was far more accustomed to a nipple being a fairly large and sensitive thing attached to a fairly soft thing, not to it being a small, blunt thing that lay flat against a hard and bony part of his lover's body and elicited no response.

His lover. It was odd to think of Severus as his lover, and it was tempting to attach more to the word than was there. Remus drew his tongue down Severus' stomach and shoved the thought to the back of his mind where it was less distracting. He was more interested in learning every inch of Severus' body right now. As he nuzzled Severus' stomach, Severus jerked, and Remus frowned up at him. He was biting his lip.

"No?" he asked, his tongue circling Severus' navel.

Severus was breathing hard. "I don't know if that tickles or feels phenomenal," he whispered, and Remus grinned impishly at him.

"Tickles?" he asked, sounding innocent. "Don't tell me you're ticklish, Severus Snape." He moved a hand to Severus' ribs, and Severus jerked away from him. Oh, this was going to be fun, Remus could tell already.

"What's wrong, Severus? Afraid I'm going to do this—" Remus skittered his fingers across Severus' ribs, prepared this time as he attempted to jerk away. He touched the tip of his tongue to Severus' waist, and Severus squirmed back into his fingers again.

"You're going to pay for this," Severus hissed, squirming in an attempt to get away from Remus' fingers.

"Am I?" Remus asked, reaching to the back of Severus' knee. Yep, he was ticklish there too.

"Yes!" Severus gasped, jerking away again as Remus caught his elbow.

"Then I'd better make the most of it, hadn't I?" Remus asked, moving to straddle Severus' hips. Remus leaned over him, tickling his ribs, trapping him between his thighs. Severus was gasping, squirming, and finally, his face scrunched into an expression that looked so painful that Remus almost stopped. A sharp laugh broke loose, though, and Severus collapsed against the table, laughing helplessly and making ineffectual attempts to move Remus' hands away.

Chuckling with him, Remus braced his hands on either side of Severus' head and leaned forward, brushing his lips against Severus'. "You should laugh more often," he said. "It makes you look ten years younger."

Severus was regaining his composure by bits, though the scowl did not return to his face straight away. Without it, Severus did look ten years younger, and more like a human than a corpse. He was more attractive and almost handsome with his eyes closed and his head tilted back, his lips parted and his face relaxed. Remus nipped at his lower lip, then drew his tongue along Severus' jaw, down his throat and over his chest. As he reached his stomach, he felt Severus tense again, but Remus kissed him harder, making an honest attempt not to tickle him.

"Enough is enough," Severus warned, and Remus smiled up at him.

"I'm behaving," he replied, nuzzling at Severus' waist. "Mostly."

And he was, at least in regards to the delicious secret he'd just learned about Severus. Who would have ever imagined that Severus Snape was so ticklish? Remus moved to one side and urged Severus to lift his hips. After a hesitation, Severus did so, and Remus pulled the pristine white underpants down. Severus kicked them aside, and as Remus' eyes caressed Severus' cock, Remus felt him stiffen again.

"If you want me to stop--," Remus began in a low tone, drawing a fingertip along the inside of Severus' thigh and avoiding the erect cock that was bobbing in his face.

"If you say that one more time, I'm going to shove something down your throat so you can't say it again."

"Oh really?" Remus asked, stroking Severus' stomach. His cock twitched toward his hand, but Remus still avoided touching it.

"Really."

As he'd started this, Remus had had every intention of taking Severus into his mouth, but now that he was faced with the prospect, he had his doubts. It was not as appealing an opportunity as he'd been hoping it would be.

"And what do you think you're going to shove down my throat?" he asked, biding a bit more time by drawing his fingers over Severus' hip.

"Keep pushing your luck," Severus muttered, his voice sounding strained. "You'll find out." He lifted his hips, and Remus took a deep breath as he touched his tongue to the head of Severus' cock.

Severus groaned, and his cock twitched, and Remus rubbed his tongue against the underside and moved the foreskin down. Closing his eyes, Remus swirled his tongue around the head of Severus' cock and drew it into his mouth, his lips loose around it.

"Oh, God," Severus breathed, and Remus took that as encouragement, drawing him deep into his mouth and pulling away. It took more skill than he'd thought it would to keep his teeth clear of the sensitive organ, but he made a careful job of it, having been on the receiving end of a couple of accidental scrapes. Severus' hips jerked, and his cock thrust deep into Remus' mouth, instigating a gag reflex that he barely managed to contain, and Remus wrapped his hand around the base, giving himself more control. He felt a bit guilty for sucking so shallowly, but if the groans were any indication, Severus didn't mind a bit.

As he gained confidence and grew accustomed to this new endeavor, Remus moved a hand to massage Severus' sac. His efforts were rewarded by a hiss, and Severus jerked again, almost throwing Remus off balance. Remus braced his hands on table, and knelt on the floor, his right hand free to tease and caress Severus' balls.

A string of incomprehensible words spilled from Severus' mouth, and his hands clutched at the edge of the table, then twined into Remus' hair, alternately pushing his head down then resting against his temples. A warm, salty fluid curled his tongue, and he felt Severus' sac tighten, drawing up hard and giving him the split second warning that he needed to suck hard as Severus began to come, his hips jerking and his cock pulsing in Remus' mouth.

It seemed to last forever as the hot, pungent sperm spurted into his mouth, coating his tongue and sliding down his throat. It couldn't have been as long as it seemed though, and finally Severus sighed, going limp. Remus drew his lips away from Severus' wilting cock, the mixture of sweat and come leaving a salty and not wholly unpleasant taste in his mouth. He ran his tongue between his teeth and lips and swallowed several more times.

Severus was lying still, spent, and Remus settled against him with a rueful smile. He was thrilled at having brought his lover such pleasure, yet at the same time, he was wondering if it had been such a good idea to go about it so directly. After all, he had been in the position Severus was in now—perfectly content to not move a muscle for a few hours. On the other hand, for the first time in his life, he could understand exactly how a woman felt when she was on the receiving end of a prematurely ended tumble.

He felt Severus' fingers combing gently through his hair, pausing to work their way through tangles. "I'm going to repay you for that," he promised. "As soon as I can move again."

Remus chuckled and, at Severus' urging, crawled onto the table beside him and settled into his arms. Lying on top of the table was not at all comfortable, and it lasted only a few minutes before Severus was sitting up. "Think we'll be a bit more comfortable in the sitting room?" he asked.

Without waiting for Remus to reply, Severus led the way out of the kitchen and into the sitting room. He circled his arms around Remus' waist, resting his chin against Remus' shoulder. Remus bit his lower lip as he felt a hand against his stomach.

"You see, I'm going to be nice to you," Severus whispered against Remus' neck, his breath hot and moist.

"Was I not good to you?" Remus asked, trying for a more casual tone than he achieved.

"Passable," Severus replied, sounding more confident by the moment. If Remus didn't remember the inarticulate groans and sharp cries from just a moment ago, or the look of bliss on Severus' face, he might have believed that Severus was unimpressed.

"Then maybe you should show me how it's done properly," Remus replied as Severus worked a hand into his underpants. He closed his eyes, his lips parted as long fingers wrapped around his stiff, aching, distended cock.

"Perhaps it would be a prudent investment in the future," Severus agreed, pushing the front of Remus' pants down to free his cock. "But will you be an avid pupil?"

"I'll hang on your every word," Remus panted as Severus pumped his cock quickly. None of that soft and gentle crap that women called a hand job—Severus handled him the way he might handle himself, familiarly, like a man who knows how to achieve an end that would be quick and—

He stopped suddenly, and Remus groaned, his cock still twitching in frustration as Severus moved in front of him, pushing his underpants off. For the barest second, Remus felt an urge to hide and had the unpleasant knowledge that he was the smaller of the two of them. That concern lasted no more than half a second, though, as Severus eased his foreskin down and formed a circle with his thumb and forefinger around the head of his cock. He didn't move his hand though, and after the momentary relief of being touched had subsided, the urgency returned.

Severus dipped his head without warning and Remus cried out as Severus' lips covered his balls. There was no coherent thought other than the fact that he needed to remember that and reciprocate some day. He was planning to pay attention, but his plans went flying out the window into the heat of August.

He was aware when Severus' mouth moved to his cock and his fingers began stretching and straining against his balls, but his awareness was quickly replaced by an extraordinary pleasure that was blinding and numbing. Time ceased to have meaning as he threaded his fingers through Severus' hair and urged him closer. Severus moved nudged him towards the sofa and Remus sank onto it, grateful to no longer have to concentrate on standing. Severus kneeled on the floor in front of him, and Remus lost himself in the bliss of lips and tongue.

Just as it seemed that the delightful agony would be the death of him, he felt a jolt that made his breath catch. His balls tightened, and he thrust instinctively into Severus' mouth, and Severus drew him deeper, his tongue moving against Remus' cock. Remus shuddered as he came, the burning ache diffusing into a warm sense of contentment as Severus licked and suckled and drew his head back. A moment later, Severus was lying beside him again, and when Remus opened his eyes and looked at him, he was on his side, his head propped on his hand.

"Think you'll remember that and be able to execute it properly next time?" Severus asked, sounding quite serious.

Remus reached for Severus and pulled him into his arms. "I think you'll have to demonstrate a few more times before I have it down," he replied, breathless and exhausted.

Severus settled into his arms, stiff as a board, but after a moment, he relaxed a bit. "You do realize, of course, that we will have to dedicate many hours to getting it right."

Remus laughed, unable to keep a straight face through that extended metaphor any longer. "You know I need a shower again now," he said as Severus yawned against his chest.

"Mmm," Severus murmured. "Can't it wait?"

Remus glanced down at Severus and smiled, moving his hair out of his face. "Of course," he said, wrapping his arm around him. Severus' eyes drifted shut.
Tags: fic, happiness is where you find it, snupin
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