Updated: 6 November 2005
disclaimer: Books, fortune and empire belong to JK Rowling. I only dally with her characters.
His lips ached for the caress of a kiss, trembling with desire until he was certain Lupin could see them shaking. His hands longed for the feeling of Lupin's skin under his palms, for the velvet caress of hardened cock, for the heat of desire seeping from his balls. His throat begged to feel the nip of Lupin's mouth and teeth, his ears strained to hear a husky, throaty growl. His arms rebelled at the insult of being folded across his chest when they wanted to encircle Lupin's body and pull him close. His cock twitched against the restraint of his underpants, desperate for release.
Every inch of his body was drawn like a magnet to the mild-mannered man who lay reclining on the sofa with the lascivious smile.
It was his pride, though, that threatened to overcome that craving.
"Severus?" Lupin extended a hand, crooking his fingers in a gesture of invitation.
Severus took a few steps towards him, as though pulled by an invisible string. As his hand touched Lupin's, Severus said, "Don't you think our time would be more profitably spent… in…" He trailed off as Lupin pulled him to the sofa beside him.
"No," Lupin replied. "I don't think it could be more profitably spent." Fingertips brushed against Severus' jaw, urging him closer. "Do you?"
"No." Bracing one hand against the arm of the sofa, Severus leaned over Lupin, nuzzling his ear.
Lupin turned his head to one side, baring his neck, and Severus drew his tongue along the exposed jaw line, tracing a line from ear to chin. Tilting his head back, Lupin groaned beneath Severus' mouth, sending vibrations coursing through his lips and down his spine.
"Do you like that?" Severus asked, flicking his tongue against Lupin's throat. A moan was his only answer, and Severus took that as affirmation, sucking and teasing at the straining tendons in Lupin's neck.
Sliding a hand over Lupin's chest, Severus shifted to one side, lifting himself up so that he could push Lupin's robe up. For the third time that evening, Lupin's robe landed in a heap on the floor, and Severus neither protested nor struggled when Lupin returned the favor.
"I'd give my life fortune to know what inspired this," Lupin whispered, his breath caressing Severus' chin before their lips joined in a kiss again.
Severus nudged Lupin's lips apart with his tongue. "I already told you," he murmured. "You." He thrust his tongue into Lupin's mouth, crushing him beneath a suffocating kiss that Lupin lifted his head to meet. Lupin circled his arms around Severus' waist, pulling him closer, and Severus settled against him, their chests pressed together. He could feel Lupin's heart beating.
Lupin ran his hands down Severus' back, fingers reaching into his underpants to cup his arse. With a low groan, Severus lifted his hips, allowing Lupin to shove his pants down again. He shifted off Lupin again, without breaking the kiss, and kicked the cumbersome garment aside.
Hands at Lupin's waist, Severus pulled Lupin's pants off as well, but he hesitated short of touching his cock until Lupin took his hand and guided it between his thighs. When his hand brushed against warm softness instead of pulsing hardness, Severus stiffened, beginning to retreat, bus Lupin held his hand, lifting his hips to meet Severus' palm.
Lupin pulled away from their kiss for long enough to whisper, "Don't stop."
Hesitant at first, Severus stretched his fingers, massaging Lupin's sac with a gentle touch. It was only a few minutes before his efforts were rewarded, and he felt Lupin's cock stirring. He ran a fingertip along Lupin's cock, coaxing and caressing as the member lengthened and hardened in his hand.
"See?" Lupin murmured as Severus drew away from his lips, trailing kisses along his jaw and throat and to his chest. "I told you I wanted it."
"And what do you want?" Severus asked, tracing his tongue along the gentle contours of Lupin's muscles, marking the sounds that Lupin made in response. Lupin trembled when Severus brushed his lips against the inside of his elbow.
"I don't know," Lupin replied, and Severus stopped, frowning at him. Lupin lifted his hips again, and Severus stroked the underside of his cock, drawing a sigh from him. "Have you ever had anyone tease your arm?" Lupin asked.
Severus flicked the tip of his tongue against Lupin's elbow again, and Lupin tilted his head back, his eyelids fluttering closed. "No," he replied, shifting again, posturing for a better position that would allow him to reach Lupin's cock with one hand while supporting his weight on the other arm and still leave his lips free to roam.
"Neither had I."
With a raised eyebrow, Severus blew a warm, steady stream of breath over Lupin's arm and across his chest. "Where else have you never been teased?" he asked, straightening. He straddled Lupin's thigh, settling gingerly with one knee on the sofa cushion, grazing Lupin's balls, his other foot on the floor.
Lupin drew a fingertip up his spine and trailed it over his shoulder and across his collar-bone. Severus hissed as Lupin's finger ventured over his chest and down his stomach, pausing at his navel. "Most places, actually," Lupin answered, circling Severus' navel with his fingertip. Severus bit his lower lip, stiffening from the effort of neither jerking away nor laughing. "When you've been with women, did you ever feel like a disembodied cock?"
Severus snorted. "I never felt like anything else."
"No complaints of course," Lupin said through a lopsided grin as he tucked one elbow behind his head, his other hand tracing lazy circles over Severus' stomach and hip. "After all, if I had to choose six inches of my body to receive attention, it would be these six inches." His finger curled around Severus' cock as he turned an intent gaze to Severus' face. "Seven inches?"
"Close enough," Severus murmured, closing his eyes and losing himself in the bliss of Lupin's thumb and forefinger circling his cock and tightening until the bliss bordered on pain, then loosening until he could only feel the touch in his imagination.
"What do you want?" Lupin asked, stroking him with a light, erratic touch that went far to encourage his arousal.
"I don't know either," Severus replied. He could think of a few things he did not want, things he was not ready for, but there had to be something between a casual blow job and fucking another man's arse. He didn't know what it was, though, and his sexual repertoire was limited in the best of circumstances, despite being well-practiced.
"Then I guess we have a little fun figuring it out," Lupin said, snaking his free hand around to the back of Severus' neck. Severus leaned down again, and their lips met, searching hungrily this time. Lupin moved both his hands to Severus' back, pulling him closer, palms massaging his shoulders and pressing against the small of his back. Severus braced his hands on either side of Lupin's head to support himself as Lupin drew him nearer.
His cock strained, indignant at the sudden inattention, and it twitched, brushing the curls at the base of Lupin's cock. Lupin's eyes popped open, and he lifted his hips to Severus'. With a groan, Severus shifted, moving so that his balls pressed against Lupin's cock. Lupin moaned, kissing him harder, grinding his hips against Severus', and soon they were rocking against each other, cock straining against throbbing cock, sac massaging tender sac.
Lupin clutched at Severus' arse, and their kiss came to a halt for a moment as Severus felt a seeping wetness against his stomach. His arms trembling as his muscles strained to support his weight, Severus moaned as he felt Lupin wedging a hand between them.
"Oh, Christ," Lupin hissed against Severus' throat as they rubbed against each other, Lupin's hand guiding their cocks to slide along side each other and through the arch of his palm.
Biting his lip, Severus closed his eyes to the expression of strained bliss on Lupin's face—he could feel his sac tightening, and his cock quivered with need. His breath caught in his throat, and he released his lip with a strangled groan as he felt the surge of raw pleasure accompanied by a white-hot explosion of relief. His fingers dug into the sofa cushions as his cock twitched and pulsed, releasing a night's tension and desperation into Lupin's hand and over his stomach.
"Oh, God," Lupin groaned, his voice strained. He lifted his hips again, and Severus felt a pulsing rush of hot liquid erupting against his stomach, coating his cock with a sticky heat.
Lupin pulled him down, and Severus collapsed against his chest, his head nestled against Lupin's shoulder as their hearts pounded in unison. After a moment, Severus felt his erection wilting, and he moved to one side, sure that Lupin's cock was as tender as his own. After a few minutes of shifting and rearranging themselves, they found a position that was comfortable for both of them.
"You know," Lupin said, stroking Severus' back as they lay basking in the fading glow of their desperate encounter, "I think I could really get used to this."
"Don't get too used to it," Severus muttered.
Lupin's hand paused, mid-caress. "Why not?"
"What is today?"
"What time is it?" Lupin asked.
"You needn't be that specific. Which side of midnight we're on is hardly relevant."
"Thursday, then. The fifth of August."
Severus craned his neck to look at Lupin. "Precisely," he said, caressing Lupin's jaw. "Just over three weeks until classes start, and I'm sure you'll understand if I'm not here every evening."
Lupin tightened his arms around Severus, leaning his cheek against Severus' head. "Now who's talking about forever?" he asked, and Severus jerked away from him ready with a biting retort until he saw Lupin's rueful smile. "I'm teasing," he murmured, urging Severus back into his arms. "We'll worry about September when it gets here. Right now," he kissed Severus' temple, "I'm only thinking about August."
"And Harry Potter will be here tomorrow," Severus reminded him. It was bitter irony that about the time he felt comfortable enough with Remus Lupin to enjoy his presence, the universe began conspiring against them to drive them apart again. Lingering in the Black house was one thing, lingering in the Black house while Harry Potter was staying there as well would be quite another.
"Then we'll worry about tomorrow when it gets here," Lupin replied. "Don't rush it along."
Severus leaned his head against Lupin's chest again, listening to the slowing of his heart. As the thrill of desire faded, though, he was becoming increasingly aware of less attractive details. He could hear people moving around downstairs, and that served as a painful reminder that, as Lupin had pointed out to begin with, the door was neither locked nor the room made silent. The results of their lust covered both their stomachs still, beginning to dry into an unpleasant crust, and the stifling August heat did little to improve the situation. If anything, it made it worse; where a sheen of perspiration had made Lupin that much more attractive when they were in the throes of pleasure and passion, now it was a pungent odor that overwhelmed his nostrils and threatened to gag him. And he wasn't sure how much of that odor was his own.
"We're a mess," Severus muttered, waging war against rebellious cushions and an unhelpful werewolf as he struggled to sit up.
"I guess we are," Lupin replied, not moving.
Severus looked around, groping behind a chair for his underpants and so engrossed in his search that he didn't know Lupin was behind him until he felt a playful slap against his bum. With an undignified yelp, he straightened, right into Lupin's arms.
"What are you doing?" Lupin whispered into his ear.
"I told you," Severus replied, struggling half-heartedly against the embrace, "we made a mess."
"And?" Lupin asked, letting go. Severus attempted to watch Lupin with one eye while looking for all his clothes.
"And perhaps you're used to wandering around covered in…" He trailed off, in part because he was looking for the mate to the sock he'd found peeping out from under an end table and in part because every word he could think of for what they were covered in was either vulgar slang or uncomfortably biological.
"Covered in what?" Lupin asked as though sensing the reason for his hesitation.
"In…" Severus put an inordinate amount of attention to looking for his wand.
"In semen and sweat and God alone knows what else," Severus snapped, finally finding his wand on the table where he'd left it.
"Nothing a little cleaning spell won't cure," Lupin said. Severus stared at his wand for a moment, long enough that Lupin prompted him. "Scourgify."
"I know the incantation," Severus said.
"Then use it." Lupin took his own advice and cleaned the worst of the evidence off his skin, and after a moment, Severus did the same, turning his back as he dressed. When his robe was in place again, he felt a surge of relief, and sat in one of the chairs to pull on his socks.
Lupin was sitting on the sofa, studying his robe with a frown on his face.
"What's wrong?" Severus asked as he drew one black sock over a bony foot.
"Oh. Nothing," Lupin said, pulling the robe over his head. Severus pulled on his other sock, watching as Lupin adjusted settled his robe around his hips.
"Nothing?" Severus leaned back, folding his arms. "You didn't look very happy about 'nothing'."
Lupin lifted his arm, displaying a small rip in his threadbare robe. "Nothing worth worrying about."
Severus averted his eyes. "I'm sorry if I did that."
A smile lifted one corner of Lupin's lips. "If you did it, I enjoyed the process," he replied, gesturing for Severus to join him on the sofa again.
"I need to go," Severus said, still not willing to face him.
"Why?" Lupin asked.
"I need a shower. It's getting late. I—"
"You got off and you don't see any need to linger now," Lupin supplied.
Severus blinked at that. "I beg your pardon?"
"That's what it was again, isn't it? Just another fuck. Oh, no, sorry. Not even a fuck. I don't know if there's a name for that, but it doesn't matter, does it?" Lupin leaned back, picking up a cushion and holding it against his stomach. "Just like last time was just a blow job."
Not knowing what to say to that, Severus reached for a shoe. "What else do you want it to be?" he asked as he picked at the laces.
"Forget it," Lupin replied. "I just have to get it through my thick head that lust exists on a separate plane from…"
Severus paused, one shoe on and one shoe off, looking at Lupin. Lupin was staring at a point in the middle of the floor, and Severus wondered what he was seeing.
"A separate plane from…?" Severus prompted. There was no immediate response, so he picked up his other shoe and untied it, shoving his foot into it. "From love? Is that what you want from me?"
"Love," Lupin repeated, shaking his head. "I'm a grown-up, Severus. I get the difference between things that are possible and things that are not."
That blunt statement irritated Severus a little more than it should have. "So what do you want from me?" he repeated.
"You're usually the one telling me that there are more than two extremes. Isn't there something between a mindless fuck from time to time and true love conquers all?"
"You mean something along the lines of spending time together when we don't have to and when we aren't ramming a cock into one another's mouth or hand?" Severus asked, knotting his shoelaces. "Sharing lunch, perhaps? Buying you breakfast? Covering a shift for me so that I can get much-needed sleep? Trying to help you learn to tell a lie?" He let his foot fall to the floor again and folded his arms, glaring at Lupin. "What do you want from me? I was under the impression that we were getting it right this evening."
"I want you to stay."
"Stay?" Severus repeated.
"Yes," Lupin said. "Stay here with me tonight. The same way I stayed with you—"
"That was different," Severus argued.
"Because no one was likely to stumble onto us—"
"What? Do you think there are nightly bed checks in this house? Severus, no one will ever know the difference."
"I need a shower—"
"There's running water here."
Severus sighed. "Why are you so adamant that I stay?"
For a moment, Severus thought Lupin wasn't going to answer him, and when he did, it was without meeting his eyes. "Because on Monday night, I'm going to walk up to the werewolf who bit me when I was a child and try to convince him to trust me," he said. "And, as you were so kind to point out, if they realize that I'm lying, I'll be lucky if all they do is kill me."
"And you're afraid," Severus said, filling in that which Lupin had left unsaid.
Lupin snorted humorlessly. "So much for Gryffindor courage, hrm?"
Severus moved to the sofa and leaned into the corner. "It's an odd thing about fear—spend an hour in mortal danger and walk away unharmed, and it does the most unusual things to you."
"Like make you cocky?" Lupin asked, giving him a dirty look.
"Sometimes," Severus conceded, extending a hand. "Or make your cock hard." It took a moment for that to sink in, but Severus saw the comprehension dawning on Lupin's face the minute it did. "Come here," he said, flicking the fingers of his outstretched hand. Lupin moved closer, and Severus slid an arm around his shoulders. "You'd be a fool if you weren't afraid," he said as Lupin leaned against his chest.
They sat in thoughtful silence for several minutes, Severus stroking Lupin's hair with one hand, his other arm draped around Lupin's shoulders. Lupin seemed lost in thought, and Severus knew that feeling well. It hadn't been long ago that he had gathered his fear into a ball and shoved it to the back of his mind. He'd had longer to prepare, of course—the Dark Mark had been burning on his arm for almost a year before that expected summons had come. At the same time, he hadn't known when it would come, and he thought that there might have been a benefit to events having worked out the way they did. It meant that he'd had ample opportunity to consider his lies and his truths, and ample opportunity to reconsider both, and it had been a relief when the wait was over. Lupin, by contrast, had been told of his new assignment just a few hours before, and he had four days to prepare himself. He knew the exact date and hour of his summons, and that meant that he knew exactly how long he had to worry about it.
In many ways, Severus thought it was easier not to know.
"You're going to do fine," Severus murmured against Lupin's hair.
Lupin looked up at him with a smile. "Thank you." Severus tightened his arms around him for a moment, and Lupin grasped Severus' wrist, pressing his arm against his chest.
"Is it necessary for me to stay—" Severus began, but Lupin interrupted him by shoving away from him.
"It isn't necessary for you to do anything you don't want to do," Lupin replied, standing.
Severus caught his hand, and Lupin half-turned to look at him, pain in his eyes. "Allow me to finish a question before you answer in anger?" Severus asked.
Lupin said nothing, but jerked his hand away.
"I was going to ask if it's necessary that I stay or if I might leave, take a shower, gather a few things and come back."
A faint flush tinted Lupin's cheeks. "That's fine," he said, avoiding Severus' eyes.
"You're sure?" Severus asked. "I'm not going to leave you here alone."
"I'm not alone here," Lupin replied. "I can always count on Sirius if I need a friend."
Severus stood and gathered his dishes from earlier. As he picked up the fork, he struggled with himself to regain control over the new emotion that he didn't have a name for. It wasn't jealousy, nor sorrow, nor longing, though it hurt as much as any one of those. A sideways glance told him that Lupin didn't even realize what his off-handed remark had meant.
"Do you want me to come back, then?" Severus asked as he balanced the plate, glass and flatware in his hand.
"If you want to."
"Don't. Play. Games," Severus said. "Either tell me yes, or tell me that you'll let me know when you want another fuck or another lesson. If you don't--"
"Yes," Lupin interrupted. "I want you to come back." He took a step towards Severus, but Severus reached for the door and opened it, leaving the safety of the sitting room.
"Very well. I'll see you shortly."
The front door slammed, and Remus flinched as Mrs. Black's portrait began her shrieking and cursing. While Sirius wrestled to close off the portrait, Remus pushed aside the curtain, looking out the window as Severus disappeared into the evening, Disapparating as he rounded a corner. The shadow of a doubt had been growing in the back of his mind all evening, and now it threatened to consume him. Severus Snape was going to break his heart before it was all over with. He could feel it.
And God help him, even as he acknowledged the inevitable, it was with the admission that he was going to enjoy every minute of it until then.
"Greasy git," Sirius muttered, leaning against the wall opposite Remus. "I know he isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but can he not grasp the concept of don't slam the door?"
Remus let the curtain fall shut again and looked over his shoulder. "I think it far more likely that he is more than intelligent enough to grasp the concept, but he does it to irritate you."
Remus snorted. "Quite," he agreed. He turned towards the stairs again, and was halfway up before Sirius caught up with him.
"Where you going now?"
"To have a shower," Remus replied. "I feel filthy."
Sirius chortled. "I'd feel filthy too if I'd just spent three hours in Snivelly's company."
"Why do you call him that?"
"Don't tell me you don't remember the way he carried on when we were kids? Did he ever go a week without crying in a corner somewhere? He missed his mam, he missed his dad, he missed his cat, everyone was horrid to him, no one understood him…"
Remus did remember that, now that Sirius mentioned it. It was one of the hazards of growing up with someone—it was easy to remember the embarrassing moments. "I remember you not talking to James for two weeks because he got more Christmas presents than you did," Remus replied.
"Eh, how old was I? Twelve?"
"Fifteen," Remus corrected, quickening his pace. "I also remember finding you crying in the bathroom after your sixteenth birthday."
"But that was different," Sirius protested. Remus glanced over his shoulder at him. "You remember the perfect picture of maternal love that my mother was."
"Was it so different?" Remus raised an eyebrow and leaned against the wall, looking down at Sirius. "Look, I know why you called him that when we were kids, but don't you think we're old enough to—"
"Not until he is," Sirius said.
Remus shook his head. "It wouldn't kill you to make the first move."
"It wouldn't kill him either."
With a sigh, Remus started up the stairs again.
"Moony? Where are you going?"
"I told you. I'm going to take a shower. So unless you have plans to join me, go away."
Silence was his reply, and he looked back at Sirius again, who was standing on a stair halfway to the second landing, looking dejected.
"I'll be back down in a few minutes," Remus said. "We'll play a game of chess or something."
"Why do you always take Snape's side these days?" Sirius asked, and Remus felt a cold, leaden weight sinking in his stomach. If Sirius was noticing, it wouldn't be long before others would start as well.
"I don't," he said, deciding it was time to begin practicing living a lie. "I tell him to lay off you just as often."
"You don't see him often enough to get on his case as often as you're on mine."
"Then I must make very good use of the times when I do see him," Remus replied. "I'll be back down in a bit." He hurried the rest of the way upstairs and into his bedroom before Sirius had the chance to pursue that awkward line of conversation any further.
A hot shower proved to be a mixed blessing. Steaming water streamed over his chest and back, washing away the last sticky traces of his and Severus' exploits, and the lingering sensations of Severus' touch. As he worked a thick lather into his hair, he felt Severus' kiss fading from his lips, and when he turned his face to the shower head, the water silenced the whisper of Severus' lips against his arm and shoulder.
As he washed away sweat and cum and saliva, his desire withered into humiliation at his own reaction to the dour, sallow wizard with mesmerizing eyes. It was disgraceful, the way he let Severus make him feel, and thinking about how he'd begged Severus to stay made his face burn.
Severus, despite his ugly face, was a force of nature, and Remus could no more resist his pull than he could resist the pull of a full moon, and every hour spent in his arms left Remus wanting more. Unlike the adventurous magnetism of Padfoot and Prongs, Severus was restrained and composed, and every concession he made left Remus with the ridiculous feeling that he'd won a great battle. Unlike Wormtail, always falling over himself in worshipful adoration, Severus was aloof and distant, and a touch made Remus feel that he'd been bestowed with an invaluable gift. A brush of Severus' fingertips was electrifying because the sensation didn't come often; the sound of his voice was thrilling because he spoke so seldom. Whether it was a carefully orchestrated performance or a genuine reticence, Severus was attractive because he turned and walked away, leaving Remus to long for him to remain.
A shadow of guilt flickered across Remus' mind as he thought of the times when he had been the one to make his excuses and walk away, leaving a lover to beg him to remain just a little longer.
"Pathetic," he muttered to himself as he cut off the water and shook his head, leaving a spray of droplets to cover the wall. He dried quickly and wrapped the towel around his waist as he opened the door and peered into the hall. No one was around, but he hadn't expected anyone would be. It was after midnight, and those whom Molly could still control had long since been sent to bed, and those she could not had not come in yet.
He darted into the hall, then into his room and shut the door behind him. Tossing the towel onto the back of his chair, he fell onto his bed, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling. The nighttime air was a bit cool as it caressed his still-damp, naked body, but the chill was refreshing after a hot day. He might have stayed like that indefinitely, but he heard the door open downstairs, and then the howl and screech of Mrs. Black's portrait. His heart leapt, hope warring with disgust for possession of his features.
Hope won, and he sat up, watching the doorknob for a long moment. When he thought he'd waited long enough for Severus to come up if he was going to, Remus sighed and nudged his wardrobe open, pulling out a fresh robe that was in even worse repair than the one he'd been wearing that evening. He knew he needed to just give in and buy new robes; after all, the newest one he had was over two years old, bought with the first stack of Galleons he'd earned teaching. It had been tempting to spend the lot of those Galleons with the promise to himself that he'd make up for it and save diligently later, and in the spring, he'd been further tempted, but he'd told himself firmly that he wouldn't spend a Knut he didn't have to unless he had the job again the following autumn. It had turned out to be a prudent move. He'd been living more than a year off that year's salary, and it seemed likely that he'd live off it at least another year.
Robes that weren't falling apart were not luxuries, though, he reminded himself. He had to keep reminding himself of that.
He dressed quickly and went back downstairs, almost passing the sitting room on his way to the kitchen until he heard a familiar, genial voice call, "Wotcher, Remus!"
He backtracked a few steps and looked through the open door. Sirius was slumped on the couch, a bottle of beer in his hand, and Tonks was sitting backwards in the desk chair, a beer bottle dangling from her fingertips.
"There's a bottle in here with your name on it," Sirius said, lifting his in mock toast.
Remus accepted the bottle and sat on the opposite end of the couch from Sirius, which put Tonks right in his line of sight.
"Sirius was telling me about the infamous antics of Moony, Padfoot and Prongs," she said, grinning at him. "Makes himself out to be a hero in all the adventures."
With a snort, Remus tapped his wand on the cap of his beer bottle to open it. "Oh yes. The hero of McGonagall's detentions. It was usually one of his brilliant ideas that resulted in miles of lines." Despite his affable smile, Remus felt a pricking at his conscience as he wondered just when Wormtail had been voted out of their childhood group. Even when he'd thought Sirius had been the traitor who led James and Lily to their deaths, Remus hadn't removed him from his fond memories. The memories had only been that much more bittersweet.
"No," Sirius protested, "my more brilliant ideas usually landed us in Dumbledore's office. It was only the bright ideas that sent us to McGonagall."
Tonks chuckled. "I bet."
"Prongs was usually the hero of our tales," Remus said, propping his feet on the coffee table. "Sirius was mostly talk."
"And what were you?" Tonks asked.
"Me? Oh, I was the wet blanket."
"He was the reason our exploits landed us in detention instead of the infirmary," Sirius said. "A bit more sensible than the rest of us were."
"A bit more afraid of detention."
"Detention with McGonagall?" Tonks asked, waving her hand. "Nothing."
Sirius and Remus exchanged skeptical looks. "We are talking about the same McGonagall, right?" Sirius asked. "Minerva McGonagall? Deputy Headmistress? Square glasses?"
"Is there another?" Tonks tilted her head back, her heart-shaped face upturned just enough to display the graceful curve of her jaw. He had the strangest feeling that she was showing off her best profile as she finished the last of her beer. "She's just an old pussycat."
"I'll be sure to tell her you said that," Sirius said, shoving another beer towards her.
"You do that," Tonks replied. "Gor, but you two were lucky you didn't have to deal with Snape."
Sirius and Remus exchanged glances again, though this time amused ones. "Why's that?" Remus asked.
"He's awful," Tonks replied, pulling a face. "Who else do you know that would make you milk rat spleens for a detention?"
"No one," Remus admitted.
"Who else would you know to have rat spleens lying around to be milked?" Sirius asked. "Do you remember Sluggy ever making us milk rat spleens?"
"Do you remember Sluggy ever giving us detention?" Remus asked back.
"No, come to think of it, I don't."
"Horace Slughorn," Remus replied. "He was Potions master when we were in school."
"He preferred to cater to the students who had connections and bright futures," Sirius said. "As I recall, his tactic was to get McGonagall to assign the detentions."
"Sirius said you taught at Hogwarts, Remus," Tonks said, turning a frank smile in his direction. She had a sort of honest appeal and a refreshing, youthful glow. "What kind of detentions did you give?"
Remus smiled down at his beer bottle. "I borrowed a page from Professor Slughorn and let other teachers assign detentions."
"I bet you were popular, then," Tonks said.
"Oh, I don't know. Not really."
"Very popular," Sirius said, waving away Remus' protests. "Harry thought the world of you."
"Harry decided he liked me when he found out I was friends with his father," Remus said. "He's looking for a connection to the past. That's all."
"And the Weasleys? And Hermione? I suppose they were looking for a connection to the past too?"
Tonks was watching them, her eyes darting back and forth between them as she followed their exchange. "I bet you were just easy to like," she said, her eyes finally settling on Remus. His eyes lingered on hers for a moment, watching the tip of a small, pink tongue flick against the corner of her mouth. Three reactions warred in his mind—a prickling guilt that he was somehow betraying Severus, a flattered pleasure that a nubile young woman would want to flirt with him, and a rush of relief that he found himself attracted to her as well. The last was gaining ground quickly; it seemed the answer to his most burning question of late.
"As compared to whom?" Sirius asked as he polished off his beer. "Snape?"
"No contest," Tonks replied. "Snape's a greasy old man."
"You know, I think I might be offended," Remus said, pulling himself out of his reverie to change the subject before Sirius had the chance to commiserate with Tonks about how greasy Severus was.
"How come?" Tonks asked, looking bewildered.
"I think that's the first time anyone has honestly suggested I was old," Remus replied, taking another sip.
"No, I didn't say you were old, silly," Tonks said. "I said Snape was old."
Remus leaned forward, crooking his finger at Tonks. She leaned forward as well, and he whispered into her ear, "Severus was our classmate."
A horrified look crossed her face and her mouth dropped open. "Get out," she said.
"Yes," Sirius said with a sigh, looking grotesquely forlorn. "Sad, but true."
"But he was a creepy old man when I was a first year!"
When she was a first year? His stomach flipped and stumbled on its way down. "How old are you?" he blurted out.
She hesitated before answering. "Twenty-one."
Brilliant, Remus. Go from being a sodomite to a pedophile. Neither was exactly true, but both were close enough for the mood he was in. "You're awfully young to be an Auror," was his neutral reply.
"Youngest in fifty years," she said.
Remus finished his beer and gathered his empty bottles. "I think I'm going to take my old bones to bed," he announced, winking at Tonks. "You two enjoy your drinking." He hurried down to the kitchen, where he deposited the bottles in the rubbish bin and leaned against the counter for a moment, shaking his head. What the hell was wrong with him? First Severus, now Tonks. He might as well find a sheep to fuck next and at least take a hat trick of perversions.
Taking a deep breath, he shoved his hand through his hair and started for the three flights of stairs that would take him to his bedroom. Tonks met him at the top of the first flight.
"I'm sorry if I offended you," she said with a slight shrug. "I guess I haven't learned when to keep my big mouth shut yet."
Remus smiled, though it was no longer a flirtatious one. "You didn't offend at all," he replied as he stepped into the hall.
His smile was a bit more genuine. "On my honor." He bent to kiss her cheek. "Have a good night."
She wrinkled her nose a bit, and reached to hug him fiercely. "Good night," she said as she turned and headed for the door.
"Hey, Tonks!" Remus hissed as she wove precariously close to the umbrella stand. "Watch out for the—" He squeezed his eyes shut as she veered off course just in time to crash into the coat rack instead.
"FILTH!" The portrait of Mrs. Black roared to life. "TRAITOROUS SCUM! SOILING THE HOUSE OF—"
"Oh, do shut up!" Tonks said, reaching for the curtain, but she stumbled again, and Remus caught her just before she plunged head-first down the stairs to the kitchen.
"SPAWN OF A TRAITOR AND MIRE! SCANDAL AND—"
"Shut the fuck up, you old hag!" Sirius came thundering into the hall, jerking the curtain shut and casting a Silencing Charm on the portrait.
"Are you all right?" Remus asked Tonks, steadying her on her feet. "Are you sure you're in a condition to make it home?"
"Oh, I'll be fine," she said, her cheeks faintly pink. "I'm not drunk—really," she insisted at his skeptical look. "Just a bit clumsy at times."
Sirius coughed, and when Remus looked at him, he was scrubbing his hand over his face.
"Well, be careful," Remus told Tonks, walking her to the door and steering her clear of anything she might trip over.
When the door was firmly shut behind her, Sirius and Remus avoided looking at each other as they straightened the toppled coat rack and rearranged the garments on it. When their eyes did finally meet, they began to chuckle, and for a moment, it was like having Sirius back. The real Sirius. The one who had been his friend before years and times changed them.
"You know, mate, I think she fancies you," Sirius said as he applied the protective spells on the door. It wouldn't be locked; they were trying to convince the Order members to just walk in instead of ringing the bell and preventing them from entering without being let in was hardly conducive to that end.
"I don't suppose she had any help in that, did she?" Remus asked. Sirius didn't answer right away, confirming his suspicions. "Don't even start."
"Look, she's a great girl, and—"
"Key word there. Girl. I'm nearly twice her age."
"Give it a few years and you'll only be half her age again." Remus scowled at Sirius, who shrugged. "I really had very little to do with it," Sirius said. "She's been watching you for two weeks now."
Remus sighed. "Well, I'm flattered you thought of me, but enough's enough. Even if I weren't old enough to be her father, I have nothing to offer her, or anyone else for that matter, so play matchmaker somewhere else."
"You really are turning into a grumpy old man," Sirius muttered. "Fine. Whatever you want." He turned towards the staircase. "I'm going to bed. Get the lights before you go."
"Good night to you, too," Remus muttered as Sirius disappeared into the darkness of the first floor, the door slamming. He ducked into the sitting room again and moved the chair back to the desk where it belonged, gathering empty bottles as he went, wondering how many of the five belonged to Sirius. A flick of his wand sent the room into darkness, and he took the bottles down to the kitchen to deposit them in the rubbish bin. He could just imagine what Molly was going to say when she saw that many bottles tomorrow morning, but he was too tired to bother with taking them out. Sirius was a grown man, and surely he could fend off any objections Molly Weasley might have to his drowning memories in beer.
He was halfway up the stairs again when he heard the creaking of the front door opening. Fingers wrapped around his wand, he slowed his steps, peering into the darkened hall. A silhouetted figure was crouched over the door handle, shutting it slowly. Remus crept up behind the form, drawing his wand, but the intruder whirled, his wand already out and against Remus' throat, pinning him to the wall with a snarl.
"Severus?" Remus said.
Severus sighed and let go of him, pocketing his wand again. "Did I not tell you to never sneak up behind me?" he whispered.
Remus was too busy staring to notice the reproach in Severus' voice. "You did come back."
"Of course I came back, you half-wit. Didn't I say I'd be back? Get out of the hall before someone sees us."
Remus led the way up the stairs to the first floor, standing aside as Severus preceded him to the second. When they were in Remus' room, Severus shed his cloak and folded it neatly, revealing a small bag under his arm.
"What's this?" Remus asked, indicating the bag.
"Toiletries and a change of clothes," Severus replied. "I'm tired of being caught unprepared." He looked around the room, pausing at the chair for a moment. He lifted the towel still draped over the back of it between his fingers, then let it fall again.
"Thank you for coming back," Remus said, reaching for his hand.
Severus' lips quirked upward. "Not at all."
Remus sat on the edge of the bed, pulling off his shoes and socks. A glance over his shoulder proved Severus to be doing the same. Dropping his socks and shoes onto the floor, Remus pulled his robe off, laying it aside gingerly. He hesitated for only a moment before shoving his pants down as well.
When Severus turned to look at him, his eyes traveled the length of Remus' body, pausing at his softly swollen cock. His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed.
"And here I thought you only intended to sleep," he murmured, extending a hand. He trailed it along Remus' thigh, and Remus closed his eyes, catching Severus' wrist.
"I do, actually," he replied, drawing Severus to him and brushing his fingers against Severus' neck. "Unless you had something more in mind."
Severus leaned in to kiss him, and Remus forgot why he had thought that Severus was an unfeeling and aloof bastard. "I leave the decision to you," Severus whispered against his ear.
Remus sighed, leaning his head against Severus'. "Sleep," he said. "At least for now." He nuzzled Severus' jaw, sliding a hand to the back of his neck. Severus' hair was still damp, and he smelled of soap and the scent that was uniquely his own.
Leaning his head back to reveal his throat, Severus groaned as Remus nipped and nuzzled, a hand at the back of his head to guide him. "Most people sleep in a bed if it's available," Severus murmured, his throat vibrating against Remus' lips.
With a final teasing flick of his tongue against Severus' throat, Remus pulled away and gestured for the bed. Severus finished undressing, and a moment later, they were lying under the sheet, the sultry night too hot for blankets or quilts. After a few minutes of shifting, they were lying in each other's arms, each holding and being held by the other.
"Thank you," Remus whispered.
"If you thank me one more time, I'm leaving," Severus said, but his words lost all their edge as he nuzzled Remus' neck and tightened his arms around Remus' waist.
"You're a fraud," Remus said, leaning his head against Severus'. "You just like to make an impressive act."
"Do you think so?"
Severus brushed his lips against Remus' leaving a faint trace of mint on Remus' lips. "Do I succeed then?"
Remus wound his fingers into Severus' hand. "Yes," he replied, pulling Severus' arms tighter around him.