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I Lie In Your Charms

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I Lie in Your Charms

I lie in your charms
Though it harms the best of me
And I lie on to my friends to them
No wonder why I wait for thee

 

xXx

 

War was never kind, and even those that came out on the other side as heroes paid a steep price. They all had new baggage to carry, some more laden down than others. It was part of the reason why no one felt like it was appropriate to openly complain about it, and why instead of mourning the loss of their innocence and loved ones, they turned to celebration instead. All around people plastered on smiles and spoke of hope, when behind closed doors, those same mouths twisted around sobs of anguish.

 

Severus Snape had no such qualms, and openly scorned the celebrations. There were many reasons for his stance on the ridiculousness of pretending things were fine. The first was simply his own losses; there was a time for fun and merriment; even he was not too bitter to admit that, but this felt disingenuous. There hadn’t been more than seconds to mourn during the war, and Albus Dumbledore was one of many who had lost his life. Afterwards, there was a brief vigil, barely a half a day of reverence, before everyone plastered on those stupid smiles and pretended that was the end of their grief. 

 

The second reason, although more complicated and entrenched, was the fact that Severus Snape had never lived in an age of peace. From a young child, through to his adulthood, darkness followed him like a shadow. He didn’t know how to let his hackles fall, stop his eyes from darting around, or relent from second guessing people’s intentions. He was now a war hero, but he didn’t feel an iota of pride about his placement on the chess board of this war. He had done what needed to be done, for slightly more selfish reasons than most, and he didn’t relish in any of it. He accepted his role as a pawn that turned obsidian or pale depending on the day, and couldn’t look too deeply into it without sleepless nights or mental breakdowns. 

 

The third, and perhaps most pertinent to this narrative, was the fact that Severus Snape knew, in every inch of his soul, that he was a dead man walking. 

 

To elaborate; he killed Albus Dumbledore and made the Unbreakable Vow with Narcissa Malfoy knowing that oblivion awaited him at the end of the war. He wasn’t meant to wake up in the hospital wing of Hogwarts in crippling pain from the effects of venom on his body. He wasn’t meant to learn how to speak again, but never without a hoarseness that would remain thanks to Nagini’s fangs piercing through his neck. The first thing he felt aside from bewilderment and pain, was anger. Minerva wouldn’t just let him die in peace, no, she saved him and dumped the very antivenom he’d created to save someone important down his throat. 

 

He wouldn’t talk to her for days as he slowly recovered. By the time the final battle ended, Severus was still too weak and sequestered away to do anything more than wince at the sounds of explosions and screams. Poppy moved his bed into a heavily warded, and unmapped, part of the hospital wing. There he waited to either die by Death Eater hand, or more pathetically, starvation. Neither occurred, and after the dust settled, he was moved into one of the few rooms that weren’t destroyed by the battle. 

 

Minerva McGonagall lied about his death until after his name was cleared and he was given a Medal of Honour, and only then did she let slip he was holed up in Hogwarts. The old ministry would have arrested her, or at least fined her heavily for her obstruction of justice, but this ministry was willing to move forward and quickly forget. That was, of course, thanks to the new minister of magic; Kingsley Shacklebott, one of the few who had to feign surprise when Snape’s survival came to light. 

 

Severus survived the war of dark and light, but his house and personal belongings did not. Death Eaters destroyed everything they could get their hands on, and that left Severus with very little. His rooms in the dungeons were still smoking, not much left in the charred remains except his most sturdy potion’s equipment. Severus had an odd feeling it was thanks to Bellatrix, the psychotic bitch, and imagined she was content knowing she’d inconvenienced him even after her death. 

 

All this accumulated to Severus being offered to stay at Hogwarts until several months after the war. He helped fix the castle as much as he could with a fucked up voice and severely depleted energy reserves. Hogwarts wouldn’t open until January for their next term, and it would go until the end of July in hopes of stuffing in as much education as they could so the students could continue on in their years. 

 

This led to another thing Severus was roped into; first his survival, then the restoration efforts, and most annoying of all; his enforced company. 

 

Harry Potter was a thorn in his side Before Death, and he was just as much of one after, except in a completely different way. He seemed to think of Severus like some sort of friend, or at the very least someone who was irreparably tethered to him. Harry chattered ; spoke about things like a thinly veiled secret only he and Severus were privy to. As Severus ignored his own deeply rooted exhaustion from standing for too long and worked on restoring the front vestibule of the castle, Harry planted himself firmly at his side. Not even the other two of his trio could pull him away. 

 

“Don’t you have to be a guest of honour at a party somewhere?” Severus garbled out in irritation after listening to Harry talk about horcruxes for two hours straight.

 

Harry just laughed. 

 

“I’m not your therapist.” He tried again on another day, when Harry looked drawn and pale after attending five different trials for captured Death Eaters earlier that morning. 

 

“I sure hope not. You’d be terrible.” Harry ran a hand across his face, grim smile curling up the corner of his mouth as if he knew Snape was joking. “I just wish this part was over.”

 

“It will never be over.” Severus lifted his wand and blasted a particularly large piece of rubble, swaying after when the dizziness from overexertion kicked in. Harry was at his side in an instant, dragging him over to a pillar on it’s side to sit for a moment. 

 

“You’re probably right.” Harry agreed after they sat there for a few moments in silence. “They all want interviews and to shake my hand, I just want peace.”

 

“Poor Mr. Potter.” Severus leaned back against the wall behind them and winced at the bright flash of pain that lanced through his chest. “Your popularity comes at a price.”

 

Harry barked out a laugh that was dry and fake. “Don’t I know it?”

 

“Why are you here?” Severus demanded, turning to look at the young saviour with narrowed eyes.

 

“Why am I at Hogwarts living through the nightmare over and over again, or why I am with you when I could be off with everyone else my age?” Harry leaned back as well and closed his eyes. For a moment, Severus had a vivid image of James, thirty seven in age but with more stress and loss. What would the man feel if he were still alive, watching his son go through hell and back for most of his youth? Severus felt something twist in his gut, wondering where the thought came from.

 

“Both.” He croaked, and he hoped it was just his damaged vocal cords that made him sound so strange to his own ears.

 

“I’m tired.” Harry opened his eyes and stared sightlessly above him through the branches of the trees that remained in the courtyard. “But I can’t sleep knowing there’s still a part of this world tainted by him. This was my home. My only home. The only place I felt safe.” He continued. 

 

“You were safe at your relatives.” Severus reminded him. 

 

Harry turned his head and gave Severus a crooked smile. “According to Hermione, physically safe and mentally safe are two different things.”

 

Severus hated that he knew what that meant, and so he said nothing. 

 

“And I’m here with you because everyone else is getting on my nerves.” Harry admitted at last. “They want things from me. Things I can’t… I think Neville is the only one who isn’t asking me to talk. Ron just wants things to be back to what they were, Hermione wants me to go see someone who can help me ‘come to terms’ with things.” He put the air quotations around the words. “Plus… they’re not going to make it.” He looked down sadly. “I can tell it’s over, but they can’t. It’s hard to watch them fight to stay together.”

 

Severus wondered what had become of his life that he was listening to the woes of teenagers in love. 

 

“And Ginny, she is so smart, smarter than me, and smarter than Ron and Hermione. She knew she deserved better than someone who is only there half the time.” He seemed to choke on something, and then clenched his fists in his lap. “I can’t be what she needs.”

 

Severus scoffed. “What you need is to be a child who survived a war. You are seventeen, not thirty, and for Merlin’s sake, don’t become a bloody auror .” He stood up and dusted off his robes decisively. “Your martyr complex is astounding, Potter, but even you have your limits. You’re not going to single-handedly save the world, and quite frankly, neither of us owe anyone a damn thing anymore.”

 

It was the first time Severus had said the words out loud, but he was stunned into silence by them. He turned away from Harry so he wouldn’t see the look on his face. “However.” He continued on as smoothly as he could. “You are doing yourself no favours hanging around with me . It sounds as though you’re just being a coward.” He threw the last words over his shoulder as he walked off. “I thought you were a Gryffindor.”

 

The next morning, Harry waved at him as he walked by with Neville, and Severus breathed a visible sigh of relief. 

 

The next time he spoke with Harry face to face and not in passing, was at Draco and Narcissa’s trial. He didn’t expect Harry to show up. He’d been at Hogwarts less and less the last month or so, and Severus hoped he was doing whatever young traumatized teenagers did to recover without becoming entitled assholes in the process. Harry certainly took the Gryffindor comment to heart when he rose to make his little speech about Draco. He was blunt, and it made Snape cringe when he said how much of a selfish, bullying, prat Draco had been in his early days. He was already mentally re-evaluating his own statement to counteract Harry’s angry, bitter, youthful rivalry that would certainly get Draco sent to jail just because the Great Saviour didn’t like him. 

 

Then halfway though, Harry completely changed his tune, and started speaking about how Draco was a product of his father’s bigotry. Granger must have written this part for him, because it was much more thoughtful and well-spoken. He said that Draco refused to identify him, and was miserable during their sixth year. He knew that, even though Draco was scared, he was not evil. In fact, when it counted, he was just as much of a hero as Neville Longbottom, the boy who destroyed the last Horcrux. Without Draco and Narcissa Malfoy, Harry would be dead twice over.

 

Harry then finished his little speech with how he was tired of people being categorized as good and evil based on things they had no control over. He wanted to live in a world where people weren’t immediately judged by labels. He included werewolves in this diatribe, which made everyone uncomfortable in the room for varying reasons, and then sat down and shut his mouth. 

 

After the trial was let out for recess, Severus cornered (dragged him away from reporters) and demanded to know where that had come from. Which was when Severus discovered it wasn’t Granger who had written his speech for him, but a combination of Lovegood and Longbottom. Wonders never ceased. 

 

Severus was called on later in the trial, but he knew that what Harry said had already cemented in their minds. He had them at his beck and call, and Severus was surprised to see that he’d used his fame as a tool to help . Instead of being a champion of the battlefield, he was starting to become a champion of the people, and after Draco and Narcissa were sentenced to house arrest, and Draco on probation for his ‘eighth’ year of Hogwarts, Harry only gained momentum. 

 

Severus didn’t see the effects of his little campaigns, but that didn’t really matter to him. It kept Harry and his little posse busy for the last few months of renovations at Hogwarts. 

 

Severus finally moved out of Hogwarts and settled into a small cottage a few hours away from Hogsmeade. It was the second-last week of October when he finally moved all his things over, and then went to find Mcgonagall.

 

“You’re sure?” Minerva looked both annoyed and surprised that Severus didn’t want his position back as Potion’s Master, which was laughable at best and pathetic at most. He was no teacher, nor did he want to spend the rest of his After Life teaching brats who didn’t know what the hell they were doing. Perhaps he could have looked at it as a chance to start over, but Severus had started to not give a single damn about what anyone else thought he should or shouldn’t do.  

 

“Absolutely.” Severus responded firmly. 

 

“Severus.” Minerva rubbed at her forehead. “You’ve put me in a difficult position. I don’t have anyone to teach potions, especially not at an advanced level.”

 

Severus arched a brow at her, wondering if she’d dare-

 

She did. She guilted him into teaching sixth and seventh (and those few eighth years), one of which she assured him would be Harry Potter. 

 

Severus had a sinking suspicion that perhaps Harry was involved with this after all, especially when he received a letter from the prat saying he looked forward to seeing him in January. Severus decidedly did not write him back, but instead pulled out some wine and drank three glasses to fortify himself. He cursed Minerva and Albus to the seventh layer of hell, woke up the next day with a surly grimace from his hangover, and took a potion to alleviate it. 

 

The thing was, Severus was tired. He’d never realized how much effort being alive was before. He had a purpose then, but now he felt like a ghost wandering from place to place, being rearranged how others saw fit. He didn’t see a point in any of it, and many days he found himself staring into the middle distance, so, so, tired but unable to do much but blink and exchange oxygen. 

 

On New Years, Minerva threatened him at wand-point to attend the Order of the Phoenix party being hosted at the Three Broomsticks. The party would be thanks for the effort of restoring Hogwarts, and yet another celebration for the end of the war. The first few parties Severus could beg off that he wasn’t completely well, but Minerva and several other staff wouldn’t take no for an answer. Everyone wanted to celebrate their success, and he was a part of that success. 

 

Utter tripe. 

 

That was how, on a frigid New Years Eve, Remus Lupin found Severus Snape sitting behind The Three Broomsticks, smoking. 

 

Severus was sitting at one of the new patio tables they’d installed after the war, only enough snow brushed off for him to cast a drying spell and sit. He had his dark cloak wrapped firmly around himself; only his one hand exposed to the elements as he sucked in a drag of the cigarette and let it billow out in front of him. He didn’t care for the sounds of merriment behind him, nor was he in the mood to be lectured about his filthy muggle habit. He had started it up a few months ago, remembering vaguely an image of his mother sitting outside the stoop of their small house with one dangling from her lips. 

 

xXx

 

The war had not been kind to Remus Lupin. His son was without a mother, and his left arm had little to no feeling left in it. The healers set his hand, and even though the appendage now looked like it was just a little scarred, the nerves were almost completely destroyed. He was learning to hold things again, and had a vague sense of pressure but little else. Taking care of an infant was hard enough as a single father, but even more difficult as a werewolf with a disability. 

 

He, too, lived with the knowledge every day that he shouldn’t have survived the war, but somehow did anyway. 

 

His philosophy was a little different than Severus’s. He didn’t have the luxury to isolate himself and generally push everyone out of his life. He had to raise Teddy and find a way to keep them both from starving to death. Also unlike Severus, he kept tabs on the people who survived the war, and knew all along that the potions master was alive and in the castle. This was because, shortly after Severus had moved out, Remus had moved in. 

 

He had wished to catch Severus alone for a long time to make amends. After he awoke in St. Mungos and moved into a Ministry-appointed flat with his son, Remus decided enough was enough. He had lived his life feeling like it wasn’t his own; stick to the status quo or be outcast. The sad fact was his careful compliance didn’t matter. Dora was dead, he was outed as a werewolf, and all his friends were long-gone. It wasn’t that he didn’t care anymore, because sometimes he cared a little too much. It was that he didn’t want his son to grow up and see how much of a coward his father was. 

 

He wanted Teddy to take after his mother; her bravery, her kindness, and her come-what-may attitude, and he knew that if he stayed the same, he’d just instill bad traits in his son. He needed a steadfast father, not a man who spent his days feeling sorry for himself and hiding away from the world. He had always wondered why he was placed in Gryffindor, but it wasn’t until one am, three months after the end of the war when he held a crying Teddy in his arms, that he realized it. 

 

Sometimes the sorting hat placed people in what they needed the most. And what Remus needed the most was a little courage.  

 

xXx

 

“I’m glad I found you.” Remus forced himself to relax, even though all the speeches and proclamations deserted him when actually faced with Severus in person. 

 

“How unfortunate.” Severus flicked the ashes at his feet, giving Remus that same dismissive look he always did. “As I came out here to be alone.”

 

This would be the point when Remus normally backed down. The guilt of his negligence to stop the bullying when they were kids was part of the reason why. Remus sought Severus out in their sixth year to apologize one night, when the anger at Sirius outweighed the guilt that often immobilized him. Except when he saw Severus sitting in the library, he’d faltered. He had looked so peaceful for once, and Remus simply stood there and stared at him with all the righteous fury draining out of him. 

 

That boy didn’t deserve Remus interrupting one of his brief moments of peace, was what he told himself as he climbed back up to Gryffindor tower. Except deep down, he knew it was something different; a mixture between cowardice and something he couldn’t quite identify. What would have happened if he apologized, and made Severus believe him? He’d never know, but now he had the time and the fortitude to try. 

 

“I hear we are going to be teaching together again.” Remus removed the rest of the snow on the bench across from Severus with a wave of his own wand. 

 

“I am only substituting until Minerva finds a suitable replacement.” Severus informed him promptly, and then sat up a little straighter. “I suppose you’ll be needing wolfsbane again.”

 

“Oh, no.” Remus quickly brushed off his suggestion. “I won’t trouble you with that, again.”

 

Severus was looking at him now with suspicious eyes. “I fail to see what you need from me, then.”

 

“When did you start smoking?” Remus asked abruptly, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table in front of him. 

 

“I don’t see how that’s any of your business.” Severus took in a deep drag and blew it out, not exactly blowing it in Remus’s face, but the putrid smell wafted over anyways. 

 

Remus wrinkled up his nose in distaste, but didn’t take the bait. “It’s not, exactly. I’m just curious. You didn’t smoke before.”

 

“Kept tabs on me?” Severus hissed.

 

“I hope that leaves eventually, Severus.” Remus looked at him sadly. “The paranoia. I’m not here to be your enemy. I haven’t wanted that ever.”

 

“Ah, yes, you’re looking for absolution.” Severus gave him a nasty look. “And I suppose you think we’ll all just forgive and forget, then? That your friends tormented me, how you nearly murdered me.”

 

“I don’t think you’re capable of forgetting the past, Severus.” Remus’s lips curled up in amusement. “But I don’t want to live like that anymore. I want to live for now . So, I’m not asking you to forgive a sixteen year old coward. I’m asking you to let him go.”

 

“I don’t see the difference.” Severus hissed. “Between the coward then, and the coward now.”

 

“And that is exactly why I’m asking you to know me now before you make that judgement.” Remus shot back, feeling slightly triumphant in the fact that Severus’s brows raised ever so slightly. “For instance, I won’t forget what we put you through, or that you were once an active death eater, but I am willing to know the man who smokes cigarettes and lets Harry talk his ear off when he wouldn’t have before.” Remus paused here and nodded to the slowly dwindling embers of the cigarette. “Even though I can’t imagine why you’d want to smoke them.”

 

“What do you want?” Severus demanded, dropping the smoke to the ground and vanishing it away after he’d stamped it out. 

 

Remus sighed. “I want to move on.” 

 

“How nice for you.” Severus leaned back. “Do it somewhere else.”

 

“You don’t want to build a new life, Severus?” Remus stared at him. “You want to wallow instead?”

 

“You have no idea what has happened in my life.” Severus stood up. 

 

Remus stood up too, and stepped in his way. “You’re right. But that’s your fault, not mine.”

 

“Step aside.”

 

“What do you want?”

 

Severus opened his mouth and then closed it. It would be too trite to say something scripted like ‘for you to step aside’. For some reason everyone around him was becoming more and more obstinate in forcing their way into his life. Why was he suddenly so important, why now? They thought they knew him now that it came out he was working for Dumbledore. They’d never cared before and turned a blind eye to all his other accomplishments. 

 

“I want to be left alone.” Severus was annoyed at how defeated that sounded, and tried again. “I was supposed to stay dead in that bloody war, and now I’m stuck here having inane conversations with you.

 

“You died too.” There was something too close to recognition in Remus’s eyes. 

 

“Of course I died.” Severus snapped, wrenching open the top two buttons to his cloak and showing the map of scars on his neck. “As far as I’m concerned, this is purgatory! Perhaps next my mother will come along and plead forgiveness for things that cannot be changed as well! A lot of good any of it does me. I’m supposed to be dead!

 

Remus swallowed thickly and the same haze he felt for months after the war settled upon him. Severus should be dead, he should be dead, and yet they were both standing there in the cold December chill. Severus was trapped in his own demise, and Remus was looking for any way possible to escape the clutches of his. He just wanted to do better and be better, but Severus didn’t even see a point in it. He thought a new chance at life was some sort of divine punishment.

 

That was why he was smoking, and Remus couldn’t help but laugh.

 

“What is so amusing?” Severus hissed, eye twitching at the audacity. 

 

“It’s just… so juvenile.” Remus said before he could take the words back. “You thought you deserved death, so now you’re just not going to live?”

 

He hit the wall behind them, and it was only because his wand was already in his hand that he was able to cast a quick cushioning charm. He wasn’t surprised that Severus attacked him, in fact, he would have been surprised if he hadn’t. Severus was already stalking towards him, and Remus saw multiple futures as to how this could go. Words, thrown back and forth, maybe some spells or punches, but he was so tired of that. Severus fisted his hands in the front of Remus’s robes, and instead of pushing him away Remus grabbed his wrists so he couldn’t get away.

 

“Are you done?” Remus asked fiercely, surprised by his own intensity. 

 

Severus tried to rip his hands back, but to no avail. Remus had werewolf strength on his side. 

 

“Let go of me.”

 

“Don’t you want to live?” Remus pressed. “For anyone? For yourself? For something ?”

 

“For what?!” Severus yelled, eyes wild as he realized that Remus had used his anger against him, something he didn’t know was even possible anymore. “I suppose you’ll tell me friendship and love and all that rot will save me? Are you going to save me, Lupin?” He sneered. 

 

Remus paused his life right there, and if anyone asked him what the hell he was thinking at that moment, he’d never be able to tell them. It was a jumbled mess of emotions, each one more fleeting than the last. What he did know was that his mission for a very long time had been to apologize to Severus about what happened, but now that he thought about it, why did he care? Why was he arguing with him about this, when it was clear the bastard was quite willing to waste away in his own grief? For better or worse, he had his attention, whether it was from the corner of his eye, or up in his face like this. 

 

Perhaps Dora was right; he was a little more fluid sexually than he thought. The thought of her still took his breath away, but it was enough pain to jolt him back to awareness. 

 

“Is that what you want?” Remus replied calmly. “For someone to make you feel alive?”

 

Because maybe Remus needed that a little bit, too.

 

Severus couldn’t hide his reaction, not this close. His pupils dilated, darted down to stare at Remus's mouth. Before he was able to reign himself in and throw something caustic out, Remus’s lips were on his. 

 

The kiss sent a shock through the both of them, but whereas Severus felt all sense leave him, Remus surged forward and sought more of the feeling. He let go of Severus’s hands and threaded his up around the back of his nape and into his dark hair, stepping closer and changing the angle. Severus couldn’t bring his mind back together again for several long moments, and instinctually moved his mouth against Remus’s as heat seared between the two of them. 

 

Remus switched their positions and shoved Severus against the wall, devouring his mouth and chasing the high of closeness he thought he’d never feel again. It wasn’t until Remus kissed the corner of his mouth and along his jaw towards his neck that Severus regained his senses and got his arms in between them. 

 

“What are you doing?!”

 

“Snogging you, I think.” Remus felt drunk off the giddiness, and closed the distance between them again easily. 

 

Severus’s arms were trapped between them, and Remus must have seen the fear in his eyes, because he took a half a step back. 

 

“Do you want this?” Remus looked like he had to practically scrape the words from his throat, surprised at his own reaction and how fervidly he wanted Severus to say yes. “Severus?” He dragged his thumb along Severus’s bottom lip, staring at those lips as they held the only answer he needed to hear. 

 

Severus tried to remember a time that he felt this intensity between himself and another person. He’d always considered himself to be too broken for such things, but now it was like every nerve was alight with overstimulated awareness. He could feel Remus’s eyes boring into him, but for the life of him he couldn’t think of anything to say, instead he leaned forward to try and recapture the rush. When they met halfway, the warmth slotted back into place, and he let Remus manhandle him further into the wall. 

 

There was nothing but whispered questions after that, and Severus kept on opening his eyes and feeling dazed and slightly alarmed at the sight of Remus in front of him. There was talk of relocating, and Severus didn’t trust himself to apparate, but clearly Remus was feeling eager. There was a tug around his middle and suddenly there was no wall against his back, and he was being directed from a dark living room into a bedroom. 

 

Severus didn’t know he could feel this frantic and impatient, pushing Remus’s clothes off his shoulder and latching onto his neck as Remus worked on his own pants. Eventually they were half naked in the dim lighting of a bedroom and then there was nothing but slivers of moonlight and skin. Severus felt the back of his knees hit the bed and he half expected to feel trapped when Remus pushed him down and slid on top of him. Instead he gasped as Remus grabbed his hips and thrust their clothed dicks together. 

 

The instinctual roll of his hips made the heat in his belly spread like wildfire through his pelvis, and he couldn’t stop long enough to do much but shove his hand down Remus’s pants and take hold of him. The warm heat in his hand made him feel powerful, especially when Remus groaned against his neck and started to suck a bruise into his mottled skin. He stroked him as Remus pushed his thigh in between Severus’s legs, giving him friction. 

 

They moved against each other; the sounds of panting, the feel of scarred but warm skin, the pleasure building higher- too strong to deny. Eventually Remus had half a mind to push his way between Severus’s hips and shove his underwear down to fist both of their cocks and rock against him directly. Severus wouldn’t remember dragging his nails down Remus’s back, or the way his breath hitched with every thrust. What he would remember was the way he was focused solely on the task, and he’d never felt so present, so desired, since way before the war- maybe even ever. 

 

Remus pressed their mouths together messily. With the precum dripping between the two of them, the burn became a slide, and Severus felt everything crash and peak shortly after. Pleasure raced up and down his legs, and endorphins flushed through his brain, leaving him sated and content. Remus collapsed against him shortly after, but was aware enough to not completely crush him, and instead splay out next to him with their arms touching. They were both heaving in deep breaths, and staring at the ceiling as they came back to themselves.

 

The first feeling was amazement, swiftly followed by the sensation of feeling sweaty and dirty. 

 

“Do me a favour.” Remus spoke between pants. “Don’t start thinking.”

 

Severus closed his eyes and for once, he agreed. He could feel the panic on the horizon, but there was no disgust where he thought he’d find it. Instead he felt exhausted and a little embarrassed. 

 

“You can stay.” Remus was quick to assure him. “Teddy is at his grandmother’s.”

 

Severus put his hand over his face and dragged it down. 

 

Well, that happened. With Remus Lupin

 

“And, you know.” Remus turned towards him and turned Severus’s jaw so he could look him directly in the eyes. “That doesn’t have to be the last time.”



Chapter Text

xXx

 

The start of term commenced, and Severus once again found himself in the hallowed halls of Hogwarts. The sorting ceremony was a stilted affair, and the sorting hat made an extra long speech about acceptance and tolerance. The first girl sorted into Slytherin started bawling and Severus wished more than anything he had forgone this stupid tradition and stayed at home. Minerva tried her best to wrangle the school into order, but there were a lot of negative memories here. Severus himself found upwards of a dozen students crying in alcoves on his way to classes. 

 

He, of course, left them to their grief. He was not a bleeding heart, nor did he venture they wanted the sympathy of an ex-death eater. Still, the dour atmosphere permeated the castle, and he found himself wondering why he let Minerva bully him into this at all. By the second week he wondered if reopening Hogwarts was worth it. The extra course work shoved into every day did nothing to distract the students, and even though he had only three years to teach, he could see the effect on the seventh years the most. 

 

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Draco Malfoy were in his eighth year potions class, and he had no idea how to feel about it. It turned out that Harry Potter was actually rather competent at potions when he was paired with Draco Malfoy, which made Severus do a double take the first time he swept into class. Draco was sitting there with a pinched look on his face, and Potter was pulling his parchment out like there was absolutely nothing wrong with the situation. 

 

Draco looked at him pleadingly, and Severus decided that the Unbreakable Vow did not say anything from saving your ward from the forced friendship of Harry Potter. So Severus did absolutely nothing, and felt divine retribution that Harry was annoying someone else. Now, that wasn’t to say he didn’t also still think Severus was his long-lost mentor, but at least most of his attention was on giving Draco grey hair early. What was even more of a relief was the fact that Ronald Weasley and Neville Longbottom did not see fit to grace his class with their disastrous presence, and so the lessons started off as smoothly.

 

He was tired, exhausted, and wondered if the tryst with Lupin had been nothing but a strange alcohol-induced fever dream. Still, he made sure to avoid the man whenever possible, and wondered why he cared enough to do so. The werewolf had made it very clear that the ‘ball’ was firmly in his court, and he had no plans whatsoever to do anything with it. The last time was a mistake, and he couldn’t let it happen again. 

 

His office was on the main floor, right near the stairs leading down into the dungeons. It was a strategic placement on Minerva’s part, because she expected him to care enough to stop any bullying that occurred right outside his door. A few Slytherin’s came to him to discuss school work, and he saw the gaunt, haunted looks in their eyes, but he said nothing. He felt like he was barely present to begin with, and he was still dealing with his own sleepless nights and poor appetite. 

 

That was, of course, around the time that Bleeding Heart Hermione Granger stepped up and offered her two cents worth. 

 

During a staff meeting, which Severus only attended to ask for his stupid office to be moved, Hermione barged in with Neville and Harry in toe. He had no idea how she found out where or when the meeting was to take place, but he immediately blamed Lupin. She accused the teachers of turning a blind eye to the pain of her peers, and insisted that they hire some sort of councillor for the students, as well as provide extra patrols. She even went so far as to suggest that some of the teachers take courses on how to deal with troubled students, and had the gall to look directly at him. 

 

Over his dead body. 

 

“I think that’s a fantastic idea.” Of bloody course Lupin thought it was a fantastic idea. He was sitting there with his offspring bouncing on his lap, looking at the three of them like they hung the stars and moon. He turned to Severus and smiled at him brightly. “You’ve been speaking to the older Slytherin’s Severus, any suggestions?”

 

“Leave me out of this.” He drawled at once. “I’m only here on a part time basis.”

 

“That is exactly the sort of behaviour I’m talking about.” Granger put her hands on her hips. “The eighth years are doing their best, here, but Draco is absolutely swamped. He can’t talk to every Slytherin and do all his course work, and it shouldn’t be his job anyways.”

 

When the hell did Hermione Granger call Draco Malfoy ‘Draco?’. 

 

“He’s one of the few Slytherin who returned this year.” Her eyes glared into the side of his face, but he could not be bothered to look back.  

 

“Miss Granger, while I agree with your sentiment, I ask that you not interrupt our meetings. This could have been discussed during regular office hours.” Minerva had always had a soft spot for her, which was the only reason why she wasn’t taking off house points. “We will discuss the issue, but for now I’ll have to ask you to leave.”

 

The three students left and Severus knew at once he was in danger. There were four different teachers giving him assessing looks and he wanted nothing more than to find a secluded spot and chain smoke until he felt his hands stop shaking. He should have never come back. He wondered again why he had survived the damn war to begin with. This was never his job, and he was no longer Head of Slytherin House anyways. He could literally say he didn’t get paid enough. 

 

Still, even he had the sense to know it was not the time to ask for a relocation. He strode back to his office, grabbed his smokes, and took off for the tower that was still off limits to students due to structural damage. He would have gone home right away, but there was something about Hogwarts that always made him feel contemplative. Perhaps, for once in his life, Harry had been onto something when he talked about safety. 

 

He lit up under the half-collapsed roof and sat there until his hands were numb. Even the most potent warming charm did nothing against the January cold, but he found he couldn’t move. There was a morbid thought that perhaps he should just sit there until he was as frozen as he felt. He didn’t think of anything, just let things slip and ebb through his consciousness as he took lungful after lungful of nicotine. Soon his hands began to shake for another reason, and he let the cigarette die out. 

 

“Severus?” 

 

He let out an irritated huff and pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling the migraine coming on. Remus was picking his way up the decrepit staircase, and since there was no door, he couldn’t stop him from invading his peace. Lupin immediately beelined for him and stared down at him with a look Severus couldn’t quite make out with the moon at his back. 

 

“Problem, Lupin?” He asked calmly. 

 

“This place isn’t safe.” Remus pointed out softly.

 

“Thank you for your assessment that I didn’t ask for.” Severus wanted something to do with his hands, and he was annoyed that he had let the last cig die out naturally. Looking at Remus in the half light was bringing back images of skin and flashes of pleasure that he had been working on purging from his mind. 

 

Remus sat down beside him, ignoring his look, and picked up the carton of smokes to look at it idly. “Still courting death.”

 

“I didn’t know I needed your approval.” Severus responded caustically, and something sparked inside him when he thought about arguing with Remus. It was more than he’d felt in a while, and he started to feel slightly worried about his own sanity. 

 

“Last time, it was inappropriate to kiss you without permission.” Remus started carefully. “I don’t regret what happened, but I didn’t want you to feel-”

 

“-For Merlin’s sake, Lupin, shut up.” He cut him off. “You didn’t force yourself on me.”

 

Remus was looking at him nervously. “Are you sure? I… I sometimes wonder if this new philosophy is serving me well.”

 

Severus snorted and finally looked at him. “What philosophy is that? Annoying people who want to be left alone?”

 

“Severus.” Remus admonished. “You don’t want to be left alone any more than I want to leave you alone.”

 

“Have you studied legitimacy?” Severus demanded. “If not I suggest you don’t make assumptions about my wishes.”

 

“No, but you have.” Remus turned towards him then earnestly. “So use it. On me.”

 

“Why the hells would I do that?” He stared at him as if he were insane.

 

“Please.”

 

Fine, if he wanted to feel the invasive mind powers, then Severus would oblige him. In fact, he hoped it made him feel just as uncomfortable as Severus felt the few times someone did it to him. 

 

They locked gazes and Severus spoke the incantation, delving into Remus’s mind ruthlessly. Immediately there were images of him being projected back, and underneath a vague feeling of discomfort. He moved forward to chase that uncomfortable feeling, finding glee in the fact that Remus was probably regretting this. 

 

‘How could you do that?!’

 

‘Relax Moony, it’s only Snivillus-’

 

‘SHUT UP! Do you enjoy the idea of making me a murderer!?’

 

‘Remus… I…’

 

‘No! No you didn’t think at all! No one deserves this, do you hear me?! NO ONE!

 

An image of Severus studying, and Remus wanting nothing more than to say something, make him believe that he could have never done something so terrible. The longer he image stayed, the longer the feelings of awe and guilt mixed together. He shouldn’t harass him; he looked content for once. When had he last seen anything but a scowl on Severus’s face? A brief montage of angry Snape faces before they faded. 

 

‘He’s not well, is he?’

 

Severus felt his breath hitch at the sound of Albus’s voice. An image of Severus from afar, working in the courtyard, looking tired and his wand shaking in his hand from fatigue. 

 

‘No headmaster, he isn’t.’

 

‘He hasn’t come to visit me, I had hoped…’ It was the portrait in the castle, where all the old headmasters and headmistresses resided. 

 

Remus must have been in this part of the castle during the repairs, and had stopped for a break and to speak to the portrait of Albus Dumbledore. 

 

‘I’m sorry.’ Regret and sheepishness.

 

Nonsense, Remus, it was never your burden to bear. I just wish I could have found a way to alleviate some of the darkness that plagued him. I apologize for asking you about him. I know things weren’t the most stable between the two of you. ’  

 

Do you think he’d talk to anyone?

 

I can only hope. ’ When did Albus ever sound so unsure of himself? Then a knowing look in Albus’s eyes. ‘ Remus, please promise me you will not take this upon yourself. I think it would only harm the both of you in the long run.

 

Remus stunned at the statement, as he had never considered doing so in the first place. Still, he did want to apologize eventually. Perhaps they can learn to be civil?

 

His own angry face staring back at him, it was the moment when he’d blasted Remus against the wall and grabbed his robes. 

 

Is that what you want?

 

For someone to make you feel alive?

 

Want, unbidden and intense. Watching his own mouth go slack, and the dilation of his pupils. Remus had much better night vision than him, and he could see the minute changes before Severus could hide them. The fact that he wanted it to, to feel alive instead of just existing. Courage, Remus thought to himself, and the overflow of desire when they kissed. 

 

When did I start wanting him?

 

More flashes of Severus, looking tired and withdrawn. Remus aching to do something, but unsure what was welcome. Memories of that night, and wanting selfishly to approach him for more. Remus speaking to his son in low whispers as Teddy dozed against his chest, talking about how he didn’t want his son to think of him as a coward. Flash of Severus. Regret. Resolve. Wanting things to be different. Wanting his son’s life to be different. 

 

I wish he had someone like you.

 

Severus backed out of his mind like he’d been scalded, and scrambled to his feet. That was a mistake, even more of a mistake than sleeping together in the first place. 

 

“I am not your charity case.” Severus hissed, but even he sounded doubtful. He saw that Remus didn’t know himself why he was drawn to him. How surprised he had been when they kissed, how Remus couldn’t explain it to himself. 

 

Remus came out of the daze much slower since his mind was the one that had been invaded. He blinked up at Severus twice before anger took over his expression. “I never once thought you were. Do you think I’d sleep with someone just because I felt sorry for them?”

 

“I don’t know what twisted justification goes on in that head of yours.” 

 

“Stop it.” Remus stood up and frowned at him. “You know damn well that’s not what happened. I wasn’t expecting it any more than you were.”

 

“And I supposed you expect me to believe you’re attracted to me ?”

 

“I am bloody attracted to you! Did we see the same damn memories?”

 

“You’re mental.”

 

“Then why didn’t you stop me?”

 

They were both breathing heavily, anger and anxiety ratcheting the emotions to the same dangerous level as before. Remus immediately looked away and ran a hand through his greying hair, trying to calm himself before he acted on kissing that stupid defiant look off Snape’s face. He knew the man was just as bewildered as he was, but he also knew he was just as attracted. 

 

“What exactly are you asking of me?” Severus narrowed his eyes at him. “I am not your boyfriend .” He spat the word out. “And I am certainly not your friend .”

 

Remus stared at him. “You’d be willing…?”

 

“Keep your feelings out of it.” Severus warned him, feeling intensely reckless. “And I’ll consider it.”

 

“I dropped Teddy off at his grandmother’s.” Remus blurted out. “I have rooms here…”

 

“I’m aware.” Severus refrained just barely from rolling his eyes, nervousness fluttering around in his stomach when he thought about what he’d just suggested, and what would happen now. 

 

Remus nodded and swallowed. “Then, I’ll meet you there?”

 

“Fine.”

 

Remus waited for ten minutes before the barely-there knock sounded on his door. He opened it in a hurry, half-doubting that Severus would show up, and wondering if it was another teacher coming to ask him a question. Yet, there the man stood, looking at him expectantly until he wordlessly stepped out of the way and let the potion’s master inside. He had no idea how these sorts of things worked, did he offer him tea? Did he pull him in for a kiss? Was there an etiquette? 

 

Severus didn’t have any such qualms about doing what he wanted, and unclasped his cloak to throw it across the back of Remus’s loveseat. He turned to raise a brow at him and Remus felt his heart rate double. He closed the distance between them and batted Severus’s hands away from his shirt, undoing it with uneven breaths and dilated pupils. The light in the room was enough for him to see the scarring around his neck, but he didn’t waste any time sliding his hand into the opening and running his thumb back and forth at the base of his throat. 

 

Severus shrugged himself out of his shirt and then grabbed Remus’s tie and loosened it with nimble fingers that seemed so much more steady than Remus’s had been. Once he was free of his tie, vest, and shirt, the two of them stilled. It was different this time, with so much more to see and less frantic. Remus slid his hands down Severus’s chest to his hips and then closed the space between them until their lips were barely brushing. 

 

“Do you want this?” He whispered. 

 

He was too close to see Severus, but he heard the hitch in his breath. “Yes.” The potion’s master consented, and then slammed their mouths together. 

 

The heat was just as potent as the last time, but Remus was determined to take his time and slow down. Last time had been about getting off as quickly as possible, but this time he wanted to enjoy it and learn about the body in his arms. He got Severus sitting on his bed with only one stumble, ignoring the hiss and insult that Severus made during it. They kissed hot and slow, Severus slowing down his pace when he realized that Remus wasn’t going anywhere quickly. 

 

Remus ran his hands down his back and onto his arse, pulling him half into Remus’s lap as he bit down gently on the scar tissue of his neck. Severus’s hands were in his hair, pulling him closer and grunting softly whenever he brushed over the sensitive spot behind his ear. He squeezed his hands firmly and then slid them back up to the top of Severus’s trousers. 

 

“Can I take them off?”

 

“That’s the point, isn’t it?” Severus demanded impatiently, and then pulled away to strip out of all of his remaining clothes. 

 

Remus had him on his back before Severus could say anything about Remus reciprocating the nudity. He latched his mouth onto the skin presented to him, and any words Severus would have had for him dissolved into thin air. He trailed his mouth down his chest, rubbing his thumb across one nipple as he sucked on the other. The trail of kisses ended just before his navel, and then he bit down gently just above his pelvis beside the trail of hair leading down to his aroused length. 

 

“Can I-”

 

“Bloody hell, Lupin, just get on with it!” 

 

Remus pulled back and gave him an annoyed look. “I’m going to keep asking. Stop being difficult.” 

 

Severus put his hand over his eyes and sighed. “Fine. Yes. Anything. Just do something.”

 

“Anything?” Remus pointed out, and decided to push a little. “So you’d be okay with me fucking you?”

 

He didn’t know what exactly he expected the response to be, but the twitch of the cock in front of him and the flush that appeared on Severus’s skin as he drew in a shaky, aroused, breath dissolved any resistance Remus had left. He didn’t have to look up to see Severus nod, even though he saw it out of the corner of his eye, and instead leaned back to grab his wand. Remus had never felt so turned on in his life, and wondered if it was smart to do this when he was so worked up. He summoned a bottle of lubricant, and put it on the bed beside him. 

 

Severus had pulled his hand away from hiding his eyes and was watching him now. He let Remus push his legs apart so he could settle in between them, and he no longer could focus on anything but where Remus touched him. He didn’t expect to feel such a visceral response to the question, but the idea was too enticing to deny. If he were half in his right mind, he probably would have given some form of token resistance, but now he didn’t give a damn about it. He wanted to feel that, and he could feel his body heat from the inside out in anticipation. 

 

Remus trailed his tongue down the length in front of him, lapping up the precum at the tip and sucking gently. Severus arched up at the sensation and he used that momentum to bring his fingers to the pucker beneath. He didn’t use the lubrication just yet, waiting to get a feel if Severus would pull away from the sensation of something at his entrance. Severus stilled but didn’t resist, instead he waited, suspended slightly, as those fingers traced around the muscle. 

 

Lupin .” His voice sounded wrecked, and he grasped the comforter beneath him. “Fucking hell…”

 

Remus slicked up his fingers and returned to licking and distracting Severus from the feeling of cold lube on his skin. Severus wasn’t loud, in fact, the only thing he did was breathe heavily as Remus stretched him out one finger at a time. Still, his erection didn’t fade, and he eventually started pushing back into the sensation. Remus was nothing if not thorough, stretching him out until he could easily plunge three fingers inside and spread them out. 

 

If it weren’t for the fact that he was so hard it hurt, Remus figured he could do this for hours. Severus’s body didn’t lie to him, but as he became more controlled by the pleasure, the quieter he got. Remus kissed his way up his chest again and then pressed their mouths together as he pulled his fingers out. Severus’s lips were slack under his, but he kissed him back with his tongue and gentle pants. When he slicked himself up and pulled a pillow down from the bed to shove it under Severus’s hips, he paused to take in the sight before him. 

 

Severus didn’t really look like he was capable of stringing more than two words together. His chest heaved, a red flush across his skin, and he was watching Remus with hooded eyes that pierced right through him. Remus had never considered Severus would be so accommodating in bed, but now that he was there, he worried he had pushed him too far and Severus had simply shut down. 

 

“Is this really okay?”

 

More light came back to Severus’s eyes, and Remus smiled in relief when he frowned at him. 

 

“I would have stopped you otherwise.” Severus snapped, and it was enough for Remus to drag his hips closer and angle them up so he could press the head of his cock against Severus. 

 

“You’re sure?” He smiled down at him lopsided, both of them aware now that he was teasing.

 

“Lupin.” He warned, and then tilted his head back with his breath caught in his throat when Remus pushed slowly inside. 

 

“Breathe.” Remus reminded him softly, kissing his chin and continuing his slow slide in. Severus took in a shuddering breath and then he was inside him completely, hips flush against his arse. 

 

“Ha!” Severus grabbed the arm that was against his hip in a tight grip, unaware he did so. Remus stilled and waited for the hand to loosen, and only then did he start moving. 

 

He rocked his hips forward and back, leaning down to mouth across Severus’s collarbone. He was starting to get just as lost in his own pleasure, but he stubbornly held onto need so he could get Severus to his peak first. His hips picked up their pace naturally, and he pulled Severus as close as he could, hands gripping him tightly by one thigh and the opposite shoulder. Remus buried his nose against his neck and began to rut into him, waiting to feel the change that indicated Severus was close. 

 

He didn’t have to hold out for long since Severus’s nerves were alight with pleasure. He’d never felt something so liberating and intense before, wondering vaguely why he hadn’t tried this sooner. He didn’t understand how it could feel so good to be bent in half, submitting so wholly to another human being, but he didn’t want to stop and dwell on it. His hands slipped on sweaty skin, trying to hold on and pull the body inside him closer still. There was a precipice, and he was hurling towards it fearlessly. 

 

Instinctually he reached down to touch himself, but Remus got there first, and the perfect tight grip was enough. He tensed up like the string of a bow, and then gasped and it was over. He was coming in long stripes against his stomach, wave after wave of his orgasm taking his breath away until he couldn’t hear anything but a ringing in his ears and then his own faint panting. Remus was still thrusting inside him, chasing his own peak, and it prolonged Severus’s orgasm until it was nearly painful. 

 

Then Remus groaned in his ear and spilled inside him, and the claim felt strange but welcome. He couldn’t think, couldn’t move, and all he could do was try to get his breathing and heart rate back down to normal. He felt Remus pull out of him, wincing slightly at how awkward that felt, and then the next thing he noticed was the feeling of sweat cooling on his skin. He wanted to drown in the feeling of contentment and blissful ignorance, knowing that it would very easily become an addiction. 

 

Severus didn’t remember slipping into a sated, post-orgasm doze. He felt the bed dip and then the presence beside him disappeared. All his muscles were lax, and he couldn’t remember anything except how good it had felt. His brain, high off the sex, replayed the highlights in hazy images, and he began to formulate half-thoughts about the next time, and what he wanted to pursue more of. He was pulled to awareness by a couple spells being muttered, and then the mess between his legs and on his stomach was suddenly gone. 

 

He cracked an eye open when Remus sat on the edge of the bed and kissed his exposed shoulder. 

 

“You wanna stay the night?”

 

Severus knew, logically, he should pull himself out of the bed and get dressed. Instead he grumbled out a simple: “I’m tired.”

 

“Okay.” There was a smile in Remus’s voice, and then the lights all went out and Remus settled into the bed beside him. 

 

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Severus woke up early the next morning, clothed himself, and left via the floo in Remus’s office. He laid himself down on the couch in his living room after a long shower and considered his next move. It had happened not once, but twice, and he couldn’t deny that he had instigated this one. He could pretend it didn’t happen, end their agreement altogether, or unabashedly act on these newly discovered pleasures whenever he saw fit. Except even he was not ignorant enough to think that any of the options were without consequences. No emotions attached sex sounded like a dream, and that was exactly what it was; a dream. 

 

Remus was not going to leave him alone, whether or not they were sleeping together. Remus was all about the emotions, and no longer had any qualms about speaking his mind. That trick with the legitimacy was an example of exactly that; Albus had told him not to get involved, and what did he do? The exact bloody opposite, and then some. He guaranteed that the man was going to seek Severus out later that day after classes, and he needed a plan.

 

Severus didn’t have to be at school until the afternoon, a perk of being a part time teacher. He lifted himself from the couch and set about having something to eat, and then brewing potions to keep himself occupied until that afternoon. It wasn’t until he stepped in front of his first cauldron, preparing to make one of his commissions for a wealthy and impatient client that he realized it; the day before the full moon. The colour drained from his face and he stared at nothing for a long moment. 

 

He would normally be brewing wolfsbane for the man he had just slept with. A Werewolf. He’d slept with a werewolf. The same werewolf that had once tried to kill him. Logically he knew that; Remus was a werewolf, just like the sun was bright and water was wet, but this was different. The connection between the information and reality were two different things; and now he had to admit that he no longer thought of Remus as the beast. 

 

“Fuck.” Severus sighed eloquently. Emotions indeed. 

 

So shutting Remus up with sex was not an option tonight, because it was far too close to the full moon. In fact, Remus should be taking the wolfsbane tonight and tomorrow, and Severus had no idea who was brewing it for him. 

 

Severus was more agitated than normal, although if he was to believe the tripe of romance novels, he should have been walking on clouds for days after sex. He was, in fact, sore, tired, and annoyed. He knew that he didn’t give a good lecture on the invisibility potion, and so he shouldn’t have been surprised when Harry and Draco’s potion turned into an unmitigated disaster. He stormed over and told them both off, but was promptly reminded that no one in eighth year was even remotely intimidated by him anymore. 

 

“Severus, you didn’t tell us that.” Harry pointed out with a confused frown.

 

“Shut up, Potter.” Draco hissed. “We should have known that it’s a reaction of the diphylleia.”

 

“Draco, no one would know that unless they’d worked with diphylleia before.” Piped up Blaise from the row behind them. 

 

Severus could feel his anger mounting higher and higher as discussions broke out amongst the other students. 

 

“Diphylleia is a common medical ingredient.” Draco was saying to Harry. “I have worked with it before. I’m just… I was distracted.” He lifted his head to address Snape. “I’m sorry, professor.”

 

Damage control, breathe in, breathe out. Do not hex Harry Potter. 

 

“You would do well to remember this lesson, Mr. Malfoy, especially considering your career of choice. And Mr. Potter, I am your professor, you will address me as such.”

 

“Career of choice?” Harry immediately latched onto that and turned to Draco. “What does he mean? Are you going to become a potion’s master?”

 

“Focus on fixing your potion, Mr. Potter.” Severus barked out. “Three honeysuckle seeds.”

 

Harry surprised him by immediately doing as he was told, taking over the potion as Draco looked like someone could knock him over with a leaf. 

 

“Mr. Malfoy.” Severus called as they were packing up for the day. His and Potter’s potion made things translucent, but not completely invisible. It was barely a pass. “Please stay after class.”

 

Draco was in front of his desk as the last students trickled out. Potter was lingering at the doorway, and Severus found great pleasure in waving his wand and slamming the door shut in his face. “Sit down, Draco.”

 

Draco did as he was told, and it was like his spine turned to jelly the moment he hit the chair. “I’m sorry, Severus.” He apologized again. 

 

“I heard you the first time.” Severus considered the young man before him. His uniform wasn’t crisp, his hair was in disarray, and the deep circles under his eyes were telling of his exhaustion. This wasn’t new, Severus realized, but he’d singled Draco out and now he had to do something about it. This was why he was never in his office anymore; he was supposed to not care

 

“Out with it.” Severus commanded. 

 

“I… I don’t know what you mean.” Draco finally lifted his gaze to Snape’s, and the potion’s professor narrowed his eyes at him. 

 

“I’m not a patient man, Draco, nor am I an idiot. What is this?” He gestured to his disheveled appearance. 

 

“I thought you didn’t care anymore, sir.” Draco lifted his chin defiantly. “You’re no longer our Head of House, isn’t that right?”

 

Hermione Damned Granger. 

 

“Is that so?” Severus hummed thoughtfully. “Then I suppose I shall have to arrange for a meeting with your mother and your head of house. That would be the proper thing to do, wouldn’t it?”

 

“You wouldn’t!” Draco stood up abruptly, nearly toppling the chair over in his haste. “Don’t involve her!”

 

“Your grades are slipping.” Severus reminded him bluntly. “And so you will forgive me when I say I can, I will, and I have good reason.”

 

“It’s Slytherin, okay!?” Draco slammed his hands down on the desk in a completely unhinged manner. “They’re all bloody messes! Divided right down the middle; death eater’s children being harassed and then retaliating, muggleborns doing everything they can to tarnish the Slytherin name because they think it’s inherently evil! It’s madness! I’m a prefect and I was involved in all of it, so I-” He sat down and closed his eyes. “I’m trying, but the muggleborns won’t listen, and neither will the purebloods.”

 

“And your Head of House?” He prompted. 

 

“Is useless.” 

 

“You should not speak of your professors in such a way.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

 

Severus could see he wasn’t going to get anything else out of him, and so he dismissed him with a wave of his hand. “I will bring this to the attention of the Headmistress.”

 

Draco left and Severus wanted nothing more than to go for a smoke, but like he expected, Remus was waiting for him to finish with his last class.  

 

“Who is brewing your wolfsbane?” Severus skipped any and all pleasantries.

 

Remus actually faltered in his steps. “I didn’t think you’d-”

 

“-A name, Lupin.” He cut him off rudely. 

 

Remus was standing in front of his desk now, giving him a strange look. “A friend of Andromeda’s is a potioneer.”

 

“I asked for a name .”

 

Remus was still giving him that puzzled expression. “Not that it matters, but Jacob Comberly.”

 

“Are you sure he’s competent?” Severus asked unrelenting. “I have not heard anything about him.”

 

“Well, you can’t know all the potioneers, Severus.”

 

“I know the good ones.”

 

“He’s from Canada.” Remus admitted at last. “And It thought you’d be happy to not have to brew it any longer.”

 

“I, at least, know how to brew it properly. Have you had any side effects?”

 

“No.”

 

“Liar.”

 

“Severus, I’m not sure why we are having this conversation.” Remus was composed, but it was clear he didn’t want to be having this particular chat. “Are you offering to make it for me? I’m afraid I don’t understand.”

  

Severus clamped his mouth shut, annoyed that he’d been outmaneuvered. This was turning out to be a very frustrating day. 

 

“I don’t want to fight.” Remus looked uncomfortable. “I was just, well…”

 

“Checking up on me?” Severus crossed his arms across his chest pointedly. 

 

Remus sighed. “Regardless of the nature of our relationship, you can’t just expect me to ignore you in any other setting. If we are sleeping together, we still need to communicate.”

 

Severus glanced at the door, adding a few more spells to it for good measure. “Must you announce that while we are both at work?”

 

“Draco and Harry ran off in a hurry. There’s no one else outside, and you’re avoiding the question.”

 

“I am fine.” Severus informed him quickly, and then conceded that cooperating would get Remus out of there faster. “Are you?”

 

Remus looked like he was exercising restraint in not being sarcastic. “Yes.”

 

“Well, then...” 

 

“We still need to talk about all of it, but since it seems you’ve reached your emotional capacity today, I guess I’ll see you after the full moon.” And with that, he turned around and left.

 

xXx

 

The night of the full moon fell on a Thursday, and so Severus figured Remus would return over the weekend at some point. He had no doubts that the man would show up to harass him sooner or later, and so he made sure to be present at Hogwarts with an excuse of marking essays. He didn’t analyze his behaviour until it was Sunday afternoon and he spent more time looking at the door of his office than he did looking over his lesson plans. 

 

He threw his quill down and leaned back in his chair, feeling decidedly foolish in his behaviour. They didn’t discuss when Remus would return, and here he was acting like some sort of simpering fool. Perhaps he was just eager considering the fact that there was a new avenue open to him that he hadn’t considered before. Surely this was normal for people entering into a physical relationship after so much time had passed? 

 

He decided that he hated how he was acting and sought to rectify it. He didn’t need to wait around for someone else; he had other things to do. Perhaps this was a good time to find Minerva and discuss the issues going on in Slytherin house. 

 

Thankfully, Minerva was in her old classroom, and not in her office. The thought of having such a conversation near the portrait he had been avoiding was an uncomfortable one. So finding her there was a relief, and it appeared she was just packing away some more things that were left from her teaching days. He remembered how strange his own stint at headmaster felt, and wondered if she was content knowing she’d never teach again. 

 

“Ah, Severus.” She put the pile of books down and nodded to him in greeting. “I had planned to come see you later.”

 

“Good afternoon, headmistress.” He greeted politely.

 

“Honestly.” She quirked a brow at him. “None of that. We are co-workers, Severus. I won’t have you treating me with undue respect now .”

 

He hated to admit it, but he’d always been rather fond of Minerva, even if she had her own complicated values and quirks. 

 

“I’ve come to speak to you about Slytherin.” He admitted, sitting on the edge of a desk. “It’s come to my attention that Draco Malfoy’s grades are slipping and it is due to some… turmoil in his house.”

 

Minerva gave him what he recognized to be an affectionate look. “I’m glad he has spoken to you, then. I tried myself but it seems he still has a hard time trusting others.” She sighed and leaned against the edge of her desk. “I suppose that is my own fault. I never made myself very approachable to other houses, and now that will bleed into my duties as headmistress.”

 

“We all have our faults.” He commented noncommittally.

 

“Yes, we do.” She agreed. “Please tell me what he said.”

 

Severus recounted the jist of what Draco had emotionally regurgitated in his office, pointedly refraining from telling her what threat caused it in the first place. Minerva listened calmly, her frown deepening as he continued. 

 

“It is as bad as Potter says, then.” She looked reluctant to admit it. “That boy is a magnet for trouble.”

 

“They both are.” Severus allowed.

 

“I am glad.” Minerva told him cautiously. “That they have become friends. The inter-house camaraderie is needed at this point, but I’m afraid it isn’t enough. As loathe as I am to admit it, Miss Granger may have a point.” She rubbed at her temple in soothing motions. “We need to start considering the ramifications that a war has on the children here, and more than that, the effects that their parent’s prejudices have played in their upbringing.”

 

“More traditional parents will not appreciate that.” Severus played devil’s advocate. 

 

“And they are the reason it is needed.” She responded firmly. “There are what they call social workers in the muggle world, and although we have something similar in the ministry, I am thinking more along the lines of someone who can take on a teaching role as well as a counselling role. For this reason, I believe a mind healer specializing in adolescence would be the best fit.” 

 

“Teaching?” Severus prompted. 

 

“A mandatory class.” Minerva explained. “A ‘health’ class is what Miss Granger called it. Someone who can teach the students techniques, and how to recognize signs of instability. For this year it will be all grades, but afterwards I am thinking just the first three years. If more care is required, the students may seek her out on their own.”

 

“Her?” 

 

“I have someone in mind. I am hoping she will accept. She currently works at St. Mungos, but if I am to believe the rumours, she has found the atmosphere there to be rather stifling. Her name is Mirella Wynne.”

 

“You have given this quite a bit of thought.” 

 

Minerva grew quiet for a few moments, her thoughts elsewhere. “I have failed my students, Severus.” She looked pained to speak the words aloud. “Albus was a brilliant man, but to expect the heads of house to know intrinsically how to best help their students- it was shortsighted. You, yourself, are an example of that.” She gestured to him, and before he could even think of taking any sort of offense or defensive stance, she hurried on to explain. “You were a spy, and I know that teaching was not your first choice of career, but you did it for Albus. I know that wasn’t easy on you.” She clasped her hands in her lap. “I am surprised you agreed to come back at all, even though I do think it was good for you in the end.”

 

“Invading my life with your ‘best interests’, Minerva?” The old, festering, anger of the last year came back in full force.

 

“Severus.” She admonished sharply. “Do you think yourself so beyond the need of others that you don’t realize they may care about you regardless?” She gave him a hard look. “I have watched you recover your voice and your ability to function, but I have not seen any progress in your mental state. You are free, and yet you still shackle yourself to the bonds you carried for all those years. I asked you to teach because I was, frankly, scared that the alternative would have you wasting away in solitude.”

 

“I did not ask you to do that.” He could not keep the offense and anger out of his voice.

 

“You didn’t need to.” She replied firmly. “I did it because you are a difficult man who will not take help from others unless practically forced. I know you had a fondness for Draco Malfoy, but even I was starting to lose hope that you would engage him, and I feared he wouldn’t speak to anyone else. You are not Head of Slytherin house-”

 

“-You are correct.” He stood up tall. “I am not . That is my job no longer.” He wouldn’t sit here and be lectured about such things. 

 

“I will not accept a resignation.” She cut him off, just in case those were his next words. “And I am having a mandatory staff meeting on Monday evening that you will attend regarding the new position. I suggest you go speak to Albus before then, as his portrait will also be in attendance. Until then you may continue to wallow in your self pity.”

 

Severus watched her stalk out of the room, both deeply offended and bewildered.   

 

Chapter Text

xXx

Remus was at the head table come Monday morning, but he looked exhausted. Severus had morning classes on that day and had the afternoon off, but that didn’t explain why he felt the need to sit at the teachers table when he could have made breakfast at home. There was no chance for them to speak in private before the students required their attention. Severus had arrived later than him for once, which caused him to end up seated beside Flitwick.

The charms professor tried to engage him about the meeting that evening, wondering what it was about, but Severus was not in a mood to think about his last exchange with Minerva. As a result, he’d slept little the night before, too angry for what he had to admit was no reason at all. Lately it seemed as though his emotions were getting away from him, something that would have been terrifying if he were still a spy in the Dark Lord’s army. Now he felt confused by his outbursts, wondering why such little things could cause a spike in his normally bland state.

It seemed that he would go from numb to full blown rage in seconds, with no moderation in between. It was probably the reason why he had slept with Remus in the first place; all logical thought had fled from his mind when the werewolf provoked him.

Harry was giving Draco worried looks in double potions, and Severus wondered idly if he should separate them. Severus had decided on the skele-gro potion, one that was a little more advanced than he normally taught. The fact that he watched the Malfoy heir for his reaction to their topic was only because he was curious if the boy still wanted to pursue the same career. Draco had confided in him at the end of sixth year that he wanted to specialize in healing potions, but then it had been a pipe dream in hushed, secretive whispers.

Draco did look shocked out of his daze, but there was no pride or confidence in his eyes when he started setting up their work station. He looked determined, if anything, to not screw this one up. Harry followed his directions, but kept on sending him wary looks out of the corner of his eye. When Severus finally wandered over to take a look into their cauldron, he felt something ease in his own chest.

“Remember to stir counterclockwise in the next step.” He reminded them softly, and then continued on.

Their potion was nearly perfect. Severus could tell that Harry could have crushed the vampire marrow more finely, but other than that it was on par with what he himself would brew.

“Well done.” Severus nodded and then instead of vanishing the contents of their cauldron, he tasked them with siphoning it into multiple bottles. “Madam Pomfrey will appreciate a replenishing in her stock”

Draco looked so relieved Severus couldn’t be sure he wasn’t about to do something embarrassing like cry, but pulled himself together and did as asked.

Remus, like last time, arrived as Harry and Draco were just leaving. Unlike last time, Harry stopped to speak to Remus and proudly told him that Draco’s potion was actually good enough to be used on students. Draco’s ears went pink and then he was stomping away while Harry laughed good-naturedly and ran to catch up. Severus busied himself with erasing the board and setting up for his next class so he didn’t have to feel Remus’s curious eyes on him.

“Why are you still tired?” Severus asked as he lifted Patil and Granger’s vial and begrudgingly gave it an Exceeds Expectations. He wanted nothing more than to knock her down a peg or two, but she proceeded to give him exemplary work. It annoyed him to no end. He put it down and picked up Sophie Roper’s and debated on it for a moment. The girl was talented in potions, but flourished her essays quite a bit with her Hufflepuffish nature.

“It’s only three days after the full moon.” Remus reminded him, but his voice lacked any intonation.

“You should have recovered in two. Is your son keeping you awake?”

Remus frowned at the floor but eventually shook his head. “No, Teddy slept well this weekend, if a little clingy.”

“This Comberly is clearly inept.”

Remus’s frown deepened. “The potion does it’s job, thank you for asking.” He responded with clear annoyance. “The transformation is a little more painful, but I still retain my mind, which is the goal.”

Severus opened his mouth to argue that point when Remus fixed him with a considering look. “Severus, you’ve never cared about how much or how little time it took me to recover before. Unless you think this affects our arrangement?” He looked like he was trying to puzzle it out himself, and Severus glared at him for the implication that he was that impatient.

“I do not like incompetence, especially in my field of study.” Severus replied.

“Really? Because it seems to me that this is encroaching on ‘emotions’ territory, and since you told me to stow mine, I feel it’s a bit unfair to impose yours.” Remus crossed his arms across his chest. “Besides, it was painful when you brewed it as well, so it’s something I will just have to live with.”

“How painful?” Severus pressed. “What are the symptoms?”

“Are you-?” Remus scoffed incredulously. “It breaks every bone in my body and then snaps them back into place afterwards, I’m sore for days, and the transformation is physically as well as mentally draining. It feels like every muscle has been stretched beyond its limits, and they’re so bruised that touching is painful, which you can imagine is quite hard to explain to a toddler who just wants you to hold him because he missed you.”

Severus jotted down a couple notes as Remus spoke, and then nodded. “Alright, I’ll see what I can do.”

“You’ll what?!”

“Stop gaping at me like a fish; it’s unbecoming. I’m heading to lunch if you’re so inclined to hang about.”

Remus, for a lack of having a proper response to this sudden shift, walked with him to the Great Hall in silence. For once feeling like he had the upper hand, Severus didn’t mind that Remus sat down beside him at the head table, and felt triumphant that he’d stunned the other man into a stupor. Remus kept on giving him strange looks that he chose to ignore, until eventually the werewolf seemed to regain his voice.

“I’m teaching a class on defensive spells.” Remus said casually. “It would be nice to have some help to demonstrate.”

“To clarify; you would like me to throw hexes at you?”

Remus grinned. “I thought that would catch your attention.”

xXx

Remus had planned to use Ginny Weasley as his demonstration partner, because he’d found out quite quickly that the girl was a force to be reckoned with. If her plans for Quidditch didn’t pan out, he had no problem recommending her to the auror program. Still, he was pleased that Severus agreed to help him with the class, if only for the shock factor. The way the students all went silent in anticipation as the two professors walked in the room set the tone for the class. As Remus carefully explained the spells and their different uses, everyone began to grow restless- professors included.

A Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor and a Death Eater Spy essentially having a duel in the seventh year classroom was a rare and exciting show. None of the students spoke even a whisper out of turn, and all stepped aside so the two could stand across from each other in the room. Remus instructed his best students to place a barrier around their classmates, so any wayward spells would not hit a student, warning them to not get distracted. This was a practical as well as an observational lesson.

“Shall I go easy on you, Lupin?” Severus drawled. “I wouldn’t want you to have to miss your other classes. Especially so soon after the Full Moon.”

Several students sniggered at the jibe, and Remus smiled demurely. “It’s quite alright, Professor Snape, some of us were using these charms in the battle of Hogwarts to great effect, while others were too busy being overcome by a solitary snake.”

“Oh, damn.” One of the Ravenclaws clapped their hands at the remark. “You go, Professor Lupin!”

“An example, if you would.” Remus ignored the students, and carried on with his lesson like he hadn’t just thrown Severus’s jibes back in his face.

Severus wasn’t sure if he was impressed or vexed, but for some reason the combination made a smile curl up the corner of his lip. He readied his stance and then fired off several minor hexes one right after the other, which were easily deflected with a protego. They went on and on, Remus speaking intermittently about the salvio hexia, repello inimicum, and protego spells as he deflected, repelled, and blasted away Severus’s attempts at interrupting him. He then went on to explain that, while a lot of these skills were taught before, not many were casted effectively, or able to last a barrage of spellwork.

“Focus is key.” He continued. “By the end of this year, you should not only be able to cast all these spells both wordlessly and correctly, but you should be able to maintain a barrier for long periods. Recasting the spell may guarantee a strong shell each time, but it takes more magic, and fatigues you much quicker. Those of you with exceptional control will be able to keep a protego and cast an offensive spell simultaneously.”

Most opponents would not have been able to stop the spell. Severus was an accomplished fighter, one who fought on both sides of the war. He knew how to read his opponents, gauge their intentions, and sense magical energy. Without all this training, he would have been hit by the blasting spell and propelled back into the wall. Remus barely flinched when he sent it, not pausing in his speech, and it was due to both of their exceptional skills that they ended the duel unscathed.

“We have a little time to pair up and work on a prolonged protego. Professor Snape and I will observe your attempts.”

Severus found that sending spells for several minutes straight was not the most taxing part of the lesson. What was more difficult was focusing on the students after the adrenaline of a fight and ignoring the desire to drag Remus off alone. He was able to stop the worst of the accidents on his side of the classroom, but he was acutely aware of the other professor at all times. He waited for a sign of fatigue, a glimpse that the duel had affected him more, but Remus was nothing if not professional.

The class ended, and the students became a wall of white noise as they discussed what they’d witnessed and the excitement of the class. Severus would have spelled the door shut behind the last of them if he didn’t know that the next one was due to arrive in only a few minutes. He cleared his throat with put-upon nonchalance.

“I will see you later, Lupin.”

“Thank you for your help today, Severus.” Remus smiled as he leaned against his desk, one ankle crossed over the other like there was absolutely nothing amiss.

Severus walked from the room in confident strides, but practically slammed the door behind himself when he entered into his barely-used office. He set up several charms and then leaned his head against the door, breathing heavily. His skin felt like livewires were running across it, and he knew the moment he let go of his careful control, he’d end up doing something he regretted.

He walked over to the fireplace and flooed home, immediately stripping off his clothes and climbing into the shower. He kept the water more lukewarm, as he felt like his flesh was burning. He barely got himself cleaned up before his hand was on his cock, stroking himself to completion in less than a minute. When he came down from the high of his orgasm, he vindictively hoped that Remus was suffering under that calm demeanor.

The meeting was after dinner, and Severus ate early so he could get to the Headmistress's office while the others were still in the great hall. The password was less juvenile now that Minerva was in charge, a simple ‘Valerian Root’ gained him entrance. Each professor had their own password, which would make it impossible for students to copy them, as it also had to be said in their voice and intonation. Minerva had a general password for students that would alert her if they entered her office, but he didn’t care to learn it.

“Severus.”

Albus Dumbledore was a sight that he didn’t know he’d ever be prepared to see again. In the muggle world, there was an absolute loss of a loved one; no new memories could be made with them. In a way, Severus wondered if that was smarter than immortalizing someone who could never be whole again. As always, seeing Albus always filled him with a combination of respect and comfort, but now it would be forever mixed with loss and distrust.

When Albus was alive, Severus never knew exactly where he stood in terms of camaraderie. Albus treated him with respect, but only enough that the potion’s master knew there were limits. Sometimes they spoke like old friends, others like chessmaster and pawn; it left a strain that only deepened when Harry arrived at Hogwarts. It was easy to disregard his feelings towards being used as needed by the side of light, but it was harder to ignore when he watched it happen to others. He wasn’t resentful; he trusted Dumbledore to make decisions others could not.

No, what was most difficult was learning how to mourn a man who could have been your greatest ally and your worst enemy on any given day. Who took you under their wing when you had nothing left, but also expected something in return.

“Hello, Headmaster.” Severus responded carefully. “I hear you wished to see me.”

Albus looked the same as he ever did while alive, a mismatch of robes that still managed to make him seem ethereal while also bizarre. The only difference was the lack of haunting in his eyes; this portrait reminded Severus of an earlier time that he couldn’t quite place. If anything, Severus could say that death suited him, which was a sobering thought.

“I wondered if you’d ever show up at all!” Albus chastised with a smile on his face and an amused twinkle in his eyes. “I’d offer you a lemon drop, but alas…”

“Already making jokes?” Severus didn’t know if he was in the mood for the headmaster’s eccentric humour.

“I find it amusing to see the reactions. Yours is not disappointing. You get this little twitch between your brows, you see.” Albus chuckled, crossing one ankle over the other and settling into the chair in his portrait.

“I’m glad I can be of service.” Severus replied sarcastically.

“Severus, I never got to thank you for what you did.” Albus changed the direction of their talk abruptly. “I know that it must have weighed on you. I would like to talk to you about it, but I know we don’t have the time at present. I just wanted you to know that, so that you didn’t think me ungrateful.”

Severus made a noise to indicate he’d heard him, but couldn’t say much else. He would not say ‘your welcome for murdering you’ without feeling a little ill, even though it would make Albus laugh.

“Have you been well?” The portrait asked gently.

“I am alive.” Severus responded.

“You and I both know that’s not an answer, Severus.” Albus sighed.

Thankfully, Minerva took that moment to enter the room, with several teachers in tow. No one mentioned Severus’s earliness, and they all settled into seats Minerva conjured for them. Severus sat between Aurora and Padmona, knowing that his nerves would not tolerate being so close to Remus. Albus greeted them all cheerfully, and then the meeting commenced without delay. She told them what she was planning, and then set up a dicta quill to mark down points that anyone was willing to offer. Severus remained quiet for the most part, only speaking up once or twice to say he contributed.

“What about sexual education?” Remus asked after the previous conversation died out naturally. “We don’t have one in the curriculum, and it seems like the perfect opportunity to incorporate it. We are dealing with teenagers.”

Minerva gave Remus an assessing look and then nodded slowly. “I think that certainly something that would be within their scope, yes.”

“Hear, hear.” Professor Flitwick agreed. “I’ve had far too many conversations with students that I feel should have been addressed long before they got to me.” He looked slightly haunted as he recalled a few of them.

“I’m sure we’ve all dealt with similar situations.” Minerva smiled ruefully. “So yes, a comprehensive sexual education in second or third year. Best not scare them right away.” A round of chuckles and then she waved her wand and the dicta quill stopped. “Now, I know that this is a change for all of us, especially after all we’ve been through personally. I’d like to thank each of you for all your time and effort in helping remake Hogwarts into something better for the future.”

“I will end this meeting here, but over the next few weeks, I ask that you send me a list of any students that you feel would benefit from our new position. It doesn’t matter if it seems insignificant, I want to ensure that we follow up on any concerning behaviour. I have already started to compose my own list, and I’m sure we will see repeating names.” They all shared a knowing look.

“Thank you for your time.” She stood up in clear dismissal.

"Severus, can I have a word?" Remus was at his chair seconds later, grazing his arm as he stepped out of the way for Aurora to leave.

Severus planned to retreat from the office as quickly as possible, avoiding both Albus and Minerva's gazes. He was relieved for the excuse to get away, and followed Remus down the stairs. They walked side by side, strides matching up naturally, but they both were distracted by other things. Severus recalled their duel earlier that day and felt like it was weeks ago. Still, it was enough to start the low simmering heat once more.

Remus closed the door behind them by hand, pausing there for a second to collect himself but also incant a few spells to ensure their privacy. Arriving to see Severus's expression as he finished his conversation with Albus's portrait in the office was enough to dampen any lust he may have felt earlier. He'd suffered through his remaining classes through sheer willpower alone, and had these grand plans of pushing Severus against the nearest surface the next time he got his hands on him. Now he was at war with himself. The heart wanting to ask what made Severus look so lost, and the body wanting to sweep him into the bedroom.

Severus made the decision for him, when he turned around to ask if Severus wanted to sit down he was shoved against the door. Their mouths collided hard enough for it to almost hurt, and then there were hands gripping his hair. He breathed in and groaned at the smell of Severus's skin, brain immediately switching to more primal urges. He ran his hands up the clothed back in front of him, letting the other man set the pace this time.

Severus invaded his mouth without relent, running his tongue along the sensitive underside of Remus's and exploring everywhere he could reach. There was a desperation in it, like he couldn't let go long enough or he'd start thinking. When Remus eventually turned his face to get air, Severus bit down on the side of his jaw and then sucked bruises into the skin he could reach.

Remus let out a low moan at the feel of someone else's teeth along his neck, a dark part of him that involved full moons and razor sharp teeth took that as an invitation to claim. He could rip Severus's clothes off of him without much effort, hold him against the wall, and take him right there, his teeth clamped around his neck. The thought exhilarated him as much as it worried him, and he tuned back in when Severus pressed against him desperately.

Remus realized that he was a distraction, but he couldn't form much of an opinion on that when Severus dropped to his knees. Remus tried to get him to slow down, but he'd been waiting for hours to get his hands on him. He was painfully hard, worked up from their duel and unable to release the tension in the meantime. His arousal had to be concealed for the afternoon, but now it was like a floodgate. Severus was clearly rusty at giving head, but he made up for it in vigor. His tongue and lips were enough to drive Remus over the edge, but as Severus pulled away from him with a ragged breath and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, he knew that once wouldn't be enough.

"Bed." Remus all but hauled him up, grabbing his hand and dragging him into his bedroom.

Severus immediately began to strip, and Remus pulled off his own clothes mindlessly as he watched with hungry eyes. When Severus leaned over to take off his socks and pants, Remus had the image of rutting against his perfect arse and had to restrain himself. He instead stepped up behind him and kissed along his shoulders once Severus was completely naked, trailing his good hand down his stomach and feeling Severus shiver against him.

"What do you want tonight?" Remus asked against his skin. "I could use my mouth, I could finger you, or maybe you'd like to try something different?"

"No…" Severus shook his head and grabbed Remus's hand to drag it to his hard length. "Hands. Mouth. Just make me-"

Remus understood the urgency, and ten minutes later found Severus sprawled out on the bed with Remus between his legs, working him with his fingers inside and his tongue along his cock. The only sound above him was harsh choked-off panting, and Remus worked him through an orgasm that had him bending his body in a perfect arch. When his body finally settled onto the sheets, it was as though he melted into them.

Remus knew he wasn't done, but he was content to lay kisses along Severus's stomach until he regained his senses. It was nice to have such an open claim to Severus's body in these moments, when he knew normally the man kept himself locked away from others. He had the feeling he could do just about anything to him now and he wouldn't shove him away. It was a powerful feeling.

"Want me to clean you up?" Remus asked when he heard the breathing even out. "I want to fuck you, but we can wait a bit."

"What are you a randy teenager?" Severus still sounded breathless. "I just came."

"I know." Remus grinned against his skin.

"I thought you were tired." Severus shuddered as Remus dragged his hands up his thighs idly, as if judging their girth and how he wanted to hold them later.

"I waited all day for you." He growled, nipping his hip harshly. "Once isn't enough, I didn't get to go home and wank after our duel."

Severus tossed an arm over his face, but Remus could still see how red the statement made him. He'd been caught out, and it would be more mortifying if he didn't know that Remus had wanted to do that but couldn't. His vindictive hope was correct, and he smiled to himself smugly.

"Sorry about the snake comment, though." Remus continued to trace idle lines across his stomach and thighs. "It was a bit insensitive."

Severus barked out a laugh, something that startled the both of them, but he quickly recovered and pulled at Remus's shoulders. They kissed leisurely for a while, just relishing in the bubble of contentment until the kisses became longer and more heated. Then Severus turned over onto his hands and knees and Remus entered him from behind.

He held onto him with a firm grip, rocking his hips slowly and enjoying the man beneath him. He rested his face in the crook of his neck, kissing but also just breathing against it as their bodies moved in a simultaneous, intrinsic rhythm. He couldn't see Severus's expression behind his curtain of hair, but he could see his hands fisted in the sheets and hear the small gasps. It was a slow build, and he was hot and sticky where they pressed together back to front, but the closeness was worth it. He liked this position. It let him touch along Severus's front and mouth the nape of his neck, something he had been itching to do for what seemed like his entire life.

"You're amazing." Remus groaned, mind filled with the good sort of static. "You make me feel so good, love."

"Remus." He heard him breathe out, and his hips stuttered in their rhythm. Severus must not have known he said it aloud, because he made a sound of protest until Remus picked back up his pace. Gone was the restraint to savour this, and now all he wanted was to drive Severus out of his mind with more pleasure so he'd hear his name again. He planted his knees more firmly and began to drive into him faster, grabbing his partner's neglected cock and stroking it impatiently.

"Say it." Remus ordered in a harsh whisper.

"I…-"

"My name." He insisted, knowing that would be enough to push him over the edge.

Severus bent forward a little more, and for a moment Remus thought he wouldn't. Then he heard it, just barely there under the sounds of skin meeting skin.

"Remus. Remus."

Remus bit down hard enough to bruise in the muscle connecting neck and shoulder, and Severus went still against him. He could feel the pulsing wet against his fist and he groaned loudly and slammed his hips into Severus once, twice, a few times more, before he came hard enough to see nebulas in swirls of colour behind his eyelids.

"Oh." Severus hummed thoughtfully, and then gently extracted himself from Remus so he could reach over and grab his wand from the floor. He cleaned them both with a wave and then turned the lights out while he was at it. They settled into the darkness, both needing some time to regroup quietly. It was clear that Severus wasn't planning on leaving, but they were both feeling vulnerable. That normally led to fuck ups if they talked, so the silence was appreciated.

Eventually, they both got comfortable beneath the covers, fading in and out of awareness. Even though they were both exhausted, sleep didn't come right away. When it did, it took them under into a dreamless void that still felt restless.

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Remus felt more exposed the morning after as they slowly redressed, than he did being stark naked in bed with Severus the night before. There was the knowledge that something had shifted between them; a glimpse of weakness that could help Severus destroy him if desired. It was frustrating how much he wanted to overcome the distance and obstacles between them, but he was just terrified of what he’d find on the other side. 

 

Life with Dora had been easy; they were companions first and foremost; their sexual relationship came second to the camaraderie. It had been a relief to find someone who cared about him enough to want to make him laugh. Teddy had been a mistake, but he was certainly not unwanted. He saw their future together in a picturesque world, but not once did he ever look at Nymphadora and feel passion or intensity. It was simply comfortable.

 

Severus was a lot like cutting open an infected wound so it could drain and heal properly. It felt necessary, absolute, but it hurt, especially if he focused on the pain. He wanted it to get better, but he couldn’t understand why he’d started to treat it in the first place. Was this something unhealthy, like wanting to fix him, or even worse, fix himself? Surely it wasn’t healthy to feel this much conflicting emotion for another human being?

 

He had no friends, the ones he cared about were long gone. He wondered what Sirius or James would say about all this. If they would have eventually become civil with Severus, or even listen and give (probably terrible but well meaning) advice. So much of his life was spent alone, lost out at sea to wade through the waters on his own. He wished more than anything there was someone to talk to, a selfish part of him missed Dora for this reason, and that made him feel twisted and ugly inside. 

 

Would she want him to be happy? Would she feel he was spitting on her memory?

 

Teddy fell asleep watching a movie that night, and Remus didn’t put him to bed right away even though he knew he should. Instead he pulled him onto his chest and just held him, leeching comfort out of the small child slumbering in his arms. He felt tears prickle the back of his eyelids as he breathed in his son’s scent, and held his breath like he could keep that feeling inside him forever. 

 

Still, he couldn’t avoid Severus. He didn’t want to. He could tell they were both prolonging a conversation, but also drifting closer to each other naturally. Severus showed up to work early, taking his meals in the great hall when he didn’t have to be there for another hour or so. Remus would wander by his class and just to ask for inane things. Even the tone of Severus’s voice changed around him now, and instead of snide and sarcastic, it was soft and cautious.

 

It lasted about six days, and then Severus made his ‘fatal’ error. In one of his ‘assigned’ patrols, he found himself wandering a bit too far towards the defense classroom. He caught sight of Remus with his arms full of books, one opened on top as he read and walked with a graceful coordination that Severus blamed on impeccable spatial awareness. Probably an inherent werewolf trait. Except Peeves must have been bored that evening and decided to flood the boys bathrooms. 

 

Remus walked right through the puddle Filch missed in his clean up and slid, losing his balance. Severus was down the hall from him, but the cushioning charm softened the blow. Books scattered everywhere and Remus still grunted from the impact of his hip unexpectedly hitting the now-spongy ground. Severus didn’t remember closing the distance between them, but he threw out several spells one right after the other. The water was gone, Remus’s books stacked up in a neat pile, and a quick healing spell casted on the hip and wrist that had hit the ground first. 

 

“That’s what you get for not watching where you’re going.” Severus chastised, and then levitated the books and held out his hand for the other professor. “Are you alright, Remus?”

 

Remus looked up at him in stunned disbelief. “I’m fine.” He replied automatically, and then hesitantly reached out and took the proffered hand. He was just as surprised to take the help as Severus was realizing he’d offered it. 

 

When they were both standing, Remus dumbly pointed out: “You called me Remus.” 

 

“Are you as deaf as you are uncoordinated?” The jibe was instinctual, but he still ran a hand through his hair in discomfort and looked away. 

 

“Severus.” He swayed closer, pulled by an invisible thread. 

 

“I have to finish my patrols.” He turned on his heel, but stopped when he felt Remus’s hand wrap around his wrist. He could have easily pulled away and kept going as the grip was gentle, but he didn’t. 

 

“Thank you.”

 

Severus didn’t have a response for that, just as he didn’t have an explanation why he showed up at Remus’s door later that night, knowing that Teddy was with Andromeda. 

 

Remus didn’t let him come for a long time, wringing it out of him after holding him on the edge for ages. When Severus came back to himself it was to the feel of fingers gently trailing patterns into his skin, and he couldn’t fathom pulling away. Nights bled into each other after that; sometimes Severus would seek him out, sometimes the opposite. Remus would always be with Teddy on the weekends, but week nights in separate beds were becoming seldom. They didn’t talk, didn’t discuss what was happening to them, and spent the days chasing each other’s gazes but never quite meeting them. 

 

It was two months later that the night of the full moon beared down upon Severus as he stared at Remus’s shoulder rising and falling in slumber. That night Severus could feel something was different with Remus; he chased his own pleasure, maneuvering Severus to his will until he found the oblivion he was looking for. Severus didn’t really mind the selfishness since it was satisfying in its own right. What bothered him was the fact that he wanted to know why , to catch a glimpse of what was going on in that mind of his. He found that he cared . Last month the full moon had caught Severus by surprise again, but he still remembered his boast. Now, though, it felt like he was doing things for a weirdly different reason. 

 

Sometimes in the night he found courage he couldn’t find elsewhere, and so he curled up against Remus for just a few moments of weakness. Then he slipped away out of bed, threw on a dressing gown and wandered into his study. They were at his house, and there may have been a time when Severus would have been purposefully noisy in hopes Remus would get the hint and leave. Now he knew that Remus needed his sleep in preparation for the strain of the full moon, and sat down to research quietly. 

 

By the first grey light, he had a vague concoction of scribbles that resembled a plan. He slipped back into bed, feeling uncomfortably full in his chest when he found Remus had occupied his side of the bed with his nose pressed into his pillow. He pretended to be asleep when Remus stirred and readied to leave, and forced himself not to flinch when Remus kissed his cheek in silent farewell. It was the weekend, and so he had an excuse to stay in bed, whereas Remus did not. He was probably flooing over to pick up Teddy directly from there. 

 

They met Mirella Wynne on the day of the March full moon. She was given a quick introduction before breakfast in the staff meeting room and her arrival announced to the students in the Great Hall. Since Remus was due to take off in the afternoon and two days after, it was decided that all 'Defense' classes would be changed to 'Health' classes in the immediate. Afterwards they would find a way to incorporate them into the rest of the school year. 

 

Mirella was someone that you didn't have to speak to in order to see the intelligence in her eyes. She had dark olive skin, curly hair pulled into a low ponytail, and hazel eyes. She studied both magic and muggle psychology and spoke several languages fluently; one of them mermish. There was something about her that reminded Severus of a younger Minerva, as she did not get flustered when the headmistress told her she would be teaching classes so soon after her arrival. In fact, she looked more than prepared to do so. 

 

"You are Severus Snape, correct?" Mirella stopped him after breakfast, hands clasped in front of herself as she regarded him calmly. 

 

"Yes." He nodded to her, thankful that she was not the handshaking type. 

 

"I would like to touch base with all professors within the next few days, if you could pencil me in." 

 

Severus was not looking forward to the taxing and uncomfortable conversation. Still, he couldn't come up with a decent excuse for dismissing her when he was only here this early due to Minerva's summon. He weighed the pros and cons of doing this now as opposed to later and decided he may as well get it over with. He offered the use of his office and then turned on his heel with the expectation that she would follow. Mirella was still unpacking her own; a set of rooms near the hospital wing that gave her enough space to teach, treat, and live comfortably. It was one of the spots that had to be rebuilt from rubble after the battle.

 

"Thank you for accommodating me so soon." Mirella straightened out her long blue skirt and laced her fingers together on her lap. "You teach advanced potions, correct? You must be seeing a lot of stressed out students. They are not only dealing with post traumatic stress from the war, but now are on the brink of adulthood." Her questions were rhetorical, and she reached into a bag she'd placed at her feet to pull out a quill and muggle notebook. 

 

"Can you give me a rundown of your courses?" She surprised him, turning the conversation to something completely different than expected. 

 

Severus gave her a brief overview, wondering what exactly this would do to help her in her field. She gave no indication to her opinion, simply asked him some clarifying questions about the potions and then wrote in her little notebook. 

 

"Thank you." She put her things away afterwards but didn't seem to be in a rush to leave right after.

 

"I was under the impression that you had questions about the students, not my teaching methods." He prompted with a raised brow.

 

"I want an idea of the coursework the students are expected to complete, and holes in the curriculum that I may need to fill. I was under the impression that you would be adverse to speaking about the students, and so I am sorry if I misled you in my purpose here today."

 

He stared at her with narrowed eyes. "'Adverse'?" He repeated pointedly.

 

She gave him a cautious look. "Headmistress McGonagall told me that you were Head of Slytherin house and have recently decided to step back on your duties due to the mental and physical strain you suffered through the war. I cannot imagine what you must have gone through, and I do not want to jeopardize your health either. I can find other ways to gain the information I need." She stood up decisively. "Thank you for your time, and I look forward to working with you."  

 

"Is that so?" He stood up as well, feeling beyond irritated that she not only wasted his time, but also implied he was fragile. 

 

She held up her hand to stop anything else he would say. "You seem to have taken offense to my words. I take my job very seriously, Professor Snape, but I do not know you nor what you have gone through. What I do know is you are a part time professor, you have worked here for many years, and you were in the middle of a war. I am not here to make your life more difficult, in fact, it is my job to alleviate some of the responsibility placed upon you and the other professors. You are here to teach, and I am here to treat. As such I would rather we remain on cordial terms. Please explain why I have offended you and I will endeavor not to do it in the future." 

 

"You imply I am weak and then say you did not mean to offend me?" He replied fiercely. 

 

"I did not imply you were weak." She corrected him firmly. "In fact, I think you are incredibly strong for returning to teaching here after a near death experience. That takes a lot of courage and resilience. I certainly would not blame you if you didn't want to return to this position at all." 

 

Severus did not like Mirella, but he could admit he respected her. She was unflinching in her demeanor and not the simpering bleeding heart he thought she would be. He could see why Minerva thought she would be good for the students: a steady hand when they were dealing with the aftermath of turmoil. What he didn't like was that she was clearly analyzing him, even though she claimed she wasn't. In fact, he couldn't completely deny that he felt a little manipulated. She left him to his discomfort, wondering what exactly she was playing at. 

 

He didn't have time to dwell on Mirella Wynne for long. He had informed Remus a few days prior that he was brewing his wolfsbane that month. He had already sent a letter to Jacob Comberly, asking him for his exact recipe for wolfsbane and also informing him his services were no longer required. Mr. Comberly was not impressed, but did as asked and expressed his well wishes for Remus. Remus, meanwhile, didn't seem happy or angry by Severus's meddling, and simply agreed to the change with a nod. 

 

He brought him the potion right before the start of his last class of the day. Remus stated at the goblet for a long moment before gulping it in three long swallows. He handed it back to Severus with a puzzled look on his face, hesitant to open his mouth and ask. 

 

"What?" Severus demanded expectantly. 

 

"Is… did you add mint?" He blurted out at last. 

 

"I adjusted the potion." Severus responded noncommittally. "I will see you after the full moon for a review of your symptoms." 

 

Remus shook his head in disbelief and amusement. "Oh is that all?" He smiled wryly. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised you're experimenting on me." 

 

"You're right." Severus agreed. "You shouldn't be." 

 

xXx

 

In the early evening after the full moon, Severus was sitting lengthwise on the couch, propped up against a pillow as he read the newest publication in potions. He had his quill out, writing notes in the margins to check later, toying with the idea of writing in another article; this one about arnica and echinacea. He had been meaning to read the last few Potation & Pencraft for a while, and he desperately wanted to think about something else but Hogwarts and it's frustrating students. He'd spent the majority of his classes taking points away from every house, as the children were much more interested in gossiping about the new professor instead of paying attention. He hoped the novelty would wear off before a student exploded a cauldron, since he was supposed to be teaching the more competent students. 

 

The fireplace flared to life in a burst of green, and he frowned at the intrusion. There were very few people who had access to his home address and floo, which narrowed down his choices. When Remus came through the fire, looking like some sort of angry, vengeful, ghost for a second until the floo died down, Severus couldn't be sure he hadn't fallen asleep on the couch and was dreaming. 

 

"Remus?" He glanced out the window to check the progress of the darkening sky and put his feet on the ground. "What are you doing here?"

 

"You utter bastard." Remus snapped, hauling Severus to his feet so he could kiss him roughly. When he pulled back his eyes were nearly eclipsed with pupils. "You could have made that years ago!" 

 

"The altered wolfsbane?" Severus was a little slow to catch up, but then he smirked. "Oh, so it was satisfactory, then?" 

 

"Shut up." Remus growled. "I don't know whether to shag or hex you."

 

"One of those will work out better for you than the other." Severus warned him. "Especially if you want me to make it again."

 

Remus chuckled darkly. "Don't worry, I plan on compensating you for your efforts."

 

Severus didn’t mind being manhandled, in fact, there was a secret sort of thrill to it. He was still a little wary of the candor, wondering if the wolf was really so well contained so soon after the full moon. Remus was rough when he all but ripped off Severus’s clothes, and he would have shown some irritation when one of his buttons went flying off if he wasn’t so preoccupied. A month ago, this would have made him pause, consider telling Remus to stop. Now he was intrigued, feeling the desperation pouring off the other man. 

 

Remus forced his hands above his head against the wall, grip tight enough to bruise, and Severus was a little stunned that this didn’t worry him more. Somewhere under all the lust there was a startling amount of trust forming. Remus forced himself between his legs and suddenly Severus was being held there by nothing but Remus’s hands on his arse. He wrapped his arms around Remus’s shoulders instinctually, trying to steady them when all Remus seemed to care about was biting his mouth and rutting against him. 

 

“Remus-”

 

“-Hush.” Remust kissed under his jaw, and the hardness he felt grinding against him made his breath stutter. “Let me take care of you.”

 

He didn’t know what that meant, or why he didn’t protest more when Remus carried him to the bed like some sort of simpering heroine from the trashy novels his mother used to read. He didn’t feel in control at all, half naked and pinned down by a body on top of him. Something nagged at the corners of his awareness; a reminder that this would have never been possible before. He’d never surrendered to someone else's whims, not like this, not so completely. He’d dwell on it later that Remus could do whatever he wanted to him, and he’d gladly let him. For now he didn’t have the mental capacity, especially since he was getting carried away by the rapid currents. 

 

Eventually, Remus decided what he wanted, and flipped Severus onto his back, straddling his thighs until his cock rested right against his arse. He ground down against him, catching against his skin without proper lubrication. It was enough to make Severus’s stomach stoop with anticipation; they’d never done that before, something raw without any sort of slick. He’d also never been flat on his stomach either, knowing that it would make Remus seem huge without any space as he rutted into him. 

 

Severus clutched at the sheets, mentally preparing himself for the burn he was sure to feel. Instead he found hands petting at his shoulders, coaxing him to relax into the mattress. Remus wordlessly and wandlessly summoned some sort of oil that smelled like heady vanilla and eucalyptus, and began to spread it down his spine. Inch by inch he felt all the fight and tension leave him, until Remus had settled back onto his thighs and was working his fingers into the tendons of his arse and hips. The muscles there were harder to relax, and he hissed against the pleasure-pain as Remus worked his thumbs into the innermost muscles. 

 

Eventually, Remus just started to massage the backs of his thighs lightly, and then leaned over to kiss down Severus’s spine slowly, working his way lower and lower without any rush at all. It wasn’t until his lips hit the dip of the small of his back that Severus got an inkling to what Remus was going to do next. He buried his face into the comforter and wondered if he was okay with this. It made something in his pelvis clench, and his face and shoulders felt like they were burning in the sun. 

 

“Is this okay?” Remus spread his arse, thumbs working in slow circles as he nipped one globe and then the other. 

 

Severus didn’t know what to say. He was nervous, a little uncomfortable with the idea, but so turned on it hurt. He wanted to shake his head as much as he wanted to nod. “I’m not… I didn’t…”

 

He didn’t feel prepared, but Remus didn’t seem to care, and when the first touch of a tongue hit the bottom of his spine, he keened. Okay, so he could do this. “Yes.” He relented at last, and it was all the permission Remus needed. 

 

The feel of something wet at his hole made him subconsciously rut into the bed, clenching down on the feeling. Eventually he learned not to flinch away, and instead welcome the feeling of his tongue relaxing the muscle keeping him out. It was the most intense thing he’d ever felt, the feeling of submitting to this and letting Remus work him open with patient diligence. The first time Remus licked up and into him he moaned, a broken, garbled thing that didn’t sound like anything he’d ever made before. 

 

Spurred on, Remus continued to eat him out without any hint of remorse, clutching onto his ass and pressing his face against him messily. Severus couldn’t do anything but hold onto the sheets in an iron grip and pant harshly. He felt so open and wet, like every single nerve except the ones currently being stimulated shut down completely. He was riding along the edge of an orgasm that would be so strong he was almost terrified by its power. Remus’s tongue wouldn’t be enough, but for now it felt amazing. 

 

He didn’t know what to do with himself, and he felt like his brain was whited-out in pleasure. He didn’t know how long they stayed like that, but when Remus pulled away he felt both relief and loss in equal parts. Remus sat back on his thighs again, just like how they’d started this, but when his cock touched Severus’s hole this time he arched back into it needily. He’d never wanted something so much in his life, and something lit up from inside when Remus slid into him. 

 

It was a burn and drag, the saliva wasn’t enough but it intensified the feeling. The first few thrusts were barely rocking back and forth, but it was so potent; just like he thought it would be. If they continued like this they’d both be sore and regret it, so Remus eventually pulled back far enough that only the head of his cock was inside. He drizzled some summoned lubricant onto his dick, and when he slid back in it was benediction enough to make Severus’s toes curl. 

 

Remus was over him, hands pressing his wrists into the bed, and began to rock his hips just enough that his cock dragged along the walls inside. It felt like his whole body was trying to clamp down and suck him further in, not wanting to let any space between them. He didn’t think it was possible for Remus to move any faster than he already was, and resigned himself that maybe he couldn’t come like this. Except Remus defied expectations and began to move, planting his knees and thrusting long and hard. He almost slipped out once, but then corrected himself and began fucking him in earnest. 

 

Severus, until this point, had never come untouched before. He didn’t know it would make tears leak out of the corner of his eyes, or that it would force a scream past his mangled throat. It hit him out of nowhere, one second he felt like his heart was going to give out from the sheer amount of pleasure, and the next his body was being wracked with wave after wave of his orgasm. He didn’t feel the normal crest, but perhaps he’d been there so long he didn’t realize it. 

 

Remus slowed inside of him and he groaned.

 

“Are you okay?” 

 

“Keep going.” He didn’t even understand who had said those words, but when Remus picked up his pace again, he realized it must have been him. It bordered on painful, but he couldn’t ask for it to stop, especially since he wanted to hide his face for as long as possible.

 

Eventually Remus stilled inside him and he felt the rush of something hot pool in his belly. Severus didn’t make a sound when Remus pulled out of him and collapsed at his side, the only movement he made was to turn his face away. He felt exposed and vulnerable, and he clenched his eyes shut to try and stop the wetness from leaking out further. It was like some sort of wound in his chest was bleeding after needing the release for such a long time, and he couldn’t staunch the flow. 

 

He didn’t know he was shaking until Remus pressed up along his side, and that was only because it stopped abruptly once he felt warmth along his back. Remus pulled him into his arms, carefully letting him face away and not saying anything. He felt cool and clammy, his own release still drying against his thighs and stomach, but it was a mild inconvenience compared to the knowledge that Remus had broken him so completely that he needed to be comforted. 

 

Remus didn’t say anything, just breathed against his shoulder and rubbed his hand soothingly along his side until he felt him relax bit by bit. Still, he didn’t stop pressing his face into the comforter, and when Remus kissed his back, Severus flinched. 

 

“Severus…?” 

 

The potions master sat up abruptly, panic clawing at his chest. “You should go.”

 

“What…?”

 

“I’m going to have a shower.” 

 

He slid off the bed and escaped into the bathroom, slamming the door shut behind him and turning the water on scalding hot. He settled against the wood of the door and let the steam fill the room, feeling some semblance of control now that he wasn’t so close to Remus. He wanted to think that it was a mistake, that he should have never let him do that- whatever it was. Instead he knew it wasn’t and that terrified him more. 

 

By the time he was able to drag himself into the actual shower, the water was lukewarm at best, and he did nothing but the perfunctory rise and clean before he turned the tap off. He dripped into the tub for a long while until shivers forced him to grab a towel and dry himself. Only then did he brave the bedroom and feel his heart clench in his chest at the sight. 

 

Remus was nowhere to be found, but he’d changed the bedding and cleaned up Severus’s clothes into a neat pile on the chair. Later, when he ventured out into the living area, he found a simple note on his table that made him actually want to cry for the first time since childhood. 

 

I’m sorry.

 

Because Remus hadn’t done anything wrong. 

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Severus almost didn’t return to work the next day, and when he did, he was late to his first class by five minutes. Thankfully it was the sixth years that were still wary of him, and so when he snapped at them to get to work, they did so without question. He knew his next class would not be as simple, and confirmed his luck had run out when Harry Potter didn’t immediately sit down, but instead came up to the front of the class as everyone else settled in. 

 

“Are you alright, sir?” He whispered frantically. “You look ill.”

 

Severus took in a deep breath, and it was a clear indication to him that he was not alright when he didn’t snap at Potter. “Please return to your seat, Harry.”

 

“We can do independent learning.” Harry offered immediately. “You need to sit down.”

 

The state of his life was clear in that moment, when after the war Harry had watched him work to near catatonic exhaustion and never once told him he needed to sit down. Now, he found himself lowering into his chair and announced that they’d be brewing a potion of their own choice that must be from the fifth or sixth year curriculum. He went on to spout some bilge that it was a chance to raise their marks, but everyone knew it was a break for him instead. 

 

It was disheartening to Severus that he really must be a sight, because when six potions hit his desk later, they were all either Draught of Peace, Elixir to Induce Euphoria, or Invigoration Draught.

 

“Professor.” 

 

Draco Malfoy was the unfortunate representative of the class, elected to stay behind and speak to Severus while everyone else quickly packed up their things and left them in peace. Even Potter didn’t linger behind, which was telling how different the eighth year students were now that the war was behind them. Instead of fighting amongst themselves or riding on old prejudices, they seemed to take the words of the sorting hat that year to heart. 

 

“Mr. Malfoy, do you have a question about class ?” Severus tried to stave off the conversation, fixing the young blond with what he hoped was his patented glare that could scare anyone into silence. 

 

“You should go speak to Professor Wynne.” Draco blurted at once, and then shifted in clear unease. “Or perhaps not Professor Wynne, but someone .”

 

“I assume she has been helping you, then?” Severus directed the conversation away from himself. “I did recommend you, you should know.”

 

Draco coloured but didn’t back down. “She’s not batty like I thought she’d be.”

 

“I would certainly hope not.” Severus stood up and began cleaning up the classroom, despite the fact that the eighth years had -for once- left it spotless. 

 

“Is it the war?” Draco sounded pained to ask. 

 

Severus clenched his jaw and then slowly unclenched it after a few tense breaths. “No, Draco, it isn’t the war.”

 

“Are you sure?” Draco pressed, gaining momentum. “It comes and goes for me, and for Potter, too. It’s… It’s not all at once anymore, but it catches me by surprise sometimes.”    

 

“Mr. Malfoy.” He spun on him, but the look in those grey eyes softened his tone an iota. “I do not make it a habit of telling students about my personal life, and I do not plan to start now. I am glad you are feeling well enough to harangue me, but that is quite enough.” He nodded to the door. “Please do not be late for your next class.”

 

Draco shifted his bag on his shoulder and then sighed in defeat. “You should drink Roper’s Draught of Peace, she’s freakishly good at it.” 

 

Severus waited until Draco was long gone before he picked up the draught and downed it in one gulp. 

 

xXx

 

Remus finished his day with eighth year Defence, which was usually a very enjoyable class. Instead of a regimented curriculum, they discussed their suggestions and came up with their own ideas so long as they proved their competency at the N.E.W.T based learning beforehand. Today, Remus was far too distracted to teach them much of anything, and instead let them lead a group discussion about the Patronus Charm. Neville and Hermione led most of it, which was surprising enough to knock Remus from his stupor. 

 

Harry seemed subdued this class, twirling his wand around absentmindedly as he shot worried glances at the other classmates. He was nearly ready to bolt when Ron suggested they move on to practical, and Remus watched him in growing concern. Not once did Harry attempt the charm, even though Draco Malfoy tried time and time again to only mere wisps. Remus attempted to instruct the young Malfoy to clear his mind and only focus on the most pure and happy memories, but the boy couldn’t seem to focus. 

 

“It’s all tangled up in the bad.” Draco admitted at last, frustration lacing his voice. “I can’t…”

 

“Alright.” Remus put what he hoped was a soothing hand on his shoulder. “You won’t accomplish anything by getting upset. Why don’t you try thinking of flying? Or Quidditch?”

 

Draco shook his head vehemently, colour draining from his face. “No. No flying.”

 

Harry was at his side instantly. “Hey, it’s okay. You’re safe.” 

 

“Shove it, Potter.” Draco turned beat red and stomped away. 

 

“Are you alright, Harry?” Remus asked. “You haven’t tried, yet.”

 

“Neither have you, professor.” Harry shot back defensively, and then recollected himself and ran a weary hand down his face. “Sorry, I just…It’s been a long week.”

 

“I agree.” Remus smiled ruefully. “Are you going to Hogsmeade this weekend?”

 

“No… I don’t think so. Maybe I’ll catch up on some work…” 

 

“If you’d like, I’m sure you could come have some lunch with Teddy and I?” Remus always felt a secret sort of delight that Harry actually perked up at the thought. It was enough to drown out his woes with the knowledge that Harry loved his godson as much as his godson adored him.

 

“I’d like that.” Harry admitted. “What time should I come by?”

 

“Eleven-thirty should be fine. You can use the floo in my office.”

 

“Cheers. See you then.”

 

After the last student left his class, Remus tried several times to make a Patronus, but when one eventually solidified before his eyes, he was stunned to find it was no longer a wolf. It was similar, but much smaller, and he recognized it at last as a coyote. At once his mind filled with the information he remembered about the creature, and his heart twisted as he considered it rather fitting. Coyotes spent a lot of their youth alone, but once chosen, were completely monogamous and committed for life.

 

Falling in love was hardly a surprise, and neither was royally fucking it up. It was almost amusing how his life continued to follow the same pattern as it always had; get close to someone, and then watch it crumble in front of him. He wanted to hate the wolf within him, wanted to blame it for his problems and negative traits. In reality, it was just him, making the same mistakes over and over again. 

 

He wanted to find Severus and talk to him; but he couldn’t bring himself to encroach where he felt he wasn’t wanted. So instead of facing the problem head on, he shied away and told himself it was better to leave Severus alone now. It was pathetic, but if telling himself that helped him sleep at night, he’d try anything. 

 

Harry came at exactly eleven thirty on the dot, just as Remus had coerced Teddy into changing his clothes. With one arm in his shirt, Teddy screamed in joy and practically gave Remus a black nose trying to get to his godfather. Harry pulled him into his arms like second nature, and fixed his shirt as he spoke to him in an excited whisper. Remus’s heart clenched at the sight, knowing that Harry would make a wonderful father one day. 

 

Lunch was a simple sandwich and soup affair that Remus cooked while Harry preoccupied the child with nonsensical stories. After which they put Teddy into his buggy and took him for a walk in the nearby park. They talked about school, and quidditch, and a little about Sirius and James before Harry went quiet. Remus wasn’t surprised that the young man had a lot on his mind, but when he finally put Teddy down for his afternoon nap, he was surprised by the content. 

 

“What would you say if I said I liked boys, too?” Harry blurted out.

 

Remus blinked at him and it was a few seconds before he was able to fully process the words. He put his cup of tea down and made sure to give Harry his full attention. “I suppose I’d say that’s fine.” Remus wished they didn’t live in a world where Harry had to look so relieved. “Harry, it doesn’t matter who you like, so long as you are safe, and treat them well.” Remus told him firmly.

 

“But if I liked both… don’t… Don’t you think that’s selfish?” Harry looked away nervously. 

 

“Are you coveting other people’s partners?” Remus asked in amusement. 

 

“What?! No!”

 

“Then how is that selfish?” Remus smiled at him disarmingly, and then worry leaked into his tone. “Has someone said something to you?”

 

Harry went still and looked down. “No. Not really.”

 

“But you think they will?” Remus’s heart dropped. Harry had already been through enough, couldn’t he just live his life in peace without having to worry about such things?

 

“Maybe.” Harry admitted softly. “I just… I don’t think Ron will be okay with it.”

 

“Harry. There are many terrible things in this world; you’ve seen what the worst in people can do- so you know that loving someone is a precious and wonderful thing.” He put his hand on Harry’s shoulder in comfort. “If someone thinks less of you for who you love, then they don’t deserve you. I know you and Ron have been through a lot, and I think he may surprise you, but if he doesn’t accept you then that speaks to his poor morals, not yours.”

 

“What if it’s not that I like boys, but who I like?” Harry asked. “What if I like a Death Eater?”

 

Remus felt the pain like a knife sliding between his own ribs. For a moment it took his breath away; thinking of his own situation. Instead he fortified himself and shoved the thought down so he could focus on Harry instead. 

 

“I think we can safely surmise that there are varying levels of Death Eater, Harry. Learned prejudice played into the war, I can’t deny, but it can also be unlearned. I’d also have to wonder if you could ever love someone who truly believed in blood purity.” Remus gave him a knowing look, his tone softening. “I also think Mr. Malfoy never wanted to be one in the first place.”

 

Harry hid his face in his hands and groaned. “Does everyone know?” 

 

“It’s fairly obvious, yes.” Remus smiled at him. 

 

“How do you know it’s not Professor Snape?” Harry joked, but couldn’t keep a straight face long enough to finish the sentence. 

 

Remus flinched at the name, but thanked his lucky stars that Harry wasn’t paying attention. After his laughter naturally died out, Harry got a contemplative look on his face. “Remus, do you… I know you’ve got history and all, but have you talked to Snape recently?”

 

Remus cleared his throat delicately, standing up and grabbing his tea cup to bring to the sink. “No, not really.” He confessed, thankful Harry couldn’t see his face. “Why?”

 

“He just… I guess he probably wouldn’t like me telling you this…” 

 

Oh, how little Harry knew that statement to be true. 

 

“He just looks exhausted.” Harry explained. “Something happened, I think. I wonder if he’s, you know, ‘coping’.” Harry stressed the words out with a frown. “I mean, I know some people think it’s rubbish, but I can see a difference in Draco…”

 

“Harry, why haven’t you taken advantage of Professor Wynne’s office hours?” Remus asked him gently, glad to be onto safer topics. 

 

“I just… I feel like it’s not that bad. Other people have it worse.” Harry shrugged. 

 

“And so their loss erases your own?” Remus pointed out dryly. 

 

“Well… No, I mean, I guess not.” Harry backtracked slightly. “I just…”

 

“Harry, I think it’s about time you looked after yourself instead of worrying about everyone else.” Remus chastised him lightly. “You have been through a lot, and you deserve to be taken care of.”

 

Harry gave him a strange look, half contemplative, half awkward. “You too, Remus. I know… Well, with what happened with Tonks…”

 

“I know it’s unfair, to talk about your woes and not mine, but Harry, I’m sorry. I don’t think it’s wise to talk to you about my love life, first and foremost because you are like a son to me.”

 

Harry gave him a lopsided grin, looking pleased at the ‘son’ comment. “And secondly?”

 

“It’s complicated.” Remus offered. “And that’s all I’ll give you.”

 

“But that means there’s someone else, isn’t there?” Harry went a mile with the inch. “Do I know them?” He gave Remus an unsure but supportive smile. “I think you deserve to be happy again.”

 

“This is the part where we are not talking about it , Harry.” Remus chided pointedly.

 

“I know, it’s just… I’d like there to be something good happening to the people I care about.” Harry huffed. “I thought life after would be better, but it feels just as insane except the mad man running about is all in our heads.” 

 

“I’ll be okay, Harry.” Remus assured him. “I have you and Teddy to look after me.”

 

xXx

 

“Hello, Severus.”

 

Narcissa Malfoy was just as poised and elegant as she had always been, except now she no longer wore her wedding ring. Severus noticed it immediately, but said nothing. It was a conscious choice, and he wondered if she planned to divorce the man who was serving a life sentence in Azkaban. She met him at the parlour and brought him into her favourite sitting room in Malfoy Manor. He could see renovations were underway down the other halls, and this room was completely changed from the last time he’d been there.

 

Perhaps it was just the ambiance of no longer having a tyrannical warlord living under her roof, and also freshly painted walls. 

 

“Tea will be served soon.” She assured him, and then settled into an armchair across from the one he’d chosen. It was the first time they’d seen each other since the trials, and Severus couldn’t fathom why she’d ever want to see him again at all. 

 

“I trust Draco has been behaving himself?” Narcissa asked lightly, and Severus immediately relaxed. Ah, she was looking for information about her son. 

 

"He has been performing admirably given the circumstances." Severus responded truthfully, and let Narcissa digest that statement for a moment. A house elf came to deliver their tea and then left with a quiet crack of sound. It was only after they both had taken a sip that Narcissa decidedly put her teacup down to address him once more. 

 

"I heard he is… keeping different company." She segued carefully. "Is this true, Severus?"

 

"He is your son, Narcissa. Does he not tell you these things?" He would be surprised if not: Draco used to tell his mother everything. Not divulging his budding camaraderie with Potter would be telling to the state of their mother-son relationship. 

 

"He is withdrawn." Narcissa admitted, and Severus felt his hackles fall further. He never knew he was on such a personal level with her before, not to the extent that she would show him such weakness not once but twice. Perhaps it had become a subconscious habit? She looked concerned and forlorn; he hadn't seen her like that since the midst of the war. 

 

"He talks to me about simple things, easy things, and while he is not lying, he is holding his life away from me. I know I haven't done enough for him, especially not when it counted. I do not want to lose him." 

 

"I'm afraid I do not have the advice you are looking for." Severus reminded her with mild discomfort. "I am certainly not well versed in the trials of parenthood." 

 

"But does he seem well?" Narcissa pushed earnestly. "Is he sleeping? Does he eat?" 

 

A swirling began in the pit of his stomach when he recalled his first conversation with Draco. He had become so numb to life that he chose to ignore everyone else, even those that would need it most. Narcissa had chosen the wrong man to make the Unbreakable Vow with, if she wanted someone who would look after Draco's psychological well-being as well as any threats on his life. 

 

"He is speaking to the new professor." He informed her carefully. 

 

"Mind-Healer Mirella Wynne. She comes with many achievements from what I've seen." Of course Narcissa had researched her, any good pure blood would. 

 

"He seems more steady." Severus observed, sipping his tea. 

 

"I should have enrolled him long ago." Narcissa looked wrought with regret. "I may not have led him down the path of darkness, but I never stopped him either. That is something I will live with for the rest of my life. If Draco wishes to punish me, then he has found a worthwhile avenue." She pursed her lips and then let out a delicately broken sigh. "I apologize. I seem to be unloading on you. That wasn't my intention, but perhaps I am simply feeling guilty that I am unable to ask him these things." 

 

Severus did feel uncomfortable; extremely so. He, too, felt shame that he had tried to ignore the problems for far too long with regards to his students. Perhaps the reason why he didn't try to rectify things was simply because it felt so daunting. Would he ever be able to make up for his sins? Draco was recovering, but it was his choice who he allowed to help him. Would there have been a time when he sought Severus out for his assistance? 

 

"Are… are they good to him?" Narcissa sounded ashamed that she was asking. "They are not extorting him, that you know of?"

 

"No, Potter is much too self righteous for that." Severus snorted at the concept. "I personally believe he is making an example out of himself and Draco; to prove bridges can be mended in an ideal world."

 

"Do you think they can?"

 

"Pardon?"

 

"Bridges- be mended? What I asked of you- I owe you a debt that cannot be repaid. Not in my mind." She lifted her chin to connect their eyes. "You saved my son." 

 

"Narcissa, you know it is not as altruistic as that." He tried not to portray that he felt like a liar living in saint’s clothing. 

 

"Regardless of your reasons, whether they were for Draco or for Albus Dumbledore, I still owe you. He is everything to me." Her voice softened near the end. "If there is anything I can do, any way I can atone, please do not hesitate to ask me." She urged him.

 

"I will not give you your absolution." He frowned at her. 

 

"No, I will need to remake the Malfoy name from the ground up; that you cannot give me." She nodded patiently. "What I meant was, I am here for you in any facet you require: a friend, a benefactor, a sponsor." 

 

Severus was more than relieved that she didn't offer something crass, and he knew a lesser man would press for and get it. He did not feel obligated to Narcissa because he was able to save her son's soul. In fact, he had assumed she would hold a grudge against him for his role in putting her husband away for life. He wanted to live his life in peace, away from memories of the war, but only a fool would ignore the offer. If he found something worthwhile to use her for, he would. 

 

"Fine." Severus gave her a surly look of acceptance. "I shall think on it." 

 

"Wonderful." Narcissa relaxed into her chair.

 

They spoke of mild things for a while longer, and it was an hour later that Severus decided to start to make his escape. 

 

"One more thing, if you would." Narcissa requested calmly. "You remember Valence, France, yes?" 

 

Severus gave her a cautious look. "When?"

 

"Don't look so wary, Severus. I just recently had a letter written to me from a woman you met there. Miss Lacroix?"

 

He did recall a vague round face with curls pulled up into a ponytail. They had stayed at her Inn during some death eater business in the area. Her brother was a contact of Lucius but she never expressed her views either way. 

 

"Yes?" 

 

"She has asked after you. I admit I was not going to mention it, since I am unsure of the status of your bachelorhood. I didn't want to assume things…"

 

Severus pinched the bridge of his nose and prayed to a god he didn't believe in for patience. 

 

"I will tell her you are well." Narcissa assured him quickly. "Well, but nothing more." 

 

"I do not wish to discuss that part of my life. With anyone ." 

 

"It seems there is a lot to say, however." She read him far too well for his liking, and with far less tact than he'd hoped. 

 

"It doesn't matter." He tried to dismiss her, but Narcissa was not a woman to be deterred when she scented blood in the water. 

 

"There are people that would wish misfortune upon you." Narcissa reminded him bluntly. "But I am not one of them. Whomever this is, they must treat you well." The look in her eye was a gleam not unlike a predator hunting for prey. 

 

Severus scraped every iota of self control to not colour or give anything away. In the end, his silence spoke enough. 

 

"But, you did not treat them well." She surmised. "I suppose the burdens we carry may cause damage to the ones we love…"

 

"I do not love-" He cut himself off and rubbed at his forehead. In the end, did it matter whether or not he was willing to admit it? Remus’s presence had melted and slithered past every defense he used to keep people out. Even if they weren’t actively talking about their lives or woes, the comfort of one another was enough to form a bond. He missed him, but he knew that going back would mean more, more than he thought himself capable of giving another person. 

 

“Do you think you’re unworthy?” Narcissa questioned delicately. “Of love?”

 

“I think this conversation has gone on long enough.” He stood up decisively and made to leave. 

 

“Everyone deserves it, Severus.” She stood up as well. “But love is nothing without compromise; if they’re worth it, you need to try.”

 

He turned his back on her, hand clutching the high-backed chair for a brief moment. “Good day, Narcisssa.”

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Days passed into weeks, until the cool March settled into temperamental April. The midterms were enough to keep everyone busy, including the teachers. N.E.W.Ts and O.W.Ls would be written at the beginning of July, and so there was more time for the students to prepare. Health Classes would have no tests this year, simply quizzes at the end of every session. They decided to have Health Class between the end of regular classes and dinner, when students would normally have free time. Mondays were first years, Tuesdays were second years and so on, with fifth and sixth years on Friday, and seventh and eighth years on Wednesday evenings.

 

Mirella Wynne taught sexual education during the week after midterms, when they gave the students a few days off to decompress before the new ‘term’ started. This was usually when they’d enter into winter hols if it were a normal year. It distracted the students from their exhaustion, and it felt like the whole school was abuzz with whispers and embarrassed students. Even eighth years were having a hard time looking one another in the eyes.

 

Severus had downtime after marking his exams, and found himself smoking on his porch in the evenings, on a rocking chair he’d repurposed. He thought about a great many things as he absently flicked the ashes away and sucked in lungful after lungful of soothing nicotine. First and foremost, every time he lit one up, he thought of Remus and the night they started their agreement. Somewhere in the bowels of his soul, he knew the other man was right. The smoking was nothing but a way for him to feel like he had some control over his death. 

 

He picked over the thoughts about Remus until they were gaping, open sores, and just when he thought he’d made a definite decision, he revisited it once more. He couldn’t just approach Remus and ask to have sex again; no one was that callous, and it would end in an argument; of that he was positive. The thought of courting the man like some lovestruck fool gave him hives, but he could begrudgingly admit it did have some merit. Tokens were easily left on desks, and he wouldn’t have to be there to see his response right away, only wait to see if he responded positively. 

 

It was the speaking that would be the challenge. If he wrote him a letter, what would he say? The words scrambled before he could even lay them out on parchment. He was not a person to write sonnets, and he didn’t know where to begin with an explanation, or an apology. Remus had this power over him, to invade his mind both consciously and unconsciously. He wasn’t used to having to explain himself, not in a way that made him terribly vulnerable and uncomfortable. He wouldn’t be able to get through the conversation without lashing out or falling back on bad habits. 

 

In a way, Narcissa was right. He did feel unworthy. That thought was twisted in the very core of him; taught to him from years of living with his father, and then childhood bullying, and finally accumulating with working as a death eater spy. He wanted to lay out Remus’s flaws and make himself feel better, and if he decided to completely end this, that was how he’d justify it to himself. Remus was a coward, Remus was a bully, Remus was a beast…

 

Remus cared too bloody much.

 

He could deliberate for years on what he should or shouldn’t do, what he should or shouldn’t say. The fact of the matter was it was him being the coward now. He let Remus believe he did something wrong, and then hid away because he’d felt exposed. 

 

The April full moon was fast approaching, and Severus knew that his first step should be to at least give Remus his altered wolfsbane. He could leave it where Remus would find it, and then try and decide what to say to him after. If he let one go by, then it would be just as easy to let the next and the next, until it was the end of the school year. Severus knew that he’d loathe himself even more if he didn’t at least address this soon. 

 

At the very least it would open the channels for some form of communication. Severus could ask about side effects, and look for any clues to Remus’s state of mind. From there, he would at least have some indication to what his approach should be. 

 

The day before the full moon, Severus stayed in Hogwarts to brew the wolfsbane. He started to pull out his notes and ingredients after the seventh years left his class, and was just setting up his cauldron when the door opened and Draco Malfoy came storming in. 

 

“You have no right to tell my mother anything about me!” He thundered, hands clenched into fists at his sides. 

 

Severus raised a brow at the volatile student and carried on like he hadn’t been interrupted. “Is there some secret you don’t want her knowing, Draco? I am not privy to your hang-ups this year.” He lit the fire under the cauldron to a low simmer and began adding ingredients. 

 

“It’s none of your business, or hers, who I am dating! She lost that right when-” He cut himself off and ran a stressed hand through his blond locks. 

 

“Draco you give things away when you’re upset, we’ve talked about this.” Severus sighed, and when Draco gave him a confused look he prompted: “‘Dating’? Your mother and I spoke nothing about dating. That would be the last conversation I’d have with a parent, especially yours, since I care so little about the woes of teenage angst.”

 

Draco went white as a sheet and then red as a cherry in a matter of seconds, sputtering and spitting like a pissed off cat. 

 

“I can only imagine your mother mentioned Potter in some fashion in her most recent letter?” Severus was loath to admit it, but he’d have to be bludgeoned into a half-coma to not see how the two of them circled each other all these years. To find out they were dating was not the most surprising thing in the world, but it did make things significantly more awkward now that he knew. He actively suppressed the shudder when he thought of catching the two little idiots slobbering all over each other in an alcove somewhere like most besotted teenagers he had to separate. 

 

“It’s none of your concern!” Draco huffed. 

 

“Well, now it is.” Severus muttered under his breath, but louder he pointed to a jar at the end of his desk. “Put two leaves in the cauldron.”

 

“I…” Draco shuffled closer, losing some of his anger to curiosity. “What are you brewing?”

 

“Wolfsbane.” Severus cast him an impatient look. “The jar, Draco.”

 

Draco did as instructed and then picked up the stirring stick, carefully incorporating the ingredient until the sheen turned midnight blue. “What’s with the arnica?”

 

“I’m altering it.” Severus picked up the aforementioned jar and began to grind one of the flowers into a paste. 

 

“You’re…” Draco glanced at the table. “You’re reducing the symptoms?” He began to pick each ingredient up and catalogue them mentally. “Sleep, bruising, regeneration… This isn’t even wolfsbane anymore. It’s some sort of balm or theriac.”

 

“Theriac implies venom, Draco.” Severus corrected him. 

 

“Semantics- there is an ingestible theriac for foxglove overdose. And what is lycanthropy if not a poison to those that suffer from it?” Draco quoted and then scoffed. “The question is why do you care enough to alter the wolfsbane?”

 

“You should be able to come up with a suitable answer yourself.” Severus deflected with a wave of his hand. “Measure out enough moonwart.”

 

Draco fell silent, and soon the only sounds were of a bubbling cauldron, and the two men working side by side. Draco handed him the ingredients as he stirred clockwise and counterclockwise with each addition. Draco stared at the side of his face for a long moment after he put the stick down and turned up the heat just enough for a constant boil for thirty seconds. After he lowered it back down, Draco gasped. 

 

“Bloody- Are… Are you dating Professor Lupin!?”

 

“What?!” Severus stared at Draco in honest shock, and then recalled his previous off-handed comment and suddenly had no idea what expression his face was making. “I was speaking about the inter-house unity your year is so obsessed with!”

 

“And that matters when it’s Lupin, but not the students? You never do anything unless it’s for a reason, and he came to see you those times-” 

 

Severus pinched the bridge of his nose and hastily added the echinacea before the potion was completely ruined. “This is ridiculous, you are projecting.”

 

“So you’re not…?” Draco gave him a suspicious look. 

 

“I am apologizing.” Severus snapped. “That is why I am currently brewing Wolf’s Balm or Lunar Theriac or whatever you would like to name it.”

 

“Both of those have merit.” Draco considered. “But what do you have to apologize for?”

 

“Enough. Out.” He pointed at the door. “I did not speak to your mother about anything other than reassure her that you were not being ‘exploited’ by the golden child and his team of do-gooders. Now, unless you’d like me to actually write to your mother about your love life, I suggest you leave.”

 

“Apologizing indicates you did something wrong.” Draco ignored his threat. “And you never actually denied you were dating.”

 

Draco.

 

xXx

 

“Remus!” 

 

Remus turned to the frantic and out of breath voice of Harry Potter, who was weaving his way through the recently dismissed fifth years. It was his last class of the day before he went to pick up his wolfsbane from Comberly and then spend the full moon alone in the shrieking shack. 

 

“Harry, are you quite alright? Is there something wrong?”

 

“Is it true?” Harry demanded, bent over with his hands on his knees as he caught his breath. “Is Severus really brewing you altered wolfsbane?”

 

“I… Harry I’m not sure where you heard that from…” He glanced around warily, wincing at the sound of the other professor’s name, and the memories of the last full moon. “He made it for me once, that’s all.”

 

Harry gave him a bewildered look. “Was Draco having me on? Something about a balm or something? What is he playing at?”

 

Remus walked up into his office with Harry close behind. “I’m afraid I’m not sure why you think that, Harry. I have to leave soon…”

 

But there, sitting on his desk in an unassuming goblet, was the altered wolfsbane. He could smell the mint from the doorway, and his eyes widened in poorly concealed surprise. 

 

“He did!” Harry peeked over his shoulder in triumph. “Remus, what is he apologizing for?”

 

“I… What?” Remus was still stunned, walking over to the desk and staring down at the potion in disbelief. 

 

“Draco said he was there when he brewed it. He said Snape was sorry. What for? Did he say something? He’s not still being a prejudiced bigot towards werewolves, is he? I’ll hex a professor, I swear I will- N.E.W.Ts be damned…”

  

“You will do no such thing, Harry.” Remus murmured, and then lifted the cup and found a small scrap of parchment underneath. The two words ‘ I apologize ’ stared back at him in Severus’s scratchy scrawl.

 

He was apologizing. 

 

For what?

 

He snapped out of his stupor as the clock chimed noon, and then swallowed the contents quickly. “I have to go, Harry. I’ll see you after the full moon.”

 

“Should I talk to him for you-?”

 

“No.” Remus cut him off firmly. “This is not your concern, Harry. Please stay out of it.”

 

“But-”

 

“- Harry .”

 

“Okay, okay! You win.” Harry held up his hands placatingly. “I’ll… see you after tomorrow.” 

 

xXx

 

The downside to the new wolfsbane was that it had a timed release, and if Remus wasn’t prepared, he would fall asleep wherever he stood. He made it to the shrieking shack after he flooed to Comberly’s address and told him someone had already brewed it for him. Comberly was annoyed, but he said he would give it to another one of his clients and all but banished Remus from his study. In the delightful comforts of the shack, he quickly ate the sandwiches the house elves made for him, and then waited.

 

The drowsiness was the first thing to indicate the passage of time. He could hardly focus on the book he’d brought with him, eyes drooping and words becoming fuzzy as he tried to concentrate. He lay down on the thin mattress and waited for the next effect. Soon all his muscles began to relax one by one, making him feel like he’d rubbed a numbing balm all over his body. He understood this part; when he transformed, his muscles would be so relaxed that they wouldn’t fight the transformation. 

 

The moon rose, and Remus slept through the entire process of becoming a wolf. He was vaguely aware of the change, but by the time his eyes opened again he was in his wolf form. Without much to do with his time, he catalogued his physical and mental state. Once he was in this form, the sedation no longer worked on him effectively. He could still feel it in the background, but it was easy to ignore. He was in his right mind, of course, but there was also a lack of restlessness. Many full moons he would spend pacing, the wolf claustrophobic and agitated. That was part of the reason why he used to attack himself so much before the wolfsbane; wolves hated to be cooped up. 

 

He stood up and stretched, waiting for the faint popping and twinges of pain, but finding none. His appetite, which was normally ravenous, was not as pronounced, but still there. He sniffed around the basket of food and pulled out some plain cooked chicken, gulping that down as best as he could with only the use of his teeth and snout. He loathed the fact that he didn’t have dexterity; now would be the perfect time to read the book. 

 

The last full moon he had been so excited to not feel pain that he barely considered anything else. Now he found himself rather bored. The wolf gave him too much energy to sleep normally, but he knew if he calmed his mind the sedative would do its job and let him fall into slumber. The wakefulness was why he was so tired the next day and it took him a few nights to catch up on all the rest he needed. As he aged, the fatigue became more and more pronounced. 

 

Still, Remus wondered if perhaps he could be  of use in this form. He’d never try it during the school year, but he wanted to go out into the forest and see if his prey drive and wolf instincts were still strong. If not, then he may be able to do some patrols on full moons, and not be cooped up in the shrieking shack dying of boredom. He made a mental note to try it during the summer once the students were gone. He also considered getting something to entertain himself while he was in wolf form. 

 

It was then that he realized the danger of his thoughts. Who was to say that Severus would brew the altered wolfsbane for him every month? That was a bit presumptuous, wasn’t it? In fact, it was this sort of thinking that caused Remus to scare him off in the first place. 

 

That night was forever etched into his brain; the way Severus gave into him so completely, and then how he’d turned around and ordered him to leave. No longer in the moment, he could see how he’d used his wolf strength, and how horrifying that could be to someone in the throes of passion. He didn’t check in more than a cursory question here and there, and what if Severus was just going along with things because he thought the wolf part of him was still present? What if instead of mutual lust, it was simply compliance? The more he went over the night, the more he was certain that he’d done something beyond redemption. 

 

Feeling all the energy leak out of him, Remus laid down on the mattress and wallowed in his gloom. He couldn’t understand why Severus was apologizing at all; it was Remus’s fault things went so far. 

 

Eventually he drifted off, the drugging effect becoming more and more pronounced as the wolf receded and the human came closer to the surface. When he awoke once more, the sun was shining and it was late afternoon. He felt like his arms and legs were a little wobbly, but he was able to redress and carry his things back to the castle using the hidden passageway. When he re-emerged into the hallway of his rooms, he was quick to floo to Andromeda’s and pick up his son. 

 

When Teddy fell asleep that night, Remus was careful to write down any and all pertinent information that Severus may need on the potion. He catalogued it all with an emotionless mind, hoping that there was something of use for him. If Severus decided to market the potion, he imagined it would be to great success. Now that the government was supplying grants to any potioneer who agreed to make the wolfsbane, people were able to live much more normal lives. 

 

He contemplated sending the notes to Severus at once, and then decided to wait. 

 

The next day Remus considered going back to work for the afternoon classes, but selfishly wanted to spend more time with his son uninterrupted. Besides, the health classes replaced Defence on the days he was away, and Mirella wouldn’t have to teach right before dinner this week. He spoiled Teddy rotten, a terrible habit that was forming after the full moons due to his internalized guilt. Still, he was so relieved to see that his son was developing normally. He had worries that Teddy would feel uprooted going between Remus and his grandmother. 

 

Remus was due to bring Teddy back in the early morning the next day, and then return to Hogwarts. He read him several books and tucked him into bed, knowing that the clinginess was not just on Teddy’s side of things. The boy was a year old already; they’d celebrated his birthday two weeks ago with a quaint and tiny party; just the most important people were there. Harry showed up with his three presents; Remus told him that was all he was allowed to spend on Teddy. He however, bypassed this rule by bringing presents from Hermione, Ron, Neville, and Draco. 

 

Teddy was now the proud owner of several new outfits, stuffed toys, singing mobiles, and softer than silk blankets. He wanted to wear the pyjamas that Harry got him nearly every day, and almost cried when he was forced out of them to change. His hair was a swirl of colours when he stared at the quidditch pyjamas, bouncing from red to gold to brown depending on which part he focused on. When Remus laid him down to sleep, he looked up at the mobile Hermione got him of the night sky and fell asleep with blue hair. 

 

He’d just put him down to sleep when the floo lit up in a burst of green flames. He glanced back at his son’s door warily, but walked over to the fire to speak to whomever was on the other end. Much to his surprise, the fire roared, indicating that the person had permission to come through without waiting for his approval. Minerva, of course, had explicit access, but she never came through without speaking to him first unless it was an emergency. Harry had access as well, so long as both Remus and Teddy were home. 

 

The person who came through the fire was neither of those people, but instead Severus stepped out, wiping the soot off his pants with a frown. 

 

The two of them stared at each other warily, until Remus realized the reason why Severus would be there at all. 

 

“Your notes.” He jumped into action and strode over to his desk, grabbing them and holding them out for Severus to take. “I tried to be as thorough as possible. If you have any questions I’ll try and clarify.”

 

Severus wordlessly took the proffered sheets and flipped through them without leaving, which made Remus infinitely more nervous. Was Severus expecting him to apologize? Was this his opportunity to try and beg forgiveness? He didn’t think that he was the type of man who would give Remus a third chance; the second one had been a surprise for both of them. 

 

“I’ll have to adjust the heliotropium.” Severus muttered to himself, and held out his hand while still staring down at the sheets with that contemplative furrow between his brows. “A quill, if you would.”

 

“My desk is right there, if you need anything.” Remus indicated to the left, and given permission, Severus quickly began to scratch things in the margins of his notes. 

 

 Remus was going mad; he could smell Severus’s scent so clearly now. The hairs at the base of his neck were still damp, indicating he’d just showered earlier. Still, he couldn’t touch him, and he felt like this was some sort of divine retribution. Something he wanted so acutely was held just out of his reach, and he clenched his fists at his side. Severus was clearly giving him an opportunity to say something, and he loathed that he was being such a bloody coward about it.

 

“Severus… I need to say something.”

 

“Be quiet for a second.” Severus held up his hand to indicate that he needed a moment to finish what he was writing. Remus sucked in a breath to fortify himself and waited patiently until Severus resorted the papers, tapping them against the surface before he rolled them up and stuck them in his pocket. “You don’t need to say anything.” He said at last, turning to face him head on. 

 

Remus was almost cowed into silence, but then pushed himself past his knee-jerk reaction. “No, I do-”

 

“Remus. Shut up.” Severus demanded irately. “You don’t have to say anything, you have to listen, because I need to say this.” His mouth twisted into a grimace before he straightened out his spine and started speaking once more. “I once called you spineless.” Severus reminded him. “But I did not admit to my own cowardice. I sent you away because…” He trailed off and took a moment to fortify himself. “I was uncomfortable.”

 

“I’m so sorry.” Remus took the opportunity to quickly interject the words. 

 

Severus gave him a glare for the interruption. “Yes, I can see how contrite you are, but it's rather pointless given the fact that you didn’t do anything wrong.”

 

Remus stood taken aback at the words. “What? But I-”

 

“-Left me alone when I asked you to.” Severus cut in over top of him, drowning out his next words. “But I didn’t explain why, and that was due to my own weakness. It was easier to ignore things instead of admit you were… getting closer.” He looked frustrated with himself as he barrelled on, practically forcing the words out. “I do not like feeling out of control.” 

 

Remus opened and closed his mouth once and then remained quiet, his mind a whirlwind of thoughts and emotion. 

 

“You probably should have berated me afterwards for my stupidity, but I’m assuming you came to some ridiculous conclusion that you’d actually hurt me.” Severus sighed. “And I let you believe it, so I could keep you at a distance. In fact, one could argue that I used your weakness against you.”

 

“I don’t understand.” Remus admitted at last. 

 

“If you expect me to repeat myself-” Severus cut himself off and crossed his arms across his chest. “-I will not.”

 

“No, I just don’t know where to go from here.” Remus was at a loss. “You said I was ‘getting closer’ but I don’t understand what you mean by that.”

 

Severus growled in annoyance and hid his face behind one palm. “It means that I wasn’t ‘keeping my emotions out of it’.” He threw his own words out, sounding pained. “It means I am emotionally compromised.”

 

“You like me.”

 

“If you must say it like that, then… yes. So, if you’d like to mock and reject me so I can be on my way-”

 

Remus closed the distance between them in a few strides, taking Severus’s face in between his palms and kissing him soundly. The body in front of him froze, and then his heart soared when Severus melted against him and reciprocated the kiss. Severus batted his hands away from him so he could wrap his arms around his shoulders and thread one up into his hair, keeping him in place as he kissed the life out of him.

 

Severus pressed into him as close as he could, feeling that same overwhelming fullness in his chest that he had come to associate with Remus. He was so relieved to be back in his arms and the comfort they brought to him. Remus always held him like he was worth something; which was so much more than he ever thought possible for someone like him. In these moments they weren't two survivors with turbulent history, they were just two people who felt an ancient, undeniable, pull and didn't want to let it go.

 

When they eventually pulled back for air, Remus kissed him on his forehead with reverence, and for once Severus didn't feel an iota of protest rise in him at the sign of sweet affection. They were close enough that Severus felt brave enough to brush their jaws in the barest hint of a nuzzle. The warmth and proximity gave them a world of their own that didn't let anything negative inside it's barrier. He could feel Remus's smile against his lips, and then he continued to kiss along his jaw.

 

“I’m a werewolf.” Remus whispered in his ear like it was some secret. 

 

“I noticed.” Severus snorted in amusement.

 

“And I have a son.” Remus tightened his arms around Severus's waist in a gentle squeeze. 

 

“I know.” Severus felt his voice naturally dip in hesitance, stomach twisting at the responsibility that statement implied. 

 

“I’d want a relationship- and to be able to tell people eventually.”

 

Severus made a noise of discomfort, knowing that he was expected to make a promise he wasn’t sure he could keep. Here in a private moment between the two of them, it was easy to say he’d abide by these rules, but he knew outside there would be limitations. He thought about who he would even tell, the papers and their bylines, the strange looks he often got on the streets. He shouldn’t care; it seemed ridiculous to give a shit about what people thought about him now, except he was used to hiding. He was used to keeping his cards close to his heart, and not giving anyone any ammunition that could actually hurt him. 

 

He was giving Remus that power, and the thought still made him uncomfortable.  

 

“You have to talk to me .” Remus leaned back to look him directly in the eyes, bypassing his lack of response with grace.

 

“You are asking a lot.” Severus informed him unapologetically. 

 

“Severus…”

 

You started this.”

 

Remus chuckled breathily, unable to deny that comment. He went to lean in and kiss the smug look off his face- just as Teddy woke up crying. Remus hung his head and couldn’t help but chuckle at the timing. “Welcome to dating a single father.”

 

Severus rolled his eyes. “Go get him.” He extracted himself from Remus and straightened out his clothing, not that a one year old would be able to tell anything was amiss. 

 

“Don’t leave.” Remus pleaded softly. 

 

“I meant go get him and bring him out here. May as well traumatize him further by introducing him to a complete stranger after a nightmare.” 

 

It was, in fact, the opposite. Teddy was cuddled up under his father’s chin, looking at Severus with wide, red-rimmed eyes. Remus properly introduced them quietly, and Teddy wouldn’t stop staring at him. Eventually he hid his face shyly, but when he turned back and his eyes were the same colour as Severus’s shirt. The three of them sat on the couch, Teddy against his father’s chest angled so he could look at Severus unabashedly, and Severus trying to ignore the look boring into the side of his face.

 

Eventually Teddy fell back asleep and Remus carried him into his room and laid him back down. The two adults unanimously agreed that Severus would stay the night- to sleep, and in the morning he’d go back to Hogwarts when Remus left to drop off his son. That didn’t stop Remus from lavishing him with languid kisses after they both crawled into his bed, trying not to let his hands wander too far. They were both tired, emotionally wrung out, and eventually separated to different sides of the bed.     

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Dating Remus Lupin was not exactly the smoothest transition of his life. Remus had wants, simple things that were apparently very normal in a relationship; things like having meals together, spending time in each other’s company, touching outside of intimate situations. Severus, meanwhile, had no idea what he wanted and wasn’t sure if he was enjoying it or tolerating it. There was something nice about falling asleep without having to get buggered first, but he didn’t think he’d ever be the type of person to hold hands down the street. He also sort of wanted to get buggered six ways to Sunday, but certain responsibilities did not allow it. 

 

Their relationship went from completely physical to chaste in an instant, because toddlers were not conducive to fits of passion. Edward- or Teddy- Lupin was a paradox of frustration and cautious acceptance for Severus. He knew he was not exactly father material, and he’d been around babies long enough to hand them off to someone else. The next morning after their confession-turned-stayover, Remus made it very clear that he expected Severus to be a part of Teddy’s life if they were together. He belatedly discovered that holding a child whose parent had expectations of you was incredibly mentally taxing. Remus handed him the child over their first weekend together a few times, just for small moments so he could grab or do something else quickly.  Remus was taking pity on him, but Severus knew  eventually the novelty would wear off, and then it would only be a matter of time until he fucked it up. 

 

To complicate things- Teddy was also not a gift out of a perfect storybook and was exactly like any other toddler his age. That meant he got into anything he could get his hands on, he didn’t want to eat his meals sometimes, and threw fits when he didn’t get his way. Severus couldn’t recall his own childhood at this age, but he knew that his father would have put a stop to this by now. Remus barely ever raised his voice, continuously removed Teddy from situations when he wouldn’t listen, and just seemed to innately know what to do.

 

It made Severus uncomfortable when he got stressed out enough to think about yelling, or remembered his father smacking him when he did even half the things that Teddy got away with. He could feel himself withdrawing, knowing that it would all come to ahead eventually. By Sunday, when Teddy started to act up, he found ways to excuse himself from the situation, even if that meant just walking into the other room. The last time, although he had no idea why, it made Teddy cry harder.

 

“I should go.” Severus announced after Teddy was finally down for his afternoon nap. 

 

“Please stay, just for a bit.” Remus looked just as tired as he used to after the full moon. “I’ll make some tea.”

 

“No, I will, you sit down.”

 

Remus watched him make it over the back of the living room couch; the living area to the kitchen was an open concept. 

 

“It could have gone worse.” Remus offered after he accepted the cup of tea and took a fortifying gulp, nearly scalding himself for his efforts. 

 

Severus remained quiet. 

 

“Hey.” Remus put his cup down and reached for Severus’s hand. To his surprise, the other man flinched and pulled his hand back. “Severus?”

 

“I am not good with this.” Severus reminded him angrily, gesturing towards Teddy’s room. “I was not raised like that, I don’t know what you expect me to do.”

 

“To be honest, I don’t expect you to do anything, not right away.” Remus explained carefully. “I know it’s a lot. I just want him to get used to you.” He settled facing Severus a little more. “You weren’t raised like what?”

 

“To be loud.” Severus said after a long, stretched out silence where Remus patiently waited for him to speak. 

 

“From what I understand of it; it’s that he doesn’t know how to express himself yet. He has no way to regulate what he’s feeling. He’s either content or he’s not, he doesn’t know the differences.” Remus traced his thumb along the rim of his mug. “He’s also going from one parent to another. Andromeda and I try to be consistent, but it’s not perfect.”

 

“And you just let him act like that?”

 

“I let him express how he’s feeling.” Remus frowned at him, a tad defensive. “But I stop him if he’s gone too far.”

 

“Aren’t you worried he’ll be spoiled?” Severus wondered if it was all rubbish or not; but he could see that Remus actually believed it, and so he felt like he was walking on unsteady ground. 

 

“I’m worried about a great many things.” Remus responded honestly. “I worry that he’ll grow up feeling unloved, or that I’ll fail him in some way. I worry that he’ll hurt himself, or be bullied for things he can’t change… I do worry that he’ll be hard to handle, but I’d never want him to feel unsafe with me.”

 

Unsafe

 

They both drank their tea quietly, the atmosphere tense until Severus admitted: “You and I were raised very differently.”

 

“I know.” Remus agreed. He leaned forward, making his intentions clear, before he took Severus’s hand in his. He ran his thumb over top of Severus’s knuckles idly, balancing his empty tea cup on his knee as he looked lost in thought. “It’s strange for me too.”

 

Severus knew that, under circumstances wherein one of them didn’t have a child, they probably would have spent all weekend in bed together. Instead he left that evening feeling like his heart wasn’t fitting quite right in his chest. Teddy had woken up in a much better mood from his nap, and insisted on spending time making one-worded demands of Severus and showing him all his toys. It was a strange situation to be in, but he found he wasn’t as annoyed as he expected. 

 

They’d spent most of the weekend in each other’s company, but arriving to work on Monday morning felt strange for a whole new reason. Back when they’d just been sleeping together, it was easy to pretend there was nothing between them except for covert glances. Trusting Remus formed underneath their time spent in the same bed, but expressing himself emotionally was a talent he never quite mastered. He’d admitted his feelings, allowed things to progress into a relationship, but that was as far as his tattered nerves would stretch. 

 

“Good morning.” Remus leaned in to whisper to Severus before he sat down. 

 

For a moment he felt a bolt of panic when he thought that Remus would do something insane, like kiss him in the middle of the Great Hall, but his fears were unfounded. Remus contented himself with sitting beside him and starting his breakfast in peace. Severus felt ridiculous, and replied with a calm ‘good morning, did you sleep well?’ after he’d willed his blood pressure back down. Remus smiled at him almost shyly, and asked some questions about Severus’s classes. The simple topic served a few purposes; to break the tension, to make it seem normal that they were speaking to one another, and to get them used to the idea of being together in public.

 

By the time the two of them were just sipping their coffee and tea, Severus had a sense of normalcy back. Still, it was strange to talk openly, and not feel like he had to hide what he was thinking and feeling from both Remus and everyone around them. He noticed Headmistress McGonagall watching them, but he attempted to pay it no mind. 

 

“I didn’t get much marking done this weekend.” Remus bemoaned, and gave Severus a grin that was both knowing and regretful. “You didn’t either, did you?”

 

“Who’s fault is that?” Severus volleyed back. 

 

“Well at least you only have three grades to mark!” Remus chuckled.

 

“Also your own fault.” Severus reminded him, and then glanced up and noted that the Great Hall was starting to clear. “I’ll leave you to your misery, then.” He hesitated, and then carefully added: “See you tomorrow.”

 

The next day dawned and Severus felt a little more steady. Remus arrived late to breakfast, quickly eating and wishing Severus a good day before he had to leave to prepare for his first class of the day. Beside them, the new muggle studies and novice potion’s professor were engaged in a loud debate, and so Severus simply nodded and resolved to speak to him later. By lunch, Severus was finished for the day, and Remus sent him an apologetic look from across the hallway, accosted by several seventh years who were freaking out about the Defence N.E.W.T curriculum. 

 

He decided not to loiter, and by early afternoon he was in his office at home brewing. The rhythm and flow of potion’s making was enough to fill him with a sense of ease and accomplishment. He knew he was competent; one didn’t get the title of potion’s master quite so easily, especially at the young age he did. It was simply that rush of creating something with his own hands; seeing the way it came together like second nature and considering in his mind what he could do to experiment with the recipe.

 

He didn’t realize what time it was until the dinner hour arrived and he was ravenous. He stepped back, wiping the back of his hand across his brow; the heat from the steam made his face warm. On a normal day, he’d simply fix himself some dinner and spend the rest of the evening reading or spending time alone quietly. Now, he thought idly if Remus finished his marking, and that led to a mental debate of why he was thinking of Remus at all. 



Two nights apart wasn’t the worst thing to suffer through, especially considering the relationship was relatively new. Being attached to someone like this felt like a bad habit he should break immediately, and he had to cut off that line of thinking before it turned self-destructive. He was safe, there was no mad man running around looking for someone to murder to keep Severus in line. There was also no headmaster watching him over the rim of his half-moon glasses with a knowing, calculating look.

 

Did he want to see him? Was this simply what he thought Remus would want? 

 

He stood there for several minutes, brain stopping and stuttering on what should be a simple decision. Did he just want to have sex? Did he even really know he liked Remus enough to be in a relationship with him? What if he’d made a reckless decision?

 

He stomped into the kitchen, feeling a tension headache starting at the back of his skull. He started throwing a meal together, and only stopped when it needed to simmer for a few minutes. He stared over at the fire and felt angry with himself. Trying not to think too hard, he quickly scribbled a note and sent it off through the floo to Remus’s office.   

 

I’m making dinner, if you haven’t starved to death yet under all that marking. If you’re still detained, see you tomorrow. -S’ .

 

Remus would respond in time or he wouldn't. Instead he focused on the meal and considered his herbs thoughtfully, only snapping from his daze when the fire grew bright enough to warn him of a visitor. Clearly, the man in question was in his office when Severus sent the note, as he was now standing in his living room, brushing off his cloak sheepishly. 

 

"I didn't expect-"

 

"-Did you finish-?"

 

They both cut themselves off when the other started speaking, but whereas Severus exhaled heavily through his nose in impatience, Remus simply grinned. 

 

"Sit down, then." Severus turned back to his stove and began adding things in without much consideration- often his best meals came out in spur of the moment decisions like these. 

 

"Do you need any help?" Remus wandered over instead. Severus didn’t feel prepared for the feel of his hand brushing his hip, or the warmth of his body along his side as Remus casually stood beside him to observe the process. 

 

“I’m fine.” Severus bit back the remark about feeding himself all these years, but just barely. Remus was one of those people; the ones that cared enough to ask. 

 

Uncomfortable. Unsure. Regret. 

 

This was a terrible idea. What the fuck was he thinking?

 

Remus stepped to the side to give him space, but he didn’t go sit down at the table. “It’s weird, isn’t it?”

 

Severus shot him a cautious look out of the corner of his eye. “What?” He snapped. 

 

“Well, normally I’d have my hand down your pants by now.”

 

Severus felt like he choked on air and turned to glare at Remus for the crass comment. Except Remus was smirking at him, like he had expected that response and was trying to prove something. Perhaps it helped to address the atmosphere in the room for him, but Severus now felt like his face was flushing an ugly shade of red. He stepped back and turned away from both the heat of the stove and Remus, trying to clear his head and just stop thinking

 

“We don’t have to do anything, you know.” Remus pointed out, sounding apologetic.

 

“Would you shut up?” Severus demanded, sighing heavily and pinching the bridge of his nose firmly. 

 

“I would if you ’d start talking.” Remus countered. “You look like you’re about to explode or run.”

 

“Excuse me if I’m not inherently well-versed in this .” He gestured between the two of them.

 

“I think ‘ this ’-” He didn’t have to be looking at Remus to know he’d made a similar gesture sarcastically. “Is whatever we want it to be. So, if you’d like to just have dinner, that’s fine. But you need to tell me what you want, or else I may do something you don’t like.” 

 

Severus bit down on his cheek, hard. “Things were much simpler when we were just having sex.” He grumbled. 

 

Remus could have taken offense to that, or assumed that was all Severus wanted, but over the last few months he’d learned a few things. As he became more comfortable, it was easier for him to express what he wanted, and it appeared that was the same in bed as it was in personal relations. Severus had invited him there, and then acted like he didn’t want him to show up. He could feel disheartened, or that Severus was going through the motions of what he thought Remus wanted, but he also knew Severus was stubborn as hell. He won't just conform to what someone else wanted, even if he didn’t know what he was doing. 

 

This left Remus with two pieces of information; Severus wanted him here, but he was frustrated that it wasn’t straightforward and simple. Sex was easier in his mind; at least he knew what was going to happen, and that was why Remus came around.   

 

“You made dinner, let’s at least eat.” Remus offered.

 

Dinner was an awkward affair until Remus ate some of his curry and then blinked down at his plate in wonder. “What did you put in this?”

 

Severus hurriedly scooped up a mouthful and mulled over the taste. “Is it bad?” He didn’t notice anything amiss, but perhaps Remus was used to something more bland?

 

“No, it’s just really good.” Remus admitted as he ate some more. “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. You’re good at potions.”

 

“They are completely separate talents.” Severus answered dismissively. “I don’t recall what I added. I have had the base recipe for a while and I’ve added to it over the years.” 

 

“I’m not bad at cooking- it’s much cheaper to cook for yourself than get takeaway, but I’ve never mastered curry.”

 

“It’s not in your bones.” Severus replied wryly. 

 

“Where did you learn it from?” 

 

Severus looked down at his plate and had to drag the story out of himself, uncomfortable the whole way. “My mother was half- Indian. She learned it from her grandmother.”

 

“And you learned it from her.” Remus smiled encouragingly. 

 

“Yes, one of the few good things she bestowed upon me.” He groused, feeling his appetite dwindle to nothing at the sour memory of his mother.

 

Remus could tell there was a cost to him pressing further, and instead changed the subject. “My father enjoyed baking, I learned some trade secrets from him.”

 

“Baking?” Severus raised a brow. 

 

“I make a mean pie crust.” Remus raised a brow, goading him.

 

“I’m sure you do.” 

 

The topic stayed on lighter topics; the variety of meals Severus learned over the years, and Remus’s joy of baking. When Severus finally put his fork down, Remus immediately stood up to clear their plates and wash them. He was a much quicker eater, and Severus was slow and methodical, interrupted and prolonged by their conversation. Remus set the dishes to washing themselves with a wave of his wand, and then turned to Severus expectantly when they began to pile up with no dish rack to place them in. 

 

He sighed and stood up. “Here.” 

 

The sounds of clinking dishes distracted them for a few moments, and while Severus put them away, Remus glanced around the kitchen and wandered over to the wine rack. In all honesty, he hadn’t seen much of the other man’s kitchen, and found himself perusing the different labels. Goblin wine, German wine, and most of them were rich burgundy. The only white wine he had was from Italy, something much sweeter than Remus would guess. 

 

“Gifts, over the years.” It was Severus’s turn to stand at his side, offering the explanation without prompting. 

 

“You do give off the ‘red wine in a goblet’ sort of look.” Remus nodded to his current choice of high-necked black robes.

 

The man in question breathed out heavily through his nose in a huff. “The vampire dungeon-dweller.” He drawled mockingly. “If you’d like some, you’re welcome to a glass.”

 

“What about you?” 

 

Severus shook his head, but didn’t move. “I’d rather a clear head- I recommend the white one.” 

 

Remus watched him for a long moment and then instinctually leaned over and kissed him on the corner of his mouth. Severus turned his head towards him before he had completely stepped back, eyes following his lips, and Remus swayed closer again. When their mouths met it was a slow, simmering kiss, unhurried and indulgent. Talking was suddenly the last thing on Remus’s mind as he curled his palm around the back of Severus’s neck, nails dragging across his scalp in nonsensical patterns. He had missed this.  

 

Severus melted into his arms, arms winding around his back and under his overcoat. The kiss turned more heated, mouths opening against each other and tongues caressing. Eventually Severus began to pull Remus’s shirt out from his pants, and drag his nails up the exposed skin until he reached his ribs. There he simply held him closer, thumbs tracing scars absently. Remus extracted his hands long enough to shrug off his coat, and then nudged Severus’s jaw with his nose so he could kiss him on the sensitive underside. 

 

“Bed.” Severus panted, feeling impatient. He didn’t know he wanted this so much until it was happening, and now he wondered how he’d gone so long without it. 

 

“You sure?” The question was softened when he felt a smile against his skin. 

 

“Take me to bed or go away,” Severus growled, and began pulling at his own clothes in earnest, making Remus laugh. 

 

The process of getting naked was second nature by now, they’d seen each other’s bodies in every lighting over their time as lovers. It was strange to think how normal this was, how taken for granted the feeling of their skin brushing and legs intertwining instinctually. Remus gripped the back of his thigh and ground down against him. In return Severus lifted his hips up into the feeling, raking his nails down his back like he knew Remus liked. 

 

It was dark in the room since neither of them had paused long enough to turn on the lights, but it felt more reminiscent this way. Severus reached down to take Remus’s erection in his hand, exploring the feel of it as he kissed along his neck and sucked a bruise into the crook of his shoulder. He muttered a spell and suddenly his hand was slick, making the glide easier. He bit down when Remus groaned, prolonging the sound and feeling his own arousal surge. 

 

“Severus.” Remus murmured, and then put a hand on his wrist to stop him. “I need you.”

 

“You have me.” Severus responded half-distracted. 

 

“I want to watch you.” Remus tried to clarify, leaning back to pull Severus on top of him. “Get yourself ready for me.” 

 

The request was not the most embarrassing thing Remus had ever asked of him, but he was eternally grateful for the lack of light as he leaned back on his knees and reached between his legs. The slick he’d used on Remus was already warm, and he wasted no time teasing himself before he slipped the first finger inside. He felt Remus rub his palms up and down his thighs, feeling put on display and wishing he could hide his face. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back, trying to ignore the gaze on his body and focus on stretching himself out. 

 

He couldn’t quite reach the spot inside himself that made his gut clench in pleasure, but the familiar stretch promised more was to come. Remus slid his hands up to his stomach and chest, fingers finding those spots that made his breath catch. He sighed, the sound loud in the curtain of darkness around them. Eventually Remus reached one hand down to where Severus’s was, pressing his own finger alongside to test how ready he was.

 

Remus pulled at his hips until Severus moved over his cock, and then waited until Severus opened his eyes and looked down at him dazed.

 

“Is it okay like this?” In all the times they were together, Severus hadn’t rode him once, and he wondered if there was a reason for that. He hadn’t thought to ask. 

 

“Fuck.” Severus didn’t answer his question, instead he guided himself down onto Remus’s cock before he could think to slow him down, and they both groaned as gravity pulled their hips snug against each other. 

 

They both breathed heavily for a few moments and then Severus began to rock back and forth, trying to find the right rhythm. Unsure what to do with his hands, he placed them on the bed beside Remus’s sides and began to move up and down more. Remus couldn’t stop staring unabashedly, drinking in the sight greedily and splaying his hands across Severus’s hips and stomach. He pressed his thumb against Severus’s pelvis, angling his hips down, and beginning to move his own in counterpoint.

 

Severus took the hint and arched; with Remus’s participation it was easier to find a position that gave them both intense gratification. Eventually he ended up gripping Remus’s thighs and leaning back as he rolled his hips, each movement stroking Remus along his prostate. He couldn’t go fast like this, but it was enough to make his brain white out. His whole body was shaking, and his core was already sore, but he couldn’t gather up much concern to protest. 

 

He was so turned on, so close, and he knew the moment that Remus touched him where he needed it, he’d be done. Remus was pistoning up into him, chasing his own end, and Severus didn’t realize he’d closed his eyes again until he opened them and looked down at Remus. He was watching him with eyes blown black, sweat dripping down his chest, and arms straining as they held onto his hips in an iron grip. Severus didn’t think as he supported himself on one arm and grabbed onto Remus’s wrist with the other. Their eyes locked for a moment and then Remus was coming inside of him with a long groan, then he grabbed Severus’s dick and pumped him fast and hard, wringing the orgasm out of him. 

 

Severus felt like every muscle was weak and useless, and would have fallen backwards if Remus hadn’t grabbed his hand and hauled him forward instead. Remus’s cock slipped out of him at the movement, and  he ended up collapsing into Remus’s arms as the other man guided him down to his side. He managed to not elbow or knee anything important, but it was without finesse. They were both sweaty and out of breath for a long time afterward, and Severus knew his thighs would be sore in the morning. He needed a bath, but he didn’t trust his legs underneath him. 

 

He stayed right where he was, half on top of Remus with their legs tangled and his face pressed against the pillow and Remus’s shoulder. Remus was nuzzling the side of his face, but he couldn’t do much to reciprocate or reject the motion. He could feel the fluids draining out of him, the warmth going tacky and cool the longer he remained that way without cleaning up. There was a small part of him that liked that feeling- the claim of it- but he’d never admit it out loud to anyone. Least of all, Remus. 

 

“You okay?” Remus asked against his temple. 

 

“We should get cleaned up.” Severus responded instead, but made no move to do so.

 

“Not what I asked.” Remus splayed his hand across the small of his back. 

 

“It’s a stupid question- I clearly enjoyed it or else I would not have come.” Severus grumbled. 

 

“Let me fuss over you, love.” Remus sounded amused. “You hardly let me do it otherwise.”

 

Severus pulled himself away from the warmth and stickiness between them so he could kiss Remus soundly. It was indulgent, nothing more, to do this when he’d normally worry about it meaning too much. It was easier to do these sorts of soppy things when he was half out of his mind with endorphins and didn’t have the filters of the world between them. Remus clearly appreciated the effort, because when he hauled him into the shower later, he massaged his head and temples how he liked. 

 

When they were in the cleaned bed later, Severus let Remus curl up around him and draw idle designs on his thigh. 

 

“Do you think you’d mind coming by this weekend, too?” Remus asked into the quiet hesitantly. 

 

“Already asking for another date, Lupin? Isn’t that a little eager?”

 

“It’s Remus.” He bit his shoulder in protest, and then pressed a soothing kiss over it. “And yes, it is. I have no problem stowing my pride.”

 

Severus looked down and watched the hand that was on his thigh move in soft circles. “Do you think Edward would want that?”

 

“Hm? Ted adores you.” Remus sounded surprised. “Couldn’t you tell?”

 

“He’s one, he wants to show everyone his toys.”

 

“And copy their hair colour and shirt colour.” Remus chuckled. “He asks for you, apparently. I firecalled Andromeda last night and she wanted to know who ‘Seb’ was.”

 

“He doesn’t know what he’s doing.” Severus wasn’t sure who he was trying to assure that to.

 

“Maybe not.” Remus allowed. “But that doesn’t change the fact that he would be happy to see you again.” He paused. “And I quite like your company too.”

 

“I suppose I don’t mind yours.” Severus admitted, eyes drifting shut.

 

He especially didn't mind the company when he drifted back into consciousness in the morning to Remus kissing along his back. He could feel Remus, hot and semi-hard against the back of his thigh, but the werewolf wasn't in a hurry to find his own pleasure. He was stroking along Severus's stomach and dick with the back of his knuckles, feather-light touches that made him shiver and ache for more. Remus leaned forward and kissed the shell of his ear. 

 

"Morning." He whispered, his breath tickling his ear and making it oversensitive. 

 

Severus made a noise not unlike a groan and then grabbed his hand and pressed it against his stiffening arousal pointedly. Remus chuckled against his ear and murmured the same spell that Severus had used the night before. A cool, slippery hand wrapped around him and he keened and tried to thrust into it as best as he could while still remaining plastered against Remus's front. Thankfully, he didn't tease any more, and worked Severus into a toe curling rhythm quickly and efficiently. Still half asleep, he felt Remus's name slip past his lips as he began to reach his peak. Pleased, Remus reached around with his other arm, hauling Severus more securely into his embrace, and playing with his bollocks. 

 

Severus shuddered through his orgasm, and when he finally came down from it he was wide awake. He spun around in Remus's arms and shoved him onto his back. The token protest was promptly ignored, as Severus knew damn well Remus didn't 'expect him to reciprocate' but he was damn well going to. He drew Remus's cock past his lips and had him coming into his mouth minutes later. 

 

"You are making breakfast." Severus sat up and walked over to his closet to pull out his clothes for the day. When he turned around to see why Remus hadn't moved yet, he found him staring at him with a faraway expression. "Is there anything happening in that head of yours?" 

 

"A comment about sucking brains out could be made." Remus joked, knowing he would get an eyeroll for his troubles. "I need to go get some clothes; I can't very well teach in the same ones two days in a row."

 

"You have extras at Hogwarts. Food then clothes. You can wear my extra pyjamas till then." 

 

"I didn't even know you had pyjamas." Remus was delighted that Severus had plain blue plaid pyjama pants and a white t-shirt, like some muggle

 

"Well I'm a little worn down after your visits to put them on." But the comment wasn't snide, it was almost flirtatious- if one could liken Severus Snape to such a thing. 

 

Remus had the insane idea, just for a brief moment, to laugh and say 'And that is why I love you.' 

 

Chapter Text

XxX

 

The first indication to anyone that things were not completely hostile between Remus and Severus was at the next staff meeting. Minerva wanted to discuss with everyone if there were any students who seemed to be struggling, and what they could do to help them. In the wake of midterms, it was a good time to regroup and discuss these things. It was especially important to Minerva for them to have Mirella Wynne speak to any concerns she saw in the students, and what they could do in their classes to alleviate some stress. 

 

Flitwick was mid-sentence when Teddy became fussy. Remus had him for the last two days since Andromeda had come down with a mild cold, and Minerva had been strangely accommodating. Remus had thought she’d think it was unprofessional to have his son with him while he was teaching, but was pleasantly surprised to have her allow it. Teddy had been a delight, and all the students cooed over him while Remus taught with him strapped to his chest. It made practical work a little harder, but everyone took it in stride. 

 

He started to rock him gently, hoping that would deter a full on tantrum, but Teddy wasn’t having it. He started to whine louder, pushing away from his father and reaching for the table. Lately he’d discovered that he could crawl with nearly inhumane speed, and Remus didn’t want him to get on the table and have to run and catch him. His walking was still a slow process, as his feet hadn’t quite developed enough to be flat on the ground, but it didn’t stop him at all. 

 

Just when Remus thought he’d have to leave, Severus plucked the child from his arms and put him on his lap, giving Teddy a stern look. 

 

“Enough of that, young man.” He murmured. 

 

Teddy immediately let out a shriek of joy and clambered up into his feet, grabbing fistfuls of Severus’s clothing to haul himself upright. “Seb!”

 

“Yes. Yes.” Severus extracted his hair that had become tangled up in Teddy’s grip. 

 

“Seb!” 

 

Everyone was staring, even McGonagall, not that Severus noticed since Teddy was bouncing up and down and giggling in delight. Teddy’s hair turned black instead of its natural mousy brown, and he proceeded to start touching Severus’s face in reverence. He dragged his little fingers across his cheek to his nose, then pressed both palms on either sides of his jaw, which he had seen his father do and decided to copy it. Eventually he started to babble happily and let Severus sit him down on his lap. Remus quickly pulled parchment and muggle crayons out of his pocket and Teddy went to town on them quietly. 

 

Still sitting in Severus’s lap. 

 

While Severus looked on, completely nonplussed. 

 

Minerva recovered first, shaking herself from the stupor. “As you were saying Fillius?” 

 

“Ah, yes, well… I… Quite forgot what I was saying.” He admitted sheepishly, eyes darting back to Teddy and Severus. 

 

“Remus?” Minerva turned to him expectantly. “Anything to report?”

 

“No, headmistress. I’ve noticed that as the year goes on, the students are settling down. I haven’t seen as much anxiety as of late, but I’m concerned that as the anniversary approaches this will change.”

 

“Yes, I see.” Minerva’s eyes locked onto Teddy, who was handing Severus a crayon and tapping the page impatiently. Severus took the proffered dark green one and began drawing an outline for Teddy to colour in. Teddy was watching with extreme concentration, nodding as if he were reading a very important document. 

 

“I agree, Remus.” Mirella was the only one not spellbound by the scene. “I expect to see a steep rise in student outbursts soon, if they have not started to happen already. I think it would be best to cancel classes for that day, perhaps invite students to go home for a long weekend and see their parents and return for a vigil in the evening. May the first is on a Monday this year.”

 

“We should be cautious.” Severus spoke up unexpectedly. “Of the effect this will have on Slytherin House. Many students may blame them for what happened, and I would not be surprised if they were the victims of vicious bullying, or even blatant attacks.”

 

“As you know, Mirella, Draco Malfoy has had a particularly hard time. I worry about him the most.” Remus continued on from that wavelength. “I know you can’t speak to what is said in your sessions, but I wondered if you’d come up with a strategy with him for this day?”

 

“He does not wish to see his mother, and would like to remain at Hogwarts.” Mirella replied frankly. “I agree that he will be in danger, but to sequester him away would imply he is guilty in his mind.”

 

“And he would gladly play the martyr.” Severus scoffed darkly. “He’ll not run nor hide, but stand there as target practice.”

 

Mirella gave him a wry smile. “You know him well.”

 

“What would you have professors do?” Severus turned to Minerva expectantly. 

 

Minerva recovered quickly. “I think that is up to each individual professor. We all lost someone in this war, friends, family, students…”

 

“What about the order?” Mirella suggested.

 

The Order of the Phoenix became common knowledge after the trials, and most of its members were given an Order of Merlin, first class. Several of which were sitting in that room. 

 

“Surely they'd like to lend a hand? Perhaps it would be nice to have them all together again, so they may mourn together? We can invite them to stay overnight if they need lodgings to make the vigil, and they may be able to help with patrolling and keeping the students safe.”

 

“If they can stow their own prejudices.” Severus interjected under his breath. 

 

Remus subtly reached over and squeezed his knee, hoping to give him some comfort. 

 

When the meeting adjourned, Severus hauled Teddy up into his arms and carried him out the door without looking to see if Remus was behind them. Remus huffed a little sigh at the abrupt departure and cleaned up Teddy’s things before he, too, left. Minerva wanted to stop one of them, but she had no idea what to say or how to approach the topic. She stared at the door for a long moment after Remus made his exit, and was only interrupted from her daze to find Mirella Wynne at her side. 

 

“May I ask a question?” Mirella politely waited until Minerva nodded. “Was it so strange to see Professor Snape with a child?”

 

“To be blunt, yes.” Pomona cut in here, eyes still bugging out of her head. “I wasn’t aware those two were on speaking terms.”

 

Mirella blinked at the herbology professor. “I don’t… You mean to say…?” She looked like she wanted to continue, and then trailed off and fell silent. “I see. I won’t say anything further, then.”

 

“You know something.” Minerva gave her a tired, but not unsurprised, look. “Perhaps you have a better outside perspective than we do?”

 

“I should say so.” Mirella sounded cross, and then shook her head. “No, I’m afraid it is none of my business. I wanted to discuss my role in the vigil next week…”

 

xXx

 

May First arrived as a warm and sunny day, with not a cloud in the sky for miles. Despite the cheerful spring weather, the mood across Hogwarts was a dour one. Gone were the sea of black robes at four long tables. Instead there were several rows of tables, and people huddled on them in small, sullen, groups. The students were not in their robes, and parents and acquaintances were also invited to attend the vigil that afternoon. It was not the full number they were expecting, as more attendees were due to start trickling in sometime after lunch. 

 

Severus arrived at the castle early that morning, wandering the halls like the ghost he’d likened himself to all those months ago. Neither he nor Remus had slept the night before, and Teddy could sense something was amiss. Eventually after the third bout of crying, Remus pulled him into his bed and let him sleep in between them. Severus hadn’t said anything, and Remus hadn’t asked him if it was okay, but Severus rubbed Teddy’s back carefully as the child hiccoughed his way through the last of his sobs.

 

That morning, Severus had put a pot on and contemplated just leaving. Remus and Teddy were not due to wake up till much later thanks to their pitiful sleep. He was at the fireplace, reaching for the floo powder when he remembered all the comments about communication and wandered back into the room. Remus was curled up protectively around Teddy, and the little boy had his little fists clutched to his chest. Severus leaned over and gently shook Remus awake, long enough to tell him he’d see him at the castle later. Remus barely acknowledged the information before he was back asleep, and Severus felt it was safe to leave.  

 

“Good morning, Severus.” Harry Potter greeted him, the circles under his eyes telling his state of mind. “You don’t have to worry about Draco. We’ll keep an eye on him. I’m going to fetch him now.” 

 

“It’s not just Draco, Potter.” Severus reminded him curtly. “All of Slytherin house will be targets.” 

 

“I know.” Harry rubbed at his eyes, nearly dislodging his glasses from their perch on his nose. “Are you doing okay, professor?”

 

“You needn't worry about my state.” Severus tilted his head towards the end of the hallway where the stairs to the dungeon were located. “Hurry along.”

 

“Have you seen Remus?” Harry looked hesitant to ask. 

 

“Teddy didn’t sleep last night.” Severus sighed. “He’ll be along later.”

 

“I… see.” Harry gave him a strange look and then excused himself to go pick up Draco. Severus wouldn’t realize the ramifications about his response until much later. Harry didn’t know the extent of their relationship, only that they’d ‘fought’ and Severus had ‘apologized’ and the potion’s master had been content with the hero knowing no more. 

 

Severus found a few students crying, but so far he hadn’t seen any signs of attacks. He wasn’t foolish enough to think the students were all above that, and so he kept hyperaware. He wandered the halls methodically, sending anyone he found to the great hall for lunch. He’d been walking for hours, unsure of the time and too uncaring to check. A cursory glance outside told him that they hadn’t congregated outside yet for the vigil, and so he continued on his path. 

 

‘I bet you’re one of them, Snivillus!’

 

‘Fuck off, Black’

 

‘You gonna go grovelling to that Dark Lord? I guess even slimy snakes have a place with him’

 

‘Perhaps he will do us all a favour and rid the world of you, Black. Especially if you keep spouting that nonsense’

 

‘Can’t even fight your own battles, Snivillus!? Always the same!’

 

‘Speaking as the coward who will only pick a fight when he has back-up.’

 

‘You wanna go? I could take you down right here-’

 

‘Sirius, we have to go. We’ll be late for Herbology.’

 

‘Yes, listen to your pet, Black. The beast has all your collective brain cells today.’

 

Severus winced and touched his temple, wondering where the unbidden headache and memory came from. He rounded the corner of the halls and found a scene not unlike the one he’d just recalled; four boys against one Slytherin. All their wands were drawn, and the Slytherin stood tall and proud despite the fact that they were terribly outnumbered. Instead of Gryffindors, it was Ravenclaws this time, and he had all their wands flying out of their hands before they could utter the first syllable of a curse. 

 

“Enough.” He hissed. “You think this is a joke? People died on this day- you think your petty squabble means anything?”

 

The tallest boy with dark hair and piercing eyes was arrogant enough to mouth off, even without anything to protect himself. “You were one of them, weren’t you? I don’t believe it, still defending the scum who killed our friends!”

 

“I didn’t kill anyone!” Snarled Theodore Nott. 

 

“Ha! If you didn’t I bet your parents did, or even your friends! That Malfoy-”

 

Severus cast a silencing charm on the four Ravenclaws. “Fifty points, and-”

 

“-Oi!” 

 

Severus felt his irritation notch up higher. “Mr. Weasley, your assistance is not required.”

 

“You okay, Nott?” Ron ignored him. 

 

The Ravenclaws were all yelling soundlessly at both Ron and Severus, mouthing things like traitors and death eaters and the like. One even included an insult about Hufflepuffs, and Severus wondered if fifty points was enough. He could send Ravenclaw into the negatives if he so wished- and he would be justified. They looked like a pathetic bunch of pantomimes, and he handed Theodore back his wand and told him to get to the Great Hall. 

 

“I’ll bring him, Professor.” Ron assured him, as if he’d asked the annoying welp for his two cents, and then Ron turned to the four attackers. “Come on, the lot of you. Maybe you’ll learn something today instead of falling back on shitty prejudice.” When none of them moved, Ron raised his wand. “Don’t make me hex you- I’ll take a detention, don’t think I won’t.”

 

“Hurry along.” Severus shoved their wands into his pocket. “You can have these back at the end of the day, and silence will improve you.”

 

The Ravenclaw boys all glared at him as they stomped past, and he left them at the mercy of the redheaded menace. 

 

Severus waited until they were all out of sight before he started walking again, but found that he was out of breath, and his legs didn’t seem to want to move. He stumbled over to the window and leaned on the ledge heavily, trying to calm his breathing. The world around him felt foggy and far away, like he was watching it through a hazy, dreamy, smoke. He could hear the words echoing around in his skull even though the students were long gone. 

 

‘Death Eater’

 

‘Traitor’

 

‘Murderer’

 

He was one, wasn’t he? A murderer. He’d murdered Albus Dumbledore after all, and countless muggles and muggle supporters in the name of retaining his spy status. What the hell had he been doing this last year? Did he forget so easily the lives he’d ruined from his actions? He was still a slave to his past, always doomed to remember what he’d done. His chest clenched painfully, turning his breathing into a wheeze. Images of the war assailed him, and each one made the pain spread out from his core intensely until his eyes and face burned. 

 

He should be dead.  

 

It took a long while for him to regain the ability to walk and breathe normally, but the ache in his chest and the fog remained. He wandered out into the sunlight, the strain of it harsh on his eyes. He could sense magical signatures around the front of the school, and so he wandered around the back, stopping every once and a while to try and regain his bearings. He was overwhelmed with just the simple task of walking, and he couldn’t remember what he was doing in the first place. 

 

Eventually, he looked up and saw the Whomping Willow, and stood stock still. 

 

He didn’t remember climbing down into the passageway that took him to the shrieking shack, nor did he remember walking up the steps to the room he’d been essentially murdered in. What he did remember was the pain of the bite, the fear, and then the relief. The room was scrubbed clean, no hint of the blood and poison that would mark the beginning of his life after death. Instead he stared at the spot with eyes unfocused, wondering if this year had all been a dream. 

 

Of course I saved you, you foolish man!

 

Professor!

 

He reached up and touched his neck, fingers tracing the torn and healed over skin. The feeling in his chest was getting worse again, and he wished he could crack it open to relieve the pressure. The sound of someone calling his name was there, he could barely acknowledge it even though he heard it coming closer and closer. He was shaking, breath coming out in short gasps. He couldn’t turn away from the wall, where he’d slid down after his attack and welcomed death.  

 

Remus stepped in front of his path, cutting off his line of sight and making him stumble back as if struck. Everything felt fresh and raw; the memories of their school days, the war, the death of Albus. The room was too small, and he couldn’t handle trying to coerce his thoughts into a semblance of order so he could relay any of this to Remus. He was a failure at communication, just another thing to add to the long list of his faults. 

 

Remus was speaking, but it was as though he were watching and listening through murky waters. Remus reached out carefully, and Severus observed as he slowly curled his fingers around Severus’s left hand, just holding them for a moment. He closed his eyes and focused on that feeling, his senses returning to him slowly; first the pressure, then the cool, clamminess. How strange, Remus always had such warm hands. Perhaps he was dead too. 

 

He felt the hand leave his own, but it didn’t disappear from his body entirely. Remus trailed his hand up his arm to his shoulder, and then around his back. He felt a warmth press against his chest, and then he was being cradled in Remus’s arms, a face pressed against his shoulder. He could feel Remus’s chest expand and contract with each breath, but Severus must have been shaking so acutely that it passed on to Remus, because suddenly the breathing changed. Both of their breathing changed. 

 

He wouldn’t call it crying, because that implied to him that there was some sort of pent up release and flood of emotion. Instead he pressed his face against Remus’s neck and felt something hot and wet drip down onto Remus’s coat. It was a long while until he felt anything except for the burning in his face and eyes, and then his throat. Still he couldn’t put two thoughts together until they’d been standing there for a long time, clutching onto each other for support. 

 

“Are you here with me now?” Remus asked, and it was crystal clear. 

 

“What…” He blinked stupidly and the trail of tears had gone cold. He stepped back and wiped at his eyes, exhausted. “What time is it?”

 

“We missed the vigil.” Remus told him softly, and then cradled Severus’s cheeks and pressed their foreheads together. “It’s okay. Just… Stay here with me?”

 

Severus knew that he didn’t mean physically, and breathed out a heavy sigh. “Alright.”

 

“I thought… I thought I’d come in here and you’d be gone.” Remus shared, sounding vulnerable. “That it was all some… dream. Some fantasy. Maybe we’re both dead and this is the afterlife. I don’t know, but I couldn’t find you and then I just came here by instinct, and you were looking right through me...”

 

“I’m sorry.” He didn’t know what to say.

 

“Don’t apologize.” Remus pleaded, his hands tightening as Severus felt the furrow of a frown between his brows. 

 

“Where’s Edward?” Severus tried to focus. 

 

“I left him with Harry. He’s fine.”

 

“We should…” He cleared his throat. “We should go get him, and then go home.”

 

‘I want to see him, and I want to be somewhere safe.’

 

“Okay.” Remus pressed a soft, lingering kiss on his lips and then stepped back. “Okay, come on.”

 

He linked their hands and led Severus back out of the tunnel, helping him out of the hole when they both knew he was fully capable of doing it himself. Remus didn’t seem to want to let him go, and as strange as it sounded, Severus felt the same way. There was a comfort in feeling him physically; knowing he was real and tangible. Perhaps if he were in his right mind he’d feel mortified at the need for constant reassurance, and displaying the nature of their relationship for all to see. 

 

In the end, it was very few people who saw them before they left. Harry was sitting with Teddy on the steps nearest the Whomping Willow, with Draco standing petulant nearby. They both seemed to be pointedly ignoring the other, while Teddy babbled on in the background none the wiser, looking through Harry’s collection of Chocolate Frog cards. It was Draco who saw them first, but said nothing about their haunted faces or linked hands, simply turning to announce their presence.. 

 

“Your father is back.” He told the child, and then walked past them into the school. 

 

Severus unlinked their hands as they climbed the last part of the hill, and then he beelined for the toddler. 

 

“Hi, Seb.” Teddy said, and then obediently lifted his arms and settled into Severus’s embrace without fuss. Had they been allowed to apparate, he would have in an instant with the child safely tucked under his chin. Teddy was quiet the whole trek into the castle, only waving at his godfather and reciprocating the ‘I love you!’ Harry told him before he departed. The three of them went to Remus’s rooms, since they were the closest, and then used the floo to arrive at Severus’s house.

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Severus was, in fact, absolutely horrified to wake up the next morning and remember what had happened the day before. Severus was also embarrassed to find that Remus was right; sometimes focusing on the needs of someone else was easier than focusing on your own. 

 

It was hard to put Teddy down to bed that night, and eventually he had to just leave the room and let Remus do it alone. He was wholly inadequate at taking care of anyone, let alone a one year old that needed you to know what you were doing. He was frustrated with his lack of experience in child rearing, because he had the feeling it would be helpful to keep him busy.

 

He sat on the couch while Remus bathed, changed, settled, and read to his son. He was still clutching the same cold cup of tea he’d been nursing all evening since they returned. He acknowledged the lights turning off in the spare bedroom, and then Remus closed the door quietly behind himself. They’d brought the crib from Remus’s apartment there for the weekend, and thankfully Teddy could sleep anywhere. He didn’t seem to mind splitting his time between several different houses, but eventually it would need to be addressed. 

 

“Come on.” Remus took his hand and coaxed him to his feet, bringing him to the bathroom and starting to run the shower. 

 

“I can shower on my own.” Severus snapped, feeling gutted and vulnerable in a way that made him want to lash out and hide away. 

 

“To take a page out of your book; please shut up.” Remus began to undress him methodically, with nothing sensual about it. 

 

He looked wound up and irritable to the point that Severus didn’t feel like fighting him was worth it- he was too tired. He stepped into the warm spray and began to wet his hair while Remus stripped himself and then stepped in behind him. Severus felt like the hands on his body were slightly intrusive, but when he turned to tell Remus that he was perfectly capable of all of this, the words died in his throat. This wasn’t about his comfort, he discovered, but Remus’s. 

 

Eventually they were both clean and just standing under the hot water, and Remus crowded him against the cold shower wall and kissed him. He hissed at the frigid tile, and then had to grab onto the ledge for the soap before he slid and fell. Remus didn’t seem to notice, kissing him roughly and then leaning down to peruse his chest with claiming sucks and punishing bites. Severus would have thoroughly enjoyed it if he weren’t currently sopping wet and trying to mentally pull himself together. It felt like he was getting some sort of emotional whiplash.

 

Eventually Remus noticed his shivering and they left the shower to dry off. Severus didn’t bother getting dressed, because he knew that Remus would just pull it off of him once they were in bed. He wasn’t resigned to the sex; he wanted it just as desperately as Remus did, but he was starting to understand it was probably not the most sane thing to do after they both suffered an emotionally draining day. Remus was not himself, but he wanted -he needed- the physical comfort. And Severus found he did too, regardless of how ‘proper’ it was. 

 

Severus let himself be pushed onto the bed and submitted to the whims of his partner completely. Remus was rough; rougher than he’d even been, but there was a layer of craving and reckless abandon that made Severus feel desired and excited. Remus bit his inner thigh hard enough to bruise almost instantaneously, and he thrust two fingers into him at once. It didn’t hurt, but it was on the knife’s edge of intense. This wasn’t about his pleasure, but it was strangely satisfying. He wondered if he could get Remus to do this in the future, after they had their stupid ‘talk it out’ wherein Remus would probably think he’d been too rough.

 

Remus dragged red welts down Severus’s back before he hitched his legs over his shoulders and slid into him. Severus choked on the burn, holding on tightly and grunting at the stimulation of pain and pleasure. Remus hadn’t prepared him as much as usual, and his length felt huge inside of him. He moved his hips, clenching down when Remus bottomed out so he could hear him hiss and groan at the tightness. Remus leaned forward and bent him further, making an ache start in his lower back, but he was being slammed into the mattress so thoroughly he didn’t care. 

 

He felt claimed, owned, and the same overwhelming white noise filled his brain. He was beyond this moment, suspended in between too much and not enough. He had no doubts that if he was able to angle himself just a little differently, he’d probably hit his prostate enough to have a touchless orgasm. As it was, he couldn’t do anything but hold on and let Remus fuck him until his voice was hoarse and his legs were numb. 

 

Remus thrust into him deeply, stilling and coming inside before Severus could get a hand on himself. He groaned at the feeling of Remus gyrating his hips to coax every last drop out. His hand unwound from the bedsheets, where he must have gripped them earlier, and reached up to try and tug himself over the edge. Instead, Remus pulled out of him suddenly, and then grabbed his hips and sucked him down. He couldn’t do anything but thrust up into that hot mouth, and Remus took it without complaint. He fucked his throat, every muscle in his body strung tight, but he felt so empty. 

 

“Fingers, I need-”

 

Remus plunged three in and he nearly screamed, coming so hard that his eyes watered and he let out a broken little sob. Remus licked him off, and caught his breath against his hip. 

 

Even after all of that, Remus still didn’t let him sleep. He mapped out Severus’s body with his fingers and lips, hardly affected by his own release while Severus struggled to recover from his. Severus found himself shaking through another orgasm a half an hour later, with his chest pressed against the bed and hips held up as Remus drove into him. He squeezed his eyes shut against the tears of overstimulation as Remus found his pleasure again deep within him a few minutes later. 

 

xXx

 

Severus felt dazed and lethargic the next morning, but he was still an early riser. He was aching; bruises mapping out the activities of the night before were stark against his skin. He knew he’d have to take a mild pain potion to be able to walk normally. He hauled himself out of bed and sneaked a peek into Teddy’s room, finding the toddler standing in his crib and stomping happily when he saw someone else was awake. Feeling stiff, sore, and nervous, he contemplated waking up Remus to tend to his son, and then promptly decided against it. He was a grown man, and he’d figure it out- he’d seen Remus do it enough times, hadn’t he?

 

It was an experience, but eventually Severus had Edward in a new nappy and fished out new clothes that he wrestled him into. He put the shirt on backwards twice somehow, but Teddy simply laughed in delight at the annoyed look on Severus’s face. By the time he was dressed properly and sitting at the table with cut up watermelon, Severus felt like he’d been awake for hours. A cursory glance at the time informed him he was being dramatic, and only forty minutes had passed. 

 

He was on his second cup of strong coffee (and Teddy’s second shirt since he’d forgotten to put the bib on him) when Remus emerged from the bedroom in pyjamas and bee-lined for Teddy’s room half-asleep. He paused at the doorway, midway through a yawn when he heard Teddy squeal from behind him and call for his dad. Remus turned to take in the scene of Teddy with bright pink hair and Severus watching him with a raised brow at the table. 

 

“I… Didn’t hear him call out.” Remus rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “I didn’t mean to sleep through it.”

 

“He didn’t.” Severus took a pointed sip of his coffee. “I woke up and saw he was awake.”

 

“You… got him ready?” Remus blinked at him. 

 

“We persevered.” Severus tapped the high chair table to direct Teddy’s attention to the remaining cereal, the two adults watching as Teddy picked up a handful with his chubby little fist and shoved fist and all into his mouth. 

 

“Marry me.” Remus breathed, and then they both coloured and decidedly ignored his comment altogether.

 

 They needed to talk, but Remus was already cursing at the time and rushing around to get ready. Severus didn’t have classes until later that day, but Remus had a full schedule that couldn’t be ignored. He watched Teddy shove more cereal into his mouth idly, while Remus flitted around in the background. 

 

“Do you mind grabbing his bag, I have to drop him off at Andromedas-”

 

“Gama!”

 

“I can drop him off. You’ll be late for work.”

 

Remus froze, mouth gaping open at the offer. “I… What?”

 

“Aren’t we the epitome of wit this morning? I said I’d drop him off. You have a class in-” He peered at the clock on the mantel. “Twenty minutes. I cut up the watermelon. At least have a slice.”

 

He stood up and set about cleaning up his own dishes, ignoring the shocked look and how Remus’s eyes followed him with disbelief. He grabbed a face cloth and set to wiping off Teddy’s face and hands, which the toddler tried to turn his face away and squawk in annoyance. 

 

“Edward.” Severus gave him a warning. “Stop being difficult.”

 

“You’re never going to call him Teddy, are you?” Remus watched the scene in amusement, snapping from his stupor and walking over to grab an aforementioned watermelon slice. 

 

“I don’t see the point.” He lifted the child from his high seat and watched as chunks of watermelon and cereal fell to the floor from the bib. He sighed and fished his wand from his pocket, casting a cleaning spell on the mess and then wrestling the bib off Teddy with one hand. “Why give him a name and then use something completely different?”

 

Remus would have made a comment about how Severus was strangely competent with children when he wasn’t actively thinking about it, but decided that would probably backfire on him. He walked over and gave both of them a kiss on the cheek, then grabbed Teddy’s bag to leave on the table and cleaned up the bedroom quickly. He knew that Severus would probably leave shortly after, but he had a weird feeling just leaving his son to someone else. 

 

“You’re sure?” He stood by the fire.

 

“You have ten minutes.” Severus warned him, and readjusted Teddy. “I’ll firecall Andromeda after you go.”

 

“Alright. I love you, Teddy. See you at lunch, Severus.”

 

And he was gone. 

 

Teddy let out a disappointed huff and began to try and force Severus to let him down, by leaning out of his arms. 

 

Severus looked down at the child and wondered what had possessed him this morning. He was adequately dressed to deliver Teddy to his grandmother’s, but without Remus in the house, he felt on edge. Obviously it was the best course of action considering there were two of them, and he didn’t have anything to do, but when the emotional side of his brain caught up with the logical side he realized this was rather daunting. He let Teddy down so he could do one last sweep of the house and make sure that there was nothing else he needed to grab. 

 

When he came back into the room Teddy was already at his toy’s basket, hauling them all out. Severus pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to fight the annoyance down. It would keep him occupied until Severus called Andromeda, is what he tried to tell himself, as he knelt down and threw some floo powder into the fire. 

 

It took a moment for the call to connect, and when it did, Andromeda looked suspicious. “Hello, Mr. Snape.”

 

“Good morning. I have Edward here, when would be a good time to drop him off?”

 

Andromeda’s face morphed from wary to shock and alarm. “What? Where is Remus?”

 

“At work.” Severus hated to go through this song and dance, but he supposed Andromeda had a right to the question. 

 

“I was just about to call him in his office. I expected Teddy an hour ago.”

 

“Gama!” The sound was too close, and Severus sat back and grabbed Teddy by the middle before he could do something dangerous like stick his little pink head into the fire. 

 

“Edward. No.” He scolded, and as expected, Teddy let out a great wail of dismay at not being able to do the thing he wanted. 

 

“Perhaps I should come though instead.” Andromeda suggested calmly over the sounds of her grandson crying. 

 

“It’s fine. I will be through in a moment.” He stood up and did his best to ignore Teddy’s little tantrum, grabbing his bag and surveying the damage to his living room with mounting frustration. 

 

Teddy’s toys were everywhere, and he’d managed to throw some books off the shelf that were at his height. He was getting far too good at hauling himself up onto his feet when he had something to climb. Thankfully Remus had placed a sticking charm on most of the furniture so it wouldn’t fall on him should the child yank it the wrong way. Still, the sight of his precious tomes on the floor made him glare at the back of Teddy’s head, and then stepped towards the fire once more. 

 

“Bunny!” Teddy shrieked, lunging so he could get the stuffed toy by Severus’s feet. “Bunny!”

 

“Honestly, you little banshee.” Severus sighed and then leaned down to pick up the offending green item and shoved it in Teddy’s arms. “There.”

 

When he eventually made his way through the fire, carefully shielding Teddy’s eyes like he’d been taught to do, he found himself in Andromeda Tonk’s front room. 

 

Andromeda was a timelessly beautiful woman, and he found himself surprised to see so much of her sisters in her, despite how fundamentally different each woman was from the next. He could see the angular features reminiscent of Narcissa, but the hooded eyes and the way she carried herself was similar to Bellatrix. He couldn’t be sure she wasn’t about to whip out her want and hex him from the way she was watching him with sharp eyes. Her long brown hair was pulled up into a bun, but wisps of it hung down around her cheeks to frame her face. 

 

“Gama!” Teddy forgot all about his previous strife and held out his arms for his grandmother, trying to find a good purchase on Severus’s hip with his feet so he could propel himself further towards her.

 

Andromeda took Teddy from his arms and greeted him lovingly, her face morphing into something so unlike her sister’s; a warmth that was easy and sincere.   

 

“Would you like some tea?” Andromeda offered after she asked Teddy with mock seriousness if his bunny was the colour green.

 

“I should be going.” Severus stepped back towards the fire, trying to understand his reluctance to leave now that he saw Teddy was content in Andromeda’s arms. 

 

“Nonsense. Do you have class?” She turned away from the fire and began to walk into the attached kitchen, leaving Severus to either leave rudely or follow. 

 

He could have lied and said he had class, but it already felt too late. He resigned himself begrudgingly to a cup of awkward tea. 

 

Andromeda set the kettle on and then asked if Teddy had eaten. The conversation stayed to the safer topic of childcare, and when they settled into the living room and Teddy was sufficiently distracted, Andromeda began to ask the important questions. 

 

“And how did you come to be in possession of my grandson?” 

 

“Remus had early class this morning.” Severus told her what she already knew; but if she were anything like her sisters, it wouldn’t be enough of an explanation by a long shot. 

 

“And so he dropped him off with you this morning instead of just bringing him here?” Andromeda asked airily, taking a sip of her tea and smiling indulgently when Teddy lifted up his crayon to show her he’d matched his hair to it. 

 

Severus was saved for a moment from responding when Teddy crawled over to him and used his trouser legs to haul himself up to standing. 

 

“Seb! Look!” He held up a red crayon. “Geen!” 

 

Severus looked pointedly at the crayon. “That’s red, Edward.” He lifted him up and gestured to the inner lining of his robe, which was a silky forest shade. “Green.” He then indicated to the crayon. “Red.”

 

Teddy stared at him in adorable confusion before he shrugged off his mistake and scrambled off his lap to continue drawing. Severus winced when he leaned forward to make sure Teddy made it off his lap, feeling the pull in his lower back. 

 

Andromeda watched the interaction and then put her cup down decisively. “I lost my daughter a year ago.”

 

“My condolences.” Severus responded calmly. 

 

“She had a strange fondness for you, Mr. Snape.” Andromeda continued, and the gaze sharpened. “Although I don’t know if she’d be fond to discover you’re sleeping with her husband.”

 

Severus was well versed in accusations, and so he didn’t give her the satisfaction of sputtering and backtracking. “If she were alive, I suppose she would be. I don’t make a habit of sleeping with married men.” He watched her eyes narrow further, and continued on with nonchalance. “I would hope she’d want the man she loved to be content without her, and not wallow his life away in her absence.”

 

“And you’re saying you make him happy?” Andromeda pressed.    

 

“You would have to ask him that.”

 

Andromeda sat back and processed this. “He… does seem ‘content’.” She allowed thoughtfully, and then her eyes shifted to her grandson. “And Teddy seems fond of you.”

 

“He is fond of everyone.” Severus didn’t know why he was so quick to correct her. 

 

“Children are often good judges of character.” She replied cryptically. “And although I have my reservations about your previous alliances, I will admit that Remus doesn’t strike me as the sort of man to allow dangerous people near his son.”

 

Severus wanted to argue that point, but felt it would be counterproductive. He didn’t feel as though he would ever be ready to help raise a child, regardless of how good Remus was to him. There was a part of him that felt wholly inadequate, and another part of him that resented how uncomfortable it made him. He would never tell Teddy’s grandmother that, however, since it was none of her business and he most certainly gathered that Remus would agree.

 

“I should be going.” He stood up decisively. “I have classes to prepare for.”

 

“Of course.” Andromeda looked like she had a lot to consider, and didn’t bother getting up to see him ten feet to the fireplace. “Have a good day.”

 

“Goodbye, Edward.” Severus stepped over to where Teddy was absorbed in his drawing. When he realized Severus was addressing him, he looked up and blinked at him with bright green eyes. Severus paused, and then carefully ruffled his hair before he turned to the fire and activated the floo. The last thing he heard before he was back in his home was a wail of his name, like Teddy didn’t want him to leave.

 

Remus beelined for him when he arrived for lunch, he barely paused when several students called out a ‘hello professor’ in his direction. He waved at them distractedly and then settled in beside Severus, immediately asking how things went this morning, and apologizing that he’d left the task to the other man. The potion’s master raised a brow at him and busied himself with buttering two buns, one that he bit into and the other he dropped on Remus’s empty plate. 

 

“She accused me of sleeping with a married man.” Severus enjoyed the look of horror on his face, glad that Professor Flitwick beside them was completely enraptured with his conversation on the other side. “I corrected her and she seemed to accept it.”

 

“I… You told her what exactly?” Remus asked cautiously.

 

“I don’t sleep with married men.” Severus replied nonchalantly. “But I do make an exception for widows with lycanthropy.”

 

Remus snorted in amusement and couldn’t keep the grin off his face as he began to tear his dinner roll into smaller parts for something to do with his hands. “I’d really like to kiss you right now.” He murmured softly, just loud enough for Severus to hear.

 

“Please don’t.” Severus sighed. “I’d rather not be the subject of gossip until the end of the school year.”

 

“But… You’d be okay?” Remus dissected his words. “With people knowing? Eventually?”

 

“That was part of the agreement, wasn’t it?” He tried to ignore the flutter in his chest when Remus smiled at him so brightly that he wanted to cover up his face. 

 

“Professor Snape.” Professor Wynne leaned over Flitwick, apparently finished with their conversation. “If I could borrow some of your time? When you have a moment?”

 

“I can be here an hour before lunch tomorrow, if that is sufficient?”

 

“Perfect. Thank you. I’ll come to your office.” 

 

“That sounds ominous.” Remus whispered in his ear, and Severus couldn’t help but agree. 

Chapter Text

xXx

 

“I wanted to talk about yesterday.” Remus announced once they were in the safety of Severus’s kitchen after classes had let out for the day.  

 

Severus, already prepared for this declaration, began the process of making tea and pulling out a tin of chocolate biscuits. “Imagine my surprise.” He remarked dryly.

 

“This is serious.” Remus insisted. “We haven’t talked, not really, about it all.”

 

“Go sit down, then. I’ll be along in a moment.”

 

Remus looked like he wanted to protest but then conceded that Severus wasn’t about to run off at the first sign of something heartfelt. He sat down in the living room on the couch, waiting impatiently for Severus to finish what he was doing before they started their chat. Remus wasn’t sure if he took his sweet time on purpose or not, but eventually a tray was levitated to the table and his lover followed along behind it. Two cups prepared themselves; one with a healthy dollop of milk, and the other with two teaspoons of sugar. 

 

Remus took the one with milk and stared down at the pale brown mixture, wondering when Severus learned how he liked his tea. 

 

“I wasn’t prepared.” Severus started the conversation, which was a little alarming for the both of them. “It is just another day in a hundred bad days.”

 

“But this one is a collectively bad day. We were made to anticipate the grief with everyone else, which… It makes it worse sometimes.” Remus explained, thumbs running along the top of his mug absently. “I didn’t react well either.”

 

Severus took in a slow breath and held it for a moment. “You came to get me.”

 

Remus immediately reached for his hand, and Severus gratefully took it in his own, starting to understand the need to touch and offer comfort. 

 

“Of course I did.” Remus assured him sadly. “I was worried about you.”

 

“I should have been there.” Severus felt the guilt and incompetence start to flip his stomach. “You lost someone, and I was off being ridiculous.”

 

“You weren’t- Severus.” He tugged at his hand gently so he’d look at him. “How you feel isn’t something you can turn off and on.”

 

“I could, before.” He corrected him, looking away and voice dropping low and ashamed. 

 

“You could ignore it before, but you were still feeling it.” Remus corrected him firmly. “You were angry and bitter- tell me you weren’t.” He challenged. “Just like how I can see you getting defensive, right now, but you know I’m right.”

 

Severus fought for control over himself, feeling like Remus had peeled open a raw wound to cause him pain. He wanted to pull his hand away, angle his body in the opposite direction, maybe even stand up and pace. He hated above all else that Remus was right, and he wanted to call him smug and condescending, except he knew he wasn’t, not even close. He was stating the truth, something that Severus didn’t want to ever hear, because it made him feel fragile and inherently broken. 

 

“Strength isn’t always about control.” Remus squeezed his hand. “Sometimes it’s letting go. Letting the wound bleed and heal naturally, instead of holding it in all the time.”

 

“How poetic.” Severus softened the words with a twitch of a smile. 

 

“I went to find you because I care about you.” It was Remus’s turn to look away. “But after… I should have tried to tell you how I was feeling, instead of just...”

 

“And this is where I stop you.” Severus sighed. “Do you think I didn’t know what was happening? Why you were doing it or why I wanted you to do it?”

 

Remus clamped his mouth shut and stared at him warily. 

 

“I knew you wanted comfort, and I am in a position to give it to you. Why wouldn’t I want that? Isn’t this pot and kettle?”

 

Remus let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding, chuckling wryly. “I suppose it is. We are both used to feeling bad about ourselves.”

 

“Let’s hope Edward takes after his mother.” Severus replied sardonically. 

 

“I wanted to apologize for that as well.”

 

“I’d rather you stopped apologizing for things that are not your fault.” Severus pinched the bridge of his nose. “Andromeda is… protective over you. Did you expect her to welcome your next paramor with open arms?”

 

Remus snorted at the word paramor, but decided that the other man had a point. 

 

“And a man that many consider to still be controversial.” Severus added and gave Remus a serious look. “You must know that people will still blame me, even if I am painted as a hero, there will always be those that doubt.”

 

“And I am still a dark creature.” Remus responded. “And there are still people who think I should be locked up like an animal.”

 

“I used to be one of them.” Severus pulled his hand back and took a soothing sip of his lukewarm tea, not meeting his gaze. “I made your life more difficult.”

 

“I’m… surprised you’re willing to talk about this.” Remus admitted after a long silence. “Because I was angry at you for a long time, but then I thought… Perhaps it was karmic justice. That you were able to hurt me as I’d hurt you when we were in school together. I know I didn’t cast the jinxes and hexes, but I may as well have.”

 

Severus sat forward with his elbows resting on his knees, hair falling into a curtain to hide his face. “It was easier to hate you.”

 

“You must have felt terribly alone.”

 

“... I was.”

 

Remus knew better than to apologize, even though he knew this regret was probably one of his most powerful ones. Instead he sat a little closer on the couch and put his hands on his knees so that Severus could see them out of the corner of his eye. 

 

“I asked you, back on new years, if you could let the old me go. I’m tired of the grief of my youth.” Remus flipped his palm up in an invitation. “Can you let them go, Severus? The cowards we were?”

 

Severus turned his head and stared at the proffered palm. “I don’t know.” He admitted truthfully. “It’s easier to be angry than to feel this .”

 

“I want to hear about your life eventually, even the difficult parts, but if we can’t let go of the hate, it will be harder to move forward.” Remus murmured. “And I want to move forward- with you.”

 

Severus grasped his hand, but didn’t say anything.

 

“Do you want that?” Remus whispered, terrified of the answer.

 

“I don’t want to hurt anymore.” Severus admitted, voice so low it cracked in spots. “And I don’t want to hurt you either. So, I’ll try.”

 

Remus leaned over and kissed his shoulder. “Okay.”

 

The two of them cracked open the one bottle of wine Severus actually liked, and drank it between themselves during dinner. Afterwards, they sat on the couch with their legs tangled together. It was easier, with the excuse of alcohol, to talk about things that they didn’t dare breach before. How Remus’s parents used to fuss over him to the point that it made his mother sick, and he learned to feel ashamed and guilty even though they tried to hide it from him. How Severus learned to hate his mother until he was sick with fury, because she had never protected him from his father, and then died in his sixth year of Hogwarts before he could yell at her for it.

 

How Remus loved Nymphadora, and knew they could have been quite happy together. How Severus felt like Lily’s death was his fault. How they both had been so naive as children. 

 

“I don’t regret you.” Remus broke the silence they’d lapsed into. “Not for one second.”

 

Severus was leaning his head against the back of the couch, blinking slowly as he took in those words and digested them. “I think I don’t deserve to be happy with you.” He admitted at last, and it hurt both of them to hear. “But I want to be.”  

 

“I know.” Remus swallowed dryly, and when he said “Me too” what he really meant was “I am falling in love with you anyways.”

 

Remus took his hand and kissed his knuckles, making Severus huff in put upon annoyance. He then tugged his lover to his feet and suggested they get ready for bed. The task of maneuvering around each other was becoming routine, and eventually Severus came into the bedroom and turned off the lights. 

 

Remus sat against the headboard in his old threadbare pyjama t-shirt and boxers, idly spinning his father's old ring. When Severus sat down on the edge of the bed instead of crawling under the covers on his side, Remus smiled softly. The moonlight was enough to see his face once they both adjusted to the dark, and he could see the pensive look as the dark-haired man arranged his thoughts. 

 

"I don't know how to ask for this." He hinted carefully. 

 

"I don't think you've ever asked before." Remus chuckled. "Normally you start snogging me senseless and I get the picture." 

 

Severus seemed to be trying to take a page out of his book tonight, but was clearly not in his element. "Do you want to? Tonight?" 

 

"Very much so." He assured him gently and then took Severus's face in between his palms and leaned to meet him halfway for a sweet kiss. When they broke apart, he couldn't keep the joy off his face. "I would really like to make love to you." 

 

Severus flushed scarlet; the heat emanating from him as he leaned in to shut Remus up with a more forceful kiss. 

 

Remus turned his face away to laugh breathlessly. "Not used to that, huh?"

 

"This is the first relationship I've been in, so obviously yes, that's not something I hear everyday." He countered, but his tone was not as annoyed as it once would have been, perhaps even a little nervous. 

 

"Not one?" Remus didn't know how to mask his surprise. 

 

"Yes, I worked my way through the professors, and then when I got bored, I went through the death eaters- with all the free time I had." Severus's tone was icy now, and he leaned out of Remus's embrace. 

 

"Wait, wait, love." Remus scrambled to pull him back in and pressed several kisses on his pursed lips and then the bridge of his nose. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you defensive… But not even when you were younger?"

 

"I didn't have the care to."

 

Remus sucked in a breath and knew his next question would probably cost him dearly, but he needed to know. 

 

"Had you… had sex before?"

 

Severus raised a brow at him pointedly. "Is my answer going to make you have some sort of fit? There are very few people I trust, and fewer still who I am attracted to. I always considered myself not made for such things." He didn't look upset or embarrassed by this topic, not like the one about relationships. Remus, meanwhile, was having the opposite effect. 

 

"So, on New Year's… That was…"

 

"Remus." Severus actually had the audacity to snap his fingers in front of his face to demand his attention. "It has been nearly six months. Are you going to get stuck on some stupid aspect that is long past?" 

 

"I just feel it was important." Remus backtracked. 

 

"It was not to me. What was important was the fact that someone was close to me. I didn't feel repulsed, and I wanted it more than I ever thought was possible for me." He gave him a pointed glare. "Or do you feel I've been disingenuous and tricked you somehow?" 

 

"No, okay. You're right. I'm sorry." Remus felt ridiculous now that he thought about it. They'd already bypassed the important bits, hadn't they? The rest was just extra details. 

 

"Stop with the 'sorrys'." He snapped. 

 

"Okay. Let's start this over. Yes, Severus. I'd like to make love to you. If you're interested?" 

 

There was a deep, heavy sigh, and then Severus leaned in to kiss him again. Afterwards he whispered against his lips. "About time."

 

Remus wrapped an arm around his waist and brought him close enough that Severus could lean on his chest as they kissed. The meeting of lips was gentle and sweet, something they hadn't indulged in often after they decided they wanted to have sex. Remus rubbed down Severus's spine slowly, memorizing the feel of the body against his, while Severus had his hands in his hair, combing it back from his face. 

 

Eventually they separated long enough to remove their shirts, and then Remus directed him to lay down. The way he did so without question, and reached up for Remus when he went to crawl over top was enough to fill his lungs and heart with a full ache. This was what he meant when he talked about trust, and having someone be close enough to not feel uncomfortable. 

 

He pressed quick chaste kisses down his throat to his chest, and then sucked one nipple into his mouth. He felt the little shiver through the rise and fall of his chest, and continued to lavish attention to both peaks until Severus pulled him up for a longer, heated kiss. 

 

"I want…" Severus breathed out, but didn't finish his sentence. Instead he ran his hands down Remus's sides and then grabbed two handfuls of his arse and pulled him against his crotch. The grind of their erections was enough of a hint, and Remus groaned and bit down gently around his Adam's apple in retaliation. 

 

Severus shoved Remus’s pants down his thighs and scrambled to get his hands on him. Remus nipped against the bruise he was making on Severus's collarbone. He was getting impatient, and Remus could tell. Remus reached down and put a hand around his wrist pulling it back up and holding it down against the bed. 

 

"I want to savour this." Remus told him, and then leaned down and began to whisper in his ear. "Do you think you can do that, Severus? Hold on until I tell you? Maybe I'll keep you here in this bed until you can come with just me inside you."

 

The full body shudder underneath him was telling, and Severus stopped trying to rush them along. They moved their mouths against each other, hands caressing warm skin in nonsensical patterns. Eventually they pulled apart for air and Severus linked their fingers together where they rested on the bed. 

 

"Remus." It wasn't a plea; he'd never admit that in a million years, but it was enough to tear down some of the patience Remus had left. 

 

"Let me…" Severus took his hands away and pushed his underwear down, kicking it into the bottom of the bed somewhere. He wandlessly summoned the bottle of lubrication and opened it up. Instead of handing it over, he bent his knees and bracketed Remus's hips. Remus watched transfixed as Severus coated his fingers and brought them down to his own entrance, gaze heavy on Remus. 

 

Remus felt all the blood in his body rush between his legs when Severus tilted his head back and moaned when he put two fingers inside of himself. It was an absolutely filthy trick, but he couldn't deny it got results. Remus leaned back to give him room and grabbed his thigh to open him wider, kissing sensitive skin beside his knee as he watched him unabashedly. He didn't work himself open quite as much as Remus would have, but when he pulled out his three fingers and nudged Remus's hip with his other ankle, he conceded it was enough. 

 

Remus sat back on his heels and dragged his gaze all across Severus's body that was ready and open for him. He felt incredibly lucky that he got to see this: like some long forgotten treasure that was invaluable from just it's intricacies alone. He ran his left hand up Severus's thigh to his stomach, sternum, and then the hollow of his throat. 

 

"You're beautiful." He breathed, and then leaned forward to press a kiss over Severus's heart. "Can I have you?"

 

There were a lot of things running through Severus's mind at that point. The first of which was a denial that any part of him could be considered beautiful, but the second was a warmth that ran along every nerve. He felt such a surge of affection for this soppy, romantic idiot that he couldn't even begin to fit words together. He looked him straight in the eye and nodded, wrapping his hand around Remus's and squeezing it before he moved into a more comfortable position with some rearranged pillows. 

 

When Remus entered him, he groaned at the feeling and he reached up to pull Remus down into a kiss. Severus hooked his ankles around the small of his back and pulled him in closer, lungs heaving greedily as Remus sank into him inch by inch. Remus wrapped his arms around him and moved in slow, gyrating thrusts. The familiarity with his lover's body allowed him to reach down and angle Severus's hips so they could brush his cock against his prostate. He held him there for a few moments, just pressing against it in deep, dragging hits until he got the reaction he wanted. Severus threw his head back against the bed and gasped out his name. 

 

He let go of his hips to wrap them around his back again and then Severus was lifting off the bed to meet every thrust with a roll of his own. Severus was pulling him in deeper and then deeper still, reaching up above his head to grasp the sheets and anchor himself into the rocking of their bodies. 

 

They stayed in that rhythm until they were both drenched in sweat, Remus slowed just enough to keep himself from coming and then picked up his pace again. Severus didn't reach down for his length, and Remus leaned back so he could hold onto his hips and angle himself up. The assault on his prostate had Severus hiding his face against his arm, eyes squeezed shut as pleasure wracked his body. He was close, Remus could tell, from how he was panting softly, like he was trying to keep himself quiet. 

 

"Just like that, love. Are you close?" Remus asked breathlessly. "Do you want me to touch you?"

 

Severus shook his head, eyes still closed, too far gone to do much else. Remus moved faster, knowing he was hurtling towards his own peak but holding on to the tiny thread. He needed Severus to come first, he wanted to see that. Severus suddenly grasped the bedding by his thigh, twisting the sheets in his grip and making that choked off little sound that always drove him wild. They were both moving frantically, until Remus thought he couldn't hold off any longer. He dug his hands into the hips below him, knowing they'd be bruised in the morning. 

 

"Severus!" He tried to warn him, and then he watched as his lover's eyes shot open in an unseeing daze. Severus froze with his head thrown back and every muscle tensed in the throes of an intense orgasm. Remus got to watch it for only a moment, just until Severus took in a deep shuddering breath, and then Remus was gone. He was swept under the wave of his own release, pumping into Severus until he was sure he didn't have any left. 

 

For a long time they both laid there, with Remus collapsed on top of him, trying to catch their breaths and regain their senses. 

 

Remus was the first to recover some semblance of brain activity. He carefully pulled out and watched as his spend leaked out and down onto the bed spread. If he were capable, the sight alone would be enough to get him hard again. He didn't realize he was staring until Severus let his legs collapse together and unwound his hands from the bedspread slowly, like he was trying to remember how to use them. 

 

Remus mindlessly reached for those hands and lifted them to his lips, kissing each knuckle carefully before he let them go and instead sought out Severus's lips. 

 

"I now understand why people say foolish things in the height of sex." Severus pulled his silky black hair from his face and looked thoughtful and so much younger than usual. "It is very easy to think you love someone when they are doing that to you." 

 

"Only that?" Remus pressed, but couldn't help the dopey smile from curling up his lips, knowing exactly what he was trying to convey. 

 

"No, not just that." Severus rolled his eyes. "Take a hint." 

 

"I don't know. I have been called an idiot before. Maybe you need to spell it out?"

 

Severus sat up abruptly and leaned over Remus to kiss him thoroughly. Even though he didn't say it, the words hung heavily in the air. 

 

He wouldn’t say it for a few months longer, not until Remus said it enough times for the both of them, but to know it was implied helped the wait. 

 

xXx

 

Severus took back everything he’d said about Mirella Wynne when he first met her; she was not at all like Minerva with her earnest and blunt truths. No, Wynne was too much like Dumbledore. He left her office the next morning, somehow acquiring an appointment with one of her colleagues that specialized in severe trauma. He didn’t know how she managed to manipulate him quite so skillfully, but he swore from then on he’d give her a wide berth if he could help it. Remus found this insanely amusing when he told him later at dinner. 

 

“At least she’s a Dumbledore that cares about your mental health?” Remus tried to soothe him, and Severus shot him a particularly nasty glare over the rim of his water glass. 

 

“She cares about being right.” He snapped, but he still went to the appointment with Mind Healer Orion Littleton the next week. 

 

Severus came home in a foul mood, but Remus expected as much. Although Severus disliked Mirella on principle, Remus was rather fond of her. That was why, when she warned him that the start of therapy would bring up a lot of buried emotion, he took it to heart. She had come to his office the day before the scheduled appointment to first off congratulate him on their relationship and assure him no one else noticed what was right in front of their noses. Secondly she wanted to prepare him, as someone who would no doubt suffer the wrath of an oversensitized Professor Snape. 

 

Remus didn’t see a big change in their relationship, nor in the ones Severus had with most other people in Hogwarts. What he did notice was the change in his treatment of Teddy. He was more patient, more affectionate, and insisted on doing menial tasks that he normally would have left to Remus as the primary caregiver. As they shifted from May into June, it became increasingly clear that Severus was becoming the favourite parent, despite the fact that he was also the one who didn’t give him everything he wanted.

   

Remus would have been jealous if he wasn’t so completely enraptured by watching the two people he loved the most interact peacefully.

 

When June slipped into July, the atmosphere in Hogwarts turned into a frenic, heightened, blur for the students. Severus complained non stop about students making abysmally stupid mistakes in his class, and Remus found himself staying behind class more often than not to try and soothe the anxieties of his seventh, eighth, and fifth years. Hermione Granger, the one student he half expected to have some sort of mental breakdown, was one of the strong ones. Remus asked her one day if she needed anything and she smiled at him thankfully and told him she was speaking to Professor Wynne and they’d come up with a timetable of sorts together to help her stay focused. 

 

The worst of everyone, however, was Draco Malfoy, who was prickly on a good day and sullen on a bad one. Harry looked at Remus sometimes like he was clearly out of his depth and what was he supposed to say? Remus tried to give him encouraging looks, but he knew better than to poke his nose where it wasn’t needed. They’d work through it; he had no doubts. Harry was as stubborn as he was kind. 

 

Not once, since Severus started seeing the Mind Healer, did he take up smoking again.

As promised, Remus kept his hands to himself when they were at school, but apparently he didn’t have to worry. A few of the other eighth years had seen them on the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts holding hands as they walked to the castle while they looked for Harry. It had become the guarded secret of the eighth years, all of them swearing to a murderous looking Harry and Draco to not breathe a word of it to anyone. Ron took it in stride; he figured getting over Harry dating Draco was the peak of acceptance and anything else didn’t really come close. 

 

But as things often did, the truth eventually trickled down into the seventh years during the last few weeks of school. N.E.W.Ts made for irritable students who didn’t watch what they were saying too closely. Theodore Nott made a comment about how Snape should be happier since he was getting buggered by a werewolf after he’d been thoroughly chewed out that morning during potion’s class. The seventh year he was studying with gasped, and he knew he’d fucked up royally. He tried to do damage control, but it went rampant in less than a day. Remus had thought the students were giving him odd looks during finals, but he didn’t pay it much attention. 

 

Minerva McGonagall decided to attend some of the exams to watch from afar, trying to be fair amongst the different subjects and make sure things were being graded properly. She figured Luna Lovegood wouldn’t be bothered with the extra set of eyes during her Defense N.E.W.T.

 

During N.E.W.Ts it was extra credit to perform a successful patronus. Remus helped in the practical of the exam, even though he technically couldn’t give marks. The panel of witches and wizards grading were thankful that they didn’t have to perform the spells themselves, so they could focus on marking. After Luna had successfully performed the series of spells that would give her an Exceeds Expectations if Remus were marking, he asked if she’d like the extra credit. 

 

A hare erupted from her wand and hopped around the room, not even requiring Remus conjuring an illusion of a dementor, which was impressive indeed. 

 

“Do you and Professor Snape have the same patronus, Professor Lupin?” She asked airily, while the panel furiously scribbled away at their parchment. “It’s common to have matching ones if you’re soulmates, correct?”

 

Remus could feel Minerva’s gaze burning into the side of his face, and he cleared his throat. “We haven’t had an opportunity to check, Miss Lovegood. I believe you are free to go, please send in Miss Weasley next.”

 

After Luna glided from the room, one of the wizards addressed Remus cheerfully. “I suppose it’s common to be the subject of gossip when you’re teaching teenagers, eh?”

 

“Gossip, is it?” Minerva spoke up casually. “Yes, quite. Can I speak with you for a moment, Professor ?”

 

“Ah, well the exams-”

 

Now , Remus. They can make do without you.”

 

“I have been hearing things.” She cut right to the point, as soon as they were in his office with the door closed. “Of this nature for the last two weeks, Remus. Do you perhaps have something to tell me?”

 

Remus wished she’d cornered Severus like this; at least he was better at lying through his teeth. “I’m sorry?” He stalled, as if he didn’t understand the question.

 

“Normally I wouldn’t comment on my professor’s personal lives.” She sniffed. “However, I thought you would trust to tell me such an important development, especially since the staff seem to be the last to know.”

 

“They’re just kids, Minerva.” Remus tried to laugh it off. “They’ll latch onto anything…”

 

“I have eyes , Remus. ” She snapped. “As does the rest of the school. Once we know what we’re looking for it is plain to see.”

 

Which was, of course, when Severus decided to waltz into his office despite the closed door. “I hear Miss Lovegood got you in trouble, Remus.”

 

“We were just discussing that, care to comment?” Minerva cut off anything Remus could have said to defend himself. 

 

“That depends on what you’ve heard.” He drawled.

 

“Oh for- Are you two dating or not?!” 

 

“Yes. I found the source of the leak and dealt with it accordingly. You will notice Theodore Nott looking very contrite.” Severus raised a brow at her outright gaping. “Are you quite alright, Minerva?”

 

“How long?” She asked faintly.

 

“Ah, well…” Remus chuckled uncomfortably, giving Severus a wry smile. “That depends...”

 

“January.” Severus informed her succinctly. “We’ve been seeing each other since January.”

 

“Oh, we have, have we?”

 

“Shut up.”

 

“Honestly, Gryffindors and Slytherins will be the death of me.” Minerva threw up her hands. “I suppose congratulations are in order, although I seem to be rather late on them .” She looked between the two of them pointedly. 

 

“Thank you.” Severus enjoyed the annoyed little huff she made as she walked out of the room and shut the door behind herself with a definitive click. 

 

“Well, we didn’t make a spectacle until now?” Remus chuckled. “I suppose I kept my end of the bargain.”

 

“The eighth years attempted to keep it under wraps since May.” Severus informed him, stepping closer with a sly smile. “As I said; I dealt with it.” 

 

“I’m sure you did.” Remus couldn’t help but laugh, knowing with certainty that Theodore Nott wouldn’t be able to make eye contact with either of them for the rest of his life. He leaned in and kissed the smirk off his lover’s face, enjoying the simple comfort of being able to do that freely without worrying about anyone watching on. “I suppose this means I can do that any time I wish from now on.”

 

“Being glib doesn’t suit you.” Severus rolled his eyes, but leaned in to kiss him again anyways, when he pulled back, Severus looked a little more subdued. “My patronus did change.” He murmured truthfully. “But, it’s not a wolf.”

 

Remus swallowed thickly, surprised for a second to find that Severus could produce one at all, and then feeling foolish. Of course he could; he was just stubborn enough to do it, even if he swore his early life didn’t have enough wonderful memories to use for it. Severus was a force on his own, and Remus felt blessed to be able to know that so intimately. 

 

Severus stepped back and pulled out his wand, taking in a deep breath before he cast the spell clearly: “ Expecto Patronum.

 

It wasn’t a wolf that erupted from his wand- not quite. 

 

Remus knew that he could cast the most powerful patronus in the world at that moment, and so he did. The two coyote’s circled each other in a beautiful wispy dance before fading away. Soulmates, Luna had called them, and Remus felt like he had to agree.  

 

xXx

 

The school year came to a spectacular close, with congratulations and looks of surprise aplenty. They didn’t suddenly become besotted idiots who couldn’t keep their hands off each other, but there had been subtle differences. Things like Severus leaning in close to him during meal times, or on one rare occasion, grabbing his hand to tug him past a large congregation of students in the hall. Or sometimes Remus let his hand rest on his knee under the table and Severus accepted it willingly. 

 

July came to an end with a huge birthday celebration at the burrow for Harry, and Remus had to half drag half threaten Severus to attend it. Harry was pleased to see them both there, but not as pleased to sweep Teddy up into his arms so he could help him blow out his cake. 

 

This accumulated into the first week in August, when Severus sat him down one evening and half-announced, half-explained that he planned to quit being a teacher. 

 

So he could take on Draco Malfoy as a pupil. 

 

“Should he get good grades in his N.E.W.Ts, which I have no doubt he will so long as he doesn’t implode from sheer stress, I will take him on.” Severus explained, not quite looking at Remus as he imparted his plans. “I’ve already spoken with the potioneer at St. Mungos- She’s due to retire and needs someone to replace her. We can supplement their stores for the time being, and when Draco is competent enough he can take over her position.” 

 

“You’ve given this quite a bit of thought.” Remus commented. “I didn’t know you were so interested in healing potions.”

 

“I am well versed in them thanks to being a potion’s master at a school whose population tries to kill themselves at least once a year.” He huffed. “And Draco will have a hard time finding someone else who will take him on.”

 

Remus’s heart plummeted a little bit. “I wish I could disagree with you.”

 

“And you’re alright with this?” Severus asked his opinion for the first time since the conversation started. 

 

“If you’re set on it.” Remus nodded, touched that he’d considered his opinion on it at all. 

 

“I am.” Severus swallowed dryly and stood up to clear their dishes from dinner away. Remus kept quiet, sensing that there was something else he wanted to talk about. 

 

“I’ll have time…” Severus faced away from him, keeping himself busy with the dishwashing charms so he didn’t have to look at Remus. “I can keep Edward in the mornings and pick him up in the afternoon. So long as you don’t do something stupid like become Head of Gryffindor house, I’m sure Minerva wouldn’t care if you came home for dinner.” 

 

There was so much to unpackage that Remus could do nothing but stare at him dumbly for a long moment. When it finally settled into his brain what Severus was offering, he was on his feet in an instant. 

 

“You don’t have to do that.” He assured him gently. 

 

“I know I don’t have to do anything.” Severus threw him an annoyed look over his shoulder. “And it will be better for the child.”

 

Remus wrapped his arms around Severus from behind and hid his face into his shoulder, just trying to control the sudden need to cry. He loved teaching, but at a boarding school, it was nearly impossible to keep his son with him. Andromeda had been accommodating to a fault, and he missed Teddy terribly on the weekdays, to the point that he often tried to sneak over in the evenings just to catch a glimpse of his sleeping son. What Severus was offering was beyond anything he could hope for, and even though they’d been together for a few months now, he couldn’t believe it was something he’d want. 

 

“I can hear you thinking.” Severus groused as he continued to wash and put away the dishes while Remus clung onto him. “Stop it.”

 

“I love you.”

 

It was the first time he’d said it, and Severus nearly dropped a dish onto the floor. 

 

“I love you, not because you’re doing this for me, but because you want to.” Remus clarified. “I love that you want to help Draco, and I love that you care about Teddy, and I love that you want to have a home with us.”

 

“You realize.” Severus said quietly after several long seconds. “That it means you’ll be stuck with me, even if I’m in a foul mood?”

 

Remus kissed behind his ear. “Do your worst.”

 

Severus snorted and turned around in his arms. “It might not work out.”

 

Remus kissed him soundly. “I have a feeling it will.”

 

“Typical Gryffindor.” The last plate flew into the cabinet and Severus leaned in to press their mouths together again. 

Chapter Text

xXx

 

Remus moved into the house near Hogsmeade in August of that year, and the two of them spent the entire month renovating and getting Teddy settled before Remus returned to Hogwarts for the next school semester. Andromeda was a little weary about relinquishing Teddy into Severus’s care, but eventually came around to the idea. She even eventually suggested she take her grandson for sleepovers on Fridays, but Remus had the feeling from the smirk on her face that it was a mutually beneficial move. 

 

Remus was nervous about going back to be a teacher and leaving Severus with his son. He knew that he was much more comfortable since that first weekend they all spent together, but he would always feel like he was imposing on someone else’s good graces. Severus didn’t seem to care about his concerns, and in fact, took them as a sort of challenge. Soon, Remus would come home to find Severus attempting to cook dinner with a toddler that was trying to get into everything. He’d started walking sometime in August, and now was not only swift, but also tall enough to reach things he previously couldn’t. 

 

So Remus would come home and spend some time with his son while Severus had some time to himself, and then they’d all sit down and eat dinner together. In the evenings, it was Remus who would get his son ready for bed and tuck him in, but Severus would always wander in when it was time for a book, and to kiss Edward goodnight. 

 

Remus found this was his favourite part of his day. They’d settle Teddy and then sit down on the couch and talk about their days; he’d hear about how Draco was getting along, and Remus would talk about his students. Some days, Harry came by to drag Draco away for lunch, and other days he’d drop by Hogwarts and talk to Remus about his plans for the future. It turned out that Harry quite liked teaching, which was something he’d learned during his time in the D.A. 

 

Except Harry didn’t end up teaching at Hogwarts, or even teaching Defence. No, he ended up teaching magical children in a school set up by Draco’s mother. It was a wonderful way to help children transition into the wizarding world before the culture shock of Hogwarts, and orphans were given a chance to feel safe and create friendships long before their acceptance letters. It didn’t focus on anything but basic writing and conceptual skills, but it helped the children to feel less isolated. Before, they’d been taught by their parents, tutors, or in muggle grade schools. 

 

Everyone knew that Narcissa brought Harry on board to try and bridge the gap between her and her son, but the end result was better than anyone could have anticipated. The partnership between Narcissa and Harry in building the school was exactly the right balance; muggle-raised and pure-blood. They each took from their own experiences and made a school that tended to all the children’s needs. They accepted ages six to ten, and made sure to reach out to muggle parents personally so they could explain things and offer their help, even if they decided to keep their children in muggle schools until Hogwarts. 

 

It also fixed a broken bridge between Andromeda and Narcissa, as they named the school after Nymphadora. 

 

The school was up and running in less than a year, with Harry offering up Grimmauld Place as a boarding house for the orphans who had lost their parents during the war. It was because of this, that they found out about the existence of a young orphan named Delphini, who was dropped off on their doorstep in the middle of the night. She was almost two, by their guess, and barely spoke at all. Still, she clung to Harry when he came to see her, and eventually was adopted by Harry and Draco. The two men had quite a surprise when the first full sentence she said was in parseltongue to a small garden snake in their backyard.

 

Narcissa watched her grow and wondered, but she could never quite confirm. Bellatrix had been secretive in the last two years of the war, often running off for long periods of time. 

 

Still, Deni Potter grew up to be loved and exceptionally bright. Her silvery platinum hair made people assume she was Draco’s by genetics, which she grew to enjoy, despite the fact that she was told she’d originally been adopted. Draco often said she took after the better parent anyways, since she was eventually sorted into Slytherin and became quite the mischievous little troublemaker- much to her Uncle Remus’s chagrin. She was often the person to try out the newest Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes on her classmates, but was fiercely protective of any of the other students that came from The Nymphadora Home, since she often helped Harry there during the summers.

 

Teddy, meanwhile, grew up to be gentle and kind like his dad, but also a bit of a blunt know-it-all like his father. He surpassed expectations in potions, herbology, and charms, but didn’t much care for Defense. Remus was pleased by this, however, because he liked living in a world where Defense was a class that could be taken for granted. Teddy founded a study group that had students from all houses, and ended up deciding to teach like his godfather and dad. He was often found in his cheerful black and yellow robes chastising Delphini in the aftermath of one of her pranks, who pretended to ignore him as he told her she shouldn’t harass other students.

 

She proceeded to be even more sneaky about it, and Teddy eventually admitted defeat; especially since she wasn’t really picking on anyone in particular, and it was supposed to be all in good fun.

 

Remus asked Severus to marry him in April; twelve months after they ‘officially’ started dating, although neither of them were keeping track. They were married in a quiet ceremony in October of that year, with only a few important people in attendance. Minerva officiated the ceremony, and after they were legally married, teared up and hugged the both of them. They didn’t have a reception, but did take a week off of their respective jobs to travel a bit and enjoy some time away by themselves.

 

Severus opened an apothecary after Draco took over the head potioneer position at St. Mungos, that was by appointment only. Yet he didn’t restrict his services to the wealthy. He often brewed for both schools on a contract basis, and only accepted money that people could afford, even if it barely covered the cost of making the potion. By his second year in business, he needed a clerk to take care of the bookings and clients. Somehow this ended up with him hiring Sophie Roper (a Hufflepuff- Merlin forbid), who even helped him brew simple things from time to time. 

 

Remus and Severus ended up perfecting the Lunar Theriac, which Draco took all the credit for naming and wouldn’t let them forget it. Because of this, Remus was often seen patrolling the grounds of Hogwarts at night on the full moon. Eventually students would approach him willingly and those especially mischievous made a game of trying to avoid his astute sense of smell as they wandered outside after curfew. Remus found this horrifying the first few times, and when he tried to warn them of how dangerous that was, they laughed him off. 

 

When Teddy was sorted, Severus attended the entrance ceremony and actually looked relieved he was put into Hufflepuff. When Remus intertwined their fingers and leaned over to comment on this, Severus scoffed. 

 

“Imagine having two impulsive Gryffindors? At least he’ll have some sense.”

 

Harry and Draco were married at twenty-three and eventually had another little girl who was a great deal younger than their eldest by five years. Delphini was wary of the idea at first, but warmed up to the new child when they placed her in her arms and told her she was a big sister. She was due to start at The Nymphadora Home the next school year with Harry, and in the meantime would stay home with Draco who took a paternity leave from St. Mungos. She ended up helping to name Iris (after a nebula, but also a nod to the fact that Harry and Draco’s mothers were both flower names).

 

This was all in the future, of course, and no one would be any the wiser until the events took place in their natural progression. The only one who had any inkling to what would happen turned out to be Luna Lovegood, but she had the sense to keep it to herself and watch it unfold with a knowing smile on her face. Godmother to Deni Luna Potter, she showered her in the affection that she deserved, and told her secrets that she didn’t share with many other people. The first of which was the fact that she’d seen many futures in her visions over the years. 

 

But this one was her favourite.