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“I think you should have everything you need,” said Madam Flither (head of the newly created Werewolf Office of Oversight and Friendship within the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures at the Ministry), dropping a final sheet in front of Luna Lovegood.

Luna peered at Madam Flither over the ream of paper now on her side of the desk, weighed down by half a dozen books. “I don’t think I need to know all of this, do you?” she asked, squinting at Werewolf Social and Sexual Behaviours: A Canidomantic Study.

Madam Flither looked scandalized. “It is important for us to understand the special needs of the werewolf community so we can better address them,” she said authoritatively. “A major element of the Werewolf Integration Act is identifying those areas of werewolf culture that are significantly different from our own and learning to accommodate them.” Luna just looked at her as Madam Flither continued speaking. Hermione would be pleased at the effect she was finally having on the Ministry, but Luna wasn’t sure this was a change for the better. Luna had read a bit of anthropology, and she wasn’t certain that the way Muggle academics viewed a group of people as “subjects” was really an idea to which Wizarding society ought to be introduced.

“…a bit, ah, shorthanded at the moment, but I’ve tried to give you a reasonable number of clients for a beginner. Their names are on the top scroll, with a short biography of each in this folder. They do all need to be visited within 48 hours of the full moon, but in the vast majority of cases, you’ll just have to drop off the Wolfsbane dose and verify they’ve taken it.”

“If we are trying to address the special needs of werewolves, why do I have to watch them take the potion?” asked Luna.

Madam Flither looked fleetingly uncomfortable and plowed stolidly on, explaining the procedures that must be followed, the results that must be noted, and the forms that must be filled out. Luna was well accustomed to people ignoring her questions. She didn’t mind…much.

“We’ll expect to receive the completed assessments ten days after the full moon,” Madam Flither continued, “but other than that, it’s just the two days of work each month. It’s very nice, gives one a lot of freedom, when you think about it.” She looked expectantly at Luna, who smiled weakly.

“Er, yes. Very freeing.” The room began to go a bit vague and misty around her, and Madam Flither’s voice became pleasantly distant. Luna dug her nails into her palms and stepped down hard on the urge to float away. She gritted her teeth and focused on the other woman’s overly refined accent.

“You can pick up the Wolfsbane potion from the brewer at 3 p.m. on the Monday immediately preceding the full moon. He is, ah, a teeny bit inflexible with regards to the timing.” Madam Flither cleared her throat nervously. “He also insists that I inform the dispensers that they must bring their own receptacles, and he expects them to have decanted the potion and departed by 3.15. I know he does have a bit of a reputation, even after the pardon and the redemption and all, but Severus Snape is the most competent brewer of Wolfsbane in Britain, and we really are very lucky he agreed.

Ah, thought Luna, naturally.

          *          *          *          *          *

At 2.45 p.m. the following Monday, Luna stood before the gates of Hogwarts and swallowed hard. Resisting the urge to drift took an awful lot of effort. More effort than she often felt she had in her. The sight of Hogwarts, and the images that buzzed and stung in her mind, didn’t help.

She took a deep breath and went in.

As it turned out, the transaction was comparatively painless and blessedly brief. She met no one she knew in the halls, and Snape was almost pleased, although rather disconcerted, to discover she was prepared, efficient, and even more eager to conclude the meeting than he. It was probably that fact that piqued him into delaying her departure with a round of Belittle the Former Student.

“Professor Flitwick neglected to mention that you had taken this job; he is, in fact, singularly silent on the subject of your accomplishments.” Snape’s tongue rolled lovingly over the sibilants. “It is good of you to take time away from the Blibbering Humdingers to help the poor disenfranchised werewolves.”

Luna blinked, felt a full-body twitch building in her chest, and let go. She slid into a state in which Snape sprouted feathers, and his neck stretched until there was a large, lowering vulture peering beadily at her across the desk. Luna could still hear his voice, even follow what he was saying, but the malice behind it was muted, like a wasp sting felt through a numbing potion.

“Your deep…fondness for Lupin no doubt influenced your compassion for the creatures. I wonder if he is one of your clients. Won’t that be awkward.”

Luna blinked. “Professor Lupin never slept with Lily, Professor Snape, or Hermione, so you really don’t have to keep hating him as much as you do.”

Snape gaped, then snapped out a sharp “Hurry up!” But not until Luna was almost out the door had he collected himself enough to reply.

“Have a care, Miss Lovegood. You are not the only practitioner of inductive reasoning in this room, and you would do well to remember that a few days a month spent with outcasts is hardly likely to keep you in control of that miasma of fantasy you inhabit.”

How nice, thought Luna, as she left the dungeons—and the vulture—behind her, I’ll have to tell Hermione that Professor Snape is softening a bit.

          *          *          *          *          *

“It’s good to see you again, Professor Lupin.” Luna took a deep breath.

“It’s wonderful to see you again, Professor.” She stared at her reflection in the mirror and blinked rapidly. The prickling behind her eyes was unfamiliar—with almost conscious effort Luna remembered tears.

This is odd, she thought. That was ages ago and I haven’t seen him in years.

With a fair degree of success, Luna Lovegood never longed for things she couldn’t have, yet she had wanted Remus Lupin since she was 12 years old. He had never asked her in scathing terms why her homework on Cornish Pixies consisted of a history, drawn primarily from the archives of the Quibbler, of indigenous Pixie society and its repression by invading Wizards. He never looked at her pityingly, nor laughed, nor got angry with her. And he had never asked her why she didn’t stand up to the people who tormented her. He’d been…kind. And quiet. And if she hadn’t been so clever as Hermione to figure out he was a werewolf, she was wise enough to recognize that a mysterious something held him apart from the rest of the world. And that was more than enough to make him a central figure in her unorthodox fantasy life for years.

She would very much like to know how Snape had guessed at that. But she imagined he would like to know how much she guessed about his feelings for Lily Evans.

Boyfriends could be very useful, particularly boyfriends who were roommates with Harry Potter.

Luna had stopped seeing Neville Longbottom romantically a few years ago, but she still spent enough time with him to know what he what he was doing. Which was why she already knew (although she could have learned it from the rather paranoia-inducingly extensive notes in Remus’ file) that Remus Lupin lived and worked at one of Neville’s greenhouse complexes.

Neville was proud he was of his greenhouses. They were scattered all over the country (and Neville had international plans for cultivating flora that couldn’t be grown in the Isles), some in the most unlikely spots. The one that Remus oversaw was in Northumbria, not far from Lindisfarne, but far enough to be well away from the tourists. And if population was any indication, the Wizarding World didn’t seem to be entirely convinced that Northumbria existed. Luna wondered what the solitude was doing for Remus.

She sighed, looked into the mirror again, and watched as the room behind her rippled on the verge of becoming a moonlit forest.

“It’s a pleasure to see you again, Professor Lupin.”

          *          *          *          *          *

“Luna? Luna Lovegood? What on earth? I’m afraid I wasn’t expecting… I mean…do come in, please.”

“Thank you, Professor.”

“It’s been years since anyone has called me that.” He smiled. “I know you never would when…in the Order, but do call me Remus now, please.”

“All right…Remus.” Luna rolled the syllables around her mouth as she followed him into the sitting room. He looked good. Well, she couldn’t imagine thinking he looked anything but good, but he looked content. He had lost that permanently strained expression he’d worn all the time she’d known him. Of course, killing the one who turned you into a werewolf and helping to rid the world of a large portion of the population that would like to see you permanently caged is likely to give you some sense of freedom, but Luna didn’t think it was just that. Having a steady job was undoubtedly agreeing with Remus, but it would seem solitude was as well.

The cottage had a comfortable, lived-in look to it: battered dark wood and squishy cushions in deep colors. Remus shifted a few books and scrolls of the couch and gestured to Luna to sit down.

“I’m afraid I’ve got a bit lax about picking up after myself.“

“It’s a wonderful room. It likes people. And it fits you.”

Remus smiled, as if remembering something that pleased him. “Thank you, Luna. You’ve reminded me of the things I’d forgot I liked about this place.” He paused. “Er, it is lovely to see you, but I’m afraid I am expecting someone any moment now.”

Oh. Luna felt her heart twist a bit. It had never occurred to her that he might be otherwise engaged. “I’m sorry, Professor, I didn’t realize you were having company. I’ll be on my way just—“

“No!” Remus cleared his throat. “No, nothing like that. It’s just a short appointment; I shouldn’t be long at all. If you’d like to wait, perhaps we could have some tea?”

Luna smiled. Oh. “That’s all right then. And tea would be lovely. But there’s no difficulty about your meeting; I think I’m your appointment.” Luna faltered a bit as Remus looked puzzled and frowned. “I’ve taken that job with the Ministry. Taking the Wolfsbane around at the full moon? I…was looking forward to the chance to see you…” She trailed off in the face of the cool mask that had slid over Remus’ features.

“I beg your pardon, Miss Lovegood, I didn’t realize,” he said. “I knew they had found a new Distributor, but I wasn’t expecting to see…well, I wasn’t expecting. I’m quite at your service, if you have the Wolfsbane ready.”

Luna felt herself slipping before Remus had finished speaking. The floor turned to cool obsidian as she bent her head to dig the bottles out of her pocket and enlarge them. She set them down carefully on a table—now gleaming ebony—then held out two bottles to Remus.

“Here you are, Professor. You have to sign that you received them. …just here. I suppose you don’t want to have tea with me any more.”

“I imagine you’re far too busy. I know your job is rather intense just now.”

Luna looked at his hand as he gave her back the scroll (now an adamantine tablet)—dark, roughened fingers with ragged nails, raised scars and furrows criss-crossing the skin. She stared, expecting the marks to smooth out, the skin to turn, perhaps, into dark leather, but nothing happened. His hand remained immutable, prosaically detailed, as all around the edges of her vision the room glistened into a hard, dark chamber.

Luna looked into Remus’ face. It was still lined, still pale, and still closed off to her. She looked away.

“I’ll go now,” she announced, fumbling for her distribution set.

“Miss Lovegood, wait a moment. There’s one other thing,” he said, advancing on her steadily. “Subsection five of the Provision Article requires you to witness each werewolf drinking the potion. You wouldn’t want to make such a serious mistake on your first day.”

Luna found herself with her back against the door, the scroll denting her fingers as she clutched it. Hermione oughtn’t to have accepted that addition to the Act, she thought dimly.

Remus popped the cork from the vial with an easy flick and tossed back the potion with a practiced motion. Luna was mesmerized by the line of his throat, and by his Adam’s apple working under the skin. Then he brought his head back down. Something flashed in his eyes, something alien but not of her own making. Luna opened the door behind her, turned, and fled.

          *          *          *          *          *

Cross-legged on her couch, filling out forms in a desultory fashion, Luna thought about the last two days. It had, in fact, gone very well. She hadn’t slipped, almost at all—she carefully did not think about her first appointment—and a good many of the werewolves had been grateful to her. She couldn’t understand it, herself, but she supposed that knowing someone was there, taking care of you, in however governmentally mandated a fashion, would be a comfort to some.

The fireplace flared and Hermione stuck her head out.

“Luna? Can I come through?” Luna nodded, and Hermione emerged, brushing soot from her robes. “So? How did it go?”

“They seemed happy with me, over all. A few asked if I had an extra dose of the Wolfsbane. They said that taking it the day after helped with recovery.”

Hermione pressed her lips together. “I know,” she said grimly. “For all their talk of reaching out to werewolves and trying to integrate them into Wizarding society, the Ministry is more concerned with making sure they’re manageable during the full moon than in helping them deal with the effects of the transformation. But I’ll talk to Snape. I think he would be willing to make a larger batch, if….” Hermione did not elaborate on her methods of persuasion. Luna wondered about that. She couldn’t imagine Snape having sex (and wasn’t sure that she wanted to), but she supposed that if he did manage it, he would probably be willing to go to some lengths to make sure he kept having it.

“At any rate, it seems to have gone very well,” said Hermione briskly, “and for you too. I knew this would be good for you.”

Luna privately thought that Hermione’s idea of sending a woman prone to absenting herself from reality into interactions with half a hundred werewolves near transformation had been a notion more suited to Luna than to her usually more clear-headed friend, but she didn’t say so. It had gone well. And she felt needed. Just now she felt exhausted, with images from too many different people running around in her brain, but she had been useful. Concretely, specifically useful. Except…

“You shouldn’t have agreed to that addition to the Provision Article in the Act, Hermione. They don’t like it.” Hermione’s optimistic look wavered.

“I knew it would be unpopular, of course, but it was the only way the Ministry would agree. How many people mentioned it to you?”

“Well…no one, specifically, exactly,” Luna pushed away thoughts of Remus’ eyes, “but some of them resented it. They sort of seethed at me. No one refused to take it while I was there, but they aren’t going to believe the Ministry cares about their well-being. I wouldn’t.”

Hermione looked at her sharply. Luna thought she had probably sounded drifty and far away, but she couldn’t help it. It was something nobody really understood. As bad as it was for her to avoid people, and to slip away when she couldn’t, it was such an incredible relief sometimes, when there were too people around. Too many people, demanding too many things that she couldn’t give them. So many voices, wanting her attention, prickling inside her head.

Luna stood up. “Tell me if Snape agrees for the next month. I’ll drop the scrolls off with Madam Flither early next week,” she said in her best expectant time-to-go voice. Hermione seemed to hear it and went.

Luna wandered into the kitchen to make a cup of tea. She rinsed out a mug, carefully rebalancing the teetering piles of dirty dishes. She understood why she let the dishes build up so. Like the laundry and unread books that decorated the flat surfaces of her bedroom, they were the unfinished work, the physical counterparts to the emotions she buried underneath an insulation of fantasy when they pricked too deep. But understanding and altering were two different things, and Luna had grown adept at recognizing the things that made people look at her peculiarly. So she shut the bedroom and kitchen doors, and let in visitors, when she let them in at all, only to the sitting room.

          *          *          *          *          *

Luna stood outside Remus’ door. She’d left him until last this time. She felt a vague queasiness and realized, with vague surprise, that she was nervous. She wanted something to happen, she realized. She didn’t think it would, but she hoped.

Luna felt herself shying from the desire, slip-sliding into a jungle with Remus’ door as a boulder. Before it was completely covered with vines, she knocked. Remus answered so quickly, she wondered if he’d been standing on the other side, waiting for her.

“Miss Lovegood.” He stood for a moment, looking awkward.

“Can I…“

“Luna…“ They stopped, befuddled.

“What were you going to say?” she encouraged.

“I… I…wanted to apologize for how I behaved last month. I was angry, but not at you. It isn’t your fault, what the Ministry is doing, and I know that. And they are trying, for them. It’s just my…relationship with the last person in your position was not entirely…convivial. Suddenly seeing you in that role was a shock, and I reacted badly.”

Remus was holding himself very still, as if afraid of frightening a skittish colt, but there was a flash of something raw and almost hungry in his eyes. Is that for me? Luna wondered, feeling the aching beginnings of hope unfurl in her chest. Is he looking that way for me?

“I am very sorry, Luna. And I hope you’d still like to have tea with me.”

Luna felt the pleasure spread across her face, and she could see Remus’ response to it: the loosening of his posture and the way his face eased into a comfortable smile. “Oh, Professor, it’s…“

“Remus,” he said with a grin.

“Remus. It’s all right. I wanted to tell you ahead of time, but I…I was….” Luna trailed off, at an unaccustomed loss for words. She took a breath and started again. “I knew you would be angry, and I didn’t…want to be…the one to make you feel that way,” she finished in a rushed whisper, fighting hard against the slippery drift. The pattern on Remus’ cardigan was rippling and growing, and Luna tore her eyes away, looking up and meeting his. Remus met her gaze with soft grey eyes that looked gentle, and absolutely there. The moment lengthened, twining and stretching until the air between them seemed so dense that she could almost imagine the molecules blown out of his mouth caressing hers. She swayed towards him. I’m having an erotic experience on Remus Lupin’s doorstep, Luna thought. She pulled back a bit.

“Remus?“

“Yes?” he asked, his voice deep.

“Would it be all right if I came inside?”

“Oh. Oh! Yes, yes, of course.”

~~~~
It was a very nice tea. Remus drank the Wolfsbane with a chaser of Earl Grey, which he declared not such a good idea when he had finished choking and broken out the Firewhisky. He offered her some, and when he held the glass out to her, the pads of her fingers brushed over the back of his hand as she took it. She saw the contact flare in his eyes, and she closed hers, holding still, still, waiting for him to move. But when he did, it was to sit down again, an odd, longing expression on his face.

“I do want you to kiss me, if you aren’t sure about that,” she said.

Remus looked startled, but his lips twitched. “Ah…thank you, Luna. It is good to know that.” But he didn’t move.

“I’m not your student anymore,” she continued.

“No,” he murmured, “you’re not…anymore.”

“But I think I’m excited by the fact that I once was.”

His eyes snapped to hers and held, for a very long second. Then, almost with no intervening motion, Luna found herself enfolded in arms whose wiry strength belied Remus’ perpetually anemic appearance.

“Oh gods,” he murmured raggedly into her hair. “That you still talk like that….”

Luna tried to respond, but he moved his hand, his palm pressing into her jaw, tilting her face up to his. Soft, soft lips brushed against hers, followed by the delicious scratchiness of his cheeks as he kissed his way to her ear. “My darling girl,” he whispered, blowing hot shivers that spread down her neck. He traced the curves, and then sucked her earlobe into his mouth. When he bit down lightly, Luna moaned. Her hands came up to his face and pulled his mouth back to hers. He opened to her, and Luna slid her tongue over the soft skin just inside his lips. She tugged lightly on his lower lip and pressed it hard against her upper teeth with her tongue. Remus made a sound suspiciously like a growl. His hands came up to hold her head still, one curling around her nape, caressing and hard underneath her hair, the other over her ear, his thumb rubbing tiny circles against her temple. His mouth was on hers, overwhelming but oddly delicate. His tongue traced figures against the roof of her mouth, beneath her tongue. It felt so good to be held immobile but treated with such finesse. When he suddenly pressed his lips harder to hers and sucked, she started to shake.

Remus stiffened and pulled back. “Luna…I’m sorry, I….” Luna looked and saw it all play out in his eyes: a dazed look of coming back to himself, uncertainty, self-recrimination.

“No,” said Luna fiercely. “No, no, no. Don’t be sorry. And don’t look like that. I want this. I want you. I have for years and there is nothing wrong with that, Remus Lupin.”

“You barely know me,” he said, half sharply, half plaintively. “And I barely know you. We did know each other, years ago, in a very different relationship. I don’t want to go on seeing you as a 12-year-old student. Regardless of the erotic potential in thinking about it,” he said with a trace of a smirk as she opened her mouth.

“Do I get a say in this?” she asked.

“Of course you do. I’m not suggesting we stop, Luna, just slow down a bit. I’d like to get to know you, before we…”

“Have sex?” supplied Luna. He’s adorable when he’s embarrassed, she thought fondly.

“Er, yes.” Remus cleared his throat. “I don’t even know what you’ve been doing since the war… and I’d like to. I’d like to know why you took this job, and how else you spend your time. I haven’t any idea of your life outside of two days a month, and I’d like to learn about all of it.”

In spite of the lead-up, Luna felt his words hit her like a series of crashing waves, and to much the same effect. Her brain loosed its tethers, went spinning into a vortex, and whirled Remus’ sedate sitting room into a tornado. She dimly heard him asking if she was all right. She wasn’t quite sure what excuse she had made, but, when she came to herself, shaking and queasy, halfway up the lane, she hoped it was something plausible.

          *          *          *          *          *

Luna ran. She finished her paperwork before the full moon was out of the sky, and dropped it off for Madam Flither with a note saying she would be unavailable until just before the next full. She Owled Hermione and mentioned she was going to visit her father for a few weeks, implying that he was a bit lonely and had asked her. She casually added that Remus might come asking after her, and very carefully did not mention where her peripatetic father was currently residing. She packed a bag, got a Portkey, and Owled a similarly uninformative note to Remus immediately before hurtling to the South Pacific to spend three-and-a-half weeks staring at sunsets and waves.

Her father was very pleased to see her, and the only questions he asked concerned remarkable creatures whose existences people were still foolish enough to doubt.

          *          *          *          *          *

Remus Lupin in a towering rage was quite a sight, especially because he neither towered nor raged. He just stood there, in his doorway, staring hard at her. Luna imagined she could almost see coming off him the wavy lines that indicated fury in Muggle comics. But looking into his eyes, she had that curious sense of being tethered, of not slipping, that she’d noticed the last two times she’d seen him. She also noticed his eyes were crackling, slate-colored with anger.

“Do you realize I’ve been worried sick about you for the last month?” he said softly.

“I sent you a note.”

“A spectacularly uninformative note. I tried Owling back…whatever it is your father is doing to flight paths has got to be illegal.”

“He wants his privacy.”

“As do you, evidently. But you are here. So what else is it you want, Luna?”

Luna swallowed and kept looking at him, desire flooding off her. Her mouth was crumbling dry words like “job” and “Wolfsbane” but her face was moaning take me, take me now.

Remus pounced.

He has such a hard time letting go, Luna thought dizzily. I wonder if he always does it with a snap. And then, for a long time, she thought blissfully about nothing at all.

Foreplay with Remus Lupin, even when conducted entirely in a vertical position, was something remarkable. He hadn’t gone any lower than her collarbone, and Luna felt like melting. With devastating accuracy, he’d homed in on the line from her ear to her shoulder, working his way down with slow, sucking kisses, pausing on his way across to lap at the base of her throat, then back up the other side with a daisy chain of tiny bites.

He knelt down to unbutton her blouse. And oh, the feeling of holding Remus Lupin’s head as he nuzzled and licked between her breasts was indescribable. When he’d got her top half naked, he cradled her breasts in his hands and suckled one then the other until she started to shake. He looked up at her and slid down to press his mouth against her belly, tongue tracing mysterious patterns over her skin. Luna whimpered and began plucking at his shirt with nerveless fingers.

“Off,” she muttered. “Off. Now.”

Remus shed his shirt willingly, and stood up after Luna tugged insistently at his hair. She looked at his chest, his perfect chest, with just exactly the right amount of hair, and latched onto him, rubbing against him like a cat against a scratching post. Legs curled around his, feet off the floor, she let herself slide down until she could kiss the soft skin around his middle.

The sense of slipping began creeping over Luna as she worked her way further down his body. She felt wonderful; she felt rapturous. She felt overwhelmed. And it was, perhaps, inevitable, as she pushed his trousers and pants down to his knees, that she began thinking about mushrooms.

Remus’ cock was lovely, she thought dreamily, with the texture of a Portobello but the silky skin of a shitake. She ran her tongue around it, just below the head, and then delicately touched the tiny opening at the tip. Remus shuddered.

And now it was good, now she was safe, kneeling in a field of fungi, fingers running up and down the soft moss of two branches that curved up into the most extraordinary arse Luna had ever felt.

There was a moan and Remus’ hands convulsed on her shoulders. “Luna… oh gods, oh Merlin. Luna! You have to…stop…now.” Remus pushed, gently. Luna knelt back unwillingly, staring fixedly at his groin. She licked her lips.

Remus swore and hauled her, not at all gently, to her feet. Luna shut her eyes as his mouth came down on hers: hard, and fast, and more than a little desperate.

The zip on the back of her skirt was stubborn, and he turned and pressed her face-first against the wall to work it loose. His hands ghosted over her arse-cheeks, traced the elastic at her legs, and Luna whimpered.

“You like that, hmm?” he muttered. He tugged her knickers down and pressed up against her. Luna could feel him from shoulders to arse, crinkled chest hair scratching softly at her back, cock slipping down, as he bent his legs to match her height. An arm around her waist and he was pulling her back, thighs hard and solid behind hers, the hair there teasing deliciously at the oh-so-sensitive skin just below her arse.

Luna’s hands came up as she felt her feet leave the floor, hovered uncertainly for a moment, then pressed into the wall, pushing her into him harder. She wriggled and moaned.

He swore softly behind her, and with a slight adjustment and a quick tug at her waist, he was pressing just exactly outside where she wanted him. He stayed like that for an endless moment, cock twitching like a pulse against her cunt, then as she opened her mouth to tell him to do it, dammit, and he thrust upwards, all the way in, and stilled again.

Luna was starting to tremble and clench around him when he pressed the heel of his hand low into her belly and began rocking into her. She felt an electrifying surge and shuddered convulsively, almost unable to manage it, when he pulled her hair away from her neck, ran his tongue over the tendon that slid into her shoulder, and bit down. He growled—just a little—and she was lost. She could feel the emotions overwhelming her again, not in harsh jabs or slaps, but as a pressure in her chest and cunt, both wonderful and terrible and much too much to bear. She slid into a forest with something very like a Fenoferous behind her, snuffling and rubbing at her. The wall under her hands roughened and turned to stone, sprouted vines that grew and twined around her fingers.

He was still rocking into her, steadily and inexorably, and the feeling was still shuddering her whole body, but she could identify it now: the sweet, sweet spot inside her that he pressed against his cock with every motion; the lovely tingling in the tops of her thighs as they lay dangling over his; the edges of his teeth; rhythmic sucking of his mouth on her shoulder; and… oh gods… his fingers, sliding over her clit, pressing in time with everything else and Luna clung and tore at the vines under her fingers, sobbed and moaned and came in huge, wracking spasms. He held her through all of it, still moving within her and sucking and pressing until Luna started to worry that she would never stop.

Then Remus murmured, “Luna,” on a shuddering sigh, thrust hard, again, tightened, groaned fervently into her neck, and finally began to slow.

Luna bit her lip and dug her fingernails into the wall. The forest had disappeared with a slippery whoosh when Remus said her name, and now here she was, body blissfully post-coital but brain very aware that the someone who was behind her—Remus—would probably want a good deal more from her than an arching back and an orgasm. She wanted to give it to him…didn’t she? She’d wanted Remus like this for years, except…except it was more, so much, too much welling up inside her and sending her slipping, drifting away when she was trying so hard to move forward. Which was the reason, if not a very good one, for what she did next.

Luna slid out from between the wall and Remus, whispered a handy little redressing spell, grabbed her things, and bolted.

          *          *          *          *          *

Eight days later, Luna was walking back to her flat. She hadn’t heard from Remus, although she hadn’t expected to hear from Remus because he wasn’t the sort to take rejection and come back for more, but she still counted the days after the full moon, wondered how long it took him to recover—it had only been a day or two, she thought, when he had taught at Hogwarts—and hoped. But today, six days after the full, today was definitely and unequivocally past the time when he might have sent her an owl. And if Luna was honest enough to admit her heart was a little broken, she thought about mushrooms and reminded herself that it was for the best.

Fishing out her key—Luna rather liked the trappings of the Muggle flat Hermione had helped her find—she turned the latch and opened the door.

Lumos,” she murmured (Luna had not enjoyed her encounters with London Energy) and lights around the walls flared to illuminate her sitting room: the comfortable furniture, the spare prints on the walls, the mottled carpet, the werewolf sitting on the sofa.

Luna froze on her way to the kitchen. Remus lounged, seemingly at his ease, but Luna felt as if she had just blundered in on an underfed Chimaera.

Remus waved his wand and murmured a rather complicated charm. Luna heard the door seal with something more permanent than Colloportus and stiffened.

“I thought it would be nice,” said Remus conversationally, “to have at least one meeting after which you didn’t run away. It’s not doing great things for my ego.” An odd half-smile quirked his lips, partly self-deprecatory, partly something else.

He leaned forward then, arms on his knees, posture easing, and looked up at her. “I’ve been talking to Hermione,” he said softly, never taking his eyes off her, “and Neville.”

Luna grew very still. She could feel the edges of her vision slipping and blurring, the room beginning to dissolve around his still-solid form on the sofa. She turned away.

“And what did they tell you?” she asked dully. “That Luna Lovegood is a mess? Can’t hold a job, can barely hold a conversation without drifting off into the blue.”

“They didn’t say that. They do worry about you, Luna.”

She flinched.

“Hermione said it was wonderful you were taking such an interest in werewolf affairs. She’s very pleased you wanted to do this job,” he said wryly.

Luna smiled faintly.

“Neville…Neville told me about when you broke up. He said you told him that he was turning into a Mimbulus mimbletonia. He was fairly certain you meant it literally.”

Luna winced.

“Would you please turn around?”

She shivered.

“Luna,” he said, as kindly and quietly as he had over a decade ago. Something uncoiled inside her, and she turned to him. He was still sitting there squarely, and the room had resolved itself into roughly its original configuration.

“Would you tell me about it? Please? I’d like to know.” His voice was still kind, still quiet, but there was a thread running through it now that tugged insistently at her.

“What should I tell you?” Luna heard the unfamiliar sharpness in her tone. “Luna Lovegood hasn’t changed a bit. She’s still the same loony girl you knew in her second year at Hogwarts.”

“But she has changed.” Remus took a breath. “You used to be happy, and sure of yourself. I…“ he faltered a moment. “I liked that girl, Luna. And I miss her. What happened to her?”

“She grew up. Things got…harder.”

“I’d very much like to get her back,” he said softly.

“Why?”

Remus swallowed. “I need her.”

Luna’s face went blank with surprise. “You want me as I was at 12? We did know each other when I was a bit older than that.” Remus looked uncomfortable.

“It’s not… I don’t… I’m not a pedophile, Luna!”

“I know that.”

“It’s just…you were not at all worried about what other people thought of you then. I always remembered that. I…I wished I’d been like that, when I was 12.”

Luna smiled. “You were always so kind to me. You were…“ She hesitated. “You were always you, when everything else slipped. You were there.” She looked straight at him. “You never pushed.”

“Maybe I was just waiting for the right time.”

“No! I don’t want you to change. I don’t want you to turn into a Fenoferous.”

Remus blinked, but he responded prosaically. “I would have expected a wolf, under the circumstances.”

“But the wolf’s already there,” she said, puzzled. “He’s part of the you that doesn’t change. Why wouldn’t I want that?”

An indescribable expression crept over Remus’ face. He stood up, suddenly looking very wolf-like. “Why don’t we see how much I can push you without letting you slip?” He walked over to her bedroom door and looked back at her. “Come here.”

Luna felt a delicious warmth start somewhere near her heart and slide straight down. Its progress was irritatingly interrupted when Remus turned the handle and stopped dead in the doorway.

“Um…I have some issues with laundry.”

“Evidently.” He looked back at her, then around the room. “Dusting and sweeping don’t seem to be a problem.”

“I’m very good at Scourgify.” Remus’ eyebrows rose enquiringly. “It’s not especially effective on clothes, though. Not if you want them to keep them their original shape, anyway. Or….” Her eyes drifted involuntarily to the kitchen door.

“Or?” he said encouragingly.

“Or dishes.” Luna bit her lip and looked away. “Most of the cleaning spells make me dizzy. It’s like slipping, without going anywhere pleasant.” She heard a curious sound and looked back at him. Remus was trying very hard to repress a snicker. “I suppose it is funny,” she said uncertainly.

“Oh, sweetheart, it’s not that. It’s just, during seven years in Ravenclaw, didn’t Flitwick ever teach you the Merisi Charms?”

Luna decided to treat that as a rhetorical question and went on looking at him.

He walked over to her and deftly extracted her wand from her pocket. He slid it into her hand, circled behind her, and covered her hand with his. “The word is Piattilavate,” he whispered directly into her ear, lips stirring her hair, “and the motion is a vivace with a moderato.” He demonstrated. “I always suspected Flitwick had something against the Italian Charms divisions.”

“Mmm. And for laundry?”

“Oh no. Not just yet. I plan on enjoying this. I may even read up in Caravaggio on Household Spells to see what other lacunae in your education I can rectify.”

Luna swallowed. “Yes, Professor.”

Remus tensed behind her, then gave her a push towards the kitchen. “Go do the dishes. Now.”

 

Ten minutes later, Luna stopped just inside the bedroom door. There was an utter absence of visible clothing. And the flickering light did lovely things to the colors of the bed linens. But…

“I never really intended to use them all at once.” She eyed the candles floating around the walls and perilously close to the ceiling, thinking of something her landlord had told her about Fire Hazards.

“Don’t worry. There’s a charm.”

“Italian?”

“Mmm. Definitely. Take off your shirt.”

Luna started unbuttoning her blouse. The warm feeling was back, and it had brought a tingling with it.

“Beautiful,” he murmured, as the cotton slid to the floor. “Now the bra.”

Luna twisted her arm behind her back compliantly, but raised her eyebrows. Remus was still entirely too far away—over on the other side of the bed (not that that is so terribly far, in a London flat, she thought, but still).

“Oh, my gorgeous girl,” he said softly. “Come here.” Luna went.

But pounce and grab didn’t seem to be in Remus’ plans. Touching just her shoulders and the small of her back, he laid her out on the bed. His hands slid down her arms, as he eased them up, over her head, until his fingers around her wrists caught the silk scarves tied to the headboard.

He must have misinterpreted the look on her face, because he said urgently, “Luna, it will be alright, I promise. You’ll like it, and I swear I’ll stop if you don’t.”

“Oh, gods, yes,” she said fervently.

He almost smirked as he whispered something that sent the scarves coiling around her wrists. “I do want to make sure there will be no bolting after this.” He seemed to be watching her very carefully at that, but Luna just raised her eyebrows.

“What about my legs? I think I could probably get free if you leave me too much wiggle room.” She illustrated, encouragingly.

“I plan on taking care of your legs myself,” he said briefly. He unbuttoned his cardigan. Then his shirt. And trousers. And by the time he knelt over her, so close she could feel his heart, but still not touching, Luna was a bit desperate.

“Oh please, please, Professor,” she moaned and noted with satisfaction a definite twitch under his pants.

“Luna,” he said sternly, “that is not going to work.”

“No, Professor?”

Remus lowered himself until his body was just brushing against hers and his mouth was next to her ear. “No.”

Luna tried to arch into him, but Remus whispered something Italian-sounding and she found herself unable to touch him. She could still move, but not against him. The charm seemed to be one-way only, she thought, as he drew a finger from the base of her throat lightly down to her belly button.

“The first thing I’m doing after--oh--after this is finding a copy of that book.”

“I hope you can read Italian,” Remus said, a sadistic gleam in his eye. “It’s impervious to translation spells.”

He really isn’t nearly as nice as people think he is, Luna thought. Thank the gods.

Very carefully, without brushing her skin, Remus unbuttoned her trousers and eased them off her legs. Luna had no idea how he managed her knickers without touching her, but the feeling of them slipping away and cold air hitting her crotch left her panting.

“Now if you lie very still and promise not to move…intentionally…I’m going to make you come.”

“When?” said Luna in a strangled voice.

“Soon. Very soon.”

Luna felt inclined to ask his definition of ‘soon,’ but she stilled. Remus’ breath ghosted over her torso. He pressed his tongue against that spot behind her ear, licked slowly across her wrists, and circled around her nipples. Luna moaned. When his tongue drew a wet line from the side of her breast up under her arm, she stiffened a bit.

“Let me,” he growled softly.

Luna relaxed her muscles. “I know that isn’t a werewolf thing, you know, so there’s no point trying to convince me that having a smell fetish is anything other than your own perverted self.”

Remus looked up from her armpit. “You are entirely too coherent.”

“I’d probably lose the ability to speak if you started fucking me right now,” she said helpfully. Remus grinned.

“Soon,” he said and smothered Luna’s protest under a hard, open-mouthed, sucking kiss.

He drew back and started moving down her body. Luna spread her legs and moaned happily. She half-expected him to dive in when got eye-level to her hips, but he didn’t. He blew softly on her wiry curls, then tugged lightly with his fingers. Luna shivered.

He pulled, steadily more firmly, spreading her open until she was stretched and exposed and quivering with tension. Then he breathed warm air directly over her clit. Luna very nearly sobbed. She started to slip, just a little, but Remus seemed to sense it.

“Stay here, Luna. Stay right with me. You really don’t want to miss any of this.” She panted raggedly, grounded again but desperately frustrated.

He laid his tongue over her clit, and she moaned, and when he sucked at her, she whimpered. His mouth was so soft, and the stubble on his cheeks scratched deliciously against her inner thighs. He traced the tip of his tongue in complicated patterns over and around, sliding down to lick at her entrance.

It was good, oh it was so very, very good, but Luna still wanted “more, deeper, please more, harder…” And when Remus slid two fingers inside her to find that spot, pressing and rocking his hand against her cunt, and sealed his lips over her clit and suckled, Luna felt the fizzing begin in her center and bubble outwards until her entire body was trembling and light as air. Then Luna dissolved.

 

A little eternity later, Luna opened her eyes to his.

“Still with me?” he murmured, a smile hovering at the corners of his mouth but a real question behind it.

“Mmm. Yes.” She stretched languorously. “Please fuck me now…Professor.”

Remus shut his eyes. “Little girls,” he said roughly, “should be careful,”—his hand slid under her shoulders—“what they wish for.” And he thrust fiercely home.

Luna gasped. Remus didn’t bother asking if she was all right. Her eyes were locked on his, and she was clinging to him like a limpet.

Luna pressed her palms against either side of his face, fingers twining in his hair, then realized…

“Cancelled the spell,” he muttered breathlessly. “Both of them. Want to feel you…hold me…oh, Luna.”

She clenched her legs tighter around him, stared into his eyes, and saw and felt only Remus. Her orgasm came like a tide, rippling, lapping, and then a fast-forward to crashing and thundering. Somewhere in there, she dimly felt Remus groan and collapse on her. He was whispering her name like a prayer in her ear, and for the first time as Luna drifted, she felt utterly not alone.

After a bit, Remus raised his head. “Am I crushing you?”

“Don’t move. No.”

“Any unusual changes in the room I should know about?”

“Well, there are an awful lot of candles floating around.”

“Mmm.” He nuzzled her neck. “And any overwhelming urge to flip me on my arse and run?”

“I’ll let you know when I can feel my legs again.”

“Oh, sorry about that.” Remus shifted onto his back, then tugged at Luna until he had his arms wrapped around her.

“I’m not.” She pillowed her head on his chest contentedly. After a moment, she murmured against his skin, “As incredible as that was, orgasms aren’t going to fix me, you know.”

“I know. But I also don’t think you’re broken.”

“You did say we don’t really know each other.”

“I did. But I think it means something that we’ve both been needing each other, all this time.”

Luna lifted her head and looked at him for a long, long time. Then she grinned.

“At some point, I am going to make you tell me how old I was when what you needed took a turn for the pornographic.”

Remus smirked. “Mmm,” he murmured agreeably. “Just as soon as I’ve tried out a few more Italian charms.”