DISCLAIMER: Do not fold, spindle or mutilate. No money made, no harm intended.

NOTES: Much thanks to Luthien and elynross for doing the beta on this. Part of the Severus Snape Fuh-Q Fest. Response to scenario 100: Snape's such a bastard because he's impotent. Who helps him and how?

All the King's Horses

By Rachael Sabotini


Severus heard little but the rasp of his own breath and the soft thud of his boots pounding against the dirt as he ran; the shadow lands consumed both sound and the pale autumn light before he could absorb any of its warmth. The trees he passed tore at him; he'd left shreds of his shirt and trousers behind as he'd run.

The sharp pain in his side and his burning calf muscles told him he'd been running for days, but he knew that was impossible. He hadn't been here that long. This latest quest of Dumbledore's had only started when news of Voldemort had arrived. Voldemort needed black crystal to destroy the wards around Hogwarts, but the only known vein had been sealed off centuries before. He'd sent Avery's group in after it, and Dumbledore had sent Severus and Lupin in after them.

Lupin could survive here because he was a werewolf. Severus had come because he was the only one who knew exactly where to find the crystal. It had taken them longer than they expected to find the cavern, and Avery had been waiting for them.

In the chaos of battle, Lupin had grabbed the crystal and bolted the cavern before Avery had noticed that he had it; Lupin would be making for the meeting place now. Severus paused to take his bearings, before setting off again. The rendezvous point was only a little further, an old oak that was shaped like a hermit's lamp. He and Lupin had arranged to meet there if they got separated -- which hadn't taken long, once they ran into Avery and his men.

Men. That was a misnomer. Half-blooded Afreets and a barghest. Only creatures with an innate magical energy could survive extended time in the shadowed lands.

And the Afreets hadn't survived, though Avery had. Severus had left their bodies lying with the ashes of his robes and his shattered wand on the cold stone floor; it would take more than the king's horses and the king's men -- or Weasley's spellotape -- to put any of them back together.

One side of his mouth twitched in amusement, but that brought on a painful coughing fit. Each breath he took sent pain knifing through his chest and his breath came in sharp gasps; he cradled his broken arm to his chest, trying to cushion it from any more injury.

Severus slammed into a tree, hitting his elbow. He yelled in pain, and the world turned grey; he thought he felt something new snap. In his haste, he'd missed a turn somewhere, and without the momentum he'd built up while running, he found he wasn't able to stand. Elegantly, gracefully, he eased himself down onto the ground until at last he collapsed, his legs unable to hold him. He heard the leaves crackling as his weight destroyed them.

He had to rest. The autumn air was cool against his burning skin. Severus could feel the trickle of blood on his back where he'd scraped himself against the tree, and his arm hung limply at his side.

His arm throbbed, jerking him back from the brink of unconsciousness. He needed medical attention. He needed a way out of here. He needed to be able to use magic. He needed a wand. The pain kept him focused, even if he had to lock his jaw to keep from yelling. Part of his mind was able to step back from the pain, watching and analyzing what was happening to him, while the rest of him simply endured. In a fashion, this was worse than a Cruciatus curse, he thought. At least the curse seldom hurt once the person casting it stopped concentrating, while here the pain lingered.

Intellectually, he knew he'd been hurt worse before, but that didn't make managing the pain any easier. Chronic pain he could manage -- had managed -- for years now, since the accident. But right now he couldn't manage even the simplest of spells to provide himself with relief; the shadow lands were draining him dry.

His thoughts drifted back to the accident. He'd been working on a poison for Voldemort when the Dark Mark flared up, demanding he return to Voldemort's side. The potion had exploded, burning through his clothing, covering his arms, chest, and loins with a highly corrosive solution; he was lucky it hadn't burned his face or his hands.

Writhing on the ground in Voldemort's lair, he would have torn his own skin off if he could have managed. He was certain that some of his scars were the result of gouging his skin with his own nails. And when the mishap was discovered -- because Snape had been unable to attend to the Dark Lord that night -- he'd been given a dose of Cruciatus "as a reminder of your duty to your lord."

He thought it had been at least a day, maybe more, before he could stand. When he could, he'd staggered out of the dungeon and found his way to Dumbledore, and tried to put his old life behind him.

There were some reminders he couldn't get rid of. The potion had left him impotent, his body marked by the destruction. He looked down at himself, his trousers and shirt torn, his chest already showing the bruises from where he'd been beaten, adding to the patchwork of scars that covered him. He heard it then, the sound of footsteps near him.

It was Lupin.

They stared at each other, saying nothing. He wondered if he would ever get back up. "Go," he said with as much force as he could muster, the words leaking out of his cracked lips. "You have to get to Dumbledore."

"I'm not leaving you."

"Don't be a noble Gryffindor," he sneered. "You'll get us both killed."

"As though you didn't try." He glared at Severus and shook his head. "There has to be a way."

"We can't apparate, not unless you want us both splinched. I can't--" He grimaced as a wave of pain shot through him.

"So?" Lupin shrugged. "There's a portkey back at the crossing point. We only have to get there."

"Before Avery catches us."

"It won't be a problem." Lupin said coldly, his eyes glittering.

"Even without Avery, we don't have time. Not unless you have a spare broom on you? Or perhaps a bag of Floo powder?" Severus looked around. "I don't see anything that looks like a cabin up here. One connected with the floo network."

Lupin stared at him. "You're mad."

"I know the calendar as well as you do, Lupin." Severus snorted and laid his head back against the trunk of the oak tree. "There is no wolfsbane potion here--"

"I can't leave you, even without Avery and the barghest after us. You wouldn't make it out." Lupin laid his hand on Severus' leg; it felt good, providing a little warmth. "Let me check your arm."

Gritting his teeth, Severus worked at not reacting as Lupin ran his hands over it, then performed a small spell. The pain eased slightly, but Severus realized he could no longer feel his fingers, and hadn't been able to for some time.

Lupin pulled back, but he left his hand on Severus' arm. Severus tried curling his finger, watching the results. The thumb and finger managed to turn with some effort, but the last three didn't curl at all.

Lupin covered the hand with his own, and Severus didn't have the energy to brush it away

"Despite our history, it has never been my life's ambition to become a werewolf's dinner. Though that does seem to be the direction that I am taking."

Lupin took a deep breath, and let it out carefully; his lips formed a thin, tight line. "I can do something."


"A transfiguration." He held up his hand to silence Severus, but Severus hadn't planned on talking anyway. "In your new form, the worst of the injuries will have little impact."

"Are you sure?" he asked. When Minerva transformed into a cat, she had perfect eyesight, but Pettigrew's transformation couldn't regrow the flesh he'd amputated.

"No." Lupin stared at him earnestly, and Severus could see the toll their adventure had taken. Lupin had never been on the round side, but now he looked too thin by far, and his eyes seemed huge in his face. They shimmered with something that Severus couldn't place but suspected might be compassion.

Whatever it was pleaded with him; Severus looked away. "Gryffindors are too damn honest," he growled. "Couldn't you lie to me a little?" He looked back and saw that the uncomfortable pleading look was gone, and cool distance had replaced it.

Severus felt better about that.

"Sorry." Lupin smiled slightly.

"Are you planning on transforming me into a bird so I can fly out of here?"

"I'm not good with winged animals." Lupin shrugged.

"A ferret then? A snake? A rat?"

"I know the physiology of canines most intimately."

"A dog."

Lupin nodded. "A hybrid, actually. Half wolf, half dog."

Severus wasn't sure he wanted to be anything even close to a wolf.

"I know the physiology well enough that I can manage the transformation without having to draw a lot of magic outside of myself," Lupin continued. "And as a hybrid, you'd be able to keep up with me in my wolf form."

"If the transformation works."

Lupin rolled his eyes. "It will work. If it doesn't, I'll transform you back immediately, if that's what it takes." He shifted his weight easily, stretching out one leg slightly as he squatted next to Severus. "I think I can work it so that your arm will be workable, even if it isn't in perfect shape."

It made sense. Lupin was good, and he did know how wolves went together. It was just--"If it works, I would remain like that until we left here?"

"Yes." Lupin nodded slowly. "I've been able to feel the magical energy being leeched from me the longer we stay here, and if the transformation works, I'd prefer not to have to do it again until we got back to Hogwarts."

There was more to it than Lupin was admitting. If he was hesitant about transforming him back... "There's some risk that you won't be able to return me to my proper form here." Severus said, feeling his eyes narrow. "If you can do a transformation, why can't you do a healing spell?"

"I never learned anything beyond basic first aid." Lupin gestured at Severus' arm. "That's beyond me, I'm afraid. I think you may have injured some nerves, beyond breaking the bone. A transformation won't make it worse, though it might not heal it all, either."

"Damn." There was silence while Lupin stared at him, his eyes almost glowing in the dwindling light, challenging him.

This required a level of trust that Severus was reluctant to give. He didn't want to turn control over his body to anyone, let alone Lupin. Still, it wasn't as if they had many options. Severus lifted his chin. "Just do it."

"You'll need to undress," Lupin said carefully, his body tense, his posture still challenging. "We might need the clothes later."

Severus gritted his teeth. There was nothing for it, that was certain. He lay back and watched as Lupin meticulously unlaced his boots, with the care of someone who had to make everything last. Lupin probably didn't buy new boots very often. Even when he was a teacher--

Severus balled his hands into fists as a wave of pain shot through him; Lupin quickly looked up at him, but Severus shook his head, his intent clear: nothing to see, no need to comment. Simply more pain. He must have damaged his foot in the battle or during his escape; he hadn't felt the injury until the boot came off.

Accepting Lupin's help to stand, between the two of them they managed to get the shredded remnants of his shirt and trousers off. He felt himself redden as he stripped away the last of his clothes, letting them fall into a pile around his feet. He tried not to imagine what he looked like now: sallow skin pale from too much time in the dungeons, his whole body gaunt and pockmarked, hair dirty and tangled, matted with sweat -- not to mention the stark contrast of the bruises and the Dark Mark.

Bitterly, he looked at the trees on the other side of Lupin, not wanting to see the revulsion, the disgust he knew he'd see in Lupin's eyes. He knew what that looked like, knew it was an expression that had been on his own face many times; he knew he'd directed it at Lupin, in fact. He shivered, his body chill as the sweat dried on his skin, his body breaking out into gooseflesh as it tried to keep itself warm.

His balls and his shaft hung limply between his legs, not reacting at all. He was lucky to still be able to piss with the thing, after what had happened years ago. The shrieking shack incident was only one of the times he'd tempted fate.

Proving himself to be more circumspect than Severus, Lupin said nothing. He eased Severus back onto the ground, then bundled the clothing and boots together, folding them into a solid black packet. "Would you mind--" he looked up at Severus, and finally their gazes locked. Severus saw nothing in them this time -- no compassion, but no disgust, either. Simple...emptiness.

Good. It was better than he would have done. "Would I mind...?" Severus prompted.

"I can transfigure these into a collar or a harness." Lupin gestured at the packet of clothes. "You'd have to wear it, of course."

Severus felt his eyebrows arch.

"I won't be able to carry them. You'll have to carry both my pack and yours once the moon is out. Plus my wand, and the crystal."

The crystal. Ah. Another good point. "I see." Severus nodded.

After that, they had even less to talk about. Lupin spent a few minutes muttering something to himself, but the wind snatched away his words before Severus could understand them. Finally, he set his mouth in a determined line and stared at Severus. "I'm ready."

"Just so."

It hurt, but not as much as he had expected; some part of him had been prepared for worse. Compared to having endured the Cruciatus curse, the burn of a potion that stripped the flesh from his bones and turned his balls into empty sacs, and having the bones in his arm remade as dry wood and then shattered, the transformation was a breeze.

The colors of the world had greyed out, but now he could hear the forest noises that had been so silent before, and the air was a brilliant patchwork of scents. Severus stretched out his forearm, flexing his paw; the bones seemed solid enough. He carefully put weight on it while Lupin watched. Then he stood on all four legs and took a few halting steps.

It held.

He looked up at Lupin, noticing how tall he looked at the moment; the fool thing seemed to have worked.

Lupin smiled in response, the dying light in the forest darkening his eyes to a brownish-black. "Good," he said, then looked up at the leafy forest canopy. "I think we can go for another couple of hours before we'll have to worry about me. In the meantime," he said, picking up the bundle of clothing, "I'll try to explain what will happen, and what you'll need to do to make sure neither of us are killed -- and that we head for Hogwarts as quickly as possible." He looked down at Snape. "I won't have a human mind the way you do, my f--" He swallowed. "Severus. You'll have to do the thinking for us both the next few nights."

Severus nodded, swinging into step at Lupin's side.


The full moon tainted the clearing, making it too bright for the rest of the animals; Lupin had boldly stridden out of the shadows into its embrace, falling like a tin soldier before he had managed a full pace. Fascinated, Severus tried to gage how painful the process was -- did it hurt more, or less than crucio? Lupin's twisted gyrations, the result of the transformation process, reminded him of the unforgivable curse. Lupin's silence was unnatural, though. Severus wondered at it, until he realized that maybe the reason Lupin was quiet was because he couldn't scream at all.

That gave Severus pause. It was true that a silent transformation would be safer, attract less unwanted attention, but imagining what it would be like to endure such agony in silence -- throat locked tight against noise as the internal organs, bones, muscles, and skin were rearranged and remade in a new form -- made him shudder. Severus growled, but it was the only sensible conclusion. Lupin must have silenced himself before the process began.

Then there was no time to think as a fully transformed werewolf lunged at Severus, eyes red, teeth bared. He twisted to run, the wolf following him. They skidded over decaying leaves and rich forest loam, their feet pounding into the ground, covering more distance than the two humans could have, even at a dead run. Scents poured over him as they ran -- he smelled the forest, animal droppings, stagnant water, musk reed, and julyana mint.

Lupin had told him to keep moving, to give the wolf time to adjust to his setting, to being in his body again. 'Less chance that he'll attack you then.' Severus was counting on that, and so he ran, trusting to his inner sense of direction to tell him where the portkey -- and Hogwarts -- lay.

Until he slipped. Momentarily, he lost his footing, and it was enough for the wolf to catch up to him, panting from the run, his thick, red tongue lolling out of his mouth.

Severus stilled as the wolf advanced, ducking his head and waiting, his posture submissive, hoping that the preparation that Lupin had made him go through had worked. The werewolf slowed and sniffed at him, but his scent must have been right -- that was the key, Lupin said, that their scents be mixed together by the time the transformation completed.

The werewolf rubbed him, licked his fur, a soft, high-pitched growl in his throat. Severus had no idea what it meant, but he hoped it was a contented noise. In turn, he licked at Lupin's fur, his mind marking off each of the pack rituals that Lupin had explained.

The wolf bit his ear, making Severus cry out; he felt the trickle of blood an instant before he smelled it, but Lupin backed away, apparently satisfied with the mark.

And really, what was one more scar? Hopefully, this one would vanish once Lupin transformed him back into a man.

The rest of the night was easier. They drank from pools of water that had collected during the rain and killed a pair of rabbits just before morning light. The wolf eagerly tore into his, but Severus looked away. Despite his hunger, he wasn't able to stomach raw foods. They reminded him of too many other unpleasant things.


"You should eat, you know." Lupin had conjured a small fire, warming himself after spending from dawn 'till noon asleep. He rolled his shoulders and stretched, his long, lean muscles flexing and pulling under the skin. "I'm hungry."

Keeping to his side of the camp, Severus watched as Lupin stood, picking through the his pack. He looked oddly at peace, his hair cascading down his face, his hands sorting through the packaged remains. He seemed to find something he thought was edible; a quick, efficient flick of his wand and the package transformed itself into a large slice of pumpkin pie.

As Lupin sat back on the ground, the scent drifted through the air, and Severus sat up, licking his lips. It smelled good, like the fresh baked pies the house elves made for banquet days. His stomach rumbled, and despite his best intentions, he couldn't prevent a small whine.

Lupin looked up at him, his eyes twinkling as badly as Dumbledore's. "If you come over here, I'll give you some."

Last night, when the wolf and he had finally collapsed from exhaustion, the wolf had possessively tried to roll up with Severus and share his warmth. Severus had made a point of inching away as soon as he could, and when it was possible, taking a position as far away from the heavy wolf as he thought secure. The weight of another body pressed against his made him uncomfortable, and even though this form wore a shaggy brown and silver coat, Severus could not forget it was Lupin, lying there pressed to his side. He'd kept the distance since Lupin awoke, transformed into human form with the day's light.

Lupin held up his fork, a bite of fresh pumpkin pie on the tip. "It's very good," he said calmly, and ate it, swallowing dramatically.

The nerve! Severus lunged at Lupin, who laughed as Severus knocked him to the ground. "All right, all right. Here," he said, setting the pie on the ground. "Have some."

He took a bite, then pulled away as Lupin rested his hand on Severus' back. Lupin left his hand there, and when nothing else happened, Severus settled down and tore into the pie.

He could see Lupin smiling as he finished, but didn't really care. He felt blissfully full, and when Lupin started stroking him, he leaned back into it, pressing against the warm contact.

It felt...pleasant.

He fell over onto his side, since that gave Lupin better access. The hand moved from his back onto his belly, scratching and petting him, and Lupin's voice rumbled happily as he spoke: "Feels good, doesn't it? I like to be stroked myself--"

Eyes widening in fear, Severus rolled up and bolted a few paces away. Fool, he told himself, realizing what he had done; when he agreed to cross over, he had promised himself that for as long as they remained in the shadow lands, he would tolerate Lupin's presence. But he had become more than tolerant of Lupin's presence. In fact, in their time together, he had come to enjoy it, and being in animal form seemed to make it worse. It was...unseemly for him to be behaving like this. He could feel himself, how hard he'd gotten while Lupin petted him; he was disgusted with himself.

It was Lupin who had touched him, Lupin who had excited him, the way he had not been able to get excited in years. To make it worse, he was in animal form; he couldn't be human and feel like that.

He glared at Lupin, who was laughing at his apparent discomfort. "It's natural, Severus. It happens. I would have thought you'd learned that years ago."

Severus turned his back on Lupin and stalked back to his side of the camp, curled up, and flicked his tail over his nose. He did not have to put up with this sort of humiliation, not even for Dumbledore. He would just wait right here until his -- problem went away. And never let Lupin do that again.

He heaved a large sigh. For a moment, though, it had felt good.


The second night was easier. Lupin the wolf recognized him right away, for which Severus was grateful. He also found that the more time he spent in his current form, the more comfortable it became. Part of him wondered if this was a side effect of the shadow lands; after all, no one who had returned mentioned performing any sort of transformation that lasted longer than a few hours. If he could have spoken with Lupin, perhaps they could have experimented and discovered an answer.

Not that he wanted to, of course, as that would have meant spending more time with Lupin, and the time that they were spending together was already more than enough. In particular, he didn't want to spend any more time than absolutely necessary in animal form.

As it was, he enjoyed the way the forest smelled, and the freedom of running full out with his companion. He wasn't quite as directed as he had been the night before, and by the time Lupin insisted on hunting, Severus was more than willing to join him. They covered most of the distance that he and Lupin had planned for; that would get them to the crossing point in the next couple of days. Plenty of time to hand the crystal over to Dumbledore.

They caught something else that night, a large stoat-like creature with an extra set of arms and a barbed tail. Severus couldn't remember the name of it, but its flesh tasted sweet. He tore into it ravenously, and when he had finished, he eagerly licked the blood off his muzzle.

And when Lupin came over, helping to clean the blood, Severus relaxed into it and let the wolf lick at his fur, enjoying the illusion of intimacy.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow night, and Hogwarts the following day. He felt himself harden under the wolf's care, but ignored it. He would appreciate being in his own body again.


Lupin's transformation back from wolf to man seemed to be far more painful the next morning. Severus watched as Lupin's body shuddered and re-formed, his face and hands shrinking, legs lengthening, body contorting and constricting in a St. Vitus dance. This time there was no spell to keep him from crying out his pain, and he howled his agony into daylight, while Severus listened.

At last it was done. Sweaty and pale, Lupin's hair plastered to his face, his face bristling with stubble, he lay panting on the ground. He tried to sit up, coughed, swallowed, and fell back against the earth, gasping for breath.

This time, Severus couldn't just watch. He padded over to see if there was anything he could do; he carried Lupin's wand, after all, and that could provide much. Lupin's eyes were glazed over, and Severus butted his head against Lupin's shoulder, trying to catch Lupin's attention -- but Lupin did nothing. Severus had the urge to lick away some of the sweat, but he shied away from that level of touch, the memory of the wolf licking him last night still vibrating within his flesh.

Instead, he did what he could, curling up next to Lupin, sharing his own warmth. As he rested, he thought, his mind seldom idle; if he could find a way of transporting water, that might help revive his companion. They both needed to get out of here soon.

A day and a night, he repeated. Just a day and a night.

Hands clutched at his fur; Lupin heaved a long sigh. "It's the shadow," Lupin said, turning his head slightly to look at Severus. "It's...having an effect."

Severus licked Lupin's arm. He'd already noticed.

With a groan, Lupin sat up and unfastened Snape's harness before letting the thing slide onto the ground. His wand lay on top of the pile; to Severus, it looked like it took all of Lupin's strength to grab it.

"One more day," Lupin muttered, hauling himself to his feet. "Just one more day," he said, catching Severus' gaze. "One more day, and we're back to Hogwarts again."

Severus nodded, his stomach churning, remember the feel of Lupin's body pressed against his, and for an instant, the image of Lupin overlaid the image of the wolf, and he imagined what it might be like to be kissed and to be able to respond for once.

He shook himself, chastising himself for falling under the spell of this place. It had to be affecting the both of them; who knew what would happen if they stayed here too long.

Thankfully, he said to himself as he watched Lupin start a fire, they only had one more day.


Severus heaved a sigh of relief. This was the last night that Lupin would run in wolf form, and tomorrow, it would be safe to cross into civilized lands. The shadow country would be put behind them; they would be in England again. He was impatient as he watched Lupin get ready, transforming their clothing and packs into a collar, fitting it to Severus' neck, and slipping his wand into its holder.

His hands stroked along Severus' face and jaw; Severus pushed back into the touch. He thought he saw something in Lupin's eyes -- regret, pain, no human should have such expressive eyes -- but it was gone in an instant. He turned his back to Severus and stepped out into the moonlight.

But when the wolf awakened, he wasn't interested in running. Lupin's wolf was interested in Severus. And for some reason, when Severus looked at him, he could no longer see the wolf. Instead, he saw the man he'd lain with earlier today, the one who had touched him, and fed him, and shared his warmth.

Severus wasn't interested in whatever it was that the wolf wanted, but he found himself drawn to the man he could feel living inside the wolf.

One night. That was all. Tomorrow they would be at Hogwarts again.

And then what? he asked himself. Back to what had been, to separation and living apart. Back to a body that would give anyone nightmares. Back to being half a man.

He would have laughed if he could. He wasn't even half a man here; here he was part wolf.

Lupin didn't seem to care. The wolf moved toward him, his eyes agleam; Severus acquiesced. Lupin didn't remember anything that happened during the nights he was transformed, or if he did, it was vague impressions only. He could do this, and none would be the wiser. He might feel ill, sick at heart in letting the situation happen, but there was no one here who could judge him.

Just the night and himself.

Afterwards, he shuddered, revolted at himself and what he had done, while his body soared with renewed feeling. He should not have used Lupin like this, should not have let the wolf use him. What if there were a moment of lucidity? What if Lupin remembered?

He stood and prodded Lupin -- the wolf -- to his feet. If something came up, he'd deny it, of course; that was the only option. As tonight had proven, he still had a bit of the Death Eater in him; he was no fit companion for man nor beast.

He couldn't allow himself to become attached.


They made it to the crossing point the following afternoon, a large haystack-shaped rock out in the middle of a grassy plain. Lupin had said nothing throughout the trip, obviously deep in thought. He kept looking at Severus as if he were about to speak, then drifting off, looking at the landscape, not saying anything.

Severus couldn't say anything, which suited him just fine. He'd been weak, he knew. He couldn't let that happen again.

He sat and waited as Lupin used the four-point spell to locate the hidden portkey. "Not long now," he said, patting Severus' back. "We'll be back in time for dinner." He packed the crystal carefully and secured what was left of their packs.

Not a moment too soon, Severus thought. This place unsettled him, gave him dangerous thoughts. When he was reshaped into his own form, the injuries would be back, but he would feel more in control. That was worth far more to him than any physical change.

Lupin's hands stilled. Everything was set. Severus looked at him quizzically; why was he hesitating?

"I know." Lupin said, still looking down at the remnants of their trip. He slowly turned to look at Severus, his eyes flashing. "I don't forget every single detail that happens." He straightened and folded his arms across his chest, his face contorted in a fierce glare. "And I remember what happened last night."

If he could have spoken, Severus would have denied it. He was an accomplished liar; Lupin would have ended up questioning his own perceptions before he questioned Severus'. But he couldn't speak, he couldn't glare -- he couldn't intimidate. Oh, he could growl and raise his hackles, which he did, but Lupin didn't react to that at all.

"We had sex."

Well. Yes. There was that. Unable to muster his usual aggressive defense, Severus settled on trying to look bemused.

Lupin stalked over, his arms still crossed, and Severus could feel the agitation of the man. It made his skin prickle.

"We had sex."

You said that already. Severus rolled his eyes. He started to turn away, but Lupin blocked his path.

"Stay!" Remus was now looming over him, and Severus had to force himself not to pull back. "We had sex last night, and it wasn't coerced. You liked it." His voice held a note of disbelief mixed in with his confusion and rage. "You like me."

Severus, wisely, decided to ignore what Lupin was saying. He zipped between the other man's legs, and went to snuffle about the gear, not really looking for anything, just putting some distance between Lupin and himself.

"Fine." Lupin spat the word out. "We'll do it your way for now." He grabbed the bags and turned toward the portkey. "But when we get back to Hogwarts, and you have your proper form, we *will* be talking about this."

He slid his hand into Severus' fur, and Severus shivered slightly; it felt...comfortable.

Really, he thought as the pull of the portkey gripped him, would it be so wrong to see what happened once he had his proper form again? Maybe something could be done...

The portkey pulled at him, twisting the world, leaving a hollow pit where his stomach had been.

Transformations, he'd heard, could be an acquired taste.

The End

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