Rating: (NC-17) Adult content, Hot
Summary: Snape is pressured to take a trip to see Lupin... things don't work out as he had expected, and he has to change his plans.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to JK Rowling, no copyright infringement is intended. I play with them, without permission, in my head and for fun; not earning money from sharing it. No real people were harmed in the writing of this story.
Archive: Sure, but please ask first?
Sometimes Broken Things
Some things were definitely better after the unfortunate demise of Sirius Black, at least from Severus' point of view. First and foremost, Sirius Black was gone. No longer did Severus have to stand the sneering visage of him every time there was an Order meeting. Black hadn't been of much use during the recent meetings anyway, being a fugitive, and had mostly teamed up with the Potter brat, increasing the insolence in the boy. It had seemed like the Potter-Black combination was bad, no matter the generation.
Other things were affected in a more serious way. The Order itself had been shaken by how easily the Dark Lord had used Harry for his own uses, and Remus Lupin had taken Black's death hard. Even though he was still participating in Order business, he didn't give it his full attention. Severus would have thought that Lupin would seek comfort with young Potter, or the other way around, but he sometimes seemed to avoid the boy, preferring to grieve in solitude. With the way that sorrow, anger and grief hung around in every corner of the house at number 12, Grimmauld Place, Severus was glad he didn't have to spend much time there. It annoyed him to see so much attention and energy still being given to Black.
A few weeks after Black's demise, Severus visited the gloomy house to once more report on the development of his mission. Arthur and Molly Weasley looked up as he entered the kitchen and gave him weak smiles.
"Remus has left," Molly said as she removed the remains of a meal to clear the table for business.
"Left?" Severus arched an eyebrow.
"Yes, he said he needed time alone, and I can understand that." Molly sat down opposite Severus. "He left a note, telling us that he went to spend some time in a cottage near where he grew up." She gave Severus a small smile. "I know you never liked Sirius, and I agree that he could be a bit difficult at times, but they were once very close friends."
"I know." Severus had never understood how anyone could have been friends with Black, that so few seemed to look beyond the brash exterior. He knew that Lupin had always idolized him, no matter how reckless or idiotic first the boy and later the man had been; in Lupin's eyes Black could do no wrong.
"Unfortunately, we need his advice and insight on a couple of things..." Arthur said.
"What do you want me to do about that?"
"I knew we could rely on you, Severus." Arthur beamed and began explaining what they needed, ignoring that Severus had, in fact, not agreed to do anything. In short, it meant that he would bring some documents and maps to Lupin. He'd have to go there by other means than by using Floo powder, since the cottage didn't have Floo access, and it would be too dangerous to Apparate blindly and with a large box of things that Molly wanted Severus to take with him. Of course, Molly had a brilliant solution to that as well: he would go by horse and carriage.
Severus looked at her. There was that look on Molly's face again - the kind, smiling, waiting look that he knew meant that whatever objection he was going to bring up, she knew how to counter it. Molly Weasley was like a sapling in such discussions. No matter the resistance, the opposing power, she would bend until the storm had blown over and then spring back up again. She knew what she wanted, she thought she was right, and she was used to getting her way. Severus sighed.
"I don't think this is a good..."
"Nonsense. It's perfect." Molly dismissed Severus' attempt at a protest, knowing that even though he could be both grumpy and seemingly insensitive, he would do what was right for the Order. "Once you know the lay of the land, you can Apparate there the next time."
"Next time?" Severus was getting tired of being served one surprise after another. "You mean to make me visit a werewolf moping after his dead mate more than once?" He frowned and threw both Molly and Arthur a glare.
"He needs the Wolfsbane potion soon, " Molly said in a determined tone, and Severus knew that it would be easier to just go along with her plan, instead of battling it and then end up doing it anyway. The woman was almost as bad as Albus Dumbledore in that respect; she just went about it in a different way.
After he'd given his report to the other Order members, Arthur took him aside to hand him a thick envelope. "Thank you for doing this, Severus. I would have done it myself, but I have too much at work right now. The Ministry is still in an uproar after the Battle."
"And you don't think that the other side is? I've had to spend too much time in the company of a very upset Dark Lord, and a little rest would be welcome."
"I'm sure the trip will do you good, Severus. A nice day in the countryside and some company. You really shouldn't isolate yourself as much as you do." Molly looked entirely too cheerful for Severus' tastes.
"With all due respect," he snarled, not feeling much respect at all in that moment. "Stay out of my personal business, or you can deliver those," he gestured toward the envelope, "yourselves."
It hadn't been that difficult to find Remus' cottage, and the papers were soon delivered. Severus sipped the tea that Remus had insisted on serving as he waited for him to read through the information.
Remus looked even more tired than usual, like he did after the trials of a full moon. Severus wondered if this frayed man had the energy to go through the next cycle; it was only a week and a half away, and he'd have to start taking the Wolfsbane. Perhaps he should bring a strengthening draught as well, Severus thought.
When Remus had finally written down his conclusions regarding the information, and had studied the map for a few long moments. Severus rose from the chair with a light frown on his face. He was hungry, not having touched the offered chocolate and biscuits, and bored. There were only so many times he could go over the stock of potion ingredients in his mind, mentally noting what needed to be refilled later.
Severus was in the process of taking his leave when he heard the unmistakable sound of something large falling on top of something breakable. Added to that sound was the panicked neighing of horses. Severus froze, looking at Remus, and Remus looked back with an equally questioning look.
"I sincerely hope that was not what it sounded like," Severus said coldly as Remus opened the door to look at what had once been a carriage.
"I believe your hopes were crushed, Severus, much like your means of transportation." Severus looked out through the door as well.
"Then I will leave the horses here with you and Apparate home."
Remus looked at Severus with a surprised look on his face. "Here?" He smiled slightly. "You do know that horses are quite skittish around me, I'm sure?"
"Very well. We will repair the carriage then and after that I can leave." It would be an understatement to say that Severus was not really in the mood for a number of repairing spells for a contraption he wasn't completely certain what it had looked like when it was all in one piece. He looked at the remains and frowned slightly. The tree had pretty much destroyed the carriage. Bits of it had been spread all over the space in front of the cottage, and splintered wood and metal were sticking up in twisted shapes on both sides of the tree trunk.
"Severus, as much as I would like to help you with that very interesting project, I must remind you that, if anything, it's Defence Against the Dark Arts that is my area of expertise." He ignored Severus' glare and continued. "I didn't know that horse carriages and their construction were a hobby of yours?"
Severus sighed and walked up to the horses that now stood at a safe distance from the broken remains to calm them down a bit more. It was a good thing that they hadn't met the same fate, that the tree that had most annoyingly decided to wreck havoc on his plans hadn't crushed them as well. Severus was also glad that the reins had become entangled and snagged on the stump of another tree. Otherwise the horses would have run away, leaving him to chase after them in a most undignified manner if he wanted them back.
Remus stood a little to the side, his hands in his pockets, and looked on. He didn't want to make the horses more nervous by coming closer. "Severus?"
"Yes, Lupin?" Severus turned to look at him, while slowly, gently stroking the horse's neck. If the situation hadn't been so chaotic, so frustrating, he would have enjoyed feeling the silky smooth hide under his hands. He arched an eyebrow as he noticed that Remus' gaze was fixed on his hand as it moved over the now slightly calmer animal.
Remus made a visible effort to tear his eyes away and up to meet Severus', a small smile on his lips. "It's late... and you are no doubt hungry. I'll make something to eat and after that I'll help you with the repairs..." His voice trailed off.
"Thank you." Severus followed Remus back into the cottage and made himself comfortable at the kitchen table while watching Remus rummage through the pantry and examine the contents of the box that Molly had insisted that Severus bring.
A small smile softened Remus' face and removed the light frown that lingered from earlier when he unfolded a napkin that was hiding a loaf of freshly baked bread. He brought it to the table on a cutting board and handed Severus a knife to cut it with. Severus wasn't really surprised to find that the oh-so-important box had been filled to the brim with food; Molly did like to fuss over people. He was slightly surprised, though, to see how content Remus looked while cooking, and at one point he thought he could hear a low humming over the sound of the sizzling frying pan.
"You don't have to help me with the repairs," Severus said as he watched Remus set two plates of food on the table and then sit down to eat.
"Of course I do, Severus. You would want to be out of here as soon as possible I imagine," Remus said after swallowing.
Severus sighed. "It's beyond repair, Lupin. It needs a construction charm if anything, and as you so kindly pointed out earlier, constructing carriages is not one of my hobbies." He looked at his own plate, and the grumbling of his stomach reminded him that he was, indeed, quite hungry. He had to admit to himself that the omelette looked tempting, and it smelled nice... home cooked food. When was the last time he'd had anything other than tea or coffee that was not made by a house elf? He should get out more, Severus thought as he lifted a forkful to his mouth. Or accept Molly's invitation to stay for a meal at least once.
"So you think it can't be repaired?"
"Strange, I thought that was exactly what I said?"
Remus ignored the sarcasm and continued to eat, and after a few moments Severus went back to enjoying his food, too. There simply was no point in arguing with someone who didn't notice you were having a dispute. Perhaps that was Lupin's way of dealing with everyday conflicts, thought Severus as he studied the man sitting opposite him. Non-confrontational, in stark contrast with the beast he turned into every full moon.
"It's quite nice to have some company while eating again." Remus smiled warmly at Severus. "Somehow food tastes better whenever it's cooked for someone else."
"I wouldn't know, I don't cook."
"Then you should try it. I'm sure you'd be an excellent cook," retorted Remus cheerfully. "There's a Wizarding inn a few miles away I think. If you can get there with the horses, I'm sure they can take care of them over the night." He sat back in his chair, gesticulating with the last of his buttered bread. "Perhaps they can even send them to where they belong, and you can Apparate home from there?"
Severus nodded slowly. It was a rather good idea, even if he wouldn't give Lupin the satisfaction of telling him that. He could ride on one of the horses and hold the reins of the other in one hand.
"I haven't been out riding for a few years, especially not bareback," Severus said in a strained tone.
"Then it's about time," Remus retorted cheerfully. As Severus finished eating, Remus smiled again. "Coffee?"
Remus got up and went about making the coffee. Soon the freshly ground beans spread their aroma in the small kitchen, and Severus couldn't help beginning to feel rather comfortable, at ease.
"Why did you flee the company of those that you otherwise seem so fond of?"
"Straight to the point as always, Severus?" Remus was still for a moment as if to think, before he continued what he was doing. "I felt an increasing need to be alone; a sentiment I believe you can understand? Not to have to explain how I feel, or assure people that I am fine." He moved back to the table and sat down. "I just need to come to grips with the realisation that this time he's really gone. There won't be any more miraculous returns." Remus' voice held a note of fatigue.
"Mourning your partner," Severus said matter-of-factly.
Remus looked up sharply, studying Severus' face. "Severus, this may sound strange to you, I realise. But Sirius and I were only friends, never lovers." He looked down at his hands, fingers laced together, resting on the table. "Had we been lovers, I might not have believed that he was a traitor and a murderer. I don't know anymore."
Severus was surprised to learn that what he'd been certain were hints of a couple in love had been instead a display of deep friendship between the two. Had he been wrong, then, about Lupin's orientation as well?
"Sirius wasn't interested in men, and he wasn't my type anyway..." Remus smiled a little and met Severus' inquiring gaze. "I liked his dark hair, and that he was tall, but I thought he was too ... good looking. Perhaps I'm odd, but I like more character in a face, a little less perfection."
The signal that the coffee was done interrupted the moment, and Remus fetched the coffeepot and two earthenware mugs. As they sipped their coffee, both men looked thoughtful, and silence settled with them at the table. It wasn't an unwelcome guest, and brought them each some privacy in which to sort through their thoughts. They talked a little more, but the previous topic was abandoned, neither of them seeming to want to go into more details.
"I should leave while there's still light enough to see the road," Severus finally said, and put the mug down carefully.
Remus didn't protest, nor did he encourage Severus, but simply stood and put the mugs and the plates in the kitchen sink. He followed Severus out of the kitchen and handed him the thick envelope with his conclusions about the Order business.
"Don't forget these."
"I never forget anything, Lupin," Severus said and frowned slightly while slipping it into a pocket in his robes.
"I know." Remus leaned past Severus and opened the door behind his back and made to move away again. There was a slight hesitation though, and then he leaned closer instead, invading Severus' personal space even more...and kissed him. It wasn't passionate or insistent, just a soft press of lips against lips. Remus gave a small sigh as he pulled back and gave Severus a look full of embarrassment. Severus, still unmoving, silent, searched Remus' face in turn, but there was no explanation forthcoming.
As Severus left the cottage and the door closed gently behind him, he took with him the many questions that Remus' actions had raised, and stubbornly tried to ignore the desire that the kiss had awoken.
The failing light would have made it impossible to enjoy the scenery, had Severus been inclined to do so. Thoughts filled his mind though, questions made his eyes considerably less interested in is surroundings. Instead, he thought about Remus' face - cheeks slightly coloured in embarrassment and an almost apologetic look in the hazel eyes. Not even the unfamiliar feeling of having the firm and muscular body of a horse underneath him, between his legs no less did much to turn Severus' attention away from recent events.
The shadows grew darker, and the odd tree that stood at the side of the road almost seemed to lean toward the lone rider with the extra horse in tow. Branches made as if to reach for him, and once an owl, suddenly lifting off from a fencepost with a rustle and a loud hoot, spooked Severus' horse. It took Severus quite a while to calm the horse down again; plenty of time for sensations of silky smooth hide against his hands to register properly and make Severus realise the closeness of a warm, living body - a creature that trusted him, and let him soothe it, touch it, caress...
Severus shook his head to rid it of strange thoughts and associations and took a look around him. He thought he recognised this little fence as it came around the bend of the hill, and there was also a small tree perched on top of the hill, no more than a dark silhouette against the dark sky now. He'd passed this place on his way to Remus' cottage. Just a little further then, and the inn would be waiting for him.
Once the horses were calm, he managed to convince them to pass the stretch of road again. A cup of tea would be nice, and a bite to eat, some stew perhaps? Severus did feel as if something a little stronger than tea would be more suitable in order for him to relax after a rather long and annoying day, but doubted that he could look forward to something other than either Ogden's firewhisky or a common blended. The odd bottle of expensive single malt that Malfoy sometimes gave him had apparently spoiled him, so he would settle for some tea and then a nice, soft bed and a good night's sleep.
Finally having arrived at the inn, Severus got off the horse, grateful for the darkness hiding his rather less than elegant dismount from prying eyes. He led the two horses around the back to the stable and roused the attention of a haggard-looking stable boy. Severus made sure that the horses would be taken care of and then went into the inn proper to get a room and arrange for the delivery of the beasts the next day.
After having had something to eat - he had been sitting alone at a table near the fire, the other patrons of the establishment giving him first suspicious, then fearful looks - Severus went upstairs to try to get some sleep. He could have gone straight back home, but he wanted to make sure that his orders regarding the horses were followed. The innkeeper had had an ill-favoured look, and the stable boy had looked quite indifferent. Severus didn't trust them as far as he could throw them. What was to say that they would do as instructed once he was gone? No, better to stay the night.
The bed was lumpy, and Severus turned over once more. There had to be at least one comfortable way to lie in it, but perhaps all the sleep-friendly positions had been used up by previous guests, and the only one left to him was to lie flat on his back, staring up into the ceiling?
Severus suspected that he wasn't completely fair in blaming the mattress. More likely, it was the thoughts that kept coming back despite his attempts to ignore them that made sleep difficult. There were flashes of memories - Remus' words as they had spoken of Sirius, that they had only ever been friends, the admission that Remus preferred men, the light brush of fingers against his own as the envelope had changed hands, the look on Remus' face after that short kiss... The kiss. Severus turned again, almost kicking off the blanket in the frustrated move.
Why in Merlin's name had Remus ('Lupin,' he corrected himself) kissed him? What was the point of that, apart from disturbing Severus' usually so well organised mind? It had been so many years since Severus had buried his schoolboy crush... The sight of the werewolf in the tunnel had ripped it to shreds quite spectacularly.
What did he mean by provoking him like this then? Severus was certain that Lupin was up to something, but couldn't figure out what, and it annoyed him. He mulled the whole encounter over a while longer until reaching a decision. There was no use in trying to get any sleep; better to go back to the scene of the crime, as it were, and confront the intolerable man. If Severus was having a sleepless night, then Lupin deserved one as well.
After he had dressed, Severus pocketed the documents and his wand, and with a last look to make sure he hadn't forgotten anything, he left the room. He would be back in time to make sure that the horses were sent back to Arthur. Once outside the inn and out of earshot, he Apparated to the area just beyond Remus' cottage, appearing out of thin air with a loud crack as numerous air molecules were suddenly and forcibly moved aside at great speed as the Potions master materialised.
The cottage was mostly dark, only the weak light of a failing fire shining in the windows, and there were no sounds apart from the odd chirping of a night bird and rustle of leaves. Severus walked with brisk steps up to the front door and rapped his knuckles against it. It took a few moments and another knock before the light in the windows brightened, revealing that Remus was awake. Severus took a deep breath, mentally preparing to confront him, ready to let him know that this little game was not appreciated.
But one look at Remus' sleepy form, a worn dressing gown hastily flung over him, his untidy hair and the look of surprise on his face, was enough to make Severus hesitate.
"Severus?" Remus' voice broke the silence, and then he couldn't say anything more because Severus had pushed him against the wall, claiming his mouth in a ravenous kiss, much different from the one Remus had given him. After the initial moment of surprise, Remus wrapped his arms around Severus and held him close, moaning softly into the hungry kiss, as if too many years had been spent in denying themselves this simple pleasure and now couldn't get enough. Eventually, Severus pulled back a bit, allowing them both a moment to catch their breath.
"Why did you kiss me?" It was the question that had kept him awake, made him come back.
"Because I knew that you would never take the first step." Remus smiled a little, and then pulled Severus back into a long, deep kiss, his hand at the back of Severus' head.
Severus felt as if he as losing control as the desire grew in him; this had not been the purpose of his return, he thought. The small voice of reason pulled him back to reality, reminding him of his chosen life of solitude and of the dangers in his life. 'You don't even like him, remember? You're losing control...you're drowning in lust, only lust.'
But as Remus pressed his body against him, rubbing his hardening cock against his thigh, Severus had to wonder if he hadn't been fooling himself, because this was exactly what he wanted. The hand that Remus rubbed over his crotch drew a low moan from Severus, and his hips moved against it to give him more friction.
He untied the sash of Remus' dressing gown and pushed the fabric off his shoulders. A part of his mind, the part that was still rational and objective, told him that he had lost whatever game they had been playing; there was no way he could stop the tide now that the dams were broken, but he refused to appear weak just because of it. He wanted now, wanted to feel more of the warm skin that his hands were exploring, wanted to feel Remus tremble from lust and need under him.
Severus pulled away and studied Remus' face. There was a light flush on it, his lips were still slightly parted, moist and welcoming, his eyes, when Remus opened them, held warmth... And his mind was open, Severus realised as he felt whispers of emotions while holding his gaze.
Want, need, shyness, insecurity, warmth, arousal, sadness... so much regret... and the reassuring feelings of wanting him resurfaced. There were no lies, no deception, and Severus knew that Remus had let him feel all of this, knew that the man had used Severus' Occlumency skill against him, opening his mind for him to show him that from Remus' side, there was trust.
'You're drowning...' the voice reminded him, but Severus pushed it away and kissed Remus again, surrendering to the sensation of moving lips and wet tongue against his own, and decided that in losing, he'd won.
"Severus... wait." Remus gasped.
"I have waited..." A finger was pressed against his mouth to silence him, and Remus grabbed his wrist.
"Bed is more comfortable." Remus tried to pull Severus in the direction of his small bedroom, but Severus would have none of that and pulled Remus back. "I don't want our first time to be in the hallway."
"You're a romantic?" Severus arched an eyebrow questioningly.
"You'd be surprised."
"Then surprise me here." He pushed him against the wall and Remus found himself being the one grabbed, his hands pinned over his head in a strong grip. "This is comfortable enough," Severus whispered hoarsely, and kissed Remus' throat, worrying the soft skin with his teeth after a moment. Using his free hand, he opened his robes so that he could finally feel Remus' warm skin against his own, and they both moaned as their cocks rubbed together.
"Merlin! Severus... want you!" Remus struggled against the hold on his hands.
But Severus continued to tease Remus, enjoying how Remus moved against him, desperate and needy. He had imagined this, a long time ago, and it was so sweet to finally experience it. Remus wasn't bad looking at all, even with the fine lines of scars, and Severus' cock seemed to agree with his aesthetic appraisal. He was so busy studying Remus that he had no time to feel self-conscious about his own pale and thin arms and legs, ribs that were too prominent and an erection that betrayed how far from distant and indifferent he was. He met Remus' gaze, again a little surprised to not find any mockery, but warmth and a small smile.
However, even Severus' patience and self-control had its limits, and he let go of Remus' wrists to turn him around. He cast a lubrication charm and slowly eased his fingers into Remus' arse. There was a mewling sound from Remus at that, a frantic plea for more, and Severus was only too happy to oblige him.
When Severus entered him, Remus gasped and pushed back eagerly, and Severus moaned from the sensation of sliding into hot tightness. He paused for a moment as he fully enjoyed being inside Remus. It was everything he'd imagined it to be, but more as well, because no matter how vivid an imagination he had, reality held so many more layers. Like the slight throbbing of a pulse around his cock... the shivering of the body pressed against his... hearing the ragged breathing of his lover... so many layers. He grabbed one of Remus' shoulders, to steady himself he argued, but in truth he just wanted to feel Remus' skin under his hand. The depth of his own desire took Severus by surprise.
"Severus! Please... oh god, please..." Remus pleaded hoarsely, trying to move against him.
"Please what?" Severus demanded, enjoying dishevelling Remus even more.
"Please, move!" Remus growled and dug his fingers into the wall.
Severus smiled cruelly and grabbed a handful of Remus' hair while pulling out slowly. "You want this, don't you?" he snarled, the word 'this' emphasised by a thrust back inside. "Waited for it for years, haven't you?" He yanked Remus' head back and sank his teeth into his exposed neck, fucking him hard.
"Yes... yes, Severu... oh Merlin!" Remus moaned and gasped, bracing himself against the wall and pushing back.
The air was filled with moans and mumbled words, the sound of slapping flesh, and the heavy scent of sex. Severus continued to lick and bite at Remus' neck and shoulder, the feeling of control and power a deep and satisfying thrill. He whispered low words in Remus' ear, encouraging him, taunting him. When Remus turned his face, seeking his mouth, Severus kissed him roughly and bit at his lower lip, drawing another moan from him.
He let go of Remus' soft hair and slid his hand down his lover's body. Severus wanted to make Remus lose all control, to feel him tremble; he wanted to possess him. He stroked Remus, hard and fast, much like the thrusts into his arse, and groaned when Remus came over his hand, arching and tensing up, his body shuddering against Severus', tightening around him, pulsing and milking him... Severus' thrusts lost their rhythm as he too reached his climax, wave after wave of intense pleasure making him quiver.
Severus slumped slightly over Remus' back as they both tried to regain their breath. For some reason, he was a little surprised. He would have thought that Remus would make more sounds, maybe not exactly howling, but that he would have been louder in any case. He smiled faintly at himself and kissed Remus' shoulder. Prejudice apparently ran deep; he hadn't been aware of having beliefs about werewolf behaviour during sex. Perhaps he should write a treatise on it? That was, of course, if the opportunity for further studies on the subject appeared.
"Severus?" Remus' husky voice broke his reverie. "A knut for your thoughts?"
Severus snorted lightly. "A knut? I don't sell my thoughts that cheaply."
"Oh, greedy... I should have known. A sickle then?"
"What makes you think I'm greedy?"
"Your kisses, Severus. Hungry, greedy kisses, as if you couldn't get enough of me."
With a low grunt, Severus pulled out of Remus and got his wand again. After a cleaning charm on them both, he turned Remus around and pressed him against the wall again.
"Well, you did offer yourself to me. I'm merely taking what is mine to take." Severus smirked, his usual composure back.
Remus only nodded and smiled. But as Severus began straightening his clothes, he reached out and put a hand on Severus' arm.
"Don't leave. I... We can rest a little and perhaps try the bed later?"
"And who's greedy now?" Severus arched an eyebrow, but followed Remus into his small bedroom, letting his robes fall to the floor. He couldn't help feeling rather pleased. Perhaps he had not truly lost control; perhaps he had never been drowning. Perhaps he had just decided to learn how to swim.
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