Truce, Struck in Darkness
By Donna Immaculata
“No, Headmaster. Definitely *not*.”
“But Remus, be reasonable. This potion might mean a breakthrough in the research into your condition.”
“You can’t cure a werewolf of *being* a werewolf. That’s a simple fact, Headmaster.”
“Remus, I do still think you should give it a try.”
“Headmaster. When a human receives the bite, their biological structure is changed. They turn into a different species. You can’t simply turn it back.”
“Would it hurt to try?”
Snape, who had been watching the exchange with half-amused, half-annoyed resignation, startled at the sharpness with which Lupin’s features set.
“No,” Lupin said slowly, his gaze never leaving Dumbledore’s face. “Of course it wouldn’t hurt to try.”
Snape sighed. After Dumbledore had approached him months ago with what the Headmaster called a ‘request’ and he himself called a ‘command’ to take up the research work of a scientist friend of his - some philanthropic old coot who loved to tinker with potions and spells in his private basement and, no doubt, thought with regret of the good old times when wizarding science required plenty of blood, preferably drawn from voluptuous virgins - Snape was simply bullied into working on an advanced form of the Wolfsbane Potion. Somehow, Dumbledore had manipulated Snape into taking part of the guilt for Black’s death upon himself, and made him feel as though he had to seek absolution by helping Lupin. Before Snape had had time to stop and think and find flaws in this preposterous scheme, he was in the middle of analysing the potion and fascinated enough to want to proceed. He had been relying on a point-blank refusal from Lupin, however, and felt rather put out as the werewolf gave in so quickly.
“Lupin might be right, Headmaster,” Snape found himself saying. “The potion hasn’t been tested yet and its side effects might prove dangerous.”
“Now, that’s the whole point of your little cooperation, my dear boy,” said Dumbledore genially. “You will be testing the side effects. I trust nothing about the potion is likely to poison Remus? Good, good. Then, I dare say, nothing will prevent you getting together on the next full moon to test the results of your dedicated research work. Remus, you won’t be taking your regular potion, I believe?”
“No, Headmaster.” Lupin, Snape noticed, sounded duller and more subdued than ever before. Now, that was intriguing.
“Splendid! I expect your report in seven days time. You don’t have to be here before tea, that should give you enough time to recover from the night’s events. Severus, you will be taking notes, I trust?”
“Splendid!” repeated Dumbledore, rubbing his hands. “Off you go, now. Should Remus meet you in your office, Severus?”
“No!” said Snape sharply. “I will not take the risk of having a werewolf that’s testing an unknown potion running loose in the castle and endangering the children. I, of course, am a different matter entirely. Me, he can endanger.”
“Now, now, Severus, there is no need to sound so morose. I’m sure Remus will be safe. The, um, medical properties of the new concoction resemble the ones of the Wolfsbane, don’t they?”
“This is correct,” Snape replied silkily, “It is, however, an *unknown*, *untested* potion, Headmaster. I cannot vouch for the results.”
“Severus, we have been through this before. There is no indication whatsoever that the effects on Remus’ mind will be much different from the Wolfsbane. You two will be perfectly safe.”
“Of course, Headmaster,” Lupin and Snape said in unison.
Descending the long, spiral staircase from Dumbledore’s office, both men avoided making eye contact, just like two schoolboys who had been assigned a particularly embarrassing punishment.
They stopped at the bottom of the stairs. Snape had already whirled around towards the corridor leading to his dungeons, when a slim hand on his arm stopped him.
“Why are you doing this?” asked Lupin. At once, Snape felt the familiar anger bubbling up at the sound of the soft, carefully inoffensive tone.
“I was asked to,” he sneered. “Don’t touch me, Lupin!”
Lupin let go, but his scrutinising gaze never left Snape’s face.
“You don’t have to, you know. I’m sure you’d rather not face me when I'm changed.”
“You don’t know anything about what I would or wouldn’t do,” snapped Snape. “Good night, Lupin. I’ll see you in the Shrieking Shack in six days time.” He swirled around and proceeded swiftly towards his dungeons. “And don’t be late!” he added nastily.
Lupin was on time. When Snape arrived, it was merely twenty minutes before moonrise and Lupin was pacing the floor in the wrecked bedroom.
“There you are,” he said in a low voice, relief visible in every line of his taut body. “I’ve been waiting for half an hour.”
“Patience, Lupin. There’s still enough time. And it’s not as though we have many preparations to undertake,” Snape smirked nastily, savouring the other man’s obvious discomfort.
“Have you got it?” Lupin ignored the baiting and reached out his hand. “It’s almost time, you know.”
“Have you been taking the potion I’ve been sending you over the last six days?”
“Of course I have. Believe it or not, I am not keen on ripping you apart and wading through your blood, Severus.”
Snape narrowed his eyes. “Don’t try to provoke me, Lupin. I might change my mind and leave you alone to deal with it after all.”
“Severus!” The voice was pleading, but the eyes were commanding. Snape thrust his hand into his pocket and pulled out a vial stoppered with a cork. He pushed it into Lupin’s hand, who opened it deftly and carried it to his mouth. Snape watched him closely, joy about the look of deepest disgust on Lupin’s face overshadowing his apprehension of the things to come. He spoke only when Lupin finished drinking.
“If all goes well, you will maintain your human form as well as your mind. We don’t know exactly what will happen, however, and you might get stuck somewhere in-between until the moon sets again. Should you be in pain, let me know and I will try to apply a pain killing potion. Or stun you.”
“Thank you, Severus. That’s very kind of you,” Lupin said without any trace of irony. Snape growled.
“Spare me Lupin. You don’t have to treat me as though I’m a half-wit. I understand your long-term association with Black might have conditioned you to use such tones, but I assure you, I am not to be placated by your-” he cut off and stared. “What do you think you’re doing?”
“Taking my clothes off,” replied Lupin calmly. He had already removed his robe and was now unbuttoning his shirt. “Your potion might not work, and I can’t afford to rip my clothes to bits. Should I retain my human form, I can put them back on.”
“Very well.” Snape caught himself staring and cleared his throat. “We don’t know exactly what the effects of the potion will be. It has been designed to ensure the werewolf keeps its mind as well as its human shape, but-”
“Severus,” Lupin cut him short. “Listen to me carefully.” He sat on the bed to remove his shoes and started unbuttoning his trousers. “If you notice something, *anything* is wrong, don’t linger. Get out of here as quickly as possible. Don’t bother with your research and notes for Albus. I don’t want to hurt you,” he slid his trousers past his hips, “and you don’t want to be hurt by me. That’s the most important thing. Do you understand?”
“Of course I understand,” snarled Snape. The sight of Lupin stripping unselfconsciously while lecturing him on elementary safety in dealing with monsters was unnerving. “I certainly don’t want to end up as dog food.”
“Werewolf, Severus. We’re much worse than your average dog,” said Lupin and pulled off his pants. Snape swallowed thickly.
“It’s about to start.” At last, strain was audible in Lupin’s voice. “Would you please take my clothes and deposit them outside? You might have to run in a few minutes, and I don’t want them to remain here to be shredded to pieces.”
It took Snape merely a few seconds to throw the bundle on the landing, but when he turned around to face Lupin, the... change had already started. Snape opened his mouth to suck in more oxygen, squeezing it past his heart that was beating far too high in his throat, and whipped out his wand, pointing it in the direction of the other man.
Lupin had withdrawn to the other side of the room. His whip-thin body, half-hidden by the bulk of the bed, was shaking in convulsions, and, frozen on the spot at the doorway, Snape could see one thin hand claw at the mouldy sheets covering the bed. Apart from the sound of his body sliding against the floor, Lupin did not make any noise. The hand dug itself deeper and deeper into the covers, yet maintained its shape, and after a few minutes of breathless anticipation, Snape took a few hesitant steps forward. Lupin had stopped writhing and lay curled up beside the bed. Violent tremors ran through his body every few seconds.
Snape cleared his throat.
“Lupin!” he repeated more loudly. “Get up!”
The trembling stopped. Slowly, the thin body began to uncurl. Lupin stretched his arms, and, arching his back in a long curve, raised himself to his knees. He turned his head and looked Snape straight in the eyes.
Snape gasped. Lupin’s eyes glowed yellowish in the dim light. His lips, curled up in a half-snarl, bared long, sharp incisors. The expression on his face was so primitive, so feral, so unlike *Lupin* that Snape hesitated for a fraction of a second, transfixed, clutching his wand in a useless hand. Before he could regain his wits, Lupin whirled around in a motion too fast for the human eye to follow and leapt forward. Snape groaned. The Stunning Spell shooting from his wand barely grazed Lupin’s arm and didn’t stop the attacker who was carried forward by his own momentum. Lupin collided with Snape and the impact sent both men stumbling across the room. His wand arm momentarily immobilised, Snape punched Lupin hard in the chest, eliciting a deep growl. In the next moment, he felt his knees give way as Lupin’s teeth tugged sharply on the fastenings at his throat.
“Lupin,” he whispered hoarsely, “stop!”
It was futile, he knew. It wasn’t Lupin. The... creature attacking him had nothing human about it, apart from the shape. He was facing the werewolf again, and the fact that the werewolf was wearing Lupin’s face and body didn’t make any difference. Under normal circumstances Lupin was strong enough to rip a grown man apart with his bare hands, and now, under the influence of the moon, he would not so much as notice the resistance of brittle human bones.
There was only one option. And it wasn’t as though it was Unforgivable if it was directed against a Dark creature. Snape raised his wand, pressed it against Lupin’s flank, pointed the wand tip in the direction of the heart, and whispered the words, “Avad-”
The curse caught in his throat as Lupin, entirely unaffected by the prospect of immediate death, lowered his head, growling deep in his chest, and sniffed at Snape’s neck. He pushed his face closer and sniffed again, inhaling more deeply and trailing his face along Snape’s stretched neck, his jaw, and to his mouth. Snape’s breath was coming in short, harsh gasps, but he didn’t think that having his mouth sniffed out was reason enough to use the Killing Curse. He stood very still, eyes wide and heart hammering, letting Lupin trail his parted lips along his mouth to his ear and down the jaw line to his neck. Lupin pushed closer yet again, positively nuzzling into the junction between Snape’s neck and shoulder.
The Killing Curse wasn’t necessary, but he had to stun the beast before it changed its tactics.
Lupin must have sensed his tension. He had probably smelt the sudden rush of adrenaline through Snape’s body, because his head snapped back and with a threatening growl, he fastened his teeth around the sliver of Snape’s throat visible above the tight collar. Snape felt his windpipe being crushed in a mighty grip and the shock that ran through his body was both exhilarating and embarrassing. He gasped for air and, a moment later, wished he hadn’t. His nostrils filled with the scent of Lupin’s hair, thick and heady, and his head spun.
“Lupin,” he rasped. “Don’t! Please...”
Snape’s whimper died in his throat as the pressure of Lupin’s teeth increased. He wriggled weakly, feeling light-headed already, although he realised that his breathlessness was due to an entirely other reason than the cutting off of his air supply. His wand arm hung limply at his side. He knew now that he wouldn’t use it.
Lupin pinned him to the wall, and when their bodies made full contact, Snape hissed and arched, and pressed his aching erection into the friction provided by the nude body before him. Lupin growled and let go of the throat. He pulled back slightly and fixed his yellow gaze on Snape’s face.
“What?” whispered Snape. “What do you want?”
The yellow eyes showed no reaction. Lupin parted his lips further and sucked in air as though tasting it on his tongue. His throat vibrated.
“Lupin,” Snape said weakly, and then he was swept off his feet as Lupin charged again, pushing him up the wall and ripping his clothes apart with his hands and teeth. The half-open mouth was back on his neck, trailing down, down, down, burning along his chest, his stomach, until it reached his belt, where Lupin stopped and let out a frustrated snarl. He began tugging on the buckle, but his human teeth driven by animal instincts didn’t operate sufficiently smoothly, and Snape pushed his head away, gaining himself an angry growl and a sharp bite.
“Stop it!” His trembling fingers were fighting with the belt buckle, watched closely by those unsettling yellow eyes. “Down, Lupin!” he commanded. “Just a minute...”
His freed cock sprang out of the confines of his trousers and smacked Lupin in the face. Snape snorted at the sight, but the snort got lost in a groan as the creature’s mouth was back on his skin, this time nuzzling, sniffing and rubbing against a far more sensitive part of his body. Lupin’s stubble rasped against the over-sensitised skin of his cock and Snape moaned hotly, pushing his hips forward.
Lupin’s hot breath stirred the hair covering his lower abdomen and warmed his already heated skin. The scent of his sex seemed to be driving Lupin wild; his mouth was sliding up and down his flesh, and Snape let out another deep moan when he felt Lupin rubbing himself on his leg. Snape parted his legs and offered easier access to his shin, which Lupin gladly accepted, increasing his humping motion. Snape’s hand scrambled for purchase on the bare wall. “Take it in your mouth, Lupin,” he managed through gritted teeth. “Suck me, for god’s sake!”
He thrust his hips into the friction, but Lupin ignored the heavy cock for the sake of the heady scent lingering in Snape’s hair. At last, his lips slid along Snape’s inner thigh and fastened on his balls. Snape hissed and cried out, wordlessly. “Fuck me!” he added. He forced his hand to grab his own cock and pumped it once, twice, before directing it to Lupin’s mouth. His thumb slid over the head of his cock, smearing precome over the skin, and the new source of intense smell attracted Lupin’s attention. His head snapped back up and he lapped Snape’s cock with the whole length of his tongue.
Snape shook, yelled and came in a mighty gush that blackened his vision.
Lupin growled again, deeper, richer than before and tossed his head, semen covering his lips, soiling his cheek and clinging to a strand of his hair. He pulled back, apparently in bewilderment, and made a half-hearted attempt to wipe his face on his shoulder. The scent didn’t fade away though, and as Snape was slowly sliding down the wall, his legs shaking violently, Lupin crawled forward and spread his body over Snape’s. Crazed by primal lust, he rubbed himself onto Snape, into Snape, parting Snape’s still-trembling legs with his own, thrusting his hips into the mould provided between Snape’s wide-spread thighs. Snape’s breath was coming in short, frantic gasps, and he felt all blood drain from his brain to pool heavily between his legs.
Lupin’s cock was burning his stomach like a red-hot iron rod. Snape could have sworn his skin would be blistered the next day. The thrusts grew shorter, harder, more frustrated, as Lupin searched for the opening to bury himself in.
“Wait!” Snape gasped. “Wait.”
He wriggled free from his trousers, toeing his boots off. One sock remained stubbornly in place, but he didn’t mind because Lupin’s mouth was back on his neck and Lupin’s sharp teeth bored themselves into the tender flesh there, drilling deep holes into the skin. His veins throbbed under his skin, which seemed too thin, too delicate to hold the pressure that was building up inside him, and he was glad about those teeth grazing his skin, breaking it, providing outlets for the surplus blood that would make him explode, make his cock explode, had it not rushed from the wounds on his neck and chest, leaving sticky trails on his skin.
Rock-hard, aching, Snape slid along the floor, dragging Lupin with him and shedding his robe and shirt in the process. Lupin snarled angrily, his teeth leaving deep marks along Snape’s shoulder, until he reached the spot right above the collarbone where he bit down mercilessly. Snape’s back arched, lifting them both off the floor. Lupin growled in surprise and raised his head, his mouth stained with dark red blood. Snape swore harshly and gripped his own cock. His hand moved in a blur between their both bodies as he wanked off desperately. Lupin rubbed his cock against Snape’s thigh, whimpering with unresolved tension. Snape lifted his head and licked across the blood-stained mouth with one long swipe and as Lupin howled at the contact, Snape came once again, the taste of blood and his own semen coating his tongue. His head fell back on the floor, hard, but he maintained enough consciousness to dip two fingers into the semen on his stomach and chest and slide his hand down his abdomen. When he brushed Lupin’s cock, the werewolf snarled as though in pain, pressing his teeth against the pulse point on Snape’s throat. “Shh, Lupin,” Snape croaked, “calm down...” The last word was lost in a gasp as he pushed two fingers up his own arse and started massaging himself. The rocking motion of his hips seemed to distract Lupin from Snape’s neck and he began humping again, the sounds torn from his throat getting more and more desperate. “I will turn around now,” Snape hoisted himself up on his elbow, the fingers of his other hand still buried up his arse. “If you let me...”
He lifted his thigh slowly, pressing it against Lupin’s hot erection, and carefully motioned the werewolf into a kneeling position. Then, with one turn of his body, he rolled over onto his front, supporting himself on his hands and knees, and almost at once, Lupin was over him, around him, and inside him.
Snape had barely had the time to pull out his fingers when the werewolf’s thick cock pressed against his hole and Lupin sheathed himself with one smooth thrust. Snape cried out in pain as he was torn open, but that pain faded the moment Lupin’s teeth were back on his shoulder, this time sinking into the tender flesh above his shoulder blade. He felt warm blood dribbling along his back, to his flank, and from the corner of his eyes, saw a drop falling to the floor. Through the pounding in his ears, he heard soft sucking and licking noises. Lupin was drinking his blood.
Lupin was drinking his blood.
In some distant corner of his mind, he knew that this wasn’t good. Bad, in fact, very very bad, but with the slick length moving restlessly inside him, he couldn’t think straight. He focused on getting a grip with his hands and not sliding away from that mind-blowing friction.
The room blurred out of vision. Pale hands, long-fingered, hovered mere inches before his face. ‘Mine,’ Snape realised, ‘my fingers. Touch. Touch myself.’ Hard grip on his cock, cold hand burning, leaving marks, surely; frostbites on heated skin. Breathing, open-mouthed, gasping for air that wouldn’t suffice. Never suffice. Brain overcharged with sensation, thick and heavy and black in his skull. Hyperventilating, Snape gave his own cock one more tug and came for a third time, this time crying out from pain as well as from pleasure. His legs utterly, disturbingly hollow, he crashed to the floor, Lupin’s hot weight pressing him into the cold wood, his knee sticking out at an awkward angle. He never knew when Lupin came.
His head felt as though someone had replaced his brain with a soggy sponge. Snape let himself drift away, ignoring some clear and more persistent thoughts that were trying to surface. Lupin lay with his full weight on his back, face nestled in the nape of Snape’s neck, one long arm flung out over his head. Snape could see Lupin’s hand resting on the wooden boards, fingers curled ever so slightly. The other arm was still wrapped securely around his waist. A few minutes passed before Lupin stirred. The arm wrapped around Snape’s middle tightened, and he gave a sigh that sounded almost human. Snape tensed as he felt Lupin shift, smooth chest brushing against his back, and then, the hot mouth was back on his skin. This time, Lupin did not bite. Snape felt his lips, rough with semen and dried blood, slide across his back, and a hot, wet tongue that licked and lapped across the sharp angle of his shoulder blade. It trailed higher to the nape of his neck, leaving a moist track that cooled his aching, heated skin, and making him shiver in spite of the heat radiating from the body on top of him. Lupin burrowed his face into the crook of Snape’s neck, sniffing enthusiastically. Snape groaned. Surely, Lupin couldn’t be aroused again? He wriggled his hips experimentally, eliciting a snuffling noise from Lupin whose back arched slightly, like a cat’s, thus pressing his pelvis more firmly against Snape’s arse.
He *was* hard.
Snape gasped as he felt Lupin’s cock stiffening to full hardness inside him. Lupin’s chest reverberated with low, barely audible growls, and he pushed in deeper. His balls slapped against Snape’s arse, and Snape let his breath escape in a long, shaky moan. Incredibly, his spent, aching cock was stirring once more. “Lupin,” he moaned. “Don’t. It hurts.”
Hot breath was stirring his hair, fanning against his ear. Lupin’s tongue snaked out, following the contours of Snape’s ear, and he bit down, gently, almost playfully, on Snape’s earlobe. Snape’s balls tightened and he swore harshly, already panting. Lupin had taken up a steady rocking motion and his tongue continued its slow journey across Snape’s jaw, neck, and shoulder. ‘He’s licking me clean,’ Snape thought with sudden clarity, and snorted with hysterical laughter. In the next moment, the snort turned into short, gasping moans, which turned into weak whimpers. His throat burned; he hadn’t noticed he had been moaning, howling his release; his knees, sliding back and forth over the hard wood, were on fire, but still, Lupin’s forceful thrusts rekindled his body’s responses. An impatient hand wrapped itself around his hip, pulling him upwards, fingertips imprinting themselves into his flesh, tugging him, pushing him, adjusting him, but he didn’t mind. Those fingers, the cock moving in and out, in and out, were his anchor to reality, the harsh touch the only sensation his numb mind was able to process. His nose blocked, mouth open, he breathed in short, frantic gasps; drops of sweat and saliva dribbling to the floor, quickly fading out of vision of his unfocused eyes. His ears were clogged with the pounding blood and he wished for Lupin to bite him again, because surely, the blood was going to flood him, to drown his brain, and to come bursting through his ears, out of his eyes, and he squeezed his eyes shut tightly and focused on the pressure in his groin, and then it snapped, and he let go, and the pressure sank, sank rapidly, and he blinked his eyes into focus as the fluid spurted out of his body, and he thought, ‘I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding to death,’ and his head dropped and he saw his semen puddling on the floor and sobbed a relieved laugh and - *fell*.
He came to in the same position he had fallen asleep. Lupin’s heavy body on top of him provided warmth and, strangely, comfort. Snape felt detached from his body, anchored to it merely by the fierce ache reaching to the very marrow of his bones. Lupin was breathing steadily and Snape sensed the other man was sleeping. He turned his head gingerly towards the window, hoping to establish whether the moon had set already.
And then it began. Lupin’s body jerked up once, crashing back down on Snape, whose ribcage was smothered by the impact. While Snape gasped frantically in the effort to catch air, Lupin started shaking uncontrollably, his left hand clawing the empty air, the right one clutching convulsively at Snape’s arm. Snape felt the soft cock slide out of him, followed by a hot dribble of sperm that ran down his thighs and pooled underneath his pelvis. He gathered all his strength to push himself up on shaky arms and turned his head just in time to see Lupin lifting off him as though he was pulled by invisible strings and sitting back on his heels.
His eyes were brown.
The brief expression of bewilderment on Lupin’s bloodied face, when he took in the display before him, was almost instantly replaced by shock, horror, and disgust. The moment he opened his mouth to speak, he was already clasping a hand over his mouth and was tumbling to his feet and out of the room, bumping his shoulder on the door frame with a dull thud.
Snape heard him throw up on the landing.
He forced his body into submission, hoisted himself up, fetched his wand and pulled on his robe before he went out to look after Lupin, who was being violently, mercilessly sick. Snape tried to sneer down at the pathetic display, but his face muscles ignored him and settled for slack resignation instead. Lupin wouldn’t stop vomiting, supporting himself on trembling arms, and Snape knelt down beside him, wrapped one arm around the thin chest and pulled the man’s hair back from his face. “For heaven’s sake, Lupin, you’ll rip your stomach apart,” he said as Lupin coughed dryly and spat bile. “Stop it or Albus will be after my blood.”
The heaving grew weaker, and between the coughs, Lupin was forming words that Snape leaned in to catch. He thought he heard a ‘Sorry’ but the rest was swallowed by a new wave of nausea, and Snape held the shivering man until it passed. He cleaned the mess with a flick of his wand and went to the bathroom to fetch water.
He stared unseeingly at the rough, corroded taps until the yellowish water turned pale, and forced the muscles in his neck to lift his head.
A look in the chipped, dirty mirror blurred his vision momentarily. His face was paler than death, lips bitten, and a dark bruise was forming on his left cheekbone, which had been pressed into the floorboards. But it was the sight of the dark blood trails that almost made him pass out as he realised what his brain had been trying to signal him. With a thunderous bang, he threw the door open and charged at Lupin, who was cowering, face white, body shivering, by the wall.
“You!” Snape roared. “You... monster! I’ll kill you, werewolf! I’ll kill you! I’ll make you pay for this!”
His wand quivered inches before Lupin’s face, but just before Snape spat out the curse, any curse, Lupin’s arm came up in a blur and he caught Snape’s wrist in his hand. He was still trembling, but his grip was confident.
“You have every right to do so, Severus,” he said in a low, hoarse voice. “But before you begin, I want you to know that I had no intention whatsoever of hurting you. I told you to lock me up if you noticed that something was wrong.”
“You dare talk to me like that? You dare blame me?” Snape hissed, wrestling his arm from the tight grip. “After what you’ve done to me? You've destroyed my life, and I swear to god that I will not rest until I make the rest of yours a living hell.”
“Severus, I,” Lupin closed his eyes, leaning his head on the wall behind him. “I know it is very... painful for you, but could you please tell me what happened? I don’t understand why... I did it, and...” he trailed off, embarrassed.
“You don’t understand why you did it?!” Snape’s voice rose, high-pitched with rage. “You don’t- You have the impudence to deny your nature, to tell me you don’t know why you did what is your kind’s sole purpose in life?!”
Lupin’s eyes snapped open. “What? No, I- now I don’t understand. I don’t think that... raping humans is very high on the list of werewolf behaviour.”
“Rapi-” Snape choked on the word. “You *bit* me, werewolf! You turned me into... Oh my god,” Snape’s knees gave way and he leaned on the banister. “You made me one of... You turned me-”
“Severus!” said Lupin forcefully, leaning forward. “Severus! No, that’s not true. Listen to me: I haven’t turned you into a werewolf. Do you understand?”
“What do you mean, you haven’t turned me?” snarled Snape. “You bit me, you-” he tugged on his collar, exposing the angry bite marks on his neck and chest. “You *bit* me!”
“Yes, but I was human-shaped, wasn’t I?” Lupin’s expression had darkened at the sight of the wounds, but his voice was steady. “Werewolf bites are harmful only when the werewolf is in wolf shape. I wasn’t. You’re safe.”
“How do you know? How do you know I’m not... infected?”
“Well. You didn’t change, did you?” Lupin answered matter-of-factly.
“Of course not. I’ve been only just bitten. I-” he paused and locked his eyes on Lupin’s face. “Are you saying that had I been- had your bite been-” he broke off and swallowed. “That I should have changed straight away?”
“Certainly. That’s the only way people survive a werewolf attack,” carried on Lupin, slumping back into the corner. “A werewolf would not stop tearing into a human, biting them to bits. But the moment a human receives the bite, they change into a wolf themselves and are safe. As safe as it gets, in any case.”
“Are you sure?”
Lupin merely glanced up at him.
Snape’s features relaxed slowly. He was watching Lupin with a peculiar, almost open expression on his face, his eyes very dark against the white skin.
“But still,” continued Lupin, “I hurt you. It was unforgivable, and I don’t expect you to ever forgive me. But I hope you can tell me how it happened.”
Wordlessly, Snape turned on his heel and disappeared into the bathroom again. He steadied himself against the sink to regain his equilibrium, and poured out a glass of water that he downed in one go. He carried another glass out and offered it to Lupin.
“So you thought you-” he gestured vaguely and frowned. “And that made you sick?”
Lupin nodded. He was drinking the water in small, careful sips as though not trusting his stomach to hold it.
Snape’s mouth curled up. “You didn’t,” he admitted coldly. “I let you.”
Lupin’s head snapped up. “Don’t!” he said sharply.
“I’m not lying.” He stared into Lupin’s angry face and sighed. “Here.” He stepped closer and opened his robe, fully revealing pale expanses of skin. “Do you see these?” he indicated the white stains on his stomach. “How do you think they got there?”
Lupin stared incredulously. “You’ve come,” he said in a small voice.
“No less than four times, and believe me, that doesn’t happen often within one night.”
“Four times,” Lupin repeated blandly, still staring at Snape’s stomach.
Snape reached out and tugged on one strand of Lupin’s hair. “You should wash your hair before you get out of here. Albus might ask odd questions.”
“In my *hair*?!”
“On your face,” Snape replied coolly, watching in amusement as Lupin instinctively reached up to wipe his face.
Lupin’s hand fell back in his lap. “Severus,” he said, “Severus, I-” he shifted, sitting up against the wall. “Why?”
“Why did you let me? I could have hurt you. I did hurt you.”
Snape’s black eyes were fixed on Lupin’s face. “I will tell you if you tell me something in return. If you tell me something first,” he corrected himself.
Lupin eyed him warily. As always, Snape felt irritation building up at the sight of the other man’s alert eyes framed by the tired face. But time had come at last to wipe that guarded, smug expression from those eyes.
“Well?” Snape raised an eyebrow. “Have we got a deal?”
“A confession for a confession?” Lupin said softly. “What are you after, Severus?”
Snape shrugged. “Maybe I just want to hear you speak the truth, openly. For once”
Lupin had the decency not to argue the point, and in spite of himself, Snape felt mildly impressed. This merely increased his irritation.
“Very well,” said Lupin, shifting again against the cold wall and stretching out one long leg, seemingly unselfconscious in his nakedness. He propped up his lower arm on his bent knee and flexed his fingers. “Ask.”
“Why did you drink the potion?”
Lupin’s head snapped up. “What do you mean, why? Because the whole purpose of this project was to establish the potion’s effects on a werewolf.”
Snape narrowed his eyes. “Don’t play your games with me, Lupin,” he said in a dangerous whisper. “That’s not what I was asking, and you know that. Why did you drink the potion? What were you afraid of?”
“Afraid, Severus? Do you think I’d have drunk it if I was afraid?”
“I saw you in Dumbledore’s office, Lupin. ‘Would it hurt to try?’ Albus said.” He saw with satisfaction Lupin’s features freeze at the sounds of the words. “And then you complied. Very unexpectedly so, I thought. So here goes my question again, and if you don’t answer, you will have forfeited your chance of ever learning what happened here tonight. Why did you drink the potion? What is it you’re hiding that Albus isn’t supposed to know? You didn’t want Albus to get suspicious by refusing to cooperate, and I want to know why.”
Lupin leaned his head back heavily, eyes very dark and calm. “You’ve got me where you wanted me, haven’t you, now?” he said quietly. “You know of course that I’ve got to know what I did tonight.”
Snape nodded coolly.
“I-” Lupin broke off and released his breath in a snort of laughter. “I think I need a cigarette first,” he said vehemently, threading his fingers through the heap of his robes and pulling out his wand. “Do you want one, Severus?”
“I don’t smoke.”
“Neither do I.” Lupin muttered a spell and a box of cigarettes appeared in his hand. “Here.” He offered it to Snape, who took one and lit it with his wand.
“Well?” He prompted after a few drags. Lupin sighed and ran his fingers through his hair.
“What do you know about the... therapy methods that used to be applied to werewolves?” He asked finally. Snape ground his teeth at the sound of Lupin’s voice falling into teacher mode.
“Not much. You tell me, Lupin.”
“Before the development of the Wolfsbane Potion, there had been attempts to find solutions for the werewolf problem,” said Lupin thoughtfully, pulling on his cigarette. “Family members, who didn’t want a monster among their relatives but couldn’t bring themselves to kill the werewolf and have done with it. You know of course,” he stretched out his leg further, positively lounging by the wall with an air of desperate determination, “that killing a werewolf used to hardly ever have any legal consequences. Most killings have been hushed up.” At Snape’s impatient huff, Lupin merely smiled vaguely and continued in the same tone. “Other people who tried to find a cure were scientists, healers, who acted either out of humanity or because of the prestige a success promised. In any case, countless treatment and therapy methods have been introduced over the years; the potion you were working on is only the tip of the iceberg.”
“Thank you for this interesting history lesson, Lupin,” Snape snarled, his thin patience worn off. “I’ve read the same books you have.”
“In that case, you know that the list of failed attempts included, in no particular order, exorcism, letting the werewolf in question bleed until he would faint, poisoning the werewolf with a blend of humulus lupulis and hemlock before the change in order to knock him out and lessen the danger for his environment, breaking the werewolf’s bones in order to confuse the body and to disrupt the normal procedure of the change, fastening a tight collar - often a silver one - around the werewolf’s neck while he was still human-shaped to cut off the air supply, sometimes almost completely, when the change is completed. Of course, all the changed werewolf would do in such a case was try to get rid of the collar in order to be able to breathe. Sometimes he would pass out from lack of oxygen. As to the various potions and poisons applied, the problem is to get the dose right.” Snape nodded in confirmation. “Ah yes, you know everything about that particular problem, of course,” Lupin smiled a twisted little smile, his cigarette burning down slowly, forgotten between his fingers. “The dose of hemlock has to be fairly high to have the desired effect on the changed werewolf. So in the end, the werewolf would often end up with an overdose and, human-shaped again, would suffer from nausea, hallucinations, stomach bleeding - you name it. More or less severe symptoms of poisoning.”
“Werewolves can’t be poisoned to death,” said Snape, flicking away the cigarette end.
“Not to death, no. But they can be poisoned.” Lupin paused and stared into space. Snape watched him, motionless, until Lupin took a long, shaky breath and continued, “Breaking the werewolf’s bones was considered a panacea at one time. It was discovered that when the werewolf’s spine is broken, the change kicks in more slowly, more reluctantly, and the more the vertebrae are dislodged, the more the change slows down.”
“Werewolf change begins in the bones.”
“Exactly. The skeleton has to be restructured. The impulse is carried out from the brain through the bone structure. Inside the bones. When it’s merely an arm or a leg that is broken, it doesn’t really matter, because sometimes bones snap during a transformation anyway, and the body mends them automatically. But the spine is… is different. It’s the crucial communication channel through which the impulse to change is sent to the lower part of the body. And it heals more slowly...”
“But it heals.”
“Oh yes! It heals. We’re very good at healing.
“What benefit does it give, though? The change happens anyway.”
“Yes, but at first, the werewolf is distracted, as his body changes only above the waist until the spine is mended. It is quite a handicap, and it distracts the werewolf’s mind completely from attacking anyone. And besides, before the reason for the partial change was discovered, people got quite enthusiastic about the fact that there was the possibility of preventing the change by breaking the spine. Research was carried out into what would happen if other bones were broken, as well. The futility of the attempts became quite apparent very soon, but some thorough researchers wanted to make it completely sure.”
In the silence that followed, Snape could hear the sound of water running in the bathroom. ‘I forgot to turn off the taps,’ he thought absent-mindedly, watching Lupin lighting up another cigarette.
“Albus doesn’t know, then,” Snape startled by the sound of his own voice, which sounded thick and raspy. He cleared his throat.
Lupin shook his head. “No,” he said softly. “Albus doesn’t know that before I came to Hogwarts, my parents had tried out all available methods to cure me from my condition. They didn’t want me to suffer all my life, you see, and thought it better to have me swallow hemlock extract and to have my bones smashed if that was what it took to stop me from becoming a monster-”
“That’s enough, Lupin!” To his own surprise, Snape realised his left hand was clutching the banister tightly. He loosened his grip.
“You wanted to know, Severus-”
“I know I did. I know now.”
Lupin took a deep drag and released his breath in a cloud of smoke, watching Snape from unreadable eyes. “Will you tell Albus?”
“It's not my story to tell, is it?”
“So why did you want to know?”
“Did you think I wanted to acquire information I could use against you?”
“It wouldn’t be the first time,” Lupin answered politely.
“Because,” Snape took a deep breath and pushed himself off the banister, “this one is a mutual transaction. A confession for a confession, remember?”
Lupin fell silent again. His hand went up to his hair, pushing the dirty strands out of his face. He winced as it encountered the strands stuck together with Snape’s semen. Snape clicked his tongue impatiently.
“Get up, Lupin!”
“I thought I’d be getting a confession in return?” Lupin raised his eyebrows.
“You will be. But you’ll be getting a bath first. I’m not talking to you while you’re in this filthy state.”
“That didn’t stop you from listening-”
“I was curious. Now, I’m merely disgusted.” He didn’t specify what disgusted him, and instead, extended his hand and pulled Lupin to his feet, who, surprised by such a gesture, forgot to object. Snape swirled around and led the way to the bathroom.
As soon as his gaze fell on the mirror, Lupin stopped dead. Snape had turned to the bathtub and was drawing a bath, watching lazily as the water turned slowly from brown to yellow to off-white and finally to transparent before he blocked the drain. Without turning his head, he sensed Lupin’s presence as the man stared at his own reflection.
“There’s blood all over my face,” Lupin said tonelessly.
“I must have hurt you.”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, hold your tongue!” Snape snapped. “I said I would tell you. Do you think I would back out?”
Lupin seemed to honestly consider the question. “No. I know you’re an honourable man, in your own way.”
The corners of Snape’s mouth twitched. “The change really affects your brain, doesn’t it?”
“Severus,” said Lupin earnestly, turning around. “Don’t you ever dare deliver insults in a teasing tone. I’m still in shock, you know.”
“Very well. Henceforth, I shall try to live up to your expectations by being appropriately, unreasonable and delivering low blows only,” replied Snape haughtily, and thought, ‘I am flirting with Lupin. *I* am flirting with *Lupin*.’ Lupin, however, ignored his remark and conjured up a toothbrush instead. When he bent over the sink, Snape’s gaze trailed down the exposed body and stopped dead at the faint, silvery scar just visible on the small of Lupin’s back. His hand came up of its own accord, and he gripped one bony hip tightly, feeling the muscles tighten under his hand. Lupin’s back straightened and he took a step to the side, but Snape didn’t let go and motioned the other man around. Their eyes locked in the mirror.
“You’ve got a scar there,” said Snape, his thumb trailing gently over Lupin’s skin. “Werewolves are supposed to heal well enough to be left without scars.”
“That was a nasty wound.” Lupin shrugged in a dismissive manner, but his eyes remained wary.
“I see.” Snape slid his hand along Lupin’s flank, pressed his palm against the small of his back. “How long did it take to heal?”
“The whole night.” Lupin took a deep breath and squirmed away from the soft touch. “The whole night after… it had been broken.” He looked defiantly into Snape’s face, as though challenging him to make a remark, but Snape’s gaze remained on his back, taking in the curves and angles of the thin body. In spite of his sickly appearance, Lupin, like most of his kind, was well muscled, in a defined, sinewy way. Although he did look undernourished, his physique gave the impression of underlying strength. Snape pressed his lips together. Lupin was deceptive in every respect, it seemed.
“Why, then?” insisted Lupin some time later, sprawled out in the warm water. Snape had sat down on the toilet lid, his gaze intent and focused; he was studying a Dark creature, he told himself firmly. It was... fascinating, certainly, and the vague feeling of unease was merely due to the fact that a werewolf was a danger that couldn’t be calculated, no matter which shape it assumed. However, with the blood washed away and his hair damp and soft, Lupin no longer looked like the savage he was. Like the savage he had been during the whole night. He had regained his calm demeanour, and it was high time to remind him of the beast that lingered inside. Snape’s mouth curled up in a sneer.
“You must be very desperate if you lower yourself as far as to continue begging me for an answer.” He crossed his legs and surveyed his fingernails nonchalantly. Lupin shrugged once again. It was starting to get on Snape’s nerves.
“I don’t think I could humiliate myself more before you than I already have done, tonight. It is of the utmost importance for me to know what I’ve done - what I’m capable of doing when I’m changed. I am fully at the mercy of your whim, but I’ve got to know.” He had raised himself in the tub, torso gleaming in the dim light. “So please tell me. Please?”
“Why?” Lupin gave a short, mirthless laugh. “Because knowing what I do is a crucial part of what defines my humanity, Severus! I must be aware of my actions. If I’m not, I might just as well go off and start living in the Forbidden Forest, remaining changed for the whole of the month and not caring about the consequences of my actions for others.”
“You’re never aware of your actions when you’re changed, though,” said Snape slowly, trailing one thin finger along the bathtub lip. “Why the sudden interest?”
“Severus,” Lupin’s voice teetered on the edge of desperation. “Usually, when I’m changed, I don’t hurt anyone but myself-”
“I told you, Lupin, you didn’t hurt me-”
“No. You told me you *let* me. That’s a hell of a difference. If something, anything happens that affects others, I’ve got to know it. Do you understand? I’ve got to. Don’t make me force you!” His voice had risen to an angry snarl, and Snape felt a shiver of excitement trail down his spine.
“My, my, who’d have thought *civilised* Remus Lupin would be capable of such threats,” Snape purred silkily, leaning in closer. His eyes locked with Lupin’s. “Make me,” he whispered.
Lupin shot up in a fraction of a second and wrapped one hand around the front of Snape’s robe, pulling sharply. “Don’t play your games with me, Snape,” he growled in a low voice, shaking the other man effortlessly. “I am not going to be fucked around with.”
Snape groaned. “Yeah, like that, Lupin.” He saw Lupin’s eyes widen suddenly, before the other man let go as though burned and fell back into the warm water. Snape smirked.
“You sick bastard,” Lupin said with a mixture of awe and disgust. “You’re getting off on this.”
“I must admit, Lupin, that it was the total lack of control on your part that made me submit to the little, ah, orgy you put me through - rather than use the Killing Curse.” He watched the blood drain from Lupin’s face before he continued. “You might want to consider adopting such an approach more often. It’d improve your sex life a treat.”
“I’m not entirely sure you are the right person to give me advice on my sex life,” said Lupin thoughtfully, watching Snape’s face.
“I rather enjoyed myself last night,” Snape said and instantly cursed the slight breathlessness in his voice.
“Did you, now?” Lupin fell back and covered his face with his hand, his elbow resting on the edge of the tub. Snape lowered his head slightly, letting his hair fall into his face. He was watching his fingers closely as they danced across the chopped enamel when Lupin spoke again.
“What do you want from me, Severus?”
Snape choked on the breath he was taking on the intensity in Lupin’s voice. When he looked up, Lupin’s face was still hidden behind his hand. He swallowed and waited until the other man shifted his hand and opened his eyes. Their expression was mild and friendly, and something within Snape exploded.
“Stop hiding!” he spat, jumping to his feet and looming over Lupin. “Stop hiding behind your hand,” he jerked the offending limb away, “your *smile* and your fucking *civilised* tone! I am sick of seeing a mask every time I look at you, sick of your polite conversation, sick of your lies and your side-stepping-”
Lupin stood up and shook Snape by his shoulders, firmly. “Severus! Stop that. I said,” he let go of one bony shoulder and slapped the other man across the face. “Stop! That!” Snape’s breath hitched and the words died in his throat. He took one step back, his face closing, and felt an odd numbness crawl slowly into his brain, as though the last bit of rationality was draining out of him. He took a few deep breaths, struggling for control, but it was difficult to remain unruffled under Lupin’s scrutinising gaze.
Lupin. He as good as propositioned the man and was pushed back, in that infuriatingly polite and considerate manner. Any moment now, Lupin would ask him whether he was all right, and then, he should have his wand ready-
He hadn’t noticed his arms had come up of their own accord and wrapped themselves around him. Lupin had watched him withdraw into himself, but now, he extended one hand and put it on Snape’s arm, pressing gently.
“Severus,” he tugged the arm, “I can’t change who I am, or what I am. The most I can do is to offer you a truce, for now.” Snape’s lips curled up in an angry snarl, but Lupin shook his head and continued. “I don’t offer you compassion, or understanding, or friendship, for that matter, so stop looking as though you wanted to bite my head off. I can however, promise to try to stop pretending to not feel the things I feel if you, in turn, stop pretending to feel things you don’t feel.”
Snape raised one eyebrow. “Like what?”
“Like despising me.”
“Ah, indeed.” Lupin tilted his head. “Have we got a deal?”
Snape snorted. “Again? Albus will be delighted to hear what great progress we’ve made.”
“Albus. What will you tell him?”
“Not much. Not that.”
“Tell him it was a failure.”
“Was it one?”
“You kept your form.”
“But I lost my mind,” Lupin said softly.
Snape gave him a long look and nodded. “We'd better get going soon. I,” he hesitated and looked down his half-exposed torso, “I need to wash myself first.”
“Did you really enjoy yourself?” asked Lupin lightly a few minutes later, apparently deeply involved in rubbing his hair dry, as Snape was drawing himself a bath.
“Quite a bit. You really don’t remember anything?”
“No,” Lupin lowered the towel and turned around. “I wish I did, though,” he said, and the tone of his voice sent shivers down Snape’s spine. “What did we do?”
Snape felt a sudden gush of heat pool in his belly. It was physically impossible to get aroused yet again, and he wasn’t, but it was possible for his heartbeat to accelerate and his breathing to shallow. He tried to sneer in the familiar dismissive manner, but his face muscles refused to cooperate under the intent gaze of Lupin’s suddenly darkened eyes. “We,” he began and paused to clear his throat. “We... you fucked me through the floorboards,” he finished vehemently, letting his gaze drop. Trust Lupin to casually hold his towel in front of his groin... Although that was an indicator in itself. Snape smirked.
He stepped closer and saw rather than felt Lupin’s breath catch as the other man parted his lips slightly. “Apart from that, we didn’t do much. You weren’t exactly in the mood for... kissing and... such.”
“I’m sorry,” breathed Lupin, and Snape’s eyes flashed angrily.
“I told you I wanted it-”
“I’m not sorry for you. I'm sorry for myself.” Lupin licked his lips nervously. “I’m quite fond of kissing.”
“You wouldn’t have remembered it anyway,” pointed out Snape. The fingers of his right hand brushed over Lupin’s wrist and he pushed gently downwards, relishing the way Lupin’s irises disappeared completely. Snape looked down.
“You’re right, Severus.” For once, the intimate use of his name shot straight to his knees, liquefying them. However, the reason for the sudden weakness could have also been the sight of Lupin’s growing erection, which twitched enticingly even as Snape watched. “That is certainly something I’d like to remember.”
Snape forced Lupin’s fingers open and the towel dropped to the floor. “Maybe it’s not too late yet,” he whispered huskily. Lupin groaned hotly and, cupping Snape’s head, closed the distance between them in one smooth motion. Snape’s lips parted under the lightest pressure and he let in the slim, hot tongue willingly. Its tip slid over the upper row of Snape’s teeth before Lupin forced it in deeper, sliding across and over Snape’s and tasting the inside of his mouth with long, enthusiastic swipes. Snape’s body arched into the firm embrace and as his robe fell open, both men hissed at the contact. Lupin’s hand snaked inside the robe and around Snape’s waist, holding the other man in place.
“You’re smearing blood all over me again,” Lupin leaned back on the wall, panting heavily. Snape flattened his palm on the other’s heaving chest.
“You'd better get into the bath and clean yourself, then.”
“That’s a very sensible suggestion,” Lupin’s mouth twitched, but his eyes remained hot and dark.
“I’m full of sensible suggestions, Lupin,” Snape shrugged off his robe and stepped into the bath tub. “If only you would listen.”
“I could think of several responses to that claim, but seeing as we’re having a truce,” Lupin slid smoothly into the water and Snape’s arms, “I'd better keep silent.”
“There are more sensible things to do with that mouth of yours,” agreed Snape before, “Ah!” he added. “That is... stretching the definition of ‘truce’ rather a lot.”
“Will you tell me what I did to you last night?” Lupin arched his back and wrapped one arm around Snape’s neck. “I’d really like to hear the details from your mouth.”
“Very well.” Snape shifted, his hand travelling down Lupin’s chest. “First, your eyes turned yellow...”
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