Title: A Letter of Memory
Author: lore
Feedback: _lore@livejournal.com
Rating: NC-17
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine, they belong to J.K. Rowling and I am borrowing them for walkies.
Archiving: Master and Wolf. All others, please ask.
Challenge #176: One cast a special memory charm over the other a long time ago, erasing a memory. However, the one who cast the charm has the power to lift it and restore the memory as well.
A/N: Written for the Master and Wolf FQF, Second Wave. Thank you, Nightfalltwen for looking it over.

An owl drops a fat letter into Remus' hands. Written on the outside of the letter is "To Remus on his birthday, 23 February, 2014." A spell executes as he breaks the seal.

Remus -

Read my words and remember. This is an account of what happened the night of your birthday, 10 years ago. It is time you remember the truth. The spell I put on this letter - the spell I put on you - only works in conjunction with a narrative of the original memory. You will remember the events as you read.

I look back on that night with the tenderness of a man who realized then that he was in love for the first and only time in his life. At the time, you were sure that such a night would only lead to sorrow and bitterness. Even before that night, you must have felt something between us. I never would have cast the memory charm if you had not argued so passionately that I would never have a chance with you if you remembered our actions, and, after what had happened, I very much wanted that chance. The steely determination with which you debated alerted me to the fact that you wanted me with you - just not in that way; not in that moment.

Is it coming back to you now? Black had left you for good the night before and you, typically, threw yourself into your work, then retreated to your office to brood. Minerva pointedly asked me to deliver presents from the staff to you, and, I can admit now, I was going to find you without the convenient excuse she provided. I had a feeling you would not wish to be in your private quarters that night, and, when I reached your office, I decided there was no point wasting my time with knocking and arguing with you. I found you, sitting in the window sill, watching the sun set. After a while, when you did not acknowledge me, I joined you at the window, and, I admit, I stood entirely too close to you. I was hoping to provoke a response, but all you did was stand and look at me with hollow eyes.

Remus, if you want to know the reason behind my eternally bitter feud with Black, you need only ask me to put the memory of your expression that day in the Pensieve. I felt a flash of physical pain seeing you, always the optimist, look hopeless and lost. I thought the pain was merely concern for a colleague, but I know now, it was my heart breaking because yours was breaking as well. I wanted to take a step back from your despair, but instead, I slid one side of me a bit closer, opening up my stance enough for you to mistake it as an invitation. I thank Merlin for your misinterpretation every day.

You half-fell into me, half-launched yourself on me, clutching me tightly around the neck, struggling not to shed tears. Slowly, I put my arms around your back, holding you. I had held Slytherin students who lost parents in the war, but this was different. Many students were hysterical, clutching my robes and sobbing without end. You held onto me, trembling, and it was truly unlike any sensation I had experienced until that moment. We stayed that way a long time, innocent and comforting.

What came next is most likely why I waited ten years to release this night to you, for it was entirely my fault. As you know, I did not touch nor allow other people to touch me often then. The feel of your body, warm and relaxing in increments, was overwhelming to me. Finally, you calmed and I felt you readying yourself to pull away. My body clearly over-rode my mind for the next few moments. I rubbed my cheek in your hair and adjusted my arms so one could hold your head still against me. I was gorging on your touch and unwilling to let the moment pass. You must believe me when I say, if I had realized how we would end up that night, I never would have taken such liberties.

And then - what I consider to be the defining moment of my new life, Remus. You nuzzled me. I can still feel the ghost of the prick of your stubble against me when I close my eyes and concentrate. You began moving against me, walking into me, pushing me backwards until my back hit a wall. This is where I first learned about your restless hips. It was still just holding and caresses, easily explained away, until I felt your hips bumping against mine, tantalizing and random. I gasped, and it seemed to bring your attention to my face. You looked hurt. I can imagine now, you were confused, thought I was him. Then, all I wanted to do was wipe the pain from your face.

I think our first kiss was born of mutual need, because I remember us moving toward each other at the same time. Perhaps now, with the memory fresh for you, you may confirm this for me. I would like to think we both wanted that kiss. Your lips, much fuller than mine, were moist and clinging, and our tongues quickly found each other. It was languid and wet, endless and breathtaking. I did not realize how aroused I was until we came up for air and I could feel your hips, bumping into mine again, this time with rhythm and purpose. Make no mistake, by this time, I was responding in kind.

It was no more than simple grinding, passionate kisses, hands in each others' hair and grabbing at each others' bottoms. I braced against the wall and practically pulled you onto my thigh. It was terrible; my clothes felt scratchy and hot, my fingers itched to touch your skin. Still, I was experiencing the most exquisite sensations of my life, and when you found the angle that brought us closest together, we both moaned to feel it. We crashed against each other again and again, lost in kisses and sensation until you tore your lips from mine and ducked down, biting my neck sharply. I came in a long groan that seemed to enflame you and soon you were muffling your own release against my shoulder. My legs gave out then and we slid to the floor; you ended up sitting on my thighs, but we were not looking at each other. Well, I was looking at you, and you were avoiding my gaze, looking for your wand to clean us up.

When you finally did meet my eyes, I saw everything I needed to explain what just happened: Desire, regret, sadness, hope. Still sitting on my thighs and gripping my arms as if you were afraid I would try to get away, you explained to me why I needed to cast the memory charm. Black had not even picked up his things yet; I was one of the many reasons why he left; you were beginning to understand what Black might have seen between us. You wanted us to have a chance, an honest, untainted chance, and you did not believe you could be in another relationship so soon after Black. If we were to be together, you wanted it to be despite Black, not because of him. I did not relish the thought of you feeling guilty about our relationship, nor of losing you by pushing you too far, too fast. I was unwilling to live in the long shadow Black cast, but I knew in that moment that I wanted to be with you, to win you over and never let you go again. You leaned forward and kissed me, achingly tender this time; told me with a glint in your eye not to give up on you - you would make it worth the wait. You said you trusted me to release the memory charm when the time was right.

I hope I have not betrayed that trust. I hope you will accept this as my gift to you today, and your gift to us for every moment of the last 10 years. You are the light that fills my darkness. I only hope to still see the light your eyes shine on me when you are finished reading. Happy Birthday, Remus, my love.

- Severus

Remus looks up from the sofa he sank onto as the spell began, remembered sensations still coursing through him anew. Snape stands in the doorframe, watching him with eyes uncharacteristically wary.

"Thank you," Remus says huskily.

Snape crosses the room and sits close to Remus without touching him. "For what?"

Remus covers Snape's closest hand with his own. "For not giving up."