Title: Apt Pupil
Author: Sorceress (sorceress@aol.com)
Rating: R
Disclaimer: Not mine. Wish they were.
Pairing: SS/RL
Warnings: Slash. M/M intimacy. Don't like, don't read, don't flame.
Summary: Sequel to Learning to Read the Signs. The day after Remus saves Severus from the anger of the werewolves at his hasty words in the bar Raging Moon, the Potions Master learns yet more about werewolves - this time things far more to his liking.
Notes: This is a slightly Dark!Remus...

Master and the Wolf Fuh-Q-Fest Challenge #195: Alpha!Remus marks SS as his.
For QueenC


With a snarl, Severus tore off his outer robe and flung it over a chair, not even noticing when the heavy, expensive fabric slid off the leather upholstery and puddled like spilled ink on the deep green carpet of his living room. He was too busy stalking towards the bookcase near the fireplace, the one that held the cut-crystal goblets and the matching decanter of fine cognac that Dumbledore had given him the previous Christmas. Severus was normally not a heavy drinker, preferring to keep both his wits and his control, but tonight he was willing to make an exception. Especially if it bought him any surcease from his thoughts.

Pouring a generous amount of the expensive liquor into one of the heavy cups, he sank down on the leather sofa and stretched one long leg out along the seat. His shoulders slumped in an unconsciously graceful pose that would have shocked most who knew him, who considered him incapable of sitting with less than rigidly perfect posture - no doubt due to the theoretical broomstick he had been accused more than once of having permanently affixed to his spine.

The Potions Master raised the glass to his lips and drank, barely tasting the alcohol as it burned over his tongue and down his throat. Sighing, he raised the clear vessel up before his eyes, gazing at the firelight through the remaining liquid. Yellow highlights danced through deep honey, flickering and warm, in almost exactly the same way that deep golden eyes had burned into him the previous night in the bar; although that had been with a very different kind of fire, one that had warmed him far more than the most expensive potable or potion ever could.

Another sip, and he lowered the glass, closing his eyes and forcing away the images that had replayed themselves almost ceaselessly in his mind for the last twenty-four hours. A long-fingered hand entwined in his hair. Golden eyes darkening with desire, and the heated press of warm lips and sharp teeth against his throat, marking him...

"This is completely unacceptable," he said out loud, castigating himself harshly. Unfortunately the words sounded more like a plea than a proclamation, even to his own ears.

"Bloody hell."

Almost as unsettling - and vaguely annoying - as the intrusive memories was the fact that he had found himself subtly watching, all day long, for the werewolf who had caused them to put in his promised appearance. While he was grading papers in his office, during meals in the Great Hall, even while in his lab working on his summer research, Severus kept finding his eyes drawn to the door of whatever room he was in, as though expecting to suddenly glance up and find the former Marauder there. After all, Remus had said 'I'll see you tomorrow', and what was Remus Lupin if not a man of his word?

The Potions Master scowled, unwilling to analyze whether he was more irritated with the werewolf for not showing up, or irritated with himself for his own obsessive anticipation.

It appeared that his preoccupation was going to be in vain, as he heard the clock on his mantel give eleven soft chimes. Anger then leapt to the fore, and he snarled, teeth grinding as his jaw clenched. Figures the bloody Gryffindor would lie, Severus thought darkly, tossing back the rest of the cognac, and only barely resisting the urge to hurl the crystal goblet into the fireplace, to take petty satisfaction in wanton destruction. But he couldn't do it - it was far too reminiscent of the things that had lead him merrily down a road to hell over twenty years before. It might take him some time, but Severus eventually did learn his lessons.

Abruptly the Potions Master surged to his feet, lips curled in a viscous sneer. No, he wouldn't take out his frustration and ill-temper on his own belongings; he would go out, to a different bar, or to the Forbidden Forest, or... or anywhere that he could find a suitable target upon which to unleash his pent up anger. Surely out there was someone or something that deserved the force of his ire. He would most definitely not sit here, sulking like a spurned lover - which, unfortunately, he was not, and apparently never would be.

The goblet thudded down on the table, and in a few swift strides he crossed the room, scooping his abandoned robe from the floor and sweeping it around his shoulders. A swift check verified his wand was in its normal location, before he turned to the door, wrenching it open with the intent of giving it a thoroughly satisfactory slam as he exited - only to stop abruptly as he impacted with a warm, firm body.

Severus was forced to take a step backward as the other person stood fast, almost directly in front of his door. An automatic curse rose to his lips, ready to lamblast the misbegotten cretin who had haplessly gotten in his way... but the words died unspoken as he gazed down slightly into a pair of deep amber eyes. Hot, almost inhuman eyes, dark and full of an implacable purpose that almost seemed to glow more brightly than the fire-lit cognac.

"Lupin?" Severus asked in surprise, resisting the urge to retreat a step further from this completely unexpected encounter. Standing fast in his doorway, his brows drew down into a fierce and instinctively defensive frown. He could not, for any reason, betray that the werewolf's presence was something he had been anticipating the entire day. "What in Merlin's name are you doing here?"

The other wizard spoke softly, his face calm but his gaze intense. "I told you I would see you today, didn't I, Severus? You specifically requested my presence, if I recall correctly. You even went to quite some lengths to track me down and ask me to return, if I recall correctly... so here I am. As I promised. Aren't you going to invite me in?" Simple, prosaic words, quietly voiced and yet somehow seeming out of place, fraught with hidden meanings.

There was a pause, and Severus' gaze grew sharp. Motionless, he stood staring at the wizard before him, focussing all of his Legilimency skills in an effort to read beyond the neutral expression and careful words which were belied by the burning amber eyes. In them he saw hunger, and desire, and something else - something that was not human in the slightest, but was just as powerful and far more alarming. Something that sent both a frission of fear and a sharp ache of need coursing through him, causing his breath to catch in his throat while his heartbeat pounded in his ears. Severus saw what few people ever cared to find - the spectre of the wolf that lay hidden behind the face of the man.

What does this mean? the dark haired thought, not even realizing that his nails were practically gouging into the wood of the door. He was thrown off center, torn between wishing to acquiesce to the request and an instinctive urge to deny it. Balancing, as he always did with this particular man, on a thin, dangerous yet alluring line between opposing emotions and conflicting desires. Wanting to cling, yet eager to push away; anxious to give in, but adamant about standing firm; yearning to submit, and yet determined protect himself at any cost. Fighting himself as he had done for over twenty years - fighting both Remus Lupin and the inexplicable, damnable attraction Severus felt for him. It was a battle he wasn't certain he could win - he wasn't even completely sure that he wanted to win.

Finally, Severus stepped back inside his quarters, releasing the door and closing it after Remus had moved past him and inside. The Potions Master himself took only a few steps into the room, watching with hooded dark eyes as the werewolf stood with his back to the fireplace, the back lighting of the flames giving a strangely ethereal glow to his silver and honey colored hair. As a result, however, the amber eyes were somewhat shadowed, meaning that Severus couldn't quite read the expression in them - and that made him feel very uneasy.

Silence stretched out between them as they looked at each other, assessed each other, weighing words that had been spoken in the past and everything that hovered in the air between them, unsaid. Tension almost hummed in the air as their wills clashed silently, dark and light eyes holding and neither refusing to drop. Severus felt a bit more confident here in his own territory than he had been in the bar the previous evening, even though he was, to his chagrin, even more affected by the werewolf's physical proximity as well. It was intense, almost too much to bear, and Severus found himself realizing for the first time exactly how much of an Alpha Remus Lupin truly was, behind the kind smiles and the quite facade... and then the amber eyes flickered slightly, moving down to focus on Severus' neck. Unerringly locking in on the exact spot where Remus had placed his mouth and marked him the previous evening.

Severus nearly gasped as he felt a sharp, achingly pleasurable tingle on that spot, the same sensation he had felt when Remus' lips and teeth had been impressed upon his skin. Warmth stole over him and he knew that the blood was gathering beneath his skin, betraying him, betraying the fact that he remembered all too well what it had felt like, how he had gone almost limp with helpless, irresistible desire. There was a mark there, as Severus well knew, having stared at it in the mirror both last night and then again that very morning. A wine-red dual crescent of teeth marks, livid as fresh blood against his pale skin, but which were fortunately hidden by the high collars he favored. As garish as it appeared, the mark had not pained him, and he had not felt anything from it.

Until now.

A look of disbelieving outrage crossed the pale face of the Potions Master, and he glared at the werewolf, black eyes snapping with barely concealed fury. "What have you done to me?" he hissed, clenching his hand to keep it from flying upwards to his neck.

"I marked you, as you are already aware," Remus responded quietly. "I saved you from being ripped to pieces by several angry werewolves by placing you under my protection. It may have been somewhat grudging, but you did voluntarily submit to it. And in the eyes of the lycanthropes, you are now part of my pack."

"Did you do this to Black?" The words were torn from him with a spike of something very like jealousy, and Severus glared harder to cover the feeling. He hadn't ever thought that there was anything more than a close friendship between the two Marauders, but if being made part of Remus' pack felt like this, there had to have been more between them than mere comradery. This feeling was sensual, almost overwhelmingly so, the kind of thing that had to lead to some sort of culmination far beyond simple companionship.

The sandy-haired head tilted to one side, bright eyes regarding him in a gesture which was very indicative of Remus' part lupine nature. "No," came the soft reply, the werewolf's voice tinged with something that was not quite amusement. "I never marked Sirius. Nor did I ever have any desire to."

"What?" Confusion at the unexpected denial caused the Potions Master's black eyes to widen slightly. "But... he was part of your pack, was he not?" He glared again, the jealousy there like the words in his mouth, hot and bitter. "And more than that as well." The accusation came out in a snarl that he knew was far too revealing, but which he couldn't possibly stop. This entire situation seemed surreal, and Severus wondered distantly how it was going to end.

"No, never more," Remus said, eyes flashing at the challenge as he took a slow, deliberate step closer to Severus. The Potions Master held his ground as the werewolf closed the gap between them, but it took a decided effort to resist the urge to fall back a step, to keep a safety margin between them. "Sirius was a part of my pack. My friend, my brother. Never anything more."

"Oh, really?" the dark-haired wizard asked, the sarcasm ringing slightly hollow because his mouth had gone quite suddenly dry. "What are you playing at, Lupin?" The question was meant to be harsh, but instead it sounded faint, even to his own ears. His eyes were locked with those of the other wizard, who was now close enough for him to see the burning flecks of gold in their depths.

"No game at all, Severus, I can definitely assure you of that. This is far too important... for both of us." One of the werewolf's hands came up, and Severus, totally mesmerized, felt the mark tingle more as Remus pushed his collar away and laid warm fingers on it. A touch like that from anyone else, at any other time, and Severus would have knocked the intrusive, intimate touch away with a scathing comment, or even pulled his wand and hexed the offender into oblivion. But it was all he could do now not to tilt his head back in submission, to arch into the touch as he drew a sharp breath at the pleasure that coursed through him.

Their gazes still held, and Severus swallowed, feeling the warm fingers move against the skin of his throat, caressing possessively. "Remus," he breathed, not quite realizing he had spoken, not even aware of having used the werewolf's given name for the first time in... well, possibly ever.

"Severus..." came the response, before Remus' fingers moved, grazing shiveringly over pale skin as they travelled back to curl around the slightly taller man's neck. The werewolf pulled the dark-haired wizard's head down to his, and his warm lips brushed over the mark for a fleeting instant before moving upwards and claiming Severus' mouth hungrily.

For his part, Severus found himself gasping in surprise at the unexpected kiss, and felt a flare of desire when Remus saw the sudden parting of his lips as an invitation to deepen the caress. The werewolf's warm tongue slid over his lips, and then inside his mouth, coaxing, beguiling, demanding for him to respond. And while some small fragment of his mind fought the answering hunger that rose within him, he found he truly had no will to resist something that he had secretly ached for and dreamt of for years. Even if it were to be for only one night, Severus had to seize upon it.

Black-clad arms moved, wrapping around the werewolf's waist and pulling the other man roughly against his body as Severus responded to the kiss. For long moments their mouths clung together, caressing, tasting, exploring, as each breathed the other's breath, drugging inhalations heavy with the scent of desire.

How long had he wanted this? Perhaps forever, although Severus' pride never would have allowed him to actually admit it before, even to himself. The attraction to Remus, to both the darkness of the wolf and the charm of the man, was something that had burned in him for decades. A lingering fascination with the leashed violence, the raging potential that was covered with such calm reserve, like a thin crust of rock over a molten river of lava. After all this time, the Potions Master finally realized what it was that drew him so, that caused him to have spent nearly twenty five years alone; he wanted to be the one to tame the wolf.

Severus felt as though his heart were thundering in his ears when they finally drew back from each other. He could feel an automatic rejection rising to his lips, as the sane, cautious part of his nature tried to reassert itself. Before he could do more than attempt to arrange his jumbled thoughts into a coherent objection, however, Remus took advantage of the hesitation, and drove any thought at all from the dark-haired wizard's mind by placing his mouth on the taller man's neck and biting down.

A groan escaped from Severus' lips, although it wasn't a sound of pain so much as one of surrender. As it had on the previous night, the feeling of the werewolf's teeth on his flesh caused a stab of pure desire to course through him, pooling heavily in his groin as his body reacted to the heady sensation. Arching instinctively, his eyes slid closed and he pressed against the sandy-haired wizard, the hardness of their arousals grinding together roughly through the layers of their clothing.

Then the Potions Master found himself being pulled to the floor, and any objections he might have voiced died aborning as Remus moved over him. The werewolf straddled his hips, hands gripping his shoulders, amber eyes boring down remorselessly into black.

"I never did this to Sirius, either - and I never wanted to," Remus said in a low, almost harsh tone that sent a shiver of reaction down Severus' spine. The sandy-haired wizard moved one hand to cradle Severus' jaw in a gesture that was possessive and at the same time oddly tender. "He was my friend. In the eyes of the werewolves, he was pack. But how you submitted to me was not as pack, Severus - and when I bit you, and marked you, I reciprocated. I've claimed you as my mate, Severus... you are MINE."

The last word was growled rather than spoken, as Remus lowered his head and crushed his lips against Severus' as punctuation to his claim.

Mate? Severus thought wildly, as Remus pulled back once again and stared into his eyes. He knew, vaguely, what it meant to be a werewolf's mate. It was a bond that would tie them together until death, and neither of them would ever desire another. Their completion would only ever be found together... but, from what he had read, that completion would be totally beyond anything two mere humans could ever hope to achieve.

In all his wildest imaginings, he never dreamed he would be offered this, never knew that his actions of the previous night could bring about something so momentous. Perhaps his submission last night had been instinct, perhaps he had been acting on something he had once read but didn't consciously recall. Whatever it was, however, hardly mattered at the moment, as he felt the heat rolling off Remus' body, enveloping him, making him yearn for the completion being offered. He wasn't certain he could stop it at this point - and as the golden eyes seemed to look down through him, down to his very soul, the Potions Master knew that he didn't even want to try. He had done it, somehow, without even really trying. He had indeed tamed the wolf - and, perhaps, he had been tamed in return.

No one had ever wanted him this way, this much... and he had never dreamed that Remus ever would. It was a heady sensation, a feeling of power, yet tempered at the same time with an odd bit of humility. He drew in a sharp breath, as he finally realized what that emotion was, what it meant.

"Yes, I am yours," Severus responded, and was rewarded by a flash in Remus' eyes, one of such intense passion that it stole his breath. Breath which he didn't have any hope of recovering, as Remus almost snarled in satisfaction, before his head swooped down and the teeth were once again at his neck, biting down hard enough this time, this third time, to draw blood.

It didn't hurt, but it burned pleasurably, a burn he recognized as pure magic. It tingled through his blood as the final step of their bonding began. He knew Remus felt it too, could feel the hunger coursing through the werewolf, the desire to claim his mate overriding every other sensation. Then the teeth left his neck, and Remus was kissing him once more, fiercely and erotically and hungrily and possessively.

Severus didn't hesitate to respond this time, as Remus' tongue invaded his mouth, coaxing his own to follow it back so that Remus could feast upon it. Hands were at his chest, buttons flying in sharp staccato pings to the stone floor as the sandy-haired wizard used his preternatural strength to pull at the high-necked frock coat, parting it and the shirt beneath as easy as though they had been made of tissue.

The werewolf pulled his head away, and Severus wanted to groan at the loss of the mouth on his own; but then Remus' lips were at his neck again, licking, flicking, nibbling in a hot, most trail down his neck. The amber-eyed man began to make a low, basso growl in the back of his throat, the same sound that Severus had heard the night before from the lycanthropes in the bar, the ones who had seemed quite ready to tear his throat out. Remus hadn't made the sound then, and the rumble of it from the other werewolves had touched Severus with fear. This, however, was very different, and the deeply pitched, almost subsonic tone caused his skin to break out in gooseflesh, not from fear, but from pure, molten desire.

Teeth were on his collarbone, worrying at it for a moment, leaving behind an imprint that would no doubt bruise on the pale, unblemished skin - but Severus was beyond caring, would happily accept any mark or claim that the werewolf desired to make on his flesh, so long as it continued. The feel of those teeth went straight to his groin, and his hips moved restlessly, trying to grind upwards into those of the man above him. But the angle was slightly wrong, and the Potions Master groaned in frustration, hands fisting in the honey-colored hair... then the groan became an outright cry when Remus moved lower still, fastening his mouth over one dusky nipple and suckling greedily.

The Potions Master well knew how, when being inflicted with the Cruciatus, that it was easy to become lost in the pain, aware-yet-not of every part of one's body as the agony rolled over it in searing waves. How the torment would strike through skin and flesh and sinew and bone and blood, until the body was on fire, burning, every nerve ending stimulated to an unbearable degree. Time would stand still, and the sensation would go on forever and ever, as the soul sought to fly free from its prison and the voice screamed for release.

Now he learned - as Remus tore the clothing away that separated them, as the werewolf's fingers and palms and lips and tongue and teeth were on him, and in him, wringing exquisite bliss from every part of his body, as a hard shaft entered him and filled him and claimed him, as pulses of pure feeling bound him body, mind, soul and magic to his mate - that it could happen with pleasure as well.