Title: Carnal Knowledge
Author: Busaikko
E-Mail: busaikkobaby at yahoo.com
Beta-Readers: Vaughn and MajinSakuko, who did wonderful work, all mistakes are mine (but the story was a lot worse before!)
Disclaimer: I own nothing, JKR everything else
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: SS/RL (past RL/SB)
Spoilers: All books through OotP (written May 05, so makes for a VERY WEIRD interpretation of HBP but--try it! It (kinda) works if, Dear Reader, you will permit me to insert this story between the end of OotP and HBP. Much less improbable than the, er, other events, let me tell you.)
Rating: NC17 (for sex at the drop of a hat: "Look! A hat!" "Good-let's have sex!")
Genre/s: Humour, hurt/comfort
Warning/s: none
Summary: For Master and the Wolf Fourth Wave, Challenge 236: Bodyswitch! Featuring snarky!Remus and sensitive!Severus, with guest appearance by incoherent!Harry. Also including Challenge 158 (Snape's mind is inside Lupin's body during a full moon night) and Challenge 191 (Virgin!Severus).

"...and of course the clear and certain truth no man has seen nor will there be anyone who knows about the gods and what I say about all things. For even if, in the best case, one happened to speak just of what has been brought to pass, still he himself would not know. But opinion is allotted to all." (Xenophanes)

Part 1: The clear and certain truth

January 2, 1997

Remus groaned, rolled over, and looked himself in the eyes.

"This is very wrong."

His eyes blinked at him. "I find myself unable to move a muscle, but rest assured, if I were capable, I would run, screaming out of sheer unfathomable horror." Yes, that low scratchy voice was his, all right.

Remus raised a shaking hand to his face. Someone's hand. A hand with long, pale fingers, fingernails bluntly cut and stained. A delicate hand, a precision instrument. But definitely not his own hand. His own hand was lying over there, rather limply, near his own face. "What on earth did you do?"

"You're in my body, Lupin, I think I ought to be asking the questions."

Remus pushed himself up to all fours, panting with the effort. Getting tangled up in the enveloping black robes did not help, but he didn't have enough finger coordination to undo the clasps and buttons. "I think you shouldn't have smashed me over the head with that stone idol. Especially since-bugger-it's now in pieces."

He could recall some of the argument that had led up to this most unfortunate state of affairs. Severus had been ranting about cleaning the Grimmauld house again; he'd retorted with some cliche along the lines of "I would not say such things if I were you." "Well, you just try being me and see how you like it," Severus had snarled, and dropped his end of the shelf, tipping its contents down with disastrous effect. (Remus also recalled muttering "Fuck you" seconds before the rock hit his scull, but that couldn't possibly be relevant.)

"Lupin-I can't see properly. Everything's gone all brown."

"My body's colour-blind."

"As soon as I can move I'm going to kill you."

"Ah-it's a werewolf thing. We often feel aggressive for no reason. Hormones."

"I think I have reason." Severus pushed himself up to sitting and touched his head gingerly. "Damn, but this hurts."

"Yes, you probably concussed me with that idol. Don't worry-it'll heal in a few hours. But healing will make you really hungry. It's worst when you're absolutely starving but also nauseous from pain."

Severus turned green. "Bathroom, Lupin."

They managed the ten metre stagger quite well, Remus thought, considering his legs were a good hand's-length too long (and Severus' were too short), and both of them were still shocky from the Curse of the Stone Idol.

He rubbed his back firmly as Severus lost both lunch and, oh dear, the dreadful bowlful of instant noodles he'd had instead of a proper tea. Not for the first time he wondered if he was the only werewolf in history to have such a weak stomach. Ravening beast, indeed.

Feeling sorry, if not for Severus at least for his poor body, he wet a flannel and rubbed the back of Severus' neck (where the tension always stuck) and his face, making sure to sweep up all that annoying hair. Nothing worse than being sick with hair in your face. Severus made a sweeping circular motion with his arm, and Remus helped him to his feet. He rinsed and spat, looked at his face full on for a minute in which Remus thoroughly expected to see breakfast appear, and then sank down onto the toilet lid.

"We tell no one." Severus coughed to bring back his voice. "No one. With any luck, we will be finished with this grotesquery before anyone needs to find out." He held out a hand for the flannel and pressed it to the back of his neck.

Remus rubbed at his arm, where there was a constant tingle of magic from the Dark Mark. "How long can we hide this... situation?"

Severus shook his head carefully. "Classes start in four days. Full moon on the 23rd. The Dark Lord could summon you at any time." He sighed. "It's not a good schedule."

"We need to tell Albus. At the least, he needs to know his new Potions Master passed the potions O.W.L. by one question. He could help."

Severus stood. "It is humiliating and I hate it, but you're right."

Leaning on each other as much as possible without really touching, they somehow made their way down the hall to the library fireplace.

"Hogwarts' Headmaster's Office."

"Lupin!" Remus buried his head in the pillow. It smelt wrong.

"Lupin, you lazy bastard, get up!" The angry voice was accompanied by banging on the door. Remus groaned. He remembered now. He remembered as he stumbled on too-long legs, as the fine-boned hand unlocked and yanked open the door.

"What the hell do you want, Severus?"

Remus took a dark pleasure in the open shock on Severus' (my, damn it) face. "Put some clothes on."

"You can't honestly be upset by your own naked body, can you?" Severus was wearing Lupin's good dark trousers and a dark shirt (maybe green, Remus thought) buttoned to the neck. Remus' shoes were polished. "You frighten me," Remus muttered, stretching and shrugging as he snagged Severus' trousers from the back of the chair. He pulled them on and buttoned them up. "There. I'm decent. What did you knock me up for?"

Severus clenched his jaw and waved in frustration at the tangle of grey and brown that appeared to defy gravity. "Your hair, Lupin, is an atrocity."

"Bed-head. Wet-comb it." He sighed at Severus' look of blank incomprehension. "Right. Come with me." Remus stalked down the hall to the upstairs loo. He banged down the toilet lid. "Sit. Sit, it's my damn hair, I'll fix it." He ran his comb under the tap and grabbed a handful of hair, holding it tightly so that the comb wouldn't pull. "You should have combed it out before you went to bed. Otherwise it knots up."

"I should have just removed it, along with your damn whiskers."

Remus worked the comb gently through the lower half of his hair; then, satisfied that it was tangle-free, he began on the top. It was oddly soothing, as long as he didn't make the mistake of looking at Severus' face, which was tense with anger.

"There. I suggest tying it back."

"Just do it."

Remus pulled his hair back and wrapped it with his usual elastic. "That should keep it out of your face."

Severus stood and looked stonily at himself in the mirror. Remus tried a tentative sweep of the comb through the lanky black hair that fell around his face. It was like a hot knife through butter. Not one knot. He looked at Severus and raised an eyebrow. "That's amazing."

"Greasy, horrible, and disgusting are the usual adjectives." Severus flicked his wand and cast a Datsuge Charm on Remus' chin. "There. Try to keep me clean-shaven. Go get dressed."

"I am dressed. I am now going to go drink coffee until I wake up." And he stalked off before Severus could open his mouth.

Moody found them in the kitchen when he arrived, beating ashes out of his cloak. Severus Snape was barefoot and shirtless, sitting on the drainboard, swinging his legs, and drinking coffee. Remus Lupin sat at the table, his back rigid, a pot of tea and three-quarters of an orange before him, nose buried in the Daily Prophet. Both men looked up as he stomped in. Snape grinned and hopped (hopped!) down from his perch.

"Coffee, Alastor?" He snagged a mug from the cupboard and filled it, pressing it into Moody's hands. "Sit. Can I get you something to eat? We've got fruit, kippers, Weetabix-although I think the mice've been at them-eggs...?"

Lupin glowered at him from over the top of the paper. "Moody. I assume Dumbledore has explained our execrable predicament."

Moody sank down onto a spindly kitchen chair, looking from one man to the other. "Holy fuck. Do you know what you've done?" He stared at the Dark Mark on Remus' forearm. "I ought to skin you both alive for being fools."

"Yes, the moral of the story is constant vigilance, we know that." Remus poured half a can of mixed nuts into a colander and set it on the table. "We've been through the library and the Black papers, and we found no provenance for that thing on the greenhouse shelf. The stone itself is smashed into a hundred pieces. It's still there. We need your help."

Moody helped himself to a cashew. "Polyjuice in the meantime. I know that will work."

Severus shook his head. "Lupin informs me that lycanthropes require a special blend of polyjuice. Brewable, but it will take the usual three weeks."

"Which one of you--?"

Remus pulled his wand out of his pocket and flicked it at Severus. "Miseo." The glowing yellow numbers of the Werewolf Registry tattoo appeared across Severus' forehead. "Finite."

"Well, fuck me and suck me dry." Moody shifted in his chair. "I might be able to track some down for you."

Snape-Remus-nodded. "I can give you some names in Romantic Alley."

The newspaper hit the table with a crack. "And I've already said I'm not taking some sloppy potion made for werewolf whores."

Remus spread his hands. "Then you have to be me until your potion is brewed."

"That will be painfully easy. You don't do much."

"And I'll have to be you." Remus grinned. Both Moody and Severus flinched at the baring of Snapish teeth.

Moody pointed at Snape-but-not. "When He-Who-Must-Be-Fucked-Up-the-Arse summons him, what the bloody hell will he do then?"

Severus glanced at the Dark Mark. "Polyjuice would be riskier than memory charms. It wears off, which might prove inconvenient. The safest thing is to get rid of the damned curse. It should be easy, with your resources...."

Moody grunted and pushed away from the table. "Killing you both now would save me a lot of trouble. That might yet be the best solution, though Dumbledore might disagree. I'll keep my eye on you... both of you. We'll get you sorted. In the meantime, this goes no further than us four. Tell no one. Play your parts well. Remember-all our lives depend on it." He rolled his eye over each man in turn and walked out, his clawed foot scratching his displeasure down the hallway.

"That went well," Remus sighed, picking up Moody's untouched coffee and drinking deeply.

"I can be you easily."

Remus sneered. "And I can be you."

"Then we have nothing to worry about."

January 5, 1997

"Well," Remus said, staring down his nose at his reflection. "Can I pass?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Can I pass for you?"

A sigh, and chocolate-brown eyes tore themselves from the musty book on the lectern. "We've been over this before. Just attempt to pretend that every one of those snot-nosed brats is out to get you. As they will think you're me, they will be out to get you. You'll be toughened up by the end of the week."

"Albus is completely off his rocker if he thinks I'll be able to teach Potions properly."

"You have a bleeding script to read from. And I will be watching the lessons and assisting." Severus shook his head in disgust. "I've been asking for a damned assistant since the Dark Lord revived, and there's never been enough gold in the coffers. Trust you to find a way to bollocks that up properly, too."

Remus shrugged, elegantly, and turned away from the mirror. "Let's see you do me. Go on. Give me a Lupin look." Severus glowered. "No. That's not a good Lupin at all. Stop scrunching up your eyebrows and smile a little. You don't want to look as if you're mocking people, you want to look inoffensive."

Severus scowled harder, just because he could. "You think about yourself far too much, Lupin. I'm not a bleeding stage actor."

"I would have thought that being a spy you'd be used to a certain amount of pretence." Remus paused, then chewed his lip thoughtfully. "Or weren't you pretending? Was it the same Severus Snape who worked for both sides? Or were you only working for your own side?" A smile bloomed terribly on his thin lips. "What a frightening thought. Does Dumbledore know?" he said in that low, silken drawl that made the hair on the back of Severus' neck stand up.

"Why are you so damned good at being me?" he asked, scowling again as he realised how plaintive that sounded.

Remus threw himself into a chair. "Practice. I have spent most of my life hiding--necessary if unpleasant. I have no desire to become a victim of discrimination or violence, and therefore I choose not to make myself a target. You may call it cowardice, or hypocrisy. But how would you like walking through Hogsmeade in that body? Or past the Slytherin dormitory?"

"The Slytherins... are best avoided, I believe."

"It bothers you that they don't know who you are."

"Being judged by appearance is not new to me, Lupin. But you seem to survive quite well despite the fact that you don't hide anymore."

Remus sighed and put his feet up on the table, ignoring Severus' black look. "I had no choice in being outed as a werewolf, thank you very much, and I still can't get a job. And I maintain a pleasant personality to endear myself to people." Remus summoned a Muggle beverage in a bright green tin and popped the tab noisily. "It's great fun to be you because I normally would never allow myself to get angry. Don't tell me you don't enjoy it."

"When I started teaching, anger served me well. I'm not sure enjoyment entered into the equation."

Remus gave him a sharp look. "You started teaching when you were twenty-one? Twenty-two? Your oldest students were at Hogwarts while you were still a student. I'm sure they tried to take the piss more than once." Remus paused, then summoned an identical drink and tossed it casually over.

"I'd seen worse things than seventh years by then, believe me." Severus fiddled with the tab; it hissed when it opened, and he sipped cautiously. "What did you do after Voldemort's fall?"

"I was inevitably driven out. Out of the country. For a few years. And that's really as far as I'd care to discuss it. With you."

"Who did you bare your heart to? Dumbledore?"

The laughter from Remus surprised Severus, and he coughed on his drink. Bubbles went up his nose. "You know I don't tell Dumbledore anything that would tarnish my image. He's got a very idealized view of me, you know. I hate to disabuse him."

"I suffer from the same impulse myself." Their eyes met, and Remus raised his can in a slightly mocking toast, which after a second Severus echoed.

"These drinks aren't alcoholic, are they?"

"No. It's just fizzy lemonade. Too sweet, but every now and then I get a craving. Albus stocks them in the kitchens. He claims it's to better console homesick Muggle students."


"Indeed." The smile they shared was knowing. And very nearly friendly.

January 7, 1997

The first day went well enough. Remus had channelled all his nervousness into snarling hostility. The students had reacted to Severus' presence with raptures about "Professor Lupin" but Remus had shut them up efficiently, at least in class. Severus suspected that he would be dodging Lupin fans throughout the course of the charade. He wasn't sure if he could handle being popular.

The lessons had not been brilliant, but Remus had not screwed up as badly as he might have, Severus thought. His grasp of theory at least was solid. They would have to rewrite the syllabus to reduce the number of practicums and increase lectures during Remus' inhabitation of his body. The number of explosions, leaks, injuries, and mistakes in the class were typical of an end-of-holidays lesson. Had he himself been teaching, he would have seized on the students' sloppiness and wrung it out of them. Remus had done a reasonable job, but intimidation was not his strong point.

The most disturbing thing was that the potions he had been brewing and teaching for his entire adult life had changed into nearly unrecognisable concoctions. Without the use of colour as a guide, and with the addition of a preternatural sense of smell (and the accompanying sense of nausea), Severus found himself as lost as Longbottom at times. He almost felt sympathetic for Remus, who had always been pathetic at potions in school. It was worrying.

After the last class scrambled out, Remus snatched up his wand and locked the door. He stood for a minute, pressing his fingers to his temples, and then summoned up a bottle and two glasses. He poured liberal drinks and offered one to Severus.

"It won't help with the headache," Severus said, pulling out a chair and dropping down heavily. He sipped his drink cautiously.

Remus gave him a sharp look. "Prone to headaches, are you?" Severus shrugged, taking a longer drink from his glass. "Alcohol doesn't have an adverse effect on your headaches, does it?"

"I rarely drink." Severus drained his glass and looked at it accusingly. "I'm not getting drunk here."

"Metabolism. As a werewolf, you'd have to be exceedingly dedicated to get even a buzz." Remus was still looking at the drink in his hand suspiciously. "When you say you rarely drink, that wouldn't be because alcohol does bad things to you, would it?"

"I usually find myself unable to move from my bed the next day for the blinding pain. Even blinking hurts. Can I have your drink, then?"

Remus handed it over. "What do you do to unwind?"

Severus tipped the glass up and finished it off. "Damn. I thought that I might be able to make your enforced company more bearable, but I see Black's preferred method of escape is denied me." He eyed Remus. "Define 'unwind'."

"Relax. Get rid of the damned headache."

Sighing, Severus pushed himself up. "I have a potion I can give you."

"I don't think I like being you." Severus suspected that some kind of less subtle insult would have been forthcoming if the promise of the potion hadn't been made.

Severus walked into the washroom and returned with a glass of dark green liquid. "I'm not exactly rapturous about this myself. Drink this."

"I'll never make it to Friday. This doesn't taste half bad."

"I drink it myself. With any luck we won't have to wait until Friday. Moody has people working on finding out what happened and how to undo it."

"Your faith is touching, but is there enough of this potion to last until Friday?"

"As soon as the headache's gone I'll show you how to brew it."

"Ah." Remus tried to look glum but merely looked grim. "That will be fun."

January 9, 1997

"The Slytherins... are starting to annoy me," Severus muttered, rubbing his fingers over the "die werewolf die" etched in copperplate script across the top of a worktable.

"Mm." Remus ran his wand over the desk. "Motomodore." The words slowly disappeared backwards. "Wouldn't it be nice if they could redirect all that energy into their lessons? I've had to speak with the Prefects about it at every single morning meeting. I think if they didn't get good tea and a sticky bun they would quit out of sheer frustration."

"What do you tell them?"

Remus shrugged. "Climate of suspicion, draw no attention, Headmaster watching, open your hearts to embrace love for other species, and so on. We are trying to find ways to encourage more tolerant behaviour in the House."

Severus snorted his scorn. "Well, I am glad that they are in your capable hands. I'm sure you'll accomplish what no House Head has been able to do in over a hundred years."

"It must be especially upsetting for you because they are your children, the Slytherins, and part of you must still want their respect and admiration. Having people cross the road to avoid you in Hogsmeade is at least impersonal prejudice. If it's any comfort, I am sorry."

"Doesn't this make you angry?" Severus waved a hand over the erased tabletop.

Lupin gave him a look, contempt mingled with disbelief. The face really added something, Severus thought. He supposed his expressions were the opposite, even the nasty ones made more pleasant by Lupin's countenance.

"Why should I be angry? Or care that people cringe from me?" He made a noise of frustration and dragged Severus into his private room to the wardrobe, flinging open the door so that they both faced the door-length mirror.

"Look in the mirror. When I look at this face, I see someone normal. Someone not diseased, someone untainted. Someone capable of being everything a normal human is. What do you remember before your seventh birthday?"

"Not bloody much, I imagine."

The thin mouth in the sallow face twisted. "Well, that is how much I remember about being human. Every conscious memory I have is replete with the awareness that I am an impostor among men. 'Don't let anyone find out' was my mantra. Being human at last feels damned good."

Severus snorted again-much less impressively than usual-and poked at his face. "You are overlooking the beak of a nose, the yellow skin, the crooked teeth-wait, what did you do to my teeth?"

Remus bared them. "And what magic couldn't fix I'm sure Hermione's parents could put right in a few months. Your skin is responding nicely to proper sunning and diet, too."

"And my hair, you've ruined my hair."

"Nonsense, just a good cut. Brings out your eyes. I overheard some Raveclaw third years remarking on how well you look after the holidays. 'Hot', I believe they said. I enjoy being in your body, Severus. I'm not going to abuse it."

"I thought we had an agreement on bodily integrity. Would you like some tattoos? How about piercings?"

"I haven't made any permanent changes, you know." He grinned, stretching Snape's face in unfamiliar and alarming ways. He poked Severus in the ticklish spot under his ribs. "Here's a question-haven't you always wondered what you were like in bed?"

Severus recoiled. "I cannot believe you'd suggest that."

"Why not? You know how to make this body hum, don't you? If the idea really bugs you, I could ask someone else." He shrugged. The gesture retained some of its former owner's elegance.

Severus opened and shut his mouth, looking thoroughly appalled. "Lupin," he said finally, and Remus thought, My god, I never knew that tobacco-and-whiskey voice of mine could be so seductive. "Promise me you would never-never do that." The brown eyes that blinked up at him had a certain coldness, but on the whole the vulnerable, pleading expression was very good.

Feeling Snapish, Remus pulled himself up and glared down his nose. "I'll promise if you can give me a good explanation."

"Because I-and my body-have never had sex." Severus crossed his arms and kept his face blank.

Remus grinned. He couldn't help it. "You mean-I'm a virgin again? No wonder this body's so good at wanking!"

"You didn't."

"I did. First thing I did. I wanted to see what you look like when you come. Hear the noises you make. See your cock go from soft to hard to rigid and leaking. Touch your body. Morning, noon, and night. Don't tell me you don't."

"Of course I don't. I have self-control."

"Thirty-seven years' worth, apparently. No wonder you're-" He looked at the ominous expression on Severus' face and stopped. "Do you secretly harbour romantic notions of finding your one true love, or is it just lack of opportunity?"

"You may be the first person ever to accuse me of being a romantic." Severus glared. "I live in a fucking boarding school, I don't get out much, and I hate most people most of the time. Including you."

"Do you hate me enough right now that you wouldn't be up to a little experimentation?" "I'd rather not lose my virginity to a werewolf, actually."

"That's a good start. Seeing as you are the werewolf, and I'm the virgin." Remus ran one hand over Severus' shoulders, stroking gently. "What do you consider losing your virginity, anyway?"

Severus' eyebrows shot up. "I assume you'd know."

"Well." Remus rested his other hand on Severus' hip. "I never was sure, exactly. Is it the first time someone jerks you off, or sucks you off, or fucks you? Or when you do the same to someone? All of the above, or none?" He bent his head slightly and bit Severus' ear. Not hard enough to hurt, exactly. Severus caught sight of his face in the mirror and slammed the wardrobe door shut.

"Mm. Bit of a distraction, that," Remus murmured against his neck. "This whole situation is like being in a mirror. I can't help but watch you, you know. I've never seen myself do so many things. It's fascinating."

"Yes. Like a building on fire."

"Definitely like a building on fire." Remus' hand was tracing patterns on Severus' thigh. "So-getting back to the virginity question-"

"You're not fucking me. My body. Or any body with me in it."

Severus was unprepared for Remus' wide grin. "Well. That gives us a lot of leeway, doesn't it?" The lazily tracing hand shifted and brushed against his crotch, and the strength went out of his legs. "It's alright if I touch you?" he whispered.

"Oh, god," Severus said, shutting his eyes because there were some things you don't want to see your body doing.

Remus nuzzled Severus' chin up. "Despite appearances, this is just me bringing myself off. Now, if you say, 'Remus John Lupin, stop', I'll take my hands away, that I promise. But you could trust me to know what will feel really, really good. Up. To. You."

He teased a finger under the waistband of Severus' trousers, rubbing the growing damp spot on the old, thin, barely-there underpants. Severus groaned, and his hips thrust against Remus' hand involuntarily. Remus pushed him back to lean against the desk. Then he swiftly dropped Severus' trousers and took himself in hand.

"Is this alright?" he asked, his hand moving slowly and intimately, and Severus shuddered.

"No-one-" he breathed out, "Never-"

Remus trailed his tongue along his jaw line. "You're on the slippery slope towards losing your virginity now, once the 'no-one' and 'never' becomes 'someone has.' We can still stop."

"Do you really want me to hex you?"

Remus chuckled. "I think I'd better not teach you any sex spells or you'll be a terror in bed." He moved his mouth along Severus' neck. "I'm going to try something different. I don't know if you'd be more or less shocked with open eyes." The heat of his mouth disappeared, and Severus heard the rustle of clothing.

"I nearly put my back out attempting this when I was fourteen," Remus said from about crotch-height, and licked Severus' cock from base to tip, swirling his tongue around the slit before sucking the head into his mouth. Severus cried out, his hands wrapping tightly in Remus' hair.

He looked down once and decided he never wanted to see himself do that again. But he still didn't want to lose the sensation, so he shut his eyes and pretended-well, the only thing he could think of pretending was that it was Remus doing those amazing things to make him feel as if he could fly apart any second. He didn't think that was much better. He decided to just sink into the sensation and not think. It was getting very hard to think anyway.

Remus mumbled something around the cock in his mouth, and Severus had no idea what he had said, but the vibration was enough to make his knees shake. Remus' tongue (my tongue, damn it! he thought) flowed around his cock like a snake, and the sucking, and--oh Merlin!--the swallowing.... Severus came, shouting with each spurt of cum, which Remus licked and swallowed hungrily, finally releasing his cock with a wet smack. Remus stood and grinned at the expression on Severus' face.

"You enjoyed that," Severus accused.

Remus shrugged. "Well, it is a teenaged fantasy, isn't it? Don't tell me you never tried to go down on yourself... never mind. My technique has improved considerably since then-lucky for you."

"You don't expect me to-to you... do you?" Severus yanked up his trousers and buttoned them defensively.

"I'm gay-and I do admittedly get off on cocksucking. I don't expect anything from you. Your cock and my hand have reached an agreement. But-if you get hard up-I'll be glad to take care of my cock as well. Anytime." He paused. "You aren't gay, are you?"

Regrettably, Remus' face showed a blush very well. "I don't know." And his voice didn't project the kind of menace that made people fear for their lives. It certainly didn't seem to be projecting the message "I don't want to know."

Remus smiled faintly. "This might be a good opportunity to figure that out, then." He leant forward and kissed Severus gently, opening his mouth so that the tip of his tongue could trace Severus' lips. He smelt of sex and cum.

Severus opened to him in the bold spirit of experimentation (and feeling very stupid), and then that tongue was in his mouth, stroking his tongue and teeth, and he was breathless and feeling that he ought to do something with his hands but no idea what. He had heard that people closed their eyes while kissing; it certainly was better than having to watch the person who was turning you inside out one breath at a time. And especially when the eyes watching you were your own.

At some point, Remus' hands found his shoulders and he found himself pulled chest to chest. It was warm. Remus' tongue withdrew and it turned into just a soft lip-kiss, and then Remus pulled back and he felt he ought to watch this bit so he opened his eyes again. Remus was smiling again, and traced his mouth with one finger.

"Now that's a surprise," Remus drawled in a fairly good Snapish manner. "When did you get so good at kissing?"

"I'm not going to kiss you again," he snapped.

Remus shrugged. "I'm not asking." He sighed and headed to the door. "I'll see you in the morning, then." Severus watched him go and then threw up the room's wards. As an afterthought, he added a silencing charm. He was hard again, and whatever might be said of the werewolf libido, he was not sure that that was entirely the reason.

The next day at lunch, a barn owl dropped a package in a plain brown wrapper beside Severus' bowl of pumpkin chowder. He opened the letter attached curiously.

This is a late birthday present. Whatever you do, don't open it in the Great Hall.

Severus had to pry up a corner of the wrapping and peek anyway. The lurid pink cover of a lurid sex manual peeked back, and he hastily stuck the paper down again. It was hard to get used to blushing. Remus was smirking at the other end of the teachers' table. Damn the man. And damn the three more hours of lessons left before he would have a moment alone.

Part 2: Knowledge of the gods

January 14, 1997

"Professor Lupin? Can I talk with you?" Lupin was short, and Harry had grown: Severus found himself almost able to look the boy straight in the eyes. The bottle-green eyes that were not James Potter's, although the face, the hair, and the body were identical. Not Potter, he thought like a mantra, not Potter.

What would Remus do? he thought, and repressed an urge to snarl.

He sighed, and then at Harry's faint wistful smile realised that he had not conveyed irritability but some kind of softer emotion. Regret, perhaps, or even sorrow. "Why don't we go into the office, Harry? I could murder a cup of tea." In place of your damned father and his friends, and especially Remus Lupin, who put me in this repulsive predicament.

Sitting behind the desk gave Severus some comforting distance, although it seemed to make Harry nervous. Wrapping his fingers around the too-hot teacup, letting the burn divert his anger, Severus managed a smile. "What can I do for you, Harry?"

Harry fidgeted, and Severus hoped he didn't douse himself in hot tea with all the leg swinging. "I just wanted to talk. The way you said. I know... last year, I said things I shouldn't have said. To you. And I wanted to apologize, and to talk."

Severus tried to maintain the patented Lupin smile of compassion, while the panicked back of his brain cursed fluently in the four languages he knew. What the bloody hell had Potter said to Remus? Well, it couldn't have been unforgivable-very little was, to Remus. "Don't worry about it, Harry. I know... you have a lot to deal with. I don't mind... your using me as an outlet . You need that."

Harry relaxed, his shoulders slumping. "It was good of you to invite me for Christmas. But I just couldn't've. I can't bear being in that house. I don't know how you stand it. There's not-it's not like a ghost or anything, there's just a gap. And no one will talk to me about him. Well. Usually I tell them to bugger off. Sorry, sir. I hate being understood. But I don't mind it from you."

Oh, bloody fucking hell, this was about sodding Sirius Black. Severus bit his lip, wondering if he dared risk Legilimency on the boy. Probably not, as Dumbledore seemed to be doing a damned good job and Potter would be bound to sense the intrusion. Potter was looking at him with compassion (or what passed for it in a teenager), and Severus could have cried. With rage. What did Potter know that he did not? What did Potter think-know--about the relationship between the godfather (what a weighted word that was!) he worshipped and the teacher he trusted-witness this absurd scene! Change the damned subject, Snape, he thought.

"I hope you had a good Christmas. Molly and Arthur think of you almost like one of their own. Though I suppose that can make you feel smothered, I suppose."

Harry blinked. "That's exactly it. Smothered. I've never had anyone take care of me before. I think it's too late now. I can't let myself become somebody's little boy. I wanted to, with Sirius. I might have, with you, if you hadn't ever-so-gently told me to shove off. I hated you for that. But I'm standing on my own feet now."

"Yes, Harry, you are." Severus ran his fingers through Lupin's hair, trying to appear nonchalant. He knew more of Harry's unhappy life than he wished, thanks to the failed Occlumency lessons. He knew how the boy who lived had wanted love and acceptance, family and friends. You cold bastard, Remus, he thought, how could you trust the boy to make the right decisions for himself? But it had worked. Harry was more serious this year, studying hard, preparing himself. The man he was becoming showed no signs of being twisted by his past. As Riddle had been. As Severus himself was. As Remus was. Please the gods he remained untwisted. "You are doing an excellent job of becoming your own person. Someone worthy of friendship-and love-for his own sake."

"Tell me that after I have become a murderer."

Don't cry on me, Potter, don't you bloody cry, Severus thought angrily. What would Remus do? He got up and went around the desk and hugged the boy, paranoid school rules about physical contact be damned. One does not maintain the position of Head of House without learning at least some rudimentary comforting skills, and Severus had been practicing on blubbering first-years for almost as long as Harry had been alive.

"Firstly, prophecies often have meanings other than the obvious. Don't limit yourself by thinking only that you have to kill. Secondly, anyone who could rid the world of Voldemort would be an even worse person if they let him live and keep propagating his brand of evil. Some of the best people I know are murderers." Present company included. Harry snuffled against Lupin's horrible cardigan. Good, Severus thought viciously, now I can bin it. "Dumbledore defeated Grindelwald-he didn't like it, I'm sure, but he did it." He ran one hand over Harry's hair. "You might want to talk to him about it. Voice of experience and all that."

"Well. Isn't this touching." That black-silk drawl could only be one person. "Do you not plan on helping with lesson preparations, Lupin? It is for your benefit. However, if you have better things to do...." Damn Remus for being frighteningly good at being me, Severus thought. And damn him for being too late to rescue me. He handed Harry his handkerchief.

"All right, Harry?"

Harry glared at the black-robed figure standing in the doorway. Remus looked at him impassively. Severus wondered what that effort cost him. "Yeah, I'll be all right, Professor. I need to run to Herbology anyway."

Severus gave him a hand up. "Can't have you missing classes. Take care." Harry ducked his head to avoid having to say anything to Remus as he slipped past him. The two men listened to his footsteps pounding on the stairs. Remus came in and sank down on the chair Harry had vacated. Severus flicked his wand at the door, warding and locking it.

"You did that very well, Severus. I'm surprised. Pleasantly surprised."

"I have absolutely no bloody idea what I just talked to the boy about." Severus dropped his head into his hands, rubbing his temples.

"It sounded spot-on to me. Love and responsibility. Growing up. Killing Dark wizards."

"And damned buggering Sirius Black."

"I missed the part about damned buggering Sirius Black. But you must have gotten that right as well, considering the boy didn't run away and was crying cathartically all over my jumper."

"I had absolutely no idea of what to say to him. What does he know? I don't know..." Severus' voice trailed off as he realised who he was talking to. "If I'm going to be you, I need to know. About you and Sirius Black."

There was a silence, followed by a sip. Severus looked up to see Remus nursing his own cup of hot tea. "Just because that makes sense doesn't mean that I wouldn't rather be ripped to shreds by Hungarian Horntails than tell you the sordid details of my life."

"I know." Severus' mouth twisted. "I do understand that much, Lupin."

He nodded. "Harry knows that Sirius and I were good friends in school, and that Sirius was the last left alive save myself and the rat. I feel no urge to expand on that. We were lovers, in school, and later." He shrugged.

"Love. Is that what it was?"

Remus sipped at his tea. "I think so, yes. Certainly life would have been easier if it wasn't. Imagine believing for twelve years that the person you love killed your three best friends. Every single day I prayed that he would just die. Just give up and die in Azkaban. That he kept living-it kept me from killing my love completely. And that love hurt."His voice trailed off, and he swallowed the last of his tea. He set the cup down on the desk with a final-sounding clink. "We do need to work on our lessons. The past week was a disaster. You'll need to run me through nearly all the potions coming up, I'm afraid."

Severus nodded, tersely. "You have the lesson plans. Set up the ingredients." He stood, stripping off the repulsive cardigan and rolling up his sleeves-how long had it been since he had had the freedom to do that? "And try not to keep me up all night this time, Lupin."

"Would you really mind being kept up all night? I might arrange some extracurricular lessons for you."

"Remedial Sex, Lupin?" He checked his list and started getting the ingredients from the stores.

"Have you been studying your textbook?" Remus moved cauldrons from their hooks to each of the front seven worktables.

"Here-these are for first year, put them on the far left. It may surprise you, Lupin, but like yourself with Potions, I do have a fairly good grasp on theory."

"A practicum could be arranged." Remus shrugged, and cutting boards and knives appeared. "You can feel free to go and experiment with whomever you like. I haven't noticed anyone queuing up outside your bedroom door, but my body has been known to attract attention. Male or female, if you still aren't sure. And I'm not a virgin, so you can get your experience and still be pure on your wedding night." He took the second and third year ingredients from Severus.

"The thought of doing... any of that with a complete stranger is... repulsive."

"I tend to feel that way myself. Is there anyone you've had your eye on?"

"I don't look. Really, Lupin. Who would have me?" Severus found it convenient to be in the storeroom and not have to look Remus in the face.

"Who would have you?" Remus mocked softly. "A well-placed academic. Respected in his field. Responsible. Dedicated."

"Death Eater. Ugly as sin and twice as mean." Fourth and fifth year done and laid out. Only the advanced seminars to go.

"When you look at this body I'm wearing, do you think it's ugly?"

Severus didn't look, he was busy trying to find centipede extract. "You've made improvements."

"I had good material to start with. You just needed some polishing, that's all. I think you owe your body an apology."

Severus set the last ingredients out himself: the upper-level potions were the most volatile. "That sounds like one of those ridiculous pop-psychology seminars Umbridge inflicted on the staff with numbing regularity. Emotional Intelligence. Inner Child. The Muggle Culture Sensitivity Seminars had nothing on the trust games that woman instigated."

Remus was leaning against the fourth-year table, watching him. "We could play trust games. Do you trust me?"

"Not of my own free will, no." Remus gave him a level look and waited. "You haven't screwed up yet." The pause dragged out. "The evidence does seem to indicate that you are trustworthy," he muttered, grudgingly.

Remus gave him a brilliant smile, which was rather like being swooped at by a bird of prey. "We can do the potions later, then. Let's go to the bedroom." He turned and stalked off to Severus' private room, not bothering to look back. Severus hesitated.

He could ignore the distraction and do some work. Or he could follow Remus to the bedroom.

The thought of the pink sex manual, bookmarked and left on the nightstand, came into his mind. I could just go up to the astronomy tower and jump. He sighed, and crossed slowly to the bedroom door. Entering, he shut it behind him and felt Remus' wards go up.

Remus was stripping, and Severus watched. He had never been comfortable naked: it always made him feel as if he were about to be attacked. It was decidedly odd to see himself so very comfortable unclothed. The body language was different and, he had to admit, sexy.

Remus gave him an amused look. "Need some help?" He crossed to where Severus stood and began unbuttoning his shirt. Severus scowled and pushed his hands away, perfectly capable of undressing himself. Remus undid his belt and trousers instead and pushed them down, and then hooked his thumbs under the waistband of his underpants and shoved them down, kneeling as he did so to take Severus' erection in his mouth.

Severus forgot about his shirt, forgot to be embarrassed, forgot everything under the onslaught of Remus' tongue. His knees shook under the strain of staying upright. Remus' fingers dug into his arse to hold him still. Severus whimpered; he couldn't help himself. Remus pulled back, standing and kissing Severus quickly before he could protest his abandonment. He pulled him towards the bed, shoving Severus down on top of the sheets and sitting beside him.

"For a virgin you did that very well."

"I read a book," Severus said absently, and Remus laughed.

"I'll buy you another book, then."

"Is it always like that?"

Remus turned on his side and traced runic patterns on his stomach. "In the best of all possible worlds it is always like that."


"So, it was worth the wait?"

"Don't think I spent my whole life waiting for you, Lupin."

"I would never." Remus kissed him, and if it was possible for a kiss to be cheeky, then it was that kind of a kiss. "I'm going to take a shower." He slipped out of bed and pulled Severus with him to the bathroom.

"I've never taken a shower with anyone."

"Well, this is just the day for firsts, isn't it?" Remus set the water scaldingly hot. "In you go. We have a long night of potion-making ahead of us. And if I have to smell you smelling of sex I will go mad."

Severus ducked his head to rinse his hair, and smiled.

January 16, 1997

Remus walked out of the classroom for the third time during the brewing of the Elevating Draught. Severus glared at his retreating back. Shoddy teaching, to make the assistant tend to the students, never mind that in this case the assistant was more familiar with the potion than the teacher. The Elevating Draught was a vivid yellow, one of the few colours the werewolf's eyes registered. He was not seeing much yellow now: with their professor's comings and goings, the discipline of the class had dropped notably.

"Well, you are a lot of fools today, aren't you?" The near-whisper from behind a tiny Ravenclaw made her jump and much shattering of glassware resulted. In the stricken silence that followed the squeaks of the caged mice on the desk echoed loudly. "Detention, Miss Blunwood. Can anyone tell me the proper method for quartering the kabuto beetles? No one?"

He is far too good at being me, Severus thought bleakly, looking at a perfect ten-point sneer.

"Mr Lipp, would you read line five on the board for me?"

Remus proceeded to belittle, insult, and harass the class into realizing where their potions had gone wrong, and then assigned two rolls of parchment on the potion, its brewing, and practical applications. Severus rolled his eyes: it wasn't as if Remus did his own marking, after all.

The students silently cleaned the laboratory while Remus paced the room irritably. Finally he swore under his breath, yanking off his robe and throwing it onto the desk. The class froze: Snape just wasn't Snape without the robe. He might just as well have stripped naked. He wore a green short-sleeved shirt (that's not mine, Severus thought resentfully), and his left arm was wrapped in bandages. Severus flinched. Not in front of the children, Remus, please not in front of the children.

Remus snapped his wand at the blackboard and it wiped itself clean. "What are you all looking at? This class is dismissed. Two rolls of parchment, next Monday," he called after the fleeing class.

"Do you call that teaching?"

Remus fixed a level black gaze on him. "If you want to go Obliviate that class, be my guest. They certainly didn't learn the potion." With a practiced laziness, he locked and warded the door. "Did I scare them, do you think?" Remus walked wearily into the office, where Dumbledore's Pensieve sat on the desk. "How many memories can one of these hold, anyway?"

"It looks nearly full. Is that what you were doing in class?"

"Mm." Remus sat down again and began the slow process of extracting memories and dropping them in. "The Memory Charm will help, I think, but the less actual memory there is to disguise, the better." He set down his wand, looking a bit unfocused, and rubbed at the bandages over the mark. "It feels like a Portkey. A very insistent Portkey."

"For Merlin's sake hurry up and go. You are asking for trouble you can't imagine."

"On the contrary." Remus gave Severus a coldly logical glare. Without the memories in the Pensieve, his eyes were sharper and colder. "Based on my own and Dumbledore's study of your reports, I am hopefully asking for trouble I can imagine." He pulled a stack of parchments out of a drawer and dropped them in front of Severus. "Precedents. Vol-the Dark Lord has, since the Mysteries debacle, removed himself from the direct punishment of his minions. He instead gives the oversight of punishment as a reward."

"I know." Severus shoved the parchments away.

"Yes, I didn't think everything was in your reports, Severus," Remus purred, and smiled in an oddly toothy way-his teeth, Severus noted with a start, had been returned to their original snaggliness. Odd what a difference that made. "Saying that your school duties kept you here is reasonable-even Voldemort" (Remus winced as the Dark Mark flared) "ought not to expect his well-placed spy to leave in the middle of classes. But neither can he overlook disobedience." Remus shrugged. "I don't want to be with Vol--him tonight. Anything is preferable to having him decide to riffle through what's left of my mind."

"So you're trying to get me punished? Dolohov is a pervert, and Macnair is a sadist. Black is a deeply psychopathic individual. Pettigrew-well, you know more about him than I do. Crabbe and Goyle are thugs. Malfoy... can't say no. And the rest are just as bad."

"Would you be ordered killed for this?"

Severus frowned. "No."

"Would he be willing to lose you as his spy over this?"

The pause this time was longer. "I don't think so. But-"

Remus' mouth curled in a trademark Snape sneer. "I'm ready now, I think. Cast the last charms and I'll go."

Remus made a last pass through his memories and dropped one long strand in the Pensieve. Severus spoke the memory charm and then cast the Simularicon Charm rapidly afterwards. The confused blankness of Remus' face twisted into a scowl.

"Test your work, Lupin."

Severus raised his wand. "Legilimens."

He was hit by a blinding wave of his own transplanted emotions-anger, frustration, slights felt, revenge. Beyond that... it was hard to penetrate, thank the gods, although he had no doubt that if Voldemort put his mind to it that shield would buckle and fail. Severus withdrew.

"It might hold. Don't get me killed, Lupin."

"Worry about your own werewolf neck. I can take care of myself." Remus pulled on Severus' travelling cloak-he disdained the Death Eater mask as needlessly theatrical-and swept out of the room. The door whispered shut behind him. Severus took four deep breaths, cleared his mind, and set to work on the pile of essays on the desk. He went through two pots of red ink.

He taught the lessons the next day and enjoyed terrorizing the students with no pretence of acting Lupine. After the first detentions awarded-including a third of the Hufflepuff fourth years-the students cringed in a suitable manner and kept their heads and irritating waving hands down. It was harder to stalk and swoop in Lupin's body, but by the mid-afternoon NEWT seminar he had it perfected.

And Remus still wasn't back yet.

Peter, Remus thought dizzily, it would have to be Peter. Dull, plodding, black-heated Peter. Left hand of the Dark Lord. Remus wondered what Severus had done to make Peter hate him so much. Later on he realised that Peter was no longer calling him "Severus" but "Sirius", and he would have laughed if he could. What a farce my life is turning out to be, he thought woozily.

Remus lost count of the number of times he was enervated, returned to pain upon pain. It might have been days or perhaps only really intense hours. When finally it became unbearable and he felt himself slip away, he thought of it as a blessed release.

He became vaguely aware of high-pitched yelling and cracked open the eye that wasn't glued shut with blood. Saved by Bellatrix Black! Oh, Severus is going to enjoy this story, he thought. But the next face that swam into view was framed by long blond hair, and he felt himself poked disdainfully by thin aristocratic fingers. "Better get rid of him," he heard that cultured voice say, and then he was in the dark and cold, and he couldn't tell if the wet was from rain or blood. Sorry, he thought, sorry, sorry, always so sorry....

January 18, 1997

Waking, he thought, Severus will be angry, look what I did to his body. He shifted, or tried to. Even with the healing potions and protective spells, his back burnt with pain.

"Are you awake?" A hoarse voice, low.

"Severus," he tried to say, but it came out only as a sibilant squeak.

"I'd touch you, but the healers made me swear not to disturb their work. Which is most of you."

He tried saying Severus again. His mouth felt funny, and then he realised he must be teething, re-growing the teeth that had been kicked out or shattered. Shouldn't have bitten, he thought dizzily. His lower lip was still there, though he remembered it hanging loose. He felt something soft press to his face, and fingers stroking his hair.

"Don't cry, a Snape never cries, and you don't want salt in any of these raw places."

"Severus," he said again, but this time it was more of a sigh. At least those gentle fingers stayed with him until consciousness fled again.

January 19, 1997

When he woke next he could move his fingers and toes. They were stiff but functional, and he thanked the gods. He blinked in the dim light. Dim institutional light, filtering through functional institutional blinds. St Mungo's, he supposed, and reminded himself that Snape was human, that the healers would not be making snide remarks about veterinarians over this body.

His head wouldn't turn. Something was preventing him. He raised his right hand and touched padded blocks pressed above his ears. His hand shook with the effort, and he let it fall, landing on his shoulder.

He heard footsteps, and the door opened and shut. A very worn-looking Severus came into his view.

"Severus." This time he was sure he had the name right, although it was barely a whisper. Severus took a glass from the side table and pressed a straw into Remus' mouth.

"It's just water. Drink."

Remus did, greedily, and dribbled horribly down his neck. Severus blotted him efficiently, and put the cup back when he came up for air.

"I'm sure you want your body back now, don't you?" Severus took his wayward hand, lowering it but not letting it go.

"No." Remus tried to shake his head. "No. I was very glad-to spare you pain. Peter-Peter thought you were Sirius. I don't know if Vol-he created that illusion or if Peter's gone mad. He really hated Sirius. I hadn't realised that."

Severus winced. "Malfoy moved you. We came as soon as we got the message. Pettigrew nearly killed you."

Remus breathed a laugh. "Dark Lord's orders-no killing, no crippling. I took some comfort in them, let me tell you."

The hand holding his trembled, as if with the effort of not bearing down. "I'm afraid Pettigrew was not as literal as you might have wished, Remus. You're going to have a bad limp for a while, I'm afraid. And scars. Ones that won't fade away."

"Have I ruined your pretty face, Severus?"

Severus' lips quirked. "We made sure the healers saved your pretty face. Althoug my poor nose, after miraculously surviving intact after so many years as a tempting target, finally did get broken." He leant back in his chair. "The other scars you'll be able to cover up. You were a bloody mess when they found you. You're lucky to be alive."

"I'm not sure I feel lucky. Bludgered is how I feel. I wouldn't mind some kinky hospital comfort sex," Remus said thoughtfully. "Take my mind off things."

"Not today, I think." Severus brushed the hair back from his face. "Today I think you should make do with lying down."

"Just remember, I don't have the strength to wank properly."

"You don't have the strength to get it up in the first place, you idiot." Severus cupped Remus' cheek and leant forward to kiss him. Remus got his arms up and hugged Severus as tightly as he could. Not tightly at all, really: he couldn't have wrung out a wet tea towel. But Severus hugged him back as well as he was able, considering bandages and head-wedges and mysterious tubes that recalled Muggle medicine at its worst. Severus was warm and gentle and here, and Remus was content.

January 20, 1997

Severus had reluctantly given up handing out detentions. What he lost in terms of classroom terror he gained in time that could be spent at the hospital. Another day or two more and Remus could return to Hogwarts and be placed under Pomfrey's watchful eye.

It was odd, and somehow ominous, that the dungeon rooms which had made a satisfactorily solitary retreat for over half his life no longer soothed but irritated. It was odd that he had stopped avoiding Remus' room (in an inconvenient corridor off the middle of the Ravenclaw stairs, and almost directly above the kitchens) and instead found a kind of peace in being there, reading Remus' books. Sleeping in Remus' bed. And it was distinctly odd that he looked forward to the evenings at St Mungo's. There were so many other, better things he could be doing with his time.

"Orange, Severus?"

"Aren't there any apples in there?"

Remus tipped the contents of an enormous fruit basket on the sofa between them. "There's a green one, and a red one."

Severus grabbed one of them and bit it loudly. "You only say that to annoy me."

"No, I'm showing off that I can tell the two apart now. Professor Iocaine would be proud of me."

"You're still rubbish at potions."

"Speaking of which, you are taking the Wolfsbane?"

"Yes." Remus looked at him expectantly. Severus looked back, chewing contentedly on his apple. "What?"

"Nothing. Moody still hasn't figured out what happened, I take it."

"Don't worry about it. We both knew..."


"So don't worry. At least it's something that can be planned for. It's not like having a psychopath kicking you in the face with boots on. You know, the threat of sudden irrational violence has been a hold Voldemort has had on me for years. My absolute craven terror of being hurt. Humiliated. Of having to beg for mercy."

"If it's any comfort, I never begged, either Voldemort or Pettigrew. I assumed it'd do no good anyway. By the time I got around to considering it, I couldn't talk anyway."

Severus went pale. "Surely you're not trying to reassure me that my reputation as a Death Eater is intact? I am not so inhuman as to give a damn. I do care that horrors have been visited upon you."

Remus leant over and kissed Severus, who seemed to have segued into his lover with a remarkable lack of protestation. Funny damn world. "But I'd rather not dwell on the horrors, Severus. And the body thing gives me a chance to pretend that it didn't happen to me. Not that I'm pretending it happened to you. Just... let it go. Make love to me. Please?"

"I would. But we can't. Look at you, you're practically falling over."

"Not all of me, some bits are rising to the occasion."

"Oh! Well. That's a sign of recovery. Shall I go get the Healer?"

Remus grabbed him. "Don't you dare...! Stop smirking, that wasn't funny at all." He pushed himself to his feet, noting with envy how effortlessly Severus stood and took his weight with a strong arm around his waist. Ten steps to the bed, the room was claustrophobically small. One tug on the belt of his dressing gown and he was naked. Two hands around Severus' waist and he was pressed down against the bed by the weight of a werewolf. One mad passionate snog just because he could.

"Take off your clothes."

Severus grumbled and set wards and silencing charms on the door that probably made alarms go off somewhere in the hospital, but the intent was definitely hopeful. Remus tugged at the buttons on his shirt, but stopped as Severus took over quickly and efficiently. And then he was lying at his side, naked, and looking adorably shy. Remus turned those words over in his head--Severus Snape, adorably shy--and decided to hide them deep, deep down where no Legilimens would ever find them.

"I'm not going to fuck you."

Remus raised an eyebrow. "Cock-tease."

"Idiot. You have healing lash marks all down your back, among other injuries. And this body is too strong--I'd hurt you."

Remus wrapped one hand around Severus' cock and began moving slowly--not threatening, exactly. "Tell me you have a plan."

"You can fuck me."

Remus looked at him, trying desperately to make the face have that Lupine expression of sincere concern. He thought it probably looked too much like a leer. "Are you sure?"

"Well, there do seem to be some advantages." Severus shifted, rolling on top of Remus, taking his weight on his hands. "As you keep pointing out, I am not technically a virgin. So it shouldn't hurt as much."

Remus pulled his head down and kissed him, his hand still idly stroking Severus' cock. "I can make it not hurt at all." His other hand found a nipple and teased it to hardness. "I can make it good for you."

Severus looked down and cocked an eyebrow. "You'll excuse me if I profess a certain degree of ignorance."

"Trust the body, Severus, there's nothing it likes better than a good shagging." Remus reached for his wand. "Now, this'll feel a bit strange, but trust me it'll make things a lot easier." He said the spells and grinned at Severus' face as they came into effect. "Not bad, eh? Let's just check that that worked." He reached down with both hands, pressing one across Severus' lower back, holding him in place while one long finger buried itself deep in Severus' arse. Severus was relaxed and inviting and wet. Remus slid a second finger in and twisted his hand in a way that made Severus cry out.

"What the hell are you-Aah!" Severus bent forward, his head pressed down onto Remus' chest, gold and silver sweat-damped hair tickling as Remus breathed. Remus finger-fucked him slowly, enjoying the sound of Severus' ragged breathing, and the way he began to push back, wanting more.

"I think you're ready, love."

"Do you?"

"Yes." Remus removed his hand and Severus growled: he couldn't help himself. "Now. If you would just sit up and raise your hips. Just like- that, very good." Remus held his cock up and moved one hand to Severus' hips. "Now bear down-oh god-"

Severus' smirk was wicked. "Do stop thrashing about. This is supposed to be therapeutic."

Remus had both hands on Severus' hips and thrust up as best he was able; he meant to do better, but the damn body wasn't working right. "Sadist. More. Now."

Severus lowered himself another inch, then another, and then Remus was in him entirely as Severus arched backwards, biting his lip.

"All right?"

Eyes coffee-dark with passion looked down at him. "I feel... very full."

"I'll give you full." It was a crooked kind of thrusting, Remus thought, one side of him conspicuously not assisting at all, but Severus matched his rhythm-thank god for fast learners-and it was good and sweet; and then harder; and Remus was fisting Severus' cock (familiar old friend that it was) while his other hand traced the sensitive line of Severus' inner thighs (a Remus-body thing, he'd found, that not many others shared or understood; but a feathery touch here and the pressure of fingernails there undid him every time). Severus was growling again, deep in his throat, and Remus thrust up hard while his one hand pinched that exquisitely sensitive spot there and his other pumped his cock mercilessly. Severus gave a guttural cry with the force of his orgasm, his cock jerking hard as cum shot over Remus' chest, his body convulsing, his head thrown back.

Remus thought it was one of the most erotic sights he'd ever seen, definitely in the top ten (orgasm looked good on him, damn it!), and he thrust up desperately, grabbing Severus' hips and pulling him down hard as he came. It was a little embarrassing to find himself crying out Severus' name with each hard pulse of his cock. Severus leant forward and kissed him, no longer fastidious-more in the manner of one starved as his mouth devoured Remus'. Breathless and dizzy, Remus clung to Severus' sweat-slicked back and returned the attack enthusiastically. The hard muscles of Severus' stomach (my stomach, he lamented) pressed hot against his own, slick with sweat and cum. Severus made a small back-of-the-throat noise as Remus' cock slipped free.

"Stay and sleep with me."

Severus stared down at him. "You are incorrigible. And a mess."

Remus fumbled for his wand. "Here. Clean us up. And stay with me."

"The healers will be shocked."

"Do you think they don't know? At least let me hold you until I fall asleep."

"I'll do that."

It took a good bit of shifting for them to find a position that was comfortable for both without any limbs dangling off the mattress. Severus' fingers brushed over healing bruises and livid new scars, the odd dimple in Remus' hip where the healers had done an excellent job, really, never mind that pieces of bone were still missing. Remus covered his hand with his own. "I'll do a better job of being you next time."

"You're not going back to him." Severus' voice was low and dangerous.

Remus smiled. "I've learnt my lesson about punctuality." He ran his fingers through the familiar greying hair. "It's all right. I will do what I must."

January 22, 1997

In the end, they apparated back to a point just beyond the Hogwarts wards and walked up the hill. It was late afternoon, and the winter sun shone white in a clear blue sky. The air was cold enough to make their breath puff like steam. Remus wore a disreputable Muggle coat that he had asked Moody to bring from Grimmauld Place. Severus had protested until Remus pointed out the difficulties of walking on a crutch in robes and a cloak. "And it's still your arse that'll get bruised if I fall down," he'd said, and that settled it. It wasn't as if the students would only be gaping at the coat.

"Lucius and Bellatrix saved me--well, you," Remus said. "Why?"

Severus gave him a level stare. "Black and I obviously had... one glaring common interest. Malfoy is the closest I have to a brother. My best friend. He risked his son to relay your whereabouts, and risked a return to Azkaban for himself. He risked the Dark Lord's displeasure in letting you go--although obviously Pettigrew is at fault."

Remus snorted. "Obviously." He ran one finger along the scar on his forehead. It itched. "Then Malfoy doesn't doubt your loyalties."

"On the contrary, this escapade makes me question the strength of Malfoy's loyalty to Voldemort. If I could turn him...." Severus looked down. "He is a good man, with some unfortunate beliefs. He has a low tolerance for stupidity. But even if he wanted to be free--he's in too deep."

Remus drew a breath. "The war is about freedom. I do recognize that he has the right to his unfortunate beliefs--so long as he does not inflict them on others. Knowing his best friend is now a half-breed werewolf... would that help or hinder?"

Severus shivered. "I don't know. Unless he has had a rather drastic epiphany, I doubt that he would mind losing either your mind or body-or both-to restore me to mine. He would be capable. He knows his Dark Arts."

"So do you." Remus tipped his head, giving Severus a quizzical look. "But you did not consider that an option?"

"No," Severus ground out.


"My motives are, as ever, purely selfish," Severus said in a low voice. "I do not want more murder on my soul." He glanced up at Remus through the silvering hair that fell across his face. "And I have come to think of you... as well... as my friend."

Remus reached out and touched Severus' face, cupping one cheek, half-smiling as he felt Severus lean into that touch. "I am honoured to be your friend." But the shadow of the castle fell over them, and Remus hurriedly dropped his hand. He had meant to arrive before classes ended, but it had taken longer than he anticipated to climb the hill. The echoes of student footfalls could already be heard, together with shouts and the banging of doors. "Into the gauntlet, then."

"Keep my chin up."

Part 3: What has been brought to pass

January 23, 1997

Severus choked down the last of the Wolfsbane. Remus smirked. "Not one of those potions you'd never notice in your tea, is it?"

"It's not the taste that kills, it's the aftertaste." Severus rinsed his mouth out with an iodine solution that worked partially, and spat. "Bloody hell."

"How are you feeling? It's normal to have muscle cramps, joint pain, headache, and restlessness. A certain degree of nausea, which is why you shouldn't eat in the eight hours before the change. Feeling fear is also normal. Even after thirty years, it still terrifies me. I imagine it must be bad for you."

Severus fixed Remus with a glare. "It's going to happen irregardless of my feelings. Kindly refrain from attempting to influence them."

"Mm. It can't be stopped." Remus wondered if Severus would have a full-fledged panic attack before he admitted to being afraid. "Why don't you lie down?"

Severus grumbled but stretched out on his stomach as directed, and Remus straddled his hips. His hands stroked gently down the length of Severus' back, and then began to knead the muscles gently.

He worked down each arm, to the tips of each finger which he rolled between his own until they felt light and boneless.

Then he shifted down the bed, and repeated the process with each toe and worked his way slowly up to the ankles. The long leg muscles were squeezed and released until Severus was unsure whether he would be able to stand by the time Remus finished.

Remus was careful, this time, to avoid all the ticklish places up the insides of his thighs, instead concentrating his touch in a way that felt drugging.

He kneaded Severus' arse, until all tension was gone.

Then he rolled Severus over onto his front.

His hands rubbed lightly over his face, pressing at the temples and the tension-spot between the eyes.

Then he worked down his neck and shoulders, and then, very carefully, his chest.

Finally, he took hold of Severus' insistent erection and very gently brought him to orgasm.

"Feel better?"

Severus tugged at his arm, because that involved the least movement. "I have melted," he informed him, his voice low and sleepy.

Remus snorted and leaned down to kiss him. "You are like a magnet for tension."

"Habit of a lifetime."

"Habits can be broken."

"I think we can say that you have thoroughly broken me."

Remus curled up at his side, one hand sliding across his stomach. "Let's take a nap."

"You'd make a good cat," Severus muttered, but he couldn't keep his eyes open.


It was darkening when Severus awoke to a pull in his gut that blossomed into a feeling part pain and part fear. He tensed--naturally--and Remus, wrapped around him, opened his eyes.

"You're undoing all the work I did."

"I feel sick."

"Moonrise soon," Remus agreed. "Take a shower with me?" He pulled Severus up out of the bed, to which he had become quite attached. Remus turned the water up almost hot enough to scald, and the fire of it against his skin made Severus want to weep with relief.

Remus dried him thoroughly with a towel, and then matter-of-factly took him to the safe room.

"I'll be with you as long as I can," he said. "I hate the restraints, and I know the wolf does too, but they're safer. You won't hurt yourself."

Severus breathed in through his nose.

Remus looked at him and away. "Don't fight it. Trust the body to know what to do. I wish I remembered my first time, but I don't, so I've no advice to give."

"I don't want to do this."

Remus kissed him. "Shh. It's all right, it's all right." He was still holding and kissing him as he fastened the collar which was chained to the wall. He held him until the first shudders of the change came, and Severus became aware of the smell of blood and prey, despite all that Remus had done to scrub it away.

Remus wrenched back and away from his hands (which for some reason had dug into the flesh of Remus' arms) and he felt abandoned. And then the change was upon him entirely, and he was consumed.

Remus forced himself to watch as his cursed body pulled Severus apart. He had never seen a transformation before, always having been occupied at the time. It was terrible to watch. Especially to watch and to know that nothing could be done to help.

The wolf was angry, despite the calming potion. It howled for hours before it would let Remus near. He spent much of his time leaning out the window and looking at the full moon, bloated and orange at first, and then cold silver. It didn't look like the face of a man, or a rabbit, or any of those things. It looked scarred and cold. Now that he could finally see it, Remus decided that he didn't like it all that much. The full moon was overrated. He'd take the stars instead.

In the morning, Severus transformed in the bed, too bound by his own pain to damper his moans and screams, or to control his flailing limbs. Remus brushed back sweaty hair and rubbed Severus' stomach. He spoke comforting words until Severus' breathing was less like sobs.

"That wasn't so bad." Severus' voice was a ragged whisper. Remus held the soothing painkilling potion that Poppy had prepared to his mouth, and he drank it all. He breathed slowly for a minute, and as the potion took effect he relaxed into the bed.

"Severus-you just turned into a wolf, and back again."

"And it wasn't as bad as you led me to believe. I imagine you're prejudiced, having experienced most of your transformations under less-than-ideal circumstances."

"It still hurts like hell."

"Yes, but it's only pain, and it has a start and an end. You can surrender to it. It's not torture."

"Good practice, though."

"Of course, with the Cruciatus Curse, my bones didn't all reform, dragging the muscles along."

"I'm sorry, love. I'd have spared you that if I could."

Severus gave a cough that might have been a laugh. "But we never can. How can you stand loving someone if you can't keep them from getting hurt?"

Remus hugged him gently. "Love isn't about protection. Love is no protection at all. Love is bearing and enduring and helping to bear and endure."

"Charming sentiment."

"My parents' only child was a werewolf. Our family philosophy was perhaps different from most."

"What happens now?"

"You get to stay in bed and recover."

"So-that's it? A bit of pain, being a wolf, more pain, and breakfast in bed?" The corner of his mouth twitched in amusement. "Pretty good deal."

"Yes. Good thing you get to do it again in twenty-eight days. Thirteen times a year. I was looking forward to my 500th lunation before all this."

"Good god." Severus shut his eyes. "I'd rather not think about that right now, thank you." He paused and shot a look at Remus. "But I still think you whinged more than necessary to get sympathy."

"Ha! Well, if you can joke about it we might as well go downstairs to eat."


"What?" He stood with his shoulders back and arms crossed, and Severus thought he looked bloody gorgeous. He was a narcissist--who knew?

"Don't go. I don't feel well enough to get up yet."

"Oh, really?" Remus' eyes narrowed.

"Physically I feel battered. But I don't feel beaten mentally." He gave Remus a sharp look. "I could live with this."

"It's the Wolfsbane."

"I don't plan on testing the alternative. Come here and keep me warm."

"You need to eat first. I'll get you breakfast."

"Knew you would."

"Up yours."


Remus summoned a platter of food from the kitchens. The scent of sweet fruit and sausages filled the room. "I'm a bad influence on you, aren't I?" he said, smiling.

"Yes. Feed me now. Fuck me later."

January 26, 1997

"The Polyjuice is ready, Lupin."

Remus looked up from the stack of papers he was impatiently grading-sometimes he felt as if he might just as well tip the pot of red ink out over all of them. "Shall we try it, then?"

"Yes." Severus held out a goblet that matched the one in his hand.

Remus took it up, then smirked. "We need to get undressed. At least you do. Those clothes will never fit me. You." He looked disconcerted for a moment. "Let's go in the bedroom."

"It's the potion we're testing, you know, not your degree of perversion." But he followed Remus through the bedroom door, shutting and warding it carefully.

"Ha! Though I'll tell you, polysex is definitely not my kink. Knowing you're not who someone wants to be with, just a convenient body with a bad gag reflex. It's degrading."

"But you've done it." Severus kept his face blank.

"How do you think I knew the poly formula for werewolves?" Remus shrugged and put the goblet down on the nightstand. Expressionless, he twisted several hairs around his fingers and pulled them out. He dropped them one by one into the muddy broth and it foamed. "There." Severus paused, then did the same. Remus' hair made the potion turn yellow. Of course. Severus set his goblet down next to Remus' and began taking off his clothes, folding them neatly on the chair. After a moment, Remus slipped off the robe he wore and added it to the pile. Severus glanced sideways at him.

"Are we arguing about something?"

"No. Maybe. I'm not sure what I feel about being in my body again."

"It isn't a permanent solution. You don't really want to keep those scars all to yourself, do you?"

"Just because they're on your body doesn't mean they're not my scars."

"You earned them."

"Damn straight. Probably better to do this lying down. Shall we?" Remus took his goblet and sat down on the far side of the bed. He raised the goblet to his mouth.

Severus took up his goblet and drained it, replacing it on the nightstand quickly. It was not unlike drinking mud, or perhaps the sludge that accumulates in sewers: it left his teeth horribly fuzzy. He was dimly aware of Remus drinking as well, and then the change hit.

It was not as painful as the werewolf transformation, but it was unpleasant to find his body twisting out of shape. Into shape. Severus blinked as the world came back into colour. He looked at Remus, who looked rather stunned.

"I'd forgotten about the post-transformation aches."

"This hip injury twinges just a bit."

"So, how does it feel to be tall, dark, and handsome again?"

"How does it feel to be short and hairy?"

"Short, hairy, and sexy." Remus stretched in a very feline way, for a wolf. "It all comes back to me."

"I want a mirror."

Remus grabbed his wand and cast a charm on the ceiling. As it shimmered and solidified, he cast an apologetic glance at Severus. "Souvenir of a misspent youth."

"I don't want to know.... The scars don't hurt as much as I thought."

"Let me see my--your--back."

"It's pretty bad."

"Can't be worse to see than to feel." Remus pushed at Severus' shoulder until he obliged by rolling halfway on his side. Remus traced the lash marks with a finger, gently, and then leant forward to trace them with his tongue. Severus shivered and rolled back.

"That bothers you?" Remus teased.

"It makes me think of you." Think of Remus under the lash.

Remus stilled and turned on his side to look at Severus. He reached out and with gentle fingers traced a line down Severus' face. "I've learnt a lot about your body. Good things, Severus. Shall I show you?"

He leant forward and bit down at the base of Severus' neck. Severus yelped. Remus' mouth moved over him, biting and licking, tasting his sweat. His nipples were teased by the sharp of Remus' tongue to painful straining hardness, and then the tongue trailed down to swirl his navel, making his stomach muscles contract. Severus wrapped his once-again long fingers in Remus' thick, unruly hair, pushing insistently down.

Remus grinned, and slid down--and down.

"Where are you go--ah!" The tongue slid across the ticklish arch of his foot, but the sensation was... definitely... not ticklish. Each toe was in turn clamped in teeth and sucked. And then his other foot.... Remus found the nerves behind his knees that seemed to control Severus' hips, for the lightest brush of teeth made him thrust blindly.

Severus' legs sprawled wantonly apart, and Remus' hair brushed his crotch as a trail of tooth marks traced up the inside of each thigh. Severus' head was thrown back on the pillow, and he made wordless strangled sounds at each clasp and release of teeth, each flick of tongue across trapped flesh, each suck of the blood beneath his skin. His hands at his side were rigidly knotted in the sheets. As Remus licked up to suck Severus' scrotum into his mouth and roll his balls across his rough tongue, there was a distinct ripping sound. Remus' grin necessitated teeth, and there was no mistaking the shudder that ran through Severus.

Sliding forward and up, Remus dragged his tongue up to swirl at the base of Severus' cock, hard and red, then traced a path up to the tip, which he cleaned hungrily before swallowing Severus whole, deeper than ought to be possible. Severus grabbed fistfuls of hair and thrust up hard. He felt the point of that tongue tracing the veins of his cock and then all his being was exploding outward as he came, his hips arching off the mattress. He was yelling, and Remus' tongue kept working him, each stroke undoing him, until he had no more breath and could only moan, his hands falling from Remus' head. Remus released his cock with a final reluctant caress of the tongue, and slid up to kiss Severus until he was able to breathe normally again.

"Good god, Remus."

"The Polyjuice reminded me that I don't have a very strong gag reflex." Remus smirked. "I've shocked you again."

"You've killed me."

"I won't do it again, then."

Severus had no answer to that except to kiss Remus hard.

"Your tongue ought to be registered with the Improper Use of Magic Office."

"Heh. That'll give you something to think about when the poly wears off and it's your tongue again." Severus reached down and began stroking Remus' erection to shut him up. It didn't work. "I worship your body, Severus. You're gorgeous."

"I can almost believe that." Remus shifted restlessly beneath his hand, and Severus began moving his hand faster. "With or without me in it?"

"Gods! I love you for your mind, so it doesn't matter--Severus!--whose body you're wearing."

Remus was right where Severus wanted him, on the edge. "You are out of your mind."

"It's an out-of-body experience," Remus choked out, and then, "Please, Severus, please." And Severus discovered the pleasure of being begged for pleasure, which he found to his liking. He licked one finger and thrust it in, hitting the spot just there and marvelling again that the phrase 'speaking in tongues' was not hyperbole--although Remus did not speak so much as scream as he came.

Too tired and relaxed and satiated to do much else, they watched each other as the polyjuice wore off. There was one point where both Severus and Remus had the same wild black hair, the same brown eyes, the same scars. And then they were two distinct and separate men.

Severus cleared his throat. "I have been thinking about what we should do. Polyjuice isn't the solution if the curse can't be lifted."

Remus shrugged in lazy agreement. "Until the end of the term, perhaps. Vile stuff."

"Here's what I propose...."

Part 4: Opinion allotted to all

Dumbledore: "Well, it's an unusual decision, but it's up to you. I'll tell Moody to stop prioritizing looking for a reversal spell, shall I? Oh, and as neither of you is capable of teaching potions, I suppose I can finally give Severus Defense Against the Dark Arts. I mean Remus. Ha! Funny old world, isn't it? So, er, Severus. We are looking for a werewolf liasion officer. And your improvements to the wolfsbane have been remarkable. Really. Have some chocolate, it makes everything better."

Hermione: "But I just found the most fascinating book, Polynesian Idol, and it not only tells you how to become a singing sensation and improve your looks dramatically--you seem to have that well down, sir--but see here? Page 1195? You ought to have gotten three wishes, if it was a proper sort of curse idol. So you said--that's one. And Professor Snape said--that's two. See? Oughtn't you to have another wish coming?.... Oh, really? What did you wish for? Oh, dear. Well, I promise not to tell Harry. I mean--no-one tells Harry anything these days anyway."

Moody: "You're sure, Lupin? I mean--you're really, really sure? You've thought about it. You've looked in the mirror? Sorry. We'll keep looking, though. Just in case. Godric's gobstones, I need a drink."

Blaise Zambini: "Don't look at me--I'm just a name with no personality until Book 6. Shove off."

Minerva: "How very odd.... So you've permanently switched yourselves, have you? Don't think I'll give you the password to the Gryffindor tower any time soon, mind. You may be Gryffindor on the outside, but I know all about the inner Slytherin."

Draco "Don't you feel like flaming narcissists? Well, not flaming like that, sir--not you, Professor Snape, sir--which one are you, anyway? Does this mean I have to pay attention to the half-breed werewolf? Sorry, sir. Seven o'clock Wednesday night, sir? Yes, sir. Mum bollocked things up pretty good, didn't she, sir? Can I tell her...? No. Supposed not. Going to be a strange year. Night, then, sir."