Title: In-between

Author: JeQ (homepage, email)

Notes: written for the fourth wave of Master and the Wolf. Challenge 270) Snape is meeting with someone important (Dumbledore, the Ministry) via the old head-in-the-fireplace Floo method. Lupin comes across Snape on all fours with his head in the fireplace, and decides to have a little fun with him. And Snape has to carry on with his meeting without letting the person/people he's speaking with know what's going on with the rest of his body.

Disclaimer: Characters, world, elaboration on the premise, premise: not mine, not mine, mine, not mine.

More Notes: Rating probably PG-13.

Excellently beta'd by Vaughn.


Lupin frowned over the book he was reading. This paragraph couldn't be right, could it? It concerned the history of some lesser known defensive spells, but the chronology that was implied here seemed impossible. Perhaps Severus would know.

Lupin marked his page before setting the book aside. He stood and stretched, the first time in hours—at least that was what it felt like. Now, where would he find Snape? Probably, he decided, in his dreary dungeon rooms.

Book in hand, Lupin arrived outside the door of Snape's private quarters, after having checked the classroom and study, which were both on the way. He knocked and received no answer.

Making use of his recently gained privileges, he pronounced the password with relish, and was delighted when the door swung open. Whistling softly to himself, Lupin popped his head into the workroom, and found it empty.

The living room then, he thought, pushed through the door and stopped short at the scene before him. Snape was on all fours, head all but obscured in the fireplace. A most undignified position, surely. Especially for someone such as Snape.

Snape narrowed his eyes at what the Minister was saying. “Rubbish!”

“Severus, please,” Dumbledore, who was sitting comfortably at the conference table, it should be noted, said, shaking his head, wry smile on his lips.

The Minister seemed not to have noticed either interruption, so busy was he pacing before the windows and lecturing.

Besides them, another two and a half people were present. 'Half' meaning another head in the adjacent fireplace, which Snape could only see via a damned mirror placed against the table legs for both the long-distance attendees.

As far as Snape was concerned, he really didn't see why they hadn't been able to wait an extra fifteen minutes until he had Apparated to join them in person. Never again. Of course, about twenty minutes ago, Dumbledore had promised the conference would be a quick matter of a few minutes.

Lupin had seated himself in a worn and comfortable leather armchair to wait. After looking around the room for a while, he settled on watching Snape instead. Snape, who had just begun stretching his back as best he could.

Cat-like, one might say, which resulted in his arse being prominently displayed, until he realigned his spine with his pelvis. Quite a lovely sight indeed, Lupin thought idly.

The Minister focussed his attention on Snape now. “So, how do you interpret this information? Is it possible you missed it when you last spoke with your contact?”

“No. And I have no way of estimating the value of this information, if you can't even reveal how you came by it. If you're asking me do I think it's within the realm of the possible, I think it is.”

“As I have told you already myself,” Dumbledore added patiently.

How long had he been like this already? Lupin wondered. Surely his knees must be hurting by now.

And as if on cue, Snape started shifting from one knee to the other, as if trying to find a more comfortable position. The effect of it—a wriggling of the behind—Lupin found most adorable, not a description Snape would approve of, he knew. He got up to stand behind the black clothed figure to get a better view.

“I was given that bloody note,” Tonks suddenly exclaimed, overriding the Minister's refusal to reveal the source.

Snape, whose concentration had been waning, was focussed again at that. He nodded at Tonks with approval.

When the movement suddenly froze, Lupin wondered what was going on at the other side. Who was Snape talking to anyway?

Then he was struck by a new idea... would Snape mind? Would he like it? Lupin grinned smugly to himself, as he tried to decide how to proceed, when Snape started rolling his left shoulder as if to relieve tension. Lupin crossed over to Snape's side, and started massaging the shoulder for him.

Snape almost jumped out of his skin. Someone was in his rooms! Someone was touching him. He resisted the first impulse to pull his head out of the fire and Oblivate the intruder. It did rather help against the cramp in his shoulder.

“Snape, I'm talking to you. Did you even listen?” Moody growled at him.

“Yes,” he answered. “But I have nothing to say to it.”

Lupin felt Snape's resistance to his touch fade, and continued to massage both his shoulders now. Then slowly and, so he hoped, inconspicuously he moved his hands further down Snape's back.

Jones, the witch in the other fireplace, asked, “So, the problem is, you don't know yourself if the note is to be taken seriously?” She addressed this to Tonks.

“Not exactly,” Tonks replied, as she slumped down in her chair. “I think it doesn't matter. We should just devote the resources to following up on it.”

“Well then,” the Minister concluded, “since none of you have a convincing argument, that's just what we'll have to do.”

“Good.” Jones sounded relieved. “Can I go, then?”

Snape glanced into the mirror. If her frown was any indication, she was much more uncomfortable than he was right now.

Lupin didn't receive any reaction from Snape, which annoyed him to tell the truth. So he stopped what he had been doing and reconsidered. Snape's neck was too far in the fire. Lupin moved to Snape's feet instead, and pushed his hand up one of his trouser legs. This was nice.

Snape almost bit his tongue at the new sensation his body was signalling.

“Since you're all here right now, there is one other matter we might discuss,” the Minister announced.

“You're not the one who'll have a stiff neck tomorrow,” Jones muttered.

“I'll make it quick,” Moody promised.

Snape just rolled his eyes at that nonsense, as if Moody had ever been brief. Snape himself did, however, have to put an end to the leg worship he was receiving.

Lupin quickly scrambled out of the way, barely dodging a kick to his jaw. “Oh, you'll regret this,” he threatened, knowing Snape couldn't actually hear him.

He draped Snape's robes out of the way and, on his back, half slid under the kneeling wizard. He leisurely set to work on the many buttons of Snape's shirt.

“I recently met an Auror from Rome, and he indicated that he might be able to be of help, but wanted information in return. In fact, he was very clear about what information he wanted. So, my questions are: is it likely that he can be useful to us? Has anyone heard of this fellow before? I've checked the official file, of course, but that's really a pointless exercise, as we all know. Nothing useful is ever in there. And then, can we give him what he wants? Or rather...”

Blah, blah, blah, Snape substituted silently, refusing to listen any longer. Besides, he had to concentrate to determine what was in store for the rest of him. He was sure he felt a very slight tug every once in a while, but couldn't place the sensation.

The last button finally undone, shirt hanging open, Lupin was presented with a whole new canvas of exposed pale skin to do mischief on. He decided to start by running his finger tenderly down the middle.

Snape's mouth twitched at the new rush of sensory input, as he tried to keep his face blank. Who the bloody hell was meddling with him? He now wondered with sudden urgency. If it turned out to be anyone other than Lupin, there'd be murder tonight, he resolved and felt decidedly better.

Lying on his back like this, Lupin found he was rather limited in his choices. He moved to settled beside Snape instead, and pushed shirt and robe over to one side as much as possible.

Much better, he thought, drawing first the palm of his hand, then his fingernails across Snape's naked backside. Lupin then proceeded to plant wet, sloppy kisses along his ribs, before playfully sinking his teeth into the soft flesh on the lower end.

“Are you alright?” Moody interrupted his own speech to stare at Snape in disbelief.

“I'm...” Snape cleared his throat, his voice was still too squeaky, and tried again. “I'm fine, considering my knees are worn through by now.”

“Can we just, please, get to the end of this meeting,” Jones thankfully interjected, all semblance of patience long gone.

Feeling much bolder now, Lupin let his hands roam more freely, from the skin of Snape's back to the cloth still covering his lower body. What he really wanted, Lupin realised, was for Snape to be done with that conversation, and be here head to toe, to bestow all of his attention on Lupin.

“We've heard your report, Alastor. Now give me a few hours to think about it, before giving you my opinion,” Dumbledore requested. Probably as much to bring the meeting to an end, as actually needing the time, Snape thought.

Now his clavicle and the area below it were under assault. Snape shifted his weight to one arm, and blindly used the other to push the other person in his room away.

“All right. That's it, then,” the Minister concluded. “Thank you all for attending.”

Snape didn't wait for the usual round of goodbyes to be uttered, but immediately withdrew from the Floo network and fireplace. Now that he no longer had to maintain his composure, anger came easily. And Snape had every intention to unleash it on the intruding werewolf.

“Damn you! Lupin, you're a lunatic!”

Lupin was greeted by these words almost before Snape had withdrawn his head from the flames. What followed was a moment of confusion, whilst Snape tried to get his bearings again.

Snape was in the motion of sitting up on his heels when he noticed Lupin had arranged himself beneath him. Grinning like the idiot he was. Snape made a snorting noise, half amused, half enticed, and returned to hovering over the other.

“You know, I should simply throw you out,” Snape said in that dangerous tone of voice of his.

Lupin licked his lips. “As if...” he looked coyly at Snape, who seemed to be daring him to continue the thought, “...you'd want to do that right now.” After a short pause, Lupin added, “In fact, I think, even if you wanted to, you couldn't.”

“Don't push your luck.”

“Luck has nothing to do with it,” Lupin said cheerfully, as he wrapped his legs around Snape and rolled them over. This, with the usually so severe and self-controlled wizard sprawled out beneath him, was a position Lupin found irresistible.

At the moment, Snape was still looking at him with the usual hint of annoyance, as if dignity were more convincing when accompanied by a bad mood. But not for much longer, Lupin knew, grinning as he manoeuvred himself between the other man's thighs.

He caught Snape's wrists in his hands, and pinned them to the ground. He moved against him, kissed his neck, and teased him with his breath. When he felt Snape trying to free his arms, Lupin renwed his grip, and suddenly both men grew very still.

Snape's scowl was gone, and Lupin was no longer smiling. Their faces almost touching, their breathing erratic, they held each others gaze. Lupin leaned forward to lick Snape's lips with the tip of his tongue.

When Snape closed his eyes, and tried to kiss Lupin more fully, half raising to meet him, Lupin pulled back, keeping just out of reach. Snape's eyes flew open.

Luck? You think? Lupin was tempted to ask, but didn't. Of course, he didn't; knowing was enough. A moan escaped him, and he closed his own eyes, surrendering to what they both wanted.