TITLE: Hidden Memories
AUTHOR: Diana Williams
CATEGORY: romance, first time
DISCLAIMER: They don't belong to me, which is too bad as I'm sure I could find something useful for them to do. J.K. Rowling owns them.
SUMMARY: When Snape suffers from amnesia, Lupin reluctantly offers him a safe haven.
CHALLENGE: 66) Remus is charged with the job of helping an amnesiac Severus and the two become close. Then Severus discovers/remembers what Remus is and what he was like to him in childhood
ARCHIVING: Ink Stained Fingers after the Fest is concluded.
Albus Dumbledore smiled as Remus Lupin entered his office and gestured towards a chair. "Ah, Remus! Thank you for coming so quickly."
"It sounded urgent," Lupin said, taking a seat and waving away offers of refreshment.
"It is," Dumbledore said, a grave look replacing his usual twinkle. "I assume you heard about Severus' last mission."
"Just that he was injured. What happened?"
"Somehow Voldemort discovered that he was a spy. Severus managed to trigger his emergency port-key, but not before sustaining several injuries as well as the Cruciatus curse."
"Will he be all right?" Lupin asked, concerned.
"Physically, he has recovered, however there are…complications."
Lupin frowned. "What kind of complications?"
Dumbledore sighed. "It appears that Severus has lost part of his memories. More specifically, he doesn't remember who he is or anything about his past. He knows that he's a wizard and he's been able to perform a few spells, so his memories aren't completely lost. However, Poppy says that there's no way of knowing whether he'll regain them or not."
"If he doesn't know who he is," Lupin said slowly, "then he probably doesn't know who anyone else is, either."
Dumbledore nodded. "Including his enemies. Before he left, he told me he'd confirmed that three of our students have taken the Dark Mark. He didn't have time to give me their names, and now he doesn't remember."
"Which means it isn't safe for him here."
Lupin gave him a sharp look. "You want him to stay with me, don't you?"
"It had occurred to me that that would be the ideal solution. Your cottage is in a remote location, it is unknown to all but a very few people. You are also uniquely capable of protecting Severus in his current condition."
"You're forgetting that Severus hates me," Lupin retorted.
Dumbledore looked at him over his glasses. "And you are forgetting that Severus doesn't remember you, or any of us, for that matter."
"When he regains his memory, he'll be furious at owing me any favours."
"I'm sure you'll be able to convince him that providing him sanctuary is merely recompense for providing your portion."
Lupin sighed and slumped in the chair. "Very well; have it your way. You will at any rate."
Dumbledore's eyes twinkled at him. "A prerogative of old age." Dumbledore went to the fireplace and took a pinch of floo powder from the pot on the mantle, then looked back at Lupin. "Will you join me in the infirmary, Remus?"
Lupin got up, grumbling, "Why not? I need to have my head examined."
Dumbledore's tinkling laugh followed him all the way to the infirmary.
Snape was standing at the window looking out over the grounds when they tumbled out of the fireplace. He didn't turn at the sound but Lupin could see his fingers tighten on the sill.
"So, Albus, is this my new warden?" The normally silky voice sounded a little harsh, and Lupin shuddered at the thought of what sustained Cruciatus could do to a person's body - and mind. "I trust that you have informed him that I am not entirely compas mentis."
"I told Remus that you have amnesia, yes," Dumbledore said genially. "Remus is very willing to have you visit him while you recover."
"Assuming that I ever do. You will recall that Poppy has said I may never regain my memory." He turned his head, giving them a brief glance, and Lupin was struck dumb by the pain in those dark eyes. Then Snape turned his attention back out the window. "I doubt that your friend would want a house guest for an indefinite period of time."
Lupin managed to find his voice. "I don't mind. There's plenty of room. I'd like the company, actually."
After he'd said that, he could have bit his tongue. What was he thinking, inviting *Snape* to stay with him? The man hadn't had a decent word to say to him since their Fifth year, had cost him his job at Hogwarts! And now he was inviting that same man to his *cottage*? *Indefinitely*?"
Snape turned and raised an eyebrow as his eyes met Lupin's. "Gracious, if untrue."
"Now, Severus," Dumbledore said admonishingly. "Remus extended the invitation - "
"And I have no other options. Yes, I know."
"In that case, it's settled," Lupin said briskly before he could regret it. "Do you need to pack a bag, or are you ready to leave?"
"You'll have to ask my primary keeper," Snape said shortly. "I haven't been allowed out of this room since I regained consciousness."
"For your own safety, Severus," Dumbledore said gently. He gestured toward a bag sitting on the chair. "I've packed several changes of clothing, a few of the latest journals, and some of your favourite books."
"For which I will have to take your word," Snape murmured.
"Remus enjoys many of your same interests," Dumbledore continued, and Lupin had to wonder at the infinite patience in his voice. He would have been tempted to smack Snape by now. "He taught Defence Against the Dark Arts here three years ago."
Snape's fingers tightened on the window frame. "Are we leaving anytime soon?"
Dumbledore handed Lupin the bag and a book. "I've configured a portkey to take both of you to your cottage, Remus. The fewer people who see Severus, the better." He smiled. "Good luck to both of you, and don't hesitate to owl or floo me, or Poppy, if there are any changes."
Lupin nodded and held out the book to Snape. "Shall we, Severus?"
They arrived on the cobbled walk outside Lupin's cottage, and he saw Snape eye it with apparent misgivings. "It's not much, I know," Lupin said apologetically. "Not what you're used to."
Snape gave him a look that clearly said he was being a bigger moron than usual. "And how would I know that? The extent of my experience is a small private room in an infirmary. For all I know, this could be just like the home I grew up in."
"Not likely," Lupin said drily. Even as a teen, he had known that the Snapes were purebred if impoverished, and that Snape manor had once rivalled the Malfoy estate. He led the way into the house, talking as he did. "This is the main room - the kitchen is separate and through there. The bedroom is in here, and the bath right next door. No shower, but the tub is big and deep, and the water tank is spelled to provide unlimited hot water."
He transfigured his double bed into two twins and set Snape's bag down on one, then walked over to open the wardrobe. "There's plenty of room for your things in here. I'll be in the kitchen fixing dinner - join me when you're ready." He turned toward the door.
Lupin looked around inquiringly. "It's Remus. Is there something else you need? I'm afraid the place doesn't stretch to a potion lab, but I imagine we could work out something in the kitchen."
Snape didn't appear to have potions on his mind, and there was a hesitant air about him that was quite shocking. "I take it that we are known to each other."
Lupin smiled wryly. "You could say that. We were in the same year at Hogwarts, although not the same house. We were colleagues for the year I taught at Hogwarts, and we've been working together in the Order for the past two years."
"I see. And Dumbledore…you know him as well?"
"Yes, although you know him even better than I do. Or you did. Did he tell you that you've been teaching at Hogwarts for the past fifteen years? More than that, I've always thought that Albus regarded you as a surrogate son. He's very fond of you, Severus. Difficult as all this is, he only has your best interests at heart."
He saw some of the tension ease out of Snape's body at that, and suddenly realized how frightening it must be to wake up in a world full of strangers, not knowing who to trust or what to believe. For someone as innately paranoid as Snape, it must have been hell.
"I'll get supper going now."
"Remus." Once more, Snape's voice caught him as he turned to leave. He looked back and saw that Snape was carefully not looking at him. "Thank you."
The words were so quiet that Remus could barely hear them. He smiled at the other man. "Don't thank me yet. You haven't tasted my cooking."
Snape carefully set his spoon back in his half-empty bowl and said, feelingly, "That has got to be the worst stew I have ever tasted."
Lupin chuckled. "You don't know that for sure. Maybe my cooking is the best you've ever tasted."
"Well, that would explain the way I look, in any event," Snape said drily, glancing down at his own rail-thin body. "Hogwarts must have appallingly bad food."
"No, you're just a notoriously picky eater." Lupin pointed his spoon at Snape. "Even when we were in school together, you hardly ate enough to keep a body together. When you remembered to eat. Usually you'd miss meals because you were in the library or the potions lab, working on one thing or another." Lupin paused. "Come to think of it, the year I was teaching, I noticed you missed more meals than you attended. I think Albus sent trays to you in the lab, just to make sure you ate something."
"Infernal busybody," Snape growled, poking his spoon into his bowl with little enthusiasm.
"That he is," Lupin agreed. "The students thought you were a vampire, you know."
Snape looked up, raising an eyebrow. "Perhaps I am."
Lupin shook his head as he got up from the table, carrying both of their bowls to the sink. "No, you're not."
"Are you quite certain?" Snape asked, giving him a menacing look.
"Positive. For one thing, I taught Defence Against the Dark Arts and I know all the signs." He paused, then continued. "For another, I'm a werewolf and I'd be able to scent if you were other than human."
If he'd expected an outburst from the other man, he was surprised when Snape did nothing more than raise the other eyebrow. "That explains why you are no longer teaching."
Amazing how that still hurt. He scowled down into the sink and said, bitterly, "Actually, no one knew about it until you announced it to your Slytherins. Now, because of the Ministry regulations, I am unable to hold a job of any sort, much less teach."
"If you're expecting an apology, you're going to be disappointed," Snape said mildly. "I don't remember anything of the incident in question."
Lupin's shoulders slumped. "No, I don't expect an apology." He turned his head and met Snape's eyes. "So, do you want me to contact Albus, tell him that you'd prefer another safe house?"
Snape snorted. "Don't be absurd. It is three weeks until the full moon, and I assume that you take adequate precautions."
Lupin nodded. "I take wolfsbane - made by you, as a matter of fact."
"I may not remember much about myself, but I believe I have sufficient faith in my brewing skills." He rose from the table. "I believe that I shall take a bath and then retire. It has been a rather stressful day."
Lupin nodded. "Good night, Severus. Oh, and Severus?" he said as the other man paused in the doorway and looked back inquiringly. "You're cooking dinner tomorrow night."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "Of course. Good night, Remus."
Lupin found himself grinning as he washed and dried the dishes, and didn't question why.
Snape was already up when Lupin awoke the next morning, and he followed the pleasant aroma wafting through the cottage to the kitchen to find coffee and eggs waiting for him. Snape just nodded in response to his greeting and disappeared back behind the journal he was reading. Lupin peered at the cover and, seeing a cauldron on the front, grinned and turned back to his breakfast and his paper. It appeared that some things didn't change.
After breakfast, Snape disappeared back into the bedroom. When he didn't emerge again, Lupin peered into the room to find that the other man was curled up in his bed again, apparently sound asleep. He frowned. Albus hadn't said anything about his guest needing extra rest, and surely Poppy would have mentioned if Snape wasn't fully recovered? Unless Snape hadn't slept well the previous night. Lupin hadn't heard a peep from the other man, but he wouldn't have put it past Snape to have cast a silencing spell over himself before going to bed.
Lupin checked now and didn't detect a spell, but he would be sure to check that night. In the meantime, he took advantage of the time on his own to change into old work clothes and perform a few chores around the cottage.
He was up on the roof repairing the shingles when he heard a voice calling his name. "Up here!" he called out, securing the last of the loose tiles before carefully climbing back down the ladder. Snape was standing at the base of it, a sandwich and a cup of tea in his hands, both of which he shoved into Lupin's hands without a word before disappearing back into the cottage.
Lupin frowned. The other man had looked flushed, possibly feverish. Maybe he should fire-call Poppy, just to make sure.
Snape was silent over dinner, and only shrugged dismissively at Lupin's raptures over the shepherd's pie. Once again, Snape took himself off to bed early and, after making sure that the other man was asleep, Lupin went to the fireplace and called Madame Pomfrey. She reassured him that Snape was fully recovered except for his memories. Feeling relieved but puzzled, Lupin went to bed himself. Finding that his companion had, indeed, cast a silencing spell, Lupin cast a spell to alert him should Snape grow restless, rolled up in his blankets, and fell asleep almost immediately.
Lupin woke to darkness and the nagging awareness that something was wrong. Blearily, he looked over at the other bed and saw that Snape was tossing in his bed, obviously caught in the grip of a nightmare. He stumbled out of his bed and, cautious of flailing arms, caught Snape by the shoulders and tried to rouse him from his nightmare.
"Severus! Wake up, Severus!"
Snape continued to thrash, and seemed more terrified by being held down. It was also apparent that he wasn't hearing a word Lupin said. Grimly, Lupin freed one arm so he could open the night table drawer, pulled out a vial of Dreamless Sleep, and ruthlessly tilted it down Snape's throat. The man gurgled and continued to thrash for a moment, but his movements became slower and slower until, with a sigh, he fell into a deep sleep.
Lupin sat watching for a long moment to make sure that Snape was, indeed, asleep, then crawled back into his own bed again for whatever sleep he could get. He'd have to talk to Snape about this over breakfast, and he wasn't looking forward to it.
Lupin was up first in the morning, which didn't surprise him. He knew from experience that the Dreamless Sleep potion wouldn't wear off for at least another hour, so he made a pot of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table with his newspaper to wait.
It was nearly two hours later when Snape staggered into the kitchen, poured himself a cup of coffee, downed it, then poured another. He slumped into the other chair, clutching his mug in both hands, and glared across the table at Lupin.
"I'll thank you not to administer potions to me without my knowledge."
Lupin shrugged. "Didn't have much of a choice. The way you were thrashing, you were bound to hurt yourself, and I couldn't wake you. But I'll make a deal with you - don't set up the silencing charms and I won't drug you into unconsciousness."
Snape met his eyes across the table and Lupin refused to look away. After a few minutes, Snape dropped his eyes and sighed.
"Very well. But do not blame me if I disturb your slumber, or if you hear things you'd rather not."
"Do you dream about it, then?" Lupin asked, curiously. "About the last meeting, when they hurt you?"
Snape shrugged. "I am not certain. The dreams seem jumbled, disorganized. There's a….not a man, although he appears to resemble one in some ways. He has red eyes and he's laughing." Drily, he said, "It is not a particularly pleasing kind of laugh."
Lupin could well imagine, and hearing Voldemort laugh was not high on his wish list. He shuddered. "Well, I'd rather you woke me so I could wake *you* than not." He stood up, his empty mug in hand. "Are you hungry?"
"Not enough to let you cook." Snape pushed himself to his feet, moving toward the larder. "Can you can handle the rashers of bacon?"
"I'm not completely incompetent in the kitchen," Lupin protested. "I did all right on my own."
"Which explains the way *you* look," Snape retorted, returning with a bowlful of eggs.
Lupin was about to retort that no, it was poverty that made him so thin, combined with the transformations, but he bit his tongue instead. Losing his temper with Snape wouldn't do anyone good. He settled for placing the skillet on the stove with a little more force than necessary.
The two worked on their respective tasks in silence for several moments, then Snape spoke. "I appear to inadvertently caused you some distress."
Recognizing this as Snape-speak for an apology of sorts, Lupin sighed and let go of the anger he'd been nursing. "No, it's all right. I'm a bit…sensitive on the subject. The fact is our fully stocked larder is courtesy of Albus, and it is a luxury I have not always enjoyed."
Snape gave him a sidelong, appraising look, then returned his attention to the eggs he was frying. "Due to your werewolf status?"
Lupin shrugged. "It's hard to hold a job when you are 'sick' two or more days a month on a regular basis, and with the new werewolf regulations…"
"Surely there are other things you can do, perhaps even working from home."
"I'm open to suggestions," Lupin said with asperity.
"You could write a book," Snape suggested. "You were a teacher - there must be subjects upon which you could write. Or even fiction. If you are concerned about the Ministry, you could write under another name. I'm certain Albus would be willing to act as literary agent for you."
Lupin gave him a doubtful look. "I'm not sure that I'd be any good at writing."
"Nonsense," Snape said briskly. "You have a remarkably facile command of language, a turn of phrase that is bound to be pleasing to a reader."
Lupin looked at Snape in surprise. "Why, thank you, Severus! Considering your own 'facile command of language', that is quite a compliment."
Two spots of red appeared on Snape's cheekbones, and Lupin was intrigued by the idea that Snape was blushing. "Merely returning the hospitality you have shown me," Snape said gruffly, moving away from the stove to turn the eggs out onto plates. "Hurry up with that bacon; I'm starved."
After breakfast, Lupin went outside to tend to the garden. What with his missions for the Order and his residence at Grimmauld Place the previous year, the yard had run wild. There was a kind of peacefulness in working among the plants and he found himself humming as he pulled weeds and tied up the trailing branches.
He'd expected Snape to return to bed as he had the previous day and was therefore surprised to see the other man slowly walking down the garden path toward him.
"Beautiful day, isn't it?" he said, and gestured to the garden around them. "It's gotten a bit wild lately. Care to lend a hand?"
Lupin thought Snape would refuse and return to the house, and was doubly surprised when the other man merely nodded and turned toward the bed containing the remnants of an herb garden. The other man worked quickly and efficiently, and Lupin found himself glancing over frequently as they worked in silence. Snape's hands moved quickly and gracefully, unerringly pulling the weeks while not disturbing the herbs, and Lupin watched with pleasure.
Lupin had always been fascinated by Snape, even when they were boys. There was something about the other boy that had resonated within Lupin, recognition of another lonely soul. He would have liked to spend more time with Snape, but Sirius and James had taken an instant dislike to the Slytherin, and Lupin had been too uncertain about their friendship to seek him out.
Now he was free to watch, free to get to know the other man, even if it had come at the cost of the lives of his two best friends, and he intended to do just that. Watching Snape bend over to secure some straggling vines, he felt a frisson of arousal that he hadn't felt in a long time, and he quickly turned his flushed face away from Snape and back to his task.
The days quickly fell into the same pattern. Snape was generally up before Lupin and had breakfast ready when Lupin dragged himself into the kitchen. After breakfast, Lupin did the washing up and then chores about the cottage. Occasionally, if Snape had had a bad night, he would retire for a nap, but most days he joined Lupin in the garden or sat reading quietly while Lupin puttered. In the evening, Snape cooked and Lupin washed up, then both settled in front of the fire with their books.
Few things occurred to mar the quiet companionship. One night, Lupin suggested a game of chess as a diversion, and Snape readily agreed only to discover that he no longer remembered how to play. Lupin opened his mouth to explain the rules, only to be startled when Snape threw his teacup against the fireplace and then stormed out of the cottage. It was the first time Lupin had seen Snape display a hint of his formidable temper, and he debated for a few minutes if he should follow Snape but then decided to leave the man alone. An hour later, Snape had returned looking subdued and tired and had retired to bed. The next evening, Snape took his place on the other side of the chessboard and quietly requested instruction. They played three games - one for instruction, one in which Lupin narrowly beat Snape, and a third in which Snape thoroughly trounced him.
Lupin tipped over his king and then grinned over at Snape. "Nothing wrong with your brains," he said, a little surprised to recognize affection in the tones.
He was even more surprised when Snape smirked over at him and said, "The reverse cannot be said, however," in what was definitely a teasing tone.
The other thing that disrupted their quiet existence was Snape's nightmares. He had at least one a night, and Lupin became quite adept at settling the other man back into an easy sleep most nights. There were some nights, however, when nothing short of shaking the other man awake would work. On those nights, once he was awake, Snape would get out of bed, pull on his robes, and leave the bedroom. Lupin heard him pacing back and forth in the living room, and although he longed to do something to soothe the other man, he knew that such attention would be unwelcome. Instead, he'd lie in bed, listening to the pacing, and pretend to be asleep when Snape finally crawled back into his bed.
On one night, about two weeks after their arrival at the cottage, Lupin had shaken Snape awake and was preparing to drag himself back to his own bed when he realized that Snape hadn't gotten up as he usually did. Frowning, he turned back to Snape's bed and saw that the man was watching him, a strangely unguarded look on his face.
"Severus?" he asked, concerned. "Are you all right?"
"Why do you do it?"
Tiredly, Lupin rubbed a hand over his face. "Severus, I'm not in the mood to play Twenty Questions. Why do I do *what*?"
"Put up with me. With this."
Lupin sighed; it had been a long couple of days with Snape's worsening nightmares wearing both of them down. Poppy had hazarded a guess that Snape's memories were trying to reassert themselves and that things would get better in time. At the moment, however, Lupin was exhausted.
"Budge up." At Snape's startled look he said, "I'm tired and I'm cold. If we're going to have this conversation, then I'm going to be comfortable at least."
Snape scooted over in the bed and Lupin slipped in under the covers, turning on his side in the narrow bed so he could look at the other man. Snape mirrored his actions, and Lupin flushed as he realized how close the two of them were, how little each of them were wearing, and how oddly fragile Snape looked in the darkness. Instead of speaking, he leaned over and brushed his lips over Snape's.
He pulled back a little, smiling as saw the startled look on Snape's face. "That's one reason, I suppose."
"You wish to have sex with me?" Snape asked, uncertainly.
"No; I want to make love with you." He kissed Snape again, a little more intensely this time, and felt the other man's lips part under his. With a groan, he reached out to pull Snape closer as he dove in for a deeper kiss. Snape responded by rolling on top of him, and both men gasped as their erections rubbed together through the separating layers of cloth.
Clothes were quickly shed and bodies feverishly writhed against each other. There was no time for finesse, for words of seduction, for preparation of any sort. Both men were on edge from too long abstinence and too tired to seek anything complicated. The feel of warm flesh sliding together was good enough, and it was only a few minutes later that both of them were moaning as climax shook them.
"I fail to see the difference," Snape murmured when enough brain cells had stopped fizzing to allow coherent thought.
Lupin grabbed Snape's wand off the night table and used it for a quick cleanup spell, then wrapped his arms around the other man and settled down for sleep. "*This* is the difference."
Snape didn't appear to have any objections to what was blatant cuddling; in fact, he was asleep before Lupin.
Lupin restored his original double in place of the two twin beds.
Another week had nearly passed when Lupin realized that the full moon was almost upon them. Since Snape had not regained any of his memories yet, sending him back to Hogwarts for the duration was not an option. Lupin had no fear that he would attack the other man - he'd taken the wolfsbane long enough to know that it allowed him enough control to prevent that - but he *was* worried about Snape witnessing the transformation.
"I'll go into the woods," Lupin murmured that night when they lay snuggled together, waiting for their heated bodies to cool down enough to allow sleep.
"Nonsense," Snape said. "I trust my potion completely."
"So do I," Lupin said. "But I still transform, and witnessing that can be difficult." He refrained from mentioning that Snape had seen him transform twice before, although not while under the influence of wolfsbane, and that it had terrified him both times.
"You can close me into the bedroom, just until after the transformation is complete," he added.
Snape sighed. "Very well, have it your way. But you'd better not tear up that robe of mine, wolf, or I'll have your hide."
Lupin grinned tiredly; Snape's favourite lounging robe had seen better days, and Lupin had several times threatened to "accidentally" destroy it so that Snape would have to get another one.
In retrospect, Lupin wondered what would have happened if they'd followed that plan. However, they'd both gotten caught up in a spirited discussion about timed curses while they played chess and neither one had realized that the moon had risen until the first pains of transformation hit Lupin.
Unable to reach the bedroom, Lupin fell to the floor and writhed under the pain of his body being reshaped into the wolf's form. He was aware that Snape was staring at him, first in consternation, gradually changing to horror and anger.
Snape's memories had apparently returned.
Lupin groaned, aware that it had come across as a growl. He looked across the room at his lover; Snape was standing frozen between the couch and the fireplace. Whimpering in what he hoped was a non-threatening manner, he went down on his belly and inched his way toward Snape.
Snape whirled, threw a handful of floo powder into the fire, and with a shout of "Hogwarts!" disappeared.
The cottage felt empty and cold that morning, and Lupin moved about his morning tasks with a heavy heart. Snape had not returned, not even to collect his things. Lupin touched the black robes hanging in his wardrobe, the book sitting by Snape's favourite chair, the chess board in the middle of the interrupted game. So few things, and yet how vividly they reminded him of what he had lost.
A crack of someone Apparating made him turn hopefully toward the front door, but instead of Snape, Dumbledore opened it. Lupin slumped onto the couch.
"I take it he's all right."
Dumbledore nodded. "All of his memories returned, completely. I understand it was some sort of trauma that triggered his recovery?"
"He saw me transform," Lupin said baldly.
"Ah." Dumbledore rummaged in his pocket and produced a small bag of sweets. "Lemon drop?"
Lupin closed his eyes and said wearily, "I'm not in the mood, Albus."
"Oddly enough, that's what Severus said," Dumbledore said, musingly. "You would have thought that a man who had recovered all his memories would have been happier, but as he sat in the chair in my office, he looked as if he'd lost the most precious thing in the world."
Lupin straightened and looked over at Dumbledore. "He did?"
"Probably the strain of the past few weeks. I advised him to take another week of rest, at the least. Preferably away from his dungeons; somewhere warm and isolated. Of course, Severus would never consider intruding upon someone's privacy without an invitation…"
Lupin didn't wait to hear more. A few minutes later, he was fairly running through the dungeons.
He found Snape in one of the empty potions labs, bent over a cauldron. Closing the door behind him, he said quietly, "I thought I'd find you here."
"Lupin, I have neither the time nor the patience to deal with you today."
"Wrong. You have plenty of time - Albus told me he's given you an extra week to recuperate. And as for patience, I've got enough for both of us." He took a step closer. "Speak to me, Severus. I know it has to be a shock, getting your memories back like that…"
Snape turned and glared at him. "What was a shock was discovering - remembering - that my *lover* was also one of my tormentors when I was younger."
Lupin glared back. "I was *never* one of your tormentors."
"No; you merely stood by and watched your *friends* torment me."
Lupin's shoulders slumped. "You're right. I should have stopped them but I didn't. I was…afraid." He looked up at Snape. "I'd never had any friends before James and Sirius came along. I couldn't…I didn't know how to keep them and at the same time, protect you. As for the other - surely you know by now that I had *nothing* to do with Sirius' plot to get you inside the Whomping Willow."
Snape looked away, anywhere but at Lupin. "Yes," he said gruffly. "I know."
Hope flared inside of Lupin. "And can you forgive me for being a coward?"
"You're not a coward," Snape said, sighing. "I, too, have let friends lead me down the wrong path - with a more disastrous result. I suppose I cannot blame you for doing the same."
Lupin took another step forward. "Severus, these past three weeks…what I said, what we did…it means a lot to me. I hope that it meant a lot to you as well. That it's worth working to get past *this* in order to keep that."
Still not looking at him, Snape nodded silently. Lupin smiled and took another step, sliding his hand into Snape's.
"Come with me. I know someplace private where we can talk."
"Talking is overrated," Snape said, curling his hand around Lupin's. "As I recall, I was in the middle of trouncing you in our chess game."
Lupin grinned. "That's not how I see it."
"Then perhaps you need spectacles. I'm sure Mr. Potter will be able to recommend a pair."
Lupin laughed and tugged Snape into the fireplace, throwing in a handful of powder. After announcing their destination, he leaned forward and kissed Snape.
"I love you, you know."
A hint of a smile touched Snape's lips just before the floo system took them. "Now *that* I remember."