Title: All The Same Here
Author: Mordacis
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I only borrow the characters. I usually return them in pretty good shape.
AN: for Master and the Wolfís 5th wave, challenge 176) One cast a special memory charm over the other a long time ago, erasing a memory. However, the one who cast the charm has the power to lift it and restore the memory as wellÖ.

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All The Same Here

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(He remembered the feel of Lupinís fingers around his wrist, cool but insistent.)

ďYou canít just drag me into some cobwebby classroom and then not tell me why!Ē Heíd never heard Lupin raise his voice before. Not once. The sheer novelty held him in place far more readily than the nails digging into his skin.

It was too late to abandon his intentions now; they had brought him this far, and he was so close. There would be no opportunities after this one, not with the war threatening to break into Hogwarts itself. Severus had chosen a side and he did not regret his choices. But this, this was something, the only thing, that he knew he would haunt him if he didnít at least try.

He didnít allow himself to think; he was tired of thinking, tired of being afraid. There were worse things.

And just like that Severus grabbed Lupin (Remus Remus Remus -- a tiny part of him repeated like a prayer) and kissed him with as much hope and desperation as one person could contain.

Lupin jumped the slightest bit, but it seemed more surprise than disgust. Severus held on much more tightly than even he realised; as if he was drowning and didnít know it until something came along to save him.

Lupinís lips were warm; he tasted like a fizzing whizbee and smelled sharp like the first crunch of autumn leaves. Severus ran his fingers through Lupinís hair and found constellations in the sun-dusted freckles across Lupinís nose. Severus memorised it all and stored each bit away in the deepest part of his heart.

He stroked Lupinís face one last time and broke away.

ďI love you.Ē Severusí voice was harsh in the silence. He hadnít expected it to be so easy. Three little words.

Lupin didnít move; his brown eyes were wide and unsure. Lupin never saw Severus draw his wand.

ďCaptivatis memoria.Ē

Severus watched as a thin stream of silver seemed to flow from Lupinís ear. He reached forward and caught it gently in his hand. He pulled a small vial from his pocket and placed Lupinís memory in it.

He smiled a very small, sad little smile and walked to the door. ďIím sorry I canít let you keep it.Ē He waited until he was nearly out of sight before casting a well timed "Finite incantatum." Potter and Black were just around the corner looking for their erstwhile partner in crime.

*

Severus kept the vial of Lupinís memory in a secret niche he created in the second floor girlís lavatory. As no one ever went in their due to the ghost he was assured that his treasure would remain safe. He kept his own memory of that afternoon under tight control, but sometimes, just sometimes, would lie awake at night and remember.

School ended and Severus joined the ranks of the Dark Lord. He left Lupinís memory where it was, but had to work harder at hiding his. He was quite sure a Death Eater would not be one for long if it was discovered he harbored feelings for a half breed. It took all of Snapeís control but never once did Voldemort breach his happiest memory.

When he came back to Hogwarts he worked even harder to keep that memory from surfacing. On certain days, he almost wished he was back among the Death Eaters; Dumbledore eyes were more piercing, his ability to see what one most wanted to hide more refined than the Dark Lordís .

When Lupin came back to Hogwarts it almost undid him. Severus spent most of his time trying to avoid having to see the werewolf at all. He was afraid, much more than ever, that he would be discovered. After so long in the shadows, he was unsure how to live if the knowledge he held ever saw the light. He entertained the thought of returning Lupinís memory to him, but that was only when he had several scotches and fortunately he warded his rooms to lo ck him in beforehand.

He was to teach Potter Occlumency; each time he carefully withdrew several memories and placed them in the pensieve. The night he found Potter in his worst memory he was furious, as well he ought to be. The brat had no business falling into other peopleís memories. (He told himself over and over that he was not under any circumstances grateful) But still, he was quietly relieved. If Potter had fallen into his happiest instead of h is worst, Severus wasnít sure what he would have done.

The night of the attack on Hogwarts Severus finally wrote down the counter-spell on a piece of parchment and included it in a letter he addressed to Lupin. It contained an account of that afternoon that he held dear and instructions on how to find the vial that contained Lupinís stolen memory. He sealed it with scarlet wax and left it leaning against the ink bottle on his desk. Later, as he fled with Draco he spared the briefest of thoug hts for the envelope back in his rooms. Maybe someone (Remus Remus Remus that tiny part of him repeated) would find it; maybe someone would not. But Severus was tired of carrying the memory alone.