TITLE: Of Cigarettes And Secrets
SUMMARY: Lupin thinks that Snape and he have something in common.
DISCLAIMER: Not mine.
NOTES: I'm new at this. Be gentle.
Challenge 106, Remus reveals his feelings for Snape. Snape thinks its a prank and is determined not to fall for it.
Judging by the way he looks now you wouldn't have thought there was much to say for Severus Snape's attractiveness ever in his life. But for a while his skinny, greasy looks coupled with youth and attitude made him almost sexy in a surly lead-singer-of-a-rock-band sort way. His skin, which had been covered in spots since he was twelve, started to clear significantly when he turned sixteen. His fellow students speculated that he'd perfected the potion that had eluded lesser teen-age wizards for centuries. He'd been wearing Muggle clothes under his robe ever since the incident during his NEWT's. (That was the incident with a small *i*. The more recent Marauder run-in was the capital *i*- Incident) and he'd perfected a certain look. He wore black jeans because they hardly ever needed washing and an assortment of dark tee shirts that looked better un-ironed and wrinkled. It all added up to him being for a brief period his last year at Hogwarts, almost, but not quite attractive. He could've gotten all the Slytherin snatch he'd wanted, anyway, if he'd swung that way.
But Snape had no time for girls, he spent most of his free time following James Potter and his stupid friends around; half the reason was to learn the secret passageways. The Marauders (Snape had heard them call themselves that, stupid name, stupid gits) had some kind of supernatural knowledge of Hogwarts topography. But they weren't the only ones who needed to get around undetected. Snape had taken up smoking at fourteen and it quickly became his second favorite solitary behavior. He'd learned of two passages, fairly close to the Slytherin common room that led outside of Hogwarts. One ended in a nice secluded spot near the moat. He'd stand there, rain or shine, and smoke on any evening when he felt he could get away with it. He was standing there one night towards the end of his last term when Remus Lupin appeared out of nowhere.
Lupin saw Snape and started walking towards him. Snape stuck his free hand into his robes and grabbed his wand. He hated himself for trembling all over the closer Lupin got. It's an ambush; he thought, Potter and the fat one are probably coming up behind me. The werewolf's angry he didn't get to finish his meal. He should have known they'd would never let him leave Hogwarts alive. With the coming war they could justify it, one less dark wizard. He didn't want to be a dark wizard; he didn't really feel like one. Dark wizards were confident and efficient, not terrified and awkward.
"Can I have one of those," Lupin pointed at Snape.
Snape looked around, his free hand on his wand, "What? What do you want, werewolf?" He found that nothing hid fear so well as contempt and cruelty.
Snape remembered the cigarettes; his fear of a messy death by werewolf was replaced by a more pedestrian fear of reprimand for being out of bounds and smoking. Lupin was a prefect after all. Slytherin was doing well this year, point-wise, Snape imagined the head of his house would literally *crucio* him if he lost Slytherin the house cup.
"Damn, points," Snape whispered. He wished he weren't scared all the time.
"What, I just want a -, um, just one."
"You're a prefect."
"But I smoke them, really, nasty habit, I won't tell, I just wanted to -."
Snape was still backing up, getting closer to the water's edge, looking about furtively.
"Really," Lupin continued, "I couldn't - I didn't tell you before, but I should have... um."
"Told me you smoked." Snape was distracted, he didn't understand Lupin at all, where were the others. It seemed wrong and impossible that Lupin should be there alone.
"No, about the Incident," Lupin said. Capital *i*, thought Snape.
"The incident, what incident could you be referring to? Oh, do you mean the attempt on my life?"
"Please don't be so melodramatic, it wasn't murder, it wasn't meant to be. I mean, it wasn't on purpose. You're so stupid sometimes. Look, I'm trying to apologize. What are you looking for?"
"Oh, you apologize. Well then, no problem. Terrific, really, now that that's all behind us, we can... Where the bloody hell are they? Just tell me, where they are."
"Who?" Lupin knew who, "Them. They're not around, I've been trying to see you alone."
"Look, can I borrow one."
"Fag," Lupin pointed at the cigarette that had burned down in Snape's hand.
Snape tossed it away in disgust, and letting go of the wand inside his pocket for the first time since he saw Lupin, he pulled two cigarettes from his robe. He gave one to Lupin, lit his own and passed the burning match to the threadbare boy. He looked at Lupin closely. His mind said werewolf over and over. Scary, drooling, biting, killing, but the idea didn't match the reality very well. Lupin looked tired and thin, boring and forgettable. He has his youth going for him and nothing much else, thought Snape. Lupin puffed on the cigarette, not seeming to draw much pleasure from the act. Snape grew suspicious again.
"Are you sure you're a smoker, I mean..."
"You don't seem to like it."
"I know what I am. You keep telling me what I am."
Werewolf, thought Snape, and what else? Werewolf pretty much obliterated everything else, especially after one tried to eat you.
"So what are you doing after you finish up here at Hogwarts?" said Lupin, casually. "What are you t- what are you, a spy for the Ministry? Want to know if I'm off to death eater summer camp or something?"
"I just thought, I want to - I'm trying to make conversation." Lupin paused and puffed at his cigarette again, "Is there really a summer camp?"
"We're not friends, you're a spoiled, murderous Gryffindor and I'm your near murder victim. Don't make small talk with me."
"You are so dramatic. Everything to you is a huge opera with you at the center." Lupin stared at Snape; he looked very concerned all of a sudden, "Really, don't go in with those fanatics. They're dangerous, maybe more so for you because, um, you're not like the other Slytherins exactly."
"Not like them..."
"You're not as rich, your family..."
"Whatever I do it will be my own decision. I don't need a self-righteous Gryffindor to tell me- I have reasons. I have to... You're not the only one with friends," he thought of Malfoy, "Do you really imagine I don't care for them the same... I mean, you Gryffindors, you're not the only one's who feel-, who fear for your friends."
Lupin looked chastised or embarrassed, it was hard to say. Lupin always seemed to Snape to have this pained expression on his face, "Its just, I can't... maybe we shouldn't talk," said Lupin, but he continued to talk, "Severus, I'm sorry. Look I really wish- I wanted to apologize because I think we're both... I mean, we're alike in some ways." Lupin tossed his half smoked cigarette into the moat.
Wasteful. Horrid, wasteful boy, thought Snape, then he realized what Lupin had said, "What, I'm nothing like - I don't..." Snape stopped, Lupin was moving closer. Snape either understood perfectly what Lupin meant or he didn't understand at all.
Lupin looked up at him, "It's just that... I want to-" Lupin lifted his head and kissed Snape on the mouth, tentatively. Nothing, really, a small kiss, a peck, thought Snape. He started to kiss back but then he remembered, werewolf. Marauder.
Stupid, thought Snape, he backed up suddenly without thinking, directly into the moat. He was ankle deep in water and his shoes sunk in the mud. He hopped out quickly to avoid waking anything up. He pushed past Lupin and walked back towards the school. He felt certain Sirius Black would appear any moment, calling him names, specific names; there were specific names for it. What then? Expulsion? Disinheritance? Lupin would be kept out of it, somehow? They got away with everything. Did Lupin lose a bet, why send him?
"Stop," Lupin shouted, "Stop, please."
Snape did stop. He was at least two yards away. He looked at his cigarette. Self-preservation and keeping the Secret (capital *s*) were important. But he could not afford to waste another cigarette, they were hard to come by, he could only get them at Muggle stores, using Muggle money. He usually bought a carton at the beginning of term when he went to London to get his books and clothes. He carefully rationed them to last the whole year, when they ran out he had to bum them off other students. Malfoy had an endless supply but Malfoy's brand was perfumed and cloved and disgusting as far as Snape was concerned. Snape inhaled his cigarette and tried his best to stare past Lupin contemptuously. I'm not afraid, he thought, I mustn't panic.
But he did panic; he shouted at Lupin, "Is this why you- why they hate me? I just want to smoke a cigarette in peace, its no one's business." Stupid Gryffindor puritans.
"Look, Snape, I'm really- I also... No one else knows."
"What do you want?" He kept smoking; trying to feel that soothing effect nicotine could have on him. Lupin looked earnest. All Gryffindors looked earnest but Lupin looked earnest and interested? Aroused?
Snape spun around to look back at Hogwarts and then turned back to Lupin. "I mean if you're sure. Let me finish my damn cigarette," he took a last drag and threw it on the ground. "If you want..."
Lupin's face broke into a smile. Now that's handsome, thought Snape, he should smile more.
Lupin ran up to Snape and threw his arms around Snape's neck. They kissed like that for five minutes or more, Snape wasn't sure; he'd never kissed anyone before. But it seemed natural and exiting at the same time. He explored with his tongue and his lips. He kissed Lupin's chin and cheekbones, his eyelids and forehead. Hooting from the owlery snapped him out of what felt like a trance. Snape pulled back and sighed despite himself.
"That was lovely," said Lupin
"I have to get back," said Snape
Lupin kissed (pecked) him again and ran off, not towards Hogwarts but towards the Forbidden Forest.
Another passage, thought Snape. He walked back towards the school and the hidden entrance and to the Slytherin common room. As he walked, his wet, muddy shoes making quiet slushy noises, Snape played over and over in his head the image of a smiling boy running towards him, open face, open smile.