Title: Life Sentence
By: T'Pau Silver (TPauSilver@aol.com)
Disclaimer: This is in no way going to protect me if anyone tries to sue me but here we go anyway. I do not own and am in no way affiliated with the Harry Potter franchise. I am making no profit from this work of fiction and no harm is intended from it
Rating: PG
Summary: Answers the following challenges - 10) Unrequited love: either Snape or Lupin admires the other as a student and knows it can lead to nothing... 32) Remus and Severus were bonded for life by a Potion accident. 52) The war is over, and Dumbledore is dead. Without the help/support, Lupin is unable to find work, and finds himself homeless and starving, too proud to ask Harry or the Weasleys (who have enough problems of their own) for help. Snape finds him, and insists Lupin come stay with him. Lupin accepts, but is very weary of Snape's sudden warmth toward him.
Warning: Don't take more then the recomended daily dosage of any particular pill during a 24 hour period.
Thanks to Diane for beta reading.
10) Unrequited love: either Snape or Lupin admires the other as a student and knows it can lead to nothing...
32) Remus and Severus were bonded for life by a Potion accident.
52) The war is over, and Dumbledore is dead. Without the help/support, Lupin is unable to find work, and finds himself homeless and starving, too proud to ask Harry or the Weasleys (who have enough problems of their own) for help. Snape finds him, and insists Lupin come stay with him. Lupin accepts, but is very weary of Snape's sudden warmth toward him.

Remus ran helter skelter though the corridors, not pausing, even to apologise as he barged through a group of fifth year girls or nearly knocked over a first year Hufflepuff. He was royally late for Potions, and Potions was the one lesson that one did NOT want to be late for. Professor MacPesto was notoriously hard on any students who took so much as a step out of line in his class and even more so towards to the Gryffindor.

He’d left his textbook in the common room that morning and had been forced to run back and get it or risk turning up without it. He’d deemed being late the lesser of the two evils, but he’d been held up longer then he expected by Martin West, the sixth year prefect for Ravenclaw, who was a little power mad.

Really, he was only about five minutes late by the time he sped into the dungeons and through the door into the potions class, but he knew there would be hell to pay for it.

“Nice of you to join us, Mr. Lupin,” MacPesto said calmly. Remus winced inside, that was the cheesiest thing anyone could possibly say in these circumstances, trust MacPesto to say it.

“Care to explain where you have been that’s so important?” the teacher asked, a sinister grin spreading across his face.

“I forgot my textbook sir,” Remus said as calmly as he could, “I had to go back for it.”

“Well, Mr. Lupin, I feel that this warrants a detention, don’t you? Remember, never to be late to my lesson again.”

Remus spun round to take his seat at this only to find there was someone in it. Slowly he looked around the class everyone seemed to have been paired off. Siri was shrugging at him apologetically from the front row and James and Peter were sat together by the side, Peter looking ecstatic at having been put with James.

“Well, Mr. Snape,” MacPesto said, a note of apology in his voice. “It looks as if you will not have the good fortune of working alone after all…”

“But that’s not fair!” Snape spat. Remus took a chance to look over at the other boy, who was sat in his customary place in the back corner, a scowl on his face. “He’ll ruin everything!”

“I’m sure you’re considerable talent will make up for the obvious deficiencies in Mr Lupin’s skills,” MacPesto said coldly, turning his attention away from Snape. Remus walked over sheepishly and slid into the seat beside Snape, who glared at him then turned his attention back to the pages and pages of notes he was taking.

Remus tried very hard to follow what MacPesto was telling them, but having missed the start of the lesson he didn’t even know what the overly complex potion being described was meant to do.

Instead, he found his thought turning to the boy beside him. Most people in the class would feel sorry for him, being stuck with Severus Snape as a lab partner, though MacPesto’s comments about his obvious talent had been entirely true. The boy was, well, not so nice to look at and it carried over into his personality.

James and Siri especially would feel sorry for him, being paired with someone they considered their worst enemy. They were always going on about how Snape tried to hex them but in reality they did things just as bad, if not worse, back to him.

He didn’t see what everyone’s problem was with Snape, not really. Sure, his hair was greasy. That didn’t mean anything other then he needed to shower more often. Remus would place good money, if he had it, on the reason Snape being so greasy relating to the fact he was such a good student, he spent more time in books then in the bathroom. There was no crime to it. And he had a big nose, so what, it wasn’t as if he could help it.

It was true, as he could testify, having seen quite a few of them; the Snapes knew a lot of very advanced dark curses. He’d known more curses then anyone else when arriving at school, but that was more a testament to his parenting then anything else. His parents taught him them, he learnt them. It was how things worked.

He did come from a notorious dark magic family so it was only to be expected that he know a lot of dark curses really.

It was expected that he’d join Voldemort too. Lupin didn’t know how much truth there was to the rumour that Snape already had a dark mark branded into his arm and he didn’t really care…

Truth be told, he was willing to overlook a lot of things to do with Severus Snape. After all, he had a lot of redeeming qualities. He was smart, and loyal if his affiliation with Lucius Malfoy was anything to judge by. He’d be good looking, in a unique way, if he just took better care of himself, and he was… well, he was Snape!

Honestly, Remus knew why he overlooked all the other boy’s bad qualities. He had a crush on him. It was really that simple. He’d thought he was wonderfully clever since the start of their first year and as he’d grown and developed his feelings had advanced, though he’d never tell his friend about it. He’d known he was gay for quite some time now.

He didn’t know what it was about Snape that attracted him. Logically, he knew they were perfectly wrong for each other. To start with, Snape had a girlfriend. Scarlet Contessa. A suitable pure-blood girl for a suitable pure-blood family. They would be well together, neither was spectacularly good looking, according to the people who would know, they were both into dark arts, their families were close…

Add to that his own friends’ hatred for Snape. No, they would never be together and he’d do well to keep his mouth shut regarding the entire issue. It could only hurt him to say anything.

But now MacPesto had stopped talking and they were all consulting in pairs, quietly. Snape turned to him.

“Did you hear any of that at all?” Snape asked, giving him a condescending glare.

“Sorry, I got lost in it, I guess that’s what I get for missing the first half of the lesson.”

“Indeed,” Snape said coldly. He took his notes and handed them to Lupin. The title of the assignment was sprawled across the page in spidery handwriting.

‘Potion creation test, to be completed in pairs. Each pair must create from scratch a potion to weaken the mental powers of another to make their mind more susceptible to reading.’

Remus shuddered at that. The thought of someone reading his thoughts…it was awful.

“MacPesto’s gone through a long list of things we may find helpful,” Snape said dryly. “But I want to do some more research, I can’t afford to fail this… We’ll meet in the library at seven tonight.”

“I might not be able to get away…” Lupin said, thinking about his friends.

“Well you’ll have to,” Snape snapped. “I don’t like working with you any more then you like working with me, but we have to and, as I’ve already said, I’m NOT failing this assignment.”

With that, Snape stood, swinging his bag over his shoulder and left Remus holding the notes. He looked around and saw most of the class had left, in fact, other then a Slytherin who was in quiet conversation with MacPesto, Remus noticed his friends were the only ones still there, and they immediately rushed to his side when Snape left.

“You ok, Moony?” Siri asked, grinning, “Imagine, being stuck with old Snivelus, I think I’d rather fail…”

“Yeah,” James said, seriously, “But, look, Remus… maybe we should go to Dumbledore to get this changed? I mean, let’s face it, he’s going to have a hard time working with you after…”

Siri snickered behind his hand but Remus couldn’t see what he found even vaguely funny about the incident. He still had nightmares about what might have happened that night. He just didn’t know what Siri had been thinking; sending Snape down under the tree, no matter how much he hated him. It would have been so easily for things to go horribly wrong and for Remus to have killed Snape.

“I think it’ll be ok…” Remus said slowly, “I kind of need to talk to him about it anyway, I’ve never had a chance to apologize and, hey, at least I’m practically guaranteed a passing grade…”

“You’ll still have to work for it,” James warned, smiling. He’d had to work with Snape in transfiguration earlier in the year and had complained no end about having to do his own work.

They didn’t seem to mind when he excused himself that evening to go work with Snape. Siri had given him a pitying look and James had warmed him to work hard then he’d left.

He got there a little early, not wanting to make a bad impression, but Snape was already there, and buried in a small mountain of textbooks. As Remus approached, Snape looked up then gestured at him to take a pile of books to the right, which he had finished with already.

It didn’t take long for Remus to realize he’d been given the pile of books Snape must have picked out as long shots. Not many of them had anything useful at all in though apparently Snape found lots of interest in his books because his quill was scrapping almost constantly on the piece of parchment he had laid out in front of him.

They sat there in silence for two hours before Snape stood, apparently having finished the last of the books on his pile.

“Are you done?” he asked sharply.

“Yes,” Remus said, smiling. He’d finished his pile some time ago and had been taking advantage of the quiet to finish up a transfiguration essay. “There wasn’t much I thought would be of use in them…”

Snape just nodded curtly.

“I’ll look over you’re notes,” he said briskly, “and get a complete set of useful notes together…then tomorrow we can start putting a potion together…”

Remus nodded, handing over the scroll on which he’d written his notes, being carefully to make the script legible as he’d predicted Snape would want to take them to read them.

Without so much as a goodbye, Snape turned and stalked out of the library. Remus sighed. If this was how the other boy behaved regularly it was no wonder he spent so much time alone. Not that Remus was going to let it get to him. He was sure he could crack it.

So the next day he turned up, as punctual as you like. It was Snape, however, who was late. This was unusual in itself but when Snape arrived he looked particularly harried. He dumped their notes on the table and slid into a chair across from Remus.

“Are you ok?” Remus asked, softly. He didn’t want to seem overly concerned because that might make Snape push him away but…well…

“None of you’re business,” Snape snapped, rolling out the scrolls. “I think I’ve got most of this worked out…I just need to finish up this bit here, I’m not sure exactly which root would be best…and I need a neat copy…”

“I thought you were going to make me do my share of the work?” Remus asked, mildly offended that he hadn’t been given a chance to prove himself.

“Well, I thought better of it…” Snape snapped, looking away from Remus’ eyes. “I saw you all talking after the class, I bet you’d all think it would be just wonderful to ruin this, wouldn’t you. Make me look a fool?”

“Don’t say that!” Remus snapped. The very thought of sacrificing his grade and a chance at a friend for a quick laugh, Why, tampering with a potion could seriously harm someone.

“I’m not stupid!” Snape snapped, standing quickly. “I know you all hate me and I’m not letting you ruin this!”

“I don’t want to ruin it I want to earn a fair grade. I’m not stupid enough to mess around with a potion, I know too well what it can do…I don’t want to hurt anyone…”

“It’s not like you haven’t tried to kill me before!”

There it was. The incident. Remus felt his hands clench into fists at his sides.

“I didn’t try and kill you,” he said, calmly. “It was Sirius. And it was a stupid thing to do. I’m really sorry that it happened and I hate to think what would have happened if James hadn’t shown up…”

“Oh, remind me of that too!” Snape snapped. “Not good enough that I nearly died but it was Dumbledore’s golden boy who saved me!”

“It’s not like he had to save you,” Remus snapped, “Would you rather have died?”

“No…”

“Then stop saying these things. Sirius is an idiot and he shouldn’t have done that, but everyone’s fine. And I didn’t know anything about it until the next morning…”

“But…but he still tried to kill me!”

“Yes, he’s an idiot…” Remus said coolly. “There’s not a lot we can do about it. I mean…I’m mad at him for it…but it won’t stop him being it again…”

“He isn’t even sorry?” Snape asked, incredulously.

“I am,” Remus said, glaring. “Doesn’t that mean anything to you?”

“I don’t need you to be sorry.”

“Well I am,” Remus snapped. “Sorry about the whole mess, and scared. Scared that I could kill someone. I don’t want this…I want to be normal, but I’m not!”

“Well join the club,” Snape snapped. “I’m sure we’d all like to live perfect normal lives, but that doesn’t mean we put up with our friend’s trying to kill people…”

“Oh, that’s rich coming from someone who’s friend’s with a Malfoy!”

“Leave Lucius out of this, he’s not even really a friend to start with, more of a vague acquaintance. And you’re only relying on rumours to say he’s done anything wrong. Rumours that you probably started…”

“I don’t start rumours!”

“What about Black though, I bet he does. I should imagine starting rumours is nothing after trying to kill someone.”

“Just shut up,” Remus yelled, jumping to his feet. “I don’t have to listen to this…and I won’t listen to this! I’m going!”

“Fine,” Snape snapped, but Remus wasn’t even listening anymore. He ran out the door and off, helter-skelter through the corridors, no particular destination in mind.

He’d hoped to make amends with Severus, to come to some kind of understanding and maybe even to develop a friendship with the other boy but now it didn’t look at all like that was actually going to happen.

It was two days before they spoke again, another potions lesson. It was Friday now and the day before a Hogsmeade weekend so not many people were really concentrating on their work.

Of course, Severus was.

He spent the entire lesson buried in a scroll, Remus alternating between watching him and staring vacantly into space.

Finally, MacPesto dismissed them and Remus rose in a hurry. He didn’t want to spend any more time around Snape then he had to at the moment, it was oppressive and depressing and he didn’t need to be depressed right now.

“Lupin,” Snape barked, his word clearly an order to stay. For a second Remus considered just walking out then decided this was clearly not the best course of action and turned back to face his partner.

“We need to do a practice run on this potion, meet me in the dungeons at…oh, say, 10 in the morning. It’ll take a few hours to brew and will need testing…”

“But…Hogsmeade!” Remus uttered, his jaw dropping.

“I though you said you actually wanted something to do with this potion?” Snape snapped, glaring at him. Remus nodded and sighed.

“Fine, I’ll be there…”

Snape smirked, as if happy that he’d ruined Remus’ plans for the weekend. Remus simply refused to rise to the bait, turning and walking out of the room.

His friend’s didn’t take kindly to the thought of him missing a Hogsmeade visit because of “that slimy git.” Sirius in particular threatened to go down and beat Snape up for him so that he wouldn’t be able to brew a potion and Remus could go, a suggestion that had made Remus laugh until he realized his friend was deadly serious, at which point he told Sirius in no uncertain terms that he’d already done enough to harm Severus and it was hard enough for Remus to work with him because of it anyway.

So the next morning he went down to the hall and saw them all off, listening to them shout back to him promises of sweets and tricks.

He went straight down to the entrance of the dungeons, even though it was only 9:30, and sat on the steps there reading a novel he’d borrowed from the library until Severus arrived, again looking quite harried and unhappy about the entire arrangement.

“MacPesto has said we can use his spare room,” Severus said, “Then if anything goes vastly wrong, he can be on hand to correct it…”

Remus sighed. Snape still didn’t trust him, even a little. He rose slowly and followed the other boy down to the spare workroom, where the bench and cauldron were already set up and the ingredients were set at the side, ready to be prepared and added.

Snape pulled a scroll out of his bag and laid it across the table. A list of instructions were written out very neatly, presumably for the potion they were about to brew.

“Now,” Snape said softly. “I don’t know if you know this or not, Lupin, but I intend to go into potions when I leave school. This assignment makes up a good portion of my grade. Failing this would be disastrous for me and, were it to happen, you’re little friend Sirius would not be the only one intent on murder.”

“Oh don’t be so melodramatic,” Remus said cheerfully, “Just show me what to do first.”

So, soon he was set about chopping and washing and crushing and grinding various ingredients, in silence of course, while Severus presided over the actual potion making, adding the ingredients, timing things, stirring correctly.

“Right,” Severus said calmly. “Give me your hair…”

“What?” Remus asked. What on earth did Snape need his hair for?

“I’ll have to read you’re mind, I’m far more skilled at it. I need to put the hair of the person who’s going to be weaken in first, then a little later, my own.”

“Why can’t I read your mind?” Remus asked, sullenly. “I didn’t do to bad at Occlumency…”

“Well, I was top of the class,” Snape snapped. “I’m more capable of piercing the barriers and more capable of stopping myself seeing things I don’t want to.”

“Oh fine,” Remus said uncertainly, tugging a hair out. He didn’t really want Severus reading his thought but he was sure Severus felt the same way and it didn’t take a genius to know Severus Snape was very stubborn so it was easier to just get it over with and agree.

Snape added the hair and then, a little later, added one of his own. Remus watched the potion bubbling in fascination. It had turned an odd orange colour by this point and he wasn’t sure he wanted to drink it, but Severus had obviously spoken to MacPesto about it so the teacher was sure to have looked over his work and checked it was satisfactory.

Finally, a small amount of the potion was poured into a goblet and handed to Remus, who looked at the concoction for a second, then took a sip.

It burnt like hell going down, and he choked on it a little, but it had a sweet aftertaste at the back of his throat so it wasn’t so bad. He cleared his mind and turned to face Snape, who immediately tried the spell to read his mind.

It didn’t work. Snape tried again, still nothing.

“It’s not working,” Snape yelled, banging his fist on the table.

“Maybe it just takes time to work?”

“It should work instantly…”

“Didn’t drink enough?”

“A few drops should be enough…wait a second, maybe I misunderstood the order the hairs were meant to go in. Pass it here, I’ll try it…”

Remus passed the goblet over to the other boy, who wrinkled up his nose and took a sip.

Immediately, Remus felt an odd tugging, almost as if his skull were elastic and someone was inside pushing to get out. Apparently Snape was feeling it too; then a spot of light appeared on Snape’s forehead. Remus watched in amusement as the spot became abeam, moving slowly out of his head. Amusement, that was, until he realized a similar beam of light was coming out of his head and moving towards Snape.

He reached up, desperately, and tried to stop the beam of light but he couldn’t. His movements seemed to have awoken Severus, who was stood there as if frozen. The other boy sprung into action, running to the other side of the room, then out the door and shutting it, but the light just came through the door as if it wasn’t there, creeping closer and closer to Remus.

Remus could tell Snape was moving further away but the light beam seemed to be moving faster to compensate. He moved as far back into the corner as he could but it was no use. Slowly, nearly at the door now because of Severus movement away, the two beams of light touched.

It was some time later when Remus Lupin woke up, a vague warm sensation around the top of his temple that wasn’t entirely unpleasant. The kind of warmth you get from a hand caressing the skin, only without the physical presence of a hand.

He looked around and realized quickly he was in the hospital wing. He was used to the place by now and waking up there didn’t really give him cause for concern, until he saw Snape waking up on the bed next to his and the events that had landed them there came flooding back to him.

He sat up quickly, hoping to find someone in the room who would explain things to him, but no one was present. He swung his legs over the edge of the bed and stood up, slowly, testing if he still could, then plodded over to the side of Severus’ bed.

The other boy was definitely awake, though not as much as Remus, and looking around him slowly.

“What on Earth happened?” He asked, shakily. Remus moved to sit on the bed, sighing.

“I don’t know,” he said, simply. “In fact, I was hoping you could tell me…”

“I don’t…the potion…then the light…and…and…Oh god no I’m going to fail,” the other boy said, turning over and burying his face into his pillow. Remus didn’t know what to do to that, other than reach over and slowly pat Snape on his shoulder.

A few second later, the door to the infirmary opened and the headmaster’s face appeared. Dumbledore made his way slowly into the room and sat down on the bed Remus had previously occupied. He offered them a sweet from the bag he’d produced from his robes. They both declined, Remus knowing from the headmaster’s solemn face that something was terribly wrong and not feeling that he could eat at the moment.

“Am I going to fail potions?” Snape asked suddenly, breaking the silence. This seemed to amuse Dumbledore and he smiled.

“Oh no, dear boy,” he said, “This will not impact your grade at all. In fact, I’m not entirely sure how we are going to test you this year…perhaps I should inform you first that Mr. MacPesto has been dismissed…”

“Why?” Snape asked, sharply. He obviously didn’t want to think he was responsible for the dismissal of one of his favourite teachers.

“Well, the potion he was having you create, if you had succeeded, would be highly illegal, which is why we do not have any texts on existing potions available in the library. It appears, Mr. MacPesto was working for the Dark Lord, attempting to appraise which of his students will be more useful to his master by giving you morally objectionable and difficult tasks such as this one.

“In a way, you two were very successful. I’ve glanced through your notes, Mr. Snape, many adult wizards would not be able to create a potion as effective as the one you made, or come as close to the brief. In fact, on this potion alone, I believe you should both be awarded an A, though that is for your next teacher and examiners to discuss between them.”

“What does the potion we made actually do,” Remus asked, a hint of fear creeping into his voice.

“Well, it does lower you’re mental defences, but only to the specific person who you drank the potion with, who’s hair was in it. And, well, the bond created is permanent and exclusive. In a way, it is very positive as nobody can break of infringes on the bond so nobody else can read either of you’re thoughts, and the bond isn’t so invasive…you will have a general impression of how the other is feeling at any given time and, maybe, a few of their thoughts, if they are particularly concentrating on something…however, this bond, well, not this one exactly but one very similar to it, was originally used in wizarding law as a bond of marriage. And, as I said, it is unbreakable and exclusive. You can never marry other then the bond that already exists, or engage in sexual intercourse outside it either…”

“We…we’re married!” Snape yelled, apparently loosing all control. “I can’t be married to him…this is just…I hate him!”

“Calm down Mr. Snape,” Dumbledore said coolly. All the colour seemed to drain out of Snape’s face and he sat back on the bed, a wave of despair washing over him, which Remus felt through the link. It was odd, though he could feel the emotion clearly, he was also keenly aware that it was not his own emotion.

“But sir,” Remus said softly. “Are you absolutely sure there isn’t a way to reverse this…any way? I mean, we didn’t want for this…there must be other people through the ages who have had the same thing happen to them?”

“Well, Mr. Lupin, the point of the spell was to bring together two people who did not necessarily want to be together. It was thought that be allowing the mutual exchange of emotions through the link the two would grow to understand and love each other and that was why the bond was unbreakable, those entered into it often did so unwillingly.”

Remus quite simply didn’t know what to say to that. It was a stupid idea that was simply all there was to it…

“Will the link be affected by distance at all?” Snape asked.

“I’m afraid not,” Dumbledore said with a sigh. “Even the usual measures we can take to dull these links will have no effect. No, I’m sorry gentlemen, but you are stuck with each other…until death do you part.”

Remus fell silent. There wasn’t a damn lot one could say to that. Apparently all they could do was accept the sentence that had inadvertently given themselves.

He turned to Snape but the other boy refused to meet his eye. Anger was rolling off Severus in waves and Remus could just tell he was blaming every single person he’d ever met. Slowly they both thanked the headmaster then stood up and left, Snape waiting until they reached the bottom of the stairs to unleash his anger.

“You did this on purpose,” he screamed, pushing Remus over.

“I didn’t…why would I do something like this on purpose?”

“To humiliate me, that’s why! Why on earth would you do anything? You and you’re little friends. I bet you did all this just to get at me!”

“You heard Dumbledore, it was your mistake! You’re the only one who could even vaguely be held to blame here and I’m not the type to blame people so you won’t be. But…to think that I did it…why would I willingly bind myself for life to someone who would never like me? Do you really think I’m that much of a masochist to deny myself all further relations just to annoy you!”

“Well nobody else would have you anyway,” Snape said coldly. The link was giving Remus a very clear picture at this moment of exactly what Snape thought of him and werewolves in general.

Unbidden, tears began to run down Remus’ face. Snape sneered, apparently immune to any of Remus’ emotions he was feeling.

“Oh shut up,” he snapped. “There’s no need to play upset, I don’t believe it. Just...I never want to see you again. I’ll live my entire life and never touch a human being again if you’re the only one I’m allowed to touch. Just…leave me alone!”

Remus ran. He knew Snape meant it, he knew he was less wanted here then he’d ever been anywhere else.

The notion that he would do this to himself, it was… Despite any ill-conceived notions he’d held that he could change Snape, become his friend, win him over, he would never be so presumptuous as to form an unbreakable bond between them. He wasn’t even fond of marriage. It was all so…so stupid. He didn’t want this. He wanted to be normal and not be just a freak on yet another level.

He knew he should run back to Gryffindor tower. If Snape thought all they did was sit around and scheme then that’s what he’d do. He’d go back and scheme and get revenge on Snape for the awful way he’d made him feel right now. But he couldn’t do it. He wasn’t the vengeful type.

He collapsed in a corner, not knowing where he was, tears clouding is vision. He lay his head on the floor and sobbed into the unforgiving stone, knowing with no uncertainty that Snape would never, ever love him.

And time proved him right. He went back to the Gryffindor tower that night, proverbial tail between his legs, telling his whole story and receiving hugs and sympathy from all his friends but this didn’t seem to help when he could sense the pain and rejection Snape was feeling through the link. He lived normally. He isolated himself from Severus, as the other man had made clear he was meant to. They never spoke, never even saw each other. As it turned out, the link had repercussions all through his life though. Because of it and because of Snape’s suspected involvement in the death eaters, he was suspected by his own friends of involvement with the dark lord and not trusted. Of course, he didn’t know it at the time.

And sometimes he was so terribly, terribly lonely. He would have given anything for a warm touch. Of course, it was different for Severus. He, at least, wasn’t a virgin. Though sometimes the feelings Lupin got through the link indicated that Snape may view Remus’ own status as a virtue, a ‘if I hadn’t seen the sun I could have born the shade’ situation.

But there was nothing for it. He dealt. He managed to get by in life. He did what he could when he could, just keeping clothes on his back, a roof over his head and food in his mouth. He was a little upset to learn of Sirius’ death that all his worldly goods went to Harry. Of course, he was upset about loosing his friend, but for a brief second he’d thought that maybe his financial troubles could be over. He could have enough money to comfortably get by.

It just added insult to injury that he didn’t get a penny.

And then the war ended in a final battle to end all final battles. Voldemort was defeated, but at a great cost. Harry was severely crippled and had to rely completely on others just to do simple tasks, something that he resented greatly. And, most importantly to Remus, Dumbledore died.

It was very hard to find work in the wizarding world, especially at the moment and especially if one was a werewolf. Because so many of his type had joined Voldemort the entire world seemed to suspect him. He’d been held and given a hearing though his position throughout the war in the order of the phoenix was well documented. In the end, they conceded that he was innocent and let him go. Not without a fight though.

And that was how he came to be living on the streets of London. No money, no job, even his wand had been ‘misplaced’ during the enquiry and they were looking for it, he was assured, it may just take them a little while to dig it out.

He knew he’d never see it again. It was their way of ensuring he didn’t do any magic, and there was talk of bringing in a werewolf extermination program. Soon he may be chased through the streets by the modern day equivalent of peasants brandishing pitchforks and howling for his head.

He soon discovered how to live on the streets. He occupied a doorway of a small business, some distance from the nearest wizarding residence. If he was lucky, passers by would throw him coins, though most of them would turn up their noses at him, as if he were a piece of gum stuck to the pavement, dropped by some hobo. They treated him as if he weren’t there, talking over him. ‘I say, doesn’t he look a mess, its a shame people let themselves get in a state like that’ ‘oh, come away dear, he probably has lice’ ‘no, you can’t give him any money, he’ll only spend it on beer. It’s his own fault anyway’. If he was lucky he had enough at the end of the day for a bag of chips and a mug of tea. He knew he wasn’t ‘operating’ in a good area but he didn’t want to have to fight for a spot and he wasn’t even sure he wanted to get by any more. Everyone seemed to presume that either he wasn’t a real beggar or he was an alcoholic and just wouldn’t help him. Of course, you got the occasional person how was kind, and most of the others were often just in their supposition…

He just wished he hadn’t been bitten. It was his favourite pass time really, imagining how life would be if he weren’t a werewolf. He could spend hours at it. He’d have a nice house…a good job, live with Severus who wouldn’t be disgusted, even he thinks about him…

He’d stopped cursing the link long ago and accepted it as a fact of life. He could barely remember what it was like NOT to feel Severus’ emotions.

But Severus didn’t seem to feel the same. All through the year they worked together and there work in the order Severus had been indifferent at best and downright hostile at worst. The man was, to put it bluntly, insufferable.

But Remus couldn’t help but care for him. Maybe because he had felt everything that other man had gone through. Of course, indirectly, the accident had made Severus the best Occlumens in the world. He’d searched for the better part of his life for any spell that would even vaguely allow them to separate but failed on all counts.

Remus didn’t hold it against him. He’d tried. Remus really, if he was being honest, wasn’t even sure he wanted the link broken. As stated, he was so used to it now, not having it would make him feel lost and alone.

But he knew there wasn’t even the vaguest chance Severus felt the same way about their chance binding.

Which was why he was shocked when he was woke up one morning by a poke of a foot in his ribs and a familiar smell.

He forced his eyes open, stretching as much as the cramped doorway would allow, and looked up to find Severus Snape looking down on him, disgust clear on the other man’s face.

“Hello Severus,” He’d said evenly, sitting up slowly and yawning. It was only just coming light and Severus must be rushing somewhere to be up and about at this hour.

“What on earth are you doing out here?” Severus asked disgust evidence on his face.

“Nobody wants to employ a werewolf…” Remus said, slowly.

“Did they ever?” Severus spat.

“No, but they would if they had Albus Dumbledore’s word that I wasn’t a threat…”

Severus was silent. He stood there, looking down on the other man and Remus shifted under his gaze. He suddenly became aware that the tatters of robes under which he were sleeping were incredibly thread bear, and the holes in his jeans stood out like a sore thumb and that there was a massive stain across the front of his shirt.

“Stand up,” Severus commanded. For a second Remus was going to disobey then he sighed in resignation and climbed to his feet. Severus looked him over again then sighed.

“Follow me,” he said, turning and billowing away down the street. Remus rushed to keep up, not really feeling up to it.

“Where are we going?” He asked, coolly. He didn’t need to loose his spot and he’d had to leave all his things in the rush to keep up with Snape, he couldn’t go far.

“Well I can’t hardly leave you living out here, can I,” The potions master asked, a sneer on his face. “You can stay with me until you find another job…”

Remus froze for a second then hurried to catch up with the other man, keenly aware he may never get another opportunity like this. It was completely out of character for Severus to be so giving but Remus was incredibly thankful for it. He’d been keeping track of the phases of the moon as best he could and he was aware the full moon would be in a few nights at the most. He’d been terrified of what would happen to him, and more importantly to the people around him, on that night.

He’d been on the verge of asking for help. He hated asking for help. Hated accepting it even more. He knew he was at a disadvantage, being a werewolf, but it was no reason to exploit the kindness of others. He didn’t feel so bad about exploiting Severus because the man never did anything for free so if he was helping there was most likely something in it for him.

It took them a good twenty minutes to walk to Snape’s house, a Victorian terrace house in a run down area of London that had probably seen better days. Lupin was thoroughly unimpressed with it. He’d imagined something a lot grander for the Snape residence.

They went in and found themselves in a small hallway, a rack by the door holding a few cloaks and a mirror on the wall which kept fogging over and writing rude messages in itself being the only items present and the faded, peeling blue floral wallpaper presenting a dismal image.

He followed the potions master down the hall and through a door in the end into a small but functional kitchen. The entire thing was tilled in brown and there was outdated brown linoleum on the floor. The worktops were stained red, probably with potions, and the appliances were all filthy. A small table had been crammed in somehow with two chairs around it. Severus deposited a bag he’d been carrying on the table then shooed Remus out of the room again, pointing him up the stairs and to the left into a dirty, dingy bathroom with a grey bathroom suite.

Once Remus was submerged in warm water though, he suddenly forgot all about how dismal the place was. Hell, after a doorway for nearly a month now, it may well have been the most inviting place he’d been in for a long time.

He took the opportunity to shave while he was there, getting rid of the beard and moustache that had grown while he was living on the street, then dressing in a set of robes Severus had shoved through the door shortly after he’d shown him the room. They belonged to the potions master so they were a little big for him but they were clean and didn’t have even the smallest hole in so they were an improvement on anything he’d worn for a long time.

He re-entered the kitchen feeling like a new man, then felt even more so after a fried breakfast and a cup of coffee.

Severus excused himself, telling Remus he could do whatever the hell he wanted, and left. Remus spent the morning exploring the house. It wasn’t to bad, he concluded. Somewhere under the grime and neglect was a nice, if a little outdated, house. So, that in mind, he set to cleaning, starting in the kitchen, not being sure he could stomach another meal that came from there.

It took him the better part of the day but the kitchen was cleaned. He’d found some cleaning products stacked under the sink, though they were old they’d had to do and he’d made the most of it.

Severus didn’t even seem to notice when he came in, grunting in acknowledgment of Lupin and disappearing again, this time down a staircase hidden in the cupboard under the stairs.

Remus followed him curiously and found the only room that probably mattered to the other man, his workroom.

The room was full of interesting bottles and jars, filled with brightly coloured creams and ingredients. A tank and a cage against one wall contained various live ingredients while a workbench held many neat cauldrons, some containing bubbling potions, some empty. The entire place was spotless. This was obviously the only room in the house Snape cared about.

Remus watched Severus go over to one of the cauldrons and stir the contents, lifting a ladle of the foul concoction and sniffing, wrinkling his nose at the smell. Remus just thought he should be thankful he didn’t have to drunk the stuff.

A ladle of potion was poured into a goblet and handed to Remus who downed it without complaint. He spent the night tossing and turning on the bumpy couch in the living room. He was exhausted the next morning, the potion always kept him awake. He could feel it running through him, like mercury in his blood. He’d stopped being disturbed by it a long time ago, the odd feeling was just a part of having the potion but it still made it uncomfortable for him to sleep.

There was only one bedroom in the house. Remus had only glanced in but it was as abysmal as everything else.

The next day Snape disappeared again and Remus made a valiant attempt to clean the bathroom but he was tired and weak, the potion drained all the energy out of him. He supposed it controlled the beast, he used to be full of energy around the full moon and he’d accepted it long ago as a symptom of the potion but it didn’t mean he had to like it.

Snape came home late again, bringing food this time. Remus hadn’t had the courage to ask them man anything about his current life, yet he seemed cold and unresponsive. He seemed even more so tonight though. Remus realised it probably had something to do with the fact he was going to spend the night with a werewolf in his house. The thought was enough to unsettle most people.

The full moon came out, Remus transformed. He was aware Snape had locked the door of the living room earlier. Probably didn’t want to deal with the wolf. In this form, Remus was even more drawn to the man he shared a bond with and it wasn’t easy for the wolf to be so close without having any contact and even the potion wasn’t enough to suppress the wolf entirely so Remus found himself pacing, scratching at the door and whimpering for Severus to come and see him.

Severus looked tired and annoyed the next day. Remus slept for the better part of 24 hours.

They fell into a pattern quite easily. Remus spent the day cleaning; He emptied out cupboards, worked stains out or surfaces, washed curtains, beat rugs. The house had a small backyard with a dead planter in it, which he cleaned out.

His best efforts failed to make the house a nice place to be but it certainly made it nicer than it had been previously. He wanted to broach the subject of maybe painting the walls or at least getting new curtains and a few plants with Severus but the man seemed entirely unreceptive of anything to do with the state of his house.

Any questions about what Severus did for a living were met coldly too. The man didn’t seem to like talking about his work at all. It was clear that he didn’t still work at Hogwarts as the school year had already started. It had seemed obvious that promises made to Albus Dumbledore were all that bound Severus to the school thought he’d bet anything that some students would be shocked to think their professor could have any kind of life outside the classroom.

Another full moon came and went and Remus was getting bored. Severus had taken him in only to ignore him. He was kind enough to him, but didn’t seem to care at all. His efforts to find a job were met with resistance at every step. When he did convince the job centre to set him up some interviews, none of the employers would have him. It was like they thought he was contagious or something. It was just downright ridiculous.

He hated this. He hated being dependant on another so completely as he was being on Severus; Especially someone who was just so, indifferent. Remus didn’t think he’d felt one strong emotion from the man in a long time. He seemed to just be operating in a cloud of indifference.

So, one day Remus had decided he’d had enough of it all. He simply turned around at dinner and asked why on earth Snape had taken him in. Snape had looked at him slowly, shook his head, and then left the table, nothing more than that. Remus had, understandably in his own opinion, been enraged by this carrying on and had slammed around the house.

He still didn’t feel any strong emotions from Snape. The man was stuck in limbo and it struck Remus that to get any kind of response from the man, he’d have to make him feel something.

So he tried angering the man. He stopped looking for a job, or doing anything really. Severus didn’t seem to mind. He yelled, he complained, he asked deeply personal questions. Nothing seemed to cause any kind of response.

In the end, it wasn’t he who broke through Severus emotions. He’d been there for six months and had just about given up on Snape feeling anything again. They had another half arsed fight. Remus had antagonised, something he never used to do. Severus had left the room. Remus had felt immensely bad about it, which he knew Severus must know. He felt what annoyed him. How was me meant to hate Severus when the man could read his emotions?

He was woke up at midnight by something he was unused to, a sudden surge of emotion from Severus. He lay still in the dark, listening, and could just hear vague sobbing from the top of the stairs.

He crept up, aware the Snape probably wouldn’t want him to see if he was crying, and into the bedroom.

And Snape was crying. A letter lay on the pillow beside his head, crumpled. Remus went over and unscrewed the piece of paper, a date, that was all. A date, six months ago today…

The date of the last battle.

Shit, grief, apathy, that was what had been going on.

Without even thinking about it he slid into the bed and pulled Severus into his arms. The other man resisted for a second then gave up, collapsing into the his arms. Remus had really had no idea how much Albus had meant to Severus. Well, if he thought about it, he had…he should have anyway…but that wasn’t the point.

“It’ll be ok,” Remus whispered softly, running his hands over the other man. Through his hair, up and down his back, just glad for any contact.

“I imagine so…with time,” Severus said. He sounded so tired, exhausted.

“I’m just sick of it all,” he said. “After the war was over, I thought maybe my life would be better. I mean, I’m respected enough. I’ve got a good position, but I don’t like it for some reason. I should love my job but it just seems so, mediocre. The house depresses me, all we can do is argue, why don’t things ever work?”

“I’m sorry,” Remus mumbled, suddenly feeling intensely guilty for starting so many arguments. “Look, let’s try and stop fighting. Maybe when the rest of you’re life improves you’ll be able to enjoy you’re job more? I don’t know, it’s worth trying, isn’t it? And I can do up your house, try and stop it feeling so gloomy. We can work things out, I promise, there is a way to make this better and we will find it…”

“No,” Severus said, “I…I just can’t. I can’t like anything. I can’t feel anything…”

“It’s grief,” Remus replied, certainly. “You need to start getting over the losses of the war. We all do. Please, Severus, I’m sorry, let’s just try and get on…”

Severus had nodded in a defeated way and relaxed back into Remus’ arms. The two men had stayed there, Severus sleeping, Remus simply lying awake holding him for quite a time.

They talked the next day, Severus owling in ill.

What came out of the discussion was a decision to redecorate the house, a few apologies and the decision to put a childish grudge behind them. After all, who means what they say in high school, and they were stuck with each other…

And, as they say, they lived happily ever after…

Or, well, as close as damn anyway…