Title: The Morning After
Author: hatshepsut (hatshepsut_triumphant@hotmail.com) Pairing: SS/RL
Warnings: shameless fluff, even more shameless hurt/comfort, PWP
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe and its characters do not, not, not belong to me. Drat.
Notes: This is in response to challenge 194: hurt/comfort after RL's change.
Summary: hurt/comfort after RL's change. And also a biiiiiig thanks to my beta, witch.

***

Severus knew the change hurt. He knew this, and so he was ready that first full moon of their infant relationship.

Yes, he waited until Remus had transformed back, then picked him gently up off the floor and wrapped him in a blanket. The werewolf whimpered, sore.

"Hush, love," Severus soothed. He murmured a brief cleansing spell over his trembling, sweat-damp lover, then pulled the duvet on the bed back. He lay Lupin down on the mattress as gently as he could and pulled the duvet up under his chin before sliding in next to him.

Lupin gave another whimper, and this one seemed more needy than pained. Severus pulled him into his arms. "Hush, now," he murmured into the soft hair, "You're all right." Remus shuddered and Severus stroked his cheek. "Don't worry, love, I'm here now. I'm here." He pulled back to give a gentle kiss to Remus' forehead. "Close your eyes, love. You need to rest." Remus managed a little smile. "Sleep now," Snape muttered and they both drifted off.

***

The next morning Snape woke to attend classes, leaving his lover to rest. Remus was always too drained to teach on the days after a transformation. With a kiss to his sleeping love's forehead, Snape stepped out to another day of trying desperately to hammer knowledge into his idiot students.

***

Drifting slowly awake, Remus smiled at the memory of Severus' tenderness. He'd been so frightened his lover would be terrified or digusted with his werewolf form--after all, everyone else was. But maybe it wouldn't be a problem. *Don't get your hopes up, Remus,* he told himself.

Remus tried to sit up and see if his mate had left yet and groaned in pain. Merlin, but he was sore. He'd forgotten how these days were. He groaned again, the headache setting in, and tried to curl up as small as possible, hoping it would lessen the aches.

***

Severus was smiling to himself as he walked back to his quarters to check on Remus. He couldn't help it; the thought of his lover sleeping the day away in bed just pleased him. Lupin did far too much for people who didn't deserve it--and the sight of him sleeping was one of Severus' favorites.

Snape entered his chambers as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the werewolf should he be sleeping. Listening, he frowned. He could hear a soft whimpering. Moving into the bed chamber he was greeted by the sight of his lover curled in a ball and making soft noises of pain to himself.

Snape was beside the bed in an instant.

"Remus? What's wrong? Are you ill? Remus?"

The werewolf lifted his head and blinked. "Severus?"

"Yes!" the Potions master practically shouted, "Now what's wrong?"

Remus blinked again. "Nothing's wrong, Sev," he said wearily, and let his head back down onto his forearm. Snape sighed.

"Remus," he said, speaking very slowly and deliberately, "you're obviously in pain. If you would tell me *why*, I might be able to help you, understand?"

Remus looked hurt. Snape sighed. "Come on then," he coaxed, "tell me where it hurts."

Remus whimpered. "My head."

Pleased with his victory, Severus reached out and stroked his lover's hair. "Anywhere else?

"My stomach is--queasy."

Snape nodded. "Stay here." He rose and glided off toward his laboratory. Remus shivered on the bed. Merlin, but he hurt.

Snape returned with several vials and sat down at the head of the bed. "Sit up, love," he prodded. Remus did, Severus supporting him. "Now open your mouth, please." Remus complied. The Potions master opened one of the vials and placed three drops of liquid on his tongue. "Now swallow," he instructed. Remus did, and felt the nausea melt away almost instantly. He blinked, then stared incredulously at his lover.

"Yes, that's right," Snape said dryly, "The discipline I've devoted half my life to does, in fact, have a purpose." That drew a smile from Remus, which turned into a wince. "Ah, yes." Snape drew a glass of water from the bedside table behind him and placed a further three drops of a different potion in it. "Drink this down," he said.

Remus obeyed, eyes never leaving his lover. When he was finished, Snape took the glass from him and drew Remus' head onto his shoulder. "This takes a bit longer," he muttered. Remus closed his eyes and felt gentle fingers rub his scalp. And slowly, ever so slowly, the headache began to fade. Finally, he sighed and opened his eyes. Snape smiled fondly at him. "Is that all, my dear?"

Remus nodded and smiled. Really, his whole body ached. He always felt like that, after--the sudden absence of the wolf drained him more than anyting else, he thought. Right now he just wanted to be held... he leaned up to kiss Severus, wincing. His lover was on to him at once.

"Remus?"

"Yes?"

"Is there something else you'd like to tell me?"

He just wanted a cuddle. "Err..no?"

Severus raised an eyebrow. "Ah. I see. So if I were to do *this*," he raised Remus' arm by the wrist, "it wouldn't hurt?"

Remus whimpered. Snape snorted. "Just as I thought." He rose and stalked out of the room, muttering about idiot werewolves.

Remus bit his lip. Was Severus coming back? He hadn't meant to lie, hadn't meant to make him angry...he'd just wanted to be held. Sometimes he just felt like a monster...Remus felt tears form in his eyes. What would he do if Severus left him?

Severus returned, bottle in hand, to find his mate looking absolutely devastated.

"Remus?" he incquired quietly, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

The werewolf looked up at him through tears. "I'm sorry," he whispered.

Severus frowned, concerned now. "For what?"

"I-I lied to you and--you were angry and--and I didn't know if you'd come back," Lupin finished miserably.

Snape sighed and cursed himself, then pulled Lupin upright and into his arms. "Remus," he said quietly, "I'm not angry with you. I just don't like seeing you hurt." He mopped his lover's cheeks. "I'm sorry if I made it sound as though I were." He drew back to look Remus in the eyes. "Do you understand?" Remus nodded and gave a weak smile. He'd gotten held, after all.

"AND, you stupid werewolf," Snape added more loudly, clutching Remus tightly, "I will *always* come back to you. Always. Understand that, too."

Remus sniffled on his chest and pulled back. "I know, Sev. I suppose I'm a bit sensitive around full moon. Sorry."

"If it makes you feel any better, emotional tendencies are well-documented in post-transformation werewolves."

"*Severus*?"

The Potions master scowled. "What? I have a vested interest in your well-being, you know. I've done a bit of research."

"*Emotional* tendencies?"

Severus sneered. "Yes, I've heard they're also quite common in Gryffindor idiots."

Remus chuckled and pushed his face into Severus' chest. Snape stroked his hair absent-mindedly for a moment, then pulled the blanket off Lupin. He shivered in the dungeon draft and made a noise of protest.

"This is to make you feel better," Severus squeezed a fair amount of a pinkish gel into his hand and began to smooth it about Remus' back, kneading gently, "It consists of a fast-acting analgesic and a slow-acting muscular astringent in a mild irritant base--" Remus snorted at him and Severus scowled. "If you'd like a translation into Gryffindor, that means it'll warm you up and numb you while it tries to heal your idiot sack of bones." Remus smiled into his mate's shoulder. There truly was only one Severus.

And there was certainly something to be said for his methods, as well. Pains forgotten, Remus was floating on a cloud of warm contentedness. He gave Severus a silly smile.

He snorted. "I don't recall giving you any narcotics, Lupin."

Remus only smiled besottedly. "I love you," he sighed.

Snape opened his mouth, shut it abruptly and scowled. "I--love you, too," he grumbled. Lupin sighed blissfully. Snape snorted. "Get to sleep, Remus."

Lupin smiled again, lying back down. He felt Severus pull the duvet up over his shoulders and drifted off to sleep in dazed ecstasy...

***

Severus sighed, smoothing the blanket over Remus' chest and coming once again to the realization that he was hopelessly smitten. It was pathetic. He sighed again, determined to tear himself away from his lover's side. He had little time left if he was going to cancel the rest of today's classes, and more importantly think of an excuse as to *why* he would now be needing the day after the full moon off. Not that the old man wouldn't figure it out, anyway.

Severus sighed, moving towards the study. If only all of life were so simple.