Title: Forbidden Thoughts
Author: Juxian Tang
Pairing: Snape/Lupin, Snape/MPPW
Disclaimer: These characters and places belong to JK Rowling. I am
making no profit.
Summary: Challenge # 140. Lupin accuses Snape of holding a grudge
for a "silly schoolboy prank" once too often. Snape decides to show
Lupin just how awful the Marauders really were.
Warning: contains a rape scene
Author's notes: My deepest appreciation and a million thanks to Beth
) - an astounding beta who
caught all my mistakes (and there were lots of them, I can tell you :-))
and helped me to make this story much, much better!
This story is for Murbella
Nobody ever forgets where he buried a hatchet. - Kin Hubbard
He thinks later he should've paid attention when a slight draft of cool
air brushes over his face. The little flames of the candles flicker,
nearly extinguished, and then rise to full burning again. He doesn't
notice, just passes his hand in front of his eyes, as if sweeping away a
shadow, and keeps reading. The book is great, the only Christmas
present that he enjoys - because he told his mother specifically what
he wanted and she, obviously in secret from his father, got this book
Severus pushes sticky strands of hair away from his face and wipes
the hand on the blanket before turning the page. The chapter is over.
He flips through the next one, considering whether he should read it
now or later. It is quite long and the subject, Assyrian poisons, is
complicated, so he thinks he can deal with it unhurriedly when coming
back from the showers.
Tonight no one is going to gripe at him for keeping the light on for too
long and send him to read in the common room, which isn't much
better because the prefects don't like to have him there in the middle
of the night. The dormitory is empty and silent, the curtains on all the
beds drawn away.
Severus likes it this way. In fact, Christmas vacations are his favorite
time of the year. He usually gets to spend them at Hogwarts. He
would love to stay here for the summer as well, but it is hardly an
option. Maybe one day he won't have to go somewhere he doesn't
He runs his hand through his hair again and sighs. He really has to
wash it. No way to put it off for longer. Well, he thinks, persuading
himself, he will come back later and read some more.
Making this little pact with himself, he tucks the book away carefully
and gets up from the bed, picks a towel and a bottle of green pine
It is so quiet around. Apart from him, only one second-year and one
third-year Slytherin are here - and they are already long asleep.
Actually, there are no more than a dozen students from all the Houses
staying at Hogwarts this Christmas.
Severus winces; he would feel much happier if four of those students
were not the damned Gryffindors he hates so much. Why did they
have to stay? As if they don't have homes where they are welcome.
He supposes it is some kind of punishment for Black, an unofficial
punishment, since there was nothing official for sending Severus to
the Shrieking Shack a month ago. The others stayed out of solidarity.
And Severus is stuck with seeing their spiteful, jeering faces in the
Great Hall during meals.
He sneers, recalling the reason for the new round of enmity between
him and the Gryffindors. In a way, he knows that no matter what he
does, it still won't be comparable with what Black had done - he
doesn't have a werewolf buddy to pay them in kind, after all - but what
he did was not half bad.
He recalls the morning two weeks ago, when Potter, Black and
Pettigrew walked down to the breakfast sporting jolly blue dots all
over their faces and hands. Of course Severus's housemates had
already warned everyone what to watch for. 'Let's see how much
Gryffindors enjoy wanking.'
It was easy, really. Just a few drops of a potion added to their cauldron
so that the fumes permeated their skin; the mixture sensitive to the
higher levels of testosterone. Too bad the werewolf obviously chose
the previous night to keep his hands away from himself - but three out
of four was a good result.
Severus thinks he will never forget the absolutely mad look on Potter's
face when his Mudblood heartthrob Evans bent over the table and
choked on her cocoa, seeing him. The icing on the cake was that
Pomfrey clearly had little compassion for 'idle hands' and said there
was nothing wrong with them to absolve them from lessons.
It was good. It almost made Severus feel as if some balance, shaken
badly after the Shrieking Shack and Dumbledore's refusal to punish
the Gryffindors, was restored.
As he passes the common room, the only sound is the softest crackling
of fire. Orange flame reflects in the silver and green decorations on the
enormous fir-tree in the middle of the room. For a moment Severus
stops and looks at it; at home they never had a Christmas tree - and
sometimes, when no one is looking, he just can't help standing and
It is then he feels something is off. He doesn't know what and can't
explain the feeling but something has changed. It is as if a trickle of
icy water runs over his back. He shakes his head. He isn't going to
develop a phobia just because it is so quiet and there are only three
people, two of them little kids, here. Severus enjoys his loneliness -
and is going to keep it like that.
He throws it out of his mind and walks to the showers, and the
brighter lights and pristine white tiles there dispel the feeling. Merlin,
the shower-room is freezing cold. Severus casts a spell starting the
water, the pipes are old and sometimes the water starts spitting hot or
The sound of the water is steady, somewhat pacifying, and Severus
drops his clothes quickly, huddling, shifting from one foot to the other
on the cold floor. He grabs the bottle of shampoo and makes a few
steps to the showers when something heavy comes down on the back
of his head. He sees the white tiles roll up to him with incredible
speed - and then everything goes dark.
* * *
He comes round to a throbbing pain in his nose. He can't breathe
through it, it feels clogged and enormous and hot. Severus panics and
tries to grip it - and can't. His hands don't move, something hinders
him, something around his wrists. The fog in front of his eyes
disperses and he looks at the faces of three Gryffindors holding him
He is on his back, and Black and Pettigrew pin his arms down to the
floor, and Potter sits on his legs, in the clingy, tenacious way he sits
on the broom during Quidditch, and even though Severus bucks and
struggles, he can't shake them off.
"You slimy bastard," Black sneers, "now we have you."
Severus's mouth feels strangely numb and is full of salty, hot liquid -
and when he moves his tongue carefully, he finds that two front teeth
are gone, one completely and the other broken - he must've knocked
them out when hitting the floor. He glares at his enemies, swallowing
blood to be able to talk.
"If you want to see a bastard, Black, look at the mirror. Isn't your
mother dying with shame, having a Gryffindor son?"
Black's knee grinds onto his hand, crushing the knuckles against the
floor, and Severus gives out a short cry of pain but stifles it quickly.
He's not a fool, he knows he's in trouble - very deep trouble - but he
isn't going to show them how hurt or scared he is.
He has no idea how they managed to get into the Slytherin dorms,
unnoticed by the portrait, or where they hid - but it's not as important
now as the fact that there are three - no, four of them, he notices the
werewolf standing at the wall, not touching him but still here. And
they are dressed - their robes getting soaked with the water running
from the showers, their hair already wet - and he doesn't have a scrap
of clothes on.
This thought strikes him, and he thrashes furiously, trying to get free,
squirming on the wet floor. The hot water sluicing around his body
feels very cold suddenly.
"Let me go," he mutters, "let me go, you Gryffindor shits."
"No, we don't think so," Potter says. His glasses are slightly foggy and
he wipes them against his shoulder. He has this haughty, scholarly
look that he sometimes acquires, by contrast, at the moments when he
prepares to play an especially nasty prank. "Did you think you could
play games with us, Snivellus? And not pay for it?"
Bastards, he thinks, you never paid for trying to kill me. But another
thought comes to his mind, so amusing that he can't keep away from
voicing it, even though he knows it'll possibly make things worse for
"What will you do? Wank on me?"
Black's fist flies into his face, well aimed, and something crunches in
his nose, and he howls and jerks again, trying to free his hands.
"You freak!" Black yells. "You fucking filthy-mouthed greasy freak!"
"'Filthy' is the operative word," Potter says lazily - and Black seems to
come round, exchanges a look with him.
"Correct, Prongs. Hey, Moony, what's there? Give it to me."
The werewolf, silent, moves strangely slowly, appearing almost
surreal in the misty air, and hands Black the bottle of shampoo.
"'For oily hair'," Black reads deliberately, winking at Potter and
causing a fit of giggles from Pettigrew. "Exactly what you need,
Snivellus. Why don't you use it, then?"
"He uses it, Padfoot, it just doesn't help," Pettigrew says in his thin,
And for some reason them pawing his shampoo and making jokes
about it infuriates Severus more than anything they've already done.
He struggles wildly, trying to break free from them.
"Don't you touch what doesn't belong to you," he hisses, his voice
tight with anger. "It's mine."
"Of course, it's yours," Black laughs and settles more conveniently on
his arm. "And you can have it. Moony, hold him. His head. I don't
want him to..."
Severus jerks feeling very cold hands on his temples, preventing him
from moving - and the thought that the werewolf touches him makes
him frantic. But he doesn't have time to say something hateful because
Black unscrews the cap off the shampoo bottle and overturns it over
The green liquid leaks over his face, gets into his mouth - he can't
breathe though his nose and kept his mouth open. It gets into his eyes
and starts burning there - incredible, cruel burning - and Severus flails
helplessly but can do nothing to stop it. He swallows involuntarily and
gags, and more shampoo gets into his mouth, and he can't stop it, it
gets into his throat, and the fluid is slick and bitter and so revolting
that he's going to vomit.
He thrashes so hard that his wet arm slides out of Pettigrew's grip and
he grabs Black's ankle blindly - he can hardly see anything - and he
yanks and hears a short cry and the heavy sound of Black landing on
Out of surprise, probably, Potter lets him go, and for a moment
Severus is free. He turns onto his hands and knees. He knows he
should try to make a sprint to the bench where his wand is. But the
bitter, thick fluid clogs his windpipe, and he coughs and sputters,
trying to get it out of his lungs. The fit of coughing is so violent that
he can't stay on all fours, falls onto his elbows, crouches like an
animal. His wet hair clings to his face.
And a moment later someone's boot slams into his side, and Severus
chokes, and another blow goes into his face, and he falls, and he can't
even see who kicks him but he knows it's more than one of them.
He wheezes and sputters shampoo bubbles when they finally stop
beating him. There is an awful bitter taste in his mouth - he threw up
when someone got him in the belly. Usually he knows how to cover
vulnerable places, life with his father has taught him - but this time he
was too concerned with the need to breathe.
He lies on the soggy floor, pushing his face into the puddle of water
trying to wash his eyes a little. He is a mess and he knows it. The
humiliation is so sharp that all he wants is to curl up and stop existing.
His vision is blurry when he finally manages to open his eyes.
Black stands in front of him, panting. Potter and Pettigrew are
probably behind him - Severus doesn't see them - and Lupin is sitting
on the floor, leaning against the wall, his face invisible in the steamy
"Look at this," Black says, drawing out the words. "Snivellus
surpassed himself. And I thought it wasn't possible to get any filthier
than he was."
Someone giggles, Severus thinks it's Pettigrew. He thinks about
making one more attempt to fight - if only he could reach someone's
wand. But he doesn't see their wands, they work on him without them.
It's clever - this way nothing can be proved by Priori Incantatem, just
And Severus doesn't think he can succeed anyway. There is nothing in
him that doesn't hurt. His eyes and throat are burning.
"Do you think anyone will notice if he gets a bit filthier?" Black says,
and something in his voice is so mean that Severus feels a sting of
apprehension. He *is* afraid - he wishes he could keep denying it, but
it's true. He hadn't been so scared even at those times when they
caught him alone in an empty corridor or classroom.
Black pulls his zipper down, and Severus jerks, refusing to even
consider what the damned son of a bitch can have in mind.
"Padfoot, mind your dog habits," Potter says with a mixed expression
of amusement and slight disgust. "So, if you can't hump it or chew it,
you can piss on it?"
Pettigrew laughs shrilly and Black keeps groping his groin and his
expression is somewhat wistful, as if he needs time for Potter's words
to penetrate his mind.
And then - something changes, and Severus feels it as a cold finger
runs over his spine, and he writhes on the floor, trying to turn and see
Potter. Because something important has happened between Black and
Potter - and it concerns him.
He jerks to get up but he doesn't have a chance, Potter presses him
down with his boot. His voice has that lazy, flippant tone again.
"But if you think about it, why not, Padfoot? The bastard called us
wankers. He simply begged for it."
"It's a lesson he's not likely to forget, right, Prongs? It'll teach him
some respect to those above him."
"Hey, what're you talking about, guys?" Pettigrew says.
Severus wants to flee; the bad feeling is overwhelming. He doesn't
think about getting even, he just wants to get out of here. In a way he
understands that there is no way to escape - no one will help him, the
dorms are deserted. But he presses his palms to the floor, preparing to
fling himself up.
Potter tackles him mid-movement, breaking him down on the floor.
Severus makes a thin painful sound as his knee hits the tiles. A trickle
of blood from it spreads into the running water.
He doesn't have a chance to get up - Black and Pettigrew are on him,
pressing his face to the floor, twisting his arms behind his back.
"Right," Potter says, and there is something cold and wild in his voice.
Like he isn't quite the same person as before - and now Severus is
really frightened, and he squirms, not trying to break free but at least
to see Potter. He has to twist his neck at a very awkward angle, but he
needs to see.
Streams of water reflect in Potter's glasses, and then he squats behind
Severus, very close, and the contact against his bare skin makes him
shudder. Potter's knees press on his legs and then move between them,
spreading them, and there is something wrong in it. He sees Potter
pick the bottle of shampoo, there is some of it left on the bottom.
"Let's see what this stuff is good for," Potter says coating his hands.
And then - Severus's mouth goes dry - he sees Potter's cock between
the flaps of the robe, erect, and Potter runs his palms over it, covering
it with slick green fluid - and then his hands touch Severus, in a sick,
disgustingly intimate way, pulling his buttocks apart, revealing him in
the most obscene way.
The understanding strikes him. But it can't be, Potter can't want to, it's
just a joke, a threat, like it was a threat when he said he would take his
underpants off - but he never did because Lupin said some teacher was
coming. Potter can't - such things are simply not done. Potter's hands
are rough with Quidditch calluses, fingers grip implacably - and
something wet, warm and blunt pushes against Severus's anus.
No. Nonononono. He says it aloud, he realizes, the litany of a single
word - and it does nothing to stop Potter, and the blunt thing pushes
through the ring of his anus, entering him, and it hurts.
It hurts so badly that his stomach twists - but Black's knees press his
chest and head to the floor so tightly he can't even take a deep breath.
Potter moans a little, as if he's in pain as well, and the thing keeps
pushing, wide and huge, and it is inside him.
It feels wrong, an alien thing in his body, and Severus wants to scream
with the wrongness of it, they shouldn't be able to do it to him, but his
voice is gone. Potter gasps - and suddenly it feels as if he's all the way
in, the coarse texture Severus feels against the sensitive skin between
his legs must be the hair on his balls. He sticks his fingers into
Severus's hips for leverage when pulling out - and another wave of
sickness comes, it hurts madly again, it feels as if his insides are
"Please," he says, "please," and water gets into his mouth, muffling
The seesaw movements, sliding in and out, are nauseating. Blood
beats in his head, and the pain is unceasing, befuddling. Severus cries.
He hasn't cried since his second or third year, made himself stop doing
it, unfortunately when the nickname 'Snivellus' had already stuck to
him, but now he can't help it. He doesn't sob, just tears running from
his eyes, blurring everything in front of him.
Potter thrusts into him, acquiring speed, and his breath becomes
panting, harsh and loud. Every movement is like a stab, but the worst
thing isn't even this pain. The worst thing is that he knows there is
nothing that will stop Potter until he comes - and nothing can be
undone. They have destroyed him. They have changed him
Potter's breath hitches. He goes very still and stays so for a few
moments. And then with wrenching pain he pulls out of him, and
Severus can't help crying out. He's so sore; his opening feels huge,
feels as if it won't ever close again and everything is leaking out of it.
He feels empty there, as if Potter's cock rearranged his insides in some
He won't ever be as before. Everything in him clenches in grief, and
he barely feels as Black's knee is removed and replaced with Potter's.
"My turn, Snivelly," Black says cheerfully.
It hurts again, in a different way - the pain feels like something almost
*familiar*. His tears taste bitter as he swallows them.
"Do you like it, Snivellus?" Black mutters while slamming into him.
"Tell me how much you like it."
And then - oh Merlin, it's almost worst than anything else - some of
Black's thrusts are angled in such way that they touch something in
him, something that sends a jolt of a new sensation through him, the
sensation that is not pain. He doesn't want it, doesn't want his body to
react like that - but he can't help it, something happens to him, he feels
heavy tug in his groin. He tries to press tighter to the floor to hide it.
But Black notices it, of course.
"I said you like it, Snivellus!" he yells with delight. "Prongs,
Wormtail, Moony, look at that! Snivellus is getting off on it!"
"He's queer," Potter says with such utter contempt in his voice that
Severus wants desperately to deny it. He's not, he's not. "I always
knew he was."
Black finishes in a few quick strokes that don't bring Severus any
more pleasure - but harm is done, and when Pettigrew thrusts into
him, he's so ashamed with himself he almost doesn't notice the pain.
The pudgy boy is mercifully quick, just a few frictions and he pants
and pulls out. Severus feels wetness sliding out of him and is revolted
with the thought what it can be.
Black calls over him: "Moony. Hey, Moony, what's wrong with you?
It's your turn. Just get over with it and let's go."
Just get over with it... In a strange way it's almost what Severus wants.
He's so exhausted that he just wants them to leave, and he knows they
won't leave until the werewolf gets his share.
His vision is hazy; he sees the thin figure unwind from the crouching
position at the wall, move closer, feels Lupin kneel behind him. The
werewolf's hand is cold, so cold, touching Severus's back.
"He's bleeding." The voice is very quiet.
"He enjoys it," Pettigrew says.
"Come on, just do it," Potter says abruptly. "Don't be a girl."
And Lupin does. And finally something snaps in Severus, and the
misty, wet room starts swimming in front of his eyes, and with relief
he lets it go and slips into unconsciousness.
A tingle of magic going through his body brings him back a while
later. He doesn't want to be back - to pain, to realization what
happened. At least there is no one holding him any more, no one is
*in* him. He shifts weakly, pulling his legs up.
"Are you sure he won't tell?" Pettigrew says in his thin piercing voice.
"Maybe we'd better Obliviate him?"
"What's the point of the lesson if he doesn't remember it?" Black asks
"I cleaned him up," Potter says. "He won't prove anything if he tells. It
will be his word against ours, right?"
"Yes, his word against ours," Black echoes.
Severus closes his eyes and blacks out again.
When he comes round the next time, the water around him is icy cold.
He must've spent the whole Slytherin stock of hot water. The fog has
cleared and there is no one in the showers apart from him.
Severus moves. His body feels numb with cold - except the throbbing,
hot pain in his anus. He clenches his teeth not to make a sound and
gets up, first onto his hands and knees, then onto his feet. His knee is
bruised badly; he limps to the bench and grabs the wand.
Finally the water stops running. The shower-room is soggy but the
water on the floor is clear, shampoo and blood and everything else is
gone. The shampoo bottle lies in a puddle, empty. Severus's stomach
He wraps himself in the robe and stumbles back to the dormitory. The
Christmas tree keeps flickering with silver and green in the half-dark
common room, and for a moment he feels a fit of unbearable sadness
and self-disgust. He should've known they'd hid somewhere here,
should've felt it, why didn't he notice them... But it's too late to regret
Back in the dormitory he puts ward after ward onto the door, even
knowing it isn't necessary, they have already done everything they
could - but he can't stop himself. He finishes only when he's
completely exhausted. He tries a half-successful healing spell on his
nose and falls into bed.
The last thing he sees in his mind's eye before falling asleep - and the
first thing that comes to him in his nightmares is streams of water
falling onto white tiles.
* * *
He wakes up with his head on Lupin's chest. He doesn't know how it
happened. He's been asleep only for a few minutes, half an hour at
most, but now he feels woozy and disoriented. Lupin's ribcage rises
and falls steadily, and the low deep thudding under his ear is Lupin's
heartbeat. Severus jerks and scrambles away to the edge of the bed.
Lupin's eyes are open, even though he's been breathing as if he were
asleep, and he looks at Severus with mild amusement that is just
barely tinged with annoyance. Severus rubs his face, feeling the oily
strands of his hair brush over the back of his palm. A part of him
tenses in apprehension that Lupin might say something about it,
express his displeasure at having his greasy head touch him. It's not
like Severus can't give as good as he gets, of course, and Lupin has
never said anything like that since everything started - hasn't said it for
a very long time, in fact. But Severus still believes it's better to be
ready when it comes.
"Damn," he mutters. "You shouldn't have let me..."
The corners of Lupin's mouth quirk up a little. His voice has the
husky, deep sound as it always does after intercourse.
"That's all right, Severus. I don't mind."
But I do, Severus thinks - and doesn't say it aloud, as he never does.
"In fact," there are notes of laughter in Lupin's voice, "I enjoyed it
very much. You look different when you're sleeping. Not so...
Everything inside Severus clenches. What does he mean? Is there a
hint in Lupin's words, some hidden teasing? Does he want to remind
Severus what he never forgets anyway? The moment when his guard
was down, and he let them get him, and allowed them to use him, and
could do nothing about it.
He grits his teeth. It is so difficult to read something in Lupin's face.
He's always so... so calm. Like water. Like water that slips between
Severus grabs the bathrobe from the floor and wraps it around himself,
in a practiced, quick gesture, allowing as little skin to flash as
possible. Being naked with Lupin in bed is one thing, it can't be
helped. But only when the black bathrobe is on him, the cord on his
waist tightened, does he feel safe.
He stands barefoot in front of the bed, feeling the cold from the stones
seep into his soles. It must be the reason for the slight shiver going
Lupin looks at him and tilts his head awry slightly. Strands of tousled
hair, almost entirely grey, fall over his eyes. He stretches a little - the
blanket covering only his groin - his body thin, scarred and long-
limbed; Severus gnaws on the inside of his lip remembering those
long arms wrapping around his body, those thin fingers running over
his ribs, those legs clamped around him as if trying to hold him in
place even if he tries to escape. There is a rush of heat in his groin,
again; and there is clenching of cold that squeezes his brain in a vise.
Merlin, how he hates him. How he wants him. What a fool he is.
"When you look at me like this," Lupin says, "I know it's time to get
my arse out of here."
He sounds amused - and he sounds as if he'd like to be reassured and
asked to stay - and the worst thing is that Severus partly wants him to
stay - wants him in his bed, making it so warm even on the most
freezing nights. He wants another time of their bodies entwining,
limbs and fingers and chest against chest, nipples and cocks rubbing
against each other. He wants Lupin to stay - even as a part of his mind
burns in hatred and disgust and wants to shout: 'How can you pretend
How can you touch me, and be gentle - when you saw me puking
green shampoo on the floor, and making bubbles from my nose -
green and red, shampoo and blood. Don't you ever think about the first
lube you used - don't you think about it every time you coat your cock
with the very best lube that I made for us?
But he never says it. There are things that one can't say; especially to
Lupin. Lupin who is always so calm and confident and jovial and well
adjusted; who's survived the loss of all his friends and still found
strength to live. Lupin who sometimes seems impenetrable and
unfathomable like no human being can be.
Severus raises his chin, looking at Lupin through the tangled strands
of greasy hair and says nothing.
"All right," Lupin sighs, "I'm leaving. You're probably dying to get
back to your lab."
It's a good justification, the one Severus couldn't find and didn't even
try to look for. The one that makes everything normal. As if their
relations are normal. As if there is nothing between them - nothing
buried and rotting between them, like a dead body.
* * *
Severus doesn't know how he got there. Or... no, he knows it. He can
recount it step-by-step, recall every little detail of getting himself into
it. But it still doesn't do anything for the overwhelming feeling of fear
and disbelief that sweeps over him from time to time. Sometimes he
wants to get out of it now, at any price. But he doesn't. Because at the
same time he wants to stay.
And everything he does - he does on his own accord.
Remus Lupin is the one who's broken the one-year curse of Defense
Against the Dark Arts position. Not only does he return to it four years
after the first time he occupied it - but also stays on two years in a
row. Which puts the position out of reach for Severus again, but he
doesn't mind. In fact, he isn't even sure he wants Defense at all any
more; he probably wouldn't know what to do with it if he got it. He
feels too comfortable with his potions, got too used to them. And
changing something... sometimes he feels too old for it.
That's right; he feels too old even though he isn't forty yet; sometimes
he wonders how he's going to live further. The thought of Albus's one
hundred fifty years is terrifying. He never regarded such longevity
before. But now Voldemort is dead, and he, Severus, survived it - so,
what would prevent him from living for another forty, fifty years?
The first months after Voldemort's death are a blur. There are still
Severus's former 'comrades' on the run, and in a way his position is
more dangerous than before. Then everything settles down, little by
little. Even the Aurors lose interest in him, accepting the Order's
testimony about his role.
It is then Severus starts thinking that he can or should change
something. He doesn't even have to stay at Hogwarts, Merlin knows
he dislikes children passionately and they like him even less. His debt
is paid, Albus wouldn't hold him. He can start a new life somewhere.
But he changes nothing. He's too comfortable in his dungeons, in his
role of a child-hating monster, the fiend of the cozy, friendly teaching
staff. Changing things would mean meeting new people, settling into
new roles. He doesn't feel he has the strength left for it.
And there is one more thing. If he leaves Hogwarts, he possibly will
lose the only justification he has for staying alone - that there is no one
for him here. In the bigger world he will have to look for someone.
Because he's already thirty-nine - and it is ridiculous and unhealthy to
sleep in an empty bed every night.
Besides, Potter has graduated, and now his presence in Severus's life
is limited to newspaper articles that he always can skip when he sees
the inevitable accompanying picture of the Boy Who Lived.
Why not stay? He loves Hogwarts; despite everything, he loves it.
Severus even learns to tolerate Lupin's presence, two places on the left
from him at the table in the Great Hall. While working for the Order,
they had to cooperate, and sometimes it was easier to work without
wasting time griping.
Life is tolerable - till the moment six months ago when Severus
realizes that Lupin is coming on to him. Six months ago, in April.
It probably started earlier, only it never came to Severus's mind to
interpret the signs like that. How could he think such a thing, after all?
How could he think that Lupin, handsome, loveable, sociable Lupin -
Lupin whom everyone adores - would find no one better than his
school enemy? Severus didn't pay attention to anything - to the little
squeeze of his forearm on the Quidditch match, when Slytherin beat
Ravenclaw and Severus glowed quietly. Or to a little too long eye
contact when Lupin caught Severus's gaze in the staff meeting,
pushing away the strands of his wispy, dully glittering hair with a
small conspiratory smile on his lips. Or to Lupin's new habit to drop
into Severus's quarters now and then and linger a bit longer than usual
when taking his dose of Wolfsbane.
And when Lupin touches his hand as Severus gives him a goblet of
Wolfsbane - thin fingers wrapping around Severus's wrist - Severus
just looks at Lupin in displeasure at the unnecessary touch. He doesn't
understand. He's never had anyone come on to him before.
And then Lupin smiles and kisses him on the lips.
For a moment - for a few seconds - there is just a touch of warm,
moist lips against his, the tongue, tasting sweet and spicy, entering his
mouth - and Lupin's taste, Lupin's closeness, this warmth and this
moisture are all Severus feels - and all he wants to feel.
Then he jumps away, twisting his hand out of Lupin's grip, nearly
spilling the Wolfsbane - and stares at Lupin in shock and confusion as
the werewolf looks back at him, smiling mildly.
"You have the most curious gaze, Severus," he says. "Like your eyes
want to burn holes in me. I found it disconcerting, before. But I think I
might even like it now."
Severus's hand flies up to his face, with a definite wish to wipe his
lips, to get rid of the little taste that stayed in his mouth, of the warmth
of Lupin's kiss. But he doesn't - just touches his lips with the tips of
his fingers, and his hand refuses to move any more.
He pushes the goblet to Lupin, as if shielding himself with it.
"Thank you, Severus." Lupin takes it and keeps looking at him, and
his expression is maddening, and yet Severus does nothing, says
nothing. "Have you heard me? I might even..."
Until then, everything was not so bad. Severus's dislike of Lupin was
routine, for being a Gryffindor, for being a part of the group of the
biggest bullies of the school, for being a werewolf and nearly killing
him once. He had quite enough reasons to hate Lupin - without having
to drag that particular memory out. That memory of the hot water
hitting white tiles, and bitter slick shampoo clogging his windpipe,
and raw, nauseating pain shooting up his spine, and another body
squirming between his legs...
Severus didn't want to remember it. He'd packed it neatly and put it in
the deepest corner of his mind. And Lupin yanked it out to the surface,
effortlessly, just with this single touch of his lips.
What they had done... in the greater scheme of things it wasn't even all
so awful. Severus saw much worse things done, after joining the
Death Eaters. Crucio was worse than a few kicks. Killing people was
worse. He didn't have any right to feel he'd been wronged.
But it was so humiliating - one of the most humiliating things that had
ever happened to him. That's why he tried not to remember.
Perhaps he wouldn't remember even now - would find some other,
comfortable outlet for his anger: Lupin being a werewolf, trying to kill
him, et cetera, ad nauseum - if for the shortest moment when Lupin's
lips touched his he didn't want so passionately for there to be nothing
Lupin's lips tasted like cinnamon. And he liked it.
His fists clench so hard that his fingers go numb and he can't even feel
his fingernails stick into his palms. And he looks at Lupin, and seeks
desperately for something to say, for a place to hit. He can't say what
he really wants to say, can't drag it up - the showers, them *doing*
him - but there is nothing else in his head.
"You look so startled," Lupin says almost compassionately - or
Severus would think it was compassion if it were directed at anyone
but him. "Like it's a surprise to you. I thought you figured it all out a
long time ago."
"Figured out what?" he manages.
"I thought... you didn't mind me. Not like before, anyway. And I'm a
werewolf only once a month, you know. The rest of the time I'm
Safe? Severus's face ripples - but finally he starts getting a grip on
"I'm not afraid of you," he shrugs. But it is not true.
Lupin looks at him and smiles - what a boyish smile he still has - and
turns to the door, pressing the goblet to his chest as if it is a precious
"You don't need to explain anything to me, Severus. I can take 'no' for
And at this moment he does a completely crazy thing, saying:
"I didn't say 'no', Lupin."
Severus knows why he says it - in revenge, punishing himself for the
moment of weakness, of confusion - both for the moment of weakness
just then and many years ago, when he let them overpower him, let
them use him.
For a moment Lupin looks hesitant, then nods.
"Then maybe we can have a drink in Hogsmeade this weekend, can't
They have a drink, and everything is so surreal. They talk civilly when
sitting at Three Broomsticks, even though all Severus can think about
is whose quarters they're going to go to after that.
It had been ages since he got laid - so many years he refuses to count
them. 'A few years' sounds rather more acceptable than, say, eighteen
or nineteen. And he wants Lupin. Oh, how his body yearns for more
touch, for the closeness - once promised it. He could be telling himself
he was sufficiently happy with his right hand - but when Lupin
touched him, something snapped in him. And he is drowning.
He wants Lupin's mouth again - on his lips, on his cock, wants those
strong long fingers on the inner sides of his thighs, wants Lupin
sucking his nipples, wants to do the same to him - to someone - alive,
flat-chested and hard.
He thinks about Lupin - his hair soft and messy and grey, the corners
of his eyes slightly crinkled with laughter, his mouth pale and smiling.
He thinks about the way Lupin holds the small gold-rimmed glasses
he started wearing in the last year, touching his lips with the earpiece -
and the fear he feels, the fear that wrings his guts, is as strong as his
desire to have all this.
They go to Severus's rooms.
And it is good.
It is the worst thing, that it is so good in bed with Lupin. It is
everything Severus could dream about, everything he couldn't even
imagine because his sex life was so non-existent that he didn't even
have enough fuel for fantasies. Every touch of Lupin's makes his body
glow, and the low sounds the werewolf makes in his throat are
maddening and enticing.
And after everything Lupin wraps his arms around Severus and holds
him, as if Severus were a girl and it is necessary to be nice to him
*after*. But Lupin also asks if Severus wants to, again, and Severus
He knows why Lupin is with him - figured it out, after some
contemplation, after the first kiss and before Hogsmeade. Lupin is
homosexual - and how many available men are there for him? Not
many - and it probably would be a bother to Apparate somewhere all
the time. Besides, Severus already is familiar with his secret.
So, when choosing between not getting any and getting some from
Severus, Lupin makes an obvious choice. His and his buddies'
proclaimed disgust for Severus during their school years must've been
exaggerated a bit... well, it had to be, or they couldn't do it, what they
Severus makes the same choice. He wants to fuck, plain and simple.
He wants it, he doesn't want to be alone any more, to look at his face
in the mirror and think that the older he gets, the less chance there is
of anyone bedding him at all. And since Lupin offers, he takes.
But it doesn't make anything easier.
Even knowing that he is so desperate that he goes to bed with
someone who raped him once is not so terrible. Severus admits he is
desperate. Yet sometimes he wishes so hard for Lupin not to be the
one - not to be the man who raped him. And this scares him badly.
He wishes there were no past between them. He doesn't wish simply
to forget about it, because that he can do, he is very good at denial - he
wishes it never happened at all.
He wishes he had been careful enough to figure the Gryffindors would
pay a visit to Slytherin dorms. He wishes he had changed his mind and
never tried to take that shower that night. Perhaps they would have
caught him all the same, but he would have had more of a chance -
and it wouldn't be so humiliating.
He wishes it were a full moon and Lupin were not there at all.
And for these thoughts Severus hates himself most of all.
* * *
He wonders sometimes how Lupin can act as if nothing ever happened
- be so unfalteringly cool. The werewolf has such control that Severus
often envies him. Polite even when Severus is at his nastiest, amiable
when Severus snaps at him, gentle in passion, apart from those cases
when they both don't want gentle. It's frightening, really - to know
how gentle Lupin can be. It makes Severus wish sometimes it was all
he knew about Lupin. He wishes he didn't remember how hard the
floor was under him as they held him and how another cock slammed
It seems incredible sometimes that Lupin never even mentions it.
Perhaps he forgot, Severus thinks. Perhaps for him it was nothing
special. Just one more time when they taught a lesson to the slimy
In summer - Lupin can leave Hogwarts for holidays, he has a place to
go since Black's house belongs to him now, but he seldom does,
except for a few weeks that he spends with Potter - he and Severus
sometimes go to Hogsmeade, have a drink, and even once or twice to
Diagon Alley to get supplies for the new year.
Being with Lupin among people feels strange. Severus sees how they
look at Lupin - his hair could be greying, his clothes shabby - but
women look at him with doe-like eyes and even a dour waitress in the
cafe smiles back when Lupin smiles at her.
Lupin is everything Severus isn't; and he is everything Severus never
had a chance to get. But here Lupin is, at his side, and in his bed at
And Severus doesn't want to share him with anyone. But he also wants
to see him writhe and scream under Crucio sometimes.
When the new school year starts, days get colder and nights get
longer, there is another pastime for them - a teapot with blackberry tea
in Severus's quarters and talking about new students, and lessons, and
gossiping about Albus's annoying habits.
And when they talk, and Lupin smiles, brushing a strand of hair away
from his face, Severus lets his control slip and forgets, for hours
sometimes. And then he feels... contented, if not happy.
But he makes himself remember in the end.
The first time Lupin wants Severus face down and tries to squeeze
lubed fingers inside him, Severus panics, thrashing and resisting like
mad. And he thinks now Lupin will understand everything and will
leave, and part of Severus wants him to but partly he is out of his mind
with the fear of being left alone. But Lupin doesn't say anything, just
turns him face to face and holds him and strokes his back - and
something in Severus crumbles, and he wants to stay like that and let
Lupin pet him forever.
Then he bites his lip hard enough to draw blood and dispel the feeling
of comfort - and forcibly reminds himself that he shouldn't trust
Lupin. He knows the true Lupin, felt his thin cool hands spreading his
But sometimes Severus thinks that Lupin wasn't like others then, was
he? He didn't hit him, and didn't call him words, and he didn't laugh...
and it almost didn't hurt when he did it, right? Just a little, because he
was already torn by then.
And catching himself on this thought is worst of all. It is worse than
accepting a comforting touch from his rapist, for being so bitterly
lonely that he debases himself for the chance of being close with
someone. It's worse than being such a slave of his body that he can't
forfeit those nights with Lupin.
He hates Lupin for it. He hates himself for it. And then Severus fucks,
fiercely, brutally, slamming himself onto Lupin's cock - and when the
werewolf's breath hitches and hands fist the sheets, his face having
that surprised, almost shell-shocked expression - Severus knows why
he is doing it. He's punishing himself. Sex is his battle, like all his life
has been a battle, a punishment and atonement for the mistake he
made many years ago.
And while he remembers it - while for every moment he lets himself
enjoy Lupin's closeness in bed he pays with hating himself and
knowing the depth of his fall - everything is all right.
* * *
He tenses when Lupin asks him if he would like to spend Christmas
together. In the house at Grimmauld Place; and there will be Potter,
and the Weasleys, and other members of the little clique. His mind
boggles to think what a pleasant event it is going to be.
"I think it will be nice for you to get out of Hogwarts once in a while,"
"No," he says abruptly.
It's not just Potter and the others; in fact, Severus would be just as
terrified if Lupin hinted at them being alone. He can't afford stepping
on someone else's ground. In his own quarters at least he feels safe.
And why would Lupin want to do it? Why does he invite him -
Severus has never been a part of the Order in *this* way. He never
wanted to be accepted by those people.
Lupin is doing something wrong. Everything was settled so well, and
now he is breaking the rules. Just sex between them, nothing more.
Severus lets Lupin use him because he uses him as well. Spending
Christmas together doesn't get to be a part of it.
"Thank you for making the offer, but I'll live without ever seeing
Potter's face again."
Lupin rolls his eyes slightly.
"What does Potter have to do with it?"
"Am I supposed to explain it?"
"Fine, Severus, I got it. You don't want any company on Christmas."
"I'll get it anyway," Severus mutters. "As if Albus leaves me alone."
And Lupin laughs, and Severus feels again as if water were slipping
between his fingers. Sometimes he feels it would be easier if Lupin
just left him, hurt by his rude words. But it doesn't work; Lupin
Perhaps, Severus admits, he doesn't try very hard. And that is one
more reason to hate himself.
On the last night before Christmas break, Lupin appears with a
gaudily wrapped package in his hands and holds it forward, with clear
intention for Severus to take it. He stares at it.
"What is it?"
"A present," Lupin says. "Merry Christmas." And as Severus doesn't
say anything, he adds. "I thought I'd give it to you now, since I'm
going to be away tomorrow. Come on, Severus, I don't hand you a
snake... although you probably wouldn't be so wary of a snake."
And he smiles - in this smile, small and brief and dazzling, that
Severus had seen making salesgirls swoon - the smile that makes him
feel like a thief because it shouldn't be directed at him.
He takes the package, and it's quite heavy and there is something hard
and clanking a little in it.
"I don't have anything for you," Severus says cautiously.
"I didn't expect you would," Lupin answers with amusement. "Well?
Will you unwrap it?"
It is a clay glazed teapot and two cups - of a warm orange color,
orange like pumpkin juice, like crust of well baked bread. The teapot
is rotund, with a snub little snout, and the teacups are smooth and
thick, without a handle, and lie in the palm so conveniently. Severus
realizes that as he holds one of them and his finger caresses the rim of
He puts it away as if it burns his hands.
"I just thought I had to get them for you, when I saw them," Lupin
says, and suddenly everything that Severus suppressed in himself for
so long rises in him at the sound of this voice. He talks... he talks like
everything is normal. Like nothing happened.
At least Lupin doesn't say that they should try these teacups, tonight.
It's his own fault, Severus thinks later, as Lupin thrusts into him, one
arm wrapped around Severus's waist and his other hand stroking
Severus's cock, in cadence with his own movements. What did he
think he was getting himself into? This tea drinking, these
conversations. As if they were friends. As if they were lovers. As if
there was nothing wrong between them. Lupin's lying, kissing mouth
covers his lips, and Severus opens up for him, letting his tongue in.
He had stopped trusting his body long ago, since that time when it
betrayed him, answering Black's brutal slamming. But Severus always
thought he could rely on his mind. And it wasn't true. Because it is his
mind that betrays him worst of all, making him want to forget
He jerks convulsively, and Lupin moans in pleasure, and Severus
gasps a little in pain, hurting himself on Lupin's cock. That's more like
that, isn't it? But Severus doesn't even remember how it was then,
exactly how it hurt, it was more than twenty years ago...
Maybe it never happened.
His breath hitches, and it isn't quite a sob, and his eyes are dry anyway
- but Lupin looks at him questioningly, as if afraid something might
be wrong. And Severus thrusts back at him, and Lupin's eyes close in
pleasure, and it's better this way, he feels safer, he can stop thinking,
He comes, and Lupin comes half a minute later, and quarter an hour
after that Severus lies in his bed, listening to the sound of the shower
in the bathroom. Lupin is humming some Christmas tune under his
breath, the sounds barely discernable behind the rustle of water.
Through the opened door to his sitting room, he can see the crumpled
glittering paper on the table and the round teapot and cups - orange
like pumpkin juice, like a crust of bread, the only stain of color in the
I can't drink tea from it with him, he thinks. I can't bear to be with him
at all. I hate this sound of water.
He remembers how the water tastes - hot water mixed with the salt of
his blood and the bitterness of the shampoo. His stomach cramps, and
something snaps in him. Severus grabs his wand from the nightstand
and throws a hex at the teapot.
The sound of the breaking glass is brief and loud. The warm orange
splinters scatter on the floor - and Severus feels instant regret, looking
at them. He liked the teapot; in a shameful, humiliating, weak way as
he liked Lupin stroking his back. He liked the cups. Now he will never
drink tea from them with Lupin.
He sits in bed, huddling, the wand clenched in his hand, and looks at
the splinters. Perhaps he can repair one cup, it's just cracked. But
nothing else can be restored.
Lupin comes out from the bathroom, buttoning his shirt. His hair is
still slightly wet, strands darker at the roots and lighter on the ends
where they had time to dry.
"Something broke?" he says. "I heard the noise."
He looks at the splinters on the floor, and then at Severus, and Severus
feels a ridiculous impulse to lie, to say it was an accident - but the
wand in his hand gives him away. Lupin looks at him, frowning
slightly and the warm light-brown eyes darken.
He looks hurt, Severus thinks - and it is the first time he sees Lupin
hurt like this, by something Severus has done. It's a different hurt than
the one, for example, when he revealed Lupin's lycanthropy to his
Slytherins. It's something inner, more personal. Severus didn't think he
was capable of hurting Lupin like this.
"I see," Lupin says.
And Severus thinks he's done it - what he tried to do for so long and so
unsuccessfully, with his insulting words and nasty remarks. He's
driven Lupin away. He watches Lupin pick up the robe and walk to
the door, past the orange broken fragments on the floor, and he knows
it's all over, he won't be coming back.
Severus panics. He doesn't want to be alone again. Doesn't want to
face those lonely nights. He jumps from the bed, quickly pulls on the
bathrobe, catches Lupin at the door.
He turns around; his eyes are dark and cold but he waits patiently as
Severus wrings the collar of his bathrobe, pulling it tighter. He forces
the words through his teeth - because saying them is not so horrible as
the thought of his empty bed... and lies are always easier to tell.
"I'm sorry... for breaking your present."
If Lupin decided that putting up with Severus was worth it, he
should've expected such things. Severus meets his eyes levelly, raising
"Please," he adds. "Don't leave."
Well, he's done worse things, begging someone is not new for him - if
it serves some purpose, he can handle it. Just please make the
werewolf fall for it...
There is something in Lupin's eyes - hurt, yes, and tiredness, the lines
on his face more pronounced than usual - but it has worked,
something softens there. It has worked. Severus feels a small shiver of
relief running through him.
Lupin walks back into the bedroom, and Severus, satisfied for the
moment, perches on the bed and wraps the blanket around himself.
Lupin looks at him with a strangely intent expression, and Severus
feels nervous under this scrutiny. Damn it, why can't the werewolf just
let it go?
And why did he have to break that teapot, damn it? It was so
*comfortable* with Lupin - and now what will Severus have to do to
get everything back in place? Back to hating himself, and wishing to
stop it, and being unable to.
He tenses involuntarily when Lupin sits down on the edge of the bed.
Lupin's hand is pale on the dark cloth of the coverlet, and Severus
looks just at this hand, swallowing convulsively. Lupin has such
"I don't know what I would like to know more, Severus," Lupin says.
"Why you hate me so much - or why you're sleeping with me if you
He bites his lip; the question is like a blow but he manages not to jerk.
And given a choice what to answer, Severus gropes frantically for the
right, safe way - until finding it.
"You don't particularly like me either, do you?"
Lupin frowns briefly, looking as if he wants to say something and then
changes his mind.
"I don't go to the bed every time as if I were punishing someone with
it, Severus. Do you know how difficult it is for me? It shouldn't be
about punishment - sex, I mean. It should be... about joy."
And at this moment Severus feels a sudden, fierce surge of anger
piercing him, maddening, sweeping away all coherent thoughts. His
vision gets foggy, like in a steamy shower-room, and he sees Lupin
only vaguely, but his even, calm words keep sounding in his mind. It
should be about joy... Anger chokes him, and he breaks, he can't stop
himself. The words rush out - choked and desperate.
"You... you hypocrite... how dare you..." He doesn't know what he's
saying until it's out. "You tell me what sex is about, you fucking liar!
Was it... was it about joy, what you did to me...you and your friends...
what you did to me in the showers..."
His voice halts. He can't breathe, he doesn't know what he wants more
- to scream, to hit Lupin - or to kill himself, to put himself out of this
misery, the pathetic freak as he is. And Lupin looks at him, in a
painful way, as if Severus's words don't make much sense.
"In the showers?"
He feels cold wash over him. It's even worse than he could imagine.
Lupin doesn't remember it. For Lupin it was just an episode, just like
many things they'd done to *Snivellus* - and he... what a fool... he
gave away that it mattered for him, that it kept bothering him, after
more than twenty years, that it hurt enough to keep hurting even now.
Severus is a person with long memory. He never felt ashamed of
keeping his resentment forever. But this... this is different, it's the
shame he tried to forget, would want it not to matter, would like to
cross it out of his mind.
Now it's too late. Lupin knows.
"Is it another one of your grudges, Severus? Then you have to be more
specific because I don't understand you."
Oh no. It's nearly more than he can bear.
"Get out," he says. "I don't want to see you again."
"No wait!" Now Lupin looks angry, and the curve of his mouth is
quite harsh - and he tries to grab Severus's wrist, which makes Severus
jerk away. "If you started saying it, say it to the end. I know you
carefully cherish each of the hurts that we allegedly inflicted to you
but - what exactly are you referring to?"
Lupin can be quite cruel sometimes, he thinks. Sometimes he forgets
it. Well, why not - he'll say it; it'll be his punishment for being such a
"Sixth year," he says. "Christmas."
Lupin frowns. "Yes? What then?"
And for a split second Severus feels as if the world shatters around
him. Lupin can't deny it so blatantly, it's abominable.
Or maybe it really was so insignificant? Hot jets of water and the salt
of blood in his mouth and the empty, warm place of his knocked out
tooth and piercing, nauseating pain...
"For Merlin's sake, Severus," Lupin snaps. "Is it so difficult to say? If
you accuse me of something, at least I should know of what."
He can't put it in words.
"When you broke into Slytherin, got the password from somewhere..."
Nothing in Lupin's eyes changes. How can he be like that - so calm, so
confident - such a good actor? Severus leaves his hope to be saved
from saying it and finishes. "When you fucked me."
Lupin blinks and his mouth goes round for a moment, as if in a sudden
'oh', as if he tries to understand some foreign language. And then
something flashes on his face, and he looks startled and angry and
"You say... you're trying to say we... we forced you?"
Yes, fucking yes, forced, raped, whatever else you call it - and Lupin
reaches for his hand, and he shakes it off furiously.
"But Severus," Lupin says, "we never did such a thing."
He didn't expect it. He expected some bland justification, of him being
a difficult person, of deserving it, of saying Severus wanted it, like
Potter and Black kept saying. But not plain denial. He can't help
staring at Lupin, and it takes him a few moments to work up enough
anger to say the right thing.
"I... you..." Lupin starts and stops, takes a few deep calming breaths.
"You must be mistaken... perhaps..."
For a moment, Severus doesn't know what he wants more - to hit him
or to laugh in his face. Suddenly he feels he's too tired for arguing.
"Fine, Lupin. Then I was. Leave."
"You can't accuse us..."
"I don't accuse anyone."
He didn't - he didn't say a word to anyone, for all those years. Next
day he went to see Poppy, and she fixed his nose and his teeth but
when she asked, all he said was that he fell from the stairs. That's what
his mother always said about herself and about him to the rare visitors
to their house.
He didn't say anything - like Potter said he wouldn't. Because he knew
how Dumbledore would react, would find some way to make it *his*
fault. And he couldn't bear it. He just wanted it to be over.
It was bad enough to look at the Gryffindors every day in the Great
Hall and in joint classes. But eventually new pranks made them forget,
"Leave." Hard to imagine he wanted Lupin to stay, only half an hour
"Are you sure... are you sure we were involved?"
"That's a strange question, isn't it?" He smirks, and Lupin looks pained
and fidgety. "Who can answer it better than you?"
"I'm sorry," Lupin says and gets up. He walks to the door without
looking back - and Severus suddenly feels an enormous feeling of
emptiness. He wanted him to leave, insisted on it - but now, as Lupin
goes, he wants him to stop.
And this 'I'm sorry'... how often he dreamed about hearing it, Lupin,
all of them begging him for forgiveness - and now it means nothing,
he isn't even sure what Lupin is sorry about. Lupin doesn't feel guilty -
and it doesn't make anything better, and he doesn't ask or need
Severus to forgive - doesn't give him a chance to forgive. He just
walks out, his shoulders slightly hunched - and more than ever in his
life Severus wishes none of it ever happened, wishes he could undo it
He hates Lupin; he can't live without this hatred. He can't live without
* * *
But of course he lives. He goes through the torturous Christmas feast -
it seems Albus arranges more elaborate celebrations every year, no
matter how few students stay on vacations, or maybe exactly to make
it up for those few. Albus has a present for him - a Quick Quill that he
can use to take notes without being distracted from brewing. He
knows Albus will be getting him something, so, he has a return
present, a big box of chocolate figurines: pixies, thestrals, kneazles
and crups. He knows Albus will like it. Other presents are from the
parents of his House students, and Severus doesn't even unwrap them
He spends the days at his lab, catching up on the projects he had to
leave during the term due to lack of time, and the evenings catching
the students who entertain the absolutely wrong notion they can
disregard the rules during vacations. Terrifying them is the biggest joy
of his life, after all.
"Severus, not that I'm not happy to have you at my side but I hoped
you would celebrate this Christmas somewhere else," Albus says
teasingly. "With someone else."
At the moments like this Severus wonders why it seemed such a good
idea for him to spend the rest of his life at Hogwarts, at the side of this
meddling old man. But well, it's not too late to resign; nothing holds
him here. He narrows his eyes and bites down an answer. It doesn't
It doesn't matter that at nights he aches with loneliness, that he dreams
about warm arms and soft kisses and frenzied sex. He hates himself
bitterly for it, for wanting it so much, Lupin's hands, Lupin's mouth on
his cock, for wanting Lupin back in his life. Even his hatred isn't pure,
like nothing is pure in his life; it's poisoned with lust.
And he hates himself for being such a fool, for destroying everything.
He didn't manage to make Lupin feel guilt, and he should've known it,
the werewolf was like that. And nothing can be fixed now.
He repaired one teacup, the one that was just cracked - and he couldn't
bring himself to break it again. So it stands on the shelf behind potions
jars - and sometimes he sees it glowing warmly in the darkness.
The last day of the break there is a knock on his door. He opens it, and
Lupin is there, wrapped in his shabby robe, standing somewhat
awkwardly. He doesn't look like he particularly enjoyed his time with
Potter and others. Perhaps they've got on his nerves finally, Severus
"May I come in?" Lupin asks, and Severus steps away, tearing his
gaze away from Lupin's face with an effort. 'You have the most
curious gaze,' Severus remembers. 'I think I might even like it now.'
The werewolf's face is pale, there are shadows under his eyes.
"It's too early for Wolfsbane," Severus says. Lupin looks a bit taken
aback and then shakes his head.
"I know. I wanted to tell you something. That Christmas..."
No, Severus wants to say, don't start it. Don't lie to me again, don't tell
me I'm wrong and it was all different.
"After you walked on to me, in the Shrieking Shack, you know,
Pomfrey and Dumbledore and I... we wanted to find something,
something that would control the wolf. We tried some potions,
experimental ones, there was no Wolfsbane then... The one I took
then, it didn't work. But it was... I remember I felt really strange then...
and almost nothing else. Nothing else. It's like a black hole there, for
Severus is speechless. He didn't expect this - and it's something he
doesn't know how to handle. And he doesn't know if he believes
Lupin. It might be a convenient lie - what's one more lie for Lupin?
But for some reason he does believe it; maybe because it's too
outrageous for a lie.
"I know it doesn't excuse me if I did what you say I did," Lupin says.
"I just... I just don't remember."
Severus can't help it. He slumps in the chair, covering his face with his
hands and laughs. That's all? All this time - all this self-hatred, the
humiliation of being unable to stop sleeping with Lupin, when they
both knew what happened - and Lupin didn't even remember? He
would never have even known if Severus didn't tell him. Black, Potter
and Pettigrew are dead - no one would know his secret if he didn't tell.
Merlin, what a fool...
If he had known Lupin didn't remember, he would never have told, he
thinks with longing. He would bury it so deep he wouldn't ever
stumble against this thought accidentally. Then he would be free to
fuck Lupin until his brain fogs.
It's all about fucking, isn't it? It's all he wants.
"Severus," Lupin says - but he doesn't touch him, and suddenly
Severus wants to feel his hand on his shoulder, to feel how Lupin
strokes his back comfortingly. But it will never happen again.
"Yes?" he raises his face. "And what's your explanation for the others?
They were taking some potions as well?"
Lupin winces and pulls himself together visibly.
"I don't know. If it is the time you mean... I can only find one
explanation... they only learned how to turn Animagi recently. And
you know how it happens, sometimes there is a dissension between
human nature and..."
Fortunately, Lupin stops; he probably realizes himself how it sounds.
*Recently*. Yes, nine months or a year is recently, isn't it?
"I have to ask you for something, Severus." He pulls the flap of his
robe away, and now Severus knows why his pose was so awkward. He
has a pensieve in his hand. "Albus gave it to me. Can you..."
"Albus?" He jerks up. "Did you tell him?"
"No. Of course not. If you want to tell him, it's your right to do it."
"Good," he sneers, feeling relief. "So, you want a proof? That I tell the
"It's not like that," Lupin says tiredly. "I just... need to know."
What can it change? What *more* harm can it do? Pandora's box is
opened, Severus can't close it again.
"All right, Lupin," he says. "Enjoy yourself."
He pulls a long wisp of memory with the tip of the wand. He does it
effortlessly, he already pulled it out, when teaching Potter
Occlumency. It was lucky the boy didn't stumble across this particular
memory - Severus would have killed him.
Lupin doesn't look at him and reaches to take the pensieve.
"No," Severus snaps. "You watch it here. I don't trust you not to...
share it with someone."
He knows it's unfair - but why should he be fair? Why should he spare
Lupin? No one spared him.
Lupin says nothing, sits down in the armchair and touches the swirling
strands of white with the tip of his wand. And Severus can't look at it,
can't look how the pearly shadows reflect in Lupin's pupils. He regrets
demanding Lupin to stay here. He walks, almost runs out of the room.
But in a way not witnessing is even worse. How long is it all going to
go? Severus doesn't see Lupin but he can't stop listening - and there is
no sound from the other room - and it seems it'll never end.
Then he hears Lupin get up.
"Severus." He walks back, steeling his gaze, trying to look through
Lupin, not to notice in his face anything he would hate to see. Lupin
stands, his hands clenched in front of him, his eyes downcast. "Thank
you," he says.
"Are you satisfied?"
Lupin makes a gesture - a protective one - as if shielding himself from
a blow - and this gesture is so vulnerable, so unlike Lupin's usual low-
key gestures that something in Severus crumbles.
"Please," Lupin says. "Not now. I need to think." He points at the
pensieve and makes a movement as if pulling the memory out of it.
Severus smirks a little; he doesn't *have to* do what Lupin wants
from him, right?
"I'll remove it later. I'll return the pensieve to Albus myself." It comes
to his mind that Lupin might be afraid he's going to reveal it, so he
says. "Don't worry, I'm not intending to let him see it."
"No," Lupin says, looking lost. "I need... I have to..."
Then he waves his hand and walks to the door.
It's a hollow victory.
Severus looks at the swirling strands in the pensieve and can't
understand what he wanted, why he hadn't given it back to Lupin. Just
for a chance to pettily hurt him? He should've wanted this memory
back with him as soon as possible - in his head, where it's safely
hidden... where it can keep eating through him.
He sits in the armchair that Lupin occupied just a few minutes ago. It's
still warm. He reaches the tip of his wand to the pensieve.
It's strange; as many times as he put this memory here, he never re-
watched it - couldn't bring himself to. And it never stops surprising
him how the pensieve changes things - how you see them not from
your own point of view but as a bigger picture. It feels - almost as if
it's not him. Just some pathetic skinny black-haired boy bleeding on
the floor under the shower, red of blood and green of shampoo,
dissolved with water and leaking down the drain.
He sees Lupin through the fog, standing and swaying slightly, a
strange, delirious smile on his lips. His eyes are glassy, wandering
around the shower-room. He reels and leans against the wall and
slides slowly down onto the wet floor.
"Moony. Hey, Moony," Black says. "It's your turn."
Lupin gets up and there is this dazed expression in his eyes but he
smiles at Black, looks at him with complete trust. He'll do anything
Black say, won't he?
Severus can't watch it. Suddenly it isn't distant any more, it's all real -
and he remembers it so clearly - Lupin's quiet voice: 'He's bleeding', -
and the hand touching the small of his back - a cool hand - and he
remembers how these hands feel on his skin, so recently... and Potter
says: 'Don't be a wuss...'
No. He wrenches out of the memory, unable to keep watching. He
wants out of here. He wants... he wants to be free of everything, of his
own mind that is destroying him.
His wand twitches. And suddenly he is inside another memory - and it
is not his memory but a memory of him.
Severus stands in the hall of the house on Grimmauld Place, the
Order's headquarters, his hair tangled and greasy as always, hands
tucked in the pockets of his robe. He looks like he hasn't slept for a
few nights and hasn't washed for a longer time - he looks wild and a
bit crazy. But he smiles; not the usual sneer of his - but a happy,
defiant smile. He thinks he remembers it - he's just come up with the
antidote to the poison Death Eaters were going to use against the
Muggle-born students. Albus drones something approving at him.
And there is Lupin, in the darker corner of the room, his face very pale
and his eyes bruised, it's just three months after Black's death - and
there is a somewhat astonished, puzzled out look on his face as he
looks at Severus. As if he sees him for the first time.
He doesn't know what's so particular about this memory - but
something jolts in his chest, and he suddenly feels regret that he hasn't
noticed this look on Lupin's face before. It wouldn't change anything
of course but still, still... Another memory overlaps it, of him on the
stand at the Quidditch pitch, looking terribly smug as Slytherin scores
- and Lupin looks at him with a tiny smile on his lips, and it is not a
bad smile, not a mean one.
And there is the memory of them in bed, Lupin flushed and making
soft, whimpering sounds as Severus thrusts into him - and even though
in reality he never stopped looking at Lupin's face, it's the first time he
sees a flicker of distress in Lupin's eyes as Lupin meets his stare.
"Why do you never close your eyes?" Lupin asks.
And in another memory Lupin looks at him as he curls in bed, tired
and satisfied after one of their nights - and there is something so soft
in Lupin's eyes...
Severus yanks the wand away from the pensieve and sits motionlessly,
silent and exhausted. Lupin's memories; that's why he didn't want
Severus to keep the pensieve. He doesn't feel shame for spying on
these memories. He feels something else.
All those times, when he thought about forgiving Lupin - just crossing
it out of his memory, never reminding them both about it - what
stopped him was not that he couldn't or didn't want to forgive. He
wanted it so much, so passionately.
But then he thought that he could forgive and it would mean nothing,
his forgiveness would be worth nothing - as he himself was nothing
Maybe... maybe it wouldn't be nothing, he thinks.
* * *
He knocks on Lupin's door; it opens almost instantly. The werewolf is
wearing his old home robe, so washed out its color is unidentifiable.
His tired eyes stop on Severus who hands him the pensieve.
"Here. You can return it to Albus."
"Thank you," Lupin says, and Severus keeps standing, and his tongue
is glued to the palate. "Please come in."
He does. He thinks that he's never been in Lupin's quarters before,
always preferred his own ground. There is something about Lupin's
rooms - something like about him - a little shabby, a little frail...
"I don't know what to say," Lupin says. I don't know either, Severus
thinks. "And I don't know what to do. Do you want me..." he pauses.
"Do you want me to resign?"
Albus will be ecstatic, he thinks dryly and mutters: "It's the middle of
"Yes," Lupin says. His cheeks flush a bit. "But I don't want to... I don't
want to make it more difficult for you," he finishes the phrase quickly
and awkwardly. And before Severus has time to say anything, he
continues, and he's wringing his hands. "I don't want to hurt you. I
wish I hadn't hurt you. I don't know how it happened. Then... I didn't
know it would matter so much for me... that you would matter. I think
I could have hurt you, then. We all could. But they are dead - and I...
It's different now. I don't want you to be hurt any more."
There are so many of these words, hasty, rushing over each other - and
for once Lupin isn't calm and reserved - and Severus thinks that
maybe it is the most important thing for him to see Lupin like this.
These words - probably there is nothing special in them - but it seems
suddenly to him that he has wanted to hear exactly these words for
such a long time.
"It must've already been bad enough for you," Lupin adds. Severus
shakes his head, in stubborn denial, but Lupin doesn't look at him.
"You must've hated me so much."
It's true, he hated Lupin, although not as much as he hated himself.
But now the thought of losing him makes everything in Severus turn
"Do you want to go?" he asks.
There is something like a shadow of surprise in Lupin's eyes as he
looks up, meeting Severus's gaze for a moment. He says: "Hogwarts is
my home, the only one I have. Of course I want to stay here. I want...
to stay with you. But you..."
"Then don't go," Severus says.
Lupin still looks like he can't quite believe in it - or doesn't know what
"Why?" he asks.
Because I don't want to be alone any more. Because I don't want to
punish you and myself any more. Because I want to try and see how it
would be without this overwhelming, lingering thing between us. I
want to try to leave it behind.
"Please," he says. Please don't make me explain. Please just stay. And
Lupin is silent, and Severus thinks that it's all over, Lupin won't be
able to, no matter what.
"Severus," Lupin's voice is soft, barely audible. "Can I hold you?"
Yes, he nods. Yes. And Lupin's arms wrap around him, and it's all like
he dreamed it would be. It doesn't feel wrong. He feels safe.
Light fingers brush against his back, between shoulder-blades, and he
wants it never to stop, and Lupin pulls him a bit closer. And when
Lupin's mouth covers his, the warmth lips touching his, Severus
knows it is exactly what he wants.