title: Summer Lessons
chapter 1: Meanderings
author: Raven Dancer
disclaimer: All characters property of JK Rowlings with the exceptions of the Drs. Barnes and Beryl. I receive no monetary compensation for these works.
a/n: thanks to HLB for continuing to manage my commas.
summary: Where we finally get to see if the author can successfully get back on track and get the wizarding trio on vacation on the Continent.
Remus Lupin leaned back in the cafe chair and breathed in the chocolatey heat of the mocha cappuccino cupped in his hands. The aroma wafted up into his foggy mind cutting a clearing path. His companion, sipping an identical caffeinated creation, smiled indulgently.
You really should watch your alcoholic intake, Lupin, Severus Snape remarked mildly. The man mentioned looked up sharply.
He then winced and rubbed his temple. With an inarticulate grunt he returned to his cup. Dry toast was nudged near him and he selected a slice to nibble carefully. Then a small bottle appeared and a few drops of clear liquid fell into his cuppa with a soft hiss. Lupin quickly stirred and took another sip.
gods, thank you Severus, Lupin murmured gratefully as the potion cleared away the headache and achiness. He had drank too much the night before and didn't think Snape would be very sympathetic given how Black had treated him.
The Potions Master had been very clear he was not interested in drinking to excess or making new friends'. Black had pushed him twice already on both points going so far as to secure a rather lovely lass in Berlin. To say Snape had not been appreciative would have been an understatement. Lupin had been hard pressed to keep the two wizards from coming to blows.
I thought you learned your lesson in Berlin, Snape replied with a snort. Pocketing the vial he returned to his brochures and coffee.
I did. I was good for a whole week! Lupin protested and earned an amused glance from his companion. Now fully aware, the wizard glanced about the half-empty cafe.
Have you seen Sirius this morning? he asked carefully, not knowing if that would upset Snape. He was ignored for a moment as Snape looked closely at some small picture.
No, but I heard him and his new friend, the Potions Master said with some loathing. Even though they all agreed to not drag strangers back to their lodgings, by the third day together Black was given a separate room. The animagus was making up for lost time with what seemed like at least half the female population of Europe.
Not that it upset Lupin at all. In fact the quiet wizard was rather interested in himself. Black always attracted a nice group of women where ever they were. Snape, on the other hand, showed no interest whatsoever when presented with either female or male although he'd spent a few evenings sitting in bars talking with different people.
Either there was something more to the wizard's aversion to casual sex or he really was an icy prude. Lupin couldn't figure it out and Snape wouldn't enter into any discussion regarding that activity.
Now hungry, Lupin caught the waitress' attention and ordered a more substantial breakfast. Folding up his brochure on Monet, Snape ordered an omelet stuffed with fresh vegetables and cheese. He was hungry, something that didn't happen often. Lupin reached for the small stack of brochures.
So, what's on tap for today? he asked as he began to scan titles. Together they shifted through the offerings and selected two museums showing Monet.
Are you going to drag Sirius along today? Snape asked in his most unpressing tones.
Lupin shook his head. We'll meet him for a late lunch/early dinner. This seemed to please the Potions Master. So much so that, when Lupin began swiping bites of his omelet a little later, he didn't complain.
It was a pleasant day. They both enjoyed walking down the streets, window shopping, stopping for cool drinks, and exploring the galleries. Both wizards were very interested by a collection of Monet water colors that were arranged to show the progression of the artist's blindness.
Lupin had always enjoyed paintings. His parents, especially his mother, loved to spend days tooling through art galleries. He'd been introduced to some of the great galleries while still in his pram. It was no different now. Well, except he was taller and no longer in a baby carriage. The quiet thrill of looking at oils carefully layered on canvas buzzed through him.
Glancing at Snape the werewolf realized he'd found a kindred soul. The Potions Master was as intent on the art work as he was when brewing potions. They'd spent an enjoyable hour sipping wine while munching cheese and bread discussing the translucent qualities of Bruegal's oil paintings as compared to Van Gogh's more bold applications. Black would have been howling with boredom by now!
Stretching Snape rose and looked at Lupin, waiting for him to stand and walk with him.
Tomorrow the Louvre? the Potions Master asked with a small smile.
And the following day as well! I need to see several
pieces at least twice! Lupin smiled broadly.
They walked back through the sunny streets nodding at passers by that greeted them stopping to look at street vendor's offerings. Snape purchased several small nicknacks.
Albus always wants a surprise, he murmured as he pocketed the small carved wolf. Lupin chuckled. As they approached the small cafe that was in the lobby of their hotel, they could see Black was already lining up his escorts for the evening. Snape sighed and slowed down.
What's wrong, Sev? Lupin asked carefully.
Just Black getting ready for tonight's repast, Snape said quietly.
It looks like he has several new friends. Maybe you'd
like to make a new friend? Lupin suggested. Snape shook his head.
No. I don't want to, Lupin. Why don't I go visit with Albus
tonight and I'll come back in the late morning? Snape murmured, moving into a convenient alleyway.
If you go straight to Albus and no where else! And you
some day explain your aversion to companionship! Lupin said firmly. Snape gave him a twisted smile.
Aversion? That probably sums it up. Fear not, straight
on to Albus! the Potions Master said rather cryptically and disapparated out of sight. With a sigh, and a guilty smile, Lupin turned and headed towards the cafe.
Dumbledore had been quite pleased to have Snape come to visit. Although he knew the Potions Master was perfectly safe with Lupin and Black, he still worried about him. The older wizard did his level best not to cling or hug too tight.
Snape picked up this undercurrent of worry and drew his friend into a tighter hug.
I'm fine, Albus. Lupin and I have had a wonderful time
in the museums, just as you said we would. Black has
been more disposed to seducing half of Europe, Snape reported quietly letting Dumbledore relax against him.
Breathing in, the warm scent of sand and ocean filled Severus' lungs. He loved this particular retreat of Dumbledore's: a sprawling beach cottage somewhere in the south pacific. There was an English-speaking village nearby but he'd never tried to determine exactly where it was. It was Albus'. It was safe. It was home.
Come, Severus! I made some interesting cookies today.
You can tell me about your museums! Dumbledore partially stepped out of the embrace but was secretly happy Snape did not let loose of him. They walked together through the broad entryway into a large, airy kitchen. Windows overlooking a large expanse of sand and sea covered the south and west walls. It was earlier here, or a new day, the sun was brighter than in Paris where it was nearer to late afternoon. Snape didn't bother trying to decide.
Sitting at the old wood table covered with a lightly patterned cloth, the Potions Master watched his friend move through the motions of preparing tea. He told Dumbledore about Germany, somber paintings and the quirky museum filled with toy cars. He chuckled, saying that was the one museum Black had liked; especially the section where he got to play with some of the toys.
Then Paris. (They had decided to concentrate on the accepted centers of great art in Europe this trip.) Snape was very much looking forward to the Louvre in the morning. He'd seen copies of some of the great works housed there but he knew, especially from Lupin's excited discussions, that the real pieces would be outstanding.
I am truly in your debt, Albus, for insisting I go along
on this junket, Snape concluded as he accepted a fresh cup of blackberry tea and a rather interesting-looking cookie. Dumbledore smiled, eyes bright.
I knew you'd appreciate the artwork, Severus. And I had
a feeling Remus would be a perfect companion. His mother
was quite an artist - although she denied it. She did some
lovely watercolors, Dumbledore responded.
As for Sirius: I know you are not much for the nightlife,
but he wanted to travel. Plus, this way Remus can have the
best of both worlds, don't you think?
Snape contemplated this bit of information. Lupin had looked interested in the tableful of females waiting in Paris. He smiled at the memory.
Yes, I suppose you're right. Black had several new friends
available for us to meet' tonight. They will have a good
time. Black is very, uhm, charismatic with the ladies, Snape allowed. There were always women hanging about the animagus trying to catch his eye.
So, how do you like the cookie? Dumbledore shifted the conversation. Snape eyed it curiously before a sniff and a bite.
mmmmm! Wonderful! Albus, you've surpassed yourself! Snape praised spewing a couple crumbs. The older man grinned self-consciously.
They're full of all sorts of things, nutmeats, raisins, a
hint of lemon and butter, Dumbledore explained, enthusiasm growing. The analytical part of the Potions Master kicked in as he tried to figure out all the ingredients.
Pecans! Oh, I love pecans! Snape said happily identifying the nutmeats.
Well, the recipe said they were kitchen-sink' cookies;
everything but the kitchen sink are in them. Plus the
lemon. I wanted to adjust the recipe a bit once I'd tried
it once, Dumbledore explained. Half a moment! and he went to the freezer pulling out a plastic bag with more cookies. He fished out two and resealed the bag returning it to the freezer. A quick warming spell and the new cookies were placed in front of Snape for comparison.
Cookie sampling was very important. Snape gave the task with as much concentration and care as he did preparing a potion. He tasted both samples then discussed the subtle differences. Snape decided the lemon enhanced the experience.
Dumbledore sat contentedly watching his friend perform the old ritual. How many times had they done this in the old days? One or the other (usually Severus) recovering from an injury, tasting cookies or breads or whatever the other had created. He still recalled one particularly wonderful pot of soup his child had created just for him when he'd suffered from a bad bout of flu. With a happy sigh he refocused on the present and a smirking Potions Master whose eyes were warm with love.
Back? Good memory? Snape said mischievously.
Soup. You made soup, the older man said simply. It took very little thought to recall that horrible winter and how ill Dumbledore had been. It had been years and years ago just after Voldemort had been overthrown the first time. When they both finally agreed the Dark Lord was not actually destroyed but simply delayed. Devastating realization.
Yes, I did make you soup. Would you like me to cook
us dinner tonight? Out of the fridge? Snape offered gently.
You will be hard pressed to make anything from that fridge! Dumbledore rebutted with a smile.
I'll use the freezer and pantry, too, Snape countered.
I'd like that, Severus, Dumbledore smiled warmly. Snape patted his friend's hand.
I would too, Albus, he murmured.