Disclaimer: I still just own the plot.

Review Responses:

Marilyn, My Bitterness – I'm going to have to find a way of depriving you of that stick before you use it to bring about my untimely end! :o) Hopefully you will like this ending but I have a feeling it';s going to leave a lot of people rather frustrated! Thanks for reviewing!

Dokuhebi – Here's a little more of Severus' POV before we return to poor old Remus. I'm glad people seemed to like Iago. Thanks for reviewing!

Gemini Fallen Angel – Yes, I am afraid this is the last chapter! There is to be a little related one-shot though which I'll more detail about at the end. Yes I'd imagine they're going to have to cut a hell of a lot from the fourth film! I still really want to see it though! I did indeed come back to an inbox full of reviews so I'm very happy! Thanks for reviewing!

Kellalor – Glad you enjoy the banter, thanks for the review!

Lupine Wolf – Poor Severus has a very difficult time believing anyone can truly care for him but Remus has broken through a lot of his barriers and I think is beginning to believe him. Sorry didn't make the 10th but I was very busy! Thanks for the review!

BekaJWP – I glad you liked Sev's point of view and thought it went ok! It's true though, Remus is not the only one feeling out of his depth! Thanks for the review!

Snapecharmer – Yes it annoys me too when a couple suddenly out of the blue declare undying love and devotion and a need to procreate copiously! Lol! My characters don't really do sudden insanity like that. Thanks for the review!

just-an-oli – Well here's the final instalment and I hope it won't disappoint but I'm afraid it may as many questions will be left hanging! Thanks for the review!

Jaws – You may be a little disappointed in your quest for action but hopefully you'll enhoy this all the same! Thanks for the review!

Poppy Brook – I'm so pleased you're enjoying this and I hope you're also enjoying your summer holiday! Still hard at work on the 'one fic to rule them all'? Thank for reviewing!

eigerjoch – I agree that much of Sev's attraction lies in his mystery and there will be just a little more from his POV before we go back to Remus for the end of this chapter and indeed the story! I'm glad people liked the bit of him they had though! Thanks for reviewing!

Capponi – Whenever I red the books I always get the impression Snape and McGonagall are friends in a funny way but that's just my interpretation. Thanks for the review!

chimerical – pish posh indeed! Sev is beginning to wakr up to his feelings though, much as he'd rather not! Thanks for reviewing!

Lady Dragon – Well Iago was my favourite Shakespearean character and also the name is a tribute to my friend and muse (who also happens to be the devil!) and fellow writer honestiago for all her help with this fic and everything else I write! Thanks for the review!

Bonezz – Yes I enjoyed my trip very much! Don't worry about getting a bit mixed up my author's notes aren't always as clear as they could be! Glad people enjoyed Sev's POV! Thanks for the review!

Nightengale – I didn't even want to write Sev;'s Point of view at first! I'm glad in came out right though! Thanks for the review!

lilyqueen777 – Iago is a character from one of Shakespeare's tragedies 'Othello'. He's manipulative, a-moral and out to destroy the main character which he does remarkably well but he's just so cool! He's a very charismatic bad guy! Sev just doesn't want Remus to work out he enjoys his flirtation that and he doesn't want to admit it to himself either! Yeah the Dark Lord's as insane and idiotic as they come! One day I think Sev is going to have to let people in to care about him! Thanks for the review!

Shades of Grey

A/N: Last chapter so thanks to everyone who's read and reviewed so far! 107 reviews! I never thought I would get that many for this story! Sorry I didn't make the 10th but I was rather busy and to be honest I think the 10th was a little overly ambitious anyway!

Remus' Thoughts

Severus' Thoughts

Emphasis

Chapter 9

Severus awoke the next morning feeling almost as tired as when he had fallen asleep. He had had a restless night and the only reason he did not simply take a sleeping potion and go back to sleep was that he felt in dire need of a shower and a change of clothes. He had noticed a small cut on his arm had not been healed properly and had leaked blood onto his nightshirt.

Grumbling to himself, he showered and dressed, remembering to heal his arm and the bruises he seemed to be covered in. He absolutely refused to think about the previous night, he had long ago learnt that the best way to deal with such encounters was not to dwell on them.

He tried to drink his usual morning coffee but the mere smell violently turned his stomach and he instantly vanished it. He was able after a few minutes to sip at a cup of very weak tea which was not that much help in waking him up but at least didn't cause him to feel as though he was going to lose the contents of his stomach. He wondered idly if there actually was anything in his stomach and remembered that he had not eaten since lunchtime of the previous day, however even the thought of food was unappealing in the extreme so he decided that meals would have to wait until he felt capable of keeping them down.

He noticed that Iago had returned some time after he had fallen asleep, obviously he had delivered the note to Lupin but there was no return note anywhere. Severus tried to tell himself that he didn't want there to be one. He could admit though that a little human company would not be unwelcome. He made his way up to the great hall, expecting McGonagall, Dumbledore and Filch would be having breakfast there but it was empty, except for a house elf who offered him breakfast which he refused.

He strolled out of the main doors into the grounds of the castle, the weather it seemed had taken a turn for the worse and the day was not as warm as previous weeks had been. Summer was coming to an end early this year. He looked across the grounds to Hagrid's hut, seeing the half giant digging in his small vegetable garden. Upon seeing him Hagrid raised a hand in greeting, Severus did not return the wave but nodded politely and walked in Hagrid's direction. It took him a long while to reach the small house but Hagrid greeted him enthusiastically and did not mention how slowly he was moving.

"Good mornin' Professor."

"Good morning Hagrid."

"'Aven't seen much of yeh this summer."

"No, I've been busy."

"Bin spending a lot o' time with Remus as well, 'aven't yeh?"

It was hopeless, it seemed Remus was going to haunt his steps no matter what. "Yes, I have seen a fair amount of him."

Almost all of him thanks to the morning after the full moon, Severus shook his head, he most definitely did not think that this was the time to be thinking of Remus Lupin in an advanced state of undress. He cursed himself for blushing slightly at the image, which was as irritatingly pleasing to him now as when it had first met his eyes.

Hagrid carried on, "Ahm just plantin' the pumpkins fer Halloween!"

"Oh." Severus wasn't sure what to say, he'd never conversed with Hagrid very much and he wasn't terribly interested in the man's plans for pumpkins.

"It were right nice of yeh, yeh know."

Severus frowned in confusion, mostly at himself and nice being in the same sentence without a 'doesn't know how to be' in-between them, "What?"

"Befriendin' Remus like yeh have. Ah know you two 'ave never really got on but 'e took Sirius' death hard and it were very good o' yeh to try and help him. 'E seems much 'appier these days."

Yes it was so good of me to spend the summer rebuffing every attempt he made at friendship! Something uncomfortably close to guilt was bothering Severus.

"Y'alright Professor?"

"Yes, thank you Hagrid I'm fine."

"Why don't yeh stop fer a cup o' tea and ah've got some fresh baked buns!"

"I'm sorry Hagrid I'm not hungry and I think I should get back up to the school."

"If yeh sure, bu' anytime yeh fancy a cuppa ah'd be glad ter see yeh!"

"Thank you Hagrid," Severus had no intention of taking up the invitation but he had to admit there was a small part of him that felt grateful to the giant man's incessant childlike kindness.

Hagrid was a little like Remus in that respect. Remus Lupin who had tried all summer to be his friend, who Hagrid thought he had been trying to help and to be kind to whereas little could be further from the truth. He had pushed Remus away in much the same way he did everyone. He was regretting his actions of the previous night, he had been tired and angry at the world and he had taken that anger and directed it onto Remus, pushing him away for what would probably be the last time. Remus had kept coming back every time so far but Severus had a feeling that even Remus Lupin's patience wasn't infinite, he had not replied to the note and that seemed to indicate that he should not hold his breath in waiting for his next visit.

He sighed as he stepped back through the main doors into the school, he really was tired of being alone. He had not truly felt alone all summer, it was difficult to when a certain irritating werewolf was forever dogging his steps.

Now that he wasn't there Severus found he missed him. He continued down into the dungeons and made his way slowly to his rooms. Iago greeted him with a soft hoot as he stepped inside reminding him again of the letter he had sent.

He wished he had not done it, he was beginning to realise how much Remus meant to him. The man had blundered through all Severus' defences and in his own endearingly clumsy manner had won his friendship and regard. And in return Severus had been nothing but cold and uncaring, ironically enough in part because he did care and knew he couldn't afford to.

He sat heavily in a chair and picked up a nearby potions text to distract himself. He lost himself in the book for the rest of the morning, looking up only when, early that afternoon, there was a knock at the door.

XXXXXXX

Having given Severus, what he considered, sufficient time for him to recover from the previous afternoon and evening Remus made his way half fearfully to Hogwarts. He knew these encounters hardly put Severus in a good mood and he didn't want to go and simply make things worse. It did not help that he had no idea of where they stood with each other after the previous days events.

He found Severus sat in his private rooms, a glass of water on the table beside him and a book open on his lap. He looked up as Remus knocked then continued in. What looked suspiciously like a small but genuine smile crossed his face, "I would have thought you'd have learnt your lesson about walking in before being asked."

Remus smiled back at him, "Well if I started learning from my mistakes then it wouldn't be me would it?"

"I suppose not," Severus set aside his book, "Can I get you a drink?"

The man looked weary and stressed and Remus shook his head, "No, you sit down. I just came to see if you were alright?"

"I'm a Death Eater Lupin, not an invalid," Severus sneered, defences shooting up at the mention of possible weakness.

"You're not a Death Eater."

Severus rolled back the sleeve of his robes to reveal the dark mark, burning black against the pale skin, "This says otherwise."

"You were, you're not now," Remus insisted.

"Well do me a favour and don't go shouting about that. I'm not ready to die just yet, particularly not because you can't keep your mouth shut." Severus looked up suddenly, "What are you doing?!"

Remus had taken hold of his arm, covering the Dark Mark with his hand, "This is not who you are."

Severus snatched his arm away in what looked close to alarm, "How would you know?"

"I just do."

"No you don't, you don't know me at all!"

"Well I have been trying to remedy that but you keep pushing me away," Remus pointed out calmly.

Severus was hit by the truth in that statement. "Remus, I am far too tired for another argument about that!"

Remus sat in silence for a moment.

"What?!" Severus demanded, insecurity plaguing him as Remus gazed at him.

"You called me Remus."

The man looked momentarily surprised as he realised that he had indeed used the other man's first name, "Well I'll be sure not to do it again, Lupin!"

Remus sighed, "When you left the last Order meeting it was because you'd been summoned then as well wasn't it?"

"Yes."

Remus weighed up the chances of getting himself killed if he asked what he wanted to and decided to risk it. "Severus, why did you join them? I know I've got no right to ask this but did it have anything to do with Sirius, James and I?"

"Don't flatter yourself."

"It had nothing to do with us then?" Remus pressed.

"I didn't say that. I was alone Remus, alright? I saw someone who could offer me a future, my friends were all doing it so I did too. It was what everyone expected of me anyway, it wasn't like I was letting anyone down."

"I didn't expect it of you, I don't even think Sirius did really. He became a little bit more sympathetic to people doing stupid things after the death of his brother. James and Peter thought you would but then they thought all the Slytherins would."

Severus rolled his eyes, "A point of view that is still alive and kicking today."

"Yes I noticed, but the Slytherins themselves don't seem too bothered about changing it sometimes."

"Maybe they just don't see why they should have to defend themselves to the rest of the world?" Severus sneered before adding more quietly, "Or maybe some of them have just started to believe it."

Remus smiled reassuringly, "They'll be alright."

"No they won't. They're going to be anything but alright and there's little that can be done to help most of them if they're not willing to help themselves, which many aren't."

"Well they've got one thing going for them."

"What's that?"

"You. You'll make sure they pull through somehow."

"I wish I could."

"You can, you make a difference just by being there Severus and if nothing else you give them someone who can understand what they're going through in a way none of the rest of the staff can. That's the job of a head of house, and it's a job you're very good at."

Severus shrugged off the comment, looking uncomfortable at the sudden praise, "I seem to spend more time in these dungeons now than I ever did when I was at school here."

"Well I spend more time here now than I did when I was at school. Besides if you were ever looking to escape this little sanctuary turned prison of yours you're always welcome at Grimmauld Place."

"I think you're the only one who would say that, and what do you mean 'sanctuary turned prison'?"

"Well you act like this is your sanctuary but at the same time you're trapped here. It's quite ironic really."

"Well as long as you're getting some kind of entertainment value out of it all!" Severus looked distinctly unamused.

"You know I didn't mean that!"

"Of course you didn't, when have you ever enjoyed a laugh at my expense?" Severus asked sarcastically.

"Yes, because that wasn't you laughing the morning I had to leave here was it?"

Severus smirked, "Well I have to admit that was one of my better mornings!"

"Severus! Do you feel at all guilty?"

"No."

Remus couldn't help but be slightly amused by the man's clear lack of remorse. "You heartless creature, tossing a poor helpless werewolf back on the streets to starve in the gutter."

Severus looked like he was fighting something until suddenly he laughed at the ridiculously sad face Remus had affected.

Remus had rarely ever seen the man look so happy and carefree as he did when he laughed. A strange jolt ran through him as he realised it was him who brought about that happiness.

"What?" Severus had caught him staring.

Remus smiled, "Nothing."

"You know all I did was tell people the truth," Severus smirked.

"Of course! You were carrying out your civic duty!" Remus grinned.

"Well how do you think I would have felt if you'd eaten one of my Slytherins and I could have prevented it?"

"If I'd eaten one of Minerva's Gryffindors though I get the impression you might have thrown a party!"

Severus seemed to consider this for a moment, "Would depend which one it was, I'd like it to be Potter or Granger most. Both if you could manage it."

"I'd be more likely to eat one of your darling little Slytherins who just had to tell the rest of the school all about my condition!" Remus laughed.

"Well I seem to remember that story died out a lot quicker than one involving me in Longbottom's grandmother's dress!" Severus growled.

Remus burst out laughing. "Don't forget the hat and the big red handbag!"

Severus scowled and looked rather sour. "You never did grow up did you?"

Remus shook his head, "That's what Dumbledore said, he didn't seem to appreciate that incident. Come to think of it I'm amazed I'm still alive, why didn't you kill me for that? Why have you never killed me? You must really like me!"

"Remember that wolfsbane potion you didn't drink at the end of that year? Well let's just say I'm really sorry you didn't drink it, it could have ended all our problems."

Remus was unsure as to how much truth was in Severus words, you could never quite tell how much he meant his death threats. "I'm never drinking any potion you make again!"

"Yes and how long do you really think you could last, or are you going to sell your own liver and buy an inferior product on the black market?"

"I've survived without it before."

Severus smirked but then took on a more serious expression as inside he began to feel guilty for not simply admitting that the reason he hadn't hurt Remus was that he did like him. "How old were you when you got bitten?"

"Six." Remus was slightly thrown by the sudden change in tone of the conversation.

"Do you remember it?"

"Yes." He nodded awkwardly, "I don't remember not having to be locked up at the full moon though, it feels like this has always been a part of me now."

Severus raised an eyebrow, seeming more intrigued than anything else.

"I can remember the first time you brewed the wolfsbane for me, part of me kept hearing James' voice in my head telling me you'd probably poisoned it."

"What made you drink it then?" Severus asked curiously.

"I suppose I trusted you. That and the fact that I'd have tried almost anything to stop myself going through that every month. It was driving me up the wall, particularly without the others being around anymore for various reasons. I didn't even thank you, did I? I thanked Dumbledore when he gave it to me but though he hinted I should look you out and thank you I never did. Until I came to work at Hogwarts, at which time you let me know in no unclear terms that you were only doing it because you didn't want me biting someone."

Severus smirked again, "There are enough werewolves out there already Remus, we don't need you recruiting."

Remus was dying to mention that Severus had, once again, called him by his first name but he decided that there was more chance of him doing it again in the future if he simply didn't mention it. "You're just trying to foil my evil plan to repopulate the world with werewolves!"

"These students are bad enough as they are, give them chance to eat each other every month and we'd have organised chaos on our hands, well more so than we already do, so I'm afraid I can't allow you to carry out that plan."

"Damn!" Remus grinned, "It was going to be so much fun!"

Severus laughed and stood up, "I think I'll make some tea, do you want some?"

"That would be nice, yes."

As Severus busied himself with the tea Remus looked at him in admiration, the way he kept going no matter what the world threw at him was nothing short of amazing. Then again, Remus reflected, Severus was a fairly amazing person. Suddenly he smiled to himself, perhaps it's time someone told him that. He began to speak, to tell the other man how he felt when he realised Severus had begun saying something at the same time.

The potions master turned around, "Sorry, what were you going to say?"

Remus shook his head, "No, it's alright, you go first."

"I just wanted to say," Severus hesitated, looking awkward, "Thank you. Your concern over my activities with the Death Eaters is deeply irritating but I am grateful for it. Annoying as you are you have helped to take my mind off things this summer, and I don't intend to ever say anything as pleasant as that to you again so make the most of it Remus."

Remus smiled, deeply touched by the man's quiet thanks and by the troubles clear in his dark eyes. "You're more than welcome."

"So, what were you going to say?"

He shook his head again, "Oh nothing Severus, I'm just glad we seem to be getting on better."

"Yes well don't get used to it, I don't need you getting too comfortable and starting to bring in fleas," the other man smirked in a friendly manner.

Remus snorted, "Severus, you're impossible."

For the moment Severus had far too much on his plate for Remus to even consider telling him how he felt. He needed a friend not more complications in his life. Maybe in the future, if they both survived this war, he sighed and wondered at the likelihood of that. Still though, for now it was as good a reason as any to keep fighting; the look on Severus' face Remus imagined would be utterly priceless and he had every intention of ensuring they were both alive to see it. After that, well then at least the ball would no longer be in his court, but if the other man's gently thawing attitude was any indication Remus had a feeling he might have more hope then most people would have believed.

The End

XXXXXXX
A/N: Ok, try to hold back urges to kill me for that ending! This isn't their time but their time will come one day I'm sure!

Anyway, next week I'll post a one shot connected with this, it's set at the same time but is mostly about Charlie and Tonks there are a couple of Sev and Remus hints though. After that I'm starting on a new idea altogether, it's about Percy after the events of the fifth book.

So why not drop a review and tell me what you thought of the ending, I already anticipate people not liking it and in it's defence I say just take a moment to think of the multiple problems in the two of them embarking on a relationship at this particular time! I think Remus needs more time to deal with Sirius' death and Sev has a hell of a lot to cope with as it is. Anyway thank you to everyone who read this story and I hope you enjoyed it.