Notes: I've always wanted to do a story like this. Hence, here it is. :P I wouldn't give it points for originality, myself, considering how many times these characters have been written about. But it's fun. The only thing I ask is that you don't give me dumb comments about how you hate SSRL. -- I rated it PG-13 for the small amount of sensuality, and Severus' language. But please, enjoy. :D Told from Remus' POV.


Fallen Leaves




Those two simple words, spoken barely above a whisper while passing in the hallway after Potions, were enough to make me forget where my next class was. Even after asking James, who told me with a look of extreme puzzlement, it seemed I had forgotten again halfway there. Luckily I could just drift along after everyone else by then.

But I couldn't focus on that class. I couldn't eat lunch. I couldn't tell my mates that they really ought not to charm Lily Evans' hat so that it jumped around trying to eat other people's heads. The only thing it seemed I could do was wait for the supper hour, while pretending not to notice the confused and worried looks everyone passed my way.

After an eternity, it arrived. I told everyone I had been feeling ill, and was going to lie down for a bit. From the way I had been acting recently, I was sure everyone bought this excuse. I did in fact head up to Gryffindor Tower to hurriedly throw on a warmer sweater, as well as a few other items to help keep the autumn wind at bay. Then I rushed through halls heading for the oak front door, my heart hammering in my chest.

No one ever came out here during meals. That was one of the best reasons to meet here, with very little chance of being discovered. My feet crunched on the thick layer of autumn leaves, red and orange and gold, that carpeted the landscape as far as I could see. Must be some sort of enchantment, that; there weren't many trees in the immediate area, and it looked as though those there were hadn't dropped any of their leaves anyway. All of this was insignificant, however, as I walked as fast as I could toward the solitary tree closest to the lake, out of sight of the Great Hall windows.

He was already there, as I had expected, seeing as how he didn't have any mates as persistant as mine to hold him back. Sitting directly in front of the tree, Slytherin scarf wrapped snugly around his neck, chin resting against his knee, one long, black-clad arm draped around his leg, eyes solemn as he gazed out at the lake water ruffling with the crisp breeze...

I realized I had stopped and was staring, so I forced myself to shuffle forward and drop down to sit beside him, not too close. There was no doubt he had noticed my arrival, but he didn't look up.

"Hi," I said, wishing my voice didn't squeak so horribly whenever I started a conversation with him.

"Hello," he replied, glancing over at me, then down at his feet.

We seemed to be at an impasse.

"Ah... nice... nice weather we're having, isn't it?" I said next, this time wishing I could just kick myself.

"If I knew you asked me out here to talk about the weather, Lupin, I would never have agreed to it," he snorted, looking at me again. Looking at me in contempt, yes, but at least he was looking. Realizing how silly this was, I grinned at him, unable to help myself.

"Sorry. I just thought that was the way all conversations started."

"Gryffindor conversations, maybe..." he muttered, rolling his eyes.

I laughed again. "Well, alright. So what do you think about that Potions assignment? A foot of parchment really seems a bit mu--"

"And I don't want to talk about classes either."

"Er... I... then what DO you want to talk about?"

"Who said we have to talk about anything? Are we here to observe some sort of protocol? I find peoples' obsessive love of prattle to be most enfuriating," he said in a rather annoyed sort of tone. I thought about that for a moment.

"Well... I guess that's true..." Suddenly he began to move, and I couldn't say any more as he stretched his thin frame out on the ground, long slim legs crossing at the ankles, hands moving up behind his head, black eyes fixed on the leaves waving above us...

Staring again. I needed to stop that.

I lay down as well, ignoring the annoying prickle of dried leaves through my sweater. There was about a foot of space between us now, surely we hadn't been this close before... I closed my eyes and focused on listening to the wind through the tree branches before my mind slipped into other thoughts.

Severus and I had only met like this a few times before. The first time had been brief, as well as a little surreal. We hadn't exactly agreed to meet, that first time... I had always noticed the way his eyes, the expression in which was always carefully guarded, lingered on me more than any other person. If I didn't know better, I would have thought he seemed intrigued. We had only been partnered together several times in classes, and each time he was careful, very careful -- but he didn't know I could detect his scent, confused and yet attracted. Part of being a werewolf, I expect, not that I had really thought about it before. And I could feel his eyes on me, only to see him in the process of turning away every time I looked up.

It was the feel of his eyes on me that caused me to look up on that day we'd first met in secret, as well as the expression that they held as he very deliberately continued to gaze at me, then away toward the door. And I had followed him after he'd gone. I'm not sure why, although to tell the truth... he intrigued me too. Very much. The aloof mysteriousness he maintained around everyone. His unfathomable black eyes. His very difference from anyone else I'd ever known. Of course I was also curious as to what it was about myself that he seemed attracted to.

And so those first visits had gone by with very little conversation, but also not much discomfort. In fact, it seemed he enjoyed the companionable silence we usually shared just as much as I did. Today however, I had things to say, and I was determined to say them, no matter how inexplicably nervous he made me.

Glancing sideways, I took a deep breath. His profile, easily distinguishable, caught at my attention, and then I blurted out what surely was going to be the biggest mistake of my life.

"Your nose really is big, you know..."

Of all the things I had ever wanted to say to Severus Snape, that had definitely not been on the list.

What I hadn't expected as I turned fully in his direction, eyeballs bulging in horror, was for him to laugh. But he did. "Yes. I suppose next you'll remind me what an ugly git I am, as your... friends are so fond of doing."

It was proving to be difficult to get past the fact that he'd just laughed at something I had said, even if it was something amazingly stupid. Groping for some sort of response, I risked another look at him. Now he was scowling ferociously.

Think, stupid!

I was fully aware that Severus wasn't handsome. It would also be a stretch to call him good-looking. But I had never exactly agreed with my friends' assessment of him as "ugly". "Attractive," I said slowly. "That's what you are."

He made an odd sound halfway between a grunt and a snarl. "And how did you come to that conclusion?"

"Severus, I'm aware that the look on your face right now creates an invisible barrier keeping the area in a ten foot radius of you clear of first-years. Most other people for that matter. But can I ask you not to use it on me, even though it isn't going to work? In fact, I'll just insist you stop if you want to know the answer."

Surely that wasn't my voice speaking those words. No.

His head turned rapidly in my direction. "Well?"

I stared at him. He wasn't scowling anymore. And somehow he was now only inches away. If he had been moving closer to me, I hadn't noticed it. I felt my face growing hot as his intense eyes bored into mine. "You... you're different. There's something... mysterious about you. I've never met anyone like you, ever. It's c... compelling." We were still looking at each other. Surely we had never done so for this long.

"And all that makes me... attractive?" he said in a low voice. I nodded slightly, noticing that he had removed his hands from behind his head, and one now rested dangerously close to mine.

"Yes... I... I just... feel as though I want to get to know you." So saying, I did something else that could possibly turn out to be a major mistake: I reached out and covered his hand with my own. His eyes darted immediately downward, but I continued to watch his expression.

It seemed that he was extremely determined to surprise me as many times as he could today.

"M... mittens," he whispered shakily. "Remus, you're wearing mittens." Puzzled, I watched his face split into a huge grin, but before I could respond he had rolled over with his back to me, shoulders shaking with silent laughter.

My only option at this point seemed to be to gape stupidly. Then it slowly dawned on me that to see him laughing this hard was surely a rare privilege, and I joined in. "Well, yeah... you know. My mum knitted them for me, and it's like I've got to wear them..." I hurriedly discarded the fuzzy red offenders, however, while Severus appeared to recover, returning to his back and wiping at his eyes with his sweater sleeve.

"S... sorry," he said. "Just... seems ridiculous." He placed his hand back where it had been before, but twitched it toward me as though he wanted my own back on top. So I complied, enjoying the feel of his cold, smooth skin -- infinitely more exciting than warm fuzzy wool.

"You called me Remus, you know."

"That's your name, isn't it?" he replied lazily. His eyes were half closed, and his head was tilted toward me. I swallowed hard.

"Yes, but... you've never used it before."

"Mmm," seemed to be his only response to that. "So how long have you found yourself attracted to males?"

"I..." I stared at him. Was he ever going to stop surprising me? "I haven't exactly noticed... but I do know I like you. And what about yourself?"

"Whoever said I was attracted to you?"

"You haven't exactly snatched your hand away like you can't stand it. And it seems you keep moving closer to me when I'm not looking. So you... must like me, wouldn't you say?"

"Me? Like a mitten-wearing Gryffindor? Hm."

I burst out laughing at this. "Alright, now you're teasing me. I've never seen you act this way around anyone else. Face it, you like me."

"Maybe," he said, trying his best to sound noncommittal about it. Smiling, I squeezed his thin fingers in my own.

"Now that's out of the way... it's only fair you answer your own question to me. What... ah... attracts you to me?"

He sighed, feigning a scowl until he noticed me watching. "Would you believe it's for the same reasons you gave?" he finally said, his expression now carefully giving nothing away. "That you're different... and also... no one ever... that is to say..."

Now he appeared flustered, and I shifted slightly so that I could bring my other hand over and encircle his hand with both of my own. He stared at me, and it was as though I could see a little way into those closely shuttered eyes at last. "Go on, Sev," I prompted gently, then wondered if I should have dared to be so familiar with him.

But his eyes only widened a little before he plowed on, "No one has ever looked at me and seen past the surface before. But you... you do that. Even though... if you were to look deep enough... you certainly wouldn't like what you found... "He started to pull away, but I was so desperate not to lose him at this point, for him to stay in this state where he had finally let his guard down, that I did yet another stupid thing.

I kissed him.

It was brief, simply the brush of my lips against his and then I pulled back, feeling satisfied yet terrified. He looked at me with the oddest expression I had ever seen on his face before, and it took me awhile to realize that he was shocked. It was just that Severus was never surprised by anything.

"Why... why did you..." he began hoarsely, until I cut him off.

"I just didn't want you to move. Trust me, Severus, I don't care what dark secrets you're hiding. I have the feeling I'd still like you. I'm sorry... I'm sorry you didn't like it." This time I was the one to pull back, and he stopped me by putting his hand on my shoulder. There was a gleam in his eye as he leaned in close to me, and I began to feel frightened again.

"And who said I didn't like it?" he whispered fiercely before silencing my fears with a kiss, a firm, no-nonsense sort of kiss. When he finally broke it, it was all I could do not to gape at him again.

"Severus..." I said weakly. "Sev, you're really unpredictable, you know that?"

The corners of his mouth curled upward slightly. "Indeed."

Almost before I knew it, we were kissing again, now with our bodies pressed close, the hard planes of his legs, his hips, his chest against mine. Briefly I wondered if we should really be doing this right now, but it was hard to focus on that thought while Severus' hand pressed into the small of my back, his thin lips now brushing at my ear, my jaw, my neck, and god it felt so good, how could I question it?

At last we separated and lay a short distance apart, both panting slightly, him looking at me with another one of those unreadable expressions. But I could smell his desire. And I was glad we weren't touching anymore, as I definitely knew I wasn't ready for him to feel the way my body was betraying my own need right now. He licked his lips and I seemed mesmerized by even that small gesture.

"Don't want to go... and do something we'd regret later." He sounded almost apologetic. I smiled.

"I understand."

It felt like a struggle to sit upright finally, but we managed it. "Need to leave soon, they'll be out shortly," he muttered. It seemed like he was agitated now, his eyes darting back and forth around the area as though he expected an attack from any side. I laughed softly.

"Severus, there are so many leaves in your hair."

"What?" he snapped. "Oh." It was really quite amusing to watch as he frantically tried to brush them off, mostly to no avail.

"No, here, let me help," I offered, doing my best to keep from laughing, but failing.

"Damn you," he replied, watching me through narrowed eyes.

"Yes, yes, I know," I said soothingly. I began to methodically pluck them out, Severus muttering something about "bloody Gryffindor leaves", a comment I only guessed had to do with their color. His hair really was a bit greasy, I supposed, but I found it wasn't that bothersome. Maybe there wasn't much of anything he could do about it.

After this we took turns brushing leaves off each others' backs, and finally stood facing each other, this time distinctly uncomfortable. "I... Thank you, Severus."


"Just everything, I suppose. And next time..." I moved a little closer, and looked up at him. "You know you can tell me... anything you want. If there's anything..." I trailed off as he shook his head.

"No. I can't tell you anything. And what about you? Tell me why you disappear every month."

I almost took a step backward, but managed to stop myself. "I... no, I can't. I'm sorry..."

"Well then, we're even." His voice was very low now, and he was moving toward me, his eyes fastened on my mouth.

"Severus..." I murmured shakily... but then I heard it. Leaves crunching. Voices calling my name. It was James, Sirius, and Peter, and I knew they were heading this way.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to hide the both of us. There was nowhere to hide. My friends, much as I loved them, were going to ruin this. And Severus would more than likely never talk to me again.

In the space of time that all this went through my head, Severus had been cursing rather explicitly; he was well-known to have an extensive vocabulary of swearwords that had in the past made even me, the unflappable Remus Lupin, blush. Right now, however, I felt like repeating a choice few of his words. He had also fortunately had the sense to back a decent distance away from me. Even though I didn't stick up for him in front of my friends, he seemed to understand that I simply couldn't let them know about this. Not that he wanted them to know either, he hated them. It was such a confusing situation we were in.

Which was all beside the point at that time, because they had finally seen us.

We all stood there staring at each other open-mouthed, except for Severus, who looked livid. Sirius was the first to recover. Unfortunately.

"There you are, Remus! Been searching all over. And what's that doing here?" His last sentence had taken on a nasty tone, and he stretched out his arm to point at Severus. At this point Severus was looking like a trapped animal, his breathing rapid, his hands shoved in his pockets where his wand was surely hidden, his eyes rolling in all directions like they had before, but this time more frantically, in search of escape. The pain I experienced seeing him that way was so strong it was almost physical.

James watched all this with amused interest, staying back as though he had given the pleasure of tormenting the enemy totally over to Sirius this time. Peter, of course, looked eager at the prospect of possible bloodshed. Because at the moment my horrified mind could imagine nothing less than that being the result of this situation.

"N... nothing... it's just a... coincidence..." I stuttered at last, but Sirius didn't seem to hear this. More likely he chose to disregard it for the moment. He had quickly taken a large step forward, startling Severus so much that he didn't have time to pull his wand out before Sirius had seized both his arms, holding tightly despite the way Severus struggled and hissed hexes that had no hope of taking effect. There wasn't a chance of Severus freeing himself; Sirius was not only taller, but also far more muscular than the angular Slytherin.

"I don't know," Sirius said loudly. "What are you doing here with Remus? Because if you're annoying him or threatening him, Snivellus, I swear to god..."

"Fuck you," Severus snarled. "Black, get your fucking hands off me."

"Watch your mouth, slime," Sirius said coolly. With a sudden movement, Sirius shoved him away hard, sending him sprawling awkwardly to the ground, where he lay quite still, seemingly dazed. Sirius then made a great show of wiping his hands off on his own pants, which earned appreciative laughs from James and Peter. "Why don't you just go bother some of your own friends then -- no wait, that'd be impossible seeing as how you haven't got any. No one can stand you more than two seconds," he sneered triumphantly.

Meanwhile Severus was untangling himself painfully from the ground, hand reaching toward his pocket again. "I think you had really better shut up," he said in a low and dangerous voice, "you great fucking co--"

"I TOLD YOU TO WATCH YOUR MOUTH WHEN YOU'RE TALKING TO ME!" Sirius roared, whipping out his wand now, just as Severus managed to retrieve his own. In effect, seeing this thawed me from being frozen in terror, as I had been until now.

"NO!" I yelled, rushing forward to throw myself between the two of them. They both stopped short, staring, wands raised and pointed at me. "No," I repeated more quietly. I turned to face Sirius. "Just let him go. It's just a coincidence. I went up to the tower, but then later I thought I could do with a bit of fresh air, so I came out here. I only arrived a few minutes ago, and he was out here by himself already. I didn't see him until shortly before you came. He didn't do anything to me, Sirius, I swear it. Just let him go."

"Sticking up for him? You sure he didn't do anything? This IS Snape we're talking about here," Sirius said heatedly.

"Why would I lie? I told you he didn't do anything. That's enough." I could hear footsteps in the leaves behind me, and I knew Severus was circling around us. Sirius' eyes were following his progress over my shoulder, but he didn't attack. Neither did Severus. I finally turned to look as he continued circling around the group of us, wand held ready, silent yet looking from one person to another as if daring them to give him a reason to use it. But I already knew he wouldn't. Then his eyes landed on me.

Those eyes that had only minutes ago looked at me with such confusion and longing, now shuttered again as tightly as though everything that had passed between us was nonexistent, and Severus Snape was all alone again.

I believe I actually staggered backward at his coldness, but no one noticed this as they were all watching Severus while he finally turned his back and began stalking toward the castle, shoulders hunched, fists clenched at his sides. Suddenly James yawned hugely and sat down on the leaf-strewn ground.

"Ought to watch him 'til he's out of sight, Wormtail."

"Why do -I- have to watch him?" Peter complained. I wasn't paying attention to them.

"Hey, these are yours right?" This was Sirius, gesturing at my mittens beside the tree. "You feeling better then, Moony?" he continued, now cheerful as he flopped down next to James and dumped a large amount of leaves on top of his head. I mumbled some sort of reply and went to fetch the mittens, ignoring their laughter behind me.

Picking them up, I turned them over and started to remove bits of leaf slowly the way I had from Severus' hair, not even really seeing them. All I could see were his eyes.

Would I ever get to see any deeper inside?


Sorry for the depressing bit at the end. I'm not a real strong believer in happy endings, not anymore. Ah well. This COULD be continued, depending on whether many people like it, and how much I feel like it.