Alright ladies and gentlemen, if you'd take a moment to read this we'll all be a bit closer to actually reading the fic. I've noticed over the past few months in which I've been reading a great deal of HP fics that there is a decidedly alarming shortage of good friendship fics between Severus and Remus. If you, like me, exist on friendship stories between the two, then you may have noticed that you've been six feet below for some time now. So I'm declaring this a challenge for anyone who wants to write one. I hate to say, however, that this might just be a bit OOC. But you have to understand, there's only so much friendliness I can stuff into a one-shot…so can you really blame me if they might be a bit off kilt. One day I may do a proper friendship between them, and then I get to shower you all with a full measure of snarky Snape. But until then, enjoy the slight cheesiness.

Oh and this is AU I guess, it takes place summer before fifth year.

CHALLENGE: The story may be a one-shot like this one is, or it could be multiple chapters. Whatever it is, it has to be a friendship fic between Severus and Remus and it has to include somewhere in the story "I'll rest when I'm dead" and Severus eventually calling Remus by his first name. Have fun all.

Disclaimer: Mrs. Rowling owns the whole lot, all I have is a few Canadian pennies and a dreadfully worn out keyboard.

The halls of the Gimmauld Place were unnaturally silent. Of course it was of an ungodly hour of night, or early in the morning rather, but that was besides the point. If there had been a clock in the great house that actually told time, it would have told Remus that it had just struck three o'clock fifteen minutes past. If Sirius were to find that he had been up and about he would have undoubtedly received a stern scolding, the man was like an old mother hen sometimes.

But of course, one had to reason that sitting and sipping a cup of tea wasn't exactly up and about, but it came close enough. On nights so close to a full moon, Remus often found it difficult to sleep. The wolf in him would…Remus didn't know how to exactly describe it, but the best he could say was that the wolf gave a sort of tug, as if it wanted to be free. It made Remus's heart pump like he had run ten miles, but it would be gone as soon as the lycanthrope was jerked out of his sleep by the sudden adrenaline rush.

One can imagine how this made sleep problematical. Over the years he had found that he could will himself to sleep through the rushes up until the last two days before his transformation. But two nights of only a few hours of sleep wasn't as bad as an entire week. Besides, he slept enough the day after his transformation to more than make up for it. Particularly when he was feeling wide awake from the adrenaline, Remus found the time to himself to be rather peaceful. Of course he would be quite lonely as it was once Harry and the rest went back to school and he once again had nothing but time on his hands, but for the moment the silence was pleasant. Thankfully this summer had been unusually noisy, what with Headquarters being packed with people most of the time and all, it made for an enjoyable time really. It almost made one forget why the old house what so full.

Remus shivered at the thought, Voldemort's return…that was the reason and that chilling little reminded always did the trick for binging about a solemn mood. The Lycanthrope mused thoughtfully over his teacup for a few moments, it was only the beginning of the second war and they already had casualties. Remus didn't like to think of it, no one did really. But it was the Orders job to think about them and try to prevent them in the future by gathering knowledge and using it as a weapon that would be every bit as deadly as any curse or hex.

A grim smile settled on Remus's lips, and a flash of pride lifted his chin. They may have the worst end of the stick now, but they were playing their part in the war and it was helping surely and steadily.

The sound of the front door being opened startled Remus out of his musings so violently that he nearly dropped his cup, causing the contents to pour down the front of his robes. Cursing under his breath, Remus preformed a quick cleaning spell and looked up at whoever had just entered the dimly lit kitchen, fixing them with an irritated glower. However, Severus seemed just as surprised as Remus had been, though he recovered more quickly than the lycanthrope. "What are you doing up so late?" He snarled quietly, still standing in the doorway.

Remus raised an eyebrow, "Well, it looks to me like I'm enjoying a cup of tea, and let's not forget that I live here. The question should be 'why are you here?'" Severus snorted and took a seat as farthest away from the werewolf as he could. "Gathering." he said shortly, narrowing his eyes at Remus.

It took Lupin a moment to figure out what Snape meant. Remus had been about to say that he wasn't aware of a meeting for the Order this late, but he shut his mouth before the words could get out. "Oh," he said after a moment of silence. "Er, but why are you here, doesn't Dumbledore have you report to him afterwards?" Continued Lupin, still unclear as to why Severus Snape was sitting in the kitchen of their headquarters at three in the morning holding a conversation of sorts with him.

Whether it was because of the late hour, or because it was a reasonable question, Severus didn't sneer at Lupin as he answered, in fact, his words were almost completely neutral, "There's an Order meeting tomorrow and Albus won't be back at Hogwarts until then, he said to stay here if there was a gathering before he returned." Remus nodded slowly and an awkward silence reigned until Lupin broke it by clearing his throat softly.

"Would you like some tea?" He said hopefully, not particularly enjoying the tense silence. He looked across at Snape and, for the first time, took in his appearance. The man's robes were ripped slightly in a few placed were dusty, like he had been rolling about on the floor. His face was quite pale too…that is to say, paler than usual. It might have been Lupin's imagination, so he looked again, yes, Severus's eyes were definitely a bit glazed. "You look terrible, Severus, are you well?"

Crossing his arms over his thin chest, Remus thought he saw the professor wince as he glared down his beak of a nose at the Lycanthrope, though it was a half-hearted. That in itself startled Remus, Severus never did anything half-heartedly, unless it was acting civilly. "I'm as well as can be expected," said the Potions Master partly mocking, partly truthful.

The saying had become a honed response for the Order members. Remus wasn't sure when it started, but it wasn't too terribly long ago. He himself had answered the same on none to few occasions in reference as to how he had been 'holding up', "As well as can be expected." he would respond with a weary smile. Though he had never expected to hear it from Severus.

Whenever someone, usually Tonks who seemed almost resilient to the dour professor's constant bad mood, inquired after Severus's health, they were met with a frosty, "Quite well" that more often than not was the end of the predictably short conversation. That Severus suddenly chose to switch phrases might have been beneath the notice of anyone who hadn't known the man as long as Remus had.

In fact, it told the lycanthrope a great deal. For one, Remus had read the unspoken ending to the response, Severus was as well as could be expected…for just returning from a Death Eater gathering. You didn't have to be a Death Eater to guess that those would be mightily unpleasant.

Also, it was as close as Remus would ever get the man to come in the way of admitting he was injured, and to cap it off, it told Remus that Snape was in a royally foul mood. He almost smiled at the last one, he didn't know a time when Severus wasn't in a bad mood. Unless of course it was when he was making the first years cry.

Severus's eyes narrowed as he realized that Remus had picked apart his answer. As soon as Lupin started to speak, a flash of concern shining in his eyes, Snape cut him of curtly, "Save your breath, I don't need a nursemaid, Lupin." Remus stood, regardless of the glare the Potions Professor directed at him coldly. "You're right," said Remus, "what you need is a healer."

"And you aren't one."

"I could be as good as one in a pinch, besides, where else do you have to go?"

"Far away from you, you insufferable werewolf."

"You're only hurting yourself,"

"And likely to be hurting you in a moment if you don't leave me be."

"You're one of those 'I'll rest when I'm dead' kind of people aren't you?"

"No, I'm one of those 'I'll rest when you're dead' kind of people. I can take care of myself, Lupin."

"But will you?"

Lupin could have cheered as Severus glared at him, but didn't answer. He made a mental note to do all of his and Snape's arguing late at night, it seemed Severus was easier to deal with then. "Let me help you," implored Remus, stepping closer to the stern professor.

After a minute of rigid silence and frosty glares, Severus relented with bad grace, "Fine." He growled darkly, uncrossing his arms and beginning to unbutton the front of his robes. While Severus was undressing, and mumbling threats and curses to the werewolf, Remus searched about the kitchen to gather up the assorted potions and salves Molly kept around the house. The resources he found were few and of a scattered variety.

As he set them on the table he heard Severus give a disgusted snort and Remus had to fight smile. Compared to Severus's personal stock, the small dusty vials must look quite pathetic, but they would work well enough. Remus turned to find Severus stripped to the waist and looking decidedly uncomfortable as he shifted on his chair. But it was not the spy's discomfort that held Remus's attention, but the dark bruises that were spread across the man's ribs and abdomen.

"Merlin Severus, what happened?" Said Remus, kneeling to get a closer look. "It looks like you can in on the receiving end of a few bludgers."

"Physical reminders that failed orders are not acceptable make us try harder next time…or so we're taught." Said the professor with a snort of contempt.

Remus brushed the bruised skin lightly with fingertips and felt Severus stiffen, though he wasn't sure if it was from pain or just the man's dislike of being touched. In all probability it was both. "You might have a few cracked ribs, but nothing looks broken. Besides, I think you would have noticed if they had been, and you wouldn't have made it this far if there were any internal damage."

Remus paused for a moment and then gestured to the vials on the table, "You might want one of those before I go on, but they might have lost a bit of their potency, looks like they've been here for a while." Severus's hand didn't hesitate before choosing one of the dusty containers. The light purple color indicated a pain reliever, though Remus wasn't quite sure. Potions had never been his best subject.

Severus shuddered as he swallowed and leaned back a bit in his seat, allowing Remus better access to the injuries, but made no further attempt to speak. Pressing lightly along each rib gently, Remus confirmed his theory that no bones had been broken.

Then, knowing that it would at least allow Severus to sleep a bit more comfortably even if it wouldn't heal, Remus unscrewed the top of a shallow jar of a salve that Remus was pretty sure acted as a sort of pain reducer. It looked like the stuff James used to use after Quiditch matches for sore muscles. But, as soon as he began to rub it into the Spy's aching muscles and tender skin, Severus grunted in surprise and nearly toppled his chair backwards in his haste to stand. Feigning startlement, Remus looked up from his task, "Did I hurt you?" he asked innocently, knowing full well that the Potions Master would never openly admit that he wasn't used to physical contact.

As if sensing his intent, Severus glared at the lycanthrope as if to strike him dead. "No," he said shortly and seated himself rigidly on his seat, resembling a man undergoing torture. Remus sighed and resumed his aid, feeling Severus shiver as his palm smoothed over the Professor's battered ribs.

Though a quick glance at his face told the werewolf that either the salve or the potion much have been working, because he already looked less tense. With breathing that was slightly hitched in pain, Severus suppressed a groan at the firm, yet gentle, pressure of Remus's hand as it passed over his abdomen, leaving a soothing warmth in its wake.

Severus closed his eyes, partly relishing the comforting feel of the salve as it took the sting from his abused flesh and partly feeling a bit uneasy at the feeling of Remus's hand against his skin. He wasn't even aware he had dozed off until the werewolf shook him lightly some time later. Upon glancing down at his chest, Severus found that his ribs ad been bound snugly with a white linen bandage.

Standing and retrieving his shirt and robe from the table top, Severus nodded his head slightly, "Thank you." He said simply before walking towards the guest rooms frequented by the Order on occasion. Remus nodded in reply, "You're welcome, Severus."

Near a week later, after his monthly transformation, Remus was reading in the library, sipping his tea when Molly came bustling through the door. "I'd thought I'd find you here, goodness knows I've looked everywhere else." She smiled and held up a medium sized black box. "This came for you sometime after breakfast, You were busy with the boys so I thought it best not to disturb you." She set it next to him and reminded him that tea would be ready soon before exiting the dusty room.

Remus opened the box and cast a curious glance at all the vials neatly arranged inside. Picking up the plain white parchment roll, Remus flattened it out and grinned as he read.


I've included a list of what they're all used for, I doubt you would have known otherwise.

S. Snape

Remus scanned the list, not failing to notice they were all healing potions with one or two slaves thrown in. His grin faded to a soft smile as he closed the lid, tucking the note safely away in his robe pocket. Well, at least he would be ready the next time Severus came for a late night call.