Disclaimer: JKR's. She's a star.
No HBP spoilers!
Remus had been so deeply asleep, it took him a few moments to decide what was going on. His groggy brain was not immediately forthcoming with such basic information as whether he was awake or asleep, where, or indeed, who he was. Blinking slowly, several facts eventually presented themselves. Firstly, it was the early hours of the morning. Secondly, some loud sound had woken him. Thirdly, the lane outside his house was unnaturally bright.
He wondered absently if it was Moody-style paranoia which made him reach for his wand and slip on a robe before peeking outside, but reassured himself that it was better to be safe than sorry. Gazing down into the road he was treated to the sight of an enormous, purple, triple-decker bus idling at an impossible angle, its headlamps floodlighting his front garden and fence. The doorbell rang. Aha, that was obviously what had woken him. Feeling rather foolish for having pulled his wand when the war had been over for so long, he hurried downstairs.
Hauling open the door, he was greeted by the sight of Stan Shunpike, slouching on the front doorstep with an expression that was in equal parts irritated and amused. One of his hands held a cane, his other arm had some kind of heavy coat draped over it – in the dazzle of the lights, Remus could not make it out precisely. The Knight Bus' engine was growling in the night air like a rampaging beast pausing to catch its breath before gambolling off into dark parts unknown, its exhaust enveloping the general vicinity in malodorous grey steam. This was a very odd scenario. Remus scratched a jagged fingernail into his palm to make absolutely sure he was not still dreaming.
Stan handed the cane to Remus without a word. Taking it from him, he realised that it was Severus' walking stick. Which meant that…. Remus' head jerked back up. It was not in fact a cloak hanging elegantly over the conductor's arm, but an unconscious person folded in half, a person dressed all in black, with black boots, dark grey spats and longish black hair liberally streaked with white hanging down and shimmering in the slight night breeze. For the first time, Lupin noticed the cluster of faces pressed against the windows of the bus, some dishevelled from sleep, some even in woolly nightcaps, all gleefully staring at the spectacle taking place on the doorstep.
To his great credit, Shunpike said not one word as he carefully handed the senseless Severus into Remus' arms. Once relieved of his burden, he touched the peak of his cap and walked briskly back to the bus.
"Where to next, Ernie?" he heard him say, as the engine revved disturbingly and the whole vision vanished with an ear-splitting bang.
Remus manoeuvred his lover inside with some difficulty and closed the door behind them. A perfunctory examination confirmed his suspicions – Severus Snape had drunk himself into a coma.
It happened about once every six months. Severus was no drinker as a rule, preferring water with his meals and tea to relax, but once in a while he would get caught up with some celebration- or commiseration gathering at the Institute of Master Potioners and end up completely and utterly wasted on the latest experimental cocktails. Witnesses claimed he would drink gallons of the stuff without so much as slurring a syllable until he would reach 'The Sip'. This was the split second where he would transform from model of sobriety to inelegant heap of disgrace, apparently just by taking one single sip too many. Remus had heard a rumour that notorious gambler Professor Hayashi, Director of the Institute and greatest living potions mistress had started sweepstakes on what time 'The Sip' would be imbibed. It seemed to be hard to gauge. She was making a fortune.
Having learned the hard way that a dead weight was impossible to navigate up the narrow stairs of his cottage, Remus instead used a careful hovering spell up to his room, gently depositing Severus on his own side of the bed, before removing his clothes and sliding them both under the blankets.
"Mnnnngh," went Severus, stirring slightly. Remus took a glass of water from the side table and tried to make him drink a little. "No," whispered Snape, petulantly pushing it away.
"Severus," said Lupin in a warning tone, "Just a little. You'll feel better for it in the morning."
"No," he hissed again. Then opened his eyes as something dawned on him. His face broke into a crooked grin. "Remus!" he exclaimed, delightedly.
"Hello," replied the werewolf amiably, unable to chastise him when he was wearing such and adoring smile.
"It's Remus!" drunken arms wrapped themselves clumsily around Lupin's waist and squeezed as Snape babbled in his damaged voice, delirious with happiness. "I love you so much! You're the best thing ever in the world, ever! You're so wonderful and sweet and kind and sexy and wonderful…"
"You said wonderful twice," Remus couldn't stop himself interrupting with a laugh. Snape frowned as he pondered this.
"How about 'amazing'? Have I said 'amazing'?" he ventured at last.
"No," Remus admitted.
"Ha!" Severus beamed in triumph and snuggled down against him. "You're amazing and cuddly and gorgeous and amazing…"
"And tired," he suggested evenly. There was a silence.
"What?" asked Severus, with some confusion.
"Never mind," sighed Lupin, and stroked the black and white head as his lover mumbled strings of slurred endearments against his collarbone until the words turned into gentle snores.
Their relationship was less than perfect, Remus knew, but since the two men had managed to salvage a life for themselves in the chaos after the Second War, Severus' presence had become the most important part of his life. The potions master was not the most demonstrative of lovers, except for his twice-yearly foray into drunken disorder when he could not stop telling anyone incapable of escaping how much he adored the werewolf, but he conveyed his feelings in more subtle ways. A lingering look across the breakfast-table. The small lopsided smile which was used for him alone. Tying a warm scarf around his neck before he went out to tend the garden.
Remus yawned and kissed his snoring lover's forehead. He had never imagined his life would turn out this way. In his dreams, his plans and his resigned suppositions, it had never, ever been this good.
A/N: What do you think? I'd love to know!
I couldn't just let it lie after the amazingly generous reviews you gave to 'Salvage What You Can'. I reckon all Snape fans need a little fluff right now too…