Or maybe his heart and his body have been shattered too many times for there to be any hope of it healing.
It had started off innocently enough; they'd been paired together out of necessity, and Remus's flagging Potions mark. It had turned slowly from tutoring, to studying, to a halting, tentative, friendship.
They discovered, much to their surprise, that they had more in common than they'd ever imagined. Where Remus had pulled Severus out of his shell and discovered beneath an intelligence and sense of humour his friends would never had given him credit for and felt ashamed for it, Severus had shown him in turn that he was a stronger person for it.
And that he was brutally lonely.
He disappears into obscurity, falling off the map and knowing there was no one left alive that would care enough to seek him out any way. The war is over; his friends are dead, and those that are not, should be.
Leaving England is the easiest decision he'd made in a lifetime of difficult decisions.
Later, neither would remember who took the first step, only that there were tentative touches, hesitant kisses, and a burning desire for the moment never to end.
It did though, with flushed cheeks and kiss-swollen lips.
They had stood there, breathless, panting, foreheads touching and giddy grins plastered on their faces.
House rivalry meant nothing; they'd learnt long ago to ignore the petty prejudices of their own houses. All that mattered to them was that they had found each other despite their respective houses.
All that mattered to Remus was that Severus had forgiven him, when a lesser person would not have.
It's years later when a strange owl appears on the window ledge of his downtrodden flat, ensconced above a dirty back alley in Dobrich, a vial and note tied about its leg.
He is shocked for a moment, curious how they tracked him down, curious why anyone would want to.
The handwriting on the note is painfully familiar; the treatise itself brief and succinct, yet his heart skips a beat.
He stares at the vial well into the night and feels the hope lost ten years earlier begin to burgeon in his chest.
If he didn't still care, why would he go to the effort of making him Wolfsbane potion?
They sneak away every opportunity they get, disheartened that it's never as often as either of them would like, but making the most of the time that they can scrape together.
They talk, squirreled away in their nook near the Astronomy Tower, for hours on end, about everything and nothing, and when Severus opens up and talks about his family, voice cracking and harsh, Remus feels waves of guilt over the one secret he can never share.
It continues this way for years, the Owl mysteriously appearing the day before the full moon, each note as brief and concise as the one prior.
He always takes it, gagging the foul mixture down in one go.
He always pens his observations following his transformation, when his fingers unclench and his arm stops shaking enough to use a quill.
Sometimes, he even makes it to his desk.
Sirius starts getting suspicious early on, had been suspicious in all honesty since Remus was assigned Severus as a tutor.
He follows Remus, hovers in the library while they study, all snide remarks and inappropriate jokes, until Remus loses his temper one day and tells him to fuck off and let them study.
The look of shock on Sirius's face is almost as dear to him as the grin that Severus shoots him by way of thanks, and it's singularly the most beautiful thing he has ever seen in his fifteen years.
He knows it was then that he truly lost himself to Severus Snape.
Remus moves constantly, paranoia ensuring that he linger nowhere too long, leave a miniscule trace of himself behind to make it impossible to track him.
Yet, he knows it is only himself and his memories that he flees from.
Somehow, Severus's owl still finds him.
The first time Remus sucks Severus's cock is over the Christmas holidays, when the school is empty bar themselves and a handful of other students.
They've taken their time, just stolen kisses and hurried groping and fumbling handjobs in their stolen moments together, both too nervous to take the next step, and content enough to wait until their moment isn't quite as stolen.
It's the night before the full moon, and the wolf always makes him a little more daring.
He reduces Severus to harsh moans and guttural cries - ohyestheremerlinplease - until he stiffens and groans in orgasm.
Remus has never felt more powerful in his life, even as the wolf.
The letter from Hogwarts isn't necessarily a welcome surprise, bringing with it a glimmering of hope tinged with bile coated fear.
He's living in total poverty then, his job in a decrepit muggle bookstore in Lviv barely enough to cover his rent and bills, with a scarce amount leftover for bread and cheese and very occasionally a box of tealeaves.
For the first time in nearly twelve years, he decides it's time to return home.
They only ever argue about his friends, which never surprises him, and serves to make him feel guiltier that he never stopped them every time they tried to torment Severus.
He wished he could make Severus understand why he couldn't speak up to his friends, why he was so afraid to stand up to them. He wishes he could tell him about his fears, about what his friends had done for him.
But what they had done and the secret he kept were interwoven, and he could never tell Severus that.
It eats him up inside.
He regrets accepting the position from the first moment he stumbles through the front doors to Hogwarts, body aching and stiff from the previous night's transformation, and is confronted by a sour looking Severus.
He tries to mumble out a hello. Tries, unsuccessfully, to strike up some sort of conversation, before the other man turns on his heel and stalks away.
He doesn't miss the look that sparks in Severus's eyes for one fleeting moment and the ihatefearcontempt/i that glimmer in their obsidian depths, before it's covered by the sneering mask that he's obviously spent all these years perfecting.
Any hope that he'd had crumbles in his chest.
Their worst argument, sparked by Sirius and James pinning Severus to the wall outside the Charms classroom and attempting to shrink his nose, much to the gathered class (of mostly Gryffindors) amusement.
Remus can only watch helplessly from behind the group, pinned by Severus's pleading, then angry, gaze and unable to move from where he stands. He tears his eyes away and stares at his feet to avoid the hurt and accusation in the gaze.
It's Lily that stops the boys, as usual, and amidst her screams, Severus manages to slip away, shouldering past Remus with eyes brimming with fury.
Remus stands immobile and watches his retreating back.
They settle into a routine of feigned politeness, and only speak when it's strictly necessary.
He tries to strike up conversation whenever he can - at meals when they sit next to each other, when Severus delivers a steaming goblet of Wolfsbane potion before the full moon, when he delivers pain potions the day after the transformation - but conversation rarely comes from the attempts.
Remus tries to ignore the hurt that Severus's indifference causes and immerses himself in his work, thankful to have a paying job, a decent roof over his head and all the food he could ever dream of.
The teaching part isn't so bad either. In fact, it's rather satisfying.
Severus screams at him the afternoon after Charms, when Remus finds and corners him in the library. Remus tries to apologise, tries to calm Severus down, but Severus still yells for a good five minutes until his face turns scarlet and he stalks out of the library.
Remus is glad he's a dab hand at silencing charms, and wonders if it's a good or bad thing that the sight of a furious Severus turns him on.
It's a week before he can get Severus to even look at him again.
A week and a half to get him to speak, if monosyllabic sentences count as speech.
It's a fortnight before the hurt disappears from his eyes, and Severus lets Remus kiss away his own guilt.
He's busily stuffing his few meagre belongings into his old school trunk, trying to tamp down his simmering fury – at himself, at Severus, at the whole fucking world of unfairness that is his life.
He hears the familiar swish of robes, smells that familiar scent, before the abrupt knock sounds on his door.
A flick of the wand opens the door as he tenses his shoulders. "Come to gloat?" He can't prevent the acid that drips from his voice.
Dammit, he loves him. Loves him still. Can't fucking stop.
"That hardly seems necessary," comes the quiet voice. "I merely came to inform you that we're even."
"Even?" Shaking with a fury that he can barely contain, he shuts the lid of the trunk, shrinks it and slips it into his pocket before facing the other man. "This isn't a fucking game, Severus, it never was. It's about us. What we had. What we lost. What we could still have if you could get over yourself for one fucking minute!"
He wishes those dark eyes held a glimmer of guilt, or remorse, or longing, or anything. They don't.
He brushes past him and leaves Hogwarts for the second time.
It's less than two weeks after the argument that Severus finds Remus in the library, his eyes wild and shocked and bereft.
By the time Remus has led him up to their nook, Severus is pale and shaking, and it's not until Remus has sat him down that he notices the parchment clutched in Severus's hand.
Severus tells him the contents of the letter in halting whispers, between frantic, gasping, breaths. A single tear tracks down his cheek as he manages to choke out a final sentence, before collapsing against Remus's shoulder.
"My mother's dead."
It's then that Remus recognises the scent on that parchment that has been ticking his senses. Blood.
He returns to his parent's home just outside of Sunderland, the only thing of any value that he owns, the only thing he cannot bear to part with no matter how desperate things become for him.
He wishes he could move on, forget this constant ache in his heart, forget its cause. His anger fades though, over the first two weeks of his new exile, as he distracts himself by working in the garden, fixing up the house, dilapidated by years of absence and neglect.
He can't help but be surprised by the tawny owl tapping at his window the afternoon before full moon, startling him from his nap, with a vial of Wolfsbane potion tied to it's foot.
He won't feel hope. He won't.
It's not long after that, in the Easter holidays, that they make love for the first time. Again, Remus is influenced by the wolf, instinct pushing him to take that step further, the one that they'd been too afraid to make.
This time, however, he lets Severus takes the lead, and relishes in the feeling of fullness and completion that the act brings him, brings them.
Severus's voice moaning igodyesRemusyesfuck in his ear and the tenderness with which he is held makes Remus soar.
Afterwards, as they lay panting and breathless, sated and basking in the afterglow, Remus thinks to himself that there could never be anything that tops this feeling.
This, he thinks, is bliss
Sirius arrives on his doorstep on a hot humid Monday in early July, exhausted and reeking of sweat and dirt and anger.
He rails for an hour about the unfairness of his lot in life, about Harry and how he should have been there for him rather than wasting away in Azkaban, and doesn't he just look so much like James, Moony?
About Snape, the greasy bastard, and did you know he was a Death Eater, and shouldn't he have been the one that rotted in Azkaban, and how could you have liked him like that, Moony?
Remus looks at him squarely, his tensed shoulders the only outward sign of his anger. "I think before you judge someone else's decisions you should look at your own. I loved him, Sirius, and because of your decision I nearly killed him. Because of you, I lost him. Do you think that might have had a bearing on what he became?"
Sirius stands there sputtering for a moment, but Remus doesn't give him a chance to speak.
He shoulders his way past Sirius and outside, apparating all the way to Cornwall, though he has no idea why there exactly only that it's far from Sunderland and Sirius Black, before he does anything he might just regret.
Severus runs his fingers over his scars, silently questioning.
It's an unspoken agreement between them that they don't discuss their scars, but he lets Severus believe that the source of his scars is not all that dissimilar to Severus's own.
Severus always tenses and looks away, embarrassed regardless of how many times Remus sees or touches them.
Remus kisses them each, tells Severus he's lovely.
Severus never scoffs at the sentiment, only stares at him in disbelief until Remus reduces him to a series of /igaspmoanwhimpersi and demonstrates it to Severus with his tongue and hands when his words fall short.
Words have always been inadequate for them, when so much is always left unsaid, that their fingers and tongues and gasps communicate more than words alone for them.
It's less than a month later when Dumbledore suggests they take up residence at Grimmauld Place and resume Order operations of old from there, where Sirius can be safe, and Remus out of the way and under the thumb until he's needed.
Remus feels trapped from the moment they arrive, finds the dank hallways and dingy rooms oppressive and claustrophobic in a way that all of his previous, dingy flats had never been.
He is resigned to his duty to the Order though, no matter how much he would prefer to run, to leave England once more and run from the threat that destroyed his friends sixteen years before.
He does as is ordereddemandedexpected of him, unable to deny what he is any longer and forced to seek out his own kind out of necessity and desperation, just like twenty years before. He loathes every minute of it now as much as he did then.
Come full moon, the regular delivery of Wolfsbane potion is a welcome treasure, and before his resolve fails he pens a response to Severus telling him exactly that, and thanking him profusely.
It feels inadequate to how he truly feels, but he soon learns that though a small gesture, it is enough.
Suddenly, it all falls into place, Severus's reaction when he returned to Hogwarts.
He should have done it a long time ago.
Severus finds him once, in the Hospital Wing, the morning after a transformation.
Remus is in a pain-filled daze, semi-conscious and wishing that Madam Pomfrey would hurry the hell up with his pain potions.
The hand in his hair startles him, stroking his fringe gently out of his eyes, a gesture Madam Pomfrey never made. His eyes open to meet obsidian-dark ones, shining with curiosity and concern and worry.
Another hand slips into his own, squeezing lightly as an unspoken question fills those eyes. Remus shakes his head, mind whirling with possibly excuses, but he doesn't have the energy to formulate one just yet.
"I'll be okay, Severus," he manages to croak, his voice harsh and cracked, hoarse from the screaming and the howling that tears through his tortured throat during a transformation. "Need sleep is all."
Severus nods, squeezes his hand. He glances around furtively before brushing a quick kiss across Remus's burning forehead.
"Then sleep," he murmurs, and Remus suddenly knows how it feels to be loved, and to feel that love in return.
It's a bitterly cold night in mid-December when a thump at the front door wakes him.
The stench of blood and dirt assaults his senses as he wrenches the door open, his nostrils having sufficiently identified the person standing on the other side.
He barely catches the black form in time as it pitches forward with a strangled groan and it's all he can do to slow their descent as his legs collapse under the unexpected weight and slide them both to the ground.
He calls for Sirius, frantically rolling the limp form in his arms and brushing the hair out of his face. Severus is conscious, barely, his eyes rolling and wild, blood matting his hair against his temple, a small trickle running from his nostril.
He cups Severus's cheek gently, panic twisting his stomach, knows where Severus had to have come from to be in this sort of shape, and surprised that he'd ended up here of all places.
Severus clutches his arm in a desperate grip, his eyes sparking with lucid panic desperationhopefear, his mouth opening, closing, opening again. When he speaks, his voice is hoarse, barely coherent. "They don't know about this place, I apparated to the alley ... couldn't make it all the way back to the school."
Remus brushes the hair out of his face again before pulling him tighter into his arms. "It's okay, Severus, you're safe here."
He continues to hold Severus until he drifts into unconsciousness, until Sirius returns with Dumbledore and Pomfrey in tow, until they take him back to Hogwarts.
He doesn't leave his side through the night, but disappears before Severus wakes, uncertain whether his presence would be welcomed.
He offers Severus an explanation that sounds weak to his own ears - that he had snuck out with James and Sirius and Peter for some flying the night before, he had never been particularly competent on a broom, had been knocked off the broom by an equally incompetent Peter Pettigrew.
Severus nods, though Remus can see the doubt in his eyes.
He pulls Severus into his arms and distracts him with his kisses, trying to ignore his own guilt at another lie told and hoping that he doesn't have to construct more lies the following month.
It's later as they lie snuggled and sated that Severus kisses his forehead and tells him that he believes him, that he knows Remus wouldn't lie to him.
Remus thinks he just might be sick.
He doesn't see Severus again until after the Christmas holidays, though he's told by Dumbledore that Severus bounced back admirably, and that his standing with the Death Eaters is still secure, that the punishment that he'd received was, regrettably, something that occurs from time to time.
Remus hates the old man just a little bit then.
Remus knows that it has something to do with Severus's failure, in Voldemort's eyes, to serve up Harry Potter, to thwart Dumbledore, to provide any information of satisfactory depth. And though, in Remus's eyes, Severus is just doing his duty, he's treading a line that could easily disappear beneath his feet.
He still worries though, having seen the injuries for himself, and despite the vial of Wolfsbane potion delivered as usual with a brief note of thanks accompanying it.
They have been together almost seven months when Sirius and James confront him.
He's not expecting it, as he sneaks into their dorm late one night, tired and sated and yearning for sleep. But they grab him, force him to sit on his bed while they loom over him.
At first, he thinks they're just messing around, about to plan some mischief or other, until he sees the fury on Sirius's face, the anger and confusion on James's, the shame and guilt on Peter's.
Then he knows; he knows that they know without benefit of words. He knows who's informed them, and he knows that they're far from happy.
James is placating, his voice soft, maybe a little too soft, and his eyes skim over Remus's face without truly focussing on him. He knows, at least, that James will be fine once he gets over the initial shock, and that it's more the fact that he's just discovered his friend is gay that disturbs him rather than his choice of lover. That, though, grates him just a little bit.
Sirius, on the other hand, is simmering with fury and the look he gives Remus is betrayed and hurt and confused. He focuses his anger on Severus though, and his determination that Remus's hand was somehow forced and that he is going to prove it, despite Remus's assurances that he wasn't coerced and that, really, once you get to know him Severus is a good guy.
He doesn't tell them he loves Severus, knowing that love is an abstract concept to Sirius and James, knowing they couldn't comprehend the depth it, let alone the ideal behind it..
Peter remains silent, his face remaining flushed with guilt, nodding in agreement with whatever James and Sirius say, and remains silent after Sirius storms to his bed and yanks the curtains closed around it.
Remus goes to bed, his face flushed with anger and embarrassment, and falls into a fitful sleep.
When he wakes the next morning and finds Sirius's bed empty, he knows deep down that all hell is about to break loose./i
It's not until the next Order meeting that he sees him though, and his fears are put to rest. Severus offers a tight smile when he arrives, their hands brush accidentally and Remus can't keep his eyes off the other man all night.
Occasionally, Severus's eyes drift to his own, hold them for a second before drifting past, and it takes a moment for Remus to realise that Severus's face is devoid of a sneer in those brief moment's that their eyes meet.
His heart starts pounding just a little bit faster at the realisation.
Remus sees Severus to the door after the meeting, making small talk, which is politely returned, and a small half-smile alights Severus's lips as he thanks him for his help before Christmas, then says goodnight.
Their hands brush again and Remus feels his stomach flutter and hope flare in his chest as he watches Severus disappear into the night.
When he wakes up in the Hospital Wing to find James sitting next to him with his head in his hands, he knows something has gone horribly wrong.
He can taste the metallic tang of blood in his mouth and stifles a cry, which turns into a whimper as he shifts slightly and pain flares throughout his body.
He has vague memories of the smell of human flesh nearby, a familiar scent, and hungerbloodrendteardevour, Prongs advancing on him, standing in the way of his prey, of his hunger, pain and blackness.
James's head jerks up, eyes meeting his and he half-stands, puts his hand on Remus's arm. His eyes are red-rimmed, sadness and guilt and worry and a little bit of anger in lingering in them. He realises that he hasn't seen James cry since first year and his heart sinks even more.
Remus opens his mouth, tries to form a question when his eyes fall on a bed at the other end of the wing, the black hair on the pillow framing a too-pale face, an unforgettable hooked nose, all of it painfully, horribly familiar.
"No," he cries, trying to sit up. His aching body refuses to cooperate. "No!"
James looks grim for a moment as he stands and pushes him back into his pillow, his hand remaining gently pressed against his shoulder as if to offer comfort. "It's okay, Moony. He's okay, you didn't bite him."
As tears prick at his eyes, he knows it's much much worse than that.
Then, James tells him what happened the night before in the Shrieking Shack.
The following month, Severus arrives through the floo in the kitchen with a steaming goblet in his hand.
Sirius snarls and leaves the kitchen, leaving Remus and Severus alone in awkward silence. Remus busies himself with making tea as Severus settles at the table looking fierce and austere and strangely beautiful in the grim starkness of the Black kitchen.
They drink their tea, discussing everything and nothing, their conversation pleasant and light, and it almost feels like old times, when they were more than distant strangers saddled with the memories of the past and struggling with their desires and fears and hope.
He can not tear his eyes away from the other man, and thinks that maybe, maybe, Severus is having the same difficulty because he catches his eyes sliding away to focus on fingers plucking absently at the tattered tablecloth.
It isn't until an hour before full moon that Severus bids his leave, and Remus grips his arm softly before he steps back into the floo, thanking him for the Wolfsbane potion and the conversation.
In the succeeding months, the Wolfsbane potion is never delivered by owl.
He remains in the Hospital Wing for three days, his body forced to recover not only from the transformation, but from a run in with a stag and its antlers and desperation, then from his animal-self, as it focused is angerhungerfury bloodlust on itself.
He wants to believe that James's story was a contrivance, doesn't want to believe that his own friend could betray him in such a way, and so completely.
Severus leaves the Hospital Wing without saying a word to him, without glancing in his direction, but Remus knows Severus well enough to know that he's hurting and shocked and disappointed and maybe a little angry, and knows better than to attempt to speak to him.
Sirius visits him that first afternoon, all apologies and pleading and guilt, and he can't deny it any longer, no matter how much he wants to.
He wants to scream at him, berate him, but he doesn't have the energy, and even if he did, he isn't sure he could form the words to tell Sirius what his actions had cost him. He rolls over, putting his back to Sirius and orders him to leave him the hell alone.
It's only when he hears Sirius scuffling footfalls fade away that he allows himself to cry.
It's less than six months later that Sirius dies and Remus shuts himself away with a bottle of scotch and a lifetime of guilt and grief.
Severus finds him the following day, slumped at the kitchen table battling not to fall asleep, forces a vial of hangover potion down his throat and bundles him into the shower.
His hands are gentle, though his voice is rough with irritation and maybe a little concern, as he strips him down to his underwear and manhandles him into the tub, letting the sluicing water handle the job of sobering him.
Severus mutters under his breath as he turns off the shower and casts the charm to dry him off – idiotdunderheadgit and notworthit - but Remus lets his voice wash over him as he is dragged into the bedroom and put into bed.
Severus is still muttering as he straightens from the bed, but Remus reaches out, grasps his arm. "Stay? Please, Severus?"
There's a sigh of breath as his hand is removed, the brush of cloth sliding, hitting the floor, before the bed dips and he is gathered into comforting arms.
He drifts into his most restful sleep in years, to the feeling of lips brushed across his forehead and the word Always quietly murmured into his hair.
He dreams of a time when they were young and innocent, when their bodies were a map to pleasures they had yet to discover.
He remembers their first time, the exploration, the lips on lips, on skin, nipple and cock. The tentative, shaking, hands, and soft words. The slide of flesh on flesh, and how right it felt to have Severus sheathed fully inside him, pausing for a moment to share the connection that had never been closer until that moment.
Then afterwards, when they'd both brought each other to completion, and they lay, Remus's head snuggled on Severus's chest, panting and sweaty and replete, and it was like time stood still.
And he remembers, drifting to sleep, arms wrapped tightly about each other like they never want to let go.
In his dreams, they never do.