"For Love Or Money"
Remus stared at the familiar surroundings with an odd sense of grief. It was here that he had spent seven glorious years of his life. It had been the first time in his entire life, before or since, that he had known true friendship. First in his group of friends had been James Potter, a lanky boy, easy to smile and easier to laugh. Also, there was Sirius Black, mischievous and yet malicious- perhaps due to his upbringing. Finally there had been Peter Pettigrew, a shy, retiring type with mediocre magic and people skills. Together they had been the Marauders; now two were dead, one escaped from prison and the last a dirty ragamuffin barely surviving on minimum pay. The Hogwarts of his childhood was no more; instead it held the dreams and lives a few hundred new students, each intent to never make the mistakes of the previous generation. It was better if he never thought of his happy moments at Hogwarts again; he was here to teach, nothing more.
"Feeling sentimental, Lupin," a voice growled to his left.
Severus Snape stood next to him, usual sneer on his face.
"A little," Remus replied honestly, turning to look at his former classmate.
He smiled mildly at the ferocious-looking man beside him, which only seemed to enrage him more. Severus looked as if he had swallowed something poisonous before he replied.
"The Headmaster asked me to escort you to your rooms and give you your password. Normally Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers have the rooms behind the defense classroom, but due to your 'problem' you've been given rooms on the third floor, away from any mishaps,"
He swept off to lead Remus to his rooms, robes billowing him in a way Remus assumed was intended to inspire fear. To him however it just appeared comical; anyone who had known Severus at Hogwarts with his bat-like clothes would feel the same. He had been a reserved, continually upset boy, earning him the nickname 'Snivellus' within days of starting school. The subject of Remus' thoughts was storming ahead, not bothering to see if Remus was following or not. Despite the obvious snub Severus was giving him, Remus was glad he had been given rooms so far away from the students. He never intended the students to know of his condition, although the staff already had been informed. Worse was the thought that he might accidentally infect someone else with his disease; he would never be able to forgive himself if that occurred. With a jolt he realized that the person he had come closest to biting was striding in front of him, back tense. That man would never forgive him either.
They reached a portrait of a silver wolf after a few minutes, and Remus scowled at the reference. He was even less impressed when Severus gleefully announced the password.
"The password is lycanthrope," As the portrait slid open in recognition.
"Thank you, Severus. I am sure it will prove most comfortable, and I must thank you for your hospitality in showing me the way," Remus replied, allowing none of his disgust to register on his agreeable face.
"I will thank you to refer to me as Professor Snape in future, as befits my rank," Severus snapped, at a loss to the werewolf's lack of emotion.
Wearily Remus nodded. It was easier to put up a front of hatred than forgive, he knew. He had never participated in the pranks and bullying that James and Sirius inflicted on the unfortunate Snape, and he was still treated like a criminal. With everything they had experienced since graduating, it was apparently a little too much to expect civil treatment. Severus sent him a final glance of pure loathing and began walking away, robes flaring dramatically. It was all a show, but a well rehearsed one.
His rooms were quite comfortable and homely. He had never owned a house, nor furniture, and sleeping in a real bed was a luxury. Since leaving Hogwarts he had been on the move constantly, and he could neither afford nor use such things in his hidden life. All of his meager possessions were contained in a single briefcase, and there had been times in his life were even this had seemed too much. Almost lovingly he unpacked each item; a change of clothes, a shabby, well-worn photo album and a few odds and ends. They were all he had left now, along with memories. With a frustrated groan he hastily put everything away. He must have been mad to accept this job; he should have known this would happen. Trembling, Remus picked up the album, allowing it to fall open. Four grinning boys stared up at him, Sirius shoving his way to the front of the group and pulling faces. James was laughing at him, Peter grinning foolishly. Remus himself was smiling, but not with the same enthusiasm as the others; it had been close to a full moon.
He closed the book, sorrow etched on his features. He should think with happiness of his past life, not sadness, but it was difficult. They had all been so happy, and now everything seemed lost. He should be glad; here he was with his first Magical job in years and he had a guarantee of somewhere to live despite his illness. Still, it was with a heavy heart that he lay down that night and he did not sleep for hours thereafter.
Another man lay sleepless that night, as the ghosts of the past haunted him. Just seeing that bloody werewolf standing within Hogwarts a flood of half-forgotten memories and well remembered hatred. True, Remus Lupin had never hurt him the way the others had, at least not intentionally. Perhaps that was why the pain always seemed so much worse when he saw him. Remus never realized the effect his gray eyes had had on Severus, even as a teenager. That Severus' sexual awakenings had been filled with images of his calm face and lean body. But then, Severus had never told anyone how he felt. Perhaps if he had it would have been a mere trifle and easily forgotten. As it was, Remus had never really left his subconscious, and seeing him tonight only reinforced his attractiveness. Seeing the man looking so shabby and woebegone however had been a shock. His robes had been well worn and patched, hair slick and unwashed. Remus had never had the best of clothes, but he always presented himself tidily. It was his eyes that had changed most however. There had always been a hint of sadness, a tinge of tiredness. Now his eyes were like great gaping holes, like they had seen so much pain as to be overwhelmed. What had once held innocence and seemed so pure had been broken. What had happened to cause so much pain in thirteen years? The last he had seen of Remus was during the Potters funeral, and there had been a quiet desperation in his eyes then. Severus shut his mind against such thoughts; he wanted pure Remus, sweet, young Remus. It was with these happy thoughts that brought him first pleasure, and then sleep.
He awoke in darkness, briefly forgetting where he was. Surrounded by softness was an unfamiliar feeling; it had been a long time since he had slept in a bed after all. He rolled out of the comfort with a soft moan; why he could not wake at a decent hour he did not know. At least he had an excuse; today the Hogwarts Express would be arriving, and with it, Harry Potter. Albus had asked him, as Defense against the Dark Arts teacher, to catch the train along with them and monitor the dementor's behavior. He feared some students would have an adverse reaction to their presence. So the night before, he had packed his beloved briefcase with chocolate, hoping he would not have cause to use it. It was an excellent remedy against the after effects of getting too close to a dementor. He himself might need some; today he would meet Harry Potter for the first time, and a dementor could easily prey on his weakness. It was not something he was looking forward to, strangely. It was said that Harry was practically identical to James, and this could prove too much. He glanced around his room one last time before he shut the portrait. He was off to catch the train.