by Moonflower, featuring Louise.
Summary: A chance encounter leads to so much more and Severus finds comfort after years of hurting!
First posted: 10 Dec 2001 to firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes: This was for Eline's First Line Challenge and is my first ever RL/SS. Louise contributed a lot towards it. Thank her deeply. And this story has nothing to do with Charlie's Angels.
Dedications: To Eline, Eggbert and Louise for being wonderful betas. For provoking much revision and amusement. To Gallagher - ha, said your name in public.
"You can do that in here..."
Snape's voice was barely above a whisper as he opened the door of the unused Astronomy classroom. Remus Lupin, after glancing around the clean, but cluttered room, replied, "Yes. I suppose I could."
He placed his pile of books on a nearby chair and gave Snape a soft smile. "I want you to take your shirt off... and lie down on those desks over there, Severus. Now that there's no danger of being seen in public."
Snape gave him a long, unfathomable look. "And why would I think that being seen in public with you was dangerous?"
"Well, I'm a werewolf," Remus said, poker-faced. "As you must have noticed by now."
The look turned instantly into a murderous scowl and Remus averted any further wrath by adding, carefully, "And we were rather - tangled. All over each other."
Snape leaned back against the door, suddenly, his dark eyes fixed on the far wall of the classroom.
"In the corridor, too." Remus reminded him.
The other man felt the door behind him for the latch, sliding it home with fingers that were slightly unsteady.
"Think of the students." Lupin continued, softly. "Think of your dignity."
Staring into Remus' gentle, warm hazel eyes, Snape found voice to say, "...Hardly my priority at that particular moment."
"Nor mine." Remus admitted, with a little smile.
Snape couldn't look at the other man at all - he closed his eyes abruptly, shutting out the sight of Lupin standing before him in the silent classroom, with the sunlight picking out golden glints in his brown hair.
"Severus? Are you alright?"
"Fine." Snape hissed. "Perfectly. Fine."
Being temporarily blind did nothing to help - Remus' voice was as warm as his eyes. "I'm sorry, Severus, this is all my fault. I didn't mean to push you- "
"It wasn't your fault." Snape said harshly. He opened his eyes to look at Remus and immediately wished he hadn't. "It was..." he stopped, then gathered himself together and said, "It was a slip of mine, as much as a mistake on your part. I wasn't thinking straight."
Remus nodded, one eyebrow quirking up. "No, not straight at all... I'd say."
Severus gritted his teeth. "Your humour, Lupin, is barely juvenile. It isn't even sapient." He caught a glimpse of the look in Remus' eyes, added in a whisper. "And it tries my patience."
Remus leant forward, matched his tone of voice perfectly. "Then take off your shirt and lie down as you were told to do - Snape."
Pulling himself away from Lupin, Snape began to move slowly down the classroom, towards the row of empty desks by the far wall. His legs seemed horribly weak, and he had to drag himself every step of the way, only sheer stubbornness keeping his head high and his posture rigid. He could feel Remus watching him from near the door. Snape ran a disdainful finger along the tops of the joined desks - no dust. He looked briefly up at the empty blackboard for strength, and reached for the clasps of his robes. He could feel Remus watching the black fabric flutter to the stone floor. Snape paused a moment and felt Remus watch the black jersey join the robes on the floor. The desks felt cool and smooth under him. Snape hoped they wouldn't break beneath his weight. He hoped fervently that he knew what he was doing.
And now Remus had joined him, and was standing over him with his arms folded in his shabby robes. He stood there, staring down at Snape's pale, unadorned back until Snape thought he would scream - until only a terrible, aching pain prevented him from leaping up, backhanding the werewolf into the wall for his insolence, and storming out.
Instead he said, roughly, "We don't have to do this."
"I think," said Remus, reaching out. "That we do."
He ran his hands lightly down Snape's back - Snape bit the inside of his cheek - and then started to knead his shoulders. Snape forced himself to think of potions and herbs, and gradually, he relaxed enough to appreciate the soothing warmth of Lupin's gentle hands. His breathing slowed, and his skin, so long neglected - so long something in him cried - began to tingle pleasantly.
"We didn't have to come here." he tried to protest once. "We could've gone to the - "
"Do you think there was time?" Remus murmured, lovingly tracing the line of Snape's vertebrae. "Something like this can't wait.... And as I recall, it was you, Severus, who decided on this classroom."
At which Snape, half-drowsy, could only answer, "Yes."
When Lupin took his hands off Snape's back, the other man looked up at him hazily. "What are you doing?"
Remus had seated himself on a chair, and was untying his shoelaces. He paused only to look into Snape's eyes. "I don't know about you, Severus. But I think it's time to move on to a - higher level, shall we say?"
"Damn you," Snape growled, startled despite himself. He was so close to release from this terrible pain. "I suppose you think that's funny."
He nearly choked, and realized with dismay that his voice was too full of emotion to be trusted.
Remus made a hasty, yet careful movement with his hands. "Severus, I'm sorry! I didn't mean to be flippant." he said, earnestly. "I know how difficult it must be for you - at this time. But you must trust me."
"I do." Severus muttered, thickly, looking away.
"Then help me take these off."
Severus sat up on the desk and helped him remove his shoes, his socks. His fingers were trembling as he lifted Remus' foot, and dropped the last sock onto the floor in his haste. It hurt so much to sit up. He didn't want to, yet he couldn't help staring at Remus' bare feet, at the contrast between the softness of Remus' golden skin and the cold, dark stone of the classroom floor. Remus, sensing his attention, wriggled his toes and flexed his feet gently. Snape was transfixed.
"Will it hurt?" he asked, swallowing, with pain, his last ounce of self-respect.
For answer, he felt Remus' hand on his shoulder, guiding him downward. Under that light, careful touch, Snape unthinkingly and obediently stretched himself out on the desk again, folding his arms under his head. He glanced up at Remus with shy uncertainty.
Remus trailed one long finger gently down the side of Snape's face, over his neck and all the way down his back. "When it's over, Sev," he promised, softly, "You will feel as good as new. Reborn."
"That's no comfort." Snape said, burying his face in his arms.
He waited as Remus readied himself, in silence.
"Now relax." Remus whispered. "I'd never hurt you, Severus. Just lie still, and wait for me."
Snape took a deep breath. He felt Remus poise himself - for a single light-headed moment, he could have sworn that Remus was airborne, as though lifted on wings - and then there was the little slide of Remus' bare skin on his, and the heavy warmth of Remus' body pressing him flat against the wood of the desks. A moment of deathly quiet followed as Remus shifted, adjusting himself, looking for that perfect spot...
... and then he was upright, walking slowly and delicately along Snape's warm, relaxed back. Snape couldn't help himself any longer - he gave a gasp of pleasure as a series of sharp popping noises announced that his back was realigning itself under the clever weight of Remus's beautiful feet. "It's wonderful." he whispered, in awe.
"I know." Remus replied, softly. "It's wonderful for me, too."
Snape made a happy, muffled sound as the chronic kink in his left lower back was dispatched with several loud cracks.
A moment later, Remus whispered, "Severus - I have to tell you something."
"Anything, Remus." Snape answered, eyes shut tight.
"About throwing your back out." Remus made an eloquent wriggle of his toes on Snape's right shoulder. "When I ran into you and knocked you down in the corridor..."
"I meant to."=== end === Reviews: It's very flattering and pleasant that several people have been kind enough to say that they liked my fic. I thank all of you, very much. But a review doesn't have to be positive. I feel fic reviews should work the same way as movie reviews - to let *other readers* know what you thought of a piece of work, so that they can decide if it's worth their while. I'm not sure fic authors should even be allowed to see their reviews. ;-)
So please feel free to pass judgment on this fic. The review shouldn't be meant for me/my ego.