It was freezing outside: rain thrashed against the windows and the wind howled. Snow was beginning to fall, signalling a snowstorm, and the people that lived in the area had bunkered down in their houses, preparing for a long night in. Remus Lupin was one of these people.
Sitting on a faded brown couch and sipping at a cup of hot tea, he stretched out his feet on the coffee table and channel surfed. He skimmed past soap operas, the news and reality shows before he ended up back on the news. A young woman was sitting behind a desk, reading out the latest weather report.
"From the information we have received, the people of London must prepare for what is predicted to be a three day storm. Roads will inevitably be blocked and slippery with snow, so people are advised to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary. Reports have also come in that schools will most likely be closed for the duration of the storm, so local radio stations will be broadcasting that news at seven tomorrow morning". Remus started to channel surf again when he heard the front door open and close again, combined with loud swearing and stamping. He rose from the couch and hurried over to the front door, where Severus Snape was rubbing his hands together.
"It's horrible outside", he said when he saw Remus. "I'm lucky I managed to get in". Remus took off his coat for him and hung it on the hook beside the door. Severus kicked off his shoes and followed him into the living room, where they sat down on the couch together. Remus inched closer to the man, who put an arm around his shoulders.
"How was your day?" Remus asked, leaning his head against Severus, who rolled his eyes at the question.
"Those imbeciles really need help with their auror department. I had to leave halfway through a meeting because they'd blown up half of the offices in training and needed someone to fix them". Remus stifled a laugh.
"Was Harry one of them?"
"Obviously, the little git. Just sat there and laughed while all the others scurried around like rabbits. At least Granger has some sense". Snape passed a hand over his face. "If those trainees are what we have to look forward to in the way of protection, I fear for our safety". Remus smiled softly.
"I'm sure they'll be fine", he assured him. "They just need time". Severus looked down at him and frowned slightly.
"Are you alright?" he asked worriedly. "You seem tired. What did you do today?"
"Nothing too strenuous", he assured him. "The store was pretty quiet today, so I let Owen go home early".
"You shouldn't take on the whole store by yourself", Severus said, running a hand through Remus' hair. "You'll overwork yourself. There's only a week until the full moon". Remus smiled ruefully and closed his eyes, his head on Severus' shoulder.
"Owen's girlfriend turned twenty-three today. I thought I should let him go to wish her a happy birthday", he sighed. "Besides, no one came in after he left. Like I said, town was like the grave". Severus' shoulder twitched and Remus realised his mistake. "I'm sorry", he apologised hurriedly, raising his head. "I shouldn't have used that analogy, I..." Snape twisted around and unexpectedly pulled him into a hug. Unused to this, Severus being one of those people who didn't go in for hugs, Remus stiffened before melting into it.
"'S okay", Severus said into his hair. "It's fine". He leant back again and the two men settled down to watch the television, wrapped around each other like safety blankets.
Later on that night, Remus lay awake while Severus lay beside him, asleep and breathing evenly. Remus turned over on his side and looked down at him. He scanned his face, his pale skin, his long eyelashes, and felt a sudden wave of deep love for the man. He put a hand on his cheek and slowly dragged it downwards, strange scars on his neck that he wouldn't identify and his collarbone worryingly sharp, even two years after the war had ended and hunger was no longer a problem. He'd had problems adjusting to normal society, living like a fugitive for the first year until Remus had sought him out and brought him out of the darkness. It had taken a long time: a year in fact, but he had done it and now they were happier than they had ever been.
Sometimes Remus felt such a strong love for him that it physically hurt, a love that took his breath away. When he looked at him it seemed like the years melted away and they were back at school, younger and not as consumed with hate as they had been then.
"Wish I'd been there earlier", he murmured, tracing his jaw line. "Would have made things easier". He watched him for some minutes before he looked at the clock and saw that it was one thirty. Realising that he had to get up in six hours he leant down to kiss the sleeping man next to him. Snape stirred and a hand crept up to tangle in his hair.
"What's the matter?" Severus asked groggily, his hand still in Remus' hair. "'S the time?"
"One thirty", Remus whispered back. "Go back to sleep". Severus moved closer to him.
"What are you doing awake then?" he mumbled. "Staring at me again?"
"Sorry", he whispered. Remus felt Severus smile against his shoulder.
"Pervert", he sighed, rolling around so that his head lay on Remus' chest. "Have been for years".
"Only for you", he whispered back before realising how cheesy he sounded. He waited for Severus' snarky reply, but instead he got something quite different.
"I love you", Snape mumbled, near sleep again. "Always have". Remus was momentarily stunned: he could count the number of times that he had said that to him on one hand. He took Severus' hand and squeezed it.
"I love you too", he whispered back. "More than you could ever know". Snape didn't answer, and Remus could tell from his breathing that he was asleep. He pressed a kiss to the top of his head and closed his eyes, the wind howling outside but unable to get in.