Soapy water soaked into the back of Severus's cloak as Lupin pushed him against the sink and leaned down to kiss him, but he barely paid it any mind. They fumbled together for a moment, lips too chapped and hands too jittery, until Lupin pulled away to wet his lips and returned with renewed confidence. Severus let him lead the way. He'd never heard rumors of any schoolboy escapades between Lupin and any other student, but he was sure to be at least somewhat more experienced than he himself was.
His clothes were clinging to the damp of his skin, even through the chill of the night, but Lupin didn't seem to mind how his palms had suddenly gone clammy. He grabbed him round the waist and slotted their hips together. Severus exhaled sharply and tilted his head back, and then jolted it forward when Lupin decided to fucking latch onto his neck and suck, hard. Their foreheads knocked together.
"Sorry," he gasped.
"You're fine." There was a smile in Remus's voice. He tugged on the clasps of Severus's cloak, releasing a few—just enough for him to push a hand inside and pull his shirt up. He pressed a hand to his stomach, fingers splaying wide, and Severus moaned like it had been punched out of him. Then, when Lupin ran his free hand through his hair, grabbed a fistful, and tugged, he moaned even louder.
He'd only begun to fully enjoy himself, as Lupin rolled their hips together and dipped under the waistband of his pants, when someone made a soft "oh!" in the doorway and sent the world crashing back down upon him.
"Oh holy shit, I-I'm sorry, I didn't—I didn't mean to—holy shit." Potter made eye contact with him over Lupin's shoulder, and Severus felt a small fraction of his soul wither and die. The boy clapped a hand over his reddening face and backed away, still spluttering unintelligibly with his glasses now askew. "Oh, shit, I really didn't…I just needed the—the er—the toilet. Before bed. Sorry. D'you think I could—?"
Jerking back from the shellshocked Lupin like he'd been burned, Severus turned away. He yanked his robe shut and covered his eyes in horror. An eternity seemed to pass before any of them dared speak.
"Go ahead," Lupin said in a voice that seemed unnaturally high.
The boy stumbled his way to the loo and slammed the door shut behind him. And both Severus and Lupin exhaled as one.
"I'm sorry," the wolf said, just as Severus blurted out, "Forgot he was awake."
They spoke at the same time, and then stopped again. "You first," Lupin said.
"I forgot he was awake." What a fucking idiot he was, doing something like that well before midnight, when the boy was sure to be up and about.
"Are you worried he'll tell somebody?" Remus ran a hand through his hair and squeezed his eyes shut. "Dammit, this is all my fault…We could make our excuses. Tell him he saw wrong. That I was, ah…"
"Picking something out of my eye?" Severus finished sarcastically. "I was the one that started it, and I don't give a damn that anyone knows about—us, werewolf. That is not my concern."
"I suppose that's nice to know. Thank you, Severus. Do you not want him to know his evil Potions professor has a sex life just like everyone else, then? Either way, this should not have happened…I don't know what came over me. Harry should not have been put in a situation like that."
He finished straightening himself (turning round again to adjust his trousers), and stepped over to the stove to check on his abandoned potion. Severus stirred listlessly at the congealed grey mass inside the cauldron. It was as thick and gritty as wet concrete. Useless. He evanesco'd the mess and tossed the used cauldron in the sink. "I wouldn't quite call it a sex life," he muttered, blasting the sink on high and reaching in to attack the remains of the concrete potion with a sponge.
Remus joined him back at the sink, but with the bubble of tension sufficiently popped, it felt more comradely than anything. "Have you…ever?" he said eventually, lowering his voice and glancing towards the bathroom door.
"Ever what?" Whatever eldritch horror he'd managed to create, it was stuck to the sides…He was going to need a new sponge after this.
He scrubbed viciously at the cauldron, grating the tops of his bitten-down fingernails on the inside in a way that was sure to leave a mark, and kept his mouth shut. Remus waited patiently beside him. Finally, warring with himself, Severus said, "No. Never got round to it."
"I'm glad we stopped, then," came the immediate reply, "because I'm not going to take your virginity in a godforsaken kitchen. Salazar and Mary, Severus, you should have said something."
"So you can shower me in rose petals? I'm not a blushing maiden, wolf. There is no need to wine and dine me before whisking me off to a cottage in a mystical forest. I am not the adult version of Little Red Riding Hood." He glared vaguely in Remus's direction. Then, shifting his glare to the bathroom door, he said, "He's taking quite the long time."
"Flushing his eyes out, perhaps," the werewolf muttered. "He has…horrendous timing."
"'Horrendous' is one way to phrase it, yes." 'Walked in on his evil git of a professor about to be getting fucked against a kitchen sink' was another. Potter had always had tremendously bad timing. He was a magnet for all things unhealthy and potentially dangerous. This was simply one of the worst examples he had to date. Given time, however, Potter would surely manage to outdo himself. Severus gave up on the cauldron, tossed it back into the sink with a clunk, and stalked out of the room before Potter could come back out and ruin everything.
Lupin followed him. (Of course he did.)
"Go to bed at a reasonable time, Potter," he shouted down the stairs when the telltale screech of the bathroom door sounded. Then, to the man scaling the stairs behind him, "You are not sleeping up here. My bed would collapse underneath us. And break your spine."
"I won't be up long," the wolf said. He was frowning; Severus could only just make it out in the barest of light. "I need to apologize to Harry before he goes to sleep."
"Feeling guilty?" he said scathingly, even though he was, as well. He should not have let things get so out of hand. He'd gotten caught up in every heated feeling he'd been pressing down, and he'd let it burst out as if he was an adolescent boy, too focused on his fucking hormones to think reasonably. And now the boy had walked in on his lack of self-control. It was disgusting, humiliating, degrading…
"I am. We should have waited until he was in bed. The blame doesn't lie solely on you, Severus. I certainly wasn't complaining or telling you to stop." He heaved a sigh as they came at a stop on the landing. "This should not have happened."
"Having second thoughts?" Severus asked, even more scathingly than before.
"No. Godric, no. I've been wanting this since we were young, Severus. I've already gone through any second thoughts I might have had," he laughed. "Believe me on that."
Since they were young? "Pardon me if I have trouble believing that," he said coldly. In the complete blackness, he could no longer see any hint of Lupin, but he could easily imagine the look on his face.
"You don't have to believe it. It doesn't make it any less true." Lupin became rather quiet. Then, in a voice as soft as his expression surely was, he murmured, "I'm off to bed, and to speak with Harry. Goodnight, Severus. I'll see you in the morning."
Lupin pressed a kiss to his temple, and Severus was suddenly rather grateful for the darkness.
"Goodnight," he said dazedly, and nearly fell into his bedroom, closing the door with a snap and leaning against it to listen to the sound of Remus making his careful way down the stairs. Severus managed to haul himself upright and walk to his bed, sneaking a quick peek in the mirror as he went. He was horrified to find that there was a lurid purple bruise developing on his neck. Concealment charm, he thought swiftly. Concealment charm.
Then he pulled out the last of his cigarettes and smoked them, one after the other.
The next morning, he woke before either of the others, and made his way downstairs to start on an early breakfast. In the sink was his cauldron, scrubbed until it shone, with the rest of the clean dishes on the counter.
That afternoon found Severus in one of the most uncomfortable situations he'd ever found himself in, even after counting all that had occured in the past twelve days.
He and the boy were not speaking. What he'd walked into the night before seemed to have been the straw to break the camel's back; not even the promising premise of an argument could rouse the boy out of the stony silence he'd fallen into. This pissed Severus off, though for what reason, he couldn't quite tell.
Drastic measures would have to be taken.
Severus stood over the boy at noon, waiting for the moment where Potter would deign to look up from his book at him, and waited a beat longer to see how uncomfortable he could make him. Then, forcing the words out from the depths of what remained of his soul, Severus gritted, "I owe you an apology."
This made Potter set his book down. "An…apology," he repeated, blinking once, and then twice. "Is this for the—thing that—the thing where you and Professor Lupin—er."
"Eloquent as always, Potter." He closed his eyes briefly. "Yes. This is for the 'thing that, the thing where Lupin and I.' I had not intended for you to witness any of it, and the fact that you did lies solely upon me."
"Professor Lupin said the same thing, actually. That it was all his fault."
"Lupin is a self-sacrificing fool who would willingly take blame for the bubonic plague if it so suited him. What you saw last night was my fault. I'm sorry." Severus was surprised to find that he meant it, even though it left him feeling drained in ways he couldn't even begin to name.
Nodding slowly, Potter frowned at the book in his hands. "Oh. Well…thanks. Professor."
And that was that. Severus pulled a book of his own out of the shelf closest to him and settled down in the armchair Lupin had slept in the night previous, trying to imagine that he could still feel a vestige of whatever warmth had been left behind. He'd no sooner cracked his book open than Potter decided to open his mouth and ruin fucking everything, as per usual.
"So…you and Lupin?" he said slowly, avoiding eye contact like his life depended on it. He was gripping Snow Crash tightly to his chest.
"No. We are not discussing this." Severus tried again to focus on reading.
Potter did not back down. Severus could see him grinning a little out of the corner of his eye, though he still looked supremely uncomfortable. "You and Lupin. Are you…together? Or just…snogging…?"
"No. Shut up." Severus shoved down a vision of himself strangling the boy.
"Should we expect a happy announcement soon?"
"Shut up, Potter, or you will find Ashwinder eggs in your cereal tomorrow."
Harry snorted and shifted position on the sofa, lying across it like it was a throne. Severus hated him. "You wouldn't do that. Those are expensive."
Of all the information to retain from class, that of course would be one of them. "Cease and desist, Potter, or I will force-feed them to you right now, expenses be damned."
"You really are together!"
When had he lost all power of intimidation over this boy? Severus gaped at him, and then snapped his mouth shut, returning to his book with a sharp sigh.
"Don't worry, Professor. I'm not going to tell anybody."
He studiously ignored the muttered, "not that they'd believe me anyway," that came after. "I personally don't give a damn," he said coolly, "but the same cannot be said for your werewolf. If this were to come out to the public, Lupin's ever-decreasing job prospects would plummet further. Unfortunate though it may be, I am forcing myself to trust your discretion in the matter. Do not reveal this. To anybody. Not even your friends, Potter. This stays between us."
Children enjoyed being told secrets. With any luck, this child was ordinary enough to fit the mold. It would hopefully be enough to placate him.
"I won't tell anyone," Harry said quietly. "I think it would hurt you, too, Professor, if people found out. Some of the parents wouldn't like it. D'you think Dumbledore would be able to help after that?"
"Dumbledore has an immeasurable amount of power over many things," Severus said, "but not even he holds much sway over societal views. People will believe what they want to believe. Until their generation dies out and we are all free of them."
"You know, until that last bit, that almost sounded nice." The boy smiled and opened his book again. "For you, anyway."
"The promise of the Ashwinder eggs still holds true, Potter. I also may or may not have a secret photograph of you sucking your thumb in your sleep. Tread wisely."
"What?" The boy sat up and spluttered, "I don't suck my thumb! You—you don't even have a camera!"
"I live in a Muggle town," Severus shot back, "so do not be so sure."
"You wouldn't show anyone, even if you had a picture."
"Would you like to test that?"