For You, Moony
A very dear friend of mine told me to kick my muse into gear. I also have half written updates for Tricks of the Mind, Bumblebee Blood and Last Request just waiting to be finished and published... x
This contains RL/SS and implied SB/RL. Oneshot.
They found Remus in the forest outside his house, crumpled and unconscious. Most of the blood was just that, they assured him - superficial injuries designed to scare rather than kill. but a lot of that vital red liquid had been lost and as a result he was cold and suffering from shock. They gathered the werewolf up and took him home to Hogwarts where he now lay in the Hospital Wing, eyes closed, face pale beneath scars both new and old. He had attracted quite the crowd of visitors, of who Sirius Black was one.
The Marauder stood closest to the bed, not willing to accept that the last of his best friends could be close to death before him. Remus had always been the strong and quiet one, the one who seemed to survive with his body and sanity mostly intact. But now he had been swept up in the war too, found by those bearing a Mark on their arms, and left for dead. Sirius could not describe the rage that churned his stomach - where had he been to protect Remus when the werewolf had needed him? Who was responsible for such a sin? When he found them, he would make sure they paid - "Who did this, Moony? Who dared?"
He wanted, so badly, to take Remus' hand - feelings were stirring, long hidden, forever concealed - lust and longing and yes, perhaps something more. More meaningful than the platonic love that all assumed it was. He wished he was alone - why did Harry and Arthur and Molly and Minerva and - Remus stirred. Just slightly. His head moved and his hand twitched on the blankets, and Sirius knew then what he needed to do - he needed to hold Remus' hand as the other murmured his name...he was so close..."Moony, I'm here..."
Silence then. Total and absolute silence. Sirius stiffened. He had to be hearing things, surely...
Sirius whirled to face the resident Hogwarts' Potions Master, hidden in the corner, Death-Eater mask still in hand. Not Arthur nor Harry nor even Albus could stop Sirius as he gripped Snape's shirt and shoved him against the wall with satisfactory force. Black eyes glittered strangely as the impact reverberated through Snape's skeleton, but he did not speak nor move nor smirk. Sirius hissed, "You are responsible for this!"
Snape glanced toward the sleeping Remus and Sirius felt muscles tense. He tightened the hand on Snape's shirt, "You sold him out - what for?"
Snape returned his gaze to Sirius, "I did not."
Sirius laughed harshly, mirthlessly, "Then why he is begging you to stop?"
More silence. And then Severus replied, "He is not. He is begging me to come."
Sirius stared at him, grip suddenly lax as behind him the unaware Remus called Snape's first name again with gathering urgency and underlying tenderness and...
Severus disentangled himself from Sirius and crossed to Remus, taking his hand and muttering his name softly. Sirius watched and waited, expecting Remus to pull away - this could not be happening - but Remus simply fell back into silent sleep, as if comforted. Snape sat beside him and leant close to his ear, uttering words the other could not hear. His fingers slipped between Remus' with remarkable and terrible familiarity, his thumb stroking an unconscious pattern over Remus' bruised knuckles. He seemed to have forgotten that he had company at all, until Arthur Weasley cleared his throat and Severus' head snapped up. He looked almost startled for a moment, before his usual mask fell into place and he all but barked, "What?"
Sirius had to turn his back, facing instead those who were present and wearing varying facial expressions. Albus seemed to be smug, as if he had suspected something like this and now his thoughts were revealed to be true. His Deputy Headmistress had one hand across her mouth in apparent shock - but Sirius knew his once teacher was most certainly smiling beneath her fingers. Harry, thankfully, looked absolutely horrified - Arthur surprised, Molly flushing, and Tonks - well - utterly furious. Sirius felt sympathy for her - Remus liked her but he would never love her - but her fury matched his as she demanded, "What is this?"
Severus was clearly feeling outnumbered because his voice was pure venom when he responded, "What does it look like?"
Feisty Tonks shot back with, "A lie and manipulation" - and Sirius just had to see Severus' reaction to this accusation. He wished, as once, that he hadn't - for he suddenly felt guilty. Severus visibly flinched and looked away. Albus stepped forward to diffuse the situation, "Thank you, Nymphadora."
"This can't be real, Albus!" Tonks cried, and Sirius nodded because he had forgotten how to speak after seeing how Tonks had managed to crack Snape's cold manner so easily. "Remus would never - he would't - how could he - Snape -" She broke off when Albus raised a warning hand.
"Next month it will be three years." Severus murmured. He was paler now and Sirius really didn't like the emotion in those black eyes because it drove a blade straight into his gut and twisted painfully. "I am not going to explain when and where - not even how or why - just know it. Now, if you do not mind, I wish to tend to my lover in private."
Tonks flinched, "You do not even understand love, Snape!"
"Why? Because I am a Death-Eater?" Severus' fingers noticeably tightened in Remus'. Why was Sirius even seeing and acknowledging these things? "You seem to forget that I am a spy, Nymphadora!"
That didn't explain, Sirius thought viciously, what Remus saw in a greasy, bad-tempered -
"Don't get me wrong, I don't know what he sees in a greasy, bad tempered ex-Death-Eater either - but clearly he sees something because he has slept beside me for three years!"
"I see you." A soft whisper from beside Severus. His head jerked as if on a cord, and Sirius saw his expression change. He watched, aghast and disbelieving, as Severus Snape smiled slightly and brushed a hand across Remus' forehead. A conscious Remus.
A Remus who was looking up at Severus with no small amount of pleasure at seeing him there, some sort of reverence, an emotion Sirius did not wish to identify - all the things he, himself, had wanted to see from the werewolf. And instead, they were being shown to Severus. Snape. A Death-Eater. Something was painful inside his chest and he turned away, unwilling to watch.
"You have...quite the audience...Severus..." Remus murmured, wincing and groaning as pain started to filter into his minimal movements. His fingers clenched Severus', tightly - Severus leaned toward his ear, "It's fine. It's just the potions wearing off. In another half an hour, you can have the second dose."
Remus nodded once, eyes closed now, clinging to Severus' hand like some sort of anchor - a life line - keeping him conscious and in the living world. Severus adjusted the white blankets and raised his gaze back to those watching him. "Was there something else?"
Sirius nodded, anger pounding through his veins, and that was his only explanation for the words he spoke next, "Didn't think you to be a dealer in second hand goods, Remus."
The words were clearly dangerous when every muscle in Severus' body stiffened and he sat straight, hand dropping from Remus' as if burnt. Remus himself sat up without even a sound - simply staring at Sirius was if disbelieving. Sirius met Severus' gaze with a smirk, knowing he had finally exposed what he had known all along - that Severus had been very familiar with Lucius Malfoy - and the triumphant glee silenced his suddenly whispering conscience as a flush coloured Severus' cheeks. The Potions Master stood, jerkily, as if he was not sure his legs could hold him.
"Severus." Remus' voice was gently - "Stay, please."
Either the words did not register, or there was complete apathy from Severus as he did not react in any way, besides pausing to stand in front of Sirius for one silent, charged, intense moment. Their gazes met, and Sirius looked away.
"Severus!" Remus' voice had broken, a soft whimper - "Don't leave..."
The black flurry of robes leaving the Hospital Wing did not stop. Breath was exhaled throughout the room as Sirius returned his attention to Remus - who met his gaze with a tense expression. "Go after him."
Sirius stared, "What?"
"Go after him and apologise. You had no right, Padfoot, to say that to him. No right at all." For an injured patient who just hours before had shown little signs of recovery, Sirius found himself taking a step back from his werewolf best friend - brown eyes were blazing with fury, and his hands were curled around the blankets.
Poppy Pomfrey chose that moment to bustle back into the Hospital Wing and stared first at Remus, and then at the tense individuals who surrounded him. "I said not to upset my patient. All of you - out - including you, Headmaster - Remus needs to rest, lest he will do himself more damage. Out! Now!"
Sirius lingered one moment longer, the gaze between him and Remus neither melting nor cooling. It was hard, and painful to bear. Finally, as if he could no longer wish to look upon Sirius, Remus looked away - and lay back down on his side, away from Sirius and staring at the empty chair.
Sirius spoke two words, before leaving his friend alone.
Sirius was not going to apologise. He would never apologise to Severus Snape. Clearly the Death-Eater had laid some spell on Remus - or perhaps slipped his potions into a drink - because this could not be possible. There was no way that Remus could be in...even attracted to Snape. He stalked the corridors of Grimmauld Place, feeling almost caged. He had never seen such disgust in Remus' eyes. The werewolf had been angry. Sirius did not understand why. He had always thought - maybe - he and Remus had something. When they were students, the four Marauders - James, Sirius, Remus and Pettigrew - no longer allowed a first name thanks to his betrayal - they had charged around the school winning popularity and hearts and minds, too. The teachers adored them, students worshipped them - James, the incredible chaser, Sirius the handsome rogue, Remus the quiet, bookish, shy studier and Pettigrew the follower. They were almost legends.
Snape who was in Slytherin. Snape, who followed Lily around like some lost dog. Snape, who knew more curses and hexes than anyone else his age. Snape, who lingered in the library long after hours, took midnight walks - lost out to many of their duels - lay in the Hospital Wing -
Snape, who Sirius had tricked into going to the Shrieking Shack, to see Remus when he was transformed - because he had shown such unnatural interest in the Marauder and his illness.
Snape, who had joined the Death-Eaters. Who was a traitor. Who Sirius did not trust with the life of his godson, and by such the life of his one remaining Marauder.
He slammed the door to the bedroom loudly. That felt better, for a moment. Heading toward the staircase, he stopped when movement caught his attention. Movement in his own house. He crossed to the door, wand in hand. This was Remus' currently unoccupied room - he stayed at Grimmauld Place when he so chose - but with Remus safely locked in Hogwarts in a private room...he threw open the door, wand drawn - and of course, it was Snape. Who else would it be? "Was it a curse?"
Severus had whirled at the sound of the door, wand pointed at Sirius. His voice was venomous, "What was a curse?"
"You must have cursed Remus. Somehow, I do not see him choosing to lie next to a corrupted, greasy-haired Death-Eater." Sirius observed his fellow Order member through narrowed eyes, "What is this, Snivellus? Stealing from your lover?"
Severus straightened his back, "I am collecting some clothes and books for him, as Remus will be staying with me in Hogwarts until he is fully healed." The next sentence was softer, "It is the safest place for him."
Sirius did not wish to let this drop. "You must have done something, Snape."
"Perhaps I was simply there for him, Black? Perhaps I did not get myself locked up in Azkaban and condemned as a murderer and a madman?" Severus smirked, "Did you enjoy letting him down, as you let Potter down, too -"
He did not get to finish that sentence. Vastly superior in physical ability, Sirius sprang at Severus - clearly catching the other unawares. He knocked Severus' wand away and a curled fist landed a solid blow into ribs. Severus staggered, ducking and attempting to seize Sirius' wand - and Sirius moved. He pressed the wand beneath Severus' chin, voice gaining an unnatural tremble, "What...did...you...do?"
Severus' eyes narrowed, uncomfortable with Sirius so close. He still managed a withering glare, "Interesting how you do not have the courage to ask Remus these questions, Black. Afraid if you hear it from him, it will confirm the truth?"
Sirius tightened the hand gripping Severus' collar. "How do I know it will be the truth? You are a Death-Eater. You could have wiped his memory."
"Why do you find it so..." Severus paused. "Oh, but of course." His voice softened to a cruel whisper. "You are jealous, Black. You want him for yourself."
Sirius did not dignify that with a response, but was aware that his cheeks flushed uncomfortably, "He is not yours."
"Oh, please, allow me to provide evidence, Black. He is very much mine. Let me tell you how he feels to hold, and kiss, and...well...that's none of your business." Severus seemed unafraid of Sirius' wand, "In fact - he offered me his hand - before the war - and I said we should wait until afterward -"
Sirius broke away, shaking, trembling, unable to process - to think - to believe -
"After all, Black. I may be - as you so eloquently put - 'second hand goods', but at least I am not a felon -"
Sirius' fist met Severus' face, and the Slytherin knew no more.
Remus was dozing lightly in the bed in the Hospital Wing, curtains drawn and room dark. He did not sleep usually, so this was a state designed to preserve energy and allow his mind to wander. He stirred when he felt company next to him - hope flared- "Severus?"
"He's at a Death-Eater meeting, apparently. It's me, Moony." Sirius murmured in response, resting one hand on the bed beside Remus. "Do you want me to put a light on - or -"
"Help me to sit up." At least some of the hardness had disappeared from Remus' voice, covered now with the cool edge of disappointment. Sirius obliged, gently gathering his friend into his arms - feeling a sting at how easily Severus could be here - how he could be so much closer - and sitting him up against the pillows. "Moony. We need to talk."
"Have you apologised to Severus?" Remus asked instead, stubbornly leaning over with a small wince, to switch the light by his bed on.
"I tried, Moony. I did see him - but - we..." He flexed his fingers, and Remus saw the bruising. "Padfoot! What did you do?"
Sirius had the decency to look away, "He taunted me with Azkaban, Moony. It was just once blow to the face - but he was unconscious - I put him on the bed and let him sleep it off - didn't mean to hit him quite so hard..."
"Sirius, he's carrying injuries from Death-Eater meetings - he's fragile enough without you taking a fist to him -" Remus exhaled, rubbing his eyes, seeming vulnerable. Sirius wanted to put arms around him - the way he used to - but now, Remus belonged to someone else - he did not have that right - "Why, Moony? Why didn't you tell me? Why him? Why not..." Me. "Someone else?"
Remus surveyed him through those brown eyes, as always, seeing what Sirius did not say. "How could I say? No one would approve - it's dangerous enough for him - if anyone were to find out...it would be his ruin." He rested his fingers gently on Sirius', "As for 'why him' - because of who he is. What he is. You do not see him, Padfoot. He is so much more than what you give him discredit for - he does care for me, greatly. I love him, in return." He felt Sirius' fingers tremble, "I will not apologise for it. He means a huge amount to me. As for why him and not someone else - because there is no one else for me."
Sirius met Remus' eyes, "What about me? I have always been here - when we were at school - you seemed - I thought - "
Remus looked away, "At school, Sirius, you fancied every girl in every house, and most certainly tried to sneak into their dormitories."
"Only because I did not have the courage to speak to you about how I felt! I never knew for certain that you - I mean - did you?"
Remus exhaled, "Yes, I did. I could never say. You made it clear your interests lay elsewhere, whether it was true or not - and I had to find someone else. I chose Severus, Sirius. I want him."
"But you loved me!" Sirius leaned forward, his hand grasping Remus', "I could protect you - I could find the Wolfsbane - everything Snivellus does for you - I could do too -"
Remus did not pull his hand away. "Sirius, it is more than just a potion to help my condition. Severus makes me laugh, he is utterly devoted to me in his own way, surprises me with his romantic tendencies - I do not expect you to understand -"
"I make you laugh! I love you, Remus, you are my best friend - I'd do anything for you - I'd bring you flowers and chocolates on your birthday and on St Valentine's Day if that's what you want -" Desperation had infected Sirius' tone.
"When the war is over, I plan to keep him by me for the rest of my life, Sirius. He makes me better. Do not think I do not love you too - as I do - very deeply. But Severus is mine. He is my heart - and my lover - you need to accept this." Remus was very calm, voice gentle, his fingers a soothing warmth in Sirius' suddenly cold hand. He stared across at Remus, and said in a pitifully small voice, "I want you, though. Is this because I was sent to Azkaban?"
"No!' Remus cried, "Sirius, that is no bearing on - Severus and I have always had a connection - when we were teaching here together -"
"He had you sacked! He told everyone what you were - ensured you had nowhere to stay - you would never be able to support yourself - is that someone who professes to love you does -"
"That was misguided jealousy, Padfoot. Of you, in fact. He thought you would tempt me back to you - and away from him - he also begged my forgiveness, and set me up in the house in the forest - gave me somewhere to stay - supports me as James did -"
"The house where you just happened to be found? What if he told them, Remus? What if he feels spitefully jealous again and reveals you to Voldemort - what then?!"
"That," Remus practically growled, "Was nothing to do with Severus - I trust him with my life."
Sirius stood, whirling away, "Everyone says that - everyone trusts him, with their lives - he's a Death-Eater, Remus! He is burned with Voldemort's mark and he will destroy you - as he destroyed James and Lily - why does no one see this?"
Quietly, Remus answered, "Perhaps you are the only one seeing him as such. Sirius, he has changed. I trust him. Is that not enough for you?"
"I do not want to see you hurt, Remus." Sirius sat on the bed beside Remus, head bowed, "I cannot lose you too."
"You are not losing me. I am not going anywhere." Remus smiled slightly. "Please, Padfoot. We're the last two Marauders. I would not abandon you for anything."
"If you ask me to choose between him and you, you will not like my decision. I have enough space for both of you - to love you both - but you have to accept - and so does he - what I have decided." Remus soothed Sirius' shirt, smoothing the creases in the material. "Please, Sirius. I am happy, with Sev. I wish you could see that."
Sirius paused. He leaned close, stroking Remus' cheek, "Could I have made you happy?"
"You already do. Just not in the same way." Remus smiled that kind smile, that Sirius could never resist. He closed the gap between them and kissed Remus carefully - gently - and Remus did not immediately pull away, although he did not respond, either. The moment lasted only a few seconds - before Sirius understood. He pulled back. "You choose Snape."
"Yes, I do."
Sirius nodded, and stood. "I understand."
"No. Not really. But I will try." He raised his head, "For you, Moony. For the Marauders."
"Thank you." Remus said, after a moment of silence as he fought his voice to stay stable.
But Sirius had already gone.
"I am fine, Poppy - would you let go of me - let go, for Salazar's sake - it is just a small cut -"
"A small cut, Severus? When will you learn to take better care of yourself? You need to come straight to me - if Hagrid had not found you - Merlin know what might have happened to you. On the bed, now."
There was the sound of shuffling as a reluctant Severus was pushed onto a bed by Poppy, and a moan of pain suggested his injuries were not quite as simple. Remus sat up, squinting in the dim light to see Severus.
"What happened to your face?"
A pause. "McNair has strength in his upper arms, instead of his brains. It is nothing to be concerned about, Poppy. I have had worse. You'll wake Remus."
"I know you have had worse, Severus. What worries me is that you cannot carry on like -"
"Poppy. Please." Severus' voice was tired, weary. "In the morning, perhaps? Your usual lecture? I can expect one from Remus and Albus, too. I need sleep."
Poppy resigned, sitting beside Severus on the bed and watching him for a moment. "Very well. As long as you rest here, and let me check you in the morning - do not even think of slithering away, Head of Slytherin. I will find you." She smiled, "I am glad to see you back, Severus." She disappeared away. Remus counted to ten silently, mentally, before moving from his bed to gather Severus into his arms, and thus a hug. "Severus..."
He felt arms wrap around him as best they could and realised that perhaps the damage was severe. He stroked his fingers through dark hair and kissed his forehead, "Shush. It will be all right."
"I know it will."
"You did not stay, when I asked." Remus said softly.
"Second hand goods, Remus."
"You may refer to it as that. I call it...experience." Remus grinned, and lips found lips in a deeper, more heartfelt kiss and exchange of wordless vows.
Silence. Silence broken only by their breathing, and their hearts beating, and their lives entwining in ways they would never be able to unravel.
"I love you."
"I love you too."