AN: This is my first attempt at dipping my quill into the Harry Potter fandom. Be gentle, if you will.
"Teddy, don't go too far up now."
"I won't, promise."
Remus Lupin watched as his son climbed higher and higher into the large tree at the park they were visiting. Remus and his son Teddy first visited the little village while they were traveling. Apparating long distances was difficult enough, but with a little boy in tow, it was necessary to make a few stops along the way. The quiet village sat on a hilltop, close enough to smell the salty sea air from the water down below, but just far and high enough to have a beautiful view of the cold ocean. There were a few grander homes down below, ones with great staircases that led straight to the beach below.
Remus much preferred the view from up on the hill though. It was nice to breathe in that cool, ocean breeze, but he wasn't too interested in having the ocean meet his yard.
"You've still a bit of a cold, remember. You know it makes it difficult to keep your form."
Remus sighed and watched as Teddy balanced himself on a thick branch and then hopped across to a smaller one. The little boy had taken his shoes off and his feet were two furry little things clutching at the tree limbs like a monkey's.
"Dad, did you see that? " the little boy shouted proudly. "Harry says with my speed I could play Seeker one day. I just need to work on my bal-al-"
Remus jumped to his feet, hoping to reach his son in time, but he was a just a few steps too late. As Teddy sneezed, his furry feet morphed back into his own. He lost his footing on the precarious branch. He slipped and fell to the ground, the grass not helping to ease the impact of the fall. Teddy feel hard and landed awkwardly on his arm, groaning in pain.
Sliding to his knees beside him, Remus cradled his son, minding the indubitably broken limb. "Teddy, are you alright? Did you hit your head?"
For the briefest moments, he considered Apparating all the way home, but he knew right away that that would only cause more danger. He had to find a public Floo. Before Teddy could answer his question, Remus scooped up the small, crying boy and made his way back to the small village where he could Floo back home and find help.
While people stopped and stared for just a moment, no one made much of a fuss over the thin man with graying hair or his small son. Had he been in his right mind, he would have been paying more attention to the people around him. Even after the war, it was something he couldn't help but do - pay attention to those around you. Secure the area. Watch out for your own.
Nearly toppling over, but thankful for his lycanthropic abilities, Remus' steps merely faltered a bit when he ran into another body. Quickly, he found his step and kept forward, forgetting the niceties for once, he threw a simple "'m sorry" over his shoulder. It wasn't until he heard that familiar voice calling after him, that Remus stopped.
"Lupin?" was all that the voice said, but Remus knew that velvety tone well enough to sigh in relief.
"Severus, oh, thank Merlin," he said as he turned back to the man he'd bumped into. "Please, can you mend bones?" Severus Snape, for the first time, caught a glimpse of the boy tucked against Remus' body. With his thin, villainous lips pressed tightly, he gave a terse nod and took Remus' elbow, leading him into the furthest corner of a huddled group of cottages that lay at the west end of the village.
Closing the door behind the two visitors, Severus finally spoke. "Sit. There," he pointed to a sofa. Remus did so, with Teddy in his lap. "Please, Severus, he's in pain."
"I haven't the slightest how to mend a child's broken bone," Severus answered, grabbing a handful of powder from on top of the mantle. "I know a Healer from St. Mungo's who does."
Teddy and Remus both looked at each other, frightened even more than before. Teddy began to clutch at his father with his good arm.
"No!" Remus said, the fear evident in his voice. "No healers, I thought you could help him." He stood up and grimaced as Teddy gasped out in pain at the jostling about. "Thank you, but I'll just take him home. If we could just use your Floo."
In his panic and worry, Remus hadn't heard Severus make the call. "Don't be ridiculous, Lupin. Neither one of you is in any shape to travel. The boy will be just fine in a few minutes, so just sit down." Severus moved away from the fireplace just as the flames flared green.
When Remus saw the golden blonde, young man step from the fireplace, he let out a breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He slumped back into the sofa, smoothing back Teddy's hair to reassure the boy he was going to be fine. "Dad," Teddy whispered, his pain and worry just as clear as his father's had been moments ago. "It's okay, son. You're going to be fine, just stay calm and try not to move, alright?" Teddy gave his dad the best smile he could muster, knowing that they'd discussed what Teddy was supposed to do in situations just like this.
Draco Malfoy stepped closer to Remus and Teddy, kneeling before them. "I'm going to take a look at your arm," he said, trying to sound less threatening and intimidating than he usually did.
After running his wand over Teddy's broken arm, Draco stood. "I need him to lie down here." Remus hesitated, but did as he was told. Teddy, lying down, trying hard to control his tears in front of these strangers, did as Healer Malfoy told him as well - to lie very still, and try not to flinch as he ran the tip of his wand over the broken limb.
Remus watched as the young man who had once threatened his life years before worked to heal his son. He fidgeted as Teddy took a spoonful of whatever potion Severus had handed to Draco. "What is that you're giving him?" Draco huffed, offended that Remus would question his skills. Severus spoke for him, "a very mild sedative and pain relieving potion." Remus nodded, and saw his boy's arm glow slightly and return to normal.
"Done." Draco said, draping the boy's newly mended arm across his stomach. Remus moved to sit by his son's side, gave him a small smile and said, "All better, then?" Teddy smiled up at his dad, and said a quiet "Thank you," to Healer Malfoy.
"Now that the boy's taken care of, are you going to share with us just what happened to him, causing you to come barreling through the village?" Severus spoke with his usual sarcastic, accusing tone of voice.
Remus allowed himself a small chuckle. Always the professor.
"He's much like his mother," he said, smiling down at his son, again smoothing back his golden brown hair. In an instant, that golden brown hair turned to a violent pink shade, causing Remus' smile to widen.
"A metamorphagus," Severus said, mildly impressed with the boy's abilities.
Draco, who had run his wand over the boy once more, scowled a bit, marring his handsome face. "A bit like his father too, isn't he?" he snorted, directing a glare at a suddenly white-faced Remus.
Severus snapped his attention between the small boy with drying tears on his cheeks and to his rapidly paling father.
"No!" the boy shouted, sitting up, fighting through the soreness he still felt in his arm. "I'm a metamorphagus only. Like my mother was."
"That's why you were so frightened by my calling a Healer. He's," here, Severus' voice faltered for what Remus thought must have been the first time ever. "He's like you. A wolf. Unregistered." He snarled, not at all hiding the familiar hatred in his words, which Remus had come to expect from Severus.
"Please, Severus, Draco," Remus knew what he must have sounded like, begging these two men who had just helped him, but now was no time for such frivolous things as pride. He clutched at his son's hand, wondering if he'd even be able to Apparate from inside the house. Surely Severus would have wards to prevent them from doing so, but he had to try, if it came down to it.
"Don't take me away, please. I'm all my dad has. He needs me." Remus couldn't help the tears from forming in his eyes. He closed them for a moment, as his heart clenched at hearing his son's pleading. "Please, just let us go home," he said.
After a long, intensely silent moment, Draco stood up and looked to Severus. Severus gave him the slightest nod and Draco turned back to Remus. Remus was sure he was only aggravating his son's injury, but he held tightly to his hand nonetheless.
"Give him another spoonful of this in the morning," the young man said, holding out a small vial. Taken aback, Remus mindlessly took the potion, keeping his grip on Teddy, who was looking up at his dad, and keeping his eyes on Draco's grey ones. "I've no interest in taking him to St. Mungo's, but if ever you should run into a Healer in an emergency, you ought to inform him of his condition."
"I'm sure you know that lycanthropy can affect the potency of a potion," Severus finally spoke. Remus wasn't sure what to think about the seemingly calm and unbiased words coming from a Malfoy and Snape.
"Can you stay for tea, Draco?" Severus spoke again, after the stunned silence became too loud for him to stand.
Draco shook his head, "No, unfortunately. I've got a patient who needs seeing to soon." Draco looked down at Teddy, "You, you'll keep those bones in one piece, you understand?" Teddy nodded his head, earning just the slightest smirk from the young Healer.
"It's a shame you don't invite me over more often, Godfather." Draco teased the raven haired man. "Once you claimed the second largest bedroom as your own, I didn't think it necessary," Severus quipped, walking over to the fireplace with Draco. Draco gave his apparent Godfather a dazzling smile before grabbing a handful of powder.
Snapping himself out of his daze, Remus let go of Teddy's hand and walked over to the two men saying goodbye. "Thank you, Dra-," he paused and smiled a bit. "Thank you, Healer Malfoy. For taking care of Teddy. And for not reporting him to St. Mungo's." Draco gave him a nod of acceptance. "The Prophet," Remus hesitated, "They're wrong. I can see you've become a fine, young man. You're not like your father; I hope you'll take that as a compliment." Draco opened his mouth to speak, but simply nodded.
Severus sat at his kitchen table, sipping his morning tea, grumbling to himself over The Daily Prophet. "Worthless," he said, throwing the paper to the floor beside him. "Incendio," he said with a flick of his wrist, and followed it with another flick and an "evanesco," to get rid of the burnt remains of the paper. He loathed Rita Skeeter and her articles about Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived Twice, and his career, and his wife, and his friends.
Even more so, he hated the articles about young, Healer Malfoy, who was rumored to have plans of holding St. Mungo's hostage until his father was released from Azkaban, and his murdering Godfather, who hadn't saved the young boy's soul from an awful deed, but instead took great pleasure in being able to kill the one man who had seen the sliver of decency in him. The same man who had offered forgiveness for his unyielding servitude.
The night he had begged not to be killed or taken to Azkaban, he hadn't believed he would be asked to murder someone he had grown so close to, to see as the father he never had and wanted to please, at no matter the cost to himself.
Severus sighed, he would never get used to the knowledge that Albus Dumbledore died at his hand. Not that he would ever let himself. He killed Albus, and lived through the final battle, there was no amount of suffering he could endure to make up for that. He hadn't wanted to live to see Voldemort's demise; he'd done his job, given Harry Potter all the information he would need. He was to be left to die there in the Shrieking Shack. Insult to injury he told himself as he had lain there, bleeding out slowly.
He was going to die there, in Lupin's little lair. He was sure the spirit of Sirius Black had been laughing at his expense. But none of that had mattered really. He had been prepared to die, to go willingly off to where ever souls as black as his were sent.
He hadn't though. The same selfish man who had first gone over to Voldemort's side had been happy, grateful even that Potter had been kind enough to tell Draco where his supposedly dead body could be found, after the battle was won. The bitter, self-loathing man he truly was however, had been devastated to hear footsteps approaching him that night. He was meant to die, after all the blood on his own hands.
When he opened his eyes and caught Draco's tired grey eyes staring at him, his face nearly as pale as Severus'. "It's just a bit of blood," he had coughed out, the blood seemingly pouring out more freely with the little effort. "Quiet," Draco had said, shaking himself free of the shock of seeing his godfather bleeding out. Immediately, Draco set about sending up a signal to call for help. He took out the anti-venin potion Severus had discreetly given him months before and poured it down the other man's throat.
"Draco," Severus had said, swallowing the potion without a fuss. "No, be quiet, please, rest. Mother will be here in a moment to help you to the castle." Severus nodded, resting his hand on the boy's forearm.
In that moment, realizing he wasn't going to die there, he was grateful for the chance to see Draco one last time, even if it was only to be taken away by the Aurors as soon as they got wind of him being alive. He'd have some satisfaction in knowing his godson was alive, and safe.
With another sigh, Severus emptied his tea cup, and set about his normal day.
He was only slightly angry that he was unable to brew a potion Draco had requested, as his trip to the market had been ruined before purchasing the proper ingredients. He knew he couldn't delay another trip for too long, but he was in no hurry after the surprise events of the day before.
Delaying another trip, he began brewing another potion that had been requested. It was a simple potion, one that he could mindlessly do. Doing so though, caused his mind to wander to people from his past, whom he wasn't supposed to have run into.
Severus Snape wasn't allowed any sort of happiness, that's what he had concluded long ago. There were four exceptions to that though. Draco was one of them, the only lasting exception, another was Lily Potter's friendship, that had been cut short, made null and void when he caused her death, his relationship with Albus was ruined when he was asked to risk not only his life, but the last shred of goodness in his soul and ordered to kill him, which he had, lastly, was his ever-present attraction to Remus Lupin.
That too, wasn't anything great. He was attracted to the man, but he still hated him most of the time, hated his friends. He could allow himself to feel both attraction and hatred for the man. His attraction was never going to be reciprocated, so it didn't matter anyway. He didn't deserve to have his feelings shared, after all.
Remus Lupin was always a quiet one, even more so it seemed when his friends were teasing and hexing him during their years at Hogwarts. He could take care of himself though, and gave as good as he got most of the time. While it had been the job of a Prefect to stop such actions, Severus hadn't need the other boy to come to his aid.
When he'd learned that Remus was a werewolf, Severus had been terrified, and angry, and bitter that his own feelings hadn't been taken into account on that awful night. Sirius Black hadn't been properly punished, and he hated that it had been James who'd saved him. No one cared that the greasy Slytherin had been nearly killed, so long as he didn't say a word about it.
However, even that incident hadn't kept him from stealing glances at Remus during class or in the Great Hall. Half the time, the looks were filled with hate and anger at what he was and what he had nearly done, the other half were of longing. Had the incident at the Shrieking Shack not happened, and had Remus not been friends with Potter and Black, they could have been friends.
But Remus was friends with Black and Potter though, and the incident at the Shack were as real as the three claw scars left on his chest. By the time Remus had come back to Hogwarts to teach Defense Against the Dark Arts, he had grown into the cold, bitter man he was now. He realized very quickly that his attraction was ever present, his wanting for it to be something mutual, though was no longer an option he was willing to entertain.
Severus had been far more jaded then he ever was. He'd already had blood on his hands, the blood of Remus' friends. It was better for him to forget the wolf completely, but he had been so damned polite and pleasant. He put forth his best effort to keep the man at bay, which was quite easier than he had anticipated.
All of the talk and rumors of Sirius Black had made it much easier. It was easy to be cruel when he remembered how the two had been friends, how one of them led him to be killed by the other.
But then, he'd learned the truth about Black. He hadn't wanted to believe it, but he hadn't the choice. The headmaster had believed it, and so he had no choice but to take it as truth.
The anger he felt at being made a fool of once again by Black, and by Potter Jr., and Remus, by mere association, had made him spill the secret he had promised to keep as a boy. Remus was forced to resign from his position.
All that, and it hadn't even worked.
So still, he admired from afar. He allowed himself bits of that particular happiness whenever he felt brave and strong enough to endure the pain, guilt, and anger that often accompanied it. It was quite complicated, his attraction.
When he could steal a glance at the man at Order meetings, see the smile that reached to his eyes or hear a breathy laugh escape his lips, and feel brush of fingers when he brought the man the Wolfsbane potion - he enjoyed them completely, if only in secret.
That had worked well enough for him. He could allow himself that much at least.
Draco, and only bits of Remus - smiling, and laughing, and especially the bits of touching.
That was enough.
It was well into the afternoon that same day when Severus had heard a screeching at his kitchen window. He'd left his potion simmering in it's cauldron to allow the small, spotted owl into his cottage.
The owl had hopped obediently onto the back of a chair and held out its leg. Severus took the bit of parchment and offered the owl scraps of toast, which it ate before flying back out the window.
Severus was sure the letter wasn't from Draco, but nearly no one else knew where he now lived. He'd left Spinner's End after the continuous Howlers and poisoned letters demanding he send himself to Azkaban for the crimes he'd been exonerated of.
He carefully opened the letter, noting that it smelled not of acidic residue meant to poison him, but instead of the slightest hint of chocolate. A scent he always associated with Lupin. He unrolled the parchment with a little more speed, wondering only in the slightest, if his potions could have caused any sort of bad reaction to the young boy.
He sat again, at his kitchen table, and began to read.
It's just occurred to me that I wasn't able to thank you properly for your quick reaction and help yesterday afternoon. I neither apologized for bumping into you down in the village market, nor did I even finish telling you what happened. My manners are usually much better, I assure you.
Teddy and I would both like to thank you properly however. We'd like to cook you dinner sometime, if that would acceptable for you. For you and Healer Malfoy both, if he is available, of course.
We await your owl,
Remus & Teddy
Severus swallowed the small lump forming in his throat. Thank him? Remus seemed jumpy and cautious of being here. Why would he want to come back? Certainly he wouldn't tell anyone that he was here, would he? He wouldn't tell people how the once intimidating Potions Master now spent his days reading and tending to his garden, would he?
"No," Severus said aloud to himself.
Most people took Remus' quiet, polite nature as passive, but Severus knew better. Remus was always genuine, he wouldn't offer his thanks if he wasn't sincerely thankful.
Severus stood up and went to check on his potion. After setting the caldron aside to clean itself, Severus leaned against the worktable and pondered the offer.
He didn't need anyone coming to pity him, or to make him dinner. Truth be told, he was a rather fine cook himself, thanks to his skills as a Potions Master. He rarely used those cooking skills however, he usually only did so when he knew Draco would be coming over for dinner. Most of the time, it was just him in his little cottage. He ate out of necessity, what was the point in having a grand meal when there was no one else around with whom to share it?
More than once, in his final months, Albus had told Severus that when the war was over, after Harry had destroyed Voldemort, he would be free of all debts and could live his life free of all the burdens he was tied to. Albus promised him that everyone would know the best of him, that the world would no longer see him as a former Death Eater, but as the true man he had become.
That had not happened exactly.
Some people still saw him as a Death Eater, but the majority now saw him as a murderer. Which he was, Severus could not deny that. Albus had been wrong about his future. He hadn't cared very much then; he hadn't expected to make it out alive after all.
Severus shook his head with a confident determination; Albus was never wrong, perhaps he could have something more than the isolation he'd always known.
Grabbing a bit of parchment and a quill, Severus scribbled in a harsh handwriting his reply to Remus and his son.
That would be acceptable, at your convenience.
Severus sent his own owl off to deliver his response. He, of course, was unable to focus on his potions, no matter how elementary. All of the fear and doubts he'd ever had that Remus was no different from his friends crept into his mind, threatening to drive him mad if he didn't find someway to preoccupy his mind.
He gave in, pulling on his coat, he headed to the market in the grey, drizzly weather.
While I have pages of this already written, it's only in pieces. It may take me a while to sort through it all and make sense of it. Bear with me, please.
Also, I tend to not do much editing, so I will try my best to keep any small errors and typos to a minimum. As for big errors, please feel free to point them out.