Disclaimer: Not mine, JKR's.

Warnings: Mention of physical and mental abuse; mention of suicide

Author's Note: This is one of several planned sequels to 'Obsession'. I like to think Remus and Severus have a rich and poignant history together, and this is a part of it, though it's quite a bit more fluffy than "Obsession' is, despite the warnings. I made an attempt at addressing religion, but since JKR doesn't really talk about it in the wizarding world, I thought I would include the Muggle variety. This is also why people say "Jesus" and "God" in my HP fics a lot…while many other authors have skillfully handled wizarding curses, I feel just plain silly writing "By Merlin's beard!" and other, more canon exclamations. The stuff about St. David is fairly accurate, by the way, though it's not straight history, mostly just what people think of him in Wales.

* * * * *

Remus sat staring blankly down at his Potions essay, his hazel eyes tracking the same words over and over uncomprehendingly. His fingers tapped idly on his side of the desk, and his ankle bounced to some unheard music. Finally, he shook his head, mussing his half-grown-out mane of golden brown hair, and pushed the book away from him.

"It's no good, Sev, I just can't study tonight," he declared emphatically. "Let's fool around instead."

His dark haired companion looked up from his own parchment, raising one elegant brow in question. "What, so just because you can't work, I have to stop, too?" he asked archly. Remus blinked at him.

"Well…yeah. That's one of the perks of being involved with me…if I fail, you get to fail with me." Remus smiled sunnily, and moved to perch on the edge of the desk. Severus just frowned, his obsidian eyes darkening.

"Maybe we'll just have to break up, then," he said dryly, turning back to his Charms homework.

"But Severus! What would you do without me?" Remus wailed, scooting along the edge of the desk and placing a hand right in the middle of Severus' parchment. The older boy looked up in alarm.

"Remus! You're going to smear the ink!" He stood to remove the offending hand, and somehow ended up snared in Remus' arms…and legs, now wrapped neatly around his waist. "What are you-" He was abruptly cut off as the werewolf captured his lips, kissing him rather thoroughly. Both boys were panting when they came up for air.

"Remus," Severus said warningly…but his voice hardly backed up the threat. It was low, husky, and quite distracted.

"Yes, love?" Remus blinked those golden eyes up at him innocently, all the while rolling his hips to grind lasciviously against his lover.

"Oh, never mind. I suppose it is vacation…I can finish this tomorrow." Remus grinned again, an eager benediction.

"So we can fool around?" The younger boy didn't wait for an answer, diving in for another kiss, this time tangling his fingers in Severus' sable hair, luxuriating in the thick, silky feel of it. The darker boy's long, nimble fingers played up his back, plucking restlessly at his pullover, before stroking softly along the back of his neck. The younger boy shivered deliciously, pressing up harder against his lover. Finally, Severus pulled back, his thin lips stained red, as though he had been eating raspberries. Remus' lips were even lusher than usual, looking positively swollen. He ran a tongue lightly over them at the loss of the other's mouth.

"I have something for tonight," Severus announced, and Remus raised his eyebrows in interest.

"For tonight? Does that mean I'm staying the night?" He said it gently…neither had spent the whole night with the other yet, usually only being able to grab a few stolen moments after classes, since both had roommates and disapproving friends. But Severus habitually stayed at Hogwarts over the Christmas break, and Remus had elected to stay this year as well.

"Well," Severus cast those normally piercing dark eyes to the floor shyly, continuing in a softer voice, "If you'd like to. I mean…I'd like you to." He risked a look back up into Remus' face, and relaxed visibly at that smiling countenance.

"Of course I want to stay, Sev! It would be…" he drudged through his mind for some suitably impressive word. "It would be completely brilliant," he finished, failing in his quest, but apparently succeeding in pleasing his lover, to judge from the sly grin that had crept onto Severus' features.

"Mm, it will be, won't it," Severus purred, leaning in to lick lightly along Remus' jawline, then pulling back again. "But like I said, I have something."

"What is it?" Remus asked, exceedingly curious now.

"Well, you're going to have to let me go so I can get it," Severus chided gently, and Remus groaned, tightening his grip with legs and arms, like a reluctant monkey.

"Do I have to?" he whined, fluttering his gold-kissed eyelashes sadly.

"Yes, you have to." Severus' voice was stern, and Remus relinquished his hold with a deep, melodramatic sigh. He was quickly cheered up, however, at the sight of the darker boy getting down on hands and knees to rummage under his bed, giving a rather fine view of his slender hips and ass. It was rare sight indeed, as Severus almost always either wore robes or the baggy cotton trousers that were currently popular among younger wizards. In fact, he was wearing a black pair then, but they pulled taught against his flanks as he bent over, grumbling to himself. Finally, he emerged to a much bemused werewolf, holding a largish bottle with some clear liquid sloshing inside.

"Have you ever drunk much, Remus?" Severus asked, and Remus frowned.

"Sev, I'm Welsh. My da started me drinking when I was seven." He seemed deeply offended by the question, crossing his arms belligerently over his chest. Severus smiled fondly at him, soaking in his own view of those thick arms crossed so aggressively over that broad chest. He unconsciously licked his lips, and forced himself to continue.

"I don't mean lager. I meant stronger stuff." He sloshed the bottle to emphasize his point, and Remus eyed it warily. It was unlabeled, except for a bit of masking tape with the cryptic message "Batch 235D" written in Severus' angular hand. Grubby fingerprints marked the bottle.

"What exactly is that stuff?" Severus merely grinned in response, cocking his head to the side. "My da told me never to trust a drink I could see through," Remus added doubtfully, stretching the darker boy's smile even further.

"Your da was right," Severus intoned sinisterly, and set the bottle on the desk. "Still, want to get utterly pissed?"

"Why?" Remus asked, still cautious.

"Because it's fun," Severus sighed, rolling his eyes. "Because we're teenage boys, and that's what teenage boys are supposed to do when they're without supervision. That and have lots of sex," he added as a rather intriguing aside. "Still, I think we can manage both. Besides, I'm told I'm a particularly talkative drunk." He dangled the prospect out cynically, and was amused to see the light in Remus' eyes blaze forth.

"Alright, then." The younger boy frowned suddenly. "We're not going to drink it straight out of the bottle, are we?" he asked a bit distastefully, earning a snigger from Severus.

"Since when are you such a ponce?" he asked slyly.

"Oh, I don't know, since I started having sex with another boy, I suppose," Remus responded airily, watching as Severus ransacked his room for two fairly clean glasses, setting on the desk with a dull click.

"I suppose that's a good enough excuse," Severus considered critically as he poured about two fingers of the mystery liquid for both of them in each glass.

"Really, Sev, what is that stuff? You didn't make it yourself, did you?"

"Of course I did. It's…well, I guess it's most like vodka, I made it with potatoes. Rye or any sort of grain is too hard to get ahold of here." Severus looked rather pleased with himself, and Remus took a brief moment of pleasure in the expression; his lover was far too somber most of the time, in his opinion.

"Professor Chung didn't teach you that in Potions," Remus stated with calm certainty.

"Nope. My mother taught me how when I was a kid." The younger boy frowned at that; what kind of a mother taught her child how to brew liquor? Severus was fairly reticent about his family, usually only talking about a few of his cousins, sometimes off handedly mentioning his father. Remus knew the darker boy's father died when he was younger, and that he did not get along well with his mother, but that was about it. It was strange to him, as he had a large and varied family himself, almost all of whom he got on with fairly well, even if most of them didn't really understand him.

Remus picked up the glass thoughtfully, then sniffed, recoiling a bit at the strongly medicinal odor. "Ugh, this stuff smells!" Severus merely shrugged, then tossed back the liquor almost casually, his face only betraying the slightest of winces. Taking a deep breath, Remus attempted to do the same, and nearly gagged on the disgustingly strong taste that filled his mouth. Just barely he managed to swallow, which induced a violent coughing fit. Severus thumped him companionably on the back a few times, and finally the younger boy surfaced for air.

"God, Severus! That stuff is horrid!"

"You get used to it."

"Used to it? How often do you drink?"

"Oh, not that often. Used to do it a bit more when I was younger, but it loses its appeal after awhile."

Remus considered that last statement as he registered the burning sensation dripping vilely from his mouth down his throat to explode in his stomach. The nasty taste lingered in his mouth and he took a gulp from the water pitcher to wash it out. Actually, the heat was rather nice, without the taste. "If it lost its appeal, why are you doing it with me, then?"

Severus just smiled, a dark and knowing expression that never failed to elicit a wash of pure desire from his lover. Remus wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as the older boy answered in his low baritone, "Oh, I don't know…I suppose I thought it might be fun to see you lose a bit of control."

"I'm not the one who has control issues," Remus responded tartly.

"Mm, you think not?"

"Of course not. I'm perfectly open to my own…ah…instincts and desires and all that."

"Oh, sure. Okay, so maybe I'm doing it to pry all your secrets from you." Severus' grin was definitely wicked now, but Remus paled suddenly.

//Gods, he can't find out yet! I'm not ready for that, he's not ready for that! What if he hates me? What if he-// Remus' thoughts broke off abruptly at the look of concern on the older boy's face.

"Really, Remus, I won't take advantage. I was just teasing you," Severus insisted gently, moving forward to run his fingers soothingly down the smaller boy's arm. Remus forced himself to calm, and nodded.

"I know, Sev." He leaned forward, touching his forehead lightly to Severus'. "I trust you." Sitting back again, he frowned. "But I'm not feeling anything. Aren't I supposed to be feeling something?"

Severus picked up the bottle, pouring a much more generous allowance into both their glasses. "Better drink some more, then," he explained solemnly.

"Can we at least have something to wash out the taste?" Remus asked plaintively, and Severus barked one of his rare laughs.

"Yeah, give me a second, I'll go fetch us some pumpkin juice." The darker boy slipped out the door quickly, leaving Remus alone in the room, swinging his legs on the desk idly. He quickly bored of this activity, however, and hopped down, moving to flop onto Severus' bed. He rested his face against his lover's pillow for a moment, sniffing deeply. The saturation of Severus' sharp, woodsmoke scent was heavenly, and he languidly rubbed his cheek along the soft cloth of the pillowcase like a cat. His pale eyes fluttered closed, and he buried his fists in the duvet, laying out full length along the mattress. It was nowhere near as good as being pressed up to Severus, but being completely surrounded by his scent was approaching perfect. //I wonder if he'd let me borrow his pillowcase for a bit?//

Deciding, with some regret, that it might be a bit embarrassing to be found humping Severus' bed, he rolled off it, and landed with a small thump on the floor. He put his hand to the side to cushion some of his fall, and caught the edge of it on something. Picking up his hand and looking down, he realized it was some kind of book that had been shoved haphazardly to the side when Severus had been rooting around under the bed. Curious, Remus pulled it out. It was covered in oldish leather, and had a word inscribed in gilt script on the cover. "Album" it said simply, and the young werewolf was about to open it when Severus came back in.

"Got the pumpkin juice," he announced, his olive skin flushed, a little out of breath. //Must've run,// Remus observed, with some pleasure that his lover would be so eager to get back to him.

"Sev, what's this?" Remus asked, holding up the book. He blinked as Severus frowned, his face shutting with an almost audible snap, like the book he so clearly wished had not been discovered. The younger boy bit his lip in dismay, and tried to take it back. "Look, you don't have to tell me if you don't want, I'll just put it back…"

Severus sighed, setting down the pitcher of juice, ripe with condensation, and shook his head. "No, no you don't have to put it away. But I need to be quite a bit more drunk before we go through that."

Standing, Remus placed the book carefully on the bed. He approached his lover carefully, then wrapped thick arms around the other's taller, leaner frame, resting his forearms at Severus' lower back. "Really, you don't have to," he said softly, tilting his head back to study those black eyes that blew him away with their intense beauty every single time he looked into them.

"I know I don't have to." Severus' voice matched his low tone, but his mouth twisted into a very small, careful smile. "But I think maybe I should. I just need to be under the influence when I do," he explained. Remus nodded, standing on tiptoe to place a light, chaste kiss at his lover's elegant lips.

"I love you, Sev, you know that."

"I know." Remus sometimes felt frustration that his lover so rarely expressed his feeling verbally for the younger boy…but mostly he was patient. There were so many little ways that Severus displayed his devotion, like running back from the kitchens with the juice. Remus was never in any doubt that the darker boy returned his feelings with equal fervor.

"Alright, then, no more excuses, get to drinking," Remus directed as though he hadn't been the one balking earlier. He was gratified when the Slytherin responded to his lighter tone, and pulled back to pick up his glass.

"Ready when you are," he replied, challenge lighting his dark eyes, and Remus picked up his own glass, squinting at it dubiously.

"Well, cheers, I guess," he said, watching as Severus neatly tossed back the entire glass. Screwing up his face, determined to get this over with, he poured the liquor into his mouth, forcing himself not to swallow convulsively and choke. It was just as horrid as the last time, if not worse, because there was a lot more of it.

"Gad! You don't get used to it at all!" He snatched up the pitcher of pumpkin juice and drained half of it at a go. Severus watched with amusement dancing in his eyes.

"Drink all of that, you have to get the next pitcher," he warned as Remus flopped back into his chair.

"But I don't know how to get into the kitchens!"

"Neither do I. We're not allowed down there, remember? I just nicked down to the Great Hall and found a house elf."

Remus blinked slowly. "Oh. I suppose I could do that…why didn't you have them ferry up some more stuff, then?"

"Are you daft? Do you really want the house elves to see you in the Slytherin dorm with a bottle of homebrew liquor?"

"Hmm. Guess not. You think of everything, Sev." Remus smiled warmly at his lover, tilting his head to the side. Suddenly the room swam a bit, though it was hard to concentrate with great warmth that seemed to be blooming in him, starting in the pit of his stomach. "Ooh! I think I'm getting a bit tipsy!"

Severus laughed, this time a purring grumble of sound, and perched nimbly on the edge of the desk. "Probably that first glass kicking in."

Remus nodded, deferring the older boy's wisdom, once again surprised at the sensation. Experimenting, her shook his head quickly back and forth, and was nearly overwhelmed by a rolling wave of vertigo. "I'm not half dizzy," he declared to Severus sagely.

"It's going to get worse, probably," the darker boy warned, "You probably shouldn't walk around too much in a bit."

"Okay," Remus agreed placidly, grasping Severus' firmly by his thighs and scooting him along the desk, then off into his lap, the older boy straddling him with a startled expression. Happily, he rubbed his face along the other boy's shirt, sniffing and mouthing the cream-colored cotton idly.

"Well, aren't you affectionate when you're drunk?" Severus observed, and the younger boy tilted his head to grin up at him.

"One, I'm not drunk. Two, I love to do this to you all the time." Remus sighed blissfully, letting his fingers crawl up to undo the old-fashioned laces at Severus' throat, exposing an expanse of pale, beautiful skin. He rested his cheek against his lover's chest briefly, before kissing it softly, then leaning back into his chair. Severus had wound his arms around his neck, and was looking down at him with a gentle smile.

"We have all night, you know," the older boy reminded him, and Remus nodded.

"I know. I just…I can never get enough of touching you, Sev." Remus watched a slow pink flush dust Severus' cheeks. It was always a bit of a shock to him how the more experienced boy responded to the Gryffindor's honest thoughts. It was as though he had never been complimented before in his life, even though he and Lucius had been lovers for at almost four years.

"Are you feeling anything at all?" he asked curiously, and Severus shrugged.

"A bit. I will in a few minutes. Haven't eaten anything, so it should kick in pretty fast and hard."

Remus shook his head back and forth again, not particularly caring that he looked extremely foolish. The way his head spun was actually rather pleasant, plus he got to rub his nose against the soft cotton of Severus' shirt. "What are you doing?" the older boy asked bemusedly.

"I don't know," Remus replied truthfully. "Just feels nice. Give us a kiss, then, Sev." He tilted his head back expectantly, blinking hazel eyes in what he hoped was an alluring manner.

Smiling, Severus bent down to lightly brush his lips over Remus', but the younger boy latched on like a limpet, reaching up to place his hands on either side of his lover's face, holding him firmly. He dipped his tongue into the warm cavern of the darker boy's mouth, noting the taste of the liquor was equally distasteful in someone else's mouth, but it was, at least, diluted somewhat. He pushed deeper, rewarded by a low groan from the other boy and the feel of long fingers catching in his pullover, then sliding past the collar and onto his bare shoulders.

Remus sometimes felt like he could kiss Severus forever. It never had to go any further, he could live in a kind of suspended bliss with their mouths trading breath and moisture, drinking from each other with delirious abandon. Severus was an amazing kisser; he tended to take his time, his tongue lazily exchanging heat with Remus, drawing things out in a way that drove the younger boy crazy. The werewolf found that he was often much more demanding than his lover, wanting everything deep and intense and right now.

He arched his back as Severus lightly raked his nails across the bit of skin that he could reach under the pullover. Nipping lightly at the other's lower lip, he slowly pulled back, grinning and flushed. "Want me to take this off?" he offered, plucking at his shirt.

"Like I said, we've got time," Severus responded huskily, face flushed and dark eyes heavy with lust. "As much as I would love to have you prancing around here with no shirt, it's a bit cold for that."

"Mm, I suppose so."

"Well, how are you feeling?"

"Light headed. Really…warm? Is that normal?"

Severus nodded solemnly. "Yeah, pretty much. Makes me feel a bit warm, anyway."

"My stomach feels a bit off, though. Not sick, just a little…delicate?"

"That's normal, too."

"What about you, Sev?"

"Oh, it's kicking in. You aren't going to be able to shut me up in a bit."

Remus grinned at that. "Really? I thought you were just joking about being a talkative drunk."

"Nope." Severus glanced over at the desk, and the bottle on the other side.

"Don't get up," Remus pleaded softly, and Severus smiled, instead leaning over backwards, stretching his long arms out to snag the bottle, nearly upsetting it in the process.

"Apparently I can get downright embarrassing at times," Severus continued, considering the bottle, then knocking back a few more swallows. "I don't control my tongue very well."

"I think you control it just fine," Remus leered appreciatively before grabbing the bottle from the Slytherin, and downing a few more swallows himself, grimacing painfully.

"You know, if this were wine, we could drink it from each other's mouths, or something equally stupid," Severus informed him.

"Stupid? I think that sounds romantic." Remus leans back in his chair, resting his hands on the other's slender hips, rubbing his thumbs in slow circles.

"You would. Romance is for people who are fooling themselves into thinking their fucking means something. Or for people who aren't fucking yet." Remus blinked, eyes wide and wounded.

"Do you really think that?"

Severus sighed. "Oh, I don't know. Sometimes I do. But then sometimes I want to make all sorts of grand and stupid gestures for you, so I guess that puts me in the same ship of fools as the rest, huh?"

"Grand and stupid gestures?" Remus looked intrigued at the prospect.

"Yeah. Like…well, I was thinking just the other day it might be nice to spell out 'Severus loves Remus' with stars on the enchanted ceiling in the Great Hall."

The younger boy considered this gravely. "Yep, that's a bit grand and stupid. Sweet, though. Who would have thought Severus Snape was sweet?"

"I must be getting drunk, to tell you that. Don't you dare tell anybody," Severus warned him, shaking a finger in his face. Remus caught the other's wrist deftly, and placed a kiss on his palm before releasing him.

"Who'm I going to tell, Sev?" Sirius had only just started talking to him again, and by mutual agreement neither of them brought up Severus. James seemed to be in on their little pact of silence, though he treated Remus no differently than before he had become involved with the Slytherin. Peter asked about it, sometimes, but he was hardly the best person to confide in. He had a heart of gold, Remus considered, but not a lot of experience in the relationship department. He wondered about Severus' own friends.

"Has…has anything happened to you since that night? I mean, after…"

"After they broke three of my ribs, my nose, and my collarbone?" The night after Severus had so publicly left Lucius Malfoy behind, bleeding, to go running off with Remus Lupin, of all people, revenge had been extracted. Violent, bloody, bone-cracking revenge. Then nothing. Silence. No teachers had been involved, Severus had said he'd fallen down the stairs. No professor had ever been told about Lucius' shameful beating, either.

"No, nothing. I don't trust it. It's not like Lucius just to let something like that go."

"Well, maybe he thought he did enough damage?" Remus asked hopefully.

"No, he would've…it would've been worse. He should have kept…it should've been a lot more painful." Severus' face was dark now with suspicion, and Remus sat up, wrapping his arms firmly around his lover's waist and burying his face in his narrow chest.

"Don't worry about it now. Who knows why they've left you alone…let's just enjoy it?" Remus sighed as Severus kissed the top of his head, then gently unwound his arms.

"I'm just going to the loo," Severus explained to Remus' sad face. "Be back in a moment."

Remus nodded, watching him go, before drawing his eyes back to that enticing book. What was in it? He stood and wandered over to the bed again, brushing his fingers over the cover. He was still staring down at it when Severus came back. He looked up to notice that his lover, normally so graceful and…well, upright…was weaving a bit.

"Should we go through it, then?" Severus asked, his face stiff, unreadable. But then the façade melted into something a little sad, like rain washing down a windowpane.

"I suppose." Remus was reluctant…he didn't want to waste this evening with unpleasant tasks, but then he was terribly curious. Severus reassured him with a light touch to the shoulder, moving behind him to settle on the bed, his back up against the headboard, legs spread. He patted the mattress in front of him with a small smile, and Remus eagerly clambered up to settle between his legs, his broad back set against Severus' chest.

"It's alright," the darker boy murmured, "I want to." Long arms wrapped around Remus from behind, settling over his collarbone like a heavy necklace of flesh and blood. He leaned back with a contented little sigh; as much as he liked to fancy himself Severus' protector, there was something so infinitely wonderful about having the taller boy wrapped around him like this, back to chest, legs weighing heavily along the outside of his hips and thighs. He leaned forward a little reluctantly to fetch the book, pulling it onto his lap.

With Severus' fingers lightly stroking along the side of his neck, playing idly with his hair, he opened the book, and let out a small gasp of surprise. "Oh, it's a photo album!" Indeed, the first picture, large and prominent, was a formal family portrait.

A tall man stood at the back of the composition. His face was stern, and he scowled out at Remus, heavy eyebrows shading his deep set grey-green eyes. His auburn hair was worn long and tied back severely, and his black robes were strictly cut. He moved hardly at all, only occasionally glancing down at the others in the portrait. "That's my father," Severus murmured into his ear, "And the woman is my mother."

Severus' mother was a study in opposites. Instead of standing, she almost sprawled, casually, in a high backed antique chair. Thick curls of sable cascaded around her face, and a pair of black eyes like languid pools regarded Remus with amusement. Her skin was a deep olive, golden and quite lovely, complimented by her deep red robes. It was clear where Severus got his coloring. The woman tilted her head to the side coquettishly, then looked up to regard her scowling husband with a laugh. Her hand rested lingeringly on the back of a small boy, who could only be Severus at a much younger age.

"I was six when this when this was taken," Severus said softly, as though reading his lover's mind. The boy in the picture was small for his age, and he fidgeted nervously, especially whenever his mother touched him. As Remus watched, his father placed a firm hand on his son's shoulder, squeezing tightly, and the sharp-faced boy winced. His mother brushed her fingers through his hair affectionately, and the boy glanced at the ground, then up at his mother. His black hair hung in his eyes, not yet chin length as it was now.

Remus was struck by how uncomfortable the whole picture was. Both father and son clearly did not want to be there, and the mother held an edge of enforced gaiety that was disquieting. Severus sighed, leaning his forehead against Remus' shoulder before continuing. "My mother was…is…a drunk. She's Italian, my father met her when he was on holiday. I have no idea if they actually loved each other in the beginning, but they certainly didn't by the time I came along." He barked a laugh. "My mother liked to call me her little buzzkill."

The bitterness in his voice was old, not fresh, but still, Remus lifted his hand to rest it lightly over his lover's. "He committed suicide when I was ten."

"Oh, Sev-" Remus began, moving to twist in the darker boy's arms, but Severus held him in place.

"No, don't. I want to tell you. I think…I think she drove him to do it. He was a real control freak, you know? Hated things to be done in any way other than his own. He used to lock me in a closet when I was little and I wet the bed. When I got big enough, he'd just beat me. I preferred the beatings. He beat her all the time, too, but it never shut her up. She could talk, and talk, and talk, my mother…still can. And the things that come out of her mouth…no one ever could control her. I think it drove my dad crazy. He knew I toed his line, but she never did…and I was going to be going to Hogwarts the next year…"

Severus stopped, took a deep breath. "So he cursed himself in the bathtub. Used Avada Kedarva, probably because it was neater that way. Less mess. I found him." He voice was soft now, barely a whisper. "I was glad. I never thought what she would be like with dad gone."

"Jesus, Severus, no wonder you stay here over the holidays." Remus wished there were some way he could comfort the older boy, but he was helpless in the face of this bitterness. In so many ways his lover was completely different from him.

"Yeah, well, it's gotten a lot easier since you're here," Severus mumbled into his neck, and Remus turned his head to try to look into those dark eyes, so like his mother's.

"Really?"

"Really. Go on, you can turn the page now, they're not all that bad," the Slytherin directed shakily.

"Okay…" Remus turned the page, to be greeted with a big spread of pictures of the same two boys. One was obviously Severus, still young and slight. His companion was an equally dark boy with a head of wild black curls and an infectious grin, maybe a year or so older. The two boys ran in and out of the frames of the pictures, chasing each other around the pages, both laughing soundlessly. The backgrounds ranged from exotic to mundane…a shady forest glade next to a pile of old junk, in front of Big Ben, a tire swing, in a sun dappled plaza graced with ancient columns.

"That's my cousin, Benito. Little Ben, my uncle called him." Severus and Benito stopped, panting, in the picture of a beautiful stone bridge. They smiled sunnily up at the viewers, and Remus smiled back. Young Severus looked so happy, so completely free of troubles, and Benito held his hand loosely, squinting his eyes in the brilliant sunlight of the photo. The werewolf found himself immediately liking Severus' cousin.

"You keep in touch?"

"No, not much. The summer before I first came to Hogwarts, Ben came to visit me. We'd often spend a few weeks of the summer at the other's house. Those were some of the best times of my life. Anyway, that last summer, Ben's dad, my uncle Pasquale showed up early, and had a screaming fight with my mother. I don't know what it was about, but he took Ben home. Ben wouldn't tell me what it was about either, and he never came for another summer visit. We haven't written each other in ages."

Remus sadly flipped through a few more pages, more of Ben and Severus at older ages. They played, blissfully unaware of the turn their older selves would take. Sometimes other children were present in the pictures: several almost identical, sweet-faced little girls with dark pigtails and pretty, bright robes; two older boys, also dark, in their early teens, smoking in the corner of a photo and looking nervous; a young blonde girl with a severe face reminiscent of Severus' father, but a gap-toothed smile; another teenager, this one a older red-headed girl with a squalling baby in her arms and a long-suffering expression. Severus named them as various cousins: Beatrix, Belinda, and Bianca; Lepidus and Domitian; Katherine, called Katie; and Bridget, with baby Neil.

Remus studied them all thoughtfully. He wondered if he would ever meet any of these people, and wondered also at the lack of adult presence in the pictures. Severus had seemed to live in a world of young people as a child, or perhaps he simply did not keep pictures of his aunts or uncles, or grandparents. He wanted to ask about it, but decided against it, turning the page once more.

Here was a picture of the Slytherin House Quidditch team…but Remus recognized none of the players. He was not actually an avid follower of the game, despite the fact that James was on the house team, but still, he thought he would at least recognize the Slytherin team captain or their Seeker. More startling still, towering over much of the rest of the team, here was Severus, in the green and grey robes of his house. He seemed to be snorting at the other players, who were poking and jostling into each other in a friendly, if rough manner. As he watched, one of the shorter boys fell back into the taller Severus, who caught him with a roll of the eyes, but an indulgent smile. The other boy said something, causing one of the girls, a rather tall one, to elbow him sharply in the ribs. Remus recognized one other player…the tall, shy looking boy that was a friend of Severus', Gavin Crabbe.

"Sev? I didn't know you played…" Remus trailed off, making it a question.

"I don't, anymore. I used to be one of the second string players, though. Never got to play in any of the House matches." Severus' voice was warm at his ear, and it was clear he remembered those times with some fondness.

"Why'd you quit?" Remus leaned back more solidly into his lover, tipping his head back curiously.

"Didn't have time for it. I started taking extra-curricular classes for my NEWTs. I just couldn't fit both in, and since we never got to play in the House matches…"

"What position were you?"

"Beater."

"You were a beater? But Sev, you're all-"

"Tall and skinny?"

"Well, yeah. Beaters are usually built like…well, like me."

He could feel his lover shrug behind him. "Maybe that's why I was only second string. I was pretty decent, though, and I'm stronger than I look." Remus silently agreed; Severus was lanky, but he was also wiry. The younger boy had often wondered why someone who seemed to spend most of his time indoors, with books, had such defined arms, but he supposed if Sev had spent the last few years swinging a stick at bludgers, it would explain a lot.

"So that's where you got your gorgeous body," Remus teased, and Severus nipped lightly at his ear.

"Quiet, you. I'll have you know this is all natural."

"Well, wherever you got it, I'm not complaining," Remus said with some contentment, as he turned the page. Here were more photos of the team, young people in Slytherin colors playfully shoving each other, pouring water over the unfortunate keeper, laughing over some unheard joke. A quick snapshot showed the group in Hogsmeade, sitting around one of the larger tables, drinking butterbeer and in various stages of sobriety. The only boy Remus knew by name, Gavin, was half under the table giggling to himself, while the younger Severus tugged on his robes, trying to pull him back up. He was smiling, too, however, and one of the chasers leaned over to whisper something in his ear that sent him sliding under the table as well, covering his mouth frantically.

"Wow, Sev, I never knew you actually had fun before you met me." Remus tilted his head to the side to peer at his lover.

"I'll have you know these are all faked. I've never had a moment of fun in my life, even with you," Severus corrected him somberly, as he mouthed the nape of Remus' neck. The younger boy laughed, bending his head forward to allow better access as he turned the page once more. A sigh was released as he saw the next subject.

Lucius Malfoy. Malfoy lying naked on a partially made bed, staring up at the viewer with a sly smile, blinking lazily, then rolling over to expose one long line of thigh. Malfoy, sitting in a high backed chair and staring out a window, somewhere in the library, twirling a silken strand of silver-blond around one finger idly. Malfoy, laughing at something, leaning forward over his knees with hilarity, his school robes hitching up over his shoulders, and looking totally unlike the evil bastard he really was. Looking more like a perfectly ordinary teenager enjoying a perfectly ordinary joke. And Malfoy, lounging against a stone wall lushly draped with a rich tapestry, at his side an adoring Severus leaning his head on the paler boy's shoulder. They both looked to be about thirteen or fourteen in the picture, though Severus was the taller of the two.

Remus wanted to shut the book with an angry snap. He wanted to take out the picture and rip that grinning, arrogant face into little bits. Instead he just closed his eyes, shutting out the photos, focusing only on the feel of long arms wrapped around him, warm breath on the back of his neck. //He's here now, with me.// But another part of him screamed, //Kill the bastard! When he gets back from Christmas holiday, snap his neck! Not much competition then, is he?//

"Why were you with him?" The Gryffindor asked the question carefully, hoping to calm the rage of possessiveness that was threatening to overwhelm him.

"In the beginning, or at the end?" Severus' voice was distant, far away.

"Both, I guess."

"Well, in the beginning it was because he was one of the few people that actually noticed me for being something other than too big and clumsy. Right away, on the first day of school, after the Sorting, he moved over and told me, 'You'll sit here.' So I did. It was so easy, being with Lucius…you don't understand what it's like to be a Slytherin. No matter what you're like, no matter what you do, no one trusts you. Everyone hisses when we win a Quidditch match, or the House Cup, or anything. Is it any wonder so many of us turn bad? I wished more than anything, when I came here, that I would be Sorted in Ravenclaw. But my father was a Slytherin, and so am I. No escaping it, really."

Remus listened, and tried to actually think about what his lover was saying. The initial surge of anger had subsided somewhat, but the alcohol wasn't doing him any favors in the cognition department. "What has that got to do with Malfoy?" he asked, somewhat puzzled. He was rewarded with a sigh from Severus.

"Nothing, I suppose. And everything. I told you I talk a lot when I'm drunk."

"Tell me about him, then."

"I don't know what to tell you. I think he loved me…I think. I don't know. I mean, there was that thing with Black, he was obsessed with Black, probably still is, but it was me who was always there. That's got to count for something, right?" The darker boy's voice seemed almost plaintive, childlike in his need for reassurance, approval, and Remus found himself reaching up to squeeze his lover's hands gently.

"Anyway, he was always pretty sure of himself. And I needed that desperately. Lucius always seemed to know exactly what to do, and when to do it, and that was a great relief to someone like me, who never knew what to do. And a circle of friends came with him, and everything just fit together so perfectly. I suppose it didn't hurt that he was amazingly beautiful, even as a child."

Remus forced himself to look down at the pictures again, considering the pale boy now staring lazily out of the frame of the photo. He was extremely attractive, tall and lean, with a lush face, almost feminine, though not delicate, really. And he was graceful, too, moving with a self confidence that added something indefinable to him, made him seem more than mortal. There was a sort of lovely juxtaposition between the pale Malfoy and the darker, golden tones of a young Severus, and if Remus were to look at it objectively, he could see the sense the pairing made.

But he wasn't objective, and Severus was his, goddamnit, his alone. "What happened?"

"Oh, he always liked to hurt me. It wasn't much, just a little slapping, really. But then he got interested in the knife…it was nice at first. Kind of dangerous fun. I suppose I deserved it. He wanted it all the time, you know, and I was only too happy to give it to him, the blood and the…other. I was a bit sick, really. I suppose I still am. I don't know…" He trailed off slowly. "I'm rambling, aren't I?"

"A little. It's okay."

"Oh, Remus, I don't know why I was with him later. He hurt to be around, you know? I guess I thought I deserved it, or something? My mother would laugh…I spent so much time trying to get away from her, and I end up with someone just as bad, if not worse. It's amusing, really." His voice wasn't amused, though, it was puzzled and wounded. "He just takes you over, you know? Like…I couldn't say no to him. No matter what he did, or told me to do. I couldn't say no."

Impulsively, Remus twisted in his lover's arms, winding his arms around the other boy's neck and holding him close. "I will never, ever let him touch you again," he whispered soothingly, petting back the long strands of sable hair and looking into dark eyes glittering with unshed tears. "Never," he promised again, kissing Severus lightly. The older boy let out a long exhale of breath, and nodded slowly.

"I know, Remus." He snaked long fingers up to grip the younger boy by the wrists, as though reassuring himself of his presence. "I know."

"Hey," Remus said softly, "I have something for you."

"Hmm?" Severus raised his eyebrows, still looking somber, but a little more in the present, at least.

"Hold on a moment," Remus directed, hopping off the bed and sweeping the photo album closed in the process. Maybe some other time he would finish looking at all the pictures, but for now he was done with that. He was nearly overwhelmed with the kind of life his lover had known…it was almost too much for his sixteen-year-old sense of outrage to deal with. No one should have to live like that! Even though he himself had gone through a great deal of pain due to his lycanthropy, he at least had a loving family that tried to understand, and some very good friends who did their best to lessen his discomfort and distress

He slipped the book back under the bed, and trotted over to his robes hung haphazardly over the back of a chair. He dug in the pocket for a moment, then found what he was looking for. He walked slowly back over to the bed, sitting on the edge and smiling up into Severus' face. He held up his hand, letting the small medallion he was holding unroll from its length of red ribbon.

"What is that?" Severus asked curiously, leaning in to study it more carefully. The thin ribbon held a rectangular sort of amulet, emblazoned with the picture of an older man with longish grey hair, wearing the grey robes of a monk. The picture was very small, and set in a tarnished silver setting. The ribbon was threaded through a small loop in the top.

"It's a saint's medallion. Catholics wear them, I guess. This one belonged to my grandmother…the rest of the family that are religious are Church of Wales. Anyway, my nana gave this to my mum, and she gave it to me. And I'm giving it to you."

"Who is this?" Severus touched the tip of one nimble figure to the faded portrait of the saint.

"That's St. David, patron saint of Wales. I thought it would be good for you to have it…we call him Dewi Sant. He was supposed to have been tall, and strong, like you. We also call him Dewi Ddyfrwr, David the Water Drinker, because it was said he drank nothing but water, and for penance he would stand up to his neck in a cold lake, reciting Scripture." Remus watched Severus' face shyly, wondering if he would see the connection between himself and the sixth century monk. But the darker boy's face betrayed nothing.

"Why are you giving this to me?"

"Why, as in why give you anything? Or why give you this?"

"Both, I guess."

Remus considered the question. It seemed odd to him that Severus couldn't guess, but then the older boy often seemed so unsure when it came to their relationship. "Well, I wanted to give you this, because it means a lot to me. It's something from my family, and from me, too. I've had it since I was a little boy. And I wanted to give you something at all, because…well, I just wanted you to have something solid, tangible."

"We've been together over a month now, and…" Remus rolled his lower lip under his teeth, then took a deep breath. "And I love you more than anything, Sev. I can't see myself with anyone else, ever. And before you say anything, I know it's awfully fast and soon to feel like this, but I can't help it! I think about you all the time when you're not around, and I find myself trying to remember things that happen to me during the day so I can tell you when I next see you, and…and I imagine what things will be like ten years from now and I still see myself with you."

The younger boy glanced down at his feet, his last words said in a rush, terribly afraid Severus would interrupt, or laugh, or…something. Instead, he felt the firm pressure of fingertips at his chin, pulling his head up. Severus was smiling at him, and the smile was so pure and genuine and beautiful and everything that Remus felt like his heart was going to explode right then and there and he would go to the afterlife a blissfully happy man.

"Thank you," Severus said in that gorgeous baritone of his, carefully taking the medallion from Remus' hand and folding it into his own.

"You're welcome," Remus answered breathily, and nothing in the world at that moment could have torn his eyes from Severus' face.

"Come here," the darker boy invited, scooting over to the other side of the bed and stretching out on his side. Remus gladly complied, lying out next to his lover, their knees and thighs touching, torsos close, just staring at each other. Severus reached out dreamily, running his finger's lightly along the younger boy's side. The werewolf shuttered his eyes half closed, almost purring.

When Severus closed that small distance to kiss Remus, he knew that it could go on forever and ever and ever. And it did…or it seemed like it did at least. At first the kisses were small, closed mouths, just brushing silken skin against each other over and over. Little by little the tongues came out to play, dancing the tips across each other, licking the other's lips, like the flutter of moth wings along the other's mouth. Slowly, ever so slowly, they began to delve further into the mouths, and as they did so both boys moved to press against each other, joined from shoulder to hip to ankle, limbs sprawled carelessly over and around each other.

And still they kept kissing, only kissing and stroking softly at backs and arms, and nothing more. But Remus knew he would have to touch more soon, nothing more than that, but to have the press of desire warmed skin against his. He began working Severus' shirt up his chest, fingertips pushing at it fitfully as he was distracted by a sudden plunge of long fingers into his hair, but still carefully working it up and up. And Severus was mirroring him, pushing his thick pullover to bunch under his arms. With a strange, awkward fluidity, both boys pulled off their shirts and deposited them of their respective sides of the bed, returning to their previous slow pace of caresses with lips and tongues and fingers.

It felt to Remus as though he was moving under water, under a mild sea inhabited only by the two of them. He breathed nothing but that which had been in his lover's mouth, felt nothing but his lover's skin warming his own. Their kisses had begun to trail down to throats and jaws and shoulders now, all at that same languorous pace, and teeth were added into the mix, small nibbles and tastes, and the salty rich flavor of Severus' skin added gentle spice to the proceedings.

Somewhere, far in the back of his mind, Remus was surprised at himself. He and Severus hadn't actually hadn't done much more than quick gropes and fumblings in the few minutes they could steal alone since that first time they had been together, along with a few highly frustrating make out sessions. Usually, any sort of bodily contact with the other boy drove him wild, desperate to throw him down and fuck him senseless. But there was none of that urgency here, only a vast sea of intoxicating pleasure, all gleaned from the simple press of adolescent bodies. Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was something else. Remus found himself utterly unable to care.

As he slowly licked along the line of Severus' collarbone, he felt the other boy pushing lightly along the waistband of his jeans. He just barely managed to remove his hands from their languid dance along his lover's spine, and slowly undid the button and the zipper, pushing them over his hips along with his boxer shorts. Again, the darker boy mimicked him, ridding himself of the unnecessary clothing, leaving only two heated expanses of scarred flesh.

There was no hurry to press erections together, to rut against one another, cry out in ecstasy. Instead the leisurely exchange continued, legs tangling in a delightful web, completely silent except for weighted breaths invading the still air. But almost carefully Remus found himself moaning, just a little noise, a little expression of the desire and bliss he was feeling. As though a signal to his lover, Severus let out a long, low groan, almost a rumble, in response, and the two rolled their hips together, finally engaging their cocks in a long, sweaty embrace.

Remus felt his eyes roll dreamily back, felt pleasure swim drowsily down his nerves, spreading out a warm wash from his stomach to the tips of his fingers and toes. He moaned again, a whisper to his lover, and Severus responded with another roll of his lean hips, grinding them lazily together once more. They stayed this way, pushing and pulling and rubbing and rolling over and across and against each other, for again what seemed like forever. There was no real urgency about it, no need to finish it, just wave upon wave of pleasure.

He was never sure when Severus slipped a moistened hand between them, slicking it over his already sweat washed cock. It felt marvelous, really, but so did everything else. He was sure when the other boy rolled over, however, pressing that corded back into his chest, lifting one leg to drape over his own thick thighs. It seemed purely natural to adjust himself slightly, and slowly slip into that uniquely tight heat with a groan, eliciting a sigh from his dark love. And it seemed equally natural to stay that way, buried deep inside, whispering into Severus' neck, murmuring gibberish and endearments in the sweet, sticky-dark language of lovers.

And when they both began to move, it was synchronized, a gradual meeting and pulling away of hips and buttocks, flesh sliding across flesh to a tune only they could hear, in rhythm to Remus' mutterings and Severus' sighing moans. The younger boy engulfed his lover's cock with his hand as they moved, another limb joining the dance. They fucked like angels that had fallen from heaven, they fucked like gods that had no believers, and most of all they fucked like two boys who were desperately in love and terribly drunk and wonderfully, beautifully alive with each other in way they were with no one else.

And when they came it was both perfect and heart-breaking. Perhaps because of their slow coupling, there were no screams, no showy explosion of lights behind lavender-veined eyelids, only a sudden tightening of muscles, Remus curling around Severus in a protective ball, imprinting an exacting crescent of teeth marks in his lover's shoulder. Severus threw his head back, letting out his breath like the indigo rustle of a brook at midnight, his sooty eyelashes fluttering frantically.

They lay there that way for a long time, breathing into each other, ribs and spines rising and falling. The urge to talk had faded from both of them, swept away by the wash of sex and orgasm and depth of emotion. Severus stared blindly into the darkness of the far wall, and Remus took in long, deep breaths through his nose, reveling in their scents mingled so intimately.

But heaven can be experienced only finitely by the living, and Remus suddenly shivered as the cold of the dorm finally seeped into him, tickling across his back laid bare to the room. "Um, Sev?"

Chuckling, the older boy carefully levered his body away from his lover's, sliding wetly away and leaving a disappointed Remus frowning sadly at his lover. "I didn't mean you had to-"

Smiling, Severus interrupted him. "Here," he said, handing over a towel that had been laying next to the bed. "Clean up a bit. I will, too, and we'll get under the covers."

"Oh!" Quickly the younger boy swabbed the remaining body fluids from himself, though not too carefully. He liked having Severus' smell on him too much. Then he handed the towel back and watched as the older boy primly cleaned himself up. The sight struck him as terribly funny, and he laughed, earning an arched eyebrow from Severus.

"I'm not even going to ask," the darker boy declared, turning down the thick duvet and climbing underneath. Remus followed gladly, snuggling into Severus' longer body and resting his head in the hollow of the other boy's shoulder.

"How many more days left until everyone comes back from the holiday?" Remus asked a bit sleepily, letting his eyes drift closed.

"Hmm, about eight or nine I think," Severus answered, sounding equally drowsy.

"Oh, good," Remus answered happily, wondering if they could fit sex in maybe three or four times a day until then.

-END