Something broke in him that night. Something irreplaceable and lovely, and I can't help but think I did it, took that light away from him. It wasn't the first time I regretted my impulsiveness, and I doubt it will be the last. He won't talk to me about it, though, and I think it might take a very long time for our friendship to heal from this one. I should have listened to that voice in my head.

I know Remus has tried to talk to Snape on multiple occasions these last few months. About what, I don't know. He never explained to me why he let me touch him that night, but I have my suspicions. I think it may have been a trick, a potion or something, maybe a charm. I haven't felt that kind of desire since, at least not in Remus' presence. So maybe that's what he wants to talk to Snape about.

But I know he never manages to. He comes back to the dorms in these terrible, black depressions. He won't speak, and stays in his room for days on end, except to go to classes. He skips meals at these times, more often than not. I'm finding reason to be grateful to strange little Peter now; he's the only person Remus will talk to.

It wasn't worth it. Not even to get Snape out of our lives, it wasn't worth it. I love Remus, I know now, but not in the way I love James. He…he could be a friend I could talk to, about everything, all my secrets, and I've gone and fucked it all up. I'm not the type of person that can spend a lot of time wallowing in self-loathing, but regret…now regret I can do. Frequently, these days.

Maybe things will get better over the summer. Maybe we just need some time away from each other. I'll send a few owls, start things out slow and easy, try to build back up what I smashed so carelessly. Maybe I'll come visit him at school next year, on one of the Hogsmeade trips, and things will be different. That gaunt look will be gone from his face, he'll be healthy again, the light back in his eyes, that radiant, gentle smile back on his lips. I won't see the strands of silver that have begun to show, threading through his goldbrown hair.

And if he's there with Snape, I'll just swallow all those poisonous words that fester inside me, and I'll nod quietly and say, "If it makes you happy, Remus." If it makes him happy.

I'm sorry, Remus.

* * * * *

He never was quite the same after that night. I knew he wouldn't be, but I don't think anyone could predict the kind of metamorphosis he went through. There was the period of mourning, of course. He wouldn't talk to anyone, and spent all of his time in the library. I saw him there once, staring down at a book in front of him. His eyes darted back and forth as though he were reading, but he stayed on that same page for well over a quarter of an hour.

Gavin was beside himself with guilt. I'll give him credit, though, he never told Severus about what I had done. Too ashamed, maybe. I have to admit, even I felt the pangs of conscience from time to time. But Gavin doesn't know Severus like I do; he was afraid his friend was broken. I know better. Nothing can break Severus. Nothing.

And so he began to speak again, if only in icy tones, and allowed others in his presence once more. And so I tried to draw him into me once more, into my circle, into my control. That was when I discovered how deep the changes had rung.

"No, Lucius. Not again." He stared at me with glittering black eyes, reflecting my face back at me, giving nothing.

"No what, Severus? What are you talking about?"

"No one ever gets the keys to me again. Least of all you."

"I still don't understand-"

"No one."

It was all right there. What had been missing from our relationship, the odd imbalance of power. And if he would never give me the keys to him…well, it was on that day that I began giving him my heart, piece by piece. I could have never predicted the way he would go, this new side of him to emerge. Like seeing only the tip of an iceberg, marveling at the pretty blue white, unaware of the depths of the monstrous piece of ice, just waiting to break everything apart. But I'm glad. So glad for doing what I did, bringing him back to me this way, stronger, better, colder.

I saw the Lupin boy try to talk to him once, on the way from some class or other. He was in such agony, I wanted to laugh, but I said nothing, remained silent and unnoticed.

"Severus," he said, "Please, please talk to me. Listen to me for one moment!"

Severus simply walked past him, never looked at him, as though he weren't there. The Gryffindor ran after him, like some pathetic mongrel begging for scraps. "Please!" he yapped, "It was a spell, you have to believe me!" And my love stopped, turned and really looked at the other boy, his eyes narrowed.

"Don't make excuses," he answered, his voice lovely and dead and glacial. "Don't you dare make excuses."

And he walked away then, leaving Lupin sobbing in his wake. It was exquisite. I keep that memory locked away in a special place. I'll take it out again many years from now, and look at it, and it will make me smile in a way nothing else can.

Severus won't be back to Hogwarts next year. That will be the last exchange between them. He's accepted my invitation to finish out his schooling at Durmstrang. My father knows the headmaster, and they would be delighted to gain such a talented student. Perhaps he'll do post graduate work there, and then he'll come to me, come back, and take me in hand.

I can hardly wait.