Summer (summerborn) wrote,

Early Thaw, Parts 1 and 2

Late afternoon
Who: Remus Lupin and Severus Snape
When: April 20, 1999
What: Lupin seeking out Snape to question why he wasn't at the last Order meeting.
Where: Spinner's End.
Rating: PG for now

Remus Lupin had been on his way home from work that afternoon, planning to Floo back to him home in Abingdon, when he decided to take a slight detour. The slight detour to the slight problem that was Severus Snape. They had not seen much of each other since the end of the final battle between Harry and Voldemort. While Remus was sure that the man was perfectly content to keep it that way, it still gnawed at him some how. Severus was not merely avoiding the werewolf, but also seemed to want to disassociate himself with the Order all together. Well, it at least seemed that way when he purposefully avoided attending meetings. Remus knew better than to buy into any excuse that might be offered, he still saw the man once a month. Why did he miss yet another meeting?

The late afternoon sunshine felt warm on his face as Remus made his way down the street to an appropriately discreet spot to Apparate from. He wondered at the reasons Severus might be harboring. The Potions Master always seemed too proud to care what anyone else might think of him, so it couldn't be that. The question popped into his mind at unorthodox times of day, even while Remus was at work. Time to put and end to it and encourage Severus to start showing up again. After all, he had proven rather vital to the group.

Remus felt the sun disappear from him as he hurried into an alley. With a thought and quick shutting of his eyes, Remus disapparated and then reappeared about twenty feet from Snape's front door. With a quick exhalation of a deep breath, he hurried up the old cobbles, Remus reached the door and rapped his knuckles against the dark wood.

Severus opened the door with a scowl. "Well?" he said. When Remus started to answer, Snape stopped him. "You may as well come inside. Don't touch anything," he added over his shoulder, and led the way through the small house to the workroom in the back. He motioned Remus to a stool and turned his attention back to a pair of cauldrons. "Well?" he said again.

Remus was just seating himself when the second "Well?" was spouted. He arched a brow, glancing up at the dark haired man as he moved back to a pair of bubbling cauldrons. He drummed his fingers on the wooden worktop as he waited for Severus to turn around and look at him. When the man didn't, Remus pressed on anyway. It struck him that Severus looked quite different when he wasn't in his billowing robes. He looked...slimmer some how.

He nodded his head to emphasize the word as he said it in return. "Well--" Remus smiled a bit. "Well, I was wondering why you haven't been showing up for Order meetings."


Severus ran the other man's words through his mind a second time, looking for any hint of accusation. He couldn't find any. "Hmph," he said. "Let's not exaggerate, Lupin. There has been precisely one meeting that I missed, because the Valentine's party does not count." He fixed Remus with an icy glare, daring him to disagree.

"Besides," Severus went on, "my presence is hardly required at Grimmauld Place these days. Everyone knows where to find me if they need a potion. I'm giving the Order everything at cost, you know." He didn't mention the wolfsbane, which both of them knew Severus brewed at no charge.

"And you could have asked me this in an owl. So why are you really here?" Feigning indifference to the answer, he spelled the flame away from underneath the cauldrons and turned to a nearby cabinet to get out the bottles.


"I'll have you know that the Valentine's party was actually good fun." Remus chuckled to himself. The holiday gathering was not really anything exciting, and it had actually been a bit of nuisance with Tonks trying to hint at things long passed. Molly chided him for leaving early.

Remus turned his attention back to the man glowering from his cabinets. Something caught his mind from before. "Wait, you charge the Order for potions? Surely not. You've never made me pay a cent for the wolfsbane. I mean, not that I'm complaining. Wait..." He patted down his pockets thoughtfully. "Maybe I should be paying for it. Doesn't seem fair, really."


Severus treated Remus to a first class eye roll. "Don't be ridiculous," he said. "I charge the Order in the sense that when I make potions for them, Miss Granger sees to it that my supply cabinets are restocked."

Remus seemed to accept that, so Severus continued before he could ask about the wolfsbane again. "Anyway, if it means so much to you, I'll be sure to show up at the next meeting." He began measuring a thick blue liquid from one of the cauldrons into a series of bottles. "As long as I'm not in China on business." He shot a questioning glance in Remus' direction.

"Actually, Lupin, there is one other thing." Severus hesitated, choosing his words carefully. "It's about Draco Malfoy. He's been living in hiding for close to two years now, with no one but the adult members of the Order and a very few of his schoolmates who know about it. I'm... I think the isolation might be too much for him." Severus frowned, remembering the last time Draco had come to him for the anti-depressant potion. "But how do we go about telling the world we faked his death?"

Severus shook his head and stoppered the last of the bottles. "I shudder to imagine his father's reaction when he hears the news. Assuming they get the news, in Azkaban." He turned to see Remus' reaction to this idea.


Remus opened his mouth to speak on at least two points, though it was promptly shut as Severus continued on speaking. He kept quiet almost in the utter awe of watching Severus Snape, a typically quiet man, say so much in such a short period of time. It was just a bit remarkable. He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned forward, resting elbows on the dark wooden countertop. It almost seemed as if Severus was asking him for advice. That didn't happen often, for sure.

He watched Severus work for a few moments while he contemplated his answer. "I'm not sure, Severus. To be honest, I'm just surprised that you're asking me. I agree that it would be good for him if he was released from solitude. It nearly drove Sirius mad, and he was almost twice Draco's age. No, no, it just isn't healthy."

Remus thought it over, fingers absent-mindedly tapping on the counter. He frowned in concentration. "I think it should be brought up at the next Order meeting. Minerva will want to be involved." He glanced over at the taller man. "You should run it by the others before you bring him out into public."


"All right," Severus said. "In that case, I'll make sure I'm, ah, back from any business trip." He peered into the second cauldron. Damn. It was going to take at least two more cycles of boiling before it was done.

He glanced up. Remus was still sitting there with that half-smile on his face. "Now, if there's nothing else, Lupin...?"

Remus glanced up, realizing he'd been in a bit of a daze. "Sorry? Oh, right." He smiled again with ease, but did not move from his spot on the stool. Taking a different turn, Remus branched out in a more conversational tone. "Business trip, huh? Did you say China?" He tried to recall, glancing up at the ceiling as he thought on it.

"Hmm, yes," Severus said, watching the cauldron carefully as he lit the flame again. "I'm investigating a new species of leech for the Confusing Con--" He broke off suddenly, eyeing Remus with something like suspicion.

"And I haven't the faintest idea why I'm telling you any of this." He frowned, and then sighed. "Sorry to be such a burden, and so on and so forth, and don't you have somewhere to be?"

Remus could tell that he must be imposing on Severus, maybe even impeding his progress. Regardless, he simply smiled and straightened his shoulders.

"To answer your questions, no I do not have anywhere I need to be and you're tell me about your investigations because you don't get out enough. You need more friends, people you can talk to." The look on Snape's face only pushed Remus on. "See, you're eager to share things, but you've no one to talk to. I happen along--" He did a bit of a walking-dance with his fingers. "And you get the chance for conversation. So, you tell me about the things you're thinking about. See? You need friends, Severus."
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2006-04-20 17:13 (link)
Of all the... Severus set the fire to sustain the boil and turned his full attention to Remus. He would give the werewolf one more chance before bringing out the heavy artillery.

"Lupin," he began. "I know for a fact you did not come here to discuss the new breed of succulent leeches that Liu Feng has been working on. So why don't you explain to me just why you 'happened along' when an owl could have done just as well?"
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2006-04-20 17:16 (link)
It was becoming rather obvious that Severus was getting annoyed. Remus could sense however, that there was room to push the man a little further before he snapped--not that Remus was intentionally angering the potions master! Of course he wouldn't take any pleasure in seeing the man so flustered.

Remus grinned and shrugged. "I guess I'm just too much like you. No where to be, no one to see."
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2006-04-20 17:31 (link)
That did it.

"Isn't that a little presumptuous, Lupin?" Severus sneered. He stalked over to stand directly in front of Remus, and drew himself up to his full height.

"Perhaps you think it's been long enough, that maybe I don't remember how quickly you dropped anything to do with me when Black--" he spat the name out "--escaped from Azkaban a few years ago. And now, he's dead, war's over, time to be chummy with Snape again?" He paused to smirk at the expression on Remus' face. "Well, I haven't forgotten," he whispered. "If the only company you have is your ghosts, it's no one's fault but your own."
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2006-04-20 17:43 (link)
Sirius. He always has to bring up Sirius. It struck a chord, certainly. His face fell as he listened to Severus, eyes watching the man approach. Why is it that he seems to get some sort of satisfaction from my unhappy moments? Remus and Sirius hadn't been lovers in the traditional conception since 1981, but there had still been that same attachment when Sirius came back. It made it hurt even more the second time Sirius left him. The second time was for good. Death is finite, after all.

"Do not bring up Sirius. Not now, and certainly not until you can get over this obsession you have with besting him. He's dead and you're not, score one for Severus." The light-hearted tone was gone from his voice. He spoke in all seriousness at that moment. "He has nothing to do with you. And we're not as different as you might like to think."

Dammit. For one brief second, Severus faltered. But no, there was nothing Lupin could say. His face returned to an impassive mask, and he leaned casually against the work counter.

"In that case, Lupin, how about coming along with my on my trip to China? Oh--" Severus snapped his fingers, as if he'd just thought of something. "That's right, you can't. Not allowed out of the country, are you?" He turned and went back to his cauldron. "Too bad."


The thing Remus could not figure out was why he continued to sit there, taking this abuse. Yes, he was a werewolf. It wasn't like he'd asked to be one. Quite the contrary. Severus would continue to hold that grudge until death, as far as Remus could tell.

"Very mature, Severus."

Severus just barely caught himself from rolling his eyes. No need to prove the werewolf right.

"Lupin, what do you want?" He was aware his tone was verging on exasperated, but he was beyond caring. "I've said I'll come to the next Order meeting. Now won't you leave me alone?" He met Remus' gaze. Please?

Remus nodded submissively and got to his feet. The full moon was still two weeks away and its pull was just far enough out of reach to not exert much of an effect on him. His condition was always the best at this time of the month. He watched Severus for a moment.

"I'll leave. Didn't mean to bother you, Severus. Just... wanted to check in." He shrugged a little and cast a look in the general direction of the door.

Time to stir in the hellebore. Stir, stir, stir. I'm not looking at you, I'm stirring, very busy, you see. His hand trembled as he took a pinch of powdered hellebore. Blast it all.

"Lupin," Severus said, surprising both of them. When the other man met his eyes, he said, "Thanks," and hoped it was enough.

How very rare! An expression of gratitude from Severus was indeed far and few between. It caught Remus off-guard as he looked over at Severus again. He could not help but crack into a small smile.

"I still think you spend too much time alone. Come to a pub with me. You need some fun, Severus."

Severus sniffed. "I couldn't possibly," he said. "This needs another cycle on the heat at least, probably two." His stirring hand paused for a fraction of a second.

"Tomorrow, maybe," he said under his breath.

Remus knew better than to push any more than that. So, he smiled again, if thoughtfully this time. "Alright then, tomorrow it is. There's a small pub near the Ministry offices in London. Black Swan, I think. You should meet me there after I get off work. Five-ish."

Who: Remus Lupin, Severus Snape
When: April 21, 1999
What: Snape is waiting for Lupin to meet him... for drinks?
Where: Black Swan, a pub near the Ministry Offices in London
Rating: PG for now

Severus Snape didn't fidget. Ever. But today, he was sorely tempted to.

He was standing around across the street from a pub -- a Muggle pub -- in London, not far from the Ministry of Magic. He was attempting to avoid making eye contact on the off chance someone he knew happened by, while watching the Black Swan for the ever-irritating Remus Lupin -- because Severus would rather be stuffed for a shrivelfig than be caught being early to meet the man.

He swore to himself -- at himself -- for coming down here at all. He'd told Remus "maybe," so perhaps it wasn't too late. He could still Apparate back to Spinner's End --

Back to an empty house, with nothing but books and dust as company. And ghosts, he thought wryly. Not the best of companions, to be sure.

Besides, whenever he considered dropping the whole thing, he heard Remus' voice again: "You need some fun, Severus." With that faint trace of a smile on his face, he'd said, "Come to a pub with me."

That smile had taken Severus back, close to thirty years back, to a young boy he'd once known, who hadn't cared what his friends thought, who would ask him for help with Potions on the first day of classes. Severus had often suspected that Remus was a lot better at it than he let on, but he hadn't said anything.

He was broken out of his reverie by the sight of Remus himself, coming down the street. He looks distracted, Severus thought. All the better, since it meant he was unlikely to notice Severus hovering across the street. He watched the other man open the door of the Black Swan and disappear. He counted to twenty and went after him.


The day had been long, too long, for sure. Even one of his co-workers, Marie, happened to notice. She commented and teased good naturedly. Aww ickle Remus has a date! He had rolled his eyes and tried to tell her to bugger off in as cheerful a tone as she had used. It wasn't a date. It was just friends, well sort of, going out for a drink after work. An after-work drink. That was fairly common. Severus really needed a bit of conversation, a bit of alcohol, and a bit of fun. Remus intended to provide all three.

So, after work, he made a mad dash to the elevator-that's-actually-a-phone-booth. Once at street level, Remus brushed at imaginary dust, an old nervous habit. He was dressed as always, in what would probably be considered a hideous jumper to match old patched-up brown courduroys. This was about as dressed up as he ever got for work and he hoped to not offend.

Remus hurried across the street to the small pub and disappeared inside, seeking out a booth. He found one of the cleaner tables and slid on the black vinyl booth to sit next to the window.

Then the door opened and Remus glanced up, catching sight of Severus. He smiled.

2006-04-20 19:42 (link) Select
Severus smoothed down his suit -- he didn't keep a large variety of Muggle clothing on hand, so he was stuck a bit overdressed -- and made his way over to Remus' table.

"Lupin," he said by way of greeting. He slid stiffly into the seat across from Remus.

What on Earth am I doing here? Severus thought suddenly. He wondered if it wasn't too late, even now, to call it off and head home.


Remus couldn't help but survey the man's clothing, smiling to himself. Severus was a tad overdressed for the establishment and Remus had to wonder at the man's understanding of Muggle clothing. He chose to not mention it, for fear that Severus might up and leave at that moment. He already looked ready enough.

" 'lo Severus. I didn't know if you'd actually come. Nice to see you made it." Remus noted Severus's rigid posture. "Maybe an ale?"


Severus nodded.

He took a moment to look at the man sitting across from him. Remus still had a somewhat distracted air about him.

"Is something--" Severus stopped and cleared his throat. "I mean, how was your day?" He promptly wished the table would split in two, so that he could fall and be swallowed up and not have to look at the ridiculous expression on Remus' face.

Oh, Severus would much prefer a nice Potter to hate any day. The thought didn't ache quite as much as it used to.


Remus glanced away for a second to motion to the bartender, trying to use hand signals to indicate two house ales. He nodded when the man behind the counter seemed to get it. Then Severus said something particularly... un-Severus like. Remus turned back to look at the man. The sallow skin of his face was flushing an unusual color.

"Uh, it was fine. Busy, y'know. Fine. Er, I mean, I signed some papers to lobby for werewolves' rights to leave the country again. Seems ridiculous for them to regulate that sort of thing. Most of us aren't trying to launch out and attack people. Not all of us are Greyback."


Severus glanced around reflexively. No one seemed to be paying them any attention. Muggles, he thought scornfully.

There was a rather awkward silence, broken when a young woman brought their ales. Remus thanked her with a smile, and Severus frowned. He found himself oddly irritated that the other man went around, handing out smiles so freely. He pictured Remus at work, dozens of Ministry underlings passing him throughout the course of the day, every one of them receiving some version of it.

Something clicked in his brain. The best defense is a good offense. "Well, Lupin," Severus drawled, "is this your idea of a good time, then?" He slouched back a bit in his seat.

Remus turned his attention back to Severus and arched a brow. He took a sip from his glass before replying. When he did speak up, Remus also nodded. "It's relaxing to get an ale after work with a friend, wouldn't you agree?" He paused, studying the man's eyes for a second. Severus would probably not consider him a 'friend' per se, but Remus hoped he would at least understand the intention of the statement. So, he smiled and shrugged good naturedly.

"I wouldn't know," Severus replied, waving his free hand in the air. He knew Remus wasn't dense, which meant he had to be deliberately avoiding taking offense at anything Severus said.

Well, maybe not anything, he thought, remembering the previous afternoon.

Still, though Severus had seen Remus shrug off barbs that would make a mortal man's ears burn, he had never really understood why Remus did it.

"Tell me something, Lupin," he said. "Where would you be at this moment if I had told you I wasn't going to meet you after all?"

2006-04-20 20:33 (link) Select
It was an odd question and Remus had to wonder at the intentions behind it. He tilted his head a little, reaching for his ale. Remus tapped his fingers against the glass.

"At this moment? Hmmm..." Remus already knew the answer to the question, but he decided to drag it out. "Well, I'd probably be at the market, getting some things for dinner. I didn't buy anything because I figured we would grab a bite."


Severus took a long drink. Was Remus trying to be irritating?

"Hm, yes, picking things up at the last minute, that does sound like you," he said, hoping he was getting the proper "sneer" in his tone.

"Surely you'd be relaxing with one of your friends? I must be keeping you from something."


So Severus was already trying to ruin the evening. Remus stared for a moment, trying to come to terms with the apparent annoyance he must be. He sipped from his glass. Why did he bother to show up if he doesn't want to be here?

"Clearly, you couldn't be keeping me from anything if I'm the one who invited you out." Remus smiled awkwardly as he again lifted the glass to his lips, looking over at the table to his left.


"Right, well," Severus said with a sigh, and finished his drink. He slid out from behind the table and got a few bills out of a pocket. Hm, need to change a few galleons next time I'm in Diagon Alley. He stopped short when he saw the look on Remus' face.

"What?" he said irritably. "If we're going to get something to eat, it's certainly not going to be here. I know a few places that sound much more appealing at the moment."

He dropped the bills on the table. "Tell me, Lupin, do you like sushi?"


Severus surprised him. Remus was certain when the man stood up that he had had enough and was leaving. A small smile curled at his lips as he dropped a few quid on the table and got to his feet.

"I can't claim to be an expert on sushi, but I've liked what I have had before. I haven't had sushi in several years."


Severus took Remus to a small, out of the way place called Feng Sushi. He would have preferred someplace a little nicer, but Feng Sushi had three things that weighed heavily in its favor. 1 - it was nearby; 2 - the food was excellent; and 3 - it didn't have a dress code.

So they went, and Severus ordered a plate of nigiri for them to share.

Of course, of course he had an ulterior motive. Japanese cuisine was by its nature a social activity, which meant they could talk about the food and the chef and the wasabi, and not have to come up with other stupid things to say. "How was your day" still burned in Severus' mind.

They sat at the low bar, watching a chef wrapping and slicing rolls. Severus poured a little more sake for Remus - after all, it was the height of bad manners to pour one's own drink here.

But at least he didn't have to say anything.


Remus had to admit it, he was impressed by the restaurant. It was small and informal, Remus could easily imagine Severus frequenting the place. He hadn't ever thought of Severus as enjoying Japanese food, or raw fish, though Remus supposed it was mostly because of the hearty English dishes served at Hogwarts.

He sipped from the small cup of sake, eyeing the sushi chef as he worked. "I would have never known about this place. Do you come here often?" After he said it, Remus nearly laughed at the last question out of his mouth.


Severus lifted an eyebrow. "Why, Lupin," he said, "if I didn't know better, I'd think you were flirting." He considered that.

He considered it some more. "Try one of these," he said, pointing. "Tuna."

Severus considered it another moment. "Lupin. I do know better, don't I?"


Remus reached for his chopsticks, unable to stop grinning. It was all at the very least amusing. He grabbed the roll Severus pointed to with the wooden sticks and popped it in his mouth. Remus glanced back at Severus as he chewed and swallowed.

"You do know a great many things."


"Ah," said Severus. He wasn't entirely sure how to take that. Was he being made fun of? "Yes, well."

He poked at the last bit of sushi with his chopstick. Wasn't he supposed to say something insulting about now?

It suddenly occurred to him that he had no idea what the rest of the evening was supposed to look like. They would finish the sushi, and then what? Go their separate ways? Severus wasn't sure if that was what he wanted or not. But he did know it was better to be pre-emptive at times like these.

He glanced surreptitiously at his watch. "It is getting rather late, isn't it, Lupin?"


Remus was in no hurry. He had been enjoying himself the entire evening and Severus even seemed to relax a bit, which could be considered a bonus. He grasped another spicy tuna roll with his chopsticks as he glanced over at Severus.

"Is it?" He mumbled before cramming the fish into his mouth.


Bloody Gryffindor. Perhaps the direct approach. He sighed.

"All right, Lupin, I'm willing to admit that this evening hasn't been a complete waste of time. So what happens now? Isn't it time for us to part company and say something sickening like 'we must do this again sometime' whether we mean it or not?"

Remus drained the small cup of the remaining dark sake. He couldn't completely tell if Severus had actually enjoyed himself. Remus would kill to hear the man laugh. Well, that would be figurative at least. Remus decided he probably wouldn't actually kill someone to hear it. That would be weird. And awful.

He glanced back at Severus, meeting his eyes. "And would you mean it?"


Severus couldn't identify the small shiver that went through him at that moment. Something about the way Remus was looking at him made him forget himself and answer with perfect honesty.

"I'd certainly agree to some future outing with you if it meant I get to cut this one off, now."

Remus considered this for a moment, watching Severus. He nodded and smiled, trying to cut at the tension that seemed to have just sprouted up again. "Fair enough. We should try to make it soon. I'm less fun the closer we get to the full moon."

In actuality, Remus knew it wasn't that he was 'less fun', but that canine senses start to take over, giving rise to shorter tempers and heightened recklessness.

Severus nodded, more relieved than he'd imagined possible. What was wrong with him?

"Right," Severus said. He picked up the cheque the waiter had brought and stood up. "I'll be right back."


Severus was off with the check before Remus could say anything. A few years ago, he might have taken it as an offense; as Severus pointing out his failings in finances. At that moment, it didn't seem like any sort of insult. Severus seemed to just genuinely want to cover the bill. Remus decided then that he would pay on the next outing. Or better yet, he could invite Severus over for dinner. He smiled to himself. He was a decent cook.


Severus thought long and hard about slipping out the door instead of returning to the bar where Remus sat, waiting. He decided that since the front door was in full view of the werewolf, it would be difficult to come up with a good excuse.

Sighing inwardly, he made his way back over to Remus and smirked. "Well, we really must do this again sometime."


Remus looked up as Severus returned. He laughed, easing the tension. "I'll take it with some confidence that you actually mean that." He got to his feet and followed the taller man out of the restaurant.

"And trust me, we will do this again, sometime soon. Maybe even tomorrow, since it's the weekend, y'know."


"Some of us work every day of the week, Lupin," Severus said mildly. He led Remus around a corner to the spot he used for Apparating when he came to this part of town.

"You know where to find me," he said, and Disapparated before Remus could respond.

He turned to head towards the doorway. That went rather well. Remus glanced over his shoulder to see if Severus was watching him. He smiled again and gave a pitiful bit of a wave. "See you then."

Severus snapped his eyes back down to the brewing cauldron. "I said 'maybe,'" he pointed out, but somehow it lacked the proper bite.

Link to next bit:
Snape Talks to Draco
Lupin again seeks out Snape
Tags: early thaw, snape/lupin
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