Who: Severus Snape, Remus Lupin
Where: Snape Manor
Summary: Severus and Remus have a typical discussion about a not-so-typical subject.
The Manor was silent as Remus entered, unbuckling his scabbard and dropping his sword onto a chair in the foyer. He stood for a moment, staring down at the weapon with a frown, before sighing and running a hand through his hair. Only a short time ago he never would have dared to leave it out, for fear that Harmony might hurt herself out of curiosity, or that Jeremy would decide to use it to play Swashbuckling Pirate Makes Small Sister Walk the Plank. But now...
He turned away, sighing once more, before lightly touching the bond with his mate to let him know that he had returned home. Deciding that Severus was most likely in the library - mostly from the "feel" of how close he seemed - Remus crossed the foyer, pushing open the door and peering inside the room.
"Hello, Severus," the werewolf said softly, entering the room and crossing to the chair. He sank down on the floor in front of the Potions Master, stretching the kinks out of his muscles with several loud pops, before resting his crossed arms on his mate's knees, and then his chin upon his arms. He gazed up at the dark-haired wizard, smiling slightly. "How was your day?"
Severus glanced around the copy of the Daily Prophet he'd been skimming through, his dark gaze lightening significantly as he peered down at his mate. "Rather uneventful," he remarked, the corners of his mouth lifting in a slight smile.
He hadn't been privy to Remus' earlier thoughts concerning the Abbott children and sharp, pointy objects. However, had he been, he would have been forced to admit that his own thoughts had been turning more and more to something along the same lines. There was hardly a time anymore when he was able to walk into his laboratory and not realize just how very empty it seemed without Hannah's cheerful personality.
And every time that damned kitten darted out from underneath some piece of furniture and attached herself to his robes, his thoughts immediately turned to Harmony. He kept half-expecting the small girl to come skidding around the corner, pluck the cat off of him, and walk away scolding it for trying to escape her tea party without asking to be excused.
He missed Jeremy, too, of course. In fact, Severus had nearly reached the point where he would do damn near anything to see the blond boy scowling at him for catching him in the midst of some prank. He even missed the sulking that came when Jeremy wasn't allowed to run in the hallway, torment his sister, or, of course, fly on his small, out-dated broom in the middle of the night.
In short, as much as the dark haired wizard had a difficult time of believing it, he missed having the children around. And knowing there wasn't much he could do at the moment to change that was infuriating and frustrating beyond belief.
Giving a mental sigh, the man folded the paper and placed it on the small table beside the chair. Moving his hand, he gently ran his fingers through Remus' hair, one eyebrow rising in a question that he soon verbalized.
"And how was your day?"
Remus closed his eyes, leaning into Severus' touch with a contented growl. "Better, now that I'm home. After the fiftieth time of telling a recruit that when I said 'left' I meant their left, not mine, I started to have an appreciation for your level of frustration with certain of your own students."
The werewolf sighed, and then his eyes popped open as Potion, almost as though summoned up by Severus' thoughts, abruptly ran up his back. He winced as claws dug into his skin as the kitten used his shirt as a ladder, before she finally came to rest on his shoulders. Craning up over his head, the black feline rested one paw on top of Remus' head, then began to bat at Severus' fingers where they were entwined in Remus' hair.
"Oh, Merlin," he muttered. "I wish Harmony was here, so that Potion would be less... energetic."
Severus didn't remark immediately, instead opting to come to his mate's rescue first. Continually moving the fingers in the werewolf's hair to maintain the kitten's attention, he reached out with his other hand and grasped the small bundle of black fur by the scruff of the neck. Potion immediately froze, legs splaying out as she peered up at Severus with a half-scowl, half-caught expression.
Lifting her off Remus' shoulder, he raised her to eye level and glared at her. "We have had this discussion before," he stated in a firm voice, as though he were speaking to one of those types of students Remus had just been speaking about. "He is mine. Now, go elsewhere."
And with that, he deposited the kitten on the floor and continued to frown at her until she scampered out of sight underneath his chair. Shaking his head slightly, he then returned his attention to his mate.
The Abbott children weren't something they often discussed, mostly due to Severus' own guilt over the fact that they were only gone because of him. However, the fact that he had just been thinking about the children, only to have his mate mention them, spurred him to continue with that particular statement rather than change the subject to something less ... emotionally draining.
"I wholeheartedly agree. That animal is a menace without her," he murmured. Shaking his head slightly, he peered down into the other wizard's amber eyes. "I do not suppose we could convince Hannah to allow her to come visit... if so, she could wear the cat out and it would hopefully sleep through the night and stop attempting to permanently scar my ankles while I am sleeping and defenseless."
"I still don't know how she is getting into our bedroom," Remus said ruefully, chuckling at his mate's description of the kitten's activities. Then he sobered, looking solemnly at his mate.
They really had discussed the Abbott family very little, although from the occasional heavy silences it apparently was on Severus' mind as much as it was his own. There was, unfortunately, little that could be done to change things, as far as Remus could tell. He had tried, Severus had tried... but it was really all up to Hannah. He and Severus both wanted her and the children back in their lives, but only she could decide if it would happen.
Remus lifted his chin, then moved his arms, placing his hands on Severus' knees, then sliding them upwards lightly until they rested on his mate's waist. He leaned forward, contemplating the other wizard for a moment, before tilting his head slightly to the side. "Well, we could always ask. She might take pity on us, loan us Harmony just because Hannah is a such a softie about such things." Then amber eyes widened soulfully. "And, if that doesn't work, I can give her the poor wolf eyes..."
Severus barely bit back the urge to groan at the last comment. He knew firsthand that it was virtually impossible to deny Remus anything when given that particular look. Slowly, a smirk stole across his pale and drawn face. "Perhaps we should simply forego asking her and skip directly to that particular tactic. At least then we are guaranteed success," he murmured.
Shaking his head, his dark hair moving against his ears, he absently placed his hands on his mate's shoulders and began moving his thumbs in small circles against the soft material of Remus' shirt. His dark gaze stared ahead for a moment, his mind lost in thought, before he snapped back into focus and looked at the werewolf.
"I do not like not having her and the children here, where I know they are safe," he admitted softly. "And I especially do not enjoy the thought of them living in Hogsmeade and therefore so close to the location of the Army. While I have little doubt they are protected a bit more due to their proximity, there is also the fact that they are in an area that is likely to be targeted by any number of attacks from the Death Eaters or their allies."
His hands tightened somewhat, fingers pressing into firm muscle before he relaxed his grip and drew in a steadying breath. "Still, aside from apologizing -- again -- I am at a loss as to what to do."
He shook his head once again. "I would also very much wish to know when, precisely, I allowed myself to grow accustomed to having small children running about without any regards to my privacy or personal belongings," he muttered.
Remus raised one hand to brush Severus' cheek lightly. "You've done all that you can, Severus. She just needs a bit of time, I think, but... I have a feeling she'll come 'round. Hannah doesn't hold a grudge, and, to be honest, she's as fond of you as you are of her. It will all sort itself out in time."
"I know what you mean about being worried for her in Hogsmeade, though," the werewolf continued, eyes slightly troubled. "The DA is doing its best, but the whole area feels... exposed, somehow. Vulnerable. And if the Death Eaters wanted to make an example of something, it would be the logical place to do so. There are too many Aurors in Diagon Alley, and the DA isn't strong enough yet to present too much of a problem. I'd feel better if they were here, too."
With a sigh, Remus tried to push away the troubling thoughts - thoughts which plagued him during the day, while he went about his work with the DA, for he truly knew that they weren't up to battling Lucius and Bellatrix if it came to a firefight. Not yet. Instead, he focused on the last thing Severus said.
"You probably grew accustomed to it not long after Harmony told you Most Potente Potions was her very favorite book, thereby enslaving you to her forever with a magic far, far older than anything we were taught at Hogwarts," he said smiling gently. "I owe her a great debt, I think, because she sort of softened you up for me. You might not been so keen on having your privacy invaded by me, if she and Jeremy - and Hannah, for that matter - hadn't already gotten you over the worst of it."
Remus' smile widened as something occurred to him, and he gave his mate a positively wicked look. "You know, Severus... if you are so accustomed to having children around Snape Manor, there is always something else that can be considered. Just in case, you know, Harmony and Jeremy don't come back here to live...."
Severus knew where this conversation was leading. It didn't take a genius to figure it out, after all. However, rather than immediately begin shaking his head and refusing to discuss it even for one second, he decided to let his mate have his say.
Then he would shake his head and refuse to discuss it.
Slowly raising one eyebrow, Severus met the werewolf's look with one of his own. "Really?" he replied in a silky voice that was laced with humor. "And just what do you have in mind? I somehow do not believe even your 'poor wolf eyes' would convince some stranger to allow us to borrow their children simply because I have grown used to having Harmony and Jeremy running about the place."
"Hmm..." Remus replied throatily, trailing his hand down Severus' cheek to his neck. If I keep him distracted, he might not say no and refuse to discuss it.
Slowly the werewolf slid his fingers along the pale skin at the edge of Severus' high collar, while the hand still resting at the Potions Master's waist tightened just a bit. "Well, somehow I can't see you warming up to some miscellaneous child off the street, mate... even if their parents were so inclined to let us borrow them," he said, voice low.
He moved his fingers lower, flicking open one of the buttons on Severus' coat collar, then another. Lightly stroking the skin at the base of Severus' neck, he looked up with eyes full of innocence, which were distinctly counter to the far more earthy feelings he sent to his mate through their bond. "Besides, what we borrow we can't keep... and I think your wonderful possessive streak would only be satisfied by having something you could keep forever... don't you?"
Severus' already impossibly dark eyes darkened even more as he tried to listen to his mate's words while simultaneously enjoying the wonderful sensations being created along the nerve endings wherever Remus' fingers managed to touch. Blinking once, he managed to clear his mind enough to at least respond with actual words rather than guttural moans that had no place in a conversation about children.
"Remus," he managed to say in a voice that had grown rather husky, "while I will readily admit that I am quite possessive and most definitely incapable of caring for some unknown child the way I do for either Harmony or Jeremy, I am not about to allow those small factors to cause me to agree to having any children of our own."
One hand moved, gently wrapping around the fingers that were unbuttoning his clothing. A dark eyebrow rose toward his hairline as he gently squeezed the digits he was now holding in a loose grip. "And no amount of seduction on your part is going to cause me to become distracted enough to do so, either," he added softly.
Shaking his head, he gave a sigh that was half irritation and half meant to clear his mind. Meeting Remus' gaze once again, his eyebrow rose even higher as a smirk danced across his thin lips. "I am a sour, surly man who has for more temper than compassion, Remus," he murmured. "I spent the better part of my life teaching the children of the wizarding world -- something I despised with a passion. Why you would wish to torment some innocent child by having me become their father I do not understand. However, I can assure you that, unless you can give me several good reasons, I am not going to change my mind on this particular subject."
The werewolf was undaunted by his mate's words. "You do have a temper," he agreed readily, smiling. "It's not necessarily a draw back when dealing with children, you know - especially ones like Jeremy. And just as you feel differently about Harmony and Jeremy, you'd feel different about your own children, you know... about our children. Any child of yours would not be some mealy-mouthed, spineless dolt such as those you always claim to despise, either."
Squeezing Severus' hand back, he chuckled. "The seduction was worth a try. Trust you to see right through me, though. Ah, well. Since you are a man who listens to reasoned argument, I'll just have to come up with reasons which you will find irresistible... and then combine them with a little seduction, just to keep it interesting, and not some formal academic exercise."
Severus couldn't help but smile at that statement. "I most definitely look forward to your attempts at convincing me, at any rate," he admitted. "Even if I cannot imagine anything you could possibly say that would change my mind."
Glancing past Remus, he watched as Potion darted across the room, in apparent pursuit of a piece of fluff she had managed to scrounge up from some place or another. His eyes narrowed slightly as the kitten slid across the wooden floor, slamming into the edge of the table and sending the Daily Prophet wafting to the ground.
An instant later the paper was reduced to nothing more than shreds and Potion sauntered away, clearly the victor of the battle.
Shaking his head, he returned his attention to his mate. "Although I will admit that the thought of a child isn't nearly as disturbing as the concept of you bringing another seemingly innocent while actually possessed animal into this house," he stated firmly.
Remus laughed. "Score one for me! I'll remember that as a threat. You might be more amenable to a baby if I brought home a real wolf pup... they are inclined to howl in the middle of the night and leave little messes about, too."
The werewolf rose to his feet, eyes gleaming as he looked down at his mate. "Well... it seems that I've wasted a perfectly good seduction," he sighed heavily, then shook his head. "Too bad, after I went to all the trouble, and your coat is already half undone."
Severus paled slightly at the thought of a wolf pup invading his home. He definitely would much rather have a child running about, because, as far as he was concerned, Remus was more than enough wolf for him to handle.
Of course, he wasn't about to admit any such thing outloud.
Instead, he focused on the last part of his mate's statement, his eyes shining with merriment as he also rose to his feet. "How flattering to know it takes a conversation of procreating to spur you into seducing me," he remarked dryly. Raising an eyebrow, he took a step closer and smirked as the smaller wizard. His hands moved to Remus' shoulders and gently pulled him closer until their bodies were touching.
Lowering his head, his lips hovered over his mate's ear, his breath blowing across the sensitive flesh. "Fortunately," he murmured, "I do not require such motivation..."
Remus pressed firmly against his mate, shivering in response to the feel of warm breath upon his ear. "I'm glad to hear it," he said, voice low. He turned his head suddenly, capturing his mate's lips in a fierce, hard kiss, his hands moving to bury themselves in the long, dark hair.
After a moment Remus drew back, eyes glinting. "Well, perhaps it wasn't such a waste after all, hmmm? Shall we continue this upstairs? I don't fancy Potion's claws in areas far more tender than my back."
Severus chuckled softly, nodding his head. His heart was hammering in his chest after the kiss and he wasn't certain he could speak properly. However, he did manage, "Of course, knowing that blasted animal, we could decide to leave the Manor entirely and travel halfway around Britain and she would still manage to find us the moment she wishes to use my ankle as a scratching post."
All of that, however, was said in a semi-rush as he led his mate from the library and up the stairs to their room. Just as they crossed the threshold, he glanced back at the black ball of fluff that was attempting to sneak up behind them.
"Unless you wish for me to discover precisely how many ways it is possible to actually skin a feline, I strongly suggest you venture elsewhere," he hissed, before firmly shutting the door.
Then, once assured that the kitten wasn't going to ignore him entirely and enter the room anyway, he proceeded to show Remus precisely how capable he was at seducing him without any incentive whatsoever.