.The Distance of Skin.

Author: ThreeSidedOrchid
Rating: NC-17
Summary: My slashfest response to Vylit''s request: "Snape/Remus: Lupin wants Sirius, Snape wants what Sirius had" PWP, Snape remembering the drastic measures he took to get closer to Lupin.
Warnings: Spoiler warning for HBP, not a shiny-happy ending.
Notes: Thanks to my beta, Bironic, for last minute edits, all remaining mistakes are entirely my fault. This wasn't the first story I had in mind, nor the second, it's barely the third, but here it is anyway.Constructive Crit. welcome.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe and its characters belong to JKR and Warner Brothers, not me. I'm not making any money off of this - it is done soley for love of the characters and fun.

“You don't love her.”
He shuts his eyes, glad to be looking away from Lupin. Severus listens to the way his unintentional words fall between them, as if he could hear, in the way they settle thick on the dusty carpet, the coming response -- or a spell to take them back -- or, maybe, all he's listening for is why they escape now, after so long.


He had to nick a finer set of robes from one of the other boys. They fit perfectly, but felt wrong, more so than the tan skin and thicker bones.
It was still his flesh, after all, just colored and stretched. Despite his research, Severus is slightly surprised he doesn't feel different. It seems wrong, somehow, that putting on another's body does not bring with it even the smallest fraction of that person.

He doesn't look in a mirror. Time is short, and he has no desire to see his borrowed features.

Out of the dorms and down the halls, not yet bothering to change his walk, not until he leaves Slytherin territory and risks running into anyone. The empty corridors are a slightly belated Christmas present, not that he could expect them to be anything else with so few students on the grounds over the holiday.

The library is darker than normal, the lamps unlit in the absence of Madame Pince. What light there is is gray and cold, reflected from winter clouds and filtered through the ancient windows. Severus steps carefully, aisle to aisle.

Finally, near the back, there is Lupin. His back is to the aisle, his head bent to read a book, giving Severus a view of the patch of skin exposed between the uneven tips of hair and the collar of his shirt. Severus' fingers twitch, desire pulling him forward.

Desire is foreign to him. Not that he does not understand the lure of physical attractiveness, but he has never understood the heart-racing need, the way one's whole body could come alive with want.
Until he looked up one day and saw Remus Lupin, smiling, at Sirius Black.

He remembers, just in time, to move his hand so that it does not land against Remus' neck, but rather against his shoulders with Black's casual grace.
“Miss me?”

Remus startles, turns partway, so that Severus' hand slides across soft flannel from shoulder to back.

And there it is, that same look, as if his smile is for Sirius and Sirius alone.

It's what he came for; just a few stolen minutes in which that smile might be directed at him. It's only now, looking into it, that Severus realizes it isn't enough.

Perhaps some remnant of Black has carrier over, some touch-memory, because almost as soon as the thought is completed Severus finds himself leaning forward.

Remus' lips are cold, soft and dry like fresh linens, and Severus sighs into them. Remus' mouth opens in a puff of warm breath, their tongues meet, and Severus realizes he's never felt his heart beat before, not like this. He curls his hand around the back of Remus' neck, fingers stroking against skin, through the wayward edges of his hair, and pushes the kiss deeper.

There's a thump, and the flutter of pages settling, then Remus' fingers are against him, his hands fisting in Severus' shirt.

When the kiss ends, he pulls back a bit, reluctant. Remus looks up at him, eyes wide, tongue darting out brush against his lower lip.

“Sirius, wha-- ”

“Potters wanted a trip to Diagon Alley, snuck away on ‘errands', flooed to Hogsmeade,” he interrupts, leaning down to kiss Remus' jaw, the carefully thought-out explanation turning to half-breathed phrases,
“Wanted you.”

“Sirius -- Sirius -- wait!”

This last, sounding like a sob, makes Severus look up. Remus lifts his hands, settling them on Severus' cheeks, keeping their faces close. His eyes study Severus, and Severus finds himself longing to know what Remus is thinking. He tries to press forward again, as if, through the interplay of their tongues, he could read the other boy's thoughts, but Remus won't let him. In the dim light it's so difficult to read Remus' expression, and he's certain, for a moment, that Remus knows he's not who he says he is.

When, after too long, Remus' eyes soften and he brings their mouths together again, Severus groans, both arms wrapping around him.

Severus knows he's damned then, when their bodies are so close and the kisses are so deep he doesn't think he'll ever surface, and it's still not enough.

Their kisses turn frantic. Severus finds his hands gliding over Remus arms, his back, too quick to register. He pushes, hearing the shuffle-glide of their feet, until Remus' back hits the bookshelf, making them part with a gasp.

They look at each other, breathing hard. Severus slides his hand around Remus' side, up the line of little white buttons on his shirt -- which makes Remus arch into his hand, eyes fluttering shut -- and to the knot of his tie. He pulls it open slowly, watching the play of muscles in Remus' throat as he breaths, letting their lips brush against each other on occasion -- not kisses, just touching. Each button comes undone at his fingertips. Halfway down, Remus' hands come up to push at his robe, and Severus pulls away only long enough to get rid of this layer between them. In compensation he grinds their hips together, the heat of their erections coming even through the layers of cloth.

Remus' hands are on his shirt now, undoing buttons and running his fingers over the skin of Severus' chest. He finishes the buttons on Remus' shirt and pushes his hands beneath the edges, letting his eyes follow as the other boy is unveiled, trying to commit each freckle and slope to memory. It is neither perfection nor imperfection; thin and healthy but without muscle. On any other boy it would be just flesh, on Remus it makes Severus' breath catch, his cock twitch.

There's a scar on Remus' shoulder, a thick swelling of tissue that Severus feels before he sees. He runs his fingers over it lightly, feeling Remus watching him, and debates whether to ask what it is from. In the end, he keeps silent, choosing instead to trail his mouth down the newly revealed skin, sinking to his knees. Remus' stomach proves most sensitive to Severus' mouth; he moans, hips thrusting forward, hands tangling in Severus' hair.

He undoes the barrier of Remus' belt quickly enough, nuzzling into the cloth-covered erection as he does. Then the zip is open, and Severus pulls Remus' trousers and pants, lifting them over the head of his erection, exposing the other boy completely. Severus leans forward, trailing his cheek along Remus' cock, pressing his nose to the base where the other boy's smell is richest. His hands are on Remus' hips, but he brings one forward now to rest against the side of Remus' prick, holding it to his mouth as he trails his lips and tongue over it, working back towards the tip.
Before he can take the tip into his mouth, though, Remus' hands are tugging on his hair, urging him up. He looks up, along the line of Remus' flushed body.

“I won't last.” Remus pants, still pulling a bit at Severus' hair, “do you -- did you bring --”

He doesn't have to finish for Severus to know what he means. Reaching out, he pats down his robe until he finds the pocket, and the small bottle inside. Severus hadn‘t intended it, but slipped the bottle in at the last minute, just in case. He holds the bottle up, smiles as he hopes Sirius would smile, and brushes a kiss against Remus' fingers as they take it from him.
He stands, slightly uncertain with this new intention so defined between them.

“Go slow, yeah? I've…” Remus hesitates, glances away, “It's been a while.”

Severus nods, feeling too young, then kisses Remus to banish the feeling.

Remus undoes his trousers, then slips one hand in, curling it around his prick, making Severus moan and fall against him, hands on Remus' shoulders. Swift hands push down his trousers and pants, stroke him gently. They pause, pull away, and Severus hips jerk forward in complaint.

  Kissing Remus is all Severus can do to keep from screaming when they come back, slick and cool, working the oil onto him with long strokes.

“Enough,” he gasps at last, when the fear that another stroke will be too much is greater than the pleasure. Remus pulls his hands away, slipping the bottle into Severus' hand and kissing him again before turning around.

Severus reaches out, runs his hands along the smooth plane of Remus' back, down to the curve of his arse. Hands against the bookshelf, Remus looks back at him. The oil is warm when he pours it onto his hand. Touching Remus with it is like a layer of silk between them. He dips his hand down into Remus' crevice, finding the tight ring of muscle and loosening it slowly.

Remus moans, and pushes back against his fingers, setting up a rhythm that makes the pale light play across his back.

He could stand here forever, Severus realizes, transfixed by the sight before him, were it not for the ache in his cock, pushing him forward, leading him in. Teasingly he brushes the tip of his cock around the ring of muscle, pushing against it just a bit, and then back, and again, before finally breaching Remus' body.

Then he's inside, inside , Remus, his cock cradled in hot flesh. Nothing, Severus thinks, nothing could have prepared him for this exquisite reality.
Remus moans, hips pushing back against him as if he wants to pull Severus deeper. It takes almost more than Severus has to pull back, away, for the first thrust. The second is easier, and the third, as the sweet heat of friction builds in them.

“Se''us,” Remus cries, and it may as well be Severus' name he calls, for all the difference in sound. Severus pretends it is, and thrusts deeper, harder. He hangs on to Remus' hips, pulling him back to that single point of connection.

Remus' hands grip the shelf, turning white. His cry becomes a mantra, spilling from his lips into the air around them until Severus can't take it anymore and comes, deep inside Remus, yelling his name.
Remus is coming before Severus' climax has finished, body jolting upright, his back pressed to Severus' front, his seed coating the books.

They collapse against the bookcase, then down to the floor. Somewhere along the way Severus slips out, and Remus turns, so that when they at last rest against the cold stone floor, it is against each other's

Outside, evening has started to fall, and the light becomes even weaker. How long they rest against each other Severus does not know. It's when he realizes Remus' thumb has taken to tracing over and over the same spot on his wrist that he comes back to himself, slightly, enough to question.
“What are you doing?”

“You've a bit of dirt, I think,” Remus answers, leaning forward to examine even as Severus' heart goes cold.

He snatches his hand back, grabbing his discarded shirt at the same time.

“I've got to go -- get back -- Potters -- waiting --” Panicked, he snags his clothing, standing and doing up buttons as fast as he can.

“Oh, right.” Remus says from the floor, though with what expression Severus dares not turn and see, “when are you coming back, from hols?”

“Don't know… I… It's not up to me, you know?”

“No. I suppose not.”

Severus moves to the end of the aisle, but stops before going around the edge. He turns, just enough to see Remus while keeping his hair blocking his features. Still on the floor, knees bent, back curved against the shelves, Remus watches him, uncertain, lost. Severus wants nothing more than to go back, to kiss him again.

“Best not to mention this later, hunh? James' kill me if he knew I snuck to Hogwarts without him.” He says, instead, hating himself and Sirius Black more than anything.

“Yeah, ‘course.” Remus says, after seconds that feel too long.

“Later, then.” Severus forces himself to take the first step, only to be called back by Remus' voice.


He tilts his head back around the aisle.

“I'll miss you.”

“Me too,” Severus says, trying to make it sound like anything other than goodbye, before he turns and escapes out of the library, down the halls, and back to his dorm.


“You don't love her.”
He shuts his eyes, glad to be looking away from Lupin. Severus listens to the way his unintentional words fall between them, as if he could hear, in the way they settle thick on the dusty carpet, the coming response -- or a spell to take them back -- or, maybe, all he's listening for is why they escape now, after so long.

“No,” Lupin answers, softly but without shame, “but I don't see anyone else stepping forward for her place, do you?”

Severus opens his eyes, though he can't make them meet Lupin's. He looks over to the fire, what thoughts he might conjure getting trapped in the dizzying conjunction of orange and red and yellow spilling and shifting against the rug's filigree.

He waits until he hears the telltale creak of Lupin's foot upon the hallway floor -- until he is sure the man is not facing him -- to look up and speak again.
“What would your mutt say? Resigning yourself to a life of adequacy instead of happiness?”

It's a low blow. He knows this and still cannot regret saying it, even when Lupin stops, turning just enough to see him, looking so very tired -- as if he were shattered long ago, held together now only by the relentless continuity of time and flesh.

“You're under a misconception, Severus.” He shifts his gaze to the doorframe, raising one hand to absently trail his fingers along the line of peeling paint. “I loved Sirius, once. But he and I were never lovers.”

Then he's gone, the edge of his wedding robes disappearing into the dark of the hallway before his words can travel the distance between them.


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