|undunoops (undunoops) wrote in lupin_snape,|
@ 2008-04-29 21:08:00
|Entry tags:||family fest|
Family Fest Fic: Love and a Hard Place -R, Parts 13 and 14
Title: Love and a Hard Place
Rating: R (mature/adult content)
Pairing(s)/character(s): Remus Lupin, Severus Snape, Nymphadora Tonks, Hermione Granger, et al.
Challenge: lupin_snape's Family Fest
Summary: Remus would do anything to be a father.
Disclaimer: Not-for-profit fan creation.
Warnings: I hate warnings. I don’t think anyone dies…
Notes: This story was started before the release of Deathly Hallows and is therefore non-compliant with that storyline. I leave it to the reader whether they judge it to be AU. Beta was gifted to me by the extraordinary Dillis. Thanks to lore for running the fest!
Woohoo, finally! It's over! We now return you to your regularly scheduled program...
Remus was putting Donata in her high chair in preparation for eating lunch – another round of cheese sandwiches, the flavour of the week – when the floor shook and gave an ominous groan. At the same moment there was a shout and a piercing shriek from the stairwell doorway. Reacting with war-time speed, Remus pulled Donata out of the chair and deposited her in the playpen in two strides, then he was down the stairs to the lab three at a time, wand somehow in his hand though he hadn’t been aware of picking it up.
As he reached the bottom of the steps Remus saw Snape enveloped in blue flames. Darius was hopping from one leg to the other trying to get close enough to help.
Snape was bellowing at the boy, “Get back! Go, damn you!”
An acrid stench was searing the back of his nose as Remus scooped Darius into his arms and left him halfway up the stairs.
“Go upstairs to Dona. She needs you!”
Turning back to Snape, Remus saw the flames licking higher; they threatened to set fire to his hair any second.
The man struggled out his robes, the blue fire seemingly unquenchable, but the flame had spread to one leg of his trousers. Remus moved closer, preparing to spell the flames out.
“Hold still!” Remus commanded.
“No water, Lupin!” Snape shouted, anxious and pained. He froze while Remus ducked low and grabbed his trouser leg. Remus tore the entire leg away at the seams and levitated both the robes and the piece of cloth into a cauldron against the wall.
“What is it?” he asked Snape, breathing heavily. The man had slumped against the workbench, panting.
“A highly flammable adhesive. I was brewing when Darius got into… well, it must have been the firefly wings.” Snape groaned and slumped further. “He sneezed.”
“Well, it seems to be burning your clothes rather niftily,” Remus commented, peering into the cauldron. “Why didn’t you use an aqua spell?”
“It would have… reacted…”
Remus made it to Snape’s side to catch him as he pitched sideways.
“You’re bloody hurt! Where?”
Snape’s rolled up and his head lolled forward.
Remus turned with his arms full of unconscious Snape to see Darius’ feet appear at the top of the steps. “Stay there, son, I’m bringing your dad up now.”
After floo calling Hermione for help, Remus had tended as best he could to Severus, delegating supervision of Donata to Darius. Severus had not regained consciousness before Hermione’s arrival and he’d tamped down his anxiety as he stripped off the remains of Severus’ trousers and removed his long-sleeved shirt. Severus’ skin had been cool and clammy to the touch and his breathing shallow and fast. There’d been an alarming blue tinge around his lips.
He’d stood aside as Hermione emerged from the fireplace, leaving the bedroom to check on the children. It seemed odd to place such faith in Hermione’s expertise, but her studies of the Healing Arts, though mainly theoretical, were extensive. In his opinion she was the equal to any healer at St Mungo’s and Remus was sure that she could diagnose Snape’s sudden illness.
He crouched down to look into Darius’ face; the boy had sat on the floor in the corner, dragging his shirt over his knees.
“Are you alright?” Remus asked.
The boy looked up at Remus, his expression stricken. “Is he going to die?” Darius asked, his voice wobbling on the last word.
“No! No, of course not. Severus is made of much sterner stuff than that.”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“That’s what Hermione’s here to find out. In the meantime though, are you hurt anywhere?”
Darius shook his head slowly side to side.
“That’s good,” Remus breathed in relief. “How about I get you something to eat then? It’s past lunchtime and I’m sure Donata would like a cheese sandwich.”
On cue Donata looked up and cried, “Eeez!” and clapped her tiny hands with glee.
Remus huffed in amusement despite his preoccupation with Snape’s state. He moved over to the playpen to release his daughter from her imprisonment.
Darius followed him after a minute, moving like a ghost to sit on his chair at the kitchen table.
Remus put Donata in her high chair and placed her sandwich in front of her. He’d turned back to the counter to make a sandwich for Darius when he heard the boy’s bleak voice say, “It’s all my fault.”
Remus turned to look at him in alarm.
“Darius, no – that’s not true!”
He sat down on the chair next to his son. He is my son, and he is hurt: just not where it shows.
“It was an accident. It was not your fault. In fact, if I know your father – and I think I do – he will wake up calling himself seven different kinds of fool and be blaming himself for the whole incident,” Remus said with soft intensity.
Darius finally looked up from his clenched fists.
“He’ll wake up?”
“Yes, Darius. He’ll wake up,” Remus stated in a level voice. After a moment he caught Darius’ face between his hands, breaking his self-imposed restriction on physical contact. He stroked the boy’s cheeks with his thumbs. Darius trembled under his hands but didn’t pull away.
“He’ll be fine,” Remus repeated his assurance.
Don’t make me a liar, Severus.
Remus had settled Darius on the rug with a box of muggle toys that he’d found in a junk shop. It included that wonderful invention, Lego, probably meant for much younger children in the muggle world, but the novelty of it would keep Darius amused for some time. Donata was asleep in her playpen, knees curled up under her tummy and bottom pointing skyward.
He left the children and stood in the doorway of the bedroom watching as Hermione placed a charm on Severus to monitor his temperature. Her movements were unhurried as she proceeded to put her equipment back into a small handbag. He watched in bemusement as her bag swallowed all manner of things with no change to its contours, he’d heard about that bag.
Studying Severus’ face, Remus crept quietly into the room.
“His colour looks better,” he ventured.
Hermione snapped her bag shut and smiled. “Yes, he’s fine now, just sleeping. He had an allergic reaction,” she explained.
“An allergy? I thought he’d been burned badly, but I couldn’t see where.” Remus frowned in confusion. As far as he knew people with allergies sneezed and got runny noses. They didn’t keel over one minute and look like they were dying the next as a result of a piddling allergy!
“Quite a severe one: anaphylaxis. The burns on his leg are quite minor and should heal by themselves.”
“Good heavens,” Remus said. He had no idea what anaphylaxis meant but it sounded bad.
“What was he working on?” Hermione asked.
“Ah. He told me…” Remus closed his eyes, picturing the scene in the lab just before Severus collapsed. “Oh! It was an adhesive,” he remembered suddenly.
Hermione nodded as if this was what she suspected. “I’m almost certain he must have been working with latex as part of the recipe then. He has a latex allergy.”
“Latex, like rubber?” Remus asked. The only things he knew that were made of rubber were those horrid condom-things that muggles used. Well, those and the soles of his shoes. He’d never heard of it being used in potions before.
“If he’s never been exposed to it to any significant degree before then he would react quite suddenly after just a short period of close contact with it,” Hermione explained. “He would have had very little warning that he had an allergy until he went into shock and collapsed.”
“Would he have felt sick?”
He’d thought Severus was a bit too quiet at breakfast but assumed he was just preoccupied. The potions order was a challenging one.
Hermione nodded. “Yes, but possibly just a headache and slight nausea. The way you described the accident makes me think that it most likely occurred because he wasn’t able to concentrate and monitor Darius at the same time.”
“I am here, you know.”
The raspy voice came from the bed and Remus spun to see Snape’s eyes open to bloodshot slits.
“Bloody hell, Severus – you gave me a fright,” he said, moving to the side of the bed and perching next to the man. “Don’t do that again too soon, hmm? My nerves are all a twitter,” he said, smiling stupidly down at Severus. He reached to stroke the man’s forehead with his fingertips. “You feeling better?”
“Better than what?” came the irascible reply.
“Better than a slightly warmed over corpse, perhaps?” Hermione replied tartly. She hefted her bottomless bag and leant to kiss Remus on the cheek. “I’ll be going now. Keep him in bed until tomorrow, Remus.”
“What have you done to me?” Severus croaked, his ruby red eyes fastening her in place.
“I’ve forced your adrenal gland to secrete rather a lot more than usual, and I’ve given you a metabolic balancing potion. Both the allergic reaction and the stabilising procedures are exhausting and you need at least a day to recuperate,” Hermione replied in a no-nonsense tone.
“Thank you. I don’t know what we would have done without you,” Remus said, rising to put his arms around her.
She hugged him back and looked up with a mock frown. “Banish his latex supplies before he gets into more mischief – and don’t let him talk you out of it.”
Remus chuckled. “Yes, ma’am,” he said, tugging his forelock.
“Goodbye, Severus. Take care of yourself,” she said, and, to Remus’ pleased surprise, bent and kissed Snape’s cheek.
“Thank you,” Severus whispered, his fingers raised a few inches from the bed in wave. He appeared to drop into sleep at once.
Remus raised his eyebrows in question.
“Don’t worry,” Hermione said as she walked out of the bedroom, Remus trailing her to the fireplace. “He really just needs rest now.”
“And chicken soup?” he asked with a smile.
“Well, that’s always been a magical cure for everything,” Hermione laughed as she threw a handful of floo powder into the fireplace. “Call me if you have any problems.”
“Send me the bill!” Remus called after her as she stepped into the green flames. Her laughter echoed for a moment after she vanished from sight.
Donata was asleep in her cot long since. Darius had sat beside Remus on the sofa while he read a book after cleaning up the dinner dishes. Remus had noticed him inching closer each time he turned a page and glanced at him. He’d been hoping the boy would fall asleep unprompted. He would carry him to bed when he did, but so far Darius’ eyes were wide open and haunted, his hands busily constructing and deconstructing Lego blocks.
Remus sighed and put down his paperback – another find from the junk shop – and looked at Darius.
“Do you want to check on your dad again?”
He’d taken the boy into the bedroom to look at Severus, and listen to him breathe, about four times so far. Darius shook his head, using the movement to inch just a bit closer to Remus, hands still busy with the brightly coloured blocks. Remus wasn’t fooled by the studied air of unconcern.
“Do you know, he’s going to wake up hungry in the morning. I’ll need some help to look after him, and you won’t be any good to me if you’re too tired to make toast,” he tried to reason.
Darius shrugged, again inching closer. It dawned on Remus that the boy wanted to cuddle but didn’t know how to reach out. He wanted to slap himself for being so dense. He slowly moved his arm to curl it around Darius’ shoulders. The boy sighed and drooped against him, hands dropping to his lap and stilled for the first time. Remus pulled him closer, and the Lego pieces dropped to the rug. He felt the boy take a deep, shuddering breath and then, sounding like a trapped animal, Darius began to cry.
Remus’ heart broke. It was simultaneously the most painful and the most profound moment he’d ever experienced. The best things come with the highest price.
He gathered Darius in his arms and held him on his lap as the boy let loose his grief, so long held inside, so deep that Remus feared it.
“I c-couldn’t save her!”
He rocked slowly as he held the boy. “There was nothing you could have done, darling. Nothing,” Remus said softly. A fresh bout of crying ensued and then…
“I should have done something!”
Remus gently raised Darius’ tear-streaked face. “But you did!” he said earnestly. “You did exactly what your mother wanted you to do!” He wiped Darius cheeks, aware of his own tears leaving salty trails on his face.
“You got away, Darius. And that’s what she wanted you to do: live. It was the last and best gift that you could give her. Do you understand?”
Darius hiccupped but didn’t look away. He sniffed and nodded before dropping his head back down to Remus’ shoulder.
No child should have to go through this, Remus thought, then added fiercely, more than that, no child of mine will have to go through this alone! He squeezed his eyes shut as he pressed his lips against the top of Darius’ hair. He imagined the boy’s mother, hoped that she knew Darius had escaped before she died.
His tears seeped into the dark hair against his face. Thank you for creating this beautiful boy.
Remus remembered the difficulties he’d gone through with Tonks, nearly a year ago now, over trying to start a family. He was so far away from that: nothing he could measure in physical distance, or even time. Experience was the thing that made him feel a world away from her self-indulgent behaviour.
Darius had gone limp and quiet, succumbing to the pull of sleep at last. He gathered his exhausted boy in his arms and stood to put him to bed.
The last of pieces of the shell of his former life fell away, leaving him a freshly forged man.
“Lupin! Cease and desist with this molly-coddling at once!”
“Shut it and eat your soup, Severus,” Remus calmly responded. He held the spoon near Severus’ mouth; the man could either swallow or risk dribbling down his shirtfront. His pride warred with both unacceptable options. Finally, simple hygiene won and he opened his mouth to the spoon.
Remus suppressed a smile and continued to feed him the chicken soup. When no more remained in the bowl he asked, “Would you like some toast now?”
Severus shook his head. “No, thank you. I believe I have had an elegant sufficiency.” He sighed and leant back against the pillows. “I am rather tired. I may just take Madame Granger-Weasly’s advice and rest for the day.”
“Very sensible of you. I shan’t have to stupefy you after all,” Remus said with a smile. “I’m going to send Darius in. He has instructions to keep quiet and let you sleep if you need to. Is that okay with you?”
“Yes. I need to speak to him, actually. Knowing the way he thinks, I’m quite sure that he is consumed with guilt,” Severus replied with a frown and a questioning look at Remus.
“We talked last night. He’s had a breakthrough. Severus, it was amazing. But, despite all my assurances and agreeing that he mustn’t blame himself, I’m sure he needs to hear it from you.”
Snape nodded. “Send him in then.”
Remus took the empty bowl and left to find Darius. He strode past Donata on his way to the kitchen, his long legs neatly passing over the doorway barrier charms erected to keep her from straying too far. Her crawling speed seemed to have doubled overnight. He found Darius in the kitchen with the Lego blocks covering the entire surface of the table. The boy was intent on constructing a castle this time, his fingers deft but without the frantic pace of last night.
“That’s extraordinary, Darius!” Remus exclaimed. His admiration was genuine. “If I’m not mistaken, that would appear to be a model of Hogwarts?”
Darius looked up, shyly pleased as he said, “Yes. My mum went there.”
“Did she indeed? Well, that’s something your dad and your mum and I have in common; we all attended Hogwarts – how wonderful!”
Darius’ face creased into a rare grin.
“Would you like to see Dad? He’s awake now, but still pretty tired.”
Darius dropped his blocks and leapt up from his chair. “Yes!”
“Alright then, but remember to keep the noise down and if he falls asleep, leave the room as quietly as you can,” Remus cautioned before waving him towards the bedroom.
Darius ran a few steps before glancing back guiltily at Remus who gave him a pointed look. “Sorry,” the boy whispered, slowing and walking carefully towards the bedroom.
“Good boy,” Remus said, hiding a smile behind a mug of tea.
After an hour Remus went to investigate, afraid that Severus might be exhausting himself amusing Darius.
He found them both sound asleep, Severus’ arm cushioning Darius’ head as they both lay smooth-browed and unworried.
Birds of a feather, Remus thought.
The man’s hissing voice sent shivers up Remus’ spine. It was night, the children were asleep, and he not forgotten the silencing charm. He moved his mouth up and down Snape’s cock slowly. They’d both been getting a touch desperate for sex, but, since Severus was still a bit fatigued, Remus insisted he take a passive position. It was either that or abstain for another day, he’d stated, brooking no argument. Snape gave only token protest before acquiescing.
Severus was starting to pant now, and Remus could feel the throb under his tongue. Some remnant of marauder-mischief prompted him to take his mouth away.
Severus whined as Remus rolled him onto his side, all parts of him limp save one. Remus moved to spoon against his back and poured some oil onto his fingers. He probed delicately at Snape’s cleft.
“Damn it! More!”
Severus shoved sharply backwards and Remus laughed softly as he inserted two fingers carefully inside.
“Oh… please,” Severus breathed, sounding strained.
“Do you want me to fuck you, Severus?”
“Yes! Damn, fuck yes,” he replied with a growl.
“I may be able to oblige to you,” Remus said as he nipped at Severus’ earlobe.
“Aah, hell and damn – you’d fucking better!”
Remus snorted at Severus’ evident frustration; it was just a bit wonderful to be the cause of such intense arousal, not to mention the bad language.
He pressed into the man, groaning and feeling a bit like swearing himself. He was immersed, held, enveloped and surrounded. He stopped still, torturing himself and revelling in the clutch of Severus’ body as he held him close. Amazingly, the tension seemed to leech out of both of them; urgency forgotten for the moment, they found each other’s mouths and spent long minutes kissing deeply. Remus gave free reign to his left hand as it traversed the terrain of Snape’s torso, collarbone to nipple to hip, finally wrapping around his moist erection. His right hand was caught in Snape’s hair, supporting his head so that he could keep the man’s mouth within easy reach.
They’d never made love with such connection, such lascivious indulgence. While Remus’ desire flared higher and higher, he wasn’t lost to his own passion; he remained sharply aware of Snape’s every intake of breath, every drop of sweat that appeared on his skin. He drove in and out of Snape’s body, rocking them both towards oblivion. Snape came suddenly, his breath wheezing in a prolonged gasp as he spent himself in Remus’ hand. Remus’ hips canted helplessly in response, like a human domino he allowed himself to fall in a heap next to his partner.
For a while he was disconnected, not even aware of his own heartbeat. He floated in utter relaxation; he couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt so completely sated and happy. Perhaps never?
Snape’s soft snore brought him back to the wreck of their bed. He winced and slowly edged his soft cock out of Snape. The man did not even twitch. If he hadn’t the evidence of his snoring, Remus might have been tempted to call Hermione for reassurance. He grinned at the slumbering wizard before him, coated in spunk and dripping with sweat.
“It’s a good look on you, Severus,” he whispered.
Remus rolled off the bed and picked up his wand. “However, you might get chilled.” He waved a cleansing spell – very gently – over the man, then one for himself, and pulled up the bedclothes to cover Severus’ nakedness. Next, Remus slipped on his dressing gown and left the room to check on their children.
Donata dozed peacefully in her cot, legs once more tucked under her body and rear end rampant. Remus smiled and tucked her blanket around her shoulders. Darius was tightly curled on his side and Remus ran a hand over his head gently.
“It’s okay, little one,” he murmured. The boy sighed in his sleep and uncurled his legs slightly.
Remus smiled. He finally had the life he really wanted.
“Everything will be alright now.”