It's Quiet... TOO Quiet... Characters: Severus, Serenus, Remus, Tybalt Summary: Serenus and Tybalt confess; Severus is disappointed.
Serenus wasn't looking forward to the conversation he knew he needed to have with Severus; he had a feeling Severus would be disappointed at best and hurt at worst to learn he hadn't been invited to their second wedding, and Serenus had no real excuse other than the fact he'd gotten so caught up in the romantic surprise, he hadn't thought of it. However, he wasn't quite so brave or noble as to face Severus alone; he intended to drag Tybalt along with him for support.
"Ready?" he asked, hooking his arm firmly through Tybalt's as they passed through the magical door that linked Azoth House and Snape Manor. "Remus said Severus is down in the catacombs."
Tybalt patted Serenus' arm supportively, feeling bad that it had been something he had done which was necessitating the need to tell Severus something that he might find hurtful. "I'll take the hit, love; it was my fault, anyway, for not thinking to at least mention it to Severus beforehand. It's not your fault, and if he is going to be mad at anyone, it should be at me."
"As tempting as it is to hide behind your manly chest, I take responsibility too," Serenus said, squeezing Tybalt's arm and giving him a grateful smile. "At least if there's two of us, he might waver between which of us to hex first, and we can make a clean get-away," he added lightly.
Tybalt offered a smiled, although he knew it wasn't likely to be that easy for either of them. "I was thinking more along the lines of a bribe, actually," he said as they made their way through the foyer and to the stairs leading down to the subterranean levels of the Manor. "Indentured servitude, perhaps?"
Serenus laughed as they began descending the stairs. "That might not be a bad idea," he said. "Although we need to set clear terms or else we might find ourselves indentured for life and roped into doing unmentionable tasks that only Severus' devious mind is capable of conceiving."
"No doubt," Tybalt agreed. "And I should know better than even you, since I had him as a professor for seven years, and I know exactly how capable he is of devising creative horrors for those who annoy him."
Serenus gave a mock-shudder, but then they reached the door of Severus' workroom, and he drew in a deep, bracing breath as he reached out. "Here we go," he murmured as he opened the door and peeked in. "Severus? Are you busy?"
Severus glanced up from his simmering cauldron from which wafted the pleasant scent of lavender. "Yes," he replied, giving the brew one last stir before putting his ladle aside. "But I can take a break for a few minutes. What do you want?"
"Er... we have a confession to make," Tybalt said as they entered. He couldn't help placing himself slightly in front of Serenus in a gesture of protection, although his expression was both pensive and apologetic. "Although it's my fault, really. Serenus just got caught up in things..."
Severus straightened, his eyebrows climbing at that, and he skirted around his worktable and stood in front of it, his arms folded, looking for all the world like Professor Snape confronting two wayward students about to receive detention. "What did you do?" he asked in a quelling tone.
"Er..." Serenus resisted the urge to shrink behind Tybalt and scuff his toe on the bare stone floor. "We... sort of... got married again."
Severus went still, trying to process what he'd heard. "You what?"
"We had a Gypsy ceremony," Tybalt said, trying to remember to keep his spine straight and not hunch over as he would have as a firstie faced with the wrath of the frightening Professor Snape. "I sprang it on Serenus as a surprise. It... it isn't like a wedding of non-Romany; it's more like a party where Serenus was introduced to the tribe of my family." He drew in a deep breath. "I'm sorry, Severus, that it never even occurred to me that you or Remus or Gaius might want to be there. It was Valentine's Day weekend, and... well, the tribe is insular, and it's something that non-Romany, other than if they are the one being married, are almost never involved in. But I realize now I should have explained it to you so you wouldn't feel as though you were being excluded. I'm so sorry, but after what you said yesterday about not being at our first ceremony, we realized you might be upset at not knowing. I hope you know neither of us would intentionally hurt you for anything. But it is my fault, and I wish there was some way to go back and do it over again."
Severus listened quietly, his brows drawing together in a frown. "I see," he said quietly. "You did not include any of us in your first wedding, and now you have not included us in your second. Why would it not occur to you that I would want to be present during my own brother's wedding, regardless of what tradition it adhered to, especially when I was not part of the first one?"
Swallowing hard, Serenus peeked around Tybalt. "We - I really am sorry, Severus," he said contritely. "I should have thought about it, but I was so caught up in the surprise, it just... slipped my mind." It sounded like a weak excuse even to his own ears, and he felt even more guilty than Severus could possibly make him.
"Please, don't blame Serenus," Tybalt said, spreading his hands in front of him in a gesture of appeal. "He wasn't given any time to think, not with Mum and Celestra running things. It really is my fault, and the truth is, I have no excuse beyond being blindered by trying to keep it a secret from Serenus and by my own upbringing." Tybalt sighed, his blue eyes darkening. "Gypsies... it's hard to understand our culture sometimes, I know, but there's a certain built in paranoia about non-Romany seeing our ceremonies. That isn't directed at you in particular, Severus, it applies to most people, and my father's own family didn't attend his wedding to my mother. See, we've been the targets of mockery and hatred by Muggles and Wizards for centuries, so we tend to keep more secrets than might be normal. You saw how Regulus reacted to Celestra's gift? That's the mildest reaction we can hope for, most of the time." His voice lowered. "My father died in the first war, I think you knew that. What you might not know is that he died protecting the tribe from Death Eaters."
Severus remembered quite well how the Dark Lord had targeted outsiders; if they didn't agree to join him, they were considered enemies, and he wasn't surprised to learn gypsies had been among them. At least he hadn't been one of the Death Eaters sent to perform that particulargrisly task.
"I am sorry to hear it," he said. "Your collective paranoia is understandable." He lifted his chin, regarding them neutrally. "Is that all you have to tell me?"
Serenus glanced at Tybalt uncertainly and then back at Severus. "Yes, that's all." He gazed at Severus questioningly. "You aren't angry?"
"No, I am not angry," Severus replied, but before Serenus could breathe a sigh of relief, he added, "I am disappointed."
"I'm sorry," Tybalt said, taking Serenus' hand in his and squeezing it. "We both are. I want to find a way to make it up to you, if I can. You shouldn't have to suffer for my stupidity and the paranoia of the Gypsies. If there is anything I can do, any way to show you that you do matter not only to Serenus but to me as well, I'll do it, without hesitation. Your feelings matter to both of us, and even though it wasn't intended to hurt you, I know it did, and I want to make things right."
"I have no suggestions," Severus replied with a slight shrug. "I understand why you kept it private, and I can hardly fault you for adhering to your cultural norms. Having a third ceremony would be overkill, and as I said, I am not angry with either of you."
Tybalt glanced at Serenus, his brows drawn down into a frown of worry. Severus' very lack of reaction was alarming to him; he'd feel better if Severus yelled at them, because at least then he'd feel like Severus wasgetting it out of his system. "All right," he said, at a loss for what else to say.
Serenus looked back at forth between them, worried over Severus' lack of reaction as well; as odd as it sounded, he would have been more reassured if Severus had blown up and gotten furious. He considered approaching Severus, perhaps offering a comforting embrace, but he could practically feel the "don't touch" vibes radiating off Severus at the moment.
"Well..." he said at last. "If you think of anything. Indentured servitude, perhaps?" he added, trying to inject a little levity into the situation.
"Anything." Tybalt's tone was more serious, but he offered a small smile, wishing he had Remus' ability to melt Severus with a look. "Even if you aren't angry, I can tell you aren't happy, either, and I can't blame you for that. But we didn't want to hide it from you, after we realized you seemed to be more upset about our first wedding than we'd realized. We didn't want you to find out about it by accident and feel as though we were keeping something from you. I know Serenus loves you, Severus, and I do, too. You're family, and we really didn't mean to hurt you."
"I know," Severus replied. "I appreciate that you were honest and told me the truth rather than concealing it from me. It's better that way in the long run." He shrugged again. "No, I am not happy about it, but there isn't really anything to be done about it now, and I cannot think of any reparations." What he wanted was to find Remus and curl up in his arms, and he returned to the other side of his worktable to turn off the heat beneath the cauldron and put a lid on it.
"Okay." Tybalt was still worried, and he ached for the pain he had unwittingly inflicted on Severus. Squeezing Serenus' hand, he sighed. "I suppose we should go now."
"Yes, I suppose we should," Serenus agreed softly, glancing at Severus with concern, but he knew there was nothing to be done at the moment. Severus needed time to think and process, and Serenus knew it was best to give him space for a while. "We'll talk to you later, Severus," he added, tugging Tybalt's hand as he turned away.
Severus made a noncommittal noise and focused on fiddling with his equipment, relieved they weren't pressing the issue.
"Later," Tybalt repeated, then he wrapped his arm around Serenus' waist and lead him toward the door. He didn't know about Serenus, but he felt in definite need of a cuddle.
Severus waited until they were gone before he too went back upstairs and went in search of Remus, wanting the reassurance and the haven he always found in Remus' arms; after a short search, he found Remus in his study, and he walked in after the briefest of knocks.
"Am I interrupting?" he asked, as he approached Remus' desk.
"No, of course not," Remus said, taking off his glasses and turning to Severus with a smile. But his smile faded as he saw the expression on Severus' face, and without any questions or hesitation, he stood and opened his arms.
Relieved that Remus understood what he needed so readily, Severus wasted no time in moving into the offered embrace; he wound his arms around Remus and held on tightly, drawing comfort from the familiar warmth.
Remus wrapped his arms around Severus, sensing his need for comfort and reassurance, and he rubbed his hands over Severus' back as he murmured softly to him. He wondered what it was that Serenus and Tybalt had wanted to say that had caused this reaction, but he didn't ask questions. Severus would talk when Severus was ready. Slowly he drew Severus over to the leather sofa, not releasing him but easing them both down so that he could pull Severus even closer.
Severus sat down, slipped off his shoes, and drew his feet up so he could curl against Remus' side, and he rested his head on Remus' shoulder, relaxing with a quiet sigh. Closing his eyes, he remained quiet for a while longer, simply enjoying the feeling of safety and security he always found with Remus, but at last, he spoke, his voice soft.
"They had another wedding this weekend," he said. "Tybalt said his people are accustomed to keeping their ceremonies secret from outsiders. I can understand that. However, I cannot help but be disappointed. They have been married twice in two different traditions, and I didn't get to be present either time."
Remus' eyes widened in surprise. He had been certain Tybalt had been planning something big for Valentine's Day for Serenus - after all, he'd asked them to help keep an eye on the twins - but he'd no idea it was something like that. It was obvious that Severus was hurting at his exclusion, and more than anything, Remus wanted to ease his mate's pain, try to make it better. He continued to stroke Severus slowly and gently as he mulled it over, then he spoke.
"I can understand your disappointment," he said quietly, turning his head so that he could place a gentle kiss against Severus' hair. "Serenus is your twin, and you would have liked to share in his happiness. But I know that you know he didn't leave you out to hurt you. The two of you are too close for that."
"Knowing that doesn't make it any less disappointing," Severus replied. "It would be different if they had had this wedding first, and there was the possibility of another that the rest of us could share in, but no, they already had their wedding in Bermuda, which they didn't tell any of us about either. I realize one was spontaneous and the other was private, and I realize being excluded was not a deliberate act either time. I am not angry, but I am deeply disappointed that it happened not once, but twice. If you and I were getting married, I would make certain he was there, even if it was on the other side of the globe."
Remus continued to stroke Severus soothingly, offering love and comfort to help ease the sting of disappointment Severus felt. "I know you would," he replied, sighing softly. "I don't know what to say, really; it's one of those awful situations where no one meant for anyone to get hurt, and yet it happened, and my poor love is the one left disappointed. I think it's just an unfortunate thing that happens, and I'm so sorry it's happened to you. But I'm here for you, and I'll do anything and everything I can to help you feel better. I want you to be happy, because I love you and you deserve to be happy."
Winding his arms around Remus' waist, Severus nestled closer. "There isn't anything to be done about it," he said, giving a little shrug. "I realize it is an unfortunate turn of events. It is simply going to take time for me to get past the disappointment."
"I know, love." Remus cuddled Severus even closer, leaning back against the arm of the sofa and pulling Severus with him so that he could cradle Severus against his chest. He lifted one hand, combing his fingers through Severus' hair. "You take all the time you feel you need, and know that I'm here for you. If you want to talk, or just cuddle, or whatever will help you."
Severus nestled close, grateful for Remus' understanding, and he began to relax. "Cuddling for now," he said, sighing quietly as he let the tension drain away. "There isn't much to talk about that hasn't already been said."
"Cuddling is a specialty of mine," Remus replied with a quiet chuckle. "We can stay this way all evening if you'd like."
"I think I would like that," Severus replied, brushing a kiss against Remus' cheek before settling in comfortably. "You do seem to have finely honed cuddling skills."
"They are at your disposal, then, for as long as you need them; I daresay you can even monopolize them if you choose." Remus continued to stroke Severus' hair. "I'm all yours, in any way you need me."
"I know. I count on it," Severus murmured, his voice low enough that even Remus' keen ears barely caught the words.
Remus didn't reply to that, but a soft, very soppy smile curved his lips. He was glad Severus counted on him for comfort; given how much Severus had faced alone over the course of his life, and how hard it was for Severus to give his trust, it meant a great deal to him that Severus knew he could always turn to Remus for comfort. That's what love was all about, and Remus didn't need it to be spoken to know how Severus felt about him; it was times like these that proved to him that Severus loved him, more than any words could ever convey.