sam_storyteller: (Default)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 12:46 pm
Entry tags:

Matched; PG-13, RL/SS

Rating: PG-13 (Remus/Snape)
Notes: Written for [livejournal.com profile] villainny, who likes this kind of thing. :D
Warnings: None.

Also available at AO3.

***

Lupin was thinner.

Not thinner than anyone else, because that was taken as a given; he'd always been the skinny, wiry sort, even at school. Now, though, he was thinner than himself, which was...well, not worrying, because Severus Snape had far more important things to worry about than werewolves with eating disorders, but unnerving. Still, he watched closely, because he was the sort to see weakness in people, and what he saw in Lupin was careful movements, precise and slow.

The man looked as if a sharp jolt would break him, a sudden movement knock him over. When one of the children that spent their summer in the old musty house ran through the room, he paused until they had gone, almost like an animal frightened of some Muggle machine roaring past. He looked like he knew the precise breaking point of his bones, and knew he was near to it.

He ate slowly, too, cutting his food into small bits, an old childhood trick Severus had used himself when his mother's meals had been inedible. The food at Grimmauld Place was excellent, though; Molly was a good cook on a mass scale, and when it was just a few of them, Kingsley proved to be a surprisingly competent chef. Lupin didn't eat as though he disliked the food, merely as though he was eating to nourish himself, and not because he could even taste it at all.

Snape didn't care, of course. More than that, he Didn't Care. He studiously avoided caring, especially since it was Lupin, the sole survivor of the four tormentors of his youth. It intrigued him, however, that nobody else cared. And they didn't care in the lower-case sense of simply not noticing.

It finally came to the surface at the end of an Order meeting; nearly everyone had gone, and Lupin remained, ostensibly because he was taking his time packing up his papers. Snape had remained because he liked to make sure there was nothing left lying about that Potter or one of the other brats could get their hands on and misinterpret, as they had such a charming habit of doing. Finally, as Moody passed through the doorway at the end of the crowd, Lupin rose; Snape followed him down the aisle of chairs, silently, neither man acknowledging the other.

Until Lupin faltered and paused, and a bony-knuckled, scar-skinned hand shot out to grab the back of a chair. Snape caught his other arm as his legs gave way, and for a moment he thought Lupin might fall; instead, the weight on his hand increased, and Lupin kept himself upright through shaking arm-strength. He hissed as if in pain, and shrugged off the supporting hand, easing himself into a chair. The folio of papers he'd been carrying slipped from his fingers to the floor.

Snape crouched to collect it, fingers tapping irritably on the cheap plastic cover.

"Thank you, Severus," Lupin said, as if nothing had happened, and held out his hand to accept the folio back. Snape stayed where he was, standing over him, papers just out of reach. "I'll need those tonight..."

"You've not been eating," Snape said, before he'd registered that he was planning to say it. If he'd thought about it, he would have said something else entirely; some taunt about werewolf strength, or how the mighty have fallen. He often had that sensation, of wishing to say one thing and something much less cruel coming out of his mouth, around Lupin. The man had that effect on people.

Lupin tilted his head back a little, and let his hand fall. "Don't pretend that you care," he said tiredly.

"No, I won't pretend," Snape answered.

"Then give me back the folio, please."

"Do not do this, Lupin."

The brown-haired man -- mostly grey, now, but still some hints of deep brown, rather like the trunk of a birch tree, really -- gazed up at him with too-bright eyes.

"Be honest," Snape said. "By the look of you, not only have you been starving, you've also not slept."

"It's..." Lupin began, then stopped. He didn't know what it was, of course. He had no lie to cover it up.

"The Order needs you," Snape said quietly. "We can't afford to lose even one man."

"The Order." To his shock, Lupin chuckled, dryly. "While you've been watching me, have you been watching them? To the Order I'm just a werewolf. A liability. Dumbledore's pet," he said, bitterness seeping in slowly, "and Sirius Black's pet fuck..."

Snape, whose eyes had strayed to one of the thin hands tapping on the wooden back of another chair, glanced sharply at Lupin's face.

"Oh dear, did I shock you?" Lupin asked, tiredly. "A werewolf and a queer..."

"Do not blame me for your confession," Snape growled.

"No, Severus," Lupin said, pushing himself to his feet again. "I don't blame you for any of it."

When he had risen to his feet, they'd been planted just in front of Snape, which meant the men now stood quite close together; fingers closed around Snape's hand, and the sudden shock of contact with dry, rough skin made Snape blink.

This is wrong, he thought, even as he leaned forward to catch Lupin around the waist, to keep him from falling again. This is wrong, it should feel wrong. This should feel so wrong...

But Lupin, a man he hated and who hated him, Lupin met him halfway and he opened his mouth and those thin rough hands pressed against his chest as they kissed, Snape's hair falling around their faces like a curtain, blocking out the world.

He could hear the other man whispering words; death and frightened and broken, and he latched onto that one because he understood. Broken and damaged, both of them. Neither fit anywhere, like jagged bits of porcelain from a long-discarded teacup, a fragment of one he'd found when he was young. He'd kept it because the edges were sharp and cut his skin but the blue-printed pattern on the side was pleasing, a little. Like the flick of Lupin's tongue across his, or the bright, almost incandescent blue of his eyes.

They didn't fit the world. Their pieces had gone missing between marks and scars and little bits of soul torn out over the years, but two jagged fragments could look alike if you held them up in the right light, and even if they didn't fit the world, they fit each other.

Only the two of them matched.

END

[identity profile] soshi.livejournal.com 2006-06-22 04:37 am (UTC)(link)
ah, that was so good without being cheesy...

[identity profile] liviconnor.livejournal.com 2007-07-12 05:16 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, that teacup part just took the fic and added a whole lot of depth/perspective/something with four words, "and cut his skin." That wasn't the focus of the story, but it sure stuck out in a vignette full of details.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2007-07-12 09:24 pm (UTC)(link)
Actually, it's very interesting that you remark on that, because the teacup line was the originating concept of the story (I had an image I wanted to use) and the part I spent the most time tweaking to get it just-so. :)

Fic: Matched

[identity profile] secondsilk.livejournal.com 2008-03-26 04:03 am (UTC)(link)
This suits them so well. And the detour into the teacup image.
And "Do not blame me for your confession,"

you have killed me.

(Anonymous) 2009-04-19 07:45 pm (UTC)(link)
They didn't fit the world. Their pieces had gone missing between marks and scars and little bits of soul torn out over the years, but two jagged fragments could look alike if you held them up in the right light, and even if they didn't fit the world, they fit each other.

Only the two of them matched.

AMAZING.
You are an incredible writer and overall your fics are fabulous, but then you just have lines like this that just clinch it all.

Re: you have killed me.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2009-04-19 09:04 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks! I'm glad you're enjoying them :)

[identity profile] bonfoi.livejournal.com 2010-03-10 09:06 am (UTC)(link)
I know how they both feel. Well written. Well done.

(Anonymous) 2010-10-17 10:16 am (UTC)(link)
Such a bittersweet story, it made me love it.
bonfoi: Harry_Accomplished (harry)

[personal profile] bonfoi 2010-10-31 02:44 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, breaks the heart when they come together, doesn't it? Beautiful.