“Ah, office hours. I thought I’d find you in here…”
Snape looked up from his paper at the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor, who was peering in at him from his doorway.
“You can wipe that smug expression of your face, Lupin,” Snape said.
Lupin’s face was a mask of feigned affront. “Smug? Moi?”
“And office hours,” Snape continued, “are reserved for students.”
“Well, I will cede your company to the first one that comes along," Lupin said, stepping in lightly and closing the door behind him. "Why you actually hold office hours is beyond me, anyway. It’s not like your students ever actually show up.”
Snape hid behind his paper again. “I hold them because it is required.”
“But your students are far too terrified of you to make use of them!”
“Which is convenient for me, but does not make them any less required,” Snape replied, leaning back in his chair and placing his black-booted feet up on the desk.
“My, Severus, feet on the desk?" Lupin raised an eyebrow. "Awfully relaxed of you. Positively laid back. I wonder what could be causing that?”
Snape flipped a corner of the paper down and regarded his visitor. Lupin’s smug smile had returned. Well, of course he knew about Jane. Of course he knew that he and Jane had been fucking practically nonstop, like hormone-addled teenagers, since Christmas night. The real mystery was why Lupin waited until past Epiphany to goad him about it.
Snape frowned as the werewolf settled himself in a chair. “And who asked you to sit down? What do you want anyway? You’re taking up my valuable Prophet-reading time.”
Lupin smiled cheerily. “I always do that.”
The paper rose again, hiding Snape’s face. “But usually you bring chocolate,” he intoned. “What on earth good are you if you don’t bring chocolate?”
It occurred to Snape at that moment that he had missed Lupin’s company. Fucking Jane nearly constantly had caused him to miss out on many things. He was most definitely sleeping less, that was for sure. Probably he was eating less as well. And thinking less. His entire body seemed constantly thrumming with erotic expectation.
This truthfully annoyed him no end, especially as his erections had a tendency to manifest themselves at inconvenient times. The last one sprang up in the faculty room that very morning, as Jane passed him with a polite nod and headed out the door.
In public, she was the very model of professional affability, but as Snape leafed through the contents of his faculty mailbox, his mind had wandered to Jane in private.
As for Lupin, he had no doubt stopped by several times, only to find Snape's office and his quarters empty. Finally he had resorted to visiting during office hours, when Lupin knew that even Snape's inexhaustible desire for Jane would not interrupt his innate sense of duty.
Snape suddenly felt a surge of affection for the man, but he tamped the feeling down. No point in catering to it. It would just make Lupin even more smug.
Lupin's giddy cheer, however, was undiminished. “Severus, I’ve brought you something much better than chocolate. Two things, actually. One is a present.”
With a crunch of newsprint, the paper was down again. “A what?”
Remus Lupin blinked at him. “Well, it is your birthday, Severus.”
For a second Snape’s expression was blank, as if he were doing some sort of mathematical calculation. Then his face curled into a suspicious glare. “Who told you?”
“Albus, of course!”
Snape’s hands curled themselves into fists, crumpling the paper in his hands. “I swear to Christ, if that old man doesn’t stop muddling in my business I’ll…”
“Telling me your birthday is not muddling in your business, Severus,” Lupin insisted. “Besides, if you don’t tell anyone, how will you get your well-deserved prezzies!”
Snape’s frown deepened.
“This is from Winslow and me…” Lupin said, tossing an envelope on Snape’s desk.
Severus Snape put his feet back on the floor, and setting the paper down, he regarded the envelope warily. It looked innocent enough, though it was an alarmingly deep pink in color. On the front were three capital As, elaborately rendered in raised red letters. Alarm bells began ringing in his head, but he could not place why the envelope disturbed him.
“Open it!” Lupin said.
With a deep sense of foreboding, Snape did.
Inside was a gift certificate. A ten-galleon gift certificate, for merchandise that could be procured at an establishment known as “Arlana’s Adult Accoutrements,” off Diagon Alley. Snape had of course heard of it. It was infamous.
On the certificate itself was a depiction of a well-endowed, extremely curvaceous, and scantily dressed woman, with softly curling auburn hair that tumbled down her shoulders and her back. She was wearing some sort of semi-sheer nightgown, which was black, but being sheer could not completely hide her assets.
As he regarded her, Snape kept his face completely expressionless. The woman winked at him salaciously, then slid the nightgown off her shoulders, very slowly, baring her overlarge breasts. Snape’s mouth fell open as the woman then touched her index fingers to her tongue and began to stimulate her nipples. She looked at him, winked again, and ran her tongue over her lips.
“Gods, Lupin, this is pornographic!” Snape said, but he did not take his eyes from the show on the certificate.
“Touch the red ‘x’ to stop the show and save it until later,” Lupin said, and Snape did.
“You should see what the little fellow on the certificate for gay men does!” Lupin added.
Snape pushed the certificate away from him raised one dark eyebrow. “Flower arranging?”
Lupin laughed. “Oh, my, no. Penis arranging is more like it. They have all sorts of certificates for all sorts of different sexual preferences and predilections. There’s over twenty girls to choose from just for straight men alone, then more choices to make depending on what you want them to do.”
“And how did you come to choose this?”
Lupin looked down nervously. “Er, well…I assumed that as you’re interested in Jane you are interested in…breasts.”
“Logical,” Snape said. “Though I find it disturbing to know that you are contemplating my sexual proclivities in any manner whatsoever.”
“Oh, it’s all good fun, Severus. You and I can’t very well bond at a burlesque show, can we? You might enjoy it if you weren’t too embarrassed to actually go, and for me what would be the point? Unless there were men, and there are no unisex burlesque shows from what I can tell.”
“Are we talking about your sex life again?”
Lupin placed his elbows on the table. “Only because you don’t want to talk about yours. But really, Severus, you can use that for all sorts of things…it’s a very interesting shop. Quite an eye-opener! And ten galleons! Just think of what you could buy!"
"I'd rather not."
"A huge, purple phallus that rotates on command!”
“A butt plug that talks!”
“A harness with spikes and a….”
Snape rolled his eyes. “Oh for God’s sake, Lupin, you’re being ridiculous, even for you! And surely you must have sensed by now that Professor Flintrammel requires no mechanical encouragement.”
Indeed she didn’t. Just the previous evening they had crossed paths accidentally on the third floor (each was patrolling the halls for the possible errant student), and Jane had, despite his hissing protests, unceremoniously pulled him into the Room of Requirement, which immediately transformed itself into a cramped broom closet with a sturdy table.
Or maybe it had been a broom closet after all. Snape wasn’t sure. The minute she perched on that table and parted her legs the blood rushed away from his brain and to more insistent parts of his anatomy.
“Oh, of course I know Jane doesn’t need a lot of persuasion where you’re concerned,” Lupin was saying. “But I thought you might need something to keep up with her!”
Then he laughed again, jolting Snape out of his erotic reverie. A good thing, too, because the memory had already rendered him half-hard.
“Be quiet, you ninny!” Snape said, crossing his legs.
Lupin did quiet then, at least with regard to actual words. He chuckled to himself for a good while, during which time Snape opened the paper again.
“I’ve brought you something else, too…” Lupin said at last.
Snape grunted dispassionately.
“Don’t you want to know what it is?”
At this Snape turned the page rather theatrically, and made no sound at all.
“It’s advice. Good advice.”
“Unwanted advice is a poor substitute for chocolate,” Snape intoned from behind the paper, “and if I wanted your advice about Jane I’d ask for it.”
Lupin’s eyebrows rose high on his forehead. “Jane? I wasn’t going to bring up Jane. You obviously don’t need my advice in that regard, besotted as you are.”
At this a corner of the paper flipped down again, and Snape stared at Lupin suspiciously. “I’m not ‘besotted’, you fool. ‘Besotted’ implies that my reason is muddled by infatuation. My reason is perfectly intact.”
“Really? Could have fooled me! I mean, just look at you! The aura of romance lingers about you like a veil of sweet perfume…” And then, just for effect, Remus Lupin batted his eyes.
But Snape only grunted. “If by romance you mean sex, you are correct. Though may I say again that I think it’s intolerably boorish of you to notice.”
Lupin shook his head. “No, Severus. I mean romance. The dance of two souls, circling each other, yearning for blessed harmony…” Lupin clasped his hands at that, and stared up in mock rapture.
“Now you’re just trying to annoy me.”
“Yes. You deserve it. Now, where was I…ah…’the dance of two souls, circling each other, yearning for blessed harmony…’”
Snape stared at his visitor blandly. “And heretofore I was unaware that it was even possible for a man to spontaneously grow a vagina. I'd tell Oxbox if I were you. He deserves to know.”
“Oh, just try to deny it! I mean look at you! You look positively rested. I’ve never seen you look rested! Love works wonders for a man, doesn’t it?”
Snape laughed derisively. “Fucking works wonders for a man. Love makes men weak and stupid.”
“Oh, you’re not fooling me. And Jane adores you.”
“Jane is merely using me for sex.”
“You say that like it's a bad thing! Severus Snape, sex god!”
“Oh, shut up, you simpering fool!”
All of a sudden Remus Lupin jumped as if shocked. “YOWCH! No fair hiding your wand behind the paper!”
Lupin jumped again. “Ow! I give up! Put it down! I’m leaving!”
“Ah, but just one more thing…”
Snape’s forehead rose over the Prophet. “My wand is currently pointing at your indeterminate genitals. Choose your words carefully.”
Lupin looked satisfyingly unsettled. “Yes, all right then. Well…well what I wanted to tell you is that you’re not going to accomplish anything trying to make Draco look foolish.”
“What do you know about it?”
“Only what I’ve sought to discover after you began trying to undermine his performance in class. They make a great effort to hide it, but they are involved.”
Behind the paper, Snape's eyes narrowed. “A brief adolescent fling does not signal ‘involvement’. And if Draco can’t make a simple Adamant potion that is hardly my fault.”
“They’re both seventeen, and an Adamant potion is hardly simple. Wolfsbane is easier to brew. You’ve singled him out. Twice in the last week. You never do that.”
“Why do you care?”
“I don’t. I just want you to know I know what you’re up to. And it’s not going to work.”
“I'm warning you, Severus...you’ll play Cupid for them without meaning to…" Suddenly Remus Lupin paused, thoughtfully. "Well…come to think of it I suppose it wouldn’t be that bad after all, would it? Carry on, then.”
“I mean, look what happened between Harry and Luna! You’re a regular matchmaker you are…Ow!”
“And next time bring chocolate!”