"You choose." Severus deepened his exploration of Remus’s mouth, pressing him further into the banister.
Remus turned them both from where they had finally become entangled on the top stair and shepherded them across the landing toward Severus's bedroom.
He loved the smell of Severus in here. Severus as he stepped across the threshold. Severus on the bedclothes. Severus, Severus, Severus. "I want you."
"Do I get to choose that too?"
"It is a special day."
Remus leaned back. "How did you–?"
"Before I forget..." Severus produced from his robes something the size of a matchbox. He muttered an enlargement spell, and in Remus's hand was a round purple box and a card, its silver lettering flashing proudly its Honeydukes' origin.
"How? No, don't tell me." Remus let the box fall to the floor as he revelled in Severus’s mystery. He knew this was what had finally made him succumb to the man. His very smell was of intrigue – here, at his neck; here, where dark collar met pale skin. It was the same reason he had a weakness for Honeydukes’ selections – that same feeling of never being quite sure exactly what you were in store for until you had brought yourself to take that first taste. And each time was a new, subtle, delightful revelation.
Here was the man he knew he had begun to share that ultimate mystery with in only a few short months. A few short months after many more of trying to keep out of each other’s way, then trying to ignore the direction their feelings were taking, ever since Severus had turned up on his doorstep for a “temporary” stay until he found somewhere of his own. He knew Severus had never stopped looking, even now. They were still in those first heady days of exploring the slopes of one another's body, each dip a secret place staked, each rise a new land laid claim to.
Yet his gift today gave Remus hope that these past months would commute into more – a more permanent stay, perhaps, if Severus was willing. "I love you." Remus slid the robes from Severus's shoulder as though unwrapping the finest chocolate, with a reverence hurried but practised. He took so much care over this ritual, savouring every inch of pale skin carefully exposed, that a full moment passed before he realised Severus had stilled.
He let go to look at him. "What is it?"
But as so often happened – and Remus knew by now it was not only because of their lingering uncertainty with each other – Severus said nothing. He looked about to speak, but he had schooled his expression neutral. Remus saw something pained pass through his eyes, before he left Remus’s arms and moved away.
"Is it the chocolates?" Remus looked down at the box on the floor where he had dropped it so carelessly, a pang of guilt pricking him. He picked it up and smoothed a hand across its pristine lid. "Really, I love the chocolates. They're my favourite."
"What did you say?" Severus turned his head a little, but not enough to look his way.
"I said they're my favourite."
"Is it about the chocolates? Because I dropped them?"
A slight nod, then Severus spoke as if almost to himself. "Just a word."
It may have been Severus's mystery that had attracted Remus, but it was also that very same thing that often drove him to despair. He felt the anxiety that was becoming all too familiar rise within him as he was left to think back over what they’d said, what had happened – what could possibly be behind Severus's sudden change in mood.
As soon as he realised, a wave of emotion – the overwhelming desire to protect tinged with a deep longing – washed through him. He darted forward. “Severus – you don’t need to.” He watched Severus’s turned face and took a breath. “You show it in other ways.” Then more clearly, “Like this,” he said, indicating the chocolates. “Like finding out my birthday. I don’t even know yours – some lover I am!” He attempted a laugh – but it looked like it would take more than that to dispel Severus’s despondency. “Look,” he said, throwing the box onto the dresser, “the chocolates mean nothing to me.” He adopted a serious tone. “The chocolates and I are over.”
“You’re pushing that analogy a little far.”
Overwhelmed with relief at the breakthrough, in a second Remus had crossed the distance between them. “I’ll never be careless with that word again.” He threaded his arm around Severus’s waist and pulled him tight. “I promise. It’s all yours from now on.” Remus couldn’t help but beam inside at what he saw in Severus’s eyes. “If you’ll have it.”
Severus opened his mouth, then shut it again. “I am rather partial to violet creams.”
“Oh,” Remus looked around to the box lying neglected on the dresser. “Well, you’re welcome to those too – when I find them.”
He turned back to him with a smile. “But now my illicit liaison with them is over – how about a threesome?”