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Title: Weighed by Words
Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers: HBP, the rest
Words: 807
Pairings: Gen (Snape, Lupin)
Note: Lupin confronts Severus after Dumbeldore's death. Now with companion flipside (Remus Pov) Actions Speak. Severus PoV.


The press of Lupin's wand against his throat makes it hard to swallow. Severus's mouth is dry and his stomach roils with bile, but he keeps his face expressionless. "Will you admit to your betrayal, Severus? Or will you deny it?" The words are more plea than command, and Severus finds himself meeting the werewolf's gaze in spite of his determination not to do just that.

With a sneer dredged up from the pit of memories that are the fabric of his past, Severus says simply, softly, "Neither."

Something softens in the golden eyes and Severus feels the world dip and swallow his control. The bloody werewolf has never done what he was supposed to, he has never played by the rules, and now when Severus needs him, needs his anger, the bloody fool is letting him down again. He should have stayed away from Grimmauld Place, and far away from the wolf. "Will you say nothing, then?"

The hand which had held him pinned to the wall releases him slowly and the wand withdraws. Lupin's retreat gives Severus room to breathe, and he does so in quick, quiet pants before bringing his breathing back under control. He raises one hand to straighten the collar of his shirt and robe and very deliberately holds his wand hand still, away from his pocket. "What is there to say that you would believe, Lupin?"

"I would believe anything you tell me," Lupin says quietly. The words pierce despite their softness, tiny pinpricks Severus wants to deny but can't. He tries; he opens his mouth to banish the fleeting, feeble hope that brings with it so much pain. Then Lupin's wand is raised again, higher this time and aimed such that Severus cannot look at the point without crossing his eyes. Painfully as always, the hope dies. "But if you will say nothing, there is nothing to believe."

I am a spy, Severus doesn't say. It's an obvious truth, given the circumstances, but there are many layers which Severus has shared with no one, ever, except Albus. The nuances are his alone, now. The truth, the absolute and undeniable truth, is his burden to carry. It is lighter than the guilt, easier to bear, but now the loneliness of it weighs upon him as well.

Despite the threat Lupin's wand poses, there is no danger for Severus. Had the werewolf wanted or planned for his death, Severus would not still be thinking of words unspoken. He would not have been thinking at all. Lupin's chance is over, his time done. Severus closes his eyes and thinks of every opportunity in his life left untaken and adds this moment to the list. When he opens his eyes, he opens himself, allowing Lupin beyond the wall for the seconds it takes to take out his wand and cast Expelliarmus.

"You should learn to suit actions to words, Lupin," Severus chides, summoning Lupin's wand. He makes sure any and all softness is gone, seals up the cracks in his mind and expression until there is nothing but his anger and disgust left showing. "I will give you a piece of advice, since you're in such dire want of my conversation. Do not drop your guard when the enemy is before you."

"I'll keep that in mind when I next face the enemy," Lupin returns quickly. There is anger in his gaze, but something lurks beneath that, deeper and stronger than hate. Despite the churn of nerves in his stomach, Severus makes a point of strolling leisurely toward the door. Leaving Lupin alive is a risk, but in the coming months, Potter will need what assistance he can get and Lupin is an experienced wizard.

The plan is simple; exit the room, put Lupin's wand in an out of the way spot where the fool will find it, and then Apparate away cleanly. If the werewolf has half a mind, he'll be curious about his survival but he'll keep the particulars of their meeting to himself, covering for his own stupidity and Severus' mercy. The alternatives depend on Lupin being an idiot, and Severus knows better than to consider them.

"Severus," Lupin calls to him one last time just as Severus puts a foot down in the hallway. He pauses and raises an eyebrow at the werewolf. Lupin is looking at him blankly, thoughts carefully concealed behind his bland expression. "I have a piece of advice for you in return."

"I'm not in a mood to exchange favors with you, Lupin." He turns away, but Lupin's response is loud enough to hear and potent enough to hit home.

"Men speak through actions as much as through words. Be careful in what you say."

Severus turns and looks at Lupin. The silence between them is heavy, weighted by a shared past. "I'll keep that in mind when I next face the enemy," he says. Then walks away.


Prompted by: Fic-A-Week Prompt Table
Prompt date: 200804/05
Written: 20080401, 0313
Prompt: 04/05 Spy
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