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Title: Actions Speak
Fandom: Harry Potter
Spoilers: HBP, the rest
Words: 792
Pairings: Not-Quite-Gen (Snape, Lupin)
Note: Remus confronts Severus after Dumbeldore's death. Flipside to "Weighed by Words", Remus PoV.



"I would believe anything you tell me," Remus admits. Severus says nothing for a moment, though his mouth opens. Expecting scorn and finding himself unwilling to hear it at that moment, Remus raises his wand again. The point wavers between Severus' eyes, a threat he knows he won't, can't, carry out. Whether Severus knows of his weakness is anyone's guess. "But if you will say nothing, there is nothing to believe." He will not beg, not when he knows it won't sway Severus at all.

Severus' dark eyes consider him for a moment before closing. Remus waits, tightens his fingers on his wand, but there is no preparing himself for the wealth of emotion Severus shows him when the dark eyes reopen. He knows Severus well enough to know the man's control never breaks, that Severus does not open himself ever. Knowing does not stop him from wanting to believe, however, and while Remus is in conflict with himself, Severus' hand shifts down, flicks, and Remus is suddenly wandless and half a meter further away than he had been a moment before.

"You should learn to suit actions to words, Lupin," Severus murmurs, the words nearly tender given their source. Like the closing of a trunk, Severus is locked away again, hiding behind a smirk and the habitual distaste to which Remus has become accustomed. That momentary sight sets up an ache in Remus' chest, familiar sensation where Severus is concerned. "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."

It's so typically Severus that Remus nearly smiles. Were the circumstances not so dire, perhaps he might have. "I'll keep that in mind when I next face the enemy." Severus has never been his friend, but Remus does not want the man to be a foe. As Remus watches, Severus begins to make his escape, his pace deceptively slow as the distance between them grows.

Remus schools his expression and waits until Severus is at the door before calling his name. The dark-haired wizard turns slightly and favors Remus with a "Get on with it" look. "I have a piece of advice for you in return." Not that Severus has ever heeded him before.

As if to prove that point, Severus scoffs at his offering. "I'm not in a mood to exchange favors with you, Lupin."

Expecting the rejection, Remus continues as if the other man hadn't spoken. "Men speak through actions as much as through words. Be careful in what you say." What is said between them, silently or aloud, will remain only between them, but soon Severus will be in worse company. The fact that they are no longer allied has stood between them all through their meeting. It is entirely possible they are not on the same side, but if that were the case, Remus would have been dead already, or worse, trussed and prepped for the Dark Lord. It's easier to believe.

Their gazes meet and something flickers in Severus' eyes. Remus takes it as acknowledgement; he's surprised when Severus offers more. "I'll keep that in mind when I next face the enemy." He disappears, leaving Remus alone and wandless.

When there is no indication Severus is going to come back, Remus walks to the nearest chair and sinks into it with a sigh. From beginning to end, the meeting hadn't gone as he had planned. Part of him feels vindicated, certain in the knowledge that Severus is... well, Severus. Steeped in darkness but too stubborn to ever stop trying to claw his way out of it. The rest of him worries what it will cost Severus, this grand deception that has taken Albus from all of them.

Grimmauld Place is as dreary as it has ever been, but Remus sits for a long time. He knows better than to think waiting will bring Severus back, but he listens closely to the sounds the house makes anyway. When he has gathered his strength and can no longer fool himself, he stands and leaves the drawing room. His wand is on the side table in the hallway, placed precisely parallel to the front.

The book next to his wand has an old cover. He has to open its pages before he finds the title, but once he reads the words, its purpose is abundantly clear. Keeping Secrets: The Legilimens' Guide to Occlumency. So much of the old adage, then. If Severus expects him to hold his secrets while still breathing, Remus will learn to do so. He tucks it into his pocket and calls up the image of the interior of his dank apartment on the other side of London.


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Written: 20080401, 0353

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