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The short, plump woman in the faded purple gown and dusty grey cloak trotted as fast as her sturdy legs would carry her, down the dank, cobbled lanes off Knockturn Alley. She clutched a heavily-laden basket on one arm and muttered darkly as she heard footsteps behind her. She cut left abruptly, coming out into the relative brightness of Knockturn Alley itself, and gasped in relief at the sight of Bitworth and Slyme's All-Night Apothecary immediately across the road.

She hurried inside.

"Yesssss, madam?" an oily voice greeted her.

"Five ounces of pickled dragon's spleen," she ordered in a lightly quavering voice. "And mind it's properly pickled! The last I had from you was still twitching!"

"Certainly, madam," the proprietor assured her. "We have some very fine Fireball spleen, preserved in rice wine vinegar, put up in 1963."

She sniffed. "Hmph! Nasty foreign stuff. Well, I suppose it will have to do. Two pounds of hippogriff bone meal, and a packet of dried lacewings." She rummaged in her pockets and counted out sickles and knuts onto the counter, before adding one golden galleon and pushing the money across to him.

He scraped the coins into the till, bowed, and went to package her purchases.

"I haven't got all day, you know!" she snapped after a few moments.

"Certainly, certainly, madam," he said soothingly, coming out of the storeroom with the brown paper-wrapped parcels. "Here you are, madam. A pleasure to have your custom, as always."

She glared at him and stowed the packages in her basket, then cast an uneasy glance out the dingy shop window before turning back to him. "Where is it, today?" she asked carefully, sliding another galleon across the counter.

"Behind the Spotted Unicorn, madam, beside the rubbish bins. Our side door is at your disposal," the man offered, as the galleon disappeared.

"Very well." She hesitated, then placed another few sickles on the counter. "Good day." She sidled past a tall rack of thestral bones and ducked out the side door. She stood quietly for a moment, listening, then pulled a battered flask from her pocket and took a long swallow.

She gritted her teeth at the horrid taste and clung to the wall as the potion took hold.

In a few moments, she brushed long blonde hair out of her eyes and glared down at the gown whose hem now hung just below her knees. With a sigh, she pulled her wand from her pocket and muttered a spell, extending the fabric down to her ankles and darkening it to muddy brown. A faint sound made her look around, but no one was in sight.

She headed down the alley toward the back of the Spotted Unicorn, her wand tightly gripped in her hand. Her shoes pinched, but she could feel eyes on her and knew she had no more time to spare. The rank odor of garbage rose up as she reached the back of the pub. She ducked behind the rubbish bin and hurriedly scraped away the accumulated refuse to uncover a circle, nearly two feet across, inscribed in faintly-glowing blue.

Footsteps sounded nearby and the hair on the back of her neck stood up at the approach of malevolent magic. She quickly kicked the last of the rubbish clear and stepped into the circle.

She felt a tug behind her navel as the portkey activated. A heartbeat later, she lurched forward and only prevented herself from falling by clutching at the wall. She looked around quickly, assessing. She was in a stall, in what appeared to be a darkened public toilet. There was no trace of the portkey, of course. The automatically re-setting portkeys were one of the accommodations the merchants of Knockturn Alley maintained for patrons who required a safe, discreet and untraceable means of departure. They were scattered throughout the Alley, their positions changed daily, and their destinations altered with every use. If anyone had tried to follow her, they had probably found themselves twenty miles away, in the opposite direction. The terminal points were random, but guaranteed to be low-profile and unoccupied.

She breathed a sigh of relief, visualized a maintenance building at the corner of a long-abandoned mill, and apparated. Her arrival startled a feral cat, who gave her an offended glare before stalking off to better hunting grounds. She pulled off her cloak and transfigured it into a sturdy Muggle shopping bag, stuffing her laden basket into its capacious interior. Next, she cast finite incantatum on her gown, which morphed into a shapeless pair of trousers and a limp shirt of indeterminate colour. The clothes were rather too snug in certain areas and too long in general, but she merely sighed, slung the shopping bag over one arm, and began trudging home.

The polyjuice wore off half a mile from home, as anticipated. As the first quavers hit, she turned down a side street and ducked into the doorway of a boarded-up pawnshop to wait out the transformation.

After a few minutes, Severus Snape shook off the nausea and weakness left in the aftermath of overlapped, mixed doses of polyjuice and doggedly continued homeward.

It was full dark when he arrived, but he had the neighborhood toughs properly cowed. They either made hasty departures or gave him cautiously respectful nods in greeting as he passed by.

Once safely back behind the old wooden fence and solid front door that guarded his house, Snape sighed and went to stow the spoils of his shopping excursion in the few secret compartments neither Wormtail nor the Ministry had discovered in their repeated invasions of his living space.

When he was done with the essentials, he pulled more prosaic purchases - packets of tea, sugar and oatmeal - from his pockets and put them away in the nearly bare pantry, then slumped down onto his single kitchen stool and rested his head in his hands.

It had been three years. Three years since the Ministry, in its inestimable wisdom and mercy, had seen fit to grant him a conditional parole, "freeing" him from Azkaban and graciously permitting him to "reintegrate" himself into the fabric of wizarding society.

What a farce!

The conditions of his parole would have been less onerous, perhaps, if he had had a circle of family, friends and professional colleagues who had petitioned on his behalf and now stood by him. If he had been able to find a livelihood that would allow him to raise himself above grim poverty. If he had been able to find a place in that so-called society where he was not constantly shunned, hexed and spat upon, where his name was not synonomous with treachery and blackest evil, where people did not mutter darkly at his passing by, about the good old days when Dark traitors went to the Dementors, as they so richly deserved.

Instead, he had former comrades who had virtuously told the Wizengamot that Severus Snape had, at great risk to his life and his very soul, provided information that enabled the Order of the Phoenix to bring about Voldemort's fall. They had scrupulously recounted his part in the final battle, giving him full credit for every Death Eater he had killed, every curse he had cast, every hex he had intercepted in trying to protect the Boy Who Lived yet one last time. They had nobly sworn that he had been obedient to the wishes and orders of Albus Dumbledore, first to last.

And they had unanimously testified that he had cast the Killing Curse that took the old man's life.

Oh, they had been careful to explain that he had been under orders that Dumbledore had insisted he obey. But the fact remained that he had killed perhaps the most-beloved wizard of the past century, and the Wizengamot's decision was swift.

Fifteen years in Azkaban.

He had served seven before being granted parole. He was painfully aware that most people considered that a glaring travesty of justice. Certainly, most of the Order must have thought so, as he had had no contact with any of them since his sentencing.

So here he sat, in the wretched house he had grown up in, surrounded by memories he had no wish to recall, abandoned by his one-time colleagues, despised by the wizarding world, and looked upon with mingled fear and suspicion by his Muggle neighbors.

He was not allowed to apparate within a mile of Spinner's End - to quell any Muggle curiosity. He was not allowed to send or receive Owl Post, except indirectly through Gringotts' Post Forwarding Department, which maintained arrangements with several Muggle shipping firms.

The restrictions imposed to keep the locals blissfully ignorant of his nature were bad enough, but the conditions of his parole imposed to "reform" and "rehabilitate" him were nearly unbearable.

They had taken his wand at his arrest, of course, but on his parole, he had been dismayed, angered and alarmed to be given in its place a short olivewood wand with a core of unicorn hair. It was a lovely thing with an oil-rubbed finish that brought out the beauty of the wood. It was also guaranteed incapable of casting any Dark spell, and it grew uncomfortably hot in his hand if he attempted anything much more powerful than wingardium leviosa.

There was a long list of items not allowed in his possession. He was forbidden to go anywhere near Knockturn Alley, or to enter any business known to traffic in Dark or "questionable" materials.

His floo was connected, but charmed so that he could not restrict access by the Department of Magical Law Enforcement at any time, and a record of all travel through his floo was automatically updated at the Ministry every time the floo was activated.

They had confiscated his laboratory at his arrest as well, miniaturizing the entire contents of what had once been his mother's workroom. On his release from Azkaban, some of it had been returned to him - barely enough to adequately equip a Fourth Year's student workbench in his old Potions classroom. His rare ingredients, carefully collected compounds and delicate, expensive equipment had been withheld, pending successful completion of his "rehabilitation program" and the full term of his parole. After all, as his parole auror had pointed out, some of those supplies could be classified as Dark magic on their own, let alone their potential for being used to create Dark or otherwise harmful potions!

Oh, heavens, the horror!

Undoubtedly the worst element of the whole degrading and appalling mess was the agent and embodiment of his misery, Suzanne Marie Soleil. She was a Rehabilitation Specialist Auror, a hellish new variant of torturer, as far as he was concerned. She was horrifyingly cheerful and "perky," as she described herself, and his best attempts at intimidation had no apparent effect on her. The glares and snarls that had made Death Eaters quail and Seventh Years soil themselves were met with a look of sorrow and a solicitous inquiry as to the state of his bowels.

Insufferable bitch!

When he screamed at her, she merely sighed and shook her head. When he glowered or loomed threateningly, she had had the temerity to pat him on the shoulder and assure him that he would be much happier once he had begun taking the new tonic she had induced the mediwizards at St. Mungo's to recommend for him, to offset his years of privation in Azkaban.

If his wand had been capable of it, he would have blasted her where she stood.

Instead, he had to suffer her nauseatingly sweet lectures and promises of a ludicrously implausible future, founded on some mythical employment she insisted he could procure once he had been "rehabilitated."

It sounded unpleasantly like a slow and lingering death to him.

His own hopes had died long ago in Azkaban or even earlier, when the blast of green fire from his wand had killed the only man who had ever had faith in him. Or perhaps they had gasped their last when he had first surveyed the ruins of his laboratory and the pitiful scrapings he was to be permitted to possess.

He gave what thanks he was still capable of to the ghost of Salazar Slytherin, for instilling in all children of his House the healthy paranoia that had driven him to create dozens of hiding places and secret caches of ingredients and other useful items in every place he had ever lived. The more obvious ones had been ransacked, of course. Wormtail had stuck his pointy little rat nose into most corners of Spinner's End during his stay, and the aurors who searched the house after his arrest had been fairly thorough, for Ministry employees.

But none of them had been quite thorough enough.

In one of the undisturbed hiding places, he had kept a small stash of polyjuice base and the wherewithal to brew one more batch.

He would have starved or frozen to death, that first winter of his parole, if he'd relied upon the Ministry's reintegration efforts, or if he'd had to live on the proceeds of what they had left him able to brew. There was the dole, of course, but memories of his wretched father queuing up for government handouts, only to drink the proceeds away at the local pub the same afternoon, made the prospect of living on assistance abhorrent to him.

The irony was bitter, but his mostly-Muggle upbringing had been all that had saved him. He had taken any job that was on offer, from the most trivial of odd jobs to the most menial and most disgusting, counted his earnings and went on. Pride was far too expensive. The work had kept the utilities running and groceries in the pantry, and he had certainly soiled his hands in far worse tasks.

And Muggles were so trusting, in so many ways. A day's work doing odd jobs in the village had netted him enough cash to buy staples, but more importantly, it taught him exactly where La Belle Beauté Shoppe and Ben's Barber Shop kept their rubbish bins, and that no one questioned a man with a broom who was obviously tidying up behind a shop and virtuously discarding the sweepings in a rubbish bin.

He had enough different samples to be someone else every day of the year, if necessary, assuming he could make enough polyjuice. Even better, he had enough of each different sample to establish several new personnae for business purposes.

He might be banned from Knockturn Alley and a pariah in Diagon Alley, but if he wore a different face and form and was careful about the spells he cast, he could go wherever he pleased, buy what he needed, and sell to anyone who was interested.

It took him several months of exceptional frugality to save enough money to make a trip into Knockturn Alley worth the effort and risk. He had actually felt a tiny thrill of accomplishment when he had earned enough to begin restoring his lab and replenishing his stock. It took several more months before he had made his first potions sale. By the end of the first year, he was selling potions on consignment in a few small shops. He managed to gain repeat business from a few private clients and he occasionally took on the odd commission from anonymous customers desperate enough to pay half in advance for what he could brew.

His potions brought in just enough that he was able to keep the house going, keep himself fed, and keep his lab supplied to brew more potions.

As he slumped against the scarred kitchen table, the irony of his situation sat heavily on him. Another successful foray through the seedier side of the wizarding commercial districts, right under the intrusive noses of the Ministry - and what did he have to show for it?

Supplies to brew more polyjuice and other potions of dubious legality, enough galleons to purchase more socially-acceptable supplies in Diagon Alley, packets of oatmeal, sugar, and a half-pound of tea.

He was pathetic.

He sneered at himself in an attempt to drive away the looming black pall of depression.

When it didn't work, he rose, filled the kettle at the sink, and switched it on. The Englishman's answer to everything, he thought bitterly, wizard and Muggle alike - a nice hot cup of tea.

*~*~*~*~*

"Brilliant! Oi, Fred! Come look at this!" George shouted back into the workshop

"Be right there!" came the reply.

Remus smiled fondly at George's rapturous grin, as he watched him playing with Remus's latest creation.

"I see you! Hey, that's my shirt, you thief!" George yelled in delight as he stared off into the distance, a pair of plain wire-framed spectacles on his face.

Fred came out of the workshop, calmly wiping his hands on the shirt in question and grinning at his brother and Remus. "They work, then?"

"Just like a charm!" George said, pulling the glasses off and handing them over. "Might need to adjust the controls a bit. Here, see? There's a button on each earpiece."

Fred put the glasses on and fiddled with the earpieces, then turned slowly in place. "I can see into the workshop," he said, "and back behind the counter, and a bit of the window next door, and..." he tipped his head up, "...the balcony upstairs. These are great!"

"They won't see through walls or closed doors, but they do around corners just fine," Remus explained. "I thought 'paraspecs' might do for a name."

Fred took off the glasses and examined them carefully. "Great job, Remus! How soon can we start selling them?"

"I think we should test that pair for a few days to work out any issues. Then I'll have to document the charms and go over the process with you, so maybe...a couple of weeks?"

"Good plan." Fred clapped Remus on the shoulder. "Always a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Lupin. The Old Firm is still the best firm!"

"Hear, hear!" George added, pressing chilled bottles of pumpkin juice into their hands. "To Marauders' Magical Mischief Management, Inc., inspiring hijinks for more than thirty years!"

Remus gave a small smile as he sipped the icy juice. "Thanks, boys. I'd better be going. Rough moon this month," he added.

The twins nodded sympathetically. "I'll make up the new contract and we can sign it tomorrow, Remus. Anything you want changed from last time?" Fred asked.

Remus shook his head. "Standard fee and commission rate are fine, Fred."

"We should talk about raising them soon, Remus; it's been five years, you know."

"If you feel it's necessary," Remus shrugged. "But I'm all right, truly. My needs are fairly simple."

The twins shared a look of concern between them, and Remus had that odd feeling he got whenever they slipped into their silent form of communication.

"Mum wants you to come for supper this Sunday," George said, finally. "No excuses short of death or dismemberment."

"Charlie won't be there," Fred added.

"We'll see, boys," Remus said noncommittally. He couldn't have been fonder of Fred, George, Ron or Ginny, and he considered Bill and Arthur good friends, but Molly could be a bit overwhelming, and he didn't know if he'd ever be able to convince anyone that he really didn't mind that Tonks had married Charlie after his relationship with her had fallen apart. "Give my love to the family, in any case," he added, as he shrugged into his cloak.

"Of course."

"Take care, Remus."

It was only a short apparition hop to his flat, and he was grateful to kick off his shoes, hang up his clothes and slip into an old flannel lounging robe.

He hadn't quite lied to the boys; it had been a rough transformation the prior week, but he was mostly over it by now. He was just tired.

He scanned the contents of his small refrigerator for anything appetizing and reluctantly settled on the containers of leftover take-away Chinese. A flick of his wand had rice and moo goo gai pan steaming in a moment, and he set tea to steep while he got out a plate and a pair of lacquered chopsticks he'd had for ages.

He read the Prophet as he ate, grimacing at the more inane Ministry rulings that were reported and smiling slightly at the picture of Ginny Potter haranguing the Wizengamot at the latest conclave. Harry was nowhere to be seen, but that was hardly surprising.

The Boy Who Lived had rather surprised everyone by declining entry into the Auror training program and turning down all other offers of employment, including a rather prestigious position with the Montrose Magpies. He ignored the public clamouring for his attention, and lost no time in marrying Ginny, settling down in a comfortable country house and becoming a loving and dutiful husband and father with virtually no public life whatsoever. Ginny had presented him with six children in their first seven years of marriage, and Harry had been delighted to stay home and look after them, while Ginny embarked on a life in politics.

There was an advertisement on the second page for Granger-Weasley, Longbottom, and Boot, Advocates. Last he had heard, Hermione, Luna and Terry had a thriving practice and were talking about taking on more assistants. Ron was playing for Falmouth; Neville was working at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Magical Annex, and Terry's wife, Millicent, was making a name for herself in art circles, with her insightful and sensitive magical portraits.

Everyone seemed to be getting on with their lives.

Everyone but him.

Remus sighed and put the paper aside. He really had nothing to complain about, he told himself. Hermione and the twins had been so outraged at the Ministry's stance on hiring werewolves that they'd petitioned for months, and when they had hit the twelfth or fifteenth dead end, they had switched to finding a way around the legislation. It had been Terry who had pointed out that the law was not retroactive, so any werewolf gainfully employed at the time the law was enacted could legally keep his job. Luna found the loophole in the definition of "employment" that had made Hermione leap up in triumph. There was no law against contracting with a firm that legally employed a werewolf, nor with a company owned or directed by werewolves.

Remus hadn't been able to see how any of this would help, at first, as he had lost his last job before the law went into effect, he neither owned nor directed any sort of a company, nor did he have the funds to start one. Hermione had smiled at him and asked him to please bring out his old scrapbook from Hogwarts.

Amid the snapshots and animated doodles, notes from old teachers and long-dead friends, she pointed out the rather blotchy bit of parchment that was the answer to his problems.


Marauders' Magical Mischief Management, Incorporated

A Magical Corporation, Incorporated in Hogsmeade, Scotland, UK, this 21st Day of February, 1976.

James H. Potter, President and Chairman of the Board
Sirius Orion Black, Vice-President and Vice-Chair
Remus J. Lupin, Treasurer and Comptroller
Peter W. Pettigrew, Secretary

The document went on to say, in the most florid legalese four fifteen year olds had been able to devise, that they bound themselves by magical contract to the furtherment of magical mischief making, that all four were equal partners, that policy-making decisions required a 75% majority vote, and that the corporation and surviving partners were designated the beneficiaries of any corporate assets held by each partner, should any such partner die, become incapacitated, or date Vivienne LeStrange. (That last had been included at Sirius's insistence, after the tarty little Ravenclaw had turned him down for the fifth time.)

They had been as serious as they ever were, and Remus remembered the thrill of hope he'd had when they'd sworn they would go into business together after Hogwarts.

"Marauders Forever!" Sirius proclaimed as he added his signature with great looping flourishes.

"It'll be brilliant, won't it, Remus?" James asked, practically bouncing with excitement. "With Sirius and me to dream up the ideas and you to figure out how to make them work, and Wormtail to test everything - we can't lose! We're going to be rich and famous!"

"I'll settle for being comfortably obscure, thanks, Prongs," Remus said with a grin, signing beneath Sirius.

"We'll get a shop in Diagon Alley," Peter said solemnly. "My uncle's in real estate; I'm sure he can get us a good bargain on a prime spot. Maybe near Fortescue's, even!"

"You and your sweet-tooth, Pete! Gah, you're not going to fit in your robes, one of these days," Sirius jibed.

"No, really, it'd be the best place! Kids eating ice cream will come see the window displays and drag their parents in! We'll get a lot of foot traffic. Plus, Flourish and Blotts is right around the corner, so we'll get the school crowd every summer!" Peter said, looking dreadfully earnest.

"I nominate Peter Chief of Marketing!" James declared.

"I second the nomination!"

"All in favour? Aye!"

"Aye!"

"Aye!"

There was still a faint glint of magic sparkling from their signatures; quite enough to prove the document magically legal and binding. The Department of Magical Commerce had poked and prodded the parchment, and the examining wizard had pursed his lips and muttered over the witnesses' signatures (Hagrid, Madame Rosmerta, and Professor Flitwick, who had always rather winked at their more spectacular japes), but in the end, they had to admit that Marauders' Magical Mischief Management, Incorporated was a bona fide magical corporation, and that Remus J. Lupin, as sole surviving partner, was President, Chairman, Treasurer, Marketing Director, and Lord High Everything Else.

Weasleys' Wizarding Wheezes had promptly issued a research and development contract to MMMMI, and Remus Lupin was finally able to make a decent living.

It wasn't a "secure position," at least not on the books. The contracts ran only from project to project, but he usually had three or four going at once. The boys' shop had been doing well since the war ended, and the business outlook was good. His commission rate was enough to keep him comfortable, and as he had told them, his needs were simple. It wasn't as if he had a wife and family to provide for, and years of scrimping had left him with no taste for spending money just because he had it. He paid his rent, ate out or bought take-away when he felt like it, purchased the occasional book that caught his attention, and kept himself in decent clothing. Most importantly, he could afford to purchase Wolfsbane Potion from one of the rather few apothecaries that were able to provide it. It wasn't as good as the formulation he had taken while teaching, or during the war, but it kept him safe and sane for those critical nights each month. It was his one luxury. He might never travel around the world or collect rare first editions, but he was not a danger to society, and he was comfortable.

He sighed as he finished his tea. It just seemed that lately "comfortable" had become a synonym for "bored." He didn't have much of a purpose, really, and although he was grateful beyond words for the work the Weasley twins kept supplying, he found it difficult to get as enthused about animated toy squids, umbrellas that created their own rain clouds, and "paraspecs" as he would have been when he was a boy.

He also found it difficult to get wound up in the lives of the people around him. Two wars had decimated his generation, and although wizards lived long enough that age differences didn't matter much past fifty or so, knowing that all of his friends from school were gone was such an isolating, lonely feeling. He looked at Harry, Ginny, Ron and Hermione, and he still saw them as his students, though they now had children of their own who would be attending Hogwarts before long. The twins were his business partners in all but name, but he found their incessant joking and refusal to take anything seriously for more than two minutes at a time a trifle wearing.

He'd told Tonks he was too old for her; he shouldn't have been surprised when she finally reached that conclusion on her own. They'd parted amicably, but part of him still resented her putting him through the doomed exercise from the start.

He seldom heard from Kingsley, who was steadily moving up in the ranks of Aurors, and Minerva, who had her hands full with Hogwarts business, was so upset at her inability to rehire him to teach that she avoided him as much as possible, salving her guilt by sending chatty little notes every few weeks.

And that was all of the old Order that remained. Albus, Moody...all the rest were gone or married or...

Well, or Severus.

He had tried, tried desperately to do something about Severus, once the Order knew the truth. It was clear from the beginning that the Wizengamot would never let Snape go free; Albus Dumbledore's murderer had to be punished, if only so that no one could begin to question whether the Ministry actually performed any useful function, seeing as a half-grown boy and his friends had brought down the most evil wizard of the century with little more than courage and good luck.

They had all testified, but no one could deny that Severus had cast the Killing Curse on Albus, no matter what the extenuating circumstances were. They had presented evidence of Dumbledore's physical condition and his orders to Snape, in signed documents, sealed memories, and even from the mouth of Dumbledore's own portrait, but it was no use.

After Severus had been sent to Azkaban, Remus had tried to get in to see him, but had been refused permission. He'd written, but his letters were returned, unopened. When he'd seen the notification of Snape's parole in the Prophet, he had written a long letter to welcome him back and catch him up on all the news, but the owl had come back hooting anxiously and returned the letter, which had borne a magical stamp - "Addressee Unknown."

He still didn't know what had become of Severus. He supposed the two of them were rather alike, really - relics, reminders of the war and of deeds most would sooner have forgotten. Perhaps he, too, should just vanish off into obscurity, one day...

Shaking his head ruefully at his little wallow in self-pity, Remus cleared away the remnants of his supper and did the washing up. He put the dishes away and stretched, feeling the muscles and tendons creak and pop. Getting old, he thought, then chuckled. He was just irritable and blue and perhaps what he needed was a good toss-off, followed by a good night's sleep.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter Text

He brushed his teeth, used the loo, then slipped out of the comfortable old robe and settled into bed. His wand went on the nightstand, as usual, and he pulled out the little jar of lubricant he kept in the drawer, opening it and setting it on the stand, conveniently close. He spread his legs comfortably and reached down to give his bollocks a good scratch.

As he scratched, he let his head loll back on the pillow and let his mind wander. That had been rather decent Chinese food, really. He should go back and try their braised tofu next week. He really didn't want to go to the Burrow on Sunday, but it would be hard to avoid it if he didn't come up with a decent excuse. Molly was such a busybody, poor woman. So many children. It was a miracle, really, that they'd only lost one to the War. Poor Percy. He'd been a promising student. And a nice looking lad, come to think of it. A bit gawky, but he'd had lovely eyes and a very sweet smile, when he wasn't trying to impress someone.

He curled his hand around the base of his prick and stroked it a bit.

All of the Weasleys were decent-looking, really. Bill was still a handsome man, despite the scars on his face. Fleur was a lucky woman. Lovely, too. Their children would be stunning, no doubt. And Charlie was a bit stocky, but those shoulders! And the allure of all that leather - no wonder Tonks had been smitten. She was probably wearing a good bit of leather herself these days...and perhaps not much else.

Remus suddenly frowned and looked down at himself. His prick lay limp in his hand, despite his continued stroking and the provocative image of Tonks in leather knickers, pink hair and nothing else.

Hm.

Well, perhaps his subconscious was feeling a bit tetchy tonight and didn't care to entertain fantasies about his ex. No matter. He had always had an excellent imagination.

Perhaps that lovely young woman at the Chinese take-away? Or even better, the young man at the greengrocer's with the snake tattoo on his shoulder, long dark hair, and all the silver earrings?

Ah, yes. His prick twitched at the thought. He imagined himself walking up to the young man and asking him how to select Japanese aubergines, then whispering a filthy suggestion in his ear.

His prick was definitely interested, now. He dipped his fingers in the jar of lube and wrapped them around his firming shaft, while imagining walking back to the stockroom with his fantasy lover, and snogging him hard against stacked crates of lettuce. He stroked himself harder and murmured an indecency as he closed his eyes and imagined himself slipping his hand in the young man's trousers and cradling his long, thick prick.

Oh, yes, this was going to be good.

He pushed the young fellow back onto a pile of courgettes and yanked his trousers down, then wet his fingers and thrust them up the man's arse. His fantasy lover was obligingly slutty and moaned enthusiastically, begging for a good, hard fuck.

Remus wriggled on the bed, thrusting his hips as he pulled on his prick.

He pushed the man's legs up and back and shoved himself in, all at once. He began to thrust, hard. Young Mr. Greengrocer wrapped his legs about his waist and pulled him in tight, struggling to rub his own impressive erection against Remus's belly. They were sliding together, panting and grunting...

Remus slid his hand up and down faster and faster, then flicked his thumb over his glans...and felt his erection wilt.

What the hell?

"Are you just trying to be difficult?" he asked his uncooperative organ. It lay in his hand, limp and shiny with lube. Remus growled. "Come on, now. He was quite dishy, you know! And I'm sure he was giving me the eye, last time I asked him if they had any avocados!"

Nothing.

This just wouldn't do. It was one thing to be bored with his life, but if his own prick was bored with him, matters were serious.

He gave it another half-hearted pull, but felt no response.

"All right, you! We've been at this game for well over thirty years, you and I, and you aren't allowed to lie down on the job like this! All I want is a decent toss-off, then right to sleep. Think we can manage that?"

He was fairly sure he heard tiny snores.

"Right."

Setting his jaw grimly, Remus closed his eyes again and took a firm grasp on his recalcitrant organ. He was back behind the greengrocer's, plunging away at the tasty young man's arse. His fantasy lover began vocalizing quite promisingly, but after a few imagined "fuck, yeahs!" and "Oh, God, yesses!" his voice faded off again.

His prick was half-heartedly paying attention, as Remus vigorously slid his hand up and down on the semi-hard shaft.

When his imagined lover started yawning in between thrusts and muttering about being late for his bus, Remus snarled and let go of his prick, slipping his hand down and jabbing two fingers up his own arse.

Ow!

Well, that had got a reaction, at least.

Remus slid his fingers in and out, a bit more gently. Ahhh, that was good!

His prick began to firm up.

Mr. Greengrocer displayed amazing flexibility and had somehow procured a long Japanese aubergine, which he thrust up Remus's arse, buggering him with it in counterpoint to Remus's thrusts.

Remus tried using both hands, but the position was awkward, and he wasn't as flexible as he used to be. "Accio belt," he called, and put up one hand to catch his worn leather belt as it came sailing across the room. He took up his wand and considered a moment, then transfigured the belt, making it coil across its width into a long, smooth leather snake, complete with a surprisingly realistic brass head. At his mental direction, the leather coiled itself along his prick, curled under his bollocks, and the bluntly-pointed head nudged between his arse cheeks.

Oh, yes, that was lovely!

He took hold of the coils around his prick and started sliding them up and down. They obediently began contracting and releasing as he stroked, and the head pressed into his arsehole, its transfigured buckle tongue teasing the tight passage with a dozen tiny leather strands.

His fantasy shifted as well, and now Mr. Greengrocer had him bound across a heaped bin of cantaloupes, spread-eagled and arched just to a pleasant pain, as the young man thrust the long, firm purple veg in and out of his arse and kept time with a strong, calloused hand sliding up and down his prick.

Remus whimpered. His prick was hard as iron, now, straining against the constricting coils as his greedy arsehole pressed against the bronze snake head, urging it deeper. The coils shifted, one loop capturing his bollocks and squeezing them gently. Remus caught the loose end of his former belt where it was flailing back and forth and pointed his wand at it. A second snake head formed, this one of leather, its tiny leather forked tongue flickering in and out as it wavered over his glans.

The coils began pulsing faster and faster. The bronze head burrowed deeper into his arse. His fantasy greengrocer bent down and licked his prick, then took him into his mouth.

The leather snake head unhinged its jaw, dipped down, and promptly covered his glans, driving its tongue into his slit.

Remus screamed as he came, his entire body convulsing at the overwhelming sensations.

He managed to gasp out "finite incan--" before his eyes rolled up in his head and he passed out.

*~*~*~*~*

Severus Snape was in hell.

Or, to be more precise, hell had come on a regularly-scheduled inspection visit, and was due to last another half hour.

Hell, in the person of Suzanne Marie Soleil, was currently in his laboratory, inspecting everything down to the tiny vials of luna moth feelers and the delicate golden tweezers he used to handle them.

He had, of course, concealed anything he had reason to believe she might confiscate, but it didn't make her inspection any less nerve-wracking or her presence any less unbearable.

He shot a glance at the old regulator clock in the parlor. Twenty-five more minutes, at least.

"Well, Severus," hell said in her light, sweet voice, "I'm really quite impressed! You've made amazing progress here. I knew that if you really just applied yourself, you'd find that everything would work out just fine! I am a little surprised that you were able to afford some of these implements and supplies, though. Aren't firecrab claws rather dear? And I'm sure dragon eggshells were several galleons the ounce, last time I checked."

Severus bit down on his lower lip and glowered.

"Severus?" She came into the parlor bearing two cups of tea and set one before him, patting him on the knee before sitting across from him with her own cup. "I'm afraid I need to write down some sort of justification, you know," she said brightly, pulling a roll of parchment from her lavender robes. "Now, you're still selling potions on consignment?"

"Yes."

"In the same shops?"

"Yes."

She sighed. "Severus, you know that I will have to check the shops' books against your reported earnings. So, how did you manage to afford the eggshells, firecrab claws, and - was that a new set of golden implements I saw?"

"I had several independent commissions this month," he said carefully.

"Oh, that's lovely!" she exclaimed, making a note on her scroll. "Who were they?"

"Anonymous clients," he said. "They sent their orders by post and I shipped their potions the same way." That had the virtue of being true, actually.

"Hm. Sounds a bit dodgy, Severus. We don't want you getting entangled with the wrong sort of people, now do we? Especially not when you're so close to completing your parole!"

He bit back a groan. Five more years did not sound "close," no matter who said it. "They were sensitive potions," he explained. "One client apparently suffered from...an embarrassing social disease." He'd actually been suffering from having his bollocks hexed to sprout green tentacles, but Ms. Soleil had no need to know that.

"Oh...oh, I see!" She made another note. "Well, I'm glad you were able to help him, then. What else?"

"I brewed a custom restorative potion for another client, and a specialized version of Dreamless Sleep for the last." The restorative had been a barely-legal de-aging and glamourizing potion that had probably enabled some aging harpy to snare herself a handsome young husband, but she had paid very well indeed, all in advance. The Dreamless Sleep...well, too many people had nightmares these days. He wasn't going to question someone who had a recurring phantasm of being eaten alive by ducks.

"Ah. Well, that's all right, then. You'll be careful, though, won't you? We don't want you brewing anything that could cause problems, not when we're so close!" She waggled a finger at him, playfully.

He wanted to bite it off and spit it back into her face. He looked pointedly at the clock once more.

"Well, that should do it for this inspection," she said, draining her tea and tucking the scroll and quill back into her robes. "I'll see you again next month, Severus, unless, of course, I see you before then!" She beamed at him, sickeningly.

He rose as she moved to the fireplace and took out a handful of floo powder.

"Ministry of Magic," she said, tossing the powder in. "Toodle-loo!" she cried as she stepped into the green flames.

Severus hoped she wound up in someone's toilet.

He sat down at the kitchen table and allowed himself to relax, just slightly, frowning as fine tremors raced through his hands. He should be used to this, he told himself. He had endured years of life as a spy, fought in two magical wars, and survived seven years in Azkaban. He could make it through another...five years of Suzanne Marie Soleil.

He was exceedingly glad she had accepted his explanation for the increase in his monthly income, as replacing the perfectly legal ingredients she had questioned would have taken him weeks. He didn't have the money, and he couldn't spare the time. He had potions fermenting in all of his still-secret caches, and once he had delivered them, he just might have enough money to set a bit aside. He hadn't had to work in the village in almost five weeks, and he was hopeful that he had mucked out his last stable and scrubbed his last fishmonger's display case. He made a fresh cup of tea, scrubbing out the cup the horrid woman had contaminated and casting scourgify on it for good measure.

He rinsed out the kettle and set it aside, then took a sponge and began scouring the kitchen sink. As he began rinsing the suds away, he noticed the sink was draining a bit slowly.

Odd.

He went into the bathroom to wash the harsh cleanser from his hands with the mild, moisturizing soap he made for himself, and as he turned on the taps, he heard an ominous gurgle from the ancient cast-iron bathtub. He turned to look and found water rising up from the drain in the bathtub, brown and dank-smelling.

He frowned and turned the taps off at the sink. The water in the tub slowed and stopped rising, but did not recede.

Oh, bugger!

*~*~*~*~*

When Remus awoke the following morning, he had the unpleasant sensation of something restricting his genitals, and as he had a rather urgent need to urinate, this was both uncomfortable and alarming. He rubbed his eyes and looked blearily down at himself.

The leather snake from the night before lay wrapped in loose coils around his morning stiffie. The leather head had reverted to a plain flap, so at least part of his attempt to cancel the enchantment must have worked. He shifted in bed and winced as something wedged in his arse. He reached back and gingerly pulled the brass snake head out, then slid the rest of his impromptu sex toy free, before heading to the toilet to relieve himself.

After a much-needed piss and a quick shower, he felt much better. In fact, he felt quite a bit better than he had in weeks. He went back to tidy up the bedroom and was on the point of transfiguring the rather embarrassing snake back into his trusty old belt, when he paused and really looked at it.

It was rather erotic, really. The brass snake head was surprisingly detailed for something he'd transfigured so quickly, and the tight little leather tassel that served it as a tongue had been...quite effective. He cast scourgify, cleaning away all the traces of last night's experiment, then picked it up and studied it carefully. With a few adjustments to the spells - especially a deactivation charm! - it might be worth keeping.

In fact...he ran the smooth leather through his fingers and smiled in memory...it might be worth making more of them.

The twins had found a wonderful market for magical novelties...sex toys were a novelty, weren't they? And there were probably far more randy adults than there were teenagers looking for a way to skive off class or look around corners. The adults usually had more disposable income, too.

He nodded decisively. He'd visit the local Oxfam for a supply of belts to experiment with, right after breakfast.

*~*~*~*~*

It was no use.

Severus had tried a variety of spells, from aqua evanesco to a variant of incendio that left his crippled wand smoking rather ominously, but the drains remained blocked.

Strictly speaking, it was only an inconvenience. He could summon water and banish it, clean with magic and dispose of his wastes the same way, but the blocked pipes offended him, the way any potion or magical device that failed to perform as it was intended offended him. He looked out into the back garden at the old apple tree that was probably causing the problems. He could wither its roots with a potion, but that would probably kill it...and he found himself surprisingly reluctant to do that. As a boy, he had spent many hours cradled in the crotch of that old tree, lost in his books.

He sighed and took down the old pint tankard from the mantlepiece, counting out the Muggle notes he had managed to put aside. It would be enough, barely.

He made a mental note to stop by Jack Stephenson's Plumbing Repair in the morning.

His retirement from Muggle employment would have to wait another few weeks.

*~*~*~*~*

Remus walked down to Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes with a smile on his lips and a spring in his step. His trusty old leather satchel was filled with variants on the Sinuous Slithering Sex Snake, as he had mentally dubbed his creation, and he was eager to watch the looks on the twins' faces when they realized what it was designed to do.

He let himself in through the side entrance as usual and found the workshop empty. Voices were coming from the store, so he set his satchel down and started forward, only to pause at the unaccustomed sound of Fred cursing.

"Merlin's hairy sac, George! We're twenty-five, not five! Mum can't expect us to--"

"She can, and she will, and she does. You know as well as I do that she'll have a fit and fall in it if she finds out, and you know she'll find out!"

"But it's a perfectly legitimate product! And it's a damned clever bit of magic, too. I'm proud of it; I'm proud of us; and I don't see why the sodding hell she can't just be proud of us, too - or at least let us get on with our business, which is no business of hers!"

George sighed. "Fred, I know! But after Percy...and now Ginny's stirring up the Ministry, and Ron's in every quidditch magazine that comes along, and with Cousin Egbert in that scandal last month...if we come out with Lascivious Lollies that taste like sex and make you come in five different colours, I guarantee you we will never hear the end of it! Mum will blame us every time someone asks Ginny about it during a Wizengamot session, or Ron gets hit with them in an interview, and she will ride us about it for the rest of our lives - and possibly beyond! It's not worth the strife."

Fred sighed heavily. "You're right. I...I just...damn it, George, I--"

"I know, I know." There was a soft sound as George apparently tried to soothe his twin's ruffled feelings. "Look, you know that Honeydukes carries a small novelty line, and they have those special Lovers' Delights boxes? I say we either sell them the formula, or we contract with them, very discreetly, to provide the Lollies under some other label. We can make something up. They've been carrying Skiving Snackboxes for years; they should be willing to deal. As long as our name isn't on them, and they're not being sold in our shop, Mum won't complain, even if someone tells her we invented them. Well, not much, anyway."

"Yeah. All right. Owl Flume and set up a meeting. I suppose it's better than just tearing up the development notes and forgetting about it."

Remus frowned, thinking about his satchel full of sex toys. He'd known the boys had thumbed their noses at authority since they were in diapers, and they were always game for a laugh and quick to recognize a profitable venture. The idea that their mother still held enough sway over them to keep them from selling a new novelty candy that tasted of sex was rather unsettling.

He tapped on the doorframe. "Development notes?" he asked innocently, as the twins started almost guiltily.

"Remus!" they chorused, smiling at him. "We've got the contract for the paraspecs all ready," Fred said.

"Fine, fine," he said, pulling out one of the stools from behind the counter and sitting down. "Having development issues?"

"Hm? Oh, no, no," George assured him. "We just decided one of our new concepts is more in Honeydukes' line than ours. I'm going to see if they want to license the formula or buy the product directly from us."

"Ah, I see," Remus said, looking from one slightly flushed freckled face to the other. "Well, let's get that contract signed, then, shall we?"

The satchel sat alone in the workroom until he took it back home with him that evening.

*~*~*~*~*

Severus had been up until 3am, working to finish his latest commissioned potion; he had put in a full day's work in the village on three hours' sleep, and he was not in the mood for a surprise visit from the bane of his existence, Ms. Suzanne Marie Soleil.

Her timing was particularly atrocious, as he had just put the finishing spells on a cauldron of a rather subtle brew that combined intoxicating lust with intense devotion. It was not even vaguely legal, but the client had offered him enough money to keep him in supplies and out of the Muggle workforce for at least a month, possibly two.

"Severus?" the dreaded saccharine voice came from the direction of the floo.

"Damn!" he muttered under his breath, quickly dowsing the flame and levitating the steaming cauldron into the cooling cupboard.

"Severus? I just thought I'd pop in and see how you're doing! Where are you?"

Shite! She would no doubt come looking for him in a moment... There was a strong smell of ashwinder eggs; he had to find something to mask them, quickly. He grabbed a large tub of cocobutter and dumped it into a clean cauldron, levitating it onto the flame and hurriedly stirring attar of roses into the melting fat. He pulled a jar of powdered fairy wings down and sprinkled the sparkling dust into the blend, just as his workroom door swung open.

"Ah! There you are, Severus! Hard at work, I see!" Ms. Soleil smiled brightly at him. "Another commission? That's wonderful!"

"As you see," Severus said evenly, stirring the mixture with careful concentration.

"I just wanted to let you know the review board sent our last report back with a very high evaluation on it! Isn't that lovely?"

Severus merely glared down into the potion.

"Another three or four of those, and we might be able to get your parole shortened! Maybe by as much as a year!" She stepped up close and put her hand on his shoulder, squeezing it. "I'm so happy for you!"

He wanted to flay her alive. He said nothing.

"So, what are you making, today? It smells wonderful! So different from some of those nasty things you make! Mmm! I could just dive right into that! What is it?"

He looked straight into her face. "Sexual lubricant," he said flatly.

Her face went bright pink and she stared at him, then finally blinked and began laughing. "Oh, Severus! You do have a sense of humour after all! Lubricant, indeed! Hee hee hee!" She tittered for several moments, blushing all the while. "Well, I'll just be going, then!"

Some demon of perversity made him offer, "Would you care for a sample?" and hold out the ladle to her.

"Oh, you!" she squeaked, fluttering her hands. "I'll see you next time!" She fled, giggling.

Snape poured a thin stream from the ladle back into the cauldron, carefully eying the consistency. Well, it could be used for lubricant, he thought, although the sparkly quality would probably be rather annoying, as such things went.

He'd save it for her next surprise inspection, he decided.

*~*~*~*~*

Remus regarded the results of his weekend's occupation. His kitchen table was covered with a surprising number of transfigured sex toys. He wasn't quite sure why he had spent so much time and effort turning accessories, tchochkes, household implements, and one rather bedraggled aspidistra into this bewildering array of butt plugs, cock rings, dildoes, teasers, ticklers and other sex toys.

He'd had to test them all, of course.

As a result, he was feeling rather drained, though quite sated.

It was more than slightly embarrassing for a wizard of his age to spend an entire weekend playing with himself and inventing new devices to help him do it! He felt particularly foolish, considering the twins' position on adult novelties, as he really had no idea how to approach anyone else about selling them. He couldn't very well walk up and down Diagon Alley with a sample case, knocking on doors or crying, "Sex toys for sale!"

Then again...couldn't he? Well, not the crying aloud part, perhaps, but surely he could speak to some of the business owners? He had a good idea of which stores were likely to be interested in the sort of products he had to offer. Perhaps he should just pay them each a visit and see what they had to say.

*~*~*~*~*

After stowing away the purchases from another clandestine visit to Knockturn Alley, Severus glumly counted his remaining galleons. He had hoped there would be enough left to order the large retort he had been eyeing in Crackle and Gleeme's Potions Supplies display window, but he was still a bit short. The price of Kelpie hooves had gone up shockingly, but there was no viable substitute for them, and he had to have that water-walking potion done in the next few days if he wanted to collect his fee.

He slid the galleons back into the worn leather pouch and tucked it away. At least the pantry was stocked and the plumber had dealt with the balky drains. His gadfly had visited him once already this week, so perhaps he could look forward to a few days of peaceful, productive brewing without interruption. He was certainly past due for a change of luck, he thought. He stretched slowly, grimacing at the crackle and pop of tendons and joints, then rose and headed toward the bedroom. As he flipped the light switch on his way out, the overhead fixture made a loud fizzle-pop! sound, flickered, and went dark.

He flipped the switch back on.

Nothing.

Oh, bloody Merlin's bollocks!

*~*~*~*~*

Remus sat hunched over a pint of ale and a plate of fish and chips in the Leaky Cauldron, slightly bemused. He'd taken his collection of adult novelties on a rather extensive tour of Diagon Alley, and the response had been quite astonishing. He had found several shops willing to take items on consignment, for a rather hefty percentage, but a few had expressed interest in outright purchases, assuming he was willing to make a few modifications to his designs, provide documentation and instructions, and come up with some eye-catching packaging.

He wondered if the twins would be interested in his venture, after all. This was fast becoming far more complicated than he had expected.

He sighed and munched on a chip.

"...and it smelt just wonderful, Lucinda! Like being in a rose garden! So, of course I asked him what it was, and do you know what that sour old dried up thing told me? 'Sexual lubricant'! Just like that! Like it was scouring powder or oven cleaner! I almost died! Who knew he would joke, after all these years? Poor old dear! He's really brilliant, you know, and I think he could really have a lovely career in cosmetics or maybe household potions, if he'd just apply himself!"

Remus's ears perked up at the speaker's mention of lubricant, and as he listened, he had a very strong sense that he knew who her unnamed brewer was.

He got up and went over to the table, where a giggly young blonde woman was animatedly talking to a smiling brunette. The blonde wore a pendant with Auror's insignia on it - no division Remus particularly recognized, but he smoothly slid the little golden phoenix pin he always carried out of his pocket and fixed it onto his collar.

"I do apologize for intruding, Miss, but I couldn't help overhearing your conversation," he said with a winning smile. "Remus Lupin, at your service," he added, unobtrusively running a fingertip over the phoenix pin, causing it to glow with red and orange flames.

The young woman's eyes widened. "Oh, I'm honoured, Mr. Lupin! It's such a thrill to meet an Order member! I'm Suzanne Marie Soleil, Rehabilitation Auror, and this is my friend, Lucinda. Won't you sit down?"

"Thank you," Remus said, pulling up a stool. "I was just wondering if your acquaintance, the brewer, might be an old schoolmate of mine? I haven't seen him in years, but he was quite brilliant, and he had a particularly dry sense of humour."

"Oh, my! I'm afraid my cases are confidential, Mr. Lupin. I really shouldn't give out any details..." she trailed off doubtfully, but her oddly bluish-silver eyes were wide with hero-worship.

Remus felt rather disgusted at himself, but he slipped one hand over hers anyway and gave her his best pleading look. "Oh, I understand, Ms. Soleil, truly. But we quite lost track of each other after the war, and I haven't seen or heard of him for ages. I thought he'd died, you see," he lied, letting his eyes moisten just a bit. "I've lost so many friends," he told her earnestly.

The dark-haired girl was sniffling into her napkin, and Suzette Auror Whatshername swallowed hard. "I'm so sorry," she told him, gripping his hand. "It must be dreadful for you. I really can't tell you his name or floo address, but I don't suppose it would do any harm to say that you can send him Muggle post, now would it?" She pulled out a quill and scribbled on another napkin. "Here. I don't know if you're familiar with Muggle post, but if you use that address and take your letter to Gringotts forwarding, they'll see it gets there."

Remus put the napkin into his pocket and kissed the back of her hand. "Thank you so much," he said solemnly. "You've done me a very great kindness."

She blushed rather prettily and attempted a show of cleavage, but Remus rose and gave a half-bow. "Thank you, both," he said, and apparated.

He had no intention of waiting for the Muggle post, nor entrusting this to anyone, not even Gringotts.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter Text

Severus was cursing colourfully as he stood on the teetering stool, trying to wrap electrical tape around the frayed wires of the ancient ceiling lamp, without falling or stabbing himself with the penknife he had used to strip away the cracked insulation.

There was a knock at the front door.

At this hour on a Tuesday afternoon it was probably some idiot selling hoovers or handing out religious tracts. He snorted and carefully continued wrapping. He'd tried replacing the lightbulb, but the ancient bakelite socket had crumbled into his hand as he attempted to unscrew it. He didn't really need the electric light to work, but the habit of flipping on the switch as he entered this kitchen had been ingrained in him since boyhood and was not easily set aside, and his annoyance at the broken fixture increased with every attempt.

The knocking continued, louder.

"Go away," he growled, twisting the bare end of the wire around the contact. An electrician would have cost £100 or more, but he could recall his grandfather performing similar repairs a few times, and he saw no reason he could not do likewise.

"Severus?"

Startled by the sound of his name, Severus wavered atop the stool, trying to fit the lighting fixture back into its hole in the ceiling, while wildly waving one hand to keep from falling.

"Severus, are you in there? It's Remus! I'd like a word! Severus?"

Lupin? What the bloody hell was the werewolf do--

He suddenly lost the battle for balance, as the stool tipped out from under him, and he fell heavily to the floor, tucking and rolling to soak up the worst of the impact. He got to his feet, aching and swearing as he limped to the front door and wrenched it open.

Lupin stood there, one hand upraised as if to knock again.

"Go away!" he snarled, and slammed the door.

"Severus! Severus, I need to talk to you!" The knocking resumed. "Severus, I'm not going anywhere until you open the door and let me in!"

Severus folded his arms and glowered at the door. Why, after all these years, had the werewolf come looking for him? He must want something. He'd been decently dressed and appeared well-fed, so perhaps...perhaps he had money. Perhaps he needed the wolfsbane potion, customized to his particular metabolism...

He opened the door. "Get in, then, and quit making a spectacle of yourself, Lupin. I have a reputation to protect."

The werewolf came in, beaming at him like an idiot, and settled into one of the chairs in the sitting room. "It's wonderful to see you again, Severus," he began.

Severus snorted.

"It is," Lupin insisted. "I can't tell you how many times in these past years I've thought of you and wondered what had become of you."

"If you have a point, I suggest you get to it, Lupin. I haven't all day to listen to your inane babble," Severus said.

Lupin looked rather hurt. "Severus, you do know I tried to come see you in Azkaban, don't you? They wouldn't let me in. And my owls were all returned."

"I'm sure," Severus said snidely. "Do come to the point, if you're at all capable of it, Lupin."

The werewolf sighed, then looked around the room for a moment before speaking. "I've been working on novelties for the Weasley twins' shop," he said, "but recently, I was experimenting with transfiguration a bit, and I've come up with some more...adult novelties. I had planned to sell them through the shop as well, but...well, that's neither here nor there. The upshot of the matter is, I've been talking to several merchants in Diagon Alley, and there seems to be quite a bit of interest. The difficulty is that several of my designs need some potions-related enhancements, and, as you know, potions are not my specialty."

Severus stared at him. "You...have designed adult...novelties. Sexual devices? And you want me to help you?"

"Well, I thought--"

"Have you gone completely mad? What on earth possessed you to come to me for...for that?" he spluttered.

"Severus, really, they're quite harmless! You're the most talented Potions Master in a century, and I have a feeling there could be quite a decent profit in these things!" Lupin insisted.

Severus's eyes narrowed at the word "profit."

"Severus?"

"Why don't you go to those red-headed terrors you work for and ask them for help? I should think this would be just their sort of thing," he asked suspiciously.

Lupin coloured a bit. "Fred and George aren't quite...well, there are some issues they would prefer to avoid. I'm not an employee, you know. I contract for each new design independently. There's no reason I can't expand into a new area."

"With my help?" Severus asked.

"Yes."

Severus paced back and forth for a few moments. "Fifty percent," he said.

"I beg pardon?"

"If I agree to take part in this exercise in depravity, I will receive fifty percent of your gross receipts."

Lupin blinked, then slowly smiled. "Thirty percent of net profit," he offered.

Severus snorted. "With your scores in arithmancy? I think not! Fifty percent of net, plus expenses, plus royalties."

"Royalties? We're not selling novels, Severus!"

"Perhaps not, but if a design is licensed for outside manufacture..."

"All right, in that case, we'll split the royalties. Anything else?"

"Yes. You will pay my estimated expenses in advance." He knew his tone had gone brittle, but he tried to appear relaxed and confident.

Lupin shot a quick glance into the kitchen, where the fallen stool still lay on its side, with a roll of electrical tape and a screwdriver beside it on the floor. A soft smile crossed his face so quickly Severus might have imagined it.

"Very well, Severus, I'll set up an expense account for supplies and equipment; we can both draw on it."

"I...would prefer cash," Severus managed.

Lupin merely nodded. "Just let me know how much you'll need to get started." He reached into the pocket of his long tweed coat and pulled out what appeared to be a detached penis and bollocks. "This is the first toy I need you to work on," he said. "It's animated; responds just like the real thing, but I haven't been able to make it ejaculate. If you could figure out a way for it to be self-lubricating as well, that would be wonderful." He reached out, offering the thing to Severus, who stared at it.

"Just...put it on the table. I will...er...examine it later," Severus said finally, keeping a watchful eye on the disembodied phallus, lest it leap up and attack.

"All right," Lupin said, putting it down. "You might see what you can come up with in the way of lube, too. Some of these toys aren't going to work well with just any sort of lubricant. The standard stuff tends to interfere with the enchantments." He pulled a bag from another pocket and set it down beside the disturbingly realistic genitalia on the table.

Severus nodded, then struck by a sudden thought, he pulled his wand and summoned a container of the rose-scented lubricant he had brewed for the annoying Ms. Soleil's visit. "Here. See what you think of this," he said as he handed it to Lupin. "It was an experiment; I haven't tested it."

Remus smiled and slipped the jar into his pocket as he rose. "It is good to see you again, Severus. It's been far too long," he added, reaching out to grasp Severus's arm and squeeze it gently.

Severus stiffened at the contact. It had been many years since anyone had willingly touched him, other than to attack him, hustle him in and out of prison cells, or treat his injuries. Lupin's hand on his arm was warm and his grip was gentle, yet firm. Severus felt a horrid lump forming in his throat and quickly wrenched his arm away.

A brief look of sadness crossed Lupin's face at his action, but the werewolf quickly replaced it with a smile. "I'll check back with you in--will a week be long enough?"

"More than adequate," Severus said, then hesitantly added, "The floo here is monitored, and I do not have direct owl post."

"Oh." Lupin appeared to ponder the issue. "Is there a telephone here?"

"Yes," Severus replied, "but the service has been disconnected for years. I haven't required it."

"It would probably just give the Ministry another surveillance avenue," Lupin said sourly. "But I have another idea. I've got a mobile phone back at my flat; I'll get one for you and drop it by in a day or two. They've pay-as-you-go and even disposable mobiles these days; you don't have to register or give the number out to anyone else."

Severus stared at him, then coloured slightly. "That would be acceptable," he said, "but I--"

"Don't worry about the cost, Severus," Lupin said quietly. "It's a legitimate business expense; I'll take care of it."

"Very well."

"I'll see you...shall we say Friday, then? Late afternoon all right?"

Severus nodded.

Lupin smiled at him again and left.

Severus locked the door behind him and sat down, staring blankly at the artificial penis and bollocks sitting brazenly on his worn coffee table. It seemed rather indecent to have them just...sitting there, waving in the breeze, so to speak. He ought to put the thing away somewhere. He reached gingerly for it and nearly jumped out of his skin when it twitched at his touch.

What the hell had he gotten himself into this time?

He draped a sheet of newspaper over it and went back to finish working on the kitchen ceiling light.

*~*~*~*~*

The disturbingly realistic sex toy remained on the coffee table all the next day, as Severus found dozens of higher-priority projects and other excuses to avoid dealing with the device - or even looking at it. But Friday loomed ever closer, and the prospect of telling the werewolf he had been too missish to even try working with the contraption was simply not to be borne.

Finally, he poured himself a small glass of elf-wine from his dwindling supply, took a fresh stack of parchment, a new quill and a full bottle of ink and sat down before the subject at hand.

The first step in creating a new potion for any application was to thoroughly understand exactly what one wanted the potion to do. Lupin had been cheerfully vague about his requirements, but he had mentioned that the toy responded realistically, and he hoped Severus would make it capable of ejaculation, possibly also self lubrication.

He twitched the newspaper off the toy and studied it. It appeared to be a faithful representation of a human penis, complete with foreskin, skin tone variations, veins, and a generously-sized scrotum lightly covered in dark, springy hair. At the moment, the shaft was soft, though warm and resiliant, when he drew a fingertip cautiously along its length.

He wondered if Lupin had used himself as a model.

He made a few notes on the general appearance and design of the toy. If he was going to make the thing work realistically, though, he was going to have to judge its performance and note where and how potions could be integrated.

He grimaced a bit, checked to make sure the door was locked and the curtains drawn, then opened his own flies and pulled out his prick.

The artificial one was a bit thicker, but not quite as long as his own, he noted, measuring them by eye. Perhaps he should measure more accurately? He nearly rose to fetch a pair of calipers, then scowled, realizing he was stalling again.

His own prick lay limp in his hand. He curled his fingers around it and gave a gentle stroke, noting the movement of skin over muscle and veins, and the firming of his flesh. He grasped the toy similarly and stroked it precisely the same way, watching carefully to see how it reacted.

It was very close.

He found himself rather impressed with Lupin's craftsmanship. The skin of the artificial phallus moved smoothly over what appeared to be very similar muscles and veins. He cautiously pulled back its foreskin to look at the rosy glans. It was shiny and had a realistic-looking slit, but was quite dry.

He frowned and gently pulled his own prepuce back, revealing the slick and tender head of his prick. He nodded decisively and made a note. It would be a fairly simple matter to replicate that. He rubbed himself a few times, then repeated the action on the toy, noting that the toy sprang to attention rather more quickly than his own shaft managed.

Well, that was probably a design feature. Most people probably would not like to spend much time getting their sex toy prepared.

He was fairly hard now, and he noted that clear droplets of pre-ejaculate were welling from his slit. When he examined the toy, it was quite hard and its head pushed proudly from the foreskin he had pulled back, but, of course, it remained dry.

Curious now, he cradled his bollocks and scratched them, then rolled them gently between his fingers. Repeating the action on the toy seemed to have little effect. The artificial scrotum looked and felt reasonably realistic, but if there were artificial testicles within it, they weren't doing much of anything.

He swiped his thumb over his glans, shuddering lightly at the intense sensation. He carefully rubbed his wet thumb over the toy's head and nodded, pleased to see its shaft twitch and its scrotum tighten in response.

Really, Lupin had done a rather respectable job on this!

He grasped himself again and began stroking, counting carefully, until he felt his bollocks draw up and his shaft begin to jerk in his grasp. He groaned and shifted his hips, thrusting into his hand and biting off a whimper as he came, spilling hot fluid over his hand.

He sat, breathing heavily, until the spasms ebbed.

Not bothering to wipe his hand, he took hold of the toy and began stroking and counting as before. It took about a dozen more strokes than he had required, then the artificial shaft in his hand began twitching and spasming. It did not ejaculate, of course, but it certainly went through the motions with excellent verisimilitude.

At last, he leaned back on the couch and closed his eyes. If the scrotum of the device were mostly for show, he could easily create a potions reservoir there - something that could be refilled, of course, requiring the customer to purchase more potions periodically. The self-lubricating aspect could be easily accomplished by enabling copious pre-ejaculation, and the ejaculation itself...

He held his sticky hand up to his face and wrinkled his nose. The real thing was rather disgusting, really. It didn't smell particularly pleasant, and - he darted the tip of his tongue out to sample a drop and winced - it tasted even worse.

For a sex toy, that was probably taking realism too far. He could create something that would have the right texture, appearance and consistency, would be completely safe for insertion and ingestion, and would taste and smell much better. Something rather neutral, he thought, as his eyelids drooped down. Something inoffensive and blandish...perhaps...vanilla-custard flavoured...

His hand fell down to his side and his head lolled. Self-cleaning would be good, too...

He slept.


*~*~*~*~*


Remus alighted from the bus and cheerfully walked the short distance to Spinner's End. He rapped lightly on the front door. "Severus? It's Remus."

The door swung open immediately and a hand pulled him in and shut the door firmly behind him.

"Nice to see--Severus?" His host had disappeared without a word. Curious, Remus made his way to the dimly-lit sitting room, only to find it empty.

"Severus?" He was about to start searching the house when he heard Severus call from another room.

"Wait there!"

"All right," he called back. He put his shopping bag down, settled into a chair and took in the surroundings. The furniture was serviceable, but very worn and faded. It probably dated back fifty years or more, to judge from the style. The rug was nearly threadbare, but clean. The most striking feature of the room was its walls. They were completely covered by bookshelves, most of which were filled to capacity with old, worn volumes that spoke of years of loving reading and rereading. There were noticeable gaps on some of the higher shelves, and Remus wondered what had become of those books.

He was on the point of getting up to examine the books when Severus returned.

Placing a tea towel-draped object on the table, he sat down in the chair opposite Remus. "I believe I have achieved the design modifications you mentioned," he said.

"That's wonderful, Severus. Before we get into specifics, I picked up a mobile for you," Remus said, handing the small device over to Severus. "The service is pre-paid, and I've registered it to my company, so there's not much likelihood of anyone using it to snoop on you. I've programmed my mobile number into it, here, see?" He pushed a couple of buttons and showed Severus the lighted display. "I'll start carrying mine with me all the time, so you can reach me whenever necessary."

Severus regarded the mobile phone warily. "Very well," he said, setting it aside.

"I know you probably don't want me dropping in all the time, and it's really none of the Ministry's business who you talk to or visit--"

"Unfortunately, it is," Severus interrupted him. "I have another five years to serve on parole before the restrictions and monitoring are lifted, if indeed they ever are."

Remus frowned. "Bastards," he spat. "They know as well as the Order does that you should never have been convicted in the first place! We tried everything we could, Severus, honestly. There was just too much political maneuvering going on."

Severus turned away for a moment. When he looked back, Remus could not read his expression.

"In any case," Severus said, "the mobile solution should neatly circumvent any unwelcome Ministry involvement."

"There's nothing we need to keep from them, really," Remus said, "but the surveillance just offends me on principal."

"Agreed. So, about this...device," Severus said, waving his hand in the general direction of the towel-covered object. "I believe I have enhanced it considerably. It self-lubricates, ejaculates after appropriate stimulation, and is self-cleaning."

"Ah! That last I hadn't thought of! Good! I'll test it tonight and we can compare notes."

"Of course, I was unable to test it under the designed operating conditions," Severus warned him.

"I'm sorry?" Remus asked, puzzled.

Severus coloured. "I am not on intimate enough terms with any of my female acquaintances to suggest that they should field-test a sexual device and report back to me!" he said, bright with embarrassment.

Remus laughed. "Severus! Who said anything about asking a woman to test it?"

"Well, I am hardly equipped to do so myself!" Severus shot back.

Remus fought to keep from snickering. "Oh, come now, Severus! You've an arsehole like anyone else, I imagine! Don't tell me you never-- Severus!" He stared at the potions master, who seemed to be wavering between horror and utter mortification. "Severus, have you never even tried anal stimulation? You haven't, have you?" He shook his head in amazement. "I know some people don't care for it, but if you never even try...that's like ignoring half of your body's natural erogenous zones!"

Severus stared at him in shock, hearing echoes of "Poofter!" "Nancy!" and "Faggot!" the street toughs of his boyhood had bandied about. Being slight and wiry, with long, silky hair, he'd had to learn dirty fighting at a very early age. And now Lupin was sitting there, bold as brass, suggesting he should...that he ought to...to shove that thing up his...that he...

"I'm no bloody queer!" he snapped.

Remus blinked at him. "I never suggested you were," he said calmly. "Personally, I have always been more interested in the character and personality of my partners than in their gender. However, men and women of all sexual persuasions have been known to enjoy anal stimulation and penetration. It's not exactly a deviant perversion, Severus." Remus smiled and added, "Although in my experience, the deviant perverts tend to be the ones with more disposable income to spend on sexual aids!"

Severus still eyed him suspiciously.

"Well, don't get upset about it. I'll test it out. I wanted to talk about that lubricant you made."

"Hm? Oh. Yes, the lubricant. You tried it?" Severus tried not to think about Remus using the thick, creamy lotion, slathering it on his prick...had it really been the model for the toy? Did it respond the same way? Did Lupin like-- He shook his head briefly, trying to rid his mind of the images.

"Oh, yes! It was incredible! Wonderful consistency, and those little sparkles! Just the right tingle at just the right time and place. I think it will be very, very popular. Do you think you could make it in different varieties?"

"Varieties of what?" Severus frowned.

"Well, the rose scent is nice; very romantic, but I thought maybe a variety of scents, perhaps musk, amber, cinnamon, would be nice. Perhaps some food-related varieties, too - fruit scented, maybe? Strawberry or lemon or apple...perhaps chocolate or coconut?"

"As long as they don't break down the base consistency, almost any scent could be used, I suppose," Severus said thoughtfully. "I've already begun some experimentation in that area, for the...device. I saw no reason to replicate the rather unsavoury characteristics of the natural material, so I have substituted a mild, pleasantly scented alternate."

Remus nodded. "I'll bear that in mind. How many uses do you think it will be good for?"

"The device itself appears to be well designed and should last a conscientious owner a long time, if properly cared for. The self-cleaning charm will help to preserve it, as well. I have modified the...er...scrotum to serve as a reservoir for the lubricating and ejaculatory potions. It holds enough for seven uses, then it will have to be refilled. I suggest we offer refill kits as an additional item."

Remus smiled. "Excellent!" He reached into the shopping bag and pulled out a small leather pouch. "Here's the advance for ingredients and equipment, as agreed," he said, handing it to Severus. He took a roll of parchment and the bottle of champagne out and placed them on the table. "I've drawn up the terms we agreed to, and I thought it would be nice to toast the new venture," he said.

Severus arched one eyebrow, but took the parchment and read it, carefully. "It appears to be correct," he said.

Lupin handed him a quill, and he signed, then pushed the parchment back to Remus for his signature. A brief flare of golden light illuminated the parchment once both signatures were affixed, and when it had faded, two copies of the original document lay on the table.

"Have you got a couple of glasses, Severus?" Remus asked, drawing his wand and casting a quick chilling charm on the bottle of champagne.

"Hm? Oh, yes," Severus said absently, staring down at the document that showed he and Remus had agreed to go into the sex toy business together. "I'll fetch them," he said, getting to his feet.

He found a couple of dusty wineglasses on the top shelf of the old china cabinet in the kitchen and rinsed them under the tap, then wiped them dry and took them back to the sitting room, placing them on the table.

Lupin was watching him with a look of mingled curiosity and concern.

"What?"

Lupin opened the champagne and poured two glasses. "I've just been noticing...you don't use magic much anymore, do you? Other than your work with the potions, of course."

Severus felt his throat tighten. "I find it...awkward," he admitted.

"Too long without?" Lupin asked solicitously.

"No. I..." he sighed and drew out the wand. He still had difficulty thinking of it as his wand. He let it rest on his open palm, showing it to Lupin.

"That's not your wand," Lupin stated, staring.

"It is the Ministry-sanctioned replacement," Severus said morosely. "I suppose I should be grateful I am allowed a wand at all."

"But what happened to yours?" Lupin asked in dismay.

"Confiscated. Broken, probably," he said with a shrug, trying not to choke up, dammit! He had grieved for far more painful losses without tears; he would not permit himself to weep over a bit of ebony and dragon heartstring.

Lupin's warm hand closed over his free one. "I'm sorry, Severus," he said. "I'm sorry for everything they've done to you. I wish to God I could have done something to prevent it."

Severus had nothing to say.

After a moment, Lupin released him and pressed a glass of champagne into his hand. "Here's to a long, prosperous partnership!"

Partnership. Severus repressed a snort, but took a sip of champagne.

They sat in companionable quiet for a while, sipping their wine.

At last, Lupin set his empty glass on the table and stretched, then put the dildo in its tea towel into his shopping bag. "Well, I should leave you in peace, I suppose," he said. "If you'll take a look at those other toys I left with you and see what you can do to improve them, I'll try out the modified dildo and let you know how it works. I'll call you in a day or two, or you can call me any time." The werewolf got to his feet and grinned at him. "Oh, and Severus? Remember what I said about anal stimulation. You might surprise yourself! At a minimum, you might get a better understanding of what our customers might enjoy. And if you really want to find out how the other half lives, well, there's always polyjuice. Not that I'm suggesting you would have access to any such controlled substance, of course!" The insufferable man winked at him, then left.


~*~*~*~*~


"Severus?"

"What do you want, Lupin?"

"I just called to let you know that your modifications were spot on. Just one thing - vanilla custard?"

"It was a vast improvement over the scent of the natural product."

There was a quiet chuckle on the line. "De gustibus non disputandum est. Still, you might see about making some different flavours, especially for the refill kits. Vanilla can get rather cloying, after a while."

"Scents."

"Flavours, Severus. People are going to taste it, if only out of curiosity!"

"That's disgusting."

"That's business. Speaking of business, I have a contract in front of me for one gross of the new, improved dildoes, three gross of the refill kits - assuming we come up with additional flavours - and five gross of the sparkly lubricant in six ounce jars."

"Five...gross? Lupin, that's nearly thirty gallons of lube! No one has that much sex!"

"Apparently they do, Severus. Feeling left out?"

"Hardly. I'll need more funds for supplies, and we should see about contracting out the packaging."

"Right. I'll take care of it. I've got to get this contract signed and--"

"Just a minute, Lupin - what are the terms of this contract?"

"Er..."

"When do they expect delivery, and how long are we agreeing to wait for payment? Did you give them a quantity discount? What about indemnification? Are they agreeing to provide us a reference for future trade?"

"Erm...perhaps you'd like to look it over, before we sign it, then?"

"Perhaps I had better."

~*~*~*~*~

"Severus?"

"What is it now, Lupin?"

"I'm not too sure about this new lubricant. It works wonderfully, and the heat flush is really incredible, but that scent..."

"You said you wanted something with flavour, Lupin. You said, and I quote, 'Something with authority, rich and spicy!'"

"I know, I know. But bouillabaisse?"

"Would you prefer crayfish étoufée?"

"I think you might want to steer clear of the fish scents, Severus. I, for one, do not want to be the target of every offended witch in Diagon Alley!"

~*~*~*~*~

"Lupin?"

"Severus! I was just thinking of calling you."

"We may have a problem. Those Never-Ending Anal Beads of yours...they're not meant to pop off their string, are they?"

"Of course not! They--oh, dear. Yes, that would be bad. What happened?"

"I think it's the charm on the string; it seems to interact badly with the Tickle-Your-Fancy Tingling Lubricant."

"Oh, no! Did they...are you all right?"

"Of course I'm all right? Why wouldn't I be?"

"Oh, you managed to get them all out, then?"

"Certainly. I do have a slotted stirring spoon, you know!"

"A slotted...Severus! Are you sure you're all right?"

"I said I was, didn't I? But there's potion everywhere and I don't know what that dissolved adhesive will do to the beads in combination with the lube. We'll have to find something stronger and non-reactive."

"Severus, you're not making sense! Are you sure you got all of them out?"

"I didn't count them, Lupin, but I've scraped the bottom very carefully, and I'm just about to pour the residue through a sieve, to be sure."

"..."

"Lupin?"

"...Maybe I'd better come over and check. I'll be right there."

Standing over the nearly-empty cauldron, Severus frowned as the mobile disconnected. What ever was Lupin on about, now? He shook his head and tipped the cauldron over onto its side, scraping the thickened potion residue out into the waiting sieve with his long-handled slotted spoon.


~*~*~*~*~

Chapter Text

Severus sat on his bed, nude, with a beaker of his latest potion in hand. He had to admit he was doing rather well out of this sex toy business with Lupin, even if certain aspects of it still made him a bit queasy. He had yet to lower himself to Lupin's level of depravity, but the more involved he became, the more curious he was about the amazingly varied sexual practices of wizarding Britain.

His own sexual experience was limited to some rather distasteful "circle jerks" after lights-out in the Slytherin dorms when he was a boy, a number of fumbling snogging-and-petting sessions with giggling girls in his sixth and seventh years, the loss of his virginity in a very vague and hurried experience he preferred to forget, and a rather sweet liaison with a Muggle whore who had lived down the road and initiated him more fully into the mysteries, the summer after he had left Hogwarts.

She'd died later that year; hit by a lorry as she was coming home in the wee hours of the morning.

He tended to think of sex as a messy, emotionally entangled distraction at best. At worst...he had seen things when he was with the Death Eaters that still gave him nightmares. He had managed to keep himself apart from it all, always claiming the need to attend to his potions. They had laughed at his disinclination to participate, but he had spent more nights than he could count hunched over a basin in his laboratory, retching his guts out until he could no longer see the tortured, tormented faces of the victims his "friends" had selected for their sport.

His own needs were simple. He tossed off when his body's condition demanded it, neither spending a great deal of time at the matter nor fretting over it. When he was hungry, he ate. When he was thirsty, he drank. When he was weary, he slept. When he was dirty, he bathed. When he was randy, he wanked. Circumstances permitting in all cases, of course. He'd had to go hungry and thirsty before; ignoring his body's demands was nothing new to him.

But now that he was creating potions and modifying devices to pander to human sexual desire and deviancy, he found himself curious. This taste issue, for example. He found nothing appetizing about the appearance, scent, or - shudder! - flavour of his own emissions. They were bitter and rank, and he could not see how anyone would want to taste them, voluntarily.

He was a well-read man; he knew that oral sex was highly prized, but the notion of another person willingly sucking his prick and tasting - perhaps even swallowing! - that nasty substance was enough to make him ill. He knew he would never be able to contemplate it himself, even if he were queer!

Still...he did wonder what was so wonderful about oral sex. Since he had neither the coin nor the inclination to pay someone else to service him that way, he had decided he would have to resolve his curiosity by himself.

He had bathed, most thoroughly, paying special attention to his genitals and scrubbing them until the only scent he could detect was the light fragrance of the soap he had used. He arranged himself comfortably on the bed and considered the beaker of potion. It would take a few minutes to begin working, so he drank it down, then spread his legs comfortably and took himself in hand. He must have been a bit more excited about the experiment than he had thought, as his prick sprang to attention almost at once. He stroked himself gently a few times, pulling his foreskin back and forth and rubbing it over the wet, swollen head of his prick. He felt an unaccustomed tingling in his spine and shifted his shoulders, then stretched.

It was working.

He bent forward, carefully, but felt no tension in his lower back, just an odd springiness. He bent further down, until the tip of his nose touched the head of his prick. His hard shaft twitched at the contact.

Tentatively, he stuck out his tongue and flicked a bit of moisture from his glans. It wasn't too bad. Salty and just a bit musky, but not bad. He stroked his tongue right across the glans and nearly gave himself a heart attack at the intensity of the sensation. Holding his prick firmly just above his bollocks, he stretched further and managed to take it into his mouth.

Oh, God!

He sucked gently and felt shudders running from his prick down to his bollocks and right up his spine. He tried using his tongue, pressing it along the shaft and tracing the great pulsing veins with the very tip.

His hips began to thrust, driving his prick into his mouth. He whimpered and sucked hard. His bollocks were tingling and his prick was going to explode. His mouth was filled with salty fluid and a trace of bitterness, but he couldn't stop now. He drew his head back and ran his tongue around the glans and under the edge of his foreskin where it was bunched behind the head of his prick.

He felt an aching sensation deep in his gut, and his world centered down to the circuit he had made of himself. Licking and sucking and sliding his mouth up and down on his own prick until there was no room left in his mind for thought - pure, intense sensation was everything: the heat and wetness of his mouth, the rasp of his tongue on his own sensitive, needy flesh, the pulse of his blood in his bollocks and prick, the throb of his arsehole as his hips pistoned mindlessly. He sucked harder and swallowed the increasingly bitter fluid that filled his mouth. He reached down and rubbed his bollocks hard, then dared to slip a finger behind them and tease his arsehole lightly.

White fire raced along every nerve he possessed. His bollocks drew up and his prick jerked wildly, driving itself deeper into his mouth and spasming, suddenly filling his mouth with thick, hot, viscous, bitter fluid.

He almost choked to death, but he could not stop sucking and trying to swallow, as his aching prick continued to spurt, drawing every bit of semen he had up from his pulsing bollocks and shooting it into his mouth.

At last, it stilled and softened, slipping from his mouth. He slowly straightened up, panting for breath, then leaned over the side of the bed and spat repeatedly, until he began to retch.

There had to be a better way.

~*~*~*~*~

Remus hadn't heard from Severus in nearly two weeks, and he was beginning to get worried. His last call had coincided with a visit from that vacuous twit, Susie Auror Somethingorother, and he knew Severus had been rather on edge.

He had tried calling a couple of times since then, but Severus's mobile had gone straight to voice mail, so he must have turned it off. They did have delivery commitments to fulfill, but that wasn't the reason he was concerned. He was afraid that the auror had discovered the nature of their business, and had either forbidden Severus to continue working on their projects, or worse, taken him off to St. Mungo's for evaluation. There was absolutely nothing illegal about their products, but if she was the goody-goody type, she might easily have decided that such work was morally questionable and therefore not in Severus's best interests.

He hurried down the narrow lane to Spinner's End. It was growing dark, but he thought it was a likely time to find Severus at home. There was no answer to his knock at the door.

"Severus? It's Remus! Are you all right? Severus?"

There was a noise from inside, but no response.

"Severus? I'm coming in!"

He cast alohamora and the old door swung open readily. The house was dark, except for the flicker of firelight from the sitting room doorway.

"Severus?" he came around the corner and found Severus sitting in one of the old worn chairs beside the fire, an empty bottle on the table, a half-empty one beside it, and a half-empty glass in one hand. "Severus, are you all right?"

"Re--Lupin. What an unexpected pleasure," Severus didn't quite slur, but it was clear he had taken quite a bit to drink, even without the evidence of the bottles.

"Severus? What's wrong?" Remus sat down in the other chair.

"Doesn't work. Well, it works, of course it works, but s'no damned good."

"What doesn't work, Severus?"

"Does work! Works fine. First time, right out of the cauldron. No shilly, silly-shallyinging. Just no good. Can't stand the taste. Can't quit, either." Severus drained his glass and poured another. "Nasty. Nasty, nasty stuff. But so good. It's all your fault, you know. Silly werewolf!"

"What have I done, now?" Remus asked gently.

"Got to have new tastes. People want to taste it. Silly buggers. Can't figure what they're on about, at least, not from that end. The other, sure. Keep at it all bloody night if I could. Prick's gone raw."

"Severus, I don't quite see..."

"S'all right. I've got healing cream. Heal it right up. Potion to keep it going, too. Just...gah! Horrible taste. Like bleach. Bleach and moldy cheese. Horrible!"

"Hm. Severus, I need you to explain things, from the beginning, if you think you can manage that."

Severus snorted. "Silly werewolf. I told you! You said people liked to taste it. I had to find out why. See? New potion. Makes your spine all stretchy. Lasts a good hour, maybe two. Watch!" He pulled a bottle out of his robe pocket and took a good swallow. "Nearly conditioned reflex, now. I feel the stretchiness starting, my tackle's up and ready!" He opened his robe, revealing his thin, pale torso, legs lightly sprinkled with black hair, and a lovely, long, slender prick beginning to arouse.

Severus wrapped his fingers around his prick and stroked it carefully. "See? Rearing to go. Now, all I have to do is stretch..." He shifted his shoulders oddly, then bent forward, doubling himself over impossibly.

Remus's eyes nearly popped out as Severus bent over and sucked his own prick into his mouth. It was clear he had been doing this fairly regularly, as his motions were nearly mechanical. In a few moments, Severus's hips were rocking in time with his head, as he drove his prick in and out of his own mouth.

It was incredibly erotic. Remus felt himself harden as he watched Severus suck himself off, and finally had to reach into his trousers and take himself in hand as well. Severus was whimpering and slurping, his sounds nearly desperate as he strove to bring himself off. Remus stroked himself and watched in fascination.

When Severus finally reached down and began to fondle his bollocks and press his fingers back into his arse, Remus could stand it no longer. He bit back a cry and yanked hard on his prick, which pulsed hard and spurted hot come all over his hand and inside his pants.

Severus must be getting close. His cheeks were hollowing with the effort to suck himself, and his hands were grasping and groping as his hips snapped upward, driving his prick into his willing mouth. Suddenly he seemed to convulse, his whole body going rigid for a moment, then spasming forcefully. He gulped, and a bit of come dribbled from his mouth. His eyes went wide, and he swallowed, then began sucking even more avidly. He slurped and swallowed until at last his prick stilled and slipped from his mouth and he flopped bonelessly back into the chair.

Remus gaped at him before remembering to cast a wordless cleaning spell on himself. "Severus...that was...that was really amazing. But what's the problem?"

Severus was panting for breath, but he reached up and wiped a bit of come from his cheek, then put his finger in his mouth. "I don't believe it," he breathed.

"Don't believe what?"

"It's...it must be the wine! I've had...a bottle and a half...I wonder if less would work?"

"Severus?"

"The taste! Two weeks I've been working on this. It was horrid before. Bitter, nasty. But the sensations were enough to keep me at it, even though the taste turned my stomach! I tried all sorts of additions. Nothing helped. But the wine! Remus, the wine must have changed the flavour!"

Remus nodded. "That makes sense. Usually, people recommend fruit or fruit juice. If a man has a meat-heavy, or worse, a dairy-heavy diet, his spunk can get pretty rank. Fruit juice makes it much more palatable. One might even say delicious!" He smiled.

Severus stared at him. "People...know how to change...that?"

"In certain circles," Remus assured him. "Even some Muggles know that. I think I first read it in a Muggle magazine, in fact. Pineapple juice is supposed to work wonders."

Severus continued staring blankly at him.

"I think your new potion is rather remarkable, Severus. It should be a big hit with couples, too. A little extra limberness in bed is always a good thing!" He rose and picked up the half-empty bottle, taking a swig. "I'll just let you get some sleep, then, shall I?

Severus had already tipped his head back and his eyes were nearly closed. Remus cast another cleaning spell, then pulled Severus's robe closed. He took a faded pillow from the old couch and placed it on the table, then lifted Severus's bony feet and set them on the pillow. He pulled an ancient afghan from the back of the couch and draped it over the drowsing man.

"Good night, Severus. Sweet dreams."

"G'night. Silly...Remus..."

Remus smiled gently as he let himself out and locked the door behind him.

~*~*~*~*~

Severus had been mortified at the hazy fragments of memory he retained when he awoke the following morning. Oh, God, had he really sucked himself off right in front of Lupin? He would never hear the end of this, he was sure.

He didn't remember making himself so comfortable in the chair, but he had awakened cozily tucked under the afghan, with his feet on a pillow. Best of all, he had no urge to spit, vomit, or scrub his mouth until his tongue bled. His genitals were pleasantly sore and sated, and he had a general feeling of well-being he had never quite experienced before.

He stretched leisurely and made his way to his lab, where he made some notes on combining fruit juice with the limberness potion. If his recollections were at all correct, Lupin had seemed interested in the potion's commercial potential, so he would have to see if the formula held up when brewed in quantity.

As for Lupin...the werewolf was no doubt laughing up his sleeve at seeing Severus drunk, debauched and engaged in depravity. He would have to do something about that. A little something to even the score, perhaps.

He rummaged through the latest batch of sample toys, considering the potential of each as a vehicle for revenge.

Ah...the little lip-shaped clamps! Now, those might well suffice.

~*~*~*~*~

Remus looked through the box of enhanced toys Severus had delivered earlier that day and considered which he ought to try next. Their business had really taken off; they had as many orders as they could expect to fill without renting a shop and hiring additional help. He would never have thought that product testing could be so much fun, but he was having more sex now than he had ever had in his life before, even if it was all essentially masturbation, and there was a certain unreality about getting paid for this sort of "work."

There was a new formulation of lube, but he put that aside to try by itself, or with one of their older toys. The new, improved anal beads looked interesting, but he wasn't quite up for that tonight.

He smiled to see that Severus had included the little clamps in this batch. He had rather wondered if they would be a bit much for the prudish Slytherin. They were shaped like tiny mouths, complete with teeth and tongues, and they were charmed to bite, lick and suck wherever they were placed on the body. He was quite curious to see what Severus had made of them. He scooped a handful of them up and took them to the bedroom.

He stripped the bed back, slipped out of his clothes and stretched out on his side, putting the clamps down within easy reach. He picked up one and examined it, smiling at its tiny, perfect smile. He pulled gently at his right nipple until it peaked up, then positioned the clamp in front of it, squeezed to open the tiny mouth, and let it go.

It bit him.

He caught his breath at the quick flare of pain, but the bite wasn't really all that hard. He lay there, idly playing with his other nipple, as the clamp began to lick and suck at his right one.

Oh, that was exquisite! Severus had done something to make the little mouths juicy, while keeping a certain degree of rasp to the tiny tongues. He groaned in pleasure as the tongue switched from licking to flicking sharply over the tip of his nipple, then gasped as a sudden icy sensation shocked him, hardening his nipple to the point of agony, and shooting a lance of pleasure/pain right down his spine to his prick.

Oh, GOD!

Who knew Severus had such sensual--

"Augggh!" He bit off a scream as the iciness suddenly switched to heat. His hips bucked, his prick coming to instant hardness and nearly jabbing him in the belly.

Oh, these were great!

In fairly short order, Remus had another clamp on his left nipple, one high up on his inner thigh, one on his perineum, and one poised right over his pucker, deep in his arse.

He was in sensual bliss as the tiny mouths licked and sucked and bit at him, their temperatures changing from normal body heat to freezing to searing and back again, at random and out of synch with one another. At the moment, the ones on his nipples were gently chewing them, the one on his perineum was licking him with an icy tongue, the one on his thigh was biting and tickling, and the one in his arse was a flaming coal, jabbing tiny darts of fire into his passage.

His prick was standing high and hard and pre-come was flowing copiously from it, but he was so caught up in the myriad sensations he couldn't concentrate enough to attend to it. He writhed on the bed, every motion brushing one or more of the tiny clamps against the bed or some part of his body and making them switch modes.

He moaned and fisted the sheets, desperate for release. Finally, he managed to get one shaking hand wrapped around his prick and began to pull on it. He nearly sobbed when he finally came, his come spurting halfway across the bed in a forceful jet. He sighed in relief and lay back, panting. The clamp on his right nipple stilled, softened slightly and dropped free.

He reached up to pull off the one on his left nipple. At his touch, it changed from gentle biting to icy licking. He gasped and pulled harder, but the sensations only intensified. The clamp on his perineum bit down, hard, and he screamed, thrashing on the bed in an effort to ease the sudden pain. The clamp over his arsehole suddenly changed to ice. The one on his groin heated up.

He tried casting finite incantatum on them, but nothing happened. His prick was hardening up again. He tried to pull the clamp from under his bollocks, but it was stuck fast. His touch did make it switch from biting to licking, but then the one on his nipple switched to heat and he writhed at the sensory overload.

He managed to flip onto his belly and frot against the bed, but it wasn't enough. Gasping with effort, he took hold of his prick again and pulled at it, whimpering as the clamps all cycled through their various modes. It took longer, this time, but he finally managed another ejaculation, and the clamp on his left nipple came free.

He lay back, trying to catch his breath. The three remaining clamps all started another cycle in rapid succession.

Oh, God. He wasn't going to live through this. If he had to come once for each clamp...

He groped for the mobile he'd put on the bedside table.

~*~*~*~*~

"S..Severus!"

"Yes?"

"S...Ssseverusss...you've got to...oh, God! You've got...got to help me!"

"What are you talking about, Lupin?"

"The c...c...clamps! Oh, MERLIN!"

"Found them a bit chilly, did you?"

"Nnnngahh! No...can't...can't get them...ungghh...won't come off...can't...can't come...any more!"

"What? You idiot! How many did you use?"

"F...f...five. S...still have...th...th...three...on. Oh, oh! Hnnngh...can't, can't..."

"Of all the idiotic...Fine! I'll be right there."

~*~*~*~*~

Severus had been to Lupin's flat on many occasions since they had gone into business together, mostly to drop off or pick up new toys or to go over another contract with the werewolf, who had quickly seen the merits of entrusting the financial details of their business venture to a suspicious Slytherin. He had been asked repeatedly to stay for tea, drinks, or dinner, but he had declined on all occasions. He had never been past Lupin's rather pleasant living room.

He let himself in and made directly toward the sounds of distress, which proved to be coming from Lupin's comfortable bedroom. The werewolf was naked and thrashing about on a generously-sized bed, his eyes slightly wild and his genitals red and swollen. His nipples looked bruised, and as he rolled back and forth, Severus could see one bright red little clamp fastened to the soft skin of his groin.

Remus made a wild grab for his penis and whimpered as his hand closed around the abused flesh. He tried to stroke it, and his hips bucked in response, but it was obviously too painful for him to keep up the motion.

Severus sighed and dug into the shopping bag he carried, bringing out a tub of lubricant he had blended with a healing cream. He grabbed Lupin's wrist and slapped a palmful of the soothing cream into his hand, then guided it back down between Lupin's legs.

Lupin closed his eyes and moaned as he grasped his prick again and the cooling cream soothed his raw, aching prick. He slid his hand up and down a couple of times, and his prick began to pulse, sending his entire body into spasms. He cried out in pain, his hips snapping forward as he came once more, this time only a small amount of semen oozing from the reddened tip of his prick.

He rolled onto his back, chest heaving. The clamp on his groin fell free. Severus picked it up and set it on the nightstand, then retrieved a few others that were lying loose on the bed.

Lupin began squirming on the bed again.

"They're starting again. Oh, God! Severus, I can't. I can't come again. I'll die."

"You're not going to die, idiot. Your body is just depleted. I brought a potion that might help. It's intended to enhance virility, but in the state you're in, I think it will help you ejaculate one more time."

Lupin nodded, reaching for the bottle Severus held out to him. He swiftly drank it down and groaned as his penis sprang erect once more. Severus filled his hand with the thick, creamy lubricant, and he gritted his teeth as he reached for his prick once more.

He was shuddering as he wanked himself yet again, fighting the dueling sensations in his arse and perineum as they shifted from hot to cold, gentle tickling to sharp biting and back again. He nearly wept as his aching bollocks drew up once more and his penis jerked, spilling one more emission over his hand. He lay still, riding out the aftershocks.

"Where is it, Lupin? I don't want it to reattach."

He groaned and rolled onto his back, reaching down under his bollocks to flick the little clamp away from his perineum. Then he groaned louder, as the one remaining clamp drove a raspy little tongue between the swollen tissues of his abused arsehole.

Severus removed the detached clamp and watched Lupin begin twitching once more.

"Another one? There are five here."

"Used five. There was one extra," Lupin ground out, trying to reach his aching arse. "Potion?"

Severus shook his head. "You can't take any more for at least four hours."

"S--spell?" Lupin asked, screwing his eyes shut as the clamp turned cold and began slowly licking his pucker.

"I...I wouldn't dare, not with this wand, Lupin. I might turn you inside out," Severus said honestly. He regarded Lupin thoughtfully. "However, if you will permit me...I may be able to help."

"Anything! Severus, please!" Lupin moaned.

"Turn over, then," Severus said, gently taking hold of Lupin's shoulders and turning him onto his belly, tucking a pillow beneath his hips. He sat on the bed and cautiously put one hand on Lupin's arse, then the other. With careful fingers, he pulled Lupin's cheeks apart, to see the little red clamp busily working away. Lupin's arsehole was red and swollen, despite the lubrication the clamp provided. "This is going to hurt, I'm afraid," he warned, dipping one finger in the soothing cream.

"Please, please...Severus, please," Lupin chanted.

"Very well." He carefully slipped his finger under the clamp and into Lupin's arse. The werewolf stiffened at the intrusion, then let out a heartfelt moan.

"Oh, God! Oh, Merlin, yes, please, please, please..."

He carefully coated the swollen opening with the cream, wherever he could reach. The clamp went hot for a moment, but he squeezed it and it cycled back to gentle licking. He pulled his finger out and dipped two into the cream, just barely managing to squeeze them in, under the clamp.

Lupin groaned and panted as he slid his fingers slowly inside, and the werewolf began grinding his hips into the pillow. "Shhhh, stop that," Severus said, "you're already sore; you don't need to make it worse." He felt around carefully for the little bump of the prostate, as described in the literature he had begun reading for research. It took him a bit of exploration, but finally he felt the small pad beneath the anal walls. It was probably nearly empty, but there should be some residual effect from the potion he had given Remus, he thought. He rubbed it gently and Remus howled. That was definitely the right spot, then. He crooked his fingers and pressed, gently but firmly.

Remus saw stars. He snapped his hips forward, frotting against the pillow as hard as he could, while his sore prick pulsed once more, blood-warm fluid coating the pillow and his belly as he gasped out, "SEVERUS!"

Severus continued rubbing and pressing that little spot until he felt the clamp give way. He whisked it out of the way with his free hand and was about to withdraw his fingers when Remus pressed back onto them.

"Severus! Oh, God, Severus, yes! Please, please! Oh, God, fuck me, please!" he moaned.

Severus was so startled he nearly leapt up from the bed, but he was already sitting there with his fingers up another man's arse, so what difference did it really make if it was purely therapeutic, or if the other man was enjoying it?

Remus moaned and pressed back onto his fingers again. "Please," he whispered.

Severus began stroking his fingers in and out again, taking care to brush gently over the overworked prostate. He paused once to add more lubricant, and Remus nearly wept. He slipped his fingers back in, then hesitantly added a third. Remus groaned in appreciation.

"Oh, yes! God, yes! Just like that!"

All things considered, Remus wasn't bad to look at, Severus decided. He was lightly muscled and had a dusting of fine brown hair on his shoulders, and his buttocks were very nicely shaped. He drove his fingers in a bit more firmly, rather enjoying the sounds Remus was making.

He was mildly surprised to find himself getting hard.

Remus was up on his knees now, moving back and forth in time to Severus's strokes. He couldn't possibly... Severus glanced around beneath Remus's belly and noted that he was half-erect again. That potion must have had a longer-lasting effect than he had anticipated...either that, or the recuperative powers of lycanthropes extended to their refractory periods!

Remus was bobbing his hips at the end of each stroke, trying to keep Severus's fingers moving in his arse and get some pressure on his apparently insatiable prick at the same time.

Severus dipped his other hand in the lube, reached around and caught hold of the bobbing erection, gripping it firmly.

Remus whined and began to buck, driving Severus's fingers into his arse and thrusting his prick through Severus's hand.

This was all well and good, but the man had already come five times; he would collapse if this went on much longer, Severus thought. He crooked his fingers on the next stroke, pressing hard into Remus's prostate, while swiping his thumb over the glans of his prick at the same time.

Remus howled and his body began shuddering once more. His valiant prick managed to push out another small amount of semen, then, all at once, he collapsed into a boneless heap on the bed.

Severus pulled his hands free and fastidiously went to wash them immediately.

When he came back, Remus was snoring, utterly shagged out. He picked up the blanket from the foot of the bed and draped it over him, then wrote a quick note, leaving it by the bedside as he left.

~*~*~*~*~

When Remus awoke, he felt as though he had spent the night at an orgy. He drew in a hissing breath as his arm dragged over his sore nipples. His bladder needed emptying, and his prick and bollocks were exceptionally tender. His arse...his arse felt very thoroughly shagged, and he smiled a little at the memory of...

Oh, dear.

What the hell had he done? He remembered calling Severus to come help him with the clamps...and the rest was rather muzzy. He had an indistinct recollection of begging Severus to fuck him, and being quite readily obliged. That was so much like his recurring fantasies that he nearly dismissed it, but for the fact that he knew Severus had come to help him last night.

God, had they actually done it? His arse certainly seemed to support the conclusion. But Severus! Severus was so...reserved and so relentlessly straight! He wished he could remember more clearly, but his entire body was sore and his head was just too muzzy. How miserably unfair of the universe!

And if they had done it...would Severus ever speak to him again? They had a good working relationship, finally, and what Remus hoped was the foundation for a friendship. He might dream about that dark, sultry voice and those talented fingers, see recurring visions of the two of them twined about each other like mating snakes, under the auspices of Severus's limberness potion, but he'd had no intention of seducing Severus unless he could glimpse some sort of indication that his attentions would be welcome. His memory of the previous night was hardly of a sophisticated seduction - more like a wanton slut just gagging for it. Severus was probably utterly disgusted. He'd be damned lucky if they were able to continue their business arrangement.

He sighed, then gingerly got out of bed and headed for the bathroom. He took care of his bladder, then had a good, hot shower and put on clean clothes. Wrinkling his nose at the stale scent of sex in the bedroom, he flicked his wand at the bedclothes, which bundled themselves off into the laundry hamper. He put fresh sheets down and made the bed, then went to gather up the wicked little clamps.

He found a note beneath them.

Lupin,

While I apologize for not telling you the nature of the changes to the clamp enchantments, I would like to point out that had you any sense of moderation at all, you would not have gotten yourself into the predicament from which I was forced to extricate you last night.

In view of the fact that you did manage to get yourself so entangled, I believe it would be wise to modify the charms on the clamps to release on command - incorporating a safe word into the spells. Perhaps it should be user-defined. We can discuss the matter when you have recovered.

I suggest you take care to hydrate properly and consume frequent small meals, with plenty of protein and fresh vegetables for the next few days. Also, it would be best to abstain from sexual activities until your body has had a chance to fully recover.

I will cover your meeting with Messrs. Faine and Fantzie regarding the new contract. I have taken the liberty of borrowing a few of your hairs to enable me to do so.

--SS

Remus smiled. For Severus, that was practically an abject apology and very nearly a love letter. He kissed the parchment lightly and tucked it into the nightstand. Things were looking up already.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Chapter Text

Severus did not mention any of the details of that night when next they met, so Remus kept his silence as well. But he couldn't help replaying the bits he did remember over and over in his head, combining them with the gorgeously erotic memory of the long, lean Slytherin bent double with his own prick in his mouth. It kept him at least half-hard all the time they were together.

They were in Severus's workroom, talking as Severus put the final touches on another new potion. Remus made certain their hands brushed on occasion, smiling innocently when Severus jumped at the mild contact.

"Severus, I've been thinking..."

"Don't strain anything," Severus said, as he carefully stirred the cauldron before him.

Remus chuckled. "It occurred to me that we ought to try a line of toys for couples."

"I thought you assured me that many couples use the sorts of items we are already making?" Severus inquired with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh, they do! But I was thinking of something special, perhaps identical toys that are somehow charmed to respond together...or perhaps..."

"Perhaps each charmed to respond to manipulation of the other?"

"Something like that. Any ideas?"

Severus stirred in silence for a while. "There are potions that can be used for that sort of effect. They're...not quite legal."

"Well, I wouldn't want us breaking the law. Why are they illegal?"

"They were originally designed to enable torture or murder from a distance."

"Oh."

"Very effective when your victim is not easily accessible."

"I suppose so."

Severus chewed his bottom lip for a moment. "I could probably modify the formula so that it could not be used to cause pain...it might be possible to bind the potion to a device, so that its effect could be controlled with a charm."

"Would it be legal?"

Severus shrugged. "It would not be illegal, as it would be a new formula. None of the ingredients I have in mind is proscribed, of itself."

"Do you have what you need on hand?"

"No. I would have to purchase some supplies." He frowned. "I would prefer not to go as myself, and the establishment I deal with does not do business by owl post."

Remus smiled and twisted a few hairs around his forefinger, then yanked them out and handed them to Severus. "Be my guest. Just please don't get me arrested for anything!"

Severus stared at him, then took the hairs and carefully placed them in a small glass vial. He stirred the potion for a while longer, then reduced the flame and removed the stirring rod. "That will do," he said, putting the stirring rod aside to cool. "There is another matter I have been meaning to mention," he said hesitantly.

"Yes?"

"The full moon is next week," he said.

"Yes."

"You...are you content with your current supplier of wolfsbane?"

"It works," Remus shrugged. "It's not perfect, but it keeps me from running amok and trying to eat the neighbors."

"I...If you wanted, I could brew it for you," Severus offered. He stood very tensely, awaiting Remus's response.

"Severus! Would you? Merlin, that would be wonderful! Your formulation was better than anything I've tried since. It even eased some of the pain of transformation!"

"I will have it for you on Wednesday, then," Severus said.

"I thought it took most of two weeks to brew!" Remus exclaimed.

"It does. I have the base potion simmering in the kitchen. I will pick up the additional ingredients when I make that trip to Diagon Alley."

Remus could not restrain himself. He threw his arms around Severus and squeezed him. "Thank you," he said intensely. "I can't tell you what that means to me, Severus, but thank you!" He let go after one more quick squeeze, and sat back on the stool, smiling at Severus in wonder. "You never fail to surprise me, Severus," he said.

"I had developed an interest in adapting the formula, when I first brewed it," Severus explained hastily. His cheeks were slightly flushed. "Now that I have more leisure, I would like to continue my research."

"Of course, Severus. I'm just fortunate that your research dovetails so nicely with my needs." Remus grinned.

"Precisely."

~*~*~*~*~

Suzanne Marie Soleil had just finished a light luncheon at the Witch's Hat and was doing a bit of window-shopping, when she saw a flash of tawny hair and tweed robes coming out of the store next door.

"Mr. Lupin?"

"Oh bug--...er...yes?" Mr. Lupin appeared a bit confused.

She thought he had recognized her at first, but now she wasn't sure. "Suzanne Marie Soleil, Rehabilitation Auror. You may recall we met at the Leaky Cauldron a few months ago?"

"Oh, of course," he smiled, rather slowly, as if unaccustomed to the expression. "I had nearly forgotten. How are you?"

"Well, thank you, very well! I just wondered, were you ever able to establish correspondence with your old friend? He hasn't mentioned it to me, but then, he wouldn't. The poor old dear, he's very shy."

"Er...yes. We have been in touch."

"That's wonderful! I'm so pleased. Do you know, I thought perhaps you had written him, as he does seem much happier these days! He hasn't tried to hex me in six weeks or more! And he seems to be taking much more of an interest in establishing a new career for himself."

"Oh?"

"Yes, he's always quite busy when I come by for an inspection visit. He won't tell me what he's working on, of course! Silly old pet! He does love being mysterious! Do you happen to know anything about his work?"

"Yes, as a matter of fact, we have embarked upon a business venture together."

"Really! Well, that's simply marvelous! What sort of business are you in?"

"Sex toys, Ms. Soleil. And lubricant. Available in a wide variety of flavours and scents, with varying magical properties. We may soon be branching out into accessories for bondage and discipline. You are familiar with discipline, I take it? Shall I send you our new catalogue, when it is available?"

Suzanne Marie Soleil squeaked in alarm, and very nearly fled. But Mr. Lupin was a war hero and member of the Order of the Phoenix! She blinked several times, then realized that of course, he was teasing her! Clever old dear! She giggled and slapped his arm playfully. "Oh, you are a one! Between you and my client, I'd never get a moment's rest. Sex toys, indeed!" She pulled on his lapel until he bent toward her, then kissed him on the cheek. "Naughty boy! Well, you two behave yourselves! Toodle-loo!" She fairly skipped off down the street, still giggling to herself. Lucinda would simply die when she heard this story!

~*~*~*~*~

"So, that's it, then?"

"Yes. They have been impregnated with the potion, and the charms should enable the users to control them."

"Well, we'll have to test them and find out. It's important to document things like this, particularly with an experimental potion involved."

"Mm." Severus looked down at the two odd devices and bit his lip. "Precisely how do you intend for us to test them?"

"Well, ideally, we'd each take one and take turns directing and observing the action."

"Together?" Severus looked rather alarmed at the prospect.

"I don't see how else...no, wait a minute," Remus said as Severus seemed about to erupt in outrage. "Here's a thought. You take one home and I'll take the other. We can call each other, and you can manipulate one device while I tell you what mine is doing. Does that sound like a plan?"

Severus frowned. "I suppose..." he said reluctantly. "It should be feasible."

"Other than using them in the same room and just observing, which would be easier-- no, no, it's all right. We'll try it this way, all right?"

"Very well. Call me this evening when you are ready."

"Around eight?"

"Very well."

~*~*~*~*~

Severus sat in his bedroom, wearing only a loose robe. His mobile lay on the nightstand, beside a tub of lubricant, and one of the new devices lay on the bed next to him.

They were not meant to resemble anything in particular. They had a long, slender shaft with a wide flange on one end, connected to a very long, flexible rod. This one was green. The one Remus had was red.

He still wasn't quite sure how this was going to work, but before he had a chance to ponder it, his mobile rang.

"Severus?"

"Yes."

"Are you ready?"

"I suppose so. You are prepared?"

"I'm sitting up in bed with the toy in my lap. I've lube at hand, as well."

"You do remember the deactivation trigger?"

"Yes, I'm all set."

"Very well, then." Severus set the mobile back down on the nightstand. "Can you still hear me?"

"Yes, loud and clear. Can you hear me?"

"Yes. I am picking up the device now, and activating it." He picked up the thing by its flange and ran his finger and one thumb up along the flexible rod, flattening it slightly.

"The rod on mine just flattened out," Remus reported.

"Good. Place the rod along your....along your penis," he managed to say.

"All right."

Severus bent the rod gently, but without being able to see Remus actually sitting there with the toy in his lap, he could not tell which way to move it or what it was going to do. He sighed and stretched the rod along his own prick, which lay limp in his lap. He carefully bent the rod in a spiral around his shaft.

"The rod is winding around my prick," Remus reported.

"You may want to add lubricant," Severus advised him, as he scooped up a good dollop and applied it to his own prick, which was beginning to take an interest in the proceedings.

"All right," Remus replied.

Severus began sliding the coils back and forth along his stiffening shaft.

"Oh...it's moving back and forth. Very smoothly...very nice," Remus said. His voice sounded just a touch breathy.

Severus murmured a word and small bumps extruded from the flattened rod. The sensation of them sliding over his well-lubed shaft was quite stimulating.

"Mmmm...the spiral has bumps now; they're slid...sliding and they tingle a bit...oh, yes!" Remus seemed to be getting rather excited.

Severus caught the end of the rod and pressed on it, flattening it further, into a flexible disk-like shape. He gave another command, and the disk curved over his glans and began vibrating, slowly at first, then more rapidly.

"There's...there's a sort of cap...it's covering the head of my prick and it's...oh, God! It's buzzing" Remus said, biting off a moan.

The sound of Remus's arousal had an amazing effect on him. His prick grew harder and pre-come began flowing from it, making the vibration of the disk even more intense. He gripped the coils and squeezed them around his prick, gasping at the sensation.

"Oh! Oh, yes. That's lovely! The coils are pressing...sliding...feels wonderful...feels almost like your hand on me," Remus groaned.

Severus almost lost the rhythm at that, but his body urged him on. He took hold of the opposite end of the toy, the one with the flange, and gave it a good coating of lubricant. "Lu--Remus. Put lube on the other end of the device," he instructed.

"Mmmm...yes. Yes, all right. Done," Remus gasped. Severus could hear the slick slide of the coils as they moved on Remus's body and his own prick twitched in response. He stretched the long rod out even further, and slid the lubed shaft on the other end down, under his bollocks and between his arsecheeks, to nudge against his arsehole.

"Oh, Merlin!" Remus cried. "Yes! Oh, Severus, yes, please! Feels good - feels bloody marvelous!"

Severus carefully squirmed until he had the tip of the shaft positioned, then gently pressed it into the center of his pucker, remembering Remus on all fours atop his bed, begging for Severus to give him release.

The flange of the device automatically shaped itself to the curves of his arse, keeping the shaft from getting in too far, then began to vibrate like the disk on the other end. Severus threw his head back and groaned.

"Severus...oh, God...are you...? It feels like you touching me, Severus. Almost as good as your fingers inside me. Merlin, I wish it was your fingers - wish it was your prick, Severus, your lovely, long prick, buried deep in my arse!"

Remus was practically babbling, but the visions playing through Severus's mind were incredibly vivid. He could see himself behind Remus, thrusting his prick through that tight ring of muscle and into the passage beyond, feeling Remus's arse clenching around him, rather than the coils of this toy. He imagined himself pressing against Remus's prostate and making him cry out in that desperate, needy way, begging Severus to take him, possess him...

He groaned and sped up his strokes.

"Sev...Severus...God, I want you. I need you, Severus," Remus was panting, moaning as the toy worked on him at Severus's direction. Severus pinched the disk over his glans and heard Remus bite back a shout. "This...this is no bloody good, Severus. Fuck it. I'm...I'm coming...I'm coming through..."

The mobile cut off. Severus heard himself whimper slightly and pressed the shaft of the toy further into his arse. He imagined Remus there, kneeling in front of him, taking him into his mouth...

His bedroom door flew open and a very naked and very erect Remus Lupin practically came running in. He climbed up on the bed, seized Severus's face in both hands and kissed him.

His mouth was suddenly invaded by an insistent tongue. Remus tasted of bread-and-butter pudding and something uniquely and indefinably Remus, and he found himself running his own tongue all around Remus's mouth, gorging himself on the flavour of the man.

Remus's hands were in his lap, and he heard Remus softly give the deactivation word, and then he was pulling the toy free and flinging it away. "You don't need that," Remus said huskily, kissing him along the jaw and under his ear and down along his throat. "I'm here. I want you. I'll do anything you want, Severus, but I want you."

He didn't know what to say or do, but it must have been all right, because Remus was kissing him again and rubbing his nipples and his prick and oh, God that was lovely, yes, just like that...

"I've had pineapple juice with supper," he heard himself say inanely.

Remus chuckled, a beautiful, deep sound. "Have you? Mmmm, my favorite," he said.

Severus found himself pressed back into the pillows, as Remus flopped down beside him, buried his face in his lap, and began nuzzling his bollocks. He was still rather slippery from all the lube, but it was quite safe for ingestion, and he had used the vanilla-scented version, which was still his favorite.

Remus sucked his bollocks into his mouth, alternating from one side to the other and using his tongue to press and tease them. He felt Remus's fingers sliding beneath his scrotum, tracing the tender skin of his perineum and sliding gently between his arsecheeks, even as Remus moved his mouth up and began licking his prick as if it were an ice lolly.

He couldn't help the appallingly needy sounds that emanated from him. It was all he could do not to thrust as Remus slid his foreskin back and sucked the head of his prick into his mouth, while teasing the pucker of his arsehole with one blunt nail.

"Mmmmm," Remus moaned around his mouthful, sending delicious vibrations all down Severus's prick. He began to suck, then slid his tongue over the glans and used the tip to delve into the slit.

Severus clung to the bedding and threw his head back at the rush of sensation. Remus's finger was just inside his entrance now, making little circles, while that maddening tongue worked dark magic on his prick. Remus reached for the lube, then wrapped his fingers around the shaft and began sliding them up and down, twisting slightly as he continued to lick and suck. His finger slipped further in, gently pressing around until he had found the right place, and white light exploded behind Severus's eyes. He let out a bellow and his body seized up, and then he was coming, his prick stabbing wildly up into Remus's willing mouth and throat and spurting hot come everywhere.

He sobbed as he continued ejaculating, the spasms continuing so long he thought every drop of fluid in his body was trying to exit through his prick. Remus held onto him, still stoking and sucking and pressing that magical place up inside his arse, and swallowing as much as he could, even as little rivulets of come trickled from his mouth to fall back onto Severus's crotch.

At last, the spasms eased and he drew in a great, shuddering breath. Remus gave a long slurping sound and let his prick fall from his lips, then gently licked him clean. He still had a finger up Severus's arse, but it lay still, as Remus sighed and rested his head on Severus's thighs, looking up at him with a smile.

"All right, there?"

Severus gave a shaky nod.

Remus gently wiggled the finger that was lodged up his arse and looked at him questioningly. "Do you...like that?"

"I...believe I do," Severus said wonderingly. "It...it's very intense. I..."

"Tell me, Severus."

"I would not be averse to...more."

Remus considered him carefully. "Severus, I want you up my arse at the first available opportunity, but I don't want to pressure you into the reverse. I know it's a big step."

"I know. But I believe that at my age, it is time I found out just what it is I have been missing."

Remus slid his finger out, gently, then sat up and kissed Severus.

Severus held back at first, wary of where that mouth had just been, but he found he rather liked the taste of himself blended with Remus's natural flavour...and the bread-and-butter pudding. He opened his mouth and invited more.

Remus took his time kissing him, gently exploring his mouth and sending his tongue sliding alongside Severus's. The tip of his tongue ran over the ridges on Severus's palate, then dipped down to stroke lovingly over the delicate tissues beneath Severus's tongue, making his mouth water.

Finally, Remus pulled back. His eyes were full of hunger, a novel sensation for Severus, who had never known anyone to desire him so avidly. "I'd like to see you," he said, one hand running down Severus's chest. "You're so lovely...so lean and pale...perfect. It can be awkward, face to face, but if you don't mind..."

Severus cleared his throat. "In the drawer. The yellow bottle."

Remus fished it out and looked at Severus inquiringly.

"It's the limberness potion. I...have had occasion to use it." He felt himself flushing, rather absurdly.

Remus growled low in his chest and pressed forward, biting him gently at the juncture of neck and shoulder. "You don't know just how amazingly erotic I found that," he murmured against Severus's throat. "You were so beautiful, an alabaster ouroboros, no beginning and no end." His hand slid down and wrapped around Severus's prick once again. "Incredible," he breathed, stroking gently.

"Potion, now," Severus said firmly, taking the bottle from Remus. He tipped a good swallow back and waited. The newest formulation worked within thirty seconds. He soon felt the familiar tingling along his spine. "All right," he said. "I'm ready." He slid down in the bed and drew his knees up, waiting with what he hoped Remus could not tell was false bravado.

Remus smiled and flung one leg over him, then bent to kiss him again. His hands roamed all over Severus's long, thin body, raising heat in their wake. They lingered on his nipples and along his ribcage, gently stroked his navel, and teased the trail of dark hair that led downward to his groin. They gently stroked the soft skin at the base of his belly, then one wrapped around his prick again and slowly began to stroke it.

Severus splayed his legs and thrust his hips upward.

Remus cradled his bollocks in one hand and scratched them lightly, while his other hand slipped down and into the crack of Severus's arse. There was more light scratching and teasing of his pucker, then Remus reached for more lube and gently slipped a finger back inside him. He rubbed and scratched and pressed and wriggled that digit around until Severus wanted to cry out for more, then he slipped a second finger in. The two slowly slid in and out, in and out, then Remus twisted them slightly and Severus felt that burst of sensation race outward along all of his nerves.

Remus smiled at him and added a third finger.

Severus thought the sensation would kill him. He felt stretched to the breaking point, but as Remus moved his fingers, wriggling them slightly, the incredible fullness transmuted into pleasure, then into ecstasy as they brushed over his prostate again.

"More," he heard himself groan.

"Yes, Severus. Yes, love," Remus said soothingly. He pulled his fingers free, and Severus's arse felt empty and bereft. Then Remus was taking hold of his legs and pressing them back and up, resting his knees on his shoulders, in a position he was fairly sure he could not have achieved without the limberness potion.

And then there was something hot and blunt and wet and insistent pressing at his entrance, and he moaned like a Knockturn Alley whore and tried to press forward onto it.

Remus pressed forward, very slowly, until the head of his prick had pierced Severus's pucker, then paused. "Severus?"

"Gah..." It took him a moment to focus, to realize that Remus's prick was actually inside him, and Remus was staring down at him, face full of concern. "Move, you idiot werewolf!" he snapped, thrusting his hips forward and feeling the delicious heat and fullness as Remus's thick prick slid all the way in.

It was wonderful.

Remus caught his hands with his own and twined their fingers, then leaned down, bending Severus nearly double, and kissed him. He began to thrust, his tongue keeping time with his prick, and Severus quickly caught the rhythm and snapped his hips up to meet each thrust.

Remus twisted his hips slightly, and then the broad head of his prick was sliding right over Severus's prostate on every stroke, and Severus's own prick leapt up to attention and was caught in the dance, trapped between himself and Remus as they rocked together.

He felt his climax building again, but the pressure on his prick wasn't the same as proper friction. He bit his lip and groaned in frustration as he tried to shift enough to help matters along.

Remus realized his problem almost instantly, and holding himself up with one arm, he slid the other down between them and wrapped his hand around Severus's needy prick.

They were lost in a sea of sensation, slick flesh sliding in and on flesh, the scents of their sweat and come ripe in the air, the sounds of their breathing, gasping, moaning, and the taste of each other's mouths and the rich flavour of sex everywhere.

Remus groaned as he felt his bollocks tighten up, and sped his strokes along Severus's prick. Severus reached up and wrapped his long arms around Remus pulling him closer and hissing things into his ear that he had not even had words for, before now. Their motions grew faster, harder, and they clung together so hard their nails drew blood. Finally, Severus threw his head back and shouted as he came, his come spurting between them, hot and slick, making the slide of Remus's skin against his even more erotic. Remus gasped and bit down on Severus's shoulder, hard, as his own climax hit and he rammed himself hard into Severus one last time and spent.

They collapsed slowly onto the bed, disengaging only as a last resort. Remus carefully eased Severus's legs down and rubbed his hips and thighs. "I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asked huskily.

"No. I've never felt better," Severus murmured dreamily. He lay back and let his vision swirl. He thought he felt a blanket being drawn over him and a source of warmth moving away. He reached out and snagged something...Remus's hip, he decided, by the feel of it.

"Stay?"

"I...Severus...really?"

"Silly werewolf. Yes. Stay." He held up the edge of the blanket in invitation, but his arms were very weary, and his eyelids were very heavy. He wasn't sure where Remus had gone, until he felt a warm body snuggle up to him and strong arms wrap comfortingly around him.

"Nice."

"I'm glad."

"Sleep, now," he announced, but he was out before he heard whether Remus had replied.

~*~*~*~*~

...it is therefore the finding of this Review Board, based upon reports by the Cognizant Rehabilitation Auror, independent examination of the subject, and testimony provided by various outstanding citizens (see Attachments A through K), that Severus S. Snape has been thoroughly rehabilitated. Mr. Snape's period of parole is hereby reduced by three years and is deemed to have been completed satisfactorily, and he is forthwith entitled to resume full citizenship and participation in any and all elements of British Wizarding Society.

Any and all properties, possessions, funds, and other assets and effects that may have been confiscated upon Mr. Snape's arrest and conviction shall be returned to him (see Attachment L), excepting those that may have been destroyed or damaged during confiscation (see Attachment M), or those determined to be Illegal or Controlled Substances (see Attachment N).

We congratulate Mr. Snape on his successful rehabilitation and wish him good fortune in his future endeavours.

Certified by the Wizengamot Judicial Review Committee, Ginevra Weasley-Potter, Presiding

~*~*~*~*~

"...and I was just so pleased for him, after all this time, the poor old dear! I hurried right over to give him the good news, and what do you suppose I saw? Mr. Lupin was there, as usual, of course, but he was sort of kneeling on the couch, and Mr. Snape was sitting down...no, no, he was sort of kneeling over him, you see? And Mr. Snape had his hands under Mr. Lupin's robe, and oh, my goodness, I didn't know where to look! But they were so preoccupied, they didn't even realize I'd floo'ed in, and Mr. Snape said something that had Mr. Lupin most worked up, and then he...oh, my! He had this very peculiar purple thing, sort of springy looking, with little feathery spines all over it, and he-- well, it must have been some sort of party novelty, like a false tail, because he reached under Mr. Lupin's robes and it just sort of stuck out from there waving back and forth. And Mr. Snape started to hum, and it began waving in time and curling back and forth, and all the little spines were fluttering. What? No, Mr. Lupin didn't seem to mind, at all! In fact, he was smiling, though I'm sure that position couldn't have been terribly comfortable.

"And then, just as I was about to turn around and leave - because obviously they were quite busy, Mr. Lupin saw me and said something to Mr. Snape. He didn't seem at all pleased to see me, but then, he never does, silly old dear! Anyway, Mr. Lupin put the party tail away and stood up and fixed tea, and I told them all about the review and gave them the official notice. And they were really quite pleased! I think Mr. Lupin got a bit teary, and Mr. Snape, the old pet, said he'd just about decided he'd be stuck with me for life! Can you imagine? He's such a silly old thing. I told him that he was my very first completely successful rehabilitation case! He said he shuddered to think of my unsuccessful cases, but that's just like him. Such a sense of humour! Mr. Lupin said something I didn't quite catch, and Mr. Snape looked very cross indeed, but I guess he gave in, because Mr. Lupin told me they wanted to invite me to their Bonding Ceremony! Can you just imagine? Oh, I know, it's rather sweet, really, two poor old dears like that, but at least they have each other, don't they? They keep joking about their business in sex toys! So silly! I'll have to find them something nice as a gift, though, I mean, this being my first successful rehabilitation, and all! Maybe a nice fruit basket? Lucinda? What do you think? A gallon of lube?! Oh, you wicked girl!"


~*~*~*~*~
The End
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