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For Severus Snape, in the Event of My Death

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In the event of my death, please deliver this to Severus Snape. He will know why.

Teddy blinked at the object in his hand, still trailing a clump of shredded parchment in which it had been nestled. The small, empty box it vacated toppled over without the weight, but Teddy barely spared a glance as it rocked onto its side and fell still again. His eyes narrowed at the smooth, round surface of the coin, before darting over to the parchment again.

He will know why.

Well, Teddy thought, that was a relief, because he himself sure as hell didn't know why. The problem, of course, would be actually asking him, given the man in question had been dead for sixteen years.

***

"So help me, Lupin, if you get out of this bed right now, don't you ever come back."

"How dramatic, Severus. You've been reading Witch Weekly again, haven't you?" Lupin swung his legs over the side of the bed, rubbing his eyes and trying to ignore the way everything ached. "It's been brilliant. Do be sure to write."

A hand shot out and strong fingers clamped around his arm. "Don't you dare," Snape bit out.

"You've told me all I need to know," said Lupin, wrenching his arm free and striding across the bedroom, collecting his clothes as he went. "A love like that never goes away, even after this many years." He paused at the door, head bowed and trousers clenched in his fist. "I should know," he muttered.

"That's not what I meant," said Snape from the bed, his voice miserable. "That's not why I told you."

Lupin whirled around. "Oh, I see. Just hoping I might have some old photos of her lying around, then, is that it? Is that why you told me?"

Snape scrubbed his face with his hands. "No."

He flinched at the sound of the door slamming closed.

***

Teddy didn't think about his parents very often, and he didn't care if that was normal or not. A person could sit around missing those he never knew and feeling sorry for himself forever, he figured, or a person could carry on with what he had. Life was good, after all: he had his grandmother and godfather and all their friends, and (on every Tuesday after Charms, at least) he had Victoire. Everyone had loved his parents, it seemed: there were friends and relatives all over the place, every time he turned around, offering him bits and pieces of them and getting teary-eyed at his polite but distant thank-yous.

He had a strange map of Hogwarts now, a Ministry-issued Auror Sneakoscope, and even an old Honeydukes wrapper from Professor Longbottom. "Your dad always knew when to hand out the chocolate," he'd confided in Teddy wisely, although Teddy wasn't precisely sure what that meant. They expected him to display all their gifts in his room, apparently, creating a shrine or something. He figured he was old enough now, at sixteen, to know how he wanted to go about things, and the way he wanted to mourn them. Random objects didn't mean much, after all, without a personality to go with them: a story, a tragedy, or a problem to be solved.

The coin in the attic of his grandmother's house caught his eye again, and he flipped it over and over in his hand.

He will know why.

That his father had known Severus Snape was not in itself a surprise; Harry had told him enough stories, after all. Around age twelve, Teddy had gone through what Harry now unhelpfully called his werewolf phase, in which he'd wanted to know anything and everything about werewolves – to the extent that he'd almost gone looking for one, desperate to meet a man who might have shown him a glimpse of his father.

"You want to what?" Harry had snapped at him when he'd mentioned it, whirling around with a pot of sauce in one hand and a doll of Lily's crunched in the other. "You– listen, Teddy. I know you're curious about your dad, but this is going too far. You have to be careful with werewolves, okay?"

And then he'd told Teddy a terrible story, of a time many years ago when another boy, probably about his age now, had gone down a tunnel looking for a werewolf.

They must have forgiven each other, Teddy figured, if the two of them were able to teach at Hogwarts together later, but beyond that, he didn't know much about their acquaintance. It would be a surprise to discover the two men had been friends; that Snape had been close enough to Teddy's father for him to have left that note and the coin would be even more odd. Perhaps they had fought Voldemort together, he liked to imagine. Everyone knew that Snape had been a spy; perhaps his father had been one, too.

He rather liked that idea.

Harry had said that Teddy's father had liaised with werewolves during the war, but nobody seemed to know much about it. Dumbledore would have been the one to ask about that, Harry would muse sadly if Teddy pressed for details. No one else in the Order knew much about the werewolf operations, he told Teddy, smiling apologetically and squeezing his shoulder.

It was all terribly exciting, really, to think of his father as a key operative in the war, dodging curses and forging secret contracts and sending hidden coins to his allies. Perhaps they had known each other well, Teddy imagined. Perhaps they had evaded danger together, sharing assignments and contacts and risky operations in enemy territory in the dead of night.

***

It hadn't started with one look; that would have been too easy. It had started with dozens of looks, each bolder than the last, until finally they both gave up and simply gazed openly at each other in the kitchen of Grimmauld Place, Albus or Mad-Eye droning on around them and the war fading to black against the stone walls. It was probably a cliché when it finally happened: the kitchen emptying, Sirius retreating upstairs as usual, Lupin grabbing the bottle of whisky from his hand before he went, keeping it to pour down his own throat. And Tonks…

God, Tonks.

Tonks had left that night as well, her own gaze not yet reciprocated. She stormed up the stairs behind Mad-Eye and Kingsley, gave Molly a forced wave and headed out the door.

Snape hadn't left.

Lupin swung the bottle of whisky up to his lips and drank deeply. Pausing to wince at the sting down his throat and through his chest, he put it back down on the table, wiped his hand across his mouth, and spoke without turning around. "Better step up if you want some, Severus. Can't guarantee there'll be much left when I'm done."

Dark footsteps sounded behind him, approaching heavily from the shadows beside the stove. Snape didn't speak; he only reached past Lupin to the bottle, raised it to his own mouth, and took a deep swallow. With one swift movement, he slammed it back down on the table and turned to capture Lupin's face between his hands, crushing their mouths together and moving him back against the cold wall. Lupin groaned and parted his lips, hands grabbing at the front of Snape's shirt to haul him in closer as he sagged against the wall and let Snape's body fall over him, hard and insistent.

They locked the door and fucked right in the kitchen that night, clothes still on and Lupin's cheek scraped bloody against the wall. Snape's voice in his ear was filthy, murmuring everything he wanted from Lupin in hot, deep tones until Lupin shuddered underneath him with a choked moan. He clung to Lupin's back afterwards, breathing heavily through his nose and sliding light fingers around from Lupin's hips up to his shoulders. He pressed his forehead against the back of Lupin's neck and murmured, "About bloody time."

***

Teddy was a Metamorphmagus but not a werewolf, and in the grand scheme of things, he had to admit that some divine force must have blessed him for that, since it could very easily have gone the other way around. His skin stretched but bones didn't crack. He could turn into a wolf or dog if he chose, but it was like water falling down his body, not like anything he imagined his father must have gone through each month.

"If Severus Snape was the bravest man you ever knew," he asked Harry one night, "who was the second?"

Harry raised an eyebrow at him and lifted his drink. "Your father," he said, taking a sip and winking.

"No, I didn't mean– don't say that just because–"

"I'm not saying it just because," said Harry. "Snape did everything he needed to do without faltering or second-guessing himself, but your father... Well." He paused, tapping a finger against the glass. "He faltered all the time, really." He grinned. "Bit of an arse with the second-guessing, in fact. But at the end of the day," he continued, his voice sobering as he sought Teddy's eyes, "he knew the difference between what was right, and what was easy. And he always did what was right. That took almost more courage than anything Snape ever did."

Teddy nodded, taking the new batch of photographs Harry had brought and sitting for a long time in the living room after Harry had gone, wondering if any of that was actually true.

***

If fucking in wartime was stupid, loving in wartime was suicidal. Lupin knew all of that, reminded himself of it daily, in fact, and yet could not stop doing either with Severus Snape.

Snape was callous and abrupt, cruel and unusual. He was shadowed but energised, a ticking time bomb of passion rarely unleashed, a tightly wound pack of lies shrouded by a black cloak. Lupin peeled off the layers one by one, harnessing that passion and using the cruelties and insults to fuel his own pleasure. Snape brought something out in him, something he'd not let anyone else see, and he found himself obsessed with uncovering all of Snape's secrets as well. He'd long wanted to lay Snape bare, from the time they were skinny, awkward teenagers through to their brief stint as colleagues at Hogwarts.

Once he'd caught him, laying him out on pinched beds in cramped hotel rooms or, on rare but treasured occasions, abandoned rooms at Grimmauld Place, Lupin found he could only crawl forward on his hands and knees and appreciate. He spread Snape open night after night, lips and fingers making Snape arch underneath him and open his mouth to the deep, low moans that rose from his chest. When he was through, he let Snape push him back, lift his legs and slide inside him, all heat and sweat and anger and – Harder, Severus, God you feel good… You feel so fucking good – eventually, near the end, vulnerability.

Watching a man like Severus Snape come was like being in the path of a solar eclipse, Lupin decided. The quiet hush of awe at a world turned inside out, if only for a few brief seconds, always made his breath catch and his fingers grip Snape's shoulders even harder. Snape would squeeze his eyes closed and shudder, his face flushed and his lips parted, and for that slice of time, the rest of the world fell into shadow around the two of them, naked and clutching each other as though the world would end if they let go.

Maybe it would have, Lupin had occasion to muse later. Maybe, in fact, that was exactly what happened.

***

Teddy's grandmother Black was careful in talking about his father. She never said anything bad, not quite, but Teddy couldn't help but notice that she never said anything terribly good, either.

"He was very busy during the war," she would say with a practiced arch of her neck, glancing over at Teddy. "Had quite a lot to do. Your mother, of course, was even more in demand," she would add, nodding. "Head of her own Squad, you know. Brilliant witch, if a little scatterbrained at times." She set down her yarn and sighed at him. "You look so much like her, love."

That was not precisely true, Teddy knew. He'd seen the photographs: he was the spitting image of his father, just with blue hair and no scars. But when his grandmother got reminiscing about how beautiful and talented his mother had been, and how much like her he was, he knew better than to interrupt.

"How is Victoire, dear?" she asked one night over tea, and Teddy coughed into his cup.

"Fine, Grandma," he muttered.

"You know, you're lucky you can even date her at all! You were nearly a Weasley yourself."

He blinked at her.

"Oh yes, both those older Weasley boys had their eye on your mother. I told her that either of them would make a good match for her, although I always thought Victoire's father would have had better genes for Arithmancy and Runes." She nodded and sipped from her cup. "Is she good at those subjects?" she added after a moment.

"What, Victoire?" asked Teddy, startled. "Uh, sure."

"Well, anyway. Your mother was ridiculous about it." She sighed, gazing off across the room at nothing in particular. "Once she met your father, that was it. She only had eyes for him, no matter how many times I tried to tell her that he was too–" She clamped her mouth shut, paused a moment, and then took another sip of tea.

"Too what?" protested Teddy.

She glanced at him, her lips a tight line. "He loved you, dear," she said quietly, "very, very much. He had his faults, and I won't pretend otherwise, but oh, did he ever love you. Remember that."

She didn't mention his father again for a long time.

***

The world nearly split in two the night Sirius died.

A deep, blue cold swept over Lupin that night that froze him in place, making even small movements, like nods of the head in response to condolences, or footfalls on the stairs in response to a summons, more difficult than he could have imagined. It wasn't merely grief at the loss of a brother he'd already lost once before; it was the total, soul-numbing grief that came with realising that somewhere up there, God had decided Lupin's life and happiness was so worthless, it could be ripped out from under him on a regular basis with successive, increasingly wrenching tragedies.

It was tough for a bloke not to get a complex about his worth, in the face of something like that.

He pushed Molly away, and she went. He pushed Albus away and he went, for the most part. But when he tried to push Snape away, the stubborn bastard stood rooted like an old oak, cloaked and frowning and flashing cold eyes. For months after the Veil, they spoke less and fucked more, as if the only language they had left, the only way they could be honest with each other, required tangled clothing on the floor and warmed skin pushing all emotion to the surface like lava.

***

Victoire Weasley had her mother's arrogance and her father's stoicism, which generally only ensured that she considered the matter very carefully before announcing her self-importance.

"So," she said to Teddy one day after class, leaning back against the courtyard wall and tilting her head. "Either that's quite the thing you've got in your pocket, or you are very happy to see me." Her lips twisted as she suppressed a smile, and Teddy's eyes widened.

"What? I– oh. Well, I mean– Sure, I'm happy to see you. But that's not– I mean–"

She moved closer to him, and his breath caught a little bit. "Show me," she murmured, her tongue sneaking out to wet her lower lip, and Teddy forgot all about the thing in his pocket. Well, the thing that wasn't attached to his body, at least. The other thing made its interest in the situation terribly plain.

He leaned in to kiss her, letting his book bag slip off his shoulder as he did and wondering if it would be a bad idea to give in to what he wanted, to push her up against the wall and shove his hands into her blouse and –

"Aha!" She broke away from him in triumph, an object closed in her palm. Teddy furrowed his brow and wiped his mouth before realising that the extra pressure in his trousers had been due to her hand, not just his– well.

He coughed. "What?"

"You've been moving your hand around in your pocket all week," she said accusingly. "I figured there had to be something in there that was awfully good fun to play with." She grinned, holding her hand up and slowly opening her fingers to reveal the coin.

"Oh," he said, biting at his lower lip. "That's just– well. I don't really know what it is. Just found it in with some of my dad's stuff."

She turned it around in her hand, her brows drawing together and her cheeks beginning to flush. "You don't know?" she asked him at last, raising her eyes.

He shook his head.

She glanced down at it again. "I've seen something like this before," she murmured, tracing her thumb over the raised surface.

***

Things got more dangerous, which, in a war that had already spanned two decades and killed countless numbers of innocent people, was saying something. But between Albus's blackened hand, Greyback's insistence on violent revolution, and Snape's increasing secrecy about a vow he could not name, Lupin could tell that the tides had shifted. The embers of this dormant fight were blazing back to life, and in ways he didn't even fully understand.

They still weren't talking much, and when they did, it was about things Lupin couldn't follow.

"I can't meet as often anymore," Snape murmured, staring up at the ceiling with the heel of his hand pressed to his forehead and Lupin rustling the damp sheets beside him.

"What else is new?" said Lupin, not looking at him.

"Oh, wouldn't you like to know?" Snape snapped back. "I tell you this only because my general opinion on the matter is that I regret that we cannot meet as often anymore, but if you insist on making a scene of it, I can certainly go back to pretending I don't give a damn."

Lupin sighed, rubbing his eyes. "You are a fucking nightmare, you know that?"

"So I've been told."

"What is it this time, then? Voldemort would be terribly put out to find you fucking a half-blood werewolf? That's nothing new, Severus."

"You have no idea what's new these days, and further, you've no idea that fucking is no longer my–" He stopped, pressing his lips together. Lupin turned his head.

"What?"

Snape frowned.

"No longer your what?" Lupin sat up. "No longer your preferred way to waste your Wednesday nights?"

Snape turned to him finally and glared. "Right. That's it, Lupin. Your keen intellect has won out yet again." He rose from the bed and crossed to where his trousers lay discarded over a chair, rummaging through the pockets for a second. "Here," he said angrily, turning back to the bed and tossing a single coin onto the thin blanket.

"Oh, nice. A Galleon for my arse, now, is that it? Fantastic. Thanks, Severus. Just what a bloke wants after–"

"Shut up for two fucking seconds, Lupin. Two seconds, I swear to God, or I will personally ensure you take as many hexes as possible in the final battle." Lupin fell silent and Snape sighed, leaning back against the wall, still naked, pale, and shivering. "That," he said loudly, pointing at the coin, "is your way to contact me should you require... " he stumbled for only a second. "... anything. I won't be in contact with the Order as regularly anymore, and don't ask me to tell you why, because you know I cannot. I have its twin," he added, running a hand over his face. "There's a dial on it; just point your wand and– oh, figure it out yourself. If you can invent a Map that lives and breathes, you can operate that sodding thing." He waved his hand in the direction of the coin, still lying where it had landed on the bed.

"No longer your what?" Lupin repeated softly, his gaze moving between Snape and the coin.

Snape stared at him for a long moment before turning and grabbing his clothes, throwing them on in a haphazard fashion not at all becoming of the Severus Snape that Lupin thought he knew. Running a hand through his hair and reaching for the doorknob, he turned to look at Lupin once more, still flushed with anger and confusion on the bed. "No longer my preferred word for the matter, you bloody fool," he bit out, before wrenching the door open and storming out.

***

Teddy found himself wondering what it felt like to be in love.

He watched Harry and Ginny sometimes, the way a stray hand would absently touch a shoulder without even realising it, steering or reassuring or just steadying both the hand's owner and the shoulder's owner. He watched his grandmother run her index finger over the photos of his grandfather on the mantle sometimes, just barely making out the way the finger shook and the corners of her mouth turned down. He watched Victoire's father's gaze follow his wife out of a room sometimes, glancing up from his newspaper and eyeing her with open if quiet admiration, and apart from feeling flushed at witnessing such a private display, Teddy had to admit it was awfully appealing, the thought of feeling that way about someone.

Victoire herself caused his trousers to tent in often embarrassing and unfulfilling ways, but Teddy was never quite sure if that was because of her tits, or because shifting a stack of parchment on his lap lately caused exactly the same reaction. And he definitely couldn't be sure if tented trousers indicated love.

He wondered if his father used to look at his mother the way the men around him looked at their wives. Grandmother Black had told him that his mother had been desperately in love with his father, and she'd told him that his father had loved him, sure, but there was always something she left out. She'd never told him whether his father had loved his mother.

He couldn't see a reason why he wouldn't have, but the issue nagged at him nonetheless.

***

The first time Lupin tried to use the coin, it didn't work.

"Sodding bastard," he mumbled at it, pointing his wand and whispering all the incantations he could think of at its raised surface. "I wish to see Severus Snape," he muttered, frowning when nothing happened. "I solemnly swear that... uh... I am up to no good, oh, for pity's sake." He sighed, dropping into a chair and rubbing his eyes. "I need you," he groaned at last, tired and resigned and unable to face another night in a cold bed. "I just need you."

His eyes widened as the coin began to glow, blue at first and then a deep gold, warming his hand. When the glow subsided, a simple message was left etched across the surface: Twenty minutes, with a set of coordinates. His face crumpled in a relieved smile as he gathered his things to Apparate.

The second time Lupin used the coin, Snape appeared in the bedroom of Lupin's dusty, cramped flat only three minutes later, already pushing his cloak and shirt off his shoulders and falling to the bed.

"Now," murmured Snape, pulling Lupin down with him, and Lupin tried to focus only on the push of his body against Snape's, the feel of rough fingertips over his skin, and not on the fact that Snape never displayed need, never let his eyes show everything he was feeling like they did at that moment. Something had happened, Lupin knew, and yet he couldn't ask what it was.

They took things slowly that night for once, Lupin hovering over Snape's body and making sure he touched every inch of it, his fingers and his mouth working against the shadows in the room until Snape was arching up with a low shout. The sheets grew damp, and Lupin fell harder than he ever had in his life, that night. When he finally collapsed to the bed, sated and exhausted and warm from his chest to his fingertips, he knew with a sudden clarity that he would not survive the war.

The realisation brought him peace, not fear, and he fell into a deep sleep beside Snape.

The third time Lupin used the coin, the responding message asked him to wait a full hour. When Snape finally appeared, he could barely stand upright, coughing and clutching at the nearby desk.

"Shit," he muttered, rushing to catch Snape before he collapsed. "Shit, shit. Okay. Okay. Just– come over to the bed." He managed to get some of Snape's clothing off and pile blankets over him, cursing the bloody war and hoping against hope that there wasn't some special potion that could fix this that Lupin didn't have.

After a few trembling minutes, Snape's breathing began to even out, and Lupin wrapped himself around the body beside him, stroking Snape's hair and cheek and whispering what he hoped were soothing words. At some point in the night, as Snape slept fitfully and Lupin watched over him, the coin around Snape's neck fell towards Lupin and pressed into his skin with a warm, metallic glow.

"What the..." Lupin ran his fingers over it, suddenly feeling calm and heated from the inside out. On a whim, he dug his own coin out of his pocket and pressed it against its twin. Immediately, the two together shone brightly against the sheets, and Snape opened his eyes.

"Ah," he said with a forced whisper. "You see how they work, then."

Lupin glanced up at him. "I– no. I'm not sure I do."

"Don't make me explain it to you, Lupin."

He looked back down at the shining coins. "They're... bonded," he murmured. "Where did you get them?"

Snape's brow creased, and he closed his eyes again. "Someone made them once. A long time ago." He paused, his voice dropping to a whisper. "A friend. A power that is strong in one can be formidable in two, if it's the right two."

Lupin sat up. "And this friend of yours made you the right two?"

"Don't," said Snape wearily. "I can't. Not right now. Just look at them and think about it, you fool."

***

Victoire frowned at the coin, sliding her fingers over it and pursing her lips.

"Well, go on and tell me, then," said Teddy, growing increasingly irritated.

She glanced up at him. "Ask Uncle Harry," she said at last. "He probably still has the other one."

Teddy's eyes widened. "What other one?"

"I've only seen it once," she murmured, still looking at the coin in wonder. "When I was asking my dad about the war, years ago probably, and why Severus Snape was supposed to be such a hero. He said there's nothing stronger than a Runic bond, for testing... what did he call it?" She furrowed her brow. "Loyalty and fealty or something. He said any man who could wear a token like this and not get burned was loyal and true."

"What do you mean, wear it?"

She handed the coin back to him and hauled her book bag up higher on her shoulder. "My dad and Harry, when they found Snape's body," she said quietly, nodding at the coin. "He was wearing something just like that around his neck."

***

"You should probably know that I am in very high demand around here," said Lupin, lying on his back with his arms folded under his head. His mouth turned up at the corners. "The most eligible bachelor in the Order, it seems."

Snape glanced over. "I am quite certain that I don't wish to know about any of this." He paused. "Miss Tonks, I presume?"

Lupin raised his eyebrows. "Is it that obvious?"

A sound somewhere between a snort and a chuckle rose from Snape's chest. "Yes," he said simply.

"Oh. Well. Are you worried?"

"That she'll steal you out from under me?"

Lupin glanced over, grinning, before reaching out and hauling Snape into a rough embrace, rolling them so that Snape had him pinned on the bed. "I dare her to try," he breathed, his lips hot on Snape's neck.

"Mm," moaned Snape, lifting himself up on his arms and gazing down at Lupin. His expression shifted. "Under what circumstances would you ever go to her?" he murmured.

"What?" Lupin reached a hand up to trace Snape's jaw. "What kind of a question is that?"

"Answer it."

"I–" None, Lupin thought, creasing his brow. Under no circumstances would he ever leave Snape for Tonks, or anyone else, he thought. But that wasn't exactly true, and he knew it. Snape could die at any given moment. Snape could be tortured into insanity. Snape could fail to answer the coin tomorrow, or next week, and never be seen again. Lupin knew all of this, had always known it. War was like that, and by playing both sides, Snape was bound to lose. It was just a matter of time. He swallowed. "None," he said firmly, searching Snape's eyes.

Snape held his gaze for a long moment before lowering himself down again and kissing Lupin hard. "Liar," he said against Lupin's lips.

***

One day, a bleary Sunday afternoon over the holidays, Teddy showed the coin to his grandmother.

"Hand me that tea towel, dear," she said, not turning around. "It's just over there, on the– What's that?" When she turned at last, Teddy had the coin in his outstretched hand, lying dormant.

"It belonged to my dad," he said flatly, watching her reaction. "I found it in your attic awhile back."

She raised her eyes from the coin to his face, looking surprised. "Did you? Well, I don't remember it, dear. It must have been in with his things." She frowned slightly, grabbing the tea towel herself and wiping down the counter.

"It was one of a pair," he continued, not even sure what he was driving at, or what he thought his grandmother would know.

She looked up.

"The other belonged to Severus Snape." He took a breath in and held it, his thumb tracing along the edge of the coin as he watched her. Her eyes darted back down to the coin, and then to the side, her mouth drawing down.

"Snape," she said at last, her voice cold. "That's how it was, then? I should have known," she muttered to herself, slamming the towel down on the counter.

"Should have known what?" asked Teddy.

"Always off somewhere, with the werewolves or the resistance or–" Her hand flew to her mouth. "I never trusted him. Never."

"What, Snape?" Teddy backed away, closing his fist over the coin.

"Your father," she bit out, her eyes blazing. "Give it here, child."

Teddy hesitated for a moment, and then handed her the coin. She looked at it carefully, moving it around in her hand and sliding her fingers over the raised surface.

"In league with Snape, then," she muttered to herself, not taking her eyes off the coin. "I knew he was up to something, always running off on her. And now look, he was sending messages to Death Eaters."

"He was exonerated!" Teddy cried, throwing his hands up. "What are you on about? If my dad worked with Snape, it was because they were underground, spying! Trying to win the war." He struggled for the right words to describe something he didn't know anything about. He'd never lived through a war like that. He didn't know what it had been like for his parents, or for a man like Snape. He didn't know what it had been like for his grandmother, either.

"Trying to win the war," she repeated, her voice flat. "Fine, Teddy. You think the best of him. You just go on putting him on that pedestal of yours, asking your questions and rummaging through his things. You won't find what you're looking for, you know. You won't find the hero you seem to think he was."

"How do you know?" shouted Teddy. "He was a hero! He was undercover. He– he–"

"Do you want to know what a hero he was?" she said, her voice ugly. "Do you really want to know?"

Teddy swallowed.

"He ran out on her," she said coldly, "as soon as he found out she was pregnant. There!" She banged her hand on the counter. "Is that what you want to know about your father, child? That he would rather have gone off sending secret signals to Severus Snape with magic coins than take care of his own wife and child?"

Teddy backed away. "No," he said, shaking his head. "No, you've got it wrong."

She sighed, lowering her head and pinching the bridge of her nose. "I'm sorry," she said at last. "Forgive me, Teddy. That wasn't what I–"

"He was a good man," insisted Teddy, grabbing the coin back and shoving it in his pocket. "Harry says he was. He– he must have had work to do, for the war. He didn't want to leave her."

His grandmother reached out to touch his face, turning it to look at her. She nodded. "He loved you," she told him again, as she had so many times before.

"Yeah," Teddy bit out, heading for the door. "So I hear."

***

The night Lupin found out about Lily was the night everything fell apart. He should have known. He should have guessed, but he never did. It hit him like a Bludger to the gut, and he couldn't control his reaction. Shouting filled the bedroom, his own voice scratched and raw, his anger bleeding out of him with every harsh word.

"She Charmed the coins, then?" he snapped, throwing his coin across the room. "Your special fucking friend?"

"We were kids," said Snape, his face weary. "She was good at Charms, got ahead of herself."

Lupin stared at him. "You were bonded to her," he said coldly. "You told me yourself: that doesn't go away."

"It does," said Snape. "It's not up to the person; it's up to the coins, Lupin. Ours worked for a bit, when we were sixteen or so. Then, they didn't work." He frowned. "She didn't want me."

"Doesn't matter what she wanted. It's what you wanted. You." He shoved the sheets aside.

"So help me, Lupin, if you get out of this bed right now, don't you ever come back."

"How dramatic, Severus. You've been reading Witch Weekly again, haven't you?" Lupin swung his legs over the side of the bed, rubbing his eyes and trying to ignore the way everything ached. "It's been brilliant. Do be sure to write."

A hand shot out and strong fingers clamped around his arm. "Don't you dare," Snape bit out.

"You've told me all I need to know," said Lupin, wrenching his arm free and striding across the bedroom, collecting his clothes and, as an afterthought, the coin, as he went. "A love like that never goes away, even after this many years." He paused at the door, head bowed and trousers clenched in his fist. "I should know," he muttered.

"That's not what I meant," said Snape from the bed, his voice miserable. "That's not why I told you."

Lupin whirled around. "Oh, I see. Just hoping I might have some old photos of her lying around, then, is that it? Is that why you told me?"

Snape scrubbed his face with his hands. "No. Listen. If the coins have changed allegiance, it means that–"

He flinched at the sound of the door slamming closed.

***

Teddy knew he should have the capacity to believe that even the best of men were capable of treachery, but he couldn't quite get there, where his father was concerned.

Everything in his world seemed to be split between good and bad, dark and light. There were Dark creatures and Dark Marks and Dark magic, and then there was the Ministry and the Order and Hogwarts. He'd thought it was plain, which was which, but now he wasn't so sure. His own father had been a Dark creature, after all.

What if there had been no light in him to speak of?

***

The last time Lupin used the coin, Tonks was six months pregnant, he was working underground with Lee and Kingsley on the radio broadcasts and Snape, against all odds, was Headmaster of Hogwarts.

The ridged surface was quiet for a long moment, so long that Lupin nearly gave up and put it back in his pocket, but eventually, a message came back: Twenty minutes, and a set of coordinates. He closed his eyes in relief and tried to keep his hands from trembling as he Apparated.

He landed in a barren room with thin carpet and wood-panelled walls. Snape stood across the room, cloaked in black and not facing Lupin.

"This is exceedingly dangerous," said Snape quietly. "What do you want?"

Lupin swallowed, suddenly unable to sum it up in words. What did he want? He wanted the last nine months of his life back. "I just–"

"Watch her carefully," Snape interrupted, turning around at last. "Narcissa and Bellatrix are not above harming the girl, out of spite."

Lupin stared. "Tonks?" he whispered.

"She is still a Black, and they take pride in protecting their lot. Spawning a werewolf does not reflect well on the family, her mother's previous blood traitor activities notwithstanding."

He nodded, slumping into a chair. "I was angry with you," he began. "I... overreacted."

Snape laughed, actually laughed, a deep, ugly sound that Lupin hoped he'd never hear again. "I suppose that's one word for it," he said at last. "I was sorry not to get invited to the wedding," he drawled.

"I was sorry not to be privy to the fact that you were obliged to kill Dumbledore," Lupin shot back.

With a sudden movement, Snape crossed the room and grabbed Lupin's head, framing his hands over his cheeks and jaw and pulling him in for a bruising kiss. Lupin breathed in deeply and let his lips move warmly under Snape's assault, his entire body whirring with sensation and all the memories of every moment they'd ever spent together flooding his mind. "There was no way to tell you," murmured Snape, his fingers in Lupin's hair. "You know that."

"And now there's no way for me to get out of this," said Lupin sadly.

Snape pulled back, wiping his hand over his mouth and reestablishing his regal composure. "No, there isn't," he said simply, and then he pointed at the coin. "It's best if you don't use that anymore," he told Lupin, his eyes dark and his mouth turned down.

Lupin lifted it from the table and clenched it in his fist, already feeling the sensation like torn flesh that seeped down his chest every time the coins were separated. "Severus, please," he said, moving forward again, "just tell me you still love her. Tell me I didn't completely mess this up and that you can't love me because you'll always love her."

Snape stared at him for a long moment before he spoke. "No," he said simply. "I can't tell you that."

He Apparated away before Lupin could respond.

***

Teddy wrenched the door open and stormed into Harry's house, earning a squawk from little Albus Severus as he swept through the front hall and into the kitchen.

"Teddy!" said Harry, looking up. "What are you doing here?"

"Tell me he wasn't a traitor," shouted Teddy, flinging the coin down on the kitchen table.

Ginny glanced between Harry and Teddy, and then she picked up Lily and quietly left the room. Harry watched them go, then turned his gaze back on Teddy. "What's this?" He nodded at the coin.

"Look familiar?" sneered Teddy. "I hear you know all about these things. You and your favourite, bravest man, Severus Snape!"

Harry's brow creased as he picked the coin up. "Favourite?" he said with a faint smile, holding the coin in front of his face.

"Just tell me they were working together for the Order. Please? I need to know that. I just– She said he was a traitor, working with Snape, that he ran out on mum and–"

"Whoa, wait. Teddy. Who have you been talking to?"

Teddy bit at his lips. "My gran," he admitted after a pause. "She said my dad was no good, that he–"

"Okay, okay, calm down." Harry eyed the coin again. "Snape had this," he said quietly to himself, turning it over in his hands. "How did you get it?" he asked Teddy. "I thought I'd locked it in my–"

"That one wasn't Snape's," said Teddy, giving Harry a pleading look. "That one was my dad's."

The silence that filled the room was so thick and heavy that Teddy thought he could feel it bearing down on his chest. Harry stared at him.

"Runic bonds," Harry muttered to himself. "Powerful as one but formidable as a pair. God, of course. But how long would they have had them? Before Tonks, sure, but – God, that's why he wanted to come with us, not stay with her. But then, why did he ever even marry–" He was mumbling very quickly to himself under his breath, and Teddy couldn't follow him. He looked up at Teddy suddenly. "Wait here."

He returned to the kitchen five minutes later with a piece of cloth in his hand. As he carefully unwrapped the contents, Teddy could see that this coin, although identical to the other, was stained deep red. He glanced at Harry.

"He wore it around his neck," said Harry quietly. "I couldn't bear to clean it after Bill and I retrieved it. Seemed... wrong, somehow." He freed it from the cloth and held it in one hand, while the other reached for Lupin's coin on the table. As soon as they were an inch apart, each began to glow a deep gold colour.

Teddy's eyes widened as he watched them pull towards each other, finally snapping together as the glow shone brighter. Harry held them up by his fingertips to show Teddy.

"Beautiful, isn't it?"

Teddy nodded, entranced. "But," he managed at last, "you still haven't told me: what were they doing together? They had to be working for the Order, right? I mean, I just– but why would my gran say he was a traitor?" Teddy felt his voice begin to quaver, and he clamped his mouth shut.

"You showed this to her?" asked Harry, sighing when Teddy nodded. "Yes," he said, "they were working for the Order. They had very important work to do, in fact – I myself don't even know the extent of it. But your gran... well, go easy on her. She was suspicious of anything that took your dad away from your mum, even on Order business."

Teddy watched him for a moment, Harry's eyes fixed on the joined coins. "There's more to it than that," he said after a pause, "isn't there?"

Harry glanced up. "Oh, I imagine so," he said. "There usually is. But all you need to know is that your dad was not a traitor, not in any way."

"Do you– do you think he was a hero?" Teddy asked quietly, and Harry smiled.

"Yeah, Ted. I think he probably was."

***

It was time.

The summons had come ten minutes ago that Voldemort was heading to Hogwarts. Lupin sat on his bed in total silence, trying to shut out the noise in his head and brace himself for battle. This was going to be it, he decided. The final confrontation.

He drew the coin out of his pocket and looked at it one last time, turning it over in his hands and letting the memories seep over him of exactly the way Snape's lips felt on his body, exactly the way Snape's face crumpled in orgasm. He looked at the coin and saw only black hair and black eyes and the way wartime blackened trust so badly. There was shuffling on the stairs, and he knew Tonks and the baby would be in soon with a tearful display. He grabbed a quill.

In the event of my death, please deliver this to Severus Snape. He will know why.

He squinted at the words. Well, they were melodramatic, to be sure, but that seemed to fit the mood of the evening, and anyway, adding a pinch of mystery to it would have to ensure his words were taken seriously, wouldn't it?

He pictured the way the two coins had glowed together that one time, a more powerful force in two than either had been in solitude, Snape had told him. He left the package on the nightstand and grabbed his wand, making his way to the door.

 

-fin-