Written for the Snape/Lupin Darkfic Fest (prompt #47. If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country. - E.M. Forster)
The Choices We Make
The fate of the wizarding world depended on me, or so Albus had said on more than one occasion during our cosy little tête-à-têtes.
"Only you, Severus."
"I know you won't let me down, Severus"
He was right, of course, the headmaster. He was so often right that it was sometimes difficult to believe that he could ever be wrong. It was even hard to believe that he might be right, but for all the wrong reasons.
The fate of the wizarding world depended on me, he said.
Oh yes, Albus.
And just see what I made of it.
Remus Lupin considered many elements of his current situation to be ironic, but the most amusing little irony (though perhaps not a particularly significant one) was that he dressed far better as a sometime-prisoner than he ever had as a free man.
On this particular morning, he woke to find a new set of scarlet robes laid out at the foot of his bed. The robes were made of raw silk and shot through with gold threads. On the floor beside the bed, a pair of dragon hide boots, also red.
Upon the bedside table, a golden wristband, etched with tiny keys and padlocks (...this last was a gift from Severus, Remus suspected. The man never could resist an opportunity to remind Remus what he was).
As he dressed, he wondered idly what the special occasion was that required him to be paraded before the adoring crowds as a further demonstration of Lord Voldemort's fair and equitable society, where even a Gryffindor, a half-blood, a werewolf, a man with...unfortunate associates during the Great War could be granted the privilege of serving the state in a position best suited to his abilities.
For Remus, that "position," of course, was always on his knees, his mouth around Severus' cock.
Today the world celebrates.
It has been ten years since the Old Regime crumbled beneath the collective crush of the Dark Lord's forces. Ten years since the Muggle-loving traitors of our world were themselves betrayed by the viper they had taken to their breast.
I swallow my remaining pride and request an audience, but Snivellus wastes no time in telling me I am a fool, that I am not necessary to the Dark Lord's plans, that I haven't been for years, request denied.
He knows nothing.
At any moment, Snivellus, the worm could turn. Who knows this better than I? I, who have ridden Dame Fortune's wheel for years, up and down and up and down, yet still survive.
You think, because you have Our Lord's favour today, the same will be true tomorrow? That you will always be allowed to keep your pet, your slave, your enemy, your lover - my boyhood chum - by your side? Do you forget that Regulus Black was once a great favorite of the Dark Lord?
Once upon a time.
"Number 12, Grimmauld Place."
A simple address, written on a scrap of paper, held in the potions-stained hand of the other Secret Keeper for the Order of the Phoenix.
"For the sake of the Order, Severus."
"I trust you with our lives, Severus."
I would have kept your secrets safe for you, old man, but my priorities changed.
After all, weren't you the one who wanted me to learn how important it is to love?
Running with the wolves was never as bad as Remus made it out to be when he returned to give his reports to the Order. Oh, it was cold and damp out there, and Remus wanted to vomit every time Greyback touched him, but it was a pleasure not to be a monster for a change, to have nothing to hide.
And when Severus came into the camp once a fortnight, there was a different kind of pleasure: all teeth and claws and whips and cuffs and gasps for breath and cries for mercy and...
...did I say pleasure?
Not to you, perhaps, but to Remus and Severus, it most certainly was.
Peter was there, standing in the shadows, on the day that Severus traded the fate of the wizarding world to the Dark Lord in exchange for Remus Lupin's life.
The price was simple: an address, written on a scrap of paper, held in the potions-stained hand of the only living Secret Keeper for the Order of the Phoenix.