Written for HP Shortfics, with a prompt of "Snape and Water."

Next to Godliness
by Beth H.
(c) April 2006

"You're lying!"

Severus glared at the man sitting beside him on the couch.

"I am not lying," he said angrily. "What earthly reason would I have to lie about something like this?"

"But...an Unbreakable Vow, Severus? That's..."

"Asinine? Is that what you were going to say, Remus?"

"Well, not exactly," he said, crossing the fingers of his left hand beneath his thigh. "I was thinking that it was a bit of an over-reaction."

"She was laughing at me," Severus muttered.

"Well, yes," Remus said slowly. "But swearing that you'll never take another shower just because one woman..."


"Excuse me?"

"I said it wasn't just one woman. Have you suddenly become hard of hearing"

Severus looked irate, and Remus had to bite down hard on the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing.

"So...after the second woman made fun of you in the shower, that's when you swore an Unbreakable Vow which said you'd never take another one."

"No! I made that Vow after the first woman, and...I told you this already, Lupin!"

Remus held up his hands in a placating manner.

"I'm sorry, Severus. You were saying?"

"I was saying that I made an Unbreakable Vow about showers after...the first incident. After the second woman, however...."

Remus leaned forward and tilted his head to the side. "Go on."

Severus looked down at his clenched hands. "I...I made a different Unbreakable Vow."

Remus's eyes widened. "How the hell many Vows have you made in your life?"

Severus scowled. "If you're going to call me an idiot, you can bloody well get in the queue."

"I wasn't going to...okay, I'll bite. What was the second Unbreakable vow about."

For a minute Severus didn't answer, then he mumbled. "I swore I wouldn't set foot in a bathtub."


"It had to do with the pink bubblebath! Oh, you wouldn't understand."

Severus flopped backward on the couch and picked up a pillow, then covered his face with it, but Remus pulled it away.

"I'm trying to, Severus. All right," he said with a sigh. "Showers and baths are out. What about...the lake? It's a nice day. The sun's out, and...."


"Is that all you're going to say?"

"The Squid."

"What about the Squid," Remus asked. Pulling teeth would be easier.

"He fancies me."

Remus shook his head. "Okay, so...what if we kept to the shallows?"

Severus glared."

"Fine, the lake's out. The river?"

Severus looked terrified, and Remus patted him comfortingly on the thigh. Clearly running water was a problem. "All right. No river. What about a sponge bath?"

"I'm...allergic to sponges."

Remus frowned. Who the hell was allergic to sponges? "So...what do you suggest, Severus. You told me Poppy said that you had to stop using cleaning spells for the next month so..."

"There's always...oh, never mind."

"No, what is it, Severus?"

"You wouldn't agree."

"You know I'd do anything to help you." Remus looked seriously at the man sitting beside him. "Don't you know how much I care about you?"

Severus sighed. "Tongue."


"It's perfectly simple," Severus said in clipped tones. "A tongue bath seems to be the only available option, but seeing as you are too squeamish to...."

"No, of course I'm not!" said Remus indignantly.

"Never mind," Severus said. "I'll just do without for the month."

'You'll do nothing of the kind." Remus pulled Severus up off the couch and pushed him in the direction of his bedroom. "Get in there and strip. My tongue and I will join you momentarily."

"Oh fine," Severus grumbling all the way...

...but the moment he stepped into his bedroom and out of Remus's sight, he rolled his eyes. Allergic to sponges? Unbreakable vows about not getting in the bathtub? Who could possibly believe such ridiculous fabrications?

Yes, he would tell Remus it had all been a joke...but not before sampling the pleasures of his tongue first.

Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org

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