A fairy tale...written for Stasia's birthday.
Once Upon a Time
Once upon a time...
There was once a man of indeterminate age who lived in a very small, very shabby house at the very end of the second most crooked street in the world.
This man's clothes were unrelieved black (even on special occasions), his hair was greasy, and his rather unfortunate nose . . . well, the less said about that, the better.
He was not, as I imagine must be quite apparent to all by now, a 'Prince Charming' type - at least not the sort of Prince Charming usually found inhabiting stories that begin: 'Once upon a time...'
Long ago, this man had been a master brewer, a potions maker of great renown.
He had also been an avid student of the Dark Arts, a veritable virtuoso when it came to casting spells both light and dark, an expert practitioner of the mind magicks, a more-than-competent school administrator, and a living spy (...'living' capturing the man's undisputed skills in espionage far more precisely than any more flowery compliments could ever have done).
If one had looked carefully at his curriculum vitae, one might also have found the word "teacher" hidden amongst the fine print, but that word would have been unadorned by laudatory adjectives.
[You will, no doubt, have realized by now that this was no ordinary man. You might have guessed that he was, in fact, a Wizard, and if that was your guess, then you should feel free to congratulate yourself for not being as great a DUNDERHEAD as you seem to . . . ah, my apologies. Spending time in the company of this man - this Wizard - occasionally results in a severe loss of ability to be quite as polite and respectful as one ordinarily wishes to be in decent company.]
Once upon a time, this man lived at a famous school for witchcraft and wizardry, which many then considered to be the very epicenter of the wizarding world, but that was long ago, back before certain events made it impossible for this man to expect to be welcomed in magical society.
And so he left.
The man traveled far away, choosing to live in a non-magical world about which he knew almost nothing, and then only in half-remembered dreams from his childhood. He put aside his grimoires and his potions ingredients. He spent his days alone, reading detective novels and experimenting with new recipes in his very Muggle kitchen.
His wand remained by his side at all times, but he rarely found any reason to put it to use.
Does this man sound lonely to you? Perhaps he was, at times. He had never been the most sociable of men, and he found nothing of any particular interest in his new neighbors, at least nothing that would prompt him to make an effort to change his admittedly reclusive tendencies.
However, this man - Severus Snape - did not live by himself.
There was another - one of a far more amiable disposition - who also, for reasons of his own, chose to leave the magical world behind even before the horrors of the Second Great War had started to fade from people's memories. This particular man - Remus Lupin, by name - was also no ordinary man. He was, in fact, something quite distinct from a man, at least on one night each month. He had a long and complicated history with Severus, but he knew him better than almost anybody else ever had.
Knew him body and soul.
It took Remus quite a long while to convince Severus that going away together would be a good idea. Not even a reminder of just how well they'd known each other (known each other's bodies) once upon a time was sufficient, for amongst the gifts that Severus had received from his parents when he was a boy were suspicion and a lack of trust. Eventually, though, Remus came up with the magic words . . .
"I love you."
There were once two men of indeterminate age who lived in a very small, very shabby house at the very end of the second most crooked street in the world.
And they lived happily ever after.