title: Five More Minutes
fandom: Harry Potter
characters/pairings: Snape/Lupin-ish
rating: G
warnings: none
summary: Lupin makes Snape wait.
notes: for robin flys solo, her Mother's Day ficlet. *huggles tightly*

He checked the cauldron one last time, sneering a little at the contents. He added a pinch of inert nutmeg, for flavor. He had spent up all of his carob root deactivating it, and he wouldn't be able to get more until winter break, but he didn't mind. He would just skip the memory potion lesson in the first year's section until second term.

Weary footfalls hit his ears, and he immediately made himself busy with other things. There was a tentative knock, and then the old wooden door creaked open. "Snape?"

Snape grunted and waved his visitor in, annoyed.

Lupin smiled, his lined face crinkling. "Busy, as always, I see."

Snape snorted.

"Is this it? Is it done?" He picked up the ladle gently, stirring the potion lazily. "It smells better this time."

Snape grunted. "Just five more minutes."

Lupin sniffed it. It was ready, he knew, but then, it was always ready, and he was always told, just five more minutes. He looked at Snape appraisingly. "Did I ever apologize for the way we treated you in school?"

Snape's back stiffened. His lip curled in disdain. "Many times, unfortunately."

Lupin smiled, closing his eyes slowly. "Ah, yes... Sorry. Been feeling... reminiscent lately."

Snape shifted in his chair, his gaze fixed on some blank point beyond the page on which he was scratching. "I'm... sorry for your loss," he mumbled.

Lupin looked away. "Ah. Yes, well... you've said that before, too."

Snape stood up abruptly, shaking out his robes compulsively. "Yes. Well..."

Lupin grabbed his wrist with alarming speed as he tried to pass. "What are these?" He pulled back the sleeve, revealing long red marks, black burns, and deep cuts. "Severius! You need to treat these...!"

"Never you mind," Snape snarled, unconsciously rubbing the place where Lupin's hand had been. "It's done."

"It's only been three minutes," Lupin joked humorlessly.

"Do you want your potion or not? It matters little to me," Snape retorted sharply.

Lupin sighed. "Have I ever thanked you for what you do for us... for Harry?"

"I don't do it for you, or for that boy," Snape snapped.

Lupin smiled. "I know. But still." He reached out and touched Snape gingerly, being sure to keep the touch light. "I appreciate it. And for what it's worth, I don't think you need to serve anymore penance."

Snape grunted, and stepped away sharply. "Be sure to be back before the next cycle."

Lupin sealed up his flask. "I will... five minutes before it's done, as always."

Snape did not watch him leave, but he didn't need to; he knew the shape of Lupin's back and his gait perfectly.