WARNING: This is a slash story, which means it contains male/male erotic content involving consenting adults. If you're not of legal age or are offended by such material, please go find something else to read.

TITLE: Amends Meet
BY: Riley
EMAIL: riley139@yahoo.com
PAIRING: Snape/Moody
CATEGORY: Drama/Angst, Hurt/Comfort
SUMMARY: Following the events of GoF, Moody suspects Snape of hiding a secret and sets out to uncover it. What he learns is far from what he expects.
DISCLAIMER: As usual, everyone belongs to J.K. Rowling. I own nothing but my twisted mind.
A/N: This is an alternate sequel to A.E. Nulnore's fic
"Shades of Grey", which really MUST be read first. Wonderful story, I couldn't stop thinking about the concept--- and, oh joy, she's planning a sequel, for which favor much thanks!
Pride as a motivator for right action is a concept from the works of Robert Heinlein; I always think Alastor Moody would be a good Heinlein character! >GRIN<


He's avoiding me. I can tell.

Of course, a Death Eater has good reason to avoid old Mad-Eye. Except that this one's supposed to be reformed.

Dumbledore trusts him. Expects me to trust him.

And look where Dumbledore's trust got us. We almost lost the Potter boy. To say nothing of... anything else.

After all, an Auror's job is to risk--- that. And it's hard to think that I was so easily taken....

The Crouch boy paid for his crime. But I'm not prepared to believe he was the only one involved.

Not with Snape slinking around here.

I think it's time I have a little chat with him.



I can't help it; that gruff voice makes me shake.

Makes me look guilty.

Well, I am, aren't I? I didn't tell the Headmaster. I should have.

But I couldn't bear it. I have some pride left. I'm allowed that much.

Aren't I?

I freeze, waiting as Moody stumps up to me. With anyone else, I'd be tempted to make a snide comment about his speed: lost his edge; a real Death Eater wouldn't wait to be caught... except that this is Moody. And after everything that's happened, sarcasm is beyond even me.

He regards me narrowly, his real eye screwed up, the magic eye fixed on me as if it can see through me. It probably can.

See my thoughts. Lay them bare. Strip me and leave me defenseless.

Nothing that hasn't already been done before. And by a body wearing the same face as this one.

Never mind that I know, intellectually, that the person isn't the same. My gut stills remember the rough grip of strong hands and the tearing, burning pain---

No! Don't think about that now. Not in front of him.

I steel myself and meet that lopsided, deadly gaze.

Neither eye gives anything away. "Got something I want to talk to you about," he says brusquely.

"Well?" Amazing, how my voice manages not to shake. I've got my hands hidden in my robes so he won't see that they're shaking.

He jerks his head. "In my office. Come on." And he stumps off.

For a moment, I can't move. The words. The very same words... he... used. Just before....

No. Not the same. Not the same.

I force myself away from the wall and follow him.


He's scared. No mistake. And not just the fear I'd expect, either. Guilty fear.

He knows something. And I'll get it out of him.

I let him stew while I stump around to my desk; the half-limb above the wooden leg hurts. It always does. Haven't found anything that will ease it. So much for mediwizards.

I settle the leg on its footstool and look up at him. "So, Snape--- long time no see." Taking pleasure in watching him squirm, I'll admit it; like he enjoyed knowing I was locked in my trunk, no doubt. Like he enjoyed knowing what Lord Voldemort would do to young Harry.

He stands in front of me, unnaturally still. Hands under his robes; makes my defensive instincts twitch, even though I can see he's got nothing up his sleeves.

I wave him toward a chair. "Sit." He does, stiffly. Passive; trying to put me off-guard? Well, once burned, twice careful.

I let the silence stretch on for a bit, let him sweat. Then, "So Dumbledore's still using you as a spy?"

He nods, stiffly. "I'm--- effective--- in that role."

I nod. "Yeah--- you always were good at worming your way into people's confidence, weren't you, Snape? Never could understand it--- you're hardly the type to inspire it, I'd think." I rake him with a glance, and he shivers. Guilty. "But you've always known how to get in good with people. Always figured out just how far to go."

"What are you saying?" His voice is thin, not the sneering denial I'd expected.

I lean over the desk to look him in the eye. "I suppose that's what you were doing when you helped young Crouch with his masquerade, eh? Just worming your way into Voldemort's confidence again, huh?" His face is the color of old parchment now; I've got him. "Going to betray him again, of course---" Mockery thick in my voice. "Or at least, that's what you're going to say, isn't it?"

Fear flickering in those dark eyes for just a second. Got him. "I swear," he says, "I was never his accomplice---"

"You can swear all you like, but that doesn't prove anything. And I wouldn't trust any dose of Veritaserum that you brewed." I reach into my desk, pull out the Sneakoscope. A little fiddling with the settings, and I've got it calibrated to him. "Now, I'm going to ask you again, Snape: did you have anything to do with Crouch's deception?" With the bastard keeping me prisoner in my own trunk. Starving me. Using the Imperius Curse on me.

"No." Flat voice.

I watch the Sneakoscope. Slight flicker--- surprising. He's mostly telling the truth then. Mostly. "You didn't." I regard him intently. "But--- you knew about it?"

"N---" The Sneakoscope starts to whirl. "Yes." Barely a whisper.

A-ha! Now we're getting somewhere. I feel a savage triumph well up in me. I was denied the opportunity to confront Crouch, but I can have this pleasure. "So you were his accomplice then." I push upright, coming round the desk, leaning on it, my head above his. Very effective for interrogation.

"No!" He's pale, and the Sneakoscope is strangely silent. Frustrating.

"What, then, blast it? You knew, and you hid it!" How can he be anything but?

"I... was not his accomplice."

"But he told you!"

"N-no." Shaking.

"Then something he said, something he did---" Now we're getting somewhere: that gets a dull flush to the sallow face. "What?" I keep my voice low; that's more of a threat than a roar.

He averts his eyes from me. "N-nothing."

The Sneakoscope goes wild.

I lean closer. "What... did... he... do?"

No response. "If not an accomplice, then what?" I ask, frustrated. Wishing for once that I didn't have a conscience. He flushes again, looking down. Not meeting my eyes. "Tell me now--- or we're going straight to Dumbledore."

He jerks upright, staring. "No---"

"Then tell me." Implacable.

He looks away. "He said... I'd whored my mind; I might as well whore my body."

The Sneakoscope says nothing.

"Merlin's teeth." Now it all makes sense. And with understanding, my anger starts to drain out.

Not that I'm happy about it. But at least I know why he didn't do something. I've seen too many victims of that particular crime to expect otherwise.

Too many victims of men like him. "Now you know what it feels like, at least."

His head jerks up. "I never--- Not once. I did have something of a conscience. Even then." The Sneakoscope doesn't twitch.

"Ah." Funny, how your perspective on someone can change... so much. That hunched posture, the pale face and the tremors that made him look so guilty before... now he just looks pathetic. Young; hardly older than the students we teach. And terribly vulnerable.

Damn. Now it's my turn to feel guilty. Irrational, perhaps--- I was within my rights! But I've never liked it when others abuse their power. I like it even less in myself.

I've got my pride, I suppose. I've never minded when a Dark wizard flinches at the sight of me. Alastor: the demon of vengeance. I've always been proud of that.

But to think of someone flinching because he has that kind of memory associated with this face and voice.... No. Intolerable.

"Well, I suppose I can't hardly blame you for keeping it to yourself," I growl. Cheated of vengeance--- not wanting it. I suppose he's being punished enough.

He looks up, not saying anything, gratitude and shame warring in his eyes. He's got his pride, too, that one.

Pride's a better motivator for right behavior than a conscience. That's what my mother always said. I've found she was right.

So I can't strip him of what he's got left of it.

He's still sitting there, hunched up like a child. Awkwardly, I reach out and pat his shoulder. "Not your fault, lad."

He looks up at the touch, startled. Our eyes meet, lock--- for the first time in this discussion, we really look at each other.

And it strikes me why that guilt is in his eyes. Not for himself, or not only. For me. Leaving me to rot.

Pride's better than a conscience.

And my pride's telling me what we both need.

Atonement. I didn't trust him. He didn't tell what he knew. We both had valid reasons for it, but that changes nothing of the effect.

And we're both too proud to leave it stand like that.

I let the hand stay on his shoulder. Flicker of startlement--- then understanding. Holding my eyes with his, he nods slowly. Starts to get to his feet.

"Easy-on, lad." No need to put into words what we've just decided. And no point to rushing. No pride in it.

I step around behind him, hands resting on his shoulders, kneading gently. The muscles under my hands are knots. "My room all right with you?" I'd rather not go down to the dungeons; the cold seeps into my bones, plus there's the chance of being seen. Which I'd rather not. But I wouldn't blame him if he'd rather be someplace more familiar. Someplace without the kind of memories I'll wager my room has for him.

Mirthless laugh; he doesn't look up. "I never saw those rooms when he was here. He... did it in here."

"Made it as cheap as he could." He doesn't answer what wasn't, after all, a question, but he starts to relax. "I haven't done this in a fair bit of time, myself."

"I wish I could say the same." His voice drips acid--- is there fear under it? Damn, he's mistaken me.

"I'm not---"

"I know." Tight sound to his voice.

There's nothing to say to that, so I keep kneading until I feel the knot between the shoulder blades loosen.

"You don't have to---" Rejecting the kindness: his own pride.

"I do." My turn to be gruff. I step around the chair. "Come on, lad."


In the bedroom.

I'm as gentle as I can be with him. Careful. Slow. I have my pride in this, too. Didn't always look like... this. That I've got over him.

The gentleness surprises him, that's clear. What did he expect, that I'd use him as Crouch did? Well, perhaps. I've reason to hold a grudge, after all.

He surprises me, too. Yielding to my touch, after the initial surprise. Enjoying it. Face in the pillow, purring eagerly under me.

Oh yes, enjoying it. My pride is more than satisfied. Among other things.

Afterwards I'm tempted just to fall asleep. Been a long time. And I'm not as young as I used to be.

He looks over at me, uncertain. "The morning is likely to be... awkward."

Suddenly, I'd prefer company tonight. And it would be only too callous to send him off to an empty bed. "I can handle it if you can."

He relaxes, visibly. Settles next to me, close enough for warmth. Comfortable.

Meeting in the middle. I smile to myself; it's almost a pun. Making amends meet.


From the first touch, I knew the difference. Would have known it blindfolded.

No, that's not right; a blindfold would have helped. Rather, I'd have known the difference if I'd been staring at him the whole time.

But he doesn't do that to me. No sooner are we in the bed together then he turns me away from him. Warmth under me and warmth covering me and a gentle touch of callused fingers coaxing me open.

And Merlin help me, I enjoyed it. No, enjoyed isn't the word. Drowned in it.

I hadn't meant to. I'd just been prepared to go along with him. To... make amends, to let him make them. Because I didn't wish to be on his bad side.

I didn't expect... that.

Not just the rutting, either. Though that was incredible. But... being touched. As if my feelings mattered--- no, as if what those feelings meant to me mattered. Pain matters to a sadist, too, you see. It's just that the axis is inverted.

My pleasure mattered that way to him. Knowing that I wasn't afraid of him matters to him. Or--- that I'm not afraid of him because of Crouch. He wants only the fears he's earned.

I can understand that. It's the kindness that's the abstraction to me, the puzzle.

Not that I'd let him know what it meant to me. I have some pride left, even after twisting under him in ecstasy. Or maybe the pride is because of it. I don't know. This is new to me.

But at least we've managed to make amends, to meet in the middle.

To make amends meet.