Mika, the best beta ever. No lending! No trespassing!
the lowest PG
no money, no rights, no nice men for me, just a bit of good times writing this
None. Notice that this is not a character-death fiction.
Yes, please: firstname.lastname@example.org
there will be a sequel
I know you hate me for the murder I
committed and for all the spiteful insults I have used against you over
the years. I had to cast accusations and affront you at every occasion
to maintain both my credibility and my position within the ranks of the
Dark Lord. I had to kill Albus, as much as it pained me. If only
I am not writing you to ask for
forgiveness, I know I do not deserve it. As you are reading this
letter, it does not matter to me any more anyway, as I have spelled it
with Enerma Codelisce. As you may recall, the spell is bound to its
Very soon after this letter you
should receive a formal communication from a lawyer, who will be
alerted of my death the second it comes. I made you my universal
inheritor. The financial resources should allow you to secure the
services of a Potions Master who is competent enough to brew the
Wolfsbane Potion. I suggest you begin your search in Russia or
Chechnya. Please do not refuse the inheritance. I swear on all I hold
dear that this money has no blood staining it.
I love you, Remus Lupin, and only now dare I reveal this to you. I love you.
Remus was astounded. It was past midnight and he had been sleeping
peacefully, when a Patronus had woken him. A silvery bird had landed on
Remus’ shoulder and tilted its lovely head. Remus had gasped in
surprise, whispering, “Fawkes?” Before the Patronus had vanished, it
had let a piece of parchment fall into Remus’ lap. Now the tawny-haired
Wizard was sitting on the rickety bed in Shrieking Shack, his lips
parted in astonishment and his mind whirling. Severus sent him a
Patronus? A timed Patronus? Severus was dead? Why was the Patronus a
Phoenix? Severus loved him? Severus left him money? None of that made
any sense. Well, maybe the death part. Severus had died. Remus felt an
unexpectedly strong pang of regret. Severus was dead.
If the message was true, that was. The whole letter was so unlike
Severus. The Potions Master had never called him Remus- Well, not after
the werewolf incident in their sixth year. He had certainly never
called him dear. He had never- And yet, it was Severus’ handwriting.
Although it wasn’t as if handwriting couldn’t be faked.
But what would anyone want to accomplish by forging the letter? Why
would anyone want to give him a false message about an inheritance? It
didn’t sound like a prank. But-
Remus rolled the parchment up again and noticed a sentence he had missed the first time, Please do not destroy this before you read it.
For some reason Remus found the plea to be very sad.
Remus recovered enough to stand up and to go to fix himself a cup of
tea. The Shack had been cleaned and equipped with the basic kitchen
needs, bed, wardrobe, and, the best part – thanks to Minerva, the
Headmistress of Hogwarts – it now had running water. Remus had been
living in the Shack for seven months now and he couldn’t complain; it
was poor, but in comparison to the old Black house it was mercifully
Grimmauld Place had been compromised some nine months ago and the Order
of the Phoenix had been forced to find another meeting place. Grimmauld
Place had to be abandoned when the Order learned about Snape’s
betrayal; it hadn’t been safe anymore. The Order decided to use it as a
trap; however in the following three months no Death Eaters had come to
attack it. Harry, as Sirius’ inheritor, and as owner of the old house,
had then decided to demolish it.
Thereby Remus had lost the roof over his head. However, the werewolf
couldn’t bring himself to regret it. He had hated the house and he
realised now that he should have left it after Sirius’ death, because
the emptiness and lack of his friend’s presence had been slowly driving
him insane. Only, he hadn’t been able to make himself move. Especially
for the small, irrational part of his brain that had screamed at him
that if he moved he would be betraying Sirius. Again.
Minerva suggested that Remus live in the Shack and he accepted
gratefully. Not only did it help him in the uneasy situation of finding
himself a safe place to live, but it also gave him the feeling that he
was within quick reach in case Harry needed something. Minerva also
gave him other tasks and missions. He had the feeling he was getting
more of them thanks to his proximity to the school. The other reason
was that although Sirius had left him a decent amount of money, Remus
preferred to reserve those funds for the future, being only too
familiar with the quirky paths of fate.
Remus sipped his tea, the hot cup warming his fingers. It was spring
and the temperature was pleasant enough in comparison to winter, but it
was still rather cold. Remus reread the letter carefully. Please do not destroy this before you read it.
Remus smiled sadly.
His eyes stopped on the crossed-out “If only”
. If only. Remus wondered what Severus could have wanted to write before he had decided against it. If only I hadn’t killed Albus? If only I hadn’t kept insulting you? If only I could explain?
Remus pulled out his wand and cast a simple time spell. The letter had
been written last July. With a hint of self-depreciation Remus cast a
spell probing the identity of the author of the text. He should have
thought of that much sooner instead of trying to think up who could be
the prankster! The spell identified the writer as Severus, without any
reservations. So much for any doubts about its authenticity.
Severus was dead. Remus had learned it from the letter an hour ago, but somehow it started to seem real only now. If only we had been friends. If only our lives had run along different roads. If only... If only you had believed me?
How many times had Remus tried to act friendly towards Severus, only to
be dismissed angrily? Why would Severus have kept turning down the very
thing he craved?
Remus wondered if Severus would have been able to persuade him of the
Potions Masters’ innocence. Remus suddenly, in a weird association,
remembered the two mysterious, heavily spelled messages that the Order
had received during the last eight months. Both messages had contained
information that had later proved to be both accurate and helpful. Both
had come from an unidentified source and members of the Order had been
unable to locate neither the writer nor the location from which the owl
had been sent. Had the messages come from Severus? It would make sense;
however, there was no proof. Remus decided it didn’t matter in the
Remus thought about Severus. He felt the same as always - a mixture of
sadness for the brilliant but evidently unhappy man, guilt for what had
nearly happened when they were at school, guilt that he had let Sirius
and James bully the scowling Slytherin boy, admiration for Severus’
bravery, respect for the Potions Master’s wits and for his diligence,
and of course, a strong feeling of anger had been added to this mixture
since Snape had betrayed the Order and murdered its leader. Yes, Remus
was very angry with Severus, but he would prefer him in court,
defending himself. Remus wanted Snape in Azkaban, he didn’t wish for
his death. Remus wanted a fair trial for the traitor. His death was
nearly as bad as Sirius’ condemnation to Azkaban without trial. As
clear as the situation might appear, there was always the possibility
of unknown facts. Remus had learned his lesson and had learned it well.
“Sirius,” he whispered sadly, “I am so sorry.” And after a moment he
added, “I am sorry, Severus.”
The night was paling into dawn. Remus wondered when he would hear from
the lawyer. He decided he would wait to inform Minerva and the rest of
the Order. This was a private matter, after all. Remus didn’t feel like
letting Mad Eye and Weasley’s boys laugh over Severus’ declaration of
Love. Again, Remus pondered this most confusing topic carefully.
Severus had loved him. For how long? Why had the Potions Master never
let himself act upon his feelings? Remus wondered what would have
happened if Severus had acted upon it. After some of Remus’ friendly
greetings Severus could have responded in kind. To start a
conversation. To test the waters. Not risking anything, merely probing,
in Severus’ very subtle ways, probing what Remus might feel. Remus
wondered if Severus had made any such attempts without Remus’ noticing.
He tried hard to remember, but couldn’t recall any occasion on which
Severus had been even remotely friendly. What would Remus have done had
Severus tried? Remus was sure he would have answered in a friendly way.
He had never enough friends and he had always wanted to reconcile with
Remus tried to imagine how such a conversation between them might have
gone. They would have greeted each other cordially, for once without
the bitter sarcasm on Severus’ part, but that would have been where
they would have run out of topics to discuss. Remus wouldn’t have dared
to appraise Severus’ work as a spy, and the thought of talking about
the weather with the irascible Potions Master made him cringe. There
would have been an awkward silence in which Remus supposed he might
have worked up the courage to ask Severus to brew the Wolfsbane potion
for him once more. Perhaps Severus would have agreed, eventually, and
they would have started meeting on a more regular basis. Perhaps Remus
could have slowly, carefully, drawn the other man out, coaxing him into
opening up just a bit.
Remus shook his head. There was no point in daydreaming. Severus had
been always harsh to him and offering friendship had simply been out of
And if Severus would have offered more than friendship? Well, that was
a question. Remus had to admit that after being a rather ugly teenager,
as an adult Severus Snape wasn’t without a certain appeal. The reason
why Remus never contemplated the possibility of an intimate
relationship existing between them (Remus deliberately decided to omit
the fact he had never known that Snape was a gay), was the Potions
Master’s acerbic demeanour and language. Remus’ survival instinct would
never allow him to fall in love with someone who evidently wished the
worst for him. Remus felt sorry for Severus and he felt sorry for
himself as well; now he would never get the chance to make friends with
the unique man.
Remus kept contemplating the letter and then he realised he should at
least try to read something or else he would waste the whole day
pondering inane what-ifs. ‘There is not a bigger trap than what-ifs, John,’
Remus remembered what his Muggle grandfather had told him after Remus had been bitten by the werewolf.
His mind, however, refused to stay on the book he tried to read. Remus
caught himself repeatedly wondering what would happen if— He
wished Minerva had some errand for him. Around eleven he got very angry
with himself when he caught himself being excited about the possibility
of getting Wolfsbane again. No more demolishing the Shack every month.
No more loosing control. Remus felt a sharp pang of guilt. He shouldn’t
feel joy over Severus’ death. He decided he needed a walk.
The green meadows calmed Remus a bit. And for some unknown reason he
remembered his grandfather again. Remus had loved and admired the old
man, and as he grew older his regard for the now deceased man had only
grown. Grandfather John hadn’t heard about magic until he was forty-one
years old, when his daughter got her Hogwarts letter. He had never made
any problem of it; he took it as everything else, stoically accepting.
When he was sixty-three, he had accepted the fact that his grandson
would turn into a beast every month with the same calmness. Remus
suddenly remembered another thing Grandfather John had told him, ‘I
saw the big crisis and two wars, John, I hope you will never have to
live trough such a thing. Man can manage everything, except those two
kinds of hell.’
Remus wondered why he recalled the grandfather.
He smiled sadly. “I saw two wars as well, Grandpa,” he whispered and
wondered if he at least would live long enough to see the end of the
It was evening when Remus started wondering why the message from the
lawyer hadn’t come yet. Even if the owl had been sent from the
outskirts of Europe, it should have been here by now. Somehow Remus
couldn’t imagine Severus having a lawyer in Africa or Asia.
Maybe the lawyer- But no, it was unthinkable. A lawyer could,
theoretically, hold back the information about the death of his client
or conceal the whole inheritance. However, the general practice when
leaving a last wish with a notary was to procure spelled documents,
which prevented the lawyer from manipulating them and spells that
forced him to act upon it when time came, no sooner, no later. Severus
was one of the most cautious persons Remus had ever met, which was why
he found it unthinkable that Severus would omit those precautions.
What could he remember about Enerma Codelisce
It was a timed charm, which reacted to its creator’s magic. Or rather,
the sudden lack of it. Typically, the charm was used as a dead man’s
switch, to time certain events to occur only after the castor had died.
It was one of typical spells for delayed letters, exactly as Severus
had used it. Magic. Remus blinked. Something was nudging in his
Remus decided to call it an early night, as he had slept only some two
or three hours the previous night. As he was taking care of his evening
ablutions, the errand thought suddenly clicked into the right place in
his brain while he was brushing his teeth. Remus froze and the green
toothbrush fell on the floor. “Merlin!” He whispered. Severus wasn’t
dead, he had lost his magic. That was why the Enerma Codelisce
spell had been activated, and why the lawyer, who must have used a different timed charm, had failed to contact Remus.
Agitated, Remus paced through the Shack. Severus without magic. Severus
powerless. Severus defenceless. Remus felt panic rise in his chest.
He made himself pause, take a seat, and calm down. He might be wrong.
It was just a possibility. What was he to do? He felt it was necessary
to try to find Severus. In case Severus really had lost his magic, he
was probably in danger. There weren’t many ways to strip a person of
their magic, and all of them were considered dark arts. It could be
There were many ways to track a person down; however, most of those
traced magic, which would be a futile endeavour in this instance. The
only thing Remus could do at the moment was to send an owl and put a
tracking spell on it. For that a tracking map would be needed and Remus
knew a tracking map covering the whole of the United Kingdom was in
Albus’ office. Remus sighed and then shrugged; it didn’t really matter
that he would have to tell Minerva, he couldn’t keep it to himself
forever anyway. Especially not if he might have to rescue Severus and
find him a safe place.
‘Maybe Severus will be sent to Azkaban,’
Remus suddenly thought. He also realised, with shock, that he
considered Severus to be innocent. When had he started to believe in
the theories that Severus acted upon Albus’ orders in the name of some
greater plan? Remus knew that there must have been something, because
Albus’ portrait might not have denied Severus’ culpability, but had
rather been unwilling to discuss the matter at all. Then again, all
portraits needed at least a year after they were activated by the death
of the model before they reached something that resembled the “normal”
behaviour of their model. At present, Albus’ eyes twinkled madly and
most of the time he narrated saucy stories and jokes from his youth.
Remus shrugged again. It hardly mattered. He would try to find Severus
and what would happen next, would, well, just happen. Now he only had
to wait till ten o’clock to go to the Headmistress office unnoticed.
Remus had to wait for about half an hour. He was anxious. Every minute
might mean the minute that Severus died. Remus knew he had to find the
Potions Master alive, he owed him that much. He would owe him that much
even if Severus hadn’t confessed his love to Remus and hadn’t left him
all of his possessions. Severus deserved to live and to have the chance
to defend himself. Severus deserved the time before Albus’ portrait
would give his testimony. Severus deserved to know that his sentiment
was appreciated by Remus, even though the feelings weren’t reciprocated.
Finally it was ten o’clock and Remus quickly put a disguising charm on
himself, even though he hoped to sneak into the castle unnoticed. On
his way he dropped by in the owlery and took one inconspicuous looking
bird with him.
“Furball,” Remus said the password silently and was allowed to the Headmistress office.
“Remus,” Minerva greeted him warmly. “A cup of tea?”
“No, thank you, Minerva, I believe this is rather urgent.”
They sat down and Remus briefly explained the situation and handed
Minerva Severus’ letter. The werewolf watched Minerva’s astonishment
changing is disbelief and finally into an expression of deep
“I believe you checked the letter?” the Headmistress said finally.
“It was written by Severus last July,” Remus nodded.
“So, you believe Severus has lost his magic, but that he is alive,”
Minerva stated rather than asked. She paused and then added, “You
realise that this could be a trap?”
Remus’ eyes widened and he only shook his head. Of course it could be a
trap, he realised belatedly, why had he never considered that? The
whole letter sounded so improbable, maybe it was a trick. Remus
supposed Severus could be trying to find his soft spots – lack of
Wolfsbane, lack of money, desire to have a pack of his own. “I—,” he
started but was interrupted by the portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black.
“I seriously doubt it would be a trap,” the portrait stated grandly.
“Meaning what, Phineas?” Minerva asked calmly but in a tone that warned him not to make his usual spectacle.
“Severus Snape is not a traitor,” Phineas Black said softly and his words aroused a row among the portraits.
“We are not allowed to give any facts or theories, Phineas,” one of the preceding Headmasters rebuked him.
“Yes, he’s right, Phineas, Albus asked us to keep things secret,” another portrait agreed.
“Things change,” Phineas hissed, annoyed. “What is the silence good for now if he was uncovered to the Dark Lord?”
“You can not know that,” a Headmistress said.
“No, of course, he could just lose his magic without reason,” Phineas
retorted sarcastically, “He simply woke up one day and it was gone.”
“Please,” Minerva McGonagall interrupted them. “I believe Phineas is
right in this matter. If Severus is not a betrayer of the Order, he is
very probably now in serious danger. We need to know the truth and very
Phineas bowed in an unabashedly proud way and said, “Young Snape killed
Albus on his request and urging. Albus wanted to strengthen Snape’s
position within Thomas Riddle’s ranks. Snape was ordered to continue
his spying and to inform the Order anonymously.”
“Is that a theory of yours, or a fact?” Remus asked tensely, feeling on edge by the events of the past few hours.
“They were facts,” Phineas answered. “We heard Albus talk to Severus and explain his plans to him.” The other portraits nodded.
Remus’ head was whirling. First Severus hated him for years, then sent
him letter, then, just as Remus started to believe that Severus
genuinely cared about him, it became clear that it was (only) a trap,
and— Remus shook his head. “Do you have any idea where we should look
for him, Headmaster Black?”
“He had a house in Spinner’s End. He would hardly attempt to hide
there, though. If I were to venture a guess I would say that he is
being held in a Death Eater prison,” Phineas frowned.
“What shall we do?” Minerva thought aloud. “Your plan with the owl and
tracking spell is probably still the best; it should find Severus
everywhere, unless he put an untraceable spell on himself, of course.”
“I will spell the owl so that they can’t trace it back to us,” Remus said, “What should I send as a message?”
“Make it look like a leaflet of a bookshop,” Minerva suggested.
“Severus was always fond of books; hopefully it won’t seem suspicious.
While you taking care of the owl, I will contact Shacklebolt and ask
him if he could lend us a Magic bug. I will also inform him there may
be a rescue operation.”
“The Magic bug is a great idea, Minerva, however won’t it take too long
for Shacklebolt to obtain it?” Remus asked. Magic bugs were very rare;
Remus had never seen any. The Magic bug was actually an uncommon kind
of beetle that was able to record sounds and then, under a spell, it
was able to repeat all of the noises recorded. Minerva’s idea to put a
Magic bug on the owl was brilliant.
“He can easily obtain one via the Auror department,” Minerva answered and left.
Remus quickly recalled the proper spells in his mind and made a nice
leaflet offering four new books on various subjects. Fortunately Remus
had a very good knowledge about new books; he always liked them and
thanks to Sirius he could afford them now. Then he gave the leaflet to
the bird, put a tracking spell on the owl and made a great effort to
make it seem as if the owl came from Diagon Alley. Finally it was all
done. Remus started to feel nervous again. He couldn’t help but worry
Inactivity was driving Remus crazy, so he filled the waiting for
Minerva with repeating the instructions to the owl. The Headmistress
came soon and carried the Magic bug. Remus hid it safely within the
soft feathers on the owl’s neck and with some last encouraging words,
he sent the owl into the night.
“Now I believe we deserve some tea,” Minerva said and asked Remus to
move the tea table and two comfy chairs before the map in the other
room. They were sipping tea silently, thinking. The owl headed south.
Minerva refilled her cup and said, “If we are able to save Severus, we
will need a hiding place for him. Before we find a suitable place I
suggest he stays with you in the Shrieking Shack.”
Remus started. He had just been worrying about Severus’ condition, the
number of his jailers, and apprehensive guessing as to how much trouble
the Order would be willing to go trough for Severus’ sake. He might be
cleared now, but as a squib he would probably be nothing but a
liability to Order, for whom it was dubious they would be willing to
risk valuable members to save him. But Remus couldn’t allow that. He
wanted Severus to be safe. He owed it to Severus. He cared.
Minerva misunderstood his reaction. “Come now, Remus, it will be only
for a few weeks. You are a patient man, it will be alright.”
“No, it’s fine, he can stay at the Shack. I suppose that Severus and I
should spend some time together, anyway. I was just distracted.” Remus
finished his tea and poured himself another cup. “I was thinking about
the rescue. I suppose that Shacklebolt and Alastor will see it as a
hazardous expedition, possibly claiming the lives of Order members in
order to save a man whom they would regard as essentially useless if
Severus has indeed become a squib.”
“Do you agree?” Minerva asked curiously.
“No. Objectively I know it’s true. But I believe we owe it to Severus
for everything he did for our side.” Remus paused and then added
softly, “And for not believing in him.”
Minerva nodded. “Don’t worry. Even as a squib, Severus will be
valuable. He is a brilliant tactician, in this art he was a match to
Albus. There are also many potions which don’t require use of magic.”
As an afterthought she added, “Perhaps he could teach you Occlumency,
so that you could teach it to Harry. That part that doesn’t require
magic, at least.”
Remus raised an eyebrow, “Minerva, that is an amazing idea.”
The Headmistress smiled in pleasure of the complement. “I have another
amazing idea, Remus,” she teased. “We should both get some sleep. It
may take hours for the owl to reach Severus’ location and return to us;
there’s no point in exhausting ourselves without reason. You can sleep
here.” She stood and transfigured the chair she had sat on into a bed.
“Good night and floo me if the owl comes back during the night.”
Remus stood as well and thanked her. After the Headmistress had left,
Remus was trying hard to fall asleep, which he accomplished in the end,
but not without using meditation. It was simply too hard to stop the
swirling thoughts and worries. What if we still have the chance to start over again…
Severus Snape, the Potions Master, the Death Eater, the spy of the
Order of the Phoenix, was lying unconscious on a dirty floor in a dingy
hallway. He was alive and his life wasn’t in any imminent danger, but
his body was badly beaten, bruised, and he was bleeding from various
wounds, the biggest of them on his left forearm.
The prone figure shifted slightly and groaned. Severus blinked into the
dusky room. He was at home. Which was the only nice circumstance. His
body felt as if it were on fire, the consequence of lengthy exposure to
the Cruciatus Curse. At the same time his body felt stiff as a result
of the beating he had received and also from lying on the cold floor. ‘A Muggle beating for a filthy Muggle,’
Lucius had suggested and his insane Master had considered it a
wonderful joke. A Muggle beating after the Dark Lord had stripped him
of his magic and ordered Lucius to cut the Dark Mark from his forearm.
Severus must have fallen into a light sleep, but not for too long,
because when he opened his eyes again, it was lighter outside, but it
wasn’t fully daylight yet. It must be very early in the morning,
Severus realised. He guessed it had been about ten hours since a pair
of Death Eaters had escorted him back to Spinner’s End and dropped him
in the hallway, saying good-bye with a last kick to his ribs.
“We will meet again, Snape, sooner or later,” one of the Death Eaters
had spat and the other had added, “To play with you or to finish you.
You can bet on that.”
Severus decided he needed water and slowly, carefully started to rise
from the ground. God, it hurt! When he got on his knees he was
exhausted. He refused to think about the possibility of finishing
himself off instead of waiting an unpredictable amount of time for the
Death Eaters to come and torture him, again and again, until one day
they would kill him. Killing himself wasn’t an option. Severus was
proud and stubborn man. With the loss of his magic, his pride was the
only thing he had left. Severus would never take his own life, because
it would be an acknowledgement of the Dark Lord’s victory.
The injured man pressed his lips together tightly and stood up. He
hobbled into the kitchen and poured himself glass of water, which
refreshed him a bit, and then he slowly limped to the sitting room and
lowered himself onto the couch gingerly. He knew he had painkilling
potions upstairs, as well as a healing balm to use on his left forearm,
but he needed to rest a bit. He didn’t feel he could make it upstairs
at the moment.
When Severus woke up again, it was dark. He knew it had to be very late
evening or night. His left arm hurt like hell and he couldn’t move
fingers; the wound was inflamed. On his way to the kitchen to drink
some water, Severus noticed absently that it was one o’clock in the
morning. He decided to climb the stairs to get the Potions and the
healing balm, before the arm would be irreparably damaged.
The way upstairs was slow and painful, but finally Severus was in his
small workroom and he retrieved a strong painkiller from his potion
cabinet. He downed it and immediately the pain subsided. Severus closed
his eyes and felt his muscles starting to relax. He could still feel
the pain in his left forearm, but it was dull and somehow distant now.
Severus took the healing balm and moved to the bathroom.
The Potions Master cleaned his wound carefully and tried to distract
himself from the pain by making plans to ensure his continued survival.
He wondered if he could make it to the Ministry of Magic or to Hogwarts
before the Death Eaters chased him down. At this point he preferred to
be imprisoned, if for nothing else than out of spite. Beside his
defiance, Severus knew there was always chance that Ministry would be
benevolent enough to wait until Albus’ portrait confirmed Severus’
Severus was certain that the Dark Lord had ordered a tracing spell to
be placed on him. They couldn’t possibly have thought that he would
stay where they left him, could they? Now, when Severus could think
clearly, nothing made sense. Why did they return him to Spinner’s End?
The only explanation he could think of was that the Death Eaters wanted
to enjoy a good hunt.
Severus shook his head. He had only two possibilities. He could run for
his life or stay at home and wait. He decided for running. He took the
bottle of the painkiller, the balm, both Muggle and Wizarding money,
and some food. He took a deep breath, shot a quick look back and
reached for the doorknob, drawing back sharply with a scream of pain as
the handle repelled his touch, leaving his hand badly burnt. He gave a
bitter laugh. No tracing spell, they were simply keeping him in. He
tried a window carefully, garnering the same result. He was stuck
inside. Without his magic he had no way of leaving or asking for help.
Severus treated the burned palm and fingers and resignedly pondered his
situation. The Death Eaters wouldn’t even have to come to the house to
kill him. It would be enough to abandon him and wait until he starved
Severus made himself a pot of tea and sat down in the chair by the
window. He sipped his tea and looked out at the deserted street
glistering in moonlight. He knew he couldn’t do anything but his mind
refused to stop searching for a solution. What if...
Suddenly Severus sat bolt upright in the chair. Lupin! Remus must have
received his letter last night. It was spelled to Severus’ magic.
Merlin! After a minute the sour man let out the breath he was holding
and shook his head. It didn’t matter that Remus knew about his
feelings, it didn’t matter that the man undoubtedly considered Severus
pathetic. He was a living corpse and none of this was important.
The Potions Master was staring into the night, lost in thought when
suddenly he saw a shadow flying towards the house. The shadow neared
and Severus found it was an owl. His eyebrows rose when the bird flew
directly to the small window he was sitting at. The owl sat onto the
windowsill and clicked its beak impatiently. Severus was frantically
trying to find a way of letting the owl in. Finally he took the heavy
teapot and flung it against the nearest window. The glass shattered,
the owl flew inside.
“Don’t fly away,” Severus said to the owl. “I will give you a letter to
carry. Don’t fly away,” he repeated and hated himself for the hint of
desperation in his tone. He looked at the mail, a new-books leaflet, a
reply one. Severus felt relieved; the owl would wait for his answer.
Severus tried to decide who to write to. When he wanted to escape, he
wanted to try and get to the Ministry, simply because it was easier to
reach. At Hogwarts, however, Severus had better chances not to be
sentenced to Azkaban without trial or even without being allowed to
defend himself. He quickly reached his decision and wrote a short
letter. Then he gave the owl some food and told it, “It is very
important that you carry this to Hogwarts. Give it to Minerva
McGonagall. Fly quickly.” As an afterthought he wrote on the rolled
parchment, To Minerva McGonagall, urgent
in case the owl delivered his mail to the bookshop. “Don’t fail me,
please,” he said and stroked its feathers gently. The owl hooted softly
and flew out through the broken window.
“Remus, wake up,” Minerva called and the werewolf looked at her
sleepily. “It’s seven thirty,” the Headmistress added. “The owl just
came back to me.”
Remus bolted upright. “To you?”
“Yes, she was carrying a letter from Severus, addressed to me. I
brought it and the Magic bug, as well.” Minerva handed him the
I was discovered as a spy by the Dark
Lord and my life is in danger. I ask you for refuge from the Dark Lord.
In the event that you are unwilling to grant my request, please let the
Ministry know that I have been imprisoned, magicless, in my house in
Spinner’s End and I require a proper trial.
Minerva, I swear I killed Albus
against my will. I cannot prove it, of course, but Albus will confirm
it after his portrait matures. I beg you to grant me asylum and I will
voluntarily surrender to any safety measures you should require.
Remus felt a lump growing in his throat; it was painful to see the
proud man begging. The werewolf turned his gaze to the Headmistress,
the question clear in his eyes.
“Hear out the Magic bug, Remus, meanwhile I will call Kingsley and ask him to come immediately. We need discuss this.”
When Minerva saw Remus opening his mouth to object she raised her hand
and added, “I understand you have a soft spot for Severus and God knows
that I feel the same, but the Order is too important in this war and we
have to be careful and be constantly aware that this could be a trap.”
Remus nodded, feeling a bit ashamed. He knew he was overly too
trusting. He tried not to be, but his whole life, again and again, he
had found that that aspect of his character had never lessened.
He listened to the Magic bug twice. There wasn’t much to hear,
actually, just the sound of glass shattering, Severus’ speaking to the
owl, shuffling; Severus was probably looking for the parchment and was writing the letter,
Remus thought, and then Severus’ rather beseeching instructions to the
bird. Remus knew he was being too trusting, but everything seemed to be
sincere and true, no matter how hard he tried to find anything
suspicious. It seemed that there was no one to guard Severus, which
should make the rescue much easier, Remus noted happily.
Minerva came back to tell Remus that Shacklebolt was on his way to
Hogwarts and she suggested they have a quick breakfast before the Auror
would arrive. Soon they were seated at a small table, toast and cups of
tea before them, and Remus informed the Headmistress about the news
from the Magic bug.
Remus paused and then asked hesitantly, “Minerva, do you plan to tell Kingsley about the letter Severus sent me?”
“Of course I will mention it. I believe that what you are rather asking
is whether or not I plan to let him read it,” she suggested with smile
and Remus blushed. “Well, I couldn’t do it without your permission even
if I wanted, could I,” Minerva continued, a hint of amusement in her
voice. She sipped her tea and then asked, “How do you feel about the
letter, if I may ask?”
“I—,” Remus stuttered, “Well, at first I was surprised to no end. Then
I felt sorry for Severus dying without a proper trial and kind of
happy,” here Remus blushed, “about my chances to have access to the
Wolfsbane Potion again.”
Minerva nodded sympathetically.
Remus sipped his tea and added carefully, “I don’t feel about Severus
the way he says he does about me, but I would like to believe in his
innocence and be his friend.”
“Innocence?” Minerva asked, not exactly sharply, but it was clear that she found the word too strong.
“Well, if he didn’t want to kill Albus, but he had to, it is not a real
murder,” Remus said defensively. “If Severus loved Albus as I did, it
must have been a horrible experience for him.”
Minerva looked thoughtful and then nodded gravely. “Yes, I understand.
Still, Remus, we have to take every precaution so that in case this all
was a trap, the Order and Harry wouldn’t be endangered.”
Remus nodded. “I will keep it in mind, Minerva, I promise I will.”
Kingsley Shacklebolt came to the Headmistress office and Remus and
Minerva briefly explained the situation to him, as the Auror had
already known some bits from his previous floo calls with the
Headmistress. Having heard all facts and suggestions, the Auror agreed
that they should rescue the spy and he readily explained the
precautions they were going to take. He made two Portkeys, both of them
keyed to the Shrieking Shack. One of those he used immediately, to
prepare the Shack for its ‘guest’, the other was for Remus. The
werewolf had to clean his mind first, though. He stored all of the
important memories into Albus’ Pensieve so that, in case of his
capture, he couldn’t reveal any delicate information.
They agreed on ten o’clock as the time arranged for Remus’ Apparating
to Severus’ house, where he was supposed to merely grab the Potions
Master and Portkey the both of them to the Shack, where Shacklebolt
would be waiting for them.
“Good luck, Remus,” Minerva smiled nervously at him.
He nodded to her and under a disguising charm he walked to the
Apparating spot by the Forbidden Forest. Fortunately all students were
at their first lessons and the werewolf met no one on his way. He took
a deep breath, pulled out his wand and Apparated away.
Severus woke with a start. It was daylight and he was in his bed. There
was still present the horrible throbbing in his left forearm. He was
sure he had heard something from the ground floor. The ex-spy stood up
and tried to focus his whirling thoughts. God, he needed a cup of hot
black tea. ‘Not very probable,’ he thought bitterly. If there really
was someone down there, tea was the last thing he could hope to get.
Severus froze. Someone was climbing the staircase.
Severus hated himself for shaking, but he couldn’t stop it; shudders
went through his whole body. The Death Eaters had returned to kill him,
or worse - to play with him. He pondered briefly the possibility to try
and fight them, but then pushed it away. It would only result in more
Severus could hear steps behind the door to his bedroom. He willed the
shaking away at least partially. He wasn’t going to let the bastards
know how much he feared them. The door to the bedroom flew open as
someone kicked hard against the wood. Severus pressed his back against
the wall and closed his eyes in a desperate attempt to try and maintain
his composure. Why he hadn’t taken his life whilst he could? Damn.
“Severus,” the soft voice was urgent and sounded familiar.
Severus opened his eyes. “Lupin?” he whispered unbelievingly.
“Come on, Severus, there is no point in wasting time. I will Portkey us to a safe place.”
The dark-haired man nodded numbly, still in shock. He didn’t step
neared to Remus, though, and eyed him warily. Remus approached him
quickly and took Severus’ hand, with the other hand he touched the
medallion on his neck and said, “Werewolf.”
Severus felt the familiar tugging in his stomach as the Portkey was
taking them away. Somewhere, where Severus would be safe. Or not?
Note: There will be a sequel... Of course.
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