Warnings: character death
Challenge / Summary: 201) For whatever reason, Lupin decides to go undercover to either monitor Snape's behavior or find out more about Snape. He does this by impersonating a student, house-elf, animal, inanimate object, or whatever.
Disclaimer: Anything you recognise belongs to J.K. Rowling, etc.. I own nothing, make no money from anything, and am writing this purely for personal enjoyment.
When he finally came to the point, Dumbledore managed to surprise him.
"Remus, I have a somewhat delicate task for you. Severus has been acting rather strangely lately, and I was wondering if you could keep an eye on him."
"Strangely? You mean, you think he's gone back…"
"Oh no. I sure that’s not it at all. I trust Severus. Still…"
They paused in respectful silence for that possibility.
"I don’t see what you expect me to do. I mean, I barely see him outside of order meetings, where as you see him every day."
"Well, I seem to recall that rather unique ability you have to retain your conscious mind while transfigured into an inanimate object…"
Remus blushed when he recalled the incident involving a mirror in the girls showers. James had transfigured him, and between the three they’d managed to manoeuvred him into place. It had taken the Headmaster not even fifteen minutes to retrieve him and leave him facing a wall for two hours.
"Surely you don’t mean..."
"I wouldn't ask if it wasn’t important, Remus."
Two days later, he replaced the mirror in Severus’s lounge. He prayed with all his heart that Severus changed safely behind closed doors. He didn’t think he was going to live through Severus finding out about this regardless, but that would guarantee his immediate dismemberment.
The first day bored him to tears. The Headmaster had arranged a trigger which would swap the original mirror back in whenever Remus could see that Severus was unlikely to be in his lounge, but even when he was all he did was research. It was clear all the books were familiar to him, as he would pick up one and page to a section make some note, and move on. The journal he was writing in also looked like it had been enlarged a number of times.
The second night introduced some excitement when Severus slammed the book shut and swept everything to the floor. One skittered around until Remus could make out the title: "Poisoned Magic - Inducing Incapacity."
Remus felt sick. Magic incapacitation was one of the cruellest fates of the Wizarding World. Unlike simply being a squib, someone with a magic incapacitation was fully sensitive to magic and able to use it. In fact, there were some theories that it was actually an excess of magic that caused the condition. But two to three hours after using any magic whatsoever, all the body's immune responses would be triggered - which in a wizard was a significant array of violent and painful responses. The mental charity he had so long been willing to extend to Snape disappeared. He could not believe anyone would be sick enough to consider inducing it. Far kinder to kill someone. Hell, far kinder to cause insanity by cruciatus.
That night he returned unwillingly, but in obedience to Albus's wishes. Snape walked in to the room, and promptly threw up - black glowing liquid. Seconds later every orifice was streaming with discharge, the body desperately trying to rid itself of what it perceived as poisonous. This wasn't some initial reaction, this was one of the final stages.
Remus knew with sickening certainty that whatever Albus had expected from him, it was too late. The headmaster was not in his office when he swapped out, so he rushed back to the dungeons alone. The ambient magic of the hospital wing, as well as any magical cure, would just make things worse. He had to resort to simply cleaning Severus up, placing him in his bed, and waiting for him to regain awareness.
"Severus, why did Voldemort do this to you?"
"Voldemort didn’t do this, Lupin. I did it to myself. Pure hubris – I thought I could force the incapacitance for dark magic only. But it turns out there isn't any real difference. Ironic, eh?"
"But, but why would you do that?"
"I have no illusions regarding myself, Lupin. I am addicted to the dark arts, and my strength is not infinite. I could control myself by total abstinence, but with using it in Voldemort's presence again, I was becoming a risk. This seemed like necessary insurance. Irreversible, of course, else what good would it do? Please convey my apologies for my failure to the Headmaster."
Severus closed his eyes, and slipped into unconsciousness.