Title: The music box
Author: Birman
E-mail: birman@jahannam.it
Disclaimer: nope, they’re not mine, yes, I wish they were.
Summary: fate always finds a way, and usually it’s the most unexpexted one…
Challenge: 210) Either Snape or Lupin is hexed and turned into some sort of object (can be anything from a candlestick to a teacup). The other one (unknowingly) takes the object.
Rating: PG13

“Watch this, Davies!”
“What’s that?”
“Remember that spell McGonagall taught us last week? Well, I’ve been tampering about with it. Look.”
“Ehi, someone’s coming! Watch out!”
“Damn! Don’t startle me! The spell…”
“Uh-oh. I think your spell hit someone…”
“Quick, let’s go get professor McGonagall!”
“Wait! Don’t you turn it back? What if it was one of the professors? Or Filch?”
“Stupid! I don’t know how to reverse the spell yet!”
“Idiot! Run!”

Snape walked into the corridor on his way back to the dungeons after that day’s staff meeting.
Halfway down the corridor, he stopped to pick up something.
“A box. I wonder who dropped it?”
He opened it: maybe he could find out the owner, and detract some points, if he (or she) wasn’t a Slytherin.

A low, beautiful music began as the lid was raised: “Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, no less. This is quite bizarre indeed.”
He closed it again and walked back to his quarters, taking the music box with him.

He put the finding on his desk, and went off to his office, where he marked parchments for a few hours, and listened to the complaints of a couple of his Slytherins.
After that, he worked in his laboratory making potions for Madam Pomfrey until dinner time.

He had completely forgotten about the music box, until he closed the heavy door of his quarters, and there it was, in the middle of his desk, standing out dark amongst his cream-coloured parchments.
The Potions Master freed himself of his outer robes, then his high-collared jacket, and opened the first two buttons of his crispy white shirt. He toed off his shoes, replacing them with a pair of soft, dark green slippers.

Snape filled himself a glass of good brandy from his cabinet, and sat down in his favourite armchair, taking the music box with him and placing it on his lap.
It was made of solid dark wood, with nice carvings all over it. It was a bit worn out, especially at the edges, but, overall, it was really nice. Not one of the expensive kind, but not one of the cheapest either.
He lifted the lid, and the music began to play. The inside was lined in red velvet, worn out just as much as the wood on the outside.

Snape took a sip of brandy and laid his head on the back of the armchair, closing his eyes.
The music had a soothing effect on him, and he let his body relax.
“I wonder who’s your owner?” he said out loud, tracing the edges of the lid with his fingers.
“You remind me of him… worn out by life, but strong… Even if I guess this description would fit me as well.”
He paused to sip some more liquor.
“He didn’t show up for dinner tonight. I wonder… I hope nothing’s wrong.”

He let out a chuckle, deep and rich: “What am I doing? I’m talking to a music box… I must be losing my mind, finally.”
He delicately lowered the lid of the wooden box, and put it on the mantelpiece before going to bed.

The following day passed just like the previous: Snape woke up, had breakfast, deducted points during his morning lessons, had lunch, and deducted a lot more points in the afternoon.
Just one thing bothered him.

“He hasn’t showed up today, either.” he told the music box later that night.
He had picked the object up as he sat in his armchair, with a glass of brandy and the latest Potions Review.
“Not only he didn’t show up for breakfast,” he told the small box, “but he wasn’t there for lunch or dinner as well.”

He stared for some time into the amber-coloured liquor, his magazine forgotten in his lap.
“I hope nothing happened to him. He’s… he’s a valuable member of the Order, and he’s also a… a good teacher, despite what I might tell him to his face.”
Snape closed his eyes and let out a low chuckle: “Who am I fooling? I care about Lupin, that’s the truth. And I’m telling a music box because I won’t ever let him know. He’s annoingly polite, he’s always trying to be my friend, no matter what… and he is, in some ways. He’s the only friend I might have in my whole, messy life. And I keep rejecting him. Because he’s liked by everyone, and he’s a good man. He doesn’t deserve me, he has a lot of friends, much better than me.”

Snape stopped talking, and clenched his jaws before gulping down the whole contents of his glass.
“If he doesn’t show up tomorrow,” the Potions Master said, taking the music box from the coffee table in front of him and putting it on his lap, “I’ll go search for him, until I find him. And if he DOES show up, I’ll make him wish he never got us so worried in the first place.”

Snape’s long fingers caressed the soft velvet inside the music box, then closed the lid and slowly traced the carvings on the outside.
“I might keep you, after all. You’ll be my substitute Lupin.” he said to the object, smirking.
Thus stated, he took his forgotten magazine and read until it was time for him to go to bed.

The following day saw Snape storm into his quarters right after lunch.
He went straight to the fireplace and grabbed the music box, headed to his desk, and placed the wooden box in the middle of it, where he had cleaned up a space amongst all his parchments.
The Potions Master then sat down in front of it, and glared at the object.

“You know,” he began telling the music box in a low voice, “it seems McGonagall was trying to talk to me since yesterday, but, somehow, I managed to miss her every time. That old Gryffindor bat told me a very, very interesting story.”
He opened the box, and once again the music filled the room: “She told me that some Ravenclaw messed with one of the spell she taught in class last week.” He paused again. “Apparently, this brat wanted to… ‘impress’ his friend, the other day, and tried to perform this spell. Unfortunately, he didn’t aim that well, and ended up hitting someone who was coming from around the corner. Frightened, they ran to Minerva, and left that poor idiot in the middle of the corridor, only to find, when they got back, that the little music box was gone.”

Snape rose, grabbed the box and placed it on the floor, glowering at the piece of wood: “Merlin, please… please don’t let it be what I think it to be…”
He took out his wand and said: “Finite incantatum!”
And, where a mere instant ago was the wooden box, now stood Remus J. Lupin, teacher of Defense Against Dark Arts (for the second time) at Hogwarts School of Magic and Wizardry.

“Tell me you weren’t conscious all this time… for Salazar’s name, tell me you don’t remember anything…” hissed the Potions Master.
Lupin looked away.
Two pink spots appeared on Snape’s cheeks now, and he began trembling with rage.

“I should have known better, shouldn’t I?” growled the dark-haired wizard.
“Severus…” said a still-confused Lupin.
“That really was an unexpected prank, wasn’t it? I bet you’re dying to tell your friends, aren’t you?”
“Just give me one good reason why I shouldn’t Obliviate you right now… no, wait… there aren’t any, so-“
“Severus! Shut that trap, will you?” shouted the werewolf.

Snape was so surprised by this unexpected outburst, that he immediately shut up.
“One, you know damn well that I didn’t ask to be transfigured into a bloody music box. And two, yes, I happened to remember everything you told me. And that made me very happy.”

He stepped closer to the frowning Potions Master, until they were almost touching.
Then, he grabbed Snape’s robes and pulled the wizard to him, kissing him, warm lips on warm lips, and meeting no resistance.
“There are no ‘better friends’ than others, Severus.” he breathed against Snape’s lips. “My efforts in getting closer to you are real, and now that I know how you feel, I won’t ever give up on you.”
Thus said, he took a step back, crossed his arms over his chest and tilted his head a bit on one side: “So, now it’s up to you, Severus. What do you say?”

Snape was clenching and unclenching his fists on his sides, gaze fixed on the floor.
“I… I guess… we could give it a try…”

Lupin’s smile was dazzling: “That’s great, Severus. I’d better go and see Albus now.”
He turned, and had already his hand on the door handle, when he stopped.
“I hope you still have some of that brandy left, Severus. I think I might be coming over, after dinner.”
Snape smiled softly: “As much as you want… Remus.”
“Great. I guess I’ll see you later, then.” And he left.