Title: Silencing the Whispers
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Remus Lupin, Pansy Parkinson
Summary: Lupin and Snapeís first encounter, Post-Half Blood Prince. A bit of a bloody mess.
Word Count: 4100
Warnings: Slash. Angst. Violence. Language. Adult themes. Sex for the wrong reasons. Excessive dialogue.
Beta Reader: Nzomniac (many thanks)
Disclaimer: I did not create these characters. I do not own them. I do not profit from their use and abuse in any way.
Note: There is a picture by Bitterfig that goes with this story, it can be found on the gallery page and here
Deep in the woods surrounding Hogsmeade, there was a Portkey to the Malus Insciptio - the headless body of a doll pinned to a tree by several long, rusted nails. It was an ugly thing, deliberately sinister and grotesque. The Malus Insciptio, a vast and shadowy depository of forbidden lore, did not encourage casual or accidental visitors.
In a flash of light, two figures appeared at the foot of the tree, returning from the other side of the Portkey. A man and a girl of seventeen, both swathed in dark robes against the heavy rain, were weighted down with books and scrolls of parchment. They were Severus Snape and Pansy Parkinson, his former student and member of the house of Slytherin.
"What a horrible place," Pansy said. "Every minute we were there I wanted to run screaming."
"A natural reaction to that much Dark Magic concentrated in one place," Snape said coldly. "It will pass." Lightning split the dark sky. The girl shivered.
"I expected it to be an ordinary library," Pansy went on, her voice shaking. "Just books and such, but it made me feel so dirty, so awful and afraid. And those things in the aisles, those ghosts or whatever they were. They were talking about me. I could hear them. They were saying terrible things about me."
"Those were Whispers. Theyíre the keepers of the Malus Insciptio, the librarians if you will. Theyíre not ghosts. They were never alive. Theyíre more like echoes."
"How did they know all those things about me? They were talking about my parents, school; they knew everything."
"They were sifting through your mind. Theyíre looking for Dark Magic to add to the collection. Whatever they find that is painful or potentially hurtful they whisper. Those are the things you heard them saying. Itís nothing that wasnít already in your thoughts."
"Will we have to go back there, Professor Snape?"
"Youíre no longer a schoolgirl, Miss Parkinson," the man said icily. "I am no longer your teacher. Please do not call me Professor. And yes, we will be going back. It will take several days to gather what the Dark Lord requires."
"Oh," she said, plainly miserable.
"You did well enough for your first visit." Snape told her. Though his words were reassuring, there was no warmth in his voice. "Even the most powerful wizards find the Malus Insciptio difficult to tolerate in the beginning. It will grow easier."
"I donít want to get used to it," she wailed, bursting into tears.
"Becoming a Death Eater was not a wise career choice if you didnít intend to come into contact with the Dark Arts. Now please get a hold of yourself. Youíll feel much better when weíre away from the here. Everything associated with the Malus Insciptio causes feelings of dread and horror..."
His words were cut off by a physical attack. From the rain and darkness, something sprang upon him. The books and scrolls scattered in the mud. As Snape reached for his wand, the thing grabbed his wrist and broke it with a sickening snap. Even as he cried out at the pain in his wrist, the creature ripped into him with tooth and claw. He screamed only once before the thingís hands closed crushingly on his throat.
The creature collapsed motionless on top of Snape, and then Pansy was at his side chanting healing spells.
"What was that?" he gasped when he could breathe again. "Why didnít you kill it?"
"I wasnít sure if I should," Pansy said. Her eyes were enormous in her white face. "It isnít any kind of an animal or magical creature, Professor. Itís a man. I recognize him. Itís the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher I had third-year."
"What? You must be mistaken, Miss Parkinson." He had to fight to maintain consciousness and calm, but Snape managed to push his attacker over so that he could see its face.
Pansy was not mistaken. It was Remus Lupin.
Snape gazed silently at the other man. He was covered in blood, his mouth and hands slick with it. Pansy was chanting frantically. She was beside him but she seemed very far away. Lightning flashed. He took out his handkerchief; he wanted to wipe the blood from Lupinís mouth. It was already soaked through.
"Thatís my blood," Snape remarked. Then everything went black.
He woke up in pain, terrified, clutched in Pansy Parkinsonís arms.
"The spells didnít work," she cried. "I canít stop the bleeding."
"Where are we?" He asked.
"I donít know how to Apparate. I failed the class, remember. I was supposed to take it again next term. Mum was going to hire me a tutor for the summer."
He glanced around him recognizing the walls of shelves reaching to cathedral high ceilings piled heavily with books and scrolls.
"Youíve brought us back inside the Malus Insciptio?"
That explained the sense of dread, the voices that seemed to swirl around him whispering, "Youíre dying, youíre going to die, and nothing can save you. Youíre going to die alone."
He could move his wrist at least, hold his wand. She had healed that though the wounds seemed to have defied her spells. He tried his own healing spells. Nothing.
"Is Lupin here?" Snape asked the girl. She nodded and gestured towards a crumpled heap of old, bloodstained clothes not far away. "Iím going to wake him up. Be ready if he attacks again."
"Let me do it, sir, youíre hurt." Pansy said, grimly clutching her wand.
"Iím sure I could manage a simple awakening spell but very well."
Pansy gestured her wand towards Lupin crying, "Enervate." The Whispers swarmed around her murmuring "hush, shush, ssshhh." She swatted at them with her wand like they were mosquitoes.
Lupin pulled himself up from the floor but almost immediately cried out and collapsed again covering his ears with both hands.
"You see, Miss Parkinson," Snape said to Pansy. "As much as you dislike it here, you tolerate the Malus Insciptio much better than some. I always felt you had a fine, natural affinity for the Dark Arts." Pansy smiled toothily. He turned his attention to the other wizard.
"Lupin, weíre in the Malus Insciptio; the voices youíre hearing are the Whispers. Ignore them," he ordered. It was difficult. Pain was eroding what little patience he had. "Lupin, look at me." Lupin raised his head, turned his eyes on Snape, who gasped and drew back in shock. Lupinís eyes were like an animalís, topaz yellow with no trace of white.
His first thought was that Lupin was making his transformation to a wolf, but that was impossible. The full moon had been nearly two weeks before.
"Whatís happened to you, Lupin?" Snape demanded. "Why did you attack me like that?"
"Why do you think I attacked you?" Lupin snarled. "Murderous bastard."
"Donít talk to him like that," Pansy said vehemently. "Professor Snape did a great deed in the service of the Dark Lord when he killed the blood traitor Dumbledore."
"Youíre calling the wrong man a traitor, little girl," Lupin said with equal fervor.
"Quiet, both of you," Snape ordered and the Whispers echoed him. "You misunderstood me, Lupin. I donít care what motivated you to attack me. What I want to know is why you came after me like an animal. Why didnít you use magic? Where is your wand?" He breathed too deeply and gasped at the pain.
"Why canít I heal his wounds?" Pansy shrieked at Lupin. "What did you do, you horrible, filthy thing?"
"Miss Parkinson, please. Let me handle this," Snape said. "Answer her, Lupin. Why wonít the wounds heal?"
"Something I picked up from your fellow Death Eater, Fenrir Greyback," Lupin said. His teeth were clenched in hatred. "He did it to Bill Weasley the night you murdered Dumbledore. Iím not as feral as Greyback is yet so you probably wonít get the symptoms of lycanthropy the way Bill has, but those wounds are cursed. They wonít heal easily and I went deep. If you want to live, youíd better kill me and get to a healer with some real power."
"Why didnít you use magic?" Snape asked coolly ignoring the werewolfís last remark.
"I canít use magic anymore," Lupin said bitterly. "A spell was placed on me by the Ministry of Magic that prevents it. They also confiscated my wand. The only magic I have left is my disease. Iíd heard of the Malus Insciptio. I came here looking for something to counter the Ministryís spell."
"You werenít looking for me?"
"Not tonight I wasnít, but I was planning to find you as soon as I broke the spell."
"Youíre willing to resort to Dark Magic, Lupin? You of all people?"
"Thereís enough at stake and with the Ministry binding my hands, yes, I am."
Snape had to pause to rest for a moment. Pansy was chanting again, for all the good it did. Gathering his strength, he looked unwaveringly into Lupinís wolf eyes.
"What happened with the Ministry of Magic, Remus?" Snape asked. "Why have they forbidden you to practice magic?"
"Send Pansy away," Lupin said his voice dead and flat.
"No," Pansy called out. "I wonít go. Iím not leaving him with you."
"Send her away, Snape, or I wonít tell you anything."
"He can make you tell," Pansy snapped. "I can make you tell. You donít have any power. You donít even have a wand; we can make you do anything we want."
"Miss Parkinson has to stay. Sheís the only thing holding me up," Snape said simply. The Whispers were clustered around Lupin. He could hear, or thought he heard, certain words their soft voices taunted him with. Pervert. Degenerate. Depraved. "Tell me whatís happened, Remus."
Lupin shook his head. "She shouldnít hear this."
"Sheís pledged her loyalties to the Dark Lord," Snape said. "Sheís a Death Eater. You canít do her anymore damage than sheís done to herself." Pansy pushed up her chin, proud of her imperviousness, missing perhaps his deeper meaning.
"On the last full moon, there was a werewolf attack in London," Lupin told him. "A woman was badly hurt."
"Were you responsible?" Snape asked.
"No," Lupin answered flatly. "I was chained in Arthur Weasleyís basement that night. There was no way I could have been involved, but since Iím a known werewolf, it gave the Ministry of Magic a perfect excuse to start investigating me. Rufus Scimgeour wants whatever leverage he can get with Harry, even if it means striking out at the people heís close to. They must have had everything ready ahead of time and been waiting for some kind of incident that would let them use it. The day after the investigation was authorized, I was called in to an inquest. It wasnít about the werewolf attack. It was about what they called my moral laxity and my relationships with men." He was getting angrier now, life returning to his voice. Life and an almost frightening passion. "They were very thorough. They knew about everything. They had complaints that had been made against Sirius and me by the boys in our dorm in 1976. It was impressive."
"How is that any of the Ministry of Magicís concern?"
"There are laws on the books, Snape. Donít you realize how much Dumbledore protected us? Hogwarts was one of the only safe places for people like us. At any other school in the Wizarding world, Sirius and I would have been severely punished for our first infraction. We would have been separated, sent to different houses, and if that didnít work then at least one of us would have been expelled. Dumbledore shielded us, and not just us. I know there were others. But he canít help anyone anymore, can he? You killed him."
"I did what I needed to do, Remus," Snape said. "I wonít justify myself to you. Has it occurred to you that you might have been overly dependent on Dumbledoreís good will?"
"No one was more dependent on it than you. How old were you when he hired you as Potions master? Twenty-two? He gave you that job to protect you. And not just because youíd been a Death Eater. Quite a few former Death Eaters did fine after the war. Look at Malfoy, he prospered. Most of them did. But you were queer too; the Ministry would have loved to have you as a scapegoat. They would have too if Dumbledore hadnít looked after you." Snape did not respond. His face, pale and waxen, remained fixed.
"After the evidence was presented, they said they needed to do a physical examination."
"What was there to find?" Snape asked. "Black has been dead for over a year." Lupin laughed with considerable bitterness.
"A yearís a long time. Iíve been fucked since Sirius died. Surprised?" Snape winced. Perhaps from pain, perhaps in reply. "Well, itís a matter of public record now. They did their examination right there in the Ministry hearing room. Bent me over a table and took my pants down. Theyíd brought in a Healer from St. Mungoís. He had his fingers inside me, just about had his wandÖ" He turned away from them, his voice trembling.
"It was the most humiliating thing that Iíve ever experienced," he continued. "Arthur Weasley was there, Tonks, Kingsley Shacklebolt was one of the Aurors holding me down. After the examination, they took my wand, cast the binding spell. Theyíre continuing their investigation, planning on interviewing every student I came in contact with when I was teaching to make sure there were no further indiscretions."
"Theyíre allotting their resources investigating you?" Snape said in disbelief. "Why arenít they trying to find me? Why arenít they preparing themselves to face the Dark Lord?"
"Theyíre more interested in convincing people theyíre looking out for them than in actually protecting them."
"Theyíre fools," Snape hissed. His eyes were distant, glazing over. "Ignorant, ignorant fools. Regulus always said the Wizarding world was a century behind the Muggles in some ways. Trapped in the Victorian Era and the Middle Ages."
"Regulus?" Lupin asked. "Regulus Black? Siriusí little brother? You knew him?"
"We were both in Slytherin," Snape said weakly. He had wanted to hear and had let Lupin talk too long. He was starting to fade. "We were in the Death Eaters together. It doesnít matter."
"He was a little idiot," the Whispers buzzed. "Weak, frivolous. He deserved to die. How could you have loved someone like that? He would have infected you with his softness, he would have ruined you. Youíd be dead yourself if youíd given in to him. Just like youíre going to die now if you give in to this one."
The voices of the Whispers faded away as Snape slipped into darkness once again.
It was five short months, from May to October of 1979, that Severus Snape and Regulus Black were together. Snape remembered it only with disdain. How could he have been so stupid? How could he have been so incredibly stupid as to believe they could build some kind of a relationship, some kind of a life together? Regulus Black, with his pure blood, vodka, and heroin. Severus Snape, with his bitter hatred and his place at Voldermortís feet.
They were boys pretending they were men, marked with skulls and snakes. He must have been an idiot not to have seen that they were bound for destruction from the start. Snape had been twenty years old. Young but he should have known better than to think he could fall in love or that love could save him.
Regulus Black had violet eyes and endless patience. He refused to be put off by any of Snapeís usual defenses - aloofness, snarky comments, and condescension. Regulus had been an extraordinarily gifted little fraud.
It wasnít love, it was simply breeding. Heíd been trained by his brotherís dominance and volatility to be ridiculously tolerant and desperate to please. Because Snape had let himself believe that being able to love would make some sort of difference, Regulus had been eager to coax him every step of the way.
Until heíd died.
Regulus Black had proved himself less resilient than Pansy Parkinson when it came to the realities of being a Death Eater. Though at least heíd known how to Apparate. Lord Voldermort had set him the task of killing his brother. A reasonable request, Sirius Black was in the Order of the Phoenix. He was the enemy, but then Regulus had never quite grasped the concept of enemies. So heíd tried to get out, get away and succeeded only in getting himself killed at the tender age of eighteen, almost taking his lover with him.
The only reason Snape had survived was that heíd chosen his life over the illusion of love. Regulus had been brought before him that night, the masked faces of the Death Eaters looking on. When Voldermort had ordered him, Snape, to kill the boy, he did.
Consciousness disoriented him with its return. Dim lights, the Whispers cooing in his ears that he was stupid and weak, how heíd made a fool of himself for Regulus Black. Pain, though not as sharp as before, and Pansyís voice.
"Heís coming around, Professor Lupin," she said. Beyond the pain, Snape was aware of a strange sensation against his throat as if the tear there was being scrubbed, coarsely but with infinite care. He realized too that Lupin was beside him now, closer than beside him, against him, head cradled against Snapeís neck.
"Miss Parkinson, what is happening?" Snape demanded weakly.
"Itís what wolves do to their injured, sir," the girl said. "It seems to be helping."
He realized then that Lupin was literally licking his wounds as an animal would for its wounded cub. And it was helping, Lupinís care somehow offsetting the curse he had carved and torn into Snapeís body. The Healing Charms were working their magic, he was stronger but what was happening revolted him, disgusted him to the core.
"Stop this, Lupin, get away from me," Snape commanded. He struggled with as much strength as he could muster, but he was still terribly weak and between Pansy and Lupin, more or less immobilized. So he struck out the only way that remained to him, the way that was most familiar to him - with words.
"You gave me these wounds for a reason," he snarled. "Take them back and youíre condoning what I did. Do you know how many will die because I killed Albus Dumbledore? He wonít be there to protect Potter from the Dark Lord. Do you think Potter will survive this? Or Granger, or Weasley? Do you think youíll survive? Their blood is on my hands, Remus. If you save me, itíll be on yours as well." A flashing glare of yellow eyes, but the werewolf went on. "Parkinson, this is a trick. You need to stop him." Wide-eyed, Pansy shook her head. "Please."
"No, sir," she wailed and the Whispers shushed her.
When he awoke the pain was as muted as a soft color, barely there and there were no voices. He was on a bed, still in his blood-soddened robes. Pansy Parkinson was nearby perched on a wooden chair. She extended a cup to him.
"Drink this, sir, itís a blood restorative," Pansy urged. He did.
"Where are we?" he asked.
"Mummy and Daddyís mountain cabin," she said. "I mean the Hogsmeade safe-house. When we knew you would be all right, I made a Portkey here. Professor Lupin helped me. He told me what to do."
"Where is Lupin? You havenít let him walk away I hope?"
"No, sir. Heís locked in the guest bedroom."
"Very good, I need to speak with him. Have you contacted anyone?"
"Not yet, should I?"
"For the time being, I would prefer to handle this on my own."
Shakily he got to his feet, stopping to examine his throat in the mirror. Only the faintest scars remained of the gash Lupin had opened the night before. Pansy lead him to the guest bedroom. He took the key from her.
"Find yourself something to eat, Miss Parkinson, then go and rest till I come for you," he ordered the girl. She nodded obediently and disappeared down the hallway. Snape let himself into the bedroom locking the door from the inside.
Lupin was waiting for him, his clothes and face still filthy with dried blood. He started to say something but Snape simply stepped forward and pushed him onto the bed.
"What are you doing?" Lupin asked.
"For almost twenty years weíve been taunting each other," Snape said. "Taunting each other with the whispered promise that if we were together things would be different. That was what last night was about. Our idiot dream that your broken-down, scarred body and your needy love can heal and redeem me. It canít. Iím going to show you it canít."
Snapeís face was an unchanging mask, his eyes remote as he undressed Lupin. The werewolf offered no resistance as silently, without affection, Snape took him from behind. It was quick, perfunctory, as if he wished to accomplish the act in as few gestures as possible. When he was done and Lupin tried to kiss him, he stepped back, drawing his wand.
"The Ministry was right about you, Remus," Snape said distantly. "Youíre a liability. Youíre easy, so easy to compromise. But thatís nothing new. When you believed Sirius Black was a murderer stalking one of your students, you still neglected to inform Dumbledore he was an Animagus. Why would you do that? Because he had been your friend, your lover? Do you think if someone loves you theyíre exempt from evil? Youíre weak, Remus. You do more harm than good."
Lupin pulled his tattered coat close around him. "Everything youíve just said to me the Whispers said last night when you mentioned Regulus Black," he said softly. "Dumbledore told me once that youíd had a lover in the Death Eaters who died. Was it Regulus?"
"Yes," Snape said vacantly.
"Who have you been talking to, Severus? Who did you just fuck? Me or Regulus?"
"It doesnít matter. Neither of you matter. Neither of you are of any consequence. Youíre interchangeable. Sirius Blackís displaced acolytes always ready to appease and forgive, believing that if you can love and be loved, then everything will be all right. It wasnít for Regulus. It wonít be for you."
"Regulus mattered," Lupin said. "You changed sides because he died."
Snape shrugged. "If Iíd stayed loyal to the Dark Lord, I would have gone to Azkaban when he fell. Dumbledore would never have taken me in. I would never have turned on him. You should have stood by your convictions last night, Remus. I would have respected you for it."
Lupin caught Snape's hand, pressed it to his face.
"I want you to go now," Snape said.
Pansy started awake at Snapeís voice, jerking her head up from the table where she had been resting it.
"Miss Parkinson," Snape said, "Lupin will be leaving. Iíd like you to go with him."
"Where should I take him?" Pansy asked.
"He will be taking you to the Order of the Phoenix. They can hide you, keep you safe."
"But, Professor Snape," she stammered, plainly confused, "Iím pledged to serve the Dark Lord. The Order of the Phoenix, thatís Harry Potter and those people he goes about with. They donít like me; theyíll be awful to me." Tears began to roll down her cheeks. "If they hide me, Iíll never see Draco again."
"There will be enough children lost in this conflict without you being included," Snape said. "Youíve known me since you were eleven years old, Miss Parkinson. Will you trust me that this is best?"
Pansy nodded gravely. "Yes, sir," she said.
Snape and Lupin avoided each otherís eyes as they walked to the door.
"You could come as well," Lupin finally said.
"Do you think Potter would be happy to see me again?" Snape said with a sneer. "Do you think heíd welcome me back? Donít be ridiculous." Then he leaned close. "The Ministry wonít last much longer," he said quietly. "Their spells wonít hold once they fall."
Pansy Parkinson threw her arms around her former teacherís rigid, unyielding body.
"Good-bye, Professor Snape," she cried.
When she released him, Snapeís hand, almost involuntarily reached out, touched Lupinís cheek. "Good-bye, Remus," he said. "You made no difference to me." Then he closed the door.
The man and the girl walked away from the cabin. She was wearing a red cloak, he was covered in blood.