Hermione Granger
Drama Romance
Multiple Eras
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Quidditch Through the Ages Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Published: 03/19/2002
Updated: 09/01/2005
Words: 220,150
Chapters: 28
Hits: 163,807

Falling Further In


Story Summary:
The story begins in the summer holidays before the sixth year. After her parents are murdered by Voldemort Hogwarts becomes Hermione's home. She joins the staff in the fight against Voldemort and learns more of the man behind the dark sarcasms of the classroom. Will *eventually* be Snape/Hermione. Lupin is again the Professor teaching Defence Against the Dark Arts, and has a black dog who lives with him - Sirius Black in his animagus form.

Chapter 08

Chapter Summary:
Hermione learns more about the man behind the dark sarcasms of the classroom


Opening her eyes to find herself in the entrance hall of Hogwarts, Hermione gave a barely audible sigh of relief: it was over. She was home.

Hearing the sigh, Snape scowled. "What? You thought I would splinch?" he demanded, testy because he had no idea what she was going to do now that she was back in the protection of Hogwarts.

"No," she said, sounding surprised. "You said you wouldn't and I've never known you to make mistakes where magic is concerned."

Snape noted the qualification but Hermione's mind was elsewhere.

"I know a lot of wizards are wary of Apparating but it's wonderful - so fast and easy. Much better than travelling by broomstick," she added with feeling.

"You don't care for broomsticks?" Snape hoped that didn't sound obscene.

"If you'd seen me riding one you wouldn't ask. Some of my most humiliating moments at Hogwarts have been on a broomstick. It doesn't help that Harry's one of the best fliers - Ron's pretty good, too. Do you think I'll be able to Apparate?"

"How should I know?" said Snape, back to his disagreeable self. "We all have different strengths and weaknesses. From my observations the ability to Apparate is more marked amongst wizards with stronger abilities. And animagi."

While he had made no obvious effort to free himself Hermione became aware that she was still holding his hand; she released it with some reluctance because she could feel him slipping away from her in every way that mattered.

"I'd like to try," she said, wondering how she could reassure him that she wouldn't dream of repeating what he had told her about himself. It was preferable to wondering what he might have done when he was a Death Eater - or not done, of course. If he judged himself half as strictly as he did his pupils it was no wonder he was so...without joy. Joy and Snape weren't words which sat easily together. Or at least they hadn't. But then if these holidays had taught her nothing else they had given her insight to many of the people who had so much influence over her life, not least Snape. She had never expected to enjoy his company so much and was already mourning the fact that come term-time they would be back to square one - worse, because she would know how much she was missing.

Her mind drifted away from potential difficulty to concentrate on the glide and dance of the stairs, whose grace was spoiled only by the jarring rumble when stone collided with stone. Her thoughts kept skittering off in three different directions at once as her mind tried to process all the information it had received over the last few hours. She couldn't stop wondering what it was that Voldemort did to mark his Death Eaters - externally, at least. She suspected Snape's scars went far deeper.

Snape's sensation of being out of his depth intensified when Hermione began to wilt in front of his eyes. To his relief he saw Madam Pomfrey coming down the main staircase towards them

"You're home, my dears! Thank you, Severus. I'm most grateful." Without further ado she took charge of Hermione's belongings and steered her towards the stairs. "You must be so tired, child. I'll take you to your permanent quarters. At present they contain only the basic necessities so that you can furnish them to your own taste." She maintained a warm stream of reassurance that required no response.

Watching them go, Snape absently massaged the back of his neck in an effort to try and relieve the tension there. His current headache would be as nothing compared to the one he could expect after he told Albus he had caved in under interrogation from a grief-stricken girl - and a pupil to boot. What had he been thinking? Bad enough that Harry knew - although hating him as he did Harry dealt with the knowledge by not thinking about it. But you might as well tell Hermione to stop breathing as not to think.

Until they had arrived at that house of horrors he had enjoyed the day more than he had expected - more than was wise, truth be told. But then wisdom and... He really should get something for this headache.

"Ah, Severus," said Flitwick as he entered the hall.

Snape turned on his heel, an unpleasant glint in his eyes. "Correct identification. Yes, we're back. Yes, she's safe. And yes, it was bloody awful."

"I'm sure it was. You've been splendid. Quite splendid," said Flitwick, in the high, fluting voice which meant that the majority of those who met him underestimated him to a dangerous degree. "But why are you loitering down here? House elves will bring a simple meal to your quarters, after which you can change into evening dress before you Disapparate to the House of Mirth. The bar to Apparating within Hogwarts will be kept down for another ninety minutes. You'll be in plenty of time to hear Lajos Rakoczi's talk after all."

His mind elsewhere, it took Snape a moment to place the name. A rare look of uncomplicated pleasure lit his face.

"Yes? The time turner proved itself on two levels then, although how Miss Granger could bear to use it for a year I shall never know. I thought I must have missed the opportunity to hear Rakoczi. I consider myself to be one of the best in the field but compared to a Potions Master like him I am a mere beginner."

"Humility, Severus?" mocked Flitwick gently.

Snape's grimace conceded the point. "It has an unlikely ring to it, I concede," he allowed.

"It may interest you to know that Rakoczi was impressed enough by your research into blood clotting times to make a point of writing to Albus to inquire if he knew of your whereabouts during the holidays. He particularly wishes to meet with you."


"Who else?"

Snape looked self-conscious. A moment later he pulled a face.

"Before I do anything else I need to speak with the headmaster."

"Trouble?" asked Flitwick.

"Only for me," said Snape, looking glum. "I told Miss Granger I'm a Death Eater and that I work for Albus."

"That was precipitate of you," said Flitwick after a moment, his curiosity well-hidden. Albus had been heard to sigh that it would be easier to turn Hagrid into a ballet dancer than obtain personal information from Severus.

"Yes," agreed Snape, because he had no option, in the circumstances.

"Particularly after all the trouble Albus went to. However, Harry has known the same facts for over three years. I fail to see any great cause for concern, except that Miss Granger may wish to take a more active role in the fight against Voldemort."

"Thank you for that cheering thought. Any more activity on her part and we could lose her," growled Snape. "It's no thanks to Potter that we haven't already."

"You can hardly blame Harry for the fact Miss Granger is a loyal friend. While, obviously, we don't know everything that goes on between our pupils - and the older they get the more grateful I am for the fact - I find it difficult to imagine she could be forced to act in a way foreign to her nature, no matter how insecure she may have been when she arrived at Hogwarts."

Snape was still disentangling the lengthy sentence, a habit of Flitwick's when he was deep in thought and forgot Human speech patterns.

"Your confession to Albus will have to wait because he is with Fudge again," continued Flitwick. "In the meantime, go and enjoy yourself - and don't hurry back. You've earned the break. Oh, Severus?"

He turned, his eyebrows raised in query.

"Thank you for what you did for my dearest Ceres. I can't tell you the pleasure those seeds will give her. I'm in your debt. I know the trouble you must have gone to."

Waving that aside with his usual farouche manner where compliments were concerned, Snape headed up the stairs at a run.

Hurrying out of Serpens Tower, Snape twitched the ruffles at his cuffs one more time. While it galled him to admit it, even to himself, he felt nervous at the thought of meeting the greatest living Potions Master. He was so preoccupied that he walked past Hermione without even noticing her.

Taken aback when he failed to acknowledge her stilted greeting, because she couldn't think what she could have done to offend him, Hermione turned to stare after Snape as he strode down the corridor. He looked austerely elegant - and unfamiliar - in evening dress, the severity of the superbly cut black suit relieved only by the white ruffles at the wrist and the fall of lace at his throat. The rapid staccato of his boot heels faltered when he had to swerve at the far end of the corridor to avoid walking into Sirius Black, who stepped out into his path to intercept him.

"I want a word with you, you bastard."

Snape subjected him to a lengthy survey. "Yes? Well, I hope you enjoyed it because that's all you're getting."

Black's hand shot out, gripping Snape by the upper arm. "You're not going anywhere."

Snape's razor-edged smile was disquieting enough to make the hair on the back of Hermione's neck stir. Even Black released him and took an involuntary step away from danger.

"I'll be interested to see how you imagine you can stop me," purred Snape. It was an unmistakable challenge and goad in one.

Even from where she stood Hermione could feel the antagonism quivering in the air between the two very different men. Without being aware of it, she hurried towards them.

"You know I can't," said Black, his voice thick with loathing. "I don't possess half your power any more. But that doesn't mean I'll stand by and see you put Remus through hell. Where are you in such rush to get to? Oh, you're off whoring again. No surprise that you've had to resort to buying it."

He stepped in close again to run his hand down the lapel of Snape's immaculately cut frock coat and Hermione suddenly had the sense she was missing an important clue. Black gave the fabric a contemptuous flick.

"It will take more than expensive tailoring to make anyone want you."

"Yes? Faulty memory as well as all your other problems?" inquired Snape, cocking his head. The intimacy in his silky voice stroked down Hermione's spine and stopped her in her tracks.

First Phryne, now Mr Black. She wondered with a trace of bitterness how many others might be in the queue. Although how Snape and Black managed not to kill one another for long enough to...

Black flinched. "Never mind that," he said as he made a blustering recovery. "You selfish git! It will have slipped your mind that Remus should have had his first dose of potion this morning. He would have, except we couldn't gain entrance to your laboratory because of all the wards you use. Do you have any idea what today has been like for him?" His face was congested with rage as he literally spat out the words.

His eyes burning blackly in the pallor of his face, Snape gave him a look of contempt.

"As usual, you fail to understand anything of importance. I gave Remus the counter charms before I left this morning. You can hardly hold me responsible if he failed to remember them."

"You told him - ? You expected him to be able to cope with something that complex the day before he transforms! It takes all his energy just to stay on his feet and remain coherent. Today, between the worry you wouldn't be back in time and - You supercilious git, you don't have a clue what he goes through, do you? Sometimes I look into your smug face as you're trying not to retch when he gets too close to you and... I could kill you." The sound Black made deep in his throat was eerily reminiscent of his animal form.

Snape looked unimpressed.

"I suppose it's futile to expect cogent argument from an idiot but growling at me isn't going to achieve anything. You might want to consider spending less time in your animal form - it's starting to take over what little brain you possess. One of these days someone will put you on a permanent choke chain. Until that happy occasion you may find this useful."

He flicked his wand into view, murmured something Hermione couldn't hear and tossed a coiled length of something brown at Black's feet - it was a leather dog collar and lead.

His hands clenching into fists, Black's handsome face was suffused with colour. He was exuding violence like a scent.

Snape gave another of those insufferable smiles, something behind his eyes warning of how badly things were about to go out of control. "If you think you're capable of matching me," he taunted, as if Black had voiced a challenge.

Uncomprehending, Hermione watched the contest of wills, becoming aware of undercurrents and back stories of which she had no knowledge.

"Match you? I could snap you like the dry stick you are," sneered Black.

"You're welcome to try," invited Snape, his long fingers beckoning Black towards him as he gave the chilling smile of a shark.

"I'll do more than try," snarled Black, his wand in his hand by this time.

In front of Hermione's appalled eyes the years dropped from both men as they assumed the street-fighter's pose common to many young wizards about to duel but even Harry and Draco didn't carry this burden of hate. Power swirled around them in an almost visible cloud as they circled on the balls of their feet, violence a hair's-breadth away.

Terrified that either wizard might do something irrevocable, she ran forward until she stood between them. "Stop this before you kill each other. You're behaving like first years!" Her voice was high-pitched and thin with fright because while their behaviour might be juvenile she could feel the press of power all around her; the emanations from Snape were particularly strong.

Hazed by the evening sunlight pouring in through the large windows, Snape straightened, then turned his back on Black to give her his undivided attention. Passion spent, his gaze was so devoid of warmth that it made her flinch but he slipped his wand back under the cuff of his jacket.

"You forget who you are addressing. Because it is the holiday period you have been allowed a certain latitude. You just crossed the boundary, Miss Granger."

"Perhaps I did but we're supposed to be working together to defeat Voldemort, not fighting each other," she said sturdily, refusing to be intimidated.

Snape studied her at length. "The least you could do is spare me this mawkish pap," he said at last, his measured delivery eloquent of his weariness at having to deal with her. "You're very young, of course. Too young to know your limitations - or even to believe you have any. For all your intelligence you lack subtlety and finesse and you're naive in the extreme. Your habit of lecturing others is - at best - unattractive. You have feelings that do you credit but you have yet to understand that you haven't been handpicked by destiny to set right any matter which appears to you to be maladjusted. Cease to interest yourself in my affairs - or me - and we shall get on a great deal better. To put it bluntly, Miss Granger, your childish officiousness is a tiresome distraction we could do without. Do I make myself clear?"

She had imagined she was braced for his angry response; anger would have been far kinder. Feeling stripped of several layers of skin she tried and failed to reply.

There was no pity in him as he watched the effect his speech had on her; he knew too well how best to inflict injury - and to match the verbal weapons to their intended victim. He rebuilt his dignity at the cost of stripping Hermione of hers. "I'm waiting, Miss Granger."

"Yes," she whispered, struggling to stop her chin from wobbling, "I understand."

"Excellent. Don't let me detain you further."

"But - "

"One more word and I shall insist that you be found other accommodation, where it is impossible for you to spy on the staff."

"It's all right, Hermione," said Black from behind her. "I'm sorry if we frightened you," he added. "If it helps, it would have been a punch-up, not a duel."

While she nodded, she couldn't speak. Turning slowly, so it shouldn't look as if she was running away, she headed through the first open door to which she came. She had taken only half a dozen steps before she almost walked into someone running at speed.

"Miss Granger! Hermione? What can be so bad that you must upset yourself like this?" asked Lupin, his hand resting on her shoulder.

She gestured helplessly behind her and he moved the necessary few paces until he could see down the corridor to where Snape still stood, Black beyond him.

"Ah," Lupin breathed, his shoulders slumping, as if they had just taken on a new burden. "I'm sorry. You obviously got caught in the cross-fire. Stay here." He stepped into the corridor.

"What have you done now, Sirius?" He sounded unutterably weary and Snape's eyes narrowed as he took in Lupin's deteriorating physical condition.

"What makes you suppose I've done anything?" Black's angry gaze dropped to the collar and lead at his feet. Bending, he swept them up to dangle the soft leather from his fingers. "Severus and I quarrelled. This was his present to me."

Lupin studied the collar and lead. "That's in character. He's always excelled at blasting through any chink in the armour. But I've said that and more to you myself."

"That's different."

"Enough to brawl like hormonal teenagers?"

Black fell silent for a moment. "I never claimed to be perfect," he muttered sulkily.

"Just as well, don't you think?" Lupin's voice was cutting. "But of course, you don't think. And you have to start Sirius. I can't... You have take responsibility for your own actions." It was clear he had forgotten their audience, forgotten everything but the man in front of him.

"Yes," said Black at last. "And I do try. It's just... Sometimes I get so angry and it... I should have stayed in Azkaban," he whispered, his face haunted.

Hermione was astonished to see Snape, who had obviously forgotten he was in her line of vision, wince. That - the last reaction she would have expected from him - was enough to remind her of the complexity of relationships. She'd been a fool to think you could spend a couple of hours with anyone and gain more than a snapshot. She looked up to find Snape staring at her with obvious distaste. Standing her ground, she matched him, stare for stare. Today, she'd obtained several major pieces of the Snape jigsaw puzzle and she'd learnt enough of him to know she would be punished for that. She wondered, with a twist of pity, how many times someone had to be hurt to make that their instinctive reaction to any hint of emotional intimacy.

Of course, she could just be fooling herself and he'd simply been performing a tedious escort duty for a nosy schoolgirl...

The thought was unbearable and there was no comfort to be found in the knowledge of how important Snape had become to her.

The sound of Lupin's raised voice jolted her back.

"That was a cheap shot even by your standards, Sirius!" Fidgeting, he was too preoccupied to notice the hurt on Black's face. While he looked down, he made no attempt to defend himself.

"The fight was my fault. I said some... I didn't know he had bothered to give you the counter charms that will unlock the laboratory before he left."

"Oh, for - !" Lupin visibly tried to control his temper. "Did you ask me? Of course you didn't! That would be far too easy. Did you even take any useful steps to solving the problem like consulting March Flitwick? Why would you? Far easier to blame Severus. All day you've been battering at my senses like a toddler at a drum. I know you hate this. Do you think I like it? You think I enjoy losing a part of my life every month? The knowledge of what I am. That I want to be dependent on a man who has trained himself to tolerate me? Just... Go away, Sirius... I don't have the energy to deal with you any more. Not today." He ran a shaking hand over his face, then hugged his own torso.

The grief on Black's face made Hermione stopper her mouth with her hand as she suddenly appreciated the depths of the relationship between Lupin and Black.

"Remus, you don't mean - "

"Stop fucking telling me what I think and feel and mean and... Go!" yelled Lupin, obviously at the end of his tether.

Black had the belated sense to keep quiet as Lupin swung away, trying in a pathetic show of dignity to smooth his shaggy hair and straighten his shabby clothing.

After a moment or two Snape drifted over to where Lupin stood, still trying to catch his breath. Snape paused as he noticed how close to Lupin Hermione was standing.

"Is there no end to your meddling, Miss Granger? Go away. This is no concern of yours. If you don't understand the concept of privacy I shall be happy to explain it at length at a later date. Now go, I've seen all I care to of you for one day."

Despite her attempts to rationalise what Snape had said she was already raw from his excoriating appraisal of her character. That cutting dismissal hurt worst of all, confirming her greatest fear. Wanting only to hide, Hermione left without another word.

"That was brutal," said Lupin quietly.

"It was necessary," retorted Snape. What had he been thinking? Except, of course, thinking had been the last thing he'd done, ready - and eager - to brawl like a teenage thug. It would have been so satisfying to settle accounts with Black. Instead, Hermione had stepped between them, risking... Adrenalin still pumping through him, he couldn't remember exactly what he had said to her - from her devastated expression he must have been on form, even if he had been punishing her more for her interrogation technique. How Potter and Weasley put up with her interference and infernal probing...

It had been the perfect opportunity for her to throw his past in his face but it didn't seem to have occurred to her. He would never understand Gryffindors... Or perhaps it was just because she was a woman.

Snape refocused to find Lupin staring at him.

"What?" demanded Snape, spoiling for a fight.

"Miss Granger was safe from harm," said Lupin. "I would never endanger a student or - " His battered controls failed him for a moment and his voice broke before it steadied again.

Snape grimaced, exhaled and took the rare step of explaining himself. "I know that. Intellectually. But better to err on the side of caution. She's had about all the emotional turmoil she can deal with for one day." It belatedly occurred to him how much he had just added to it.

Lupin sighed. "I'd forgotten. A difficult day for all concerned, I'll be bound." Every line on his thin face seemed accentuated.

"When do we ever have anything else?" retorted Snape, before his tone smoothed out. "Come. The potion requires only a few minutes to heat." It took all his control to stand this close and not show his revulsion; the feral reek Lupin was emitting was so strong he felt sick and dizzy from it. Memories flooding back, he controlled the impulse to flee.

"I apologise for bothering you when you were obviously on your way out for the evening. I can see to it," said Lupin awkwardly. He looked to be in some discomfort. His attempt to smile was a poor thing but the courage which inspired it caught Snape like a blow in the solar plexus. He had never respected Lupin more.

"I have no intention of allowing you to change my plans," he said waspishly. "That said, it will be quicker in the long run if I prepare the potion. The sooner we get this over with, the sooner I can leave. Rakoczi's speaking at the House of Mirth later this evening. And yes, of course, I'll give you a full report. Can you walk unaided?" he added, as he continued to monitor Lupin's condition.

"Take my arm," said Black in a subdued tone. His eyes wary and unhappy, he was obviously apprehensive of the reception he would receive.

Glancing at him, Lupin gave him a look of sheer affection. "You can be such a - You know how much Severus has done for me in the last two years."

"More than me, you mean? Do you think I don't know that!" Black fell silent. A muscle jumped in his tightly clenched jaw but he had himself under better control now. He stared at Snape, his eyes stormy. "The duel was as much my fault as yours."

"Duel?" said Lupin sharply, fear in his eyes.

"If that's what a fist fight is called these days," drawled Snape. "Relax, Remus. I'm well aware of Sirius' many limitations. A duel was never a realistic option, just a tempting one. It won't happen again," he added, facing up to an unpalatable truth.

"You think I couldn't take you in a duel?" demanded Black.

"I know you're not going to find out," said Snape flatly.

"What's brought about this unconvincing change of heart?" asked Black with suspicion.

"The memory of a promise I made to Albus."

The wind taken out of his sails, Black continued to glare at him for a few seconds more before he slumped. "Oh. He made you promise too?"


"Yeah." Black rubbed the back of his neck. "I was wrong to say what I did," he mumbled, sounding as if every word was choking him. "I apologise."

Snape studied him, unimpressed.

"The earth rocks on its axis, small birds drop from the sky. And all because Sirius Black apologises. Save it for someone who cares what you think."

Resolute in his determination to do better, Black swallowed the insult and tried again. "Albus told me you agreed to Harry spending the last two weeks of the holidays here," he said, his manner subdued.

Taken aback, Snape half-turned to give him a look of suspicion.

"The headmaster has never required my agreement for any action he takes. You give me too much credit."

"Or perhaps it is that you fail to give yourself any," said Lupin. "Sirius, I'm in good hands. Go and see if Miss Granger is all right."

"Me? I'm not the one who reduced her to tears," Black protested, before he met the concerted stares of Lupin and Snape and gave a sigh of defeat.

"All right, I'll go."

Removing the wards from the concealed door, Snape ushered Lupin into his laboratory, which occupied the top floor of Serpens Tower. Light flooded into the entire room from the vast windows. Screening Charms protected the often volatile ingredients stored in large cupboards from the light and heat, while providing anyone working in the room with privacy. The sun was about to set and the room was flooded with a warm apricot light.

"I don't know why I set the wards in the holidays - habit, I suppose," said Snape, in the closest he would come to an apology.

As he spoke he lit a cauldron, set the previously prepared Wolfsbane Potion to boil and took out a goblet and pair of protective gauntlets ready for use later. The potion was helpful to werewolves, controlling the time of transformation almost to the minute, while reducing the physical trauma of the event, but when it reached boiling point it was corrosive to the skin of those not afflicted. With no diversion left to him Snape glanced at Lupin, who was pacing edgily up and down the room, casting impatient looks at the cauldron. His eyes flicked everywhere but seemed to notice nothing and the rancid stink he exuded was intensifying with every step he took, along with the sense of power gathering.

Snape frowned. There had been nothing in all the research he had done, not to mention the exhaustive tests on Lupin, to indicate that the Wolfsbane Potion was addictive, yet Lupin was displaying many of the signs of a wizard suffering from addiction. Small trickles of magic flared from the sleeve of his shabby jacket and Snape debated the wisdom of trying to relieve the other man of his wand before abandoning the idea; it required him to get far too close.

He grimaced and ran a hand back through his hair, which was already escaping from the neat queue in which it had been fastened. It was a pity that snivelling little twerp Longbottom didn't know just how much of a coward his own personal Boggart was in comparison to the pasty-faced idiot of a boy who had never missed a Potions lesson.

The idea that he was out-classed by Neville Longbottom was all the spur he required. Pausing to take several increasingly unsteady breaths, hyperventilating a distinct possibility, Snape collected one of the leather bags of Galleons which were sitting on a work top. Wondering why he hadn't got more used to this over the months, he made himself go over to Lupin, who whirled around fast enough to make him flinch back a pace before he could control the response. Rather than respecting his body space, Lupin stepped into it again.

"The potion?" he said hoarsely, taking the bag before he realised what it contained.

"A minute or so longer, no more."

Lupin held out the bag, gesturing for Snape to take it.

"Severus, I can't keep - "

"So! Not content with making him beg for it, you're bloody well making him pay for it!"

Storming into the room with all the finesse of a bull in a china shop, Black knocked the bag of coins from Lupin's hands, before swinging around to punch Snape.

The drawstring top of the bag loose, Galleons flew through the air, some spilling into the cauldron. The consequences were immediate and violent. The cauldron exploded, purple liquid fountaining up before splattering down.

Snape and Black leapt in opposite directions, taking what shelter they could find from the fall-out.

Blood streaming from the cut above his eyebrow, Snape scrambled to his feet. Having used his hands to protect his head, he flicked thickening purple gunge from them. His hands were already splotched scarlet with small areas of raw flesh, where they weren't stained purple. Viscous liquid dripped from his ruined clothes, although they had withstood the ravages of the potion better than human skin. Snape's expression was one of disbelief as he absorbed the extent of the disaster, before he glared at Black.

"You witless - ! The gold has corrupted the potion. All the potion. It's useless to Remus now and it will take me three days to make a fresh batch, by which time - "

The snuffling sound which came from behind him stopped Snape dead. Eyes wide, colour draining from his face, he slowly turned to find Lupin fifteen feet away, staring at him with a terrifying intensity.

Not Lupin, screamed a small voice in the back of his head, atavistic senses urging flight. But his feet seemed rooted to the spot. The snuffling noises grew louder, accompanied by a disconcerting rasping sound. Saliva trickled from the corners of Lupin's slackened mouth. His eyes fixed on his prey with a terrifying intensity, he slowly stalked Snape with a lurching gait more reminiscent of a zombie.

"The blood! He - It can smell your blood. Run!" yelled Black, already hurtling towards the thing which was, as yet, neither man nor beast but a horrible amalgam of both.

His worst nightmare taking shape in front of him, Snape was frozen to the spot.

"Severus, move!" Hurdling a fallen high-legged stool Black stumbled, lost his balance and crashed into the workbench holding a set of small silver cauldrons.

The noise they made as they fell to the floor distracted the creature from its bloodhunt.

"Severus!" yelled Black. Back on his feet, he scooped a small cauldron from the counter and threw it at Snape, striking him on the shoulder.

That small pain was enough to galvanise Snape back into the present.


Wand in hand, Snape put Lupin in a full Binding Spell, closed the small gap between them and grabbed what had been the nape of Lupin's neck until it began to sprout coarse grey fur, and Disapparated from the laboratory. He looked as terrified as any man holding an about-to-transform werewolf had the right to be.

"Prospero save us," whispered Black, and it had the sound of a prayer.

For a moment he couldn't think what he must do before he shut his eyes and concentrated hard enough to turn his face crimson before he finally managed to Disapparate.