Black and Blue
- Story Summary:
- A fluke over the winter holiday leaves Remus Lupin in a very bad mood indeed, and it's up to Snape to track him down, with a little hidden help from a big black dog... set during PoA.
- Chapter Summary:
- A fluke over the winter holiday leaves Remus Lupin in a very bad mood indeed, and it's up to Snape to track him down, with a little hidden help from a big black dog...set during PoA.
- Author's Note:
- My co-conspirator Yap once challenged me to write a fanfic where Remus Lupin was a total and complete ass. I tried as best I could, and this is the result. It ended up being a fun little fic about mood changes and guardian angels.
Thanks to Yap, of course, for inspiration and beta; also to the Y!M Marauders, Jen, Monica, Priscellie, Alicey, and Allison, and the Lone AIMer, Mary.
BLACK AND BLUE
No room for me
What did I do
To be so black and blue?
-- Fats Waller
It was December, and snow was falling, and it was the last night before the full moon.
Things howled and rattled in the Forbidden Forest. The Shrieking Shack, which once would have shook with, well, let's face it, shrieks, stood eerily silent. Late-comers to Hogsmeade ducked hurriedly into the pub for warm mulled cider, or went about their business, eager to get out of the chill.
And, up at Hogwarts on the hill, Severus Snape was creeping around the corner with his wand in one hand and an upraised candlestick in the other.
Someone was in his rooms.
It couldn't be a student. Not with the magical locks on the door and the hide-spell on its very location, installed after a student released two Bludgers into Professor Flitwick's bathroom once. Which meant that it was either someone very unsavoury indeed, or Dumbledore had seen fit to allow someone into his, Severus Snape's, rooms. Which Dumbledore would never do.
He peered through the door to his bedroom. His clothing was strewn on the floor, but otherwise there didn't seem to be any --
Another one of his robes fluttered through the air to the ground. Gripping the candlestick tightly, he raised his wand and said "Hospes videndi!"
Someone came sliding out of the closet as if his shoes were greased. He didn't stop until he had whacked into Severus' bed with a "whoof"ing noise.
"You didn't have to do that!" Remus Lupin cried, pushing himself off the bed. "Merlin's ass cheeks, can't you just say "Who's there" like any normal person?"
"What are you doing here?" Snape asked, as Remus walked back into his closet. A green silk shirt he hadn't seen in years, let alone worn, came sailing out.
"Don't you wear anything but green and black?" Remus demanded, from the depths of his closet. Severus put the candlestick on his bedside table.
"Why are you in my rooms?" he growled. "And for that matter, how did you get in here?"
Remus leaned out, and glared. "For fuck's sake, don't you ever change your passwords? It was Tres Taberna when we came to school, it was Tres Taberna all through school..."
"I suppose I should have used Black's old password? What was it now, let me think...'Sexy Biznatch'?"
"He used Tergum Braccium for a while, too."
Snape, momentarily distracted, drew his eyebrows together. "Leather scissors?" he asked, incredulous.
"Leather trousers. Sirius wasn't very good at Latin, I'm afraid." A shirt that he didn't recognize was flung to the floor. Remus, now shirtless, leaned out again.
"Come on," he said impatiently, "I haven't got all day. You must have something other than swoopy black robes."
"You still have not explained to my satisfaction why you are in another teacher's rooms, destroying the order of his closet, and insulting his fashion sense."
"You're my size, and I needed some clothing. Do you not have any trousers that aren't black?"
"I don't have any that aren't khaki," Remus sighed. "I am so bloody effing sick of khaki I could scream. Earth tones!" He made a disgusted noise. "Come on, I know you, you've got some Levi's hidden here somewhere. For when you go to London."
"And why would I have...Levi's?" Snape asked.
"Because you think riding the Muggle underground is fun and you can't do that if you don't blend in -- AHA!"
Snape put a hand over his face as Remus emerged, triumphant, carrying a pair of very tattered blue jeans and a black linen shirt with silver pinstripes. "Bit of a clothes horse, aren't you, Severus?" he added.
"This is an outrage," Snape said, as Remus tried on the shirt. It was a little broad in the chest, but he didn't seem to care. "Don't you dare -- " he turned away as Remus shed his own (khaki) trousers, and pulled on the jeans.
"Ta, Severus," Remus said, lacing up a pair of black boots, and turned to go. Snape caught him by the arm.
"This close to the full moon," he said, through clenched teeth, "You should be lying in your room, sick as, if you will excuse the expression, a dog, bemoaning your fate. And yet you are, instead, stealing my clothing."
"It's not like this was a panty raid, for -- "
"Did you take the potion?"
Remus rolled his eyes.
"Did you, Lupin?"
"Yes! I took the damn potion! Now sod off!" he snarled, pulling away. "Just because you can't find anything better to do on a Friday night than sulk -- "
"Then why are you acting like an ass?"
Remus jabbed him in the stomach, and when he doubled over, knocked his feet out from under him. "Thanks for the clothes. I'll see you tomorrow. Don't let the floor hit you that hard again," he added, as he ran up the stairs and out of the dungeon. Snape, curled up in pain, pressed his lips into a thin, hard line, thoughtfully.
Remus Lupin wanted to find someone and pick a fight. He wanted to howl at the moon, even in human shape. He wanted to run through the snow until he caught a small fluffy furry animal and ate it raw.
He settled for the pub, because there was a dearth of small fluffy furry edible animals in the Forbidden Forest. Besides, he also wanted to chase down a woman or two, and maybe pick another fight, and bite things.
But first he wanted another butterbeer.
Madam Rosmerta, who tended bar at the little Hogsmeade pub, put the mug down in front of him and grinned. "Going incognito tonight, Professor?" she asked. He lifted his head to look at her, slowly.
"Something like that," he replied, with a suddenly lazy grin. "Have a drink with me?"
Rosmerta looked around the pub, which was mostly empty, and nodded. "Back in a moment," she said, and returned as promised, with a mug of her own.
"Quiet tonight," he continued, fingers resting on the rim of his glass. He could smell her. She smelled like something he wanted.
"Busy, before you came in. Most folks wanted an early start home," she replied. "How's things up on the hill?"
"Oh...about the same," he replied. He gave her a grin that Sirius Black had taught him years ago, and was rewarded with a tinge of pink on her cheeks. "The children don't seem to like Divination much, but it's hardly my concern if Trelawney's a daft old bird."
"Now, now," Rosmerta murmured. "I'm sure she does fine."
"I can read a palm better than she can read a book," Remus answered. "Here, I'll show you."
He lifted Rosmerta's right hand off of her glass, and traced the lines delicately with his thumb.
"What do you see?" she asked with a smile. He rubbed his thumb on her wrist.
"You're in for good fortune," he said quietly, so that she had to lean in to hear him. "You're going to meet someone -- soon -- who's going to change your fortunes completely."
She lifted one eyebrow. "And...?"
"Wealth, love, fame, it's all here," he lied, lips drawing back over even white teeth. "If you're willing to...grasp it."
The other eyebrow lifted. "Are you all right, Remus?" she asked.
"Am I?" he shot back.
"I think maybe you've had enough butterbeer for -- "
He pulled her across the table, gripping her wrist tightly, and kissed her.
About six minutes later, he was lying in the snow, bruised and slightly cold and more than slightly damp, wondering just how Rosmerta had used that one move on him without his noticing...
He heard footsteps passing the alleyway, and saw Snape's trademark billowing cloak swirl around his ankles as he stopped at the door of the pub. He could hear Rosmerta call out an inquiry, and Snape reply that he was looking for something he'd lost, and not to worry. The Potions Master's boots crunched onward.
Remus snarled. Rosmerta was going to pay for this.
But first --
Just about at eye level, in the tattery woods behind the pub, a hare was nibbling at the roots of a shrub. Remus watched, fascinated. He moved through the snow slowly, reaching out a hand to grab what would amount to a nice, tasty meal once he'd knocked Rosmerta unconscious, and spitted it over her cooking-fire in the kitchen of the pub...
Fast as lightning -- faster -- an enormous black dog came bolting out of the undergrowth, after the hare, who took off in a flurry of powdery snow. Remus growled, and the dog, whose jaws had snapped mere inches from the hare's ears, skidded to a stop. It took it a while; the ground was damp and slippery. When it finally turned, Remus had hauled himself up into a crouch.
"Bad dog," he said, in a soft, dangerous tone. The dog cocked its head at him. "I think you need a choke-chain -- "
The dog lunged first, hitting him in the chest and knocking him backwards. He grunted, gasping for breath, and by the time he'd caught it --
"What the hell do you think you're doing out here, you bloody damn fool?" a voice asked. Remus' eyes widened.
"Sirius!" he cried.
"Shut up shut up! Do you want the whole village to hear you?"
"Then stop sitting on my chest!"
Sirius Black rolled off of the other man, and stood, pulling him to his feet. His hair was a mess, his clothing in rags; Remus realised that he was not, himself, the picture of cleanliness.
"Snape's looking all over the village for you," Sirius growled. Remus wrinkled his lip.
"That sod," he said carelessly. "What do I care if he's looking for me? Probably wants his jeans back."
"Listen, I heard him talking to someone in the square. There's something wrong with you, Remus. He's worried."
"Nothing's wrong with me, you should talk, fugitive from the law. Hey, let's go catch that hare," Remus started past him, but Sirius put a hand on his shoulder.
"If I have to, I'll knock you cold," he said, in a low growl.
"Like to see you try, you big git!" Remus replied. He saw Sirius' eyes flick down to his pocket, but Sirius was faster; before he knew it, the other man had grabbed his wand and was pointing it at his neck. "Locomoto Mortis," he whispered, and caught Remus around the waist as the other man's legs collapsed beneath him. "The old classics," he said approvingly, hoisting Remus over his shoulder.
"Put me down! If you think I'm going to -- "
"Do shut up, Remus."
"I hate you."
"Twelve years in Azkaban and this is the welcome I get," Sirius sighed. "You don't hate me, you got something wrong with your potion. I heard Snape say so."
"Nothing's wrong with the potion! Not even a full moon. I'm not a wolf, am I? Dog boy?"
"Depends on your definition of the term. You were looking awfully hungrily at that hare." Sirius was marching through the snow, now, towards the road that led out of Hogsmeade, up to the school. "I'm leaving you on the road, Snape's bound to find you there. You're damn lucky you got off so lightly. Next thing you know you'd have taken a swing at Dumbledore -- "
"Ha! I would, too!"
"What did he give you in that potion," Sirius muttered, leaning Remus up against a signpost and binding him magically to it. He muttered another incantation, and Remus felt warmth wash over him. Sirius stepped back and looked at him, arms crossed.
"You'll stay warm until Snape finds you. Don't forget your wand's over here," he added, sticking it a few feet away, in the dirt. Remus growled.
"You've no right at all," he said, angrily. "There's nothing at all the matter with me. You father of all sods."
Sirius grinned. "Good to see you too, Remus."
"I'm afraid not. However..." Sirius leaned in close, until his eyes were level with Remus'. "I think it's not likely that you're going to remember a lot of this. I'm not going to Obliviate you, but I might..."
Remus felt Sirius' breath in his ear, and heard him murmur "stupefy".
Then he didn't feel anything for quite a while.
He woke in the infirmary.
This was never a good place to wake up.
His memories caught up with him in about ten seconds, and they were not good memories to wake up to.
He hadn't really...and said that about khaki, he liked khaki...and no, he couldn't have -- not to Snape, of all people, nobody deserved an elbow in the ribs like that.
Oh, dear, and it was going to be awfully hard to get a decent drink in the pub after this.
But that couldn't have really been Sirius, could it? He must have dreamed that part. Sirius was a follower of Voldemort, why on Earth would he save him?
Remus groaned, and covered his face in his hands. Nearby, he heard footsteps.
"So you're awake," said Snape's voice. Remus nodded beneath his hands. "Feeling a bit less excitable, are we?"
"I'm so sorry, Severus..." he murmured.
"For which part? The breaking-and-entering, the insults, the physical assault, or the fact that I spent hours in the snow trying to find you?"
"Everything," Remus said, behind his hands. "Except the thing about your robes. They really are ridiculously swoopy."
"Note taken," Snape said dryly. "Would you like to hear what happened?"
"I've smoothed things over with Rosmerta for you."
"How did you manage that?"
Remus groaned again.
"Well, nothing else worked. I lose my patience quickly with that woman," Snape continued. "When I finally did find you, trussed to a signpost like a Christmas goose -- "
"To a what?"
"Someone," Snape said, in a low voice, "Bound you up with about three different spells, which I must say is probably what it would have taken to hold you, and attached you to the signpost leading out of Hogsmeade for me to find."
Remus caught his breath. It can't have been Sirius, it can't have, I must have...Rosmerta punched me pretty hard, I was delusional...that's all...
"No sign of who?" he asked softly. Snape shrugged. "And you're all right?"
"Broken rib. Fortunately, I'm not too bad with healing spells, when it comes to bones," he said.
"Why...did I do all those horrible things..."
"What did you have for dinner last night?" Snape asked. Remus looked at him, through his fingers.
"Just the usual, what everyone had. Oh, and a couple of chocolates, in my office," he added, as an afterthought. Snape sighed.
"Chocolate," he muttered. "No good, no good at all."
"I thought you said sugar just made it useless if it was added?"
"Sugar, yes. Chocolate...changes things. Body chemistry. I should have warned you. On the other hand, you should know better than to eat for an hour before taking it." Snape looked at him intently. "Still, interesting. There may be a paper in it."
"Severus, we are discussing my dignity or loss thereof, and you're talking about writing me up for a journal?" Remus asked, in disbelief. Snape smiled nastily.
"I'll change your name," he promised, and swooped out the door. Madam Pomfrey appeared, carrying various horrible concoctions to make him feel better.
As he sipped, he thought, Right, Severus Snape. Now I know. But that doesn't mean that some time, when I want to cut loose, I won't do it again...