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The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)



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Old October 25th, 2006, 1:30 pm
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The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

Several weeks ago, I had the idea to try and tell the story of the infamous "werewolf prank" from Sirius's point of view, and invited renowned Snape-ologist zgirnius to join me in telling the same story from Severus's point of view. Together we hashed out a version of events that we hope does justice to both characters and also stays true to canon. We plan to have four chapters, each written from both Sirius's POV (by capella_black) and Severus's (by zgirnius).

The Potterverse and the wonderful characters in it are the creations of the talented J. K. Rowling. We are merely borrowing them to have a bit of fun. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it!

Whether or not you do, please let us know what you thought on our feedback thread. Your comments, criticisms, and compliments are all welcome!

And, without further ado, here are the events of Chapter One, as seen by Sirius and written by capella_black.


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Chapter One: Detention with Pomona (Sirius)
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Sirius Black eyed the fanged geranium before him with a degree of contempt that would have made a lesser flower wilt. This flower, however, just sat there indifferently, as if to say it wasn't its fault he was freezing his backside off in greenhouse three instead of cozying up to Miss Gertrude Banks over Charms homework in the library. And it was right, the blame for that lay entirely with the greasy cockroach stationed at the far end of the table.

The greasy cockroach chose that moment to give a loud, purposeful cough — making both Sirius and Professor Sprout look up.

"Stop dilly-dallying and get to work, Mr. Black," said Sprout, her eyes narrowing at him over the tops of the shrivelfig pots she'd been rearranging. "You'll want to finish these and get going on the chomping cabbages before it gets too dark outside."

Sirius wanted no such thing, but muttered, "Yes, Professor," and slowly donned his dragonhide gloves. He waited until her back was turned to throw a dirty look at Snivelly — who smirked ostentatiously — then got down to work.

Repotting fanged flora, as it turned out, did nothing to improve his mood. Not only was he stuck in a detention that for once he hadn't even earned, but he was there because Snivellus had tried to curse his best friend when James's back was turned. The thought alone made Sirius thrust his flower too hard into its pot, snapping the stem.

It had happened as they were leaving Herbology that morning — the second time that week Snivelly had tried something like that — and it was lucky Sirius noticed in time, or Prongs would probably have been in the hospital wing right then. Snivellus was not only cowardly enough to attack people when they weren't looking, he was also very well-versed in Dark curses.

But Sprout could not have cared less, insisting that spellcasting was forbidden in the greenhouses no matter who started it, and throwing Sirius in detention right alongside Snape. And Hufflepuffs were supposed to be fair.

Sirius snatched up another flower bulb and dropped it in a new pot, reminding himself that at least it was better him in detention than Prongs this time. Saturday was the big Gryffindor-Slytherin match, and whoever won would be in the lead for the Quidditch Cup that year. Prongs was Gryffindor's best Chaser — other teams' Keepers seemed genuinely afraid of him — and had been on his best behavior all week, as he could not afford to get thrown out the match. But Slytherins always played dirty before big games, and Snivelly in particular had always been jealous of James's Quidditch prowess. Sirius strongly suspected that this was the motivation behind his latest attack.

Still, he would have much preferred to spend the afternoon elsewhere, as he was certain the lovely Miss Banks would be dropping that coy act she'd been using with him any day now. She had to, he was irresistible.

Not Miss Banks, Sirius corrected himself, grinning despite his otherwise lousy mood — Lady Banks....

His latest love interest was the daughter of Muggle nobility, and it had amused him to no end to learn there were hordes of Muggles running around calling themselves Lord This and Lord That. He'd only known one Lord Anything before she brought this to his attention… though the Muggle Lords, as far as he could tell, didn't have followers and such — just noble and most ancient families with lots of money....

Sirius rolled his eyes and patted down some potting soil with his trowel. He wasn't allowed to tease about this anymore, or Banks had vowed to hex him to next Tuesday.

For a while, he occupied himself with pleasant daydreams of other things he would certainly not have been allowed to do had he actually spent the afternoon in her company. He was finally jolted back to reality by the jarring screech of chair on floor, followed by the even more jarring sight of Snivelly leering at his unfinished flowers as he approached Professor Sprout.

Sirius closed his eyes and tried to bring back the mental image of Banks, with her cute button nose and her soft silken curls — but it was no use. It had been firmly replaced by that of Snivellus, with his great hooked beak and his unbelievably oily tresses....

"Professor Sprout, what is it you need me to do with the chomping cabbages?" he heard Snivelly asking smugly.

"Finished already, Mr. Snape? Good work!" Sirius opened his eyes and reached for another geranium, thinking he might be sick.

"I am afraid the cabbages are definitely a two-man job though. With your help I am sure we can get Mr. Black's geraniums squared away quickly as well, and then you can both get to work on the cabbages."

Sirius froze, feeling as though Sprout had just announced his forced collaboration with a blast-ended skrewt, and the plant he was holding seized the opportunity to sink its fangs into his finger. He tore it off, swearing under his breath, and flung the pieces discreetly into the nearest flower bed.

Snivelly turned, looking somewhat disappointed, and walked back to the table. His greasy curtains of hair swung dangerously close as he drew up right next to Sirius.

"Stand back!" Sirius yelped softly, putting some distance between himself and Snape, and eyeing the positively revolting quantities of dandruff coating Snape's robes. "Godric," he muttered, "how can anyone stand being so foul?"

Snivelly blinked, and for an instant looked as though he might have had the decency to be ashamed of himself. But the next moment he reached for a flowerpot and deliberately brushed Sirius along the way.

"If you can't stand it, leave," Snape said quietly, baring his teeth in a horrible semblance of a smile. He straightened up, installing himself at the end of the table so he and Sirius were elbow to elbow.

"Watch it, Snivelly," Sirius warned, hastening to the other side of the table. "You don't want to find out what happens to greasy gits who —" He trailed off, unable to think of the right end to that sentence, but hoped he looked sufficiently menacing. He had at least an hour before he could get to a change of robes.

Snape finished repotting one plant and reached for another, his cold black eyes glittering malevolently. "You think you can do anything, you and Potter," he said quietly. "But you don't own the school."

"Gentlemen, a bit less chit-chat please," Sprout called impatiently before Sirius could ask what that was supposed to mean. He and Snivelly had to settle for shooting each other looks of intense mutual dislike.

When the geraniums were done, Sprout told them to dress for outside, as they would be spending the rest of detention planting her new winter-hardy Tibetan Chomping Cabbages. Sirius found and fastened his heavy winter cloak, and looked up to find Snape staring at it in amused disbelief. He glanced down but could see nothing wrong, save for a few loose threads where he'd removed the serpentine emblem of Mother's favorite robemakers.

"What?" he asked, annoyed.

"Oh, nothing," said Snape softly, yet looking for all the world as though it were Sirius and not he dressed in a dirty, ill-fitting garment that undercover Ministry workers might pair with thigh-high rubber boots.

Sirius was about to say something to this effect when Sprout turned up in furry earmuffs and marched them out the door. She showed them the row of stakes where they were to dig holes, and then led them to another greenhouse where the cabbages were being kept.

"All right, boys, get to it," she said briskly, hanging her cape and earmuffs up on a peg. "I'll be in here preparing some ingredients for Professor Slughorn, so I'll have my eye on you. No slacking and no magic."

Snivelly grabbed a shovel and darted outside, so that Professor Sprout gave Sirius the job of carting cabbages out of the greenhouse one by one; apparently this species was cannibalistic. It was tedious but he was in no hurry to finish, as Snape appeared to be having a worse time with the digging and kept shooting him resentful looks as he moved with deliberate slowness. Eventually, though, he had no choice but to grab a shovel and start digging at the far end of the row. Snivelly seemed to decide the best punishment would be placing himself in close proximity to Sirius, and quietly walked over to an adjacent hole.

For a while they both worked in silence, too cold and eager to get back inside to pay each other much attention. But they were only halfway through when dusk began to fall, and Sirius wondered if Professor Sprout really meant to keep them there until they finished. He was sweating despite the fact that he could see his breath coming out in icy white puffs. His fingers were stiff, his whole body had started to ache with exhaustion, and the only thoughts that remained on his mind were a long shower and a hot meal.

Then, as he paused to wipe the sweat from his brow, Sirius caught sight of two silhouetted figures emerging from the castle. He recognized one immediately, and grinned to himself as they set off across the snow-covered grounds. With all the distractions of the past couple hours, he'd nearly forgot it was full moon, the first since they'd got back from winter holidays.

Maybe the day wouldn't be a total waste after all. There was an abandoned farmhouse they'd discovered on the outskirts of Hogsmeade before Christmas that Sirius was particularly keen to go back and explore: He'd bet James ten galleons it was haunted by the ghosts of a local family said to have been murdered in their sleep thirty years ago.

"Well, well," said a soft voice behind him, causing Sirius to spin around. With a horrible sinking feeling he saw that Snape, too, was watching the figures make their way across the grounds.

"Well what?" he demanded. For a moment Snape eyes flicked to him, and there was an almost hungry gleam in them that Sirius found highly disconcerting.

"The Perfect Prefect disappears mysteriously into the night, once again," Snape said softly, a slight smirk playing across his sallow features.

"Mind your own business, Snivelly," Sirius snapped, turning quickly back to the cabbages. He wanted very much to get off this subject, as Snivelly's apparent interest in it could mean nothing good. "And get back to work, I want to go inside," he added hopefully.

But for once, Snape seemed to have forgotten all about work. "You know, so many people wonder where he goes all the time," he continued quietly, still staring off toward the distant Willow. "There are many theories, of course, but..."

Sirius didn't respond, instead giving his shovel a few angry kicks into the frozen soil and praying that if he didn't say anything Snivelly would just drop it. It was hard enough keeping Moony's secret without nosey gits like Snape taking an interest....

"Where do you suppose he goes?" Snape said at last, turning to look at Sirius more closely.

"Sorry, couldn't tell you," Sirius answered loudly, tossing aside a shovelful of dirt and trying to ignore the growing knot of unease in his stomach. Snivellus was clearly enjoying himself. Too much.

"Oh, but I think you could," he whispered, pausing for effect. "Or is it just a coincidence that the rest of your little group always sneak out of the castle after him?"

Sirius's stomach gave an unpleasant lurch, like the floor had just fallen out from under him. The shovel slipped from his fingers and hit the ground with a thud as he whirled around to face Snape.

"Don't know what you're talking about," he said through clenched teeth, but the triumphant sneer that met these words told him it was no good.

Sirius felt a mixture of panic and anger rising up in him. He wanted nothing more than to curse the smirk right off Snivelly's face, and even reached for his pocket before remembering Professor Sprout had confiscated their wands.

Sprout now emerged from the nearest greenhouse wielding a pair of enormous hedge clippers. "Is anything the matter, boys?" she called out. Sirius tore his eyes from Snape and slowly shook his head no; she pursed her lips and set to work pruning some dangerous-looking shrubbery nearby.

His insides still boiling, Sirius picked up his shovel and resumed stabbing at the rock-hard dirt with it.

So Snivellus had been following them around — no doubt looking for reasons to get them expelled. It should hardly have been a surprise, he'd had it in for James the moment he laid eyes on him, but... had the Marauders really been so careless? They never went out without the Invisibility Cloak....

Sirius tried to recall the penalties set by the Ministry for illegal Animagi, but it had been almost four years since they'd looked them up. At the very least there would be a stiff fine, more money than he himself had access to.

He wondered if his parents would bother to spring him. They'd sprung Reg last summer, for involvement in a Muggle-beating, but Sirius rather doubted he'd get the same treatment.

Not that it mattered — they were all underage and sure to get expelled for sneaking off school grounds and setting a werewolf loose each month. And somehow, getting turned out from Hogwarts sounded far worse to Sirius than anything else the Ministry might do to them.

He stole a sideways glance at Snape, who was working a little slower than before.

Surely Snivelly couldn't know anything about their being Animagi, Sirius reasoned, or he would have wasted no time alerting school and Ministry authorities. But he might start to figure things out if he kept snooping around, and they couldn't afford to take that chance. Unfortunately, Sirius sensed he had about as much hope of curbing Snape's interest as stopping a runaway train.

His suspicions were confirmed when Professor Sprout puttered back inside a few minutes later and Snivellus straightened up, stretching slowly and yawning deliberately. "You're not... afraid... I'll find out what you get up to, are you?" he asked, and there was an unmistakable note of smugness in his voice.

Sirius was sorely tempted to hit Snivelly, but thought better of it and restrained himself. "Actually, the possibility you might drip grease on me is of far greater concern," he said coolly, taking a step away and digging with renewed vigor.

"Oh, you just wait, Black," said Snape. "I know you and Potter are up to something, and I will find proof of your," he seemed to lay a delicate stress on the word, "illegal activities, I assure you."

Sirius found himself almost shaking with fury, and stared determinedly at the ground in front of him, fighting the urge now to swing his shovel at Snivelly's head. He could feel, rather than see, the hated face sneering down at him in the rapidly fading light, and for a moment almost wished Snape would find out: He could just see the look on old Snivelly's face on finding himself in the company of a fully-grown, rampaging werewolf. Actually, the image was rather cathartic....

Sirius stiffened slightly, struck by a sudden bolt of inspiration.

Of course, it was perfect! Why hadn't he thought of it before? If Snivellus wanted so badly to find out where the Marauders went on full moon, what could possibly serve him better than, well... Finding Out?

"You want proof we're sneaking out?" he said quietly, turning to face Snape and trying to keep the sudden, growing excitement out of his voice. "There's a big knot on the side of the tree, and if you just prod it the whole thing freezes. Anyone can get in." He paused. "I recommend using a long stick," he added, his heart beating very fast as he wondered whether there was any hope of Snivelly believing him.

Snape must have been caught off guard at least, because at these words he too had gone oddly still. For a moment his face was quite inscrutable, then he snorted loudly.

"Oh, of course," he said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "On your word, I'm going to approach a dangerous Whomping Willow and start poking it. It won't mind in the least." He gave a derisive little laugh. "If you think I'd believe such a story, you are even more boneheaded than I had thought."

Sirius shrugged and calmly reached for a cabbage, sure Snivellus was more intrigued than he was willing to let on.

Either way it was a good plan. If they were lucky, the greasy git would be curious enough to try it and get what was coming to him. If not, at least he'd remain none the wiser about the Marauders and their monthly excursions.

Sirius gave himself a mental pat on the back for a threat well-neutralized, and spent the rest of the detention working in silence, chilled to the bone yet feeling strangely upbeat.

••••••••••••


A/N--Hope you're enjoying so far, don't forget to leave feedback when you're done!


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding

Last edited by capella_black; February 25th, 2007 at 7:21 am.
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Old October 25th, 2006, 1:44 pm
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Fifth Year
 
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Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

And here, as explained at the outset, are the same events told from Severus Snape's point of view, and written by zgirnius.


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Chapter One: Detention with Pomona (Severus)
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Severus Snape suppressed a yelp as the fanged geranium he had just pulled out of its pot sunk its fangs into his forearm. He reached for it with his gloved right hand, then realized the stiff material would not permit him to handle the blasted flower without damaging it. Pulling the glove off with his teeth, he gently detached the fanged flower from his left arm before placing its little root ball into a larger pot. As Severus poured some loose soil into the pot, careful to avoid the snapping fangs of the angry flower, he looked furtively at the far end of the table to see whether his companion had noticed his predicament. He would hate to have given Black that satisfaction.

No, of course not, Severus thought, his lip curling. Black somehow managed to slouch elegantly against the battered old worktable while regarding the flower in front of him with a look of aristocratic hauteur that would doubtless have set a roomful of Gryffindor girls to giggling. Too busy practicing the pose to do any actual work, not that this surprised Severus in the slightest. Perhaps he could do something about that, though, he thought with a smile. Dropping his glove, he coughed loudly.

"Stop dilly-dallying and get to work, Mr. Black," said Professor Sprout, frowning at him over the shrivelfig pots she'd been rearranging. "You'll want to finish these and get going on the chomping cabbages before it gets too dark outside."

As she turned back to her pots, Black shot him a dirty look. Severus smirked back ostentatiously and reached for the next flower.

Working methodically through his bunch of flowers, though a bit more carefully than before, Severus reflected that Professor Sprout was living up to her House’s reputation for fairness. Black had tried to talk his way out of this detention, but she had simply informed him that there was no spellcasting in the greenhouses, and that was that. Apparently, there was one female in the school immune to Black’s charms….

Severus’s face heated as he remembered the incident that had landed them both in detention. He thought he had timed the hex on Potter perfectly, only to have it fly wide and nearly break one of the glass panes of the ceiling as Black’s spell had hit him. Of all the moments pretty boy Black had to pick to glance over at him….

Severus almost wished this senseless detention would last past curfew. He was not going to get any sympathy back in the dormitory. The Gryffindor-Slytherin match was Saturday, and not only had he failed with the hex, he had not even managed to get Potter into trouble. Why had he let Quigley and the others talk him into trying? Quidditch players. Severus shook his head and reached for another flower. At least Lily — who frowned on unprovoked hexing of any sort — had already left the greenhouse when it happened… that was another conversation he was not looking forward to.

Lost in his thoughts, Severus reached for the next flower only to discover that he had finished repotting all of them. He stacked the now-empty smaller pots neatly and placed them near others of their size on one of the shelves lining the greenhouse. Then he swept past Black, eyeing his group of remaining flowers with a contemptuous sneer.

“Professor Sprout, what is it you need me to do with the chomping cabbages?” Severus asked as he stood in front of her table. Professor Sprout looked up from the shrivelfigs.

“Finished already, Mr. Snape?” she asked, tucking a flyaway gray hair behind her ear and smiling at Severus. “Good work! I am afraid the cabbages are definitely a two-man job, though. With your help I am sure we can get Mr. Black’s geraniums squared away quickly as well, and then you can both get to work on the cabbages.” Severus bit back an indignant retort.

“Yes, Ma’am,” he mumbled, and returned to the worktable.

As he took his place next to Black and reached for one of the remaining geraniums, Black jumped away from him

"Stand back!" he exclaimed indignantly. "Godric,” he muttered, eyeing Severus with distaste, “how can anyone stand being so foul?"

Breaking pretty boy’s nose with the geranium pot was, sadly, not a practical response. Instead, Severus reached further to get an empty pot for his flower, making sure he brushed Black as he did so.

“If you can’t stand it, leave,” he suggested quietly, baring his teeth in a horrible semblance of a smile. He installed himself near the end of the table, ensuring he and Black would have to work elbow to elbow.

“Watch it, Snivelly,” Black spat, as he hurried away to the other side of the table, across from Severus. “You don’t want to find out what happens to greasy gits who —” He trailed off, seemingly unable to find words for what it was, precisely, that he wished Severus not to do, though his face expressed his dislike eloquently.

Severus repotted a plant, and reached for another.

“You think you can do anything, you and Potter, but you don’t own the school,” he hissed at Black, as he lifted the flower gently out of its pot.

“Gentlemen, a bit less chit-chat, please,” Professor Sprout called impatiently from behind her desk. Severus had to content himself with a sneer in response to the angry look Black shot him across the table.

As the fanged geraniums remaining on Black’s end of the table dwindled to none, Professor Sprout told them to dress for outside. They would be spending the rest of detention planting her new winter-hardy Tibetan Chomping Cabbages.

Severus tucked the scarf his mother had knitted him in green and grey stripes around his neck before donning the old peacoat of his father’s. It was now more grey than black, and the sleeves needed to be folded back, but it kept out the cold, some. Pretty boy, he saw, had brought his fine, black cashmere cloak to wear. He knew from Slytherin Common Room chatter that it was one of a pair that had been hand-tailored for him and Regulus. Just the thing to wear for digging holes in the ground.

“What?” asked Black, a look of annoyance on his face as he noticed the eyebrow Severus had raised incredulously.

“Oh, nothing,” Severus replied quietly. He could guess what Black might have to say about his attire, were the subject to come under discussion.

Professor Sprout, her ears covered in furry earmuffs, threw on a cloak and led the boys outside. She showed them a row of stakes where they were to dig holes, and led them to another greenhouse where the cabbages were being kept.

“All right, boys, get to it,” she said briskly, hanging her cape up on a peg with her earmuffs. “I’ll be in here preparing some ingredients for Professor Slughorn, so I’ll have my eye on you. No slacking, and no magic.”

Severus looked at Black, who was gazing cluelessly around the room. Snorting quietly, Severus located the tool rack and walked over to pick out a spade. Black had also started to walk over, then stopped as he noticed Severus, looking at the cabbages, then at him, in turn. Professor Sprout rolled her eyes.

“Mr. Snape, get out there and start digging,” she snapped. “Mr. Black, grab that barrow, and start moving the cabbages outside. One at a time, mind, this species is cannibalistic. Once you have them all moved, grab a spade and join Mr. Snape.”

Severus stepped outside into the damp cold again, and walked over to start on his task. He was soon puffing and sweating with exertion, since the frozen ground was hard. Occasionally, Black would show up and place a head of cabbage near its intended resting place. Severus could see he was deliberately moving as slowly as he could. No Muggle digging in the ground for him, hah. Severus sincerely hoped the carnivorous cabbages had a taste for pure Wizarding blood.

However much Black might malinger though, moving cabbages took less time than digging holes in frozen earth, so the time came when Black, too, came out with a spade. He started digging at the far end of the row, naturally. With a curl of his lip, Severus straightened and walked over to start digging the adjacent hole to Black’s, with renewed energy.

They worked in silence for a while. Severus was beginning to regret his lack of gloves. As the shadows lengthened, a cold wind picked up. His face was raw, and his hands were becoming numb. He stabbed his spade into the hole he had been digging and brought his hands to his mouth to warm them. As he stood, he saw a pair of figures emerging from the castle and setting out across the grounds. It was the school’s matron, Madam Pomfrey, accompanying, of all people, Remus Lupin, Black’s crony and a Gryffindor prefect.

Black, he saw, had stopped digging as well, and was watching his friend with a smile.

"Well, well," Severus said in a soft voice. Black whirled around, fixing him with an angry glare.

"Well what?" he demanded. He seemed tense.

"The Perfect Prefect disappears mysteriously into the night, once again," Severus said with a curl of his lip.

"Mind your own business, Snivelly," snapped Black, quickly turning back to the cabbages. "And get back to work, I want to go inside."

He must want very much to get off the subject, Severus thought, if it inspired him to return to digging. The opportunity to, at the very least, annoy Black further was not to be missed.

"You know, so many people wonder where he goes all the time," he continued quietly, staring off toward the distant Whomping Willow, where the figures appeared to be headed. "There are many theories, of course, but..."

Black didn't respond. Severus got the distinct impression though, as Black gave his shovel a few angry kicks into the frozen soil, that Black was working very hard to direct his anger elsewhere.

“Where do you suppose he goes?" Severus persisted, turning to watch Black’s response closely.

"Sorry, couldn't tell you," Black answered loudly, tossing aside a shovelful of dirt.

"Oh, but I think you could," Severus whispered. Black kept digging without looking up, but Severus was certain he had heard.

It was time for a little bluff. He thought he has seen Black, Potter, and Pettigrew sneaking out one night before Christmas, though he had not been able to determine whether Lupin was absent with Madam Pomfrey, or for other reasons.

"Or is it just a coincidence that the rest of your little group always sneak out of the castle after him?" Severus added.

The shovel slipped from Black’s fingers and fell to the ground with a thud as he whirled around to face Severus. Severus smiled triumphantly. Black’s reaction, and the dropping of the shovel, announced more clearly than any spoken affirmation could that his bluff had hit the target squarely.

"Don't know what you're talking about," Black said through clenched teeth. It was a game attempt at denial, but Severus was not fooled. He leaned casually on his spade and fixed his dark eyes on Black.

"Is anything the matter, boys?" Sprout called, emerging from the nearest greenhouse with a pair of enormous hedge clippers. Black shook his head; Snape resumed his digging, keeping an eye on Sprout as she walked off to trim some dangerous-looking shrubbery.

So, what had he learned? There was definitely something about Lupin’s disappearances and the others’ nocturnal activities that was making Black nervous. But what?

Well, the way to find out seemed clear. The line of questioning that had been interrupted by the inopportune arrival of Professor Sprout had clearly gotten under Black’s skin. As she disappeared back into the greenhouse, Severus resolved to see if Black was still nervous.

Straightening for a moment and stretching his back, Severus yawned and then said lazily, “You’re not… afraid… I’ll find out what you get up to, are you?”

Black’s grey eyes flashed, his fists clenching as he regarded Severus with a cold fury. Severus recognized the signs from his years in Muggle elementary. His logical side was telling him he did not want to engage the taller and heavier Black in a Muggle duel, but at the same time he longed to land a punch or two. If he could hurt Black… it would be worth what might come after. But Black, apparently, managed to control himself.

“Actually, the possibility that you might drip grease on me is of far greater concern,” he said coolly, taking a step away and digging with renewed vigor.

Severus was not going to let Black off that easily. “Oh, you just wait, Black,” he said calmly. “I know you and Potter are up to something, and I will find proof of your illegal activities, I assure you.”

Black’s arms twitched on the handle of his shovel, as he stopped for a moment, staring at the ground in front of him. Severus’s eyes narrowed as he watched Black carefully, newly cognizant that his adversary was holding a dangerous weapon. Black’s face, turned away from the rapidly fading light of the setting sun, could not be made out, but Severus could almost feel the anger boiling off him. Then Black stiffened slightly, and Severus fought an urge to step back out of reach of the shovel. But Black only turned his head and gave Severus an appraising sort of look.

"You want proof we’re sneaking out?" he said in a low voice. “There's a big knot on the side of the tree, and if you just prod it the whole thing freezes. Anyone can get in.” He paused. “I recommend using a long stick.”

There was a moment of tense silence as Severus considered what had just happened. Had his persistent needling of Black actually roused in him such unreasoning anger that he had let something slip? More likely, this was just a stupid attempt to induce him to approach the tree and make a fool of himself. He snorted loudly.

"Oh, of course," Severus said, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "On your word, I'm going to approach a dangerous Whomping Willow and start poking it. It won't mind in the least.” He gave a derisive little laugh. “If you think I'd believe such a story, you are even more boneheaded than I had thought."

Black shrugged and calmly reached for a cabbage, apparently having said all he was going to on this subject.

Throughout the remainder of the detention, Severus considered what Black had told him. He had seemed much calmer, after he blurted out the supposed secret. Surely he did not believe Severus stupid enough to fall for such an obvious trick?

It occurred to Severus that it would be a very clever way to hide the truth, presenting it in a context in which it was certain to be disbelieved. Perhaps it would be worth checking out, carefully of course. But not tonight, Severus told himself. Even if Black’s story were true, it seemed from his earlier reactions that he and the others had plans to join Lupin. If those plans somehow involved the Willow, as Black suggested, he could be walking straight into an ambush.

No, the thing to do was to inspect the Willow on some future night, a night when Black and Potter were busy with something else. If Black was simply lying to make a fool of him, he would find this out, carefully, and no one need ever know. And if there were some truth to his claims — then Severus would see the effect of poking the mysterious knot on the tree, and it might provide a clue to the information he was truly after.

••••••••••••


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  #3  
Old November 9th, 2006, 4:12 am
capella_black's Avatar
capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
Joined: 4980 days
Age: 36
Posts: 793
Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

A/N--Go grab a hot drink and curl up somewhere cozy, because this chapter is Long! In a good way, we hope.

Mr. Snape is up first this time....

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Chapter Two: Rising to the Bait (Severus)
----------------------------------------------------

The bell for supper had sounded some time before the last of the chomping cabbages nestled in their new homes outside. Professor Sprout dismissed Severus and Black with a short lecture on the virtues of cooperation. She might have been right that, through teamwork, he and Black had probably completed their assigned task more quickly. Even in his thoroughly frozen and exhausted state, though, Severus would gladly have given up dinner in exchange for simply being left alone. It did not seem productive to say so, however, so he nodded and mumbled a respectful, “Yes, Ma’am” before heading out to the greenhouse in which he had left his bag of books. He would need to hurry through dinner to squeeze out some time in the library, which closed ridiculously early in his view. There was a big Charms essay he had been putting off writing for which he needed to look up some references.

Severus, his book bag slung over an aching shoulder, walked quickly towards the castle. Black, he now saw, had met up with a group of people along the way and was standing near the entrance. The Gryffindor Quidditch team, back from a practice, Severus surmised, noticing the brooms some of them were carrying. They all seemed to be greeting Black enthusiastically, doubtless for his role in preventing the hexing of James. Despite his eagerness to get away from the cold and the windblown snow that had begun to fall after sunset, Severus slowed his steps, grateful for the concealment the dark color of his school robes and coat afforded him in the shadow of the castle. Attempting to get into the castle past that group, alone and with no teachers around, would not have been a wise move.

To his relief, the party soon headed inside. Hastening his steps again, he followed them into the warmth and light of Great Hall. Severus, as was his habit, slipped into an empty seat at the end of the Slytherin table. A group of third year girls sitting nearby regarded him without enthusiasm before returning to their conversation. Under cover of the commotion that ensued at the Gryffindor table with the arrival of the team, he thought he might actually escape the notice of his roommates, with whom he preferred to deal later.

Severus haphazardly piled some food on his plate and pulled out a ratty old notebook and ballpoint pen. As he wolfed down some lukewarm pot roast with pumpkin juice, he flipped through to find the notes he had made for his essay. He started scribbling down the titles of the books he might want to quote-his time in the library would be limited, thanks to his little escapade.

“Snape!” The loud voice of Richard Flint, sixth year Slytherin prefect, broke through his concentration. Looking up, he saw Richard standing across the table from him, together with his cousin Jason Belby, and, naturally, Sean Quigley. Jonathan Bulstrode must still be stuffing his face, Severus thought uncharitably. It looked like he would have to deal with his roommates now.

Setting his pen down on the notepad, he responded quietly, “Flint.”

“I hear you had a spot of trouble in Herbology today, Snape,” Flint said with a supercilious smile.

“Yes,” Snape agreed curtly. He had failed his housemates, but he was d@mned if he’d apologize or make excuses for himself. He didn’t owe them a thing, he told himself fiercely.

“Just a spot of friendly advice, mate,” said Quigley, his round, freckled face smug. “If you spent any time at all with your nose not in a book, you might actually learn how to use those fancy hexes of yours.” Flint and his cousin Jason snickered appreciatively at Quigley’s wit.

“If either of you two spent any time on academics, instead of following Quigley here around, perhaps you would not have had so much difficulty learning the charm for prolonging a spell’s effects,” Severus said. He had spent the better part of an evening in their dormitory earlier that week, trying to teach them just that. Quigley had picked it up, but of course, he needed to keep his nose clean before the match, every bit as much as Potter did. “Surely you’d know how to use it.”

“You could still use some target practice, Snape,” Quigley opined. “I hear you nearly broke a pane in the greenhouse.”

“I would like to see you try to aim anything, much less a series of two linked spells, at a target as you are being hit by a Blasting Curse,” he replied coldly.

“Is that what Black used? I heard it knocked you clean off your chair and several feet across the room!” said Belby, clearly enjoying this detail. Severus did not dignify his remark with a response.

“Perhaps you should have tried that on Potter,” Belby persisted. Now there was a bright suggestion, Severus thought, curling his lip.

“Be my guest. Even you must know some spell capable of knocking Potter off his feet, after six years of magical education,” Snape said, pointing over his shoulder with his thumb. “He’s sitting right over there.”

Belby’s fair face flushed red with anger, and he took a step towards Snape.

“Drop it, Jase,” Flint said warningly to his cousin, who stopped, but gave Severus a look that spoke volumes. “This is not the time or place, Snape.”

“My point is that a Blasting Curse, or any other random dueling spell he might try, is useless,” Severus explained. “The idea was to render Potter incapable of playing Saturday.”

“An idea that did not work,” Quigley said. Severus shrugged his shoulders.

“There’s always outplaying him. I’m sure you’ll manage to aim a few Bludgers his way,” Severus said. Probably true, that. Quigley was a natural flier, and, though perhaps an inch shorter than Severus, he was twice as wide. He had been around Quidditch since infancy, as he came from a long line of professional players, whom he was expected to join upon finishing Hogwarts.

“It’s not as easy as it looks,” Quigley said, looking somewhat mollified.

“Indeed,” Severus agreed. Quigley would probably catch the double meaning. He was actually the least thick of Severus’s roommates, despite the muscle-bound appearance.

“Well, you will all have to excuse me,” he added, rising and picking up his things, “I really must get to the library before it closes, to bury my nose in a pile of books.”

“You do that, Snape,” Belby grunted. “It’s all you’re good for.” Severus ignored him pointedly, nodding politely to Quigley as he left. A mixed result, he decided. Quigley seemed… neutral, about the situation. On the other hand, Belby was definitely angry. Severus reminded himself to check his bedclothes carefully before getting into bed at night. Belby had a lamentably juvenile affinity for the Zonko’s line of joke products.

After an afternoon spent digging in the frozen ground, the stairs seemed longer than Severus remembered, as he trudged tiredly up one flight after another. Once at the library, Severus dropped his bag at an empty table and headed for the Advanced Charms section, his list in hand. Returning to his table with a pile of books, he began rifling through the top one in search of a quotation he remembered reading last week.

As he scribbled in his notebook, he heard someone pull up a chair. Turning, he found himself face to face with Lily Evans, who had just seated herself right next to him. The sight of her, as always, gave his mood a lift, but tonight there was a dangerous light in her lovely green eyes.

“Thought you’d wait until after I’d left the room, did you?” she whispered angrily, her eyes flashing. He didn’t bother to deny it; he had dreaded seeing the disappointment that was now clearly visible in her eyes.

“Hello, Lily,” he said awkwardly.

“Don’t you hello me, Severus,” she replied vehemently. “I can’t believe you tried to hex Potter, just like that. What had he done to you?”

“Nothing recently, he’s been keeping his nose clean for Saturday’s match,” Snape admitted reluctantly.

“You’re as bad as he is!” she said angrily. Even curled downwards in disapproval, they were lovely lips, Snape thought, then brought his mind back to the conversation.

“Considerably worse, I’m afraid,” Severus contradicted her, knowing full well that she was not criticizing his poor planning.

“If this had been his plan, he would never have missed me, since he would have had someone watching his back. Did have, in fact,” he added regretfully. His sally was rewarded when one corner of her lip twitched upwards, just for a moment.

“I can’t believe you’re joking about this. He could have been seriously hurt!” Lily exclaimed earnestly.

“Who told you that?” Severus asked, surprised.

“I heard the spell nearly broke a window in the greenhouse!” Lily added. “Pettigrew was telling the story in our Common Room.”

“Pettigrew!” Severus snorted dismissively. “No, I was just upholding the fine Slytherin tradition of the pre-Quidditch Eyebrow Growing Hex.”

Lily gave him a long look.

“A Slytherin tradition,” she said, finally. Severus wished he could have those words back. Though, really, if he could call back any words he had said to her, those would not be his first choice… I don’t need help from filthy little Mudbloods like her. Slytherin House had other, uglier, traditions. Was she remembering them? He waited, not even daring to breathe.

“That would never come close to breaking a magically reinforced window, Severus,” Lily said skeptically. Snape almost smiled in his relief. She had merely noted the incompleteness of his story.

“Quite right,” Snape agreed. “My charm for prolonging the effects of other spells, though, appears to make quite the bang if the first spell misfires. I hadn’t realized that until today.”

“The one you showed me last week?” Lily’s face lit up with curiosity. Apparently, Lily could forget a traditional Quidditch hex, if it there was some new Charms theory to consider. “I wonder why… I’ll need to think about it.”

For the first time that night, she seemed to really look at Severus. Taking in his windblown appearance and piles of books, she commented, “You look truly fagged out. Is that the Charms essay you’re working on?”

Severus nodded. “Yes, I hadn’t gotten to it. If I can pull all the quotations I need, I should be able to throw it together tomorrow night.”

Lily glanced at her wristwatch. “You’ve got your work cut out for you. I’ll leave you to it; the library will be closing in about fifteen minutes. Try to get some sleep, tonight at least, will you?” she said with a laugh as she rose to leave.

“Good night, Lily,” Severus said.

She waved and turned away, her mane of red hair describing an arc as she did, before settling in a coppery fall down her back. As he followed her slender form out of the library with his eyes, Severus noticed that Potter, too, was eyeing her, an unpleasant look on his face. At some point during the conversation, he had installed himself at a table across the room, together with Black and Pettigrew. Black kicked Potter under their table and said something, too quietly for Severus to hear, but the looks they both shot him were not friendly. Severus picked up his forgotten Charms book and attacked his essay.

The pile of books had dwindled some, though not enough, when Madam Pince announced the library was closing for the night. As she headed back into the stacks to eject any students who might have missed her announcement, Severus hastily copied out the quotation he had just found, and then stuffed his notebook and pen back into his bag. He stood up and slung his bag onto his shoulder, before gathering up the library books in his arms to bring up to Madam Pince’s desk for reshelving.

He had only taken a step or two when a movement out of the corner of his eye attracted his attention. Glancing over, he realized Potter was coming straight at him, wand out. Cursing himself inwardly for his stupid inattention to his surroundings, he reached quickly into his robe for his wand. The books he had been holding fell to the floor with a series of bangs. They echoed in the vaulted ceiling of the reading room together with the laughter of several students whose attention had been attracted by the noise.

“Nice idea, lousy timing, mate!” he heard Black exclaim, as he stepped between Severus and Potter, shielding him from a possible attack with his body.

As Black hissed urgently at Potter, he lowered his wand. Severus took his hand back out of his robe and sank to his knees to pick up the books he had dropped, resolutely ignoring the s******* and catcalls around him.

Surreptitiously, he watched Potter and Black exchange some words, interspersed with laughter and hostile looks in his direction. Then Potter rejoined Pettigrew, who was, predictably, looking at Severus and laughing loudly. Severus gritted his teeth and returned to the task of collecting the dropped books. There was no point to hurrying. He could see Potter and Pettigrew getting into the queue of students wishing to check out a book.

Looking around for Black, Severus saw that he now looked rather glum. He was talking to the blonde Ravenclaw from their NEWT Charms class. She, supercilious as ever, seemed to be arguing with him. Severus curled his lip, enjoying Black’s evident displeasure. As if on cue, they both turned to look at Severus. The girl turned back and said something, before permitting Black to put his arm around her waist and laughing at his reply. Severus turned away, his face heating. It was bad enough to know that he was an object for the amusement of Black and his newest girlfriend, without compounding his own humiliation by ensuring that they knew he was aware of their derision.

He waited for a group of chattering Hufflepuff girls before getting up and walking to the desk. Madam Pince had returned by this time, and was checking out books for the departing students. Potter and Pettigrew checked out their books and walked to the doorway near Black, who was now leaning closely over the giggling Ravenclaw.

“Er, Padfoot?” Potter said. “Sorry to bother you now, mate, but we’ve got to go find Moony - remember?”

That was their asinine nickname for Lupin, Severus knew. Presumably because, unlike them, he could sometimes be seen actually trying to think, rather than running his mouth off or hexing people just for the fun of it. So they did indeed have some plans to join Lupin. Black’s little slip was looking more and more worthy of an investigation.

“Students are not allowed to check out so many books!” Madam Pince said sharply.

Snape turned his attention back quickly to the librarian. In his absorption with Potter’s activities, he had not noticed that it was now his turn.

“Sorry, Madam Pince, I just need to check out these two,” he said, indicating the top two books. The Hufflepuff girls had stopped uncertainly near the doorway, clearly unwilling to push past Potter and his friends.

“Out! OUT!” the librarian shouted at them all, before handing Snape back his two books. He stuffed them into his bag and followed the girls. The Ravenclaw, Severus saw, had joined a chattering group of friends. Further down the hallway stood Potter, Black, and Pettigrew.

"S’alright,” Black was saying, his back to Severus. “You’re right, we’ve got to find Moony. Though first I need a good, long shower, after all that digging.”

"You’re not the only one," Potter replied, looking pointedly at Severus, who had just stepped into the hallway. Black spun around, wand out. Severus cursed inwardly. To get to the staircase that led back down to the Entrance Hall, and from there, the dungeons, he needed to pass by Potter. Not a good idea, that. Or stand near the entrance to the library, hoping they would tire of their little game and go away. He stopped, and glared defiantly at Potter, uncomfortably aware that Black had him in his sights, and that there was absolutely nothing he could do to defend himself.

“Hey, Snivelly!” Potter continued, “D’you reckon you’ll finally take a shower tonight? Only we were hoping all that rolling in the dirt might have inspired you…”

Black, and the rest of Potter’s audience, started laughing. He didn’t care, Severus reminded himself, as a feeling of helpless anger twisted his stomach.

"Don’t hold your breath, Prongs,” Black said loudly. “He spent the whole time trying to wipe his grease off on me. I’ll bet he hasn’t been this clean for months."

Snape stood, gazing stonily at Potter. He could feel his face heating, which only made him angrier. Pettigrew laughed, and they all turned to go up the stairs. Black turned back for a moment and smirked in Severus's direction, before following the others. They were really going up, he noted. To take a long shower….

Severus walked down the hall past the steps to Gryffindor, shaking with anger. So the thuggish threesome really was heading out later, after Black’s shower. Perfect, Snape decided. Forget waiting for another night, he was not going to sit still for more of their little games any longer than he had to. If Black’s little slip-up during detention had been a lame attempt to get him injured by the Willow, he would know inside of the next thirty minutes, and no one would be the wiser. Pretty boy probably needed more time than that for his shower. Then he would probably wait until after nine, to avoid being seen going in the wrong direction as everyone else hurried back to their dormitories by curfew.

If the story proved true, he would see what happened. If the Perfect Prefect was right there inside… inside what, the tree? a cave? a tunnel? At worst, he would doubtless report Severus for being out of bounds. More detentions, and the loss of points would surely incense his roommates — big loss, that — if not, Severus could hide and wait for the others.

He walked on to the stairway down, and was soon walking down the broad marble staircase that lead from the first floor down to the entrance hall. It was empty. Not even any of the numerous apparitions of Hogwarts were in sight. That settled it. Ignoring the steps down to the dungeons, he ran to the front doors and opened them a crack, just enough to slip through, before sliding into the shadows cast by the great stone arch that surrounded the tall oaken doors to the castle.

The light of the full moon shining overhead washed the snow-covered grounds with a slivery light, creating a scene of eerie beauty. Severus shivered, and not just from the cold. But the light was also cursed inconvenient. It would surely increase his chances of being seen. How Potter and his cronies seemed to manage to sneak out without ever being caught was a mystery he would dearly like to solve for himself.

He still had his bag, he realized. That would not do… ah yes. He could hide it in the shrubs near the greenhouses. This would also be a good place to find a long stake he might use to try out Black’s little hint. But there was a wide swath of well-lit open lawn between him and the greenhouses.

As he considered his options, a bank of clouds moved across the face of the moon. Without further hesitation, Severus set out at a dead run for the nearest greenhouse. Keeping in its shadow in case the moon came out again, he sneaked around to the bushes he remembered Professor Sprout clipping earlier in the day. Carefully avoiding the dangerous-looking thorns, he slid his bag underneath a bush, and looked around for a handy stake. Sure enough, one of the bushes was tied to one.

Drawing his wand, he whispered “Accio stake!” and the stake pulled itself up out of the ground and flew into his waiting hand.

From here, Severus could see the Willow, its branches free of snow and waving crazily with no relation to the cold, steady wind that was making Severus’s eyes water. The moon was back, bathing the open slope between the greenhouses and the willow in its light. Severus looked up, and saw the approach of another bank of clouds. He waited impatiently for it to obscure the moon, before running down the slope towards the Whomping Willow. As he neared it, he threw himself down onto his stomach. It would not do to be seen as he looked around for the knot Black had mentioned.

His precaution came just in time — the light of the moon again illuminated the scene. The Willow, clearly sensing his presence, creaked loudly and lashed its lower branches in his direction, but he had stopped just out of their reach. Crawling around it, he saw that there was, indeed, a large knot on the tree. He extended his stake towards it, and realized that it would not quite reach. Before his better sense could dissuade him, he lunged forward on his knees and stabbed the stake into the tree, before dropping and rolling away, his arms protecting his face.

Looking back, however, he saw with glee that, indeed, the tree was suddenly frozen. And, between the gnarled roots at the base of the tree, there now yawned a gaping hole. Remaining on the ground, he watched the hole for some time, waiting for a sign that Lupin was under the tree, and had seen him. When several minutes passed, he slid over to the hole and lit his wand tip. The opening sloped downwards, and nothing further could be seen. Severus slid head first down the slope and found himself in a tunnel. He stood up, as much as the low ceiling allowed; he remained bent nearly double.

It was empty as far as Severus could see, which was quite a long way. Apparently, the tunnel led somewhere, which was the best scenario for him. If he could sneak out of the other end undetected, he could hide himself from both Lupin and the others who were coming later, and see what they got up to. Though, if Lupin was waiting at the other end, he would see Snape coming if he kept the light. With a muttered incantation, the glow of his wand tip changed to a dim, focused beam of light. He trained it carefully on the ground in front of him as he proceeded deeper into the tunnel.

••••••••••••

A/N--Please let us know what you thought on our feedback thread. Your comments, criticisms, and compliments are all welcome!

Mr. Black is up next....


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding
  #4  
Old November 9th, 2006, 4:17 am
capella_black's Avatar
capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
Joined: 4980 days
Age: 36
Posts: 793
Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

A/N--In case you're wondering, in this story Sirius has not yet run away from home to live with the Potters.

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Chapter Two: Rising to the Bait (Sirius)
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The sun had long since slipped behind the distant mountains, and a light dusting of snow was falling over the icy grounds of Hogwarts. At that moment, werewolves all over Britain were raising their heads to the full moon, and howling in solemn tribute. The Animagus Padfoot felt an overwhelming urge to transform too and howl with his canine brethren — but he didn't. At that moment he was supposed to be listening to Professor Sprout's end-of-detention lecture with Snivellus, and he thought it might raise some awkward questions.

Behind Sprout, he could see the castle glowing warm and golden through the flurries. In a few short hours its windows would be dark, its denizens safe in their beds; and this was when its three illegal Animagi would — as was their custom — steal softly out the door, over the silent grounds, through the secret tunnel — to join their werewolf mate for a little moonlight prowl.

The night air positively crackled with excitement and possibility. The Animagus Padfoot was finding it difficult to stand still.

Perhaps tonight they would be followed. Perhaps tonight that foulest, sneakiest, nosiest, greasiest Slytherin of them all (Snivelly for short) — too would venture forth, believing at last he had found a way to dispose of his enemies for good.

He would be in for a surprise....

"Well, Mr. Black?" Professor Sprout's voice cut through these thoughts. The Animagus Padfoot had failed to notice she had finished talking.

"What?" he asked. Sprout gave him a slightly exasperated look.

"I said you're free to go."

The Animagus Padfoot collected his things from the greenhouse and headed back to the castle. He couldn't wait to tell the Animagus Prongs what had happened in detention. The two of them hated Snivelly; Prongs, if possible, even more than Sirius. The thought of the slimy git getting chased around by a werewolf, especially when he'd thought he was about to get the Marauders expelled, was sure to bring a smile to Prongs's face.

Rounding the corner of the castle, Sirius spotted the Gryffindor Quidditch team trudging up the hill from practice, and stopped by the front doors to wait. Prongs was straggling in back, having an animated discussion with one of the other Chasers. He must have told his teammates about his near-miss in Herbology, because as they filed by many of them gave Sirius appreciate claps on the shoulder, and thanked their lucky stars he had been there to thwart Snape.

"Hurry up, will you? I'm starving," said Sirius as Prongs finally caught sight of him and grinned, nodding at the full moon.

"You look like hell," James informed him cheerfully as they crossed into the warmth and bustle of the entrance hall. He, of course, looked every bit as flushed and sweaty as Sirius, who would have been hard pressed to say which of them was in worse need of a shower. "How was detention with Snivelly?"

Sirius eyed the packed tables through the doors of the Great Hall, where dinner was already underway. "Tell you later."

The two of them took their seats at the Gryffindor table amidst the general fanfare that greeted the team's arrival, and were soon joined by Wormtail. Sirius heaped his plate with everything he could reach, and set about devouring it voraciously; he hadn't realized how hungry he really was until just now.

By the time he reached for thirds, Sirius had started to have doubts about his plan. Snape may have been many things — ugly, greasy, obsessed with the Dark Arts — but he wasn't stupid.

What if he really was too cautious to act on any information, however tantalizing, that Sirius had given up willingly? Sirius hadn't believed him when he'd said this, but now he realized, to his slight disappointment, he wasn't so sure. Should he wait to tell his friends? He didn't want to get their hopes up too soon....

******

"We have to brew the stuff for seven days," said James, later that evening in the library. The three of them had stopped by after dinner to look up personality inks for the map they were working on. "Every night, we add a bit of each person —"

"What, like Polyjuice?" Sirius interrupted, leaning over his shoulder to get a better look at the book, titled Personalities for Posterity.

"Must be," James shrugged. "When it's done, we stir it into the ink base and — are you getting all this Wormtail?" He and Sirius looked up at Wormtail, who was sitting across the table, scribbling furiously. Wormtail nodded.

"Seven days is a long time," he said, biting off a fingernail.

"Not nearly as long as the portrait paints," Sirius pointed out. "Those take six weeks."

"Yeah," James agreed. "And you have to stir in a bit of the subject twice a day, instead of once."

"Hey, I just thought of something, let me see that," said Sirius, flopping down into a chair. He thumbed the index of Personalities for Posterity and flipped to the right page. "Oh, that's disappointing. 'While certain artefacts — like the Sorting Hat, left by the founders of Britain's Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry for the purpose of sorting new students into school houses — can be imbued with the subjects' judgements in addition to their personalities, these are beyond the scope of this text.'"

Sirius looked up; James did not appear to have been listening. He suddenly had a very stormy expression on his face, and the source was not difficult to spot: Evans, sitting across the room, head bent low and whispering with... Snivellus.

Sirius wrinkled his nose. Girls.

He did not understand how a girl like Evans — who was alright, really, when she wasn't flying off the handle over little things, or sticking her cute nose where it didn't belong — would ever stoop so low as to fraternize with Snape. But he suspected she was doing it to annoy Prongs, another one of the many games she preferred to play instead of simply admitting she fancied him and agreeing to a date. Well, she was bound to come to her senses one of these days — she was, after all, a fairly intelligent girl — but the way Prongs kept losing his head around her was not helping that day come any faster.

As Evans got up to leave, Sirius kicked his best friend sideways under the table. "Don't stare."

"Ow!" said James, rubbing his shin. "Git. What'd you do that for?"

"She's only doing it to annoy you," said Sirius firmly. "Ignore her. I told you, girls like the thrill of the chase, they only act coy because they think it's attractive."

James sighed and looked away, but did not seem entirely convinced. Sirius frowned as the two of them contemplated Snape, wondering if he should share the news from detention now — it would cheer Prongs up a bit, even if it was a long shot. Before he could make up his mind, however, the vulture-like librarian, Madam Pince, swooped over and announced the library would be closing in ten minutes.

"Let's go," said Sirius. He stood up, and the others followed suit.

"I think we should check that out," said Wormtail, pointing to Personalities for Posterity.

"Yeah," said Sirius, eyeing his barely legible notes and grabbing the book as they headed to the front desk. "But I think Pincie's gone back there to scare out — OY!"

He'd twisted around to look for the librarian and caught sight of Prongs, wand out and moving toward Snivelly with a familiar glint in his eye. Much as he hated to do it (Prongs really did look like he needed the cheering up), Sirius jumped in front, into the line of fire, and held him back. Behind him came the sound of Snape dropping a hundred or so books in fright.

"Nice idea, lousy timing, mate," said Sirius, grinning and looking back to make sure Snape didn't have a clear shot at James. "The match," he added, in response to the incredulous look James was giving him.

This seemed to bring Gryffindor's star Chaser to his senses. Sighing again, he looked past Sirius to where Snape was crawling on the floor picking up his things, and joined in the general laughter, though only half-heartedly.

"Besides," said Sirius, lowering his voice so only James could hear, "I think we might do better leaving Snivelly to his own devices tonight...."

James looked curious, then noticed something over Sirius's shoulder and grinned. "Don't look now, Padfoot."

Sirius looked. It was Banks, standing with a group of chattering Ravenclaw girls, and regarding him in a way that made clear he was in trouble.

"Wormtail and I'll just go check this out, then, shall we?" said James, grinning and pulling Wormtail towards the circulation desk.

Sirius motioned for Banks to join him near the door, and after a moment's hesitation she did, though her expression did not soften. He placed a hand on the wall behind her, and she clutched her books more tightly to her chest.

"Look," Sirius began placatingly, "I'm sorry about this afternoon, it was just —"

"Don't apologize," she interrupted, looking up at him coolly. "If you prefer to get your kicks by hexing people in Herbology, that's your business. And it makes no difference to me if you fail your Charms paper either." (Sirius decided to let the second comment slide, as it was just easier sometimes to let girls think they were better at things.)

"I wasn't hexing anyone for kicks," he said, slightly irritated. "Snivelly tried to attack James when —"

"Who did?"

"Snivellus," said Sirius impatiently. "Snape!" He jabbed a finger at the floor where Snape was restacking the last of his books, and Banks calmly followed it. She had, of course, been taking classes with Snape for almost six years now, but she had an amazing ability to ignore people she found unworthy of her attention.

"Is that the one Potter's got the long-running feud with?"

"Yeah."

"I don't see why he would bother," she said, turning back to Sirius and elevating an eyebrow. "I mean, what's the point?"

Sirius found himself at a momentary loss for words. He was both impressed and annoyed that a Muggle-born could take so little interest in the school's Darker element as to ask that sort of question....

"Because he's dangerous," he finally said, frowning and brushing some hair from her eyes. "You should know what the likes of him get up to by now...."

Banks looked at Snape again, obviously doubting that someone who looked like that could ever pose any real sort of threat. As if on cue, Snape looked over at them and sneered nastily; but Banks seemed no more impressed than she would have had he smiled at her and waved.

"Oh, I got some very nasty looks from your brother yesterday."

"Good," said Sirius, sliding an arm around her waist; then he realized how that sounded. "I mean —"

She laughed. "Don't worry, I find it quite amusing." Her mouth formed a very mischievous smile. "And I think he's still scared of me."

Her lips were a perfect shade of red, though she wasn't wearing any lipstick; Sirius had a sudden urge to bite down on one of them. He made to do so, but was blocked by an admonitory finger.

"Just what do you think you're doing?" the lips demanded; their owner did not believe in public displays of affection. But she had left the side of her neck unguarded, so Sirius moved to breathe some hot air on it.

"Not here," she murmured softly, giggling and trying to extract herself. "Really, I mean it!"

She hit him on the head and he straightened up reluctantly, meeting her eyes; there was a seductive fire in them that was the only thing belying her otherwise perfect composure. He wondered how long it would be before the prefects cleared out of their bathroom for the night....

"Er — Padfoot?"

Sirius looked up. People were leaving the library behind them in droves now, and Prongs was standing off to one side with Wormtail, grinning apologetically.

"Sorry to bother you now, mate, but we've got find Moony — remember?"

"Oh," said Sirius. "Right." Banks took the opportunity to slip out from under his arm.

"Oh dear, I couldn't possibly keep you from your friends," she said, smiling innocently. Sirius had the distinct impression, as he watched her hurry back to her giggling friends, that she enjoyed seeing him suffer.

"Sorry," said James again, as Madam Pince shooed them out the door.

"S'alright," Sirius shrugged. "You're right, we've got to find Moony. Though first I need a good long shower, after all that digging."

"You're not the only one," said James, looking pointedly past him. Snape had just slunk out of the library and was eyeing them malevolently.

Sirius had his wand out in an instant, in case Snape had any thoughts of trying to curse James again.

"Hey, Snivelly!" said James, who had the good sense not to pull out his own wand. "D'you reckon you'll finally take a shower tonight? Only we were hoping all that rolling in the dirt might've inspired you...."

Sirius laughed, as did the other students within earshot.

"Don't hold your breath, Prongs," he said loudly, keeping his wand trained on Snivellus as they headed for the stairs. "He spent the whole time trying to wipe his grease off on me, I'll bet he hasn't been this clean for months."

As they started up the stairs, Sirius couldn't help throwing a smirk back in Snivelly's direction. His sallow face had an ugly flush now, and there was a calculating look about him that suggested he may just have been contemplating a visit to the Whomping Willow....

Sirius opened his mouth to say something about this, then realized his friends were not aware of the situation yet. He wondered if he should wait to confirm it on the map before telling them, but decided he didn't have the patience.

With a quick check that they wouldn't be overheard, Sirius launched into the story of what Snape had told him in detention; his friends' reactions were much as he had expected....

Wormtail started babbling as soon as he learned that Snape knew about the rest of them following Moony each month. "He saw — he knows —he'll tell — we'll be — we'll be —" He couldn't bring himself to say expelled.

"Of course he doesn't know," said Prongs impatiently, looking like he had half a mind to go back and hex the hair off Snivellus, match or no match. "Yet. But he said he's looking for proof? Of our illegal activities?"

Sirius nodded darkly, wondering if Prongs was about to come up with the same solution he had. "Hinkypunk," he told the Fat Lady, who swung forward to admit them to Gryffindor Tower.

"What are we going to do?" Wormtail said in an urgent whisper as they climbed through the portrait hole. Sirius could no longer keep the grin off his face. Wormtail looked like he might actually cry.

"I took care of it, Wormtail," he said, enjoying the perplexed look that met these words. "I gave him a little — hint — about the tree, so with any luck he'll be off finding proof right now." He stared significantly, until Wormtail's tiny eyes widened in comprehension and he let out an unusually shrill laugh of excitement.

"Wish we could be there to see it, eh, Prongs?" said Sirius, as they reached the stairs to the boys' dormitories.

"Hm?" said Prongs, who had been trying to catch Evans's eye as they crossed the common room.

"The look on Snivelly's face — when he finally finds his proof of what Moony gets up to."

James's face lit up at the prospect.

"Priceless!" he laughed. "D'you think we could get a photo?" He pushed open the door to their room, which was in its usual state of complete disarray. "We could put an Engorgement Charm on it, fill up a wall, watch it over and over...."

Sirius dropped his bag by the door, and picked his way over piles of books and dirty clothes to the table they'd nicked from the common room, where he pulled out the Marauder's Map.

"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," he said excitedly, tapping it with his wand. Lines began to appear on the parchment, joining to form a complete map of the Hogwarts castle and grounds, with tiny moving dots showing the whereabouts of each person. Sirius located the one labeled Severus Snape; to his slight disbelief it was, in fact, outside the castle, and headed toward the greenhouses.

He stared. Had Snivelly forgotten something in detention?

"We need to pay the elves a visit soon," said James, who had kicked off his shoes and was examining their dwindling stash of goodies from the kitchen. "We're running low on supplies again. Oy, Padfoot!"

Sirius looked up and caught the butterbeer James had lobbed at him, setting it aside with a mumbled, "Thanks."

After lurking suspiciously near the greenhouses for a bit, Snape's dot had suddenly headed straight for the Whomping Willow; it came to a halt on the side with the knot....

He was going for it.

"Prongs... maybe we should get a camera and head down there...."

"Huh?"

"Snape — he's really doing it, he's going after Moony." Sirius watched the dot enter the tunnel, not quite daring to believe his eyes. "Just started down the tunnel."

"What're you talking about?" said James, looking slightly confused. "He can't, he doesn't know how to get past the Willow."

"Yeah he does," Wormtail piped up. "Padfoot told him."

"Oh, right." James grinned.

"Really, come look," Sirius motioned, puzzled by this apparent lack of enthusiasm. James picked his way over and Sirius happily showed him Snape's dot.

James snatched the map and stared at the dot, as though he too did not quite dare to believe his eyes.

"He knows?"

"Mmhm."

"You really did it?"

"Yeah," said Sirius.

"You really told him?"

"Yeah," said Sirius more slowly. Even then, he could tell that something was wrong — Prongs was never this slow on the uptake.

James looked from Sirius to the map, and the map to Sirius, a faint frown line deepening his brow. Then suddenly he dropped the map and darted across the room.

"What're you doing?" Sirius demanded. James fished out the pair of trainers he'd kicked under his bed.

"Stopping him," he said, shoving his feet in his shoes; he wasn't joking. Sirius hastened after him.

"What the hell for?"

"Because," James was doing up his laces, "he'll get bitten by a werewolf if he gets to the end..."

"So?"

"Or more likely torn to shreds...."

"So?" Sirius frowned. "Look, I don't see why you're so fussed all of a sudden..."

"You're the one who sent him there," James said impatiently. "D'you have any idea how much trouble —"

"But no one else knows that — and anyway, he was going to figure —"

"— and Moony, too, for —"

"They can't blame him for anything! He's out of his mind!" Sirius shouted.

James snorted, and Sirius had to admit he had a point. He hadn't thought of that —

James had his shoes on. He picked up his wand and headed for the door. A wave of unidentified panic crashed over Sirius; he grabbed James's arm.

"Wait! You're right, it's my fault, I'll take the blame..."

"Let go!" James tried to yank his arm free. "What the hell?"

"You don't need to get involved...."

"You're wasting time!" yelped James, tugging angrily. "Let — go — of — me — Padfoot!"

"There isn't time," Sirius said quietly, surprised at the strength of his own grip. "You can't transform in the tunnel. Just — leave it — it's his fault he went...." James stopped struggling and went very still; his eyes stayed fixed on the door.

"Do you really want him to die, Padfoot?"

"I..." Snape was the last thing on Sirius's mind....

But James didn't wait for an answer. He yanked free, and turned a slightly disgusted look on Sirius. "You know, you really are a Black sometimes," he muttered, shaking his head. And he turned and tore from the room at top speed.

Sirius stood, rooted to the spot, staring at the door as James disappeared through it; then he realized he still had his arm in the air, and brought it back down very slowly to his side.

••••••••••••

A/N--Feedback is good for the mind, body, and soul!


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding
  #5  
Old December 29th, 2006, 5:41 pm
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capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
Joined: 4980 days
Age: 36
Posts: 793
Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

A/N--Sorry for the long delay. Holidays and exams and a lot of stress-induced writer's block on my part. I'll try to do better next time, I promise. -cb

Severus is up first, and when we left him he was setting off down a long, dark tunnel ...


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Chapter Three: The Rescue (Severus)
------------------------------------------------

The tunnel seemed to go on forever, though Severus reminded himself that his caution and the low ceiling did nothing to speed things up. He longed to straighten up, just for a moment, and stretch his back, which was stiff and sore after an afternoon of digging holes in the frozen earth. His periodic checks of the tunnel’s direction with the Point Me charm confirmed his impression that the tunnel traveled in more-or-less a straight line, in the general direction of Hogsmeade. He would likely be coming out somewhere in the environs of the village.

Then a flash of light interrupted Severus’s thoughts. Instinctively he doused even the dim light of his wand tip, as he pressed against the earthen wall of the tunnel.

“Snape!” he heard Potter’s voice shouting in the distance. “Stop! Come back!” Severus did not reply. Looking back, he could see the light moving closer.

“I know you’re in there, Snape!” Potter yelled. “Turn back!”

So Potter knew he was there, did he, Snape thought with chagrin. It had been a set-up by Black all along, just as he had initially suspected. The memory of Potter coming after him in the library came back, suddenly. No wonder Black had interfered. Indeed, why hex him in the library when he could be lured out into this tunnel? He’d been an idiot to fall for it.

“Sod off, Potter!” Severus spat back. He was damned if he’d go meekly back to take whatever Potter and his gang were planning to dish out. In this tight space, two (or three, it would not do to forget Pettigrew) wands would have a decisive advantage. But outside, at the other end of the tunnel, there might be something that would afford Severus some cover.

Concealment was no longer an issue. Severus illuminated his wand’s tip as he pushed away from the wall and started running, as fast as he could manage while bent over to avoid the low ceiling.

“Idiot!” yelled Potter. “Turn back! I told you, it’s dangerous!”

Severus continued running, and a red bolt of light shot past him. So Potter thought to stun him from behind, did he? Turning, he shot a nonverbal Blasting Curse back at Potter. He was rewarded by a thud and a temporary silence.

Wary of a trick, he resumed running. No more spells flew his way, but as he glanced back periodically, he could see Potter’s light once again following behind. Severus noted with satisfaction that he seemed to be keeping his lead, more or less.

As he turned back yet again to check on Potter’s progress, he trod on a loose rock and lost his footing. Severus tried to stand back up, but his ankle would now not support his full weight. He cursed under his breath as he realized he had twisted it badly in falling.

Severus paused to consider his options, while listening for his opponents. He could see Potter gaining on him, now that he had stopped. However, if his guess of Hogsmeade as the destination was correct, he had to be very close, and he still enjoyed a considerable lead. Ignoring the pain of the twisted ankle as best he could, Severus continued on, leaning on the wall of the tunnel.

Potter was drawing close enough to see clearly now. Oddly, he seemed to be alone, though perhaps his companions had fallen behind. Severus noticed that the floor had started to slope upwards, suggesting the tunnel was rising up towards the exit. He might still make it out before Potter reached him.

The tunnel took a sharp turn. Leaning against the wall, Severus rounded the corner. What he saw made his blood run cold.

A dark figure filled the end of the tunnel, its eyes gleaming madly, foam and blood dripping from its fanged, gaping jaws. A werewolf, he realized instantly, as his brain catalogued the identifying features he had so completely described on his Defense O.W.L. the previous spring. Pointed snout, tufted tail … this was insane.

With a snarling howl, the werewolf — which had been, perhaps, just as surprised to find itself confronted by a wizard — now launched itself down the tunnel. The summer spent shooting flies in his bedroom had paid off, Severus realized. His arm moved automatically in response, his wand describing a wide slashing motion, as his thoughts caught up and he cast a spell. Sectumsempra!

“REDUCTO!” Potter shouted at the same time, nearly bumping into Severus as he skidded around the corner. With a great crash, the entire ceiling of that section of tunnel came down. The werewolf fell to the ground, knocked out cold by a wooden beam that hit it on the head, and partially buried it in dirt and rocks. Severus, too, slipped and fell as the trailing edge of the avalanche hit him and knocked him off balance. He spared a glance for the werewolf, seeking to ascertain whether his spell had hit its target, but with all the debris between them it was impossible to tell.

“Get up!” Potter said urgently. "He'll come to any minute — get up!"

Severus needed no urging. Werewolves were unusually resistant to both physical and magical damage. He pulled himself free of the rubble and stood, accepting a hand up from Potter.

The rain of debris had not done his ankle any good, he realized immediately, as he tried to place some weight on it. Even the staggering walk he had managed thus far seemed beyond him now. Doggedly, he placed his hand against the wall and tried to shuffle. Potter grabbed his wrist, and Severus fought to pull it free before realizing this was another attempt to help him. Without Potter’s assistance, he was embarrassed to admit to himself, it would take him half the night to shuffle out of the tunnel. That was assuming that the effort did not make his ankle worse and the werewolf did not come after him.

“Here,” Potter said impatiently, pulling Severus’s arm around his shoulders and passing his own arm around Severus’s waist.

Together, they staggered down slope and back into the main part of the tunnel, Severus leaning heavily on his companion for support. His face heated at the thought of his complete dependence on Potter. This would get out, somehow, Severus knew. With a sinking feeling, he realized he would never live it down.

As they put more distance between the werewolf and themselves, the initial shock and fear of the confrontation was beginning to wear off. In spite of himself, Severus felt a sneaking admiration of Potter’s cold blood, which only made his humiliation worse. That Reductor Curse … quick thinking, that.

Then Severus felt the hair on the back of his neck rise as a long, bloodcurdling howl echoed down the tunnel behind them. Severus turned his head and pointed his wand back to look. The werewolf was not yet in sight.

“A Stunner … in the face … hold him … few minutes,” Potter panted.

“Stupefy!” Severus shouted, pointing his wand at the darkness behind them. The werewolf howled again, sounding rather closer than before. Severus twisted further, and shot off a few more Stunners. He was rewarded for his efforts when the werewolf broke off mid-howl. Facing forward, he redoubled his effort to stagger along with Potter’s assistance.

Clearly, the werewolf had not been seriously injured, he deduced. Potter’s collapse of the tunnel must have thrown off his aim. Yet, Severus would have sworn his wand motion was in progress before Potter had ever come around the corner … just how had Potter reacted so quickly?

He must have known there was a werewolf waiting, Severus realized. Yet, Madam Pomfrey had taken Lupin to this tunnel, that same afternoon. Surely, she knew?

The truth, the obvious truth, which only an idiot could have failed to comprehend the moment the werewolf appeared, burst upon him in an instant, and he stiffened with revulsion.

“Out … soon!” Potter panted, pulling Severus to him again, as another howl echoed down the tunnel. Allowing Potter to drag him forward, he shot another series of Stunning Spells back at the werewolf. At Lupin, he reminded himself. As the echoes died down, he turned back, stumbling mechanically onwards as his mind raced.

The Perfect Prefect was a werewolf. The staff knew it; this was the reason for his occasional (regular! Severus chided himself for having missed it) disappearances, to isolate him during his transformations.

Black knew this. How could he not? He knew the secret of the Willow. He had deliberately told Severus that he and his friends went in to the secret passageway, hoping thus to lure Severus — the conclusion was inescapable — to his death.

Severus found he was shaking with rage, as yet another howl echoed behind them. Quickly he turned back and shot a stream of spells, listening for the cessation of Lupin’s pursuit before returning to his thoughts.

Potter had been in on Black’s plan, too. He had known Severus was in the tunnel, after all. Further, it was he who had loudly interrupted Black’s snogging session at the library with the reminder they had to go meet Moony.

Moony. What a bloody idiot he had been. Moon-y.

Abruptly Potter ducked out from under Severus’s arm, causing him to stumble and fall against the wall of the tunnel. They had reached the exit, he realized. Potter put his hands on his knees, his head bowed as he gasped for breath. Severus leaned against the far wall, waiting for Potter to catch his breath and climb out. He would have much preferred to do his recovering outside the passageway, but he was not going to exhibit any greater haste to leave than Potter did.

“Out,” panted Potter, with an angry glare at Severus. Struck by the absurdity of arguing the point with Potter, Severus crawled back out of the tunnel. He bit back a cry as a branch struck him heavily across the shoulders and knocked him face-first into the snow. Hastily he scrambled to the knot and pressed it, before crawling away out of reach of the tree. As he sat in the snow, breathing heavily, he felt himself start to shake. With cold, with delayed fear, with exhaustion, he could not have said exactly.

Severus watched as Potter too crawled out and collapsed onto the ground a few feet away, gasping for breath. After a few moments, Potter shoveled some of the fresh snow onto his face and into his mouth and sat up, still breathing heavily. A sense of unreality came over Severus. The young man sitting near him in the snow had half-carried, half-dragged him out of the tunnel. Severus cringed at the thought. Yet that the very same evening, Potter had participated in a plan to arrange his death.

That Potter and Black despised him was no secret to him, or to anyone else at the school, he thought angrily. Yet he had believed, more fool he, that he had risked no worse than a fresh humiliation in taking Black’s bait.

Accio stake! The stake he had left under the willow flew over to him with the speed of a thought. The upward sloping stretch of snow-covered ground between the Willow and the main entrance of the castle looked daunting, but borne on the tide of his rising anger, Severus never doubted that he could make it. Potter, he saw, had also gotten to his feet, and now approached him, hand extended.

Leaning heavily on the stake, Severus rose to his feet. Not trusting himself to speak — for truly, he could find no words to convey the depth of his rage — he spat on the snow in front of Potter before turning away to take a first tentative step up the hill. With a two-handed grip on the stake, he found he could keep the weight off his bad ankle.

“Suit yourself!” Potter muttered angrily, as he strode up the hill past Severus. “It would serve you right if you slip and break your neck.” This remark Severus now knew to be no less than Potter’s honest opinion and heartfelt wish. Hearing it, he suddenly found the words that had earlier eluded him.

“Naturally, you would love that!” Severus spat at his back. “Far less trouble for you than my murder would have caused.”

Potter spun around.

“What?” he asked sharply.

“You planned to kill me tonight!” Severus accused furiously.

"Don't be ridiculous," snapped Potter. It was a lame attempt at denial, Severus rather thought, not worthy of a response. He took a few awkward steps up the hill. Now that he had begun, though, the words seemed to spill out of their own accord. Potter, too, resumed climbing up towards the school.

“Ridiculous, am I? We’ll see about that!” he said with a horrible smile, turning towards Potter.

“Ridiculous is right! If I wanted you dead, I would have left you in there,” Potter protested.

“So you decided murdering me was not worth the trouble it might cause you and your friends!” Severus exclaimed. “For that small mercy, I suppose, you expect me to overlook the rest.”

"No one was trying to murder you, you stupid prat!" Potter said heatedly.

“What would you call luring me into a werewolf’s den, then?” Severus asked with a sneer.

“I’d call running into it at top speed after you’d been warned incredibly stupid!” Potter retorted.

“You call that a warning? Four words would have turned me right around, Potter,” Severus said quietly.

“That was none of your business,” James replied, glaring at Severus. He turned away ostentatiously.

“It is now,” Severus responded heatedly. “Keeping it that way is what brought you out here, isn’t it?”

Potter did not respond.

“No one should know Moony’s secret, but the school could hardly cover up a werewolf attack,” Severus added.

Potter continued upwards, apparently oblivious.

“I’ll grant that you seem to have developed cold feet,” Severus continued. “But not Black, apparently. That’s why he’s not here, isn’t it?”

“I think the shock’s addled your brains, Snivelly,” James answered with a sneer. “This conversation is over.”

Fine, thought Severus. Let’s see Potter try to ignore him once they were back inside. Though Potter probably realized he couldn’t himself, judging from the way he shuffled along, carefully not letting Severus fall too far behind. His breath was still somewhat labored, certainly, but Severus was certain Potter could have left him in the dust, had he wanted to. No, he was positioning himself to intervene once Severus had the opportunity to tell someone what Potter and Black had planned that evening.

Potter reached the heavy oak doors to the castle and opened one slowly as he walked in, keeping an eye on Severus as he followed him in. Potter crossed the entrance hall to the stairs, stopping at their foot ostensibly to wipe his sweaty hair off his brow, a process which occupied all the time it took Severus to catch up. They walked up the stairs together, an accomplishment made easier for Potter by the presence of a sturdy banister. Severus doubted he could have managed the stairs at all without it.

Suddenly, Sirius Black appeared above. Black was grinning. Severus glared at him, saving his breath for the moment he reached the landing. Lily Evans showed up on the landing next to Black, and his expression changed to a worried-looking frown. Naturally. He and Potter were doubtless going to insist on their innocence. Severus wondered fleetingly at Lily’s presence, but his determination to confront Black, only heightened by Black’s amusement, drove him upwards.

"What happened?" cried Lily, who was now following Black’s gaze.

"You," Severus spat out, as he reached the landing behind Potter. “How disappointing this must be for you, Black. Your little plan seems to have failed."

"Huh?" said Black. An even more lame response than Potter’s. It gave Severus confidence.

"You knew there was werewolf," said Severus, raising his voice slightly. "You were trying to kill me."

Severus was delighted to discover that Peeves, whom none of them had noticed, was bobbing overhead. The poltergeist started to screech "MURDER!" and "WEREWOLF!", his voice echoing loudly throughout the entrance hall. Lily gasped and stared at Black in shocked disbelief. Professor McGonagall, presumably alarmed by the racket, came charging out of her office and started shouting at Peeves.

When she had gotten rid of Peeves, McGonagall walked over to them. She looked pale.

"Explain," she commanded.

"Professor, Black was trying to kill me," Severus responded immediately.

"What?" yelped Black. "I was not!"

"He sent me after Lupin," Severus continued, talking over him.

"I didn't send you anywhere!" Black protested.

"When he knew all along Lupin was a —"

"Shut it, Snivellus!" Black and Potter shouted together.

"— WEREWOLF!" Severus got out over their yelling.

"Quiet!" snapped McGonagall, looking even paler. Black, Potter, and Severus fell silent. "Potter, Snape, hospital wing — Miss Evans, go get the headmaster — Black, my office, now!"

"But I didn't —" Black began.

"NOW!" McGonagall said loudly, in a voice that brooked no opposition. Severus had never imagined the usually collected Transfiguration professor could get quite so angry.

Black stomped off in the direction of her office.

“Yes, Professor,” said Severus, as he started for the hospital wing. Potter, he saw, set off after him.

••••••••••••


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding
  #6  
Old December 29th, 2006, 5:54 pm
capella_black's Avatar
capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
Joined: 4980 days
Age: 36
Posts: 793
Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

A/N--And we left Sirius in his room right after James ran out on him ...

---------------------------------------------
Chapter Three: The Rescue (Sirius)
---------------------------------------------

Sirius felt like his best friend had just stabbed him in the back. He continued to stand quite still, staring at the door, the scowl on his face growing darker and darker with each minute that ticked by. Finally, he picked up a lamp and threw it at the door as hard as he could. It hit the door frame, causing a deafening shatter that gave him some small measure of satisfaction.

Turning, Sirius found Peter staring wide-eyed at him. He stared back mulishly, daring him to repair the lamp, but unfortunately Peter was not stupid enough to bite. Sirius took off pacing around the room.

He had never been so angry at James. The filthy hypocrite — who the hell did he think he was, telling Sirius off for messing with Snape? After all he'd done? He was the reason Snape hated them. He was the reason Snape wanted to get them all kicked out of school. How dare he start pretending to be all noble all of a sudden? Running off to play the hero, making Sirius out to be the bad guy ... like Snape was more important to him than his own best friend....

Fine, Sirius thought furiously, let him. If he wanted to risk his neck saving Snivelly, he deserved what he got. They could both get torn limb from limb by a rampaging werewolf for all Sirius cared. In fact, he hoped they would, and took a vicious pleasure in picturing the tangle of fur and teeth and claws and blood.

Kicking over a pile of books, Sirius earned himself a stabbing pain in his big toe. This was too much. The room suddenly seemed too small to hold him, and he stormed out, leaving a much relieved Wormtail in his wake.

The common room was full of people. Sirius marched through it, taking no notice of their puzzled glances. He found an empty classroom and resisted the urge to kick over the nearest desk.

He was furious at James. Furious! He did not care if James was putting himself in danger. He did not care if it was over something he started. He did not care that at that very moment —

"Sirius Black, what have you done?" said a voice from the doorway. Sirius whirled around. It was Evans. She must have followed him from the common room.

"None of your business," he snarled. "Get out."

She raised an eyebrow at him, then walked in and sat down on one of the desks.

"I said get out!" he shouted.

"And leave you running around loose in a temper?" she said sweetly. "That would be so irresponsible of me."

Sirius was not in the mood. He turned his back on her, cursing the fact that she was a girl and hexing her would have been wrong. For a few minutes, neither of them spoke.

"Why don't you tell me what's wrong?" Evans asked, finally breaking the silence. "Maybe I can help?"

Sirius laughed bitterly. Even if he'd had the slightest inclination to tell someone what was wrong — which he most certainly did not — Evans was about the last person he'd've picked.... She had known about Moony's furry little problem ever since she became a prefect last year ... and there was no real question whose side she would come down on....

The two of them lapsed back into silence. Sirius, feeling too restless to stand still, started pacing back and forth again. A sharp, acidic anxiety had finally begun to burn through the fog of his anger. He needed to think. Unfortunately, Evans continued to sit on the desk, watching him with mild curiosity, and this was very distracting. He tried to ignore her, hoping she would take the hint and leave. She didn't.

"Is it Potter?" she asked after a while. "Did you two have a fight?"

Sirius decided not to answer that.

"It's just that I saw him leaving the common room earlier, and he didn't look — um ..." she hesistated.

"— at you," Sirius said smugly, unable to help himself. He turned to watch her reaction.

"— too happy," she finished quickly, going slightly pink.

Sirius smirked at her and Evans threw him a dirty look, which he found rather amusing. He tried to picture the look on James's face when he recounted this incident later.

"That's why you followed me then, is it?" he said, wondering if he could annoy her into leaving. "You were hoping to find out what James was up to. Maybe you fancied a little moonlight stroll about the grounds, or —"

"So you did have a fight," Evans interrupted calmly.

Sirius hated her. "I don't see how it's any of your business."

"It isn't," she shrugged. "I'm not asking you to tell me what you fought about. But why are you getting so upset over it? Just talk to him ... whatever happened, I'm sure you two can work it out...."

Sirius didn't say anything. He sat down on a desk, then stood up again. Suddenly, he wanted nothing more than for this conversation to end. He was starting to feel a little sick, and he really, really wished Evans would just leave him alone.

He strolled over to a window and stared down at the frozen grounds below. The snow had a pinkish sort of hue to it now....

Snape had gone in the tunnel ... James had gone after him.... Maybe it was just his imagination playing tricks on him, but Sirius thought he heard a werewolf howl in the distance....

It all seemed so unreal, like something out of a bad dream. He rested his forehead on the cool pane of glass and closed his eyes. It wasn't really happening....

"Are you alright?" said Evans quietly, sounding, for the first time, genuinely concerned.

How long had they been gone? Sirius had no idea, he seemed to have lost his sense of time. It was either seconds or an eternity. Either way, he knew they would have made it to the shack by now.

He could hear Evans standing up and walking over to him.

"Really," she insisted, "you don't look so good."

Sirius opened his eyes and looked sideways at her without lifting his head from the glass. "I'm fine," he muttered, closing them again. "Just go."

But he was not fine; his heart was racing; he felt like his mind was falling through a dark tunnel....

The tunnel ... James could not transform in the tunnel ...

"Maybe you should go to the hospital wing...."

But it wasn't happening, it couldn't have been. If it was, that would mean Remus might already have killed James. That James might have just died trying to undo Sirius's joke, while Sirius was standing around in empty classrooms being angry at him.

Sirius considered the absurdity of this idea with an odd sense of detachment. The idea that James was gone, really gone — that he would never see his best friend again....

Suddenly, he couldn't breathe. What had he done?

Sirius was hardly aware of racing out of the classroom — or of being followed by a confused and alarmed Evans.... He didn't notice that he was jumping down the stairs six at a time.... He knew only that he had to get down there before it was too late....

He fought back visions of what he might find, of James's lifeless body ... of Remus hearing about everything in the morning ... of James's parents learning that their only son had been killed, and that it was Sirius's fault....

Don't let it be too late, he thought desperately. Please don't let it be too late....

He hit the first floor landing and saw something that made him stop dead in his tracks. A shock of black hair — very untidy black hair — slowly making its way up the stairs....

Sirius stared for a few moments, then almost laughed with relief. James was alive — at that moment, nothing else in the world mattered to him. Then Evans caught up.

"What happened?" she squealed when she saw what Sirius was looking at.

Only then did Sirius notice that his friend was covered in dirt and blood, and followed closely by a limping, equally dirty and bloody Snape. He frowned as they each rounded the top step onto the first floor landing, breathing hard.

"You!" Snape spat venomously, before anyone else could say anything. He stumbled backward and gripped the banister, staring at Sirius with a burning anger in his eyes like Sirius had never seen there before. "How disappointing this must be for you, Black," he said in a low and deadly voice. "Your little plan seems to have failed."

"Huh?" said Sirius, nonplussed. In his panic about James, he had almost forgotten that Snivellus was a part of this.

"You knew there was werewolf," Snape went on, raising his voice slightly. "You were trying to kill me!"

Before Sirius could think of anything to say to this, the matter was taken out of his hands. Several things seemed to happen at once: Peeves, whom none of them had noticed bobbing overhead and eavesdropping on their conversation, began to shriek "MURDER!" and "WEREWOLF!" in a voice that rang throughout the entrance hall; Evans, who had just made sense of what Snivelly was saying, gasped and stared at Sirius in shocked disbelief; Sirius, once again overwhelmed by the feeling that this could not possibly be happening, looked to James for support; and James, who was bent double, catching his breath, simply stared at the floor with an unusually stony look on his face.

Professor McGonagall's office door burst open, and Sirius heard her shouting at Peeves. When she had finally managed to dispatch the poltergeist, she walked up to the four of them, looking much paler than usual, and said, "Explain."

Snape was quick to oblige. "Professor, Black was trying to kill me."

"What?" yelped Sirius. "I was not!"

"He sent me after Lupin," Snape continued, talking over him.

"I didn't send him anywhere!" Sirius protested.

"When he knew all along that Lupin was a —"

"Shut it, Snivellus," said James and Sirius together.

"— WEREWOLF!" shouted Snape.

"Quiet!" barked McGonagall. They all felt silent as she looked them over one by one, eyes flashing dangerously. "Potter, Snape, hospital wing — Miss Evans, go get the headmaster — Black, my office, now!"

"But I didn't —"

"NOW!"

••••••••••••

A/N--We hope you're still enjoying the story, and that you'll stop by the feedback thread, because we've missed you!


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She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

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  #7  
Old January 19th, 2007, 5:39 pm
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capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
Joined: 4980 days
Age: 36
Posts: 793
Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

A/N--Look, we’re updating in a timely fashion!

We had originally planned to make Chapter Four the last chapter, but it was getting entirely too long, so we split it in half. The good news is that the next part is nearly done too and will probably be up in a couple days. The even better news is that we were having so much fun with this story we decided to do a bonus chapter.


------------------------------------------------
Chapter Four: The Aftermath (Sirius)
------------------------------------------------

Sirius marched down the hall to Professor McGonagall's office and threw himself in a chair, fuming.

He couldn't believe it! Why was he getting in trouble when Snivellus was the one who had gone sneaking off school grounds in the middle of the night? It was completely unfair. Obviously Snivelly hadn't found anything else to get the Marauders expelled, so now he was just trying to get out of trouble by blaming the whole thing on Sirius. It was actually kind of funny that the greasy git was accusing him of attempted murder of all things — he must have been really traumatized by his little encounter with Moony if that was the best he could do.

Good, thought Sirius, slumping lower in his chair. Maybe if Snape was scarred for life or something, it would be worth whatever trouble he was in now.

He picked moodily at the upholstered armrest, wondering when McGonagall was going to show up to shout at him some more. Several minutes passed and she did not turn up. A distinct sense of dread began to gnaw at his insides, though it wasn't the prospect of being in trouble that worried him, really....

He hadn't done anything wrong. All he'd done was tell Snivelly how to freeze the stupid Whomping Willow. So why, then, had James called him a Black? And why had James refused to look at him just now, when they were standing in the hall?

Sirius tried to tell himself that James was just being a pigheaded git, but it didn't work. James had never acted like this before — it made no sense. James hated Snape, he should have been as happy as anyone if Snape had met with a little — accident — on full moon. But instead he risked his own life to stop it from happening. And now he was acting like — like he really thought his best friend was a killer....

I'm not, Sirius thought forcefully. He was not a killer. He knew people who had killed — he couldn't help it, he was related to them — but he hated them, he wasn't like them. James knew he wasn’t like them.

It wasn't like he had ever really meant for Snape to die. He would never have volunteered the information about the Willow in the first place if the slimeball hadn't gone sticking his ugly nose in other people's business. True, after he'd said it, he had sort of hoped Snivelly would listen to him and check it out ... but he had never really expected it, and so he hadn't spared much thought for what might happen after Snivelly got to the end of the tunnel....

Of course now that he thought about it, it seemed quite obvious what sort of damage a solitary werewolf in a confined space would do. He'd known it from the moment James tried to go after Snivellus, really. But in his mind, he'd only seen the rather docile werewolf he ran round with every month; he and James and never had much trouble keeping Remus off the occasional hapless drunken villager or two; it just hadn't seemed like that big a deal.

The more Sirius turned things over in his head, the worse they began to look. How was he supposed to explain to James, or anyone else for that matter, that he had not been trying to murder Snape? He knew he hadn't, he couldn't have been, because to murder someone you had to really mean it, really want the person dead — that was just how it worked — he could still remember his cousin Bellatrix explaining it to him when he was little. And yet something told him this logic was not likely to fly with James....

Sirius glanced helplessly at the door as a burning panic began to seize him once more. His mouth had gone dry. His friends would never speak to him again if they thought he had been trying to murder someone — even if that someone was just Snivellus. He could already see them turning away from him, their faces set in that same stony expression he and Reg got whenever they passed each other in the halls. He also had enough experience being excised on principle at home to know that once they made up their minds about him, nothing he could say or do would be able to change that. At home this never mattered much, because he despised his family every bit as much as they despised him — but the thought of his friends shutting him out like that too was unbearable.

Feeling utterly miserable now, Sirius realized that he was also sure to be kicked out of school if this was what people thought. He couldn't remember ever hearing of another Hogwarts student trying to murder someone. Not even the worst of the Slytherins. Not even Snape.

The sensation of being trapped in a bad dream had returned. He tried to picture himself arriving in the fire at Grimmauld Place, having to explain to his parents why he was back for good....

How? How had he managed to ruin his life like this? One tiny mistake — one moment of thoughtless anger —

But it wasn't all his fault, Sirius reminded himself: if Snivellus hadn't landed them both in detention — or been stupid enough to listen to him — or lacked the common sense not to follow a secret passage hidden under a great murderous tree — none of this would be happening.

Sirius suddenly felt torn. Half of him wanted desperately to go back in time and stop himself ever saying anything about the Willow; the other half wanted to storm over to the hospital wing and wring Snivelly's neck. He threw another glance at the door — and nearly jumped out of his skin.

James was standing there watching him. Sirius swore under breath.

"Don't do that," he muttered, before remembering that James might never speak to him again.

James snorted. "Get up, we've got to go to Dumbledore's office," he said tonelessly.

Encouraged by the fact that at least James was speaking to him, Sirius got up and followed him into the hall.

"This is bad," James said as they started for the stairs.

"Look," said Sirius quietly, feeling the need to clear up one point first. "I wasn't trying to kill him — you know that, right?" James sighed.

"Of course I know that. You lost your temper and didn't think," he said, rolling his eyes. "But we've got bigger problems."

"You shouldn't have had to go after him," Sirius continued, finding this lack of blame oddly unsettling. "You could have been killed." To his surprise, James actually broke into a smile.

"I'm not complaining," he said. "I think a little mortal peril every now and then breaks up the monotony nicely, wouldn't you say?"

Sirius grinned — he could respect this. He also felt like a huge weight had been lifted from his chest.

“Where’d McGonagall go?” he asked, as they headed up the stairs. “I thought for sure she’d be back to yell at me.”

“Dunno,” James shrugged. “She found me outside the hospital wing, told me to take you to Dumbledore’s office, and walked off in the opposite direction. Probably gone to the staff room,” he added thoughtfully. “Get herself a nice stiff drink — some single malt Scotch firewhiskey, straight up —”

“Because she doesn’t trust herself to deal with me,” Sirius smirked knowingly. "Anyway,” he continued a few moments later, “what are our bigger problems?"

"Snape, you dolt,” said James. “He's dead sure we masterminded this whole plan just to kill him."

"We?"

"You and me — and I wouldn't put it past him to drag Moony into it too."

"But you guys had nothing to do with it!" Sirius said indignantly.

"Yeah, well I couldn't exactly tell him that without giving you away," James said matter-of-factly. "And I guess he hasn't given up on trying to get all of us expelled. What did you say to him exactly?"

"Just that if you hit the knot on the side of the Willow, the whole thing freezes," said Sirius.

"That's it?"

"I may have recommended using a long stick," he added guiltily.

"Idiot," muttered James.

“I never thought he’d actually do it,” Sirius protested.

"Anyway," James went on, sounding very businesslike. "Snivelly's none the wiser about our, um, extracurricular Transfiguration project" — this was the code name they had used when studying to become Animagi — "so I don't think we have to worry about that much. But I'm not sure how I'm going to explain —"

He stopped short. They had just rounded the corner to find several people standing in front of the Headmaster's office. Slughorn, the Potions master and head of Slytherin house, was the most prominent among these, dressed in a green velvet dressing gown and matching nightcap. If they hadn't been so worried about their imminent interview with Dumbledore, Sirius and James would have had a very hard time keeping their faces straight.

As they drew closer, they saw that Dumbledore, Snivelly, and Evans were also among those present. Sirius noticed a familiar glint in Evans's eye as she spotted them, which told him she was just itching to yell at someone. Unfortunately, James was too busy almost tripping over his own feet to catch it; his hand jumped to his hair as they joined the group, and he tried to flash her a winning smile just as she turned to leave. Sirius braced himself.

"How dare you?" she snarled, whirling back around. "You miserable worm, after whatever it was you did tonight, how can you actually have the nerve to stand there and —" she stopped and took a deep breath, trying calm herself — with limited success. "Why? Why can't you just grow up and leave him alone?"

James goggled at her. Dumbledore, who had been watching the proceedings with his head bent slightly, looking like he almost wanted to smile, said, “If I may?”

"Sorry, Professor," said Evans hastily.

"Quite alright," said Dumbledore courteously. "I just wanted to mention that, if my suspicions are correct, Mr. Potter is actually responsible for saving Mr. Snape's life tonight."

It was Lily's turn to goggle at James, her cheeks turning slightly red.

"Oh," she said softly after a moment, "I’m sorry, James." She gave him a sort of half smile then turned and walked off, looking thoroughly confused.

"Thank you for your help tonight, Horace," Dumbledore was saying to Slughorn. "I shall contact you after I have had a chance to speak with these young gentlemen."

Slughorn grunted a goodnight, and James and Sirius followed Dumbledore up the moving stairs to the Head's office, with Snape bringing up the rear.

••••••••••••

A/N--Dumbledore is not looking forward to sorting this lot out. He welcomes your moral support on the feedback thread. After you’ve heard Mr. Snape’s point of view, of course.


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She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding
  #8  
Old January 19th, 2007, 5:42 pm
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capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
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Age: 36
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Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

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Chapter Four: The Aftermath (Severus)
--------------------------------------------------

“Madam Pomfrey?” asked Potter, announcing their presence as he opened the door to Hogwarts’ infirmary.

The school matron bustled into the infirmary from the back room. Recognizing Potter, she placed her hands on her hips and smiled.

"Oh, it's you, is it, Potter?” she asked, as she walked over to a cabinet and started to place some items out of it into a large bowl. “I suppose you've been doing something dangerous again?"

Potter sat down on the nearest bed and grinned at Pomfrey. Severus stepped inside as well, shooting a scowl at Potter.

“I see I have two patients,” she observed. “You hurt your leg?”

“Sprained ankle,” Severus responded.

She reached up and grabbed a bottle.

“Well, get your weight off of it, then!” she said tartly, waving him over to a nearby bed. “I’ll see to you in just a moment.”

“Here, drink this,” she added, handing him the bottle.

Severus lowered himself onto the edge of the indicated bed, and screwed off the top. He eyed it with professional interest and sniffed it experimentally. A mixed potion, for certain, he judged. The main ingredient was a painkilling potion, but something about the smell … he tested a drop of it and rolled it around on his tongue, indignation rising as he recognized the tang of a Calming Draught. He wasn’t going to drink that! He was angry, not overwrought!

His hands trembled as he set the opened bottle down on the table beside the bed. The look on Black’s face when they had met on the landing … a joke, that’s all it was to him. A funny prank. And what had Lily been doing there with Black, he wondered. More importantly, what lies had he told her? Severus imagined wrapping his hands around Black’s neck and banging his ahead against a wall until that false expression he had assumed for Lily’s benefit was wiped off his face.

Anyone would be angry, in his shoes, Severus thought hotly. Which reminded him … he reached down to remove his shoe and sock. As he sat back up, he raised his leg up onto the bed. Madam Pomfrey was just closing up the last of Potter’s gashes with her wand.

“That’s the last of them,” Madam Pomfrey commented. “How you manage to get into so many scrapes, I will never understand. But you’re all set now. You might just want to wipe your face and hands before you leave,” she finished, handing Potter the bowl, now filled with steaming water, and a cloth.

“Thank you,” Potter replied with a grin, hastily sponging dried blood and dirt off with the offered cloth before handing it back.

“Well, I’ll be off then,” he said with a wave as he left. Madam Pomfrey waved back to him before she Vanished the dirty water and approached Severus.

She picked up the ankle and examined it, prodding a few spots with her wand. Then she moved the foot back and forth.

“Quite right. Mr. Snape, isn’t it?” she remarked. “It is a sprain. As you’d the wit to diagnose the injury yourself, I wonder that you nonetheless found it necessary to run as far as Hogsmeade and back on it before coming to me.”

He found himself unwillingly impressed with her professional competence, despite her fawning over Potter. That was rather precisely what he had done, but he did not feel like explaining the necessity of his actions to her. He’d save it for the Headmaster.

“I’ll fix this in a trice,” she said briskly. Her eye fell on the bottle, barely touched, on the table. “But you’ll want to drink up, first.”

“I don’t need a Calming Draught,” he stated indignantly.

“I see,” she said, giving him a long, hard look. “Suit yourself.”

Severus took a deep breath. After she was done, he would be leaving to state his case in front of the Headmaster. He had the facts on his side … but still, it could not hurt to state his case logically and calmly.

Madam Pomfrey grasped the ankle more firmly. “Hold still, now.”

He braced himself as she waved her wand and for a moment Severus’s ankle felt as though it were on fire. He bit back a cry, and then gasped with shock, as it seemed his ankle was being doused in ice water. As she released his foot, he wiggled it around. It seemed back to normal.

“Well, it’s healed now,” she said with a smile.

The door opened, and Professor Slughorn stepped in. His substantial belly was wrapped in a green velvet dressing gown with silver fastenings, and a matching nightcap was perched on his head.

“Wonderful, Poppy!” he said with a smile. “I see you have put my student back to rights.”

“Good evening, Professor,” the matron responded politely, as she refilled the basin for Severus. He sponged off his hands and face and put on his sock and shoe.

“Thank you, Madam Pomfrey,” Severus said as he rose from the bed. Slughorn hooked an arm around his and started to steer him out the door.

“Excellent work, Poppy. Boys will be boys, and Hogwarts is fortunate to have you to fix ‘em up after, eh?” Professor Slughorn commented, before the door shut behind him. Severus reminded himself of his recent resolve. Calm.

“Minerva came by to tell me we’re wanted at Professor Dumbledore’s office, and fill me in,” he said, guiding Severus down the hallway. It struck Severus suddenly how much taller he had grown than his Head of House. Somehow, he had never noticed it before, as he only ever saw the man while sitting in Potions class.

“Severus, Severus,” Slughorn said with a theatrical sigh, “Merlin knows you are a clever student, you even give Miss Evans a run for her money in Potions.”

“But let me give you a valuable piece of advice, my boy,” Slughorn continued. “In life, what matters is not so much what you know, but whom you know.”

Severus walked along with his Head of House in silence. He had no idea why the man had picked this of all times to lavish what seemed to be career advice on him. He wished Slughorn would just shut up, but could not say so.

“It seemed to me at first that you understood this,” Slughorn continued after a bit. “Raised among Muggles, yet you were sorted into my House, Slytherin. As a first year, you did well enough, associating yourself with some older, better connected students.”

A flash of memory rose up at those words. Bellatrix Black, laughing, amused by the effects of one of his spells on one of her followers. For a moment there, on the stairs, Black had seemed his cousin’s spitting image.

“However, this business with Sirius Black …” Slughorn shook his head.

Severus was thrown by the way his thoughts had seemed to be anticipated.

“Such a talented boy, also, just like you. Minerva raves about him, you know. And from one of the best pureblood families, too. I know you’ve had your differences in the past, but in your NEWT years, you’re taking all the same classes. It would really make sense for you to bury the hatchet. I don’t understand …”

Slughorn stopped abruptly in front of a large gargoyle statue that decorated a stretch of wall in the corridor. Severus took the opportunity to jerk his arm free.

Black tried to kill me, sir,” he said, furious. “Why don’t you save your peacemaking for him?”

“Licorice Snap!” Slughorn said. Severus started as the enormous statue suddenly moved out of the way, revealing a spiral staircase that rotated upwards like an escalator.

“My dear boy,” Slughorn said placatingly, “I am merely trying to point out the advantages to you of such a course of action.”

“Well, I have news for you. If what it takes to succeed is to grovel for the likes of Black, I would rather starve. Or — or live as a Muggle,” Severus spat out. “You can take your pureblood families, and your best class of people, and —”

“There is a lady present, Mr. Snape,” said a dry voice above him. Severus spun around, to find the Headmaster, his face grave, descending the stairs, which were now moving downward, together with Lily. He snapped his mouth shut.

Lily was trying not to laugh; he could see the twinkle in her green eyes and the dimple that formed in her right cheek when she was amused. However, she kept quiet, as her eyes went from Slughorn to Severus and back.

“And that is no way to speak to your Head of House,” Dumbledore added with a hint of a smile. Lily threw Severus a challenging glance.

“Yes, Headmaster. I apologize,” Severus forced out for her benefit.

“Well, Miss Evans, I thank you for your assistance this evening. I trust that you will keep the night’s events to yourself,” Dumbledore said, as he and Lily reached the corridor.

“Yes, Professor Dumbledore,” Lily agreed earnestly.

As Severus and Slughorn stepped out of the way to let her pass, Potter and Black arrived. Potter leered at Lily as she turned to go. Severus itched to hex Potter where he stood, but was delighted when Lily spun to face him.

"How dare you?" she exclaimed. "You miserable worm, after whatever it was you did tonight, how can you actually have the nerve to stand there and —" she stopped and took a deep breath. "Why? Why can't you just grow up and leave him alone?"

"If I may?" said Dumbledore.

"Sorry, Professor," said Lily hastily.

"Quite alright," said Dumbledore courteously. "I just wanted to mention that, if my suspicions are correct, Mr. Potter is actually responsible for saving Mr. Snape's life tonight."

Severus bit back a protest. Calm, he reminded himself. He had not yet had his opportunity to speak with Dumbledore.

Lily stood frozen for a moment, staring at Potter, absorbing what the Headmaster had told her. Then her cheeks reddened in embarrassment.

“Oh,” she breathed. For a moment, she looked Potter straight in the eyes, then looked away in confusion. “I’m sorry,” she said with a smile that lit up her face. She had never looked so beautiful, Severus thought, as she walked off towards Gryffindor Tower. Severus watched her retreating form with a sinking feeling, until she disappeared around the corner.

"… after I have had a chance to speak with these young gentlemen," Dumbledore was saying to Slughorn.

“Good night, Albus,” Slughorn responded, and headed off towards his quarters. As Dumbledore stepped onto a stair, the entire staircase again began to rotate upwards. Potter and Black followed him. Taking a calming breath, Severus, too, stepped carefully onto a stair as it rose out of the floor.

••••••••••••

A/N--As always, feedback is much appreciated!


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding
  #9  
Old January 24th, 2007, 10:29 pm
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capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
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Age: 36
Posts: 793
Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

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Chapter Five: The Reckoning (Severus)
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"Oh dear," said an unfamiliar voice as the boys filed in to the office, "what is it this time?"

Severus stopped in the doorway and looked around, startled. Portraits of wizards and witches in old-fashioned robes covered the walls of the Headmaster’s office. The speaker was a dark-haired wizard with a pointy beard, who was looking disdainfully down his nose at them all from the gilded frame of his portrait.

"No wait, don't tell me, let me guess — you've been selling illegal study aids to the student body again? Or maybe you've set fire to the Charms corridor this time."

Having taken in the many portraits and curious magical devices in the room, Severus found that Potter and Black were now seating themselves in front of the Headmaster’s desk. Hastily Severus crossed the room to sit down in the remaining chair, near the wall where the portrait of the unknown wizard hung, and right next to Black.

Dumbledore sighed as he sat down behind his massive desk. He steepled his fingers and peered at each of them in turn over the top of his half-moon spectacles.

"Tell me what happened," he said at last, his eyes resting on Severus.

Severus took a deep breath. He knew what had happened to him, but in this unfamiliar environment, with Black and Potter doubtless planning to back each other up, he had to be convincing.

"Black and Potter tricked me into following the tunnel under the Whomping Willow tonight, sir,” he began, “knowing full well there was a werewolf waiting at the other end."

"I didn't trick you," Black interrupted, in an indignant tone that made Severus grit his teeth. "I just told you how to freeze the tree. And James had nothing to do with it."

"When did this happen?" asked Dumbledore.

"Early this evening, sir," said Severus. "We were planting Tibetan chomping cabbages for Professor Sprout when Lupin emerged from the castle and approached the Whomping Willow."

"No doubt accompanied by Madam Pomfrey?"

Severus nodded confirmation, and quickly seized the opening. "And that was when Black suggested I follow him and explained how to stop the Whomping Willow."

The Headmaster paused, as Severus scrutinized his face for a hint of his reaction.

"Why did you tell him?" Dumbledore asked quietly, turning to Black.

Black shrugged. "He wanted to know?" he said flippantly.

"It was a plan to murder me, Headmaster," said Severus, keeping his eyes on Dumbledore. Merely picturing the nonchalance of Black’s expression was bad enough. If he saw it, he was not sure he could keep his cool. “I am certain of it."

There was a sharp intake of breath to Severus’s right.

"Murder?" hissed the bearded wizard, staring in shock at Black.

"Sirius never expected him to actually listen, sir," Potter interjected, gazing earnestly at the Headmaster.

"Oh, shut up," Black said.

Surprised, Severus glanced at Black, who was glaring at the portrait. He had been addressing the unknown wizard, not Potter, Severus realized.

"Whips and chains, Dumbledore," said the portrait in response. "That's the only way to deal with delinquents like this. I believe there is a well-oiled set of chains to be found in the caretaker's office: hang him up by his thumbs, I say. If that doesn't teach him, nothing will."

Severus eyed the wizard with interest. Who was he? Regardless, the thought that Black had been in this office often enough to have raised the ire of one of the portraits in it was certainly encouraging.

"Yes, thank you, Phineas," said Dumbledore.

"Sir," Potter continued, "Snape kept asking questions about where Remus went off to every month." Severus fumed silently. Evidently, Potter and Black had covered a lot of ground in their short time together.

"He seemed to think we were all up to something," said Black, "and if he found out he could get us all expelled." This was ridiculous. Black and Potter were making excuses for their actions, and the Headmaster was letting them ramble on!

"So I annoyed Black," Severus interjected heatedly. "That is a reason to kill me? Black even said it when he told me how to stop the Willow — 'you want proof we're sneaking out?' — those were his exact words, Headmaster."

"Is this true?" Dumbledore asked Black.

"I don't know," said Black. "I guess I probably said something like that...."

Severus sneered at this blatant attempt to minimize the damage. It seemed the Headmaster, for once, was seeing clearly, for a look that might have been disappointment crossed his face.

"Thumbscrews," the wizard named Phineas suggested. "I left a few pairs in one of the storage dungeons. I'm telling you, Dumbledore, they will do the boy a world of good."

Severus looked at the portrait again. Robes in Slytherin green and silver … use of the Hogwarts storage areas … it must be a former Headmaster.

"No one asked you, you horrible old man," snapped Black.

"But Professor," Potter jumped in, "Sirius didn't mean for him to go, he just thought —"

"I thought maybe if I told him something, he'd realize we had nothing to hide and lose interest," Black added, his face a mask of innocence. Severus longed to spit in it.

"So killing me was supposed to be a way of keeping your little excursions a secret then?" demanded Severus.

"What little excursions?" Potter asked impatiently. "Who'd be mad enough to go sneaking out after a werewolf on full moon?"

“I didn’t know about the werewolf,” Severus pointed out in a reasonable tone. He wasn’t crazy. Or overwrought. Merely, very angry.

“Mr. Potter,” said Dumbledore. "If Mr. Black did indeed act alone, how did you come to know of all this?" Severus grinned. An excellent question.

"He told me," Potter responded.

"And you thought Mr. Snape would listen to him?" Dumbledore probed further.

"I thought he might," said Potter slowly.

"You went straight to the tunnel to investigate?"

Potter nodded.

"When was this? As in, how long after Mr. Black had imparted this information to Mr. Snape?"

"Er —" Potter seemed momentarily at a loss.

"I didn't tell him until much later," Black cut in hastily. "I didn't — I didn't think it would be that big a deal."

"I just had a bad feeling," Potter said. "I figured I should at least check it out."

"But Mr. Black disagreed?" Dumbledore asked. "He still felt there was no danger of Mr. Snape taking his advice?"

"Um, yeah," said Potter.

"Did the two of you argue over this point?" Severus looked over at Potter and Black, whose looks of surprise matched his own. The Headmaster smiled.

"Miss Evans had told me that she encountered Mr. Black in low spirits," he explained. "She seemed to think there had been a disagreement between the two of you, and I merely wondered if this was what it was over."

"Oh, yeah," said Potter. "I mean, I thought it was stupid of him to tell in the first place, but I guess he thought I was overreacting." He got cold feet, more like. And just as Severus had surmised, Black had tried to talk him back into it.

"Rubbish," said Severus forcefully. "Professor, Potter was in on it too. They were both feigning plans to meet with Lupin later, throughout the evening."

"What?" Potter exclaimed. "When?"

The look of indignation on Potter’s face was almost enough to make Severus doubt his story, if it weren’t for the cold, hard facts.

"In the library," Severus replied, looking straight at the Headmaster. "Black was angling to snog that blonde Ravenclaw from Charms" — Phineas snorted, but Severus wasn’t going to let the portrait interrupt his exposition of the facts — "when Potter interrupted to remind him they had to go find 'Moony.' He knew I was within earshot. And minutes later, Black was telling him they couldn't go until he'd taken a shower." Severus flushed as he remembered the scene outside the library, but he went on without pause. "There must have been a dozen witnesses at least, sir. I would be happy to give you some of their names."

"There will be no need for that, Mr. Snape," said Dumbledore. "I believe you."

"It was a joke, sir," said Potter quickly. "We had no idea he was listening in on our private conversations. We say stuff like that every full moon."

"Private?" Severus interjected, incredulous. An act for a crowd of admiring spectators, private?!

"You know," Black said aggressively, "even if we were sneaking out, how's that any of your business?"

"Right," Potter chimed in. "Even if you were right about us, you would have been just as 'out-of-bounds' as we were, trying to get the proof."

Severus glowered at the both of them, momentarily at a loss for words.

"Very well," Dumbledore began.

"If you ask me," Black interrupted, "anyone stupid enough to miss this obvious snag rather deserves —"

"Idiot boy!" snarled Phineas, as Potter belatedly stomped on Black’s foot with his own. "Shut your mouth!"

Black’s face reddened. He slouched in his chair and crossed his arms defiantly.

"Very well," Dumbledore began again.

"That proves it," breathed Severus, his eyes intent on Black. "You know, Black, this whole night shall have been most worthwhile, just to see you expelled in the end."

Dumbledore cleared his throat softly.

"Now see here, Dumbledore," said Phineas.

"Sirius will not be expelled, Phineas," Dumbledore said simply, not looking up. Severus’ head jerked around in shock. What?

"I just think it would be unnecessary," Phineas added smoothly. "After all, it's not his fault this chump — Snape, was it? — decided to blatantly flout school rules and visit Hogsmeade in the dead of night."

"Phineas," said Dumbledore, with a warning note in his voice.

"What?" Severus shouted angrily.

"Oh yes," said Phineas snidely. "Whether or not my worthless great-great grandson has been trying to kill you" — he indicated Black with a glance — "it certainly seems as though he could not have managed it without some very sporting cooperation on your part." Oh, naturally, Severus realized with disgust. A Black was a former Headmaster.

"Whether or not," Severus snarled at the portrait of the elder Black. "You couldn't care less either, could you? The family resemblance is striking."

"He's right," Potter spoke up. "You were the one who broke the school rules. They're there for a reason, you know, they're for your own safety." Absurd. Potter was lecturing him about school rules?

"Such as the secret of the Willow, you mean, Potter?" Severus retorted.

"Enough," Dumbledore cut in. Severus looked away and took a deep breath. The Headmaster has spoken quietly, but there was no mistaking his determination. Black and Potter, too, remained silent.

"I should say so," muttered Phineas. "The sheer insolence that goes unpunished around here — students in my day would never have dreamed of —"

"Phineas, please," said Dumbledore, sounding rather tired. "If you won't allow me to finish dealing with my students then I am afraid we shall be here all night."

"Who's being insolent now?" Black muttered under his breath.

"I heard that," said Phineas. "You know, the discipline here may be woefully inadequate for dealing with the likes of you, but I do look forward to seeing what your mother has to say when she learns you've been —"

"That information is not to leave this room, Phineas," Dumbledore interrupted.

"What? But surely the boy's parents have a right to know if —"

"Not to leave this room, Phineas," Dumbledore repeated firmly.

The former Headmaster stood there for a moment. He had clenched his white gloved hands into fists and seemed ready to continue the argument, his expression mirroring the mutinous expression on his descendant’s face. Dumbledore’s grave expression must have cowed him however, for he turned and stalked out of his frame. Severus was not sorry to see him go; one less Black in the room had to be a good thing.

With Phineas Black’s departure, the room fell silent. Dumbledore fixed his eyes on Severus, who glared back. He’d known it, really. Slughorn had probably just been trying to warn him, in his annoying way … Black would get away with it.

"I could not help overhearing, Mr. Snape, a portion of your conversation with Professor Slughorn outside my office," Dumbledore remarked.

Severus was taken aback by the abrupt change of topic. Was the Headmaster reading his mind? He’d seen references suggesting this was possible. Eye contact, he recalled suddenly, was necessary. Blast. He didn’t care if Dumbledore knew what he thought of him, he decided, staring defiantly back at the Headmaster, especially not if he was going to make a fuss about a bit of bad manners while letting Black off.

"It seems, then," Dumbledore continued, "that you would disagree with the position that only those students deemed worthy by some criteria should be permitted to attend Hogwarts?"

Severus glowered at him. What did the Headmaster expect him to do, blurt out that he was the son of a Muggle, as well as a recipient of funds for indigent students, and as such unworthy in the eyes of the purebloods?! "Hogwarts is open to all students in Britain and Ireland born with magical ability," he answered noncommittally.

"And you approve?" Dumbledore pressed.

"Yes," said Severus. He was becoming annoyed by this digression.

"Excellent," said Dumbledore. "Then I am confident you would not wish to prevent a deserving student from completing his education here."

Severus realized abruptly where this line of questioning must be going. He was not going to consent to this. The Headmaster was insane to think he would. “Black is not deserving!” he spat out.

"I am not referring to Mr. Black," said Dumbledore calmly. "Whatever his deserts, I could not expel him without having to explain my reasons. The resulting furor would certainly bring about the removal of Mr. Lupin from the school — as would the disclosure of tonight's events from any other source."

Severus was momentarily silenced. He hadn’t given Lupin much thought. The Headmaster’s blue eyes regarded him steadily.

"Can I count on your cooperation in this matter?" he asked softly.

"What?" Potter yelped. "Sir, aren't you going to Obliviate him?" The possibility had not even crossed Severus’ mind. Instinctively he pushed back his chair and started to rise.

"No, Mr. Potter," said Dumbledore firmly. "I prefer not to — please take your seat, Mr. Snape — not to tamper with my students' memories like that."

Reassured, Severus sat back down, his eyes on the Headmaster.

"But sir, you can't just let him walk out of here knowing Remus is a werewolf!" Black protested.

"He'll go straight back to the Slytherin common room and tell anyone who'll listen to him," Potter added.

"Well, I sincerely hope you're wrong about that, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore replied calmly. Severus looked over at Black and Potter, enjoying the nearly identical expressions of frustration and disbelief on their faces.

"But he hates us, sir," Black protested. "That was the whole reason he went out tonight."

"Exactly," said Potter. "He'll do anything to get one of us expelled. He'll do it just to get back at Sirius."

"Mr. Snape?" said Dumbledore. His eyes, his tone … he meant it, Severus was abruptly sure. He was asking, and he believed Severus would do it, too.

"It doesn't matter what he says," said Black. "There's no way he could be trusted with something like this, sir." This, from the boy who had sought to use that very secret as a murder weapon, earlier in the evening.

"I could hardly do a worse job at keeping Lupin's secret than you, Black!" Severus retorted.

"My sincere thanks, Mr. Snape," Dumbledore cut in, his blue eyes twinkling. "I believe you will do a better job."

All three boys stared at him, their mouths hanging slightly open.

"But —" said Potter, speechless with frustration.

Severus remained silent, wishing he had not allowed himself to be provoked by Black. But the obvious distress of his adversaries at the turn of events helped to reconcile him to his commitment.

"I know that it is a big responsibility Mr. Snape has undertaken at my request," said Dumbledore, "and I believe he is up to the task. But life can be full of temptations. As friends of Mr. Lupin, I think it would behoove you to do what you can to ensure Mr. Snape does not face many."

Unless Severus was much mistaken, the Headmaster had just warned Black and Potter to lay off him.

"That's not fair," said Black. "I'm the one who messed up here, why should Remus have to pay for it?"

Dumbledore regarded Black for a moment, then sighed, checked his watch, and conjured four steaming mugs of hot chocolate with a quick wave of his wand. After the boys had each taken a mug, the Headmaster spoke.

"Mr. Black, what do you think would have happened tonight if Mr. Potter had not had — as he calls it — a 'bad feeling' about the situation? Had not gone to check the tunnel?"

Black made a show of sipping his hot chocolate. Naturally, he would not admit what he had planned, Severus thought to himself.

"I think Mr. Lupin may have wound up paying a far greater price for your indiscretion than he is under the present circumstances," Dumbledore continued. "But, as you have so astutely pointed out, it would be quite unfair if the burden of the consequences fell entirely to him. Fifty points from Gryffindor, I think."

Severus had known something like this was coming, ever since the Headmaster had made clear he would not expel Black, yet still, he could not repress his indignation. "That's it? Excuse me, sir, but fifty points from Gryffindor? For attempted murder?"

"Not quite," Dumbledore replied. "I suspect Professor McGonagall will be in touch to arrange detentions for him as well." He looked at Black again. "Mr. Black, I believe that you did not truly intend for anyone to die tonight. However, it is important that you understand how a single mistake — made in a moment of thoughtless anger — could easily have had such dire consequences." Black stared down at the desk, feigning distress, no doubt.

"I hope you appreciate how lucky you are that Mr. Potter was able to intervene in time," Dumbledore continued. "And that you will not have to go through the rest of your life with the knowledge that you had helped bring about the deaths of three of your classmates — two of them your very close friends. I fear that if you cannot learn to control your temper and think through your actions more carefully, you may not be so lucky next time."

"Yes, sir," Black mumbled, not looking up.

"Unbelievable," Severus whispered.

"Mr. Snape, I'm sorry to have to say it, but you too were out of bounds tonight. Even if your classmates were breaking the rules, it would not have been your place to follow them and collect proof. You could have confided your suspicions in any member of the school staff, all of whom were aware of Mr. Lupin's condition and would have assured you that the situation was under control.” Nothing about Potter and his gang was under control, Severus fumed inwardly. And no one on the staff knew, or cared.

“Instead you chose a dangerous path, and it should hardly come as a surprise that it lead you straight to danger,” Dumbledore continued. He had that right, Severus reflected bitterly. “Twenty points from Slytherin, I think, and I hope you too will think through your actions more carefully in future. I shall also speak with Professor Slughorn, who may be contacting you to arrange detentions as well."

Severus clenched his jaw to stop an angry, and pointless, retort. It was ignorance, not heedlessness, that had led him to stick his neck in a noose tonight. He would indeed think his actions through more carefully in the future, now that Black had made clear how far he was willing to go.

"And finally, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore said, sounding slightly more cheerful. "The quick thinking and courage you displayed tonight were most admirable. While your actions speak for themselves, I think a hundred points for Gryffindor are certainly in order as well."

"Thank you, sir," Potter responded.

"Well, it's getting quite late, and I have certainly talked on long enough," said Dumbledore at last. "I suspect we are all more than ready to return to our nice warm beds and try to put the night's events behind us." He stood up and walked toward the door; the three boys followed suit.

"I do trust," said Dumbledore, pausing by the door to look at Severus, "that after tonight, no one here would intentionally endanger the well-being of a fellow student, and that no one" — he turned his gaze to Black and Potter — "would give him a reason to do so. Goodnight."


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding
  #10  
Old January 24th, 2007, 10:32 pm
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capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
Fifth Year
 
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Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

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Chapter Five: The Reckoning (Sirius)
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The heavy oak door to the Headmaster's office swung open; they all filed in, and were immediately greeted by a reedy, irritable voice that Sirius, unfortunately, knew all too well.

"Oh dear," drawled his great-great grandfather, Phineas Nigellus Black, eyeing them all warily from his gilded picture frame. "What is it this time? No wait, don't tell me, let me guess — you've been selling illegal study aids to the student body again? Or maybe you've set fire to the Charms corridor this time."

Sirius gritted his teeth and willed himself not to respond, focusing instead on the collection of whirring, puffing silver contraptions that Dumbledore kept in his office. He and James had often speculated on what these were for — Sirius thought they were used to spy on students, though James was convinced at least one of them let you see into Professor McGonagall's bedchamber.

Dumbledore strode over to his desk, conjured three chairs, and gestured for the boys to sit. They sat. He then heaved a sigh, took his own seat, put the tips of his fingers together, and peered at each one of them in turn over the top of his half-moon spectacles.

"Tell me what happened," he said at last, his eyes resting on Snape.

Snape took a deep breath. "Black and Potter tricked me into following the tunnel under the Whomping Willow tonight, sir, knowing full well there was a werewolf waiting at the other end."

"I didn't trick you," said Sirius. "I just told you how to freeze the tree. And James had nothing to do with it."

"When did this happen?" Dumbledore asked Snape.

"Early this evening, sir," said Snape. "We were planting Tibetan chomping cabbages for Professor Sprout when Lupin emerged from the castle and approached the Whomping Willow."

"No doubt accompanied by Madam Pomfrey?"

Snape nodded. "And that was when Black suggested I follow him and explained how to stop the Whomping Willow."

Dumbledore considered this for a moment, then turned to Sirius. "Why did you tell him?" he asked quietly.

Sirius shrugged, unnerved by those clear blue eyes that seemed to probe the depths of his soul. "He wanted to know?"

"It was a plan to murder me, Headmaster," said Snape. "I am certain of it."

There was a sharp intake of breath at the word murder, and Sirius turned involuntarily to the wall of portraits.

"Murder?" hissed Phineas Nigellus, staring at him with abnormally bright eyes; the other headmasters and headmistresses snoozed on peacefully.

"Sirius never expected him to actually listen, sir," James said quickly, addressing Dumbledore.

"Oh, shut up," Sirius told the portrait, knowing he would probably pay for his impertinence later and not really caring.

"Whips and chains, Dumbledore," said Phineas loudly. "That's the only way to deal with delinquents like this. I believe there is a well-oiled set of chains to be found in the caretaker's office: hang him up by his thumbs, I say. If that doesn't teach him, nothing will."

"Yes, thank you, Phineas," said Dumbledore.

"Sir," James continued, "Snape kept asking questions about where Remus went off to every month."

"He seemed to think we were all up to something," said Sirius, "and if he found out he could get us all expelled." Of course they had been up to something, and if Snape had found out it probably would’ve got them all expelled — but years of getting in trouble and trying to talk his way out had taught Sirius that the best way to avoid a dangerous subject was to address it head-on.

"So I annoyed Black," Snape said heatedly. "That is a reason to kill me? Black even said it when he told me how to stop the Willow — 'you want proof we're sneaking out?' — those were his exact words, Headmaster."

"Is this true?" Dumbledore asked Sirius.

"I don't know," said Sirius, trying to remember if those had indeed been his exact words. "I guess I probably said something like that...."

There was a brief moment of silence during which a flicker of disappointment crossed Dumbledore's face. Then —

"Thumbscrews," Phineas Nigellus volunteered. "I left a few pairs in one of the storage dungeons. I'm telling you, Dumbledore, they will do the boy a world of good."

"No one asked you, you horrible old man," snapped Sirius, earning himself a very ugly look from his august ancestor. He also couldn't help noticing that Snape seemed to think the idea had merit.

"But Professor," James went on, ignoring Phineas, "Sirius didn't mean for him to go, he just thought —"

"I thought maybe if I told him something, he'd realize we had nothing to hide and lose interest," Sirius explained.

"So killing me was supposed to be a way of keeping your little excursions a secret then?" Snape demanded.

"What little excursions?" said James impatiently (he too had a great deal of experience talking his way out of trouble). "Who'd be mad enough to go sneaking out after a werewolf on full moon?"

“I didn’t know about the werewolf,” Snape conceded, in a voice of forced calm.

"Mr. Potter," said Dumbledore, "if Mr. Black did indeed act alone, how did you come to know of all this?"

"He told me."

"And you thought Mr. Snape would listen to him?"

"I thought he might," said James slowly.

"You went straight to the tunnel to investigate?" Dumbledore pressed. James nodded.

"When was this? As in, how long after Mr. Black had imparted the information to Mr. Snape?"

"Er —" said James.

"I didn't tell him until much later," said Sirius quickly. "I didn't — I didn't think it would be that big a deal." He was hoping they wouldn't have to explain about the Marauder's Map; it was a rather dubious magical object, and it was sure to be confiscated if any of the teachers found out about it.

"I just had a bad feeling," James put in. "I figured I should at least check it out."

"But Mr. Black disagreed?" Dumbledore asked, after watching them both curiously for a moment. "He still felt there was no danger of Mr. Snape taking his advice?"

"Um, yeah," said James.

"Did the two of you argue over this point?"

Sirius knew he must have looked surprised; Dumbledore smiled slightly.

"Miss Evans had told me that she encountered Mr. Black in low spirits," he explained. "She seemed to think there had been a disagreement between the two of you, and I merely wondered if this was what it was over."

"Oh, yeah," said James. "I mean, I thought it was stupid of him to tell in the first place, but I guess he thought I was overreacting."

"Rubbish," said Snape forcefully. "Professor, Potter was in on it too. They were both feigning plans to meet with Lupin later, throughout the evening."

"What?" James exclaimed. "When?"

"In the library," Snape replied, keeping his eyes on Dumbledore. "Black was angling to snog that blonde Ravenclaw from Charms" — Phineas Nigellus snorted in disapproval, but Sirius refused to look in his direction — "when Potter interrupted to remind him they had to go find 'Moony.' He knew I was within earshot. And minutes later, Black was telling him they couldn't go until he'd taken a shower." Snape's face reddened slightly as he said this, but he went on without pausing. "There must have been a dozen witnesses at least, sir. I would be happy to give you some of their names."

"There will be no need for that, Mr. Snape," said Dumbledore. "I believe you."

"It was a joke, sir," said James quickly. "We had no idea he was listening in on our private conversations. We say stuff like that every full moon."

"Private?" sneered Snape.

Sirius's patience was wearing thin. "You know," he said aggressively, "even if we were sneaking out, how's that any of your business?"

"Right," said James, catching on. "Even if you were right about us, you would have been just as 'out-of-bounds' as we were, trying to get the proof."

Snape glowered at the both of them but couldn't seem to think of a reply.

"Very well," Dumbledore began.

"If you ask me," Sirius added for good measure, "anyone stupid enough to miss this obvious snag rather deserves —"

"Idiot boy!" snarled Phineas Nigellus, as James stamped on Sirius's foot. "Shut your mouth!"

Sirius felt his own face go red. He slid down a few inches in his chair and crossed his arms defensively, but didn't say anything more.

"Very well," Dumbledore began again.

"That proves it," breathed Snape, his black eyes glittering as they fixed on Sirius. "You know, Black, this whole night shall have been most worthwhile, just to see you expelled in the end."

Dumbledore cleared his throat softly and Sirius's heart skipped a beat. Was he really going to be expelled?

"Now see here, Dumbledore," said Phineas Nigellus, who clearly thought this was going a bit far.

"Sirius will not be expelled, Phineas," Dumbledore said simply, not looking up.

"I just think it would be unnecessary," Phineas added smoothly, as Sirius let out the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "After all, it's not his fault this chump — Snape, was it? — decided to blatantly flout school rules and visit Hogsmeade in the dead of night."

"Phineas," said Dumbledore, with a warning note in his voice.

Sirius, a perpetual embarrassment to the Nasty and Most Awful House of Black, knew this sudden show of support had nothing to do with him and everything to do with upholding the family name. Still, the look on Snape's face now was priceless. He had probably thought that any portrait who suggested hanging Sirius from the ceiling by his thumbs was a portrait with whom he would generally see eye to eye.

"What?" he shouted incredulously.

"Oh yes," said Phineas snidely. "Whether or not my worthless great-great grandson has been trying to kill you" — he shot Sirius a disapproving look here, as if to let him know he still considered this highly inappropriate behavior — "it certainly seems as though he could not have managed it without some very sporting cooperation on your part."

"Whether or not," snarled Snape. "You couldn't care less either, could you? The family resemblance is striking."

Sirius wrinkled his nose.

"He's right," James piped up, looking at Snape. "You were the one who broke the school rules. They're there for a reason, you know, they're for your own safety."

"Such as the secret of the Willow, you mean, Potter?"

Sirius opened his mouth to point out that there was no school rule against sharing the secret of the Willow.

"Enough," Dumbledore cut in, in a voice that was quiet but firm. Sirius closed his mouth quickly.

"I should say so," Phineas Nigellus commented. "The sheer insolence that goes unpunished around here — students in my day would never have dreamed of —"

"Phineas, please," said Dumbledore, sounding rather tired. "If you won't allow me to finish dealing with my students then I am afraid we shall be here all night."

"Who's being insolent now?" Sirius muttered under his breath.

"I heard that," said Phineas Nigellus sharply. "You know, the discipline here may be woefully inadequate for dealing with the likes of you, but I do look forward to seeing what your mother has to say when she learns you've been —"

"That information is not to leave this room, Phineas," Dumbledore interrupted, looking grave.

"What? But surely the boy's parents have a right to know if —"

"Not to leave this room, Phineas," Dumbledore repeated firmly.

Phineas Nigellus stood there for a moment, clenching his white gloved hands into fists and looking mutinous; then he turned and stalked out of his frame. Sirius was not sorry to see him go, but he had to wonder if the night's events were about to be broadcast all over number twelve, Grimmauld Place. If they were, every last one of the portraits would no doubt have something to say to him about it next time he landed up there — not to mention his parents, of course. Maybe he could tell them Snape was Muggle-born and spare himself the headache.

Dumbledore waited, as though making sure none of them had anything more to say, then turned his attention to Snape. "I could not help overhearing, Mr. Snape, a portion of your conversation with Professor Slughorn outside my office."

Sirius also turned his attention to Snape, who seemed slightly taken aback by the question.

"It seems, then," Dumbledore continued, "that you would disagree with the position that only those students deemed worthy by some criteria should be permitted to attend Hogwarts?"

Snape glowered at him. "Hogwarts is open to all students in Britain and Ireland born with magical ability," he said stiffly.

James and Sirius exchanged a puzzled look.

"And you approve?" Dumbledore pressed.

"Yes," said Snape peevishly.

"Excellent," said Dumbledore. "Then I am confident you would not wish to prevent a deserving student from completing his education here."

Snape looked appalled. "Black is not deserving!" he spat.

"I am not referring to Mr. Black," said Dumbledore calmly. "Whatever his deserts" — Sirius did not like the sound of this — "I could not expel him without having to explain my reasons. The resulting furor would certainly bring about the removal of Mr. Lupin from the school — as would the disclosure of tonight's events from any other source."

Dumbledore watched Snape closely, apparently waiting for him to say something. "Can I count on your cooperation in this matter?" he asked, when Snape didn't respond.

Sirius's stomach lurched, as though he had just missed a step going down the stairs. He hadn't been too concerned about Snape's knowing Moony's furry little problem so far, assuming a good memory charm would fix that easily enough. But it sounded now like Dumbledore was planning to just — ask Snape not to tell?

Apparently James had been thinking along the same lines.

"What?" he yelped. "Sir, aren't you going to Obliviate him?"

Snape started to rise from his chair.

"No, Mr. Potter," said Dumbledore, looking perfectly serious. "I prefer not to — please take your seat, Mr. Snape — not to tamper with my students' memories like that."

Sirius couldn't believe what he was hearing. "But sir, you can't just let him walk out of here knowing Remus is a werewolf!"

"He'll go straight back to the Slytherin common room and tell anyone who'll listen to him," said James reasonably.

"Well, I sincerely hope you're wrong about that, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore replied calmly.

"But he hates us, sir," Sirius protested, unable to understand how Dumbledore could be so thick. "That was the whole reason he went out tonight."

"Exactly," said James. "He'll do anything to get one of us expelled. He'll do it just to get back at Sirius."

Sirius was uncomfortably aware this was true. He felt like his friend was being thrown out of school for something he — and he alone — did.

"Mr. Snape?" said Dumbledore.

"It doesn't matter what he says," said Sirius desperately. "There's no way he could be trusted with something like this, sir."

"I could hardly do a worse job at keeping Lupin's secret than you, Black!" Snape snapped.

"My sincere thanks, Mr. Snape," Dumbledore cut in, his blue eyes twinkling. "I believe you will do a better job."

All three boys stared at him, their mouths hanging slightly open.

"But —" said James.

"I know that it is a big responsibility Mr. Snape has undertaken at my request," Dumbledore went on, "and I believe he is up to the task. But life can be full of temptations. As friends of Mr. Lupin, I think it would behoove you to do what you can to ensure Mr. Snape does not face many."

"That's not fair," said Sirius. "I'm the one who messed up here, why should Remus have to pay for it?"

Dumbledore watched him for a moment, then sighed, checked his watch, and conjured four steaming mugs of hot chocolate with a quick wave of his wand. Sirius felt a lecture coming on.

He was not mistaken.

"Mr. Black, what do you think would have happened tonight if Mr. Potter had not had — as he calls it — a 'bad feeling' about the situation? Had not gone to check the tunnel?"

Sirius wasn't sure how to respond to this, so he picked up his mug of hot chocolate and busied himself in taking a sip.

"I think Mr. Lupin may have wound up paying a far greater price for your indiscretion than he is under the present circumstances," Dumbledore continued. "But, as you have so astutely pointed out, it would be quite unfair if the burden of the consequences fell entirely to him. Fifty points from Gryffindor, I think."

Snape looked like he couldn't believe his ears. "That's it? Excuse me, sir, but fifty points from Gryffindor? For attempted murder?"

"Not quite," Dumbledore replied. "I suspect Professor McGonagall will be in touch to arrange detentions for him as well." He turned back to Sirius. "Mr. Black, I believe that you did not truly intend for anyone to die tonight. However, it is important that you understand how a single mistake — made in a moment of thoughtless anger — could easily have had such dire consequences." Sirius stared at the desk; he had already figured this much out for himself.

"I hope you appreciate how lucky you are that Mr. Potter was able to intervene in time," Dumbledore continued. "And that you will not have to go through the rest of your life with the knowledge that you had helped bring about the deaths of three of your classmates — two of them your very close friends. I fear that if you cannot learn to control your temper and think through your actions more carefully, you may not be so lucky next time."

"Yes, sir," Sirius mumbled, not looking up. He knew it was true, for the most part, but he still hated the old man for saying it.

"Unbelievable," Snape whispered, fortunately attracting Dumbledore's attention to himself and away from Sirius.

"Mr. Snape, I'm sorry to have to say it, but you too were out of bounds tonight. Even if your classmates were breaking the rules, it would not have been your place to follow them and collect proof. You could have confided your suspicions in any member of the school staff, all of whom were aware of Mr. Lupin's condition and would have assured you that the situation was under control. Instead you chose a dangerous path, and it should hardly come as a surprise that it lead you straight to danger. Twenty points from Slytherin, I think, and I hope you too will think through your actions more carefully in future. I shall also speak with Professor Slughorn, who may be contacting you to arrange detentions as well."

Well, at least Snivelly didn't get off completely free either, Sirius thought to himself.

"And finally, Mr. Potter," Dumbledore said, sounding slightly more cheerful. "The quick thinking and courage you displayed tonight were most admirable. While your actions speak for themselves, I think a hundred points for Gryffindor are certainly in order as well."

"Thank you, sir," said James politely, though without much enthusiasm.

"Well, it's getting quite late, and I have certainly talked on long enough," said Dumbledore at last. "I suspect we are all more than ready to return to our nice warm beds and try to put the night's events behind us." He stood up and walked toward the door; the three boys followed suit.

"I do trust," said Dumbledore, pausing by the door and glancing Snape, "that after tonight, no one here would intentionally endanger the life of a fellow student, and that no one" — he turned his gaze to James and Sirius — "would give him a reason to do so. Goodnight."

••••••••••••


A/N--According to the original plan, this would have been The End. But we lack the self-discipline to quit while we’re ahead, so you’ll get to see how things unfold the following morning. In the meantime, do stop by the feedback thread to rant and rave about the egregiously inappropriate way Dumbledore handled this situation, the gross injustices done to any or all of your favorite young wizards, how you would have done things differently if you had been in charge, or whatever else happens to be on your mind after reading this latest installment.


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Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

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  #11  
Old February 25th, 2007, 6:57 am
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capella_black  Female.gif capella_black is offline
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Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

A/N – Alright folks, this is it. The final chapter.


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Chapter Six: The Morning After (Sirius)
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Sirius woke up the next morning and just lay in bed, wishing he didn't have to get out. He was not at all looking forward to the day ahead of him, especially since right before falling asleep he had decided he would be the one to explain to Moony what had happened. How he would accomplish this, he had no idea, but he knew it would at least be better coming from him than anyone else.

Through his bed curtains he could hear Peter and James moving about the room, getting dressed.

Peter had waited up for them last night, probably hoping that if they weren't dead or expelled they might still want to go out for full moon. James had brought him up to speed on the situation, sounding much less forgiving about the whole thing now that Moony's future lay entirely in Snivelly's hands.

Sirius still couldn't believe this, that the Headmaster was being so callous about the welfare of a perfectly innocent student. He could see no reason, none at all, for Snivellus to keep the information to himself. Moony had done nothing wrong, he didn't deserve to have this constant threat hanging over his head.

At the same time, Sirius knew better than to voice his indignation, much as he wanted to, because there was still the inescapable fact that it was he who gave Snivelly the information in the first place. James was plainly thinking along similar lines, because he hadn't said a word to Sirius since they'd left Dumbledore's office the night before.

"Coming, Padfoot?" Wormtail called.

"No," Sirius mumbled into his pillow. "Just go, I'll catch up."

He waited until they had left before finally rolling out of bed and slowly starting to get dressed.

By the time he made it down to breakfast, the Great Hall was already quite packed; the enchanted ceiling overhead was a cold, steely gray today.

Sirius scanned the Gryffindor table: Evans had parked herself next to James and was nodding solemnly as he told her something in a low voice. Wormtail was listening in eagerly too; then he noticed Sirius approaching and prodded James, who quickly stopped talking. All three of them eyed Sirius with slightly guilty looks — a dead giveaway they'd been talking about him. He sat down without a word and reached for a plate of kippers.

"Um — I'd better be going —" said Evans hastily. She jumped up and hurried off to her friends, leaving a stiff, awkward silence in her wake.

"Some people were asking about the fifty points we got last night," said Wormtail, making a valiant attempt to initiate friendly conversation. "I told them Prongs was supposed to meet Snivellus for a duel, but Snivelly got scared and ran away and got attacked by a manticore in the forest, and Prongs ended up having to save him."

He sounded quite pleased with himself for having come up with this story; James replied by clearing his throat in a noncommittal way, while Sirius stabbed moodily at his kippers with a fork.

A few minutes later, a flurry of noise overhead heralded the arrival of the post owls. Sirius heard someone say, "uh oh," and looked up to see one of the owls with a telltale red envelope in its beak — someone was getting a Howler.

Next moment his heart was in his throat. That was his mother's owl, Sargas. He was getting a Howler.

Surely — surely Phineas Nigellus hadn't disobeyed a direct order from Dumbledore and told

Sirius threw a panicked glance at James as Sargas dropped the envelope disdainfully onto his plate and flew off. James was looking equally worried. Was the entire Great Hall about to learn that there was a werewolf at Hogwarts?

Sirius opened the envelope and quickly stuffed his fingers into his ears as his mother's nerve-grating screeches, amplified to a hundred times their normal volume, filled the room.

"— NASTY, UNGRATEFUL, INSOLENT LITTLE BRAT! HAVEN'T YOU BROUGHT ENOUGH SHAME ON THIS HOUSE ALREADY? TELL ME, WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE A SON LIKE THIS? ALWAYS ACTING LIKE HE HAS NOTHING BUT COMMON DIRT IN HIS VEINS — SEE WHERE IT GETS YOU? EVEN THAT MUDBLOOD-LOVING OLD FOOL DUMBLEDORE WILL ONLY TOLERATE SO MUCH FROM YOU, YOU BEASTLY CHILD. AND WHEN HE FINALLY EXPELS YOU, YOU CAN GO WALLOW IN YOUR BELOVED MUGGLE FILTH LIKE THE WORTHLESS SWINE YOU ARE, BECAUSE YOU ARE NO SON OF MINE!"

Sirius felt like his face was on fire. He could hear howls of laughter coming from the Slytherin table through the ringing in his ears, and knew that the rest of the school was probably gaping at him, too shocked or frightened even to laugh. After a moment, he dropped his fork and stalked out of the Great Hall.

The general chatter slowly began to pick up again as he reached the entrance hall. He leaned against the wall outside, feeling sick to his stomach and literally trembling with rage.

He hated her. He hated her so much he couldn't possibly find words to express it. He just wanted to hurt her as much as he could. Stab her repeatedly ... or maybe put deadly poisons in her drink ... good, slow-acting and extremely painful ones....

He might have settled for just smashing something at the moment though, since destroying his mother wasn't exactly feasible while he was stuck at school, but a quick scan of the entrance hall revealed nothing suitably smashable.

"I've always said — charming lady, your mum," James remarked, wandering out of the Great Hall with a couple of scones in hand. In a half-hearted gesture of solidarity, he offered one to Sirius, who just shook his head, having completely lost his appetite.

"Hey, at least he didn't tell her what you did," James said bracingly. "I was really worried for a moment there."

"Yeah," said Sirius dully.

Students were starting to file out of the Great Hall and head to their morning classes.

"Come on," James said, starting for the stairs. Sirius pushed himself off the wall and followed.

Their first class of the day was Arithmancy; about halfway there, Sirius was seized by a sudden recklessness — he was in enough trouble already, how much worse could it get if he didn't show up for this one class?

"Hey, where are you going?" James called out, as Sirius turned abruptly down a random side corridor. "Arithmancy's this way."

"I don't think I'm gonna go," Sirius said, pausing to look back.

James frowned. "You want company?" he asked shrewdly. Sirius shook his head.

"Alright," said James after a moment, "I'll tell Professor Scalar you got sick and had to go to the hospital wing. Maybe you should actually go there and try and talk to Moony."

Sirius had been thinking more or less the same thing, but he would need time to figure out what he was going to say. He headed to the library, picked out a random book on memory charms so as to look busy, and installed himself at an empty table.

Maybe he could find a way to modify Snape's memory himself....

"Shouldn't you be in class right now?" asked a very smug voice over his shoulder. Sirius jumped a little and turned to find his younger brother, Regulus, standing behind him and smirking.

As they usually avoided one another like the plague, Sirius could only assume Reg was here to gloat about the Howler. He told his little brother in no uncertain terms what he could go do to himself, and then turned back to the book he'd been pretending to read.

Reggie made tsk, tsk noises. "Such language," he said, leaning casually against the table. "And skiving off classes too. Mother won't be at all pleased when she hears about this." He sighed dramatically.

"Shouldn't you be in class right now?" Sirius asked irritably.

"Nah, I'm doing research," Reggie replied, nodding toward a table where several other fourth year Slytherins were poring over musty old spell books that looked like they had come from the Restricted Section. "Got a signed note and everything." He paused. "So — what'd you do last night?"

Sirius looked daggers at him. "She sent you to find out, didn’t she?"

"No," said Reggie calmly. "Not yet anyway. It was something to do with Snape, wasn't it? That's what everyone's saying."

"Then that must be what happened."

"Well he did go and lose us twenty points last night," Reg continued. "But here's what I don't get — how is it you almost get expelled and Gryffindor's still up fifty?"

"Who said I almost got expelled?"

Reggie shrugged. "Phineas Nigellus must have. Though it didn't sound like he gave a lot of details on why. I wonder if Dumbledore's trying to cover it up...."

Sirius was losing patience with this. "Why are you here?" he asked, slamming his book shut. "What do you want?"

"My, my, someone's getting touchy," said Reg with an infuriating look of amusement on his face. "I must have hit a nerve. You're hiding something. Maybe I should go ask Snape what it is."

Sirius realized Reg was watching him closely for some sort of reaction. "Do it," he said indifferently.

Reg continued to search his face, eyes narrowing. "I already did," he said finally, sounding slightly disappointed. "He wasn't saying. But he looked like he wanted to...."

Sirius could almost see the wheels turning in his brother's head, and suddenly he began to worry. Looking at Reg up close was a lot like looking into a mirror, which meant that they were both a little too good at reading each other's expressions. Reg must have picked up on the fact that there was something here Sirius really didn't want getting out, and Sirius got the sense he would do his very best to find out what that was.

"Why do you care?" he asked harshly. "This has nothing to do with you. Do you really not have anything better to do?"

"I'm sure I could find a way to get it out of him though," Reg continued thoughtfully, as though Sirius hadn't spoken. "He's not exactly fond of you, in case you haven't noticed."

Sirius glowered at his brother. Reg was right though, Snape probably would tell him if pressed. It was a wonder he hadn't told already, come to think of it.

"Snape's an idiot," said Sirius, sighing resignedly and tilting his chair back. "He thinks I tried to kill him."

Reggie snorted. "You wouldn't."

"What?"

"You wouldn't use the Killing Curse," Reg laughed. "You're too self-righteous; it would destroy your image."

Sirius knew this wasn't a compliment; but in spite of that — or maybe because of it — he was suddenly filled with a strange urge to confide in his brother. They no longer agreed about anything, really, but at least here was someone who wouldn't think him any more of a Black after hearing what he'd done last night. Sirius knew how Reggie thought, knew he'd probably feel like everyone else was overreacting too....

"It wasn't the Killing Curse, exactly," he said slowly.

"Then what?" said Reggie, frowning. "You actually did try to kill him?"

"No —"

Sirius sighed. There was really no way to do this without drawing attention to Moony's secret, and he absolutely could not afford to let another Slytherin find out. He reminded himself there would be nothing — no promises to Dumbledore or anything — to keep Reg from turning this on him next time they fought. Why was he even considering it?

"Oh come on," said Reg impatiently. "You can't say something like that then not explain it." The hostility was gone from his voice now, replaced by what sounded like genuine curiosity.

This wasn't good. Sirius hadn't meant to make Reggie even more intrigued. Now if his brother wasn't pursuing the matter out of malice, he'd be doing it anyway just to satisfy his own curiosity. Sirius realized he would have to try appealing to Reg's better nature, a prospect about which he did not feel particularly optimistic.

"Sorry, I know it's not fair," he said. "Look, if I could tell you I would — but you're right, Dumbledore doesn't want anyone else to know. It was just this whole big misunderstanding. Trust me, it's really not that interesting."

Reggie looked skeptical.

"Will you just leave it alone?" Sirius pressed. "Please?"

Reg was now starting to look uncomfortable with this sudden show of niceness. "I might be willing to," he said in a deliberately snotty voice. "Depends what's in it for me...."

"What do you want?" Sirius asked warily.

"Stop seeing that Mudblood," said Reggie promptly.

"What?"

"She's completely mental. And it's just embarrassing."

Sirius stood abruptly and pushed in his chair, in no mood to argue this. "Not happening," he said. "Think of something else."

"Then I guess I'll just have to have another chat with Snape," Reggie said threateningly.

"I guess you'll have to," Sirius said, starting to walk away.

"Whatever," he heard Reggie say behind him. "You still owe me."

"Right."

Sirius left the library and, though he was no closer to knowing what he would say to Moony, decided to head to the hospital wing. He needed something to take his mind off his fresh annoyance with his brother, and if he put it off much longer, someone else might get to Remus first.

When he got to the infirmary, he quietly pushed open the door and was relieved to see that it was practically empty. Remus was propped up in a far bed, his head wrapped in bandages; the only other student there was a second year girl who appeared to have a beanstalk growing out of her ear. Sirius slipped through the door and started across the room, sparing her a quick grin that made her cheeks turn red.

"And just what do you think you're doing here, Mr. Black?"

Sirius froze. Madam Pomfrey had just stepped out of her office and was fixing him with a very stern look.

"I need to talk to Remus," he explained.

"Do you have a note from a teacher?"

"No," said Sirius, wishing he had remembered to forge one. "But it's really important ... really, really important...."

Maybe she picked up on his desperate tone, or maybe she just wasn't in the mood to argue about it today, but for whatever reason, Madam Pomfrey actually sighed and said, "Make it quick."

Remus, for reasons known only to himself, was reading the proceedings for the 2,382nd Annual Conference on Experimental Charms. He put it down as Sirius approached however, giving him a puzzled look.

"What are you doing here? Don't you have class?"

"Yeah, but I needed to talk to you."

Remus frowned slightly and dropped his voice, so that it was barely above a whisper. "Where were you guys last night? Did something happen?"

"Sort of," said Sirius, casting around for the right words to explain it.

"You didn't get caught trying to sneak out, did you?"

"Not exactly. Look —" Sirius sighed and collapsed into a chair. "You're gonna hate me by the time I'm done telling you this, but just hear me through, alright?"

"Alright," said Remus slowly, looking a little alarmed.

Sirius launched into the detention story, repeating it much as he had to James and Peter the night before. Remus stayed true to his word and refrained from saying anything.

"I never dreamed he'd actually do it," Sirius said finally. "Not if he thought I wanted him to. But then we got back to the room and looked at the map, and, well —"

He trailed off uncomfortably; Remus went deathly pale as he caught the meaning.

"I didn't ..." he whispered, "I didn't bite ..." He broke off, as though the thought were too unbearable to voice. He also looked like he was going to be sick.

"No, nobody got bitten," said Sirius quickly. "Prongs went after him and pulled him out." He was hoping Moony wasn't going to ask him why he hadn't gone after Snivelly and pulled him out.

Remus started to breathe normally again. "So Snape doesn't know what the tunnel was for?" he asked hopefully, after a few moments.

"Er," said Sirius. "He sort of does. He saw you at the end before Prongs got to him, I think."

There was no need to spell out the implications of this. Sirius stared at his shoes, unable to look Moony in the eye.

"Well, I always knew it might come to this," Remus muttered despondently. "It was only a matter of time. I suppose Dumbledore will call me up to break the news whenever Madam Pomfrey thinks I'm healed?"

Sirius looked up. "Come to what?" he asked, confused.

"My leaving Hogwarts," Remus said simply. "Snape must have told half the school by now."

"What?" Sirius exclaimed. "Don't be an idiot, you're not going anywhere. He's not allowed to tell anyone — Dumbledore's orders."

"I don’t think it matters," continued Remus, in the same defeated voice. "Even if it doesn't get out somehow, I was only allowed to come here because Dumbledore thought he could keep me from being a danger to other students. Obviously that isn't the case anymore."

Sirius was glad to finally be able to deliver some good news. "Dumbledore made it quite clear he wants you to stay in school, Moony," he said firmly. "So stop moping."

"But I almost killed two students!"

"You did nothing wrong, that was all Snivelly's fault."

Remus considered this. "Dumbledore really said he wants me to stay?"

"Yes," said Sirius. "When he was telling Snivelly to keep his mouth shut. Something about not wanting to keep a deserving student from completing his education."

This seemed to cheer Remus slightly — just in time too, because at that moment Madam Pomfrey swept down and ordered Sirius out, insisting Remus needed his rest now.

******

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful; Professor McGonagall tracked Sirius down at lunch and gave him a rather full-looking detention schedule that extended right up to the Easter holidays; he had been expecting as much.

"Ouch, mate," said James through a mouthful of food as he looked it over. "Guess you won't be going to Hogsmeade for a while."

"Right," said Sirius, realizing this meant he'd have to cancel his date for Valentine's weekend. He glanced nervously over his shoulder at the Ravenclaw table; Banks would not be pleased about this….

"You what?" she hissed after he'd told her, later that afternoon in the library.

"I won't be able to go," Sirius repeated dully. "I got detention."

Banks stared at him incredulously. "What could you possibly have done this time?"

"I'm not allowed to talk about it," he muttered, fidgeting with his quill pen as her eyes flashed dangerously.

"You had better — you owe me an explanation, Sirius Black."

Sirius said nothing.

"I can't believe you," Banks whispered furiously. "In fact, I don't believe you. This has something to do with that Howler from your mum this morning, doesn't it?"

"No," said Sirius indignantly.

"All that stuff about filthy Muggle-borns," she went on. "You're afraid of her, aren't you?"

"That's not true and you know it! I told you — I have detention."

"Sure you do."

Sirius pulled out his detention schedule and showed her. She stared at it for a moment, then looked up at him coldly, shaking her head.

"I’m sorry," he said, knowing it would do no good.

"No, you're not. You obviously prefer spending time in detention to spending time with me."

"It's not like I want to be in detention," he protested.

"You must, or you'd stop doing things to land yourself in there all the time. Honestly, I don't even know why I bother." She crushed the detention schedule in her hand, shoved it into his chest, stood up, and stalked off.

Sirius watched her go, wondering if this meant it was over. From the excited whispering that broke out at a table full of younger Gryffindor girls nearby, he gathered he wasn't the only one. He stared blankly at the Charms essay he was supposed to be working on, and decided he didn't much care either way.

Nonetheless, he didn't much feel like working after that, so when someone called out his name a minute later, he was quite happy for the interruption.

"Hey, Black!"

Sirius looked up to see one of the girls from the table, a fourth year named Bathilda Vane, standing near what looked like Snivelly's bag and grinning mischievously at him. He knew she fancied him; she was often very aggressive and annoying about it, but at the moment he didn't really mind.

"Catch!" she called playfully, tossing him something. Sirius stood quickly and caught it. It was a book: Les Arts Foncés. He snorted; of course Britain's Dark Arts wouldn't be enough for Snivellus....

Students all around him were turning to watch expectantly. Sirius opened the book and saw it had an English translation. He smirked at the names of some of the more sickening spells, then glanced up to make sure the librarian wasn't within earshot.

And that was when he noticed Snivelly, who had just emerged from the stacks and was watching him angrily. Something about his expression gave Sirius a sneaking suspicion that the git was just waiting for him to open his mouth before shouting out, "Remus Lupin is a werewolf." With a slight pang of regret he closed the book, tossed it on the table, and sank back into his chair. Enlightening the student body as to Snivelly's choice of reading material simply wasn't worth the risk of exposing Moony's furry little problem.

"Why thank you, Black," said Snivellus, approaching him with a supercilious smile plastered across his ugly face. "I'll take that back now."

Sirius glared at him but held his tongue. To his great annoyance, Snape took this as an invitation to continue talking.

"I couldn't help overhearing what passed between you and Miss Banks, just now. She was rather ... emphatic." His lip curled. "What a pity."

"Shut it, Snivelly," said Sirius between clenched teeth.

"It's for the best, though, if you think about it," Snape continued, in tones of mock sympathy.

Sirius remained sitting only because he didn't trust himself to stand up without hitting or hexing Snivelly. His fingers itched for his wand, but he busied them in picking up his open Charms book instead.

"Your dear old mother seemed a trifle upset this morning. This ought to cheer her right up."

Sirius bristled — this was too much. He felt a deep, canine growl building up in the back of his throat, and stood abruptly, slamming his book and grabbing his things. With enormous effort, he forced himself to turn around and walk away, leaving Snape laughing softly behind him.

He had calmed down a bit by the time he got back to his room, and was slightly surprised to find all three of his roommates already there (he had expected them to be at dinner). They were sprawled out on the purloined common room furniture and seemed to have stopped talking about something the moment he walked in.

"Hi," said Sirius awkwardly, making for his bed and wondering if that something had been him.

"Padfoot, come 'ere," Prongs said lazily, as Moony — whose head was now free of bandages — shut the door with his wand.

Sirius dropped his things by his bed and turned back to them, noticing that the coffee table was covered with food. They must have talked the elves into sending up dinner.

"What?" he asked, summoning a plate and helping himself.

"What do you think of banshees?" Wormtail asked him.

"Dunno, why?"

"Wormtail reckons he heard some around the foothills just west of Hogsmeade a couple months ago," Moony supplied.

"We were wondering if we should go back and check it out next full moon," Prongs added.

They had already started planning next month's adventure. Sirius broke into a grin, feeling happier than he had in what felt like a very long time.

"Not until we pay a visit to the murdered family in that old abandoned farmhouse...."

••••••••••••


A/N – Jo said Harry Potter was a book for obsessives, and obsessive is exactly what we, the authors, are. Which means we know far more about our minor bit characters than is strictly necessary. Bathilda Vane is a paternal aunt of Romilda Vane, and has a very similar personality. Bathilda means “warrioress” and is therefore the Celtic/German equivalent of the Latin “Bellatrix.” In spite of this — or perhaps because of it — she will never hook up with Sirius. She will, however, grow up to marry Boris Bagshot and write A History of Magic, which will be a required text for first years by the time Harry Potter starts Hogwarts.

Snape's part is next. Don't forget to leave feedback when you're done!


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding

Last edited by capella_black; May 2nd, 2007 at 4:49 am.
  #12  
Old February 25th, 2007, 7:07 am
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Fifth Year
 
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Re: The Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and zgirnius)

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Chapter Six: The Morning After (Severus)
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The noise of his four roommates preparing for the day gradually roused Severus from his sleep. He rolled over and pulled his blanket over his head, not wanting to deal with any of them just yet. Flint and Belby had remarked on his late arrival in the Common Room last night, but he had brushed them off and walked downstairs to the dormitory, where he had done some more work on his Charms essay. It hadn’t gone well, as his mind kept going over the night’s events, but sleeping would have been out of the question. He had stayed up until long after the rest of them had come down and gone to sleep, sitting in his bed with the curtains drawn, scribbling down and scratching out the arguments he planned to make by wand light until his eyes had started to lose focus from sheer exhaustion.

“Snape, are you awake yet?” Flint called out. He sounded annoyed.

Severus ignored him. He was too tired to get out of bed any earlier than was absolutely necessary.

“Alright, Snape, what gives?” asked Quigley, yanking aside the curtains.

His cheeks had a reddish glow that doubtless meant he had already come back from his habitual early morning run. Severus’s other three dorm mates stood beside Quigley. Severus sat up and kicked his feet over to the opposite side of the bed.

“What do you mean?” he countered, looking back as he reached for the dingy terrycloth robe that lay crumpled on top of the covers.

“You came in well after curfew, looking the worse for wear,” Belby said, walking around the trunk Severus kept at the foot of his bed.

Severus stood up and pulled the robe on over his nightshirt. The other boys came around as well. Quigley sat down on the neighboring bed, Flint stood next to his cousin, and Bulstrode walked past Severus and leaned his considerable bulk against the headboard.

“I heard this morning that Potter and Black were out late as well,” Bulstrode chimed in.

“Professor Slughorn left me a message to tell you that you are to see him in his office after your last class,” Flint added.

“And coming back from my morning run, I noticed that the House standings have changed,” finished Quigley, looking pointedly at Severus. “We’ve lost twenty points, and Gryffindor have gained fifty. So?”

“Sounds to me like you already know what happened, then,” Severus replied.

“Huh?” Belby exclaimed.

“You know all that matters,” Severus replied. “Potter, Black, and I were all out after curfew last night. I lost points; they won points. Simple.”

Belby glared at him.

“I ran into my second cousin in the Owlery this morning,” Bulstrode offered. “She’s a third year Gryffindor. Her friend said she heard Pettigrew telling someone all about it in their Common Room last night. Potter challenged you to a wizard’s duel, and Black went as his second, but at the last minute you got cold feet and ran off into the Forest, and got yourself attacked by an Acromantula, and then Potter got you away from it.”

“Alright, I missed an important detail,” Severus retorted, turning towards Bulstrode. “Peter Pettigrew is a lying sack of doxy droppings.”

“The story fits the facts, Snape,” said Flint. “Why should we believe you?”

“There are no Acromantulae in the British Isles, for one thing,” Severus said with a sneer. “The blasted things live in tropical jungles; it’s one reason their venom is so expensive here.”

“Sure, the Acromantula is a bit much, it’s not like Dumbledore would tolerate a XXXXX-classified creature where students might encounter it,” Quigley opined. Severus bit back the retort that sprang to mind. That’s what I would have thought, too.

“Pettigrew probably made that part up to make Potter look better, suck-up that he is,” Quigley continued. “It had to be something pretty nasty, though, if Black and Potter got fifty points out of it!”

“The whole story is a crock,” Severus said. “There was no duel.”

“Then what were you doing outside, Snape?” Flint asked. Severus glared at him, considering what to tell them. How could he explain the conversation with Black, without mentioning the Willow, or sounding like an idiot? He couldn’t.

“That’s none of your business, Flint,” he replied.

“A seventy point shift in House standings makes it everyone’s business, Snape,” Flint said, stabbing Severus in the chest with his elbow. The unexpected move threatened to topple him over onto his bed, so he sat back down.

“He’s just ashamed to admit he chickened out with Potter,” Belby said. “I’m sort of surprised he accepted the challenge in the first place, seeing how easily Potter handles him —”

Even as he launched himself off the bed at Belby, yelling a stream of profanities, Severus felt a mild surprise at his own reaction. Belby was always sniping at him from behind Flint and his Prefect badge. He thought he’d decided ignoring him was the best response. The way Belby’s contemptuous smile gave way to a look of shock and alarm, though, made Severus wonder why he had not done this years ago.

Belby staggered back under the assault, but managed to keep his feet, so Severus drove forward and slammed him against the door. It echoed with a satisfying thud as Belby’s head bounced off it. Abruptly Severus was jerked back, his chest and right arm encircled by what could only be the massive arm of Jonathan Bulstrode. Belby pushed himself away from the wall and punched Severus in the stomach. Severus tried to lunge forward and free himself, but Bulstrode just dragged him further back, using his left arm to grasp the wrist of Severus’s trapped right arm and yank it up between his shoulder blades. Belby took another step forward and punched Severus in the face.

“Enough!” Quigley’s voice rang with authority. He must have risen from his seat when the fight started, and was now standing alongside, with Flint behind him. Belby shot Severus a venomous glance but lowered his fists.

Severus, breathing heavily and still shaking with rage, relaxed in Bulstrode’s grip, recognizing the futility of struggling further. He could feel a warm trickle of blood starting from his nose.

“You heard what he said to me!” Belby whined.

“Nothing they don’t already know about you,” Severus shot back. Quigley looked from one to the other and sighed.

“Snape, here, doesn’t want to talk to us. That’s fine, as we don’t particularly care to talk to him either. So, he will apologize to Belby, and then we will leave,” he declared.

As a compromise, Severus thought, it left much to be desired. He glared defiantly at Quigley, who rolled his eyes. Bulstrode responded by pushing Severus’s forearm further up, increasing the pressure on his shoulder.

“Don’t be an idiot, Snape,” Quigley said. Right. Belby wasn’t worth a dislocated shoulder, Severus reminded himself.

“Belby, I was out of line,” Severus said, keeping his voice steady in spite of the discomfort in his shoulder. “I am sorry that I called you a —”

“Alright, let’s get out of here,” Quigley interrupted before Severus could elaborate.

Bulstrode released him with a precautionary shove away from Belby, but it wasn’t necessary. Severus ignored the others as they filed out of the room, instead shoving the books he would need for the day into his knapsack with rather more force than was really needed. Once the others left, he stopped his bleeding with a quick Episkey, and headed to the bathroom for a quick shower before breakfast.

The Slytherin table in the Great Hall was unusually crowded, and there were no places to sit remaining at the near end. The steel gray ceiling overhead matched Severus’s mood as the seventh years sitting at the end of the table spared him a hostile glare, which he ignored. He strode away towards the far end, looking for a place to sit. He began to wonder as he walked whether he had put his school robe on inside out in his haste, as it seemed that conversation stopped and eyes turned to him as he passed, at both the Slytherin and Ravenclaw tables. About halfway down the hall, he noticed an empty chair among a group of third-year boys.

“It’s taken,” the two boys sitting next to the empty chair told him, a trifle nervously, as he passed. He ignored them and continued. At the far end, there was an empty seat facing the Gryffindor table. Severus reached it and put down his notebook, resolving to ignore any protests by his neighbors, the fifth year Prefect and her friends. Instead, they all got up and crowded their chairs away from him, beginning an animated whispered conversation of which Severus heard only the words “Potter” and “Quintapeds.”

Severus sat down. At the Gryffindor table all the way across the Great Hall, he could see Lily Evans. His stomach twisted as he saw that she was sitting, not in her usual spot with the other sixth year girls, but next to Potter and Pettigrew. The three of them had their heads together. Severus’s heart skipped a beat. Would Lily believe Pettigrew’s version of the night’s events, if Potter and Black backed it up? She wouldn’t, not if he denied it, he assured himself. Even if he refused to explain? A surge of hopelessness welled in him, as he watched the light play on the ripples in her long red hair as she nodded her head in response to something they had said. Abruptly they broke off and looked up.

Severus looked down self-consciously before realizing they were reacting to a new arrival. Black had come in and was seating himself across from Potter. Lily rose to her feet, said something to them all. Severus watched her hips sway as she walked away to join her friends at the far end of the table.

As she sat down and was lost to his sight, he poured himself a cup of tea from the teapot the fifth year girls had abandoned and piled some toast and eggs onto his plate. Flipping his notebook open, he tried to take stock of what, if anything, he had accomplished last night on his essay.

A few minutes later, the arrival of the post owls interrupted his thoughts.

“Black’s got a Howler!” one of the girls sitting nearby exclaimed shrilly, as they all craned their necks to see.

Shortly, Severus heard a screechy woman’s voice, magnified to many times its actual volume.

"— NASTY, UNGRATEFUL, INSOLENT LITTLE BRAT! HAVEN'T YOU BROUGHT ENOUGH SHAME ON THIS HOUSE ALREADY? TELL ME, WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE A SON LIKE THIS? ALWAYS ACTING LIKE HE HAS NOTHING BUT COMMON DIRT IN HIS VEINS — SEE WHERE IT GETS YOU? EVEN THAT MUDBLOOD-LOVING OLD FOOL DUMBLEDORE WILL ONLY TOLERATE SO MUCH FROM YOU, YOU BEASTLY CHILD. AND WHEN HE FINALLY EXPELS YOU, YOU CAN GO WALLOW IN YOUR BELOVED MUGGLE FILTH LIKE THE WORTHLESS SWINE YOU ARE, BECAUSE YOU ARE NO SON OF MINE!"

The girls next to Severus started giggling as Black rose and stormed out of the room. The table beyond them erupted with laughter. Severus’s satisfaction at Black’s discomfiture temporarily wiped his worries about Lily and his essay from his mind, and he watched Black leave with a pleased smirk. When the show was over, Severus returned to his notes and his breakfast, ignoring the whispers and speculative glances at him that the Howler prompted.

The scrape of a chair at the head of the table alerted him that he was no longer alone. Turning, he saw that Regulus Black had joined him.

“Good morning, Snape,” the younger Black said, an easy smile on his face. As always, Severus felt a trifle disconcerted at receiving a friendly gesture from what was, except for perhaps a trace more boyish roundness in the face, a carbon copy of Sirius Black in a Slytherin tie. He put down his pen and sat back.

“Good morning, Black,” he replied guardedly.

“Nothing like waking up to the sweet sounds of Mother yelling at Sirius,” Regulus commented. “Almost makes me homesick. I wonder what the lousy git did this time….”

“What, you haven’t heard the story yet?” Severus asked bitterly. It seemed unlikely. Black was the leader of his year, a sure winner to be Prefect next fall. He would be the first to get any news.

“Oh, you mean that tripe about Potter rescuing you from an oversized Venomous Tentacula? You would have no trouble dealing with one,” Black opined. “So, what really happened?”

The vote of confidence was nice to hear, even if Severus saw some reason to doubt its complete sincerity. Black had a personal interest in the matter, Severus realized. Unfortunately, he had agreed not to disclose it to others. Wordlessly, he shrugged his shoulders.

“Sounds to me like something big —” Black said, pausing as if to permit Severus to confirm this. When no response was forthcoming, he continued, “If Mother already knows, he must have been in Dumbledore’s office. An owl from McGonagall would only have been sent this morning. But my great-great-grandfather —”

“— was a former Headmaster. I met him, last night,” Severus confirmed. Black already did, or soon would, know as much. Black grinned, an expression that served to underscore his similarity to his brother.

“It drives him mad every time Sirius shows up there,” said Regulus. “Says the other portraits taunt him about it for weeks. I’ll bet he had some choice things to say about whatever happened.”

This was a safer topic.

“He did, rather,” Severus agreed. “Did you know about the time your brother sold illegal study aids to underclassmen?”

Regulus laughed. “Yes, I remember Phineas Nigellus telling that story at Christmas dinner last year, after everyone had had a few drinks,” he confirmed. “Mother was not exactly amused. It’s hard on her though, Sirius was supposed to be the upstanding heir and instead he’s turned out to be nothing but a disappointment to the family.”

“That was the impression your ancestor gave as well,” Severus agreed.

“He acts like he’s somehow better than everyone else just because he’s in Gryffindor,” Regulus continued, looking somewhat resentful. “Thinks he can get away with anything. I’m just hoping he’ll finally do something to get himself disinherited one of these days.” He shot Severus a faint, conspiratorial smile. “So really, what happened last night?”

“Look, Black, we’re not supposed to talk about it,” Severus said regretfully.

“How bad can it be?”

“Well,” said Severus, thinking carefully about how to word this, “I shall only say that for someone who professes to despise the Dark Arts, your brother is surprisingly amenable to the idea of murdering his enemies.”

Regulus’s scheming look gave way to one of genuine perplexity. “Huh? What’re you talking about?”

“I’m afraid that’s really all I can say,” Severus said, as the morning bell rang. He stood up and shoved his notes into his knapsack. “I’m off to Arithmancy.”

******

As soon as Professor McGonagall dismissed the Transfiguration class, his final class of the day, Severus hurried off to Slughorn’s office. He was eager to get to the library to get a good start on his Charms essay before supper, but he could hardly disregard the summons, however little he wanted to listen to further lectures about his own stupidity in failing to befriend Black. Perhaps if he didn’t encourage Slughorn’s loquacity, he would hurry up and assign a detention, and Severus could get to work.

The heavy oak door to Slughorn’s office was partly ajar when he arrived, so Severus glanced in. The small golden clock his Head of House kept on his desk chimed three.

“Ah, Severus,” Slughorn said, “do come in.” He was sitting at his ornate mahogany desk, dipping a peacock quill into his golden inkpot. Severus made his way around assorted tasseled footstools, a plush armchair, and a low table and stood in front of Professor Slughorn’s desk.

“You asked to see me, Professor?” he inquired

“Just a moment,” Slughorn said, folding the missive and placing it into a matching envelope. “I was just accepting an invitation to dine with Abraxas Malfoy, an old friend of mine. He’s a school governor, you know, and very wealthy.”

Severus did know, having been acquainted with his son Lucius, but he figured that a sidetrack onto the subject of the Malfoys and their many virtues could easily eat up fifteen minutes or more.

Slughorn sighed theatrically.

“Well, my boy,” he said, “I wish to speak with you regarding yesterday night.”

Noticing that Severus had left the door ajar, he waved his wand at it and it shut with a snap. Severus waited for him to continue.

“Professor Dumbledore explained to Minerva and me what happened last night,” Slughorn said. What he thinks happened, Severus bit back.

“A nasty shock, that must have been,” Slughorn said, shaking his head sympathetically. “So very fortunate, that Potter arrived in time.” He paused.

Severus wondered whether Slughorn was waiting for him to interject some words of appreciation for Potter. It would be a long wait.

“Still, it would never have happened if not for your heedless pursuit of your feud with Black and Potter,” Slughorn said after a few moments’ silence. “I can only reiterate what I said yesterday. In these final two years of school, you should be learning the skills and making the connections you will need to make your way in the world.” He paused, seeming again to expect a response.

“Is that clear, young man?” Slughorn asked, after a moment of awkward silence. That, anyway, required a response.

“Yes,” Severus responded. It’s clear. “Sir.”

“As far as this notion of yours that Mr. Black had criminal intentions: it is overblown, and your insistence on it is counterproductive,” Slughorn continued.

“I have agreed not to discuss the matter with anyone, sir,” Severus said.

“Yes, yes, of course, Albus did mention it. He was quite pleased. Otherwise the scandal would surely force that poor Mr. Lupus out of Hogwarts, to say nothing of what it would do to the reputation of the school,” Slughorn replied. “A werewolf,” he muttered to himself, shaking his head. Severus adjusted his knapsack. The strap was biting uncomfortably into his shoulder.

“Where was I? Oh yes, the importance of thinking seriously about your future. Since nothing I say seems to make any impression … hmmm … yes, that will do. I will speak to Mr. Filch. He can always use some assistance with his cleaning of the castle.”

I would rather starve. Or — or live as a Muggle, Severus recalled. Clearly, Slughorn remembered both parts of yesterday’s conversation as well.

“Yes, Professor,” he responded coldly. “When shall I report to Mr. Filch, sir?”

“Tomorrow night,” Slughorn replied, gazing searchingly at Severus. “And the following three Fridays.”

“Very well, sir,” Severus replied, his expression impassive. “Will that be all, Professor?”

“Yes, you may go,” Slughorn replied, a slight frown creasing his enormous forehead.

Severus headed for the door. “Good day, sir,” he said correctly as he opened it to go.

Slughorn waved his left hand dismissively; his right was reaching into the open tin of crystallized pineapple on his desk.

When he was finally in the library, Severus chose a table in the far corner, near the Advanced Charms section. Black, he saw, was sitting a couple of tables over, apparently intent on an assignment of his own. After some time, Severus decided he wanted to recheck a reference and walked back into the stacks. Upon his return, he saw that Black’s girlfriend, the blonde Muggleborn from their Charms class — what was her name? Banks — had approached Black. She did not sound very happy, Severus noted with a smirk.

Curious, he stayed out of sight behind a shelf and watched the scene. He gathered that Black’s newly acquired detentions included the upcoming Valentine’s Day Hogsmeade Weekend, and Miss Banks was not happy about this. Severus resisted the urge to applaud her performance as she crumpled Black’s detention schedule and hurled it dramatically at his chest before flouncing out of the library. The little scene would be a memory to cherish while cleaning bathrooms, or worse, with Filch tomorrow night.

Severus returned to his table, to discover that Miss Vane, a Gryffindor he had vaguely noticed hanging around Black in the past, was rifling through his knapsack. Checking that his wand was within easy reach, he was about to confront her when he saw that she had grabbed a hold of his copy of Les Arts Foncés.

“Hey, Black!” she shouted, with a self-satisfied grin. Black looked up from his work, as did all of the students who were working nearby.

With a shout of “Catch!” she tossed the book to Black.

Severus spun around to see Black stand up to catch the book. He opened it and leafed through a couple of pages; his audience, sitting at the nearby tables, waited expectantly. Severus recognized the smirk on Black’s face; it meant trouble. He reached for his wand, when, to his surprise, Black closed the book and tossed it down on the table. With a final regretful glance at Severus, he sat back down.

So he wasn’t going to join in the fun, eh? Severus thought. Black must be worrying about “Moony’s” little secret.

Severus walked over, and with a broad, insincere smile, said loudly, in his most pleasant voice, “Why thank you, Black, I’ll take that back now.”

As he picked up his book, he was relieved to see it was undamaged. Black glowered up at him, but did not respond.

“I couldn’t help overhearing what passed between you and Miss Banks, just now,” Severus said. “She was rather … emphatic.” With a sneer, he added, “What a pity.”

“Shut it, Snivelly,” Black growled between clenched teeth.

“It's for the best, though, if you think about it,” Severus continued.

Black’s expression grew even stormier, if that was possible, and his right hand twitched toward his robe for a moment, before he reached instead for the book he had open in front of him.

“Your dear old mother seemed a trifle upset this morning. This ought to cheer her right up,” Severus added.

Black slammed his book shut, grabbed his parchment and inkpot, and rose to his feet, nearly tipping his chair over with the violence of his movements.

Severus laughed softly at his retreating back, savoring his victory. Then he turned back, to find Miss Vane, her expression one of profound bewilderment, staring at him from his table. He walked back, fixing a cold glance on her. She remained where she was, paling slightly.

“Pardon me, Miss Vane,” he said, as he walked right up to her. “I was sitting here.” She shot him an angry glare, but stepped away. Apparently, her Gryffindor courage did not extend to taking on an upperclassman one-on-one, he thought, curling his lip.
Sitting back down, he returned to his essay. The writing went smoothly, so Severus ignored the supper bell. He had stashed a couple of rolls and some cheese from lunch in his bag for later. He hardly even noticed as students started to trickle back in after supper, to get in a bit more studying before the library closed at eight. He was absorbed in a few tricky little details he had missed in his earlier thinking when a voice broke through his concentration.

“That should be 1795, Severus,” the voice said. The speaker was right, he realized, looking up to find Lily Evans had seated herself at his right and was reading his notes.

“Thanks, Lily,” he answered, scratching out the error.

“You weren’t at supper,” Lily commented. “Is everything alright?”

“Yes, I needed the time in the library,” Severus answered evasively. He really didn’t feel like discussing his roommate problems or detentions with her. Lily regarded him silently.

“So, you don’t want to talk about it?” she asked quietly.

“About what?” he asked coldly.

Lily looked around, drawing her wand. “Muffliato!” she whispered, as she flicked her wand and grinned conspiratorially at Severus. He leaned back and set down his quill.

“There,” she said, looking pleased with herself. “I know you’re not supposed to talk about it, Severus, but you can tell me. I already know Remus is,” she covered her mouth cautiously as she spoke, “a werewolf. I figured it out last year, after we started to spend more time together, as Prefects.”

“I talked with Remus this afternoon,” Lily continued. “He doesn’t remember anything, though he says that’s how it always is. Sirius told him what happened this morning.”

“Fat chance,” Severus could not help responding. As if Black would admit his plan to Lupin!

“Sirius didn’t think it through at all, Severus. It hadn’t even occurred to him that it could expose Remus!” Lily said, gazing earnestly at him.

“You weren’t there yesterday afternoon, Lily,” Severus disagreed, remembering the murderous look in Black’s eyes.

“He feels really awful about it, Remus told me. He’d never do anything to harm one of his friends.”

“In case you haven’t noticed, Lily, I am not one of Black’s friends,” Severus pointed out sarcastically. He could not stop himself from adding, “Or Potter’s, for that matter.”

“James wasn’t in on it, Severus,” Lily contradicted him with a little shake of her head, which set her long hair bouncing alluringly. “Professor Dumbledore would not make a mistake about something like that. He just … knows things like that.”

Severus was uncomfortably reminded of Dumbledore’s seeming ability to read his mind, the previous night. Shoving the memory ruthlessly aside, he gave an incredulous snort.

“You weren’t there last night, Severus,” Lily said, with a challenging glint in her green eyes. “I was. I saw the look on James’s face as he ran out of the Common Room.”

His own argument, turned neatly back at him. Admiration and anger warred briefly in his heart before she tilted her head back and smiled crookedly at him. A cutting response died on his lips and he lowered his eyes in confusion. He found himself observing the way her school robes clung to the contours of her chest. Hoping she hadn’t noticed, he sat up and picked up his quill.

Gently, she put her hand over his. Grateful for the shoulder-length fall of his dark hair, which concealed the flush he felt rising in his face, he put the quill back down.

“Severus,” Lily said softly, “I know you don’t get along with him. I’m not saying you should. But I believe in this instance, you are not being fair to him. Just … think about it, alright?”

Not trusting himself to look up at her, he nodded mutely.

Taking her hand back, Lily set both her elbows on the table and rested her chin on her right hand. Having regained his composure, Severus looked back at her.

“So, what happened?” she asked. “Remus made it sound like you just walked in there, saw him, and walked out, but that doesn’t explain the injuries to you and James, or how he injured his head.”

“Potter collapsed the roof of the tunnel near the Shrieking Shack on top of him,” Severus replied. He didn’t really want to discuss the details, but the appeal in her eyes was irresistible.

“Ouch! Poor Remus!” she exclaimed. Severus, recalling vividly the beast that had charged through the tunnel at him, could not find it in himself to echo the sentiment.

Abruptly, a feather duster rapped the table in front of them.

“Closing time!” Madam Pince said, as she swept by into the stacks beyond. Lily stood up.

“Though Remus was pretty happy this afternoon, actually, because Dumbledore ordered you not to tell anyone about him,” she said as Severus shoved his belongings into his bag. “He had been so sure, this morning when he heard what happened, that he would have to leave Hogwarts.”

“Black told Lupin that?” Severus asked with a curl of his lip as he, too, got up to leave. “As true as anything else Black says, I see.”

“Dumbledore didn’t?” Lily asked, startled.

“No. He asked me to, so that Lupin could stay at school.”

“And you agreed!” Lily stated firmly.

“Yes,” Severus replied, and was rewarded by a radiant smile.

“Of course you would,” she said, still grinning at him. From across the room, a fellow sixth year girl waved at her.

“Oops, I’ve got to run,” Lily said. “’Night!”

“Good night,” he replied. He stood and watched her retreating form for a moment, then headed for the exit himself.

The meeting left him with a bittersweet feeling. Lily had not believed Peter’s version of the story. He had wronged her, to think she might. Yet, she insisted on Potter’s innocence. He still remembered the way she had looked, when Dumbledore had defended Potter to her yesterday night. The radiant smile she had given him before leaving had been a pale shadow of that one.

The memory brought back the anger that Severus had felt all day. He didn’t care what Lily and Dumbledore thought. He knew what he had heard. Potter had loudly interrupted what was obviously an intimate tête-à-tête between Black and Banks with his reminder about Moony. Even if Potter were stupid enough to do so for the sake of some private in-joke, Black surely would have been annoyed rather than play along. He had been set up, that was all there was to it.

For something everyone insisted was supposed to be accidental, the resulting incident sure had left Potter looking the golden boy … and him the goat. Which was what people already believed, anyway. No one believed his account of what had happened, and he was supposed to be a good sport about it. Tell no one what Black had done to him, accept his punishments quietly, and preferably thank Potter in the bargain. Well, he had agreed to keep quiet about Lupin, and so he would, but he would find a way to get back at Potter. Somehow.

••••••••••••

THE END


A/N – Following the excellent example of my esteemed coauthor, I too will share the future career of one of my bit players. Sean Quigley will indeed go on to a successful career as a pro Quidditch player, crowned by the victory of the Irish National Team at the Quidditch World Cup in Goblet of Fire, of which he will be a member. Since Rowling neglected to, or, at any rate, has not shared it with me, in my story I also took the liberty of supplying him with a first name

It’s been a fun project! We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did, and would love to hear all your closing thoughts on the feedback thread.


__________________


I met J. K. Rowling!



She said you should read my fanfics:
Sirius Black and the Drapery of DoomThe Werewolf Prank (by capella_black and Arithmancer)
Regulus Kills Again (One-shot)Lily Evans and the Golden Lyre

Pottermore: CatSnitch Black walnut with phoenix feather core, eleven inches, unyielding

Last edited by capella_black; February 25th, 2007 at 7:35 am.
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