The Truth Behind the Sneer: The Truth Behind the Sneer

by Keivira

Disclaimer: It never was and never will be...the Potterverse is not mine (don't sue me). The Truth Behind the Sneer Sirius "So do you have everything you need?" "Yes, Sirius, it's not like it takes much to transform into a werewolf." "I know Remus, it's just...are you sure you're going to be alright until we get there?" "Yes, Sirius, I'll be fine. You don't have to worry about me." "Ok, we'll see you in a couple of hours. That's if I can pry James from Lily in time." "Yeah, well, don't be late. I've gotten used to you guys transforming with me." "Don't worry, Remus. We'd never let you down." "Thanks Sirius, this means a lot to me." And with that half-smile that I love so much, Remus waves and walks out the front doors into the dusky evening. I watch him walk across the grounds, wishing that I could comfort him. And not just by transforming into a dog for him. I wish I could hold him and soothe him as he becomes human again, comforting him in his pain. It didn't take me long to figure out that it was Remus that I loved. He was -no, is- so caring, intelligent, understanding...but even Remus wouldn't understand if I told him. No, to him I'm just a friend. Just his mischievous friend Sirius, nothing more. I will never be able to be in Remus' life that way. He is too caught up in that bastard, Snape, to notice how desperately I want him. It's not as if that greasy git even likes Remus back, Snape doesn't deserve Remus. I don't understand how Remus could've fallen for Snape, that arrogant Slytherin. I should've stayed with Remus every time he went to the library. I knew that he would see Snape there, and talk to him as a....friend. But all I saw was a chance to break some more rules with James without Remus around to stop us. And now I've probably wasted my chance probably, all because of Snape. If he hadn't been there Remus might've seen me, seen how happy I could've made him. If only I could make Remus see what a git Snape is. Now Remus is passing that spot. He was so angry after that happened. I was so scared that he would never talk to me again. And all because I embarrassed his...friend, Snape. It’s hard to believe that it was two whole years ago. I don’t know how long Remus had been interested in Snape, but I had picked up on it just a couple weeks before. And then I had an explanation for all that time Remus had been spending in the library. I knew it couldn’t have just been studying. No sane person could study that much. There we were, sitting by the beech tree out on the grounds, fresh out of a particularly boring History of Magic Exam. Remus wanted me to quiz him for Transfiguration, which was coming up the next day. He was - and still is - always studying. And then there he was: creeping towards the lake, greasy hair falling into his eyes, shoulders slouched, and black eyes darting around. James got to his feet immediately, yelling for "Snivellus" to come and have a little chat. Back then I was just sorry that James beat me to it; now I'm sorry that I got involved at all. Snivellus reached for his wand, so James used "impedimenta" on him. We were having a nice go at him, helpfully pointing out that he might want to be careful about grease dripping off the end of his nose onto his exam paper. For his own good, you know. He had the nerve to talk back to us, ungrateful git that he is. James did some charm to make bubbles come out of his mouth, I think, but I'm not entirely sure because I began looking around to see what Remus was doing. He was still staring determinedly at his book, but I noticed that his eyes weren't moving and he wasn't turning any pages. A small frown line appeared between his eyebrows. I didn't know what to think. Was he upset that we were teasing Snivellus? Why should he care about the stupid prat? He was a Slytherin, for Merlin's sake, and an ugly, obnoxious one at that. I turned away from Remus just in time to see Snape whip out his wand and cast some spell that left a bloody gash on James' left cheek. That made me forget about Remus for a minute - we'd never learned anything like that in school. There was another flash of light and Snivellus was hanging upside down in midair. His robes fell up around his head, displaying for all the world to see his moldy-looking gray underpants in all their splendid glory. James eventually let him down, at the insistence of Lily Evans. He had tried to get her to agree to go on a date with him in exchange for a promise never to bother old Snivelluus again. She had flatly refused, and informed him that he was an "arrogant, bullying, toerag" if I remember correctly. But they worked out alright in the end, of course. It's strange to think about it, because I know that when I go back upstairs he's going to be waiting for her to go down to dinner and that they'll be inseparable all evening. But Remus and I can never be that way. Things haven't been the same between us since that afternoon down by the beech tree. All I wanted was to show Remus just what kind of prat Snape really was. That Snape couldn’t even take care of himself, let alone Remus. Snape could never do for Remus what I could do for him, and I don’t know why Remus couldn’t see that. I learned to be an animagus for him, for god’s sake. What more was I supposed to do? There he is now, slimy old bat. On his way to the library, I suppose. He stops. Pauses and gazes out across the ground. I wonder what the hell he’s looking at. Oh. Of course. Stupid bastard should keep his eyes to himself. Off Remus, anyway. “Whatcha looking at Snape?” “Nothing that you could ever even dream of deserving.” I don’t deserve Remus?! Bastard! “Still wearing those same old gray boxers?” Severus “Still wearing those same old gray boxers?” No, actually. Not that I care to inform Black about the status of my underwear. He walks away. Saunters, actually. Vain as a peacock. Black was never better than me. That..incident...doesn’t prove anything. He’s nothing but a coward who can’t even face me by himself. Always needing his friends to perform his acts of mischief for him. How Remus considers him such a close friend is beyond me. I just wish that Black would go away, always there when I try to talk to Remus. Remus, where is he going? He’s past the lake, slowly moving around the castle and out of sight. Why is he away from his friends? He’s obviously not going to see someone, he’s left all of the other students far behind at the lake. Why isn’t he going to the library to talk to me? Maybe he’ll come tomorrow, or sometime soon. I’ll just keep going in case he comes. It’s not like I have anywhere else enjoyable to be. *** I push open the door to the library and glance around. It’s pretty much deserted, with the exception of a couple of first year boys clumped at a table in the corner. They’re crowded around a book, oohing and ahhing, jockeying to get a look. I figure they must have just discovered the wonders of the animated illustrations in Quidditch Through the Ages. Either that or they’ve found the Madame Vesselin. She was one of Hogwarts' first headmistresses, but that's not the real reason she's famous. She was part veela; she's famous for being the only thing that could ever make boys pay attention in History of Magic. I’m relieved that nobody here looks like they’re going to bother me. Not that I couldn’t deal with it if they were, but I try to limit myself to one fight per night, and that round with Black was enough to fill my quota. I walk to my traditional table, a round one hidden deep in the stacks, between the history and transfiguration sections. I’ve sat here almost every night for almost five and a half years now. I drop my bag into one armchair and ease myself into the other. The red cushions exhale a tiny cloud of dust as they absorb my weight. You'd think that after six and a half years, the cushions would be pretty much out of dust, but this happens every night. I don’t have much homework to do, so I decide to work on perfecting some of the spells I've invented recently. Besides, of course, that damn spell that Potter and Black used on me last year. That one works perfectly. Inventing spells comes pretty easily to me. I can't explain exactly how I do it. Like last week I was reading ahead in Advanced Potions Making, and I came across the instructions for Horvidicius Rudelphax Potion. So I read through the directions and it was amusing how wrong they were, especially the part about adding unicorn blood. Any idiot could tell that the potion would boil faster and be more potent if you just used phoenix blood instead. Remus was there with me that night, so I showed the book to him. I don't think he thought it was quite as funny as I did, but he gave me one of his half-smiles and laughed a little anyway. Sometimes I wonder if it's stupid to be happy when he laughs at things that he doesn't think are funny just because I think they're funny. I don't know. It's hard to explain. I don't want him to pretend to like being around me. But I don't think that that's why he does it. Why he laughs, I mean. He does it because he wants me to like being around him. Or that's what I'd like to think, anyway. Sometimes ideas for spells just come to me. I wake up in the middle of the night and suddenly I know that if I want to make someone dangle upside down in the air all I have to do is say "Levicorpus" and flick my wrist. It's not like the ideas come to me in dreams, like a prophecy or some bullshit like that. It's more like I'm thinking, even in my sleep. The problem is that it's really hard to invent spells when there's stuff going on around you - you have to concentrate completely. And the only time when no one's bothering me is when I'm asleep. Even if I'm alone and awake I can't do it, because then I just worry about stuff - homework and exams and why it is that I have exactly one friend in the entire world. And most of all, why it is that I can't even tell what that one friend actually thinks of me. Why is it that people whose opinions you don't give a shit about are the ones most likely to give them to you? Black and those other bastards can tell me what a loser I am every day for the rest of my life, and I won't care. But the people you do care about, you can't tell what they think. I guess there's a reason for that. Because sometimes I'd give just about anything to know, and sometimes I'm glad that I don't. Because if I knew then maybe I'd have to stop hoping. I look up from the scrap of parchment I'm scribbling spell ideas on and let my eyes wander around the library. The first years are still crowded around their table, and from their snickers I decide it must be old Vesselin not Quidditch that's caught their attention. Madam Pince is yelling shrilly at Quinn, a fifth year girl I recognize as the Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain. I wonder what grievous offense she's committed. She's probably returning the book a few days late or - heaven forbid - tore a page. On the shelf of history books right in front of me a huge red volume grabs my eye. I read the gold lettering and notice that it's the autobiography of Jasper Hallesgrade. I smile - a rare occurrence, if you take the word of my fellow seventh years - but it's one of my all time favorite books. Hallesgradewas the wizard who first discovered the usefulness of mermaid scales in potion-making. I guess it seems pretty pointless to spend a so much time reading a thousand-page book on some old wizard who's been dead and gone for nearly three centuries. Mermaid scales made everything so much easier, and potion-making became so much more precise. It opened up a whole new branch of potion-making: mermaid scales used in all kinds of everyday potions, like scouring solution and hair-shine mixes, even love potions and werewolf antidote. Not that werewolves are an everyday problem, but they're certainly an important one. Sometimes I think I should stop doing stuff like that, stuff like reading dusty old tomes on potion makers. Maybe I should try to play Quidditch or something instead. Try to be more normal. Maybe that would help. But then again, he spends all his time in the library too. I don't know. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a scrap of parchment on the ground. It's probably some of my homework or something, so I pick it up and stuff it into my bag. But I notice something and pull it back out and give it a hard stare; it's written in blue ink and it's definitely not my handwriting. I open it up to see what's written inside. Severus - There's something I really want to show you. I need to tell you something that I should have told you a long time ago. Go to the Whomping Willow, press the knob at the base of the trunk, and go through the tunnel that will open up. Come as soon as you can, and don't bring anyone else with you. - Remus Holy shit. Was this...could he... I jumped out of my seat, grabbed my bag, and tore out of the library. Remus I glance to make sure no one's around and press the knot on the Whomping Willow's trunk. I'm supposed to avoid being seen entering the tunnel if at all possible, since a student disappearing into a tree trunk tends to look kind of suspicious. This time of year it's not a big problem, since it's pretty cold and damp most of the time and nobody's too keen to hang around outside. All the students have to be back in the castle before dark, of course, but sometimes in the spring, especially if it's a really nice day, I have to wait around for a bit before everyone clears out. I remember one evening two years ago when I had a really close call. Will and Molly were down by the lake, and they only left moments before sunset. Honestly though, I think they were rather...well, busy, and I doubt they would have noticed the giant squid coming out of the lake and dancing right in front of them, let alone me going into the tunnel. The Shrieking Shack has everything you'd expect to find in a proper haunted house: creaking floorboards, moldy furniture, plenty of cobwebs, dust and broken glass everywhere. The twist is that it's not actually haunted in the traditional sense. I, Remus Lupin, am the terrifying creature that haunts the Shrieking Shack. James and Sirius find this endlessly hilarious, of course: Gryffindor prefect by day, bloodthirsty phantom by night. I used to hate the Shack. As soon as I entered the tunnel dark, musty tunnel I would know that the wolf was coming and that there was nothing I could do to stop it. The wolf would come - its ear-splitting howl would rip from my throat, it would tear at itself when there was no other flesh to slake its thirst, and its desire to kill would be stronger than anything my human self ever felt. And then I'd wake up the next morning, flat on my back amidst splintered floorboards and shattered windowpanes, too exhausted to move and scared that the wolf was still there in me, somewhere. But I haven't hated the Shack for a couple of years now. Not that I look forward to full moons or anything. I never will. But everything has gotten so much better. "So that's where you've been going every month," Sirius said, his tone accusing. He was sitting on the edge of his four-poster. James leaned against the foot of the bed, and I stood facing them across the room. "We knew you were up to something, but we had no idea what. This is just..." James didn't seem to be able to articulate whatever he was thinking. He ran a hand through his already rumpled hair and fell into silence, staring at me. I sagged against the wall. It was over. I had managed to live a relatively normal life for a grand total of six months before they had caught on. I was used to people I didn't really know hating me, but this was going to be so much worse. Not only was I about to lose the best friends I had ever had, but I was going to have to share a dorm with my soon-to-be former friends for another six and a half years, which was going to be awkward, to say the least. I would have to share a room with them if, that is, they did not immediately expose my secret to the rest of the school, which was exactly what they were probably going to do. "Listen," I began. My shock that they had found me out quickly gave way to desperation as I struggled to think of something to say that would convince them to keep my secret. But my throat had a sharp knot in it and, to my great horror, I felt tears beginning to form. If I could just hold on a minute longer...I couldn't cry in front of them, not now. "I can understand if you don't want to be friends anymore, but please just -" "Don't want to be friends?" exclaimed Sirius. He barked out a laugh. "Don't be an idiot!" said James. "What I was trying to say is that this is absolutely wicked!" "What?" It was my turn to stare at them as my desperation turned right back into shock. "Wicked?" "Yeah!" said Sirius, grinning and hopping up from the bed. "Just think of the adventures we could have when you're transformed." "That‘s insane! You can't be around me when I'm a wolf. No one can. That's why I have to use the secret passage in the Whomping Willow to - " "Hang on, there's a secret passage in the Whomping Willow?" James asked, his eyes dancing with what were undoubtedly half-formed mischievous plans. “Yeah,” I grinned back. “You know, I could show you some time. Not when I’m a wolf, of course, but some other time. It comes out in Hogsmeade, it could be quite useful.” James and Sirius exchanged a look. “Brilliant!” they said together. “And stop insisting that we won’t come with you when you transform,” James continued. “You’re insulting my indisputable talent for rule-breaking. We’ll find a way, I promise.” They had found a way, of course, even though it had taken them the better part of three years to do it. And by then we were friends with Peter Pettigrew too, and so our group was complete: Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs. “You’re not going to believe this,” Sirius said, smiling at me. He was so full of anticipation that he was bouncing from one foot to the other. “Peter, you go first.” Peter, who appeared decidedly less enthusiastic than Sirius or James, pulled out his wand. Looking slightly ill and muttering something under his breath about “if I get stuck with a tail forever someone’s going to pay,” he pointed his wand at himself. There was a tiny pop, and all of a sudden Peter was gone. At least I thought he was gone- then I saw something small and brown crawling out of the pants Peter had been wearing a moment ago, which were now lying in a limp heap on the ground. Sirius bent down and picked up the rat, holding it up for me to see. “Remus,” said Sirius, “meet the new and improved Peter Pettigrew.” “No way,” I murmured. “Animagus? But isn’t that - ” “Illegal? Yeah.” James laughed. “Brilliant, isn’t it?” “Can you all do it?” I asked. “Yeah. James can become a stag, and I’m a big black dog.” “And you know what this means, right?” James asked, grinning. “We told you we’d find a way,” said Sirius. So after that the Shrieking Shack wasn’t so terrifying anymore. Just having other people there - well, animals, really - helps me keep control over myself. Maybe it's just the knowledge that there are people out there who can see past the wolf that I become once a month that keeps me sane. Sometimes I wonder if I should tell him, too. The whole thing is so disgustingly ironic - a Gryffindor in love with a Slytherin. It would be terribly romantic if it was in one of those ridiculous stories we sometimes read in Muggle Studies - forbidden love and all that. But being a Gryffindor isn't the problem. We're already friends, so I know that doesn't bother him. It's the monster inside me that I don't know if he could accept. I can’t expect everyone to be like Sirius and James, and not flinch when they learn that their friend is a werewolf. I’m probably better off not knowing what he'd do if he found out. This way I don’t have to stop believing that he wouldn’t care about the wolf either. James So I'm lounging around in the common room, sprawled on one of those big armchairs by the fire and waiting for Lily to come down from the girls' dorm so we can go down to dinner together. All of a sudden Sirius is there in front of me, laughing so hard he's nearly choking. He hangs onto the edge of a table to steady himself, almost like he's had a bit too much butterbeer. I grin without even knowing why. "What's so funny?" I ask. Sirius stops laughing and gives me one of those looks; he smiles a small, secret smile and kind of raises his eyebrows a little. He can raise one at a time if he wants to. I wish I could do that. But anyway, it's one of those looks that says that we're about to get into spectacular trouble. Fortunately, it's also one of those looks that promises that whatever he's got up his sleeve will be worth a thousand years of detention. "Come on," I say. "Let's have it." "You're going to love this." He grins. "Just tell me!" "Alright, alright. Listen: you know what's happening tonight, right?" "Umm...I have a date with Lily?" "No, you prat! It's the full moon!" "I know, I know." I laugh at his look of outrage. "I was just kidding, I'd never forget that. We're going to do the animagus thing and go meet Remus at the Shrieking Shack. But so what?" I can tell that he's dying to just blurt out whatever he did so he can bask in the glory of his brilliance, but he's enjoying stringing me along too much to do it. I decide to just keep asking questions and let him play his game. "Well, let's just say that I've arranged for Remus to have an extra-special visitor tonight." "What are you talking about?" I get up out of my chair and turn around to face him. "Snape." "Snape? Sirius, what did you do?" "I passed him on my way back into the school after I walked down to the entrance with Remus. He was a bit rude, so I thought a little lesson was in order. Teach him some respect. I knew the greasy git would head straight for the library, so I ran up ahead of him through one of our secret passages. I left him a note near that table he always sits at, telling him to come and meet Remus. I told him exactly how to get to the Shack. He's probably on his way there right this very moment." Sirius chuckles a little. I stare at him in disbelief. "What the hell are you playing at?" I demand. "It'll be priceless, won't it?" he continues. "The look on his face when he finds himself face to face with a werewolf. God, I wish I could be there. Come to think of it, I probably can be there. Hurry up, James, if we leave now we might be able to transform and get there ahead of Snape. Then we can watch the whole thing." Shit. I'm stunned. Completely stunned. I just stare at Sirius for a while. He's completely oblivious as to what he's done. Either that or he just doesn't care that he's probably just condemned one of his classmates to death. Honestly, I'd prefer to think he's just being extremely stupid. "Damn right we're going to hurry up. If we leave now we might be able to stop Snape from getting to the Shack at all. Come on." "What? Stop him? Why?" "Why!?!" I give my schoolbag an angry kick. I just can't believe him. "You goddamn idiot! Can't you see what you've done? You've sent Snape to his death! And even if Snape survives, he's going to see Remus transform. Do you really think that he would hesitate for even a second, just one second, to tell the Daily Prophet that we've got a werewolf at our school? Remus will be expelled, his wand will be destroyed! Godammit Sirius, what the hell were you thinking?" I stare at him, mad as hell and more than a little confused. I know he loathes Snape. I'm not exactly in love with the guy either, but I'd never do anything like this. I really never thought he would have either. For the first time, Sirius' grin begins to fade a little. His brow wrinkles, like maybe he really didn't realize just what he was doing. "Remus..." he says. "Oh God, James, I didn't mean...I didn't think...I mean..." "Shut up," I growl. "Just shut up and get moving." But he doesn't move. He just stands there, staring at the wall, his eyes wide and his mouth slightly open. He looks like someone just told him his mother died or something. You know, confused and upset and like he doesn't really believe it. Like I'm going to have to tell him a dozen more times before it finally sinks in. Well, I don't have time for that, so I just grab my wand from my bag, plunge it into the front pocket of my robes, and walk quickly towards the portrait hole. "You coming?" I ask one more time. But he doesn't answer, so I leave without him. I dash downstairs to the entrance hall and out the door, managing to miss the sunken stair and knock over only one suit of armor in my insane dash to beat Snape to the Whomping Willow. I am completely out of breath as I make it to the Whomping Willow. Just a little further- gotta beat Snape gotta beat Snape. What the hell was Sirius thinking? How in the world could the possibility of Remus biting Snape be even remotely funny? As I'm racing down the tunnel I hear footsteps echoing from ahead. Snape! Footsteps- what an understatement- sounds like the guy's running for his life. Ohm bloody hell! Did Remus transform? No...sounds more like Snape's running like a madman to get to the Shack, not fleeing for his life. Why the hell would Snape, of all people, be running to meet Remus in the Shrieking Shack? I thought Snape and Remus were, well, you know, not on the friendliest terms. "What did Sirius write to get Snape here so fast?" I growl while gasping for breath. As I step into the Shrieking Shack, curiosity overwhelms me. What did Sirius write? And why is Snape so interested? Trying my best to not make a lot of noise (and failing miserably with the third step on the stairs...and that clock in the hallway...damn clock), I creep up the stairs. Remus usually goes up to what I suppose was once a bedroom. Maybe I'll find Remus before Snape does. "Severus?!" So Snape found him first. Damn. Oh well, at least Remus hasn't transformed yet. Wait a minute- did Remus just call Snape by his first name?! Maybe I'll stay and listen just a little while. "Remus...I." Whoa...Snape just called Remus by his first name. "What are you doing here Severus?!" Man, does Remus sound concerned about Snape. Well, come to think of it, I would be too if I was about to transform and probably kill him. But there's something more. "Remus, you..." "Severus you have to get out of here now!" Remus sounds kind of funny when he's hysterical. This would be oh-so-much funnier if he wasn't about to transform. (Damn you Sirius!) "But Remus, the note- I thought..." "Note? What note? Why are you here? Severus-" What's going on here, Remus sounds near tears! "Severus, you have to leave here. Now. Leave. Run as fast as you can. You're not safe here, you have to go. Please...please go- I'll hurt you..." The last part is in such a low whisper I have to press my ear to the door to hear. "But didn't you send-" "GET OUT OF HERE NOW! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN AND DON'T LOOK BACK! GET OUT!" Remus is probably seconds away from transforming, but this is just so captivating. "Remus what's wrong? Why?" "Severus- was that a whimper?- please go, I don't want to hurt you. I could kill you. JUST GO!" I think Remus is crying in there. Ok, this is enough, I have to stop this before Remus actually transforms. But before this is through, Sirius has a lot of explaining to do...that note. But then my blood turns cold and I momentarily freeze as I hear a long, painful howl coming from... AGH! The WOLF on the other side of the door. Shit, Remus is transforming. I burst through the door and literally grab Snape by the collar to drag him into the hall. "Come on, you half-wit," I hiss at Snape. That seems to wake him from his shock. After giving me a most asinine sneer he looks back towards the door- where Remus has just noticed us. It's like an icy chill settles into my bones and for just a second I panic, and then I do the only thing that comes to mind: I transform. I kick Snape down the stairs just as Remus lunges for us and pray that Snape will have the sense to run as I buy him time by fighting Remus. Sirius Oh God, Remus! What have I done? Oh God I'm so sorry! Please let nothing happen, please. It took me awhile after James left to come to my senses and stop tearing up. I'm just so stupid. In my jealousy I probably completely and utterly ruined Remus' already miserably difficult life. How could I have done this to him? Oh Gods! How will he ever forgive me? I just wish I could show him that Severus is not for him without ruining everything. I just want to stop loving him from afar. Is that too much to ask?! Why does Snape (damn that bastard to hell) deserve Remus more than I? But those thoughts are for later. Right now I need to focus on helping Remus. Maybe he'll see that I'm trying to set things right. I don't think I've run quite this fast before. My heart is absolutely pounding inside my chest. I'm about five hundred yards away from the Willow when I see a form emerge from the tree, sprinting for his life. I quickly slow when I recognize Snape, who hasn't quite noticed me yet. I try to get my breath under control as thoughts swirl rapidly in my head. Phew. So James got Snape out of there, problem solved. God am I relieved nothing happened. I didn't ruin Remus's life, he didn't bite or kill Snape! But Snape still knows that Remus is a werewolf- what if he tells? And Remus will be so royally pissed that in comparison it'll seem as if we were best friends after James and I embarrassed Snape in his old gray boxers that time. He's gonna be so mad- what if he never forgives me? I couldn't live if Remus chose to ignore me like last time, I just can't go through that again. Hold on, Snape must've been pretty eager to see Remus if he got here so soon. So he really does like Remus. Hmmm...maybe that note was useful after all- kill two birds with one stone if you know what I mean. I try my best to casually saunter towards Snape and flip my hair back lazily as I call out to him, "Hey greaseball!" He halts abruptly. Surprise briefly flickers in his eyes before his face becomes one large sneer. "Black. As courteous as ever," he hisses. I laugh, just to keep him confused. "So how was it?" "What?!" Snape's eyes widen in shock. Definitely wasn't expecting that question. Just keep him off guard. "Oh, you know." Flash a grand smile. "That whole thing with Remus. Pretty funny eh?" "What do you mean?" Snape sneers. If you didn't pay close attention you'd miss the confusion and apprehension at the edges of his eyes. "I just wish I could've seen your face! Oh well, Remus'll tell me all about it." "And why would he do that? Talk to you I mean." Ok Snape, you asked for it. "Well, it'd be no fun for me if he was the only one who knew about how the joke turned out. I mean, hey, I did help quite a bit here." "Joke?" Snape queried. Good- I can see the hurt and anger start to seep in. "What, you don't honestly think that Remus would've been interested in you otherwise do you? You know, you're not as smart as I took you for Snivellus. And here I was, worried that you had caught on long ago." "Long ago?" Now the quaver in his voice. Keep going. "Well it did take quite a number of years for Remus to gain your trust. Oh, and the most amusing part was when we realized he had gained your heart too. It really was a laugh, the Snivellus had fallen for Remus! Ha! Oh, it was just too delicious. And then this was a sort of test you see: I guess you really do love Remus after all!" I laughed and smiled as I watched the many emotions pass over Snape's face, each word I spoke cutting him deeper and deeper, pain, anger, sadness, hurt...and then, he just looked crushed. Something left his eyes then, something I hadn't noticed was there until it was gone, and in its place was a horrible, bitter rage. Snape schooled his face into a mask of neutrality and stalked off. I think that I may have finally solved the little problem of Snape after all. Severus (fifteen minutes earlier) Oh good Gods, Remus just...Remus just...he's a werewolf! Why didn't he tell me about this, I could've been helping him!? Was he going to tell me tonight? Is that why he sent the note? I hope he knows that I'm not disgusted by him, I just want to help him. Wham! Something large and fast comes out of nowhere, knocking me down the steps leading out of the Shrieking Shack. Ouch, that hurt. Wait a minute, why did a stag just kick me down an entire flight of stairs? I don't think I've ever been this shocked in my life- Potter is an Animagus! An Animagus who is currently fighting off the crazed werewolf that is usually gentle, sweet Remus. My legs start working long before my brain does, carrying me as far and as fast I can go until I find myself emerging from the Willow panting out in the moonlight. I give the tree one last backwards glance as the tunnel closes up, and run even faster (if that's possible) when the tree starts to spring to life. Before long I hear the last voice I want to endure in the entire world yell, "Hey greaseball!" "Black. As courteous as ever," I hiss. "So how was it?" Black. I hate Black. Wait, what did he just say, did he just ask how it went? "What?!" I quickly replace my shock with a sneer, "What do you mean?" Just keep him talking, maybe he'll slip up and reveal something. Then I can avoid his question, I don't want to tell him about the note Remus sent me. But why does he know about this? "I just wish I could've seen your face! Oh well, Remus will tell me all about it." Seen my face? I don't like where this is heading, "And why would he do that? Talk to you I mean." I just couldn't resist it. Watching that fool stutter in anger is so satisfying. He's always interrupting Remus and I, I was beginning to wonder about him when- "Well it'd be no fun for me if he was the only one who knew about how the joke turned out. I mean, hey, I did help quite a bit here." Joke? How could all this be a joke? My only friend in the world, the only person I truly care about, playing a joke on me? "And here I was, worried that you had caught on long ago." "Long ago?" I can barely force out that bit, my voice is shaking too much. Is it really true? Am I really nothing to Remus? I loved him, I loved him and I meant nothing to him. I can't believe it. No, it can't be true...but it is. It all makes sense, why would anyone want to love me, care about me, even be my friend? And they laughed about it. Good Gods every day was a joke, every word I said, every glance was a joke. I thought I had everything in Remus and it turns out all I have is a joke. A joke..a joke. Black, his pet wolf and a joke. Why did he have to do this? And Remus too...I thought he was sweet and gentle- ha! Try manipulating and cruel werewolf! Remus- no, Lupin- was the only person who truly knew me, who cared for me, who I cared for. He was everything I'd ever dreamed of, the kind of person that is so perfect for you, you think that you're in a fairy tale. That's all it ever was, a dream; it was all nothing. Everything that I thought was love was nothing. It doesn't exist, people don't care for each other like I thought Lupin cared for me. Everything has to be some kind of joke, some kind of trick. It's all about hurting others, tricking their emotions, making them believe in a dream and then dashing their hearts against a cliff. Well fine, I let myself succumb to the weakness of emotions once, let them betray me, but now my heart is broken: I have no more need for emotions. In the end it's all about what you can do for yourself, because no one else ever truly cares. In true Slytherin form I'm able to school my face, stop the barrage of emotions. I'm done with them, with him. They mean nothing to me, they are nothing except filthy marauders. With a twirl of my robes I stalk off; it's late and I need to get back to the dorms before I'm caught. In the morning I should talk to Professor Dumbledore, inform him about the situation; perhaps they'll receive a bit of punishment for this. *** Once in the Slytherin common room I let out my breath: I made it. As I quickly move to my dorm, a figure rises from a chair near the fire. I notice a flicker of blond hair before I hear the smooth greeting. "Severus." It was Lucius Malfoy, Slytherin Prefect. "Lucius." I nod curtly as I stop in my tracks to face him. While I call Lucius a "friend" he is really no more than an acquaintance. Perhaps Slytherins have it right: avoid emotion and intimacy and simply know everyone in a formal fashion, that way nothing can hurt you. "Severus, while you should not be up and about at this hour, I cannot help be anything but pleased that I have a chance to converse with you privately. It is something of an important matter," Lucius said in a soft, lilting, aristocratic voice. "What did you need to ask Lucius?" I said this as politely as possible, fully knowing what Lucius was speaking of: joining Voldemort. He'd been after me for a while now, preaching Slytherin and pureblood morals all the way, all for my potions skills. "I believe that you know exactly what I am referring to when I ask if you are ready to join. Last time you didn't seem so...optimistic towards the matter, but I do believe this latest piece of news will entice you." Lucius paused. "Last time, Lucius, circumstances for me were slightly different. I may be more open to what you speak of presently." It was true; last time I had thought that Remus loved me. "The one for whom I speak has offered you much for your services, Severus. He now offers resources beyond compare to aid you in your potions and your expanding knowledge. My friend, it would be wise to take the offer while it is being given generously and freely," Lucius intoned. The power and temptation of unlimited knowledge and potions: I had once thought that these things would never be worth the deeds that Voldemort required. But that was when I thought that love was in the balance, that morals rested on emotions and humans' abilities to care for one another. Now I am wiser, humans do not care for each other, they are not capable of love. What else is left but caring for yourself, your position, and your family name? What else is left to give me any semblance of joy but potions and knowledge? It was with that that I decided, it was with Remus' betrayal in my heart that I said, "My friend, I will accept the Dark Lord's offer and look forward to speaking with him in the near future." And with that, I stalked out of the common room and into the dorm.

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