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    Thorn Wilde
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Harry Potter FanFiction Disclaimer - All recognized characters and the world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros and their licensees

Severely Moonstruck - 2. Soothing Solution

In which Remus makes a friend.

‘He’s not a bad guy, you know,’ Remus said. ‘Not really. Just because you don’t like him—’

‘This is not dislike, Moony,’ Sirius interrupted him. ‘It’s hatred.’

Remus was sitting on the floor of the dormitory, leaning his back against the foot of Sirius’s bed, upon which the latter was sitting with a half-finished essay. Peter was on his bed reading, and James was in the shower. They were in their sixth year at Hogwarts, and it was May.

‘He is a bit questionable, you know,’ said Peter matter-of-factly. ‘And I just know he’s a dark wizard. Just look at all the curses he knows! Even the other Slytherins don’t like him. He’s got to be really bad.’

‘Did it ever occur to you that the reason why the other Slytherins don’t like him could be because he isn’t like them?’ Remus retaliated.

‘But you know,’ Peter reasoned, ‘he’s been just as slimy and horrible since we first met him.’

‘I don’t think he’s a dark wizard,’ said Sirius.

‘Thank you, Padfoot,’ said Remus in genuine surprise.

‘I just think he’s a prat. He deserves whatever’s coming to him.’

Remus rolled his eyes. He grabbed a pillow that had fallen out of Sirius’s bed and threw it at him. Sirius laughed. He put his essay down and lay down on his stomach, reaching out to caress Remus’s shoulder with one hand, running the other through his brown hair.

‘Why do you care so much, anyway?’ Sirius murmured, bringing his mouth close to Remus’s ear. His breath tickled. ‘He’s not much more civil to you than he is to us, and if he is it’s only because you never say anything.’

‘Because there’s nothing to say. I don’t think Snape is at all as bad as everyone else seems to believe—get off, Sirius!’

Sirius had begun to nibble his earlobe lightly. ‘Why?’ he whispered teasingly.

‘Because I asked you to, that’s why! Be serious, for once!’ Remus pushed him off.

‘I am,’ said Sirius, face suddenly straight. ‘I just don’t give a rat’s arse about old Snivelly. I’m perfectly serious about you . . .’

Remus laughed. ‘Sure you are.’

Sirius grinned then. ‘Maybe not. Still, don’t be so stiff! Play along a bit.’

‘Not now, Padfoot,’ said Remus solemnly. ‘I’m breaking up with you. You may consider yourself officially dumped.’

‘You’re no fun,’ Sirius grumbled and crossed his arms, a surly look on his face. Remus shook his head and laughed. Then he stood up and headed over to his own bed.

‘Good night, guys,’ he said and pulled the curtains around the four-poster to get undressed.

‘Good night,’ said Peter absentmindedly, his nose back in his novel. Sirius just shrugged and rolled over.

Remus heard James return from his shower. He lay down under the covers, listening as his roommates each went to bed. Sirius and James bantered about something unimportant, and Remus smiled to himself as he slowly drifted off to sleep.

A small sound roused him. He opened his eyes sleepily, propped himself up on his elbows, and found that another person was sitting next to him on the bed, looking at him. After a few blinks his eyes adjusted to the darkness, revealing the person to be Sirius, to Remus’s complete lack of surprise.

‘What are you up to, Padfoot?’ he yawned.

Sirius shrugged. ‘Couldn’t sleep. I was watching you.’

‘Whatever for?’

‘I like to watch you sleep,’ said Sirius, edging a bit closer. He stroked Remus’s cheek with his hand, and Remus shuddered.

‘Sirius,’ he whispered. ‘Please don’t be like this . . .’

‘Why not?’

‘Because it’s not right. You’re not being fair to me.’ Remus sat up fully. He removed Sirius’s hand from his face and made to let go of it, but Sirius grabbed hold of his hand in turn and kissed the fingertips, one by one.

‘Padfoot, no . . .’ But Remus’s willpower ended there, and he closed his eyes and sighed. ‘Why do you always do this to me?’

‘Because you’re my Moony,’ Sirius whispered and kissed his wrist. ‘You’re mine!’ His voice was fierce and his breath hot on Remus’s skin.

‘You’re an arse,’ Remus mumbled weakly. ‘I hate you.’

‘I love you,’ Sirius retaliated huskily, and pushed him down onto his back. Then he began to bite at his neck.

‘No, you don’t,’ Remus moaned. ‘That’s why you’re an arse . . .’ Sirius only chuckled, and unbuttoned Remus’s pyjama top, sliding his hand inside to brush his nipples. Remus whimpered. ‘Stop it,’ he gasped. ‘The others will hear—’

Sirius licked his earlobe gently. ‘They’re asleep. They won’t hear. Not if you’re quiet.’ He moved his hand down underneath the covers to the waistband of Remus’s pyjama bottoms. He kept it there for a moment, holding Remus’s gaze, before pushing on into Remus’s pants.

‘You really are an arse, Padfoot,’ Remus groaned. ‘I love you . . .’

* * *

Remus woke up late the next morning. Sirius was no longer in his bed. He sat up and rubbed his eyes. He could hear voices talking. The others were all awake.

‘Bugger,’ Remus muttered. ‘I’m meant to be a Prefect . . .’

Remus found his robes at the foot of the bed and started to put them on. Through the curtains, he could hear what the others were saying.

‘Did you finish the essay, Padfoot?’

’Nah, I’ll copy off Moony at lunch.’

‘Can I too?’

‘You’re not done either?’

‘I—no, I was reading . . .’

‘Neither of you’ve done it? Are Remus and I the only ones who bother?’

‘No, Prongs, only Remus actually bothers. You write essays in half an hour, spouting so much bollocks all the teachers just believe you did it right.’

‘I don’t really see the difference . . .’

Remus smiled and pulled the curtains, getting out of bed. The others all turned to him.

‘Well, good morning, sleepyhead,’ said Sirius, a sly grin spreading across his features. ‘Finally out of bed, are we?’

‘Why didn’t anyone wake me?’ Remus asked, stifling a yawn.

‘Well, they wanted to,’ said Sirius, indicating the other two, ‘but I thought we should give you a bit of a lie-in. After all, it did get very late, and you must be very tired after . . . well.’

James shook his head, but smiled. ‘You two are truly twisted, you know that?’

Sirius grinned, turning his attention to James. ‘Oh, Prongs, you’re just jealous! It’s all in good fun, isn’t it, Moony?’

Remus looked away uncomfortably. It was all a joke to Sirius. He didn’t seem to understand that it meant more to Remus than it did to him, or how much it hurt. Now Sirius acted like nothing had happened and like it hadn’t been mentioned and was joking with the other two again.

‘I love you’ wasn’t enough. Not when it was followed by a laugh and a silly face. Remus could never be sure if he really meant it or not. Sirius would seem so earnest one moment, and the next he would dismiss it all as a joke, as though their relationship was simply entertainment.

It had been going on for nearly two years. How it had started Remus couldn’t be certain. A few quick glances, harmless, flirtatious joking of the kind that sometimes goes on between friends. It had been bad enough back then, but Remus had been able to take comfort in the knowledge that nothing would come of it anyway, so he shouldn’t take it so seriously. Then a few awkward encounters alone in a room, a lock forgotten on a bathroom door . . .

Someone said something funny and the others all laughed. Remus couldn’t. He turned away to find his books for the morning lessons. Then he sighed and looked out the window. Only two days left until the full moon.

* * *

Remus, Sirius and James headed off to Potions after breakfast. Peter was horrible at Potions, and hadn’t made it to NEWT level, so he left them in the Entrance Hall and made his way to History of Magic.

‘Can you believe he actually likes that subject?’ said Sirius as the three of them started down the stairs into the dungeons. ‘I mean, being interested in history is one thing, but listening to that old geezer Binns droning on and on about goblin wars? How old can he be, d’you think? I’ll bet he’ll die soon.’

‘Well, I suppose he just likes it,’ Remus shrugged. ‘Not the goblin wars bits, perhaps, but the subject itself is interesting enough. It’s just Binns who makes it boring.’

‘And our Wormtail is actually good at it!’ James commented. ‘He earned an E in his OWL. Hey, do you suppose he’s the only one taking that class?’

‘Don’t be mean, James!’ Remus berated him. ‘I’m sure Peter isn’t the only one who’s interested in History of Magic.’

They reached the Potions dungeon and found themselves a table. They were relatively early, in spite of the late start. There were only a few other pupils in the classroom. One of them was Severus Snape, who sat alone at a table in the front, all his equipment already set up before him. He was hunched over his copy of Advanced Potion-Making, quill in hand.

‘Look at Snivellus,’ Sirius whispered indiscreetly, nudging James. ‘What do you suppose he’s doing? Editing his book? Arrogant sod!’

‘I reckon he thinks he can make it better,’ James sneered. ‘Just because Slughorn thinks he’s talented and has made him part of that club of his he thinks he’s a bloody genius at the subject . . .’

‘Evans is in that club too, you know,’ Sirius commented airily, inclining his head towards the door through which Lily Evans was just entering with a Ravenclaw girl by the name of Emily Roslyn.

‘Shut up, Padfoot,’ James said softly, a half-smile on his face.

‘Lily told me Snape never goes to the meetings or the parties,’ said Remus. ‘Apparently he doesn’t like them.’

Sirius dismissed his comment with an indifferent hand gesture.

Soon after, Professor Slughorn entered the dungeon. ‘Good morning, everyone,’ he said, placing a heavy stack of books on his desk. ‘Today we will be making a Soothing Solution. Can anyone tell me what this potion is used for? Miss Evans?’

‘It’s used to treat trauma,’ said Lily. ‘Its main effect is to dampen painful memories so the patient’s subconscious can deal with them without causing further distress to the patient.’

‘Correct, Miss Evans! Take five points. Now,’ said Slughorn, turning to the rest of the class, ‘This is a tricky potion to brew alone, so I would like you to team up two and two and do it together. Instructions are on page three-hundred-and-forty, and you know where to find your ingredients. Ready, set, go!’

James tousled his hair with his hand and shouted across the classroom, ‘Evans! Team up with me?’

Lily looked up at him, raised an eyebrow and then laughed humourlessly. ‘You can’t be serious! Come on, Emmy, let’s go get the ingredients,’ she said, turning to her friend.

Sirius gave James a pointed but amused look.

‘It was worth a try,’ said James, shrugging. ‘You and me, then, Padfoot!’

Remus shook his head and laughed a bit. All was right with the world, it seemed.

‘Lupin,’ came a voice from behind him, and he turned around. ‘It appears we are the only two left without partners,’ said Snape, plucking a stray strand of greasy hair away from his eyes.

Remus looked around. ‘Yes, so it seems,’ he replied, a bit uncertainly.

‘Well, he’s not teaming up with you!’ Sirius cut in with a growl. ‘Moony, you can’t partner with Snivellus!’ Remus could hear him put as much venom as possible into the name.

‘Fine then,’ said Snape and turned around. ‘It was just a suggestion. I’m perfectly capable of brewing this potion on my own.’

‘I need a partner, Sirius!’ said Remus, a little angrily. ‘What did you have to go and insult him for? Hey, Snape! I’ll team up with you!’

Snape halted for a moment. ‘Good,’ he said, turning his head slightly. ‘Bring your things over to my table. I’ll fetch the ingredients.’

Remus, ignoring Sirius’s glare, did as he was told and gathered up his things to bring them over to Snape’s table.

They worked in silence for most of the lesson, the only words spoken being, ‘Can you pass that, please?’ and ‘Chop these, would you?’ Snape uttered most of them. It was clear from the efficiency with which he worked that Slughorn’s praise was duly deserved.

Remus severed the flowers of the St. John’s Wort from the stem with his knife and made to squeeze the juice from them when Snape grabbed his wrist.

‘Don’t do that,’ he said. ‘We should add the whole flowers. The effect is greater that way.’

‘How do you know?’ asked Remus.

‘I made this at home last summer,’ Snape replied. ‘Do you know of the properties of St. John’s Wort?’

‘Er—’ Remus began hesitantly.

‘I thought not,’ Snape continued. ‘St. John’s Wort is a powerful anti-depressant. Adding the whole flowers not only makes the potion better, but actually helps the patient function in day-to-day life. It partially counters the effect of the Belladonna, which is a sedative.’ He took the flowers from the table and dropped them into the cauldron, stirring carefully counter-clockwise a few times. ‘Depression often follows trauma,’ he added, as the potion turned deep crimson. Remus looked at the description in the book. It was the right colour. He shrugged and returned to his ingredients.

As the last ingredients were added, Snape took a flask of something from his bag and made to pour some of its content into the cauldron.

‘Hang on, now what are you adding?’ asked Remus, putting a hand over the cauldron.

‘Glumbumble fluid,’ Snape replied simply.

‘But that’s not even in the ingredients!’ Remus said frantically.

‘Of course it isn’t. Glumbumble fluid causes melancholy,’ said Snape. Remus opened his mouth to protest, but Snape pressed on. ‘However, I find that a small drop of it balances out the effect of adding the whole flowers of the St. John’s Wort.’ He looked up at Remus. ‘Who’s better at this subject, you or I? Anyway, if I’m wrong you can tell Slughorn what I did. He’ll be fair.’

Before Remus could protest further, Snape had added a drop of the Glumbumble fluid. The potion fizzed for a moment, before turning clear, pale blue, and after Snape had stirred it a few times he declared it finished.

Slughorn inspected their potion thoroughly and then smiled. ‘Excellent work, boys!’ he said. ‘This potion is absolutely perfect. Ten points to Gryffindor and Slytherin respectively. Leave a sample on my desk and vanish the rest, and then you’ll be free to go.’

Snape instructed Remus to put away the ingredients while he took a sample. Remus shrugged and gathered the leftover ingredients. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Snape take first one sample, which he discreetly pocketed, and then another, which he labeled and placed on the table in plain sight. As Remus went off to the store cupboard, Snape muttered, ‘Evanesco,’ and the remaining content vanished from the cauldron.

When Remus returned, he gathered his things and he and Snape exited the classroom together. Remus could sense Sirius glaring daggers at his back but resolutely ignored him.

‘So, how did you know about the ingredients?’ asked Remus conversationally as he and Snape left the room.

‘Like I said, I’ve done it before,’ Snape replied. ‘I’ve performed tests and made improvements based on my knowledge of the ingredients. The good thing about potions is that if they look and smell like they’re supposed to, they work like they’re supposed to as well.’

Remus decided not to pry any further into why he had made it or on whom he had tested it. Nor did he mention the flask he had seen Snape take for himself. Instead he smiled. ‘I knew you were good at potions but, Merlin, you’re a right bloody genius, aren’t you?’

Snape shrugged. ‘I don’t know about genius. It’s a hobby, I suppose.’

Remus cocked an eyebrow at him. ‘A hobby?’ he repeated. ‘You are odd, Snape.’

Snape frowned. ‘No odder than you, I’m sure. How come you miss so many classes all the time?’ He glanced sideways at Remus, who looked away.

‘I have a weak constitution. I get ill easily,’ he replied. ‘I’m just like that.’

They walked in silence for a bit longer, until they reached a fork in the corridor. ‘Well, I’m going to my common room,’ said Snape.

Remus nodded. ‘I suppose I’ll see you later.’

Snape didn’t answer, but simply headed off down the dungeon corridor in silence. Remus turned towards the stairs.

There was something oddly fascinating about Severus Snape. Something in the way he didn’t seem to care about anything. But his black eyes had a spark to them that most didn’t notice, perhaps because he rarely if ever looked people in the eye. And it was rare for him to seek contact with anyone, even if it was required for school. Like he had said himself, Snape didn’t really need a partner in order to brew the Soothing Solution. So why had he approached Remus?

Had he figured out Remus’s secret? Was that where this sudden interest was coming from? Remus shook his head as he emerged into the Entrance Hall and was greeted by daylight once more. Sirius was probably right. The only reason why Snape didn’t seem to have much against him was because he tried not to take sides in his ongoing feud with James and Sirius. So desperate was Remus to be liked by everyone.

Then again, it seemed to be working. Remus decided not to dwell on it, and went to the library to work on an essay. Even after all the misfortune that had befallen him in his short life, he remained ever the optimist, and he couldn’t imagine that it wouldn’t all turn out in the end.

Copyright © 2013 Thorn Wilde; All Rights Reserved.
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Harry Potter FanFiction Disclaimer - All recognized characters and the world of Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling, Warner Bros and their licensees

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Chapter Comments

Good old HP days. I always liked Snape more than others.

It was fun going back to some childhood fun.

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On 08/05/2013 04:54 PM, nostic said:
Good old HP days. I always liked Snape more than others.

It was fun going back to some childhood fun.

Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)
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