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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 - 4. Veritaserum

In which summer is boring, and there is reconciliation.

Whereas the last few weeks before summer had gone by far too quickly, the summer holidays passed with excruciating slowness. Remus spent most of his time at home. He didn’t see any of the other Marauders that summer, though he did correspond with all three by owl. He was happy to hear that James’s father was doing much better and did not need to spend time in St. Mungo’s.

Although his relationship with Sirius had been cool before the summer, the latter appeared in his letters to have ‘forgiven’ him—no harm, no foul—and Remus found that the anger he had felt regarding Sirius’s little prank had mostly ebbed away. His friend even cracked a few highly inappropriate jokes in his letters (‘I wish you were here so I’d have someone to do at night’, ‘I’m so frustrated I could fuck a porcupine, but you would be highly preferable’), making Remus blush so much that his mother had to ask if he was running a fever.

One day, when he had nothing to do, Remus even chanced a letter to Severus, asking how his holiday was. Apparently Severus wasn’t much of a pen-pal, however, because his reply was short:

 

Remus,

I am fine, thank you. I am playing around with some potions and keeping mostly to myself. My parents aren’t bothering me much right now.

Lily Evans lives close by and I ran into her the other day. She told me she’s been made Head Girl. Nice for you Gryffindors.

 

Hoping you are well,

Severus

 

All the same, given the nature of their last meeting before the holidays, it could have been far worse. At least he didn’t seem angry.

Needless to say, Remus was overjoyed when his slow summer finally ended and he could return to Hogwarts at last.

Platform Nine and Three-Quarters was chock-full of people. It was impossible for Remus to catch hold of anyone he knew as he stood there with his father, trunk at his side. His mother had been too tired for the hustle and bustle of King’s Cross that day and had thus stayed home.

‘So,’ said his father, ‘are you ready for your final year?’

Remus shrugged. ‘As ready as I can be, I suppose.’

‘Moony!’ came a shout from behind him and Remus turned around. James and Sirius came trotting towards them, wearing matching grins.

Sirius threw an arm around Remus’s shoulder and gave him a sort of half-hug, which somehow felt infinitely comforting. Remus had been very worried about meeting him again, despite the friendly tone of their letters.

‘Hi, guys,’ he said. Then he noticed a very shiny badge on James’s chest. ‘Is that . . . ?’ he questioned, pointing at it.

‘Erm, yeah . . .’ James looked embarrassed. ‘Could hardly believe it myself . . .’

‘I swear, it was bad enough when you were made Prefect, Moony. It shames me to be best friends with the ruddy Head Boy!’ Sirius grinned.

Remus smiled, but he knew it didn’t quite reach his eyes. Somehow he felt cheated. How had James become Head Boy? Surely it should have been someone else? James wasn’t even a Prefect. There must have been some mistake . . . But the badge was genuine and James’s tone did not make it sound like a joke.

‘Where’s Peter?’ asked Remus, changing the subject.

‘He probably overslept,’ Sirius joked. ‘Oh, no, there he is. His mum’s fussing over him as usual.’ He turned to James. ‘Not too long until the train leaves. We should find your mother and say bye.’

The two boys disappeared into the crowd again. Remus and his father were not alone for long, though, because soon a tall, scrawny youth approached them.

‘Hello, Remus,’ said Severus quietly. ‘How was your summer?’

‘Oh, not bad,’ said Remus. ‘Dad, this is Severus Snape. Severus, this is my father.’

‘How do you do?’ Mr. Lupin smiled and shook Severus’s hand. ‘So, you’re the one responsible for my son’s improved Potions results?’

Severus looked surprised that Remus had mentioned him to his father and seemed at first speechless. ‘I . . . I suppose so,’ he said after a short while.

‘Oi! It’s Snivellus!’ came Sirius’s voice.

Severus blinked, as though he had momentarily forgotten where he was. Then he gave a polite bow to Remus’s father. ‘It was nice to meet you, Mr. Lupin.’ He turned to Remus. ‘I should probably get on board. I daresay we’ll see each other at school.’ Then he disappeared into the crowd.

‘Peculiar fellow,’ said Mr. Lupin, as Sirius and James, this time accompanied by Peter, once again made their way over to where Remus was standing.

‘Come on,’ said James. ‘We should get on the train.’

‘Right.’ Remus turned to his father. ‘Goodbye, then, dad.’

‘Goodbye, son,’ said his father and squeezed his shoulder. ‘Behave yourself at school, and remember to write home to your mother.’

The Marauders all grabbed hold of their trunks and pulled them onboard the Hogwarts Express.

‘I suppose we’ll have to go to the Prefects’ compartments or something?’ said James uncertainly to Remus.

‘Yes, we should,’ Remus replied. ‘We’ll see you guys a little later,’ he told Sirius and Peter. Then they split up, and Remus and James went off to find the other Prefects.

‘Remus!’ said a voice when they entered the next carriage and Lily Evans came running up to them. ‘Look at this, I’m Head Girl!’ She pointed at her badge excitedly. ‘Can you believe it? I couldn’t. I wonder who’s Head Boy?’ James cleared his throat very loudly and Lily noticed him for the first time. ‘Wait… What’s he doing here?’

I’m the new Head Boy,’ said James, not a little cockily.

You are?’ Lily stared at him, openmouthed and wide-eyed. Then her gaze moved to the badge on his chest and her eyes grew wider still. ‘You must be joking . . . He’s not serious, is he?’ She turned to Remus, her eyes pleading with him to say that it wasn’t so.

‘I think he is,’ said Remus, somewhat reluctantly. He was still rather shocked himself.

‘But—but he’s a complete idiot!’

‘Oi! I’m right here, you know!’ James said indignantly.

Lily turned to him. ‘And you’re a complete idiot!’ She frowned. ‘Sorry. But you’re always pulling pranks, you never take anything seriously . . . How could you become Head Boy? You’re not even a Prefect! It’s unheard of!’

‘Well, whatever you may think of my capabilities, Evans, we’re just going to have to try to get along, aren’t we?’ James replied heatedly.

The rest of the train ride was uneventful. After a rather long briefing in the seventh year Prefects’ compartment, Remus and James patrolled the train together for a while, before finding the compartment in which Sirius and Peter were sitting.

They arrived at Hogwarts, sat down for the feast and went to bed immediately afterwards.

That night, Remus woke up to find Sirius in his bed. Too tired to make any protests, he let the other do what he liked and tried to enjoy it, but in the darkness Sirius couldn’t see his tears, and if it had felt empty before, that night it felt desolate.

* * *

During a free lesson on the first day back, Remus went to his familiar desk in the Hogwarts Library, where he found Severus, not at all to his surprise, bent over his Potions book again.

He approached the other boy carefully. ‘Hi.’

Severus looked up at him. He inclined his head slightly, but made no greeting.

Remus asked, ‘Can I sit down?’

‘If you must,’ Severus replied.

Remus sat. For several long moments, he just stared down at the table. Severus scribbled something onto a roll of parchment.

‘So . . . Are we all right now?’ Remus asked finally, raising his gaze to Severus’s face.

Severus looked up again. ‘That depends.’ He paused, his expression unreadable as ever. ‘Something like this . . . It won’t just go away, you know. I’m . . . It’s hard to . . .’ He fell silent, looking down at his parchment.

Remus took a deep breath. ‘Is it that I almost killed you or that I’m a—you know—that bothers you most?’

‘I don’t know.’

Remus knew that Severus was not the kind of person who would tell other people how he really felt—indeed, most of their conversations were generally one-sided, except for academic matters—but Remus was really the same. The things that mattered were always the hardest to say.

‘It’s not something I tell people. James, Peter and Sirius know, and all the teachers, for obvious reasons, but it’s not the sort of thing that one shares with everybody. Hiding it has become habit, I . . . I never did know how to . . . I’m sorry.’ He glanced at Severus, whose brow was furrowed.

He never really knew what he had meant the apology to be for. It could have been for any one of his wrongdoings, or for all of them.

After a moment, Severus’s face relaxed visibly. He did not accept the apology, nor reject it, or even acknowledge it in any way at all, but some of the tension lifted, and Remus thought he had maybe understood. Something loosened a little bit in Remus as well, and he though that this time, maybe, they could be friends without the secrets.

* * *

After their talk in the Library on the first day, Remus and Severus went back to being study partners, much to Sirius’s completely indiscrete and obvious dislike. Remus ignored him for the most part, and with their teachers piling as much homework onto them as they possibly could, it became relatively easy to weasel out of any uncomfortable situation with a ‘I have to study’ or ‘need to stop by the Library before it closes, sorry’. With James preoccupied with his duties as both Head Boy and Gryffindor Quidditch Captain, Sirius began to spend most of his time with Peter.

Sirius and Remus’s relationship was now somewhat strained. Since their return to school, the friendly tone from the summer’s letters and their reunion at Platform Nine and Three-Quarters had dissipated again, leaving a curt sort of civility. Sirius had not returned to Remus’s bed since the first night.

In spite of all his complaints, Remus found that he missed the company of his lover at night. As much as Sirius’s emotional detachment had hurt him, he felt the absence of the physical affection he had grown accustomed to. And it was painful that his friend didn’t speak to him or treat him the way he normally did. But, Remus reasoned, it would be even more painful if he let himself be seduced again. Not only would it involve once again surrendering his heart into the careless hands of Sirius Black, but it would also mean letting go of his budding friendship with Severus Snape, and Severus had never asked him to choose.

Severus and he were very much the same. They were both intellectual and introverted. Yet, in spite of that, Remus still did not understand his new friend. Severus was locked more securely than a Gringott’s vault, and it would take a lot more than some studying in the Library to make him trust him, especially after the turmoil before the summer holidays.

The first full moon arrived as September came to a close. James and Peter came to keep Remus company, but Sirius had apparently refused. James told Remus afterwards how he had scolded his best friend.

‘And especially after everything he put you through last spring! I can’t believe he refused to come. He’s such a petty, childish twat sometimes! Just cause you’re friends with Snape . . .’

But two days later Sirius and James were thick as thieves again and Remus couldn’t help feeling desperately alone.

One of the first things Remus did when he got back was go find Severus in the Library. He was, predictably, seated at their usual table, today surrounded by Defence Against the Dark Arts notes, diligently working on an essay. He barely looked up as Remus plopped down in the other seat.

‘You’re back.’

‘Yes.’ Remus pulled a hand through his hair and yawned.

Without really looking up from his work, Severus reached into his pocket and pulled out a small vial, handing it to Remus.

Remus smiled. ‘Thank you,’ he said, pulling to stopper and taking a huge swallow of the Invigoration Draught.

‘Thought you might need it, so I brewed a batch,’ muttered Severus, his quill continuing its swift movement across the parchment. ‘You’re not much use to me dead tired.’

‘I’m not much use to you anyway,’ Remus pointed out. ‘You’re mostly the one helping me.’

‘Not so. Much as I hate to admit it, you’re far better at Defence Against the Dark Arts than I am.’ He looked up. ‘You have a new scar.’

‘Yeah . . .’ Remus looked away. He had gotten a cut on his neck, just below his ear, while transformed. ‘Dunno how it happened. I rarely remember much.’

‘They heal quickly, don’t they?’

‘I suppose.’

Severus studied his face. It made Remus feel self-conscious. ‘You know, I don’t like it.’

‘I know.’

‘Still, you can’t really help it, I suppose.’

‘No, I can’t.’

Severus nodded slowly. Then he rifled through his notes until he found a particular piece of parchment. ‘Maybe you can explain it better than the incompetent fool they hired this year . . . How exactly does one get rid of a Hydra?’

* * *

‘Oh, come off it! He’s my best friend!’

‘I don’t care! You should have deducted points anyway. He knew very well what he was doing!’

Remus looked up from his chair by the fire as James and Lily entered the Common Room. They were fighting again. This was nothing new, but Remus found himself thinking that they should really have learned to get along by now.

‘I gave him a fair warning. I said I’d take points next time! I’d be taking points from Gryffindor!’ James looked at her as though this was an entirely obvious reasoning.

‘Look, Potter, we’re both Gryffindors,’ said Lily. ‘We can’t be seen as giving our own house special treatment, that would be wrong. You have to be Head Boy first and Gryffindor second.’

‘Why can’t you call me James?’

Lily crossed he arms defiantly. ‘Because you haven’t earned it yet!’ She started off towards the stairs to the girls’ dormitories.

James broke into a trot to catch up with her before she reached them. ‘Lily, wait!’ She stopped, but did not turn around. ‘Let me take you out next Hogsmeade weekend. We can get to know each other better, and then you can decide whether or not you want to call me James.’

She turned to face him, arms still crossed. ‘I’ll think about it,’ she said. ‘But if I catch Black and Pettigrew up to that sort of thing again, I’ll make sure they both get detention!’

As it turned out, however, she didn’t have to. Three days later, Sirius and Peter were caught trying to sneak into the kitchens by Filch. The Marauder’s Map was confiscated and the two were subsequently given detention the following Saturday, the first Hogsmeade trip of the year.

What was more, after receiving this news Lily decided to accept James’s offer, and this left him entirely unable to feel any sympathy at all for his friends.

‘Rotten luck, mate, getting caught like that,’ he said, grinning from ear to ear as he buttoned his pyjamas. All four boys were in the dormitory. It was eleven o’clock on Tuesday evening.

‘It is so unfair,’ Sirius grumbled. ‘You get to go on a date with the girl you’ve been in love with since third year, and we have to stay behind and manually scrub the dungeons.’

‘Life is unfair,’ said James solemnly. Sirius threw a pillow at him and his mask broke into a laugh. ‘At least you two will be together. Lucky you were both caught!’ He tossed the pillow back to Sirius, who caught it, and turned to Remus. ‘What are you doing on Saturday, Moony?’

Remus shrugged. ‘Dunno. I might just stay behind and study.’

‘You won’t be hanging around with Snivellus, then?’ asked Sirius. His voice had adopted the usual chill it had whenever Severus was mentioned.

‘If he stays behind to study as well, I daresay I will,’ said Remus defiantly. ‘What’s it to you?’

‘Stop it, you two!’ James warned, and they both fell silent. Remus understood, at times like these, why James had been chosen as Head Boy. His voice possessed a degree of authority sometimes that was almost father-like in its prominence. James was a leader. He always had been.

‘It won’t be so bad cleaning out the dungeons if we’re together, though,’ said Peter brightly. ‘I mean, if I’m with you, Padfoot, I’ll bet we’ll have lots of fun doing it!’

Sirius rolled his eyes. ‘There must be some reason you’re in Gryffindor, Wormtail. I just haven’t figured it out yet…’

* * *

Remus and Severus left Potions together the following day, having finished at the same time.

‘So, are you going to the village on Saturday?’ asked Remus.

‘I don’t think so,’ Severus replied. ‘I never really do. I have no real reason to. How about you?’

‘Well, James has a date and Sirius and Peter have detention, so I really haven’t got much reason to go either.’ Remus paused, glancing sideways at Severus, whose expression was blank as always. ‘Maybe we could go together?’ he ventured after a moment.

It took a little while for Severus to answer. He seemed to consider, then replied, ‘I have nothing better to do.’

‘All right, then!’ Remus felt relief wash over him. ‘We’ll have fun.’

Copyright © 2013 Thorn Wilde; All Rights Reserved.
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