Bound By the Moon
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters and settings are the intellectual property of J. K. Rowling. I'm just playing around with them for the fun of it; no monetary gain is sought.
This story is set in December, 6 months after the end of Book 4, Goblet of Fire.
Chapter 1. An Impossible Quest
Remus Lupin found himself standing in a dim and cold corridor of the lower levels of Hogwarts Castle facing a closed and no doubt locked wooden door. He'd been staring at it for some time. Every time he'd raise his hand to knock, he'd lose his nerve, and drop it back to his side. Then he'd pace back and forth and repeat this embarrassing little scenario once again.
It had been a year and a half since he'd laid eyes on Severus Snape, and their parting had been anything but cordial. Snape had revealed Lupin's secret to the entire school, forcing Lupin's resignation and subsequent departure from Hogwarts. Lupin had not been pleased to say the least. Snape had been smug, self-righteous, and furious. Somehow Lupin doubted that Snape would have changed in the last year and a half.
Still, he truly needed Snape's help now. He was the only one who could help…if he would. Big if! What if he won't talk to me, let alone help me? How can I persuade him? Cajole him? Threaten him? What can I say? He has to help! This feels right…important. Damn him! If only there was anyone else to turn to, but there wasn't. It was Snape or no one. He was the only one with the right knowledge, the right background. Lupin sighed heavily, gritted his teeth, stepped up to the door, and knocked loudly.
"Well, well. That only took you 23 minutes. I was betting on half an hour!"
Lupin jumped in surprise and spun around to face the dark shadowy figure behind him, whose voice chilled him with its coldness. With his heart racing double time, he peered into the shadows to see Snape step forward with his arms crossed over his chest and a black scowl firmly ensconced on his face.
"Severus." Lupin gulped. "How long have you been standing there?"
Snape's voice dripped icicles. "Long enough to have passed out of the entertainment phase of watching you squirm, into being annoyed at you for blocking entry to my rooms. What brings you back here, werewolf? Didn't we run you off with your tail between your legs?"
Lupin felt his hackles rising, and he had to clamp a firm lid on his temper not to respond in kind. He needed this man, he kept reminding himself. Instead, he forced a smile onto his face.
"It's good to see you again, Severus. How have you been?"
Snape regarded Lupin as if he'd lost his mind. "Somehow I doubt you've come all this way to lurk outside my chambers and inquire after my health."
Lupin ran a nervous hand through his thick hair and grinned sheepishly. "Well, you've got me there. I really do need to talk to you, though. It's very important."
Snape brushed Lupin aside and passed his wand over his door to unlock it. "Why should I waste my time?"
Lupin reached out and grabbed Snape's arm in a firm grip. "Perhaps to ensure that I don't come for a little visit next full moon." He stated pleasantly with a smile on his face.
Snape snapped his head to the side and regarded Lupin through narrowed eyes. "Threats, Lupin?" He purred. "Oh, if only Albus could see his tame werewolf now."
Lupin sighed. "I don't want to threaten you, Severus." This wasn't going as he'd hoped, as he'd feared, yes, but not as he'd hoped. "I just really need to talk to you about something. It's important to me, but I honestly think it will be of interest to you, as well. Could you, please, spare me just a few minutes of your valuable time?"
Snape stared at him speculatively; weighing how much enjoyment he'd get out of slamming the door in Lupin's face against his rather strongly aroused curiosity. Curiosity won out. After all, he could always slam the door after he kicked him out.
Holding the door open, he gestured for Lupin to enter his rooms. "Very well, Lupin. I suppose I can spare you a few minutes. I do hope you're telling the truth for a change, and it's worth my while to speak to you. It certainly goes against my better judgment."
Once inside his sitting room, Snape crossed his arms again and sighed impatiently. "Well? What do you want?"
Lupin snorted to himself. Well, if he'd been expecting hospitality, he was certainly mistaken. A drink was probably too much to ask, but he might've offered a seat at least! Really the man had the manners of a troll.
Lupin nodded. "Okay. I'll get right to the point."
Snape sneered. "That would be a pleasant surprise."
Lupin bit his tongue, counted rapidly to 10, and tried again. "Yesterday, I found a page from a very old manuscript that appeared to be part of a scholarly treatise concerning a cure for Lycanthropy."
Snape snorted. "How wonderful for you! And you rushed right over to share the good news. I'm flattered."
Lupin scowled at him. "Will you shut up and listen for a moment!"
Snape smirked, but he did shut up. Lupin continued. "This manuscript was actually a page torn from a very old book. The shopkeeper told me that the page came from a book that was part of the private library of Salazar Slytherin!"
Lupin noted a speculative gleam in Snape's eye at this bit of news, and felt his heart leap. "No matter what you might say, Severus, I know you have an interest in finding a cure for Lycanthropy. Your research had a huge impact on the development of the Wolfsbane Potion. I know you continued to try to refine it while I was here at Hogwarts. It was more effective, with fewer side effects, later in the year. You wouldn't have continued to work on it if you didn't have an interest."
Snape sneered at Lupin. "Oh, I suppose you're trying to make me think you actually believe that my research is based solely on altruism and intellectual curiosity." Snape snorted. "Be truthful, Lupin. We both know why I have an interest in this area. You can't help but be intimately aware of just how I developed that interest, now can you?"
Lupin felt a twinge of the old shame, but he ignored it firmly and continued. "Okay, Severus, we both know differently, but if the subject matter is of no true interest to you, perhaps where the page came from is. Wouldn't you be interested to have a look at Salazar Slytherin's private library? Perhaps it's even right here at Hogwarts. Do you know of any such library here, Severus?"
Snape sighed. "Do you truly know so little of the history of this school, Lupin? Did this eager shopkeeper imply that this mysterious private library was here within the walls of Hogwarts?"
Lupin frowned and ran a hand through his hair. "Well, no, not precisely. He lost interest in telling me about it once he discovered that I couldn't actually pay for the manuscript."
Snape laughed darkly at that. "Oh, I see. Now I suppose in addition to leading you by the nose to Slytherin's private library, I'm also expected to pay for the privilege by purchasing this fascinating manuscript for you."
Lupin sighed and looked sheepish. "Well, a slight loan would certainly be appreciated. After all, you are the main reason I'm currently unemployed."
Snape shook his head. "Well, as entertaining as this conversation has been, I'm afraid it ends here. I'm not financing your little pipe dream, Lupin. You can forget that notion immediately."
Damn! One step too far! Lupin held up a hand. "Okay, Severus, okay. Can you at least tell me if Salazar Slytherin had a private library here at Hogwarts?"
Snape's eyes gleamed, and he purred silkily. "Well, of course he did, Lupin. I can show it to you, if you'd like."