Chapter 10: Time of Decision, Moment of Truth
Remus Lupin stood in Severus Snape's foyer as he waited for a house elf to close the front door and usher him down the hall. She took him into a book-lined study where he found Snape pouring two glasses of brandy.
"Ah, Lupin. I told you if your presence was required an invitation would be sent." He turned and handed Lupin one of the glasses.
Lupin took the glass with a nod and said. "It's been a long two weeks, Severus. I was very glad to finally hear from you."
Snape smirked slightly as he took a seat and waved Lupin to a neighboring chair. "Yes, I imagine you were. Patience was never your strong suit."
Lupin snorted. "You should talk. You're not exactly famous for your patience, either."
Snape shrugged. "Perhaps not." He casually sipped his brandy.
Taking a sip from his glass as well, Lupin commented. "Well, your brandy is as good as ever. Hopefully I'll get to finish it this time."
Snape raised an eyebrow. "There was nothing stopping you before."
Lupin took another sip of the brandy. "Right. Nothing except your effervescent charm."
Snape snorted, but remained silent.
"Okay, Severus, enough small talk. Have you read the book? Can you produce a cure?" Lupin inquired eagerly.
"That's not the right question, Lupin. The question should be: What would the "cure" do to me…and should I pursue it?"
A frustrated sigh issued from the impatient werewolf. "All right, I'll bite…can you produce a cure, and what will it do to me?"
Snape leaned back in his chair and steepled his long fingers in front of him. "I've read the book, thoroughly, and I've duplicated the potion Marga made in the laboratory at Slytherin's Castle. It's very close to a potion I'd already developed."
Lupin sat up abruptly. "You already had a cure, and you didn't tell me? For god sakes, Severus, why not?" Indignation poured from him like rain from a cloud.
Snape stared at Lupin thoughtfully. "I didn't offer the potion to you because I had serious doubts about what effect it would have on you. I now know I was right. Combining the information in the book with my own observations of what happened to Marga have convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that a "cure" for your condition is not really possible…at least not in the way you wish."
Lupin frowned and sat back. "What do you mean?"
"The "cure" will successfully remove all aspects of the wolf from your personality, Lupin. It will be gone…permanently. There will be no more uncomfortable urges, no more enhanced senses, no more claws or pointed teeth, no more painful transformations."
Lupin smiled. "Sounds great so far."
Snape nodded. "Yes, indeed. However, what you're refusing to take into account is how much the wolf has shaped who you are, how you think…your determination, your ability to make decisions, your perception of the world, even your intelligence. The wolf has shaped your entire being since you were very young. Removing the wolf will be very much like removing your eyes or your ability to walk and telling you to start again."
Lupin frowned and took a sip of his brandy.
Snape continued. "You were bitten at a very young age Lupin, so apparently was Marga. I have no idea what kind of people you'd both have become if you'd grown up without the wolf influence, there's no way to tell. However, I saw first hand what she became once it was removed from her. She went from a strong decisive personality to a meek indecisive almost childlike personality instantly. She could tell that something was wrong, but she no longer possessed the wit to comprehend just what it was. I had no such difficulty. If you hadn't been so distracted by trying to suppress the change, you'd have seen it, too."
Lupin looked uncomfortable and took a larger drink from his brandy snifter. "Are you going to let me have the cure or aren't you, Severus?" Asked Lupin quietly.
Snape's lips tightened, and he looked rather frustrated. "Have you heard nothing I've said to you? Does none of this matter?"
"I thank you for your concern, Severus, but the decision is mine to make…not yours."
Snape stared at him as if he was an idiot, then he abruptly downed his brandy and stood up. "Very well, Lupin. Apparently my opinion of Gryffindor brainpower has been justified all these years. Follow me."
Snape whirled around and stalked out of the room. Lupin downed his brandy in one swallow and got up and followed him.
They proceeded through the house and ended up in Snape's lab once more. There in the middle of a table stood a solitary bottle containing a glowingly golden liquid.
Snape gestured curtly towards the table. "There's your cure, Lupin. If you're bound and determined to commit suicide, it appears that I can't stop you. I will say that the book was quite helpful to me in the development of my other potion. I don't have a potion to suppress the wolf safely yet, but I feel I'm very close. I believe that in time I will have a safe and effective potion to allow you to control the wolf completely without losing that part of yourself. If you're too impatient to wait, then take this potion and live with the consequences."
Lupin walked over to the table and picked up the bottle and looked at it. He turned and looked over at Snape standing by the door.
Snape kept his face impassive, but his voice was soft as he said. "It will change you irrevocably, Remus. Be very sure it's what you want…because there will be no going back." Then with a final enigmatic look, he turned and left the lab, leaving Lupin alone with his future.
Snape returned to his study and poured himself another brandy.
*I've done all I can. If Lupin insists on being an idiot, there's nothing I can do to stop him. Perhaps it won't be that bad…perhaps it'll be an improvement. Perhaps he'll end up being happy with the new person he'll become. Even if it's likely to be so much less than he is now*. He snorted to himself. * Perhaps I'll win the Witch Weekly's Most-Charming-Smile Award!*
Sobering, he took another drink of his brandy. *I couldn't do it. I wouldn't, but he's right, the choice is his. I hope he can live with it.*
When he returned to his lab an hour later. Lupin was gone. On the table stood the bottle still full of potion and next to it was a letter. Snape picked it up and scanned it quickly.
I thought about what you said, and I decided that you were right. Basically I'm pretty happy with the person that I am now, I wouldn't want to destroy that without knowing what I'd be replacing it with. Removing the shadow of the moon from my life is very important to me; it means everything. I'll never truly be happy until I know I can control the wolf completely and never have to worry about hurting anyone ever again. If I could be sure of that, then I'd be content. So I guess I'll just wait and see what you come up with. I have faith in you, Severus. Let me know when the potion is ready for me. I'll be glad to try again…even if you insist on putting me into a cage to test it. Thanks for everything.
Snape put down the letter and picked up the bottle of potion. He looked at it for a moment, and then he walked over to the sink and poured it down the drain. Setting the bottle on the workbench, he walked over to the French doors and opened them. Then with a faint smile on his face, he walked through the doors and stood quietly contemplating the ocean waves.
Author's Notes: Thank you all for reading this story. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Many of you have asked if there's going to be a sequel. At the moment at least, the answer is no. This seems like a logical conclusion to this tale, and I really don't have anything else to add at the moment. If anyone has any ideas you'd like me to think about, please tell me, though. If it inspires any new thoughts on the subject, I'll be happy to share the credit. I enjoy writing Snape and Lupin together, and if a good idea strikes, I'll be sure to write it down. I'd like to turn the tables and find something that Snape needs to ask Lupin's help with, but so far I haven't come up with anything that makes sense to me. For right now, I'm going to focus on my "romance" storyline. Although, I have to admit, my next story isn't really very "romantic". If any of you liked this story, but haven't read any of my other work, I do have several other stories in other categories that feature Snape and Lupin, none are slash, however. I'd be honored if you'd consider them the next time you're looking for something to read. Thanks so much for your time.
DescendingAngel: I'm so glad you've enjoyed this story, as I've always enjoyed all of yours.
Snapefan51: Marga's not going to die, but she is irrevocably changed. I'm glad you've enjoyed the story. Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments.
Qwertyuiop: Thanks for your support, I'm glad you liked the story.
Werecat99: No, neither Jenni, nor Marga, could leave Snape alone, but then we can't either, so why should they? :)
Prophet Dreams: Thank you for reading my stories, I'm pleased you've enjoyed them. If you keep "Daka" under control, we'll get along fine. :)
Bluebird161221: All good things must come to an end, I'm afraid. Thanks for the kind words.
Snidget Jaguarni: I agree. I would hate to imagine what Lupin would become if he took the "cure". Brr!
Tantz: As Snape said, a true cure isn't possible for those who have lived their lives with the wolf. Hopefully a true means of control will be.
Alicorn: Marga's got a lot of adjusting to do. She's not the person she was anymore, but she'll live…happily, though? Who knows?
Someone Reading: I agree. Remus deserves to have the joy of staring at a full moon as a human being. In time, I'm sure that Snape will be able to help him do it again.
The Jedi Wizard Hobbit: You get the gold star! I did indeed spend a lot of time thinking about "The Enemy Within" when working out what to do with this story. I'm a major Star Trek fan from much too far back! I always thought that that was an intriguing idea to break up a person's abilities and personality into a light and dark side, with a meshing of the two being necessary for true balance and harmony and to simply be able to function effectively. I think the wolf gives Remus great strength of character. He might come to appreciate that if he could get past the horrific side of things. Not easy…I grant you. Thanks for the kind words about my work. Hopefully stories will keep coming, and you'll keep reading. I've enjoyed your comments.
Amity: Very astute observation. As you can see, you're correct. Remus decides he has too much to lose if he takes the "cure".