Author Notes:

This is the fourth part of what seems to be developing into a whole Snape/Lupin series. And it's the first post-OotP episode. You can read it without knowing the others - but if you want to check out how it all started, and what the hints in this story really hint at, here's the reading order:

Of Potions and Wolves (no slash)

Care

The Art of Being Nice

Yap, the Queen of Beta, lives in the land of chocolate and rules over Mi (and now blushes shyly). Thanks!

And, as always, all things Harry Potter belong to J.K. Rowling. Thanks too.

Howling Lesson

Chapter 1

Severus Snape chewed unexcitedly on a piece of unbuttered toast while Minerva McGonagall tried to make some kind of conversation.

"Would you pass me the marmalade?" she placed her order. At least Severus thought it sounded like one.

"No," he replied curtly without even looking at the damn thing. "It's out of reach."

"It's not."

"If you say so," he snarled. "But it doesn't make any difference - you still have to get it yourself."

"Alright ..." McGonagall began to stretch right past Severus' plate, knocking over his cup of coffee.

Severus caught it.

"Oh, sorry," she chirped, but her look made it clear that she most definitely wasn't.

Severus made a growling sound but didn't reply. The new school year had just started and he already was in one of his bad moods. Correction - he was in one of his badder moods. His summer had been ... not what it could have been.

He waited until McGonagall was seated properly again and then got himself another piece of toast.

"Butter?" McGonagall offered.

He closed his eyes to restrain himself. But when he opened them again Severus was still ready to take the butter and rub it into her face. At that moment a single owl appeared through one of the high windows with a loud and impertinent screech. It was a huge grey owl with enormous wings - and with all the other mail delivered already, every student and teacher looked up to find out about this presumably special delivery.

The owl had almost reached the teachers' table when it suddenly changed directions and decided to fly a loop over the Gryffindor table. It went into a dive and accidentally managed to make Potter spit out his pumpkin juice all over Granger, who screamed when one of its legs got shortly entangled in her hair. It then went back on course and landed gracefully on Severus' shoulder.

He smirked, snatched a large piece of bacon from McGonagall's plate and gave it to Edgar, who hooted approvingly. Apart from that the hall was silent. That definitely was something they didn't see every day, because Severus usually neither stole other people's food, nor got his post delivered, in front of everybody else. He preferred more privacy.

McGonagall shot him another disapproving look and turned away. Severus took the note from Edgar's foot and stared at it. Suddenly the sound turned on again. Students talking, laughing, shouting, bits of conversation were flowing aimlessly around - and he noticed with a slight tinge of embarrassment that he was still holding the letter in front of him. There was only one person who could summon his owl and make it deliver a letter to him like that. And this was the only person he actually wanted to get a letter from. But he wouldn't, would he?

He sighed inwardly. Throwing people out his office, or out of his life - which was practically the same - wasn't exactly the appropriate thing to do when you had an argument. And he hadn't even accused Severus of anything. He had just tried to cope with what had happened last year - and to sort out their relationship. Of course Severus had tried to ... not to replace Black, which would have been nonsense, but to help. It just didn't work out the way it should have.

And now there was this letter. He felt his heart beating faster with every moment he tried to imagine what it would say - and if it really was from Remus Lupin.

He glanced quickly over to McGonagall, but she was occupied with Flitwick. At least she pretended to be. Whatever ... he unfolded the note.

Invitation

to the

2nd ANNUAL WEREWOLF CONVENTION

Special event: HOWLING

Dear Mister/Madam/Miss Snape, S.

You have been invited by a member of the Werewolf Welfare Association (WWA) to take part in our annual meeting. Detailed information you need to attend the 2AWC will be accessible by a Revealing charm (that is if you are Mister/Madam/Miss Snape, S.). Please note: Although this is not a secret conference - please be discreet about the whereabouts.

Yours sincerely, M. K. Packler

PS.: Wolfsbane Potion will be provided to all participants free of charge.

Severus shook his head disbelievingly and then tapped the parchment with his wand. "Reveal your secret!" Immediately the hidden details appeared and under a rather long and not very useful description of how to find the location, Severus found what he'd been looking for. Only two words, but they were written in Remus' loopy handwriting:

Please come.

He took the letter down. Edgar had picked up the last bits of toast from Severus' plate and started to pick at his fingers demandingly. He absently groped around for something to give to the owl. It was absolutely unthinkable that he would go there. Somewhere like this. A - he still couldn't believe it - werewolf meeting. Where everyone was a werewolf. Where werewolves met each other. And yet ... he knew he would go. He would go and see Remus. Please come. He was relieved ... and anxious at the same time.

He read the letter one more time and was about to put it away when something caught his attention. A glimmer at the edge of the paper. He tapped it one more time. "Show yourself!"

I bet you spilled your coffee reading this. I am on the WWA's convention committee, and this personal invitation thing was too good to resist. Of course, you can't attend the convention as yourself, so I have arranged things. Do you remember my old friend in London, with the Mindless Moon Syndrome? He's eager to help us out so he can return the favour you did him when you taught me that spell. His name is Tobias Eagletown and he has a genuine invitation. He agreed to stay at home, so you can be him. I attached one of his hairs to the back of the letter. Oh - and please be so kind and bring your supply of Wolsbane Potion. I think five litres should do.

See you there next Saturday. LfR

Severus frowned. Polyjuice Potion. He didn't like it. Not one bit. But - of course the Dark Lord, or worse, the students, would indeed be very pleased if they found out that he entertained himself with - he skipped to the beginning of the page - howling? Whatever that was all about. And five litres of Wolfsbane Potion. How on earth was he supposed to manage ... Of course Mr. Lupin, R. J. had never been the one to care for details like that, Severus thought irritably.

"This has to be a very interesting letter you've got there. You've been reading it for almost fifteen minutes now."

"It is indeed." He turned to McGonagall, stuffing away the parchment. "Why don't you do something useful and pass me the marmalade?"

***

End Notes:
I know this chapter was a bit short :-) But I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. The next one will be longer!
Mi