A/N: Chapter beta read by Forty-Two Dreams. All remaining mistakes are mine.
Dear Professor Snape,
Oh, he couldn't wait to read the rest of the letter already, Snape thought sarcastically. He checked the seal: yes, it was definitely from the Ministry.
As you might already know, a team of wizards is being arranged here, at the Ministry of Magic, in the hope to find a cure to the curse that is presently ailing young wizard Harry Potter. We expect to bring talented wizards from various backgrounds together in that prospect.
Snape sighed loudly. So far, nothing he couldn't have read in the Daily Prophet.
Your brilliant work on the cure to the Dormant Poison as a Potions Master has come to our attention, and it would be an honour for us to count you among our team.
Sure. Working for the Ministry, and to help Potter, no less… Now that the Dark Lord was gone, they were all living in a wonderland, weren't they?
Snape read quickly the part where it was explained that the almost unremunerated nature of the job would be greatly compensated by the satisfaction of being helpful to the wonderboy who sacrificed himself to save the entire Wizarding world - he was caricaturing, but that was the general idea.
He almost skipped the part where the author was desperately trying to make him think he was such a brilliant wizard that they would probably fail miserably if he didn't join them - again, he was caricaturing, but it amused him to no end to see a member of the Ministry suck up to a former Death Eater in such a fashion.
He read carefully the part with an attempt at bribery - an attempt that failed completely since he was not interested by a permanent job at the Ministry - before skipping the usual closing to the letter.
Snape took a very sadistic pleasure in tearing the letter apart, before putting it on fire with the tip of his wand. Then, he watched it burn slowly, enjoying himself tremendously - it wasn't every day he was given the opportunity to send the Ministry packing. And he wasn't going to start playing nice all of a sudden just because the Dark Lord was now gone.
The Dark Lord was now gone, true enough, but all evidence of his existence hadn't disappeared, he thought bitterly while instinctively rubbing his forearm - it would take a while before he could get rid of this habit. The initial joy of sporting an almost vanished Dark Mark had given way to sullenness when he fully realised that it would never be totally gone, and that he would always be reminded of his past. No matter what he did, he would always remain a Death Eater in the eyes of others - as much as in his eyes.
Snape rested back in his armchair. He could continue his work on his everlasting project, but he knew it was bound to fail, just like it had during all these years. He also knew he had blown his one chance to ever find a cure… Maybe he could go talk to Wilson, but somehow he doubted that after what had happened and what she had seen, she would agree - not to mention he had told her himself that their work association was definitely over. But he clung to the hope of being able to talk her into it again some time during the next school year - there would sure be opportunities and lots of time to try and convince her.
Instead of wallowing in his own misery, Snape decided he had much better things to do, like gloat over the two full months he was going to have all to himself, or go instil some last-minute fear in the students before they left for home. Snape eventually settled on going outside for some fresh air, hoping to cross the path of some students as much as wanting, for once, to get away from the somewhat oppressing atmosphere of his Potions lab.
Snape went on his way relatively merrily - the recollection of burning the letter from the Ministry would probably entertain him the whole afternoon. However, as he headed for the front door, his joyful disposition vanished all of a sudden.
In the entrance hall, Wilson and Lupin were conversing cheerily, surrounded by a bunch of bags and luggage they were levitating towards the door. Snape recognised some of Wilson's belongings. She was leaving, he realised.
Snape had frozen right on spot, and it took the two others a while to notice his presence as he kept observing them. When Wilson turned and saw him at last, she fell silent and her smile vanished slowly. She stared at him for a moment, her eyes unreadable - contempt? Hatred? Revulsion? - while Snape stared back, somewhat aware of Lupin looking alternately at the two of them with uneasiness.
When Snape decided to keep walking towards them, he saw Wilson suddenly turn to her brother. "I'll go pack the rest of my stuff," she told Lupin before leaving the entrance hall hurriedly. Snape ended standing next to Lupin, still staring at the hallway through which Wilson had left, while Lupin maintained an embarrassed silence.
"The Ministry contacted her," Lupin eventually said, still sounding quite embarrassed by the whole situation. "She's going to work on that cure for Harry."
Of course they would have contacted her, Snape realised, since they had contacted him and mentioned the cure to the Dormant Poison… So she was leaving, and for good apparently… And she was also avoiding him… Well, maybe he wouldn't have the chance to talk to her about working together again, after all, he thought with a slight pang while his hand unconsciously reached for his forearm.
Lupin seemed to catch the sudden movement, and he cast Snape an interrogating look. Snape immediately released his forearm and glared at the other wizard. Lupin seemed hesitant for a second, but eventually looked away.
"You know," Lupin began out of the blue, still looking in the distance. "When Endora was eight, when she was old enough to truly understand what a werewolf was, what it meant to be one and what the consequences were for me, she told me very seriously that one day she'd find a cure. And now, she's over thirty, and I know she's still working on it," Lupin finished.
"What a heart-wrenching story," Snape commented mockingly.
"What I meant," Lupin continued nonetheless, "is that she's not the kind to give up on a project from one day to the next."
"Your point being?" Snape asked, an eyebrow raised quizzically.
"My point being…" Lupin suddenly sighed and turned to him at last. "Look, I don't know what happened between the two of you, and to be honest I'd rather not know. But a couple of months ago she mentioned you two had agreed to work together on your respective projects, and - "
"And we later agreed it would be a bad idea," Snape interrupted.
"She had seemed rather enthusiastic about it, though," Lupin commented. "And I don't see why she'd suddenly change her mind."
"Unless something you don't want to know about happened," Snape retorted, not wanting to delve into the details.
"Maybe," Lupin nodded. "But whatever happened, I'm sure that if you ever want to work with her on that project of yours again, all you have to do is ask her nicely." Snape arched an eyebrow. "She probably won't accept at first, seeing how she seems to be ignoring you, but given some time I'm sure she'd - "
"Why are you telling me this?" Snape interrupted.
"Because I know you are both very good in your respective fields," Lupin replied. "The Wolfsbane potions you prepared for me four years ago were the most effective I ever got."
"Praising my skills will get you nowhere, Lupin," Snape pointed out, "especially since Dumbledore already asked me to prepare your Wolfsbane potions next year," he continued on a bitter tone, and Lupin smiled. "Besides, I gather all you want is for us to find a cure to the werewolf condition."
"What can I say. I'm such a selfish man," Lupin replied with a shrug. "Look. The two of you managed to find a cure to an allegedly incurable poison. I'm convinced you'd be able to find maybe not a cure, but at least some kind of monthly medication that could prevent the transformation," Lupin assured. "And you'll certainly have no trouble finding what you've been personally looking for for years," he continued with a nod towards Snape's forearm.
Snape remained silent. He knew Lupin was right.
"I can speak to her about it, if you want," Lupin added.
Snape looked at him questioningly when something suddenly hit him. "When exactly did we become civil with each other?"
Lupin just shrugged. "Since we're going to have to see each other all year long again…" He left the sentence hanging.
"Having to see each other doesn't mean we have to put up with one another," Snape remarked.
"But it doesn't mean we can't try either," Lupin retorted.
Snape pondered over it for a second. He had to admit it would be nice to have a male colleague his own age around for a change. Someone he may be able to relate to given some time. Someone who could even become a friend given some more time - much more time.
"Well, I guess we could try," Snape eventually commented. "But I don't think so," he concluded with a sneer as he left like a prince. Let's not push it. Not to mention he was looking forward to picking on Lupin all year long way too much…
(this Author's Note hasn't been beta read, and English isn't my mother language, so my apologies if there's any mistake)
A/N: Thanks to everyone who took the time to review, it means a lot to me. I hope this story helped you bear the long wait until book 6.
I'd like to give you some background on some of the names I used in this story:
Endora: This is obviously a reference to the show Bewitched. There were reruns on TV when I began writing this story and had to decide on a name, and I thought it could be fun.
Mizar Ursaglow: Mizar is the name of a star in the Plough, hence the last name...
Angerona (Lupin's mom): The protecting deity of ancient Rome and a goddess of secrecy.
I think that's all... If I forgot a name, please let me know.
Now some background on the story itself:
- The bet mentioned in Chapter 8 is about whether Snape is a vampire. I had initially planned to mention it later in the story, but I never had the chance to. There are a lot of details I put in the story but didn't have the opportunity to develop, so if you'd like to know more about something, just ask.
- I have a couple of "cut scenes" that I wrote but cut from the story, usually because they didn't fit. I had initially planned to display them at the end in some kind of a bonus chapter, but I read them recently and, well, I cut them for a reason: they're bad. So I'm afraid you won't get to read them.
- I had planned 2 or 3 additionnal flashback scenes for the "Back in Time" chapters, scenes that gave more background on the relationships between the Lupins (including one that explained why they were called in to the Headmaster's office, if you remember what I'm talking about). But I already had to split the chapter in two, so I had to make a choice between the scenes. In the end, I didn't even write the scenes I "cut". But if I had, I would have published a bonus chapter with them.
One last thing before you can return to your usual activities. I know many of you were disappointed that there was so little Lupin in this story. The problem is, this story is written entirely from Snape's PoV, so I couldn't just include Lupin when there was no valid reason for him to be around Snape. But Lupin was extremely important to the general plot, and he's been doing a lot in the background. Believe me, this was very frustrating for me too since most of the time I knew exactly what was going through the other characters' heads, especially Lupin's.
Which is why at some point, I began considering to write a companion fic to this story, this time written from Lupin's PoV (I also considered writing a sequel BTW). But I don't think I'll ever get to write it. I recently started writing an original fiction with a friend of mine and it's taking a lot of my free time. I might consider to change my mind if a lot of people ask me to write it, but it will really have to be a lot of people... So if any of you want me to write this story, you know what you have to do... (author innocently indicates the pretty review button...) And if you read this story, enjoyed it but never took the time to review, now's your chance...
In the meantime, goodbye for now, and enjoy book 6.