Malice in his voice

Chapter 3: Lupin

He walks back into the kitchen and curses his sensitive werewolf nose, Sirius smells of unwashed Sirius and stale whisky, Snape smells like a rutting stag, and Tonks smells like a … she smells like a very desirable female. No wonder Snape hates werewolves, he can control his words, his face, even his thoughts, but not his scent, and one day that might trip him up, might get him killed. Voldemort is reaching out to all the Dark creatures, giants, werewolves, vampires and the like, and they're going back to him, it might be a werewolf that catches Snape out lying to his Dark Lord. If Tonks wasn't making moves on Snape he'd almost feel sorry for the bastard.

He thinks, Tonks, darling, very few girls get through Auror training, you're smart, you're strong, but do you have any idea what you're dealing with? He remembers Snape's jibe about Dumbledore's tame werewolf in the Shrieking Shack, Dumbledore's got two tame monsters, the werewolf and the Death Eater. Snape is Dumbledore's tame Death Eater, but he's only tame to Dumbledore's hand. He's watched Snape in the Order meetings and the only person he pays attention to is Dumbledore, it's a performance for Dumbledore's benefit alone, he's careful not to antagonize Sirius or Mad-Eye but the only person he really respects is Dumbledore.

He remembers the Boggart class, and wonders, not for the first time, what Snape's Boggart looks like – Voldemort or Dumbledore?

Tonks saying something about dancing. Dancing my foot! Though he can see why she's attracted, most wizards look silly in Muggle clothing but Snape can carry it off, in those ridiculous tight Muggle clothes Snape looks as graceful and as dangerous as a black panther, amazing how he's changed since he was a weedy, defensive teenager. Damn Sirius, he's drinking far too much, if he wasn't comatose this wouldn't have happened, Snape wouldn't be hanging around eyeing off Tonks, he would have been the first to leave the meeting.

Well, Tonks is an adult, she's a qualified Auror, she's not his property, she's never given him a hint that she's interested in more than friendship, if she chooses to play with fire, that's her prerogative. But why does it have to be SNAPE? Bloody hell, she could have anyone she wants so why Snape, that's scraping the bottom of the barrel, one rung above werewolf. Make that tatty, unemployed, friendless, middle-aged werewolf.

He wrestles Sirius to his feet, wrangles him up the stairs and gets him into his bed, gets his boots off but leaves his clothes on, and throws a blanket over him. He's only just come down stairs and put the kettle on for tea when there's a frantic banging on the front door, as soon as he opens the door, Tonks pushes past him, Merlin she looks awful, her clothes are ripped, and her hair has lost all of its colour. Mrs Black starts howling but he is no mood for it, he threatens to hex Mrs Black and she can tell by his tone he means it and she shuts up at once.

Tonks is crying and shivering in the kitchen, her hair is a lifeless mousy brown, what the hell has Snape done to her? His werewolf's nose tells him that she stinks of fear but of nothing worse, thank god, Snape hasn't touched her. He wraps her in his travelling cloak, makes tea, and sits beside her, with his arm around her.

"Hey, what happened out there?"

"Nothing happened, he just went crazy, I thought he was going to kill me."

"You looked pretty friendly on your way out …"

"Remus, I'm telling you, he just went mental. All I said was, an Auror and a Death Eater, no one was going to bother us, this is a rough area, I was thinking about muggers."

"You called him a Death Eater?"

"No! Well, yes, but not in a bad way. Not the way Sirius calls him a Death Eater."

Oh dear, he thinks, I'm not sure Severus can see that distinction. He's a bit sensitive about being a Death Eater, the way I'm a bit sensitive about being a werewolf, except that I work very hard at not being sensitive. After all, I'm only a werewolf at full moon, he's a Death Eater all of the time.

He tries to explain to Tonks. "Tonks, don't take this personally. Severus is a very suspicious person." Mentally, he substitutes "paranoid". "He might have thought you were, um, showing a bit of an interest in him just for, ah …. " He flounders. He wants to say "a notch on your belt" or "scalp" but that's the sort of thing men say about women, he can't find the right words. He thinks about the kind of women who have shown interest in him occasionally. Women who thought it would be a thrill to be able to say they'd slept with a werewolf. Slept with a werewolf the night before full moon. Nutters. Trophy hunters. And Bellatrix Black, as she was then, he'd been dazed when Sirius' beautiful cousin noticed him, she'd relieved him of the burden of his virginity in something less than three minutes, oh yes, bold, beautiful, sexy Bellatrix Black must have been one of Voldemort's most effective recruiting agents.

He finds words. "So you could brag about having slept with a Dark wizard."

She wipes her nose on the edge of his cloak. "He pretty much said that."

Oh dear oh dear. Now he does feel sorry for Severus.

"Tonks," he says, "Severus is a very … difficult … position. He's got a murky past and a dark secret and I don't think gorgeous young women come his way very often. I think he's probably very lonely." Mentally, he adds "and frustrated". "What I'm trying to say is, a guy like that has got a lot of problems and you're not responsible for them. You mustn't blame yourself if things went wrong, it's about him, it's not about you. It's not your fault."

He's thinking, who am I talking about here, me or him? He gently takes her face in his hands and turns it towards him. "Listen, Tonks, you're young, you're attractive, you're talented, you're a really sweet kid. You should be looking for some nice young bloke, someone of your own age. Not someone who's nearly old enough to be your father and who's got an awful lot of baggage. You don't want to get tangled up with someone like Severus."

No, you don't want to get tangled up with me.

"Severus is … he's dangerous. You saw that tonight. Harry, Ron and Hermione were only able to disarm him in the Shrieking Shack because he didn't think for a moment they could be a threat. For god's sake, he is a Death Eater! Maybe you should have a look at his Ministry file, see what he's really capable of."

And he thinks, I'm dangerous, too. I'm a bloody werewolf! Maybe you should see me when I'm transformed, see what I'm really capable of. Tonks, read my lips, you don't want to ride this pony. Please, please don't throw yourself at me the way you were throwing yourself at Severus tonight, because I won't be able to say no, either, and we'll both get hurt. Except I won't let you get hurt, I won't be weak, I won't let you get close enough to get hurt.

She drinks her tea, and he takes her up to the girls' room, the beds aren't made up, but the bedclothing is in a cupboard and he gets her tucked in, she's hardly wearing any clothes, no need to take them off, nothing to worry about really, she treats him like a brother, nothing's going to happen. Dream on, Remus, he thinks savagely, ha, where did you get the idea that a girl like Tonks could be interested in you?

He goes downstairs, what a night, perhaps he'll have something to drink that's a bit stronger than tea.