My sincerest apologies to everyone for the incredible delay in putting up this final chapter. My year hasn't been easy and unfortunately writing wasn't a priority for many months. However things are better now and I have been putting in some time with it and have now finished this story. This is where I always saw this story going and I hope you all like it.
Harry and Arthur stared at each other in complete shock. Though they had been warned that this could happen both had become comforted by the silence. Severus however was not surprised and rallied the other two quickly.
"Get out your wands quick! If he comes through that door, we'll have to stun him!" he said, his own wand already out.
Harry and Arthur did as they were told and all three listened to the destruction being raged inside the room. The beast seemed to have finished with what was now left of the bed and had moved on to the rest of the room. His growls and snifflings could be heard from underneath the door as he tested the air for new scents. The smell of humans so nearby appeared to drive him mad as he suddenly started ramming the door. They watched in horror as it started to buckle under the onslaught. Harry couldn't believe how much strength it must have taken for it was a very stout old door.
Severus had rolled up his sleeves and adopted a watchful but determined gaze.
"He's going to break through" he said "I'd rather not stun him if we don't have to as I'm not sure if that will have an adverse affect on Remus. We want him to stay at full strength for as long as possible so that his body can heal"
Suddenly the door gave in and standing there before them was the werewolf. He looked much as Harry remembered him from that fateful night in his third year of Hogwarts. The creature stopped for a moment and looked each one of them unnervingly in the eye. Then with a lightning fast movement he leaped towards the Potions Master.
Severus jumped backwards just in time and the beast landed hard on the floor. In an instant it was up again, snarling.
"Lead him back in the room! We have to try and contain him!" Snape shouted, slowly backing into the room. His eyes never left the wolf, who returned his gaze steadily, a low growl in his throat. Harry and Arthur followed Severus' lead and also began to walk slowly towards the door. Again without warning the werewolf leaped and again headed straight for Severus. Harry wasn't sure why he kept going after the Professor, perhaps he had sniffed him out as a leader of sorts? Harry barely had time to register these thoughts as he and Mr. Weasley were knocked aside. This pushed them both further into the room and now all were enclosed within its walls.
This time Severus had been crouched near the bed and when the creature leaped, he quickly rolled aside. Then he scrambled over the remains of the bed and joined Harry and Arthur.
"I'm going to try tying him up. Distract him so he doesn't see what I'm doing. It'll be easier if he doesn't know what's coming and doesn't fight it". Harry and Arthur nodded and without any further talking both stood straight up and found themselves face to face with the creature.
Luckily their bold move seemed to stun it for a second for the werewolf simply looked at them unblinkingly. Perhaps he was deciding who to bite first. For this is what Harry knew werewolves wanted to do above anything else. Bite another human.
Severus took advantage of the stand-off and before the creature could move he stood up from behind the bed and pointed his wand in one graceful movement. He muttered an incantation and suddenly ropes flew again from his wand, effectively tying the werewolf's limbs to it's body. The creature fell onto what was left of the bed with a howl, struggling in vain to free itself.
All three stopped and looked at each other, catching their breaths.
"Alright" Severus said, panting. "Lets get out of here as I think our mere presence upsets him" Harry rather thought that was an understatement.
Once outside the closed door again all three stood and waited in trepidation for a further onslaught. Great struggles could be heard within but it may have been that the creature had worn itself out as the noises slowly subsided.
Harry, Arthur and Severus gradually let their guards down and soon found their hearts beating in a more normal fashion. Finally they decided that it must all be over and each lowered his wand and looked at the others. None could find words to express what had just happened and yet somehow they all knew that they would remember it for the rest of their lives. So many people were close to Remus Lupin and all knew his condition but not many had actually battled with him in that state. Looking into each other's eyes they knew that they had just experienced something quite extraordinary and that all (including Remus himself) were bound and changed a little by it.
Remus awoke to find the sun shining into the room, obviously having just risen over the horizon. Slowly he remembered the events over the past couple days amd finally remembered what was to have happened over night. He looked around the room with some trepidation. Sure enough, there was no doubt that his werewolf-self had become loose in the night. The room bore silent testimony to an awful battle and anything not tied down (and a few things that were) had been thrown about and likewise destroyed. He himself was bound to what little was left to the bed, basically a mattress and a stack of wood, by magic bonds. Just as he was ready to call out to be let go the bonds disappeared of their own accord. Ah a timed release, very good Severus, he thought to himself. Of course Severus would know that once the sun had risen the wolf would be gone and no bonds needed. It was a very thoughtful thing for him to do, preventing Remus the indignity of having to ask to be untied.
Remus slowly rose to his feet shakily and felt his muscles protest. But unlike the previous morning he felt decidedly better. Though he was sore and bruised from a transformation not softened by wolfsbane he could tell that the effects of the poison were finally out of his system. This time his body ached in a good way, like after a long run. This felt decidedly better than a body racked by poison.
Feeling better than he had in days, Remus walked to the door when suddenly it hit him. It was quiet, too quiet. Realizing for the first time that the destruction of the room and the position he found himself in all pointed to the fact that not only had he gotten loose but someone (probably three someones) had tied him back up. Just because he had been tied again didn't mean that the werewolf hadn't harmed someone and Remus' stomach went cold with that thought. Oh God, what if I've hurt one of them?
Now fearing what he might see on the other side Remus crept to the door and gingerly turned the handle. Steeling himself from the further destruction he might see there, he opened it fully and found a most unusual sight.
All three of his benefactors were sprawled on the floor, sound asleep. Severus and Arthur were leaning against the wall and on each other, Arthur snoring like a champion and making Remus wonder how on earth the other two were sleeping through it. Harry had slid to the floor and was lying across the other two, his head unceremoniously flung across Severus' lap. Severus was not snoring but was yet fast asleep, mouth agape and one hand on Harry's head. Remus smiled and vowed never to mention this to the Potions Master in the future. If Severus knew that Remus had seen him like this he'd probably figure out a way to undo his antidote.
Remus leaned against the wall and stared for a few moments at the sight before him, still smiling. Deciding that they needed the rest he simply left them as they were and continued to his room to get dressed. During his transformation he had torn every stitch of clothing off and being found walking around the house naked as a jaybird didn't suit his personality at all. Once dressed he went back and found the others were already up and in their separate rooms. He knew that Severus and Harry had probably been mortified to find themselves in the positions he'd seen them in earlier and he guessed both had made hasty retreats. Upon hearing his step in the hall, everyone came out to check on him.
"Good morning" he said and received wide smiles from both Harry and Arthur. Severus however seemed to be looking him over rather carefully.
"How do you feel Remus?" Severus asked, his dark eyes trained on Remus intently.
"Much better, thanks. I've got a few extra bruises I didn't go to bed with last night but overall not in bad shape. I've certainly been through worse" he replied.
"It looks like you've all had a rough night. Why doesn't everyone go freshen up and I'll make us some breakfast" Remus said and ushered everyone back to their rooms. Glad to finally be of some use again, he headed down the stairs feeling better than he had in a long while.
The next morning Severus prepared to leave, packing his bottles into his emergency bag once again. Harry had gone up to his room and offered to help with his bags but Severus pointed out that he hardly needed it considering he hadn't packed much the night that Albus had called him so urgently.
Remembering again what the dark Potions Master had done for his new godfather, Harry became thoughtful.
"Is there something wrong, Harry?" Mr Weasely asked kindly, noticing how quiet he had become since coming down to breakfast.
"No Mr Weasley" Harry replied. "I was just thinking, that's all" and Arthur nodded, knowing that all of them had been doing a lot of "thinking". Almost losing Remus and then rallying together to save his life had brought them all closer.
Harry for one couldn't believe how close he'd come to losing someone else he'd come to love and now found himself deeply grateful to someone he had hated for years. How was one supposed to wrap their heads around that?
Soon enough Severus came down the stairs and put on his traveling cloak and picked up his bags to go back to Hogwarts. Harry realized that he had no idea where the Potions Master would be spending his summer after reporting to the school briefly to advise Dumbledore on all that occurred since Remus had been poisoned. Before he never would have even thought about it but now he found himself quite curious but forbore to ask.
Remus and Severus shared an almost warm handshake on the threshold.
"Never thought I'd say this old man, but you're not half bad you know. I owe you my life so anything you need please feel free to call on me " Remus told Severus lightheartedly. The Potions Master seemed a bit flustered at all the attention (for Arthur had forsaken a mere handshake and had given Severus a tearful bearhug, thanking him for saving "our Dear Remus").
"Not at all, you are after all a fellow member of the Order" he replied stiffly, trying to avoid everyone's gaze. He wasn't used to being the center of attention….well at least not for good reasons anyway.
After shaking hands with Remus, Severus turned finally to Harry who was standing quietly in the background, unsure what to say to the Potions Master.
"Don't forget your Potions summer-homework. I expect it to be done, no matter how many adventures you find yourself in this summer, you hear?" Harry could tell that the Potions Master was putting on his usual grumpy airs and simply nodded solemnly.
"I will sir" he said and Severus turned to walk out. "Uh sir?" Harry called as Severus stepped out onto the walk, causing the Potions Master to stop and look at him inquiringly with one eyebrow raised. In that look Harry could tell that the Potions Master wasn't going to have any sniveling over what just happened so Harry spoke quickly and simply.
"Thanks, sir" was all he said. Severus nodded quietly, walking to the gate and down the street to where he could Apparate safely.
Harry watched him go with a myriad of thoughts and emotions. Something told him that when he got back to school Professor Snape would be exactly as he had always been. It would be like these few days had never happened even though neither of them would ever forget it.
With that final thought Harry turned and walked back into the house, happy to have his new godfather there waiting for him.