Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.

The Beast Within

Chapter 7

The wolf was tired, worn and sore, and curled up like a pup down within him, napping with its torn paws under its snout. One lazy eye opened and nostrils flared wide. There was still blood in the air and not from the delicious mess that had spilled on the cage floor. But the eye wasn't allowed to see the source of the smell; the hunt was over, and the animal receded regretfully.

It was time for the man to awaken.

The sleep was thick and his lashes were matted. Remus blinked, aware of a tremendous headache throbbing from between his swollen eyes. The light in the room was faint and yellow from covered candles placed at his side, but even its washed-out touch stung like the sun's bright glare.

And he knew he was a man, because he hurt like a man. There was a tingling in his right hand that told him that something under the skin was broken, and his body was stiff, as if he had been beaten blue. Then he remembered it, the scent in the air, what the wolf was still smelling, even as it dreamed of ripping fur and rolling in dirt.

Remus attempted to sit up quickly, but a hand held him down. Ginny's face appeared above him, a look of worry at her brow and a soothing coo at her lips.

"Stay still," she said softly. "You shouldn't be moving around yet."

"Blood?" he asked.

A look of confusion passed over Ginny's face before she shook her head. "It's nothing—just a scratch. You didn't. . ." She swallowed hard. "You didn't bite me or anything, Remus. I just hit my arm, 's all. I'm alright, really."

The werewolf's head was swimming with thought, most of which consisted of the last memories of his transformation. "But how?" he asked, his voice somewhat slurred. "I remember coming at you. . ." Suddenly his brow furrowed. He couldn't see the sky. "Where are we?"

"Safe." Ginny smiled slightly, her fingers tightening around the sheet at the man's chest as if her arms were anxious to wrap around him. "We're in a tent, in a forest—I don't know where really. Snape just said it was. . ."

"Snape?" Remus hissed, grabbing hold of her arm. "Snape killed Dumbledore, Ginny."

"Calm down!" Ginny chided. Her skin had paled at the reference, but, at least, Remus was able to see it. She was clean, dressed in robes, now, though the witch was still somewhat thinner than she had been at school. "I'll tell you everything, at least everything I know—you just need to calm down first. You're head's all scrambled and your body doesn't look much better." The witch blushed slightly at her own comment. "What I mean is, you're probably still feeling the aftereffects of the potion. And the curse. I'm sure you're not supposed to use them together, especially since it isn't exactly legal to use them at all."

Remus's hand tightened around her frail arm. "Ginny, you're rambling. Just tell me what happened."

"Sorry," Ginny said. "I guess, I guess I'm just a bit frazzled. . . Snape's on our side. I don't know the hows or whys, but he helped us, for some reason." She moved away from him slightly, and Remus's eyes followed her. The witch sat down in a narrow chair by his bed where a blood stained water dish and cloth sat on a small, gnarl-legged table. "There must be something we don't know about what happened. . . to him, because, well, you're not dead."

"So I gathered," Remus answered.

"Then I suppose you've realized that the poison was not quite fatal," Ginny snapped, frowning at the interruption. "Snape lied to you, obviously."

"He did," the wizard stated. "This would not be the first time."

"Maybe not, but this time, at least, it was for your own good. The potion wouldn't have a the right effect if he'd told you about it ahead of time—you would have resisted the imperious, if only subconsciously."

Remus's eyes widened at the mention of the unforgivable curse, and Ginny continued quickly to cut him off. "He did it to save our lives," she stated. "As much as I hate to say that about a man I previously despised with my very being, Professor Snape saved our lives last night—he had to use the curse to control your wolf."

Of all the questions crossing his mind, the wizard decided to only address logic. "That's impossible—one can't control a werewolf in full form with a spell, even one as powerful as an unforgivable. That's why we're such a danger to the wizarding community."

"Not with a spell alone, no. Snape wasn't very sparing with details, but, after much insistence on my part, I managed to get the jest of it," she began. "The wine and the vial were full of two different potions, one a diluted form of the wolf's bane potion he had in his ware and the other a type of poison meant to weaken the cognitive abilities of the drinker. See, the poison and potion you took allowed your wolf to calm and you to take some control of your body, and since you were in control. . ."

"He was able to control me," Remus concluded, "my consciousness within the wolf's body."

"It was harder than all that, apparently, or he wouldn't have needed help," Ginny answered. Seeing the look in the wizard's eye, she continued. "I don't know who the other Death Eater was but I've fairly certain she was a woman, they were both controlling you."

The Death Eaters he'd seen, brandishing their wands from the corridor. They were using them, after all. "So they were able to stop me from attacking you. Why would they go to such trouble? Why wouldn't they just unlock the door and release you?"

"Because, they didn't want to get caught." The witch smirked at some bit of cleverness that Remus did not yet comprehend. "They made you throw yourself against the door until it came off its hinges. My guess is they wanted it to look like you'd managed to escape and had pulled my body off along with you. Snape even planted some of my blood along the corridor before his lady friend apparated the lot of us here."

Remus blinked, as if he did not believe her. After a moment's pause, he asked, "Is he still here?"

"Snape? No." Ginny's frown deepened, she looked anxiously behind her at the tent's entrance, as if expecting someone. "I told him to stay, that they might find out about him helping us, but he wouldn't listen to me."

The werewolf sat up, wincing at the soreness that seemed to crawl through his body. "Ginny," he said, putting a hand on the girl's shoulder, "we still can't be certain that Severus was actually trying to help—he could be doing this on his lord's orders, for all we know. This may be some sort of trick."

"I don't think so." Ginny was still staring behind her. "There was something, something in the way he looked at me . . . He didn't want me to know what he'd done to you—if he was under order he would have said things differently. I just know it."

Remus held a persistent frown on his face before drawing her close, letting her head rest on his abused chest in a manner he knew would be considered indecent.

"He said," she whispered into him, "that we couldn't tell anyone what he did to help us, that no one could know, even the Order."

The werewolf closed his eyes, breathing softly. "If we keep to that, then we may have to make sacrifices of our own."

He felt the girl nod. "If we appear, alive, then the other Death Eaters will realize that someone set up our escape," Ginny replied. "Yes, I know. We can't tell anyone we're alive, yet, not till he's dead, not until this war's over."

"That's not true."

The witch looked up at him.

"They only found your blood—no one would think anything of it if you went home. They would be left to conclude that I escaped and that you managed to get away after I knocked the door down. We can fake your injuries—none would be the wiser," Remus offered.

Ginny raised a brow. "You know that wouldn't work."

"It was worth a try," he answered.

"It's alright, Remus." The witch's arms circled around him loosely. "I don't mind hiding here with you. We're safe together."

"Tonight's another full moon."

"Then we'll see it together." She glanced over her shoulder at the table. Behind the water bowl sat a deep cup, its contents unseen. "Snape left enough for this month. We'll just have to figure out what to do later on."

Ginny looked back up at him, as if expecting some sort of reply. The werewolf gave none, simply releasing a burdened sigh. The witch straightened, raising her head till it was at the man's level and leaning forward to press her lips softly onto his unshaven cheek. Remus pulled away in surprise.

"We can't. . ." The wizard released her, pushing himself to the edge of the bed. "Ginny, you can't do that. It's not. . ."

The witch nodded slightly. "It was just a thank you . . . Professor, for taking care of me when I was alone. I'm glad you got caught up in this mess," she said, her cheeks blending in with her hair.

Remus hid a smile. The red framed girl. He saw her, again. This time, though, he wasn't afraid. "You're welcome, Ginny."

Final Notes: I hope you enjoyed the story. Thank you for tagging along and talking me into finishing this.