Run That By Me Again?
Chapter One: You tried to feed him to a werewolf?
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Note: Now, don't get me wrong, I love Sirius, I really do, I just don't understand how he could possibly defend this. Also, I am not in any way a Snape fangirl and do not appreciate being accused of that because I feel that it was wrong for Sirius to try to get him killed. I do not see what Sirius or Snape's ultimate morality is, my feelings about Snape in general, or any future acts has to do with the fact that a teenager who had, to my knowledge, not yet joined the Death Eaters or committed any crimes, was nearly killed...for being nosy and annoying.
"Dumbledore hired you when he knew you were a werewolf?" Ron gasped. "Is he mad?"
"Of course he is," Harry said. "Everyone knows that."
"Some of the staff thought so," said Lupin. "He had to work very hard to convince certain teachers that I'm trustworthy-"
"I should say so," Harry agreed. "I mean, if you were a friend of Black, he's out to get me, and you applied to teach this year? The timing is a little suspicious."
"And he's a werewolf," Ron added.
Harry looked puzzled. "I know, Ron. He just told us."
"And that doesn't…bother you?" Ron asked incredulously.
"Why not?" Ron couldn't believe it. "He's a bloodthirsty monster!"
Hermione, who was still wary of the afflicted professor, looked over in exasperation. "Oh please. Do you honestly see a bloodthirsty monster when you look at Professor Lupin?"
Ron looked. Professor Lupin had reading glasses in his pocket and was looking at Ron's let with obvious concern. "Well, no," he admitted.
"As long as he takes Wolfsbane and is kept isolated during the full moon, which I'm sure Dumbledore makes sure of, his being a werewolf isn't a problem," Hermione continued. "The fact that he's aiding and abetting a dangerous fugitive is."
"I am not," Lupin said irritably. Hermione looked pointedly at their wands still in his hand and Lupin sighed before throwing them back.
Harry, meanwhile, had been trying to remember if that was a full moon or not. He was, however, soon distracted. "You knew the makers…four of them, my father and Sirius Black were inseparable, Peter Pettigrew trailed after them…Professor Lupin's a friend, too, and a werewolf…And Black's a dog…I've got it!"
"Got what?" Ron asked blankly.
"You know how the Marauder's map worked because you're one of the Marauders! You're Moony, Black is Padfoot, if you want Scabbers so badly, he must be Pettigrew…wait. What the hell does Prongs mean?" Harry asked.
"James was a stag," Black offered.
"That doesn't explain the nickname."
"Yes it does, Prongs, antlers," Black insisted.
"Well, if you're going to be obscure, I suppose…" Harry conceded.
"It's not that obscure, Harry," Hermione corrected.
"Hey, my relatives locked me in a cupboard whenever I wasn't at home or cleaning for ten years!" Harry said defensively. "Give me a break!" Lupin and Black looked concerned, so Harry quickly went on, "So, you think Scabbers is Pettigrew?"
"No, I know he is," Black growled.
"How?" Hermione asked. "And was Harry right about the Marauders?"
"Yes, he was," Black said impatiently. "Besides, I'd seen Peter transform hundreds of times. How could I not recognize him?"
"Because…all rats look the same?" Harry suggested.
"Well, there was also the fact he cut off his toe," Black admitted.
"Not that I can believe," Hermione said.
"…So, in a way, Snape's been right about me all along," Lupin concluded.
"Snape?" said Black harshly, taking his eyes off Scabbers for the first time in ten minutes and looking up at Lupin. "What's Snape got to do with it?"
Harry stared at him. "You know, this is the third time we've mentioned him."
"Really?" Black blinked.
"Yeah. First was when Hermione said she found out about the werewolf thing because of Snape's essay and then when he said Snape brewed Wolfsbane," Ron chimed in. "Although they did say 'Professor' those two times and so maybe you just couldn't wrap your mind around the fact that he ever became a teacher. I know I can't, and I didn't even know him before."
"That's probably it," Sirius agreed.
"Oh, honestly," Hermione huffed. "That's ridiculous; you just weren't listening and if you don't listen you can't complain when you don't understand!"
"How do you even know each other? I mean, Black was in Azkaban since my parents died…were you at school together?" Harry asked.
Lupin nodded. "He fought very hard against my appointment to the Defense Against the Dark Arts job. He has been telling Dumbledore all year that I am not to be trusted. He has his reasons…you see, Sirius here played a trick on him which nearly killed him, a trick which involved me—"
"It couldn't be so bad as to cause him to carry a grudge for all these years, though," Hermione said reasonably. "I mean, it's not like Mr. Black tried to feed him to you when you were transformed, right?"
There was an awkward silence.
"Oh my God!" Hermione cried, horrified.
Black made a derisive noise. "It served him right," he sneered. "Sneaking around, trying to find out what we were up to…hoping he could get us expelled…"
"Severus was very interested in where I went every month," Lupin told Harry, Ron, and Hermione.
"Why?" Harry asked.
"Pardon?" Lupin queried.
"Why would Snape care where you went? I know I wouldn't and Snape calls me nosy at least twice a week."
"Well, er, we were in the same year, you know, and we—er—didn't like each other very much," Lupin tried to explain.
"So? If Malfoy were gone once a month and I didn't have to listen to his snide comments every time I nearly get myself killed, which also happens about once a month, I'd throw a party, not investigate," Harry pointed out.
"Well, Severus clearly differs from you, then. For one thing, he's a Slytherin—" Lupin began.
"Oh please," Harry said. "The hat tried to put me in Slytherin."
Black gasped, horrified, and backed away from Harry.
"Hey," Harry said, annoyed. "You tried to feed a classmate to a werewolf because he annoyed you, you don't have room to talk."
Lupin apparently had no response to Harry's comment and so continued with that he was saying. "He especially disliked James. Jealous, I think, of James's talent on the Quidditch field."
Harry stared at him. "That's ridiculous. I mean, just look at me. I got on the team my first year. Youngest player in a bloody century. I've only ever lost due to circumstances beyond my control—namely Hufflepuff-supporting Dementors. I managed to win when my DADA Professor tried to hex me and when a house elf tried to kill me in order to save my life. I think the entire school is jealous of my Quidditch talent, but the only one who hates me for it is Malfoy."
"So you see, things like that do happen—" Lupin started to say.
"But he already hated me, so that doesn't count," Harry disagreed.
"Anyway," Lupin continued, ignoring Harry for the sake of time. "Snape had seen me crossing the grounds with Madam Pomfrey one evening as she led me toward the Whomping Willow to transform. Sirius thought it would be—er—amusing to tell Snape all he had to do was prod the knot on the tree trunk with a long stick, he'd be able to get in after me. Well, of course, Snape tired it—if he'd got as far as this house, he'd have met a fully grown werewolf—but your father, who'd heard what Sirius had done, went after Snape and pulled him back, at great risk to his life…Snape glimpsed me, though, at the end of the tunnel. He was forbidden by Dumbledore to tell anybody, but from that time on, he knew what I was…"
"Excuse me," Hermione said. "Now, I've tried to let you explain everything so as to give you the benefit of the doubt, but honestly, I just have to get this out of my system. Firstly, the Slytherin Common Room is under the lake, so he couldn't have seen you from there, and no, before you ask, there is not point in asking me how I know that. If professor Snape were to see you, he'd have to be outside. Why would he be out there after dinner? Unless he was visiting Hagrid, there seems no reason to do this. Secondly, even if he had seen you, you were with Madam Pomfrey, so it was clearly for a medical reason-"
"Unless he thought they were having an affair!" Ron suggested.
"That would be highly unprofessional. Not to mention they could have just used her office," Harry pointed out. "But please continue, Hermione."
"Thank you. Now, as Madam Pomfrey is a staff member with an impeccable reputation, clearly the excursion was sanctioned by the Headmaster and so he really shouldn't have gone after him. I mean, we wouldn't, not if it were someone we didn't suspect to be evil, such as Madame Pomfrey or Professor McGonagall. Thirdly, why in the world would Professor Snape take advice from someone who he hated and vice versa?"
"Yeah," Ron said, looking pointedly at Harry. "That was almost as stupid as when Harry decided to go chasing after a mass-murderer because Malfoy suggested it."
"Well," Lupin said tactfully. "You have to remember, we were sixteen."
Hermione snorted. "And I'm fourteen and I can see why that's not the best plan."
Lupin sighted. Clearly this was not going at all the way he'd planned. "What do you think Harry?"
"So that's why Snape doesn't like you," said Harry slowly. "Because you tried to eat him as a kid."
There was a sound from behind Lupin. I definitely heard something that time."
"I told you, this place is haunted!" Ron insisted.
"Out of curiosity, why does it matter if it is haunted? I mean Hogwarts is haunted and it's a school! Ghosts can't harm you, only poltergeists, and they wouldn't stay somewhere with no people, so why is everyone so terrified?" Hermione asked, annoyed.
Black actually grinned. "Dumbledore is the propaganda god."
"And I didn't TRY to eat Severus," Lupin said, somewhat reproachfully.
"But you nearly did all the same," countered Harry. "And I'm guessing that that would be a very traumatizing experience. Did you apologize to him?"
"I. Didn't. Do. Anything. Wrong."
"So? I apologized to Justin because I saved his life in a foreign language," Harry pointed out.
"Parseltongue is not a foreign language!" Ron protested.
As Black shuddered again and pretended to faint and Lupin gaped wordlessly and mouthed 'Parseltongue', Harry just crossed his arm. "Oh no? Then what do you call it Because talking to snakes seems pretty foreign to me."
"Well, it is, I guess…But you made it sound like you were speaking French or something."
"Now, if I'd spoken French, I would have deserved to be shunned. Parseltongue, though, is decidedly non-French. And wasn't Saint Patrick a Parselmouth?"
"I can look it up, Harry, but perhaps we should get back to the matter at hand?" Hermione suggested.
"Oh, right. You know, wizards are incredibly laid-back when it comes to near-death experiences, aren't they?" Harry asked rhetorically. "God knows that in the muggle-world if you tried to feed a classmate to a wild animal or expose them to a painful, ostracizing, and debilitating disease, or any disease at all, really, you'd be expelled, arrested, charged with assault, and probably attempted murder."
"But your father pulled Snape back at great risk to himself!" Lupin repeated.
Harry sighed. "You wanna take this Hermione?"
"I suppose I might as well," Hermione agreed. "Professor, just because someone stopped the attempted murder from happening doesn't mean it wasn't attempted murder. And didn't you say that your friends became Animagi so that they could be around you safely when you were transformed?"
"So even if Harry's father didn't turn into a stag in order to protect you guy's secret, he still had the option to do that if things went poorly and so therefore he wasn't really in any danger," Hermione continued.
"I…" Lupin trailed off.
"And aside from the accidental attempted eating, if you keep defending Black's attempts to murder an innocent if somewhat annoying 16-year-old, no wonder he still holds a grudge, even though you laid off after that," Hermione concluded.
"Wait, you guys did lay off him after you nearly got him killed, right?" Harry asked.
Black snorted. "Why should we? He had it coming!"
Harry exploded at that. "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?"
"We were being plagued by greasy gits," Black said, as if it were obvious. "Or by one in particular, rather, but you get what I mean, right?"
"You…you tried to kill a classmate—or, at best, simply didn't care if he died or became a werewolf, when you must have known what a terrible affliction that was! And after that, you kept right on tormenting him! That shows an almost incredible degree of shallowness!"
"Be that as it may," Lupin said, clearly trying to control himself. "Severus still harbors a schoolboy grudge and—"
"A-A schoolboy grudge?" Hermione nearly shrieked. "That's what you think this is about? Not the fact that you guys nearly killed him and then showed quite clearly that Harry's father only saved him so you two wouldn't get in trouble? Black would have been expelled, but probably could have gone to Durmstang and the Ministry would have pushed for you to be executed!
"And if Malfoy almost got me eaten by a were-wolf Goyle and Crabbe pulled me back to save their own skins, I'd—well, first I'd berate myself for being stupid enough to listen to Malfoy," Hermione sent another pointed glance in Harry's direction. "And then I would have a legitimate reason to hold a grudge, even IF they repented and became saints, and especially if they continued persecuting me!"
"You guys are no fun," grumbled Sirius. "JAMES would have done it."
"He did do it. And I'm starting to think that maybe he was a horrible person, after all. I mean, I don't actually know anything positive about him except loyalty to a bunch or irresponsible would-be murderers. And to tell you the truth," Harry said frankly. "I think I liked you more when you were a mass-murderer."
"Isn't he still a mass-murderer?" Ron asked tentatively.
"Of course not," Hermione scoffed. "Professor Lupin asked if they 'switched', he must have meant about being a Secret Keeper."
"D-Do you really mean that, Harry?" Sirius asked, aghast. "I was only a kid; you can't hold that against me!"
"I'm not," Harry said flatly. "Although it's really no surprise people were willing to believe, albeit reluctantly, that you were secretly a crazy mass-murdering Death Eater if you pulled stunts like this!" He took a deep breath. "But seriously, it's more the fact that almost the first thing you said to me, after spending twelve years in prison and on eon the run, trying desperately to contact me without being detected, is that you still think Professor Snape deserved to die a horrible, painful death for being annoying when he was sixteen, which, by the way, was eighteen years ago!"
There was another awkward silence. Finally, Ron coughed and said uncomfortably, "So, what's this about Scabbers?"
"He's Pettigrew. I suggested he be the Secret Keeper because I was too obvious, but he turned out to be a Death Eater—"
"Is there any reason you didn't check him for the Dark Mark before entrusting him with something as important as the lives of two of your best friends?" Ron interrupted.
"The what?" Harry asked.
"You-Know-Who's brand, all Death Eaters have them," Ron explained.
"That actually never occurred to us," Sirius said. "I'm not sure why, that seems like it should be a basic safety measure…But anyway, when I realized what happened, I cornered him, he yelled that I betrayed Lily and James, blew the street apart, and transformed."
"Then why did you say that YOU killed them?" Ron asked.
"Because I suggested that they switch!" Black burst out.
"Look, I get that you feel guilty," Harry told him. "But you've got to stop saying that you killed my parents. People will get the wrong idea."
"I don't believe Scabbers is Pettigrew," Ron said bluntly. "Is there any way you can prove it?"
"Yes, give us the rat," Lupin said in a steely tone. "Ready, Sirius?" Lupin asked, taking the squirming Scabbers from the hesitant Ron.
Black nodded and, picking up Ron's wand, asked quietly, "Together?"
"I think so. On the count of three. One—Two—THREE!"
"Well that was…unexpected…" Ron managed to say, staring at the rat-like man.
"He can go to Azkaban," Harry repeated. "If anyone deserves that place, he does…"
Pettigrew was still wheezing behind him.
"Very well," said Lupin. "Stand aside, Harry."
"I'm going to tie him up," said Lupin. "That's all, I swear."
As Harry moved to step aside, a voice cried out, "Stupefy!" and Pettigrew collapsed.
"What the—Snape?" Harry asked, dumbstruck.
"That's right," Snape sneered, pulling off Harry's invisibility cloak.
"What are you doing here?" Black spat.
"Well, I was going to feed you to the Dementors, but then I had the unexpected privilege of listening to your own godson tear you a new one on my behalf, so I thought I might as well let this little drama play out and only intervene if it were necessary."
"You consider this necessary?" Lupin asked.
"Yes," Snape nodded. "He can still transform when he's tied up and one distraction would give him all the opportunity he needs. Not to mention you'd never find him at night and he can't transform when he's stunned."
"What kind of distraction?" Harry asked curiously before realization struck him. "It is a full moon tonight, isn't it?"
"Very good, Potter," Snape nodded. "Yes, it is and the werewolf is a danger as he didn't take his potion."
"It's not very nice to call him 'the werewolf'," Harry said.
"Be that as it may, Potter, I'm just reminding everyone that he is, in fact, a werewolf and sooner or later the clouds will part and he will transform," Snape told him.
"So you realized he forgot to take his potion but didn't bring any with you?" Hermione asked incredulously.
Snape froze. "You're right, I did bring some. I'd forgotten in all the excitement, but…Here," he thrust a smoking goblet at Remus, who took it gratefully.
"Now I won't be a danger to you, but the sight of me would still panic people, so I'd better stay here," Lupin said, downing the goblet. "Can I trust you to take this matter to Dumbledore, Severus?"
Snape nodded. "Of course. But I will have to let people know about your…condition, you realize."
"Bloody hell!" Ron burst out. "Is this position cursed?"
"Actually, yes," Snape affirmed.
"But…Professor Lupin's the best DADA Professor we've ever had!" Harry protested.
"Given Professors I've-Got-You-Know-Who-On-The-Back-Of-My-Head-And-So-Am-Too-Distracted-To-Teach-Properly and Memory-Charms-Are-The-Only-Spell-I-Know-How-To-Do, that's not saying much." At Hermione's glare, Ron protested, "Oh, you know it's true!"
"Not that Professor Lupin isn't a really good teacher, Harry, because he is," Hermione added earnestly. "It's just that…he's dangerous.
"No he's not-" Harry began.
"Yes, Harry, he is. If Professor Snape hadn't been here, Professor Lupin would have tried to kill us when he transformed and very well might have. I suppose the muggle-world equivalent would be a violent schizophrenic, who the Headmaster assured him would be safe as long as he took his medication, which he forgot tonight, even BEFORE seeing the Map. And even when he is on it, so to speak, our safety clearly matters less to him than losing face by confessing that fifteen years ago, he broke a few rules and now someone who he sincerely believed to be a mass-murderer could turn into a dog and hide on the grounds as well as sneak into the castle several different ways," Hermione finished with a flourish.
"But that's not how it was—" Lupin started to say.
"Regardless of your intentions, Lupin, that's exactly how it was," Snape cut him off.
Lupin opened his mouth to retort when Harry cut in. "We can discuss this later. Right now, we need to get out of here because, Wolfsbane Potion or no, I don't really want to see this…"
As they started to leave, Black said casually, "So, I know this probably isn't the best time to ask, what, with you having just accused me of attempting to murder someone because they annoyed me, but you said that your relatives locked you in a cupboard, so I was wondering if maybe you'd like to come live with me once I'm cleared?"
"Sure," Harry shrugged.
Snape stopped dead and stared at him. "You can't be serious, Potter, he tried to kill me."
"I know that, sir," Harry replied evenly. "So it would be foolhardy if you would have agreed to live with him. He seems to like me, though, despite the fact I've mostly just yelled at him, and besides, in addition to being locked in a cupboard, my aunt routinely swings a frying pan at my head. Which, by the way, is also attempted murder."
Snape was about to respond when Ron cried out, "Dementors!"
"I'll handle this," Snape said smoothly. "Potter standing up to Black on my account…Oh, this should power a patronus every day for the rest of my life…"
When they got back to the castle, Pettigrew still unconscious, Fudge was surprised, to say the least. "Black…Black was innocent, then?"
Snape was about to say something when Dumbledore shot him a Look. "Of this, yes," he finally said.
"Oh no, oh no, oh no…" Fudge moaned, head in his hands. "The press'll have a field day with this! An innocent man in Azkaban, Dementors attempting to suck the souls out of innocent children…My career is over!"
Sensing that if his career really was at stake, Fudge would organize a massive cover-up, Hermione quickly spoke up. "Not if you tell them all about how you managed to weave through the web of lies and, in dogged pursuit of justice, ferreted out the truth, sir."
"Hm, that could work…I'd better call the Daily Prophet. Albus, may I use your floo?" Fudge asked.
"Certainly, Cornelius, it's right this way," Dumbledore said graciously. "Severus, if you'd be so kind as to show him?"
As Snape and Fudge left, Harry casually remarked, "By the way, I'm moving in with Sirius."
Dumbledore sighed and said gravely, "My dear boy, I'm afraid that's out of the question. You're only safe from Voldemort's supporters at your Aunt's house."
"And she routinely tries to kill me, so you know what? I'll take my chances," Harry decided.
Dumbledore shook his head. "I cannot allow that."
"With all do respect, sir," Harry said. "You don't exactly have a say in the matter. I mean, Sirius is my legal godfather and my legal guardians would have no problem signing off on granting custody of me to a mass-murderer. You're the Headmaster of my school and, worse come to worse, I can simply transfer. What was that one school you were talking about earlier Hermione?
"Durmstang," she replied.
All the blood drained out of Dumbledore's face at the thought of Harry Potter going to the most reputed Dark Arts School in all of Europe. "On second thought, I'm sure we can provide you with adequate protection at your new place of residence."
Harry and Hermione exchanged a grin. That was too easy.