Author's Note:

I have now updated In Care Of, so the text here matches the definitive text posted on the Potions & Snitches fan web site ( potionsandsnitches dot net). This is a more polished version, with typos and discrepancies edited out. If anyone should find any I missed, I would appreciate hearing about it - I don't want to subject readers to substandard work if I can help it.

In Care Of is part one of what will ultimately be a trilogy: part 2, Tightrope, is currently in progress, and will be followed by the third and final part, Endgame (title subject to change).

People have been so generous with their reviews, I can no longer respond to them all without giving up writing the story altogether! I thank you for your reviews; they inspire me and help me to press on.

Due to the delays between updates, some people have expressed anxiety that this tale will be abandoned. Rest assured, this will not happen: writer's block is not an issue in my case, as I already have the entire story (all three parts) mapped out in my mind. I need only get it in print! Unfortunately, real life has intervened in many different ways over the past year (some pleasant, others less so), which has unavoidably slowed me down in the writing process. I will continue as I can, though; this is a promise.

Best,

Fang's Fawn

Some facts about fruit bats:

I just wanted to enter a few tidbits here about fruit bats to avoid confusion, since they're not indigenous to the UK.

While I'm aware that fruit bats are tropical in nature, I figured since, according to JK Rowling, wizards cannot choose what kind of animal they turn into when they become animagi (she implies that the personality of the wizard determines the animal type), there is nothing preventing them from becoming an animal that is not native to a particular area (after all they should not have to rely on existing in that environment in order to survive). I figure I can get away with using a non-native species since Hedwig, a Snowy Owl, is not native to the UK, either – and she's not even an animagus!

Fruit bats are also known as "megabats" and "flying foxes." About sixty subspecies make up flying fox fruit bats, and this is what I picture when I picture Snape as a bat.

Unlike insectivorous bats, flying foxes (which feed on fruit, flowers and nectar) do not rely on echolocation. So, while their hearing is very sensitive, they do not form sound "images" like other bat species. In fact, they generally rely on their excellent vision and keen sense of smell to seek out the fragrant, colorful foods they prefer (the term "blind as a bat" is a misnomer).

I haven't really made up my mind as to what subspecies of flying fox Snape transforms into, but to give you a frame of reference, here are some characteristics of the Indian Flying Fox:

- At about 12 inches long, a male Indian Flying Fox would be about half Hedwig's length

-A female Snowy Owl weighs about 5 pounds; a male Indian Flying Fox weighs 3-4 pounds

-An Indian Flying Fox's wingspan is about 50 inches; Hedwig's would be anywhere from 56-66 inches

"Spartacus" is somewhat smaller than this, but as you can see, some bats can become quite large.