"Severus, a word?" Remus knew he was trying his luck cornering the man in the Great Hall, but ever since 'that night,' as he called it, Severus had been avoiding him. He sat down quickly beside Severus.
"What is it now, Lupin?" Snape glared at the werewolf, silently daring him to say a word about anything personal within earshot of the other professors.
"I'm having problems with a few of your third year Slytherins." Remus knew direct and to the point was best with the Slytherin, especially about his students.
"Is that so? I'll speak to..."
"No, not with behavior. Well, that's not what I'm talking about anyway," a dark look passed over Remus' face. "A few students are refusing to face the boggart in class."
Snape glared at him. "And you allowed them to refuse because?"
"I told them they would face it next class. But when I entered my classroom to set up for my fifth years yesterday, I found Mr Malfoy, Miss Parkinson, and Mr. Zabini already there. Mr. Malfoy was practicing on it. And it's form disturbed me greatly."
"Is that so?" Severus turned to him at last. "And would you care to tell me why that is?"
"His worst fear is his father. Lucius was standing there, his left sleeve pushed up and..." He broke off, knowing Snape would know exactly what that meant. "I just thought you ought to know. I knew of your roll in the last," he glanced around and lowered his voice, "thing. And there is another coming, I can feel it."
"How did you know?"
"Because of my... secret. I heard you and Dumbledore talking once when no one else was around. And it all added up. James thought I was crazy, but..."
"Do not speak to me about that... that imbecile."
"I apologize, Severus. All I was saying is, be prepared. Young Draco may not wish to follow in his father's footsteps. And if he does not... Draco will need protection eventually."
"I'll do what I can. Now if you'll excuse me, your potion is needing my attention."
"Of course. Thank you, Severus."
"Thank Albus. He gave me no choice."
Remus chuckled as the man left. Some things would never change.
It was nearing Halloween, and Severus had finally accepted the fact that Remus Lupin was even more persistent now than he was as a student. At least two evenings a week, Severus found himself in his rooms playing chess against the werewolf. It was a miracle that no one had seen the man coming down to the dungeons yet. Though, from that stupid twinkle in Albus' eye...
He broke off that line of thinking instantly. If Albus already knew, McGonagall would be next, and who knew what would happen then. Students would think he'd gone soft. And if Remus was right about the war coming, he couldn't afford the Dark Lord knowing his weakness.
He froze a second. He had heard a noise around the corner.
"Miss Parkinson, Mr. Malfoy, and Mr. Zabini. Care to explain to me why you are out of your dormitories at such a time?"
The three froze.
"Professor Snape, we were just... er..." Draco hesitated.
"We were going to Madame Pomphrey," Pansy answered.
Draco sighed. "My arm, you see, ever since that Hagrid let his hippogriff attack me, it has been aching."
"Nice try, Mr. Malfoy. I need a word with you. Mr. Zabini, Miss Parkinson, get back to your dormitory. Five points from Slytherin. Do not let this happen again."
He waitied until the other two had disappeared around the corner, and headed in the opposite direction, toward Lupin's classroom.
"Professor Lupin has informed me," he said, making sure to add the sarcastic tone to the first word. He could hear footsteps following them, and knew Lupin was eavesdropping. "That you have been refusing to learn the Riddikulus charm. Any particular reason for this, Draco?"
"I don't want anyone to know about father." Severus raised a single eyebrow. "Your father is your greatest fear?"
"Not him, Uncle Sev. It's... Never mind. I'll do the spell."
"Talk to me, Draco." Severus rarely acted this way toward students, but Draco, being his godson, was an exception.
"Father has been talking lately about... about the possibility of... of the Dark Lord returning." Severus swallowed, unnoticed by the boy beside him. "He tried to do it last year." Severus' head whipped around to look at the young Slytherin beside him. "That book the Weasley girl had? It was father's."
"Draco, if the Dark Lord does return, this will be a bad thing for him to find out about." Draco looked down. "I know it will be difficult, just know that bringing attention to yourself is not the way to avoid it."
"Avoid it, sir?"
"You know what I'm talking about, Draco." They entered the classroom, and Severus left the door open just wide enough for Remus to see in. "Perform the charm correctly now, and I will inform Professor Lupin that you are exempt from doing it in class."
He opened the wardrobe door, and Draco removed his wand. Sure enough, Lucius Malfoy stood before them, sleeve pushed up, and Dark Mark perfectly visible.
"Rid-dikulus!" The boggart shifted, becoming an image of Draco, kneeling before a black shadow, arm bared as he received the mark. Tears began to stream down the real Draco's face. "Riddi-Ku-ku-kulus." The boggart shifted, becoming Narcissa, lying dead on the floor. Draco froze, but suddenly stood straighter, and pointed his wand, bravery overcoming the fear.
Severus turned toward the door, and met Lupin's eyes, stunned at the tears he saw there. The werewolf gave a single nod, and Severus turned his gaze back to his godson.
"Riddikulus!" The boggart became a clown with Voldemort's face.
Severus shuttered and stepped in front of Draco. The boggart shifted once more, becoming a transformed werewolf briefly, before he said "Riddikulus!" and slammed it back into the wardrobe. He put a hand on Draco's shoulder, and looked back at the door. He saw the horror in Remus' face before the man turned and ran.
He swallowed hard and led Draco back to the slytherin common room. "I will inform him that you can preform the spell. Go to bed, Mr. Malfoy."
"Yes, sir," Draco said, and stepped through the opened wall.
Severus allowed himself to sigh, turned, and headed to his rooms. The only thing on his mind was the horror etched into his colleague's face at the sight of his boggart. And he couldn't blame him, seeing as Severus' worst fear was Remus.
Disclaimer: All characters belong to JK Rowling, not me. I haven't figured out a way to go about that yet. haha
I know, it's been a very long time. Please do forgive me. Full time job, part time job, and college classes will do that to a person. I'll update when I can.