"Severus! What are you doing here?" Draco gasped.
"Hey, Sirius! He can do the Disillusionment Charm!" James said, impressed.
"Well goody for him!" Sirius frowned. "What are you doing here, Snape?"
"I wanted to see if you were leading Draco into some sort of trouble," Severus answered.
"No trouble here," Peter squeaked, edging away from Severus' foot.
Severus was getting ready for an all out full blast tirade. "You would think, for someone who is as sick-looking as you've been lately, that you'd at least stay in bed for an entire night. Look at you! You make Remus Lupin look healthy! I guess it's too boring to stay inside the building at night, is it?"
"We made him come here. He had no choice," James told Severus.
Remus leaped to his feet. "Everyone! Professor Foxworth will be here any second! Severus, you need to get back to Slytherin House with Draco; after what you did for me, I can't let the two of you get expelled!"
"What the...Oh," Severus frowned. "Oh that!" He recalled when he'd healed Remus in the prefect's bathroom last month. "I hope you didn't tell those two gits about it!" Severus demanded sharply.
"Tell us what?" Sirius demanded.
"Out! All of you! Hurry!" Remus urged them. Draco didn't need telling twice. He draped his Invisibility Cloak over himself and Severus, while James did the same over Sirius and himself. Peter made his change into Wormtail, who Sirius picked up.
"Let's go!" James whispered loudly. Draco saw the trapdoor open up downstairs through the veil of the Cloak; he knew James and the others have already gone down into the passage.
Abruptly, Draco tapped Severus on the shoulder. "Let's stay here; they can't see that we didn't leave. I want to see how Lupin handles this..." he said quietly. Severus didn't say anything, but sat down on the packed earth floor. Draco sat next to him, making sure the Invisibility Cloak covered them both up completely.
"What's he supposed to be handling?" Severus asked him. Before answering, Draco heard footsteps coming up the passage under them. They both sat in utter silence as Professor Foxworth emerged from the trapdoor. He glanced around, had his wand out, as he walked up the stairs to the kitchen area. He left the door open behind him, so light streamed down and they could hear everything.
"Looks rather neat in here. You weren't out all night again, were you, Mr. Lupin?" Foxworth queried.
"No, I was here all night, just like I was supposed to be. But Professor, I didn't change..."
"Now, what kind of nonsense are you talking about? Of course you changed. You were just neater about it than usual. Weren't as destructive...why would you start lying to me? Especially about something so absurd?"
"But I'm not lying! I think I've been cured!" Remus cried.
"Remus Lupin stop acting like a little boy! You know as well as I do that there's no cure for lycanthropy!" Draco heard Severus gasp; he nudged Severus into silence.
"Professor Foxworth, if you had been here, you would have seen it! I sat here all night, staring at the moon, and nothing!" Remus protested.
"Remus...I know that you wish that it were true with all your heart..." Foxworth began.
"Don't you understand? My father, he's a Muggle, he...left. Because he couldn't deal with the fact that his only child was a werewolf. But now, if I... if I could tell him that I'm not a werewolf anymore, maybe he might come back."
"Mr. Lupin, I have to take you to Professor Dumbledore's office. I can't have you talking this kind of nonsense. It's obvious that you've taken leave of your senses," Foxworth sighed.
"Maybe to you it's nonsense! To me, it's my life! Sure, I looked normal most of the time, but no one had any idea what was going on underneath. No one knew just how much I'd put my life on hold. I could never try out for Quidditch, instead I had to watch my friends and live vicariously through them. And it wasn't just with Quidditch! I had to watch them flirting with girls, knowing all along that I didn't dare go near one," Remus shouted. Draco thought he could hear tears in his voice.
"Mr. Lupin, let's go," was all that Foxworth said. Remus angrily stomped down the stairs with Foxworth following close behind. Once they were gone, Draco took the cloak off.
"Well, that's it; he's going to Dumbledore. I'm so screwed now..." Draco trailed off.
"Why? What does his being cured of...Lycanthropy! My head is spinning. How could Dumbledore have taken such a risk? But, that's for another time," Severus said. "I'm confused."
"Oh, fuck it already. What's done is done. We've got to go to Dumbledore's office too." In confusion, Severus followed Draco down into the secret passage. When they got to the Whomping Willow, Draco made his transformation into a ferret and pushed on that knot on the tree trunk, so Severus wouldn't get killed from the branches. Once Draco scampered under the Cloak once again, he resumed human form, watched Foxworth and Remus go into Hogwarts.
"Let's go. If you want to come up to his office with me, fine," Draco told him.
"We're all going to get expelled, aren't we?" Severus asked fearfully.
"No, but I might have something even more dangerous to deal with than that. See, Severus, you're being protected. The Ministry knows about what you are. I don't have that protection," Draco told him as the entered the castle.
"Protection from what?" Severus asked.
"Voldemort. He doesn't know that you're a Breaker. If he ever finds out what you are, he'll come after you. Believe me, you're going to have Aurors surrounding you as soon as you step off the Hogwart's Express," Draco explained.
"Yeah, ready to whisk me off to Azkaban. But I don't see why you're so worried...I don't think Remus Lupin understands...What is it that's eluding me? Why can't I figure it out?" Severus asked in frustration. The Fidelus Charm was what was keeping Severus from figuring the rest out. It was keeping Voldemort away from Draco, because Voldemort didn't recall the fact that he's witnessed Draco Malfoy Break someone.
Instead of explaining anything else, Draco just led Severus up to Dumbledore's stone gargoyle. "Jelly Bean," Severus said, and the gargoyle took them right up to the doorway of the office. Draco draped the Invisibility Cloak back over the two of them.
"Professor Dumbledore, I swear it's true. I never changed into a werewolf last night," Remus was explaining as they got there.
"Mr. Malfoy! Mr. Snape! I don't recall inviting the two of you up here," Dumbledore frowned, standing up behind his desk. Draco took the cloak off himself and Severus.
After giving Dumbledore a look, Draco announced, "I can vouch for the fact that Remus Lupin didn't change into a werewolf because I was there. And there was a reason I was there, too. I had a feeling he wouldn't change. Because...I did something. Last month."
"Last month, Mr. Lupin definitely changed into a werewolf. I'm not even going to get started into asking you how you even know he's a werewolf, how you managed to accompany him last night to the Shrieking Shack, or how you know whoever else is involved. I just want to know what you did, right now!" Foxworth demanded.
"Actually, I'm going to have to ask Remus Lupin to tell you the story. I can't do it; we placed a Fidelus Charm last month. Only he can tell it, since he's the Secret-Keeper." Draco glanced at Severus, who was making a face. "I couldn't make you the Secret-Keeper, Sev. You're too close to the situation. You'll see why in a minute..."
"Mr. Lupin, what is Mr. Malfoy talking about?" Dumbledore asked him quietly.
"If I'm going to tell Professor Dumbledore the truth, he's going to have to get the whole truth. I mean, my part in it too," he said with his voice cracking. Draco nodded, and Remus began. "Last month, on the night of the full moon, when Voldemort came to the castle--yes, I know he came here--there was a lot of confusion. I found myself escaping from the Shack early on.
"I headed for the Forbidden Forest. I knew that would be, even in my wolfen state, a place where I might be able to run free where I might not hurt anyone. But, as it turned out, I met up with a human that night..."
"Oh, no! Remus, who was it?"
"I didn't know at first. In that state, all I thought of was blood, and needing human blood..." A silence descended on the room. Remus was shaking as he continued. "The next day, I remembered that I'd encountered a human in the Forest. I snuck out to go there and see if I was right. I guess you could say I was returning to the scene of the crime.
"It was pouring rain. When I got there, I saw someone else there...Draco Malfoy. He'd found the body of the one I'd attacked. And he wasn't too happy with me. It was Rodolphus Lestrange..."
Severus shot up from his seat as if someone had sent a charge through the chair. "Son of a Bitch! He was mine! You got to him before me!"
Dumbledore, appearing a bit shaken, said to Severus, "Mr. Snape, please sit down." Severus did so, and glanced at Draco, who had a drained look on his face. "Please tell us what happened after that, Mr. Lupin."
Draco held his breath, while Remus continued, "When I reached him, he was not in the best mental shape, I must admit. I don't think he was quite himself. I don't exactly know what went down between Lestrange and Malfoy, but I'm sure it wasn't good. But he...he sent some sort of power through my head, it crushed something inside. I felt my magical powers dissolve right then and there..."
Dumbledore, Foxworth and Severus all wore looks of the purest shock. "You mean to tell me that..." Foxworth breathed.
"That Draco Malfoy Broke me? Yes, that's what happened," Remus answered.
"You're lying! I know you're lying because I saw you use magic in my class just yesterday! Explain that, won't you?" Foxworth hissed.
Remus smiled broadly. "Well, that's where our freind Severus comes in."
Severus managed to get his gaping mouth working long enough to say, "What did I do?"
"Don't you remember? We raced to the prefects bathroom after we figured out what Draco had done by accident. He knew you'd be able to heal me, and you did. You healed me quite admirably, I might add. You even healed the lycanthropy..."
"I did?" Severus gasped.
"Impossible! I...I've never heard of such a thing!" Foxworth breathed.
"Draco, did you Break Rachel Lestrange?" Dumbledore pounced on him.
"In order to get away...yes. She was holding me in a Body Bind Spell...I was able to break her connection with Rodolphus by distracting her, and then...it just happened. It was the easiest thing in the world..." Draco admitted.
"Did anyone know what had happened to her?" Dumbledore asked.
"Voldemort knew. He and Rodolphus raced out of there like bats out of hell. Rachel ran too, but I think that somewhere between that empty classroom and the secret passage Voldemort obviously used to get in here, she decided she didn't want to live if she couldn't do magic anymore. I think she committed suicide, myself."
"If I hadn't been brought to Severus when I was, and I hadn't been cured, I'm sure I would have done the same thing eventually," Remus commented.
"Does this mean that Lily isn't in trouble anymore?" Draco asked. At last, Dumbledore smiled.
"I do believe that there's enough evidence to clear her completely." Severus sagged with relief. "But I don't see how Remus Lupin will be able to keep himself out of Azkaban."
"Are you joking? After what Rodolphus Lestrange had done?" Severus growled. "If Lupin hadn't ripped him apart, I would have, I swear that before the Lord and Lady!"
"Well, the thing is, I didn't even know it was Lestrange until the next day..."
"Oh, damn all you Gryffindors, having to be so damned honest! Let me tell you something, straightaway. If you're feeling guilty about killing him, let me assure you, he was doomed after what he had done to me. And probably would have done to countless others, as well. If you hadn't gotten him, I know for certain others would have suffered. In my opinion, there's no reason for anyone to go to Azkaban."
"As much as I'd love to agree with you, there's Lestrange's parents. They'll have to accept the fact that their daughter committed suicide, but their son's death will not go unavenged," Dumbledore stated sadly. "I don't want Mr. Lupin to be sent to Azkaban, either."
"Then, Headmaster, I say it's high time to start thinking like a Slytherin.
"I can produce the body of Rodolphus Lestrange; it will show beyond a shadow of a doubt that his throat was ripped apart by a werewolf."
"Draco, what good will that do? Then they'll know I did it! Enough people know I'm a werewolf in order for them to make the connection..." Remus fretted.
"Oh, really? Then let them prove you're a werewolf! Let them put you out under the next full moon and see if one hair grows on you! Which you know, won't happen! But, everyone knows that you can't have been a werewolf a month ago, but not be one this month, right?"
"God what a gamble I'd be taking! What...what if I did change again next month?" Remus asked fearfully.
"Not bloody likely!" Severus cut in. "After all, once I heal someone, they stay healed. Just ask Professor Colton..."
"Speaking of which..." Dumbledore interrupted, "Mr. Malfoy, you need a collar put on immediately. Do you have any idea what risks you were taking with your life by keeping the collar off? It's no wonder you've been so ill these past months!"
"Professor Dumbledore, I thought if I could keep the collar off, it would keep Voldemort away, because he'd be afraid that I could Break him if he threatened me," Draco confessed.
"That is precisely why I'm placing both you and Mr. Snape into my custody as soon as I can get it approved by the Ministry of Magic. I cannot allow the two of you to become Voldemort's next victims, and having you under my supervision will assure me that you both will be safe."
"Can you imagine it though! Two Breakers! After going nearly five hundred years without one! The Ministry might want to take them both into it's custody, Professor Dumbledore. I've heard the talk about Snape. And with Malfoy's extenuating circumstances, they're sure to want him in their custody as well." Foxworth said, shaking his head.
"Not if I have anything to say about it..." Dumbledore said gravely. "There are those in the Ministry who, as you should well know, cannot be trusted. Mr. Lupin and Mr. Snape, I have this for you..." Dumbledore went to his vast cabinet behind his desk, where he had all sorts of mysterious items. He pulled out two vials and handed one to each of the two boys. "This is a rather potent pepper-up potion which I rather think you might need, considering that in about two hours time you will be starting to take some very important tests. After you take these, you both need to go back to your Houses immediately. I will be sending you owls with any developments as they come about. Mr. Malfoy, you are to remain here until someone from the Ministry can get here to put a collar on you. And whoever is coming here had better get here fast, as you've got a few tests to take yourself."
Draco watched Severus and Remus down the vials, and after swallowing them, their eyes went wider than they've probably ever been. "Well," Severus said to Draco, "at least I won't be alone now..."
"No, that's true. You won't be alone now. Although, there is one thing that sucks about all this. My master plan to take a broom to Tijuana has to get scrapped, doesn't it? No José Cuervo, no tequila, no hot chicks doing lap dances... Yep, it's gonna suck," Draco sighed.
Dumbledore gave Draco a very steady look. "Now you see why I have to keep them in my custody. Especially this one. Yes, I have a feeling this is going to be a very interesting summer, Mr. Malfoy. A very interesting summer indeed..."
This concludes, at long last, A Dark Corridor. What happens next? Keep an eye out for the next story in this series, A Dark Passage!