PROFESSOR'S WINCHESTER

Summary: When Hogwarts received two new professors from the fated land of America, everybody was curious. But no one was more curious then one Harry Potter. A series of stories about Dean and Sam Winchester as professors at Hogwarts.

AN: Sorry for the long wait! Here's chapter 8, chopped down halfway since it just wouldn't stop. Story might end on chapter 11/12 or even 13, I'm honestly not sure anymore - the plot is all set in stone, it's just the writing that seems to grow. To follow the process of the story and keep track, you can follow my friend's twitter operationhades, she tends to stalk me and nag. Also, thank you all for the amazing reviews! You have absolutely no idea how much I absolutely adore you all! I'm trying to keep this AN small, but gah! -flails- This is my thank you! /loves all over you all


- EIGHT -

"Dean, there's nothing here."

A grunt. His brother turned a page.

"Dean, there's nothing here."

This time nothing, not even a small twitch to show Dean had heard. Little brother annoyance turned on max power, Sam spoke up again, completely ignoring the whining note that had entered his voice. "Deeeaaan, there's nothing heeere."

"Dammit, Sam!" Dean exploded on cue. "I know! Just keep looking. Damn pointy hats should have something to go off on."

"But we've searched for months, Dean. I really think we should just... Call it quits."

Dean twitched, but Sam wasn't watching that – instead, he focus was on the white knuckled grip his older brother was holding on some random book, just one of the thousands they'd dragged up from the library both publicly and secretly. He sighed, huffing slightly at the lack of reply coming from Dean, and closed the thick book in his own lap with finality. He should've known what this was about, Dean never researched anything if he had Sam to fall back on, and sure, this was the apocalypse and all, but some habits were really hard to break – or, in this case, break into.

So of course, there was another reason at play.

Like a little brother to save.

"Dean," Sam sighed fondly, sympathetic and all. "Come on, man, we'll just find another way. Besides, Lucifer can't do anything without my consent."

The reply he got for his efforts was a death glare, narrowed eyes daring him to continue speaking. Sam rolled his eyes, not at all perturbed by the expression admittedly rarely seen on his brother's face. Every now and then, he forgot Dean could be a damn scary man when he wanted to be, every bit the hunter he called himself to be, just as everybody else did too. Hell, how many times had a hunter tried offing Sam after the whole demon blood fiasco only to get a face full of Dean and whatever was close enough to him? If it was just a shotgun, they'd be freaking lucky. Not so much if a knife.

"But," The younger Winchester continued anyway, "We should try and decide what we're going to do about the possible hunt we might have going on here." Hint, hint.

Perking up, Dean finally closed the large tome, a dusty book with a long title that made sense to neither of them. Still, Dean had dutifully been translating the Scandinavian text, coming up with enough sentences that had him seriously thinking the book had been written by Gabriel himself. Sam picked up the paper Dean had been writing through, skimming through the translated notes and snorting at a few of them.

Leaning forward on their desk (and by now, what with having been at Hogwarts for while, the table literally had a scrawled Winchester on it courtesy of Dean), the older brother eyed his little brother, probably wondering whether Sam really was going to move past a potential chick flick moment.

"It was December when we first got a whiff of him, Sam." Dean pointed out, somewhat logically. "And only now you're finally agreeing there might be a hunt here?"

"He's not hurting anyone, Dean." Came the much exhausted answer. "I think he knows he's a werewolf, and somehow has a way of controlling himself. The last time he's attacked anyone was when he was in Hogwarts. As a student."

Dean shook his head, relaxing back fully into his chair. "Doesn't matter Sammy, he might not hurt anyone now, but he will in the future. Unlike other monsters, werewolves can't control themselves, have no collection of what they've done or will do and kill indiscriminately. We can't just let him pass."

"And we just can't go around killing people, Dean. What if he actually does have a way of controlling himself? These guys aren't exactly civilians."

"If they did," Dean patiently began. "Then it'd be widespread. We'd know about it. And we wouldn't be going around carrying as much silver as we do."

"Okay, okay." The younger Winchester conceded. "But before we find out whether he does or not, no ganking. Deal?"

"Dude, use another word."

"Fine, agreed?"

"Agreed."

The brothers fell into silence afterwards, returning back to their books by an unspoken agreement. A few seconds passed before Sam looked up from his book back at Dean and spoke up again. "So I was reading up on our wands, after, you know, what Hermione said."

Dean glanced up, frowning for a moment as he puzzled to put a face to the name, but soon remembered the really clever girl with the posh British accent. "After she 'assured' you you looked fabulous? Or after you traded hair tips?"

Sam kicked him under the table, but generally carried on, taking out his deep red wand from some pocket inside his robe. Seriously, why the younger Winchester seemed set on wearing the damn thing was beyond Dean, but what the hell, Sam was weird like that anyway. Bitch.

"Jerk." What, he can read minds now? "So anyway, I found a lot of information on our wands and stuff, some of which Hermione already told us back at Christmas. But I got curious since she only spoke of the wand cores, and looked up the wood. Turns out Red Ivory isn't even considered as a possible candidate for wand making, so I didn't find much on that, but Ebony had a whole topic on it, all on it's own."

Yeah, because that sounded so good, Dean thought sourly as he narrowed his eyes at his brother.

"Turns out," Sam carried on, geekily distracted by the retelling of knowledge to notice Dean's quickly worsening mood. "Ebony is 'highly suited to all manners of combative magic, especially transfiguration'. Meaning you can change something from one thing to another – or even change yourself! Remember Professor McGonagall and the way she changes into a cat? Yeah, apparently that's transfiguration or something, I don't know." He paused, blinking slightly as a new thought came to him. "Hey, Dean. What animal would you like to turn into, if you could?"

"The hell does that matter, Sam?" Dean tried deflecting, even though he honestly believed what he was asking anyway. "I'm not using the stick. At all. You know what hunters think about us already, Sam? They think we're monsters, about to bring the world to it's knees. Last thing we need is to go around waving sticks and muttering hocus pocus just to prove them right. We'd get ganked so hard Lucy and Mike will have trouble finding us to resurrect us or something."

"Come on, Dean, just answer the question." Sam asked again, purposely ignoring his brother's words and the thought that had come unbidden up in response. They don't think you're a monster, Dean. Just me. "Please?"

Sighing, Dean dropped his head onto the table, groan muffled by his new position. "Ugh, I don't know. Something that's predatory – like a tiger, or something. Or hell, maybe even a shark. Sharks are cool."

Amused, Sam stared down at Dean's hair. "Sharks? I really didn't take you for the aquatic type, dude."

"Yeah well, you didn't know I wanted to be a fireman too."

Ouch. Low blow. Sam let it slide, knowing it was only because of his needling Dean was getting cranky – and when Dean got cranky, he said things he didn't mean, and when Sam said didn't mean, he means didn't mean. Like that time a delirious, pained and cranky Dean couldn't stop humming the Barbie song after it had played on TV for a straight hour.

But they weren't supposed to talk about that.

"Tell you what, Sasquatch." Dean spoke up again, voice just a pitch lower then normal to signal his apology. "We'll set a deadline of finding out whether Lupin-dude knows he's a werewolf or not and if he has a method of dealing with it or not, by June. If not, we'll confront him and just be blunt 'bout it."

Sam nodded distractedly, hearing the silent 'with guns and stuff' Dean so eloquently added one with a raised eyebrow. He wanted to carry on about the things he'd learned of their wands, but knew with a certainty now it wouldn't go over well – especially with the knowledge he'd gained up from it. But it really did make him look at Dean in a slightly different way, what with ebony being happiest in the hands of those courageous enough to be themselves. And independent. And completely okay with being outcasts.

In all essence of the matter, Dean was the exact opposite of him. Sam hated the notion of being an outcast, of being a 'freak', Dean had accepted it, embraced it, wore it like something to be damn proud of and did it with flair. Sam had strived his whole life to be normal, to fit in with the crowd of ignorant people, while Dean had cut his losses short at the age of four and scoffed at the mere idea of ever going back. The-

"-I think Cas would be a Golden Eagle."

Sam perked up, cocking an eyebrow at his brother's unwillingly thoughtful face.

"Yeah?" He played along, entertained by the notion of what animals their friends would be. "And Bobby a Rottweiler, right?"

Grinning, Dean nodded his head, tapping a pen against the table. "Ellen'd be a Husky, no doubt."

Snickering, Sam agreed wholeheartedly. "She'd take that as a compliment – once she got passed the comparison to a dog."

And then, an abrupt silence fell upon them, neither wishing to quite yet mention Jo simply for the fact she'd be the last person they collectively knew. And then it'd be just awkward – even more so awkward then it already was due to both knowing what would happen after someone mentioned Jo. Or something.

"So uh, did you hear about Professor Hagrid's class? And what happened?"

A quick thoughtful look passed across Dean's face, probably trying to put a face to the name, before he gave a quick nod of recognition as well as an answer. "All I heard was something 'bout a crazy ass animal getting prissy on the Ice Queen."

Sam laughed at that and wondered, not for the first time, exactly what the relationship between Dean and Draco Malfoy was. From what he'd gathered, it wasn't quite hate (or at least, it wasn't from Dean's side), but they certainly weren't... Acquaintances either. Dean had taken an almost antagonistic role when it came to the pureblood, completely doing everything in his power to get the kid riled up, throw him down, question everything there was to question about him, his decisions, his life – but in a way that looked like he was only trying to prepare the kid, prepare him for the truth of the universe that realistically cared very little for blood royalty. That, along with the fact it looked like Dean genuinely just enjoyed riling the poor kid up too.

And on the other side, Draco truly and undeniably loathed Dean's gut. Though that meant it was just another name to add on to the list of people that wanted nothing more then to wipe the grin of Dean's face. Generally speaking, anyone that ran into Dean wanted to strangle the guy – Dean just had that affect on people, and he knew it.

"Professor Hagrid was teaching the class with a live creature, a Hippogriff, and it got a bit testy with Draco." Sam explained fully. "Drew a bit of blood, from what I hear. So they're holding a hearing for Buckbeak today, or well, the Committee for the Disposal of Dangerous Creatures is holding the hearing to decide what to do with him."

"Him?" Dean scoffed, grinning slyly at his little brother. "Please tell me the thing's not called Buckbeak, Sammy. And it's freakin' hypocritical of you to get all bitchy about me calling the Impala a she, or baby, when you go around calling that thing a he."

"No it's not," Sam shot back immediately. "Buckbeak's alive, it's an actual living creature, an organism, Dean – the Impala is not. Besides, animals have genders, cars do not. And Buckbeak is like a pet to Hagrid, he's really distraught about all this and the possibility he might be executed."

"The Impala's more then a pet to me." Dean groused, feigning hurt. "And it's a damn animal, he'll get over it. Already has a giant ass huge dog, anyway."

Wincing, Sam nodded slowly. Dean didn't like Hagrid, at all, and the gentle half giant didn't quite understand why. Mostly, it was the wild assortment of creatures Hagrid always had on him, or the far too jovial personality he had, all things Dean could complain and whine about but generally not let it effect his day. But when Dean had an unfortunate run in with Fluffy, the three headed giant as hell black dog with rather sharp and pointy teeth – the Colt had been used, the demon killing knife had been brandished, and one traumatised dog, a panic ridden owner and a little brother trying to calm down a far too strung up big brother later – Dean and Hagrid in the same room left for a very thick tension in the air.

Moving past the topic, Sam dove into plans for the next set of lessons, forcing Dean to join him, wondering whether this topic would be better then that, how to prepare the older students for their all important exams, bitching at his brother's self deprecating humour of his own education, if only because he now understood things about his brother he'd never deemed to think about before, the things Dean had so willingly sacrificed to the point they weren't even important enough to note.

There, in the library, they planned for all of April, the month they were currently in, all the way to June.

Then, when June came rolling 'round, all hell broke loose.

. . .

"Scabbars missing!"

Harry sympathetically patted Ron's back, but the red head was having none of it, almost biting at the hand before spinning in a full circle while pulling at his red hair with a scary amount of fervour.

"Scabbars missing!"

"Where would the damn rat go anyway?" Hermione's voice huffed out from somewhere behind them.

But at least she was still with them, following along as Ron tore through Hogwarts and burst through the large doors leading out to the grounds. Harry would've thought she'd abandon them after not finding the Weasley's pet rat in their common room, especially with the constant accusations of murder coming from Ron concerning her cat. A cat that was mysteriously also missing.

But Ron really was having none of it, and he swerved around and snarled at them both, focusing mostly on Hermione, eyes narrowed and cheeks flushed. "If I knew that, would I be here?" He spun around once more afterwards, putting his back to them, and practically frog marched away from the large gates of Hogwarts, further into the grounds, and away from the warmth and safety of the large school.

Harry shared a worried glance with Hermione, who was looking slightly guilty and a little bit hurt, and the two wordlessly followed after the red head, keeping a pace or two behind the redhead to give him some space.

Hermione tilted a bit till she was walking right besides Harry, a step or three right behind Ron, and elbowed him insistently to get the Boy who Lived's attention.

"Harry," she began, speaking quickly in a way that meant her words were Very Important. "Harry," she repeated again, probably just to make sure he was listening. "It's past curfew, Harry, it's dark." Yes, Hermione, Harry could see that, he was well aware of the fact the sky was dark and littered with stars and how everything would be very hard to see if it weren't for the full moon casting lights intermittently in between dark clouds that continued to cover it every few seconds or so. "Harry," Hermione carried on. "It's dangerous. We can't search for Scabbars at night time, it's undeniably suicidal. Have you forgotten about the dementors? Or Sirius Black? Or for Merlin's sake, Voldemort?"

Feeling uncomfortable with the fact everything she said was true, Harry gave an unsynchronized shrug. "Look at him, Hermione." He whispered back, far more calmly then her fierce arguments. "You know he's been worried about Scabbars all week, and the rat really had been acting weird. I reckon this is just the last straw or something, there's no way he'll just say OK and head back to Hogwarts, so it's either we go with him and make sure nothing happens, or leave him here to it. One way or another, Ron's going to keep searching for Scabbars."

Before Hermione could reply, a cheer interrupted her, and both students turned their attentions back to Ron, who was facing them with a large grin that split his face in half, hands at his chest, holding a small, struggling, lump.

"I found him!" Ron needlessly said. "I found him! Scabbars alive!"

The fat rat was struggling with abandon, scratching and biting at Ron who winced and cursed under his breath but held on tight. The trio were way into the grounds by now, with Hogwarts looming at a distant behind them, windows lit with golden lights, and the moon reflecting of the still lake close by. The whomping willow was a solitary figure to their right, deceptively as still as a statue, mocking them with the knowledge that it was anything but a normal looking tree and could pack one hell of a branch-punch. A sudden large cloud rolled over the moon, blocking out it's light, casting the atmosphere in shades of black.

"And what, I dare say, are you three doing outside the grounds passed curfew?"

Oh. Oh. That sneer. Ron's expression went from deliriously delighted to pale and frightened in the span of a second, leaving Harry and Hermione staring wide eyed at him as the voice came from behind them. Slowly, the two turned to face the newcomer, and Harry, for once in his entire life, was praying fervently that he was wrong in his assumption, that it was just Malfoy, or hell, even Zabini, behind them. But alas, it was not to be, for there, as they turned around fully to see, looming above them with the darkest of cloaks that blended perfectly in with the night, was the Slytherin Head. Severus Snape, glaring down his crooked, aristocratic nose at them.

"I would have thought at the very least you'd know to stay indoors, Potter. What with the escaped convict Sirius Black on the loose and all." Snape said, spitting out the words as if they tasted disgusting. "How saddening, that your stupidity seems to have infected Granger too."

Harry was about to retort bitingly, yet the only sound that came out was a yelp as Hermione's foot landed on his own, digging into it with a vengeance. Smiling brightly, the only female in the group bustled forward till she stood in front of the professor, surreptitiously placing herself in between Harry, Ron and Snape.

"We were just going to head back, Professor Snape." Hermione said, voice oozing with feminine charm. "We were only searching for Scabbars, sir. We couldn't just let him stay outside with the rat's natural predators around."

Snape's head whipped down to face her solely, his face hidden in varying shades as the cloud continued to hide the moon's shine. His sneer was almost an audible sound now, his irritation making him flick his robes dramatically. "And what makes you think I care for the Weasley's stupid little rat?" The question came, voice tilting into high notes. "Now come, let us return. Once we're inside Hogwarts I'll have come up with a suitable punishment for you three."

Another robe flick, and Snape was facing away from them, directed towards Hogwarts-

-And right in the face of the largest dog he'd ever seen.

It's giant maw opened up wide and snapped at him, forcing Snape to stumble backwards, to push Harry and Hermione back with him to where Ron stood stock still, clutching at his suddenly pliant pet. Wand in hand and ready to use, Snape was just opening his mouth, with a curse at the tip of his tongue, when the dog (or was it a wolf?) completely bypassed him, snarling as it lunged towards the frightened Weasley. The sharpest teeth he'd ever seen sunk with a sickening sound into the flesh of the red head's leg, the momentum making Ron drop to the floor at the same time as he screamed in pain, voice taping off into sobs as he clutched reflexly at the trapped rat in his grip.

The spell Snape set loose on instinct flew a mile wide, red jet of light barely missing the Weasley as the dog, with it's teeth still clamped around Ron's leg, pulled at the boy like he weighed nothing, or in a way reminiscent of a predator taking away it's captured prey. The sheer size of it made it easy to drag the kicking and screaming teenager, who fought valiantly, if not a bit dumbly, Snape realised crudely, what with opting to keep a hold on his dumb rat rather then use his damn wand. The potions master lurched forward to follow after, cloak more of a hindrance as it twisted around his limbs and refused to work with him – the second that it took to freaking dislodge the damn thing from around his ankles saved him from getting branch-slapped by a suddenly far too close then expected whomping willow. A whomping willow that seemed all too happy to try and cut off his head then cause any obstruction to the wolf-dog galloping away with his student.

Cursing furiously, Snape ducked under another branch, jumping as one tried to sweep his feet from underneath him. For some Merlin forsaken reason, the accursed tree was focused solely on him – probably in revenge for that time in second year he'd tried to burn the damn thing – while paying very little attention to the weaving figures of one Potter and Granger who were (of course) right on the heel of the creature that had kidnapped their friend. Oh no, of course they're not going to think anything about their own safety, or even stop to wonder the benefits of going back to the castle and getting actual help – damn Gryffindors, the lot of them.

'In fact, a pox to them all,' Snape thought, catching from the corner of his eye as the two able students hurl into a small hole in the willow's trunk. Irritated, he dodged another branch, rearing back his wand arm to shoot a paralysing spell at the damn tree, when said tree did just that – paralyse. It suddenly stopped moving, leaves rustling as inertia took place at the sudden termination of movement. Suspiciously wary – and rightfully so – Snape eyed the tree, wondering whether it was truly finding some vindictive satisfaction in confusing him for a slighted wrong he (admittedly) did not regret. But it stayed still, one arm twitched, but continued to remain stationary.

Far from being a mumbling imbecile, Snape adjusted his grip on his wand, held it aloofly in front of him (it was the raging style of this decade, you know), and made his way to the point of entry he'd seen all Gryffindor's disappear into. If he'd quickened his pace a tad bit more then usual, no one would be the wiser, and even if they were, one should know that the whomping willow is not one to be forced into stillness for long.

'Indeed,' Snape thought, eyeing the small knot in the trunk right above the burrow. Maybe he'd try to burn it again when he came back.

. . .

The last thing they expected was to end up in the Shrieking Shack, but neither paid any attention as they hurried after the running black dog and the sound of Ron's distress. Harry was in the lead, with Hermione just a step behind him. Both had their wands out and were ready in the case of anything happening, but made sure not to shoot any hexes after the dog in the fear of hitting Ron instead.

They burst into a a shambled room, just in time to see the dog spit out Ron's leg and move on to the end of the room. Sliding to a stop besides their injured friend, both Harry and Hermione kept their wand trained on the growling dog. It was then, and only then, that thanks to keeping their attention on the dog, they saw it all. The black dog, right before their eyes, transformed into the form of a scraggly, dirty, skinny man hollowed out by age and stress.

And that man looked a lot like the wanted poster of Sirius Black.

Hermione's gasp was overshadowed by Harry's furious shout, the idea, the notion, of his parents traitor standing right in front of him, the reason why they were dead, why he'd suffered being in the care of the Dursley's, standing right in front of him, had him blind with rage, pointing his wand directly between the man's eyes. He would have shot a curse immediately, but Harry needed to know why, he needed to know why a man that had been his parents best friend for years would do such a thing, what could have been so great Voldemort could have given him to betray them.

Behind them, Snape came bursting through just before Harry could form a question, his own wand expertly trained on the escaped criminal. "You!"

The man known as Sirius Black only graced Snape with a sneer, keeping his wild looking eyes trained on the pale as a sheet Weasley. But on closer look, Harry could see the criminal hadn't even spared Ron a passing glance, instead, all his focus was on the still wildly struggling rat in Ron's grip, and that just made no sense to him.

"Here to finish the job, Black?" Harry heard Snape demand, the man coming to stand a step in front of the three Gryffindors. "Considering you've already killed the boy's parents, and that sniffling Pettigrew, why don't you also go after Lupin? Finish off the legendary group of misfits."

Then, and only then, did the wild eyes move away from Scabbars, fastening onto Snape with such fervent heat Harry took an involuntary step back. "Oh shut it," the man hissed, voice hoarse and breaking. "What do you know, Snivellus? What could you possibly now? If nothing else, you should know that I, I, would never have betrayed James and Lily. Never."

Snape made a noise of contempt, ignoring the wide eyed stare Harry and Hermione were giving him, surprised to see the familiarity between the two. But Harry wasn't going to just stand back and watch this – he couldn't – not after everything that had happened, not after everything that would happen because Voldemort was still out there, somewhere.

"Then why did you?" He yelled from behind Snape. "Why did you betray them? Why did you get them killed?"

Grief etched itself onto the dirty scraggly face, eyes roaming over Harry's face before a keening noise of pain broke out from chapped lips. "It wasn't me!" The man shouted back, screamed, hysterically. "It wasn't me!"

Harry pounced on the reply before Snape could. "Then who was it?"

A dirty finger pointed wildly at Ron's chest, where Harry once more noted Scabbars was frantically trying to dig it's nails and teeth into to get free, and he dimly realised he'd never seen the rat so panicked before. Maybe it could sense a dog was in the room or something, but that didn't explain why it had been so panicked even before this night.

"Him!" Sirius Black said, pointing at Scabbars. "The rat! Pettigrew!"

Ron's spluttering of "What?" and Snape's sharp bark of laughter permitted the air at the exclamation. "Pettigrew is dead, Black." Snape snapped back, so visibly losing what little patience he had. "You killed him, and you're saying it's the rat?"

"Yes, damn it! You know all of us have an Animagus form! I know you do! You suspected us of it ever since you almost got killed trying to find out about Remus!"

What? What was there to find out about Professor Lupin? Harry watched on as Snape almost snarled at the criminal's hysteric words. "Unfortunately for you, while a rat is a perfectly acceptable Animagus form for such a slimy coward, it's for that exact reason I think this is preposterous. Pettigrew was a coward, he wouldn't have gone anywhere near Voldemort, and how would he know of their location?"

Sirius Black punched the floor next to him with a curled fist. "Because he was their Secret Keeper, Severus! It was for that exact reason we chose him to be! No one would suspect him of such a thing – everyone would ultimately believe it was either me or Remus. Why do you think I confronted the traitor if I was the one to kill them?"

Snape's sneer was answer enough. "Because you are a crazed madman, always have been, always will, and do not think you'll be able to swindle me to your way of thought, Black. The only thing you'll be swindling me into is personally taking you back to Azkaban." The potions master raised his wand then, gripped it tighter, and began forming the words of a curse to knock Sirius out, before a flash of red hit him instead and forced his wand out of his hand, the wooden stick clattering to the other side of the room.

"Do you have proof, Sirius?" A new voice spoke up, startling the three Gryffindors and Snape. The voice belonged to Remus Lupin, who stood at the entrance to the Shrieking Shack, calm and serene, patient as always as he walked into the room with his wand out, striding in like he'd merely caught students out of bed past curfew. "Your accusations are just that, old friend. Peter Pettigrew is dead, unless you have proof."

"I do." Sirius replied, more controlled – Snape theorised with a sneer it was because of being in the presence of an 'old friend'. "If that rat truly is Peter, then there is only one way to show it."

Remus nodded, walking further into the room until he could scoop down and pick up Snape's wand, taking a few more steps till he stood in front of a still seated Snape. The wizard stared down at Snape's furious look. "Now, Severus. I apologise for disarming you, but please withhold any spell work until we can truly ascertain whether the truth of years long past are right or not. Please?"

He hated them, the Marauders – yes, he knew their damn nickname – and he absolutely abhorred Sirius in particular. But while he hated James Potter just as bad, and looked upon Pettigrew like the Dark Lord looked upon Muggles, Remus had always been something of a neutral area. Sure, the man never stopped the abuse he'd been heaped on by Potter and Black, but he never joined in it too, nor did he treat Snape with anything less then civility. Fighting against everything inside him that told him to scream 'no!' and shoot Lily's murderer, Snape finally allowed himself a small nod of acquiescence.

Remus gave him his wand, then held his own up and shot a spell at the rat in Ron's clutch. Hermione's jaw dropped open as the rat writhed in it's place until Ron finally yelped and dropped it, only for the creature to grow larger in size, grotesquely changing shape, limbs growing longer and thicker, head morphing into the shape of a human, just like the dog had turned into Sirius Black.

Ron looked even paler as he stared wide eyed up at the man that had secretly been feigning to be his rat. The man fell to Remus feet immediately, babbling to the taller man with calls of friendships and "oh, it's been so long, Remus!". Sirius stared down with ill concealed anger, while Remus' face stayed professionally blank.

It turned out, Peter really had been the Potter's Secret Keeper, it turned out he really had betrayed them, cunningly faking his own death after screaming to witnesses that it had been Sirius to do so. The missing finger Ron had always noticed was instead the only remains found of a previously thought dead Peter, and Harry couldn't believe it, couldn't believe the idea of having known the rat since his first year in Hogwarts, since first meeting Ron and Hermione – the idea of having been in close contact with his parents killers so absolutely sickening he couldn't just believe it.

Outside, dark, rolling clouds parted away from the moon, allowing the silver light to filter through broken boards of the badly maintained Shack, through the hole in the wall that acted as a window, providing a bit more light to see the unfolding drama. But as soon as the clouds revealed the silver orb, Sirius looked sharply to Remus, to the blatant look of surprise on the professor's face, and the escaped criminal's shout was drowned out by cries of pain.

And for the third time that night, Harry and co. watched as another transformation took place, and rather then be it from animal to human, they watched transfixed as Remus moaned in pain, writhing and pulling at himself until he wasn't Remus anymore, and Snape was standing again, holding his wand, wide eyed but steady, surprising everybody, including Sirius, by grabbing said man by the arms and hauling him up and away from the creature.

Harry was completely lost as to the latest turn of events, it was a miracle Ron hadn't passed out yet, but Hermione explained it all by one word. "Boggart!" If what he was seeing and what she was telling him was right, then by Merlin, the silver orbed they'd thought to be a crystal ball was actually the moon, and professor Remus was a werewolf.

A swipe from the creature had Snape shoving Sirius towards the door, pushing Hermione and Harry to stand backwards to where Ron stood, clutching at obviously broken leg. The creature, standing on it's hind paws, reared back it's head as the moon's light continued to filter through, mocking them for forgetting about her, for forgetting about her full body and what it did to the men and women under her power.

"Get back!" Snape shouted, arm flung outwards to keep the three students behind him. The potions master cursed as the werewolf gave a low, vibrating, growl, falling onto all fours, taking a step towards them. He flicked his wand out, holding it expertly in his hand as he kept taking steps backwards, forcing the Gryffindor's further away from the creature.

Then the werewolf lunged at them, muzzle open wide, baring down on them, and all Snape saw was a curtain of black covering his vision before the Shrieking Shack's battered room once more greeted him, clearly absent of a werewolf.

Growls and snarls filled the air, distinctively coming from his left, making him blink and adjust his hold on his wand as he turned to face the origins of the noise. Circling each other, fangs bared, was the werewolf and a large, black, dog that looked very much like the one he'd just chased into the shack for. A quick glance to the children showed Hermione, jaw locked as she restlessly looked all around the room and the door that was separated by the two circling animals, probably looking for a way out, a frightened looking Weasley clutching a broken leg, and a pale Potter gripping his wand tight, visibly lost as to what to do.

Snape sneered at the boy, wondering why it wasn't obvious that the only thing to do was to get the hell out. By Merlin's beard, besides the eyes, the boy had nothing in common with Lily.

Suddenly, a yelp drew his attention, making him turn his focus back onto the two canines lunging at each other. The werewolf was obviously at an advantage, with much longer limbs and a height advantage over the glaringly malnourished Sirius. Another swipe of claws cut five straight lines into the dog's flesh, another pain filled yelp as the dog scurried back too late, hunching in on itself before bristling back into action and snapping it's giant maw at the werewolf.

But then, a gunshot rang out, solitary, lone, crackling through the air with such force both creatures stopped in their tracks. Snape and the children were frozen in their spots, and a sudden blanket of silence shocked them by descending upon them all. Footsteps was next, the crackling of something that sounded on fire, the werewolf whining before shuffling backwards, away from the wooden stick with one end on fire, held by the two muggles Dumbledore had employed for the year. Both were holding something else in another hand, something metal that Snape honestly had no clue as to it's function, but the Granger's gasp followed by Harry's eyes darting down to it told the Potions professor enough that it was a muggle contraption.

The shorter of the two muggles – Snape never had bothered to learn their names besides Winchester – did something strange with the metal contraption, something that had the Granger girl and Potter screaming "no!" - long enough for Remus, in his purely instinctual haze, to leap out of the hole in the wall that acted as a shabby window, and out into the grounds once more. Sirius jumped after the werewolf without missing a beat, and while Snape could care less if Black got himself maimed, he couldn't just sit back and relax at the potential thought of his death when Harry panicked and followed right after.

The Winchester's cursed, putting into few words everything Snape felt, but the Potions master didn't have the time to demand to know how they'd found them, or even what they thought they were doing rushing into such an obviously dangerous situation with something as barbaric as a flaming piece of wood (and that metal thing). Instead, he snapped at them to take the two remaining Gryffindors back to the relative safety of Hogwarts, and with a swish of his cloak climbed through the jagged hole and jumped out of it back onto the slightly moist earth, following the sound of snarls and howls.

A spell from his own wand blew up colourfully and loudly in the sky like a flair, and Snape was set to deal with this, safe in the knowledge backup would see the emergency spell and arrive. There damn well better be some dementors among them as well.

. . .

They'd left her. They'd left her and Ron, Ron, with his broken and bleeding leg, and just ran out there without even looking back. And Professor Snape wanted them to go back? How could he think she could just go back and sit there and do nothing? How could she think she and Ron could do that? Especially after everything they'd learnt, everything they'd seen, and it only hit her then with that thought that there was no sign of the man that had been pretending to be Scabbars – Peter Pettigrew – he was gone and he'd been the one to betray Harry's parents to Voldemort and he'd been with them all this time-

"-Hey, hey, Hermione. Breath in, come on, just take a deep breathe, calm down."

She did just that, gulped down air and kept it in her lungs before slowly letting it loose. Her thoughts were much more clear now, more focused, and she looked up to see Professor Sam's worried face looking at her, the gun tucked in his waistband like how Wizards kept their wands on their person, comfortable, easy to reach, quick to draw. Professor Dean was nowhere in site, gone, just like Professor Snape was, just like Harry, just like Sirius Black who turned out not to be a criminal but completely innocent, just like Professor Lupin.

"Hi, Hermione." Professor Sam greeted her, smiling a bit, still looking worried. "How're you feeling?"

She watched dimly as he fell to his knees next to Ron, giving a few moments for her friend to notice him before starting to look over the broken leg. "We can't just stay here," she heard herself say. "We have to go! Harry's in trouble! Professor Lupin-!"

"Don't worry," Professor Sam interrupted her, looking her in the eye before turning back to Ron. "Harry will be fine, he's got Professor Snape and Dean with him, they'll take care of him and deal with it."

Deal with it.

"No, you don't understand!" Hermione burst out, panic running quick through her veins. "That's Professor Lupin! The werewolf! It's him!"

Ron whimpered as Professor Sam touched something, making the tall man murmur an apology. "I know, Hermione." He said after making sure he wasn't adding any more pain to Ron's already broken leg. "You don't have to worry. But do you know why the dog was here? What was it doing?"

Surprised at the professor knowing of the werewolf's actual identity, Hermione answered "Sirius Black" before she could really stop to think of the consequences. Professor Sam cursed at it, looking surprised but more pissed then anything else, standing up to his full height which forced both her and Ron to crane their necks up at him.

"Okay, okay. Hermione, I need you to take Ron back to the school."

"What?" She shot back, the mere notion of the idea gripping her with disgust. "We can't just go back!"

"Harry needs our help!" Ron joined in from the floor. "And Scabbars-" A pained grimace. "That Peter guy, he's gone as well! We need to try and find him!"

Professor Sam huffed in anger – she could tell it wasn't directed at them, but she could also tell he wanted to go after his brother, and Professor Snape, and Harry, and Sirius Black who hadn't really killed Harry's parents and Professor Lupin who was out there and-

"There's a werewolf and an escaped criminal out there, Hermione, Ron." Professor Sam's voice said, piercing through her quickly spiralling thoughts. "Ron, you can barely move, your leg is broken, and Hermione, are you just going to leave Ron here? Alone? Unguarded? Harry has Professor Snape and Dean at his side, do you really think they'd let anything happen to him?"

N-No, of course she didn't. She knew Harry was much safer with the two professors then he'd be with just her and Ron, and Ron did have a broken leg, plus he'd probably lost a lot of blood, but, but-

"Don't worry, guys." The tall teacher softly continued. "We'll deal with this, all of it, and we'll find this Peter guy. I'm sure Professor Snape is planning on finding him anyway. So just. Please. Go back to the school. Hermione, take Ron to the infirmary. Please."

She looked over to Ron, watching as he looked up at her, and she didn't need to think on what he was thinking. They trusted Professor Sam, both of them did, and Hermione knew Ron could see the logic in it, just like she could. But she still felt bad, still felt wrong, leaving Harry behind, going to the inevitable safe haven of Hogwarts – but Ron looked so pale, the red hair and freckles she didn't usually notice standing stark against his face, and his leg was still oozing small pulses of blood from the bite wound, plus it was at the wrong angle. How the hell could she abandon Ron in this state to help Harry? Harry would understand – he'd get mad if she left Ron here to help him. So she looked back up to the younger Winchester (or was he Wesson? Dimly, she realised this was the man that had an criminal record longer then some of her essays) and nodded in submission.

Hermione didn't wait to see Professor Sam take off after his brother (after Professor Snape, after Harry, after Sirius, after Professor Lupin), instead turning to crouch down next to a slightly shivering Ron who solemnly stared back at her. Fervently, she found herself praying to anything that would hear for everything to be okay by the end of the day.


- TBC