A Man's Best Friend

Summary: Severus Snape mourns the death of the werewolf, Remus Lupin, in the Final Battle. Why? And how could it involve Hermione Granger?

1. Mourning

Disclaimer: Ms JK Rowling makes all the money; she owns it all.

Can't they leave me to grieve in private? Do I have to attend yet another miserable memorial service? The Golden Trio will be paraded in front of their adoring public. And me? I'll be thrown to the wolves. Ha! The wolves. That's funny, seeing as it's Lupin's memorial service.

He snorted as he recalled the last time he saw Lupin. That daft wassock.

The werewolf had fought his way across the battlefield to where Severus was protecting Potter's back as the Boy Who Had The Love duelled with Voldemort. He was closely followed by his rainbow-hued wife. Taking up a stance elbow-to-elbow with Snape, Lupin had turned slightly towards him and yelled to be heard above the roar of the battle.

"Thought you were dead, mate."

"Not yet."

"Good. I would have missed you."

With that, Lupin had hugged Snape fiercely. As he had grasped Snape, a Death Eater's curse had hit him in the back. His mouth and his tawny eyes had flown open wide in surprise.

"Remus!"

Severus had caught him as his body went limp. Gazing deeply into the gentle depths of his eyes, with a quiet Legilimens Severus had captured the dying man's last thoughts.

"Tell her... love... 'bye..." Lupin gasped.

With a soft sigh, he was gone. Tonks had shoved Snape aside and had crouched over her husband's crumpled body, crying into his shaggy hair.

Not your best defensive stance, Auror Nymphadora.

Oblivious to the battle in her moment of loss, Tonks had succumbed to an Avada Kedavra from Bellatrix, despite Severus's attempts to shield her.

Hot, angry tears pricked Severus's eyes as he remembered. He tried to lift a hand to dash them away. Magical bonds immediately tightened around his wrists. His head dropped forward in frustration. Gripping his knees, he stared at his whitened knuckles. Silent teardrops trickled down his cheeks and dripped from his chin onto the back of his hand.

When the service finished, everyone stood and shuffled out of the hall, passing Severus, who sat at the back of the room flanked by an Azkaban guard and an Auror. He watched the crowd from the corner of his eye. Many stared at him with blatant loathing while others averted their eyes as they passed. Last to leave were the Golden Trio, walking arm-in-arm, deep in a murmured conversation. They glanced at him, and Harry gave him a small nod of acknowledgement.

It was over.

Severus slumped further forwards. Quiet sobs wracked his frame. A trail of mucus elongated from his nose towards his clenched fists.

"Here."

A grubby handkerchief was pressed into his hand.

"Perfect," he snarled. Lifting his head sharply, he glowered at his benefactor.

"You ungrateful—"

"With these manacles on, I cannot reach my own nose to blow it."

She snatched the scrap of linen back from him. Quickly and efficiently, she wiped his eyes and nose before shoving the hanky back into his hand.

"Keep it."

"Spare me your charity, Miss Granger."

"I've had enough use from that hanky. I cried myself dry. You keep it."

"Such a charming gift for your beloved professor," he said, curling his lip as he glared at the tear and snot soaked rag in the palm of his hand. He lifted his shaven head and, with as much dignity as he could muster, looked directly at his former pupil, as if waiting for an answer.

"Consider it a thank you present," she muttered. "I'll be speaking in your defence at your trial, Professor."

"I can hardly wait."

He held her eyes for a moment longer before directing his gaze beyond her.

Ducking her head, she turned on her heel, dismissed.

How did it come to this? he wondered as he clutched the dirty scrap in his clenched fist, absent-mindedly thumbing the embroidered monogram on its corner.

A/N: I was given a challenge. Remus is dead and Severus is mourning. Why? Anything prior to Remus's death has to be canon. Hermione should be in there as well. How hard can that be? Here we go...