221.

As soon as the guard realized that Remus was awake, a meal was brought, then Snape came. Snape strode arrogantly into the cell and placed a pensieve onto the desk, sneering, he said, "Enjoy Remus Lupin, your performance was incredible."

Although he had no memory of what he had done in the past twenty odd days, from past experience, Remus already had some idea, still Snape's words were a heavy blow that caused him to shudder, did that smug tone indicate that the devastation he had created had been even greater than Remus had imagined?! Starring apprehensively at the pensieve, Remus hesitated over whether or not to look, on the one hand, he did not want to witness scenes of himself killing fellow Order members, on the other hand, he did want to know what he had done, perhaps things weren't as bad as Snape is implying?

After steadying himself, he decided to look. He put his head into the pensieve, when he pulled his head out, his face had lost all color and was alternately grey and green. His throat worked a couple of times before with a cry, he threw up, not only did he throw up everything he had just eaten, he threw up whatever food was left in his stomach before that, after which he continued to throw up bile. Finally, there was nothing left to come up, but he was still retching as he leaned against the wall, almost wishing that he could throw up his internal organs along with the food. Staggering over to the corner of the cell, he curled up into a ball on the floor, holding tightly to himself, trying to curl into a tiny inconspicuous dot. His head was buried deep into his arms and strangled, hoarse sobs reverberated throughout the cell.

He had killed so many people, so very many!

Wizard or muggle, man or woman, child or elderly, as long as they were not Death Eaters, he had attacked them with all his might, he could not even count how many had died under his razor-sharp fangs and claws. Some powerful wizards were able to escape with their lives but they would never be the same, he had turned them with his teeth and claws. And so he could not bear to finish watching the memories in the pensieve, as soon as he had seen himself tearing out the throat of a muggle baby and drinking its blood, he could handle no more and staggered away from the pensieve.

The instincts of a beast could be so very incredible, and upon the return of sanity, it became devastating. The thought of those lives lost under his hands and of those who had been turned by him chilled him completely. What he had been terrified of his whole life was that his inner beast might be the cause of death and devastation in others, he had once been a victim of such a beast and had experienced the agony, but now...

He roared in anguish and pain as he pulled madly at his hair, tears streaking down his face. He was gentle and kind in nature, he was a good man, so why was he being punished like this? He had not asked to be turned, he had not wanted to become a killer or to turn others, he never wanted that!

The skies darkened and darkness covered the cell. Remus was still frozen in the corner, his tears having long since dried, he sat there quietly, quietly staring at nothing, shadowed eyes almost dead.

Perhaps it would have been better if he had gone mad, but he was far too sane and aware.

There were only a few days until the next full moon, if the Wolfsbane potion was withheld from him again. He will again be used as a weapon in battle by the Death Eaters, he will become their best assassin. At this thought, he began to retch again, but there was nothing left to come up, not even water. But, he was not capable of betraying his friends. James, Sirius and Peter were the only wizards who were still willing to be his friends after learning that he was a werewolf, that alone was a gift that transcended friendship, he could not betray his friends because of his own issues. But would he have the courage to face the aftermath of another full moon? To face those he had killed and turned? Was what he was doing truly right?

Friendship and morality, he could not choose between them, nor did he have time to make a choice, the final deadline for receiving the Wolfsbane potion this month was approaching.

222.

High up on his golden throne, Voldemort observed Remus, two nights ago, when Remus had returned to human form, he had gone to observe him, after confirming that none of his own followers had been injured he had ordered Remus to be returned to his cell, after just one day Remus had become so haggard as to be almost unrecognizable. The brown hair was beginning to show signs of silver, amber eyes were bloodshot and empty, almost like those of someone who had been kissed by a dementor. It seems that Remus had been hard hit by his actions while transformed. Voldemort was very happy with the result, it was time to turn the screws, Remus would soon buckle under the pressure.

After clearing his throat, he started, "Lupin, do you now understand the results of defying me?"

Remus lifted his head to stare at the ceiling as though he had not heard a word that Voldemort had said.

"How do you feel after seeing so many dead at your hands, so many turned into werewolves because of you?"

Remus' glazed eyes twitched before once again becoming lifeless and unmoving.

"Ah, I was wrong, you should be overjoyed." Voldemort seemed to be quite pleased, "At the time you were reveling in the carnage and death, the screams and the blood, so much so that my followers were completely unable to rein you in. Do you want to know how many people you killed? How many you turned?" He said with a smile, blood red eyes boring into Remus, after a moment he answered his own question with a chilling smile he kept to himself, "In these twenty-one days you killed thirty wizards, wounded twelve others- well, this isn't really too great a number, but you had better results on the muggle side, would you like to hear them?" He smugly watched Remus' face becoming paler and paler as his crossed legs swung nonchalantly.

But Remus remained resolutely silent, not even looking at Voldemort.

"Well, let me see." Grabbing a sheet of parchment, Voldement devoted all his attention to reading it, "Killed fifty women, forty-two muggles aged sixty and over, twenty-one infants. These are fairly good numbers don't you think?"

Remus shuddered violently as he clenched his fists tightly, driving his nails into his own palms- he cannot give in, if he had to choose between strangers and James and Lily, he would choose the latter.

Voldemort sneered, so, Remus Lupin, still not willing to give in? "It seems I was wrong about you Lupin, you still wish to go on a mindless rampage this month." He shook his head, "How wrong I was, I thought you were a kind, gentle, peace-loving, moral and steadfast wizard, but now, for your friends, you are going to give up the career that you worked so hard for and turn your fangs and claws on the muggles, slaughtering them without mercy. They didn't have to die, they could have gone on with their lives you know, I had not thought to cause the muggles any more trouble, but you have brought death to them, just because you need to protect your friends' little secret. In truth, it's not like I'm going to kill James and Lily Potter, nor will I try to kill Daniel Potter, I just want to get my hands on him, but you won't have it, you would rather kill those innocent muggles instead to ensure that your friend can have his happy little family- you are being selfish and cold Lupin. I never thought that you could be so cold-hearted... are you really a Gryffindor? You hear the terrible screams and see those people being torn apart by you, see the tears in the eyes of the families of those you killed, yet you are still completely unmoved, just keeping your friend's secret, I must say Lupin, you are more dark than any Slytherin."

Remus' hands had started to bleed from his nails digging into his palms but he still remained silent. Yes, he was being very cold and cruel, but he was doing this for the future peace and stability of both the magical and muggle worlds. As long as little Daniel can grow up safely under the protection of the Order of the Phoenix, he will one day be able to defeat Voldemort and save both worlds. The current sacrifice was necessary, unavoidable, as soon as... as soon as... little Daniel grew up... he would take his own life in repentance.

Lucius was puzzled, "Master, why are you going so easy on Lupin? I feel that we can use slightly more extreme methods..."

Voldemort waved him off, "No matter. He may stay silent if he wishes, if he wants to be defiant let him be defiant, I would like to see how long he can keep it up." His eyes glimmered with a steely light.

223.

On his return to Voldemort Manor, Voldemort was immediately pulled inside by Harry, "How was it, did Remus say anything?" He asked impatiently.

Voldemort shook his head softly as he replied somewhat helplessly, "Although he appears quite weak usually, Lupin is rather stubborn. No matter how I push him, he just won't talk."

Harry sighed soundlessly, he of all people understood Remus, despite his meek and gentle appearance, he was in truth very determined, although Harry had not expected Remus to still be able to resolutely keep his promise to James and Lily under such potent and vicious stimuli. "Is there any other way to make him tell us as soon as possible?"

"Yes." Voldemort nodded solemnly, "but you would never agree to it." Harry would agree to fabricating some memories, but anything even slightly substantial and he was bound to get mad.

After a moment of silence, Harry walked slowly over to the window, the refreshing evening breeze caressing his face. The night sky was filled with winking stars that were reflected in the emerald depths of the pond outside the window. "I don't know how, but I feel that there is something wrong with the child. It would be best if we can get Remus to talk before something happens and the matter is taken out of our hands." After his awakening, Harry had been plagued by a strong sense of uneasiness. Not for himself but for the child at Lily's side. By rights the child should be in a very safe place, under the protection of the Order, but still he was uneasy, as though something had befallen the child, something bad. He doesn't know what this something was but he trusted his own instincts that were honed from over nine years of living in life and death situations, not to boast or anything but not even Voldemort had as good instinct as Harry.

If only Harry would harden his heart I could get this done, Voldemort thought. Still he answered in the affirmative, "Alright, I will have Lupin talking by next month."

Awakening after another full moon, Remus gagged at the mere scent of food, he felt as though his mouth was filled with the taste of blood and raw flesh and the rust like scent made his stomach turn. Slowly curling himself into a ball, he told himself. "Everything I'm doing is for a better, peaceful future, I am doing this for a reason, I will take my own life to pay for my crimes as soon as the war is over so I must stand fast!" Everything in front of his eyes seemed hazy and indistinct, with his actions, what was to separate him from the Death Eaters? No matter how much he told himself that he was being forced to kill others, no matter how just he insisted his actions were, those were still living people that had lost their lives at his hands... even children, innocent, pure babies, what had they done that they had to die by his hand? Being forced- could he truly stand guilt-free with such an excuse?

He curled his body tighter as his eyes misted even more, was he really so cowardly as to try to convince himself of this?

No matter how unwilling he was, he was again brought before Voldemort, at the sight of the malicious man sitting on the throne, his heart clenched as the rusty scent seemed to float into his nose, making him want to be sick.

When Voldemort's wand was pointed at Remus, memories flowed past his mind and his face changed rapidly, first flushing red, then turning green, then purple and even black before paling completely. Finally he couldn't stop himself from falling to the ground to throw up until he was vomiting bile.

"Your performance was very good this time Lupin, you are always surprising me." Voldemort's smile was evil, "Your results were impressive so how should I reward you? Not only were your mission results very good, the achievements of the werewolves you created were also impressive. I believe that at this rate, maybe you alone will be able to completely destroy the Order of the Phoenix." He chuckled as he watched Remus shudder uncontrollably. Stepping down from his throne, he slowly approached Remus and bent down to whisper in his ear, "Perhaps, on the next full moon, I will arrange for you to meet Sirius Black."

Remus jerked his head up, appalled, "No! You can't do that!"

Voldemort took a small step back as he responded coldly, "And why not? Even though Sirius Black is a member of the Black family, he is a worthless blood traitor, the Blacks have disowned him and he is not one of mine, who would dare say a word if I were to throw him to you at the next full moon?"

Remus dropped his head despairingly, knowing that Voldemort's words were true, he really could have him kill his best friend.

224.

"Of course, you do have a choice." Voldemort smiled with some pity, although to Remus it only looked heartless and cold. "All you have to do is tell me where James and Lily Potter live and I will give you the Wolfsbane potion and not send you to the battlefield, of course, nor will I have you kill your good friend Sirius Black." He paused as he glanced at Remus, pleased to see the man's body twitch slightly as he began to look conflicted. "Nor will I hurt the Potters, I only want the child."

After another few minutes of silence and observing Remus' everchanging expression, Voldemort knew that using Sirius Black as a threat and the promise of future peace was having an effect. "Take some time to consider it, are you going to hold on to the bitter end and kill your good friend, or will you tell me the secret, let me have the child and let yourself have some peace as well." He raised his voice to call to his followers outside the doors, "Come, take Mr. Remus Lupin back to the dungeon, take good care of him."

After his followers took Remus away, Voldemort returned to his throne with a smile, savouring Remus' pained expression as he involuntarily clenched his fists, you cannot escape now Lupin.

The fear of having to kill his friend with his own hands was the final straw that broke the camel's back, Remus' resolve was completely destroyed and before the third full moon, he had told Voldemort James and Lily's address- at Godric's Hollow. After revealing the secret he collapsed to the ground as though he had aged a decade or more in a moment.

Satisfied, Voldemort began to seriously consider what to do with Lupin, it would not be appropriate to return him to the dungeons, but if he were to be remanded to a follower then he would have to pick a reliable, loyal one... he called for one of his Death Eaters, "Take Lupin to Mr. Snape, tell him it is my wish that he take good care of Mr. Lupin. Also, I have decided to give Mr. Snape five days of leave, then-" He whispered several more instructions to his follower, after a slightly shocked pause, the follower glanced at Remus somewhat disbelievingly, "Just inform him of my instructions, if Severus wishes to defy me then let him try." At this Voldemort's expression grew somewhat vicious.

The Death Eater bowed and levitated Remus away, still glancing at him with some disbelief. It was hard to believe that Mr. Snape was actually interested in someone like this...

When the hall was finally empty, Voldemort gave a long sigh as he fell back into his throne, finally relaxed. Finally, finally, he had pried open Lupin's mouth and gotten the required information. That child could not be left in the hands of the Order, it was bad enough when the Order only had Dumbledore, with a Saviour as well, the threats to his plans of dominination would increase tremendously. Although he was fairly sure that even if he got hold of the child, there might be something wrong with the babe (Dumbledore was bound to have done something) but still he needed to have the child before he could take steps to fix whatever was done- everything had gone back to the starting point. Of course, it would not be easy to get his hands on the child, with Black having been captured for so long, Dumbledore would already know that his sights were set on Daniel Potter and Godric's Hollow would be guarded most securely and he may lose many wizards on this mission... perhaps the suggestion made by those little muggles several days ago may come in handy.

At this thought he chuckled, what expression would appear on the faces of the Order members and especially on Dumbledore's long face when they discover that Voldemort had used muggle weapons to harm them, weapons made by the so-called (as least to the Order) harmless and defenceless muggles.

"Come in my faithful. We have a large offensive to plan." Voldemort called to his followers outside the doors, including several newly recruited muggles.

Muggles, the group thought to be weak and useless by the magical world, at Voldemort's inspirational words, after seeing a demonstration of Voldemort's overwhelming power and under Voldemort's promises of a bright future, this group had stepped into the conflict of the magical world with no regret, with the hopes that they, who were thought to be weak, could show their true strength and carve out a place for themselves in the Death Eaters' world and in the future.

225.

That night, Voldemort couldn't wait to tell Harry the good news about Remus, contentedly holding his lover in his arms while he described how he was going to raise little Daniel into the leader of the next generation of wizards. The power of standing above the entire world and holding the power of life and death over everyone was intoxicating, this was why he had risked everything in this war, so that he could enjoy this power for eternity, but sometimes even he found all the work that had to be done tedious, as he sat on his throne, alone, doing all that needed to be done, he would feel inexplicably lonely, not even the power of sitting on his throne could compare to spending time with Harry when even the air seemed to be filled with the scent of peace and happiness. Perhaps he was really getting old, the feel of conquering everything and sweeping all dissent aside used to make his blood rush and his heart pound but now it didn't seem to have as much of an effect on him, now his heart was filled more and more with thoughts of where he would travel with Harry on vacations, what sights they would see and what foods they would sample. Every time he thought of what Harry's expression would be when he saw the beautiful sights he couldn't help but smile. "I believe this child will be a worthy heir, I have confidence in my education methods and goals."

On this Harry had no doubts, he only had some slight reservation on certain details. As a teacher, Voldemort was doubtless outstanding, his vast knowledge and humourous, simplistic narrative was easily able to capture students' hearts, but also without doubt was the fact that Voldemort still had some biases- even though he was working hard to correct this. However, Harry felt that he was just trying too hard to find fault, after all, it wasn't like it would just be Voldemort educating the child once he was brought here. He himself would also be getting involved and he could correct any prejudice that Voldemort may inadvertently pass on to little Daniel while avoiding any character maladjustment that might be created if their followers fawned over little Daniel too much. However, "Why are you looking to take on the raising of little Daniel so soon? After all, you have a lot of time ahead of you." He looked over Voldemort somewhat suspiciously, trying to find some clue.

Voldemort embraced him and rested his chin on Harry's shoulder, "Harry, I remember..."

"What do you remember?"

"I remember that I said I would travel the world with you. Together we will listen to sirens sing, visit the elven forest to pick elven fruit, go and see the snow on Mount Kilimanjaro, climb Mount Everest, watch the sun rise over the sea and set over the Gobi Desert." His eyes were filled with anticipation, "There are so many things we will be doing together, if we don't have a suitable heir, all our plans will be for naught."

Harry was completely still as he listened, Voldemort's words were like a warm stream flowing in through his ears and travelling all over his body and heating it slowly. Yes, there were so many things the two of them could do together, it would be too sad to keep Voldemort trapped behind his desk, weighed down with paperwork. Putting his arms around the man's neck, he softly kissed Voldemort's cheek, "You're right, you do need a worthy heir." He answered with a soft chuckle.

This kiss led to serious consequences, or at least Harry thought so as the next time he was able to recall that he had something he needed to ask Voldemort, it was already the next morning, as he mutely watched Voldemort get out of bed and get dressed.

"Oh, now I remember. Voldy!" He called out as he grabbed hold of Voldemort's robe. The Muggle Liaison Office could be said to be the most quiet department in the Ministry of Magic and Harry usually got out of bed much later than Voldemort.

"What is it my treasure?" Voldemort lowered his head to give Harry's cheek a smiling peck.

"Remus, what happened with Remus? Where is he now, is he still in the dungeons?" Harry hurriedly asked. He had not objected to Voldemort throwing Remus in the dungeons previously mainly because Remus had information that was vital to Voldemort at the time, now that Remus no longer had any use, he would not permit his lover to keep his respected pseudo-parent in the dungeons.

"Oh, him..." Voldemort smiled wickedly, "You'll know in five days."

226.

After his recovery, Harry had begun to eat with Snape more often, but on this occasion Harry was shocked upon seeing Snape, "Sev, why do you look like a lemon that has had all its juice squeezed out?" The Snape that was sitting opposite Harry had two huge black circle under his eyes and his cheeks were sunken, overall he looked haggard, his robe's high collar was buttoned tight and covered his neck completely. Harry wondered at this, although it was now November it was still not so cold that one had be covered up so tightly right? Nor was this fashionable nor in accordance with Slytherin aesthetics. So, "Sev, are you ill?" Harry asked worriedly as he pulled out his wand in preparation, ready to cast diagnostic charms on Snape.

Snape hurriedly pushed away Harry's wand as he replied in a low voice, "N...no."

Harry blinked, when had Snape ever spoken in such soft and somewhat hesitant tones? There had to be a problem, seeing him like this Harry was sure that he had to be ill. So he pulled his wand away from Snape's hand and insisted, "Don't, I can tell by how you look that you must be ill. It's alright, did you forget that I used to be a very proficient healer, I will definitely be able to heal whatever ailment you have, great or small..."

Snape again grabbed his wand but was somewhat weak in tone as he replied "Harry, really, I'm not ill, please put your wand away. I am truly not unwell."

Harry cocked his head as he blinked at Snape's more forceful words, putting away his wand, he lowered his voice, even though there was no one else around, "What is it? What happened these past five days?"

After seven or eight deep breaths, Snape had finally suppressed the bittersweet feelings as he replied, "You know of course that Remus revealed the secret."

"Hm." Harry nodded heavily.

"Do you know where Remus went after that?" Snape then asked.

Harry replied gloomily, "No, Voldy wouldn't tell me. Do you know?" No matter what he did, Voldy kept his mouth shut tight as a clam and when he asked the other Death Eaters, he found that no one else knew.

"Of course I know." Snape's eyes narrowed slightly with some indecipherable emotion, "He... he's at my house."

Harry's jaw dropped and he was speechless. "Voldy... Voldy had someone take Remus to your house?" He looked over Snape then smirked, "Well, it looks like he wasn't just taken to your house." Well, well, with how exhausted Snape looks, he has probably been very busy these past five days.

"Hm... there were..." Snape glanced away, "there were two potions as well, recreational ones."

"Then should I be congratulating you?" Harry teased good-naturedly, "Congratulations on getting your heart's desire and having Remus."

Snape immediately grew despondent, "Getting? At the time he had no idea what he was doing, when he woke up this morning-" he paused and shook his head, "He hates me Harry."

Harry was silent. Things always seemed to careen out of control so much that Snape had no way to adjust. Voldemort meant well, but what was Snape, who had been set on silently protect Remus from afar, to do now?

"Well, why don't you just tell him everything." Harry said, this was the only solution he could think of.

"I don't know. I don't know what would be the best thing for him." Snape replied, "Perhaps it would be better to let him continue to hate me..."

"But would that not affect the image of the halfblood prince in his mind?" Harry responded, "What happened between you and he could not be kept from the halfblood prince forever, what do you think Remus would think if the halfblood prince had no reaction when he learns what happened."

Snape had no response to that. Harry was of course right, the Death Eater who had brought Remus had said that this matter would only be kept secret for five days. He had told Harry himself but others could learn of this through other channels. If the halfblood prince truly had no reaction it would not be plausible, however...

"It doesn't matter, maybe I will take this chance to convince Remus that the halfblood prince has died."

227.

On hearing Snape's words Harry was shocked still, then he grew enraged, "Don't be ridiculous! This time you will not have your stubborn way, you must at least listen to others' opinion!" When Snape had concealed things from Remus in the past Harry had not interfered, after all at that point the two had no obvious relationship, all anyone knew was that they loathed each other, under that condition, Snape's secrets, although somewhat masochistic, were not hurtful to anyone else and although Harry couldn't really understand why Snape's nature would lead to such a Snape-like solution, he had no real justification to interfere. All he could do was tell himself that the only one Snape was hurting was himself and no one else had the right to change that. But now, things had changed, Snape and Remus had become intimate and this was about to be known by everyone, if Snape went about things in his usual fashion, such as casting an Obliviate or telling Remus that the halfblood prince was dead, then the one hurt would not just be Snape, it would also be Remus Lupin.

"In the past, you only tortured yourself but hurt no one else and I had no right to try to convince you otherwise, but now things have changed, have you thought about what this could do to Remus? You know better than I how much he loves the halfblood prince, now that he has already betrayed his friends, the halfblood prince might be the only person he can rely on, if you make him think the prince is dead... what do you think he will do?"

Snape went pale and shuddered as he shut his eyes, unable to say a word.

"Nothing to say? Well I'll say it for you! He'll die, because he won't have any reason to live anymore! Even if you can save him once, or twice or three times, can you be there in time to save him every time? All he needs is one successful try to leave this world! Also, even if you can keep him alive, if his heart is dead he wouldn't really be living anymore and then he might as well be dead." Seeing that Snape was about to open his mouth to reply, Harry raised his hand to stop him, "I know what you want to say, you want to say that if our side wins, you will reveal yourself to him as the halfblood prince, right? But like I just said, he may not last until that time, what good would your telling him do then? Also, if you tell him the prince is dead now and then tell him you are the prince- how much do you think he will believe you?" He peered at Snape narrowly, "Tell me, do you think he will believe you?"

Snape was silent.

Harry scoffed, "If it were me I wouldn't believe you. I might even think that it was you who had killed the halfblood prince." He glared at his good friend. "If it were up to me, I say use this opportunity to tell Remus everything, no matter how he reacts, at least the prince's feelings for him should convince him to let go of the idea of dying, as long as he stays alive everything else can be worked around, right?"

After opening and closing his mouth several times, Snape finally replied in an almost silent voice, "If we end up losing the war..."

Harry frowned as he interrupted Snape harshly, "We won't lose, victory will belong to us!"

His insistent attitude caused Snape to freeze for quite a while, so, he was finally giving up his neutral stance? Truly no one can watch their loved one lose with equanimity.

"... alright, I admit you make sense. I will return to Remus and tell him the truth. No matter how hard it is, I will get him to accept me." Snape raised his goblet, "Cheers."

"Cheers." Harry raised his goblet in return, "Oh, right, you'll also have to tell Remus that the memories he had seen of the last two months were fake. Voldy seems to have forgotten to tell him." Harry said guiltily, no one would believe that Voldemort had forgotten. Voldemort must have been quite angry that Remus had taken two months to reveal the secret and so had deliberately concealed this fact so that Remus would suffer.

Forgotten? Snape looked at Harry wordlessly.

228.

Under the faint yellow glow of the lamp, Harry was sprawled lazily over Voldemort's chest, sweat-soaked black hair plastered over his forehead, cat-green eyes misted and bright red lips moist and glowing. His slender fingers grasped Voldemort's left hand, playing with the man's fingers as he complained, "Voldy, why did you send Remus to Sev's house? You know that this would create problems for Sev- you should have kept Remus and not given him to Sev until after the war." What's done was done, all he could do was express his discontent and vent a little. He didn't know how things would develop between Remus and Snape so all he could do was vent a little temper at Voldemort.

Voldemort's right hand carded through Harry's sweat-damp hair as he smiled at hearing Harry's words, "I did this for Severus, think, up to now Severus has secretly love that were... loved Remus Lupin for more than ten years and he intended to keep going- Harry, as a friend, can you stand that he is torturing himself that way? Even I don't know how much longer this war will go on, it might even take several more years, should I have kept Lupin at our headquarters for years just so that Severus could silently watch him? In the past, we had no chance and no opportunity, now we have both, would it not be too wasteful to keep waiting like that?"

"Even so, how was Sev to explain things to Remus? If you hadn't taken things into your own hands, it might have been easier to explain."

"If I hadn't done what I did, there would be nothing to explain." Was Voldemort's reply.

"But..."

"There are no buts, this is Severus' problem, let him take care of it, as for you, you need only solve my problem." As he spoke Voldemort rolled until he had pinned Harry beneath his body and sealed his lips over his lover's still moving lips.

"The love of a Slytherin is to take what you want, no matter what measures you use. Only the victor has the right to enjoy love."

Snape sat on an armchair next to the bed, silently watching the sleeping Remus, his sallow face drawn. When he left to meet with Harry, he had put Remus to sleep with a strong sleeping draught, he should be waking soon but Snape had not yet decided how to go about telling the truth. Just saying "Hi, I'm the halfblood prince" or "Hi, I love you"?

How idiotic.

He was starting to regret letting Harry convince him, it was not easy to come clean over everything under such awkward circumstances, who knows whether Remus would think that he was just impersonating the halfblood prince. He was Severus Snape, to the Marauders, he was the "greasy, big nosed Snivellus".

Mayby Remus would believe him, at least he had once believed, and even accepted- at that time he was not yet a Death Eater and had no blood on his hands. Now, he was a high level Death Eater and had killed countless people. Perhaps Remus could understand the circumstances of his enemies perhaps not- although, why should he explain? Slytherins never deign to explain anything!

He dropped his face into his palms in frustration, oh Master, why are you playing such a trick on your loyal follower? He knows that his actions in handling his love affair were not very Slytherin, but did his master have to play him like this? What if this had affected his resolve to the cause or his confidence, would that truly be alright? For the first time in his life, Snape indulged in some maligning of his respected and lofty master.

After some more internal grumbling, Snape lifted his head to check on Remus' condition but instead looked straight into his hate-filled yes. He paused for several seconds before opening his mouth, "Now that you are awake, eat something, then I have some things to tell you."

But in the end Snape was not able to tell Remus anything, three newly rising Death Eater muggles had come to sincerely ask for help, their attitudes were diffident and the matter quite urgent, so there was no way he could push this matter off. Even though he was no expert at muggle weaponry, he couldn't resist taking part in researching the ways to combine it with magic, and so, he went out for several says and when he returned, it was the day of the full moon.

229.

Under the effects of the full moon, Remus had transformed into a wolf, as he had taken the Wolfsbane potion on time, he was silently curled up and asleep by the crackling fire, but even in sleep his brows were drawn together in sorrow and desolation.

When Snape entered Remus' room, that was the sight that greeted him.

He seemed to have returned to that same full moon night five years ago, when he had carefully traversed the tunnels to make his way into the gloomy Shrieking Shack, like now, Remus was curled up in the corner asleep, still sorrowful and restless. That was the only time they had spent together peacefully in ten years, even though Snape had just silently watched the deeply asleep Remus in his wolf form, he had felt happy and content. He had thought that that time would be the only chance he would have to be so close to the one he loved, as though he could just reach out and touch him, he never thought that five years later he would have another chance to be within touching distance, and this time, he could get closer, and closer.

He sat beside Remus, hesitated, but finally reached out to rest a shaking hand on Remus' body. At the touch Remus' pointed ears twitched startling Snape into withdrawing his hand lightning fast and moving almost a meter away, after staring alertly for more than ten seconds, he could no longer curb his desire and again moved to Remus' side, reaching out his hand hesitantly, once again gently resting his hand on Remus' body. This time there was no reaction, he continued to sleep deeply, his back rising and falling with his slow, even breaths.

Snape's fingers lingered over the scars, exploring and soothing each as his heart was pained and bled over each old wound. A kind wizard who was unwilling to harm others, he had put all the wounds on his own body, no matter how many wounds he sustained. Werewolves willing to do this were not few in number, in truth only a small percentage of rather twisted werewolves would try to take out their own suffering on others, but only this werewolf could fill his heart with tenderness. If he could turn back time, he wished that he could have known Remus sooner so that he could have stayed by his side during the full moon, even if he would have been turned.

Snape's fingers lingered between Remus' brow and even deep in slumber, his frown remained, he tenderly rubbed the frowning brows, hoping to smooth them, very childish and silly but that was what he wanted to do.

After who knows how long, he had finally smoothed the deep folds on Remus' forehead and he seemed to be sleeping better. It was then that Snape found that Remus had uncurled his body and rested his head on Snape's thighs at some point, his two front paws resting on Snape's calves. His wholly trusting pose turned Snape's heart into a puddle of warm goo.

If only this moment could last forever.

Remus was dreaming, it was a dream that he often had, but that he never remembered upon waking. On the full moon nights that frightened him, there was always someone who silently accompanied him throughout the night, he sat silently in the other corner and stared at him unblinkingly. Remus could never make out that person's face, perhaps it was because it was a dream or perhaps it was because the Shrieking Shack was so dark, but those dark eyes, which were filled with his own form, and that scent of potions miraculously soothed his tightly strung heart and soul, it allowed him to feel a peace that he had not felt since he was attacked as a child. He had thought that it was just a dream, a dream that he had made up to fool himself, but the scent of potions that still lingered in the Shack upon waking told him that it was no dream, someone had risked their own life and safety to keep him company.

He had never told anyone about this, keeping this secret deep inside his heart. He believed this person to be the halfblood prince, he had no proof, it was just a feeling, his instincts told him that if anyone in the world would be will to do this for him, it would be the halfblood prince.

230.

But tonight's dream was different, in the past, the one who was with him always sat in the opposite corner and Remus could never see his face, but this time he could almost make it out as the person had come to his side. The wizard sat down and his well-shaped fingers gently caressed his body, suddenly, he felt restless, his body was covered with scars and ugly, the wizard would not find him pleasing, he wanted to escape, he didn't want to see the loathing in the wizard's eyes, but he could not move. All he could do was watch as the wizard stared at his broken, patchwork body, those strong fingers moving over every scar, he dared not look into the wizard's eyes for fear of seeing loathing and disdain in them but he could not bear to move away from the warmth of those fingers, the warmth that was seeping into his frozen body and icy heart. The wizard's fingers stopped at his forehead, rubbing gently yet insistently, slowly smoothing his deeply clenched brow. He kept his eyes closed as his body trembled, not daring to look but feeling those warm hands holding him and not letting go. He slowly relaxed his body, greedily languishing in the warmth the wizard provided but still not opening his eyes. This is a dream , just a dream, when he opens his eyes, all the wonder will disappear in the morning sunlight.

After an unknown length of time, a warm robe was wrapped around Remus and he realized that the man was leaving! Finally Remus could not hold back, whether or not it was a dream, at least let him know who this man was! And so he opened his eyes and finally saw the man's face, black mid-length hair floated at the sides of the face, framing the sallow face like curtains, high black brows gave the impression of a sneer and thin lips were pressed together, giving the face stern lines, a hooked nose made the lines of the face even more pronounced. This was a cold and distant face, apart from the eyes, those eyes that should have been cold and haughty were instead like a seemingly calm and peaceful ocean that held incredible currents beneath the surface, those eyes caused Remus' heart to thunder.

It was Snape. Severus Snape. Someone Remus would not have ever thought of.

In the past ten years they had never stopped being at odds with each other, each time they met it was filled with tension and insults that could lead to conflict with a single word or phrase. Although it could not be denied that Snape had once saved his life it had changed nothing, they had still been enemies who had never even given each other a civil look. The strange thing was that the dream Remus did not even feel the slightest bit of surprise or shock at the revelation of this answer, he completely and utterly accepted the fact that Snape was the one who had stayed by his side, nor did he think there was anything wrong with the inference that Snape was thus the halfblood prince- it was as though that was just the way things should be, that this answer was the correct answer. This first instance of clearly remembering his dream was slightly upsetting for Remus.

This was Snape! Severus Snape! Inside his mind he spoke this name syllable by syllable for emphasis: a contemptible, arrogant Slytherin; a gloomy Death Eater always deeply buried in the study of dark magic; someone who always insulted him and considered him an enemy; someone who had taken physical advantage of him while he had been helpless; a sod that- loved him? Was willing to risk mortal danger to keep him company in his wolf form? Someone who invented the wolfsbane potion for him and who continued to supply the potion to him during the war at the risk of Voldemort's displeasure, the halfblood prince? Oh Merlin, there was no more laughable thing than this!

Laughable! Preposterous! Impossible!

With a contemptuous look at his dream self who was obviously delusional, Remus opened his eyes. The morning sunlight was kept outside by the thick, black, gold-trimmed velvet curtains, making the spacious room slightly shadowed. He saw a man lying beside him, mid-length black hair, large hooked nose, thin lips, Severus Snape.

When had he come in? Remus was filled with shock as he sat up and found that a large and luxurious robe that was obviously not his was covering his upper body. He stilled as the dream flashed through his mind, for a moment he could not distinguish between dream and reality. Could his dream have been real? Was that person in the Shrieking Shack five years ago Snape? Further, was Snape the halfblood prince?

Could it be possible?

It was... only a dream right, this was Severus Snape!