Author's Note: Thanks for the feedback about Snape knowing about Lupin's werewolfness...I had COMPLETELY forgotten about that. I have fixed that part of the story!
Chapter 12 - Apprehensive
Hermione stared at Harry worriedly as they made their way to Professor McGonagall's office with her. She couldn't believe that creature had been allowed onto the train. She did feel lucky, however, that Professor Lupin had been there to help scare the thing away.
When they walked into Professor McGonagall's office she was almost as surprised as her teacher was to see Professor Snape waiting for them. It looked as though he had been pacing, but had stopped short when they came into the room. He immediately rushed over to Harry and grabbed him by the shoulder.
"Are you all right, Potter?" he asked hurriedly.
Harry nodded glumly. "Does the whole castle know already?"
Prefessor McGonagall spoke up, "Professor Lupin sent an owl ahead of the train's arrival."
"Lupin," Professor Snape scoffed.
"Severus-," McGonagall began before she was interrupted by a knock on the door. "Come in," she cried.
Madame Pomfrey walked into the room and stopped short when she realized who her patient was, "Oh of course it had to be you." She said with a cluck of her tongue. "What kind of dangerousness have you found this time."
"It was a dementor, Poppy," Snape said quietly.
"Oh dear. I suppose he won't be the last student to collapse as long as those horrible things are allowed to remain at the school," Pomfrey said disapprovingly.
Professor Snape put a hand on Harry's shoulder and said, "Go with Madam Pomfrey to the hospital wing. You should probably rest there for the night."
Harry groaned. "I feel fine. Can't I just go to the feast?"
"Fine," he said through clenched teeth after staring him down for several tense moments.
"He should at least grab some chocolate," Madame Pomfrey argued as she tried to examine him.
"Professor Lupin gave us all chocolate on the train," Hermione piped up.
Professor Snape whipped his head around to look at her as if he had forgotten that she was in the room and gave her a peculiar look. "Hrmpf," he muttered.
"At least we finally have someone in the position that knows something about remedies," Professor McGonagall said with a reproving look at Professor Snape. "Harry, you are dismissed. If you would like to wait outside I need to talk with Ms. Granger and then you both can head down to the feast."
Hermione watched as Professor Snape followed out into the hall. She could not help but be completely baffled by what had just happened. Why was Professor Snape acting so concerned about Harry? She thought that he hated him, and all Gryffindors for that matter. What had changed? Hermione struggled to pay attention to what Professor McGonagall was telling her about her schedule and the usage of the Time Turner, but was anxious to get out of the room and talk to Harry about what was going on.
When she was finally released, she nearly sprinted out of Professor McGonagall's office and was amazed to see that Professor Snape was standing outside talking to Harry in a low tone. When he realized Hermione had come out of the office he pointed at Harry and simply said, "Keep yourself out of trouble," before walking away.
"Whoa," Hermione said. "What was all that about?"
Harry looked down. "What do you mean?"
"Professor Snape. He was actually being….nice to you. He even seemed concerned about you," Hermione said incredulously. "What happened?"
"It's complicated," he said with a shrug and looking embarrassed. "I don't think he's as bad as we thought he was. It seems like it's all a show sometimes." Harry mumbled as they walked. "But don't say anything to Ron or anyone about it. It's all kind of weird."
Hermione nodded still feeling a bit confused. "When did he start being so nice?"
"Well…I guess when he had to come to the Dursley's last year to bring me to Hogwart's," Harry said uncomfortably. "Look. It's no big deal ok. I haven't really figured it out myself so can we just drop it?" he asked quickly.
Hermione nodded. She didn't understand his discomfort but knew not to push it further. Instead she closed her mouth and walked beside him as they walked down the stairs and into the great hall.
Snape was furious. Unfortunately he had to wait until after the feast to discuss his concerns with Dumbledore. Fuming through his meal, he cautiously cast several suspicious glances in the direction of Remus Lupin, the newest Defense Against the Darks Arts teacher. He could not help but dwell on how coincidental it was that Lupin should roll out of hiding around the same time that Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban Prison. They were such good friends in school that he just knew that somehow Lupin was tied up in all of this. And as soon as he could, he was going to prove it. Until then he needed to deal with the dementors and keeping a certain trouble magnet away from the ever increasing number of dangers that seem to keep popping up.
As soon as Dumbledore dismissed the students Snape rushed out of the hall and headed straight toward Dumbledore's office. He was surprised to see that he was not the only one headed in that direction. Professor Lupin was just ahead of him in the crowd of people. Just seeing him walk these halls was enough to make him shudder. How much emotional trauma had he endured thanks to Lupin and his friends. He could not believe that Dumbledore had actually thought that it was a good idea to bring him here to teach! Especially knowing the history between the two of them. He supposed, however, that of the group from his school days, Lupin probably was the most harmless of them. He had always seemed to just go along with James and Sirius and had rarely instigated anything. Still, he would need to be on his toes around the man unless he could just avoid him altogether. Unfortunately it seemed that he would be unable to avoid him now, since it was now clear that he was headed to Professor Dumbledore's office as well.
He had just decided to turn away and come back to see the headmaster later when he heard, "Severus! How good of you to stop by. I actually wanted to discuss something with you and Remus if you don't mind." He spun in time to see Professor Dumbledore coming up behind him. Great. Now he had to go up with the pair of them.
Dumbledore made small talk with Lupin as they walked up the spiral staircase leading to Dumbledore's office and gestered for the both of them to take a chair in front of his desk. When they were all seated in front of Dumbledore's desk the reason for the visit was revealed.
"Severous, I'm afraid I must ask you for a favor," Dumbledore began. "Remus here is afflicted with a condition that requires your brewing expertise."
"Cut to the case, Albus," Snape said quickly. "What do you want from me?"
Professor Lupin spoke up, "I need to ask if you would be willing to brew me the wolfsbane potion."
Snape stared at Lupin and then Dumbledore incredulously. This must have been the plan all along when he hired Lupin. He must have planned to have him brew the potion all along.
"I'm almost hesitant to ask, but who has been brewing it for you thus far?" Snape said quietly trying to delay giving an answer.
"No one," Lupin replied quietly. "I have been managing on my own for some time now. I can certainly purchase the ingredients for you if you wouldn't mind brewing it for me. I know that it is an exceptionally difficult potion to brew, but Professor Dumbledore has assured me that it would be something that you would be able to handle with ease," Lupin said smoothly.
As much as Snape wanted to refuse the request, he knew that he was stuck. He had an obligation to the students if nothing else to assure that they were not needlessly put into harm's way. Plus he supposed this could be a good way to keep a close on Remus.
"Of course I can assist," Snape said stiffly. "I do believe that I have sufficient ingredients in my stores, but I will let you know if there is anything else that I would require."
"Splendid!" Dumbledore exclaimed clapping his hands together. "Now I gather that you have something that you wish to discuss with me, Severus?"
As Snape nodded, Lupin placed his tea cup on the desk and said, "I will take the hint and leave you both to your discussion. Thank you, Albus, Severus."
When the door closed Snape rose from his seat and began pacing angrily in front of the large desk. "I suppose you've heard about the attack on Mr. Potter on the train?"
"Of course," Dumbledore said quietly. "It was very lucky that Remus was there to intervene."
"Lucky?!" Snape said as he spun to face the headmaster. "It shouldn't come down to luck! It shouldn't have happened at all! The boy has enough to worry about with Black's escape and now he has to worry about getting attacked at the school?! You need to send the dementors away. Surely the minister will understand when you explain to them that a student was attacked already!"
"I already tried, Severus," Dumbledore said tiredly. "The best that I can do is keep them on the outskirts of the property line."
"This is absurd! If it had been any other student that had been attacked they would have banished those creatures without a second thought." Snape fumed.
"It is because it of Harry that the dementors are even here, Severus," Dumbledore replied. "I know how upset you are by this, but our hands are tied. The only thing that we can do at this point is to just assure that he and the rest of the students are aware of the dangers of these creatures and encourage them to keep their distance from them."
"Oh good," Snape scoffed. "Because such encouragements in the past have been SO effective."
"I have a feeling that he has a bit more motivation to listen than he has in the past," Dumbledore said with a small smile. "Have you had any difficulties with him over the summer?"
Snape glared at the headmaster. Of course he knew about his weekly visits to Privet Drive. "Well there was the whole incident of his blowing up his aunt, or have you forgotten about that one already?"
Dumbledore chuckled. "Oh honestly, Severus. Who among us didn't have some sort of incident when we were young and getting accustomed to our magical abilities? Given that he was raised in a strictly Muggle environment, we are lucky that this is all that has happened."
"Hrmpf," said under his breath. "Let's just hope that there are no further incidents or I may have to have a talk with Fudge myself." He continued as he stood from his chair and turned towards the door. As he made his way out of the office he did his best to try to pretend that he didn't notice the smile that he had seen on Dumbledore's face. Let him think what he wants. He was charged with the security of these students and it was not something that he was going to take lightly, especially if there was a student who didn't have anyone else willing to stand up and fight on their behalf.
It wasn't until school had been in session for a few weeks that Harry remembered about the permission form to be allowed to go to Hogsmeade with his classmates. At first he had considered sending an owl to his aunt and uncle and asking them the sign the form and return it, but he was certain after the incident with Aunt Marge there would be no hope there. It was with this in mind that made Harry decide to seek out Professor Snape after dinner a couple of weeks before the trip was scheduled to take place.
Knocking on his door, he was surprised to have the door flung open almost immediately. Professor Snape stood there holding a goblet with wisps of smoke emitting from it. The look of shock on his face told him that he had been expecting someone else.
"What are you doing down here, Potter?" Snape asked quickly.
"I…I was wondering if I could ask you something," he replied cautiously suddenly feeling nervous and unsure of himself.
Snape gave him a peculiar look, but waved him into his office and gestured for him to have a seat at one of the chairs in front of his desk.
"Is something wrong?" Snape prompted.
Harry shook his head. "Not really, sir. I was just wondering. Well…I wasn't able to get the permission form to go to Hogsmeade signed by my Aunt and Uncle before the whole…Aunt Marge thing happened, and I was hoping that maybe…you might be able to give me permission to go?" his finished hopefully.
Snape raised his eyebrow and studied Harry's face for a long moment before speaking softly, "I can understand how important these visits might be to you, Harry, but I unfortunately do not have the authority to give such permissions. I must add, however, that even if I did hold such power, I can't say that I would feel comfortable giving you permission to venture away from the castle with Sirius Black still evading capture."
"But that's not fair, sir!" Harry protested. "Am I just supposed to stay locked up until he is caught? If they haven't caught him yet they might never catch him!"
"I'm not sure you realize just how much of a threat Sirius Black actually is, Potter. We have reason to believe that Sirius is fixated on finding you here at Hogwarts. Do you think that Professor Dumbledore would allow the dementors to be anywhere near the school if there was a clear threat to your safety?"
"It just doesn't make any sense," Harry mumbled. "At this point I would rather him just get here already and face me like a man instead of hiding away like a coward."
Snape stood at leaned menacingly over his desk towards Harry. "And what exactly would that prove? You think that you could face him? He somehow managed to escape an unescapable prison and has avoided detection for months now even with the entire world, muggle and wizard alike searching for him and you think you have what it takes to bring him down?! This is exactly why I would not permit you to go to Hogsmeade! You are reckless and have absolutely no concept of self-preservation at all."
Harry sighed knowing that his professor was right. "I'm sorry, sir. I just feel so cooped up here, like I am waiting for that stupid Grim to attack me again at the same time trying not to worry about Hagrid and the dementors."
"What Grim? What are you talking about?" Snape asked once again amazed that the boy could still find a way to take the conversation in a complete opposite way than he had been expecting.
"The Grim, sir. That attacked us when you brought me to the Three Broomsticks."
"Where in the world is this coming from, Potter?" Snape snapped in frustration. "Why in Merlin's name would you think that was a Grim that attacked us?"
"Well….I just assumed sir since Professor Trelawney –"
"Oh heavens," Snape interrupted. "You can't possibly be taking anything that old bat says seriously?! Wait, of course you do." Snape sighed. "Here is what you need to know about Professor Trelawney. She has had maybe one or two truly prophetic moments in her life and I don't think she remembers any of them. What we saw that night was…well to be honest I don't really know what it was, but it definitely was not a Grim."
"Oh," Harry said feeling embarrassed. "So what was it? It was some sort of magical creature wasn't it?"
"I'm afraid I am not sure," Snape admitted. "I was a bit more concerned about getting us out of there in one piece and when I went back to investigate it, the creature was nowhere to be found."
"Sir," Harry said after a few moments of silence, "Why did the dementors affect me like that? No one else had a fit like I did."
Snape shook his head. "Seriously boy, when are you going to stop comparing yourself to everyone else. The things in your past alone are enough to make you different from anyone else on this planet, which is most likely why the dementors chose you to focus on. You just need to do whatever you can to avoid them until we can send them away for good."
A knock on the door drew both of their attentions away from the conversation. With a nod from Snape, Harry opened the door to reveal Professor Lupin standing there.
"Harry!" Lupin said in surprise. "What a surprise to see you down here."
Harry shrugged. "I was just getting some help with a potions essay," he lied quickly.
"Ah well Professor Snape is one of the best potion masters around," Lupin said lightly. "It is good of him to offer his services to assist you."
For some reason Harry felt as though Professor Lupin was mocking Professor Snape with his response. Unsure exactly what was going on, but feeling a surge of protectiveness Harry said loudly, "It WAS good of him to help and he actually helped me a lot." Turning towards Professor Snape, Harry continued, "Thank you so much, sir. I definitely think I understand now."
With a bit of a smirk on his face Snape replied, "Very good. If you need anything else you know where to find me. You are dismissed straight back to your common room since it has gotten late. If anyone stops you tell them to find me."
"Yes, sir," Harry said. "Goodnight Professors."
"Good night to you, Harry," Professor Lupin said as Harry made his way out of the room and closed the door behind him.
As he made his way up to Gryffindor Tower, Harry could not help but wonder about the obvious tension between his two teachers. He could tell that they disliked each other even more so after Neville's boggart experience. He wondered if Professor Snape would tell him anything about it if he asked. With the current history of Defense Against the Dark Arts teachers thus far, it could hardly be frowned upon that he would have questions about his newest professor. Even as much as Harry liked Professor Lupin thus far, he supposed that he couldn't be too careful.