[personal profile] marieldraconis
I would like to say, before I post, that the first part of this scene is all magic_7_words's fault.
Anyway, other than that...this is fanfic, so it is not mine; and there's a description in here which made me want to vomit, so don't be eating while you read this.


“Lupin!”
Remus looked up from his grading. Severus Snape stood in the door of his office, holding a smoking goblet and glaring at him. Only seven long years of experience told him that this was not quite the same type of scowl as the one inspired by the Boggart incident two weeks ago. Something had happened to make Snape more angry at Remus than usual.
“What may I do for you, Severus?”
“You may drink this.” He slammed the goblet onto Remus’s desk, where it just barely failed to slosh over and splash on the sixth years’s essays on Dementors. The drink smelled of hippogriff manure and vomit, and its color was muddy brown dotted with urine-colored clumps. Remus tried not to imagine what it tasted like, and looked back up at Snape. His original intent to ask what the potion was halted when he realized how much of an advantage Snape had by standing over him.
“Why don’t you sit down, Severus? We haven’t had much chance to talk since I arrived.” Remus didn’t expect Snape to accept the invitation—they had been anything but friends in the past—but Severus took the chair across from his desk.
“You really should drink that soon, Lupin. It’s your precious Wolfsbane potion, and we wouldn’t want you to miss a dose.”
“Thank you, Severus,” Remus said, trying to muster up the courage to drink the vile thing. Moony was whining in the back of his head. It might not taste quite as bad as it looks. Just as he was about to reach for it, though, Snape spoke up.
“I don’t trust you, Lupin. Dumbledore might have decided you are reliable, but I don’t. I’ve seen the way you watch Potter.”
Remus stopped mid-motion. Moony started growling again. “What—I mean, I didn’t realize I had been paying any particular attention to Harry. What do you mean?”
“Don’t deny it, Lupin. You’ve been staring at him all month, and I don’t believe it’s merely because you remember his parents and are feeling nostalgic. Is it because of Black? Or are there other reasons why you watch him?”
“I honestly was unaware of this. How, exactly, do you think I watch him?” This was probably the most important question. If it was really Moony taking over to watch Harry, Remus should resign at once. He made up his mind and gulped down the filthy substance. It tasted even worse than it looked or smelled, rancid meat mixed with excrement and a plastic aftertaste, but Moony’s growls instantly grew much fainter, as if from a long distance away.
“How should I know? But you rarely take your eyes off of him and you call him by his given name. That’s hardly appropriate teacher-student behavior, especially for that student,” Snape’s sneer had a hint of triumph in it, as if he believed he had cornered Remus on some critical point.
“I call all of my students by their first names,” Remus responded, rising from his seat. The taste in his mouth was still disgusting, and he needed to wash it out with something. “I find that it avoids confusion—especially in such cases where I have siblings in the same class. Would you care for some tea, Severus?” Remus said as he pulled out the teapot.
“No, thank you, Lupin. I merely came to ensure that you drank your potion.” Snape arose and grabbed the goblet, peering into it as if to ensure that Remus had drunk every drop. Then he swept out of the room, only pausing briefly in the doorway. “I know what you’re up to, Lupin. Don’t think you and Black can get away with this.”
Snape was gone before Remus could respond, not that he knew what to respond. Severus Snape was more right than he knew to be keeping an eye on Remus—Remus did not know what to expect from himself these days. But to assume that he would ever help Sirius—Black—after what he had done to Lily, to James, to—to Harry. And to Peter. Harry most of all, though, so unsure, so unaware of how much he was loved. Although he seemed to be making up for that, now, despite his scrawny build and the mistrust that always shadowed Lily-green eyes. Remus had not been willing to let his friends come as close as Harry had until much later, out of fear and because Moony was not yet willing to accept such humans as his packmates. Harry’s talent for making friends, though, seemed more like James’s, taking people not because they were something special but because they were his.
James had unified them, that first year. Sirius was the black sheep of the Black family, and no one quite knew why he was not in Slytherin. Peter might have shone in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, but he was remarkably average in Gryffindor. And Remus had been merely hoping to quietly sit out the next seven years without getting into too much trouble or getting close enough to people to let them find out what he was. At any rate, what he thought he was. James hadn’t cared that Remus just wanted to be left alone or that Peter was average or that Sirius had a Dark background. They were his, and in time they had all grown to accept their roles as James decreed them. None of them had shown any dissatisfaction, until those last few months when Moony was acting oddly, and they knew that one of them was a spy.
In any case, Harry had found himself in a similar position. Hermione, for all her intelligence, did not fit into Gryffindor as much as she could have, and Ron was the sixth Weasley boy of his generation and clearly felt himself to be completely average as well. But Harry had made them his, and they would probably shine because of that, if for no other reason.

The next morning in class with the third-year Gryffindors, Remus was wondering how strong the Wolfsbane potion really was, and wished he knew enough about potions to understand its effects. His sense of smell was no duller than normal at this time of month, and while Moony felt distant in the back of his mind, there was no doubting Remus’s wolf-half was still present. As a result, he was very aware of Harry’s scent, both on the boy and where it overlapped to his two friends. Close proximity and trust could cause a scent to spread. Harry was clearly very dependent on both of his friends, as if they were his own pack.
Giving into the urge to walk a little closer, he strolled by Ron’s desk to check on the Trio’s progress with their Hinkypunk. Ron seemed to be having a little trouble. Harry reached out to touch his shoulder supportively, and on the next pass Ron’s spell worked. They were definitely like James and Remus and the others had been.
A heavy body landing on him, shoving Remus into the freezing mud. “Protego!” Sirius’s voice shouted, and it shouldn’t have protected both of them, but it did anyway.
Later, back at the Potter’s house, after a hot shower, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate, Remus finally asked about it. “How did you get that spell to work?”
“You’ve never noticed? Our spells work better when we’re in physical contact,” James offered.
“Is that why you two were always touching him in school?” Lily asked, a fourth mug of hot chocolate sitting untouched by her side. Four months pregnant, and her cravings were taking odd turns. She wanted the hot chocolate for the smell, but could not seem to stand the taste.
“No, it wasn’t,” Sirius answered. “Well, partly that, once we realized, but the spell thing works for any of us, and...”
“It’s that Moony sometime needs to be touched. Canines are very physical with their pack,” James said. If Sirius had said it, Remus would have felt compelled to make some sort of comment about domesticated canines, but James could get away with knowing Remus better than he knew himself. It was one of the few things Remus and Moony agreed on—James was their leader, and his was the right to know these things and to act upon them.

But now it was Harry and Hermione and Ron, not James and Remus and—continuing his tour of the classroom, Remus suddenly stopped. Why hadn’t Peter been in that memory? There was something odd about that, he knew, if only he could get his mind around it and Moony would stop pacing and Harry would stop smelling so Harry and—
“Are you all right, Professor?” said Lavender Brown, in what was probably meant to be a flirtatious manner. The girl would be dangerous when she grew older and had a little more experience with men. Apparently, she knew it and was trying to practice now with someone “safe.” A few other third year and fourth year girls had done this to Remus, presumably because he was the youngest male teacher other than Snape in the castle.
“Thank you, Lavender, I’m fine. My thoughts were wandering, that’s all. That’s excellent spellwork, Parvati.”
Remus finished his circuit of the classroom, ending near Harry’s desk. The boy looked up at him with the frown that had hovered whenever he was in Remus’s vicinity since their first lesson. He had been meaning to ask the c—the boy about it, but before he got the chance, Harry sniffed the air. The boy’s expression changed to confused and curious. Remus decided it would be better to retreat rather than let Harry ask any awkward questions. This close to the full moon, could Harry tell what he was?
By the time class let out, Harry had shown no sign of wanting to ask more about whatever he had smelled, and his expression returned to that odd frown. Remus let out a relieved sigh when the boy left the room, even as Moony urged him to follow.
This was going to be a long year.

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