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I ... takes over slowly
But doesn't last very long
I ... no need to worry
Evr'ything's under control
Wednesday, May 2 :: Evening

Wisps of steam rose from the goblet containing the altered wolfsbane.

"Assuming the minor vomiting problem is taken care of without harming the potion's effectiveness ... there's one full moon after this one before end of term. I think to be safe, that should be spent here as well, even if tonight goes as expected. One last hurrah."

Remus tilted the cup toward Snape in acknowledgement and began to drink.

Over the summer there was the cottage to stay at, and there were few places in the British Isles quite so secure to keep a werewolf. By the time fall term rolled around, if things went well, if there were no setbacks, if he was completely sure of being back to normal ... perhaps the cage at Hogwarts could be used again.

Privately, Remus doubted he'd ever feel that secure. Full moons from now on would mean the cottage. It was close enough, and it was remote.

"And you'll not have to brew this potion for me again, Merlin willing."
"I was just starting to look forward to these meetings of ours, and you're already telling me they're about to end."

The cage had already been inspected. Twice.

After last month's less than revealing "revelation" that had amounted to little more than poking at an old wound - for purely scientific purposes - the paranoid bastard in him felt it would be better to be safe than sorry. Not that he thought Lupin would have tampered with the cage in an attempt to kill Severus when he "couldn't help himself" after the change, but it would have been something Severus might have considered if he had been in Lupin's position. Sometimes it was difficult to be a paranoid bastard, but it had kept him alive this long.

"I think I managed to pinpoint what would have caused the purging and counteracted that unfortunate effect. As to whether or not the potion retains its potency, that's for you to tell me in the morning."
The aftertaste was different this time — coppery, like fresh blood, just resting over the more-familiar base.

In short, just as revolting as ever.

Not physically so, however. Remus waited, cautiously, for a return of the nausea, and thankfully it didn't return in such strength. Lupin grimaced and tried to remove the lingering dregs of the potion from his mouth.

"So you're willing to wait for morning this time?"
Severus made himself comfortable, settling in for another long night. As at ease as he might look, Severus made sure his wand was never out of reach.

"I promised Izabel I would do anything necessary to help you defeat the madness, and I did. I'm assuming you wouldn't have wanted anything less from me?"
You promised, did you.

Remus' nostrils flared, but the reins he had on his temper held.

He supposed it was even a good sign that instead of wanting to snarl or bite, the urge was just to punch the other man — a thoroughly human reaction.

"No, nothing less, Severus." And certainly nothing more.

Lupin stood up and stretched, needing to move. He couldn't see out the window — light inside the shack, dark without. She's out there, waiting. Remember what you're getting.

"Will the potion prove difficult for others to brew?"
He knew that Lupin didn't want to be dependent upon him any longer than necessary, and while the thought of forcing the wolf to be beholden to him had some appeal, it wasn't enough.

"Extremely. Wolfsbane itself is a difficult potion, there is a reason your average dabbler in potions won't even attempt it. Assuming they're of above average intelligence."

Severus settled back in his chair and made sure his bottle of water was positioned just so. "Assuming you haven't lost your trust in Adrian Pucey, I am confident that with my notes he can recreate the potion."
That was a relief, for them both — Remus assumed Snape didn't want to spend any more of his time than he had to dealing with his favorite creatures.

"Adrian, yes. When school is out, there's Martin Roach."

The London apothecary had been a reliable — and affordable — supplier of wolfsbane before and during the war; Remus even had the vague idea his custom was missed whenever he had gone to Hogwarts and relied on the castle's Potion Master.

"It's safer to have options. Back-ups in case of emergencies."

A weight settled on Lupin's shoulders, and he turned away from the window to shed his jacket and secure his wand for the night.

Almost time.

Into the cage.
Waiting long enough for Remus to have gotten to the shack, Izabel wasted no more time and took to the air to follow. She wasn't naive enough to think the wards wouldn't be there, but if they thought that would deter her from hanging in a tree all night, they were wrong.

Besides if Sirius shows up - I might drop a little present on his head.

Soon she was proven correct and she settled on a perch not too far from one of the windows. It was surprising really how quickly she was becoming adjusted to seeing everything up-side-down. At first she'd tried to twist the bat's neck, but soon gave that up as a bad job and found it wasn't as hard to make sense of things as she'd thought.

Perspective and practice.

Watching as Remus downed the potion, she swung a little on the perch, prepared to spend the night.

Good thing bats have some fur. It's a bit chilly tonight.
Apparating was still out — the "deliberation" requirement was beyond Sirius' grasp yet. Concentrating, focusing ... mental stability. The Healers said they'd return in time, and that considering there was 30 years or so of damage to get over he was doing remarkably well.

Sirius, meanwhile, had his doubts.

But, not to worry: There were still broomsticks. Not as fun as the motorcycle, but they did the job.

They did take longer, though, and so although Sirius had hoped to get to Hogsmeade early enough to check in with Remus before sunset, it was much too late for that by the time he arrived.

Too late to turn around? No one knows you're here, why disturb the lady?

Sirius huffed at himself — Coward. — and circled down toward the Shrieking Shack.

He'd told Remus he'd make the effort with Izabel, and besides, Moony still needed the support with the whole potion thing. That was the arrangement now: you're there for me, I'm there for you.

Broom in hand, Sirius walked over to their usual tree and inspected it until he finally managed to pick out the bat, hanging on the branch.

He nodded in greeting before sitting down with his back against the treetrunk.

"Evening, Izabel."
The swaying stopped, but other than that the bat didn't acknowledge his presence. Inside Izabel was fuming.

Evening, Izabel? Evening, Izabel?

Just like nothing had ever happened and we're still on speaking terms.

He's here as himself, not Padfoot...

Knowing Remus and Sirius had been friends for a long time and that that probably wouldn't change in the future, she knew she'd have to get over her snit at some point. But not quite yet. Since Remus hadn't turned into the wolf yet and Sirius was in human form, she took the opportunity to let off a little steam.

"Good evening, you big lump of leftover dog doo-doo. To what do I owe the honor of your presence under my tree? You're lucky I don't drop a load on your arrogant head or that I don't have the ability to shoot death rays out of my eyes."
That was some angry, angry squeaking going on over his head.

Sirius couldn't help but smile to himself. One, he liked her fire, two — it was all right being blessed out if you didn't know what the other person was saying.

She had the right idea, though. Better to say what he had to say in private — Snape should be paying attention to what was going on inside the shack, not out here, and probably couldn't hear anything unless they started shouting, but ... nothing wrong with a bit of caution.

Ignoring the voice that whispered maybe going back into the Animagus form wasn't the smartest thing while his concentration was shot — he was a Gryffindor, for Merlin's sake — Sirius let out a breath he'd been holding and transformed into Padfoot.

"Listen. Just ... listen, okay? Did Remus ever tell you why I suspected he'd gone over to Voldemort back when we were young?"
Izabel almost lost the grip on the perch she was so astonished.

"Remus? Go over to Voldemort? You're quite mad aren't you," she advised with a note of resignation in her 'voice'. "Poor thing. I shall take pity on you and not repeat that to Remus."
"Yeah, that's right, pick on the mental health patient. Classy."

Padfoot rolled his eyes.

"Remus already knows, so go right ahead. Someone had to be a traitor, after all. There were too many corpses for coincidence, and the only one Dumbledore would say wasn't the traitor was your Snape. Anyway, do you want to hear me out or not?"

There were a few reasons to suspect Remus, actually. Lupin had stopped automatically declining all invitations out to the pub — Sirius and James would have picked up the tab each time, no question of that, but Remus didn't like that — and had started going out with them. Not often, and not for long, but he'd begun to have a bit of money, right at a time when restrictions on werewolves holding jobs were ramping up again.

Turned out he'd got a job sweeping up at some Muggle business, and just hadn't wanted to tell anyone. The git.

But for whatever reason, they'd noticed. Peter had been sure to say something innocent, each time.

Neither Sirius nor James would buy that Remus would sell people out for money, though. Or that his furry little problem would be the reason.

"We'd be at Godric's Hollow, everyone sitting in the living room, and Lily would pick up Harry and get ready to take him off to bed. And each time I'd notice this expression on Remus' face, just a flash and it'd be gone. He looked so ... hungry."

Padfoot wasn't talking to Izabel so much any longer as simply reliving the past. Even if the memories were bittersweet at best, it was good in a way to have them back.

"I thought he was in love with Lily and would be willing to get rid of James, but it wasn't that. Remus just wanted the normal family package, that was all, and figured he'd never get it.

"And when Snape piped up that night, I didn't know, okay? I didn't know Remus knew already. I just knew how close he finally was to getting something he's wanted for a long time and I thought that was gone again and Snape was sneering at him about it. So, yeah, I got angry."

The dog's attention had returned to the bat.

"Moony's made some things clear, though, and we're all clear. So I'd like to say I'm sorry for doubting you."
He just had to do it didn't he, Izabel thought to herself as she let go of the roost and turned back into herself before touching the ground.

I had a good mad going and he's made me all mushy inside and how can you be mad at someone who was that upset over something that happened to the man you love.

Blasted mutt.

Her arms curled around the shaggy head of the dog and she hid her face in his fur to wipe off any tears that might have leaked out during the change. After a fierce hug, she pulled back and sighed.

"I guess that means I won't get to throw you off my tower either, huh?" she asked jokingly with a small smirk on her face. "One of these days I'm going to do it first and wait for explanations later."
"Oh, see, there you go." Sirius shifted back into normal form. "A person gains some wings and she starts to think everyone can fly."

He smiled and shook his head.

"Hey, you want to, feel free. I'll just be sure to keep my broom within calling distance."