YOTC Ch25 NC17 version
Hi folks! We have an SR first for you – this chapter comes in two versions. One is R-rated. One... is not.
That's right, we have porn. :) Right here, right now. Under the cut. NC17 rated. Filth. Het, vanilla (with a possible BDSM subtext if you look hard enough), consensual. With dirty talking and swearing. Crossgen. Telling you the pairing would be cheating though. You'll have to read and find out.
Anyway, summary: Christmas dinner goes well... unless of course you're a sullen-faced Slytherin fifth year who'd been led to believe a certain someone would be there. Of course, Marlie's not one to take this lying down, but she gets more than she bargains for when she drops in to see just how Lupin's doing. That's nothing, however, to what happens when Sirius finds out where she was...
NOTE: Due to length reasons, this will have to go into two parts. This part's actually R-rated. Part 2 has the smut.
Slytherin Rising Four: Year of the Cat
by J. L. Matthews
Chapter Twenty Five
Close Encounters of the Marauding Kind
Marlie made her way swiftly towards the Great Hall, Sirius no longer occupying her thoughts for once. Her attention was currently focused on a certain Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher, one she'd not even seen since term ended. In fact, with Sirius demanding her time and energy, she'd barely been able to think about him.
Well, that was about to change, Marlie promised herself. If she was honest with herself, at least part of the reason she'd stayed had been to see if she could snatch some quality time with her favourite teacher, in between entertaining fugitive Animagi, of course. Time to see if she couldn't make up for lost time. She dashed into the Great Hall, heart beating rapidly. Any second now, she'd see his eyes, see him smile at her, hear him wishing her a Merry Christmas...
She stopped dead. He was nowhere in sight. Six members of staff at a small table set for twelve, and two first years, with four empty seats. One for her, and the other three presumably for the three Gryffindors staying over. No space for Lupin.
Trying to hide her disappointment, she took the empty chair next to Professor Snape. He knew, he must have known Lupin wasn't going to be here, and yet he led me on, letting me believe he would be. Bastard! Glaring, she slumped into the chair, pointedly ignoring him.
"Good morning, Miss Lovegood," she heard him say, and she could tell by the tone of his voice that he was quietly laughing at her. "Glad to see you with us at last."
"Morning," said Marlie sulkily. Finally, she turned to look at him, and she was right, he was secretly laughing at her. The smirk gave it all away.
"I don't see any sign of Professor Lupin," she said, trying to sound nonchalant. "Is he not here? You said he was staying over for Christmas..." You also said that he'd been asking after me, that he was worried about me, you implied he'd bloody well be here! You greasy haired bastard.
"Professor Lupin is indisposed," said Snape smoothly, bland expression concealing the sadistic gleam in his eyes that was always there whenever he was having fun at another person's expense. "Unfortunately, he is likely to be under the weather for the next few days or so, and is confined to his rooms until he recovers."
"You... didn't mention this earlier," said Marlie, bitterly cursing Snape's name.
"You did not ask," Snape replied, a smug grin playing around his mouth. "And also it is not any of your business," he added, unfolding a napkin and spreading it on his lap.
Marlie, seething, turned away. Thanks for nothing, sir. There went any chance of an interesting Christmas dinner. Her best hope was to eat fast and slip away early, calling in at the kitchens en route to get some food for Padfoot. Honestly, could things get any worse?
And then the Gryffindor Three, as Marlie had quietly dubbed them, tumbled into the room, and Marlie felt her heart sink as they poured into the seats next to her. Apparently she'd been wrong.
Dumbledore got to his feet and called for attention. "Merry Christmas!" he announced cheerily. "As there are so few of us, it seemed silly to use the house tables." He picked up a cracker, offering one end to Snape. Marlie bit her lip, trying not to smile. From the look on Snape's face, it appeared he suddenly didn't want to be here either. Still, he took the end of the cracker and half-heartedly pulled it. With a bang, it flew apart, revealing a witch's hat with a stuffed vulture on top.
Marlie immediately dropped her eyes, staring fixedly at her plate. If she looked anyone else in the eye now, anyone at all, she'd burst out laughing, and you didn't need the Sight to know that Snape would not thank her for that at all. Fortunately, Snape just thrust the hat at Dumbledore with a growl, the scowl on his face matching her own. Marlie allowed herself a quietly smug smile. You so deserved that one, Professor.
A small voice on Marlie's other side coughed. "Did you want me to pull yours with you, Marlie?" It was Hermione, who had seated herself next to the Slytherin, presumably in need of some female company after five days spent cooped up with two Gryffindor males. For once, Marlie knew exactly how she felt. Admittedly, Sirius was only one Gryffindor male, but he made up for it with sheer force of personality.
"Go on then. My only other option's Snape, and to be honest, I don't think he's really in the mood at the moment." The two girls shared a conspiratorial grin, before taking hold of one end of the cracker each and pulling. Once the smoke had cleared, Marlie examined the contents. The cracker contained a glittering tiara, which Marlie wasted no time putting on, a joke on a bit of parchment... and a cuddly toy in the form of a shaggy black dog.
"Oh, it's so cute!"
Hermione breathed, scratching it behind the ears. The dog yapped and bounced up and down. "Oh, and it's charmed to move as well! You lucky thing!"
"You ain't seen the joke," said Marlie, reading the parchment. "What's orange and sounds like a parrot? A carrot. I mean, bloody hell, who writes this crap?" She screwed up the parchment, and cast a Disintegrating Hex on it. "Rubbish." She looked at the toy dog, which looked alarmingly like Sirius. "But the dog is rather sweet." She placed it to one side, before a noise from the door distracted her. She blinked at the figure who drifted in. It was Professor Trelawney, dressed up to the nines in a green, glittering dress.
"What the hell?" Marlie heard Hermione whisper on one side, at the same time as she heard Snape mutter "Oh my god," on the other.
"Sybill," Dumbledore cried. "This is a pleasant surprise!"
"I have been crystal-gazing, Headmaster," said Trelawney in her usual faraway tones, "and to my astonishment, I saw myself abandoning my solitary luncheon and coming to join you. Who am I to refuse the promptings of fate?"
"Dear god, Marlene, she's as bad as you," Snape murmured to Marlie with a smile.
"What do you mean?" Marlie asked, confused.
"Well, not being gifted with the Sight, I may be wrong, but I do believe she was prompted by the same reason you were; the presence of a certain Defence professor."
"What, you mean Professor Lupin?" Marlie turned to stare at Trelawney, eyes narrowing.
"But he's not here, he's ill, surely she would have seen..."
She noticed the look on Snape's face. "Oh, right." Jealousy turned into smug superiority. "Sucks to be her, eh? Sight on the blink, and no Professor Lupin. Dear oh dear."
"Indeed," Snape murmured. "As long as she does not sit near us, this is going to be a very interesting meal."
Snape's smile increased even more as Dumbledore conjured a chair between Professors Sprout and McGonagall. "Oh yes. Very interesting indeed."
Snape was not wrong. What with Trelawney's mystical babbling, and Professor McGonagall's tart ripostes, Marlie was kept well entertained throughout and on several occasions had to look away and fake a coughing fit to avoid laughing. Next to her, she could tell Hermione was enjoying herself too.
"She's good, isn't she?" Hermione whispered to Marlie.
"Who, McGonagall?" Marlie asked.
Hermione rolled her eyes. "Yeah, of course. You think I take Professor Trelawney seriously?"
"You?" Marlie had to smile at the thought of someone as level-headed and reasonable as Hermione looking up to Trelawney.
"Never. Trelawney makes my cousin Luna look normal."
Hermione frowned. "I don't think I know your cousin Luna. What house is she in?"
"Ravenclaw. And count yourself very, very lucky."
Hermione wisely chose not to pursue the topic, deciding that someone who could be compared to Trelawney was not someone she really wanted to spend too much time dwelling on. Instead, she decided to sound out Marlie on what had been troubling her all morning.
"Marlie, listen, can we talk?" Hermione whispered, lowering her voice and glancing at Ron, who was too busy chatting to Harry about Quidditch to listen.
Marlie glanced at Snape, who was occupied spearing a roast potato and alternately glaring at Dumbledore's hat and sneering at Trelawney. "Go on then."
Hermione glanced around and leaned closer to Marlie. "Harry... Harry got sent a broom this morning. A really fast, expensive broom. And we don't know who it's from. There's no label or anything."
"Lucky him," Marlie commented, trying to sound neutral. Then she remembered she was on the rival team. "Lucky him," she muttered, glaring.
"No," Hermione whispered, betraying her inner fears. "Not lucky at all! Marlie, I think it's from him! You know, Black! I think he's hexed it so it'll throw Harry off and kill him when he tries to ride it!"
Marlie carefully schooled herself not to react to this. Why, why, did Hermione have to think like this? The broom was in fact perfectly safe and Sirius hadn't even seen it, but how to tell Hermione that without giving them both away? The best she could do was at least try and talk her round.
"Hmm. Could be... but to be honest, I think you're worrying over nothing."
"Nothing??" Hermione hissed. "Marlie, Harry could die! Sirius Black would stop at nothing to get his hands on him, you know that!"
Which was true, but not for the reasons Hermione supposed. Sirius was in fact most anxious to get to meet Harry, but only so the boy could finally get to know his adoring godfather.
"Exactly, Hermione. Exactly. He wants to get his hands on Harry. He doesn't want to kill him from a distance. Not his style. When Sirius Black wants someone dead, he likes to do it personally. Much more satisfying that way. He wouldn't send Harry a hexed broom. Not Sirius."
And the best part was, every word was true. If a little misleading.
"Sirius?" said Hermione curiously. "Since when have you been on first name terms with him?"
Oh. Bugger. That was all she needed, to slip up in front of one of the most observant people in the school.
"Mum still calls him that sometimes," Marlie said carelessly, hoping her slip wasn't too major. "Must have picked it up off her. She used to know him quite well, you know."
"Not well enough, obviously," said Hermione pointedly. She sighed. "Oh bloody hell, I don't know. I don't want to spoil Harry's fun, but it's his life at risk here! You try telling him that though. Honestly, boys!"
"Couldn't agree more," Marlie replied diplomatically, thinking of Sirius, another one given to plunging in first and thinking it over later, if at all. "You know, I sometimes think life would be a lot more straightforward if men would occasionally think." Marlie, however, was not fated for a straightforward existence, no matter what happened to the men in her life. Indeed, at least half the time, it was her own decisions that got her in trouble. Such as the one she made after dinner to go and drop in on Lupin. A visit to the hospital wing proved fruitless, and her newly enhanced senses told her that he wasn't there in any case. So she tried his office. A knock on the door went unanswered. Well, that was to be expected. He was ill, after all. She tried again though, just to be sure.
"Hello? Professor Lupin? Are you there? It's me, Marlie."
Still nothing. She was on the verge of leaving, when extra sensitive hearing picked up a noise. It was the sound of something heavy falling to the floor, followed by the sound of something tapping against stone. It sounded oddly like Sirius leaping off the bed or sofa in his dog form and padding over, claws tapping against the ground... but Professor Lupin didn't have a dog, surely?
"Professor?" she called out. "Is that you?"
Still no answer, although she could hear scuffling. Frowning, Marlie intensified her sense of smell. He was there all right; she could smell him quite strongly. However, there was something odd about him, something off. She could smell another scent intertwined with his, a feral aroma that once more reminded her of Sirius... except there was something about it that was far darker, far less controlled than Sirius ever was. Marlie felt the hair on the back of her neck start rising. Something was very wrong here.
"Professor..." she whispered, wondering what to do. She should really fetch a teacher... but Snape was the only one who sprang to mind as an obvious candidate, and he was well known to dislike Lupin intensely. Besides, even in cat form, it would take her a good five minutes to find Snape, and then she'd have to convince him to come with her and bring him back. In the mean time, Lupin could be dying for all she knew. Taking a deep breath, she made her mind up. Producing her wand, she cast an Unlocking Charm on the door. To her surprise, it swung open at once. It must have been cast in haste, presumably to allow staff members to get in to tend to Lupin in an emergency. He must be ill, if he couldn't even deal with his own wards. Wand in hand, she stepped inside.
And came face to face with a full-grown wolf. Marlie froze, stunned. Whatever she'd expected, it had not been coming face to face with a dangerous wild animal. It was standing in front of her, its head nearly level with her waist, staring at her with wide eyes. As yet, it seemed too surprised by her sudden entrance to do anything, but Marlie had no illusions of that lasting for long. She remembered the three-headed dog from third year all too well. She slowly looked up, hoping to see Professor Lupin somewhere - she could smell him, but where was he? She couldn't hear anyone other than the wolf. Then she noticed the door at the other end of the room, swinging on its hinges, clearly leading through into Professor Lupin's private quarters. Behind the door, she could see a double four-poster bed, looking like some wild beast had been at the bed covers. Ever so slowly, her eyes drifted back to the wild beast in front of her... and her mind jumped to conclusions. Panicking, she began to scream. This was enough to shock the wolf into action. Yelping, it ran towards her, looking equally panic-stricken. Marlie, in her own fright, completely failed to notice this little detail, and ran for the door, darting into the corridor before the wolf could reach her. Gasping for breath, she forced the door shut as the wolf tried to follow her out, bruising its nose in the process. The wolf fell back, whining. Marlie reached for her wand and gasped out the charm to secure the door again, before stepping back, reality sinking in.
"Oh god!" she whispered to herself. Turning away, she stumbled down the corridor... straight into Professor Snape, who immediately grabbed her by the shoulders and hauled her to her feet.
"Marlene!" he snapped, with something almost like concern in his eyes. "I heard screaming - are you alright? Are you hurt?"
Marlie shook her head, still too upset to really process this. "N-no, I'm, I'm OK," she breathed, before remembering what she'd been running from. "Professor Lupin..." She put her hand to her mouth, fighting tears. "Sir, a wolf's eaten Professor Lupin!"
Silence followed this outburst. Hesitantly, Marlie looked up, only to see that, far from being upset, or even shocked, he was actually smiling.
"It's not funny!" she shouted. Far from stopping him smiling, it only made matters worse. Snape actually started to laugh.
"Stop it!" Marlie shrieked. "Professor Lupin's been killed, how can you just stand there and laugh??"
"Oh god," Snape breathed, wiping his eyes. "You're right, it's not funny, I - oh god, Marlene, you will be the death of me one of these days." Straightening up, he motioned for her to follow him. "Marlene, while your concern is touching, it is wholly unnecessary. Professor Lupin is perfectly fine, or at least he was. Did you do anything to the wolf?"
"I think I hurt its nose when I slammed the door on it," Marlie faltered, now completely confused. Snape just nodded.
"Easily healed." He studied her carefully, seemingly weighing up what to do next. Finally, he shrugged. "Well, you have seen this much, I may as well tell you all. However, before I do, I want to make it very clear that what I am about to tell you is to be discussed with no one other than Professor Lupin or myself. Not your friends, not your family, no one. Understand?"
"OK," Marlie whispered, not fully understanding at all, but prepared to do what it took to get to the bottom of this. Professor Lupin was clearly not dead, which was the main thing. In fact, come to think of it, there would have been blood, surely, if Professor Lupin had been killed by a wolf, and she'd not smelt anything of the sort in the room...
Snape opened the door with a few words, and watched with a grin as the wolf emerged, looking small and pathetic and not nearly as frightening as Marlie remembered. Blood was dripping from its nostril, and it was whining from the pain, trying to nuzzle against Snape.
"No, not my robes!" Snape snapped irritably at it. "Damn wolf, stop bleeding over me!" Still grumbling, he reached for his wand and cast a few quick healing charms to fix the damage, before ushering the wolf back inside. "There, you're healed. Now stop whining and get inside before anyone else sees you."
Funnily enough, the wolf seemed to understand every word, because it dived back into the office at once. Snape turned back to Marlie.
"Well? Are you joining us?"
Speechless, Marlie nodded and followed him in. Closing the door behind her, Marlie sat down next to the desk. Snape was occupying Lupin's chair like he belonged there, especially with the wolf at his feet, cutting a rather pitiful figure. It was gazing mournfully at Marlie, head leaning against Snape's knees. Marlie wondered why she'd ever been afraid of it. It looked no more dangerous than Padfoot; although, her wiser half reminded her, Sirius was by no means as harmless as he looked. However, the wolf didn't look threatening at the moment. Snape was actually scratching it behind the ears almost affectionately.
"So, Professor Lupin is all right, then?" she asked hesitantly.
"As well as can be expected," came the reply. Snape noticed the concern on her face and sighed. "He will be fine in a day or two. You do not need to worry about him."
"OK." Marlie glanced towards the door to his bedroom, still partly open. "So, er, where is he then?"
Snape patted the wolf on the back, ruffling its fur. "You're looking at him."
Marlie stared at the wolf. That was Professor Lupin? Well, that would explain everything. She felt her heart sink. Not only had she invaded his privacy and run screaming from him, she'd slammed a door on him and hurt him in the bargain. How was she meant to face him when he turned back?
"Is he a wolf Animagus?" she asked, that being the first thing that sprang to mind. However, even as she said the words, her brain was thinking, no, not possible, he would have changed into human on seeing me if he was, besides he doesn't smell right... "But he would have to be stuck somehow, or he'd have turned back when he saw me. Is he under a curse or geas or something?"
"In a manner of speaking." Snape hesitated, the fingers that had been fondling Lupin's fur halting their movement. "Well, Lupin? Should I tell her or Obliviate?"
The wolf's sad eyes turned from Marlie to Snape, then back to Marlie. It stared at her for a long while, before turning back to Snape and nodding once.
"Is that a yes, I should tell her? Bark once if it is."
Lupin barked once. As soon as he'd done so, he seemed to shrink, cowering away and edging closer to Snape. Snape patted the wolf's neck as if to reassure it, and turned back to Marlie.
"Marlene, Professor Lupin is a werewolf."
Werewolf. Strange how one simple word could change everything so abruptly. Marlie sat there, frozen in shock, her mind lost in tales of werewolves savaging innocents, killing any human that crossed their path, and worst of all for a family as rationalist as hers, turning others, attacking but leaving you alive, and making you one of them, doomed to lose your reason every month and become a monster yourself. Werewolves - about the only thing she'd ever seen her mother really frightened of. Even Sirius Black's escape had made her mother more annoyed than anything else, but every full moon, she'd been nearly obsessive about making sure everyone was in by dark and didn't go out again unless by Floo. Werewolves were bad news. And Professor Lupin was one? Sweet, kind, goodnatured Professor Lupin? Not possible. Not possible! Marlie fought to keep the rising feeling of revulsion from overwhelming her - and then another memory came to mind, of Sirius frowning and telling her "Werewolves are people too, you know!"
Werewolves are people too. Slowly, she began to calm down, staring at the wolf, reminding herself that it was still Professor Lupin in there. Still Professor Lupin ... and he looked safe enough. Right now, he'd buried his face in Snape's robes and was whimpering. Poor thing, he sounds so lonely. With a jolt, she realised that Lupin was not only in that wolf's body, he could understand every word that was going on. And with a wolf's heightened senses to boot, he'd also be very good at reading her physical responses and emotions.
Oh god, he must think I hate him. Which wasn't true, she didn't hate him, couldn't hate him, only what he was... and when she thought about it, not even that. It wasn't his fault, after all.
"Is it safe?" she asked. Well it must be, surely, Snape wouldn't get that close to a werewolf if he didn't think it was safe, would he?
"Perfectly. Professor Lupin is under the influence of a powerful potion, one I aided in the development of by the way, which renders him harmless. He still transforms into a wolf, but he keeps his human mind for the duration. As long as his saliva does not come in contact with your bloodstream, you are quite safe."
"Sure?" asked Marlie, still slightly nervous.
"Of course I'm sure," Snape snapped tersely at her. "Do you doubt the abilities of not only myself but the entire Miskatonic University Lycanthropy Research Unit?"
Marlie smiled at that. No one doubted Professor Snape's expertise in Potions. "No, sir." She got up and approached the still hiding werewolf. "Can I touch him?"
Professor Snape shrugged. "If you must."
Marlie reached for the werewolf's fur and began to stroke him. "Ssh, it's alright," she whispered. "It's OK, I won't hurt you." The wolf peeked out at her, still looking rather fearful. Marlie smiled nervously at him. "Professor? Can you hear me? I mean, do you understand?" There was a human mind inside there after all, and it was Professor Lupin's mind at that. Marlie tried to ignore the part of her that was all too happy to take the chance to get in some legitimate physical contact with him.
Lupin turned to face her fully, although he was still not meeting her eyes. It was a gesture Marlie recognised instantly as a sign of submission - Sirius sometimes used it when he was trying to get in her good books. She gave him an encouraging smile.
"It's OK. Don't be afraid. I don't mind, you know. I mean, I was a bit shocked at first, who wouldn't be, but if Professor Snape says you're not dangerous, then I don't have any problems with it. I mean, I'm not going to treat you any differently. And I promise not to tell anyone else."
Lupin blinked, and edged a little nearer, the fear receding. He now looked almost hopeful, an expression she'd seen on Padfoot many times. Her heart went out to him.
"Ohh, you're so sweet!" she breathed. Impulsively, she reached out and hugged the wolf, resting her head against him, running her hands through his fur. Lupin's fear seemed to melt away as she did this, muscles visibly relaxing as he leaned into her, letting out a soft bark. Marlie felt her heart melt as she held him. He likes this. He really does. Poor Professor Lupin, this must be the first time anyone's ever shown him any affection while he's like this. She certainly couldn't imagine Professor Snape doing this to him. She watched as Lupin lowered his body to the ground and rolled over, clearly wanting his stomach tickled. Marlie obliged, laughing as she did so, wishing she had the opportunity to do this sort of thing more often. Odd really that she never played like this with Padfoot - somehow it just didn't feel right treating Padfoot like an ordinary dog. However, with Lupin, it seemed different somehow, mainly because he was stuck that way, and definitely different to his human form, werewolf control potion notwithstanding. And so she fussed over the grateful werewolf, completely oblivious to the troubled look in Snape's eyes. "So how long's he been a werewolf then?" Marlie asked, as Snape walked her back to the common room. "Is this a new thing, or...?"
"Most of his life," said Snape, his voice hollow. "He was already turned when he began school."
"Poor thing," said Marlie softly. "To go through that every month, for nearly your whole life, all on your own."
"Don't feel sorry for him!" Snape snapped, turning on her. "While his condition is to be regretted, I'm sure, he is more than used to it by now!" Noticing the surprise on Marlie's face, he softened a little... but only a little.
"Listen, Marlene, he does not need your pity, or your sympathy. While I am sure he is grateful that you haven't turned from him in disgust, this does not mean that your relationship with him is to change in any way. He is still your Defence teacher, you are still his student, and if I find that either of you are acting in a manner inconsistent with that relationship, there will be consequences. In short, you are to keep your mouth shut, and act as if nothing has changed. Do you understand me, Marlene?"
"Yes sir," said Marlie quietly, wisely choosing to rein in the sarcasm for once. As they reached Snape's quarters, however, Marlie turned before leaving. "Sir?"
"Will he really be OK?"
"He will be fine," Snape replied, the earlier menace fading. "Because of the potion's effects, he'll remain as a wolf for tonight, and all of tomorrow, before changing back on the morning of the 27th. He will no doubt be tired and uncomfortable afterwards, but I shall be on hand to assist. You do not need to worry, we have dealt with this before."
"Yeah, suppose," said Marlie softly. "Bye, sir."
Turning away, she made for the common room. Sirius would be amazed to hear about this...
Want to read the rest? Part Two is this way, but be warned - it has smut.