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Title:</> Way of the Snake and Wolf
Author: [livejournal.com profile] iwasanartist
Synopsis: Just my take on life for Snape and Lupin, two men who would end up with more in common than they ever would have guessed.
Author's NoteI'm going to try to keep it largely canon-compliant for books 3-7, but you know...there's a lot of stuff we didn't get to see while the series was busy focusing on its title character, and I think that probably leaves room for some secret slashy comfort and even perhaps a dab of affection.
Warnings: None so far.

Chapter One

Snape was walking through the castle corridors when he felt the chill of dementors. He shivered once and continued on his way.

"PROTEGO!" he heard a voice yell from behind. He whirled on the spot, wand at the ready, but no one was there.

"Stupify! Stupify! Stupify! Impedementia!" Snape followed the voice, trying to ignore the dread and misery weighing on his heart and mind. Finally, he saw them just ahead. Two first-years boys, a Gryffindor and Hufflepuff by the looks of it, were holding each other, huddled teary-eyed near a small flicker of blue flame. An older student stood in front of them, casting spell after spell against attackers hidden around the corner, her voice and wand beginning to shake.

Snape hurried to her side and saw two dementors, slowed only slightly by the barrage of spell's from the student's wand. Snape pointed his wand at the creatures and focused on his happiest thought. The squeak of an old swing set and a child's laughter filled his mind as he spoke the words that sent the dementors into retreat, a silvery patronus following along behind them.

Snape turned to the students, correct about the first-years and recognizing the older student as Fiona McBride. A fifth-year prefect from his own house.

"What is the meaning of this?" he asked. The first-years started talking at once and over each other in fast, high-pitched, unending tones. "Silence," Snape demanded. The students stopped, their mouths snapping shut and their eyes wide. He turned to Fiona.

"Professor," she said, "I heard these two arguing loudly about quidditch in a restricted part of the castle." She looked at them with mild disgust. "I was just about to set them straight when the dementors arrived."

Snape turned back to the first-years. "Is this accurate?" he asked them. They nodded and rubbed at their arms a if still trying to bring warmth back to their limbs. Snape waved his wand, conjuring a small squares of chocolate for each student.

"Eat this and return to your common rooms." The Hufflepuff boy looked at him timidly.

"Please, sir," he said, "We got lost while we were talking. That's how we ended up here."

"Come with me," Snape sighed and marched toward the Great Hall. About halfway there, the Gryffindor spoke up.

"Professor Snape," he said. "When the dementors got close last week, Professor Lupin gave us all full chocolate bars..."

Snape stopped and turned to look at him. "Do I look like Professor Lupin to you?"

"No," the boy said with more bravado than he could possibly back up.

"Keep that in mind," Snape said as he started down the hall again. "And while we're at it, 10 points from Gryffindor and Hufflepuff for being disruptive in the hallways, 20 points from each for being in a restricted area --"

"But!" the Gryffindor began --

"Get a map if you don't know where you're going," Snape said, cutting him off "And 10 points from Gryffindor for your cheek," he finished. He could almost hear the boy's teeth grinding as he fought the urge let loose a string of swears. Marginally smarter than most Gryffindors, at least, Snape thought to himself.

"Lastly," he continued as they approached their destination, "50 points to Slytherin for diligence to your duties as a prefect in the face of danger."

Voices, laughter and warmth enshrined them as they reached the Great Hall. Once at its doors, Snape deposited his charges and headed for the headmaster's office. He had to admit that, though the dementors served their purpose well, things were getting out of hand.

As he walked down another quiet corridor, Snape addressed the Slytherin still keeping stride next to him. "You surely realize the ineffectiveness of elementary stunning spells on creatures such as dementors." he said.

"Yes, professor," Fiona said. "I'm afraid I panicked and those were the first spells to come to mind after the shield."

"And the flames," Snape added.

"Yes, sir."

"Two points from Slytherin."

"Professor?" the girl said with a stunned glance.

"Compassion has its place, Miss McBride," Snape said. "One compassionate act can purchase an abundance of good will. But it serves no purpose in the midst of battle and panic serves even less. A lesson I trust you've learned tonight."

"Yes, sir."

As they reached the intersection that would send Fiona back to the Slytherin common room and Snape to the headmaster's office, she turned to him one last time. "Professor," she said, "In Defense Against the Dark Arts, Professor Lupin mentioned a defense against dementors. But since he's been ill we haven't --"

Snape looked up sharply. "Yes, a patronus," he said quickly. "It should have been one of the first things he taught your year -- this term, in particular. I'll have a word with him." Snape's words carried an air of dismissal and the girl continued to her common room, leaving him behind.

Snape turned on the spot, bypassing the headmaster's office entirely and heading for his own. When he was sure there would be no curious bystanders to see him, he broke into a sprint.

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