Chapter 21 : The Lone Wolf Returns
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February 20th, 1994:
I remained still, shock holding me mute for a few moments. I almost couldn't believe my eyes. But the proof was right in front of me. My father, Tobias Snape, had returned after all these years to . . .what? Mend the bridges he'd burnt? Make amends to my mother? See the son he had abandoned as a little boy, who was now all grown up with a family of his own? I hadn't understood his reasons for leaving then and I sure as hell didn't understand his reasons for returning now. I mean, it wasn't as though I needed him in my life any longer.
Hallie made a soft whimpering noise and I automatically patted her back.
Tobias, who had been staring awkwardly at me, suddenly focused upon my baby daughter. "Is that . . .your little girl, Severus?" His voice had gone soft all of a sudden.
I nodded. "This is Hallie Eileen. She and her twin brother were born five days ago. Technically, you're her grandfather, if I ever permitted her to call you that."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"What I said. Surely you don't expect to just waltz back into my life like nothing ever happened?" I sneered.
"Sev, look, I know I made a lot of mistakes back then, but I left for a very good reason."
"Because you got sick and tired of taking care of your family, right? You couldn't hack it as a father so you just took yourself off to greener pastures. Please!"
"No. It wasn't like that. I know that's how it would seem to you, but if you'll let me explain—"
I cut him off. "The only explaining I want you to do is to explain what the hell you're doing here."
Before Tobias could respond, Harry called, "Dad? Who's at the door?"
I turned and called over my shoulder, "Harry, take Hallie inside, please. I need to have a talk with . . .a relative."
Harry appeared behind me. I handed him his little sister. "A relative? Who?"
I wasn't going to answer him, but Tobias had other ideas, the sly weasel.
"I'm your grandfather."
"Grandfather?" Harry looked confused. "But Dad, I thought your father was dead."
"You told him I was dead?" my father demanded, his blue eyes flashing.
"You were as good as!" I snapped. "Mum had you declared dead after seven years. What do you expect? You left in the middle of the night, no explanation, no note, nothing. We didn't know where you were and frankly we were better off that way."
"Maybe that was true once. God knows I wasn't very good father material back then—"
I laughed bitterly. "That's the understatement of the year, Dad."
Harry was looking from one to the other of us, riveted to the floor. Hallie was beginning to fuss and I could hear Gabe start up as well.
"Harry, go inside and play with the twins while I finish this conversation. It shouldn't take me too long. Go!" I gave him a gentle nudge.
He sighed, but then caught sight of my face, and didn't bother arguing. He left, shutting the door behind him, leaving me on the porch with my father.
"What, you're not going to invite me in for a cup of tea?" Tobias mocked softly.
"Go to hell and stay there, why don't you?" I growled.
"No thanks. Where's your mother, Sev?"
"Why do you want to know? Plan on paying her a visit too?"
"Yes, I am. You want to know why I came back? Well, here's the long and the short of it. I came back to see what I could salvage of my past. I've changed, Severus. I'm not the drunken bastard I used to be. That was why I left. Because I knew I could only hurt you and your mother if I stayed. I was a no good drunken bum, a slave to the bottle. When I was sober, I knew what I did was wrong. I needed help, but I was too cowardly to admit it. So I left. I didn't say goodbye because I always planned on coming back someday, when I was dry. But I never reckoned it would take me so long to sober up for good."
"Over twenty-five years, old man. Twenty-five years! And you expect us to just . . .welcome you back with open arms? After what you did?"
To my shock, Tobias Snape actually looked ashamed. "I know I was a nasty bastard to you, Sev. I hurt you for no reason and I have no excuse for that. Being drunk isn't an excuse. I hope that one day you can forgive me . . .but if not I'll understand."
"Sure you will." I sneered. "Tell me another one. You've got balls, coming here and trying to make all nice with me. You made my life hell until I was eight years old, and her life too! And you think a few words will fix it? It's too fucking late for you to try and make amends with us." My hands balled into fists as I fought to control my temper, which was erupting from some deep well of anguish, resentment, and hurt inside of me. "You should have stayed dead, damn you!"
He flinched at the naked aggression in my tone. "Go ahead and hit me if you want. God knows I deserve it."
"Don't tempt me," I said through clenched teeth. Much as I wanted to belt him one, I knew I couldn't trust myself. And I had vowed years before to never become what he was. My childhood nemesis. The one man I both feared and admired, loved and hated. "I'm not like you."
He shook his head. "You think not? You're wrong."
I stiffened. "You don't know a damn thing about me. Everything I am today I became because I didn't want to be like you—a drunken oaf who drowned his failures in gin and beat the crap out of his kid because he was mad at the world. Who belittled his wife every chance he got and begrudged her every penny she spent on food and not beer."
"I'm not perfect. But then, neither are you. We all walk through our own dark night, Severus."
I snorted. I didn't need him to preach at me about darkness. I knew all too well what was buried in my soul. But for a dog, I would have taken the dark road and lost everything. "You sound like some two bit shrink." I mocked.
"That's because I am one. I'm a counselor now for AA."
"What? Who the hell gave you that job? They must have been bloody insane."
Now I saw a flicker of anger. "Who better to counsel others than someone who's lived through it?" he answered. "You ought to be glad I left when I did. I take it you and your wife and kids live here now? Where's your mother?"
"Living quite happily without you."
"She's not . . .she didn't find someone else . . .?"
"Not that it's any of your business, but no, she never dated again."
He reached into a pocket of his jacket and took out a small white card. "I would like to see her again. If she's willing to meet with me, that is. Here's the address and room number of the hotel I'm staying at. Tell her to call me." He pressed the card into my hand.
My fist clenched on it and I longed to just throw it in the nearest bin. Or shred it. But I didn't, don't ask me why. Instead I watched as my father turned and went down the stairs, walked over to the bike parked in the drive, and started it up. I fought to keep from gaping, for Tobias rode a blue velvet Harley with a winged panther etched onto the side, and it was in mint condition. Not some junk pile like the old truck he used to drive. I wondered cynically who he had boosted that off of.
I watched him leave, then I shoved the card in my pocket. His sudden appearance had left me feeling conflicted and adrift, just when I had thought my life was going brilliantly. I didn't know what I should do, if I should warn my mother that he was back, or should I just toss the damn card and be done with it? Finally, I gathered myself and went back inside.
I found Harry amusing the twins by making ridiculous faces at them and conjuring harmless colored balls of light and juggling them. He was terrible at it, the balls kept falling on the ground, which made the twins squeal with laughter. I watched my children for a long moment, thinking about how different their childhood was from my own. I intended to keep it that way.
"You're a good big brother, Harry," I commented.
He turned around. "Hi. Was that man really my grandpa?"
"Unfortunately, yes he was." I answered. I picked up Gabe, wrinkling my nose. "Someone needs a new nappy."
"Aww, Merlin! I just changed Hallie." Harry groaned.
I Summoned the small baby bag and changed my son on the couch, then went to warm up bottles for both of them. Once the twins were fed and burped, they were content to be placed in their cradle for a nap.
It was then that Harry asked another question. "Dad, about my grandpa . . .was he really what you said? A drunken bum?"
I nodded. "Yes. He was a very bad alcoholic. Come, we'll talk in the den." I led him into the den and we sat together on the couch. I didn't want to discuss Tobias anymore, but I knew that Harry would keep asking questions till I gave him an answer.
"Your grandfather once worked at the old mill down the road from here. Until the workers went on strike and the mill shut down. I was only five when that happened, and after that he started to drink when he couldn't secure a job right away. But that only meant trouble, for us as well as him. When he was drinking, not only did he cost us his pay, but he also became very nasty tempered."
Harry's green eyes went wide. "Did he . . .hit you? Is that why you and Gran never talk about him?"
"Yes and yes. He left one night and I never saw him until just now."
"Why did he come to see you?"
"He didn't. He came looking for your grandmother. He didn't realize that she sold the house to me once I got married. He wants to . . .make peace with me. Or so he says. But I don't trust him."
"Is that why you didn't invite him inside?"
"Yes. Enough questions, Harry. Have you finished your homework?"
"Yes, sir. Can I go and see Hermione?"
"Yes. But be back by supper."
"Okay, Dad." He half-sprinted out the door.
"Oh, and don't talk to any strange men on blue Harleys." I called after him.
He laughed. "Whatever, Dad!"
Once he was gone, I went to the small bar in the dining room and poured myself a glass of wine. I normally did not indulge, but Tobias' sudden appearance had thrown me for a loop. I was still pondering whether or not to break the news to my mother when Lily returned from the store.
After I had helped her put away the groceries, she asked how my day had gone so far. "Did the twins behave for you while I was gone?"
"They were angels. So was Harry. But a devil came calling this afternoon."
"A devil? What do you mean?"
I told her about Tobias. "I'm still trying to comprehend the fact that it was really him. He didn't really look the way I remember him, but then again, I was only eight when he took off, so my memory might be a bit unreliable." I removed the card from my pocket and turned it over in my hands. "I don't know what I ought to do, Lil. My father ruined her life, what makes him think he won't do it a second time?"
Lily put her arm about my shoulders. "Oh, Sev. I wish I could resolve this for you. I'm sorry that you feel so confused, but just remember, I'm here if you need me. Always." She began to card my hair and rub the tenseness from my shoulders. "I think you ought to talk to Eileen, Severus. Let her make up her own mind."
"I doubt she'll want to see him again."
"Even so, you need to let her choose. That way she'll feel more in control."
"All right. I'll Floo over and tell her later. Damn him! Why did he have to show up now? He always seems to ruin everything." I swore.
"Not this time, Sev. We'll get through this." Lily said comfortingly. "I won't let him come between you and your family. He's not going to hurt you again. I'll hex him first before I'll let that happen. If he's smart he won't try and test me."
I turned and hugged her. "My fierce little hawk. Tobias will be one sorry son of a bitch if he crosses you."
"He bloody well will be. Because nobody hurts my husband."
I kissed her, long and hard. I couldn't ask for a more loyal and devoted wife. Tobias had had that once, but he had thrown it away.
Just then an owl hooted outside the window and I undid the latch and the owl flew in with a letter addressed to me.
"Who's that from?"
"Lupin," I said shortly. "He's reminding me that the full moon is this Saturday. He needs his Wolfsbane." There was also a bank note for the cost of the potion included in the envelope. I had been making him the Wolfsbane for years, ever since the potion had been invented. It was a master level brew, with many costly and rare ingredients as well as a long brewing time.
Before the Wolfsbane, Lupin had to endure being chained up like an animal with silver, because silver chains were the only kind a werewolf couldn't break. My mind spun down the years, back to when Harry was nine, and still not displaying any sign of accidental magic, and the last Marauder had dropped by my mother's shop to ask a favor . . .
September 16th, 1989:
It was a brisk autumn afternoon, and the wind was blowing passerby's hats and scarves right off their heads. It decided to make a mare's nest out of my hair, tangling it and sending strands into my face until I found a leather tie and tugged the whole mess into a tail out of my face. I would deal with it later. Right now I was on an errand, I needed to pick up some extra dragon scales and bubotuber pus as well as dandelion juice for several different potions I was demonstrating to my Academy classes. So naturally I headed to my mother's apothecary, with Gabriel accompanying me. The wind ruffled his thick fur, making it all wild and fluffy, but he didn't mind it. He loved the cold.
"Hello, Sev. What can I do for you?" my mother greeted as soon as I set foot in the shop, even before the chimes above the door had ceased ringing. "Hello, Gabriel. You're still as handsome as ever, even if you are going a bit gray around the muzzle."
Gabe walked over to her and licked her, offering her a paw. Mum took it and then fed him some beef jerky, something she always kept in a jar for my dog when he visited her shop. Gabe gulped the treat and then lay down in his usual spot alongside the counter. Lately, he was wont to snooze away the afternoon, a sign that he was beginning to feel his age. I stroked him and he closed his eyes.
"Hello, Mum. Don't worry about waiting on me, I know where everything is." I said.
"I rearranged a bit since you last worked here." She said.
"I'm sure I can figure out where the dragon scales migrated to," I told her, knowing there were probably a dozen people in the shop at the moment who really needed her help.
"All right then, Sev. If you're sure . . ."
"Mrs. Snape, I need some more salamander skin, do you have any in the back?" called a customer nearby.
"Let me check my stock, William," Eileen answered and hurried off to the back room.
I was gathering my own ingredients, carefully putting each jar or vial into my shopping basket, when the chimes rang above the door and a new customer walked in. My eyes automatically went to the doorway, to see who had come in. It was reflex, automatic after so much time, even though I no longer worked behind the counter.
Gabriel's head came up and his ears pricked. He too looked at the door, where a medium-sized man stood, dressed in a patched brown robe, his light brown hair falling forward across his forehead. He sported a small moustache, but despite that I still recognized him.
Remus Lupin, the last Marauder. I bristled. Gabriel's teeth showed and he growled softly. As a rule, most animals did not like werewolves. I think they sensed the danger they represented, the wildness that lurked just below the surface. Plus, Gabriel had nearly died from an attack by this same werewolf. My collie apparently had not forgotten that.
The last time I had seen Lupin had been at Potter and Black's memorial service. He had been pale and drawn with grief then. He looked hardly better now, still shabbily dressed and gaunt. I supposed it must be difficult to hold down a job with the new Ministry restrictions on werewolves that had just been passed.
Gabriel continued to growl until I hissed, "Quiet! Down, Gabe!"
The collie reluctantly obeyed, though as Remus joined the queue, his upper lip lifted in a soundless snarl.
"Can I help you, Remus?" Eileen asked when he approached the counter. "You're looking awful tired. Do you need a special energy tonic?"
He shook his head. "No, thank you, Mrs. Snape. I'm here to . . .ask a favor. You're a Potions Mistress of some renown around here and I was wondering if . . .well, I'm sure you know about the new Wolfsbane Potion?" He had lowered his voice until only my mother and I, who was right next to the counter, could hear him.
"Can you . . .that is would you brew some for me? I'd do it myself, but potions have never been my strong suit. And I've heard it requires a master to brew."
That was for sure! None of the Marauders could brew to save their skins and the Wolfsbane was challenging enough for me, never mind a bumbler like Lupin, I thought scornfully.
Eileen looked thoughtful. "Well . . .the potion is very complicated, but more than that, it's time consuming. It takes almost a week to brew and it needs to be stirred several times a day. I'm afraid I don't have the time to brew that draft and run my shop at the same time."
"Oh. I see." Lupin looked crestfallen. Despair gleamed in his brown eyes. "Then I guess I'll have to write Damocles Belby and ask him to make it for me, even though he wants a ridiculous amount of Galleons to do so . . ." He turned to go.
"Wait!" my mother called. "There may be a way. I can ask my son, Severus. He works at the Academy of Potioneers and can use their lab and have one of his students or interns watch the cauldron for him on his days off."
"Really? It would be wonderful if he could do it. Would you mind asking him?"
"Not at all. As a matter of fact he's here now."
I stood frozen, horrified that my mother had just volunteered my services as a Potions Master to Lupin, of all people! She knew of our history together, knew that I had no reason to do him any favors, considering how he had passively tormented me during my schooldays by watching while his best friends hexed and beat me and did nothing to stop them. I wanted to turn and walk out of the shop, but it was too late for that.
Mum had spotted me and waved me over. "Severus, Remus Lupin would like to hire you to brew a complex potion for him. Let's go into a private room and discuss it."
I reluctantly followed her and Remus came after me.
"You wish to hire my services, Lupin?" I demanded coldly.
"Yes, Snape, I do. I know you might not want to help me after what went on at school, but I am begging you . . .please let bygones be bygones and brew the Wolfsbane for me. I will pay you the cost of the ingredients plus your time, say perhaps . . .50 Galleons?"
It was odd, but I actually began to feel sorry for the werewolf. And for once a Marauder would be in my debt. "That may not cover the cost of some of the ingredients. But I shall let you know if it doesn't."
"Thank you, Severus. You cannot know how grateful I am. The full moon is a week away and I was afraid I would never find someone willing to brew the draft unless I emptied my vault."
"The Wolfsbane is an extremely complicated potion. Not many wizards can brew it correctly."
"Have you ever done so?"
"No, but I am certain I can do so," I said swiftly.
"Thank you again," Lupin said, and held out his hand for me to shake.
No sooner had I clasped it, then a low snarl came from behind the werewolf.
Lupin whirled to find a snarling collie, head lowered, growling ferociously.
"Gabriel!" I commanded. "Down, boy! It's all right. He's not going to hurt me."
Gabriel did not cease his growling until I released Lupin's hand.
Lupin began to back away slowly, keeping his eyes on the ground. "Easy, boy. I won't hurt your master."
"Gabe, you insane mutt!" I scolded. "Forgive him, he's very overprotective of me, especially after . . .that incident at school."
Lupin blushed and looked away. "I can't say I blame him. If I had known what Sirius and James had been planning I would have stopped it. I have never deliberately hurt anyone. Had I been in my right mind, Snape . . .it never would have happened."
He was being sincere, I could hear it in his voice.
So could Gabriel, for he abruptly stopped glaring at Lupin with suspicion and sat down.
"Good dog," I praised, and my collie thumped his tail in acknowledgement.
"Well, I'd better go. I don't want to cause your dog to have a stroke." Lupin gave me a faint smile.
"I will owl you when the potion is ready. You can send me payment then." I said.
"Of course, Snape. Pleasure doing business with you." He gave me a short bow, then departed.
Gabriel relaxed and assumed his usual calm demeanor.
I scowled at my mother, who was looking inordinately pleased with herself. "Mother, how could you just . . .volunteer my services like that? Without consulting me? You know what Lupin did to me at school." I hissed.
"Yes, I know. But Sev, that was a long time ago, and you're all grown up now. That man needs your help, because of his problem he is made a pariah. You of all people should know what that's like. Will you turn him away because of the mistakes of the past? I thought I taught you better than that, Severus Snape."
Ah, my mother could pull a guilt trip with the best of them. I had to hand it to her, she knew me too well. I could always count on her to bring out my better half. Like my dog, she had positive influence upon me. Now feeling slightly ashamed of my uncharitable attitude, I sighed and said, "All right, Mum. You twisted my arm. I'll brew the potion."
"I'm proud of you, Sev. Holding a grudge only hurts you, not helps."
"Do you have a copy of the Wolfsbane formula? I might as well pick up those ingredients as well while I'm here."
"Yes, let me look on my desk. I think I put my copy of Most Potente Potions somewhere around there." She left to search for it while I returned to the front and helped some customers before they grew too impatient and started complaining.
After Eileen had shown me the potion recipe and I had purchased all the necessary ingredients from her, some of which were expensive because they were rare, I left to bring them to the lab at the Academy and ask some of my students who lived there if they wouldn't mind tending the potion once I had put it on to simmer. They agreed and I went home to tell Lily what was going on.
"Poor Remus! I always felt sort of sorry for him, having to live with that curse. I'm glad they've come up with a sort of cure for it and of course I won't mind taking a few days off for you to brew the Wolfsbane. I have al lot of leave accumulated and I've been meaning to spend some more time with Harry. He's been depressed lately because he hasn't shown any sign of magical ability."
"I wish there was a potion I could make that would jump start his magic, but there isn't. It has to happen on its own or not at all."
"I know, but it just breaks my heart to see him wishing so much for it and getting let down when nothing happens. Damn bloody Voldemort to hell and beyond! I hope his soul rots in perdition!" she spat angrily.
"Me too." I said feelingly. If Harry had been robbed of his magical birthright because of that scheming evil git I wished I could go to hell and kick his damn ass all over the place. "Well, let's eat dinner and then I'm going to go back to the Academy and make a start on that potion."
The next five days were hectic for me, but at last the Wolfsbane was brewed and I sent Remus an owl. He arrived at the Academy on the day of the full moon and took the potion. He grimaced and said it tasted awful but if it worked it was worth it. Then he reimbursed me for the cost of the ingredients and my time.
The full moon lasted for three days. On the morning after the third day, I received a note from Lupin thanking me again. It had worked wonderfully. He had changed into a full wolf instead of the beast-man and the transformation had been much less painful. He had kept his mind throughout it and fallen asleep in the basement of his home, waking only when the moon had waned.
He wished to thank Eileen as well, and I told him to meet me down at her shop, as it was a Thursday morning.
Once again, Gabriel invited himself along, and together we headed down the street to the apothecary. "Now you behave yourself when Lupin arrives, you hear?" I told him firmly. "I know he smells dangerous but he's a friend. Sort of. Even if he is a werewolf. So no growling and acting like you want to rip him to pieces, all right?"
Gabriel studied me for a moment, wisdom alight in his uncanny brown eyes. I knew he understood what I wanted. Then he walked calmly beside me until we reached the shop.
I could tell immediately that something was wrong. The door was askew and the large window was broken. Gabriel was barking in alarm. "Mum? Where are you?" I called. "Are you all right?"
"Sev, I'm in here. I'm fine, but the shop . . .Severus, I've been robbed!" she sounded slightly shaky and very upset and annoyed.
Gabriel and I entered and I saw that many of the shelves containing expensive items had been emptied and others had been overturned and broken. I swore softly. "Mum, why didn't the wards go off?"
"They did. Recently. But by the time I got down here, they were already gone. But they left this bloody mess behind!" She waved her wand and began trying to clean up.
Gabriel sniffed at a few glass shards and I quickly waved my wand and vanished them. No sense in having an injured dog added to the list of things already stolen.
I was furious that someone had dared to attack my mother this way, to me her apothecary was sacrosanct. I longed to try and find the criminal and hex him senseless.
"Mum, did you call the Aurors?"
"Yes, they're sending someone out here to investigate and talk to me," she said.
Just then there came a knock at the door and I heard Lupin's voice asking if he could come in. In all the excitement I had forgotten he was coming. My mother invited him inside and he came and asked what had happened. She told him what was missing and how she had found the shop.
Gabriel raised his head and a low rumble echoed through his chest.
"Looks like they worked you over pretty good. Do you know of anyone with a grudge against you, Eileen? A former employee, an unsatisfied customer?"
My mother shook her head. "No. Those employees I let go left on good terms and most of my customers are satisfied with what I sell."
"Shouldn't you be telling an Auror these things, Mum?" I asked pointedly.
"She is, Severus. I happen to work on the force and Moody sent me down to investigate. I'm happy to do so, since it may repay some of the debt I still feel I owe you." Lupin said. "Now, what time did you leave the shop last night? And when did you first become aware of the break-in?"
I wanted to kick myself. I felt like a total idiot. But I had never bothered to find out just what Lupin did for a living once he'd finished school. To tell the truth, I was surprised the Aurors had permitted Lupin to work on the force, given the rampant prejudice towards werewolves. Then again, maybe they figured a reputation like that might scare the snot out of criminals.
While Lupin was questioning my mother, I prowled about the shop assessing the damages and growing more and more angry by the minute. Gabriel sensed my mood and pressed close to me, whining and making his special "talking growl". Every so often he would sniff the ground. "It's too bad you're not a scent hound. Then you could help Lupin track down this vandal."
Abruptly, Gabriel halted and gave a low whine. He nudged a scrap of blue cloth and gave a strange sort of bark.
"What's the matter with you, boy?" I asked. "It's just a scrap of cloth."
When I bent to pick it up, Gabe snatched it in his jaws and danced away with it. I rolled my eyes. Now he wanted to play. "Later," I told him, only to find that he was carrying the strip of blue fabric over to my mother and Lupin.
Typical. If I wouldn't accept his invitation to play, then he would find someone else who would. Despite his advanced age, Gabe would never lose that bit of puppyish behavior. He still loved to romp with Harry and play fetch, though now he tired after ten minutes.
He trotted up to my mother and nudged her arm.
"Not now, Gabe!" she scolded. "I'm busy."
Undaunted, the red-gold sheepherder turned to Lupin. He barked through his teeth, the scrap flapping from his jaw like a pennant.
"What have you got there, boy?" Lupin asked, kneeling down.
To my utter shock, Gabriel dropped the scrap into his hand.
"Gabe, don't be a nuisance," my mother sighed.
Lupin straightened, his brown eyes suddenly a strange shade of amber. "Actually, Eileen, he may have just helped my case immensely." He put the bit of fabric to his nose and sniffed. "This piece of clothing has an unfamiliar scent upon it. One that stinks of apprehension and fear, suggesting that whoever was wearing this was not here on normal business."
"You mean, Gabriel found you a lead?" I asked.
"Yes. And a trail to follow. That's one smart dog you have here, Snape."
"He's one of a kind," I agreed, coming up to ruffle Gabriel's fur. "Is it enough for you to trace?"
"Yes. In fact, since I have heightened senses even as a human, I could probably track him right to his lair."
Gabriel, however, had other ideas. He ran out the open door and loped down the street.
"Gabriel!" I called. "Come back here! Where the hell are you going?"
But my collie seemed to have become deaf, since he didn't turn back and come to me as I had ordered. He just kept on going.
"Gabriel!" I shouted.
The collie loped along, cocking an ear back so I knew he heard me. He just was ignoring me.
"I think he's on the scent," Lupin cried eagerly. He sniffed the fabric again, nodded, and took off, following my dog.
I watched them and wondered when in hell Gabriel had become a bloodhound.
"Imagine that!" Eileen exclaimed. "That dog just gets more amazing every day. What will he do next?"
"Merlin only knows." I said.
I just hoped that Lupin didn't overtax my dog.
I needn't have worried. When he needed it, Gabriel could turn on the stamina.
Lupin returned an hour or two later, Gabriel in tow, and a huge grin on his face. "Snape, your dog led me right to the man that vandalized this shop. Gabriel even held him for me until I tied him up. Where did he learn those tricks?"
"I don't know. But he used to spend time with a retired police dog named Hunter, so maybe that's how he picked it up."
Gabriel pranced over to me, I ruffled his coat and told him he was the best dog in the world. He knew it too, for he ate up the attention like a greedy teen idol.
Mum conjured him a huge meaty steak bone and gave it to him to eat on the spot. "You crazy wonderful dog! Thank goodness that vandal was caught and thank you, Remus, for coming by and helping us."
"It was my pleasure, Mrs. Snape. I'll see you soon. Have to get back to the station to file reports."
And with that, he was gone.
The next day there was a front page article that read Apothecary Robbed, Auror and Hero Collie brought Thief to Justice. There was a large picture of Lupin getting licked by Gabriel, and I laughed and showed it to Lily and Harry.
I came out of my reverie with a snap. "It's too bad Gabe wasn't here now to give Tobias the Must-Like –Dogs test. Then I could know for certain if he was trustworthy."
Alas! He was gone to his reward , to chase butterflies and bluejays in heaven.
"I suppose I'll just have to play it by ear and see how it goes."
"That sounds like a good idea to me. Try not to get too annoyed with your dad, Severus. He's not worth getting a heart attack over ."
I knew she was right. Tobias wasn't worth the extra effort it would take to kick his sorry arse. I just hoped that Mum would take the news well.
Eileen was well liked in the magical community and people tended to bend over backwards for her. I knew they would rally round her when they found out about her circumstances. As for Tobias, I hoped my mother would send him away with his tail tucked between his legs like a whiny brat.
Should Sev and Eileen give Tobias a second chance?
How will Eileen react to Sev's news?
Find out next chapter!
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