Chapter 8 : 8 - The Animal Inside
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Snape's mood only worsened that morning after the debacle with Miss Hemmingway and her boy-toy when he found that he had no Wolfsbane Potion left in his supplies cupboard from his last brew, which, as the potion was exceedingly difficult and time-consuming to make, would mean that the first transformation at the full moon for Carla would be difficult because she wasn't going to be able to keep her human mind whilst in the werewolf form.
His only hope was to calm her down and take her to the Shrieking Shack via the Whomping Willow beforehand. It wouldn't be pleasant for her, he knew, because with no humans to terrorise she would turn upon herself. She would wake covered in scratches and bruises.
Severus blamed himself for what had happened to Carla. Only he had known the dangers of the werewolves, and though he had warned her, he hadn't been careful enough. He should have forced her to go. He should have pushed her across the boundary line before him and let the wolves get to him instead. Now she was bitten, in all respects an outsider. It helped than no one knew her secret, but over the years people would make guesses. People would become scared of her, shy away from her, maybe even run at the sight of her. It would hurt someone like Carla the most, someone who enjoyed constant company and making friends.
Because of something outside of her control, things would never be the same again.
This is so hard for me to write, because I'm so scared of what you're going to think. I'm just going to take a deep breath and put it down...
I'm a werewolf.
I was part of a search party in the school's forests and got bitten by one. Next full moon, I'll transform. And the time after that, and the time after that.
I want to tell you about werewolves - the real ones, not the ones you get in your Muggle films.
The werewolf is a creature that exists only for a small amount of time around the full moon each month. At any other time, a werewolf is a normal human, although the term werewolf is used for the human even when they're in their normal form. We basically look the same as any other wolf, but a little bigger, and we have tufted tails. Some of our other characteristics are sort of human - we can sometimes stand on our hind two feet, and we have uncanny human instincts. Unfortunately, when becoming a werewolf a human loses their mind - literally. When in werewolf form we aren't free to think for ourselves anymore. I would hurt anyone that crossed my path. It wouldn't matter whether it was a stranger or a friend or you, because I wouldn't know the difference.
It will all be bloodlust, Jeremy, and I'm so scared. Where am I going to go? What if someone crosses my path? I won't be myself, Jer, and I won't be able to stop from killing them.
If people found out about this it would be the end of me. They would hate me and be scared of me. Please say that you still feel the same way about me as you did before. You're all I have.
Carla folded the letter in half, fastening it to the leg of a moody-looking owl which tried to fight her off a little, obviously not wanting to make the long trip to Norfolk.
"Tough luck," she muttered. "Sometimes you have no choice in the matter."
"I have a feeling you're talking more to yourself than to the owl."
Carla spun, startled, to find Snape leaning casually against the door.
"What makes you say that?" she asked, letting the owl fly away. She hoped it would get to Jeremy soon.
He shook his head slowly. "You didn't want this, Miss Hemmingway. Who would? And now you feel stuck."
She shrugged. "Yeah, you're right."
He raised his eyebrow. "You've never let a statement of mine slide so easily," he mused. "Are you losing your fight?"
It was her turn to raise an eyebrow. "Certainly not, Professor Snape," she said. "In fact, I think it's getting stronger and stronger."
"Well, good, because you're going to need it." He paused, frowning. "You've heard of the Wolfsbane Potion, I suppose?"
Her eyes brightened. "Yes, but I didn't think there would be anyone potent enough at potion brewing to make it. Do you know someone?"
Snape scowled. "Yes, I know someone. Me."
She bit her lip. He once again noticed how beautiful her mouth was, and had to drag his eyes away to look at the floor to stop himself from being caught ogling.
"Sorry," she said. "I shouldn't have doubted your abilities. I just kind of forgot about you."
"Oh, how charming," he snapped. She recoiled in surprise, and he inhaled deeply, trying to calm himself. His thoughts had been on her all day and she'd forgotten about him? "Well, as I was saying, you're going to need your fight because I haven't got any left in stock and it takes six weeks to brew."
Her bottom lip trembled, and Snape braced himself for the tears. She sniffed instead, exhaling loudly and looking up at him with wide blue eyes. "I didn't really have my hopes up anyway, Severus," she said sadly.
There was a short silence, a palpable tension growing by the second.
"Look, I have something to show you," he said, suddenly remembering about the Shrieking Shack in his eagerness to find something to say. "Come with me."
Snape led her up the small, cramped tunnel under the whomping willow (having aimed a spell at the knot at it's stump first, of course), using his wand for light. They walked for a while before the tunnel increased in size and they could stop stooping, and eventually they reached the entrance to a room of some kind.
"Where are we?" Carla asked breathlessly. She'd been trying to breathe as little as possible on their journey here because the tunnels had reeked of rotting vegetation and damp. The room they were in wasn't much better, smelling musty and like no one had been in it for years.
"The Shrieking Shack," Severus replied, leading her through out into the landing. There were no windows.
Her breath caught in surprise. "Isn't this supposed to be the most haunted house in Britain?"
"Well, what are we doing in it?"
"It's not haunted, Miss Hemmingway. Not by ghosts anyway. When I was at school here I was... acquainted with a student who was secretly a werewolf. He went here every full moon so that he wouldn't hurt anyone when he was a werewolf."
"What about the cries that people heard?"
"That was him," Snape said, dreading what he had to say next. "When a werewolf is without victims they will turn on themselves to hurt."
Carla's eyes widened. "How badly would it hurt itself? How badly will I hurt myself?"
"All I know is that when that student came back to school a day or two after the full moon, he had bruises and scars all over him."
She shuddered. "Just another thing to look forward to," she said sarcastically. "But wait... did other students know about the werewolf too? Did they accept him?"
Severus shook his head. "I eventually figured it out. Only a small handful of people knew."
She slumped against the wall dejectedly. "I'm so scared, Severus," she whispered. If it had been anyone else standing before her right then, she would have fallen into them for a hug. Because it was Severus, she stayed where she was, head down and biting her lip.
"Do stop doing that!" he said suddenly.
Her head snapped up. "What?"
He realised what he'd just said and calmed down a bit, albeit looking a little flustered. "Biting your lip. You'll end up gnawing it all away."
She laughed. "I highly doubt that my lip will be gnawed away, Sev."
At that remark Snape's face changed colour, going uncharacteristically red before a little bit purple and then as white as death.
"What's the matter?" she asked. He shook his head numbly, avoiding her gaze. Carla grabbed hold of his wrist. "Tell me what's the matter, Severus!"
He gave her an unfathomable glare, tugging her arm from his grip.
"It was nothing!" he hissed. With a swirl of his cloak he'd left the room. She heard his footsteps as he strode across the other room and then there was silence.
I'm so sorry that that happened to you, and of course I still think of you in the same way. You're the same as you ever where, you just have a bit of bad luck. You have to let me know how the first transformation goes, okay? And don't be scared. If you need someone, you know I'm always here.
Carla smiled, a little watery-eyed, as she read through Jeremy's letter. Snape hadn't spoken to her all week after the incident in the Shrieking Shack and Jeremy's offer of company seemed awfully compelling. She knew it was impossible to take up - she would never put him in that danger, and even if she did, he wouldn't be able to handle her as a werewolf without having a wand.
Being a werewolf had changed things already, even without the full moon. Carla felt in a bad mood practically all of the time; she was impatient and grouchy and didn't find pleasure in things that she had done before. She also craved red meat, which probably would have been okay except she was fantasising about it uncooked, fresh from the bone and dripping with blood. The thought made her sick to the stomach but she couldn't stop herself from feeling that way. It was like the animal inside was suddenly emerging.
It was Snape's turn to patrol the corridors that night, and as he strode from corridor to corridor, wand held aloft and ears straining for noise, he couldn't help but let his mind wander.
The Wolfsbane Potion was steadily brewing on the desk in his office, having been almost completely prepared. All it needed was an exact twenty-four hours to brew as it was before he added the finishing touches and turned down the temperature to let it brew for seven weeks.
Without the potion Carla was going to be in need of a lot of help, and Snape knew that he was the best one to give it. Pomfrey had helped Lupin in his days as a werewolf/student, but she had aged since then and wasn't capable of as much as she'd used to be. Dumbledore was far too busy to deal with her at the present moment because of business with the Ministry and the Minister for Magic. That left Snape. He had extensive knowledge of werewolves, and was acquainted with Carla. He really was the perfect man for the job. The only thing that was holding him back was that he didn't want to do it.
No one had ever called him Sev before apart from Lily. Carla calling him by his nickname last week had been a blow to him, and he hadn't known how to take it. Avoiding her seemed the best option, as always, but he was bound to cave in soon because he couldn't help but crave her attention.
A muffled giggle from the end of the corridor brought him away from his thoughts, and he lit up his wand, holding it aloft and striding forwards. There was a couple in the broom cupboard, he realised, judging from the noises coming his way from behind the door. Snape pulled the door open with as much speed and force as he could muster, hoping to send the misbehaving students toppling out into the corridor. He stopped mid-smirk, however, when Miss Hemmingway and her repulsive, slimy, slobbering boyfriend tumbled to the floor at his feet. Carla looked up at him with wide eyes as his face contorted with anger and disgust before he turned, with a brandish of his robes, and strode as fast as he could away from them.
She sighed, wriggling out from under Pete.
"I have to go after him," she said.
He groaned, picking himself up off of the floor. "No, you don't. He has no business in our relationship."
"You're right, he doesn't. But he's my friend." She kissed him on the cheek, hurrying off down the darkened corridor.
"Friends don't ignore friends for days on end!" he called after her.
He was right, friends didn't do that. Only Severus did.
Carla caught up with him eventually, tugging on his robes to make him stop.
"Severus!" she panted.
"What?" he snapped. He was in a fowl mood.
"Don't you think it's about time we talked?"
He didn't reply, so she pulled him into a darkened class room and lit up all of the wall candles with her wand.
"I'm so sorry you had to catch me and Pete like that," she said.
Snape was silent, eyes narrowing at 'Pete'. "Don't you think you're a little old for that kind of thing?"
"What, snogging in a broom cupboard? No, Severus. And don't tell me you wouldn't jump at the chance to go do it with someone if you could."
"What? Not even with Lily?" she teased.
His face reddened, more from anger than embarrassment (though there were traces of both), and made to leave.
"No, wait!" She moved to stand in front of the door so that he couldn't get out. "Did she call you Sev, too?" she asked softly, searching his face to see if she was right. He didn't say anything, looking at his feet with downcast eyes. Hesitantly, she reached forwards and placed a hand to his cheek. His face with smooth and surprisingly warm, hardly even a hint of stubble to be felt. She could have compared it to a baby's bum, but decided not to since it wasn't exactly the epitome of poetic-ness. "I'm not Lily, Severus," she whispered. "Why is it so hard to see that?"
They stayed in that position for several seconds, barely daring to breathe, before Snape moved away, clearing his throat. Carla's hand fell to her side.
"I'll see you later," he said, his usually silky voice sounding a little strangled. He moved around her and left the room.
A/N - Please review! It means a lot!
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