Written for the third wave of Master and the Wolf: the Snape/Lupin Fuh-Q Fest. Challenge #230: "Snape, Lupin, or both of them, become trapped in a portrait."

Included herein is a none-too-subtle nod to Raiders of the Lost Ark and blatant misuse of Muggle artworks: I fully expect Arthur Weasley to appear on my doorstep at any moment.

Many, many thanks to Luthien, who laughed in all the right places and performed lightning fast beta (except for the parts I changed *after* she finished *g*).

Un endroit secret
by Beth H.
(c) January 2005


Malfoy Manor was no longer home to the Malfoys.


In the final days of the Great War, Lucius Malfoy realized that due to the sort of idiotic oversight for which the Ministry had become famous in recent years, he had never been formally relieved of his seat on the Hogwarts' Board of Governors. Despite the school's heightened security measures, Lucius found it laughably easy to breach the wards and make his way, unseen, to the dungeons where he would finally settle a score with his old . . . friend.

When he looked into the Potions classroom, he was delighted to see Snape supervising a detention with one of those Gryffindor disgraces to the name of Pureblood. He was clearly more interested in screaming at the cowering boy than in paying attention to the arrival of an uninvited guest.

"Not dragon's blood, you idiot child! Do you have any idea what you've done?"

Lucius drew his wand and stepped into the room, then closed the door behind him.

"Hello, Severus."

Snape started at the sound of his voice, then made a transparently obvious attempt to act as if a visit from an Azkaban escapee was an insignificant event.

"I wouldn't stand there if I were you, Lucius. You should step out into the corridor immediately."

Lucius smiled and shook his head. Really, how could he have been taken in for so many years by this man?

"Come now, Severus. Surely you don't imagine I'm such a fool as to . . . "

"Down, Longbottom!"

These were the last words Lucius Malfoy ever heard.

Seconds later, the cauldron holding Neville Longbottom's latest disaster exploded and doused Lucius with a botched - and lethal - potion.


Moments before the fall of the Dark Lord, the young scion of the Malfoy family, who to the very end had never been quite able to decide which side he was on, was caught between two curse spells and suffered irreversible memory loss.

Six months after Draco Malfoy was admitted to St. Mungo's, a report came across the Quibbler news desk saying that the Malfoy heir and Gilderoy Lockhart had become inseparable, and the two men were petitioning the courts for permission to marry. The story was never run. After all, there were some things that even Luna Lovegood couldn't believe.


Narcissa Malfoy, after opting for permanent exile from the Wizarding World rather than serving thirty years in Azkaban for "aiding and abetting a known Death Eater," took the 'suggestion' of Alastor Moody and deeded Malfoy Manor to the Ministry for use as a memorial museum.

She would, of course, miss her son and her old life, but thanks to the insipidly forgiving nature of her sister Andromeda (and the Muggle connections of her brother-in-law, Ted), a new world was awaiting her in America. She had no idea what "Wal-Mart" was, or what, precisely, the responsiblities of a 'stock girl' might be, but surely it would be somethng suitable to her particular talents.

Her last act before leaving her old home forever was to gift each of the remaining Malfoy House-Elves with a hideous knit cap. This was not, of course, her own idea. That Mudblood girl had been very . . . persuasive.

As a gesture of gratitude to their former Mistress, the House-Elves ironed their hands one last time, but it would have been clear to any observer that their hearts weren't really in it. As soon as Narcissa Disapparated, they gathered together their meager belongings and scarpered off to parts unknown.


Malfoy Manor was no longer home to the Malfoys . . . but that didn't mean that the house was empty.

The public rooms of the Malfoy home still looked very much as Severus had remembered them looking on those rare occasions Lucius had deigned to invite him to the Manor.

The private rooms were another matter entirely.

The more obvious Dark Objects had been carefully removed, piece by piece, over the past year by teams of Ministry Aurors, but like Hogwarts' curriculum, the Auror program was sadly lacking in any useful Dark Arts instruction, and when a third Auror ended up in St. Mungo's after inadvertently touching a Cursed vase, Moody gritted his teeth and turned to Severus Snape for help. If there had been anyone else he could have asked, he would have, but Severus was the only surviving member of the Order who had any practical experience with the Dark Arts.

"You listen to me, though, Snape - you're not going in there alone!" Moody snarled.

"Worried about my safety, are you?" he said with a smirk.

Moody spat on the ground.

"Worried about you pocketing some of the toys your old playmate left behind, more like."

Severus glared at the old Auror. "If you'll recall, I didn't ask for this assignment in the first place."

"It's not too late to see about overturning that pardon Dumbledore finagled for you."

"No, I shouldn't imagine it is, especially now that the Headmaster's no longer alive," Snape said bitterly.

"That's right, Snape. Your protector's gone, and you still have a hell of a lot to answer for. In fact, I think I'd better be the one to go with . . . "

"No! Absolutely not! I'm not setting one foot in that house with you!"

"No? You're not exactly in any position to be setting terms now, are you? Here are your choices, Death Eater: either I go in there with you, or . . . ."

"Or I do."

Snape wheeled around to see Remus Lupin standing in the doorway of Moody's office.

"Hello, Severus."

For a moment, Severus considered objecting, but one look at Moody's disgruntled expression and he decided to take the Werewolf up on his offer. Anything that made Moody look that sour had to be a good thing.


"I couldn't help but overhear," Lupin said, then he smiled. "I don't suppose this was supposed to be a secret mission, was it, Alastor?"

Moody muttered something unintelligible, then shuffled a stack of papers on his desk before looking back at Lupin.

"You sure you've recovered enough to do this?"

Lupin rolled his eyes.. "I'm fine, Alastor. I've been fine for months now."

"Don't give me that look, boy. You came this close to dying."

Yes, thought Severus, feeling slightly sick all of a sudden . . . because of me. Bellatrix's curse was meant for me, and this idiotic Gryffindor got in its way.

"Don't worry, Moody," he said with a sneer. "We'll make sure your pet wolf has time for a nice little nap while we're there. The manor has some rather comfortable beds."

"Oh, I'm sure it does," Moody snarled. "And I'm sure Malfoy had you on every one of them, Snape."

Before Severus's anger could build to a state of white hot rage, Lupin stepped in front of him, effectively blocking Moody's face from Snape's sight.

"Do we need to take anything with us, Severus?"

"What?" Severus snapped. "No, of course not! Just your wand and a modicum of common sense. Or is the latter beyond the reach of a Gryffindor?"

He could see Moody bristle, but Lupin just shook his head and tugged on the sleeve of Severus's robe.

"Come on," he said. "The sooner we get started, the sooner we'll be finished."

"Or the sooner one of us will be dead."

"You know, that's what I've always liked about you, Severus," said Remus, as he pulled him out the door. "You've always had such a positive attitude about everything."


Severus would never have admitted it out loud, but the werewolf wasn't the worst partner one could have with a task of this sort. He had recognized most of the Dark Objects they'd come across that morning at a single glance - a side effect of his Lycanthropy, perhaps? - and he was able to neutralize or at least contain whatever he found without causing any injuries to Severus or himself. In addition, Lupin exhibited little of the typical Gryffindor propensity for rushing into situations before determining whether they might be dangerous or not, which was particularly welcome as they made their way to the heart of the Malfoy dungeons.


Lupin's voice echoed in the cold, dry hallway.

"What is it? Have you found something?"

"I don't. . . well, maybe. I need a little more light over here before I know for certain."

"Fine," Severus said. "Increase the illumination. But only by . . . ."

"Small increments. Yes, I know. You've said it often enough this morning."

Severus faced Lupin and crossed his arms over his chest. "There is a reason some of these are called Dark objects, Lupin. Their negative reaction to the light is not only a metaphor. Indeed, some of . . . ."

"Yeah," Lupin said, visibly trying not to laugh. . "I read the introductory chapter to Lockhart's Dances with Darkness too."

Severus could feel his face heat up with embarrassment.

"Do me a favor, Lupin. Fuck off."

He stalked down to the other end of the hall, but he could hear the Werewolf chuckling quietly behind him.


The trouble with pointedly ignoring someone, Severus thought after a half hour had passed in near total silence, was that it was altogether ineffective when the person you were ignoring was doing a better job of ignoring you than you were of ignoring him.

By the time Lupin had said "hmm" for the ninth time, Severus had reached the end of his patience.

"What in the name of Merlin is so damned interesting?"

"Hmm?" Lupin said for the tenth time. "Oh, right. Could there be a door here somewhere?"

"Of course there could. I imagine that there are any number of hidden rooms throughout the Manor."

"Any idea how we could . . . ."


In an instant, what had looked like a solid stone wall dissolved and the oak doors that had been hidden behind opened.

Lupin shot a quizzical look at Severus, who returned the look with something that was almost a smile.

"Nobody ever accused Lucius of being particularly creative where magic was concerned. As you might imagine, he tended to believe power was all that mattered." Severus held the door open and raised an eyebrow. "Shall we?"

It was not uncommon for magical rooms to be larger inside than they appeared to be on the outside, but the dimensions of this room rivaled the Great Hall at Hogwarts. Six rows of standing shelves, each one ten feet high, ran the entire length of the room. Carefully labeled on each shelf in that vast room were thousands upon thousands of works of art. Sculptures, paintings, tapestries, antique jewelry, fragments of Roman mosaics, panels of stained glass . . . and almost all of them seemed to be of Muggle origin.

Severus glanced at Lupin, but the other man was just shaking his head in disbelief.

"Malfoy must have been . . . he couldn't have collected all this by himself."

"No," Severus said. "This must go back at least three generations. Clearly the family's distaste for Muggles didn't extend quite so far as their artworks."


"What is it?"

"I'll wager if we trace the provenance of these pieces, we'll find most of them have come from homes in which unexplained assaults took place."

Severus glanced down at his left arm. The list of crimes in which he'd participated - unwittingly or not - was never going to end.

"What's never going to end, Severus?"

He looked up to find Lupin watching him with concern; had he spoken that last part aloud?

Severus shook his head. "It's unimportant. We need to contact the Ministry: Moody's going to want to send a team back here to catalogue all this."

Lupin nodded, then walked over to a stack of paintings leaning haphazardly against a wall.

"This is . . . it's just unbelievable. I swear I saw something just like this piece at the Tate."

"The Tate?"

"A Muggle museum. Come on over here and give me a hand; let's see what's behind this one."

Severus joined Lupin, and both men reached out to take hold of the frame. As they touched the gilt frame, Severus felt an oddly familiar jerk behind his navel, and in the next instant, he and Lupin were being pulled forward.

How in the name of all the gods had they both been taken in by something as obvious as a Portkey? It had to be a Portkey. There was no other explanation for how the two of them found themselves on their hands and knees beside a pond and surrounded by . . . sheep.

As he stood up and brushed the dirt off his robes, Severus was jostled by one of the bleating beasts, and he slid down the embankment, landing on his arse in the mud. Bloody stupid creatures. As far as he was concerned, they were good for little more than to serve as an accompaniment for a nice bit of mint jelly.

"Are you all right, Severus?"

Wonderful. More ammunition for Lupin's always puerile sense of humor.

"I'm perfectly fine," he snapped, ignoring the man's outstretched hand.

After a moment or two, he found his footing, although with a little less grace than he might have liked, then drew his wand.

"I think I've had more than enough of this little outing. I'm returning to Hogwarts, and I'll contact Moody from there. You may do as you wish, of course."

Lupin nodded, then said with a hint of a smile, "It's been . . . interesting."

"Mmm. That's one word for it." He flicked his wand and called out "Hogwarts Gates."

. . . but nothing happened.


Still nothing.

Severus looked at his wand. It appeared to be intact.

"Lupin . . . see if you can Apparate out of here."

"Ministry of Magic," Lupin said, but he, too, remained where he was.

This was not looking good.

Severus took stock of the situation: he had apparently Portkeyed to . . . somewhere with an abundance of sheep, in the company of a werewolf, and neither of their bloody wands were functioning. His robes were covered with mud, the palms of his hands were scraped, and he was starting to sweat.

One of the sheep turned and looked at him, and he took an automatic step backward. Sheep weren't carnivores, were they? No, of course they weren't.

He must be losing his mind.


"What is it?"

Lupin took his arm and tugged at him gently. "Come. I think we need to find you some protection from the sun before you get heatstroke. You're starting to turn a rather alarming shade of red."

"Lovely," he mumbled, allowing himself to be pulled in Lupin's wake. "Let me know if I turn gold as well, so I can play Quidditch for Gryffindor."

Lupin laughed, and sat him down in the shade of one of the trees that dotted the landscape.

"Why don't you just cool down for a few minutes, and I'll take a look around . . . see if I can figure out where we are."

Severus nodded, and leaned his head back against the tree. He opened the top buttons of his wool robe, then closed his eyes. How he hated hot, sunny days. There was a reason he chose to spend most of his time in the dungeons

When he opened his eyes again, he found that Lupin had returned, and was sitting beside him under the tree. Severus looked up at the sun; it didn't appear to have moved yet.

"Back so soon?"

Lupin scrubbed at his face with one hand. "As near as I can estimate, I've spent over two hours exploring the area."

"That's impossible."

"It would certainly seem to be, wouldn't it? But no, it's very possible . . . if you're in a place where the sun doesn't move."

Severus snorted. "And where might such a place be?"

"In a bloody painting, that's where."

In a . . . no, that was not possible. There were no records of any living wizard entering a painting since the late seventeenth century, and that was . . .

"Ian Connolly."


"Ian Connolly. He was a student at Hogwarts in the 1680's. He disappeared for three days, and when he returned he tried to avoid punishment by saying he'd been visiting his Muggle cousins when they turned him in to Hern the Witch Hunter, and he was only able to escape being burned because they left him in a room with a painting in it. He told them he hid inside until he was able to return to Hogwarts."

Lupin raised his eyebrows. "Where do you get these stories?"

Severus scowled. "Believe me or not, as you wish. Unless I'm very much mistaken, you're the one who . . . ."

"No, I believe you. It's just . . . how could I not have heard about that?"

"Clearly you haven't spent enough time listening to Binns."

"Okay, I don't believe you listened to Binns in History class. Nobody did, not even the swottiest Ravenclaws."

"Of course I didn't listen to him when I was in school," Snape said dismissively. "But he's slightly more entertaining in the staff room."

"God. He'd have to be, wouldn't he?"

Severus just nodded. "So . . . any brilliant ideas for how to get the hell out of here?"

"None whatsoever. How about you?"

"No. But if we're stuck in here much longer, we're going to have to do something about finding food and drink."

"That pond is . . . ."

"I am not sharing my drinking water with sheep!"

"Strictly speaking," Lupin said, "it's the sheep who'd be sharing their drinking water with you. Seriously, though, that seems to be the only fresh water in the vicinity. Given that this is a painting, I don't think it'll do any good to hope for rain."

"No, I suppose not. Let me see what I can do about setting up some sort of filtration system."

Lupin nodded, then pushed himself up off the ground. "I'll take another look around and see if I can find something for us to eat."

"Just leave the sheep alone, Lupin."

"Ha, bloody ha. Very amusing wolf joke, Snape. I don't think I've heard that one . . . today."

"Actually," Severus said with a smirk, "I was thinking about the Gryffindor male's predisposition to pursue anything that breathes."

Lupin shook his head and started to walk away, but then he stopped, turned around, and said "Baaa!" before heading off again.

Try as he might, Severus couldn't stop himself from laughing.


By the time what must have been the second day rolled around, neither man was laughing. Severus had rendered the water drinkable, and they'd been able to find a few edible roots and berries, but neither of those things were actually satisfying. Lupin had been able to catch a fish with his bare hands - lycanthropy seemed to be good for enhancing one's reflexes, if nothing else - but neither of them were able to start a fire without their wands, and even the thought of eating raw fish was entirely unappealing.

"You know, if we lived in Japan, this would seem perfectly natural," Lupin said, gazing unhappily at the fish.

"If we lived in Japan, neither of us would have been skulking around in Lucius Malfoy's hidden chamber."

"True enough." He sighed. "Severus? Did you ever wonder what might have happened if . . . "

"For God's sake, Lupin. Don't tell me things have got so dire that you want us to have a heart to heart talk?" Lupin scowled, but Severus smirked. "Because, you know, we could just skip all the preliminaries and head straight to the sex."

Lupin laughed. "I suppose that sort of overture worked in Slytherin House, did it?"

"Not bloody likely," Snape said, and then he started to laugh too. "All right, Lupin . . . if you've eaten your fill of greenery, I'd suggest we try once more to find a way out of here.


In the end, it turned out to be ridiculously easy to escape from the painting. All it took was yet another resentful sheep pushing up against Severus's leg, and another slide down the embankment. This time, though, Snape was fully submerged in the pond.

When he came out, sputtering and pulling weeds out of his hair, Lupin looked worried, but Severus just beckoned him over impatiently.

"If you don't know how to swim, Lupin, you'd best learn quickly. The bottom corner of the painting is down at the bottom of this pond, and I believe it's just frayed enough for us to get through."

Severus leaned against the wall and attempted to wring some of the water out of his sodden robes. He reached into his pocket and took his wand out, then cast a drying spell.


"Oh, don't bloody tell me we're in another bloody painting," he snarled. "How the hell many were there stacked up against that wall?"

"How the hell should I know?" spat Lupin.

Severus looked up in shock. Since when did Remus Lupin swear?

"Lupin." Oh lord, he was really going to ask the question, wasn't he? Bad enough they were trapped in another painting; now it appeared they'd been put under a personality transference spell as well. "What's . . .the matter?"

There. He'd asked the question, and the sky hadn't fallen. Yet.

"I lost my bloody shoes in the pond, didn't I?"

"Hah!" Severus swished his wand back and forth, laughing as he did. "Oh dear, it appears I can't transfigure a new pair for you. Foolish wand waving. Hah."

Lupin tilted his head to one side. "Severus? Are you all right?"

"Do you know . . . when your head's at that precise angle, you look amazingly like the crup I used to have when I was a small boy."

"Okay, you're definitely losing it, Severus. Are you sure you don't have a bottle of Firewhiskey in your robes?"

Severus shook his head. "Sadly, no. However, it looks like there's a market just down this alley, so . . . "

"Good day, Gentlemen."

The stranger's voice put Severus immediately on guard, and he raised his wand automatically. The stranger's eyes widened.

"Be that an instrument of witchcraft you hold in your hand?"

Lupin slipped the wand out from between Severus's fingers and put it in the pocket of his own robe.

"Ah, my . . . cousin here . . . he's . . . that was merely his dowsing rod . . . for finding water."

The stranger's eyes narrowed.

"Water, do ye say? What need have ye to seek water when surely ye can see the well yonder."

Lupin looked over the man's shoulder.

"Yes, and what a lovely well it is . . . er . . . it be. Come, cousin, let's . . . go take a closer look at their very nice well."

Once again, Severus found himself pulled along by Lupin, but this time, their progress was watched by more than just a few stray sheep. The man who'd questioned them was soon joined by friends, and their murmuring grew louder as the minutes passed.

"What now . . . cousin?" Severus hissed. "Any other brilliant ideas you'd like to trot out before we're both hanged in the town square by these Muggles?"

"Oh, belt up," Lupin whispered. "I wasn't the one waving my wand around, and . . . damn, they're still following us."

"Yes, I had noticed."

"I think it's time to make a run for it."


"Let's try . . . there! That table where they're selling parsnips."

Severus stared at Lupin. "And you're suggesting . . . what? That we arm ourselves with parsnips and take on all the inhabitants of this town?"

Lupin smiled, but picked up the pace.

"No, beneath the table. Doesn't it look a little . . . frayed to you?"

"And if that's not the spot, then what? Our last moments on earth will be spent crawling in what appears to be animal excrement?"

"Well, yes. I suppose so. Unless you have a better plan?"

Severus sighed.

"I didn't think so." Lupin looked over his shoulder. "Oh hell, here they come. Run!"

Severus dropped to the floor beneath the window. The uncharacteristic giddiness that had come over him in the last painting was well and truly gone, but the muck under the parsnip table, oh yes . . . that remained. These robes would have to be burnt if . . . when they returned to their own reality.

Lupin lay sprawled out on the floor, breathing heavily.


No answer.

"Can you hear me?"

Lupin groaned, then took a deep breath and nodded once.

"Yeah, clear as a bell," he said hoarsely, before drawing his knees up to his chest and grimacing.

Severus knelt down beside the man. "Lupin. Remus . . . what's happening?"

"Window," he rasped. "Sunset."

"Yes, very pretty," Severus said. "But . . . ."

"Full moon."

Severus looked out the window. He had no idea what Lupin . . . what Remus was talking about. No moon appeared in the sky outside the window, and in any case, the moon wouldn't be full for another week.

In their reality.

Oh bloody hell.

"Remus, you can feel the full moon about to rise?"

"Ten . . . points to . . . Slytherin."

As long as they stayed in this place, the full moon would never rise, which meant that Remus could theoretically remain in this state - on the very brink of transforming into a wolf - forever.

Severus stood up and walked the perimeter of the small room. He could see no fraying, no gaps. Trust Lucius Malfoy to have placed one perfect work of art amid the ones which must have been awaiting repairs.



"Look . . . up," Remus hissed between clenched teeth.

There! Right above the window was a very noticeable tear. If he had the use of his magic, a simple levitation spell would be all that it would take to get them both out of this place: even a First Year could do it. But with no magic? Seven feet off the ground? Impossible.

Remus's breath was coming more quickly now. Severus could see the muscles and bones beneath Remus's skin shifting slightly, realigning themselves for the transformation that had to come, but never would.

Severus knelt back down beside the man, then slid his hands beneath Remus's arms.

"No . . . flowers first?"

"Shut up. If you want to make yourself useful, you might attempt to stand up."

Remus screwed his eyes shut, then nodded and let Severus pull him up off the floor.

"Now . . .what?"

"Now I prop you up against the window sill, while I try to fathom how in the world I'm going to scale this wall."

"Kick . . . the window."

Severus frowned. "How will kicking a window help to . . . "

"Glass out . . . step on . . . slats."

They didn't look strong enough to support the weight of a kneazle, but it wasn't as if he had any other options. Severus crawled up on the sill, and placing himself between Remus and the glass, he kicked . . . and promptly got his booted foot stuck in the small hole he'd made.

"What sort of bloody glass is this?" Severus snarled, as he tried to pull his foot free.

"Muggle . . . glass?"

Severus rolled his eyes, then knelt down on the sill and, bracing himself against the wall, pulled Remus up to the ledge with him.

"If you slip back down, I'm leaving you on the floor. I am not going through this again."

Remus nodded, although it was obvious he didn't believe a single word Severus had just said, then he clutched at Severus's robes as another muscle spasm hit.

"We can stop for a moment, if necessary," Severus said, but Remus shook his head.

"Severus, no. If we stop now . . . we'll never start . . . again."

Severus frowned at Remus's choice of words, then shook his head, and slowly maneuvered the two of them through the small opening above.

"Watch where you're putting your knee, Lupin."


Another damned 'hmm.'

"Was there something you wished to ask of me?"

"It's not imp . . . wasn't I 'Remus' just a little over an hour ago?"

"I have no idea what you mean."

Severus said the words with as little inflection as possible, but even without being able to see a damned thing in the non-existent light, he could practically feel the werewolf's smile.

When had he lost his last vestige of control over this situation?

"I would be extremely grateful if you would at least attempt to give me some room in which to . . . oh for God's sake, Lupin! Isn't there any part of your body which isn't likely to be jabbing into me in the near future?"

Long before he completed that last sentence - long before Remus chuckled softly in response - he knew it was a mistake, but the longer they remained in such close proximity, the harder . . . the more difficult it was for Severus to concentrate on anything but the heat of Remus's body pressing up against his own.

"Maybe it would be easier if I turned like this, and . . . ."

"Don't move another inch!"

Was Remus trying to drive him mad intentionally? It was almost inconceivable, but what other explanation could there possibly be for the insistence of Remus's thigh between his own, for the steady warmth of Remus's breath along his jaw, for . . . oh yes, for that - for that stroke of Remus's thumb moving slowly up and down the edges of his spine.

He was not imagining this.


Damned treacherous voice of his that suddenly seemed unable to speak above a whisper.

Enough! If this is what the wolf wanted, then --

If this is what the man wanted --

If this is what --

This is what he wanted.

"Remus," he said, and slowly reached up to cradle Remus's face between two hands that hadn't touched anything but Potions ingredients with any kind of gentleness since long before the oldest of his students had been born.

"Remus," he said once more, before his words were swallowed entirely in the heat of Remus's mouth


"Remus! Snape!"

Severus jumped backward at the sound of Moody's voice, and smashed the back of his head into the wall.

"That sounded painful," said Remus quietly, as he began to move his fingers in small circles through Severus's still-damp hair.

"Where the hell are the two of you?"

"It appears that it's time to return to , , , the real world."

He could feel Remus's nod of agreement against his cheek.

"To be honest, Severus, I'm not sure I want anyone to know where we are, except . . . I could really murder a cup of tea right about now."

"I don't suppose our wands are wor . . . Lupin, where the hell is my wand?"

"I still have it in my pocket. Why don't you see if you can reach down and . . . Severus, I hope you know that's not your wand."

"Oh, is it not?" Severus asked, before snickering.

Remus shook his head.

"We're both nearing forty, and we're still amused by wand jokes. Pathetic, really. All right, go on, then. Let's see what we can do about breaking out of here before Alastor has to do it for us."

The thought of Moody having that to hold over their heads provided sufficient incentive for the two men to focus on the task at hand.

"All right," Remus said. "Earlier, you said that Malfoy wasn't very creative magically, so what if . . . "


In an instant, the two men found themselves lying on the floor of the storage chamber, with an antique cameo lying between them and a dozen Aurors standing over them.

"You prat! I was just going to say that."

"Of course you were, Lupin," Severus said in his most insincere voice.

"I was!"

"I knew it was a bad idea to let the two of you work together," Moody bellowed. "Still fighting like schoolboys, covered in shite, lost your shoes . . . some things never change."

And some things - thought Severus, as he saw Remus silently mouthing the words 'Your place or mine?' at him from behind Moody's back - some things do.

Comments, critiques, chit chat: beth-h @ mrks.org

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