The First Straw
February, Maya’s 3rd Year and the
Marauders’ 4th Year
Severus rushed down the stairs, tears stinging the back of this eyes. I won’t cry, I won’t give them the satisfaction, he thought to himself. Sirius Black and James Potter – he hated them, he would always hate them. And Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew just standing there, doing nothing…
Severus was done. He was going to march into the Great Hall and shout for the whole school to hear that Remus Lupin was a werewolf. Show them what happened when they messed with him. He was done. This was the last straw for Severus Snape. They would regret doing this to him.
But up ahead, a familiar shape was skipping down the steps, not paying attention to anyone around her. That was the one flaw to his plan…
Severus grabbed Maya’s cloak and dragged her off the side of the stairs, onto the second floor corridor.
“Severus?!” she said in alarm. She’d never seen him like this; there was a crazed look in his black eyes.
“Maya, are you a werewolf?” he demanded in a choked whisper. “Are you?”
“What? No!” she spluttered. Maya’s heart began to beat so fast she wondered if he could hear it. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“That’s good,” he said. Severus let her go. “You’ll be fine then.” And then he made as if to walk down the stairs. Alarmed, Maya grabbed onto his arm.
“Sev! What are you talking about? What’s going on?”
“Black and Potter have gone too far,” he spat. “I’m going to make them pay the only way that they will understand – going after their friend.”
“What?” Maya gasped, her heart seemed to be sinking and pounding even faster at the same time.
“Ever notice that Remus Lupin is gone every full moon?” Severus asked. “And that he looks ill a week before and a week after?”
“So?” Maya managed to say.
“So?” Sev repeated, incredulous. “Come on, Night. You’re smart. He’s a werewolf. I’m sure of it.” He turned to go again but Maya wouldn’t let go of his arm.
“What are you going to do, Sev?” she demanded.
“I’m going to tell everyone,” he said cruelly. “Students have the right to know, don’t you think?”
Maya was so shocked she couldn’t speak. Severus untangled his robes from her hands and began to go down the stairs at a fast trot.
“Severus!” Maya shouted, she caught up with him. “Sev! Stop, please! Think about what you’re saying. Saying something like that could ruin Remus’ life.”
“I don’t care,” Severus said darkly.
“Sev!” Maya grabbed him again and shook his arm. “Stop! Please, I’m begging you!” Maya thought she might cry.
“Let go, Maya!” Severus shouted, trying to shake her off. But she wouldn’t.
“And if I had a secret like his,” she begged. “And if saying that made everyone suspect and hate me too?”
Severus paused. Maya was gone every full moon, too. She had just said that she wasn’t a werewolf but she could have lied. Severus’ heart sank a little. She could have lied…which meant she didn’t trust him.
“Sev, please,” she begged. “Don’t do this! You don’t even have proof.”
“And if I had proof?” he asked her.
Maya didn’t answer the question. “Please, Sev,” She whispered.
Severus looked at her without seeing her – seeing her sitting down with Remus during lunch, seeing her elbowing Sirius in the corridors as she passed him, saw her winking at James as he tried to wriggle his way out of trouble. “So…” he said softly, dangerously. “You choose them over me?”
“What?” Maya said, yet again. “No…no, it’s not that. It has nothing to do with choosing.”
But Severus Snape wasn’t listening. He was looking at her with a really ugly look that barely hid how hurt he was. “Go find your friends, Night,” he hissed. He pushed her off him and took off down the stairs.
“Sev!” Maya shouted. She ran after him, unsure of what she would do if he ran into the Great Hall and began shouting that Remus was a werewolf. But Severus didn’t go to the Great Hall, he continued down the stairs to the dungeon and Maya stood at the base of the stairs, staring after him.
Tears began to trickle down her cheeks and she turned to flee back up the stairs. To her shock and dismay, Remus and Sirius were standing there and a little ways behind them was Lily.
“Midnight?” Sirius asked. But she pushed past them, saying fiercely, “I just saved your sorry hides, now leave me alone!” She ran past Lily, too and was dimly aware of Lily and Sirius getting into a shouting match behind her.
Maya ran all the way to the fourth floor then locked herself in a classroom. She tore off her clothes and soon a black cat with a single white paw was hiding among old History of Magic textbooks in the back of the class. She heard the sound of soft, familiar footsteps and Remus Lupin poked his head into the bookshelf.
“Maya?” he asked softly. “Come out, please.”
She quietly padded out and jumped into her friend’s arms. He began to pet her, comforting her the way she had once comforted him.
“I don’t know what happened,” he told her softly. “We could hear you talking to someone but by the time we turned the corner you were alone. But know that we’ve always got your back, okay? We won’t let anyone hurt you.”
Maya jumped out of his arms and grabbed her cloak with her teeth. Remus smiled, “Let me do that, Maya.” They’d become quite adept at helping Maya deal with losing all her clothing when she transformed. Remus held up the robe and closed his eyes. A moment later, he felt small, soft fingers take it from his hands.
“That’s almost the problem,” Maya’s tearful voice said. “If I choose you guys, I don’t seem to be able to choose anyone else, too.”
Remus opened his eyes and frowned. “What do you mean?”
Maya couldn’t hold back her tears anymore. Remus stepped forward and hugged her tightly as she explained between small sobs, “You guys always bully Sev…and Lily hates you…the rest of my friends think you guys are great but…Sev and Lily were the first two friends I ever had…it doesn’t seem fair that I have to choose between them and the Marauders…”
Remus held her close, his frown deepening. He’d known that Maya didn’t like it when they teased “Snivellus” but he hadn’t known how much it bothered her. “Was it Snape on the stairs?” he asked. Maya nodded against his chest.
“What did he say?” Remus asked her kindly.
“That I was choosing…no, Remus!” Maya pulled back and looked at Remus in alarm. “He knows about you, Remus! He figured out that you’re a werewolf.” Remus’ heart nearly stopped.
“And he…?” Remus prompted, his mouth dry.
“He was going to tell everyone but I told him that he had no proof and then he got mad at me,” Maya rambled. “I don’t think he’ll tell anyone – he’s too afraid of looking like a fool – but…”
“We need to be more careful,” Remus finished. He was scared. Of all people to know his secret, to trust Severus Snape with the most important and most personal detail of his life, it left him feeling ill.
“It’ll be okay,” Remus told Maya, trying to comfort both of them. “It’ll be okay.”
Maya’s eyes began to water and she hugged him tightly again.