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Happy birthday, Professor Lupin... - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Happy birthday, Professor Lupin...
Okay. PoA Missing Moment with other teachers won the poll, narrowly edging out a Marauder bash and a Shifts outtake.

I checked the HPL timeline, and nothing of import seems to be happening in PoA on March 10, except one of Harry's anti-Dementor lessons in the evening, so may as well start there.

Blah. Started one, didn't like it. Starting again at 9-ish. And got distracted watching the unexpectedly fun First Wives Club. It's not great, but it's done.

In September, Remus had rather thought (and feared) that he would spend the whole year dealing with melodramatic ghosts of the past, perhaps sighing nostalgically as he passed familiar landmarks on the grounds. He'd half-expected exploring the old passageways and finding dusty relics of his childhood still mouldering away in the dark.

It was now March, and he hadn't had time to do much more than squint at the Whomping Willow in a distracted way and wonder how in the hell Sirius was functioning after twelve years of malnutrition and Dementors, and now living with no logical place to stay and no money (Sirius cut off from money had never been an amusing spectacle). There'd been occasional moments, mostly late at night or following conversations with Harry, when his mind had gnawed at his loneliness, but as far as long and involved nostalgic journeys went, there had simply not been time for it during the course of a school year. There were papers to mark, students to speak to, detentions to supervise, colleagues to visit with, and of course, the ever-present search for Sirius Black in the here and now. Despite his fears, the year had been spent very much in the present, with Harry, rather than the ghost of James. Even the reappearance of the Marauder's Map last month had mainly triggered concern for Harry. He'd barely been tempted to take it out and study it.

Well, perhaps once or twice.

Or a dozen times.

But not in a sentimental, bathetic mood. It was simple wonder that he had ever been that boy, that he had ever been so close to other people, that they had ever worried so for him. It seemed a lifetime ago... some other man's lifetime.

It was a settled routine, and a soothing one, and he'd let it carry him along and keep him occupied with as few interruptions as were possible. Even the transformations seemed to fit into the flow of time, especially with the Wolfsbane making them less of a break in his thinking. Sunday's had gone by uneventfully, and by Thursday the tenth, he was feeling as normal as he ever did, and the fact that it was his birthday barely occurred to him as he went about his daily routine--Ravenclaw second years in the morning, lunch at the head table, during which he argued the merits of different eras of musical styles with Albus Dumbledore, and then his Gryffindor third years after lunch. Harry turned in an essay, apologizing that it was an inch or so short, but Remus wasn't concerned--Harry was concise, but generally accurate, at least in this subject. Severus Snape was apparently strict about the precise length of essays; Remus himself couldn't care less, as long as the research was solid, reasonably deep, and well-presented.

He decided to skip the school's dinner hour and go into Hogsmeade after Harry's Patronus lesson tonight, so after class, he just went to the staff room to check the newspapers and journals that had come in today. Quite important business really--theories on the proper sort of penmanship to teach, arguments about whether or not Muggle modes of education should be adopted by Hogwarts or by parents teaching their children at home, a long diatribe about the need for primary schools...

He ended up reading the March Quibbler, which contained the fascinating speculation that Sirius was in fact still in Azkaban, and his "alleged escape" was something the Ministry made up from whole cloth in order to exert control at Hogwarts. Last month, the working theory had been that the Ministry had facilitated the escape for that reason and was really keeping him on a salary to go about terrorizing the wizarding world. Remus supposed he shouldn't be amused by this--not after everything--but the thought of Sirius being a Ministry employee, or cooperating in their plans in any manner, was funny, in a morbid sort of way. Sirius had never been good with authority structures.

By the time he'd finished with the word puzzle, Filius Flitwick and Minerva McGonagall had come in from dinner and Hagrid had made his way up from his cabin. He'd had a stern talking-to about bringing mulled mead here in September, and he grudgingly went along with it--"It's like the common rooms in't it?"

And of course, it was. As a child in school, the last thing Remus had suspected was that the teachers gathered here to do anything more than discuss lessons and trade notes on students, but he'd discovered quickly that in the evening, it was a place to come and relax, play cards or chess, and talk about nearly anything. When he looked up from the puzzle, Minerva was leaning forward, speaking urgently to Hagrid. To anyone looking in, it would appear that the subject was life or death, but in fact, she was talking about the Puddlemere United Quidditch team, which was apparently weak in its reserves, and doomed to failure if it didn't acquire some depth. Hagrid said that their regular players were strong enough that a weak reserve squad wasn't a major problem. Minerva pursed her lips, and was just beginning a long explanation of why that wasn't enough when the door opened, and Albus Dumbledore came in, levitating a tray of pumpkin pasties ahead of him. He guided it down to the table and said, "Well, Remus, I believe today is a notable day."

Remus rolled his eyes. "Is this usual?"

"We all get it in our first year," Minerva said. "Except for Severus, who ran off at the first sight of a pastry."

"So we just held it without him," Filius said.

"I thought about chocoloate," Dumbledore explained, "but I imagined that after months of going around Dementors, you might be somewhat weary of it."

"You have no idea." Remus took one of the pumpkin pasties gratefully. "But quite honestly, birthdays are something less of an event in the fourth decade of them."

"Ah, but they become quite marvelous again in the thirteenth."

Remus laughed. "Well, thank you, then."

"At least we won't need to do it for another Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher next year," Filius said. "It's good to have someone to keep around at last."

"Well, let's hope."

"Are you having second thoughts, Remus?" Dumbledore asked.

"Oh, no. But... well, jobs have a spotty history with me." He Summoned a bottle of butterbeer from the cupboard and opened it. "But no... no second thoughts about this one."

"Good," Minerva said. "Frankly, I wish you'd come last year when we asked you to."

Remus smiled. "Unfortunately, the Headmaster happened to find me in one my few moments of gainful employment. I was helping with lycanthropy research in Germany."

"Did it get anywhere?"

"No. Of course not. They ran out of money."

Minerva sighed. "It's too bad. You'd have been handy with that business with the Chamber."

"Moreso than Lockhart, at any rate," Flitwick mumbled.

"As I understand from Harry, that's not a great distinction."

Filius sighed. "It's too bad, really. Gilderoy was one of my best students. He could have made his fortune doing beauty charms." He took a pasty.

"Quirrell was no prize himself," Hagrid said. "Even without You-Know-Who on the back of his head. Man was scared of his own bloody shadow. We were starting to think your job was cursed."

"That's nonsense, Hagrid."

"Wha' about those fellows who substituted while Quirrell was off chasing vampires?" Hagrid said. "One of 'em ran his broom into the castle wall--"

"Flying drunk," Filius added.

"--and then the bloke who replaced him got caught with 'is--"


"--robes up."

"Good Lord... not with a student?"

"No, a parent. But in his classroom." Minerva rolled her eyes. "And the woman we called in after him couldn't teach to save her life. Honestly, we've been scraping the absolute bottom of the barrel these last five years or so. It's been disgraceful. We desperately needed you, Remus."

"As you pointed out to me each of those five years, Minerva," Dumbledore said, smiling. "But we have him now."

"Well, I'm glad to be here," Remus said. "It's good to be home again."

"You know, you haven't changed a bit," Filius said. "You're exactly as I remember you as a boy."

"I don't even remember that boy."

Minerva smiled. "When your students start growing up, they'll all say the same thing, and you won't believe a single one of them."

"It's true," Filius said. "I saw Severus skulking around in the corridors one night last year and almost gave him detention before I remembered that he was teaching now."

"That would have been unwise," Dumbledore said.

"Albus, you tried to take points from Gryffindor the first time you noticed that I wasn't in uniform," Minerva said, raising her eyebrows.

"I see I've been fortunate."

"You wait until young Harry is an adult. You'll see what we mean." Filius took another pasty. "He'll be insisting that he's not a boy anymore, and you'll be thinking, 'Goodness, isn't he awfully young to be holding such a responsible job?'"

"I'll settle for getting him to adulthood before I worry about accepting him as an adult."

Dumbledore raised a bottle of butterbeer. "I heartily support that idea."

Remus checked his watch and was shocked to see that he'd been sitting and comfortably speaking with the others for over an hour. "Speaking of which, I have a lesson with him this evening and I may have to wrestle a boggart back into my trunk for it, so I'd best wish you all a good night. Thank you for the birthday sweets."

"Albus will take any excuse for sweets," Minerva said.

Hagrid gave him a wave. "Come back later. Professor Flitwick here is trying to teach me chess. Maybe we c'n have a game of it."

"We'll see."

Remus made his way back to his office, not really needing to fight with the boggart (which seemed to live quite contentedly in his trunk), but feeling a bit odd about how much time had passed without his particular notice. That hadn't happened for several years. He went inside and lit the torches, then sat down at the desk and pulled the Marauder's Map from the drawer.

He started to say, "I solemnly swear--" then changed his mind and pointed his wand at the parchment. "I, Professor Remus J. Lupin, demand that you reveal your secrets."

The map was blank for what seemed a long time, then Sirius Black's jagged handwriting started to spread across the page. "Mr. Padfoot welcomes Professor Lupin, and wonders just when he got so high and mighty that he couldn't spend time with his friends."

James Potter's spidery cursive came next: "Mr. Prongs is astounded--astounded, I tell you--to see Professor Lupin in such a sorry state."

Peter Pettigrew's handwriting was small and neat: "Mr. Wormtail wonders just what Professor Lupin thinks he's doing all by himself."

Remus wondered for a moment if the Map was simply incapable of the final sentence, but after a pause, his own script appeared: "Mr. Moony is perplexed at how we ended up such a self-defeating prat. Stop fiddling with our wand and have some fun."

He was still laughing to himself when Harry arrived for his lesson, and after the lesson, he returned to the staff room.


40 comments or Leave a comment
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persephone_kore From: persephone_kore Date: March 11th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
"It's true," Filius said. "I saw Severus skulking around in the corridors one night last year and almost gave him detention before I remembered that he was teaching now."

"That would have been unwise," Dumbledore said.

"Albus, you tried to take points from Gryffindor the first time you noticed that I wasn't in uniform," Minerva said, raising her eyebrows.

*giggles madly*

And the end... *hugs the end, gingerly*
sabrinanymph From: sabrinanymph Date: March 11th, 2005 06:50 am (UTC) (Link)
*seconds the giggle*

I adore this ficlet. It's so solidly Remus.
musamea From: musamea Date: March 11th, 2005 06:37 am (UTC) (Link)
You know... I think my favorite part of this piece is the bit at the end where you describe the various Marauder scripts. It so clearly shows how much thought you've put into this universe, even to the most minute details. The entire fic was wonderful, of course, but that detail... mmm. :D
harmonicalesson From: harmonicalesson Date: March 11th, 2005 07:06 am (UTC) (Link)
*hugs the computer screen* Wonderful. I particularly like the Marauder part at the end...it's very poignant -- silly and sad all at the same time.
silverhill From: silverhill Date: March 11th, 2005 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
*contented sigh*

Oh, that was just wonderful!

Here I'd had a rather stressful day... and then I got to read this, and it put a smile on my face.

I love your writing. This was a great piece. It's funny and interesting and a little sad. The characters all seem to come to life. And the ending was amazing and incredibly poignant.
marycontraria From: marycontraria Date: March 11th, 2005 07:40 am (UTC) (Link)
Happy birthday, Remus. xx
kinderjedi From: kinderjedi Date: March 11th, 2005 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)
"It's true," Filius said. "I saw Severus skulking around in the corridors one night last year and almost gave him detention before I remembered that he was teaching now."

"That would have been unwise," Dumbledore said.

*giggles* Just the sort of comments I can imagine the teachers making about Snape when he's not around. ;)

I love how solidly in character your Remus always is. And a happy belated birthday to him, as well. :D
imadra_blue From: imadra_blue Date: March 11th, 2005 08:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh, hurrah for Lupin b-day genfic! I loved it! Brilliant!

Take my exclamation points away from me, please. And furthermore, this:

"It's true," Filius said. "I saw Severus skulking around in the corridors one night last year and almost gave him detention before I remembered that he was teaching now."

I laughed so loud my brother stared at me like I lost my mind.

I have so much Lupin love for you at the moment. This is good stuff, madame. I am so glad to get a non-shippy Remus b-day ficlet to read. I'm about over Remus and Sirius b-day smut moments popping up on my flist. I'd defriend it, but on occasion, decent icons (like the one I'm using) and art show up so I suffer through it.
gattamelata From: gattamelata Date: March 11th, 2005 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
I love the interaction between the teachers.

And the end just gets me. It sounds so right. It all does, actually - one of the few fics that could actually be a missing scene from the books.
bimo From: bimo Date: March 11th, 2005 09:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello Fernwithy,

somewhere on another continent, in a different time zone where it's already March 11th, the ficlet you posted was a cause for great delight and joy.

My own real life birthday is one day after Remus', I just turned thirty today, and finding a Remus birthday story by one of my favourite writers on my f-list this morning was the most wonderful present (even though a rather coincidental one ;-))

Thanks for posting this one. Feel invited to a piece of virtual chocolate cake and some tea :-)
lucie_p From: lucie_p Date: March 11th, 2005 09:37 am (UTC) (Link)
That was very, very nice - the staff room became real and I could almost hear them all talking.

Like most other commentators, I like the remark about Snape and the lines from the Marauders best. Oh, and the one about the chocolate!

Thank you for writing this.

(Side note: did you really mean to write 'bathetic' or is that a typo? I am not a native speaker and while I can find the word in my dictionary, I have never seen it used and would have expected 'pathetic' in the given sentence. See, I always want to learn and cannot do so without asking!)
From: wychwood Date: March 11th, 2005 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Bathetic is a real word :)
Bathos -
1. an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the absurd or trivial
2. a commonplace or ridiculous feature offsetting an otherwise sublime situation; an anticlimax

It's not used very often, though.

And "me too" on the comment about taking housepoints from the teachers :) That was really cute...
From: magnolia_mama Date: March 11th, 2005 12:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
That was marvelous... the perfect start to my day. The characters are all so well-drawn, clear and sharp and perfectly recognizable from canon. I love the humor in the teachers' lounge scene, particularly Dumbledore's and Flitcwick's lines. The scene with the map at the end was wonderful too, providing just a faint note of melancholy.
maple_clef From: maple_clef Date: March 11th, 2005 12:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
"So we just held it without him," Filius said.

The thought of the rest of the staff celebrating in Snape's absence is priceless! And plausible, actually

"Mr. Wormtail wonders just what Professor Lupin thinks he's doing all by himself."

And this reply was particularly poignant. I was glad when Remus managed to cheer himself up - what a great way to finish!
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: March 11th, 2005 12:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Completely brilliant!!! Of course! I was disappointed that my shippy R/T vote didn't make it, but I should have known I'd adore anything you write.

I have to admit guffawing at the description of the previous DADA professors. You've got such brilliant intuition about this world... flying drunk, caught with his (HAGRID!) robes up, etc. Clever, yes, but Spot On for sheer immersion in the Potter world. I've already said brilliant too many times. ;)

Thanks, Fern!! Happy Birthday, Dear Remus. I hope to see you alive and well in July.
atropos87 From: atropos87 Date: March 11th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
I totally love this. Everyone is so in character - it's wonderful. You have stunned me into incoherence :)
mrs_who From: mrs_who Date: March 11th, 2005 02:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Spamming your LJ to add one more thing. ;) I've been reading Martha Grimes (after a decade-long absense from her work) and I'm struck by the similarity between her writing voice and yours. You're both extremely descriptive - more so than many other authors - you both drop your reader into the whole setting with their senses roused. You're both brilliant "characterizationalists", you love your characters and make us love them in their in-character-ness. The cast of characters you both write are as lovable, alive and intriguing as the main characters. Funnily enough, you're both Americans writing British fiction, centered around a rather melancholic, lonely hero. I've been reading your "unpolished" and "unedited" (as in professional editor) work for nearly a year and I think you give Grimes a run for her money. I'm not throwing this out as a complement, I'm throwing it out as a query. What are you going to do about your talent?

FWIW, I think you do mystery better than anything else. Shifts was, after all, a romance/mystery. You've kept Remus in JKR's characterization, true, but made him a completely different character. Let's be honest about that. YOUR Remus Lupin has a whole life of his own apart from JKR. You've created Andromeda, Ted and others literally from the ground up, and nearly done Tonks from the ground up. Shifts was practically an original work. Shirts was, essentially, a bridge between fanfiction and original fiction. Are you thinking about crossing the bridge for real? WHat would that look like? Remus couldn't keep his name, of course, but he could keep his profession. He couldn't stay a werewolf, but certainly needs a tragic past and physical difficult to continue to deal with and over come. You could keep the ESSENCE of YOUR Remus, YOUR Ted, YOUR Andromeda, possibly even YOUR Tonks and Sirius (or other Best Friend Person) and put them into YOUR world. I know you've done Sci Fi and it hasn't quite clicked yet. Can I humbly suggest the Cosy Mystery genre instead? Brit mystery fic? The Remus you love and understand with a mother's intuition, isn't JKR's Lupin anymore. He's YOURS. Have you thought about taking him and running? I would LOVE to see you do it, my dear.
sep12 From: sep12 Date: March 11th, 2005 04:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
I also would like to see this happen.
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