PG-13, 1500 words
Summary: For Remus, a return to Hogwarts had always been on the cards.
Notes: Opens with an extract from Prisoner of Azkaban.
‘Who do you reckon he is?’ Ron hissed, as they sat down and slid the door shut, taking the seats furthest away from the window.
‘Professor R. J. Lupin,’ whispered Hermione at once.
‘How d’you know that?’
‘It’s on his case,’ replied Hermione, pointing at the luggage rack over the man’s head, where there was a small, battered case held together with a large quantity of neatly knotted string. The name ‘Professor R. J. Lupin’ was stamped across one corner in peeling letters.
Ever since he had left Hogwarts, it had been assumed by mostly everyone that Remus would be back to teach.
The idea had first developed towards the end of Seventh Year, during one of their many lengthy discussions about what they were going to do ‘when it’s over’, their tagline for the end of the war that was rapidly becoming synonymous with everything good in the world.
‘Well, I’ll be running for Minister for Magic, naturally,’ James declared to the common room at large, stretched out on one of the best sofas by the fire. ‘Wormtail here’ll be my campaign manager,’ – to a brisk salute from Peter – ‘and I shall have Pads to do all the actual work while I go around schmoosing foreign dignitaries with the charming Miss Evans…’, this accompanied by a suitably overblown kiss to the hand of the Miss Evans in question, who just rolled her eyes at an incredulous Sirius.
‘And how may I serve?’ smirked Remus, mind full of images of the magnificent Minister Potter.
‘Moony, you shall run the Aurors – with your alarmingly thorough knowledge of Defence and all things Dark, combined with that deceptively benign face, the bastards will never know what hit them!’
‘As long as I’m allowed to keep all my appendages,’ said Remus, with a sudden thought for Alastor Moody, who he’d glimpsed for the first time a few days ago, on the front page of the Prophet.
‘It can be arranged,’ said James munificently.
‘But really, Remus, you do realise you’re destined to be a professor?’ Lily asked.
Remus blinked. ‘I am?’
‘Oh, come on,’ Sirius scoffed, ‘McGonagall spent half an hour talking to you the other day about the problems she’s having with her Second Years.’
‘Just because I was in the room at the time!’
‘You’ve helped every Gryffindor below Fifth Year with their homework at least twice…’
‘That’s an exaggeration!’
‘No, Moony, your fate is sealed,’ Sirius said solemnly, ‘they even made you a prefect, after all.’
‘Poor Remus, having to deal with little Slytherin brats year after year, have fun with that, mate!’ said Peter chirpily.
‘Thanks for that, Wormtail,’ Remus muttered.
‘Oh, you’ll love it though,’ said Lily. ‘Doesn’t your little heart just fill with glee when you think about helping First Years settle in, introducing Third Years to Kappas and even subtly trying to instil a better image of Dark creatures in the minds and hearts of the youth of tomorrow?’
Remus smiled despite himself. ‘Fine, fine. Well, when it’s over, we’ll see.’
And so, a running joke was born. James wrote owls to ‘Professor’ Lupin from time to time, and once Lily was pregnant Remus found himself swamped with conflicting advice on how to deal with baby Potter once it got to Hogwarts. Most seemed to be polarised into two camps: how to make this first Marauders offspring into an exact replica of its troublemaking forebears, or how to ensure absolutely nothing of the sort happened.
Christmas of that year, Peter got Remus a suitcase gilded with ‘Professor R. J. Lupin’ in one corner. It was meant to be a joke, but Remus found himself oddly struck by it.
On those days when he was stuck in his flat, in between missions and trying not to worry about the fragile well-being of everyone he knew, Remus found himself looking through old textbooks he’d never thrown away, and sometimes even making notes on how he could possibly pass on this knowledge to a room full of students.
In the end, the promise of ‘when it’s over’ proved hollow. When Remus packing up the few possessions he owned that weren’t tainted by memories of a traitor, he found his old notes, and promptly threw them away – he had no space for the idle daydreams of a foolish boy any more. The books he kept, however, tucked away with Peter’s suitcase (oh poor, brave, dead Peter), safe for some other time.
The first letter came in June 1982, sent by Minerva and full of hopeful chatter about the rebuilding of the school in peacetime. The offer was slipped in gently, but still it stung, and Remus’ refusal of the position was terse – it was too soon.
The second letter came in 1987, and Remus was almost tempted to accept – jobs had been even scarcer than usual as of late – but then a thousand memories nearly drowned him, and his hands shook so much that the cold tea he clutched spilled over the rim of his mug and obliterated the words.
Then Sirius Black escaped from Azkaban, and everything changed.
It’s June 1992, and an owl soars out of Hogwarts, skimming the horizon then heading south, crossing rives, farmland and cities with little consideration, knowing its target to be far off. It circles over Paris, hovers over Berlin, before at last it readjusts its wings and dives down into Budapest.
It sights its man hurrying out of a basement apartment and plummets down just as he is about to unlock the door of a shop.
The owl drops the thick envelope into the man’s hands before soaring off, leaving ‘Mr R. J. Lupin’ standing stock still in the middle of the street.
I shall not bore you with the formal letter, as I know you are already familiar with its contents. Suffice it to say, Hogwarts is once again in need of a Professor of Defence Against the Dark Arts, and there is no one more suitable for the position than you. Last year’s appointment of Professor Lockhart was an unmitigated disaster, and I have students in need of some genuine teaching.
There is one student especially who may be in particular need of you. I fear that we will not see the year through without Harry Potter having to learn just why it is his parents lost their lives. I am concerned about Mr Potter’s continued well-being this year, and you are in an unique position to help.
I am aware that the current events which could have such a negative effect on Harry will be troubling you as well – I ask a great deal of you, yet still I must ask it.
Remus, I ask you to come home.
Yours, with all sincerity,
Remus stands with the smoke of the Hogwarts Express swirling around him, clutching the subsidiary note from Dumbledore asking him to travel by train as a precaution against a possible Dementor incursion. It’s early still, and for a moment he allows a memory to engulf him -
James strode through the wall, trolley casually moved forward by one hand. He stretched widely, using the upward motion of his arms as a golden opportunity to add some extra pizzazz to his already well-ruffled hair. Nearby, a group of girls tittered, and James grinned before he caught Remus’ eye.
‘Remus! How the devil are you?’
Remus walked over, to be slapped on the back to near-choking. ‘Hi James,’ he coughed, ‘not bad, not bad – yourself?’
‘Fan-bloody-tastic, thank you – Evans is looking ravishing, Snivellus is looking extra greasy, you are looking charmingly swotty in that Prefect badge, and so my entertainment for the year is settled.’
‘Oh God…’ groaned Remus, then he laughed. ‘Good to see you, mate.’
James beamed. ‘And you. Fifth year here we come! Pete’s saving us seats, so hop to it! Black’ll drag his sorry arse over here soon enough.’
Remus glanced behind him, and saw Sirius standing there, being lectured by Mrs Black and glowering, with Regulus looking nervous in the middle.
Sirius, who looked up and—
- manages to ruin most memories Remus has. Dismissing all thought of Black - a process that has become a swift and precise science – he steps onto the train, moving from carriage to carriage until he reaches the end, where he swings his suitcase up onto the rack before curling into the corner and giving in to an exhaustion that was nearly permanent, these days.
Some time later, the train filled with chatter and trunks, before it pulled its way out of the station and took Remus back to somewhere he might have called home, once.