remus_reads reveals went up today. Many, many thanks and love to sambethe for On Presents And Their Giving *prods you all in that general direction*
And So Say All Of Us
For neigedens - original post here.
PG-13, 2000 words, gen.
Summary: It's Remus' sixteenth birthday, which the Marauders ensure becomes a school-wide event.
Notes: Much gratitude to melandry for the beta.
Remus most definitely Does Not Know what's going on.
He has no idea of any whisperings late at night, of covert missions to illicit destinations. No, as far as Remus is concerned, his sixteenth birthday is going to be a quiet affair.
He wakes up on the morning in question to a light drizzle pattering against the windowpanes. Nonetheless, the warm glow of a birthday quickly settles and Remus lies back in bed, smiling. There's a soft hooting next to him, and he rolls over to find his dad's owl blinking patiently at him. She drops an envelope next to him then flaps away.
Out falls a length epistle all about life back at home, and cards from a few of his ageing relatives. At the end there's a note saying that as Remus will be home in a few days anyway, they'll go up to London for the day and he can pick out a few things for himself.
It's very quiet in the dormitory. Remus feels suspicious, remembering vividly for a moment Peter's fifteenth where he got hexed as soon as he got out of bed so that his forehead flashed different lewd suggestions in a myriad of colours for the whole day. He grabs his wand and gingerly pokes his head through the curtains. He still can't see or hear anything, and so tentatively emerges.
After a quick scan of the room, it becomes clear that he's alone, and in no immediate danger. Puzzled by this turn of events, he quickly gets dressed and heads downstairs, pausing for a moment again outside the entrance to the common room. But nothing sounds out of the ordinary, and he walks through unscathed. It's populated by a few early birds already back from breakfast, and Remus gets a cheery wave and smile from Sturgis Podmore.
"Happy birthday, Remus!"
"Thanks," Remus grins, then pauses. "There's not, you know, anything odd going on in the Hall, is there?"
Sturgis winks. "I couldn't possibly say!"
"Right then." Remus continues on downstairs.
He hesitates once again in the Entrance Hall, grips his wand just in case, then pushes the doors open.
"Here he comes!" someone shouts.
"One… two… three… four!" cries someone else.
Remus flinches, expecting jinxes to come flying his way any moment, but instead he is nearly deafened by the sound of the entire Gryffindor table singing. He makes his way closer, and sees James and Sirius waving their wands around wildly, presumably in a semblance of conducting. A fair few Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs appear to be joining in, some of whom Remus doesn’t even know.
"Happy birthday tooooo yoooooouuuu!" they finish raucously and mostly in time with each other, with gold sparks flying out from both of the conductors' wands.
Feeling himself turning bright red rapidly, Remus slinks over to the table and slips in beside Peter, who slaps him on the back so hard he nearly chokes.
Once he's finished spluttering, he says, "Thank you for that! That was really quite something."
"Wasn't it just?" James beams. "You all sang beautifully," he yells down the table, "Gryffindor choir practice will start next week, I think!"
Sirius groans. "Prongs, really. I haven't the heart to coerce, bribe and blackmail that many people on a weekly basis! Nah, this is a one-off event – appreciate it!"
"I most certainly do. You're not jinxing me yet, then?" Remus asks.
"And ruin that pretty face of yours?" Sirius laughs. "You're safe – for now."
"So comforting. In the meantime, pass me the toast, would you?"
Remus munches happily, and decides this is a very promising day.
Lessons pass in something of a blur, as Remus finds himself constantly distracted by mysterious notes floating his way with cryptic messages about later events. At lunchtime he never sees all three of his friends together; at least one of them always seems to have something very important to do.
Remus realises he has his best shot when both Sirius and James have vanished somewhere.
"It's a party, isn't it?" he asks Peter, who struggles for a moment then sags.
"Well… Yeah. Don't tell them you know!"
"Not to worry, I'll keep up the illusion that they understand subtlety. How many rules are we breaking?"
Peter grins. "We lost count a while back. Breaking a couple of laws too, we think."
Remus raises an eyebrow. "Well, I of course know absolutely nothing about it."
"Course not." Peter winks. "Say n'more."
To his sorrow, prefect duties have no sense of occasion, and so Remus finds himself forced to attend a lengthy meeting after History of Magic is finally over. McGonagall gives them a detailed breakdown of the end of term travel arrangements, and snaps at Remus three times for not paying attention. She finally lets them go, and Lily joins him as he begins to traipse up the stairs.
"Am I going to be able to put Potter in detention tonight, then?" she asks.
Remus laughs. "I honestly haven't a clue. Might I request you leave him alone until the morning, though?"
Lily rolls her eyes. "Oh, alright then. You'll have to blindfold me or something – what I can't see, I can't tell, now can I?"
"I bet he'd like that." Remus nudges her suggestively, to receive a slap on the arm.
"None of that, Lupin! I expect the rest of you to protect me from him, by the way."
Remus salutes. "Yes ma'am! We'll do our best."
"Excellent," Lily says as they reach the portrait hole. "Oh, and happy birthday, by the way!"
They stroll inside, and the common room is devoid of everyone but Peter, Sirius and James.
"Oh, Evans, wouldn't mind finding something else to do, would you?" James says.
Lily looks affronted. "Excuse me?"
"You know, Marauder business, you can come back later." James turns back to the others, oblivious to the death glare he is the recipient of.
"Please," Sirius adds. "Just for a while, we'd appreciate it."
Lily sighs and disappears off the girls' dormitory, and can be heard to mutter "boys!" under her breath.
"That's more like it!" Peter declares.
"Monsieur Moony, if you'd be so good as to take a seat," Sirius says, patting an armchair invitingly.
With a bow, Remus does so.
"Right – happy birthday!" Peter hands Remus a messily wrapped and oddly shaped package.
Remus unwraps a box of Honeydukes' most exotic selection - are you brave enough to stomach these? - and a bag of Firecrackers. The same things, in fact, that Peter gives him every year. But this year there's a new addition, as a thin book falls onto Remus' lap.
For The Young Wizard: a guide to growing up. Feeling faintly horrified, Remus opens the front cover to find a contents page dealing with everything from Adenoids to Witches. He glances up at Peter, who shrugs. "My mum told me it was a good idea."
"Thanks, Peter. That's very thoughtful of you."
Peter beams, and Remus exchanges a quick glance with Sirius, who hurriedly says "Ok, my turn now!" He produces a book from behind his back. "Sorry, ran out of time to wrap it."
Remus stares at it. It's entitled simply Sex. He tentatively cracks it open. "Oh my God," he whispers faintly.
"It's got moving illustrations," Sirius murmurs in awe.
Remus flicks through a few pages. "Oh my God," he repeats.
"Oh, and something else as well." Sirius chucks a small box at him.
"Condoms?" Remus looks at him askance. "Since when did you know what these were?"
Sirius grins. "I've been paying attention in Muggle Studies, haven't I? Look, these ones glow in the dark."
"They what?" James cuts in to stare. "That is so disturbing. You are depraved."
"Not at all!" Sirius replies. "Just keeping our Moony safe as he heads off into the big wide world!"
"There are charms for that, you idiot," James hisses.
"Better to be safe than sorry though, right?"
"Well, thanks a lot, Padfoot. This is quite, um, enlightening." Remus puts the book to one side reluctantly. "Prongs, please tell me you've got me something that has nothing to do with getting me laid."
"Ah," James says slowly. "Can't promise that I'm afraid!" He indicates a chest sitting next to him. "It's all in there."
Remus crouches down and pushes the lid back, to be greeted by an enormous pile of bottles of all shapes, sizes and full of liquids Remus has never even seen before.
"Guaranteed to get you and whatever paramour you might choose completely wasted," James explains with a smile. "With plenty left over for us too, of course."
Peter peers over, wide-eyed. "There's enough there to kill a man!"
"Probably," James acknowledges solemnly.
Remus grins. "Thank you very much indeed – just the thing!"
Sirius claps his hands together. "Ok, Moony, time for you to bugger off somewhere while we do terribly important things."
Remus is halfway across the room before he pauses, returns for Sirius' book, and then heads off to the dormitory.
Some time later, and Peter knocks at the door. "You can come back down now, if you want."
Gryffindor Common Room has been transformed when Remus arrives. It is now more red and gold than he would have thought possible, and balloons fill the ceiling. Tables have been moved together then laden with alcohol, and all of the chairs have been pushed out of the centre of the room. Music is blasting out, and James is in the midst of trying to get all of the First and Second Years to head up to their rooms.
"Sorry lads, maybe next year," he says regretfully as he shoves them up the stairs.
A shout goes up as he emerges, and Remus flushes for the second time that day. Sirius walks up to him and thrusts a glass into his hand.
"Do I want to know what's in here?" Remus asks.
"Nah, probably not. Drink up!" Sirius leaves to continue circling the room, plying as many people with dubious looking beverages as he can manage.
Remus downs the concoction, and instantly feels the alcohol hitting his brain. He beams.
The evening rapidly descends into degeneracy. There are couples snogging in corners all round the room, some even in the middle of the impromptu dancefloor, where at one point Remus finds himself, shirt half undone and tie wrapped around his head. He sings along raucously to whatever's playing, although he doesn't know the words, and James is pouring something straight from a bottle down his throat.
Sirius laughs loudly in his hear. "This is bloody brilliant."
Remus can't quite manage to speak, but he nods vehemently.
Things begin to get a little hazy after that. Remus is talking earnestly about Quidditch to Sturgis, who suddenly changes into Peter who's giggling so much he can't stand up, and Remus tries to help him but suddenly they're both on the floor and Lily is hovering above them asking if they're quite alright. Remus declares that he is, and stands up again completely unaided apart from Sirius giving him a bit of a hand.
James passes out on the floor and Sirius grabs lipstick off Lily, gets his shirt off and writes 'Snape was here' on his back before drawing an arrow downwards. Remus decides this is about the funniest thing he's ever seen, and tells Sirius so, but suddenly there's cold porcelain against his knees and he realises to his surprise that he's throwing up.
"Take it easy," Sirius is saying, and time begins to resume its normal rate.
"Gnuh," Remus says.
"Yeah, I know. I've got some potion once you've stopped heaving."
Remus carries on torturously emptying the contents of his stomach then sags against a wall. Sirius hands him a goblet that appears to be sending off sparks. "It works a treat, trust me," he says.
Remus gulps it down and shudders. "That's foul." He blinks. "The room's stopped spinning though."
"Good." Sirius sits down companionably next to him. "Enjoy your birthday?"
Remus nods. "Absolutely. Thank you."
"Not at all! It's not every day you're sixteen, after all."
Remus curls up into the wall a bit more. "What happened to Peter?"
Sirius frowns. "That's a very good question. Probably off canoodling with someone, the little harlot."
"Course you are."
"Still a bit drunk, I think," Remus admits, before letting his head flop onto Sirius' shoulder.
He faintly realises Sirius is hauling him up and propping him along into the dormitory, then there's a nice pillow against his head.
"Soft," Remus observes.
He hears Sirius laugh. "G'night, Moony. Happy birthday."
Remus smiles to himself, and then drifts off into sleep.