The clues were there and they were not impossible to put together. A person didn’t have to be breathtakingly clever and named Hermione Granger to realize that Professor Remus Lupin was a werewolf. The regular absences were covered up well and then explained away with the dismissive ease of someone who had been making these excuses all their life, but there were still students who could take a break from their own busy lives just long enough to make the necessary leap of logic.
One of these students was Oliver Beamish of Hufflepuff.
Beamish was a seventh-year and he paid close attention to all his classes. However, he paid even closer attention in his Defence Against the Dark Arts classes. Not simply “I have NEWTs this year and I need to get good grades because all my future plans depend on them” close attention, but “Professor Lupin is so nice and so funny and he has such a handsome smile, and wow, I have no idea what he just said but I liked the way he said it – oh, shit” close attention.
He was not the only student to pay this sort of attention to Remus Lupin. There had been quite a lot of math suddenly being done by students on the subject of age differences – how old they ought to be before they could acceptably marry him – but, alas, fortunately, it was for naught.
Despite all these adolescent awakenings and daydreams that were happening, Professor Lupin was absolutely oblivious. (Perhaps to the degree of too oblivious, but the man’s resolute and unflinching inobservance was too masterful to be sure.) By all appearances, in the mind of Professor Lupin, that student just wanted to ask some questions about the last assignment because they were genuinely interested in the subject, and all that lashes-fluttering was them having something in their eye. He had asked and the student had said so.
(If the student had promptly turned bright red, then later screamed pure embarrassment into a couch cushion when they friend asked how it went, that was their business.)
Beamish had no intention of being the next one crying “HE THOUGHT I HAD SOMETHING IN MY EYE, SAM” into a pillow. This was not the first time he had fallen in love. (He also knew it would not be the last time he would fall in love.) This was not the first time he had fallen desperately in love with something completely unobtainable and inappropriate. (He did, however, hope it would be the last time he would do this.) He was the sort of person perpetually in love and somehow happy for it.
This was, however, the first time he had fallen in love with a werewolf. That was new.
As far as Beamish was aware, he was the only one who was paying this sort of attention to have paid enough attention to be aware of Lupin’s secret. This did change his feelings some and was a cause for panic. However, not the sort that most people might have expected.
“I read that the transformation is really painful,” Beamish said to his friend, not for the first time, doodling hearts on his Defence essay again, instead of spending their time in the library studying. “That’s so awful. Do you think he’s okay? He always looks so sick after his absences. I mean, he’s still so handsome, but he looks ill. I want to smother him in blankets and feed him soup, is that weird?”
“Yes, Beamish, that’s really quite queer,” Linda Peakes answered.
Linda Peakes, another seventh-year Hufflepuff, was also aware of Lupin’s secret, and had been since her friend had originally come running to her in a panic. She answered him now even knowing that he wasn’t actually listening. Replying made her feel better about having to sit through this so many times, and having Oliver Lupin written over every spare piece of parchment that came into proximity of her wistfully sighing, persistently in-love friend.
This was better than last year, she told herself. Better than the heartbreak after Beamish had realized that Lockhart was actually a twit and that his gilded heart was locked away from anyone but himself.
“Is he eating alright? I read that werewolves should eat more before a full moon to help with how exhausting the transformation is – well, there was something about filling the bloody and animalistic hunger, but that sounded like bullshit. People are supposed to eat after transfigurations, right?”
“I don’t think people turnip their noses at food, no.”
“Do you think he’s getting enough sleep? He should get more sleep. If full moons are really so awful, he definitely needs it,” Beamish sighed defeatedly. “I don’t know if I could take that, though, since he already looks so handsome with rings under his eyes. I want him happy, but I’m not sure I could cope seeing him well-rested.”
“I already can’t cope; you’ve become a lunatic.”
Linda had already weighed the benefits of having a competent Defence teacher. She was more than willing to pay the price of having to listen to Beamish wonder about how to care for his imaginary werewolf boyfriend was a price. She would have been listening to something similar anyway.
Beamish was a lunatic, indeed.
Linda snorted to herself. Hah. She was a master of humour.
Besides the fact that she had plans for her career, she just liked Lupin. Everyone who had a working sense of humour did; the man could leave them howling with laughter in class. She’d heard about that third-year Boggart class – just thinking about red handbags and taxidermized vulture hats made her snort again – and it was the best thing she had ever heard in her life. She would gladly put up with anything just to have witnessed that.
Hufflepuff House had taken a poll and Lupin had been rated one of the nicest and most well-liked teachers after Sprout and Flitwick. She was pretty sure most of their house would cry if he left. She knew for a fact that a heartbroken Beamish was worse than a mooning one. The dog stayed.
Heh. Mooning. She would have to remember that one.
(Beamish cried when Lupin left. Linda weighed the benefits of murdering their Potions professor. On one hand, they had already graduated, so it ought not matter, and murder would likely not be good for her career plans. On the other hand, past the basic principles of decency, all those puns… ruined.)
Marsia Crickerly, Ravenclaw sixth-year, was another student to put the clues together on Professor Lupin’s secret. As soon as the pieces of the puzzle, which she hadn’t even known she was in the middle of doing, clicked together in her head, she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Because sometimes people shrieked like banshees when they were surprised, okay? Okay.
But it was what Marsia figured out next that she thought far more important: Professor Snape was clearly trying to sabotage Professor Lupin. Not every student in the school had been so unfortunate to have Snape as their substitute Defence teacher, but Marsia had heard about the essay that had been assigned. Suddenly, a great deal of side comments from her Potions classes made terrible sense. It was this second realization that filled her with fear.
Werewolves had many restrictions on their lives, especially where they could work, and Marsia recognized almost immediately that the purely “pureblood” Board of Governors would never let a werewolf near children. It wouldn’t matter how good a teacher he was or how good a man he was. If Lupin was outed, he would be fired, and that could not stand.
Not simply because just being a werewolf was not a good enough reason for anyone to lose their jobs, but Ravenclaw House had already taken their primary poll this year and decided that Lupin was already one of the best teachers in Hogwarts. And not simply because his past few predecessors would make nearly anyone look fantastic by comparison. Lupin was broadly considered nearly as knowledgeable and well-spoken as McGonagall, nearly as approachable and clear as Flitwick, nearly as helpful and understanding as Sprout, and one of the most entertaining and engaging educators they’d had in years. Ravenclaw adored Professor Lupin.
Snape, on the other hand, was fairly broadly loathed. His teaching method was strict and inaccessible to many – sink or swim was not an acceptable method, just as dark and intimidating was not an acceptable teaching manner – and his classroom had many of the same qualities as a pit of despair. Snape seemed to enjoy insulting and ignoring students whom he considered beneath his time. He was unfair and prejudiced and mean. The best one could usually hope from him was indifference and the worst was outright abuse.
If one wanted to succeed in Potions, the general advice throughout Ravenclaw was a) hang on to his every word and hope he doesn’t suddenly decide to hate you, b) self-study, c) get a tutor, or d) murder Snape so we can have a better teacher. Snape might have been an unrivalled potions master, but he was not a man who had been meant to teach.
And now it seemed that he was trying to get rid of the best Defence teacher anyone could remember. Marsia had spent most of last year’s Defence class knitting in her seat.
Marsia Crickerly did not believe for an instant that Lupin could be dangerous. Anyone with a brain in their heads could see that there were wiser things in the world to fear than a man who could not help his health. She would rather turn her fear toward Professor Snape, who besides being unpleasant, had been verified as a Death Eater.
Not many people talked about it, but even Albus Dumbledore’s word couldn’t hush all the whispers. The war hadn’t been all that long ago, the wizarding world was smaller than some might think, and people had long memories for such things. Marsia would take a man who did not choose to turn into a cursed creature every month – she would take a werewolf any day at all, she thought – over a man who had actually chosen to follow Lord Voldemort once upon a time. For all she knew, Snape could have been one of the men who had murdered her grandfather for harbouring Muggleborns.
How a man like that was allowed to teach, Marsia still didn’t understand. She rather understood why some Muggleborn and half-blood students were afraid to go to Potions, or decided to give up spending time in that dreadful dungeon after their fifth year.
If it came down to it, it was clear to Marsia which one of these teachers had to go. And it seemed that it was coming down to it.
“Morgane, Mari!” Livie Lemaire declared, as she hurried down the dormitory stairs with her arms full of the books she had gone to fetch. “You didn’t have to scream! I didn’t take so long… Mari, what’s wrong?”
Marsia looked steadily at her friend and said, “Livie, we need to murder Snape.”
In this silence, Marsia felt compelled to add, “Not as a theoretical exercise.”
This distinction was important, for clarification’s sake. This was not the first time that Marsia and Livie had considered how to be rid of their Potions professor. Marsia had her family history and Livie was a transfer student from Beauxbatons, who had great disdain for many aspects of Hogwarts but especially for its Potions classes. Marsia didn’t know if Livie was prepared to put her wand where her mouth was, but times were desperate; they needed to remove this potential saboteur so that they could get a better Potions teacher and keep their current excellent Defence teacher.
Marsia waited, as Livie clearly thought about it.
Finally, her girlfriend shrugged and decided, “Alright. How are we to finally do this?”
Slytherin seventh-year Gerald Bletchley also figured out Lupin’s secret, but he neither screamed nor began recounting lovelorn daydreams to his best friend. The momentous occasion was noted by how he suddenly stopped his reading and stared off into space for ten minutes straight.
The Slytherins who noticed the seventh-year dissociating on one of the common room sofas gave him a wide berth, because Slytherins usually had good instincts like that.
Gerald… Gerald really tried to deny it… but the information couldn’t be denied. He refused to believe it, but the truth would not be refused. Such a thing should have been impossible, because it was too ridiculous and incredible to be real, but… the clues could not be unnoticed. The realization could not be undone. Remus Lupin was unquestionably a werewolf.
Gerald looked down at the book in his hands and rued the day he had ever taken an interest in Latin or the Roman Empire. Because what kind of werewolf was named Remus Lupin?
Just… what the actual fuck.
Every scrap of subtlety in Gerald’s self was screaming in terrible, terrible agony. He could not bear this sort of irony. He couldn’t believe this was a real thing that was happening to him. He couldn’t understand what he did to deserve this. He would never be able to stop thinking about this now; he could already see himself, through all his future Defence classes, simply staring at his absurdly aptly named teacher in haunted disbelief.
Gerald swiftly decided to tell absolutely no one, in the vain hopes that he would somehow be able to forget this if no one brought it up again. (Besides, he had a reputation and grades to maintain.) Maybe if he just repressed the information hard enough, everything would be fine.
He didn’t really care about the being a werewolf part of the being a werewolf thing. How could he? How could he care about that when he was too busy resisting the urge to find the man’s parents and demand answers. Did one of them have a gift for Divination? Had they consulted a seer about their son’s future and decided to name him accordingly? Had they received some sort of prophecy at their baby shower and elected to embrace it?
Remus Lupin, great Merlin, why.