Disclaimer: Remus J. Lupin and all of his friends belong to J.K. Rowling. (May writer's block never darken her door.)
A/N: We all know that Remus's middle initial is 'J.' and there comes a time in every fanfic writer's life when she or he wonders what his middle name is. "Cave Canem" was giving me writer's block, so I decided to ponder the question:
What Does the 'J.' Stand For?
Sirius was bored. His homework was done, he had already read two chapters ahead in A History of Magic (so he could sleep through Binn's lectures guilt-free), and still his friends toiled on with their own homework.
"Aren't you done yet?" he whined. "I want to do something."
"Of course we're done, Sirius," Remus replied without looking up. "We're just sitting here pretending to do homework to annoy you."
"I'll be done all the faster if you give me your astronomy chart to copy," James said with a grin. "Just don't tell Remus."
"Didn't hear a thing," Remus murmured as he closed his Transfiguration text. Sirius sat up and watched Remus eagerly until he saw Remus pull out his astronomy notes. He sat back with a sigh and then reached into his book bag and began searching for his astronomy chart.
"Here it is, right next to the emergency chocolate frogs," he thought. He pulled the chart out and tossed across the table. "Here, James. Feel free to correct any mistakes you come across."
"Uh, Sirius, can I—"
"Sure, Peter, copy away."
James unfolded the chart and placed it between himself and Peter. James suddenly snorted and nudged Peter in the ribs. With his quill, he pointed out to Peter that the stars of Canis Major had been charmed to flash alternating red and gold.
"Boredom definitely qualifies as a chocolate emergency," Sirius thought as he pulled a chocolate frog box out of his bag. When he opened the box, however, he made no attempt to catch the frog. He grinned as it leapt onto Peter's astronomy chart and then onto Remus's Transfiguration text. Remus snatched it just as it began to leap again and bit a rear leg off the struggling frog.
"Eww, Remus, don't torture the poor thing," Peter scolded. "Bite the head off first."
"Don't worry, Peter, the spell animating it ends with the first bite," James assured him. "It doesn't matter if the bite is theoretically lethal or not."
Sirius laughed and leaned forward to whisper. "Remus, promise me you'll never leave any partially eaten chocolate frogs with non-lethal bites around. We'll all have to fear the little chocolate amphibi-wolves."
Remus smirked and licked the last of the chocolate from his fingers. "I never leave chocolate frogs partially eaten." Remus then pulled out his wand and cleaned the chocolate footprints from the cover of his text and from Peter's chart.
"Toss me your Transfiguration book," Sirius said to Remus. "I might as well impress McGonagall with my brilliance, again." Remus still had his wand in hand. He flicked it at the text and sent it directly into Sirius's waiting hands. "Your aim's pretty good," Sirius acknowledged. "Care to work on distance?"
"Maybe later. At breakfast perhaps? From our table to the Slytherins' table seems about right."
Sirius grinned as he began planning the rules for the game of target practice they would have the next morning. "One point for a direct hit on most Slytherins. Two points for a direct hit on Snape--or LeStrange. Subtract two points if you hit a Hufflepuff or Ravenclaw." He opened Remus's book and saw, "Remus J. Lupin—Gryffindor."
"What does the 'J.' stand for?"
Remus continued to write. "What 'J'?"
"Your middle initial. What's it stand for? It does stand for something, doesn't it?"
"Um-hm. Something hideous." Peter and James, who had been ignoring the conversation until this point, both looked up with matching grins. James opened his mouth as if to guess, but Sirius halted him with a wave of the hand.
"Wait! We have to make the most of this," Sirius insisted. Remus glanced up at his friends and immediately returned his attention to his astronomy chart. Sirius pulled the remaining chocolate frog out of his bag and placed it in the center of the table. "Whoever guesses Remus's middle name gets the frog."
"And if I choose not to tell you?" Remus asked.
"Not an option," Sirius replied. "After all, how will we know who won the frog if you don't tell us."
"And what's in it for me?" Remus asked as he used his wand to erase a mistake on his chart. "Besides humiliation when you learn my middle name?"
"You can copy my astronomy chart," Sirius offered. Remus shook his head. "You can have the frog if no one guesses it by eight o'clock."
Remus sighed deeply as he sat back and considered the eager grins on the faces of his three friends. "Deal. But I do have one condition. You guys can tell no one what it is." They all nodded.
"It's that bad, huh?" Remus nodded and returned to work.
"Me first," Sirius leaned forward on the edge of his chair. "Jedediah." Peter and James both snorted in amusement, but did glance from Sirius to Remus to see if he reacted.
"How about 'Jonah'?" Peter asked. Still no reaction.
"No, his mum's name is Julia. I'm going to guess 'Julian'," James said.
"Logical, but wrong," Remus said with a smirk.
"Julius?" Peter asked. "Or Julia! That would be embarrassing!"
"JULIET!" Sirius shouted. Half of the people in the common room turned to stare; the other half were too accustomed to Sirius's outbursts to react.
Remus grinned as he abandoned all pretense of doing homework and sat back with his arms folded. "Uh--no. Although it would probably be a good strategy to allow you guys to try every girls' name you know, the frog isn't worth it. I'll tell you now, my middle name is not a girls' name."
"Well, considering that your first name is Remus, I think we're on the right track with Latin names," James reasoned. "So, if it's not a variation on Julius, how about—Janus."
"A god with two faces," Remus smiled, "appropriate for me, but wrong again."
"Jumius," Sirius said.
"Never heard that one," Remus replied.
"Read it somewhere. He's a fertility god, I think."
"No wonder Sirius remembered it," James laughed.
"How about 'Jay'?" Peter asked.
"No, Peter," Sirius said shaking his head. "Remus already said that it's not just an initial. It's short for something else.
"No, Sirius," Peter mocked. "The name 'Jay,' you know 'J-A-Y'."
"Oh, sorry. Remus?"
Remus shook his head and then looked at his watch. "Three minutes—then the frog and the secret are mine to keep."
"Justin or Justinian," James guessed, but Remus shook his head again.
"Jerome?" Sirius asked. Remus shook his head as their classmates Lily and Aoife took the two empty seats at the table.
"Who's Jerome?" Aoife asked.
"Remus's middle name," Sirius replied, "only it isn't. We're trying to guess what his middle name is, and all we know is that it starts with 'J', is really hideous, and it isn't a girls' name."
"AND we were sworn to secrecy about it, you idiot," James said as he scowled at Sirius.
"We were only sworn to keep the secret after we figure it out, not before," Sirius pointed out. "And if we don't figure it out in the next minute or so, he'll never tell us."
"Really hideous and starts with 'J'?" Lily asked. "James, of course." Remus flicked his wand at the frog and sent it to Lily.
"You are so dead, Lupin," James growled as Sirius and Peter burst into laughter.
Author's Note 2003— Please forgive me if one of your favorite names was on my list of possible middle names. Just because a name was on the list does not necessarily mean that I dislike it. By the way, Aoife is a Gaelic name and is pronounced like a cross between "Afa" and "Ava."
Author's Note 2004—Yes, I know that JKR said in a recent interview that Remus's middle name is John, but it was a recent interview. I wrote this story before that interview.