Author's Note: Remus birthday-fic. Because I had to, you know. All written sometime past midnight, as it seems I cannot ever write anything unless it's some unearthly time of night. Also: first decently Marauder-centric fic! Huzzah!
by Vintage Blue
He is used to March: cold and warm and generally wet, wet, wet—the wetness is one thing that March is always sure of. Otherwise, he thinks, March is an indecisive month. It rages, it rains, and occasionally the sun shines brilliantly; it can never decide whether to be winter or to be spring.
He is used to birthdays, or was—birthdays for the last several years (lonesome birthdays since that Halloween of 1981) have been quiet affairs: he has a glass of wine, and wonders if he is celebrating another year of wisdom, another year of loneliness, or another notch in the line of years before the grave. Birthdays, of late, have made him more cynical than is his general nature, perhaps because he is always remembering before: in first year, when Sirius and James threw him a party in the common room and he was astonished at anyone taking the trouble; in fourth year, when Peter made paper hats and Sirius tried to charm them to say things but didn't quite get the spell right so the four of them wore hats spouting unpronounceable gibberish all day; in seventh, with the world in front of them, and James somehow persuading a cake out of the kitchen, and all of them thinking, as they had been thinking since the year began, this is the last time we'll do this at Hogwarts, this is the last time. Sirius and James had been flamboyant and loyal, and Peter kind (had been, had been, had been, he reminds himself when the March winds bluster too coldly), and they liked making their small holidays into events. And in fifth year, the night after his birthday was a full moon, and they romped through the starlit Hogwarts grounds, wolf, rat, dog, and stag, and it was so wonderful to forget.
James and Lily got married, Sirius and Peter started attempting to carve out their lives, and Remus watched, watched because he could not see much of a life to carve out, even if Sirius rolled his eyes exasperatedly, and James said You're all right, mate; you've just got a furry little problem, and they all laughed at the old joke, and Peter said something about knowing someone who knew someone with a flat for lease, better than sleeping in the Potter's spare room where Sirius used to sleep. Remus took him up on it and soon found himself, somehow, with a semblance of a life, though he worried constantly that it was all going to fall around his ears until Sirius told him to shut up because he was being a prat about the whole thing. Lily baked a cake for him one year, not long after he'd settled into the flat, and James had nearly squashed it when they came by broom, as the flat had no fireplace. Remus had watched them have a miniature row in the doorway, and he wondered how they thrived on this sort of conflict, Lily shaking back her flaming hair, James gesticulating madly, until it was over, and though their eyes looked brighter they grinned at each other sheepishly until Lily remembered Remus and the cake, just as Sirius' ridiculous flying motorcycle pulled in at the window.
March tenth, 1982, had been a bitter affair. He thought of before, before, before, had two glasses of wine, and kept expecting flying motorcycles, and James dipping down on his broom Seeker-like with Lily behind him clutching at his robes and laughing, and Peter showing up properly at the door with his neatly-wrapped gift. And he read the book of T.S. Eliot's poetry that James had given him four years ago (Lily had helped him navigate through the Muggle bookshop, and the tale had almost been gift enough) with a fierce vengeance, until his eyes ached from reading and the words swam sickeningly and he wondered how difficult it would be to Obliviate oneself.
And March comes wetly in every year, and Remus thinks, because in his series of lonely grey houses and ill-fated jobs there is little to do but think, so he thinks about spring, which never really comes in March, because winter always manages to sneak up behind it and drown it all in cold, wet, grey wind and ice and wind; and how the wind tears around houses, diving through the rafters and laughing like a ghost. No matter where he sleeps, the wind always sounds like ghosts.
He thinks, just once, perhaps, a thaw?
He hates when he is cynical, but he stares down the dim expanse that has become his life and wonders if there ever has been, ever could be thaw.
In May, the world is warmer, and Albus Dumbledore sends a letter about Hogwarts: Hogwarts and teaching; he would like to speak to him soon.
Remus stares at the paper and smiles, but he remembers paper hats, and before, before, before, and May is kind, but March is cold with memories.