Disclaimer: Professor Bloomburg belongs to me, but Phantom goes to Gaston Leroux and Andrew Lloyd Webber. The characters belong to JKR. Teh Bowie is God, thus we all belong to him.

Notes: Written a couple of years ago, this has always been one of my favorites- ever. I'm amazed I haven't posted it here before.


Professor Bloomburg was a favorite with the students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was the kind of teacher that the students could confide in, joke with, and come to for help. Her reputation as a great teacher was also widely known, and a good many students took her Muggle Studies classes merely so they could be taught by her. Professor Bloomburg was also wise enough to know that all of these actions were a sign of student approval, and was very flattered and worked hard to make her classes enjoyable to repay the students for their affection.

So it was that in the sixth year of the Marauders reign that the Muggle Studies class was learning about Muggle culture and art. For the first part of the year they had read a good many books that were well known to most Muggles. This was followed by movies, and eventually plays and operas.

On this particular fine Thursday afternoon, the class had just finished watching a movie version of the Phantom of the Opera.

Most of the class looked enraptured, gazing at the blank screen in disappointment. Others were telling their friends what they would have done differently had they been Christine. One or two were sleeping, and others sat in polite silence, waiting for the homework assignment their teacher had mentioned at the start of class.

"Now students, I know I've made you do a lot of reading this year, and some of it hasn't been all that much fun. I'm going to try to make that up to you now, and let your imaginations have a little break. One week from today, I want you all to hand in to me your own version of this story. I ask for at least one scroll from each of you. And before you start to complain, allow me to elaborate.

"You can be as creative with this as you want. The story can remain virtually the same as the original, only with names changed, or it can be completely different, so long as I can tell where the basic plot came from. You can make up your own characters, use the ones from the original, or insert yourself and your friends. If you would prefer, you can just write an in depth personal monologue from one of the original characters, or someone who is living through something similar. Have fun with this project and don't let yourself get too stressed about it. I'll see you all next week. Enjoy your weekends."

And with that, class was over and the chattering students poured out of the classroom and into the hall.

"Do you have any ideas?" Sirius Black inquired of his friends.

"One or two," James Potter replied casually, his eyes darting over the crowd in the halls, searching for a head of red hair while pretending not to be doing so.

"I'm sure you do, Prongs," Sirius replied, rolling his eyes. "How about you Moony? Wormtail?"

"I'm so confused. How am I supposed to write something like that?" Peter Pettigrew worried. "I can barely take notes that make any sense!"

"I can proofread your work if you want, Pete," Remus Lupin offered. Then he turned his attention to Sirius. "And no, I don't have any ideas at this point. Are you asking all of us to try to steal our ideas or because you already have some and want to elaborate?"

"Hey! I am perfectly capable of coming up with my own ideas." A sulky look crossed the handsome face. "But a little help would have been nice."

"That's what I thought."

"Be quiet, Moony."

Remus just smiled at his friend, and continued on to the Great Hall for lunch, his friends trailing behind.

That night in the Gryffindor common room, the four sat around staring at their blank scrolls. Peter was chewing the end of his quill and looking apprehensive. James was gazing in the direction of the fireplace and not really trying to get his homework done. Sirius was staring at the ceiling and tapping his fingers irritably on the table. Remus, however, had already begun to write.

"How can you have an idea already?" Peter asked, eyes wide.

"Just call me a genius," Remus grinned, barely glancing up. Apparently his idea had him in its clutches and he couldn't stop writing for even an instant.

They were all rudely surprised by a sudden exclamation from Sirius. "I've got it! The Phantom of the Strip Joint!" At the confused looks on the faces of his three friends, he elaborated. "I'm this poor, underpaid stripper, you see? But I'm devastatingly handsome, and so the Phantom, who looks just like David Bowie, falls in love with me and makes me the star act. Of course, the other strippers are all jealous. And he only wears a mask because he's so gorgeous that he gets gang raped if he doesn't. It's brilliant!"

Before he could start writing, a hand hit him upside the head. "Don't be blasphemous," Remus muttered coldly, glaring at him. "There are some things you should not parody."

"Now you know that's not true, Moony!" Sirius teased. "Life is a parody in and of itself. Nothing is sacred enough not to make fun of!"

Remus continued to glare, so Sirius slunk off to another table to begin work on his masterpiece.

"Why does that bother you so much?" James asked once Sirius had gone and Remus showed no signs of forgiving the insult.

"Because when I was younger my parents took me to see the show live, and it was the most amazing experience of my life. I don't like to see it belittled by Paddy's sex drive and lust for Bowie."

"Like you don't have an equal lust for Bowie."

"I don't think anyone can have a lust for him that equals the one our dear Siri harbors," Remus replied, looking amused. "It just wouldn't be possible. He's obsessed."

"Tell me about it," James groaned, burying his face in his hands. "All summer it was 'Bowie this' and 'Bowie that.' I was about to kill him, honestly."

"I don't envy you your house mate," Peter chimed in, toying with the flame of a nearby candle. They all glanced over at where Sirius was sitting, scribbling furiously.

"You have my sympathy," Remus assured him.

"Thanks," was James' only reply.

On Sunday evening the four of them gathered to share their stories, as they had spent most of the weekend working on them. They had their own reasons for working on it so hard and so quickly, rather than putting it off to the last minute. Sirius had been inspired and had finished his story the night it had been assigned. Remus had enjoyed the assignment and therefore had devoted time to it. James had just wanted to get it out of the way so he wouldn't have to worry about it during Quidditch practice, and Peter was just going along with the other three. Besides, Remus had told him that if he put writing his off until the last minute, he wouldn't help him go over it. So, Peter had decided to finish early and get all the help he could.

"Okay guys, we sit in a circle," James ordered as he settled down cross-legged on the floor of their room. "Then we pass our story to the person to our right. Once we're all done reading the first story, we pass to the right again until we have our own back. Understand?"

"It's not that difficult, Jamie," Sirius sighed, blowing a lock of hair out of his eyes and grinning at Remus who sat on his left. "Besides, you shouldn't order us around. Remus is the Prefect. Not you."

"Then, as a Prefect I'll tell you to do as James says." Remus couldn't contain his grin, and he glanced at James and winked.

Sirius growled low in his throat, but stopped arguing. "Can we just go ahead and pass now?"

"Very well. Since our little puppy is getting anxious, everyone pass to your right." James handed his scroll to Remus and accepted Peter's. The others all followed suit and soon a very rare thing happened, silence fell over the Marauders as they all read.

"I actually expected something like this," Remus mused as he read James' story. It was fairly well written, but a bit predictable. Lily was a famous actress and James had been a childhood friend. There was a hideous creature that lived under the theater and bore a striking resemblance to Snape. The story followed the original closely, save that at the end Lily kicked Snape in the groin and walked out with James rather than show him any pity. This was followed by a serious snogging session. It was rather humorous, and obviously meant to be. It was also a testament to how much James liked Professor Bloomburg to reveal his deepest feelings about his classmate in such a way that the teacher couldn't possibly miss it.

Shortly after he had finished, the others were all looking up as well, a clear sign that they were finished as well and waiting to switch off again. "Pass to your right," James told them, and so came the next round.

Peter's story was not so well written, but it was clear that he had tried. Remus had read several drafts of the story already and helped him with spelling and grammar, as well as a few suggestions to make the story seem more complete.

After a few failed attempts, Peter had opted to write Christine's thoughts on the Phantom after the last scene of the show. While at some points it seemed a bit out of character, it wasn't too terribly bad and Remus knew he would at least receive passing marks.

Then it was time to pass again, and Remus found himself staring down at a scroll covered in Sirius' choppy writing, blatantly titled, 'The Phantom of the Strip Joint'. He cast a wary glance at Sirius who was deeply engrossed in Peter's paper, a small crease in his forehead indicating that he was concentrating on it. Inwardly he sighed, groaned and steeled himself to read something he knew would be a disgrace.

The Phantom of the Strip Joint
by Sirius Black
Gryffindor, Sixth Year

The Blue Pearl was a rather disreputable strip joint in the outskirts of London. The neighborhood was made up of other such establishments, a few abandoned factories and of course the mandatory drug labs. It was inhabited by the lost, the addicted, the hopeless, the hungry and the insatiably horny.

"I belong somewhere better than this," Sirius Black mused as he stared at his glitter coated reflection in the cracked and dirty mirror of his changing room. "With my looks, I should at least be able to find work in a nicer strip joint than this, but alas! My bad luck and my abusive mother who sold me for drug money have landed me here. Someday, someday I'll find a way out of this place." But in his heart of hearts, he didn't actually believe such a thing could happen.

"And next is our star, Luscious Lucius," he heard the announcer tell the audience who began to cheer drunkenly. Lucius was the closest thing the place had to a prima donna. It was rumored that he was actually very rich, but had a secret desire to strip and have money shoved down his g-string. Because of this, he had to limit his work to places like the Blue Pearl. Places where no one who actually knew him would ever see him.

Behind him, Sirius heard the manager talking to some other men. "And this is one of our younger stars, Sirius Black, or as we call him, The Carnal Canine."
Sighing sadly at the ridiculous stage name, Sirius turned with his most winning smile. "And who might these men be?"

"They own this place from tonight on, so you'd better dance well for them," the manager, Filch, growled at him before turning back to his guests. "He's not too bright, but he's real pretty and he dances better than most."

"I see," said one of the two men, looking down his nose at Sirius.

"The pretty ones are rarely intelligent," his companion agreed amiably.

Glaring at them, Sirius put his hand on his hip and attempted to look menacing. "You'd better watch what you say. The Phantom of this Strip Joint watches over me, and he'll make sure you suffer if you don't treat me with respect!"

The men glanced at Filch who shrugged. "He's a bit, well, off in the head."

"He's making a life as a stripper. He can't be all that sane," the first one conceded, making placating gestures with his hands.

"Sirius, you're on next. Finish applying your glitter and get ready to go out there," Filch barked before leading the men off.

"And now, The Carnal Canine," he heard himself announced, and with one last glance at his achingly beautiful face in the mirror, Sirius walked out onto the stage and began gyrating and removing his clothing, occasionally allowing greasy old men to shove money into his undergarments. He hated this life, but what else did he have?

Once his act was over, he retreated to his dressing room and headed straight to his vanity where he always counted out his earnings. Behind him he heard the door snap shut, and he jerked around in surprise.

Leaning against the door was a man dressed in tight black leather pants, a white dress shirt unbuttoned to the nave, and boots that came all the way up to his thighs. His blond hair cascaded down around his shoulders, and his body was absolutely perfect. The only strange thing about him was the mask he wore over the top half of his face. It was black to match his pants, and intense eyes watched his every move.

"You dance very well," the man informed Sirius, stepping away from the door to slink towards him. "You have rhythm, unlike some of the others who seem to think that grinding against the ground is sensual and sufficient. You have potential."

"Thank you?" Sirius was slightly disturbed by this strange man, but turned on all the same. "Do you mind telling me who you are?"

"Silly boy, you should know me. You called on me just earlier tonight, or have you already forgotten? I'm the Phantom of the Strip Joint."

"So I was hearing you talking to me, right? I wasn't just hearing voices again?"

"Again?" The Phantom seemed momentarily confused, then made a dismissive gesture. "No, you heard me talking to you in your mind."

"The Phantom of the Strip Joint is in my mind," Sirius agreed, not as disturbed as he had thought. He wasn't sure if this worried him or not.

"Yes, my Angel of Glitter. Now, allow me to show you my underground labyrinth."

"Sure. Okay. I'm done for the night anyway," Sirius agreed amicably and he followed the Phantom through a secret passageway in his bathroom down, down into the heart of the club where none went because of the high rate of mysterious disappearances that took place down there.

The Phantom lived in a dark room illuminated only by candles, but it was large, and Sirius decided, rather sumptuous. The room was dominated by a huge bed that was draped all in black silk. Crimson velvet curtains hung around it, but were tied back with golden trim. The carpet was soft underfoot, and puffs of glitter rose into the air with each step as so much of it had fallen into the carpet over the years.

Sirius threw himself onto the bed as the Phantom watched. "So, what do we do now?"

"Well, I believe I give you lessons in the types of glitter, you go back above in all of your glittery glory, some rich pervert falls in love with you and you with him, or at least with his pocketbook. I, of course, get horribly jealous and murderous, eventually kidnap you and when your lover follows I put him in a situation where he will surely die if you don't agree to love me."

"What do I do?"

"You kiss me and run off with him."

"I see. Why don't we skip all of that and get right on to me kissing you, shall we?"

The Phantom arched an eyebrow. "Very forward of you. I like that."

"You look sexy in those pants. I like that."

"Very well." The Phantom began to approach the bed to ravish Sirius, but before he had quite reached him Sirius held up a hand.

"Just one question."

"Make sure it's short."

"It will be."

"Very well."

"Why do you wear that mask? Are you horribly disfigured or something?"

"Not exactly, but my face is a curse."

"How so?"

"I'll have to show you," the Phantom sighed, and slowly slid the mask off, revealing that his true identity was David Bowie. "If I don't wear it, I get horribly molested by everyone I come into contact with. So I hide my beauty away until someone can appreciate me for my package, and not just my strangely sexy face."

"I certainly appreciate your package!" Sirius assured him, and they spent the rest of the night wallowing in glitter, and each other.

"It was entertaining," Remus said as he casually handed the scroll back to Sirius. Then, before any other words could be said he stood up and stalked out of the room. The other three watched him go with varying levels of curiosity and surprise.

"What was that about?" Sirius finally exploded.

"He's annoyed with you, idiot," James explained.


"Well, firstly you made a mockery of something near and dear to him. And second," here James glanced at the door as if Remus were standing on the other side listening, "I think he's jealous of how obsessed you are with David Bowie."


"Think about it Padfoot. You're not as stupid as you seem. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some other homework I need to get to."

James stood up and left the room, followed by Peter who trailed behind him like a loyal puppy.

Once they had gone, Sirius tossed his scroll into his trunk and flopped back on his bed with a grin on his face. "No, I'm not that stupid."

For a few days there was some tension between Remus and Sirius, but it was quickly forgotten as they came up with new pranks together and life went on. They all turned their papers in and the whole thing was forgotten for a time.

Then one day, right after the full moon, Remus returned to the room to take a nap. The others were at Quidditch practice, Sirius and James showing off and Peter cheering them on.
However, when he opened the curtains to his bed, he noticed a scroll lying on his pillow. Curious, he sat down on the bed and picked it up, unrolling it. At the top he read, in Professor Bloomburg's hand, '100 Excellent work, Sirius. Well written and very deep. I think there's someone else who should perhaps see this.'

Under it was a story, obviously written by Sirius, however, it wasn't the same Phantom story Remus had been so upset about before.

The Phantom in my Mind
by Sirius Black
Gryffindor, Sixth Year

The moon was dark and full as I walked the empty corridors of the castle. Somehow I felt like I was alone, though I knew that feeling was ridiculous considering the number of people who swarmed the hallways during the daylight hours.

I wasn't tired, but I knew that I could have easily fallen asleep had I given myself the chance. Why then was I walking alone so late at night? Even I did not know the answer to that.

Not until I saw the shadow in the inky black corner of a room I was passing.

Obviously it was not a small person, huddled there in the darkness. Only the blackness made it difficult to tell the exact size, or features of the bundle. I would almost have thought him a heap of discarded robes had I not heard the soft sound of labored breathing.

It hit me at once that this was the reason I was out of my bed. I was to find this person, hiding so desperately from the brilliant light of the moon. This ephemeral ghost of a being who lurked in the shadows in the late of night. I was here to find him.

Slowly I approached, and the figure grew silent, obviously aware of me. This did not prevent me from crossing the room and kneeling down in front of him, placing a hand on his thin knee.

He looked up at me then with an expression of neither fear nor pride, and yet somehow both combined. His eyes were golden and glowed with light reflected from an unknown source. Tawny hair dusted across his face and my fingers itched to push it back for him.

I knew the youth. I had seen him many times in my daylight hours. In fact, we were quite good friends, and yet I had never seen him like this. So still, so solitary, so alone and isolated from the sunlight world.

No words were exchanged, but they did not need to be spoken. The silence was meaningful enough, and in that perfect silence we reached an understanding.

The night stripped away his mask, his pretenses. I saw him as the creature of darkness he really was, only I was not afraid. How could I ever be afraid of the one I loved?

We went back to our room together, and curled in each others arms that night. When morning came, he donned his mask again, but I knew him and he knew me, and that was all.

Tears had sprung into his eyes. He hadn't cried in years, even when the wolf tore his flesh apart every month, he no longer cried. Behind him he heard the door click closed, and lock, and then he was across the room and his lips were pressed to Sirius' and the phantom of love that had hovered over them both for so long removed the mask and it was perfect.