This is my first Harry Potter fanfiction. After reading the third book, I was intrigued with Professor Lupin, and I thought he deserved further literary treatment. Due to the way my mind works, there are probably SPOILERS for ALL THE BOOKS spread throughout, so consider yourself warned!!! I don't own anything Harry Potterish, although Melinda Rhoades is 100% mine.
Most of my visits to the public library in my small town in rural Scotland were uneventful. I never thought my countless hours of researching the history and theory of magic and Wicca, the modern Pagan arts, would ever lead me to the man I was destined to marry. But one day—whilst looking into a particularly complicated Beltane ritual—I noticed a man staring impertinently over my shoulder.
He was tall and mildly handsome, with greying light brown hair, a curious, intelligent expression, and a warm smile. The first words he said to me were enough to put off anyone with a keen interest in magic, but something about the kind way he said them didn't put me off in the least. When I noticed a presence behind me, I marked my place and turned in my chair.
He smiled. "That won't work, you know?" he said, in a soothing, although hoarse, voice, with a slightly amused expression.
"What won't work?" I asked, puzzled.
"That ritual," he said, pointing over my shoulder at the page of the book propped open in front of me. "It's completely wrong for what you are trying to accomplish." As he drew his hand away from the page, lightly brushing my shoulder, a pleasant shiver ran through me.
"How do you know what I wish to accomplish?" I asked.
"Well, for one thing, it's written there in your notes. You're looking for a spell to bring true love."
I felt a rush of blood into my cheeks, and I knew I must have been blushing brightly. But I made no reply, turning back to the book.
"That's a fertility ritual," he continued, and I could hear the smile in his voice. "And it's entirely too complicated."
I faced him again, wearing what I'm sure was an indignant glare. My hands went instinctively to my hips, and I snorted with contempt. "You've only just met me, and you presume to tell me what lies outside the range of my abilities?"
"Not at all, my dear lady," he replied with a disarming smile. "It was merely a comment on the unnecessary complexity of the spell. Mug— People's attempts at spells are often inordinately more complicated than they need be. The best charms are much simpler, usually only one or two words. This belaboured rhyming paragraph is showy for the sake of it."
"How do you know?" I asked insolently.
"Well, I've spent a few years studying magic myself," he said, pulling up and straddling a chair casually. "I even taught certain aspects of magic for two terms."
"Really?" I asked, wide-eyed, with a hint of sarcasm in my voice. "Where?"
"I doubt you would have heard of the establishment," he said, looking down at his arms crossed over the back of the chair.
I'd never met anyone who claimed to do magic professionally, much less teach magic. Judging from the state of his clothes, however, which were much worn, he must not have been very good at his job. When he looked up again, he followed my incredulous gaze as I took in his attire.
"Clothes don't make the man," he said simply.
"Oh, but they do," I countered. "Naked people have little or no influence on society."
"Pardon?" he asked, cocking his head to the side with an addled expression that I found adorable.
"Mark Twain," I said. When he still looked confused, I added, "That is a fairly well-known quote."
"Oh, is it?" He shrugged. "I fear I am not too familiar with Mr Twain."
"Have you been living in a cave all your life?" I asked in disbelief.
He rubbed his chin, then nodded. "You could say that."
I stared at this extraordinary man in awe, when he did something I never expected.
"Would you care to have dinner with me some time?" he asked.
My eyes went wide again. "You must be joking!"
"I am completely serious," he replied with a shake of his head.
"I fear that is quite impossible," I said, turning back to my pile of books. "I do not dine with men I've only just met in libraries. Especially ones who are so condescending about my hobbies."
"Was I condescending?" he asked in a completely innocent tone. "That was not my aim."
I was determined not to be swayed by his sincere inflection, or his calming voice. Flipping a few pages, I repositioned my notepad and drew my ink pen back into my hand, intent on taking notes and ignoring him. But, out of the corner of my eye, I could see he'd made no move to leave. When I glanced back in his direction, he wore the same adorably bemused expression whilst he peered at my pen.
"Why are you staring at my pen?" I asked.
"I was just wondering how that thing works," he said, distractedly. "You don't seem to have an inkwell..." His voice trailed off; apparently he was aware he had just said something extremely foolish.
"You have been living in a cave, haven't you?" I unscrewed the pen and pulled out the inner workings, showing him the plastic tube that housed the ink. "The inkwell is inside."
His eyes grew wide. "Ohhhhh! I see!"
I shushed him, as a mother would, and apologised almost immediately. "This is a library," I added, flushing again.
"No, no, you're quite right," he said in a hoarse whisper, with a wave of his hand. Then he smiled. "Are you sure you won't have dinner with me? We could talk about magic..." He looked around at the staff clearing up for the night. "This facility appears to be closing."
"I'm afraid that is quite impossible," I said curtly, packing my books away. He looked wounded, so I added, more gently, "If I knew you better, perhaps, but no. I'm sorry."
"I understand," he said, the corners of his mouth turning down and his brows knitting into an even more adorable frown. "Might I at least have your name?"
"Melinda Rhoades," I said, slinging my bag over my shoulder.
He stuck out his hand. "Nice to meet you, Miss Rhoades."
I reached out to shake his hand, but he seized my hand, kissing the back lightly. I blushed a third time, with a small gasp, as he turned to leave.
"Wait!" I said, as the three nearest librarians shushed me. I mouthed "Sorry," to the closest staff member as he turned back to face me. "What's your name?" I whispered.
"Lupin," he said with a smile. "Remus J. Lupin." Then he bowed slightly and disappeared out the door.
I walked home to my boarding house in a daze, repeating his name to myself. That was an odd name, to be sure, but it seemed fitting for such an odd man. "Odd," I whispered, "but definitely handsome."
I climbed the steps to my room when the clouds shifted, bathing the landing in bright, silvery light. As I looked out the window, I noticed the moon was full. And then I heard the howl of a wolf somewhere in the night. The sound was fairly loud, so it must be nearby.
"A wolf," I whispered, shaking my head and turning the key in the lock. "That's only a dog. It's that man's name, Lupin, that made me think of a wolf. It's so close to lupus."
The next time I visited the library, four nights later, Mr Lupin was there again. He sat at the same table I had previously occupied, as if waiting for me, and looked up, smiling. I approached the table apprehensively. Had he been following me? How did he know I would be there that night? Or had he come back every night since?
"Good evening, Miss Rhoades," he said pleasantly, standing.
"Good evening, Mr Lupin," I said, setting down my bag, but making no pretence of sitting. "Have you been coming back every night, looking for me?"
Appearing suddenly uncomfortable, he cleared his throat. "Well ... yes, actually ... I have."
"We have a term for that," I said, tersely, folding my arms across my chest. "It's called stalking, and it is against the law."
"Really? I didn't know that..." He studied the table, toying with a minuscule scratch in the varnish. "I never thought coming to a public place in the hopes of getting to know a beautiful woman better—so she wouldn't be afraid of me and might possibly eventually have dinner with me—would be considered a hostile gesture. I'm very sorry to have bothered you." He turned and started to walk away, but I caught his arm.
"Perhaps I was a bit hasty," I said. "I ... I'll admit I'm not accustomed to such attentions from the opposite sex. And you're right. It's not as if this is a back alley in London..."
He smiled and shook his head. "No, it isn't."
"Please sit," I added, waving him into a chair. Instead of sitting, however, he pulled out a chair for me. I thanked him, and he joined me as I unpacked my bag.
He rested an elbow on the table, putting his chin in his hand. "So, magic is your hobby?"
"Yes. I've been interested in magic, and almost anything supernatural, for as long as I can remember." He smiled, bordering on condescension again, like a parent would smile and pat his child's head, but I continued, regardless. "Ancient Druids, modern Wicca, divination, Tarot cards, the occult arts, the Salem Witch Trials, banshees, ghosts, vampires, werewolves..."
Mr Lupin's expression changed when I reached "the occult," and he was frowning by the time I said "vampires." When I uttered the word "werewolves," he positively winced.
"What's the matter?" I asked, naïvely.
His nose crinkled with distaste. "You find that sort of stuff interesting?"
"Well, yes ... I think the legends are fascinating."
"Legends," he repeated, rolling his eyes. "No wonder you're intrigued."
"What is that supposed to mean?"
"Well, to someone who has never encountered the Dark Arts, I suppose they might be fascinating."
"What? You mean you have?"
"In a manner of speaking. That's what I taught: Defence Against the Dark Arts."
"Wow!" I was shushed again by the staff. "Really? That's what you taught? Then you must know all about this stuff!"
"I think it's safe to say I know more than my fair share."
"Have you ever run into a banshee, or a vampire, or a werewolf?"
"More or less," he said, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. "Let's talk about something else."
From the way he acted, I suddenly wondered if Mr Lupin had been fired from his Defence Against the Dark Arts position. For whatever reason, the occult was a sore subject, so I went along with changing the direction of the conversation.
"All right. What would you like to talk about?"
He smirked with a twinkle in his eyes. "Well, we could start with that true love spell."
Now I was uncomfortable and stared down at my notes.
"I can save you a lot of trouble," he said soothingly. "Such a spell doesn't exist."
"No. There are many potions that will make a man think he's in love with you long enough to make it to the altar, but love cannot be conjured. It comes from within."
"I'm sorry to disappoint you."
I sighed. "That's what I was afraid of."
"Afraid? Why? Is there some particular man you wanted to bewitch?"
"No, not a particular man..."
"You know, I don't think I get you at all. Here you are, poring over books to try to find a man when there is one sitting right next to you who would like nothing better than to take you to dinner."
I huffed with my mouth hanging open.
"Oops," he said, sitting back. "I've offended you again."
Nodding, I said, "Slightly."
"Please accept my most humble apologies." I smiled in spite of myself, and Mr Lupin grinned back at me. "Well," he said, "I can get you some recipes for love potions if you want to try them, but I wouldn't recommend that avenue."
I felt more patronising coming on. "Why not?"
"Most of the potions are fairly complex. Many highly trained magical practitioners don't attempt them. One has to be fairly adept at potions. At my last workplace there was this fellow named Snape—perfectly dreadful man, although he was quite a potion-brewer—but Snape wouldn't even attempt some of the better-known love potions. Shame, too," he added with a shrug. "He could use all the help he can get."
I found myself giggling at this. "You shouldn't say things like that."
Mr Lupin chuckled. "You don't know Severus Snape."
"It sounds as though you know some ... interesting people," I said.
"You could say that," he said through a wide grin. "Seriously, though, if you want to try some simpler potions and work up to the more complex ones, I have some books."
"Ah! This is the part where you offer to take me back to your flat and show me your impressive library, isn't it?"
"I'm shocked you would consider me such a villain," he gasped, putting his hand to his chest in mock offence. "Have I giving you cause to think me anything other than a gentleman?"
I shook my head, blushing again.
"I would never attempt to lure you back to my abode in order to take advantage of your position." He bent over in his chair, retrieving a stack of books, which he placed on the table between us. "These are some of my old schoolbooks."
I reached for the top book, intrigued, but Mr Lupin quickly pulled the stack out of my reach.
"First, I must have your solemn oath that you will tell no one about these books in any way. Not the titles, not the contents, not even the authors' names. And especially not where you got them."
"These writings are highly ... classified ... If anyone in my ... line of work ... discovered I'd given them to you, I could be sent to Az— I could be sent to prison."
"Are you serious?" His grave expression told me he was, so I was not the least bit surprised at his answer.
"Completely," he said with a nod.
I blinked at him a few times, pondering the cause of this furtiveness. "Do you work for the government or something?"
"No," he said with a small smile. "But these books are a great secret, nevertheless. Promise me you won't tell anyone, and I'll let you borrow them."
"If there is such danger involved, why are you doing this?"
His eyes twinkled. "I have always been something of a troublemaker in my circles."
My incredulous look made him smile again. "I don't buy that explanation," I said.
"Well, it is true," he replied. "But I also had an idea that if I did something nice for you, and showed you I am trusting you with something important, you might be persuaded to have dinner with me."
"You can't be doing all this for a date!" I whispered loudly, to a host of angry stares from surrounding librarians.
Mr Lupin put his finger to his smiling lips. "No, actually, I'm not just doing this for a date, but I do sincerely want to get to know you better. I saw something very special in you the other night ... Something I've rarely seen in ... regular people."
"What?" I asked.
He looked directly at me, but no longer appeared to see me. "Incredible concentration. An almost meditative ability to block out extraneous stimuli. I've only seen the like in one other ... person."
"An older gentleman by the name of Albus Dumbledore," he said, smiling when he finally appeared to notice my presence again.
"How do you know I have this incredible concentration?"
He leant closer to me across the table, pointing for emphasis. "Do you know how long I watched your studies the other night?"
I shrugged. "Five or ten minutes?"
Mr Lupin shook his head. "Three hours."
The librarians all turned and hissed in my direction. "SHHHHHH!!!"
My jaw hung open wide. "You wouldn't joke about something like that, would you?"
"Of course not. I could scarcely believe it myself. My feet were quite worn, and I was afraid I wouldn't be able to speak to you at all before I had to leave."
"Oh? Where did you have to go?"
With a slight cough, he said, "I had an appointment."
"Someone who agreed to have dinner with you?"
"No, but a pressing matter regardless." He patted the books. "So, do I have your word?"
I nodded enthusiastically, and he slid the stack toward me.
"I won't tell anyone," I said, packing the books into my satchel. "I have a large strongbox at home, and I'll lock them away when I'm not using them. I'll even read with the blinds drawn, if that will help you rest easier."
"I knew I could count on you," he said with a satisfied look. "I'll meet you here next week, in case you have any questions. I'm certain you will."
"Thank you, Mr Lupin," I said, extending my hand, which he kissed again.
"My pleasure, Miss Rhoades. I'll see you in a week."