Professors are People too
For such a smart girl as Ginny Weasley, it was a surprisingly obvious fact for a revelation. But it seemed jarring for Ginny to realize that teachers were people; people with pasts, insecurities and love lives.
Well, in all fairness, not all teachers had love lives. Some definitely didn't. In fact it was a barely suppressed giggle that Ginny imagined Professor Trelawney on a date or a faceless woman stroking Snape's greasy hair before leaning in to kiss him. Ginny pulled a face to herself. That was definitely not things on the top of her list to imagine.
Yet Professor Lupin had caught her by surprise. He had always seemed the most personal of all her teachers; choosing to call the students by their first names and treating each student slightly differently to suit how they best learnt.
But still he had been a teacher. And teachers were not people. They didn't have lives.
Ginny was a little tentative about moving into Grimmauld Place with notorious escaped prisoner, Sirius Black. She knew he was innocent and since the end of her 3rd year at Hogwarts. Ron had told her a little about he meeting Sirius and how he had lived in Hogsmede to be closer to Harry, even though it had meant putting himself at risk of losing his soul to the dementor's kiss and, to Ron's awe and bewilderment, living off rats.
It had surprised her to arrive at Grimmauld Place to see not only the gaunt, slightly smiling face of Sirius but also her former professor, Lupin.
"Professor Lupin", she had exclaimed.
He had smiled back at her and greeted her, but he looked a little worse for wear since the last time she had seen him. She had forgotten how he had been thinner and slightly sickly at the beginning of the school year, yet this greyer, thinner and shabbier version of the Remus she remembered had brought the memories back.
"Ginny," he had said, smiling at her, "How have you been?"
"Good", she had replied, "I didn't know you'd be here!"
"I was a part of the Order the last time", he replied, "And I've been friends with Sirius since Hogwarts."
"Oh", she replied in surprise, "What have you been doing this last year?"
"Oh, a little of this, a little of that- I've been working in the muggle world for the last month since it's hard to find work lately because of the new anti-werewolf laws."
He had hesitated slightly and waited to see if she would react. She had been shocked to hear of his condition at first but it had explained his ill-health and it now seemed as though she had always known.
She smiled sympathetically, "I heard of those. I'm sorry to hear of it."
He shrugged with a sad smile, "I'm living here now so I don't need money to pay the rent. I guess the death eaters will be keeping me busy."
She thought that she was one of the first to notice. At dinners Remus' glance lingered on Tonks just that little longer and how Tonks had smiled just that little wider at him.
She smiled to herself. Remus was a good man and Tonks and her got on really well and was something like an older, more playful sister than Hermione though it did challenge her previous assumption of teachers as having no lives. And though he was fairly young, teachers still seemed centuries away and Tonks did not. He does have grey hairs, she had justified to herself.
"So, Tonks", she had said later with raised eyebrows and a cheeky smile, "Professor Lupin, eh?"
"How do you know about that?" Tonks replied and seemed unable to stop her smile.
She shrugged, "Just the way you act around each other really."
"I didn't realize we were so obvious… Remus wants to keep it pretty quiet. He thinks that everyone will judge us." She rolled her eyes.
"Why would people judge you?"
"I don't agree but he's pretty touchy about things: the age gap, his condition, his financial status…" she trailed off.
"How old is he?" Ginny asked.
"Thirty-five", she answered, "That's not bad, right? I don't know- he's just used to being judged and shunted."
Ginny sighed before changing the topic slightly, "It's a little odd to know that Professors have lives outside school- and girlfriends."
"Remus has multiple girlfriends?" Tonks said with raised eyebrows.
"No, I mean, other professors-"
Tonks laughed, "I like to think that he's a minority. I don't want to imagine Snape or Flitwick having a love life."
"Flitwick's alright", said Ginny fairly.
"Sure, as a person, but I don't want to think about whether or not he only gets with part goblins or just ends up resorting to stacks of books, or maybe just has a couple of specific positions for his height-"
The end of her wondering were drowned out by Ginny spluttering and cut off completely when Ginny threw a pillow at her.
Sick of lying in her bed, slowly getting hotter and hottest in the humid summer night and being unable to stop herself from focusing on the snores coming from Ron's room, Ginny had decided to get up and cool off with a glass of orange juice.
However, the dining room was not empty like she expected. Remus sat with a steaming tea, despite the hotness of the night. His hair was disheveled and crumpled so that Ginny could tell that he had slept on his side, for at least the limited sleep he had had managed that night. He looked slightly sweaty, and though Ginny assumed at first it was because he, like her, had found it annoyingly hot, she soon noticed his hands shaking over the table.
He was shirtless and Ginny took the opportunity to give him a quick once over. He was quite thin, with the outlines of many bones visible and very pale, especially under the dull, yellow light. He seemed fairly toned though. She was most surprised, however by the large array of scars, especially a particularly deep scar on his shoulder and a large scattered bite mark across his torso that looked as though he had grown a lot since he first got it. She realized with a jab that it must be his werewolf bite. Most of the scars were faint though and so numerous they almost caused a pattern across his torso.
"Professor Lupin", she said quietly.
He jumped up and grabbed his wand which was sitting on the table before seeing that it was Ginny.
"Would it be redundant to say that you scared me?"
"A little", Ginny replied, smiling.
"I'm guessing that you can't sleep?"
"Yeah, it's so hot upstairs and I can hear Ron snoring from the next room", she said with a roll of her eyes, "You too?" she asked, despite having noticed his shaking hands and odd choice of drink for someone who wanted to cool off.
Ginny wandered into the kitchen and poured some orange juice for himself before joining Remus at the table. She noticed that his hands were still slightly shaking.
"You alright?" She asked.
Remus looked up, "Yeah. Yeah, just tired."
"Dumbledore's got you doing night guard duty?"
Remus raised his eyebrows slightly, but did not look surprised.
Ginny wasn't entirely sure what was the cause of his anxiety was but a snippet of conversation gave him a fairly good idea:
"He's worried about transforming in the house. Even though I can seal the damned door shut until moonrise."
"Won't- Doesn't he take Wolfsbane? Won't he have his own mind?" Tonk had asked.
"No," Sirius replied, "He can't afford it at the moment. And he won't let me pay for the damned stuff, stubborn prat."
Ginny had always been more of a morning person, especially compared to most of the Weasleys who liked nothing better than a decent sleep in. It was nothing new for her to wake up to a silent house.
However, it was new for her to walk downstairs to the living room and suddenly hear thumps and an inhumane whining. She walked quickly towards the noises and found herself outside the basement where both Sirius and Tonks sat outside, Sirius' clearly the calmer of the two.
"What's going on?" She asked.
Sirius looked sleepily around while Tonks, who was obviously jumpy, flinched.
"Full moon", Sirius answered, "Don't worry; he can't get out of the room. And he can't smell us either; otherwise he's hurt himself more by throwing himself at the door."
Tonks flinched again at this and looked back in the direction of the basement.
"Have you been here all night?" She asked, flinching at a whimper from the other side of the door.
"Yeah, it's always worse when the wolf is in a new place. And he's been a bit on edge about transforming in a house full of people and stress makes it worse as well", Sirius explained, "I'd prefer to know if he's having a particularly hard time of it. I could transform myself and try to calm him down if it gets really bad."
"When's moonrise?" Ginny asked quietly.
"Pretty soon, I think."
"Not soon enough", Tonks said, her voice rougher than usual.
Ginny sat down to join their silent party in waiting.
"Did he just start whimpering? The noises came suddenly for me when I was coming downstairs", Ginny asked.
"I put charms on the other parts of the house though, so you wouldn't hear him though", Sirius answered, "I don't think you'd have been able to hear from upstairs anyway but Remus got embarrassed about it and just hoped that everyone would forget. He expects everyone to shun him if they remember that he's a werewolf."
They returned to silence again as they listened to the whimpers on the other side of the door. Soon the whimpers increased in speed and sound and then turned into a rough, human cough.
Tonks had jumped up, her face pale, but Sirius had looked at her and said, "You know he doesn't want you to see him straight away-
"He didn't want me to listen either-", Tonks interrupted but Sirius shook his head.
"I don't want him to get worked up or try to pretend he's completely fine which he will do if you go in straight away. I'll get him decent first, alright?"
He waited for Tonks to nod before he lifted the enchantment on the door and went in.
He heard Sirius talking to Remus who answered in a croaky voice and murmuring healing charms.
"You alright", Ginny asked Tonks, who was still very pale.
"Yeah", she said looking around, "I just hated to hear him like that."
"He'll be fine. He does it every month", Ginny reminded her.
"I hate that too", Tonks replied bitterly.
A few moments later, Remus emerged in an open, ratty shirt and pajama pants, with one arm around Sirius whom he was leaning quite heavily on. He was very pale and still bleeding from a few smaller wounds.
Tonks shot up once.
"Are you alright, Remus?"
"Fine, fine", he answered despite the amount of support he apparently required from Sirius. He squinted tiredly at her and asked, "Please tell me that you didn't stay up all night."
"I won't then", she answered before getting on Remus' other side and assisting in pulling him up the stairs.
Ginny sneaked a look into the basement before following. She flinched at the blood on the floor and walls and the deep chunks from the old couch that were scattered across the ground.
Yes, Remus Lupin had been a fantastic Professor. But he was also a person and all people had insecurities, fears and hopefully also a little bit of luck.
A/N: I don't know where this story came from but I have been itching to write despite my current lack of external hard-drive (which contains chapters that need posting for both my WIPs). I am rather fond of Ginny and although this fic may have alluded to Ginny having a crush on Remus (like when she was perving on him when he was shirtless) that mostly because it's me writing this and I like to vicariously live though fictional characters. And I just enjoy describing shirtless Remus.
I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate. Thanks for reading (and reviewing/favouriting *crosses fingers*), it means a lot to me. Posting my fanfiction here has been (and will hopefully continue to be) a wonderful experience and I love you all for justifying my urges to describe a topless Remus Lupin.