Written for Season 4 of the QLFC, Semi-final.

Title: Nature Boy

Team: Wigtown Wanderers

Position: Chaser 2

Team Prompt: Sorting Hat

Optional Prompts:

6. (colour) rose gold

10. (emotion) paranoia

14. (word) scandal

Word Count: 2, 450

Beta(s): CrazyRopeDragon, DinoDina, and NeonDomino (Thank you!)

"Slytherin!" I announced, and was lifted from Bulstrode's bulbous head. I could tell he was pleased, which was always nice. I mean, one must not be biased, but keeping the children happy prevented me from having to listen to them whine to the headmaster while I sat on my shelf during term.

"Remus Lupin," McGonagall said, reading from her fresh scroll. I didn't get a chance to see the boy as he approached, his pace was hurried and furtive. No matter, in only a moment I saw his face in his mind's eye. His thoughts were hyper-focussed on how the other children might view him, he sat with his back straight as a board.

"Too quick, I must be calm. Calm," Lupin chided himself, and he became utterly still below me. "It's a neat mind you have here, boy. Ravenclaw would have you in a heartbeat," I told him. I could sense his pleasure, but also his distaste.

"Please don't say that, Ravenclaw would know better," the boy replied, his cheeks stinging. An image flashed before us, a wailing empty space. A dark set of missing memories. I sensed him adding me to a list, the 'list' of those who knew.

"Dumbledore, the old fool. That man's heart bleeds for every watering eye. A Werewolf at Hogwarts?!"

"I'm sorry," he thought so clearly over the turbulence of his shame that for a moment I believed he had spoken aloud. From rim to tip I was saturated with his self-loathing. Poor, fearful creature, so far from home. In his thoughts, his very presence was brazen, yet here he was.

"Gryffindor!" I cried allowed.

"Why?!" Remus asked, and McGonagall pulled me from his head.

"Because every step you take is daring," I replied, unheard, as I watched his battered shoes challenge the marble with each pace toward Godric's table. A walking scandal.

I remembered Lupin after that. I was curious to see him on his occasional check-ins with the Headmaster regarding his 'special' circumstances. It wasn't everyday one encountered such a boy, one so aware.

In his fifth year he arrived before Dumbledore for a change. He hesitated to sit down but instead stood as if on parade. From my place on the shelf he appeared so small, I leaned forward and realised he had been watching me.

"Why?" he asked again, with no preamble.

"The question still lingers after all this time? Perhaps Ravenclaw would've been the right choice after all."

"Is that what you think?" he asked, and I grumbled for a moment.

"No," I replied eventually, and his amber eyes narrowed.

"Is it because you knew this would happen? That my thoughts would become this mess?" He took a step forward, unsure as if he was struggling through a fog.

"What troubles you?" I asked, curiosity winning out over good sense. The distress I saw in him was unfamiliar. The latch of the door clicked behind him, announcing someone's arrival.

"You'll soon find out," he mumbled, turning his head to greet the latest addition to his 'list': Severus Snape.

The next time I saw Lupin, it was the dead of night. The door to the office seemed to open and shut of its own accord, and in the next moment Lupin pulled off a cloak of invisibility with a rustle and appeared in the centre of the threadbare rug.

The portraits of the Headmasters and Headmistresses were in uproar, abandoning the pretense of sleep immediately. Despite their chatter it was clear from the moment of his arrival that Remus Lupin only had eyes for me. They glowed like a cat's in the dark.

"What are you doing lad?" The portrait of a stout former Headmistress complained.

"Is he mad?" Another groused.

"My God, he's a prefect," cried a third.

"Would you expect any less of a mongrel?" A late Malfoy drawled from a high point near the ceiling.

"Shut your trap, you old snob!" The voices all began to overlap.

Lupin shifted the ladder around on its rail, and climbed up to my shelf.

"He's going to tear the old relic apart!" One of the newer portraits whispered.

"The child's possessed," their neighbour lamented.

"Call the old man," a haughty woman advised.

"Which one?!" A thin man demanded, adjusting his ear horn.

I sat perfectly still.

"Are you awake?" Lupin asked quietly once he was level. I was hesitant to respond. "I need your help, please." His effort to remain calm couldn't quite mask his relief when I deigned to move.

"I've kept your secret, and countless others. If this is some act of undue paranoia I'll ask you to spare me the dramatics," I grumbled, and Lupin had the grace to look chagrined.

"You said I had a tidy mind?" I was unsure if he meant it as a question.

"Yes," I replied, regardless.

"Well there's something wrong with it, and according to 'Hogwarts: A History', you could help me fix it."

"I'm not a healer, boy," I groused, and attempted to rumple my expression into that of an ordinary hat to deter him.


"You're grasping at straws," I told him, and the scarred boy tugged on his tawny hair.

"I know, but if I could just... would it be alright if I put you on, just for a moment?!" he asked, and the manic look in his eye reminded me of how he had begged Dumbledore not to expel him after the incident with Snape, an event which had not even been his fault. I wanted to know what would motivate Lupin to break the rules, how twisted could his state of mind be to lead him here?

"Alright," I replied, and he lifted me from the shelf.

In Lupin's mind, I was met by a pink haze I had recognised in few before, a fog which wrapped his thoughts in a lethargic warmth. It was almost like the effect of a spell.

He'd read about the Spectacles.

"What do you think those damned Eyeglasses are for?" I asked him, and he clung to the ladder.

"According to a footnote by Valentine Lovejoy: they remove the blindfold of distraction, and show the wearer the way." Honestly I was surprised the boy had found his way to the library trudging through this jumbled mess.

"You think they'll clear this fog?" I asked him.

"It's making my life impossible." It had been a long time since a person had called upon the relic. Considering they were her life's work: Valentine's Glasses couldn't tell anyone anything they didn't already know. Gryffindor knew that, but he allowed her to tie the relic to me just as he had bound me to his sword. Some people, she had said, need a guiding light.

It was for a call such as this that I had been trusted with her beloved invention.

"Put them on when the fog is thickest," I advised, and when Lupin pulled me off of his head: I dropped Valentine's beloved Spectacles into his hand.

They were set in frames of delicate rose gold, and the arms were engraved with words too small for me to read as Lupin placed me back on my perch.

"Thank you," he said, making his exit with renewed urgency.

Dumbledore was all too happy to wear me down to breakfast the next morning, and as usual, he knew more than he should. The moment he placed me on his head it was clear that he knew Lupin and I had spoken the night before. Between a half dozen Sneakoscopes, and Phineas Nigellus gossiping; little of the previous night's events escaped him.

"Are you hoping he'll put them on at breakfast?" Dumbledore asked, as he cracked the top off of a boiled egg.

"I've only seen the Spectacles work once before. I'm somewhat invested in what happens next."

"What happened last time?" Dumbledore asked, his mind alight with amusement.

"They worked. A young woman found her true love, who was right in front of her all along, of course. Valentine made the glasses to help hopeless cases find a way."

"Poor Mr. Lupin," Dumbledore thought, chortling around a piece of toast. "Is he so hopeless?"

"Oh, completely," I replied, and then sat a little straighter on the old man's head when I saw Lupin enter. His right hand was sunk deep into the pocket of his winter robe, as he trailed behind his two boisterous friends. Black and Potter were dressed fully in their Quidditch robes, despite the Gryffindor practice not being scheduled until dusk.

It all unfolded then like clockwork.

The four friends sat down, Remus immediately pulled a book from his satchel and attempted to read it. He made a convincing effort while Potter waxed lyrical about the recent victory of some Quidditch team called the Wigtown Wanderers.

"They're all birds on the team this year, and they're all so fit," he explained, looking manic. "They fly like birds too. Like fit birds."

"Why are you telling me this?" Sirius asked, pouring some pumpkin juice into a large goblet.

"They're talented, and gorgeous, and it's Quidditch, that's why!" James emphasized, fanning himself lewdly with a sausage.

"Do you want some juice, Moony?" Sirius asked, holding the goblet out. Remus looked up from his book and reached for the drink slowly.

"Thanks," he mumbled, and the young Black heir grinned wickedly. Lupin took a sip of the juice.

"I aim to please," Sirius said. Remus nearly choked in his attempt to swallow. Sirius winked, diligently ignoring James whose sausage had slipped free and landed in his teacup splattering their breakfast.

"I imagine he'll be putting on those glasses any moment," Dumbledore mused, and I happened to agree with him.

Sure enough Lupin was reaching for his pocket, and there was a glimmer as the fragile frames were revealed.

"It's all so inevitable," I complained to the old man. Remus lifted the Spectacles to his face, putting them on with considerable hesitation. Then the boy lifted his head, and looked around.

"What are those?" Peter Pettigrew asked, and Lupin cleared his throat. His eyes rested on Black, and he squinted as if he were staring into the sun.

"Did you explain to him what they are for?!" Dumbledore queried, rapt by the proceedings.

"I told him to put them on when he felt his mind betray him. He read in a book that they would help point the way."

"He doesn't know?!"

"He will."

I could sense Dumbledore was torn between criticising my decision and applauding it.

Shaking his head, Lupin blinked and frowned. He rubbed his eyes underneath the lenses and looked back to Black. Sirius was staring at Lupin, his smile only growing.

"They're just an old pair of spectacles I found," Lupin replied, taking them off and clearing his throat.

"What do they say on them?" Pettigrew questioned, pointing to the engraved arms.

Remus squinted at the engraving, but it was Sirius who replied: "They say: the greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."

Remus's head snapped up.

"How did you know that?" Lupin asked, and Sirius shrugged.

"They're replicas, like Valentine's Spectacles, right? From the kids book? 'Cauldron full of Hot Strong Love'."

"Oh yeah!" Potter chimed in, reaching for a sausage-free tea cup. "That was Marlene's favourite when we were kids, she went as Valentine Lovejoy for Halloween."

"Like the Celestina song," Peter added. Potter and Black adopted twin grimaces.

"Gross, Peter," Potter complained.

"Did they reveal your true love?" Sirius asked, batting his eyelashes at Remus.

"What? No!" Lupin defended. The boys grinned at him, and four sets of eyes were suddenly fixed on the twinkling relic.

"Well, that's what they're for," Black explained, reaching across the table. "Give us a shot."

"No!" Lupin said, shoving them back into his robes, breaking the spell. "That's not what they're… what Valentine's Spectacles were for. It said in 'Hogwarts: A History' that: 'they remove the blindfold of distraction, and show the wearer the way.'"

"Yeah, it says the same in the story: 'lights the way to the wearer's true love.'"

Remus's hand was still jammed in his pocket. He shook his head and forced a laugh.

"Purebloods," he admonished, closing his textbook, and shoving it back into his satchel. Sparing a glance in my direction, he stood from the bench. "I have to go."

His friends watched him leave.

"What was I saying?" James asked, and then nodded his head. "Oh yeah, the Wanderers, they're Goddesses of the air."

The door clicked, and the portraits were off:

"Dear Merlin, not again!"

"I actually don't mind him."

"He's an anarchist!"

"He thinks above the law."

It was only just after dark. Lupin had wasted no time in storming back into the office to meet me on my plinth.

"These are broken!" He whispered harshly, holding the Spectacles aloft. His scowling face sprang into view as he clattered up the ladder

"Really!" An old Headmaster sputtered. "No respect."

"I take it you've tried them on then?" He pulled me from the shelf and carried me down the ladder.

"Tried them on? You saw me putting on the bloody things!"

"And did they light the way? Cut the fog?" He sat me on the desk, placing the Spectacles next to me.

"What? No! Yes! They didn't work. It can't be right." He began to pace, pulling at his clothes and at the back of his neck each time he stopped to turn.

"You've identified the source of this pink mist of desire then?"

"Pink mist of… What?" He buried his face into his hands. "I'm going to be sick," he moaned, his voice muffled against his palms.

"Lupin, you mustn't blame yourself, these things happen. That's true love for you."

"But I'm a Werewolf," he lamented.

"Yes, but if you wore the Spectacles you must know how he feels. They wouldn't work if it mattered to him," I replied. The portraits fussed in response, although it was old news it still affected them to hear the boy announce what he was.

"I can't be a gay Werewolf!" he insisted, he'd stopped moving.

"Oh the humanity!" A painting wailed.

"Another one," another said.

"Is he crying?" A curly haired witch asked, pulling out a pair of operatic binoculars.

"I'm not," he replied, rubbing at his eyes.

"I'd be crying," the Malfoy mumbled.

"He's crying," the witch with the binoculars confirmed.

"I'm not crying," he insisted, and when he pulled his hands away he was grinning. "They're really not broken?" Lupin asked.

"Of course they work you nauseating adolescent!" I sighed.

"Honestly!" A portrait from high above cried.

"The great Valentine herself," a smaller voice crooned.

"Oh," he mumbled wistfully. The moment broke and his eyes widened. "Merlin!" He clapped a hand to his forehead.

Frantic, he grabbed his invisibility cloak and rushed to the door. It slammed shut unceremoniously, silencing the portraits above with its clatter. After a moment, the cacophony resumed with even greater intensity.

"Typical Gryffindor," a voice that could have only been Phineas Nigellus stated.

"Oh, shut your mouth," a helpful Gryffindor loyalist snapped.

"I think it's romantic," a young former Headmaster sighed.

"Who's the lucky lady?" The thin man with the ear horn asked.

"Were you even listening?"The curly haired witch scolded.

Silence fell when the door reopened a moment later, and a pink faced Remus Lupin emerged from nothing.

"Thanks," he told me, rushing in to put me back on my shelf, and this time he was gone for good.

"You're welcome," I replied, unheard.