Author: Pirate Perian (c'est moi!)
Summary: Luna Lovegood has questions.
Author's Note: For the January Challenge: my characters are Luna and Remus. Lucky me, says I! Feedback greatly appreciated. Also, hello to the community, as it's my first time posting here!
"What would happen if you put a werewolf on the moon?"
Remus started, blinking as he looked up from the pile of parchment on his desk. The last of the second year Ravenclaws had left the room not thirty seconds ago -- at least, what he thought had been the last of them. This girl certainly had a way of sneaking about, though. It wasn't the first time he'd been surprised by her presence.
"Sorry?" he said, not because he hadn't heard, but because his paranoia had snagged on a certain word, and the rest of his mind was still struggling to wrap itself around the rest of the question.
The blonde girl tilted her head slightly to one side, and calmly repeated herself: "What would happen if you put a werewolf on the moon, Professor?"
Remus frowned at her, gently laying his quill down. "I don't," he began, then paused, then began again: "I'm not sure, Luna. Why do you ask?"
She shrugged in a thoughtful sort of way. "My father has plenty of ideas about what would happen, but he says nobody's ever tried it, so nobody's sure. But I thought, since you're an expert on them, you might know. I promised Daddy that I'd find out if I could."
Remus felt himself grow a few shades paler. "An expert?" he repeated, trying to keep his voice steady. Only November, and someone had figured him out already? He'd honestly thought the plan would work better than this....
"Well, yes," she said patiently. "Ginny Weasley from Gryffindor told me that her brother said you've been teaching the third and fourth years all about Dark creatures. He said you're an expert. So I thought you might know."
Letting out a silent breath, Remus managed a smile at the girl. "So you thought I might know about werewolves on the moon," he said. This was fine. Personal questions were one thing, but theoretical questions he could handle.
"Do you?" she inquired.
"Well," he began, "as you already said, nobody's actually put one on the moon yet, so there are no definitive answers as far as I know. But there are three prevailing theories--"
"Right," said Luna evenly. "One, you'd always be a wolf because the moon's gravity is so strong -- two, you'd always be human because the transformation rules are only for if you're on Earth -- or three, you'd change back and forth, but it'd be a different pattern because of… what was it? Earth's gravity is different?"
He smiled, somewhat glad that there was something she wasn't so sure of. "The third is that you'd become a wolf if you were on the side of the moon that always faces Earth, and you'd remain human if you were on the other side. That theory assumes that the transformations are only triggered by the direct gravitational relationship between the moon and Earth, not solely the gravity of the moon itself."
Luna's brow furrowed a bit, and he saw her nod a couple of times as she processed this information. "I think it's the last one," she said after a moment, though she still seemed a bit uncertain. "But what would happen if you were between sides? Would you keep changing back and forth, or...?"
"Honestly, Luna, I don't know any more about it than you do!" he laughed. "It's an interesting topic, though, and I think--"
"What about if you put a werewolf in a space ship?" she said excitedly, pale eyes even wider than usual. "The Muggles have got ones that go even further than the moon. I don't think they've put people in those yet, but they will eventually, I'm sure. People will be moving to different planets and everything -- say! What if a werewolf ended up on a planet with more than one moon? Then what?"
"Then," said Remus slowly, "there would probably be one transformation for every full moon, wouldn't there."
"Probably," agreed Luna. "Oh, Professor Lupin, we should talk about this in our next lesson! It would be so much fun, don't you think?"
Remus surprised himself by actually considering the merits of such a discussion. After all, it wasn't every day that he came across a child whose parents had raised her to consider the logistics of lycanthropic transformations in space, instead of feeding her the usual "Stay away from scary werewolves" mantra. In fact, this was the first. And it gave him a little thrill of optimistic excitement…
But on the other hand, that was exactly it. Luna was unique in many ways, not the least of which was the openmindedness of her father. He'd already had owls from many of the younger students' parents, and he could name at least seven right off the cuff who would certainly file a complaint if he introduced the topic of werewolves without the warnings that a teacher was generally expected to give. "Avoid, avoid, avoid," he'd have to say, all the while seething inside at the betrayal of his own identity.
No, he decided, it was safer to just avoid the issue altogether.
"I don't think so, Luna," he said with a weary smile. "I have too much to teach you as it is, and not a lot of time. I think it's best if we stick with what we've got, all right?"
"Oh," she sighed, deflating a bit. "And I suppose not all of them know about you, and you'd rather keep it a secret, right?"
Remus felt all his usual defenses go back up in a matter of a second. "What do you mean, not all of them? What do they -- I mean... what?"
Luna gave him an impatient sort of look. "There have to be some of them that haven't figured out you're a werewolf, right? I mean, you're not all obvious about it, are you? And if you brought it up during a lesson, that would get them thinking."
Remus found himself standing up, just to give his feet something to do other than tap against the floor. He considered pacing, but decided against it. "Well," he said slowly, "I'd honestly thought that nobody knew about... er, that."
"Oh," said Luna. "Might be nobody does. I only thought they'd've figured it out by now. But I haven't said anything to anyone."
"No?" said Remus, feeling a numb sort of relief wash over him.
"No," she repeated, and then added, "And I won't if you don't want me to, although it is terribly interesting, and--"
"That would actually be, er, quite wonderful," said Remus. "That is, if you didn't tell anyone."
"If you want," said Luna. "I haven't got any friends anyway."
His eyebrows furrowed at this blunt statement, but it seemed that it was only that -- a statement of fact. Nothing more. Something in Remus' chest gave a little twinge, and he found himself smiling again.
"I'd appreciate it," he said to the girl. "But if you ever need to talk… or, you know, if you have questions about… anything… my office is always open."
"Except at the full moon," added Luna placidly.
"Right," chuckled Remus. "Except then."
"Thanks, Professor," she said, and without further ado she turned to leave.
But as he watched her go, one last question popped into his mind. "Luna?" he said, and she turned around again. "You said you came to me with your question because I know about Dark creatures."
"Because you're an expert," she corrected him.
"Yes, that," he said with a smile. "I'm curious -- why didn't you just tell me it was because I am a werewolf?"
She looked mildly puzzled. "Why would being a werewolf have anything to do with it?" she asked. "It's not as though you've been to the moon, have you?"
He shook his head no, and that was answer enough for both of them.
Although, once she'd left, he began to wonder if he had been to the moon and back in the past five minutes. That would certainly explain his spinning head, among other things.
Remus had learned long ago that names are rarely coincidental.