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nerak_rose in rs_small_gifts

Fic + art: Stars and Umbrellas for blanketdinstars

Title: Stars and Umbrellas | Stars and Umbrellas on AO3
Author/Artist: nerak_rose
Recipient: blanketdinstars
Rating: PG
Contents or warnings (highlight to view): * none *
Word count: 250
Summary: He comes every day at 9am, borrows the paper and has a cup of coffee, black.
Notes: the prompt was "I met in the street a very poor young man who was in love. His hat was old, his coat was threadbare—there were holes at his elbows; the water passed through his shoes and the stars through his soul.". I may have taken that a bit more literally than was intended! I hope you like it anyway, blanketdinstars. :) A huge thanks to the mods for running this fest once more, and for granting me an extension. ♥ The photos used belong to NASA. The rest is done by my hand (ref used for the pose).
Set during the Azkaban years. Outsider POV.

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He comes every day at 9am, borrows the paper and has a cup of coffee, black. The cheapest on the menu. He doesn't say much, only pays with his coins and takes a seat by the window.

Sometimes he doesn't read the paper and only stares out of the window, eyes unseeing.

There's a sadness that follows him, that shines out of every smile, every nod, every little crease in his forehead, and that clings to his clothes with their patches and holes.

I asked him once why he was so sad, but he answered that he wasn't sad.

He was in love.

When it rains he brings his umbrella, a holey red monstrosity that doesn't shield much against the rain. He stays longer, then. When it snows, he asks for tea.

Sometimes he doesn't show at all. He'll be gone for a few days, and I wonder, does he follow his love then? But he always comes back, orders his coffee and borrows the paper and takes a seat by the window.

In the summer he asks for iced coffee, but only on Saturdays.

One day he comes without his coat. When I ask, he tells me the coat is beyond salvation. I don't see him with a coat on for four months. He wears sweaters instead, threadbare and old, but they seem to keep him warm.

There comes a day when he doesn't come back. I imagine that he's followed his love.

I hope he has.

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aww this is beautiful. You say so much with just a few words. Love this
thank you. :)
This is so beautiful, very powerful in so few words. The background and art are lovely together <3
thank you! :) i agonised a bit over the background until i settled on this one. glad it worked. :)
Oh, my goodness, that made me teary in the very best way possible. It was just so... beautiful, both in prose and in visuals.

For me, some of the most memorable stories in R/S canon have been from the point of view of an unknown outsider, one who observes with clarity and yet knows no history. This gorgeous little piece will truly be among them.
thank you! i admit i haven't read many outsider pov stories in r/s, but i've read a few in other fandoms and i've always been surprised by how powerful they can be. i wanted to try it out here. :) i'm glad it worked, and that you liked it so much!

This was short but so complete and a wonderful point of view. You put a whole universe and all emotions here; it's amazing.  Your art was gorgeous too - love stars as a face.

thank you! i'm glad you liked it. :)
Oh this is beautiful. I love the outside perspective of watching Remus be in love, even when it's hard for him. The shading on his clothing, the fabric looks so fluid, it's lovely. And I love his hair. I do love Remus with curls. This is painful in all the good ways, which is incredibly impressive what with how concise it is. Absolutely wonderful job!
thank you! i'm glad you liked it, and that it made such an impression on you. :) that's wonderful praise.

Wonderful little gem of a fic.

I asked him once why he was so sad, but he answered that he wasn't sad.

He was in love.

This lifts the whole tone of the piece to match your lovely, hopeful artwork.
Thank you!!
Oh, wow, that line about Remus being in love, but also miserable and hoping and hoping, and then the epilogue in THAT ART. I got chills from reading this. I love the red umbrella, the way he's practically jumping through the stars and the stars are fanning out all around him. Just so wonderful all round.
thank you! i did want to create a general atmosphere of hope (because canon is so depressing, you know). :) i like to think that they did reunite in the stars one day.
Oh, this is so nice. Heartbreaking and lovely and charming and hopeful. And an excellent use of the art and writing to each enhance the other.
thank you! I definitely did want it to be hopeful, and I'm glad it came across. :)
Okay, first off, I'm so sorry it's taken me ages to leave this comment! Life has become incredibly crazy, but that's no excuse for leaving you hanging like this.

But about this gift - amazing! You use very few words but the sentiment and emotion is so wonderfully clear. Even your descriptions of Remus are sparing, but I can still picture everything, right down to the umbrella and the sweaters. I particularly liked the line "When it snows, he asks for tea" because I think it just encapsulates Remus so much for some reason. I guess I have a soft spot for him and tea :)

The art is absolutely beautiful. I got kind of a Mary-Poppins-ish vibe from it. I don't know if that's what you intended but in my opinion it fits very well with the magic of the piece and the couple and the wizarding world itself. That kind of feeling, paired with the huge, starry expanse behind it... phenomenal.

Finally, those last few lines are my favorite. I love the quiet hope in it, how it's kind of ambiguous but not at all ominous - the image of an empty table where a thin, threadbare man used to sit but sits no longer, on to bigger and better adventures - I think you encapsulated that perfectly in so few words that you're the truly magical one.

Thank you so much for this wonderful gift, and I hope your year is off to a fabulous start!
hey, no worries! i know what life can be like. :)

i'm really happy you liked it! i was definitely going for hopeful. i've never actually seen mary poppins, but i know she can fly with an umbrella (or something), so i got the idea from there. :) i kind of envisioned it as the observer's whimsical fantasy of what happened to remus when he stopped coming to the cafe, but also kind of what actually happened to remus when he did die, years later. swept up into the stars. :)

here's to a brilliant 2016 for both of us!