10 March 1960
Lyall Lupin stirred in his sleep, frowning slightly.
Lyall gave a soft snort, rolling over and cracking his eyes open.
"Lyall, for God's sake, wake up."
At last, Lyall jerked awake, tumbling out of the armchair he was wedged into with a strangled cry of alarm. Raising his head, Lyall blinked around in bewilderment. It took him a moment to absorb his current whereabouts—he was lying in an uncomfortable U-shape on the floor of his bedroom, staring up at the outline of his wife's impatient face through the darkness.
"Hope?" he asked hoarsely. He glanced at his watch; it was eleven o'clock in the evening. It had been nine hours since Hope had given birth to their child, a boy. "Are you all right?"
"I'm fine," Hope said softly. Lyall heard a rustle of blankets, and he blinked again, squinting across the dimly lit bedroom at his wife. She had sat up in bed. "I just…I wanted to hold him."
A warm rush filled Lyall's stomach, just as it had when he had first held the baby; he smiled. Shivering slightly—the bedroom was rather chilly, the way Hope preferred it—Lyall hopped to his feet and strode across the threshold toward the pale blue Moses basket in corner of the room. The baby boy—his son—was sleeping soundly, his soft, little chin twitching slightly as he snored. The corners of Lyall's lips lifted automatically in a grin. Bending down, Lyall cupped one hand around the small, fuzzy head and the other hand around the curve of the tiny back, carefully lifting the little one into his arms.
The baby wriggled slightly, grizzling in his sleep. Then, he snuggled up against his father's chest.
Lyall stared down at the tiny face, his heart beating wildly.
In a trance, Lyall turned around and walked slowly to his wife's cot. Then, very gently, he leaned forward and nestled the small bundle of blankets into the cradle of Hope's outstretched arms. At once, her expression became very tender and her eyes filled with tears. Lyall felt a lump rise in his own throat as he stared at his wife, and he bit the inside of his cheek hard, swallowing.
"I'm sorry we had the baby at home," he whispered. "I…I know how badly you wanted to have him at Llandough, but I—panicked. I'm sorry, Hope, I just…St. Mungo's midwitches are the best, I promise—"
"Lyall," Hope interrupted in a tired voice, and Lyall quieted. There was a moment's silence. Then— "I'm glad we had him here," Hope said quietly, her eyes transfixed by the sleeping baby in her arms. "You know how I feel—how I've always felt—about…about magic. I'm so proud to be your wife—so proud to be part of your extraordinary world." She paused. Then, she looked up and caught Lyall's eyes, her expression intense. "And I'm so proud to have a son who's going to be every bit as incredible as his father is."
Lyall gazed at his wife. And then, quite inexplicably, he was overwhelmed with emotion. He pressed his lips together and nodded, before slowly lowering himself down onto the bed next to her and resting a hand on her knee.
For several, long moments, a comfortable silence filled the bedroom, and the couple watched the gentle rise and fall of their son's tiny chest.
"Lyall, I…I was thinking," Hope began slowly, and Lyall glanced at her, frowning. Hope seemed to struggle with herself for a moment. Then, with a deep breath, she looked up and met his eyes. "I was thinking that…I don't want to call him John anymore."
Lyall's mouth fell open. "You—what?" he croaked. "But we—I thought we'd decided on it months ago, for—for your father…"
Hope bit her lip.
"We did," she said softly. "But now…I just think that he—he's so much more." She gently readjusted their son's blankets and smoothed back a few fuzzy strands of his light hair. "He's too special for a name like that."
Lyall turned and gazed down at his son. And immediately, unexpectedly, extraordinarily, he realized that his wife was right. The boy in Hope's arms was special—incredible—exceptional…the little boy in Hope's arms was a miracle—their miracle. Lyall's throat swelled shut, and it was several minutes before he found himself able to speak again.
"What did you have in mind?" he asked hoarsely.
Hope looked up and caught his gaze, looking surprised, and Lyall knew that she hadn't expected him to give in so readily. She stared at him for several moments. Then—
"Remus," she whispered.
Lyall blinked. "Remus?"
Hope nodded eagerly. "It's from a story I read, back in secondary school," she explained in a rush. "The founders of Rome—two brothers, Remus and Romulus, were raised by a wolf—"
"I know the legend," Lyall interrupted, unable to contain an amused smile at the sight of the enthusiastic gleam in his wife's eyes. "I know you want something special, but—well, Remus is pretty bloody special, isn't it?"
"It's unique," Hope said beseechingly. "Just like our son."
Lyall snorted. "All right," he conceded, grinning at his wife. "Remus, it is, then. But if we ever have another son, Hope, I'll feed myself to a hippogriff before I let you call him Romulus."
Hope narrowed her eyes. "Keep that up, Lupin, and you're not going to be sleeping in the same bed as your wife for the foreseeable future—much less trying for another child."
Lyall stopped laughing at once, his eyes growing wide. Hope smirked, lifting their son up and cradling him closer. "Your daddy's a very smart man, Remus," she murmured in his little ear. "But he often forgets that he married a much smarter lady."
Lyall smiled. And as he gazed at the blurry outline of his wife and son through the darkness, illuminated only by the shaft of moonlight glowing palely through the bedroom windows, that familiar warm, fierce rush of affection filled his stomach again. He scooted closer to Hope on the bed and wrapped his arms around her, kissing the side of her head. "Thank goodness for that," he whispered.
She looked up, smiling warmly. Then, with a gentle sigh, she leaned back against his shoulder and held the little bundle of blue-striped blankets between them. Together, they watched as the baby crinkled his face in his sleep, reaching a wee fist out of his cocoon of warmth.
"Remus John Lupin," Hope said softly. She gave a little sniff. "That's your name, sweet boy," she whispered. "That's your name, my love…"
Lyall felt another enormous lump swell in his throat. Very gently, he reached out and brushed his son's tiny fist with his thumb. And then, at long last, Remus's wide, curious eyes fluttered open slowly, and he blinked sleepily up at his parents.
"Remus John Lupin," Lyall repeated hoarsely. "A great wizard in the making."
Five little fingertips closed around Lyall's thumb.
HERE WE GO, AS PROMISED: a 75-chapter Remus Lupin biography. I'm so excited for this! Please do drop me a line, letting me know your thoughts! :)
The title of this story is inspired by a wonderful quote by E.E. Cummings, one of my favorites, which I think perfectly encapsulates Remus's life. Here's the full quote: "We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit."