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 situation—he was lying in an uncomfortable U-shape on the floor of the Maribel Monrova Maternity Ward in St. Mungo's, 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 poorly lit hospital room 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, and he smiled. Shivering slightly—the hospital room was rather chilly, the way Hope preferred it—Lyall hopped to his feet and strode across the threshold towards the pale blue bassinet 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, slowly lifting the little one into his arms.
The baby wriggled slightly, snuffling in his sleep. But then, with a soft, contented sigh, he snuggled 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 gazed at his wife, and he bit the inside of his cheek hard, swallowing heavily.
"I'm sorry I brought us here," he told her softly. "I-I know how badly you wanted to have him at Llandough, but I—panicked. I-I'm sorry, Hope, I just—St. Mungo's is the best—"
"Lyall," Hope interrupted tiredly, and Lyall quieted. There was a moment's silence. Then— "I'm glad you brought me 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 am 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 gaze. "And I'm so proud to have a son who's going to be every bit as incredible as his father is."
Lyall stared at his wife. And quite suddenly, he was inexplicably overwhelmed with emotion. Blinking rather rapidly, he pressed his lips together and nodded stiffly, before slowly lowering himself down onto the hospital cot next to her and resting a hand on her knee.
For several, long moments, a comfortable silence filled the room, as 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. I thought you wanted to name him after your father."
Hope bit her lip.
"I 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 out a few peachfuzz tufts of his sandy 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, her expression 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 quickly. "The founders of Rome—two brothers, Remus and Romulus, raised by a wolf—"
"I know the legend," Lyall interrupted, unable to restrain an amused smile at the sight of the enthusiastic gleam in his wife's eyes. "But—it's a bit of an odd name, isn't it?"
"It's unique," Hope said beseechingly. "Just like our son."
Lyall snorted softly. "All right," he said finally, 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 saddle him with a name like Romulus," he added, snickering under his breath.
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 blinked, several times. 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 hospital windows, the familiar warm, fierce rush of affection filled his stomach again. He scooted closer to Hope on the cot 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, hugging the baby close. "That's your name, sweet boy," she whispered. "That's your name, my love…"
Lyall felt another enormous lump swell in his throat. Very tenderly, 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, swallowing. "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."