Chapter 1 : Prénoms
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“Because…I have ten names for them.”
“Ten names for five children?”
“Five first names and five middle names, silly Teddy,”
They’d sit there for hours. They’d sit there, by the Great Lake, and she go on and on about them, about her unborn children.
And when the earth around them was scattered with the corpses of scarlet and bronze leaves, each skidding and fluttering across the translucent riverbed, its stems pointing every which way, she’d pick autumn names. Her eldest would be Marielle or Aubrey-Joanne or Camerallie, long and drawn-out and elegant to the ears, like syllables in poetry that stressed all the vowels. And her youngest child would be Maple or Letty or Alaina– short, quick, and simple on the tongue.
She loved names. She loved them. And she loved lying aimlessly amongst the leaf-ridden earth with Teddy Lupin, naming their future children.
When spring came and the most delicate of flowers began budding and blooming, she changed her mind. All of her children, then, would be named after the flowers in her flower garden, with the melodies of spring echoing from every syllable— Evelyn Rose and Lily May and Penelope Cordette and April Dawne.
Girls’ names came easily. She could look up at the sky and name her child Skylie, she could gaze down at the river’s edge and name her second child Brooke. Boys’ names were trouble, in and out. She never understood how Nana Molly managed to name six of them.
But one summery afternoon, when the streaks of the sunlight hid the clouds and Teddy would take her between his arms and caress her tightly, she started to name her unborn sons,
She murmured the names lazily, as her fingers twirled and traced the letters in the dirt, “Pete, Landon...I know… I’ll name him James!”
Teddy groaned, “Again? We already have too many family members named James,”
She frowned. She frowned and frowned and thought and thought, “You’re right. And they’re all dead. Maybe that name’s bad luck.”
She bit her lip, remembering James her cousin, his laugh and his grin and his lonely little gravestone that lay beside his grandparents in the long abandoned grounds of Godric Hallows. She also remembered James the first—well, she didn’t exactly remember him, but she heard about him— his messy black hair and his foolish little attempts to woo Lily Evans, but the stories were long lost, as no one had lived to tell the tale.
But she loved that name still.
James. It was an evergreen name, she thought. Of summer, of spring, of autumn, of winter all strung and tied together. It was a name that stayed green, that would never wither away and die even if the person with the name already did.
After awhile, they moved away. It had been a quiet move from their flat to the new place.
“To be closer to our jobs,” they had insisted when their parents asked.
She worked at the Ministry, Center for Spell Testing and Explosives, a job very unlike Victoire and he worked at St. Mungos as the head of the Healing Department, a job very unlike Teddy.
Their place was in the nearby town of Edinburg, not too close to the city, not too far. They moved into a big, cottage-looking house with little stone bricks that crept across the walls and gray cobblestones that tumbled along the front yard as doorsteps. Inside, the walls were painted white and there were many, many bedrooms: a hallway full of them.
“Don’t put anything in those three rooms,” Victoire pointed to the three doors at the opposite end of the hall, “they’re for the children.”
And so nothing went into those rooms— no boxes, no curtains, not one trace of life. It was for them, Estella-Marie and Jayden Leon, perhaps. And she’d paint the rooms pink or blue or yellow or green, a swirl of pastels tracing the surfaces of those lonely rooms. Sometimes, when she passed by those rooms, she’d press her ears against the doors and she could almost hear their laughs and cries and shouts. Her children. Her future children. But when would they be hers?
“I’m going to have a baby,” Victoire announced one day to the entire sea of red-heads at the dinner table at the Burrow, “it’s a girl.”
Nana Molly cried. Her mother shed some tears as well and everyone else just laughed and said, “Finally.”
Finally. Finally, she’ll be hers to name.
And they knew. All of them knew about her love of names and naming children.
“Her name is going to be Clarabelle. Clarabelle Lynette Lupin,” Victoire smiled proudly, glancing at Teddy and smiled her knowing smile, her signature smile.
The room filled with oohs and ahhs; only Nana Molly frowned.
“Victoire dear, it’s bad luck to name your children before they’re born, you know.”
But Victoire waved her off and went on another tangent of more names that only loveliest of words could be used to describe them. She spoke of names that sounded like song lyrics and songbirds and muggle Elizabethan sonnets. Teddy just grinned at her and shook his head.
Teddy Lupin paced the St. Mungo’s hospital waiting room a total of 156 times.
“Sir, would you like to sit down?” But Teddy either had not heard or did not listen and proceeded to pace the room another twenty times. Today was the day. The irregular surges and jolts of breath-taking anticipation made him sore, yet kept him more and more awake in agitation in every crescive moment ...
But it had to be today.
Today, he had learned more than any other day, that waiting was difficult.
But today, he would also learn that reality was worse. It was painful, as reality had come back to him in the shape and form of stifling diasppointment.
“I’m sorry Mr. Lupin, but your wife had a miscarriage.”
“I am very sorry sir.”
Victoire wept for days. She cried and cried and all he could do was be her leaning post, pat her shoulder and be her leaning post again.
S-She looked like you. Sh-he had your eyes, T-Teddy.
She managed to say this after twenty boxes of tissues, eight hours of kicking and four nights of crying.
Clarabelle Lynette Lupin, Victoire thought to herself sadly, had a beautiful name. It sounded like the chiming of bells, such a light and delicate chime, yet audible to everyone.
Victoire thought the day would come, when she could call her daughter by that name— Clarabelle Lynette Lupin— and her daughter would come back and thank her for choosing such a lovely name.
But the day never did come, and still, Victoire waited and waited and waited.
For days, for years.
Dominique, Victoire’s younger sister visited one night, in the middle of the night, at 3 am. She was in her nightgown, her body and her long blonde locks drenched from the rain.
“I’m pregnant,” Dominique simply stated, as if that justified her running away from her house to her sister’s place in the middle of a rainstorm. At least she could have used the floo network, “I’m pregnant Vic, can you believe it? I’m pregnant.”
Dominique Weasley was a woman of little words and little emotion. And even now, she did not laugh, she did not cry, she did not shout. Dominique was just nineteen but with big dreams-- her sister knew that.
“So, are you going to tell Lysander?”
“Lysander?” Dominique echoed hollowly, her voice rose just a bit, “Why would I tell Lysander that I’m pregnant?”
“Well, aren’t you?” Victoire raised her eyebrows. Lysander would understand, wouldn’t he? He was, after all, Lysander Scamander and he was a nice guy, not to mention the fact that he was Dom’s boyfriend of two years already.
“I am…” She nodded slowly, “but the child’s not his. It’s Scorpius’s, but that doesn’t really matter right now.”
Now that was news Victoire did not want to hear, “What? Isn’t that guy dating Lily Potter?”
“Yeah, he was. But not anymore, but like I told you, I do not care, it does not matter.”
“Anyways Victoire,” Dominique quickly cut her off, “I’m here to speak to Teddy, where is he?”
Victoire narrowed her eyes, “What are you trying to do now, Dom? Trying to shag all of you family member’s lovers?”
“No Victoire, you silly goose. Teddy’s head of St. Mungo’s healing department, isn’t he?”
Victoire nodded slowly, bemused.
“Well, I’m going to ask him to help me get rid of this…thing,” Dominique pointed to her not-yet-bulging belly, “I don’t suppose—VICTOIRE, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?”
Dominique was cut off by a deafening shatter. Victoire Weasley-Lupin, her clearly not so sane older sister, had pushed her favorite glass figurine off the living room table. Shards of broken glass flew everywhere.
In seconds notice, Teddy came darting into the living room in his pajamas, barely awake, “What in the name of Merlin is going on?”
“Dominique is trying to kill her own unborn baby!”
“Don’t be so histrionic about it,” Dominique snapped, clearly irked by Victoire’s personal little melodrama.
“Dominique Delacour-Weasley, do you have any idea who you’re talking to? I’ve known and you’ve known for years about m-my my…miscarriages.” Victoire barely whispered the last words, but her tone was audibly murderous, “No matter how much I’ve hoped and wished and prayed, I can’t have children of my own, and meanwhile my little sister is going around shagging people, getting pregnant and throwing her children away!”
Victoire was shaking, her pupils dilating, looking as if she could just tip over and shatter and break.
“Victoire, please,” Dominique pleaded guiltily, cautious of her sister’s mood. She had forgotten about Victoire’s unstable mood swings when it came to the topic of children. Once, many waning moons and sunsets ago, when Victoire was just out of Hogwarts and newlywed, she had hoped and she had dreamed. Her penchant for names and children and pretty little things was widely known.
But Victoire wasn’t so lucky. She never got that picture perfect family she had imagined—the one where she and Teddy would watch the sun drift into its slumber with their five perfect children, three girls and two boys and Scruffy the dog. Victoire had described it to Dom more than twice, the dream where they’d live in a cottage home at the town’s edge and they’d be happy—all seven of them.
That dream never happened. Victoire watched others grow up though, her friends and cousins live that longing dream she had so wished for. Victoire had insisted that she was happy for them, but Dominique was her sister and she knew better. She knew Victoire.
“GET OUT,” Victoire jabbed her fingers toward the front door, “I do not want to see the likes of you in my house ever, until you’ve made the right decisions.”
Quietly, Dominique left and she did not come back for a long, long time.
Fifty waning moons and 148 letters later, it was October again. The moon hung, paled against the blackest night. That night, Dominique came back. With her, she brought her husband, Scorpius, and their newborn child.
“Victoire,” Dominique smiled, delicately placing him in her sister’s arms.
“He’s beautiful,” Victoire gasped. He had blonde hair and hazel eyes, which either could have been Dom’s or Scorpius’s, “What’s his name?”
Dominique shook her head, smiling gently, “You name him, Victoire.”
“We’ve heard that you have the talent of coming up with perfect names, Miss,” Scorpius Malfoy spoke for the first time, his manners not at all like the ‘Malfoy prat’ her Uncle Ron had spoken so horribly about.
In an instant, Victoire’s face lit up and glowed like candlelight, “Come, sit. I have a whole list of excellent baby boy names!”
Everyone laughed as they gathered around the table, discussing identity of the baby whilst the infant lay on the sofa, snoozing away.
“Here,” Victoire took out a pair of keys and unlocked one of the three empty rooms, “the three of you can stay here tonight.”
“Vic, a-are you sure?” Dominique knew how guarded her sister was about those empty, laughterless bedrooms that were meant for her children.
Victoire smiled warmly and waved her sister’s new family into the room, “Yes, of course. The place is a bit dusty, but after all these years, these rooms could use some company.”
It had been too long since Teddy Lupin and Victoire Weasley first met by a river bank at the edge of the Hogwarts grounds. Now, he was 50 and she, 48, too old to be traveling the universe and too young to be lingering monotonously at home. So they’d take strolls during the day and sometimes at night, like yesterday and any other day together.
Tonight was like any other night, but the moon tonight was brighter and rounder than yester night and the night before. The stars were visible, too, even for the weary eyes of a middle-aged woman like that of Victoire. They sat there, on that bench like old friends but new lovers. They’d sit side by side, his arms in hers. And she’d name them.
She’d name those stars like they were her own. And she’d sit there with him and she could go on and on about those stars for hours on end.
She loved names. She loved them. And she loved sitting on the bench aimlessly amongst the night of chirping crickets and rustling of leaves with Teddy Lupin, naming those stars. They named them—Estella Marie, Lenneville Jae, September Eve— after the children they had once sought to have.
Victoire could name all the stars now, each as her own unique name, one hundred percent hers.
“I claim them all,” she’d smile and smile and gaze into the star-freckled darkness and then she’d turn to her left and gaze into the eyes of Teddy Lupin and she’d smile some more.
She leaned back, pressing her face into his. She had him, she realized, and she was happy.