Chapter 1 : Faith
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“…faith stronger than fear, stronger than swords.”
- Cherie Call
She found him sitting on the widow’s walk, gazing at the stars.
For a long time, she just watched him silently, sorrowed by the weary, haggard lines on his face, hands resting lightly on the small bump of her stomach. It wasn’t that long ago that he had come back to her, spurred by some life altering event he had yet to tell her about. She’d been hurt by his leaving, his lack of faith in their love and their ability to care for this new life that was growing inside her, but she’d still welcomed him back with open arms.
Now if only she could rebuild that hope and trust, that faith in the future.
“Remus, love, you should come inside. Mum’s got Christmas Eve dinner ready to serve,” she finally said, coming up behind him and running gentle fingers through his graying hair.
He was silent for several long minutes, not acknowledging that she’d spoken, but finally he turned to her with an anguished expression.
“What are we doing, Dora?” he asked desperately.
“What do you mean?” she said, coming around in front of him and leaning against the wooden railing.
“Bringing a life into the world now, in the midst of all of this? How can we even consider it?”
Anger flashed through her, hot and bright like her hair, and she frowned. It was time to end this discussion once and for all. “And when do you think would be a better time?” she snapped.
“Dora, look at us! Hiding out here at your mother’s. Your dad’s on the run, our friends are in hiding and scattered. We’re wanted for our association with the Order, we’re wanted for marrying without permission, you’re watched as a half-blood and I’m wanted for being a dangerous creature,” he spat the word with self-loathing. “How can we bring a baby into that?”
“That’s a little hypocritical of you, don’t you think, especially at this time of year?”
“What do you mean?” it was his turn to ask, thrown by her response.
“If I recall, the whole reason this holiday we’re celebrating came to exist was because a mum, knowing the odds and what her child was likely to face, had enough faith to let him be born.”
Remus stared at her, slightly stunned by the sudden turn in the conversation. She took advantage of it and pressed on.
“The story also goes that a father – a loving, caring dad who wanted the best for his wife and child – had enough faith to take them to a city far away, into danger. He could have stayed home, waited for it to be safer, but he didn’t.”
“I never thought of you as religious,” her husband finally managed to stammer.
“I’m not. But I know faith when I see it.” She paused for a moment, sighing in frustration as she turned to look out at the moonless night, wishing for a way to make this man that she loved so much understand the feelings in her heart. “Remus, I’ve been thinking a lot about that old tale. If a husband and a wife two-thousand years ago could walk into a strange city, one ruled by their conquerors, with nowhere to stay, no food to eat, no reassurance of safety, and give birth to a child… Why can’t we do it? Here, with a house to live in, and family and friends all around us, and magic and…and everything!” She turned back to him, frustration evident.
“And what if the real war starts tomorrow and one or both of us are suddenly gone?” he countered, eyes brimming with worry.
“And what if we get hit by a car on Tuesday, or lightening strikes, or you fall down the stairs? If we live our lives waiting for the next what-if we’ll never live at all, Remus!”
“What if…what if the baby is like me?”
Sighing deeply, she sank down on the bench next to him and gathered his hands up into hers, holding them tightly as she gazed forcefully into his eyes. “Then he will be a good, kind, caring and brave person with a heart bigger than all of Gringott’s vaults. Remus Lupin, I’m going to tell you something and I need you to listen for once – really listen. I married you because I love you. Despite all the stupid people in the world who told me I shouldn’t – because of your condition, because of your age, because you never wash your socks. I heard every single one of them and I didn’t care, love! I didn’t care and I still don’t care. I love you! And I love this child we’ve created together; I have faith in the future we’re starting. I refuse to let You-Know-Who and his cronies or any other evil that might be out there steal that from us! I’m bloody terrified, too, but we have to have faith, Remus, faith stronger than our fear or we end up old and withered and empty – and they win.”
For a long moment, he just stared at her and then suddenly, something inside that he’d been holding onto for an eternity seemed to break and he pulled her to him fiercely, sobbing. Gently, she wrapped her arms around him and held him tightly, knowing that on this Christmas Eve, for the first time in a very long time, they were okay.