Hope Lupin is a good mum.
And like all good mums, she’s protective of her son. Maybe a bit overprotective, but then again, she’s got more reason to worry than most mums. She almost lost him when he was only six years old. To see her little boy like that, wounded and bleeding, fighting for his life, it had been traumatic, to say the least. What’s worse is that it didn’t end there.
Since he was just a little kid, her son has had to go through those horrible transformations all alone. His frail body being torn apart and bent out of shape, losing all his senses and self-control. And that’s not even mentioning the harm he inflicts on himself in his non-human state. Hope knows that as an outsider, she’ll never truly understand how excruciating the experience is.
She has tried though, tried to educate herself by reading books and articles on lycanthropy. However, none of these texts discussed what the experience is like for the infected person. They all use an outsider's perspective, and talk about how dangerous, morally compromised and ruthless lycanthropes are, a description in which Hope does not recognize her son at all. No, her boy is sweet, kind and clever, just with a condition.
And that’s perhaps the worst thing of it all, worse than the trauma of the attack, worse than knowing her boy is in pain: knowing that the world will always be hostile towards her son. He’ll always have to deal with cruelty, suspicion and prejudice, and life will never be easy for him. And her son deserves to be accepted, appreciated, loved. Hope can only, as her name already says, hope. Hope that her son will one day manage to find a place in this world.
Hope is very proud of her husband. He used to be ignorant and hostile on the matter, but he learned and grew, and he fully accepts his son and loves him no matter what. Hope is grateful to have someone to share her worries with. They of course don’t want Remus to see the pain, fear and anger that inevitably befalls them sometimes. The poor boy is already worried enough about the burden his condition places on his parents, with their isolated and remote way of living. And all the questions Hope has: Can he ever have his own family? Will he ever find a job? Will he ever be able to provide for himself? Will he find a safe place to live in the future? She doesn’t want him to know how much she worries, but she has the feeling he’s thinking the exact same thing.
At least in the bad moments, it helps to talk to Lyall. She has tried talking about it with her old friends, muggles like her, but every time she mentioned her worries about Remus so often being sick, they had started talking about how their daughter gets these terrible colds, or how their son had the flu again, and what was Hope gonna say? My son turns into a bloodthirsty beast every month, which is terribly inconvenient for his school work?
Because against all expectations, Remus did start attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry at eleven years old. When Dumbledore had shown up at their house, Hope had felt conflicted. Part of her was grateful that people like Dumbledore exist. People that look at her son, knowing what he is, but don’t see a monster, or at best a sick boy, but just see an intelligent, curious kid that is just as deserving of a proper education as his peers. And of course Remus had been so happy. Hope will never forget the way his face lit up when he found out he was going to Hogwarts after all, he was going to be around kids his own age for the very first time. If Hope believes what Lyall tells her, almost everyone who’s been to Hogwarts considers it the best time of their lives. It’s an experience no kid should miss out on. Hope remembers her high school years fondly. Seeing your friends every day, just laughing and hanging out, with your biggest worry being who will be your prom date. She can imagine combining that with a beautiful enchanted castle where you share a luxury dorm with your best friends and learn about magic all day makes for a great experience. An experience she wouldn’t want to deprive Remus of.
At the same time, she was terrified. For multiple reasons. What if something went wrong? What if he got hurt? What if he hurt someone else? Of course it would be terrible if a child got injured, or worse, but also, what would it do to Remus to have that on his conscious at such a young age? Knowing him, he’d never be able to cope. Or what if his schoolmates found out? To have Remus finally experience a normal life and finally let others in, only to have them turn on him and have it all taken away again, it would break her heart.
And of course, magic or not, high school kids are still high school kids. Remus has never socialized with kids his own age before, and Remus is soft hearted, quiet and insecure at times. What if the other kids are mean to him, or take advantage of him? For the first half year Remus had been at school, Hope had read each of his letters over and over again, looking for a clue that maybe Remus wasn’t happy. She knew her son well enough to know that, if that was the case, he would never tell her, not wanting to worry her.
In his letters, Hope finds nothing but happiness, though. He writes about the house he has been sorted in, the classes he’s been following, the new spells he has learned, but most of all, about the friends he has made. It makes Hope a little sad how surprised her son is that a group of boys in his year actually wants to spend time with him. Her son is such an amazing person, anyone would be lucky to have him as a friend. But most of all, Hope is just happy that her son seems to fit in with his classmates. What she gathers from the letters, his friends are clever and energetic wizards, who do not always adhere to the rules.
The last reason Hope felt hesitant about Remus going to Hogwarts was simply because she was going to miss him so much. Due to their isolated lifestyle, her family had only had each other for so long, and Hope was used to having her little boy around her every day. Of course, this was probably hard for all parents, but other mums at least knew this moment was coming and could be prepared! Hope had never even considered the possibility of Remus going away to school.
Now, Hope just treasures the school vacations, where she can have her little family together again. She feels a little guilty, with Remus spending as much time as possible with her and not his friends, knowing how much his mother cherishes these moments. But then again, she thinks a little selfishly, his friends already have him every other day of the week. Owls with letters from his friends go back and forth every day, and Remus always seems excited to go back to Hogwarts, which eases Hope’s mind, as she just can’t completely silence that worry in the back of her mind, is Remus really happy at school?
While Remus always seems to look forward to the start of the school year, the same cannot be said for Hope. She always has great difficulty watching her little boy leave again. Hope always waves him off at home, after which Lyall takes him to the train station. Hope doesn’t want to embarrass her son by becoming overly emotional in public. Also, there’s a group of wizards, according to her husband those from ancient wizarding families, that feel like a muggle like her doesn’t belong at platform 9 ¾. Hope doesn’t want to have an emotional moment with her son under their condescending gaze. No, she rather says goodbye in the privacy of her own home, where she can kiss and hug him as much as possible without a second thought.
This year, however, Lyall has to be at work, and Hope didn’t want her son to go to the train station alone, so she decided she had to toughen up and take her son to the train station herself. Besides, Remus was about to start his last year at school! He was no longer that little boy, he was a young man, and Hope had to show him she was capable of letting go.
“Good luck with your last year of school. Where has the time gone?”
Remus gives her a wary smile. “Thanks mum. Who knows, maybe if I study extra hard and have extra good grades, someone might hire me next year…”
Hope knows that in the current climate, even with the best grades possible, chances are small. As if the growing anti-werewolf sentiment isn’t enough, there’s also the growing resentment among many in the community for those with one or more muggle parents.
She hates seeing Remus worry though! He’s about to start his senior year. He should be enjoying one last year of being a careless dumb teenager, before being thrown into a world of bigotry and war.
She places her hand on his cheek. “Don’t worry too much about your grades. Just have a good time and be sure to make memories. One more year to hang out by the lake on a sunny day, enjoy feasts in the Great Hall, eat too much chocolate from Honeydukes, get in trouble with your friends, ask a cute boy to dance at prom…”
“Mum!” Remus blushes. “We don’t even have prom at Hogwarts,” he mutters.
Hope pinches his cheek teasingly. “Whatever your magical equivalent of prom is.” Then she pulls Remus into a tight hug. “I’ll miss you, and I’m so, so proud of you.”
Remus hugs her back. “Thanks mum. I’ll miss you too.”
As Remus walks with his trunk to his peers on the platform, after having turned around for one last wave, he probably expects his mother to go back home. Hope, however, decides to linger in the background, somewhere she has a good view over the crowd, her curiosity getting the better of her. Finally being able to see these young witches and wizards her son goes to school with, to see her son among his schoolmates, and to see for herself if he really is happy and fits in.
Hope is an observant person, and the first thing she notices is that, magic or not, high school dynamics are the same everywhere.
She can immediately spot who the popular kids are, as the other kids seem to be drawn to them, because of that effortless charm and charisma that always seems to ooze off popular people. Most of the other kids are standing in a circle around the popular kids, trying to get closer, and it seems the closer you are to the middle of the circle, the cooler you are. Right in the middle of the circle are the boys, evidently from one of the older years, that almost everyone’s attention is focused on.
The first is a tall, athletically built boy with unbelievably messy, dark hair and glasses. He’s already wearing his red-and-gold Gryffindor robes, with two pins clearly visible, one to signify he’s Head Boy, and the other that he’s captain of the Quidditch team. Hope knows that high school Quidditch is a big deal at Hogwarts, and thus confirms her observation that high school dynamics are the same everywhere, as this boy must be the Hogwarts equivalent of the ‘popular, captain of the football team, jock’. The boy is talking loudly and animatedly, and radiates confidence. It could have easily been obnoxious, if he hadn’t been so disarming, giving of such an open and comfortable vibe that just makes everyone want to be his friend.
Hope also notices with some amusement that he keeps running a hand through his hair and glances over to a pretty red-haired girl standing just a bit to the side. Unfortunately for the boy, the girl seems to be one of the few people not giving him any attention. Still, some the other girls are giving her jealous looks.
Most girls and some of the boys, however, are staring longingly at the other very popular boy in the middle of the circle. Hope immediately identifies this boy as the school’s heartthrob. If the first boy, in high school stereotype terms, is The Athletic One, then this boy is definitely The Handsome One. He either got out of his awkward high school phase pretty well, or he’s one of the lucky ones who never had one. Probably the latter. He’s tall, fit, with bright eyes and classically attractive features. He has a bit of the bad boy look, with his long hair and leather jacket. However, while the first boy’s hair is an unruly mess, the second boy’s hair falls over his shoulders with a sort of effortless elegance. Actually, that can be used to describe his whole demeanour: effortless elegance.
He has his arms crossed over his chest and watches with an amused smirk as his friend is telling some sort of story, only interjecting with a comment every now and then. At each comment, some of the girls who are giving him eyes start laughing loudly, hoping to catch his attention. That’s actually something that seems a bit odd to Hope: while she’s worried Quidditch Captain Guy will develop some serious neck complaints if he keeps looking over to the pretty red-head as often as he does, Handsome Guy does not seem interested in any of his admirers. He actually hardly seems to notice them. Now, of course it’s perfectly possible for someone to not have any interest in any romance stuff, but Hope just hadn’t expected a hormonal teenager who doesn’t have to do much more than look at someone to not care about the attention at all.
Hope focuses her attention back on Remus, and sees that he’s approaching the group. She wonders if his friends are among the popular kids’ admirers. Maybe Remus is one of their admirers himself, she thinks with an amused smile. Not that Remus would be so shallow to be carried away just by someone being good at sports or being good-looking, but she could imagine her son to be drawn to the boys' charisma and confidence, something he has always admired in others.
Hope expects Remus to wait outside the group, or maybe, if he sees his friends, to try to pass the other kids to make his way over. However, Hope is completely caught by surprise by what actually happens. The other kids immediately notice Remus, try to catch his attention, smile at him, greet him, and move aside so he can make his way through the crowd to the middle of the circle. The red-haired girl greets him cheerfully and makes her way over to him. She whispers something in his ear, and Remus blushes and shoves her lightly as they both laugh.
Quidditch Captain Guy’s eyes search for the girl again, and Hope watches with surprise as he spots Remus. He dashes forward, throws an arm over Remus’s shoulder and ruffles his hair. Remus just laughs, happy and carefree, and playfully tries to push him away. As Remus tries to get his hair back in order, the other guy turns to his handsome friend. When Hope sees the handsome friend’s face, she suddenly thinks that he might have an interest in romance stuff after all, as his expression can only be described as lovestruck. His friend says something to him and the guy actually flushes. His friend steps aside, and then the good-looking high school heartthrob is standing in front of her son. Hope watches the two boys stand across from each other. Oh. Oh.
Having known Remus his whole life, Hope is able to read every emotion from his face. Even though the emotion she sees now is one she’s never seen before, it’s immediately clear to her what it means. His face literally lighting up upon seeing the other boy, the fond look in his eyes, her son is smitten. Normally, Hope would worry about her son falling for mr. popular with the leather jacket, not wanting Remus to get hurt. But one look at the other boy’s face, and she knows it’s okay.
He’s still blushing, and his eyes have gone impossibly soft as he’s looking at Remus, nothing but love and admiration in his gaze. He’s looking at her son like he hung the moon. The boys do not even seem to notice that they’ve just been staring at each other for longer than what would be considered normal. Then Remus moves forward and the other boy wraps his arms around him as they give each other a tight hug.
Hope looks at the Quidditch Captain Guy, who’s looking at them with an amused smile. He knows. Hope looks at the red-haired girl, who’s biting her lip to hide her smile. She knows. Hope looks at the two boys again, who have now let go of each other and have fallen into a comfortable conversation. As Hope turns to leave the train station, she wonders if they know.
Euphemia Potter is a good mum.
She loves her sons dearly. James has, of course, been the apple of her eye since the day he was born. And when he brought eleven-year-old Sirius Black home during the first school vacation, she was immediately taken by the boy, who has since been a bright light in her life. She’s immensely grateful she’s now able to offer him a safe home and can truly call him her son.
She loves his sharp mind, his energy, his humour, but even his bravado, impulsivity and strong-will. But she also knows he uses the bravado as a mask, to hide his fear of rejection, as he was rejected by the people that were supposed to love him unconditionally. She knows that his impulsivity, and risk-taking behaviour, stems from a deep-rooted conviction that his life doesn’t have that much value and him not knowing his self-worth. She knows that he’s strong-willed because he grew up constantly being critiqued and attacked on his believes and the way he chose to live his life. Still, the boy grew up to be a remarkable young man, and he’s working hard to process and accept his past.
Currently, James and Sirius are home for the holidays, and Euphemia revels in having her boys at home. Today, however, Sirius is acting strange. He seems restless, pacing around, going from room to room. He has already put on a different shirt three times and keeps fiddling with his hair. If Euphemia didn’t know any better, she’d think he’s nervous. She wonders if maybe he has a date? But Sirius hasn’t gone on a data before. At least, not while he’s at home. At Hogwarts, he might be getting up to things he doesn’t tell his mum about, and things Euphemia, quite frankly, doesn’t want to know about.
She knows he gets enough offers, as Sirius is known for his good looks. James told her once, snickering, that everyone at school who’s attracted to guys probably has a thing for Sirius one way or another, some not even realizing they were attracted to guys before they met Sirius. At the start of their fifth year, when Sirius made the change from cute boy to handsome young man over the summer, James had to take him to the hospital wing five times because someone had slipped him a love potion. It wasn’t until their more rational friend, Remus Lupin, has scolded Sirius and told him to ‘bloody stop touching food or drinks if you don’t know where it comes from’ that it had stopped.
“Is Sirius going out tonight?” She asks James, who’s sitting at the kitchen table with her, writing a letter. Probably to Lily, and this time, she has actually written back. Maybe there’s hope after all, bless him.
“Nah, we’re just staying in, why?”
James finishes his letter, and as he gets up to go find the family owl, he turns to his mum.
“Oh, now that you mention tonight, Moony’s coming over! I told him he should come for dinner, that’s fine, right?”
“Of course! I love having him over. Doesn’t happen a lot, with how he normally wants to spend as much time as possible with his mum.”
“Yeah,” James says. “It’s rather strange. His mum suddenly said that if there’s a person he’d really like to see during the holiday period, he should and he doesn’t have to be at home every day. No idea where that came from, but I’m not gonna complain if it means Moony’s coming over. I always miss him during the school vacations, and Merlin knows Pads does too.”
When Euphemia saw for the first time how James was interacting with Lily Evans, back at the beginning of their third year at Hogwarts, she immediately knew what was going on. His posture, the way he talked, the way he looked at her, he clearly had a crush on her. True, she hadn’t expected it would last this long, but four years ago it had been obvious. Now, as Euphemia sits across from Remus and Sirius at the dinner table and watches them with a bemused smile, she realises that her other son isn’t any more subtle.
He can hardly keep his eyes off of Remus. When he chats with him, he places his hand on the boy’s arm, and sometimes even his shoulder, as he leans closer to his ear. When they talk about school, he showers Remus in compliments, how he’s the best at defence spells, how he writes the most amazing essays about the things he’s passionate about and how he’s such a great mentor to the kids from the younger years. When Remus makes a joke, Sirius laughs really loud. Sure, the boy’s funny and witty, but honestly, it’s not that funny.
What gives it away most, though, is the way Sirius looks at Remus while Remus is chatting to James or telling Euphemia and Fleamont an anecdote from Hogwarts, and he thinks no one notices. His mouth slightly parted and his eyes wide and filled with amazement, like he can’t believe how the boy next to him is even real.
Even before they’ve finished their main course, Euphemia is absolutely sure of it: Sirius is head over heels in love with Remus. So Euphemia decides to do what any good mum would do in this type of situation: stick her nose in his business.
It’s not difficult to get Sirius to stay behind to help with the dishes. He tries to help Euphemia and Fleamont with as much chores as he can anyway. Usually, Euphemia doesn’t like it, as she knows he feels like he needs to somehow repay them, which is absolutely ridiculous. When she tells him this, however, he’ll just smile and say that someone has to make up for James being such a lazy sod. Today, however, it comes in handy.
“James,” Euphemia says. “Why don’t you go and show Remus that new book on Quidditch you got, while Sirius and I clean up?”
“Oh no,” Remus protests. “I will help! It’s the least I can do after that lovely meal.”
“Nonsense!” Euphemia places her hands on her hips. “You’ll do no such thing. You’re our guest.”
She doesn’t miss the way Sirius beams at this, as it of course implies that he’s no guest, but an actual part of the family, and it tugs at her heart that he still seems so amazed by this.
Remus notices the expression on Sirius’s face as well, and quickly caves. James, naturally jumping on the opportunity to get out of doing any cleaning, immediately drags Remus upstairs.
Euphemia turns around.
“So, Sirius, love, tell me...”
When Sirius enters James’s bedroom, Remus has apparently given up on trying to look interested while James rambles on about Quidditch.
“Oh, thank Merlin,” he says relieved, as he focusses his big and bright amber eyes on Sirius. Sirius tries his best not to swoon.
James glares at Remus and then turns to Sirius. “Took you long enough, Pads.”
Sirius huffs. “Well, yeah. Mum’s gone mad. She kept on questioning me. About Moony. Asking how long we’ve been friends, what I like about him, if we hang out together at Hogwarts a lot...”
Remus pales. “You don’t think she knows about...”
“Your furry little problem?” James laughs. “Don’t worry, Moons. It’s just a mum-thing. Well, at least an our mum-thing. She did the exact same thing to me, like, she wouldn’t stop interrogating me about Lily, when she saw I had a crush on her.”
The room goes completely silent. Sirius feels his cheeks heat up as all his blood runs to his face. Remus is gaping at James, mouth hanging open. James blinks a couple of times as he’s slowly realizing what he said.
“I mean, not that that’s in any way the same, of course...” He’s looking around the room like he’s trying to find a way to escape the situation. His eyes fall on his broom in the corner.
“Well, all this talk about Quidditch really got me in the mood for some flying!”
He grabs his broom, while Sirius gives him his best ‘don’t you dare’-look, but to no avail.
“You fellas don’t mind, do you?” He slowly backs away and opens the window. “Great! See ya later!” And with that, James Potter has the audacity to actually jump out of the window!
Sirius is interrupted in mentally plotting James’s murder by the sound of Remus’s voice.
“So, eh, did he... ehm,” Remus fiddles with the blanket on James’s bed. “Did he just imply that your mum thinks you’ve got a crush on me?”
“I guess he did, yeah.”
Remus laughs nervously. “That’s unbelievable. I guess you’ll have to set her straight next time, right? I mean, Mrs. Potter is normally a very smart and perceptive woman, but she really missed the mark here. I mean, look at you and look at me. Like someone like you would want to be with someone like me! It’s insane to think that you’d be interested.”
Now, Sirius’s first option is to just play along with Remus. Laugh it off as some crazy idea from mum. This is definitely the safest option. Nothing will change, their friendship will stay the way it has always been, Sirius won’t be rejected and his ego will remain intact. But is Remus now actually implying that he wouldn’t be good enough for Sirius? That’s just unacceptable!
Sirius being interested in him is perfectly sane, thank you very much. The only thing that’s insane is that not everyone in the whole bloody school has a crush on Remus, with how absolutely perfect he is. Forget about his blasted ego! The only thing that matters right now is to make Remus understand that there is nothing unbelievable about someone like Sirius being into someone like him, and that it’s not only very believable, but also very true.
Sirius was so lost in thought he only now registers that Remus, even more nervous by Sirius’s prolonged silence, has started rambling.
“I mean, I hope I wasn’t acting to clingy at dinner, and have given her the wrong idea? I’m sorry, Padfoot. I really don’t want to embarrass you. If you want, I could just-”
Remus snaps his mouth shut and gives Sirius a startled, and maybe slightly hurt, look.
Okay, Sirius thinks. That was not the romantic beginning of his Big Confession he had hoped for. But he can still fix this.
“I don’t have a crush on you.”
Remus casts his eyes downward, and now there’s definitely hurt in them.
Way to go, Black. You’re only making this worse and worse. Stop being such a damn idiot and get yourself together!
“I mean, it stopped being a crush for me about a year ago. That weekend I stayed with you in the hospital wing instead of going to Hogsmeade, and you gave me that smile, and I just thought, if making this boy smile like that is the only thing I’ll ever accomplish in my life, then that’s enough. Since that day, it wasn’t just a crush anymore for me. Or maybe even before that, and I just realised on that day. What I’m trying to say is, I’m way past the point of a simple crush. I don’t think about you in a ‘I wanna snog you in an empty corridor’ kinda way, I think about you in a ‘I want to rent a flat with you and wake up next to you every morning’ kinda way. I guess the proper term would be that I’m in love. With you.”
Oh, Godric help him. That was way too much, way too soon. Now things are definitely going to be awkward between them. If Remus doesn’t feel the same way, he can’t even say anymore that it doesn’t matter, because it’s just a crush and he’ll get over it, because he just explicitly said that it’s not! Merlin, why can’t he just bloody think for a moment?
But when his arms are suddenly filled with Remus, and Remus presses his lips against his own, he comes to the conclusion that the ability to think is so, so overrated.
When James enters the room, through the door this time, Remus is sitting on the bed flipping through one of his books, and Sirius is sitting by the window.
“Are we... all good?” James asks hesitantly.
Sirius looks up. “Well, I’m no longer Remus’s friend.”
James visibly pales. “Oh, no. No! Because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut? I’m so sorry! But we can fix this!”
“Padfoot,” Remus scoffs. “Don’t be mean!” He turns to James. “He’s my boyfriend now.”
James blinks at Remus. “Moony, I’m happy for you, and I’ll come back to that in a sec, but first I have to kill your boyfriend.”
“Wouldn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of my happiness?” Remus still asks, but James is already tackling a laughing Sirius to the floor to take him in a headlock.
“How dare you scare me like that, you prat!”
“Suits you for your big mouth!”
“My big mouth is what got you a boyfriend, bloody tosser!”
Euphemia leans against the doorframe and watches her sons roll around on the floor together, laughing and calling each other names. They’re both hopeless idiots. She meets Remus’s eyes, and sees he has the same mixture between exasperation and fondness on his face.
Well, it’s a good thing she now has a third son, then.