"MUM! HEY, MUM! Is there anything for breakfast? We're STARVING!"
The words traveled up the stairs and beat against Sirius Black's tired mind like a herd of prancing Porlocks. He groaned, trying to will himself back to sleep again, but the assault continued:
Though unwelcome to his morning slumber, the shouts were almost pleasant compared to the elbow in his back, used by his wife to prop herself up, or her answering bellow, resounding in his ear:
"YOU'RE JUST AS CAPABLE OF CRACKING AN EGG AS I AM, DAVID BLACK!"
With that, she flung herself back on the mattress and pulled a pillow over her head, grunting irritably. Sirius inclined his head in the direction of the alarm clock and squinted. Hadn't the boys mentioned something last night about going out? It wasn't all that early – sunlight was already creeping in around the curtains, cutting bright paths across the bed. But they'd all been up late after returning home from King's Cross station, occupied with dinner, unpacking, and, in the children's case, an inspection of the house. After they seemed satisfied that Mum and Dad hadn't given away their possessions or redecorated their rooms while they were away, they'd sat around the table, teasing and telling tales for hours – David's Quidditch blunders, Gavin's lamentable Astronomy marks, the fire first-year Cara had accidentally started in Greenhouse Three.
After mass consumption of cocoa and biscuits, Sirius had shooed the boys off to bed and helped a sleepy Cara to her room. As for Abby…well, what had Abby done? She'd said she was going to take a last look at her looms, but he'd fallen asleep as soon as his head met the pillow. If her disposition was any indication, though, she'd come to bed much later. Rubbing his eyes, Sirius rolled over and set about finding his wife under the blankets.
"You're depriving your sons of food?" he asked, once his hands had located her. He let one rest in the hollow of her back, too tired himself to move much from his cove in the bedding. When she didn't reply, he moved the hand to lift the pillow from her head, holding it high as she squawked and flailed her arms about.
Giving up, Abby finally turned her head to scowl at him through bleary, half-lidded eyes. "I'm teaching them self-sufficiency," she said, the last of her words garbled by a yawn. The yawn might have been deceptive, though, because as it ended, her hand shot out with the grip of a Grindylow and seized the pillow back. She pulled it to her, hiding her face in its depths.
Sirius' mouth rose at the corner. She could be rather entertaining when sleep-deprived. Edging nearer, he worked his arms around Abby. She smelled of warmth and the flowery stuff on the sheets. "You're going to wake up the rest of the house," he murmured against the back of her neck.
Abby lifted her head a few inches and groaned. "Cara sleeps like a log. Why are the boys up so early?"
"Quidditch with Alexandra's twins, I think. Why were you up so late?"
"I was weaving a little…thinking about things…I hated to stop."
Removing the pillow entirely, she leaned back into him and made a contented sound. Sirius took advantage of the moment by tightening his grip around her waist.
"Farewell to lazy weekend mornings for the next two months, eh?" he said, nipping at her earlobe. Without warning, Abby turned suddenly in his arms and buried her face against his chest. Their legs tangled together.
"Dratted children," she muttered. Her breath carried through the cloth of his pajamas and onto his skin. "It's all your fault."
Huh? Sirius lifted an eyebrow, unsure of what she was going on about. "What'd I do?" he asked in feigned indignation.
"Oh, you know what you did." One hand traveled around his waist, and she settled in more closely. His grin widened.
"Is your short-term memory that bad?"
"Woefully inadequate," Sirius answered, tipping her onto her back. "Woefully."
Unfortunately, the voice of his second son, questioning the whereabouts of the butter, interrupted before he got much further. This time, he managed to shelter his ears with a shoulder and one hand before Abby answered:
"IF IT'S NOT IN THE REFRIDGERATOR, GAVIN, I DON'T BLOODY WELL KNOW! I – "
At seeing her husband's grimace, her mouth fell into a contrite smile. "Oh, sorry. Can we give them away?"
"Who, the children?" Sirius asked, trying to rid his head of the ringing sound.
"Is this the woman who sobbed uncontrollably when Lucy moved into her own flat? And when David rode his first broom? And when Gavin was Sorted into Hufflepuff? And when Cara – "
"I was a kindler, gentler, more well-rested person then."
Laughing, Sirius leaned forward and kissed Abby on the temple. He was glad to have the children back, even if it meant that moments alone with his wife might be curtailed. Their clutter and noise created an environment so unlike his childhood home. There, he would have been hard-pressed to find a reason to laugh, and would likely have been denied dinner, if he had. Even Abby's yells sounded like the tune of a delicate songbird when compared to his mother's vitriol. Of course, he mused as Abby's nightdress slipped a little off her shoulder, those years would have been much more bearable if he'd woken up with her in his bed each morning. He took a moment to indulge in some decidedly teenager-like thoughts. So, the children were back. There were always Sound-Proofing Spells to fall back on.
With that on his mind, Sirius ran his fingers across his wife's face, tucking her tousled hair behind one ear. Abby seemed to be truly awake now. She watched him quietly, her lips pressed together.
"I wanted to tell you something, but I didn't have a chance last night," she said at length.
"Do you remember when I was showing the children how far along I'd got on the cloak? Something…odd happened. The cloth reacted to something. Someone, rather."
Well, now. Sirius moved back a little, stunned. He knew Abby had been confused when Lucy had shown no Weaver tendencies – they'd both assumed the trait was passed from mother to daughter, and even though Abby had been glad that her eldest was spared the burden of Weaving, she'd worried that it might be lost entirely. But not now – now, the gift would continue. This was a momentous thing.
"Really, so Cara's a Weaver?" he asked.
"No," Abby replied, drawing out the word. She bit her lip pensively. "Not Cara."
Mild surprise gave way to greater befuddlement. Not Cara?
"Gavin," she continued. "It reacted to…Gavin. I don't know if he could sense it, but I could."
Sirius' mouth hung open, his face blank. Gavin? But – but – He laid back on his pillow and stared at the ceiling.
"Gavin," he stated, as if there was some possible chance that she had mispronounced the name of the child in question.
Abby moved into the crook of his arm and rested her head on his shoulder. He felt her arm drape across his stomach. "Yes, Gavin," she confirmed. "I don't quite know how to go about telling him."
"It means he'll have to rethink his career as a international Quidditch sensation, that's for certain." The laugh that followed came out harsher than he intended, and he regretted it immediately. Abby didn't need to be reminded of lost hopes, despite the happiness they'd created together.
"His future won't be that bleak!" she said. Her body grew tense.
Sirius moved his face towards hers and brushed the back of his fingers across her cheek. "No, love, of course not," he said. "I just thought that – that – well, isn't Weaving a woman's thing?"
Abby shrugged her shoulders. "I'd always assumed so, but Loomis was my father's surname, you know. He always joked that my mum married him for it alone. And Gavin's the only one of the children to be Sorted into my house. Legend has it that Helga Hufflepuff was a Weaver."
"Has he ever even picked up a needle?"
"He made little warrior costumes when he was younger, remember? You always played the part of the wild boar that the children would spear."
A grin spread across Sirius' face. He remembered those moments, mostly because he'd sometimes neglected to screen his children's choice of "spears" prior to the playacting. He probably still sported that one scar on his side.
Sirius closed his eyes and let out a restful sigh. Lucy, David, Gavin, and Cara. He had tried to give them a home filled with love, security, and permission, on occasion, to act like heathen savages. Abby had chided him from time to time, especially when he had let them skive off chores to go fishing with him and Harry, but he had caught her in similar moments of parental leniency as well. Despite it all, the children seemed to be turning out just fine.
"I have preternaturally talented children," he said, wrapping his arms around Abby, who laughed.
"Ah, but it was your wife who gave Gavin this talent."
"But that is still 'all my fault', yes?"
With a playful smirk on her lips, Abby lifted herself off his shoulder and regarded him for several seconds. She ran a hand into his hair, smoothing it off his face. Small lines were etched around her eyes, but their brightness, and the way they made his heart leap, had never changed. As she leaned down to press her mouth to his, Sirius marveled again at his good fortune in seeking shelter in a particular Hogsmeade garden, so many years ago. He'd found shelter, and so much more.
Several minutes later, when David called out to ask where his clean socks were, it was Abby who covered her ears while Sirius roared in reply:
"JUST WEAR A PAIR OF YOUR BROTHER'S! AND FOR THE LOVE OF MERLIN, NO MORE QUESTIONS!"
A/N: I've decided that I prefer Sirius Black alive, and will therefore only write him as such, heh heh. Also, I'd picked our their children prior to OotP, so I hated to let them go to waste!
My dad used to wake us up on Saturdays by singing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!" VERY LOUDLY, hence the title.