Disclaimer: I own very little.
A/N: I was really surprised about the reviews on Empty Cradle -- people seemed to think that Remus and Sirius's five kids was a lot. Well, maybe that is, but I don't really think so. As the eldest of 13, I'm pretty used to VERY big families...
So, just that you know, I don't think their family is that big in this fic, either.
Change of Events
A Sleeping (Or Not) Beauty
"Belinda Black and Simone Snape, come here on this instant!" bellowed an angry voice in a sunny garden. Even the birds stopped their singing for a moment, startled by the sudden shout, but soon continued as if nothing had ever happened. They had a long time ago got used to the noise of the Snape Manor.
"Is Grandad angry or really angry?" asked a little darkhaired girl from another. She was Simone Snape, five years old, and she was looking nervously over her shoulder. "Should we go back?"
"I think we should," replied the other girl -- Belinda Black, five and a half years old. "If we don't, then Bill will soon --" However, she never could say anything more, as somebody suddenly came to the place.
"Ah hah! Found you!" bellowed William Black, commonly known as Bill, five and a half years just like his twin sister. "Dad! They're hiding in the middle of the rose bushes!"
Before the girls could even try to escape, Bill's triumphant grin was replaced by Sirius Black's angry face. "I'm expecting a really good explanation for that particular trick, young ladies," he said angrily. "Especially you, Belinda. Your Daddy specifically told you not to do anything that might wake the babies!"
"Sorry, Dad," whined Belinda, giving her father her best puppy eyes. "We didn't mean to wake them. Honest! We just wanted to play some." She even fluttered her eyelashes the best she could.
"Oh, no," said Sirius firmly. "I will not fall to that this time, Belinda. You knew perfectly well that your 'playing' would wake your baby brother and niece. Now, inside, you two! You're going to apologize!"
The two best friends glanced at each other and sighed. When Sirius was on this mood, there was no arguing with him; both his daughter and granddaughter knew it better than well. So, they walked back to the Manor, looking resigned. Bill followed them with a taunting grin, happy with himself for having succeeded to give his sister and niece some more trouble. The relationship between Bill and the girls was a never-ending war, but whenever somebody from outside the family tried to tease one of them, they stuck up together. They could have just as well been triplets, so tight-knit their group was in the end.
When they arrived to the Manor, they were met with the angry form of one Harry Snape. The glance he gave to his daughter and little sister was far from kind. "Simone and Belinda," he said with a clipped tone, "I can say that you're in for a lot of trouble for this."
"For what, Daddy?" asked Simone innocently, deciding to play her last card and look as cute as she could. Unfortunately, just like with Belinda and Sirius, this usually so well-working trick failed her this time.
"You know perfectly well what I am talking about, Simone," snapped Harry. "Do not even try to give me that innocent face. Your Dad and Grandpa had just managed to put Michael and Melena to sleep at last, and then you made enough noise to raise even the dead! And you did it on purpose!"
"How would you know that we did it on purpose?" asked Belinda defensively. "It was an accident!"
"Belinda," her Dad said as patiently as he could, "nobody can shout 'Wake up, Michael!' by accident. Even less accidentally can you yell, 'Melena! Melena!' several times repeatedly just when she's fallen asleep. So, do not even try to tell it was an accident." Harry nodded in perfect agreement with Sirius.
"Fine," grumbled the elder one of the girls. "We'll go to apologize. Will it be okay then?"
"No," said his big brother mercilessly. "You're both missing dessert tonight. You don't deserve it."
"But Dad-dy!" whined Simone. "We're having chocolate cake for dessert!"
"Exactly," the bespectacled wizard replied with a grin. "Your favourite dessert. Perhaps you should have thought about it before you started waking the babies, eh?"
"Well, wasn't that sweet," said Remus, rolling his eyes, when Simone and Belinda vanished after a hurried apology. "The girls apologize and miss dessert, fair enough. And what about their dear husbands? They just get the girls and shout some, then consider their work done. And who are the ones to put the babies back to sleep? Us, of course. Why do I fail to see the logic in this?"
"What logic?" asked Severus dryly. Then he sighed. "Harry doesn't even dare to try with this little brat," he said, glancing affectionately at his younger daughter, who was currently lying in his arms, big black eyes searching his face. "She just won't fall asleep for him. I can't understand what the difference between him and me is that makes her unable to sleep in his lap. I might understand if I was her mother, but..."
"Don't worry, it's always been the same for me," laughed Remus. "I suppose it's because the carrier has a similar bond to the child as a mother does, no matter what is done after the child is born. It doesn't mean that we're suddenly females, though," he added mischievously. Then he shook his head and smiled down at his own baby son. "I'm just glad I only have one baby to put to sleep this time," he said cheerfully.
"Oh, yes. I can truly remember how Belinda always woke Stella and Luna when they were little," laughed the Potions Master. "The girls just wouldn't shut up. In the end Sirius seemed to be ready to kill Belinda if it just would guarantee some undisturbed sleep for both you and the younger twins."
"Well, Belinda's always been the mischief maker," said the werewolf calmly. "Fortunately Bill's a bit more peaceful, though even he can be a true menace if he wants to. And, even more fortunately, Stella and Luna haven't shown much interest in mischief, at least not yet. They're so different in character, though, that I don't think they'll ever make such a horrible couple as Bill and Belinda -- with Simone, of course."
"Oh, yes," snorted the darkhaired man. "My dear eldest daughter, the worst little menace to ever have walked on this planet. I can definitely see where those Marauder genes from Harry went." Raising Melena up to look her more closely in the eye, he said mock-seriously, "You aren't allowed to be like that, do you hear me, young lady? I'll most definitely not become the carrier of another generation of the Marauders!"
"Too late," laughed Remus. "I'd say that Simone makes you that, no matter what Melena grows up to be."
"I simply don't understand how you manage with five children," said Severus dryly. "I'm having my hands full with even those two. On the rare times Melena's asleep, Simone's trying her best to wake her."
"And you still would never give them up," the werewolf said, smiling. "You know that."
"Well, of course not," replied the Potions Master levelly. "I carried them, and that's something I won't let Harry forget. If there weren't any kids, I would lose my best bargaining chip."
At that, Remus laughed. Then he turned serious -- well, at least more serious than before. "Severus, may I ask you something?" he asked, sounding a bit hesitant. As he heard the 'hmph' that was as close to a positive answer as he was going to get, he continued, "Why exactly were you the one to carry the babies? Well, I understand that with Simone it was kind of an accident, but why Melena, too? You had such a hard time with Simone, and if I've understood right, you are the dominative half of your relationship, aren't you?"
Now, the Slytherin snorted in dry amusement. "Rather typical of you, that question," he said dryly. "Well, you're right, Simone was an accident. We did take care of contraception, but only as a potion that Harry drank. The times I bottomed were very rare, and seemingly we forgot to cast a protection charm on one of those times. As for Melena, well... Harry was the one who wanted another kid, so it would have made sense for him to carry it. However, as he's at times about as hyperactive as Simone, I really couldn't have trusted him to keep both himself and a baby safe. So, I found myself being the only available option."
"How perfectly logical," said Remus with a smile, "and how perfectly Slytherin. At times I could swear that you've lost your touch when I watch you playing with the kids, but then you again say something like that and I see that the old Severus Snape isn't that far away. I can't say if it's good or bad, though," he teased.
"Oh, shut up, Black," laughed Severus. Then, he smirked. "Answer honestly, now," he commanded. "Seven years ago, could you have ever thought that you'd once be in this situation? With six children, one of them an adult with his own kids, spending your time at the Snape Manor -- and me as your son-in-law?"
Now Remus laughed, too. "If somebody had seven years ago told me that," he said, "I would have told them to get their heads examined. Better than that, even," he then added. "If that somebody had claimed that I would see Severus Snape carrying and giving birth to two children, I would have taken them to St. Mungo's personally and made sure they went to the closed ward. And that they stayed there, too."
"I kind of expected an answer like that." Severus smirked at him.
"What about you, though?" shot Remus back. "If somebody had told you seven years ago that you'd once be married to Harry, have carried two children, and have Sirius Black of all people for your father-in-law, how would you have reacted? Aside from hexing the person, of course?"
"Not much," the Slytherin said, shrugging. "Just carted them off to St. Mungo's. Though after that I might have taken a bit better care of the contraception," he added then dryly.
"I'd think so, yes," chuckled the werewolf. Then he glanced again at Michael, only to find his little son wide awake. "I don't think these brats are very sleepy now," he observed. "How about we try again later?"
"And let our husbands take care of them until then, eh?" asked Severus with a raised eyebrow. At Remus's amused nod, he smirked. "Sounds perfect to me," he said satisfied.
Thus, they indeed did so.
And life went on happily in the Snape Manor for everybody... Except for Simone and Belinda, of course, as they still wouldn't get any dessert.
The morals of the story: Surprise announcements are fun. Big news is best told carefully. Little children, no matter how adorable they are at times, can be just as easily little monsters. And never, ever wake your baby sister, brother, niece, or uncle -- you'll miss dessert.
A/N: So... That was that. One WIP less. Whoo-pee!
So, so, so... How did you like it?