Chapter Twelve (Epilogue)
After Remus' difficult – and nearly fatal – delivery, they had brought the twins, Juliet Rene Black and Orion Bocephus Black home at last. Because of the Ministry's decision to give Sirius full custody of the children should their relationship fall apart, they were legally his, and therefore had to be given the name Black, rather than Lupin-Black as he and Remus had wanted. Both had inherited their parents' intelligence and magical power – Orion had first shown signs of magic when he'd thrown a tantrum at the age of four and blew up the fireplace. Two weeks later, Juliet made her brother's toy broom disappear while he was flying around their back yard because he'd broken hers. Sirius and Remus (though Remus never admitted it, and always accused Sirius of corrupting their babies) were also exceedingly proud of the fact that their children were natural pranksters – just like their parents. Of course, Juliet and Orion were best friends with James' children, Harry and his little sister Caitlyn.
Harry, to James' delight, and Lily's consternation, was also quite the talented prankster. Caitlyn was much more studious than the other three, but she had, as James had once put it, a dangerous sense of humor. They were, just as Sirius had said so many years ago, a whole new generation of Marauders.
Only Peter and Grace had not had the opportunity to have children. Just a few months after their marriage, and one week after finding out that she was pregnant, Grace had been caught in a Death Eater attack in a Muggle mall. She'd done her best to fight back and try to protect the Muggles, but Grace had eventually died at the hands of the Death Eaters. Peter, after learning of his wife's death, had been inconsolable. His friends had stood by him, done everything they could to help, but Peter had never been able to get over losing Grace. On Halloween 1981, the six month anniversary of Grace's death, Peter committed suicide. The Marauders were devastated. They'd lost friends to the war before, but somehow, they'd never expected to see the deaths of two of their own. Even now, ten years later, they couldn't celebrate Halloween without thinking of Peter and Grace, and all that they'd lost. But time, as it tends to do, went on. Wounds were healed, and the three remaining Marauders carried on their trouble-making tradition.
September 1, 1991
"Daaaaaddd! Daddy! It's time to wake up! Come on, come on, we've got to get ready!" This call was followed almost immediately by the sound of someone – or, more accurately, two someones – banging on Sirius' and Remus' bedroom door in an effort to get the two men up. After a few moments of vainly attempting to break down the door to their parents' room, Juliet and Orion gave up and wandered back to their respective rooms to finish getting dressed for the day.
Sirius groaned as he was drawn from sleep before rolling over and draping an arm around Remus' waist. "Is it really time to get up, Moony?" He asked, as his mate gave a big yawn, rubbing his eyes in a way that Sirius found incredibly adorable. "Can't we please just go back to sleep for a few more hours? Neither of us have to work today – we should be able to sleep in, shouldn't we?"
"Unfortunately, love, I think the kids want us to take them to King's Cross," Remus said as he moved out of his lover's embrace.
"I say we give the twins some gold and tell 'em to take the Knight Bus," Sirius mumbled. Nonetheless, both he and Remus moved around, beginning to get dressed. "After all," Sirius said, as he pulled on a pair of faded blue jeans, "Juliet loves riding on it. She seems to think it's fun."
"Maybe so," Remus chuckled, as he moved to the door of the bedroom, "But I don't think they'd be very happy if we didn't see them off."
Five minutes later, Sirius made his way into the kitchen to find Remus standing over the stove, directing the bacon and eggs to cook themselves with his wand while Juliet and Orion running around the house trying to find anything they hadn't packed yet. "No running in the house, guys!" Remus called, as Orion narrowly avoided bumping into him.
"Dad!" Juliet called moments later, as Sirius began taking down dishes and silverware. "I can't find my wand!"
Remus sighed in exasperation. "Sirius, will you finish this?" He asked, gesturing to the have-cooked meal.
"No problem, love." Sirius said.
Just as Remus left to go look for Juliet's wand, Orion came bounding back into the room, his excitement about going to Hogwarts clearly showing. "Hey Rion, got all your stuff packed?" Sirius asked his son as the boy took a seat at the kitchen table.
Orion nodded enthusiastically. "Yup, sure do, daddy. All my dungbombs and everything. Oh, and I threw in my clothes and books too, so I'm good to go."
"Well that's good," Sirius said with a laugh, as he put some food on his son's plate.
An hour later, everything was packed, wands were found, and breakfast was eaten. While Remus was hailing the Knight Bus, Sirius moved the two trunks out into the yard. "Jules, Orion, come on the bus is here!" Remus called in through the open door as Sirius levitated their luggage outside.
"We're coming, dad!" Orion answered as he hurried into the room carrying a box of owl treats along with what looked suspiciously like a case of Filibuster's Fireworks. Juliet followed her brother a second later, a large owl cage containing the regal-looking eagle-owl named Poseidon that she and her brother had gotten a few weeks ago in Diagon Alley. Remus gave them each a very pointed look when they walked outside to where the enormous triple-decker bus stood waiting.
"I thought you said you'd packed everything," he said, raising an eyebrow at his two children as everything was loaded onto the bus.
"We did, dad," Juliet said earnestly. "It's just that we didn't think you would have liked it very much if we'd left our books at home to make room for this stuff in the trunks. I mean, if you want us to do that, we'll be more than glad to take it all out-"
"Oh hush," Remus said, a smile playing at his lips as the boarded the bus. Sirius followed behind him, barely holding in a snigger.
Thirty very bumpy minutes later and the family of four had finally reached King's Cross Station. Juliet and Orion bounded energetically off the bus, followed at a much slower pace by Sirius and Remus. Sirius, who still felt a bit week in the knees after one particularly violent stop that had landed him on the floor beneath what had to be the largest warlock he'd ever met, decided it might be best if he let Remus keep track of the twins. He needed to regain his strength, after all.
"Remember now," Sirius said to them while Remus went off in search of a couple of trolleys, "if you just have to prank some of the Slytherins, make sure that you can get away quickly, cause some of them can get pretty nasty and you don't know enough magic yet to really fight them-"
"Sirius," Remus interrupted, coming back with the trolleys, "do stop corrupting our children. People will think we're bad influences."
"Right you are, dear," Sirius said with a wink as they loaded the trunks onto the trolleys. The four of them ignored the stares (some hostile, some merely curious) they were getting from passersby as they walked across the crowded station.
"Okay kids, you remember what to do, don't you?" Remus asked when they'd finally reached the barrier between platforms nine and ten – the entrance to Platform Nine and Three Quarters.
"Of course, dad," Orion said, moving his trolley into position in front of the barrier. "Just run!" With that, he was off and seconds later had passed soundlessly through the gateway.
Juliet glanced around, making certain that none of the Muggles were watching. After receiving encouraging nods from both of her fathers, the young girl followed her brother to the other side of the barrier. Sirius and Remus glanced at each other, smiling excitedly, before doing the same.
The first thing they heard when they reached the Platform was, "Uncle Sirius! Uncle Remus! Over here!" The two men turned to their left to see Juliet and Orion talking excitedly with another boy their age with messy black hair, green eyes, and glasses. Beside the three young first years was another younger girl with long, reddish blonde hair pulled back into a ponytail. The red-haired girl was bouncing on the balls of her feet excitedly as she waved her arms, trying to get their attention.
Sirius and Remus smiled warmly at them as they made their way over through the throngs of witches and wizards. "Hello, Harry, Caitlyn. You excited about school, Harry?" Remus asked.
"Of course!" Harry said happily. "I can't wait! It's going to be great, with all the pranks we're going to play, especially since dad gave me his-" Harry stopped himself almost immediately, covering his mouth with his hand.
Sirius grinned. "Your dad gave you his what, Harry?" He asked, pretending he didn't know what his godson was talking about. He and Remus both knew that Lily had forbidden James to give Harry his old invisibility cloak; they'd also suspected that James had intended to give it to Harry without Lily's knowledge. After all, what she didn't know couldn't hurt her.
"Um, nothing," Harry said, grinning innocently. Juliet and Orion snickered at him behind his back.
"Where are your parents, anyway?" Remus asked, showing Harry some mercy and changing the subject.
"They were trying to find a compartment for me, but here they are now," Harry said, nodding his head in the direction of his parents.
"Sirius, Remus! Took you lot long enough, didn't it?" James asked laughingly as he and Lily approached their friends.
"Oh, be quiet Prongs," Sirius said, punching the other man lightly on the arm.
"Hey there, squirts," James said to Juliet and Orion after dodging out of Sirius' way.
"Don't call us squirts, Uncle Antler-Head!" Orion said indignantly.
"Yeah!" Juliet piped up. Before she could say anything else, however, the train whistle began to blow, indicating that they had five minutes before the train pulled out of the station.
Hurriedly, Sirius and Remus got the trunks onto the train and the four of them found the compartment Lily and James had left Harry's things in. After loading everything onto the luggage rack – including the fireworks, which Remus apparently hadn't noticed, they returned to the Platform to say goodbye. Both men were somewhat nervous about this – they wouldn't see their children again until December, after all. Sirius tried not to let his slight anxiety show as he hugged his son and daughter goodbye. He wasn't entirely certain he'd succeeded, but Sirius knew he'd done a better job than James – when Harry tried to stop hugging him so that he could say goodbye to his little sister, the Animagus broke down completely.
"Uh, dad, please stop, you're embarrassing - Dad- dad, I can't breath-" Harry stuttered, trying to escape from his dad's crushing embrace.
James, however, couldn't hear him over his continuous sobbing, "Oh my boy! My son's all grown up…"
Remus and Sirius (along with several others, whose attention had been drawn by the spectacle James was making) couldn't help laughing out loud at their normally 'macho' best friend. Finally, Lily managed to pry James off of Harry's neck. She kissed him goodbye, before wishing him, Juliet, and Orion luck as they hurried off to catch the train.
"You'll be alright Prongs," Sirius said lightly, patting the distraught man on the back. He smiled as he turned back to Remus, wrapping his arms around his mate. "Hard to believe though, isn't it, Remus? Seems like just yesterday you were telling me you were pregnant with twins."
"And now here we are," Remus said, leaning into his embrace. Once again, they ignored the strange looks they were getting from people as they walked back through the barrier. "The kids off to school and an empty house to go home to."
Sirius smiled proudly. "Yeah. We really do have ourselves a whole new generation of Marauders, though, don't we?"
"That we do, love," Remus said, placing a light kiss on his mate's lips. "That we do. What's the bet we get a letter from Dumbledore about them by the end of the week?"
A/N: Yay! I have finally finished another story! Well I hope everyone liked this one; I'm thinking about a sequel, but am not sure if I will. Anyway, I want to thank whoever it was who pointed out the mistakes I made with the last chapter. It would make since for people to have to wash their hands before entering the nursery, but I guess I forgot about that detail. Any other mistakes I made are simply because the only birth I've been present for was my own, and I was a little preoccupied with sleeping to take notes. Anyway, please review!"