Disclaimer: Not Jo, with more than 8 reasons why, lol. Although chapter 18 is the end of 'Daddy', fatherhood is lifelong, so I'm happy to post a one-shot Father and Son: Severus and Septimus, and Tonks and Remus finally get a romantic story of their own, Once in a Blue Moon. The bold quotes are from JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit, the first chapter, in which Bilbo was my inspiration for Snape's reaction to An Unexpected Party.
Don't Call Me Daddy
By some curious chance one morning in May, Septimus plunged a dimpled hand into his bowl of porridge at the exact moment the guardian portrait announced that a visitor was requesting permission to enter. The boy who would turn one on the morrow took advantage of his mother's distraction to cram a gooey handful into his mouth. While Lorelei asked the name of the visitor, the toddler looked at his father and grinned, cereal coating his face and dripping from his fingers onto the tray of the highchair.
Carefully folding the Prophet, Severus rose and walked toward the boy who reached out plump arms while Lorelei greeted their caller. Staying prudently out of range until he cleared the mess off chair and child with a gentle cleansing spell, the father lifted his son and said to their unexpected guest,
"Good morning, Albus, what brings you by so early?"
Removing a silver scarf before taking off his long grey cloak, the Headmaster's eyes twinkled behind half-moon glasses.
"I came to inform you that the…package…from Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes has arrived."
Clasping her hands in girlish excitement, Lorelei asked,
"Does it have all the…items…I requested?"
Rolling his eyes, Severus told the two talking in allusions for the benefit of a baby who would not know the difference,
"I shall put Septimus in his playpen on the other side of the lounge so that you can speak plainly."
Once he had done so, the wizard rejoined the pair who spoke in ridiculously low voices. Lorelei was reading a note from Fred and George that assured…
They (will) go up like great lilies and snapdragons and laburnums of fire and hang in the twilight all evening!
"Won't that be splendid?" She exclaimed, "The boys are brilliant at fireworks. These will be the perfect end to Septimus' birthday party."
"I thought we had agreed to keep the celebration small."
At his words, a look passed between Lorelei and Dumbledore. The wily old man said,
"Ah, well, as much as I would have enjoyed watching Septimus blow out his candle, I suppose a family party is best."
Uncomfortably aware of his wife's hopeful expression, Snape said a bit crossly,
"You know full well that you're like family, Albus, and quite welcome to celebrate with us."
Snatching up his scarf and cloak with a dexterity that belied his years, the white haired wizard nodded,
"Thank you. I shall look forward to it immensely."
Unaccountably annoyed by the way Albus seemed to be laughing silently, Severus prodded,
"Good Morning, and until tomorrow, Goodbye!"
Lorelei showed the Headmaster out, giggling like a schoolgirl when their departing guest said airily,
"What a lot of things you do use Good Morning for!"
Severus was still frowning over whole, irregular, episode when his wife slid her arms around his waist and smiled.
"I like it best when you say 'Good Morning' and mean that you're going to kiss me breathless."
His lips curved. Sliding her curls back to expose a graceful neck, he bent and playfully raked his teeth across soft skin before kissing his way up her throat. The involuntary shivers she gave caused him to smile before murmuring silkily in her ear,
Her face turned toward his, her lips parting as she sought his mouth. Severus kissed Lorelei slowly and thoroughly, until her fingers slid into his hair and she pressed closer. He deepened the kiss with an inward smile, thinking of the past, when she would say 'Good Morning' and he would say 'Is it?' As his wife used to say, It is now… They broke apart when their son demanded,
"Up-py Dada, Up-py!"
Lorelei laughed, gratifyingly short of breath, looking at all the toys Septimus had thrown out of the playpen, unnoticed by his parents.
"I think our son is trying to tell us something."
A sardonic brow winged upward.
Hearing his newest, favorite expression, Septimus clapped his hands while standing in the playpen. Showing off his tiny upper and lower front teeth, he chortled,
Severus picked his son up. The boy smiled charmingly and grabbed his father's nose.
"Yes, son, that is my nose, and I need it, so kindly release my proboscis."
Septimus' chubby fingers let go to reach for his mother.
Lorelei smiled as she allowed little fingers to grasp her nose.
"That's right, darling, and where is Ari's nose?"
Snape winced sympathetically as his son smacked his nose with an opened palm and started to cry. With a withering look at his spouse, he said,
"If we are finished playing this oh-so-enjoyable game, I suggest a walk into the village."
"Sounds good to me. Want to go bye-bye, Ari?"
After changing Septimus into clothing more appropriate for an outing, Lorelei carried the boy on her hip while Severus locomotered the Pegasus Pram up the dungeon stairs. Once they reached the main corridor, the boy was fastened into the seat. Hearing the trademark whinny as they glided down the corridor, Snape sighed,
"Why does every blasted baby accessory have to make sounds?"
"I don't know." replied Lorelei, "To appeal to parents?"
"It doesn't appeal to me."
At least Septimus enjoyed tugging on the tiny reins while the pram glided over the path to Hogsmeade. The weather was mild and sunny, and the villagers were going about their Saturday shopping. After steering his wife past Honeydukes- the last time they'd stopped in some dunderhead had given the baby candy floss- Snape stopped abruptly. The shop that had once been Bilbo's Rings N Things now stood vacant. In the window, a sign read,
Coming soon! Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes!
Looking across the street at Zonko's, a thin lipped smile crossed the Potions Master's face. He looked forward to the rise in detentions. There were always barrels of newts and frogs to gut and specimen jars to refresh.
Making the mistake of remaining in public view when Lorelei dashed into the music shop 'just for a minute', Severus was forced to repel several enamored women. None were charmed by him, which was a meager blessing, but instead were captivated by his son. Sitting up in his pram, smiling and waving like a little prince to his devoted subjects, Septimus reveled in the attention. His father did not. Having to firmly state 'no you may not hold the baby', and 'kindly refrain from kissing the boy' grew tiring. And exasperating- why did females act as though he were jesting when he told them to admire from afar…preferably across the street? The wizard recognized NeSmith, Richie, Vincent and Davis as witches who over the years had taken his Potions class. Had he ever made a jest?
"I found the Wiggle Worms orb, Severus, and the Wee Sing Wizard Songs one too, wasn't I lucky?" Lorelei enthused as she exited the shop lifting a bag.
Acting as though he hadn't been sarcastic, the siren stowed the purchase and said hello to the village ladies. While he pushed the pram into motion, forcing women to jump aside or have their shins bruised, she sang,
"Flobberworm, flobberworm, measuring the marigolds, you and your arithmetic, you'll probably go far…"
Severus tolerated the melodic inanity until she switched to singing, "Hot Potato, Hot Potato…" Some things could not be endured, even for love.
"Let's go into the bookshop. I have to pick up Septimus' present."
His wife threw him an amused, understanding smile for his less than tactful interruption. His child frowned, little brows drawn together. Snape increased the pram's speed. The diversionary tactic worked. Septimus chortled in glee.
Inside By the Book, the wizard allowed his wife to chat with all and sundry in the children's area while he approached the service desk. Glancing up, the clerk asked,
"May I help you?"
After taking possession of the book he'd special ordered, Severus walked back to the children's section, where Madam Goose was reading a story by an author with the unfortunate last name of Potter. Since his child, sitting on the floor with several others, appeared content, he allowed the boy to remain and hear the rest of 'The Tale of Benjamin Bunny' whilst taking a seat beside Lorelei on a nearby bench.
"It came in?" She leaned against him to whisper.
In answer, he pulled the Child's First Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs from its bag. Impervious to rips, spills, or other abuse meted out by little readers, the vivid pictures would ensure his precocious son's interest in potions. His satisfied expression made Lorelei cover her mouth with her hand. Watching her shoulders shake, he drawled,
"Something amuses you?"
Eyes bright, she pointed to a plant and said in an undertone,
"I'm sorry. It's just that…I got the strangest song in my head…" When he lifted an imperious brow, she sang in a soft voice, "Aconite, Aconite, also known as monkshood, the folk name for Wolf's Bane is Dumbledore's Delight…" He stared blankly for so long that she said embarrassedly, "I don't know why I came up with that, I won't sing it again…"
"Yes, you will." He cut in. Severus' mouth curved, "Septimus enjoys insipid tunes, why not use them to instruct him in magical herbs?" Lorelei returned his smile. Story time ended. Their son called,
A surreptitious glance at his timepiece showed that a visit to the Three Broomsticks was in order. Suggesting they do so, Severus pushed the baby towards their destination after his wife eagerly agreed. Inside the pub, a blond wizard lounged on a barstool, chatting with the proprietor. Snape nodded civilly.
"Madam Rosmerta, Professor Malfoy"
The brassy haired barkeep gasped,
"Merlin, he's grown even bigger, and more gorgeous. Come to Auntie Rosmerta, Septimus!"
The baby on Lorelei's hip considered the woman with upraised brows before smiling widely and leaning forward with open arms. Chuckling as he passed the boy over the bar to the cooing Rosmerta, Draco said,
"Got an eye for the ladies, that one…I don't envy you the grey hairs you'll get trying to keep your boy in line."
Severus curled his upper lip before replying blandly,
"You're doomed no matter what side of the family your children take after."
Lorelei laughed softly at Draco's chagrin. Across the tavern, a voice boomed,
"Back for our rematch?"
Severus and Draco exchanged lighting quick glances before the older Slytherin gazed at his wife. She gave him a knowing look and smiled,
"Go on" Stepping close, she kissed him 'for luck'. Retrieving their son, Lorelei followed as he and Malfoy strolled to meet the pair that looked to have been engaged in a darts match. Orlando cleared the board with a serene smile,
"Perseverance is an admirable trait."
"Scots claim it." Gimli boasted.
"We'll see about that." Draco countered. Severus stepped between them.
"Aye" The stocky master gardener growled.
"Whatever" Draco shrugged.
"Closest to the Bull's Eye begins the match." Orlando pushed his partner toward the board and away from confrontation, "Throw"
Gimli, the jammy bastard, hit closest and chose to start for his team. Severus concealed his vexation. Draco, thanks to months of intensive practice, matched the barrel-chested Scot's triple on 15. The Fae stepped up and fluidly hit the coveted inner ring of 16. Snape coolly matched it.
Lorelei's gasp was echoed by the baby watching interestedly. The patrons that had gathered around chuckled. Severus and Draco met each other's eyes and looked away. The match continued to be a contest of triples. Each throw was watched in hushed silence. Every hit was greeted with cheers. After Draco closed out 19, Septimus called after the cheers had died down,
The now considerable crowd laughed. Holding his son, Severus whispered in the baby's ear as Orlando chose a dart. Right as the Fae prepared to throw, Septimus crowed,
Orlando hit a double. He turned and stared incredulously. The boy smiled angelically,
"He called me 'Lo-lo'." The preternaturally handsome man said with a delighted grin, taking the baby who held out his arms. Handing his son over with a gleam in his eye, Severus murmured,
"Yes, he did." Focusing, he hit a triple, turning just in time to keep from being bowled over by his wife. She threw herself into his arms and kissed him soundly. He allowed her to vent her passion for…the match…and then smirked at Gimli. "Your turn."
Out of the corner of his eye, Snape saw Draco mouth a word to Septimus before standing behind the shorter man. The baby almost hurled himself out of Orlando's grip, crying,
The dart embedded in the center ring of the 20. Gimli clapped Orlando on the shoulder and said,
"Ha! You're not the only one the nipper's taken a shine to. Come to Gimli yeh braw laddie…"
While Septimus tugged happily at the man's auburn beard, Draco hit a Bull's Eye. The patrons of the Broomsticks were silent for one disbelieving moment and then erupted into boisterous cheers. Draco shook Severus' hand vigorously, laughing in elation. Lorelei kissed Malfoy on the cheek and her husband on the mouth.
"What an amazing match! It was so exciting!"
He agreed, and would've liked to have shown how much, but refrained from further public demonstrations of affection. His opponents shook hands and congratulated him before turning to Draco and doing likewise. Malfoy bought the house a round. After another burst of cheering had died down and drinking had begun, Orlando stared across the table and said thoughtfully,
"Strange how just before we were to throw, Gimli and I each became distracted."
Taking an uncouth gulp of fine oak matured mead, the Scot used his tankard to point to the baby sitting on his mother's lap, banging a spoon against the table.
"Yer can't blame a bairn fer liking yeh!"
Leaning towards Septimus, Orlando pointed to Gimli,
"Who's that, Septimus?" The man smiled winningly while pointing to himself, "What's my name?"
Tiny black brows drew together. The boy remained silent. Pushing back his chair, the Fae walked over, pulled the dart from the Bull's Eye, and strode back with it. Septimus gurgled,
Pointing the dart at the former opponent now snickering, Orlando accused,
"You two are cheaters!"
Draco lifted his tankard and smirked.
"Slytherins, actually, or winners…" He looked at Severus who drawled,
"Victors is another description, but I prefer title-holders…"
"Title-holders! Not for long… I demand a rematch!"
"So do I."
Rising, Severus inclined his head,
"Very well, a rematch you shall have…one day…"
Escorting his family out of the tavern, he heard Draco shout,
"Another round for the house!"
A glimpse in the window showed the Scot and the Fae smiling wryly as they tapped their tankards against Malfoy's. Hoping that Draco didn't get himself embroiled in another challenge, Severus pushed the pram with a now sleepy baby back to Hogwarts. Lorelei slipped her arm around his waist and smiled invitingly as they traveled the deserted path.
"To the victor go the spoils."
The Pegasus Pram halted, unnoticed by the baby who slept. Severus bent toward his wife. She reached up on tiptoe. Their lips met and parted in a kiss of love, triumph, and need. Her hands clutched his shoulders. The baby stirred. The couple's mouths parted, smiling. Lorelei's hand slipped into his. Snape squeezed her fingers gently while setting the pram into motion once more.
As the hour for Septimus' Birthday Party approached, Marina, Jean-Luc, and Tynan had all Apparated or flooed to Hogsmeade and walked to the school to help prepare. The indulgent grandparents went a bit overboard on all the decorations, in Severus' mind, but he could not fault their adoration of a child so bright and loving. Following Lorelei into the nursery, he leaned against a wall, out-sneered a Kraken, and asked while his son nursed,
"How many guests do your parents think are coming? Albus likes his food and drink, but he's only one man."
"It's Ari's first birthday, surely a bit of excess can be excused."
He leaned down and smoothed the baby's shiny black hair, nodding his agreement. Septimus looked up and smiled. Severus experienced a fierce, overwhelming feeling that he would do anything for his son, for his wife and for their family…it was humbling and yet satisfying in ways he couldn't explain, even to himself.
The Guardian Portrait chimed.
"That must be Albus. I'll go." He offered, smiling quizzically when she caught his hand and brought it to her lips with a 'Thank You' that seemed more deeply meant than the situation warranted.
After Severus released the ward, the portrait lifted and Minerva stepped through. She handed him a present, hung her dark green hooded cloak on a peg and smiled,
"Good afternoon, Severus. Has Albus arrived?"
"No" He realized the Headmaster must have invited McGonagall as his date and asked, "May I get you a drink?"
"Minerva! Lovely to see you, would you care for a glass of champagne…?"
Marina whisked the other woman off before she could respond to Snape's offer. He shrugged and listened to the four chatting. The ward on the outer corridor chimed again. The wizard released it and then gazed in surprise at the professor strolling into the lounge with a large wrapped present under his arm. Taking the gift, Severus nodded when Draco observed,
"I'm not the first to arrive. Excellent..." The blond hung up a scarlet coloured cloak. That was odd. Malfoy usually never wore anything except white, gray, or black. Before he could perfunctorily offer a drink, Jean-Luc exclaimed,
"Just the man I wanted to see. My researchers tell me that one of your departments at Malfoy Enterprises…" The two strolled to a corner of the lounge that seemed larger than it had before. Before he could puzzle out exactly how the room had changed, the chime sounded again.
Tonks and Remus, in blue hooded cloaks, came into the lounge bearing gifts.
"Mine's a broomstick that turns into a golem." Tonks grinned.
"Of course I chose a book." Remus chuckled.
Taking the presents and placing them with the others on a side table, Severus indicated the empty pegs on the wall…he knew there hadn't been any a moment ago…and said dryly,
"Since you're here, you may as well have a drink."
Tynan, rushing over to kiss Tonk's hand, assured his son-in-law that he'd be delighted to fix such a fine young betrothed couple a drink. With a sense of unreality, the wizard gazed at the gathering in his lounge. How had a small, family celebration grown so quickly? When the chime sounded once more, Severus didn't wait for the portrait to rise fully before saying irritably,
"About time you showed up."
It wasn't Dumbledore, as he'd expected. Instead, Sprout, Gimli, Orlando, Hagrid, and Trelawney stood smiling at him.
"See there, I told you we were welcome!" Pomona said heartily. Within moments, cloaks of brown, grey, white, and two shades of purple hung on pegs that had mysteriously appeared on the wall and the new guests were chatting with the ones sipping drinks and accepting appetizers from Slinky, who had stepped out of the fireplace and begun serving.
"A veritable throng, is it not?" Sybill pronounced to her grudging host.
Her magnified eyes gleamed with excitement as she imparted, "I must tell you, I divined Septimus' future in the proscribed six ways on Sunday, and it is very bright, and filled with more happiness than I could express."
Unable to be annoyed by such an agreeable forecast, he said, "Thank you."
"You, on the other hand, Severus, will see all your fears realized." When he scowled, she squeaked hurriedly, "But, but the cards also point to lasting contentment."
"Leave Snape be, Sybill. I think there's some Spanish sherry- go try some." Minerva said waspishly as she reached the pair.
Glaring at McGonagall, Trelawney sniffed, "Fine" before drifting over to share Septimus' future with his smiling grandparents.
"Don't mind her, Severus. She told me that I would be the next bride at Hogwarts." Shaking her head, Minerva said disapprovingly, "Perhaps we should keep her out of the sherry. The woman's drunk or daft. I'm over seventy years old. The very idea…"
"Hmmm" Noncommittal seemed the only politic response. Snape took a step back and was almost knocked to the ground. Hagrid apologized profusely for not watching his step, beyond what was required until the Slytherin's hauteur eased and he raised a hand to halt the flow of abashed words, saying, "Pray don't mention it."
The door chimed. It was Dumbledore at last. Taking off his grey cloak, bright blue eyes twinkled, surveying the room.
"Quite a merry gathering! I hope there is something left for late-comers to eat and drink."
Lorelei, with Septimus in her arms, reached the pair at the entry.
"How about some tea?" she asked with a brilliant smile.
Albus winked at her and chuckled,
"Shall I quote from The Hobbit again to keep in party theme? I'd be delighted." Clearing his throat, the Headmaster exclaimed, "What's that? Tea? No thank you! A little red wine, I think for me."
Holding his son, Severus looked at his wife and huffed in reluctant amusement. A Hobbit birthday party? He should've felt annoyed by Lorelei's subterfuge, but instead felt strangely content to have his quarters over-run by friends and family wishing to share this special day. After the group ate and ate and talked and talked and time got on, he said with only a hint of a grumble,
"I suppose you will all stay to cut the birthday cake?"
They all did. After the adults sang 'Happy Birthday', Septimus had 'dada' blow out the candle, and grabbed dual handfuls of cake to eat with an endearing grin. The one-year-old toddled from person to person afterwards, smiling and saying 'Up-py' and being made much of. By the time twilight arrived and it was time to set off fireworks, the boy lay tiredly against his father's shoulder. Standing behind the group oohing and ahhing over lilies and snapdragons, and stars and spirals busting forth in colours that, as promised, hung in the twilight instead of dissipating, Snape looked down at his son. The child was drowsily watching the pyrotechnic display. Lorelei kissed a rounded cheek and murmured, "We love you, birthday boy."
Sleepily, the baby said, "mama"
"Yes, we love you very much." Severus agreed as he gazed at the child who had transformed his life. Septimus smiled with heavy eyes and said,
The wizard stiffened. The sound was more "Da- ee", but he knew that his wife slipped from time to time and said 'Daddy'. Now his son had too. The boy said it again. Lorelei gave him a look of apology and corrected gently,
"No, Ari, not dad-dy, dada…can you say…"
"Shhh…" Severus whispered, almost unable to speak. Taking a deep breath, he smiled at his wife in a way that made her eyes fill with happy tears before turning to Septimus and instructing softly,
"Call me Daddy"
A/N: Eighteen chapters to get Snape to the point in his life where he could be called Daddy! I almost called the chap 'Oh Daddy!' but I didn't want to give it away, although I know most of you knew it was coming and just wondered how I'd work round to it! Hope you enjoyed the Hobbit birthday party. When I pondered what kind of birthday party to throw, I remembered using the tea party in SI, thought of how Bilbo was annoyed at Gandalf and then how the Dwarves arrived in shifts to keep Bilbo off kilter and accepting. I thought what if Lorelei took a page out of the book to get Severus round the idea of a birthday bash? The colours of the cloaks/order and number of guest(s) that show up on the doorstep were taken from the book also…love that Tolkien! I also love the 'inchworm' song Kermit sings in a muppet film, and the HP Lexicon, from which I took the Aconite definition. Hope you've loved the fic and tell me about it in a Review!