Disclaimer: Harry Potter is not mine. That includes characters, events, settings, etc. The storyline is mine, as well as all the characters that you don't recognize.
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Epilogue
"Happy Birthday to me, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to us both, Happy Birthday to us!" The horribly off-key birthday salute got louder as the floor rumbled, ending with a loud squeal, followed promptly by two growls as the Potter-Snape twins leapt onto the bed...right on top of their parents. "C'mon, Daddy. C'mon, Papa. Time to get up. It's our birthday!" squealed Aric.
Severus swiftly removed Ebon from on top of him and summoned the time, groaning dramatically and flopping back down on the bed. "Go away. It's only four thirty in the morning. You two should still be sleeping heavily after yesterday's activities." Harry groaned beside him and peered blearily up at a grinning Aric. "It's not your birthday yet. You weren't born until 10:04, brat."
Ebon, sitting between his two fathers, shook his head and replied promptly, "It is the day we were born, therefore it is our birthday. Our birth time is not the same thing." His tone was clipped and confident, and Harry exchanged a look with his husband before they both chuckled. "Ah, I can see which of us you take after, Ebon."
Aric had apparently decided that he was tired of being ignored, so he bounced on Harry's stomach, bringing his Daddy's attention back to him. "Ebon's right, you know. Of course, Ebon's always right, 'cause he's real smart, like Papa. Time to get up, 'cause it's our birthday. Is there gonna be a cake?" Not waiting for an answer, Aric slipped off the bed and bolted from the room. Ebon sighed in mock-irritation and shook his head before following his brother out at a more sedate pace...until he reached the door, whereupon he proceeded to shift into a Jachyra and tore after his twin brother.
"Well, nice to see that at least one of our sons is mature for his age," Severus snarked. Harry just grinned at him—Sev had never been a morning person, which explained his foul attitude during the school year. Harry, on the other hand, was one of those people that couldn't go back to sleep once they'd woken up—or been woken up, as the case may be. "Aw, Sev, he's far too serious, you know. I can see that I'm going to have to let them visit with Paddy and Moony soon. I'm sure Mitena and Tala will put them to straights."
The older wizard's eyes widened in mock horror and Harry laughed as he slipped out of bed to avoid Severus' swipe at his ass. "Uh uh, Sev. We have two little princes who are demanding our presence, you know." Severus grumped at him, "They're both spoiled anyhow. I rather think that making them wait a while will be good for them." Harry rolled his eyes and asked archly, "And have them use magic to interrupt us, or get Remus and Sirius, who will interrupt us? Or perhaps you'd rather walk out of this room and see the entire house redecorated with the Weasley's pranks?"
Harry smirked as his mate leapt out of the bed and flew about the room, getting ready for the day. Unfortunately, the threats weren't really made completely in jest. The twins had done all of the above, and then some, when their fathers weren't fast enough for them. It often drove Severus insane, while Harry just laughed along with them and praised them on a job well done.
Aric James Potter-Snape and Ebon Severus Potter-Snape were the greatest pranksters of their age group, and paired with Mitena Lupin-Black, the three were unstoppable. Even their parents and the Weasley twins had been forced to praise their cleverness and ingenuity. Severus swore that he'd retire before they ever went to school, but Harry pointed out that he enjoyed teaching too much now to quit, and that at least they would be ready for the little monsters. He couldn't wait to see how the others dealt with the three Marauders. It was going to be absolute chaos, and they were going to love every minute of it.
Strolling out the door, Harry smiled at his two sons. Identical in appearance, their words and actions set them apart from each other. While both of them loved pranking people, Ebon was much more serious than his twin brother, his words always well-thought out before he spoke, and a keen intelligence that often showed in their pranks. Aric, on the other hand, was much more relaxed and far less solemn. His speech patterns were as improper as Harry's, and he was always smiling.
Both of the twins were incredibly intelligent, and rapidly grasped anything that either Harry or Severus taught them. Since they had Harry's Jachyra blood in them, as well as both Harry's and Severus' magic abilities, they could perform wandless and wordless spells, which made it impossible for the Ministry to detect them. Once they had discovered this, they cast spells every chance they got.
The twins had also discovered that they could very easily trick most people. Immediate family and the families of the bonded were excluded from this, of course, since everybody visited a great deal. It didn't work on any of the Weasleys, either, since they had twins of their own, and Hermione had learned to distinguish between them easily. However, that had never discouraged Aric and Ebon, who often affected the other's speech patterns and facial expressions, confusing the people around them. Albus, in particular, enjoyed watching these displays.
Now, Aric and Ebon were looking up at him, hopeful expressions on their faces. Harry shook his head to rid himself of thoughts concerning the past and focused on the present, which meant getting his sons fed and ready for the party that was to be held later in their flat. Since it was only April, and both Harry and Severus were still teaching, they would bring the twins with them to Hogwarts before handing them over to Sirius and Remus, who would watch over them until classes were done for the day. Then they'd all floo back to Harry's house through the private network, and get ready for the party to be held that afternoon. Albus and Byron would be leaving the school in the capable hands of Minerva while they attended the twins' fifth birthday party, and the others who would be participating would apparate and walk up the drive.
Harry fed his sons and husband breakfast, but forbade them to go hunting for their presents, threatening to banish them all if they didn't wait until the party. Sufficiently cowed, the two boys went to find something to occupy their time with until they had to leave for Hogwarts.
At seven thirty, the Potter-Snape family flooed directly into Albus' office, where they were greeted by the esteemed Headmaster himself, Byron at his side. "Ah, I see that the floo travel went well this morning," he smiled, and Harry snarled at him. The twins were usually up with plenty of time to spare before they had to go to Hogwarts, and Severus had been doing this for years, but Harry still wasn't used to flooing before he was fully awake, so he often tripped and fell out of the fireplace.
The twins bounded over to 'Grandpa Albus' and started telling him all about their birthday, and the party later, and what they hoped to get. Albus smiled down at them, twinkling, as he joined the boys' boisterous attitude before glancing at Harry for permission and leading Aric and Ebon out of the room, heading for Remus and Sirius, who were already here.
This train of thought brought Harry back in time, remembering the first time he had seen Sirius' and Remus' home. It was the same size as Grimmauld Place, but was much brighter and airier. The two men traveled back and forth between the 'Canine Mansion'—or Doghouse, as Severus called it—just as Harry and Severus traveled back and forth between their own home at Snape Manor. They had all decided that, while they may call Hogwarts 'home', they didn't want their children growing up in the school, so Remus and Sirius had found a mansion near Snape Manor and lived there, visiting Hogwarts during the school week, although they often left with the twins in tow after they had been delivered.
After observing the social niceties for a while, Severus and Harry bid Byron a good day and left the office, heading in opposite directions for their classrooms after exchanging a brief kiss and a whispered pledge of devotion. Harry sighed. He had the awful feeling that today was going to be a long one.
Harry groaned, exhausted, as he entered the living room to their home and flopped gracelessly onto the leather couch. "Merlin, I don't think I've ever had a worse class than this year's fifth year Slytherin/Gryffindor class." Severus looked at him in amusement and asked, "What did they do this time around? I know they couldn't have blown up the classroom, or else I'm sure I would have heard about it."
Harry shook his head, turning it to face the doorway, where his two sons were standing, trying rather unsuccessfully to hide their giggling. "All right, you two, since you seem to know exactly what happened, why don't you inform Papa?" Ebon's eyes widened and he shook his head frantically, not about to implicate himself, but Aric had no such qualms and gleefully admitted, "They all went swirly colored and the room went disco today."
Severus raised an eyebrow and turned back to Harry, who just grinned and sent a picture into his mate's mind—red and gold swirled Slytherins, while the Gryffindors were colored in green and silver; a ball with flashing lights turning in circles on the ceiling, throwing an eerie, flickering cast of colors over the dark, crowded room; laughter ringing of the walls as the students tried to figure out who had pranked them, finally decided that it must have been the teacher, who was the only one not painted in swirling colors; the subsequent attack on his person, which he could have easily absorbed but didn't as it was harmless; a neon pink and yellow swirled Professor Potter-Snape laughing along with the crowd and dancing in the middle of the room, the chairs having been pushed back earlier.
Severus burst out laughing while Harry just sulked and glared at him before turning to his sons and narrowing his eyes. "I can see that some punishment is in order." The twins, knowing exactly what that tone of voice meant, tried to bolt from the room, but their father and Severus, who hadn't quite yet recovered from the bout of amusement, were far too quick for them, and they soon found themselves pinned on the floor, hapless victims to their fathers' combined tickle attack.
By the time Harry and Severus let their sons up, all four of them were panting rather heavily, smiling at each other. Finally, Harry caught his breath enough to speak. "Go get ready for the party, you two. The party will start soon." With a squeal of excitement, the twins got up and bolted. Harry just stared after them, rather impressed at their stamina after having been tickled so mercilessly until just a few seconds ago. Beside him, the same expression was on Severus' face.
In no time at all, the twins were back and standing in front of their fathers, ready for the party to start. Harry and Severus stared at their sons in pride and awe. The two boys were already heart-breakers, with their soft, gleaming waist-length raven hair, smooth sun-kissed skin, bright smiles, and mismatched eyes, both gleaming brightly and giving the twins a combined aura of mystery, kindness, and danger that already attracted the females, and quite a few males. They were dressed in matching robes of deep purple, so deep that it was almost black, with silver trimmings. Salazar, the cobra, was lying across Ebon's shoulder—both boys could speak Parseltongue. Standing side by side, they were to two most gorgeous creatures on earth. Of course, their fathers may be a bit biased, but even total strangers stared at the two boys in awe when they ventured out.
Aric and Ebon, however, had no sense of their own appeal, and shifted impatiently from foot to foot, waiting for their fathers to approve and get a move on so that the party could start. Coming out of his trance, Harry just smiled at them indulgently and went to open the floo network so that Albus and Byron could floo in when they were ready. The twins headed for the front door, but were waylaid by Sirius, who had just apparated right into the manor. Remus would be arriving shortly with Mitena and Tala in tow.
"My, aren't we the studs this afternoon," Sirius commented as he moved into the living room, where he was greeted by his godson and Severus. The two boys continued on their giggling path towards the door, which was knocked upon almost immediately. Remus' cheerful voice greeted Aric and Ebon, and then there were three giggling and one barking voice.
Harry frowned when he heard another voice, but then grinned when he realized that it was Nathan Weasley, the wereleopard. Molly and Arthur had found themselves suffering from empty-nest syndrome, with all of their children living away from home except for Ginny. The other boys still visited as often as possibly, Ron, Fred and George the most, but it was still lonely for a couple that had taken care of seven children for years to suddenly be bereft of all but one. So they had agreed to adopt Nathan, after seeing how he behaved on the nights of the half-moon, of course, making sure that they'd feel safe with a leopard on the property twice a month.
Nathan smiled up at them, his eyes glowing and a healthy tan evident, as well as a great deal of increased confidence. Nathan had flourished under the care of the Weasley patriarchs, and Harry was pleased to see it. Severus had been working on a potion to make him less tired and worn after the transformations, and it appeared to have done wonders. His mate would be so proud of himself, and he deserved every bit of it.
After the arrival of the Lupin-Black clan and Nathan, others started pouring into the manor. All of the Weasley clan including Hermione and excluding Percy, Draco and Lucius Malfoy, Albus Dumbledore, and Byron Potter arrived within the next few minutes. Harry was pleased with the outcome, and could see that Severus was as well. Aric, Ebon, and 'Tena were bouncing from group to group, smiling and laughing, getting worshipped and fawned over, occasionally pulling a mild prank on the unsuspecting masses.
Severus retreated to the kitchen, muttering something about, "Spoiled children who are constantly having their egos increased, more famous than their parents, really." Harry smiled to himself—Severus didn't care one iota about the fame, but he was worried that their sons would grow up to be arrogant bullies. Harry, however, knew that they wouldn't, and somewhere in that complex heart of his, Sev must have known it as well, because he never stopped people from fawning over the twins.
Aric and Ebon had a deep moral sense of right and wrong, and they had large hearts that could encompass everybody and anybody. With a Jachyra for a father, they had developed a sense of loyalty, and could tell when other people were lying or having dark thought of ill-intent. It led them to unerringly seek those people they could trust, and to form deep attachments to them. It wasn't like the bonding that had occurred between Harry, Severus, Remus, and Draco, but it was a bond based on mutual trust and love.
The party lasted well into the night, although the twins and 'Tena had been put to bed around ten so that the adults could talk. Everybody there complimented the two men on their beautiful sons, and they let the pride show. Around midnight, the party began clearing out. Sirius and Remus would be staying the night with Tala and Mitena, and then leaving the next morning with Harry and Severus.
As Harry snuggled up to his husband under the covers, he felt the older man smile. "That went well, didn't it?" he asked. Severus just nodded and clasped Harry tighter to him. Content and exhausted, the two men quickly fell asleep wrapped in each other's arms.
Author's Note: I know, I just skipped over the party, I'm sorry. I'm not really good at scenes that involve a great deal of people, so I just kind of skimmed over the party. Oops. Oh, well, this concludes my story, and the 'Jachyra' trilogy. Please review and let me know what you all thought, all right? Thank you!