This is the second part of the Epilouge. You might want to reread the last chapter to know what's going on in this one.
Brothers, Fathers, Grandfathers, and Uncles
Harry jumped up form the kitchen table where he had been reading the Daily Prophet when he heard his daughter's scream. Rushing outside he jumped down the three porch steps where his precious baby girl was sobbing holding her wrist to her chest.
"Lily, what happened?" Harry questioned while gathering his five year old to him.
"Al, pushed me." Lily said between tears.
Harry glanced up at his youngest son who was standing on the porch with a deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.
"Albus, go to your room now." Harry said in a no nonsense tone and stern look.
"Now, Albus, we'll talk in a bit." Harry said again, while picking up his daughter.
Albus stomped into the house followed by his father and crying sister.
Harry sighed as he sat Lily down on top the kitchen table and pulled out his wand to heal her scraped knees. He was about to mend her twisted wrist when he heard a knock at the door. Hearing Ginny's exclamation of "Deidra!" drew his attention away from his no longer sobbing daughter.
"What's De doing here, Daddy?" Lily asked her wrist and scraps forgotten.
"I don't know baby. Let's go find out." Harry said as he picked up Lily and walked into the living room.
Ginny was still at the open door a crying Deidra engulfed in her arms.
"Mommy!" Lily pouted holding her arms out to her mother.
Harry and Ginny exchanged a look at their daughter's jealous streak.
Deidra sniffled and pulled away from Ginny. "Uncle Harry."
Lily was transferred to her mother's arms who took the five year old upstairs animatedly telling her mother how Albus had shoved her off the porch.
Harry gently guided Deidra to the couch and took a seat pulling his crying niece to his chest.
1 Hour Later…
"SHE DID WHAT?"
Harry calmly took a sip of water as he watched his older brother jump up from the table and pace angrily across the room. It had hardly been a day since school let out for the summer, so Severus was finishing up a few last minute things at Hogwarts before returning to his small house, not far from Harry's, that he had purchased after Voldemort's defeat.
Deidra usually spent the days before her father returned home with her grandfather on Spinner's End or with Harry. This year she had wanted to stay with a friend for a couple of days first. Severus had thought it odd, but chalked it up to her being a teenager and allowed her to go.
After Harry calmed his niece he had flooed to Severus's quarters and filled him in on Deidra's adventure. Harry gave Severus a moment more to pace and grumble before speaking easily to his brother. "Sev, she just wanted to meet her mother. Obviously, the meeting didn't go well."
"No, shit," Severus mumbled just loud enough for him to hear.
"She knows she screwed up, Sev. But right now she doesn't need to be reminded of that." Harry paused and waited for Severus to sit back down at the table. "Right now, she needs to know someone loves her. She needs to know her daddy won't leave her."
Severus didn't move. He glared at the kitchen cabinet and Harry wondered if it was warded against bursting into flames.
"Do you remember that time when we were deaged? And our mother showed up?" Harry spoke the last question very quietly, but he knew his brother would hear him. "Do you remember wanting to run away?"
"I'm running away," stated Severus in a quiet voice just above a whisper as he climbed up onto Harry's bed and sat cross legged, staring at Harry.
"What!" Harry nearly shouted as he sat up straight in bed staring at his brother.
"Shhh!" Severus went back to whispering urgently. "Be quite or dad will hear us!"
"You're not serious?" asked Harry in an unbelieving whisper.
"Yes, I'm serious," Severus said, his black eyes wide. "She...I don't know...she acted like it wasn't a big deal or anything then the next thing we know we were left standing in a corner waiting for dad to get home and whatever punishment he would hand out. It doesn't make sense. She left, so why'd she come back if she doesn't love us?"
Severus's thoughts were jumbled and bouncing around his head and the more he tried to make sense of the whole situation the more it made his head hurt. Placing the palm of his hands on his temples he rubbed, trying to stop the all the thoughts and emotions clashing around. Concentrating, he forced all the thoughts away leaving his mind clear, but he still found himself confused about Eileen's actions.
Harry just sat on the bed watching his brother. He didn't know what to say. "Dad loves us." Even to Harry, his voice sounded unsure, and startled, he realized he'd never had to reassure anyone of anything like that before. "Besides, you can't runaway now and leave me with all the chores we have to do thanks to your brilliant idea." Harry tried to joke, but the only acknowledgement he got from Severus was a forced half smile as the corners of his mouth lifted slightly.
"I hate her, but...I don't know...for some reason...I want her to stay here. I want her to love me." Severus drew his knees up to his chest and rocked back and forth staring at the wall behind Harry's head. "Daddy loves her... But she doesn't love us. So how can he love us if she doesn't?" a little voice in the back of Severus's head said that there was something wrong with his logic, but he was to upset to figure out what at the moment.
"It just isn't fair. He's my dad. My daddy." Severus's breaths became shorter and Harry was startled to realize his brother was fighting back tears. "He's our dad." Severus buried his head in his knees. "I want a Mum and Dad that love me. That's all. It's not fair. Everybody else has a family. Why can't I? Why can't my Mum love me?" Severus looked at his brother imploringly, pleading for answers, tears glistening in his large black eyes.
"I don't know," Harry whispered; he didn't know what else to say.
Severus focused his eyes back on the wall for a moment while taking several deep breaths. "I'm going to go pack some of my things. Do you want to come with me?" Severus looked back at his brother hopefully. He didn't want to runaway by himself after all.
Before Harry could answer a voice was heard from the doorway.
"Can I come?" asked the voice quietly, sadly even. Both boys turned to face Tobias who had been outside the door listening for quite some time, unknown to both boys. Walking further into the room Tobias stood beside the bed waiting for a reply.
"No," Severus said forcefully with a pout, not meeting his father's eyes.
Tobias crawled up onto Harry's bed with a groan and sat cross legged on the edge so he could see both his sons.
"Why do you want to runaway?" Tobias had heard Severus' reason already, but was curious as to what the boy would tell him.
Severus shrugged, not wanting, or knowing how for that matter, to explain it to his dad.
Tobias reached out with one hand and gently tucked his son's hair behind his ear. "Please tell me Sev, I can't make it better if you don't talk to me."
"You can't make it better!" snapped Severus. He quickly brushed away the few tears that had leaked out. "No matter what you do she won't love me. You might convince her to stay here, but she won't like it and she'll want nothing to do with us. I was good, daddy," Severus finally broke and couldn't hold back his tears any longer. "I didn't do anything wrong. Why doesn't she want me?"
Tobias didn't move for a minute as he absorbed what Severus was saying. How had he been so blind? How could he not have seen the effect Eileen was having on his son? Sighing, he scooted closer to Severus before pulling the boy into his lap. His guilt at not seeing what was now plainly obvious grew when he felt two small arms wrap themselves around his neck and heard the sobs coming from his shoulder. "Shhh...its okay, Sev, its okay. I've got you. I love you."
"Don't leave me, please daddy, don't leave. I'll be good, I promise. Please..." Severus had buried his face in his dad's shoulder and was no longer holding back his tears.
Tobias just held his boy tighter talking comfortingly, and trying to ease the boy's fears.
"How could I forget?" Severus replied softly.
"Well, right now, Sev, you daughter is the scared kid who wants to know why her mummy doesn't love her and she needs you to comfort her."
Severus remained silent and unmoving.
"I'll go and send her through the floo."
Severus didn't move, so Harry took that as permission to proceed. It wasn't until Harry was out of his quarters that Severus stood. He walked to the living room with a completely blank expression and stood in front of the hearth, but far enough back that Deidra didn't run into him when she came though.
After a moment Severus stopped his attack on his daughter's defenseless foot. Standing from the couch, he pulled Deidra to his chest for another hug.
"Why don't you wash up a bit and change into your pajamas, you've had a long day and could use a nap. Meanwhile I'll floo call Miss Ashley to let her know where you are." And scare her witless for letting my little girl meet her so-called-mother alone.
Deidra nodded against his chest. "Okay. But don't yell at her too much."
Severus sighed theatrically and placed a kiss on the top of her head before he nudged her towards the bathroom.
2 weeks latter
"So, Sev, how's Deidra been since her encounter with the bitch." Harry said while watching his niece play with his children in the shallow part of the lake not far from his father's home on Spinner's end.
"Oww…" Harry exclaimed as his father's hand smacked against the back of his head.
"Language." Tobias said sitting next to his youngest son on the lake's shore. They had finished setting up camp about half an hour ago then taken the kids swimming.
"As well as to be expected." Severus answered from his brother's other side. "She's been a bit…clingy, but I think she'll be okay."
"She's a strong little girl, Sev. She'll figure things out." Tobias tried to comfort.
"That she is." Severus agreed.
"And lucky girl she is," Harry commented. "She has a great family to help her."
"That she does," Severus agreed. "A strong adoring grandfather…"
"A firm, but loving father…" Harry continued.
"And an overindulgent and fun uncle." Tobias finished. "Best damn family on the planet, I'd say."
The three men laughed while watching the youngest generation play in the lake. They'd come a long way over the years and still had a ways to go. They knew, however, that as long as stayed together and supported one another they could get through anything.
That's all folks!
I apologize for the long wait.
Thank you to all my readers for sticking with me despite my horrible updateing skills.
What did you think of the ending?